Disclaimer: I own nothing from Percy Jackson and Harry Potter.

I'm not going to explain what's going on until the end up the chapter, but I am extremely sorry for the long wait.

Song of the Chapter: Keke Palmer – We Are (Family)


Chapter Thirty Seven

I Get a New Cabin Mate


"Half a light, shines so bright,

Lost in endless, endless night"

Vena could hear the laughter again, like tinkering bells echoing down the hallway. It was a child's voice, as distant as an echo, yet as real as the burn of ice on skin. Vena's pace quickened, eager to be away from the unpleasant sensation that haunted her mansion. The halls were darker here, in the south end, closer to the full front entrance of her home, a place she hadn't been in years.

Vena heard a snapping sound from her phone and groaned. She had answered the call but hadn't said anything to her caller. She hastily pressed her phone against her ear, hoping he wasn't too displeased with her. His home was further and more mentally shielded than the other Olympians, so she couldn't always tell unless she heard his voice. Sight was too muddled and vague at this point. A familiar and unpleasant chill clung to her as she strode through random cuts and different hallways, trying to find her beloved library, the only place she could have peace.

"I assume you haven't grown deaf," said the voice on the other end of the line. "Must I repeat the question again, Miss Vena?"

Vena's pace decreased its speed gradually over the next few seconds.

"I'm sorry, Hades," she said evenly into the mouthpiece. "I'm catching my bearings." Her ears picked up on a slight, pitchy giggle. Vena spun around, eyes wide, but nothing was in sight. "I may need a minute."

There was a moment of silence on the other end. "You're not with the humans, are you?" It was more of a statement than a question on Hades's side.

"No," Vena replied. "I need to clear my head a while. I'm not thinking like myself anymore." She heard Hades chuckle darkly. "Watch it! You remember what it was like to have strangers' thoughts and emotions running through you like heat waves. Eventually you start thinking any behaving more like their inner desires and raw instincts!"

"There's no need to take that tone with me," Hades said curtly, causing Vena to cringe slightly. "I remember—well enough—thank you. Exposure. You never did well with it for prolonged periods."

"Thank you, for reminding me." Vena pursed her lips and came to a stop as a new wave of emotion ran through her. Gleefulness from laughter. "These kids are started to get to me. Their emotions are so strong and fresh that I can't build a proper barrier near them. Regular mortals are weaker than them. All of them."

The echoing trance of the child's laughter grew louder.

There was a shot silence on Hades's side of the phone. "Venaurora," he said sharply. "What was that?"

Vena unfroze and began walking again. "It's nothing," she replied curtly. "Having more than one living person in the mansion seems to have awoken creatures that were asleep for years. Emotions are seeping everywhere. It always happens in the presence of new company."

She heard Hades sigh impatiently. "And I assume Nico's progressing?" he said.

"He's improving greatly," Vena informed him. "His powers are falling into place once more. He only needs his tonic every day to prevent an incident. I didn't expect it to multiply in strength that quickly, but if it ever happens again, he should have a better chance of controlling it." She paused. "You've never worried over him before. Well, with feeling, anyway."

"He's with YOU. I should worry," Hades grumbled.

"Oh, have a little faith," Vena said, shaking her head. "I told you after the war. He's going to have a tough life and he needs a bit of guidance. Maybe more than the others because I've seen visions that have made me cringe."

"Is this supposed to appease me?"

Vena rolled her eyes. "Look. I know you don't want to admit how much Nico means to you because you're so proud—don't interrupt," she added when she sensed an argument coming on from his end, "but he'll be fine. This mansion may be full of horrors but he's not going to get killed. You saw that when he was a baby." [1]

"And you still won't elaborate?"

"Not in this century," Vena mumbled, though he still heard her. Another bout of human emotion ran through her again, this time from mixed conflict. "Ugh, can't those humans decide on anything!"

Hades sighed. "Leo's dominance?" he asked.

"Yeah," Vena grumbled. "I wish it was Virgo already. It has a more calming atmosphere."

"And where is Apollo?" Hades inquired with fastidious distaste. "I thought he was supposed to oversee them when you couldn't handle the raw human emotion anymore."

"Apollo's busy," Vena said absently. Mixed emotion and rivaled thoughts made her groan. "I'd rather be in the Underworld right now. Hanging around dead people is better than live emotion."


Meanwhile:

"It's more likely that you lose money if we bet with you, Ron," Ginny added when she saw the expression on Ron's face.

"I still say it was Luke," Ron grumbled. "Who reads next?"

"That would be me," Neville said, taking the book from George.

"Ginny's next in line," Conner pointed out, reminding them that Neville and Ginny had switched seats. "I thought we were going in order."

"Yeah, but I always read after George," Neville pointed out. "Still my turn." He looked down at the book and started with, "Ever come home and found your—"

"Dude, what about the title?" Travis asked. "I thought this was a tradition."

Neville snorted. "Sorry, I forgot," he said. "Chapter Five: I Get a New Cabin Mate."

"He gets a new cabin mate?" Harry asked. "You have a sibling?"

"Technically I've had thousands," Percy joked.

"That's not what I meant," Harry said, fighting a smile.

"Maybe Tyson rooms with him," Hermione suggested. The demigods tried not to look at each other. "He wouldn't have anywhere to stay at camp, would he?"

"He's a Cyclops," Perce pointed out. "Will they want him at camp? He is literally one of the creatures that they prefer to keep out."

"Oh, believe me, we kept him," Conner said, remembering whispers that had circulated the two sons of Poseidon that summer.

"So, can I read now?" Neville asked, tilting the book upwards to remind everyone that he still had it.

"Blast away, Neville," Travis said.

Neville frowned and said, "Blast—"

"Read, Neville," Thalia said, shaking her head.

Ever come home and found your room messed up? Like some helpful person (hi, Mom) has tried to "clean" it, and suddenly you can't find anything? [2]

All the Weasley siblings, sans Perce, groaned at the memories of coming home to clean bedrooms and not knowing where everything was. They nearly sent their mother up a wall asking her where she put certain items.

And even if nothing is missing, you get that creepy feeling like somebody's been looking through your private stuff and dusting everything with lemon furniture polish?

A few people laughed, though they all really agreed with that statement. It was invasion of privacy.

That's kind of the way I felt seeing Camp Half-Blood again.

On the surface, things didn't look all that different. The Big House was still there with its blue gabled roof and its wraparound porch. The strawberry fields still baked in the sun. The same white-columned Greek buildings were scattered around the valley—the amphitheater, the combat arena, the dining pavilion overlooking Long Island Sound. And nestled between the woods and the creek were the same cabins—a crazy assortment of twelve buildings, each representing a different Olympian god.

The Greeks smiled at the words, seeing the camp in their eyes, now with the new cabins for the minor gods. It made them a little homesick, being away from it in a strange place with wizards, reading a book about it.

But there was an air of danger now. You could tell something was wrong.

Those who had been to camp around this time tried not to grimace.

Instead of playing volleyball in the sandpit, counselors and satyrs were stockpiling weapons in the tool shed. Dryads armed with bows and arrows talked nervously at the edge of the woods. The forest looked sickly, the grass in the meadow was pale yellow, and the fire marks on Half-Blood Hill stood out like ugly scars.

"That is actually similar to what camp was like before Thalia's tree provided us protection," Grover pointed out. "There were always dangers surrounding us. We'd wake up in the middle of the night from a drakon attack or some other creature. A typical day back then. Then Thalia's tree created that magical barrier and we were all safe in the night and the day. We didn't have to risk our lives on an hourly basis."

"That almost makes it sound as though defenses have grown soft," Ginny pointed out, slightly worried. "Training to fight and fighting for survival are too different things."

"I guess," Travis said uncertainly. "We weren't exactly expecting to get trashed every day by monsters. Camp was supposed to be safe."

"So was Hogwarts, and looked what happened," Neville said, shaking his head. "It's as though the safest of places are always waiting to get endangered when we least expected it."

Harry smiled sadly. "What would Mad-Eye Moody have said about that?" he asked, causing the other wizards to laugh softly.

"Constant vigilance," Hermione said.

"Mad-Eye Moody," Rachel said. "I've never heard a name like that before."

"Actually, it was Alastor," Ron corrected. "He had a really creepy false eye and he was a bit paranoid."

"A bit?" Ginny asked, smiling fondly. "No matter how mad he seemed, he really was right, though."

Annabeth caught onto the past tense. "Is he dead?" she asked. "You speak of him as though he's gone."

The wizards exchanged heavy looks, remembering how Mad-Eye died on mission to carry Harry from the Dursleys to the Weasleys. Finally, Harry said, "Died in combat."

The demigods nodded at the statement. They were all too familiar with the term. Neville, feeling the atmosphere drop in the room, decided it was simply best to continue with the chapter.

Somebody had messed with my favorite place in the world, and I was not... well, a happy camper.

As we made our way to the Big House, I recognized a lot of kids from last summer. Nobody stopped to talk. Some did double takes when they saw Tyson, but most just walked grimly past and carried on with their duties—running messages, toting swords to sharpen on the grinding wheels. The camp felt like a military school. And believe me, I know. I've been kicked out of a couple.

"Oh, Percy," a few of the readers sighed.

Percy smiled sheepishly.

None of that mattered to Tyson. He was absolutely fascinated by everything he saw. "Whasthat!" he gasped.

"The stables for pegasi," I said. "The winged horses."

"Whasthat!"

"Um ... those are the toilets."

Everyone snorted with amusement at Tyson's eager innocence. He really was like a little child.

"Whasthat!"

"The cabins for the campers. If they don't know who your Olympian parent is, they put you in the Hermes cabin—that brown one over there—until you're determined.

"That brown one over there?" the Stolls repeated with mock offense.

"I wasn't going to describe all of it," Percy said with a roll of his eyes.

Conner wiped away a false tear of agony.

Then, once they know, they put you in your dad or mom's group."

He looked at me in awe. "You... have a cabin?"

"Number three." I pointed to a low gray building made of sea stone.

"You live with friends in the cabin?"

"No. No, just me." I didn't feel like explaining. The embarrassing truth: I was the only one who stayed in that cabin because I wasn't supposed to be alive.

"What a cheerful notion," George said sarcastically.

The "Big Three" gods—Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades—had made a pact after World War II not to have any more children with mortals. We were too unpredictable. When we got mad we tended to cause problems ... like World War II, for instance.

"That was a bit more than a problem," Hermione said softly, eyes narrowed. She knew of relatives on her family tree that had died because of that war.

The "Big Three" pact had only been broken twice—once when Zeus sired Thalia, once when Poseidon sired me.

Thalia had gotten herself turned into a pine tree when she was twelve. Me ... well, I was doing my best not to follow her example.

Everyone laughed as Thalia sent a teasing glare towards Percy.

I had nightmares about what Poseidon might turn me into if I were ever on the verge of death—plankton, maybe. Or a floating patch of kelp.

The laughter worsened.

When we got to the Big House, we found Chiron in his apartment, listening to his favorite 1960s lounge music while he packed his saddlebags.

The demigods shivered at the mention of Chiron's music collection as the wizards frowned.

Why was Chiron packing? Was it because of this Tantalus fellow? Was he…fired?

Ron would have asked if Neville hadn't continued to read.

From the waist up he looks like a regular middle-aged guy with curly brown hair and a scraggly beard. From the waist down, he's a white stallion. He can pass for human by compacting his lower half into a magic wheelchair. But most of the time, if the ceilings are high enough, he prefers hanging out in full centaur form.

As soon as we saw him, Tyson froze. "Pony!" he cried in total rapture.

The Stolls almost busted a lung.

"Oh, he's not going to like that," Grover said, chuckling along with the others.

Chiron turned, looking offended. "I beg your pardon?"

"See."

There was a bit more laughter.

Annabeth ran up and hugged him. "Chiron, what's happening? You're not... leaving?" Her voice was shaky. Chiron was like a second father to her.

Chiron ruffled her hair and gave her a kindly smile.

"Hello, child. And Percy, my goodness. You've grown over the year!"

I swallowed. "Clarisse said you were... you were..."

"Fired." Chiron's eyes glinted with dark humor. "Ah, well, someone had to take the blame. Lord Zeus was most upset. The tree he'd created from the spirit of his daughter, poisoned! Mr. D had to punish someone."

"That is completely unfair!" Hermione exclaimed.

"Being fair wasn't the top of the priority lists, Hermione," Conner said glumly. "They weren't exactly looking for that this summer."

"It was more like rash justice that didn't fit," Annabeth agreed bitterly.

Hermione would have said more if Neville hadn't continued reading.

"Besides himself, you mean," I growled. Just the thought of the camp director, Mr. D, made me angry.

"But this is crazy!" Annabeth cried. "Chiron, you couldn't have had anything to do with poisoning Thalia's tree!"

"Nevertheless," Chiron sighed, "some in Olympus do not trust me now, under the circumstances."

"What circumstances?" I asked.

Chiron's face darkened. He stuffed a Latin-English dictionary into his saddlebag while the Frank Sinatra music oozed from his boom box.

"Ugh," Percy thought, thinking of the Jazz music. "I didn't really like that song he was playing."

"Percy, you don't like Jazz in general," Nico said, rolling his eyes.

"What song was it?" Hermione asked.

Annabeth shrugged. "Something about singing among stars. I wasn't listening."

"Ah, 'Fly Me to the Moon,'" Hermione said, nodding her head appreciatively. "I love that song."

"You do? Me too," Rachel said, smiling at Hermione.

"I prefer 'New York, New York,'" Nico said.

"You three like Frank Sinatra?" Percy asked with wide eyes.

"Yes," Rachel, Nico, and Hermione said, looking at him oddly. [3]

Percy looked away. "Okay then."

Tyson was still staring at Chiron in amazement. He whimpered like he wanted to pat Chiron's flank but was afraid to come closer. "Pony?"

Ginny stifled a smile.

Chiron sniffed. "My dear young Cyclops! I am a centaur."

George and the Stolls chuckled.

"Chiron," I said. "What about the tree? What happened?"

He shook his head sadly. "The poison used on Thalia's pine is something from the Underworld, Percy. Some venom even I have never seen. It must have come from a monster quite deep in the pits of Tartarus."

"They're not going to start blaming Hades again, are they?" Harry asked.

"I doubt it," Nico said, shaking his head. "Even Dad wouldn't go into Tartarus. It's too dangerous, even for a god."

"Has any god gone down there?" Luna asked.

"Zeus, once," Thalia said. "Years before he was King of the gods, for the First Titan War. It was just a prison before it became a true pit of hell."

"Why was that?"

"To rescue the Hundred-Handed giants and the Cyclopes," Annabeth said. "To aid them in the war. They had been thrown in there by their father, Ouranos, who was also father of the Titans."

"Why did he do that?" Ron asked.

"Because he thought they were hideous," Annabeth said.

"Some parent he was," Ron muttered.

"Then we know who's responsible. Kro—"

"Do not invoke the titan lord's name, Percy. Especially not here, not now."

"But last summer he tried to cause a civil war in Olympus! This has to be his idea. He'd get Luke to do it, that traitor."

"See! Luke did it!" Ron said keenly.

"Nothing's been proven," Hermione pointed out.

"He still did it," Ron said, sure of himself.

"Perhaps," Chiron said. "But I fear I am being held responsible because I did not prevent it and I cannot cure it. The tree has only a few weeks of life left unless..."

"Unless what?" Annabeth asked.

"No," Chiron said. "A foolish thought. The whole valley is feeling the shock of the poison. The magical borders are deteriorating. The camp itself is dying. Only one source of magic would be strong enough to reverse the poison, and it was lost centuries ago."

"What was the point in bringing it up, then?" Ron asked in a low voice to the other wizards, raising an eyebrow.

"Well, the diadem was thought to be lost for centuries and it turned up," Harry muttered to Ron.

Ron considered the words. "True," he muttered back. "But we don't even know what they're talking about yet."

"What is it?" I asked. "We'll go find it!"

Chiron closed his saddlebag. He pressed the stop button on his boom box. Then he turned and rested his hand on my shoulder, looking me straight in the eyes. "Percy, you must promise me that you will not act rashly.

"Isn't that supposed to be impossible?" Thalia asked.

Percy didn't respond.

I told your mother I did not want you to come here at all this summer. It's much too dangerous. But now that you are here, stay here. Train hard. Learn to fight. But do not leave."

'He's not going to listen,' half the room thought.

"Why?" I asked. "I want to do something! I can't just let the borders fail. The whole camp will be—"

"Overrun by monsters," Chiron said. "Yes, I fear so. But you must not let yourself be baited into hasty action! This could be a trap of the titan lord. Remember last summer! He almost took your life."

Everyone made a face at the reminder of the information of the book they read before.

It was true, but still, I wanted to help so badly. I also wanted to make Kronos pay.

I mean, you'd think the titan lord would've learned his lesson eons ago when he was over thrown by the gods. You'd think getting chopped into a million pieces and cast into the darkest part of the Underworld would give him a subtle clue that nobody wanted him around. But no. Because he was immortal, he was still alive down there in Tartarus—suffering in eternal pain, hungering to return and take revenge on Olympus.

"Well, if I were immortal and someone chopped me up into tiny pieces and threw me into a pit of eternal suffering, I think I might want a bit of revenge," Ron summed up.

"Yeah, but you didn't swallow up your children so they wouldn't overthrow you," Conner said.

Ginny giggled. "Ron hasn't got any children," she said. "And besides, if he were to be a bad father, eating them isn't the way he'd go. His appetite has a limit."

Ron's ears turned red. "Thanks," he said sarcastically.

"You're welcome," Ginny replied with a teasing grin.

He couldn't act on his own, but he was great at twisting the minds of mortals and even gods to do his dirty work.

The poisoning had to be his doing. Who else would be so low as to attack Thalia's tree, the only thing left of a hero who'd given her life to save her friends?

Thalia smiled appreciatively of the description.

Annabeth was trying hard not to cry.

Chiron brushed a tear from her cheek. "Stay with Percy, child," he told her. "Keep him safe. The prophecy—remember it!"

"Why doesn't anyone explain this prophecy?" George asked, not really expecting an answer.

He didn't get one anyway.

"I—I will."

"Um ..." I said. "Would this be the super-dangerous prophecy that has me in it, but the gods have forbidden you to tell me about?"

Nobody answered.

"Right," I muttered. "Just checking."

A few readers chuckled.

"Chiron ..." Annabeth said. "You told me the gods made you immortal only so long as you were needed to train heroes. If they dismiss you from camp—"

"He could lose his immortality," Harry said, dismayed.

The atmosphere in the room became grim.

"Swear you will do your best to keep Percy from danger," he insisted. "Swear upon the River Styx."

"I—I swear it upon the River Styx," Annabeth said.

Thunder rumbled outside.

"That's quite a promise to make, seeing that Percy always gets himself into trouble," Rachel said humorlessly.

"She hasn't broken it," Percy said, turning a warm eye to his girlfriend, who smiled at him with slight pink cheeks. He never even considered the word 'yet'. They never let each other down.

"Very well," Chiron said. He seemed to relax just a little. "Perhaps my name will be cleared and I shall return. Until then, I go to visit my wild kinsmen in the Everglades. It's possible they know of some cure for the poisoned tree that I have forgotten. In any event, I will stay in exile until this matter is resolved ... one way or another."

No one liked the sound of Chiron going into exile.

Annabeth stifled a sob. Chiron patted her shoulder awkwardly. "There, now, child. I must entrust your safety to Mr. D and the new activities director. We must hope ... well, perhaps they won't destroy the camp quite as quickly as I fear."

"Is he talking about the monsters or Mr. D and Tantalus?" Travis asked.

"Maybe both," Percy suggested.

The other readers suppressed a groan. That didn't sound good.

"Who is this Tantalus guy, anyway?" I demanded. "Where does he get off taking your job?"

A conch horn blew across the valley. I hadn't realized how late it was. It was time for the campers to assemble for dinner.

"Go," Chiron said. "You will meet him at the pavilion. I will contact your mother, Percy, and let her know you're safe. No doubt she'll be worried by now. Just remember my warning! You are in grave danger. Do not think for a moment that the titan lord has forgotten you!"

With that, he clopped out of the apartment and down the hall, Tyson calling after him, "Pony! Don't go!"

Literally everyone had forgotten that Tyson was supposed to be there with Annabeth, Percy, and Chiron.

The minute Neville read his input, everyone burst into confused laughter. Somehow, one comment from Tyson, no matter how brief, was able to break the tension.

"Ah, that never dies," Conner chortled.

'He still does it,' Percy thought fondly.

I realized I'd forgotten to tell Chiron about my dream of Grover. Now it was too late. The best teacher I'd ever had was gone, maybe for good.

Tyson started bawling almost as bad as Annabeth.

"Aw, why's he crying?" Ginny asked, understanding perfectly well why Annabeth would cry.

"Obviously, because Pony-man is gone," Travis chuckled.

Nico snorted and Luna almost smiled.

I tried to tell them that things would be okay, but I didn't believe it.

The sun was setting behind the dining pavilion as the campers came up from their cabins. We stood in the shadow of a marble column and watched them file in. Annabeth was still pretty shaken up, but she promised she'd talk to us later. Then she went off to join her siblings from the Athena cabin—a dozen boys and girls with blond hair and gray eyes like hers. Annabeth wasn't the oldest, but she'd been at camp more summers than just about anybody. You could tell that by looking at her camp necklace—one bead for every summer, and Annabeth had six. No one questioned her right to lead the line.

Next came Clarisse, leading the Ares cabin. She had one arm in a sling and a nasty-looking gash on her cheek, but otherwise her encounter with the bronze bulls didn't seem to have fazed her. Someone had taped a piece of paper to her back that said, YOU MOO, GIRL! But nobody in her cabin was bothering to tell her about it.

Everyone laughed.

"That was Bette's idea," Conner said, grinning.

"Yeah, but I did the heavy lifting," Travis said cheekily.

Everyone else just shook their heads.

After the Ares kids came the Hephaestus cabin—six guys led by Charles Beckendorf, a big fifteen-year-old African American kid.

The Greeks felt a twinge inside. They still missed Beckendorf.

He had hands the size of catchers' mitts and a face that was hard and squinty from looking into a blacksmiths forge all day. He was nice enough once you got to know him, but no one ever called him Charlie or Chuck or Charles.

'Except for Silena,' the Greeks thought sadly. 'She always called him Charlie.'

Most just called him Beckendorf. Rumor was he could make anything. Give him a chunk of metal and he could create a razor-sharp sword or a robotic warrior or a singing birdbath for your grandmother's garden. Whatever you wanted.

"Wicked," George said, impressed.

The other cabins filed in: Demeter, Apollo, Aphrodite, Dionysus. Naiads came up from the canoe lake.

Dryads melted out of the trees. From the meadow came a dozen satyrs, who reminded me painfully of Grover.

Grover smiled sadly.

I'd always had a soft spot for the satyrs. When they were at camp, they had to do all kinds of odd jobs for Mr. D, the director, but their most important work was out in the real world. They were the camp's seekers. They went undercover into schools all over the world, looking for potential half-bloods and escorting them back to camp. That's how I'd met Grover.

After the satyrs filed in to dinner, the Hermes cabin brought up the rear.

They were always the biggest cabin. For a while, before Poseidon had claimed me, I'd lodged in the Hermes cabin.

"At least we're not that big anymore," Conner said.

"But still big," Travis added.

Now the Hermes cabin was led by Travis and Connor Stoll.

"Hey, look, we're mentioned!" Conner said excitedly to Travis.

A few of the others smiled at his enthusiasm.

They weren't twins, but they looked so much alike it didn't matter.

The readers agreed, but they could tell between them through their tone of voice now.

I could never remember which one was older.

"We know you're the older one, Travis," Nico said before the elder Stoll could say anything.

They were both tall and skinny, with mops of brown hair that hung in their eyes. They wore orange CAMP HALF-BLOOD T-shirts untucked over baggy shorts, and they had those elfish features all Hermes's kids had: upturned eyebrows, sarcastic smiles, a gleam in their eyes whenever they looked at you—like they were about to drop a firecracker down your shirt.

The Stolls actually looked proud of the description.

I'd always thought it was funny that the god of thieves would have kids with the last name "Stoll," but the only time I mentioned it to Travis and Connor, they both stared at me blankly like they didn't get the joke.

"Oh, we got the joke," Conner said, looking bored.

"It's just so old that it's not funny anymore," Travis added. "Plus, we don't like it."

"That would explain a lot, because I did the same thing," Nico said, remembering the blank stare he got when he said the same thing to them during his brief stay at Camp Half-Blood, before Bianca died.

As soon as the last campers had filed in, I led Tyson into the middle of the pavilion. Conversations faltered. Heads turned. "Who invited that?" somebody at the Apollo table murmured.

I glared in their direction, but I couldn't figure out who'd spoken.

"Matthew Simms," Conner said. "He died the next summer."

The wizards frowned. The Greeks remembered Matthew as being one of the first to fall in the Battle of the Labyrinth. Percy sighed inside. He never did learn Matthew's name until after the funeral.

From the head table a familiar voice drawled, "Well, well, if it isn't Peter Johnson. My millennium is complete."

I gritted my teeth. "Percy Jackson... sir."

Mr. D sipped his Diet Coke. "Yes. Well, as you young people say these days: Whatever."

The Greek rolled their eyes.

He was wearing his usual leopard-pattern Hawaiian shirt, walking shorts, and tennis shoes with black socks. With his pudgy belly and his blotchy red face, he looked like a Las Vegas tourist who'd stayed up too late in the casinos. Behind him, a nervous-looking satyr was peeling the skins off grapes and handing them to Mr. D one at a time.

Next to him, where Chiron usually sat (or stood, in centaur form), was someone I'd never seen before—a pale, horribly thin man in a threadbare orange prisoner's jump suit. The number over his pocket read 0001. He had blue shadows under his eyes, dirty fingernails, and badly cut gray hair, like his last haircut had been done with a weed whacker.

"Sounds a bit like Sirius ungroomed with gray hair," Ron muttered, causing Harry and Hermione to shake their heads; they remembered the look Sirius had when they had first seen him, and they had to admit that Ron was right.

"I take it that he's Tantalus," Perce said.

"Yeah."

He stared at me; his eyes made me nervous. He looked... fractured. Angry and frustrated and hungry all at the same time.

"This boy," Dionysus told him, "you need to watch. Poseidon's child, you know."

"Ah!" the prisoner said. "That one."

His tone made it obvious that he and Dionysus had already discussed me at length.

"And it was nothing good," Travis said. Everyone looked at him. "Bette was eavesdropping on them a lot. Got lots of information that was passed around the cabin."

"Like what?" Neville asked.

"Well, that's confidential," Conner said mysteriously. "Hermes children need to know only."

"I am Tantalus," the prisoner said, smiling coldly. "On special assignment here until, well, until my Lord Dionysus decides otherwise. And you, Perseus Jackson, I do expect you to refrain from causing any more trouble."

"Trouble?" I demanded.

"Well, you do have a tendency to—" Rachel started, but then she caught the annoyed look on Percy's face. "I see that you get the point."

Dionysus snapped his fingers. A newspaper appeared on the table—the front page of today's New York Post. There was my yearbook picture from Meriwether Prep. It was hard for me to make out the headline, but I had a pretty good guess what it said. Something like: Thirteen-Year-Old Lunatic Torches Gymnasium.

It was a bit of a struggle for everyone to keep a straight face, but they managed to do so; the Stolls almost failed.

"Yes, trouble," Tantalus said with satisfaction. "You caused plenty of it last summer, I understand."

I was too mad to speak. Like it was my fault the gods had almost gotten into a civil war?

A satyr inched forward nervously and set a plate of barbecue in front of Tantalus.

The Stolls' eyes brightened.

The new activities director licked his lips. He looked at his empty goblet and said, "Root beer. Barq's special stock. 1967."

The glass filled itself with foamy soda. Tantalus stretched out his hand hesitantly, as if he were afraid the goblet was hot.

The Stolls grinned evilly.

"Ah, here it comes," the younger Stoll said eagerly.

Even Percy looked keen to hear its description (despite knowing what happened), and confusing the wizards as to what was going on.

"Go on, then, old fellow," Dionysus said, a strange sparkle in his eyes. "Perhaps now it will work."

"Eh, see! I told you Mr. D was amused too," Travis chortled.

Neville looked up from the book, pausing his reading for a question.

"How many of you were at camp at this time?" he asked. The Stolls, Percy and Annabeth raised their hands. "That explains why the Stolls are reacting the most."

Nico shrugged. "At least I know what's going on with Tantalus," he said, smirking slightly. "I've seen it first-hand."

"Really?" Annabeth asked.

"Yeah, he's still complaining," Nico added, causing those who understood what was going on to laugh.

Tantalus grabbed for the glass, but it scooted away before he could touch it.

There was a pause before Rachel said, "Um, what?"

The Stolls were snickering away, not bothering to answer.

"Keep reading," Annabeth advised Neville.

A few drops of root beer spilled, and Tantalus tried to dab them up with his fingers, but the drops rolled away like quicksilver before he could touch them.

Now George was starting to look amused.

He growled and turned toward the plate of barbecue. He picked up a fork and tried to stab a piece of brisket, but the plate skittered down the table and flew off the end, straight into the coals of the brazier.

Ron, Harry and Ginny were fighting laughter at this point. Luna's eyes had widened, though she said nothing.

"Blast!" Tantalus muttered.

"Ah, well," Dionysus said, his voice dripping with false sympathy. "Perhaps a few more days. Believe me, old chap, working at this camp will be torture enough. I'm sure your old curse will fade eventually."

"A curse?" Hermione asked, a smile tempting to grace her lips. "That would explain a lot."

"Eventually," muttered Tantalus, staring at Dionysus's Diet Coke. "Do you have any idea how dry one's throat gets after three thousand years?"

"You're that spirit from the Fields of Punishment," I said. "The one who stands in the lake with the fruit tree hanging over you, but you can't eat or drink."

"That is punishment," Ron said, looking horrified.

Ginny was tempted to say something to him about that, but decided to pass on it. It really did sound horrible.

Tantalus sneered at me. "A real scholar, aren't you, boy?"

"You must've done something really horrible when you were alive," I said, mildly impressed. "What was it?"

Tantalus's eyes narrowed. Behind him, the satyrs were shaking their heads vigorously, trying to warn me.

Annabeth closed her eyes and held the bridge of her nose, breathing deeply to contain herself, much to Percy's amusement. He recalled her doing something like that when she thought he wasn't looking.

"I'll be watching you, Percy Jackson," Tantalus said. "I don't want any problems at my camp."

"Your camp has problems already... sir."

'I can imagine Harry saying something like that to an authority figure,' Hermione thought, mixed with both fondness and resignation.

"Oh, go sit down, Johnson," Dionysus sighed. "I believe that table over there is yours—the one where no one else ever wants to sit."

"Ouch," Nico muttered.

My face was burning, but I knew better than to talk back. Dionysus was an overgrown brat, but he was an immortal, super-powerful overgrown brat.

I said, "Come on, Tyson."

"Oh, no," Tantalus said. "The monster stays here. We must decide what to do with it."

"Him," I snapped. "His name is Tyson."

Percy smiled sadly. He knew how he was going to treat Tyson until the Sea of Monsters, and he wasn't proud of it. He defended Tyson at some point before the temporary shame. He wondered whether Tyson knew of how he felt in that small period of time.

The new activities director raised an eyebrow.

"Tyson saved the camp," I insisted. "He pounded those bronze bulls. Otherwise they would've burned down this whole place."

"Yes," Tantalus sighed, "and what a pity that would've been."

Dionysus snickered.

"I think I see what Chiron meant earlier," Perce said disapprovingly; "About hoping that they won't destroy the camp quite as quickly as he feared."

"Leave us," Tantalus ordered, "while we decide this creature's fate."

Tyson looked at me with fear in his one big eye, but I knew I couldn't disobey a direct order from the camp directors. Not openly, anyway.

"I'll be right over here, big guy," I promised. "Don't worry. We'll find you a good place to sleep tonight."

Tyson nodded. "I believe you. You are my friend."

Which made me feel a whole lot guiltier.

"Well, he trusts you that much," Rachel said. She had grown quite fond of Tyson.

I trudged over to the Poseidon table and slumped onto the bench. A wood nymph brought me a plate of Olympian olive-and-pepperoni pizza, but I wasn't hungry. I'd been almost killed twice today. I'd managed to end my school year with a complete disaster. Camp Half-Blood was in serious trouble and Chiron had told me not to do anything about it.

"Are you sure you don't want to eat anything?" Neville asked. "It seems to me that you could be an emotional eater."

Percy looked incredulous and Annabeth refrained from laughing, unlike the Stolls, Nico, and Thalia.

"Actually, that would be me," Grover said with an awkward expression.

"Yeah, he eats furniture," Thalia said once she stopped laughing, shaking her head.

I didn't feel very thankful, but I took my dinner, as was customary, up to the bronze brazier and scraped part of it into the flames.

"Poseidon," I murmured, "accept my offering."

And send me some help while you're at it, I prayed silently. Please.

The smoke from the burning pizza changed into something fragrant—the smell of a clean sea breeze with wild-flowers mixed in—but I had no idea if that meant my father was really listening.

'He was,' Percy thought to himself. 'He sent me a brother.'

Neville looked up from the book. "It stopped," he said. "Good, my throat was starting to hurt."

Luna looked down at the remote control. The buttons were unlabeled, but the second she wondered about which one she should press, tiny writing appeared over each button, identifying them. However, she did not know which one she had to press first.

"Do you need help?" Conner asked, leaning forward to see each button. "Oh, you have to press this one first, for voice command, before you press play."

It only took a minute for Luna to understand the remote control in her hands.

"Thank you, Conner," Luna said once he'd finished explaining to her what to do.

"No problem," Conner said as he sat himself back down in his seat.

Percy leaned over to Annabeth and whispered, "I've never seen him that helpful before."

Annabeth smiled. "I think the Stolls like Luna," she whispered back to him.

Percy raised an eyebrow. "Like—"

"Not romantically," Annabeth corrected. "Sort of the way you like Rachel. As a friend."

"Ah," Percy said, understanding.

Luna placed the remote near her mouth, just like Conner showed her, and said, "Book Two, Chapter Five, Scene One." She looked down at the remote, interested in the other buttons, instead of at the screen, where the caption: I Get a New Cabin Mate — Scene One — Percy's Surprise.

o

The screen opened up on Percy, who was still in his tattered, burned clothes, with a bit of soot on his chin and forehead. His face was pinched in a grimace as he walked away from the burning bronze brazier and passed two other tables before setting his plate roughly down on the Poseidon table and throwing himself down in his seat, his eyes gleaming disgruntledly.

The screen changed to the image of a satyr clomping up to the side of the room and raising a conch horn to his mouth. The familiar sound it made rang through the room, gathering the attention of everyone in the pavilion, ceasing the chatter and bringing all eyes towards the head table where Mr. D and Tantalus sat, almost glaring at all the demigods seated with their food.

"Yes, well, another fine meal!" Tantalus said, eyeing the plates of food on every other occupied table in the pavilion while he slowly tiptoed his own fingers towards a new plate of food in front of him. "Or so I am told." He sounded disgruntled with his last statement. Just as he within six inches of the plate, it shot down the table like a hockey puck on ice.

o

Everyone burst into laughter. It was funnier to see that to read about.

"I know a spell that can do that," Ginny whispered to Neville and George. "Remember, Neville, I used it on Zachariah Smith at dinners." Neville grinned at the memory. It had happened during Snape's reign.

"Hey, use it on Ron sometime," George suggested to her with a cheeky grin.

"Got it," Ginny said, trying not to laugh.

o

Tantalus glared at it before saying, "And here on my first day of authority, I'd like to say what a pleasant form of punishment it is to be here." The screen snapped briefly to the other tables, where demigods shared glances that ranged from amusement, to annoyance, to weariness. "Over the course of the summer, I hope to torture, er, interact—" The screen shot over to the Stolls whispering something to a dark-haired girl who resembled them, before grinning evilly; they didn't seem to care that they were all squished up at the table, "—with each and every one of you children. You all look good enough to eat." The last part was said with hidden malice.

o

"If he was a cannibal, we might have shot off into different places," Travis mused, scratching his chin mysteriously.

"I wouldn't want to fly into Pegasus manure if he tried to eat me," Conner said. "Or the brazier."

Thalia rolled her eyes at the two of them while Nico gave them odd looks.

"What did you tell Bette?" Percy asked, pointing at the girl next to the Stolls on the screen.

"Sibling stuff," Travis said.

o

Dionysus, having rolled his eyes for no one to see, reluctantly lifted his hands to give Tantalus's speech a polite round of applause. The satyrs exchanged nervous glances before following his example while the demigods persisted on not clapping at all. In fact, the demigods looked tired and hungry, and completely uninterested in what Tantalus really had to say. Even Percy was poking at his food absently with a bored expression.

o

"None of us really liked him," Conner said. "We don't like to listen to people we don't like."

o

Tyson, nervously playing with his fingers, tried to move out of the limelight by the head table, but every time he tried, Tantalus simply pulled him back into place, eyeing him evilly.

Still eyeing Tyson, Tantalus said, "And now some changes!" He smiled crookedly at the campers before him. "We are reinstituting the chariot races!"

o

"Chariot races?" Ron asked. "You all had chariot races?"

Luna pressed the pause button, pleased that she remembered where it was without looking at the remote control.

"Oh, chariot races went back for centuries," Thalia said before Annabeth could. "For demigods, it was a bit more dangerous than that of mortals."

"In the past, demigods had a bit of a record for extremely horrendous strategies that injured their opponents," Annabeth explained. "Some mutilations were permanent, and others—well, I shouldn't say. At camp, there was a growing death rate from brutal cabin rivalries until the game was cancelled and the slate cleaned. When they tried to restart it, the pattern started all over again, so it was cancelled completely. That was, until Tantalus reinstated it."

"There hasn't been any deaths though, right?" Ron asked.

"Nope," Annabeth said. "The game's well supervised now."

When nothing else had been added to the conversation, Luna took it as a good sign to let the clip continue rolling.

o

Instantly, low murmurs flooded the pavilion, some looking and sounded excited, others disbelieving, and even fearful. Quite a few looked confused, like they didn't know what he was talking about and went about asking for information.

Tantalus didn't even blink an eye. He raised his voice to be heard above the murmurs, "Now I know that these races were discontinued some years ago due to, ah, technical problems."

"Three deaths and twenty-six mutilations," said a pretty blond girl with a high clear voice at the Apollo table. Her expression was grim as she tugged at her messy braid, her sky blue eyes fixed on Tantalus with distaste, and a purple bruise coloring her entire right cheek.

o

"What happened to Lexi James?" Rachel asked, looking at the girl's bruising.

"Fight with another daughter of Ares," Annabeth said. "My brother was talking about it."

The wizards thought about what Lexi just said.

"This reminds me of the Triwizard Tournament," Harry said to the other wizards on the couch with him. "Something that's supposed to be friendly competition that has deaths involved."

o

"Yes, yes," Tantalus said impatiently. "But I know that you will all join me in welcoming the return of this camp tradition. Golden laurels will go to the winning charioteers each month. Teams may register in the morning!" A few campers began whispering excitedly. Some were even exchanging plans. "This first race will be held in three days' time. We will release you from most of your regular activities to prepare your chariots and choose your horses."

Clarisse looked up, her eyes wide with incredulity.

"Oh, and did I mention," Tantalus added, "The victorious team's cabin will have no chores for the month in which they win?"

o

"That would get everyone's attention," Hermione said, shaking her head. The chariot races sounded dangerous, but if it meant doing no chores…

o

The excitement flooded the dining hall. Chatter filled the air as the campers began discussing what they could do or would do for the chariot races, while others were asking if he was really serious about what he was saying.

The screen shot to Clarisse, who was in the process of ignoring her siblings as she stood up and said, with a nervous expression, "But sir!" There were a few people who snickered at the sign "YOU MOO, GIRL!" stuck on her back, but she didn't notice. "What about patrol duty? I mean, if we drop everything to ready our chariots—"

o

"That would take away from protecting camp," Ginny muttered.

Everyone nodded in agreement.

o

Tantalus's eyes gleamed. "Ah, the hero of the day!" he exclaimed. "Brave Clarisse, who single-handedly bested the bronze bulls!"

o

"No, she didn't," half the room echoed.

o

Clarisse looked startled by Tantalus's statement, and her bruising cheeks filled with color. She shook her head.

"Um, I didn't—" she began to say by Tantalus cut her off.

"And modest, too," Tantalus declared, grinning, taking no notice of what Clarisse was trying to tell him. "Not to worry, my dear! This is a summer camp. We are here to enjoy ourselves, yes?"

Clarisse frowned. "But the tree—" she tried to say, but several of her rowdy siblings dragged her back down in her seat, cutting her off. She glared at them, balling her hands into fists. "Why you—" she hissed at them, but she was interrupted by Tantalus.

o

"For once, I approve of what Clarisse was trying to do," Hermione said. "He doesn't care, but she does."

"That's odd to hear about Clarisse," George said. "Considering what we've already learned about her."

"Camp's her home too," Percy said. "It is to all of us."

o

"And now, before we proceed to the campfire and sing-along," Tantalus said, turning towards Tyson, "one slight housekeeping issue. Percy Jackson—" Percy looked up at the sound of his name, "and Annabeth Chase—" Annabeth looked down at her food, "have seen fit, for some reason, to bring this here."

Tantalus waved his hand towards Tyson, who gazed around at them uneasily. Uneasy murmuring spread among the campers. Percy ignored the sideways glances of the other campers, as did Annabeth, who had turned her head to stare at Tantalus with distaste.

"Now, of course, Cyclopes have a reputation for being bloodthirsty monsters with a very small brain capacity," Tantalus said. Tyson twisted his fingers absently. "Under normal circumstances, I would release this beast into the woods and have you hunt it down with torches and pointed sticks."

o

There were sounds of protest at his statement from the viewers.

o

Percy glared at Tantalus while he spoke.

"But who knows?" Tantalus continued. "Perhaps this Cyclops is not as horrible as most of its brethren. Until it proves worthy of destruction, we need a place to keep it!" Tantalus's eyes gleamed. "I've thought about the stables, but that will make the horses nervous." He glanced over at the Stolls, whose grins were fading. "Hermes's cabin, possibly?"

o

The Stolls looked at each other nervously. They were uncertain of having a Cyclops in their cabin, it having a reputation of being a monster, but if Annabeth hadn't killed it, and Percy was okay with it, then they wouldn't have minded it. They knew that their siblings would, though.

o

Conner and Travis glanced around their table before fixing their eyes on the table cloth. Everyone in the Hermes cabin was still struggling to stay on the bench. Two of the bigger kids where actually crouched next to the table because they didn't fit on the bench, while the smaller kids had to sit on other's knees. They were all looking at the two brothers, his expression ranging from horror to uncertainty.

"There's not enough room," the girl next to Travis whispered, bouncing a six year old on her knee, who was giving trouble to eat her pizza. She glanced over at Tyson, curious and unafraid.

"Yeah, I know, Bette," Travis whispered back to her, his lips barely moving. "The others won't like it."

Conner poked at a stain on the table cloth, looking embarrassed.

o

"It's not that we wouldn't have, Percy," Conner said quickly, causing Luna to hit the pause button. "But keeping a Cyclops in the cabin, regardless of whether he was harmless or not, it wouldn't have sat well with everyone else."

"I would have been too stressful," Travis added. "Conner and I were still new at being counselors. There were three others before us after Luke disappeared. There were enough problems."

"I can understand that," Percy said; he'd seen the other bigger cabins having their struggles that summer. It didn't surprise him, since Hermes had the biggest cabin. "Don't worry about it."

o

"Come now," Tantalus chided, showing off his yellowed teeth. Tyson's hair ruffled in a gentle breeze as Tantalus spoke, and his hair began to gleam faintly of sea green. "The monster may be able to do some menial chores. Any suggestions as to where such a beast should be kenneled?"

o

"He's not a pet!" Hermione snapped at Tantalus, despite it being a clip and he was unable to hear her.

o

The glow above Tyson's head brightened. It was as if the wind was colored brilliant sea green-blue, whirling and thickening into a corporeal form of a dazzling holographic image.

It was an image of a gleaming trident. Everyone gasped in shock at the sight of it.

o

The wizards' eyes widened at the sight on the screen before turning to look at Percy.

"Yep," he said. "He's been claimed."

"He's your…" Perce's voice trailed off as the video continued.

o

The screen zoomed in on Percy, whose eyes widened and jaw dropped. He watched the symbol of Poseidon swirl over Tyson's head, watching as Tyson stared at the grounded curiously, watching the green light gleam off the wooden floor.

Annabeth turned to look at Percy, whose eyes were only on Tyson.

Annabeth's voice echoed through the speakers: They're the children of nature spirits and gods… well, one god in particular, usually…

Tyson looked up at the trident above his head, his eyes widening with fascination at the sight of it, but when he moved and realized that it followed him, he tried to swat it away.

o

"Brother," George finished off for his own older brother.

"I should have seen this coming," Hermione said softly. "It was in the chapter title."

o

After a moment of silence, Tantalus began to roar with laughter, and most of the campers followed his lead, especially the Ares cabin; some of them fell off their seats. Most of the Athena cabin were talking to each other rapidly, throwing glances between Tyson and Percy.

"Well! I think we know where to put the beast now," Tantalus said, still roaring with laughter. "By the gods, I can see the family resemblance!"

o

Percy glared at Tantalus. He didn't care how Tyson looked now; that didn't matter, but he didn't like what Tantalus was implying. Tyson wasn't hideous, and neither was he! Well, he hoped he wasn't…

o

Tyson took no notice to Tantalus of the laughter. He was still trying to swat away the glowing trident, which had started to fade away from the top of his head. Percy's face was blank. He swallowed deeply as the laughter surrounded him. Tyson looked down after the trident disappeared and fixed his eyes on Percy.

Then the readers heard his voice.

He was too innocent to understand how much they were making fun of him, Percy's voice said, how cruel people were. But I got it.

o

'So do we,' the wizards thought to themselves.

o

Tyson fiddled with his fingers as he stared at Percy.

I had a new cabin mate. I had a monster for a half-brother.

o

The clip stopped. There was a brief moment of silence.

"He's your brother?" Ginny asked. "You're father broke the oath again?"

"No, the oath only pertains to demigods," Nico said. "Tyson is a Cyclops, not a demigod. He's safe from Dad or Zeus's wrath."

There was another moment of silence.

"Just so you all know, that news didn't go well with me," Percy said slowly. "I'm not proud of how I behave around him. I couldn't adjust."

"Adjust?"

"It's not every day you get a half-brother who's a cyclops," Percy said, sounding a bit ashamed of himself; he loved Tyson loads now. "Maybe you'll see in the next chapter."


Vena hung up on her call with Hades just as she felt something tug at her clothes. Her breath hitched, but there was no one else in the hallway with her. It was darker here. The windows were partially concealed and the sky outside was indigo and black. Vena took a deep breath and turned towards the door in front of her. At this distance, the emotions from the mortals were dimmer here, enabling her to put up her familiar shield.

After a moment's hesitation, she dialed a number on her device and waited. And waited. And waited even more, listening to the rhythmic ringing on the line until—

"Hello?"

Vena took a deep breath. "Apollo, where are you?"

The other line was silent. Then she heard him say, "Okay, what did I do this time?"

Vena almost laughed at the tone of his voice. He sounded annoyed, tired, and uncertain all at once. The sound was odd on him. Actually, she deemed the word, 'Unnatural.'

"No," she said. "But I think you should come back to supervise the mortals," she said evenly. "I can't always be around them."

She could see Apollo frown in the back of her mind.

"You're lying," he said.

Vena refrained from rolling her eyes. "You can tell that over the phone?"

"In your voice," he said. "I know you better than almost everyone. What got under your skin?"

"It doesn't matter," Vena said, pursing her lips. "When can you come? Today or tomorrow?"

Apollo took a deep breath. "Give me an hour."

"Deal," Vena said, but as she was about to end the call, Apollo began talking again.

"Vena, what's wrong?" he asked. "If you let a shield down, what brought it down? You're good at keeping it up."

Vena leaned against the door, staring at jagged lines of the wood, some naturally formed with age and seasonal growth, and others with the number of times she ran her fingers across it, scraping away whatever varnish her fingernails dug out over the years.

"You know how I am with children of Athena," she said in a low voice.

Apollo groaned. "Please tell me you're not going to kill her, Vena. Athena hasn't said anything bad against you in the past five years."

"I'm NOT going to kill her!" Vena exclaimed, offended. "If she dies, it definitely won't be by MY hand."

"You know why I asked," Apollo said. "After all, over the centuries you're track record with Athena and her children has left behind a bloody t—"

"Enough, Apollo," Vena ordered, sounding annoyed. "I'm not going to kill her. It'd be a wasted effort." She took a deep breath. "Just get here as soon as you can. And avoid the corridors until I tell you otherwise."

"Wait, what—?" But Apollo's voice was cut off as Vena hung up the phone.

Suddenly, the corridor filled up with an innocent giggle.

Vena's jaw set, her galaxy eyes gleaming dangerously as the starts went out inside them until they were deep, endless black holes. She grabbed the handle of the door and pushed her way into the room, slamming it hard behind her, taking no notice of the small figure in the corridor, dressed in white, with little splatters of scarlet streaks on the tail of her dress.


[1] – Reference to the story I wrote, 'Nico, Met Your Papa.'

[2] – Mom used to do that a lot to me, especially while I was at school. I'd come home and stare at my room and think, "Am I on another planet?"

[3] – I love Frank Sinatra's music. I really, really do.

Okay, yes, I know, I'm late. I know loads of you are upset with me. I'm upset too, but at my parents.

First of all, this summer was filled with more than what I was expecting at all. Academically, I passed all my subjects (yay) and I'm now in University, so you know what's going to be top priority right here. I actually enjoy my University life more than secondary/high school life. Then again, walking around campus is a bit of a pain. It literally twisted my foot from all the walking. This story WILL be continued, as I've already typed up the rest of the Percy Jackson books, but writing the PJ-HP storyline around it is just coming out slowly.

Along with that, I was able to update my Ginny story after who knows how long ago (over a year) and write a story for James Potter as well. After my graduation, I started to feel less inspired to write, but I did pull my way through come August. Then came the one week in Guyana (the place is flipping hot! Mom got a dark tan after one day) which put me off writing at all for some time, so I wasn't able to finish this, and then my parents decided to move without telling me.

Do you know what it's like to go out for orientation and come home to realize that your parents are packing up to move to a new place and you're the last to know, and the room that you've been in for about most of your life is empty in three days? That's what I went through, and I'm still mad at them. I'm even angrier because I'd had absolutely no internet connection. No Wi-Fi, no YouTube, no Netflix, no nothing. Even the Kindle Fire was useless! I was stuck reading 'Art of War' and 'Frankenstein' on it because there was nothing else interesting to read on it, and I had no wireless connection to buy a new book, and my other books were in boxes! I finally got them unpacked.

Sorry, I feel like I'm ranting at you people. You didn't do anything wrong. You guys are not my psychiatrists. I think I might need one. Or maybe I should just study my Psychology and Sociology classes better. It's just been a frustrating few weeks. I tried to cook and I nearly killed someone with my pizza. Never again. And I twisted my foot, then had to go onto campus for classes on my eighteenth birthday, which in the end, the classes were cancelled so I wasted my money for nothing. The point is that I'm currently out of my comfort zone; that made me feel too miserable to really write anything good, so I kept pushing it off. I'm sorry I made you all wait so long. I'm just not in a really good mood. I've written up quite a few chapters and I've had nowhere to update this thing. I haven't even gotten to my inboxes yet, but after all these weeks, I'm sure they're quite full.

~o~

Answer to reviews from the last chapter:

Alright, I know I was a bit harsh with Annabeth. I didn't necessary meant for it be like that, but it sort of came up like that because I wasn't in a good mood. Girl stuff. Anyway, Vena does come off as childish, I know. That's sort of explained in a later chapter. She does get like that. She's a strange character, to be honest. Sometimes I don't even like writing her. The point is that in SOM, I didn't like Annabeth's character too much, and OCCASIONALLY, I didn't like Percy's character too much either. Annabeth's just not my favorite character. I liked her okay in the first series, but from MOA, I just couldn't see her the way I used to. I didn't really like her BOTL too well either. She was hardly in TTC, so I was tolerant. I don't really understand why I don't like her that much, to be honest. When I started the series, I got annoyed with her every now and again in the first book, but I liked her. And from there on it just went downhill. I tried to change it, I know she's a good character, and I really tried to give her chance on it, but it just didn't click. I'm sorry if that offends other people. I'll try to tone it down. Feel free to point out when I'm going off again. I want to write Annabeth in the way she is and not send her off the bender.

I don't mind the criticism. It helps me understand what I'm doing wrong and correct it. That's what I like most about reviews. Those are the most helpful.

Answers to reviews from the other chapters:

Hailey B: I can't seem to update as often as I can or like. There's always something that gets in the way, which is irritating because I live a quiet life.

Kyla-daughter of Apollo: Yeah, I wrote that part with the Grand Canyon because of Jason. He called himself a lunatic too. And as for them learning their future, or anything here, do you really think they'd remember every detail? I don't think so.

Beautiful-Warriors: Sometimes it's difficult to keep the characters IC plenty of the time. I need to get back to re-reading all the books. I think that will help.

Guest: Okay, I admitted that like Piper's character, and I admitted that I didn't like Annabeth's character too much, and that's stupidity? If you talking about preference of favorites, then you should know that everyone is entitled to like different characters more than or equality with one another. If you're saying I'm stupid, then I should mention my intelligence level has nothing to do with liking Piper, or else I would have failed all my subjects then. I have a friend who hates Percy and is neutral with Annabeth. It startled me because I love Percy. Our friendship isn't any different. There was a time, years ago, that we both liked Percebeth, and now that's changed. Just because I like Piper's character doesn't mean I'm stupid. Rick Riordan developed her for a reason, and she serves a purpose to the series. Some people don't like her because they think Reyna should have been with Jason, or that she's a Mary-Sue, or because they think she's trying to be the next Annabeth, and I don't agree with any of those opinions. Really, to everyone who doesn't like Piper, tell me why. I want to hear it. What's so bad about her? And what's so bad with Jason? Why do so many people hate them? Am I the only person who likes them both?

~o~

So, off to the next chapter, I guess. Sorry for any mistakes I made above. And really, you can tell me your opinions of Piper and Jason. I can't imagine someone who hates Leo.

~ArtemisIsis13