Chapter 4: (this is a long one)
Switching to Alia’s POV: the giantess is back, all built like she sells fitness gear on late night tv or something.
She tries to focus, but it’s all still kinda fuzzy. Why no rescue teams, no EMT, no police? What’s going on here? Sorry, the giantess replies, everyone’s dead; you’re the only one who made it. Can you contact help? Nope; this place is pretty… isolated- it’s just us. Who’s us?- this some hippie commune? Kinda.
Listen, could the explosion have been deliberate? Uhhh… maybe? (darn it- I was wondering that myself! Jason’s gonna kill me!) See, my family’s kind of a big deal and not everybody likes us. We’re Keralis- you know, the Keralis Foundation, Keralis Labs, Keralis Soaps…
Ok, whatever. (Wait- she doesn’t know who I am? Weird.) So why do so many hate you- how many people have your parents killed? Wtf?- we do research, science! People get funny ideas about some of the work we do… I should’ve stayed in New York. So why’d you leave? Because I just wanted to get away for a little bit, do a scholarship, and I even lied to Jason- my older brother- he’s soooo overprotective. See, I told him I was going with my BFF Nim to her parent’s place in Istanbul, ditched the bodyguards at the airport and didn’t say anything to him until I was on the boat. He was so mad- he FORBADE me from going, and I hung up on him.
Pffft- Men! They’re always trying to control everything… so I hear. See, my mom’s the same way- around here, I’m the weakling… don’t ask. You were right to stand up for yourself- grrl powah! Ya gotta live your life! Yeah, but maybe everybody else would still be alive. Shut up, mortal- I’m pontificating, don’t interrupt! Live your dream, pursue your goal, chase the rainbow… you know any others? No? Ok, we’re done for now. Let’s get moving. Wait, I thought you said I couldn’t… nevermind, giantess. What’s the plan? You have to trust me but first, swear not to tell anyone what you’re gonna see here. Uhh, sure- I swear on my brother, my friend and my shot at Ivy League. Mortals… I just know I’m gonna regret this.
Giantess hoists Alia onto her back and scales the cliffside. So, you’re the weakling, eh? Look who’s talking- you’re so light, you must be calcium deficient. And flabby. Well, I prefer to exercise my mind. Whatever, yo.
Maybe we should wait for a ship? Nobody’s gonna find you here, trust me. What- like the Bermuda Triangle? Kinda. Not even Google knows about this place? Google- is that a god? (What the heck have I gotten myself into???)
Listen, folks come to this island because they don’t want to be found. And they don’t like outsiders. What are they- a militia? Not a bad guess. Great- a brown girl from NY stuck on an island full of survival nuts. Where are we going? Need to take you to Therapne, off the southern coast of Greece. Wait- we were in Istanbul just the other day…??? (Ok, the girl giant is crazy; I’ll play along as long as I have to.)
So why we going to South Greece? Because you’re haptandra- Warbringer. Sorry- never played that game. *rim shot* The Oracle said to take you there to bathe in the springs at Therapne, near Helen of Troy’s tomb before the first day of Hekatombaion to cleanse you of being the Warbringer. Then you’ll be free.
Alia gets her first look at the main city, all glowing stone and everyone looking like they just came from Renfaire. They make their way to the Armory, natch, and after some lame jokes they get inside and after looking around at all the stuff Alia notices that none of the armor is designed for men. Wait- where, exactly, are we? Some feminist cult? You guys all lesbians? No! Really, it’s cool; my BFF Nim is gay… or bi… or trying to figure it out. Well, around here we like what we like- or don’t. Why no men? Long story. And how were you born here? Longer story.
The giantess opens a case and grabs a crown with a big ruby, a Heartstone- it acts sort of like a compass. There’s other stuff in there recognizable as WW paraphernalia- an unstrung bow, a quiver, a coil of golden rope, a golden belt set and a pair of wide metal cuffs that suddenly flow like mercury and attach themselves to the giantess’ wrists! Wtf?!? (I have a concussion, no- I’m in a coma! That’s it- I’m in a coma in a hospital somewhere! This can’t be real!) Giantess thinks maybe it’s a sign she’s doing the right thing and takes the rest of the stuff, too.
Well, as long as you’re taking those how ‘bout some weapons? Nah, that’d be stealing. So what’s this? These are my birthright. More tremors, so they head outside and into the woods. Alia notices the topography doesn’t make sense- they just went from a dense forest to fields of grass- but what does in a hallucination? The island is like that, full of gifts- just listen to it for a bit. All I hear is… horses? Yep; the Phantom Herd!
Giantess makes a lasso, tosses it and when it lands a horse magically appears inside it! Ok, when a rider is on one of these it makes them invisible, too. So how can we see it now? The lasso shows the truth. Giantess plucks a few strands from the horse’s mane, saying they’re gonna need them, then let the horse free.
The island’s still poisoning Alia so she can’t move as fast as Di, and she doesn’t want to be carried again, so they agree to split up and meet on the beach. Once there, Alia watches Di swimming back to shore dragging something behind her with the rope… it’s the BOAT!!! Diana dragged the wreck up from the sea! And she’s the weakling! *Yeah, doesn’t make sense to me, either*
Oddly, Alia is more shook by the condition of the boat, which drives things home for her about being hunted for what she is. So many people out to get her and her family. Some still think the car crash that killed her parents was a hit. She can still remember being in the back seat with Jason, the crash, waking up in the hospital and still smelling the burnt rubber. Jason with his cheek stitched up, their godfather Michael showing up with his son Theo… Looking at the wreck gave her the same feeling.
Giantess starts dismantling the boat like it’s a lobster dinner, saying they need a craft to get past the boundary… er, the open sea… so they need a raft. Suddenly Diana doubles over in pain- it’s Maeve! They have to hurry. 75 pages.
A very unimpressive chapter that took way too long and full of mumbo-jumbo.