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This story is rated PG-13. There is some language or violence that may not be appropriate for people under thirteen years of age.
TDMOLogo

Mount Olympus was notable in Ancient Greek Mythology as the home of the Twelve Olympians, on the Mytikas peak. Every year thousands of people visit Olympus to admire its nature, to tour its slopes, and reach its peaks. Years after Shawn won Total Drama: Pahkitew Island, Chris McLean went underground for an extensive amount of time, leaving avid fans of the series to wonder what would come next. The public was occupied with multiple spinoffs of the show, including Total Drama Presents: the Ridonculous Race. However, with no additions to the main series, the Total Drama fanbase longed for a return to the show's original format. After years of demanding, auditions were held and eighteen brand new mortals were casted for the sixth season of the series. The eighteen teens chosen will be divided into two separate teams; the Optimistic Olympians and the Tenacious Titans. Every three days, they will be given a challenge, where the losing team will vote one of their members off. That person will then take the Ferry of Shame, cross the River Styx, and leave the competition for good. At some point in the game, the teams will dissolve. After the merge, the same elimination process will continue to happen, except after every challenge only one to two people will have invincibility and after every challenge the whole group will have to vote somebody out instead of just one team. This process will continue until only two contestants are left to compete in a final challenge where the last contestant standing will win one million dollars. Who will prevail? Who will fail? Find out on Total Drama: Mount Olympus!

Author: Owenandheatherfan

Optimistic Olympians
Alexa120px Charliee120px Chloe120px Evan120px Janelle120px Violet120px
Tenacious Titans
Carl120px George120px Ivy120px Jackson120px Karma120px Maria120px Nicole120px Sebastian120px

Cast

Alexandria - The Washed-Up Celebrity
Charlie - The Wallflower
Chlöe - The Rumour Starter
Evan - The Drag Queen
Haru - The Superhero Wannabe
Henry - The Amateur Detective
Janelle - The Psychic
Lito - The News Reporter
Violet - The Innovative Mechanic

Carl - The Pretentious Introvert
George - The Pompous Affluent
Ivy - The Social Justice Warrior
Jackson - The Music Enthusiast
Karma - The Spunky Socialite
Maria - The Brazilian Bombshell
Meadow - The Naive Hippie
Nicole - The Quirky Health-Nut
Sebastian - The Trendy Mogul

Chapters

Chapter 1: My Big Fat Greek Welcome

Word Count: 6344 words

The waves of the ocean splashed onto the rocky shore, scaring away the seagulls that were once resting peacefully. The smell of seaweed stirred with the wind, and the humidity draped over the land like a warm blanket. The iconic, yet controversial, Chris McLean promptly entered the view wearing nothing but a toga. “A little paperwork for building a mechanical island here, a couple hours of community service for sinking one there, combined with my good looks equals a clean record and a big budget,” the sadist said in his skater-boy accent. “I wanted to spend my hard-earned paycheck vacationing in Greece, but unfortunately, the network had other plans.”

“We heard you loud and clear, dudes.” Chris emptied his pockets, displaying stacks of envelopes and letters. “I’m Chris McLean, and the anticipated seventh season of Total Drama will begin in a temple dedicated to the most important god in all of Greek mythology –”

Chris motioned his arms outward to the mural of his face carved into the temple wall. “– me!”

After a hearty laugh, Chris flashed his iconic smile. “The rules of the game will stay the same, but with a brand new group of eighteen mortals willing to do anything embarrassing and life-threatening just for our enjoyment! Of course, the million dollars offers a little more motivation, too. They’ll have to endure the old outhouse confessional, Chef’s disgusting meals, the stinky public bathrooms, and worst of all, each-other. Last time we were here in Greece, secrets were revealed and tension grew after someone, who will remain nameless, sucked face with the wrong boy. One thing’s for sure, after a week of grueling challenges and blistering heat, they’ll be sure to crack under the pressure and put the ‘drama’ in ‘Total Drama.’ We’re back, baby, and better than ever! So fasten your seat-belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride! Right here on Total... Drama... Mount Olympus!”

After the unnecessarily shortened theme song played, Chris stood in front of the large temple gates. “I think I see the first chariot."

Three horses trotted in, carrying a carriage with them. The carriage was covered with a red and yellow blanket that concealed the contestant inside, but their presence was made known when the boy inside ripped the covers open. He wore a shoddy spandex outfit, with a red cape that dangled on his back and a makeshift mask that only covered his hooded eyes.

“Retreat, you foul creatures!” the boy yelled as he threw makeshift fireworks on the ground, scaring the horses away from Chris. Maple syrup emerged from his paws, which caused the horses to tumble down. After regaining their balance, they quickly bolted away from him.

“I’m sure we’re going to get a few lawsuits on our hands for animal cruelty for that, Haru,” Chris said as he adjusted his toga.

“I don’t know who that is, but he sounds attractive and intelligent,” Haru replied, with a deep voice that sounded strained and different from when he yelled previously. Grabbing Chris’s laurel wreath off of his head and snapping it in half, the boy added, “I’m the hero this show deserves, but not the one it needs right now.”

“I can see that you’re a functioning member of society,” Chris said dryly.

After some time passed, Chris and Haru had dozed off when one of the chariots finally rode in, causing them to regain their consciousness. Sitting down was a young girl with a round face and black, wavy hair tied with a pink ribbon. She wiped off sweat from her forehead.

“Where have you been, Violet?” Chris yelled. “An intern is definitely gonna get fired for this!”

“I am so sorry. One of the wheels got stuck in a pothole, but I fixed it,” the girl assured. Her tall height and slender frame became more apparent as she opened the door to exit the chariot. Promptly, several papers and drawings fell out. “Oh no, my designs!”

“Let me help you, fair maiden,” Haru insisted as he snatched the blueprints off the ground. He handed them to Violet, but not before sneaking a peek. “Wow, these are really good!”

Violet smiled as she adjusted her long, purple dress. “You're exaggerating.”

“I'm not,” Haru assured. “You can call me Haru. You have a real knack for these kind of things. Say, you think you could build me something?”

“I could try,” Violet said with reluctance, while untying her hair and placing her ribbon in her pocket. “This is just something I do in my free time, though. I’m not a professional.”

The next chariot rode in, carrying a boy with a thick mustache on his upper lip, despite his young age. Wearing a striped, beige trench coat and deerstalker hat, the boy peered up from his book entitled “Detectives for Dummies.” He exited the carriage, and took out a magnifying glass. Squinting at the ground, he mumbled, “There are thirty-six footsteps here roughly the size of a hoof that a horse makes. If each horse creates four footsteps, and each chariot has three horses, this means I’m the third to arrive.”

“Or,” Chris added, questioning his efforts, “You could have just counted everyone.”

“What fun is that?” the boy said, tossing his book in the mud. Pointing at Chris, he replied, “You seem a little too suspicious of me, McLean. I can tell that you’re hiding something. Where were you on the evening of –”

Henry, cool it with the Sherlock stuff,” Chris interjected.

“Henry, is it?” Haru beamed as he forcibly put his arm around the amateur detective. “I like the way you think, kid. I could definitely see you and Violet as my sidekicks.”

Henry raised an eyebrow. “Sidekick?”

“Sidekick,” Violet clarified. “A person's assistant or close associate, especially one who has less authority than that person. One of the earliest recorded sidekicks may have been from –”

Henry frowned. “I know the meaning, but thanks.”

Gazing off into the distance, Haru added, “My strength and good looks, Violet’s heightened sense of intelligence, and your private eye… we’ll be unstoppable.”

Four hot pink horses rode in carrying a bedazzled carriage. Inside was a young woman with straight, blonde hair that cascaded to her shoulders. Her piercing blue eyes immediately darted to the other contestants, sizing them up. She pursed her light pink lips, disappointed by the lack of competition. Wearing a pink, sparkling waist-high dress that must have cost a fortune, she immediately struck a model pose as she exited the carriage. “That’s right, I am the one and only Alexandria Bloomington, but no flash photography, please. I have a condition.”

With no reaction from everyone, Alexandria said, “Okay, you can take a picture if you must.”

“Welcome to the show, Alexandria!” Chris let out a snicker, but controlled himself. “Glad you could make it and grace everyone with your presence.”

“Let the record show, darling, that I’m only doing this for a photo op.” Alexandria took off her maroon, star-shaped sunglasses and threw them on the ground; striking the book Henry tossed into the mud just moments before. “It’s not like I actually need the money.”

“Sorry, are you famous for something?” Violet asked.

“Judging from her expensive dress, she’s probably a celebrity of sorts,” Henry whispered to Violet. “Or maybe she stole it… I’ve got my eye on her.”

“You could call me a celebrity,” Alexandria explained as she glared at Henry, obviously overhearing his comment. “Or perhaps a very important person. Superstar works, too, whichever you prefer, darling. I’m a very wealthy woman, you know.”

At that moment, another chariot trotted in. Sitting inside was a small boy with a round head and high, wide cheekbones. Everything – from his trimmed eyebrows, to his expensive button-down navy blue shirt, to his short, layered, raven-black hair – hinted at an excessive care for his appearance. The smile plastered on his face indicated that he was happy to be there, while his good posture exuded confidence. The boy exited the carriage, revealing his tight khaki pants that hugged his legs as if they were cutting off his circulation.

“Would you do anything for me?!” the boy sang into an unplugged microphone. “Buy a big diamond ring for me?! Would you get down, on your knees, for me?! Pop that pretty question, right now, baby! Beauty queen on a silver screen! Living life like I’m in a –”

Jackson, stop with the singing,” Chris snapped, irritated.

“I can’t help it, the heart wants what it wants.” Jackson frowned. “… you got me sippin’ on something –”

Stopping dead in his tracks, Jackson’s jaw hung in shock as he looked at Alexandria. After a brief moment of silence, he began to tremble with excitement. “It’s… it’s… it’s r–really you.”

“It’s about time somebody recognized me,” Alexandria said proudly. “Does a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award nomination not mean anything to you people?”

“Oh my god!” Jackson said, wiping a tear from his beaming eyes. “I cannot believe I’m seeing the Alexandria Harriet Bloomington in person! I own every episode of your appearances in Canada’s Got Talent and Red is the New Brown! I’ve traveled thousands of miles to see you perform your debut album! It got cancelled because there weren’t enough ticket sales, but that isn’t the point! You’re such an inspiration and I can’t believe this is happening right now! I love you so much and I have a poster of you in my room! My mom said it was just a phase but I knew one day I would meet you!”

Jackson hugged Alexandria tightly, while pulling out a phone and taking a picture of the encounter. “The queen has graced me with her presence, hashtag slay!”

“Am I the only minority here?” a girl spoke from inside a newly arrived chariot, who peered at the cast through her thick-rimmed glasses. Her chocolate-brown hair was nearly the same color as her dark skin. The newcomer stepped out of the chariot, revealing her steel grey sweater and light blue undershirt. She walked in long strides, her posture displaying an aura of confidence. As she walked closer to the other contestants, her sharp, angular cheekbones became more apparent. “I shouldn’t be surprised, Total Drama has a history of whitewashing their casts.”

Ivy,” Chris greeted. “Welcome to the show, dude!”

“Two minutes into my arrival and you’re already misgendering me,” Ivy said in disgust. “I identify as a demigirl, for your information. You will refer to me with she or they pronouns.”

“Demigirl?” Jackson asked in confusion. “Does that mean, like, you’re a fan of Demi Lovato?”

Ivy glared at the music enthusiast in disapproval. “How ignorant of you. I hope as a fan of her you can acknowledge all of the problematic things she’s done.”

“Place-masking. Disposable duvets. Growth-hacking. Supermoon.” A young boy spoke from inside the same chariot Ivy exited previously. His dark brown hair was spiked up, suggesting the use of multiple hair products. His dark green eyes were visible under his black heavy-frame glasses, as well as his nose-ring and tight denim jeans. He had on a beige shirt, layered on top with a grey sweater. Like Jackson, his outfit indicated at a care for his appearance. “These are all the things that make Sebastian fresh and innovative. Gryzzl.”

“One chariot for two people?” Henry questioned. “Must have been some severe budget cuts.”

Sebastian approached Violet, his well-trimmed eyebrows raised. “This is by far the best dress I’ve seen all season! Couture. Where did you get it?”

“Thank you,” Violet said. “It’s been passed down throughout my family for generations. Before her passing, this dress used to belong to my mother.”

“I can tell,” Sebastian said. Violet smiled, before realizing the extent of his backhanded compliment.

“Oh honey, don’t worry,” Sebastian reassured. “Vintage dresses are totally in this season. I'm also intrigued by asymmetrical overalls, Angora toothbrushes, and locally-sourced flip flops.”

“I understood some of those words,” Chris said in confusion. As another chariot pulled up, he added, “please welcome contestant number eight, Janelle!”

The new girl wore a dark maroon trench coat that was unfit for her dainty body, seemingly a size bigger than the rest of her clothes. She stepped out of the chariot carefully, making sure to not trip on her similarly colored high heels. Underneath the trench coat was a simple blue dress, that almost extended past her knees. She wore black stockings underneath, but the dark palette of colors she wore was strongly contrasted by her platinum blonde hair.

“How did you know my name before I even stepped out of the cart?” she asked. “Do you also share the power of a third eye, McLean?”

“Uh…” Chris stuttered, obviously taken aback by the psychic’s odd question. “We have a pre-determined order.”

“Oh.” Janelle said, the answer being as blatant as her question. “I should have figured, clairvoyance is a very rare skill, only attainable by the special.”

“Special seems about right,” Haru said in his signature low voice, though it sounded forced and unnatural compared to his small frame.

“It doesn’t take a psychic to realize that you’re deepening your voice because of your deep-rooted insecurities,” Janelle said with a heightened eyebrow. She put a hand on his shoulder, and continued with, “Tell me, who was it that bullied you as a child? Was it your parents, or a sibling? A classmate? Perhaps it was an ex.”

Although his skin was mostly covered by the costume he was wearing, Haru’s eyes were visibly raised in surprise. “Did you read my file or something? You’re kind of creepy.”

“Pot calling the kettle African-American,” Ivy muttered under her breath.

Another chariot rolled in. The curtains that once covered the cart were instead being used as a hairband to hold the next contestant’s bright yellow hair in place. The new arrival had masculine features, but wore makeup on his dark skin in such a way that accentuated his feminine characteristics. The dress he wore barely covered his waist, but it was the neon yellow lines on a dark surface that gave it the illusion that lava was spilling out of the dress. He wore golden high heels, that slammed on the pavement when he sashayed out.

“Season seven, come on, Total Drama!” he said in an exaggerated voice. He bent his legs sideways and collapsed to the ground, though it appeared intentional. “Let’s get sickening!”

“Welcome to the show, Evan,” Chris greeted. He promptly pulled out an index card from one of his pockets, and corrected himself. “Or should I say, Elissa Catharsis?”

“That’s the name, don’t wear it out,” Evan said as he picked himself up from the ground. “I am here to serve reality star realness, ok-curr!”

“Excuse me,” Alexandria said with a scowl, her facial expression displaying a sense of disbelief. “The only star here is going to be me. You should just get used to being in my shadow.”

“If all it takes to be a star are ten dollar shoes and a bad attitude, then I was made a long time ago, hunty.” The drag queen smirked as he put his hands on his waist and flipped his hair, though his pose was seemingly not directed at anyone in particular.

Another chariot arrived, carrying a heavy-set man whose broad shoulders outmatched the other contestants in size. He was dressed carelessly, in a sloppy black hoodie and similarly colored pants that seemed to be one size too small. His beard grew irregularly and in patches, further giving the impression that he was careless about his appearance. He clutched his luggage as he stepped out of the chariot, and glanced at the other contestants through his glasses. His eyes met Ivy’s, prompting him to tip his fedora as he made his way to everyone else.

“Are you trying to control me with your male eyes?” Ivy commented.

“Just admiring the view,” the newly arrived contestant said with a smile.

“Well, stop it,” Ivy demanded as she lifted up a finger, preparing to tell him off. “That kind of rape culture that we live in is the reason that three out of four women get slaughtered every hour. I didn’t give you permission to catcall me, scum. It’s not like you had a chance, anyway.”

The boy sighed and muttered under his breath. “Don’t let her bring you down, Carl, I would posit that any female who delegates sexual partners based on physical attractiveness is not worth the time of an esteemed individual such as yourself.”

“You can’t make me!” a voice yelled from inside a chariot that had just arrived. The curtains were drawn back, and a girl was pushed out of the chariot forcibly. Following her was none other than Chef Hatchet, who stomped out of the cart with his nostrils flared at her rebellion. Despite being ten times her size, she did not budge when he tried to pick her up. She latched onto the right leg of Chris, and added, “I am displaying passive resistance!”

“Get it off me, ew,” Chris said as he shook his leg in an effort to remove her strong grip.

When the girl let go, she attempted to crawl back to the chariot, but her efforts proved no match for Chef’s brawn. The heavily built chef picked her up from the ground and dusted her off. Knowing she had no chance, the girl stood in place.

“You’ve got a lot of nerve, maggot!” Chef bellowed. He went inside the aforementioned chariot and threw her suitcase on the ground. Riding back into the direction that he came in, he left the girl with the rest of the group and no means of transportation. She wore a bright chartreuse sweater that left a bold statement, but looked sloppy and mismatched on her meek frame. She anxiously grabbed her elbow with one hand, and her luggage with the other. Her almond-shaped eyes hinted at an Asian heritage, and her raven-black hair that surged downwards bounced with every step.

“Getting some last minute cold feet, Meadow?” Chris asked with a sneer on his lips.

“That isn’t funny,” Ivy said as she stepped in and put her hands on Meadow’s shoulders. Escorting her away from Chris and the other contestants, she added, “It’s very likely that something triggered her panic attack, and making fun of her is problematic and ableist.”

As Meadow was escorted away, she walked by the laurel wreath crown that Haru snapped earlier. Although still flustered from the previous encounter with Chef Hatchet, her mood was instantly lifted as she picked it up from the ground and wore one of fractured pieces. “These are so pretty, wearing these flowers make me feel that much closer to Mother Nature.”

“Mother Nature?” Carl said, his interest suddenly peaked. “You mean like, a chick? Like as in, girl-on-girl action? Sweet.”

Unlike the previous contestants that had arrived in carriages, a newly arrived castmate entered the view by jogging to the designated location. The woman had hardly worked up a sweat as she strolled in, despite having ran for a long period of time. At first glance, the color arrangement on her was an array of red and blue. The most noticeable feature about her was certainly her crimson hair, that was tied back with a hairband to prevent it from blocking her vision. Her unblemished skin and toned body suggested that her health was a priority.

Nicole, the chariots are there for a reason,” Chris instructed.

“I hope it’s okay if I ran here,” the woman said as she did jumping jacks in one place. “I didn’t get a chance to do my light eleven-mile jog in the morning. My body literally shuts down if I don’t exercise every day.”

“Please tell me that isn’t the only outfit you have on you,” Sebastian criticized. “Blue with red? You look like a crayon, and headbands haven’t been in style since the nineties.”

“I feel great, though!” Nicole said enthusiastically. “My mind and my body are at its absolute peak. I can literally feel the blood running through me!”

“You should get that checked out,” a voice said from inside a chariot. The boy that stepped out wore an olive turtleneck that was covered by a yellow vest. On the collar was the letter “L” embroidered, seemingly the first initial of his name. His look gave off a classy, professional vibe, which was contrasted by some of the other contestants. Specifically Carl, who had fallen asleep on his luggage during the encounter. The man scribbled something on a notebook with a pen, and added, “Tell me, how long have these conditions persisted? Is it contagious? Have you been quarantined yet? Are you dating anyone?”

“If you’re going to interview someone, that person should be me,” Alexandria said with a giggle. “I’m far more interesting than anyone here. You’d be lucky to have even a shred of my wealth and reputation, so take this opportunity if you’re wise, dear.”

“Okay, then,” Lito said as he nodded his head. He flipped to a new page on his notepad, then stared directly at the camera. “My name is Lito Rodriguez, coming at you live… no, that’s no good. Can you cut that out? My name is Lito Rodriguez, and I’m here with–”

“Alexandria Harriet Bloomington!” Jackson chimed in.

“Right,” Lito reluctantly said. “Alexandria, tell me, what is something that you’ve done that you take pride in? Don’t hold anything back just because we’re on live television.”

“Perhaps embezzling millions of dollars from my daddy’s company,” Alexandria said. She appeared to be in deep thought, and then corrected herself. “Actually, it would have to be hacking into his bank account and buying myself a new car. That wasn’t my fault, though, the only reason he has that money is because of me. I’m the rightful owner.”

“Scandalous,” Lito said as he finished writing his sentence. He proceeded to put the notepad and pen back into his pocket, and added, “I assume you’re an important person?”

Alexandria began to speak up, but it was Jackson who interrupted. “– is she an important person? If being the first female recording artist to have three albums sell a million copies in just a week at the age of seven makes her important, then yes, she is one!”

“Big deal,” Sebastian said as he rolled his eyes. “Being a has-been doesn’t make you deserving of a celebratory dram of aged grappa. You either move with the times or you don’t.”

“He’s right, time is money,” said a voice from inside a chariot. Out stepped a boy with disheveled blond hair, though it looked intentional. His nose was prominent and upturned, giving off a snobbish look. His blue button-up shirt was tucked into his black slacks and had one sleeve raised. His expensive watch and zebra-striped tie all hinted that the boy came from a wealthy foundation. Although his posture was already excellent, he walked with a confidence and swagger in his step. As he approached Chris, he took out a business card that simply said George on it with a phone number below it. “I was totally stoked when you called me for this, Chris! Sorry that my assistant left you on hold, you should find my personal number on there.”

“This is the same number,” Chris said as he examined the card.

“New is always better,” George said with certainty. “I only live by three simple rules. That’s the first one. The second is that no one, for any reason, should leave their house without a suit on. The third is that a bro shall not sleep with another bro’s sister.”

“Junk before trunk,” Carl said obnoxiously.

“Ovaries before brovaries,” Ivy countered with.

“Now, now, stop the bickering, a bro is not gender-specific,” George clarified as he put his hands on Ivy and Carl’s shoulders. “As long as you’re awesome and have more than ten bucks in your pocket, you fit the bill. No pun intended– whoa.”

George stopped in his tracks as a young woman stepped out of a chariot. Her entire hue was a mix of warm colors, as she wore a bright yellow shirt that matched her tangerine skin. She moved her crimson hair across, giving a better view of her gorgeous green eyes. As she stepped out of the chariot, she moved her arms sideways to balance herself and struck a pose when her high heels slammed on the ground. Her hourglass figure made some of the men stop in their tracks, and her pants were just barely covering her–

“Arse,” another woman said from behind her. “You’ve got a lot of it showing.”

The girl that followed was less provocative, but still pretty in her own way. She wore a blue open sweater over a white button-up shirt, complete with a bow-tie. The finishing touches of her attire were her red shorts and classic bowler hat. The most striking thing about the woman were the freckles on her face, a stunning array of dots that painted her face in a shade of red similar to her hair. She walked with a bravado that was both alluring and intimidating. As her pale hand grasped her luggage, she stepped out of the chariot and onto the ground.

“Welcome to the show, Maria and Chlöe!” Chris greeted, respectively.

“It’s a spectacle,” Maria said in a thick Brazilian accent at Chlöe’s earlier comment. “I’m gonna charm everyone up, and they’re gonna love me. Even if I have to use my coconuts to do it.”

“That’s not what I heard in sequester,” Chlöe said matter-of-factly. Her tone of voice suggested at an English heritage. “Quite frankly, you may have to work a little harder if you want to charm the bloody pants off of someone here.”

As Chlöe walked to the other contestants with her luggage in hand, Chris hastily stopped her with his arm. He pulled out a piece of paper and said, “Not so fast, Chlöe, you need to sign this before I can officially include you as a part of this competition.”

“This is… a contract that prevents me from defaming the reputation of Total Drama,” Chlöe paraphrased. “That’s bollocks, why would I do something like that?”

“No rumors,” Chris demanded.

“No rumours,” Chlöe said under her breath as she signed the contract.

“We’re finally here! It’s about time,” a soft voice said from inside another chariot. The girl that stepped out had rope-like matted hair that formed tight curls around her head, creating a bundle of red and purple dreadlocks. She wore a white tank top that conflicted with her dark amber skin. She walked in long strides, her shoulders back and face held forward. “And our first challenge is soon… I sense a costume opportunity!”

“Sweetie, if you what you need is a costume,” Evan said, “then you’re free to ask me for one so long as you show me how to do that hair, ok-curr! It’s sickening!”

“I can’t tell if sickening is a good thing or not,” the girl replied with. “Now, I hope that’s a figurative expression. My mama always told me that if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all… or else bad Karma will come your way.”

“Alright, that should be everyone,” Chris said as Karma took her spot with the other contestants. “Welcome to Mount Olympus, your new home! People pay good money to come here, so think of this as a vacation. Only, a vacation that you’ll probably die or be seriously harmed on. Now, as you can see behind this temple dedicated to yours truly, there’s a large golden gate that can only be opened with a key. That… or brute strength.”

“I knew you’d want my help sooner or later,” Haru said confidently. He stepped out of the temple and walked closer to the locked gate, while taking a martial arts pose. However, upon punching it, the lock did not budge. “I think it’s locked.”

“I wasn’t talking about you,” Chris snapped. “And don’t interrupt me. Ever.”

Promptly, Chef Hatchet entered the view, donning a costume reminiscent of a certain Greek hero. His orange skirt was completed with similarly colored armor. The plates that surrounded his body made sure not to cover his bulging muscles, though, and the look was finished with a blue cape that only reached down to his waist.

“That outfit looks like a cheap modern-day Hercules straight out of a dollar store,” Sebastian criticized. “Where’s the authenticity? Go big or go home.”

“Hercules? Honey, more like hunk-ules!” Evan said as he purred at Chef.

As the burly chef walked past the contestants and to the gate, he gave Meadow a quick glare. With one swift punch, the lock broke, as well as part of the actual gate itself. The contestants picked up their luggage and headed towards the recently broken gate, letting Chris lead the way.

“Why do we need Chef to break the lock, anyway?” Henry questioned. “If you owned this property legally, shouldn’t you have a key?”

“Let me tell you something about the law,” Chris explained. “It doesn’t exist.”

As the other contestants made their way past the gate, another chariot pulled up. A young boy stepped out, his neat black hair swept to the side of his face. He wore a full suit, the ensemble being slightly unfit for his small-scale body. The bags under his eyes did no favors for his childlike appearance, and only made him look tense. As he received no reply after having called for the others, he ran towards the gate in a hurry, occasionally tripping on his shoelaces.

“Alright, this is the main mess hall,” Chris explained as the contestants entered a large temple resembling the Parthenon. The white marble pillars rose high, but they looked damaged and decayed. Above them was a triangular roof that was nearly collapsed, and likely served little to no protection from any outside elements. The paint chipping gave off an ancient, broken-down atmosphere, even though the structure was only a model of the real thing. In the middle of the framework stood a wide dining table with different assortments of food.

“Cabins won’t be co-ed. As much as we’d like to divide you guys by teams, we’d rather not have a lawsuit on our hands,” Chris said as he exited the Parthenon. “If you’re a girl, your cabin is to the right of the Parthenon. If you’re a boy, your cabin is to the left of the Parthenon. You meet in the middle when you’re hungry, though I’m guessing some of you will lose your appetite soon.”

“Darn, I was hoping I would share a living compartment with some of the females,” Carl expressed in disappointment, as most of the women looked at him in disgust.

“Speaking of teams,” Chris acknowledged. “If I call your name, you are on the Tenacious Titans. Carl, Nicole, Ivy, George, Maria, Karma, Sebastian, Jackson and… Meadow.”

The introvert, health-nut, social justice warrior, affluent, Brazilian bombshell, socialite, mogul, music enthusiast and hippie all took their place next to Chris. Ivy glared at Carl, while Carl fawned over Meadow. Meadow held onto George’s arm, after retreating in disgust due to his zebra-patterned tie. Maria applied her make-up while Sebastian held up the mirror for her. Nicole did jumping jacks in place, causing her to accidentally hit the music player out of Jackson’s hands and onto Karma’s head.

“The rest of you,” Chris said, “are on the Optimistic Olympians. That means Lito, Henry, Janelle, Evan, Haru, Alexandria, Violet… and, we’re missing someone.”

Henry raised an eyebrow. “What about Chlö–”

“Who’s that guy? I didn’t see him on the chariots here,” Chlöe interrupted as she pointed to the last boy to arrive in a suit. The others peered at him, awaiting an answer.

“I’m Charlie,” he stammered. All of the eyes on him lead him to adjust his collar nervously. “I didn’t see anyone when I got here. I didn’t think anyone noticed me.”

Chris pulled out an index card and scanned it. “Huh, must have missed you.”

“It’s hard to ignore someone dressed like this!” George said with a smile as he placed his hands on Charlie’s shoulders. “Take note, everyone, a suit makes you look important.”

The reporter, detective, psychic, drag queen, superhero, celebrity, mechanic, rumour starter and wallflower all took their place on the other side of Chris. Lito and Henry each scribbled something on a notepad, occasionally looking at the other’s notes. Haru glared at Janelle, who was meditating on the ground, while he carried Alexandria in his arms. Violet tied her hair up in a pink ribbon, while Evan snatched it from her hair and used it to tie up his own wig. Meanwhile, Chlöe peered at the others while Charlie hid behind her.

“One more thing,” Chris added. “Directly in front of the Parthenon is an old outhouse confessional surrounded by the woods. It’d be smart not to go beyond that… for reasons you probably don’t want to know. However, if you’re ever in the mood for dishing dirt on your fellow castaways, you can go there and speak your mind. It’s totally confidential. Give it a try.”

Alexandria: “I’m not here to make friends,” she said as she put on another pair of sunglasses and stared at the camera. “Oh, that’s it. I’m not here for the money either. Lord knows I have enough already.”

Meadow: “I came onto this show thinking it was Total Dharma,” she groaned. “You know, like a buddhist thing? I feel so stupid for supporting this vile show. I hope this camera is solar-powered, at least.”

Carl: “In this moment, I feel euphoric,” he said as he tipped his fedora at the camera. “Not because of any phony God’s blessings, but because I am enlightened by my own intelligence.”

Karma: “I consider myself a people person,” she said enthusiastically. “Everyone wants to be my friend. I work in a library, so I know how to read good books, and bad people.”

Evan: “Of course I have what it takes to be America’s Next Drag Superstar,” he said confidently. “I mean, look at me! I’m the fishiest queen here! That means feminine for all you straighties out there.”

Violet: “I’d say I’m the sanest of my team,” she assured. “I’m not too confident in my building abilities, but I think I’m clever enough to be a strong asset. No one else has my credentials.”

Henry: “Something about this game rubs me the wrong way,” he questioned. “I’m not sure what it is exactly, but I’ll get to the bottom of it faster than you can call the police.”

Jackson: “I’m only here to promote my music,” he said as he held up an album entitled Me. I Am Jackson... The Elusive Chanteuse. “Once I slay this game, I’m on my way to becoming a pop icon.”

Nicole: “These challenges are made for me,” she said boldly. “I am in my prime shape right now. Physically and mentally. There is literally no one stronger than me, in health and positive thinking.”

Charlie: “I know I don’t stand out,” he said nervously. “That could mean two things. One, I slide through without anyone noticing me. Or two, I’m voted out for not knowing anyone. I hope it’s the first.”

Haru: “I abide by three simple rules in life,” he said quietly. “Honor, courage, and justice. It’s these elements that allow me to live my life honestly and righteously.”

Sebastian: “I know it’s just the first day, but I’m nervous,” he gulped. “I don’t know how fit I am for this competition. After all, I’m a lifestyle guru, not an athlete. This isn’t my element.”

Maria: “Right now, I’m everyone’s friend,” she said in a thick Brazilian accent. “But if they mess with me, they’re dead. I don’t give second chances, you make a mistake and you’re done.”

Lito: “This is Lito Rodriguez,” he introduced, “coming at you live from an official Total Drama confessional booth. Now, this is top secret footage that you can only see here, copyrighted by yours truly, so–”

Janelle: “The stars have already aligned and determined my win.”

Ivy: “I consider myself open-minded,” she said. “I know some people think I go too far with my ideals, but that’s just because I care too much. Not that these idiots will be able to see that.”

George: “I’m not dumb,” he said. “I know these people won’t give someone as rich as me even more money. Which is why I’ll try to stir things up as much as I can before I go.”

Chlöe: “Most of what I say isn’t true,” she said with a smirk. “I could be lying right now, for all you know. If anyone actually believes anything I say, they’re out of their bloody minds.”

“Alright, you can drop your stuff off here, because it’s time for your first challenge,” Chris said as he motioned for the other contestants to follow him into the woods. “I know I said not to go any further, but I promise you won’t get injured… that badly. You might get some bruises and emotional trauma here and there.”

“Now that’s what I’m talking about!” Nicole said eagerly as she began jogging in place.

“Party,” Evan said indifferently.

“This suit is practically made of money,” George sneered. “If any part of her is harmed in the challenge, expect to see a lawsuit in the near future, McLean. That was most definitely a warning.”

“This can’t be legal,” Meadow said as she face-palmed.

“Now that the gang’s all here,” Chris said as he flashed a smile to the camera, “what first challenge do we have in store for them? Which of the new contestants will take home the crown? Which team will crumble by the end of the day? Who will crack under the pressure? Can I get any hotter? Find out the answers to all of these questions and more next time on Total… Drama… Mount Olympus!”

Chapter 2: Mazed and Confused

Word Count: 5217 words

“No seriously, ask me anything,” Nicole said to Karma with a smile as the two of them followed the others inside the woods. The camera zoomed out to reveal Chris in front of the two teams, leading the way to their first challenge. The all-encompassing green trees stretched out for miles, being the only thing in view. Mysterious noises surrounded all of them, adding to the uncanny feeling that they were being watched. Nicole followed her earlier comment with, “I can literally make any negative situation into a positive one. It’s like, a gift.”

“You lose your girlfriend to the king of the underworld by looking back when you’re told not to,” Karma said after careful thinking, her scenario being a reference to a famous Greek fable.

“If you looked back, you probably didn’t want her subconsciously,” Nicole beamed. “That’s not a good situation for either of you. She’s probably much happier with the king of the underworld.”

“You have to share your daughter by giving her up once a year to Hades,” Karma said.

“She has a cool story to tell her friends.” Nicole re-positioned her headband. “Playing poker with the dead is bound to make her some potential friends.”

“Being shot in the heel,” Karma once again asked.

“That’s easy." The health nut grinned at the spunky socialite. “That’s just a successful test to make sure your pain receptors are still functioning. Pain isn’t something to be scared of.”

Karma: “Greek mythology is one of my favorite things to read about. When I was a young girl, I always wanted to turn people into stone just by looking at them! No one messed with me anymore once I got my hands on some concrete.”

“Your treadmill breaks,” Karma wondered.

“Don’t even joke about that!” Nicole snapped, her reaction being unusual for her generally optimistic personality. As she started to jog to the other contestants, her mood instantly lifted and she added, “even then, you can just run outside for free. Anyone can get in shape!”

“Of course to you, anyone can get in shape,” Ivy said in disgust as Nicole ran by her. “Not everyone is as able-bodied as you, though. I think you need to stop being so preachy.”

“It’s not like I’m telling anyone what they should do,” Nicole shrugged as she slowed down. “I just think exercise is literally the greatest thing ever. Diet, exercise, supplements, and positive thinking above all else. There is literally nothing better than that!”

Ivy: “Nothing better than that? How about a world without institutionalized racism?”

“So.” George put his arm around Alexandria, the two of them being isolated from everyone else. He whispered as he continued with, “I have a proposition for you, ma’am. It deals with the game, and would be very beneficial to the both of us.”

“Don’t touch me,” Alexandria hissed as she removed the millionaire’s arm from around her shoulders. “I don’t care how much money you have, there are lots of rich people but only one Alexandria Bloomington… and I happen to be both.”

George: “I’m already thinking two steps ahead,” he said as he tapped his head with his finger. “Alexandria and I are on two separate teams, so if we work together and gave each other information, we could be the most powerful duo in the game. No one would even suspect a thing! It also doesn’t hurt that she’s a total babe who is in the 1% along with me.”

“Alright, alright.” George backed away and gave the washed-up celebrity some room. “I’ll just spit it out… I think the two of us should be in an alliance. We share something in common, being the wealthiest two people here, which also makes us a target.”

“I’m listening…” Alexandria inquired.

“No one is going to want to give us more money,” George explained. “I’ll bet my entire country club membership that if we don’t stick together, we’re the first two boots. If you care about this game, then we’ll join forces and control everyone. It’s a perfect plan!”

Alexandria contemplated the new offer, creating a brief moment of silence as she was alone with her thoughts. “Alright, it’s a deal. No funny business, though. Just because I’m blonde doesn’t mean I’m an idiot. Plus, these are extensions.”

Alexandria: “As if I trust that crooked businessman,” she said. “I know for a fact he didn’t earn his money legally, and he expects me to be in an alliance with him? Give me a break. He’s lucky I gave my answer so immediately, I was going to beauty-rest on it. How do you think I stayed acne-free throughout ‘08?”

“– and that’s when Count Olaf kidnapped my younger sister and took her deep into the mountains,” Violet said morosely. “After she was returned to us, we took refuge in a submarine, followed by a hotel, and shipwrecked onto a deserted island. Well, it wasn’t deserted, the people there actually killed Count Olaf.”

“Here I was, thinking that getting a car on my birthday was the most interesting thing to happen to me,” Charlie said in disbelief. “Not to imply that whatever happened to you was interesting. It's tragic.”

“You think I’m crazy, don’t you?” Violet asked, the sorrow being visible on her face.

“Not at all,” Charlie reassured as the two followed the other contestants. “My aunt Helen always told me not to judge anyone until you walk a mile in their shoes. You’re as crazy as I am.”

Charlie: “At least one person talks to me,” he said in frustration. “Since I got here late, by the time I met up with everyone, they were already close. To me, being ignored is worse than being picked on. At least being bullied means they’ll notice me.”

“I love that we’re in Greece,” Jackson exclaimed cheerfully to Sebastian. “Sheena Diamandis is Greek, and I’ve never felt more connected to her. Well, her father is Greek, but she was born in Wales. That’s like, totally me! Not really, though, I’m a quarter Japanese.”

“Interesting.” Sebastian applied a whole tube of lip balm. “Well, that isn’t impressive. Talk to me when her blog page gets over a thousand followers, then I’ll look into her.”

Jackson shot daggers at Sebastian. “She has nearly a million followers on Twerter.”

“Cool, I have a million and one.” Sebastian had a smug grin plastered on his face. “I’m kind of a big deal. I’m verified on every social media platform I have. I’m pretty much a mogul.”

“Whatever, her albums have sold more than your dumb hipster website,” Jackson said as he rolled his eyes and stormed away. “So who’s the real winner? Bye.”

Jackson: “Sebastian has excellent fashion taste, sure,” he said with a frown. “I was going to hire him when Jax Francisco’s album blew up, but now? I’m reconsidering it.”

“Alright, Olympians, your first challenge begins here,” Chris exclaimed as he stopped in his tracks. He pointed to a large rock wall, the cave door’s entrance being blocked off. “Today’s challenge is a Labyrinth. When I open the door, you’ll enter the maze and try to make your way through it. At the end of the Labyrinth, you’ll find a sword used by the hero Theseus.”

“That’s easy enough,” Carl bragged in a pompous tone. “I do mazes in my free time, that’s how I’m able to keep my cerebellum at its absolute peak. I expected more from a perceptive individual such as yourself, Chris.”

“That’s not all,” Chris explained. “The Labyrinth’s function was to hold the Minotaur, a half-bull and half-man creature. I’d be lying if I said we didn’t throw some extra… motivation in there. The first team that gets the sword back to me without being brutally killed by the Minotaur wins immunity. You’ll use a ball of thread as you navigate your way through the Labyrinth, so you can retrace your steps and not take forever to finish.”

“Half-man, half-bull?” Meadow cried out, horrified. “Natural selection is like, really bad for diversity in an ecosystem. I refuse to participate in a challenge that is tested on animals.”

“I hear you.” Ivy put a comforting hand on Meadow’s shoulder. “No one here is going to make you do anything you don’t want to do… but you’re obviously one of the strongest people on our team, and we need you.”

Meadow glanced at Ivy and the rest of her team, before finally giving in. “Fine.”

Meadow: “I usually always stand my ground,” she said as she crossed her arms. “But Ivy was the only one who spoke up when I was forced to be here against my will. I don’t want to let her down.”

As Chris pulled a lever, the cave door slowly ascended up, leaving the two teams to stare inside the pitch-black grotto. One-by-one, they entered, carrying a torch that Chris gave them moments before. The torch scarcely illuminated the cave, but the rugged walls that surrounded them were still visible. The air was damp and heavy, and the slightest sound echoed. The Labyrinth then split into two paths, with the Optimistic Olympians taking the right path and the Tenacious Titans taking the left path. The challenge had begun.

“I wish we had a map, that’d make this a lot easier,” Haru said as he unraveled the ball of thread while the the Optimistic Olympians walked. He flashed a cheesy grin at the others and added, “… but not to fear, Haru is here!”

“We don’t need a map.” Janelle carried the torch with her eyes closed. “The spirits are guiding me to the finish. As long as you follow me, we’re headed in the right direction.”

“That’s a load of baloney.” The amateur superhero rolled his eyes. “The right direction is honor, discipline and justice… not a rejected cult member.”

“Tensions flare in the Olympians team,” Lito whispered into a tape-recorder. “It’s day one, and no one has physically harmed anyone else… yet.”

“What makes me fake and not you? At least I can prove my powers,” Janelle said, not opening her eyes or lowering the torch in the slightest. “Everyone can see right through your superhero shtick.”

“I help people,” Haru said sharply. “All you do is exploit them. I’d like to see proof that you can do what you say you can. Lying is probably a piece of cake when it comes to you.”

“I can tell that you’re hungry.” Janelle continued to walk. Her correct analysis caused Haru to widen his eyes in surprise, and continue to unravel the ball of thread in embarrassment.

Janelle: “He mentioned that lying was a piece of cake and that my methods were a load of bologna,” she said, satisfied with herself. “It wasn’t hard to figure out, but I certainly don’t need to prove anything to that overgrown child.”

Chlöe tapped Haru on the shoulder, then pointed at Janelle when she got his attention. Chlöe moved her finger across her neck, symbolizing Janelle’s throat being cut in the game.

Chlöe: “Two people are already fighting, and I wasn’t even involved,” she said with a smirk. “Janelle thinks she’s running this show, but she’s a bit dim and doesn’t realize she’s going next. I’ll make sure of it, even if no one has a reason for voting her out… yet.”

“Are we at the end yet?” Maria whined as the scene changed to the Tenacious Titans. “I’m not used to so much walking, people usually treat me like a queen.”

“I’m with you.” Carl began breathing heavily and collapsed on the ground.

“Oh come on, the challenge just started!” Nicole picked Carl up from the ground and ran in place. “If we want to win this, we have to push our bodies to the limit!”

“Try pushing the yarn.” Maria pointed to the ball of thread in Nicole’s hands that had yet to be used. “If we want to win this, you need to pay attention. Play like a man, don’t play like a bitch.”

Ivy scowled at the Brazilian bombshell. “That’s a really degrading word for a woman.”

George put his hand on Maria’s shoulder. “Hey now, it was an honest mistake. No need to get angry at Nicole over something that minor, I’m sure it won’t happen again.”

“She’s not wrong, though,” Karma defended as Nicole looked around uneasily. “Even if we do find the sword, how are we going to get back without the thread? She’s costing us the challenge.”

Maria nodded her head. “At least someone has their coconuts screwed on right.”

Maria: “I know I might get on some people’s nerves,” she said as she adjusted a fake eyelash in a hand-held mirror, “but I joined this show to serve as a platform. I want to have a voice, and I’m not apologizing for anyone. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.”

Karma: “I probably should have just let Maria self-destruct,” she said in hindsight. “I always root for the underdogs, though, and I don’t want her to be an easy target just because she’s a strong personality. She deserves better.”

“I think we should split up,” Henry suggested. “Chris said that whichever team brings the sword back to him wins immunity, so not all of us need to look for it. We’ll cover more ground if we all take a different direction.”

“That’s a good idea, we’ve been going in circles.” Janelle opened her eyes and lowered the torch, causing Haru to twitch in disbelief. “Who gets the thread?”

Henry shrugged. “We wing it.”

“If we’re splitting up, I’m going with him.” Evan grabbed onto Lito’s arm and purred, prompting Lito to shrug and scribble something on a notepad.

“You can count me in,” Alexandria said to the drag queen as she removed her sunglasses. “If I’m going to have to do more walking, I might as well go with the most fashionable group.”

“I’ll go with these two.” Haru put his arms around Henry and Violet. “What’s a mob to a king? What’s a king to a god? What’s a superhero without his sidekicks?”

“I’ll pass on that, but thank you for the offer.” Violet curtsied. “I’d rather go with Charlie... for no particular reason. Groups of two are just better.”

“I guess that just leaves us,” Janelle said to Chlöe.

Henry: “Haru and I are bonded by our need to help… unfortunately, he also wants to include Violet,” he said with a grimace as he pulled out a briefcase and a picture. “I suspect that she’s up to no good, and I have evidence to prove it! You can clearly see in this picture that she’s holding hands with Charlie. One of the lovebirds needs to go.”

Violet: “Charlie kind of reminds me of my little brother, Klaus. The way he talks, acts, and handles himself is a little taste of home. It’s nothing more than that.”

Charlie: “I’m in love with Violet.”

“Ugh, it’s so hot in here.” George unbuttoned his shirt and loosened his tie. “The last time I worked up a sweat was when my daddy forced me to help his company, National Association of Smoldering The Young Gross Raging Occasionally Scary Society. I had to like, change screws and drill for oil and everything.”

“Wait a minute,” Meadow fumed. “Your father owns N.A.S.T.Y.G.R.O.S.S.? The same company that leaked hundreds of gallons of oil into the ocean, blew up a power plant that continues to rot the air we breathe, and refuses to take responsibility for the destruction of several ecosystems?”

“Well, when you put it that way.” The pompous affluent sneered. “I promise he isn’t a bad guy. He donated a thousand dollars to this one national park, so does it really matter if his company slipped up once or twice?”

“A thousand dollars won’t even scratch the surface of the amount of money he makes by letting innocent animals suffer,” Meadow ranted. “He didn’t just slip up once or twice, he’s ruining the Earth!”

“The fact that Jax Francisco’s album hasn’t blown up is ruining the Earth.” Jackson held back tears. “If people can’t understand real music, they’re doomed anyway.”

“I don’t have any part in what my daddy does in his free time,” George chimed. “You can take whatever issues you have with his company and go yell at him, because it isn’t my business.”

“You’re guilty by association,” Meadow snapped. “It’s not your business, but you’re not declining any paychecks. You don’t care because the only thing that matters to you is your bank account.”

“We should split up,” Sebastian suggested as he walked between the hippie and affluent. “All this arguing is making me tense, and my roots are already in trouble as it is. Plus, we’re only as strong as our weakest link.”

“Not a chance,” Ivy ordered. “Whenever things start getting scary, you white people always want to split up. I don’t want to be the Minotaur’s next meal, so we’re sticking together.”

“You’re beautiful when you’re passionate about something.” Carl kissed the social justice warrior’s hand. “There’s a doorway to my heart that I’d like to hold open for you, m’lady.”

“You’re a dog,” Ivy retorted.

Carl: “So many girls, like Ivy, say that men are dogs. What they fail to realize is that dogs are incredibly loyal if you treat them right. I guess nice guys really do finish last.”

“Were you in the Off-Broadway production The Tiger Queen?” Alexandria asked to a distracted Evan. “Our singing game was marvelous for a bunch of eleven year olds! I can’t believe I didn’t recognize you sooner, your performance was to die for!”

“I remember that, it’s what pushed me into journalism,” Lito said with a smile. “Not the play. I only got interested when everyone involved got arrested for running a drug ring.”

“I’ve worked in so many plays my entire life, that's my entire career,” Evan shrugged. “I've gagged on so many eleganzas, you'll have to forgive me if I don't remember that one."

“Are you aware of the awful conditions that went on behind the scenes?” Lito said, with no one paying attention to him. “You can buy my book for just nine dollars for more information.”

“Are you sure?” Alexandria twitched. “We were such good partners! I remember being so proud when you won that award, even though your vibrato wasn’t as strong as mine. You really don’t remember it? Or me?”

“Doesn’t ring a bell.”

Alexandria: “The only reason I joined this stupid show was for him,” she said as her mascara leaked, giving the impression that she had cried it off. “I saw that he signed up, and finally wanted to beat him at his own game, but he doesn’t even remember me!”

At that moment, the four groups that the Optimistic Olympians split up into promptly bumped into each other, causing some of the members to fall to the ground or grab their head in pain.

“How did we all just end up in the same place?” Henry questioned as he inspected the wall. “Have we been going in circles? Does this thing even have an end, or is this some sick joke?”

“Maybe we’re not meant to just navigate this on our own,” Charlie suggested. “Isn’t there anyone here that can build something to guide us to the end? Violet?”

“I could try to make a compass,” Violet nervously proposed. “There’s not even a definite chance the swords are north. If it works, it could just lead us to nowhere again.”

“It’s worth a shot,” Henry encouraged.

“Alright, I need a needle,” Violet asked as she tied her wavy black hair up with a pink ribbon. “Or a toothpick, or anything pointy at the end. That’s going to be our arrow.”

Evan removed a hairpin from his hair, causing one strand to dangle down. “This should work.”

“I also need a magnet, a bowl, a cork, and a bottle of water,” Violet instructed as she grabbed the hairpin from Evan’s hands and placed it on the floor. “Any liquid is fine.”

“I’ve got magnets.” Haru removed them from his tool-belt. “I was going to use them to guide me to the right path, but I guess this is more important right now.”

“I made this bowl in pottery class.” Charlie gave the innovative mechanic a dish from his backpack. “It was my good-luck charm when I came here. Luck is what we need right now.”

Alexandria proceeded to pop a bottle of champagne that she pulled from out her purse, causing the other contestants to jump at the sudden sound. “Relax, alcohol won’t kill you.”

Violet filled up the bowl with the bottle of champagne. She went on to grab the hairpin and rub it with the magnets five times, before placing the hairpin through the cork. She dropped the hairpin into the bowl of champagne, which pointed north.

“This way!” Violet exclaimed as the rest of her team followed the arrow.

Violet: “I didn’t want to show my cards too early,” she said as she untied her hair and placed the pink ribbon in her pocket. “But the well-being of my team depended on it. I just hope I didn't overshadow anyone.”

FifteenBonesRiddle

“Guys?” Karma pointed to a closed, steel door. In front of the door stood a marble podium, with a note and bones resting on top of it. The spunky socialite read from the clue, “Fifteen bones of ancient men… take back six, but still leave ten.”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Carl inquired. “Fifteen minus six gives you nine, not ten. Unless I made a mistake in my computations, this clue is impossible. Chris must have messed up.”

“Thanks, Sherlock.” Ivy rolled her eyes. “It’s a riddle.”

“I’m a lifestyle guru, I’m not supposed to think this hard.” Sebastian winced in pain as he put his hand on his forehead. “Where’s my lip balm? Lips are sensitive and dry and they need extra help from both coconut and honey to remain in a natural state of organic balminess.”

“If I’ve learned anything from reading song lyrics, it’s that you always need to read between the lines.” Jackson raised an eyebrow. “Maybe they don't mean ten as a number? What if we're supposed to spell it with the bones?”

Jackson stared at the riddle for a moment, before removing six bones, leaving only the word ten. With the correct answer, the door quickly elevated up, showing two swords used by the hero Theseus - one for each team. The Titans cheered and patted Jackson on the back, while Ivy grabbed one of the swords. Using the golden thread, the team began making their way back.

Jackson: “It feels good to prove myself,” he said with a smirk. “I know these people think I’m just another pretty face, but I’m the full package, baby. Brains, brawn, beauty, blessed voice.”

“I think I see a door!” Violet beamed as she pointed forward. “We should be getting close!”

As the Olympians made their way to the same station the Titans completed just moments before, they stopped in their tracks when a beast angrily slammed his hooves on the ground in front of them. It had the torso of a man, but the legs and head of a bull. Its dark brown hands held onto an axe, the steel shimmering along with the rest of the armor on its body. With one breath, visible smoke came out through its nostrils and its tail raised higher.

“That isn’t the real Minotaur.” Haru scoffed as he walked confidently to the creature. “This is obviously just Chef in a costume, which is a really good one for what it’s worth!”

As Haru grabbed onto the Minotaur’s ears and lifted, expecting its head to be a mask, the Minotaur roared and flung Haru to the rock wall. Galloping to the rest of the contestants, the Olympians rushed to the other direction while the Minotaur chased after them. Its eyes were blood-shot red, and its axe was being flung in fury.

“I'll be sure to expose every horrible thing we're being put through!” Lito quaked as he scribbled something on a piece of paper while he ran. "This can't be legal!"

The contestant’s screams were heard throughout the labyrinth, but their cries were temporarily silenced as they reached the beginning of the maze again and stood next to Chris.

“Took you long enough.” Chris sipped from a martini.

Following the Olympians from out of the labyrinth was the enraged Minotaur, who nearly swung its axe, but was stopped when Evan threw glitter in its eyes. “Bam!”

As the Minotaur wailed in pain, being temporarily blinded, it turned around and ran towards the cabins instead. Swinging its axe, instead of hitting the contestants, it destroyed the living quarters of the contestants and ran away into the forest in pain.

“What was in that glitter?” Chris asked in disbelief.

“I dipped it in bleach.” Evan winked to the camera. “You never know when you need to blind someone before a lip-sync… mama knows how to play dirty.”

Soon after the Olympians exited the labyrinth, the Titans sprinted out.

“We’re too late!” Meadow shouted.

“Not so fast,” Chris reassured. “I said that the first team to come out of the labyrinth with their respective sword would win immunity. Since the Olympians don’t have theirs, managed to blind my Minotaur, and destroy both of the cabins… the Tenacious Titans win immunity!”

“Was there ever any doubt?” George flashed a smug grin.

As the Titans cheered obnoxiously, some of the Olympians placed a comforting hand on Violet and reassured her that her effort was appreciated, to Chlöe’s dismay.

Chlöe: “Violet’s clever enough to build a compass from scratch, and the little bugger has this team wrapped around her finger,” she said as she crossed her legs. “She needs to go.”

After the sun set, the once orange and red hues of the sky shifting into blue and purple, the two teams set up their sleeping bags on the floor of the Parthenon. Some of the contestants had helped themselves to dinner, while others had cleaned up in the lake behind them, and others had attempted to discuss who they would be voting out later that night.

Chlöe stood in front of her team, with the exception of Violet and Charlie (who were out by the lake). “I’m telling you, that girl is cheeky enough to build a working compass. It’s not a coincidence that it led us straight to the minotaur, she knows exactly what she’s doing.”

“Being clairvoyant, I can tell that you’re honest.” Janelle closed her eyes.

“What motive would she have to even do that?” Henry asked. “Wasn’t it Charlie who asked her to make the compass in the first place? It just seems a little fishy to me.”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Chlöe asked. “Her and Charlie have been shagging this entire time, and they planned that whole thing. I don’t know why they would throw the challenge, some people are just born with a mean bone in their body. Maybe they idolize Scott.”

Haru frowned. “They do seem close… but Violet is my sidekick, she’d never do that.”

“This chit-chat has been great, but I have to go.” Chlöe glanced around and removed herself from the group. As the rest of the team spoke about their new information, Chlöe slipped into the woods. Henry, being the only one not distracted, raised his eyebrow in confusion.

Henry: “What is she up to?”

“Welcome to your elimination ceremony,” Chris said to the Olympians as they entered – excluding Chlöe, who was already seated. They were inside a dark cave, the grotto only being illuminated by the bright green water that surrounded them. However, it was the skulls and bones that floated alongside the river that caught the attention of most people. “The person that’s voted out of here tonight will get into a boat, cross the River Styx, and go home… if you’re lucky enough to survive the ride.”

Chlöe: “Tsk, tsk, tsk.”

Lito: “I don’t know if I trust you or not, but regular people are just as rabid as the paparazzi. They're vultures. Once they hear a crazy story… they latch onto it and refuse anything else.”

Haru: “You’ve done me wrong, sidekick… but I can forgive you.”

“All of the votes are in,” Chris explained as he held up a plate of golden apples. “If you received zero votes, you get a golden apple from the Tree of Immortality. Results may vary. The first golden apples go to… Lito, Henry, and Alexandria.” Chris tossed a golden apple to the news reporter, the amateur detective, and the washed-up celebrity. Lito caught his and wrote something down in his notepad, while Henry inspected his apple suspiciously. Alexandria caught her apple, but threw it behind her, hitting Charlie in the face.

“Evan and Charlie.” Chris tossed the next two golden apples at the two.

The drag queen grabbed his golden apple as he snapped his fingers and placed his hands on his hip, while Charlie glanced at Violet, nervous at the recent change of events. Meanwhile, Chlöe grabbed a golden apple from behind her seat, and winked at the camera.

“Janelle, Violet, and Haru each received at least one vote tonight. The next golden apple goes to… Haru.”

The superhero wannabe caught his golden apple and sighed a breath of relief, then shot daggers at Janelle while he took a bite of his golden apple, only to find that it was solid gold.

“I can tell that last apple will go to me,” Janelle predicted, though she seemed slightly worried.

“The final golden apple of the evening goes to… “









“Janelle.”

The psychic caught her apple, and nodded her head as if she knew the outcome all along. She glared right back at Haru, prompting him to look away uneasily.

“I thought you guys appreciated my effort,” Violet said dejectedly. “I didn’t know we’d get attacked by the Minotaur… it’s water under the bridge, but at least I tried.”

“Tried to throw it,” Chlöe remarked, causing Violet to raise an eyebrow in confusion but shake her head and take a seat on the boat anyway.

“This is all my fault,” Charlie cried out as he ran up to the innovative mechanic. “My fault. I was the one who told you to build a compass! My fault. It should have been me tonight! My fault.”

“Five G’s, Charlie,” Evan said as he placed the hairpin from before in place. “Good god, get a grip, girl.”

“Charlie, worse things have happened to me.” Violet removed the pink ribbon from her pocket and put it in the wallflower’s hand, as the boat began to move. “Use that to remember me by!”

“One down, seventeen to go,” Chris finished the episode as he stood next to a mourning Charlie. “If you thought that elimination was shocking, you haven’t seen anything yet! With more lies, betrayals and drama to come, which contestant will join Violet as our next loser? Will the Minotaur come back and destroy yet another expensive prop? What exciting pieces of Greek mythology will our contestants have to go through? Find out next time on Total … Drama: ... Mount Olympus!”

Chapter 3: Written in Stone

Word Count: 10,388 words

“Last time on Total Drama: Mount Olympus,” Chris McLean said as the camera faded in. Displayed behind him were the ruined cabins and rubble from the previous episode. “We pitted two teams against each other in the dark and mysterious Labyrinth, which held the Minotaur! Half-man. Half-bull. All-evil. From cross-team alliances, to lying about a challenge performance, to a romance that never came to fruition, the eighteen new contestants entered with a bang.”

The scene replayed Evan abruptly tossing glitter in the Minotaur’s eye. “The Labyrinth forced our contestants to interact with one another in a high-stakes environment. Turns out Haru hates the supernatural, Maria hates gym rats, and George and Alexandria hate the poor. Not much of a shocker. When Violet’s homemade compass cost the Optimistic Olympians the win, Charlie blamed himself for her shocking elimination even though it was actually Chlöe who spread a rumor that the mechanic threw the challenge.”

The narcissist grinned. “Sound tough? Get used to it, because this week is a desperate battle for survival. Will Charlie ever find out about Chlöe throwing his soul mate under the bus? Will Jackson continue to obsess over unimportant pop stars? Find out on this episode of Total ... Drama: ... Mount Olympus!”

The scene faded in with the contestants quivering into their sleeping bags as heavy rain poured all over the area. They had been awake all night, being unable to sleep due to the loud pattering of drops on the floor. The Parthenon they slept in had no ceiling and offered little protection from the harsh downpour.

“You guys, this is nothing,” Nicole said as she used her headband as protection from the rain. “I was practically born in the woods. The wolves raised me. This weather is going to have to work harder if it wants to bring down our morale! I mean, what's the worst that can happen?”

The downpour increased as the health-nut finished her sentence. The other contestants in the Parthenon groaned and muttered at Nicole for jinxing the situation. Sorry.

“This is so great in a way, y’know?” Meadow continued to encourage. “No separate dorms, no walls between us. We’re just one team having a shared experience of deprivation and moist blankets. It’s like the hunger strike, but bigger. And wetter.”

“That’s the spirit!” Nicole agreed as she high-fived the hippie.

Meadow gasped. “Oh my god, we should totally have a sing-along!”

“Only if I get to pick the song,” Jackson asked. The music enthusiast proceeded to screech an ear-shattering whistle tone while Meadow and Nicole followed his lead. The harmony continued until Jackson’s voice broke the screen of Carl’s portable game.

“That was a limited edition GameGuy!” the introvert fumed as he inspected the crack on the game system. “I wouldn’t expect you to understand the significance of that, your feeble mind is too busy slaving away to a bunch of chicks that can’t even sing.”

Ivy prepared to chew out Carl for his comment, but was pleasantly surprised when Jackson was the first to respond. “And you’re a slave to your own ego. Bye. Talk to me when you stop being so pathetic.”

Ivy: “Is this team perfect? No. But there are some diamonds in the rough. Meadow, for one. She and I have a lot of things in common, in that we’re both caring and empathetic about others. Then there’s Jackson, who’s really funny but not afraid to get sassy when he needs to. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but… I’m actually… getting along with others.”

Chlöe faced the rest of the Olympians, who were huddled together and using Haru’s cape for protection from the storm. Since the cover wasn’t large enough for all eight contestants – seven, as Chlöe covered herself with her blue jacket – some teammates were feeling the full extent of the downpour, but were still relieved for the slight sense of security.

“... but when my sister turned eighteen, she went astray. I haven’t seen her since,” Chlöe howled. She wiped a tear from her eye as thunder crackled. “Some people say that it was with her dealer. Rumours are terrible and cruel, but I’m left wondering if some of them are true.”

“That must have been so hard for you,” Haru choked out while putting a comforting hand on her shoulder. “We’re here for you, Chlöe. Even if your sister wasn’t. No teammate left behind.”

“The worst part is that I can understand why she eloped. She was kept a prisoner growing up by our parents. Religion was the only thing we knew,” Chlöe said as the waterworks began. “I know she wanted to explore the world… but how could she just leave me like that? Especially since she gave birth the day before? How could she leave her daughter like that?”

“The story has a plot twist,” Henry mumbled under his breath. Lito, who was sitting right next to the amateur detective, overheard the passing comment and laughed, though he stopped himself as to not ruin the moment.

Evan pulled away from the superhero’s cape to give the rumour starter a hug. “Girl, if you ever need to talk to someone, I’m here. Pull yourself together… we’re family now!”

Chlöe nodded her head and hugged the drag queen back, the warm gesture prompting her to cry even harder. “Thanks so much, guys, I really needed to get that off of my chest.”

Chlöe: “That was a load of rubbish,” she said as she jokingly put a finger in her mouth and pretended to gag. “Getting Violet out was a risky move, but it paid off, and now I need to get back into this team’s good graces. The more sympathy I can get from everyone, the more damage I can do. Right now? I’m playing with a bunch of amateurs."

Evan: “Chlöe’s story really hit home for me. My sister never got knocked up by a criminal and left the country, but I know what it’s like to not have people there for you. That’s part of the reason I started doing drag, to belong to a group. I mean, if a bunch of buzzed bottoms don’t make you feel at home, you’re a lost cause, hunty!”

When morning came, dark clouds loomed over the area and replaced the sky with a gray-ish color. The rain had stopped, but the weather was still gloomy. Breakfast was being served in the Parthenon — a giant Cyclops eye. Chef took a spoonful of grub and flung it on Meadow’s plate.

“Um, do you have anything that’s vegan?” Meadow asked as she looked at her plate in disgust. “I don’t mean to be picky. Vegetarian works too. And I’m sorry about the other day, Chef. We should re-introduce ourselves. I’m Meadow. Funny story, my parents named me after Jayne Meadows, um, the actress. But after my tenth birthday they said they named me after the grassland.”

Chef’s eye began to twitch as he made eye contact with the naive hippie. Flaring his nostrils, he slowly said, “You don’t like my food, you don’t gotta eat it. Real simple.”

Meadow nodded. “Yeah, I get that, I was just wondering if you could –”

NEXT!” Chef yelled as Meadow jumped in surprise.

Meadow: “Man, that guy has to work on his temper! Everyone in here is in such a bad mood all the time. I mean, I thought when I applied for this show we would be learning about universal truth, peace, love and justice, y’know? I thought this would be more about community. Instead, I get a chef who’s probably killed more people than he has cooked edible meals.”

Charlie took his meal and slumped down in his seat, away from the others who were waiting in line. He inspected the pink ribbon that Violet had given him the episode before, before slamming his head on the table and groaning loudly, catching the attention of the rest of his team.

“Someone should go talk to him,” Haru said as he shot a look of concern at Charlie's way. Chef Hatchet hurled an eyeball onto the superhero’s plate, while glaring at him to keep the line moving. “With great power comes great responsibility, and we’re the ones that voted out Violet.”

Janelle nodded. “I saw it in my tarot cards this morning when I yielded the Death card. Charlie may quit, and if that is the case, it surely means trouble for our team.”

If he quits?” Haru rolled his eyes in disbelief. “I didn’t realize witchcraft was so fickle. Can’t you just use your hocus pocus magic to figure out whether or not he’ll quit?”

The psychic lowered her eyebrows. “It doesn’t work that way.”

"So what if he quits?" Alexandria pursed her lips together and checked her complexion in a hand-held mirror. As she uttered the next words, she sealed her mirror shut. "Less competition."

"The man in suspiciously-tight shorts is right." Lito shot daggers at the pseudo-celebrity. "We can't afford to be down two members, someone needs to check up on him. Not me!"

“Not me,” the rest of the Olympians quickly shouted except for Evan, who was too busy knitting together a neon green shawl. He glanced up from his work and noticed the rest of the team staring. The drag queen sighed and put his incomplete shawl around his shoulders, and added, “Fine. I'll do it. Leave it to the man in a wig to have more cojones than the rest of you.”

Evan glided over to the empty table Charlie resided in, his feet barely touching the ground. “Listen, kid. We're all worried you're gonna go nuts or something. You can either socialize like a regular human, or sit alone and sashay away right after Violet.”

The poor attempt at comforting Charlie caused him to groan even louder, much to Evan’s dismay. Sitting down next to the wallflower, he added, “Sorry, too soon. Listen, I know you had a real bond with her, but do you think she’d want you to be all mopey and sad like this?”

“It’s my fault she’s gone. I told her to build that compass.”

“A queen once told me that no amount of guilt can change the past,” Evan said as he placed a comforting hand on Charlie’s shoulder. “That was before I pushed her down the stairs of course. That's beside the point, though, you can't beat yourself over it. Hindsight is twenty-twenty.

Charlie sat up, his dark bags and puffy red eyes becoming more apparent. "No one even notices me. I'm going to go home soon anyway... might as well save you guys the trouble."

The drag queen appeared in deep thought for a moment, before an opportunity struck. "I think I know exactly what’ll make you feel better. Come with me!”

Charlie’s ears perked up at the invitation. Evan stood up and spun around, his green shawl twirling along with him and striking Charlie in the face. Evan's high heels clicked the floor with every step, while Charlie hunched behind him. The two exited the Parthenon, leaving their trays of “food” on the table, while Alexandria glared from a distance.

Evan: “I’m not a nice person,” he said while he wrapped his shawl around his neck. “I want to win. I got bills to pay. I got dogs to put through college… but I know when a queen is really down, and Charlie reminds me of myself. If I can make that aspiring Mr. Bean look sickening, I can do anything, mama!”

“He’s a clown. And he needs to cut his hair,” Maria said to Karma as the two ate together. Although the person in question wasn’t specifically mentioned, the latter nodded her head in agreement.

Sebastian slammed his lunch tray on the table and sat down next to them, fuming. He pulled out a small calendar and began reviewing it. “I can’t believe I forgot the polar vortex is almost here! I need some major day and night outfit inspiration for surviving these frigid temps.”

“Honey, you’re gonna have to be a little more specific," Karma said with an eyebrow raised.

“The polar vortex is a large pocket of cold air that’s going to hit soon,” Sebastian explained. “The rain last night was just the beginning. Soon, we’re going to be blasted with strong winds and rough snow. I should have began planning my outfit last week, I can’t believe I’m so irresponsible!”

“Isn’t Greece in the middle of the summer?” Karma questioned. “I’m sure you have some time before this pole vertex thing hits. It won’t be cold for at least another two months.”

“You don’t understand,” the mogul said as he whipped his head around to Karma and wrinkled his eyebrows in disbelief. “Someone has already probably figured out when the polar vortex is going to hit and what the optimal time for unleashing their outfit is. If I don’t start right now, someone is going to take my idea faster than I can say ‘Balenciaga’!”

“That make sense, a cheetah can’t change its stripes,” Maria chimed in.

“Jeans definitely are the warmest thing you need during a polar vortex,” Sebastian muttered under his breath. “No skirts, and forget about wool pants. We’re not savages.”

Karma: “I didn’t have the heart to tell Maria that a cheetah doesn’t have stripes,” she explained. “And I definitely couldn’t tell Sebastian that he was overreacting. I don’t even know what I’d do if I was on their bad side… or anyone’s, for that matter. I’ve worked so hard in my day-to-day life to be social and approachable, and it’s paid off. I’m not good with confrontation because I’ve never had to be. Everyone likes me.”

“Your cronies already fessed up. You’re going away for a long, long time.”

Henry was visible interrogating Lito, his foot on the table with his right arm resting on it. His expression was stern, with no discernible emotion. Next to the detective was Haru, who sat on the table, his face only a couple of inches away from the reporter. Henry slammed on the table. “Fess up now! We know you did it!”

“Did what?”

The detective pointed to Haru. “His cape. We know you stole it.”

Lito was bewildered. He began to stand up and walk away from the conflict, before Henry grabbed his shoulders and shoved him back down in his seat. There was a moment of silence as Henry's eyes pierced Lito, until the reporter finally added, “I didn’t steal anything! I’ve been with Alexandria all morning, you can ask her!”

Henry snorted. “There’s holes in your story, Lito. First you told me that you were getting breakfast. Haru may be going easy on you, but I’m sure you don’t want the bad cop in me to come out. Tell me where the cape is.”

Lito sighed. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Henry shook his head. “Wrong answer, pal. You’re going away for a long, long time. You saw Haru with the cape, and you just couldn’t keep your hands off of it. So you waited until he was in the bathroom, before digging through his suitcase. You knew that there were witnesses, and you had to get rid of them. You couldn’t have that. So you killed them. All of them. Your murder weapon – a sharpened icicle that you stole from Chef’s freezer. The evidence of the murder weapon would destroy itself by melting. Chef’s freezer is also where you stored all of their bodies, until you had a plan. That’s when you used acid to dissolve the corpses. You used bleach to get rid of any fingerprints. You tried to frame someone else. And now you’re in the process of getting plastic surgery and changing your identity. If you have nothing to hide, let me look through your suitcase. All I need is a fake passport to prove my point. It’s the perfect murder.”

“Dude, I think you’ve been watching too many crime shows.”

Haru took a deep breath. “Henry, I don’t think it was him.”

Henry rubbed his temples in frustration. “That's what he wants you to think, Murphy. I will crack this case for you. Now get me some more coffee, I’m not paying you to sit on your butt all day.”

Haru raised an eyebrow. “You don’t pay me at all.”

A scream echoed throughout the Parthenon, catching the attention of the other contestants. They looked to find Alexandria huddled in a corner, with a snake rapidly approaching her. The washed-up celebrity attempted to strike the reptile with the heel of her shoe, but all of her shots missed. “Somebody kill it! I’m too young and famous to die!”

“It’s probably not even that venomous,” Meadow yelled from across the Parthenon. “He’s more scared of you than you are of him! Just be friendly!”

“If this inbred lizard touches me, I will be filing a lawsuit!” Alexandria cried out and proceeded to retreat further into the corner. She threw her sunglasses at the snake, but the action only irritated it more. “A little help would be nice!”

“I’ve got you, Alexandria! Stay calm!” Haru yelled as he sprinted towards the reptile. With one swift motion, the aspiring superhero grabbed the snake by the tail and wrestled with it. Attempting to avoid the chomps, he threw it outside of the Parthenon and away from Alexandria.

“That was totally unnecessary.” Meadow crossed her arms and pouted.

However, to everyone’s surprise, the snake began to morph into a woman. A scaly tail protruded from what should have been her legs, as she slithered back into the Parthenon. She hissed at Haru and glared at the superhero with her bloodshot eyes. The most striking feature of the woman, however, were the various serpents that emerged from her scalp in place of her hair.

Jackson covered his open mouth with his hand. “Talk about a bad hair day.”

Haru met the gorgon’s gaze, and froze in place. Gradually, his body began to stiffen, until his entire frame hardened into stone. Unable to speak or move, the hero became nothing more than a statue. The woman gave one last hiss before creeping into the woods.

Alexandria took a deep breath and inspected the statue. “I guess every hero needs a shrine.”

“Glad to see some interior decorating,” Chris said in regards to Haru as he entered the Parthenon, holding a mug of coffee. “This place was really starting to bum me out.”

“That’s probably because you have the style of a wet tissue,” Sebastian criticized. “The decaying roof is like, totally vintage. Just look at that mold.”

“That mold is going to give us all a fungal infection,” Meadow feared with hunched shoulders.

Chris lightly tapped on the statue of Haru, and promptly shrugged. “I hope you’re not too traumatized, because your next challenge starts … five minutes ago. You’ll run into the woods and try to grab as many snake eggs as you can find, using the burlap sacks that will be provided for you. Aside from all your hideous faces, there's one more threat to your very survival – the mother herself, Medusa. Our friend Haru here has already made himself acquainted with her. Hell hath no fury like a mother scorned. If you get caught while trying to steal her eggs, then you may or may not want to make eye contact. The first team that gets back to the Parthenon with at least five snake eggs wins immunity.”

“He’s not stuck like this forever… right?” Henry pondered. “How is that even possible?”

“Petrification,” Karma answered. “Over time, organic matter can turn into stone. Medusa just speeds up the process. Chris has to know a way to break the curse… I think.”

Alexandria wrinkled her nose. “There’s only five of us, though, now that Viola is out of the game, Haru got himself eliminated from the challenge, and heaven knows where Charles and Eric are. How is that fair?”

Chris shrugged. “Medusa’s entrance was meant to take out a Titan. It’s not my fault they’re so good at challenges. Maybe you should take a page from their handbook.”

“And why do we need the snake eggs?” Henry followed up with.

“Great question!” Chris smirked. “The winning team will get a special reward: internet for an hour. Our producers spared no expense in providing the most high-quality computers they could find. As for the losers? You’ll get to spend a whopping three hours with Chef Hatchet in the kitchen, cooking Medusa’s tasty Olympian delicacies for tomorrow’s breakfast!”

Sebastian gasped loudly. “We need to win this challenge.”

Sebastian: “Internet? For a whole hour? This is the longest I’ve been unplugged. If we win, I can update my blog, announce my next film project, feature my new cookbook, order those fancy detox cleanses that I like, renew my coupon for that spa wax…”

With the exception of Charlie and Evan, who were still M.I.A., the contestants ran outside of the Parthenon and were given burlap sacks by Chris to hold the snake eggs in. The Olympians decided to split up into three teams: Chlöe and Janelle, Alexandria and Lito, and Henry going solo. The Titans, who had extra members, split off into four teams: Nicole and Carl, Sebastian and Jackson, Ivy and Meadow, and Maria and Karma with George tagging along. The contestants ran into the woods as Chef signaled an air horn.

The heat was sweltering, beating down relentlessly on all of the contestants as they scoured the landscape. George, Maria, and Karma trudged along a pathetic dirt path together, with Maria leading the way, seemingly unaffected by the day’s harsh temperature.

“Ugh, I cannot believe this!” George groaned. He had completely sweat through his fancy dress shirt, which looked exactly like a normal dress shirt with the exception of the embroidered ‘G.’ The affluent wiped the sweat from his brow, but that did nothing but disgust him even more as he realized how moist his skin was. “Daddy paid at least six thousand euros for this top. These inconsiderate producers need to make these challenges easier.”

“Honey, I think that’s the point of a challenge,” Karma crossed her arms.

“Six thou-sand, you say?” Maria asked the billionaire, putting an extra emphasis on the last syllable. She turned around to face the playboy and giggled as she ran her hands across George’s muscles, all of which were outlined by the sogginess of his shirt. “That is a lot of money!”

George scoffed, slapping Maria’s hands away. “Cashmere doesn’t grow on trees, you know. You’re about three-hundred K away from being able to afford this luxury abode.”

“Abode?” Maria blinked. “How do you say?”

“A fancy way of saying house,” Karma defined.

Maria perked up. Running her hand along the billionaire’s jawline, she added, “Like you stay inside? That’s funny… funny… because I believe it is you who will be inside of me.”

Karma’s eyes widened, while George cocked his eyebrows, intrigued by Maria’s forwardness. George stared deep into the Brazilian bombshell’s eyes. “I quite like being inside of things. When you’re as rich as my daddy, who needs the outside? It’s so… dirty. Like you.”

Maria fluttered her eyelashes and landed a smooch on George’s cheek. “Oh, I think you will find that I am very dirty! But not poor, the Brazilian royal family runs in my blood!”

George’s eyes lit up. “You never told me you came from money.”

“I have lots of Portuguese friends, and I don’t think Brazil even has a royal family...” Karma spoke upon deaf ears. “We should really be focusing on the challenge, you guys.”

“Why do you have to be such a wet blanket?” George rolled his eyes while Maria continued to caress his arms through his wet shirt. “Maria, what do you say we get out of here? Somewhere a little more... interesting?”

The words hit Karma like a ton of bricks. She was taken aback at George’s sudden change of tone, shocked at any negativity being thrown her way. Maria snapped out of her trance for a moment to give Karma a quick glance, who was frozen and stared at the duo with wide eyes. Maria gave the suggestion some thought, before finally answering with, “I would love to!”

Karma: “A wet blanket? Somewhere a little more interesting?” she said with a gasp. “I’m shocked and offended that anyone would even think that about me. Everyone likes me where I’m from. All of my friends only have nice things to say about me. I know I shouldn’t care about George’s opinion, since we barely know each other, and I don’t… but I can’t help wondering why anyone would dislike me. Was it something I said?”

You pick it up,” Alexandria said to Lito as she looked on in disgust at a group of snake eggs on the grass. “For all I know, the media has a camera situated in a tree. They're just dying to see me do some manual labor. Pictures of me go for a grand a pop. I wasn’t raised productive. I won’t ruin daddy’s good name like that.”

The news reporter raised an eyebrow. “Tell me more about your daddy issues.”

“I wouldn’t call them issues,” the former celebrity replied. “More like creative differences.”

The reporter nodded. “Okay, then, tell me about your celebrity friends. You must have a lot of them, right? What sorts of drama is going on? Any hook-ups? Any break-ups? Criminal records? Leaked explicit pictures? Any dirt on former flames? Wardrobe malfunctions? Don't spare any details!”

The celebrity nervously fiddled with her burlap sack. “Hm… yes to all of those, but I would rather crash my Mercedes than tell you a sliver of gossip. I wouldn’t rat my friends out to a vulture like you.”

“Are you sure about that?” Lito said as he squinted in a furtive manner. “Not even if I spilled the beans about the fact that you wear extensions? Don’t think I don’t know about that. You were bald for a while after your psychotic breakdown, no? So how did you grow all of that hair back in under a year? The time doesn’t add up, Alex. I can see the news now – Washed Up Celebrity Turns to Cheap Synthetic Wool.”

The celebrity assumed a regal pose. “Ha! You think that’s supposed to scare me?”

“It… doesn’t?”

“All publicity is good publicity, darling,” she insisted.

Lito placed a finger on Alexandria’s mouth, and pointed to a rustling in a nearby bush. Once the two heard the rasping of tiny snakes, they realized who was causing the sound. The two hid behind a tree, as all they could see were gnarled claws coming closer and closer to them.

“Do you know how I came to be?” the gorgon said soothingly as she slithered throughout the forest, clearly aware of the presence of Alexandria and Lito. Her voice was inviting the notorious child star and the journalist to leave their hiding spot. “I wasn’t always like this, you know. A jealous woman put a curse on me. I was once beautiful.”

The washed-up celebrity whimpered, causing Lito to cover her mouth fully. Medusa grinned as she heard the whimpering and approached the tree, leaving a layer of green ooze with the shifting of her tail. Before the two could run, Medusa squirmed her way in front of them and gave them one glance – all that was needed to eliminate them from the challenge.

Alexandria: “Lito is paparazzi scum, he has no sense of privacy nor a real job… but he’s the only way I’ll see myself on the big screen again. If what he wants is a story, I’ll be sure to give him one.”

Henry had dropped his burlap sack somewhere in the forest, holding a briefcase instead, and was running towards the Parthenon. He glanced around him, suspicious of any other activity besides his own, before sliding in through the white pillar columns. There, the detective scanned the environment around him, before finding the rest of his teammate’s suitcases and personal items. He ran towards a purple bag with glitter on it, belonging to Janelle. The sleuth opened it up above the ground, causing a crystal ball to fall out and shatter.

Henry shrugged and moved onto the next person; Alexandria’s, a bright pink and bedazzled purse. There, he found several cosmetics and beauty products, tossing them behind him. He found similar items in Evan’s bag, except the drag queen’s lipstick revealed a small pocket knife when opened.

“A-ha. Evidence.” The investigator put Evan’s lipstick inside of a small bag.

Henry: “This challenge is exactly what I needed. All it takes is one person to win it, so I’d rather spend my time much more wisely, like having some real hands-on experience. Is looking through everyone’s stuff an invasion of privacy? Probably, but they’ll all thank me later.”

“Y’know, this is really similar to something that happened when I was WWOOFing on a walnut farm in Xenia,” Meadow explained to Ivy as the two walked through the forest with a burlap sack in their hands. Neither seemed to mind the heat, with Meadow embracing the sun and Ivy being used to the hot weather.

“While you were what-ing?” The activist gave a confused glance.

“WWOOFing. Willing Workers on Organic Farms,” the flower child clarified. “We had a lot of experience with making our cause known. One time, this tree that was like a hundred years old was scheduled to be chopped down – which is totally messed up, since it had been there for so long, y’know? It earned its place in that community. Anyway, we all chained ourselves to the tree. I spent a whole day in a cell for it, but it was worth it.”

“I totally get that,” Ivy replied as she nodded in agreement. “Believing in a cause is one of the most satisfying things a person can do. I wouldn’t ever chain myself, since the patriarchy already does that for me, but I find other ways to get my point across. Mostly graffiti, trespassing, and arson. Simple stuff like that.”

“Cool beans!” Meadow spun around and landed on the ground, looking up at Ivy. “Do you ever feel like you’re in your body, but you can really feel, like... the space around you? Like, air suddenly becomes really heavy and you can feel, like, the atmosphere... and the molecules just... hanging around your head.”

Ivy dropped her burlap sack and laid down next to Meadow. “All the time.”

Ivy: “One of the best things about Meadow is that we’re bonded by our mutual need to help people. Granted, I’m a little more extreme than she is in my methods… but we can make it work.”

“Do not fret, the spirits have already informed me of our success in this challenge,” Janelle said to Chlöe as the two rummaged through a bush. “Though, my tarot cards show that I should be concerned about someone on our team… perhaps us losing would be a blessing in disguise.”

“Tarot cards?” Chlöe asked as she stopped her search for eggs. “How does that work?”

“Why? Are you interested in a reading?” Janelle asked.

Chlöe crossed her arms. “Well, you said exactly what I was thinking. That we should be concerned about someone on our team. Henry told me a while ago that he wants to uncover a bunch of dirt on everyone… It seems to me like he has his own agenda.”

Janelle shook her head. “I knew it. The spirits are never wrong.”

“Which is why I’d love to see what they have to say about me,” Chlöe said eagerly.

Janelle nodded. “Very well.”

The rumour starter and psychic sat on the ground, leaning over a shuffled deck of cards. “I want you to pick three random cards. That will signify your past, your present, and your future. Keep your options open. Focus on yourself. And stay neutral. The spirits are not one to be tested with.”

Chlöe hesitated before choosing three upside-down tarot cards from the pack. Janelle flipped the first card over, displaying a man stepping off a cliff to certain doom. “You have drawn The Fool card. This symbolizes trickery, absurdity or moronic behavior. Have you done things in your past that you regret? Something goofy or silly that yielded undesirable results?”

“I was quite the bored teenager,” Chlöe said as she nodded her head. “I have lots of regrets.”

Janelle flipped the second card over, displaying a moon rising over the water. “You have drawn The Moon card for your present. Things are not as they seem. Deception of one’s self, or from another, is strongly indicated. Extreme caution when dealing with others is advised. New information comes to you, possibly in dreams or through a vision. In any case, when the truth is exposed, it must be dealt with. Accepting the darker, wilder side can bring peace; denial only brings chaos.”

Chlöe raised an eyebrow. “That was a mouthful.”

Janelle flipped the third card over, displaying an armored, skeletal figure riding a pure white horse. “You have drawn The Death card for your future.”

“Well, I figured I would kick the bucket sooner or later, eh?” Chlöe said with a smirk.

“This is no laughing matter,” Janelle said as she furrowed her brows. “Listen to me very carefully. Your perspective on the Death card will ultimately determine your future. Death signifies intense change, and most people do not welcome change. It can be a chance to start over, or a time of major growth. But this card can indicate the unexpected, and deep rooted fears of the unknown. Be very careful, Chlöe. Actions have a consequence.”

Janelle’s ominous message left Chlöe worried. The rumour starter began to ask the psychic to clarify, before she heard a hissing nearby. “What the bloody hell was that?”

The pair heard the slithering from behind them, and instantly knowing what it was, dropped down so that their bellies touched the ground. Chlöe stared at the flakes on Medusa’s tail, while Janelle whispered to the rumour starter, “Don’t look at her directly!”

“They say the eyes are the window to the soul,” the hag said in her raspy voice. The sound of tiny snakes rattled above her while she grabbed Chlöe’s hat with her blemished, discolored, sharp claws for fingernails. Chlöe’s legs sprung into action as she tried to get her hat back, but the action caused her to gaze directly into the creature’s eyes. Medusa lunged at Janelle with her talons, forcing her to make eye contact, and turning her into a statue.


“... And that’s how I set the world record for Javelin throwing,” Nicole explained to a distracted Carl. The health nut continued to ramble about her athletic accomplishments, until she noticed his mood. Putting a comforting hand on his shoulder, she asked, “What’s wrong?”

The introvert shrugged. “Oh, I was just contemplating about something foolish I did five years ago. Except that was nothing compared to another foolish thing I did ten years ago.”

What brought this on? I think you’re living in the past too much.”

Carl nodded his head. “I don’t know how to stop, though. Part of being such an intelligent person means overthinking all of my actions and words. It truly is a burden at times.”

Nicole appeared to be in deep thought. “Alright, how about this. Living in the moment is nice and all, but maybe you should also think about the future. Where do you see yourself in five years?”

“Sleeping in bed.”

Nicole crossed her arms. “Seriously!”

The neckbeard slouched. “I don’t know. Where I’d like to see myself in five years is living in Tahiti with my supermodel wife, muscular, rich, et cetera. Where I actually see myself is probably in bed, still living in my mother’s basement and with cheeto stains on my shirt.”

Nicole minced her way up to him, being half his size. She proceeded to run her fingers through his hair. “Listen, Carl, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you keep thinking like that. Five years ago, I didn’t think I would be getting medals for my performance in a sprint medley relay. I had a great coach, though, and I made it happen. You can do anything you put your mind to.”

Carl inhaled a deep breath and blew out slowly. “That’s the thing, though. You had a great coach. You probably had a lot of help along the way. Everyone just tosses me aside like chopped liver. Which, honestly? I bring a lot of that on myself.”

“What do you mean?”

“I suppose I come off creepy at times.”

Nicole tilted her head to one side. “I don’t think you’re creepy.”

“You don’t. Ivy, Maria, that hippie chick… probably everyone else. I don’t blame them, though. I don’t know why I’m expecting to engage socially with females out of my league. Even Jackson called me pathetic last night. I’m surprised that you’re talking to me.”

“Why, because you think I’m pretty?”

“No, because you’re all… fit, and healthy. And I’m …”

Nicole was struck by the realization that Carl’s moment of depression was caused by his poor self-esteem. She widened her eyes as the epiphany struck. “I think I know where this is coming from. Now, I’m not saying you need to, so don’t take this the wrong way, but maybe if you exercised a little more, you would be more confident about yourself? Like, every morning I do twenty laps around the Parthenon, and if you want, you could totally join me and release some endorphins.”

Carl rubbed a hand over his stubble. “You know what? Gladly. I’ll take you up on that offer.”

Carl: “Although twenty laps is not something I’m particularly looking forward to, Nicole is the only person on my team who will give me the time of day, with the exception of George. Plus, in the process, I suppose I’ll gain conventionally attractive features. It’s a win-win situation for me.”

“Nuh-uh. No way. Nope. Take it off.” Sebastian was consumed with anger as he stared at Jackson. The music enthusiast was equally infuriated, and his face reddened with fury. The mogul followed up his earlier statement by clenching his teeth and just barely squeaking out, “You can't wear the same shirt as me. Is this a joke?”

“This wasn’t intentional,” Jackson said as he pointed to both of of their garments; identical pieces of red flannel shirts. “This is an exclusive Matthew Jackson shirt from his hit music video, ‘Smooth Inmate.’ I paid a fortune to get this. What's your excuse? If anyone should change, it's you.”

“I don’t need an excuse!” Sebastian yelled as he threw his hands in the air in frustration. “There’s no way I’m going to continue this challenge with you if we’re wearing the same thing. A mogul needs an identity. A mogul needs independance. A mogul does not need to share his clothing with some thief!”

“Thief?!” Jackson said in disbelief. “Were you even wearing that shirt in the morning in the Parthenon? Or even when we split up into teams? If anything, it’s the other way around! You stole from me!”

“Um,” Sebastian put a finger to Jackson’s mouth to silence him. “I have a schedule for my clothes. Half of my closet is divided into pre-challenge. Half of my closet is divided into challenge. Half of my closet is divided into post-challenge. Half of my closet is divided into nightwear. Imitation is definitely not the best form of flattery.”

Jackson raised an eyebrow. “That didn’t even make sense, loser. How can one closet be split up into four halves? That’s like, mathematically impossible! You’re so pathetic!”

Sebastian rolled his eyes. “I have two closets, obviously…”

“Then you should have another shirt.”

“I can rock it better than you! Medusa won’t even want to turn us into stone when she sees me wearing this, she’ll be so blinded by it’s beauty and all of the meticulously crafted vibrant colors!”

The volume of the altercation grew, as the pair began to bicker loudly, catching the attention of Medusa. The gorgon slithered in and stared at the two incredulously, as they argued without any reaction to her sudden arrival. The two were distracted by their petty confrontation that they were unable to give the creature the time of day. Medusa watched as the argument became more heated, and promptly poked the mogul and music enthusiast on the shoulder. As they turned around, they were given a quick glance from the creature, turning them into stone, and eliminating them from the challenge.

Sebastian: “Ugh. Jackson is so dumb. She only found us because he was yelling so loud. I guess that might mean he has good vocals… but you can’t succeed in any industry without connections. And he's too much of a hot-head to make any career work. By the end of this show, all of his bridges will be burnt.”

Meadow and Ivy looked up at the clouds for what seemed to be an eternity until the opinionated social justice warrior finally broke the silence. “So what happened in Xenia?”

“Oh, right!” Meadow smacked her palm against her forehead once she was reminded of her original story. “Anyway, Summer said this really amazing thing to me… she told me to be a grasshopper. And it just made so much sense, y’know? It’s about the synchronicity of life. I miss her so much.”

“Summer? Is she your girlfriend?”

“Oh, no, just a friend,” Meadow replied with a shrug. “I’ve never been intimate with a girl before. Though one time at Bonnaroo, I did dance on stage with this chick that gave me a temporary tattoo. We were both wearing these, like, big headdresses and, like, this song was playing and the crowd was cheering us on and it was magical. You know, when I think back on it, I think I probably ended up getting heat stroke ‘cause the tent was like 1,000 degrees.”

Ivy snickered. “If you were anyone else, I would snap on you for wearing a headdress.”

“You shouldn’t give me any special treatment,” Meadow replied, before snapping her head around at a sudden noise. “Hey, did you hear that?”

Suddenly, before either Meadow or Ivy could react, Medusa sprung from behind a tree in front of them. The hippie tried to shield her eyes, but it was too late. Caught in her gaze, she turned to stone, eliminating her from the competition. Meanwhile, a surge of adrenaline hit the social justice warrior as she struggled to run away, but her efforts were futile. The gorgon had petrified both – Meadow, who was still laying on her back, and Ivy in a sprinting position.

Meadow: “I think what Medusa is doing is so brave. She’s just misunderstood.”

Henry continued to rummage through everyone’s bag. He continued onto Lito’s bag, where he found a journal entry that read, “Day two. No one suspects my true intentions in this game. Signing up for this game was the best decision of my life. Emmerman thought that Canada geese leaving Chicopee a month early was a Column A story and he wanted me to write a cooking column. I don’t regret quitting. I have yet to find a big scoop that will take my career to the next level, but I feel like this is where I’ll get my big break. Patience is a virtue. Voting out Violet was rough. I imagine a headline for her vote-off would read ‘Vanilla Violet Voted Out Viciously.’ I believe I am the only one who knows that Chlöe lied. She has secrets. Under all that English charm there's a real darkness. Alexandria has already gained a pound since being here. I’m not sure how she’s smuggling the food in… ‘Absorbed Alexandria Needs to Eat An Apple’ sounds good. More later.”

Henry put the journal down and continued to ransack through the luggage, his hand wrapping around multiple clothes at once and tossing them on the ground. He moved onto Haru’s duffel bag, where he found layers of spandex and a DIY crafted mask, complete with leaking glue and cheap construction paper. However, it was when the amateur detective shifted his attention to Chlöe’s bag – a simple, yet striking satchel – that his eyes lit up.

Henry: “Jackpot.”

The scene then switched to the inside of a cave, the only occupants being George and Maria. Maria was having a giggling fit as she snuggled closer to George. “Tell me more about your money,” the Brazilian bombshell said as she caressed his arms over his wet shirt.

The affluent grinned sheepishly. “Well, let’s see. I have lots of it.”

Maria gasped, but then smirked. She grabbed George by his fancy tie, pulling him closer to her body. “Foreplay is peasant speak.” She pursed her lips, and the two embraced in a passionate kiss, though it was driven by a mutual attraction rather than genuine love. They slobbered over each other, a significant display of teenage hormones and human saliva. However, a shuffling in the corner of the cave caught George’s attention.

“Maria, did you hear th–”

“– Kiss me, you idiot!”

“Wait, I’m seriou–”

“– Stock market! Good credit!”

“Hang on, I think –”

“– Interest! Paid mortgage! No debt!”

It was too late. By the time George got a drooling Maria off of him, Medusa had slithered into his line of sight. “Such a pity to destroy a handsome young face,” the gorgon hissed as she turned George into stone, which caught the attention of Maria. Fortunately, although Maria turned around, she made no eye contact. The hot-headed Brazilian let go of the now-petrified George and bolted out of the cave, with Medusa angrily slithering behind her. Maria ran through the forest, and proceeded to bump into Karma, who was dejectedly sitting on a log.

“Oh, you’re back?” Karma scoffed. “Are you here to tell me how boring I am again?”

Maria struggled to catch her breath. “No… time!”

MariaStone

Karma furrowed her brows. “All we have is time. Listen, I thought we were becoming really close friends, but if you’re willing to compromise our friendship for some boy with money, then maybe I was wrong. But seriously, is it just that he has money? Or did I do something wrong? You can tell me. It’s just that no one has ever disliked me before. It hurts when you toss me aside like I’m a piece of trash. I’m cool, right?”

Maria waved her arms frantically in the direction of Medusa. Karma continued to ramble, before finally taking the hint. However, as soon as the socialite tilted her head, she made eye contact with the gorgon and became stone. Maria screamed and tried to run away, but as she ran in the opposite direction, the snake-like creature cut her off and stared directly into Maria’s eyes. She hardened into a solid, fixed with her mouth wide open and arms raised in fright.

Karma: “I wonder if Medusa liked me.”

“Nicole, look!”

Carl pointed to a nest of snake eggs lying comfortably on a tree branch. Nicole gasped, then immediately went to work. Using her headband for extra support, the health nut began her ascent by wrapping her arms around the tree bark. Placing one foot on a branch just beneath her, she used her feet for friction to push upwards. She pulled herself up on the first branch, gripping it tightly with her hands, and then swung her feet until she could reach the branch with the eggs on it. She grabbed as many eggs as she could and placed them inside of her burlap sack, then began to descend downwards by jumping.

“Let’s go!”

The neckbeard and health nut began to run back to the Parthenon, when they heard an ear-shattering screech coming from behind them. Carl snapped his head backwards, only to find himself face-to-face with Medusa. He slowly stiffened, his body being petrified.

“Carl!”

Nicole continued to run, gripping the burlap sack tighter, until the Parthenon was in sight. There, she noticed Chris and Chef Hatchet placing the petrified players in a line outside of the Parthenon (everyone with the exception of Charlie, Evan, Henry, Nicole herself, and the most recent statue: Carl). Being only a couple of feet away from immunity, Nicole picked up her speed. However, distracted by their behavior, her foot collided with a rock, sending her down, and sliding the burlap sack of eggs inside the Parthenon.

Nicole turned around, prepared to turn into stone despite being everyone’s only hope of winning and breaking the curse. She glanced as Medusa’s tail slithered towards her, but to her pleasant surprise, Evan’s first appearance since that morning was a confident strut in front of Nicole and Medusa. “Oh mamaw, you think you can terrorize everyone with that hairstyle? Tragic!”

He wore Alexandria’s star-shaped sunglasses, in order to prevent making direct eye contact with the gorgon. Her hair was moving, writhing like serpents. As Medusa crawled her way to Evan, ready to convert him, she glared at herself in the reflection of Alexandria’s sunglasses. Stopping dead in her tracks, Evan gave one last smirk as she roared with anger before turning into stone.

“Need a hand?” Evan said as he helped Nicole up from the ground. To Nicole’s astonishment, she watched as the twelve contestants inside of the Parthenon slowly began to revert to normal. Some, like Haru, who had been petrified for longer, stretched out their back or cracked their necks while Carl came running out of the forest and Henry exited the Parthenon inconspicuously. 

“Man, am I glad you were here,” Chris said as he gave Evan a pat on the back. “I seriously had no idea how to turn everyone back to normal. Chef suggested cutting her head off.”

Haru locked his arms around Evan and hugged, lifting him off of the ground. Chlöe thanked him, while Janelle and Lito cheered around him. Evan gave a smirk, then walked up to Alexandria and handed the pseudo-celebrity her star-shaped sunglasses back. “This belongs to you, honey, sorry for digging through your stuff. Props to you, mama!”

Alexandria’s face was crimson with anger. “Thanks.”

Alexandria: The celebrity shrieked and repeatedly hit the sides of the confessional walls. Eventually, she threw herself onto the floor and began to kick and scream. “Why does that hideous pig get all of the credit?” she whined. “They were my sunglasses! Where’s my credit? He was barely even playing in the stupid challenge! I hate him, I hate him, I hate him, I hate him, I hate him!”

Haru: “Even though I cost myself the challenge by trying to help Alexandria, I’m proud of myself. I may not be the best looking guy, or the smartest guy, or the bravest guy, and I’m not handsome, nor am I likeable in the slightest. What I do have, though, are my morals. And pepper spray.”

Chris cleared his voice. “Alright, mortals, even though Evan was the one who broke Medusa’s curse, I said that the contestant who would bring five snake eggs back to the Parthenon would win immunity for their team.” Pointing to the burlap sack inside of the Parthenon that Nicole threw as she tripped, Chris announced, “the Tenacious Titans win immunity!”

The Titans roared with applause and cheers. George lifted Maria off of the ground and planted a kiss on her face. Jackson and Sebastian gave each other a hug, before realizing their actions and pulling back in disgust. Carl gave Nicole a hi-five, while Meadow grinned at Ivy.

Henry broke the applause. “Wait a second, Evan, where’s Charlie? Wasn’t he with you?”

The amateur detective was interrupted by the click-clacking of high heels on the ground. Everyone glanced up to find Charlie, Evan’s new protégé, to be dressed in full drag. Although it was common to see Evan in makeup that made even some of the girls envy his contour, the attention was mostly directed at the wallflower, who was now sporting a red polka-dotted dress, a butterscotch wig and an oversized strawberry bow that rested on top. The silence was palpable as everyone tried to make sense of the recent turn of events.

“Huh, that’s not something you see every day,” Jackson shrugged off.

“Tell me about it,” Lito grinned as he ran up to Charlie and brought a microphone to his face.

“I think he looks great!” Ivy complimented as she gave Charlie a thumbs up.

Although most of the attention was directed at the Medusa statue, Charlie awkwardly shuffled out in embarrassment. His walk escalated into a run, and he disappeared into the woods. Evan gawked at the other contestants before running after him. “Charlie, wait!”

“That was stupid,” the wallflower said in disappointment as he removed his wig and fake eyelashes. “What was that even supposed to do? Make me look stupid? If you’re just trying to get me to quit or something, you won’t have to try any longer.”

“You don’t feel empowered?” Evan questioned. “The idea is that you’re breaking the typical roles everyone sees you as. You get to ditch that hideous suit and bowl haircut and not be Charlie for a day. You can pretend like you’re Charlize Virginia or whoever lies beneath the surface… and maybe even learn a thing or two from her.”

“The only thing I’m learning is that I make a really ugly girl.”

Charlie: “Evan’s right. I guess I'm pretty emotional, and that made everyone uncomfortable. I just really loved Violet, and it wasn’t a movie kind of love either. I just looked at her sometimes and I thought that she was the prettiest and nicest person in the whole world. But I don’t think she would want to see me quit. And at the very least, I have someone out here that listens and understands - even if it means putting makeup on me. I needed to know that those kind of people existed. The suit is going back on, though... George would kill me otherwise.”

“What the hell?” Alexandria yelled as she entered the Parthenon and saw the mess caused by Henry moments earlier. An array of suitcases and bags were flung, the shattered crystal ball from Janelle’s bag left broken glass on the floor, and no regard for personal possessions was shown.

The celebrity tried to salvage whatever she could of her beauty products. Janelle gasped as she saw her expensive globe broken. Evan accidentally stepped on a piece of broken glass, sending him tumbling to the ground. Charlie and Chlöe rummaged through the piles of clothes, looking for their own. Lito noticed that his journal had been opened, to his dismay.

“Did Medusa do this?” Charlie asked incredulously.

However, it became painfully obvious who the perpetrator was once the Olympians noticed that only one bag was still intact: Henry’s. All eyes shifted to him, some disappointed, some angry, and some eager for some kind of payment to make up for the damages.

Henry: “Maybe that wasn’t the best idea.”

After the contestants had cleaned up the mess and were back in the Parthenon, one outdated and battered computer waited for the Titans. Several keys were missing from the keyboard, cobwebs covered parts of the cracked screen, and the desk and chair used were falling apart. Sebastian gasped as he saw it, and pushed the rest of the Titans out of the way. He ran towards the computer, plopped down on the decrepit chair, and began to type.

“B… L… O… O… S… H… dot… com,” the mogul said throughout the process of typing. His fingers scurried across the individual keys, until he finally pressed enter. The rest of the Titans made their way around Sebastian, eager to see the blog that he had discussed so much. The page took a while to load, as the crumbling computer failed to make an internet connection.

“Why isn’t this hunk of crap working?” Sebastian said, exasperated.

“Maybe Chris forgot to pay for Wi-Fi,” Karma joked.

Finally, the page loaded. The contestants were greeted with a minimalist black and white page, with a large header displaying “Experience the Bloosh Glow.” On the side featured a picture of Sebastian himself, wrapped around a neon pink scarf. Just below it, several advertisements from various cosmetic companies, one owned by a “Chip and Flutina.” Several tabs lined the page, with separate topics; What’s New, Exclusive to Bloosh, Clothing, Shoes, Handbags, Accessories, Beauty, Food, and Gifts. Sebastian smiled tearfully. “It’s all here! It’s all still here!”

Nicole pointed to the ‘food’ tab. “What’s that?”

Sebastian clicked on it. “Oh, I also run a food porn social media empire in my free-time when I’m not touring the world, modeling, or updating the fashion and beauty sections of my blog. It’s just as successful. I’m a jack of all trades, pretty much, master of none!”

“Do you realize what that phrase means?” Carl asked.

The ‘food’ section of the blog loaded. There, recipes for chocolate-smothered ice cream sundaes, seven-pound burritos, fried pastries, deep-dish pizzas, lobster rolls, mud pies, bacon-wrapped meat-loafs, assortments of cheeseburgers, and other oily, cholesterol-full cuisines were plastered all over the page.

“Are you kidding me?” Nicole asked, her mouth hung in shock. “All of the stuff on there is so unhealthy! Just the deep-dish pizza alone is probably going to put someone in cardiac arrest! The bacon-wrapped meatloaf probably has so many calories in it!”

Sebastian shrugged. “Your point?”

“You could be advertising healthier food options instead of giving the people that idolize you high blood pressure!” Nicole exploded. “It’s really irresponsible! Change it!”

The mogul glared at the health nut. “It’s my blog, and I’ll run it however I want to.”

However, as soon as Sebastian finished his sentence, the page on the computer crashed, presenting him with a 404 error screen. He squirmed in his seat, and refreshed the page. As the error screen persisted, he grew more frantic, until he bolted out of his chair. The mogul slammed his finger on the mouse, refreshing the page repeatedly.

“Why isn’t it working?!” the mogul cried out as he continued to refresh the page.

“I think the page might have expired,” Karma said. The socialite opened up a new tab and entered in Webfilmz, which fully loaded. She then refreshed Sebastian's website, which still displayed the error screen.

“You probably didn’t pay for the domain, since you’re on this show,” Ivy clarified. “I run my own blog, I know these things. You’re just another victim of capitalism.”

“You have to pay for a website?” Sebastian said in shock. “I was friends with the person that registered the site, I thought they were taking care of that stuff! That’s common courtesy, right?”

“Guess you need new friends.”

Sebastian: The mogul wiped away a tear underneath his glasses. “I’m ruined. What would become of my life, or worse – my legacy, if I don't appeal to my fans? So many people rely on me to tell them what’s ‘in.’ A mogul without his faithful group of followers is like a monogram without premium-grade stainless steel or chamfered, hand-finished edges. This is a tragedy!”

“Olympians, congratulations on losing twice in a row,” Chris welcomed as the team entered the subterranean cavern and took their seats – excluding Chlöe, who was once again already present. The glowing green river beside them reeked of decaying, rotting matter. A tapering structure hung like an icicle from the roof of a cave, dripping green liquids. “Your reward is one free ride across the River Styx, and, of course – VIP access tomorrow to Chef’s kitchen!”

Janelle: “How dare you vandalize my fortune telling methods? The spirits are not happy.”

Haru: “Since you want to go so badly... sorry about Violet.”

Alexandria: “Thanks for the help with Medusa. Too bad you’re not much of one.”

“All of the votes are in,” Chris said as he held up a plate of six golden apples. Chlöe collected a golden apple from behind her seat, and once again winked at the camera. “The first golden apples go to… Evan and Alexandria.” Chris tossed a golden apple to the drag queen and the washed-up celebrity. Evan smiled, unaware of Alexandria’s piercing eyes next to him.

“The next two apples go to Janelle and Lito,” Chris said as he threw a golden apple to the psychic and the news reporter. The psychic was glad to get an apple early this time, as she placed low in the previous elimination. The reporter grinned, though he had no notepad to scribble on due to Henry’s carelessness.

“Charlie, Henry, Haru,” Chris called out. “You each got votes tonight. Charlie, everyone’s sick of you crying. Also, never listen to Evan again. Henry, you totally destroyed everyone’s stuff because you thought you were on to something. Spoiler alert, you were on to something. Money that you owe. Haru, you couldn’t last five minutes in the challenge before turning into stone… but you’re safe.”

Chris threw a golden apple to the superhero who rubbed his temples in relief.

“The final golden apple of the evening goes to… “









“Charlie.”

The wallflower took a deep breath of relief while Evan patted him on the back. “Thanks for giving me another chance, guys. I promise you won’t regret it.”

Henry nodded his head. “Yeah, I figured this was happening the second I dropped the crystal ball.” With his head held high, he threw his briefcase onto the boat and stepped in, while the ferryman Charon waited – a pale-skinned, bearded man holding a large wooden stick and covered in dark hooded cloaks of long ripped black cloth.

Before the boat sped away, the sleuth added, “I know you guys won’t understand what I did now, but you will soon enough. You were all scared of Medusa and her snakes today. What you failed to realize was that there’s a snake amongst you.”

The contestants glanced at each other, trying to make sense of Henry's last words.

“Loserville, population two,” Chris concluded. “As the challenges get tougher, the drama just keeps bubbling up! Will the Optimistic Olympians finally win a challenge? Can our budget possibly get any lower? I think I know the answer to that one, but tune in next time for another exciting episode of Total... Drama... Mount Olympus!”

Elimination Table

# Contestants 2 3
Alexandria SAFE SAFE
Carl WIN WIN
Charlie SAFE LOW
Chlöe SAFE SAFE
Evan SAFE SAFE
George WIN WIN
Haru SAFE SAFE
Ivy WIN WIN
Jackson WIN WIN
Janelle LOW SAFE
Karma WIN WIN
Lito SAFE SAFE
Maria WIN WIN
Meadow WIN WIN
Nicole WIN WIN
Sebastian WIN WIN
17 Henry SAFE OUT
18 Violet OUT

Key:

     Name: This contestant was on the Optimistic Olympians team.
     Name: This contestant was on the Tenacious Titans team.
     WIN: This contestant was part of the winning team this episode.
     WIN: This contestant won individual immunity this episode.
     SAFE: This contestant lost the challenge but survived elimination.
     LOW: This contestant received the last golden apple.
     OUT: This contestant received the most votes and was eliminated.
     OUT: This contestant was eliminated due to unusual circumstances.

Trivia

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