Seulgi and Seungwan reached downtown Manhattan just after sunrise. Seulgi had of course heard of the infamous “city that never sleeps” but she’d never had the opportunity to visit. The epithet rang true, for even though it was early in the morning plenty of people could be spotted going to work. Seungwan had their driver drop them off in Times Square, throwing the entire wad of bills at him instead of counting out the correct fare. He looked more than satisfied and even offered them his card should they want to get picked up later.
“So where do we go now?” Seulgi asked, staring up at the many billboards with awe. “This place is huge.”
Seungwan shrugged. “You’re the one with the prophetic visions, you tell me.”
Seulgi huffed. Her visions didn’t work like that, as far as she knew anyway. But there was still that nagging feeling in her stomach that seemed to tell her to start walking. Things had worked out so far, she’d managed to convince Seungwan to join her and she’d even gotten help from Hermes. Maybe this was a part of her strange Apollo inheritance.
“Let’s go this way,” Seulgi said, leading Seungwan in the direction of the nearest subway station. “Something tells me we need to go this way.”
Seungwan shook her head like she didn’t quite believe what Seulgi was saying. “Alright. Lead the way.”
As they walked down the stairs and into the subway, Seungwan noticed that Seulgi didn’t seem to be paying attention to her surroundings at all. Her eyes stared straight ahead of her and she ignored everything around her. Much to the chagrin of the other subway riders. Seungwan had to constantly mutter apologies to everyone when Seulgi would just barge straight ahead regardless of who was in her way. “Seulgi. Are you okay?”
No response. Seungwan waved a hand in front of her friend’s face and still got nothing. “Seulgi this is kinda creepy even for you.”
It was almost as if Seulgi was in a trance. Something about it screamed “demigod power” to Seungwan so she stuck to Seulgi’s side like glue, gently herding her through the crowded subway and paying for their tickets.
She let Seulgi lead them onto a train, and they sat next to each other while the subway left the station. In her current state Seulgi wasn’t any good for talking so Seungwan struck up a conversation with a young Korean man who was on his way home to visit his parents. Lee Taemin attended Julliard on a full scholarship and hoped to one day be on Broadway if the stars aligned.
There was also something about his demeanor that screamed “demigod” to Seungwan but she wasn’t about to open that particular can of worms on the subway. Besides, if he truly was a demigod he should have set off the camp’s radar when he was a young teenager. Of course Seulgi hadn’t set off their radar either and she was sixteen. Maybe their radar needed fixing, Seungwan thought.
Twenty minutes later Seulgi got up and stood in front of the subway’s automatic doors. Seungwan took that as her cue to follow and after bidding farewell to Taemin she followed Seulgi off the subway. One escalator ride later had them reemerging topside. A quick glance at the signs posted around them told Seungwan they had ended up at the World Trade Center.
She remembered hearing about the devastating terrorist attacks that happened in 2001. Seungwan hadn’t even been born yet but her parents told her about how people all across the world came together to pitch in, doing things like sending teddy bears to the friends and families of the victims.
A giant memorial had been constructed at Ground Zero so people could remember those that had been lost. There was even a museum that people could visit to learn about 9/11 and the impact it had on the country. The memorial had been built kind of like an inverse fountain. Instead of water falling from above like a traditional fountain, it started at ground level. The water cascaded downwards about twenty feet into a reflection pool below.
Seungwan thought it was pretty and she made a mental note to buy Tzuyu a postcard from the museum if they had time. The daughter of Athena would absolutely lose her mind at the scope of architecture. She glanced over at Seulgi and noticed the taller girl seemed to be coming out of her trance. “Are you back with us, Seul?”
Seulgi blinked, disoriented. “Where…where are we?”
“What’s the last thing you remember?” Seungwan replied. The last thing Seulgi remembered was getting out of the taxi and getting a feeling that told her to go in a certain direction. Seungwan filled her in from there.
“Something told me if I followed this feeling I’d find Joohyun, and by extension the others.” Seulgi shielded her eyes from the rising sun and looked around at their surroundings. “I don’t see them though. Maybe I was wrong.”
Seungwan turned around to reassure Seulgi that things would be okay when she saw something that made her jaw drop open. “No, I think it’s safe to say your ‘feeling’ was correct.”
She grabbed Seulgi by the shoulders and twirled her around so she faced the same direction as Seungwan. She pointed at a group of tourists who were standing in front of a large bronze statue of a dog wearing a search and rescue vest. As they moved away, not more than a dozen feet away from them, was a familiar trio of girls.
Joohyun, Sooyoung and Yeri stood in front of the large bronze statue. Sooyoung and Yeri looked bored out of their minds while Joohyun stared up angrily at the bronze dog, muttering something in Ancient Greek under her breath.
“I literally can’t believe we managed to find the three of them in a city this large,” Seungwan said as they edged closer to the three demigods. Neither Seulgi nor Seungwan wanted to approach them, after all what they were doing was technically illegal according to the camp’s rules on questing and prophecies. Whoever received a prophecy would select no more than two companions to travel with. And as far as anyone knew that rule had never been broken. Until now.
“What’s Joohyun doing?” Seulgi asked. She still couldn’t believe that her intuition led her to Joohyun and it creeped her out. Weird visions were one thing, after they were over she would wake up back in her bed. There were no lasting side effects. But strange trances that took over her body? No thank you.
“From my point of view she looks like a crazy lady talking to a dog statue,” Seungwan said blithely. They had inched close enough to the three unaware demigods to clearly see what Joohyun was doing.
Inserting themselves into a new pack of roaming tourists so Sooyoung and Yeri wouldn’t spot them, Seulgi and Seungwan waited.
Unfortunately their disguise didn’t hold up very well against a certain fourteen year old’s perception skills.
“Damn it, Yeri spotted us!” Seungwan swore, attempting to hide behind a six-foot-tall German man. Seulgi tried to hide behind his equally tall wife but they suddenly found the concrete crumbling apart, the ground underneath them rising up to trap their feet in place.
Sooyoung approached them, her bronze spear held high. Her machine gun was strapped firmly to her back and belatedly Seulgi wondered how in the hell she’d managed to get anywhere in the city with an assault weapon on her person. Nobody around them seemed to care either. It’s like they couldn’t see it. “What the are you two no-jams doing here?”
“Uh…would you believe we’re here to be tourists?” Seungwan asked, unsuccessfully trying to yank her feet out of the ground. “Yeah, Seulgi here has never been outside of Korea so I thought she should get to experience the wonders New York City has to offer.”
She gave Seulgi a pointed look and the other girl started, “O-of course. I’ve always wanted to see Broadway.”
“Broadway’s in the opposite direction, loser,” Joohyun said, coming up behind Sooyoung. A scowl was set firmly on her face. But Seulgi couldn’t help but stare behind the daughter of Hades. Padding along at Joohyun’s heels, woofling at Seungwan, was a black Labrador Retriever that looked uncannily like the one on top of the statue.
Seulgi diverted her gaze and sure enough there wasn’t a dog on top of the statue anymore.
“Whoa. Did you really bring that statue to life?” Seulgi couldn’t help but coo at the dog, who had taken an interest in Yeri’s shoes and was trying to nibble on her shoelaces.
Joohyun didn’t seem to want to have anything to do with the dog she’d awakened, steadfastly ignoring it when it tried to nose her hand to see if she had any treats. “He’s not a statue. This is Procyon, one of Orion’s hunting hounds.”
“You mean lik