Let me get one thing straight here.

This whole fiasco wasn't my fault. I didn't ask to get caught up in a secret war or be forced to fall in love. It's not like you would, either, if you were me.

Guess what happened anyway?

Yeah, that's right.

I don't even remember when this began, but I'm pretty sure it was around the beginning of summer a few years ago. It's kinda hard to keep track of time when you're immortal. Or was, in my case.

So. Fiasco. Forced love. Right.

It started off as a normal sort of week, or month, or whatever. You know, late night hunting, campfires, magic weather protection, the works. It went downhill from one random morning with nausea and lightheadedness. I ignored it, because Hunter or not, we weren't completely immune to the occasional headache (usually caused by getting clubbed over the head by Ari, chief mischief-maker of the group). So I just ate some chocolate and attempted to fall asleep last night.

I didn't get any warning the next day, either, but life likes to jump up in our faces and yell "BOO!" like that.

"My lady, we are ready to go." I stood in the large, silver tent where I always did in the morning, reporting back to Artemis. She raised her head and studied me with large, yellow-silver eyes. Whenever I looked at them, it felt like they could see into my soul and read my feelings.

"What is wrong, my lieutenant?" Her voice was full of concern, like she sincerely cared about what happened to us. Which, I guess, she did, but this was unusual. Artemis never showed much emotion, much less caring ones. The lightheaded feeling crashed down on me again. The tent looked a bit wobbly, and I collapsed on the fur carpet of the goddess's tent.

"I m-miss Luke," I choked out, with something like a mental fog clouding my thoughts. It felt like my mouth had developed a mind of its own. This was strange; I liked my image of strength to stay intact, even if people managed to worm past my mental defenses. This was very not me. Besides, I was over Luke. For good.

Which could not bode well, not in the least.

See, Artemis understood that a thought was a thought, and sometimes they flitted in and out without her Hunters' consent. It was okay as long the thought disappeared fast and wasn't spoken, because that way it meant nothing. But admitting it out loud was a one-way ticket straight out of the Hunters and into bad stuff.

I'd just bought myself a one-way ticket straight out of the Hunters and into bad stuff.

"What?" Artemis's voice had lost its softness, revealing a hard tone full of disbelief and anger packed into a single syllable.

"What just – "

"You remember your oath." The goddess's voice was as cold as ice. "Daughter of Zeus, you pledged yourself to me, and it is only with death or disloyalty can you be cast out. You are no longer welcome in my domain. I will not kill you, for you have served me well and faithfully – until now. You are dismissed. Do not seek to return."

The fog retreated, and I managed a slippery grasp of what Artemis was saying. It felt like swallowing a large cube of ice carved from a glacier. I mean, I'd taken an oath, and I hadn't broken it. At least, I was pretty sure I hadn't. And now the goddess was kicking me out for something that wasn't my fault?

When I saw her eyes, gleaming like frozen silver, the protest withered in my throat. It kind of fails when you try to defy a goddess, especially one that's really, really mad.

I lifted the silver tiara off my head and laid it at Artemis's feet, bowed, then backed out of the tent, saying nothing. A small, hard knot formed in my stomach as I saw the goddess turn her back on me. I stepped out of the tent, and promptly collapsed on the spot.

When I woke up, I struggled to my feet, then collected my few things and headed in the direction I hoped lead to camp without a look back.

A couple days later, I was making progress towards camp. I was using the safe houses that Luke, Annabeth, and I had built all those years ago, moving from area to area. It would've been easier to hitch a ride with Apollo, but that meant putting up with haikus, cockiness, and the pure terror of being up in the air. Especially if he insisted I drive again, and the memory of the last time still made me shudder. Crashing a flaming bus into a lake from a couple thousand feet up in the air is not my idea of fun. However hot he might be, I was never going to accept an offer having to do with the sun chariot from Apollo again.

And then, of course, there was his single (and horrific) catch phrase: "Hey, baby. I'm a god, y'know. You wanna take a ride in my sun chariot?" I cracked a smile thinking about it.

Sitting down on a flat rock in the middle of a small stream, I dunked my head underwater for a couple seconds and enjoyed the coolness of the water before a pesky naiad would come to yell at me. Raising my head, I shook my head to get the last droplets out of my spiky black hair. I'd made sure that I kept some resemblance to my inner self, even if we - I mean, they - had uniforms.

Crackling sounded in the bushes behind me, accompanied by a low growl and hiss.

A snarling rattlesnake head thrust out of the tree, followed by six more equally ugly ones mounted on long scaly necks. Each one had a plastic bib dangling from it reading,' I'M A GOOD LITTLE MONSTER!' Saliva dripped from its maws as the Hydra dragged itself through the underbrush, chewing one of my boots that I'd probably dropped a mile back. I made a very heroic squeaking noise, then pulled out my spear and started jabbing and slashing. The monster didn't like that.

The head closest to me shot green acid, and hit a weathered pine next to me. It wailed in outrage, and blasted the tree with acid from all seven heads. The tree melted into green goop. I backed away. I couldn't keep this up for long, nor could I cut off any of its heads, so I had to stay on the defensive.

What did Hercules use to kill the Hydra in the old stories? He had help, I remembered, and his chariot driver was using a torch to sear the stumps of the Hydra's necks once Hercules cut them off. Fire! I needed fire. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. The Hydra lunged at me again, and I nearly lost my concentration.

A white-hot streak of lightning blasted down from the clear blue sky – a literal bolt out of the blue – and exploded the Hydra into green slime that vaporized as it hit, the way monster guts tend to do. I bent double, my hands on my knees as I caught my breath. That trick had cost me more energy than I could afford.

I heard a crunching noise behind me, and turned around so fast I thought I got whiplash. Pointing my spear threateningly in front of me, I ignored the pain in my neck and stared into the bushes, stilling my breathing.

A black sword point was thrusted out in return. It was followed by a pale, skinny but muscled hand and arm in a leather aviator's jacket. I recognized it.

Nico di Angelo stepped out into the half-shadowy light in front of me.

He looked different from when I'd last seen him, three years ago. Dressed in black jeans, combat boots, and the same aviator's jacket that fit a lot better on him now, Nico seemed much older than he actually was – fifteen. He would've passed off as a moping teenager in a city if his Stygian iron sword wasn't pointed at my chest. His mop of messy black hair still hung in his dark eyes making him look almost the same other than he was now taller than me.

"You," he snarled. "Where are the rest of your Hunter girls? Killing more innocent people?"

Okay, so he was really different from when I last saw him. I backed up a couple steps.

"I don't want to talk about it." I didn't know why I wasn't chopping his head off already.

"Feeling remorse? Wishing you were dead? I can help you with that. . ." He lunged. I slapped my bracelet and the Medusa head spiraled out. Nico flinched, but slashed down with his cold black sword. I snapped up my spear to block it, and the tip ripped through his jacket.

I stepped back again. Nico looked down; then walked coldly forward to stand in front of me. He raised his sword. He's the enemy right now, I convinced myself. You'll get skewered if you don't focus. I kept my spear point level.

"Well, if you want a fight -" I was cut off again by his sword. He'd improved since I'd last seen him.

Nico had a kind of wild look in his eyes. I recognized it as anger. Pure anger, beyond any reason. It hit me. I went limp. Then I found myself pinned to a tree. Nico was holding the flat of his black blade at my neck.

"I didn't kill your sister!" I choked out. I mean, geez, talk about holding a grudge.

He let a fraction of the pressure off the blade. "You're missing your princess crown."

I grimaced. "Yes. Yes I am. Wonderful observation, by the way."

"Where are your Hunter girls?" His eyes hardened.

"I told you I don't want to talk about it."

Nico smiled darkly. "There are . . . other ways to draw conclusions." I narrowed my eyes.

I felt something cold whisp in my chest, around my heart. I winced. Then it retreated.

"Ah, I see. Well, um, sorry about . . . y'know," Nico stepped back and sheathed his black sword, then ran his hand through his hair. "It was the jacket. Truce?" he asked, sticking out a hand.

"Truce," I said, shaking it like it was poisonous. Then I looked at my jacket. "What's wrong with my jacket?"

Looking at his feet, Nico mumbled, "It's silver. I owe you, I guess. Camp Half-Blood?"

I eyed him suspiciously. "Why are you helping me?"

"Because it's fair."

"Life isn't fair."

He muttered something under his breath that sounded like, "Why do I even try?"

Nico slung my bag over his shoulder, and pulled me very, very close to him with the other. He smelled kind of like fresh soil that got dug up, with a trace of some kind of flower. An almost spicy smell.

Before I could give it more thought, the shadows had wrapped around us, and I was standing on Half Blood Hill, next to my tree feeling like my ribs had had a large, heavy boot thrown at them.

I steadied myself and glanced around, taking in a view of the landscape. The large green valley spread for a couple of acres, dotted with statues of people in ancient Greek attire. A full rectangle of the weirdest buildings I could remember stood in the middle of a commons area, with a newer looking wing of cabins towards the southwest corner of the valley. Deep, dark forest extended for nearly a quarter of the valley, complete with a canoe lake with naiads weaving baskets underwater. Long Island Sound stretched lazily in the distance, and campers and satyrs alike ran around the strawberry fields.

I spotted Clarisse on guard duty, and hoped I wouldn't have to get run through with her new electric toothpick, Lamer the Second. Nico tapped my shoulder.

"I'm out," he said. Then he moved into the shadow of the pine and disappeared.

"Somebody sure has a way with words," I grumbled. I turned around and marched down the hill to the Zeus cabin, kicking open the door. "Yippee. Home disgusting home."

I dumped my few belongings on the dusty bunk I'd slept on only a couple times, five years ago, before I'd joined the Hunters. It was pushed into a tiny alcove out of Hippie Zeus's sight, where a bronze brazier had once stood. Everything was exactly as I'd left it, with the dusty chip bags under the bunk, an extra pair of boots lying around somewhere, and the faded pictures taped to the wall.

I took a closer look at the photos, a wave of nostalgia washing over me. I fingered the picture with me, Luke, and Annabeth all laughing, and at the one where Luke was pointing down an alley like, 'Let's gut the evil things we find down there! Ha!' I smiled regretfully, then moved away and started cleaning up. It was too painful to linger in those memories.

Okay, so maybe I wasn't over him for good, but I was over him. End of story.

After I'd finished cleaning, and getting myself filthy in the process, I showered, then changed back into my old black clothes and felt a little more at home. "Di immortales! I have to go see Chiron," I muttered under my breath. I wondered how everyone would react to my being here again . . . Suddenly an excited shriek sounded across the green.

"Thalia! Why didn't you tell me you were here? If I'd known, I'd have prepared something! So, where're the rest of the Hunters?" Annabeth ratted off excitedly, pulling me towards the Big House, assuming that was where I was headed. "Where've you been? Artemis didn't give us any heads up. Is there an urgent kind of disaster that might risk the future of the Western civilization?" After that, Annabeth didn't take a breath until we were up the porch steps.

"So, Annabeth. How's the thing with Percy going?" I inquired innocently with an expression that was most definitely not innocent.

Annabeth immediately blushed a deep shade of pink, and stuttered incoherently, "Uh, um . . . fine? He's practicing his attempts not to shoot his fellow campers down at the archery range. Plus, he's been banned from Capture the Flag because of his invulnerable thing, and we're playing tonight." Talk about a change of subject.

"Great, kiddo. I'm taking you want to come see Chiron and Dionysus with me?" Annabeth shrugged.

The scene I walked into on wasn't surprising: the wine god griping and groaning about Diet Coke as well as losing the pinochle game, Chiron resignedly shuffling his cards, and two satyrs cowering and trembling in fear of the god, one of who was eating his ace. I recognized the one not gulping down his deck as Grover, who hadn't noticed me yet.

"Ah, there's nothing like family." I loudly announced my presence to the room, which was suicidal in itself, but I wasn't in the mood to care. Annabeth hissed nervously and elbowed me in the ribs.

Dionysus finally looked up with his bloodshot eyes, but immediately turned his attention to his deck as Grover bid. Then Grover jumped when he recognized my voice, yelped, and scrambled out of his seat, trying to greet me and keep an eye on his cards at the same time. Chiron turned around, a friendly look in his deep brown eyes as he trotted towards me with a smile. He opened his mouth, but was cut off by Mr. D.

"Ah, Tiffany Gilbert, another little brat for me to look after. Well, I suppose I must welcome you. Hello, insolent half-blood. Now excuse me, I must report this to Father. He will be so absolutely pleased." The pudgy god stood up and snapped his fingers. The air folded around him, his image becoming fainter until he completely disappeared without a second glance. The sweet smell of fresh-pressed grapes lingered for a moment before drifting away.

Chiron laid a hand on my shoulder with an apologetic smile. He didn't seem too surprised to see me, but after training heroes for a couple thousand years, hey – nothing much can faze him. He wore a t-shirt saying, 'World's Best Centaur' and had a quiver and bow slung over his shoulder. In centaur form, he towered over me, which had a major effect on his smile.

"Well, Thalia. What a surprise! Is there anything you need, perhaps?" Chiron asked. He seemed to see right away that something was up - unsurprisingly.

"Actually, yeah. Can we talk somewhere more private?" I gestured to the rec room, where the counselor meetings were held. "Annabeth, can you come?" I lead them into the room.

"Okay," I took a deep breath, "I'm not with the Hunters anymore, due to a little, uh, misunderstanding." Chiron just looked at me skeptically, while Annabeth gave me a scrutinizing look with her eyes narrowed into slits.

"Did you leave the Hunters?" I gave her a look. "Oh, no, of course not. Right. Well," Annabeth took a deep breath. "Welcome back, then." She smiled.

"Thanks. But I don't want to go into detail about this, so . . ." I trailed off. Now that I thought about it, there wasn't much I wanted to do at Camp Half-Blood. I'd already gotten all the training I needed, and most of it was self-taught. Camp was just a secondary home.

"So be ready to own that forest tonight," Annabeth winked and left.

After going over the technicalities with Chiron, I trudged out of the Big House and toward the arena to practice for Capture the Flag. I figured I'd be with Annabeth on the blue team, along with the Apollo, Demeter, Athena, Dionysus, and half the minor gods' cabins. Nico was on our side as well, because Annabeth had some dirt on him. It involved an incident with the girls' bathroom, toilet paper, and a tasered hamster. Perhaps I'll tell it to you another time.

I hoped nothing . . . extremely unusual would happen this time with Capture the Flag. The last time I'd played as a camper, the Oracle's mummy had decided to take a nighttime walk, and freaked Percy out so much he pretty much lost his interest in dousing me because of an argument which I shall not go into. The Oracle decided to spout a prophecy just when I was going to fry Percy into fish sticks, then sit her bum in the middle of the woods. I was glad our new Oracle was alive, healthy, and human.

Shaking my head, I looked around. The cabin looked so big with just one person, reminding me again about me. The mistake. I had to get out of that place; it had a cold, lonely feeling to it. It barely even felt like a cabin, more like a temple I was forced to stay in. Hippie Zeus glared down at me, as though warning me not to make any mistakes. What a load of bull.

"Hey, Clarisse! If you're not busy, I want to spar with you!" I pounded on the door of the Ares cabin, which was then opened by a disgruntled Clarisse. She took one look at me, decided I was a problem, and marched down toward the arena to beat me into pulp.

"Punk," she muttered, "You better be good, or else you'll really get it tonight. I was busy, as a matter of fact."

"Sure you were," I murmured under my breath. Clarisse gave me the demigodly stink-eye.

A half hour later, we were still sparring without a break. A conch shell blew in the distance, signaling the beginning of dinner. Startled by the noise, I accidentally kicked a spray of gravel into Clarisse's face. She growled and swung Lamer down towards my head. I brought Aegis up, knocking away the spear. Its electricity didn't have the same effect on me as on other demigods; on the contrary, it seemed to build my strength. I jumped off the ground and tried to kick her. Instead, I ended up dangling by the ankle, because Clarisse had caught my foot at the last second.

"Drop me already. I don't want to hang here all day," I said, a little dizzy from the rush of blood to my head.

Clarisse seemed to contemplate this. "Fine, punk. You better watch your back tonight, or you're road kill." She dropped me headfirst onto the gravel and left.

I groaned and clambered to my feet. Breaking into a sprint, I ran to the pavilion just in time to sacrifice my food. I was none too happy about that, either. "For Zeus," I muttered as I dumped part of my dinner into the fire. I reloaded my plate and sat down at the Zeus table, by myself. I saw Percy and Nico, at their own tables.

Chiron stamped his hoof from the front table, signaling he was going to speak. An eager silence descended on the pavilion. Clearing his throat, Chiron began to speak.

"First, I would like to start with some announcements. We have another camper, Thalia Grace, daughter of Zeus."

I frowned. My mother's surname again.

The campers started clapping enthusiastically; even the newest kids knew who I was. That raised my spirits a bit. Nico lifted his hand from the Hades table. I nodded a quick acknowledgement. Chiron pounded his hoof.

"Hush! Furthermore, we will be playing Capture the Flag in the woods tonight. Presently, the Athena table holds the laurels."

A round of cheering rose from the Athena table. Travis Stoll yelled, "You are so losing tonight!"

"We'll lose when Lima beans fly!" some first year camper yelled back.

That was when Travis demonstrated that lima beans could fly, right past my face (mostly), and into the hair of the Athena campers. The atmosphere in the pavilion suddenly turned dark and apprehensive. Annabeth stomped up to Travis and slugged him in the face.

It took the combined efforts of me, Percy, and Malcolm to keep her from pounding Travis into a pulp.

Needless to say, Travis wasn't going to be playing Capture the Flag this time, for various reasons.

Neither was Annabeth, for that matter.


The teams were assembled at the edge of the forest. Chiron, in full armor himself, was giving out instructions: "Please have no intentional maiming or killing. The flag must be in a visible place near the ground, with no more than two guards. The creek will be the borderline between the territories. I will be serving as judge and battlefield medic. Begin!"

With a cheer from both teams, the camp split up and headed to opposite sides of the forest.

On the red team was the Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, and Hermes cabins, plus the other half of the minor gods. Ares had twenty kids now, which could pose a threat. Even though Clarisse was the only one with an electric spear on the other team, the standard bronze sword could still cause plenty of damage. The Aphrodite cabin I wasn't too worried about; they mostly sat out every activity and did their hair and gossiped.

Hephaestus might be a problem as well; there were about ten of them, and I shuddered to think what traps and tricks they might come up with. Hermes, well, they might be the masters of pick pocketing, but they were about as stealthy as walruses out of the water. I wasn't too bothered. Plus, Percy was sitting out because Annabeth wasn't going to be there. And he was banned anyway, because he could waltz in and out with the flag without once getting harmed, unless he tripped over his own feet.

We, the blue team, had set up our flag far from the creek, in a dirt clearing ringed by huge sycamores. It was nearly consumed by shadows, but the silvery gray banner was still easily spotted – if you craned your neck until it was nearly bent double. Will Solace and one of his brothers were guarding it, well armed with arrows that screamed – courtesy of Apollo. The rest of the campers were simply going to ward off the red team while Nico and I snuck around, caused a diversion, stole the flag, and won. Annabeth had already had everything planned out before I'd arrived, but she hadn't altered her plan that much to accommodate me, even though she knew I preferred the charge-and-knock-everybody-down way. She'd even given me her cap to make sure I didn't do stupid stuff, because "you are so similar to Percy and since I can't play you have to win for me."

We were about to do just that, and kick some armored butt along the way. Neither Nico nor I were wearing armor, since our standard black clothing blended in with the night. Bronze was slow anyway, especially for sneaking through a forest, and we both had more inconspicuous forms of protection. But I bet he wouldn't look as ridiculous in his armor now than he did at his first game, when I was at camp.

"Wait, wait, wait!" Nico hissed. "If we cross the water directly, they'll know we're in their territory. They have guards stationed there."

"I know that! What do you suggest we do, then?" I muttered. In response, Nico pulled me toward him – again – with one hand. A feeling of being squashed into an aluminum can forced the air out of my lungs for the second time that day. Suddenly, I was standing at the shadowy base of an oak, a good twenty yards from the stream, which would've taken us three seconds to get to by running. "Would it have killed you to warn me?" I whispered furiously in Nico's ear.

"Shush!"

Nico and I sprinted toward the area where Annabeth told us they would probably set up. After about a mile, we were still running.

Stopping for a moment, I picked up a rock and threw it off to the side. By the sound of the explosion, it had hit one of the traps Hephaestus had set up. I smiled.

Whispering for Nico to stay behind me, I donned the cap and crept around to the least protected part – the back. And if somebody did the impossible and noticed me there, I always had my "daughter of Zeus" tricks. Piece of cake.

The second my hands closed around the base of the flag, a trap of some sort sprang out of the ground and knocked me into the dirt and the cap off my head.

Through the mass of campers came the fearsome Clarisse herself, twirling her electric spear around like a trophy. "Didn't think it quite through, punk," she sneered, swaggering into the clearing. The gorgon's face didn't have a large impact on her, probably because she'd already fought against it earlier today, but also probably because she was already used to seeing it in the mirror. Purposely kicking dust into my face, Clarisse reached out an arm to yank the flag back. Keeping my hold, I closed my eyes.

Volts of electricity gathered in my hand. Using up most of my energy in the process, I drew tendrils of red lightning out Lamer into the ball I was holding. Lamer started dimming, its red electricity seeping away into the compressed mass in my hand. A dull pain throbbed at the bottom of my rib cage as I forced the now purple volts into a crackling ball the size of a marble. When I could barely stand the pressure, I glanced up and smiled at Clarisse. Then I threw the ball at her feet. I'd barely caught my breath when –

"What in the name of – AARGH!" A crater was blasted open in the small space between the flag and Clarisse's minions. Wisps of smoke drifted up from the pit from the smoldering armor of the campers. The force of the blast chucked me backwards, right into Nico. We tumbled demigod-over-demigod down the hill, the flag still clutched in my hand. I smelled something burning, which I later realized came from me. The armory was going to have a few less sets of breastplates less than it started out with tonight. Nico made a muffled noise, and I realized my boot was in his mouth. Oops.

"Would you get off me?" Nico grumbled, dusting himself off.

I shouted a friendly goodbye as Nico shadow traveled us away to our base.

We materialized straight in pandemonium. Campers upon campers were sparring fiercely everywhere, and Will Solace was nocking his last two screaming arrows. I saw Travis Stoll sneaking back to our flag, near where Nico and I were standing. He had somehow weaseled his way back into the game, probably without Chiron's knowing. Nico snapped his fingers, and the skeleton of a snake erupted from the dirt and wrapped around his legs. He looked way too pale for his own good now.

"You were right, Stoll. You are so losing tonight," I waved the flag in his face. His expression was all worth it.

"Shut up and listen! We got the flag!" Nico shouted, seemingly out of nowhere. Silence fell on the clearing, with most of the demigods looking for the flag.

When we stepped out of the shadows, the Ares flag shimmered and turned blue, emblazoned with a lightning bolt in the middle. However, the burns it got from my shocker weren't mended. Either Chiron was going to stitch it back together, or he would need to magic a new flag out of. . . somewhere.

"We got the fla-ag! We got the fla-ag! We got the fla-ag!" Will Solace started the chant, and it was taken up by the blue team. They made Nico and I let them carry us until I forced them into putting me down, and they kept up the cheering until we reached the campfire.

"Hey. . . why does the flag have singed edges? And middles? And many other various places of surface area? And why is my cap in the same state?" Annabeth greeted me at the fire. I smiled.

"Long story. I'm just about worn out. Nectar, please?" I sighed, taking a small sip from the bottle. It tasted of hot chocolate. "You know, you missed a good show tonight."

"Not really. Percy took me Pegasus riding on Blackjack and we saw the whole thing from the air. Not as good as being in the game, but that was some explosion down there." Annabeth smirked.

"Mmm . . . yeah. Wait, you saw all that? Cheater. You're supposed to be not seeing it. It's punishment." I whacked her arm playfully, and she grinned. It was good to be with her again.


I don't know how I got myself into my cabin, or my bed, but I do remember sinking into a deep, dreamless sleep. It was disturbed greatly by a thunk against the cabin door, which was loud enough to wake me from my sleeping.

I also remember feeling kind of sorry for whoever dared to wake me up in the middle of the night.

"What do you want . . . who in the name of Zeus are you?" I blinked, trying to get a sense of what was going on.

"What am I doing here?" The prospect of a groggy murderer with amnesia at my cabin door in the middle of the night woke me up enough to slap them across the face.

"OW!" A guy, definitely. I squinted into the half-light from the stars and realized it was Nico.

"What are you doing here? It's the middle of the night!"

"I, uh, don't know?"

"You know what? Never mind. Just go back to your cabin and pretend this never happened."

"I can't."

"Why?"

"I'm too tired. I -"

"Isn't that why you should go back to your cabin?"

"Stop interrupting already!" I stepped back to avoid getting hit by his agitated hand movements. "But I'm exhausted from shadow traveling us before, thanks so much for that by the way, and you know how the harpies are on extra alert because everybody's 'celebrating' after capture the flag."

"Actually, I didn't know that, but whatever. Go to Percy's cabin."

"He and Annabeth are having one of their nights -"

"That's a mental image I didn't need."

"- so would you, uh, pleaselemmestay?" Nico muttered the last part as quickly as possible. I groaned.

"Floor or supply closet, you can pick. And I keep the windows open at night."

"I feel so loved."

"Shut up."

"Will do."

Yeah, I know Annabeth wouldn't randomly throw a punch like that, but it was for the purpose of the story, which, by the way, I don't know your opinion on. Hint hint?