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The Trials of Apollo Book Two The Dark Prophecy Summary & Study Guide Description
The Trials of Apollo Book Two The Dark Prophecy Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:
The following version of this novel was used to create this study guide: Riordan, Rick. The Trials of Apollo: Book two: The Dark Prophecy. Disney Hyperion. 2017. Hardcover.
Apollo, a former god in the body of a teenage boy named Lester, is furious at the indignities he has suffered. He explains that his demi-god handler named Meg - someone who can force Apollo to do whatever she wants thanks to Zeus - has been asked by Nero to capture or kill Apollo. The group, including Apollo’s friends Calypso and Leo, arrive in Indiana where their mechanical dragon, Festus, overheats and turns back into a suitcase. A woman named Lanette is thrilled to capture Apollo for the Triumvirate. After Calypso breaks her hand on the woman’s mechanical head, Lanette is revealed to be a blemmyae, a monster who’s real face is on her chest. The group are swarmed by other blemmyae, and follow an orange spirit to an open plaza. As they are surrounded, Apollo curses his human terror.
As Leo tries to reach a bulldozer without drawing the blemmyae’s attention, Apollo uses their hospitality to his advantage and tells a grandiose story of his travels and fight with a cyclops. Eventually, the blemmyae attacks him anyway, and Nanette says that Apollo and another girl (likely Meg) are meant to be an attraction at the naming ceremony. Nanette is then shot by an arrow by an older woman named Emmie, who Apollo thinks he should recognize. After using dozens of mechanized crossbows hidden in the ground, Emmie takes them to the Waystation.
At an old railroad depot, Apollo learns that the Waystation is a magical building that responds to Emmie’s voice, and even moves various rooms depending on what is needed. Emmie takes Calypso to a convenient infirmary, while Leo and Apollo find an empty girl’s bedroom. After examining the drawings on the wall, including a large amount of black scribbles in the corner, the two continue into a massive cathedral where they meet Josephine (Jo). Jo explains that the blemmyae were never violent until Nero came to town, and Apollo realizes that she and Emmie were formally hunters of his sister, Artemis. Furthermore, Emmie is actually Hemithea, a mortal woman that he turned into a lesser god to save her and her sister’s life from a vindictive king.
However, after Apollo is forced to relive that memory, he is pulled into a vision of Meg and her father, Nero, in manhattan. While this is a vision Apollo has seen before, he still wishes he could help a clearly exhausted Meg. Nero tells her that they can be a real family once she captures or kills Apollo, sending a guard named Vortigan and a boy named Marcus with her. Nero then mentions a New Hercules as Leo wakes Apollo up. The orange spirit, Agamethus, wants to speak to Apollo, even though he is clearly angry over something that Apollo cannot recall. Through the use of a magic-8 ball, Agamethus says that Apollo can bring her home, referring to Emmie and Jo’s adopted daughter, Georgina. Emmie says that Georgina was kidnapped by the Triumvirate, and the Oracle has been unable to help. When Apollo asks about New Hercules, Emmie promises to explain as they make lunch.
After Apollo, Calypso, and Leo share their story, Emmie and Jo say that the Cave of Trophonius is heavily guarded by Nero’s men. Furthermore, many who go inside searching for wisdom from the Oracle are often driven mad, just as their daughter was. She explains that a man who calls himself New Hercules took those who left the Waystation and kidnapped the Griffins. As Apollo begins to remember something about a throne, something lands on the roof, which Jo and Emmie leave to check on. Apollo then remembers the Throne of Memory and explains that petitioners received jumbled fragments of a prophecy while traveling through the horrors of the cave. If they survived, then they would sit on the throne where the fragments would come out as a real prophecy. If Georgina was unable to use the throne, then the fragments are likely driving her mad. He is then called away by Jo and caught in a trap by the goddess of nets Britomatis who Apollo is not happy to see.
After Apollo tells his friends that the Waystation belongs to Britomatis, they learn that she wants them to save her Griffins from the Zoo. In exchange, she will use her knowledge of traps to help them infiltrate the emperor's lair and retrieve both the Throne of Memory and the prisoners. She tells Apollo and Calypso that they have to leave that night, as the Naming Ceremony is in three days, and the emperor hopes to sacrifice Apollo and Georgina during it. That night, Leo tells Apollo that he thinks Calypso might resent the fact that he took her from her island, as she lost all of her powers and had accomplished much on it. He also thinks that Calypso hates that they are always on the run, and Leo hopes they can find peace once everything is over. Everyone goes to sleep, though it takes Apollo much longer than Leo.
However, when Apollo dreams, he realizes that Trophonius and Agamethus were his twin sons who had tried to escape after stealing a king’s treasure. But when a trap pinned Agamethus, Apollo ignored Trophonius’ cries to save him, believing that they brought that misfortune upon themselves. Trophinious was forced to cut Agamethus’s head off so that the guards would not know who it was. Then, the dream shifts to the throne room of Emperor Commodus (New Hercules). He has his advisor executed after it is revealed that the men he asked Nero to send with Meg lost her, as she used her demigod powers to teleport away through a plant. Commodus asks his new advisor, Lityerses, to retrieve the griffins, then track down Meg and Apollo. Calypso wakes Apollo up, and he wonders if the girl he is supposed to bring back is Georgina or Meg.
On the way to the Zoo, Apollo consults his talking arrow, Dodona, who only speaks in Shakespearean English. Eventually, he asks the simplest questions he can, and she tells him that he must find the choo-choo (which he assumes is a train) to reach the griffin enclosure, and tells him he can win their trust with tater tots. As he and Calypso continue on, however, the two get into an argument, as Apollo feels that Calypso cannot complain about losing her powers as she chose to leave her perfect island, and he never wanted to be human. However, when they break into the zoo, they are forced to hide in a cafe when they hear Lityerses’ voice.
In the cafe, Calypso picks the lock of the fridge and Apollo is pulled into a memory of his time with Commodus. It is revealed that the two were in an intimate relationship when Commodus was young. At the time, Commodus’s father was leading a war conquest, but Commodus was more interested in returning home and enjoying fights in the coliseum (especially when he could participate). However, when Commodus’s father died, Apollo gave Commodus his blessing but knows that was the moment that he began the transformation into a brutal emperor.
Calypso wakes him from the vision and shows him tater tots covered in gold. The two leave to find the train using Calypso’s photographic memory to follow the map. They escape from the Germanus soldiers, but Lityerses is waiting at the train. He says he needs to capture them alive and is excited that he can use Calypso to hurt Leo for reasons he does not say. However, the canopy of plants breaks and buries Lityerses as Apollo and Calypso rush to the train.
Unfortunately, it topples as they reach the training arena where the Griffins and other animals are being held. Apollo realizes that Commodus is having them purposely starved and tortured so that they will fight when released. The two sing to the Griffins to calm them, using a song that Zeus and Apollo’s mother sang to him as a child. When they feed the Griffins the tater tots, Lityerses arrives. Apollo realizes that Lityerses escaped the Underworld when the doors were accidentally opened, and Lityerses decides to kill them. But Meg arrives to fight Lityerses off, learning that he is her brother. Apollo and Calypso ride the Griffins, and Apollo frees the other animals to distract Lityerses and grab Meg. Calypso shockingly summons magic to break the net covering the arena, and the three fly away as Meg cries into Apollo’s chest.
At the Waystation, Leo is amused to learn that Meg can command Apollo to do whatever she wants. Apollo struggles to explain his feelings towards Meg. Eventually, he tells her that what happened between them is not her fault, and to not blame herself for what Nero did to her. He is relieved when he gets her to smile, but knows they have more to do before fixing their problems and that she will have to face Nero again.
Britomartis asks to meet with them and admits she gave Calypso some of her magic back instead of breaking the net herself. She congratulates Apollo on a moderately successful job and says she will give them the information they need to enter Commodus’s palace to retrieve both the prisoners and the throne. She says that she, Emmie, Leo, and Jo will prepare the Waystation for a potential siege. The entrance to the palace is under a massive, gaudy monument in town, but Apollo, Meg, and Leo will use the sewers to sneak in. Meg teases Apollo for his fear of water as Britomartis tells them they will have to use the Canal Walk as Leo disables the traps.
Furthermore, she tells Emmie to trust them to find Georgina, as Heloise is close to giving birth. She leaves to find the Hunters of Artemis, and Apollo knows that Meg is anxious despite her confident demeanor. Apollo says that Commodus plans to name the city (and possibly everything in the state) after himself, and asks her not to speak the emperor's name. Meg yells it numerous times instead, and Apollo rushes to the bathroom as he is dragged into a vision. He tells the reader it is of the day that he murdered someone.
His vision takes him back to ancient Rome, where Emperor Commodus has modeled himself after a powerful, Roman god, but Apollo says he was anything but. After a particularly brutal set of games, Commodus plans to execute numerous people and become the supreme ruler. Heartbroken at seeing the paranoid and bloodthirsty man Commodus has become, Apollo drowns him to save Rome. He admits that he also felt he was the only one who could do it, but Commodus recognizes him as he dies, even asking about Apollo’s blessing.
When Apollo wakes up, he tells Jo about the vision. She explains that she once worked for Al Capone, and had only been able to escape thanks to Artemis. However, after 60 years with the Hunters, she and Emmie decided that they wanted to do more with their lives and gave up immortality to run the Waystation. She says that she is happy for the years spent with Emmie, as well as the various demi-god children they could provide with a mostly normal life. Meanwhile, Agamethus’s Magic 8-Ball says that they must leave the Waystation.
After Apollo plays music for Heloise (who lays her egg) he, Leo, and Meg head out on a paddleboat to find the hidden grate. Apollo tells them what happened to Commodus, and Meg says that the other members of the Triumvirate choose Commodus because they think they can control him, and she does not know who the third emperor is. They see a serpent in the water that capsizes the boat, and Meg fights back and Leo opens the grate. When the snake grabs Meg, Apollo yells at it, invoking his own name. This awakens his own power temporarily, knocking crumbled buildings onto the monster as he is able to escape with Meg and Leo before it resurfaces.
Eventually, they find Commodus’s throne room and overhear that Lityerses had attached trackers to the Griffins and intends to attack Waystation in two days. Commodus says it needs to happen immediately, and Lityerses leaves at the sound of the alarm. After confirming that the Cave of Prophecy is well guarded, Commodus tells a guard, Alaric, to kill LItyerses for taking too long (even though he has only been working for a day). The two leave, and Apollo, Leo, and Meg use her plants to find the prisoners. They find a guarded vault, but Meg and Leo kill the blemmyae and Apollo rushes its earpiece. As Leo works on the doors, Meg plants the Chia sprouts in places they can actually grow, telling Apollo that everything deserves a chance at life.
Inside the vault, they find cages of people, which angers Apollo as he has always despised slavery. Leo melts the glass trapping a Hunter of Artemis named Hunter, who then helps free the other prisoners. In the last one, they find a crazed Georgina sitting on top of Festus who says that she sees Apollo as darkness and death. Despite this, Apollo is able to coax her out of the cell, even as she panics upon seeing Meg (who Georgina calls Nero). Eventually, Leo and Hunter lead the prisoners out through the sewers while Apollo and Meg track down the throne. Apollo is able to use a mixture of sulfuric acid and baking soda to break down the door but is disappointed that the throne is nothing more than a simple birch chair. After filling syringes with ammonia, Meg is drawn to the sound of a crowd and forces Apollo to follow her with the chair toward an arena.
They walk out into a full football stadium where Commodus welcomes Apollo. He explains that he plans to hold a grand set of games after he destroys the Waystation, and will kill Apollo and Meg. Gladiators fight numerous chained animals. Formula One race cars circle the field, and Apollo and Meg are forced to fight through the battle. Meg heads for Commodus as Apollo mounts an elephant in chainmail named Livia. As Meg is about to attack Commodus, he announces that he wants to fight her, but wants to see if she can free her trapped karpo, Peaches. He reveals another race car with a massive lance that will act as a matchstick against the sandpaper at Peach’s feet. If Meg fails, Commodus will run both her and Apollo over. Meg begins to climb as Commodus starts his lap. Apollo rushes to stop the car with Livia but is not surprised when Commodus is excited at a possible collision. However, Apollo gets Livia to throw her massive helmet which knocks the car off the track. Meg breaks the chain as Commodus emerges, still smiling. He tells Livia that her mate would have survived had she shown that much energy when he told her too.
Lityerses and the other guards arrive, and Commodus is furious to learn that he lost ten men, but did not find any Hunter bodies. Commodus tells Alaric to grab Lityerses, kill Livia, and lock up Apollo and Meg. However, the roof collapses before Alaric can obey. Festus and Leo arrive, burning a large portion of the audience as the Hunters of Artemis drop in and rescue Meg. Apollo uses Livia to knock Commodus away long enough to save Lityerses, who stabs Commodus in the neck before the elephant grabs him. Thalia, Artemis Lieutenant, hops on and everyone evacuates the stadium. She explains that she was only able to help him because the Hunters happened to be in the area and could save Meg. Zeus told Artemis that she cannot help Apollo in any way. Thalia tells Apollo that he is lucky for all of the things he has seen in the world, but he hates how distant his memories as a god are becoming.
Back at the Waystation Apollo meets with the others and soothes Meg’s fear of Lityerses, reminding her that everyone deserves second chances. Then, he helps Jo and Emmie put Georgina on the Throne of Memory. Instead of a prophecy, Trophinious calls Georgina his sister and speaks directly to Apollo. He says that Apollo and Meg will enter the cave in the morning, but is uncertain if they or anyone else will survive as death is coming. Georgina falls asleep, and Apollo miserably admits that he does not remember if he is her father. This angers Emmie, who says that she and Jo are acceptable mothers and Georgina’s parentage does not matter.
Then, Lityerses reveals that Commodus plans to attack the Waystation in the morning, and does not believe anyone will survive. While some suggest running, Emmie rallies them all by saying that the Waystation is a place for outcasts, and any who want to stay in it will fight for it. They all agree and prepare for the attack. Later that night, Emmie reveals that Lityerses told her about Commodus’s army and that they are heavily outnumbered. However, she believes that Apollo and Meg must go to the cave, as the two prophecies clash; if Apollo succeeds, then Commodus will not, and vice versa. She then asks Apollo if he sent her Georgina as punishment for giving up her immortality. He swears that he knew nothing of the child, and would never inflict that kind of revenge on anyone, even as a god. She believes that he was unaware, but says that she wants to talk more after they survive the next day.
That night, after a somewhat awkward conversation with Jamie, Apollo talks to his arrow, Dodona, who says that Apollo needs a car to reach the cave in time. Then, Calypso and Leo arrive and confirm Apollo’s suspicions that they want to stay at the Waystation. They explain that they want a chance to live normal lives, including high school, slowing down their relationship with each other, and a chance to reconnect with other demigod friends. Apollo is touched by their worry for him and promises that he has no intentions of being alone again (as he has Meg). Leo then says that he has the perfect car for Apollo to take.
The next morning, after having to consult Dodona after Apollo gets lost, he and Meg find where a back entrance to the cave is hidden. They are forced to sprint past a yale, as it is endangered so Artemis would curse them if they killed it. They find the two streams of Memory and Forgetfulness which Apollo drinks from, but Meg does not. The two then tumble into a chasm as Apollo struggles to think clearly and begins to feel oddly amused by everything, including deathly situations. He sees a vision of his mother pleading with Zeus, but Zeus says that Apollo has not learned his lesson and is about to face a true test. Apollo then sees the goddess Styx who swears revenge, but he cannot remember what he did to anger her. Meg saves him from drowning, but he cannot remember who she is.
However, he does remember why they are in the cave and leads her through a narrow tunnel. He mentions needing honey cakes for snakes, but is not worried when Meg says he never mentioned that. They soon reach a cavern with a lake filled with snakes and an island in the center. Apollo jumps in without a care, and Meg begins to sing to try and save him from the poisonous snakes. Unfortunately, the magic grabs on to her song and enhances the pain she expresses in it. Apollo sees her memories, including the death of her father which Nero blamed on the Beast and saying that Meg needed to do better. Trophinious goes to Meg and mocks Apollo when he begs that he leave Meg alone. Trophinious reveals he is trapped as the oracle because he is Apollo’s son, and asks for a promise. When Apollo agrees, Trophinious laughs and says Meg’s fate is doomed anyway as his ghostly bees surround her.
Apollo rushes to save her life, begging Trophonius to stop. When the ghost refuses, Apollo eventually snaps and says that Trophinious should not blame Apollo for their decision to steal from the king. Trophinious then says that the Blemmyae are preparing explosives to stop Apollo after Commodus has forced countless people to go mad for his prophecies. Apollo then takes part of the darkness from Meg and feels her guilt as both are thrown into chaos. They both fight back, as they want to be there to help each other, and APollo wakes up. Trophinious asks him to destroy the cave and leaves without confirming if Georgina is actually Apollo’s daughter.
Apollo swims out and finds the blemmyae failing to arm the bomb. He tricks Nanette, who reformed from Tartarus after dying at the beginning of the novel, to take the bomb into the cave by claiming the five-second timer doubles underwater. When she explodes, Apollo and Meg are saved by three karpoi including Meg’s friend Peaches as Apollo passes out. To his surprise, he wakes up in the city and is uncertain how the spirits drove him and Meg there on their own.
Regardless, he sneaks through the barricade and into the Waystation where he finds Commodus holding Emmie, Leo, and Georgina hostage while Thalia, Calypso, and Jo try to figure out how to stop him. He welcomes Apollo as Lester and says he will trade the hostages for Apollo, Meg, and the Throne of Memory. However, Apollo knows that Commodus has not lived his life properly, and tells the others that he will reveal his godly form. They look away, but Commodus stands firm, even though he sees Apollo’s old form and even calls Apollo by name. Apollo channels his godly powers for a second, turning into light and blinding Commodus. The hostages escape and Lityerses tricks Commodus into tumbling out of a window. The emperor vanishes and Apollo is certain he survived.
The karpoi brings Meg, and Apollo sits her on the throne. He is horrified when she speaks the longest and worst of prophecies: a Shakespearean Sonnet. The group decides to discuss its potential meaning once everyone has a chance to rest. They all realize that Camp Jupiter in California is going to be attacked in five days, and Apollo thinks the Triumvirate wants to burn the restored books of the Cumaean Sybil. Leo offers to warn them, as the Hunters must hunt down a much more dangerous creature. Meanwhile, Apollo and Meg will have to go back to the labyrinth with a satyr guide (which Meg says she will find). Apollo thinks they will be looking for the Oracle of puzzles but is not certain who the fast white horse might belong to. Unable to decipher the last two lines, the group separates. The hunters leave, and Apollo promises to check on Thalia’s brother, Jason if she sends Artemis his regards.
In the morning, Meg wakes up Apollo and says its time to go. During breakfast, Lityerses promises Apollo he will take care of the people at the Waystation, and Apollo says he believes in second chances and trusts him. Apollo then goes to Agamethus and apologizes for what happened in the past. He offers to petition Hades to let Agamethus pass to Elysium once he becomes a god again. However, Agamethus uses his magic 8-ball to tell Apollo that he wants to track down his brother, and asks Apollo and Meg to take care of each other. Later, Apollo meets Meg on the rooftop, and she manages to summon the Lord of the Wild in the dirt; an incredibly important satyr that Apollo welcomes as Grover Underwood.
This section contains 4,031 words
(approx. 11 pages at 400 words per page)