His dad was Ares.
Reese still couldn't quite adjust to this new information, even after he'd been moved into Cabin Five. It made sense, he supposed, and he liked Ares. Ares fought for what he believed in. He fought for his family. He fought for humans. He, well, basically he just fought for the sake of fighting. And Reese was okay with that.
The head counselor, Clarisse, seemed... nice enough. She was a little tough, but then, so were all these kids. Normally Reese towered over everybody, with his bulky football build, but here he fit in perfectly.
"Here's your schedule," Clarisse grunted. "Don't mess with the Apollo cabin. When it comes to offering your dinner to him, Dad likes steak best."
Reese bit his lip. He'd sworn not to tell anyone about Ares' disappearance, but it didn't feel right for his brothers and sisters to be in the dark. He, Percy, and Annabeth were still the only demigods to know, although according to Chiron most of the nature spirits and gods knew. But nothing had been done about it.
Why hadn't anything been done about it? Ares was a god. They weren't even going after the godnapper. And why hadn't he broken out? He was the god of war, who could contain him?
There were a lot of holes in the story, but it wasn't as if he could do anything about it. He was a brand-new demigod, no training and no authority. Besides, who would help him? Someone who could godnap Ares would squash Reese and any demigods that fought beside him.
It wasn't his place at all to tell the gods what to do. But they had to do something. Or, crazy as it seemed, he would. It was his dad, after all.
"Yo, Percy," he said, pausing at the Poseidon table at dinner. Percy sat alone there, every night, which had to suck. At least Reese had friends at the Ares table.
Percy lifted his goblet, full of something that looked like blue soda, and said, "Hmm?"
"It's that stuff about Ares. I was just thinking..."
"I know, me too. One of my biggest problems with the gods is their complete inability to get things done." Then he glanced at the ceiling nervously. "Although I probably shouldn't go around calling Zeus inept. But anyway, I just... we don't know anything about it. We don't know where Ares is, or why."
"But he's my dad. I know I don't really know him at all, and a lot of the campers seem like they don't care about their mom or dad. But I just feel like... what if it was Poseidon?"
That stopped Percy short. "I'd go after him without a second thought. Listen, Reese, I'll talk to Annabeth. Maybe Chiron will give you a quest."
"Thanks. And if he did... would you come with me?"
"Yeah. But with a mission of this scale, we'd probably need more than three people. Chiron might let that rule slide, for something like finding and possibly rescuing a god."
"I'll try, okay?"
And try he did, because at the campfire that night, Chiron pounded his hoof for silence and said, "I have an announcement."
The crowd quieted, the fire turning a curious purple color.
"Ares, god of war, has been missing since last September. I have conferred with the gods, and they have agreed to allow us one quest, one chance to find Ares. All of their attempts have proved fruitless. But perhaps a less conspicuous group will do better."
All of a sudden, everyone was talking about the new quest. Apparently gods didn't go missing very often.
"Now then," Chiron continued. "I believe one of our new campers, Reese, has volunteered to lead the quest, with Percy and Annabeth's assistance. Correct?"
Reese felt the eyes of every camper on him. The idea of going on this quest, possibly dying, terrified him. But he knew he had to do it now. Maybe they'd get lucky. They'd succeed. "Right."
"Normally we would limit a quest group to three, but under the circumstances and the magnitude of this quest, we will allow five campers to leave. Two more volunteers?"
The crowd silenced. These campers were brave, but clearly not brave enough to volunteer for what might well be a suicide mission.
Finally a small Latino girl stood up. "I'll go. Maybe my mom will give us good luck."
"Felicia Ortega, daughter of Tyche, thank you. Report to the Big House tomorrow morning."
Nyssa, the girl who gave Reese directions on the first day, stood up. "I can go too."
"Nyssa Montgomery, daughter of Hephaestus, thank you. Report to the Big House tomorrow morning," says Chiron. "Tomorrow the five of you will be driven into Manhattan. Thank you for your time, everybody. Now, back to the sing-along!"