It seemed like an age since Logan and Lotti had helped Santa get ready for Christmas. After all that hard work, Daddy and Mummy had thought they should have a nice restful holiday. But instead of resting on the beach as planned, the goddess Athene had sent them back in time to help the hero Herakles with his labours.
Now, at last, the twelve labours were done. As promised, Athene had returned Logan and Lotti to their own time. They were back at Athens Airport where the adventure had begun.
"Now then," said Daddy. "This time we’re going to make sure we get the right bus. To Rafina this time."
"You need help with buses?" A kindly old lady stood next to them. It was Athene.
"Erm. No thank you," said Daddy quickly.
"Athene!" cried Lotti, giving the goddess a hug.
Athene crouched down and put an arm around Logan too. “I wanted to be sure you came back safely. And I have a present for you both, to say thank you.”
Logan and Lotti gathered close.
Athene reached into her handbag and pulled out a small leather pouch.
"The charms," said Logan, pulling the strings so he could look inside.
"Remeber to share them," Athene said gently. "There should be enough."
Logan emptied the charms into Lotti’s outstretched hands. First came the brass charms: Athene’s owl, Hermes’ turtle, Artemis’ stag and Herakles’ lion. Logan gave the bag a little shake. Out it came, Hades’ curled up puppy. It was no longer invisible. Now it was made of glistening black obsidian.
"It’s so cute," said Lotti. "It looks just like Cerberus."
"Now then, children," Daddy interrupted. "I think we should try to catch that bus."
"And we have a ferry to catch," added Mummy, waving four tickets.
"Not before we stop for a bite, I hope."
"Of course," said Mummy, smiling and putting her arm around Daddy’s waist. She rubbed her tummy. "I’m rather hungry myself."
This time Athene guided them to the correct bus stop, opposite the Sofitel. She waited with them until the orange and cream bus pulled up.
"Goodbye," Athene said one more time. “Thank you.”
The driver started the engine. Logan and Lotti waved goodbye until Athene disappeared from view. Soon the bus was passing the cafes and bars and fairs and roller skating rinks by the coast.
Logan wiggled in his seat, “I can’t wait to get on the ferry. Can we go to the shop on board?”
Daddy, who was sitting next to Logan, also wiggled in his seat. “I can’t wait to have an FBI burger. It’s been to long.”
Mummy smiled. “We should have time for all those things.”
As soon as the bus pulled in they went into the cafe so Daddy could have his burger. They sat and watched the ferries coming in and out of the bay.
Logan jumped up from his seat. “Daddy! I think that’s the Blue Star Ithaki!”
Lotti bounced up and down next to her brother. “It is, Daddy. It is! Quickly! We must go.”
Daddy hastily finished his burger and wedges while Mummy paid for the food. Then they quickly walked along the quay, across the ferry-port carpark and waited in the que with the other foot passengers.
The tall ferry pulled in. The ramp clanged down onto the dock. Cars and people streamed off.
"I can’t wait," said Logan, hopping from one foot to another.
"We can go now," said Lotti, pressing Mummy in the small of her back.
After they had parked the luggage and found comfortable seats, Daddy and Logan went to the shop while Mummy and Lotti went up on the top deck. The big horn tooted, the anchor clanked and the ferry began to pull away from the harbour.
"Mummy," said Lotti. "Were you and Daddy alright in the luggage all that time. I was a bit worried about you in there during our adventures with Herakles."
Mummy smiled. “We were fine. I hope we weren’t too heavy.”
"No. The extra weight is borne in a different dimension." Lotti wriggled her shoulders. She was wearing her Moshi backpack again, stuffed with toys and cuddlies. “This little pack is heavier.”
"Really?" said Mummy absently. "We must get you your own p-brane pack some time."
As the ferry turned out to sea Mummy put her arm around Lotti. “I’m very proud of you, Lotti.”
"I know," whispered Lotti, squeezing Mummy. Lotti was sure something was going on with Mummy. "Mummy. Is there something you should be telling us?"
Mummy raised her eyebrows. “As a matter of fact there is. But you’ll have to wait until Logan and Daddy are with us.”
Lotti was impatient for the rest of the journey. She wanted the news now. She couldn’t get off the ferry fast enough. She fidgeted through the short bus journey to the resort town. Finally, they checked in to the hotel.
They strolled through the twilight up up the steps to their favourite cafe. It was a family tradition to start every holiday with a bit of star gazing and a milkshake.
"Look," said Mummy, pointing to incoming lights out to sea. "Here comes the next ferry."
Lotti leaned forward in her seat. “Never mind that. What is your special news?”
Mummy and Daddy exchanged glances. Then held hands. “Well,” said Mummy. “We have our own very special souvenier from this trip.”
"What?" said Logan. "Like the Transformers I bought on the ferry?"
Mummy shook her head.
"Is it like the charms?" asked Lotti.
"Not really," Mummy said. She rubbed her tummy. She had been doing rather a lot of that lately. "The thing is, I’m going to have a baby. By next Christmas there will be another elf to help Santa."
"Isn’t it wonderful news?" said Daddy. Just then the waitress put four towering milk shakes down in front of them. "And this is amazing too." Daddy raised his glass. "Here’s to a happy holiday."
"And here’s to my baby sister," said Logan.
"Or maybe another brother," said Lotti.
"Yammas!" said Mummy.
They clinked glasses. The first stars began to fill the darkening sky until it glittered like Hades’ cloak. At last their holiday had truly begun.