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Apollo's Soldiers
by Margo Fallis
Chapter 28

     Professor Wilson stayed hidden behind the coils of rope until everything had been taken from the ship. Once the crew was distracted he slid down the rope to the dock. “So this is Atlantis. Well done, lads. Thank you for showing me the way. It looks like the girl is not going to follow through on her part. I wonder if I can call this Taygetus man forth. Maybe he’ll cut me in on his wealth if I deliver him.” He glanced around. “Where did those brats go? I’ll sit here and wait. I know they’ll be back.”

*  *  *

Mr. Wallace hid inside the crew quarters until he saw Professor Wilson slip off the boat. He found a place out of harm’s way. As he sat, he realized he couldn’t understand a word that was being spoken. He glanced at the markings on the boat and couldn’t decipher them either. “Where are Leith and those other children? Leith, what have you gotten yourself into. Where am I? Is this Atlantis?” He left the security of empty crates and climbed to the top of one of the buildings. He saw the rings of water and the temple mount. “I am in Atlantis. I’d recognize that scene anywhere. The Temple of Poseidon; marvelous.”

* * *

Professor Wilson watched as crates of fish were carried off the boats, but that’s not what caught his attention. He saw emeralds, rubies, diamonds and other precious jewels scattered through the crates of fish. The residents tossed them aside like they were weeds. “Forget the kids. Why should I bother with them when I can have all the jewels I want by hanging around the docks?” He picked up as many as he could and stuffed them inside his pockets.

As people walked past, he couldn’t understand their language, nor could he read any of the signs. He also noticed their bright colored clothing and the strange shades of blue-green and violet eyes. There was not one dark head to be seen anywhere. “I’m out of place here. Time to find some extra clothing.” He ambled down a lane, leading away from the dock.

*  *  *

Mr. Wallace shook his head in disgust at the professor. “It’s amazing what greed will do.” He spotted another stack of empty crates covered with a fishing net, sat behind them and waited.

*  *  *

“These fish are for the royal family. Catt sent us to deliver them,” Leith said. “He told us to wait until we were paid.”

The guard, dressed in lime green and bright yellow striped knickers, stepped forward. His plain lime green shirt had an emblem on the pocket. He reached into his pants and handed Leith a cloth bag. “The coins are inside. Don’t open it. Give it to Catt and tell him if he’s late with his delivery again, we’ll find someone else. He’s easily replaced.”

Paisley glanced at the man’s black shoes. Her gaze wandered to his head. A lemon yellow hat sat atop blond hair. She had to fight back laughter. “We’ll tell him,” she said, grabbing Leith. They ran off.

“We took too long delivering the fish and almost got Catt in trouble,” Duncan said. “Should we look in the bag? I’d love to see what’s inside.”

“We’ll see soon enough. Catt said he’d pay us for delivering the fish. Let’s not mention that we dilly dallied.” Paisley stared at the temple. “I want to come back here and sneak inside. This whole place will be destroyed in a day or two. I want to see it while it’s still here.”

Instead of walking, they ran back to the docks. Catt stood waiting for them. “What took you? I’ve got things to do. Where’s the payment?” Leith handed him the cloth bag, which he pulled open. “Here you go. There’s a candol for each of you.” He tossed them a coin, flipping them high into the air. “You’d better catch them or they’ll roll down the dock into the canal.” He laughed at the kids running around, chasing their candols. “Come back tomorrow at the same time and you can earn the same amount for the same work.”

*  *  *

Mr. Wallace watched Catt torment his son and the others, but stayed hidden. “They’ll be coming back tomorrow. I think I’ll use this free time to see a bit of Atlantis. I’ll have to trust my son. I hope his foolishness doesn’t get us all killed.” Once they were out of sight, Mr. Wallace strolled down the docks towards the first bridge.

*  *  *

“I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m hungry. I wonder what Atlanteans eat. It looks like there are a lot of inns lining the Uverlu Canal. If there are inns, there will be food,” Leith said.

“I’m so starving I could eat a hundred crabs,” Fraser said.

They walked towards the marketplace. Vendor’s stalls were set up every few feet with colorful displays of fruits, vegetables, seafood, breads, pastries, and other things they didn’t recognize.

“I know what I’m buying with my candol,” Murray said.

“Since we all have different tastes, let’s separate, buy what we want and meet right here in ten minutes,” Paisley said. “Leith, do you want to stay with me?”

Leith grinned. “Sure.” The others chuckled and ran off to purchase the food. They strolled among the different stalls, buying bread and a few cakes. “Look at that girl sitting over there. She looks sad.”

“How can you tell? She’s not crying.” Paisley stopped and stared at the girl. A single braid of light brown hair hung down her back. Violet eyes sparkled like amethysts. Her legs were pulled up to her chin. Without saying another word, Paisley marched over to the girl. She handed her a cake. “Would you like this? You look like you’re hungry.”

The girl raised her head. “I’m not hungry really, but thanks.” She took a bite and then shoved the entire cake into her mouth.

“My name’s Paisley. Do you live here?”

“Yes. My house isn’t too far.  My mother and I live in Meloni, as do most of the residents of Atlas. I like to come here and watch the people buying things. It’s exciting. My name is Millei. Do you want to sit with me?”

Paisley sat. “Leith, why don’t you go and buy us some fruit while I talk to Millei.” Leith shrugged his shoulders and headed for the stalls. “My friends and I are visiting our Uncle Catt. He’s a fisherman.” Paisley lied.

“Would you like me to show you around? Your uncle must be busy. Fishermen are always busy.” Millei stood. “Are you alone, just with that boy?”

“No. I’m with a few of my cousins,” Paisley said.

“Where are they?”

“They’ll be here in a few minutes. They went off to buy something to eat. I’m sure we’d all love to see Atlas.”

“Catt is everyone’s uncle?” Millei scratched her knee when a bug landed on it.

“Um, right. We’re all cousins, but we’re friends though too.” Much to Paisley’s relief she saw the lads running towards her. “Here they are.”

“Do they speak with a funny accent like you do?”

“The place we’re from is called Scotland. It’s on another part of the island.” I hope she believes that.

“I’ve never heard of Scotland, but I don’t pay much attention to things around here. I want to be an explorer when I grow up and leave Atlantis forever,” Millei said.

“Why? It seems perfect here,” Paisley said.

“It used to be, hundreds of years ago. It’s not any more. There’s a lot of crime and everyone is greedy and mean.” Millei cleared her throat.

“Hi. I’m Duncan. Who are you?” He rushed up to the girl standing next to Paisley.

“I’m Millei.”

“I’m Sandy. This is Fraser, Leith, Murray and of course, Duncan. You know Paisley.”

“She’s offered to show us around; take us on a tour. That sounds fun, doesn’t it lads. I told her Uncle Catt doesn’t expect us until tonight.” Paisley glared at the others, hoping they’d catch on to the deception.

“Right. Uncle Catt.  He’s not expecting us till this evening for supper,” Murray said.

“Where would you like to go first? There are libraries, observatories, art museums and things like that. Any preference?” Millei glanced at the boys.

“How about the Temple Mount? I want to see what the temple looks like,” Paisley said.

“You must be joking. They won’t let anyone in there. It’s heavily guarded,” Millei said.

“Oh right; by your lemon drop guards,” Paisley said, laughing to herself. “I don’t mean to be rude, but those guard outfits are sort of wild and crazy, aren’t they? I’m used to guards wearing armor and dark colors to make us afraid, not dressed up like a lollipop.”

“The Queen designed those outfits herself. The guards have no choice.” Millei burst out laughing too. “I’m sorry. I think they’re ridiculous too. You should see how she dresses her sons, the royal princes, Apollis, and Poseenos. They look like pink clouds.”

“She dresses boys in pink?” Sandy gasped. “Poor lads.”

“I think we’d better stick to some of the places I mentioned before. There’s a museum not too far. Follow me.” Millei led them through narrow streets and around buildings covered in slabs of gold and silver and bejeweled with sparkling gems.

“Do all the houses look this fancy?” Fraser wanted to touch each one. “Nobody has houses like this where we come from. They’re all made of bricks.”

“Atlas is a rich city. Nobody is poor here. In fact nobody is poor anywhere in Atlantis.” After several hours of sightseeing, Millie suggested they return to her house for refreshment. “This is where I live.”

“Whoa! Holy cow! This is probably the fanciest house of all. Are your parents filthy rich?” Fraser’s eyes glowed with envy.

“I only live with my mother. My father died in one of the battles with the Athenians. I was only one year old. I can’t even remember him.” Millei sighed.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Paisley said. “Is your mother nice?”

“Not to me.” A scowl crossed her face.

“Millei, do you know anyone at all in Atlas who practices wizardry?” Leith asked when he saw a glass ball sitting on a table.

“Why do you ask that?” Millei’s eyebrows arched towards her nose in anger.

Before she could answer, a thin, gangly woman with long white hair walked into the room. “Millei, why don’t you introduce me to your friends.”

“Mother Norindal, this is Paisley, Leith, Sandy, Fraser, Duncan and Murray. They’re visiting their uncle. He’s a fisherman. I’ve been showing them around Atlas.” Millei looked at the ground as she spoke.

“If you’re going to be a guest in my home, do not touch anything; do not get fishy smell on my furniture; do not eat all my food, and do not go anywhere unless Millei is with you. Do you understand?” Norindal snarled. They nodded, too afraid to speak. “Millei, I am going to a meeting. I’ll be back in three hours. You can feed yourself supper. Don’t make a mess, or you’ll get the whip taken to your backside. Do you understand?” Millei nodded. “Everyone understands then?” She slammed the door on her way out.

The lads and Paisley stared at Millei. “I hate her. She’s a horrible person. To answer your question, my mother practices wizardry. I am forbidden to speak to anyone about it.”

“I’m sorry,” Paisley said, hugging Millei. “Will you help us?”

“I’ll do anything as long as you promise when you leave you take me with you.” Millei felt tears trickle down her cheeks. “Your uncle can fit me on his boat too, can’t he? I’ll live anywhere, as long as it’s away from my mother.”

“I promise,” Paisley said.

     Millei took them from room to room. They found Norindal’s cape and other wizardry tools, such as wands, powdered animals, and books of magic spells.

     “It’s her. It has to be her. She’s the one,” Fraser said to the others.

     “I agree,” Leith said. “Millei, we have something to tell you. You probably won’t believe us, but it’s true.”

     Millei glanced at Paisley. “What is it?”

     “I’ll tell her,” Paisley said. “Come and sit with me, Millei. Why don’t you lads go through the house and whatever you think we might need, take, if that’s all right with Millei.” Millei smiled.

     While the others searched for things, Paisley explained everything to Millei. “So you see, Millei, we have two days left. Today is almost done, so we’ve got tomorrow and that’s it. On August 8th Atlantis will be destroyed completely.”

     “You are from the future? Wow. That is strange. Do you have to kill my mother? I mean, I hate her, but she is my mother.” Millei wept.

     “We’re not going to kill her. We just have to make sure she doesn’t get on the boats. In fact we need to get to the boats and make sure we talk to the Captains and warn them. Your mother must not leave here.” Paisley squeezed Millei’s hand.

     Millei wiped the tears away. “All right. I’ll help you, but you promised you’d take me with you. I hate my mother and I hate living in Atlantis.”

     “How did your mother get so rich, Millei?” Leith sat next to her.

     “My father was a wealthy man. He was an admiral in the Royal Navy of Atlantis. He died in battle. Didn’t I tell you that?” Millei shook her head.

     “I hate to tell you this, but he didn’t die that way. Your mother told you that because she killed him.” Leith pulled a book from behind his back. “It seems your mother has written down everything she’s ever done in her journal, including killing your father for his money. She lied to you and told you he’d died in battle.”

     “What?” Millei jumped up.

     “Your mother, Norindal, is a wizard. She’s evil. She and King Mason work together to spread evil. Your mother paid him money if he’d build a huge naval fleet. She is the one who influenced him to forbid anyone but a native Atlanteans to live here. There’s one more thing. Paisley told you we come from the future. We know history. We know what is going to happen. Your mother escapes on one of the ships and leaves you behind to die. That is why we came back in time, to change history so that she doesn’t leave and you do.” Leith opened the book and showed Millei the page about her father. “After she leaves here she goes to Iona, meets someone in nobility and has another child, a son, Sephan. It’s through him that Taygetus is born.”

     “She killed my father! I will have a brother? She leaves me behind to die? I hate her. How do you know all of this?”

“I studied some books from our library. We have a grand collection of ancient books,” Leith said. I also found this in the Azores. Some men had been diving and brought this back.” He pulled out two goblets. “This is the one I brought from the Azores and this is the same goblet. It belongs to Norindal. One is from the future; one is from the present, but both are the same object. I can’t take your mother’s goblet with me because archeologists need to find it in the future to help prove Atlantis really existed. In our time everyone thinks Atlantis is just a make-believe place.”

“This is all so strange. It sounds like we’ve got work to do. Leave the goblets here then. You want to get into the palace? I know a secret way.” Millei’s courage burst out of her. “I’ll help you any way I can.”

     “Thanks, Millei,” Leith said. “Without yours and Paisley’s courage, we couldn’t do any of this. Thank you both.”

     Millei opened the front door. “Stay close.” She led them to Entioch Bridge.

     “I think we should split up. Some of us need to go find the ships that are preparing to leave. There’s a seer who foretells the future and he’s seen the destruction of Atlantis. He is preparing to go. We need to make sure he takes the books and other important things. I’ll take Sandy, Fraser and Duncan with me,” Leith said. “We’ll head to the docks and find the seer. Paisley, you, Murray and Millei go to the Temple Mount.”

     “But I want to go to the temple,” Fraser said.

     “Me too,” Sandy said.

     “You’re coming with me. This isn’t a sight seeing trip. This is life and death. Go on, Paisley. Do what you need to do. Watch out for Murray.” Leith grabbed Sandy’s arm. “I need you with me.”

“All right.” Leith and the lads ran back the way they came and disappeared among the houses.

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