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JOHN DID NOT want any unnecessary attention and decided a low-profile would be best after the encounter in Antarctica. He knew all too well that when something bad happened in his life, it was only a matter of time for the aftershock.

"You a-look-a-familiar."

"I have that kind of face," John assured the taxi driver.

"Sorry, not you." The driver glanced in the rear-view mirror back at Cara. "I am a-sure that

I have seen you before." He put his palm to his forehead. "Dr. Criest. You are the famous astrologer, yes?"

John looked over to Cara. She shrugged and straightened in her seat.

"You got me," she admitted. "My name's Cara. It's nice to meet you."

"I am very pleased to meet you, Dr. Criest. My name is Dimitri."

"Cara. You can call me Cara."

"I am so excited to have such a celebrity in my a-car! Please, let me tell you of my city while we drive to your destination.," He cleared his throat. "Athens. The largest city in Greece, and the capital. Have either of you ever been here before?" Dimitri asked, his strong Athenian accent sounding prouder than moments ago.

"No," Cara replied.

"I have a friend in Athens that we're visiting," John said.

"Oh, a friend, that's wonderful."

"I hear the lunar festival in August is amazing," Cara remarked.

"Oh yes, but there is a festival for every quarter of the year, coinciding with other phases of the moon, ceremonies are held in spring, fall and winter—all a-very beautiful."

The cab wound through the narrow labyrinth of cobbled streets, with many locals about in the early morning. The driver took them down another street, not much more than a walkway.

"This is a shortcut," he told them. "It will save time and money."

John did not care about the money—he just wanted to get there in one piece.

They zipped past a pedestrian street full of merchants peddling goods in storefronts and in the stretching plaza. Masks of classical faces and soldier helmets, paintings, shirts, beads and other wares of the flea market added to the carnival atmosphere. Blooming citrus, fig and olive trees sprang from planters throughout the marketplace, their leaves casting shade and creating tunnels of green with purple, pink and white flowers. The aroma of freshly baked goods filled the taxi.

"Ah—the Plaka, known as the 'Neighborhood of the Gods' because of its proximity to the Acropolis," Dimitri pointed down the street active in commerce. "This is the place to come when you are ready to do some shopping, or if you are hungry. Everyone comes to the Plaka when in Athens. It is Athens."

John read two signs as they passed the street: Kydatheonon and Adrianou.

"Adrianou—this street is named after Emperor Hadrian," Dimitri said, pointing.

"Pardon me, Dimitri," John said, flagging him through the rear-view mirror. "You really don't need to take us on the scenic tour. We just want to go to the Parthenon."

"Do not worry, Mr. Profit. Dimitri assures you, this is the quickest route."

Neoclassical buildings blocked the Parthenon from their view, except at intersections when sunlit-glances of the hill and the ancient structure shined down. Cara scooted forward in her seat and turned at the street signs as they drove by.

"This doesn't seem like much of a shortcut. How much further Dimitri?" Cara inquired.

Right as the question left her lips, Dimitri threw the car into a lower gear, hitting the gas. They sped around a tight turn at the foot of a long street. Nothing stood between them and the Parthenon, save the colossal hill.

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