Title: A Demigod's Tale
Status: In Progress
Fanfiction Type: Percy Jackson "Reading the Books" Fic
Expected Update Rate: Uncommon; once a month or less.
Words per Chapter Goal: A chapter per chapter.
Rating: T, for safety.
Pairings: Percabeth with touches of other pairings; Frank/Hazel, Jasper, Tratie, etc. No Thalico.
Point of View: Third Person
Plot Plans: Reading "The Last Olympian"
Expected At Full Length: Entire "The Last Olympian"
. : A DEMIGOD'S TALE : .
A Percy Jackson Fanfiction
Chapter Three: I Get a Sneak Peak at My Death
Disclaimer: I do not own Percy Jackson in any way, shape, or form.
If you want to be popular at Camp Half-Blood, don't come back from a mission with bad news.
"There's a slight duh right there," Piper smiled.
Word of my arrival spread as soon as I walked out of the ocean. Our beach is on the North Shore of Long Island, and it's enchanted so most people can't even see it.
"You have to be an epic demigod," Leo grinned.
Daniel gave him a look. "Psh, no such thing."
"Dude, we are the definition of epic."
Everyone chuckled at the exchange, glad to have something to break the remaining tension from last chapter. Leo and Daniel were having a mock stare-off, while the Stoll brothers cheered Leo on. Paul rolled his eyes and continued reading.
People don't just appear on the beach unless they're demigods or gods or really, really lost pizza delivery guys. (It's happened – but that's another story.)
"What happened?" Daniel asked, still staring at Leo.
"We happened!" the Stolls announced, grinning mischievously.
"Long story short, yes, they happened," Nico confirmed. "Perce told me this story, once. You guys prank called the pizza place, right?" They nodded.
Anyway, that afternoon the lookout on duty was Connor Stoll from the Hermes cabin.
Connor waved with extravagant enthusiasm.
When he spotted me, he got so excited he fell out of his tree.
Everyone laughed, even Travis. Connor pretended to glare at his half brother, blushing slightly and muttering "traitor" under his breath.
Then he blew the conch horn to signal the camp and ran to greet me.
Connor had a crooked smile that matched his crooked sense of humor. He's a pretty nice guy, but you should always keep one hand on your wallet when he's around, and do not, under any circumstances, give him access to shaving cream unless you want to find your sleeping bag full of it.
Daniel grinned. He and Leo had come to a truce, ceasing their stare-off and deeming each other 'epic' in the process. The Stolls didn't sound bad either, and Daniel decided to be friends with them as well.
He's got curly brown hair and is a little shorter than his brother, Travis, which is the only way I can tell them apart.
"What? There's a huge difference! I'm way better!" they simultaneously protested. Everyone laughed at their antics.
They are both so unlike my old enemy Luke it's hard to believe they're all sons of Hermes.
Almost instantly, the mood darkened.
"Percy!" he yelled. "What happened? Where's Beckendorf?"
Then he saw my expression, and his smile melted. "Oh, no. Poor Silena. Holy Zeus, when she finds out…"
The people from Goode looked down at the reminder, while the Greek and Roman demigods alike seemed to be in a slight daze as they had a small reminiscence of the past.
Together we climbed the sand dunes. A few hundred yards away, people were already streaming toward us, smiling and excited. Percy's back, they were probably thinking. He's saved the day! Maybe he brought souvenirs!
Some tittered uneasily, unable to bring themselves to actually laugh. Not so soon after the mention of an honorable demigod's death.
I stopped at the dining pavilion and waited for them. No sense rushing down there to tell them what a loser I was.
"Not a loser," a classmate murmured softly, but in the quiet room, she was easily heard. Others agreed wholeheartedly.
James, however, completely disagreed, and ranted so – in his mind. There was no way he'd say that out loud. Especially as Thalia was still within hearing range. He wasn't that stupid, no matter what others thought.
I gazed across the valley and tried to remember how Camp Half-Blood looked the first time I ever saw it. That seemed like a bajillion years ago.
"Not a word, Kelp Head. But yeah, I know what you mean." The Huntress closed her eyes for a moment.
From the dining pavilion, you could see pretty much everything. Hills ringed the valley. On the tallest, Half-Blood Hill, Thalia's pine tree stood with the Golden Fleece hanging from its branches, magically protecting the camp from its enemies.
Thalia gave a weary smile at the mention of her tree. A teacher spoke up.
"The actual Golden Fleece?" he asked, curious.
"Yup," Thalia confirmed. "I got poisoned when I was a tree – don't ask, it's a long story – so Percy and a few others went on a quest to get the Fleece to heal me. It actually managed to get me out of the tree too, which why I can be here right now."
"There's a lot more to that, isn't there?" the teacher deadpanned, much to Thalia's amusement as she nodded in confirmation.
The guard dragon Peleus was so big now I could see him from here – curled around the tree trunk, lending up smoke signals as he snored.
"You guys have a dragon? That's so cool!" a young student exclaimed, bouncing slightly in his seat. "Does that mean phoenixes are real, too?"
"I'm actually not too sure," Thalia admitted. "I've never seen one. I'll ask Artemis, later."
To my right spread the woods. To my left, the canoe lake glittered and the climbing wall glowed from the lava pouring down its side.
"Sounds like a great place," someone said. "Besides for the lava part, anyway."
The demigods from Camp Half-Blood grinned and nodded.
"It's really a beautiful place," Piper agreed.
Twelve cabins – one for each Olympian god – made a horseshoe pattern around the commons area.
Jason, Leo, and Piper looked confused. "Wait a minute, I thought there were more than just twelve cabins," the son of Zeus said.
"Shush," Nico whispered. "This is before we built those other cabins."
Hazel and Frank exchanged glances. "So that's why Percy asked if we were divided by godly parent," Hazel murmured.
Farther south were the strawberry fields, the armory, and the four-story Big House with its sky blue paint job and its bronze eagle weathervane.
"Yeah, I still can't believe you guys call it the Big House," Jason chuckled. "No imagination."
Nico and Thalia shrugged. "Not our fault," Thalia told her brother. "We didn't name it. Whoever did probably just looked at it and said, 'Oh, that's a big house,' and I guess the name just stuck."
In some ways, the camp hadn't changed. But you couldn't see the war by looking at the buildings or the fields. You could see it in the faces of the demigods and satyrs and naiads coming up the hill.
Piper thought about the slightly sad atmosphere Camp Half-Blood had while Percy was missing. She pictured it in the middle of a war and grimaced slightly, deciding that she never wanted to see the camp like that.
Most of the demigods on the Roman side could empathize. Camp Jupiter had gone though war as well, although since it was a military-like camp anyway, the effect wasn't there was much. But it was still there.
There weren't as many at camp as four summers ago. Some had left and never come back. Some had died fighting. Others – we tried not to talk about them – had gone over to the enemy.
The demigods, Greek and Roman alike, flinched. Both of them had friends who defected from their side. Octavian believed that more Greeks did than Romans, though.
The ones who were still here were battle-hardened and weary. There was little laughter at camp these days. Even the Hermes cabin didn't play so many pranks. It's hard to enjoy practical jokes when your whole life feels like one.
"Dude," Daniel hissed, nudging the Stolls. "You should've pulled out all the stops! Make everyone laugh again, looks like at this point, they kinda needed it."
The Stolls looked at each other and nodded slowly. "Yeah, we probably should've," Connor sighed. "But the entire feel of the camp was really depressing, and it just spread to us, I guess."
Chiron galloped into the pavilion first, which was easy for him since he's a white stallion from the waist down.
"Since you have the actual Golden Fleece, I shouldn't be surprise by this," a teacher sighed. "But I still am. He's the Chiron from the myths, right?"
"Yup!" Leo grinned.
His beard had grown wilder over the summer. He wore a green T-shirt that said MY OTHER CAR IS A CENTAUR and a bow slung over his back.
"Percy!" he said. "Thank the gods. But where…"
Annabeth ran in right behind him, and I'll admit my heart did a little relay race in my chest when I saw her.
Thalia and Nico just laughed. "Clueless," Nico gasped through his mirth.
It's not that she tried to look good. We'd been doing so many combat missions lately, she hardly brushed her curly blond hair anymore, and she didn't care what clothes she was wearing – usually the same old orange camp T-shirt and jeans, and once in a while her bronze armor.
Reyna sighed. Orange camp T-shirts, purple camp T-shirts. Was there really so much of a difference? The Fates were right (well, no surprise there), Camp Jupiter's attack on Camp Half-Blood was unneeded and unimportant. They should focus on Gaea instead.
Her eyes were stormy gray. Most of the time we couldn't get through a conversation without trying to strangle each other.
"And now look at them," Piper smiled softly, glancing back at the sleeping couple.
Still, just seeing her made me feel fuzzy in the head. Last summer, before Luke had turned into Kronos and everything went sour, there had been a few times when I thought maybe… well, that we might get past the strangle-each-other phase.
A series of "aww"s went around the room.
"What happened?" She grabbed my arm. "Is Luke–"
"The ship blew up," I said. "He wasn't destroyed. I don't know where–"
Silena Beauregard pushed through the crowd. Her hair wasn't combed and she wasn't even wearing makeup, which wasn't like her.
Piper's fists tightened.
"Where's Charlie?" she demanded, looking around like he might be hiding.
Thalia sighed and covered her eyes with a hand. Yes, she was a huntress, an eternal maiden sworn off men, but that didn't mean she didn't sympathize. And Silena's fate…
I glanced at Chiron helplessly.
The old centaur cleared his throat. "Silena, my dear, let's talk about this at the Big House–"
"No," she muttered. "No. No."
She started to cry, and the rest of us stood around, too stunned to speak. We'd already lost so many people over the summer, but this was the worst. With Beckendorf gone, it felt like someone had stolen the anchor for the entire camp.
The mood saddened, and Percy shifted in his sleep, as if he could feel the darkening atmosphere.
Finally Clarisse from the Ares cabin came forward. She put her arm around Silena. They had one of the strangest friendships ever – a daughter of the war god and a daughter of the love goddess – but ever since Silena had given Clarisse advice last summer about her first boyfriend, Clarisse had decided she was Silena's personal bodyguard.
A few chuckles echoed across the room, but that was all.
Clarisse was dressed in her bloodred combat armor, her brown hair tucked into a bandana. She was as big and beefy as a rugby player, with a permanent scowl on her face, but she spoke gently to Silena.
"Well, that's a strange combo," a student observed, though he sounded more depressed than amused.
"Come on, girl," she said. "Let's get to the Big House. I'll make you some hot chocolate."
"Chocolate makes everything better," Daniel said, trying to lighten up the room.
Everyone turned and wandered off in twos and threes, heading back to the cabins. Nobody was excited to see me now. Nobody wanted to hear about the blown-up ship.
Suddenly, Thalia leaned over to Nico and whispered, "Good thing Perce's asleep. If he heard this, he'd beat himself up for it again."
"Yeah…" Nico forced a grin. "But Annabeth would've smacked him and gotten him to stop."
Only Annabeth and Chiron stayed behind.
Annabeth wiped a tear from her cheek. "I'm glad you're not dead, Seaweed Brain."
"We're all glad about that," one of Percy's classmates proclaimed.
"Thanks," I said. "Me too."
"Even him!" Leo added with a smile. Several students chuckled, breaking the mood, and everyone felt a little better.
Chiron put a hand on my shoulder. "I'm sure you did everything you could, Percy. Will you tell us what happened?"
I didn't want to go through it again, but I told them the story, including my dream about the Titans. I left out the detail about Nico. Nico had made me promise not to tell anybody about his plan until I made up my mind, and the plan was so scary I didn't mind keeping it a secret.
"What was it?" Bobby, a legacy from Camp Jupiter, asked.
"Like before, not telling!" the son of Hades answered gleefully, relishing in the fact he knew something the others didn't.
Chiron gazed down at the valley. "We must call a war council immediately, to discuss this spy, and other matters."
"Poseidon mentioned another threat," I said. "Something even bigger than the Princess Andromeda. I thought it might be that challenge the Titan had mentioned in my dream."
"The challenge that Titan said something about the gods barely being able deal with or something like that?" a younger kid asked nervously.
"It was pretty severe," Thalia admitted. "The book will probably explain soon."
Chiron and Annabeth exchanged looks, like they knew something I didn't. I hated when they did that.
"He's not the only one, I hate it when they do that, too," the Stolls and Leo complained.
"I think we'd all hate it," a student chuckled.
"We will discuss that also," Chiron promised.
"One more thing." I took a deep breath. "When I talked to my father, he said to tell you it's time. I need to know the full prophecy."
Chiron's shoulders sagged, but he didn't look surprised. "I've dreaded this day. Very well. Annabeth, we will show Percy the truth – all of it. Let's go to the attic."
"The attic?" someone inquired, raising an eyebrow.
"It'll be explained."
I'd been to the Big House attic three times before, which was three times more than I wanted to.
Rachel smirked. "Good thing I'm not there, then."
"Oh," a teacher realized, picking up on the implication. "The Oracle used to be up there?"
"Yeah. Long story, you'll see."
A ladder led up from the top of the staircase. I wondered how Chiron was going to get up there, being half horse and all, but he didn't try.
"That would be pretty hard," Daniel said with a smile.
"You know where it is," he told Annabeth. "Bring it down, please."
Annabeth nodded. "Come on, Percy."
The sun was setting outside, so the attic was even darker and creepier than usual. Old hero trophies were slacked everywhere – dented shields, pickled heads in jars from various monsters, a pair of fuzzy dice on a bronze plaque that read: STOLEN FROM CHRYSAOR'S HONDA CIVIC, BY GUS, SON OF HERMES, 1988.
"One of the best sons of Hermes ever," Travis added.
Connor grinned. "Yeah, that guy could steal anything. He was awesome at stuff like that."
"Your idol?" Thalia inquired drily. At their nods, she sighed and said, "Figured as much. Surprised you haven't stolen anything so far, actually – wait, don't tell me, you actually have taken something."
"We have no idea what you're talking about," the Stolls replied instantly, hiding their hands behind their backs as they donned identical masks of innocence on their faces.
I picked up a curved bronze sword so badly bent it looked like the letter M. I could still see green stains on the metal from the magical poison that used to cover it. The tag was dated last summer. It read: Scimitar of Kampê, destroyed in the Battle of the Labyrinth.
"Last summer?" a girl from Goode repeated incredulously.
Nico nodded, recalling the times. "Well, not last summer anymore, but yeah." He glanced to the side. "One of the major battles in this war. As a result, Daedalus and lots of others died and the Labyrinth collapsed, but… It wasn't a victory for the Titans, at least."
"Long story short, he used mechanical bodies to stay alive."
"You remember Briares throwing those boulders?" I asked.
Annabeth gave me a grudging smile. "And Grover causing a Panic?"
"I thought that was a power of Pan," Dakota said, frowning. As his father's Greek form was close with the fauns – satyrs, actually – he knew of the god of the Wild.
"It is," Nico confirmed. "Grover invoked it… Pan blessed him, so it's not all that surprising."
We locked eyes. I thought of a different time last summer, under Mount St. Helens, when Annabeth thought I was going to die and she kissed me.
Cue the adorable coos, directed at the still unconscious duo.
She cleared her throat and looked away. "Prophecy."
"Right." I put down the scimitar. "Prophecy."
We walked over to the window. On a three-legged stool sat the Oracle – a shriveled female mummy in a tie-dyed dress.
"Not me, the previous Oracle," Rachel said when some people gave her looks.
Tufts of black hair clung to her skull. Glassy eyes stared out of her leathery face. Just looking at her made my skin crawl.
"Yuck. Good thing you're not like that," a student remarked, relatively disgusted.
"Well, I'm not dead, so I sure hope not."
"The Oracle was dead?"
"Long story involving curses and death. It'll probably be explained later."
Octavian overheard and huffed indignantly. The Roman way, with auguries and sacrifices, was much better, in his opinion.
Jason, as if he'd read the auger's mind, murmured something about how "Roman" stuffed animals were, to his friends' amusement.
If you wanted to leave camp during the summer, it used to be you had to come up here to get a quest. This summer, that rule had been tossed. Campers left all the time on combat missions. We had no choice if we wanted to stop Kronos.
"Talk about a stressful, busy summer," someone commented.
"Yeah, it's called 'Summer Break' for a reason, you know," another agreed.
"Not for us demigods…" Connor paused, but his brother picked up where he'd left off.
"During the war, at least. Otherwise, it's usually pretty fun–"
"Especially in the Hermes Cabin!" Connor claimed enthusiastically, accidentally interrupting Travis, though it didn't look like the interrupted son of Hermes cared.
Still, I remembered too well the strange green mist – the spirit of the Oracle – that lived inside the mummy. She looked lifeless now, but whenever she spoke a prophecy, she moved. Sometimes fog gushed out of her mouth and created strange shapes. Once, she'd even left the attic and taken a little zombie stroll into the woods to deliver a message.
Rachel smirked eerily at the strange glances she received.
I wasn't sure what she'd do for the "Great Prophecy." I half expected her to start tap dancing or something.
"What. Just, what." The entire student, teacher, and Roman body seemed to be fazed by Percy's expectations.
"Don't question Kelp Head's thoughts. They just don't make sense," Thalia advised seriously, though her twitching lips gave her away.
But she just sat there like she was dead – which she was.
"I never understood this," I whispered.
"What?" Annabeth asked.
"Why it's a mummy."
"Percy, she didn't used to be a mummy. For thousands of years the spirit of the Oracle lived inside a beautiful maiden. The spirit would be passed on from generation to generation. Chiron told me she was like that fifty years ago." Annabeth pointed at the mummy. "But she was the last."
"What happened?" a persistent student asked.
"Dude, how many times to we have to say 'you'll see' before it sinks in?"
"See? Even Percy's curious!"
Annabeth started to say something, then apparently changed her mind. "Let's just do our job and get out of here."
I looked nervously at the Oracle's withered face. "So what now?"
Annabeth approached the mummy and held out her palms. "O Oracle, the time is at hand. I ask for the Great Prophecy."
I braced myself, but the mummy didn't move. Instead, Annabeth approached and unclasped one of its necklaces. I'd never paid too much attention to its jewelry before. I figured it was just hippie love beads and stuff.
"And stuff. Wow, Perce." Rachel shook her head in mock despair.
But when Annabeth turned toward me, she was holding a leather pouch – like a Native American medicine pouch on a cord braided with feathers. She opened the bag and took out a roll of parchment no bigger than her pinky.
"No way," I said. "You mean all these years, I've been asking about this stupid prophecy, and it's been right there around her neck?"
"If he'd been curious enough, he could've taken it whenever he wanted?" a teacher asked.
"Well, yeah, but would you want to take some old jewelry off an old mummy that can spout green mist and talk at any time?"
"That's what I thought," Thalia nodded.
"The time wasn't right," Annabeth said. "Believe me, Percy, I read this when I was ten years old, and I still have nightmares about it."
"Ominous," a teacher muttered.
"Great," I said. "Can I read it now?"
"Downstairs at the war council," Annabeth said. "Not in front of… you know."
Some people shivered.
I looked at the glassy eyes of the Oracle, and I decided not to argue. We headed downstairs to join the others. I didn't know it then, but it would be the last time I ever visited the attic.
"Oh, that's wonderful."
"Thalia, I can't tell whether you're being sarcastic or not."
"Both, Death Breath. Duh!"
The senior counselors had gathered around the Ping-Pong table.
"Did we miss something?" a kid asked in confusion.
"Nah," Piper laughed. "For whatever reason, we use the Ping-Pong table."
"There's probably a story behind it," Leo guessed.
The Stolls only grinned.
Don't ask me why, but the rec room had become the camp's informal headquarters for war councils.
"Emphasis on 'informal'," Bobby murmured, glancing at his Praetor, Reyna. There was nothing informal about their "war councils", except for the occasional bouts of immaturity.
When Annabeth, Chiron, and I came in, though, it looked more like a shouting match.
Clarisse was still in full battle gear. Her electric spear was strapped to her back.
"A good choice in weapon," Thalia approved. Nico rolled his eyes.
(Actually, her second electric spear, since I'd broken the first one. She called the spear "Maimer." Behind her back, everybody else called it "Lamer.")
"Good thing she isn't here," Daniel snickered.
She had her boar-shaped helmet under one arm and a knife at her belt.
She was in the midst of yelling at Michael Yew, the new head counselor for Apollo, which looked kind of funny since Clarisse was a foot taller.
Half-stifled laughter spread through the listeners.
Michael had taken over the Apollo cabin after Lee Fletcher died in battle last summer.
The amusement died. Piper, Leo, and Jason suddenly stiffened, realizing that the current counselor of the Apollo demigods was not named Michael, meaning…
Michael stood four feet six, with another two feet of attitude. He reminded me of a ferret, with a pointy nose and scrunched-up features – either because he scowled so much or because he spent too much time looking down the shaft of an arrow.
A couple people smiled at the comparison.
"It's our loot!" he yelled, standing on his tiptoes so he could get in Clarisse's face. "If you don't like it, you can kiss my quiver!"
"What a wonderful… threat? What do you call that?" a classmate wondered.
Thalia shrugged. "Dunno. Now, shut up and listen."
Around the table, people were trying not to laugh – the Stoll brothers,
Said people waved cheerily.
Pollux from the Dionysus cabin, Katie Gardner from Demeter. Even Jake Mason, the hastily appointed new counselor from Hephaestus, managed a faint smile.
Leo sighed, uncharacteristically quiet.
Only Silena Beauregard didn't pay any attention. She sat beside Clarisse and stared vacantly at the Ping-Pong net. Her eyes were red and puffy. A cup of hot chocolate sat untouched in front of her.
"I feel really bad for her…" some people mused to themselves.
It seemed unfair that she had to be here. I couldn't believe Clarisse and Michael standing over her, arguing about something as stupid as loot, when she'd just lost Beckendorf.
"Yeah, I agree," nodded a student.
"STOP IT!" I yelled. "What are you guys doing?"
Clarisse glowered at me. "Tell Michael not to be a selfish jerk."
"Oh, that's perfect, coming from you," Michael said.
"The only reason I'm here is to support Silena!" Clarisse shouted. "Otherwise I'd be back in my cabin."
"Well, she has a heart, whadya know," Nico murmured, not unkindly.
"What are you talking about?" I demanded.
Pollux cleared his throat. "Clarisse has refused to speak to any of us, until her, um, issue is resolved. She hasn't spoken for three days."
"It's been wonderful," Travis Stoll said wistfully.
"What?" Travis asked when people turned to look at him. "If you knew her, you'd be happy, too!"
"Yeah, but this is the middle of the war," Thalia responded, rolling her eyes. "If you guys can't make decisions because she's refusing to speak, then you've got a serious issue on your hands."
"What issue?" I asked.
"That's the question," one of the adults muttered.
Clarisse turned to Chiron. "You're in charge, right? Does my cabin get what we want or not?"
"Notice how they ignored Perce," Nico chuckled.
Chiron shuffled his hooves. "My dear, as I've already explained, Michael is correct. Apollo's cabin has the best claim. Besides, we have more important matters–"
"Sure," Clarisse snapped. "Always more important matters than what Ares needs. We're just supposed to show up and fight when you need us, and not complain!"
"There's a point there, but it's pointing at the wrong time."
"That made no sense, Travis."
"Of course it didn't, Piper! Why else would I say it?"
The daughter of Aphrodite threw her hands up in an "I-give-up" gesture.
"That would be nice," Connor Stoll muttered.
"Probably not the best time to say that," Connor admitted meekly.
Clarisse gripped her knife. "Maybe I should ask Mr. D–"
"Mr. D, our camp director."
The Romans looked curious. Who ran the Greek camp? The Praetors ran theirs.
"As you know," Chiron interrupted, his tone slightly angry now, "our director, Dionysus, is busy with the war. He can't be bothered with this."
"No way!" Dakota exclaimed, jumping to his feet. He wasn't the only surprised one. In general, the Romans looked like they suddenly decided (of their own will, instead of the Fates') that invading the camp would not be a good idea.
"Yes way!" Travis and Connor yelled back in the same manner, also getting up.
"He's pretty annoying," Nico sighed. "Can't get anyone's names right."
Meanwhile, the mortals exchanged shocked looks. A god directed their camp?
"Chiron got mad? Geez, that's like…" Leo trailed off.
"Yeah, he seems like he has endless patience," Piper agreed.
Jason shrugged. "Well, I guess even he has his limits."
"I see," Clarisse said. "And the senior counselors? Are any of you going to side with me?"
Nobody was smiling now. None of them met Clarisse's eyes.
"Fine." Clarisse turned to Silena. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to get into this when you've just lost… Anyway, I apologize. To you. Nobody else."
"Picky," Nico snorted.
Silena didn't seem to register her words.
Clarisse threw her knife on the Ping-Pong table. "All of you can fight this war without Ares. Until I get satisfaction, no one in my cabin is lifting a finger to help. Have fun dying."
"But isn't Ares the Greek side of Mars, the god of war? You'll need him to win the war, right? And his demigods should be excellent fighters," Bobby protested.
"Well, Athena is a goddess of war too, but yeah, it isn't the same," Thalia answered, glancing at Annabeth. "You'll see what happens."
The counselors were all too stunned to say anything as Clarisse stormed out of the room.
Finally Michael Yew said, "Good riddance."
"Not really," a student protested.
"Are you kidding?" Katie Gardner protested. "This is a disaster!"
"My point exactly!"
"She can't be serious," Travis said. "Can she?"
Chiron sighed. "Her pride has been wounded. She'll calm down eventually." But he didn't sound convinced.
I wanted to ask what the heck Clarisse was so mad about, but I looked at Annabeth and she mouthed the words I'll tell you later.
"You know, it should be something big, otherwise it really isn't worth it."
Travis and Connor winced. No, it really wasn't.
"Now," Chiron continued, "if you please, counselors. Percy has brought something I think you should hear. Percy – the Great Prophecy."
"Not a word, Death Breath."
"Yeah, you'd know, with your dad being the god of drama, right, Pikachu?"
"Pikachu? Oh, no you don't! Come back here, you demonic spawn of demons, I'm gonna run you through with my spear and–"
Paul cleared his throat uncomfortably.
Annabeth handed me the parchment. It felt dry and old, and my fingers fumbled with the string. I uncurled the paper, trying not to rip it, and began to read:
"A half-blood of the eldest dogs…"
"Say what?" several people asked, blinking.
"Er, Percy?" Annabeth interrupted. "That's gods. Not dogs."
"Alright, that makes more since."
"To be fair, he's dyslexic, so…" Piper trailed off.
"Oh, right," I said. Being dyslexic is one mark of a demigod, but sometimes I really hate it. The more nervous I am, the worse my reading gets. "A half-blood of the eldest gods… shall reach sixteen against all odds…"
"That's not too bad," James scoffed. "I don't see what you're all getting scared about."
"Wait 'till the end," Rachel answered tersely.
I hesitated, staring at the next lines. A cold feeling started in my fingers as if the paper was freezing.
"And see the world in endless sleep,
The hero's soul, cursed blade shall reap."
Tense breaths were drawn. Someone would be dying. Another victim of the war. A couple classmates, once again, looked at Percy to ensure that he was actually there.
Travis and Connor frowned. They hated Luke, yes, but he was their blood family, and he had made the right choice in the end. The thought of their dead half-brother still pained them.
Suddenly Riptide seemed heavier in my pocket. A cursed blade?
Chiron once told me Riptide had brought many people sorrow. Was it possible my own sword could get me killed? And how could the world fall into endless sleep, unless that meant death?
Now people were looking at themselves, wondering how that happened.
"Such pessimistic thoughts," Thalia sighed. "That's your thing, Death Breath." Nico shrugged, the beginnings of a smile pulling at his lips.
"Percy," Chiron urged. "Read the rest."
"There's more?" someone groaned.
My mouth felt like it was full of sand, but I spoke the last two lines.
"A single choice shall… shall end his days. Olympus to per – pursue–"
"Preserve," Annabeth said gently. "It means to save. "
"I know what it means," I grumbled. "Olympus to preserve or raze."
"Wait, doesn't that mean that it doesn't matter what choice he makes, he'll still die?"
People sat back and thought about that for a moment, though the Greek demigods were thinking more along the lines of what would've happened if Luke didn't make that one choice in the end.
The room was silent. Finally Connor Stoll said, "Raise is good, isn't it?"
"Wrong word, bro."
"Shut up, Travis."
"Not raise, "Silena said. Her voice was hollow, but I was startled to hear her speak at all. "R-a-z-e means destroy."
"Obliterate," Annabeth said. "Annihilate. Turn to rubble."
"Whoa. Okay, then. Definitely not good," mumbled a kid who hadn't known what "raze" meant.
"Got it." My heart felt like lead. "Thanks."
Everybody was looking at me – with concern, or pity, or maybe a little fear.
"Wait, why fear?" an adult inquired.
"Part of it was 'cause we didn't know if he'd make the right choice, honestly," Connor admitted quietly. "But not too much, because, well, Percy's usually pretty strong in the mental stubbornness area. Mostly, it was that we were afraid he was going to die."
Chiron closed his eyes as if he were saying a prayer. In horse form, his head almost brushed the lights in the rec room. "You see now, Percy, why we thought it best not to tell you the whole prophecy. You've had enough on your shoulders–"
"Without realizing I was going to die in the end anyway?" I said. "Yeah, I get it."
"Kinda harsh, but true. Not to mention depressing," said a student.
Chiron gazed at me sadly. The guy was three thousand years old. He'd seen hundreds of heroes die. He might not like it, but he was used to it. He probably knew better than to try to reassure me.
"Can you imagine the pain he has to go through, watching people die?" a teacher sighed.
"I guess Perce turned down immortality so that he didn't have to watch Annabeth die," Nico whispered to Thalia.
"Yeah, though part of that was because he just couldn't stand the thought of leaving her. Once, he thought she was going to join Artemis, and he was terrified," she whispered back.
"Percy," Annabeth said. "You know prophecies always have double meanings. It might not literally mean you die."
"Sure," I said. "A single choice shall end his days. That has tons of meanings, right?"
"It could be a giant metaphor," a student suggested. "Besides, it doesn't say who 'he' is."
"Maybe we can stop it," Jake Mason offered. "The hero's soul, cursed blade shall reap. Maybe we could find this cursed blade and destroy it. Sounds like Kronos's scythe, right?"
"Possibly," someone nodded, but Rachel shook her head.
"You can't stop a prophecy."
I hadn't thought about that, but it didn't matter if the cursed blade was Riptide or Kronos's scythe. Either way, I doubted we could stop the prophecy. A blade was supposed to reap my soul. As a general rule, I preferred not to have my soul reaped.
"Just realized that he forced the entire prophecy onto himself. That part didn't apply to him."
"Wow, slow, much?" Connor murmured to his brother in a half-teasing way.
"Perhaps we should let Percy think about these lines," Chiron said. "He needs time–"
"No." I folded up the prophecy and shoved it into my pocket. I felt defiant and angry, though I wasn't sure who I was angry with. "I don't need time. If I die, I die. I can't worry about that, right?"
"Yeah, but…" Hazel groaned despairingly. "I didn't realize how much of a pessimist he was!"
Annabeth's hands were shaking a little. She wouldn't meet my eyes.
"Let's move on," I said. "We've got other problems. We've got a spy."
Michael Yew scowled. "A spy?"
Several people scowled as well. "Yeah, not good news."
I told them what had happened on the Princess Andromeda – how Kronos had known we were coming, how he'd shown me the silver scythe pendant he'd used to communicate with someone at camp.
Silena started to cry again, and Annabeth put an arm around her shoulders.
The Greek demigods exchanged looks, just now realizing what she'd really been crying about.
"Well," Connor Stoll said uncomfortably, "we've suspected there might a spy for years, right? Somebody kept passing information to Luke – like the location of the Golden Fleece a couple of years ago. It must be somebody who knew him well."
Maybe subconsciously, he glanced at Annabeth. She'd known Luke better than anyone, of course, but Connor looked away quickly.
"Good thing she's still asleep," Thalia muttered to the son of Hermes. "She'd gut you for that."
"Um, I mean, it could be anybody."
"Yes." Katie Gardner frowned at the Stoll brothers. She'd disliked them ever since they'd decorated the grass roof of the Demeter cabin with chocolate Easter bunnies.
"I think that would actually look pretty nice…" Piper mumbled to herself.
"Like one of Luke's siblings."
Connor shifted uneasily. "Sure, he's our brother, but…"
"…we'd never, ever, betray the entire camp just for one person. Besides, we have other siblings, too," Travis finished.
Travis and Connor both started arguing with her.
"Stop!" Silena banged the table so hard her hot chocolate spilled. "Charlie's dead and… and you're all arguing like little kids!" She put her head down and began to sob.
"Poor, poor her," several teachers whispered.
Hot chocolate trickled off the Ping-Pong table. Everybody looked ashamed.
"We were," Connor admitted.
"She's right," Pollux said at last. "Accusing each other doesn't help. We need to keep our eyes open for a silver necklace with a scythe charm. If Kronos had one, the spy probably does too."
Michael Yew grunted. "We need to find this spy before we plan our next operation. Blowing up the Princess Andromeda won't stop Kronos forever."
"Sadly," Connor sighed.
"No indeed," Chiron said. "In fact his next assault is already on the way."
I scowled. "You mean the 'bigger threat' Poseidon mentioned?"
He and Annabeth looked at each other like, It's time. Did I mention I hate it when they do that?
"Yeah, you did," Daniel grinned.
"Percy," Chiron said, "we didn't want to tell you until you returned to camp. You needed a break with your… mortal friends."
Annabeth blushed. It dawned on me that she knew I'd been hanging out with Rachel, and I felt guilty. Then I felt angry that I felt guilty. I was allowed to have friends outside camp, right? It wasn't like…
A few people chuckled. Sure, Perce. Keep telling yourself that.
"Tell me what's happened," I said.
Chiron picked up a bronze goblet from the snack table. He tossed water onto the hot plate where we usually melted nacho cheese. Steam billowed up, making a rainbow in the fluorescent lights. Chiron fished a golden drachma out of his pouch, tossed it through the mist, and muttered, "O Iris, Goddess of the Rainbow, show us the threat."
"Whoa. Wait so, if we through a dram- Um, a drachma," the student stumbled on the unfamiliar word, "through a rainbow, then Iris will show us whatever we want?"
"On the condition of being a demigod, of course."
"It's a tad more helpful than messenger eagles," Frank murmured to Reyna.
The mist shimmered. I saw the familiar image of a smoldering volcano – Mount St. Helens. As I watched, the side of the mountain exploded. Fire, ash, and lava rolled out. A newscaster's voice was saying "–even larger than last year's eruption, and geologists warn that the mountain may not be done."
A classmate blinked in recognition. "I heard about that…"
"We all did," said one of the students sitting beside him.
I knew all about last year's eruption. I'd caused it.
"He did what?"
"Long story. Tell you guys later, maybe," Nico said to Piper.
But this explosion was much worse. The mountain tore itself apart, collapsing inward, and an enormous form rose out of the smoke and lava like it was emerging from a manhole. I hoped the Mist would keep the humans from seeing it clearly, because what I saw would've caused panic and riots across the entire United States.
"Which was just what we needed," Thalia muttered sarcastically.
The giant was bigger than anything I'd ever encountered. Even my demigod eyes couldn't make out its exact form through the ash and fire, but it was vaguely humanoid and so huge it could've used the Chrysler Building as a baseball bat. The mountain shook with a horrible rumbling, as if the monster were laughing.
"Yup, it's exactly what we needed," Nico grinned.
"We get the point, now shut up," Rachel reprimanded without even glancing at him.
"It's him," I said. "Typhon."
"Who?" an oblivious student asked. Nobody answered. (nobody, not Nobody)
I was seriously hoping Chiron would say something good, like No, that's our huge friend Leroy! He's going to help us! But no such luck.
"One would wish," Thalia agreed.
He simply nodded. "The most horrible monster of all, the biggest single threat the gods ever faced. He has been freed from under the mountain at last. But this scene is from two days ago. Here is what is happening today."
Chiron waved his hand and the image changed. I saw a bank of storm clouds rolling across the Midwest plains. Lightning flickered. Lines of tornadoes destroyed everything in their path – ripping up houses and trailers, tossing cars around like Matchbox toys.
"Good thing it didn't reach us…" Trailing off as he took in the demigods' expressions, the student asked, "Did it?"
"You'll have to see," Nico shrugged.
"Monumental floods," an announcer was saying. "Five states declared disaster areas as the freak storm system sweeps east, continuing its path of destruction." The cameras zoomed in on a column of storm bearing down on some Midwest city. I couldn't tell which one. Inside the storm I could see the giant – just small glimpses of his true form: a smoky arm, a dark clawed hand the size of a city block. His angry roar rolled across the plains like a nuclear blast. Other smaller forms darted through the clouds, circling the monster. I saw flashes of light, and I realized the giant was trying to swat them. I squinted and thought I saw a golden chariot flying into the blackness. Then some kind of huge bird – a monstrous owl – dived in to attack the giant.
"What's that?" several people wondered aloud.
"Are those… the gods?" I said.
"Yes, Percy," Chiron said. "They have been fighting him for days now, trying to slow him down. But Typhon is marching forward – toward New York. Toward Olympus."
"Olympus is in New York?" someone exclaimed, shocked.
"Well, yeah," Thalia replied.
"We'll get to that. By the gods, you're so impatient!" she muttered.
I let that sink in. "How long until he gets here?"
"Unless the gods can stop him? Perhaps five days. Most of the Olympians are there… except your father, who has a war of his own to fight."
"But then who's guarding Olympus?"
Connor Stoll shook his head. "If Typhon gets to New York, it won't matter who's guarding Olympus."
One of the Goode kids tilted her head slightly. "So they're just putting all their energy against Typhon?"
"Yeah. And it's sort of reasonable, too, seeing as he's the biggest threat," Rachel answered.
"But they shouldn't just leave Olympus unguarded…"
I thought about Kronos's words on the ship: I would love to see the terror in your eyes when you realize how I will destroy Olympus.
Was this what he was talking about: an attack by Typhon? It was sure terrifying enough. But Kronos was always fooling us, misdirecting our attention. This seemed too obvious for him. And in my dream, the golden Titan had talked about several more challenges to come, as if Typhon were only the first.
"If Typhon's the first, I don't want to see the others," someone said fearfully.
"It's a trick," I said. "We have to warn the gods. Something else is going to happen."
Chiron looked at me gravely. "Something worse than Typhon? I hope not."
"We have to defend Olympus," I insisted. "Kronos has another attack planned."
"He did," Travis Stoll reminded me. "But you sunk his ship." Everyone was looking at me. They wanted some good news. They wanted to believe that at least I'd given them a little bit of hope.
"Yeah, we did," Travis said quietly. "The whole war was… pretty depressing, even without the deaths."
I glanced at Annabeth. I could tell we were thinking the same thing: What if the Princess Andromeda was a ploy? What if Kronos let us blow up that ship so we'd lower our guard?
Sharp gasps went around the room. He could be right. But then…
But I wasn't going to say that in front of Silena. Her boyfriend had sacrificed himself for that mission.
"Maybe you're right," I said, though I didn't believe it.
I tried to imagine how things could get much worse. The gods were in the Midwest fighting a huge monster that had almost defeated them once before. Poseidon was under siege and losing a war against the sea Titan Oceanus. Kronos was still out there somewhere. Olympus was virtually undefended. The demigods of Camp Half-Blood were on our own with a spy in our midst.
"I see what you mean by depressing," Daniel mused to Travis.
Oh, and according to the ancient prophecy, I was going to die when I turned sixteen – which happened to be in five days, the exact same time Typhon was supposed to hit New York. Almost forgot that.
"At least it means you'll definitely survive until then!" Leo offered.
"Well," Chiron said, "I think that's enough for one night." He waved his hand and the steam dissipated. The stormy battle of Typhon and the gods disappeared.
"That's an understatement," I muttered.
And the war council adjourned.
Everyone was pretty quiet as Paul glanced at the next page and said, "Chapter four, We Burn a Metal Shroud."
DragonAce1999: So... This is extraordinarily late, I know, and I'm very sorry. But I lent out my copy of the book to a friend... And I got it back about the time my computer broke... And then I updated Guild of Chaos...
Anyway, thank you all for reading! Special thanks to the following reviewers of last chapter:
TimeLadyofTARDIS, CaptainSeaWater, annabeth lopez, TalkingFish, maverickiceman, SomethingMoreCreative, ClearBear, percylover4ever, Phoenix the Shade goddess, LovePercabeth4eva, Lady Kid, Guest, The Demigod Gryffindor, RTRfootball, kookiepup12, The Keeper of Worlds, ADayWithNoLaughterIsADayWasted (love your name, by the way), Nico's Girlfriend1, ClearBear (did you log out and in to review twice?), Oboealison, Guest, PokemonandPJO, Laureleaf3, Curlycorkscrewsrule12, StellaHunterOfArtemis, MidnightGlows, Silver Moon Huntress, Saraarena, Xtine, DeadGirl4Ever, and 1 PERCY JACKSON FAN.
Thank you for your patience, and please review!