A/N: Hi guys! So, like Sarah and I promised, the more reviews and followers, the faster the chapters will come! Thanks to all who review, we appreciate it! Disclaimer: I do NOT own Percy Jackson and the Olympians or the Hunger Games! All credits go to wonderful Rick Riordan and Suzanne Collins. Happy reading!
Katniss~My Camp-Mates are Supposed to be Deceased
If I had thought people that were half-barnyard animals were weird at Camp Half-Blood, that was before I saw the girl in the fire, the rock climbing wall spewing lava, and the sword arena where campers actually tried to kill each other with real weapons forged out of a kind of metal called Celestrial Bronze. It reminded me painfully of the Capitol's cruelty, but all of the matches were friendly, and the fighters were wearing armor. I figured it was a hundred times safer than the Hunger Games.
As Chiron the horse-man-a centaur, they called him-took me on the tour of the camp, he and Rachel explained everything to me, about Western civilization and the Greek legacy. That didn't stop me from getting a major headache due to confusion, though.
Chiron said that even by hero standards, I was exceptional. They said that I had been brought back from the future to fulfill my destiny in an upcoming war. Rachel said that the Greek god of the sun and prophecies, Apollo, would pretend to claim me as daughter so I could have a place at Camp Half-Blood to start my training. I was to play an important role in something called the Great Prophecy. And they also said that, in truth, I was nothing but a mortal. Not a single drop of godly blood ran in my veins, and I didn't belong at camp. This was to be kept secret to ensure my safety and made sure I was part of the quest to Rome. The prophecy had said "Seven half-bloods shall answer the call" not "Six half-bloods and a mortal from the future shall answer the call".
Oh, I know you're probably wondering right now: 'Wait... what the heck happened to Peeta?'
Well, I'll tell you what happened. He was locked in an unreachable underground dungeon and being tortured to death by some crazy, hybrid chicken women.
Just kidding. Ha.
But, he had been sent to the Big House, a red building that was, well, big, to wait for Chiron and me. I found out that Peeta had not been expected at Camp Half-Blood; that Apollo had only meant for me to come. Chiron hadn't known what to do with Peeta, and it all had been an accident he was transported back in time with me. That didn't really matter, though, because he was my responsibility now. I wasn't going to let the poor guy get hurt or taken away again. He didn't deserve it.
Chiron lead me to a wide clearing with strange assortment of buildings. There was on made out of pure silver, one with plants and flowers blooming around it and a grass roof. One made out of plain gray stones stacked on top of one another but was literally GLOWING with an odd purple light. My jaw dropped. There was no way this could all be real.
Chiron noticed my expression and smiled. "These, child, are the camper's cabins," he said proudly. "Each represents a Greek god, and you are placed in the cabin depending on your godly parent. There used to be just twelve for the Olympians, but now, thanks to Percy Jackson, our camp has grown."
"So... which cabin would I be in?" I asked easily, "You said I had to pretend to the daughter of Apollo right?"
The centaur nodded. "Yes, but you will fit in perfectly. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Apollo has told me that your archery is excellent, and you can also sing, too."
I shuffled my feet along awkwardly.
What an invasion of privacy..., I thought.
But gods were gods, and they saw everything from heaven. Is it called that in Greek? Oh wait, it was called Olympus , which was apparently floating on the tip of some tall building in the Capital. You couldn't really hide from them.
So I just nodded my head and replied, "Sort of. Should I go join the campers now? What cabin are the Apollo kids in anyways?"
Chiron pointed to a cabin adjacent to the silver cabin, but this one was pure gold. "Cabin Seven, for the children of Apollo," he told me, "But, Katniss, I think it is best if you stay with me for the rest of the day. Apollo hasn't 'claimed' you yet, and we need as many witnesses of the event as possible. Perhaps tonight, at the campfire sing-along. It's quite enjoyable actually, and many campers have been claimed then."
Okay. Why not? "So, where to next?"
The old centaur trotted off in the direction of the archery range and beckoned for me to follow. "It's time to see what you are capable of," he said.
• • •
If I had thought becoming an instant celebrity with screaming mobs of crazy fan-girls chasing me around was fun, I had been sorely mistaken.
First, I had woken up on the shore of a beautiful beach and my first thought was, Where's Annabeth? I couldn't afford to lose her ever again.
Then, I had followed a crowd of children to an assembly, found out what the Hunger Games were, and crazily volunteered for a wonderful fight to the death against twenty-three other tributes. I don't know what made me do it, but something told me that this was the right thing to do. Apollo wouldn't have entered my name into the reaping ball for nothing.
After that, I was mobbed by a pack of girls screaming "Marry me, Percy!" and "Can you autograph my face?", loaded onto a train, and shipped off to a place called the Capitol, where the Hunger Games were held. By that time, my hair was messed up and disheveled worse than usual, my t-shirt was torn in several places, and my face felt violated from about a million cheek-kisses from girls. The only thing I cared about at that moment, though, was Annabeth. Where WAS she? Had Apollo broken his promise and decided not to let her come with me after all? He had never sworn on the Styx, so I had my suspicions.
Something else I was concerned about was the fact that everything I had with me relating to the mythological world had vanished. My emergency bag of ambrosia was gone, and Riptide, when uncapped, was still just a pen.
A note was attached to Riptide, saying: In the future, the Greek legacy has been forgotten. All ties you have to our world will be severed, including your weapons and extra powers. Good luck!
Well, how moral-boosting was that? However, it wasn't really going to be a problem because I still had my sword fighting skills and Annabeth had her wisdom. We would be okay.
Still not sure about the "we" part, though. I was worried sick about Annabeth. I just hoped she would have figured out that we needed to participate in the Hunger Games in order to start a rebellion. It would happen in the arena, televised for the whole world to see, I guessed.
On the train, I was properly introduced to the female tribute from my district, a shy girl named Fresca, my "manager", a short woman with green hair, and my mentor, a seriously, way better good-looking guy than me in his late twenties. He had bronze colored hair and perfectly tanned skin. His name was Finnick Odair.
The train barreled its way through the districts and the countryside. I didn't really have anything to do, and being ADHD, I couldn't really sit still for a long period if time, so Finnick suggested we go and watch the recaps of the reapings. Fresca, him and I gathered into a compartment and Finnick flipped the television on. The recaps started with District One first, and I saw two gorgeous looking tributes take the stage. The boy was named Marvel, the girl Glimmer. They both had full lips and golden blonde hair, like Annabeth, but their eyes were the same color blue as toilet water.
Um, bad comparison?
The two commentators of the recaps (both dressed like guests at a bad, mismatched costume party) were also complimenting the two tributes beauty, and then they moved on to District 2. "Interesting turn of events here at District 2 today," one of the emcees said, "Let's go check this out, shall we, Caesar?"
The man on his left wearing midnight blue robes nodded cheerfully and said, "Right you are, Ronus!"
They switched shots to a depressing, harsh looking district. A man with shockingly purple hair called out the name of the male tribute, Triston something-or-another. And then the female tribute from District 2 was... Annabeth...
I was about to cry out in relief before their announcer asked for volunteers. And then I got worried again. What if someone else took Annabeth's spot in the Hunger Games? I didn't think I could face those Games without Annabeth by my side.
A burly blonde boy named Cato volunteered in place of Triston and took his place onstage. Someone volunteered for Annabeth, too, and I clenched my fists.
No, I thought, This can't be happening.
The girl's name was Clove. She marched up onto the stage and shoved my girlfriend out of the way, taking her spot.
By this time, I was ready to load Clove in a human catapult and shoot her all the way across Panem, smack dab into the middle of District 12, the farthest District from the Capitol.
But then I heard the Purple Sonic the Hedgehog ask, "Annabeth Chase, will you step down?"
And that's when I grinned. There was no way Annabeth would surrender her spot in the Hunger Games to a stuck-up snob like Clove, even if Annabeth had to tackle her in front of the whole district. Asking her to step down was like asking her to jump off a cliff. It's like she felt the same urgency to compete like I did, and I had a feeling Apollo was behind it. It was going to be our last piece of guidance on this quest, and then we'd be on our own.
Just like I predicted, Annabeth's eyes hardened and she refused.
Things looked like they were going to get ugly as Clove yelled in outrage and charged at Annabeth.
I instinctively drew Riptide from my pocket as if it could still change into a sword and as if I could defend Annabeth from the other side of a television screen.
She had it all taken care of, though. All I saw was a blur of bronze and heard a TWANG of a blade impaling itself into wood. I realized that Annabeth had thrown her dagger right at Clove's feet, and it was still quivering. In the background I could hear Caesar and Ronus both give a gasp of delight.
"Well," Caesar said to us viewers, "It looks like this will be a very interesting Hunger Games for District Two. May the odds be ever in your favor, Cato Leerman and Annabeth Chase."
The rest of the recaps went by ten times faster, except for the part when I volunteered as a tribute for District 4. It was weird, seeing myself glorified onscreen like I was Johnny Depp or all five guys of One Direction, with half of the girls in the front row swooning. It didn't really help my ego.
After the recaps were over, I went and took a short nap in my compartment, my heart less heavy with the fact that I would be seeing Annabeth soon. In less than three hours, we finally arrived at the Capitol.
As soon as I stepped out of the train, I wanted to shut myself right back in, lock the doors, and go back to District 4. The first thing I saw was a body hurtling itself at me, but it wasn't Annabeth. If it hadn't been for years of learning how to trust my instincts and think fast, I would have flattened into a Percy-pancake by the crazy fan girls. I kind of felt bad that she had landed face first onto the tiled pavement, but as I surveyed the area, I knew this wouldn't be the last.
Dozens of girls were crowding around District Four's train, holding up signs like "Percy Jackson is the new Finnick Odair" or "I 3 PERCY"or "MY NAME IS MRS. JACKSON" or "PERCY JACKSON= Hot Stuff".
I realized that not everyone here was looking for me though, which was a relief. As my mentor stepped out from the train, a round of ear-splitting screams erupted from the girls. Finnick Odair, too, was a very popular celebrity in the Capitol.
That was cool and all, but I had only come here to see one girl. I pushed my way through the crowd and a few Peacekeepers and emerged into open air. Earlier, Finnick had told me to report to the Training Center, a big building that housed the twenty-four tributes before the Games began. There were twelve floors, one for each district. So, being from District 4, my crib would be on the fourth floor.
I tried not to run as fast as I could in the lobby, which was tough, seeing as there was a crazy mob if girls trying to hunt me down and another girl I really wanted to see just a few floors away. I reached the elevator and jammed my fist on the button labeled "2". The doors closed, and the elevator slowly ascended two floors. With a small DING, the doors slid open and I was in District Two's quarters, alone.
Maybe Annabeth's train hadn't arrived yet, or maybe she was still outside being revered by Capitol citizens. Either way, she wasn't here, and I didn't want to break any more rules to go and search through the rooms.
I walked back to the elevator feeling dejected. I was about to head back downstairs when I thought I should take a quick look at my temporary home, check it out a little bit. It beat returning to the insanity of fame, anyways. I shrugged and pressed the button for floor 4.
The elevator took me up another two floors, but this time, when the doors opened and I stepped out, the stormy expression on Annabeth's face made me want to jump right back inside and go down to the lobby. Her arms were crossed over her chest and she glared daggers at me.
"How did you-?" I yelped.
"I watched your elevator," Annabeth said, still not dropping her gaze or missing a beat, "Only you would go to District Two's apartment then come up here." She pointed to a screen above the elevator door that showed which floor it was on and whether it was going up or down. Ingenious.
Neither of us said anything for a minute. Then-
"So, have you gotten engaged with anyone yet?" Annabeth asked casually, but there was a sort of deadly calm to it.
"I saw plenty of 'Marry me, Percy!" posters down there," she continued blandly, "Have you made up your mind yet, Seaweed Brain?"
I grinned at her. "Yeah. I have."
She raised an eyebrow, obviously not expecting this answer from me, "Which will it be, then? The girl with overly large pink hair and a caked up face or the girl wearing seven inch stilettos and a-"
I had no idea what she was going to say next because,I was tired of waiting. I pulled her towards me and kissed her. She was so familiar to me, with her lemon scented hair and silver owl earrings. She was all I needed.
When we finally broke apart, I put on my trademark sarcastic, trouble-maker smile, my eyes gleaming. But I'm afraid I might have mistaken my Hey, its all cool, expression with my OH MY GODS, PLEASE DON'T KILL ME FOR INTERRUPTING YOU expression. Annabeth noticed and laughed, and it was the best sound in the world. I was so glad to hear it.
She inclined her head towards the elevator. "We should get going," she said, "Some Capitol style freaks are giving us makeovers in a half hour." From the look she wore when she said that though, you could've sworn her actual words were: A skunk just cursed my mentor with a healthy dose of stunk bombs, or Cato is rolling in the manure again. It was a look of absolute disgust.
I was kind of disappointed when she turned and gave me the same look.
"What?" I asked defensively.
She pointed to a spot on my right cheek and looked away, covering her eyes. "I think you have a few red lipstick stains on your cheek left over by a psychotic fan girl, Seaweed Brain. I suggest you might want to wash them off now, before I notice them and have to kill you."
And this is why I love Annabeth Chase.
• • •