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The Crown Of Ghosts

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"Alright," says Leo, claping his hands together, "let's load er up!"

The invisible servants heft up Calypso's bags and wade into the water where Festus waits, and begin attaching them to his golden body like saddlebags. Though they can't see the servants, they see the ripples in the water of where they move. Taking Leo's hand, Calypso walks into the water, lifting her dress so it doesn't get wet. Leo helps her onto the metal dragons back and climbs on in front of her. Festus stomps around in excitement.

"Got everything?" he asks.

"Mm? Yes," she smiles, puts her chin on his shoulder and her arms around his waist.

Leo blushes, "Toothbrush? Socks? Erm.. lady.. stuff?" Leo would never again be able to forget about having those ready after Piper had made sure he had the Argo II fully stocked.

Calypso laughs and it's just how she sings: sweet and airy. The ripples of the invisible servants step away from Festus and back onto the shore.

"Yes, I'm ready." She looks up across the sandy shore where she can see the multicolored crystal door and the gardens of magical and non-magical flowers (she's bringing seeds with her) that she grew herself. Her garden was her only company apart from heartache after heartache that washed up on her island. Her home and her prison. Placing a kiss behind Leo's ear she says, "I'm ready to go anywhere else, as long as it's with you."

"Sounds good, I thought you'd never ask." Leo pats Festus's hull, "Any GPS reading here, buddy?" The dragon creeks and whirs his teeth, and his ruby eye flashes. Calypso can't make sense of it, but Leo's eyebrows knit together. "Yea, man. Well, we knew that was a possibility. So, plan B!" Festus nods his head and spreads his wings, turning away from the shore.

"Whats plan B?" Calypso asks as Festus flies up into the pink and yellow clouds. Turning back she sees small mists like silver sand dissolving from the island into the wind, her servants being freed along with her.

"Improvise!" Leo laughs.

 


 

As Festus breaks through the clouds, Leo concludes he must be dreaming. He's got Calypso's pale, freckled arms around his waist as they fly on his favorite automaton above the most breathtaking bank of clouds Leo's never seen. Calypso's sharp intake of breath behind him makes him smile and nod in agreement.

"Yea, it's beautiful. I can't wait to show you all the modern cities. We can go take a walk through downtown San Francisco or see a movie in New Yor-"

"What's a movie?"

"Oh man," Leo exclaims, "you missed out on so many movies! Die Hard, Terminator, The Notebook-"

"Leo!" Calypso giggles.

"Right! Plenty of time for boring chick flicks. Festus, let me know when you get a GPS reading." The dragons teeth spin.

"That was fast," says Calypso.

"No, it's-" Leo starts, but just then a few rouge venti puff out of the clouds in front of them like a violent fart.

"What are those?"

"Bad news! Festus, evasive action!" Festus clicks an okay, and doges the winds, swerving side to side as the venti wiz past. Calypso ducks her head into Leo's back as he untucks some seat belts from under Festus's hull and straps them together.

"Hold on tight! Festus, dive!"

Festus blows fire at a ventus, tucks his wings into his body and plummets through the clouds, leaving Calypso and Leo's stomachs in the stratosphere. Leo hears someone screaming and, realizing it's him, shuts his mouth.

Calypso's arms tighten around him and her hair moves so fast in the wind that it hits the skin of his neck like bee stings. They break through the clouds, the wind rushing past their ears. Leo pries open one eye and sees a familiar cost line, and tells Festus to aim for the water.

"Calypso! When I say so, take a deep breath!" he yells, and he feels Calypso's nod in his back. Leo turns around as and blows as much fire at the venti from his hands as he can to distract them, and they all swerve to dodge the flames. He turns back, wraps his arms around Festus's neck, pressing close to his body, and yells, "NOW!"

They hit the water, and the loud roar of the wind is silenced by the new rush of bubbles. The surface tension of the water was broken by Festus's nose, but Leo still feels like he was slapped in the face by a highway. He pulls upwards on Festus's neck and the dragon swims up to the surface. Their heads break the surface and Calypso gasps for air.

"Leo Valdez, I could kill you! You're seriously insane! I can't believe I left my nice, safe, island for this!" Calypso rants, but her arms tighten around Leo's waist.

He laughs, loud and excited, "I think we lost them." He looks up into the sky and sees no sign of the venti. "Good swimming, Festus. Welcome to the Gulf of Mexico!"