Chapter 2

A Surprise Announcement

Chiron the centaur started showing the players around the camp, beginning with the sword-fighting arena where a couple of Beta Testers were dueling. There each player received a Beginner's Sword or a Beginner's Knife and afterwards Chiron taught the new players how to use Sword Skills. The Trainer of Heroes then suggested that they have a few practice rounds before they move on. Percy was able to defeat Travis and Connor individually, but was defeated by Annabeth who had chosen to use a knife instead of a sword. He claimed that he let her win, which would have worked if she hadn't kicked his butt the second time.

After everyone understood how to use Sword Skills, the mass of players followed Chiron to the archery range where Thalia found her weapon of choice and Percy accidentally shot Chiron in the butt with an arrow. The horse-man gave a 'Neigh' in surprise before bursting into floating blue polygons as the sound of breaking glass filled the area. Half of the crowd began laughing while the other half gave Percy dirty looks, thinking they would have to learn the rest on their own, until another Chiron, the Trainer of Heroes materialized in the field where the original had appeared. He seemed to have been programmed with an attitude because he walked over to Percy, took is Beginner's Bow, and smashed it over the head of the green-eyed boy. Percy began rubbing his head as his friends began to roar with laughter and the bow broke into polygons like Chiron had, the breaking glass sound sounding once more. The new Chiron then continued his speech about Bow Skills from where the original had been 'brutally murdered' and Nico so elegantly put it.

"Shut up," mumbled Percy causing the crowd around him to laugh harder.

Next, the 'campers', as Percy liked to think since they were in a camp setting, were led to the canoe lake on the other side of the field. During the walk Annabeth confirmed Percy's suspicions about not all players being there. Apparently Kiyaba Akihiko had set up 50 different severs for the tutorial that merge on the second floor. If Percy's math was correct, which it was for once, then there were only 200 players in each version of Camp Half-Blood. When Percy asked how all seven of them ended up in the same server Annabeth explained that there were servers for each region to put friends together for the tutorial.

Once the 'campers' arrived at the lake Chiron asked them to pair up and get in a canoe. Their friends paired Percy with Annabeth in yet another attempt to get Percy to ask her out despite his lack of courage. When everyone (minus Chiron) was on the lake, funny things started happening. For instance, Percy, who had been only average at best in canoeing at their camp, had become a natural. Also, many of the players were doused by waves that seemed to come from nowhere. Annabeth, Thalia, Nico, and people dressed in punk/Goth clothing or people who used 'big words' as Nico would say, tended to be the most wet. Everyone else was just collateral damage. The few people, like Percy, who appeared to be at home in the water managed to stay dry.

Percy laughed as another wave rolled over the front half of their canoe, covering Annabeth in another layer of water. Annabeth looked back at the chuckling boy and noticed that he was dry. She tried to splash him with her paddle, but the water seemed to simply vanish after hitting him, leaving him completely dry. She went into deep thought, scrunching her eyebrows together and pursing he lips unconsciously. Percy thought she looked cute with her thinking face until another wave rolled over the boat, interrupting Annabeth's thought process and making Percy burst into another round of laughter.

Soon, Everyone was called back by Chiron's booming voice. The digital centaur then announced that they were going to have an opening dinner to celebrate the beginning of DHOand a special announcement from the creator, Kiyaba Akihiko, himself. This caused a stir in the crowd. They got to meet the famed Kiyaba Akihiko? The genius that created what others could only dream about? The ADHD part of Percy's brain wondered if Kiyaba's speech was so good that he could say it once in all 50 servers and not get tired of it, or would he speak with no enthusiasm because he had said the same thing countless times before?

Percy was soon startled when someone with a slim hand placed food in front of him. He turned to thank them only to be startled once again, this time by their appearance. It was a Dryad, a tree spirit. Players could not be anything other than demigods, so this must be an NPC. A cup materialized by his plate with a keypad asking what he wanted. He typed in 'blue coca-cola', a favorite of his mother's that he picked up. The azure liquid filled his cup, but before he could take a drink Chiron raised his voice.

"TO THE GODS!" he called.

"TO THE GODS!" everyone chorused while raising their cups.

The meal was wonderful: BBQ, cheeseburgers, hotdogs, whatever. Percy wondered how much study had gone into making the food taste just right. When the meal was finished the time read 7:20. Kiyaba's speech was scheduled for 8:15, so the players had 55 minutes to kill. Chiron and a few Beta Testers suggested they farm some EXP and money in the Camp Forest, the first hunting area. It was in the forest that the group killed their first monster- a small Hellhound that had attacked them, it's death accompanied by the sound of breaking glass. They heard this sound around them from time to time, indicating other players practicing in the vicinity.

The group began to return to the dining pavilion when their timepieces read 8:10. They reached the pavilion right at 8:15. Some people who had lost track of time were teleported back to the pavilion. Apparently you can teleport in the game. Who knew? (Answer: Annabeth and anyone else who had read the manual.) Once no one else was being teleported in Chiron raised his voice.

"Heroes! Please turn your attention to the sky!"

Everyone did so. One hexagon in the digital sky, saying 'caution' if it was read, was flashing a deep blood red, a great contrast to the bright blue it normally held. The panels around it gained the same color. More and more panels changed, spreading from the central hexagon until the entire sky shared the same dark shade. Then, a bright light slowly emerged form the original panel. The wind picked up as the water in the lake began to churn, waves crashing against the beach. The closer to the mass of players the light got, the stronger the wind howled.

The light stopped descending when it was about 200 feet above them. The light then began to change, becoming more human. After about a minute the light began to fade, revealing a cloaked figure 50 feet tall. Its cloak was a brilliant white with many different colored trims creating beautiful designs along the openings.

"Greetings Heroes," said the figure in what sounded to Percy like a Japanese accent. The man's (the voice was, without a doubt, masculine) voice sounded funny, like it was not truly his voice. Like it was only a recreation of it. "I am Kiyaba Akihiko, the god of this new world (A/N Death Note reference anyone?). This game may be based on the myths of Greek immortals, but I am the only one with power over this system. As many of you may have noticed, the Log Out button is missing on your menus." The players looked at each other in confusion. Annabeth and a handful of other players opened their menus to confirm the man's statement. The group turned to Annabeth upon hearing her gasp.

"It's true," she said almost in a whisper, like she couldn't believe it. It was a bug, right? He was going to tell them when it would be fixed. That must be it. The chatter around them died out as the game's inventor raised his massive hand for silence.

"The Log out button missing is not a bug, but a feature of Demigod Heroes Online. I repeat, this in not a bug. You are now trapped in my world."

And that was when all hell broke loose. People and kids, like Nico, began running around, screaming 'we're all gonna die,' many running into a nearly invisible wall around the dining pavilion that had not been there before Kiyaba had arrived and collapsing. Others, like the Stolls, started trying to rip the NerveGear off their heads. Most people simply stared at the inventor, silent and dumbstruck. They couldn't log out? What about their everyday lives? Their friends? Their families?

Akihiko then waved his hand and everyone moving froze. The avatars of everyone present had been immobilized. The self-proclaimed god then spoke to the crowd once more.

"Now you are probably wondering 'why? Why would Kiyaba Akihiko, the inventor of the NerveGear and Demigod Heroes Online do such a thing?' The answer in quite simple and my purpose has already been fulfilled: to be the god of a world by my own design; to have the power to change and shape lives in any way I feel.

"Many of you may be thinking 'I'll just kill my player in the game. Then I will wake up in the real world, free of this place.' I'm afraid that it is not that simple. You see the NerveGear is controlled by a microchip. If you die in DHO, then the microchip will overload, frying your brain and ending your life. Your avatar will be erased from the DHO system and you will be deleted from both DHO and the real world."

Percy's mind was reeling. If they died here, in a game, they died in real life? How many have died already? How many WILL die because of this madman floating above them? Once again, someone speaking interrupted his thoughts.

"And for the twins down there who look like they are trying to remove their NerveGears," said Akihiko while gesturing to Travis and Conner, "if someone, usually a family member or friend, were to try to remove your NerveGear, the chip would count the disconnection as an in-game death and fry your brain as if you had died. As a result of both of these methods, Demigod Heroes Online has 213 less players than when it began a few hours ago."

'Well that answers one of my questions,' Percy thought as dozens of screens of various NEWS channels from around the world appeared around the cloaked man. Some screens showed news warnings in all languages telling people not to try to remove a NerveGear from a person's head. Other screens showed weeping family members outside their houses as medical officers carefully carried comatose gamers out of their homes.

Percy felt his heart clench when he looked at a screen on the far right of Kiyaba Akihiko. The screen showed his mother, in her America Sweets uniform, crying as his stepfather, Paul, tried to comfort her. As Percy watched, his body was carried out of their apartment, followed by his friends' unconscious forms. Anger, longing, hate, and sadness swirled inside of him.

"There is one way to leave this Demigod Heroes Onlinewithout dieing in the process," continued Kiyaba, deeming his pause long enough. "You must defeat the 100th floor's Boss. As your manuals said, each floor has one Boss Dungeon, and each Boss Dungeon, a Floor Boss. If you defeat a Floor Boss, you move on to the next floor. If and/or when the Boss of the 100th floor is killed, then, and only then, will everyone be free to leave the game."

Percy felt a spark of hope inside. There was a way out? He could see his mom and stepfather again. He could go back to school, graduate, and live his life. He swore to himself, his friends, and his mother, that he would make it out of this deathtrap and save as many people in the process as possible. He would save his friends and return to the real world. Suddenly, he felt his arms fall. Others who had been running when frozen stumbled or fell. Nico landed on his face after crashing into Travis, knocking him over as well. The sight would have been funny outside of a serious situation.

"Heroes," Kiyaba spoke again. "Before I leave you for the next server, I wish to tell you that I have gifted each of you an item. Please see what it is." Percy couldn't stop himself as curiosity took hold of him. He opened the Player Menu like everyone else and moved his finger over Items. Inside was only one thing,

"A mirror?" Percy asked as the reflective item appeared after he clicked on the word. "How is this-?" He was cut off as he was covered in a bright blue light. Other similar lights surrounded each player until everyone was shining. When the lights died out, Percy turned to his left where Annabeth had been standing. He was met with piercing gray eyes, eyes he knew very well.

"A-Annabeth?" he stuttered. "Is that you? Your eyes. Th-they're back to gray."

"You don't sound sad about that," she responded. "Your eyes have returned to their unique green as well."

Percy looked into the mirror again, but instead of the face of the avatar he had created that he saw the first time, his own face stared back at him. His hair was a shade darker, the color of his real hair. His eyes were a sea green that he had inherited from his real father. He looked at Annabeth. Her honey-blond hair cascaded down past her shoulders and her stormy-gray eyes were pointed at something behind him. Percy turned, only to see Travis and Connor crying about how they were shorter than everybody (except Nico) again. Percy attention was called back to Kiyaba as be began to finish his speech.

"And thus ends the tutorial. If you survive this floor, you will meet the players from the other servers on floor 2 where all the servers combine. I wish you Heroes the best of luck." With that sentence his clothes began to fold in on themselves and start glowing. The light from the Inventor's clothes became blinding, forcing the players to look away. The wind died down as the light faded. When everyone looked back to where Akihiko had been, there was nothing but virtual air. Suddenly, a girl in the crowd screamed and the full weight of what he had said fell on the large crowd.

They were trapped inside a deadly video game.

End of Chapter 2

(A/N So... even though I didn't mention it in my first chapter, this is my first story and I really want to know what you guys (and girls) think about it. Constructive critisism is accepted and encouraged, but please no flaming. Also, I have quite a few chapters already typed out and will try to update every weekend unless life interfears (stupid life...) or a lot if people ask me to update sooner. Thank you!)