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[DW3] AZ-02 The School Dance

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    [DW3] AZ-02 The School Dance

    Upon their return to Richfield from Arvandor, the mysterious assassin arrives and gets more than she bargained for. Then after learning the awe power from Aphrodite, Arcadia prepares for the school dance while not aware that Hades seeks to confront her there to personally provide forth an ominous warning. And when Hades unleashes his Balrogs to make things difficult for the Richfield students, the powers that be convene and catastrophes are prevented.

    Coming up next on the second episode of Arcadia Zoe!
    Arcadia Zoe: Episode Two

    [DW3] AZ-02 The School Dance.
    By Darrel Vanwinkle (Lord Pouchlaw)

    Chapter One.

    Roger walked over, holding his spell book. "So we're heading back now?"

    Irene hugged Roger. "We really need to. I only hope that Gavin is ready for the return trip. And this time, I can handle the transport, as I will be taking us back to the Dragon Estate. My parents have been in contact with me. They want to meet with Arcadia."

    Gavin then trotted forth. "It pleases me that you want to return to Richfield. I am sorely worried about Uncle Remus. I know that he can handle himself, but I still worry about him."

    Irene said, "It's settled then. We're heading back. Is there anything we need to do before we go?"

    Skerrit trotted over just then. "There is one minor thing, then you may leave. If I may borrow Roger for a moment..." Skerrit took Roger by the hand, leading him just out of sight away from the others.

    Michelle arched an eye. "The centaur god and Roger? What could be up now? I'm still getting used to the idea of Roger as a Sorcerer."

    Beyond the sight of the others, Skerrit stopped, turning his gaze to Roger. "I need to give you some starting spells. The faun told me what you needed, and I think Gavin would be pleased with my spell choices." Then, Skerrit began revealing these spells to Roger, as the spells magically appeared in Roger's spell book. "I am also going to give you three First Circle spells to practice with. Be warned that they might cause you weakness and exhaustion, at first, until you get used to using them. I am giving you Arc Bolt, Barrier, and Ally. Arc Bolt is an attack spell that never misses it's target. Only those who are magical can even see it in use. But all can feel it's effects. Barrier is a defense spell that erects an unseen movable shield around anyone you target. Again, only those who are magical can even see it in use. This will help you protect Arcadia from future attacks on her life. And finally... Ally is a general purpose spell that allows you to gain a familiar/follower every time you earn a new Sorcerer's rank. This familiar or follower will be absolutely loyal to you, and can even lend you their special abilities for limited use, at will. You will always be able to mentally speak with them."

    Roger nodded his head. "Will I be able to shape change, like Gavin?"

    Skerrit replied, "That is a cantrip orison spell. It's in your spell book, and I believe that you already have an explanation on it's usage. Now come, I will return you to the others."

    After Roger had been returned to the others, Irene, in her emerald dragoness form, handled the the mass transport for the group from Arvandor to the Dragon Estate which was just outside of Richfield. Upon arriving, everyone saw a greater oriental gold dragon lift his head from where he had been resting, curled up around a large marble column.

    The gold dragon exclaimed, "Irene. It is good to see you back. And these are your friends? Well met, noble friends of my granddaughter. Your father and Mr. Richards are in the back courtyard, Irene. You should lead your friends there right away."

    Irene bowed to her grandfather. "Thank you for telling me, grandfather." She turned to the others. "Follow me, guys. I'd give you a tour, but that is not my place to do. We need to go greet our elders in the back courtyard."

    The others followed Irene through a side corridor and into the open rear courtyard.

    Standing in a gathered central marble center were an oriental sea storm dragon, Mr. Richards wearing an ominous costume, and a very large Norse wolf, with a bandage on one leg.

    Gavin exclaimed, "Uncle Remus! You're hurt!"

    The Norse wolf turned toward Gavin and replied, "The assassin and I fought hard, and though she left me bleeding with a nasty battle scar, I am afraid she got away from me. Some divine power does not want Arcadia to realize her full powers. How did it go in Arvandor?"

    Gavin replied, "Arcadia has been practicing a few of the basics, as was planned. Roger has gained his first Sorcerer spell book and understands what is and will be expected of him. The others are willing to help Arcadia whenever she needs the aide and/or assistance."

    Roger asked, "How did it go with my parents, Mr. Richards?"

    Mr. Richards turned to Roger and replied, "I think they were shocked when I told them the truth and showed them my powers as proof. But they were pleased that you were among friends that they knew they could trust you to be with. As for being a sorcerer, they said that as long as it didn't interfere with your school work, you could be whatever you wanted to be."

    Irene brought Arcadia before her father, then moved back to stand with Michelle and Karen.

    Mr. Dragon examined Arcadia over carefully. "Yes, it does appear that you have the divine air about you, Arcadia. In a way, I was almost hoping you didn't have it."

    Arcadia arched an eye. "Why do you say that, Mr. Dragon?"

    Mr. Dragon replied, "As long as you still live, the assassin, or others like her, will come after you in some form or another. And Gavin cannot always be there for you. Once he finishes giving you the basics, you will have to seek out divine teachers to continue your godly training."

    End of Chapter One.

    Chapter Two.

    Arcadia hummed. "Why couldn't I have just asked Skerrit or Rillifane in Arvandor to teach me? We and they were just there, and no one, including me, thought of that possible avenue."

    Gavin smiled. "Just because they aren't around now, doesn't mean that they always won't be around, Arcadia. Your suggestion is a good one and we might pursue that someday soon, when you finish learning the basics. I haven't taught you all of the basics, yet."

    Michelle arched her eye. "You haven't? What else is there? I think the basics you gave her are pretty darned good, as is."

    Mr. Dragon exclaimed, "The basics include over 20 various knowledges, Michelle. How many has Gavin taught Arcadia, so far?"

    Karen grinned. "I've been keeping score. Focus, True Sight, Aura, and Tongues. That's four."

    Arcadia sighed. "So I've only learned less than a fifth of the basics that I'll need. Wonderful... What else is there?"

    Gavin said, "Now isn't the time to discuss them. We need to figure out where to take you each night so you can have uninterrupted rest and sleep. Not to mention, you have classes still. I am sure the school would only let you miss a few days based on the circumstances, and you've used those few days. Therefore, we need to focus on where to keep you so you aren't killed."

    Mr. Richards then said, "I let you folks stay at my ranch for that one night, but we can't keep letting you stay there. My home isn't really built for centaurs... no offense, Gavin."

    At that point, Roger, who had been keeping quiet, said, "I have an idea... why don't we take turns having Gavin and Arcadia at our homes? Or if not that, then perhaps Gavin and Arcadia can bunk up at my parent's place. I only mention that because I'll have to have access to my new mentor in sorcery lessons occasionally. As most of you know, my parent's home was remodeled from an old barn, so perhaps it is built for centaurs."

    Gavin hummed. "I am glad you brought that up, Roger. You and I have to spend an hour together every day for it to count within the apprenticeship. Plus... I'll need to take you back to the island for a weekend so you can meet my parents. In fact, a weekend trip to the island might be the perfect outing for all of us, because the assassin wouldn't dare show her face there."

    Irene thought about that. "A weekend trip to Circe's Island? Are you sure your mom would forgive you for bringing in a bunch of Richfield teenagers to her normally quiet island?"

    Gavin laughed. "I am sure my mom would love to meet those I am hanging out with currently. Plus, Roger must meet with my parents, due to the apprenticeship."

    Roger sighed. "This apprenticeship gets more and more complicated."

    After some arrangements had been made, Roger, Gavin, and Arcadia found themselves at the Roger's home, which did indeed appear to have once been a barn. But it was redesigned in a very nice way, and unlike the Richard's ranch house, it was entirely on one level. There were no upstairs rooms.

    Roger's father, Mr. Rogers, said, "So you're Roger's new teacher. Has he been good?" Gavin blushed at the question. "Um, yes. Roger has been very good and patient. He's a fine apprentice student. I am pleased that I can call him my friend."

    In the kitchen, Arcadia helped Mrs. Rogers prepare dinner while they talked.

    "...and you grew up thinking that you were as normal as the other townsfolk? I can imagine your shock and surprise, Arcadia. But if you are Artemis' granddaughter, then what is your actual last name? I know it can't be Lockwood, because that's your adopted name."

    Arcadia smiled. "My mother's name is Diana and my father's name was King Actaeon, both of whom lived on the Island of Zoe in the Aegean Sea. So, if I had a true name, like modern people would have a true name, then mine would probably be Princess Arcadia Actaeon of Zoe. But that's a bit much, wouldn't you agree? Therefore, I'll just call myself Arcadia and not worry about it." Mrs. Rogers smiled back. "What do you think of Roger? I'm sorry if I am prying, but no one ever mentioned if you were dating anyone or not." Arcadia chuckled. "Well, I'm not dating Roger. We're just friends. Besides, Gavin told me that Roger shouldn't be dating while he's learning sorcery. And with my divine studies, what would you guys say if I accidentally changed Roger into a statue or something?" Mrs. Rogers laughed. "At least you'd have him where you wanted him! If I could've done that before I met my husband, there wouldn't have been a stag party before our wedding!" Arcadia grinned. "For the record, Roger has a thing for Karen Richards. But don't tell him that I told you that." Mrs. Rogers smiled. "I am glad it's Karen and not that rascal Michelle." Arcadia then said, "Michelle will someday end up with a boyfriend, but with her luck, it will be Kevin McVann." Both women laughed out loud as they finished preparing the dinner.

    Soon after dinner ended, Gavin, Roger, and Arcadia were in the backyard enjoying the fresh air. Arcadia said, "Your mom is a good cook. I couldn't eat another bite."

    And at that moment, the black-clad female appeared, standing on the railing of the fence!

    "Don't give me any further trouble, Arcadia, and I can finish this job without spending anymore time in this dump of a town!"

    Roger must have been practicing his sorcery spells, because Arcadia sensed the Barrier spell suddenly go up around her, and it apparently came from where Roger was standing.

    End of Chapter Two.


      Chapter Three.

      Gavin exclaimed, "Just because the others aren't around doesn't mean we're just going to let you kill Arcadia, assassin! Who hired you? Ares? Hera? Or one of the other evil gods?"

      Arcadia was aware that she was focusing on this female, when she noticed the silver glow around the black-clad female, indicating that the assassin wasn't, herself, evil... but neutral. "Gavin, she isn't an evil assassin. She's neutral. Which means that any god, whether good or evil, could have hired her." (Aura worked really well that time.)

      The assassin replied, "That's right! I am a neutral assassin. As for who hired me, I can tell you now that it wasn't Ares. He's busy with Anhur in Missouri. But that's all the information I'll give, at the moment." She then raised her bow and arrow toward Arcadia. "Just hold still and this will be over with before you can say jackrabbit stew." And with that, she fired the poison arrow directly toward Arcadia! Except, the arrow didn't reach Arcadia... it struck the Barrier, reversing it's course, causing it to strike the assassin squarely in the chest, knocking her backwards off the fence!

      Gavin glanced at Roger. "You made the Barrier a little too strong, I think. My Barrier spell never causes that effect. But in this case... good job, Roger."

      Roger smiled. "I had to protect Arcadia, right?" Roger then found himself sitting on the ground, as the Barrier spell around Arcadia simply vanished.

      Gavin sighed. "And now you know why I said that you had made it a little too strong. Are you okay, Roger?"

      Roger could barely lift his head to look at Gavin. "...yeah, I... think so... I feel really tired all of sudden..." And then, Roger slumped over, passing out on the ground.

      Arcadia asked, "Is he okay?"

      Gavin said, "He used a little too much power in that spell and he wasn't ready for the after effect. He'll be okay after a full night's rest. But first, we need to check on the assassin. I wasn't expecting the Barrier spell to be that effective. Roger's blood is pretty darned powerful."

      While Gavin trotted over to check on the assassin's body, Arcadia picked up Roger in her arms and took him back into the Rogers' house, and into Roger's bedroom, where Arcadia put Roger to bed, covering him up. She was soon joined by Gavin, who bedded himself down next to Roger, saying, "You better get some sleep, Arcadia. The assassin died and I sent the body to Athena."

      Somewhere in a darkened cavern under Athens Greece, a shadowy figure stepped away from his magical scrying mirror and began to pace throughout his chambers. "She failed. She was the best of her guild and she still failed."

      The dark figure pondered the events of the slaying. "Her own arrow bounced back and hit her with deadly accuracy. But I didn't see Gavin Whitelaw of the Northern Herd cast any spells... but there was a spell around Arcadia, none the less."

      He then walked over to gaze out over his pit of monsters. "Perhaps the time has come to send forth something a little more meaningful, right my pets?"

      The monsters within the pit growled and roared in a frightening manner.

      The next morning, Roger escorted Arcadia to school, while Gavin reported in to Eugene Remus about the night before and the events thereof.

      While Roger spoke with one of his other school friends, who will be introduced next time, Arcadia opened her locker and began sorting through her school books for her classes.

      It was while she was doing this when Kevin McVann walked up beside Arcadia and said, "Um, wanna go to a dance with me Thursday night?"

      Arcadia stopped rifling through her books at looked at Kevin with a very pointed stare. "Kevin, I think it's sweet that you asked, but with all the crap I'm having to put up with lately, I might not have the time to go with you. I am sorry I can't give you a more direct answer. Maybe you should ask Michelle if she'll go with you..."

      Kevin made a face. "The firebrand of the Richards' ranch? I want to live through the night, you know, hence why I asked you if you'd go with me. It's not a date, of course... just an escort."

      Roger glanced over at Kevin and said, "With all due respect, Kevin, perhaps you should ask Mr. Remus for permission to take Arcadia to the dance. She is his ward, after all."

      Kevin sighed. "I was trying to be nice, Roger. I'm also trying hard not to act like a jackass in front of Arcadia." He turned toward where Arcadia was standing, but she had already walked off with her books. "Great... there went my chance of showing Arcadia that I'm not a jackass."

      Roger came over and patted Kevin's shoulder. "You'll get another chance. I'm sure of it. But you should be aware that Arcadia and Irene are studying together in the 4th period study hall, if you're wanting to try again then... Otherwise, you'll have to wait until either lunch time or after school when Arcadia and Irene head over to the library."

      Kevin asked, "How come you're trying to help me? I thought you didn't like me."

      Roger smiled. "Michelle is the one who hates you. I've been learning about Richfield."

      End of Chapter Three.


        Chapter Four.

        During lunch period, Roger sat with his friend Jason Lee, a boy with short black hair, Asian tan skin, and steel grey eyes. Jason's apparent power was to become a huge bronze dragon. The strange part was that neither of his parents had any powers at all.

        Roger said, "Learning these sorcery spells is tougher than the school's homework."

        Jason grinned as he ate a sushi sandwich. "Maybe you want to learn how to use Western Dragon powers instead. I'd much rather learn a spell or do a math test than sit there and try to control my dragon's breath weapon."

        Roger said, "How's your love life, by the way?"

        Jason chuckled. "I'm dating Linda McVann. Nuff said."

        Irene walked up at that point and exclaimed, "I feel sorry for you, Jason. If you need a reprieve, let me know."

        Jason laughed. "She's not that bad! She's about the only one I can accidentally breathe on and she won't turn into a crispy critter!"

        Roger then said, "Word of information, Irene... Kevin is trying to be nice to Arcadia."

        Irene rolled her eyes. "If he screws up, I'll accidentally breathe on him and it won't be fire."

        Jason grinned. "Poisonous chlorine gas, isn't it?"

        Irene grinned back. "Yes, and I can do it without beans."

        About that moment, Karen walked through the cafeteria saying, "Warning, my sister is coming. You've been warned."

        And Michelle walked into the cafeteria. "Very funny, Karen. I'm actually in a good mood today. Who wants to ruin that?"

        Naturally, no one volunteered to ruin Michelle's good mood. Which was always a good thing. In fact, Michelle was being extra good so nothing would ruin her chances of going along with the others on the weekend island getaway trip.

        Just then, Kevin and Arcadia walked into the cafeteria. Kevin was carrying Arcadia's books and trying hard to be extra good, himself. He didn't want to go to the Thursday night dance by himself, and Arcadia was really the only girl he knew that wasn't dating anyone.

        Arcadia said, "You don't have to carry my books, Kevin."

        Kevin replied, "Please go to the dance with me on Thursday night, Arcadia. Please?"

        Michelle asked, "Is he giving you a hard time, Arcadia?"

        Arcadia replied, "Not yet, but if he does, he'll likely get something he doesn't want, or need, up his butt. And I am not talking about a foot."

        Roger grinned. "A hoof, per chance?"

        Arcadia grinned back and winked.

        And the humor was cut short when a woman wearing the garb of an ancient Greek goddess suddenly appeared in the cafeteria with a heralded thunderous boom!

        Arcadia placed her hands on her hips and said toward Michelle, "...but this one might be here to give me a hard time." She then turned to the woman and said, "And who are you supposed to be?"

        The Greek goddess replied, "Gavin was supposed to be teaching you some manners. I am your grand-aunt Aphrodite." She was now looking around her. "Where are we anyway?"

        Arcadia sighed. "Richfield High School. It's the middle of the day. Lunch hour. But I guess being from Greece, you forgot about the time zones."

        Aphrodite said, "Gavin contacted me a few hours ago and told me that you needed the basics on the Awe power. And because only a female can teach it to you, I came right over."

        Irene said, "Arcadia with an Awe power? Why does this make me think that trouble is about to follow this little lesson?"

        Jason grinned. "Because as with gods, dragons have a similar power called the Aura of Fear and we know what such a power can do to the wrong people at the wrong time."

        End of Chapter Four.


          Chapter Five.

          Arcadia then said, "You do know that someone is out to kill me, don't you? And if you happen to know who, I'd really appreciate being told who it was so my friends and I can be a little more ready against the person."

          Aphrodite replied, "Athena and I have a suspicion on who is behind this, and luckily, this time, it isn't Ares. He's actually helping a group in Missouri. No, we suspect that it is Hades. But we don't have any proof of this, yet. Now, when would be a good time for me to teach you the Awe power? Something tells me that now isn't a good time..."

          Arcadia hummed. "After school. Gavin has prearranged a chat session between me and a common squirrel so I can learn the Aninet language. That is also the same time that Gavin and Roger will be doing the teacher/student thing."

          Aphrodite smiled. "Yes, the Aninet language. Very well, I'll catch up with you when you return to talk to Gavin. I'll look forward toward our little educational lesson."

          Fortunately, there were no more divine interruptions that day in school.

          Unfortunately, Kevin insisted on carrying Arcadia's books home for her after school. That probably wouldn't have been so bad, had the rest of the gang not been walking with them.

          Gavin glanced over at the large group of teenagers that were entering the backyard where he and Remus had been preparing for Arcadia's and Roger's lessons. "At least they didn't bring the whole school with them..."

          Roger smiled, coming over and giving Gavin a firm hug. "Hello Gavin. While you're setting Arcadia up, I'll use the time to read over some of these spells you'll be testing me on."

          Gavin smiled back. "Thank you, Roger. Your patience is greatly appreciated at this time."

          Remus walked over to Arcadia and the others. "Attention. Attention please. As much as I appreciate your enthusiasm in lending Arcadia support, many of you need to return to your families before something very bad happens to you that we may not be able to prevent." He took Arcadia by the arm. "You come with me. Gavin has been awaiting you all afternoon."

          Kevin lowered his head and sighed. "I'll never get a date for the dance."

          Michelle glanced over at Kevin and did something that no one would ever expect her to do... she patted Kevin's shoulder and said, "Maybe Arcadia will go with you, but you know... if you didn't act like such a big snob most of the time, I'd bet a lot of girls would love to go with you."

          Kevin flinched when Michelle touched him. "You're just looking for a reason to beat the Hell out of me, aren't you?"

          Michelle grinned. "I could have done that in school, but Irene had first dibs."

          Irene chuckled, "You're jealous because I spoke up first."

          Gavin cleared his throat loudly.

          The teenagers shut up immediately.

          Gavin started to shake his head, but he simply dismissed that the others were even there, as he turned his attention to Arcadia and introduced her to the designated squirrel. "Mrs. Squirrel? This is Arcadia. Arcadia? This is Mrs. Squirrel. The two of you will chat for the next hour... well actually, Mrs. Squirrel will be doing most of the chatting, so you can learn the language."

          With Arcadia out of the way, Gavin turned his attention over to Roger, who did not look bored for a change. Apparently, to Roger, just getting to spend time with Gavin was the most exciting thing in the world. Gavin approached Roger and said, "Now that I have Arcadia and Mrs. Squirrel in chat, the two of us can go around to your backyard and commence our lessons."

          That night, Roger and Gavin were sitting together on a grassy hilltop just outside of town watching the stars in the sky. The afternoon had been one of the longest ever. The student/teacher thing went beautifully. Though when Aphrodite showed up to teach Arcadia the awe power, the boys' eyes about popped out of their heads... because Aphrodite had shown up naked.

          Now, the two sat under the stars enjoying what the night had brought them. Gavin smiled as he patted Roger's shoulders. "You did really good on your lessons this afternoon, Roger. I'm very proud of you. But on the other side of the coin, I am worried about Arcadia. She seems so distracted." Roger replied, "Kevin McVann has been trying to get Arcadia to agree to go to the school dance with him. He's normally pretty snobby, but lately... he's literally bent over backwards to help Arcadia in any way possible just so she'll say yes to his offer. He's really in a bad way. None of the local girls want to be his date for the dance."

          Gavin hummed, mulling this over. "I see. That would account for her distraction. She was just barely able to learn the Aninet language of the animal kingdom. But she learned it, fortunately." Roger nodded his head. "I can understand the difficulties of learning something new if you're not used to it. You surprised me with that question about droplets. If I hadn't been casually reading ahead in the spell book, you would have stumped me for sure."

          End of Chapter Five.


            Chapter Six.

            Gavin chuckled a little, then hummed again. "When is this high school dance thing?"

            Roger replied, "It's tomorrow night at 6 P.M. sharp."

            Gavin smiled. "Thursday night. Very well, we'll give Arcadia all of tomorrow off from her special studies so she can dance with Kevin. But on Friday, it's business as usual. Hermes wants to teach Arcadia a simple transportation power. And she'll need to be a little relaxed for that."

            Roger hummed himself a little. "Um, Gavin... do you... like me? Am I, er, was I... a pest?"

            Gavin smiled, as he pulled Roger close to his side and petted him gently. "I tried to make you go away, at first, if you'll recall, with the moon letters book. But as I got to know you, and after speaking with Lord Skerrit, I have grown to like you very much, Roger. Please don't think that you're a pest anymore. If anything, you're my pest. And you're doing very well in your lessons, too. You improve yourself day after day and your patience grows as time goes by as well."

            Roger smiled, rubbing on Gavin's horse body slowly. "I'm actually afraid of meeting your parents this weekend. What if your mom doesn't like me? What if she changes me into a pig?"

            Gavin laughed. "What is with humans these days? Why does everyone think that my mom changes men into pigs? I've seen her do donkeys and foxes, but the pig thing was before the time of Christ. I wasn't even born yet when she stopped doing pigs."

            Thursday in school, Arcadia was glad that she was getting a day off from the divine lessons. But now that she had the Aninet language and the ability to Awe boys, she felt rather nice in being able to have a quiet dinner all to herself.

            "May I sit at your table, Arcadia?" It was Kevin, obviously. He still didn't have a dance partner for the school dance.

            Arcadia sighed. "Sit down, Kevin. We need to talk."

            Kevin slowly sat down with his lunch tray. He was actually afraid because he knew Michelle was watching from afar.

            Arcadia patted Kevin on shoulder and said, "I have permission to dance with you tonight, Kevin. But I was told to tell you that if you messed up my one night off from my divine lessons, Uncle Remus would see to it that you joined Loki in his imprisonment. And I don't think he was joking around. He wasn't smiling when he said that. So do you think you can leave me alone for the rest of the school day and be a gentleman tonight at the school dance?"

            Kevin managed a small smile. "I'll try, Arcadia. What time should I pick you up at your home?"

            Arcadia hummed. "Six thirty P.M. And I think you should know... Hades is trying to get me killed. I actually figured that it would have been Hera. Go figure."

            Kevin smiled. "If he tries it tonight, he'll find out just why this area is called Richfield. Thank you for saying yes, Arcadia."

            At another table, Michelle turned to look at Karen. "Imagine that... I won't have to kill him. I guess he actually listened to my advice yesterday."

            Karen grinned. "Too bad you can't follow your own advice, right?"

            There came a few snickers and chuckles from the nearest tables.

            Jason whispered to Roger, "Um, do you think you can cast a spell for me, Roger?"

            Roger quietly replied, "What do you need done?"

            Jason asked, "I need a Freshen spell cast on my backpack. I spilled some chemicals in there and now it reeks."

            Roger giggled. "Magic is no substitute for the commercial disinfectant that would do the same job and maybe better. Besides, my Freshen spell would wear off in an hour and then there you'd be. Do you still want it cast?"

            Jason nodded his head sheepishly. "Please. It's rather foul and I don't have the money for the disinfectant."

            At Irene's table, she was reading a book quietly when Linda McVann sat at her table and said, "I know you don't like me much, Irene, but I have something to bring to your attention, in a reporter to editor sort of way."

            Irene glanced aside at Linda. "What?"

            Linda then pulled out some papers and photos and showed them to Irene.

            End of Chapter Six.


              Chapter Seven.

              "I took these last night outside of Richfield," said Linda. "I thought it would be important if you saw them as soon as possible."

              Irene looked at the pictures, then whispered to Linda, "This time you did the right thing. That's Hades all right. He's been trying to kill Arcadia."

              Linda looked rather pale. It was obvious that she didn't know that.

              Irene glanced at Linda. "Kevin hasn't told you, has he? I was sure he would have mentioned it by now."

              Linda said, "I try not to dwell in Kevin's business, Irene. I really had no idea that anyone was trying to kill Arcadia."

              Irene said, "Now you know. Hades is trying to kill her because she is Artemis' granddaughter, which literally makes Arcadia a potential Greek goddess. And Roger has been learning to be a sorcerer, too."

              Linda hummed. "What can I do to help, Irene?"

              Irene thought about it for a bit. "Well, you already helped a lot by showing me these pictures. Hades being this close must mean that his losing an assassin did not rest well with him. Roger is the one who saved Arcadia's life the last time. Before him, Michelle saved her life by shooting the poisoned arrow. I will have to tell Gavin and Remus about this as soon as possible."

              Linda sighed. "Unlike Kevin, I don't wish to be a nuisance to Arcadia. If there is anything I can do to help you guys out with this problem, please let me know immediately."

              The rest of the school day went by without incident. The calm before the storm, you might say.

              Roger, Irene, and Linda met up with Gavin after school, while Remus made sure Arcadia had the time to clean up and make herself look pretty for the school dance that was to occur later that night.

              Gavin looked over the pictures that Linda had taken and nodded his head. "Oh yes, that is Hades. No doubt about it."

              Irene said, "What should we do, Gavin? Arcadia is to be with Kevin tonight at the school dance. And Michelle is going along as a distant chaperon to make sure Arcadia will be okay and to make damned sure that Kevin doesn't mess up."

              Roger grinned. "Could we have Jason accidentally breathe on him, maybe?"

              Everyone laughed a little. Then Gavin got serious. "I seriously don't think that would work. To fight a god, you need a god, unfortunately."

              Roger hummed. "Didn't you tell me that Ares was with Anhur in Missouri? Why don't we contact Anubis and Hel to come confront Hades and make him go away if he knows what's good for him?"

              Linda giggled. "Hel is sexy, but I've heard that Anubis is no slacker below the belt."

              Irene rolled her eyes. "As distasteful as this topic is getting, Roger has a good idea, Gavin."

              Gavin nodded his head. "I agree. We'll try to contact both Anubis and Hel."

              Kevin arrived on time, surprisingly, with Michelle playing chaperon, as she promised, and the three headed off for the school where the dance awaited them. Kevin was being almost a different person after they arrived at the dance. Michelle was actually surprised that Kevin could act so nice.

              "There is no way that is Kevin," muttered Michelle, as she watched Kevin dance with Arcadia.

              Karen smiled and whispered to her sister, "Will wonders never cease... I think you're jealous that someone is dancing with your boyfriend." Then she moved away quickly and just in time, as Michelle nearly hit her with a fist.

              Inside, however, Michelle was upset with herself. No boy in Richfield wanted to be her boyfriend. She didn't want to die an old maid, as the saying went. But there were no new boys in Richfield, at all.

              Karen and Roger made a pretty couple on the dance floor. The calm before the storm and the sorcerer in training.

              Jason was with Linda. Not the most perfect match, but as Jason often said... Linda was about the only one he could accidentally breathe on and it wouldn't kill her.

              No one dared to ask Irene for a dance. Every time a boy even looked her way, they got a very scary feeling.

              End of Chapter Seven.


                Chapter Eight.

                Probably the scariest part of the dance was the fact that Mr. Richards was manning the punch bowl. It was almost as if he suspected that Hades would try something that night. Normally on a Thursday night, Mr. Richards would have been at home.

                Just as the fifth dance was ending, the school auditorium doors suddenly burst open with a thunderous boom, as two balrogs with black bow ties around their necks stepped into the area and stepped off to each side. And that is when Hades himself walked into the auditorium wearing a black tuxedo with a top hat, a cane, and black gloves.

                Everyone stared in shock at the arrivals.

                Then 'Arcadia' stepped out to the center of the dance floor looking directly at Hades. "Dance number six, is it? I thought you might arrive when the fifth dance ended. I've been expecting you, actually. You don't look like you're here to fight, so perhaps you might fancy a dance with me... perhaps at the same time you are discussing a deal with me. Am I wrong?"

                Hades did not smile as he slowly stepped out to the center of the dance floor to face 'Arcadia'. "You are not Artemis' granddaughter. Where is the real Arcadia... Diana?"

                The real Arcadia then stepped out from behind Mr. Richards. "I'm over here, Hades. I was cleaning up a drink I spilled just before you entered. And just who is Diana and where did she come from?"

                Hades grinned. "Diana is your real mother. She was married to King Actaeon on the hidden Island of Zoe."

                Diana growled, "You will NOT have my daughter, Hades! Begone to the underworld with you!"

                Hades and Diana were beginning their face off... well, they started to, until Mr. Richards, Remus, and Mr. Dragon all approached the two of them. Mr. Richards firmly exclaimed, "If you two want to fight, take it out to the football field. But I will NOT allow you ignorant gods to destroy this high school building."

                Hades nodded his head. "I came to talk to Arcadia. Not to kill her." (This time.) "However, if Diana wants to battle, we can do that." He glanced over his shoulder at the two balrogs. "I did promise them both a tussle. We can do this however you people like. Either I get to speak with Arcadia tonight or come the morrow, this town will see a full scale attack from the underworld. I am a Greater God, unless most of you have forgotten. I can back up my threats."

                Diana then slapped Hades' face, HARD! "I'll fight your brutes, gladly!"

                Kevin whispered to Arcadia, "This is what you're having to deal with daily?"

                Arcadia whispered back, "Yes. And you wanted in on this mess for one night. Are you sorry?"

                Kevin smiled a little. "Not in the slightest. You're my date for the night. Hades just has to get his own date."

                Arcadia chuckled. "Hades is married, if I remember my Mythology correctly. I wonder what his wife would say if she found out that her husband was trying to dance with a young flit of a teen aged girl?"

                Hades growled, "That is NOT funny, Arcadia! She can be worse than Hera on P.M.S.!"

                And that was when Gavin and his visitor arrived on the scene with a heralded explosion of dark smoke. "As I told you, Amon Anubis! Lord Hades walks the Earth, exactly as I said!"

                The Egyptian guardian god of the dead, Amon Anubis, slowly walked across the dance floor and stood in front of Hades. "You have overstepped your bounds, Hades. You are the god of the underworld and where we are does NOT appear to be underground."

                Hades then turned on Anubis, clearly NOT afraid of him. "This is a special occasion, Anubis. Besides... you are the guardian of the dead and I clearly cannot see anyone here who is dead." He smirked sarcastically.

                Anubis remarked, "I know your wife's telephone number. Go home and be with her or I will call her myself. You are making me miss a good pot of Anhur's coffee."

                Arcadia then said, "Hades, just speak your message to me and then you can go home. This is my one night off from having to learn all of this stupid and insane god stuff and you are interrupting that."

                Michelle then butted in, saying, "Otherwise, he can stay and be MY dance date. No other boy wants to dance with me. Irene, get the camera ready!" She winked with a grin.

                Hades made a horrible face at Michelle. "Tarterus No! I know ALL about YOU!" He then looked to Arcadia. "This will be your only warning, Arcadia. Stay out of the Mediterranean if you value your life. If you go there this weekend, I will redouble my attacks on you. And not even that old cow, Circe, can stop me from doing that. It is your choice." He then turned and walked back past the power houses, as he nodded to his balrog friends, whispering, "Destroy this place and kill Arcadia." Then he departed out the door into the night, vanishing very quickly.

                End of Chapter Eight.


                  Chapter Nine.

                  Jason exclaimed, "Gotta love dragon hearing! Hades commanded those two to destroy this place and kill Arcadia!"

                  And the two balrogs then tore off their bow ties and grew a good two feet in size larger as they began their approach.

                  Arcadia and her friends were assisting the teenagers in their escape from the school, while Mr. Richards, Remus, Mr. Dragon, Anubis, Diana, and Gavin all prepared to do battle with the balrogs.

                  Outside, Arcadia, Irene, and Jason gathered all of the normal non-powered students together who had previously not known what was going down in Richfield and through the use of the Awe Power and the Aura of Fear combined, the norms were made to forget what had taken place after the fifth dance.

                  Then a signal was sent to Remus, mentally, that the deed was done and with that, all of those who were to be in the fight were transported elsewhere, balrogs and all.

                  The students then re-entered the school and resumed their dance. The norms were simply told that everyone had come outside to get some fresh air. The rest of the night passed without incident. It had been a very close call.

                  The next morning was Friday and things for Arcadia were about back to normal. Her studies as a Greek goddess had resumed and Kevin was no longer bothering her, fortunately. Instead, he seemed to be fawning all over Michelle. That was fine by Arcadia. She knew Michelle could control Kevin and that was that.

                  Roger met with Arcadia out front of Remus' estate and the two set off for school on foot. While it was true that they could have rode in Uncle Remus' car, the old wolf had actually slept in. So the two were having a quiet little jaunt to school.

                  "Did you sleep well, Arcadia?" asked Roger as they walked.

                  Arcadia smiled. "Yes. Better than I have in a long time, in fact. I am actually looking forward toward seeing Hermes today. His transportation lesson should be a lot of fun. What about yourself, Roger? How are you holding up with Gavin?"

                  Roger sighed. "I think I have a problem, Arcadia. You know me, right? I'm a... straight and simple guy, right?"

                  Arcadia had no clue as to what Roger was actually hinting about. "Of course you are, Roger. I mean, you're nothing like the McVanns, thankfully. If you were, Michelle would likely have beat the Hell out of you. Besides, you and Karen make a cute couple. What's on your mind, anyway?"

                  Roger looked at Arcadia in a funny way, then glanced back ahead of himself. (She totally missed the point. I knew I couldn't talk to a girl about this. Who can I turn to without embarrassing myself to death?)

                  Arcadia sensed something was really wrong because she could see Roger's aura flickering and changing colors. So she stopped walking and caught Roger's arm. "Roger... in case you forgot, I can see auras now. You're really nervous and scared about something. Come on... you can tell me. We're friends. Just lay it on me. I can handle it."

                  Roger was in a near panic. A panic. A pan-... Now he knew who he could talk to. "Arcadia? I somehow need to go find Pan and talk to him without Gavin knowing about it. Do you think you can somehow help me with your upcoming transportation power? I haven't learned teleport yet. Gavin keeps saying that I am not skilled enough to learn it yet."

                  Arcadia hummed. "I'll see what I can do, Roger. But whatever it is that you feel you can't talk to me about must be bad."

                  Roger sighed again. "It is. If you can distract Gavin this afternoon long enough for me to talk to Hermes, that will help."

                  That afternoon was like most afternoons. Arcadia and Roger were walking along towards Roger's house and the whole gang were walking along behind them. Irene, Jason, Michelle, Karen, Linda, and Kevin. The only thing that was different this time was that each of the teenagers were carrying a single suitcase, except for Irene and Jason who didn't need suitcases being dragons with special hiding places.

                  Remus, Hermes, Anubis, and Gavin were awaiting them in Roger's backyard. Arcadia did as Roger asked and walked directly over to Gavin to play the distraction, while Roger approached Hermes, pulling him gently to one side for a private request not meant for every ear.

                  Roger whispered to Hermes, "Could you arrange it so I can meet with Pan this weekend while we are all visiting Circe's Island and so I don't cause Gavin to lose his powers if I am not back in time for my daily lesson? And please... don't tell Gavin I am requesting this. I need to talk to Pan in private and its urgent."

                  Hermes petted Roger on the head, whispering in return, "In addition to the god of speed and thieves, many believe me to also be the god of secrets. As you might not know, Pan is my son through my drunken union with a nanny goat. Therefore, I will get word to my son and you can rest assured, Gavin will not learn of this. And I can arrange it so you don't cause Gavin to lose his powers. You show great foresight for preparing to deal with my son. You would likely miss a session with Gavin during your meeting with that lusty satyr."

                  Roger smiled. "Thank you, Hermes. I'll repay you for this some day." Hermes hummed. "You should be careful who you pledge debts to, Roger. I will not abuse what you are offering, but there are those who gladly would. So do be careful." Roger irked and nodded his head. He felt that he had learned a super valuable lesson just then.

                  End of Chapter Nine.


                    Chapter Ten.

                    At that point, Roger and Arcadia switched places and Hermes began to educate her on the simple transportation power. A power that would grow in strength and in range as Arcadia developed herself.

                    Gavin took Roger around the building and just out of sight of the others. "Your lesson today, Roger, is and isn't about magic. My mother wants you on the island right now rather than our waiting for Arcadia to finish her lesson with Hermes. Therefore, I am going to send you there right now. I will personally be along later on this evening. Anyway, your lesson for today is this... when you get to the island, find and talk to an otter, a rat, and a donkey, in that order. You will not have to use magic to speak to them because they are transformed victims. Find them and talk to them. That is your assignment for today, Roger. I will see you later."

                    And with that, Gavin cast his spell on Roger and sent him from Richfield, Virginia, to the Aegean Sea's mythical hidden islands where Circe the Sorceress dwelt with Ren of the Northern Herd, and an assortment of other beings, which included former human victims and a door marked: To Circe's Carnival.

                    It had been 4 P.M. back in Richfield, but there on Circe's island in the Mediterranean, it was a seven hour difference. It was clearly night on the island, roughly 11 P.M. Roger looked around for a moment, then said, "Great... Gavin's arrival location seems to be in the middle of nowhere on this island. Well, I better get busy if I am to find the otter, rat, and donkey victims to talk to. But I keep wondering what kind of lesson this is?" And Roger then set off to try and find the three victims turned animals.

                    In Roger's backyard, however, Arcadia was apparently rested more than enough, for she aced Hermes' simple transportation power and then some. She teleported off somewhere and when she returned, she had real Italian pizza for everyone. It was only at that time did she notice that Roger was no longer present. "Um, Gavin? Where did you send Roger off to?"

                    Gavin swished his centaur tail with a smile. "My mom wanted to see him early, so I sent him to mom's island. He'll be fine. Remember, everyone... there is a seven hour difference between here and there."

                    Karen cleared her throat. "Gavin. It's almost 7 P.M. right now in Richfield. That would make it 2 A.M. on your mom's island. Are you sure it's O.K. for Roger to be there unsupervised?"

                    Gavin nodded his head at Karen. "He'll be fine. He's been excelling in all of his lessons and is actually a chapter ahead in my classes with him. I am quite pleased with his progress. I trust him to behave on my mom's island. And because I trust him, and because my mom and dad are not likely to be awake until 6-7 A.M., we will time our departure here for arriving there just after they might be awake. Waking them up right now would not be wise for non-Sorcerers."

                    Michelle said, "So you're planning on our leaving at 11 P.M. to Midnight, Richfield time?"

                    Irene added, "Michelle has a point, Gavin. We thought your mom wanted to meet with us immediately, what with the way you spoke about the situation. What do you suggest we do for the next four hours?"

                    Gavin grinned. "Head over to Remus' estate and take a short nap, of course. I know a lot of you are anxious to make the trip, but as you know from the last time I transported a large group, it takes a lot of energy and a well rested centaur to be able to cast the spell properly. And you, Irene, should fully well know what I am talking about. Arvandor, remember?"

                    Irene nodded her head. "He's right. We need to rest before making that kind of jump to the Mediterranean. So we'll move our little party over to Remus' estate for now. Anyone not coming with us to Circe's Island should simply go home now. With Hades mad at us, you can be sure he is watching for Arcadia's arrival there."

                    Jason said, "I think we sort of humiliated him at the school dance. But why aren't you worried about Hades noticing whether Roger arrives over there or not?"

                    Gavin replied, "He's not a girl."

                    Everyone laughed out loud.

                    Soon the group was over at Uncle Remus' estate having a dinner with the Elder host. Remus said, "While it pleases me to have dining company in my home, just remember that I am an ancient Norse wolf. My sole concern is Arcadia."

                    Arcadia blushed. "Do you have to continue saying that, Remus? A potential Greek goddess isn't a potential Norse goddess, you know... I am just Arcadia Zoe. No big deal." She smiled.

                    Kevin then said, "I am sort of worried about Roger being off all by himself tonight. I know I don't get along with most of you in school. But Roger is a nice person and I personally would hate it if he got hurt by something Gavin thinks is safe."

                    Remus said, "I am sure Gavin knows what he is doing." He glanced at the centaur. "And it looks like he is asleep." Irene giggled. "I had forgotten that horses sleep standing up." Michelle shushed at Irene. "Horses and centaurs are completely different, Irene." She grinned. "Horses are cleaner." Irene grinned back at Michelle. "It is not my place to say. But I have heard that centaurs are light sleepers... when they aren't simply playing possum, that is." She winked.

                    At that moment, Gavin spoke without opening his eyes. "Meditation is not sleeping, my friends. I would suggest you try to get in some rest. I promise not to leave any of you behind when we go to head to my mom's island. As for the cleanliness of centaurs... unless you have lived with a centaur, then don't be making statements you cannot support."

                    Michelle gulped, blushing.

                    End of Chapter Ten.
                    End of Episode Two.

                    Stay tuned for the next episode, Hazardous Panic.