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26 | Jason before Camp Halfblood –Jason Grace. • 35 | My vision of what WOULD have happened to the Olympians by Kronos - Poseidon the Sea god.

Stories from Camp Halfblood Amy Laine



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Percy To Ride the Pegasi & Confessions Of a Traitor- Silena Beauregard 10 | Who is Your god? 13 | Before the Wilderness Survival School –Piper McLean 17 | A Poem from Apollo about Himself- Apollo god of light and the sun, truth and prophecy, healing, plague, music, poetry etc… 18 | Percy Meet’s the Kane Children –Percy Jackson 21 | 2 Months of Dating and the Night I disappeared- Percy Jackson 26 | Jason before Camp Halfblood –Jason Grace 35 | My vision of what WOULD have happened to the Olympians by Kronos - Poseidon the Sea god 45| Lee’s First Quest Longer Story- not as short as the others 67 | The Lotus Hotel and Casino –Nico di Angelo 76 | Finding My Way to Camp Halfblood-Thalia Grace 93 | House of Hades Beginning –Annabeth Chase 99 | Searching for Pan & Meeting Polyphemus –Grover Underwood 104 | Being With Sammy Valdez –Hazel Levesque 110 | The Curse of the Blue Drachma -Percy Jackson 109 | Translate This  4

| Teaching

I will say I do play favorites Sorry- I like Percy the best so I wrote a lot about him!

A Quick Note from the Author: Just because you’re not a demigod, does not mean you can’t do amazing things like these people. You’re unique and special in better ways then any of these people, because they just have specific talents that don’t separate them from the others (in their cabin). But I still hope you enjoy reading these stories I wrote, just because I’m still waiting for the House of Hades to come out in fall 2013. Enjoy because I loved writing this! Remember though, that none of these stories are in the same time periods. I skip around a lot from story to story, from current to past. (This is all made up, but I wouldn’t call it fanfiction. It is not meant to copyright Rick Riordan!) -Amy Laine Teaching Percy to Ride the Pegasi & Confessions of a Traitor Dear Aphrodite, It has been so hard the past few months. It has been the best, and the worst times at camp. Annabeth and Percy are getting ready for the upcoming war. As are the rest of the campers. Do they know, it’s all set up for failure? I want to tell them, but they would not see my reasons. Charlie has been lovely though! Last night, he made me a mechanical rose that every morning and night shrunk and grew! He’s so clever. I hope he know’s what I’m doing for him. No- scratch that. He would never forgive me, saving one man, in place of the entire Earth. I remember it too clearly. Luke came back last summer. He told me, that he needed my help. I used to like Luke, a lot before Charlie came along. So of course, I told Luke I swore on the River Styx to help him- he said he was in trouble. I remember, though. Luke used to be my friend. It was a mistake that I never want to make again. I wish I had not. Luke gave me a silver bracelet with the mark of Kronos on it. A little scythe dangling from a silver chain. I gasped and tried to give it back. I wanted nothing to do with Kronos and his blood thirsty schemes. But I swore on the River Styx. I agreed finally (I had no choice), and told Luke he could not harm Charlie Beckendorf. Luke’s last words to me before he left were, “Why would I harm Beckendorf? I promise on the River Styx I will not touch the boy. But hear me Silena. He will perish before he ever reaches

College.” And with that, Luke left. He had no army with him, no weapons, but I felt terribly frightened. I can’t think about it though. I’m a traitor…when my camp finds out I won’t be called a hero. I’ll be called the scum under their shoes, and my name will go down in history as a lesson to the little ones, what I became. A monster- the kind that has no fur or claws but is truly evil in the inside. I feel so miserable, mother. I’ll never send this letter to you, for shame, but I want ask you, what is love? As a daughter of Aphrodite I should know. Love is something to occupy us and unite us with the one we love. It is said, “But the greatest of these is LOVE.” But, this? Is this love? I do this for Charlie, but would he be happy if he found out? I don’t know. I have to go now, Percy is waiting for his riding lessons. Think on this, with me mother. Help me. - ❁ Silena Beauregard, Daughter of Aphrodite❀ Silena shut the diary she kept under her pillow and sighed. She stared into the lonely cabin, Drew the second oldest of the Aphrodite Cabin was the only other one in the room. “What’s the matter Sweetie?” Drew asked, spraying perfume daintily into the cabin. The smell blew across the cabin and filled Silena with calm, it was her favorite scent. Sweet Pea and Pineapple Jubilee. Silena tucked the book into her bed, and concealed it cleverly with the folds of her pink mattress. “Nothing Drew. I’m fine. I must go give the Poseidon cabin riding lessons now.” Drew smirked knowingly. “The Poseidon cabin? Silena, there’s only one demigod there. Percy Jackson.” Drew’s eyes softened for a moment, losing their flare. It was a wonder if every girl at Camp Half-blood didn’t have a crush on him. “You know, there are only a few cute boys at this camp- Charles is one of them I guess, but Percy…you’ve been with him too long. Aphrodite would be disgusted how long you’ve stuck with him. It’s time to move on, Percy-” Silena stood up. “Is Annabeth’s boyfriend. Percy is my friend and no more. Charlie will be the only man in my life.” Her voice rang with truth and the thought of Charlie made her sigh with longing to be with him. Drew sat down dejectedly on her bed and began arranging the pillows. “If you say so, Silena. Don’t let me say, ‘I told you so’, when this doesn’t work out.” Silena walked out the cabin briskly proving her authority. The clean Sun greeted her and the warm smell of strawberries and she promptly arranged the flowers on the doorstep just before she left. Silena hated it when things got dirty.

She found Percy by the stables talking to the Pegasi. Pegasi are Pegesus, but the Greek term is Pegasi. She couldn’t hear what Black Jack was saying, but she understood half the conversation from what Percy was retorting. “No, I’m not going on another quest, so stop talking about them!” “Maybe later, but you know sugar isn’t good for horses.” “I know you’re not a normal horse, gods Blackjack, my dad created horses.” “Don’t call me ‘Boss’, anymore, please!” “Who’s behind me? What?” “Hi Percy!” She said, as she crept into the stables. Percy jumped about a foot. “Oh gods Silena! You scared me!” He laughed. His sea green eyes reflected his mood. Silena smiled her pearly white teeth, catching the sunlight. “Well, I have a tendency to be able to sneak up on unsuspecting demigods.” Percy’s grinned and patted Blackjack on his right flank. “I might need to work on my air reverse today. I usually fall off when I try it- I might want to try it in the Battle with Kronos.” Silena thought carefully. “We’ll have to do that over water, in case you fall off, you can break you’re fall.” She led her own Pegasi Porkpie out of the stables. “That’s a tricky maneuver though…are you sure?” She paused a moment. “And who says there will be a battle? Maybe we’ll hold it back, or Kronos will just say, ‘Nevermind’, and go back to Tarturus?” “I wish.” Percy sighed dejectedly, and combed out Blackjack’s mane a little with his fingers. Silena started to saddle up Porkpie when Percy looked up. “Hey Silena, can we try without saddles today? I doubt there will be extra saddles around when we’re fighting for our lives, and besides, I want to see if I can do it.” He blushed for a moment. “I know, it’s kind of stupid. Just a challenge.” Silena raised an eyebrow, but didn’t agree with him. “Are you sure, Jackson? When we’re done here, you’re going to be walking around like a penguin that fell of an ice burg into choppy water.” Percy shrugged. “Yeah, I have a specialty in water, I’ll be fine.” Not five minutes later, the two halfbloods were off, soaring above the lake. Silena yelled to Percy over the wind. “Don’t go straight into an air reverse-It’s

really dangerous-start off with something simple, to practice, and to get Blackjack ready!” Percy waved, to show he acknowledged the command. Silena watched as he swooped down and nearly touched the lakebackwards. She sighed in annoyance. “Percy! That was not a practice move!” “Sorry!” And then he was off, trying out the air reverse. They started the sideways flip just fine, but without a saddle, Percy couldn’t hold on. Blackjack dodged imaginary enemies and Percy’s eyes widened as his grip loosened around the Pegasi’s neck. Blackjack headed over the forest. “Stay over the water!” Silena shrieked desperately but it was too late. The son of Poseidon disappeared from the horse’s back and plummeted to solid ground. Silena closed her eyes. “Porkpie, let’s go!” She lightly kicked her own Pegasi and they were off. Blackjack was hovering above ground whinnying. Silena nodded at him to follow, her stern gaze making him duck his head in obedience. They found Percy hanging from a tree branch by three fingers. He was disparately trying to get a foot hold, but it was impossible. His feet scraped against the bark from the trunk of the tree but he couldn’t get a grip. Not even a son of Zeus could hang in the air too long. Blackjack swooped down, and just as Percy fell he landed on the horse’s black back. Silena cried out in relief. If Chiron ever found out, he would be so mad at her! She might have to go back to being a regular camper (not that she wasn’t only on Thursdays did she do riding lessons.) Silena had the flying horse’s land and she walked over to Percy. His face was sweaty and he looked exhausted. “Whoo!” He sat up almost immediatly. “That was awesome! Let’s do it again!” He pumped his fist into the air, like the troublesome demon he was. Silena, daughter of Aphrodite, smacked him. “Ow!” Percy complained his voice an octave higher than usual. “What was that for?” Silena glared at him. “You could have died you vaca!” (Vaca=idiot.) Percy shrugged obnoxiously. “I’m still here aren’t I?” Silena just got on Porkpie again. “Tell Black Jack to stay over the water, or all he’s getting this month are oats, and the water we use to clean the dishes.” Percy repeated the words to Black Jack. “You shame your kind with those bad words you know. I don’t think even Kronos knows those!”

“She’s in charge Black Jack. Just do what she says.” “Yes you should. And, just stay over the water okay?” “I’ll bring you sugar cubes later.” Silena looked at Percy. “What did he say?” Percy rubbed his chin. “Minus the cuss words? He said, he’s in. Well, for the sugar cubes anyway. And since I’m practically his Lord and Savior and all that.” Silena shrugged, it was as good of an answer she would ever get, and climbed onto her flying horse. Soon, they were over the lake again, and Percy actually succeeded in doing 2 air reverse moves. He dominated the air so well, Silena couldn’t help thinking that Zeus couldn’t do it better himself. An air reverse is basically when the Pegasi dodges the enemy, and keeps doing sideways turns. Like a cylinder in motion. It makes you really dizzy, but Percy didn’t seem to be feeling nauseous at all. The water must have been helping.

All the while, the swordsmen, holds up his weapon and hacks away at the enemy, with the enemy not sure how to slice the other guy open. You can only do this for about a minute or less, because the enemy catches on to what you’re doing and when you come around for slice, off goes you’re head. Silena cringed when Percy told her that. Of course, it was in his words. “Nice image, Percy.” She combed out Porkpie and fed him a handful of oats. Percy shrugged. “I’m just worried about the battle. You seem like you understand though Silena. You’re so calm, as if the battle doesn’t seem to really affect you that much…I mean like….well you’re just so collected.” Percy corrected himself. Silena turned bright red, and looked away. She hoped he couldn’t tell she was hiding something. He continued talking. “I wish I knew who the traitor was. He’s been giving so much information away, telling Luke all our strategies…our borders…why? I mean…doesn’t he like Camp Halfblood anymore? What’s wrong with the camp?” He took a deep breath, and continued. “You don’t know what it’s like Silena, to be hampered by dreams warning you about him- the traitor. I stay awake 24/7- all night, and I have no answers in the morning about the guy.” He turned his gaze on Silena.

“Um…sorry.” He muttered. “It’s just that…I had to tell someone. Annabeth tells me the same thing, and you seemed like you would be the best person to tell.” Silena turned away from him and tears trickled down her eyes. Stop crying you fool! Silena screamed at herself. She wanted to tell him, nothing is wrong with Camp Halfblood! I love this place! It’s the only safe place for people like us! “How do you know it’s a ‘he’?” She asked, her voice not sounding like she was crying at all. Percy tilted his head. “I don’t know. I guess…I just assumed. Sorry, I told you all that. My worries shouldn’t be on your shoulders.” He grinned. Silena turned around, the tears gone. “Well, Percy. Lesson for today is over. I have a lot to do…so….bye?” Her voice came out as a squeak and she cursed herself silently. Don’t sound like what he said affected you! He’ll rat you out to everybody! She straightened her shoulders and pulled her hair down from a ponytail. Percy nodded. “Okay Silena. Thanks. See you around!” He trudged away, and ran into Clarisse. Silena didn’t stay to watch. She heard a lot of shouting and then a little water rained down on her, but she still didn’t glance up even though it wasn’t raining, as she hurried away. Silena raced away and somehow landed in the forest again. She sat down by a tree and started to sob. Water tracks ran from her eyes and she wiped the snot from her face onto her sleeve. It was designer of course, and she immediately regretted not bringing a tissue. Hopefully, the Demeter cabin was doing laundry today. “Worried about what’s coming? Or am I wrong?” Someone’s strong sturdy hands held her by the shoulders. It was so gentle and cute, but Silena didn’t need to see him to know who it was. She knew it was Charlie. She nodded and went into a fit of coughing and crying all at once. Beckendorf sat down beside her. “Hey Silena. It’s all going to turn out great.” When she finally looked up at him, his blonde hair and dirty face, so caring, she erupted with another waterworks show. Luke…him saying, Charlie would never go to College. Which meant… soon? In just another year, Charlie was supposed to go to College. This meant he wasn’t here for long. But, maybe Luke was wrong. How could Luke predict the future anyways? He was no oracle! This gave her hope and she smiled at Charlie. “What brings- brings you out here?” She sniffled loudly. Hesat down beside her. “I was checking the traps…you know for the bronze dragon. I was hoping to have it trapped and

repaired for the war against the Titans.” He shook his head. “Probably not. Speaking of which, it’s dangerous out here, for you to be here…alone.” Silena tucked her brown hair behind her ear. “I’m not alone. You won’t leave. You wouldn’t want me to get hurt would you?” An edge of playfulness crept into her voice. Charlie smiled and made himself comfortable beside her. “You’re a sly one, Silena. I like that about you.” He withdrew his sword and set it beside his left leg. “If that dragon attacks, it’s not my fault.” Silena laid her head down on his chest despite that he was wearing armor. “I’m not afraid. You would protect me.” Silena wasn’t sure how long they stayed there, talked, and just sat. She didn’t care. “Well Charlie. I guess I’ve delayed you, huh?” Beckendorf stood up and pulled her up too. “No, you’re right on time.” He smiled and pulled her close. It was the best kiss for a girl who’s troubled by being a traitor to her camp. It made the world seem right for once. Balance. Silena smiled. “I love you Charlie.” Then she gave him one last peck on the cheek before dashing into the trees, back to Camp Halfblood. As a daughter of Aphrodite, it shouldn’t have been hard to get a nice relationship going. But…she felt like if she stood there too long, Charlie would have known something was up. But, tonight nothing would ruin her mood. What could go wrong? Who Is Your god? So far, you’ve only read one story. But you can’t anymore- not without figuring out who you resemble, or are born from. Not all half bloods are claimed, and you might just be a grandson/granddaughter of a demigod. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t related to them. Circle the letter you think describes you the best and in the end, let’s just hope…you’re not a related to Hades. Don’t mind the numbers; those are just the number’s you need to know how many of the same number you got…(CONFUSING! I KNOW I TRIED SORRY) 1) You would rather fight with/by: a) Lightning 1 b) sword/high tech/ weapon 4 c) water 2

d) bow and arrows 3 e) talking it out 5 f) revenge/magic 6 g) stay out of the fight 7 h) you need a battle strategy 8 i) killing everything in your path 9 2) Your favorite myths are: a) b) c) d) e) f)

Roman 4,8,9 Egyptian 5,6,2 Norse 6 Greek 1 American Indian 6 (again),3 None of the above 7

3) You would like to live: a) b) c) d) e) f) g)

In the ocean 2 In the sky 1 Deep underground/cave 9 Regular house 7,3 Enchanted tree/house/palace/mansion 6 Battle Planning Station 8,4 Pretty house with flowers 5

4) Your favorite thing to do: a) Fish/swim 2 b) Sky dive/fly 1 c) Plant/Look pretty 5 d) Hunt 3 e) Pull pranks/ do magic tricks 6 f) Figure out the best way to take your enemies down 8 g) Kill 9 h) Make stuff/ fight 4 i) Regular stuff 7 5) Your IQ: Don’t lie! The Olympians hear and see all- with the help of Apollo! a) Middle 9, 5, 7, 3 b) Depends on the location/time 2,1,6 c) way above average 8 d) I don’t think. I just do e) War is the answer! 4 What number’s you mostly got (count how many numbers)

Mostly 1’s: You’re related to Zeus, Lord of the Sky. You love to be in charge, and feel safest in the air. You’re either Greek or Roman. That depends on the test below. Mostly 2’s: You’re related to Poseidon, god of the Sea/Ocean. You’re independent, and don’t like to be told what to do. You feel safest near water. You’re either Greek or Roman. That depends on the test below. Mostly 3’s: You’re closest to Artemis, goddess of the hunt. Artemis is a maiden, sworn never to marry, she has no children, but has many people much like her. You love to hunt, and feel safest on land. It might be Apollo as well, but they’re twins so it still relates. You’re either Greek or Roman. That depends on the test below. Mostly 4’s: You’re related to Hephaestus or Ares. The god of war…well you would feel best fighting any place, anytime. If it’s Hephaestus then you love to build, and don’t like to talk much. You feel safest alone. You’re either Greek or Roman. That depends on the test below. Mostly 5’s: You’re either related to Demeter or Aphrodite. You’re stunningly beautiful/handsome if you’re related to Aphrodite. You love to look you’re best, and everything must be neat & organized. If you’re a descendant of Demeter, then you love to grow or plant things. You have a ‘green thumb’ and you have a hard time trusting people. You’re either Greek or Roman. That depends on the test below. Mostly 6’s: You’re either related to Hermes (god of thieves, travelers, merchants) or Hecate (goddess of magic…good and evil).. Hermes: You love to steal and you’re good at it. You always get good bargains when you buy something. Clever. Hecate: You love to do magic tricks and fooling friends/family. Deadly to your enemies. You’re either Greek or Roman. That depends on the test below. Mostly 7’s: You’re mostly likely closest to Hera (queen of the gods) or…Dionysus the god of wine…and also he’s relaxed and stays out of the way. You like regular things, and aren’t really good at something’s or really bad at others. You’re either Greek or Roman. That depends on the test below. Mostly 8’s: You’re a daughter/son of Athena. Goddess of battle strategy and wisdom. Your IQ is way above average, and you almost always have a way to go over or around an obstacle. You’re either Greek or Roman. That depends on the test below. Mostly 9’s: You’re from Hades himself. The god of the underworld, ruler of the dead and controller of all riches underground. Which means, you’re probably either rich or have a thing for money. You also, love underground places, and death doesn’t scare you at all. You’re either Greek or Roman. That depends on the test below. I’m not saying all this is completely accurate, but it should describe you fairly well. Now, here’s the Greek or Roman 2 question test: 1) You like Zeus or Jupiter better. Same person, different names a) Zeus

b) Jupiter 2) You would rather go to Camp Jupiter or Camp Halfblood: a) Camp Halfblood b) Camp Jupiter Well, if you said all A’s: You’re Greek. If you said all B’s: You’re Roman Before the Wilderness Survival School

Before the Wilderness Survival School, I must have been pretty bad. Otherwise my father, wouldn’t have sent me there. Actually, looking back on it, it wasn’t my dad at all. It was Jane- the ugly, nosy assistant my dad has. Oh right. My dad is Tristan McLean. Before you go and faint, I’ll have you know, I never wanted anything with his wealth. I’m happy for him, really. But he’s always so busy with his movies. So many movies and not enough time for me, maybe? Everyone will always remember him as King of Sparta, and I’ll remember him as the King of movies the kind that loves their children, but honestly, they're a distraction to them. Every day my dad told me he loved me before he went to work, but really it felt like: TO DO LIST: ☐ Say to Piper “I love you” ‘Checked off his To Do list.’ I could hardly blame him though. I didn’t even want to be around ME. Dad tried to get me out into the world. He’d buy me whatever I wanted, and if I asked, my own magazine I bet…small price for the Lord of Actors. (No not literally). But…I always felt like he was never really there. I loved the days we would spend time together, just us. No stupid camera’s shoved into our faces. Those times never lasted long though. And whenever we did, I always thought of dad trying to give me everything. But, I know what he was thinking. “Stop being a freak! As my daughter you need to be cool, so I don’t look bad, hon!” It was bad enough with Jane around. She always wanted to send me away: boarding school, working (hello! Why would I work?), camps, intern (I’m only 16), and even jail. Okay, I admit. The last one wasn’t without reason. It’s not my fault. Not really. Moment of truth: I steal things. But not exactly! I mean…all I do is ask for

things and the people give them to me. Later, they seem to realize what they did and call the police or something. I remember first doing it too my teacher in fourth grade. We were taking a really hard math test- division, and I just didn’t feel like doing it. So I raised my hand and asked Mrs. Burns if I could have the Answer Key. She looked at me and blinked. I asked again, thinking maybe she didn’t hear me. She nodded, “Yes you can have the Answer Key.” I was a little surprised but I didn’t say anything. Actually, I think I may have said, “Hurry up lady!” and she seemed to run to her desk, as if she was an Olympic racer doing the 100 meter dash. Mrs. Burns ran over to her desk, shifted a couple papers, scattered a few sticky notes and then came back and handed me a paper that said: Division for Beginners Test 1A Answer Key I took it without hesitation and copied down all the answers. Mrs. Burns just watched me, her jaw opening and closing, like she wanted to say something but couldn’t figure out how to say it. Needless to say, I got an A+ on the test, and the rest of my friends barely got above c-. (Mrs. Burns was always one to grade a test right away- it probably didn’t take long for her anyways…little kid division problems? Easy!) Not long after I got home, doing my ‘Let’s do Nouns!’ Worksheet my dad got a call. Well, that wasn’t irregular or anything but he wasn’t talking in his normal business voice. He sounded concerned. So I tip toed over to the door of his office and opened up the cellar which is not far away. There’s a hole in the wall of dad’s office, big enough for an eyeball to look through. I spied on my dad a lot in this place. “I just don’t think Piper would do that.” My dad said, making hand gestures to himself. Silence for a moment. Then my father spoke again. “Piper wouldn’t do that just for a math test.” His voice grew, until it seemed almost as if he would attack whoever was on the other line. Not that he could. Of course, I knew who it was. Mrs. Burns. Was she calling about my math test? Why? She’d given me the Answer Key! I blinked, but kept watching Tristan McLean. “I understand, but I still don’t think she’s capable of…video tape you say?” The famous McLean had sweat on his forehead and his teeth were clenched.

More silence, Mrs. Burns must be making up some fakey story about me. I clench my fists, wishing Mrs. Burns were here so I could give her a piece of my mind! Dad nods again. “Send me the video. Now.” He boots up his computer while talking. A couple minutes later, Dad clicks up his inbox and opens a message. I can’t tell what it’s labeled but I know. It’s a ‘video’ of me stealing I bet. Well, she’ll have to have my missing twin that doesn’t exist, if she want’s to pull this off. The video has a girl that look’s like me. But that’s impossible! I raise my hand in class. “Mrs. Burns? Can I have the Answer Key?” Oooh this is going to be good. Mrs. Burns shakes her head. “No! Why would you ask that?” It shows Mrs. Burns going into the hall with a troubled student, and then me standing up and going over to her desk. That is so not right, is all I could think. And instead of Mrs. Burns shuffling through papers, it shows me. I grab up one paper and then return to my seat just as the teacher comes in. I get an A+ on the test and I show all my friends- that part is accurate at least. None of the other students even look up as I ‘steal’ the test answer key. I don’t know how that happened. That didn’t happen! I’m in panic. What if dad actually DOES think I would do that?! Dad hangs up, a few minutes later and then calls me into his office. “Piper?” He shouts down the hall. I pop up around the corner. “Here.” I saw meekly. Tristan McLean takes me onto his lap and asks about the video. I decline everything. Well except that I asked for the Answer Key and the part where I showed all my friends. “Honest dad.” I say holding his hand. “All I did was ask for it, and she gave it too me!” Father shook his head. “But the video…” I jump off his lap and shout at him. “I’m telling you the truth! I don’t know how they made that video but I promise daddy!” I ended up being sent to bed for over reacting but I didn’t care. All I cared about was that Mrs. Burns was wrong, and somehow she’d framed me.

When I got to Camp Halfblood I learned that what concealed the truth was the Mist. The Mist was a thing that blinds the mortals (and their camera’s apparently) from seeing anything- anything but the truth anyways, about who we are. After that, my dad looked at me differently. He treated me a little different, I know not why. I was only 8 at the time- and 7 years later, it was no different. In between the time when I was 8 and 15 (I’m 16 now) I stole plenty of things. Just to get his attention, to get him to love me. Notice me. I stole perfume, iPod’s, and eventually the bigger stuff. The bigger the things I stole, the longer my dad would talk to me. He took me to counselor’s, to people who ‘wanted to help’. I swear, one of those times when my dad had to run somewhere, and left me alone with a counselor…well there was one guy who only had one eye- in the middle of his face. He kept saying, “Die halfblood girl. Eat blood.” While I tried to explain why I stole the lawn mower. Eventually, after about 5 minutes of him repeating the same thing, I got up to leave. Now, being a 12 year old girl when you suddenly realize the guy behind you isn’t human, of course I freaked out. He made this weird rumbling sound and said, “Me want daughter of Aphro-“He never finished his sentence. I watched in horror as he stopped midstep and burst into a cloud of perfume and was gone. How did that happen? I had no idea. I’m a daughter of ‘Aphro?’ I wondered. Who’s that? I was too freaked out to tell anyone what happened. Who would I tell? Jane? Phhht! No way. Dad- the busy, famous, handsome movie star? Like he had time for that. I didn’t have friends. The only number’s on my ugly flip phone was dad and Jane- not that I even called Jane. Oh yeah, and the police. Pretty exciting. (Don’t ask about my phone, He wanted to get me an iPhone but I pointed at the ugliest phone I could find.) All the things I stole, grew bigger and bigger in cost. Dad paid them with a wave of his hand, and also paid the people I ‘stole’ from, a small fortune to keep them from telling the press. Jane pestered dad all the time to get rid of me. The only thing holding him back from a successful career, as she put it. As I saw it, he had a fine career and judging from the mansion I lived in, had no problem with costs. Just a week before Summer Break started, Jane finally convinced dad to make me go to a Wilderness Survival School. I really didn’t want to go. She knew why, and told me if I didn’t tell dad what I did, she would…I was at a car selling lot. I convinced the dealer to give me the car…and I just drove it away. A BMW.

The dealer pressed a bunch of charges against me, probably from embarrassment. It was his fault…Jane arranged for me to go to the stupid Survival School instead of Jail, but I’m sure she didn’t care which I went too. I remembered the talk we had, right before I left. We went out onto the beach…we watched a surfer dude take a spill. Dad and I always played this game called, “Any Three Questions” which is supposed to make us closer, or something. You have to answer the questions truthfully. Dad started, but I really wasn’t listening. I cut him off. I had to tell him today, about the BMW. And about what I wanted, so he would listen to me. Maybe he could sign some pictures of himself for the car dealer, and I’d be free of going to the school/jail. Before Jane asked anyways. “Dad, just listen for once. Don’t make me wait for you to ask your stupid three questions. I want to go to a regular school. I want you to take me to parents’ night, not Jane. Or home school me! I learned so much when we read about Greece together. We could do that all the time! We could…” (The Greece thing was for when my dad had a role in a movie, and I helped him. I actually felt like we bonded then…) And that’s when the car’s showed up. “Dad!” I scream. Our day on the beach was ruined. I was labeled a thief and a liar. He let’s me go. I won’t go into detail. It was too hard, to think about then… even now. I was sent to the Survival School and made friends with Jason and Leo. But…later I found out that Jason had never actually been there. Him kissing me on the rooftops during a meteor shower, the pranks we used to get back on Leo…they never happened. It still bugs me…but maybe, what had been could still be a reality? I don’t know. I learned how to use my power’s at Camp Halfblood and, as I think back on this: I’m on board the Argo II hovering over Camp Jupiter. Where Jason is from. The Roman Camp- and of course, the god of boundaries is here. Annabeth look’s worried. I better help her…What will happen here? Nothing good ever crosses a demigods path…wish me luck. I grab Katoptris from my side and walk up to Terminus god of boundaries. A Poem from Apollo about Himself Two poems from Apollo the god of…well let the first Poem explain everything to you.

Apollo: The Most Awesome god Ever! I am the god of… Light! The thing you puny mortals use to see! Sun! Something that keeps your precious Earth to keep going! Truth! Because no one likes a liar!!! *Looks at you imploringly*

Prophecy! Well duh the Oracle is too cool! Green mist? Loving it! Healing! Without me, you would still have that cut from when you stick the scissors into your cheek when you were two! Plague! Well…all I can say is good stuff comes with a price! Yuck. Music! iHeart Radio? My idea, completely. Pandora? Yup. Poetry! What does this look like to you??? The best poem ever (duh). Why Apollo is Way Cool Rhyming I’m not just a twin like Artemis If you think that there’s a lot you’ve missed Listen real close when I tell you my list You won’t see most my brilliant actions because of the Mist Forget Artemis and her Hunters- let them be dissed I am so much cooler ladies- give me a kiss (???) Spending time with Apollo is sheer bliss! Percy Meet’s the Kane Children I sat alone in Cabin Three. I was exhausted from another day in the woods. Annabeth had taken me in there to slay some monsters and we had gotten ambushed by Mrs. O'Leary and Nico-just another day at camp. For once I understood what Annabeth felt like before she went with me on the quest to save the bolt. She trained every day all day just hoping for a little adventure or some excitement. One summer had past since our fight with Kronos. I was nearing the end of my first ever boring year at camp. I couldn't stand it. I walked out of my cabin and into the Pegasus stables. Blackjack was in there eating out of a pail of oats. "Hey Blackjack." I said. Blackjack whinnied and said in my head. "Yo, boss! What happened? Why didn't we go anywhere this summer?" "Well, now is our chance for some adventure before I have to leave. Besides, we still have a full week left…” I sighed opening Blackjacks gate. "No way! You really mean it boss?" Blackjack asked. "Of course." I said. I led Blackjack out of the stables and got on his back. "Come on." I whispered into his ear. Blackjack took off into the sky. We circled a couple times before leaving. We flew toward Manhattan at first and circled the empire state building. It felt so good to fly with Blackjack again. Then we flew towards Brooklyn. I don't know why. It just felt right. A voice in the back of my mind said that I would find adventure there. We flew over Brooklyn when there was a sudden jolt. Like a blast or a force field out of no where. Well, this should be interesting. Blackjack fell through the air. I did the only thing I could at the moment, I screamed my head off. I think my voice was an octave higher than usual- embarrassing. We spiraled through the air until we landed with a sickening thud on the roof of a warehouse. No it wasn't a warehouse it looked like a mansion built on top of a warehouse. I

staggered to my feet and then collapsed next to Blackjack. Ouch that really hurt! We were both breathing hard. Then I heard voices below me, then the pounding of feet up stairs. Oh hurray, company. A boy appeared in the dim light of the setting sun. He was around my age, with curly brown hair and brown eyes. He stared at me for a moment then disappeared into the stairwell. Two female voices started to ague with the boy. One was an adult the other a girl maybe thirteen. Then a girl appeared. She had blonde hair with purple streaks in her hair. She wore combat boots and a leather jacket. She looked around twelve, thirteen maybe. I stared at her, and then grabbed my pen. This wasn't right. I could feel power emanating from this girl, Strong harsh power. I shuddered involuntarily. There was something about her that made me think that I wasn't supposed to be here. That this wasn’t right. A voice in my head said, run! And then the little devil on my older shoulder said, these are the secrets the Olympians keep from you. Watch as the story unfolds. Wait and watch. Naturally I did what the red little guy said. "Come inside." She said. She had an English accent; it was an order not an invitation. I did the smart thing. I followed her to the stairwell and climbed down it. At the bottom were the boy I had seen earlier and a young woman in a leopard print jumpsuit. She and Mr. D would go perfect together. I thought. The three of them led me down a hall and down a flight of stairs. They took me out onto a terrace were a bunch of kids sat eating and drinking. There was a pool on the terrace with a…a…was that an albino crocodile? Great they were going to feed me to a crocodile. I was about to make up some excuse like, “I just had a really bad bathroom day, I wouldn’t taste that good,” or, “I’m actually a crocodile in disguise! I’m the crocodile god…it’s a sin to feed me to a regular croc.” I had a feeling they had already met the crocodile god for some reason. I’m out of ideas. "Show us your djed." The girl said holding out her hand. I stared at her blankly. I said something really intelligent like, "Ummm.” The girl rolled her eyes. "Your amulet? Your calling card?" I could sense the irritation coming from her. Not good if I made the 13 year old mad. She seemed powerful. I stared at her blankly like what? The girl sighed with agitation. "I give up." She says. "Where am I?" I ask. All the kids at the table laugh. "Seriously," I tried hard to keep from blushing. I’d dealt with people like this before: bullies, or mean kids who thought the other person was stupid. And I wasn’t. Not exactly. “I have no idea where I am." They laugh/snort even harder. The boy from earlier came up to me. "You are the blood of the pharaohs aren't you?" He asked me in confusion. "What the heck is that?" I asked. Blood of the pharaohs-Egypt? Tell me I’m crazy (please), but I think I’m staring at some Egyptian demigods.

"Look I was out on my Pegasi for a late night fly when we crashed into an invisible something and landed on your roof." I offered. "So that's the flying creature I keep seeing flying around Manhattan." The boy said thoughtfully. Wait a minute." He said his eyes turned cold and sharp. "Your Pegasus is on the roof?" He asked. "Yeah, what’s wrong with that? Pegasi actually in Greek BTW. Would you like him to be on the ground with the scared pedestrians all screaming and waving their hands in the air with terror?” I grin, because the idea is so funny and ridiculous. He stamped his foot and said something in a different language Egyptian maybe? Sounded like some harsh cussing there even though I don’t speak ‘E’. A few of the younger kids at the table gasped as if he just said something really bad. "He will scare Freak." He said in English. "Who?" I asked getting even more confused then before. What was a freak? Blackjack was not a freak! He stormed off the terrace and back the way we came. I stared at the kids around the table who had gone back to eating, But now in silence. I looked at the lady who I had thought would be the perfect match for Mr. D. She stared back unblinking. "Where am I?" I asked. "Brooklyn house." She said simply as if it all made sense now. And of course, it didn’t. A house named Brooklyn House. Nice. "And who are you?" I asked. "Honestly, for a magician you certainly know

very little. I am Bast, The goddess of cats." "Magician?" I asked. “Don’t you mean half-blood?” She shook her head. “Explain yourself.” "I’m not a magician I’m a demigod a son of Poseidon.” I said for the last time. Bast rolls her eyes. “Oh please. You wouldn't be able to enter Brooklyn house if you weren't a magician." She states easily. I was beginning to feel uneasy. “I crashed." I said again. “I didn’t come here willingly.” "Sit." She was all she said. “Eat something. You'll need your strength for tomorrow's training." Training? “Training? What training?” I demand. “I have training.” Bast sat me down at the end of the table, Next to a boy that looked around my age as well. “What can you do?” I scratch my head. “Swordplay- I excel at that, or so says my Report Card. Lava Wall Climbing, I suck at archery, Pegasus Riding, I can control the water pretty well and-” A kid smiles. “You control water already! Great!”

"Walt?" Bast said. "Will you tell our new trainee the basics?" The boy named Walt nodded. He had the build of an Ares camper and wore a back shirt and black jeans. He wore tons of necklaces around his neck. "Hi." He says to me. "My name is Walt Stone." "Percy Jackson." I nod and hold out a hand to shake. Walt didn't take it. I take my hand back. What was wrong with these people? “What’s your name?” I ask putting the question out there. “Carter Kane. That’s my sister Sadie.” He points at the girl who yelled at me. I sigh and look down at the plate that Bast set in front of me. It had a tortilla on it with some chicken and cheese. I wasn't hungry, I had eaten at camp. “I’m not Egyptian.” I tell them. “I’m Greek.” They might as well know, because they aren’t going unheard about at Camp Half-blood anyways. I planned to find out what was going on here, before I left to tell Chiron. I wondered if he knew about this carnival act. But hey, maybe I’d finally found an adventure after all. 

2 Months of Dating and the Night I disappeared

Annabeth and I had never said out loud that we were dating. But everyone kind of figured, and it wasn’t until the night I asked her if she wanted to have dinner on the pier with me, that I realized I was asking her out to a date. I should have known I guess. I mean, with all the kissing action and the Aphrodite cabin betting on whether we would kiss or not (it’s pretty annoying) and then the Hephaestus cabin always putting bombs in my room that exploded and said with silly string words on my wall, “2 months of dating!” That’s when it hit me. It was our 2 month anniversary, and Annabeth would kill me if I’d forgotten. And, of course I had! I leaped out of bed and raced toward the Camp Store. There had to be something good in there, right? I tore through the racks, pulling clothing off the walls and digging through the weapons rack. Nothing that Annabeth would like. I sighed and walked away with the store a mess. Someone would clean it up- most likely the first person who got in trouble. AKA Me.

I stopped by the Hephaestus cabin and asked them if they had anything cool for Annabeth. “Dude!” One guy asked me, his face covered with grime. “Your forgot you’re girlfriends anniversary! Oh, Annabeth is going to KILL you!” Jake Mason shoved him aside. “Not helping, man.” I look desperately at Jake. He seem’s to take the cue. He leads me by the arm into their weapons area. “She needs a new weapon? That knife might be getting tired of her…or vice versa.” Jake laughs, his eyes crinkling. I shake my head and laugh. “Nah, she’s tight with it. You know, because Luke gave it…” Jake Mason frowns for a moment. “Hey Percy. Luke was a hero in the end, and Annabeth likes you now. Not him. Okay?” I nod. “Yeah…yeah I knew that. I’m not worried about it.” I lie. Sometimes, I do think that Annabeth wishes Luke were here. I mean, she did say to his face that he was like her brother, not someone she loved. But still. Jake took me to the secret area that only the people in the cabin knew about. “Um…Percy? Could you wait out here…while I go in? You know…top secret for a millennia so…yeah.” “Yeah, that’s cool.” I wait outside the door, twiddling my thumbs. It takes Jake maybe….5 minutes? I’m sitting by the door when he comes out. He finds that I’ve made a few punches in the wall, and I’ve chased the little metal cat they have around a few rounds. Yeah, for an ADHD kid, I can do a lot in five minutes. Jake presents to me: the book of knowledge. It’s basically a thought transmitter. Anything Annabeth know’s, will go into the book and if she forgets its right there. I thought that was wicked cool. “Can I try it?” I plead. Jake Mason thinks on it. “Percy, it can only have one owner…we could find something else for Annabeth if you want the book instead.” “What? No!” I cry, waving my hands in front of me. I would never do that to Annabeth. “I just wanted to try it out, but not that much.” I scrunch my nose for emphasis. Jake laughs. “Hey dude, I was just kidding! I knew what you’re response would be- you can try it. It won’t harm anything.” I think about when I first came to Camp Halfblood and when I open the book, sure enough there’s a (freaky) picture of me, drinking ambrosia and a little story to go with it. There are other pictures too. Annabeth wiping my forehead with a cloth, playing pinochle with Mr. D. That seem’s like a long time ago now. I was amazed. “Will it stay here, if I close the book?” Jake nods. “Yup. If you want it too. You can erase stuff in the book by thoughts but you’re mind will always have the memory- no matter how long ago it was. Oh and I won’t try to

explain how it works to you exactly, but it like blue tooth’s or syncs your mind with the book.” Jake takes the book back. “And the best part?” He taps the first page. I realize it’s a screen, not a page. A dock shows a bunch of apps. “Apps, games, music- it’s like a demigod iPod!” He grins like it’s totally cool. Which it is. I hand Jake a handful of golden drachmas. “Thanks.” Jake stares at the drachmas. “Percy, this was a gift. You don’t have to pay.” I shake my head. “I would feel better if I did.” And I took off, with the book under my arm. I find Annabeth talking to Drew from the Aphrodite cabin, in the lunch area. I know, I know. I shouldn’t listen, I should continue moving. But I begin to eavesdrop on them. Besides, what is Annabeth doing with Drew? “I wonder what Percy got me for our 2 month anniversary?” She asks. Drew laughs. “Something amazing, just like you deserve!” Annabeth looks up. “Are you sure? I mean…what if…it’s just a book?” Drew frowns. “I thought you liked books.” (No kidding. So did I.)Annabeth puts her head in her hands. “I know, but I have so many of them. I love books to the bottom of my heart and all, but it doesn’t seem like something…really breath taking. You know, like Percy. He’s too good to just get a book.” She straightens up her back a little. “It’s not like the gift matters…what matter’s is that I have the perfect guy.” I hope she never finds out that I heard her call me ‘The Perfect Guy’. I stifle the urge to laugh and run away, like I would have when I was 12. Drew put’s her hands on her hips, her black hair tangling up in the wind. “Did you see him at a bookstore or something? And the gift totally matters!” “No.” I can’t tell if that is ‘No” I didn’t see him at a bookstore or ‘No’ the gift doesn’t matter. Maybe both. “Then stop worrying about it!” Drew smiles. “You will no longer worry about the gift.” Her words are forceful. Annabeth looks calm for a moment and then she get’s a little angry. “Don’t charmspeak me!” Drew apologizes and says she was just trying to help.

Then Annabeth looks at the floor again and whispers so quietly that I almost fall over trying to hear her, “I didn’t see him go shopping at all. Do you think he…forgot our anniversary?” Drew gasps. “No way, Percy never forget’s important dates He’s too smart for that.” I walk away before they see me. I sit down on a log outside my cabin. I put the book on my lap and stare at it. She doesn’t like books. But this book is special. I remind myself. It’s still a book. I decide to go with my gut and stick with the book. If she doesn’t like it, I’ll just say, “Ha! You should have seen the look on your face- to think you would like this? I pre-ordered something, but it’s not here yet. Sorry.” No, she would never buy that. It was weird, Drew and Annabeth talking about me. I still haven’t grasped onto the whole dating thing yet. Annabeth looked so…fragile. She’s never been like that. Annabeth: Calm, collected, strategist, wise, smart, cute, daughter of Athena, brave, pretty (where did that come from?), the only girl I like. (That was gross too.) Did I see the word ‘fragile’ in there? No. Maybe, there were something’s I didn’t know about my own girlfriend. Okay, maybe we can just stick to saying Annabeth instead of girlfriend. What? I also feel bad though, because I DID forget our anniversary. I can never let her know that though. I flip open the book and a video or something of Annabeth and Drew talking pops up. I touch the screen and two options show up. ‘Save as Favorite’ definitely not, and ‘Delete permanently.’ Which option do you think I chose?

I couldn’t get them out of my head anyways. I went into my cabin and under my bed I found some wrapping paper and a bag from when it was my birthday. It would have to do. I stuffed the book into the bag- it was a little too big for it, but I made it work. After that I got out some markers and went to work coloring tissue. Blue, green, pink and red. There, they looked sort of like tissue paper right? Who am I kidding? They looked awful, but I put them in the bag. I wrote a big

“Happy Anniversary Annabeth!”

On the bag. Or at least I think that’s what I wrote. Being dyslexic I had no idea. I did know that I could spell her name, so that part was at least correct. Annabeth was just knocking on my cabin door when I opened it up. Her hand knocked me on the skull and I stumbled backwards. “Ow,” I rubbed my forehead. “Oh gods Percy!” She helped me sit down on the log outside my cabin. “I’m sorry.” Her hands feel good, like she lotion them. She let’s go of me, but I grab her hands again. Not for the lotion (maybe partially) but to tell her about her gift. “It’s our 2 month anniversary, you know.” I said grinning. Annabeth nods. “Yes?” I pull the bag out from behind my back. She tears into it and pulls out the book. She looks so disappointed. “A… a…b-book, Percy?” I nod, trying not to notice her expression. “Yeah, you love books.” She nods sullenly. “Yep, I’m Annabeth. The one who loves books.” She opens it up, and looks at me surprised. “It’s empty.” I shrug. “Think of something.” She closes the book and opens it again. This time the page is filled with Annabeth and I at the location of the Sirens. I’m holding her, and then it shows her, Luke, and her parents all in her newly built Manhattan. That was her fatal flaw- thinking she could make everything better, fix everything. That was what the Siren’s showed her. A paragraph was written below. “Percy,” She breathed. “That’s amazing!” She hugs me, until I think my ribs are breaking. I explained how it worked and she kept opening and closing it and staring at her memories and battle strategies she forgot when she was little. “I’d love to try these out in Capture the Flag.” She murmurs. I grin. “I hope I’m on your team then.” The day goes well. We don’t yell at each other every two seconds and I end the day by kissing her in the lunch area. “Don’t ever think I would forget our anniversary, okay?” I say as I leave her there. She doesn’t have time to yell at me for spying. She’s too happy. She smiles as I leave, and little does she know: I am too. I enter my cabin, sleepy and tired. I’m about to take off my shirt and crawl into bed when I have this sense, I’m not alone. My back straightens up and I whip around, pulling summoning Riptide from pen, to sword at the same time. Nothing.

I shake my head, and tell myself, Stop being an idiot! Stop imaging stuff. I turn back towards my bed and pick up a picture of Annabeth from when we were just 13 years old. She look’s so happy. The picture is a complete replica of the one a bully at my old (older) school I went too, tore up. I wish I had a recent picture. Maybe, tomorrow. Suddenly, my knee’s crumple underneath me and the bedroom is spinning around me. And then- blackness. Jason before Camp Halfblood I poked my feet out from under the covers. It was going to be cold today, exactly 38 degree’s Fahrenheit. How did I know that? Because, being the son of Jupiter I could tell everything in the sky, from weather to stars, and such. December is my least favorite month, I remind myself. I climbed the rest of the way out of bed and quickly lit a fire in the hearth. All the other members of the 5th cohort were scattered around me. Dakota, Hazel, Bobby and Gwendolyn. Their cohort was small, but I had a feeling that was going to change soon. Besides, everybody knew it was because Michael Varus had thought he could complete the Great Prophecy early, and defeat the monster in the land beyond the gods- Alaska. Octavian warned him it was too early, but Michael went anyways and all the people who went with him either died or went insane. I was glad I hadn’t gone. I’d wanted too so bad- but Reyna told me that Michael already had more people going with him than the rule allowed. Reyna was the praetor and since Michael Varus was going he could only take so many campers with him. He promised me as he left, “Next time okay?” Like I was seven years old. It still made me both angry and sad when I thought about Michael. No one knew exactly what killed him but one of the gone-insane Campers announced that he was indeed deceased. Now I am praetor with Reyna, the second one in history of the fifth cohort. (The first was Michael Varus). Everyone knew that Octavian the augur wanted to be praetor though. He blackmailed people into promising to vote for him, when Reyna or I died. I never wanted to be praetor, but I stepped into the Elections when I hear what Octavian was doing- no way could that skinny, devious Romaios Ilithios be praetor- so with the help of my friends and the homeless fauns rooting for me, I came through by a landslide.

Roman Ilithios means ‘Roman Idiot’, commonly used by Greeks more than the Romans themselves…for obvious reasons.) Things went fairly smoothly. I found out a lot the girls had taken interest in me, but there was no time for dating at Camp Jupiter. Activities to do, chores, and tasks. Being praetor, all those things doubled and sometimes I felt like spending the entire day in the Bath House. It was always the best way to get you awake and ready for battle, or if you had wounds you just needed a soak in the Bath House for a little while. They would heal you almost until you couldn’t feel any pain. Same, if you needed just to get away and be renewed with strength. We would pray to Neptune in thanks for the water, but Roman’s fear the water. Back in Old Rome Neptune sank many of our boats and sent hurricanes. The last hurricane had destroyed our old camp, forcing us to move here, in California to build a new camp. I wasn’t here then, but the older centurions say it was even better than the camp we have now. And for me, that’s hard to imagine. I head to the dining hall for breakfast. The aurae are busy at work, giving the legions their favorite foods. Aurae are like wind spirits, and they work in the dining hall. They stay invisible once in a while, and if you see one beside you, it means it likes you. I’ve only seen one in my lifetime and it’s hard to tell, but based from the other cohort’s they dress in white. They carry plates, and supply all our food- but if you stand up without notice you may be beheaded by some silverware and a delicious cut of steak. ( (It happened to me once. Steak juice is not something you want on your toga.) I got a glass of orange juice, bacon, black berry jam on my toast and an over easy egg. Exactly, the way I like it. I breathed in the food and took a huge bite. Dakota arrived first, carrying a red flask of Kool Aid. “Morning,” I said without looking up. Dakota muttered something like ‘hello’, except it sounded like, ‘fgullo’. I decided to take it as a compliment. You could never tell what he was really trying to portray- it was better not to ask. We ate in mostly silence, serious things on our minds. Last night I had just heard Octavian’s “Prophecy” and it still bothered me. I was awake all night trying to figure it out.

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call To storm or fire, the world must fall An oath to keep with a final breath, And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death Normally, I don’t believe any of the centaur dung Octavian tells anybody, but this? This sounded more serious…greater than New Rome even. I didn’t do a great job of deciphering the prophecy, but here’s what I came up with. Seven demigods do something for somebody. A son of Neptune or Jupiter= Storm most likely The fire? Could be anything really, anyone could go to the store and ask for a lighter and some matches Out of those choices, the world is going to go down. (Sad.) A promise somebody makes and dies doing it. And something about Doors of Death- like, from Pluto or something. I know real clever right? But that’s what I came up with. I planned to tell Reyna when we had our scheduled meeting today at noon. I could round of some demigods and we’d all go down to Temple Hill to pray to the gods about it. Unless Reyna had more sense than I did (and she usually did), and vetoed my ideas. Hazel came to sit with us-she arrived at camp about two and a half weeks ago. Her spatha hung by her side, half out of its sheathe, as if she had just used it. Her brown hair looked like a bird made a nest in it, and then died. Her gold eyes reflected with fear. Totally, unlike the Hazel Levesque I know. *A spatha is a Roman cavalry sword, mostly used when fighting with horses. Highly looked down on with Rome.

I leaned forward across the table as she sat down. (I almost knocked over my glass of OJ in the process.) “Okay, what’s up?” I ask, deadly serious. Or, at least I hoped I sounded serious. She should know better then to hide stuff from me. I’m the son of Jupiter- no one hides things from the Lord of the Sky. She looks up. “What? Oh…um…nothing Jason. I’m good.” Hazel looks around and signals an aurae to say she’s decided what she wants to eat. I raise my eyebrow but say nothing. You don’t get information if you push too hard. Finally, Hazel sighs. She beckons me to sit closer to her, so I make Dakota scoot down and I lean beside Hazel.

“Jason…you know how…I’m not from around here right?” She says this like she’s scared I’ll run away screaming if I hear the truth. I nod. “Yeah, you’re from New Orleans right?” Hazel swallows uncomfortably. “Yeah…that’s...Er part of the truth anyways.” I tilt my head. Before I have a chance to ask what that means, a girl from the third cohort get’s beaned with somebody’s Egg McMuffin. It’s not uncommon, lot’s of people do, but not normally so hard. “Jeez, she took quite a header.” Dakota grins at us, with a permanently stained red mouth. The girl is rushed out of the room and to the infirmary. It should only be a minor headache, I tell myself. It happens all the time… I look back at Hazel. She’s avoiding my eyes. “You were saying?” I prompted. “Today’s my birthday.” She stated simply. Oh gods, is it really? “It is?” I ask oblivious. “When were you born? What day is today anyways?” “December 17, 1928.” Hazel is poking at her sausage. I grin, “Hey that’s cool. I should run down and see if we can get a proper…ceremony going onwait. Hang on a minute.” Something is wrong. “What year did you say, you were born again?” I really hoped I hadn’t heard that right. Hazel shoved a huge bite of pancake into her mouth. “Thiwelteen thegty aeite.” I have no idea, what she was trying to communicate with that, but I knew what she said earlier- I just hoped that wasn’t what she said. 1928? I repeat this slowly to my golden eyed friend. She nods miserably. The first thing I say to her is, “Shouldn’t you be dead then?” And that just causes a whole lot of sobbing. Way to play that smooth. I curse myself. It takes almost five minutes to calm her down. “That-that’s what I was afraid you would say…” She sniffs. Well, I’m sorry.

“I told one other person.” “You told other people?” I ask incredulously. This I don’t think people would say, “Aww…you poor thing,” Like her cat died. More of, “AH! Get out of my sight! Don’t kill me!” Hazel shakes her head. “Well…actually only one other person. And he kind of found out by himself. My brother.” I have to search my memory to remember who her brother is. Skinny, pale and an Aviator jacket. Nico di Angelo. He was the creepiest and unsettling demigod I have ever met. And don’t get me started on his sword. Stygian Iron I think it’s called. If he hits you with it, you’re soul’s essence gets sucked into it like a vacuum cleaner. Very scary. He’s a son of Pluto, just like Hazel…but for some reason the room always feels unsafe with him around. Never with Hazel- she’s so positive and full of (good) energy. “So…” I chose my words carefully, “If you only got here last month…are you immortal?” I curse my stupid questions, when Hazel glares at me. “Really Lightning Boy?” She snarls. “Do I look immortal to you?” I take one glance at her shabby hair, ripped jeans and weary eyes and decide she’s not. I’m about to scream at her for calling me ‘Lightning Boy’ again when she wipes the tears from her eyes. And begins her story. It took the rest of the time eating breakfast for her to tell me the entire version. So, Hazel was a kid from way back when. Her mom actually was a crazy lady that a bunch of villagers thought was a witch. Her mom was called Queen Marie- but she wasn’t actually a queen. Hazel had a curse because her mom asked Pluto for anything she wanted. So, her unlucky daughter got a bad case of controlling-all-riches-under-the-ground-but-the-catch-is-they’re-cursed-itis. So, Gaea Mother Earth forced Hazel to start reconstructing her most powerful son for the Civil War. (This was because she was controlling Hazel’s mom and making her scared and stuff.) And then Hazel defeated her and lived happily ever after. Just kidding. Not even close. So in the last dark days Hazel stood up to Gaea the evil Mother Earth and destroyed her with her curse. And she delayed the powerful giant son Alcyoneus from rising in that time period. That also, brought down the cave they were in and she and her mom died.

The judges of the Underworld had this argument over where they should put Hazel- and her mom Marie. They decided that Hazel and her mom could just go the Fields of Asphodel after Hazel (I was beginning to like this girl) gave up her chance to go to Elysium (the ultimate underworld party) in order to save her mom from having to go to the Fields of Punishment. (Personally, I think her mom deserved to go there- no mercy after what she did to her daughter.) Then like seventy years later, Nico di Angelo (another kid from the past packed up into a place called the Lotus Casino, where time stood still) and seeing as he was her half brother rescued her. He brought her back from the Underworld for a second chance. Initially, he had been there to rescue his other sister, Bianca, but he was too late and she had gone for rebirth. Hazel seems…so much older and wiser, from that perspective. I immediately respected her for making such honorable choices, even when it cost her VIP passes to the best place in Hell, and destroying Alcyoneus from rising at the time. It still didn’t all go together very well. “Why does your spatha look like you just used it?” I question. I want the full story. By now, everybody is being herded out of the breakfast area. I stand up. Hazel brushes the crumbs off her toga and stands up as well. “Sometimes…I have these; well what would you call them? A black out, maybe. Or a flash back…It’s when sometimes I’m doing something and then something from my past takes over…and I kind of drop everything and go back into the past.” I scratch my chin. “Like fainting?” Hazel shakes her head no. “Oh no, Jason this is much worse. I relive my past, and it’s so real I feel like it is happening again.” The puzzle is making sense now. “So this time…” I say slowly, “You tried to stop the dream- black out, whatever, from happening. You tried to drag yourself away from the image, break the image with your sword, but nothing worked.” Hazel nodded. “The black out is everywhere. I can’t get away. I can only endure it, until it’s over.” I feel bad for her. Any moment a black out could over take her, and she’d be just standing there, forced to relive her mom going insane. I realize we are the only ones still standing in the breakfast area. Oh gods. Reyna will fray me alive if she finds out the praetor isn’t setting a good example- being late to training. The number one most important rule to

Rome: Warriors to conquer new lands. And, you can’t be warriors pillaging the stupid graceus- like we did a long time ago. I tell Hazel I’ll catch her later, and head off. The first on my schedule is Combat Training with Reyna because her mom is Bellona the goddess of war. Of course, she chews me out for being three seconds tardy. I’m not proud of it, but I rolled my eyes at her and told her, “Reyna you don’t always have to be so nervos all the time.” She flipped me over onto my back. “Jason Grace, did you just call me irritated?” She asked looking pretty angry. I myself had my own black out where I saw the future: If I ever said that again I would be hanging from the stocks- dead. It was still pretty funny though, because when she said that- she looked nervos. I muttered under my breath, “Taci din gură.” Which basically means, “Shut up” in Romanian. Thank the gods she didn’t hear me. Reyna totally kicked my butt at Combat Training. In my defense, I fight best in the air- it’s my safe zone. My home territory. Plus, Reyna had an advantage being the daughter of a War goddess. I charged at her, and feinted to the side to try and strike her lower hip. Karate chops are not my thing. She anticipated this move and grabbed my hand and twisted it behind my back. In response, I used my other elbow to jab her in the stomach. She made a gasping sound like, “Uh!” but she just rolled backwards and out of range. We circled each other, like boxers in a caged arena. But the crowd wanted Reyna to win, and booed me away. I’m thinking as we assess our opponent. She came at me and I was sure she would feint just like I did. Instead of running straight into me, she used my head as a jumping pad and used it to spring herself off me and touch down on my back. Which basically meant: Reyna shoved me into the ground and I tasted soil. After that it was an easy win for her. She put her shoe on my face (I didn’t really need the taste of her sneakers, it was disgusting), her other foot went on top of my back and she twisted both my arms so painfully I screamed in pain. Before you go all, “Wow Jason is a wimp,” I’ll have you know that Reyna is the best warrior in camp. She’s like, undefeatable which probably explains why she is the teacher of that class. After I brushed the dirt off my toga and the soil from my mouth, I bowed to the profesor and left for my next class.

It’s absolutely humiliating to be shoved into the dirt by a girl and have your arms twisted behind your back. Almost, degrading, but as a Roman I didn’t dwell on it too long. Or at least, it didn’t occupy all my thoughts and make me go insane. Plenty of the campers witnessed my defeat, and that night when we chose who we wanted on our teams for the War Games I was chosen ninth to last. Normally, I’m the first because I can shoot people with lightning. (Although it’s pretty tiring summoning lightning sometimes. I get drained pretty easily.) I fought like I always did. After I flipped my coin into a sword, it was show time. This guy from the fourth cohort rushed at me, and I just had to think, this guy is an idiot, before sweeping his legs out from underneath him. He was too stunned to know what happened. I pointed my sword at his throat and then gave him to Iolia (daughter of Venus, the love goddess) who was our Prisoner of War Jail guarder. He went without complaint, stumbling after her. I barely had time to duck as a gleaming gold sword passed over me. I rolled out of the way and came face to face with Houston. He’s a really buff guy, who look’s like he’s been doing bench presses and sit ups his entire life. Which he probably has. His muscles rippled with strength as he bellowed at me. I responded by chopping a bit of his purple shirt off his right shoulder. Houston seemed surprised. He aimed straight for my heart, and I had a slow reaction. I barely managed to parry the strike, but his sword still grazed my armor. I stepped forward to be on offense instead of defense. Houston went with my plan well. Too late, he realized he was no longer the predator. We did little. I would strike at him here, and he would block it with his shield or his sword. Finally, when he stepped forward and raised his sword to smash it down on me, I jumped into the air, as Reyna had taught me, and spring boarded off his shoulders. Thus, I landed on his back and pushed him into the dirt. I fought the urge to yell, “Eat dirt you graceus!” Graceus is basically the worst insult we can muster. It means “Greek” and since we defeated them so easily, it’s no wonder we use it like that. “Impressive. It took my years to master that.” I turned around and there was Reyna, dressed for full combat. Good for her, because she was about to get full combat- from me. I was the first to act. I threw my sword like a Frisbee at her which was stupid, because then I didn’t have a weapon anymore. I leaped past her and grabbed up my sword again, but she got me on the small of my back. Blood

tricked in a slow stream, but it didn’t hurt much. We danced with our weapons. Reyna with her dagger at her side and her javelin aimed at me. My sword clashed with her javelin, but neither of us ever seemed to make any mistakes fighting. That’s when I crumpled to the ground. A strike from behind me, on my neck, had caused me to fall. I turned my head and found Octavian. Reyna grinned. “Thanks Octavian. You can go now.” He nodded and ran off to unfairly hurt a demigod in already unfair fight. My lip curled and I glared at Reyna. “Romans may fight the best, but we don’t fight unfairly.” I growled. Reyna raised an eyebrow at me. “Jason, don’t tell me what war is. I know. My mother is-“I cut her off. “Goddess of battle strategy. Yeah, I know Reyna.” I almost add, “Yada yada, blah blah.” I only needed that one second, for her to start getting heated. For her to start rolling off all the things her mother did for us Romans. I would never disrespect her mom, she is my role model. She’s basically, the only actual true, Roman god. There is no Greek equivalent for her. I would think that my closest advisor (I hope she never finds I out I called her that) would know that. In that one second, I lunged at her and tackled her off her feet. She seemed to realize her mistake and cursed herself in some ancient language. “Jason Grace! You will pay for that!” I just grinned at her. “Okay, you can try.” That got her really mad, which is exactly what I wanted. She threw her javelin at me and I raised my sword. It bounced away, harmless. Now she only had her dagger. We went at it, sword against dagger. It wasn’t hard. I disarmed her in less than thirty seconds. Reyna looked out raged. “Jason!” She screamed at me, and I blinked. My mistake. A leg went straight for my face and I got knocked into the grass. I struggled to keep hold of my golden sword. If I dropped it, I would be without a weapon, which is what Reyna wanted to happen. I jumped up and tackled her into the cold, wet grass. I had her at sword point in no time and beckoned Iolia to come get her. “What are you doing?” Reyna demanded looking longingly at her javelin and dagger lying on the ground, away from her hands. I shrugged. “Prisoner of War.” She stared at me hard. “Jason. You’ll regret this if you aren’t on my team next time.” I took no heed of the warning.

Lots of shouting broke out above my head. I looked up and saw that I was back to back with the other team’s wall. Hazel was up there holding up their flag triumphantly. I grinned. I knew that Camp Jupiter was my home. A warm feeling went straight up through my body, like the time I got my first year tattoo. Like I had earned it. Beware, little hero. It won’t last for long. Enjoy it while you can. The voice came out of nowhere. It spoke in an ancient tone, like it hadn’t been used in millennia. “Taci din gură.” I muttered. Shut up. Camp Jupiter is the only safe place for me. I’ll fight for it, until my last breath. Besides, I’m a son of Jupiter- how could anything bad happen to me? My vision of what WOULD have happened to the Olympians, by Kronos

Poseidon absolutely despised whoever bred the kraken. That would be Keto, mother of all sea demons, of course. Krakens normally minded their own business, and stayed off the coasts of Norway and Iceland, deep in the ocean, were his rule didn’t exist. If you ever had to fight them, you were in huge danger. Poseidon had about, 20…30 (?) heading on down to his sea palace, to challenge him. Krakens were the worst of Keto’s race. They were a mixed race of the largest and most powerful sea serpents, a type of crab, and the giant squid. A rather odd blend of monsters, Poseidon thought as he headed for his Trident. None the less, they were powerful. Reports from his spies claimed that the monsters will attack ships in search for food and extract pure destruction. Kraken are said to have great intelligence, but little is known about them, even to the Sea god, who knew almost all in his domain. Poseidon sighed, and focused on the image above his fireplace. (Don’t ask how it worked in the water. It just did.) It was, in short, live ‘footage’ or a hologram, of his palace and the territory around it. He could see the krakens advancing and it made him uneasy.

Such creatures, were uncommon if there where that many…no it was impossible. They’d have to be brought back from Tarturus or awakened only by the most ancient powers…like a certain Titan perhaps? Oceanus. The sea god before even Poseidon himself. And he was stronger than ever. Poseidon ignored the fact that he was out numbered and tried to concentrate on happier subjects. Poseidon zoomed in on the nastiest looking monster and aimed his Trident, with precision and accuracy. A blast of boiling water impaled itself into the sea serpent/crab/squid so hard that its skin turned black and bubbly. It reared up in surprise, bumping into the kraken behind it, and just like that a domino reaction. The monster he had hit vanished into dust. One or two of the ones that had toppled over, exploded as well. “It isn’t enough.” Poseidon murmured to himself. The most ancient power’s were awakening, the oldest Sea lords and villains that Poseidon had forgotten about. How he longed to be away from his palace for once. He hated the burdens, upon his shoulders. Unlike the other Olympians, who had faced this trial once before, he had not. Oceanus in the first Titan War had remained Neutral. It was not good if he was fighting now, while Kronos was stirring. It meant that by Oceanus’ judgments, Kronos was going to win this time. His son, Triton swam up to him. His chiseled features and black hair did not look as favorable as they usually did. Triton had always made time to look good, something must be wrong. The boy’s green skin was paler then usual. He was sweating, and his (small but fast) two fish tails were drooping. “Father and Lord, I bring to you news.” He begins. Poseidon glowers at him. “Do you think I do not know, boy? I have incinerated three of those lowly creatures already!” Triton looked uncomfortable. “Lord that leaves plenty more to go around. There are still more advancing at this moment. I say we-” His words are cut short once again. The Sea god shimmered and his true form blasted the palace with light. A regular mortal, would have been turned to ashes but Triton had only blinked. “Sire, Oceanus is also coming. Look!” He pointed to where the image had used to be above the fire.

Poseidon sighed, and activated the image once more. With the butt of his Trident ™ he tapped the image of a merman larger than the kraken, with the horns of a bull. He looked as if he was riding a chariot pulled by crawfish, and instead of a sword he wielded a live angry looking serpent. “As if I needed more problems, alas I must call a meeting.” Poseidon tapped the top three points of his weapon and a green light shone around it. Delphin, god of the Dolphins immediately swam in. Yes, he is a dolphin. Wouldn’t the god of the dolphins be a dolphin? “I’m holding a swamp of leviathans back my Lord. It’s taking all of my forces; most of my dolphins are weakening.” The dolphin chattered nervously. Poseidon didn’t even have time to say, “Status Report,” like he had always wanted too. This dolphin just talked to fast and it was rather annoying. Poseidon turned to look at his hologram once more. Wounded mermen and merwomen were being carted into the infirmaries. Many were dying defending the ocean realm. It was almost too much to watch. His face had softened at the sight of his people, and he transformed once more, to reflect his sad kingdom. His hands grew old and feeble, and the wrinkles sagged off his face. There were white hairs on his beard, and he had gray regular hair on top of his head. Triton had stepped back (or swam back) obediently, to stay out of his father’s way. He would come forward only when needed. Poseidon hated war, and he resented having to do it but he spread his arms and yelled, “Proelium mensa!” This meant, battle table in ancient Latin. Actually, it just showed them the battle map, engraved into the floor as if it had been there many years. The magic part about it? It kept shifting, and changing showing where Oceanus was dominating or losing at. Mostly, he was dominating. The mosaic had full color and the images almost looked three dimensional. It was outside, on the deck, which would be their planning, or headquarters. (HQ for short.) Triton stepped forward, curiosity obvious on his green face. He’d never seen the Proelium mensa in action. The Sea god shoved him backward with the flick of his wrist, controlling the water. Triton glared at his father and pouted. But he was unable to swim farther than three feet in front of him. It wasn’t fair. The other member in the council approached the meeting. Amphitrite, Poseidon’s wife and best warrior.

Delphin leaned over the map with Poseidon. The god couldn’t seem to figure out where he was going to attack. He kept placing pins on the map, and then blasting them off with heated water. Delphin was smart and didn’t get too close. “Sharks,” Poseidon muttered. “We need sharks. And if we don’t get those leviathans on our side, or at least calm…” His words drifter off when Tyson, one of his Cyclops sons burst in withPerseus Jackson. Or Percy as he liked to be called. Triton instantly scowled at the demigod. He hated father’s other sons even more than Oceanus. They thought they were always so important, and so brave! Especially Perseus Jackson, because he had spied on his father when he told that- other- ‘son’ that he was his favorite. Poseidon ignored his merson and greeted Percy Jackson. Or more of Percy asked about a million questions. Why did he look weird? How could he help? Why wasn’t Tyson in the fight? If Kronos was dead? Out of all those questions, Poseidon held his smile. He was fond of his demigod son, and it wasn’t being hid from Triton. Triton grimaced and began to swim forward but he forgot about his invisible cage and was slammed backwards. Amphitrite had already left and Poseidon’s non halfblood son would have, except he was still trapped. Poseidon released him with the flick of his pinky finger. Battles the Sea god could not see flashed between Percy and Triton. “Come to help at last?” Triton smirked leaning on his miniature trident. Percy looked like he was going to punch his big brother in the nose. Instead his face flashed from anger, to calm. “Tell me what to do.” Poseidon was deeply impressed. He knew his son’s actions. The sea could not be contained nor controlled. Percy was fighting hard against his instincts. None the less, the god secretly thanked him. He did not need sibling rivalry at this moment. A few minutes later Triton looked at his father. “I’ll be going to the front lines father. I will not fail you.” He glared pointedly at Percy, but either Percy didn’t take the cue that he was accusing him of failing, or he didn’t care what Triton said.

In the end, Poseidon, against his nature sent Percy back to Camp Halfblood. He would have loved to have his demigod son stay with him at the palace. He could have shown him the underwater realm and they would fish together maybe. Of course, direct contact like that was strictly forbidden. Percy looked genuinely afraid for his father, and Poseidon could sense all emotions in the sea. Let this child live, if you care anything for the Olympians. He thought to himself, a silent plea to the three Fates. He told Perseus to ask Chiron about the Great Prophecy. “It’s time.” He told him. He sighed and changed back into his true transformation. Sea weeds around him stood straight up as he changed and grew strong and healthy. The mermen coming in from being wounded leaped from their stretchers, healthy and strong. This was one of his best powers, but it waned his energy so much, Poseidon knew that if he changed again he would not be able to do that for at least a day or two. Oceanus approached in his stupid chariot, as Percy had described it, and the snake Poseidon would tie in knots, as Tyson had said. Poseidon hoped that was true. “Poseidon! Yield now and I will have pity on you! You can become one of my servants, or perhaps even entertainment!” Oceanus boomed. His voice sent water spiraling away from him, like mini whirl pools. Some of them crashed into buildings, Poseidon’s beautiful buildings, and they cracked. Two or three more hits of those, and they would go down. “I hope you’re prepared for a long trip Oceanus. I may not see you until a few more millennia- I’ve heard Tarturus does a wonderful job of holding visitors.” Poseidon retorted wielding his trident. It shone with magical light. Oceanus laughed. “Oh, you’re still young compared to me, but the sea is even more ancient then you. I was born with the sea young god.” As if to prove his boasts Oceanus lifted his arms and the sea rushed together. Poseidon held his trident in front of him, just as the sea crashed into him. The trident acted well as a shield but it was not made for that. He was thrown backwards and he landed on the steps of his temple. Poseidon grimaced and got up. “Really Oceanus. If that’s all you’ve got, I have nothing to fear- Old Man.” He taunted weakly. He tried to make his voice sound strong.

Oceanus stroked his serpent/sword thoughtfully. “Oh no little Sea god. That was my warm up act.” He tapped his serpent and it expanded until it was even bigger than a kraken. Poseidon looked up at it, feeling suddenly very small. He willed himself to grow until he reached his limit. The serpent was still a good twenty or so feet above him. Poseidon gritted his teeth and jabbed his trident at the serpent’s skin, experimentally. The trident bounced off harmlessly. Oceanus was reclining on Poseidon’s throne when the Sea god looked up. “Oceanus, how dare you-” he was interrupted by the Serpent smacking him over. The Sea god went flying into the water and he would have hit the Amphitrite statue, but instead he used the water to his advantage. It bent to his command and shot him back at the serpent. It turned just in time to get a full on water rocket in the face. It fell backwards stunned, but not killed. Poseidon roared in anger, his battle cry rocking the city. He plunged his trident into the monster’s tongue and it shuddered through out its entire body. Poseidon turned around to face Oceanus once more. The old god was gone. Poseidon made a 360 and no sign of the ugly duckling anywhere. Great. Suddenly, something slammed into the back of his neck. Poseidon crumpled. Few times did Poseidon have a vision. It only happened in times where he had two choices and it showed him one path in particular. He scowled to himself. “Not now!” He muttered as his vision started. Visions for Poseidon: A gift from the water. Shows him one path for his options. Only takes one second, but feels much longer. He can feel pain in them. Emotions are also included in the package. Poseidon blinked. Where was he? He tried to move his arms and legs, and realized he couldn’t. He was stuck. The fuzziness from his eyes cleared and he looked around. The other 12 Olympian gods were there too. It seemed to be a dark room. A torture chamber? He guessed. It was not Tarturus whatever it was. But it still had the same gruesome affect, as if to say, let your guard down. You can’t escape so stop trying. A cold chill went down Poseidon’s back as if someone had

just poured cold water on his back. Normally Poseidon liked the water, but this felt evil. He realized he was suspended to a wall with golden chains holding him in place. Obviously, whoever had wanted to trap him was not doing a good job. Poseidon thought. I am more powerful than gold! The shock came quickly. He willed his power to burst into the chains, to break them. The gold chains shone with blue-green power and the ocean crackled in them. The chains did not break. It held the energy for a moment then blasted it back at Poseidon. He arched his back in pain, and cried out. He’d never felt a pain like it. Zeus stirred from his trap. He looked up quickly. “Poseidon!” He cried. “Where are we?” He looked absolutely outraged to being trapped. Poseidon shook from being blasted. He barely managed, “I-I don’t know brother.” His whole body felt as if it were on fire. Zeus shook his head at the gold chains. “This will not do. I must blast them to get out.” Poseidon almost spat on the ground. He almost said, “Good luck with that.” But lightning would leave Zeus in such a state they would have to haul his sorry butt out of here like they’d done so many times. “Brother please doesn’t.” Poseidon warned. “These contraptions…I do not know how, but they absorb your energy and blast it back at you.” Zeus snorted. “Really? Did you try this Po?” Artemis started to stir along with her twin brother Apollo as Poseidon spoke. “Zeus, of course I tried to get out already! If my power worked right, I’d be out of here! And don’t call me Po!” The Sea god looked like a child who had just been told ‘no’ you can’t have the candy. Artemis was alert as always. “I wish I had my arrows.” She said wistfully. “I could use them to get us out of here.” Apollo managed a smile. “Anyone want to hear a new haiku? It might pass the time.” They all shook their heads “no.” Apollo said one anyways. All of us so trapped Can I rub this in Zeus’ face?

Man, I told you so! Artemis sighed. “Really Apollo? Is this the time for your obnoxious poems?” Apollo lifted his head regally. “There is always time for a poem, Milady.” Zeus trembled with anger. “We must get out of here! I say we combine powers and blast this wretched place to kingdom come! Who’s with me?” He looked around. No one said yes. By now all the Olympians were awake and struggling with their chains, well everybody except for Dionysus. Zeus glowered. “Hades, can you get us out of here? Gold is your specialty.” Hades, Lord of the Underworld smirked at Zeus. “So, the mighty Zeus admits he need’s help?” He looked so smug, Poseidon was sure Zeus was going to blast him. “Hey Apollo, make a poem about this one-”Hades began. Hera cut him off. “Enough, boys! My perfect family…hangs like this. It’s hard on me.” She sniffed. Hephaestus growled like an angry machine acting up. “You and your perfect families! I could try to get us out of here…if I had the right tools and my hands were free.” He drifted off wistfully. Zeus shouted to get every bodies attention. “Silence!” He roared. “We obviously need everybody to go around in a circle trying to get free and when somebody succeeds they will help the others.” Poseidon lifted his head. “No! Don’t- these chains. They are powerful; they sap your strength and use it against you!” Zeus glared at the Sea god. “Nonsense. Watch, I’ll go first.” The room lit up with a magnificent light and Poseidon wanted to believe his brother. He half expected to see a pair of blackened cuffs swinging where he was and Zeus helping get the other gods down. Instead, they saw Zeus who looked like he had just stayed on the beach too long. In the most ungruesome way to describe it: Very bad sunburns. His face was steaming and his clothes were blackened. “Stop that!” He roared at the sky. He summoned lightning again and this time they could see it go into the chains. “No- stop!” Demeter wailed. She strained against her chains in vain. The magic waited for a few seconds, and then shot the energy back down at Zeus. Ares looked totally fascinated with the torture devices.

Zeus screamed and the energy engulfed him, covering him in light. When it stopped Zeus looked like he’d been thrown into Hephaestus’ sacred fire. Hestia blinked, like she was thinking. “I might not try that again.” The god admitted. Dionysus stirred. “What? Where? Logan Catso. I should have known.” He grumbled. Athena was the only one who caught what he said. “Who’s Logan Catso?” She demanded. Dionysus yawned lazily. “Oh a boy from the stupid camp father makes me run…His name could be Lance Cooper…or Little Callester….I have no idea.” Hermes looked up from staring at the floor. “What about…Luke Castellan?” He asked. Ares nodded his agreement, “I know that boy.” Dionysus nodded. “Oh- I remember now. It was Luke Castellan. He’s here. I can sense his presence. I wonder why in the world he’d be listening to us.” Athena turned pale, and Artemis moved arms a little, reaching for an arrow that wasn’t there. Apollo didn’t look like he was enjoying whatever he was thinking about.. None of the Olympians were except for Hades who was grinning like it was Summer Vacation for the middle schoolers. “If you’re all wondering, no I can’t control this gold. It has a sense of power- that even I can not tap into, or control.” The Lord of the Dead said helpfully. Hermes cried out unexpectedly. “No! It should have been later! It should have happened later!” Poseidon was the only one that spoke. “What should have happened? Do you know something we don’t Hermes?” Apollo laughed weakly. “Oh I know all about it too.” Hermes threw daggers at him- with his words. “You knew? How could you? Why?” Apollo closed his eyes for a moment and then opened them. Green light absorbed his eyeballs and mist spilled from his mouth. A half-blood of the eldest gods

Shall reach sixteen against all odds And see the world in endless sleep The hero’s soul cursed blade shall reap A simple choice shall end his days Olympus to preserve or raze Apollo closed his eyes again and then he was back to normal. “Sorry about that.” He grinned. “What was that?” Aphrodite asked aghast. Her makeup was smeared. Hades face grew dark. “That was his brilliant oracle speaking through him. Seeing as we don’t have Rachel Elizabeth Dare with us, when we need a good prophecy, here he comes.” He obviously still had a grudge against the Oracles of Apollo. Hermes was still looking pretty pale. “Guys…that is defiantly Luke Castellan…my son…” His voice broke. “Oh, Hermes. It will be okay.” Demeter promised. Hera nodded as well. Athena’s face twisted until it looked like she was going to burst. “If this is what I think it means…” She shook her head. Artemis looked annoyed. “Can someone tell me what’s going on without breaking into hysterics?” Hestia remained quiet but she shook her head. “I could do that.” A new voice moved into the chambers. The figure of Luke Castellan moved to the center of the room. Hermes gasped. “Luke! Your okay!” Luke glared at him. “I’m not Luke!” He didn’t sound too sure of himself. Aphrodite sighed. “Oh, you’ve gotten better looking since last time at least. I mean, you managed to comb your hair and gel it before you came here.” Hephaestus gripped at the chains, looking as if he might snap them. He hated it when his wife commented on how good other men looked. Luke looked embarrassed for a moment. Then he moved to were Aphrodite was hanging and touched her arm. She literally froze in time. Poseidon held back a gasp of shock. Zeus quivered with rage. “It can’t be!” He muttered under his breath. Hestia who had been so quiet all this time shook her head. She didn’t say anything but all the Olympians could read her thoughts.

Dionysus heaved his chest impatiently. “Really? Must I say it out loud, while none of you will?” His tone made it clear that he was bored. Luke smiled unpleasantly, a smile that definitely was not his. “No, I can say it. Would the audience like that?” Athena growled. “I know what you are. You’re a monster!” Demeter voiced Athena’s words. “Athena is right. We already overtook you- you had you’re chance! Let us go! Athena- he’s totally a monster.” Luke tilted his head. “Nice try, but no. I’m your grandpa.” He turned waiting to see the reactions on the younger gods. Apollo frowned. “Who are you exactly? I’m still not putting this together. If you’re just a kid how did you defeat us so easily?” Artemis tilted her head at her brother. She already knew. Luke’s left hand twitched like it wanted to tell them something, but it was too late. For a moment, his voice changed- to something that actually sounded like it belonged in his body. “No, listen- he’s K-” Then his other voice came back. Poseidon realized it was not Luke’s voice talking. He’d never heard the boy before, but it sounded too ancient, too raspy to be this young man’s vocal talents. “You’re-” Luke rolled his eyes. “Well, alright I’ll say it. I’m Kronos you insolent fool! Bow before my greatness, or I will simply freeze you in time forever! The gods will crumble and Mount Olympus will fall. Serve me or be destroyed!” Poseidon blinked. He was back in the ocean with Oceanus standing over him. Which option will it be? A voice whispered in his mind. Oceanus was smiling like he’d already won. Poseidon looked up, his eyes filled with rage. You could see hurricanes smashing into islands reflecting in his iris. His worst storms brewing all at once. Oceanus didn’t seem to notice. He was busy talking to one of his kraken. “I’ve weakened the silly Sea god. He is failing. Go, and alert your soldiers to attack on the west side.”

Poseidon slammed the butt of his trident into Oceanus’ knee. He doubled over in pain, and Poseidon put all he had into his trident. A blast swept threw out the sea and later it was reported of several unexplained hurricanes sweeping across lands, causing mass destruction and chaos. Oceanus fell and Poseidon used his trident as a choking rod. “Get back to where you came from. Tell Kronos I’ll be expecting him.” Poseidon raised his trident once more, green and blue energy rippling around it. Oceanus looked weary but his eyes held vengeance. “This is not the last of me. I will find more monsters to throw at you, I will-” The Sea god slammed his trident down and Oceanus disappeared as a monster would. He wasn’t defeated, but he was delayed. Poseidon sat down on the steps of his temple exhausted. The kraken that had been there earlier lay on the ground, dead. He looked up and saw Tyson standing over its body, munching a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. “Daddy, it coming for you when you were fighting the bad guy.” Tyson sat down, making cracks appear in the stair ways. Poseidon waved his hand and they mended. He smiled at his Cyclops son. “Thank you Tyson. You were brave- but if something had happened to you, I don’t know what I would do.” Tyson took another bite out of his sandwich. “Nothing happen bad daddy. Don’t worry about Percy. He will be fine. Percy is brave. And he is also smart!” For now, the ocean was safe. Mount Olympus was safe. Poseidon clapped his son on the back, trying to forget his vision. “You did a good job son. Now, let’s go get something to eat? I expect you’re still hungry.” Lee’s First Quest Warning: Longer Story! Not as short as the normal ones. From page 45 (on Microsoft Word anyways, no idea how it shows up on Smash words) to page 65. Skip to 65 and see if that’s in the next story if you really don’t want to read a longer story. (I hope you want to read it though.) Okay, continue reading! 

I don’t know if being a demigod is all that awesome. Especially if your dad is Ares, the god of war. I don’t get how I could be related to him. I’ve always been shy, quiet and the peacemaker. I’m nothing like my siblings. Clarisse La Rue especially. I’m a complete opposite of my mom too. She’s rebellious and went to West Point when she was going to College. Maybe that’s why Ares liked her. I didn’t inherit any of there genes though.

I got to camp maybe…three or four weeks ago? I immediately found out that Clarisse was the boss of things in the Ares cabin. When she told me to go stick my head under my pillow and spank myself, well of course I argued. All I’d asked was if we could ally with Apollo in Capture the Flag that night. “Never! I will never be allies with Apollo or Poseidon. Got that punk?” Clarisse was already intimidating without her spear Maimer. (Everybody calls it “Lamer” behind her back.) Add that and I decided not to argue. Some of the other Ares campers gave me sympathetic looks to me, but the rest just nodded with Clarisse. Sherman was the lieutenant of the cabin, because he was the second oldest, but he didn’t get to do much. When I had first seen the cabin, I thought it was some kind of cruel joke the gods were playing on me. It seriously needed a paint job, and the red was the color of blood. Barbed wire glinted dangerously from the roof and then the creepiest thing? A stuffed boar hanging over the doorway, and the eyes of it seemed to follow you wherever you go. Loud rock music blared from inside making me wince. I hate Rock and Roll. My style is more of orchestra, country or even Taylor Swift. My first thought? Gods, I wish my mom had been the god. Maybe I could have been a daughter of Aphrodite or Demeter…I loved flowers, making myself look decent (don’t judge) and cleanness especially. The cabin inside looked no better. There were varieties of weapons spread around the cabin, some nasty looking tools and all the beds were unmade. Junk littered the cabin floor and I had to resist closing the door as fast as I could. My guide for the moment, Katie Gardner didn’t go into the cabin with me. “Watch out for the land mines.” Was all she said, and then she headed back to Demeter’s cabin. Mark was the first to greet me. He was cleaning a helmet, with some kind of polish. He looked up when I opened the door. Mark is really small compared to the other Ares campers. He’s 5 ft 9”. The rest of us are always well above 6 feet. I myself being 13 years old was already 5 ft 7” and Mark was easily about 3 years older than me. “Welcome to Ares. Cabin 5. Rule number one: Don’t make Clarisse mad, or she’ll gut you.” He said, as I shuffled over to an empty cot. I hoped he was kidding.

“That’s right, and don’t forget it.” Standing in the doorway was a really buff girl who looked like she ate marathons for breakfast. Her arms were strong, her stringy hair was pulled back in a red bandanna, and her eyes glinted dangerously. I stumbled backwards onto the bed. The girl laughed meanly. “I’m Clarisse.” She said as she stalked toward me. She put out her hand. I stared at it, and then took it slowly afraid she might snap my wrist. She raised any eyebrow. “A child of Ares who show’s fear? Are you sure your parental god was a male? Perhaps you’re a daughter of Aphrodite.” I could tell that was probably the worst insult around here. Instead, I surprised her by saying, “I wish.” I got up from the bed and started to unpack the few things I had in my bag. “Go away Clarisse.” I muttered, surprised by my bravery. I was tired and annoyed. Nobody seemed to be friendly. I instantly regretted. One moment, I’m unpacking my bag and the next I’m lying on the floor of the Ares cabin with an arm pinning down my neck. “What did you say?” Clarisse snarled. My eyes widened. How did she learn to do that? “Nothing…” I mumbled trying to stop looking at her. “I want you to tell me what you said, or you’re on clean up duty for this month!” She spat. And I mean, boy did that girl spit. (It was completely repulsive.) I was tempted to wash it off my face or something, but now didn’t seem like the right time. My face burned with shame. After Clarisse didn’t get an answer she started to growl, “Alright then you have-” Mark stood up from cleaning his helmet. “Hold up Clarisse. She’s new. Let’s go easy on her for once.” Clarisse easily towered over Mark. But from his tone, he meant it. Clarisse looked at me and him. Finally she got off of me. “You better watch it Anderson. Don’t slip up, or you’re dead.” She left the cabin so quickly; I didn’t get to ask her how she knew my last name. I guess, it’s because when I got to camp Chiron had clapped my shoulder and shouted to whoever was listening (not many people), “This is Lee Anderson! Herme’s take her to your cabin until she is determined. I turned to Mark. “Thanks,” I mumbled. Here was something I had in common with these freakishly tall and into gore demigods: I hated being helped. When someone did something for me. It was out of the question.

Mark shrugged. “No problem, like I said you’re new. But Clarisse meant what she said. If you talked to her like that again…” He stopped talking. I knew what she said. Don’t slip up, or you’re dead. Her words echoed in my mind. Would she really kill somebody from her own cabin? I doubted it, Clarisse may have been a bully, but she wasn’t evil. I just knew that if I ever did something like that again, I would pay big time. Anyways, I made a couple friends my age. There was Xena another daughter of Ares, Lacy from the Aphrodite cabin, and Kara who is a child of Hephaestus. There were only a few people who were nice to me, Mark was but I wouldn’t count him as my friend. Nobody except Xena who had absolute Ares genes. She would destroy an army of monsters, no questions asked. Percy Jackson was the most popular or most known guy at camp. He was really nice to me, seeing as he was an older guy. Annabeth (Percy’s girlfriend) was really kind to me as well- one time, when I accidentally scraped all of my dinner into the sacrificial fire, she convinced Drew (head of Aphrodite cabin) to charmspeak Dionysus into letting me have more. (He had put a strict prohibition from eating too much. I have no idea why, the guy acts a lot without reason.) Those people were nice to me but not my friends. Lacy and I wished we were both in the same cabin. Aphrodite preferably but since Drew was there… maybe not? (Drew isn’t the nicest girl I’ve ever met.) And then there was Kara, my closest friend in the first few weeks. She was usually busy, since she was done working in Cabin 9’s forges but when she could, we hung out. I really wished my name was Kara because the first time she told me, my brain went like: Switching to Greek mode. It means the one who is pure. I was anything but pure. Chiron announced one of us would be chosen to go on a quest. He assured all the campers it would not be hard, and if we wanted to volunteer we could. He wouldn’t share the details unless we volunteered. Most of the campers went back to eating, not meeting Chiron’s eyes. Annabeth made up an excuse, “Oh I had my quest. You know in the labyrinth.” Everybody nodded in unison, hoping Chiron wouldn’t pick them.

What was so wrong about a quest? Raise your hand, or you’re no daughter of mine! A voice hissed in my ear. “Ares?” I said out loud. I looked around but there was nobody there. Xena looked at me. “Why are you talking so loud?” She hissed her voice barely audible. I glanced down at my hands. “Nothing.” I realized that I had only heard the voice in my mind, and I had spoken aloud. What do you want? You made me sound like a crazy person! I scolded in my mind. I had no doubt that my father had been talking to me. Nice way to greet your father Lee. Go on the quest- or I will disown you. You can prove your worth to me. The maliciousness in his ‘voice’ DOES sound evil. I’m about to snap back a retort when a brilliant burst of light interrupts the quietness of Camp Halfblood eating. At the front of the tables, stood Ares himself. He had sunglasses on and a motor cyclist’s jacket. Even behind his sunglasses, and so far away you could see the flames in his eyes. Clarisse stared at our father like she wanted to murder him or wanted to hug him. It’s hard to tell with her. I noticed Percy clenching his fists. I didn’t blame him, his very presence made me feel angry, and hungry for battle. Annabeth looks grim, and the entire Aphrodite cabin is schooching forward like, “Omigosh he’s so much hotter in real life!” Ares starts to talk when Chiron interrupts him. He whispers into the gods’ ear and Ares smirks. Then he grins at us all, as if he expects everybody to start falling to their knees and saying, “You’re the greatest!” Nobody moved. “Your centaur asked if I was here about the quest, eh? Well am I here?” He looked pointedly at Chiron. The horse man seemed flustered. “I’ll let you know about the danger, godlings. This is only a poke in the leg for my children, but bewares! It could bring this camp onto the verge of destruction!” His words boomed around the clearing. Percy Jackson stood up from his table. “Oh yeah? Like what- if this is so bad, why don’t you just tell us instead of splashing your children with glory?” Some of the newer campers gasped, as if they were concerned with Percy’s reaction.

Most of us, just sighed for Percy’s sake (again) because we all knew he could take care of himself, and be very arrogant while doing it. It was the very thing that defined him most. Ares lifted up his shades for a second. “Perseus Jackson.” He mused. “Gods, I wish you’d become immortal. I could have smashed you to a grease spot every time I saw you. But, I’ll settle for once if I must.” Chiron shook his head. “Enough! Ares, humble god of War, please continue with your important message.” He shot a look at Percy who didn’t look sorry at all, but the boy sat down. Ares glared once more at Percy and then continued, “I have chosen who will lead this quest!” I felt a sense of dread enter my body, taking over all my sense. I knew who it was. “LEE ANDERSON!” He bellowed. Somehow I managed to give a weak smile and a little wave. I heard complaints from the Apollo cabin, saying I’d only been here a couple weeks while most of them had stayed at Camp Halfblood for several years. Ares laughed ignoring Apollo’s kids. “Come girl. Get up here.” I stumbled up to where my dad stood. This was the first time I met him, and I already disliked him. He patted my head like I was prized cattle, about to be sold and then said, “Who shall accompany her you ask?” He made a sound that seemed like he was going for a dramatic *gasp*. He pointed at Xena from the Ares cabin. Xena looked so stunned I was afraid she might faint. But she recovered quickly and stalked up the aisle, with the look of death upon her face. She was definitely a daughter of War. You’d never guess I was though. “Hold on a second,” Someone called from the Demeter cabin. “Aren’t the leader’s supposed to pick who they want?” I identified her as Miranda Gardiner which was ironic since she was a daughter of Demeter (Gardner, get it?). Ares made a very inhumane growling sound in the back of his throat. Once again, Chiron saved the day. “Katie, dearest-.”He glanced at Ares and then looked away, “This is a special occasion. Are’s…he’s err…in charge at the moment.” Ares grinned and gave me another clap on the back. He almost shoved Xena over. “And of course, my best daughter (I winced at that), Clarisse La-”

His words were cut short once again. A very ugly looking man stood next to Ares. He was covered in machine oil and had on a pair of overalls with the pockets stuffed of tools. On his pocket his name was stitched: Hephaestus. The Aphrodite cabin screamed in horror. “EWWW!!!!” They all backed up as best they could. Lou Ellen from the Hecate cabin muttered something about “Unwanted and rude gods popping up everywhere.” Someone in the back said, “Hephaestus, god of blacksmiths and the forge.” I had no doubt this was Hephaestus, the ugly guy thrown from Mt. Olympus, and could fix things and build stuff. He definitely was ugly though. I covered my eyes without trying to make it look like I was doing it on purpose. “Ares!” He said in a raspy voice, like he didn’t talk much. With his looks, he probably didn’t. Ares turned exasperated. “What now Hephaestus?” Hephaestus looked downright angry. “You can not have all daughters of Ares on this quest!” Ares scratched his chin lazily. “I can’t? Fine, Mark you can go. You’re a son of Ares. ” Mark at the Ares table didn’t move. Ares was being sarcastic. Hephaestus looked like he was going to pop a valve. “Stop it! No, you must have one of my daughters.” He declared. He pointed a chubby and callused finger at Kara. Of course, all these people were my friends. That was just about right. Kara blushed but came up to the front. Chiron stayed in the corner, clearly not wanting to interfere. I thought somebody would yell, “BOO!” or something but they just gave us encouraging smiles, but said nothing. Rachel Elizabeth Dare stood up from the head table, where she sat with Chiron and Mr. D. I think she sensed she was needed, because as she got up Ares beckoned to her, sighing about how Hephaestus was being unfair. Rachel’s eyes glazed over and green mist started to pour from her mouth. It freaked me out, but my dad had his hand clamped on my shoulder. Rachel began to speak; in another voice- it was creepy. Two halfbloods thy will take Failing quest the camp will quake

Losing one in the mighty lake Everything is now put to stake A sign released from above Calm from the word of the head Dove Then Rachel blinked and the mist stopped coming out of her mouth. “Did I just say another prophecy?” She coughed and grabbed a bottle of water. Hephaestus nodded. “Yes you did. And now, you three.” We turned toward him, but didn’t look him in the eye. “Tomorrow you leave for your quest. Head for Albany, and then go get coffee.” Hephaestus’ words made absolutely no sense. Ares nodded unhappily. “Yeah, you do that punks. After that…well figure out the rest of the prophecy.” They both disappeared in another dramatic flash of light. The campers looked uneasy but went back to eating. Xena, Kara and I blinked. Rachel just shrugged and went to sit down again. Stuff like that happened a lot to her. Chiron pulled us three girls aside. “I think we need to talk.” He said. His horse tail we swishing around, like it were on hyper mode. I nodded, for once agreeing with someone. He beckoned Xena and Kara to follow him and we left for the Big House. Chiron fixed himself a cup of coffee as us three girls sat uncomfortably on a couch. “What is that all about?” Kara finally asked, playing with a curl in her brown hair. Chiron’s rear end disappeared in a magic box which is located in a wheel chair. A pair of fake legs made it look just like he was just a normal old man who was crippled. “That’s what I would like to know.” He took a sip from his mug and then set it down on a stand. Xena shrugged. “I have no idea. I just know something’s happening and the two gods- Hephaestus and Ares want us to go on a quest.”

Chiron nodded and asked me to voice what I thought. “Well, um…we have a prophecy. And a quest that starts in…Alabama?” Kara shook her head. “Albany. That’s the capital of New York, right?” Chiron didn’t say anything but nodded once more in Kara’s direction. “So we go to Albany and order coffee.” Xena said. Kara took some metal scraps out of her pocket and started to tinker with them. I just sat with my hands folded in my lap. We waited for Chiron to respond. The centaur took a while to think but finally he said, “You will leave tomorrow. Prepare you’re bags and I wish your three good luck. Xena is right in a way. You must head to the capital and find a coffee shop.” He knitted his eyebrows together for a moment. “Yes, I am right. I see what those tricky gods are up too now. I had not realized we were in danger yet…but if it is true.” The horse man fell silent. “If what is true?” Kara asked impatiently. Xena nodded, “Yeah.” “I can not tell you my dears. But you will find a way. Remember the prophecy. I will send someone to give you the needed supplies. You leave in the morning.” With that the old centaur plucked up his coffee mug and wheeled out of the room. Chiron did send someone with the necessary items. I was packing my gold backpack (not real gold) with the Greek Myths book (it might come in handy), my cell phone (I couldn’t use it though), and the regular stuff. Toothbrush, toothpaste, flashlight, map of New York. Stuff like that. Clovis son of Hypnos (the god of Sleep) handed me a few ambrosia squares and a canteen of nectar. “This should help with injuries, illness or burns.” He yawns. I take the items. “Not too much,” He warns momentarily leaning against the Ares cabin door. I have to pinch his nose to get him to wake up, after I realize he’s sleeping. “Huh? Don’t kill me! Oh…right.” He turns slightly pink. “Um, not too much of this stuff, or you could burn up or turn to ashes. Mortals can’t eat it and its godly food so yeah.” He also gives me a pouch of golden drachmas, Greek money and a zip lock bag of mortal/human money. It has a lot of twenty dollars bills. I pack all these into my backpack.

“Thanks Clovis.” I say, and he nods. “No problem,” and sleepily walks away, stretching his arms. The best I can figure out is that the Hypnos cabin spends most their time sleeping- Chiron must have promised Clovis a new pillow or earlier curfew time to get him to deliver the items to me. I meet Xena and Kara by the entrance. They don’t see me coming, and I can tell they’re arguing. I dash from tree to tree, to get close to them, to hear what they might be saying. If they say me, they gave no sign of it. Maybe they thought I was a dryad running around in the trees as they often did. “Oh please Ares didn’t get thrown off Mount Olympus because he was ugly. Remind me whose daddy did?” I could imagine horns on Xena’s head and fire coming out of her mouth. Kara pulls a hammer out of her backpack. She looks like she wants to slam it down on my other friends head. “Ares isn’t a genius though. He’s a coward in a motor cyclist’s jacket- afraid any real challenges come along.” That was the best she could cook up? Half of me thinks. The other half is like “Guys stop fighting!” Xena has easily stands over Kara, and she uses this to her advantage. Kara doesn’t even flinch. In a flash Xena has her trademark weapon in her hand. Her dory originally used by the Spartans. It’s a spear, but it’s also 8 feet long. The butt of the spear was capped with a butt spike called a sauroter, Greek for ’lizard killer’. I don’t get it either. I didn’t like Kara’s chances against the dory. “You going to smash me with your tiny hammer?” Xena smirked, her black ponytail snapping to the side as she tilted her head. Kara’s gaze hardened. “Shut up Xena. You’re no better than you’re father. Lousy and arrogant. At least Hephaestus has a brain, because like you’re dad you certainly don’t!” I couldn’t watch anymore. I stepped out from the trees. Both of their jaws dropped. “How long have you been there?” They asked in unison. They instantly glared at one another, like they were embarrassed they had said the same thing. “Long enough,” was my only reply. “Let’s get going, shall we?”

And with that, we set off for Albany, New York in an icy silence. We ran into a problem, when we got to the beach. How would we get off of this island? I didn’t even think about that. I muttered a few curses like, “Ilithios!” (This means idiot, in Greek.) I turned to Kara. “Do you think…maybe you could…?” She seemed to get what I was saying. “Okay sure. Because at least I have any value on this quest. Like, my talents aren’t being wasted.” She cast her gaze to where Xena was standing, polishing her dory with sand. I shifted nervously on the sandy ground. If they had a fight, I wasn’t going to choose sides, and that might make them mad at me. And then the quest was already failed. Failing quest the camp will quake That line from the prophecy ran through my head. I dismissed it. Xena looked up from cleaning her dory. I swear the air turned icy cold and miniature daggers stabbed their way down my back. “Hey, Lee I’m going to go scout for danger and see if I can find us any other way around us.” She said this like; it was just us- her and I. I sighed. “Yeah, sure that would be great.” It had been going on like this the entire time from when we left Camp. They keep picking on one another, throwing words at one another. As far as I could tell, words could do more damage than a weapon. Kara set to work. She went off into the bushes and pine tree’s to find some wood. I sat down on the beach and used a stick to draw pictures in the sand. Scenes of battle came into my mind, and I drew a battle strategy that would never be used. I’m not sure how I knew all that, about the front lines and stuff. I don’t know how much time passed. Maybe…three hours or four? Kara had returned and was clanking away, nailing and crafting her creation. That’s when Xena ran into the clearing her eyes wild. “We have to go! Now!” She cried looking behind her back. I jumped to my feet. “What’s happened? Is something chasing you?” Xena nodded, and in that moment I took in her face. It was covered in grime and she had multiple scratches on her face, presumably from pine tree branches. Her ponytail was coming out and her eyes were wild with fear.

“Is your boat ready?” She asked Kara still checking behind her every five seconds. Kara shook her head. “Not yet, why? Is the great ‘Warrior Princess’ scared of something for once?” *Xena was a Warrior Princess in Norse mythology. Xena in this story is modeled after her.

Right after that we heard a loud, “WOOF!” I knew that sound. Mrs. O’Leary barked just like that, but it was impossible. What would that hellhound be doing all the way out here? It dawned on me, that on a quest you always have monsters on your tails. And this was no tame hellhound. For some reason I didn’t feel scared. It may have been the Blessing of Ares that Xena explained to me. In battle, you’re temporarily immune and feel really brave. Kara heard it too and she straightened up. She pushed the hair out of her eyes like she always did, and said, “Guys help me get this boat into the waterquickly!” Xena and I pushed while Kara pulled from the front. It wasn’t a heavy boat, and remarkably well built for such short time. We got her into the water and we were about to push off when Xena screamed, “My spear!” She pointed to where her dory lay in the sand besides Kara extra kindling. Before we could stop her, she jumped out of the boat and splashed her way back to get her prized weapon. And then the monster leaped out of forest. It was huge. Not as big as Mrs. O’Leary but it was still pretty big. About the size of Cabin 9- Hephaestus’ cabin, and believe me they have the biggest cabin because they keep building on too it. Xena screamed (totally UN Ares-like) and stumbled backwards tripping over Kara’s wood supply. It probably surprised her. Kara jumped out of the boat too and ran to help Xena up. I stood there by the boat, making sure it didn’t float away. The hellhound growled at my friends and Kara picked up a piece of wood and threw it as far as she could. “FETCH!” She commanded. The dog obeyed disappearing in an instant to retrieve the wood. It probably didn’t get played with much. The hellhound reached the wooden stick, before it even landed on the Earth. They had only a few precious moments to get to the boat. Xena turned to face the dog, because that was the only option. It picked her up and flung her over the trees. Her black hair whipped behind her as she fell screaming. Kara was the only one now, standing on the beach picking up pieces of wood. What was she doing?! “Hurry up!” I screamed, waving my hands frantically. The big dog was heading back, the stick in pieces in its mouth.

Kara ran for the boat but she was too late. She slipped in the surf and the wood when flying up into the air. The hellhound pounced on her. I dragged the boat up a little bit, just enough so it wouldn’t float away yet. I grabbed my dagger and ran up to the dog’s side, while it was distracted with Kara. Oh no you don’t! I stabbed my knife into its side and it shuddered like it was on vibration mode. The whole thing burst into dust and dropped Kara in the process. She had monster dust all over her, powder coating her clothes. I helped her up off the ground and patted the monster dust off of her. “Are you okay?” I breathed heavily. I felt kind of bad that the hellhound had dropped her. Kara nodded obviously in pain. I noticed she didn’t put her ankle down on the ground. “Lean on me,” I ordered. She didn’t complain. “Thanks,” She murmured so only I could hear. When we settled into the boat, our shoes now soaked with sea water, Xena bombarded Kara with insults. Of course, she was fine and had made her way back to us, with just a couple more scratches on her. “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?” She screamed hands waving wildly in the air. “You could have killed yourself Mechanics Girl! Don’t ever do that again; understand you...You…Ilithios!” I could tell Xena didn’t really mean the insults and that she was just worried and afraid but still. Kara leaned back against the crumbling hull and closed her eyes. She didn’t respond to the other daughter of Ares on board. I scrambled to get my pack. “This should help with injuries, illness or burns.” Clovis had said when he gave me the ambrosia and nectar. “Not too much of this stuff, or you could burn up or turn to ashes. He’d also added. I trickled a little nectar into Kara’s mouth and I could sense her tense muscles beginning to relax. “Stupid girl,” Xena muttered leaning on the side of the little boat. She shook her head like she couldn’t believe Kara had tried to help her. “She saved you.” I told my brethren. “She hurt herself.” Xena retorted. I can’t argue with that fact. Xena tells me to take a nap. “I’ll take first watch. You lie down. I don’t need to steer- Kara did a good job with the Runaway II, I think it magically steers itself.”

“The Runaway II?” I question, stuffing the canteen back into my pack. “The name Kara chose for the boat.” Xena points to the side of the boat, which in neatly written green paint (where did she get green paint?) The Runaway II. It seemed like an appropriate name seeing as we were running away from a hellhound. Kara raises her head sleepily. “Gee, thanks Xena. I thought I did a good job too…” With that, she closes her eyes again and begins to snore. I laugh and lie down as well. I spread a blanket on the ground, and really I all I want to do is take a nap anyways. This demigod stuff is extreme… In a long story short, we made it to Albany without attracting too many monsters. We had a run in with a flock of stymphalian birds, yes the same ones Herakles (that’s Hercules’ Greek name) fought. We tried fighting at first, and then Kara surprised us by singing. Let me tell you- she will never make a living singing. Her voice was hoarse and raspy, she sang, “I’ve Been Working On the Railroad” and she was WAY off key. Too my surprise the birds flew away. “One summer,” She said hands on her legs, panting, “We had a run in with the stymphalian birds. Percy and Annabeth scared them away with Chiron’s set of CD’s and a CD player.” I could see why the birds didn’t want to listen to that junk. Even Chiron’s music was too old fashioned for me. “So, is that you’re normal voice when you sing?” Xena smirked. They were back to their normal fighting selves. “No worse than you’re regular voice.” Kara retorted. After that, we went into the first Starbucks we saw, which wasn’t hard. Coffee places littered the streets. We walked in and ordered some drinks. I got a vanilla steamer, and we paid with the mortal money. I had a feeling they didn’t except drachmas here. The cashier reminded me faintly of somebody. I should have realized this earlier, but it seemed like she had a serpents tongue, a leafy thin strip, like a snakes tongue. Her eyes were like a cat, only more intense. I had the feeling that she was into trickery. I felt like something was slithering up my back, but nothing was there. Her white T-Shirt had the picture of a spindle on it, like the one Sleeping Beauty touched. It was hard to tell exactly, because of her green Starbucks apron though.

I had a hard time ordering my drink. She seemed to sense my discomfort and smiled at me. Maybe it was my imagination but I thought I saw her change into a woman holding a spindle in one hand and a torch in the other. I would have thought she was the statue of liberty, except she had a spindle for one, and she whispered, “What do you need girl? What is you’re necessity…this is you’re fate.” In a kind, but also cruel voice. (Don’t ask how that worked, it just did.) I blinked and then she was just a 27 year old woman, at the cashier waiting for me to order what I wanted to drink. I described to Xena and Kara what I saw. “Are you sure?” They asked me uneasily. I nodded. “I don’t know who it is...maybe it’s a monster?” Kara sounded terrified. Xena nodded in agreement which was rare. I pulled out my book of Greek Myths. “Maybe this will help.” I said, sipping out of my cup. We spent several minutes trying to find something about a women like a serpent talking about fates, necessities and stuff like that. We landed on Ananke, goddess of inevitability, destiny, necessity and fate. We looked back at where the goddess stood, smiling at a young man who was getting a blueberry scone. “What is she doing working at Starbucks?” I broke the silence. Xena shrugged. “Beats me.” Kara nodded. “Maybe one of us should go ask her?” We voted that Xena should go, because number one, I ordered our drinks, and Kara was still injured despite the nectar I had given her. She’d had a hard time getting here. When Xena came back, Ananke came with her. She was a pretty goddess but her serpents tongue made it hard to concentrate on her beauty. “Hello young godlingssss,” She slurred. “Why are you working here?” I blurted out before I could contain myself. The (minor) goddess laughed. “Why not?” My face turned red. “I am the goddess of necesssssitiessss as I am fatesss and dessstiny. Is coffee and chocolate not a necesssssity?” She asked waving her hand around the restaurant. It was hard to understand her exactly with all the ‘sssss’. Kara nodded. “Because chocolate is-” Ananke finished the sentence with Kara, “Universal.” They both intoned. “Ares and Hephaestus said you would help us.” Xena put in, leaning against the table easily.

Ananke’s face grew brighter, literally. “I always had a sssoft ssspot for Hephaessstusss. What does he want me to do?” I ignored the fact that she had dissed Ares. Xena looked angry for a moment. “Um…well we have a prophecy. And we’re kind of on this quest. So…if we told you the prophecy could you help us?” Kara asked, picking up her chocolate frappe. Ananke blew on her fingernails. “If you’ll tell me the prophecy of course I will.” This seemed too easy. Ananke wasn’t known for being evil, but she wasn’t known for being overly kind either. Her husband was Kronos at the beginning of time anyways. They represented time and fate together. I think they divorced though when he got overthrown. “Two halfbloods thy will take Failing quest the camp will quake Losing one in the mighty lake Everything is now put to stake A sign released from above Calm from the word of the head Dove.” I recited from memory. Ananke frowned. “I see now. This could be very dangerous…you know that one of you is going to die.” As the goddess of fatesss and dessstiny, I was sure that she knew which of us. “Do you know the Fates?” Xena asked. “Yes, we are very close. In fact, sssometimes we play cardsss together to determine ssssomeone’s fate together. It’s actually quite fun.” She plays cards to determine someone’s fate? Was what my mind was thinking. What kind of freak was she? “I will help you.” She decided. “It is the leassst I can do, to help you demigodsss after what my ex husband did last sssummer.” She led us to the back of the Starbucks. A word glowed on the wall, next to the dusty espresso maker. Πύλη. “Portal.” Kara read, automatically switching over to Greek.

Ananke smiled, her pearly whites flashing us. Her serpents tongue flicked in and out of her mouth. “Yesss, dearsss. This is a portal to the heart of Albany. There you will fail your quessst.” We all did our best not to ask how we would fail our quest but it came out anyways. “Fail our quest?” Xena asked uncomfortably. She looked like she was holding back information. “I am restricted to tell you how.” Ananke sighed wistfully. “I do wish I could help you more…but remember. Words are the ssstrongest weapon. The Earth itself uses words.” She looked directly at me. I had no idea what she meant, but I nodded. “I can only tell you- you will sssucceed…in a different matter. Your quessst wasss in…vain. Head East. That isss all I can tell you.” And then she disappeared in a wisp of smoke. “Well that was helpful.” Xena said. Kara touched her hand to the Πύλη (Portal) symbol. It glowed even brighter and then we were sucked into a huge black void. We flew through darkness, and I didn’t dare open my eyes. I heard huge gusts of wind flying by my ear and the sounds of people talking. I couldn’t figure out what they were saying but it sounded like we were going fast. “Clean your room for thousandth time…” “I told you Mr. Homer we are not giving jobs at this time.” “I didn’t mean too!” “Apologize right now punk, or you’re lunch is gone.” “Mary, don’t leave me. Please...” “I’ll be there in 10.” Those were the tidbits I caught as we whirled away through space. It was overwhelming, the darkness and I thought- was it possible Ananke was actually evil? What if she was trapping us here in this black hole forever? Then we landed. I don’t know how, and I’m not anxious to try that again. I landed on top of a large white boulder, Xena clung to a tree and Kara was the luckiest. She was sitting in the Runway II which somehow came with us. I thanked Ananke but, I didn’t think we seriously needed it anymore.

Kara snapped her fingers and the boat folded up into a small hand bag. “it comes with pockets too.” Kara grinned like the genius she was. “Where are we?” Xena asked, flipping off the tree branch. (Show off). As if on cue we noticed a sign. Center Square, New York. I’d heard of Times Square but not Center Square. We were looking at some weird looking houses on Lark Street. The people who walked by us, didn’t seem to notice anything weird going on. We headed off doing our best to guess which direction to go. “Is it morning?” Kara asked us. I looked around. “Yeah. Why?” Kara pointed to the Sun. “Ananke said to go east. We head that way.” So we set off. Xena and I talked about the Prophecy while Kara held back playing with her boat/pack. “Lee, there’s something you should know.” She shifted her feet uncomfortably. “It’s me.” I got what she was saying. “Maybe…we can avoid it? Or…it doesn’t mean you’ll die or anything.” I said quickly. (Right?) “Maybe it means you’ll get lost, but you’ll find you’re way back.” That pretty much ended our conversation. It was well past noon when we found our first Olympian sign. It was a lake- with the mark of a trident in it. As far as I knew, there were no lakes around Center Square. (Not that I knew much.) The mark of the trident was swirling around the top of the lake, changing into crashing waves and surfer dudes, and then always back to the figurine of a trident. Huge rocks erupted from the lake staying up for about five seconds and then disappearing under the waves. In the center of the lake was a little island, big enough to hold about three boats as big as the small Runway II. It didn’t seem coincidental that we ended up there. We broke out the snacks and ate a hearty lunch before exploring. Xena stood up, fear in her eyes. “I..Um…I’m going to go check out the lake now. You guys stay here. Maybe there is something on that island that could help us.” She took her dory with her. We watched as she jumped from rock to rock, timing it just right. She was like a jaguar, so graceful and stealthy, but also very dangerous. It must have been hard wielding her spear. Then she made her fatal step. I thought I saw Ananke in like a cloud of mist playing cards at her table, watching Xena. “You must lossse one in the mighty lake, to fail your quessst…” Ananke whispered from her little table. “No! Stop! Xena!” Kara and I screamed to Xena. She couldn’t have heard us over the

crash of the waves. I knew what was happening now. By the gods, Xena and I had just talked about it! She slipped on the rock that was just going down. Her hands flailed wildly, trying to grab on to anything to lessen her fall. Her head turned toward us, a silent plea forming on her lips. And then she disappeared under the lake with the rocks. “It isss done.” Ananke said solemnly from her mist cloud. A million ideas flashed through my mind at once. I wanted to grab the nearest can of Sprite and hurl it at the cloud image. I doubted it would do anything though. The next was thinking, “Oh my gods, Xena was the one we would lose!” and the third thought was screaming in panic. Ananke disappeared again and Kara and I sat there, blinking. “Xena…” Kara said hoarsely setting down her coke. I wasn’t hungry either. I stared at where she’d disappeared. “She died…because…because I let her go out there. Alone.” I cursed myself. Tears came to my eyes- what would dad said? I’d failed him. It was weird, because I was sad, but not as sad as I wanted to be. Like, for some reason the grief was too much. Kara looked at me. “It wasn’t your fault.” She said with difficulty. “I wish we could make a time traveling machine. I could make one in a couple years.” She said wistfully. “I’d go back, and Xena and I would be friends.” She wiped a tear from her cheek. Her bandanna had come off her head, but she made no move to adjust it. We were failures. I don’t know how long we sat there, grieving over Xena’s loss. Maybe… thirty minutes at best. As we got up and packed our things away, I wondered who would make such an evil lake and why? Whoever it was they are a monster. I shuddered to think it was Poseidon, he wasn’t like that. I’d never met him but I was sure of it. But the trident…all the sudden a blast appeared in the clearing. An old man hobbled over to us. He had the looks of a fisherman who’d fallen out of his boat and been devoured my sharks, and then spit out. In other words he was really not that good looking. “I am Oceanus.” He said an (evil?) glint in his eyes. “I will not stay long, for 99% of my essence is trapped in Tarturus. You should know this is my lake. The Little Sea of Many Deaths. It summons arguments to your home- which in your case is Camp Halfblood. This will only strengthen the arguments already beginning at your precious camp.” “Why are you helping us?” Asked Kara.

Oceanus stroked his beard. “I ask myself that question all the time. I bring you a small bit of information- I chose wrong in the second Titan War. Your opponent this time is greater then we are. The Earth itself-” Whatever he was going to say, he stopped and tilted his head, like he was listening to someone else. “I can not tell you that. But I will say, you must get back to your camp. This quest is failed- because it was in vain. You should have stayed there. Chaos is starting.” And then with a strangled gulp the old man vanished, as if someone was telling him, “Get back into Tarturus. You didn’t get permission to leave.” “I’ve had enough help from the gods.” Kara muttered spitefully patting her Runaway II bag. I nodded in agreement. They seemed a little too helpful. “Kara, how fast can we get to Camp Halfblood from here?” She grinned despite the fact that we were still sad. “I thought you’d never ask.” She snapped her fingers and the Runaway II turned back into a boat. “This might be the best flying boat ever. Just don’t lean over the side.” She advised. “You might fall out.” I got into the boat and didn’t lean over the sides, for my health. The bad thing about that boat ride, you ask? Well, for one, it took about an hour to get to Camp Halfblood. This means, it gave me plenty of time to think. Kara didn’t talk to me, she was busy manning the wheel and fixing stuff up. I’d tried not to dwell on the prophecy. Chiron had told me not to think about a Prophecy too greatly, but you would know the answers to everything about the Prophecy after it happened. This wasn’t particularly helpful. I’d told myself, that maybe losing someone meant, like somebody get’s lost, or they make a mistake and turn evil, or they ‘die’ and somehow heroically make it back. Just like in the movies. But I knew Xena was dead. I could feel it. The Camp will quake part still bothered me. We reached Camp and sailed right through the magical boundaries. When we landed a bunch of kids had gathered around. Most of them looked angry. There were about ten around us, all arguing and fighting amongst each other. Chiron was trying to break up a fight between Apollo and Ares, while Aphrodite’s cabin spat insults at Cabin 6 (Athena). Even Demeter and Hecate were fighting. I didn’t get it and Kara looked stupefied as well. Hephaestus was allying with Demeter, or so it looked. “Why is everyone fighting?” I asked getting out of the boat before it touched down on the soil. Instantly my thoughts turned into rage. “Him.” A guy

from Aphrodite’s cabin pointed at a girl from Athena’s cabin. “They started it.” Apollo’s kids accused my siblings from Ares cabin. They all blamed one another for stealing things, breaking things or just being rude or something like that. Kara and I looked at each other. She hadn’t gotten out of the boat. Words are the strongest weapon... A voice whispered in my mind. I tried to tone out the anger inside of me to hear the voice. Kara seemed to hear it too. “STOP!” We yelled as one. “We’re all like family here!” Kara insisted. “You love on another.” I added helpfully. “Someone is manipulating you’re minds, making you argue.” Kara said with wisdom beyond her years. I saw Percy and Annabeth in a tree. (???) “As long as you touch the ground, you’re fighting with each other.” Percy said from his tree. I don’t know how they figured that out but I felt a sense that I should be pulverizing the Apollo cabin. I fought against the feeling, but jumped back into the boat to be safe. Instantly, the anger faded. The half-bloods still look angry but they moved to get on top of things. The roof of their cabin, on top of a log, a tire, anything. One demigod stood on top of a horse’s salt licking block. The horses whinnied in protest like “Hey!” The campers asked how we would move around without touching the ground. I just knew we couldn’t touch the ground without. Chiron was the only one, not affected (or so it seemed) when he was touching the ground. Drew from the Aphrodite cabin fluffed her hair. “This is stupid.” She declared, her feet dangling over the roof of her cabin. Annabeth seemed to be thinking. “Drew, charmspeak us.” The leader of the Aphrodite’s cabin looked surprised. No one ever asked her willingly to do that. Lacy made sign language motions at me, but I didn’t get it so she just mouthed, “Are you okay?” I nodded and gave her a thumb up. “I don’t see how that’s going to help Annabeth.” Drew rolled her eyes. The two weren’t close, but they talked on occasion. Dionysus strutted out of his office. He blinked when he saw us all hanging up in the sky. (Well you know what I mean.) Mr. D sighed. “Looks like she is up to her old tricks? My goodness, the camp is sure going to quake. And let me tell you, I control everything that happens here, and someday soon…Romans.” He didn’t look worried he was too lazy to be angry. But he did stiffen when he said Romans. I had no idea what he was talking about, and I didn’t care.

Chiron paled. “I would speak with you later Mr. D.” He looked completely miffed. I felt bad for the centaur; because Mr. D isn’t someone you would have tea and chat with. Drew had been talking to Annabeth. Finally she sighed and said, “Well now look. The camp needs me. Isn’t that a sorry sight?” Finally Drew said, “No more arguing. You will all be peaceful and the ground will not affect your emotions. And all the boys will fall in love with me for today. The girls will bring me gifts, one at a time.” Her words held power. I had the sudden urge to run and get Drew a nice present. Stop that. I told myself. I attentively poked my foot outside of the boat. All clear. Calm from the word of the lead Dove. It made sense, the whole thing. I told Kara my reasons. She nodded and we talked for a while longer. Everyone had gone down to eat at the Pavilion. “Can we go eat now?” She complained, pushing the hair out of her face again. “I’m starving.” I grinned. “Yeah me too.” As we headed down I looked seriously at my friend. “I’m not going on a quest for a good long time. Okay?” She nodded with me. “Neither am I.” The ghostly form of Xena flickered as she watched her two friends walk away. She smiled. “Good luck my friends.”

The Lotus Hotel and Casino “Stay down,” Bianca di Angelo hissed to her little brother. Nico di Angelo looked up at his older sister with wide scared eyes. “What if the monsters come over here?” Bianca glanced over her shoulder. The monsters were coming down the alley now, following their scent. “They won’t,” Bianca promised, “Just stay down and cover yourself with these old boxes.” She pointed to the moldy cardboard boxes lying in the alley. They were crouched down behind them. The dracaenae female reptilian monsters slithered down the alleyway. “Come out children of Hades. We know you’re back here- we can smell you!” The lead dracaenae hissed.

That was one thing Nico didn’t get. He peeped his head out from behind the boxes. “Hades? Like that Greek myth god- the one who rules the dead?” He asked out of curiosity. The monster nodded, baring her fangs. “You do not know who you are demigod?” She asked, surprised. Bianca tried to pull her brother back down, but he was stubborn. He came out from behind their safe shelter. “What are you? Are you those Greek monsters?” The dracaenae hissed uncertainly. There were only 2 of them, and they weren’t sure what they should do now. “We should kill them.” The smaller one said. “How do you know so much about us, if you don’t know what you are?” The first dracaenae demanded. Nico grinned showing off his two missing teeth. “I know all about the Greek gods and their enemies!” He put his hand in his pocket and pulled out his Myth-o-magic cards, the card game he had been working on for a few months. “Is it true Zeus has a bucket of ‘bolts? Or does he only have one?” Bianca couldn’t sit there, while they tore her brother up. She revealed herself as well. The two snake women glared at the halfbloods. “Ridiculous boy! Of course he has the Master Bolt! Where are you learning that information?” Nico shuffled through his cards. “I don’t see you guys in my cards. What’s your attack power?” The monsters were getting impatient. “Impudence!” They shrieked in harmony. “Kill the offspring of Hades!” And with that the two dracaenae lunged for the two children. Bianca shoved her brother to the side, trying to get him to safety. “I wanna fight!” Nico protested crashing into the cardboard boxes. Bianca knew she couldn’t hold off these snake women. “Stay back!” She screamed. The knocked her to the ground easily. “I haven’t eaten in awhile. You’ll be the first in many decades.” The smaller dracaenae smiled evilly. Nico scrambled to his feet. “Stay away from my sister!” He commanded pointing his finger at the monsters. A force field of darkness left his hand and rippled to where the evil women stood.

They flew backwards and slammed into the brick wall. Groaning they tried to stand up but Nico stood over them. “Go back to where you came from!” His voice quavered but in a poof! The two dracaenae disappeared. Bianca moaned from where she had hit the ground. She rubbed her head. “Nico?” She asked faintly. He ran to her side. “Are you okay?” He asked his sister worriedly. “How did you do that?” Bianca was stunned. She’d never seen her brother do that before, and it was kind of creepy. Nico shrugged. “I don’t know. I’m hungry…can we go eat somewhere?” As if by a sign they noticed a flyer taped in the alley. The Lotus Hotel and Casino: Food, warm place to stay, Free WiFi, & spa. Enjoy yourselves with our entertainment sources STOP BY TODAY! Located at 22cnd Avenue. Bianca shook her head. “No, Nico we can’t go there.” Nico looked up at her with his big pleading eyes. He was hungry, and cold. Besides, he liked the sound of ‘entertainment sources’. “One night?” He whimpered. Bianca hesitated. She looked at the flyer. The warm place to stay sounded nice. For the past week or so Nico and her had been doing their best to stay warm and always sleeping in uncomfortable places. Maybe, this was destiny. “Fine, we can go there. But only one night, got it?” Bianca decided. Nico put his Myth-o-magic cards back in his pocket. “Thank you! Thank you!” He cried jumping up and down with excitement. Nico di Angelo and his sister headed for 22cnd Avenue. Something bothered the young boy though. It seemed too good to be true. He got the sense the shadows were watching them. Go to the Lotus Casino, boy. In time, I will send someone to collect you. A voice breezed by Nico’s ear. He tensed, waiting for another monster. Nothing. Where had that voice come from? It sounded like someone he knew…and then he didn’t. He strained his memory but found nothing. They arrived at the hotel, cold and shivering. “Be polite,” Bianca said. “And maybe they’ll take pity on us and give us a free room.”

A bellhop opened the door for them and led them into a giant crowd of people. “Ah!” The bellhop cried in delight, fixing his green cap. “Here are your premium room keys Mr. and Mrs. di Angelo.” He handed them neon green room keys. “These also work as cash cards, so you can pay for any food you would like. Your room is 411. The bill’s taken care of. No extra charges, no tips. Just go on up to the first floor.” He paused to take a breath. “If you need anything, like more pillows, an extra bed, a massage…anything at all call down to the front desk.” Nico stared at him blankly. Bianca scratched her forehead but accepted the cash cards/room key. As they headed upstairs Nico glanced back at the Myth-o-magic comes to life game. “Can we come back down later?” He asked hopefully. Bianca nodded eyeballing the movie theater. “Definitely. I still don’t get though, why we just got in for free. It’s weird isn’t it?” Nico shrugged. “Who cares? We’re in, so we might as well enjoy it.” He unlocked the door to their suite. Inside the room was breath taking. There were two separate bedroomsone for Nico and one for Bianca. There was a mini fridge in each room with chips, sodas and candy. The towels were amazingly soft and they had a little balcony over looking Nevada. There was even a hot tub out on the balcony! Nico whistled appreciatively. The view took Bianca’s breath away. “Oh my gosh.” Bianca breathed. “We are never leaving.” She breathed as she looked out over the little city. The sun was going down and the clouds seemed to go on forever, stretching out never ending. “This place is awesome!” Nico cried stuffing his face with chocolate. There were even clothes in the closet, and they both of the demigods. They didn’t dwell on it but it seemed a little weird. The two quickly changed their dirty street clothes, for the T-Shirts and Jeans. (Actually Bianca put on a skirt.) A bow and arrow hung over the elaborate fireplace. Bianca took it down and tested the string. She frowned, like she was thinking. “This feels…so right.” She muttered to herself, imagining herself in the forest shooting down some kind of prey.

Nico studied a painting of skulls decorating the ground. It didn’t seem scary, just like…home. He knitted his eyebrows together trying to understand. Finally he gave up. “Can we go downstairs now?” Nico popped open a soda can. “In a moment.” Bianca turned on the flat screen TV. “What is that?” Nico asked staring at the TV. Bianca shrugged, her eyes hooked to the screen. “It’s a mini movie theater.” She said finally. “Cool!” Nico sat down on the lavish sofa with his sister. They watched a little of Bart and his Super dog but changed the channel. They found themselves hooked on a show called Hephaestus TV, Live at Olympus. Bianca frowned. “I have this feeling…” She began to tell Nico. Nico touched the TV screen. “This is weird.” He stated. “I like it!” Bianca watched as she saw a giant spider trying to weave a better tapestry then Athena. It was called Think You Can Weave Better Than a Goddess? In the back of her mind, she was sure she knew more about Greek Mythology then her mind was supplying her. In frustration she turned off the TV. “Okay, let’s go Nico.” They headed downstairs. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Nico was in heaven. Waitress floated by fluttering their eyelashes at him and offering him every type of snack in the world. And they all tasted like angels had made it specifically for him from the oven of happiness. The first thing he did was start playing the Myth-o-Magic comes to life game. It was awesome the way the controls went in his hands, and the effects on the screen. Nico couldn’t believe he’d never heard of this before. He spent an hour maybe, he wasn’t sure, playing the game. When Bianca stopped by to check on him, her face was glowing. “Why are you so happy?” He asked jamming at the controls desperately trying not to die in the game as he talked. Bianca smiled. “I saw a movie in the theater- Nico! It was so…real.” She smiled to herself. “It’s wonderful and the sound effects.” She sighed dreamily. Nico stared at the video game screen. “Yeah,” He agreed absently. “It’s wonderful. We can’t ever leave this place- it keeps getting better and better!” He swiped a coke off a platter, as a waitress went by.

Bianca ordered a shrimp plate. “I’m hungry,” She stated. “Do you want something to eat?” She asked Nico contentedly. Nico pointed to the pile of chocolate pretzels by his feet. “I’m good.” Bianca suddenly felt like she was getting an ear splitting head ache. “Ow.” She touched her head. Nico made the mistake of looking up from his game. “Drat!” He cursed. “I was on level 432, Bianca. What’s the matter?” Bianca rubbed her skull. “I have this feeling…” She winced, “That we aren’t supposed to be here. She ducked down like someone was about to hit her. Nothing happened, so she stood back up. “Odd,” She murmured to herself. “Never mind. It was a childish thought. Continue playing your game.” She blinked and walked away with her shrimp plate. Nico shrugged and pressed a red button so he could use one of his 25 extra lives to get him back in the game. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ When they finally left to go to bed (not Nico’s idea, but you-know-who) Nico wasn’t sure how long they had been down there. A couple hours? A day? A month? He scratched his head and plunked down on the bed. When he woke up, he wasn’t sure how long he’d slept either. “This is creepy.” He muttered to himself. He woke up Bianca and they found swimming suits lying on their dressers. “So…what now?” Bianca asked eyeing the swimming suits longingly. Nico grinned, and held up his trunks. “DUH.” He pointed to the swim trunks. “Swimmy time!” The pool was extraordinary. It was made out of marble that was multicolored and it changed colors every 5 seconds. Lights flashed in the bottom of the pool like an underwater disco party. To the sides and in the bottom of the pool were tanks, containing fish, sharks, and even dolphins! It looked just like the sea creatures were in the pool with them. And the pool was gigantic. It was about half the length of a football stadium. Waitresses supplied them with drinks and snacks, and there was a hot tub that let you breath underwater, and it had neon lights underneath the water. Again, the nine year old didn’t know how long they’d stayed in the pool. The water seemed almost magical, like his hands wouldn’t get all gross and

squishy like they did when he stayed in the pool a long time. In fact, it seemed to refresh him, cleanse him and make him want to stay in the pool forever. Bianca floated around doing back paddles as Nico did dives and cannon balls into the pool. And the best part was, there was only one other person in the pool so nobody complained that he was splashing them. They didn’t leave for quite some time- because when they were getting out, and lying on the pool decks the hotel staff brought out a very good smelling barbecue. Nico felt like he couldn’t ever eat again, when he was done. He’d never eaten so well in his entire life. “Bianca,” He sighed looking up at the clouds, “Could this get any better?” Bianca moaned happily and rolled over on her back, patting her tummy. “I hope we find out…” She murmured thinking of the barbecue feast. “That did not agree with my stomach.” They were heading back up to their room when they passed the basketball court. Nico stopped in his tracks. “One game?” He pleaded with his sister. Bianca was about to say ‘no’ when she noticed the library just off to the right. “When you’re done, meet me in there.” She pointed to the door. They headed off in separate directions. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Time. Nico laughed to himself. What was time? Seconds? How long it took for him to order food from room service? He didn’t know. He didn’t care; this place was just too much fun. He was heading down to the lobby to play Skee Ball with a friend he made when a wall of grey stopped him. Nico grunted and sucked in for air. Watch it! He almost screamed. “Sorry,” He said to the man-a lawyer by the looks of it-dressed in a grey suit. The man looked down at him and laughed, an almost evil light flickered in his eyes for a moment. “You’re the Son of Hades aren’t you?” He asked in a deep voice. Nico shifted his feet uncomfortably. He motioned for his friend to continue on without him. “I’ll catch up.” He promised glancing up at the lawyer.

“Are you the Son of Hades?” The man demanded, holding up a photo and comparing it with Nico. Nico was tempted to ask why this strange man had a picture of him, but he kept his mouth shut. There was that question again. It was vague, but somewhere…in this lifetime? Nico wasn’t sure, but he remembered something about dracaenae saying that he and Bianca were born from Hades. “What do you mean?” Nico asked carefully, sweeping his hair out of his face. “Some bad ladies called us that too… about a…” He drifted off. How long ago was that? The lawyer snorted but didn’t answer. Finally he looked up and walked away without another word. Nico was about to go join his friend, when he realized his feet were stuck to the floor. He tugged at his feet, tried to jump up and down, and at one point even got on all fours and started to tug at his shoes. His feet came loose from the shoes but the new Nikes didn’t come out. Nico cursed and was contemplating on how he was going to get his shoes back when the lawyer came back with his sister. “Smart child,” The lawyer observed. He snapped his fingers and Nico tumbled backwards with his shoes (he was still tugging when they came loose). Bianca would have laughed if she hadn’t been so 1) angry 2) confused 3) concerned “Where are you taking us?” She demanded. Part of her was still in the Grand Library reading “Little House on the Prairie.” She longed to find out what happened next with Pa and the wolves. Maybe, the reason I like the story is because I wished my own family was like that. Complete. Bianca thought inwardly. She quickly dismissed the thought as silly. The lawyer looked at her, as if he was still trying to register her question. Finally he spoke; “I am taking you both to a school, where you will be safe. I’ve been given orders- and I must follow them.” He gestured around the area with an expensive sweep of the room, “You’ve been here too long. It is time to see the world.”

Nico scrambled up, his shoes firmly tied onto his feet. Bianca put a protective hand on her brother’s shoulder. “We’re not going anywhere with you.” She insisted. Nico was still so small. So innocent and uncomphrensive. There was no way; he knew what was going on right now. Bianca could only tell that he still wanted to go play Skee Ball with his friend. The lawyer shook his head. “You have no choice. Now come, let us ‘check out’ as they call it.” Nico scampered after the man, not knowing this was the last time he’d ever be in the hotel. Bianca planted her feet firmly on the floor. “I’m not coming.” She stated stubbornly. This was the only safe haven for her and her brother. She wasn’t going back to living on the streets! The lawyer raised a furry brown eyebrow. For a moment, his image flickered and she thought she saw…a monster? Definitely a monster, with ugly sharpened teeth and claws that looked like they could tear a mountain to shreds. And it was a woman. “Would you dare defy me?” The lawyer hissed in a ladies voice. It was pure evil and hungry for blood. Bianca was going to nod yes when her feet moved unwillingly. She found herself marching ridiculously with the lawyer and Nico didn’t notice. He was busy staring at a 3D dinosaur wrecking a 3D building. “Tell your brother to come with us and you won’t be living on the streets.” Bianca swallowed and tried to keep her mouth closed but if she left him here… “Nico, come on. Let’s go.” She forced herself to sound cheerful like this was a normal occasion. Yeah right. Her mind was thinking. This is totally normal. A strange man comes to get you and you start marching like you’re in Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Get real. Nico stopped gawking at the dinosaur (a t-rex actually) and stumbled after them. “Where are we going now?” He complained. “I like it here! Do we have to leave?” His tiny hands latched on too a pillar. Bianca pried him off, with not too much effort.

Bianca glanced at the lawyer/monster. If he heard Nico, he gave no sign of it. He started chatting with the bellhop and then the person at the register. Bianca couldn’t hear what he was saying but they both nodded and smiled. Nico crept away again and poked at a glass vase of flowers. The vase toppled and words formed at Bianca’s lips, “No!” But it was too late. The vase tipped to the left and wobbled on the table. And then CRASH! Whatever left behind was either a pile of wet flowers or cracked and scattered pieces of glass on the floor. Attendants rushed over to clean it up, glaring at her brother. Bianca pulled him to the side, so no glass could pierce his pale skin. As they left the Lotus Hotel and Casino, Bianca felt a chill on her back. Nico climbed in the car with the man. Bianca didn’t trust him, anymore then she trusted the cold wind on her back. She picked up a stick- it wasn’t much but it made her feel better- and climbed in the car. “Where are we going now?”

Finding My Way to Camp Halfblood I’m not all that mysterious if you take the time to get to know me. Most people, don’t stay that long, or survive that long. Especially mortals like you. Most people run away screaming with their hands waving in the air wildly. I’m a problem child, and that’s all you really need to know. I got in a lot of trouble at school, like all you regular demigods, and yeah, I got expelled twice. Not as many times as some people I heard about. My mom…she’s got problems. She used to be a famous actor in the eighties and well, she’s not anymore. I think that’s how Zeus found her- he must have seen my mom on TV or something, and fell in love with her big poofy hairdo. And I will say, my mom used to be really pretty in her prime. Was I surprised that Greek Mythology still was around? Not really, I just accepted it. I guess it’s because girls who are six years old are actually more mature than you might think. I found it kind of cool, when my mom first told me.

So, when my mom found out the Lord of the Sky from old Greek Mythology fell in love with her- I think that was too much for her to handle who knows how old she was. Besides, she thought this made her better then everyone else- resulting in an inflated ego. Like, she couldn’t believe the gods still existed, and when they did, one fell in love with her. When Zeus left to go back to Olympus…it broke my mother’s heart. She thought maybe, something was wrong with her, like she wasn’t good enough. Zeus left her in a sorrier state than she had been before he came, because she turned to alcohol for assistance. She went over the brink. People stopped showing her on TV because she kept going crazy. One time, in a shampoo commercial she grabbed the shampoo containers (which were filled) and dumped them on the directors head. Don’t ask me why, people do strange things when their drunk. Those years were the worst for me. I started to get the feeling; my mom was never actually there. I’d made up my mind to runaway when I ran into somebody in the doorway. I was only seven but I had my sack of things slung over my shoulder and determination on my face. The man that appeared in the doorway looked to be in his early forties or late thirties. You can never tell with a god, but I didn’t know who he was at the time. He was dressed in a clad (stylish though) toga with the symbol of a lightning bolt on a golden button, pinned to his collar. My mother came to the door and didn’t look twice at my runaway gear. Not like she cared though. “Zeus?” She gasped, in obvious disbelief. The toga guy shook his head as if he were slightly amused with my mom’s reaction. “I am Zeus,” He acknowledged, “but in a different aspect or another time I am known as Jupiter.” My mom would have hit the floor and broken in her head, if not for her loving daughter who was there to lessen her fall. “Jupiter,” My mom repeated leaning against the wall. “You left me,” She managed to right herself. Jupiter didn’t argue but his gaze flickered to me and then back to my mom. “May I come in?” He asked in that handsome strong, but firm voice. I couldn’t read his expression but I was sure he was saying, “What is that sorry excuse for a girl?” How could mother refuse another visit from the Greek (Roman) god?

He waved his hand at the breeze whisking by as if telling it to ‘Shut Up’. If he was Lord of the Sky I was sure he wouldn’t mind being in a storm but mom allowed him to come inside. I was told to go to my room and not disturb them talking. Of course, I eavesdropped, sue me. Their conversation went something like this. “It’s good to see you, Ms. Grace.” “Is that all I am to you? Ms. Grace?” My mom sounded heartbroken, like she actually understood what he was saying. Point for mom! There was a short pause and nobody spoke for a moment. Then Jupiter/Zeus replied. “I missed you. We need to talk about Thalia.” He makes me sound like some random object. Like ‘We need to talk about that old moldy apple.’ Did he mean, dispose of me? Because that would not be good for any of our health’s. I hear rustling in the kitchen. Mom must be making my, er….dad a sandwich. “Indeed we do. I heard about this...Camp? Is it…safe?” Another silence, only this one is longer. “I am Jupiter, you must remember this. I do not like this…other Camp as much as the second. But she would not be welcomed there. It is not an option. There is no other way, keep her near you.” What are they talking about? Keep me near my mom? No way. Besides, why would they care? Was someone after me? Did I do something wrong? They talk a little more, about how much my mom was hurt when he went away. When he ditched her, with a little girl in her hands. A burden, that’s all I was. A mistake, my mom made in her life. I don’t want to listen to anymore. I start to sneak back to my room, when Jupiter says, “Thalia come out here.” I pause and then decide I better do what the man says. I pad back into the kitchen. “What,” I growl, “Make it quick.” I’m tempted to add buddy just for complaining sake. For a seven year old, I had an attitude. Jupiter smiles warily at me, he’s holding an uneaten ham and cheese sandwich. I want to tell him its okay, I don’t like her food either, but I don’t. Mom’s not in the kitchen anymore, probably in her room sobbing her eyes out, about how she feels so abandoned.

“Watch her for me, Thalia. Make sure nothing happens to her.” And then he’s gone in a flash of light. Dramatic exits, how exciting. I wanted to yell at him, for making my life so unfair. For making all this happen to me, and he asks me to watch her? Like she never had never watched me? Is that what he meant? I glared at the spot he used to be. “Yeah, sure…no biggie.” I lied, even though he wasn’t even here anymore. I find my mom in her bedroom, lying on her four poster bed. She’s face down and I can hear screaming, even though she attempts to muffle them in her bed sheets. A wine bottle is clutched tightly in her hands and she’s muttering, “Make it go away…” I have no respect for her but I have to know. “Who was that? Zeus?” I demand. I’d never seen the man before, and I defiantly didn’t like him anymore than I did then, now. “No, that was Jupiter.” And then the door closed in my face. I should have run away then, but I didn’t. I had a lot to think about. Jupiter visited more frequently, I think he was worried for his ex girlfriend. He was much more fatherly to me though. I’d only seen Zeus (Like Zeus Zeus, not Jupiter) once, but he was arrogant, he didn’t seem to care about me. Jupiter was different. He was more…stern and cared for me. After his…fifth visit, he didn’t come back anymore. I wished he would, because it seemed like mother was okay when he was around. Or at least I didn’t avoid talking to her when he was around. I never spoke to him, but he talked to me. Frequently he spoke in Latin, which I found odd, but I didn’t really care. His last words to me were, “Thalia, watch the boy. He’s due very soon now. A couple months, given time. Good bye, my sweet daughter.” And then he left, this time using the door, instead of exploding into a fiery ball of light. This I found disappointing as I’d set up a little video camera by the coat closet. Maybe he knew about that. I thought I heard a voice in my mind whisper; Bacchus could have healed her… But the sound is lost in the wind. I had other concerns though. What did he mean by ‘watch the boy?’ We didn’t have any males in our family. I was shocked when I learned my mom was pregnant with yet another child of the Sky god, only year after Jupiter visited us the first time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “What’s his name?” I asked still glaring at my mom, lying in the hospital bed. I felt like punching her I was so mad. Mom thought for a moment. “His name is going to be S-” She stopped talking abruptly. My mother tilted her head, as if she was listening for something. “J-Jason.” She said nervously. I held her gaze. “Are you sure? You don’t sound sure.” “I’m sure darling.” Mother lay her head down on the pillow. Later I learned that Hera had been talking to my mom, telling her that if she wanted Jason to live or something, she would give her his life and name him Jason, after her favorite hero. “Run along alright? There’s money in my purse for a snack at the vending machine.” I didn’t want her poisoned money, but I was hungry. Grudgingly I took two dollar bills out of her wallet. The least amount of money I could take from her, and still get a good snack. I settled for Doritos, which were cheaper then I imagined they would be. As they slid out of the machine with a THUNK! And I bent down to grab them, I had the chilly feeling something was happening. Something…not right. I stood straight up, as if I’d just gotten zapped with Zeus’ Master Bolt. Then I heard a loud anguished cry- my mom- from all the way up on the fourth floor. I was only on the first floor- how could I hear her from all the way down here? It had to be Zeus/Jupiter opening up my ears to hear her. I really wish he hadn’t. I covered my ears and dropped the Doritos to the floor. I had to help her! I left my snack lying on the floor and dashed for the elevator. No, that would take too long. I heard a little boy ask him mom, as they sat in the lobby, “Mommy, what’s wrong with her?” They must have thought I was a deranged hospital patient. Great.

I veered sharply to the left and took the stairs, two at a time. I burst into my mother’s room to find her holding a little baby too her chest. She was trembling but she seemed okay. “Mom?” I asked worriedly. She smiled at me, her pearly whites comforting me. “It’s alright Thalia. Come see your baby brother- Jason.” He was the cutest thing ever. His tiny hands reached toward me, and I knew he was destined for great things. “Hello Jason.” I took the baby from my mom and held him in my arms. Mom sighed contentedly and sank into sleep. She needed it. Jason scrunched himself into a little ball, like he was trying to turn invisible and then popped out and I laughed. I laughed for the first time in a long time. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I knew I couldn’t leave Jason- ever. I stayed all those years, and put up with mom. Jason was so cute, his blue eyes always so innocent when he did something wrong. I could never scold him without giving up and hugging the little guy to death. I remember when he tried to eat a stapler when he was little- he got a permanent scar and a trip to the doctor. It was the one imperfection about him, that little scar on his lip. And then…came the day mom packed us into a car and just drove. I was only nine. I asked her where we were going. I truly wanted to know, but she wouldn’t answer. I was confused and annoyed but in truth, I was happy Jason was with me this time, for a new episode of Mom Goes Completely Bonkers. In the car, Jason and I played peek-a-boo. He was so adorable, because when I yelled, “Peek-a-boo!” He would giggle and clap his chubby little hands together. It warmed my heart to hear him laugh. I was glad; I could make the only person in my life happy. I basically raised him on my own- mom being an alcoholic and all. The car ride gave me a chance to think. Why had Zeus kept visiting us? I think it was because he wanted to please Ms. Grace, he felt it was the right thing to do. Why he left? That was an easy one. My mom was crazy. In this little story, I’ve spared you the details but…she was always so…demanding and out of it. I know she’d asked Zeus/Jupiter for eternal beauty or even to see Olympus but he declined.

When we got to the park, it took my breath away. Tree’s bloomed around us, butterflies danced to the breeze and the sun shone warmly on our shoulders. Jason picked up a flower. “Can I keep this?” He asked me innocently twirling the stem in his hands. He let it into the air and it floated away, which was strange because there was no wind blowing that day. So much for keeping the flower. Mom is laying down a blanket in the grass when she jerks her head up. “I…I’m not ready!” She screams at nobody. I stare at her blankly. “Are you okay?” My mind comes back into focus. “What are we doing?” I demand putting my hands on my hips. Mom smiles coming back from her fit stage. “Why having a picnic of course! I forgot the picnic basket in the…” She trails off and stares blankly at a tree and giggles like a school girl. I hold her gaze. “In the what?” Mom shakes her head again. “In the car dear. I just said that. Go get it. I’ll wait here with Jason.” I was reluctant to leave my little Jason in the hands of this creepy woman but finally, I agreed. How bad could it be? I trotted back to the car and punched in the code to open it. I crawled into our van and poked around. I couldn’t find the picnic basket. Maybe mom was mistaken. This wouldn’t be the first time she did something stupid. I sighed and started to close the door when I saw Jason’s favorite teddy bear lying on the seat. I picked it up. He never went anywhere without Litty (short for Lightning because he could never pronounce it), and he would be wanting the little stuffed animal. I gripped Litty in my hands and slammed the car door. It felt good. I walked back to where mom was sitting. I noticed she was sobbing, mascara running down her cheeks making her look like a clown. “What is it now?” I bent down next to her. Then I noticed Jason wasn’t sitting on the blanket. “Where is he?!” I screamed. I flipped up the blanket in frenzy, as if he was hiding underneath it. Mom just shook her head. “She took him, Thalia! She took him from me!” I gripped her by the shoulders. “WHO took him?” I gritted my teeth. Jason, my poor Jason.

“Hera.” Mom whispered and then slumped forward. I caught her but in the end I just let her fall forwards. I had to find my little brother. “He’s only two!” I screeched at the sky, hoping Hera would hear me and change her mind, if what my mom said was true. I didn’t believe her though. Mom must have hidden him somewhere, or worse…even killed him. I refused to believe he was gone though. I dashed over to the playground and climbed all over it looking for him. The trees. He loves hide and seek. My tired brain said. I’d been searching for an hour and mom had been in the same position for the whole time. I sprinted for the trees and checked them. I even lifted up some small boulders like he would be crushed underneath them. I opened the boys’ bathroom and actually walked in. There was no one in there, thankfully. I probably would have been scarred for life. Finally, I checked the car and walked around the park calling his name. Tears sprung to my eyes, but I forced them down. I wouldn’t give my mom the satisfaction of seeing me cry. That’s what she was hoping for. This was the final straw. Jason was the only thing anchoring me to staying home and not running away. I couldn’t stay here without my two year old baby brother. It wasn’t home anymore. We rode back home in mostly silence, sometimes my mom asking, “Would you like something to eat? Just because Jason is gone doesn’t mean you have to be sad. It was…the right thing to do.” She convinced herself. I wanted to tell her to shut up but I didn’t. I was in too much pain. With Jason gone, I had an excuse to run away. I was only 12 years old. I took off in the dark with my pack (containing food, flashlights, matches, money, a blanket, and medical supplies); and Jason’s teddy bear Litty. The teddy bear was just a reminder to never go back. I met Luke not long after running away. I’d followed this goat because I felt like it was important. It appeared not long after I stepped out of the house. She was called Amaltheia, my dad’s sacred animal. She had curlicue horns like a ram, but the swollen udders of a girl goat. And her shaggy gray fur…wisps of neon light seemed to cling to her, making her look blurry and a little bit ghostly. She had sad amber eyes and a bronze collar around her neck that said ‘Property of Zeus.’ I found that kind of obvious and mean. She led me a long way…into the dragon cave in Charleston. That’s where I met Luke. We made small chat at first, until we both realized we both had psycho moms. “Running away?” I asked him. He nodded. “Yeah…” We figured

out we were both demigods and that it couldn’t be bad if we teamed up to stay alive and fight monsters. We joined forces to fight the Greek monsters that kept hounding us separately. He was a son of Hermes and I was a daughter of Zeus. Some how, we survived. I broke my arm once, running from Hydra as it spit acid at my head. I was 11 and Luke was 13. I ducked and rolled to the side, only to slam into a brick wall. Luke took it from there, using his celestial bronze sword from his dad, to stab the monster in the stomach, where its heart might be. It exploded into a giant package of lemonade drink mix, coating Luke from head to toe. He grinned at me from sliding underneath the monster’s body. I smiled weakly at him. “Are you okay?” He asked me rushing to my side. He limped a little from sliding on the ground, but he seemed alright. I cursed myself for getting hurt, and missing out on the action. “I’m fine.” I lied. Luke shook his head. “No you’re not.” He helped me up. A spark flashed between us and I looked into his eyes. He caught my gaze and then looked away. “So…um we should keep going. Let’s get back to the safe house so we can fix your…arm.” He lent his hand, and I took it. We built millions of safe houses all around so we could use them when we needed them. If we were hurt and had no where to go- we had somewhere to go. We stumbled across some nice friendly gods who helped us sometimes, and supplied us with things, like ambrosia and nectar. Other than that, we had to strike out on our own. When I was twelve, we ran out of food. We’d moved into Richmond by now. We had to ration our food and eventually we ran out of it all together. One day, we went into an alley way because, we were hiding from a monster. I told Luke it was stupid to go into a dead end, an alleyway like this- we’d be trapped but he wouldn’t hear it. There was a trashcan lid propped up in the corner, a scrap of iron in the corner, and an actual trashcan filled to the brim with all sorts of good food. The food was what interested me. The sheet of corrugated iron moved in the corner. “There.” I pointed to the sheet of iron. “Wait,” Luke warned. He pulled me back. I sighed. Luke was always so cautious. Why? He drew his sword and advanced toward the iron, making absolutely no noise at all. That’s when I realized the iron was moving. “Is that normal?” I hissed eyeing the corrugated iron. I activated Aegis my shield I’d gotten as a prize from Hal’s mansion. (Long story). It was quivering. Any moment a monster

could leap out of the bin and pounce on us. Luke shook his head and pressed a finger to his lips, quiet. Luke grabbed the iron on the count of three and tossed it to the side. That’s when something came out. It took my eyes a moment to register what was going on. It was a little girl wearing pajamas, with a hammer- aiming it straight at Luke. Like an idiot, all I could do was stand there and watch, thinking, oh my gods that little girl is going to kill Luke! Luke deflected the hammer to the side expertly with his sword. “Hey,” He said trying to calm the girl down. He held her by her arms. She struggled and kicked. A stubborn one. I thought approvingly. I was beginning to like this girl. She had bravado and spunk. “No more monsters!” She screamed trying to reach her hammer. “No more monsters.” Luke promised. “Thalia put your shield away.” He told me. I tapped it and it shrank back into a silver bracelet. She stopped kicking for a moment. “Are you a monster?” She asked. I stepped forward as Luke explained. “We’re…well it’s hard to explain but we’re monster fighters like you. Where’s your family?” The little girl’s expression turned hard and angry. Her chin trembled. “My family hates me. They don’t want me. I ran away.” Her voice is so full of pain I almost break down and hug her. I exchange a glance with Luke. We can’t take her back. Our eyes meet and it’s a silent agreement. We couldn’t leave this kid. She was obviously a demigod, and she was so young. I knelt next to the little girl. “What’s your name, kiddo?” “Annabeth.” Luke smiles. “I tell you what, Annabeth. You’re pretty fierce. We could use a fighter like you.” She starts to retrieve her fallen hammer but Luke picks it up and doesn’t hand it too her. Instead he turns over his knife and hands her the treasured blade. I myself had a full size spear with a celestial bronze point. ““How’d you like a real monster-slaying weapon?” Luke asked her. “This is Celestial bronze. Works a lot better than a hammer.” Luke paused for a moment some unknown emotion playing across his face. “Knives are only for the bravest and quickest fighters, they don’t have the reach or power of a sword, but they’re easy

to conceal and they can find weak spots in your enemy’s armor. It takes a clever warrior to use a knife. I have a feeling you’re pretty clever.” “I am clever!” Annabeth beamed and held up the blade to the sun. It gleamed almost as much as her golden blonde hair. “We’d better get going, Annabeth,” I said. “We have a safe house on the James River. We’ll get you some clothes and food.” I patted our new family member on the back. She smiled at us. For a moment, she reminded me of Jason, so innocent and sweet. I erased the memory quickly. Annabeth’s smile wavered. For a moment, she got that wild look in her eyes again. “You’re…you’re not going to take me back to my family? Promise?” I wouldn’t do that. Annabeth was so young, but she’d learned a hard lesson, just like Luke and I had. Our parents had failed us. The gods were harsh and cruel and aloof. Demigods had only each other. Luke put a hand on Annabeth’s shoulder. “You’re part of our family now. And I promise I’m not going to fail you like our families did us. Deal?” “Deal!” she said happily, clutching her new dagger. I picked up my spear. I nodded at Luke with approval. I was happy he hadn’t left this girl alone. I didn’t sense that he would have done that anyways but I was still relieved. She reminded me of myself in so many ways. “Now, come on. We can’t stay put for long!” I grinned at our new member. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ We managed to feed all three of us. Luke did the most work, out of all of us. As we were on the run, he managed to get a couple odd jobs for awhile. Random things, like trimming bushes, mowing lawns or helping a guy work on a car for a couple of hours. Annabeth was smart. She could fix just about anything and sometimes when we were fighting monsters she would call out what we should do. Normally, I wouldn’t take advice from a seven year old, but every time it worked. It was like she had a battle strategy. One night, I gathered my courage and asked her how she’d survived on her own for so long. Luke came along and sat down by the fire too. They were so close now, and I could tell Annabeth admired him. He was her hero. They sat by one another. “Athena helped me,” Annabeth said between bites of hotdog, “For the first couple of months,” Another bite of her meal, “My mom. She helped me

defeat monsters and survive.” She wiped mustard off her chin. “I think she wanted me too meet you guys.” I smiled. Luke told Annabeth a story about two demigods and a Sacred Sun Cow. It was a silly story, but it made them laugh. I picked up my camera, which always hung from my belt, and took a picture. *Later Thalia hung up some of the pictures up in her room in Cabin 1 at Camp Halfblood. Jason in the Lost Hero discovered them.

It was one of those cameras that immediately printed the picture. I looked at it, and there they were. Annabeth and Luke frozen in time in the picture, mid laugh. I took it out of the camera and stuck it in my jeans pocket. Luke got up from the campfire and looked up at the stars for a moment. “Do we have to go to bed already?” Annabeth made puppy eyes. Luke shook his head. “I planned on something else…but…” He leaned over the bag that held most of our food. (We did carry separate food in our packs as well.) He held up a bag of marshmallows, and Annabeth squealed in delight. “If you don’t want any of these, I guess you could just go to bed.” Luke popped one in his mouth. Annabeth held her hands out and Luke dropped four in her small hands. I reached over and took a few. We grabbed the sticks we used to make hotdogs and roasted them over the fire. Annabeth kept burning hers so Luke made hers for her. I grinned. We sang a stupid song about __#___ Little Indians. After that, Luke carried Annabeth back to the Safe House. I doused the fire with water and followed them. “I’m worried about you guys,” I confessed as we walked back. “Annabeth admires you too much. She’d follow you anywhere.” Luke shrugged. “Is that a bad thing?” Annabeth rose her head sleepily from Luke’s shoulder. “No it’s not a bad thing,” She said with a yawn. Her head fell back onto his shoulder and she closed her eyes again. I had to laugh. It felt good to laugh for once. “Never mind.” I told Luke. I had this feeling though…someday something was going to happen I kept it too myself. I studied the two jars of Greek Fire Annabeth had shared with us. A gift from her mother. I packed one of each into Luke and I’s packs. We had to be extra careful with them.

I tucked Annabeth into her bed and blew out the candle. Luke came in and stocked the small fire inside with a little wood. “Good night.” I told him as I crawled into our little sleeping bags on the floor. Luke nodded. “That’s true. It is a good night.” He sighed and closed his eyes happily. I watched him as he slept for a little while, then rolled over and let sleep consume my body. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ We were running. Annabeth and Luke held hands and I ran behind them. The monster was chasing us- I think they called it a manticore. It had already destroyed our nearest safe house. I stumbled over a rock, but didn’t fall. I watched where I stepped after that. Luke chopped down a path with his sword, trying to clear the area of debris. “Luke!” I screamed. “Stop it! It slows us down and gives away where we are going!” Luke nodded and stopped chopping down trees. Annabeth clutched her dagger tightly. “I’ll take care of the manticore.” She said bravely. “You guys go on. Thalia, you injured you’re leg.” She noted. I looked down and realized the rock must have cut me. Once I saw it, pain flared up my leg and I winced. Luke grabbed Annabeth back. “Get out of here. Go hide somewhere. Take Annabeth with you.” He left to time to argue. I caught Annabeth’s hand and pulled her screaming Luke’s name away. We crouched behind some trees and I could hear Luke. He yelled taunts at the manticore, and I could hear it roar in reply. I can’t describe what it looked like, because I didn’t want to look at it. But I know it had a human face and a lion’s body. Its tail had long wicked thorns attached. Annabeth struggled against me. “I have to help him!” She protested as I grabbed her ankle and pulled her back. My face was beaded with effort. She could easily kick me and rush out to help. My leg was in too much pain, I couldn’t concentrate. “Don’t,” I whispered. Annabeth looked at me then dashed off- in the opposite direction of Luke. Well, that’s it. I failed to keep her safe. I thought dejectedly. I had to follow her. I scrambled upwards and then gasped in pain as a thorn flew out of no where and plunged into my already hurting leg.

I sat down abruptly. That was stupid. I cursed myself for standing up in a battle area. I heard Luke yell something like, “You’ll pay for that!” Or he said, “Monkeys are so fat!” I’m pretty sure it was number one. I poked my head around the tree I was hiding behind. I needed to be in the fight, but my leg just wouldn’t accept it. “Don’t you even try to make me move!” It seemed to be saying. I watched as Luke feinted to the left and vaulted over the manitcores head. It swung up with a surprised look on its face. It brought a wickedly sharp looking paw into the air. Luke sprang off its face, using it as a spring board and landed on the evil cats back. He rode the manticore like a pro. I wanted to shout, “Go Luke!” But I was afraid I might distract him. That’s when Luke made his mistake. He tried to drive his sword into the monsters neck but a volley of thorns shot toward him from behind. “Look out!” I shrieked. I couldn’t do much more. Luke ducked and rolled of the monsters back but I could tell there were at least two thorns embedded in his back. He groaned and rolled off the beasts back. He landed with a sickening thump on the ground. The manticore loomed over him. “Luke! Get up!” I didn’t care if I gave away my position now. I was in no condition to save him. I picked up my shield like a Frisbee. It was his only hope. I flung it -sort of like bowling- it where he lay and it skidded to a halt by his left arm. He weakly grasped it but his head didn’t move. As the manticore roared in triumph and bent down -to eat him maybe- he raised the shield in front of his face. The pelted it with thorns which was a fault on his part, seeing as they ricochet back into the monster’s face. The manticore fell backwards and slammed into a pine tree. The tree bent under its weight and then shot it back toward Luke, who still hadn’t gotten up. I didn’t have anything else to defend him. He sat up slowly with the picture of defeat on his face. Tiredly, he raised his sword to block himself. A weak attempt, but it worked. The manticore couldn’t stop its momentum. Its eyes reflected panic as it roared and tried to dodge to the side, of the sharp blade. The monster burst into dust before it even crashed on Luke. Luke smiled to himself and then crashed back onto the ground. Annabeth came back and pressed some leaves against my leg. “Where did you go?” I demanded, the pain fading from the leaves. “I thought you were in pain. I’m sorry.” Annabeth didn’t meet my eyes. She’s busy pouring nectar from her canteen onto the leaves. “This will help speed up the healing process, like times five with the leaves.” At the same time as she was talking, she pulled the needle from my leg. I screamed in pain. It felt

like Zeus had used his Master Bolt to zap my leg to pieces. I grinned weakly, despite my pain. “Thanks kiddo. But I think we should help Luke. Are there any more of those leaves?” Annabeth looked to where Luke was lying. Her face turned pale. “Yeah…yeah there are more leaves. By the stream…” She didn’t finish her sentence. She got up and ran back the direction she’d come. I forced myself to walk and not crawl to where Luke was. I slapped his face. “Wake up.” I ordered. Luke’s eyes fluttered open slowly. He gripped his shoulder and I noticed there was a slight graze. The thorn hadn’t gone into him. I checked for any other thorns but he was lucky. One other deadly needle had gotten into his shirt, but it wasn’t a deep cut. I pulled it out easily. “What were you thinking?” I cried leaning against a tree. Luke grinned uneasily. “Those needles…they have different types of poison on them. I think the first one, had sleepiness or something. The second made me see things in all huge colors and I felt really dizzy.” I thought about what the thorn had felt like in my leg. “The one that hit me in the leg,” I said slowly, “Felt like fire racing up my leg and consuming every molecule inside of me.” Luke traced my wound lightly. “Are you okay?” I glared at him teasingly. “Do I look okay?” He laughed and Annabeth handed him some ambrosia. “Eat these. Share with Thalia. Chew slowly.” She advised. It felt weird that she was taking care of us but I was happy she was here. She poured more nectar onto the pale green leaves she insisted healed injuries and pressed them on Luke’s back and shoulder. Luke healed in a matter of thirty or so minutes. I wasn’t as lucky. “It’s not enough.” He realized. “Our nearest safe house is in ruins. There is only one place we can go.” We ended up going back to Luke’s house and Mrs. Castellan herself bandaged my leg. Annabeth played with a Medusa beanbag toy while Luke talked with Hermes in the living room. May Castellan finished wrapping my leg and smiled at me. “So, are you Luke’s girlfriend?” She asked me sweetly. I must have been blushing because Mrs. Castellan laughed. “No need to be shy darling.” She offered us a tray of burnt cookies. Annabeth took one but didn’t eat it. I declined politely. Mrs. Castellan didn’t seem to hear them or maybe she was pretending they didn’t exist.

“When Luke was a baby, oh he was the cutest!” Mrs. Castellan began. She poured us Kool-Aid into little Disney Land cups. I rubbed my bandaged leg and nodded uneasily. “Um…yeah.” Mrs. Castellan told us about the time he slipped in the bath tub, and his kindergarten graduation. Things, I really didn’t need to know about. Annabeth held up her burned cookie for Luke to see. Can we go now? She mouthed. He glanced over and a smile flickered across his face for a moment. Then he turned back to where his father was standing. I don’t know how long we sat there. May Castellan muttered things about Luke that were barely audible. I fiddled with my hair. Annabeth slashed the cookie in front of her to pieces with her knife. Mrs. Castellan raised her voice, practically yelling at us, telling us how great her son was. “Yeah, that’s awesome.” I looked longingly outside. How long did we have to stay here? Annabeth didn’t talk but at Mrs. Castellan with that look of hers. “THEN YOU DON’T CARE!” Luke yelled from the other room. We stopped talking. “Luke?” Mrs. Castellan called out. “Is that you? Is my boy all right?” Annabeth and I looked at one another like this lady is nuts. Luke turned in the other room, but I saw a tear trickle out his eyes. He was crying. I wondered why. “I’m fine. I have a new family. I don’t need either of you.” Luke snapped loudly from the other room. His voice broke on ‘I don’t need either of you.’ “I’m your father.” Hermes insisted from the other room. Annabeth and I straightened up. I had the feeling that we were leaving. “A father is supposed to be around. I’ve never even met you.” He sounded like he wanted to add ‘all you ever did was give us weapons. You didn’t help us!’ “Thalia, Annabeth, come on! We’re leaving!” He stomped away from his parents. I got up to follow him and Annabeth was at his heels. “My boy, don’t go!” May Castellan called after us. “I have your lunch ready!” It was a sad thought, actually. She was waiting to give her son a lunch he would never come back too. We walked out the door and it slammed shut behind us. I didn’t ask Luke what had happened in there, but he always seemed different after that. Harder and more determined.

He wanted to pick a fight with every monster instead of getting away. Annabeth didn’t care- Luke was her hero. She wanted to be just like him. A satyr named Grover found us told us to follow him back to Camp Half-blood. A lot of things happened before and after Annabeth, but they would take too long to write down. I know Luke kept a diary- he didn’t know I knew that he used the old Diary Hal gave him, but I did. I know he wrote down what happened, the mansion, the magic goat called Amaltheia, the automaton statues, the other demigods we met, Hal and his curse with the leucrota…everything. Even the time when Luke’s sword got melted into acid- which after awhile, he had to start using a golf club which he really hated. ( I can tell you about my final stand on Half-blood Hill though. The monsters were chasing us. Hellhounds raced after Annabeth, Luke and I. The Furies cackled as they flew into the air, beating the air with their powerful wings. Plenty of monsters were after us, because I was a daughter of Zeus. Grover trembled next to me. He hefted his wooden club and looked over his shoulder at us. “Go!” He told us. “I’ll…I’ll hold them off.” He gulped and started to race toward the monsters. I shoved the satyr aside. “Shut up!” I told him. “Get Luke and Annabeth to camp.” I motioned for Luke and Annabeth to go. Luke opened his mouth in protest and Annabeth watched me with wide eyes. “I’ll….I’ll meet you at Camp.” I lied. I knew there was no way I would make it. I had to at least let Luke and Annabeth get there. Especially Annabeth. I didn’t let Grover argue. I singed him with my hands, which were shooting off sparks and told him to get out of here. Finally, he nodded and dragged Luke and Annabeth away. I stood at the top of the hill watching the monsters advance toward me. If you love me at all, if there’s any room in your schedule for me…help me father. I prayed to Zeus as the first hellhound pounced on me. I called down a lightning strike and it melted into shadows. I jabbed and slashed with my spear doing my best to hold them off, and keep the monsters distracted. My mind went on autopilot. Jab, roll, kick, lightning, wind. It wasn’t enough. I’d stirred up a miniature storm around me but I could feel my strength waning. Well this is it. I thought as the monsters all pounced on me at once. I was overwhelmed and disarmed; my spear was at the bottom of the hill, most likely broken. I turned for a moment, forgetting the monsters and caught Luke’s eyes.

He was racing for the entrance of Camp Halfblood. I wish I’d known what it would be like. He looked at me. His mouth opened calling out to me, and I was buried underneath monsters. I waited for their teeth to sink in. I waited to be killed. I hoped I achieved Elysium or at least the Fields of Boredom- I mean Fields of Asphodel. (My bad-not.) But no. I didn’t feel anything at all. Nothing at all.

House of Hades Beginning Falling. Annabeth gripped Percy’s hands- the only thing that kept her sane- as they fell farther and farther into the pit of Tarturus. She could still feel the spider web connected to her ankle, pulling her down. She forced herself not to scream, but the sensation was terrifying. Imagine going on the scariest roller coaster you’ve ever gone on, knowing that you were going to die or really hurt yourself at the end of it. Plus, an enormous pain on your ankle. Then multiply that by 100. You might get how Annabeth felt as they plunged towards nothing. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the wind that seemed to be coming from the pit, sucking everything in a twenty foot radius into it’s gaping void. The wind felt like five million needles sticking into her arms and legs, jabbing and poking without mercy. Annabeth’s ears popped as they fell. Athena- mother, I saved your stupid statue. A little help now, please? How long until they reached the bottom? If they were still falling it would be impossible to climb back up. Annabeth did the calculations in her head. No way could they climb up without being sucked back in or slipping on sides. As far as she could tell, there weren’t any ledges or handholds to grab onto except for a few scattered far from one another. She tightened her grip on Percy’s hands. “Percy…” She sobbed, her fears pouring out of her thoughts. She couldn’t think about it. “It’s okay,” Percy’s voice sounded tight and Annabeth could tell he was trying to be brave for her sake. “Do…do you sense anything?” Annabeth yelled trying to be heard over the roar of wind. She listened herself, but she couldn’t tell. It was like trying to find Annabeth when she had her magic Yankee’s Cap of invisibility cap on. It was still in her cabin on the Argo II because her mother had made it stop working. (Anger issues.)

Percy didn’t answer for a long pause. Finally he said, “Yeah- there’s water down there. Maybe I can use it to slow our fall.” Annabeth nodded her head frantically, even though Percy couldn’t see her. It was too dark down there. They landed with a painful splash! in the water, at the bottom of Tarturus. “Ow,” Annabeth touched her broken ankle. Sadly, it had not been spared in the fall. Pain raced up her leg, like someone was poking her molecules with red hot barbecue tongs. She knew that falling that far, landing on water would feel the same as concrete but she was positive that Percy had tried to make it more or less of a soft thump. (Less.) Percy winced as he stood up in the water. “Sorry about that.” He helped her up. Annabeth normally liked water, but this…seemed hostile. Almost evil, like it wanted to reach out and drown her. Percy seemed to be thinking the same thing. “What’s wrong with this place?” He demanded looking around. The water reached up with evil clawing hands and grabbed hold of his orange Camp Halfblood T-shirt. Percy glared at the water and slapped it off of him. “Can you see?” He asked his girlfriend. Annabeth shook her head. “No…why? Can you see where we are?” Percy laughed despite the fact that they had no way of getting out of here. “Well duh, we’re in Tarturus! But yeah, I can see. I think the water thing is helping…” His voice drifted off. “Annabeth, you’re laptop…and you’re dagger.” He splashed away leaving Annabeth alone. “Percy?” Her voice was shrill, and she cursed herself for sounding scared. “Where did you go?” Suddenly, a faint glow was warming her face. She touched her dagger. “I thought I lost this.” Annabeth admitted taking it back from Percy. “I can see again at least.” Percy nodded and handed her Daedalus’ laptop. “I don’t know how this thing survived the fall. It’s not even cracked or anything. No water, nothing. Strange isn’t it?” Annabeth stuck the laptop under her arm. She wished she had her backpack, but she didn’t see it down here. Was it possible it was still up in the

chamber the Athena Parthenos stood in? She’d thought it had fallen when the cars and cement had come down (long story) but perhaps it had just been buried. Suddenly, another watery hand erupted from the area of water they stood in and grabbed her arm. With a yelp Annabeth was pulled down struggling into the body of water. Another hand grabbed her neck and started to choke her. “PERCY!” She screamed kicking as her head went under. Percy frowned like he was concentrating and thrust his hand out. For a long horrifying moment, nothing happened. Then Annabeth shot out of the water and landed on the banks. Percy trudged after her, warding off the evil water as best he could. Annabeth hated her luck. Percy on impulse took her close. “Hey,” He breathed down her neck, “At least we’re together,” He paused for a moment, “And alive.” Annabeth hesitated. “Yeah, it’s a good thing we’re alive…for now.” He touched her skin and she immediately turned warm and dry. “The water,” Percy said uncomfortably, “I couldn’t control it as well. It was like something else was wrestling with me for control.” Annabeth shrugged and spat out water from her lungs. “You won Seaweed Brain. Thanks for saving me.” Percy didn’t answer, he didn’t need too. She looked around the pit. As far as she could tell, it went on forever. “Where do we go now? Nico barely survived this place, and he’s a son of Hades.” She put her head against Percy’s chest. Kill me now, before this get’s worse. She thought dejectedly to herself. Their quest seemed hopeless to her, but she would never admit that to anybody. Percy patted her on the back, not the most comforting move, but better than nothing. “Well, I told Nico to lead the others to the mortal side of the Doors of Death. We’ll go through this way- it had to happen anyways. It’s just a piece of luck that we got down here.” He told her how they only had a month until Gaea watered one of the 7 demigods blood on the Ancient Stones. “A month from now…” Annabeth calculated what day it was. “August first? I guess we destroyed July first but…?” She questioned. “Why those dates in particular?” Percy shrugged. “Why do the gods do anything? Nobody knows.” “I wish I had a pizza.” He added looking at his stomach. “That Italian one was gross.” Annabeth resisted the urge to smack her boyfriend. But her love for him overpowered her anger. Besides, all the things he’d done for her almost made up for the stupid things he said. Like when he turned down Reyna (the praetor of

Camp Jupiter), jumped into Tarturus with her, and when he cared for her, like when she was hurt. Like right now. Percy sat down and Annabeth did the same. They were both tired. “Gaea told me…” Percy moistened his lips. Annabeth looked at him. “What did she say? We need to know everything Percy.” She was deadly serious. Percy nodded. “Okay, she told me that it didn’t matter when we fell. She just said that we WOULD fall and she would be there to collect us.” Silence. Annabeth looked down at her ankle and winced. Percy immediately moved forward to help her. “Are you okay?” He asked worriedly. Annabeth nodded. “I’ll be alright Percy. I had some ambrosia- it should heal in a matter of hours. Good as new, almost.” She winced as she talked. It certainly didn’t feel like it was healing. He nodded. Abruptly, Percy’s back straightened in a flash. His muscles tensed. “Something’s down here.” Percy drew Riptide in an instant. The celestial bronze cast an eerie light around the area they were standing. Annabeth thought she saw glowing eyes peek out at them from everywhere in the room, but when she blinked they were gone. “Yes, someone is down here.” An inhuman female voice hissed in the darkness. Annabeth froze. She knew that voice. She’d completely forgotten about Arachne the immortal spider (credit to Athena), who she had outwitted before they fell into Tarturus. The huge spider had fallen with them. “Show yourself!” Annabeth commanded, her voice shaking a little. Annabeth wanted to slap herself. Don’t sound scared! She scolded herself. Percy stepped in front of her, which she absolutely despised him for. She could protect herself. Arachne answered in a voice that sounded like one million angry wasps all trying to talk at once but they kept getting tripped up. It was creepy and unsettling, and so Annabeth decided maybe a little protection wasn’t so bad.

“Arachne?” Percy guessed swiveling his head around, looking for the giant spider. They found her lying off to their right still in her Chinese Spider-cuffs. “Let me out, and I will spin a web to carry all of us too the top.” Arachne promised still squirming in her trap. Percy glared at her and then turned to look at Annabeth. “She’s lying.” He said. Annabeth nodded, Arachne thought she could fool them, but she couldn’t trick them with her fake promises. “There’s no way she could spin that much web.” Annabeth told Percy. “No, you’re going to stay in there.” Annabeth said firmly. No way was she letting a blood thirsty giant immortal spider on the loose anyways. Arachne wailed from within her tight jail. “I only want to feed on you, you violent little-I m…mean…I think you’re a lovely girl. We could chat about oh, um…things, if you just let me out! I could tell you the secret to defeating Gaea!” Annabeth blinked. The last offer was too good to be true. “Tell us the secret to defeating Gaea anyways, or we’ll kill you.” She hefted her dagger, even though the giant spider couldn’t see it Percy pushed his black hair out of his face. “She knows? Does she work for Dirt Face or something?” He asked accusingly. His face twisted up into a picture of distrust and anger. He was good at that face. Annabeth nodded but didn’t say anything out loud. Arachne seemed to be trying to shake her head inside her enlarged model of Chinese Spider-cuffs. “You must let me out first, or you will hear nothing. Annabeth raised an eyebrow. This was going no where. Her ankle still hurt, they were in Tarturus, she’d lost her friends and they were probably going to die. She really wanted some good news, like the secret to defeating Gaea. Percy shook his head at her, but Annabeth wasn’t looking at him. “Fat chance Arachne,” She said, “We are not letting you out.” Arachne heaved a great sigh and her spinnerets started working again. Annabeth realized a piece of spider silk was still attached to it. Arachne

continued to talk, “You will never find out what will happen on August first- terror and destruction! Gaea will tear up the roots; getting to the bottom of the Olympians reign! She will wake and nothing can stop her! Her powers and rage will be one thousand times more powerful than Typhon!” She heard Percy gasp behind her. They’d met Typhon before and he wasn’t one you would call a weakling. Annabeth felt a tugging on her ankle and she looked down. “Percy-cut the web!” She was an idiot. She’d fallen for the same trick twice. She raised her dagger but Percy was already on it. Percy caught on quickly and slashed in a deadly arc of Celestial Bronze and the spiders silk was severed. Annabeth cried out in relief and pain. “Thanks,” She breathed. She realized Arachne had been trying to pull her toward her sharp spinnerets again. Arachne cackled from her prison. “The essence of so many monsters here- I am….” She burst from her Chinese Spider-cuffs with an easy ripple of her leg muscles. “FREE!” She glared at Annabeth with her red glowing eyes. Her brown hair was tangled behind her and she started to comb it out with her human (more or less) hands. Annabeth had a crazy image run through her head like Arachne’s mother Idmon saying, now sweetie, when you are getting ready to kill defenseless demigods you must always look neat and tidy. Always comb your hair so you look respectable. Annabeth almost laughed out loud if not for the fact that her worst nightmare was looming over her. “Daughter of Athena, you thought you could outsmart me. I would kill you now, but Gaea wants both of your blood spilt on the ancient stones.” The spider whistled. Thousands of monsters, more than Annabeth had ever seen in her lifetime crawled out of holes and crevices. Percy whistled appreciatively as the monsters thundered toward them, too many to count. “Wow,” He commented, “Well that’s a lot.” It was a ‘duh’ statement, but Annabeth had the urge to say that too. She didn’t have the lungs to scream, the will to stand up to them, or the energy to run. “So this is it?” She looked at Percy. He looked at her. “Whenever it may be, I’m not going down without you.” Annabeth’s smile was vague. “Me too.” And the two demigods were swamped with a never ending flow of monsters.

Searching for Pan & Meeting Polyphemus Grover had never felt more alone. He wished Percy and Annabeth were here with him; they could help him and tell him what he should do. He recalled their last adventure- retrieving the Master Bolt and hitch hiking across the U.S.

They can’t be here with you. This is a solo quest. Grover told himself. He was standing in an airport wearing his jeans and a red Rasta cap. He shifted his crutches underneath him. He chewed on his crutch nervously. He had never really like planes, especially since his best friend, Percy Jackson, was the son of Poseidon they tended not to stick around air crafts. They were too loud and polluting for his taste anyways, but they were the fastest mortal transportation he could get. People passed by him, not giving him a second glance, laughing and sipping coffee. Some were running, like they were in a hurry to catch their plane, babies cried and little kids bounced restlessly in the waiting areas. If anything was defiantly not nature, it was this place. Everything was mortal made, with a few dead plants crumbling to pieces. Grover frowned and took out his pipes. He had to help these poor plants. He played the Plants Can Live song because it was the only helpful one he knew. The Be Healthy song would have worked better, but he didn’t know that one. It had too many notes for him to study. Florida, here I come. He thought as he boarded Plane 213. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ When Grover got off the plane he headed straight for the beach. He didn’t see any signs or anything telling him, “PAN IS THIS WAY!” He could just sense it, like Medusa’s snakes could sense them in her lair. Grover followed the feeling of nature to the beach. The feeling of nature was so strong- almost overwhelming. His heart skipped a beat- what if he actually found Pan now? The Council of Cloven Elders would be so proud of him! He would finally be the one who found Pan. He dashed toward the beach, forgetting his crutches in the excitement. He didn’t need them. He trotted down hurriedly down the path to the beach. His human shoes slowed him down so he held them in his hands. And then it happened. He ran into something huge. “Sorry sir,” Grover mumbled with a mouthful of sheep wool. He fell backwards onto his rump and sand coated him. Grover stuck out his tongue to get the sheep wool off. He wiped it off his tongue. He realized it was golden wool. And it tasted amazing like a fresh Diet Coke Can.

The huge figure turned around. Grover looked up and gaped. “Poly… Poly…Polyphemus.” He squeaked in a high octave. Every little goat new about Polyphemus, he was every little goat kid’s nightmare. And here he was standing on the beach…holding- could it be? The Golden Fleece. It struck Grover in an instant. That was why nobody had ever found Pan! The Golden Fleece, could fix everything, make things grow and healthy. It’s essence of power was so much like the wild god Pan’s that every satyr found Polyphemus instead of Pan. Grover did the sensible thing. He ran. Polyphemus lumbered after him. “Wait!” He bellowed. Grover didn’t know what the mortals saw. He didn’t really care. A storm was blowing angrily around the satyr, wind and rain tore at palm trees. Yellow and pink stucco buildings lined the street, their windows boarded up. The ocean raged behind him. Grover didn’t dwell on the fact that this was weird since a moment ago it had been a nice cool night out. Now it was absolutely terrifying. He scrambled as fast as his little goat legs could carry him. His hooves clattered against the pavement and Grover cursed. Be a bit quieter? He willed his hooves to quit clacking. An awful growl cut through the storm. Behind Grover, at the far back of the street a shadowy figure of Polyphemus loomed above everything else. It swatted aside a street lamp, like it was a plaything, which burst in a shower of sparks. Grover stumbled on his aching hooves, whimpering in fear. He muttered to himself, “Have to get away. Have to warn them!” He needed to tell the other satyrs about the trap. He could hear Polyphemus cursing and muttering to himself. He wasn’t being quite about the variety of cuss words he used. The ground shook and Grover almost slid to the side, as he stepped in a pile of mud. He gazed around wildly. Where could he go? No time to go anywhere else- it would be a dead end. The nearest door had been blown open by the storm. The sign above the display read: ST. AUGUSTINE BRIDAL BOUTIQUE. Grover dashed inside, pushing away dresses from his face. At the last moment, he dove behind a rack of wedding dresses. Polyphemus passed right outside the front of the shop.

Grover sniffed the air and wrinkled his nose. Polyphemus smelled like death- skunk, sheep wool and rotten meat. Grover wanted to bleat in terror, but he forced himself to be silent. You’ll be fine…He told himself inwardly. Lightning flashed. The entire front of the store exploded and Polyphemus roared, “MIIIINE!” Grover crouched behind his rack his heart pounding. His thoughts changed from, You’ll be fine to You’re going to die. Grover tried to hide- he was nestled inside a wedding dress in a matter of seconds. He grabbed a veil from the nearest rack- it had vines embroidered over it, nice pick, Grover thought- and promptly stuffed it over his head, after throwing his Rasta cap in the corner. It was probably the fastest wardrobe change ever, could have made the Olympics if they had Fastest Dresser races. Polyphemus wasn’t fooled. “I see you. You smell like goat, pretty lady Cyclops. Are you a goat man? I eat you if you are not, pretty lady.” Grover closed his eyes tight for a moment. When he opened them, a new plan had formed in his mind. “Um…no I’m not a goat. My, these wonderful wedding dresses in here must be making you very um….” Grover racked his brain for something to say, “Making you have nasal problems.” He finished lamely. Polyphemus put his hands on his hips, with the Golden Fleece in his other hand. “You can come with me back to my island. Marry me.” The Cyclops pointed a huge hairy finger at himself. Grover allowed a weak giggle. “Oh that’s so sweet of you! You aren’t on one knee though…it’s just not right to propose without being on one knee.” He said flirtatiously. Polyphemus obviously thought he was a girl. “But you see, I have things I need to do here, and well-” Polyphemus grunted and his knuckles cracked. Grover gulped. “On the other hand, I’d love to come with you to your island that is hopefully very close to Long Island Sound.” It was too much to hope for. Polyphemus tilted back his head and laughed a low monstrous rumble. “No pretty lady Cyclops! My island is in the Sea of Monsters.” Grover searched his mind for where that might be. “The Bermuda Triangle?” He asked his flicker of hope being doused by thoughts of terror. Polyphemus nodded. “But I would protect you! No monster out there bigger or fiercer than me.” He smiled showing all of his ugly rotten teeth.

Grover just wanted to keep searching for Pan, but he couldn’t get out of here without either being eaten or hurt. His only option was to get engaged, and that option didn’t sound to hot either.

Grover could just imagine the ring, gold with maybe a diamond on top with a tint of blue, gleaming like it was polished in a professional store. The thought made him want to faint- that was the exact opposite of natural! Grover waved his hand in front of his face, the way he thought the ladies might. (He never had practice to do things like that. Grover was pretty sure he was waving it too fast, so it looked like a ceiling fan trying to whack someone’s head off, instead of a dainty “I’m too hot” flap). “You needn’t protect me,” Grover said in his high pitched voice. “I’ll be fine on my own. I know! Come back for me tomorrow, I need to get er….packed, that’s it! I need to get packed!” Polyphemus wasn’t buying it. “Look here Lady Cyclops,” He said and bent down. He stuck his head through the opening of the store (he couldn’t fit inside, he was too big). “My island has everything you could ever need! We would be happy and would feast on the yummy goat men that come to my island.” Grover felt like his insides had been frozen over and then microwaved on HIGH. So, what he had been thinking was true. The other satyrs all died because of this monster. He had to think fast. Polyphemus would find out he wasn’t a girl soon enough. “Let me just go to the bathroom dear.” Grover forced himself to sound calm and not scream, “SOMEBODY HELP ME!!!!” He smiled winningly through his veil and ducked into the ladies bathroom. He looked everywhere for a back exit. There was none. Grover could hear Polyphemus outside, waiting. Maybe he could dash to the back of the store from here and go out the back exit without being seen. He had to try. Grover crept over to the door and opened it slowly. Then he clip-clopped over to the back exit, making barely any noise, even for satyr ears. But Cyclops had even better hearing. Polyphemus turned around just as Grover opened the back door. The giant monster poked his head into the store. “Honey?” He rumbled. “Where did you go? Are you still in the bathroom?”

Grover risked poking his head back in. “Oh yes- let me just fix my hair and I’ll be right out!” And then he took off running. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Honestly? The under mature satyr didn’t make it twenty feet. Polyphemus scooped him up into his hand and said, “Lady Cyclops you are smaller than a regular Cyclops. But no matter, I still love you.” He beamed like that comment made everything better. Grover wanted to just jump into the monster’s mouth right then and there. His runaway attempt: Fail. Instead he twirled an imaginary piece of hair on his finger. “Where were you going though?” The worst Cyclops in the history of Greek myths looked genuinely hurt. Grover patted his wedding dress down, smoothing out the lumps. “Oh, you know…here there-everywhere?” Polyphemus grinned and a large amount of drool trickled down his chin. The Cyclops took no notice. “I like a woman with humor. You will entertain me when we are married. Now come, we will marry tomorrow.” He patted Grover on the head and they started to walk away. “Are you sure you are not a goat man?” “Oh yes quite! Please don’t eat me!” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Grover had no idea how long he’d been in that stuffy cave. He would have preferred to go back into the Underworld with Percy- at least he had Percy. All he had right now was a filthy giant Cyclops and a veil. “Are you done with that veil yet?” Polyphemus called down the sort-of-notreally-hallway. Grover looked at the veil in his hands. He would be in big trouble if Polyphemus caught him unraveling. “We can get married when this veil is done.” He remembered telling Polyphemus so they didn’t have to vow their love. “No I told you! 7 More days!” Grover called back in a feminine voice. Polyphemus switched his tone to make it sound like Grover’s. “’No I told you! 7 More days!’” He mimicked perfectly, sounding displeased.

It wasn’t right, the way the big guy could copy people’s voices. Grover flashed back to the Cyclops lair in Brooklyn. Annabeth, Luke and Thalia were with him. Grover blinked. Don’t think about that right now. Polyphemus grumbled as he stirred his pot of sheep in the kitchen. “We eat sheep tonight! I hope you like chicken sauce on your sheep.” Grover’s heart caught in his throat. He was going to have to eat meat? “I’m a vegetarian!” He called down the hall once more. Polyphemus stumbled into Grover’s little room. “Then I bring you grass. But don’t you think it weird that Lady Cyclops doesn’t like meat?” He wrinkled his nose and shrugged. “What make you happy beloved.” Grover nodded his fear climbing up the GROVER IS REALLY SCARED SCALE. He really hoped that Percy would get here soon. In the meantime, he would try not to get eaten. Grover studied the veil once more. He had to try. Maybe he could make an empathy link between Percy and him- it was risky, but last he checked they basically ran their lives on risky. “Come on Percy, get here sooner…”

Being With Sammy Valdez Hazel Levesque hated her life. The only good thing about her ‘journey down the road’ as her mom called it was Sammy Valdez. Sammy was her best friend, and if you had to say it, her only friend in the 1940’s. Sammy was small for their age, but that didn’t bother Hazel at all. He was always making jokes saying, “I’ll always be 5’6 and you Hazel will look down on me and say, “Is that a speck of dust?” Hazel always told him that would never happen; she would never think of Sammy anything less than human. His black hair was always so perfectly wild, like he had practice making it look like he hadn’t combed it and his brown eyes always reflected his emotions, which in his case was always happy and full of positive energy. St. Agnes Academy for Colored Children and Indians was the school Hazel and Sammy attended. Sammy was small- or ‘the best size to be’ as he called it: 5’6”. His short curly brown hair always looked like he’d just rolled out of

bed, and his smile was crooked immediately letting you know, “This guy can not be trusted.” And that’s exactly why Hazel found him endearing. “Ms. Lamarr,” Sammy greeted her at the entrance of the school. Hazel blushed as he extended his hand formally. She took it. “Sammy, did you study for the noun test?” Sammy took back his hand quickly and he did his best to imitate looking aghast. “Hazel- have you ever known me to study for anything?” Hazel smiled and tightened her hair ribbon. “I don’t know Sammy.” They walked down the long hallway, and turned right. Sammy always walked her into her classroom first. “I thought maybe scientists kidnapped you and implanted your brain with the ability to study.” Sammy laughed and opened the classroom door for her slightly. “A problem kid like me that can study? I think you’re a ghost now.” Hazel adjusted her canvas bag and waved at Sammy goodbye. “We’ll talk more at lunch!” He promised as he ran down the hall to his classroom. As soon as Hazel opened the door her day just collapsed like dominoes. Some kids eyed her and looked away. The popular girls at their table were doing arithmetic, but she caught the words, “witch”, “poor” and “gems”, coming from their mouths. There were a few, she cared not to mention. Mr. Haden clapped his hands from the front of the room. Hazel noted that his hands were pale and white from the chalk on the chalk board- it was disgusting, because this teacher never washed his hands, not even to eat. “Attention Class!” He shouted above the noise of the other students. Hazel froze halfway to her cubby. She turned around and looked at Mr. Haden. Mr. Haden was a tall bald guy that hated her guts. “Attention Class!” He repeated more firmly this time. He looked at Hazel. “And also Ms. Levesque.” He scowled like he didn’t even want to look at her. Hazel found that she was blushing some more, only this time not because of happiness, because of embarrassment. The popular girls giggled and twirled their pearl necklaces around their necks. Marissa walked by with her boyfriend. “Hey Eddy,” She said as she looked Hazel’s way, “You know the definition of witches daughter right?” Eddy grinned his eyes glinting evilly.

“No, I don’t. Tell me Marissa.” Marissa shrugged her petite shoulders. “I don’t need to tell you. It’s right there!” She pointed at Hazel. “Utterly and forever dumb and just plain wrong.” She smirked as Mr. Haden cracked a smile from the front of the room. Hazel unfroze and whirled around. She stuffed her lunch into her cubby, but that wasn’t the reason she turned around. She didn’t want anybody to see the tears flowing down her cheeks. Mr. Haden must have decided that was enough humiliation for one day. “Class direct your attention to the front.” It was obvious that there were undertones in his voice. He meant: “She’s not worth paying attention too.” Rufas in the front row ‘accidentally’ snapped his pencil in half and had to go to the back to get a new one. On the way, he bumped Hazel off her feet, and she went sprawling backwards and slammed her head on May’s desk. “There’ll be more of that later.” Rufas promised through his teeth as he scavenged the pencil drawer. Hazel dried the tears off her cheeks and looked at the teacher. Of course nobody was going to help her. Her head throbbed and she was sure she had a minor concussion at the least. Mr. Haden explained their newest project and how much it would be worth. “You may get in groups of three.” He frowned for a moment, a totally fake worry crease spread above his brow, and then he clasped his hands together. “It seems we have an odd number in this class. Hazel why don’t you do this project on your own?” He said this like it was something she should be proud of. Hazel nodded sullenly, because this thing happened all the time. Somehow, she got through her classes managing to control her anger, from all the jabs and taunts. All the teachers except Mrs. Karrat treated her with disrespect, and she didn’t think it was okay. Mrs. Karrat only did because she was a lazy, plump lady that didn’t pay attention to anybody. It wasn’t like she had anybody except for Sammy. He was the only that didn’t resent her as the others did. She didn’t blame them for it though. She didn’t want to hang out with herself anyways- who want’s to be friends with the witches (Queen Marie) daughter? Each day, it was like that. Each day, she went through the same tortures and went home listening to her mother talk to herself in that same ancient creepy voice that wasn’t hers.

Each day, she tried to stay out of everybody’s way but it was hard to do if they tormented you enough. One day in particular the boys had been especially rough with her- they wouldn’t leave her alone, not to mention the girls twirling their hair on their fingers as they snorted at Hazel in contempt. Hazel stumbled out of the gym with bruises all over her arms and legsdodge-balls could be hard if they wanted them too be. She limped to her bathroom stall to change when Marissa shoved her aside. “This stall is reserved.” She smiled sweetly. Hazel didn’t protest. She averted her gaze and crept down to the next one. Lisa stepped into it quickly- “Taken!” Soon all the bathroom stalls were shutting and Hazel had no where to change. “Better hurry up- you can’t take more than 2 minutes changing!” One of the girls shouted helpfully through her stall. Hazel’s face paled and she clutched her school clothes tightly to her chest. RING! The bell rang and all the other school girls ran off laughing. One of them flicked the light switch so it turned off after they left. Hazel got dressed as quickly as she could, alone and in the dark. When she came out, her face was wet with tears and her shirt was on backwards. “Rough day?” Hazel turned around. Immediately a smile crossed onto her lips. “Sammy!” Just saying his name had that affect on her. Sammy crossed his arms and pretended to pout. “What did you think I was Rufas or something?” Hazel tapped her chin and made look like she was sizing him up. “You? This small little twig?” She gestured to Sammy’s figure. Sammy shrugged. “Anyways, if you’re wondering why I’m out here in the hall in the middle of class- I got sent outside again. Ms. Karrat said I was being lazy but I don’t know if she’s taken a look at herself in the mirror before in what… decades?”

Hazel tried hard not to laugh. “That’s so mean!” She protested. Suddenly Sammy had his “I’m-Serious” look on. “Not meaner than what those girls did to you. I was watching Hazel- why don’t you fight back?” Hazel picked at her black dress uneasily. “Well, they don’t know what they’re saying. It’s almost true anyways.” Sammy took her hand and brushed a curl out of her face. “Hazel Levesque it will never be true. You’ll always be perfect to me.” Hazel’s insides glowed and she felt like her mother had just given her a cup of hot chocolate and spread a warm blanket over her as they sat by the fire together. “I um…” She stammered unsure of what to say. Then Ms. Karrat opened the door. “Mr. Valdez! Report back inside immediately!” Sammy waved his hand at the teacher. “Fine.” Ms. Karrat narrowed her beady eyes. “Say ‘fine ‘ma’m!’’” Sammy rolled his eyes at Hazel and then turned to face Ms. Karrat. “Fine ma’am.” He droned our the syllables sarcastically. “Catch you later.” He promised Hazel and went back into his class. Oh dear Lord! Hazel had forgotten the time- she’d probably missed all her next class! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As usual she got the scolding and the ‘you-will-never-do-that-again-but-I’lllet-you-off-easy-this-one-time” talk. It was fine though because in that class all Mr. Tamer had done was sip coffee, read the newspaper and watch his class play AROUND THE WORLD in a Social Studies version. It was highly boring. After school, Sammy ran up to me with a grin on his face. I was walking along the block back to my house, and nearly dropped my books, he scared me that much. “I know that look.” I teased. Sammy smiled some more. “Yeah, this isl the look I get when I’m about to surprise you.” I fiddled with my hair. “Good surprise or bad surprise?” Sammy winked. “You’re going to have to decide for yourself.”

And we took off running down the block. Instead of going left back to my house like we always did, he took me down a different path. I had to stop once, my sides were heaving greatly with the effort of running so far. “Where are we going?” I asked. I had to be home before six tonight. Sammy took my hand gently. “Hazel, you’re going to have to trust me. It’s only around the corner from here. Promise.” After going a couple more yards I almost collapsed. Not from running so far- because there in front of me where dozens of my favorite animals. Horses all lined up in stalls and ready for me to mount them and ride off into the sunset: stables. Sammy caught me before I hit the dirt. “Hazel! Are you okay?” He asked worriedly, setting me down lightly, a worry crease spreading across his brow. I nod. “Am I dreaming?” I ask in wonder, sitting up. I blink a couple times and look at the horses all waving their tails and urging me forward. With my luck, I was sure the next time I closed my eyes and opened them, they would vanish. They didn’t, to my relief. I laughed giddily and skipped up to the horses. Sammy patted one in the nearest stall, on the head. It had a black diamond on its head and light brown hide. “I call this one Hazel- after you of course.” I blushed, while thinking I hope he didn’t see that. It was a sweet gesture, and (hopefully) romantic gesture. Sammy helped me mount a white horse- the one called Snow. I thought that was an appropriate name for a white horse. It was like a fairytale- no wait, a dream that was suddenly coming true. We rode bare back, and I took off my skirt for the ease of riding in just my under shorts. There we went, away from all my problems and with Sammy Valdez. Nothing could have been better. But I would have to go back. I didn’t, think about it the whole time though, as I forced myself to have fun. I was out well past six, and I should have been punished but mother was still busy talking in that awful voice, the same one that had been speaking through her the past few months. I snuck upstairs, my feet climbing silent as a cat. I sat down on my bed and thought about that wonderful day. I wouldn’t trade it for anything on heaven or earth.

The Curse of the Blue Drachma

Pop quiz- how many of you know what Annabeth and I did in our ‘Underwater Kiss?’ Okay, well duh yeah, of course we kissed- I mean, I did mention that before. But what exactly went on down there? We didn’t come up for like maybe a couple hours, being the son of the sea god I have that kind of power. When we were all done kissing and stuff (us guys tend not to think about it too much, and actually I enjoyed it very much) we decided to explore the bottom of the lake. Annabeth was totally engrossed with every little detail of the underwater realm, but really I was just bored. I’d been in this lake so many times I could have my hands tied behind my back, a blindfold over my eyes, and spun a couple times and still know which way the dock was. I’ll admit it was pretty sweet though. The water was shimmering around us, because of the sun. Have you ever looked underwater in a pool and seen all the light bouncing around the bottom? Well imagine that times ten. You’ll get what it looked like. Then add fish, plants and rocks all different colors to the equation. “Oh!” Annabeth breathed in for the millionth time, reaching her fingers out to touch a shiny round drachma on the floor. I frowned- this lake was almost one of the cleanest I knew. There shouldn’t be any extra drachmas lying around. Then I noticed it was glowing bright blue. “DON’T TOUCH THAT!” I used the water to my advantage and propelled myself to Annabeth at the speed of light, and knocked her away. “Ow!” She sat up (swam up?) and smacked me. “Gods, Percy!!! What was that for?” She rubbed her head indignantly. I was too busy to answer. I swam closer to the coin. It radiated power and heat. Being a demigod and all that wasn’t uncommon, to have things weird like that happen to you. But like I said, I’d never seen this coin before, and I spent probably ½ or more of my time down here then on land. I didn’t know what it was, but another part of being all Poseidonish was that I could tell when there was danger in the water. This reached maybe 9 out of 10 on my DANGER DON’T DO ANYTHING STUPID OR YOU MIGHT GET KILLED scale. Annabeth seemed to know something was wrong instantly. That’s one of the amazing things about her. “What’s going on?” She asked eyeing the drachma cautiously. She looked like it might bite her. (And knowing our luck, it very well could.)

“I don’t know.” It was still glowing and every time I edged closer it started glowing even brighter blue like I was interrogating it and it was getting uncomfortable. “I’ve never even seen this down here before. This definitely is not a regular Greek coin.” Way to go me- state the obvious. Hey- there should always be a place to start. Annabeth nodded, her silky golden curls bouncing on her head. “You’re right about one thing for once. I’ve never even heard of a blue drachma. Maybe it’s an illusion?” I waved my hand over it and immediately felt a surge of heat, like you would feel if Zeus zapped you with a mini lightning bolt, or you put your hand on the stove when it was warmed up to HIGH. “Gods!” I cursed willing the water to cool off my hand. My hand felt like a dozen fire ants were crawling over it and searing little razors into my skin. “An illusion that gives off dangerous heat? Yeah, that one is crossed off our list. Other ideas?” Annabeth frowned. “Maybe the gods are tricking us? Or- wait!” She snapped her fingers. “The Curse of the Blue Drachma!” I stared at her blankly. “The Curse of the what?” “The Blue Drachma.” “That makes tons of sense.” Annabeth rolled her eyes. “Of course you wouldn’t know. It’s a really old legend- it goes far beyond the reign of the gods- even past the Titans Age! Something about a naiad being jealous of Gaea so she created a blue coin that brought horrible fate to a person, or great wisdom, depending on the type of person. In this case, Gaea was... you know not that nice. She did kill her own husband.” I nodded, hoping Annabeth couldn’t tell my eyelids were getting heavy. That rock looked like a nice pillow. Maybe she wouldn’t notice... “Percy!” She growled and I jerked my head back up. “Sorry…uh just taking in the view…” I winced, “Of the floor.” I finished lamely. Annabeth glared at me before continuing but still making sure I was listening. “So the legend goes that whoever withholds the Blue Drachma becomes wiser and can gain extraordinary knowledge from it.” “Awesome.” I nodded.

Annabeth sighed. “If they can figure out how to tap it.” “Oh.” “That’s not all, though. If you don’t have pure intentions then the moment your skin touches the Blue Drachma then you’re turned to ashes and cast to Tartarus and there is NO escape, even gods can’t overpower this kind of magic.” It was my turn to say “Oh,” again. This was getting us nowhere. Annabeth shrugged. “But my intentions are pure. I want to know what I need to do in the future. It relates to Luke.” The air inside of me suddenly felt like it had been poison. I struggled to get out the words. “L-Luke…of course.” It felt like a manticore was sitting on my chest. I knew Annabeth had once had a crush on Luke, our enemy. It worried me that she might not be able to stand up to him when the time came and it would come. And the way she talked about him and all the things she’d done for him… would she do the same for me? Don’t be ridiculous. I scolded myself for thinking like that. Of course she likes you! She just kissed you idiot! Annabeth ignored my comment, wisely. (She is a daughter of Athena.) She turned to pick up the Blue Drachma. “Wait!” I threw myself in front of her. “Don’t do it. I can’t risk losing you.” So it wasn’t exactly Romeo but I didn’t want to be a lot like him since he died I think. Annabeth grinned flipping her blonde curls behind her. “It’ll be fine Seaweed Brain.” She picked up the drachma. Nothing happened. She turned around. “See? Now if only I could-”

BOOM! A sonic blast lit up the watery realm. I was thrown backwards so hard I hit my head against a sharp tall rock. Annabeth however was glued to the spot in the ground. Literally, she couldn’t move her feet from where she was standing.

“Percy help!?” She screamed trying to get her shoes off. I was still recovering from my head injury. I rubbed the sore spot and concentrated on the water healing me. Nice water. Good water. The pain melted away and I stood up. “Annabeth!” I swam to her aid but was knocked back once more by another blast. A huge man dressed in clad silver and gray was standing next to her holding her arms behind her back, the next instant. He had a long thinning beard and long hair in the back as well. It was like a mane, which a lion would have. Only he didn’t comb. Shells were glued to his armor like decoration and instead of two feet he had crab legs. “Who are you? Let her go!” I demanded swimming back to them. He blinked. “You shouldn’t have survived that- oh. Son of Poseidon. Always meddling and messing up my plans.” I glared at him. “You got that right. Let her go now and suffer less pain.” He shook his head. “I can’t. She needs to figure out how to get out of her predicament alone, and then she may have all the knowledge she wants. Tis a test.” I shook my head stubbornly. “’Tis a test’ you say, but maybe it’s not!” I uncapped Riptide from my shirt pocket and it shone with the light only Celestial Bronze can. The crabman rolled his eyes like he couldn’t believe he’d have to throw another demigod body into his trashcan twice in a week. “Look, Percy Jackson, this is the test of Skill-Bravery-Courage-and Wisdom combined. If she completes this she may have the knowledge she seeks. I will allow you to watch, but not interfere with her task or I will eat her.” He smiled a mouthful of missing chipped teeth. “Are we on the same page?” I kept my sword in my hand but nodded stiffly. I couldn’t take him on my own anyways. Annabeth stared at me with wide eyes. Her hands were tied behind her back, and four knives and a spear were pointed at her throat. (Floating in the midair. Or midsea.)

Her left foot had a chain on it attached to a bronze ball but her right foot was free. A large wooden beam hung above balanced precariously on a small rock, any moment could fall on top of her. “Alright lass. GO! Free yourself!” The crabman tapped his timer and flipped the key to Annabeth’s chain in his hand. The knives moved closer in and I was tempted to bat them away with my sword, put I could only watch. He had said not to interfere. Annabeth grunted and yelled, “HIYA!?” And swung up her right leg and kicked the knife into the air. She caught it just barely coming down on her leg and guided it slowly behind her, into her waiting hand. Then she proceeded to cut the ropes while she fended off the floating knives. She swung up her left leg with the ball chain attached to it (must have been heavy, but she did once hold up the sky) and took out two knives, leaving her with only one. She had just finished sawing through her bonds when the knife flew at her. She jumped up onto a rock and grabbed it in a flash. The wooden beam from above started to fall and the spear was still coming. I closed my eyes and grimaced. NO. It could not happen. I glared at the crabman. “Do something!” He shook his head no. “I will then.” I started to leave my spot when I felt cold roll down my back, a shiver or a shadow. I couldn’t move my muscles. I was frozen in the lake unable to help Annabeth. She glared at the spear and kicked once more with her left leg and the ball swung up and crashed into the wooden beam sending splinters everywhere. But there was only a chip in the side and it made the beam start to tilt down faster. Annabeth battled the spear dodging and trying to get a grip on its handle. She finally grabbed it but it was too late. The beam came down and CRASH. I couldn’t close my eyes or look down. I could only watch. And then under the rubble, something stirred. Annabeth was holding the spear like an umbrella one part in the sandy ground and the other part was holding the wooden beam above her. She was crouched low to the ground. She walked out from underneath slowly, and then took the spear out from underneath in one swift move. Her ball chain was still underneath and you could hear the crunch of it being destroyed. “Unlock me please.” She walked up to the crabman. He inserted the key and unlocked what remained of the ball chain. Just the cuff around her ankle. Then he unfroze me.

“Annabeth Chase daughter of Athena. I hope you feel much wiser in your years to come. And now you know what you must do with Luke.” And he vanished. I could only stand there with my mouth open. The Blue Drachma had vanished with the crabman. Annabeth was smiling. “C’mon, I bet they’re wondering where we are up above Seaweed Brain. Let’s go.” I took her hand and we swam up to the top to meet our friends.

Translate This Translate this puzzle for some Greek fun!

! Translate these and test your knowledge. Answer key above! = __________________ =___________________ =___________________ =____________________ Hope you liked this book! I might add more installments in the coming year of 2013 but for now I hope you enjoy these! Let’s hope the REAL House of Hades comes out soon!

Thanks for reading guys! You’re awesome! Please comment, so I know how I did. Keep in mind this took me forever to write and I really really want to hear your feedback. Hope it’s positive though. Haha… • -Amy Laine Age 12, North America