Chapter 28


     Hazel watched as Annabeth was in danger just like that. Khione and Arachne smiled cruelly, both giddy with power.

     “Would you like to join us, demigods?” Khione asked. “We would just like to chat.”

     “I wouldn’t want to come near you,” Leo retorted. “I mean, you’re so cold.”

     Her eyes flashed dangerously. “For those who don’t know me, I am Khione, goddess of snow.” She pointed her finger to the sky and snow swirled around her hand. “And this is the newest released mortal from the Underworld.”

     “I thought Arachne was a goddess,” Hazel said, confusion coloring her tone.

     Arachne rolled her eyes. “After being in the Underworld for a few thousand years, I should be used to this. No. You all should know the story; I do not like explaining things twice.”

     “Arachne thought she was the greatest weaver in the world, even better than Athena,” Percy called out. “So Arachne wished for a weaving contest, and Athena agreed. Athena wove her defeat over Poseidon to name Athens after her. Arachne wove the infidelity of the gods. Athena was so mad about Arachne disrespecting the gods that she turned Arachne into a spider.”

     “Ah, very nice,” Arachne called sarcastically, clapping her hands slowly. “One demigod knows my defeat, even if he is dimwitted.”      

     “Why don’t we duel you, like in the old days?” Hazel suggested. “I know you like a little duel, don’t you?”

     “I accept.” Arachne pulled out a long hunting knife and smiled. She pushed Annabeth down onto her spider, so the half-blood screamed from behind her gag.

     “Oh, goody,” Khione called, smiling. “I want to see this.”

     “Nice knowing you guys,” Percy whispered. “I guess this is a good way to die.”

     “Dying with friends is always okay,” Frank muttered.

     A tear ran down Hazel’s cheek. At least she would probably make Elysium this time. She sucked in her breath, ready to accept faith.

     Arachne suddenly charged. She was graceful and fast, like a lioness. She quickly pushed Leo to the ground.

     Percy was unstoppable. He challenged the escaped soul like a madman, slashing and hacking like an expert. Jason was just as strong, but a little slower. Frank was changing into animals, slashing his claws as a bear down Arachne’s cheek.

     Suddenly, Leo came from behind, his body on fire, when Arachne stabbed her knife into his thigh.

     “Leo!” Hazel screamed in horror. She stumbled over to him, where he was on the ground, holding his thigh and groaning.

     “I’m okay,” he panted, looking ready to pass out. The blood was staining his jeans. “Go back and fight.”

     She blinked rapidly, trying not to show her panic. “Come on, I’ll stay.” She pulled out a small bag of ambrosia and broke off a square. “Eat it.”

     He chewed, instantly relaxing his muscles. Inside, Hazel was freaking out, because she had nothing to patch up his wound.

     There was a cry for help. Hazel snapped her head up to look.

     Arachne was on the ground, Percy standing over her with his sword. Her eyes began to narrow slowly.

     “So, you’re going to murder me?” she asked.

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