Sorry that it took so long, everything bold is Rick Rioden's not mine. ENJOY!
It wasn't long after we gathered to talk about Percy and Annabeth falling, when we were transported to the old Olympus. Now seeing Percy and Annabeth back to back weapons out, eyes flashing with pain and sorrow was remarkable yet depressing. Slices, bruises, scratches, and monster dust covered every inch of their bodies. Without thinking about what Tartarus might of done to their minds, I rushed forward and embraced them. I could feel them stiffen as I did; I stepped back and mumbled an apology. I heard the Greeks and Reyna yell out "Percy!"
Piper being the first to recover of the seven told them in hollow tone, "We missed you. We were sailing to the doors when we were transported here."
Leo being insensitive said, "I'm sorry, its my fault. I opened the fortune cookie. Is it as bad as we think it is?"
Percy and Annabeth cringed and Annabeth answered, "It's not your fault. And it's much worse."
The gods and Chiron exchanged questioning looks concerning where they had come from. Percy left Annabeth leaning against me and limped to Apollo and asked in his most polite tone, which I have never heard him use for the gods we have met. "Can you heal Annabeth's ankle she broke it and when we fell-fell," he stumbled but I don't blame him though, "it got a lot worse."
Apollo smiled drily, "It looks like you both need some healing."
Apollo got to work while everyone sent us questioning looks. I spoke up to avoid the topic and suggested, "Percy and Annabeth should introduce themselves and then we can start reading about our quest."
Percy spoke, "Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon, Savior of Olympus, Praetor of Camp Jupiter, and one of the seven."
He sat down on a love seat next to Annabeth, that Aphrodite insisted he and Annabeth sat on instead of a couch. Athena and Poseidon didn't seem to like that very much, wait until they find out about them dating. "Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena," Octavian looked scandalized as Annabeth spoke, "Architect of Olympus, restorer of Athena Parthenos, and one of the seven."
Athena looked like she was about to do a victory dance, but only said gleefully, "Continue Reyna."
Reyna once again started reading, "Until she met the exploding statue, Annabeth thought she was prepared for anything. She paced the deck of their flying warship, the ArgoII, checking and double-checking the balllistae to make sure they were locked down. She confirmed that the white "We come in peace" flag was flying from the mast. She reviewed the plan with the rest of the crew-and the backup plan, and the backup plan for the backup plan."
"That's a lot of plans, Wise girl." Percy teased Annabeth with a cocky smile.
Its almost like they never went to Tartarus. "Athena always, always has a plan." She smiled as the couple exchanged looks and burst out laughing.
"Most important she pulled aside their war-crazed chaperone, Coach Gleeson Hedge, and encouraged him to take the morning off in his cabin and watch mixed martial arts championships. The last thing they needed as they flew a magical Greek trireme into a potentially hostile Roman camp-"
The Romans, including me all viciously yelled, "We're not hostile!"
The Stolls imitated us, "We're not hostile!" they slammed their fists into the love seat arm to add to the comedic value, and continued, "The Romans are in-denial!"
The Greeks, Apollo, and Hermes fell out of their seats laughing. Some of the other gods laughed, but not to that extent. Frank, Jason, and I chuckled at the joke. I will admit it was funny. Octavian stood up red with anger, "Oh, I'll get you two for that-"
Finally Clarisse spoke bluntly much like an average child of Mars, "Shut up! Your irritating and no one cares."
I'm beginning to like her. Reyna continued reading, "was a middle aged satyr in gym close waving a club and yelling "Die!" This brought another round of laughter, "Everything seemed to be in order. Even that mysterious chill she'd been feeling since the ship launched had dissipated, at least for now."
The seven exchanged looks, we hated those eidoldons. "The warship descended in the clouds, but Annabeth couldn't stop second guessing herself. What if this was a bad idea? What if the Romans panicked and attacked them on sight?"
"I would stop them before they ever attacked you, Wise Girl." Percy told her seriously.
Aphrodite was looked like she was going to faint sensing their love. "The Argo II definitely did not look friendly. Two hundred feet long, with a bronze plated hull, mounted repeating crossbows fore and aft, a flaming metal dragon for a figurehead," Leo looked down remembering Festus when he was complete, "two rotating ballistae amidships that could bolts powerful enough to blast through concrete... well, it wasn't the most appropriate ride for a meet-and-greet with the neighbors."
"You think?" Thalia sarcastically remarked.
Hephaestus admired Leo as the description of the Argo II was read. "Annabeth had tried the give the Romans a heads-up. She'd asked Leo to send one of his special inventions- a holographic scroll- to alert their friends inside camp. Hopefully the message had gotten through. Leo had wanted to paint a giant message on the bottom of the hull- WASSUP? with a smiley face- but Annabeth vetoed the idea."
"Awwww! Annie, why do you always ruin the fun!" Travis and Conner whined. In response Annabeth motioned for Katie to hit them, which she did before leaning back into a smirking Travis "Ow Katie, darling to think you'd hit your handsome, amazing boyfriend like that?"
"She wasn't so sure the Romans had a sense of humor."
"HEY!" All of the Romans yelled as the Greeks laughed.
"Well, judging by Jason," Annabeth started, "I didn't think that Romans had one."
"I do have a sense of humor!" Jason yelled as Annabeth leaned against Percy, both of which were chuckling.
Poseidon and Athena looked like they were going to have a heart-attack, while looking at the couple and a giggling Aphrodite. "Too late to turn back now. The clouds broke the hull, revealing the gold-and-green carpet of the Oakland Hills below them. Annabeth gripped one of the bronze shields that lined the starboard rail. Her three crew mates took their places. On the stern quarterdeck, Leo rushed around like a madman, checking his gauges and wrestling levers. Most helmsman would've been satisfied with a pilot's wheel or a tiller. Leo had also installed a keyboard, monitor, aviation controls from a Learjet, a dubstep soundboard, and motion-control sensors from a Nintendo Wii."
Heracles and Theseus's eyes glazed over, "What is that?"
Before Leo and Annabeth could answer, Clarisse demanded, "Read!" Then took Chris's hand as Reyna read, "He could turn the ship by pulling on the throttle, fire weapons by sampling an album, or raise sails by shaking his Wii controllers really fast. Even by demigod standards, Leo was seriously ADHD." Leo bowed as the Stolls and Chris gave him a standing ovation, "Piper paced back and forth between the mainmast and the ballistae, practicing her lines. "Lower your weapons," she murmured, "We just want to talk." Her charmspeak was so powerful, the words flowed over Annabeth, filling her with the desire to drop her dagger and have a nice long chat. For a child of Aphrodite, Piper tried hard to play down her beauty. Today she was dressed in tattered jeans, worn-out sneakers, and a white tank top with pink Hello Kitty designs. (Maybe as a joke, though Annabeth could never be quite sure with Piper.)"
"It was actually," Piper said, leaning into Jason, "I'm glad someone noticed."
"Her choppy brown hair was braided down the right side with an eagle's feather. Then there was Piper's boyfriend- Jason." Aphrodite squealed and flooded Piper and Jason with questions, when Reyna cleared her throat and continued, "He stood at the bow, on a raised crossbow platform, where the Romans could easily spot him. His knuckles were white on the hilt of his sword. Otherwise, he looked calm for a guy who was making himself a target. Over his jeans and his orange Camp Half-Blood T-shirt, he donned a toga and a purple cloak, the symbols of his old rank as Praetor. With his wind-ruffled blond hair, and his icy-blue eyes, he looked ruggedly handsome and in control, just like a son of Jupiter should. He'd grown up at Camp Jupiter so hopefully, his familiar face would make the Romans hesitate to blow them out of the sky. Annabeth tried to hide it, but, she didn't really trust the guy."
"You don't trust me?" Jason asked, hurt.
"Oh, Jason, I am so sorry. I'm just used to a stupid Seaweed Brain, who never follows the rules." Annabeth apologized.
"Hey! I'm not stupid!" Percy said irritated.
"Yes you are Kelp Head!" Thalia replied.
"Now Captain Seawater, we all know you are." Jason smirked.
"At least you're smarter than those three." Nico pointed to Leo and the Stolls.
"We're smarter than Aqua Dude!" They yelled.
"I'm not an idiot!"
"Oh shut up Prissy!" Clarisse yelled next.
"Percy, what's with the nicknames?" Reyna said trying to get a story from him.
The Greeks and the seven laughed. Then Reyna continued, "He acted too perfect, always following the rules, always doing the honorable thing, he even looked too perfect. In the back of her mind she had this nagging thought. What if this was is trick and he betrays us? What if we sail into Camp Jupiter and he says "Hey Romans! Check out these prisoners and this cool ship I brought you!" Annabeth didn't think that would happen still, she couldn't look at him without getting a bitter taste in her mouth." Annabeth mouthed "Sorry" to Jason.
"He'd been part of Hera's forced exchange program between the two camps. Her Most Annoying Majesty, Queen of Olympus," Hera looked murderous, "had convinced the other gods that their two sets of children- Roman and Greek- had to combine forces to save the world from the evil goddess Gaea, who was awakening from the earth, and her horrible children the giants."
"Gaea is waking up?!" Hades demanded then Thalia interrupted.
" Kelp Head is really rubbing off on you, Annie."
Reyna once again started reading, "Without warning, Hera had plucked up Percy Jackson, Annabeth's boyfriend,"
"BOYFRIEND?" Poseidon and Athena yelled as Aphrodite squealed happily.
Leo being unhelpful, added to the couple's discomfort by saying, "Wait till they hear about the stable incident."
The couple turned pale as the demigods, Apollo, and Hermes laughed. "Or when they see each other again for the first time." Frank added.
Chiron, Athena, and Poseidon raised their eyebrows. Aphrodite listened to all the gossip, while squeaking about the best love story yet. Reyna remarked trying not to smile, "This is the Praetor that I have trusted with New Rome; now only to hear scandalous stories."
Octavian huffed probably agreeing with Reyna, although she was joking. The Stolls and Chris smiled deviously at each other. Then Conner spoke, "Should we tell about the Canoe Lake, my dear brothers?"
"NO!" Annabeth and Percy blushed at these stories. Then Percy spoke, "Annabeth and I are tired we've long day, let's sleep after this chapter."
Reyna read, "wiped his memory and sent him to the Roman Camp. In exchange, the Greeks got Jason. that wasn't Jason's fault, but every time Annabeth saw him, she remembered how much she missed Percy. Percy, who might be below them somewhere right now. Oh gods. Panic welled up inside her, she forced it down. She couldn't afford to be overwhelmed now. I'm a child of Athena, she told herself, I have to stick to my plan and not get distracted.
Annabeth and Percy readjusted themselves to where Percy was leaning sitting with his back against one arm of the love seat with his feet propped up on the other side, with his arm around Annabeth, who was curled up on his lap. Both looked happy to be together in peace. Aphrodite used a black and white, film camera to take a picture of them, however, Athena and Poseidon scowled.
And then, she felt it again, that familiar shiver, as if a psychotic snowman had crept up behind her and was breathing down her neck. She turned, but no one was there. Must be her nerves. Even in a world of gods and monsters, Annabeth couldn't believe a new warship was haunted. The Argo II was well protected. The Celestial bronze shields along the rail were enchanted to ward off monsters, and their onboard satyr, Coach Hedge would have sniffed out any intruders. Annabeth wished she could pray to her mother for guidance but that wasn't possible. Not since last month, when she had the worst encounter with her mom ever, and had gotten a the worse present of her life... The cold pressed closer. She thought she heard a faint voice on the wind, like laughter. Every muscle in her body tensed. Something was about to go terribly wrong. She almost ordered Leo to reverse course. Then, in the valley below, horns Romans had spotted them."
"DUN, DUN, DUN!" Leo, Travis, Conner, and Chris sang. They all got slapped by Katie, Piper, and Clarisse.
"Annabeth thought she knew what to expect. Jason had described Camp Jupiter to her in great detail. Still, she had trouble believing her eyes. Ringed by the Oakland Hills, the valley was at least twice the size of Camp Half-Blood." Percy sighed,"A small river snaked around one side and curled toward the center like a capital letter G, emptying into a sparkling blue below the ship, nestled at the edge of the lake, the city of New Rome gleamed in the sunlight. She recognized landmarks Jason had told her her about––the hippodrome, the coliseum, the temples and parks, the neighborhood of Seven Hills with its winding streets, colorful villas, and flowering gardens. She saw evidence of the Romans' recent battle with an army of monsters. The dome was cracked open on a building she guessed was the Senate House. The forum's broad plaza was pitted with craters. Some fountains and statues were in ruins. Dozens of kids in togas were streaming out of the Senate House to get a better view of the Argo II. More Romans emerged from the shops and cafes, gawking and pointing as the ship descended.
"That's our time period!" Octavian pointed out.
About half a mile to the west, where the horns were blowing, a Roman fort stood on a hill. It looked just like the illustrations Annabeth had seen in military history books––with a defensive trench lined with spikes, high walls, and watchtowers armed with scorpion ballistae. Inside, perfect rows of white barracks lined the main road––the Via Principalis.A column of demigods emerged from the gates, their armor and spears glinting as they hurried toward the city. In the midst of their ranks was an actual war elephant.
"Chiron, can we get one please, please, please!" the Stolls begged.
Annabeth wanted to land the Argo II before those troops arrived, but the ground was still several hundred feet below. She scanned the crowd, hoping to catch a glimpse of Percy.
"Of course." Nico commented.
Then something behind her went BOOM!The explosion almost knocked her overboard. She whirled and found herself eye to eye with an angry statue.
"Terminus?" Percy questioned as Annabeth nodded, "He didn't like me till I saved New Rome."
"Unacceptable!"he shrieked. Apparently he had exploded into existence, right there on the deck. Sulfurous yellow smoke rolled off his shoulders. Cinders popped around his curly hair. From the waist down, he was nothing but a square marble pedestal. From the waist up, he was a muscular human figure in a carved toga. "I will not have weapons inside the Pomerian Line!" he announced in a fussy teacher voice. "I certainly will not have Greeks!"
Jason shot Annabeth a look that said, I've got this.
"No you don't, sweetie," Piper said sweetly batting her eyelashes at Jason, to annoy him.
"Terminus," he said. "It's me. Jason Grace."
"Oh, I remember you, Jason!" Terminus grumbled. "I thought you had better sense than to consort with the enemies of Rome!"
"That didn't exactly go as expected." Jason admitted.
"But they're not enemies––"
"That's right," Piper jumped in. "We just want to talk. If we could––"
"Ha!" snapped the statue. "Don't try that charmspeak on me, young lady. And put down that dagger before I slap it out of your hands!"
Piper glanced at her bronze dagger, which she'd apparently forgotten she was holding.
"Um...okay. But how would you slap it? You don't have any arms."
"Not a good topic." Percy and the Romans shook their heads.
"Impertinence!" There was a sharp POP and a flash of yellow. Piper yelped and dropped the dagger, which was now smoking and sparking.
"Lucky for you I've just been through a battle," Terminus announced. "If I were at full strength, I would've blasted this flying monstrosity out of the sky already!"
"Hold up." Leo stepped forward, wagging his Wii controller. "Did you just call my ship a monstrosity? I know you didn't do that."
The idea that Leo might attack the statue with his gaming device was enough to snap Annabeth out of her shock.
"Let's all calm down." She raised her hands to show she had no weapons. "I take it you're Terminus, the god of boundaries. Jason told me you protect the city of New Rome, right? I'm Annabeth Chase, daughter of––"
"Oh, I know who you are!" The statue glared at her with its blank white eyes. "A child of Athena, Minerva's Greek form. Scandalous! You Greeks have no sense of decency. We Romans know the proper place for that goddess."
Athena and Annabeth grumbled and cursed under their breaths.
Annabeth clenched her jaw. This statue wasn't making it easy to be diplomatic. "What exactly do you mean, that goddess? And what's so scandalous about––"
"Right!" Jason interrupted. "Anyway, Terminus, we're here on a mission of peace. We'd love permission to land so we can––"
"Impossible!" The god squeaked. "Lay down your weapons and surrender! Leave my city immediately!"
"Which is it surrender or leave?" Thalia asked.
"Which is it?" Leo asked. "Surrender, or leave?"
Everyone laughed except Thalia who looked horrified.
"Both!" Terminus said. "Surrender, then leave. I am slapping your face for asking such a stupid question, you ridiculous boy! Do you feel that?"
"Wow." Leo studied Terminus with professional interest. "You're wound up pretty tight. You got any gears in there that need loosening? I could take a look."
"Funny, but not the right time," Percy said.
He exchanged the Wii controller for a screwdriver from his magic tool belt and trapped the statue's pedestal.
"Stop that!" Terminus insisted. Another small explosion made Leo drop his screwdriver.
"Weapons are not allowed on Roman soil inside the Pomerian Line."
"The what?" Piper asked.
"City limits," Jason translated.
"And this entire ship is a weapon!" Terminus said. "You cannot land!"
Down in the valley, the legion reinforcements were halfway to the city. The crowd in the forum was over a hundred strong now. Annabeth scanned the faces and...oh, gods. She saw him.
"Don't go all lovey dovey on us now Miss Princess!" Clarisse yelled.
He was walking toward the ship with his arms around two other kids like they were best buddies––a stout boy with a black buzz cut, and a girl wearing a Roman cavalry helmet. Percy looked so at ease, so happy. He wore a purple cape, just like Jason's––the mark of a 's heart did a gymnastics routine.
"UGHHHHH!" Ares and Clarisse cursed under their breaths in Greek.
"Leo, stop the ship," she ordered.
"You heard me. Keep us right where we are."
Leo pulled out his controller and yanked it upward. All ninety oars froze in place. The ship stopped sinking.
"Terminus," Annabeth said, "there's no rule against hovering over new Rome, is there?"
"Oh, I get it," Heracles said.
"There's a first!" Theseus snapped; he like most people in the room didn't like Heracles.
The statue frowned. "Well, no..."
"We can keep the ship aloft," Annabeth said. "We'll use a rope ladder to reach the forum. That way, the ship won't be on Roman soil. Not technically."
The statue seemed to ponder this. Annabeth wondered if he was scratching his chin with his imaginary hands.
"I like technicalities," he admitted. "Still..."
"All our weapons will stay aboard the ship," Annabeth promised. "I assume the Romans––even those reinforcements marching toward us––will also have to honor your rules inside the Pomerian Line if you tell them to?"
"Of course!" Terminus said. "Do I look like I tolerate rule breakers?"
"He has Percy..." Chris started.
"Uh, Annabeth..." Leo said. "You sure this is a good idea?"
She closed her fists to keep them from shaking. That cold feeling was still there. It floated just behind her, and now that Terminus was no longer shouting and causing explosions, she thought she could hear the presence laughing, as if it was delighted by the bad choices she was making.
But Percy was down there...he was so close. She had to reach him.
Aphrodite and Piper smiled. "Awww! Your so cute together!" Aphrodite giggled.
"It'll be fine," she said. "No one will be armed. We can talk in peace. Terminus will make sure each side obeys the rules." She looked at the marble statue. "Do we have an agreement?"
Terminus sniffed. " I suppose. For now. You may climb down your ladder to New Rome, daughter of Athena. Please try not to destroy my town." Reyna finished, "That's it."
The guest suites are to the right according to your parent." Zeus told us, " Goodnight."
With that we all walked to our rooms as Chiron and the gods met about the book.