Author's Note:

Oh, darn. You guys reviewed too much and made me force this out! Just kidding; I know it's been far too long for an update; I guess I just got really busy and by the time I realized that this story's so good again, updating was harder. I can't promise you regular updates, but I can try, okay? Already have my PJO shirt ready for the premiere in February, can't wait. Till then, let's go back to some Callie and Lucas, and once again, thank you SO much for the reviews, I'm SO happy we broke the fifty mark! C:

Chapter 8: Percy SMASH!

So, you ever have one of those Mondays where it feels like the world is going to crumble under your feet if no one's gonna shut the heck up? That's how I feel right now; maybe every single day of my life ever since I found out I was a halfblood always asking myself, ugh, who's gonna try to kill me today? It's perfectly logical to have your mind shake, meld altogether and tell you how screwed you are, right? I sat there at that moment, hand slowly losing grip over Riptide as I tried to make sense of what was happening.

Lucas didn't give me enough time. He yanked me harshly by the t-shirt and forced the both of us to the floor. His eyes flickered with panic before finally settling on one point to calm. He opened his mouth to speak, but I beat him to it.

"We're screwed," I blurted. There were so many things going through my head right now; half of camp thought nothing of me, the other thought I was dirt, and overall the me right now they praised as a hero. That popularity would go down in an instant. "We're screwed, Gods, Lucas, we're so screwed!"

"Stop blabbing," he snapped. Lucas peeked out the window, his Riptide clenched tightly. "They have to be halfbloods, right?"

"Kronos's kids," I confirmed reluctantly. "At least, I'm pretty sure they are."

He nodded slowly, and I brought myself up to see what was going on. The crowd remained where they were before one courageously stood up. Lucas gaped. "Callie's still out there."

"Callie'll be fine." But I wasn't sure. She'd been the last of my thoughts before he mentioned here, and now I was worried. Backbiter lookalikes didn't only look painful, but I was pretty sure they could kill. She was headstrong; she could have gotten hurt. I pushed the thought aside forcefully and reminded him, "You two had a deal, remember?"

"Right…" But he didn't look certain.

"AHHH!"

"CHASE!"

We looked back, and I stood up from where I was immediately. "No…" I whispered ominously. "NO!" Chase Rodriguez laid there, blood flooding the gash to his arm. They didn't know what they were getting themselves into; there was no way they could handle three children of Kronos!

"What the--what do you think you're doing?!"

April Somers stood up. Vines snaked around the three kids' ankles and they warily tried to move, but had no choice. She glared at them, sword in hands. "I'm thinking I'm defending my camp from the likes of you guys!" She bent over Callie and Chase, inspecting the wound herself.

"Funny," spat the short girl. She raised a hand to the vines intertwining around her legs and before we realized it, the effect was reversed. Her two minions did the same, and then she had April in a grasp with sword against her neck in the blink of an eye.

I stood up to leave, but Lucas stopped me. I glared angrily, Riptide now full and sword-like in my hand. "What do you think you're doing?!" I demanded angrily. "That's your girlfriend in trouble there!"

"Don't you think I know that?" Lucas glared back, voice trembling with uncontrollable anger.

I relaxed for only a moment when I realized why he was fuming. "Calm down," I said slowly. "If you let all that anger take over you, you could end up killing someone you don't mean to."

"Our best chance is to keep you safe." He slowed his breathing and closed his eyes before rubbing his temples. "April…can handle herself. She's flexible and agile; knows exactly how to handle herself."

"Five foot nine," the tallest interrupted our conversation. "Black hair and sea green eyes. He reins in the Poseidon cabin, approximate age is seventeen. There is a white streak that passes through his hair as well."

Crap. And then, the crowd of demigods went dead silent. My heart beat painfully, watching as every single one of the campers looked at each other with the new intake of information. There was only one person who matched that description perfectly.

"Me."

"Dad, wait!"

My body moved on its own--but mysterious halfblood reader, when have you ever known me to think with my head and not with my sword? Thought so. I stepped out of the Athena Cabin as casually as possible and all eyes were cast on five-foot nine, black-haired, sea green-eyed me. Riptide held firmly in my hand, I scratched my head, eyes narrowing at the scene in front of me. April was held in the grip of the girl, and a huddle of Apollo and Ares members circled Chase and Callie.

"Is there a party going on that I not know about?" I asked quietly. As casually as possible my body went past the many glares and stares I was getting and I could hear their thoughts as clear as day: That's him. He's the one. He's the one who killed his own wife; almost his son. He's the faker.

"And who might you be?" The shortest boy looked at me and it took all of my self-conscience not to laugh.

"The one you've been looking for, save about seventeen years. By the way, I'm sixteen and three-quarters." I held my sword perfectly between my fingers and stared at April. She stared back, eyes full of an unreadable emotion. I nudged my head to the right and her eyes followed hesitantly. "Now, what do you want?"

"To kill you." He lunged for me and in less than a second, Riptide was against the half-celestial bronze, half-silver sword, barely winning.

With a full grunt, I jabbed my hilt into his stomach and clutched his arm. He gaped, obviously not anticipating my movements and wriggled for freedom. Without a second thought, I grabbed his blade by its edges between my fingers and straddled his body with the glaive at his neck. "What are you all waiting for, a party invitation?!" I'd yelled so loud and sloppily that I wasn't even sure that they could understand me. The other boy pulled his sword out of its sheath and went for me. "Go ahead and fight!"

With a breath of relief, that seemed to be enough to snap everyone out of their daze. Crystal Fyre was the first to step up, mace tangled in her fingers as she charged for the tall boy. Many followed in suit, save Callie and Chase, and my eyes darted to the figure who'd been sneaking through the crowd as stealthily as possible.

"Lucas, NOW!" I cried and pulled the boy beneath me in a hold I knew he wouldn't be able to leave. Lucas tackled the girl holding April with his Riptide in hand and shoved April to the side. Now, the two kids of Kronos knew for a fact that they were cornered. They backed away, frenzied look plastered on both of their faces as they fought off every one of the demigods coming their way.

The one in my grasp was able to catch me off guard. I turned back, expecting him to be an easy target, but he fooled me. Instead, he shifted his own body weight and flipped me to the ground, back first. With a startling hiss, I forced myself back to my feet, once again uncapping Riptide before tackling his legs. He fell to the ground in one fatal swoop and I hit him harshly over the head.

He groaned, mouth crooked in a grimace before finally falling unconscious. Well, that was easy. In an instant, my eyes shot open as I realized stupidly what was going on. "Callie!" I dragged the kid with me in search for Callie. "Oh, thank Gods! Are you okay?!"

Callie had an arm around Chase's, fumbling with a bandage over his bleeding arm. He croaked a horrible groan, and I dropped everything right there and then. She bit her lip, slowly nodding with trembling fingers. "Y…Yeah…"

A sigh of relief left my lips. It took me a minute to realize that I'd collapsed to my knees, finally relaxing from my earlier tension. I put my hand over hers, gently swatting them away and tied the wound myself.

"You should have at least taken him to the infirmary," I said sensibly. "Or ambrosia. Do you have any ambrosia?"

She gawked, mouth wide and highly offended. "In case you haven't noticed, we're in the middle of a battle with three halfbloods who want my dad! Do you think that in the minutes between dragging Chase Rodriguez doing the most stupidest thing in the world and then dragging him here, I had time to take him to the infirmary?! Or get ambrosia, for that fact?"

"Maybe a little," I grumbled, just a bit embarrassed.

Chase blinked wearily, grimacing at the tied wound. Blood soaked through the bandages with no problem; this wasn't a laughing matter. I cursed softly and brought Riptide back in hand.

Callie immediately quieted. "Is he going to be okay?" she said softly.

"I dunno," I admitted. "But I have to go back. Don't do anything stupid, understood?"

Sea green eyes looked at me for a moment, contemplating what my real motives were. Finally, she nodded and looked away without another word. The rest of what happened was a blur. The two kids in the middle held their own for the kids tormenting them. I remembered Lucas yelling something at me, but it went in one ear and out the other. By the time the two managed to retreat without their brother, I ended up dragged in odd places without another word. Somehow, I ended up in the Big House and when I looked up, I came in contact with two faces--

"Mr. D; Chiron." I let out the breath I was holding and sunk deeper in my chair. Neither looked happy. Well, Chiron looked concerned; Mr. D looked like he was ready to bite my head off more than usual.

"Are you out of your silly little mind?!" Mr. D went off like a firecracker. He scoffed and held up a grail, irritably demanding for wine or beer. Instead, he got what I suspected was apple juice and rubbed the stress out of his temples. "You, Peter Johnson, are by far the most troubling young man on the face of this planet!"

"No, really?" I stood up, Riptide in hand and angrily rolled my eyes. "What gave you that idea, Mr. D? Was it when Mrs. Dodds thought that it would be okay to kill me because she thought I stole Zeus's lightning bolt? What about when Grover almost got married to Polyphemus? Oh, the Great Prophecy, maybe? The second Great Prophecy?!"

"You…" he growled threateningly. "Immoral ingrate…why, I ought to--"

"Bring it!" I know I was out of line. If I looked back on it now, I would have never been able to look Mr. D in the face ever again for offending him; I'd had Ares on my back so long that I knew for a fact that having a god as your enemy was the worst thing that could ever happen.

Apparently, Chiron noticed this too. He stomped his hoof and whinnied in our faces. "This isn't the place and this certainly isn't the time. Percy, you know better! Dionysus, we came here to speak like civilized adults!"

"Hmph." Mr. D harrumphed and sat idly in his chair. "What adults? I see a god, a centaur, and an arrogant little brat who can--"

"I get it, I get it," I said. Finally calming down, I recapped Riptide and sunk back to my seat. I sighed, the thoughts finally coming to me. "Nyx's promise. She swore on the River Styx and then broke it."

Chiron and Mr. D stared at me like I was crazy. Well, Mr. D always thought I was crazy, but Chiron had a good grip on reality and knew me enough to know this wasn't my normal behavior. "Percy… what are you talking about? Nyx didn't swear on the River Styx."

"Yes she did," I protested. "She…" Oh, duh. It was Dream Me that saw what Nyx had done, Chiron and everyone else had no idea what was going on! I explained to them about the night at camp right before I left; how I saw the grown up me running away with a little girl on her back (one who I now realized was Callie) and how after Callie left, Nyx and the grown up me made a deal. "And being a demigod means that every dream that I've had isn't some intricate weird case in my mind, right?"

Chiron rubbed his chin thoughtfully and nodded. "I remember that night, Percy. Callie came wandering in and fainted right next to Thalia's tree. When she woke up, she didn't remember anything that happened. I suppose her mind erased all thoughts due to the trauma."

"Nyx said that she would make sure that they would leave the camp alone," I repeated. "On the River Styx. Doesn't Hades get to punish her and she be banished from Mount Olympus or something?"

They were both silent and contemplating. Finally, Mr. D sighed and set down his grail. He looked at me, eyes bitter and full of disdain. "Nyx was never a one who was on terms with Zeus's reigning in the first place, Peter Johnson. Whether or not she is banned from Mount Olympus doesn't matter."

"And Hades?"

"Hades works exclusively with the Fates." Chiron's eyebrows furrowed troublesomely. "Atropos is dead."

"And a new deity has to replace her so that…" Oh. I felt my heart go to a dead stop and my eyes widened with realization. Atropos was the one who cut the silk intertwining the life of a mortal with death. Now that she was gone, no one was there to cut the string and therefore, no one died. If no one died, then Hades lost the people who came to the other world, which meant that Hades lost his powers. All of them.

"Lord Hades hasn't lost all his powers," Mr. D said sternly. He shook his head. "But he's close to losing most of them. His powers come from the dead, and rather than saying that he lost his powers, he's limited in how much he can use."

"Although one of the most powerful gods, and I do mean, one of the most powerful, this is something that Lord Hades can't deal with." Chiron shook his head pitifully with troubled eyebrows. "Heaven, Earth, and Hell, Percy. There has to be a balance, otherwise hell would break loose."

"Lady Persephone is Queen of the Underworld though." Eyes narrowed, I looked at them skeptically. "Can't she rule?"

"Lady Demeter weeps whenever her daughter isn't around, remember?" Chiron countered easily. "So there would be no more harvest, with only the seas to rule. Lady Gaia was forced to hide in the earth because of her love with Ouranos. She wouldn't be able to take over because then the Earth and Sky would meet."

"And then Olympus would be in trouble." I groaned. Why weren't things ever easy? "Then, what else is there that we could do?"

"That's what you're here for, isn't it?" My old teacher gave me a small smile, so full of hope that it made my chest hurt. "To sum it all up, Nyx can do whatever she wants so long as there isn't a third Fate."

"And since Nyx is the Goddess of Night, if she gets as much power as she wants, Apollo won't last long, either. Kronos can't die, either." This was horrible! I rubbed my head, once again sinking slower in my seat. I felt like crap. Suddenly, a new idea formed in my head. "He already knows I'm here, right?"

"Right."

"And he's looking for me, right?"

"Right."

"Then," I immediately stood up. "I'll start teaching the classes now, Chiron. Lucas is willing to help me, and I need those members. The second we're able to leave, we have to jump. We'll make it a reconnaissance mission, and…and…"

"And what, Peter Johnson?" Mr. D glared daggers at me. "A reconnaissance mission isn't going to keep them from slaughtering every demigod that they meet. You have absolutely no idea where Kronos lies, and each time you face him, every waking second, he has a new child; another host that he can use against you."

"There has to be a way, Mr. D!" I shrieked, pulling my hair with me. "I…I hate this future! This future is horrible, is wrong, and unless I can back to my own time, Kronos is meddling with godsknowwhat in my past, and I can't do anything to stop it!" I sighed again, realizing that I raised my voice to a god. "Sorry," I murmured softly. "But I can't just sit around and do nothing. I'm evil in this future, Mr. D. I killed my own wife."

When I saw Mr. D recoil, I knew who was going through his mind: Ariadne. Eyebrows furrowing, I looked away again and refused to look up.

"I suppose," Chiron said after a long silence had passed between the three of us, "that we can't understand, Mr. D. We can only stand by and see what's going on."

I perked up. What was he implying?

"We have no other choice." My teacher slowly nodded, accepting whatever idea was forming in his head and looked back at me. "Percy, your secret is out, and you're right. The sooner we are able to choose the other six halfbloods, the sooner we can get this mess sorted out. I pray you make the right decision."

"I have some in mind," I promised. Many people ran through my head; the ones I'd known ever since I came to this camp only two weeks ago. "And about my teaching classes?"

"Go ahead, but I don't like it." Chiron's eyes narrowed reluctantly and he slowly nodded. "Classes start in the morning. I suppose it'll be a good workout for you."

"Better than sitting around doing nothing," I agreed. "I'll explain everything to Lucas then."

"And Percy?" I turned back around as I was getting ready to leave. Mr. D looked at me, eyes intent on telling me off. Instead, he sighed and looked away. "Good luck."

--

Remember how the other day I said it was utterly creepy to have girls check me out and tell me how cute my butt is? Remember how girls wouldn't stop following me and tell me, "you poor thing!" over and over and over? I think I'd rather have those two combined than the stares, murmurs, and death glares everyone else was giving me. Chiron and I had a brief discussion of tomorrow's schedule for me before we left the Big House.

Kids were staring. I was like the last piece of meat on a stick meant for all of these people who hadn't eaten for days. So many questions were already being asked, I knew, and the only thing on my mind was to go find Lucas. He and I needed to formulate a plan for the next few days before we set off for the Underworld.

"Billy Joe Armstrong!"

I halted at the same time as Chiron and turned around. A group of girls ran up to me, the first I recognized being Jane Belmonte from the Aphrodite Cabin. She looked at me, eyes full of worry. "Uh," I mumbled, not sure what to say, "hi."

"You ran off right after the battle." Jane put a hand on my shoulder and looked straight into my eyes. I tried to stare at anywhere but there, trying best to avoid eye contact. It was awkward enough as it is. "Are you okay, Billy Joe? You weren't hurt, were you?"

"No, never." I shook my head and looked back to the group of girls. A grimace fell upon my lips. "I'm fine, Jane. This isn't exactly a good time, though."

"So it's true then," piped anther girl. Her eyes were as big as she lightly pushed Jane out of the way. "You're him, you're the Percy Jackson, aren't you?"

"Uh…" I looked over to Chiron, who looked as lost as I was. Finally, I sighed and nodded. "Yeah, and right now, I need everyone gathered in the Mess Hall so we can make a public announcement."

"We'll help!" said a different girl. She nodded giddily and grinned. "We'll tell everyone to come, Bi--Percy! You can leave it to us!"

"Right." Jane nodded too and smiled brightly. "We'll do anything that you want us to, Percy!"

"Uh, right. Thanks." With a sigh of relief, I exchanged looks with Chiron, quietly telling him we'll meet up at the Mess Hall before making my way to the Ares Cabin by myself. For about five minutes, I only stared at it with an unsettling feeling of anxiety. The Ares Cabin had a steel door just like the Hephaestus Cabin, but appeared much more menacing. Walls were smeared with soot, still holding the title of the least clean Cabin even after all these years. I gulped, eyes narrowing hesitantly at the door knob before I actually heard something along the lines the real Ares would say: What, don't got the balls to enter my cabin, Jackson?

With a little annoyance on my own imagination, I finally opened the door and peeped open. Glares. Lots and lots of glares because Ares was known for being the god of war and anger. It was a blow to their pride, too, to have a weakness like this. Mostly though, I'm pretty sure they were just really angry about who I was.

"Ummm, hi." I looked between all of them, finally wilting in defeat.

"Percy Jackson." One noted curtly.

I nodded in return and looked at the bed they were all surrounding. Chase Rodriguez laying helplessly and straggling his bed as, who I presumed to be an Apollo kid, massaged his gash. The bandages Callie worked around his arm were removed and bloodying his bedside while the Apollo kid tried to use magic to heal the wound.

"How bad is it?" I murmured to one of the campers.

"Bad." The Apollo kid looked up to me, his eyes flickering with trouble. "That sword they stabbed him with…"

"It's made of celestial bronze and normal metal," I explained. A grimace came over me as I shuffled through the many concerned Ares siblings and plopped down next to Callie and Lucas, who were on the other side of Chase. "It's twice as bad for halfbloods and is a total unfair advantage. I think they got a pretty good bite of his arm."

Another Ares camper snorted. "You would know."

My entire body tensed at that one little comment. The sweat ran cold against my back and I looked up to the Ares kid, glaring daggers. "Yes, I would know."

"No, Dad." Lucas tugged on my arm and whispered something in my ear.

"Oh." The blush tickled my ears as I finally realized why my retort was pretty much useless. I'd abandoned Riptide a long time ago and gave it to my son; the sword I now used, as Lucas was explaining to me, was exactly like Backbiter: half celestial bronze, half normal metal. I looked over to Callie, who too seemed frustrated by everything. I wondered, how much did she know now? "All of you; I have an announcement to make in the Mess Hall. Be there in fifteen minutes. Chase, if you have the strength to get up, then I want you there too."

More glares. Why were they making this so hard?

Chase forced himself up, eyes slowly opening. He glared at me weakly. "Why should I?"

"Just do it, Gods!" I raked a frustrated hand through my hair because that's what I was: so darn frustrated since it was only this morning that these paranoid kids would have been happy if I just said 'hi' to them. Now, they acted like all I needed to do was wave my hand and they'd be dead in an instant. They were close to it, too, if they didn't listen to me.

"No."

"Please."

"No."

"Rodriguez, I don't care if I have to haul you there myself, I'll--"

"Chase, please?" I stopped, hearing Callie's voice for the first time since I entered. She looked at him, eyebrows wrinkling in frustration. "For me? I know that Daddy isn't a bad guy; otherwise he wouldn't have helped us out. So please?"

For a minute, I was sure that I was interrupting a moment. I realized between them, how Callie's voice had the same soothing affect as one of Apollo's songs, and then to how Chase's reluctance dissipated in less than a second. "Okay," he muttered. He looked up to his older siblings, pout firmly set across his face. "We'll go."

I nodded in approval and then stood up. "Inform the Apollo Cabin too," I said to the kid next to Chase. My eyes wandered over to Lucas, who returned my gaze. "We need to talk."

Lucas nodded in agreement before the both of us shuffled out the Ares Cabin and near the back. He crouched over and began messing with some of the dirt. "So, I saw what happened. What did Chiron want to talk to you about?"

"How's April?" I thought it was best to start with simple questions. I wasn't beating around the bush; I just hoped that Lucas knew that too.

"Fine." Lucas perched a mound of dirt and looked at me proudly. "April and I have been going on missions together since we were nine. The second she was caught, she knew that I was going to do anything in my power to rescue her."

"That you did." The girl and the boy suddenly came back in my thoughts. "And Kronos's kids? What happened to them?"

"They disappeared with a flash." Lucas suddenly frowned, which was obviously not a good sign. He shook his head and threw specks of dirt in nowhere in particular.

"And their brother?"

"Them too." He arched an eyebrow. "Didn't you hear me yelling at you on the battlefield?"

Oops. "Well, you yell at me a lot, so…"

Lucas rolled his eyes and slowly nodded. "They're the exception to the rule, you know. They're neither monsters, nor mortal, so the God of Time is able to have his kids come here and attack us at any time."

"Which is exactly why we need to be prepared for this sort of thing." I nodded in agreement and crouched to his level. "We're running low on time and playing Kronos's game, Lucas."

Lucas slowly nodded, eyes watching me. We stayed like that for a few seconds with him watching me and me looking back. I arched an eyebrow, finally asking, "What?"

"Nothing," he muttered. Lucas scratched his head and sighed. "I just finally realized…"

"Realized…?"

"We look a lot alike." Lucas leaned back and then looked to me with the same intent on his face as before. "Same black hair, same nose. In less than a year I'll probably grow up to your height."

"You say it like it's a bad thing," I joked lightly. He glared at me, obviously not in the mood for humor. I shook my head and shrugged. "You're wrong by the way; we're nothing alike."

"Oh?"

"You make me think of Annie the more I get to know you. That night with April was probably the first time I actually got to see your true personality and even then, you're just like her." I thought back to Annabeth; her smile, her laugh, and the way she would punch me when I did something stupid. "Gods, you're just like her, Lucas. Serious and daunting. You're always thinking about others before yourself and putting duty before your desires. That's admirable."

"Ah." Lucas slowly nodded and looked away, far too embarrassed by my long speech. "What about Callie?"

"Callie?" I repeated. I smiled softly and shrugged. "Callie is Callie. When I look at her, I look at who I wish I could be; happy and without any worries. She's the kid that everyone in Camp Halfblood wants to be because she can walk away from a fight in tears and prove that she's human. She's perfect."

Lucas slowly nodded.

We entered another silence, and I thought it best to change the subject. "So it's kind of obvious who I am now, huh?"

"The infamous Percy Jackson," he muttered quietly. "Half of the camp already knew, Dad. By now, the rumors and explanations have surfaced to the younger kids about your future tyranny, so multiply that by two, and you get--"

"Far too many to be on my side." I nodded and ran through the plan in my head. "We have three days."

His eyes widened. "Chiron only gave us three days?"

"No, I gave us three days." I shook my head profusely and held three fingers up. "In those three days, I'll be teaching the weaponry classes in order to find the last few demigods that we need. By the third day, we have to leave with five other people in toll whether we like it or not. You think we can gather people up in three days?"

"You, me, Jason King. That's all we've decided on so far," he reminded me. Lucas's eyes narrowed, and he was ready to bite my head off. "And we're not bringing Callie into this ordeal. She's still getting over the shock about who you are."

"April Somers," I said. "That's four people, Lucas, and you and I both know who we want from the Hades Cabin. I know what I'm doing."

Lucas rolled his eyes. "And who made you leader?"

"Oh, I wasn't aware that I could go straight home if the six kids I'm leading didn't want me." Rolling my eyes, I stood up and helped him up. "We have a lot of work to do if we want this to work, Lucas."

He stared at my hand for a moment before grabbing it. "Yeah," he agreed. "we do."

--

The Mess Hall was packed when we were finally there. They all stopped their chattering the second I entered, some glaring, others staring. They continued being awed for a couple more minutes while Lucas pushed me through the kids getting food. He tugged me on for a moment before I stopped him and tried to make a break for the door.

"I can't do this," I yelped. He hit me over the head.

"What happened to the almighty Percy Jackson; the one who once beat down Kronos?" Crap. He sure knew how to mock a person.

"Yeah?" I rolled my eyes and scratched my head. "In case you haven't noticed, I've only been able to do all of those amazing things mostly when there wasn't any alternative. Last time I checked, running out was a good alternative if you didn't want to inspire so many people!"

"Oh, please." Lucas rolled his eyes, obviously not amused while he shoved me to the stage. I silently cursed and watched as they all quieted again with all eyes on me.

"Um..." I shifted between my feet. "Hi. To most of you, I'm known as Billy Joe Armstrong. Well, right now, the I guess it's time I should tell you that I'm really--"

"Are you Percy Jackson?!" yelled one of the campers.

"Are you good or evil?!" shouted another.

"Did you really defeat Kronos before?!"

"Are you the reason why Kronos is attacking now?!"

"Uh…" Ugh, this wasn't helping much. Instead, I stayed quiet and waited for them to stop bickering amongst themselves. Finally, I sighed and nodded. "My name is Percy Jackson. You're right about that. Three weeks ago, you found me in a creek. The reason behind that was in my time--seventeen years ago, I was fighting Kronos again. The future Kronos. He thrust me into the future."

"This is a trick!" shrieked another camper. "You're faking all of this; why do you even bother showing your face, Percy Jackson?!"

Many boo's followed along with that. I opened my mouth to speak and deny trickery, but they never gave me a chance. I closed it again, hugging Riptide closer and counted to ten. One….seven….nineteen…twenty-three…

"Alright, screw this!" In the blink of an eye, Riptide's length was full and revealed, shining in all its glory. They silenced again, instinctively reaching for their own weapons, but I never gave them the chance. Instead, I stood there looking like an idiot waving the sword in my hands as I jabbed it in no particular direction. "In a few months, I'll be seventeen. In my time, Kronos has already been defeated for about a year.

"The future Kronos came back in time in order to sleigh me, but I was too smart for him, okay? The me that you know who's all evil and whatnot is way older than me--trust me. Percy Junior over there," I gestured to Lucas, who sat firmly with the Athena campers, "hasn't even been born yet, okay? The me that you know now and the me from back then are different.

"Right now, Kronos is roaming earth gathering an army with his own children, and each second we spend talking, he has another kid, understand? Remember that that little thing called the Great Prophecy? Well, my best buddy, the Oracle, says that I'm one of the seven. Five of you will be coming with Lucas and me, and by the end of the week, we're going to be out and wondering what we can do to heal the Gods, understand?" I looked between all of them, noticing the astonishment enticing their features. They looked hesitant; afraid. Immediately, I softened, frown settled cross my features.

It wasn't right. Threatening them was wrong of me and would only cause more harm than good.

"I know that this is a hard decision," I said, barely audible. "But every book has a hero, and we need seven. We'll have a happy ending, I promise."

They all quieted again, and I knew it was time for me to finish up. Outside, day was fading into night and I shivered. My eyes travelled and looked at every single one of them before I finally put Riptide away.

"Practice," I said lastly, "starts at 8AM, sharp."