I didn't mean to blow up the exhibit.
Oh, shut up Sadie! You know I didn't. I was just examining this piece of Egyptian lore, you know, for educational purposes only, and then my wand was doing some weird humming, and then everything was blowing up.
Okay, so maybe it was my fault.
But the worst part was when the police sirens started sounding.
Yeah, I was starting to freak out at this point. It was the first time I'd gotten in any real trouble without Sadie by my side – I was starting to see a correlation, at this point – and I didn't really have any good weapons with me, not even my amulet. I was on my own.
Well, or so I thought. Then this weird dude came up to me, took one look at the scene, and promptly started swearing in a different language. It wasn't Egyptian, I would have recognized that, but something similar, distinctly Mediterranean.
"Unclaimed demigod, aren't you? Wow, you're pretty old, aren't you? I mean, the gods could have warned us before you started blowing things up..."
It was more like this guy was talking to himself, so I just acted normal. "Uh, okay, well I've gotta..." I started inching away towards the fire exit.
"Wait! No, you need help. Just my luck to find you. Where's a satyr when you need one? Let's get you to camp."
There was something about him, something in his sea green eyes that made me want to trust him- No, I'm not gay, Sadie! I'm just saying, he seemed like he knew what he was doing, which was more than I could say. And he mentioned the gods, maybe he was one of us, a magician...
A museum official ran forward. "What have you done? That was an ancient Egyptian relic! Terrorist! Terro-"
Then the weird kid snapped his fingers, and it echoed all over the gallery. The chaos was drowned out by his voice, which sounded... different somehow.
"He didn't blow up the exhibit. We're just harmless teenagers, and we're running away from the explosion. It was just a gas leak."
"Just a gas leak. Dangerous, you'll want to hurry out of the building. The fire exit is that way..." The official, in somewhat of a trance, pointed lazily towards an open door to an alleyway.
Then the guy, who was starting to really freak me out, pulled me towards the door. Maybe he was a student of some obscure Egyptian hypnosis god.
"Dude, that was straight out of Star Wars!" I said.
"The Mist is different from the Force, kid. Don't worry, Chiron will explain everything."
Once we were in the alleyway, he broke into a run, and I had to jog to catch up. He seemed to know his way around the city, which was better than I did. I'd never been to Manhattan before, as my superiors had always warned me against it, but I'd really needed to see that exhibit... Until it blew up, anyway.
Yeah, okay, call me an idiot, following a complete stranger around the back alleys of an unfamiliar place. But... I don't know. The deeper we went into the city, the further away it was from the police.
Finally he slowed down, once we'd gotten far away from the hotel.
"My name's Percy. Percy Jackson," he said, sticking out a hand.
"Carter Kane," I replied.
He didn't look much like a magician, decked out in skinny jeans and a t-shirt. No linen. And his green eyes and messy black hair were about as far from Egyptian lineage as one could get. But maybe... Well, I might as well ask, I figured.
"You're a magician, aren't you? That thing you did back there, making the officer zone out..."
"Magician? What are you talking about? Jeez, don't tell me you play Mythomagic too."
Huh. Maybe he wasn't an Egyptian. In which case I knew I should get as far away as possible from him, but maybe wipe his memory too.
"Thanks for the save, though."
"Yeah. It's not easy. I used to blow stuff up too, until I got control of my powers."
Huh. It sounded exactly like a natural magician speaking. What? "You knew what you were doing. Who's your patron?"
"You mean my godly parent? Poseidon. You know about it already? Not every day I find a new demigod who already knows about, you know, us."
"Whoa, whoa, Poseidon? Like, the Greek dude? Water and stuff?"
"Yeah. I know, Big Three, it's a... long story."
"Big Three what? I didn't know magicians could call on Greek gods. They're dead, aren't they?"
Percy cocked his head to the side, giving me a once-over again. "Maybe you don't know everything."
"I know you're not one of us."
"And what exactly is us? Judging by your skill in blowing things up, you're definitely an unclaimed demigod. Hephaestus maybe? You look like a cross between Beckendorf and Leo, actually."
"Okay, okay, this Greek stuff is weird."
What on earth?
Then, very slowly, I remembered something Amos had once said, about Manhattan having its own set of gods. Could this be...?
I paused, taking a deep breath, and drew my wand carefully. "You're saying the Greek gods are alive."
"Of course. I thought... You looked like you knew what you were doing. But, I mean, Chiron's really better at explaining this stuff, or maybe Annabeth. She's in Olympus right now, we can just go over and grab her..."
"The Greek gods... Dude, you ever been to Brooklyn?"
"Once or twice. We Greeks aren't a huge fan of that place. It's got... weird vibes." Just like Manhattan had for me.
"Yeah, like my Spidey Sense tingles or whatever, when I'm there. It's a demigod thing."
"Demigod. You keep saying that. What...?"
"It's you and me. Half-god. You know, Greek mom or dad. Do you know who your godly parent is?"
"Well, uh, my dad's Osiris, but I think we have it differently than you, because-"
"Osiris, huh? So, like, Egyptian gods? I didn't know they... Zeus never mentioned, I mean... They're real too?"
"We live in Brooklyn. And most of us don't have "godly parents" or whatever, my life is... complicated."
Percy scoffs. "Tell me about it. Still, I can't believe... I thought you were a demigod, but... We should talk to Chiron. This is a big deal. I mean, unless you're some crazy wackjob, and you're just making this all up."
Funny, I'd been thinking the same thing about him. "Well, I'm not. I always thought there was something weird about Manhattan, but other gods? I don't know, it just..."
He seems to be taking it in stride. "So Egyptian demigods like blowing up museums too?"
"We don't have demigods. My dad's just... different. Don't you, I mean, I figured we would have known about each other." And what was that about blowing up museums too?
My mind was reeling. All this time, there'd been an entire set of gods on the other side of the bridge. Greeks.
Funny, actually, that this was sort of how it worked out with the original Egyptians and Greeks. Just on the other side of the sea was this entire other civilization, and they worked in harmony together.
Maybe I could get along with this Percy guy. He seemed pretty easy-going, maybe a few years older than me, like he'd had his hand in this godly stuff longer than I had.
"So what were you doing in Manhattan, then, if it's to you what Brooklyn is to us?" He sat down against the wall of a random warehouse, stretching his legs out in front of him. I joined him, because I figured, in this sort of situation, I wouldn't be getting home in time for dinner. I mean, seriously, here I was, sitting with a dude who was half-Greek god!
"I needed to get something off that exhibit. I guess you guys don't know about it, but..." Should I really dump all the information on him? I mean, really, I didn't know if he was a spy for Apophis or something. Maybe this whole Greek stuff was just made up.
Then again, he did save my butt from the police, and he did that weird thing with – whatever he called it, the Mist. Maybe...
"See, um, I guess you guys don't really have to worry about it, but this giant serpent Apophis has risen from the dead, and he's trying to take over the world. Just a warning. My sister and I are trying to stop him. And I really needed that exhibit."
Percy put his head in his heads. "Seriously? You'd think the world could handle itself for just a few years. Is that too much to ask?"
He looked up at me, raking a hand through his dark hair. "It's just, that sounds a lot like last summer."
"Last summer? What happened last summer?" I thought back to anything weird from last summer, something that might have been gods messing around in disguise. "Oh, yeah, there were all those weird storms and stuff."
"Yeah. Um, the Titan lord Kronos rose from the dead and tried to take over the world."
"Oh." Suddenly my voice lifted a few octaves. "Sounds like Apophis."
"I mean, I beat him, sure, but..."
"You beat him?"
He gave me a wry smile. "Is it all that different from your sister and you stopping Apophis? I was some stupid "child of the prophecy" or whatever. I mean, I had help, my girlfriend Annabeth, and the gods, but..."
"Well," I cleared my throat, "if you could defeat Kronos, maybe we stand a chance against Apophis."
We sat in silence for a few moments, my mind going a hundred miles an hour to think about last summer, and what could have really been going on. While I'd been sitting safely in my home, had the Greeks really been fighting for the world? Saving it? And to think I didn't know about it. It was exactly like now, with the Apophis issue. Sometimes I felt like I was doing stuff for the world that no one else knew about, like a secret superhero. And maybe this Percy guy felt the same.
At that moment, the air in front of us shimmered and a floating blonde girl appeared.
"Whoa!" I jumped to my feet.
Percy also stood. "Annabeth! Hey."
I reached out to touch this random blonde girl, who was only visible from the waist up, but my hand went right through the image.
"It's an Iris Message," Percy explained. "Kind of like... Skype. Demigod thing."
Oh. Okay. I could handle that. But dang, they had cooler stuff than us! Seriously, if we'd had a way to communicate like these little mirage thingies...
"Percy, I need your help up here," said Annabeth.
"Huh? Okay. I'll be there as soon as I can."
"And maybe you can bring your demigod friend," she said, gesturing to me. "I mean, I assume he's a demigod, because he-"
"Actually, I'm Egyptian," I said.
That stopped her. "What? That can't be. I heard Percy say the word demigod to you. He wouldn't share the secret with any mortal, not unless they were like Rachel..." She started babbling to herself, and Percy sighed and slashed a hand through her, dissolving the image.
"That was my girlfriend, Annabeth," he said.
"She's a real charmer."
"She's less brainy once you get to know her. Anyway, I, uh, gotta go to Olympus and help her out. It was nice meeting you." He offered a hand, which I shook.
"Yeah. Kinda strange, this whole Greek thing, but I guess it's cool."
Percy started off down the alleyway to the street, but then paused and walked back to me. "Hey, and if you guys ever need help with this Apophis dude..." He passed me a little white calling card. "You know where to find me."
I flipped over the card, which read Camp Half-Blood, and then below it, Half-Blood Hill and a phone number and address.
"Thanks," I mumbled after him. "We'll need all the help we can get."
Then I started back to Brooklyn, hands shoved deep in my pockets, dreading telling Sadie that I'd blown up something else important and that, oh yeah, the Greek gods were alive and living just across the river.
A/N: I'm going to be traveling for the next month, so this is the last you'll be seeing of me for a bit. :) But don't despair, I'll have things to post when I return home.