The mark of athena, p.11
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       The Mark of Athena, p.11

         Part #3 of The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan
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Page 11

 

  “That way. ” Echo pointed toward the far shore of the island.

  “You want to show us something?” Hazel asked. She climbed down the boulder, and Leo followed.

  Even up close, Echo was hard to see. In fact, she seemed to get more invisible the longer he looked at her.

  “You sure you’re real?” he asked. “I mean…flesh and blood?”

  “Flesh and blood. ” She touched Leo’s face and made him flinch. Her fingers were warm.

  “So…you have to repeat everything?” he asked.

  “Everything. ”

  Leo couldn’t help smiling. “That could be fun. ”

  “Fun,” she said unhappily.

  “Blue elephants. ”

  “Blue elephants. ”

  “Kiss me, you fool. ”

  “You fool. ”

  “Hey!”

  “Hey!”

  “Leo,” Hazel pleaded, “don’t tease her. ”

  “Don’t tease her,” Echo agreed.

  “Okay, okay,” Leo said, though he had to resist the urge. It wasn’t every day he met somebody with a built-in talkback feature. “So what were you pointing at? Do you need our help?”

  “Help,” Echo agreed emphatically. She gestured for them to follow and sprinted down the slope. Leo could only follow her progress by the movement of the grass and the shimmer of her dress as it changed to match the rocks.

  “We’d better hurry,” Hazel said. “Or we’ll lose her. ”

  They found the problem—if you can call a mob of good-looking girls a problem. Echo led them down into a grassy meadow shaped like a blast crater, with a small pond in the middle. Gathered at the water’s edge were several dozen nymphs. At least, Leo guessed they were nymphs. Like the ones at Camp Half-Blood, these wore gossamer dresses. Their feet were bare. They had elfish features, and their skin had a slightly greenish tinge.

  Leo didn’t understand what they were doing, but they were all crowded together in one spot, facing the pond and jostling for a better view. Several held up phone cameras, trying to get a shot over the heads of the others. Leo had never seen nymphs with phones. He wondered if they were looking at a dead body. If so, why were they bouncing up and down and giggling so excitedly?

  “What are they looking at?” Leo wondered.

  “Looking at,” Echo sighed.

  “One way to find out. ” Hazel marched forward and began nudging her way through the crowd. “Excuse us. Pardon me. ”

  “Hey!” one nymph complained. “We were here first!”

  “Yeah,” another sniffed. “He won’t be interested in you. ”

  The second nymph had large red hearts painted on her cheeks. Over her dress, she wore a T-shirt that read: OMG, I
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