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Chapter 8 Cire is Afraid

'Is this the place?' asked lolaus.

It was a few metres of grass above the rocks and the beach. Nothing more. It was early in the afternoon and a cold wind came in from the sea. Hercules looked down at the beach. lolaus stood next to him.

'Hera,' Hercules said after a minute. 'She's near.'

lolaus looked at the sky. 'It's getting darker,' he said. 'Is something going to ...?'

'Yes ... something ...' Hercules turned and looked at Venitia. Then, suddenly, he put a hand on her arm. 'You're Titus's daughter. Am I right?'

'What?' cried lolaus.

'Look at her eyes, and her mouth,' said Hercules. 'They're Titus's eyes and mouth. She's his daughter.'

'Yes, and I'm not a good rebel,' she said.

'Does he know?' said lolaus.

'No,' said Venitia.

'You helped us back there,' said Hercules. 'What happened between you and your friends, and Rotus?'

She did not speak for a minute or two, but then she said, 'It was OK at the beginning, then something happened and it was all different. There's a man — Jax. He's Holix's friend. He tells us, "Do this, do that." But somebody tells him first.'

'Your father?' said Iolaus.

'Yes, I think so,' said Venitia. 'But then Rotus wanted us to fight people. I didn't like it, but he said, "Do it, or I'll kill you!'"

Hercules was quiet for a minute. He looked down at the rocks. 'What brings Hera here?' he said. 'There must be something. Perhaps a place ... Iolaus, stay here and look.' He looked at Venitia. 'What's Rotus's plan for the festival? Something bad, I know. But what? We must know.'

'I'll go back and talk to the others,' she said.

Hercules went back to the White Horse with her, and went quickly to his room. He pushed open the door — and stopped. A woman stood next to the bed. She had a knife in her hand.

'Hercules, no!' Holix cried from the bed, before Hercules could jump at her. 'It's OK.'

'Hercules?' said the woman. She put down the knife.

'Yes,' said Holix. 'This is Hercules.' He sat up in the bed. 'This is Cire,' he told Hercules.

'I ran away from my boss and his family,' she said. 'I was afraid.' She told Hercules her story, then began to cry.

'You aren't going to die,' Hercules told her. 'But you must go back.'

'What?' cried Cire. 'Go back? Why?'

'Because then I can help you,' said Hercules. 'Listen, this isn't about you, it's about me. The plan is for me to die, not you. But it's not going to happen.'

lolaus walked along the beach to the tallest of the dangerous rocks. Suddenly, he looked up and saw a large sea bird fly down at him! lolaus moved quickly and hit the bird with his sword. Then two more came at him — and two more! He fought them with his sword, but more flew at him. He started to run to the rocks ... and found a cave!

lolaus ran inside. It was dark, but the birds didn't follow him into the cave. 'So this is Hera's place!' he thought. 'I must go and tell Hercules.'

'... and that's my plan.' Hercules stopped talking and looked at Holix and Cire.

'It's not going to work,' said Cire. 'We'll all die.' 'I don't think I can walk, Hercules,' said Holix. He looked lovingly at Cire. 'But for her, I can do anything.' Cire started to cry.

The door opened suddenly and lolaus ran in. 'Hercules, I found it!' he cried.

Rotus looked at the dead man on the grass outside the rebels' cave. It was Jax. 'He was too friendly with Titus,' said Rotus. 'I had to kill him.'

'Hercules will be angry,' said one of the rebels.

'Hercules is no problem,' said Rotus.

The other rebels didn't answer.

'Remember the plan,' Rotus said when they were all on their horses.They followed him away from the cave.

Cire's boss was angry with her, and his wife wanted to kill her. But Sana said to them, 'The council are waiting.' And the two sisters went to their room and started to get ready.

'Where were you?' Sana asked Cire.

Cire didn't answer.

Venitia couldn't find the rebels, and there was nobody to talk to. Her mother was at the festival, her father was with the council, and lolaus was with Hercules.

She put on her festival dress. 'Everything is going wrong!' she thought. 'I don't want to be a rebel, and lolaus is always talking about serpents and bad gods! He doesn't look at me! And I'm late for the festival, too.'


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