They made their escape. Styx turned their craft into stone to stop them, but the ship forged ahead with its precious cargo of pure water. Lapinette kept look out on the bow while the Wabbit guided the craft through perilous waters. He hummed a seafaring ditty as he span the wheel. "And the ocean waves do roll, And the stormy winds do blow." Lapinette sighed and shouted instructions. "Left paw down a bit, right paw up a bit! Watch that rock, mind that current. Steady as she goes, now." The Wabbit was oblivious to this, because in the wind he couldn't hear a thing. "I think I see land," yelled Lapinette. The Wabbit was confused. Maybe an accompaniment to his tune "I cannot hear a band," he sang. The waves splattered across the bows covering Lapinette in salty spray. She had no sea legs and was feeling nauseous. She gripped the sides of the vessel. "How do we get the water to Zeus?" The Wabbit had no idea. "We'll wait and see. It's what you do with Gods." Lapinette had the grace to laugh. "Wait and sea?" That seemed to be the magic word. The vessel was gripped by a gigantic force. Mighty talons plucked them from the water. "Water, water everywhere!" said a deep Gryphon voice. Plonked down in Montemartini Museum beside Zeus, they shed brine in all directions. But they'd kept the Styx water safe. "Well done Lapinette and the Wabbit," roared Zeus. "You may join the assembly of deathless Gods." The Wabbit looked at Lapinette and smiled. "After a year's probation," nodded Zeus.
The Wabbit was right about their craft. It let in water then capsized. Lapinette and the Wabbit clambered onto what was left. Clear water from the Goddess Styx splashed upon their heads. "Wherefor goest thou?" murmured the waters. All the Wabbit could hear was tinkling. Lapinette's ears swivelled. "Wherefor goest thou!" shouted the Water. The Wabbit paused and then he spoke. "We're on a mission from Zeus." Water rained down. "He never calls, nor do my sons." The Wabbit thought quickly. "Consider us his emissaries. He tells that you are the greatest body of water in the Universe." "He should come here and tell it to my face," said Styx. Lapinette had waited her turn to speak and now she was most voluble. "All we want is to take back a small vial of your most holy water." Water continued to pour down. "I can't spare a drop." roared Styx. The Wabbit was trying to right the craft and he finally did it. The craft quickly filled with the purest of water from Styx. "Well, we'd better go back and ask Zeus," he hissed. "Good idea," said Lapinette. She started to push the boat into deeper water. The waterfall grew louder and louder. "Tell him his name is mud," yelled Styx. "If I ever see him again, I'll push him under." "Under what?" queried the Wabbit. "Underground," shouted Styx.
The Wabbit only remembered Zeus clapping his hands. Then they were aboard a barge in the Stygian depths of an underground waterway. Where it went, or where it came from, neither he nor Lapinette knew. "It could be the Styx," said Lapinette. The Wabbit thought back to his mythology classes. "The Styx is Zeus's mother." He shook his head and sighed. Lapinette went on. "He had a thing for his mother." The Wabbit trailed a paw in the water. "Zeus said that all solemn oaths of the Gods should be sworn by this murky gloop." "The dread water of the Styx," grimaced Lapinette. "What does Zeus want us to do?" groaned the Wabbit. He thought of something and smiled. Lapinette jumped from her seat, "Don't you dare, Wabbit!" He was nonchalant though. "I'm not going in there, all my fur would drop off." The barge creaked. It was an elderly makeshift affair, patched here and there. "Maybe this barge wasn't meant to hold together," croaked Lapinette. The barge creaked again and spoke. "Styx lives at the entrance to Hades, propped up with pillars. Zeus demands you fetch her cold, clear water and bring it to him. Otherwise you will be punished." The Wabbit looked aghast. "I never agreed to that." He looked at Lapinette. "Did you?" Lapinette scoffed. "I'm not Iris. Do I look like an Iris?" The Wabbit buried his head and they floated on.
Before the Wabbit and Lapinette could think of making their way to a bar, everything changed. The spaceship fragmented into splinters as a giant figure loomed. The Gryphon settled on his shoulder. "Ah, my little hound. Who have you brought for me today?" The figure's voice was gruff. Gryphon was in a bad mood. "Don't speak to me in that tone of voice. I brought you two creatures from the normal world." The Wabbit grimaced. "Normal? I wouldn't say that." The giant figure looked down. "It speaks." Lapinette chimed in. "We speak," she said, "Who are you?" Thunder roared from the giant engines that surrounded him. "I am Zeus. I am head of everything." Lapinette glanced at the Wabbit and they both motioned with their paws. "Big head," mouthed the Wabbit. "Blowhard," signalled Lapinette. "I thought you would like them, your loftiness," said Gryphon. "I don't dislike them," replied Zeus. Silence fell. "You're a meddler," said the Wabbit. "Of the first degree," added Lapinette. "Known for it," said the Wabbit. "Be quiet," said Zeus, "or I'll turn you into rabbits." They laughed. "We are rabbits," said Lapinette. "Don't get beyond yourself," grinned the Wabbit. "You obviously want something, or we wouldn't be here." Zeus shrugged. His shoulders thundered. "I do have a little task. It's not easy to explain." Lapinette growled and her ears twirled. "Go ahead, we've got all day."
Lapinette and the Wabbit hadn't even reached the market when something happened. They felt a little wet, but it reached only part of their bodies. Lapinette was wetter and she shouted. "What's happening?" They looked up. They were Ice Mice vessels all right and one was directing snow straight at them. The Wabbit shook a fist. "You're not supposed to be in this sector. We had an agreement!" There was no reply. Two more vessels hovered, just as silent as the first. "Something's not right," shivered the Wabbit. "Intelligence said they were in another sector entirely." Lapinette shrugged and tried to move but she was stuck in the snow. A silhouette fell across the Ice Mice vessels, the shadow of a giant bird. The Wabbit decided to speak harshly to Intelligence. But he left it for later. "Speak, creature!" he yelled. Again there was no response. "Use your universal translator," yelled Lapinette. "It's in for an overhaul," replied the Wabbit. Usually it didn't work, and he had given up. There was a roar. "I am tesh-tesh, the fiery one." He crumpled the vessel like an old tin can. "Respect my tendrils!" shouted tesh-tesh. The Wabbit and Lapinette smiled. "Your tendrils are most fine. Are you a gryphon?" The gryphon unfurled its mighty wings. "I am the multi-cultural gryphon of legend. From Ancient Egypt to Dante to modern folklore." The Wabbit smirked innocently. "You're not a dragon then?" The gryphon snarled. "Don't talk to me about dragons. They are most inelegant and quite rude." Lapinette raised a paw. "We're going to a bar. Would you like a drink?" The gryphon had no hesitation. "I'm partial to a glass of Sangue di Giuda."
The Wabbit and Lapinette were having a casual walk in a district they hardly knew. They were enjoying their amble as they made their way to a small market in the heart of the neighbourhood, when Lapinette turned and pointed. "Oh look. A demonstration." The Wabbit scrutinised the posters. " I hope you're not thinking of going." Lapinette shrugged. "Of course!" The Wabbit shrugged too. "Sorry to disappoint, but that demonstration was last year." Lapinette looked again. "It doesn't say the year on it." "I saw it my union journal," said the Wabbit. "It's a consumers organisation campaigning for better treatment of workers." Lapinette had a flash of inspiration. "Yes, I remember now. It's called the Clean Clothes Campaign. Clothing workers are being globally exploited." The Wabbit patted his supersonic fur. "Not guilty," he said, "But where was your mini kilt made? By children in Pakistan?" Lapinette folded her paws. "By children in Scotland!" she shouted. The Wabbit started to laugh - and so did Lapinette. Paw in paw they made their way along the road. Lapinette was curious. "What's the local market like?" "Very small, but with nice things made by local people," replied the Wabbit. "Exploitation free?" Lapinette was on her high horse. "Nothing is," murmured the Wabbit. "I think they have an alcohol-free prosecco bar, though." Lapinette was disgusted. "That's like coming to Italy and eating at McDonalds."
The team assembled at a Caffè in Testaccio. Drinks had been ordered but you had to get them yourself. The Wabbit grumbled, but Lapinette said she would do it and returned quickly, because sandwiches had to be heated. She leapt into her seat. Skratch arrived and grunted at the empty table. "This isn't what I'm used to," he groaned. Lapinette was far from pleased. "Now look Skratch. I ordered you a tuna and shrimp sandwich. Don't give me grief." The Wabbit giggled quietly. Wabsworth sniggered. "Tell us Skratch, what sort of Adventure did the Wabbit and Lapinette just have?" Skratch meaowed and meaowed. "It was a slight adventure barely worth analysing." Skratch was having a fit of pique because he hadn't been in an adventure for a while. Lapinette pouted and Skratch took his sentiments back at once. "We must turn to Freud and the pleasure principle." Wabsworth scowled. "Nothing could be more annoying. Lacan said it was like hauling words over hot coals. Skratch's eyes shot up. "Good turn of phrase Wabsworth - and probably true." The Wabbit chortled and muttered about spiders. "Speak up, Wabbit," said Lapinette. "The narrator is compared to a spider in Proust and thus to madness," shouted the Wabbit. He could be very opinionated. Lapinette wanted to change the subject. "Shall we hurry up the drinks?" "We'd be mad not to," replied the Wabbit. The Shaman brushed past with tourists in tow. He turned and pointed. "Listen to them and you could learn something."
The Wabbit and Lapinette conferred on the best course of action for the Electric Shaman. Lapinette suggested that tour guide was a good enough option for him, but the Wabbit suggested a new location. After due deliberation they decided on Musei Capitolini. The Wabbit said it was the oldest museum in the world. Lapinette wasn't so sure, but the Wabbit argued that he had a card that got him in free. That clinched it. Capitolini it was. The Electric Shaman took it all in and the Wabbit fixed it with the Director - or Zeus as he called him. They came to a door. "What is this exhibition?" asked the Shaman. The Wabbit grinned. "That's Domitian. He was quite the lad, but Conservative in his way." Lapinette pouted. "Didn't he conquer Scotland." The Wabbit scowled. "No-one ever conquered Scotland." The Shaman scribbled something in a voluminous notebook that magically appeared and just as quickly disappeared. Lapinette nudged the Shaman. "The Wabbit is Scottish you know." The Shaman scribbled Alba in his notebook. "Shall we celebrate your appointment in the bar," suggested the Wabbit. The Shaman's electric cloak brightened even more. "It's upstairs," said Lapinette. "I know where it is," said the Wabbit, "and I know how to get there." The Shaman laughed, and said, "So do I. Let's get the lift."