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Chapter 5 Titus Perical



 

Six or seven horses were near the trees outside the cave. Hercules and lolaus jumped on to the backs of two of them, then they hit the others, and the animals ran away into the trees.

Some of the rebels tried to catch their horses, but the others
watched Hercules and his friend get away.

'Great!' laughed Iolaus.

'I thought you had a plan,' said Hercules.

'That was the plan,' said Iolaus.

'"Run!" was the plan?'

'It worked,' said Iolaus, and laughed. 'Come on, Hercules. There are only two hours before it gets dark, and those women are waiting for us in Themon!'

They had to find the council offices and meet with Councillor Titus.

'We don't want these horses now,' said Hercules. 'Let's give them to somebody.'

He saw a young man working with some horses in a building near the road, and he went across. The young man came out, and Hercules got off his horse.

'You can have my horse,' Hercules told him.

The young man's mouth fell open.'You ... I ...?'

'You can have him, yes,' said Hercules.

Iolaus gave the young man his horse. 'My horse, too. Tell me, how do we get to the council offices?'

The young man said something about turning right and then left, then asked suddenly, 'Are you ... Hercules?'

'You see?' Iolaus said to his friend. 'You're famous.'

'Are you going to choose the Summer Queen?' asked the young man.

'Yes,' said Iolaus. 'Now we must —'

'You're going to kill her!' the young man said angrily. And he started to hit Iolaus.

Hercules pulled him off and sat him on the floor. 'Who are you? Why did you do that?' he asked.

'My name is Holix,' said the young man. 'I'm in love with a young woman and you're going to kill her.'

Hercules and Iolaus listened to Holix's story, then walked through the streets to the council offices. It was nearly dark, but they saw ten men outside the building.

'The men of the council,' said Iolaus.

Hercules said nothing. After hearing Holix's story, he thought, 'Hera's going to do something bad to me at the Themon festival. What? Does she want me to try to help Holix's girlfriend, and then kill me? But how?'

One of the councillors turned and spoke to them. 'What do you want?' he said.

'I'm Iolaus,' said Iolaus,'your festival judge.'

Titus Perical came to meet them. 'You're late.'

'We had ... problems with some rebels,' said Iolaus.

The councillors laughed, and Titus said, 'They try to be difficult, but I don't think they are dangerous.' He began to tell | them about the festival. 'You must sit with the council for dinner tomorrow evening, and then judge the young women later. Tonight you'll stay at the White Horse Hotel, but be careful, Hercules. Those rebels will know that you're in town. I don't want anything to happen to you or your friend.'



Hercules and Iolaus walked to the White Horse Hotel. When they were outside, Hercules said, 'You go on in. I must see somebody.'

Iolaus looked at his friend. 'Are you going to see Hera?'

'No, not Hera,' said Hercules. He walked down the road to the sea and waited on the rocks.

Titus did not answer the other councillors when they said, 'Goodnight'. He watched Hercules and lolaus walk away and thought,'Did I make a mistake?'

Somebody came up quietly behind him, and he smiled.

'Your people couldn't stop them,' he said.

A woman laughed. 'It's not important,' she said. 'I only wanted them to be late. I didn't want them to have too much time to think.' She laughed again. 'You're not very good at this, my dear.'

He tried to sound important. 'I've done it for twenty years.'

'No, my love,' she said. You did all the talking. I did all the other things.'

He put his arms round her.'Is it finished? Will she ...?'

Jocasta Perical looked up into her husband's eyes.'We must get out of here before Hera kills us,' she said quietly.

 

Chapter 6 Klothon

 

Hercules walked down through the rocks to the beach.

'Why am I doing this?' he thought. 'Because I must have help, or Hera will kill me this time.'

He walked into the sea, and suddenly it began to move round him — and then up ... up, into a mountain of water, fifteen metres above him. He waited. Now the water had a 'head','arms' and 'legs'.

'Hello, Uncle Poseidon,' said Hercules.

Poseidon, god of the sea, got smaller. 'Oh, it's you, Hercules. When did I last see you? A long time ago. Come on.'

He started to move east, and Hercules followed him through the sea. 'Is Alcmena well?' asked Poseidon.

'Very well, thank you,' said Hercules.

'And your friend lolaus?'

'Well, too, thank you,' said Hercules.

'So?' said Poseidon.'What's wrong?'

'It's Hera,' said Hercules. 'And Themon's Summer Festival.The council asked Iolaus to be a judge, and I came with him.' Then Hercules told Poseidon about Holix, and about the Summer Queens. 'These young women go away and don't come back,' he said.

'Klothon,' said his uncle.

'What?'

'There's a serpent called Klothon,' said Poseidon. 'It moves in the sea. I see it every three or four years. We fight, but Klothon gets away. It's bad, Hercules.' He looked up at the rocks above the beach. 'They put some child up there, and she thinks, "I'm a queen!". But by morning, she's the serpent's breakfast.'

'Can't you stop it?' asked Hercules.

'No, I can't,' said Poseidon. 'And that's Hera's plan. She knows that you'll try to help the woman. But you can't, and she knows that too, but she wants you to try — and then you'll die.'

'Can I kill this serpent?' asked Hercules.

'Perhaps,' said Poseidon. 'It has a weak place under its head, \ remember that. But first you must catch it. I can't.'

'Thanks,' said Hercules.

After a minute Poseidon went back under the sea, and Hercules walked back to the beach ... Something big and dark watched him from under the water.

Iolaus sat in the White Horse Hotel with a drink in his hand. Suddenly he saw three women at another table, and walked across to them. 'Good evening,' he said, and smiled.

The women looked up. They did not smile.

'Can I sit down with you,Venitia?' he said. He did not wait for an answer, he pulled a chair across to their table.

Venitia wore a pretty dress. The woman on his left had short dark hair. The woman across the table from him had long, black hair and green eyes. She was angry.

'What do you want?' asked Venitia.

'The answers to some questions,' he said. 'What are you three doing in here? Half the city police are looking for you, but you aren't afraid.'

'We don't want to talk to you,' said the short-haired woman.

'Be quiet, Bea,' said Venitia. 'I think he knows.'

'We could kill him,' said the green-eyed woman.

'No, we can't, Zarel,' said Venitia.'He's a judge.'

Iolaus looked at them.'So you're not rebels,' he said.'You don't want to throw out the council.'

'That's right,' said Bea.

'Bea!' cried Zarel.

'But he knows,' said Bea.

Venitia looked into Iolaus's eyes. 'Do you have a wife?' she asked suddenly.

'Venitia!' cried Zarel, and she jumped up from her chair and walked out of the hotel.

Bea got up more slowly. 'Sorry,' she said, 'but I must go after her or she'll kill somebody again.'

Iolaus waited for her to go, then looked at Venitia.'"Again"?' he said.'Did she kill somebody before?'

'You do have a wife,' Venitia said sadly.

'Is this a dream?' thought Iolaus. He put his hand on Venitia's hand — and she smiled.

'Sorry,' she said. 'Why did I say that? I don't know. 'Then she said, 'Yes, she killed somebody before. But her father is rich and ... and ... and you're right about us.'

'Something's not right in this city,' said Iolaus. 'Hercules and I know that. Perhaps we can help you.'

She smiled. 'You're nice,' she said. He started to speak but she said quickly,'OK, I'll tell you about Klothon.'

'Who's that?' asked Iolaus. 'Not who — what.' 'OK, what's that?' said Iolaus.

'You must leave before they crown the festival queen, or Klothon's going to kill you,' said Venitia.

 





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