It was the Friday before winter break and Sally had packed overnight bags for her two children, a few deadly weapons and took them to a new boarding school. They were picked up with Percy's friends Annabeth and Thalia on the way.
Sometimes Macaria wondered how Percy was able to make friends so easily, or if there was something wrong with her, she had very few friends and besides Percy. Annabeth was cool and they got along but Macaria didn't see her much as a friend, since they didn't spend much time together without Percy. Thaila got along more with Percy as well.
The eight hour drive from New York to Bar Harbor, Maine was slow and a little bumpy due to the sleet and snow that pounded the highway. The four of them hadn't seen each other in months, but between the blizzard and the thoughts of what they were about to do, they were too nervous to talk to each other. Macaria went on to talk with her mother in everything but blood, she talked more when she was nervous and she definitely needed someone else to talk to.
By the time they had finally got to Westover Hall, it was getting dark, and she had told Annabeth and Thalia every embarrassing baby story there was to tell about the Jacksons.
Thalia wiped the fog off the car window and peered outside. "Oh, yeah. This'll be fun."
Westover Hall looked like an evil knight's castle. It was all black stone, with towers and
slit windows and a big set of wooden double doors. It stood on a snowy cliff overlooking this
big frosty forest on one side and the gray churning ocean on the other.
Macaria didn't mind the snow but if she had to pick she'd definitely choose the sunlight, it seemed that her face gave away her emotions because her mother asked, "Are you sure you don't want to wait?"
"No, thanks, Mom." Percy said. WeI don't know how long it will take. We'll be okay."
"But how will you get back? I'm worried, kids." She placed a hand on Macaria's shoulders who looked down at the ground embarrassed.
"It's okay, Ms. Jackson." Annabeth smiled reassuringly. Her blond hair was tucked into a ski cap and her gray eyes were the same color as the ocean. "We'll keep them out of trouble."
Their mother seemed to relax a little, since Annabeth was the most levelheaded demigod ever to hit eighth grade.
"All right, dears." Their mother said. "Do you have everything you need?"
"Yes, Ms. Jackson," Thalia said. "Thanks for the ride."
"Extra sweaters? You have my cell phone number?"
"Mom—" Percy went to say.
"Your ambrosia and nectar? And a golden drachma in case you need to contact camp?"
"Mom, seriously! We'll be fine. Come on, guys."
Macaria shoved her elbow in his stomach and he glared at her and she rolled her eyes. Their mother looked hurt and Percy got out of the car. Macaria gave her mother a goodbye hug. "Be careful on the roads." She said lightly and she returned the kind smile.
They had looked different compared to the previous year. Some of Percy's baby fat had left and he had grown quite a bit taller than her, much to Macaria's annoyance even though he was the older one. He had some more defined muscles and since they still shared the same room, she had seen how defined and lean he was. His hair was longer nearly to his shoulders and got in his face every so often, it didn't look messy and instead fell down in beautiful, curly waves. His eyes shun brightly against his dark hair and his voice got deeper.
She only wondered how everyone will react when they go back to camp, not that Macaria could talk.
She was known for having a friend affect on people when it came to her appearance, though it was mostly to non-mortals. Any half-bloods made sure to not go anywhere near her due to her father Thanatos but nymphs all hung around her and she had gotten a few close calls from some monsters and a few gods, she shivered remembering her meeting with Ares. Macaria was a leaner than Percy and had smaller muscles, but they were defined and it left her body in a nice shape.
Her thighs had doubled and her chest size basically tripled, which made her very self-conscious. If Percy was a lean then Macaria was cury, to say that she gained a lot of weight due to puberty would be an understatement. She gained at least twenty pounds from her new 'gifts'. The only good thing was that Macaria only had a single pimple which went away in a couple weeks.
Macaria followed Percy outside with the other girls. The wind blew straight through her coat and Macaria moved closer to the others.
Once the car was out of sight Thalia said. "Your mom's so cool."
"She's pretty okay." Percy admitted.
"She's awesome." Macaria said and Percy looked away from her, to say that puberty was making them dislike each other's company was an understatement. They were in the eighth grade and were still sharing the same bunk bed, to say they needed their own personal space and time away from each other was hard when they were shoved in a car for eight hour and on top of that were half-bloods.
"What about you? You ever get in touch with your mom?" Percy asked Thalia and he immediately looked guilt for saying anything, Thalia gave pretty great evil looks and with her clothes it only added to it — ripped-up army jacket, black leather pants and chain jewelry, the black eyeliner and those intense blue eyes. Though the look she currently was giving Macaria's brother was a perfect evil 'ten'.
"If that was any of your business, Percy—"
"We'd better get inside," Annabeth interrupted, keeping the peace. "Grover will be waiting."
Thalia looked at the castle and shivered. "You're right. I wonder what he found here that
made him send the distress call."
Macaria stared up the dark towers of Westover Hall. "Nothing good." Macaria said at the same time with Percy and frowned.
"You two could be twins if you didn't look so different from each other." Thalisa said with a smirk.
"That's what happens when you share the same room with the same person since birth I guess." Macaria said and the oak doors groaned open. The four of them stepped inside the entry hall with a swirl of snow.
"Whoa." Percy said and Macaria's jaw dropped. The place was huge. The walls were lined with battle flags and weapon displays: antique rifles, battle axes, and a bunch of other stuff. Westover was a military school and all, but she thought the decorations seemed like overkill… literally.
"Something's here." Macaria whispered, feeling something… familiar about the energy she was getting. Thalia rubbed her silver bracelet, her favorite magic item and Percy's hand went to his pocket where his lethal ballpoint pen turned sword at a moment's notice, Riptide was. There was a darkness that clung to every part of the building, a darkness much like her own, that followed her wherever she went. Macaria's eyes lit up. "Guys I think—"
The door slammed shut behind them making Macaria jump in surprise and her thoughts raced elsewhere, forgetting what she was about to say.
"Oo-kay." Percy mumbled. "Guess we'll stay awhile."
Music echoed from the other end of the ball, it must've been dance music. They stashed our overnight bags behind a pillar and started down the hall, they hadn't even gotten very far when they heard footsteps on the stone floor, a man and women marched out of the shadows to intercept them.
They both had short gray hair and black military-style uniforms with red trim. The woman had a wispy mustache, and the guy was clean-shaven, which was… different. They both walked stiffly, like they had broomsticks taped to their spines.
The man stared at her, his eyes widened for a moment and went to open his mouth but —
"Well?" the woman demanded. "What are you doing here?"
"Um…" Percy said. "Ma'am we're just—"
"Ha!" the man snapped, which made her jump. "Visitors are not allowed at the dance! You shall be eee-jected!" He had what seemed to be a French accent. He was tall, with a hawkish face. His nostrils flared when he spoke, which made it really hard not to stare up his nose, and his eyes were two different colors—one brown, one blue—like an alley cat's.
Thalia stepped forward and did something very strange. She snapped her fingers, the sound sharp and loud and Macaria felt a gust of wind ripple out from her hand, across the room. It washed over all of them and Macaria saw black clouds floating around them and made the banners rustle on the walls.
"Oh, but we're not visitors, sir," Thalia said. "We go to school here. You remember: I'm Thalia. And this is Annabeth, Macaria and Percy. We're in the eighth grade."
The man teacher narrowed his two-colored eyes and the black clouds floated around them, the man hesitated for a moment and looked over at his colleague. "Ms. Gottschalk, do you know these students?"
The woman blinked, like someone had just woken her up from a trance. "I… yes. I believe I do, sir." She frowned at them. " Macaria. Annabeth. Thalia. Percy. What are you doing away from the gymnasium?"
Before they could answer, Macaria turned her head towards the sound of footsteps and saw Grover running to up them, breathless. "You made it! You — "
He stopped short when he saw the teachers. "Oh, Mrs. Gottschalk. Dr. Thorn! I, uh—"
"What is it, Mr. Underwood?" said the man. His tone made it clear that he detested Grover. "What do you mean, they made it? These students live here."
Grover swallowed. "Yes, sir. Of course, Dr. Thorn. I just meant, I'm so glad they made… the punch for the dance! The punch is great. And they made it!"
Dr. Thorn glared at them, he looked as though he wanted to push them off the castle's highest tower, but then Mrs. Gottschalk said dreamily. "Yes, the punch is excellent. Now run along, all of you. You are not to leave the gymnasium again!"
Not wanting to get into any more trouble, they left with a lot of "Yes, ma'ams" and "Yes, sirs" and a couple of salutes, which just seemed like what they were supposed to do.
Dr. Thorn grabbed her arm and everyone stopped anxiously. "Who are you?"
"W-What?" Macaria stuttered and looked at him confused. "I'm M-Macaria Jackson."
"No, you look…" He paused and looked back at the others and released his hold. "Go." Macaria looked at him confused and ran forward to catch up with the others.
"That was weird.." Percy said quietly and Macaria nodded.
"Really weird…" She said and Grover hustled them down the hall in the direction of the music. Macaria felt the teachers' eyes on her back, but moved closer towards Percy who was near Thalia.
"How did you do that finger-snap thing?" He asked Thalia in a low voice.
"You mean the Mist? Hasn't Chiron shown you how to do that yet?" Macaria and Percy glanced at each other and hurried through a door that had must've had GYM written on the glass.
"That was close!" Grover said. "Thank the gods you got here!"
The girls gave Grover a hug and Percy gave him a high five. Grover had gotten a little taller and had sprouted a few more whiskers, but otherwise he looked like he always did when he passed for human— a red cap on his curly brown hair to hide his goat horns, baggy jeans and sneakers with fake feet to hide his furry legs and hooves. He was wearing a black T-shirt that took her a few seconds to read. It said WESTOVER HALL: GRUNT.
"So what's the emergency?" Percy asked and Grover took a deep breath.
"You found two half-bloods." Macaria said before he could and they looked at her amazed and confused.
"Yeah, how'd you know?" Grover asked confused.
"... I've met them before, we've passed by them in Vegas in the big game room." Macaria explained and frowned. "I gave them a card and told them my name but I guess they didn't go out looking for the camp."
This year, Chiron had put the satyrs on emergency overtime and sent them all over the country, scouring schools from fourth grade through high school for possible recruits. These were desperate times. They were losing campers left and right and needed as many new fighters as possible, but there just weren't many demigods out there.
"A brother and a sister," he said. "They're ten and twelve. I don't know their parentage, but they're strong. We're running out of time, though. I need help."
One." Grover looked nervous. "He suspects. I don't think he's positive yet, but this is the last day of term. I'm sure he won't let them leave campus without finding out. It may be our last chance! Every time I try to get close to them, he's always there, blocking me. I don't know what to do!"
Grover looked at Thalia desperately, Thalia had seniority not just because her dad was Zeus but because she had more experience than the rest of them fending off monsters in the real world combined.
"Right," she said. "These half-bloods are at the dance?"
"Then let's dance," Thalia said. "Who's the monster?"
"Oh," Grover said, and looked around nervously. "You just met him. The vice principal, Dr. Thorn."
Macaria felt herself pale.
The weird thing about military schools is the kids go absolutely nuts when there's a special event and they get to be out of uniform. Probably because everything's so strict the rest of the time, they feel like they've got to overcompensate.
There were black and red balloons all over the gym floor, and guys were kicking them in each others faces, or trying to strangle each other with the crepe-paper streamers taped to the walls. Girls moved around in football huddles, the way they always do, wearing lots of makeup and spaghetti-strap tops and brightly colored pants and shoes that looked like torture devices. Every once in a while they'd surround some poor guy like a pack of piranhas, shrieking and giggling, and when they finally moved on, the guy would have ribbons in his hair and a bunch of lipstick graffiti all over his face. Some of the older guys looked more like Percy usually is —uncomfortable, hanging out at the edges of the gym and trying to hide, like any minute they might have to fight for their lives.
"There they are." Grover nodded toward a couple of younger kids arguing in the bleachers. "Bianca and Nico di Angela"
The girl wore a floppy green cap, like she was trying to hide her face. The boy was obviously her little brother. They both had dark silky hair and olive skin, and they used their hands a lot as they talked. The boy was shuffling some kind of trading cards. His sister seemed to be scolding him about something. She kept looking around like she sensed something was wrong.
Annabeth said, "Do they… I mean, have you told them?"
Grover shook his head. "You know how it is. That could put them in more danger. Once they realize who they are, their scent becomes stronger."
He looked over at Percy and Macaria. Grover had gone on record to say she had the strongest and strangest scent he'd ever smelt from a half — three quarters — whatever, she'd go with 'godling'. The vice principal, Dr. Thorn, had slipped out of a doorway near the bleachers and was standing near the di Angelo siblings. He nodded coldly in their direction. His blue eye seemed to glow, maybe the brown one was fake.
Judging from his expression, the mist mustn't have worked on him and he knew precisely what they were doing here.
"Don't look at the kids," Thalia ordered. "We have to wait for a chance to get them. We need to pretend we're not interested in them. Throw him off the scent."
"We're three powerful half-bloods. Our presence should confuse him. Mingle. Act natural. Do some dancing. But keep an eye on those kids."
"Dancing?" Annabeth asked.
Thalia nodded. She cocked her ear to the music and made a face. "Ugh. Who chose the Jesse McCartney?"
Grover looked hurt. "I did."
"Oh my gods, Grover. That is so lame. Can't you play, like, Green Day or something?"
"Never mind. Let's dance."
"But I can't dance!"
"You can if I'm leading," Thalia said. "Come on, goat boy."
Grover yelped as Thalia grabbed his hand and led him onto the dance floor.
"What?" Percy asked.
"Nothing. It's just cool to have Thalia back."
Annabeth had grown taller than Percy since last summer. . She used to wear no jewelry except for her Camp Half-Blood bead necklace, but now she wore little silver earrings shaped like owls—the symbol of her mother, Athena. She pulled off her ski cap, and her long blond hair tumbled down her shoulders. It made her look older, for some reason.
"I'll… go." Macaria said awkwardly. "Don't want to be a third wheel."
"Where are you gonna go?" Percy asked confused and Macaria shrugged.
"I'll figure something out." She said and left before they could say anything else. Macaria wondered around for a moment when she felt a hand on her shoulders. She turned around and saw a tall boy, at least two heads taller than her with big muscles smiling at her. His eyes trailed up and she pushed his hand away.
"Back off man." Macaria said annoyed. "Not interested."
"Why not baby, are you a new girl because I've never seen a girl like you before."
"None of your business." She snapped and went to walk away but he grabbed her and with a tighter grip. She looked around anxiously for Percy, Thalia anyone —
"She said she's not interested." She heard a soft voice say and Macaria turned around and paled when she saw Bianca right behind her, with Nico a little ways away holding a pack of cards and Dr. Thorn hovering nearby.
The boy went to say something but when he saw who was standing behind he, he froze his face paling at least ten shades and looking a little green. "Ah, sorry." He said quickly and ran away.
"Thank you." Macaria said quietly.
"No problem." Bianca said and looked at her for a long time. "Do I… know you from somewhere?"
Macaria went to open her mouth but she felt a large hand grip her neck. "What're you —" She went to say but noticed Dr. Thorn's blue eyes and he placed a hand on Bianca's neck and steered them away from the dance floor.
"Bianca?" Nico said confused and he grabbed his sister's hand who looked at him anxiously. The di Angelo siblings and Macaria trashed against the man's hand but it was to no avail. Macaria was pushed onto the ground back into the main entry room's wall, which was on the opposite side of the wall. Bianca and Nico gripped each other tightly and all three of them looked up and saw Dr. Thorn — accept he didn't look human, his face was ghoulish with perfect white teeth and his brown/blue eyes reflected off the light of the room.
"Interesting." Dr. Thorn said. "Macaria Jackson," His accent mangled the J in her last name. "I've heard a lot about you." His long nailed hand touched Macaria's face making her freeze in fear, she felt a hand grab hers shaking. "I know someone who would be very happy if they saw you."
"... W-Who?" Macaria whispered.
He smiled disgustingly and licked the side of her face, accept his tongue wasn't human sized, it was long about the size of her arm and she felt it's scratchy texture cut against her skin and blood pour from her face.
She wanted to vomit, scream, both or just do anything but all of a sudden his head snapped towards the opposite wall and he dropped his hand and immediately went into the shadows. Macaria felt as though her eyes were going to pop out of her head due to what just happened to her, her entire body was shaking like a firecracker.
Percy jogged down into the main entry hall and when he saw the three of them he looked at her confused and then advanced slowly, lowering the tip of his sword.
"It's okay. I'm not going to hurt you." He said to the siblings and Macaria's eyes flickered over to them, but their eyes were full of fear, frozen in complete horror. He looked over at me and saw the blood pouring down my cheek and immediately went to run forward but there was a WHIISH!
Macaria screamed when she saw her brother slam into the wall beside them and a cold laugh echoed through the halls. Percy tried to free his shoulder, his coat and shit were pinned to the wall by some kind of spike — spike—a black dagger-like projectile about a foot long. It had grazed the skin of his shoulder as it passed through his clothes. He looked as though he was trying to concentrate and not pass out.
Dr. Thorn stopped into the light. "Thank you for coming out of the gym," he said. "I hate middle school dances." Percy tried to swing his sword again, but he was just out of reach.
WHIIIISH! A second projectile shot from somewhere behind Dr. Thorn. He didn't appear to move. It was as if someone invisible were standing behind him, throwing knives.
The second thorn impaled itself in the stone wall, half an inch from her face.
"All three of you will come with me," Dr. Thorn said. "Quietly. Obediently. If you make a single noise, if you call out for help or try to fight, I will show you just how accurately I can throw."
A/N: I have returned~~
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