AN: Hey guys don't kill me I thought I would have another chapter up a lot sooner but I still have no internet so updates will be a bit harder for me for a while. But I am not giving this story up! Alright now then… I went and saw the new Percy Jackson movie and let me tell you there is a lot to complain about, but I've decided you know what… it's a good movie it has a good premise and its characters always make me laugh and as I've said before Logan Lerman really is an amazing Percy Jackson, he's exactly what I pictured Percy to be like except with shaggier hair :p. The story line itself doesn't really go by the book but then I kind of expected that, so as just a movie I think it was good not great but good and I'm going to leave it at that and except it for what it is, because if I don't well I could complain about it till I died and I'm sure a few of you could too. But enough about that, onto the next chapter and I hope you all enjoy! Also I want to thank all the people who have given me ideas it's very helpful and I'll try to keep all of them into consideration.
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing
"Tyson Plays with Fire," Poseidonstarted.
"Well at least it doesn't say Percy plays with fire," he stated happily.
"Poseidon," Hestia scolded.
"What?! It's nothing against Tyson, but he can handle the heat, I know he won't burn up and die, Percy on the other hand isn't quite as invulnerable," Poseidon defended himself.
Mythologically speaking, if there's anything I hate worse than trios of old ladies, it's bulls.
Percy nodded along with his earlier thought.
Last summer, I fought the Minotaur on top of Half-Blood Hill.
Everyone winced as they recalled that particular memory, they had all felt awful and little Percy's reaction had been so horribly saddening to most of those in the room. Percy winced because he remembered the feeling of loss and sadness like he had never felt before, at least back then he had never felt anything like that; lately the feeling seemed to come way too often.
This time what I saw up there was even worse: two bulls. And not just regular bulls—bronze ones the size of elephants.
"Great," Athena mumbled sarcastically.
Poseidon paled as he read on, "They get worse."
And even that wasn't bad enough. Naturally they had to breathe fire, too.
Hermes laughed, "Naturally."
"As is my luck," Percy smiled at the god.
As soon as we exited the taxi, the Gray Sisters peeled out, heading back to New York, where life was safer. They didn't even wait for their extra three-drachma payment.
"Like I said earlier, I had three drachmas missing later on," Percy said.
"They have their ways of getting paid," Hades stated.
They just left us on the side of the road, Annabeth with nothing but her backpack and knife, Tyson and me still in our burned-up tie-dyed gym clothes.
"You must have looked so stupid," Ares laughed.
"And it's so not fashionable," Aphrodite added. Percy rolled his eyes.
"Oh, man," said Annabeth, looking at the battle raging on the hill.
"That's a bit of an understatement," Apollo said.
What worried me most weren't the bulls themselves.
"Really?" Orion, Theseus, and Poseidon looked over at Percy in confusion. They all said it in the same sort of exasperated tone which sent a few choice gods and Percy's cousins into laughter.
Percy gestured toward the book, "If you'll keep reading you'll understand."
Or the ten heroes in full battle armor who were getting their bronze-plated booties whooped.
Now more of the gods were looking at Percy oddly, except Hermes and Apollo, who were laughing over the word booties and Artemis was glaring at the two.
What worried me was that the bulls were ranging all over the hill, even around the back side of the pine tree.
"That's not possible!" Jason said. "No monsters can get past camp borders."
"Now you get what I was worried about?" Percy said the gods all looked worried. Poseidon continued quickly.
That shouldn't have been possible. The camp's magic boundaries didn't allow monsters to cross past Thalia's tree. But the metal bulls were doing it anyway.
"There must be something horribly wrong with the magical borders," Hestia looked over at Thalia in worry.
One of the heroes shouted, "Border patrol, to me!" A girl's voice—gruff and familiar.
Border patrol? I thought. The camp didn't have a border patrol.
There was complete silence as Poseidon continued to read. Many of the gods were worried about their children, the older demigods were just curious, and Nico and Jason were confused.
"It's Clarisse," Annabeth said. "Come on, we have to help her."
None noticed Ares as he gripped his thrown a bit tighter.
Normally, rushing to Clarisse's aid would not have been high on my "to do" list.
Ares glared towards Percy.
"Percy, you should always help your fellow campers," Hestia lectured.
"I said normally," Percy stated.
She was one of the biggest bullies at camp. The first time we'd met she tried to introduce my head to a toilet. She was also a daughter of Ares, and I'd had a very serious disagreement with her father last summer, so now the god of war and all his children basically hated my guts.
"Yeah, all those things do put some pause on helping her," Apollo stated and Ares' glare transferred to Apollo. "But you should still help because …you should," Apollo rambled off. Ares' glare lessened only slightly.
Still, she was in trouble.
"See?" said Percy. "I help her."
Her fellow warriors were scattering, running in panic as the bulls charged. The grass was burning in huge swathes around the pine tree.
"Your pine tree," Hestia said in concern. "I hope it doesn't get burned."
One hero screamed and waved his arms as he ran in circles, the horse hair plume on his helmet blazing like a fiery Mohawk.
Apollo and Hermes burst out laughing and Zeus rolled his eyes. "You do know that that could be one of your kids?"
"I know," Hermes said wiping away his tears. "But just picturing the scene in my head was so comical it's like something off a children's cartoon."
"Then it was definitely someone from one of your cabins. Only your children would act so stupidly," Artemis commented.
Clarisse's own armor was charred. She was fighting with a broken spear shaft, the
other end embedded uselessly in the metal joint of one bull's shoulder.
Ares looked both proud and worried for his future kid.
I uncapped my ballpoint pen. It shimmered, growing longer and heavier until I held the bronze sword Anaklusmos in my hands. "Tyson, stay here. I don't want you taking any more chances."
"I can't believe you still don't realize that he isn't human," Artemis stated in disbelief. "How thick can you get?"
"Hey!" Nico defended. "Look Percy may be a bit slow at times, but he's nowhere near as dumb as he seems."
"Gee thanks Nico," Percy said dryly.
"No!" Annabeth said. "We need him."
I stared at her. "He's mortal. He got lucky with the dodge balls but he can't—"
Artemis rolled her eyes
"Percy, do you know what those are up there? The Colchis bulls, made by Hephaestus himself. We can't fight them without Medea's Sunscreen SPF 50,000. We'll get burned to a crisp."
"Percy," Nico laughed shaking his head.
Annabeth rummaged through her backpack and cursed. "I had a jar of tropical coconut scent sitting on my night-stand at home. Why didn't I bring it?"
Thalia smiled, "That's just like Annabeth, gods I miss her."
"Me too," Percy whispered.
I'd learned a long time ago not to question Annabeth too much. It just made me more confused.
Multiple snorts were heard around the room. Nico actually agreed with Percy, Annabeth had a way of explaining things so that he couldn't understand a word she was saying.
"Look, I don't know what you're talking about, but I'm not going to let Tyson get fried."
"Well at least you know the boy cares," Hestia laughed. Percy felt like by the end of this chapter he was going to be a permanent shade of red.
"Tyson, stay back." I raised my sword. "I'm going in."
Many of the gods sighed or shook their heads at Percy obliviousness but said nothing. the boy just looked so embarrassed.
Tyson tried to protest, but I was already running up the hill toward Clarisse, who was yelling at her patrol, trying to get them into phalanx formation. It was a good idea.
"Duh," Ares said, as if it were obvious that his daughter would have the best plans.
The few who were listening lined up shoulder-to-shoulder, locking their shields to form an ox-hide—and-bronze wall, their spears bristling over the top like porcupine quills.
Athena nodded; this daughter of Ares seemed very capable unlike Ares's other children who seemed to blunder around swinging their swords like clubs.
Unfortunately, Clarisse could only muster six campers. The other four were still running around with their helmets on fire.
"Why didn't they just take the helmets off?" Theseus wondered aloud.
"Because their men and they don't think," Artemis suggested.
"How do you know their men, Artemis? They could be girls… now who's being sexist?" Aphrodite taunted at Artemis who glared at said goddess.
Annabeth ran toward them, trying to help. She taunted one of the bulls into chasing her, then turned invisible, completely confusing the monster.
Athena smiled proudly at her daughter ingenuity.
The other bull charged Clarisse's line.
I was halfway up the hill—not close enough to help. Clarisse hadn't even seen me yet.
The bull moved deadly fast for something so big. Its metal hide gleamed in the sun. It had fist-sized rubies for eyes, and horns of polished silver. When it opened its hinged mouth, a column of white-hot flame blasted out.
Ares looked incredibly worried.
Athena did as well. "The odds aren't in the camper's favor," she said. "It's the beginning of the summer and half of the campers haven't even shown up yet. it's a miracle they haven't all died."
"Thank you Owlhead for that incredibly optimistic perspective," Poseidon glared.
"Hold the line!" Clarisse ordered her warriors.
Whatever else you could say about Clarisse, she was brave.
The demigods all nodded and Ares puffed out his chest the epitome of a proud father, it was a rare sight.
She was a big girl with cruel eyes like her father's. She looked like she was born to wear Greek battle armor, but I didn't see how even she could stand against that bull's charge.
"That's almost flattering. Percy, is there something you're not telling us?" Aphrodite said suggestively and Ares immediately scowled.
"He better not."
Percy on the other hand gagged, "No way." His cousins all laughed at him.
Unfortunately, at that moment, the other bull lost interest in finding Annabeth. It turned, wheeling around behind Clarisse on her unprotected side.
Ares looked worried his grip tightening.
"Help her! Just don't yell at her, it will surprise her and throw off her concentration," Athena said.
"Behind you!" I yelled. "Look out!"
"Or you could do just what I said not to."
"This has already happened," Percy glared. "I can't change it."
I shouldn't have said anything, because all I did was startle her. Bull Number One crashed into her shield, and the phalanx broke. Clarisse went flying backward and landed in a smoldering patch of grass.
Ares leaned slightly forward wanting to know what was going to happen.
The bull charged past her, but not before blasting the other heroes with its fiery breath. Their shields melted right off their arms. They dropped their weapons and ran as Bull Number Two closed in on Clarisse for the kill.
Percy had never seen Ares looked so worried, it was odd but then Percy thought Clarisse was his daughter.
I lunged forward and grabbed Clarisse by the straps of her armor. I dragged her out of the way just as Bull Number Two freight-trained past.
Ares shot Percy a slightly grateful look but said nothing. After all, he still hated the little demigod twerp.
I gave it a good swipe with Riptide and cut a huge gash in its flank, but the monster just creaked and groaned and kept on going.
It hadn't touched me, but I could feel the heat of its metal skin. Its body temperature could've microwaved a frozen burrito.
"Aww man now I'm hungry," Hermes whined, an arrow lodged in his throne next to his head. "Look at that I just lost my appetite," Hermes laughed out nervously. Poseidon ignored his niece and nephew and kept reading.
"Let me go!" Clarisse pummeled my hand. "Percy, curse you!"
"Not even a 'thanks?'" Hazel said bewildered.
"In Clarisse language that is thanks," Thalia laughed. Hazel didn't see what was so funny, Romans were proud but they gave credit where credit was due.
I dropped her in a heap next to the pine tree and turned to face the bulls. We were on the inside slope of the hill now, the valley of Camp Half-Blood directly below us—the cabins, the training facilities, the Big House—all of it at risk if these bulls got past us.
"You better come up with a good plan then," Athena stated.
"Annabeth had the good plan part covered," Percy said.
"So you went for the crazy route?" Thalia said laughing.
"More suicidal," Percy laughed. "Thank gods for Tyson." Thalia shook her head, although Percy's blatant disregard for his life did worry her.
Annabeth shouted orders to the other heroes, telling them to spread out and keep the bulls distracted.
"Good," Athena said proudly.
Bull Number One ran a wide arc, making its way back toward me. As it passed the middle of the hill, where the invisible boundary line should've kept it out, it slowed down a little, as if it were struggling against a strong wind; but then it broke through and kept coming.
What the heck is going on? Is the thought that went through many minds. Athena was trying to work out what had happened but she was coming up blank and it was incredibly irritating.
Bull Number Two turned to face me, fire sputtering from the gash I'd cut in its side. I couldn't tell if it felt any pain, but its ruby eyes seemed to glare at me like I'd just made things personal.
Hephaestus smiled although he was worried for his children and he was bit upset that it was his mechanical bulls that were attacking them. He was slightly impressed that Percy could read its emotions so clearly.
I couldn't fight both bulls at the same time. I'd have to take down Bull Number Two first, cut its head off before Bull Number One charged back into range. My arms already felt tired. I realized how long it had been since I'd worked out with Riptide, how out of practice I was.
"Great," Poseidon said worriedly.
I lunged but Bull Number Two blew flames at me. I rolled aside as the air turned to pure heat. All the oxygen was sucked out of my lungs.
Poseidon read quickly giving no one time to comment his worry growing with each sentence
My foot caught on something—a tree root, maybe—and pain shot up my ankle. Still, I managed to slash with my sword and lop off part of the monster's snout. It galloped away, wild and disoriented.
"Ha! Take that!" Hermes cheered.
"It's not over yet," Athena reminded.
"Kill joy," Hermes muttered but looked back toward Poseidon as he continued to read.
But before I could feel too good about that, I tried to stand, and my left leg buckled underneath me. My ankle was sprained, maybe broken.
The room was silent as Poseidon read. Thalia and Nico looked at their cousin in worry. He was alive yes. but he had almost died so much it wasn't normal not even in demigod standards.
Bull Number One charged straight toward me. No way could I crawl out of its path.
Annabeth shouted: "Tyson, help him!"
Athena felt herself release the breathe she was holding and wondered when exactly she had come to care for the boy so much.
Somewhere near, toward the crest of the hill, Tyson wailed, "Can't—get—through!"
"I, Annabeth Chase, give you permission to enter camp!"
"Thank the gods Annabeth was there," Thalia said.
"I do that a lot," Percy replied.
"I'm sure. She probably says the same thing about you."
"Don't go getting all mushy on me."
"Not a chance kelp head."
Thunder shook the hillside. Suddenly Tyson was there, barreling toward me, yelling: "Percy needs help!"
Thalia, Nico, and Percy smiled; Tyson was the best. Hestia gave a small laugh.
Before I could tell him no, he dove between me and the bull just as it unleashed a nuclear firestorm.
"Tyson!" I yelled.
"He'll be fine."
"I know that now but then I didn't."
The blast swirled around him like a red tornado. I could only see the black silhouette of his body. I knew with horrible certainty that my friend had just been turned into a column of ashes.
But when the fire died, Tyson was still standing there, completely unharmed. Not even his grungy clothes were scorched. The bull must've been as surprised as I was, because before it could unleash a second blast, Tyson balled his fists and slammed them into the bull's face. "BAD COW!"
This broke the tension and everyone was laughing. "Yeah go Tyson! Kick the cows butt!" Hermes and Apollo cheered.
His fists made a crater where the bronze bull's snout used to be. Two small columns of flame shot out of its ears. Tyson hit it again, and the bronze crumpled under his hands like aluminum foil. The bull's face now looked like a sock puppet pulled inside out.
Hephaestus frowned. Such a good piece of machinery destroyed but he supposed it was better than a half blood getting killed.
"Down!" Tyson yelled.
The bull staggered and fell on its back. Its legs moved feebly in the air, steam coming out of its ruined head in odd places.
"One bull down, one to go," Apollo counted down.
Annabeth ran over to check on me.
My ankle felt like it was filled with acid, but she gave me some Olympian nectar to drink from her canteen, and I immediately started to feel better. There was a burning smell that I later learned was me. The hair on my arms had been completely singed off.
A few people snorted at that.
"The other bull?" I asked.
Annabeth pointed down the hill. Clarisse had taken care of Bad Cow Number Two.
Ares smirked, "My daughters such a bad a**" he said
She'd impaled it through the back leg with a celestial bronze spear. Now, with its snout half gone and a huge gash in its side, it was trying to run in slow motion, going in circles like some kind of merry-go-round animal.
Clarisse pulled off her helmet and marched toward us. A strand of her stringy brown hair was smoldering, but she didn't seem to notice. "You—ruin—everything!" she yelled at me.
"Hello to you too," Percy said causing the demigods around him to snicker.
"I had it under control!"
I was too stunned to answer. Annabeth grumbled, "Good to see you too, Clarisse."
"You and Annabeth had the same reaction. Aww," Thalia cooed in a horrible imitation of Aphrodite.
Percy cringed, "Never do that again." Thalia blushed but laughed it off.
"Argh!" Clarisse screamed. "Don't ever, EVER try saving me again!"
Percy smiled. He had saved Clarisse quite a lot since then but she had returned the favor just as often and they now had a sort of friendship thing. Percy wondered how Ares would react to that when they got there.
"Clarisse," Annabeth said, "you've got wounded campers."
That sobered her up. Even Clarisse cared about the soldiers under her command.
"Good," Athena nodded "that's the sign of a true commanding officer."
"I'll be back," she growled, then trudged off to assess the damage.
I stared at Tyson. "You didn't die."
"I didn't mean it like that; I meant it in a happy way. I was glad he didn't die."
"Yeah but Tyson's young and he won't understand it."
Tyson looked down like he was embarrassed. "I am sorry. Came to help. Disobeyed you."
"See?" Thalia said.
"Sorry, can't change it now though."
"My fault," Annabeth said. "I had no choice. I had to let Tyson cross the boundary line to save you. Otherwise, you would've died."
Hestia looked a bit worried she had forgotten that Tyson was a monster and that he was now in camp. "You don't think the campers will hurt Tyson do you?" she asked worriedly.
"I don't think Percy would let them." Athena consoled her.
"Let him cross the boundary line?'" I asked. "But—"
"Percy," she said, "have you ever looked at Tyson closely? I mean ... in the face. Ignore the Mist, and really look at him."
The Mist makes humans see only what their brains can process ... I knew it could fool demigods too, but...
"And now finally after 2 chapters of waiting, Percy finally gets it," Nico said, earning him a punch from Percy.
I looked Tyson in the face. It wasn't easy. I'd always had trouble looking directly at him, though I'd never quite understood why. I'd thought it was just because he always had peanut butter in his crooked teeth.
Many looked disgusted but Aphrodite looked the worse she leaned against Ares weakly, looking incredibly dramatic as she did so.
I forced myself to focus at his big lumpy nose, then a little higher at his eyes.
No, not eyes.
One eye. One large, calf-brown eye, right in the middle of his forehead, with thick lashes and big tears trickling down his cheeks on either side.
"Just as we thought he's a Cyclops," Athena said.
"Tyson," I stammered. "You're a ..."
"Cyclops," Annabeth offered. "A baby, by the looks of him. Probably why he couldn't get past the boundary line as easily as the bulls. Tyson's one of the homeless orphans."
"Aww, that's so sad Tysons such a nice boy it's horrible to think about," Hestia said.
"One of the what?"
"They're in almost all the big cities," Annabeth said distastefully. "They're ... mistakes, Percy.
Percy and Thalia flinched. Mistakes. They both knew that feeling.
Children of nature spirits and gods ... Well, one god in particular, usually ...
Everyone looked to Poseidon and he shrugged. Artemis rolled her eyes at Poseidon.
Apollo smirked, "Can you blame him? I mean water spirits are hot."
"He's married he shouldn't be doing anything," Hera stated, glaring towards Apollo.
"Yeah but if he didn't, Percy wouldn't be born and World War 3 would be started and if Tyson wasn't born then Percy would have died and the world would have gone to shit, so I say go for it Uncle P." The women rolled their eyes and some of the males laughed.
"Can you say run on sentence?" Thalia whispered.
and they don't always come out right. No one wants them. They get tossed aside. They grow up wild on the streets. I don't know how this one found you, but he obviously likes you. We should take him to Chiron, let him decide what to do."
"Jeezus Annabeth say that right in front of the big lug he's probably worried and scared now."
"But the fire. How—"
"He's a Cyclops." Annabeth paused, as if she were remembering something unpleasant.
"I'm guessing she's had a bad run in with a Cyclops."
"When she never leaves the camp."
"Maybe it was during the summer when she went home," one of the gods suggested.
"No," Hestia said. "It has to be something more deeply rooted in her past."
"They work the forges of the gods. They have to be immune to fire. That's what I was trying to tell you."
I was completely shocked. How had I never realized what Tyson was?
"Because you're slow."
But I didn't have much time to think about it just then. The whole side of the hill was burning. Wounded heroes needed attention. And there were still two banged-up bronze bulls to dispose of, which I didn't figure would fit in our normal recycling bins.
Scattered laughter filled the air the tension in the room was gone and the danger had ended.
Clarisse came back over and wiped the soot off her forehead. "Jackson, if you can stand, get up. We need to carry the wounded back to the Big House, let Tantalus know what's happened."
The gods looked at each other in shock, especially Hades. What was he doing at the camp?
Jason, Nico, Thalia, and Hazel all looked confused. Who?"
"Tantalus?" I asked.
"The activities director," Clarisse said impatiently.
"Chiron's the activity director." Apollo said confused "Did we skip a chapter because I'm confused?"
"If you'd shut up and listen you might not be confused," Artemis bit out.
"Chiron is the activities director. And where's Argus? He's head of security. He should be here."
Clarisse made a sour face. "Argus got fired. You two have been gone too long. Things are changing."
"That's for sure," Apollo muttered. Artemis glared and Apollo rolled his eyes.
"But Chiron ... He's trained kids to fight monsters for over three thousand years. He can't just be gone. What happened?"
"That's what we'd all like to know," Athena whispered to herself.
"That happened," Clarisse snapped.
She pointed to Thalia's tree.
Everyone turned to look at Thalia who suddenly looked nervous at all the attention.
Every camper knew the story behind the tree. Six years ago, Grover, Annabeth, and two other demigods named Thalia and Luke had come to Camp Half-Blood chased by an army of monsters. When they got cornered on top of this hill, Thalia, a daughter of Zeus, had made her last stand here to give her friends time to reach safety. As she was dying, her father, Zeus, took pity on her and changed her into a pine tree. Her spirit had reinforced the magic borders of the camp, protecting it from monsters. The pine had been here ever since, strong and healthy.
The god and demigods who didn't know what was happening all leaned in (all except Thalia and Percy; Nico never got told the full story he just knows the basics.)
But now, its needles were yellow.
The tension in the air rose.
A huge pile of dead ones littered the base of the tree. In the center of the trunk, three feet from the ground, was a puncture mark the size of a bullet hole, oozing green sap.
"Someone poisoned it," Hestia gasped. Zeus looked furious as well as worried for his daughter.
Thalia waved off the worried stares, "Don't worry about me. I couldn't feel a thing while I was in the tree."
Perseus was incredibly pissed, he hoped whoever it was got their butts kicked. He may not have known Thalia for long but she was his sister and he'd be damned if he let anyone hurt her.
A sliver of ice ran through my chest. Now I understood why the camp was in danger. The magical borders were failing because Thalia's tree was dying.
Nico and Jason both looked at Thalia in worry. She couldn't die, she just couldn't.
Someone had poisoned it.
The room was silent. There was no joke from Apollo or Hermes about the dramatic way the chapter had ended, just silence as everyone took the information in. Apollo looked around and saw how uncomfortable Thalia looked with all the attention so he figured now was time for a dumb comment. He smiled, knowing just what to say.
"I listened, Arty but I'm still confused."
"Ugh!" Artemis growled in frustration. "Apollo you're an idiot and don't call me Arty." Thalia let out a sigh of relief as the stares turned to the two squabbling siblings, she couldn't help but smile when Apollo threw her a wink.
Poseidon rolled his eyes and passed the book to Demeter.
AN: and a quick word to everyone… no Thalia will not have a relationship with anyone, not Nico, not Apollo not anyone she's a hunter of Artemis so no just no to any romantic suggestions I have received for her. Now then continuing on thanks so much for all your wonderful reviews I do have an announcement to make I have gotten the help of Madness to My Methods (Hi!) to help me out in the grammar part of this story so to all those who have been bugging me about my grammar happy Christmas or whatever the heck you celebrate! In addition to that she (I'm just assuming you're a girl if I'm wrong I'm so so sorry I just tend to assume most people are girls because I'm a girl anyway…) (I am indeed a girl.) will also be helping me edit my previous story so new edited chapters will be going up for that! HOORAY so every one of you grammar nuts out there should be grateful to her :) REVIEW… please … pretty please with bananas on top (fun fact- when asked most Americans say banana is their favorite smelling fruit) REVIEW!