Percy Jackson, the Assassin of Olympus. How did I come to bear such a title? It's a long story, if you're up for it. I suppose it all started with the visions.
The first time it happened I had just woken up. I slept on the top half of a bunk bed in a dorm room at Yancy Academy, my school. My only friend, Grover, slept on the bottom bunk. I'd awoken to the sound of an alarm and groggily sat up. I was about to hop to the floor when suddenly I was somewhere else.
At the time I called it a vision, but it felt real. It was more than a lucid dream. I was in control of myself in the middle of a long hallway. The walls, floor, and ceiling were pitch black, giving the illusion that I was in the middle of a void, but I knew they were there because I could feel them when I tried to touch them, making the "vision" even more realistic.
The only thing that kept me from feeling trapped was the object at the end of the tunnel. There was a sword sitting on the ground, balancing on the tip of its glowing blade. It was beautiful. When I closed my eyes, it was as if they were still open but the sword was replaced by an ordinary ballpoint pen. It was just barely close enough for me to be able to read the word 'Anaklusmos' on the side of it. For some reason I knew that the word was ancient Greek and translated to 'Riptide'.
I wanted the sword. I felt like I was meant to have it. I took a step toward it and suddenly I was back in my dorm , but this time I was on the floor and Grover was looking down at me confusedly.
"Are you okay?" he asked me with a concerned look in his eyes.
I blinked a couple of times to ensure I was back in the real world. "Yeah," I said and stood. I tried to pass the "vision" off as a dream or my imagination, but the vividness made it impossible. I wasn't going to tell Grover about it, though, or else he'd think I'd gone insane.
The second time it happened I was in the middle of class. Mrs. Dodds was at the front of the room talking about algebra or some other useless garbage while at the same time stealing menacing glares at me every once in a while. I didn't understand why she did it, but I'd just accepted it and ignored it by that point.
I was failing to understand what she was teaching us when I was pulled back into the hallway. The sword was still there and I still desperately wanted it. I took a step forward and was pleased when I wasn't pulled back to reality this time. I took another step, then another. I closed half the distance when I was transported back to Mrs. Dodd's classroom.
"Percy Jackson," the teacher said my name with so much hate you could almost see it dripping from her wrinkled old lips. "Will you please stop kicking the desk and pay attention?"
"Sorry," I said, irritation in my voice because I still hadn't reached the sword. The day continued on normally from that point.
Two days later it happened yet again. I was walking to the lunchroom next to Grover and I was once again pulled to that hallway. I picked up right where I left off last time. I got one step in this time before I found myself on the hallway floor.
"Percy?" Grover said.
"What?" I growled, getting angry at the fact that I still hadn't obtained the sword. I stood and looked at my best friend who had a hurt expression on his face due to my aggressive response. "Sorry," I said. "I just tripped."
This continued to happen over and over again for the next couple of weeks. At seemingly random points I'd find myself in this alternate dimension, take one step toward the sword, and then find myself on the floor. It got the point where I didn't even feel embarrassed when it happened anymore, only annoyed that I still didn't have the sword. Of course Grover was still worried about me, suspecting something was wrong.
When something finally came of the 'visions' I'd been getting, we were on a field trip to a museum. Our teacher, Mr. Brunner, was talking about the Greek gods and this 'titanomachy' crap when I was once again teleported into that hallway. I was now five feet away from it. If I took just a few more steps I could grab it.
I cautiously took one step and felt relieved when I didn't get transported back to museum. I took two more steps and reached out to touch the handle when suddenly a hand was on my wrist.
I looked up and standing next to me was a man in a black hood and cape. He wore a leather vest covering a dark gray shirt. He had black khaki pants and a pair of black boots. But the most prominent feature of this man was his face. He had medium-length dark brown hair and blood red eyes. He was clean of facial hair. He looked like he was in his mid-twenties but his eyes showed age beyond comprehension. I could feel the power radiating off of him.
"Who are you?" I asked after recovering from being startled.
The man winced as if the question caused him physical pain. "It does not matter who I am," he said. His voice was soft and deep, yet oddly beautiful. It was is if every word he spoke was vital to the very stability of the universe and it would be pure idiocy to forget a single one of them. "You can call me an entity. Think about what you are about to do, Perseus Jackson."
"How do you know my name?" I asked.
"Your question seeks an answer far more complex than man can understand."
"I only asked how you know my name."
He smiled. The smile complimented his chiseled features.
"There is nothing I don't know," said the 'entity'.
"Where are we? How are you here?" I asked.
"This hallway is not a creation of my own. They want to claim you. This is a clever game they've created."
"Who are you talking about?"
He paused. "I do not think I should answer that question. The events that are to take place are a delicate thing to meddle in. You'll come to get your answer soon enough."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"Of course you don't. You're not meant to."
"Why are you here?"
"That is a question I wish to answer." He finally let go of my wrist and I let it fall to my side. "This is a nice sword," he commented whilst looking at Riptide. "You'd wield it nicely. But you cannot have it."
"Why not?" I asked.
"You do not know the implications that come with taking this sword. You grab that hilt and the sword is eternally yours. It shall never leave your side and never fail you. But then you'll be following the path they aligned."
"This is the same 'they' as before?"
"Yes. When you grab this sword you're essentially stepping into their cage and locking the door on yourself."
"So. . . what? Taking this sword is like signing a contract? I get a cool sword yet I'm this mysterious 'they's' servant?"
"I'm assuming you're going to explain what's terrible about that."
A smile spread across his face again and he leaned against the black wall with his arms crossed. "I cannot explain that until you know who they are and what their motives are. But I can give you the means to find out." He held out his hand and a solid blue marble appeared on his palm. "Take it," he said.
I did as he asked and took the sphere from him.
"Put it in a pocket," he said.
Again, I followed his instruction.
"You'll not be able to remove it from that pocket if you try. When you change pants the orb will reappear in the pocket of your new attire. When you discover the truth of this world you'll be able to remove the orb from your pocket. When that happens you are to put it in your mouth and swallow it."
I reached into my pocket and tried to take it out but found it was impossible. "Why?" I asked.
"Doing so will reveal the deeper truth. It will tell you what you need to know, more than they want you to know. It shall give you the answers you want now but I am not yet able to give."
"Okay," I said. "So what now?"
"Now I leave," he said. "But first I have a couple of gifts for you." He reached into a pocket on his vest and took out a knife. He held the knife in his right hand and held out his left. In a flash of silver the knife was gone and there was now a slice on his palm. Instead of normal crimson blood an odd substance leaked from the wound. It was bright yellow; not golden, but neon yellow. But at the same time it somehow wasn't yellow. It looked black with small white specks on it, like outer space.
"Why did you do that?" I asked.
"Blood holds a lot of power," he said. Suddenly the wound was gone and on his palm was a small glass vial filled with the man's strange blood. He held it out to me.
I cautiously accepted it. The vial felt very warm, which kind of grossed me out.
"Drink it," he said.
"You want me to drink your blood?"
"Yes. I wish to grant you power that you will need."
"And you're giving me that through your blood?"
"It's a complex science that cannot be taught in the short time we have together. Just drink it."
I was hesitant, but he's given me no reason not to trust him. Most would say red eyes are a sign of villainy or evil, but on him they're different. They're like rubies: valuable. Every second you look into them gives you something. I saw no malice. He truly wanted to help me.
"What are your motives?" I asked.
"Motives?" he repeated. "I have no motives."
"What do you gain for helping me?"
"I have nothing to gain. I simply care what happens to this world."
Either he's an amazing liar or telling the truth. I chose to believe the latter and uncorked the vial and drank it. Drank may not be the correct term as I never felt the blood actually hit my tongue. It was as if it vanished the instant it entered my mouth. There was no flavor. I brought the vial down and it was empty yet I still tasted no trace of the blood.
I stared at the 'entity' and waited for something to happen.
"Do you feel it?" asked the red-eyed man.
"No, I don't — " I started to say but then I stopped myself because it wasn't true. I did feel something. I felt power coursing through my body. It lasted just a couple of seconds and then I felt normal again, but I felt newer. I felt bigger. It was as if the entire universe had been compressed down into my body.
"Now you do," said the hooded entity.
"What power did you give me exactly?" I asked whilst moving and examining my arms, trying to feel any sort of power.
"I gave you what they did not want you to have," he said.
"These vague answers you're giving me are really annoying," I said.
He smirked. "I'm sorry. I try and be as plain as I can in my statements without giving away information that you are not yet meant to have."
I said nothing.
"You'll soon come to know that you had powers of your own already," he said. "They were given to you by the them, but they locked the majority of it away because they feared it. I unlocked it."
"What powers are you talking about?" I asked.
"I cannot say. That is further along the line. To give it to you would be to put a knot in the line which would be quite disruptive."
I sighed, not even questioning it this time. I just had to let him ramble even if I don't understand what he's saying.
"You said you had multiple gifts for me," I said.
"Correct. I've given you the orb and the key. I have one more, but it cannot be yours yet."
"Because of that." He pointed at the sword that's been tormenting me.
"What?" I said.
"This hallway we're in is a game that they've created for you. It has one possible outcome where you end up wielding that sword and you're also forever under their control."
"So how do I get out of the game without grabbing the sword?"
"I'll have to modify it. That is my final gift. I already did, partially. But that was just so you and I would have the opportunity to talk. I'll modify it again and give you an escape route. They've programmed the end of this game to align with your transition to the abnormal."
"The game ends soon. You will absolutely need that sword or else you'll die. That's the game."
"Uhh, you never mentioned that."
"You are by no means to grab that sword. Heed my words. When the situation is dire, know that a line runs in two ways. Take no steps."
"Is that a riddle?"
"No. It's simple enough. Remember those words. I must go now. Do not grab that sword. And a quick warning: absolutely no one is to know of our encounter or even of my existence, understand? Not your mother, not your future wife or husband. No animal, person, or deity is to know of me. There are to be zero exceptions."
"Wait—" I started to say but he put a hand on my chest and shoved me backward, causing me to exit the black hallway and return to the real world. I was on my back and looking up at my classmates who were staring at me.
A girl with curly red hair and freckles all over her face was looking at me with an amused expression. "Seriously, Jackson," she said. "With how often you fall down you're spending more time on the floor than on your feet." This earned a few snickers from the other students.
"Screw off, Nancy," I replied whilst getting to my feet.
"Are you alright, Mr. Jackson?" asked our crippled teacher, Mr. Brunner.
"I'm fine, sir," I said.
"If you're sure," he said. "I guess this is a good point for us to take a break. Go ahead and rest and meet back here in thirty minutes."
I sat down on a nearby bench next to Grover.
"Seriously, dude," Grover said. "Why do you keep on blacking out like that?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," I said.
"What do you mean you don't know what I'm talking about?" he said. "You keep fainting!"
"I don't faint," I said. "I'm just clumsy. I trip."
"No, you're fainting. One moment you're perfectly fine and the next you freeze up and fall down like a rag doll."
"I just fall weird."
"Dude — " Grover started to say before he was interrupted by Mrs. Dodds.
"Mr. Jackson," she said. She was staring at me menacingly with more malice in her eyes than I'd ever seen before. "Could I speak with you a moment?"
"Uh, yeah, sure," I said and stood.
"Percy — " Grover said. His eyes were wide and full of terror.
"You are to stay here, Mr. Underwood," said Mrs. Dodds.
"A — alright," he said shakily.
"I'll be fine, man," I said and followed Mrs. Dodds.
She led the two of us deeper into the museum until we were in a deserted section. There were no other people in sight.
"Your scheming is at an end," Mrs. Dodds said to me.
"I'm sorry?" I said.
"You will give back what you stole."
"Uh, I didn't steal anything. You're probably looking for Nancy."
"Do not lie to me!"
I was going to continue to refute her nonsensical claims before she started to change. Her fingers grew into talons and her jacket melted into bat wings. Her skin shriveled up and she ended up looking like an anorexic bat-demon-woman.
I took two steps backward to get away from her.
"Die, honey!" she said. It looked as if she were about to lunge at me but all of a sudden I wasn't in the museum anymore. I was back in that black hallway staring at the sword again. I was within reach of grabbing it and was almost tempted to, but I knew otherwise.
I stood still. 'When the situation is dire, know that a line runs in two ways. Take no steps.' Those are the words the strange man told me to remember. I started off with the last three words, 'take no steps.' Simple enough. I didn't move.
I assumed time was frozen on the outside, so as long as I don't move I have plenty of time to save my own life, right?
'When the situation is dire.' Yep, the situation is definitely dire.
'Know that a line runs in two ways.' Okay, what does that mean? A hallway is kind of like a line. So this hallway runs in two ways. I've only ever looked forward and seen the sword. So I should turn around?
I tested my theory and turned around. Two feet away from me I saw the most magnificent object I've ever seen. It was a bright white trident standing straight up as tall as I am. The entire thing was adorned with neat abstract designs of thin blue metal lines running along the weapon.
I reached out my hand to grab it but before my hand touched it a piece of paper appeared in my hand. It read, 'My final gift to you. You'll know how to use it. Also, when you see the knitting hags tell them they lost the game. - Entity'
After reading through the note I dropped it and it evaporated. I grabbed the handle of the trident and instantly a wave of knowledge and power rushed through me. It was as if I'd been wielding the weapon my whole life and it was a part of me. I somehow knew its name was Krinos, which meant 'Lily' in ancient Greek. The feeling of power dissipated as quickly as it began, but I still felt strong with Krinos in my hands. I felt my muscles twitch with memory, and I realized I knew how to fight with this thing.
I turned around again and then the hallway melted away. It was different this time. Instead of being instantaneously transported back to real life I saw the black walls fade back to reality and the blurry form of the demon Dodds frozen mid lunge become crisper and clearer.
I took advantage of this and swung Krinos forward and impaled Dodds on the end of the trident just as time resumed.
Mrs. Dodds's talons slashed down and didn't even come close to hitting me. It took her a second to notice the trident she was impaled on. She looked up at me in shock and then exploded into yellow dust. The blue lines on Krinos glowed red momentarily before returning to its original blue. I now felt a bit stronger.
As if it were second nature to me I twirled the trident around and it disappeared. I could feel a tattoo forming on my back. I didn't have to look at it to know exactly how the trident tattoo looked.
I looked around the room and saw Mr. Brunner at the entrance of the room looking at me with shock on his face. I stared at him awkwardly.
"Uh, I can explain," I said.
Mr. Brunner seemed to be shaken out of his shock by my speaking. "Perseus, come with me. We have much to discuss."
"Alright," I said. "It may look look like I just killed my math teacher but in reality — "
"Relax, Perseus. You're not in trouble. Follow me." He started to wheel away and I followed.
We walked (I walked. He rolled.) until we reached the area where Grover and most of the rest of our classmates were.
"Grover," Mr. Brunner said. "Come with us."
Grover looked at me and a look of relief washed over his face as he got up and started to walk with us.
We reached the outside of the museum where no one else was. Mr. Brunner lead us to a bench on the side of the building and instructed Grover and I to sit.
"Did she do it?" Grover asked.
"Yes," Mr. Brunner said. "Alecto has struck at Percy. For what reason we do not yet know."
"Alecto?" I said.
"She is a kindly one," Grover said. "She was pretending to be our math teacher to spy on you."
"Why me? And what's a kindly one?"
"Perhaps it's best to start from the beginning," Mr. Brunner said. "I've been teaching you of the Greek myths this past year, correct?"
"Yeah," I said.
"They are not myths. They are facts. The Greek gods do exist, as do all the monsters from the tales."
I said nothing as I took time to comprehend that. "Really? Where's your proof?"
Mr. Brunner chuckled. "Grover and I are proof. Grover is a satyr and I am Chiron."
"Chiron? The legendary centaur trainer of heroes?"
"But shouldn't you be dead? It's been thousands of years."
"Yes, that is true. There will be time for more of this later. For now we must get to camp."
"Why are we going to camp now?" Grover asked.
"Matters have changed," Chiron said. "Percy already seems to have obtained a magical weapon. From where, I do not know. Perhaps it's a gift from his father."
"I can't say where I got it," I said.
"Hmm. I'm not surprised."
"What weapon?" Grover asked.
Without thinking about it I extended my hand and Krinos appeared on my palm and I felt the tattoo on my back disappear. It didn't even take any effort. It was truly as if the trident were a part of me.
The two half-humans stared in awe at the weapon before I twirled Krinos and she turned back into a tattoo on my back.
"How are we getting to camp?" Grover asked finally.
"I'll take us," Chiron said.
"But what about school? And my mom?" I asked.
"I'll handle that."
Before I could question him he planted both of his arms on the sides of his wheelchair and pushed up. Instead of standing, two horse legs erupted from some sort of pocket dimension followed by two others. Now a full centaur was standing in front of a wheel chair occupied with a pair of fake human legs. Chiron turned around and picked up the wheelchair and placed it on his back, but at the last second it turned into a saddle.
"Hop on," Chiron said.
"You want us to ride you?" I said.
"Yes," he said.
Grover got on his back and then I followed. Chiron began to slowly walk forward and then began increasing speed until he was in a full gallop. And then somehow in just a minute we were stopped in front of a large pine tree, completely out of the city.
Grover and I slid from Chiron's horse back and stood on very green grass.
"Where are we?" I asked.
"Camp Half-Blood," said Grover.
"That sounds a bit racist," I commented.
"Half-Blood is a synonym for demigod, Percy," said Chiron.
"As in half man, half god?"
I looked around and examined the camp for the first time. There were twelve cabins in a U shape. Each one was very unique and bore no similarity to one another.
To one side of the cabins was a large forest and to the other were fields of some kind of red fruit.
There were a couple other structures but their purposes were unidentifiable from here.
Chiron began to walk down the hill we were standing on and Grover and I followed.
As we walked I glanced at Grover and noticed something.
"Where are your crutches?" I asked.
"I don't need them," he said.
"Then why did — ?"
"It was to put mortals off of the fact that I'm a satyr."
"Yeah Chiron mentioned that. What does it mean?"
"Chiron didn't get around to teaching that part. A satyr is half goat."
"You're half goat?"
"Chiron?" a voice said.
I looked up and saw a girl with curly blonde hair walking up to us. She looked to be around my age. She wore an orange t-shirt that read 'Camp Half-Blood' and a pair of shorts. I also noticed she had stormy grey eyes that looked calculating, as if she were solving a thousand math equations at once.
"Ah, hello Annabeth," said Chiron.
"Why are you already back?" the grey-eyed girl asked.
"This is Perseus. I was watching over him when a fury attacked him. He held her off."
"You killed a fury?" Annabeth asked me.
"Apparently," I said.
"Grover," Chiron said. "We must get you to the council. You have succeeded in your mission."
A look of absolute joy spread over Grover's face.
"Annabeth," Chiron said. "Please give Percy a tour of the camp and explain everything to him."
"Okay," she said.
Chiron nodded and then trotted off with Grover practically skipping next to him.
"Why is he so happy?" I asked Annabeth.
"He gets to live out his dream," she said. "You know who the god Pan is?"
"The god of cookware?"
Annabeth smirked. "No," she said.
"The god of Mexican bread treats."
"He's the god of the wild. Satyrs see him as their lord and worship him. But he's gone missing."
"How does a god go missing?"
"Lots of ways. He could have been captured by another good, although that's highly unlikely. He could have gone into hiding. He could have faded, which is what most believe to be the case."
"It's the godly way of dying. A god can't die. They're immortal. But they can fade out of existence if their worship dies out."
"There must not be many satyrs then," I said.
"There are other ways for a god to fade. For instance if the object of the god's domain ceases to exist."
"I see. There's little wild left on earth."
"But the satyrs refuse to see that. They believe Pan to still be alive. So they send them out to search for him. They're called searchers. It's every satyr's dream to be one. They can only become one once they've escorted a demigod safely back to camp and then the Council of Cloven Elders can give them a searcher's license."
"So Grover's going to get a searcher's license now?"
"He might. They could deny it to him because Chiron was technically the one that brought you back to camp, but I think he'll get it."
"I hope he does."
"Well," said Annabeth. "Let me show you around."
After we'd finished the tour we ended up in front of the Hermes cabin. Annabeth knocked on the door and it opened revealing a tall and handsome man of around college age. He had short-cropped sandy blonde hair and blue eyes. He had an athletic build and a thick scar that ran from the bottom of his eye down to his chin.
He smiled at the sight of us. "Hey Annabeth," he said.
"Hi Luke," she said with a slight blush. "This is Percy. He's a new camper."
"Unclaimed, I assume?" he said to me.
Before I could state my confusion Annabeth said, "Yes."
"You show him around camp yet?"
"Great. I was just about to spar, he could join me. You ever held a sword before?"
"He just got here. You want to train him already?"
"Where else has he got to be?"
"I don't use swords," I said.
"No?" Luke said. "You already have a preference?"
"Alright then. I'll take him from here, Annabeth."
Annabeth split off and Luke led me to the arena.
When we got there we went to the armory. Luke picked up a sword and stepped aside, revealing the arsenal to me.
"Take your pick," he said.
I looked around for a second and spotted a sleek silver gauntlet. I picked it up and slid it onto my left hand. It fit perfectly.
"Fits like a glove," I said before rolling my own eyes at myself.
"Huh," Luke said. "That gauntlet has been sitting in here for decades. Many have tried it on but it never perfectly fit them."
"Then call me Cinderella," I said. "Let's go."
"Don't you want a weapon?" Luke asked.
"I think I'll make do with this."
I stepped out of the armory and into the arena. Luke followed.
"Well let's spar then, brawler," Luke said whilst raising his sword at me.
"I'm ready," I said and held up my armored hand defensively.
Luke swung his sword and I absorbed the impact with my gauntlet. I swung my unarmored fist at Luke but he sidestepped and swung his sword again. This time I summoned Krinos and caught the blade in its prongs. I twisted the trident and Luke's sword fell to the ground. I swung the weapon around and smacked Luke in the side with the end of the trident. He fell to his back and I leveled my weapon at his throat. It was exhilarating, and easy. It felt as if I'd been dueling for my entire life.
I moved Krinos so that it stood tall on the ground with my hand holding it steady and Luke got up.
"The element of surprise can be a very useful tool in combat," he said, after staring at me in slight awe for a few seconds. "Good one."
"Thanks," I said.
"Where'd you get the trident?"
"It was a gift."
His eyes narrowed.
"How many monsters have you killed with that thing?" he asked.
"One," I answered. "They called it a fury."
"A fury? Impressive. Who trained you?"
"Who taught you to fight?"
"No one. I'd never even wielded this thing before today."
"I find that hard to believe."
"Believe it. Now pick up your sword. Let's go again."
Luke said I was something of a prodigy, although I could tell he didn't believe it. He knew I was hiding something, but didn't think too much of it. He mentioned that several demigods in camp have had mysterious pasts and encounters with gods/monsters before coming to camp, so I wasn't out of the ordinary. He was still annoyed that we sparred several times and I managed to beat him every time.
Luke started looking both frustrated and curious by the time we were done. I kind of felt bad for him. From what I understood he's the best swordsman at this camp and it's my first time holding a weapon yet I'm better than him.
Luke said I could keep the gauntlet. I don't know what use it'll be but it's light and durable so I see no downside to wearing it. I have no place to store it and it's not really that big a burden so I didn't bother taking it off.
We headed to the dining pavilion after we finished our sparring. There were twelve tables, each one holding a varying amount of campers. The two that held the most were Aphrodite and Hermes. I was sitting at the latter because I still didn't know who my godly parent was and the Hermes cabin held all of what were called "the unclaimed".
I still found it strange, the whole Greek pantheon existing and my being a demigod. Of course I couldn't not have believed it because I rode a centaur here in mere seconds, but it was still a lot to take in.
Before we ate we burned a portion of our food at the hearth as a sacrifice to the gods.
I finished my plate in less than ten minutes. As I took my last bite I noticed someone sitting at the hearth. It was a nine year-old girl with black hair poking at the coals. Her eyes were filled with flames but looked welcoming, contrary to fire's destructiveness.
I stood from the table and walked over to her.
She watched me the entire time with a curious expression on her face.
"Lady Hestia," I said after kneeling in front of her. I remembered her from when Chiron explained her tale just a few days ago.
"You recognize me," she said in a slightly surprised tone.
"I must admit I had trouble believing that the gods existed, but now I don't."
"Most demigods are more shocked when they meet a god or goddess for the first time."
"I'm not like most demigods."
"You would say that yet you've hardly had a taste of this side of the world."
"Well prove me wrong then. Show me that I'm no different than anyone else in this camp."
"I can't do that."
"Of course you can't."
She hesitated and stared at me for a couple of seconds. "You're quite intelligent, Percy Jackson."
"That's the first time I've ever heard that."
"And it may well be the last." She stopped for a second. "Why don't you prove it to me?"
"That you're not like most demigods."
"Do you know what's on my back?"
"Something very powerful," Hestia said, followed by a minor pause. "Something that's not Greek."
"If it's not Greek then where did I get it?"
She stopped poking the coals and looked straight at me. The flames in her eyes died out revealing a regular pair of brown eyes. Somehow she looked more menacing this way. "I don't know," she said slowly.
We stared at each other for a whole minute.
"You don't like me," I said at last.
"What gives you that idea?" she said with all warmth gone.
"Everyone loves you. You're the pure one, the virgin goddess. Your domain is family and home as well as the hearth. Everyone sees you as the kind goddess. You're everyone's friend. You're welcoming to even Hades. I didn't think it possible for you to dislike someone."
"You know nothing."
"For now," I said and got to my feet. I glanced around at the tables and no one even paid me nor the goddess any attention. When I looked back to the hearth Hestia was gone.
The next couple of weeks flew by pretty fast. Everyday we'd operate on a different schedule. There were several different activities that each cabin did independently. I was terrible at archery and didn't really care for music. I was excellent at combat and horseback riding. I wasn't too great at smithing either.
On top of that Annabeth also did one-on-one Greek history lessons where she taught me about all the gods and monsters and stuff that exists. She also mentioned that the god of wine, Dionysus, used to be camp director until he was called to Olympus and never came back the day I arrived. I found that quite odd but didn't think too much of it.
The thing I was looking forward to was capture the flag. The Hermes cabin teamed with the Athena cabin as well as a couple others, which meant that I was on the team with Annabeth and Luke. We were up against the Ares cabin who teamed with the rest of the participating cabins.
The Athena cabin was the one making the battle strategies, of course. Annabeth ended up putting me with Luke on the offensive. Annabeth was leading a small group to distract the opposing team's defense and we had another group to lead their offense astray. The rest of our team was positioned around our flag and the stream dividing our two sides as defense.
Finally the game began. We started of at the edge of the forest where Chiron went over the rules. No killing, no maiming, magic weapons are allowed, etc. Then the teams split to their separate flags and we waited for the signal.
After a minute a conch horn sounded and our team ran off to their assigned positions.
I summoned Krinos in my right hand and ran alongside Luke through the forest. I wore my silver gauntlet on my left hand and a borrowed leather chestplate and greaves.
As Annabeth predicted we ran into enemy campers at the stream. There were three of them standing guard, two guys and a girl. All had the builds of Ares campers.
I took the left one and Luke took the right. The other one was trying to get at us but couldn't get a hit in. I twirled my trident around blocking every single strike my opponent made. Finally I knocked his sword to the left. Although he held on I was able to smack the end of Krinos into his head and he fell unconscious.
Luke had also defeated his opponent so it was me and him versus the female. She swung at Luke but he blocked the attack. She parried his next swing and then swiped at me. I rolled under the attack and arched Krinos into her legs and she fell to her back. I stabbed the prongs of Krinos into the ground trapping her sword. As she tried to get up Luke hit her head with the hilt of his sword and she was knocked out.
"Nice," Luke said.
"You like me better on your team," I noted.
He smirked. We continued through the forest until we found a clearing. There was a hill with a pole sticking up that had a banner attached to it.
Luke and I stopped to observe the scene. There were a total of eight guards. There was a pair to the left and right and three in front. The last three were hidden among the bushes. They thought they were hidden, but we could see them.
"The back is unguarded," Luke said.
"They're turning around too frequently," I said. "We can't take it by stealth."
"Hmm," Luke said.
"I can take out the hidden ones without anyone noticing. Then I'll distract the other five while you take the flag and run back to the Fist unnoticed."
"That could work. Are you sure you can handle it?"
"Alright. Do your thing, man."
I snuck off through the bushes. The hidden guards were placed strategically. Every single one could be at the flag in seconds should they sense danger, yet they were also pretty close to the natural path leading to the stream. And somehow they were all out of each other's sights. I don't think that last part was intentional.
The first one was dangerously close to the other five guards. I quietly stalked up behind him and covered his mouth, and dragged him to the ground. He struggled, but I was able to knock him out with the end of his own sword quietly.
I then took a wide arc to avoid detection then came around to the second guard. Again, I quietly stalked up behind her but this time she was far enough away so that the five guards wouldn't notice my attack. I summoned Krinos and smacked her in the head with the blunt end hard. She crumpled to the ground. I repeated that process with the last guard.
Now that all three were down, I moved on to the next five. I stepped out into the open and two of the guards spotted me immediately. I walked unarmed to them casually.
"Man," I said. "The other team is terrible at this. I'd hate to be on their team. Wouldn't you, teammates?"
They didn't even say anything and charged at me. One of them had a bow and was loosing arrows at me.
"Friendly fire!" I yelled and summoned Krinos. I dodged the arrows and swung my trident to parry the sword strikes of the other two. I didn't move to attack them, but played defensively whilst moving towards the rest of the guards.
Soon all five were staring at me but only two attacked. I swung Krinos to block any attack then swiped it upward, cutting a deep gash into the shoulder of one of my opponents. He fell down and clutched his wound.
Two more entered our little dance. I cut the leg of one of them and they collapsed giving room for the last guard to drop their bow and enter the fray with a dagger.
That was my cue to lead them away from the banner so that Luke could take it.
I turned and ran and the three others followed. It didn't take long to reach more enemy campers. There was a group of five of them and they turned and tried to get at me as well. I continued running.
Soon we reached the stream where a couple of my allies were standing guard.
"Are you sure you should be attacking us?" I asked the five that had just entered the battle. "Those three are the idiots that left their flag unguarded."
It actually worked. The big one who's name I knew to be Clarrise turned on her teammates and screamed, "Is our flag seriously unguarded?!"
Realization dawned on the three guard's faces. They turned and ran back to the hill.
Just as Clarrise and the other four were going to attack me and my teammates, a sandy-haired person ran out of the trees carrying a flag and crossed the stream with no one chasing him.
A conch horn blew and shortly after Chiron galloped through the trees.
"We have a winner!" he declared.
The rest of the campers came into the clearing and either celebrated or groaned. I spotted Annabeth next to Luke and I walked over to them.
As I crossed the stream gasps erupted and everyone stared at me. I looked around confusedly. Chiron stepped forward and bent his front two legs forward and said, "Hail Perseus Jackson, son of Poseidon."
Everyone else started to bow as well. I looked up and saw a glowing green trident in a circle spinning above my head like a hologram.
After that I was moved from the Hermes cabin to the Poseidon cabin, where I was all alone. The "big three" gods (Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon) had made a pact long time ago to not have any more demigod children. Zeus broke the pact once and gave birth to Thalia Grace who died around five years ago and became the pine tree that provides the camp with its magic borders. Poseidon broke the pact when he had me. Hades hasn't broken the pact yet.
Being in my own cabin was pretty cool. I didn't have to worry about any thieving cabin mates and I got to decide my own schedule. It was pretty great.
As the next week went by I kept reaching for that orb in my pocket. The first time I'd tried to pick it up my attempt succeeded. I'd held it in my hand and stared at it whilst remembering what the entity told me about it. He'd said that I'm supposed to swallow it when I learn the 'truth of this world' and it'll reveal the 'deeper truth'.
The fact that I was able to remove it from my pocket meant that I now knew the 'truth of this world'. It was easy enough to deduce that that was referring to the existence of the gods and my being a demigod.
But I also deduced that he kept referring to the gods when he said 'they'. So far I've had no qualms with the gods and I knew that I would as soon as I swallowed the orb.
I knew I'd have to swallow the orb sooner or later but I wanted to delay it for as long as possible. And I'd just learned of my father's identity. Swallowing the orb could mean being without a father again.
And for the icing on the cake, if I were to be on the gods' bad sides that'd also mean losing all the friends I've made here at camp.
My hesitation to learn the truth ended one day after training.
Luke and I were sparring (as cabin leader of the Poseidon cabin I got to decide to take my swordsmanship activity at the same time as the Hermes cabin) and I ended up knocking him to the ground and his sent sword flying. The activity ended and we left the arena. I separated from the Hermes kids and made toward the beach. But as I was walking I spotted something in the forest.
I changed route and stepped under the canopy. I walked for maybe fifteen feet until I found a clearing with three old ladies sitting on rocks and holding a glowing ball of thread. The one on the right was holding the ball and unspooling it. The one in the middle guided it to the one on the left who was knitting. They looked straight at me with anger in their eyes.
"You lost the game," I said.
The middle one reached into her pocket and a sense of danger erupted in me as I saw a glint of silver.
Without thinking I summoned Krinos and shoved it straight into the middle one's throat. She and I were equally surprised to find that she bled. Golden ichor poured from three holes in her throat. The blue lines on my trident momentarily turned red before returning to its original color. Again I felt just the slightest bit more powerful.
The other two didn't seem to notice somehow. Their eyes were locked on me. The left one even smirked.
"You think you can kill a Fate?" she said.
The middle one toppled over and fell face first to the ground with a look of horror on her face. The ichor pooled around her corpse as before our eyes she began to turn ashy grey and corroded into nothing.
The other two looked up in complete shock at me.
"What have you done?!" one screamed.
I took a second to comprehend my action. "I killed a Fate," I said, still not fully believing it.
"We'll kill you for that, Perseus Jackson!" one yelled.
Suddenly my vision rippled. Reality warped before my eyes and the colors melted together to form a new image, somewhere else. I saw the camp from a bird's eye view. At the border of the camp near the pine tree was the minotaur. The two remaining Fates were standing beside it with their eyes rolled up into the back of their heads and their hands raised like zombies. The Minotaur slashed at the tree over and over again until it fell down and the camp's magical boundaries destroyed with it.
Then my vision returned to normal and the Fates were staring at me angrily again.
Maybe it was too much to assume, but I'm pretty sure that that vision was a premonition of the future. I turned and ran toward the edge of camp. When I peeked behind me the two Fates had disappeared. I sprinted as fast as I could toward the pine tree, not stopping to answer anyone.
I reached the pine tree and I saw the Minotaur running up the hill towards me. It had a faint golden glow around it and its eyes were solid blue. At the base of the hill the Fates looked just as they did in the vision, with rolled back eyes and outstretched arms.
The Minotaur charged extremely fast. Without thinking, I summoned Krinos and threw it like a javelin at the beast.
It staggered a bit on impact but continued its charge. I willed the trident to reappear in my hand. The bull-man ran whilst scarlet blood poured from three holes in his chest.
I walked toward him a bit so as to keep Thalia's tree from harm. I stood my ground with my trident in hand. Finally, just as the beast was going to impale me with its horns, I rolled to the side and the monster kept forward. It realized what happened and tried to stop but ended up tripping and falling due to the slope of the hill. I ran up to it and stabbed it in the head with Krinos. Then I removed it and trusted it into his skull again. Finally, the beast burst into golden dust and I heard two simultaneous shrill shrieks. Krinos's blue lines momentarily turned red and I felt ever slightly more powerful.
After the adrenaline and excitement wore off, I looked down the hill and saw the two Fates on their hands and knees panting. I drew back my right arm and launched Krinos at them, but with a flash of light they were gone and Krinos was stuck in the ground where they once stood.
I walked over to my trident and kneeled next to it. I don't know why but somehow I knew the remaining two Fates had left for good. It appeared that whatever magic they used to summon/control the Minotaur exhausted them.
I gripped Krinos for support and stood before removing the weapon from the ground and dismissed it back into a tattoo on my back. I then walked back to the pine tree and sat down, leaning my back and head against it whilst I went over the events that had just occurred in my head.
I'd just killed a goddess. Atropos, if I recalled my lessons with Annabeth correctly. Or perhaps I didn't kill her. Maybe it was a trick for them to think I had. But how would that benefit them?
And the reason I killed her (if I actually did kill her) was still fresh in my mind. I knew who they were when it started. And the biggest thing I recalled from what Annabeth had taught me about them was the fact that if the Fates stare at you and cut the thread, that means you're about to die. I saw the flash of silver and knew I needed to stop the thread from being cut.
The thing that kept bothering me was that vision I'd had. The Fates determine the future and destiny and all that. So why would I be able to see the future? I don't get it.
I had so many questions running through my mind and I knew only one way to answer them: the orb. I reached into my pocket and drew out the tiny sphere. I stared at it for a while, as if its sole purpose was to turn my entire life upside down, and I needed to say goodbye to the happiness I've felt these past few of weeks.
Finally, I put the orb on my tongue and it rolled down my throat of its own free will.
Then the world shattered. Fragments of reality broke away and fell like shards of broken glass until I sat in complete darkness.
Soon colors started to spread through the emptiness. The colors took shape and before I knew it I was back in the world, but I was somewhere else.
Then the colors blurred together before becoming crisp again and I was somewhere else. Then I was somewhere else, then somewhere else. Again and again my location changed until I was back in blackness.
I saw things. I saw a lot of things. Each time the scene changed I saw a terrible event take place. And by terrible event I'm talking about some horrible things the gods did.
I watched Artemis murder innocent men for no reason. I watched her abduct little girls who lived happily and force them to join her hunt. I watched her seduce men and lure them into vulnerable states to kill them.
I watched Apollo forcefully take girls' virginities. I watched him have sex with girls as young as twelve.
I watched my own father strike down the ships of simple fishermen and tourists while slave ships miraculously sailed free.
I watched Hestia not only allow but enforce the act of burning babies as sacrifices to the gods. I also watched her burn entire houses with families in them. It's also to note that she is no virgin goddess as she may just be almost as sexually active as Aphrodite.
I watched Hephaestus build machines that destroyed and ravaged entire communities.
I watched Ares personally take part in war after war, murdering whatever man, woman, or child who could put an end to it, regardless of the side they were on.
God after god I saw committing heinous act after heinous act. And it wasn't just Olympians that I saw, either. I saw minor gods as well. I saw every single god and goddess commit hundreds of atrocities each. Every god but one.
The visions ended and I was back in the empty darkness, seething with anger.
"That's only a portion of their crimes," I heard someone say.
I looked up and saw a familiar pair of red eyes.
"You know what you're capable of," the Entity said. "You know what you have to do now."
"But how can I?" I asked. "I'm one demigod against all the gods."
"Seek out the good god. You've gained the power to get there."
I didn't entirely understand what he meant but I nodded anyway.
"You are to leave camp without anyone noticing," he said. "No one is to come with you. You go alone."
"Will I be able to see my friends again?" I asked.
"The two you are closest with," he said. "Eventually one will join you and the other will be your enemy."
Before I could say more the blackness faded away and I was back at Thalia's pine tree. I glanced at the sun. No time had passed even though it felt like hours.
I summoned Krinos and held it for support as I stood. I turned and took one last look at camp then began walking down the hill away from my home.
No time had passed, yet everything had changed.
A/N: If you're new to this story, welcome! I'm only writing this author's note to let you know that my alternate universe does not include any other pantheon than Greek, even Roman. Characters like Jason and Reyna do not exist, although Leo and Piper do. If you intend on reading my completed story all the way through, I want you to know what to expect from it.
Side note: I guarantee that my writing improves over the course of this story. It took me nearly a year and half to write this story, but I learned a lot along the way. So if you're not completely impressed with the first chapter but are still interested in the idea of this story, I beg you'll bear with me.