Guest: Please update soon! Well, I told you I'd update within the next week, did I not?
And as for the questions about HoH, yes, I have read it, and frankly, even if I did give spoilers, you wouldn't know, because I'd never told you. Any and all blips that I may or may not have made/will have made for the House of Hades belong to Rick Riordan. And frankly, that is all that I will say on the subject. Please let it be known that Nico, from here on out, in my books, is severely OOC. I honestly hate what Rick Riordan did to him, how his already dark personality is now filled with anger and despair. I could give you a five-page long dissertation on how I hate that a thirteen-year-old shouldn't have to have gone through that, but I won't, because you have all specifically asked for no blatant spoilers.
Steve found Percy first, and he definitely wasn't getting any closer. He wasn't stupid.
Percy stood at the edge of a creek, playing with the water, turning it into shapes, freezing it, evaporating it, slicing through it with Riptide that always seemed to appear out of nowhere. He made miniature storms in the palm of his hand, a whirling hurricane, and a blizzard; all while carving out a map of the camp in the ground and drawing seemingly random symbols in places.
His expression was one that the Avengers hadn't seen before: anger and exasperation. Well, exasperation, yes, but anger, no, and certainly not the two of them together. A muscle in his jaw kept jumping, like he was clenching and unclenching his jaw. His brow was furrowed in concentration in keeping up the hurricane and carving the symbols into the ground. He was apparently unsatisfied with the map he made, because he waved his arm over the map and it shook, settling back into smooth ground.
And Percy started again.
"You know, one might think it was creepy, the way you're watching me," Percy suddenly said. "Am I really that predictable?"
Steve shook his head. "No. Everyone else is looking on the beach or in the arena. This is where I would've gone if I was mad and aggravated that no one would listen to me."
"Oh, I could care less if they listen to me," Percy said easily. "Heaven knows I don't listen to authority figures, why should I be a hypocrite? What bothers me more is that they don't trust me to lead them to victory against this bad guy. I've done so three times before, I've saved the world more times than I care to count, and they still don't trust a teenager that's younger than some of them to lead them to victory against darkness."
Percy suddenly turned towards Steve. "Annabeth and I went up against Erebus's wife in Tartarus. It was two demigods against a primordial and a whole slew of gods and Nyx's children. Two demigods who are battered and bruised and quite frankly don't know how to control their body at the time cannot go against a primordial and win, let alone a primordial and their children. Annabeth did some quick talking and I just kind of nodded our way through it, and we're still alive. We didn't have the manpower to even slow her down by force. Against the primordial of Tartarus, we had a Titan and a Giant going up against him, and they didn't win."
He exhaled. "Point is, Nyx is lesser than her brother, Tartarus, however scary she was. If we'd had a Titan and a Giant at the time, as well as being less battered and bruised and being able to control our own bodies, we would've had a shot of taking her down. Erebus is about the same as Nyx, but he's got a friend in Tartarus, who is helping him get revenge on me. Yes, he's worse than Gaea, worse than Nyx, but he doesn't have the Giants or the Doors of Death on his side. Gaea would've been done and over with long before the summer of last year if she didn't have the Doors chained and the Giants on her side. Erebus won't go down easily, yes, that's a given, that's always been a given since Luke blasted Kronos to dust, but it won't be any harder than Gaea."
Steve eyed Percy doubtfully. "And what of the monsters?" he asked, pointing towards the barriers.
Percy waved his hand dismissively. "A watered-down version of the Doors. It'll be the same monsters that come back, with new ones every once in a while that were killed years ago. I suspect that I'll be calling a specific hellhound Bruce by the end of the war or something to that effect. Plus, they'll have to heal the mundane way for the wounds that didn't kill them."
Steve chuckled. "You make this seem so much easier than what it actually is."
Percy snorted. "Take it from one of the people that actually went up against Gaea: Erebus thinks he's cunning and creepy, but compared to Gaea's creepiness, he's about as scary as a basilisk. And I didn't even go up against the basilisks: that was Frank."
Steve squinted. "'Little crown'? Erebus is as scary as a little crown?"
Percy laughed a little, and held his hands about a meter apart. "No, it's a snake. About this long. Poisonous. Breathes fire. Weasels are deadly to it, that's why it was Frank who went after them."
The super soldier frowned. "This Frank is a weasel?"
"Sometimes," Percy agreed. "Sometimes he's an elephant, an eagle, or a lion. Or a dragon. Or a seal. Or a dog. Or a snake. You know, I caught him sleeping as a snake once. He was doing the snake-version of a snore. Pretty funny to watch."
Steve was giving Percy a 'what the crap' look. "Oh," Percy said sheepishly. "Frank is a shape-shifter. He can change into animals at will. And you what really irks me? He got that trait from my dad!"
"You're bad enough with controlling poisons, Seaweed Brain, you don't need to be able to shape-shift either," Annabeth said breathlessly.
"Poisons?" Steve asked incredulously, but he got ignored. The two demigods were glaring/staring at each other, both with the same expression on their faces.
Steve started counting. He was at forty-six when Percy sagged and opened his arms. Annabeth hugged him. "The Hephaestus cabin is working overtime," she said softly. "They're making javelins, spears, swords, battle axes, cudgels, arrows, shields, armor, grappling hooks, and two catapults, and they're patching up the Argo II with more weapons to fire. Apollo and Ares cabins are testing everything out, old and new, on the people who want to be trained. Pollux and the Demeter cabin whipped up a buffet, which is located in the Mess Hall, and are now running around camp, offering water and snacks. Katie, her two youngest siblings, and my three youngest siblings are making enough bandages to patch a chasm you might make."
Percy let out a startled laugh. "Thanks, Beth."
"Also, Tyson brought some of his friends from the bottom of the ocean to help us out. I told them to go help the Hephaestus cabin in making weapons. Aphrodite cabin has surprisingly made themselves useful and have done everything from creating a new line of weapons to polishing armor to helping my siblings in weaving and helping the Demeter cabin in offering water and food."
Percy looked impressed. "I want to go check out their line of weapons."
Annabeth chuckled. "Personally, I think Piper helped out a lot with most of the more technical things, but remember the Givenchy thing from the Titan War?"
Percy rolled his eyes. "How could I not? Half the cabin tackled me for letting them do it."
"Yeah, well, they took that and ran with it. They've got makeup bombs, fart arrows modified to explode Givenchy instead of sulfur, and some other stuff they took from movies and modified. A Celestial Bronze coat hanger that turns into a zip line. A seemingly innocent lip stick container that is actually a Tazer. They somehow charmed some of their shields to put up glamours to make them look like a monster's true love or something like that."
Percy burst out laughing. "Jeez, they've got some good ideas!"
"That's like a quarter of the weapons," Annabeth said wryly.
Aphrodite's cabin blared some kind of fast-paced song that was audible from twenty feet away. Percy let Annabeth open the door first, knowing that the Aphrodite girls liked to roam around their cabin in sports bras and short shorts. At least, they used to. He wasn't sure what they were like under Piper's rule, so he let Annabeth go first.
Someone turned down the music. "Hey, girl! What's up?!" one of the girls said cheerfully. He thought it was Jennifer, but he wasn't sure.
"You might want to put on a shirt, because Percy wants to check out the new line of weapons," Annabeth said dryly. Yup, nothing's changed about the sports bra and shorts in the cabin, Percy thought dryly.
It seemed every girl in the cabin squealed with excitement. Steve clapped his hands over his ears, grimacing in pain at the high-pitched sound. Percy shrugged at the super soldier apologetically.
There was a couple crashes and some yelps as the girls scrambled to get shirts on, and once Percy heard, "That's my rib cage you just put your foot into, Lacey!" Lacey responded with a frantic, "Sorry!"
Why were they on the floor? Percy asked in his head.
"C'mon in, Percy! But, um…be careful," Annabeth warned.
Percy stepped into the doorway and yelped as he free-fell towards the wall. Lou Ellen from the Hecate cabin waved at him apologetically. "It'll wear off within half an hour," she said meekly.
"It's fine," he reassured her. "Just surprising. Be careful, Steve!"
The super soldier landed gracefully next to Percy, making a little bit of a face at the strong scent of perfume. Percy winced a little, if he thought it was strong, Steve must think it reeked.
"Hi!" Jennifer said perkily. "Jennifer Grand, daughter of Aphrodite."
"Hi," Steve responded. "Steve Rodgers, ma'am."
"Oh my freaking gods, he's hot," Eden whispered to Carly. Steve colored a little.
"Someone turn off the stereo already," Piper said, exasperated as she came in from the bathroom, stepping over the little piece of wall that jutted out from the temporary floor.
Six girls jumped up, yelling, "I'll get it!" They all grabbed seemingly random coat hangers, turned them upside down, and yanked them back and forth. Zip lines shot out from either side of the coat hangers, attaching to the walls. The girls backed up and started running until their feet left the ground, their forward movement propelled only by momentum. Unfortunately for them, all their zip lines crossed each other, so all but one of the girls crashed into one another. Lacey, having been in both the Titan and Giant war, unlike most of her cabin, had enough skill and balance to swing up onto her coat hanger and hopped over the offending criss-crossing lines, and grabbed the temporary wall (A.K.A, the floor) to slow herself down, and turned off the stereo, plunging the cabin into quiet. Percy shook his head like a dog to get used to the sudden lack of noise.
Piper huffed. "Thank you, Lacey. Hi, Percy, something we can do?"
Percy shrugged. "I heard about the new line of weapons, and wanted to come check it out."
Piper grinned, making Percy a little wary. No doubt, Piper was awesome, but some of her ideas were crazier than Percy's, and that took some doing. "I think you'll like at least one of them. Rachel told me about her hairbrush."
"What did you do, replace the bristles with spikes?" Percy asked, alarmed and amused.
Jennifer piped up, apparently not being able to stand it. "Nope! Aphrodite cabin special: it's a hairbrush, a knife, and it comes equipped with four Blush Bombs and a star!"
She slammed the end of the hairbrush down on a desk in front of her, releasing four pink capsules that she caught quickly and gently. She took off the bristles part to reveal the knife, and with a quick flick of her wrist the bristle part flattened and expanded as four razor-sharp knifes extended as it flew through the air and imbedded itself three inches deep into the wall.
"Rachel did enough damage with the simple hairbrush, she doesn't need to have that on her person as well," Percy said, faintly alarmed at being on the other side of that star.
Piper laughed at his alarmed face. "Jen," she called. Jennifer tossed her one of the capsules that Piper caught deftly. Carelessly, the charmspeaker threw the bomb at what once was the ceiling and now the wall. Pink smoke billowed everywhere.
"Essentially, it's a distraction if you're in a tight spot," Kayla said. "And for some reason, monsters are allergic to blush, so that's an added bonus."
"Definite bonus," Annabeth said, watching the smoke blow out the window curiously. "Who came up with all of this?"
Kayla, standing between two charmspeakers, pointed in either direction. Everyone else pointed at either Drew or Piper.
"Blush Bombs were actually made by Silena," Drew said quietly. "As well as Givenchy, and she was working on the prototype for the coat hanger zip lines. I was helping her on the zip lines just before the war started."
The cabin went silent in honor for Silena Beaurgard. "But the hairbrush was all you, Drew," Kayla said, smirking with pride.
"Actually, the whole cabin helped out on that," Piper pointed out. "I came up with the knife hidden in the hairbrush, Drew came up with the bombs in the handle, and Jennifer and Kayla and Lou Ellen did the star in the bristles, and Mitchell dragged all the ideas together to pack a helluva of a hit in a small brush."
"The ornaments were all you," Jennifer agreed. "I would have never have known that fertilizer and toothpaste had explosive tendencies."
"Leo did that," Percy said, laughing. "Jason told me the story after Leo told him what happened after Jason got a little tied up."
"Literally," Annabeth added dryly.
"Dad was notorious for making things explode in his plays, he picked up quite a bit and started experimenting when I was little," Drew explained.
Piper blinked. "He exploded things around a three-year-old?"
Drew was hasty to reassure her: "I was always within his sight when he was experimenting. If he thought bells would help him know where I was, I think he would've done it. And we both stood behind one of those Plexiglas barrier things when something was set to go off. The living room caught fire a lot."
"But seriously," Jen said, holding up a Christmas ornament. "These can seriously hurt someone."
Lacey grinned. "Then, we've got these," she said, holding up a bejeweled necklace. "It can act as an accessory, a magic item, or a rather lethal slingshot. See?" She put it on, gripping the biggest gem, shimmered for half a second, and vanished. "It can only be used a dozen times or so, unfortunately, but when you use up the magic, you can throw it into a herd of monsters and it'll blow up," Lacey's disembodied voice said. "And you can use it as a beautiful accessory."
The rest of the Aphrodite cabin nodded in agreement. "That's pretty much mandatory," Josh said.
Kayla smiled devilishly. "I made this," she said, holding up a lipstick tube. "It's a Tazer. Despicable Me 2 was just so cute I had to make something for it. Thankfully, there was the Lipstick Tazer that would go nicely with the others."
Percy glanced at Annabeth questioningly, his eyes saying, Despicable Me?
She shrugged helplessly.
I had waaaaaaaaaay too much fun with the weapons the Aphrodite cabin came up with, I think. Just kind of a fun filler chapter, and gods, is this long!
Oh...and I pulled some muscles in the left side of my torso, so if you see any typos, I'm so sorry about that. My left arm doesn't like working with me currently, especially with something detailed like writing or typing. Then again, my left arm doesn't really like me period at the moment, so...