Chapter 1: The Fates, the Norns and Hemsut
Each saw them differently, to the Greeks and Romans they were old woman. Silver hair tied back in a bandanna, wrinkled skin that hung off their arms and white cotton dresses, at first appearance just old woman knitting. To the Norse it was much the same; just another three old women all in white, even their skin and eyes, the Norns were Jotun after all. However, they stood tall and gave off an aura of beauty and power. To the Egyptian it was young women, armed with a shield and arrows.
But all three were one in the same deities, three old beings deciding the fate of the mortals and immortals alike. Weaving through the tapestries of fate. Now the three stood together in their home, somewhere no one but them had seen, each in a different form. Three women, one a young warrior, another a woman like snow shrouded in white, and what looked like a grandmotherly hippie. They were huddled in a circle deep in discussion over a ball over yarn.
Unlike the other materials that were usually woven into their tapestry this thread was not just a single solid color. No, it looked like a brilliant sea green at first, but it was flecked with a pale shimmering white, like ice. There was obsidian black with a flaming red, not as much as the white or green but it was there. Pale purple, midnight blue, a whole spectrum of collars that all combined to seem like simple sea green.
That specific color reverberated in the tapestries hung around them repeating like no other ever did, except their own colors and that of some of the gods. The warrior was the one to cut the strings with the sharp tips of her arrows. The snowy white giant took the yarn in her hands as the last one wove the thread into the tapestries.
“Yes, we’ve always known he would be the one,” hissed the one in the guise of a warrior.
“The hero that connects them all,” said the one in Norn form toying with a rune.
“They need him now to connect them all, to stand against this latest challenge. They have to learn that their enemies have been working together all this time, helped each other rise only to fall. Especially at his hands,” spoke the fate again.
“The chaos magicians and Setne.”
“Loki and the forces of Ragnorak.”
“Kronos and Luke, Gaea and the Roman Triumvirate. Percy Jackson had a hand in it all,” the fate gestured to the tapestries and the one she was weaving at the moment. “They must know.”
“That only he has it.”
“The power to lead them.”
“The power to connect them.”
“The power to save them all.”
Chapter 2: Making an Entrance
Everyone appears in a mysterious place and a fight breaks out until someone falls in the center of the chaos at the same time creating more and stopping them all. AKA Percy kicks butt
One moment Annabeth was planning another sailing quest (oh joy) with her cousin in New London, Connecticut the next she was alone in a marble hall domed like the ones Magnus described in Valhalla but with Greek columns covered in hieroglyphics. Not to mention the roman statues. Her hand crept behind her to where her drakon bone sword was always sheathed on her back, just in case. She decided against it and grabbed her Yankee hat, becoming invisible when it settled comfortably on her head. She needed to understand the situation before making a judgment.
She looked around warily when she was blinded momentarily by another flash of light. Out tumbled a mix of orange and purple shirts along with a few regular ones. Soon everyone was on the floor in fighting stance with weapons in hand. Everyone was trying to figure out where they were and if they were in danger.
Then it got weirder. Another two portals opened up. Out of one tumbled several people clothed like Ninjas all holding staffs and boomerangs. The last let out a bunch of people wearing green shirts with a logo she had seen Magnus wear before. Norse. This was an assembly of the Mythological worlds. Something big was happening.
On seeing unfamiliar people fights broke out. There were around fifty people in the room all with some type of weapon. Swords and knives clashed. Bent Khopesh against Imperial gold, Celestial Bronze and Bone Steel. Magicians of Norse, Greek and Egyptian origin were casting spells. Colors flew across the room. Any type of power at hand was being used.
The most amusing were the five year olds whacking people with Egyptian wands, which looked like boomerangs. The kids went and wacked someone on the back of the leg to help the Egyptian magician defeat the opponent.
“Die!” one girl yelled.
A girl with blonde hair streaked with sea green raced across the room and picked up the deadly five-year-old. “Shelby stop. I want you to go find Cleo. Tell her Sadie said to not fight.”
Annabeth almost cheered. At least someone else would be here to help her stop the fighting. She moved closer to her Egyptian friend. “Sadie!” she whispered.
“Annabeth?” Sadie cried “I could hug you right now. If I wasn’t in the middle of casting some spells and could see you. You’re invisible.”
“I know.” Annabeth almost rolled her eyes. “Where’s Carter?”
“Best guess?” Sadie replied casting spells to try and slow the fights. “Over there.”
A giant avatar was unsuccessfully trying to break up the fights with everyone. Annabeth scanned the room. If Sadie and Carter were here there was a good chance some other allies were too. There, a flash of green hijab and the bright blond hair. It was glowing. That was either Magnus or Will. From the green, her best guess was Magnus.
“Is there anyway you can get him over here?” Annabeth asked Sadie who was still looking at Carter.
“I can try. I might have a spell for that,” replied the british girl. She muttered something and collapsed on the floor. The falcon warrior on the other side of the room disappeared and a very confused boy appeared beside them.
“Thank the gods. Carter it’s nice to see you again. I think if we work together, Norse, Egyptian and Greek/Roman we should be able to stop the fighting.”
“Annabeth?” Carter asked. “Wait there’s Norse gods now?”
“My cousin Magnus,” Annabeth explained. “Norse Demigod.”
“We should just assume things like this,” Sadie replied. “I could try and summon him too.”
“You’re already exhausted,” Annabeth said. “I’ll go and get him.”
Still invisible Annabeth tried her best to make her way through the crowded fight without getting hit by any swords or spells. Now that she thought about it no one seemed to be getting harmed by any of the fighting. It didn’t take long for her to make her way to Magnus. He was healing someone who seemed to have been hurt to the fall to the floor. “Magnus!” she whispered.
“Annabeth?” he asked. “Odin’s beard. One second I was talking with you the next…”
“We were here. Your Magnus’s cousin?” asked a girl in a green Hijab.
“Yeah. Samirah?” Annabeth asked.
“You see that boy and girl in the linen clothes? In the corner away from the fighting? I’ll meet you by them. We can stop the fighting together.”
Annabeth was there first. Samirah and Magnus were not much later. Annabeth pulled off her cap. “Okay. Not enough time to really go into this.”
“It’s fine. If you or Carter explain I’m going to be sitting through a college lecture.” Sadie rolled her eyes, “My idiot brother Carter and me, the brilliant Sadie, hosts of the Egyptian gods and part of the House of Life. Basically we’re Egyptian Magicians descended from Pharoahs. The gods decide to use us for houses every once in a while.”
Magnus looked at Annabeth. “You didn’t tell me about that!”
“I’m still processing it,” she admitted. “You guys all know me.”
“Fine. Samirah, Valkyrie and Shapeshifter. Magnus, healer and Einheri. He has superpowers and I can fly. We’re Norse.”
“Now that those are done how do we stop this fighting?” Carter asked.
“I tried my power, the peace of Frey. Weapons didn’t drop. It didn’t work, Mirmir knows why,” Magnus said.
“You think the gods know about this?” Samirah asked. “They might help.”
“Do they ever?” Sadie and Annabeth said simultaneously rolling their eyes.
“What we need is something to get the attention of everyone here,” Magnus proposed.
“I wish Percy was here,” Carter said.
“Almost everyone of any of our allies Norse, Egyptian, Greek and Roman is here so where is he?” Annabeth said, “The idiot better not have disappeared on me again.”
“Does that answer your question?” Magnus pointed up.
Above them a storm cloud gathered in the center of the room, immediately below it the crowd dispersed moving out of the way of danger momentarily distracting from the fighting. It swirled like a whirlpool in the middle of a hurricane and out dropped a teen. Kneeling on the floor his bronze sword struck the marble floor cracking it. Suddenly he looked up and his shaggy black hair parted to show his piercing green eyes. Everyone looked back. To the Greeks and Romans he was immediately recognizable. Same to Magnus and Sam who had seen his picture and to Egyptians like Carter and Sadie.
“Percy?” They all yelled.
“Move!” He ordered as more things dropped from the portal.
Monsters dispersed through the room and everyone stepped back. Empousai, dracnae, hellhounds and a few Laistrygonian giant were the odd assortment. Weapons were drawn but the monsters didn’t seem to care about anyone but Percy. Until a familiar empousai made a grab for Annabeth.
Everyone was too shocked to make a move, except the angry demigod in the center of the room who now held everyone’s attention.. Summoning water from the hurricane swirling above him Percy formed it into a whip. It swirled through the move, dispersing around humans and other friends, then forming back up to wrap up a few empousai and dracnae before pulling them toward Percy.
“No! I was like totally going to get you this time, that brat Annabeth too,” moaned the lead Empousai.
“Sure, Kelli,” Percy said.
With a quick slash of his sword the dozen female monsters were dead. Then the water whip split into dozens of water droplets, which hardened into ice. Directed by some movements from Percy’s hand they pierced the hellhounds paws sticking them to the floor. The monsters whined like puppies in pain. Percy winced in sympathy.
“I hate killing hellhounds.”
Finally he turned his attention to the Laistrygonians, a burning rock in the lead’s hand was extinguished by water, now back in liquid form. So he swiped and Annabeth came back clenched in his fist. She struggled to reach the drakon bone sword strapped to her back but he had too tight a grip on her arms.
“Bad move, Joe Bob,” Percy snarled, “No one, No one! Ever touches Annabeth.”
The water around him flooded the floor, crawling around the demigod, magicians, mortals, Valkyrie and friendly monsters to reach the giants. It crept up their bodies hardening into chains of ice.
“You think this can stop me?” Joe Bob tugged in an attempt to break the ice and found he couldn’t. He let go of Annabeth and tried again, but Joe Bob was too late. He was a cloud of sulfurish dust before he could try and break the chains. Annabeth was on one knee blowing a strand of hair out of her face and sheathing her drakon bone sword again. Percy smiled and clenched his hand in a fist. The rest of the giants were encased in swirling balls of water except their heads. Each rolled towards him and he made a final swipe leaving everyone wide-eyed. Percy didn’t seem to notice making a beeline for Annabeth.
“Not that I didn’t really miss you, but I thought you were going to be in Connecticut for a few hours talking with your cousin,” he said while seemingly scanning her over for cuts.
“I was, but then I appeared here. Just like you and everyone else.”
That was when Percy noticed everyone else who looked like they were about to break into a fight again. If they weren’t so amazed by what they had just seen.
“Someone know what’s going on?” Percy asked. His aura was so commanding that no one dared to even try and fight him. They all shook their heads. Percy looked around and his face contorted into confusion and then understanding when he saw all the people around.
“Carter! Sadie!” he said greeting his Egyptian friends who were standing right behind Annabeth. “It’s great to see you guys. Is this another one of those team up things? I don’t want to have to meet Neckbutt again, or is it one of the Norse gods this time? You’re Magnus, right? Annabeth’s cousin.”
Percy held out his hand for a shake. Magnus took it hesitantly after that display of power and shook it. “Right. What was this about Neckbutt?”
“Egyptian goddess,” Carter explained. “Possessed Percy for a bit.”
“Right. Do I have to do that again? Is this another one of those things?” Percy asked. Everyone around him was still staring in confusion bar Carter, Sadie, Magnus, Samirah and Annabeth.
His girlfriend sighed, “Percy I think this is more than that. Something powerful brought us here. Combining the mythological worlds that we know of.”
That’s when the conversation erupted across the hall. Luckily there was no fighting. Everyone was trying to figure out who was who and what was what. Percy grinned at Annabeth. “You’re a genius you know?”
“So genius,” Magnus asked his cousin. “Who brought us here?”
Annabeth opened her mouth to answer but was stopped by the appearance of something else in the hall.
Chapter 3: The Hero of the Thread
The Fates elaborate on why they're all there.
Standing in the center of the crowd was the strangest arrangement of women that any of them had ever seen. The Norse knelt and so did the Romans. Shrugging shoulders so did the Greeks and Egyptians. Only Percy, Magnus, Carter, Sadie, Annabeth and Sam were standing. In front of them stood a Morai, one of the Greek Fates. She leaned on a staff and was robed in white. Her white bandana covered her gray hair but not her gnarled face. Next to her holding a ball of thread was a women completely covered in white. White veil, white dress, white shoes and she stood around nine feet tall. In fact all of them did including the young women next to her. She had a bow slung across her back and wore the white linen robes of an ancient Egyptian. One arrow was on her hand the sharp part held ready to cut a string at any moment.
“A fate,” Percy said.
Magnus nodded, “That’s one of the Norns. The lady in all white? She reads our fates and weaves them.”
“That last lady is one of the Hemsut. I guess she’s the Egyptian equivalent of the fates or norns,” Carter said.
“I don’t get it. Where are her sisters?” Percy asked.
“Here,” cackled the fate. Her shape shifted into that of the Norn next to her. The Norn became a Hemsut and the Hemsut a Fate. As quickly as they had shifted they turned back to their original forms.
“Fate is universal,” Annabeth said.
“Yes. We weave the fate of all the gods, monsters, mortals and things on this earth.” The Norn threw the ball of thread from hand to hand as she spoke.
“So you brought us here? Brought us all together?” Sadie said angrily. “I was about to…”
“Sadie! Not now.” A voice in the back yelled forward. Walt Stone stood over the crowd. Sadie sighed and shut up.
Magnus spoke, “Does this have to do with-”
He was cut off by the Hemsut. “Of course. Fates interweave. As do all the threads of life. For the people here and the course of the world all the tapestries are interwoven with a single thread.”
Samirah gasped. She had caught on and so had Annabeth. Carter was just moments behind them. Percy however hadn’t realized. “I’m sorry but I agree with Sadie. I don’t care about connecting threads I was helping my mom finish up a crib. I need to get home soon or she’ll be worried.”
“She has not realized you are gone. No one will realize any of you are missing. Time has frozen. No harm shall come from you being here,” said the Fate.
“So why are we here? So I can watch you cut another thread? Don’t think I haven’t noticed the color of the thread you’re holding.” Percy said. Every one looked at the thread in the Norns hands. A sea green color with flecks of about every other shade or color on earth. Some of the smarter and more experienced people caught on. “You caused me a lot of worry that last time. I waited to die for five years and when I saw you again I realized it wasn’t even my thread. I won’t let you do that to me again.”
“We are here for this thread,” agreed the Norn. “Though, not to cut it.”
Percy looked at them confused. “That thread is mine right?”
The Hemsut spoke, “It is the thread interwoven through all our tapestries. All of time has lead to this Hero. Here to unite you all. He’s had a hand in everything even though you do not realize it.”
“Are you talking about me?” Percy asked confused ignoring the chatter of all the people behind him.
“It is your thread, is it not?” asked the Fate.
“I’m not a hero though. I haven’t even been the hero of our own Greek great prophecies. The first time was Luke. If he hadn’t sacrificed himself we’d all be dead. Same with Leo,” Percy said searching the crowd for his friend. “We’re just lucky that the second guy had the sense to come back alive.”
“That’s right!” Leo cried. “The Super-Sized-McShizzle-Man is back!”
“They were heroes,” agreed the Norn. “The Heroes of that Prophecy. Yet, neither of them would have been the heroes of that prophecy without you.”
The Hemsut nodded. “There is more at stake now. All the worlds are brought together, tied together with your thread. The others need to understand why you have been chosen to lead them.”
“Percy’s been chosen for what by whom?” Annabeth asked.
“To unite the worlds of the people here. After the recapturing of Delphi and the destruction of Narlfgar,” the Fate started. “After Setne and Aphophis’ fall. There is something bigger. He’ll lead you all to stop it.”
“Why me?” Percy asked. “Wasn’t I just about to get my break? College in New Rome? And what’s Narlfgar?”
“That one’s my fault,” said Magnus. “Annabeth agreed you two would help us stop Loki. We need to sail a ship.”
Percy groaned. “Okay. Again, why me?”
The three beings spoke as one. “You are the Hero. We are here to show what you have done, and show why you are worthy to lead them all. They shall see it all?”
“We’re going to see what?” Sadie demanded.
“The life of Perseus Jackson. His heroic feats. The trials he has undergone. It shall start soon.”
Two of the sisters disappeared once they had finished speaking. Only the fate was left. She looked at the assembled crowd and spoke. “After introductions it will begin. Dryads can survive without their trees here and Dwarfs and Elves will not be affected by light or darkness.”
Chapter 4: Endless Introductions
Introductions are made
As she disappeared into a mist as well everyone stared. Their stares all turned to Percy who looked like he wanted to shrink into himself. Annabeth nudged him forward. He glared at her but stepped into the center.
“Um.. Hi? I’m Percy Jackson if you didn’t hear all that. So like we were all just told he Egyptian, Norse, Greek and Roman worlds all exist alongside each other. If we could all just sit where we are and go in a circle for introductions? I don’t know about you guys but I just want to get home. Anything I missed?” he asked Sadie, Annabeth, Magnus, Carter, and Samirah.
“Yeah,” Annabeth said. “Full introductions include something like how you’re involved in the mythological world. Full names and ages. Something like that.”
“Fine,” Percy said. “So to start, I’m Percy Jackson, son of the Greek god Poseidon (of the Sea). I’m seventeen and apparently the reason we’re all here. Sorry.”
On his right was Magnus who looked surprised but started. “Okay, I’m Magnus Chase, son of Frey (Of summer, light and growth). Age 16. Yes to the Greeks and Romans who are about to ask. Annabeth is my first cousin. I’m also an Einjhari, meaning I died and was brought to Valhalla. I got some cool powers from that.”
“Samirah-Al-Abbas, daughter of Loki (god of Mischief and Evil) and Valkyrie. I find the worthy souls of the dead for Valhalla. Age 16. I am from the Norse part of this.”
“Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena (goddess of wisdom). I’m Percy’s girlfriend. I’m 17.”
“Sadie Kane, brilliant Egyptian Magician and Eye of Isis (goddess of magic). I’m 14 now.” (This is March. A year after she turned 13 in Throne of Fire.)
“Carter Kane, Pharoah of the House of Life. Eye of Horus (the war god). I’m 15. Before there’s any questions Sadie is my younger sister. She looks like Mom and I look like Dad.”
As people had just sat were they were the closest person to Carter happened to be Greek. “Chris Rodriguez, Son of Hermes Greek god of travelers, thieves, and a whole lot else. Age 18.”
“Clarisse La Rue, I’m the daughter of Ares, the Greek war god. I’m 18 and none of you punks better mess with me.”
“Katie Gardener, daughter of Demeter, Greek goddess of plants and harvest. I’m 18.”
“Travis Stoll. Son of Hermes. Greek. 18.”
“Connor Stoll. Son of Hermes. Greek. 17.”
“Nyssa. 16. Daughter of Hephaestus, Greek god of fire and the forges.”
“Harley, I’m 10. I’m the son of Hephaestus.”
Next to Harley was another ten year old. “I’m Felix Phillip and I’m also 10. I’m an Egyptian magician.”
The two ten year olds started to talk until Nyssa and the girl next to Felix shushed them. “Jaz Anderson, I’m 15. Egyptian magician specializing in healing by following the way of Sekhemet.”
“Cleo, 17. I’m an Egyptian magician following the path of Thoth, god of wisdom and magic. The kids coloring on the floor are some of our trainees. Shelby, Jack, Ben and Laura. (I made up the names of some of the ankle biters.)”
“Julian., I’m 14. I’m following the path of Horus.”
“Alyssa, I’m 16. I’m an Egyptian magician following the path of Geb, the god of Earth.”
“Just for clarification,” spoke Carter, “we’re blood of the pharaohs. All of the magicians here beside Zia are descended from Egyptian kings.”
The next person to talk was Blitz who had taken off his netting realizing the light could not turn him to stone. “So, I’m Blitzen. A Svartelf or Dwarf from the Norse realm of Svartlheim.”
Hearth started signing and explaining himself. Magnus interpreted. “Hearth here is an Elf from Alfheim. He’s a runecaster but he’s deaf and mute. If you want to speak to him let him read your lips, or speak in ASL.”
“I am Tyson, a Greek Cyclops. I am also a son of Poseidon.”
“Ella. Harpy. Tyson is my special friend. Friends. 10 season. 1994 to 2004.”
“Ella memorized most of the books in the library she lived in. She speaks in quotes. I’m Hazel Levesque, daughter of Pluto, roman god of the dead, wealth and underground. I’m centuarion, a ranking officer in the Legion. I’m 14.”
“Frank Zhang. Son of Mars, Roman god of war and descendant of Poseidon. I’m 16 and the praetor or leader f the Legion.”
“Will Solace, son of Apollo Greek god of the sun, music, and medicine. I’m 15.”
“Nico Di Angelo, son of Hades, Greek god of the dead and the Underworld. I’m 14.”
(In the background Blitz was whispering to Hearth. “Is it just me or does that Will kid look a lot like Magnus?”)
“Walt Stone, I’m 15. I’m hosting Anubis, the Egyptian god of the dead.”
Everyone but the Egyptians stared. Nico looked at him especially. “I can sense his presence. You’d be close to death without him.”
“Zia Rashid, I’m a fire elementalist and follow the path of Ra, the Egyptian sun god. I’m 15.”
“Mallory Keen, one of the Einhjeri.”
“Halfborn Gunderson, a beserker Einhjeri.”
“Coach Hedge, Greek Satyr.” Everyone saw the goat legs.
“Piper McLean, daughter of Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love and beauty. I’m 16.”
“Jason Grace, son of Jupiter, Roman god of the sky, also 16.”
“Thalia Grace, daughter of Zeus, Greek god of the sky and Lieutenant of the hunters of Artemis. I’m 15 and will be until I die. I’m sure it’ll be explained.”
“Grover Underwood, Satyr and lord of the wild. Um I’m 18 in human years but in Satyr years I’m 32.”
“Juniper, I’m a dryad or tree spirit.”
“Rachel Dare, mortal and Oracle of Delphi. I can tell prophecies. I’m 17.”
“Apollo, the Greek god. Long story short I’m mortal for now as a punishment for not listening to Zeus.”
“Calypso, my story will be told later on.”
“Leo Valdez, 16. Son of Hephaestus.” (He had already found a way to communicate with Piper and Jason but he was sure he was going to be punched and hugged once they were in private.)
“Reyna. Daughter of Bellona, goddess of Rome and war. I’m 16 and praetor.”
“Thomas Jefferson Jr., one of the Einjheri.”
“Alex Fiarro (Check name), Loki is my mother. Yes, he’s a god and can be a goddess. I’m one of the Einhjeri and gender fluid. Today I prefer the pronouns she and her.”
Some people looked uncomfortable with that but in the world they lived in with all the experiences they had most just went along with it. That left the last two girls.
“I’m Lacy, daughter of Aphrodite. The one in the headphones is Drew Tanaka, also a daughter of Aphrodite.”
“Lacy? You and Drew are demigods?” Sadie asked.
“Wait, you know Lacy and Drew?” Annabeth asked Sadie.
“We go to school together,” Drew replied. “Sadly.”
“I am so so sorry for you,” Piper told Sadie.
“I feel bad for you. She’s your sister.”
“I think we’ll get along great.”
“This at least explains a lot,” Lacy said looking at her Egyptian friend.
That’s when the three dieties reappeared. “All of your threads of crossed paths, more than you ever thought they might.”
“The Hero’s Story will show you.”
“It starts now.”
Chapter 5: Percy in Preschool
They all watch Percy, at the age of 2, interact with the first danger in his life. Somewhat herculean.
What they are watching is bolded
All around them popped up beanbags and couches. Next to all of them were snack bowls and tables with drinks. The teenagers loaded up and the older ones were sure to keep an eye on the younger kids like Felix, the ankle biters, and Harley. To makes sure they didn’t get to much sugar or things like that.
The middle of the floor was cleared. The fates still stood there. The Hemsut spoke. “A projection shall appear with moments that we have chosen to show you. This shall take a while so there are beds and food. We shall tell you when it is time to stop at night.”
They disappeared and the first projection started. On the floor in front of them were several kids napping on mats covered with fleece blankets.
“We’re watching this? Really?” Percy complained.
“What is it? You peeing your pants or something?” asked Connor Stoll.
“Just watch,” Nyssa whacked him upside him up the head to shut him up.
In front of them the napping kids were sleeping when one sat up and rubbed his eyes. He was around four, had chubby cheeks and shaggy black hair. He wore a blue shirt with several smiling fish. His eyes were the same sea green as now.
Awws sounded from the girls all around the room. Loudest from Lacy, Jaz, Juniper, Hazel and surprisingly Thalia.
Percy looked at her surprised. She rolled her eyes and replied, “Baby you reminds me of Jason. I can see the relationship.”
Baby Percy was sitting up and looking around the room. A teacher walked over though they couldn’t see her face or anything above her knees. “Go back to sleep Percy. It’s naptime.”
Baby Percy nodded and lied back down on his stomach. His hands were held out in front of him and tapping the floor. His classmates slept on.
“What are we watching?” Clarisse asked. “I don’t want to watch baby Prissy sit around and play with blocks. Oh.”
A snake slithered across the floor of the classroom and over his sleeping classmates bodies. It slithered toward Percy and bared his fangs. Percy’s hands shot up and caught the snakes body. He squeezed hard and banged it against the floor. It died and he looked at it and started playing with the dead snake.
“That’s kind of disturbing,” said Alex. “It was just a snake.”
“That was trying to kill a four year old,” Piper said. “Percy you know that Hercules did that.”
“He did a lot of things. Don’t mention it,” Percy said. Annabeth held his hand understanding Percy was upset.”
“Do monsters start seeking you out that early?” Cleo asked. “I never met any until I started to practice magic.”
“Demigods have scents. Percy has the most powerful I’ve ever smelt,” Grover explained. “Monsters were after him from the time he could walk.”
“How did you survive?” Samirah asked curiously.
Percy sighed, “Not long after this incident Mom found a way to hide my scent. I’m not talking about it.”
They watched as the projection continued. Percy continued playing with the dead snake which none of his classmates nor teachers noticed. Finally parents started coming in to pick up the kids.
Sally Jackson walked over to Percy with a kind but tired smile. Then she saw what he was playing with.
“Percy did you get that from the toy bin?” she asked nervously.
He just laughed.
“Percy listen to me. Put the snake down. Then we can go have cookies.”
Baby Percy dropped the snake. “Cookies?”
Sally laughed, “Cookies. Special just for you.”
The projection ended with Percy in Sally’s arms.
Everyone looked at Percy. Annabeth asked the first question. “Were they blue cookies?”
“She didn’t start making those until I was like seven,” Percy replied.
“I’m sorry. Blue cookies?” Magnus repeated slightly disgusted. He hated blue.
“It’ll be explained,” Percy said.
“Why didn’t the mortal notice?” Reyna asked. “A snake is not a monster, even if sent by a god or immortal.”
“The teachers never paid me much attention. Besides the times they thought I might be causing trouble. I was a problem child according to everyone but Mom.”
“How old were you?” asked Jaz.
“Three or Four. That was the first monster attack. Mom didn’t want to send me to camp yet but she could see them. More and more showed up as I got older. Most of them didn’t attack yet. She started to plan a way to keep me safe.”
“What?” asked Frank curiously. He thought he knew Percy but even in this first scene it was revealed there was a lot more to his friend than he thought.
Grover looked at Frank. “Don’t ask. Seeing it will be hard enough.”
Everyone turned to Percy. What could the most brave and loyal demigod, their supposed hero be hiding.
Chapter 6: Gabe and Gaea
The viewers get to see a little bit of Percy's home life as a kid and why it was so awful
Annabeth gripped Percy’s hand.
The projection of Baby Percy and Sally faded away and another one rose up. A kitchen table covered with poker chips and empty beer cans came into view. A fat man in a white undershirt covered with stains and disgusting gym shorts was asleep on the table.
Noises of disgust sounded all around the room. Juniper lost hers when Grover whispered in her ear and got up to move to Percy and Annabeth. Percy had blanched and his fist was clenched. Annabeth was looking at him worriedly. She knew that was his Stepfather and Percy had not liked him. She knew the man had hurt Percy and Sally but Percy wouldn’t react this badly if that was the only thing bothering him.
Grover had sat down near them once Sam and Magnus had scooted over. He looked at Percy with the same worried expression as Annabeth. He could already feel Percy’s fear and anger through their empathy link. It was worse than the emotions he had felt on that first quest with Percy whenever Gabe’s name had mentioned. Something had happened to Percy that made him much angrier and more scared of his stepfather.
“That man’s fat,” Shelby said from in between Cleo and Jaz.
Percy let out a barked laugh and soon everyone was laughing too, more believably than Percy though. Once it quieted down Coach Hedge looked at Percy. “I thought we were supposed to be watching you destroy monsters cupcake? Not watch a fat man sleep. Unless he is a monster?”
Everyone looked at the projection. The sleeping man sure looked horrible enough to be a monster or one of the escaped through the doors of death. Percy still as pale as Nico or Hearth shook his head. “No, he’s mortal but he’s still one of the worst monsters I’ve ever met.”
“Who is he?” Piper asked hesitantly. Percy’s eyes had storms swirling through them.
“My stepfather. Gabe Ugliano, or as I called him Smelly Gabe,” Percy spat ignoring the stares everyone was sending his way. He looked up to the ceiling and yelled, “I know you’re listening! Can you skip this? All of this?”
“It needs to be seen,” answered the voices of the Fates.
Percy sighed. “Can you at least send the younger kids home? If people don’t need to see this I’d rather they didn’t.”
“It is agreeable,” the fates voices sounded. “They shall be frozen as they came and forget it all.”
Suddenly Alyssa, Shelby, Cleo, Felix Julian and the other ankle biters disappeared. Then so did Drew, Lacy, Nyssa, and Harley. Then slowly Thomas Jefferson Jr. Halfborn, and Mallory evaporated as well. Katie disappeared with the Stolls as she was about to scold them. Then Coach Hedge in mid-rant to Grover.
“That was creepy,” Sadie shivered. “And I’m dating a guy who hosts the god of the dead.” She got stares from the non-Egyptians. They shook it off quick. None of them could judge.
Percy looked around the room and nodded at all the Greeks and Romans, he was okay with the ones that had stayed watching. He could trust them. It was the others there he wasn’t completely sure about. Carter and Sadie were fine. Annabeth had vouched for Magnus and Sam but what about their friends?
Carter seemed to notice it. “Zia, Walt and Jaz are our most trustworthy and experienced friends.”
Magnus caught on. “Blitz and Hearth are cool. So is Alex even though she doesn’t act like it.”
Percy nodded and the projection in front of them started playing again.
Gabe’s large stomach rose and fell with snores. Percy tiptoed in. He was just a few years older than he had been in the last one.
He made his way into the kitchen and the cookie jar. Percy took one out when Gabe sat up. Startled Percy knocked the jar over and it fell to the ground the ceramic pieces scattering across the floor. Cookie still in hand Percy started crying looking down to his feet, which were covered with cuts. He didn’t dare make a sound from fear of Gabe.
Gabe was now fully awake and looking at Percy. Percy cringed next to Annabeth in real life watching his younger self in the projection. Gabe reached for his beer can and lifted it to his mouth. He frowned when he realized there was nothing in there.
“You’re in the kitchen,” he told Percy sneering to him. “Get me another beer.”
In real life his friends were all looking at him. Percy just stayed quiet looking at the projection. “You were six,” Grover gasped.
Thalia looked at him, the now older boy who could be considered a second little brother. “I’m here if you want to talk.”
As soon as her sentence finished the projection hit play, like someone was watching with a remote. Percy winced as his bare feet walked across the ceramic pieces on the floor.
He reached into the fridge and pulled out one of the cans. He limped over to Gabe who grabbed it and took a gulp. As he set it down his face contorted. He wore a grotesque, cold, sneering smile. His eyes were now pools of muddy brown and white. He reached out and grabbed Percy’s wrist.
A woman’s voice, ancient and bone-chilling spoke out of Gabe’s mouth. “You will forever be my pawn. You will never be able to escape all the things I have made you do. You will continue to do my bidding without even realizing it. You are my perfect pawn. I will rise.”
All the Greeks and Romans froze and looked at Percy. The Norse and Egyptians just seriously looked freaked out. Jaz even shrieked. Hearth was signing rapidly to Blitz and Magnus. Zia voiced all of their questions. “What monster was that voice?”
Juniper was the one to answer. “Gaea. Mother Earth herself. She got mad when the gods defeated her first children the titans. She created giants to defeat them but they were defeated as well. She’s been slumbering and tried to wake last summer. The nature spirits could feel when she stirred.”
“If she was sleeping how can she do things like that?” Alex asked. “Unless she talks in her sleep.”
Calypso answered surprising them all. She hadn’t spoken much yet. “She can use slivers of her powers to do things.”
“Like cause the accident that killed my mother,” Leo snarled in a very out of character way. “Queen Dirt Face deserved what she got.”
“She could also control mortals. It’s what happened to my mother,” Hazel said. Nico moved over to his sister and gave her a look.
Frank looked at Percy. “Gaea told you on our quest you’d be her pawn too. Why did she try so much to talk to you and control you?”
Apollo yelped suddenly. “Were you working for her? Where you under her control?”
Everyone looked at him like that was a stupid question. He was a god though. He never did trust demigods that much, until now. Percy sighed and answered. “I’ve never been under her control. Not like Gabe or Hazel’s mom. I didn’t understand this until recently. I thought I had hallucinated from the blood loss.”
Reyna looked at him as if meeting him for the first time. “You never showed the signs of Gaea’s control, or of the cruelty of your stepfather.”
“Don’t give him that title,” Percy snarled. “Paul is the only one to deserve it.”
“Agreed,” Thalia said. “I think what Reyna meant is that you can tell with demigods. Some of our mortal parents weren’t amazing. Reyna and Hylla were determined even more to be warriors for example. I, became the brilliant person you see in front of you today. So why haven’t you been affected.”
“He has,” said Annabeth. “Gaea’s manipulation formed his fatal flaw.”
“Fatal Flaw?” Hearth signed. Blitz translated.
“Each demigod or even person has a quality so strong that could kill them. Percy’s is personal loyalty. He’d sacrifice everything to save a friend,” Grover explained.
“A goddess,” Walt/Anubis said, “Even one as powerful as Gaea could not form the personality of a demigod who has already been born.”
“No,” Percy said. “Like Annabeth said I can’t stand to see anyone around me hurt. Not like Gabe hurt me. Gaea was right I almost let her destroy the world.”
He was looking at Leo who laughed. “Really? Percy I had to make the sacrifice. You resisted your flaw and let me. I know you definitely could have stopped me.”
“I wanted to.”
“You didn’t. I don’t know a lot about Fatal flaws but that must have been almost impossible,” Carter said.
Percy didn’t answer. Silence fell until the projection started again. Percy was still struggling in Gabe’s grasp as Gaea continued to speak through him. “I have been thwarted before. My rise will not be stopped. Of all the pawns and pieces I shall play you are the most important of all.”
Gabe’s face returned to normal and Percy ran from his grip. He entered the bathroom and turned on the bath sticking his feet in trying to wash off the blood and shards of ceramics on his feet. Instantly he was soothed.
“How did you heal so fast?” Jaz asked curiously. “Do all demigods do that?”
“Just Percy. It’s because a son of Poseidon. Water can heal injuries. Most demigods do have a higher tolerance. We also have godly foods, ambrosia and nectar, which heals us. If we eat to much we can burn.” Will recited quickly.
“You’re the healer, who makes those potions?” Annabeth asked. “Sadie mentioned you.”
Jaz nodded. Will smiled. “I’d love to compare treatments later.”
Hearth signed and while translating Samira smirked, “Magnus can heal too. He glows.”
“Like Tangled?” asked Piper looking at his shaggy hair.
Magnus groaned, “Like Tangled.”
“Tangled,” Ella recited. “Disney Animation. Mandy Moore is Rapunzel. Flower gleam and….”
“Thanks Ella,” Rachel said. “I think that’s enough.”
Nico’s grin grew devilish. “Will’s hair does it too sometimes.”
Everyone stared at Will and Magnus. Sadie whispered to Jaz, “I’m glad your hair doesn’t do that.”
“At least I don’t think it does,” Jaz replied.
Magnus wanted the attention off of him. “Do all of you heal when you use powers? Or in your godly parents realm.”
They shook their heads. “Only Percy in water. Unless Tyson can do it.”
Tyson shook his head. “Only Percy. Cyclops are monsters, no cool powers.”
“Moving on,” said Thalia. “Where was Sally? Does she know?”
“Sally?” asked Alex wrinkling his nose.
“Percy’s mom,” Apollo answered. “Her blue cookies were good.”
“Will someone explain that?” Magnus complained.
“It will soon,” Percy promised. “Mom didn’t know that Gabe hurt me. She doesn’t know about Gaea and she never will.”
“I hate lying to Aunt Sally,” Nico complained.
“Aunt Sally?” Hazel asked.
“Right, you’ve never met her.” Thalia started to explain. “Percy’s our cousin, even though we don’t share DNA. Sally told us both to call her Aunt. She’ll probably tell you and Jason to do the same.”
“Sounds like something she would do,” Clarisse said.
“You’ve met her?” Rachel asked.
“She’s a demigod safe house,” Chris replied. “We needed it once.”
Leo looked down. Sally Jackson sounded a lot like his mother. Magnus seemed to be doing the same.
“Can we just get this over with?” Percy asked. “Everyone shush.”
They did and the projection started again. Percy’s feet healed and he went to his room. Sally walked in moments later. She sat down on his bed.
Percy looked at her apologetically. “I’m sorry Mommy. I broke the cookie jar.”
Sally smiled at him kindly. “It was an accident. We’ll get a new one and I think I could use your help to make some new cookies too. You’re always such a good boy while I’m at work.”
Percy smiled and jumped off his bed. Sally followed him into the kitchen and started pulling supplies for cookies. Percy looked at the dough as he helped her add in chocholate chips. “Mommy, can we make the cookies blue?”
“Blue? There’s no such thing as Blue food.”
Sally’s eyes flashed at Gabe’s answer. “We can. I think I have some food dye in here somewhere.”
The projection finished and collapsed. Piper looked at Percy and smiled. “At least now there’s a reason for all those blue waffles, soda, and other things.”
Alex was smirking and excitedly telling Magnus about all the pink, green and blue foods they could eat. Magnus was looking at her like she was insane. Which she probably was.
Chapter 7: Meant to Be Ice Cream
People had rearranged and started talking to each other. Walt and Nico were in a conversation about the Underworlds. Jaz, Will and Magnus were discussing healing techniques. Apollo had butted in seconds after they started. Zia and Samira had started up a conversation in Arabic. Annabeth had introduced Piper and Sadie who immediately bonded. Blitz and Hearth had stayed together and ended up talking to Grover, Juniper, Tyson and Ella. Somehow Clarisse and Chris ended up near Reyna and Frank talking about Roman fighting. Jason was talking to Calypso and Leo. Percy and Thalia managed to pull Annabeth away from Alex who she realized Magnus might like. Rachel was helpful distracting the daughter/son of Loki. Both had stupid rich dads to complain about.
They had fifteen or so minutes of talking before the next projection started and they all sat where they stood. This time it started with two teens standing with a little girl in an alley. The teen girl, who was about twelve was on her knees looking at the younger girl.
“You got that knife?”
The child rolled her eyes and unsheathed it. The older girl nodded so she sheathed it again. Then she continued to talk. “Good. If there’s a monster and you can’t get to me and Luke I want you to use it. We’ll just get some supplies as fast as we can and then-”
The real Thalia disrupted the projection of herself. “Why are we watching us? Isn’t this supposed to be about Percy.”
The fates didn’t answer and the projection continued. Luke was now talking. “Just go to one of those benches in the park across the street and read that book.”
He and Thalia set off and they followed the little girl’s down the street. Her face wasn’t visible only her behind. She sat down on the bench and pulled a book from the knapsack on her back. The projection turned so they could now see her face screwed up in concentration over her book.
Magnus laughed. “You really did do exactly what you said you would.”
“What, read?” Leo asked.
“No. Run,” Magnus said. “Last time we saw each other was I think around a year before this. She obviously moved back with Uncle Fredrick though.”
“You’ll probably see why,” Annabeth responded. “I just want to see why we’re watching this.”
The projection played again. Annabeth sat there reading until another kid and his mother walked up to the bench. “Stay here, I’m going to bring the ice cream back in a few minutes.”
“Of course,” the mom said walking off.
Annabeth and Percy exchanged looks. “That was you?” they both said at once.
“That’s a scary coincidence,” Piper said.
“There are no coincidences,” Blitz said darkly.
Apollo nodded. “The fates decreed this long ago. I guess Percy and Annabeth’s threads have always been intertwined.”
He seemed to ponder something else. Percy gave Annabeth a quick kiss as they watched their younger selves again.
Percy sat down next to Annabeth. He looked at her then looked away. His feet started tapping and he played with a loose thread on his shirt. He looked at Annabeth again curious. He peered over her shoulder at her book and his face twisted in disgust.
“How can you read that?” he demanded. She ignored him. He bent over to peek at the books title. “Thymkoth lgreey?”
“Greek Mythology,” she replied unable to resist her instinct to correct him. She looked up at him surprised. His fingers were still pulling at the thread. She raised her eyebrow. “Dyslexia?”
“I have it too,” she admitted.
“You don’t,” he replied. “Or you wouldn’t be able to read that.”
“I do and I can!” she replied stubbornly.
“Don’t and Can’t.”
“Can and do.”
“You’re lying,” he replied.
“You’re incorrigible,” she groaned.
“You made that up.”
“You’re an idiot too,” she said.
Grover looked at them both. “That’s exactly what you sounded like that entire first summer.”
“The first summer?” Clarisse asked.
“How about until they were sixteen?” Nico asked.
“Not even. They still sound like that,” Piper said.
“What does incorrigible mean?” asked Leo.
“It’s how I would describe you,” Calypso smiled.
“So super hot?” Leo asked. Everyone groaned.
“It means someone naughty, bad or misbehaving. Basically Sadie,” Carter said.
“Thank you,” Sadie smiled. “That’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said about me.”
“Moving on…” Samirah interrupted before anyone else could speak.
The projection played again. Annabeth turned back to her book as Percy pouted in protest to being called an idiot. His face brightened up a moment later when Sally appeared with two ice cream cones.
He took his happily. Then he looked at Annabeth and whispered to his mom. Sally smiled and handed him something. He ran off and Sally followed. A moment later Luke and Thalia appeared before the reading Annabeth.
Luke spoke. “We need to go. There are monsters nearby.”
Annabeth stowed her book and grabbed her knife. That’s when somebody else walked over. It was a much younger Grover.
Thalia spoke, “This is Grover, he’s a Satyr. He was sent by Camp HalfBlood. It’s a place for demigods like us. He’s going to take us there.”
Annabeth smiled and they walked away. A moment later Sally and Percy returned. He was holding another ice cream cone. He looked around.
“She left,” he told Sally disappointed. In real life all the girls awed. Percy blushed.
“I’m sure she would have liked it. Just this once you can have the second ice cream.”
The projection turned off. Annabeth turned to Percy. “You bought me ice cream.”
“I felt bad,” Percy replied blushing. “You were there alone. I thought you might need some cheering up.”
“Well I forgive you. I said some bad things too. Forgive me?” Annabeth asked.
“Of course,” Percy said kissing her head.
“Can I barf?” Alex whispered to Sam. She elbowed her sister (still preferring she and her) who shut up.
“That’s really cute,” Jaz said.
“It is. I’m kind of jealous,” Piper agreed.
“It was adorable! They were both so cute,” Juniper gushed.
“I could have used some ice cream,” Thalia grumbled.
“Ice cream sounds good,” Magnus agreed.
Chris’s stomach growled. Clarisse laughed at him.
In front of them all appeared an ice cream sundae bar. The demigods, magicians, magical creatures and einjehri scrambled over.
Hearth and Frank stayed sitting, the latter stuck out his tongue. He hated the cold. Frank nodded. “I’m with you buddy. I can’t have it either. Lactose intolerance.”
Both of them smiled suddenly as some of Sally Jackson’s blue cookies appeared before them. Both took one. Then Frank frowned. “There’s not enough for everyone.”
Hearth nodded and took out a runestone. The cookies multiplied. Frank’s eyes widened in amazement. “That was magic! Hazel come here.”
Being so small she had managed to squeeze through the others and got some ice cream first. She walked over to where Frank and Hearth were sitting. “Where’d all the cookies come from?”
Hearth held a finger to his lips. Frank paused for a second and nodded. “You know, it was magic.”
Chapter 8: The Problem Child
Percy's school troubles come up. There has to be a reason he went to six schools in six years.
Everyone settled down with their ice cream and grabbed some cookies before the next projection started.
Percy was now around the age of 9. He was on a playground with a bunch of other kids his age. Percy was playing basketball with a bunch of other kids when a silhouette leaned on the base of the hoop. He wore a trench coat and a fedora.
“Dude.” Apollo said. “What is this? Who is that?”
As Percy played with the other kids the man’s gaze followed him. His eyes weren’t visible under the hat but he turned to watch where Percy walked.
“That looks like Amos when we met him in London,” Sadie whispered to Carter who agreed then shushed her. There was no need. Other’s were voicing their thoughts.
“Kid I suggest that you run and find an adult,” Blitz told Percy.
“Can’t. Already happened,” Percy said.
“You see stuff like that on the street… I’ve seen it running from foster homes,” Leo started.
Magnus nodded, “Percy that’s really not good. You’ve got a stalker.”
Percy sighed, “Just watch.”
Percy and his friends finished up their game of basketball and started to walk inside. The man followed them until the door. He grabbed Percy’s arm just then and his face flashed with panic then confusion as he looked up at the man’s face under his hat. A teacher ran over seeing what was happening.
“Go now or we’ll call the police.”
The man let go of Percy’s arm and stalked off. The teacher glared as he went then looked at the confused Percy. “Are you okay? Why don’t we call your mom and get you something warm to drink.”
Percy shook his head. “That man had one eye.”
The teacher looked at him strangely. “The man wore an eyepatch? Like a pirate?”
“No,” Percy scowled, “He had an eye in the middle of his forehead.”
“That’s a nice story. Lets go to the desk and call your mom now. I think you might have gotten hurt playing basketball.”
The projection paused. Everyone turned to Percy who was looking at them with an eyebrow raised daring them to say something. It was intimidating but Tyson was not scared.
“He was a mean Cyclops.”
“Which makes me wonder, if you could see through the mist for him, well… shouldn’t you have been able to tell Tyson had one eye too?” Annabeth asked.
“I don’t think it works that way,” Percy said.
“If the mist is the duat,” Sadie butted in, “It doesn’t.”
Hearth nodded playing with a few of the runestones in his hand. Hazel looked at them interestedly. “We should really compare magic later.”
“We’ll have to ask the Fates,” Reyna said. “We do not want to anger them.”
“We will find time,” Zia said. “For your myths too Carter…”
The Egyptian was already looking through his bag of scrolls. Annabeth had been looking at them contemplatively. Percy nudged her.
Samira looked at Percy. “Your monsters follow the scents of a demigod. If your scent was blocked by your monstrous stepfather why did that Cyclops find you?”
“I don’t really know. I didn’t see many monsters after mom married Smelly Gabe. I think it’s because he was a Cyclops. Possibly something to do with dad.”
“To do with your dad?” Alex asked. “Does your dad send monsters after you? He might be as terrible as mine.”
Thalia shook her head. “No, Percy’s dad is probably the best godly parent ever. He actually shows he cares.”
“Hey!” Apollo protested looking at Will as if to confirm this wasn’t true. Will looked down and Nico reached for his hand. Apollo blanched and put on a grim face. “Thalia might be right. Uncle P talked about Percy a lot. He might have sent a Cyclops after him. Cyclops are workers in the forges under the sea. They serve Poseidon. Many like Tyson are products of his affairs with nature spirits.”
“So did your dad send that guy?” Chris asked.
“Not sure,” Percy said. “Lets just move on with the embarrassment.”
His request was listened to as the next projection started. Percy’s face was pressed up against an aquarium tank along with several other kids. In the background a tour guide was talking about the fish. The other kids took their faces off the tank but Percy kept his pressed against the tank.
“C’mon Percy!” yelled a kid nearby. “We’re going to see the sharks.”
The real Percy frowned. “Why can’t I hear them?”
“Hear what?” Jaz asked. “The video?”
“No. The fish.”
“The fish?” Alex raised an eyebrow. “Even I can’t understand animals. Sam?”
“No. I can talk in the form of one,” agreed her sister. (Alex was still feeling like a girl).
“The form of one? You can do it too?” Frank asked.
“Later Frank,” Annabeth said. “Percy do you want to explain to our Egyptian and Norse friends?”
“I can hear fish.”
“You can hear fish?” Hearth signed as Blitz translated.
“They talk. They call me the Prince of the Sea or Lord and a bunch of other things. Most common is son of the Sea King.”
“Really?” Sadie snorted. “That’s hilarious.”
“It’s annoying but it can come in handy. I’m just wondering why I can’t hear them here,” Percy looked at Annabeth quizzically.
It was Rachel that answered. “You weren’t able to hear them as a kid. Not till you knew you were a demigod.”
“Course they weren’t as oblivious as you,” Thalia teased.
“Could you not hear horses as a kid either?” Hazel asked.
“You can hear horses?” Magnus asked.
“My dad is the god of them. Talking to them isn’t always pleasant.”
“My dad is the god of horses too and I can’t hear them!” Magnus protested.
“I guess I’m just better,” Percy said but shut up under Annabeth’s glare.
“Let us all continue. The sooner we shall finish this the better,” Zia said.
The projection continued with Percy walking with his class to the shark pool. They stood on one of the conveyor belts that lied on top of the glass. Under them all were the sharks.
Percy was looking at them as they swam up to the glass right under him then swam away. They continued along the belt as the tour guide spoke but none of them really heard it until a kid nudged him. “She’s asking for help.”
Percy raised his hand. The guide smiled at him and called him forward. Percy walked up and off the conveyor belt. His class followed him off.
“I want you to hit that lever and watch what happens,” the marine world guide told him. “We let our behind the scenes guests feed the sharks.”
Percy walked forward and pressed something. Behind him something moved then a splash. A kid had toppled into the tank as the walkway retracted. Several others started to topple in after him and screams could be heard. Percy and the tour guide did too. His eyes widened as the sharks swam over to him and wrapped around him before swimming away.
In real life Calypso shrieked getting a weird stare from Leo. “They are scary creatures.”
“I guess. Those teeth look nasty,” Leo agreed.
“Shark. Top of ocean food chain. Endangered. Shark fin soup. Asian food. Sharks live in all the oceans of the world. Have many rows of teeth that keep growing and moving forward as they fall out. Perceived as scary.”
“Not scary Ella,” Tyson shook his head. “They are nice. Just look scary.”
“Nice, like Tyson,” Ella blushed.
Piper whispered to Reyna, “I’m not usually sappy but that’s adorable.”
“They are a sweet couple,” agreed the praetor.
Percy was nodding. “Ella’s right. Sharks are nice like Tyson. They can look scary but they act like giant puppies.”
No one knew what to reply to that so the projection played again. Nearby his classmates were being fished out by other aquarium workers. Percy was still in the tank reaching out to pet all the sharks. Finally he was tugged out to the hateful stares of his fellow students, teachers and the tour guide.
“You young man,” started one of the teachers, “are in deep trouble.”
The projection ended. Everyone stared at Percy. Then Leo started laughing. In a moment Chris, Will and Apollo were too. Then Jason and Grover had turned their grins into full on laughs. Magnus and Frank were next. Then everyone else burst into laughter. It took them a while to calm down.
“I’m sorry but why were you in trouble?” Juniper asked. “The tour guide pointed at two levers and you pressed one.”
“That’s my luck,” Percy shrugged.
Thalia nodded. “Percy has horrible luck when it comes to getting into situations. Getting out of them is where he gets lucky.”
“Extremely lucky,” Nico agreed. Percy gave him a look showing he understood exactly what circumstances Nico was talking aboud.
“My school life is just one example,” Percy agreed.
“Why?” Samira asked. “Surely these three incidents are an anomaly.”
“No. Something bad happened every year. I was expelled until I hit eighth grade. Seven different schools.”
“You attended seven different schools?” Piper gaped. “Even with all I did trying to get Dad’s attention my record was two.”
“Mine was four,” Alex said. “Once for being genderfluid.”
“One,” Sadie said. “Though I suppose I’m just better at not being caught.”
“You’re good at a lot of things,” Walt whispered to her.
“I guess,” Percy said (not hearing Walt) although he agreed with Sadie. “Can we just finish watching me be expelled?”
“Can we eat after?” Grover asked.
“Just watch,” Rachel said with an eye roll effectively shutting him up.
They were now on a field.
Annabeth surveyed it eyes wide. Reyna did the same. “Saratoga,” both said at once.
Magnus rolled his eyes and turned to warn Alex, “Don’t ask.”
Several kids were looking at a battlefield display and looking at the reenactments. Percy was among them around a year older than they had last seen him. He was looking at the actors load a canon. He looked at it curiously. The actors turned to answer a tourist’s questions. Percy walked forward and looked at the canon. He fiddled around with it and pushed it so it faced a different side.
“You didn’t,” the people almost as destructive as him said at once. That meant Alex, Leo, Thalia, Sadie, and in this case Clarisse. The latter had a wicked grin on her face.
“Prissy if you’re about to do what I think you are… well you might not be as much of a punk as I thought.”
“No,” Percy said with a smirk. “You’ll think that no matter what.”
“What is he about to do?” Zia asked Sadie.
Percy had managed to move the cannon so much so that it was now facing a different way. He walked around to the end of it and at the rope attatched. Curiously he pulled. To his surprise it ignited a spark. With the instincts of a trained soldier or a demigod he jumped to the side and covered his ears. A shot had been fired and it was heading straight toward the yellow school bus.
The scene paused as the people in the room turned to look at Percy. Annabeth especially was gaping and almost glaring. “What exactly was the thought process there?”
“I was curious,” Percy replied putting on his innocent puppy dog eyes.
“Annabeth are you serious? That was amazing!” Sadie yelled. “Even some of my best spells can’t create explosions that amazing.”
“I think the explosions I’ve seen you make are pretty powerful,” Walt disagreed.
“You do have a knack for them,” Carter agreed.
“Percy,” Sadie continued ignoring her fellow Egyptians. “What was the most powerful explosion you’ve ever caused?”
“The bad boat,” Tyson suggested when Percy didn’t answer.
“Mt. St. Helens,” Annabeth disagreed.
Percy looked at Calypso then nodded. “Yeah. That I think.”
“The volcano?” asked Frank.
“You exploded a Volcano? Teach me your ways!” Sadie pleaded.
“That does sound fun,” Alex agreed.
“We will get along brilliantly,” Sadie said. “Percy teach us.”
“It’s not so fun so no,” Percy replied. He was staring at Sadie before he looked at Annabeth again. His frown had turned into a bright smile and everyone was looking at him very confused.
“Let’s just finish,” he said. He had Annabeth hand in his trying to shake off the feeling that he had just gotten. He was still sure Sadie was a product of his and Annabeth’s DNA like in that Sci-Fi movie he had seen. Not that he would say it.
Everyone on the field was looking at the bus as it exploded. Phones were brought out and soon enough sirens were heard. The actors were looking for what had gone wrong when they saw Percy. One grabbed him by the arm and pulled him forward. “Who’s kid is this?”
A teacher walked forward and glared at Percy. “Jackson. I apologize. Sadly he is my student.”
She walked him away toward the other students. Another teacher was calling another bus. “Jackson you are a danger to everyone around you. I shall see that you never return to Washington Junior High ever again.”
The projection ended and Percy gave them all a joking smile. “That was grades three, four and five. I got expelled for all those things and bringing danger to everyone around me.” He stopped and muttered under his breath. “Some things never change.”
Annabeth frowned hearing that but Percy was continuing. “Let’s eat. It’s Lunch back home and I’m starved. There a place to get burgers around here?” he grinned to Thalia and Nico (His fellow burger loving cousins).
As if an answer to his question a door appeared to the side of the couch that Hearth, Blitz, Hazel and Frank were on. It was labeled Cafeteria. With a grumbling stomach and after exchanging a look Percy and Grover charged in the lead.
Chapter 9: Lunch
Everyone had sat down at the long table in the cafeteria. There were goblets and empty plates but no food. The Greeks knew what to do. Grover had been the first to be seated and was eating enchiladas and a tin can. Percy sat next and ordered, “Blue cherry coke, cheeseburgers and fries.”
The Romans, Greeks and Egyptians now knowing what to do followed his lead. Across from Grover was Juniper who ate salad and juice. They sat at the end of the tables. Next to Grover was Clarisse and sitting across from her and next to Juniper was Chris. All four of them were discussing the latest news from Camp which Juniper was catching them up on. That also included Clarisse’s godson Chuck. Grover was curious having gotten to know Coach Hedge better and asked about the baby satyr. Clarisse, acting like the eighteen year old girl she was for once gushed over her godson’s adorableness with Juniper.
Next to them were Frank, Tyson, Ella and Hazel. Hazel was talking to Tyson and Ella but Frank was talking to the girl next to him. Samira and him were talking about shapeshifting. Across from Sam was Magnus who sat next to Thalia. She had pulled Magnus over to sit next her her. This was Annabeth’s cousin and she wanted to hear more about her friend. She had already interrogated Reyna and the other Romans about Jason. It was now time for Annabeth.
Across from Thalia sat Nico and next to him Walt. Across from Walt was Will and next to her Jaz. Together the four were talking about death and healing. It was better not to ask much about that conversation but Magnus who was nearby looked curious. Next to Walt was Sadie who sat across from Alex and next to Percy. He looked very uncomfortable eating his cheeseburger, fries and blue cherry soda while being interrogated by the two girls. They wanted to know about the best explosions and expulsions. He gave in after awhile only because Sadie reminded him so much of Annabeth and himself.
On Alex’s other side across from Percy was Annabeth who was sharing exasperated glances with Carter who sat next to Percy. Zia sat next to Annabeth and was talking to Leo sitting next to her boyfriend and across from her. He had somehow brought up fire. Calypso was next to Leo and across from Apollo. The two former immortals were in discussion with Blitz and Hearth about the nine realms. Blitz was on Calypso’s side and Hearth on Apollo’s.
Last was Rachel next to Hearth who sat across from Reyna next to Blitz. Next to Reyna was Annabeth who sat across from Rachel. Piper was on Annabeth’s other side with Jason next to her. Everyone ate and the Norse and Egyptians watched curiously as all the Greeks and Romans got up to burn food to the gods.
“What’s that for?” Hearth signed to Annabeth. Blitz translated once again.
“For the gods.”
The Norse and Egyptians exchanged glances and shrugged before they all dug into their food. Little by little they finished up until they were waiting for Percy to fill his bottomless stomach so they could start watching the next part of his life.
Chapter 10: Museum Monster
Together they all walked back through the door and raced to claim the best couches. It took a while before silence fell and Percy looked as the next projection started.
In front of him were rows of school bus seats. In one he sat with Grover who’s horns were not visible and who still had a bunch of acne as well as the first showing of a beard. Percy still had his windblown black locks and sea green eyes. He was scrawnier than now, not having built up his muscle yet. He was at least two feet shorter as well. He was still quite adorable and you could see the handsomeness that would be there in a few years.
“It had to be this,” Grover groaned.
“Don’t worry buddy. I have to suffer through it too,” Percy soothed.
“I’m pretty sure that means almost all of us will,” Frank whispered to Hazel. She looked around her. Would they see everything?
Grover was shrinking into himself as pieces of a sandwich were lobbed at him from behind. The owner of the sandwich was a redheaded girl with neon orange freckles with an upturned nose as pointed as an arrow. Pieces of the sandwich dripped into his hair. Red dripped across the brown and pieces of peanut butter stained his forehead.
“What kind of sandwich is that?” Sam asked crinkling her nose.
“Peanut butter and ketchup,” Grover and Percy answered together.
“And who’s that girl that I need to deck?” Thalia asked.
“That is Yancy Student and kleptomaniac, Nancy Bobofit. You know I should really thank her,” Percy mused.
“For what?” several people asked.
At the same time Grover said, “Don’t.”
“Let’s just watch,” Zia suggested. “I am sure we shall see what Percy is talking about soon.” Under her glare with fire burning in her eyes everyone shut up.
“I’m.. deck her,” Percy mumbled.
“It’s okay… peanut butter,” Grover soothed.
Another piece of lunch missed him as he lurched forward.
“That’s it!” Percy started to get up with a determined and angry look on his face but Grover grabbed his arm and pulled him back down.
“You’re already on… if anything happens,” he chided.
“What were you on probation for?” asked Alex interestedly.
“I really don’t remember. I got expelled that year for something much more interesting.”
“As interesting as a shark tank?” Leo asked skeptically.
“Scarier too,” Grover said.
“Shut up then. I want to see Prissy do something stupid,” Clarisse ordered.
The scene moved on from the bus onto to the students on the bus sitting on the steps of the museums. Some kids were throwing crackers at seagulls, which had Thalia and Grover cursing under their breaths. Nancy was trying to steal something from a women’s purse. Percy and Grover sat together on the edge of a fountain. Their teacher sat in his wheelchair with a raid umbrella behind him reading a book while chewing on celery.
“That’s Chiron!” Jason said.
“Yeah. He was my Latin teacher.”
“Who’s Chiron?” Carter asked.
“A centaur. He taught all the old heroes and trains all of the Greek demigods now,” Apollo explained.
“A Centaur?” Blitz blinked.
“Half man half horse,” explained Chris. “You’ll probably see. It’s better than it sounds.”
As Grover ate his apple and Percy started to unwrap his sandwich Nancy walked up and dumped her half eaten food on Grover.
“Oops,” she smirked.
In front of their eyes the water of the fountain reached up and pulled Nancy in. She was sitting in the water on her butt screaming. “Percy pushed me!”
“That was you?” Jaz asked curiously.
“You saw when he came in. Percy can control water. Most of us have powers over our godly parents domains,” Nico explained.
“Did you know you were doing that?” Magnus asked. “Or did it just take over.”
“It did. I was just trying to keep calm. Didn’t work,” Percy shrugged.
“That was because Grover’s your friend. Nancy hurt him and emotions are powerful,” Piper explained.
“Sometimes more than logic,” Annabeth agreed grudgingly.
“Well sometimes I wish they weren’t,” Percy said. “Can we start?”
“No,” came the voice of the Fates from the ceiling. “We have a change to add to our projections. As you watch Perseus’s actions he will be reliving them himself.”
“I’ll be what?” Percy asked.
“You shall feel as you did before. There will be times when you will fight as well, doing as you did in the past. There will be no harm.”
“Sure. Anyway we can’t do this?’ Percy asked. There was no reply.
In front of them materialized a short wrinkled woman with black hair streaked with gray pulled back in a tight bun. She wore jeans and a biker jacket and wore a cruel smirk.
“I know… erasing workbooks.”
The teacher growled, “Come with me.”
Nico looked at Percy in alarm. “Is that who I think it is?”
“Mrs. Dodds? Yeah,” answered Percy, Annabeth and Grover.
“You’re in a lot of trouble,” Thalia moaned.
“Nothing new it seems,” Sam said to her brother. (Alex was feeling boyish at the moment.)
“Wait, who exactly do you think that is?” Reyna asked Nico.
“Don’t tell,” Percy warned.
“Fine,” the fourteen almost fifteen year old pouted.
“It is a monster,” Tyson said simply.
“Yeah dude but which?” Chris said. His reply was the projection starting up again.
“Wait! It was me…. her,” exclaimed Grover.
“I don’t think so Mr. Underwood,” she said giving him a death glare so scary he trembled.
“It’s okay… for trying.”
Percy gave a smirking Nancy a stare that made them all shiver even after all the horrible things they had seen. Mrs. Dodds was now at the museum entrance. A second as later Percy turned around to look at Grover he was inside. When he found her she was in front of a Greek painting growling in an empty room.
“You’ve been …… honey.”
The projection paused. “Of all the times to be respectful,” Rachel said. “You choose now. Why not run?”
“Hey! I didn’t know!”
“Did you really think… with it?” Mrs. Dodds said straightening the sleeves of her jacket.
“I’ll try… Ma’am.”
“We are not fools… you will suffer less pain,” she threatened.
Percy stood there confused with a blank expression on his face. For a second he looked like he had thought of something before it faded away.
“Wait, did you know what she wanted?” asked Jaz.
“No. I thought she was talking about an essay I had plagiarized,” Percy replied receiving a smack from Annabeth.
“What did she want?” Walt asked.
“That’s a spoiler,” Annabeth said. She made sure they all stayed quiet until the projection started again.
“Well?” Mrs. Dodds asked waiting for an answer.
“Your…. up,” she hissed.
In front of their eyes Mrs. Dodds became a creature out of a graphic novel, a female man-bat. Her wings were coated with black and had huge claws at the end. Her eyes glowed black and orange. Her mouth was foaming and full of rotten fangs.
“What on the nine worlds is that?” Blitz sputtered.
“A Fury. Torturers of Hades. Mean,” Ella replied.
“That sums it up pretty well,” Grover agreed.
“They’re horrible. All three of them,” Thalia said with a haunted look in her eye.
“It looks creepy. That might even give me nightmares,” Sadie said.
“I wouldn’t blame you. I had them too,” Percy agreed. “Now this is where it gets exciting. Watch.”
The wheelchair bound teacher appeared in the door and yelled. “What ho, Percy!”
An object came flying through the air, a ballpoint pen. The monster reached forward for Percy. On instinct he dodged and caught the pen, which became a sword on his hand.
“A pen sword! I knew that wasn’t a stupid idea,” Magnus cried. He received a bunch of stares.
“Magnus who are you talking too?” Frank said inching away from him slowly.
“His sword Sumerbrander. It is magic and can talk,” Sam explained.
“What? I want a talking sword. Annabeth think Riptide can do that?” Percy asked.
“Where is you sword?” Hazel asked curiously.
“I asked for him to be a pen. He wanted to be this instead,” Magnus said. He drew the runestone off his necklace so it became a blade.
“Well Riptide is awesome,” Percy bragged. “I can write with it.”
“You can compare swords later,” Annabeth said. She paled before blushing a furious red. “Move on.”
With a shaking hand Percy held the sword looking at Mrs. Dodds.
She flew straight at him and disintegrated into yellow dust as Percy passed a sword through her. He stood there with a ballpoint pen in his hand. He stood there for a moment shaking staring at the pen and looking around in confusion.
“A Fury? That was the first monster you killed?” Will asked in shock.
“Yeah,” Percy replied in confusion.
“You do understand Percy most demigods would have died with no training facing one of the kindly ones,” Reyna explained.
“Yeah, probably,” agreed Clarisse. “Even some of the tougher ones like me.”
Percy stared at them dumbfounded.
“We should probably move on before he figures out what you’re saying and becomes bigheaded,” suggested Thalia.
Percy walked back outside to where it was raining. Grover was sitting by the fountain where Nancy Bobofit was still glaring soaked from the fountain and the rain.
“I hope Mrs. Kerr… you butt.”
“Who?” asked almost everyone in the room. Percy held up a finger.
“Who?” he asked in confusion still staring at the pen.
Percy stared for a few minutes. “What are you saying?”
Nancy grumbled and walked away with her friends leaving Percy with Grover. “Where’s Mrs. Dodds?”
Grover paused. “Who?”
“Not funny… serious.”
Thunder boomed and the projection stopped.
“Mortals,” Leo tried breaking the tense atmosphere, “So oblivious.”
“It’s the mist/duat,” Hazel and Sadie said at once.
Percy nodded “Yeah, it could drive one crazy.” He looked around. Everyone was still staring at him. He shrugged and looked up at the ceiling.
“Can we move onto to where I’m not insane?”
“When’s that?” Thalia whispered to a laughing Annabeth. Everyone stared as the two girls laughed.
“I think Percy has infected Annabeth and Thalia with his insanity,” Leo said making Calypso giggle.
“That’s not possible,” commented Apollo.
“Neither is all of this,” pointed out Rachel before shutting up. Apollo was her patron after all. Besides the still laughing Annabeth and Thalia everyone contemplated Rachel’s comment as the next projection appeared in front of their eyes.
Chapter 11: Doomed?
Once again the projection opened with Percy and Grover sitting on a bus. Jason looked at them confused, “Are you another field trip?”
“No,” Grover replied simply.
Percy elaborated, “I was expelled for calling my teacher an old sot. This is me on the way home. Grover, coincidentally, happened to be on the same bus back into the city. “
Grover was fidgeting. He kept tapping his feet and looking back at the other passengers. Percy looked out the window trying to ignore his friend, until finally he couldn’t anymore.
“Looking…. kindly ones?” Percy asked.
Grover nearly... do you mean?”
“I listened. You and Mr. Brunner talked. What was that all about? What am I in danger of?”
“How.. you hear?”
“Oh…. not much. What’s.... deadline?”
“The summer solstice deadline? The longest day of the year is auspicious,” Zia pointed out.
“That’s kind of a spoiler. It is important though,” Percy agreed.
Grover winced, “Look, Percy… demon math teachers?”
“And I was… as Mrs. Dodds and….”
Grover had turned pink. He pulled a card out of his pocket and gave it to Percy. “Just take.. this summer.”
“Don’t say…. summer address.”
Percy frowned, “Okay, so if I want ….. mansion?”
Grover nodded, “Or…. need me.”
“Why …. need you?” Percy said cruelly.
Juniper looked at Percy. “That wasn’t nice.”
“I didn’t mean it like that. I had been upset and I was scared. I thought Grover had been another of those rich kids who didn’t care,” Percy said.
Rachel, Piper and Alex looked down.
“Oh gods. I’m sorry I didn’t mean it like that. Not every person with money is like those kids. Rachel you hate what your father does. Piper your one of the most down to earth people I ever met. I haven’t met your dad but he must be amazing. Alex I don’t know you very well but you’re not like them either. That much I can tell,” Percy said.
“Can we just move on?” Alex said irritably.
Magnus looked at him concerned. Percy obviously hadn’t meant it like that. Alex glared at him and Magnus looked forward waiting for the projection to start again.
“Look , Percy, the truth…. protect you.”
Percy stared at him.
“Grover…. protecting me from?”
There was a grinding ….. seemed to be looking at me.
“Percy. Tell me they didn’t do it.” Annabeth looked at him pleadingly.
Percy opened his mouth to reply. “I’m fine. Annabeth…”
“Of this hero you cannot speak,” said the voices of the fates from the ceilings. “You shall not speak of the string, of it’s vitality to your story.”
“That’s not fair. I need to tell them. I need to tell her,” Percy protested.
There was no answer. Percy turned to tell Annabeth what he wanted too but found that he couldn’t speak.
“That’s really not fair.”
Everyone stayed silent not sure what to say, so the projection started again.
The three ladies stared right at Percy. He looked at Grover who had paled. “Grover? Hey, man-“
“Tell me… aren’t they?”
“Yeah… fit me?”
“Not funny…. at all.”
One of the old ladies took ot a pair of scissors. Grover caught his breath.
“We’re getting …. come on.”
“What? It’s… in there.”
“Come on!” Grover climbed back on the bus but Percy stayed back and stared. The middle woman cut the thread and the snip was so loud that Percy stood there like he had heard a gun go off. The other two women balled off the socks and the engine rumbled.
“Oh gods, Percy how long do you think you have?” Hazel asked.
“I’m fine guys. It’…” Once again Percy found that he couldn’t speak.
“Percy they cut a thread you saw it and…” Nico trailed off. He knew death better than many others. Even after six years Percy’s odds weren’t good to be alive for much longer.
Annabeth was looking at her boyfriend questioningly. He gave her a reassuring smile and that’s when she knew that Percy would be fine.
“Even the gods can’t stop the fates thread. Not even the god of prophecy,” Apollo said. “I’m sorry. You’ve served Olympus well. The gods shall remember you, a hero even greater than Jason, his Argonauts, Theseus, Perseus and even Hercules.”
“I’m not and I’m fine. I promise I’m not going anywhere,” Percy said.
“Um I’m sorry,” Walt asked. “I don’t feel any death on Percy. Why are you all acting like these might be his last breaths?”
“The Fates. Their strings represent the life of a person, once one is cut the person well they…” Frank trailed off. “That’s as bad as my piece of wood.”
“It’s not,” Percy said. “And I keep telling you all I’m fine.”
“How do you know that’s his string?” asked Magnus.
“Generally if you see them cut a string it’s yours. Percy you…” Jason started but couldn’t finish.
“You guys aren’t listening. I am fine and will be fine. I am not leaving any of you anytime soon.”
Everyone looked at him with doubts, except for Annabeth and Grover. Percy knew what the fates strings meant. He wouldn’t make an empty promise unless he was sure he was fine.
“Have you had this string hanging over you since you were 12? So you faced Setne, that crocodile and I’m guessing much more even with that?” Carter asked.
“I did. Just all of you, stop worrying. I will not die because of the string you just saw cut, that I can swear on ….”
Percy was once again cut off in the middle of his sentence. He groaned and looked around him at his friends. “We’re going to move on from this now alright?”
“Darn…. back on board.”
In the room watching everybody sighed in relief. Percy rolled his eyes. What would it take to get it into these idiots heads he was fine?
Percy scrambled back onto the bus and sat by Grover. Percy was now sweating and looked nauseous. Grover was shivering and his teeth chattered.
In real life Percy didn’t look much better. He was keeled over clutching his stomach. He looked a shade of green Annabeth hadn’t seen him as unless he had been on an airplane, or what reminded Hazel of his face while riding Arion. Grover was fine but Percy was looking exactly the same as in the projection.
“Ra! Is he dying?” Sadie cursed looking to Jaz and Walt.
“He has no aura of death,” Walt and Nico answered at once.
“I can’t feel any sickness on him either,” Will frowned.
Magnus walked forward. “Can I try healing you?”
Percy nodded. He hated nausea something he only had felt at extreme heights and on a horse called Arion. He was a son of the sea, who found balance even among waves.
Magnus put his hands on Percy’s arm. “Nothing,” he frowned.
Apollo looked at Percy. “I think he’s not really sick. From my experience sickness doesn’t come on that quickly. Ever. Not even by poison. I believe this has to do with why we are here.”
“You shall feel as you have felt before.”
“That really sucks,” Thalia said honestly looking terrified at her cousin
“Yeah, now shut up so I can feel better!” That did it. Everyone, even those that had just met him liked Percy.
“What…. telling me?”
“Percy…. the fruit stand?”
“You mean the …. Mrs. Dodds are they?”
“Just tell… you saw.”
“The middle one… cut the yarn.”
Grover closed his eyes and curved his fingers into a claw pushing it away from his chest. “You… snip the cord.”
“This is not…. like the last time,” Grover mumbled and started gnawing on his fingers.
“What last time?” Reyna asked.
“The tree?” Thalia guessed.
“Yep,” Grover and Annabeth nodded.
“What tree and what last time?” Leo asked in exasperation.
“I’m happy they’re just as confused as us for once,” Samira told her new friend Zia in Arabic.
“Is that really not a thing anymore? Do not even the Greeks here know?” Percy asked. “That story isn’t told?”
“No. Actually they tell yours,” Chris said.
“Well this story is better. The person in it did something harder than I’ve ever had too.”
“Thanks,” Thalia said. “Though it’s not true.”
“Can someone explain what story you’re talking about?” Calypso asked eyebrow raised.
“What last time?”
“Ha! Reyna thinks like Percy,” laughed Leo.
He shut up under the shared glare of her and Calypso.
“Always sixth… get past sixth.”
“Grover…. talking about?”
“Yeah. What are you talking about?” Rachel tried again. “Most the demigods I have met have gotten past sixth grade.”
“That’s not something that was as common for ones as powerful as Percy after the last world war. Nico can tell you,” Annabeth said.
“Thanks Annabeth,” Nico said dryly. “It’s true.”
“For the ones who did get past sixth,” Thalia started, “well it wasn’t always much better.”
With that somber mood they turned back to watch their movie/apparition.
“Let me walk … promise me.”
Percy looked at him strangely. “Suuure. Is this… superstition or something?”
Grover stayed silent.
“Grover… mean someone is going to die?”
“How did you know that?” Sadie asked surprised. “You don’t give the impression of someone very observant or smart.”
“Um Seaweed Brain Sadie is right, how did you know?” Annabeth nudged him.
“I actually paid attention in Brunner/Chiron’s class. It was the only one that I didn’t fall asleep in. Mom also told me bedtime stories about the myths. She tried to protect me in a lot of ways, she tried to prepare me.”
“My mom did that too,” Magnus said surprised he had opened up so much. Annabeth looked at him with a look of understanding. One he knew she wanted to know she was there to talk.
“We were lucky then,” Percy said. “We had/have good moms who loved us.”
“Yeah,” mumbled Magnus. “Lucky.”
As Grover turned his sad and frightened gaze on Percy the bus stopped. Together they waited behind everyone to climb off. The whole time Grover was muttering.
“Why does this always happen? Why does it always have to be sixth grade?”
“”That’s honestly scary. Even we weren’t that bad. Right Hearth?” Blitz asked.
Hearth nodded enthusiastically.
“Which is why all the other street people called you mother ducks,” Magnus told them rolling his eyes.
“I agree, that’s kind of freaky,” Piper said. “I’d run.”
Percy laughed and Grover glared at him.
“I’m guessing you did,” Sadie laughed. “Brilliant.”
They got off the bus and Grover turned to Percy. “I need the restroom. Promise to wait for me.”
“Fine,” Percy grunted.
Grover ran off and Percy pulled his suitcase and walked to the curb. He held out his arm for the nearest taxi and climbed in.
“East one-hundred…. And first.”
“Not nice. I came out and had a heart attack. I thought you’d been eaten,” Grover complained.
“Grover honey, you kind of were acting insane. I would have thought to run too,” Juniper said honestly.
“Wow… I don’t know what to say to that.”
“I do. It’s hard not to panic when the kid you’re supposed to be protecting ditches you,” Blitz said glaring at Magnus.
“It’s not my fault!” Magnus said.
“Not mine either,” agreed Percy.
That led to everyone cracking up at Grover and Blitz’s glares at their friends and former protectees.
Chapter 12: Terrifying Goat Men, Stepfathers and Dreams
Once the laughter calmed down they turned forward waiting for the next part of Percy’s story. The projection started with a woman sitting with Percy on the edge of a bed. Everyone recognized the woman from the first projection. This was Percy’s mom, Sally Jackson.
Percy was eating blue sour strings while the woman ruffled his hair. She had sparkling blue-green eyes and long brown hair streaked with gray. Her uniform was red- white and blue. “I have a surprise…. the beach.”
“As soon…. get changed.”
“I get that your dad is the god of the sea but what’s so special about this cabin?” Apollo asked curiously.
“It’s where Dad met Mom. We used to go every summer but Gabe wouldn’t let us the two summers before this one. There wasn’t enough money he claimed.”
Everyone scoffed and disgusted looks came onto each of their faces when said man entered the projection.
“Bean… you hear me?”
“He’s a jerk,” Alex declared. “You don’t have to live with him anymore right?”
“He’s been gone for almost five years,” Percy smiled. “I think you’ll see why.”
Everyone kept their eyes trained waiting for Gabe to be gone when Percy laughed. “I think you’ll have to wait a little longer.”
Percy and Sally exchanged glances. A silent deal. Sally turned to Gabe and gave him a fake smile. “I was on my….. the trip.”
Gabe glared at Percy narrowing his eyes. “The trip? …. serious about that?”
“I knew….. us go,” muttered Percy.
“Of course he…. sour cream. The works.”
“Your mom sounds amazing,” Jaz smiled.
“She’s the best,” Percy smiled. “Mom has a lot of patience. Needed it to put up with me.”
“We all do,” Annabeth sighed.
Percy raised his eyebrow knowing she was joking.
“Aunt Sally is amazing,” Nico said smiling for once. “Never surprised when I turn up from the shadows.”
“She took care of all the hunters once,” Thalia said.
“Cause she keeps the house open for any demigods in need. I think that includes the Norse and Egyptians too. Mom is happy to spoil anyone.”
“Percy’s lucky to have a good mom,” Jason muttered.
“One who’s still here,” agreed Frank. “Not that I don’t love Sally.”
Nico, Leo, Magnus and the Kanes looked down too. They all had fantastic mothers. Their mothers just weren’t here anymore like Sally Jackson seemed to be.
“I am. I will say that I know what if feels like to have lost her, or thought too. Nico, Leo and Frank, you’ve met her. You know she’s there if you guys need anything and Magnus. Well, any relative of Annabeth’s is already family in our book. I’ve been meaning to ask you too to come by two. We’ll have to do it after,” Percy said gesturing to the Kanes. All six teens muttered thanks then an awkward silence fell letting the projection start right up again.
Gabe smirked. “So this money…. clothes budget right?”
“Good thing Drew is no longer here. The idea of a clothes budget would knock her unconscious,” Piper laughed.
“That’s a good thing,” Sadie pointed out.
“It’s horrible. I mean that she has to pay when they’re married. I bet she supplies everything for him!” Hazel protested.
“And you won’t take… and back.”
“We’ll … very careful.”
Gabe itched his pudgy chin which had food crumbs on it. “Maybe if you hurry…. interrupting my poker game.”
“I’m sorry…. to it right now.”
Gabe squinted trying to detect the sarcasm. “Yeah, whatever.”
He left the room. Sally turned and smiled at Percy. “Thank you, Percy….. to tell me, okay?”
“How’d she know?” Hearth signed.
“She just did,” Percy said leaving no room for any other questions.
“I still want her to punch that man in the face,” Reyna muttered.
“I think we all do,” nodded Calypso. “I do no think I would mind punching someone in this case.”
“Neither do I,” Juniper agreed.
“Well I never mind,” Clarisse said. “So can we find him and do it?”
“Shh! I love your violent tendencies but it’s starting again,” Chris told her putting an arm around her shoulder. Rolling her eyes Clarisse settled into him to watch.
Gabe stood in the doorway as Percy walked downstairs lugging some bags to the car. He held a beer bottle in his hand and laughed cruelly anytime Percy stumbled with the bags.
“It’s not fair. Sally can’t just be leaving to the stupid beach when she has some of those wings to make. Not fair.”
Percy grumbled showing his anger at his stepfather’s idiocy and rudeness. Gabe glared back at him. “Not a scratch….. one little scratch.”
“But Percy will not be driving the car. He is twelve!” Tyson protested.
“New York. Legal driving age as of now, 17.”
“You’re right Tyson,” Percy told his brother. “You and Ella are. That was just Gabe.”
No one seemed to know what to respond. However the silence didn’t last long as they watched what happened next.
Watching him lumber back….. and told my mom to step on it.
“How did you do that?” Apollo demanded.
“I don’t know!”
“It shouldn’t be possible. No one can do that. Unless he was a monster or something, even then that’s not how it works!” protested the now mortal god.
“It could be the water particles in the air?” suggested Annabeth.
“It wasn’t,” Grover shook his head. “We all know that it wasn’t.”
“Was it magic?” Walt asked curiously. “Like a spell you didn’t know you were doing? I have experience with that.”
“I don’t think so,” Percy said. “I don’t understand the big deal. I just did the sign.”
“That’s not what it’s supposed to do though!” Apollo said again.
“Dude I’m pretty sure you could only do that with magic or with power over the air, like me,” Jason nudged Percy.
“Well, I only have power over winds to use for storms, like hurricanes. At least I think.”
“How have you not thought about this?” Annabeth asked.
“Because I haven’t! We can talk about this later. I want to get this harder part done soon. Preferably before we have to eat or sleep.”
The projection started with Percy standing on a beach. It was storming on the beach………. And I screamed, No!
“Um I’m sorry but what was that?” Magnus asked.
“A dream,” Percy answered simply.
“I’ve had my share of dreams. Most of them trips through the duat. None have been that weird,” Carter said. They had been frightening though.
“Well that dream wasn’t about two animals. It was about my dad.”
Before Percy could finish Thalia and Jason groaned. “Ours too.”
“Your dad?” Hearth signed.
“Zeus, king of the gods and controller of the sky. He happens to fight a lot with his brothers, Percy’s and Nico’s dads,” Thalia replied.
“Why are you dreaming about them?” Jason asked. “I mean, dreams always have to do with something. At least for demigods.”
“They do. Percy has particularly bad ones,” Grover said.
“This is just the beginning,” agreed the said teen.
Percy woke up. Outside it really was…… wasn’t exactly Grover.
“Dude, way to shock him,” Will said raising an eyebrow.
“Well I didn’t really have time to explain it all,” Grover replied dryly.
“Why?” Zia asked eyebrow raised.
Grover held up a finger in reply pointing to the 3D figure of his younger self and Percy.
“Searching all….you thinking?”
Sally turned to Percy pale and gasping. “Percy, what happened….didn’t you tell me?”
“O Zeu…..Didn’t you tell her?”
“Percy. Tell me now!”
Sally’s tone shook everyone in the room. The kind woman didn’t look like someone to ever respond to her son like that. Something was really wrong.
“Mrs. Dodds,” Percy stammered. “She was this bat monster. I used Mr. Brunner’s pen to kill her. No one heard of her. Then the ladies, they cut the string at the fruit stand. They had sasquatch socks.”
Sally stared. She grabbed her purse and shoved Percy’s rain jacket into his arms. “Get to…. Go!”
“This is it?” Clarisse asked.
“Yep,” Percy said somberly.
“What?” Nico asked. He had known Percy almost four or five years now. Still he was realizing, there was a lot about his cousin he did not know.
“I know it was probably scary but I’ve always wanted to see this,” Chris said.
“It was terrifying,” Percy agreed. “You get your wish. Just happens to be one of my nightmares.”
Chapter 13: Crazy Car Ride
Readying themselves for a terrifying experience all of the watchers looked at the projection. It was so it seemed they were inside the car themselves, there with Percy and Grover who had been running for their lives.
Percy was sitting there nervously and Grover kept flitting his eyes back uncomfortably to watch the road. Suddenly Percy broke the awkward silence. “So you and ….other?”
In real life everyone cracked up at Percy’s awkward phrasing. Even though some of this was pretty terrifying most of it was entertaining too.
“Not exactly….watching you.”
“That sounds really stalkerish,” Piper pointed out.
“Yeah, but I was protecting him!” Grover protested.
“Don’t worry, we understand,” Blitz said gesturing to Hearth beside him.
“Thank the gods someone does,” Grover smiled.
“Reckon they’d get along with Bes and Bast?” Sadie asked her brother.
“Some more than others,” Carter nodded.
“Watching me?” Percy gaped.
“Keeping tabs….your friend,” Grover rushed his sentence.
“Piper was right,” chortled Leo, “this is hilariously awkward.”
“Percy!” Annabeth said. “That was rude.”
“It’s fine Annabeth. We were both kind of scared and stressed at the moment,” Grover told her.
“He didn’t really answer me either till I insulted him more,” Percy agreed.
“It doesn’t matter?....is a donkey.”
Grover bleated looking hurt, “Goat!”
“See?” Percy told Annabeth.
“I’m a …waist down.”
“You just….didn’t matter.”
“I’m guessing you meant Coach Hedge?” Frank asked. The rest of the seven plus Nico and Reyna nodded.
“He would do that,” Percy agreed.
“Makes him a great protector!” argued Clarisse.
“Terrifying one too,” Leo said.
“Well lets just be happy Grover didn’t trample Percy,” Annabeth said. “Cause I kind of need him.”
“We all did/do,” pointed out Will.
“Even us,” Carter and Magnus said at once in surprise.
“Look guys as entertaining as this is I want to get this part over with. It’s not something I’m looking forward too,” Percy said. That got everyone quiet with curiosity, not to mention when Percy asked you to do something. Well, you did it. That was just Percy.
“Woah…. Mr. Brunner’s myths?”
“Were those old…a myth?”
“Grover!” Juniper scolded this time. “The poor boy was terrified and confused. He had no clue what was happening unlike you.”
“It’s fine Juniper,” Percy said. “Grover and I are bros. The best of them.”
“So you admit…Dodds?”
“The less you knew….who you are.”
“And here I just thought I was going insane,” said Percy.
“I think we all have,” Carter agreed.
“Definitely,” nodded Magnus.
“I’m pretty sure we are,” Nico said.
“No, Nico.” Hazel smiled, “That’s just you.”
“Who I….you mean?” Percy spluttered. As he finished speaking a haunting bellow rose from behind them. The sound seemed to be part of the mist, or even from it.
Sally spoke nervously and quickly. “Percy there’s….to safety.”
“Safety from what…who’s after me?”
“Ah,” Sadie smiled. “We’ve done that. Just suddenly on the run finding out you live in a world full of gods. Good times.”
“I like you,” Thalia said. “Come learn under me Padawan. In the ways of annoyance, torture, sarcasm and any other cool things.”
“No!” Walt and Nico cried out. “Not a good idea.”
The girls both smirked. Sadie laughed, “Seems like it is.”
She moved over. Now she sat with Piper, Thalia and Annabeth. They’re respective boyfriends and brothers looked very scared.
“Just the ….blood-thirstiest minions.”
“Grover!” yelled several of the girls. Others laughed with some of the boys.
“Yeah, we’ve done that too,” Sadie smiled. “He’s kind of a friend now though.”
“Same here, I mean. Kind of but you never know with gods,” Percy said.
The car swerved onto a narrow road….. white picket fences.
“Where are we going?”
“The summer camp …..to send you.”
“Summer camp?” Carter asked. “Camp Half-Blood right? You mentioned it the first time we met. The orange t-shirt.”
“Right. That’s where we’re going.”
“Camp’s the best,” Will said.
“I miss it sometimes,” Thalia agreed
“I think we all do,” Leo nodded. “I was only back for a day or two. Calypso didn’t even get a proper tour!”
“I shall another time. Let’s watch. This is taking too long and as Percy said this shall not be easy.”
“The place…to go.”
“Please, dear…..in danger.”
“Because ….yarn,” Percy replied dryly.
“A lot of danger then,” Rachel nodded.
“I really don’t believe you’re still alive,” Apollo said. “I mean have you been a ghost this whole time?”
“No,” Percy said leaving nothing else to be spoken.
“Those weren’t any….to die.”
Percy’s eyes widened in fear. “Whoa…you.”
“You meant…in me.”
“I meant you…you.”
“Really not the time,” Samira pointed out.
“I don’t think there ever is,” agreed Reyna.
“So then we might as well just have argued then!” Percy said triumphantly.
“See? Sally agrees with us,” Samira said surprised how comfortable she was now feeling with all of these people.
She pulled the wheel…in the storm.
“What was that?” Percy asked glancing behind him.
“We’re almost ….. Please.”
Percy was now leaning forward but Grover was glancing back nervously. For another 30 seconds they sat like that. Then suddenly was a blinding flash of light, not unlike the ones that had brought them there. A deafening Boom! The car tumbled into a ditch, it’s occupants only held safe from the air by their seat belts.
“Dad!” Thalia complained.
“It’s fine,” Percy said. “We’re all fine.”
“He tried to kill you,” Jason pointed out.
“Right, so apparently you Romans didn’t have this issue and we never explained it. Thalia and I, well we shouldn’t have been born. There will be an explanation of this later but it means that Zeus and Hades wanted to kill me.”
“Just Hades,” Thalia said. “Percy’s dad didn’t really care.”
Nico nodded, since he had started dating Will a little of his old self was shining through. He was healing. “He’s nice. Actually a good uncle, he knows my name.”
As the air cleared Percy was peeling his face on the drivers seat with a delayed ow.
“Ow!” Percy said in real life. “That feels like one of your bolts Thalia.”
“Those don’t hurt you a lot.”
“Cause I’ve learned to absorb them like the ones in my hurricanes. They hurt before I learnt to do that, a lot like this.” Percy swayed dizzily. He was next to Jason and Grover who caught him before he could slump forward. He sat up again. “I’m okay now.”
“Percy!” Sally cried.
Rain was pouring in from the cracked roof and mud was leaking in from the doors on Sally’s side. Percy suddenly looked next to him at the slumped over figure of his friend. Blood was trickling from the side of his mouth, like when someone was shot in the movies. “Grover!”
Juniper shrieked pulling him off the couch beside Percy to hug him close. Annabeth looked at the girls beside her and gestured to Jason so they switched spots.
Percy gave a harsh laugh. There was hope.
“Percy, we have too…”
In a flash of lightning….had horns.
“Who is-” gulped Percy.
“A monster. Probably wants to kill you, but you’re both here alive and you talk like your mom is too, so it’s all sunshine and butterflies,” Alex said.
“No it’s pretty terrifying,” Jaz argued.
“Especially when you have no clue what’s happening,” Percy nodded. “Now can we get this over with? I’m still dizzy from the lightning.”
Sally tried climbing out of her door to find it shut in the mud. Percy’s was the same. Both looked up at the hole in the roof. The edges were sizzling and smoking so they couldn’t get out.
“Climb out the….big tree?”
“Hey! That’s me!” Thalia said getting a bunch of stares.
“It’ll be explained later,” Annabeth told everyone.
“That’s the property line….the door.”
“Seaweed Brain,” Annabeth said. “You’re too loyal.”
“So I’ve heard.”
Sally’s face was pale. Her hair stuck to her face with the rain. She looked at Percy sadly.
“No! You are….carry Grover.”
Another bellow and snort. The man with the horns was getting closer. Sally turned to Percy. “He doesn’t want…the property line.”
“Why not?” signed Hearth.
“No mortals can without permission,” explained Rachel. That made sense to everyone.
“We don’t have….Please.”
Percy climbed across Grover opening the door. “We’re going….Mom.”
“I told you-“ Sally protested.
“Mom! I am….with Grover.”
“Annabeth was right, you are to loyal,” Thalia decided.
“I’m just following your lead,” Percy decided. “My friends and family go safe first. They’re after me, well that’s what they’ll get.”
Everyone stayed silent waiting to watch exactly what Percy meant.
Chapter 14: Fruit of the Looms Spokesbull
Percy scrambled out of the car then dragged Grover out splashing both of them with mud. Together we draped Grover’s arms….couldn’t be real.
“That’s scary. What in Helheim’s name is that thing?” Samira asked.
“It must be a demon, nothing natural,” Zia agreed.
“It’s natural,” Piper shook her head. “It’s called the minotaur. Half man half bull. It was born from a woman and a bull, the women was cursed by the gods.”
“She’s horrible,” Hazel shivered.
“Right. That’s probably why she hated my so much, I’ve defeated her son and her husband. Probably offended other relatives of hers too,” Percy said.
“Right,” Piper continued ignoring her comments. “The minotaur was put in the Labryinth a horrific maze.”
“The maze is alive and scary,” agreed Tyson.
“Basically he was first defeated by another son of Poseidon called Theseus,” Annabeth finished for Piper before anyone could disrupt again.
“Pasiphae’s son…to kill you.”
Hazel shivered at the name of one of the greatest enemies she had ever faced. This monster reflected his beautiful mother’s inside nature. She was glad he had met Percy, who had most likely killed him. Percy could defeat pretty much any monster, that she believed.
“But he’s the min-”
“Don’t say his…have power.”
“True…” Everyone nodded. That was a constant through all of mythology. As they were discovering there were many of those, much more than they realized.
“How many times have you been told that but you still go around saying their names at ever chance?” Thalia asked Percy.
“Thalia it’s not gonna change,” he said.
“I know that but I still want to know how many times you’ve been told that.”
“Wow Percy,” Nico applauded. “That’s a great answer.”
Percy smiled at his cousin and took a bow. Just to defuse the tension. For at least two minutes before one of the worst things in his life happened in front of his eyes again.
The bull-man hunched….fifty feet away.
“Shh!” Percy told his unconscious friend. “Mom…see us?”
“His sight ….soon enough.”
“She’s smart,” Carter noted. “She studied up to protect you.”
“I don’t understand how someone like you could be her son,” Clarisse said. “You’re kind of an idiot.”
“I’m going to ignore that last part but yeah, Mom is smart. She’s just sent in her first book and it should be published soon. I guess I’m more like dad.”
“A lot,” Apollo noted. “You act a lot like Uncle P. I’m sure Annabeth’s mother would rather you took after your mother though.”
“Why?” Jaz asked curiously.
“Athena and Poseidon are rivals. She’s the goddess of wisdom too. She appreciates it and hates her kids being involved with anyone she doesn’t believe intelligent. Even more if they are Poseidon’s kids,” explained Piper. Annabeth had told her all this before.
“Oh,” was Jaz’s reply. That got several snickers.
He picked up Gabe’s Camaro……gas tank exploded.
“Oops,” Alex smirked. “I guess you got a scratch on it.”
“Brilliant!” agreed Sadie.
“Not so much this time,” Percy disagreed.
“Percy, when he sees us…you understand?”
“How do…all this?”
“I’ve been worried….keeping you near me.”
“Never,” Percy argued. “She’s never been selfish.”
“Neither have you,” pointed out Rachel.
“Traits run in families. Genes. DNA. The gods have none,” Ella said.
“Right. Guess I might not take after mom in wisdom but in other ways,” Percy smiled.
The bull-man bellowed in rage and started uphill toward them. They were now struggling to walk up the hill slipping through the mud as they trudged to the pine tree. Grover was still unconscious and Sally shouldered his weight looking at Percy.
Several people shivered and Percy clenched his fists.
“Go, Percy! Separate…I said.”
Percy nodded and sprinted toward the left. The creature was right over him. The bull-man lowered his head, aiming his horns at Percy’s chest and charged. Percy looked forward stubbornly and leapt to the side at the last possible minute.
“How are you not terrified?” Will asked. “My first few monsters were nowhere near as bad as yours.”
“Well others have had it worse,” Percy said. “Nico was the same age as I was here when he fought in the Titan War. Sadie I heard you did the same. Hazel was just a year older when she took on one of the most dangerous quests of all time and sacrificed her life. I’m nothing.”
“Actually I’m pretty sure you’re not,” Nico argued. “You’ve had pretty horrible things happen to you too.”
“What’s about to happen is one of the worst so lets get it over with,” Percy said. That made everyone curious.
The bull-man stormed past….lead the monster away from Grover.
Everyone gasped. “Never mind” Apollo said, “You’re a lot like your mom too.”
“It’s all I could hope to be.”
Feet away Percy stood frozen watching the monster charge. She tried to sidestep…pummeling the air.
“Mom!” Percy’s cry was heartbroken, pleading, terrified, angry and unforgiving.
In real life he was not so much better. Other’s were crying out as well. “No! Aunt Sally!” Thalia, Nico, Hazel and Jason were protesting.
“She is at home. How is she hurt by minotaur?” Tyson was crying.
“That’s not fair,” Sadie cried into Walt’s shoulder.
“I thought his mother was alive,” Magnus said. “A good mother, like mine, who was actually alive. Now we’re about to watch her die.”
Sally looked at Percy and choked out one last word. “Go!”
Then with an angry roar…..gone.
“Magic,” signed Hearth.
“Yeah,” agreed Blitz.
Others were looking somberly and sorry at Percy besides those who knew Percy and Sally and were deeply confused.
The bull-man bore down….make him dissolve too. Percy angrily tore off his red rain coat, his green eyes glaring at him in a terrifying manner. Percy ran over to the monsters side. “Hey! Stupid! Ground beef!”
“You need better insults,” Clarisse noted.
“Yours aren’t great either,” Percy replied.
“That’s because most of them aren’t genuine,” Chris grinned ignoring his girlfriend’s glare.
Percy backed toward the pine tree as the monster shook his fists and roared. Percy waved his jacket in front of the bull bending his knees ready to jump out of the way. The bull-man charged too fast…. burned my nostrils.
“I’m sorry, but can you fly? That flip shouldn’t be possible,” Alex asked.
“It’s not,” agreed Annabeth. “Percy how?”
“I don’t know. The rain maybe? Water gives me power.”
“To do that? I can control air and I’m not sure I could without any training,” Jason argued.
“I don’t know! Stop asking.”
The monster shook himself… a ragged bone weapon the size of a knife.
“That’s what’s in your cabin?” Frank asked curiously.
“Yep, spoil of war. Luckily I have not kept all of them. Some are pretty gross.”
“Very,” agreed Grover and Annabeth thinking about Medusa.
“Are you strong enough to do that all the time?” Magnus asked. “I am as an einjehri but living people usually aren’t.”
“The rain, as I said it gives me power. Now I’m feeling kind of dizzy so we could stop talking until the end.”
The monster charged….the monster was gone.
Everyone cheered. Percy however was now dizzy. He lied down on Annabeth’s lap and she stroked his hair trying to make him feel better.
Percy was on his knees holding his head and crying. He stumbled toward Grover and dragged him over past the tree. ”Mom, mom!” he cried. He walked onto the wooden porch of a giant old fashioned farmhouse. The last thing they saw was Percy collapsed there looking at the ceiling fan and Chiron and Annabeth walking over to him. Percy lay on the floor eyes half open. Annabeth looked down at him.
“He’s the…must be.”
“Aw!” Hazel said.
Piper agreed. “You had a crush on him already?”
“I mean I wouldn’t blame you,” Rachel agreed. “He go to me too.”
“Not like that. I was talking about a prophecy Chiron had heard. Though he is the one.”
Percy was kind of unconscious on her or he would have replied. He did smile up at her so she knew he was listening.
“You guys are cute,” Will said.
“Look who’s talking,” Annabeth said making both Will and Nico blush.
“Silence Annabeth, he’s still conscious. Let’s bring him inside.”
“Anyone else notice how much Sadie looks like a 12 year old Annabeth?” Leo asked.
“Your right!” Thalia said.
“It’s kind of creepy,” agreed Carter.
“The eyes are wrong though,” Sam pointed out.
“Still uncanny,” Calypso said.
“Do you have any pictures of a younger Sadie? I’m curious if they looked alike at a much younger age too,” Magnus asked Thalia nodded.
“Not here,” Carter said. “Though I have some embarrassing ones at home.”
“No!” Sadie protested.
“It’s my job,” Carter smiled teasingly.
“They’re not the first to mention it,” Annabeth recalled. “After that whole thing on Governor’s Island Percy said you acted a lot like him but looked a lot like me. He found it funny for some reason.”
“Funny,” Percy mumbled in his half unconscious state. “Like our kid.”
“Did he just say?” Grover asked.
“I think he did,” Jason nodded.
“This is too good,” Clarisse smirked.
“Who wants to make bets on the wedding?” Thalia asked.
“No!” Annabeth protested. “None of you will mention this at all when he wakes up.”
“Sorry Annabeth,” Magnus smiled. “I’m going to have to give him a threatening talk as the male relative here.”
“Really Magnus?” Sam and Alex scoffed.
“I was joking!”
“He just raised the standards for almost all boys, he’s 17 and thinking about your kids and future together,” Jaz smiled. “It’s sweet.”
“Very,” Piper agreed. She looked at Jason who paled. What had Percy just done in his sleep? The other boys started paling too as their girlfriends looked at him. Percy groaned and sat up, puzzled why half the boys were glaring at him and half were laughing at him. The girls were all smiling and cooing.
“What’s up?” he asked.
“You talk in your sleep as well as drool,” Annabeth notified him. “Someone might have mentioned that Sadie looked like me. Well, you replied.”
Percy turned red. “Who wants a snack?”
Chapter 15: The Wine Dude
Percy didn’t have to even leave the room. Bowls of assorted snacks appeared on the floor in front of everyone. Percy lunged for the blue cookies. Soon everyone was running for snacks. The entire room was snacking on food ready to watch, just like in a movie theater. Percy, well he was just happy he had come up with a good disctraction.
They were watching a wobbly Percy walk on the big house porch. Surrounding them was camp.
Those who had not seen it before oohed and ahhed. A nice place, they all thought. Magnus thought he might even like it more than Hotel Valhalla. This was in open air and in warm nature.
In front of them were two men. Annabeth was leaning on the porch rail beside them. The man facing me was ….my stepfather.
“That’s Mr. D,” Grover murmered. “He’s the camp director….know Chiron.”
“Why have you been there longer than anyone?” Sadie asked. “You’re 12.”
“Because she ran away when she was six or seven,” Magnus replied. “She always planned on it.”
“I got to camp when I was seven. I didn’t need the introduction to Percy. He had been unconscious and I took care of him. When he did wake up to his semiconscious state I interrogated him. A lot.”
“Kind of terrifying,” Percy agreed. He got a kiss on the cheek for that.
“Ah, good….for pinochle.”
“What’s pinochle?” Piper asked.
Percy groaned. “Don’t ask.”
Percy was seated next to Mr. D who spoke to him in a bored tone. “Oh, I suppose…to see you.”
“Isn’t he the camp director?” Blitz asked. “Shouldn’t he be nicer.”
“It’s a job he didn’t want,” Percy replied. “I said it would all be explained.”
“I can see why you didn’t like him,” Jason said.
“Well you should trust my judgment more.”
That received a lot of scoffs.
“Annabeth?” Chiron told her.
She turned around to face them. Chiron continued. “This young lady…for now.”
Leo raised an eyebrow. “Cabin eleven? Why?”
“A lot of things changed after the titan war,” Chris answered cryptically.
“That clears it up.”
“Sure Chiron,” Annabeth said. She looked down at the minotaur horn in Percy’s hand. “You drool when you sleep.” Then she turned and sprinted away her blond hair flew from her ponytail behind her.
Everyone started cracking up. Percy was blushing horribly again. “This is too good,” Thalia laughed.
“I just can’t believe this is how you two started,” Apollo said. “You’re lucky Aphrodite isn’t here.”
“Very,” agreed Percy.
“Who?” Carter asked to the nearest person who happened to be Frank. “Goddess of Love. Piper’s mother. She’s taken an interest in Percy and Annabeth’s relationship I’ve heard. Not a good thing.”
“So,” Percy said quickly. “So,” Percy said quickly. “You…Mr. Brunner?”
“Not Mr. Brunner…call me Chiron.”
“Okay,” Percy dragged out. He turned toward the other direction. To Mr. D. “And Mr. D….for something?”
“Smart,” Rachel scoffed.
Mr. D stopped shuffling and looked at Percy in disgust. “Young man….no reason.”
“Oh. Right. Sorry.”
“I must say….my time.”
“My year at Yancy Academy….leave of absence.”
“You came to Yancy to teach me?”
Apollo interrupted. “Chiron made a house call for you?”
“It just said so.”
“Percy he only does that for the most powerful demigods. He hasn’t done it for almost a hundred years.”
Chiron nodded. “Honestly, I wasn’t sure about…..the first test.”
“One I didn’t pass,” Thalia muttered.
Jason looked at her quizzically. She shrugged him off.
“Grover,” Mr. D said, “are you playing or not?”
“Yes sir!” Grover took the fourth chair trembling.
“Why are you so scared of him?” Alex asked. “He’s a pudgy stupid looking guy.”
“You’ll see,” Percy replied.
“You do….play pinochle?” Mr. D asked Percy.
“I’m afraid not.”
“I’m afraid not sir,” corrected Mr. D.
“Sir,” Percy repeated slowly glaring at Mr. D.
“How have you not been killed?” Chris demanded.
“Well, it is, along with gladiator fighting….to know the rules.”
Everyone in the room scoffed and waited to see what happened. Sadly they didn’t get to. The projection moved like a tape fast forwarding till they arrived at a different point with Percy speaking.
“Wait, you’re telling me there is such thing as G-d.”
“Well, now…..with the metaphysical.”
“Metaphysical? But you were….about-“
“Ah, gods, as in plural….a smaller matter.”
“A smaller matter?” demanded Apollo.
“I’m sure Chiron didn’t mean it like that dad,” Will soothed his pouting teenage father.
“Yes, quite….Latin class.”
“Zeus. Hera. Apollo, you mean them.”
“Hey! You said my name but not your dads.”
“Yeah I did,” Percy nodded finding it better to agree with the god.
Thunder boomed. Mr. D spoke to Percy. “Young man…if I were you.”
“But they’re stories…was science.”
“You’re about to get the speech,” Carter said. “Myth and Science exist together. Science is there to explain myth.”
“Science!” scoffed Mr. D. “Tell me….and tell me.”
“No,” Rachel argued. “We’ve actually come pretty far.”
“Dad would agree,” Leo said. “Inventions are getting more and more advanced.”
“Mr. D just happens to be an old sot,” Percy said. “He knows that.”
“Percy….for all time?”
“I can imagine it,” Magnus said remembering some of the other occupants of Valhalla.
“Not as good of a deal as it seems,” agreed Percy. “I realized that later on.”
“Is that why-”Carter started happy to know something no one else did for once.
“Yeah one of the reasons. Not everyone knows though so shush.”
Everyone looked at them both confused except for Grover, Annabeth, Clarisse, Tyson, Nico, Thalia, Rachel, Juniper, Chris, Will, Apollo and Sadie. All had either fought in the Titan war or heard about it.
“You mean….or not,” Percy said.
“Exactly, if you were a god, how would you like….over losing their mothers.”
Percy clenched his fists and breathed just looking at Chiron.
“That was not nice of pony man,” Tyson pointed out.
“He was giving me a test Tyson but it’s fine,” Percy said. “Chiron didn’t mean it like that.”
“I wouldn’t like it…in gods.”
“Oh, you’d better…. incinerates you,” Mr. D threatened.
“Is he threatening something?” asked Walt.
“You think he’s a god?” Samira asked.
“Anubis does so yeah,” Walt nodded.
“He was,” Percy answered Walt.
Grover stammered, “P-please sir….in shock.”
“A lucky thing….don’t even believe!” Mr. D grumbled. He waved his hand and a goblet appeared….with red wine.
“So he’s probably the god of drinks or wine,” Carter reasoned. “I’ve heard of him. Dionysus right?”
“Yeah, that’s Mr. D,” Grover nodded.
“Mr D,” Chiron warned, “your restrictions.”
Mr. D looked at the wine then dramatically said, “Dear me…Sorry!”
There was more thunder and Mr. D sighed waving his hand. The wine turned into a fresh can of Diet Coke. Chiron winked at Percy. “Mr. D offended his father…..off-limits.”
“A wood nymph,” Percy repeated in disbelief.
“Wood nymphs like those give us bad reputations,” grumbled Juniper. Grover smiled at her and wrapped his arm around her shoulder.
“Yes, Father loves to punish me…..Absolutely unfair.”
“For us,” Will said. The other camp half blood campers who had been there during the Titan war before Mr. D was banned to Olympus agreed.
Percy stammered, “And…your father is…”
“Di immortals, Chiron…Zeus, of course.”
Percy appeared to be thinking hen suddenly his now dull green eyes brightened. “You’re Dionysus, the god of wine.”
“You figured that out yourself? Wow maybe I underestimated you Kelp head,” Thalia said.
“I’m pretty sure you didn’t,” Reyna said. “He’s very oblivious.”
“I have to disagree with you both. He actually listens sometimes. Just in certain circumstances he’s my seaweed brain,” Annabeth said.
“Thanks Wise Girl,” Percy said squeezing her hand. “At least I didn’t call him the Wine Dude. Right Nico?”
Nico blushed. “I was 10.”
“I can’t wait to see all of that,” Hazel said. Nico glared at her playfully.
They all looked to the projection again when it collapsed. Percy knitted his eyebrows. “That’s weird. There was more to that conversation.”
“I think they’re only showing us what’s necessary,” Calypso said.
“Good,” several people sighed in relief. Less embarrassment for them. As they spoke the next projection started to build itself up. It was the big house. Percy and Chiron now in Centaur form were standing in front of it.
Chapter 16: Who Is He?
Percy stood with Chiron in the valley of Camp Half Blood. He looked back at the farmhouse. It was a lot bigger than he’d realized…..being watched.
“What’s up there?” Percy asked Chiron.
“Just the attic,” Chiron replied his smile fading.
“No, not a…thing.”
“He’s lying,” Magnus decided.
“No,” Alex argued. “My dad is the trickster I can tell a lie from the truth. That was none.”
“If it’s not living it must be something magic or dead,” Walt decided. “What?”
“Rachel?” Will asked.
“The Oracle of Delphi. It was a mummy for a while and would tell prophecies when needed too.”
“I’ve never seen her move,” Apollo said. “That was weird. The spirit must have sensed you Percy and knew.”
“I’ve seen her move,” Thalia, Nico, Grover, Percy and Will said.
Percy continued, “She knew she needed to tell me something. That’s why she moved the other time. To tell someone something.”
“She still needs to tell you something now,” Rachel said. “I can feel her slowly returning after the Oaks of Dodona were saved. She sees something in you Percy.”
“Great. Another Great Prophecy?”
“I don’t know,” said Rachel and Apollo.
“Great Prophecy?” asked Carter.
“It will come up,” Piper promised. She was finding some of these things out for the first time as well. Most of it actually.
“Come along…to see,” said Chiron. They walked through the strawberry fields where campers were picking bushels….Mount Olympus. “It pays our expenses…no effort.”
“Why?” Percy asked.
“Mr. D has an effect on fruit bearing plants. They grow extremely well while he was around. Sadly we can’t grow wine grapes. Those work best.”
“Sadly?” Frank questioned.
“Against his restrictions,” replied Annabeth.
Percy watched a satyr playing his pipe….fleeing a fire. “Grover won’t get in… good protector. Really.”
“Thanks Percy,” Grover smiled.
“You’re my best friend. What was I supposed to say?” Percy responded.
“He’s right though,” Thalia agreed.
Nico and Annabeth nodded.
“The best,” Juniper said. “Found all the current kids of the Greek Big three.”
Chiron sighed. He took off his jacket it and placed it like a saddle on his back. “Grover has big dreams, Percy…Half-Blood Hill.”
“Percy’s there,” Hearth signed. “He did it.”
Percy pointed to the projection.
“But he did that!”
“I might agree with you,” Chiron said. “But it is not….Grover’s part.”
“He’s the bravest I’ve met,” Reyna pointed out. “Along with Gleeson Hedge.”
“Well, that was took years to take place,” Grover explained.
“No,” Percy argued. “You were brave from the start.”
“He’ll get a….won’t he?”
“That was his second chance,” Thalia said.
“I’m afraid that was Grover’s second chance…..five years ago.”
Thalia grimaced. Annabeth put her arm around her shoulder in support. Jason looked at her confused. It was Frank who asked though. “What did happen?”
“Spoiler,” Percy said.
Chiron continued. “I advised him to ….for his age…”
“How old is he?”
“You’re twenty eight?” Sadie stared.
“I was five years ago. I’m 33 now.”
“You look so young,” marveled Magnus.
“What! And...sixth grade?”
“Satyrs mature…past six years.”
“That’s torture!” Alex protested.
“It’s inhumane,” Leo agreed.
“It’s horrible,” Chris nodded.
“I mean can you imagine? Being the same age for several years?” Rachel asked. Then she realized who she was talking too. Thalia, Grover, Tyson, Juniper, Calypso, Apollo, Ella, Hazel, Nico, Magnus and Alex would all do that. “Sorry.”
“Quite…some other career.”
“Chiron was wrong that time,” Nico grinned. “Grover did it.”
“What?” Hazel asked.
“You’ll see,” Annabeth replied.
“I’m sick of that answer,” Carter groaned.
“That’s not fair….so bad?”
“Yes though none of it was his fault,” Thalia said.
No one asked knowing they would get no answer.
“Let’s move…shall we?”
“Does that mean…real too?”
“Don’t think about it,” Carter advised.
“Really,” Jason asked. “I know you probably did journey into the underworld at some point but not smart at all.”
“It was more than some point. I think I’ve been there at least four times,” Percy said.
Everyone gaped at him. Except Annabeth.
“Yes, child….out of your mind.”
“Yes,” Tyson said. “Underworld not nice.”
“Underworld is also called Hades or Pluto. To Norse it is Helheim, to Egyptians it is Land of the Dead,” Ella noted.
“What do you…know more?”
“Come, Percy…the woods.”
“Anyone else notice how much Chiron is avoiding?” Piper said.
“Almost as much as the people who know what’s going on are when I ask a question. Answer!” Alex demanded.
As we got closer…..the native Americans. “The woods are….go armed.”
“Stocked?” Hearth signed.
“With monsters,” Will replied.
“Stocked with what….with what?”
“You’ll see….and shield?”
“No, I don’t suppose….armory later.”
The scene fast forwarded through the archery range, canoeing lake, stables, javelin range, amphitheater, the arena for sword and spear fights and mess hall. The viewers had enough time to see them all quickly but heard nothing. Percy and other Greeks explained what each thing was.
There were twelve of them…..I’d ever seen.
“That’s my cabin! Number nine Hephestus!” Leo cheered pointing at one with smoke stacks.
“Solid gold,” Apollo said, “That was a smart choice for us.”
“The one with grass is the Demeter cabin, it’s nice,” Juniper explained.
“There! In the center, who’s the girl by the fire?” Zia asked.
“Lady Hestia, goddess of the hearth,” Nico explained. “You had said you saw her.”
“Yeah,” Percy agreed. “I’m not as nice as you. I should have said hi.”
“You were kind of overwhelmed,” Calypso said. “Hestia is kind. She is not upset over things like this.”
“There’s only twelve,” Piper told Jason.
“Yeah, that’s weird.”
The pair of cabins at the head of the field…..images of peacocks. “Zeus and Hera?”
“Their cabins look empty.”
“Yeah, that’s because Cabin one is the creepiest place on earth,” Thalia said. “Among other reasons.”
“True,” agreed her brother.
“Several of the cabins are. That’s true. No one ever stays in one or two.”
“What’s the point if no one ever stays in them?” Blitz asked.
“This is why the Roman system is better,” Reyna said.
“Yes, but with ours you have sibling bonding,” Clarisse pointed out. “Like wrestling.”
Percy stepped forward to the first cabin on the left, Cabin three. It wasn’t high and mighty….ocean floor. Percy peeked in the open doorway.
“I wouldn’t do that!” Chiron warned.
The interior walls glowed….turned down.
“That’s a nice cabin,” Samira smiled.
“Even better now,” Percy agreed. “Tyson made some improvements.”
“Tyson is smart and good at building,” Ella agreed.
“Come along Percy.”
The next cabin, five, was bright red….instead of red.
“That’s you,” Jaz said to Clarisse.
“Cabin Five,” she replied proudly. “Ares, god of War.”
When they had turned back the projection had fast forwarded again past a conversation between Percy and Chiron. “Oh, look, Annabeth….for us.”
She was reading a book….architecture book.
“Architecture?” Magnus laughed. “The Parthenon right?”
“Yeah,” Annabeth blushed.
“You built a perfect model with dominos when you were six. Never changed.”
“Do you want to have that as a job?” Jaz asked curiously.
“Yeah,” Annabeth nodded.
“She kind of already does,” Percy said.
“Cabin eleven, make yourself at home.”
Out of all the cabins…bowed respectfully.
“Well then…see you at dinner.”
Chiron turned and galloped away to an archery range. Annabeth prompted Percy forward. “Well? Go on.”
Percy tripped over his feet coming in the door. There were snickers from the campers and the watchers.
“Percy Jackson…Cabin eleven.”
“Regular or undetermined?” asked someone.
“That’s me,” Chris told his girlfriend.
“What’s that mean?” Magnus asked.
“Wait a moment,” Annabeth told him.
“Undetermined,” replied Annabeth. All the occupants off the cabin groaned.
“Now, now campers…right over there.” The guy who spoke was a little older than the rest, about nineteen…..old knife slash.
“I’ve seen him before,” Jason said. “That’s Luke. He was in your pictures and that projection of you guys on the run,” he told Thalia.
“Yeah. He was.”
“I’ve seen him somewhere else though. At least I think I have,” Jason said.
“He seems familiar to me as well, not just because of the resemblance to Octavian,” Reyna noted.
“This is Luke…for now.” Annabeth was blushing and her voice was several pitches higher.
She glared at everyone, so no one dared to say anything.
“You’re undetermined….god of travelers.”
“That’s not fair, it’s so crowded,” Sadie said.
“It’s different now,” Piper said. “I don’t know why.”
“You’ll see,” Grover told here this time.
“How long will I be here?”
“How long…take?” Percy asked and received laughs in reply.
“Why’s that funny?” Hazel asked in confusion.
“At that point some campers were never claimed,” Chris explained.
“Come on...volleyball court.”
‘I’ve already seen it.”
“Come on,” Annabeth grabbed his wrist..behind me.
“Jackson, you…than that.”
“Annabeth he did nothing wrong,” Thalia told her.
“I thought he had seen the orientation video,” Annabeth explained. “That he was trying to annoy me by being dumb.”
“I can’t believe…were the one.”
That got several wolf whistles. Annabeth glared again at everyone. “I didn’t mean it like that. Though I guess he is.”
“What’s your problem? All I…. some bull guy—“
“Don’t talk like….your chance?”
“No, I really wish I didn’t,” Will said.
“I did,” Clarisse and Annabeth both did.
“To get killed?”
“To fight….train for?”
“Um.. I don’t know. To survive?” Leo said.
Percy shook his head. “Look, if the thing…in the stories…”
“Then there’s only one.”
“Yes.” Annabeth was visibly becoming more and more exasperated with him.
“And he died ….in the labyrinth. So….”
“Monsters don’t die….they don’t die.”
“I’m sorry do you mind explaining that again?” Blitz asked shaking his head in confusion.
“She will,” Percy said.
Everyone waited. Percy laughed and pointed to the projection which started again.
“Oh thanks…it up.”
“They don’t have souls…they reform.”
“You just happen to have horrible luck with that,” Annabeth said.
“The worst and it only got worse last summer,” Percy agreed.
“So much worse,” agreed all the Greek and Romans.
“What happened last summer?” Carter asked.
“I really hate that stupid answer,” Alex groaned.
“You mean if I killed…a sword---“
“The Fur… I mean, your math….very mad.”
“Very,” Nico agreed. “Alecto hates you. A lot. She’s actually kind of terrified of you.”
“Wait,” Thalia said. “How can she be scared of him? It’s her job to scare people.”
“Wait till you see Percy after his bath in the Underworld,” Nico grinned.
Percy groaned. “Not looking forward to that.”
“You took a bath in the underworld?” Zia asked. She was left unanswered.
“How did you…Mrs. Dodds?”
“You talk in your sleep.”
“As proven just a while ago,” teased Rachel.
Percy turned scarlet as everyone laughed again.
“You almost called….torturers, right?”
Annabeth looked at the ground. “You shouldn’t call them….at all.”
“Kindly ones?” Walt asked. “Irony, I suppose.”
“I don’t actually know,” said Nico. Actually no one did.
“Look, is there…it thundering?”
“You can say that,” Frank told Percy.
“So I see.”
“Why do I have to stay…..over there.”
“Yeah,” Jaz nodded. “That doesn’t make sense.”
“Watch,” Apollo pointed.
“You don’t just choose a cabin…your parent.”
“Oh. That makes more sense.”
“My mom is Sally Jackson…she used to.”
“That’s sad but your kind of stupid. Or at least you act like it,” Alex said.
“No,” Reyna agreed. “You are smart but you should have understood this.”
“He’s a kelp head,” Thalia agreed.
“His brain is filled with salt water,” nodded Jason.
“Well now I know not to ask the Grace siblings to back me up,” Percy said dryly.
“I’m sorry about your mom….your dad.”
“Dad is Poseidon. Percy looks like him,” Tyson pointed out.
“Yeah,” Annabeth nodded. “I guess he wasn’t the only stupid one then.”
“He’s dead…knew him.”
Annabeth sighed in exasperation. “Your father’s not dead, Percy.”
“How can you say….know him?”
“No,” Apollo said. “I do though.”
“Because I know you….one of us.”
“That sounds weird,” Hazel said.
Piper nodded. “True though.”
“You don’t know…about me.”
“No? I bet you moved…a lot of them.”
Chris nodded. “That’s one. Percy definitely has the record though.”
“Your brothers aren’t far behind,” Will pointed out.
“Who?” Sam asked.
“The Stolls. They were here for a bit,” Annabeth told her.
“Diagnosed with…ADHD, too.”
“What does that have to…anything?”
“Taken together….your read, right?”
“Does that happen to all of you?” Carter asked aghast.
“Most of us. There’s exceptions,” Leo nodded. “Some are worse and some better.”
“Percy and Leo are probably the most ADHD,” Piper said.
“I got lucky, or at least the others think so,” Frank smiled. “I’m just lactose intolerant.”
“How do you read then?” Carter asked again mostly to Annabeth.
“It’s hard but I do,” Annabeth told him.
“That’s because your mind is hardwired…..they are.”
“That’s super cool,” Sadie grinned. “Bloody scary too.”
“Annoying is what I’d call it,” Nico said.
“You sound like…same thing?”
“Most of the kids here did…ambrosia and nectar.”
“That’s the stuff you gave me,” Sadie said. “Taste’s like Gran’s scones and healed me. I guess magicians can eat it too. Probably you guys as well,” she told Magnus and Alex.
“Let’s not test that,” Will said.
“Why?” Hearth signed. In response the projection played.
“The food and drink…You’re a half-blood.”
Percy stared for a moment and that’s where it ended.
In real life Percy groaned. “Clarisse please don’t kill me for what comes next.”
“Of everything Jackson, you think we’ll watch that?”
“Great. Chris make sure I don’t murder anyone.”
Chapter 17: Clarisse Gets Flushed
Everyone watched curiously as the projection started off right where it had paused. Approaching Percy and Annabeth were Clarisse and several girls who looked like her. They all wore camo jackets and some red.
“Well! A newbie!”
“Clarisse,” Annabeth sighed. “Why don’t you go…or something?”
“Sure, Miss Princess…it Friday night?”
“What’s Friday night?” Sam asked.
“Capture the flag, weapons and all,” smirked Percy.
Clarisse groaned again.
Annabeth cursed in Greek. “You don’t stand a chance.”
“We’ll pulverize you…the little runt?”
“Percy Jackson meet Clarisse daughter of Ares.”
“Yet you still didn’t get it!” Annabeth sighed.
“You thought her dad was just named Ares didn’t you?” Grover said.
“That’s oblivious on a whole different level,” Walt said. “I can get how one would think he’s related to you Sadie.”
“You got a problem with that?”
“No… the smell.”
Lots of people laughed except Chris who put his arm around Clarisse.
“We got an initiation….newbies, Prissy.”
“I never received an initiation,” Leo noted.
“You don’t want one,” Will shuddered.
“Percy,” he gritted out his name pronouncing each syllable.
“Stay out of it, wise girl.”
All the Greeks and Romans gasped.
“What?” asked Sam.
“That’s his pet name for her,” Rachel explained.
“You got it from Clarisse?” Juniper asked.
“Seaweed Brain and Wise Girl were both insults,” Percy said.
“They just became something else as time went on,” Annabeth nodded.
“That’s sweet,” Hazel said.
Jaz nodded. “You’re an adorable couple.”
“You didn’t have to put up with them before they were,” Grover pointed out.
“Actually they all will soon,” Calypso pointed out.
“Great, I have to suffer through they’re arguing twice.”
Annabeth looked conflicted but didn’t say anything. Percy stood up straighter with a stubborn look on his face. He was going to prove himself. He gave Annabeth his minotaur horn and help up his fists. Too late, Clarisse had him by the neck….classier johns.
“The bathrooms have improved,” Piper noted.
“Thankfully,” agreed Rachel.
Clarisse’s friends all laughed. Percy kept trying to escape but she held tight. “Like he’s ‘Big Three’ material.” Clarisse pushed him toward the toilets. “Yeah, right… so stupid looking.”
“What’s the Big three?” Hearth signed.
“It’ll explain soon. It’s important though,” Percy said.
“Clarisse royally underestimated you,” grinned Grover.
“A lot of people do. Not a bad thing.”
Annabeth stood by the door watching through her fingers. Clarisse bent… strained to keep his head up.
“You’re just standing there!” Frank said.
“Yeah,” Annabeth said. “This was before I knew him. I couldn’t really fight Clarisse anyway then.”
“What’s gonna happen?” Alex grinned knowing something hilarious was coming.
“Shut up and watch!” Clarisse yelled.
The plumbing rumbled and the pipes shuddered. Clarisse loosened her grip on Percy’s hair. Water shot out of the toilet….shower stall.
The whole room was in fits of laughter. Even Clarisse, knowing there was nothing she could do.
“Wait,” Annabeth smirked. “It gets better.”
Clarisse’s friends started toward her to help her as she struggled and gasped against the water. The other toilets exploded too…out the door and the eater shut off as quickly as it started.
Now everyone was laughing so hard they couldn’t breathe. Piper was one of the first to recover. “So I guess the Argo II wasn’t the first time you did that.”
“No,” Percy smirked. “When I get angry well I become one with the plumbing.”
That sent everyone into another fit of laughter. The projection continued to play over it.
The entire bathroom was flooded. Annabeth hadn’t been spared…drop of water on my clothes. Nothing.
“That is so cool,” Jaz said.
“I think there’s a spell that can do that,” Zia said.
“I just do it all the time,” Percy smirked.
“Yeah well not everyone is as lucky,” grumbled Clarisse.
“Sorry,” Percy hissed. “You too Annabeth.”
Percy stood up his legs shaky.
In real life Percy’s legs wobbled and he leaned back. “That is super weird.”
“How did you—“
“I don’t know.”
They walked out the door. Outside, Clarisse and her fiends….like sewage.
Everyone laughed again.
“You are dead…totally dead.”
Percy smirked. “You want to gargle…your mouth.”
“Nice!” Sadie high-fived Percy.
“One of his better ones,” Thalia said. “Sadly.”
Clarisse ran toward Percy but her friends held her back. They dragged her toward cabin five…dousing her.
“What? What are you thinking?”
“I’m thinking I want you on my team for capture the flag.”
“That game sounds really fun,” Alex smirked.
“Most the time it is,” Percy said. “We should play sometime. All of us.”
“Sounds good,” Sadie said cracking her knuckles.
“Thalia.. a fair game this time no fights?”
“You’re on kelp head.”
“The movie is starting again,” pointed out Tyson.
As Percy and Annabeth walked people stared and pointed. She showed him a few more places around the camp the projection fast forwarding through them. The metal shop, the arts-and-crafts room and the climbing wall.
“That wall looks challenging,” Zia said. “I should like to try it.”
Carter blanched. “Not smart.”
“A fire protection spell is all I need. It shall be good training.”
“I’m in,” Leo said. “I can’t get burnt.”
“Count me out,” Frank shook his head.
“We really need to set up some visits,” Annabeth said. “We can all see each other’s homes. The Egyptian nome, Camp Jupiter, Camp Half-Blood and maybe some of the nine worlds.”
“Not sure that’s possible but I’d like to try,” Magnus nodded.
They returned to the canoeing lake where Percy spoke again. “Annabeth…the toilets.”
“It wasn’t my fault.”
Around the room everyone scoffed. Percy blushed. “It kind of was.”
Annabeth looked at him skeptically. Enlightenment showed on Percy’s face.
“You need to talk to the Oracle.”
“Me,” Rachel smiled spreading her arms.
“Not who. What. The Oracle. I’ll ask Chiron.”
“Smart,” Apollo nodded.
Percy stared into the lake. He saw two teenage girls sitting cross-legged….long-lost friend. Percy waved back in confusion.
“Naiads?” Thalia raised an eyebrow.
“They happen to like me. It comes in handy.”
“Right,” Grover nodded. “It has.”
“Don’t encourage them…flirts.”
“You jealous?” Piper teased.
“They actually are,” Calypso said. “Especially to someone like Percy who is of the sea.”
“Naiads? That’s what did it?” Nico asked.
“At least I wasn’t like you. How many power points do you have?”
Nico blushed. “I hate you.”
“Love you too cuz.”
“Don’t you get it….for kids like us.”
“Not the only one,” Reyna pointed out.
“I guess we all kind of are,” Magnus said. “Especially Sam.”
Said boy heard and smacked him.
“I mean not human…Half-human.”
“Half-human and half-what?”
“She just said Clarisse was the daughter of Ares. How are you not getting this?” Jason asked.
“Camp Half-Blood is for Demigods. Half-Human and Half-god,” Ella informed helpfully.
“Half-greek god,” Blitz said.
Percy looked at his hands then up at Annabeth.
“Ooh. That’s super weird,” Percy yelped.
“What?” asked Annabeth.
“I’m kind of tingling, or feeling something like I was then.”
“I think you know.”
Percy spoke, “god…half-god.”
Annabeth nodded, “Your father isn’t dead…Olympians.”
“Not necessarily,” Apollo interrupted. “Minor gods have kids too.”
“Is it? What’s the most common… few millennia?”
“Not at all. Especially dad,” Thalia said annoyed.
“But those are just—“ Percy paused. “But if all…half-gods.”
“Demigods,” Annabeth said. “That’s …. Half-bloods.”
“I like Demigods better,” Carter scowled.
“Same,” agreed Piper. “Half-bloods sounds like something insulting.”
“Then who’s your dad?”
“That’s really sexist,” Rachel scowled.
“No, you just never hear about the goddesses having kids. I assumed they were all the kids of male gods.”
Annabeth gripped the pier railing tighter. “My dad is… American history.”
“Your dad is a professor too?” Sadie asked.
“Yeah. What did yours teach?”
“Lectured actually,” Carter said. “I traveled with him. Egyptology.”
“Makes sense,” Magnus said. “Our uncle is a professor on Norse history.”
“Is that a thing? To have gods attracted to families with professors?” Walt asked.
“Yes,” Apollo nodded. No one asked.
“What? You assume…sexist is that?”
“I’m not explaining again.”
“Who’s your mom then?”
“What is that supposed to mean?” asked Jaz.
“Athena…and battle,” Annabeth straightened proudly.
“And my dad?”
“It’s actually kind of obvious,” Apollo said.
Hazel nodded. “Percy looks like statues of Poseidon, I mean clothed. Without the beard.”
“Except my mother. She knew.”
“I was wrong,” Annabeth said. “Sorry, your mom and my dad are some rarer cases.”
“It can go wrong,” Thalia nodded, “Like it did with our mom.”
“Maybe you’re right…sometimes it happens.”
“Sometimes?” Piper blinked. “Everyone at camp is claimed.”
“A lot changed,” Chris said again. “Thanks Percy.”
Percy blushed at everyone’s stares.
“You mean sometimes it doesn’t?”
“The gods are busy…ignore us.”
“We really don’t mean too,” Apollo said. “Or want too. It’s hard. When you’re immortal it all passes by so much faster. There are rules too.”
“So I’m stuck…. my life?”
“It is very different between our camps,” Reyna noted. “Or it was back then.”
“It depends…a real powerful force.”
“Hey!” Piper protested.
“There are exceptions,” Annabeth said. “Sorry.”
“I know a very powerful daughter of Demeter. Sorry meg,” Apollo apologized under his breath.
“The monsters might ignore…like that.”
“Very different,” Hazel said. “There are a lot of adult roman demigods and legacies. That’s why you were so interested by that.”
Percy nodded. “One reason.”
“So monsters…in here?”
Annabeth shook her head. “Not unless…on the inside.”
“You jinxed it,” Clarisse said.
“What happened?” Magnus asked. He received the same answer as always. “You’ll see.”
“Why would anybody… a monster?”
“Practice fights. Practical jokes.”
“To hurt someone,” Percy clenched his fists.
“That hadn’t happened before. You changed a lot,” Annabeth told him.
“The point is….strawberry farm.”
“So you’re a year rounder?”
She nodded and pulled out a necklace. It was just like Luke’s….college ring. “I’ve been here since….all in college.”
“Not all,” she corrected, “most. That changed too.”
“None of your business.”
“Oh. So I could… I wanted to?”
“Dumb move,” Nico told him.
“Well I didn’t do it. Did I?”
“It would be suicide… unless…”
“Unless?” Carter asked.
“You were granted…last time…”
“That’s when Luke got his scar,” Chris told everyone. They all winced in sympathy.
“Back in the scik room… that stuff—“
“Yeah. You asked me…solstice.”
“Like I said,” Zia nodded sagely. “It is an auspicious date.”
“He knows nothing about anything,” Clarisse told her. “Don’t know why you would think otherwise.”
“Geez Clarisse. Thanks.”
“Well...no. Back at...that mean?”
Annabeth clenched her fists. “I wish I knew…major.”
“Something’s always wrong,” Leo said.
“Hey! This was really bad,” Apollo said. “Almost started a third world war.”
Everyone stared waiting curiously to hear.
“Last time I was there…normal.”
“You’ve been there?” Carter asked.
“Several times. I think only Greeks have gone though. Don’t know why.”
“We have never been,” Reyna nodded.
“You’ve been there?” Percy asked.
“Wow,” Sadie said. “Maybe Carter’s related to us too.”
“That didn’t work as well as I though it would.”
“Some of us…annual council.”
“The Long Island Railroad…six hundredth floor.”
“The Empire state building?” Walt asked. “It’s in New York?”
“There’s no 600th floor either,” Jaz pointed out. She lived in New York too.
“Not that mortals can tell, or anyone without knowing,” Thalia explained.
“You are… right?”
“Right after we visited…be trouble.”
“Stolen?” Jason raised an eyebrow. “We never heard any of this.”
“I’m sure it’s better you didn’t know,” Apollo told him.
“When you came…know something.”
“First of all that’s really ironic,” Will said.
“Yeah,” Nico agreed. “When does Percy know anything anyway?”
“I just met him,” Annabeth said. “I learnt that a few minutes after.”
Percy shook his head. He looked tired and confused. Annabeth sighed and muttered to herself. “I’ve got to get…the problem.”
Percy’s stomach growled disrupting her. She looked up. “Go on. I’ll see you later.”
Percy stood up and raced away from the pier as she traced her finger…battle plan.
“A quest?” Hazel asked. “Why did you want one?”
“Cabin fever. I learnt my lesson. Twelve is young. You had it harder,” Annabeth said.
“I was needed and neither Nico or I are technically 13 or 14.”
“You are maturity wise,” Reyna pointed out. “Thalia is 15 but acts her age of 22 most of the time.”
“Most of the time being key,” Thalia smirked. “It’s okay to unwind and act younger than you are.”
“We all need it sometimes,” nodded Grover.
“Right. So then Percy mind showing us that trick with toilet water on Carter now?” Sadie asked.
“Or Magnus?” Sam nodded.
“Leo,” Piper offered.
“Jason,” Thalia nodded. “I’ve missed out on too many chances to torture my brother.”
“Nico too then.”
All the boys were glaring at their sisters/sister figures shaking their heads at Percy in a begging manner pleading for him not to do it.
“Sorry guys,” Percy smirked. “Making the girls mad is worse. Expect it when you expect it least.”
Chapter 18: Big Three Tree
The scene opened up on the arena. The Hermes cabin were practicing with swords, stabbing and slashing at the dummies in Greek armor. Percy was on the side with Luke being shown how to hold the blade and start stabbing and slashing.
“Is this a sword fighting lesson?” Frank grinned. “Seeing you fight is always kind of terrifyingly awesome.”
“Thanks,” Percy nodded. “I’m not the best and this was my first lesson so I sucked.”
“Sure,” Chris said. “I was there. You didn’t.”
“This feels wrong,” Percy told Luke holding up a sword.
“Might be unbalanced. Try this.”
Percy shook his head. They cycled through several more swords none seemed to work.
“That’s weird,” Reyna shook her head. “The odds of having no balanced swords even with that many…”
“They’re low,” Leo agreed. “They look to be in good shape. It’s you that’s the problem.”
“Thanks,” Percy replied dryly.
“Percy needs a different sword,” Tyson suggested. “One made by ocean magic or a Cyclops.”
Percy laughed and pulled out Riptide. “It does the job.”
“Finish up and find a partner. Percy’s with me, because it’s his first time.”
A camper, who people recognized as one of the Stolls snickered, “Good luck, Luke’s….hundred years.”
“Um no,” Nico shook his head. “He’s not.”
“Definitely Percy,” agreed Jason. “I’m better with a spear though.”
“Luke was better,” Percy said. “There were others who have been to like Chyrasoar.”
“No” Frank shook his head. “Even then you were better.”
Percy didn’t argue though he knew it wasn’t true.
“Maybe he’ll…on me.”
The campers snorted. Luke pulled Percy over and started to bat Percy with his sword giving examples of parries, thrusts and blocks. Percy was whacked with the sword every time. “Keep your guard up,” Luke suggested before doing it again.
Percy was hit again.
The scene fast forwarded to Percy and Luke by the drink cooler. Luke poured ice…..so awkward.
Annabeth laughed, “That’s kind of cheating.”
“I didn’t know!”
“Know what?” Hearth signed.
“Water gives me energy. I kind of just drank a red bull pouring it on my head like that.”
“Why doesn’t stuff like that work through air or lightning?” Jason asked Thalia.
“Because Percy’s different. His powers have almost always been stronger,” Thalia told him.
“False,” argued Percy.
“True,” Nico said. “Hazel and I don’t get energy from the ground.”
“But you’re both very powerful. Nico the things you can do are amazing and have saved my butt a lot of times.”
“Not true,” Nico argued.
“No, it is. More than you even realized.”
Seeing Percy wasn’t going to explain everyone fell quiet again as the projection played.
“Okay, everybody…….little demo.”
The Hermes cabin gathered around grinning evilly at Percy and Luke in the middle. Luke continued, “I’m going to demonstrate a disarming technique. This is difficult…..master this technique.”
“So he’s pretty much no longer the greatest swordsman,” Chris nodded.
“I’m sorry,” Magnus said. He was learning to fight with a sword himself still. “How long did this take you?”
Percy smiled and held a finger to his lips.
Luke gestured for Percy to hold his sword out. He demonstrated the move….of Percy’s hand. “Now in real time….Ready, Percy?”
“I really hope you guys aren’t over exaggerating his moves. I only saw when he came in and that wasn’t sword fighting,” Alex said.
“We’re not,” Grover replied.
Percy nodded and Luke came after…..at the hilt of his sword. Percy moved out of the way of the thrusts, dodged slashes and parried a few as well. He tried to thrust his own sword but Luke blocked it. He narrowed his eyes and gritted his teeth starting to fight harder.
Percy seemed to get looser and more hesitant. With a determined look he tried the disarming technique. His blade hit the base of Luke’s…were silent.
“The first time?” Jason said. “A technique like that should take at least a few months to master.”
“He’s Percy,” Rachel pointed out. “Did you expect something else?’
Jason just gaped in reply.
“We’ve got to compare moves though,” Magnus said.
“I’d like to try a greek sword,” Carter nodded. “Might work better than a khopesh.”
“That curved one? Ugh the one I tried was weird but I see how it’s useful.”
“You boys can do that later,” Annabeth said. “Let’s finish so we can have dinner.”
“Um, sorry?” Percy said as everyone gaped.
It took a moment for Luke to reply. He broke into a grin. “By the gods…..that again!”
“You couldn’t do it again,” Chris remembered as the projection collapsed and a new one started to form.
“Yeah,” Percy said. “I cheated.”
“I don’t think that’s cheating,” Hazel told Nico.
“Percy’s just modest,” Nico said. “You’ve seen him fight.”
The projection started again with Percy and Grover sitting on the pier watching the naiads weave baskets. Percy’s shirt was smoking and charred. He had ash on his arms too.
“What happened to you?” Calypso asked. “You look almost like when I met you.”
“Yeah, the climbing wall. The lava there isn’t as harmful. I’m pretty resistant to lava,” Percy explained.
“Pretty meaning he can survive a volcano explosion,” Annabeth grimaced.
“Wait, you were in Mt. St. Helens when you exploded it?” Sadie asked.
“Yeah,” Percy nodded. “Not the best of times.”
“Mt. St. Helens is also Mt. Etna. That’s Dad’s forge” Leo noted.
“It was for him they were there,” Calypso explained.
“You know this how?” Leo asked.
“Your father told me when Percy landed on my island.”
“This is just confusing me more,” Blitz said. “Can we move on?”
“How did it go with Mr. D?” Percy asked suddenly.
Grover turned a jaundice color. “Fine…great.”
“So you career...track?”
“Chiron t-told you…searcher’s license?”
“A searchers license?” Piper asked.
“It’ll explain in a few scenes,” Grover told her.
“Well…no. He just said…..you get it?”
“Mr. D suspended judgment…complete.”
“That obviously all happened,” Jason said. “I wouldn’t have worried Grover. You can tell how much trouble Percy is after a few minutes.”
“Yeah that’s why I was worried about staying alive.”
Percy looked offended at Grover’s response. “We’re all still here aren’t we.”
“Barely,” Thalia pointed out.
“Life in the Mythological world,” nodded Sadie. “Full of near death adventures.”
“Sometimes the adventures start with dying,” nodded Magnus.
“Right. There’s that too,” Walt said. “Your presence is so weird.”
“Very,” Nico nodded.
“Talk about death later,” Apollo told them. “I want to continue.”
“Blaa-ha-ha! He might as well….me along?”
“You’re the best satyr to have on a quest,” Percy said. “Or anytime. You’re my best friend dude.”
“I can’t believe you even thought that,” Juniper scolded. “You’re an amazing satyr, protector and searcher. Don’t even think anything else.”
“Of course I’d want you along!”
“Really?” Thalia told him. “Percy just told you he wanted you. You’ve been extremely useful with your satyr magic, your pipes and don’t forget about sniffing monsters. We’ve all agreed you’re the best satyr and you won’t be saying anything else.”
“He didn’t,” Nico pointed out. “His past self did.”
He got whacked across the head for that.
The projection just fast forwarded to later in the conversation. “The other three…those the Big Three?”
“We’re getting an answer!” Carter cheered.
“No. One of them….affairs with mortals.”
“Of course not,” Annabeth scoffed. “Her royal cow face is too good for anything mortal.”
“What’s up with Annabeth?” Alex asked Magnus.
“I think Hera kind of kidnapped Percy last winter.”
“When she told me it took three hours. It’s better you just watch and see.”
“That’s her husband’s job,” continued Grover. “When we say the Big Three….got what.”
“I never understood that. They just drew lots and had control over it?” Will asked.
“Pretty much,” nodded his father.
“Zeus got the sky….underworld.”
“But Hades …cabin here.”
“That’s not fair,” Walt said. “Though I can understand why. Not everyone likes to be near those of the underworld.”
“It wasn’t. I didn’t feel welcome until one was built,” Nico said.
“He does now,” Will grinned. “Which is good cause now I can see Nico every day.”
“Yeah. The cabin’s vampire tomb though. They should have let me design the inside too,” Nico said.
“Well you were kidnapped and I was looking for Percy. Otherwise I would have done it,” Annabeth told him.
“How many people were kidnapped?” Sam asked having heard the conversation between Alex and Magnus.
No one replied.
“No. He doesn’t have a throne ….it at that.”
“Sorry,” Grover bleated to Nico and Hazel.
“It’s fine. Some of our half siblings gave us a bad reputation,” Hazel smiled kindly.
“But Zeus and Poseidon…cabins empty?”
“That doesn’t make sense to me either,” Jason nodded. “Kids of Jupiter used to be more common. I’ve been the only one in years though.”
“Let my past self talk and answer,” Grover told him.
“Finally!” Sadie smiled.
“About sixty years ago…the River styx.” Thunder boomed as Grover explained.
“That explains it,” Reyna told Jason. “You, Thalia and Percy shouldn’t have been born.”
“Um you mean just Thalia, Jason, Nico and Hazel,” pointed out Blitz.
“No,” Rachel said. “They’re from the 1940s which will also be explained later.”
“I hate that answer,” Sadie groaned to Walt.
“Grover,” Percy asked Grover in a whisper. “Did you know the real reason for the agreement?”
“No,” Grover shook his head. “I told you what I did.”
“So by horrible siblings you two meant Hitler?” Jaz asked meanwhile.
“For one,” Nico nodded. “Churchill was a son of Zeus. There were several others I can’t remember at the moment.”
“That’s the most…you can make.”
“And the brothers kept their word-no kids?”
“No,” Zia said. “Seeing as you are here.”
“Seventeen years ago…help himself.”
“Seventeen years ago?” Hearth signed. “You are 15 or look.”
“Magic and a whole lot of other mess,” Thalia told him.
“When their child was born…his daughter.”
“One I left to you,” she told Percy. “I’m sorry.”
“Hey, it all worked out. You deserved to be happy. You made the right choice.”
“I hate you all for being so mysterious,” Leo told them.
“But that isn’t…fault.”
“He’s so innocent and oblivious,” Piper smiled.
“People just don’t seem to get we aren’t to blame for our parents,” Sam said. “It is something I struggle with.”
“It’s the worst,” agreed Annabeth.
“Percy, children of the Big Three….”
“Basically either Zeus or Hades was after all three of us,” Nico said.
“Pretty much,” Percy smiled. “Never dad though.”
“Wait,” asked Frank. “Are we gonna find out that mysterious thing Thalia keeps saying about herself?”
He was shushed.
“A satyr was assigned…of that hill.”
Thalia cringed. Annabeth got up and sat next to her. “We’re all okay.”
“No thanks to me,” Grover said.
“Wrong,” Thalia glared at him.
“What’s wrong?” Jason asked his sister.
“All three Kindly Ones….the monsters.”
Thalia ignored everyone’s stares.
“She was wounded and tired…of that hill.”
“A lot braver than me,” Percy told her.
“No,” Thalia told him. “You did…”
“We’ll argue this later,” Nico said. “You might want to say something before Jason goes into shock.”
“I’m fine Jason. Dad did something good for once. He helped me and the whole camp.”
“How?” Jason asked voice cracking. “You died.”
“I really should have told you this myself. I’m not going to spoil it for everyone else. Come here.”
Jason scooted over and Thalia wrapped her arms around him.
“As she died Zeus…called Half-Blood Hill.” The projection collapsed.
“You’re the tree?” Piper stuttered.
“I was the tree.”
“And you protect the camp,” Reyna repeated.
“How long where you like that?” Rachel asked.
“Spoiler,” Thalia told her.
“That’s pretty crazy,” Magnus told her. “Even for me.”
“It is. It was weird, I couldn’t see or here but I could tell when things were happening. I sensed Percy and Annabeth or Luke when they came and spoke to me. I tried to help. You can’t do much as a plant. Right Nico?”
“You have to bring that up now?” he asked.
“She knows about the sorghum?” Frank asked.
“Sorghum?” Thalia repeated. “I was talking about a dandelion.”
Percy explained, “Nico was grounded and made a dandelion by Persephone. In Venice he became a potted plant.”
“Is this a thing?” Carter asked. “Becoming a plant.”
“No,” Percy said. “It hasn’t happened to me.”
“Right,” Percy blushed at Annabeth’s reminder.
“Athena?” Apollo asked. “What did she do it for?”
“Percy asked to book a room at the palace Athena,” Annabeth glared.
“Pallas Athena, another name for goddess of wisdom and her statue,” Ella informed them.
“Should we be expecting this to happen to Jason?” Piper teased.
“Hazel as well,” Percy nodded sagely. “Remember children, becoming a plant is just another stage in the life of a demigod child of the big three’s life.”
“I will not be a plant,” Tyson nodded. “Not a demigod.”
“Oh my gods,” Alex laughed ignoring Tyson. “You got the information video voice right.”
Hazel and Jason just looked mortified. Thalia, Nico and Percy were cackling like crazy. Soon everyone else was too.
Chapter 19: Claim on the Flag
It took a while for the laughter to calm down. Percy’s stomach grumbled though he had just eaten a bunch of snacks along with everyone else. “If this scene is what I think it is after would be a good time for a dinner break.”
Grover bleated, “Enchiladas!”
“I could use some more food,” nodded Magnus.
“Boys,” Rachel whispered to Calypso. “Bottomless pits.”
“Fine,” Annabeth nodded. “If it is what Percy is suggesting that’s the perfect stopping point.”
“I am not looking forward to this. Sorry again Clarisse,” Percy apologized.
“Oh I’ll get you back for all of this Prissy,” Clarisse said.
“She means,” interrupted Chris, “That it’s fine. It was a long time ago.”
Clarisse glared at him. Chris grabbed her hand and she sighed smiling back at him.
Percy was standing in armor with a sword held clumsily. He was wearing a blue feathered helmet and standing awkwardly by the river. Far away, the conch horn blew….enemy territory. Percy groaned. Suddenly his groan was silenced out when a growl sounded close by. Percy raised his shield.
“What was that?” Blitz yelped.
“A hellhound,” Nico said being familiar with the sound.
“It couldn’t be. None besides Mrs. O’ Leary could get past the tree,” pointed out Thalia.
“Unless someone brought it in. Annabeth did say that monsters could be brought in by demigods,” Reyna pointed out.
“Why don’t we watch and see,” suggested an annoyed Apollo.
Five Ares warriors came…the dark. “Cream the punk!” Clarisse screamed.
“Five on one?” Walt asked. “Hardly fair.”
“Most the time. Unless it’s Percy they’re fighting,” Frank said. “He’s a demon with a sword. Children of Mars or Ares won’t even be able to beat him.” That comment made everyone quieted interested enough to watch what Frank meant.
Clarisse brandished a….red light. The rest of her siblings carried regular swords. They charged across the stream. Percy managed the first swing of the sword. Then he was surrounded. Clarisse thrust at him with her spear. It was deflected by the shield but his hair stood on in.
“Still super weird,” Percy said. “I can’t feel my arm. It’s numb.”
“That’s the Hemsut’s spell,” Jaz said. “Can’t do anything to heal what the spear did back then.”
“Is that electric?” asked Sadie.
“Yep. Gift from dad. Maimer is the best.”
“No, Lamer’s not,” Percy grinned. “Riptide is.”
“Do you really want to go there?” Clarisse asked.
“No,” interrupted Piper with her charm-speak. “He doesn’t and neither do you.”
Percy fell back. Another Ares guy slammed….laughing. “Give him a…his hair.”
“I happen to like it long,” Percy said.
“Long hair’s the way to go,” agreed Magnus.
“Then why’s yours short?”
Percy got to his feet and raised his sword. It was slammed to the side by her spear and he gritted his teeth.
“Now both arms are numb.”
“Shush!” Thalia told him. She shocked him with her finger. “This should shock them awake.”
“Oh, wow…really scared.”
“You’re going to regret that,” pointed out Will.
“Shut up,” Clarisse told him.
“Don’t talk to him like that!” Nico protested but quieted down when Will gave him a look.
“The flag is that way.”
“You gave up your team?” Hazel asked shocked.
“No,” Annabeth shook her head. “That was the wrong direction.”
“Yeah, but see, we don’t…look stupid.”
“You do …my help.”
“You say the stupidest things,” Calypso told him. “Worse than Leo.”
“Not about me sunshine,” Leo said. “Though your right.”
“Very,” Percy nodded.
Two of them came at Percy who backed into the creek trying to raise his shield. Clarisse was faster. Her spear hit Percy right in the chest. One of her cabin-mates slashed his sword…cut.
Percy winced. Everyone looked at him. “There’s no cut,” Grover said awed.
“Feels the same,” Percy told them. He had not showed any pain besides the wince.
“What will happen when you get hurt more bad?” Tyson asked.
“He won’t die,” Apollo assured. “He’ll just feel it.”
Everyone sighed in relief.
“No maiming,” Percy gasped.
“Oops…dessert privilege.” He pushed Percy into the creek and he landed with a splash.
“So much better,” Percy sighed.
“Water gives you strength right?” asked Carter.
“Yep. That was a bad move.”
All the Ares campers laughed. Clarisse and her cabin-mates came into the creek…crumpled into the water.
“And this is your first actual fight with people?” Magnus asked.
“That’s impressive. Especially with barely any training,” noted Reyna.
“What can I say? I live to impress.”
He received an elbow in the stomach from Thalia for that.
The next two campers came at Percy. He slammed one in the face with his shield then swiped with his sword. He cut off the feathers of the other guy’s helmet. Both of them scampered out of the water looking at Percy in shock. The fourth guy didn’t do anything. Clarisse kept coming aiming her electric spear right at Percy.
“Didn’t you see what he just did?” Walt asked.
“That’s some bravery or extreme stupidity,” agreed Alex.
“Stupidity,” Percy teased.
“Shut it Jackson. I was mad and immature.”
“I wasn’t much better,” Percy told Clarisse.
“Definitely not,” Grover nodded.
She thrust her spear forward. Percy caught the shaft in between his shield and sword. Snap!
“That was amazing,” Leo said. “I can’t fight that well with swords even after so many times.”
“Because you have other gifts,” agreed Calypso.
“Right,” Apollo said. “Percy I have to say is one of the most skilled swordsmen I’ve seen in eons.”
Percy blushed. No one knew what to say to that.
“Ah! You idiot…worm!”
She opened her mouth to say worse but Percy smacked her in between the eyes with the butt of his sword. She stumbled backward out of the creek.
“Anger isn’t always helpful,” Piper pointed out.
“Logic is stronger in some cases than passionate emotions,” agreed Annabeth.
“Some cases,” Clarisse snarled. Both the other girls rolled their eyes and continued to watch.
Luke then ran toward the boundary line with the banner of the red team. Yelling and elated screams followed along with several Apollo and Hermes campers.
“Apollo cabin rules,” smiled the god. No one said anything in reply.
Clarisse and her friends got up. “A trick! It…trick!”
They staggered after Luke….the conch horn.
“It was a good plan,” Percy told Annabeth. “I didn’t really appreciate that back then.”
“I never should have done that to you. It wasn’t right.”
“Being silly wise girl.”
“Says the Seaweed Brain.”
“Not bad, hero.” Annabeth spoke from behind him. There was no one in sight.
“The hat?” Carter asked.
“What hat?” Hearth signed.
“Where the heck…like that?” Annabeth pulled off a baseball hat and materialized next to him.
“That hat I guess,” Blitz said.
“You set me up…all figured out.”
“As she does everything,” Percy said proudly.
“I told you…a plan.”
“A plan to get him killed?” Sadie asked. “Though it was brilliant.”
“Wait for it.”
She shrugged. “I came as fast ...need help.”
“I always need your help,” Percy told her.
Thalia mimed barfing. Others just laughed.
Annabeth eyed Percy’s arm. “How….that?”
“Sword cut…you think?”
“Water,” Jason realized.
“You’re the only one that works for.”
“Good thing or I would have died many times.”
“No…look at it.”
The blood was gone…disappeared.
“That’s amazing!” said Jaz. “If I could do that..”
“We should figure out how to imitate it,” agreed Will.
“I think I might be able too,” Magnus nodded.
Apollo shook his head. He had been providing the godly knowledge except for the few things Anubis said through Walt. “No, you three can heal well with your own powers. Percy’s water ability cannot be used on anyone else.”
“Which sucks,” Percy said.
“Yeah,” Will frowned.
“Don’t need water to be an amazing healer,” Nico told him. Will grabbed his hand and Nico blushed.
“I—I don’t get it.”
Annabeth looked down at Percy’s feet then Clarisse’s spear. “Step…Percy.”
“Just do it.”
“I’m surprised it took you this long to figure it out,” Thalia said. She looked at Grover. “Both of you.”
“I had suspicions,” Annabeth said. “I just thought he might be your brother. Seeing as Zeus had already broke the oath.”
“Twice,” Jason said.
“I just really didn’t want to think about how much trouble that meant for us,” Grover said.
“Still,” Hazel pointed out. “It’s kind of obvious.”
Percy stepped out of the creek and almost fell over. He was caught by Annabeth.
The same thing happened in real life.
“Oh, Styx….be Zeus…”
“See?” Annabeth told Thalia who rolled her eyes laughing.
Percy opened his mouth to ask what she meant when a growl came again. Then a howl pierced the air. The cheering campers stopped. Chiron shouted in ancient Greek. Annabeth drew her sword.
“Why are you fighting with a sword?” asked Piper.
“She does now,” Sadie asked confused.
“I used to prefer knives. I had a special one. I don’t remember why I wasn’t using it.”
There on the rocks above….like daggers. It’s flaming eyes were aimed at Percy. Nobody moved except…yelled, “Percy, run!”
In real life no one moved either to entranced to say anything.
She tried to step in front….my armor.
Percy yelped putting his hands on his chest. “Those claws hurt like hades. Why is it so bad?”
“Because you’re feeling the pain like you did the first time,” Apollo said. “Meaning less tolerance.”
Several thwacking sounds came right after the other. From the hounds neck....feet. Chiron trotted up to where Percy was bleeding through his chest. Annabeth cursed. “Di immorales….not supposed to…”
“When do things happen like they are supposed to?” asked Juniper.
“Always,” Rachel replied. “We just don’t really know how they are supposed to happen. Even me.”
“What does that mean?” Sam asked.
“Spoiler,” Rachel smirked.
“Kind of still in pain. Stop talking so we can stop it,” Percy yelped.
“Someone summoned ….the camp.”
“Like I said,” Reyna nodded.
“Shush!” Percy groaned.
Luke came over…glory gone.
Clarisse yelled, “It’s all Percy’s….it!”
“Sorry,” she apologized.
He nodded accepting it while crushing Annabeth’s hand in his.
“Be quiet, child.”
The hellhound melted into the shadows of the grounds. Annabeth spoke suddenly. “You’re wounded…water.”
“No, I’m not,” disagreed his elder self.
“No, you’re not….this.”
Percy rolled his eyes and stepped into the water as everyone gathered around him. People gasped.
Percy sighed in relief. “Much better.”
“Look….I’m sorry—“ Something was glowing above his head. A green trident.
Annabeth pointed to it. “Percy…not good.”
“It’s not bad either,” Grover pointed out.
“Shush,” Juniper said entranced in the past scene like everyone else.
“It is determined!”
People started to kneel.
“Why did they do that?” Jason asked. “Didn’t happen to me.”
“Big three kids were much rarer then. We had discovered two more after Percy and I wasn’t so surprised,” explained Annabeth.
“That was melodramatic,” Piper rolled her eyes.
“Tell me about it,” agreed Percy. “Can we eat now? Being cut up by a hellhound can make a person hungry.”
Chapter 20: Meeting with Mummy
The door appeared again to the side and all of them walked through to eat dinner. Now understanding how the plates worked the Romans, Norse and Egyptians sat down to dinner with the Greeks. Now thoroughly comfortable with each other they were all mixed together. Some of the more notable things at the dinner table were Sam and Zia having a conversation in Arabic with Carter butting in awkwardly. Rachel and Alex were bonding over douche dads. Sadie had pulled aside Annabeth and they were now giggling together and looking at Percy to the older boys discomfort. Percy though he kept glancing at Annabeth and Sadie was talking avidly with Magnus about things like horses, magic swords and deathly boat quests. The son of Frey was perturbed by the blue cupcake Percy was downing after his Camp Half Blood barbeque, garlic bread and several more glasses of blue cherry coke. Apollo was bothering Nico and Will. His son needed to be protected. Unluckily everyone else, including the terrifying Reyna thought it was Nico who needed the protection. The couple just wanted to escape. Others were watching and making conversation trying to learn more about each other. They found however they could not say anything that would spoil what the fates wanted to show them.
As Percy licked the frosting off his fingers from his third cupcake everyone watched amazed. He was bottomless. He turned to Annabeth. “We watch this last one then stop for the night?”
“Sounds good. I just hope we have places to sleep,” Annabeth said. “Though we’ve slept in worse places.”
“The fates will have it taken care of,” nodded Jason. “Hopefully.”
“Good. So let’s watch this.”
They trailed back into the screening room and waited for the next apparition to appear in front of them. It took a while to quiet down again and settle into the bean bags, sofas and reclining chairs. There was an argument over a certain couch between Frank and Leo while their girlfriends rolled their eyes. Some things never changed much.
They opened up with Percy sitting up by himself in an empty cabin three and looking at the minotaur horn by his bedside. The scene changed to him eating breakfast at a table alone while other campers whispered and laughed around him.
“Why are you eating alone?” Walt asked.
“You sit with your cabin. I have no siblings.”
“We’re not supposed to sit at other tables either,” Chris nodded.
“Though some people have trouble with that rule,” laughed Percy who had heard about it.
Nico blushed. “I have a doctor’s note.”
Will smiled brightly. “Yes, if he’s not sitting at the Apollo table the floor starts cracking and skeletons crawl out of it. It’s to keep his stress level down and to keep him from over using his powers.”
“That’s adorable Nico,” Hazel gushed.
Thalia shook her head and laughed. “No it’s hilarious. Who would have thought the broody twelve year old would have become so love-struck?”
She was glared at by Nico but that didn’t stop her laughter. Soon Percy was laughing too. “Can’t stop us from teasing. It’s our duty as your cousins.”
More scowls. Will wrapped his arms around Nico to calm him down. The boy blushed and leaned on his boyfriend.
Percy walked from the mess hall to an ancient greek lesson with Annabeth. The projection moved silently and faster through it than they should have. At the end though it paused as she walked away mumbling. “Quest…make a plan…”
“What’s got her so upset?” Blitz asked.
“Athena and Poseidon hate each other. Led to some arguing between these two for years... my poor ears,” Grover moaned.
“We weren’t that bad.”
“Yes, you were,” said everyone who had been there through the second titan war.
Percy sighed then walked to the arena. Luke threw him a sword and pointed to the dummies. “The others are…well you’ll be training separately for now. You’re going to need all the training….fifty more repetitions.”
“He’s right,” nodded Reyna. “Training is valuable. Especially when such powerful gods are after you.”
“Yeah,” Clarisse nodded. “Luke’s gotta regret….”
She found she could not say more and cursed in Ancient greek.
“Spoiler,” grinned Apollo.
The scene changed again. Percy was standing on a beach in a storm. There was a city behind him with palm trees and low hills.
“That’s Los Angeles!” Carter said.
Jason looked closer then nodded. “How’d you know?”
“We lived there until our mum died,” Sadie told them.
“It’s our hometown,” Carter said.
“Mine too,” said Jason, Piper and Thalia to the surprise of the Egyptians.
“Lived there for a bit,” Nico nodded. “Well, kind of.”
“This is something we need to discuss later,” Walt said. “I would like to watch.”
About a hundred yards down the surf…..the wind rose.
“They never wear togas,” Thalia said.
“It’s a dream.”
Over the roar of the storm….”Give it back! Give it back!”
“What back?” asked Jaz.
Percy shook his head refusing to answer.
The waves got bigger..with salt. “Stop it! Stop fighting!”
“You wouldn’t be able too,” Jason pointed out. “They’re our dads two of the most powerful gods.”
“You’d be surprised,” Annabeth told him. He looked at her questioningly but she didn’t say anything.
The ground shook…to ice. “Come down…down!” The sand split beneath Percy a crevice opening in the earth swallowing him.
“What was that?” asked Alex. “I mean a dream obviously but why and what about?”
“I’m not gonna spoil it. You’ll—“
“Don’t say it,” growled the son of Loki.
A new scene opened. Percy and Grover climbed up to the big house where Chiron and Mr. D were playing pinochle. “Well…celebrity.”
“That’s almost an exact quote from Harry Potter,” blinked Annabeth.
“Harry Potter. Children’s book series of seven. Eight movies. Written by Joanne Kathleen Rowling,” Ella smiled. “Ella likes Harry Potter. She likes Hermione.”
Annabeth laughed. She and Ella should start about a book club where they could talk about their boyfriends, the sons of Poseidon.
“Come closer…your father.” Lighting flashed and thunder boomed.
“Blah…safe from harm.”
“He wouldn’t,” Apollo told everyone. “Too scared of Poseidon to try.”
“Mr. D’s good deep, deep, deep down,” Percy nodded. “Still don’t like him.”
Apollo laughed. “No one does most the time.”
“Spontaneous…Mr. D,” Chiron reminded gently.
“I would think that’s obvious,” Calypso said.
“He’s kidding around.”
“Nonsense…to your father.”
“Turning into a dolphin?” Piper’s eyes widened.
Hazel giggled. Leo looked at them and an impish smirk lit his face. He nudged Percy who laughed. “Oh no! Frank is turning into a crazy dolphin.”
The Argo II crew burst into uncontrollable laughter. Everyone else just stared at them like they were insane. It took a while for them to catch their breath. “It’s a long story,” wheezed Annabeth.
“A long hilarious one.”
“Oh, all right…you must do.” Dionysus picked up a playing card…..lingering behind.
The scene moved forward. Percy and Grover were now sitting with Chiron at the table alone. “Poseidon and Zeus...aren’t they?”
“What?” Jason asked. He had heard nothing in the Roman camp.
“That was your dream,” signed Hearth. Percy nodded once Magnus translated.
Chiron and Grover looked at each other. Chiron looked closer at Percy. “How…know that?”
“The weather since…having these dreams.”
“I can’t believe you managed to piece that together,” Nico gaped.
“He’s right,” Clarisse nodded. “Of course Percy is extremely idiotic.”
“I knew it!”
“That was rude,” Juniper frowned. “He should use your name.”
Juniper frowned but didn’t argue.
“But it is his…must be!”
“Most the time,” Rachel said. “It’s pretty obvious with this.”
“Nevertheless, Percy….lightning bolt.”
“A lightning bolt?” Jason asked. “You mean the…”
“Yeah,” nodded Percy.
“The what? It’s just a lightning bolt right?” Blitz asked.
“Do not take this…god-level explosives.”
“You said something about this,” Hazel remembered. “You were talking about the bolt in Jupiter’s temple. You remembered it.”
“I did,” Percy confirmed. “For a moment.”
“I really hate not understanding any of this,” Leo said.
“I know most of this,” Annabeth said. “I know when they’re talking about and can guess what but not exactly.”
“Now you see,” agreed Magnus.
“Zeus’s master bolt…firecrackers.”
“That’s a powerful weapon,” Samira’s eyes widened.
“Very. I’m guessing this is like Thor’s Hammer being stolen,” Annabeth made the parallel.
“Bad,” Hearth shivered.
“Very,” nodded Grover.
“And it’s missing?”
“By whom. By you….”
“You didn’t know anything about this,” Hazel cried out. “They can’t blame you.”
Percy pointed to the projection.
“At least….to take it.”
“Poseidon wouldn’t do that,” Nico frowned. “Not his style.”
“But I didn’t—“
“Patience and listen…his thief.”
“You’re dead,” Leo said.
“He’s here,” Calypso said.
“Right,” Leo nodded. “You need to learn more modern language.”
The scene skipped to Percy climbing up the ladder to the attic. The attic was filled with Greek hero junk….a mummy.
“I hate mummies,” Walt and Sadie said together.
“Aren’t you hosting the god of the dead?” blinked Chris.
“Yeah. It’s a long story,” Walt said.
“My oracle isn’t a mummy either,” Apollo said. “She just couldn’t switch bodies until Rachel.”
A green mist poured from the mummy’s mouth…slammed shut.
“That is creepy,” shivered Juniper.
“I am the spirit of Delphi…and ask.”
“That was inside my head,” Percy said confused.
“I guess it was important,” Frank told him.
“What is my destiny?”
Everyone turned to silence to interested to say anything.
The mist swirled more thickly….of the oracle. “You shall go west…in the end.”
Annabeth squeezed his hand. Percy didn’t meet the eyes of all the scared looks he was getting looking at his prophecy.
“What does it mean?” Piper asked Rachel.
“I don’t know. Will?”
“I don’t know I just say them.”
“We’re not telling,” Grover declared.
The scene changed again. Percy was back with Chiron and Grover. “Okay, so where do I …in the west?”
“Dad,” Nico groaned. “This is probably one of the reasons he hates you. Right?”
“Great,” Hazel nodded sarcastically.
“Ah, think…to gain?”
“Somebody else…take over?”
“Not dad,” Nico said. “He hates the idea of it.”
“I know,” Percy told him. “Don’t spoil anything.”
“Yes, quite…now broken.”
“The underworld is super crowded,” Hazel said. “Dad might not have broken the oath and he might have a grudge but he doesn’t want more death than necessary.”
“He’s not like that at all,” agreed her brother.
“We know you two,” Annabeth said. “Let everyone else watch.”
“The Lord of the..possibility.”
“Not,” Thalia shook her head.
“A Fury came after…Hades.”
“True but that might have been because of the oath,” Nico said.
“Probably,” Thalia said. “He did that to me.”
“Yes, but…son of Poseidon…” Grover said but was ignored.
“A hellhound…the quest.”
“You don’t really seem to care anymore,” Frank said.
“Not really. I only cared for the first few weeks at camp.”
“That’s kind of dangerous and stupid,” Sadie smiled. “I agree.”
The scene skipped ahead a bit again. “You don’t have to go…of you.”
“Oh....No…It’s just that…..you down.”
“You never have,” Percy smiled.
Grover bleated. “Thanks.”
“All the way…go west.”
“The entrance to the Underworld is always….in America.”
“It’s in the west. West is towards the death,” Sadie remembered. “To the land of the dead and the Duat for us too.”
“It’s for many cultures,” Piper said. “I’m part Cherokee. They believed that.”
“Most cultures do…” agreed Walt. “Death is universal like fate.”
“And chocolate,” Reyna smiled. Annabeth laughed. Everyone else looked at them strangely.
“I thought that….Los Angeles.”
“Just one of them,” Percy said.
“Right,” Nico agreed.
“We can enter it from any river,” Sadie smiled. “We’re awesome.”
“Oh, naturally. So we…a plane—“
“And I die,” Percy said.
“You’ve been on a plane with us,” Frank frowned. “You’re fine.”
“Don’t know why. Zeus would usually kill me. I’ve been on a plane twice.”
“No! Percy, what are…your life?”
Percy shook his head.
“Mom lost her parents in a plane crash,” Percy explained. “I thought that was why.”
“Maybe one. Dad would kill you too…” agreed Thalia.
“That’s right….her help.”
“Wow,” Leo said. “Who could it be?”
Percy laughed along with Grover and Annabeth.
“Gee…Who else….a quest like this?”
Everyone laughed along with the trio who were still laughing from before now understanding. The projection played on a bit louder.
The air shimmered…..back pocket. “I’ve been waiting…Seaweed Brain.”
“That was the first time you called me that,” Percy smiled.
“Your nicknames are adorable,” Jaz said.
“Most of us got some,” Piper said. “Right Sparky?”
“Athena is no fan…messing up.”
“The best,” agreed Percy.
“Agreed,” nodded all the Greeks and Romans.
“Wow, such faith.”
“Seaweed brain. They just mean you would get into even more trouble without me.”
“If you do say so…Wise Girl?”
Several of the girls awwed. Percy blushed and Thalia laughed. “Feeling it even then?”
Wolf whistles and laughter sounded around the room. More awws and coos came as well. The couple blushed harder.
“”Do you want…not?”
“Always,” he kissed her cheek.
“Teams of three almost always do,” nodded Piper. Leo and Jason smiled at her.
Percy smirked at Frank and Hazel. “I’ve been parts of many. You’re right.”
“Excellent. This afternoon…your own.” Lightning flashed…violent weather.
“Why’s it raining?” Jason asked confused. “It shouldn’t do that.”
“Not unless Zeus wants it too,” Apollo told him. “And our dad does.”
“Only time it’s ever rained at camp,” Clarisse said. “That I remember.”
“That most of us do,” Juniper nodded. “Zeus was angry.”
“No time…get packing.”
The projection collapsed. Everyone stared for a moment not sure what to do. They were tired but they had no idea what to do now.
Chapter 21: A Good Night
A door appeared on the opposite side of the room then where the dining hall was. Percy got up and peeked his head in. He looked down a long hallway with many room. Each was labeled with 2-3 names. “It’s rooms.”
Every one got up, stretching and yawning. All of them were completely exhausted. They scrambled to find where they were staying and whom with. All of the doors were labeled so it didn’t take so long. The pairings however were something not everyone expected.
In the first room was Blitz, Leo and Tyson. They had a forge on one side of their room plus a bunch of tools and tinkering materials. All three of them wore grins seeing it and completely ignored the beds and video games around them.
Across from them was Ella, Rachel and Hazel. Set up in there room were several bookshelves and two desks with art supplies. Hazel and Rachel ignored their tiredness and took out the art supplies while Ella chose a bed and drew some books to read as she settled down.
Calypso and Juniper were in the room next to them. It was filled with trees which branched overhead. Air flowed through it carrying a flowery smell. A loom sat in one corner. Neither girl said much as they took clothes for bed and climbed in. Later in the night though one could hear them both laughing.
Apollo had ended up with Hearth. They had no one to translate between them but both were comfortable in the light, airy space, which shined brightly no matter how late it was. It was warm and slightly weightless, like Niflheim and a flight in the chariot of the sun. Perfectly comfortable.
Reyna and Clarisse were put in a room similar to an armory. They were together because Reyna was the only one besides Chris who would not end up in a fight with the daughter of Ares.
Piper and Jaz were in the next room. Neither girl had talked to the other much but they had similar demeanors. Piper engaged Jaz in a conversation about their cultures and several other things as they both got into fuzzy PJs and wrapped themselves under light blue blankets as they started a movie.
Sadie and Annabeth were in a room together. Both had their own sides completely different. Sadie’s had posters, bright colors and an ivory pillow on her bed. Annabeth’s was a tasteful grey and sea green. Books, scrolls and battle plans were stacked on a desk on her side. She and Sadie smiled as they entered starting a conversation. The two girls were completely comfortable together.
Zia had ended up with Thalia. The two girls were stoick and tough. Neither said much as they entered the plain room. Zia’s side was a mixed colored of flames. Thalia was in a bed of silver and black. Weapons and staffs sat to one side. It took awhile before Thalia decided to ask Zia about herself. Then she responded in kind by sharing stories about life among the hunters.
As Sadie and Annabeth’s room sat in the center of Zia, Thalia, Piper and Jaz’s both had joint doors connecting them on either side. After getting settled all the girls had ended up in Sadie and Annabeth’s room to watch a movie and talk.
Samira was put with her brother Alex. Though both could have been put elsewhere Alex sometimes caused a bit too much trouble to be anywhere but with his sister. The room had pottery wheels, a Muslim prayer mat and two green beds. It was basic and silent.
Will and Chris had been placed in a basic room. Both looked at the video games and rushed right to them. Though on the other side there were instruments, weapons and other miscellaneous items.
The last few rooms were attached through a sitting room. It had a kitchen stocked with snacks, video games, a TV, books and anything else those who used it might need.
The first of those rooms belonged to Walt and Nico. It was decorated with some of the rooms of the dead. The sheets were black. It was peaceful and quiet. Neither of them minded being with the other as they were around the same age and already becoming good friends. They settled quickly before entering their main room.
Grover, Frank and Jason had been put together. Grover did not know the others as well as they did each other but all called Percy their best friend. Frank had purple sheets, Jason blue ones and Grover green ones. There were weapons, pan pipes and scenes of animals and the wild on the wall.
The last room was the strangest of all. It seemed to be partially outside. Percy’s side had a bed where the sand touched the water, in fact it was floating on the water completely dry. His grin stretched across his face as he saw it. Magnus had a bed seemingly made out of a living tree. His blankets were green and he was raised right as the sand touched the dirt into the branches. Carter’s bed was the last. It was on the actual marble floor of the room. A normal bed with brown sheets. There was a bookshelf touching all three of their areas stacked with SAT books (for Percy), books on mythology and other novels. On the other side was a rack full of weapons of Norse, Roman, Greek and Egyptian design.
“This is an awesome room,” Percy grinned.
“C’mon,” Magnus said. “I think there’s another room through that door. I hear others there.”
Within the night Magnus, Walt and Carter had become good friends with the other boys in the sitting room. The fact that they weren’t Roman or Greek didn’t matter. The boys fell asleep playing video games and doing stupid stuff.
The next morning they were all awoken by the sound of a conch horn. Finding clothes to all their tastes and sizes they assembled for breakfast in the dining hall. Seeing Percy with blue waffles most of the others got waffles as well. Some of them colored. Alex’s were pink and green. Magnus had looked disgusted and just eaten an omelet but the others had joined in. Reyna had purple pancakes. Thalia had black ones with shocking blue and white. Clarisse got red ones and Frank conceded doing so as well. Sadie decided to get rainbow and multicolored ones. Almost everyone was eating multicolored food.
Friends caught up on the events of the night over breakfast. Siblings checked in on each other. So did significant others. It took awhile for everyone to finish but Annabeth told Percy who was last as always to take the food while they watched. He would want it after what was coming.
Chapter 22: Old Ladies on A Bus
The scene started with the three questers and Chiron on Half-Blood Hill. He was in his wheelchair. Next to him was a man with blond hair covered all over with eyes. He wore a chaffeur’s uniform. “This is Argus…on things.”
“Did he just make a pun?” Leo laughed. “It was so stupidly cheesy. I love it.”
“Who’s that guy?” Magnus asked.
“Argus,” Jason replied. “Hera made him to keep watch on a sacred tree. He has eyes on every part of him. He never stops watching.”
“Creepy,” shivered Jaz. The others had to agree.
Luke came running…shoes. “Hey! Glad I caught…use these.”
He handed Percy the sneakers and Percy raised an eyebrow.
Others in the room did the same. “Watch,” Chris grinned.
“Maia!” White bird’s wings sprouted out of the heels…disappeared.
“Awesome!” Grover cheered.
“Not,” his present self whispered to Percy. “I hate shoes.”
“I get that,” Percy nodded. “It all worked out though. Thanks to the hooves.”
“Don’t knock the hooves man,” Grover bleated.
“Those served me well…these days..”
“Hey, man, thanks.”
“That’s an awesome gift,” Alex nodded. “I want a pair.”
“No,” Sam said.
Carter was telling an arguing Sadie the same.
“Listen, Percy…for me, okay?”
Luke and Percy shook hands. Luke patted Grover’s head…pass out.
“You fought like that way too often,” Clarisse said. “I kind of miss it.”
“I don’t,” several others said.
“Well most of it was Percy’s fault,” Annabeth said.
“You let him…didn’t you?”
“Oh…why do I…Percy?”
“Should I list the reasons you’ve told me?” Thalia grinned.
“It’s fine Wise Girl. Thalia go ahead.”
“Both of you shut it.”
“Let’s just say it,” Piper smirked evilly. “Annabeth wants to go with Percy so they can—“
“And that’s enough,” Percy stopped her leaping forward to cover her mouth.
Annabeth stomped down the other side of the hill….car keys. Percy picked up the flying shoes and looked at Chiron. “I won’t be able…will I?”
“Luke meant…for you.”
“Good thing too,” Grover said.
“I’ve seen you in the air,” Carter pointed out. “Why was that okay?”
“I think because I had a goddess in me so I wasn’t the one flying,” Percy replied after thinking for several moments. Several people started looking at him like he was insane.
“You had a goddess in you?” Reyna repeated.
“Nekbeht,” corrected Zia. “When was this?”
“Fighting Setne,” Sadie told her.
“So you were possessed?” Frank asked.
“No, I was…” Percy found he couldn’t say more. “I guess they’re showing that. Spoilers.”
“So not fair…” grumbled Nico.
“Me?” He took the sneakers and laced them up. “Maia!” He got off the ground okay...tiny broncos.
“Sorry,” Percy told him. “I should have kept them.”
“No,” Grover whispered back. “Keeping them would have done more bad then good. Giving them to me probably saved both our lives.”
“What are you two whispering about?” Rachel demanded.
Percy turned to follow Grover down the hill but Chiron caught his arm. “I should have trained….more training.”
“Not me. I had one night,” Jason said.
“He meant the original one,” Will said. “Also you had roman training.”
“Nine years of it,” Reyna nodded.
“You didn’t need it,” Annabeth told Percy. “We turned out fine.”
“That’s okay. I just wish—“
“What do you wish?” Zia asked.
“That I had one of the magic items too. I was going to sound bratty and I’m fine anyway. Though I did get something I would never give up.”
“What am I…without this.” Chiron pulled out a ballpoint pen and handed it to Percy.
“Percy, that’s a gift from….the one.”
“Riptide was made in the ocean,” nodded Tyson. “Will work for Percy.”
“What’s this prophecy they keep speaking about?” Walt asked.
“Something important,” Nico said. “The reason most of us are here really.”
“Nah,” Apollo said. “Though Chiron was talking about that too he got a different prophecy. Can’t tell it to you though.”
Percy took off the cap. He was holding a shimmering bronze sword…gold studs. “The sword has a long…Anaklusmos.”
“Takes one by surprise. Swept out to sea. Beware of the deathly riptide,” nodded Apollo.
“Chiron was right about the swords past,” Percy told Annabeth. “Sometimes I wish it wasn’t mine.”
“You never use another,” Leo noted.
“It’s the only one that’s balanced for me,” Percy pulled out Riptide. “I’ve used others when I’ve had to though.”
“Use it only for emergencies…any case.”
“Only for emergencies?” Rachel asked. “I guess blowing my nose is one.”
“I thought we were over that.”
“I was about to be cut in half!”
“Um…” Juniper asked. “Can we move on before you both confuse us more?”
“The sword is celestial bronze….blade to kill.”
“Thanks Chiron,” Rachel said.
“He puts his foot in his mouth a lot,” Annabeth soothed. “Never actually means it.”
“True,” nodded Percy and several others.
“And I should warn you: as a demigod…vulnerable.”
“That sucks,” Magnus said.
“Pretty much,” Annabeth agreed. “It’s the same for you though.”
“True. I’m not sure about your bronze but Bone Steel is deadly,” Blitz told them. “As well as dwarven metal.”
“We Romans have Imperial gold,” Reyna proudly smirked. “Bright and precious as us.”
“Also burns through the soul and deadly,” Jason winced.
“I can feel all the metal in here,” Hazel spoke up suddenly. “All of it is deadly to most of us.”
“Even us?” Carter asked.
“When we’re hosts,” Walt said. “So me and rarely you.”
“Okay,” Sadie nodded. “We’ll be careful.”
“I love being mortal. Don’t go swinging any swords at me. Right Percy?” Rachel laughed.
“I hate you,” he grumbled.
“Good to know.”
“Now …..the pen.”
Percy did so and Riptide shrunk back into a regular sized pen. He stared at it with a nervous look on his face. Chiron seemed to notice. “You can’t.”
“You can’t what?” Alex asked.
“Chiron was my teacher. He knew what I was thinking. Watch.”
“Lose the pen…try it.”
Percy threw the pen and it disappeared into the grass on the other side of the hill. Chiron laughed at his nervous face. “It may take…your pocket.”
Percy reached into his pocket and drew out the pen with a surprised look on his face.
“That’s awesome!” Jaz cheered. “Seriously helpful magic.”
“Very,” agreed Percy.
“Jack can you do that?” Magnus asked his necklace. “Because you refuse to do pen form.”
The sword grew from the runestone around Magnus’ neck and floated above him. “I won’t do the pen. Okay? It’s overrated and the necklace is cool. Very zen.”
“Fine,” Magnus relented as everyone around him beside the Norse stared at his sword in surprise. “Can you do that returning thing though?”
“Not like that. I can be summoned like you did at the river but I won’t return automatically. I wouldn’t have been at the bottom of a bay in Boston for years if I could.”
Percy looked at the sword as it shrank again. “That is super cool. I think we may have a tie with Riptide for coolest demigod weapon.”
“Maimer!” Clarisse cheered. Almost all the Greeks laughed. The spear was electric. Not the coolest thing out there.
“Are you saying that Aegis and my spear aren’t cool?” Thalia asked.
“They are but they don’t talk or return to you,” Percy said. “Just grow from your bracelet and canister. Riptide and Jack both do things like that.”
“They don’t turn into different weapons though,” Jason smirked. “My coin does that. (His magic coin had been restored). I’ve got a gladius and a spear in one coin flip.”
“Slightly cooler than your sister’s then,” Magnus brushed him off.
“Stygian Iron sword,” Nico glared. “Don’t argue.”
“Mostly just a sword,” Percy said which others nodded too.
“Frank’s old spear?” Hazel asked trying to butt into the conversation.
“Only good for three uses,” Frank reminded her. “No argument.”
“Right. There is the good old fashioned knife. Especially ones with magic,” Piper argued. “Seeing the future in katropis?”
“Hasn’t always done us good,” Annabeth argued. “The only thing slightly as good as Riptide and Jack are the magician’s weapons. Your wands and staffs are cool.”
Carter nodded. “They’re useful but they can break. Riptide and Jack win. No offense to anyone else.”
Percy and Magnus high fived as everyone settled down from their grumbling.
“Okay…cool. But what if a mortal…sword?”
“Mist is a…Percy.”
“Mist?” signed Hearth.
Percy held up a finger pointing to the projection.
“Yes. Read The Iliad….of reality.”
“They’re not just obtuse then. It’s magic,” noted Magnus.
“It’s the duat,” Zia said. “The layers of reality.”
“Yeah,” Sadie agreed. “Annabeth and I figured that out when someone almost destroyed it. The top layer of the duat obscures magic and things from mortals. It’s what you call mist. It helps they’re oblivious though.”
“Thanks,” Rachel said sarcastically.
The scene skipped again so the three questers were at a bus station. Together they stood in line to board. Grover started sniffing the air with a nervous look on his face. Percy was looking at him in confusion.
“What is it?”
Percy raised his eyebrow skeptically at Grover’s response. The satyr said nothing else. They boarded slowly still looking over their shoulders for any trouble. They chose seats in the back of the bus and put away their backpacks.
“That’s a bad move,” Carter told them. “You won’t be able to get your stuff easily if there’s trouble.”
“Also you’re in the back. Only escape is the emergency exits,” agreed Thalia.
Percy, Annabeth and Grover exchanged glances. “We have horrible luck.”
Everyone turned to see what that meant.
An old lady had just boarded…same evil face. Percy and Grover exchanged glances as Percy started to shrink down in his seat. He couldn’t be seen. Behind her came two more…. Demon grandmothers. They sat in the front row….nobody leaves.
“That’s not just bad luck, that’s you being doomed,” decided Frank.
“Still here,” Percy grinned. “I have luck enough so I’m not doomed.”
“She didn’t stay dead long….a lifetime,” Percy whispered harshly as the bus pulled out of the station.
“I said if you’re lucky….not.”
“As I said,” Percy winked at Annabeth. “I have luck when it comes to getting out of these situations, not getting into them.”
“Right,” nodded Sam. “You’re on a bus. There are still exits to use.”
Everyone else sighed in relief while Percy, Grover and Annabeth exchanged amused and pained looks.
“All three of them…immortals!”
“It’s okay… the windows.”
“They don’t open.”
“Another exit?” squeaked Hazel.
“A back exit?” Annabeth tried looking around hopefully. There was none and they were heading into a tunnel.
“How are you still alive?” Chris stared at Percy.
“Honestly none,” agreed Grover.
“We should have died at least ten times during that first quest,” Annabeth nodded. Everyone blanched at that comment. This was already nervewracking and thrilling enough.
“They won’t attack us…will they?”
“That’s a lot of optimism,” Reyna noted. “Misplaced though. The monsters do not care about mortals.”
“I learnt I was a demigod a week before this, okay?” Percy said defensively. “I know that now.”
“Mortals don’t have good eyes…the mist.”
“Let’s all be mean to mortals,” Rachel whined sarcastically. “They can’t see and they’re all so dumb. Well thanks.”
“How about none of us get mad for things that have already happened?” suggested Nico knowing he would end up doing some stupid things.
“They’ll see three…won’t they?”
Everyone laughed at the imagery.
“Hard to say… in the roof?” Even as Annabeth spoke they entered the tunnels. It was all dark with just the aisle lights and no sounds. Then Mrs. Dodds got up.
“I need to use the restroom.”
“So do I,” both her sisters echoed as they got up and started walking down the aisle.
“That’s not suspicious at all,” Jason rolled his eyes.
“Just old women with bladder problems,” joked Sadie. “Nothing funny looking here.”
“I’ve got it…my hat.”
“You’re the one they want….get away.”
“You really didn’t know him at all yet,” Thalia gaped. “Percy’s not leaving anyone behind.”
“Percy is kind and loyal. He is a good brother. He protects his friends,” agreed Tyson.
“I try too,” Percy whispered to himself hoping no one heard.
“But you guys –”
“There’s an outside chance…overpowering.”
“I can’t just leave you.”
“This is his fatal flaw thing right? He’d sacrifice anything for the people loves?” Jaz asked.
“It’s good in moderation. Not so much in bigger circumstances,” Percy winced.
Leo shook his head. “Percy’s being stupid. He’s learnt to work through it. He’s sacrificed things before.”
“Don’t worry about us. Go!”
Percy nodded and put down the yankee’s cap. The way the projection worked the audience could see his outline shimmer. He walked ten rows up before Mrs. Dodds stopped and sniffed the air looking at him. She shook her head and turned back around. Percy was reaching for an emergency stop button when a wailing reached his ears. Turning around he could see the old ladies were now the furies with fiery whips instead of handbags.
“Where is it? Where?”
“Prissy’s an it now?” Clarisse snorted. “Makes sense.”
“That’s not what they’re talking about,” Rachel shook her head.
“No,” agreed Apollo. “They want something more than Percy.”
“What?” Will asked his father.
Apollo opened his mouth but couldn’t say. “Spoilers I guess.”
The other people on the bus…..all right. “He’s not here! He’s gone!” As Annabeth yelled the furies raised their whips. Annabeth drew her knife and Grover scrambled for a tin can. The invisible shape of Percy grabbed the wheel and jerked it to the left. Everyone was thrown to the right including the furies.
“That hurt us too,” Grover told him. “But thanks.”
“Dude we don’t thank each other for these things anymore. Happens too often.”
“Hey! Whoa!” Percy wrestled the bus driver for the wheel. The whole bus slammed into the side of the Lincoln tunnel then suddenly they were back in the rain plowing through cars as inside the bus people were thrown around like there was zero gravity. They made it to an exit in between the Hudson river and the woods but they were heading off the old road into the river. Percy lunged hitting the emergency brake. The bus wailed, spun a full circle…..them pass.
“That has got to be bad. I’ve never fought with so many mortals around,” Walt noted. “What did they see?”
“You’re right,” Annabeth shivered. “What they saw was bad.”
“We still had monsters to worry about though,” Grover groaned.
The furies stood back up. They lashed their whips at Annabeth while she…..tin cans. Percy looked at the open doorway. Then took off his cap. “Hey!”
“Okay,” Alex whistled. “Now I see how this fatal flaw is a bad thing.”
The furies turned toward Percy and Mrs. Dodds walked through the aisle and flicked her whip. The other two crawled across the tops of the seats like spiders and lizards. “Perseus Jackson….shall die.”
Everyone stared at him for two or three seconds then cracked up. She was a horrible teacher Percy had said. Plus he often said school was worse than monsters. It was hilarious.
“She’s a horrible teacher,” Nico gaped. “Take it from someone who had to take lessons in Underworld politics from her.”
“That’s torture,” Chris winced.
“She’s a fury. It’s what they do.”
Mrs. Dodds growled. Behind her Grover and Annabeth moved silently trying to find an exit. Percy took riptide out and uncapped it. The kindly ones stopped. “Submit now….torment.”
“Percy, look out!” Annabeth screamed. It was too late. Mrs. Dodds whip curled around his sword hand while the other two furies lunged at him.
Percy clutched his arm and groaned in agony. Annabeth held him close. As time went on the pain would get worse and better. As it had been in real life. She didn’t envy him at all.
“Quiet,” commanded Reyna to those whispering around her. “We need to move on.”
Percy kept a hold on riptide even with the whip around his arm. One fury was hit with the hilt and sent flying backwards. The one on his right was decapitated and made into dust. Still in agony he turned to Mrs. Dodds. He didn’t need to do anything. Annabeth was already on her back holding on tight. Grover yanked the whip out of her hands.
“Are all of you idiots?” Thalia demanded. They shook their hands in response.
“I wonder if I could hold that,” Zia mused while carter shook his head frantically. He did not want her anywhere near that.
The fury that he’d hilt-slammed….like a piñata. Mrs. Dodds was trying to get Annabeth off….falling down.
“They were much easier to beat that time,” Annabeth noted again.
“Not fighting their hardest for sure,” Nico agreed.
“That’s not their hardest?” Blitz winced.
“Nope,” all the demigods who had met them said.
“Zeus will destroy you…your soul!”
“No. They want to but both of them are to scared of Uncle P. Plus they are scared of Percy too now,” Apollo grinned.
“They have a good reason to be,” Percy grinned. Nico winced and blanched. He was not looking forward to watching that.
“I’m not even going to ask,” Carter shrugged.
“Braccas meas vescimini!”
Everyone stared at Percy and then Frank snorted. “You just told her to eat your pants.”
Then everyone laughed so hard several of them were gasping for air. Another was bawling. The only people not laughing were Apollo, Reyna, Jason and Annabeth. They waited for the laughter to calm down. One of the first to calm down was Percy who immediately noticed the looks the four were giving him.
“You spoke latin,” Jason raised an eyebrow.
“Even after a whole year of latin class with Chiron you should only to be able to say the basics with some concentration. Not out of nowhere naturally,” Reyna told him.
“But all demigods can speak Greek or Latin!”
“The imperative word being OR,” Annabeth was looking at him strangely not aware that everyone had stopped laughing and was listening.
“You shouldn’t have been able to do that,” Apollo told him. “Even if you’re a Greek demigod you’d only have a basic understanding unless you study for years. Not enough to say things like that.”
“I talk Latin just fine though. They do it most of the time in New Rome.”
“But I don’t talk Greek,” Jason shot back. “I called everything by it’s latin names and it took me four or five months to get the same hold as a Greek demigod would have naturally.”
“You spoke Latin easily. Though you called things by their Greek names you understood the language. It wasn’t hard for you. You translated Octavian saying a prophecy. And it started way before that it seems,” Reyna told him.
“I think it might actually have to do with one of the reasons the fates brought us here,” Annabeth brightened with an idea. “Magnus and Sadie. Help me with something.”
Both exchanged glances then got up and walked over to Annabeth. She whispered something in both their ears. Understanding lit their faces as well. Sadie turned to Percy. “This might be because of Neckbutt but we should try it out.”
“What’s because of her?” Percy asked confused.
“Let me try,” Magnus moved forward. “You hurt Annabeth then you die.”
“That’s strange,” Annabeth noted.
“More than. He understood the Egyptian but not the norse. I don’t know why though,” Apollo said.
“Wait, that was Egyptian?” Percy said but he was ignored.
Carter spoke up. “Sadie’s probably right. He can probably speak it fluently because he was Neckbeht’s eye. They shared memories and thoughts. It leaves things behind. I’m not sure about the latin.”
“I think Annabeth was right. This is about him being the thread to weave stuff together. How he speaks Latin we all need to figure out and if he’ll start with the Norse I don’t know but he’s definitely an anomaly,” Apollo said.
“I’m right here! Look I’m nothing special. I learnt things like Latin from Chiron and other private schools. Kids looked up how to say weird things. And I’m the only person who is not Egyptian who has been possessed by a goddess. Though I’m sure you guys could speak Egyptian if it happened to you too. No Leo, we are not testing that. Now let’s move on!”
Everyone stared at him. Percy moved off the couch next to Jason and Grover and went to sit by himself on a corner in the floor pouting. Everyone stayed quiet leaving enough time for the images to start.
Thunder shook…my neck. Annabeth turned to Percy yelling. “Get out! Now!”
“Dad’s going to try and kill you again,” Jason groaned.
“Someone’s always trying to kill us again,” Grover told him.
They rushed outside….arguing with the driver. An extremely disturbered passenger was running around in circles screaming that they were all going to die.
Everyone stared for a few seconds before cracking up in laughter again. All the tension was gone. Percy was no longer upset either. That laughter died down into giggles.
A Hawaiian-shirted tourist….my sword.
The giggles died. Piper looked at Percy. “He took a picture of you.”
“Riptide was uncapped,” Hazel squeaked.
“That’s my luck.”
“Mortals seeing this is bad,” Hearth signed.
“Our bags! We left…”
The windows of the bus exploded with a sound as loud as a sonic boom and the passengers ran for cover. Lightning shredded a huge…not yet dead.
“She’s still alive?” Jaz squeaked.
“We need a bigger boom to kill her. Or a big stick,” Tyson said.
“Well then next time I need that I’ll call you general Tyson.”
“Are you not concerned with the fact they lost all their supplies?” Sam raised her eyebrow.
“Not the last time,” Annabeth told her.
“We can call Tyson for that as well,” Percy grinned.
“Feedbags for a hippocampus,” Clarisse muttered. “Idiots.”
“Run! She’s calling...of here!”
“Really?” Magnus asked Annabeth sarcastically.
“Shut up,” she nudged him.
“Just get out of there,” Juniper squeezed Grover’s hand tight.
The questers ran into the woods as the rain poured down, not enough to extinguish the flames on the bus and the yelling and cries behind them.
“Can we stop before the next part?” Percy asked.
“No,” Annabeth shook her head.
“Let’s get it over with,” agreed Grover.
“What is this next part?” Calypso asked.
“A visit to a Garden Gnome Emporium,” Annabeth shivered. “One of the most terrifying moments of my life.”
If Annabeth and Percy were scared of this it had to be bad. People moved in closer to there friends and significant others. Percy got off the spot on the floor and moved back in closer to Annabeth. He sighed and waited for one of the worst monsters to walk the world to come onto the screen.
Chapter 23: Not Dorothy's Aunty Em
Annabeth, Percy and Grover were walking through the woods all shivering and miserable. Grover’s eyes had become slit-pupiled as he was so scared. “Three Kindly…at once.”
Percy seemed like he was going into shock as well but Annabeth stayed strong. “Come on! The farther…better.”
“All our money was back there….Everything.”
“Not the worst thing,” Sadie said.
“For sure,” agreed Chris. “I think we’ve all learned to survive without the neccesities.”
“That’s what it means being part of the mythological world,” Leo told them. “Or just part of most of the world. I was doing that long before I knew I was a demigod.”
“Well, maybe if you…into the fight—“
“What did you want….get killed?”
“You didn’t need to protect…been fine.”
“Sure,” drawled Rachel.
“I’m so happy I don’t need to put up with this anymore,” Grover told Juniper.
Juniper nodded. “I remember hearing them before the discovery of the Labyrinth.”
“It’s much worse on an actual quest,” Thalia groaned.
“Sliced like sandwhich…fine.”
“Shut up, goat boy.”
“Do you all have nicknames?” Alex asked. “Horrible ones?”
“Pretty much and various ones,” agreed Piper.
“You’ll hear them as we go but Beauty queen hates them. I don’t,” Leo declared.
“You only like the ones you make Flame Boy,” Frank shot at him.
“No one makes fun of the Supreme Commander of the Argo II or the Super Size McShizzle.”
“You just gave us several more reasons too,” snorted Sadie. “I’m getting a very bad idea. Just wondering if you’re interested Zia…”
Sadie’s mouth was covered by Walt.
“Tin cans.....cans.” They continued to walk in silence Annabeth and Percy glaring at each other when the other wasn’t looking. Finally Grover nudged Annabeth so she caught up to Percy. “Look, I…. really brave.”
“We’re a team, right?”
There was a few more moments of silence. “It’s just that if you died.... the real world.”
“I thought that was going to be something cute and sweet,” Jaz frowned.
“That was mean,” Tyson said. “Percy helped you.”
“Percy helped me and I was mean to him. I was mean to a lot of people. I’m trying to learn Tyson but you guys will all see that I’ve never been the best at accepting.”
“You’ve gotten a whole lot better,” Percy soothed. “We were kids and we all regret some things.”
“The real world isn’t that amazing either,” Piper pointed out. “Though I can understand the cabin fever.”
The scene moved forward a bit until they were in front of a deserted two-lane roade. On the other side was a closed down gas station, a tattered billboard for a late 1990s movie and one open business, which had neon lights. It wasn’t a fast food restaurant…cursive neon English.
“I forgot how good that smelled,” Percy moaned. Annabeth and Grover exchanged glances. Annabeth set a pillow nearby them to be ready for what she knew would happen when Percy fell under that spell.
“What the heck does that say?”
“I don’t know.”
“Aunty Em’s Garden Gnome Emporium.”
“And I’m guessing this is the monster…” Magnus said.
“Which one?” asked Will.
“I think I have an idea,” cringed Jason. “You did this at 12?”
“Someone want to explain?” Blitz asked.
Hearth signed silence to Blitz who sighed nodding and agreeing.
Percy crossed the street. Grover looked wary but Annabeth followed. “Hey…”
“The lights are on….open,” Annabeth said.
“Aren’t you supposed to be the logical one?” Carter asked.
“Again this was years ago. Everyone is forgiven for everything. Also if you have questions just be quiet and watch!”
“Snack bar,” Percy moaned.
“That’s definitely magic,” Walt said.
“Or some charm suggestion,” agreed Piper.
“Either way it’s dangerous,” Hazel warned. “Don’t fall for it.”
“Too late,” Grover groaned.
“Are you two crazy? This place is weird.”
“Yes,” almost everyone answered Grover’s question.
“Gee thanks,” Percy said. “You’re right about me though. Not about Annabeth.”
The front lot was a forest of statues….the creeps. “Bla-ha-ha! Looks like my…Ferdinand!”
“Was that her?” Calypso gasped. By now most of the Greeks and Romans had an idea of who that was.
“Who?” demanded Leo.
“I knew you beat her,” Nico said awed. “But under a spell and so young?”
“You did just as amazing things at ten and eleven,” Percy told him. “So stop.”
“Was that why they hated you so much when we met you?” Frank asked.
“Might have been.”
“I’m sorry,” Sam asked. “Who and what are you talking about?”
They stopped at the door. “Don’t knock…monsters.”
“Your nose….the Furies.”
“Listen to him,” Apollo advised.
“This happened over five years ago. Too late.”
“He is right though,” Annabeth said to Percy. “We need to listen to Grover more.”
“Thank you!” bleated the Satyr. “Finally!”
“All I smell is burgers…hungry?”
“Meat! I’m a vegetarian.”
“It’s the better option,” Piper agreed.
“People are just insensitive too, talking about meat in front of Grover,” Juniper cringed holding her boyfriend’s hand.
“You eat cheese enchiladas and aluminum cans,” Percy rolled his eyes.
“Those aren’t meat idiot,” Clarisse snorted.
“They’re vegetables,” Grover said.
“Pretty sure they’re not that either,” Thalia said.
“We should get Katie to give them an educational session,” Piper suggested.
“That’s genius,” Rachel smiled.
“We should just have a nutrition class,” Will nodded. “Where the food table can be included.”
“We shall plan this later,” Reyna ordered quieting them all.
“Those are vegetables…. looking at me.” Then the door creaked open, and standing in front of us was a tall…been a beautiful lady.
“She doesn’t look like a monster,” Leo noted.
“She’s wearing a veil,” scoffed Frank. “You can’t see what she looks like.”
“Children, it is too late…your parents?”
“They’re…. um…” Annabeth stuttered.
“We’re orphans,” Percy interrupted.
“Orphans? But, my….not!”
“We got separated….food I smell?”
“Oh, my dears. You must come in….dining area.”
“You guys are doomed,” Jason decided.
“That was Percy’s fault,” Annabeth spouted quickly.
“Hey! I didn’t see you saying anything,” Percy shot back.
Annabeth opened her mouth but Alex said something first. “You’re both horrible liars. I’m giving you all lessons.”
“Lessons?” I’m the god of truth. Lying isn’t necessary,” claimed Apollo.
“Well my dad is the god of lies. He would claim differently,” Chris said. “Plus Travis and Conner have already given everyone a brief on passing lies when facing a monster or a mortal the mist won’t work on.”
“Circus caravan?” Annabeth muttered.
“Always have a strategy, right?”
“Hey!” Thalia protested. “I have copyright on that nickname for him.”
“This was before you even met. I don’t really care though. Seaweed Brain works for me. No one else,” Annabeth smirked.
“Good. Then Kelp Head is mine.”
“He’s Prissy,” Clarisse crossed her arms with a smirk.
“Hermes cabin has claim on Aquaman,” Chris called.
“Camper Boy,” Carter claimed. “Don’t even ask.”
“Fish Face,” Nico scoffed.
“I’m pretty sure he’s Water Boy,” Piper rolled her eyes.
“Captain Salt Water,” Frank smiled.
“Guys we all know who I really am,” Percy laughed. “My name is Peter Johnson or was it Perry Johanson.”
All of those present had seen Mr. D on the projection and cracked up with laughter. It took a while to die down when they realized when they what they were in the middle on.
“Please, sit down,” Aunty Em waved her hand at the tables.
“Um… we don’t have any money, ma’am.”
“I can’t believe it was Grover who refused the free food,” Nico’s eyes widened.
“No, no, children….nice orphans.”
“Thank you, ma’am,” Annabeth said over the drooling sound of Percy’s hunger.
Aunty Em stiffened then smiled back down at them. “Quite all right Annabeth…gray eyes, child.”
“How did she know your name?” Magnus asked.
“Monsters dude,” Grover reminded him.
“Why is she noticing your eyes too?” Sadie asked.
“It is a strange thing to comment on,” agreed Zia.
“Monsters, again,” Hearth signed while Blitz translated.
Their hostess disappeared behind the snack counter and started cooking….servings of French fries.
“You know what I’m thinking?” Percy said in a dazed voice drooling slightly.
Annabeth shoved the pillow in his face. “Sorry that was the spell I think.”
“No,” smirked Thalia.
“He was going where I was thinking,” Nico grinned back at her.
“Big Three burgers,” moaned Percy shoving the pillow back off his face.
“I’m sorry…what?” asked Reyna.
“You’ll see,” Jason told her happy to know.
Percy started stuffing his face with food. Annabeth slurped her shake. Grover picked at…..nervous to eat. “What’s that...noise?”
Annabeth shook her head.
“I don’t hear anything,” frowned Hazel.
“Neither do I,” agreed Juniper.
“Hissing? Perhaps you hear…ears, Grover.”
“Alex was right. Lying lessons might be necessary,” Sam said as her sister whispered ideas to her.
“That’s admirable…relax.” Aunty Em ate nothing….our hostess.
“So, you sell gnomes,” Percy prompted.
“Oh, yes and animals…popular, you know.”
“A lot of business on this road?”
“Not so much….costumer I get.”
“None of this conversation seemed weird?” asked Calypso eyebrow raised.
“Oh it did,” nodded Grover.
“No,” Percy drawled sleepily.
“We didn’t notice,” Annabeth excused them. “As you can see from Percy here we weren’t in the best condition.”
“Ah, you notice some of my creations….the face.”
“That’s really scary,” shivered Jaz. “Get out of there.”
“You’re all huge idiots. That should have tipped you off!” Clarisse said.
“You make these statues yourself?”
“Oh, yes. Once upon a time, I had two sisters…my company.”
“I hate her sisters,” Hazel decided. “This is that monster, right?”
“It is. So leave, and fast,” Piper begged.
Annabeth put down her food. “Two sisters?”
“Thank the gods,” Reyna praised.
“You know who it is?” Carter asked.
“Yes,” Annabeth nodded. “She’s one of the more famous Greek monsters.”
“It’s a terrible story….such a price.” As she spoke Percy’s eyelids fell. He slumped towards the table but Annabeth seemed to be waking up. She started shaking Percy. Grover was nervously eating wax paper off the tray.
In real life the same thing was happening. Percy was falling asleep and Annabeth was trying to shake him awake.
“Percy? Maybe we should…be waiting.”
“Such beautiful gray eyes….like those.”
“Why is she so interested in your eyes?” Magnus demanded. “It’s creepy and weird. Even for a monster.”
“I’ll explain soon,” Annabeth promised. “After Percy snaps out of this spell.”
Annabeth stood up. “We really should go.”
“Yes! The ringmaster…Right!”
“Please, dears…for a pose?”
“A photograph…loves children.”
“I actually think I read about her,” Carter asked. “How on earth did you get away?”
“You know who she is? Tell me!” demanded Sadie.
“That would spoil it.”
“I don’t think we can…on, Percy…”
“Sure we can…the harm?”
“I’d say death probably,” decided Leo.
“Yes….no harm.” Aunty Em’s words didn’t change how Annabeth felt as they could all tell by seeing. She followed Percy and the monster out with Grover on her tail. They ended up next to the garden of statues on a bench next to the Satyr statues.
“Wait, why did you go with her?” Piper asked.
“It was the only way we actually might escape.”
“Now, I’ll just position you…either side.”
“Not much…a photo.”
“How stupid can you be?” Nico groaned.
“Very,” Grover decided.
“Oh, enough. Enough…other, yes?”
“My opinion of you is getting lower by the second,” Apollo declared.
“All of ours is,” Walt mumbled.
“Where’s your camera?”
“Now, the face is the most difficult….large smile?”
“Even I would have gotten it by now,” Leo smirked. “What the Hades is up with you Perce?”
“I’m fine,” he yawned.
“Oh, that’s what’s up with him.”
“That sure does…Uncle Ferdinand.”
“Uncle Ferdinand,” moaned Grover under his breath. Juniper put her hand on his shoulder.
“Percy—” Annabeth said warningly.
“I will just be a moment…cursed veil..”
“Percy, something’s wrong.”
“Wrong? Not at all…be wrong?”
“That is Uncle Ferdinand!”
In real life Grover moaned as everyone else sighed in relief that they would actually probably be getting out of there soon.
“Look away from her!” Annabeth put on her Yankees cap and pushed Grover and Percy off the bench.
Everyone cheered. Juniper held Grover’s hand tighter. “Let’s just all declare Percy would be dead like twenty times at least without Annabeth. My Grover too.”
Percy was on the ground. Grover scrambled away blocking his eyes. Annabeth’s shimmery outline in a different direction as well. Percy looked up slowly to Aunty Em’s hands which were now gnarled and warty, with bronze talons. The rest of her body was just as hideous still. He started to raise his eyes higher but Annabeth screamed. “No! Don’t!”
Once again everyone sighed in relief and praised Annabeth for everything.
Medusa’s veil fell off completely leaving her head of tiny snakes uncovered. Behind her bronze wings sprouted and the hissing got louder.
“Run!” Grover yelled as he raced across the gravel before taking to the air with a ‘Maia!’
“What in the nine worlds is that thing?” Blitz yelped.
“That would be Medusa,” deadpanned Thalia.
“Medusa. Gorgon. Three Sisters. Story of Perseus. Sons are Pegasus and Chyrasoar,” Ella volunteered.
Percy cringed. Several of the others who had been on the Argo did as well. Reyna just smirked slightly at the mention of Pegasus.
“I promise to explain the monster later. Okay? I’ll do it with all the monsters,” Annabeth soothed the scared crowd.
“Such a pity to destroy…look up.”
“That’s even creepier,” Alex said. “She’s obsessed with Annabeth’s eyes and now you? What’s with this monster?”
“Issues, lots, especially with Percy and Annabeth’s parents,” Thalia waved her off watching the screen avidly.
Percy looked up as ordered but to the side instead where there was a glass sphere in the garden. Medusa’s reflection was in the orange glass. Percy’s eyes widened in realization.
“The gray-eyed-one did this….into this.”
“Your mom made that monster? Is that what Thalia was talking about?” Sadie asked.
“One of the things. I’m sure it will mention the other,” Jason said.
“Silence! You see why…need not suffer.”
“Again. Creepy…” shivered Jaz.
“No,” Percy muttered trying to stand up.
“Do you really want to ….Less pain.”
“Percy!” Grover came flying awkwardly with his eyes closed. His nose was twitching, smelling his way. He swung a tree branch around wildly. Percy looked up at him.
“Duck! I’ll get her!”
Percy dove to one side as Grover hit Medusa straight on. She roared in rage. “You miserable satyr….my collection!”
“That was…Uncle Ferdinand!” Grover swooped again hitting his target again.
In the room everyone cheered. People were clapping and pumping their fists. Several whistles and dog howls could be heard as well. “You go Goat Boy!” cheered Nico very unlike his normal self. Since dating Will he had been acting much more like his younger self.
“Goat boy saved my brother! He hit the monster. With a big stick!” Tyson boomed. Juniper was giving Grover a kiss. Annabeth was laughing. Then Grover shushed everyone completely red.
Annabeth’s outline appeared next to Percy amongst the statues as he crawled toward the glass ball. “Percy!”
Percy jumped, to quite an impressive height, and whisper yelled. “Jeez! Don’t do that!”
Annabeth took of her hat. “You have…head off.”
“I thought that was obvious,” Frank asked.
“Not to Percy,” Piper laughed.
“What? Are you….out of here.”
“Now you want to leave,” groaned Will.
“I don’t believe they will,” Reyna said.
“Medusa is a menace…got a chance.”
“What? I can’t—”
“Look, do you want…statues?” Annabeth pointed to a pair of statues, a man and women hugging each other faces frozen in love and fear at the same time.
“You figure him out quickly,” Calypso noted.
“Not that hard,” Annabeth smiled. “Percy’s an easy read, wears his heart on his sleeve.”
“Especially when it comes to you,” Percy kissed her cheek.
Annabeth grabbed another green ball. A green one. “A polished shield would….by a factor of—”
“Brilliant!” Sadie cheered.
“You understood that?” Walt asked.
“Oh dear Walt, you forget, my mother read theoretical physics to me at bedtime. It wasn’t that hard to understand.”
Her brother nodded along with Leo, Magnus, Blitz, Samira, Reyna and Piper. Everyone else just looked confused.
“Would you speak English?”
“I am!” Annabeth whisper shouted back at him tossing the glass ball. “Just look at her…at her directly.”
“Because then you’d become stone like those guys,” Carter remembered. Everyone shivered.
Grover stopped swinging his tree branch. “Hey, guys! I think….unconscious.” He was interrupted by Medusa’s roar. “Maybe not.” He swung again with the tree branch.
“Hurry, Grover’s got… eventually crash.”
“It’s great to see how much faith you and Percy have in me,” Grover said.
“Grover I’ve always had faith in you. It’s Annabeth who doesn’t,” Percy teased.
“Hey!” Before Annabeth could shoot back a response the projection started again.
Percy took out his pen and uncapped it. He kept his eyes on the ball so he could only see Medusa’s reflection, following the hissing and spitting sounds of the snake. Grover was coming in for another pass. He came in too low. Medusa grabbed the stick and he tumbled crashing into the arms of a stone grizzly bear.
Everyone groaned. They would miss that.
Medusa lunged at him but Percy yelled to get their attention. He moved forward slowly. Medusa did not make a move as he did.
“You wouldn’t harm an old…wouldn’t.”
Percy hesitated and the ball lowered in his arms. Grover struggled to right himself. “Percy, don’t…to her!”
“Too late.” Medusa lunged with her talons. Percy looked into the ball and slashed with his sword. Medusa’s head came tumbling off, her body turning to dust as it did. It fell to the ground next to Percy’s foot. The snakes were dying tugging at his shoelaces angrily.
“That’s disgusting,” Juniper squealed.
“It’s nasty,” agreed Percy. “I can actually feel it.”
“It doesn’t really matter how nasty it is. You just defeated one of the worst monsters ever. At age 12,” Apollo looked at him. He supposed even the gods hadn’t realized what Percy could do.
“Again I’ve done nothing compared to some of my friends at this age. I’m not the hero either, it wasn’t me. I wouldn’t have figured it out without Annabeth,” he started.
“You wouldn’t have survived without me. You’re smart enough to realize what you had to do to kill her. You were already crawling toward the crystal ball.”
“Well Grover was the only other reason I’m still here.”
“She wouldn’t have torn you to bits,” Grover disagreed. “I was saving me and Annabeth. You were also anticipating her movements, even not seeing them. I’m giving you the advice you gave me for years. Stop doubting yourself. You’re a hero, one who will and has done amazing things.”
Percy nodded slightly just looking down at his hands, tucked in Annabeth’s own. It was silent and no one said a thing to nervous to say anything.
Annabeth came up next to Percy looking up. She held Medusa’s veil. “Don’t move,” she ordered both her friends. Not looking down she knelt and draped the monsters head in the veil. It dripped green juice as she picked it up. She trembled as she spoke. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” Percy agreed though he looked queasy.
“No actually,” Percy decided. “I kind of want to throw up again.”
Piper who was sitting between him and Jason at the moment pushed him onto the floor. Percy sat there pouting. “It’ll just be momentarily.”
She shook her head. “Stay.”
“Why didn’t…head evaporate?”
“Once you sever it…petrify you.”
“Cool but disgusting,” Alex grinned. “Do you still have it?”
“I gave it away. I think it’s been destroyed,” Percy told her kind of scared. She pouted. Magnus and Samira scooted away.
Grover moaned in pain while he climbed down from the statue. He had a big welt…around his head.
The image made almost everyone laugh. “You look like one of those cartoons,” cackled Leo.
“What cartoons?” Calypso asked.
“When a character gets hit on the head, things fly around their head. Most of the time birds,” he explained.
“The Red Baron,” Percy patted him on the back. “Good job, man.”
“Is that where that weird nickname is from?” Thalia raised an eyebrow.
“That really was not fun…a concrete bear? Not fun.” Grover snatched his shoes and put them back on.
“I don’t know,” Blitz said sarcastically. “It kind of did look fun.”
“Nah, if it’s beating up a monster, sure count me in. I’m just not getting hit in the head like that again,” Jason shook his head.
Percy capped Riptide and the three questers stumbled out of the garden into the warehouse. They grabbed some more snacks and plastic bags triple wrapping Medusa’s head. For a few minutes they stayed silent, collapsing on the table they had eaten before. Percy spoke first. “So we have Athena…this monster?”
“Sorry,” Percy apologized.
“I was rude too,” she pulled him back up on the couch, cuddling against him. He kissed her hair showing she was forgiven.
Annabeth glared at him scoffing in an irritated manner. “Your dad, actually…..reminded her of him.”
“I guess you don’t need to explain anymore,” Sadie smiled.
“Oh no, that was a brief explanation. Annabeth won’t stand for that,” Will decided.
“We’re all in for a huge lecture,” agreed Piper.
“Wait, back to the story. Your dad was with that thing?” Magnus pointed.
“She wasn’t a thing then, not till Athena got to her. She was actually really pretty. A lot of the gods were into her,” Apollo reminisced.
“Still, eww…” Sadie stuck out her tongue then pretended to gag.
“And I’m guessing that’s why she was all creepy and weird like that too,” Jaz shivered.
“Yeah, pretty much.”
“Oh, so now…met Medusa.”
Annabeth straightened and deepened her voice just slightly. “It’s just a photo…the harm?”
“Hey! You two are giving…get migraines.”
In the room everyone was laughing. Annabeth and Percy were blushing but still cuddling into each other. Thalia snorted again, “And you guys thought you weren’t obvious.”
“They so were,” Rachel nodded.
“Yet you went and k..” Annabeth stopped not able to say more.
Rachel looked down. Calypso looked at her puzzled then dawned. This was what she had once thought of Annabeth. “He was the man on my Island who was definitely most loyal to the one he loved.”
“On your island,” Annabeth grumbled then remembered herself. “He’s kind of like that.”
“I’m just glad to know they were always like that,” Nico chuckled.
“Yet it took them around what...four years to get together?” Clarisse said back. Percy finally having enough glared at them all. Percy took a bit longer to stay silent. They were effectively silenced.
“What are we going to do with the head?” Grover finished. They all looked down at the bag. One snake hung out of a hole in the plastic. Percy tightened his grip on the bag. His knuckles turned white. “I’ll be back.”
As he walked away Annabeth called after him. “Percy, what…you—”
Percy looked through the back of the warehouse and walked into what must have been Medusa’s office. He opened an account book which had logs all saying that shipments had been made to the Underworld. Percy grabbed one of the freight bills and stuffed it in his pocket.
“That was smart,” Reyna said kind of surprised.
“I’m not all muscle,” Percy flexed his arm. “Contrary to popular belief.”
“Wait, these things are in the Underworld. Hades bought from Medusa?” Thalia looked at Nico and Hazel.
“Not dad. Persephone.”
“That makes more sense,” Hazel agreed.
Percy then opened the cash register and pulled out twenty dollars, several golden drachmas and packing slips for Hermes Express, with leather bags attached for the gold. Percy then kept looking until he found a box.
“What are you doing?” Jason asked.
“Something suicidal, so nothing new.”
“Oh, I remember this. Zeus was not happy,” Apollo laughed.
Percy went back to the table and put down the box. He packed up Medusa’s head. Everyone was able to see as he filled in the delivery slip. Grover and Annabeth stared. “They’re not going to like…impertinent.”
Percy poured in some drachmas. The package floated off the table and disappeared right after a cash register dinged though none was in sight. “I am impertinent,” he declared. Neither of his friends challenged him.
Annabeth sighed. “Come on, we need a new plan.”
“You are suicidal,” Reyna stared. “I did not think…”
“That I could be so stupid? That talk with Mars wasn’t the worst. The gods don’t really care at this point.”
“Oh they do,” Apollo said. “Just to scared of Poseidon to do much about it.”
“I think several of them are scared of Percy as well,” Nico muttered only Will hearing. His boyfriend looked at him puzzled.
“It’s all okay,” Percy soothed them all. “I’m not dead. So why don’t we all listen to Annabeth’s story before the next part?” There were nods and murmurs as Annabeth started to explain the myth of Medusa and Perseus, the namesake of their own hero.
Chapter 24: Piper and Percy Hate on Poodles
After Annabeth finished the story Chris looked at the clock the fates had provided. Though time was frozen in the real world in this strange place it was moving mostly the same. For their internal clocks it would be lunch in almost two hours. When he voiced this thought Percy, Annabeth and Grover exchanged glances.
“How far do you think we should go?” Grover asked
Counting on his fingers Percy looked up. “We can go until I fall. There’s the poodle and train before that.”
“Right,” Annabeth agreed. “Most of that might not be called important. Will that fall hurt you if we stop there?”
“I think I’ll be fine.”
“Think,” Grover repeated skeptically.
“Wanna clue us in?” Walt said.
“If we watch it will. I’ll say when we should stop for lunch,” Annabeth told everyone sitting back down.
They set up blankets in the woods on the ground which was covered by flattened soda cans and old wrappers. They lit no fire either. Huddled in their blankets, cold and exhausted they sat together in silence before Annabeth spoke up. “We should sleep in shifts.”
“I’ll take the first one then,” Percy volunteered. Annabeth nodded and curled up on the blankets falling asleep easily. Grover whispered ‘maia’ and went to the top of a tree branch leaning on the trunk. He stared at the sky. Percy looked up at him.
“Go ahead and sleep…there’s trouble.”
Grover nodded but didn’t comply. “It makes…sad, Percy.”
“What does? The fact that you…stupid quest?”
“Sure would make me upset,” Blitz nodded.
Hearth signed back. “Sad about other thing.”
Blitz signed back asking what to which Hearth shrugged.
“No. This….me sad,” Grover replied pointing to all the garbage on the ground.
“It’s the worst,” Rachel agreed. “I’ll keep trying to make a difference but unless other people are like me—”
“I am,” Magnus protested. “I’m a nobody. A legally dead homeless kid but I care and I’ll keep trying too.”
“I’m not a nobody,” Piper said. “I’m the daughter of Tristan McLean. I can probably start a whole movement and I will.”
Frank looked at Hazel and nodded. “I like the woods, the clean ones. I’d like to keep them that way.”
“The whole world that way,” his girlfriend agreed gripping his hand.
“The world is much different then when I was first imprisoned,” Calypso said. “I would like to preserve the beauty that is still left.”
“The Hunters have always been for that. It’s one of the biggest reasons I joined and I’m aware of it only because of you Goat Boy,” Thalia told him.
Grover grinned. “That’s better. Now I think we will.”
“Of course we will man,” Percy said.
“And the sky. You can’t even see the stars….be as satyr.”
“Oh, yeah. I guess…environmentalist.”
“Really?” Juniper glared.
“I wasn’t myself. Of course I didn’t mean it like that Juniper,” Percy defended. Grover nodded in his defense.
Grover glared. “Only a human….find Pan.”
“And look what happened now,” Nico said to Thalia who nodded.
“That’s what I was thinking,” Sadie agreed. “But from the direction of the conversation I don’t think it is. Another god probably.”
“Pan! P-A-N….a searcher’s license for?” A breeze ruffled the trees and blew away some of the trash and muck. Percy suddenly looked at Grover with much clearer eyes.
“Wow,” Percy said. “I’d completely forgotten about that. I’m feeling it now.”
“Feeling what?” Jason raised an eyebrow.
“The power of the wild. New Mexico definitely wasn’t the first time,” Percy declared. “Grover you know that means that…”
Grover grinned sadly. “He was listening to me. Watching.”
“He chose the right person too,” Juniper smiled.
“Can you feel it?” Percy asked the others. They all shook their heads.
“Tell me about the search.”
Grover looked at Percy deciding whether or not he was joking. “The god of wild places disappeared…..from his sleep.”
“That’s your mission?” Zia asked. “You dedicate your life to this?”
“It’s a worthy thing to dedicate my life to,” Grover replied.
“Especially after thousands of years,” Blitz nodded to him. “You don’t give up.”
“And you…be a searcher.”
“It’s my life’s dream….you saw back there.”
“That was actually him?” squeaked Jaz. No one replied.
“Oh, right, sorry.”
“Uncle Ferdinand knew the risks….to return alive.”
“Wait they all died?” Hazel asked.
“All of them,” Grover nodded.
“Satyrs like you are much braver than our fauns,” Reyna said. “You should never think yourself cowardly.”
“He doesn’t obviously. He’s here too,” Leo said. “So he returned alive.”
“Hang on the first?”
Grover took out his reed pipes cleaning them off. “No searcher has ever…alive again.”
“Not once…thousand years?”
“And your dad? You have no…to him?”
“Actually I have some now,” Grover cringed.
Tyson looked at him. “I am sorry my friend.”
“It’s not your fault Tyson,” Grover told him. “You are a good Cyclops.”
“But you still want to go…find Pan?”
“I’m sorry it’s kind of unbelievable at first. I believe in you with everything now,” Percy said.
“I have to believe….still be awakened.”
Grover looked down sadly as did some others who had met Pan like Apollo and those who had been in the Labyrinth. Several people were looking at him in a completely new light.
The scene faded into darkness. They were now watching Percy in a large dark cavern surrounded by creatures made of mist and smoke pulling at his close. His feet wee walking toward the edge of a gaping pit.
Annabeth gasped and grabbed at Percy. He looked at it too and started taking slow deep breaths. The seven exchanged glances. They hadn’t had panics like this in a long time. Percy calmed down after a moment but Annabeth was still pale. Nico was staring at them both.
“That’s it. Why were you dreaming about…oh.”
“That’s the place worse than the underworld right?” Magnus asked. “Tartarus. The pit where you…”
A deep bone chilling voice pulled Percy forward more. “The little here. Too weak…you will do.”
“Do for what?” Frank asked.
“This guy sounds like Queen Dirt face. Whatever it is it’s not good,” Leo decided.
“He’s trying to tempt you to do something,” Apollo advised. “Don’t listen.”
“He tried to tempt most of the demigods. This is different though. He doesn’t just want Percy to join him,” Thalia shook her head.
“No,” Percy replied. “I had forgotten about this but he was asking me for something else.”
“He was asking you to do what Luke did,” Chris told him. “I was friends with Luke. I joined with him. He told me about the dreams before the Labyrinth. This is how he was told to join. There’s the bribe next.”
“They have misled you….what you want.” A shimmering image hovered over the void….pleading: Go! Cold laughter echoed from the chasm….stood firm.
“Chris are you saying that he wanted Percy to be….” Will trailed off.
“What Luke was,” Chris nodded.
“What was Luke?” Hazel asked her brother confused.
“You’ll figure it out later.” Nico stared at his cousin. “It wasn’t just Gaea that had plans for you. Kronos did too. I’m actually starting to wonder if there’s more of a reason for that then you being the son of Poseidon.”
Percy looked haunted yet defiant. He didn’t speak the realization coming upon him. “I had forgotten about this, not the dream but what he wanted. If I had, gods, he might have actually…”
“Help me rise boy…the treacherous gods!”
Around Percy the voices of the misty spirits swirled urging him to wake up. He was tugged forward as Sally faded from view. The voice kept muttering, “Good. Good.”
“Wake!” the dead urged again. Then the black faded and Percy snapped up to see Annabeth sitting there smirking as she shook him.
“Well, the zombie lives.”
“That’s why you were asleep?” Annabeth stared at him. “We couldn’t wake you up. I thought you were just so tired…”
“Well you know now,” Percy sighed. “Lets move on.”
Percy was trembling as he sat up. “How long…asleep?”
“Long enough….cook breakfast.” Annabeth tossed…snack bar. “And Grover went….a friend.”
“A friend?” Zia repeated.
Percy pouted. “I hated that thing.”
Annabeth and Grover laughed.
Grover was sitting cross-legged…a pink poodle.
“Is that thing pink?” Alex sputtered. “That’s horrific.”
“I agree,” Rachel cringed.
“Animal mistreatment,” Thalia declared.
The poodle barked at Percy. Grover chided him back. “No, he’s not.”
“Are you….that thing?”
The poodle growled. “This thing….nice to him.”
“Questions, how are you getting west with that?” Sadie pointed. “Also can you talk to animals?”
“You’ll see and yes.”
“So you can talk to me if I turned into a Rhino?” Frank asked.
“Probably,” Grover said.
“Definitley,” Percy smirked. “I could talk to you when you were a koi.”
“I’m so happy we can speak English when we change,” Samira told her sister. Alex grinned back.
“You can talk to animals?”
“Percy meet…Percy.” Percy stayed silent and stared at Annabeth but she looked completely serious.
“I’m sorry that things name is Gladiola?” Blitz laughed.
“It is. Poor pink poodle,” cooed Hazel.
Piper was laughing hardest. When she breathed she spoke. “You know the worst thing was that Gladiola was a boy.”
Everyone stared at her. Percy raised an eyebrow. “How did you know?”
“She was my dad’s girlfriends. He was in New York with her for a premiere that weekend. I can’t believe you found her. I hated that dog and the person that owned her.”
“Thank you!” Percy praised Piper. Around them everyone cracked up in laughter.
“I’m not saying hello…forget it.”
“Jason, ten bucks on Percy saying hello,” Thalia grinned.
“Fine, he won’t he’s stubborn.”
“Percy,” Annabeth warned. “I said hello….to the poodle.”
“The gods hate me,” Jason decided. He had forgotten about Annabeth. Everyone laughed as he handed over the money and Percy opened his mouth.
“Hi Gladiola. Happy?”
Annabeth didn’t reply. Grover started to explain how he’d met Gladiola while looking around. “She ran away from a rich family. They have a 200 dollar reward for anyone that returns her. She doesn’t want to go back but she wants to help us. We’re getting to Los Angeles,” Grover grinned.
“How does Gladiola know about the reward?”
“He read the signs.”
“Duh,” Sadie said. “What else Percy?”
Percy grinned. Every time Sadie spoke he liked her more and more. Even though she was around four years younger than him.
“Of course. Silly me.”
“That’s my response to Sadie too,” Percy stuck out his tongue.
“So we turn in Gladiola…to Los Angeles. Simple.”
“Not another bus,” Percy groaned.
“No,” Annabeth said pointing down the hill. “There’s an Amtrak station….leaves at noon.”
“Thank the gods,” Reyna sighed. “You have two people who actually could figure out a way to travel.”
“Hey! I was asleep and being threatened by a guy in a pit. That was important too.”
“Though I know that means something horrible it sounds hilarious,” Will cracked up. He was met with a bunch of stares.
Chapter 25: Literal Leap of Faith
Instead of another projection starting they were shown small clips and pictures. A montage of shorts. There were time stamps showing the two days the three were on the train together traveling west. Everyone watched wondering why the train ride might be important.
The first clip was a passenger reading to his friend from the Trenton Register-News. There was a blurry photo of Percy holding a metallic blur, that looked like some sort of weapon or sports equipment. The passenger read to his friend the caption. “His Stepfather Gabe Ugliano offered a reward for his capture or info.”
“It’s Gabe,” Percy sneered. “He could care less.”
Then a short clip of Percy pacing the train hoodie down trying not to be noticed. When he sat down and pressed his face outside he saw a family of centaurs armed with bows hunting for food. The little boy centaur waved.
“Why didn’t you show that to me?” Annabeth asked.
“You were using the toilet,” Percy smirked.
“TMI,” Magnus wrinkled his nose.
Then Percy was looking out the window again. This time the projection almost left the train zooming in on something prowling through the woods. A golden lion. It switched back to Percy who blinked and then went to get food.
“Wait was that the Lion?” Thalia asked.
“Wow, talk about fate.” Grover laughed with Thalia as everyone else looked confused even Annabeth.
Then the train started to pull into a city with a giant white arch towering over the skyline. Annabeth sat on her knees and smiled looking at it. “I want to do that.”
“Build something….Parthenon, Percy?”
“Only in pictures.”
“Someday, I’m going….in person.”
“That wasn’t as fun as I hoped it would be,” Annabeth frowned.
“No kidding,” Leo cringed.
“We almost destroyed it instead of building it,” Piper agreed whispering to her friend.
“I’ll take you again,” Percy promised. “A trip to Greece where we only have to worry about normal monsters, not another huge threat.”
She smiled in reply.
“I’m going to build…last a thousand years.”
“I’m pretty sure you guys keep telling the future,” Apollo looked at them weirdly. “I need to look into that. Especially Percy.”
“You kind of have done it several times already,” Rachel noted. “Ella want to take notes of it?”
The harpy nodded. “Find Pan. Build permanent. Lion…”
“You? An Architect?”
“Why’s that funny?” frowned Magnus. “She’s always wanted to be one.”
“It’s just the ADHD, sitting still to draw, well I couldn’t believe anyone could do that.”
“Yes, an architect. Athena expects….I could mention.”
There was a silent pause both in the projection and in real life.
“Can’t we work together….ever cooperate?”
“Like once. Until you two came along,” Apollo said.
“I guess….to make it complete.”
“Which is why we’re unstoppable at that,” Percy grinned.
“You’re going down soon,” Clarisse decreed.
“Sure,” Annabeth shot back.
“I think they’re right,” Hazel said. “Percy even put a chariot on Arion.”
“Then we can cooperate, too. Right?”
“Thank the gods you do,” Grover said under his breath.
The scene cut again. The group was standing in line to the egg shaped elevators that would take them to the top of the arch. Behind them in line was a big fat lady and her Chihuahua with a rhinestone collar.
Percy got off the couch standing up abruptly. Several people stared at him. He was already pale. “Sorry. I need to sit on the floor for this. Um…. Okay. I need the beanbag you’re using Leo. That’s if you and Calypso don’t mind switching with me and Annabeth.”
“No problem dude,” Leo said confused.
Percy sat on the bean bag and a worried Annabeth sat on the one beside him. He sighed in relief. “Okay good. Nico and Will. Scoot over please.”
“Why?” Annabeth asked. “The explo—”
“I didn’t tell you and Grover everything,” Percy said. “This whole thing was bad. I’m already shaky thinking about how it’ll feel going up in that elevator, it’s so small and so high. Not good for someone who’s not allowed to be in the sky and is claustrophobic.”
Annabeth gripped his hand. “We’re together.”
They climbed in the elevator with the lady and the dog. They started going up and Percy turned green. He couldn’t answer when the fat lady asked him a question. “No parents?”
“They’re below….of heights.”
Percy was green and looked like he wanted to vomit. Thalia just seeing it wasn’t much better. “I am so happy I wasn’t there.”
“You should be,” Percy choked back. “And this is the good part. I hate being so squished.”
The Chihuahua growled. The woman clicked her tongue. “Now…Behave.”
“Sonny…his name?” Percy asked trying not to show how uncomfortable he was.
“No,” she smiled.
“That’s a monster,” Rachel decided.
“If it is what I believe it is then a particularly bad one,” Calypso shook her head.
“Very,” Percy agreed.
“You’re trapped now too,” Sam pointed out. “Unless you can fly like a Valkyrie.”
“No such luck.”
The scene fast forwarded to them talking in front of the window. Mostly Percy looking at it nervously with Grover as Annabeth spouted facts. Then over the loudspeakers someone announced they would close in a few minutes.
“Thank the gods,” Percy breathed. He pushed Annabeth toward the exit. Grover shrugged and walked beside them. Annabeth and Grover got into the elevator and Percy was about to get in too when he realized it was too crowded.
“Next car, sir.”
“We’ll get out….with you.”
“Naw, it’s okay….at the bottom.”
“Liar,” Grover said. “We should have stayed.”
“You should never separate like that,” agreed Jason. “Only if there is no other way.”
“There was,” Annabeth groaned. “We just were to naïve to take it.”
“I’m here and fine. So please everyone stay quiet so we can get this over with.”
Now the only people left on the observation…with her Chihuahua. Percy grinned uneasily at her. She smiled back her forked tongue flicking the air.
“It you didn’t spot that I’m going to hit you,” Clarisse said. “Not that I wouldn’t anyway.”
“She a snake monster? They’re the worst,” Sadie cringed.
“Their poison the most,” Carter agreed.
“Not though we’ll definitely see some of those later.”
The Chihuahua jumped around and barked at Percy. The lady grinned chiding him. “Now, now, Sonny…nice people here.”
“Doggie! Look…doggie!” The little boy was pulled back by his parents.
The Chihuahua bared…his black lips.
“That’s disgusting,” Jaz exclaimed. “I’m pretty sure it’s smoking on the floor too.”
“It is,” Hazel said. “Percy please tell me you kill that thing. Or get away safe.”
“Well, son….you insist.”
“Um, did you just…your son?”
“Chimera, dear….mistake to make.” As she spoke she rolled up her denim sleeves…like a reptile’s.
“The chimera?” Jason gaped.
“Not just that. Echidna as well, mother of monsters. Brother she is dangerous.”
Percy laughed in a forced manner at Tyson’s response. “She is Tyson.”
“What’s Echidna? Besides an anteater?” Sadie asked.
“Don’t call her that,” Percy cringed. “Please.”
“She’s the mother of monsters,” explained Calypso. “With Typhon she spawned some of the worst ones out there. She looks like a dracnae. Her children include the three headed original hellhound Cerberus which guards the underworld. Then the Clazmanion sow which terrorized Greek towns. It was only killed once by Theseus a son of Poseidon. Then there was the first Drakon, similar to your dragons but worse. She birthed the first sphinx as well. The lion we just saw, the Nemean Lion has impenetrable skin. It was hers too. The manticore has a man’s face on a lions body and a scorpion’s tale. Then the Hydra a beast with several heads, when cut off several more sprouted. Those are just the worst of them. Though there have been more tales.”
“I think I’ve fought them all,” Percy whispered to Annabeth who laughed. Nico and Will had heard as well and grinned. Percy Jackson had no idea how amazing he really was.
“C-H-I-M-E-R-A is one too?” Hearth signed.
The Chihuahua barked louder….CALL TARTARUS—EXT. 954
Over the terror he was now feeling from the book and the horrified gasps of those around him Percy grinned cheekily. “Annabeth we should have visited.”
His girlfriend, Will and Nico were the only ones that could hear him. All getting and idea of why he had moved around, particularly with them there they had horrified looks on their faces. Percy pouted. “I guess it’s not that funny.”
Percy didn’t even uncap his sword, just stood there shaking. The bloody mouth of the chimera was not far away. Echidna hissed. “Be, honored, Percy Jackson….the terrible Echidna!”
“I’m guessing this is the part where you say something stupid,” Jason groaned.
“Stupid anteaters,” mumbled Percy.
“You do not stop the words exiting your mouth. How are you alive?” Reyna asked again.
“Annabeth and luck,” Percy told her. “Probably a few other of my friends. Definitely Nico and Grover, more than I can say. Never Thalia.”
Nico grinned though. He knew Percy appreciated what he did and was mad at him for some of the other things. It was good to know now his cousin understood what Nico had done for him and just wasn’t good at voicing it.
“Okay now…just everyone be quiet…till the end okay?” Percy said.
She howled….with rage. “I hate it….shall destroy you.”
“Every monster says that. It’s all blah blah blah… you will die… blah blah blah… painful torturous death,” Leo said.
“Shush,” Calypso said.
The chimera charged….dodge the bite. Percy ended up next to the family…open the emergency doors. A fierce expression dawned on his face. He uncapped his sword and ran to the wall opposite the family. “Hey! Chihuahua!”
It turned faster than the eye could process to face him, opening it’s mouth and shot a column of flame straight at him. Percy dove through the explosion though the carpet was in flames. There was now a hole in the side of the arch, the metal on it’s sides melting.
“I’m surprised Annabeth didn’t just have a heart attack seeing that…” Magnus commented.
“I did and I probably will again soon,” she snapped back.
“Guys not that I’m all for cousinly bonding, that includes fights and teasing, but I’m kind of uncomfortable.” Percy was sweating his face a heated red and his lips becoming parched.
“You’re not usually like that,” frowned Hazel. “Even when it’s hot.”
“Because I’m mostly fire resistant, being it’s opposite and all. There are extreme situations though.”
“We should totally experiment… I mean fire and water.. not burning you,” Leo said. “Hey Zia! Wanna help me? Flame boy and Flame girl against Water dude?”
“Okay,” Leo pouted. “That’s fine.”
Riptide was now a full blade and as the Chimera turned again Percy slashed. It bounced off of the monster’s metal dog collar and he stumbled backwards away from the fiery lion’s mouth. It’s snake tail whipped around and sank it’s fangs into his calf.
Percy yelled inhumanly, a pained feral sound. He gripped Annabeth’s hand and Will exchanged glances with her. He moved towards Percy who shook his head. “Just watch.”
He tried to jab Riptide into the Chimera’s mouth….down toward the Misssissipi River. Percy stumbled to his feet.
“How long will it take to return?” Sam asked.
“Too long,” Percy gasped. Will was rolling up his pants leg looking to see what he could do.
“There’s no wound, or actual symptoms. I can’t do a thing,” Will said sadly.
“Well the good thing is he’s not actually dying,” Nico told him. “Just feeling like he was when he was dying. His life force is still strong.”
“I know you’re trying to help him but maybe stop talking,” Carter suggested as Percy shook in spasms. He was now a putrid green color and was taking short gasping breaths.
He backed into the hole in the wall. The chimera advanced…., Echidna, cackled. “They don’t make heroes….eh, son?”
“No,” Thalia said defiantly. “They make them better.”
Calypso and Apollo nodded actually remembering the heroes of old.
The monster growled. The mortals were quivering opposite him. Percy still looked fierce though he was shaking and holding the edge of the burning hole for support. He looked down to the river.
“Jump,” Frank told him.
“What?” Jaz asked. “Water from that height is the same as concrete.”
“No,” Frank said. “He has to jump.”
“If you are the son of Poseidon….your bloodline.”
“Doesn’t need much proving. Percy’s practically his clone,” mumbled Apollo. He was nudged by Thalia and told to shut it as Percy groaned in pain again.
The chimera’s mouth opened again glowing red ready to fire. “You have no faith….your heart.”
Percy was now breathing slowly. His eyes were fluttering. He wasn’t sitting up anymore smiling and joking with everyone but had slumped over not able to do much else. Everyone had watched horrified as he fell, happy there was a beanbag there for his head to rest on. Though several people had gotten up to check on him Annabeth glared them back down. He was still acting as if he was in a seizure shaking crazily and mouth open.
“Shut up and sit down, not asking again.” Everyone did too scared of Annabeth’s glare and the death aura exuding from Nico to do much else.
Percy backed up slowly towards the water looking over his shoulder hesistantly. His face looked indecisive and it was Echidna speaking that made him decide. “Die….one.”
As the chimera sent more fire toward him Percy bent his legs with the last strength he had. “Father, help me.” He turned towards the river and jumped. A flaming boy fell towards the river.
“He’s going to die,” squealed Jaz.
“He’ll be fine,” Clarisse told the girl who reminded her a little of Selina. “He’s Prissy.”
“Even if the impact doesn’t kill him that poison is moving fast. He’ll die soon,” Magnus said sadly.
“I won’t,” Percy gasped. “I’ll be fine but if you can all be quiet so I’m no longer on fire or have poison in me. Let’s not forget I kind of am freefalling right now, or feel like it.”
Percy’s body raced toward the river, he had little control over it. Then he hit the water, head first. He sank through the dirt as the bubbles cleared and was falling slowly past a catfish and down to the river bottom. His green eyes shot open as he fell and bubbles came out of his mouth rising to the top. Then the projection faded to the black.
Percy sat up and sighed. That was so much better. Will looked at him quickly. “Okay, do you what you want now. Your water healing works fast, maybe even faster than ambrosia and nectar.”
“Luckily too. Otherwise you would have died,” Nico said. “Chimera poison works fast. I’ve talked to victims of it before when training. I don’t know how you even survived as long as you did. You should have died within two minutes.”
Nico was about to say more but Annabeth had started ranting. “Percy you said you told us what happened.”
“No you told us that you jumped to escape and had been on fire. That was it. Nothing about poison,” Grover rolled his eyes. “You need to tell us these things.”
“He almost died Grover! Why are you being so nonchalant?” Annabeth yelled.
“Hey, we almost die all the time,” Percy told her. “I’m sorry. I’ve gotten better at telling you and now you’ll know everything anyway.”
“Fine. I think we can have lunch soon, it doesn’t seem like it’ll show what will happen next,” Annabeth said.
“What did happen?” Piper asked.
“I discovered I could breathe underwater and make other things stay dry. I lit a fire there,” Percy grinned. “Then I met a Nereid and was told a message from my dad. I had to go to Santa Monica. That’s when I left and saw Grover and Annabeth.”
“Not to mention we were all declared fugitives and terrorists as we ran to catch the train before it left again,” Grover said.
“Again,” Alex pleaded. “Teach me everything you know about destroying things.”
Percy inched back to his couch scared while Annabeth got up and declared that they should eat lunch.
Chapter 26: Unhelpful IMs and Bikers
Everyone ate lunch relatively fast excited to get back to the story. They assembled in their seats quickly and were relatively quiet. The story in front of them was going by fast and all of them were really interested in what was going to happen next. There was some chattering as the conversations calmed down and they scattered to their seats.
The three dirty and ragged travelers walked into a do-it-yourself car wash. They went to the last stall and Grover took out a spray gun. “What exactly are we doing?”
“It’s seventy-five….quarters left. Annabeth?”
“Don’t look at me…me out.”
Percy scrounged around for change in his pocket and passed it to Grover. “Excellent. We could do it with a spray bottle…gets tired of pumping.
“What are you talking about?”
“I-M’ing,” Grover said putting in the quarters.
“Instant messaging?” Alex asked. “I thought you said phones attract monsters and I sure don’t see any computers.”
“It’s not that. But it’s really cool,” Frank said. “Seeing it for the first time was weird because Romans never used it. Until Percy.”
“I still don’t get why you never figured it out,” Nico said. “It’s useful.”
“What is it?” Jaz asked.
“I assume they’ll answer,” Reyna told her.
“Why does everyone keep talking like Percy?’ Leo wondered.
“I don’t know,” Chris said. “It’s hilarious though.”
“I have an idea,” Thalia grinned evilly.
“What?” asked Clarisse. “A way to stop us from contracting Percy’s idiocy?”
“Percyitis,” Jason laughed. “Careful or you’ll end up with a brain full of seaweed and salt water.”
Everyone grinned. “No,” Thalia said. “From now on when someone says something like Percy they’ll have to do a truth or dare or something… we’ll decide later but it’ll be cool.”
“And really funny,” Sadie grinned. “I like that.”
“If not we’ll have a Percy Jar. A coin for every time so that way you have an alternative. The money at the end goes to something we all decide on.”
Everyone nodded laughing at the whole idea and what it would bring.
“Iris-messaging. The rainbow goddess….same for half-bloods.”
“She doesn’t really do it,” Hazel whispered to Frank. “What will happen when Apollo sees?”
“Nothing. She’ll be fine.”
“You summon…a spray gun?”
“I’ve summoned one in weirder ways,” Carter groaned.
“For sure,” Magnus agreed. “Lots of weird ways to summon gods.”
Grover pointed the nozzle…white mist. “Unless you know….a rainbow.”
Annabeth held her palm out. “Drachma, please.”
Percy gave it to her and she raised it above her head. “O goddess, accept our offering.”
“It’s not do me a solid?” Hazel asked.
“It is now,” Percy laughed.
“What are you talking about?” asked Grover.
“You’ll see,” Frank grinned. “I’m glad I can say that for once.”
She threw the drachma…in a golden shimmer. “Half-Blood Hill.”
Through the mist appeared the strawberry fields and Luke was staring at the Long Island Sound from the porch of the big house.
“That’s really useful,” Walt said. “Kind of like scrying but with water instead of oil. It might even be easier.”
“Yeah but you need money,” pointed out Blitz. “Good old ravens work.”
“There’s a lot of ways to communicate but Iris Messaging and scrying are definitely the easiest and most efficient.”
“ Luke,” Percy called.
He turned eyes wide. “Percy! Is that Annabeth…you guys okay?”
“We’re…uh…fine…We thought Chiron…I mean—”
“He’s down at the cabins….Grover all right?”
“What issues?” asked Piper.
“Fights,” grinned Clarisse. “That was one of my favorite summers, until Prissy ruined it.”
“Love you too Clarisse.”
“ I’m right here….kind of issues?” That was when a big car pulled in blasting it’s stereo
“Chiron had to….that noise?” Luke yelled.
“I’ll take…of it,” Annabeth yelled back.
“Grover, come on!”
“Give Percy….come on!”
“Girls make less sense then the Oracle of Delphi,” Grover muttered.
“Hey!” A bunch of girls yelled.
Rachel was the loudest. “I’m doubly offended by that.”
“Well it’s true,” Walt said. “And I have a god of Death agreeing with me.”
“Both of you will regret that,” Sadie glared at him. Walt pouted.
“We like being that way so you all have to think about us now be quiet,” Annabeth said. “I didn’t hear this part in real life.”
Grover gave Percy the spray gun and followed Annabeth.
“Chiron had to break up a fight….summoned the hellhound.”
Chris glared at the projection hard and around him there were several scoffs so they eldest Greek half bloods had people looking at them confused. Thalia’s fingers were crackling with electricity.
Then she laughed angrily. “I hope he keeps insulting the person who did it.” She phrased it carefully not able to give anything away.
“We all do,” Rachel nodded.
“Now the campers are starting to take sides….backing Zeus.”
“We back Poseidon now, well his cabin at least,” Annabeth said.
“All of us do,” agreed Will.
“You would have anyway,” Apollo said. “I happen to believe Uncle P is right about dad most of the time. You guys followed my lead.”
Annabeth was arguing loudly in the background as they talked and the music decreased to the point it was as quiet as a leaf rustling.
“What did you do?” Percy asked.
“Something terrifying,” Grover shivered. Annabeth just fingered her cap and grinned.
“So what’s your status? Chiron….he missed you.”
The recording fast forwarded through several things. “I wish I could be there…and we saw him.”
“So that means he took it?” asked Zia. “The logic there is flawed.”
“It is strange,” agreed Sam. “But that is the suspicion that they all have.”
“Doesn’t mean it’s correct,” Zia said. “I suppose we shall see.”
“But Chiron said…..items directly.”
“We can’t,” Apollo agreed.
“That’s true….have to be invisible.”
Annabeth looked at Percy. Thalia stood up her hair on end and everything around her crackling. “I can’t believe he said that!”
“I can,” scoffed Chris.
“What I want to know is why you didn’t say anything,” Annabeth asked Percy.
“Because I knew you never would do anything like that. And because you’re my friend Wise Girl. Any other stupid questions?”
She laughed and kissed him with tears in the corner of her eyes. Everyone else looked at them confused.
“Oh, hey, I didn’t mean Annabeth…..a little sister to me.”
That’s when a man screamed and the music stopped completely. Car doors slammed and the car sped away.
“Can you show me whatever you did?” grinned Sadie.
“For sure,” Annabeth nodded.
“I’m in,” Alex shouted.
“Count us all in. It’ll be some girl time,” Piper grinned.
“I should be scared right?” asked Leo.
“For sure,” Reyna told him. “We’ll make sure Calypso can take care of you, not that she can’t already beat you easily.”
“Ella wants to learn. More than just books to learn. Ella likes to learn.”
“You’d better go see what that was….you some good.”
Grover brayed and gripped Juniper’s hands. Percy looked at him mouthing, “Sorry dude.”
“Those shoes are amazing,” Blitz said. “I wonder if I can design some, they’d have to be more fashionable and I don’t know how I could make metal so light. It might have to be fabric.”
Hearth shushed him telling him to plan later.
“Oh..uh, yeah! Yeah…in handy.”
“Really? They fit…everything?”
The water shut off. “Well, take care of yourself…a pine tree if he just—”
“Jerk,” Juniper declared.
“Agreed,” Annabeth growled.
“What did he mean?” Carter asked.
“He was talking about Thalia,” Jason said looking at his sister.
“It will say everything…” she told him.
Annabeth and Grover came....stopped when they saw my face. “What happened…did Luke say?”
Annabeth and Grover exchanged looks. “Come on, let’s find some dinner.”
“How? You’re broke,” Magnus said. “None of you look ready to swipe food yet.”
The scened changed and they were sitting in a diner. A waitress came over with an eyebrow raised. “Well?”
“We, um, want to…dinner.”
“You kids have…pay for it?”
Grover’s lip quivered and Annabeth looked pale. Percy opened his mouth when there was a loud rumble. Outside the window a motorcycle pulled up to the curb. All conversation in the diner stopped…scarred from many, many fights.
He walked through the door. All the people rose…..waitress blinked then asked again. “You kids have money to pay for it?”
Clarisse turned pale and moved closer to Chris who put his hand on her knee. “He’s not really here.”
Frank was staring as well. “I think I prefer Mars.”
“For sure,” Percy agreed. “Though both are definitely not my favorite.”
“ It’s on me.” The biker slid into the booth so Annabeth was pressed against the window. “Are you still here?” he asked the gaping waitress pointing at her. She turned an marched to the kitchen. He looked at Percy who stiffened.
Annabeth looked at Percy concerned. He was the same as in the projection now. He was sitting next to her of course. On his other side were Nico and Will. By them on the floor were Piper, Jason, Thalia and Reyna. She looked up at the ceiling. “Can you turn it off so that Percy isn’t feeling everything? Just for this chapter?”
“We are not able too.”
“Can he leave then?” Annabeth pleaded. There was no reply. She got up and walked to the doors which all disappeared. “Fine. Everyone just don’t say anything that could aggravate anyone.”
Everyone nodded confused.
“ So you’re Old Seaweed’s kid, huh?”
Annabeth glared at him. “Percy, this is—”
“S’okay, I don’t mind….little cousin?”
“Wait, this guy is related to you?” asked Blitz surprised.
“From the godly side. So we don’t share DNA and I’d rather not think of him as any relation at all,” Percy growled.
“You’re Clarisse’s dad…of War.”
Ares grinned and …glowing with miniature nuclear explosions. “That’s right…Clarisse’s spear.”
“She was…for it.”
“That’s it,” Clarisse got up growling. “You’re going to regret that punk.”
She advanced on Percy who got up growling and pulled his pen out of his pocket. Chris was trying to hold Clarisse back but was unable too. She charged at Percy tackling him. He elbowed her in the stomach and punched her jaw.
“Clarisse, stand down! Your dad was manipulating Percy’s emotions and he’s feeling it now!” Annabeth called out.
Clarisse wasn’t stupid. She moved back with Chris as Percy uncapped Riptide. Annabeth moved forward and held his hand. “Percy she didn’t mean it. Come sit with me.”
Percy grumbled but complied with fists clench. “Why am I so mad?”
“The spell of this projections. You’re feeling like Ares is here. You can control it though,” Annabeth assured. “To be safe I think we should move around. Nico if you switch with Grover for this part we should be fine. Old issues could be brought back. Thalia I’ve heard you two fight and with romans against Greeks like Jason and Reyna it might not be safe. Switch with Tyson and Ella. Juniper if you sit with them it’ll work out. Everyone else, probably stay away.”
“Probably. That’s cool….proposition for you.” As he spoke the waitress returned with food. The scene fast forwarded again a bit.
“We’re not interested….a quest.”
“I know all about your quest…that powerful…”
“I really hate the Greek version,” Frank decided again.
“Join the club,” Apollo told him. “We almost all do.”
“ Well…If I couldn’t find it…Old Corpse Breath.”
“You told him…the bolt?”
“Sure. Framing somebody…..your little quest.”
“I’m sorry but that doesn’t sound right,” Jaz said.
“No,” Reyna agreed. “It doesn’t.”
“He wants something,” agreed Alex. “I recognize the tactic.”
“Hey, I’m a generous guy…ride west for you and your friends.”
“We never should have took him up on that deal,” growled Grover.
“I know…” Percy’s eyes glinted. “He’s a lying cheat and worse he supported those people, or let them continue without doing anything.”
Next to them a cup of water cracked. Annabeth placed her hand on his knee and he stopped trembling breathing slowly.
“We’re doing…..on our own.”
“Yeah, right. No money No wheels…..about your mom.”
“I need to beat him up again,” Percy decided getting up. “Hades too.”
He walked to the doors pounding on them trying to get out. He couldn’t so he turned his glares on Nico and Clarisse. Annabeth paled. “Piper some charmspeak please.”
As Piper soothed Percy the projection continued.
“That got your attention….Tunnel of Love ride.”
“The what?” coughed Leo.
“Tunnel of Love Ride,” Grover laughed. “It’s funny now.”
“Why would Mars go on the Tunnel of Love ride?” Hazel asked.
“With mom,” groaned Piper. The Egyptians and Norse looked at Piper curiously. She waved them off.
“What interrupted….scare you off?”
“Nothing could scare him off,” Clarisse said.
“Ares is a coward,” Percy snarled. “Like you.”
“I’m sorry Clarisse. You know this isn’t him,” Annabeth pleaded.
“You’re luck you met me…..don’t disappoint me.”
The apparition disappeared into mist like an Iris message as a new one started to form. Percy sighed and looked around. He blinked. “Oh gods. I’m so sorry.”
“It’s fine,” Clarisse told him. “For now punk.”
Percy smiled. “Good.”
Chapter 27: Scariest Things on Earth: Spiders and Cupid
Everyone reorganized themselves now that Percy had calmed down. He apologized again to Nico and Clarisse until Clarisse punched him in the gut and smirked. “There. You’re forgiven.”
“I shouldn’t have another issue like that again. Not for a while at least. I’m so sorry.”
“Again it’s not your fault. I understand people manipulating emotions, Ares is one of the worst,” Nico told him.
Percy grinned and hugged Nico. The almost fifteen year old grumbled and pushed Percy off. Percy shook his head. “C’mon. We’re having bro time. Jason! Get over here! Cousin bonding. Boys only this time,” he said apologetically to Hazel and Thalia. He sat Nico in between himself and Jason. Nico was glaring unforgivingly at his laughing boyfriend and sister. They were plotting against him. He knew it. Especially because Thalia was there with them.
“You’re not escaping,” Percy told him. “Let’s start this.”
They approached a padlocked gate topped by barbed wire. Insde, huge dry waterslides….looked sad and creepy. The sign read WAT R A D. “If Ares brings his girlfriend here for…..what she looks like.”
“She might have killed you if she thought you weren’t entertaining,” Piper told him.
“Yes, because it’s so much fun being entertainment,” Annabeth said.
“It’s really ironic you said that when we’re watching this part of our quest,” Grover laughed. Apollo got the gist and cracked up along with Percy. Annabeth smirked.
“Wait,” Magnus asked. “Who is she?”
“Piper’s mom,” Sadie recalled her saying. “So which goddess?”
“Watch. Percy’s about to almost get himself killed with disrespect again.”
“ Percy, be more respectful.”
“Why? I…hated Ares.”
“He’s still a god….very tempermental.”
“I should be offended,” Piper said. “But it’s very true.”
“ You don’t want….her looks,” Grover added.
“Looks,” Blitz noted. “I think you’re mom might be a lot like mine.”
“Then we can complain together,” Piper said.
“Who is she? Echidna?”
“You really should be dead,” Apollo told him.
“So I’ve been told,” Percy nodded.
“Never call a goddess ugly,” Walt shivered. “Anubis is saying a lot of scary things.”
“I need to hear this,” Sadie grinned.
“No,” two voices exited Walt’s mouth to everyone’s surprise. Walt spoke again blushing. “Sorry that happens sometimes. Especially when we’re both feeling strongly about something.”
“No, Aphrodite….of love.”
“Are you in love with every goddess?” Percy whispered to Grover who was seated on the floor nearby him.
“Shut up before Juniper hears!”
Blitz was looking at Piper. “Yeah. My mom is Freya, goddess of Love and Beauty too.”
“My aunt,” Magnus said.
“Well I’m almost nothing like mom. I only get my charmspeaking from her and some power over emotions.”
“I only get fashion design,” Blitz said. “Not that I’m not one of the better looking SvartElfs.”
“For sure,” Hearth signed jokingly before he was shoved by his friend.
“I thought she was married….Hephaestus.”
“Yeah,” Leo grinned. “Piper we’re stepsiblings!”
“How many times do we have to say godly relations don’t count?” asked Sam. “No DNA.”
“Unless you want them too,” Thalia said. “I count Percy as my cousin now.”
“Nico, Jason and Hazel too. It counts. And if Piper’s fine with it Leo can call her his sister. Though I thought they felt that way anyway,” Percy said.
“What’s your point?”
“Oh. So how….get in?”
“Maia!” Grover’s shoes…wings. He flew over the fence….planned the whole thing. “You guys coming?”
“I love those shoes,” Frank said.
The projection fast forwarded through Percy and Annabeth climbing the fence and walking through the attractions. They walked to a souvenir shop lined with merchandise. “Clothes. Fresh Clothes.”
“Yeah, but you can’t just—”
“Who would have though Annabeth would be the one to break the rules?” Carter asked.
“You do what you need to when it comes to survival and hygiene,” she told him.
“Dad would be proud,” Chris grinned. “You’re lucky Conner and Travis didn’t see this though.”
“Are you kidding? I’m blessed. They would’ve held it against me every time they broke the rules.”
She snatched an entire row….into the changing room. A few minutes later she came out in Waterland shorts….more goodies.
“What the heck,” shrugged Grover. Fast forward two minutes and all of them were decked out in merchandise. Standing in front of the Tunnel of Lover ride.
Marooned at the bottom of the pool ….painted all over it. In the left seat….polished circle of bronze.
“This is too easy….and get it?”
“No. It’s a trap,” Tyson decided. “Spring loaded.”
“And if it was Ares and Aphrodite it was Dad who made it,” Leo said. “You guys are lucky to have escaped.”
“I’m lucky to have Wise girl.”
“It was all you. I was panicking.”
“Wait. You panicked?” Hazel asked.
Annabeth nodded she moved from her seat to sit on Percy’s lap to Nico’s discomfort.
Annabeth ran her fingers….cupid statue. “There’s a greek letter…Eta. I wonder…”
“Grover, you smell…monsters?”
“Nothing like…or really nothing?”
“You don’t get to be offended for something you’ve already been offended for.”
“Fine, but not all traps have monsters.”
“You’re right. We were inexperienced then,” Annabeth told them both. Grover looked smug.
“I told you….underground.”
“Okay, I’m sorry….down there.”
“I’ll go with you.”
“No, I want you to stay…..something goes wrong.”
“You’re with Percy,” Rachel said. “Something always go wrong.”
“Sadly you’re right.”
Grover puffed up his chest a little. “Sure…go wrong?”
“I already said it. Everything.”
“Shh!” Will scolded Rachel.
“I don’t know…come with me—”
“Boys,” groaned several of the girls.
“He’s very oblivious,” Calypso said. “I only saw that with two weeks.”
“Oh, he’s the worst,” agreed Rachel.
Percy looked offended. Other’s were trying not to giggle again with this.
“In my experience he knows much more than he lets on,” Reyna said.
“Thank you!!” Percy grinned.
“Are you kidding?”
“Me, go with you…..somebody saw me?”
“Ella mark that down on your list of prophecies,” Percy said.
“Searcher to return, bad things, seen,” Ella repeated.
“I think we all have some clairvoyance,” Grover hypothesized.
“Or we’re all unlucky,” Annabeth said.
“Who’s going to see you?” Percy’s face was also red.
“You guys were so cute,” Rachel said.
“Denial is cute for a bit, but not for four years,” Grover said.
“But look at their tiny little embarrassed faces,” grinned Magnus. “I should take pictures of this.”
“I want some too,” Thalia agreed.
“I thought you too were on my side,” Annabeth groaned.
“You’re family. You need to be blackmailed.”
“Fine. I’ll do it myself.” Percy started and Annabeth followed muttering under her breath. They reached the boat and propped on the side were the shield and a silk scarf.
Percy reached down and picked up the scarf. It shimmered pink…..scarf against my cheek when Annabeth ripped it away. “Oh, no you don’t…love magic.”
Everyone was laughing at Percy who was a bright red. Piper looked slightly apologetic. Percy shrugged then kissed Annabeth’s hair. Nico scooted closer to Jason.
“Just get the shield…out of here.”
Percy touched the shield and his hand broke through a metal cobweb, a trip wire. He backed up. Annabeth said, “Wait!”
“There’s another Greek letter….a trap.”
“I thought we already figured that out?” asked Alex.
Noise erupted…one giant machine. Grover yelped, “Guys!”
Up on the rim, the cupid statues were drawing their bows… making a net.
“Oh yeah,” Leo grinned. “Definitely Dad.”
“This was one of the best days in Olympus in recent years,” Apollo grinned.
“We have to get out.”
“Come on!” Grove was trying to hold open a section of the net….around his hands. The cupids’ heads popped open. Out came video cameras….loudspeaker voice boomed. “Live to Olympus….fifty-eight…”
“Oh my gods,” said Jason. “You guys really can tell the future.”
“We can’t. It’s bad luck,” Annabeth said.
“No,” Magnus shook his head. “You guys tell the future.”
“I’m not arguing this.”
“Hephaestus! I’m so stupid…absolute fools.” They had made it to the rim of the boat when the mirrors opened. Out poured thousands of tiny metallic spiders. Annabeth screamed. “Spiders! Sp-sp-aaah!”
She fell backward in terror and almost got overwhelmed by the spider robots. Percy dragged her back into the boat.
Annabeth was shaking. She gripped Percy’s hands. He hugged her tighter. “You’re fine. Okay? They’re not even real automatons.”
“I’m good. I’m good.”
“Spiders,” Magnus said. “They used to chase you.”
“Every night,” Annabeth shivered.
“That’s horrible!” Sadie screeched.
“It’s disgusting. I’m scared of them enough as it is,” Jaz agreed.
“Guys can we move on from this scene before Annabeth panics more?” Percy urged them.
Percy and Annabeth climbed into the boat. Percy kicked away the spiders. He turned and yelled at Annabeth. “Help me!”
Annabeth shirked further away from the spiders and screamed harder. The loudspeaker continued counting down. “Thirty, twenty-nine.”
The spiders started spitting out strands of metal thread….surf shoe. Grover kept trying to pull the net loose.
“How’d you get out?” Reyna asked. “Unless Vulcan turned the trap off you would be stuck. It was made for gods, you should not survive.”
“This is Annabeth and Percy,” Nico reminded her. “They’ve survived plenty of things not even gods have.”
“But how will they get out? If Annabeth can not think of a way to get them out then…” Zia said.
“What about us?” Grover asked pointing to him and Percy. Zia did not answer.
Percy was looking around frantically. “Grover! Get into that…the ‘on’ switch!”
Grover was slamming away at buttons. He waved his hands frantically letting Percy know that he had pushed them all but nothing was working. Percy closed his eyes.
“Wow,” Percy gasped. “That’s so weird.”
“What?” Hearth signed.
“I feel it,” Percy said. “Like whenever I use my powers.”
“Two, one, zero!”
Water exploded out of the pipes…spun in circles around the whirlpool. The water was full of short-circuiting spiders…such force they burst.
“I really wish I had powers like those,” Carter said. “Not for the first time either.”
“No kidding! That was awesome!” Alex cried out.
“They are amazing,” agreed Frank.
Spotlights glared down…live to Olympus. Percy was intensely concentrated and seemed to be directing the boat. It turned to the tunnel just as they were about to be shredded by the metal net and they left the darkeness.
“Thank the gods,” Leo praised again. “That’s the type of rope I used on our goddess guest when we were in Greece. It’s the strongest material there is.”
“This is Percy and Annabeth,” Chris reminded him. “They’d have gotten out somehow.”
Percy and Annabeth hugged each other tight screaming as they went through the cheesy ride and large drops. Then they barreled out of the tunnel and towards the exit. They went toward chained gates where two boats were piled up. Percy’s eyes widened and he gasped, stopping to scream.
“This is no longer funny,” Zia said.
“It was never funny,” Annabeth squeaked.
“No,” Thalia told her. “It was hilarious. For the few minutes until you almost died again.”
“Unfasten you seat belt!”
“Are you crazy?”
“Are you really asking that?” Jason said. “This is Percy.”
Everyone laughed except Percy who pouted.
Percy glared at her and adopted a stern tone. He strapped Ares shield to his arm. “Unless you want to get smashed….jump for it.”
“That could work,” Carter gasped.
“Are you saying Percy had an idea Annabeth didn’t?” Piper asked.
“Percy’s the one with the insane ideas and I’m the one with the smart and logical ones,” Annabeth said fairly.
“I’ve actually seen him have some logical plans in the past,” Frank said.
“Yeah but that’s because he actually matured a miniscule amount,” Grover pointed out.
Percy playfully glared at most his friends, not his death glare though, just a narrowing of the eyes. It was still intimidating.
“On my mark!”
“No! On my mark!”
“Yes,” sighed Will. “Listen to her.”
“I’m totally should be more offended by that,” Percy said.
“Simple physics! Force times….angle—”
“Yeah,” agreed Sam. “Listen to Annabeth. If you jump at any time but the right one you’ll end up smashed against the pavement or the gate.”
“Thank the gods for Annabeth,” Reyna smiled having gotten over the suspicion and anger she felt towards the other girl.
Annabeth hesitated for a few seconds then yelled. “Now!”
Crack! Their boat smashed into the pileup. They were thrown over the gates and unluckily the pool as well. They were falling towards the pavement.
“You didn’t just get powers like mine right?” Frank asked.
“No, though that would have been cool if Dad did give them to me.”
“Percy and Annabeth do not have wings this time,” Tyson said. No one asked what he meant.
“What about the water? Did you move it to catch you?” asked Jaz.
“No, but that would have been smart.”
“So how did you survive?” Calypso asked.
“My friends,” Percy grinned.
Grover flew into the projection’s view and grabbed them from behind. Annabeth’s arm and Percy’s shirt. Annabeth gasped in pain. He tried to pull them into the air but ended up moving down.
“You’re too heavy! We’re going down!”
“Dude,” Jason advised. “Never tell someone they’re too heavy when you’re flying with them. Especially girls, or Leo.”
Leo grinned cheekily. “Serves you right for commenting on my perfect weight.”
Everyone stared at him for a minute before cracking up. The laughter lasted for a while, with the projection frozen on Percy, Grover and Annabeth falling through the air with fear on their faces behind them. It was a strange scene.
They fell slowly to the ground smashing into a photo-op board. Annabeth and Percy rolled down to the ground. A pink piece of silk hung out of Annabeth’s pocket and the shield was still on Percy’s arm.
“Yeesh,” Percy said. “I can feel the bruises forming.”
“You’re not dead,” Nico told him. “So you’ll live.”
Everyone stared at him for a second. There were a few giggles and Walt chuckled. It was a deep, loud sound.
Grover’s head went straight into the hole where tourists….Noo-Noo the friendly whale.
Everyone looked at Grover who was blushing red. Then there was another round of loud laughter. People were falling off their chairs, gasping for breath between giggles. Juniper was giggling behind one hand, the other was clutched in Grover’s.
“N-O-O-N-O-O?” signed Hearth.
“Yeah,” Grover sighed.
“It sounds like one of those British TV show characters Sadie used to be obsessed with.”
“I was not obsessed!” Sadie yelled at her brother though she was blushing.
“Tell that to the Pengu Penguin and Peppa Pigg dolls. There were a lot of ones that started with the letter P.”
Sadie whacked him and the laughing Walt. She also cast a spell at the only other laughing person she thought wouldn’t care too much. Thalia’s hair turned electric blue. Everyone laughed louder.
“You know,” Thalia said. “I like this color. How long is the spell going to last?”
“A few hours?” Sadie replied.
“Then I’ll get some dye when we’re back in the real world. I like what you’ve done with your hair. Streaks would look awesome in this color.”
“I haven’t done blue yet either,” agreed Sadie.
“Okay,” Percy said. “We can talk about this later but blue is definitely an awesome color.”
Sadie and Thalia exchanged glances and grinned though no one else saw but Alex.
Percy and Annabeth pulled Grover out of the board. The Cupid statues were still filming. “Thank you! Good night!”
The lights shut off and the cupid’s put away the cameras becoming statues again. Percy’s fists were clenched. He tightened the shield strap and looked at Percy and Annabeth. His eyes were gleaming, turning a darker green and swimming with storms. They were chilling. “We need to have a little talk with Ares.”
“How do you manage to look so terrifying as a cute and awkward twelve year old?” Piper asked.
“Nico chilled me to the core at just 11. Percy’s not bad at all,” Thalia said.
“Should we be offended?” Percy asked Nico.
“I’ll just take it as a compliment. I am scary,” Percy glared at Apollo. He was the only one he was even a little mad with. Because the Olympians had caused him so much pain. Apollo squeaked to everyone’s bemusement and everyone cracked up again.
Chapter 28: Oreo Sentimentality
Several minutes later when the laughter had calmed down and after the always hungry Percy had asked for some snacks they were all munching on food waiting for the projection to start. Percy looked around to everyone and frowned.
“Thanks for the magic snackbar and everything. Think we could get some oreos though?”
Grover looked at him and guffawed in laughter. Annabeth kissed his cheek. Percy blushed while everyone else stared. Sam looked at Magnus. “Is there a joke we should be getting?”
“Just Percy being sentimental,” Annabeth said as oreos appeared on a plate before her. There were even a few with blue cream. Percy cheered. He took an oreo and split it in half giving Annabeth the part with the cream. Then he did it again giving her the other side.
The scene started with an already glaring Ares and Percy facing off. Ares was pointing to a truck. “See that truck over there? That’s your ride….stop in Vegas.”
“You got to go to Vegas on a quest?” asked Leo.
“Man you’re lucky Connor and Travis aren’t here anymore. That’s like one of their dreams,” Chris nodded.
“You were in Vegas,” Nico asked slowly.
“Yeah Nico. We were there,” Annabeth told him. Nico paled then moved back.
Ares snapped his fingers….truck unlatched. “Free ride west….for doing the job.”
He tossed a backpack to Percy. Annabeth grabbed it and shuffled around pulling out clothes, a bag of money and drachmas and smiling at something else inside.
“He’s giving you a reward?” asked Reyna. “That is not the behavior of Lord Mars.”
“For Ares too,” agreed Clarisse. Chris gripped her hand tighter.
“Well it’s at least something they can use. They need it,” Jaz perked up saying.
“I don’t want your lousy—”
“As Jaz said you need it. So take it,” Piper said.
“It’s Percy. Ares was being a jerk so he did something,” Jason told her. “You expecting something different?”
“I thought maybe he was a bit more respectful to the gods at some point,” Piper said.
“I am,” Percy told her. “To the ones that deserve respect and have treated me and my friends well.”
Apollo was watching Percy and was starting to understand the kid again. It was friends who stood by him, when the other gods didn’t help. His kids survived with each other and not with his blessings. They didn’t need him.
Grover glared at Percy. “Thank you….a lot.”
“You owe me one more….about my mother.”
Everyone held their breaths, waiting to hear what had happened to Sally.
“You sure you can handle…..not dead.”
“We’ve figured that out. If several of us have met her she obviously didn’t die,” Rachel said.
“Not as obvious as you think,” Hazel whispered.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean she was taken…..being kept.”
“You chewed dad out right?” Nico asked.
“Yeah. If not now then later as you saw.”
Nico chuckled remembering. “Aunt Sally doesn’t deserve any of the things that happened.”
“The most horrible things happen to the best people,” Leo said looking at Calypso, Percy, Hazel and Annabeth. His mom was in his mind as well.
“You need to study war….somebody else.”
“Control Percy?” scoffed Thalia.
“That’s ridiculous,” agreed Sadie remembering how Neckbeht had tried.
Percy looked down. They were wrong of course. He was mortal like all of them and even the gods could be tricked and controlled.
“Oh yeah? See….kid.”
“You’re pretty smug….from Cupid statues.”
“How did he not remember that? Mars does not tolerate disrespect.” Reyna asked. Hazel shook her head.
“We’ll meet again….watch your back.”
Everyone stayed silent as the scene fast forwarded. They were standing inside of a dark trailer, probably their ride.
The trailer was dark inside. There was a zebra, albino lion and an antelope creature. Someone had thrown the lion a sack of turnips….tied to one of his horns that read OVER THE HILL!
“This is kindness? Humane Zoo transport?”
“If you haven’t already killed the people driving that truck I will,” Thalia declared.
“Count me in,” Piper said.
People were all drawing weapons. They were shouting and screaming at the screen. Now they were not afraid to say they were upset. Finally Grover got up. “Enough! We took care of it. But thanks anyway. The wild could use more people who care.”
The truck moved and they fell to the floor. Grover bleated to the animals who stared at him sadly. Upset they scurried to a corner to lean against some feedbags.
“Let’s break the cages,” Annabeth said drawing her knife.
“No, until we stop moving the animals will be trapped. It’s not smart,” Percy told her. She sighed leaning back in the sacks.
“We can help,” Grover said. He started talking to the antelope while Annabeth cut the balloon off his horns. Meanwhile Percy refilled their water and uncapped Riptide again using it to drag the food into the right cages.
“Can I cut the gum away?” Annabeth pointed to the zebra.
“Still moving,” Percy shook his head. “You could cut him.”
Annabeth opened up the backpack and took out oreos.
Everyone looked at where Percy and Annabeth were munching on oreos now. Percy was trying to get one from his forehead into his mouth. They became aware of everyone staring.
“You are really sentimental,” Carter said.
“Adorably so,” Juniper squeaked.
“I just can’t believe he remembered the oreos,” Frank shook his head.
“I remember everything about this part of our quest. I don’t think even the lethe could wipe that away,” Percy said.
“How do you keep managing to raise the bar for any boyfriend ever?” Leo asked.
“For real though. You gave Annabeth oreos because his scene was playing?” Magnus asked.
Percy nodded and the oreo fell off his forehead. He pouted while Annabeth gave her half of his.
“Hey, I’m sorry for freaking out at….Percy.”
“Because of the Arachne story.”
Annabeth paled. Percy put his arm around her and held her closer while several people stared not understanding why she was freaking out. “Keep playing,” Percy said harshly.
“She got turned ….weaving contest, right?”
“A weaving contest?” Alex guffawed.
“It’s how clothes were made for most of history. My mom is the goddess of weaving and crafts as well as wisdom and warfare. Challenging her because you think you’re better is the worst thing you could do.”
Alex thought for a second then nodded.
“Arachne’s children have been…..I owe you.”
“We’re a team….did the fancy flying.”
Grover seemed to be asleep in the corner but he grinned. “I was pretty amazing, wasn’t I?”
Annabeth and Percy laughed as she pulled apart an oreo and gave him half.
In real life Percy gave her half. Clarisse looked green. “You two are sickening.”
Percy scoffed and stuck out his tongue.
“In the iris message….say nothing?”
“Oh no, he said something,” Thalia growled.
“Just stay calm. Okay?” Annabeth asked. Thalia nodded. “I don’t need to though. You should have told us everything!”
She was now yelling at Percy who cringed. “I wasn’t sure if we were friends yet. It wasn’t important. I didn’t believe him or the slip up he made blaming you.”
Annabeth sighed and leaned back.
“Luke said…..turn into a pine tree.”
“I should’ve told you…..wouldn’t want me along.”
“Dude I always want you along,” Percy said.
“I know,” Grover laughed. “This was a while ago Perce.”
“I just can’t believe you were still blaming yourself,” Thalia told him. “Well I hope what happened the next summer took away that guilt.”
“A little,” Grover said.
“Wait what happened?” asked Blitz.
“Another quest,” Tyson smiled.
“You were the satyr who tried to rescue Thalia…..you and Luke wasn’t it?”
“Like you said Percy, a seven-year-old half-blood…..before Grover found us.”
“It was more than two weeks,” Annabeth looked down. “Almost two months.”
“Then even after we met Grover that day Annabeth saw you for a bit it was a while before we got to camp,” Thalia said. “A lot more monsters and a lot more fights.”
“I was supposed to escort Thalia…..If I’d just been a little quicker—”
“Stop…didn’t blame you either.”
“Listen to her,” Thalia nodded.
“We know, again this is in the past,” Grover bleated.
“She sacrifice herself….said so.”
“So you listened to those mean old goats?” Nico scoffed. “They were pathetic, especially compared to a satyr like you.”
Grover grinned. “Thanks Nico.”
“Because you wouldn’t….not fair.”
“Percy’s right…..the council says.”
“It’s just my luck….Thalia and Percy.”
“Make that all of the Greek big three,” Will said.
“Which makes you even cooler,” Frank told Grover.
“You’re not lame….Percy is really glad you’re here right now.” She kicked Percy in the shin.
Laughter erupted at the indignant look on Percy’s face as he rubbed his own shin. He looked at his girlfriend. “You kick hard.”
“Yeah. It’s not luck that you found Thalia…..one who finds Pan.”
“Grover finds Pan. Ella will remember what Percy said,” the Harpy parroted.
“Good,” Rachel grinned holding out a fist. Ella fist punched with her curled up claws.
Grover was snoring as Percy finished. “How does he do that?”
“I don’t know…you told him.”
“I meant it.”
The scene fastforwarded a bit. “So if the god fight….Athena versus Poseidon?”
Annabeth leaned back against the backpack from Ares. “I don’t know what…I’ll fight next to you.”
“We’re always staying together.” Percy whispered to her.
“Together,” Annabeth repeated.
“Because you’re my friend, Seaweed Brain. Anymore stupid questions?”
Annabeth was leaning against Percy who looked content holding her hand and playing with her hair. Piper looked at them both. “I am so sure this is when mom started to ship you too.”
“It was the minute Percy touched her scarf,” Apollo put in.
“Wait. So do we get to see Vegas?” Leo asked.
“In a few minutes. I think I had some more dreams.”
“Again?” groaned Thalia.
“Oh this one was different. You’ll like it.”
Chapter 29: Trapped In A Dream Casino
AN: As you may have noticed I add scenes that weren’t mentioned or some small things. It will happen again but it’s never very much.
Percy sat at a desk. In front of him where several pencils and a test. He was wriggling around to reach them but was trapped in a straightjacket. All the other kids were filing out. The teacher looked at him disapprovingly. “Come on, Percy…up your pencil.”
“What kind of strange dream is this?” asked Zia.
“One of a kid with ADHD and Dyslexia. That’s literally every test ever,” shivered Percy.
“It’s the worst,” agreed Piper.
“I’ve had it too,” Leo agreed. “This dream.”
“A lot,” Percy nodded. “This one was different though.”
“How?” Hearth signed curiously.
Suddenly as the kids filing away cleared another girl could be seen in the desk next to Percy. She was also wearing a straight jacket. She was Thalia but with green eyes.
“What in Tartarus?” Thalia asked. “Why am I in your dream?”
“He was just talking about you,” Jason pointed out.
“But still. How did you know what I looked like?”
“No clue. I’m honestly still not sure what half this dream was about.”
“He didn’t even get all of your look right,” Sadie said. “You have blue eyes not green.”
“Still. Why the ____________ am I in your dream?” Thalia cursed.
“Why don’t we just watch?” suggested Reyna.
“Well, Seaweed Brain? One of us…..get out of here.”
“You totally would say that,” Nico stared. “What kind of dreams are these?”
“I think Percy might have some sort of prophecy,” Apollo theorized. “Keep this too Ella.”
“It’s just a dream,” Percy told them. “Chill.”
“Not just a dream,” Carter shook his head. “Not at all.”
“You need Hypnos or Morpheus for that type of thing,” Will said. “But we could figure it out.”
“There’s more so watch it before you start theorizing,” Percy said.
The straightjacket disappeared and Percy fell through the floor until he was in the complete dark. “Percy Jackson. Yes, the exchange…an he suspects nothing?”
“Suspects what?” asked Sam.
“Better question. What exchange?”
“I’m an idiot,” Percy declared.
“You’ve finally admitted it,” gasped Thalia.
“Nothing my lord….ignorant as the rest.”
“An idiot,” Percy groaned again.
“You were… you what… I mean… how?” asked Annabeth.
“Did Annabeth just ask how?” Frank looked confused.
“She did. I don’t know though. I just always have these dreams. You know that.”
“You shouldn’t be able to spy into his dream while he talks to the crooked one,” Apollo said.
“I mean yeah. I’ve seen other people actually interacting with the gods and monsters, but I’ve never seen another’s dream.”
“Have you seen any others?” asked Calypso.
“More than I should have. Some I should have said something about before,” Percy’s eyes flicked to Nico before he looked down.
“What about me?” Nico asked seeing it all.
“Hades, what happened with your mom.”
Nico looked at Percy and paled. His eyes started to gleam burning with the fires of the underworld. He breathed deeply. “We’ll talk later. I don’t know why you saw that but…”
“It was important to the war,” Percy said. Everyone stared at the two of them but they were both looking down.
“Truly…I could have brought you what I stole directly—”
“He’s almost saying everything,” Annabeth blanched.
“You? You have already shown your limits….not intervened.”
“He’s talking about using you instead of the other guy again,” Nico told Percy.
“I’m realizing that.”
“What are you talking about?” Hazel asked them both.
“Not important yet,” Nico told her.
“But, my lord—”
“Peace, little servant….. delivered into my hands… but wait. He is here.”
“They know,” Carter scowled. “I hate when that happens.”
“The worst,” Percy agreed.
“What? You summoned….lord?”
“Wait what? He was summoning you the other times. How does he get there if not with the thing in the pit?” asked Piper.
“I don’t know,” Percy said. “I got there myself. Don’t know how.”
“That’s impossible. Unless you’re a child of Hypnos or Morpheus,” Jason said.
“Well I’m not.” Jason didn’t know what to reply to Percy’s answer.
“That boy brought….hither.”
“See,” Percy said.
“We believe you,” Annabeth said. “I do at least.”
“For a weakling…..Then I will oblige.”
Percy was now in a black room instead of black darkness. Light shined from the bronze floor. The empty, horrid throne….bones fused together. Standing at the foot…..her arms outstretched.
“What is this? Does dad know?” Hazel asked.
“Doubt it,” Apollo told her. “No one did.”
Percy tried moving forward but couldn’t. As he reached toward her his hands turned into bones. Grinning skeletons crowded….chimera poison dripped from it. Smoke came from Percy’s scalp. “Hail the conquering hero!” Then the projection collapsed.
“Your dreams are the worst I have ever experienced,” Sadie shivered.
“Same and I’ve had bad ones,” Magnus agreed.
“We all have. I think Percy’s take the gold though,” Leo shivered. “Sucks dude.”
“Trust me I know.”
“So Vegas now?”
Percy grinned laughing at his Latino friend. He nodded as Leo cheered. “But I’m warning you Flame boy. Vegas is not a good place for a demigod.”
The projection rose again. Percy and his friends were in the truck. Grover was shaking Percy. “The trucks stopped….check on the animals.”
“Hide!” She put on her magic cap as Grover and Percy scrambled to hide behind the sacks.
“Man! I wish I hauled appliances.” He poured some water to the animals.
“It might be better for the whole world if you did,” Jaz wrinkled her nose.
“You hot, big boy?” He splashed the water in the lion’s face. The lion roared.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” He threw the antelope a happy meal bag. “How ya doin’, stripes? Least…..gonna saw you in half!”
“That’s horrible!” Hazel cried. “They can’t do that.”
“No,” Thalia growled. “They can’t.”
“Agreed,” Apollo said. “I’m surprised Artemis hasn’t already chased these men down.”
The zebra looked at Percy. “Free…Please.”
“Whoa,” Magnus said.
“That’s the zebra, right?” Annabeth asked. “It’s weirder than I thought it would be.”
“It’s usually worse,” Percy said. “I’m the only one that can hear them.”
“I think you’re lucky,” Hazel told him.
“Tell that to your monster mouthed horse,” Percy replied.
“I still don’t understand why I don’t get to speak to them too. My dad also is the god of horses,” Magnus said.
“Mine created them though.”
“Why the lord?” asked Walt.
“It’s a thing they do. Well most of them. I hate the names.”
Then there was a banging on the trailer’s side. The man inside replied. “What do you….Eddie?”
“Maurice? What’d ya say?”
Then came more banging.
“I’m pretty sure it’s not that guys who’s banging,” Rachel said. “Annabeth you’re the most amazing demigod here at the moment.”
“Hey!” several others said.
“I’m an activist. She’s helping the animals. I can appreciate that,” Rachel told them.
“What banging?” The man inside got up and pushed open the door. Then Annabeth appeared by Percy. “This….can’t be legal.”
“No kidding….animal smugglers!”
“Clarisse I’m punching your dad in the face the next time I see him,” declared Thalia.
“I’m not arguing,” Clarisse smirked for the smallest second.
“This is the most horrible thing I’ve seen in years,” Calypso said. She had asked what smugglers were quietly before and it took Leo a while to explain.
“We’ve got….them!” Grover pleaded to Percy. Annabeth turned to wait for his answer.
“Why aren’t you answering?” demanded Sam.
“Talking Zebra kind of takes people by surprise.”
“That’s an acceptable answer,” the Valkyrie said.
“Open my cage…fine after that.” Percy nodded taking out riptide and slashing off the lock. The zebra bowed. “Thank you lord.”
Everyone cheered. Frank looked at Percy. “I wish I could do that as an animal.”
Alex smirked smugly. Samira rolled her eyes at her (sister.)
Grover muttered something to the zebra and brayed a few times holding up his hands. The zebra leapt out as the man looked back inside. The zebra galloped down the road as people honked and screamed. The men ran after it. Police chased them. “You need….for that!”
“Thank the gods,” Juniper said. “They were probably arrested.”
“Thank the gods for Grover. He’s the one that kept them safe,” Percy said. Grover blushed as Juniper moved closer to him.
“How?” Hearth signed.
“Satyr magic,” Grover said. Hearth leaned in closer.
“Now would….time to leave.”
“The other animals first.” On Grover’s words Percy cut the cage. Grover did the same thing as he had to the zebra to them both.
With that the other two animals ran into the streets. Percy turned to his friends. “Will the animals…..the desert and all—”
“So how’d this magic keep them safe?” asked Sadie.
Grover shook his head and pointed at his projection self.
“Don’t worry….sanctuary on them.”
“Meaning they’ll reach…..safe place to live.”
“That’s amazing,” Reyna said. “Do you think our fauns could learn?”
“Possibly. They might just not be capable,” Grover replied.
“The fauns are lazy. Maybe they’ll have a purpose again with what you tell them,” Jason nodded.
“I can try,” Grover said to which Reyna looked relieved.
“Why can’t you place…..on us?”
“That would be awesome,” Magnus said. “I could have used that a lot in the past.”
Annabeth winced. She felt like she had been responsible in some way for Magnus being homeless.
“It only works…animals.”
“So it….affect Percy.”
“Kidding….out of this filthy truck.”
“Finally,” sighed Will. “It was driving me insane. It was so dark and germ ridden.”
Nico laughed at his boyfriend. Other’s just stared at him like he was insane.
The projection moved forward again. Percy, Annabeth and Grover stumbled down the streets. Passing pyramids, an Eiffel tower and several casinos. As they reached a dead end the projection started to play normally. In front of them was the Lotus Hotel and Casino.
“Wait,” Thalia said. “I’ve heard of that place.”
“You have,” Percy confirmed.
Thalia turned toward Nico who was looking at the projection with wide eyes. She looked at Percy, Annabeth and Grover. “No way.”
“You guys have the worst luck,” she groaned.
“Will we see him?” Hazel asked one of the only others to understand what was happening.
“I’m not sure,” Percy said. “It was a big hotel.”
“You met Annabeth though,” Hazel pointed out. Frank was looking at her questioningly. She didn’t tell him what was happening.
“Hey, kids….and sit down?”
Exchanging glances they entered. The whole lobby was a giant gme room….every kind of food you can imagine.
“Calypso we need to go there,” Leo announced.
“Seems like fun,” agreed Sadie. “Carter, should take the whole nome along.”
“No,” Calypso and Carter answered at once.
“Really listen to them,” Annabeth said.
“Hey! Welcome…your room key.”
“No, no. The bill’s taken care of….on all the games and rides.” He gave them each cards.
“What?” asked Rachel. “That doesn’t happen.”
“No,” agreed Piper. “Unless it’s a trap. Leave.” Medea’s face flashed in her mind.
“Too late for that,” Percy announced.
“If it’s a trap I guess we’re not going,” Leo moaned. “We can still go to Vegas though.”
Calypso’s glare said differently.
“How much is on here?”
“I mean…out of cash?”
“Oh, you’re making a joke…enjoy your stay.”
“And that’s not suspicious,” Walt stated. He didn’t get anything but giggles as replies.
The projection moved forward again. They headed into a luxurious room where Percy tossed away Ares bag as they got changed. After eating they all went downstairs. Percy went on the bungee jump, a waterslide, snowboarded and played laser tag before several shooting games.
“I’m really wishing that place wasn’t a trap,” Frank said.
“We all do,” Chris nodded.
The projection started to play normally again for just a moment when Percy went and grabbed some burgers at one of the snack bars around the casino. As he walked toward his next game something dropped in front of him. He bent over to pick it up. It was a small figure of a man cloaked in robes while stagnant ocean waves twirled around him. He held a trident. Percy frowned.
“No way,” Thalia laughed.
“I don’t even remember this,” Percy said.
Nico was just staring at the projection. Then he looked at Percy. “Are you going to meet everyone of us at some point before we actually remember meeting you?”
“Honestly no clue. I don’t think so though,” Percy said.
“Wait I don’t understand what’s going on. That’s a mythomagic statue,” Frank said.
“Yeah. It is,” Hazel nodded. “I think we’ll see soon.”
As he stared at the figurine puzzled two kids ran over too him. Both wore some older clothes, the girl a nice collared fitted dress with a boys green newsboy hat and the little boy wore black slacks and suspenders. Both of them had the same dark hair as Percy but had black/brown eyes. The girl was obviously older.
Hazel stared. “Is that.”
“Yeah,” Nico smiled sadly. “That’s Bianca.”
Will suddenly realized what was happening. He put his hand around Nico’s shoulder and the other boy gave him a sad smile which was a miracle all on it’s own. Hazel gave her own sad smile. “I think I’d really have liked her.”
“Yeah,” Nico chuckled darkly. “She’d have loved to have you. She was brave like you. She wasn’t girly either. She liked adventures though, and walks alone. I think if she got the chance she might have liked riding just as much as you. She wanted a sister who was less annoying than me. Probably why she joined the hunters.”
“That’s definitely not true,” Percy argued. “Bianca talked a lot about you on that quest. And of all the regrets I have one of the worst is to you and to her. I promised both of you that I’d protect the other. Something I failed at. So don’t you dare blame yourself for any of that. Bianca loved you above everything.”
Nico was tearing up now. He nodded at Percy passing an understanding between him that none of them could even realize. Percy got up and sat next to Nico. He looked at Will. “I’m kicking you out for a moment. Hazel, get over here!” Hazel sat up surprised. Frank moved away towards Annabeth and Will. “Thalia! Get your butt over here and drag your brother here too!”
Will was looking at Annabeth confused as Piper came to sit with him, Frank and Annabeth. “What’s going on?”
“I think Percy’s declared this bonding time. Big three bonding time.”
The boy was maybe three years younger than Percy. The girl maybe one or two. The boy looked at him. Percy handed him the figure. The kid smiled. “Thanks!”
He pulled his sister away talking about a game. The girl was groaning. “Can we play something besides Mythomagic?”
Reyna was staring. “I can’t believe that was Nico.”
“Yeah,” Thalia laughed. “Oh my gods I can’t wait to see when we first meet him.” Percy groaned. So did Nico. Thalia shocked both of them.
“Wait, why were you wearing such fancy clothes? Was there a party or something you were there for?” asked Jaz.
“Oh wait till you see the next part,” Percy laughed.
“I’m just wondering if we saw them too,” Annabeth said.
“You wouldn’t have noticed you were so focused.”
She nodded contemplatively.
Percy was now playing a shooting game. Next to him was a boy wearing bell-bottom jeans and a red T-shirt. His hair was permed. As Percy put down the gun the kid looked at him. “Groovy, man…getting better and better.”
“Okay, now those clothes I don’t understand. The others were snappy but these are garish. Is he some kind of kid raised by hippies?” Blitz said.
“No,” Percy shook his head.
“Groovy?” Sadie asked.
“Not from now,” Hearth signed. Magnus translated confused. Everyone was even more confused when Percy nodded.
“Hey, Darrin?” asked Percy as they were starting another game.
“In the game?”
“1977,” the guy said after a second.
“What?” asked Alex. “You’re saying that this guy has time traveled. Or you did?”
“No,” Percy said.
“It’s much less complicated than that,” Nico agreed.
“That’s not possible though,” Zia said. “It shouldn’t be.”
“Hey, man….a game happening.”
“Vibes?” scoffed Piper. “Yeah definitely the most clichéd guy from the 70s ever.”
“So he is from the 70s,” Sam said. “How?”
The scene fast forwarded again. Percy met Annabeth at a virtual city building game. She was designing buildings and setting up cities. Her eyes were wide and she was muttering to herself. Percy nudged her. “Come on….out of here.”
“Annabeth is acting like Leo when he’s building,” Jason said.
Percy shook her. “Annabeth?”
“Leave? What…..I’ve just got the towers—”
“This place is a trap.” Annabeth ignored Percy and looked back at her game.
“This is super weird,” Rachel said. “I feel like it’s Annabeth usually snapping Percy out of these things.”
“No,” Piper said. “Annabeth is the one that get’s too focused. Though I guess when it comes to gaming…”
Percy shook her again. “What?”
“Oh, come on….few more minutes!”
“Yeah. Definitely an alternate reality of some kind,” muttered Chris.
“Annabeth, there are people…..you stay forever.”
“How’d you get out then?” asked Walt. “Magical traps like that are made to keep people there.”
“I just remembered what I was living for outside the hotel,” Percy said.
“So? Can….a better place?”
Percy dragged her away as she screamed and hit him. Percy pulled her face closer to his. They’re eyes were looking at the others.
“Dude that’s super creepy,” Magnus said. “Don’t do that to her again.”
“Yeah,” Percy said. “I won’t.”
“It’s fine Magnus. I needed it.”
Annabeth shook. “Oh my gods….have we—”
“I don’t know….find Grover.”
“Percy, if you were there for more than a day you’re seriously in trouble,” Carter said.
“I know,” Percy shrugged. “But I can’t do much about it now.”
“Grover!” Both of them yelled as they found him at the Virtual Deer hunter where he played a deer shooting humans.
“Die….polluting nasty person!”
Grover turned red as everyone laughed. It was all kind of ridiculous.
“Grover!” When Percy yelled again Grover turned. He clicked the plastic gun and tried to shoot.
“Man,” Grover said. “I’m so sorry.”
“You were under some sort of spell,” Percy said. “No apologizing for this.”
Annabeth nodded. “No apologizing for anything more than six months in the past.”
Annabeth and Percy dragged Grover away as his flying shoes tried to drag him in the other direction. They walked out as Grover yelled. Fast forwarding a few seconds they were outside and Ares’ backpack was on Percy’s shoulder. Percy picked up a newspaper from a stand. “Guys, the date.”
“We haven’t been in there for years. It felt like an hour or two,” Annabeth said.
“No,” Percy said. “We’ve been in there five days. There’s one day left until the solstice.”
“You’re doomed,” declared Leo.
“There is not much time to go to the underworld and return with in that span,” agreed Calypso.
“No,” Percy said. “I’m still unsure how we did it.”
Nico pushed Percy away from where he was leaning on him. “Get off. I want to eat.”
“Food sounds good,” agreed Jason.
“Race you there?” Percy asked. With that the two former praetors dashed for the open door with their laughing friends behind them. All except Nico who was already waiting for them in the dining hall. The Italian teen looked at them both and grinned. “Shadow travel. I win.”
Chapter 30: Just the Right Size/Stretched to A Limit
Through lunch Nico sat with Hazel, Percy, Thalia and Jason. Though several of them had had burgers yesterday Thalia and Percy had declared it a necessity for cousin time. Nico agreed as long as they got fries. Somehow a happy meal toy popped up too making him scowl. Maybe inspired by them everyone sat with their closest family members, or the closest they had to family. They were at the end of the table.
Percy was closest to everyone else with his Cyclops brother beside him. Across from Tyson sat Blitz. He was talking about forging materials with Tyson after being invited to sit next to his closest relative. ‘Cousin’ Magnus sat next to him. On his other side was Annabeth and near them both Alex and Sam. Sadie sat with Carter next to them too. Somehow that lead to long discussions about embarrassing your relatives through explosive or other destructive means. Chris and Walt sat by them. Neither said or did much but were amused by the goings on around them. Especially after Frank was grabbed by Clarisse as they discussed Ares Vs. Mars. Clarisse didn’t admit it but Mars sounded much better than her crueler Greek father.
Leo grabbed his “stepsister”. Piper laughed as he pulled out some tofu and ordered taco shells. Those with Nymph blood sat together, Calypso, Juniper and the harpy Ella (related to cloud Nymphs). Juniper decided to talk to both about their boyfriends and while Calypso complained Ella blushed.
Apollo had pulled over Will catching his son up on his latest grand adventure with Leo and Calypso. Grover had shrugged and asked the last nature spirit left to join him. Slowly him and Hearth worked out means to communicate as he tried to learn ASL. Zia and Reyna, both fierce and regal warriors were pulled over by their more perky friends Rachel and Jaz. Soon all four girls were laughing like old friends.
In those same groups they went back to the main room. Sitting as they had, with their families and new friends, at lunch they got ready to watch the final part of Percy’s first quest. “At this rate we should finish that whole first summer by bed,” Annabeth said.
“So then let’s start,” insisted Apollo. “I want to get closer to that glorious first vision of me. It’s your third quest!”
Grover, Annabeth and Percy….edge of the surf. Percy stepped in.
“How’d you get to LA?” Blitz asked.
“That Lotus card worked for a taxi. We drove.”
“It paid over hundreds of dollars?” Piper asked knowing exactly how much that could cost.
“It maxed out the machine, right your majesty?” Percy said. He was elbowed in the chest by Annabeth.
“Percy? What are…..all kinds of toxic—” Percy was now up to his chest and then he dove in. He walked down into the water, the projection played it faster than it could. They could see exactly what he had seen. He could make out sand-dollars….the sandbars. He could even see the currents….swirling together.
“Woah,” Jason said. “That’s what it’s like? Even with my tornado trick figured out I can’t see like that.”
“I can never see it,” Annabeth said. “Even when you take me.”
“Really?” Percy said. “I mean that’s just the way it’s always been to me.”
“No,” Piper said. “That’s just something super awesome. I’m happy we can see it right now.”
“It’s different as an animal too,” agreed Frank. “I can see some of that but not the currents. I guess it’s the bloodline.”
“Dude, I’m actually jealous,” Jason told him reverently.
A shark started rubbing against his leg. Percy petted it’s dorsal fin and then it carried him down to where the ocean dropped into a chasm away from the sandbar.
“That’s a shark,” said Carter dumbly.
“They act like dogs,” Percy nodded.
“But it’s a shark…”
“He was friendly. I think most of them are unless you aggravate them.”
A woman approached. She had flowing black hair….something that looked like tag.
“That’s so cute,” squeaked Rachel.
“They are,” Juniper nodded excitedly.
“You’ve come….Well done.”
“She sounds like your mom,” Magnus said. “That’s harsh.”
Then the projection moved forward again through Percy and the Neireid talking. “That is why….and a gift.” She held out….pearls flashed in her palm. “I know you journey…… escape the depths of Tartarus.” She paused.
“Wait, Houdini was a demigod?” asked Alex.
“I can give you guys a list of famous demigods later,” Annabeth said. “There’s a lot.”
“I’m sure there’s more Norse ones too,” agreed Samira.
“Do you have these talents?”
“Are you kidding me?” Percy asked. “Did I just…”
“Um..yeah,” agreed Leo wide eyed.
“Rachel and Ella might want to add that to their list,” agreed Hazel.
“What?” asked Walt interested. He had heard tales like these from Anubis.
“Tartarus,” Nico whispered darkly. “Or just any of these things. I’m pretty sure Percy’s done more than any of those guys.”
“And so have you. Actually some of those guys were a lot better than me too,” Percy said.
Nico and several others groaned. Percy would never see what they meant.
“Ah, but you have something else…..have you die before your time.”
“Are they talking about what the Hemsut said?” Zia asked.
“Kind of but no,” Percy told her. “No one knew about that I think. Until this.”
“Therefore take these……a pearl at your feet.”
“What will happen?”
“That depends.....return to the sea.”
Percy smiled. Grover and Annabeth exchanged glance then laughed. It was Reyna that raised an eyebrow. “What does that mean?”
“Nereid enjoy being mysterious,” Calypso said. Her mother was a Nereid. “It could mean a lot of things.”
“What about the warning?”
“Go with what your heart…Good luck, Percy Jackson.” She got on her seahorse and started to ride into the ocean.
“True,” Nico nodded.
“Wait! At the river….What gifts?” Then the projection collapsed.
“We’re idiots,” Grover declared. “But it would have saved us, meaning me, a lot if she just told us.”
“Wait, what gifts?” Hearth said through Blitz.
The projection popped up again. Doors were swinging shut behind the three who were panting. Grover seemed to sigh. “I think we lost them.”
“Lost who?” Standing behind…..he could move fast if he needed too.
“That’s definitely a monster,” Samira pointed out.
“Yeah. I kind of realized,” Annabeth winced. “I am so happy I am not reliving feelings.”
“Thank the gods,” Grover agreed.
“Who were you running from?” Thalia asked curiously.
“Some kids who tried to jump us,” Percy replied.
“Then Percy was an idiot and swung Riptide through them,” Grover said.
“Sounds familiar,” Rachel snickered.
“Can you stop making jokes none of us get?” Will pleaded.
“You’ll get them all soon,” Percy groaned. “Why can’t anything be private?”
“They haven’t shown everything,” pointed out Apollo.
“Yes, your dignity is still a little preserved. I assume it’s the little you had anyway,” Zia said.
“Wow,” Percy said. “Never assumed Carter’s girlfriend could give such a good burn.”
“Literally and figuratively,” Carter grinned proudly.
Everyone looked at the guy and snickered. Clarisse rolled her eyes. “That’s not just a literal nickname idiots. It’s short for something.”
“Like Porky,” snickered Percy. Frank chuckled too.
“Sorry to barge in….um, browsing.”
“You mean hiding……at a water bed?”
“Say no,” suggested Tyson. “He is not a good monster.”
“I tried buddy.”
Percy opened his mouth when Crusty shoved all three of them further into the shop. “This is my most popular….No business today, anyway.”
“Um, I don’t think…”
“I can’t believe you were actually smart enough to say no,” Thalia teased.
“I was,” Percy said looking at Grover. “And he’s pretty easy to recognize as a monster.”
“Million-hand massage! Oh, you guys….cool.”
“Okay, Grover wasn’t smart enough,” Thalia snickered. “Come on, I thought Percy was the one that fell into traps.”
Grover glared at her and bleated. It didn’t do much.
“Him?” asked Piper now realizing the story. “Wait are you going to feel that?” she asked Percy.
“No,” Percy sighed. “I was smart for once.”
“You know him?” asked Jason.
“Heard of him. Theseus met him,” Piper replied. Calypso paled as did Apollo, Nico, Thalia, Clarisse, Reyna and Will.
“Not good,” Nico said.
“Do me a favor….Might fit.”
“He’s kidding,” Will said. “He just wants to trap you. I mean you were nowhere near six feet then.”
“Yeah. So I had to be made to fit,” Annabeth growled.
“What does that mean?” Magnus asked understanding that this was something painful. He didn’t get a reply. So he just put his arm around his cousin.
“But what—” Annabeth didn’t lie down. Crusty pushed her onto the safari deluxe model.
Before she could get up Crusty snapped his fingers. “Ergo.” Ropes sprang form the sides of the bed……and lashed him down. “N-not c-c-cool!” Grover yelled.
“So he traps you to beds so he can do what?” asked Sadie. “Eat you?”
“No, something a lot more painful.”
He looked at Annabeth. “Almost, darn it.”
Percy started to step away but Crusty grabbed him by the neck. “Whoa, kid….in a sec.”
“Let my friends go.”
“Because that will happen,” snorted Thalia. “If you say please monsters will definitely do what you say.”
Percy punched her shoulder and she smacked him across the head.
“Oh, sure I will….them fit, first.”
“What does that mean?” Magnus asked again. He was answered in head shakes.
“What do you mean?”
“Finally!” Thalia clapped. “We can get a Percy Jar started. You doing truth, dare or donating money to start this fund?”
“But I didn’t say the same thing as him.”
“It was a tense difference and you said that instead of you. Basically the same for all intents,” Annabeth grinned.
“Fine,” Magnus grumbled. “I choose truth.”
“It’s the first so we’ll go easy. Who has a good question?” Thalia asked.
“I do,” Sam smirked. “Grossest thing you’ve tried? Besides Otis the goat.”
“He wasn’t gross,” Magnus said. “Just weird. But the grossest thing I’ve tried is beer. I found a full bottle once and I was thirsty. I threw it up. Then tried it again. Then did the same thing as the first time (fact from Magnus Chase books.)
Everyone looked at Magnus. Several of them snickered. Alex pouted. “That was just disappointing. We’re norse and you can’t handle beer? Do you never drink the ale?”
“You’re hopeless,” Alex told him.
“All the beds are exactly six feet….make them fit.”
“How’s he going to make you fit?” Hazel asked nervously.
“Painfully,” Grover told her.
“Can’t stand imperfect…Ergo!” A new set of ropes leaped out…..pulling my friends from both ends.
“He’s going to stretch you?” asked Sadie. “How long were you in there for?”
“Too long,” Annabeth growled. She glared at Percy who shrugged wincing.
“Don’t worry…..now why don’t we find a bed you like, huh?”
“Pe…er..er.ceeee!” Grover yelled still vibrating from the massaging bed.
“You won’t die when he adds three inches,” Juniper said disbelievingly.
“What kind of monster is he?” scowled Jaz. “That’s torture!” As a healer it was the thing she hated most. It left people damaged in ways she couldn’t fix.
“The Stretcher. Killed by Theseus,” Ella volunteered.
“Theseus?” asked Carter.
“We really need to get some mythology books in here. That way each of us can catch up on the others stories,” Annabeth said.
“We’ll find some,” Magnus agreed. “Not those cheesy kids ones though.”
“You’re real…..not Crusty, is it?”
“Legally, it’s Procrustes.”
“I can’t believe you remembered that,” Leo said.
“Hey, Theseus was my favorite hero along with Hercules and Perseus. That was until I found out what jerks the first two were.”
“Theseus wasn’t all bad,” Apollo said. “It was just after the minotaur.”
“He is also a son of Poseidon,” Tyson said.
“Yeah. Still he did some things that can’t be forgiven,” Percy interrupted.
“Yeah, but who can pronounce…..anybody can say that.”
“You’re right….ring to it.”
“You’re stalling,” Reyna noted. “That is smart until you can figure out what to do.”
“No,” argued Calypso. “His friends are in pain for more time. It would be smart under other circumstances.”
“You think so?”
Almost everyone snickered. Blitz scowled. “None of you humans appreciate hard workmanship.”
“Dude, we’re not just humans,” Leo reminded him.
“You may be an exception,” Blitz allowed.
“I tell my costumers that…..have you seen?”
“Not too many.”
“Too long,” Annabeth growled.
“I just can’t believe he’s pulling it off,” Chris said to Walt who nodded.
“Don’t mind her…impossible.”
“You’re going to pay for that,” Annabeth said.
“Weren’t you the one that said we can’t blame each other for things that happened more than six months ago?” Percy pointed out. She growled again.
“All my costumers are….about the fitting.”
“I think everyone would complain about that,” pointed out Piper.
“What do you do….than six feet?”
“Oh, that happens…..simple fix.” He let go of….brass axe. “I just center the subject…..on either end.”
“You think there’s ever anyone just right.”
“Not too often. I’d get at least an inch off,” Jason said.
“Same,” Frank agreed.
“I think I’m the lucky one then,” Percy grinned.
“How tall are you?” Carter asked.
“Six feet tall. Maybe give or take a centimeter.”
Carter looked at him. He’d probably be a little taller than Percy. He was nearing the same height but he was not even sixteen yet. Walt would definitely be way too tall.
“I’m so glad….intelligent customer!”
“So Crusty….to stop wave motion?”
“Absolutely. Try it out.”
“You took too long with that. You could have done that a minute in instead of five,” insisted Annabeth.
“Sorry,” Percy apologized.
“Yeah, you should have apologized.”
“Yeah, maybe I will….waves at all?”
Samira smiled impressed. “That’s smart.”
“What is?” asked Alex. She had a pillow stuffed in her face by her sister.
“No waves. See?” He sat down …the mattress.
Percy grinned and snapped his fingers. “Ergo.”
“Thank gods,” breathed Juniper.
“You could have saved your friends before killing the monster,” Thalia told him.
“Why don’t we just keep pointing out everything I did wrong instead of realizing I saved them,” Percy said.
“Sheesh, I’m just saying.”
“No! Wait! This ….a demo.”
Percy took out Riptide. “A few…adjustments…”
“You drive a hard barigain…..floor models.”
“I think….with the top.”
“No money….for six months!”
Percy swung Riptide and Crusty crumbled to dust. He turned to cut the ropes from the other beds. Annabeth and Grover got to…..cursing Percy a lot.
“You look taller.”
“Very funny….next time.”
Percy grabbed something from the bulletin board behind Crusty’s desk. “Come on.”
“Give us a minute….stretched to death.”
“For real though,” Walt said. “That must hurt…”
“It hurt like Hades…” Annabeth said.
“We couldn’t afford to take a break. We had no time,” Percy said.
“Then you’re ready….from here.”
“Really?” Hearth signed.
“Yeah. We could have planned our entrance better.”
“You really could have,” agreed Annabeth.
“We,” Percy argued.
“We’re not arguing this,” Grover said. “Lets get this all over with.”
Chapter 31: Step 1: Getting Past Security
The scene started as they walked into DOA. Music played softly…..through their bodies. The security guard’s desk was a raised podium…..up at him. He was tall and elegant….under a silver name tag.
“Who is it?” asked Leo.
“Charon,” Walt answered.
“Wait, how do you know?” asked Frank.
“Matters of death go along with the territory of Anubis. He’s kind of in my mind and I know most of the things he does so…” Walt said.
“That’s not why I’m groaning,” Nico said. “Though he is obnoxious. I’m groaning because of the nametag.”
Percy laughed. “You too?”
“No, because I knew who he was when I walked in. I’ve just seen it happen,” Nico told him.
“Yeah, good luck telling him that.”
“Your name is Chiron?”
“I’m guessing that’s what you guys were talking about,” Jason said raising an eyebrow.
“And he probably hated that too,” Sadie put in remembering her frenemy Neck-butt.
“What a precious you lad….like a centaur?”
“You really should have quoted Harry Potter there,” Frank told him.
Everyone stared at him. “You can read that?”
“No dyslexia, remember?”
“Plus,” Annabeth added. “I’m not sure Percy had seen it or read it by that point in time.”
“I definitely did after thanks to Wise Girl,” he said.
“Can you read….Care-On.”
“Well done…old horse-man.”
“Like you’re not just as old,” Clarisse said.
“And now….dead ones.”
“I can’t believe he actually thinks you’re dead,” Jaz asked. “You don’t look anything like…”
“Any of the other spirits,” Hazel told her. “They don’t at all.”
“He’s not the smartest daimon I’ve met,” Percy agreed. “Though most of them aren’t that smart.”
“That’s for sure,” agreed Annabeth. “Must get it from their mother (Nyx).”
“We want…the Underworld,” Annabeth said after Percy looked at her questioningly.
“What?” Hearth signed. “Not refreshing.”
“I agree dude,” Magnus told him. “It’s weird.”
When asked he translated Hearth’s signings.
“Straight forward…a mistake Mr. Charon.”
“Make sense now,” Hearth signed.
“Why isn’t he suspicious?” Sadie asked. “Like at all.”
“As we said,” Thalia told her. “Daimons are dumb.”
Percy’s eyes flashed with panic and he nudged Grover. “Oh, um…drowned….bathtub.”
“Again, you guys have no ability to lie. At all,” Alex declared.
“This was your plan?” Calypso laughed. “It is worse than any of Leo’s.”
“C’mon sunshine. You know you love me.”
Calypso elbowed him and he pouted.
“But really none of that is believable. I’m sure you could have drowned…but in a bathtub?” Will asked.
“It’s happened,” Grover said. Every one raised their eyebrows at him disbelievingly.
“All three of you?”
They nodded. Impressed Chiron smiled. “Big bathtub.”
“And he bought that too?” snorted Chris.
“Why didn’t any of you say something smarter? You’re all idiots…” Clarisse agreed.
“Not more than Charon though,” Rachel said. Everyone laughed.
“I don’t suppose you have coins….for a few centuries.”
“Wait, people have to wait there for centuries?” asked Sam. “Even the Norse let all of their dead end up in some type of afterlife, whether it’s Helheim or Valhalla.”
“There’s some more…” Magnus muttered.
“I’ve seen it,” Sadie shuddered. “With Roman Egyptians. No proper funeral rites. No passage.”
“That was no fun,” Walt blanched.
“Oh, but we…coins.” Percy pushed three drachmas onto the counter.
“Well, now…..haven’t seen these in…” he reached for the coins. Then he looked at Percy.
“Oh, now he gets it,” Nico exasperatedly shouted. “Of course it’s with the money.”
“Here now….you dyslexic, lad?”
“Because those are mutually exclusive?” Carter asked sarcastically.
“I’m not really sure,” Percy said.
“They’re not,” Annabeth told him.
“Also Percy pretty much just confirmed they were alive. Good job Kelp head,” Thalia clapped him on the shoulder. He shrugged her hand off annoyed.
“You’re not dead……a godling.”
“We have to….the Underworld.”
“Leave while you can….forget I saw you.” He started to close his hands around the coins. Percy grabbed them back. “No service, no tip.”
“Dad’s going to be pissed but you’re in,” Nico chuckled.
“They are?” Jaz asked.
“Charon’s greedy. Percy’s got him pegged so they’re in.”
Charon growled. Percy smirked. “It’s a shame….more to offer.” He held up an entire bag. Reaching in he pulled out an entire fist of drachmas. The spilled through his fingers clattering onto the counter.
“I’m really wishing the Stolls were here again,” Chris laughed. “They would be so happy to see this.”
“I already have enough trouble with them and you’re dad. Not to mention a few of your sisters,” Percy said. “Pretty much you’re whole cabin.”
“Dude you’re an honorary member,” Will told him. “To every cabin I think.”
“For sure,” agreed Leo. “Except for the Ares cabin.”
“Except for them,” agreed Will and Chris.
Percy blushed and looked down. Thalia leaned over at him and shocked him. “That makes it official for me and Jason.”
Percy jumped up. He rolled his eyes and pushed Nico closer to Thalia and squeezed in between him and Hazel. The other big three cousins rolled their eyes laughing fondly.
“Do you think….bought, godling?”
“Yes,” everyone chorused.
“Way to easily,” Grover brayed.
“Eh...just out of curiosity….you got there?”
“A lot…such hard work.”
“Hades actually pays well,” Apollo said. “I mean I heard.”
“No one should have to work for him though,” Annabeth said thinking of Bob.
“Oh, you don’t know the half of it…..like this come cheap?”
“No, and that’s why you shouldn’t need two dozen,” Nico groaned. “He’s always wanting more. He thinks he’s amazing. It’s the worst.”
“Now I’m really freaked out by how much you sound like your dad,” Percy said.
“Says the person who looks like he’s Poseidon’s younger clone,” pointed out Jason.
“Not a bad thing,” Percy smirked
“You deserve better….good pay.” With each word….coin on the counter.
“I must say…just a little.”
Percy added some more coins. “I could mention…to Hades.”
“You didn’t,” Apollo said impressed.
“Oh he did and not tactfully either,” Annabeth said.
“And he didn’t kill you?” Reyna asked.
Rachel laughed darkly. “This is Percy. Who hasn’t tried to kill him?”
“The boat’s almost full….and be off.” He took the money. “Come along.”
He escorted….pushed them back into the lobby. “Right. Now, no one get any ideas….another thousand years. Understand?”
“Another thousand?” Zia asked. “For how long have those spirits been there.”
“Like I said. It’s the same anywhere. If no proper burial rights, no proper afterlife,” Walt told her.
He shut the doors….started to descend. As they descended the projection fast forwarded a bit. Suddenly it was playing normally again. Charon’s Italian suit was replaced by long black robes. His eyes were empty sockets. His flesh was transparent and you could see his skull. They were in a wooden barge, going over an oily river, swirling with bones…..soggy diplomas with gilt edges.
“That’s disgusting,” Sadie stuck out her tongue. “It might be worse than the Hudson and the Thames combined.”
“It really is,” agreed Percy. He leaned over to Nico and whispered, “I know from swimming in them.”
Nico elbowed him in the gut. “Too bad the effects didn’t last.”
“The River Styx…It’s so…”
“Polluted. For thousands of years…..if you ask me.”
“That’s depressing,” Blitz said.
“It’s horrible,” Piper shouted. “For people’s dreams to just die with them…for everything not to matter…I’ll never let that happen to me.”
“It happens to all mortals,” Apollo pointed out. “That’s the way the world is.” Everyone exchanged glances becoming resigned to that fact.
Then the scene changed again. Percy, Grover and Annabeth walked up a path. The entrance of the underworld was crowded. There were three separate entrances…..ghouls like Charon. The dead queued up in the three lines….other two were crawling.
“That’s your underworld?” asked Carter. “Wow. It’s different.”
“From the research I’ve done this is like just a part of your Underworld,” Annabeth explained. “The other part like the Land of Demons I’ve read about seems like Tartarus, with rivers of fire and monsters.”
“This is also a small part of the underworld. I’ve seen a lot more of it since. The expert would be Nico though,” Percy told them.
“Still,” Sadie said. “That looks like the Jersey turnpike.”
“When have you been to Jersey?” Carter asked.
“There was an issue that we had to take care of,” Zia told him.
“It was fun.”
“We took Freak,” Jaz told him.
“You took my griffin?” Carter yelled.
“You have a griffin?” asked Frank. “Those things are…”
“Different for Egyptians,” Percy told him. “I saw his Griffin. Didn’t look too bad.”
“He’s not,” agreed Carter. “Back to the point. How does it work?”
“Okay, that’s it. Mythology lessons after this first quest is finished,” Annabeth announced. “I know some of us had books in our rooms. I’ll teach Greek and Roman.”
“I guess I’ll do Egyptian,” Carter said.
“So I’ve got Norse,” Sam said.
“Good. That should cover the Underworld. We’ll do them after for whoever wants them. Now let’s just watch, it might explain.”
“What do you figure?”
“The fast line must go straight….might go against them.”
“So you have a court,” Walt noticed. “Not too different.”
“No. But what is Asphodel?” Carter asked.
“It’ll explain,” Percy promised.
“Yeah. Three judges…..they go to the asphodel fields.”
“Okay,” Sadie said. “The judgment differs. We get our hearts weighed against the feather of truth,” she glared at Walt. “Then if it’s heavier it’s devoured by Ammit the Devorer, a not so terrifying monster. If it’s good we get to enjoy the afterlife.”
“Yeah. So different,” Annabeth said after a pause making a note to find out more. “Ours just get really bad punishments for eternity. Elysium is the reward or heaven.”
“Like Freya’s realm,” Magnus noted. “Or Valhalla.”
“Sounds like it,” Blitz agreed.
“And do what?”
“More than you think,” Hazel shivered. Percy blanched and put an arm around her. Soon Hazel was in a mess of hugs with Nico and Percy.
Then the scene moved forward. They were in front of the gates by a monster made of shadows who towered over them. “He’s a rotteweiler.”
“Is that a surprise?” asked Alex.
“I imagined him differently too,” admitted Frank.
“Same here,” Clarisse agreed reluctantly.
“What is that?” asked Jaz.
“He’s a hellhound. Cerberus guards the underworld. I’ve seen him a few times, and now he’s not too bad,” Percy admitted.
“Now…” Grover pointed out.
The dead walked right up to him….without even crouching. “I’m starting to see him better….is that?”
“Not a good reason,” Thalia assured him.
“Yeah,” Percy nodded. “We realized.”
“I think….closer to being dead.”
“Yeah,” Juniper squeaked. “Really not good.”
“We’re fine,” Grover assured her.
“It can smell the living.”
“But that’s okay….a plan.”
“Let me guess,” Jason said. “It didn’t work.”
“How’d you know?” Annabeth said sarcastically.
“Percy made it,” commented Thalia. No one argued.
“Right. A plan.”
“Can you understand it?”
“What’s it saying?”
“I don’t think…..translates, exactly.”
“Why four letters?” asked Calypso.
“I don’t know!” Grover yelled. “I was about to die. Don’t question me.”
Percy took a big stick out of his back pack. He held it up and smiled. “Hey, Big Fella….with you much.”
“They do now,” Nico smiled momentarily.
Cerberus growled. Percy’s smile fell. “Good boy.” He waved the stick but only the middle head followed the movement. The other two stayed trained on them. “Fetch!” The stick disappeared into the mist. A splash was heard.
“Fail,” Rachel declared.
“Thanks,” Percy told her.
“You’re dead,” Clarisse grinned.
“Percy is here. He will do fine,” Tyson said confidently.
Percy grinned. “Thank you.”
Cerberus glared…..baleful and cold. He growled harder and scarier. “Um, Percy?”
“I just thought….to know.”
“Cerebrus? He’s saying…..he’s hungry.”
“How are you alive?” Magnus asked. “You can’t fight that thing.”
“You can actually,” Nico said.
“Still…” Magnus brushed his words off.
“Your cousin,” Percy grinned to a blushing Annabeth.
“Wait!” Annabeth took off her backpack and started looking through it.
“Five seconds….run now?”
Annabeth produced a red rubber ball….marched straight up to Cerberus. “See the ball? You want….Sit!”
The dog stared. All three of his heads….nostrils dilated. “Sit!”
“No way,” Nico looked at her.
“I’ve tamed Percy. This was an easier challenge,” Annabeth said.
Percy pouted. “I should be offended,” he protested over everyone’s laughter. “But it’s true.”
Cerberus licked his three sets of lipss….air let out of tire. “Good boy!” She threw him the ball.
He caught it in his middle mouth……to get the new toy. “Drop it.”
Cerberus’s heads stopped….at Annabeth’s feet.
“How do you do that?” asked Piper. “You sure you don’t have charmspeak?”
“Nah. Just needed to be brave. He could sense fear.”
“Good boy. Go now….it’s faster.”
Grover and Percy stepped forward slowly. The dog started to growl. “Stay! If you want…stay!”
Cerberus whimpered…where he was. Grover and Percy were now at Annabeth’s side. “What about you?”
“I know what…..I’m pretty sure…”
Grover and Percy walked through the monster’s legs. As soon as they were through Annabeth yelled. “Good dog!” She held up……for another trick. She threw the ball anyway….at the metal detector.
“That was amazing,” Zia told her.
“No really,” Sam agreed.
“Never underestimate Annabeth,” Magnus grinned.
“Been done too much,” agreed Percy. “It’s not smart.”
The scene skipped one second they were a few feet on the other side of the line. Cerberus was whining. Annabeth stopped and turned to face the dog. Cerberus panted….at it’s feet. “Good boy.”
“He literally tries to tear everyone but me and most of the dead apart,” Nico said. “I can’t believe it.”
“Remember with Mrs. O’Leary?” Percy asked.
“I guess, besides me, Percy, Annabeth and the dead,” Nico amended.
“I’ll bring you another ball…..like that?”
“I never did keep that promise,” Annabeth mused.
“Then we’ll need to take another trip. Mrs. O’Leary will be happy to see her friend,” Percy said.
“Please no,” groaned Nico.
“Too late. I’m coming too,” Will announced.
“Later,” Annabeth begged them. “Discuss this later.”
“Good dog…..Let’s go.”
As Grover and Percy walked through the metal detector it started to blare. Red lights flashed. “Unauthorized…..Magic detected!”
They ran leaving everyone behind them.
“You weren’t caught?” asked Reyna.
“No,” Percy told her. “Not that whole time.”
“Hades is not so relenting,” Calypso noted. “Something is strange about this.”
“Which part?” Alex said sarcastically. “All of this is strange lady.”
Calypso ignored her.
Chapter 32: Step 2: Get to Hades Palace Without Dying
A new projection rose. They were walking through the fields of Asphodel. Around them were millions of spirits. At one point they passed a path to the Fields of punishment. They kept pushing through spirits, all grey and devoid of any part of their old life. Then at one point Annabeth stopped to stare at something. Hades castle was looming in the distance. Percy and Grover stood beside her.
“Why are they showing this?” Annabeth asked. “It wasn’t so important.”
“No. Not until we got closer,” agreed Grover.
“Let’s watch and see.”
Annabeth opened her mouth but all that came out was a buzz. She was looking at a bright area in a different direction. Spirits floated by, all the souls of the dead. Then suddenly, right by them was a dead spirit with a little more color than the rest. Her eyes were flecked with gold. Dim brown was in her skin and black was in her curly hair. She looked at them curiously unlike the other spirits that just passed by and through them. Then they trudged on.
“We really are going to see almost everyone,” Jason noted.
“Do you remember that?” Frank asked her.
“Dimly. I remember living walking by and wondering why they were there. It’s not strong and I can’t really recognize them,” Hazel replied.
“Wait,” Carter asked. “That’s you?”
“I’m sure it will explain the whole story later,” Piper tried so Hazel wouldn’t have to say anything.
“It’s fine. I was there for a while, Nico saved me around a year ago,” she told them. “It’s hard to talk about so you’ll just have to wait to hear me explain in this picture.”
“It’s called a movie, but that’s not even what it is,” Leo told her. “It’s more like a 3-D hologram.”
“Like in a sci-fi film,” agreed Annabeth.
“Back to my question. Are we all going to pop up in Percy’s life before we’ve actually met him?” Jason asked.
“Not all of us,” pointed out Thalia. “Clarisse wasn’t in it. He’s already met Will, Chris and Grover. They weren’t in it either.”
“Unless he shows up in England then no,” Sadie told them.
“Or Egypt,” Carter agreed. “I was in museums or hotels when I was in any city. You won’t see me.”
“Unless you guys come to Boston it’s the same,” agreed Magnus.
“So maybe just the seven, or people who were on the Argo II at some point,” Annabeth suggested.
“That makes sense,” Rachel told her. “And I have a feeling it’s right.”
“Wow. So I guess we should be on the lookout,” Jason said.
After a few miles of walking…….they were waiting for us. “I suppose….turn back.”
“We’ll be okay.”
“Maybe we should……for instance….”
“Come….boy,” Annabeth grabbed Grover’s arms. He yelped and his shoes started to fly. His legs pulled him away, dragging him through the grass.
“But I didn’t—”
He yelped again….away from them.
“What’s happening?” asked Sam.
“I have no clue,” Piper told her.”
“The magic on the shoes shouldn’t work like that,” Chris noted. “Unless—”
A glare from Annabeth and Clarisse shut him up before he spoiled anything.
No table to let it go Sadie looked at him strangely. “Unless what?”
Juniper shrieked. Ella held out her claw and let Juniper squeeze it in fear as she covered her eyes. Grover sighed. “I’m fine. This was years ago.”
Percy reached for Grover’s hand but he was going to fast. Annabeth and Percy ran after him. “Untie the shoes!”
Grover unfortunately had no core muscle strength. He couldn’t sit up to try and untie the laces.
“Where are the magic shoes taking Goat-Boy?” asked Tyson.
“No where good,” the Satyr answered darkly.
Nico paled. “You’re right. Thalia move over and make some room.”
“We’re fine,” Percy told him. “We’re over it.”
“We’ll be fine for now. Until we actually get there I’ll be fine with small reminders,” Annabeth agreed.
Now other’s were starting to catch on. Frank paled almost as much as Nico. “How’d you get away?”
Grover grinned. “Satyr secret.”
Grover got faster. They ran as fast as they could. The walls narrowed and they entered a tunnel. “Grover! Hold….to something!”
He was grabbing at the floor. The dirt fell from his fingers. Percy and Annabeth slowed as they saw where the tunnel ended. The tunnel widened into……straight toward the edge. “Come on Percy!” Annabeth sped up again.
“I know…..catch him.”
“Sure, forget about me while I’m about to die,” Grover said.
“Sorry, it’s kind of scary,” Percy told him.
“I know,” Grover said gently.
He was yelling, clawing…..get to him in time. Then it happened. The flying sneakers…..like an anchor.
Everyone sighed in relief. Then several people looked at Grover. Leo was the first to crack. He laughed. “The hooves. You were saved by the hooves.”
“Don’t knock them,” Grover protested.
“Dude,” Magnus told him. “It’s kind of funny.”
“No,” Grover told him. “Not at all.”
“It actually really is,” agreed a giggling Hazel.
“She’s right,” Juniper laughed.
“Sorry man,” Percy grinned. Grover threw someone’s discarded shoe at him. That sent everyone into another fit of laughter. When they calmed down settling back into their seats it started again.
He was ten feet……back up the slope. The other shoe tugged itself off…the chasm to join it’s twin.
“Ow,” Percy rubbed his head. “I could swear it still had some hoof in that shoe.”
That led to another fit of giggles.
Then they all collapsed…..with rocks. Grover was scratched up…..he was terrified. “I don’t know…..didn’t…”
“Percy, this place—”
“I can’t hear anything,” frowned Reyna. “Are you sure it is not fear?”
“No,” Percy replied along with Grover and Annabeth.
“Then why could you hear it before Grover?” asked Apollo. “Satyr’s have better senses than demigods.”
“I don’t know,” Percy frowned. Annabeth seemed to be speculating.
Percy uncapped his sword. The sound stopped. “Magic.”
“I don’t know,” Sadie said. “I suppose.”
“It is,” Hazel told her. “Dark, ancient and horrible magic.”
“That’s terrifying,” Zia said. “Like the voice of the serpent.”
“Or the whispers of Loki and his minions,” Magnus shuddered.
“I don’t really know what either of you are saying but it is,” Frank said. “More than I thought.”
“It’s about just as bad as Gaea,” Piper whispered.
“Scarily,” agreed Jason.
“We have to….of here.” They pulled up Grover and ran. Percy stumbled but got up after a moment. They ran back into Asphodel. The wind died…..gotten away.
“What is that thing?” asked a nervous Blitz.
“Won’t tell us,” Hearth reminded him.
“Not telling,” Percy said.
“See?” Hearth signed to Blitz again. The Svartelf sighed and slumped back in resignation as they waited for the next part to begin.
Chapter 33: Step 3: Anger a god
“You’re not far from the palace,” Hazel told them as the projection collapsed.
“It’ll probably start with us there,” agreed Grover.
“So we get to see Percy anger another god?” Piper said. “And one of the more powerful ones.”
“Yeah. He’s not that bad,” Percy said. “I mean after a few times. Still wouldn’t recommend doing what I did.”
“And what did you do?” asked Reyna. Percy smiled and pointed to the new projection of Hades on his throne forming.
He was at least ten feet tall….be my master.
Percy’s eyes glazed over. He looked down at his hands. Nico groaned. “It’s dad’s aura. It should last only a second with someone like Percy.”
He was right. Percy looked up then snarled, “I hate that feeling.”
“You are brave….of Poseidon.”
“That’s one thing I’d call it,” Thalia said. “Or incredibly stupid and suicidal.”
“Oh, like you wouldn’t have done the same,” Percy shot at her.
She stuck out her tongue as Nico and Jason rolled their eyes in between them. How come the younger ones were more mature? Probably because the older two were under the pressure of a prophecy.
“After what you have done….very foolish.”
“See?” Thalia shouted indignantly. “Hades agrees with me.”
“Almost everyone agrees with you on that,” Clarisse told her. “Prissy’s not known for being smart. That’s why he has Annabeth.”
Percy was too used to this to be offended he just leaned back, planning more revenge on Thalia.
Percy stepped forward. “Lord and Uncle….two requests.”
“Were you just respectful?” Frank sputtered.
“Yeah. Didn’t last long. It’s usually only the first time I meet a god. Only if I like them do I continue being nice,” Percy shrugged.
“He actually handled that surprisingly well,” Apollo said.
“But then he requested something,” Chris said. “The Lord of the dead is already upset. He won’t like that.”
“He’ll put up with it if he’s curious. Especially because he wasn’t expecting Percy to be respectful, just to charge in and fight him,” Nico said.
Hades raised an eyebrow...trying to get out. “Only two requests? Arrogant…..you dead yet.”
“See?” Nico said.
“He said yet,” Jaz pointed out.
“He’s acting strange,” Sam mused. “Like he wants something from Percy as well.”
“What could Hades want from him?” scoffed Leo.
Percy held back a laugh. There was a lot they didn’t know.
Percy stayed silent for a moment. Then Annabeth poked him in the back clearing her throat. Percy continued. “Lord Hades……bad.”
“It would be bad,” repeated Calypso. “I believe that is understating it.”
“It would be bad,” Tyson said. “Not as bad as gods having to fight giants and titans. Still bad.”
“He’s got a point,” Rachel agreed. Calypso didn’t seem to know what to say to that.
“Really bad,” Grover put in.
“Return Zeus’s master bolt…..to Olympus.”
Nico sighed. “Okay, now you’ve got him mad.”
“No, really?” Percy told him.
“Why? If he stole it….” Jason said.
“But he didn’t,” Hazel argued. “He wouldn’t do that.”
“But…” Jason started till Percy covered his mouth and glared at him and Nico.
“Let’s all just watch.”
“You dare keep up….have done?”
“What did he do?” Sadie asked. “I mean besides be born and then breaking that promise.”
“Nothing,” assured Grover. “Percy didn’t do anything.”
“Then why’s this guy so mad at him?” Sadie asked.
“Because he’s powerful. And some other reasons,” Annabeth explained.
Percy glanced back at Grover and Annabeth. They wore equally confused expressions. “Um….Uncle…..have I done?”
“That’s what we’re all wondering,” Alex agreed. “I mean you’ve done some pretty cool stuff but I don’t see why he’s upset.”
“It will get to that,” Percy sighed.
“Can we just move past that and look at the fact Percy called Hades Uncle?” snorted Piper.
Several people erupted into laughter. Percy shrugged. “He is. I don’t call him that but I have. They only get titles when they deserve it. Like my cousins here.” He put his arms around Hazel, Nico and reached to Jason. Thalia shrugged away from the hug shocking his grabbing hand. “Or Aunt Hestia. She told me to call her that instead of Lady,” Percy continued.
“She would,” Apollo commented.
“Yeah. She said it to me too,” Nico said under his breath.
Percy finished speaking over them. “It’s not that weird. So get over it.”
The throne room shook….blocking the exits. “Do you think…..war, godling?”
“Yes,” Reyna said.
“No,” Hazel, Nico, Percy and Annabeth said.
“Either way,” Magnus said. “It wouldn’t be smart to say so and anger him more when the exits are blocked.”
“Yeah, I kind of realized,” Percy told him.
“Kind of one of my jobs to keep the peace,” Magnus shrugged.
“You are the Lord of the Dead……your kingdom, right?”
“Exactly,” Jason said.
“You’re just like your dad,” Percy muttered. “Move Nico before you, Jason and Thalia actually fight.” Percy sat between his Grace cousins and the children of the Underworld.
“A typical thing…..the Asphodel fields?”
“Yeah,” Carter said. “But does that have a lot to do with it? More troops never hurt.”
“It has everything to do with it.”
“Have you any idea…….had to open?”
Percy opened his mouth but Hades kept going. “More security ghouls….but my expenses!”
“They actually have to be paid?” Will gaped.
“It’s a minimum amount,” Nico said. “But we’re not evil.”
“So then maybe he didn’t do it,” Reyna mused. “But then someone still has the master bolt and he is still accusing Percy of something.”
“What though?” asked Sam. “He hasn’t done anything.”
“Yet,” Grover laughed.
“What stupid thing did you say?” asked Rachel.
Percy smirked gesturing with his arm lazily toward the projection.
“You’re an idiot,” Nico groaned. “He doesn’t need one!”
“Can you shut up?” Percy rubbed his face. “I’ve realized how stupid that was. Thanks to your dad’s rant. I don’t need another from you.”
“Don’t get me started on Charon…..for this war.”
“We already have enough to do without a war,” Nico said.
“We?” Walt asked.
“Yeah. I help out. Dad has put me in charge of some things in the past.”
Walt nodded thinking it similar to what he had to do as Anubis’s eye for Osiris.
“But you took…..bolt.”
“He just pretty much told you he didn’t,” Chris pointed out.
“I’m sorry, he was the only option or I had failed my quest.”
“Obviously you didn’t though,” Piper said.
“Doesn’t mean I was right…” Percy said. “Hades didn’t take it.”
“So who did?” asked Jason. He received no answer but he was starting to think he knew where this all led. Not just who was involved beside a certain titan.
“Lies!” Hades stood. “Your father…see his plan.”
“Okay,” Apollo said. “Now I can agree that is ridiculous.”
“Totally, Poseidon’s one of the only gods not always plotting,” agreed Thalia.
“Hey!” Apollo was shut up after Calypso sent him a look.
“You were the thief…..my helmet back!”
Through Hades rant everyone stayed silent absorbing the information. Then suddenly Leo burst out laughing. “Percy couldn’t have taken it.”
“You’re right, he’s hopeless at stealing,” Chris agreed.
“It is the way of the gods to be suspicious of one another,” Reyna noted.
“Yeah, but Percy wasn’t on Olympus. If you watched you could all tell he knew nothing about being a demigod,” Grover said.
“So who took it?” asked Jaz.
“Now there are two things stolen,” Zia reminded her. “What is the helm?”
“It’s my dad’s symbol of power. He can literally become darkness and watch people. It invokes fear among other things,” Nico told her.
“So a lightning bolt with the power of a nuclear bomb and a helmet that can be used to spy and invoke fear,” Alex said. “Powerfully, and super awesome destructive weapons. Probably not good if they’re gone.”
“Not at all,” agreed Apollo. That left everyone in thought.
“But…Lord Hades….missing, too?”
“Do not play innocent……into supporting him?”
“Not blackmailed but convinced into supporting him,” Percy smirked.
Nico chuckled then added, “Him and all the Olympians.”
Everyone looked at them confused.
“I have said nothing….of fear is missing.”
“He’s right,” Annabeth said. “The Olympians wouldn’t have done anything.”
“Hopefully that’s changed,” Percy said. “We’ve tried too at least.”
“So I searched for you…..to stop you.”
“What?” asked Frank confused. “Why wouldn’t he try to stop you?”
“You mean didn’t he try to stop them?” Carter asked. “Monsters and furies and all that.”
“Just watch,” Grover sighed.
“You didn’t try…..But—”
“Return my helmet……army out of Hades.”
Nico and Percy exchanged glances and cracked up. Jason looked at them. “What are we missing?”
“Dad can’t do anything to Percy,” Nico told him. “Trust me, I was there when he tried.”
“What?” Annabeth said.
Percy turned red. “Nothing. You’ll see.”
The skeletal soldiers…..weapons ready. Percy’s face hardened. He looked at Hades and opened his mouth. His eyes were swimming with defiance and though he was twelve and still had baby fat and looked little it was terrifying. “You’re as bad as Zeus…..the Furies after me?”
“That and because your dad broke the oath,” Thalia told him.
“I know,” Percy groaned. “Can we just watch?”
“I had nothing to do with them……my kingdom so easily?”
“Easily?” scoffed Piper. Percy smirked. She had said the same thing he did.
“It was the hardest journey to the underworld I’ve had to take,” he agreed.
“Well that’s because the others were with me,” Nico pointed out.
“So you think,” Percy muttered. Inside he was laughing. Nico was right. He had only gone to the Underworld with Nico after that.
“Wait, how many times have you been to the Underworld?” asked Calypso.
“I don’t know, three or four.”
“So around the same amount of times we’ve been to the land of the dead,” Sadie smirked. “Without being there to visit dad.”
“What?” asked Nico. He wasn’t sure what that meant.
“Remember, we’ll have explanations for other mythology later. I guess that includes Magnus, Carter and Sadie telling us what they’ve been up too,” Annabeth said.
“If we have time. We have to watch all of this stuff. Maybe after, or during it. Might as well with all the disruptions,” Rachel said.
Piper groaned. “I have to take a truth or dare or put money in the jar right?”
“Yeah,” Thalia nodded.
“Jar then,” Piper said pulling out her wallet. Five dollars went into a jaw now labeled Percy.
“Return my property!”
“But I don’t have……came for the master bolt.”
“How did you complete this quest?” Frank asked.
“Which you already…..threaten me!”
“I can threaten you,” Percy said.
Nico snickered again. Thalia groaned. “I’m really starting to hate this private joke of yours.”
“It’s not actually that funny. I mean most of it wasn’t, just scary,” Nico told her.
“True,” Percy agreed. “But we’re cool.”
“But I didn’t!”
Percy’s face fell. His eyes widened as he took it off his shoulder with more effort than before.
“How?” Juniper squeaked.
“Just watch this time June,” Grover told her. “It obviously all worked out.”
Inside was a two-foot-long……..with energy. Annabeth spoke first. “Percy, how—”
“None of us do,” Walt said. “It was obviously a trick. Some magic. But by who?”
“Shush,” Sadie glared at him.
“You heroes…..Where is it?”
“He has it back so you got it somehow,” Nico said.
“Wait…” Apollo said. “This is when…”
“Yes, now don’t spoil it for everyone else,” Annabeth told him.
“Lord Hades…..a mistake.”
“Obviously,” Alex said. “That’s a god. He’s not going to be happy about that.”
“He’s not happy about anything,” Apollo told her.
“A mistake?” Hades roared. The skeletons aimed…..and flicked her whip. “There is no mistake….bargain for her.”
“Aunt Sally!” Thalia cried.
“How’d you get her back?” Piper asked.
“Fought him,” suggested Leo.
“No, he couldn’t have done anything,” Chris said. “Hades would kill him.”
Hades loosed a ball of gold fire….her to death. Percy reached out before pulling back.
“That’s horrible,” Jaz yelled.
“It was,” Percy said softly and sadly. Hazel gave her his hand and he pulled her into a hug. Nico was uncomfortably squashed between them. Will and Jason fell back in laughter at his face.
“Yes. I took her…..that will change.”
“She’s fine. And like I said he won’t threaten her again,” Nico said finally able to breath again.
Percy pulled the pearls out of his pocket looking between them and his mom. “Ah, the pearls……them forth, Percy Jackson.”
Though Percy looked defiant and upset he reached out.
“Can you get her out with them?” asked Juniper.
“You did, didn’t you?” Thalia asked. “That’s how you got out.”
“It’s how I got out,” Percy told her his tone saying the conversation was finished.
“Only three……accept my terms.”
“What happened?” Hazel asked. “He let her go later or something…”
“But Percy wouldn’t leave anyone behind,” Will said.
“If he needed too he would, but he’ll always find a way to save the most people he can,” Leo said remembering his own death.
Percy looked down regretting ever having to make any choices like that with Zoe, Luke, Beckendorf, Bob, Damasen, Bianca, Leo and his mother. All of those people he had left behind to die.
Percy turned to his friends. “We were ….set up.”
“Yes, but….in the pit—”
“I don’t know….to ask.”
“You’re really suicidal,” Magnus looked at him with a new respect.
Sam scoffed. “And you aren’t?”
“Percy….him the bolt.”
“I know that.”
“Leave me….on your mom.”
“No!” Juniper yelled. “You stupid, silly satyr. That’s ridiculous.”
“I’m a satyr Juniper,” Grover smiled. “I made that choice. It’ll explain.”
“I’m a satyr…..the best way.”
“Just because you’ll be a flower doesn’t mean you should die,” Annabeth said.
“Look who’s talking,” Grover said.
“Guys it was an impossible choice,” Percy told them grimly. “I’m just lucky I had friends like you there.”
There was a pause for a moment then Leo spoke up. “I wonder what Coach Hedge would reincarnate as.”
“If they really existed I’d say a whomping willow,” Frank rubbed the back of his head. The seven exchanged glances and then burst into laughter. Several of the Greeks and Romans joined in leaving the confused Egyptians and Norse behind.
“No. You two go on…..to go down fighting.”
“You’re ridiculous,” Clarisse scoffed. “And a hypocrite. This is Hades, you can’t fight him.”
Nico laughed again and it got louder as Percy said, “You can actually.”
“Will you two stop being so cryptic?” requested Will.
“Sorry,” Percy grinned. “No spoilers.”
“It was brave of Annabeth nonetheless,” Reyna noted. “I would expect nothing less from a warrior like her.”
Annabeth nodded in an exchange of respect.
“Stop it….of you!” Percy looked at them both then held out the pearls. “I know what…..take these.”
He pushed pearls into both of their hands. Their faces fell. Grover looked like he wanted to cry. Annabeth was dramatically pale. “But, Percy….”
“You can’t do that!” yelled Jaz.
“Better me than them,” Percy shrugged.
“Not saying that’s what I did,” Percy told her.
He turned to face Sally. “I’m sorry….find a way.”
Hades smile dropped. He looked at Percy confused, “godling?”
“I was right,” Leo said. “Percy does what he can to save the most people he can. No doubt he’ll eventually find a way to save everyone else he left.”
“I’ll try,” Percy said sadly.
“I’ll find your helmet…..pay raise.”
“And you had to go and ruin it,” groaned Piper.
“Hey, I promised,” Percy smirked.
“Do not defy me—”
“Percy kind of defies everything, and everyone,” Rachel said.
“True,” Carter whispered and Sadie nodded hearing it.
Percy ignored him and continued. “And it wouldn’t hurt to play….rubber balls.”
Several people snickered at the image of Hades playing ball with Cerberus.
“Percy Jackson…will not—”
They smashed the pearls at their feet. Nothing happened.
“Destroy them!” Skeletons rushed forward. Furies lunged with flaming whips. Just as the skeletons opened fire…off the ground. Annabeth and Grover followed as bullets sprang off the pearls bubbles. Hades screamed in rage.
“Look up….to crash!”
“Not with that kind of magic,” Zia said. “Whatever enchantment is on those pearls it was quite powerful.”
“I’d really like to be able to do that,” Hazel muttered.
Nearby Hearth was looking at his runestones contemplating.
“How do you….these things?”
“I don’t…you do!”
They screamed and now they were no long rising through the rock but through the water. They were rising to the surface.
“That has got to be one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen,” Magnus muttered. “And I’ve seen a lot of stuff.”
“Yeah, so you keep saying. But I won that bet,” Annabeth reminded him.
“Still, it’s super useful. I wish we could have had that,” Sadie told Carter.
“Would have come in handy the few times Bes almost drowned with us. Actually all of Percy’s powers would,” Carter said.
“There are spells to allow you to breath under water for a few minutes, not more,” Walt reminded them.
“Yeah. Too bad,” Sadie groaned.
“I guess I can take you guys some time with an air bubble,” Percy told them.
“Still, I think that it is powerful and beautiful magic,” Calypso said.
“What belongs to the sea will always return to the sea,” Percy quoted grinning widely. “Can’t stop it.”
“Kind of wish we could have,” Grover groaned.
They exploded on the surface. Percy grabbed Grover and swam him to a life buoy. Then did the same with Annabeth. A shark, a great white, over ten feet long was looking at them.
“That shark doesn’t look as nice or cute as the others,” Piper said nervously.
“The shark will not hurt Percy or his friends. They know who he is,” Tyson assured her. “He will be nice.”
“Beat it,” Percy said.
“Percy will not be nice,” said Tyson said.
“Hey!” Percy nudged him where he was sitting on the floor in front of him. Tyson laughed.
In front of them there was smoke rising. Percy’s face turned even grimmer as he looked toward the shore.
Chapter 34: Seaweed Brains vs. Brawn
“So what now?” asked Jason.
“What do you mean?” Annabeth asked.
“You have the bolt but not the helm. There’s no way to get back by that night for the meeting. Also, you’re stuck in the middle of the ocean, so unless you’ve figured something out the you’re not moving anywhere.”
“Yeah,” Percy said. “Not that big of an issue. Hades caused a pretty big earthquake. We figured it out as you would see if you watched. Actually can we get more snacks? I need water and some popcorn for this.”
“Wait this is it?” Clarisse asked.
“Then popcorn might be good.”
Their requests were answered. People got up and grabbed popcorn bowls to share among their chairs and bean bags. Percy grabbed some blue cherry coke and sat down to fight with Jason and Thalia over the bowl.
“I don’t believe it…..all that way—”
“Wait how’d you get back?” asked Samira.
“Coast guard picked us up. It was a large earthquake.”
“I remember,” Piper whispered Leo looked at her then smirked. He could guess which familiar faces they would be seeing next.
“It was a trick….of Athena.”
“I’m not suggesting that,” he told everyone.
“We realized,” Thalia said hitting him over the head.
“You get it….you?”
“Well, I don’t! Would somebody—”
“Yes please,” nodded Jaz.
“Percy….I’m so sorry….”
“How are you going to get her back?” asked Magnus now somber.
“I said I’m not telling. But she’s back and I’m waiting for a baby sister now so hopefully she’ll stay back,” Percy said.
Magnus nodded now vaguely remembering him referencing helping build a crib before then he blanched. Alex seemed to realize what he was thinking. “She’s having a baby with Gabe?”
“Ugh, no!” Percy pulled a disgusted face. “I’m not telling you anymore than that though.”
“The prophecy was right….and I’ll have caused it.”
“So the god was…” Frank started realizing. “No wonder you hate each other.”
“No wonder Percy hates him. Wait till you see the next part,” Annabeth said taking some more popcorn from the bowl Magnus was holding.
“Oh,” Thalia said. “That’s this.”
“What?” Nico said. Then, “Oh.”
Several others had put it together but other’s were still clueless. “Who?” demanded Leo.
“But who would be……want war that bad?”
That’s when there was a collective oh around the room. Then they looked at Percy. “What are you going to do about that?” asked Hazel.
“You can’t fight a god,” agreed Reyna.
“We’ve fought giants, monsters and titans, what’s the difference?” asked Piper.
“G-ds are powerful, enough to defeat giants and titans. They have powers over things, and while Titans and giants do have powers they don’t have as much over the actual areas while the gods still control them,” Apollo said.
“You can actually fight one,” Carter said. “The Egyptian ones have to have anchors and hosts. Makes them a bit easier to defeat.”
“Makes it possible,” Walt corrected. “It takes the help of other gods, lots of power and training.”
“Same with the Norse. Though it’s more likely the gods will fight the gods and the undead army when they’re summoned to help fight them and mosnters,” Alex said.
“Basically you’re not mortal,” Annabeth said. “Or like a normal demigod.”
“So how are you going too….” Hazel started but was stopped.
“I wasn’t done,” Annabeth said. “You can fight gods. You just need to be smart about it, and powerful. Some of us could probably fight them. Depends on the god too,” Annabeth said. “Demigods also just have more trouble challenging gods than titans and giants because we respect them, or most of us do.”
Everyone got where she was going with this and looked at Percy.
“Gee, let ….think.”
There he was…..turning the sand red.
Sadie looked at her friends. Zia shivered. “Red sands.”
“What’s with that?” asked Frank.
“Red’s the color of evil, nothing grows on red,” Walt explained.
“Hey, kid….supposed to die.”
“You tricked…..and the master bolt.”
“Lord Mars?” Hazel squeaked.
“He’s Ares, not the same,” Percy said.
“Still, that is disconcerting,” Reyna replied.
“We’re not at the end of the story. You need all the facts,” Percy reminded her.
“Well, now, I didn’t steal them…..can run errands.”
“There’s still a spy?” asked Jason.
“Not a spy,” Percy told him.
“Which demigod?” demanded Piper.
“Can’t say that.”
“Who did you...the winter solstice.”
“Sorry,” Percy apologized.
“You’ll pay for it later Jackson. Let’s just get this over with.”
“Doesn’t matter….still looking for this….”
“He took it!” cried out Hazel.
“But that means they found it,” Blitz told her.
“So that’s one thing done. Now you can get it back to Hades. If you can get back and return the bolt in time,” Will said.
“They’ll work it out,” Apollo said. “Now I wanna see this.”
From his pocket he took out…..war helmet.
“The helm of darkness.”
“Exactly. Now where was…….slugfest going.”
“I really think I prefer Mars,” Frank muttered.
“I might,” Clarisse whispered clenching her fist. Frank glanced at her with wide eyes.
“But they’re your family!”
“Since when does that mean anything in the world of gods?” asked Walt.
“It never has,” agreed Samira thinking of her own father.
“No, it does,” Percy disagreed. “Maybe not to some of them but to most of us here it does. And even if you don’t get along with your real family you might make a new one with your friends.”
Alex’s eyes widened as she looked around. Samira reached for her hand. “I might not like my father but you are still my sister,” she whispered.
Percy continued. “Just look how we’re sitting now!”
“Best kind……always say.”
“I really don’t like him,” Jason said.
“None of us do,” Rachel told him.
Chris was sending looks to Clarisse who looked away. She still respected her father, no matter how cruel he was.
“You gave me the backpack….the whole time.”
“I don’t think so,” Carter reasoned. “Or we would have seen it when Annabeth opened the bag before.”
“Or any of you did,” agreed Hazel. “Unless he used the mist or magic to disguise it.”
“Wouldn’t have been able too,” said Annabeth. “Not on a magic item that powerful.”
“Yes and no……..to your pocket, right?”
“Anyway I tinkered with the magic…..still had the weapon.”
“That’s actually smart,” Thalia shook her head trying to see if she was awake.
“No way he came up with that,” agreed Piper.
“So who’s behind it?” asked Jaz. “That’s what you’re saying right?”
“But why not just keep…..send it to Hades?”
Ares got a twitch….inside his head. “Why didn’t I………of fire power….”
“Yeah,” recognized Leo. “He’s under someone’s control.”
“But who’s strong enough to control a god?” Blitz asked.
“I didn’t want the trouble….holding the thing.”
“Sure,” drawled Alex. “That’s what it is.”
“You’re lying……wasn’t your idea, was it?”
“You didn’t order…….is ordering you around.”
“You deducted that?” Nico said surprised.
“He’s surprisingly observant,” Reyna told him.
“And smarter than he seems,” Frank said. “He’s figured out other things on our quest.”
“He just acts stupid,” Nico said. “I know.”
“Dude two of your nicknames are kelp head and seaweed brain,” Jason pointed out. “Deal with it.”
“I am…..orders from no one!”
“That’s a lie,” Apollo chuckled, “Ares will take orders from anyone if they’re on the winning side or they have something over him.”
“What?” spluttered Chris. “He got the…”
“What dreams?” asked Hazel.
“Like the ones you’ve been seeing me have,” Percy told her.
“Who said…..about dreams?”
“Let’s get back……Nothing personal.”
“No, not at all,” Sadie whipped back. “It’s never personal when someone wants to kill you.”
He snapped his fingers….the command to kill. Percy stepped back into the ocean. “Fight me yourself Ares.”
Percy looked at Grover and Thalia. “Why is it always giant pigs?”
“It’s a boar,” Clarisse growled.
She was ignored. Grover chewed a soda can. “I don’t know dude. You don’t have good luck with them.”
“It’s kind of funny after the almost dying part though,” Thalia told him.
“How many giant pigs have you faced?” asked Zia seriously.
“3 maybe four.”
“You’ve only got one talent…..have what it takes.”
“I’m just smarter,” Percy said. “I know when to retreat.”
“Most the time,” Annabeth pointed out.
Percy’s smile fell. “Most the time,” he repeated.
“In your adolescent dreams……not at my level.”
Several people scoffed.
The boar charged. Percy uncapped riptide and side stepped. It’s tusk fell and it looked confused and hurt.
“You really like cutting off horns and tusks,” noted Will.
“It’s not a bad move, not that I’ve used it a lot,” Percy told him.
“We’ll see,” Apollo told him taking Will’s side.
“Wave!” Immediatley, a wave surged up………..swallowed by the sea.
“Yeah, not smart to take on Percy in water,” Carter looked down.
“Not smart to take on Percy anywhere,” Sadie told him. “Though the water seemed to be helpful.”
“Are you going to fight…….behind another pet?”
“Watch it…turn you into—”
“A cockroach…..wouldn’t it?’
“Oh man….into a grease spot.”
“If I lose….have to go away.”
“He’s a god,” Calypso told him. “You have little training and are only a child at that point.”
“Had to try,” Percy pointed out.
“You’re way too overconfident about that,” Piper told him.
“Not really. I’m just a good actor.”
“How would…..classic or modern?”
Percy swung his sword around. Ares snarled. “That’s cool…..classic it is.”
“That’s a sick sword,” muttered Leo.
“I think it’s gaudy,” Rachel said loudly.
“Nah, it’s a nice piece,” Blitz said.
Hearth looked at him and signed a few things about not creating a line of fashionable swords for his shop.
“Percy…..he’s a god.”
“We’ve already established that,” Percy told her.
“In the present. Not the past,” Annabeth reminded him.
“He’s a coward.”
“Wear this….for luck.” She took of her necklace…….around my neck. “Reconciliation….together.”
“That’s so sweet,” squealed Jaz.
“Little Percy’s blushing,” teased Thalia.
“Remind me why it took us dumping you in a lake after a war to kiss?” Clarisse asked.
“Technically…” Annabeth started.
“Hush, those are spoilers,” Percy told her.
“You guys are just adorable. It’s like you’ve always been together. Or at least you were fated to be,” Juniper gushed.
“I wouldn’t doubt it,” Apollo declared. Percy looked at him strangely but then turned back to the projection.
“And take this…..stand behind you.” Percy was given a flattened tin can.
“Grover….what to say.”
Percy put the tin can in his pocket as Grover patted him on the back. Ares was looking at him tauntingly. “You all done….have you got?”
Percy said nothing, but stayed in the water. He looked at Annabeth.
“I’m not as strong physically. But I am smarter than him,” Percy grinned. “And I took my Wise Girl’s advice.”
Annabeth smiled back at him. Several girls cooed.
He cleaved downward ………wasn’t there. Percy was pushed into the air, over Ares, slashing down with gravity. Ares blocked his strike. “Not bad…bad.” He slashed again. Percy jumped out of the water.
“That’s not good,” muttered Sadie.
“Nah,” Frank smiled. “He’s still close enough to the water. And he’s Percy. He’ll be fine.”
Percy tried to get back in but Ares moved forward. He slashed and sliced and Percy used all of his focus to stay out of the way, parrying and blocking. Never able to attack.
Percy stepped inside…..Ares knocked away Riptide and kicked Percy back in the chest. He landed in a sand dune.
“Not at all,” agreed Sadie remembering how it is when cops got involved with myths.
“Wait. This is…” Piper started thinking. Only Leo heard her.
Percy stumbled to his feet. Cops were getting out of their cars. “There officer…see?”
“Looks like that kid….the heck…”
“That guy’s armed…..backup.”
Percy rolled to the side as Ares sword hit the sand where he lied a second ago. He ran to Riptide and swiped at Ares face. He was blocked again. Percy moved back towards the ocean.
“Admit it…..toying with you.”
In the background people were gathering to watch. Annabeth and Grover were at the forefront of it. One other person moved forward only a few inches behind them. Her long brown hair was pulled back in braids. She held a surfboard and was looking as if she saw the whole thing.
“I can’t believe that was you!” Piper yelled.
“You were there?” Annabeth asked.
“Surfing with dad. He wasn’t busy that day.”
“I knew it!” Leo grinned.
“It’s really kind of crazy,” Jason mused. “That you’ve seen half of us at some point in time already.”
“No kidding. I wonder who’ll be next,” Annabeth sighed.
The little girl was pulled back. Spirits moved forward. Several limped to see the action. Satyrs, they could tell. Above them flapped the furies. Percy stepped further into the ocean. Ares striked, the tip of his blade ripped Percy’s sleeve and cut his arm.
“Drop the guns….Now!”
“Guns?” asked Alex.
“Mist. Mortals see what they want to see,” explained Grover.
Their weapons were flickering now from guns to swords. Ares turned to glare……pistols trained on them. “This is…..be gone.”
He swept his hand……behind them scattered, screaming. Ares roared….laughter. “Now…..to the barbeque.”
He slashed. It deflected off Percy’s blade. Percy faked with a feint but was blocked making him stumble. Both were now in the water, Percy to his back, Ares to his thighs. Then the waves stopped splashing them as Percy’s face screwed up with an idea and concentration.
Ares came……too exhausted to go on.
“You’re surrendering?” yelped Sadie.
“It looks like that doesn’t it,” Percy said in amusement.
“So you’re not,” Frank said. “Just coming up with a tactic. It’s…”
“Don’t spoil it,” Percy reminded him.
“It will end now,” Hearth signed.
“Yea, I think so.” Magnus quickly motioned back.
Ares raised his sword…..over Ares on a wave. A six-foot wall of water…….a mouth full of seaweed. The projection paused with Percy hanging over him.
Around him everyone cheered Percy on, applauding, shouting and whistling. One of the louder ones was Leo. “A mouth full of seaweed and saltwater. Perfect touch Percy.”
Percy took a bow leading to more catcalls and giggles. Finally it calmed down so they could all turn to watch the end of the battle.
Percy landed behind him and moved toward hi head. He turned in time to raise his sword…..anticipate the trick. Percy moved stabbing down and Riptide pierced Ares’ heel.
“You just beat the god of war in a fight,” Reyna said after a moment of silence passed. “I would not think it possible.”
“None of us did,” Annabeth said. “But it happened.”
“Percy tends to do the impossible,” Grover brayed in laughter. “You get used to it.”
“I haven’t,” Piper pointed out.
“Because you’ve only known him for a little more than half a year,” Nico told her. “I’m still not immune and I’ve know him since I was ten.”
“If it’s impossible you should be shocked every time he does something,” Sam told that.
“We are,” Jason admitted.
Percy was blushing horribly now as everyone stared. “Can we just finish this?”
“We will. Just don’t forget I can still cream you punk,” Clarisse announced. “For humiliating the Ares cabin.”
Percy just laughed.
Ares roared. The sea moved leaving a circle of sand. In the middle ichor poured from Ares’ foot. He moved toward Percy slowly cursing in greek.
Something stopped him……….fighting was useless. Then it lifted. Ares lowered his sword. “You have made an enemy……beware.”
“That is not good,” cursed Thalia.
“A curse like that could be fatal. Any idea when it could happen?” asked Apollo.
Everyone looked at him. Even Grover and Annabeth who knew about the curse. It was Thalia who asked the question, being faster than them both. “When?”
“You were there actually but probably focused on your own fight. Calypso’s father is hard to beat,” Percy admitted.
Calypso gasped. Several people looked at Percy. Then Jason opened his mouth. “How are you still alive?”
“I ask myself that a lot.”
His body began to glow. “Percy! Don’t watch!”
Percy turned away……Ares was gone.
“Okay, who’s up for dinner before we finish this?” announced a hungry Percy. Slowly every consented before getting up to stretch and eat.
Chapter 35: Returns
Instead of actually eating dinner in the long dining hall like usual they brought their food back to their seats in the now deemed “viewing hall” so they could watch while they ate.
The tide rolled out…..helm of darkness. Percy picked it up and walked to Annabeth and Grover. Before he reached them the Furies landed in front of me. Mrs. Dodds walked forward.
“We saw…..was not you?”
“You said you saw so obviously not,” scoffed Rachel.
Percy threw her the helmet. “Return that…..call off the war.”
“You just…. I mean…. How?” asked a spluttering Frank.
“It was easy. I just opened my mouth and spoke.”
“Which isn’t always easy, or gets you into trouble,” pointed out Chris.
“Which I always almost get back out of.”
“Live well….come into my clutches again….” She cackled before flying away.
Percy looked disappointed. “She didn’t follow through.”
“She didn’t did she?” asked Nico.
“No,” Percy agreed.
Grover brayed. “Stop being so cryptic with your secret underworld adventures!!!”
Percy just threw back his head and laughed.
“Awesome?” asked Alex.
“Heart-stopping?” Jaz argued.
“Stupid,” Thalia put in.
“Brave,” Reyna said.
“No, insane,” Sam told them.
“Why do the girls get the only opinions?” Leo asked before looking to Alex, double checking, who nodded. She was a girl.
“They don’t. He was disturbing,” Jason said. “No offense bro.”
“None taken. Your kind of like that too when fighting.”
“Yeah,” Leo told him.
“And Jason wins the award fro being closest to the correct answer!” announced Leo.
“There’s an award?” Annabeth asked amused.
“Of course,” scoffed Leo.
“Oh, I guess he doesn’t,” Leo corrected.
“Did you guys fell……it was?”
They nodded. “Must’ve been…..Furies overhead.”
“We have to get back…..tonight.”
“Not exactly possible,” Chris told them. “Unless you can travel like a god?”
“I can’t,” Percy said. “There’s other magical methods though. Right Nico?”
“You don’t have methods for shadow travel yet,” Nico pointed out. “And you can’t take Annabeth and Grover by ocean.”
“You guys can’t travel between worlds can you?” asked Blitz.
“What is that?” Hazel asked.
“There’s nine worlds, for different parts of the Norse existence. Traveling between them with gateways can bring you to different locations,” explained Sam.
“No, we can’t,” Annabeth said. “But I wonder if the nine worlds, or the Gap between them are like the duat and mist? That is what it’s called right? The Gap?”
Zia looked contemplative. “It might be. We travel using special places through the duat around the world and into the duat itself during auspicious times.”
“It’s really all beginning to sound like its’ all related,” Carter said.
“Isn’t that why we’re here?” Annabeth asked. “TO figure that out through this Seaweed brain?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Percy said. “Anyway we didn’t travel like that. We used more mortal methods.”
“Fly, like, in an airplane…..than a nuclear bomb?”
“Your actually crazy,” Walt said. “Do you….”
“I had his bolt. He wouldn’t risk it. Too selfish and vain,” Percy announced. “I think about this stuff.”
“You think?” Nico asked.
The scene skipped ahead till Percy walked into the lobby of the Empire State Building.
“What happened?” asked Tyson. “It has skipped?”
“It did,” Percy nodded.
“So how’d you get there?” asked Will.
Annabeth explained how the police told everyone they were abducted by a cult and forced across the country till Percy fought their kidnapper on the beach then money was raised for three plane tickets. Then that Percy promised everyone free appliances from Gabe which made them all cheer and cackle with cruel laughter. That was until they landed where Percy sent them back to camp before going on himself. “That’s how we got here.”
“Six hundredth floor.”
“I need…..with Zeus.”
“What if he was mortal? You would expose yourself?” asked Zia.
“He’s not though, actually I’m not sure what he is,” Percy shook his head.
“You heard me.”
“No appointment……..anyone unannounced.”
“Percy has a way of getting past these things,” Thalia said confidently.
“Oh….an exception.” Percy unzipped the top of his backpack.
“Not what I meant but it’ll work,” Thalia laughed. Jason rolled his eyes at his older sister. Now younger because of immortality.
“Yes, it is……it out and—”
“No! No! Insert this…….elevator with you.”
Percy nodded as he did it. Then pressed the red button with 600 that appeared. The scene fast forwarded with an impatient Percy looking at the numbers flashing from 1 to 600. Stepping out Percy was on a stone walkway. Below him was manhattan.
Thalia paled dramatically. Jason placed his hand on her shoulder and she leaned into him. Percy’s face was just as pale for a small moment before he calmed down feeling how he had all those years ago.
From the top of the clouds rose…….against the snow. Precariously perched gardens……twenty-five hundred years ago. The scene moved forward until Percy was in the throne room. The place made Grand Central Station look like a broom closet…….green light around the tips.
“You look just like your dad,” said Hazel now realizing it for the first time. Though she had always thought Percy looked like a god.
“Yeah, I guess,” Percy replied softly.
“It’s actually kind of scary,” Carter looked at Sadie who resembled their own mother so much. More than he did their dad.
“Really. I’ve never seen a demigod that looked so much like their parent,” admitted Apollo.
“Really?” Percy frowned.
Apollo was frowning too. “Yeah. Kids all inherit some traits. Mine tend to be tan or light haired. Athena’s have the eyes and most the time the blond hair. Ares’ are muscled and beefy. Dionysus’s look like him in his prime in their stature. Hermes got the grins and mischievous eyes. Hephaestus’s tend to be muscled. Except for Leo. He broke the mold. There’s nothing for Aphrodite except beauty. Hades, well it’s dark hair and paleness. I guess Pluto is different though. And Zeus, well then it’s the eyes. You’re an anomaly. In maybe 20 years you’ll look exactly like him if you grow a beard.”
Percy didn’t really know how to process that. Annabeth was writing this all down.
“Father,” Percy knelt at Poseidon’s feet.
“Should you not….first, boy?”
Percy smiled, the feeling of his dad’s presence flashing back at him. Images of memories of things that had happened with his dad, the smile, the hand on his forehead…wait. Hand on his forehead. (These are both from this scene in Percy’s thoughts. I just have thoughts on this)
Percy got up suddenly. Everyone looked at him. “Keep going. I just need to borrow Annabeth for a few seconds.”
On the side a door opened up. Annabeth had a strange look on her face as she followed Percy through. Grover shrugged. “They’ll tell us what this is about eventually.”
“They boy……only right.”
“You still claim him……..sacred oath?”
“Hypocrite,” Thalia declared. “Then again they all are.”
“Hey!” Apollo yelled.
“All except Lady Artemis.”
Apollo pouted more. He hated that his twin had corrupted their half sister.
“I have admitted…….him speak.”
Every demigod in the room winced. It was Clarisse that growled. “A kid is not a mistake. Never.”
Now realizing some of the others nodded. Apollo looked down.
“I have spared him once……for his impudence.”
“And risk destroying……him out, brother.”
“I shall listen…..down from Olympus.”
Everyone was silent watching the interactions.
The scene skipped to Percy taking out the bolt. Zeus opened his palm…..into it. “I sense the boy…..most unlike him.”
“Not really,” Apollo said.
“He is proud….in the family.”
“So true,” said Will, Piper, Thalia, Jason and Nico at once.
“I guess that means us too,” Jason shrugged.
“Not untrue,” Thalia said.
“Let’s just face it, most of you inherited that from our godly parents. It’s horrible and sad,” Rachel announced. “Now moving on….”
“Ares didn’t act alone…..the idea.”
The scene skipped forward again. “Something powerful and evil…..than the gods.”
Poseidon and Zeus looked……in Ancient Greek. Percy paled having caught something. Zeus held up a hand. “We will speak of this……..from it’s metal.”
“Human taint?” Piper asked offended.
“That’s just Zeus. Mostly,” Apollo assured her.
Zeus got up and looked at Percy. His face turned from stern to accepting and almost caring. “You have done……accomplished as much.”
“Did dad just compliment Percy?” Thalia asked seeing Percy had still not returned.
“He did,” Apollo said slowly.
“He hates him though,” frowned Grover.
“I thought he did,” Thalia said.
That’s when Annabeth and Percy came back in sitting on one of the bean bags. Apollo yelled over at Percy. “Dude, what was that with Zeus…just…”
“Zeus said something nice to you,” explained Nico.
“Oh that? I don’t know. It’s weird and I don’t know. When him and Hades don’t want to kill me I think they might actually be chill. Sadly that’s rare.” Everyone looked at him as if he was an alien.
Percy shrugged as the projection moved on.
“I had help…..Annabeth Chase—”
“To show you my thanks……let you live.”
“See? Back to normal. It never last long.”
“I guess,” Thalia said unsurely. Annabeth was scribbling away again.
“Do not presume to fly………your last sensation.” Then he disappeared in a flash of lighting.
“Your uncle…..god of theater.”
Thalia and Jason groaned. “Please no.”
“Sir…..in that pit?”
“You called him sir?” asked Annabeth.
“When I still had respect I did that to all the gods. Now he’s just dad,” Percy whispered to Annabeth.
“Have you not guessed?”
The made a bunch of roman and Greek curses fall out of people’s mouths. Sadie frowned. “The guy that ate his kids?”
“Yeah,” Thalia cursed. “And a lot of other horrible stuff.”
“In the First War…….hungering for power.”
“That’s horrible!” Jaz declared.
“It’s like the serpent,” Zia said grimly.
“Or Loki. Imprisoned but still wanting to take over,” Magnus shivered.
“I guess there’s a lot of similarities with all of us,” Percy shrugged.
“He’s healing…..coming back.”
“From time to time……another thing.”
“That’s what he……said.”
“Lord Zeus has closed discussion…….you need to do.”
“They’re in denial of something so dangerous?” Reyna asked. “That could do much more harm than good.”
“The gods don’t want to think that they aren’t right or that they’re in danger,” Annabeth reasoned. “It’s hubris that’s their weakness.”
Apollo didn’t protest.
“But—” Percy started before stopping himself. “As…..you wish, Father.”
Thalia looked at Percy then started applauding. Grover laughed as Rachel and Will joined in.
“What’s that for?” asked Hazel.
“Percy resisted talking back to a god,” Thalia laughed. “I’ve never seen it but he’s done it to his dad before as well as the others.”
“Not an easy thing,” Percy admitted.
“I would think so,” agreed Calypso.
“See?” Thalia cackled. Percy looked at his cup and then Thalia was splashed with water. She glared at him. He stuck out his tongue.
“I must take some blame……to be restrained.”
Percy smiled. “Not at all.”
Poseidon stood up and held his trident. Then he shrunk to the size of a normal man. “You must go…..mother has returned.”
All around the room applause and cheers broke out. Percy was smiling wide, thinking about her now and how miserable she would be if she knew he was missing. Luckily the fates said they were frozen when he left.
“You will find her……..pays his debts.”
“I can say that at least about Hades,” Percy said grimly. “He keeps his word, bad or good.”
Nico smirked. “Yeah. He does…. Most the time.”
“When you return……..in your room.”
“What package?” asked Carter confused.
“No way,” grinned Piper who realized.
“Yeah,” Percy laughed. “It helped a little.”
“But it was on your bed?” Grover mimed barfing.
“I wish you hadn’t made me think about that.”
“You will understand…..must decide.”
Percy nodded. Then Poseidon continued. “Your mother is a queen……..a thousand years.”
Several girls awed. Everyone was now looking at Percy. There were not many gods still in love with women after they left them. A few exceptions had been Maria Di Angelo, Esperanza Valdez, May Castellan, and Natalie Chase. Their children were all sadly smiling now, thinking about them.
“Still…I am sorry you were born…….anything but tragic.”
“I don’t….Father.” The way he said it showed that he really did. Especially that Poseidon regretted his existence.
“Not yet….on my part.”
“Your dad has no clue how to talk to you,” Carter said. “I am so sorry man.”
“He’s gotten better at it. I have it better than most,” Percy admitted.
“You haven’t always though,” Chris said. “I didn’t realize.”
“How could you? I would be jealous too. I know I’m lucky.”
“Only because you’re so unlucky in other ways,” said Annabeth.
“True. It balances it out.”
“I’ll leave you…….bother you again.”
Percy turned to walk away when Poseidon called his name. Percy turned back to meet Poseidon’s gleaming eyes. “You did well……a true son of the sea god.”
Percy smiled, somehow sad and happy at once. Other’s were looking at him with jealousy and happiness all at once. Then Thalia sighed. “If anyone deserves to have their godly parent talk to them like that it’s you.”
“Thanks, and you do too. But Zeus is just an obtuse jerk.”
In his own mind Jason thought not as much for Jupiter.
Then the scene changed. Percy was at his apartment. Sally opened the door sweeping him into her arms. “Percy! Oh…..my baby.”
Alex, Thalia, Clarisse and Leo snickered.
“I just appeared this morning. Gabe was scared out of this wits. I don’t even remember what happened. But Gabe told me you were wanted and you blew something up? I’ve been so worried. Gabe had to force me to leave. I’ve been gone for a month. Had to make up for all the paychecks I missed,” she said dryly. Percy almost growled.
Percy almost punched something when Annabeth grabbed his hand. His face softened and he leaned into her.
It fast forwarded through Percy explaining everything and seeing Gabe. He was now on his bed with Sally when a package appeared.
Ohs and cheers sounded around the room realizing what was about to happen.
“Mom, do you want….gone?”
“Percy, it….simple. I—”
“Mom, just tell me…..gone or not?”
“Yes, Percy……solve my problems.”
“I can try, or I can help you do it,” Percy muttered.
“You have Percy. You have,” Annabeth reminded him.
“I can do it…..bother you again.”
“Poseidon called you……in a thousand years.”
“You deserve better……get rid of him.”
“You sound…..a wave of his hand.”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“Everything,” Percy said.
“What?” asked Leo. “Why?”
“I can’t explain. But it is.”
“I think you know…reminded me of that.”
“I’ll leave the box…..threatens you…”
“I don’t understand you,” Jason said. “I mean, she…wouldn’t you just help her? Take him yourself?”
“She had to do it herself. She needed too,” Percy sighed. “It wasn’t my choice.”
Everyone rolled their eyes at this.
“Where…you go, Percy?”
“For the summer….forever?”
Sally nodded. The scene skipped again. Percy was walking out the door. Then Gabe called out. “Hey, Sally…..meat loaf, huh?”
“The meat loaf is coming…..meat loaf surprise.” She winked at Percy.
Then everyone cheered. Once they quieted down Percy announced loudly, “Gabe is now in Soho at an Art Gallery. Look up the Poker Player.”
Everyone burst into laughter, happy they had a happy ending. Several of them started to get up for bed.
“It’s not done,” Clarisse growled. “Sit down.”
“What?” Piper asked. “But your returned the bolt and helm and got back your mom.”
Percy didn’t reply. Just looked down grimly. Annabeth sighed. “We’ll get it over with soon. I promise. This is the last thing guys. Then we can go to bed and start the next quest or scenes tomorrow. We still have a lot to go.”
Chapter 36: Parting Ways
AN: Reminder that I wrote some things that Rick just wrote a summary of and that I summarized some things that Rick wrote. This all belongs to him though. Anything that is projected is bolded. Also I’ve been reported apparently and the person did it rudely under a guest identity. I haven’t actually used most of his substance. If it continues to be a problem I have ideas to fix it. I’ve also realized there’s some mistakes in my story so far. I’ll address them later.
Percy had to yell at everyone several more times before they stopped asking him what else was left and what that meant for his quest. It took another 20 minutes for them to quiet then he leaned back against Annabeth and sighed. “Let’s get this over with so I can sleep.”
The scene opened with fireworks exploding in the sky as Annabeth and Percy spread a picnic blanket. They were setting down food and sitting together looking up at the exploding fireworks. Different scenes from myths and demigod history lit up the sky.
“Tell me why it took you almost five years to get together again?” asked Thalia.
“He was oblivious,” Annabeth said.
“She’s kind of stubborn.”
“He had some other people.”
“I thought she was hung up on someone else.”
“You guys are too cute,” Juniper gushed again.
Grover walked up to them and sat on the blanket. He was dressed in…….high-school age. His goatee had gotten thicker……pass as human.
“Wow, how long has it been since the end of your quest?” asked Piper.
“Two and a half almost three weeks. Just finally had the satyr growth spurt I’d been waiting for,” Grover shrugged.
“One hell of a growth spurt. But dwarves aren’t much different,” Blitz hummed.
“I’m off……well, you know.”
Annabeth leaned over to hug him. “Keep those fake feet on.”
Grover assured her he would.
“Where will you look first?”
“Kind of….secret.” Grover blushed. “I wish you could come…….humans and Pan….”
“Not all humans,” Grover amended.
“It’s fine,” Percy told him. “I know.”
“We understand…..for the trip?”
“And you…..reed pipes?”
“Stop nagging him,” Magnus told Annabeth. “It’s annoying enough hearing you do it to me.”
“Sorry, I picked it up from Thalia.”
“I guess. We were on top of you a lot back then,” Thalia said nostalgically.
“Jeez….old mama goat.”
“Annabeth?” Frank chuckled. “I’m not sure that’s the right comparison.”
“She’s nagging like one I mean,” Grover told him. “I meant.”
“It’s annoying when people do that,” Leo grumbled looking at Piper.
“So aggravating,” agreed Sadie glaring at Carter and Jaz. They shrugged.
Hearth looked amused when Blitz was elbowed by Magnus and Sam.
He gripped his walking stick……..from bullies at Yancy Academy. “Well…..me luck.”
Annabeth was given another quick hug and then he put his hand on Percy’s shoulder in a brotherly gesture. Then he headed off.
He turned at….of the woods.
“Wherever you’re going……make good enchiladas.”
The room burst into laughter. “Did they?” asked a chuckling Walt over the snorts and giggles.
“No sadly,” Grover frowned. “Didn’t really have time for that.”
Everything quickly turned somber again.
Grover grinned then disappeared into the trees. Annabeth was tearing up a little but refused to show it. “We’ll see him again.”
Then the scene faded.
“Is that it? That’s the end we needed to see?” asked Jason.
“Disappointingly not,” Percy growled. “There’s a little more.”
“What else could there be? Grover was able to get his license, you got your mom, the things were returned and you found the god that betrayed everyone,” Magnus counted off.
“I didn’t feel like that, though I thought so too. I kept repeating the prophecy to myself,” Percy admitted.
“You suspected something?” Annabeth’s eyes widened.
“Not really but I knew I was missing something.”
“What? I don’t remember the prophecy but you completed it all,” said Piper stubbornly.
“The prophecy,” Rachel gasped. “You shall go west and face the god……..what matters most.”
“Ares betrayed you,” Carter said. “It was completed.”
“You can’t interpret prophecies, or try too. They just come as they are,” Apollo reminded. “Let’s just see what he’s talking about.”
The bonfire was flaming high as Percy sat next to a bunch of the new campers that year. Senior counselors, ones who had been there longest including Annabeth and Luke got up. The Apollo cabin stopped playing and it fell quite.
“The bead ceremony,” grinned Percy. Most people in the room looked confused except the older Camp Half Blood campers and the ones who had been there at the end of last summer when a trireme with a dragon head and sails of orange and purple were painted on beads and given out. That meant Leo, Calypso, the Romans, Egyptians and Norse were trying to figure out what was happening.
“New campers! You’ve finished your first year and summer at camp. It’s been an eventful one. Like always we commemorate the summer and the past year with a bead to add to our necklaces.”
“Oh, this is when you get your necklace,” Jaz said. “I think that’s so cool and cute.”
“How do you even decide what to put on it?” asked Leo.
“The people who have been at camp longest, so senior counselors who have had the position more than a year get together and propose ideas before voting. It’s gotten interesting. After Percy got to camp it became easier to decide what would go on the bead.”
“It’s annoying being reminded of Prissy every time I look at my necklace,” Clarisse grumbled. Chris laughed and put his arm around her. She glared at him which made him hug her closer to her annoyed resignation.
Necklaces made of leather were given to each of the new campers, maybe four e of them including Percy. On it was a bead pitch black with a green trident. Luke continued. “The choice was unanimous……..of the underworld to stop a war!”
Everyone cheered. There were whistles and catcalls. The Camp Half Blood members all looked at their own necklaces, Percy and Annabeth playing with the trident bead on theirs.
In the projection the entire camp was doing the same. Then the whole thing collapsed on them cheering.
“I’m guessing we’re still not finished?” Alex said. “It’s got to close on a little action or cliffhanger.”
“Something like that.”
“Not really,” Percy sighed. There was a lot more pain to come before they even finished this quest.
Chapter 37: Betrayal Stings
Percy walked into the arena where Luke was already training. His gym bag was plopped at the edge of the stage….reducing them to a pile of straw and armor.
Then he stopped standing straight. “Percy.”
“Um, sorry. I just—”
“You don’t need to apologize,” Thalia said before continuing under her breath so only Nico heard. “Not to him.”
“It’s okay…..last-minute practice.”
“Those dummies…..any more.”
“We build….every summer.”
“We do?” asked Nico.
“Yeah, well the Athena, Hephaestus, Apollo and sometimes Hermes cabins do with help from the Satyrs and Naids,” Will explained.
Percy was looking down at Luke’s sword. Luke smirked. “Oh, this? New…..Backbiter.”
“Fitting,” Clarisse snarled as Chris clamped his hand over her mouth.
“I’m an idiot,” Percy groaned to Annabeth.
“You wanted to trust a friend,” Annabeth told him. “Nothing wrong with that.”
“One side is celestial bronze…mortals and immortals both.”
“What?” Reyna yelled. “That is ….”
“It’s wrong,” Leo said. “None of my siblings would make that for him. Not to kill mortals.”
“Maybe it’s for self defense. He wouldn’t actually use it,” Hazel suggested.
“The name of the sword is more disturbing to me,” Zia said.
“Bad,” agreed Hearth.
“This is all just wrong,” Piper squeezed her eyes shut in annoyance and anger. “All of it.”
“I didn’t know….like that.”
“They can but they won’t,” Leo growled.
“Who should? If it’s to harm innocent people no real smith would,” Blitz nodded.
“Bad people make bad things for bad reasons,” said Tyson wisely. “I know who made it. They are not good.”
“Not good. Synonyms: bad or awful or terrible or horrible or evil or..” Ella started before Rachel stopped her.
“That’s enough. Thanks Ella.”
“They probably can’t…..a kind.” He smiled and put the sword away. “Listen….something to fight?”
“Not smart,” Jason shook his head. “This whole thing is wrong.”
“Just take Riptide and run. Or scream and yell,” suggested Carter.
“Get away,” agreed Zia. “He has chaos on him.”
“You think….I mean—”
“Aw, come on…..on me.”
“You’re doomed,” groaned Nico.
“The sugar has got us all tempted,” Thalia admitted.
“Really?” asked Sadie.
“Yeah. Only the Hermes kids can get real sugary six pack sodas into camp. The other stuff isn’t the same. It’s healthy,” explained Percy.
“That’s disgusting,” Sadie stuck out her tongue. “Go for it then.”
“Don’t!” Carter and Magnus warned.
Then the scene skipped ahead. Luke was talking to Percy with an upset and angry look on his face. “I’ve lived at Half-Blood Hill year-round……….have a nice life.”
“That kind of does suck,” Frank said honestly. Being Praetor wasn’t as exciting as it seemed.
“Yeah. Most of us get over it though,” Percy said honestly. “We move on.”
“Luke never was good at that,” Thalia sighed.
He crumbled hic coke can…..centipedes and mud.
Several people gasped, especially the nature supporters and those that had lived at Camp. “He’s dead,” Piper declared. “The Naiads will rip him to shreds.”
“Naiads?” asked Carter.
“Nature spirits, water ones,” Percy said. “They take revenge on any litterer in camp.”
“Now some campers help,” Piper said. “Including me when I was there.”
“I already want to kill this guy, now just even more,” Magnus muttered thinking of a few things Annabeth had told him.
“The heck with laurel…….Big House attic.”
“You make….you’re leaving.”
“I hope he is,” Hazel said. “There’s something wrong about him. A lot.”
“I hope he leaves before something bad happens,” Jaz shivered.
“Oh, I’m leaving……to say good-bye.”
“That really doesn’t sound good,” Sadie said. “He’s going to hurt you or try to, isn’t he?”
Percy didn’t reply.
He snapped his fingers……A scorpion.
Several people cursed. The Egyptians meaning Carter, Zia, Sadie and Jaz mostly. Percy winced along with Will, Annabeth, Clarisse and all the other campers who had been there that summer.
Percy reached for his pen. “I wouldn’t……in sixty seconds.”
“Percy,” Annabeth said in a warning tone.
“I’m fine,” he smiled at her though he was pale. He was thinking the same thing she was. He shouldn’t have survived. These coincidences were becoming too much. It was way more than sixty seconds before the nymphs found him.
“He wants to kill you. He’s the traitor, the theif, isn’t he?” Jason growled. He had seen Thalia’s pictures with Luke. She never talked about him and he had just assumed he had died in the war. This was so much war.
“Yeah,” Thalia’s eyes were storming, swimming with sadness, anger and betrayal all at once.
“But he was so nice to you! He was your friend! He helped you. He was…” Hazel’s voice broke.
“You will be betrayed by one who you call friend,” Ella quoted. “Not Ares.”
“Not Ares,” agreed Frank.
“Luke was not nice to Percy. He tricked him,” Tyson explained.
“Wait, how many of you knew this would happen?” asked Sadie.
Percy, Grover, Annabeth, Clarisse, Tyson, Nico, Thalia, Rachel, Juniper, Chris, Calypso, Will, Apollo and Magnus raised their hands.
“I get you guys knowing, you were at Camp during the war. But Calypso?” Piper asked confused.
“As you know I have met some people in this room before, during the Titan War.”
“What about you Magnus?” asked Carter.
“I made a bet. I lost it,” he shrugged.
“You had no clue what you were stepping into,” Annabeth laughed.
“Not at all. I don’t think I’ll catch up to you for awhile. Especially since you’ve been pulled into some of my stuff.”
“You need to explain that still,” Percy told her.
“I will. Let’s just finish.”
“Luke, what—” Percy started then paused. His eyes widened in shock as he realized that the prophecy was being fulfilled. “You.”
There came a large amount of growls and anger erupting from around the room. Percy held up his hand and silence fell. His presence commanded attention especially when he was feeling some of the things he had then.
Luke stood up. “I saw a lot……they’ve hung on, thanks to us half bloods.”
“That’s supposed to make me……start over with something more honest.”
“Ares is a fool…….you won’t live that long.”
“Thank the gods he was wrong,” Annabeth muttered into Percy’s shoulder. He nodded running his finger across her knuckles.
The scorpion was now on Percy’s leg. “Kronos….you serve.”
“You should…..with names.”
“You’re telling him that?” scoffed Rachel. “Percy feels the need to call out every monster or any enemy on earth.”
“He pretty much sends up a beacon, or screams here I am,” agreed Jason.
“I’ve gotten better!” Percy defended himself.
That was met with a bunch of scoffs. Percy pouted trying to recollect an instance where he had in fact been better with the aforementioned topic.
“Kronos got you……in you dreams.”
“He spoke to you……..should’ve listened.”
“Yeah, I think I made the right choice,” Percy scoffed.
“Did all of you guys have those dreams?” asked Piper remembering how Gaea had come to each of the seven.
“Most of us had at least one. None as bad as his,” Chris said looking at Percy.
“He tends to be worse with the big three kids,” Thalia muttered. Nico and Percy nodded.
“You’re wrong…….he could think up.”
“Is that a bad thing?” asked Frank. “That’s pretty hard.”
“He’s upset and bitter. There was no reasoning,” Annabeth replied sadly.
“That’s not an……did it.”
“That should mean so much,” growled Piper.
“Yeah. Luke didn’t deserve that comparison,” agreed Percy.
“Hercules? Like the Disney movie?” asked Sadie.
Carter rolled his eyes at her. “I’m making you read some books on this later.”
“Exactly…I knew they’d discovered my theft.”
“He did this trying to be original?” asked Magnus. “Because then he’s not really that good at it. In the Norse stories weapons were stolen a lot.”
“I don’t think that’s the point as much as proving himself. He wanted to be better, he was bitter. Probably lacked attention,” Alex said remembering ways she had acted out herself before realizing it wasn’t worth it.
“So why didn’t…to Kronos?”
“I…I got overconfident...before anyone noticed my absence.”
“You summoned……..in the forest.”
None of them gasped all having deduced that themselves.
“We had to make Chiron think……….it worked.”
“Not really necessary. Percy would’ve have been sent on the quest either way,” Grover bleated.
“The flying shoes…….into Tartarus.”
There were gasps at this as some of them realized it for the first time.
“And they would have……..even confused the curse.”
“Goat boy does not mess up everything. Just the bad guys,” Tyson declared. “That is good for us.”
“Very,” Percy said. “Grover’s a hero.” Grover turned red as Juniper nodded and turned to whisper in his ear.
“You should have died…….set things right.”
“That’s not going to work out,” Frank smirked. “Percy will survive anything thrown at him.”
“I wouldn’t say that,” Percy pleaded. “You might jinx it.”
“I think that’s already happened,” Will said. “Frank is right though. It’s kind of scary sometimes.”
“I’m just thankful for it,” Percy shrugged.
“Thalia gave her life……you repay her?”
Everyone turned to look at the glowering Thalia but turned away at her glares. Jason looked at her concerned. She glared back. “I’m fine,” she said shortly. “Just not happy to see how Luke is going to twist this to say I would’ve wanted this.”
“Don’t speak….they will pay for.”
“It was my choice,” Thalia declared with the air now crackling around her. “He knew that. He should have known that.”
“He decided to ignore it. He was upset,” Annabeth shrugged. “Grief does strange things to people.”
Thalia ignored her now glowering. Electricity burned the air and only Jason got close to her as she refused to break and cry.
“You’re being used………to Kronos.”
“I’ve been used…..who serve him.”
Every single person in the room scoffed. By now they all knew when an immortal villain promised something they didn’t usually keep it. Ever.
“Call of the bug…..fight me yourself.”
“Nice try…..quests for me to undertake.”
“Goodbye, Percy…..be part of it.” Luke disappeared in a dark door created by his sword. The scorpion jumped off Percy’s leg.
Percy hit it with his hand and uncapped riptide. As it flew through midair he cut it in half.
Cheers erupted from half the people in the room. It was Zia who alerted them something was wrong muttering in Egyptian. “Your hand.”
Percy nodded wincing. “I’m not going to talk now.” He looked forward at the projection and in hope everyone else did too.
Percy glanced toward his hand then moved toward the water. Nothing happened. He started to stumble through the woods calling weakly for help.
Curses and angry shouts died down when Annabeth yelled at them all to shut up so Percy could just get this over with. He was looking green already and fell back onto her lap. The sounds around him dimmed.
Percy collapsed in the clearing. Two nymphs melted out of the trees and dragged him forward toward a clearing where counselors surrounded him. A conch horn blew then it all went black. The projection collapsed.
Annabeth looked at Percy who was collapsed on her lap. She ran her hand through his hair. He would be fine now. He was unconscious. It shouldn’t hurt too much for him anymore, though he was still greenish and grimacing in sleep.
“Now what?” Hearth signed as they all waited. Was this the end?
Chapter 38: Back Where They Started
It was longer this time before the next part started than with the other times. Annabeth wondered if that was the Fates ideas of a joke, a very cruel one. On her lap Percy groaned as the projection rose and so did he.
Percy was in the infirmary sipping Nectar as his eyes opened. Annabeth dabbed at his head with a washcloth. “Here we…..again.”
“I hope that’s not a usual thing between you two,” Jaz stressed. “Even with healing like Percy’s that’s a lot.”
“No. It’s not thankfully,” Annabeth smirked. “I haven’t had to sit at his sickbed in a while from a near death experience. The Flu is a different story.”
“We agreed not to talk about that,” Percy complained.
“You asked. I never said yes.”
“You idiot……….weren’t for Chiron’s healing….”
“Now, now…….some of the credit.”
“Some being the key word,” Percy said.
“Not really,” Will said. “Take it from someone who’s had to heal all sorts of demigods. You’ve got more endurance than most.”
Percy shrugged though he was thinking what they all were. It was more than sixty seconds before he got to Chiron. It was a lot more than Chiron’s healing.
“Like my insides……then microwaved.”
That’s when the tense atmosphere disappeared and everyone dissolved into fits of laughter. “Man,” Leo commented. “You’ve got some strange descriptions.”
“They work,” Percy told him. Apollo snorted. That was an understatement. Though maybe he could use them in some haiku in the future. After he saved the world and became a god again.
“Apt…….exactly what happened.” Now the scene skipped forward Chiron was wheeled halfway out the door. Percy and Annabeth were looking down grimly.
“I’ll be back…..watch over you.”
That made everyone snort again. That’s all Argus ever did after all.
“Oh, and my dear…they’re here.”
“Who’s here?” Percy asked as Chiron wheeled out. Annabeth looked down. Percy poked her asking again. “What’s wrong?”
“You took his advice?” Magnus raised an eyebrow.
“Prissy gives some surprisingly good advice,” Clarisse answered before Annabeth could in a begrudging manner. Percy beamed.
“That’s an understatement,” Annabeth nodded.
“The topic of the advice is where you have to be wary,” Piper pointed out.
“Otherwise it could lead you somewhere worse than a prank from the Stolls,” agreed Grover.
“I’m not sure whether I should be flattered or insulted,” Percy said.
“Flattered,” Sadie told him with a mischievous grin. Percy donned a matching one nodding. Everyone in the room shivered.
“You just woke up after almost dying and you want to go outside?” asked Walt.
“Why?” asked Carter.
Percy just kept the same scary smirk on his face and didn’t reply.
“Percy, that isn’t…..idea.”
Percy ignored her and slid out of bed. He almost fell to the ground before Annabeth caught him around the torso and slung an arm around her shoulder. Percy looked at her annoyed. “I’m fine.”
“Yeah. I really wasn’t,” he admitted.
“Seaweed brain,” Annabeth said fondly and exasperated at once.
Together they stepped forward outside to the porch. The sun had set and it was dark outside. Together they looked over at the camp. Then Annabeth spoke. “What...going to do?”
“I don’t know,” Percy started then paused. “Chiron probably wants me to stay and train. And I probably should but I don’t think I want to. I don’t think it’s what I should be doing. If I don’t stay you’ll be all alone with Clarisse. SO maybe I should stay,” Percy joked.
Clarisse growled at them both. Percy raised an eyebrow at her and she stopped but kept glaring at them.
“That advice?” Magnus asked. “That you can follow.”
“I’m not that bad at advice,” Percy repeated again.
“You kind of are,” Jason said. “I mean sometimes.”
“You’re not that great either,” Percy told him.
“You’re both equally horrible at times,” Nico told them. “Now shut up.”
Will smirked at him knowing exactly what times Nico was referring too. They had a lot to do with him.
“You mean…..your dad’s?”
She nodded then pointed to Half-Blood Hill where four people stood waiting. “I wrote him…..give it another try.”
“That took guts.”
“I don’t regret it,” Annabeth smiled at Percy. She winked at Magnus then who rolled his eyes.
“You won’t try anything….sending me an Iris-message?”
“Why did I even ask?”
“It’s true,” Annabeth told him. “You’re lucky you had other people watching out of you.” Nearby Tyson beamed.
“I won’t…..don’t have to.”
“That’s an understatement,” Grover brayed. Percy elbowed him.
“He’s right,” Hazel nodded. Then she blushed, “Sorry.”
Percy shook his head. “I’m not arguing.”
“When I get back……do it anyway. Agreed?”
Percy and Annabeth exchanged glances then burst into laughter. It wasn’t long before Clarisse, Grover, Juniper and Will had joined in.
“I’m guessing that’s what happened?” Samira asked.
“Pretty much,” Annabeth confirmed. “Ella, I think that’s another for your list.”
The harpy nodded.
“Sounds like…..of Athena.” They shook hands.
“Take care….your eyes open.”
“You too, Wise Girl.”
“Why don’t we have nicknames like that?” Sadie demanded of Walt.
“I said why don’t we have cute nicknames like that.”
“Do we need them?”
“They might be nice.”
Carter groaned. “You and Walt can work this out later.” He was just hoping she forgot about it by then.
Zia grinned. “I think it’s cute too.”
“Very,” agreed Hazel and Piper.
“Do you have to raise the standards for all of us?” groaned Jason to Percy.
“You have nicknames with Piper. Or she has some for you,” Leo reminded him.
“We can argue this later,” Piper said with a little charmspeak as several boys opened their mouths again.
Percy watched Annabeth run down the hill and hug her father. He looked at the ocean. “I’ll be back….I am your son.”
Percy grinned. “That’s it.”
“Really?” Leo asked.
“I think he’s telling the truth for real this time,” Alex agreed. “It’s good because I’m tired.”
“I guess we can start the next part tomorrow then.”
“The next part?” asked Jaz. “How many are there?”
Everyone shrugged. A piece of paper fluttered down from the ceiling. Percy looked at it. “Each of my quests apparently. Plus some smaller ones and that thing with you two,” he pointed to Carter and Sadie.
“So a lot?” asked Magnus already knowing the answer.
“Yeah,” Annabeth nodded. “But if times frozen it gives us a lot more time to figure out why the fates want us here exactly. Why they want everyone to see Percy’s life. We still have all that research to do on other mythology’s or explaining it to each other.”
Hearth yawned. Blitz nodded. “I’m ready to sleep too.”
Grover let out a yawn as well that sounded a lot like a bray. Percy nodded. “So we’ll all go to bed then. Tomorrow we can take some time to do what you want before we start,” he consoled Annabeth.
She nodded. “Good, because I already have a lot of plans.” Seeing the faces of all the new and old friends across the room she could tell they probably all did. Percy’s grin showed he thought much the same. He raised an eyebrow in a challenge. Annabeth laughed then together they sprinted down the hallway calling names and insults as everyone sleepily followed ready to sleep before another long day of watching Percy’s adventures.