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The Way She Holds Her Dagger

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    Here we go, Annabeth thought from the helm of the Argo II. She watched as New Rome appeared beneath them, sprawling thoughout the valley like an empire. Which of course, Rome was, Annabeth chuckled to herself. She could pick out a few discernible buildings; barracks, the Senate building, temples, and she could even spy hidden gardens nestled between red-roofed structures. I need to get Percy to give me a tour of this place. Annabeth felt her heart flutter as she tried to spot her MIA boyfriend, but they were still so high up. 

    Leo approached Annabeth cautiously, not wanting to stir Athena's daughter out of another happy memory. He had learned the hard way that Annabeth didn't like to be disturbed when she was thinking, but he'd have to risk his head. Annabeth turned around when Leo coughed, and watched him take a step back. She could see Piper and Coach Hedge watching from the wheel, curious about what their leader would do faced with such an enormous threat below them. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Jason staring over the railing at New Rome, like he wanted to jump over and be back there ASAP. They're all giving me so much space, have I really been that short with them?  She was mad and sad and tired, but she was ready to find Percy. "What's up, Admiral Valdez?" she joked. 

     Leo's eyes brightened at the thought of multiple Argos. I don't think I know enough Roman numbers for an entire fleet... He turned his attention to New Rome. "I sent a video-scroll down to them. Hopefully Percy will get the message out not to attack the giant warship floating overhead, and we can come and go in peace." He flashed the peace sign and grinned at Annabeth. "It's your call now, Chase."

     Annabeth thought for a second, then looked around the deck. "Where did you say the ladder was, Valdez?" 


 

    Annabeth dismounted the rope ladder, watching the line of Roman soliders a few meters away. They were trimmed to perfection, not a step out of line. Their standards glinted in the west coast sun, and Annabeth's eyes turned to a winged pegasus that had landed nearby. 

    As she tried to step forward to greet the mysterious rider and their army, a statue suddenly shot up from the ground. The statue looked grumpy, and he started yelling as soon as he made eye contact with Annabeth. The statue would've been more terrifying if he had arms, but Annabeth had learned not to underestimate anything, especially on the West coast. 

    "Landing a warship in New Rome! A Graceus trireme nonetheless! What is your business here, daughter of... Minerva?" The statue turned to Annabeth, waiting for an answer before he blasted her. 

    "You're Terminus, aren't you? The Ro-god of boundries?" Terminus nodded, looking impressed that someone actually knew him. "If you know me, then you must know that I can't let you in the Pomeranian line with that ship, or that dagger." How did he know about my dagger... 

     "I do understand that sir, and I would greatly like to have an audience with your praetor, so can we come to a peaceful conclusion?"

      Terminus thought for a second, his shoulders wiggling like he was trying to scratch his chin. "Well for starters, no warship!"

      "She's not just a warship!" Leo argued, coming to stand next to Annabeth. Terminus looked down at the small Hispanic boy like he was ready to blast him back to the first Rome. "Son of Hephaestus, I admire your craftsmanship, but that ship is a weapon. I cannot let it in the Pomeranian line." 

      "You have an army in there!" Leo protested. Terminus rolled his eyes. "They aren't armed. I would know if they are."

       "Well maybe we can leave our ship anchored here, and our weapons with you for safekeeping while we go talk to the Romans." Piper said, standing on Annabeth's other side. Annabeth's head nodded, agreeing with the charmspeak Piper was trying to weave between her words. Terminus sighed. Suddenly, Jason materialized next to Piper. "Terminus, it's me, Jason Grace. Please let us talk to Reyna."

       Terminus sighed with relief, as if Annabeth was a lost cause. "Of course! I remember you, Praetor Grace, mighty son of Lord Jupiter! You may have your council with Reyna. Oh, by the way, Daughter of Aphrodite,  there was really no need for that. I would've came up with that suggestion by myself. Now, put your warship in park and line up so I can pat you down."


       As the group approached the legion, Annabeth couldn't tear her eyes away from the pegasus' rider to try to look for Percy. She was wearing a purple toga and golden armor that complimented her pegasus' white coat. She had tanned skin that looked like it had spent hours in the sun training, and her black hair ran in a single braid down her back. Annabeth noticed an empty holster where a dagger would've sat, and she sent a silent thank you to Terminus. The dagger would've made the woman look more intimidating, and she already scary enough with an army behind her.

       Suddenly, the rider dismounted, and approached the  visitors with two of her own friends. One of them was a skinny blond boy dressed in a simple toga, but he had a disgusted look on his face. Annabeth could tell he was trying to be intimidating, but the Beanie Babies stuck in his belt weren't helping his image. The boy on the right side of the rider had tousled dark hair, sea green eyes, and a warm smile. He had an orange t-shirt on under a purple toga, and it hurt Annabeth's heart that he looked absolutely at home with the legion.

       Annabeth started towards them, but motioned for the others to stay. The blond boy and rider reached for their nonexistent weapons, but it was clear that her problem was with Percy. Percy opened his arms as if to hug her, but groaned as Annabeth grabbed his wrist and judo-flipped him over her back. She dug his knee into his sternum, and felt tears rushing down her face. 

       "You left me, Seaweed Brain." she whispered hoarsely to his ear. Percy sighed, reaching his hand up to stroke her hair. "Yeah, but I couldn't leave you forever." he kissed her forehead, and motioned for Annabeth to let him up. The blond boy and rider waited along with Leo and Piper, as the reunited couple addressed the crowd. 

      "Legion! These are visitors from the other side of the country-"

      "Who are you then? I know one of you, but I have not had the pleasure of making your acquaintance before." asked the rider. She looked directly at Jason, who avoided her gaze. Her pegasus stomped the ground behind her, and two shining dogs made their way out of the army to stand by her side. Annabeth noticed that one of the dogs was silver, while the other was gold. She coughed politely, waiting for an answer. 

       Annabeth stepped forward, still holding Percy's hand. "This is Piper McLean, daughter of Aph-Venus," Piper smiled innocently and waved at the crowd, "Leo Valdez, son of Vulcan," Leo flashed a smile and a peace sign, "and I'm Annabeth Chase, daughter of Minerva. I think you know Jason." Annabeth was startled to hear the legion break out into whispers, and the blond boy's eyes narrowed even more. 

      "Legion! Attention!" the rider called to the crowd. They settled immediately, and Annabeth could even feel Percy tense next to her. Percy doesn't give in to orders so easily, what happened to him here? Annabeth's eyes traveled along her boyfriend's arm until they stopped at the dark SPQR tattoo. Percy nudged her, and the rider addressed the new visitors. 

       "I am Reyna, Praetor of the Twelth Legion. You are here as guests of Percy, my fellow praetor and son of Neptune." Jason looked at Percy, shocked that he had taken over his old position. "While you are here, please be wary of the families that live in New Rome and our traditions and rules. Welcome to Camp Jupiter. Legion! Dismissed!" The army dispersed except for two figures. One of the soldiers even took Reyna's pegasus for her. 

       "Now that we are alone, we must discuss the reason for your visit." Reyna said. Suddenly, the blond boy beside her shook his head. "You cannot welcome these people here so easily! They must leave-"

       "Octavian," Percy said suddenly. He seemed to radiate courage and confidence like he used to when he led quests. Octavian shot him a death glare, but stayed quiet. Suddenly, Jason approached Reyna, taking Piper's hand and pulling her along. "Reyna, it's been a while since we've seen each other, but can I show Piper around New Rome? I promise we will convene tomorrow morning." Reyna nodded, waving them away with her had. Jason and Piper linked arms as he steered her towards the red-roofed buildings. Annabeth longed to go with them and explore, and she knew Percy wanted to spend time with her. 

        "Can I take Annabeth for a tour Reyna?" Percy asked. Reyna shook her head. "I need to talk to Miss Chase. Percy, please take Hazel and Frank back to the barracks," Reyna gestured to the two figures behind her. Frank looked like a timid ox, but Hazel radiated a mysterious aura that she didn't quite belong at Camp Jupiter. 

        "What about me?" Leo said, bounding forward. Reyna looked at him thoughtfully, like she was about to smile, but gestured to Octavian. "Please take Octavian on a tour of your... impressive warship." Octavian started to protest, but Leo pulled the blond boy towards the rope ladder. Leo might be short, but he was definitely stronger than Octavian.

         "Would you like to take a walk with me?" Reyna asked. She held her arm out to Annabeth, who took it warily as Reyna steered her through New Rome, with the glittering dogs following behind them.  

   

      

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Reyna steered her mysterious visitor through the darkening streets of New Rome. Mothers could be heard, calling their children back home for dinner. A pack of them ran up to Reyna's dogs, and they sat patiently as the children patted their heads. They gave the praetor and her mysterious guest a wide berth, and went back to racing up the cobblestone streets. Reyna allowed herself this moment of peace, listening to faraway cries and howls of animals, and the peaceful sounds of their shoes and her dogs' claws hitting the cobblestones. I'll take her to the Garden of Bacchus. If nothing, it is a beautiful spot to be. 

Reyna turned her gaze to Annabeth. The very thought of this girl existing was shocking, but Reyna could feel something different about their new visitors. They had the same foreign aura about them that Percy had. Her blond hair shone in the streetlamps as she gazed around, staring at the different buildings. Reyna smirked at her fascination with the architecture of New Rome. "We have a college her you can study architecture at, you know." the comment pulled Annabeth out of her trance, and she frowned, curious. 

"New Rome has a college? And families?" Annabeth asked. Reyna nodded. "Demigods are welcome to stay after they leave the legion. A solider may serve ten years, and then they are free to do as they wish." Just one more year for me, Reyna thought. She held out her own tattoo to show Annabeth. Annabeth unconsciously traced the bars and her mother's symbol, either ignoring or not acknowledging the shiver that ran up Reyna's back from the intimate touch. 

"That's the symbol of Bellona, Roman goddess of war?" Reyna nodded. "My mother. She took over many of Athena's duties when the gods were Romanized, so to speak." Annabeth stared at Reyna, shocked. "Yes, I know you are the daughter of a Greek goddess. I know Percy is too."

"How?" Annabeth asked. "Is that why everyone started muttering after I introduced us?"

Reyna shook her head. "I can tell you are Greek because you radiate something so foreign. Percy chaffs under the rules, but he is a good warrior. I sense you are intelligent, but you are also an individual. You personify everything the Romans wanted, but yet you are different." Annabeth looked at the ground, blushing slightly. Reyna pulled her arm to lead her into the Garden of Bacchus. The fountain trickled quietly, and Reyna guided Annabeth to a bench that would provide them with the best views of New Rome as the sun set lower in the sky. 

"Why did everyone mutter though?" Annabeth asked. Reyna sighed. "When the Romans took the Greek's gods, everyone just thought they changed their names, but that wasn't the case. The Roman gods became more harsh, and sometimes more bloodthirsty. The Romans saw no need for Athena, so they turned her into Minvera, a simple goddess of the home, and instead gave Bellona most of her duties."I'm surprised she doesn't know, or doesn't hate me at this point, Reyna thought.

"Minvera, er Athena, was infuriated. She was also mad because the Romans stole the Athena Parthanos, which you must know about." Annabeth nodded, remembering the conversation she had with her mother weeks before. 

Reyna clears her throat after a minute of staring at Annabeth as she stares at New Rome below them. "So, tell me about yourself." Annabeth smiles and launches into her life story. Reyna nods and listens politely, questioning and laughing and gasping where a story requires. Her dogs are laying down by the fountain, and Reyna knows there won't be a need to rely on her dogs' gift tonight; Annabeth is telling the truth. 

The sun is long gone behind the mountains and the coast by the time Annabeth finishes. She sighs, and turns to Reyna. "So, tell me about yourself." she says with a grin. Reyna chuckles, but as she opens her mouth, a loud BOOM rocks the town. Parents poke their heads out doors, and children hide behind their legs. Annabeth and Reyna turn to see the Argo II, launching a volley of flaming projectiles from the ballista. Annabeth turns to Reyna, looking innocent, but Reyna can't hear her stutters with her anger roaring in her ears. Whatever feelings Reyna had formed about Annabeth crumbled with the thought of her town under attack. 

"You betrayed our trust. You betrayed our hospitality. You wanted to distract me from the ship, didn't you?" Reyna growls. She feels herself standing, and her dogs jump stand beside her, barring their fangs but not attacking. 

Annabeth shakes her head. "Honestly Reyna, I didn't know!" Reyna opens her mouth, but looks down at her dogs. Neither of them have given any signal that they know Annabeth is lying. She just had to make it that more complicated. "I believe you, but someone must stop your comrades and someone must pay for this." Reyna storms out of the courtyard, ignoring Annabeth's protests behind her. 


 

Reyna runs to the stables, where a solider is waiting with an armored Scipio. She hops on his back as he gallops for the door, taking flight to meet the ship. The legion has already formed ranks around the ship on the ground. Reyna can see figures on the deck, and some by the ladder on the ground. Her soldiers have surrounded them, but no one is attacking, unless..

"Legion!" Reyna turns to see Octavian dangling on the ladder. "Capture the intruders! They must pay!" No! Octavian! "Legion! Hold! Do not attack!" Reyna bellows as she swoops down to the ground. She spies Annabeth, pulling Jason and Piper through the crowd. Terminus has popped up in several locations, but no one seems to mind him. Percy, Hazel, and Frank are by the bottom of the ladder, trying to coax Octavian down. He climbs down, but all the while yelling at the legion to attack. Reyna shakes her head, and coaxes Scipio up to the deck of the Argo II. 

Reyna really admires the ship, the bronze on the side, the masts, the oars. But she really can't admire it when the ship is firing on her city. To think I could've compromised with that Chase girl is a foolish thought, now that they have attacked our city. She sees some soldiers break away to help the townsfolk, and she sends a silent prayer to her mother that this won't end terribly. Reyna lands on the deck as Annabeth and Percy climb over, and they all turn their attention to Leo, who is calmly loading projectiles into the cannon. Percy knocks him out without a second thought, and Annabeth turns to Reyna. Jason and Piper have climbed over, and Reyna can hear Frank guiding Hazel up the ladder calmly. 

They attacked the city, they must pay. "Which one of you will stand trial?" Reyna asks, calmly drawing her dagger. Jason looks horrified as Percy and Annabeth draw their weapons. Scipio bucks a bit, but Reyna encourages him to stay calm. They can hear Octavian whipping the legion into a frenzy; Reyna knows they wouldn't storm the ladder, but catapults might be brought out soon. "Please, we need to straighten this matter out." She says it calmly, but forcefully enough to impress the urgency of the matter upon them. 

Percy shakes his head and approaches Reyna, sword drawn. Suddenly, Annabeth shoots out her hand to stop him. "Reyna, take me. I have an idea."


Reyna tries to ignore her heart as it beats a million miles an hours. She feels Annabeth's hands tight around her waist to keep from falling. "Stop that," she mutters her heart, but the wind is whipping to hard for Annabeth to hear. Well if she does hear, she doesn't acknowledge it. Scipio dives easily, landing on the ground below the Argo II with a soft thud. The ladder is slowly retreating up to the ship, and Reyna dismounts. Time to play my part, Reyna thinks to herself. She picks Annabeth off of Scipio's back easily, as her hands are tied in front of her. Annabeth rolls her eyes-does she think I'm showing off?- as Octavian steps forward with a triumphant look on his face. 

"Ah! So the witch will pay for what her crew has done!" Some of the legion yell in support, but most stay silent, waiting. 

Reyna sighs as Annabeth unsheathes her dagger, her hands still bound in front of her.

"No," Annabeth says as she cuts her bounds easily. "I'm fighting for our freedom." Everyone looks to Reyna for guidance, but all she does is take out her own dagger. Reyna's Imperial gold dagger is slightly longer than Annabeth's Celestial bronze one, but it is just as deadly.

They begin circling each other, sizing each other up. Even though they are doing this for the benefit of the legion and Octavian, Reyna can't help it as her mind starts analyzing her opponent. She's smart, but not as strong as me. However, she's probably fast.  I  think could take her for real... Reyna thinks to herself. She feigns and strikes, shoving Annabeth and hitting her arm with her dagger. A small cut forms, but Annabeth slices her cheek before Reyna can retreat fast enough. The warriors dance, feigning and shoving and pushing and punching, before Reyna makes her final move. She grabs Annabeth's wrist, flipping her on the ground in the same way she flipped Percy. Annabeth grunts as her back hits the ground and Reyna's heart flutters at the sound. I told you to stop that! Reyna buries her feelings as she moves to place her foot on Annabeth's ribcage.

Suddenly but expectantly, Annabeth lashes out, grabbing Reyna's foot and throwing her down on the ground beside her. Reyna's dagger flies in the air, and Annabeth's dagger lands on her throat. Nice feint, Reyna thinks. She nods at Annabeth, who leans forward to her ear. 

"Thanks for playing along." Annabeth says into her ear. Reyna grabs her arm before she stands up, "The pleasure was all mine." Annabeth smirks and kisses her cheek as a sign of respect-or something more?-, flips her dagger into its sheath, and grabs the rope ladder without a second glance at the Romans. Reyna stays on the ground, pretending to be in shock from her horrible defeat. Once the ship leaves, the legion look to Reyna for orders. 

"Follow them!" Octavian yells. Reyna holds up her hand, and two soldiers come out to help her. She sighs, holding a hand to her rib cage like it's broken. An injured praetor will give them something to fight for. 

"Give them the night. We can start the hunt them tomorrow; ready the eagles.  I need the night to recover, and I want ten warriors well-rested and fed for the hunt tomorrow. Who cares if we give them a head start? I think we want to make this chase interesting, don't you?" Octavian laughs, agreeing with Reyna's feigned cockiness. The legion cheers and disperses, and Reyna walks back to her house in silence. 

She lifts up her armor, inspecting a bruise on her rib cage where Annabeth applied a little too much pressure. Absentmindedly, her hand runs up to graze the cheek that the blond haired girl had kissed. "I'll pin you next time, Chase." Reyna promises to the stars. 

 

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Leo rolled his eyes as he reached for another piece of pizza. The charmed gold plates delivered food directly from Camp Half Blood and normally the food was excellent. However, the events of the past few hours could make even the camp's pizza seem bland. 

"Once more, please."  Annabeth asked. The crew were sitting around the table, listening to the story of how Leo almost destroyed New Rome. "I told you Annabeth. It wasn't me, it was like watching someone else do everything; I couldn't stop it." The pressure of seven sets of eyes and the Coach's baseball bat weren't helping him calm down. He fiddled with the pizza, semi-aware of Annabeth telling the Coach to put out the deck fires that had been put out months ago.

Leo turned as Annabeth knelt next to him, gray eyes as solid as steel. "Did Octavian... control you, or-"

"No!" Leo said, trying to drive out the image of the burning city from his mind. "I want that kid in trouble as much as you guys, but it wasn't him. I swear it." Leo's voice faded, and he listened dumbly to Percy asking Annabeth to check on Jason. She climbed up, leaving Leo alone with Frank and a half cold piece of pizza. 


 

Annabeth flopped into bed that night after a shower. She had left most of the oil and dirt in the shower, but she couldn't help the feeling that her muscles were coated in sticky oil. Leo had been focused on repairing the ship for the most of the flight, which gave him something to distract his thoughts. The rest of the crew was in their bunks, except for Coach Hedge, who was paroling the halls with his trusty baseball bat. Even with the large BANG! coming as Coach Hedge hit the hall with his bat, Annabeth soon fell into a deep sleep. 

"It is the goal of all the children of Athena," Reyna said sadly. They were back in the Garden of Bacchus, watching the sun set over New Rome. Annabeth turned to admire the girl, who had changed from her armor into a simple purple Camp Jupiter shirt and jeans. Annabeth was shocked when Reyna had taken of her armor, revealing tattoos snaking up and down her arms. Annabeth traced the vines and roses absentmindedly as Reyna sighed. "I'm sorry," she said softly. Annabeth turned to the fierce girl, trying to divulge her emotions out of her dark brown eyes. Reyna's arm was pulled away from Annabeth's grasp as she turned to face her. As she leaned in close to Annabeth-

Suddenly, she was in the Senate building in New Rome. There was a gaping hole in the ceiling, and the room was unnaturally quiet. Reyna sat next to an empty chair, with a bandage around her ribs showing under her gold and purple armor. She was playing the part of the wounded leader well, letting Octavian whip the Romans into a frenzy. Octavian ended his speech, and turned to Reyna. She shook her head, as if waking from a dream.  "Send out the eagles." she commanded, and the room cheered. The teenagers stormed out as Reyna walked silently after them, with her dogs at her heels. 

She made her way up the steep hill solemnly. Annabeth floated behind her as she entered a simple marble temple. A patch of dirt was illuminated in sunlight, and Reyna knelt by the pit.

"Mother, I am afraid we are at war. While I shall lead my troops, I shall not draw blood with my own weapon, as we are fighting with friends. I need to make the legion understand we need the Greeks. Help us shed as little blood as possible." With that, Reyna unsheathed her scary knife, and threw it into the pit of dirt, point down. 

Reyna went to leave, but suddenly, her knife appeared at her side again. She looked around bewildered, when her eyes rested on a shimmering figure in the corner of the temple. Reyna knelt quickly, but the figure shook her head. "Rise, my daughter. You need me." The figure approached, revealing a tall muscular woman with full armor. She had her helm under her arm, next to a scary knife that was identical to Reyna's. 

"Why are you here, Mother?" Reyna asked, sheathing her knife. Bellona sighed, gesturing to the knife. "I couldn't let my daughter get into a fight she couldn't fix. I couldn't let her commit to a fight that would tear her apart." Reyna sighed, tracing the leather of her wrist cuff. "I can do this mother. The Argo II will succeed, the giants will fall and Gaea will get put back to sleep in her hole. And Annabeth-"

"Annabeth will be tested with the hardest challenge of the century." Bellona finished. "Will she succeed?" Reyna asked. Bellona smiled, placing her hand on her daughter's shoulder. 

"Just figure out where your alliances lie." Bellona finished, looking directly at Annabeth. 


 

BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! Annabeth sighed as Coach Hedge stomped across the deck. She shook the sleep out of her eyes, with the dream she didn't remember, and fished a fresh pair of shorts and a t-shirt from her bag. Annabeth's room was small, but it seemed smaller with her laptop and plans and maps scattered around the room. Making sure her dagger was strapped to her belt, she stomped up the stairs to rival Hedge's stomping. 

"So, why Kansas again?" Annabeth asked as she got up on deck. Percy grinned, flashing a smile as bright as the sun as he took her in his arms. She allowed herself to relax in his arms as Percy and Jason debated Dionysus vs Bacchus. Leo, Frank, and Hazel came up the stairs, followed by Hedge as he bounded to the helm near Festus. 

"So.... who is going to go down there?" Asked Hazel. Leo piped up, ready to get to work. "The ship still needs repairs, and I need you Annabeth." He turned to the blond girl who was relaxing in Percy's arms. He hated to pull them apart so soon. "I'm sorry, but you're the only other person who can comprehend mechanics. Please" Annabeth nodded, kissing Percy absentmindedly as he promised that he'd be back soon with Jason and Piper.

 

 

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Annabeth's shoulders slumped as soon as Percy, Jason, and Piper were out of sight. Leo had gone back to the helm with Coach Hedge, and Frank and Hazel had gone down to the mess hall. Time for me to take a nap, Annabeth thought. 

As soon as her head hit her pillow, she was out like a light. All too soon though, Leo was calling her up to the main deck. She sighed, trudging up the stairs, but breaking into a sprint when she saw Blackjack with one upright rider and two unconscious ones. 

"What's happened?" Annabeth demanded of Piper as she helped Hazel bring Percy down. Piper sighed as she watched Frank pick Jason up with ease. "Eidolons and Lord Bacchus. It's a long story." Annabeth nodded, understanding that Piper was tired from their experience at Topeka 32. "Mess hall in ten minutes. Coach, can you help us bring these guys to the medical room?" 

Coach Hedge must've been doing something right, because Jason and Percy were up and talking in the mess hall easily within ten minutes. Leo swapped places with Coach Hedge for their meeting, and Percy dug into a large slice of pizza. 

"Sorry for almost killing you back there, bro." Jason said, nodding to Percy.

Percy gave a feeble but whole-hearted laugh. "It's no sweat, I got blasted by your sister once-"

"Yeah but I could've killed you." Jason said, looking sheepishly at the hard wooden table. Percy shook his head. "You? Kill me? In your dreams."

"I would've put up a tough fight-"

"Boys," Annabeth said, rolling her eyes as Frank and Hazel tried not to laugh. "I'm sure you would've been wonderful at killing each other, but can we please talk about what happened with Lord Bacchus?" 

Jason piped up, eager to atone for almost killing her boyfriend. "We talked with Bacchus about these giants... that are hiding Nico. Somewhere underground. He recommended we talk to Phorcys in Atlanta... but that's where things get fuzzy."

"You were possessed by eidolons and fought each other. Percy you got blasted by Jason-"

"Oh I was wondering what the burn marks were from," muttered Leo. 


"Then Jason was knocked out, and then Blackjack came up and knocked you out." Percy looked appalled as he moved to stand. Piper and Annabeth motioned for him to sit.  "Don't look at me like that! He saved your life." Piper said. "That, coincidentally, is what happened to you Leo in New Rome."

Leo's shoulders sagged, looking relieved. "Great! We can just call up Reyna and explain..." he looked at Jason, hopeful for a positive response. Annabeth's heart thudded in her chest, and she growled. "Stop that," she muttered, looking down at her heart. 

"Uhh, Annabeth?" Percy asked, looking at her curiously. In fact, the entire crew was looking at her, as if she was possessed. "Sorry, stomach. Hasn't stopped since last night." Jason accepted this as a logical reason and continued. 

"Reyna won't be so quick to accept. We're traitors, and her home was attacked. The Romans are looking for blood thanks to Octavian, and if she pardons us, he'll rise up against her. He could say she's getting soft and force her into retirement, or worse." Annabeth's heart fluttered again, and she sighed, not wanting her crew to start doubting her any more. 

"Guys, sorry to interrupt, but we have company." Piper said. Frank stood up and walked to the door, but she shook her head. "The eidolons, they're still here."

"How do you know?" Hazel asked. Piper shrugged. "It's complicated, but trust me. Eidolons, raise your hands."

Leo started laughing, but stopped abruptly when his eyes went gold and his hand rose. Jason and Percy's hands rose too, their eyes matching Leo's. 

"Get them out!" Annabeth murmured. Percy laughed next to her, causing her to lean away from him. "We will not leave. Gaea promised us new bodies in exchange for two demigods." 

"You will leave our friends, now." Piper said in a shaky voice. Leo laughed harshly, a sound not fitting for him. "Your words do nothing, daughter Aphrodite."  Frank began to draw his bow as Jason drew his sword. 

"Stop!" Hazel commanded, shaking Piper into focus. Jason growled. "You do not command us, you only command precious stones."  

"Yeah, but my friend Piper commands you, so listen to her!" Hazel nodded at Piper as if to say you're up, we've got your back. Annabeth watched as Piper gave the command, chuckling as Percy got a face full of pizza.

Jason groaned as he sat up. "Ugh, possessed twice in one day. I'm going to get some air." With that, he stood, tugging Piper's hand to follow him to the main deck. Leo followed shortly after, muttering about checking Festus. Frank and Hazel pulled out a deck of cards while Annabeth stood and stretched. "

I'm going to bed," she directed to Percy. He nodded, following her down the hallway to their quarters. While Percy crashed quickly, it took longer for Annabeth to fall asleep. Once she was asleep however, she dreamed quite vividly. 


 

Annabeth looked around inquisitively. She was in a spacious brown building, watching a dark haired figure pet one of four large golden eagles. Two Roman soldiers stood guard by the door, while four more demigods were checking saddles and armor straps for their long journey. 

Annabeth's heart skipped a beat as the dark haired figure turned, recognizing Reyna. Her golden praetor armor was glittering with a just-polished look, her trusty dagger on her hip. Her purple praetor cloak rustled when the eagles flapped their wings impatiently. She stepped back as the four riders mounted their eagles. 

"Remember, your task is to bring them back alive. We will be in the cars for backup on land. If they make to cross the Atlantic, leave them be. They'll be at the mercy of the Mare Nostrum." 

"If they can outrun us, and survive!" One of the riders piped up. The other three chuckled, and Reyna flashed a grim smile. "

Sure you don't want to try it, praetor?" asked an older soldier, who was clearly the leader of the expedition. Reyna laughed, shaking her head.

" You want your praetor alive, don't you? Flying would give me a heart attack. Good luck and SPQR."

The soldiers nodded, urging their mounts out of the building with whoops and cheers. Reyna watched them for a moment, then left the building with her two sentries behind her. She got into one of two dark SUV's, taking the passenger seat of one. Octavian was in the other, gesturing to the eagles and telling the driver to keep a careful eye out. Each SUV was packed with five demigods, one driver, and one commander. Their gear was in the back or on their laps, ready at a moment's notice.

Reyna sighed, taking a simple leather wallet out of her armor. It had a picture of Annabeth in it, sketched by some demigod with a bit of talent. The driver looked over into Reyna's lap at the wallet. "You've been staring at that girl's picture every chance you got, what for? Wanna get another tattoo?"

Reyna gave him a stern look before pulling out six more pictures of the wanted fugitives. Annabeth felt her heart sink, as if she should feel special that Reyna was looking at her picture. "I'm memorizing their faces so I can find them in any disguise. Annabeth is their unofficial leader, so I spend the most time on her picture. The artist got her eyes wrong though..." Reyna's voice trailed off, watching the four golden specks flying above them.


 Annabeth woke sharply, laying in bed for a moment to ponder the dream. She tapped her forehead lightly. "C'mon head, you need to keep working. I can live without feelings, but living without a brain won't do." She rolled over, looking at the glowing alarm clock on her nightstand that read 12:08. After laying in bed for another moment, she decided that she couldn't get back to sleep. Rolling over carefully, she opened her door as softly as she could. Frank's snores could be heard faintly from the other end of the hall, barely masking Coach Hedge's whistling from the deck. When she came to the right door, she opened it slowly, taking in the sight of the teenage boy drooling on his pillow. 

"Percy," she whispered harshly. He shook awake, taking in her appearance with a grin, then a worried look. "Annabeth, you can't be here!" 

"Percy, you're seventeen. Coach Hedge can't boss you around much longer. I couldn't get to sleep, ok? And besides, I just want to go for a walk..." her voice trailed off as Percy started snoring. Rolling her eyes, Annabeth walked back to her room and pulled out her laptop, losing herself in blueprints and ideas for the next six hours.