PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS
Return of the Lost Hero
A/N: Months have come and go. At last, I have written the next chapter for my mini-sequel. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present to you the fifth chapter! xD enjoy reading (For new readers, this may contain OOC and AU. This chapter is in Annabeth's POV)
BTW, this is not to be confused with the first book of Rick Riordan's Heroes of Olympus series - The Lost Hero. Similarities between my mini-sequel's title and the new book's title is just a mere coincidence. Stories greatly differ.
CHAPTER V - I fool him, he fools me
It was an hour-long drive from Camp Half-Blood to John F. Kennedy International Airport. Halfway during the travel, Luke asked things like, "Are we there yet?"
"Nope", I would reply to him.
"How much longer?"
"A few more minutes"
"We should have shadow traveled. It would be faster than this junk car"
After saying the word junk, the cab gained more speed. Argus didn't like the sound of junk being associated with his car.
As the car went to a halt in front of the Airport, we hurriedly got out. We left our baggage inside the car so that Malcolm wouldn't ask why we were carrying so many things. Nico told Argus to park the car in front of the nearby McDonald's outlet. We started walking towards the Airport. That's when I saw my husband by the airport's entrance.
He got here before us! What shall we do know? He might wonder where we had been. If we were waiting for someone, we should have been in the airport already, not wandering outside. I thought of an excuse.
We approached my husband who had his back before us. I tapped his shoulders and he turned around. He saw me and I planted a kiss on his lips. I embraced him. "Sorry to keep you waiting", I apologized.
"No, it's okay. I just arrived", he replied, "Where have you been?"
"Oh, Luke Perseus got hungry while we were waiting for Rachel so we decided to go to McDonald's"
"Ah, here, I got you a bagful of clothes and other stuff"
"Hey! Is that Rachel?" Thalia suddenly yelled. It was part of the plan.
Nico squinted. "Yes, it's her!" he affirmed Thalia.
"Go meet her", I told Nico and Thalia, "I'll talk with Malcolm"
"Alright", Thalia said as she rushed to Rachel who acted as if she just got off from her plane.
I turned my attention to my husband. "Is it okay for you to stay long?" I asked him, wanting him to leave at once or things might get into trouble, "You have an important case, right?"
"Yes", he answered, "But I want some more time with the woman I love"
"How sweet of you"
He hugged me again. His hug was full of tenderness and affection. It felt as if this would be our last hug. Tears trickled down my eyes. "I love you", I spoke. My voice was trembling.
"I love you too. Be careful", he spoke.
"Be careful from what?"
"You're going on a quest, right?"
I was shocked. He knew I had a quest, but how? After all, he is also a son of Athena.
I pulled away from his embrace. "How did you know?" I asked with surprise on my face.
"I just guessed", came his answer, "I was testing you"
How rude of him to do that to me! I suddenly became furious. I turned my back on him and said, "You're attending an urgent hearing, correct? Leave now or you'll be late"
He did not reply for a second. My intense words might have struck him. "Yes, I will", he said in a tiny voice, "Goodbye"
I heard his footsteps fading each second. He ran away. With that, Nico, Thalia and Rachel approached me. "It seemed you had a fight" Thalia's voice sounded as if she was teasing me.
"Not really", I tried to smile, "Let's hurry"
I held Luke Perseus' arms as we walked swiftly to Argus' cab which was parked near the McDonald's outlet. Nico, Thalia and Rachel followed me.
I knocked on the driver's window. It woke up Argus. I stepped back and he went out of the cab. He gave us our belongings. "Thank you", I told him.
He did not speak, as usual. Maybe the rumor about his tongue eyes is true. I slightly smiled, which I think he did notice. To prevent him from getting angry, I spoke again, "Please bring Rachel Elizabeth Dare safely to Camp Half-Blood. Thanks a lot"
He smiled. It worked.
I turned to look at Rachel. "Thanks for participating in the plan", I held her hands, "But I think it didn't quite work"
She chuckled. "No problem. When you need something, just call me. I'll be in Camp."
She hugged me. "You need to go now", she continued speaking, "Go and save us all"
"Yes, we will"
She released me from the hug. We smiled at each other before she entered the car. She made a final wave before Argus stepped on the gas pedal and the car zoomed out of our sight.
"Shall we go?" Nico asked me.
"It's your quest. You decide", I answered sarcastically.
"Then let's go"
We sprinted back to the main entrance of the airport. Nico carried my bag since I held Luke Perseus in my arms.
As we arrived at the front doors, Nico spoke, "So where's Atlas Air"
"I don't know", I replied.
Seriously, Daedalus' laptop didn't show any map that will lead us to Atlas Air. It just said that it can be found in the John F. Kennedy International Airport. Our best bet would be to ask one of the security guards. And that was what Thalia did.
"Excuse me", she began courteously, "I think we're lost. Could you tell us where Atlas Air is?"
"Please walk this way ma'am. A sign saying Atlas Air will be seen on your right", he pointed to the left hallway. (A/N: I've never been to the airport so please forgive me if there are geographical inaccuracies)
"Thank you, sir. I appreciate your kindness"
Thalia shifted her attention to us and said, "It's good that the guard knows"
"Yes, this proves that Daedalus doesn't know everything", Nico spoke mockingly.
"Whatever, he might be protecting the secrecy of the airline", I said, "We better hurry. Lead on, Thalia"
We walked again, this time along the left hallway. Thalia kept on looking at her right while walking, checking if one of the signboards read Atlas Air.
It seemed like we were walking forever until Thalia spotted the sign. That's when I realized that we walked until the end of the hallway.
There was a reception desk in front of us. A woman acted as the receptionist. I approached her and she greeted me, "Good morning, ma'am, is there anything I could do for you?"
"Could we buy four tickets for a trip to Los Angeles?"I told her.
"That will cost you-"
I dropped four golden drachmas on the desk. She was astounded to see them. She looked back at me, "I'm sorry ma'am, but we don't accept your currency. We only accept dollars"
Lighting stroked at me. Daedalus' laptop said that the receptionist was an automaton. It can't be wrong. He can't be wrong. The receptionist might be testing me. "Those are golden drachmas", I said, "The currency of the gods"
"I'm sorry, ma'am, what did you just say?" she stared at me as if I'm nuts.
But what I told her is true. If she is an automaton which Daedalus had programmed, she should have given us four tickets by now. Could this mean that the thing about Atlas Air in his laptop isn't true? What shall we do now?
Suddenly, a tall man approached the desk. He was wearing a the same uniform as the receptionist. He whispered at her ears. The receptionist looked at her watch. "Oh yeah, it's your duty now", she said, "I'll be going now"
The receptionist grabbed her bag from below the desk and walked away from us. The man, who should also be a receptionist, turned his eyes on mine. His eyes looked as if they had no life. The sight of his eyes sent shivers down my spine. He then spoke, "Payment accepted. Here are your tickets. Please proceed to Gate 4 – VIP Lane"
So he's the automaton. That explains why his eyes looked lifeless. I sighed in relief.
He handed me four tickets, just as what I asked the mortalreceptionist. I read one of the tickets and it said that we would arrive in Los Angeles International Airport after about 6 hours.
I turned to Nico, Thalia and Perseus, and handed them their tickets. Of course, I kept Luke's with me. "Gate 4, everybody" I said.
Nico and Thalia nodded. Luke grabbed my shirt. "Where's my ticket mom?" he asked.
"It's with me", I replied.
"Give it to me, mom"
"You'll just lose it"
"No, I won't"
"Are you sure?"
"Here, take good care of it"
I gave him his ticket. I just couldn't resist my child. It was one of my flaws. Anyway, it's not what you call a hero's fatal flaw, right?
We proceeded to Gate 4. We presented our tickets to the officer who signed them. We were about to put our baggage on the X-Ray scanner when he stopped us, "No need, sir and ma'am, you are given VIP access so you can bring anything you would like to bring"
"Thanks for informing us", Nico said.
"You're welcome, sir. You should be seeing your plane once you make an exit through that door"
He directed us to a door which had a sign that read, "VIP Plane". Nico bowed at him in thanks before urging us to follow him to the door.
The moment we exited through the mentioned door, my jaw dropped at what I saw. So did the others.
In front of us was a golden plane. It shone brightly in the sunlight. It blinded us for a second or so.
"Zeus..." Thalia muttered.
"Magnificent", I said in awe.
"Are we going to ride on that plane, mom?" Luke asked me.
"Yes, dear", I replied, still gazing at the plane's shimmering exterior.
"Amazing! I can't imagine that we'll be flying on that gold plane. By the way mom, will it be more exciting than to fly on Blackjack?"
'There he goes again', I thought to myself, 'His dreams about Percy'
Nico placed his palm on Luke's left shoulder. "You'll see", he said, "Let's go"
All of us walked towards the plane. As I got nearer, I realized that the plane looks like a small private helicopter. Its brightness distorted our sight, making it look big. But in fact, it's tiny.
The moment I entered the plane, I was greatly surprised. The interior was very spacious! It looked like a house on wheels... I mean wings. There's a sitting room in front of us, and an entertainment room too. Luke ran towards the entertainment room which was packed with the latest game consoles in the universe. Thalia dropped her bag on the couch and ran towards a room. Nico and I placed our things beside the couch before beginning to explore the entire plane.
After minutes of walking here and there, I discovered that the plane consists of the following rooms: a sitting room, an entertainment room, a study, a dining area with kitchen and three bedrooms with one restroom each. The furniture and ornaments in the plane were of the most elegant design you can ever find. This plane is a flying palace!
I entered the room where Thalia ra into. It was another bedroom – the fourth one. She was already lying on her bed fast asleep. I decided not to wake her up.
I left the room and proceeded to the entertainment room. Luke was playing The Titan Quest: Immortal Throne on a computer while Nico was helping him fight Hades, which was the last stage already.
I walked back to the sitting room and sat on the couch. The moment I did so, I felt tiredness creeping to my bones. I felt very much exhausted. My brain forced me to take a nap, and so I slept.
To be continued...