Demon’s abilities are put to the test!
Beasts of Olympus is a series of illustrated chapter books set in a magical Ancient Greece where strange things still walk the Earth. In the fourth book, Demon must heal Ares’s smelly dragon in time for battle. Can he heal this sick beast before Olympus chokes on the stink?
About the Author
Lucy Coats (www.lucycoats.com) studied English and Ancient History at Edinburgh University, then worked in children’s publishing and now writes full-time. Her twelve-book series, Greek Beasts and Heroes, was published by Orion in the UK. You can follow her on Twitter @lucycoats.
Read an Excerpt
Demon, son of the beast god, Pan, and proud new bearer of King Poseidon’s Order of Ocean, shot up and out of the clear green waters of Melanie’s spring.
“Urgh! Aggh! Pftha!” he spluttered, shaking his head wildly to get the liquid out of his ears as his lungs adjusted to the warm, sunny air of Olympus. He took a deep, clean-smelling breath and let out a sigh of relief. The air smelled of fragrant flowers and honey, just like it was supposed to. There was not a trace of stinky beast-poo odor, which meant that hopefully he wouldn’t be turned into a pile of smoking Demon-shaped charcoal by a crowd of annoyed goddesses. Not today, anyway.
Melanie the naiad, who was sitting on a mossy rock and combing her long blue hair, gave him a nasty look as he struggled out onto dry land, dripping, and trailing his magic silver medicine box behind him. It was covered in great globs of slimy silver seaweed.
“Finished messing up my nice clean spring with that horrid sea stuff, have you?” she snarled angrily.
Demon picked a couple of flapping flatfish out of his tunic and threw them back into the water.
“Yes,” he said, wondering why she sounded like a crazed Chimera. Melanie was normally nice to him. “I’m all finished, actually. Er, is anything wrong? You seem a little upset.” Melanie frowned and waved a hand toward the Stables of the Gods.
“Well, of course there’s something wrong. You’ve got to go and do something about those noisy beasts of yours, Demon. They’ve been bellowing and bawling ever since Hermes brought that nasty boy Autolykos up here. It’s no wonder I’m upset. I haven’t had a wink of sleep all week.” She yawned loudly, showing two perfect rows of pearly white teeth. As his ears finally popped back to normal, Demon heard a terrible racket coming from the Stables of the Gods. Now he knew exactly what Melanie meant. Without another word, he picked up his box and ran. What on earth was happening in there? It sounded as if every single beast was rioting and rumpusing out of control!
Inside the Stables, it was complete chaos. Almost every pen had a baaing, neighing, screeching, shrieking beast leaping up and down. A tall, dark-haired boy whirled around and around in the middle of the center aisle, waving a broom and banging on the bars.
“Leave me alone,” he shouted. “Shut UP, you awful, noisy creatures!”
Demon dumped the silver box on the floor, pulled out his father’s magical pipes, and blew a short, sharp blast. Immediately, there was silence.
“Who are YOU?” asked the boy, dropping his broom in mid-bang. “And how did you do that?”
“I’m Demon,” said Demon. “Son of Pan and official stable boy to the gods. And you must be Autolykos. What in the name of Hades’s handkerchiefs have you done to the poor things to make them act out like this?”
“Nothing,” said Autolykos sulkily. “I’ve fed and cleaned the stupid creatures. What more do they want?”
“Huh!” said the griffin loudly to Demon, clacking its sharp beak against the bars of its pen. “‘Nothing,’ he says, the lousy, lying thief! He’s only gone and stolen half the feathers from the winged horses’ wings so they can’t fly, AND he’s upset Doris, AND he’s dumped half the ambrosia cake down the poo chute!”
“Yes!” chorused the rest of the beasts. “He did!”
“See?” said Autolykos. “Garble, garble, garble! On they go, whimpering and whining. I don’t know how you put up with it.”
“Stolen the winged horses’ feathers, eh?” said Demon grimly, stalking toward him as the noise levels rose again. “Tipped the ambrosia cake down the poo chute? Upset my poor Hydra?”
A purple tide of rage was creeping up from his toes. Nobody was allowed to treat his beasts like this! NOBODY!
“H-h-h-how? W-w-what do you mean? I-I-I never . . .”
“Oh yes you did,” said Demon, shouting to be heard over the racket. “What you hear as garble, I hear as words, so don’t try to deny it.”
“Oh, all RIGHT, then!” said Autolykos sullenly. “So what if I did? I only hit that idiot Hydra because it drooled all over the cake, and it was only a few stupid feathers I took, anyway, and—”
“And now my flying horses CAN’T FLY!” roared Demon. Even though Autolykos was bigger than him, Demon suddenly felt he had the strength of ten stable boys. He grabbed the boy by the scruff of the neck and ran him out of the Stables, past Melanie’s spring, and all the way over to the Iris Express.
“Stop it! Leggo of me! Get off!” bawled Autolykos. But Demon was determined to get rid of him.
“One passenger for earth,” he yelled, pulling handfuls of fluffy horse feathers out of Autolykos’s tunic with his other hand as they went. “And don’t bother too much with the seat belts!”
“HEY!” shouted Autolykos. “Give those back! I could have sold them for a FORTUNE! They’re MINE!”
“Oh no they aren’t!” said Demon, shoving him onto the transparent wisp of rainbow. “I would hang on tight if I were you,” he added as the Iris Express gave an eye-watering lurch and whooshed downward. There was a sudden choked-off scream and some noisy retching, which trailed away into nothing. The Iris Express could be scary and sick-making if you had a weak stomach and no head for heights.
“Serves him right,” muttered Demon, picking up all the scattered feathers from the grass where they’d fallen and smoothing them out carefully. He trotted back to the Stables, grumbling to himself and vowing never to go away again.
“Why can’t the gods just leave me alone?” he said as he walked into the comforting musty, dusty, beasty smell of the place he now called home. “Every time one of them takes me away from my job, it all goes horribly wrong up here. First it’s Hades with poor sneezing Cerberus, then Poseidon with his itchy Hippocamps.” Demon sighed a huge sigh. When would he ever get five minutes’ peace?
The racket died down to a quiet grumble as he walked into the Stables and went down the aisles, petting and stroking all his beasts and hearing their stories about how awful Autolykos had been to them. A big bubble of anger built up in his stomach as he rubbed poor Doris the Hydra’s bruises. Why were people so awful to animals? He just didn’t understand it.
“Oy! Pan’s scrawny kid! Come over here and let me out,” came a snarky voice from the griffin’s pen, breaking into his thoughts. “I want a private word with you!”
Demon unlatched the pen and stalked out of the Stables, the griffin padding behind on its huge lion’s feet.
“What now?” he said. “Spit it out. That wretched Autolykos left me a lot to do, in case you hadn’t noticed.”
“Aaah!” The griffin sighed, stretching its wings in the bright sunlight and flapping them to get the dust out. “That’s better. I’ve missed being outside.” It looked at Demon shrewdly from one of its fierce orange eyes. “Now, what was it I wanted to say? Ah, yes! I believe you owe me a little something, Pan’s scrawny kid. A little something beginning with M and ending with T, with a tasty little E and A in the middle.”
Demon marched over to it, standing on tiptoe until he was nose to sharp, pointy beak with the great beast. “No. I. Do. NOT!” he growled. “The deal was that you and the Nemean Lion had to look after the Stables properly while I was away.” He gestured back through the doors at the mess of spoiled ambrosia, tipped-over poo barrows, wisps of golden sun hay, and fallen-over rakes that made the Stables look as if a small hurricane had blown through. “I don’t call THAT properly!”
Excerpted from "Dragon Healer #4"
Copyright © 2015 Lucy Coats.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
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