MUSE WARRIOR - Chapter 33

I jolted awake, the hourglass pendant clenched in my hand. Now I knew why the gypsy gave it to me. My hourglass was synchronized with the Sibyl’s.

There was a small handful of sand left. A small handful of time left before time ran out.

Before the Sibyl killed my brother.

If your sister brings the Oracles to me, you may live…If not, you will fulfill your prophecy in death…

Whether I had the Oracles or not, I had to get to Cuma…

MUSE WARRIOR - Chapter 32

An imposing figure in a black robe stood with arms crossed in the Sibyl’s torch-lit cave. A hood obscured his face as he guarded her hourglass with its swift, constant stream of sand. Somewhere in the darkness were the sounds of clanking chains and scuffling feet.

In the very center of the temple, a glass jar hung from the high ceiling on a thick chain.

“It is time!” the Sibyl hissed…

MUSE WARRIOR - Chapter 31

In the amber firelight, my forearm gleamed with the Mark. It was so exquisite and refined with its gentle, looping lines, I almost forgot its true purpose. Beautiful as it was, the Mark was a reminder that Apollo had cursed me to be the Muse Warrior, the one who would use the Oracles to defeat the Sibyl and save Olympus. He had sacrificed me long before I was born. Apollo had marked me to die.

MUSE WARRIOR - Chapter 29

That night, I tried not to overthink Bax’s reaction. On one hand, he was right. It was a lot to process. I couldn’t take it personally.

But I didn’t have the luxury of time. I couldn’t wait for Bax to decide whether or not he believed I was a Muse. I had no choice but to believe in the unbelievable, or risk losing Troy forever.

And if Bax didn’t believe me, I’d have to move forward alone.

MUSE WARRIOR - Chapter 28

The Sibyl’s threat rang in my ears the rest of the school day, overpowering everything else. I didn’t hear Daria’s lunchtime chatter and couldn’t recall Nyx’s pettiness on the volleyball court. As I left practice to meet Bax at the front gate, the Sibyl’s words continued to torment me.

I will send everything you love to the Underworld!

MUSE WARRIOR - Chapter 27

That night, my dreams were a jumble of nightmares.

Troy stood behind a wavering hologram of the words of my destiny, flanked by faceless attackers in black robes.

“Read it or they’ll kill me!” he shouted.

MUSE WARRIOR - Chapter 26

Ding!

I squeezed my eyes tighter, waiting for Mercury to grab me, for the weight of my punishment.

“Eden!”

The voice wasn’t as deep and gravelly as Mercury’s, but still I shivered as I opened one eye, shoulders lifted in fear.

MUSE WARRIOR - Chapter 25

In my room, I shoved my homework to the side and stared at the wall.

Calliope’s earrings twitched. Get Notebook 19.

My grandma’s “gift” was starting to feel like a curse. Why had I been condemned to obey the wishes of some ancient jewelry?

MUSE WARRIOR - Chapter 24

I don’t remember how long I stood in front of the faded vision, grasping for my mother’s soul, or how I stopped crying. Eventually, Mercury landed the bus with a bump in front of Franco’s produce stand and reversed the calming spell with a wave of his hand. The other students woke as though from a long nap and lazily gathered their things.

I looked back at the messenger of the Gods. With a humble tip of his driver’s cap, Mercury said, It is your destiny, Eden, not your burden. ..

MUSE WARRIOR - Chapter 23

As the bus soared in and out of clouds on its magic autopilot, Mercury gathered a ball of gold dust in his hands, just as my grandmother had done, and released it into the air.

A vision appeared between us…

MUSE WARRIOR - Chapter 22

My heart was still pounding as I entered the gym and expected a major backlash from Nyx. The team was in the middle of warm-ups and everyone looked up when I jogged to the back. Nyx and I made eye contact, but her ice queen glare held no hint of our locker room confrontation or of the arrow she’d barely missed. Somehow, that made me even angrier. For a split second, I wished that my arrow, gold dust or not, had pierced her heart…

MUSE WARRIOR - Chapter 21

Right before school let out, I stood beside my school locker, still shaking. I had five minutes to get to volleyball practice, but I felt paralyzed. The only thing I should have been worrying about was finding my brother, and even I knew it would be a longshot using coordinates scratched onto a leaf. But instead, I was wondering how to tell my dad I was the number one suspect for stealing an ancient artifact.

MUSE WARRIOR - Chapter 20

Students were already clustered on lunch benches in the MPR, chattering nervously. Miss DiPaola and Dr. Williams stood onstage with Principal Fitzpatrick, a couple of naval officers and Italian officials in dark suits. Captain Baxter stood at the very front, casting a stern eye over each of us as we entered.

Two tables were set up in front of the stage, supervised by two grim-faced servicemembers in khaki uniforms. On the floor in front of each table was a machine that looked like a scale, with a cord connected to a laptop. The clerks sat behind efficiently-stacked white paper, pens and ink pads.

Across the room, Shawna sat with a group of juniors from Troy’s history class. She locked her big eyes on me and mouthed, “What happened?”

MUSE WARRIOR - Chapter 19

The cafeteria was packed, but I couldn’t think clearly after my run-in with Nyx. Every squeaky step of her red leather shoes was an irritating reminder of her smug face. Why was she so hell-bent on making my life miserable?

Find Bax, my earrings pleaded…

MUSE WARRIOR - Chapter 18

By the time Monday morning rolled around, I was hardly enthusiastic about going back to school, but there was no reason to stay home. My grandmother had stayed in her room all weekend with her mysterious silence, avoiding my questions. Meanwhile, my dad was a shadow, walking around the house with his phone attached to his ear, muttering, “How can a six-foot-tall kid just vanish?”

MUSE WARRIOR - Chapter 17

Unable to sleep but equally unable to wake up, I tossed and turned in a purgatory of dreams. The black robes swarmed my brother and pulled Troy into the fiery pit, then Calliope and Apollo flirted without consequence, and on and on, in a maddening loop. The firefly’s taunts buzzed around my head like a soundtrack, and each dream was rounded by more restless slumber.

MUSE WARRIOR - Chapter 16

I closed the curtains and switched on Troy’s lamp. Several old books lay scattered across the desk, their spines flattened so they remained open, their covers overlapping. A small black notebook, a pencil wedged inside its pages, rested on the right side of the desk.

For most people, this might not even register as odd.

MUSE WARRIOR - Chapter 15

I peered through the back window at the entrance to the Pozzuoli amphitheater. The school bus was gone, replaced by navy blue polizia sedans, red-striped carabinieri cruisers and camouflaged Humvees. Armed military guards were positioned evenly around the property, rifles in hand. A helicopter circled overhead, casting shadows over the limbless statues and decrepit arches of the coliseum.

Cruel reality seeped in:

They’re looking for Troy.

MUSE WARRIOR - Chapter 14

The Whim knocked the wind from Cleo’s lungs. She staggered backward, onto the bed where her suitcase lay open, strewn with clothes. Her heartbeat throbbed in her ears as she watched its golden words explode from her forehead into the morning sunlight:

The child has been taken.