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TitleThe Dark Prophecy
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Page 100

“Well,” I said, “I’m glad you weren’t crushed to death, Meg. Anything broken?”
She touched her rib cage. “Nah. I’m good.”
Her stiff movement, her pale complexion, and the tightness around her eyes told me otherwise. She

was in more pain than she would admit. However, until we got back to the Waystation infirmary, I
couldn’t do much for her. Even if I’d had proper medical supplies, wrapping the ribs of a girl who’d
almost been crushed to death might do more harm than good.

Leo stared at the dark green water. He looked more pensive than usual, or perhaps it was just the fact
that he wasn’t on fire anymore.

“What are you thinking about?” I asked.
He glanced over—no snappy comeback, no playful grin. “Just…Leo and Calypso’s Garage: Auto

Repair and Mechanical Monsters.”
“What?”
“Something Cal and I used to joke about.”
It didn’t sound like a very funny joke. Then again, mortal humor wasn’t always up to my godly

standards. I recalled Calypso and Leo deep in conversation with Emmie yesterday as they walked through
the great hall.

“Something to do with what Emmie was telling you?” I ventured.
He shrugged. “Stuff for the future. Nothing to worry about.”
As a former god of prophecy, I’d always found the future a wonderful source of worry. But I decided

not to press the issue. Right now, the only future goal that mattered was getting me back to Mount Olympus
so the world could once again bask in my divine glory. I had to think of the greater good.

“Well,” I said, “now that we’re warm and dry, I suppose it’s time to get in the water again.”
“Fun,” Meg said. She jumped in first.
Leo led the way, keeping one burning hand above the water for light. Every so often, small objects

floated up from the pockets of his tool belt and drifted past me—Velcro tabs, Styrofoam peanuts,
multicolored twist ties.

Meg guarded our backs, her twin swords gleaming in the darkness. I appreciated her fighting skills,
but I wish we had some additional help. A demigod child of the sewer goddess Cloacina would have
been welcome…which is the first time I’d ever had depressing thought.

I trudged along in the middle, trying to avoid flashbacks of my long-ago, unintended trip through a
sewage-treatment facility in Biloxi, Mississippi. (That day would’ve been a total disaster, except that it
ended with an impromptu jam session with Lead Belly.)

The current became stronger, pushing against us. Up ahead, I detected the glow of electric lights, the
sound of voices. Leo extinguished his hand fire. He turned to us and put his finger to his lips.

After another twenty feet, we arrived at a second set of golden bars. Beyond that, the sewer opened
into a much larger space where the water ran at a crosscurrent, some of it diverting into our tunnel. The
force of the outflow made it difficult to stand.

Leo pointed at the golden grate. “This runs on a clepsydra lock,” he said just loud enough to be heard.
“I think I can open it quietly, but keep watch for me just in case…I don’t know…giant serpents.”

“We have faith in you, Valdez.” I had no idea what a clepsydra lock was, but I’d learned from dealing
with Hephaestus that it was best to show optimism and polite interest. Otherwise the tinkerer took offense
and stopped making shiny toys for me to play with.

Within moments, Leo had the grate open. No alarms sounded. No contact mines exploded in our faces.
We emerged in the throne room I’d seen in my vision.
Fortunately, we were neck-deep in one of the open channels of water that lined the sides of the

chamber, so I doubted anyone could easily spot us. Along the wall behind us, videos of Commodus
looped over and over on the giant television screens.

Page 101

We trudged toward the opposite side of the channel.
If you have ever tried to walk while immersed in a swift stream, you know how difficult it is. Also, if

you have tried it, then may I ask ? It was absolutely exhausting. With every step, I feared the current
would sweep me off my feet and flush me into the bowels of Indianapolis. Somehow, though, we made it
to the far side.

I peeked over the edge of the channel and was immediately sorry I did.
Commodus was . Thank the gods, we had crossed slightly his throne, so neither he

nor his Germani guards saw me. My least favorite Cornhusker, Lityerses, knelt before the emperor, facing
my direction, but his head was lowered. I ducked back below the edge before he could spot me. I gestured
to my friends: Or something to that effect. They seemed to get the
message. Shivering miserably, I pressed against the wall and listened to the conversation going on just
above us.

“—part of the plan, sire,” Lityerses was saying. “We know where the Waystation is now.”
Commodus grunted. “Yes, yes. Old Union Station. But Cleander searched that place several times

before and found nothing.”
“The Waystation is there,” Lityerses insisted. “The tracking devices I planted on the griffins worked

perfectly. The place must be protected by some sort of magic, but it won’t stand up to a fleet of blemmyae
bulldozers.”

My heart climbed above water level, which put it somewhere between my ears. I dared not look at my
friends. I had failed once again. I had unwittingly betrayed the location of our safe haven.

Commodus sighed. “Fine. Yes. But I want Apollo captured and brought to me in chains! The naming
ceremony is tomorrow. Our dress rehearsal is, like, . When can you have the Waystation
destroyed?”

Lityerses hesitated. “We need to scout the defenses. And gather our forces. Two days?”
“TWO DAYS? I’m not asking you to cross the Alps! I want it to happen !”
“Tomorrow, then, at the latest, sire,” said Lityerses. “Definitely by tomorrow.”
“Hmph. I’m beginning to wonder about you, son of Midas. If you don’t deliver—”
An electronic alarm blared through the chamber. For a moment, I thought we’d been discovered. I may

or may not have emptied my bladder in the channel. (Don’t tell Leo. He was downstream.)
Then, from the other side of the room, a voice shouted in Latin, “Incursion at the front gates!”
Lityerses growled. “I will deal with this, sire. Never fear. Guards, with me!”
Heavy footsteps faded into the distance.
I glanced at Meg and Leo, who were both giving me the same silent question:
I had not ordered an incursion at the front gates. I hadn’t even activated the iron manacle on my ankle.

I didn’t know who would be so foolish as to launch a frontal assault on this underground palace, but
Britomartis promised to look for the Hunters of Artemis. It occurred to me that this was the sort of
diversionary tactic they might arrange if they were trying to distract Commodus’s security forces from our
presence. Could we be so lucky? Probably not. More likely, some magazine-subscription salesman had
rung the emperor’s doorbell and was about to get a very hostile reception.

I risked another peek over the edge of the canal. Commodus was alone now with just one guard.
Perhaps we could take him—three on two?
Except that we were all about to pass out from hypothermia, Meg probably had some broken ribs, and

my own powers were unpredictable at best. On the opposing team, we had a trained barbarian killer and
a semi-divine emperor with a well-deserved reputation for superhuman strength. I decided to stay put.

Commodus glanced at his bodyguard. “Alaric.”
“Lord?”
“I think your time is approaching. I grow impatient with my prefect. How long has Lityerses had this

Page 200

heroes in Carter and Sadie Kane.”
—Kirkus Reviews

★ “A truly original take on Egyptian mythology…A must-have book.”
—School Library Journal (starred review) “Once again, Riordan masterfully meshes modern life with
mythology and history, reinvigorating dusty artifacts such as the Rosetta stone and revitalizing ancient

Egyptian story lines.”
—The Los Angeles Times

Book One: The Sword of Summer
“Rick Riordan’s new series is simply brilliant—maybe his best yet! I thought I knew Norse mythology,
but now that I’ve read the gripping and hilarious Sword of Summer, I’ll never see Thor the same way

again. Get ready to stay up all night reading!”
—New York Times #1 best-selling author Harlan Coben “The Sword of Summer is a propulsive, kinetic,
witty rebooting of Norse mythology with all the charm of the Percy Jackson novels. Instantly likeable
heroes! Insane action! Cool villains! A twisting, turning, always exciting story! Rick Riordan does it

again, even better.”
—New York Times best-selling author Michael Grant “The Sword of Summer combines the glory of Norse
myth with the joy of Rick Riordan’s effervescent world-building. One of Riordan’s funniest books—

everything from the chapter titles to the wry humor of Magnus Chase will have you chuckling; even as the
plot races along at breakneck speed. Check me into the Hotel Valhalla, please. I’ll be staying.”

—New York Times #1 best-selling author Cassandra Clare “With an epic plot, engaging (and diverse)
characters, and tones of wisecracking humor, Riordan’s latest is a page-turner. Those new to the author’s
past series can jump right in; fans of his previous works will be happy to see clever nods and references

to the other in-universe books.”
—School Library Journal

“[A] whirlwind of myth, action, and wry sarcasm, perfect for readers hungry for a new hit of that Percy
Jackson–type magic.”

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“Riordan offers a terrific cast that is effortlessly diverse—all of the allies stand as independent, well-
constructed characters who each bring entirely different skills, histories, interests, and personalities to the
group. Riordan fans will be thrilled, and Norse mythology buffs will be pleased to see that his focus has

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—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Page 201

RICK RIORDAN, dubbed “storyteller of the gods” by Publishers Weekly, is the author of five New York
Times #1 best-selling series. He is best known for his Percy Jackson and the Olympians books, which
bring Greek mythology to life for contemporary readers. He expanded on that series with two more: the
Heroes of Olympus and the Trials of Apollo, which cleverly combine Greek and Roman gods and heroes
with his beloved modern characters. Rick also tackled the ancient Egyptian gods in the magic-filled Kane
Chronicles trilogy, and Norse mythology in the otherworldly Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard
series. Millions of fans across the globe have enjoyed his fast-paced and funny quest adventures as well
as his two #1 best-selling myth collections, Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods and Percy Jackson’s Greek
Heroes. Rick lives in Boston, Massachusetts, with his wife and two sons. For more information, go to
www.rickriordan.com, or follow him on Twitter @camphalfblood.

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