a/n. I'll try to keep this short, because I am entirely way too long winded. Oh well. Just wanted to apologize for not updating in such a long time. So, sorry!
"Kory!" shouted someone in my ear. I swatted with my hand to slap them. My hand made contact with something that felt like a stone pillar. Percy.
I shook my hand to try to make it stop tingling. Sword practice had taken way too much out of me that day, so my free time consisted wholly of sleeping.
"Time for dinner. Unless you want to go in your pajama's I suggest you get up and get changed. You already skipped ginner yesterday." Percy leaned on the post of my bottom bunk bed.
It was true. The night before I had gone to the shoreline. I was just so overwhelmed it seemed. The water helped a little. It was only when Chloe and Jacen had come looking for me that I realized I had missed a meal. I gobbled up tons of food at breakfast.
"Blah, blah, blah," I muttered getting up. I grabbed a pair of shorts and my orange Camp Half-blood t-shirt. I made Percy turn around while I changed. I didn't have time to re-make my little changing station.
The dining hall was huge! It was tall and made out of slender Greek columns. Everything around this place looked like stuff out of some documentary. It didn't have a roof. There was a long, jagged crack running along the floor tiles, but I didn't have the nerve to ask anyone about it. All I knew was that Nico had a temper.
Chloe had explained the rules of the tables that morning, when I asked her if she would sit with us. "All of the campers have to sit with their cabins."
I sat down beside Percy. Harpies brought out tons of amazing looking food. Personally, I think I almost started drooling. I stuffed my plate with as much food as I possible could. There is only so much space on those plates.
And just when I was about to start attacking my food with an amazing amount of force, everyone stood up. And then I remembered. The whole burnt offering to the gods and such. Darn. Not to mention with everyone standing up I felt really short.
I stood up a little too fast and tipped over my cup, which, fortunately, wasn't filled at the moment. I hid my blush of embarrassment in the curtains of my black hair, leaving just enough of a window for my eyes to look where I was going.
I sat back at my set feeling like I had already consumed my meal. Man, that smoke smelled awesome! I politely asked for an Ale 8. (a/n-for you who don't know, it's a type of soft drink that they only have in Kentucky, a.k.a the best soda in the known universe)
"I was waiting for you to suck the whole fire n," joked Percy when he got back to our table.
I crossed my arms. "Is that even possible?"
Percy shrugged in response.
Dinner was okay, I guess. Percy doesn't have any social problems, which is good. But is still, like, 17, so talking to a measly little almost 13 year old girl like me is practically breaking a rule in itself.
After we had all eaten to our little half-blood hearts content, Annabeth, the counselor of the Athena cabin, and some really mischievous looking twins named Connor and Travis from the Hermes cabin walked up to the front of room, each of them waving two "flags" that were as big as banners.
Athena had an alliance with Poseidon, Hades, Apollo, and Demeter, along with about a third of the lesser gods. Hermes had an alliance with everyone else, which left them with the Hephaestus and the Ares kids, and it was had to figure out which cabin scared me more. Although I think it was the Ares kids. Hephaestus didn't have a dead pig mounted on their door. That thing follows me everywhere.
Jacen, Annabeth, and Percy tried to get me into some armor that fit well, but I was too tall and too scrawny to fit into most of it comfortably. Chloe gave up all hope of finding a balanced sword and just gave me one.
"Let's go," said Jacen, clapping me on my newly armor back.
Annabeth, after a burst of strategic brilliance, I'm sure, stationed me away from any water whatsoever, somewhere in the woods on the boarder line. Thanks a lot Annabeth.
"Just stay here for now and keep people from getting over the line," Chloe instructed, straightening my armor and fixing the strap of her quiver.
"Hurry up!" shouted Jacen back at his sister.
"He takes this very seriously," she informed me with an eye roll. "Good luck," she whispered before trudging up the hill to join her twin.
And then I got bored.
Can you blame me? I was just standing there, sure I looked ridiculous, and wondering if I had put of about a million pounds of metal armor just so I could feel stupid.
But then I heard voices.
"Hey, Will, look!" shouted a guy. I couldn't see anyone, so it was really freaky, hearing a voice that had no face. Like a ghost. I shuddered.
"New girl has guard duty."
A silhouette stepped out from the shadows. It belonged to some kid I recognized from the Bia cabin, goddess of violence. I had a feeling they weren't there to invite me to a tea party.
"This should be fun," his friend continued. There was only two, thank the gods. If there were anymore then all of that barbeque might just force itself up and they would end up covered in dinner barf.
"Ha ha, very funny." I was trying to sound intimidating. It came out high pitched and squeaky, so I had a feeling I was failing miserably. The two boys fell into fits of laughter. That made me angry, a little. So I wasn't quite as focused on the fear, but what I did next was so stupid my own mother would have sent me to the crazy barn. "Why don't you come over here so I can stick my sword between your eyes?"
The boy that had spoken first cocked his head to the side. "Was that a challenge?"
"Suck it up, Devon." At least I think that was his name.
He showed me the massive club he had in his meaty hand, and I felt sorry for the tree it used to be, because that thing was about as big as one. "Show me what you got." And then he swung.
I stepped back, only to trip over a branch and fall flat on my butt. He brought down his sword on my head, but I raised my shield. Too late, I remembered that I didn't have one. The giant club/tree made a huge crater in my armor and then the armor snapped into a jagged whole, the points of which embedded into my arm, which made it hurt whenever I moved it. At all. I screamed, but rolled away just in time to avoid another hit.
I stood quickly and got ready. Once we were both prepared for the attack, he wasn't really that good. He was big, so he had a lot of power and strength, but I was lighter and more flexible. I had a small edge; at least, I thought so.
And then his stupid sidekick came out of nowhere and thrust his spear-tip into my side, which hurt. Really, really, bad.
I turned around and swiped at his arm, which he wasn't expecting, because the sword clattered out of his grip. I snapped it with my heel. By accident.
I attacked with renewed force, like the fact that I was bleeding heavily in two place gave me more energy.
A moment later, it seemed, and Devon's club fell on the ground. Which was sad, because he picked it up again. So I attacked him again and it fell. He bent to reach it again and I hit him on the back of the head with the hilt of my sword. Which, surprisingly, worked. Yay!
But I had lost a lot of blood, so I knew I had to find water to heal myself, or else...bad things. At least Percy said that water would fix me up in a tough spot. I hoped he was right.
I shuffled slowly to the near by creek, which was about the same width as a doorway. I stumbled into it and immediately I felt myself recuperate.
"Kory?" asked some one behind me. And then they rushed past me. All I saw was a flash of red/brown hair and the color of the red teams banner. It was Chloe, holding it above her head, and when they crossed in to our territory, the banner turned a stunning gold with an orange sun in the center.
Jacen eyed the crater in my armor as Chloe helped me get it off of my arm. "Looks like a certain fish girl I know beat up her first camper."
"Hardy har har," I muttered. "Bia kids are big."
Chloe looked at me with shock. "Well, of course! But, you seriously beat one up?"
"I knocked him out, does that count?"
Chloe and Jacen led me away from the hordes of blue team members cheering. As soon as I stepped out of the water I felt tired again, but at least I wasn't bleeding. I was pleased to note that my tennis shoes weren't wet. Must be a perk of being a child of Poseidon.
Tora, accompanied by Emily, (I don't know why she was there) jogged over to us. "Good job," said Tora with a smile.
"It was only one," scowled Emily.
"Thanks..." I said sarcastically. "Actually it was two."
"Percy took on half of the Ares cabin when he first came here," she continued.
"Good for him, but I'm not Percy."
And then Tora did the most un-Tora thing ever. She glared, actually glared at Emily. And let me be the first to tell you, it is was freakier if a nice person glares because then you know that you really messed up. I didn't even know she had that in her. I almost flinched myself, and she wasn't even glaring at me.
"And when, might I venture to ask, was the last time you took on a Bia kids, Miss Emily?" she asked, her voice just a little too sweet. "You've been trying to beat that Devon kid for, how long was it? About two years now? She's only been conscious for two days!"
`"So here's the deal," intervened Chloe. "I know you can't help it," she said, pointing to Emily. "But, this has got to stop."
"Besides, I feel better now," I said with a smile.
Emily sneered. "You think you're better then the best?" I was vaguely afraid that she was going to call upon an army of the undead to throttle me right then and there, which would have been have a terrible waist, in my opinion.
"Of course not," I answered. "I do, however, think I'm better than you."
Emily's face turned a brilliant red. She looked like a tomato with a black braid. She drew out her sword, which was black and as cold at ice, the tip curving inward.
She didn't get the chance to acquaint the blade with my inner body organs, thankfully.
"Koralie..." called this really raspy voice, so ancient I felt my bones shudder.
I turned to see, and I instantly recognized the frizzy red hair as the girl I had seen the other day getting out of the limo. Rachel Elizabeth Dare.
I sighed in relief. There wasn't anything scary about this girl. She was mortal, last time I checked, which was yesterday. I could do without the creepy voice, though. Then I noticed her eyes. Instead of their usual green, they were glowing like lanterns. What had Emily said this girl was? The Oracle, right?
She advance slowly from a cluster of trees, slumping and walking like she hadn't quite gotten used to walking with her feet. "A quest upon the read they'll take," she said with the ancient voice that sounded so weird on such a young person. "A child of sea and horse and quake." She started to get closer.
I took a few steps back. Okay, a lot of steps.
"Two will follow, they'll find, on the journey to endless time."
I stepped back again, jumped when my back hit the bark of a tree, which was quite effectively blocking my escape route. Rachel grabbed my shoulders. I felt really short, because, quite simply, she easily as old as Percy, and thus toward over me. I pressed the side of my face into the tree behind me, trying to get as far away from her as possible.
"They'll find who they seek with the help of the Sun, and release his hold on the Chosen One." She paused to take a deep, raspy breath. But a moment later, her eyes rolled into the back of her head and returned to their usual green. Then she collapsed and I barely caught her, struggling to hold up the weight of the 17-year-old.
Then she looked at me. "Um...hi?" She picked herself up and dusted herself off. Then, she must have seen the look of horror on my face. "I didn't start spewing out prophecies again, did I?" I nodded wordlessly, too stunned to speak. "Darn. Well, uh, welcome to camp."
Tora looked from me to Rachel. Then, as if to escape, she blurted, "I'll go get some strawberries," and then sprinted off.
I slid down the tree until my butt hit the ground, staring straight ahead as if I were seeing Rachel stumbled out of the trees all over again. The first words that came out of my mouth were pretty much the only ones in my vocabulary at the moment. "Holy crap!"
"Repeat what Rachel said to you, please," said Chiron. I had managed to put it off for about five days before he figured it out. Actually, I have a feeling he knew before and he was just playing along.
We all sat in the room I had woken up in that first day. Tora, Emily, Chloe, Jacen, Percy, Annabeth, and Rachel sat with us.
"You mean the poem?" I asked.
Emily blinked at me like I was an idiot. "You just called a prophecy a poem, didn't you?" she said, like she couldn't believe I was that stupid.
"Go play with your ghosts, Emily," snapped Chloe. "Even Nico has better manners than you."
"Shut up," I cried suddenly. I sighed. Propping my elbows on my knees and resting my forehead in the palms of my hands, I repeated the prophecy given to me word for word to the best of my ability.
"A quest upon the road they'll take,
A child of sea and horse and quake.
Two will follow, two they'll find,
On the journey to endless time.
They'll find who they seek with the help of the sun,
And release his grip on the Chosen One."
"Well that's good," started Chloe, looking on the bright side. "At least we won't fail."
"Wait," I said. "What do you mean 'we'?"
"You are taking me with you, right?" she asked.
"Taking you where?" I asked, looking at her like she was crazy. I knew the answer; I just didn't want to believe it.
"The quest, genius," replied Emily.
"Quest?" I started to feel queasy. "I never agreed to a quest."
Chiron sighed. "Maybe not, but the quest seemed to have agreed to you."
I grabbed the arms of my chair like I was back in the taxi getting chased by the Minotaur all over again. "Can't Percy go?"
"Are you scared?" Emily asked skeptically, sneering.
"That's it," I said, agreeing with her.
"You're a wimp."
I looked from her to Chiron. "Look, I'm 12," I informed him. "'Kay? I've been here for about a week. I have no sword, barely any experience, and no idea what the heck is going on. So basically, yeah, I'm a wimp."
"We can get you a sword," said Percy. "Experience is something you get as go. Besides, I was your age when I got my first quest, and I didn't have a clue."
"He didn't have a clue on any of the other ones he went on either," Annabeth informed with a grin.
"you have no idea what you're being given!" said Emily. "Before the war, there were only, like, 1 quest a decade. Now that all of the hype is winding down, that's most likely how it's going to be again. So if you can't handle it, get out of my way! Because in my opinion, I could do way better." By now, she had walked across the room just so she could glare at me face to face.
Oh well. I was taller than her anyway. And if there is one thing that gets on my nerves above al else it's people getting in my face. "I'd like to see you try," I muttered so only she could hear. I looked a Chiron. "How many people can I take?"
"Let's stick with groups of three."
"Excellent," I smiled at Chloe and Jacen. "You two coming?"
"Heck yeah!" shouted Jacen.
"Very well," said Chiron. "We'll see about that sword. Tomorrow, meet me at Thalia's Pine at noon, and then we'll send you off."
"But, where the crap are going to anyway?" Chiron, Percy, and Annabeth shared one of those annoying I-know-something-you-don't-and-I'm-not-telling looks. I hate it when people do that. As If I don't feel stupid enough.
"I always thought west was a good direction." Chiron turned to walk out of the door. "Good night."
"Thanks for your help," muttered Chloe. "Darn horse."
I couldn't sleep at all.
"Kory?" asked Percy. It was kind of weird sleeping in the same room as him. "Can't sleep?" He rubbed his eyes like he was trying to wake up.
He smiled sleepily and turned over in his bunk so that his back was to me. "I suggest the beach. But don't let the harpies get you. It's way past curfew."
I pulled my Spongebob pajama pants tighter around my waist so they would fall down the minute I stepped outside (hey, they were comfortable) and walked out barefoot.
Percy was right. The beach felt relaxing. It always had been, but now, after everything, relaxation felt amazing and rejuvenating and a little forbidden, just because you never really got to have time alone.
And then, when I had been there about five minutes, I got an unexpected visitor.
It was some dude dressed in a running suit, and he carried a big bag full of letters like a mailman. Why would anyone want to bring those when they ran?
I stood up in alarm. "I don't think your supposed to be here...sir." I didn't think that mortals were allowed inside the camp boarders, and I had never seen this guy at any of the meals or anything.
"Oh, of course."
"Really? Because you don't look like it."
"Nonsense," he said. "I have my own cabin! Of course I've never actually been in it..."
"So, what?" I asked doubtfully. "Are you trying to tell me you're one of the gods?"
"Allow me to introduce myself," he said, fixing the strap of his bag. "I am Hermes, god of thieves." He pulled something out of his bag. "And I have a package for you, from your father. He couldn't get it to you himself, because he has to rebuild his castle. It's a shame his game room was destroyed."
I took the thing he held out for me "My dad sent me chapstick?" I asked, twirling it between my index finger and my thumb. "Oh, wait," I said upon further inspection. "Cherry chapstick. My bad."
on, open it," said Hermes. He had that smile I saw on hiss kids
when a prank was about be put into motion, like even thinking about
the outcome amused him.
I held it out at arms length, just to be safe. It transformed into a really cool looking sword, about three feet long and thin. It was made out of the same celestial bronze as the rest of the weapons at camp, like Percy's sword, Annabeth's dagger, and Chloe's arrows, but it had a curving pattern of veins that were all different shades of blue and sea green. But I wasn't expecting a sword to pop out when I took the top of, so I dropped it with a yelp.
"You could have warned me!" I cried, picking it up. "I almost cut off my toe," I started. Then I remembered who I was talking to. "Oops, sorry." I wasn't sure if I should curtsy or something in apology.
"No problem," said Hermes. "As the god of thieves, I don't get much respect these days."
I blushed in embarrassment.
Hermes, hurry up the chit chat! Said this rough, raspy male voice, only it was in my head. If I had started hearing voices, that was a problem.
You have 427 missed phone calls, 250 faxes, 396 twitters, and 678 emails, said a female one. Oops, make that 679 emails. Darn junk mail.
Hermes sighed. "Kory, met Gorge and Martha." He pulled out his cell phone, which had one of those antenna's that pull up so you could get a signal, and I bit the inside of my cheek to keep from squealing. Two snakes the size of worms were slithering up and down the antenna.
You look like your brother, said Martha.
He still owes me that rat, exclaimed Gorge.
"I'll pass on the message," I assured him.
I like you more.
"By the way," said Hermes, stuffing the phone back into his pocket, with many complaints from the snakes. "It's name is Eknephias."
I ran my finger down the flat of my new sword. The veins glittered like fireflies in the moonlight. "Hurricane," I breathed.
"Use it well," said Hermes. "Oh, and good luck. Chrysaor has been a major problem as of late."
I gazed lovingly at my new weapon, and I didn't eve notice that Hermes had just given me a main piece in the jigsaw puzzle was my life at the moment, and my future. Stupid ADHD.