I flew into the air, feeling the extra weight of Artemis and Pandora. We had left everything behind, because we had left in such a hurry. Pandora, I could see, was badly burned. We needed to get her to Athene, and fast. She was the best one to handle this kind of situation, for she was a healer.
I flew straight for our small cave, the extra weight slowing me down considerably. I wasn't used to flying with another person, let alone two! I began to panic. What if I didn't make it? What if I accidentally dropped one of them? I tightened my grip on Pandora, hugging her closer to my chest.
As if Artemis could sense my worry, he lifted his head and mumbled a feeble "You can do it." Before he dropped his head to my back.
Well duh. I thought. We were twins. Of COURSE he could sense my feelings.
Five minutes. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes went by. How long would it take to get there? I had begun to sweat a long time ago, and now it was heavy. My shirt was soaked, and I was pretty sure Pandora and Artemis were too.
In my arms, Pandora stirred. She tried to open her eyes, but they were swelled shut. Her mouth cracked open, gaping like a fish. Artemis, fully recovered now, reached over my shoulder and held a finger out over her mouth. A small trickle of water dripped into her mouth. She tried to sit up, wanting more. Artemis pushed her down and continued to give her small bits of water at a time. She then settled back down and either fell asleep or passed out again.
We were in the air for a couple more minutes when Artemis suddenly grabbed my shoulder. He pointed, and sure enough, we were getting near the patch of trees that sheltered our cave from view, just at the bottom of the mountain. With sudden energy I flew faster and landed noisily before the entrance to the cave, dislodging Artemis from by back and letting Pandora tumble to the ground.
I quickly scooped her up and ran inside, panting. I almost ran into Athene, as she was on her way outside to see what had happened. She gasped when she saw Pandora and held her arms out for me to hand her over.
I dumped Pandora into her arms. She sagged a little under the weight, but then straightened, and headed outside.
I followed, in case she needed any help. She turned her head, and asked, "Dragon fire?" I nodded solemnly. She looked grim and determined, so that's why I didn't try to stop her when she started up the mountainside.
Instead, I asked, "Wait, what are you doing?" She shook her head and instead of answering, all she said was,
"Grab Turtle." And with that she marched even farther up the rocky path.
I considered actually doing what she said, but then I gave in. I had to trust her, to trust that she new what she was doing. So I ran back into the cave, and shouted for Turtle.
"He's in here!" Aphrodite shouted. I ran to the girls room, and scooped him up.
"Come on!" I said to Aphrodite, running back out of the cave.
"What's going on?" she demanded, "Where's Pandora and Athene?" She stared in the direction I was going. "And where the heck do you think your going?"
I didn't answer. Instead, I did just what Athene did; I headed up the mountainside. I hadn't seen Artemis, I guessed he had already headed up with Athene. I heard the crunching of footsteps and realized Aphrodite was coming.
Athene was already out of sight, but that was because there was a bend in the path. I turned and saw her, still marching steadily with Pandora in her arms, Artemis trailing behind. I hurried to catch up. "Athene, where are we going?" Artemis turned to me.
"Don't ask, I've already tried. She won't say a word." I squinted up the path. So far I didn't see anything that could be of any help whatsoever. I sighed. All I knew was that I was exhausted, and I didn't think I could walk very far. I hoped we would get wherever we were going soon.
It seemed that we had been walking forever. My whole body seemed to be made out of lead, and it felt like my arms might break from carrying Turtle for so long. Finally, Athene spoke.
"We're almost there." We rounded a bend, and in the dimming light, I could just make out an odd, lumpy shape. What was that? A giant rock? As we got nearer, I saw what it really was; a cave. Suddenly I stopped, my whole body frozen. That was no ordinary cave. That was the cave of the dragon!