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Joan Holub

Hephaestus and the Island of Terror

Joan Holub Hephaestus And The Island Of Terror
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Series:

Heroes in Training

Excerpt from book:

Hephaestus and the Island of Terror
Images

Images

CHAPTER ONE

Wake Up Already!


Early morning sunlight filtered through the trees as the ten most wanted outlaws in Greece ran along a wooded path. They were on a quest, heading for the coast of the Aegean Sea. And they knew that any minute the enormously tall King Cronus—the evil leader of the Titans—might pop up and attack them. His entire Crony army was searching for them, to take them prisoner.

Why? Because they were Olympian gods and goddesses! And even though they were all just human-size ten-year-olds, Cronus knew that these immortals would do anything to stop his dastardly plans to take over the world.

Zeus, a blue-eyed, dark-haired boy, stayed just ahead of the other nine immortals. As he ran, a worried expression on his face, he kept tabs on their surroundings. Since he was the leader of this bunch, he was always concerned for their safety. Keeping pace with him was his brother Poseidon, who shared the same dark hair but had eyes the turquoise color of the sea that he ruled.

And behind them, the rest of the gang jogged along. There were three other boys—Ares, Apollo, and Hades. And five girls in all—Artemis, Athena, Demeter, Hera, and Hestia.

“The goats are angry. Quick! Get the fig jam!” Artemis mumbled. She was their weak link. She stumbled along at the back of the line, her sleepy eyes half-closed. Her twin brother, Apollo, held her arm, guiding her.

When blond-haired Hera turned to stare, Apollo shook his head in dismay. “She keeps talking in her sleep. Her dreams and thoughts must run very deep!” he explained, talking in singsong rhyme-speak as usual.

“Well, she’s slowing us down,” Hera said. She sounded a bit breathless from jogging along the rocky forest path.

“It’s not her fault,” said Apollo, panting too. “That sleeping potion the Titans gave her during our last quest still hasn’t worn off.”

“It’s been seven days!” exclaimed Hera. “Is she ever going to wake up?”

“You know the answer,” said gray-eyed Athena. Her aegis, the shield that she wore over her tunic, rattled as she scurried along. “Pythia said Artemis can’t wake up till she finds her gold bow and silver arrows on the Island of Lemnos.”

“And the sooner we reach the coast, the closer we’ll be to the island,” said Hestia.

“I know, but—” Hera began.

Zeus could hear them arguing behind him, and he sighed. “Chill out,” he called back to Hera. “Quests are never easy, but we’ve got to follow Pythia’s instructions just the same.”

Pythia, the Oracle of Delphi, had been sending them on quests ever since Zeus had learned that he was an Olympian and not just a mortal boy. A prophecy foretold that the Olympians would overthrow King Cronus and the evil Titans someday. However, Pythia kept saying they weren’t ready for that yet. Each of them needed to find their own magical object or weapon first, and there were still more Olympians to find too.

From beside Zeus, Poseidon looked back at the sleeping Artemis. She was falling farther and farther behind despite Apollo’s support. “Stop the chickens!” she said, flapping her arms like wings.

“Maybe another squirt of water?” Poseidon suggested, lifting the trident he held. It Zeus and the Olympians might find a new leader among metal-working warriors in this Heroes in Training adventure.

Fresh off their adventure with Crius’s Cronies, the Olympians set out for the island of Lemnos, and there’s a reason they receive warnings as they travel: Warriors holding intricate weapons greet them as soon as they come ashore! Then they meet Hephaestus, the leader of the island who they quickly realize is actually one of them—the Olympian they were meant to find.

But Hephaestus isn’t so sure he wants to leave with the Olympians. After all, life is pretty good on Lemnos, and he loves being in charge of the Sintians, who inhabit the island. The Sintians made him their leader because of his metal-working prowess, and he’s been doing his best to keep them safe from Cronus’s armies ever since. Hephaestus suggests that if he does choose to go with the Olympians, he could be their leader. But what about Zeus? Not everyone is convinced he is still up for the job...


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