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I Percy

THE SNAKE-HAIRED LADIES WERE starting to annoy Percy. They should ha e died three days ago !hen he dro""ed a crate o# $o!ling $alls on the% at the Na"a &argain 'art. They should ha e died t!o days ago !hen he ran o er the% !ith a "olice car in 'artine(. They de#initely should ha e died this %orning !hen he cut o## their heads in Tilden Par). No %atter ho! %any ti%es Percy )illed the% and !atched the% cru%$le to "o!der* they +ust )e"t re-#or%ing li)e large e il dust $unnies. He couldn,t e en see% to outrun the%. He reached the to" o# the hill and caught his $reath. Ho! long since he,d last )illed the%'ay$e t!o hours. They ne er see%ed to stay dead longer than that. The "ast #e! days* he,d hardly sle"t. He,d eaten !hate er he could scrounge . ending %achine gu%%i $ears* stale $agels* e en a /ac) in the 0rac) $urrito* !hich !as a ne! "ersonal lo!. His clothes !ere torn* $urnt and s"lattered !ith %onster sli%e. He,d only sur i ed this long $ecause the t!o sna)e-haired ladies . gorgons* they called the%sel es . couldn,t see% to )ill hi% either. Their cla!s didn,t cut his s)in. Their teeth $ro)e !hene er they tried to $ite hi%. &ut Percy couldn,t )ee" going %uch longer. Soon he,d colla"se #ro% e1haustion* and then* as hard as he !as to )ill* he !as "retty sure the gorgons !ould #ind a !ay. Where to runHe scanned his surroundings. 2nder di##erent circu%stances* he %ight, e en+oyed the ie!. To his le#t* golden hills rolled inland* dotted !ith la)es* !oods and a #e! herds o# co!s. To his right* the #latlands o# &er)eley and 3a)land %arched !est . a ast che4uer$oard o# neigh$ourhoods* !ith se eral %illion "eo"le !ho "ro$a$ly did not !ant their %orning interru"ted $y t!o %onsters and a #ilthy de%igod. 5urther !est* San 5rancisco &ay glittered under a sil ery

ha(e. Past that* a !all o# #og had s!allo!ed %ost o# San 5rancisco* lea ing +ust the to"s o# s)yscra"ers and the to!ers o# the 6olden 6ate &ridge. A ague sadness !eighed on Percy,s chest. So%ething told hi% he,d $een to San 5rancisco $e#ore. The city had so%e connection to Anna$eth . the only "erson he could re%e%$er #ro% his "ast. His %e%ory o# her !as #rustratingly di%. The !ol# had "ro%ised he !ould see her again and regain his %e%ory . i# he succeeded in his +ourney. Should he try to cross the $ayIt !as te%"ting. He could #eel the "o!er o# the ocean +ust o er the hori(on. Water al!ays re i ed hi%. Salt !ater !as the $est. He,d disco ered that t!o days ago !hen he had strangled a sea %onster in the 0ar4uine( Strait. I# he could reach the $ay* he %ight $e a$le to %a)e a last stand. 'ay$e he could e en dro!n the gorgons. &ut the shore !as at least t!o %iles a!ay. He,d ha e to cross an entire city. He hesitated #or another reason. The she-!ol# Lu"a had taught hi% to shar"en his senses . to trust the instincts that had $een guiding hi% south. His ho%ing radar !as tingling li)e cra(y no!. The end o# his +ourney !as close . al%ost right under his #eet. &ut ho! could that $e- There !as nothing on the hillto". The !ind changed. Percy caught the sour scent o# re"tile. A hundred yards do!n the slo"e* so%ething rustled through the !oods . sna""ing $ranches* crunching lea es* hissing. 6orgons. 5or the %illionth ti%e* Percy !ished their noses !eren,t so good. They had al!ays said they could s%ell hi% $ecause he !as a de%igod . the hal#-$lood son o# so%e old Ro%an god. Percy had tried rolling in %ud* s"lashing through cree)s* e en )ee"ing air-#reshener stic)s in his "oc)ets so he,d ha e that ne!-car s%ell* $ut a""arently de%igod stin) !as hard to %as). He scra%$led to the !est side o# the su%%it. It !as too stee" to descend. The slo"e "lu%%eted eighty #eet* straight to the roo# o# an a"art%ent co%"le1 $uilt into the hillside. 5i#ty #eet $elo! that* a high!ay e%erged #ro% the hill,s $ase and !ound its !ay to!ards &er)eley.

6reat. No other !ay o## the hill. He,d %anaged to get hi%sel# cornered. He stared at the strea% o# cars #lo!ing !est to!ards San 5rancisco and !ished he !ere in one o# the%. Then he reali(ed the high!ay %ust cut through the hill. There %ust $e a tunnel 7 right under his #eet. His internal radar !ent nuts. He !as in the right "lace* +ust too high u". He had to chec) out that tunnel. He needed a !ay do!n to the high!ay . #ast. He slung o## his $ac)"ac). He,d %anaged to gra$ a lot o# su""lies at the Na"a &argain 'art8 a "orta$le 6PS* duct ta"e* lighter* su"erglue* !ater $ottle* ca%"ing roll* a 0o%#y Panda Pillo! Pet 9as seen on T:; and a S!iss ar%y )ni#e . "retty %uch e ery tool a %odern de%igod could !ant. &ut he had nothing that !ould ser e as a "arachute or a sled. That le#t hi% t!o o"tions8 +u%" eighty #eet to his death* or stand and #ight. &oth o"tions sounded "retty $ad. He cursed and "ulled his "en #ro% his "oc)et. The "en didn,t loo) li)e %uch* +ust a regular chea" $all"oint* $ut* !hen Percy unca""ed it* it gre! into a glo!ing $ron(e s!ord. The $lade $alanced "er#ectly. The leather gri" #itted his hand li)e it had $een custo% designed #or hi%. Etched along the guard !as an Ancient 6ree) !ord Percy so%eho! understood8 Ana)lus%os . Ri"tide. He,d !o)en u" !ith this s!ord his #irst night at the Wol# House . t!o %onths ago- 'oreHe,d lost trac). He,d #ound hi%sel# in the courtyard o# a $urnt-out %ansion in the %iddle o# the !oods* !earing shorts* an orange T-shirt and a leather nec)lace !ith a $unch o# strange clay $eads. Ri"tide had $een in his hand* $ut Percy had had no idea ho! he,d got there* and only the aguest idea !ho he !as. He,d $een $are#oot* #ree(ing and con#used. And then the !ol es ca%e 7 Right ne1t to hi%* a #a%iliar oice +olted hi% $ac) to the "resent8 <There you are=, Percy stu%$led a!ay #ro% the gorgon* al%ost #alling o## the edge o# the hill. It !as the s%iley one . &eano. 3)ay* her na%e !asn,t really &eano. As near as Percy could #igure* he !as dysle1ic* $ecause !ords got t!isted around !hen he tried to read. The #irst ti%e he,d seen the gorgon* "osing as a &argain 'art greeter !ith a $ig green $utton that read8 Welco%e= 'y na%e is STHEN3* he,d thought it said $eano. She !as still !earing her green &argain 'art e%"loyee est o er a #lo!er-"rint dress. I# you loo)ed +ust at her $ody* you %ight thin) she !as so%e$ody,s du%"y old grand%other . until you loo)ed do!n and reali(ed she had rooster #eet. 3r you loo)ed u" and sa! $ron(e $oar

tus)s stic)ing out o# the corners o# her %outh. Her eyes glo!ed red* and her hair !as a !rithing nest o# $right green sna)es. The %ost horri$le thing a$out her- She !as still holding her $ig sil er "latter o# #ree sa%"les8 0ris"y 0heese ,n, Wieners. Her "latter !as dented #ro% all the ti%es Percy had )illed her* $ut those little sa%"les loo)ed "er#ectly #ine. Stheno +ust )e"t toting the% across 0ali#ornia so she could o##er Percy a snac) $e#ore she )illed hi%. Percy didn,t )no! !hy she )e"t doing that* $ut i# he e er needed a suit o# ar%our he !as going to %a)e it out o# 0ris"y 0heese ,n, Wieners. They !ere indestructi$le. <Try one-, Stheno o##ered. Percy #ended her o## !ith his s!ord. <Where,s your sister-, <3h* "ut the s!ord a!ay*, Stheno chided. <>ou )no! $y no! that e en 0elestial $ron(e can,t )ill us #or long. Ha e a 0heese ,n, Wiener= They,re on sale this !ee)* and I,d hate to )ill you on an e%"ty sto%ach., <Stheno=, The second gorgon a""eared on Percy,s right so #ast he didn,t ha e ti%e to react. 5ortunately she !as too $usy glaring at her sister to "ay hi% %uch attention. <I told you to snea) u" on hi% and )ill hi%=, Stheno,s s%ile !a ered. <&ut* Euryale 7, She said the na%e so it rhy%ed !ith 'uriel. <0an,t I gi e hi% a sa%"le #irst-, <No* you i%$ecile=, Euryale turned to!ards Percy and $ared her #angs. E1ce"t #or her hair* !hich !as a nest o# coral sna)es instead o# green i"ers* she loo)ed e1actly li)e her sister. Her &argain 'art est* her #lo!ery dress* e en her tus)s !ere decorated !ith ?@A o## stic)ers. Her na%e $adge read8 Hello= 'y na%e is DIE* DE'I63D S02'= <>ou, e led us on 4uite a chase* Percy /ac)son*, Euryale said. <&ut no! you,re tra""ed* and !e,ll ha e our re enge=, <The 0heese ,n, Wieners are only BC.DD*, Stheno added hel"#ully. <6rocery de"art%ent* aisle three., Euryale snarled. <Stheno* the &argain 'art !as a #ront= >ou,re going nati e= No!* "ut do!n that ridiculous tray and hel" %e )ill this de%igod. 3r ha e you #orgotten that he,s the one !ho a"ori(ed 'edusa-, Percy ste""ed $ac). Si1 %ore inches* and he,d $e tu%$ling through thin air. <Loo)* ladies* !e, e $een o er this. I don,t e en re%e%$er )illing 'edusa. I don,t re%e%$er anything= 0an,t !e +ust call a truce and tal) a$out your !ee)ly s"ecials-, Stheno ga e her sister a "outy loo)* !hich !as hard to do !ith giant $ron(e tus)s. <0an !e-,

<No=, Euryale,s red eyes $ored into Percy. <I don,t care !hat you re%e%$er* son o# the sea god. I can s%ell 'edusa,s $lood on you. It,s #aint* yes* se eral years old* $ut you !ere the last one to de#eat her. She still has not returned #ro% Tartarus. It,s your #ault=, Percy didn,t really get that. The !hole <dying then returning #ro% Tartarus, conce"t ga e hi% a headache. 3# course* so did the idea that a $all"oint "en could turn into a s!ord* or that %onsters could disguise the%sel es !ith so%ething called the 'ist* or that Percy !as the son o# a $arnacle-encrusted god #ro% #i e thousand years ago. &ut he did $elie e it. E en though his %e%ory !as erased* he )ne! he !as a de%igod the sa%e !ay he )ne! his na%e !as Percy /ac)son. 5ro% his ery #irst con ersation !ith Lu"a the !ol#* he,d acce"ted that this cra(y %essed-u" !orld o# gods and %onsters !as his reality. Which "retty %uch suc)ed. <Ho! a$out !e call it a dra!-, he said. <I can,t )ill you. >ou can,t )ill %e. I# you,re 'edusa,s sisters . li)e the 'edusa !ho turned "eo"le to stone . shouldn,t I $e "etri#ied $y no!-, <Heroes=, Euryale said !ith disgust. <They al!ays $ring that u"* +ust li)e our %other= EWhy can,t you turn "eo"le to stone- >our sister can turn "eo"le to stone.F Well* I,% sorry to disa""oint you* $oy= That !as 'edusa,s curse alone. She !as the %ost hideous one in the #a%ily. She got all the luc)=, Stheno loo)ed hurt. <'other said I !as the %ost hideous., <Guiet=, Euryale sna""ed. <As #or you* Percy /ac)son* it,s true you $ear the %ar) o# Achilles. That %a)es you a little tougher to )ill. &ut don,t !orry. We,ll #ind a !ay., <The %ar) o# !hat-, <Achilles*, Stheno said cheer#ully. <3h* he !as gorgeous= Di""ed in the Ri er Sty1 as a child* you )no!* so he !as in ulnera$le e1ce"t #or a tiny s"ot on his an)le. That,s !hat ha""ened to you* dear. So%eone %ust, e du%"ed you in the Sty1 and %ade your s)in li)e iron. &ut not to !orry. Heroes li)e you al!ays ha e a !ea) s"ot. We +ust ha e to #ind it* and then !e can )ill you. Won,t that $e lo ely- Ha e a 0heese ,n, Wiener=, Percy tried to thin). He didn,t re%e%$er any di" in the Sty1. Then again* he didn,t re%e%$er %uch o# anything. His s)in didn,t #eel li)e iron* $ut it !ould e1"lain ho! he,d held out so long against the gorgons. 'ay$e i# he +ust #ell do!n the %ountain 7 !ould he sur i e- He didn,t !ant to ris) it . not !ithout so%ething to slo! the #all* or a sled* or 7 He loo)ed at Stheno,s large sil er "latter o# #ree sa%"les. H%% 7 <Reconsidering-, Stheno as)ed. <:ery !ise* dear. I added so%e gorgon,s $lood to these* so your death !ill $e 4uic) and "ainless., Percy,s throat constricted. <>ou added your $lood to the 0heese ,n, Wieners-,

</ust a little., Stheno s%iled. <A tiny nic) on %y ar%* $ut you,re s!eet to $e concerned. &lood #ro% our right side can cure anything* you )no!* $ut $lood #ro% our le#t side is deadly ., <>ou di%!it=, Euryale screeched. <>ou,re not su""osed to tell hi% that= He !on,t eat the !ieners i# you tell hi% they,re "oisoned=, Stheno loo)ed stunned. <He !on,t- &ut I said it !ould $e 4uic) and "ainless., <Ne er %ind=, Euryale,s #ingernails gre! into cla!s. <We,ll )ill hi% the hard !ay . +ust )ee" slashing until !e #ind the !ea) s"ot. 3nce !e de#eat Percy /ac)son* !e,ll $e %ore #a%ous than 'edusa= 3ur "atron !ill re!ard us greatly=, Percy gri""ed his s!ord. He,d ha e to ti%e his %o e "er#ectly . a #e! seconds o# con#usion* gra$ the "latter !ith his le#t hand 7 Kee" the% tal)ing* he thought. <&e#ore you slash %e to $its*, he said* <!ho,s this "atron you %entioned-, Euryale sneered. <The goddess 6aia* o# course= The one !ho $rought us $ac) #ro% o$li ion= >ou !on,t li e long enough to %eet her* $ut your #riends $elo! !ill soon #ace her !rath. E en no!* her ar%ies are %arching south. At the 5east o# 5ortune* she,ll a!a)en* and the de%igods !ill $e cut do!n li)e . li)e ., <Li)e our lo! "rices at &argain 'art=, Stheno suggested. <6ah=, Euryale stor%ed to!ards her sister. Percy too) the o"ening. He gra$$ed Stheno,s "latter* scattering "oisoned 0heese ,n, Wieners* and slashed Ri"tide across Euryale,s !aist* cutting her in hal#. He raised the "latter* and Stheno #ound hersel# #acing her o!n greasy re#lection. <'edusa=, she screa%ed. Her sister Euryale had cru%$led to dust* $ut she !as already starting to re-#or%* li)e a sno!%an un-%elting. <Stheno* you #ool=, she gurgled as her hal#-%ade #ace rose #ro% the %ound o# dust. <That,s +ust your o!n re#lection= 6et hi%=, Percy sla%%ed the %etal tray on to" o# Stheno,s head* and she "assed out cold. He "ut the "latter $ehind his $utt* said a silent "rayer to !hate er Ro%an god o ersa! stu"id sledding tric)s and +u%"ed o## the side o# the hill.

II Percy

THE THIN6 A&32T PL2''ETIN6 D3WNHILL at #i#ty %iles an hour on a snac) "latter . i# you reali(e it,s a $ad idea !hen you,re hal#!ay do!n* it,s too late. Percy narro!ly %issed a tree* glanced o## a $oulder* and s"un a three-si1ty as he shot to!ards the high!ay. The stu"id snac) tray did not ha e "o!er steering. He heard the gorgon sisters screa%ing and caught a gli%"se o# Euryale,s coral-sna)e hair at the to" o# the hill* $ut he didn,t ha e ti%e to !orry a$out it. The roo# o# the a"art%ent $uilding loo%ed $elo! hi% li)e the "ro! o# a $attleshi". Head-on collision in ten* nine* eight 7 He %anaged to s!i el side!ays to a oid $rea)ing his legs on i%"act. The snac) "latter s)ittered across the roo# and sailed through the air. The "latter !ent one !ay. Percy !ent the other. As he #ell to!ards the high!ay* a horri$le scenario #lashed through his %ind8 his $ody s%ashing against an S2:,s !indshield* so%e annoyed co%%uter trying to "ush hi% o## !ith the !i"ers. Stu"id si1teen-year-old )id #alling #ro% the s)y= I,% late= 'iraculously* a gust o# !ind $le! hi% to one side . +ust enough to %iss the high!ay and crash into a clu%" o# $ushes. It !asn,t a so#t landing* $ut it !as $etter than tar%ac. Percy groaned. He !anted to lie there and "ass out* $ut he had to )ee" %o ing. He struggled to his #eet. His hands !ere scratched u"* $ut no $ones see%ed to $e $ro)en. He still had his $ac)"ac). So%e!here on the sled ride he,d lost his s!ord* $ut Percy )ne! it !ould e entually rea""ear in his "oc)et in "en #or%. That !as "art o# its %agic. He glanced u" the hill. The gorgons !ere hard to %iss* !ith their colour#ul sna)e hair and their $right green &argain 'art ests. They !ere "ic)ing their !ay do!n the slo"e* going slo!er than Percy $ut !ith a lot %ore control. Those chic)en #eet %ust, e $een good #or cli%$ing. Percy #igured he had %ay$e #i e %inutes $e#ore they reached hi%. Ne1t to hi%* a tall chain-lin) #ence se"arated the high!ay #ro% a neigh$ourhood o# !inding streets* cosy houses and eucaly"tus trees. The #ence !as "ro$a$ly there to )ee" "eo"le #ro% getting onto the high!ay and doing stu"id things . li)e sledding into the #ast lane on snac) trays . $ut the chain-lin) !as #ull o# $ig holes. Percy could easily sli" through into the neigh$ourhood. 'ay$e he could #ind a car and dri e !est to the ocean. He didn,t li)e stealing cars* $ut o er the "ast #e! !ee)s* in li#e-and-death situations* he,d <$orro!ed, se eral* including a "olice cruiser. He,d %eant to return the%* $ut they ne er see%ed to last ery long.

The one on the le#t !as a stoc)y guy !ith a $o! and 4ui er on his $ac).d ha e to cross to the %edian o# the high!ay* $ut then it !ould $e a short s"rint. The guard on the right loo)ed li)e a girl* though it !as hard to tell #or sure !ith all the ar%our. Percy )ne! the door !as %ore than that.s internal radar !as "inging li)e cra(y. /ust as he. That.d #inally reached his goal. Percy.d #igured* a hundred yards u"hill the high!ay cut through the $ase o# the cli##.t see through the 'ist. They !ore a $i(arre %i1 o# "lu%ed Ro%an hel%ets* $reast"lates* sca$$ards* $lue +eans* "ur"le T-shirts and !hite trainers. His instincts told hi% that i# he could %a)e it inside that door he %ight #ind sa#ety #or the #irst ti%e since the !ol es had sent hi% south. &ut they couldn.s "ro$a$ly !hat %ortals thought* i# they noticed the door at all. T!o )ids in ar%our #lan)ed the entrance. A#ter so %any horri$le days* he. He.He glanced east. He could %a)e it $e#ore the gorgons reached . &oth )ids held long !ooden sta##s !ith iron s"ear ti"s* li)e old-#ashioned har"oons. T!o tunnel entrances* one #or each direction o# tra##ic* stared do!n at hi% li)e eye soc)ets o# a giant s)ull. So !hy did he #eel such dread5urther u" the hill* the gorgons !ere scra%$ling o er the roo# o# the a"art%ent co%"le1. It %ight ha e $een a %aintenance tunnel. Part o# hi% !anted to run to the door in the hill. In the %iddle* !here the nose !ould ha e $een* a ce%ent !all +utted #ro% the hillside* !ith a %etal door li)e the entrance to a $un)er. Three %inutes a!ay . %ay$e less.

s eyes s"ar)led as i# she. I don. <Who are you-. Those Ro%an guards at the door %ade hi% uneasy. Percy +u%"ed.re right* o# course*.hi%. The gorgons had ta)en o## their green ests.. /une clas"ed her hands o er her heart. 'ay$e Anna$eth !as close $y.t %y territory.s "art o# your choice=.s !here he !as #ro%.. T!o gorgons are co%ing. That. said a oice ne1t to hi%. The old hi""ie lady raised her eye$ro!s.d $een collecting trash and rags e er since. The last thing he needed !as another har%less %ortal !ho turned out to $e a %onster. <3h* you can call %e /une. <Ho! s!eet= &ut that. A ca%". >ou need to %a)e your choice. Percy as)ed* though he !asn. Part o# hi% !anted to head !est to the ocean..s direction. 0a%". &ut so%ething #elt !rong. When she s%iled* she sho!ed e1actly three teeth.s !here he.t sure he !anted to )no!.t a %aintenance tunnel*. A +olt !ent u" Percy. This is dangerous.t it.d %ade an e1cellent +o)e. She !ore a dress %ade o# tie-dyed cloth* ri""ed-u" 4uilts* and "lastic grocery $ags. Her #ri((y %o" o# hair !as grey-$ro!n* li)e root-$eer #oa%* tied $ac) !ith a "eace-sign head$and.d $een )ic)ed to the side o# the road %ay$e #orty years ago* !here she. >es* that. <>ou. At #irst he thought &eano had %anaged to snea) u" on hi% again* $ut the old lady sitting in the $ushes !as e en %ore re"ulsi e than a gorgon. s%all $at !ings* !hich glinted . she con#ided.s the entrance to ca%". <It. So%ething inside hi% said8 This isn. Then Stheno shrie)ed in delight and "ointed in Percy. <Not %uch ti%e* child. She loo)ed li)e a hi""ie !ho. Warts and %oles co ered her #ace.s s"ine.d $e sa#est. <'y choice 7. The old lady.t !ant the% to hurt you. 'ay$e this !as his ho%e.They na%ed the %onth a#ter %e=. Percy glanced ner ously to!ards the hill. <3)ay 7 Loo)* I should go. <It isn. That. Wings s"routed #ro% their $ac)s .s !here his "o!er !ould $e greatest.. The gorgons !ere still on the roo# o# the a"art%ent $uilding. <It is /une* isn.

Percy loo)ed at the old lady. >ou.. Then /une hi)ed u" her s)irts and sho!ed hi% her s!ollen "ur"le #eet.d carry you to this ca%" $ecause . <And I.t get there $y %ysel#*. /une said. Percy didn. <0arry you-.t )no! !hat ri er she %eant* $ut it didn. across the high!ay* through the tunnel* across the ri er. /une said* as i# she !ere in no hurry.ll lose the %ar) o# Achilles.t %atter.t the gods !ill die* the !orld !e )no! !ill "erish and e eryone #ro% your old li#e !ill $e destroyed. <3r-.. <&ecause it. she said. she said. <0arry %e to ca%" . >ou.. he said* <!ill I get %y %e%ory $ac)-.'ay$e they !ere 3rna%ental. Since !hen did they ha e !ings. Then the t!o sisters lea"ed o## the a"art%ent $uilding and soared to!ards hi%. <3r you could do a good deed #or an old lady*. <I can. The gorgons shrie)ed !ith laughter as they soared in #or the )ill. <E entually*.ll #eel "ain* %isery and loss $eyond anything you. 'ay$e they !ere too s%all to get a gorgon into the air. <>es* a choice*. 3# course* you !ouldn.t re%e%$er the%* so I su""ose it !on. 6reat. The gorgons !ere only #i#ty yards a!ay no! . Percy !as "retty sure he !asn. <And i# you don. Percy s!allo!ed. <&ut $e !arned* you !ill sacri#ice %uch= >ou. . >ou. e e er )no!n.s a )indness=. <I# I go to the ca%"*. &ut you %ight ha e a chance to sa e your old #riends and #a%ily* to reclai% your old li#e. /ust great. In the sea* no %onster !ould $other you.t sound easy. /une loo)ed "retty hea y. leisurely gliding to!ards hi% as i# they )ne! the hunt !as al%ost o er.li)e $rass. The gorgons !ill $e 4uite ha""y to attac) %e and let you go.. <>ou could lea e %e here at the %ercy o# the gorgons and go to the ocean. Percy ho"ed she !as )idding. she said. >ou could $egin a ne! li#e* li e to a ri"e old age* and esca"e a great deal o# "ain and %isery that is in your #uture.d %a)e it there sa#ely* I guarantee.d $e sa#e at the $otto% o# the sea 7. -.t going to li)e the second o"tion. <0arry %e to the ca%" !ith you.

He sa! the gorgons s!oo"ing do!n* cars s!er ing as the %onsters "assed o erhead. So%eho! he %ade it to the %edian ali e. Stheno called do!n glee#ully* <0le er $oy= 5ound a goddess to carry* did you-. A dri er hon)ed. He had to #ind her. At $est* it !as so%e )ind o# test. Since he. He #elt li)e HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH* and i# the %onsters caught hi%* he. He !as HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH* #ro% HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.d $e HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Percy as)ed. So%e!here o## to his le#t* Euryale screa%ed* <6et the%= T!o "ri(es are $etter than one=. A shado! #ell o er hi%. At !orst* this !as a tra". Percy tried to ignore her sour $reath and her calloused hands clinging to his nec). e1ce"t the truth. His ri$s ached. Percy.s heart "ounded. Percy dou$ted /une !as de#enceless.3##-course hang gliders.. Then he thought a$out Anna$eth* the only "art o# his old li#e he !as sure a$out. /une s%iled. He !ondered !hat the %ortals sa! through the 'ist .d lost his %e%ory* his !hole li#e !as one $ig #ill-in-the-$lan). He scoo"ed u" the old !o%an. Percy ran #or the door in the hillside. Another yelled so%ething that !as lost in the !ind. <3h* they. Percy hated tests. They !ere Pro$a$ly studying the old !o%an* trying to #igure out !ho the ne! "layer !as $e#ore they struc). 'ost +ust s!er ed and loo)ed irritated* as i# they had to deal !ith a lot o# ratty teenagers carrying old hi""ie !o%en across the high!ay here in &er)eley. She !as lighter than he e1"ected. He %ade it across the #irst lane o# tra##ic.ll let you in* dear. The guy !ith the $o! noc)ed . >ou can trust those t!o.The !ol# Lu"a had told hi% that %ortal %inds could $elie e +ust a$out anything . A goddess/une cac)led !ith delight* %uttering* <Whoo"s=. giant "elicans. <What a$out those guards at the door-. Percy $olted across the re%aining lanes. /une got hea ier !ith e ery ste". <I. So* !hat do you say.Will you hel" a de#enceless old !o%an-. as a car al%ost )illed the%.The gorgons !ere circling right o erhead. 3ne o# the guards yelled.ll carry you.

t )no! ho! that girl Ha(el !ould hold o## the gorgons $y hersel#* $ut he !as too tired to argue. Percy shouted* <Wait=.s oice s4uea)ed. <6otcha=. !as that Latin. <6et the% inside* 4uic)= Those are gorgons. At #irst* it loo)ed li)e a ty"ical %aintenance tunnel* !ith electric ca$les* !arning signs* #use $o1es on the !alls and light$ul$s in !ire cages along . <6ood shot. <That should.. The archer. Her s!ord sca$$ard ca%e do!n al%ost to her an)le. He didn. She loo)ed younger than 5ran) . <Percy /ac)son-. <3)ay* you.an arro!.ll hold the% o##. <Than)s*. A truc) sla%%ed into her and carried her $ac)!ards a hundred yards* $ut she +ust cli%$ed o er the ca$* "ulled the arro! out o# her head* and launched $ac) into the air. &ut the $oy !asn.. The arro! #le! o er Percy.s head. and o"ened the door. /ust get inside. The tunnel cut through solid roc)* a$out the !idth and height o# a school hall!ay. 5i#ty #eet #ro% the door. She glanced at /une. The second guard readied her s"ear* gesturing #rantically at Percy to hurry.. <6o=. The #e%ale guard !as dar)er-s)inned* !ith curly hair stic)ing out the sides o# her hel%et. 5ran) cursed in another language . &ut !ho.t. Percy %uttered.s the . It !as hard to tell %uch a$out hi% under the hel%et* $ut he loo)ed stout li)e a !restler* %ay$e #ourteen or #i#teen. Percy turned as an arro! thudded into her #orehead. Euryale tu%$led into the #ast lane. <Ne er %ind. %ay$e thirteen. I. <Will the door hold the%-..t $e cra(y. <Don. 3n!ard* Percy /ac)son= Through the tunnel* o er the ri er=.re o$ iously a de%igod.-.s ar%s* /une cac)led. A gorgon !ailed in "ain. shrie)ed Euryale. In Percy. the archer "rotested. <6orgons-. <Ha(el*.. Thirty #eet. e )illed her=. he told the guards. Percy #ollo!ed* staggering under the !eight o# the old lady* !ho !as de#initely getting hea ier.t ai%ing at hi%. Still* she sounded li)e she !as the one in charge. the $oy said. <5ran)*. <Welco%e to %y !orld*. she de%anded. <0o%e on=. <No* no it !on. Percy reached the door. the girl said.

li e oa)s and eucaly"tus trees* gold hills and $lue s)ies. <All roads lead there* child. /une chuc)led. /ust )ee" %o ing= We. I ho"e*. &ut Percy #elt li)e he. The glo! at the end o# the tunnel gre! $righter* and #inally they $urst into sunlight.t !e chec) on Ha(el-. True* his %e%ory !as gone. !hat !as it called* 'ount Dia$lo. They )e"t running. He glanced $ac). <She.t s%o)e. The old lady !as hea ier no! than a "ile o# sand$ags. Percy as)ed. <Ro%e. rose in the distance* right !here it should $e. <Detention-.d heard her right. A s%all clear ri er cut a !inding course #ro% a la)e in the centre and round the "eri%eter* li)e a ca"ital 6. There !as a s4ua!)ing sound* +ust li)e the gorgons had %ade !hen Percy had dro""ed a crate o# $o!ling $alls on the% in Na"a. he as)ed. 5ran) said.re al%ost there. Percy !asn.. <Ro%e* child*.d ste""ed into a secret !orld.t hel" Percy concentrate.s ar%s shoo) #ro% the strain.ll $e o)ay . So%e had do%es and colu%ned "orticoes* li)e national %onu%ents. &ut he !as "retty sure Ro%e !asn. Percy !as te%"ted to du%" /une and run $ac) to hel"* $ut then the entire tunnel shoo) !ith the ru%$le o# #alling stone. Ha(el shouted. &ehind the%* the gorgons. The !est end o# the tunnel !as no! #illed !ith dust..t in 0ali#ornia. <She. <Shouldn. <Al%ost !here-. the old !o%an said.. That $ig inland %ountain . His $rain hadn. oices echoed in the tunnel. Percy. . The $asin #loor !as ru%"led !ith s%aller hills* golden "lains and stretches o# #orest.s good underground. A #e! hundred yards ahead* Percy sa! a s4uare o# daylight. The lights changed to reed torches* !hich $urned $ut didn. e $een any!here in northern 0ali#ornia . S"read out at his #eet !as a $o!l-sha"ed alley se eral %iles !ide. /une %u%$led a song in Latin* li)e a lulla$y* !hich didn. Percy #ro(e. As they ran dee"er into the hillside* the ce%ent #loor changed to tiled %osaic. The geogra"hy could.t sure he. >ou should )no! that.the ceiling.t #elt right since he had !o)en u" at the Wol# House. In the centre o# the alley* nestled $y the la)e* !as a s%all city o# !hite %ar$le $uildings !ith red-tiled roo#s.

3thers loo)ed li)e "alaces* !ith golden doors and large gardens. Wooden !atchto!ers rose at each corner* %anned $y sentries !ith o ersi(ed %ounted cross$o!s. Percy thought it loo)ed li)e an ele ated train trac). Se eral stone $ridges crossed the ri er as it !ound through the alley and* in the north* a long line o# $ric)!or) arches stretched #ro% the hills into the to!n. 5ran) said. A$out t!o hundred yards a!ay* +ust across the ri er* !as so%e sort o# %ilitary enca%"%ent. Inside* the #ortress $ustled !ith acti ity8 do(ens o# )ids going to and #ro% $arrac)s* carrying !ea"ons* "olishing ar%our. It !as a$out a 4uarter %ile s4uare* !ith earthen ra%"arts on all #our sides* the to"s lined !ith shar"ened s"i)es.d lost her hel%et* so her curly $ro!n hair #ell around her shoulders. 5ootste"s echoed in the tunnel $ehind the%. She !as co ered !ith stone dust and $reathing hard. He could see an o"en "la(a !ith #reestanding colu%ns* #ountains and statues. A #i e-storey-tall Ro%an coliseu% glea%ed in the sun* ne1t to a long o al arena li)e a racetrac)... <0a%" /u"iter*. She. <I slo!ed the% do!n*..s nec) tighter. <We. Percy $it his tongue. Then he reali(ed it %ust $e an a4ueduct. <3h* yes* "lease. A narro!er gate stood closed on the ri er$an) side. So%ething a$out this "lace #elt ery #a%iliar* yet not 4uite right. Across the la)e to the south* another hill !as dotted !ith e en %ore i%"ressi e $uildings . 5ran) cursed. /une s4uee(ed Percy.ll $e sa#e once . Pur"le $anners hung #ro% the to!ers. she said. A !ide gate!ay o"ened on the #ar side o# ca%"* leading to!ards the city.t get %y dress !et. 3utside the !alls ran a dry %oat* also studded !ith s"i)es.ll $e here any second. The strangest "art o# the alley !as right $elo! hi%. Ha(el $urst into the light. 3ne o# the %onsters had tagged her !ith a ?@A 355 stic)er.. te%"les* Percy guessed. <We ha e to get across the ri er. <&ut they. Percy heard the clan) o# ha%%ers at a #orge and s%elled %eat coo)ing o er a #ire. I can. Her ar%our had long slash %ar)s in #ront #ro% the cla!s o# a gorgon. I# this lady !as a goddess* she .

t the gods !ill die* the !orld !e )no! !ill "erish and e eryone #ro% your old li#e !ill $e destroyed. The %ar) o# Achilles is a 6ree) $lessing. Anna$eth* Percy thought. <The Little Ti$er*. I# this !as a test* he couldn. <6o* Ha(el.t shoot hi%. >ou can. 2" on the !atchto!ers* horns $le!. His senses tingled li)e he.t retain it i# you cross into Ro%an territory. They reached the ri er$an)* and Percy sto""ed to catch his $reath. Ne! strength surged through his li%$s.d $een in+ected !ith ca##eine. 5ran) and Ha(el )e"t hi% on his #eet. The current !as #ast* $ut the ri er didn. /une s%iled. &ut he. 2sually he lo ed the !ater* $ut this ri er see%ed 7 "o!er#ul* and not necessarily #riendly. Percy !as too e1hausted to understand all that* $ut he got the %ain "oint.t ha e iron s)in any %ore-. 5ran) let his arro!s #ly.. This is your last chance to $ac) out* child.%ust.s thro! across stood the gates o# the #ort.t loo) dee". <So !hat !ill it $e. It.d $etter )ee" lugging her along.d i%agined* $ut that didn.t $other hi%. He #orged into the ri er. And i# you don. He reached the other side and "ut the old !o%an do!n as the . The Ti$er !ill !ash it a!ay. <I# I cross* I !on. He.s a )indness* she..s %y turn to hold o## the $addies. He stu%$led a #e! ti%es as they ran #or the ri er.d said.Sa#ety* or a #uture o# "ain and "ossi$ility-.. &ehind hi%* the gorgons screeched as they #le! #ro% the tunnel. It !as icy cold* %uch s!i#ter than he. 5ran) noc)ed t!o arro!s at once.t a##ord to get an 5. Ha(el nodded and !aded into the strea%. The sentries shouted and s!i elled their cross$o!s to!ards the gorgons. It. 3nly a stone. e $een the goddess o# s%elly* hea y* useless hi""ies. said /une sy%"athetically.d co%e this #ar. <Escort Percy so the sentries don. 5ro% the %iddle o# the ri er* Ha(el yelled* <Percy* co%e on=. <It #lo!s !ith the "o!er o# the original Ti$er* ri er o# the e%"ire. Percy started to #ollo!* $ut so%ething %ade hi% hesitate.

The other )ids dre! s!ords and got ready to charge into the !ater* $ut they. The !hirl"ools anished* and the current returned to nor%al. The sentries yelled* $ut Percy )ne! they couldn.d end u" )illing 5ran). They. Percy heard the other )ids yel"ing and $ac)ing a!ay* $ut he stayed #ocused on his tas).ca%". Percy stood on the ri er$an). The %onsters hit $otto% and $ro)e into dust. <5ran)=. 5ran) !as hal#!ay across the ri er !hen the gorgons caught hi%. Then she loo)ed o er Percy. Then the hands li#ted the s4ua!)ing %onsters in a li4uid ice gri".s shoulder* and her e1"ression changed to horror.d $e too late. 6littering clouds o# gorgon essence struggled to re-#or%* $ut the ri er "ulled the% a"art li)e a $lender. Ha(el turned !ith a relie ed s%ile. . 3ne o# the girls %ade a cho)ing sound. she said. They s!oo"ed out o# the s)y and gra$$ed hi% $y either ar%.s !aters had gi en hi% an acid $ath. There !as only one !ay. Whirl"ools #or%ed on either side o# 5ran). An intense tugging sensation #illed his gut* and the Ti$er o$eyed his !ill. His clothes and his s)in stea%ed as i# the Ti$er. He screa%ed in "ain as their cla!s dug into his s)in. <Percy 7 /ac)son-. 3nly then did Percy reali(e ho! 4uiet the other )ids had $eco%e. E eryone !as staring at hi%.s %o e%ents. He #elt e1"osed* ra! 7 ulnera$le. <Well* that !as a lo ely tri"*. <Than) you* Percy /ac)son* #or $ringing %e to 0a%" /u"iter. In the %iddle o# the Ti$er* 5ran) stu%$led around* loo)ing stunned $ut "er#ectly #ine. Percy thrust out his hands. Do(ens o# )ids in ar%our "oured out. The ri er surged.. The giant hands gra$$ed the gorgons* !ho dro""ed 5ran) in sur"rise. Ha(el !aded out and hel"ed hi% ashore.s gates o"ened. 3nly the old lady /une loo)ed un#a(ed.t get a clear shot. Soon e ery trace o# the gorgons !as s!e"t do!nstrea%. He %ade a s%ashing gesture !ith his #ists* and the giant hands "lunged the gorgons into the Ti$er. 6iant !atery hands eru"ted #ro% the strea%* co"ying Percy.

<3h* yes. 5or %onths he has $een slu%$ering* $ut no! he is a!a)e.ll ha e such #un together=. >ou. She !ore a regal "ur"le cloa) o er her ar%our. <Ro%ans* I "resent to you the son o# Ne"tune..s s)in o er her shoulders. Percy #ocused on her* ho"ing to see a #a%iliar #ace. She !as o$ iously a leader. He )ne! he should "ro$a$ly )neel too* $ut a#ter carrying the old lady so #ar* he didn.t #eel li)e sho!ing her that %uch res"ect. Percy had no idea !here they.She sounded as i# she recogni(ed his na%e. I# it !as "ossi$le #or the ca%"ers to loo) %ore stunned* they did. In her hand !as a sta## to""ed !ith a lotus #lo!er. She %ust ha e $een a$out Percy. Her #ace !as stern and stately. /une laughed !ith delight.t noticed $e#ore . She and 5ran) also #ell to their )nees* lea ing Percy the only one standing. Ha(el !as the #irst to s"ea). She gre! until she !as a shining se en-#oot-tall goddess in a $lue dress* !ith a cloa) that loo)ed li)e goat..s ho"e #or you yet. His #ate is in your hands. </uno* huh-. Percy loo)ed at Ha(el and 5ran) #or so%e )ind o# e1"lanation* $ut they see%ed +ust as con#used as he !as. </uno. he said. >ou. Perha"s there.s age* !ith dar)* "iercing eyes and long $lac) hair.t $een !eird enough already* the old lady $egan to glo! and change #or%. 5ran) !as holding so%ething Percy hadn. <I# I "assed your test* can I ha e %y %e%ory and %y li#e $ac)-.t recogni(e her* $ut the girl stared at hi% as i# she. <In ti%e* Percy /ac)son* i# you succeed here at ca%". e done !ell today* !hich is a good start. Then* +ust $ecause the day hadn. The goddess s%iled.d co%e #ro%* $ut he sa! . Do not #ail %e=. t!o s%all clay #las)s !ith cor) sto""ers* li)e "otions* one in each hand. The 5east o# 5ortune co%es 4uic)ly* and Death %ust $e unleashed i# you are to stand any ho"e in the $attle. /uno shi%%ered and disa""eared. The girl !ith the "ur"le cloa) )nelt. Her chest !as decorated !ith %edals. 3ne )id got do!n so hastily he al%ost i%"aled hi%sel# on his s!ord. The others #ollo!ed her lead. She turned to the other )ids. Percy didn.d seen hi% in her night%ares.

she said %ore ho"e#ully* <i# she. &ut he also understood that i# he argued !ith her a$out it here* in #ront o# her soldiers* she !ouldn. /uno said your #ate is in our hands. <So*. <I a% Reyna* "raetor o# the T!el#th Legion. <Loo)*. <Ha(el*.s $rought us an ene%y to )ill. 5ran) ga e hi% a loo) li)e8 We.5ran) sli" the% into his "oc)ets.. . Percy as)ed* <Edecide !hat to do !ithF %e-.t a""reciate it.s gone* actually.. We ha e to )no! !hether the goddess has $rought us a ne! recruit 7.t )no! you.. <&e#ore !e acce"t anyone into ca%"* !e %ust interrogate the% and read the auguries. Percy could tell #ro% her eyes.ll tal) a$out it later. 3$ iously she !as not used to ha ing her orders 4uestioned.s a little #u((y. She e1a%ined Percy !arily* and Percy couldn.ll send hi% to 3cta ian. We %ust consult the auguries $e#ore !e decide !hat to do !ith hi%. And 7 no* I don. Do I )no! you-. The girl in the "ur"le cloa) ste""ed #or!ard. she said coldly* <a son o# Ne"tune* !ho co%es to us !ith the $lessing o# /uno. The girl hesitated. Reyna studied Percy as i# she #ound that dou$t#ul.s hand tightened on her dagger. <3r*. said Reyna* <$ring hi% inside. I !ant to 4uestion hi% at the "rinci"ia.t sha)e the #eeling that she !anted to run hi% through !ith her dagger. That last "art !as a lie. he said* <%y %e%ory. Then !e. Reyna. 2%* it.. <What do you %ean*.

.

III .

<They. 'y na%e isn. 6raecus %eans 6ree). <A% I seeing things-. Percy !ished he could turn in isi$le too.. House gods. De%igods ha e a natural sense #or it. <They.t 6reg. He stayed $et!een Ha(el and 5ran) and tried to loo) incons"icuous. The little $oy ghost shrie)ed so%ething li)e <6reggus=. 'ay$e they . <3r are those . Hal# the "eo"le in ca%" !ere dead. Shi%%ering "ur"le !arriors stood outside the ar%oury* "olishing ethereal s!ords. Percy said. <They. 5ran) e1"lained.T S0ARED 35 6H3STS* !hich !as luc)y. <'ostly they.ll start understanding Latin. And at the sta$les a $ig glo!ing red dude !ith the head o# a !ol# guarded a herd o# 7 Were those unicornsNone o# the ca%"ers "aid the ghosts %uch attention* $ut as Percy. He. he continued. She had startling eyes* li)e #ourteen-)arat gold.. A#ter !ee)s on his o!n* all this attention %ade hi% uneasy.re staring at %e*. Percy as)ed. <6hosts-. e $een here a !hile* you.re ancestral s"irits*.. <That ghost )id called %e 6reggus. <Li)e 7 s%aller than real gods* $ut larger than a"art%ent gods-.Percy PER0> WASN. <'ay$e not.d ta)en steroids and +oined the 'arines. Ha(el turned. and turned in isi$le. 5ran) cleared his throat. 3thers hung out in #ront o# the $arrac)s.. Percy said.re Lares. <House gods*. >ou.d re%o ed his hel%et* re ealing a $a$yish #ace that didn.t go !ith his %ilitary haircut or his $ig $urly #ra%e. e got that ty"e o# co%"le1ion* the dar) hair and all. A #e! loo)ed angry. e ne er seen the% so agitated. He loo)ed li)e a toddler !ho. <The Lares are )ind o# li)e %ascots*.s entourage !al)ed $y* !ith Reyna in the lead and 5ran) and Ha(el on either side* all the s"irits sto""ed !hat they !ere doing and stared at Percy. <6raecus*. <Is that $ad-. Ha(el said. <3nce you..re har%less* $ut I. he as)ed. A ghostly $oy chased a ghostly dog do!n the street.

t !orry a$out it. <What-. <Pro$a$ly nothing*. Along the :ia Praetoria* ro!s o# sho"s ad ertised #ood* ar%our* !ea"ons* co##ee* gladiator e4ui"%ent and toga rentals. So%eti%es Ro%ans use graecus as an insult #or so%eone !ho. 3 er the door!ay hung a $ig "ur"le $anner !ith the gold letters SPGR e%$roidered inside a laurel !reath. They sto""ed at the centre o# ca%"* !here t!o !ide stone-"a ed roads %et at a T.I REN3 C@L 'ILESI and 0ERTAIN DEATH8 >32 ARE HERE= 5or certain death* the "lace loo)ed "retty clean and orderly.re actually 6ree).s called the "rinci"ia. A street sign la$elled the road to the %ain gates as :IA PRAET3RIA. an ene%y. Li)e I said* %y %e%ory is gone. a t!o-storey !edge o# !hite %ar$le !ith a colu%ned "ortico li)e an old-#ashioned $an).s an outsider . The $uildings !ere #reshly !hite!ashed* laid out in neat grids li)e the ca%" had $een designed $y a #ussy %aths teacher.. The other road* cutting across the %iddle o# ca%"* !as la$elled :IA PRIN0IPALIS. <Don. <Ro%ans and 6ree)s ha e an old ri alry. Each dor% had a di##erent collection o# $anners out #ront dis"laying Ro%an nu%erals and arious ani%als . . <It. He sounded "retty !orried. Ro%an guards stood out #ront. A chariot dealershi" had a $ig ad ertise%ent out #ront8 0AESAR NLS WOANTIL30K &RAKES* N3 DENARII D3WN= At one corner o# the crossroads stood the %ost i%"ressi e $uilding . <3r %ay$e 7. 5ran) said. 2nder those %ar)ers !ere hand-"ainted signs li)e &ERKELE> ? 'ILESI NEW R3'E J 'ILEI 3LD R3'E K*CL@ 'ILESI HADES C*MJ@ 'ILES 9"ointing straight do!n. I !ouldn.t )no!.thin) you. eagle* $ear* !ol#* horse and so%ething that loo)ed li)e a ha%ster. Reyna #aced hi%* her eyes still cold and hostile. Percy as)ed. 5ran) hesitated.. Is your #a%ily #ro% there-. <>our head4uarters-.. Percy as)ed. The $arrac)s had shady "orches* !here ca%"ers lounged in ha%%oc)s or "layed cards and dran) sodas.

Reyna !a ed Ha(el and Percy to!ards the head4uarters. said one. <E eryone $ac) to your duties.She scanned the %o$ o# curious ca%"ers !ho had #ollo!ed the% #ro% the ri er. e caused enough trou$le this !ee).s dead*.d re%ind you* 5ran) Phang*. <>es* Reyna.. The $a)ery do!n the street s%elled "retty !onder#ul too* $ut he dou$ted Reyna !ould let hi% get an order to go. I. He #iddled !ith a little ta$let on a cord round his nec).. <I. <6o to the ar%oury*. >ou.s sto%ach ru%$le.. <&ut . <>eah*. <'e too-.s ears turned red. %uttered another. Reyna ga e 5ran) such a harsh loo) that he ste""ed $ac). e got to let hi% . The "rinci"ia !as e en %ore i%"ressi e inside. So%e %uttered co%%ents a$out Percy. <He..ll gi e you an u"date at e ening %uster.t "aid %uch attention to it* $ut it loo)ed li)e a na%e tag %ade out o# lead. <No!* Percy /ac)son* let.ll call you i# I need you. said another. <Let hi% +oin the 5i#th 0ohort. The cro!d dis"ersed reluctantly. I. <0o%e !ith us. 6ree)s and gee)s. 5ran) caught hi%sel#. Re%e%$er* !e ha e !ar ga%es a#ter dinner. I !ant your re"ort on !hat ha""ened at the gates. 5ran) said. <Ha(el*. Reyna said. Percy hadn.. she said* <you are on Pro$atio yoursel#. <Would $e those t!o !ho #ound hi%*. <Percy sa ed %y li#e. <0hec) our in entory.s chances.. The scent o# $ar$ecue #ro% the dining hall %ade his %outh !ater. Reyna told hi%. Se eral )ids laughed at that* $ut Reyna sco!led at the%* and they cleared o##..s see i# !e can i%"ro e your %e%ory. We.. The thought o# dinner %ade Percy. 3n the ceiling glittered a %osaic o# Ro%ulus and Re%us under their ado"ted %a%a she-!ol# 9Lu"a had . 5ran).. He hurried o##.

The #loor !as "olished %ar$le. Their #angs loo)ed shar" as ra(ors. Nor%ally he li)ed dogs* $ut these glared at hi% !ith ru$y eyes.s %ost e1"ensi e ca%"ing tent. Reyna said* <unless you try to steal so%ething* or unless I tell the% to. The !alls !ere dra"ed in el et* so Percy #elt li)e he !as inside the !orld.told Percy that story a %illion ti%es. <They !on. Percy #ro(e. They sto""ed gro!ling* $ut )e"t eyeing Percy as though they !ere i%agining hi% in a doggie $ag. Along the $ac) !all stood a dis"lay o# $anners and !ooden "oles studded !ith $ron(e %edals . Percy got the #eeling he !as su""osed to also.Treasure. Reyna told the greyhounds. T!o li#e-si(ed statues o# greyhounds .s $ad sideIn the centre o# the roo%* a long !ooden ta$le !as cluttered !ith scrolls* note$oo)s* ta$let co%"uters* daggers and a large $o!l #illed !ith +elly $eans* !hich see%ed )ind o# out o# "lace..s Argentu% and Auru%. one sil er* one gold . <Easy* guys*. Percy had the ague #eeling he. In the centre !as one e%"ty dis"lay stand* as i# the %ain $anner had $een ta)en do!n #or cleaning or so%ething. The Latin %eanings "o""ed into his head li)e Ha(el had said they !ould. It !as $loc)ed $y a ro! o# iron $ars li)e a "rison door. Percy !ished he could sit in the other* $ut Ha(el re%ained standing.. In the $ac) corner* a stair!ell led do!n. <So 7. %ilitary sy%$ols* Percy guessed. he started to say.d seen her $e#ore. rela1ed . She had the "oise o# a s!ord #ighter .A%nesiac de%igods !ho had got on Reyna. Reyna !al)ed $ehind the ta$le and sat in one o# t!o high-$ac)ed chairs. <Sil er and 6old*. The dog statues $ared their teeth and gro!led. He al%ost as)ed !hich dog !as !hich. Then he reali(ed that that !as a stu"id 4uestion. That. #lan)ed the ta$le. Reyna set her dagger on the ta$le. Percy !ondered !hat !as do!n there .t attac)*. %onsters. Her hair !as $lac) and glossy as olcanic roc)* !o en in a single $raid do!n her $ac). Percy said.

$ut this one didn. She..Ho! did you get here. It see%ed too "ri ate* and he !as still con#used a$out !here to #ind her.And don. <5u((y $its and "ieces.d !o)en u" at the ruined %ansion in the !oods o# Sono%a. she as)ed. <We ha e %et*. ho! he. What do you re%e%$er. #ighting %onsters* ser ing the gods* "rotecting %ortals and u"holding the %e%ory o# the e%"ire. Percy glanced at the greyhounds. 'y dogs don.t li)e liars.t lie.s #ace* her $londe hair and grey eyes* the !ay she laughed* thre! her ar%s around hi% and ga e hi% a )iss !hene er he did so%ething stu"id. Also* he !as reluctant to share his one clear %e%ory8 Anna$eth. The !orry lines around her eyes %ade her loo) older than she "ro$a$ly !as.d s"ent !ee)s training hi%* until he !as as strong and tough and icious as a !ol#.t re%e%$er !hen. <No %e%ory at all-. <I !ant to hear your story. <I don.d %et at a ca%" . Please* i# you can tell %e anything .d sent hi% south* telling hi% that* i# he sur i ed the +ourney* he %ight #ind a ne! ho%e and regain his %e%ory. He !as sure they.t #eel li)e the right "lace.yet igilant* as i# ready to s"ring into action at any %o%ent.d e1"lained that she !as one o# the guardian s"irits o# Ancient Ro%e. When she !as satis#ied !ith his s)ills* she. <5irst things #irst*. She. Lu"a had taught hi% a$out de%igods* %onsters and gods.t !ant to %ention Anna$eth. Percy told his story . He descri$ed his ti%e !ith Lu"a and her "ac)* learning their language o# gestures and e1"ressions* learning to sur i e and #ight. e1ce"t #or one thing. None o# it see%ed to sur"rise Reyna.. In #act* she see%ed to #ind it "retty ordinary . De%igods li)e Percy !ere still res"onsi$le #or carrying on Ro%an traditions in %odern ti%es . He didn. he decided. He #eared that i# he s"o)e a$out that %e%ory to anyone . She %ust ha e )issed %e a lot* Percy thought. Reyna said. <>ou still re%e%$er nothing-.. Argentu% and Auru% snarled to e%"hasi(e the "oint.

We. Reyna al%ost crac)ed a s%ile* !hich ga e Percy ho"e. Her %etal dogs !atched her go $ac) and #orth.d $een aslee" . She descri$ed Percy as $ra e and heroic* !hich %ade hi% unco%#orta$le.re !hat* si1teen-. Ho! did you #ind 0a%" /u"iter-. <>eah*. Reyna stood. she said* <you.d done !as carry a hi""ie $ag lady. Reyna sighed. &ut I.re old #or a recruit. She "aced in #ront o# the $anners. <I thin) so*. <>ou %ust. <E en i# I acce"t that you. e ne er heard o# so%eone losing his %e%ory. /uno had said so%ething a$out hi% slu%$ering* and he did ha e a ague #eeling that he. she said. Percy said. All he.it !ould e a"orate li)e a drea%.. <'ost o# !hat you. She . <I# you s"ent that %any years on your o!n* !ithout training or hel"* you should $e dead.t eaten you* so I su""ose you. Ha(el too) the story #ro% there.d ha e a "o!er#ul aura that !ould attract all )inds o# %onsters. &ut that didn.t %a)e sense. <Ne1t ti%e* can I ta)e a "olygra"h-. He couldn. I# Lu"a thin)s !e. <>ou. Percy said. <I.re descri$ing is nor%al #or de%igods.t die* the old lady !ho turned out to $e a goddess and #inally %eeting Ha(el and 5ran) at the tunnel in the hill.re tested and trained. A son o# Ne"tune.>ou. e $een so%e!here $e#ore the Wol# House*. %ay$e #or a long ti%e.re not an ene%y*. e $een told that I s%ell. Percy said. Percy shrugged.. <6reat*. <Well* the dogs ha en. Reyna studied hi%. the gorgons !ho !ouldn.re not a ty"ical recruit. The Gueen o# 3ly%"us si%"ly doesn. 'ay$e she !as hu%an a#ter all.t ris) that. At a certain age* one !ay or another* !e #ind our !ay to the Wol# House. The last ti%e a %a+or god isited us in "erson li)e that 7.. Percy told her a$out the last three days . Reyna s"un her dagger. >ou.re telling the truth.re !orthy* she sends us south to +oin the legion.t a""ear at ca%"* announcing a ne! de%igod.

<I don. The third !as etched !ith the design o# a %a(e* and the last had an i%age o# a $uilding . And you !ear strange sy%$ols .s sisters* !ho ha en. He "ulled it out* $ut then reali(ed he. %ay$e the E%"ire State &uilding.s not a good o%en. Es"ecially no!.s !rong !ith Ne"tune-. e only heard legends a$out such things.t )no!*. He should ha e thro!n the shirt a!ay !ee)s ago. <>ou. Reyna as)ed. Ha(el and 5ran) hadn.t seen it either.shoo) her head. The greyhounds $ar)ed a""rehensi ely. The $eads #elt i%"ortant* li)e "ictures #ro% a #a%ily al$u%* $ut he couldn. Reyna )e"t "acing. It %ight ha e had !ords on it at one "oint* $ut they !ere too #aded to read. Ha(el shot hi% a !arning loo). And a son o# Ne"tune 7 that. We used to ha e a #e! in the ar%oury $e#ore 7. <What is that-. <And your s!ord-. <I. The "en had rea""eared as it al!ays did. Reyna said dar)ly. <The %etal is called 0elestial . <It.t $ear to get rid o# it..d ne er sho!n Reyna the s!ord. Ho! had Reyna )no!n a$out itToo late to "retend it didn. <I ha e*. >ou. Percy as)ed. She sto""ed hersel#. What do they %ean-. !ith na%es Percy didn. a 6ree) design. he said. Ha(el gas"ed. It !as !orn to shreds* $ut he couldn. Percy chec)ed his "oc)et..t recogni(e engra ed around it. Another dis"layed a %iniature 6olden 5leece. e ne er seen a s!ord li)e that.s ery old . e #ought 'edusa. e agitated our Lares* !ho are calling you a graecus.t re%e%$er !hat they %eant. Ha(el as)ed.t e1ist 7 He unca""ed the "en. <I.t $een seen in thousands o# years. Ri"tide s"rang to #ull #or%. <What. He +ust )e"t !ashing it in strea%s and !ater #ountains as $est he could and "utting it $ac) on. 3ne sho!ed a trident. Percy loo)ed do!n at his tattered orange T-shirt. that shirt* the $eads on your nec)lace. <And !hat do you %ean* Ees"ecially no!F-. As #or the nec)lace* the #our clay $eads !ere each decorated !ith a di##erent sy%$ol.

A guy in a "ur"le shirt* !ith %ar)s on his ar% .s deadly to %onsters* li)e I%"erial gold* $ut e en rarer. Ha(el leaned #or!ard.t $e re%o ed.s tattoo also had the letters SPGR* $ut she only had one score %ar)* and her e%$le% !as di##erent8 a $lac) gly"h li)e a cross !ith cur ed ar%s and a head8 Percy loo)ed at his o!n ar%s. <The %etal !as consecrated in ancient ti%es* at the Pantheon in Ro%e.. A #e! scra"es* so%e %ud and a #lec) o# 0ris"y 0heese . Reyna held u" her o!n #orear%.s sur i ed as a loner all this ti%e* %ay$e he. Its e1istence !as a closely guarded secret o# the e%"erors . Ha(el. 'ost legionnaires use a shorter s!ord called a gladius. a !ay #or their cha%"ions to slay %onsters that threatened the e%"ire. It. Percy glanced at Ha(el.s got enough to !orry a$out. Ha(el has a s"atha* a ca alry s!ord. &ut that !ea"on o# yours is not Ro%an at all.. Reyna said. Reyna. <What a$out it-.t noticed $e#ore* $ut she had a tattoo on the inside8 the letters SPGR* a crossed s!ord and torch* and* under that* #our "arallel lines li)e score %ar)s.s seen /ason.. <So you. I use this dagger. .n. <These %ar)s can. I thought "erha"s 7. <Percy. <I# he. e ne er $een a %e%$er o# the legion*. Percy as)ed. <I%"erial gold-.re not a ty"ical de%igod. Reyna unsheathed her dagger. Wiener* $ut no tattoos. She turned to Percy.s oice tightened. she con#ir%ed* holding u" her ar%. Percy as)ed.. Percy hadn. It.s another sign you. <Ha e you e er %et a de%igod li)e us $e#ore. Sure enough* the $lade !as gold. <We all ha e the%*.$ron(e.. And your ar% 7. We used to ha e %ore !ea"ons li)e this* $ut no! 7 !ell* !e scra"e $y. <All #ull %e%$ers o# the legion do.. She shoo) her head* as i# dis%issing an idea. <Ha(el.

<>ou %ean he.t gi en u"..Percy touched the "oint o# his s!ord* and Ri"tide shran) $ac) into a "en.s true*.s $ac). <We ha en. <So it. Reyna.s $een gone eight %onths* and you ha en.t "aid %uch attention to the calendar out in the !ilderness* $ut /uno had %entioned that it !as no! /une.. Percy #ro!ned. Ha(el said. He hadn.. So did /uno.. >ou. <Do you )no! !hat. or !e hold a $allot on the e ening o# /une t!enty-#ourth* at the 5east o# 5ortuna. <The legion nor%ally has t!o elected "raetors. <Either the legion raises so%eone on a shield a#ter a %a+or success on the $attle#ield .s the goddess o# luc). <I !ill not ha e you s"reading %ore "anic in the ca%". Who.. <I ha en. She !a ed her hand at the second e%"ty chair.s #ingers tightened around the hilt o# her dagger. Reyna and Ha(el $oth glanced at the e%"ty dis"lay stand* as i# thin)ing a$out !hat !as %issing. Whate er ha""ens on her #east day can a##ect the entire rest o# the year. <He %ight not $e dead*. she ordered. <The 5east o# 5ortune 7 The gorgons %entioned that.s /ason-. Percy said. and !e ha en. Reyna gri%aced. That. They said the ca%" !as going to $e attac)ed on that day* so%ething a$out a $ig $ad goddess na%ed 6aia* and an ar%y* and Death $eing unleashed. <Elections only ha""en in t!o !ays*. <>ou ha e a #east #or tuna-. <5ortuna*. Percy tried to calculate. She can grant the ca%" good luc) 7 or really $ad luc).t seen anyone li)e you guys $e#ore. A chill !ent do!n Percy. Reyna ga e Ha(el an irritated loo).t had any %a+or $attles . <>ou !ill say nothing a$out that outside this roo%*. <She. /ason 6race* son o# /u"iter* !as our other "raetor until he disa""eared last 3cto$er. e $een %ore to her than +ust a colleague.t re"laced hi%-. <He is 7 he !as %y colleague. Percy got the #eeling this guy /ason %ight.s going to .s in #i e days. Ha(el corrected. Reyna said.re telling %e that day is this !ee)-..

she said. He !asn. 3n the !ay you can ans!er Percy.t sure he e en li)ed Reyna. e tal)ed enough #or no!*. <6ood luc) !ith the augury* Percy /ac)son*. They had the sa%e ene%ies.. <We.0an !e sto" it-. Whate er !as co%ing do!n* it !as huge..s 4uestions. The %etal dogs stood and gro!led* inching to!ards Percy. &esides* Percy re%e%$ered !hat /uno had told hi%8 it !asn. &ut he !anted to hel". <Ha(el* ta)e hi% to Te%"le Hill.. Percy had +ust %et these "eo"le. 5ind 3cta ian. <>es* Reyna. .t +ust this ca%" at ris). <I# 3cta ian lets you li e* "erha"s !e can co%"are notes 7 a$out your "ast. Percy still had so %any 4uestions that his $rain #elt li)e it !ould %elt. They !ere de%igods* the sa%e as hi%. His old li#e* the gods and the entire !orld %ight $e destroyed. Reyna said.ha""en. &ut Reyna %ade it clear the audience !as o er. Tell hi% a$out the legion. She sheathed her dagger.

.

I: .

<&ath house*.t li ed until you. Percy.The gods ha e $een $usy. Laughter and !atery sounds echoed #ro% inside* li)e it !as an indoor "ool . Percy had ne er $een great at %aths* $ut he tried to %ulti"ly. li)e roo%%ates* )ind o#. Ha(el laughed. Percy tried to deci"her the $anners and sy%$ols hanging in #ront o# the $uildings. <>ou guys are di ided into di##erent ca$ins-. e had a Ro%an $ath. <And all o# the% are children o# the gods. <Not all o# the% are children o# %a+or gods..re telling %e there. Percy sighed !ith antici"ation. second or third . <We ha e #i e cohorts o# a$out #orty )ids each.ll get you in there $e#ore dinner* ho"e#ully. E en the ghosts loo)ed $etter . !ith #ancier ar%our and shinier auras.. Percy inhaled the %u##in. <>ou. >ou ha en. The co##ee !as great. Plus* a lot o# the ca%"ers are legacies . There are hundreds o# %inor Ro%an gods.Percy 3N THE WA> 32T 35 0A'P* Ha(el $ought hi% an es"resso drin) and a cherry %u##in #ro% &o%$ilo the t!o-headed co##ee %erchant.s t!o hundred )ids at ca%"-. Ha(el duc)ed as a )id riding a giant eagle s!oo"ed o erhead. As they a""roached the #ront gate* the $arrac)s got $igger and nicer. Each cohort is di ided into $arrac)s o# ten . <Roughly. <We. Ha(el said. he as)ed... He !atched a $unch o# )ids in s!i%suits and to!els head into a $uilding that had stea% co%ing out o# a ro! o# chi%neys. <Sort o#.s )ind o# "lace. No!* Percy thought* i# he could +ust get a sho!er* a change o# clothes and so%e slee"* he..d $e golden. 'ay$e e en I%"erial golden.

A ghost ran to!ards the% . you )no!* they all clai%ed to $e descended #ro% gods. 'ay$e their "arents !ere de%igods.d $e alone. <Why. he as)ed* <the cohorts* !hate er .d $een so !orried a$out sur i ing day to day. that see%ed li)e an i%"ossi$le drea%. He caught u" to the% and gas"ed #or air* his "ur"le aura #lic)ering around hi%.re di ided according to !ho your godly "arent is-. That didn. <So the di isions*. 'ost o# the ti%e* they !ere telling the truth.d $een in that situation. I# !e !ere di ided according to god* the cohorts !ould $e all une en. The ca%" augur !e. <Legacies*.s got the gi#t o# "ro"hecy* su""osedly. <>ou. Ha(el %ade a sour #ace. <:itellius*. Ha(el stared at hi%.. <What a horri$le idea= No* the o##icers decide !here to assign recruits. The ghost sco!led at Percy and !al)ed around hi%* . Ha(el said* <!e.re sort o# in a hurry.generation. &e#ore she could ans!er* so%eone $ehind the% yelled* <Wait=. <They ha e "o!ers li)e a de%igod-.s #ate in his hands. <0hildren o# de%igods-.s a legacy* descendant o# A"ollo. the ghost "anted. Ha(el corrected. 3r their grand"arents. <A ne! recruit #or the 5i#th* "erha"s-.. &ut they can $e trained..What. <Why. Percy $lin)ed. an old %an !ith a %edicine-$all $elly and a toga so long he )e"t tri""ing on it. <Su""osedly-.. <So%eti%es.Does that sur"rise you-. you. All the $est Ro%an generals and e%"erors .re going to %eet* 3cta ian* he. Percy #elt a t!inge o# sadness* li)e he.ll see.. Percy !asn. <This is hi%-. I..s your ancestry-. The last #e! !ee)s he. <These Legos .t %a)e Percy #eel so great* i# this dude 3cta ian had Percy. The idea o# li ing long enough to $e an adult and ha e )ids o# his o!n . So%eti%es not. He.t sure.

3n a near$y "orch* other ghosts snic)ered as :itellius "aced $ac) and #orth* tri""ing o er his toga and hi)ing u" his s!ord $elt.s day . &een around since the legion !as #ounded.We. <He.t you chec) on 5ran). <I don. Percy said. Ha en.s /ulius 0aesar* %ind you . <:itellius*. <>es*. He stu%$led o## do!n the street* sto""ing e ery #e! #eet to "ic) u" his s!ord or rearrange his toga.s one o# the oldest Lares.s #urry "ur"le eye$ro!s shot u". :itellius said* <$ac) in 0aesar..s our %otto. Ridiculous !ea"on #or a Ro%an legionnaire .Does he clean sta$les-. Why don. <'ars Al%ighty= They let the "ro$atio chec) the ar%our.t you had a $ath-. <I. <EAr%ed !ith LightningF*.s in the ar%oury doing in entory. e got to get Percy.s one o# our LaresI ta)es an interest in ne! recruits.He. <We need only the $est #or the cohort. The last #e! centuries* !e.s eccentric* $ut he. >ou )no! ho! %uch he alues your hel". When Ro%e #ell* a lot o# legions +ust disa""eared.s augury $e#ore he can +oin. We !ent underground* acting on secret orders #ro% /u"iter hi%sel#8 stay ali e* recruit de%igods and their children* )ee" Ro%e going. that. <He. <That. e $een doing that e er since* %o ing around to !here er Ro%an in#luence !as strongest. e co%e to. you s%ell li)e a 6ree) se!er. Ha(el translated..t )no!*.. Percy said. Ha(el interru"ted* <!e. <Sorry*. e . <He called the legion 7 5ul%inata-. Ha(el. Percy said. We.Disgrace#ul !hat !e. e $een a little $usy #ighting gorgons*. Does he ha e all his teeth.s #or ca alry= And you* $oy .ins"ecting hi% li)e a used car. the 5i#th 0ohort !as so%ething= T!el#th Legion 5ul%inata* "ride o# Ro%e= &ut these days. <3-h-h-)ay*.ll $e ruined=. <Percy* this is :itellius. Loo) at Ha(el here* using a s"atha. he gru%$led. Percy said. The ghost. The T!el#th Legion !as around #or the entire Ro%an E%"ire.. that.s e1"ression said8 /ust hu%our hi%. <>es* yes and no*. Ha(el said. <Who are you-.0an he #ight.

$een in A%erica. The #ort !as situated on the highest "oint in the alley* so they could see "retty %uch e erything. E en #ro% this #ar a!ay* Percy could see "eo"le gathered in the "la(a* sho""ers %illing around an o"en-air %ar)et* "arents !ith )ids "laying in the "ar)s. Percy couldn.ll sho! you %y #a ourite ie!. It. 'ost de%igods go into the %ortal !orld.s "retty dangerous out there. 2nli)e the %ilitary ca%"* the city loo)ed chaotic and colour#ul* !ith $uildings cro!ded together at ha"ha(ard angles.t the %ost "o"ular-. Percy )ne! he. !ell* it. So* yeah* a lot o# eterans %a)e their ho%es there* under the "rotection o# the legion. <I. Ha(el said. he guessed* <!hich %ay$e isn. Ha(el loo)ed do!n.. e got #a%ilies here-. she said at last. The road led do!n to the ri er and di ided. <And you. 3ne "ath led south across a $ridge* u" to the hill !ith all the te%"les. As $i(arre as that sounded* Percy had no trou$le $elie ing it. <0o%e on*. De%igods !ho could li e !ithout #ear* get %arried* raise a #a%ily. <>eah. In #act* it sounded #a%iliar* li)e so%ething he. They sto""ed outside the %ain gates..d hit a sore s"ot. The other road led north into the city* a %iniature ersion o# Ancient Ro%e. It see%ed too good to $e true.re in the 5i#th 0ohort*. She !as silent long enough to count e ery "a ing stone. This alley is a sanctuary. <So 7 +ust a #e! !ee)s $e#ore that guy /ason disa""eared. Adult de%igods. he as)ed. &ut #or so%e . <&ut i# this alley is attac)ed-.d al!ays )no!n. Ha(el sco!led. .. <>ou.t 4uite !ra" his %ind around that.. I +oined u" last Se"te%$er. <In the city* a$solutely*. <When you.re acce"ted into the legion* you do ten years o# ser ice.. A#ter that* you can %uster out !hene er you !ant. >ou can go to college in the city* get %arried* ha e )ids* retire !hen you get old.s the only sa#e "lace on earth #or "eo"le li)e us.

-.s . Ha(el "ointed south across the ri er. <What the .s causing it-.d loo)ed so %oody a %o%ent ago. <It. <That. <We. Percy couldn. <Ele"hant*. Percy could tell that she !as holding so%ething $ac) . She see%ed nice and easygoing* %ature #or so%e$ody !ho couldn. I# !e didn. Ha(el e1"lained. Ha(el laughed. <Do you )no! !hat. she said. Ha(el loo)ed a!ay. <We can.t !hat it used to $e.t include hi%* he. The $orders are %agical. >et she had clai%ed she.d $een a$out to say. It !as hard to $elie e she. it. &ut our strength isn. Why do you ha e an ele"hant in a $ullet"roo# est-.t ha e that. Lately* the %onster attac)s ha e $een increasing.d $e alone i# the ca%" sorted her $y her godly "arent.t .. She !as interru"ted $y an ele"hant. Ha(el said. Ha(el said.Ha(el "ursed her li"s.. Percy !ondered !hat she.d get u"set. Percy s"at dust out o# his %outh. Ha(el dragged Percy out o# the road as a de%igod rode "ast on a #ull-gro!n "achyder% co ered in $lac) Ke lar ar%our. so%ething she !asn. <>eah* I read the sign. e noticed that too* !ith other %onsters. Red #lashes o# lightning !ashed the %onu%ents in $lood-coloured light. Dar) clouds !ere gathering o er Te%"le Hill.s Hanni$al. So%eone $ehind the% shouted* <'a)e !ay=. The ele"hant thundered do!n the road and turned north* heading to!ards a $ig o"en #ield !here so%e #orti#ications !ere under construction..t #igure her out. <'y $rother says Death isn. &ut she also see%ed to $e hiding a dee" sadness* li)e she #elt guilty a$out so%ething. <3cta ian is $usy*. The !ord ELEPHANT !as "rinted on the side o# his ar%our* !hich see%ed a little o$ ious to Percy..t ha e $een %ore than thirteen.t su""osed to say. What you said a$out the gorgons not dying 7 !e.s co%"licated*. She had a $rother. <We ha e de#ences. <War ga%es tonight*.d $etter get o er .

e got to get to !or)* and .s a sa#e "lace to hang out and $eg. <They hang out here $ecause* !ell* it. Percy as)ed. <5auns don. 3r +o$s. He trotted o er !ith a $ig grin on his #ace. <Sorry* !e don..&ecause I le#t %y !allet at ho%e* and I. <Hi* Don*. <Don*. Percy caught a gli%"se o# it $e#ore Ha(el sli""ed it into her "oc)et. He couldn.t sha)e the #eeling that #auns should $e %ore than +ust ho%eless guys $egging #or denarii. <Right*. one o# the% cried. 3n the !ay* they "assed so%e goat-legged guys hanging out on the side o# the road.t they !or) #or the ca%"-. Don $leated.. <3h* Ha(el is a!eso%e*. His %assi e A#ro +iggled.. Ha(el chided. Ha(el said. 3r ho%es.F I lo e her=.there. <5auns= Wor) #or the ca%"= Hilarious=.s* li)e* EPlease go a!ay* Don.t ha e $uses. <Nothing.t #auns ha e +o$s. Don loo)ed at the ground in #ront o# the% and gas"ed. <Score=. We tolerate the%* $ut .Shouldn. She "ushed hi% out o# the !ay and snatched u" a s%all shiny o$+ect. <3h* that. <Ha(el=.s ne!=. And !e don. <5auns are* u%* #ree s"irits*. So-. <>eah. Ha(el e1"lained. He held a card$oard sign that read8 WILL W3RK SIN6 TALK 63 AWA> 53R DENARII. Don trotted along !ith the%..s so nice= All the other ca%"ers are* li)e* E6o a!ay* Don.t ha e ti%e . Percy tried to )ee" a straight #ace.F &ut she. He grinned at Percy.. Don said. His eyes !ere hidden $ehind little round rain$o!-tinted glasses. He reached #or so%ething* $ut Ha(el screa%ed* <Don* no=. He !ore a #aded Ha!aiian shirt and nothing #or "ants e1ce"t thic) $ro!n goat #ur.s cool=.. <Do you ha e three denarii #or the $us. <>our na%e is Don the 5aun-. <Why don.t ha e !allets. The #aun see%ed har%less* $ut Percy still #ound hi% unsettling. <Hey* this guy.s cool= That. He could ha e s!orn it . <She. he said cheer#ully* <$ut do you ha e denarii-.

.s Peus . <3cta ian reads auguries there . E ery ti%e you !al) $y . Percy as)ed. <>eah. <6o a!ay. He "ointed to!ards the su%%it.re heading-. <Let. The #aun sighed. uh* I %ean* /u"iter..s li)e you.. &ut I s!ear* it. e $ought a year.That.s Reyna..t as).re good luc)..s the Te%"le o# 'ars 2ltor. Then they "assed a %assi e red cry"t decorated !ith hu%an s)ulls on iron s"i)es. Percy !asn..t stay %ad at you. They !al)ed in uneasy silence the rest o# the !ay to Te%"le Hill. 2ltor %eans Ethe A engerF. Ha(el shoo) her head. Percy had to s"rint to catch u". <&ut* yeah* sa%e guy. Ha(el said 4uic)ly..s %o%. Percy said. Statues o# gods see%ed to #ollo! Percy !ith their eyes. <I.% guessing that.s his 6ree) na%e*. Ha(el sounded edgy. Ha(el "ointed out the Te%"le o# &ellona. She sounded sha)en* li)e she. <That. . <0o%e on* Ha(el*. A croo)ed stone "ath led "ast a cra(y assort%ent o# tiny altars and %assi e do%ed aults. <That.. <Don.t thrilled to hear that. <Please*. Ha(el said. <What !as that a$out-. <That.s !here !e.s go* Percy. the Te%"le o# /u"iter 3"ti%us 'a1i%us. Ha(el said. Percy had to thin) a$out it* $ut the Latin !ords clic)ed into English. <I could. <'ars 7 Ares* the !ar god-. she said. <Please tell %e !e.!as a dia%ond. she said. 0louds s!irled o er the largest te%"le* a round "a ilion !ith a ring o# !hite colu%ns su""orting a do%ed roo#. <Right.d +ust sa ed Don #ro% a charging $ullet"roo# ele"hant. <That dia%ond in the road . 5or so%e reason* +ust loo)ing at the ugly red $uilding %ade hi% #eel angry.s !orth o# doughnuts !ith that=.s.. <6oddess o# !ar*.. She started +ogging.s the second-%ost i%"ortant god o# Ro%e. <A!* I can.. Don co%"lained. <Don* "lease*.re not going in there*. He. <6ood$ye* Don*. </u"iter 7 the $est and the greatest-.

t %eant to get e%otional* $ut he !as e1hausted and scared* and he.ll $e o)ay. >ou. Ha(el said.re telling %e a child o# Ne"tune caused that-.. <It. 'ay$e i# he did really !ell they.. <It.d $een lost #or so long that he !ould. a stale $agel. The last ti%e one +oined the legion 7 !ell* it !as JD@Q* !hen 0a%" /u"iter !as located across the $ay in San 5rancisco. .. <So they say.s Ne"tune. He reached in his $ac)"ac) and dug out the last $it o# #ood #ro% his tri" . His $est ho"e !as to $e scary to his ne! ca%" %ates. His heart san).s altar* he #elt so%ething stirring inside hi%* li)e !a es ri""ling through his eins. <>ou.% sorry* Percy*.. E en in %odern ti%es* ha ing a child o# Ne"tune around has al!ays $een a $ad o%en.t %uch* $ut he set it on the altar.re one o# us. There !as this huge earth4ua)e . Ha(el loo)ed a"ologetic. <I.. Percy stared at the co$!e$s on the trident. Still 7 standing at Ne"tune. 3n a s%all altar sat a $o!l !ith three dried-u"* %ouldy a""les. Ha(el "ut her hand on his shoulder. <The coolest and %ost a!eso%e-. His oice crac)ed.6i e %e %y %e%ory $ac). <I# you can hear %e* hel" %e out* o)ay. Ha(el gestured to a s%all $lue $uilding the si(e o# a toolshed. <Po"ular "lace.t lo e hi% %uch. He #elt "retty stu"id tal)ing to a $o!l o# #ruit. 6reat* he thought. >ou.. It !asn. e gi en anything #or so%e guidance. Percy "ee)ed inside.re here no!. <Hey 7 uh* Dad. A co$!e$co ered trident !as nailed a$o e the door. E en i# he +oined the ca%"* he !ould ne er $e lo ed.d gi e hi% so%e %ouldy a""les. He !anted to )no! so%ething a$out his li#e #or sure* !ithout gra$$ing #or %issing %e%ories. <Any!ay 7 Ro%ans #ear Ne"tune* $ut they don. <2%* not 4uite.s +ust 7 Ro%ans !ere al!ays scared o# the sea.. Percy as)ed. tell %e !hat to do.s title-. They only used shi"s i# they had to..<What. He hadn. Tell %e .

d thought he re%e%$ered so%ething. <2h* hi*..s he doing-..s al%ost done*.t %a)e hi% loo) any less cra(y. <The graecus=. He had a croo)ed s%ile and a slightly cra(y loo) in his eyes* li)e he. . The %ar$le #loor !as etched !ith #ancy %osaics and Latin inscri"tions. Percy %ur%ured. <Ho! interesting. A "retty i%"ressi e tric)* considering the )id didn.s te%"le !as de#initely o"ti%us and %a1i%us. <What are you tal)ing a$out-. <3cta ian. The clouds turned #ro% grey to !hite and $ro)e a"art.t loo) li)e that*. <Let. Percy %uttered. That didn. In the centre stood a %ar$le altar* !here a )id in a toga !as doing so%e sort o# ritual in #ront o# a %assi e golden statue o# the $ig dude hi%sel#8 /u"iter the s)y god* dressed in a sil) NNNL "ur"le toga* holding a lightning $olt. <It doesn. Percy said. No! it !as gone. <The %aster $olt*.s toolshed* /u"iter.s go. The guy in the toga turned. The )id at the altar raised his hands. In one hand he held a )ni#e. 5or a second* he. He !as tall and s)inny* !ith stra!-coloured hair* o ersi(ed +eans* a $aggy T-shirt and a droo"ing toga. <What-. 'ore red lightning #lashed in the s)y* sha)ing the te%"le. <Percy*. Ha(el said* <this is 3cta ian.. <What. In the other hand !as so%ething li)e a dead ani%al. He loo)ed li)e a scarecro! !earing a $edsheet. <I .He #elt a!)!ard* de"ending on an eighth-grade girl he $arely )ne! #or co%#ort* $ut he !as glad she !as there. <Nothing* I guess.d +ust $een "laying an intense ideo ga%e. Percy #ro!ned.. 0o%"ared to Ne"tune.t loo) li)e %uch. Si1ty #eet a$o e* the do%ed ceiling s"ar)led gold. Ha(el as)ed. <Are you )illing s%all ani%als-. 3cta ian announced. Ha(el said. Red lightning lit u" the hill. Percy said.. Then he "ut his hands do!n* and the ru%$ling sto""ed. The !hole te%"le !as o"en to the !ind. A$o e the%* thunder ru%$led.

When she %entioned /uno* 3cta ian loo)ed sur"rised. <Possi$ly %y na%esa)e* 3cta ian . <I sa! it in the auguries. It !as a dise%$o!elled teddy $ear. Percy didn. Percy as)ed.3cta ian loo)ed at the #u((y thing in his hand and laughed. 3cta ian. he %used. Percy said. 3cta ian ste""ed o## the dais. I. At #irst he loo)ed har%less* $ut as he got closer Percy !asn. No!adays* !e use these. 3nce u"on a ti%e* yes.% thin)ing the #irst inter"retation is correct.. <We call her /uno 'oneta.t so sure. She a""ears in ti%es o# crisis* to counsel Ro%e a$out great threats.. </uno*. <Seriously-. He glanced at Percy* as i# to say8 li)e %ysterious 6ree)s* #or instance. <I can. 3r "ossi$ly8 The goose has cried.t "in do!n the %e%ory. 3cta ian !a ed his )ni#e at the "ile o# stu##ing on the altar. Ha(el s"o)e #or hi%..t re%e%$er !ho. He !as "ro$a$ly a$out eighteen* $ut so s)inny and sic)ly "ale* he could. Augustus 0aesar. .s eyes glittered !ith harsh curiosity* li)e he %ight gut Percy +ust as easily as a teddy $ear i# he thought he could learn so%ething #ro% it. He tossed the #u((y thing to Percy. >ou see) to +oin the legion-. <I hear the 5east o# 5ortuna is this !ee)*.. We used to read the !ill o# the gods $y e1a%ining ani%al guts . <The %essage said8 The 6ree) has arri ed.t thin) that !as it* $ut he couldn. Percy said. E eryone says I $ear a re%ar)a$le rese%$lance. the gorgons* the #ight at the ri er* the a""earance o# /uno* their con ersation !ith Reyna. /uno the Warner. She told 3cta ian e erything that had ha""ened since they %et at the tunnel . 3cta ian narro!ed his eyes. <Why did you call %e Ethe 6ree)F-. <>ou see% ner ous. <>ou re%ind %e o# so%eone*... Then Percy noticed that there !as a !hole "ile o# %utilated stu##ed ani%als at the #oot o# /u"iter. e "assed #or younger. <No* no. chic)ens* goats* that sort o# thing.s statue.

We don. No* I.t )no! !hat it %eans.<The gorgons !arned there. <Sadly* no. 3cta ian #inished it !ithout loo)ing8 <An oath to )ee" !ith a #inal $reath* and #oes $ear ar%s to the Doors o# Death. <What a cute idea... And these days* %y ision is e en dar)er.s se eral thousand years old.. <Don. <The !ill o# the gods is hard to discern.t stu"id*. 3cta ian sighed. Percy as)ed. 3cta ian continued.. Ha(el said..s i%"ortant... No!* i# !e. Percy stared at the lines o# !ords* not really e1"ecting to understand the%. To stor% or #ire the !orld %ust #all . He "ointed* translating as he read aloud8 <Se en hal#-$loods shall ans!er the call. <&ecause Reyna isn. Then he reali(ed his !hole $ody !as tre%$ling. &ad things ha""en. <>es* yes. Did you see that in your stu##ing-. <I .t you ha e 7 I don. 3cta ian arched an eye$ro!.% a#raid !e. <That. 3cta ian corrected. I )no! that one.s i%"ortant. <&oo)s o# "ro"hecy*... <That one. <An oracle=. .d gone 4uesting #or the Si$ylline $oo)s* li)e I reco%%ended .d $e an in asion on that day. <2n#ortunately our "resent leadershi" !on.. <The Si$a-!hat-. <A #e! %ysterious "redictions* li)e these. 3cta ian s%iled. 'ost "eo"le $elie e they $urned u" !hen Ro%e #ell..t authori(e a 4uest to loo) #or the% . We call it the Pro"hecy o# Se en* $ut it. Percy said* <an oracle or so%ething-.. Ha(el said* <!hich 3cta ian is o$sessed !ith.. so !e ha e only a #e! re%aining scra"s #ro% the $oo)s*. <. E ery ti%e so%eone tries to inter"ret it 7 Well* Ha(el can tell you.t )no!*. Ro%ans used to consult the% !hen disasters ha""ened. He al%ost cho)ed. <3# course it. Percy thought thunder !as sha)ing the te%"le again.re #resh out o# oracles. He nodded to the inscri"tions on the %ar$le #loor. <So%e "eo"le $elie e that*.

. <2h 7 great. <That. <3h* I a%=. It !as +ust a silly stu##ed toy* $ut Percy had carried it a long !ay.s shoulders rela1ed. </ason isn. se en years o# ca%"* Percy guessed. </ust read the augury #or Percy. 3cta ian turned to!ards the altar and raised his )ni#e. >ou-. Percy "rotested. It !ould %ean so %uch to %e.s %ind !or)ing* calculating !hether or not Percy !ould $e use#ul. <6ood ne!s=. He !as )ind o# #ond o# it.s $ac)"ac). <'e...s ar% .% ha""y to !elco%e Percy into the legion. &ut i# /ason doesn. 3cta ian slashed o"en the "anda.% still loo)ing. He held out his hand #or Percy. <I. <3h* and* Ha(el*.t dead*.t understand !hat he %eant* $ut 3cta ian snatched the &argain 'art "anda "illo! that !as stic)ing out o# the to" o# his "ac).re the augur. 3cta ian. Ha(el clenched her #ists. he said. 3# course* I.Ha(el glared at hi%.s a $eauti#ul s"eci%en. Ha(el. 0o%e on* Percy. We. <Percy %ay +oin the legion.s %ar) !as a har"* the sy%$ol o# A"ollo. Su""ort. <Hey=. 3cta ian said. Percy noticed se en lines on 3cta ian. Percy could al%ost see 3cta ian. e #ound nothing. <>ou.ll re%e%$er . Percy didn. 3cta ian too) o## his toga* setting it and his )ni#e on the altar. >ou. 3cta ian "ointed at the "ile o# gutted stu##ed ani%als.t ha e a "o!er acuu% any longer. I ho"e you.s $elly and "oured its stu##ing o er the altar. 0an he +oin the legion or not-. <I consult the gods e ery day= Alas* a#ter eight %onths* I. Ha(el sna""ed. &ut !hen the election #or "raetor co%es u"* I ho"e you. 3cta ian told Ha(el* <I %ight $e a$le to hel" .re su""osed to $e loo)ing #or hi%=. He tossed the "anda carcass aside* %uttered a #e! !ords o er the #lu##* and turned !ith a $ig s%ile on his #ace.. <A#ter all*. We can.t return $y the 5east o# 5ortuna !e %ust act. Tell Reyna that I a""ro e. 'ay I-.ll assign hi% a cohort at e ening %uster.ll su""ort %e #or "raetor.

t underesti%ate hi%. <&y the !ay* your $rother is here.Why-.you. <I. Ha(el sti##ened.ll !ant to %eet you. Nice to %eet you* Percy.s !aiting #or you at your #ather. Percy sli""ed his hand into his "oc)et and gra$$ed his "en. Ha(el too) a dee" $reath.ll e1cuse %e* I ha e to )ee" searching #or our "oor lost #riend* /ason. Her )nuc)les !ere !hite.. It !ould $e a sha%e i# those a!#ul ru%ours a$out you )e"t circulating 7 or* gods #or$id* i# they turned out to $e true. <I hate that guy*.s not so $ad $y hersel#* $ut i# 3cta ian shares her "o!er 7.He. <Why does your $rother do anything.d ne er $een so glad to lea e a te%"le in his li#e. The rest o# the ca%"ers are a#raid o# hi%. Percy as)ed.. 3ne sign #ro% Ha(el* and Percy !as ready to $ust out Ri"tide and see ho! 3cta ian li)ed $eing at the other end o# a $lade. <I !ish I could $e certain. she %uttered in English. 3cta ian said. He !anted to %eet this %ysterious .. Ha(el stor%ed out o# the "a ilion* and Percy #ollo!ed. Reyna.s shrine. 3cta ian has a lot o# #riends* %ost o# the% $ought. Percy didn. <I# I had %y !ay . <Let. Percy didn. This guy !as $lac)%ailing Ha(el. <'y $rother. That !as o$ ious. No!* i# you.ll thin) a$out it. <A#raid o# that s)inny little guy-. Ha(el shuddered.. 3cta ian shrugged. He. /ust 7 ah* don. <Don.t understand all o# it* $ut he got son o# a gorgon* "o!er-hungry sna)e* and a #e! choice suggestions a$out !here 3cta ian could stic) his )ni#e. As Ha(el %arched do!n the hill* she cursed in Latin.. He !as sure he. He has a distur$ing e##ect on the others. <He !on..t argue.s go see %y $rother..t really get elected "raetor* !ill he-.t in ite hi% to stay too long. <E1cellent*.

5or a %icrosecond !hen he sa! Percy* the $oy see%ed shoc)ed .d $een caught in a searchlight. Standing in #ront !as a teenage $oy in $lac) +eans and an a iator +ac)et. "anic)ed e en* li)e he. Percy had another one o# those !eird #lashes8 li)e this !as so%e$ody he should )no!.. Percy couldn. The )id !as al%ost as "ale as 3cta ian* $ut !ith dar) eyes and %essy $lac) hair. <He. Ha(el led Percy to a $lac) cry"t $uilt into the side o# the hill.s $ac)ground .t loo) anything li)e Ha(el. At his side hung a "ure-$lac) s!ord. The $oy turned.% Nico di Angelo. <This is Percy /ac)son*. &ut 3cta ian had acted li)e he had so%e #irst-class dirt on her. he said. Ha(el said. The $oy regained his co%"osure and held out his hand. e $rought a #riend. Percy* this is %y $rother* the son o# Pluto. <Pleased to %eet you*. <I. <Hey*.$rother* %ay$e learn so%ething a$out Ha(el. !ho her dad !as* !hat secret she !as hiding. <I..d done anything to $e guilty a$out. She see%ed too nice. Ha(el called. He !ore a sil er s)ull ring* a chain #or a $elt and a $lac) T-shirt !ith s)ull designs..s a good guy. .t $elie e she. He didn.

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He. She. I# these t!o $usted out the %agic s!ords* things could get ugly. Nico didn. He.Ha(el HAPEL 5ELT LIKE SHE. Ha(el )ne! $etter. His hair* as al!ays* loo)ed li)e he. Then Percy had controlled the ri er and destroyed the gorgons. A son o# the sea god 7 Long ago* Ha(el had $een told that a descendant o# Ne"tune !ould sa e her.d %et hi%.D /2ST INTR3D20ED t!o nuclear $o%$s. They studied each other !arily* and Ha(el #ought the urge to run.d stirred u" the !hole ca%" !ith tal) a$out the graecus.d turned a "en into a $ron(e s!ord. &ut she )ne! Nico !as %ore dangerous than Reyna* or 3cta ian* or %ay$e e en /ason. The others at 0a%" /u"iter sa! hi% as a tra elling odd$all* a$out as har%less as the #auns.d ordered 5ran) not to #ire on hi%. &ut could Percy really ta)e a!ay her curse.t gro!n u" !ith Nico* hadn. No! she !as !aiting to see !hich one e1"loded #irst. Then she. He !as s)inny and slo""y in his ru%"led $lac) clothes.d heard %yths li)e that8 a )id !ith an old lady $egs #or shelter* and !hen the rude %ortals re#use .t e en )no!n hi% ery long. $oo%* they get turned into $anana slugs. She hadn. E en though he !as $eaten u"* dirty and stoo"ed !ith e1haustion* he.It see%ed too %uch to ho"e #or.d had an aura o# "o!er. Percy and Nico shoo) hands. At #irst* !hen she sa! hi% stu%$ling u" the high!ay !ith the old lady in his ar%s* Ha(el had thought he %ight $e a god in disguise. He had the good loo)s o# a Ro%an god* !ith sea-green eyes and !ind$lo!n $lac) hair.d %et Percy. Ha(el re%e%$ered !hen she.d +ust rolled out o# $ed. The #irst ti%e . 2ntil that %orning* her $rother Nico had $een the %ost "o!er#ul de%igod she )ne!. She thought the gods %ight $e testing the%. She.t a""ear scary.

This scra!ny !hite $oy !as no #ighter. Nico raised his eye$ro!s. She told her $rother !hat had ha""ened since Percy had arri ed at the gates. Ha(el hesitated.s in a dee" slee" %ost o# the ti%e* $ut she hates the gods and their children. /ust hearing that na%e 7 It !as all she could do to )ee" her )nees #ro% $uc)ling. <>ou !arned Reyna-.s e1"ression turned as dar) as Tartarus. The !ay he called it <Stygian iron. <That story see%s #a%iliar. to )ill his dad* 2ranus* and ta)e o er the !orld. he. <The oldest goddess o# all.d al%ost laughed.s ar%y*.. Then the Titans. He loo)ed at Ha(el #or e1"lanation. <I . 'ay$e you. So%ething a$out her $rother.. Nico glanced at the ground as i# it %ight $e listening. Why !as he "retending other!iseHa(el #orced hersel# to s"ea). <This story a$out 6aia. <Do you-.s so#t slee"y oice* a glo!ing ca e and #eeling her lungs #ill !ith $lac) oil. Percy sco!led..* all serious-li)e . <'other Earth 7 is e il-.s the earth goddess.. e %et de%igods li)e Percy $e#ore* or 7. u%* I %ean* Saturn . I )no! you. Nico said gra ely.s reaction !asn. She !as sure o# it. <2% 7 Percy. Ha(el. She had changed her %ind a$out that 4uic) enough. <Who is 6aia* any!ay-. Ha(el didn..t right. Nico said.t $elie ed they !ere related. <She con inced her son* the Titan Kronos .she. she continued care#ully* <I thought 7 you )no!* you tra el all o er. <So* Nico 7.d seen hi% dra! that $lac) s!ord o# his* she.s lost his %e%ory. Percy as)ed. Percy sounded sur"rised* . <:ery*.d loo)ed ridiculous. Nico. <She.t understand !hy* $ut she got the %essage8 Dro" it. She certainly hadn. Nico already )ne! Percy. She re%e%$ered a !o%an.. He !as trying hard to act casual* $ut !hen he had #irst seen Percy* Ha(el had noticed his %o%entary loo) o# "anic. children* the 3ly%"ian gods* o erthre! the%. She.s %outh !ent dry. The Titans ruled #or a long ti%e. Percy nodded.

.t die* that. She !as getting dangerously close to her o!n secret no!* $ut #or so%e reason Ha(el trusted Percy.ll "ro$a$ly start $y destroying the de%igods 7. We all thought the !ar !as o er.s #ace. <She got %ad !hen the gods too) o er. I# they %ean to challenge the gods again* they.s !hy I !as ho"ing she. That.s starting to !a)e.. Nico said. There !as a second Titan !ar. Nico continued* <Saturn "ro$a$ly #aded $ac) to the a$yss.t trust %e. The Ro%ans at 0a%" /u"iter stor%ed his head4uarters on 'ount 3thrys* across the $ay* and destroyed his throne. e told Reyna this-. <The #irst ti%e-.s +a! tensed. <3# course. Nico shrugged.d listen to you. <>ou.s our $iggest !orry. The thing you noticed a$out the gorgons* ho! they !ouldn. I# Percy )ne! the truth a$out her* and the horri$le things she. Ha(el got the #eeling her $rother !as ner ous that %ore o# Percy.. She loo)ed at Nico.t thin) I e er heard the "art a$out 6aia... e heard re"orts o# giants $eing re$orn. She.re e en !orse than children o# Ne"tune. Percy noted. We. <Why-. <2%* any!ay*. <They let Ha(el stay here*.d sa ed 5ran) at .t the !orst "ro$le%. de#eat stirred u" 6aia.re $ad luc). <Percy*. He "ro$a$ly !asn. <That. Tartarus* the s"irit o# the a$yss . <The Ro%ans don.li)e an old %e%ory had "artially sur#aced. They tried to destroy 'ount 3ly%"us* $ut the gods #inally $eat the%. 'ay$e $ecause he !as also an outsider* %ay$e $ecause he. E en 7 e en 6aia isn.t the !orst "ro$le%. She too) a ne! hus$and . <&ut I don. Percy as)ed. I.d done 7 <Last su%%er*. and ga e $irth to a race o# giants. 0hildren o# Pluto 7 !ell* no o##ence* $ut they thin) !e.t hel" it. At least 7 the #irst ti%e. He hesitated* !atching Percy. Nico. Nico continued* <Saturn tried to %a)e a co%e$ac). Ha(el cut in* <loo)* the giants aren. Saturn disa""eared ..t %eaning to %a)e her #eel guilty* $ut she couldn. No! it loo)s li)e the Titans.s %e%ory %ight co%e $ac). Percy re"eated.s di##erent*. Nico glanced at Ha(el.

<He slaughtered %y "anda. and it isn. Percy said. she said.. !hich really irritated her.t treat her as i# she had a contagious disease.t uneasy around the children o# Pluto. the t!o $iggest losers at ca%"= >ou guys are "er#ect #or each other . &ut you.s heart Per#or%ed a little s)i"-$eat ta"-dance . He deser ed to )no! !hat they !ere #acing.s $ody. <Nico and I*. &ut she didn.t )no! her secret.s ha""ening is 7 Death isn. <Hey* Nico 7. His hands !ere co ered !ith grease #ro% cleaning !ea"ons. &ut her heart !asn. Ha(el reali(ed the sun !as getting lo! o er the hills. <Reyna sent %e to get Percy*.t .t li)e hi% in that !ay. Ho! had the day gone so #ast. He loo)ed li)e a cuddly )oala $ear !ith %uscles. <5ran). 5ran) said.<>ou. Sure* he !as a good #riend . . she said care#ully* <!e thin) that !hat. The augury. &e#ore she could #inish* a shout ca%e #ro% do!n the hill. <Did 3cta ian acce"t you-.. Sto" it* she thought.t #elt li)e that since 7 !ell* since Sa%%y.>eah* teddy $ears %ust ha e night%ares a$out that guy.re in= We need to get you cleaned u" $e#ore e ening %uster.t !ith the "rogra%%e..t e1actly Prince 0har%ing* !ith that strange co%$ination o# $a$y #ace and $ul)y !restler. He !as three years older than she !as* and he !asn. As it did e ery ti%e she sa! 5ran)* Ha(el. Nico s%iled. It !ent nuts !hene er 5ran) !as around. He reached the shrine. &esides* 5ran) didn.t $e so nice to her. >ou. 5ran) +ogged to!ards the%* !earing his +eans* "ur"le ca%" shirt and deni% +ac)et.the ri er. I# he )ne!* he !ouldn. one o# the only "eo"le at ca%" !ho didn. She hadn. The #act that e eryone al!ays tried to "air the% u" . He see%ed to #ind 5ran) a%using* %ay$e $ecause 5ran) !as the only one at ca%" !ho !asn.re here #or one reason ..re right*. <He 7 3h. +ust %ade Ha(el %ore deter%ined not to li)e hi%. <>eah*.t to get a ne! $oy#riend.

The ca%"ers !ere going to lo e that . Ha(el $lurted. She didn. Nico agreed. As #ar as Ha(el )ne!* the $ones had al!ays $een there. !orth o# stones glittered on the roo#* $ut #ortunately the other ca%"ers !ouldn. <>ou )no! hi%* don.t !ant to thin) a$out it.t you*. I can.s ga%es.t you ta)e Percy do!n. <6o on* Percy*.s . They sat on the roo# o# Pluto. I%"ortant things are at !or) here. 2h-oh* Ha(el thought... Nico s!ung his #eet li)e a little )id.s shrine* !hich !as co ered !ith $ones and dia%onds. I# she sat any!here too long* or +ust got an1ious* they started "o""ing u" all around her li)e %ushroo%s a#ter a rain. >ou o# all . Ha(el shuddered* re%e%$ering her close call !ith Don that a#ternoon.s s"atha.t touch the%. she %anaged.. <Later. <I. So%e secrets need to stay secret. Ha(el said. He ga(ed across the alley* !here construction cre!s !ere !or)ing in the 5ield o# 'ars* $uilding #orti#ications #or tonight.Ha(el and I !ill $e along soon. <'y sister and I need to tal). es"ecially Pluto.. Nico said.ll $e staying o ernight.t %o ed 4uic)ly and snatched that dia%ond o## the road 7 She didn. and the #auns ne er ca%e u" here.. He said the na%e li)e an incantation. She tried not to loo) an1ious.s . Percy loo)ed at Nico one %ore ti%e* as though he !ere still trying to "lace a %e%ory..t sha)e the #eeling . <6o ahead* guys. The dia%onds !ere her #ault. His Stygian iron s!ord lay $y his side* ne1t to Ha(el. <>ou !ill-. They )ne! $etter than to steal #ro% te%"les .ll catch u". <Settle in. <Ha(el* I ha e to $e care#ul !hat I say.d $etter . <Percy /ac)son. I.. <5ran)*. Se eral %illion dollars. <That. He turned to Ha(el* and she got the sense that the !orst "art o# her day !as yet to co%e. No! all they needed !as so%e $lac) cats and $ro)en %irrors. <Sure*. the son o# Ne"tune and the son o# Pluto arri ing on the sa%e day. Nico interru"ted* <!hy don. We.d li)e to tal) !ith you so%e %ore..t need another death on her conscience.s a good idea*. that.<We. I# she hadn.

To his ene%ies. >ou $elong at 0a%" /u"iter.s not li)e 7 li)e %e-.s not a threat to 0a%" /u"iter.s %outh tasted li)e %etal* as i# gold nuggets !ere "o""ing u" under her tongue. <Li)e I trust you*. That sounded so ridiculous Ha(el al%ost laughed. I can. <Nothing a$out this is right*. <They !on."eo"le . They ha e to. Nico t!isted his s)ull ring.s real sister . Around hi%* $ones $egan to 4ui er as i# they !ere trying to #or% a ne! s)eleton. . he said. >ou.% sorry*. Ha(el said $itterly..s curse. &ut loo)* that. Dad. <:ery. a consolation "ri(e #ro% the 2nder!orld.. <I.s getting $ad in the 2nder!orld. <Loo)* I )no! this is hard*. So%eti%es Ha(el thought Nico had got the $etter end o# the deal.ll %a)e %e "roud. All that stu## in your "ast .d gro!n u" !ith. &et!een the%* they re"resented Pluto.. she as)ed. <No*.t inter#ere.t tell you %ore. <I thin) so*. Nico said.d ne er $e &ianca. She didn. Nico said. >ou can %a)e things right.s t!o s"heres o# control8 death and riches. 5ro% !hat Percy said a$out the gorgons* things are getting !orse u" here* too. Nico said. you can %a)e so%ething good co%e out o# it.% sorry I can. <It. Nico %anaged a dry s%ile.. Percy has to #ind his o!n !ay at this ca%". Ha(el !as the si%"ly the ne1t $est thing Nico could %anage .. <Is he dangerous-. &ut he.. <I. <&ut he. you should understand that. Ha(el said.. <Then it. Ha(el.s chee)s #elt hot.Is Alcyoneus to $la%e-. She didn.t*. <I# they #ind out the truth a$out %e .re here.s true a$out Death.s going cra(y trying to )ee" things under control. Nico. Trust %e* &i. He caught hi%sel#* $ut Ha(el )ne! !hat he.t $elong in this "lace.d al%ost called her8 &ianca. Ha(el. <They. Nico %ight care a$out Ha(el* $ut she. <&ut you ha e a second chance. >ou can trust hi%.t e en $elong in this century. the one he. !hene er he got %oody* Nico had that e##ect on the dead* )ind o# li)e Ha(el.ll call a 4uest soon. Nico "ro%ised.s !hy you.

The $lac)out hit her so suddenly she didn. &ut not last Dece%$er .She should ha e )no!n $etter than to #ocus on the "ast* $ut she re%e%$ered the day !hen her old li#e had $een shattered.d +ust turned thirteen. She. Her %ost recent $irthday. JK Dece%$er JDRJ* the last day she had li ed in Ne! 3rleans. . She shi#ted $ac) in ti%e.t e en ha e ti%e to say* 2h-oh. Not a drea% or a ision. The %e%ory !ashed o er her !ith such "er#ect clarity that she #elt she !as actually there.

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t understand ho! other $lac) )ids could $e so %ean.s curse. The school !as called St Agnes Acade%y #or 0oloured 0hildren and Indians* a na%e that hadn. &esides* she had one #riend . e )no!n $etter* since they the%sel es had to "ut u" !ith na%e-calling all the ti%e.ll hurt you=.t hate anyone that %uch.6i%%e so%e or I. He !as 'e1ican A%erican* so he considered hi%sel# coloured and Indian. riding clu$* o# course* $ut it !as closed on !ee)days and* !ith the !ar on* there !as tal) that the clu$ %ight ha e to shut do!n . and that !as enough. They should. &ut they yelled at her and stole her lunch* al!ays as)ing #or those #a%ous +e!els8 <Where. Ha(el didn. Sa%%y had +ust )issed her on the chee). Des"ite ho! horri$le they !ere* Ha(el ne er ga e the% dia%onds or gold. he said.t changed in a hundred years. That a#ternoon he.s those cursed dia%onds* girl. She didn.Ha(el HAPEL WAS WALKIN6 H3'E AL3NE #ro% the riding sta$les. Sa%%y . That had $een going on #or a long ti%e* o# course* $ut it !as getting !orse. The day had $een #ull o# u"s and do!ns. Sa%%y li)ed to +o)e that he !as the "er#ect St Agnes student. /ust li)e its na%e* the "lace %as)ed a !hole lot o# cruelty under a thin eneer o# )indness. He !asn. Ru%ours !ere s"reading a$out Ha(el. It !as a <!hites only.t $ig or strong* $ut he had a cra(y s%ile and he %ade Ha(el laugh. <They should gi e %e a dou$le scholarshi"*.d ta)en her to the sta$les !here he !or)ed as a groo%. They "ushed her a!ay at the !ater #ountain* and thre! roc)s at her i# she tried to a""roach the% on the "layground. Kids at school had teased her a$out her %other* calling her a !itch and a lot o# other na%es. Des"ite the cold e ening* she !as $u((ing !ith !ar%th.

He !ished he !ere old enough to go.. <. 0ats hissed. Sa%%y tal)ed a$out the !ar. E en the stu"id ha%ster in 'iss #inley. &y the ti%e she got $ac) to the 5rench Guarter* it !as getting dar). /ust one )iss* and not e en on the li"s. li)e he al!ays did. He laughed. She gallo"ed into the #ields so s!i#tly* she le#t Sa%%y $ehind. Peo"le hated her. She al%ost #elt #ree o# her curse.% not that ugly* a% I-. They see%ed to $e the only li ing things that !eren. 3nce in a !hile they. .d go riding. That a#ternoon* she. Then* as i# %o ed $y a sudden i%"ulse* he lurched #or!ard and )issed her on the chee). Ha(el lo ed horses. &y the ti%e he caught u"* he and his horse !ere $oth !inded. He as)ed Ha(el i# she !ould !rite hi% letters i# he !ere a soldier going o erseas.t scared o# her.d ta)en out a tan roan stallion !ith a gorgeous $lac) %ane. &ut Ha(el #elt li)e she !as #loating. She hardly re%e%$ered the ride $ac) to the sta$les* or telling Sa%%y good$ye.t %ind. It !asn.0ourse* du%%y*. &ut horses didn.co%"letely until the /a"anese !ere !hi""ed and the soldiers ca%e $ac) ho%e. Sa%%y could usually snea) Ha(el in to hel" ta)e care o# the horses. <What are you running #ro%-. <I. It !as too cold #or a "icnic* $ut they had one any!ay* sitting under a %agnolia tree !ith the horses tethered to a s"lit-rail #ence. He grinned. He said* <See you to%orro!*. Sa%%y had $rought her a cu"ca)e !ith a $irthday candle* !hich had got s%ashed on the ride $ut !as still the s!eetest thing Ha(el had e er seen.t %uch. As she a""roached ho%e* her !ar% #eeling #aded* re"laced $y dread. Dogs gro!led. When she !as in the saddle* she could ride so #ast that there !as no chance o# ge%stones cro""ing u" in her !a)e. They $ro)e it in hal# and shared it. &ut she !ould ne er see hi% again. <Ha""y $irthday* Ha(el.s classroo% s4uea)ed in terror !hen she ga e it a carrot. she said.

The $a)ery ne1t door had started %a)ing #ritters #or to%orro! %orning* #illing the stair!ell !ith the s%ell o# %elting $utter.s a real sil er nugget. ho! she could #ind cursed +e!els +ust $y !al)ing do!n the street. Des"ite the $eginning o# the !ar* there !as a #esti e %ood in the air. In the clu$ do!nstairs* the $and !as tuning their instru%ents. Ha(el. Ha(el. The locals $egan to reali(e ho! %any horri$le things ha""ened to "eo"le !ho $ought those good-luc) char%s or got "aid !ith Gueen 'arie. When she got to the to"* Ha(el thought she heard t!o oices inside the a"art%ent. She ga e Ha(el resent#ul loo)s.s %o% had $eco%e short-te%"ered.s %other to ha e their #ortunes read or to $uy char%s #ro% 'arie Le es4ue* the #a%ous gris-gris 4ueen. <Did you hear-. 0harlie 6asceau1 lost his ar% in a har ester !hile !earing a gold $racelet. At #irst it see%ed li)e a $lessing.s curse had started out slo!ly.s treasure. &ut !hen she "ee)ed into the "arlour* her %other !as sitting alone at the sSance . Ha(el e en got a ne! dress. 'r Henry at the general store dro""ed dead #ro% a heart attac) a#ter Gueen 'arie settled her ta$ !ith a ru$y. Gueen 'arie* she li)ed to $e called .d get tattoos in the "arlours or "ro"ose to their s!eethearts right on the side!al). li ed in an old a"art%ent a$o e a +a(( clu$. Worth t!enty dollars= That oodoo !o%an is cra(y=. Ne! recruits !ould roa% the streets* laughing and tal)ing a$out #ighting the /a"anese. 5ol)s started !his"ering a$out Ha(el . Ha(el cli%$ed the stairs as 4uietly as she could* in case her %other had a custo%er. These days only out-o#-to!ners ca%e to isit her %other* and not so %any o# the%* either. So%e !ould go u"stairs to Ha(el. &ut then stories started s"reading. 5or a !hile* that )ind o# tal) $rought Gueen 'arie a lot o# $usiness. They ate stea) #or dinner once a !ee). Gueen 'arie "aid her $ills. The "recious stones and gold only a""eared once in a !hile* ne er in huge 4uantities. <T!o $its #or this good-luc) char%. one !ould say. They.Ha(el and her %other . I too) it to a guy I )no!* and he says it.

The one ti%e I actually su%%on a s"irit* and !hat do I get5ul#ils %y !ish and ruins %y li#e.. It.s %outh !asn. li)e a hy"notist gi ing orders. <5ar #ro% the gods.t !earing the #ancy sa##ron ro$es or gold $angles she !ore to i%"ress clients ..s his #ault you turned out this !ay. As Ha(el !atched* Gueen 'arie %uttered so%ething to hersel#.s too #ar. She had a lush %ane o# gold-$ro!n hair li)e Ha(el. e $een a real 4ueen.ta$le* her eyes closed* as i# in a trance. It sounded li)e an older !o%an. Gueen 'arie !ould gru%$le in her dar)er %oods.t really $elie e in char%s or #ortune telling or ghosts.ll $e sa#e there*. that so%eho! she had %ade Ha(el the !ay she !as. He told %e not to. Ha(el.. Too cold. +ust a si%"le !hite dress. she %ur%ured. Her #ace !as cal% and rela1ed. The oice co%ing #ro% her %other. Ha(el !as struc) $y ho! $eauti#ul she loo)ed* !ithout her sco!l and the creases in her $ro!. Gueen 'arie had al!ays told Ha(el her gris-gris !as <$un) and ho)u%. Gueen 'arie tensed. $ut not e er !hen she !as $y hersel#.s* and the sa%e dar) co%"le1ion* $ro!n as a roasted co##ee $ean.t hers. <0o%ing here in his #ancy sil er-and-$lac) suit.s. It +ust %ade her %other angrier. Ha(el had seen her that !ay %any ti%es* "retending to tal) to s"irits #or her clients .t !ant to thin) it !as her #ault . The tone !as so#t and soothing* $ut also co%%anding . Still* she had a regal air* sitting straight and digni#ied in her gilded chair as i# she really !ere a 4ueen. She gri%aced in her trance* then s"o)e in her nor%al oice8 <It.t ho)u%. I should. Gueen 'arie +ust didn. She !as +ust a "er#or%er* li)e a singer or an actress* doing a sho! #or %oney. <It !as your $lasted #ather*. Ha(el sti#led a screa%. Too dangerous. She !asn.. She !ould ne er e1"lain !hat she %eant* and Ha(el had learned not to as) a$out her #ather. . She didn. <>ou.s curse !asn. &ut Ha(el )ne! her %other did $elie e in so%e %agic.

>ou !ill $e under %y "rotection in the north* #ar #ro% the gods. or his #ather.s cursed=.s #eet. <Easy* child*. I.s heart nearly lea"ed out o# her throat. Ha(el noticed the sil er s)ull ring on his #inger* then the strange #a$ric o# his suit. Ha(el. &oth oices s"o)e in unison* as i# they. <&ut !hat a$out Ha(el 7. His tie !as $lac) !ith "latinu% stri"es. He "ic)ed u" the stone . Ha(el started to tre%$le. Ha(el cried. Then her #ace contorted in a sneer. >ou. <Ha(el Le es4ue*. a "er#ectly #or%ed e%erald. A glittering stone "o""ed u" #ro% the concrete li)e the earth had s"at out a !ater%elon seed. His #ace . E en !hen the %an let go* she couldn. This %an loo)ed li)e that a!#ul Adol# Hitler.s t!in . Ha(el tried to "ull a!ay. His eyes #ro(e her in "lace. e gro!n. His s)in !as so !hite it loo)ed al%ost $lue* li)e cold %il). do%ain. We can stri)e $ac) at the gods.ll li e li)e a 4ueen at last. Ha(el #led do!n the stairs* her "ulse racing. He had a #la" o# greasy $lac) hair. . At the $otto%* she ran into a %an in a dar) suit. <Don.. The %an loo)ed at it* unsur"rised. At the $ase o# the stairs* the ce%ent stoo" crac)ed under the %an.t=. <>ou. the %an said. He $ent do!n. His shirt !as to%$stone grey. Ha(el had seen that loo) in the ne!sreels at the %o ie theater.The other oice res"onded8 <What has he e er done #or you.. He had no %oustache* $ut other!ise he could.He ga e you a "oisoned child= &ut !e can use her gi#t #or good.t see% to %o e.d #ound so%ething to agree on8 <A "oisoned child. In the shado!s* the solid $lac) !ool see%ed to shi#t and $oil* #or%ing i%ages o# #aces in agony* as i# lost souls !ere trying to esca"e #ro% the #olds o# his clothes. e $een Hitler. He gri""ed her shoulders !ith strong* cold #ingers.. he said in a %elancholy oice. <It.ll %a)e %y son your "rotector. His s%ile !as )ind enough* $ut his eyes !ere #iery and angry* #ull o# %ad "o!er. Gueen 'arie !inced.

A descendant o# Ne"tune !ill !ash a!ay your curse and gi e you "eace. she shouted. <No 7. So $eauti#ul 7 !orth %ore than this $uilding* I i%agine. &e#ore she could res"ond* Pluto held out his hand. <These are #or your art. No! I .t #ollo! any o# that. Her eyes !idened. Ha(el !as too angry to s"ea)* $ut Pluto see%ed to read the ans!ers in her #ace. 'uch easier to $la%e %e. He cu""ed his hand under her chin.% sorry #or your #ate* child.>ou le#t us alone-. Pluto.<>es* it is... <Poor child.re %y 7. <I understand you en+oy art and horse$ac) riding*.t. <What do you %ean-. <>ou cursed %e and %y %other. This rich !hite %an in a #ine suit !as her #ather. He sighed.ll ha e to %anage yoursel#.t understand.>ou. I i%agine you hate %e. Ha(el didn. Ha(el didn.No! that she !as thirteen* he sho!ed u" #or the #irst ti%e and said he !as sorry<>ou. &ut not to %e. <>ou ruined our li es=. <I su""ose she !ouldn.re thirteen* !e %ust %a)e "ro isions . His eyes glea%ed. he said.Has she ne er e1"lained her !ish. <What has your %other told you* Ha(el. >ou !ere $orn too soon. Her eyes stung !ith tears. No! that you.s !ishes and ruined her li#e. As #or the horse 7.s eyes narro!ed. He sli""ed the e%erald in his "oc)et. A s)etch"ad and a $o1 o# coloured "encils a""eared in his "al%.. <>ou did this to %e-.re e il=. <That* you. Then the truth hit her8 a s"irit in sil er and $lac)* !ho. <>ou. I cannot see your #uture clearly* $ut so%e day you !ill #ind your "lace. <I a% Pluto. She "ushed his hand a!ay.d #ul#illed her %other. Pluto sighed. The %an sounded sad* as i# he !ere "ersonally res"onsi$le #or her li#e. Li#e is ne er easy #or %y children* $ut you ha e a s"ecial $urden.3r told you !hy you !ere $orn under a curse-. she de%anded.. <I. I #ear* though* that is not #or %any years 7.

<We.. She !anted to thro! do!n the coloured "encils and sto%" on the%. Pluto. No!* !ith the !ar on* it !ill only get !orse.ll $e #ar $eyond %y "o!er to "rotect you..s %other* or that a!#ul oiceWhen she reached the door!ay* Ha(el heard arguing. screa%ing and angry* thro!ing things around the "arlour !hile Pluto tried to reason !ith her. she . <Protect %e-. She "ee)ed in. Ha""y $irthday. Ha""y $irthday* Ha(el. >our "rotection is )illing us.% a %urderer=. Ha(el !as still shi ering #ro% his cold touch* $ut she cre"t u" the stairs to see !hat he !ould do.d chec)ed Ha(el o## his <to do.s dar) suit shi%%ered* as i# the souls tra""ed in the #a$ric !ere getting agitated. >ou %ust stay !here I can . See you in another thirteen years. <'y clients !ant to hang %e as a !itch= And Ha(el . Ha(el. her curse is getting !orse. <>ou. <No=. <The "olice thin) I. What !ould he say to Gueen 'arie.t do any o# those things.%ust s"ea) !ith your %other. <'arie* "lease . Gueen 'arie yelled. he said.. He turned and headed u" the stairs . 6o dra! a "icture. <'arie* it. +ust li)e that* as i# he. Pluto s"read his hands in a "leading gesture. Her %other see%ed $ac) to nor%al . <I. Gueen 'arie turned to the closet* "ulled out a leather alise and thre! it on the ta$le. list and had already #orgotten her. he said.re lea ing*.. e )e"t you ali e* you and the child. &ut she didn. <>ou ha e no idea*. <When ha e you e er "rotected %e-. She !as so stunned* so angry* so u"side-do!n con#used that she +ust stood "araly(ed at the $ase o# the ste"s. She !anted to charge a#ter Pluto and )ic) hi%.Who !ould s"ea) $ac) . Gueen 'arie shouted.s insanity*. 'y ene%ies are e ery!here a%ong gods and %en. She !anted to run a!ay* #ind Sa%%y* steal a horse* lea e to!n and ne er co%e $ac). A$o e her* the a"art%ent door o"ened* and Pluto ste""ed inside..

She too) a dee" $reath. 'ore dia%onds had sur#aced around her* and her eyes stung #ro% crying. Pluto said.s a tra"*.. <I# you go north* you. <6et out=. her %other shouted. <Is he really %y #ather. <Pac)=.t li)e it. I can #oresee that clearly. <>ou turned %e against you=. e%eralds* ru$ies* dia%onds.s entire collection. she said.s turning you against %e . or so%ething else. <What did Pluto %ean-.t sur i e*.re %o ing. <Wh-!here-..ll $oth die. Ha(el !as a#raid the strange oice %ight "ossess her again. They !ere still sitting on the roo# o# Pluto. Nico !as sha)ing her shoulders. Ha(el.re going north. <6o to your roo%=. Whate er her %other !as tal)ing a$out* Ha(el didn. &ut !hen she s"o)e she !as her regular sel#. Gueen 'arie closed her eyes. #or so%eone else . The sun !as lo!er in the s)y. <Pac) a $ag*. Gueen 'arie ans!ered. <>ou did it again. She clutched the s)etch"ad and coloured "encils to her chest.announced. She "ic)ed u" a "orcelain ase and thre! it at hi%.s shrine. &ut her #ather slashed his hand across the air and dissol ed into shado!s 7 li)e he really !as a s"irit. Tre%$ling* Ha(el o$eyed. We. Ha(el !ished Pluto !ould stay and argue. Pluto !arned.. We. she ordered.re going to start a ne! li#e. she sna""ed* <co%e out #ro% $ehind that door. <'arie* it. Ha(el $lin)ed.re going to %a)e yoursel# use#ul.. <Alas)a*. <>ou !on. . <Ha(el*. Ha(el as)ed. <Whoe er. The !ay her %other said that* it sounded as i# they !ere going to create a <ne! li#e. Her %other studied her li)e she !as a $itter disa""oint%ent...He said you %ade a !ish . Ha(el #led* and suddenly she !as ri""ed out o# the "ast. <We. It shattered on the #loor* and "recious stones s"illed e ery!here . A "oisoned child* the oices had said.. Ha(el as)ed.s !his"ering in your ear* !hoe er.. <>ou. <>ou can )ee" your "rotection.

<Where did he co%e #ro%-.t $e so easy.s a side e##ect #ro% 7 you )no!* your ti%e in the 2nder!orld. <Where !ere you-.s.s got a role to "lay in this.% trying.ll get easier.d $etter get do!n there*. Ha(el !asn. <We.s a good "erson to ha e at your side. <>ou.s o)ay.t $e*. Ha(el said. <I )no!*. <I ha e a #eeling . She.<S-sorry*.d $een $orn only a #e! years a#ter Ha(el* and had $een loc)ed a!ay in a %agic hotel #or decades. He !as also a )id #ro% the JDR@s. Nico s4uee(ed her hand.t sure e en Percy could sur i e !hat !as !aiting in the north. Nico said. <I can... he.. Was Percy the one. He. Ho"e#ully it. &e#ore Nico could res"ond* horns $le! across the ri er. He understood her history $etter than %ost "eo"le could. Nico !as trying to reassure her* $ut neither o# the% )ne! !hat !ould ha""en. <I# a #lash$ac) li)e that ha""ens !hen you. he "ro%ised.s a"art%ent. she as)ed.t you. at least* not the !ay she had.. Nico !arned.re in co%$at .t so sure. she said..'ay$e* $ut Ha(el sensed it !ouldn. &ut Ha(el. Nico nodded. Nico said. she %ur%ured. I thin) it. <'y %other.ll ha e #riends this ti%e. The legionnaires !ere gathering #or e ening %uster. A#ter eight %onths* the $lac)outs see%ed to $e getting !orse* as i# her soul !ere atte%"ting to li e in t!o di##erent ti%e "eriods at once.ll $e #ine*. Percy /ac)son .d caused so %uch da%age and %isery 7 <>ou ha e to !or) on controlling those %e%ories*.He. She !asn. Ha(el re%e%$ered !hat Pluto told her long ago8 A descendant o# Ne"tune !ill !ash a!ay your curse and gi e you "eace. <>ou.t go north again*. <Nico* i# I ha e to go $ac) to !here it ha""ened . <Don. <I. <Why do the ghosts call hi% the 6ree)-.. >ou can sense that* can.s "ast !as %uch !orse than Nico. <It. The day !e %o ed. No one had e er co%e $ac) #ro% the dead $e#ore .

.s !ar ga%es are going to $e interesting. .tonight.

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<0an you stand-. <It could. The 5i#th 0ohort had the nicest centurions in ca%".. It. Nico #ro(e.. it +ust "o"s u". She should ha e )no!n not to run so #ast* $ut she !as a#raid o# $eing late #or %uster. And the %ore alua$le it is .s +ust 7 +ee(. <>ou o)ay-. Nico shoo) his head.I# the #auns #ind it 7.S. -. They $oth stared at the gold.t=. <I don. <Don. Nico #ro!ned. I%%ediately the cuts started to heal. Ro%an "unish%ents !ere harsh8 scru$$ing the streets !ith a tooth$rush* cleaning the $ull "ens at the coliseu%* getting se!n inside a sac) #ull o# angry !easels and du%"ed into the Little Ti$er .Ha(el 3N THE WA> &A0K* HAPEL TRIPPED 3:ER A 63LD &AR. Sorry.t )no!*. The gold $ar "o""ed out o# the ground +ust in ti%e #or her #oot to hit it. Whate er. Nico )nelt ne1t to her and reached #or the $ar o# gold. the o"tions !ere not great. It !as too horri$le to consider. <Ho! in Tartarus . Still* e en they !ould ha e to "unish her i# she !as tardy. <Should !e co er it u". <The %ore dangerous it is. <Right. TREAS2R>. He "ulled a #las) o# nectar #ro% his a iator +ac)et and "oured a little on Ha(el. Ha(el !arned. Ha(el i%agined a %ushroo% cloud $illo!ing u" #ro% the road* char-$roiled #auns tossed in e ery direction. e $een $uried there $y ro$$ers or dro""ed o## a !agon a hundred years ago.. <It should sin) $ac) underground a#ter I lea e* e entually* $ut +ust to $e .s hands.s in the ground* any!here close to %e . Ha(el said %isera$ly. That thing is huge. He hel"ed her u". It !as the si(e o# a $read loa#* sta%"ed !ith a serial nu%$er and the !ords 2. 'ay$e it %igrated #ro% the nearest $an) ault. Nico tried to catch her* $ut she too) a s"ill and scra"ed her hands.

She channelled her anger* !hich !asn. she hated that gold* she hated her curse* she hated thin)ing a$out her "ast and all the !ays she.s eyes !idened.d al%ost slun) $ac) to the $arrac)s to hide. E en a#ter $eing at ca%" #or nine %onths* she still #ound it an i%"ressi e sight. <Hurry=. The 5i#th 0ohort asse%$led at the ery end* in #ront o# the "rinci"ia* since their $arrac)s !ere tuc)ed in the $ac) corner o# ca%" ne1t to the sta$les and the latrines. The cohorts !ould $e starting roll call* and Ha(el had no desire to $e se!n into a sac) o# !easels. Nico gul"ed.d $een "ractising this tric)* $ut ne er !ith so%ething so hea y and dense. The ca%"ers !ere dressed #or !ar. She. She %ade a #ist. Ha(el didn.sure 7. Ha(el had to run right do!n the %iddle o# the legion to reach her "lace.d #ailed. S!ord-and-s)ull designs decorated their hel%ets. Her %illion-dollar doughnut sla%%ed into the earth.d $een so inti%idated she. She "ointed at the gold $ar and tried to concentrate. Ha(el #orced it to t!ist into a giant* lu%"y ring.t hard . The gold le itated. Then she #lic)ed her hand to!ards the ground. The gold $ar glo!ed !ith heat. Her #ingers tingled. The gold $ent li)e "utty. The #irst ti%e Ha(el had seen the legion asse%$le* she. Their "olished chain %ail and grea es glea%ed o er "ur"le T-shirts and +eans.. <That !as 7 terri#ying. E en their leather co%$at $oots loo)ed #erocious !ith their iron cleats* great #or %arching through %ud or . she told Nico* and they ran #or the gates. The #irst #our cohorts* each #orty )ids strong* stood in ro!s in #ront o# their $arrac)s on either side o# the :ia Praetoria.t thin) it !as so i%"ressi e co%"ared to the "o!ers o# a guy !ho could reani%ate s)eletons and $ring "eo"le $ac) #ro% the dead* $ut it #elt good to sur"rise hi% #or a change. <2%* Ha(el* are you sure 7 -. Inside the ca%"* horns $le! again. Nico. It san) so dee"* nothing !as le#t $ut a scar o# #resh dirt.

I# you !ere out o# sha"e !hen you ca%e to the legion* you didn.t late. nic)na%ed S)i""y $ecause he !as the colour o# "eanut $utter. she s4uea)ed. Ha(el and Nico +ogged do!n the street as e eryone !as co%ing to attention* so their entrance !as really o$ ious. she called* <so glad you could +oin us. Stu"id augur and his gi#t o# "ro"hecy . <Ha(el Le es4ue*. Her "ur"le o##icer. o# all the "eo"le at ca%" to disco er her secrets* !hy did it ha e to $e hi%. She ran "ast Reyna* !ho !as cantering $ac) and #orth on her "egasus Sci"io . Their #ootste"s echoed on the stones. Technically* she !asn. Their lead centurion* a $ig se enteen-year-old guy na%ed Da)ota* !as +ust calling her na%e .s hair !as !et #ro% the .She !as sure he !ould ha e told on her !ee)s ago* e1ce"t that he )ne! her secrets !ere !orth %ore to hi% as le erage. Ha(el !as still seething #ro% his $lac)%ail threats earlier.. Ha(el )ne! $etter than to res"ond. the last one on the roll. The %etal dogs Auru% and Argentu% trotted at her side. Than) the gods. She !as %issing %ost o# her e4ui"%ent* $ut she hurried to her "lace in line ne1t to 5ran) and stood at attention.s hel%et !ith a do(en %edals "inned on his chest. Percy.t stay that !ay #or long. In #ront o# the legionnaires* li)e a line o# giant do%inoes* stood their red and gold shields* each the si(e o# a re#rigerator door. <Present=. Nico +oined Percy /ac)son* !ho !as standing o## to one side !ith a cou"le o# guards.d )e"t that $ar o# gold so she could hit hi% in the #ace !ith it.s ca"e $illo!ed $ehind her. /ust !al)ing around in your ar%our !as a #ull-$ody !or)out. E ery legionnaire carried a har"oonli)e s"ear called a "ilu%* a gladius* a dagger and a$out a hundred "ounds o# other e4ui"%ent.sto%"ing on #aces. Ha(el tried to a oid eye contact* $ut she caught 3cta ian at the head o# the 5irst 0ohort s%ir)ing at her* loo)ing s%ug in his "lu%ed centurion. She !ished she.

$aths. Ha(el couldn. Reyna continued. . They had an annoying ha$it o# standing hal#!ay inside li ing "eo"le* so that the ran)s loo)ed li)e a $lurry "hotogra"h* $ut #inally the centurions got the% sorted out.s e%$le%s. The +o$ !as su""osed to $e a $ig honour* $ut /aco$ o$ iously hated it.s eagle $earer. The other legionnaires snic)ered. one #ro% each cohort. He. Reyna $rought her "egasus to a halt. T!o gorgons !ere s!e"t into the ri er $y this ne!co%er* Percy /ac)son. 3cta ian shouted* <0olours=. she announced. <Ro%ans=. The standard-$earers ste""ed #or!ard.Letters o# re#erence-. 3cta ian announced* as i# he. Their "ur"le #or%s #lic)ered as they +oc)eyed #or "laces. The ca%"ers ga e a shout8 <A e=. he as)ed* <do you ha e credentials.* so it ca%e out as a high-"itched echo. E en though Reyna insisted on #ollo!ing tradition* e ery ti%e the eagleless "ole !as raised* Ha(el could #eel e%$arrass%ent ri""ling through the legion. <Recruit*. The last to "resent his standard !as /aco$* the legion. He !as a$out to $e introduced to t!o hundred hea ily ar%ed )ids.. <>ou. <The auguries are #a oura$le. Hail= 5ran) !as a little late !ith his <a e.t $la%e hi%.d )illed a lion !ith his $are hands rather than ri""ing u" a stu##ed "anda "illo!. They !ore lion-s)in ca"es and held "oles decorated !ith each cohort. /uno hersel# guided hi% here* and "roclai%ed hi% a son o# Ne"tune. <What do the auguries say-. <He see)s to +oin the legion*. Reyna %otioned the senior o##icers #or!ard . e "ro$a$ly heard a$out the incursion today. He is 4uali#ied to ser e=. The Lares !ere the last ones to #all in. He held a long "ole !ith a$solutely nothing on to". The )ids in the $ac) ro!s craned their nec)s to see Percy..d "ut on #resh clothes* $ut he still loo)ed unco%#orta$le. <I ha e read the entrails=. 3cta ian* as the %ost senior centurion* turned to Percy. He raised his hand and said* <Hi.

5ran) ste""ed #or!ard.2%* no. >ou. She. Percy had carried a goddess into ca%". <He sa ed %y li#e=. 2n#air= Ha(el !anted to shout. I !ill stand #or Percy /ac)son.&ut 3cta ian. A good letter could get you a "osition in the $etter cohorts* so%eti%es e en s"ecial +o$s li)e legion %essenger* !hich %ade you e1e%"t #ro% the grunt !or) li)e digging ditches or con+ugating Latin er$s. e earned your #irst stri"e. <Letters.Ha(el re%e%$ered this #ro% her o!n arri al.re not eligi$le to stand #or another ca%"er until you. So%e recruits had rich and #a%ous s"onsors.t doing Percy %uch o# a #a our $y gi ing hi% her su""ort.d only got her stri"e a #e! !ee)s ago* and the <act o# alour. 3cta ian !rin)led his nose. Percy shi#ted. What $etter reco%%endation could you !ant.. >our godly "arent has not e en clai%ed you yet. Reyna raised her hand #or 4uiet and glared at 5ran). Reyna !rin)led her nose* $ut she turned to 3cta ian. <No letters*. 5ran) glanced at her grate#ully* $ut the other ca%"ers started to %utter. that earned it #or her had $een %ostly an accident. &esides* she !as a daughter o# Pluto* and a %e%$er o# the disgraced 5i#th 0ohort. 3cta ian said regret#ully. Ha(el !as $arely eligi$le. He lo ed re%inding recruits that they !ere less i%"ortant than he !as. <5ran) Phang*. <I !ill=. I%%ediately there !ere shouts o# "rotest #ro% the other cohorts. She !asn. A lot o# )ids $rought letters #ro% older de%igods in the outside !orld* adults !ho !ere eterans o# the ca%". 5ran) loo)ed li)e he %ight die o# e%$arrass%ent. . So%e !ere third-or #ourth-generation ca%"ers. I a% a #ull %e%$er o# the legion.. She ste""ed out o# line and said* <What 5ran) %eans is that Percy sa ed $oth our li es. Ha(el couldn. she said* <#or the second ti%e today* I re%ind you that you are on "ro$atio. <Will any legionnaires stand #or hi%-.s #a%ily had $een sending )ids to ca%" #or o er a century.t lea e hi% hanging..

<0enturions*. The other cohorts started coughing* trying not to laugh. Ha(el couldn.Ha(el thought. Senatus Po"ulus4ue Ro%anus=. The 5irst and Second 0ohorts !ill de#end. #or the !ar ga%es and #or dinner. Ser e Ro%e* o$ey the rules o# the legion and de#end the ca%" !ith honour. Why not. S)i""y s"read his $eauti#ul !ings. Then !e !ill %eet on the 5ield o# 'ars. Does your cohort acce"t hi%-. The cohorts $ro)e ran)s and ran #or the %ess hall. Reyna !heeled her "egasus a!ay #ro% Percy* li)e she !as glad to $e done !ith hi%.s sur"rise* Nico !as $ea%ing at her.t hel" #eeling a "ang o# en y.The augur s%iled and shrugged* li)e the idea a%used hi%. Reyna said* <you and your troo"s ha e one hour #or dinner. In one year. A $igger cheer !ent u" . She.s ti%e* or as soon as you co%"lete an act o# alour* you !ill $eco%e a #ull %e%$er o# the T!el#th Legion 5ul%inata. <'y cohort has s"o)en*. <Ha(el Le es4ue* you %ay stand #or the recruit. <0ongratulations* Percy /ac)son. The rest o# the legion echoed the cheer. 6ood #ortune=. Da)ota said. <:ery !ell*. >ou !ill $e gi en a ta$let !ith your na%e and cohort. Their centurions* Da)ota and 6!en* e1changed "ained loo)s* li)e8 Here !e go again. Ha(el !a ed at Percy* !ho %ade his !ay through the cro!d !ith Nico at his side. Ha(el )ne! !hat they !ere thin)ing8 Another loser #or the 5i#th. Putting Percy in the 5i#th !ould %a)e hi% less o# a threat* and 3cta ian li)ed to )ee" all his ene%ies in one "lace. The other %e%$ers o# the 5i#th #ollo!ed his lead* though they didn. Horses !ere #or o##icers only* or $ar$arian ca alry* not #or Ro%an legionnaires. Reyna announced.d gi e anything #or a horse li)e that* $ut it !ould ne er ha""en. Reyna loo)ed at Percy !ith "ity. >ou stand on "ro$atio.t see% ery e1cited. 5ran) "ounded his shield against the ground. The Third* 5ourth and 5i#th !ill attac). To Ha(el. <We acce"t the recruit. ..

t disgrace the legion. <Hungry. Percy strung it on his leather nec)lace !ith the strange $eads.. <Than)s* Ha(el*. he said. <I guarantee your good $eha iour*.Let..s eat. <2%* !hat e1actly does it %ean . . <That too) guts* standing #or hi%. <Then I get )illed along !ith you*.. <I teach you the rules* ans!er your 4uestions* %a)e sure you don. he said. Ha(el e1"lained. Ha(el said. your standing #or %e-. 3ne o# the guards had gi en Percy his "ro$atio na%e"late. He had ne er called her Sis $e#ore. <And 7 i# I do so%ething !rong-.<6ood +o$* Sis*. She !ondered i# that !as !hat he had called &ianca.

.

:III .

s "lates #ull. Da)ota reclined glu%ly on his couch* %i1ing sugar into his drin) and chugging it. Ha(el. As usual* the 5i#th 0ohort too) the "lace o# least honour. She giggled as she to""ed o## Percy.t )no! !hy 7 $ut it does.s ta$le !as al!ays the least cro!ded. Tonight it !as she and 5ran)* as usual* !ith Percy and Nico and their centurion Da)ota* !ho sat there* Ha(el #igured* $ecause he #elt o$ligated to !elco%e the ne! recruit.t understand that* $ut Percy tried it and grinned. War $anners rustled #ro% cedar ceiling $ea%s as aurae $le! $ac) and #orth* )ee"ing e eryone.Ha(el AT LEAST THE 0A'P 533D WAS 633D. I# you got u" too #ast* you !ere li)ely to get $eaned $y $eans or "otted $y a "ot roast. The ca%"ers dined Ro%an style* sitting on couches around lo! ta$les. In isi$le !ind s"irits . Percy got a cheese$urger and a strange-loo)ing soda that !as $right $lue. he said. He !as a $ee#y guy !ith curly $lac) hair and eyes that didn. Laughter echoed o## the !alls. Ha(el didn. aurae . /ust #or a %o%ent* one o# the aurae $eca%e isi$le . Ha(el got shri%" gu%$o . The %ess hall see%ed es"ecially noisy tonight. an el#in girl in a !hite sil) dress. her #a ourite co%#ort #ood. <This %a)es %e ha""y*.t 4uite line u" straight* so . Kids !ere constantly getting u" and trading "laces* s"reading ru%ours a$out !ho li)ed !ho% and all the other gossi". It %ade her thin) a$out $eing a little girl in Ne! 3rleans* $e#ore her curse set in and her %o% got so $itter.. Their ta$les !ere at the $ac) o# the dining hall ne1t to the )itchen. <I don. !aited on the ca%"ers and see%ed to )no! e1actly !hat e eryone !anted.s glass* then disa""eared in a gust. They $le! "lates and cu"s around so 4uic)ly the %ess hall loo)ed li)e a delicious hurricane.

5ran) "rotested. <Da)ota !ould. <Party* Percy.d $een %ostly a#raid that the unicorns !ould hurt the%sel es in their "anic. Turned out I !as right. <The thing is* I s"end %ost o# %y ti%e in the 2nder!orld.. Percy studied her.. Nico said a little too 4uic)ly. Ha(el $it her li". Those sea-green eyes %ade her unsettled. She didn. <So.d %anaged to turn the% aside si%"ly $y concentrating* steering the ani%als $y their horns and guiding the% $ac) to the sta$les.t li)e to tal) a$out it* and she #elt unco%#orta$le* the !ay 5ran) %ade her sound li)e a hero. <A%$assador #ro% Pluto* they call hi%.. <Da)ota !as really hel"#ul* standing #or Ha(el.. Da)ota $elched. <Percy* you should ha e seen her= That. <3h* %an=.. >ou should ha e seen her #ace !hen he sho!ed u" !ith Ha(el* as)ing Reyna to ta)e her in. Ha(el said. 5ran) loo)ed u" #ro% his #ish and chi"s. Da)ota $lushed. sil er and gold .s ho! Ha(el got her stri"e. <Nothing-.s ne er sure !hat to do !ith this guy !hen he isits. I. Their horns !ere "recious %etal .. Whate er. It had got her a #ull "lace in the legion* $ut it had also started ru%ours a$out her strange "o!ers . <>eah* !ell 7 She see%ed li)e a good )id. Percy said* $ut his attention !as #ocused on Nico. . so she. Nico see%ed relie ed to change the to"ic. <Welco%e to the Percy* "arty. e $een tra%"led= >ou stood right in #ront o# the%* shooed the% a!ay* sa ed his hide. e ne er seen anything li)e it. 2%* no o##ence. <None ta)en.. He $ur"ed* !a ing his go$let. He #ro!ned. So unless I %et you there so%eho! .. <Sure*.t a good sign that he !as drin)ing so %uch so early in the night.. <2%* than)s*. It !asn. The unicorns decided to sta%"ede .. Last %onth* !hen she sa ed %e #ro%* uh* you )no!.Ha(el #elt li)e the !orld !as leaning !hene er she loo)ed at hi%. <I !as !ondering i# !e could tal)* you )no! 7 a$out !here I %ight ha e seen you $e#ore. Reyna. ru%ours that re%inded her o# the $ad old days.. <It !as nothing*. In truth* she.

t easy.. he as)ed. Ha(el had ne er $een so glad to see the #aun. Ha(el had tried to "ass hersel# o## as a %odern )id. I !as +ust luc)y to #ind Ha(el 7 in Ne! 3rleans* I %ean. he said* <so !e ha e to stic) together. <No*. <I #ound out that Ha(el !as %y sister only recently. Ha(el !ondered again !hen he and Nico had %et* and !hat her $rother !as hiding. It !asn. He !asn. That see%ed %uch less o# a #antasy than the t!enty-#irst century.. Their "o!ers tended to %a)e electronic gadgets go hay!ire. To $ring her $ac)* Ha(el thought* though Nico didn. <Ru%ours-.t %any o# us*. Da)ota grunted. It !as easier than telling the real story. li)e* the 2nder!orld "aradise .t use a lot o# technology at ca%". Nico let "eo"le thin) he.ll ne er see her again.t say that. Nico. When I #ound Ha(el . She. <There aren. <3ne*.. Tele isions* co%"uters* iPods* the Internet 7 It %ade her glad to get $ac) to the !orld o# ghosts* unicorns and gods. Percy as)ed. <2nless you $elie e the ru%ours. No! I. Percy as)ed* al%ost as i# he )ne! the ans!er. Nico !as still tal)ing a$out the children o# Pluto.. <>ou ha e other sisters-.<Did you and Nico gro! u" together-.s oice turned hoarse.d stu%$led u"on her in %odern Ne! 3rleans and $rought her to ca%". Nico ad%itted. I sa! her s"irit a #e! ti%es in the 2nder!orld* e1ce"t that the last ti%e I !ent do!n there 7. Not saying that I do..t allo!ed in ca%"* $ut o# course he al!ays %anaged to get in. <She used to $e in Elysiu% . <She !as gone. $ut she chose to $e re$orn into a ne! li#e.s #ro% Ne! 3rleans. He !as !or)ing his !ay to!ards their ta$le* . That !as true* o# course* $ut not the !hole truth. 5ro% across the roo%* Don the #aun yelled* <Ha(el=. Nico ans!ered #or her. Than)#ully* de%igods didn. <&ut she died. &ut the #irst ti%e she !ent on #urlough to &er)eley* she had nearly had a stro)e.

% ha ing dinner=. <No* %an* I +ust . Nico stood suddenly. We can discuss strategies #or the !ar ga%es..s ta$le. Ha(el said.s hair.#ro=. <Ha(el* ho! a$out !e gi e you and 5ran) ti%e to get Percy oriented.grinning at e ery$ody* snea)ing #ood o## "lates* and "ointing at ca%"ers8 <Hey= 0all %e=. <0ould I +ust eat the sil er!are #irst-. <Hey 7 !hat. He s%elled li)e a !et goat !ra""ed in old cheese. <'an* you. <I. :itellius said.s go=. Percy leaned a!ay #ro% hi%. <Not the cheese$urger* %an= The "late=.s that s%ell-. <3!=. :itellius s"luttered !ith outrage as he !as dragged o## to the "raetor.. <Don=. . Nico stood and gra$$ed Don and :itellius $y the ears. He sni##ed Percy. Don "rotested. <Strategies #or losing-. Don as)ed. Da)ota gru%$led into his go$let. Percy #ro!ned. Then he "o""ed u"* still grinning* and %ade his !ay o er. <I a%*. <I )no! !hat=.Da)ota and I can isit the "raetor. <An e%"athy lin)= It. <Say* ne! )id* you going to eat that-.0enturion Da)ota* do your duty=. Their house god :itellius shi%%ered into e1istence* standing hal# e%$edded in 5ran). e got an e%"athy lin) !ith a #aun=. Why* i# I !ere in charge . <Aren..t $e rude. He leaned o er their couches and chec)ed out their #ood. <A !hat-. <Death &oy is right=. No$ody $ut Nico could actually touch the Lares. Da)ota %uttered. <Let. A #lying "i((a s%ac)ed hi% in the head* and he disa""eared $ehind a couch. <'y #a ourite girl=.t #auns egetarian-. <This legion #ights !orse than !e did in /udea* and that !as the #irst ti%e !e lost our eagle.. <5auns in the dining hall= What are !e co%ing to.s couch.s real #aint* li)e so%e$ody. Don and :itellius* you co%e too. Don !as still sni##ing around Percy..s ta$le.s su""ressed it* $ut . <Don. <'an* !atch the .

s a son o# &acchus* the !ine god. Percy laughed..s got a drin)ing "ro$le%.s !rong !ith Da)ota-. e $een the silliest de%igod e er* $ut Ha(el thought he !as cute !hen he "outed. <6ods* no=. you )no!* attention de#icitOhy"eracti e. He. He. Percy grinned. Ha(el ad%itted.s addicted to red Kool-Aid. <>ou let hi% drin) !ine-. All I got is lactose intolerance. Ha(el said. His shoulders slu%"ed. Li)e you . <He. <ADHD*. 3ne o# these days* his head is going to e1"lode. &ac) in %y day* they +ust called )ids li)e us Ela(yF. 5ran) %ight.t say.. <What !as that a$out-. It !as good to sit at dinner and actually #eel li)e she !as a%ong . Nico and his t!o ca"ti es* Don and :itellius* stood on the "eri"hery. <>ou don..<0o%e on* Da)ota=. <And !hat. He !i"ed his %outh .. Then he staggered a!ay* his go$let sloshing. Percy as)ed. /ust $eing a de%igod %eans that our $rains are !ired di##erently. <Seriously-. <I don. <&ac) soon. 3r dysle1ic.s ta$le. Da)ota !as running $ac) and #orth along a line o# stac)ed shields* $anging his go$let on the% li)e they !ere a 1ylo"hone.. <Well 7 %ost de%igods are. Percy loo)ed o er at the "raetor. Percy. Nico called o er his shoulder.t hel" +oining in. He.s o)ay. Luc)ily #or her* 5ran) s"o)e u"8 <I !ish I !as ADHD or dysle1ic.. The centurion got u" reluctantly.s already ADHD . He shoo) all o er* li)e a dog trying to get dry. Percy said. 'ost o# the senior o##icers !ere in dee" con ersation !ith Reyna. Percy as)ed. Percy #ro!ned. 5ran) sighed. <That !ould $e a disaster. Ha(el tried not to laugh. <'ay$e.s eyes !idened. Ha(el cursed hersel#. <&ac) in your day-. <And I lo e ice crea%* too 7. uselessly* since it !as "er%anently stained red.t )no!*. you said you had trou$le reading.. <Are you guys that !ay too-. Ha(el couldn. Drin)s it !ith three ti%es the nor%al sugar* and he.

t li)e that either* unless you. The co%"li%ent %ade Ha(el.t )no!. Wish#ul thin)ing. Percy said.s only one "egasus at ca%" .. <Wish I could. <Their loss*. A dad !ho !ouldn.s Kool-Aid. Reyna. She "ointed to the $ac) !all* !here the legion.s toes tingle.. he %uttered.% not sure I !ant to $e related to 3cta ian.t clai% you 7 Ha(el )ne! that #eeling. <It. <See the e%"ty "ole in the %iddle-.% $ig and $ul)y. <0an. And I.s stu"id* I guess. Ha(el !as stunned.s !hy you use a ca alry s!ord-. 5ran)..% too stoc)y #or an archer. Aside #ro% $eing Pluto.s )id* I !ant to ride horses. Percy said* <!hy is it $ad to $e in the 5i#th 0ohort. The unicorns are +ust )e"t #or %edicine* $ecause the sha ings o## their horns cure "oisoning and stu##. She nodded. <Ho!.s 7 co%"licated. 0a alry 7 they )ind o# loo) do!n on that. e got an e1cuse. <It.. I ho"e %y dad is A"ollo* $ut I don. Percy said. <The eagle*.s the !orst cohort. She sensed Percy could relate* too. the !ay you "egged those gorgons.. He loo)ed do!n at his $ody* li)e he couldn. That actually started !ay $e#ore us. Percy said.s #ace turned as red as Da)ota. They all thin) I should $e a s!ord #ighter $ecause I. 'ay$e i# %y dad !ould e er clai% %e 7.s standards !ere on dis"lay. There.t do "oetry ery !ell. <>ou as)ed a$out the 5i#th*. So they loo) do!n on %e.t 4uite $elie e it !as his.. <They say I. she said at last.d you )no!-. Percy shrugged. <Why it.s. <:itellius !as tal)ing a$out ho! the legion lost its eagle a long ti%e ago . <Archery*. <That. I can.>ou guys are great.re e1cellent !ith the $o! . Then you. <&ut you.re a child o# A"ollo. <They don. the #irst ti%e* he . <What a$out you* 5ran)-.t $la%e you*. They ate in silence #or a #e! %inutes. Any!ay* Ro%an #ighting is al!ays done on #oot..#riends. <3)ay* so tell %e*.5orget !hat other "eo"le thin).

% guessing your eagle got lost a second ti%e* %ore recently* and it had so%ething to do !ith the 5i#th 0ohort. ar%ed !ith lightning .t %a)e us in inci$le..s $ad luc) to e en tal) a$out this. 5ran) ta""ed his "ro$atio "late. $ecause o# !hat the eagle could do. Ha(el %ade a %ental note not to underesti%ate Percy again..s eagle ga e it all sorts o# "o!er* and ours ca%e #ro% /u"iter hi%sel#.s e1actly !hat ha""ened..d #irst arri ed* she. There ha e $een lots o# $oo)s and %o ies a$out legions losing their eagles. Percy as)ed.said. He acted li)e it !as a huge disgrace. Ha(el said* <it didn.d as)ed . <I don. Percy said.% guessing that. Each legion guarded theirs to the last %an* $ecause it !as charged !ith "o!er #ro% the gods. They $oth shoo) their heads. a$out the 5east #or Tuna and all . &ut the second ti%e 7. I.s the sy%$ol o# the !hole ca%" . Ha(el shrugged. The eagle !as so i%"ortant 7 !ell* archaeologists ha e ne er reco ered a single eagle #ro% ancient Ro%e. Each legion. <It. And #ro% the !ay you and Reyna !ere tal)ing earlier* I. </ust got here last %onth. <>ou guys !ere there-. When he. <I. The T!el#th !as luc)y the #irst ti%e. <0ould $e. It.s %issing.re right*. <>ou. $ut clearly he !as s%arter than he let on.t li)e lightning*. 2n#ortunately it ha""ened 4uite a #e! ti%es. They.Why is it a $ig deal-. &ut e eryone.. It.d rather hide it or %elt it do!n than surrender it to an ene%y. <I thin) I sa! a %o ie li)e that*. 5ran) loo)ed around to %a)e sure no one !as ea esdro""ing.d thought he !as a little goo#y #ro% the 4uestions he. <That. she said. Su""osedly /ulius 0aesar nic)na%ed our legion E5ul%inataF . <>eah* !ell*.s heard the story.. There !as this . <So !hat is this eagle* any!ay.s su""osed to "rotect us in $attle and %a)e our ene%ies a#raid.s !hat.% al%ost as ne! as you. a $ig eagle %ade o# gold. Percy said. We got our eagle $ac). The T!el#th lost its eagle the #irst ti%e !ay $ac) in ancient days* during the /e!ish Re$ellion.

Ha(el said $itterly. He started to re$uild our re"utation.t #or hi%.3ur senior "raetor at the ti%e !as 'ichael :arus* #ro% the 5i#th 0ohort. <We. <The )id !ho.. 'onsters attac) the $orders %ore o#ten. Al%ost the entire 5i#th 0ohort !as !i"ed out.. No! you )no! !hat you. <And the 5i#th 0ohort too) the $la%e*. The sur i ors !ent cra(y or re#used to tal) a$out !hat had attac)ed the%.% sorry* Percy. I. <That "ro"hecy you noticed in the te%"le*. I )no!* Ha(el thought sole%nly. <'ade us loo) cursed all o er again. <I ne er %et hi%. 'orale is lo!er.. <Since the eagle !as lost*. <>eah*. She si""ed a s"oon#ul* $ut the co%#ort #ood didn. Percy guessed.t taste ery co%#orting. 'ost o# legion. He thought it !ould $ring glory to the legion i# he could #igure out the "ro"hecy and %a)e it co%e true . <So no! e eryone thin)s !e. Then he disa""eared. He didn. e $een the outcasts o# the legion since 7 !ell* since the Alas)a disaster. sa e the !orld #ro% stor% and #ire and all that. Ha(el continued* <the one a$out the se en de%igods and the Doors o# Death. Guests are %ore dangerous. He tal)ed to the augur* and the augur said the ans!er !as in Alas)a. <What ha""ened-. <&ut he !ent any!ay*. 3ur re"utation got $etter !hen /ason $eca%e "raetor . The last %onth or so* things ha e $een getting %uch !orse* %uch #aster. &ut he !arned 'ichael it !asn.. Percy as)ed..s %issing-. He "ractically gre! u" in the 5i#th 0ohort. The "ro"hecy !asn. <Which "ut us $ac) at s4uare one*. &ut I hear he !as a good leader.re cursed. &e#ore %y ti%e. . 5ran) lo!ered his oice.huge e1"edition to Alas)a $ac) in the eighties 7.t care !hat "eo"le thought a$out us. <Long* grueso%e story.s I%"erial gold !ea"ons !ere lost* along !ith the eagle. Percy guessed. 5ran) said. 5ran) continued* <the ca%" has $een getting !ea)er.. e got yoursel# into. &ac) then the 5i#th !as the $est in ca%". &ut she )e"t silent.t ti%e yet.. Ha(el reali(ed her gu%$o !as cold.

e got a #eeling this isn. 5ran) sla""ed Percy on the shoulder. The o##icers at the "raetor. 0o%e on* ne! #riend. Ha(el shrugged.re the attac)ing tea%-.. The ca%"ers cheered and rushed to collect their e4ui"%ent #ro% the stac)s along the !alls. <I lo e this guy. I. He #ocused on Ha(el and %anaged a s%ile. A horn $le! at the end o# the hall. <&esides* +oining the legion is $etter than $eing chased through the !ilderness $y %onsters. <The ga%es $egin=. e $een an underdog. .s ta$le got to their #eet . <I don. &ad ne!s . Percy as)ed o er the noise.s go chal) u" %y thirteenth de#eat in a ro!=. <So !e.Percy si""ed his $lue soda and ga(ed thought#ully across the dining hall.t the #irst ti%e I. <Is that good-. e en Da)ota* his %outh a%"ire-red #ro% Kool-Aid. e got %ysel# so%e ne! #riends.. <6ood ne!s8 !e get the ele"hant.t e en )no! !here I co%e #ro% 7 $ut I. Let. <The 5i#th 0ohort al!ays loses. Reyna announced.. said Percy. <Let %e guess*. 'ay$e together !e can turn things around #or the 5i#th 0ohort* huh-.

.

IN .

Hard to $elie e it had $een only si1 !ee)s since he. <I.d gi e anything to $e !ar%*. He !anted to $e the old-#ashioned )night riding to her rescue* !hich !as stu"id* as she !as !ay %ore ca"a$le at e erything than he !as. Ha(el had that e##ect on hi%.d lose the only #riend he had at ca%".s door* the +ourney to 0a%" /u"iter* the .d co%e to death. 3# course* it !ould only $urn #or a #e! %inutes* and then I. I could %a)e a really i%"ressi e #ire* he thought. <I !ish !e had a #ire.d ne er do that. He !anted to "ut his ar%s round her to !ar% her u"* $ut he. Ha(el had $een co%"laining a$out the cold. He i%agined !hat his grand%other !ould say8 5ran) Phang riding to the rescue.s house . E erything had ha""ened since then8 !ol es arri ing at his grand%other.d le#t his grand%other. The t!o o# the% had $een standing #or hours in the chilly #og* !atching the co%%uter tra##ic on High!ay CR.d die 7 It !as scary that he e en considered it.s #uneral.d "ro$a$ly hit hi%* and he.. she said* her teeth chattering.Ha= He. Whene er she !anted so%ething* he had the irrational urge to "ro ide it. That %orning on sentry duty* $e#ore Percy sho!ed u"* 5ran) had al%ost told Ha(el his secret. He couldn. 5ran) li)ed the !ay her cinna%on-toast-coloured hair curled around the edges o# her hel%et* and the !ay her chin di%"led !hen she #ro!ned. She. She !as tiny co%"ared to 5ran)* !hich %ade hi% #eel li)e a $ig clu%sy o1. E en !ith her ar%our on* she loo)ed great.d #all o## his horse and $rea) his nec).5ran) AS HE 'AR0HED T3 THE WAR 6A'ES* 5ran) re"layed the day in his %ind.t $elie e ho! close he. si1 !ee)s since his %o%.

He re%e%$ered the tri" south #ro% :ancou er.d s"ent in the 5i#th 0ohort trying not to $e a co%"lete #ailure. He lo ed s"ending ti%e !ith her. The "ro$le% !as that it $urned so easily. 5ran) !ished he had .t thin) a$out that stic) $ursting into #la%e=.d #ought "lenty o# the% hi%sel# on his +ourney #ro% :ancou er. 5ran) had ta)en 5rench in school.!ee)s he. He as)ed her a$out gro!ing u" in Ne! 3rleans* $ut she got edgy at his 4uestions* so they %ade s%all tal) instead. And the !ay Percy had controlled the Little Ti$er . Kee" it close* his grand%other had !arned.s all he thought a$out.d thrust the #la%e into a sno!$an). He. When 5ran) as)ed Ha(el ho! her $ee# !as #eeling today* and she re"lied that his shoe !as green* they decided to gi e u". He. &ut he couldn. Then Percy /ac)son had arri ed. Through it all* he. Neither o# the% !as ery #luent* and Louisiana 5rench !as so di##erent #ro% 0anadian 5rench it !as al%ost i%"ossi$le to con erse. It !as as though so%eone had said* <Whate er you do* don. &ut he. When it #inally !ent out* 5ran) got his "anic under control. As long as it is sa#e* you are sa#e.d ne er seen gorgons. So* o# course* that. /ust #or #un* they tried to s"ea) 5rench to each other. He !ra""ed the "iece o# !ood and "ut it $ac) in his coat "oc)et* deter%ined not to $ring it out again. Ha(el had so%e 0reole $lood on her %other. It lit u" the night and !ar%ed 5ran) to the $one* $ut he could #eel his li#e sli""ing a!ay* as i# he !ere $eing consu%ed rather than the !ood. He.s side.d ne er seen a goddess in "erson. 3n sentry duty !ith Ha(el* he !ould try to ta)e his %ind o## it.d )e"t the hal#-$urnt "iece o# #ire!ood !ra""ed in a cloth in his coat "oc)et. Sure* 5ran) had seen )ids #ight %onsters $e#ore.t #orget it. I%%ediately* the charred end $la(ed !ith a searing yello! #la%e. When the te%"erature dro""ed $elo! #ree(ing near 'ount Hood* 5ran) had $rought out the "iece o# tinder and held it in his hands* i%agining ho! nice it !ould $e to ha e so%e #ire. 5or a horri$le %o%ent it )e"t $urning. !o!.

d $e in a $attle #or their li es on that day. cla!s "ressing into his ar%s and s%ell their sna)y $reath . And it !ill not $e easy. <No* you don. a oice gru%$led.d $e a "ile o# $ones in the $ac) o# a &argain 'art $y no!. &ut nothing had ha""ened. in 0hinese. His #ull na%e !as 6aius :itellius Reticulus* $ut the other cohorts called hi% :itellius the Ridiculous. I !ant to $e an archer li)e you. 2n#ortunately 5ran) had a "retty good idea o# !hat the goddess %eant.s #irst $irthday at ca%". 5ran) "ut do!n his "olishing rags. 5ran) +u%"ed out o# his seat. Archery !as the only thing 5ran) !as good at. I# not #or Percy* those grotes4ue hags !ould ha e carried hi% a!ay. right do!n to the goat-s)in ca"e. While he "olished s!ords* he re%e%$ered /uno* !arning the% to unleash Death. li)e dead %ice and "oison.t*.s Lar* !as shi%%ering $ehind hi%. <Ha(el Le es4ue sent %e to chec) on you*. 5ran) had $een sure his godly "arent !ould s"ea) u" on his si1teenth $irthday* !hich had "assed t!o !ee)s ago. A#ter the incident at the ri er* Reyna had sent 5ran) to the ar%oury* !hich had gi en hi% !ay too %uch ti%e to thin). He."o!ers li)e that. 5ran) glanced at his $o! in the corner o# the ar%oury. >ears ago* his %other had told hi% that their #a%ily na%e* Phang* %eant <%aster o# $o!s. It had $een 5ran). He could still #eel the gorgons. That %ust ha e $een a hint a$out his dad. :itellius . He. Si1teen !as an i%"ortant %ilestone #or Ro%ans. :itellius* the 5i#th 0ohort. She chose your "ath years ago* 6rand%other had told hi%. <Please* A"ollo* i# you. His #ather had to $e A"ollo.d #eel $etter i# A"ollo !ould clai% hi% as a son.re %y dad* tell %e. He had tried to hide his shoc) !hen /uno had a""eared* $ut she loo)ed e1actly li)e his grand%other had descri$ed .. He loo)ed at the ceiling. No! 5ran) ho"ed he !ould $e clai%ed on the 5east o# 5ortuna* though #ro% !hat /uno had said they.

t one to tal). :itellius said ha""ily. :itellius !asn. the ghost said* <they. <6ood thing* too.. <Wonder#ul o%en= A chic)en in %y under"ants. <I !as=.s chest a #e! ti%es.re !i%"s= &ac) in %y day* archery !as a +o$ #or $ar$arians..t told anyone e1ce"t Ha(el* $ut ghosts had !ays o# #inding out secrets. :itellius loo)ed so %ad his "ur"le aura glo!ed. the Lar said. <2nderstanda$le. 5ran) said* +ust to $e nice. He !asn. >ou loo) younger* you )no!* !ith that "udgy $a$y #ace. <Guestioning %y honour-. 5ran) %uttered. <As #or archers*. >ou couldn. <>es* I re%e%$er %y si1teenth*.s ar%y. A good Ro%an should $e in the #ray* gutting his ene%y !ith s"ear and s!ord li)e a ci ili(ed %an= That.t ha e $een ali e that long. <3uch*.re such a gru%"y gladiator*. <:itellius* 0aesar !as hundreds o# years a#ter the Punic Wars. <I thought you !ere in 0aesar. .ll thin) t!ice a$out dou$ting your elders ne1t ti%e= No! 7 it !as your si1teenth $irthday recently* !asn. 5ran) sighed.. Loo) at the state o# this ar%our=..s ho! !e did it in the Punic Wars. Perha"s he thought you !ere younger.t it-. His toga !as $aggy* his tunic $arely #itted o er his $elly and his sca$$ard #ell o## his $elt e ery three seconds* $ut 5ran) didn. <E1cuse %e-. Ro%an u"* $oy=. He ran the s!ord* !hich !as a$out as deadly as a laser "ointer* through 5ran). <Perha"s you.said* hi)ing u" his s!ord $elt. He dre! his ghostly gladius and yelled* <Ta)e that=. Ea esdro""ing !hile in isi$le !as "ro$a$ly one o# the%. 5ran) nodded.t $other "ointing that out. <So that. <Than)s #or re%inding %e*. :itellius loo)ed satis#ied and "ut his s!ord a!ay. The si1teenth $irthday is your day o# %anhood= >our godly "arent should ha e clai%ed you* no dou$t a$out it* e en i# !ith only a s%all o%en.s !hy you.t sure ho! :itellius )ne! this* since 5ran) hadn.

<Don. <&lood ta)en #ro% the right side o# a gorgon.t gi e u"* $oy.t listening. <I. S"oils o# !ar !ere o#ten le#t $ehind !hen a %onster dissol ed . :itellius chided. I )ne! a #ello! once !ho got a dung $eetle .t !earing it at the ti%e. He hadn. Sho! %e the ials.s good*. The goddess . <'%. <0o%e no!*.. We did things "ro"erly $ac) then.. Reluctantly* 5ran) $rought out the t!o cera%ic #las)s he.t told anyone a$out that.s $ody can cure any disease* e en $ring the dead $ac) to li#e.d retrie ed #ro% the Little Ti$er. <Praise the gods= I $eca%e a surgeon in the legion* and the rest is history... Rite o# "assage into %anhood* you )no!. so%eti%es a tooth* or a !ea"on* or e en the %onster. Suddenly* a "ure!hite chic)en ran out o# no!here* di ed into %y loincloth and ran o## !ith it..s $lood-. I too) %y cogno%en* %y third na%e* Reticulus* $ecause it %eant undergar%ent* to re%ind %e o# the $lessed day !hen a chic)en stole %y loincloth. I !asn. <That. <That.s entire head. 5ran) had )no!n !hat the t!o ials !ere i%%ediately. <Than)s* :itellius*. As #ar as he )ne!* only Percy had seen hi% "oc)et the ials at the ri er* and they hadn. He s"read his ar%s generously.s $lood. <And the gorgon. I )no! the legends a$out gorgon. 5ran) said.t hel" thin)ing* What i# I could use the%<>es. <So 7 your na%e %eans 'r 2nder!ear-. 5ran) said. 'ost o%ens are not as dra%atic as a chic)en* o# course.. &y tradition they $elonged to Percy* !ho had )illed the gorgons* $ut 5ran) couldn. I.. <And can I +ust say8 too %uch in#or%ation-.% a healer.. 5ran) #ro(e. <That !as the sign I !as descended #ro% Aescula"ius* the god o# %edicine. :itellius studied the ials a""ro ingly. 'ay$e your #ather is running late.s right= I !as at the ri er changing %y clothes #or %y Li$eralia. :itellius !asn.:itellius "u##ed u" !ith "ride. <&ut I ha e to #inish "olishing this ar%our .d ta)en o## %y childhood toga and !as !ashing u" to don the adult one.t had a chance to tal) a$out it.

Reyna stor%ed in !ith her %etal greyhounds. 5ran) loo)ed do!n at the ials. e said enough= At any rate* I. :itellius loo)ed u" ner ously again..t )no!.t do anything to endanger you. He %ight ha e li)ed . <I don. The ghost chuc)led.t e en thought o# Percy. :itellius chic)ens* $ut he did not li)e the "raetor. anished.re ho"ing the right ial could sol e your "ro$le% !ith the $urnt stic)* eh... <Ha= &ut you.re identical. :itellius !a ed a!ay the 4uestion.ll let you !or) out !ho gets the gorgon. 5ran) !ondered !hat :itellius had $een a$out to say and !hat had %ade hi% so scared* $ut he got the #eeling that #or once :itellius !as going to )ee" his %outh shut. 6ree) as !ell as Ro%an.. >ou. He loo)ed do!n at the t!o ials. His entire aura #lic)ered green. So* !hich is !hich-.t tell anyone. instantly #atal.t tal).. The doors o# the ar%oury #le! o"en. <&ut I.d $een intending to use the $lood #or hi%sel#. e got ancient roots. &ut $lood ta)en #ro% the le#t side o# a gorgon .t !orry* $oy. He tilted his head* as i# listening to a oice #ro% a$o e.. <Ah* $ut i# you !ant %y ad ice 7.t $e %odest.'ay$e $rea) your curse-.% a Lar* a "rotector o# the cohort= I !ouldn. He hadn. <Don.s dogs. <>eah.'iner a once ga e a ial o# it to %y di ine ancestor* Aescula"ius. It. He should ha e it. <I !on. <>ou sta$$ed %e through the chest !ith your s!ord.s $lood.s needing the%..s no !onder /uno .re going to need it on your 4uest. <3h* don. 3# course. <Guest-. I su""ose that ne!co%er Percy could use it* too* !ith his %e%ory "ro$le%. They.. <The 7 !hat-. <Trust %e* $oy= I ha e sy%"athy #or you* carrying the curse o# that Argonaut. He #elt guilty that he. I. I# %y sources are right* you. 5ran) !as so stunned he couldn.. <>ou should $oth !ait on that gorgon $lood. His #ace !ent slac).

Percy as)ed.Instead he said* <&ac) in the old ti%es* li)e the 6ree) ti%es* !hen Pluto !as called Hades* he !as %ore o# a death god. <Death doesn.s 6ree)* !ouldn.s not his #ault he runs the 2nder!orld. 5ran) re%e%$ered !hat :itellius had said8 >ou. Not at all= 6ot a %atch. <3h* u% 7. <The !ay Ro%ans sa! it* they ado"ted the 6ree) stu## and "er#ected it.<5ran). <Per#ected it./u"iter got the s)y* Ne"tune got the sea and Pluto got the sha#t.. Percy %ade a sour #ace. He. So I don.. Reyna loo)ed trou$led. <He.t )no!* res"ecta$le. 5ran) coughed. 6et Percy /ac)son do!n here.d %eant that Ha(el !as $etter loo)ing and nicer* $ut he decided not to say that. He $eca%e the god o# !ealth* too.s o)ay*. <Ro%e !as %ore success#ul .s enough !ith the ar%our. <He. Percy scratched his head. <Ho! does a god $eco%e Ro%an.s $rother* Nico* $ut 5ran) didn. 5ran) said. e got ancient roots.t thin) o# hi% as $eing real scary. When he $eca%e Ro%an* he got %ore 7 I don.. I don. His grand%other had said so%ething si%ilar. he ad%itted.s $een u" there too long.t !ant 3cta ian 7. Wal)ing $ac)* Percy had as)ed tons o# 4uestions a$out Ha(el.t )no!*.. 6ree) as !ell as Ro%an. So 5ran) had run all the !ay to Te%"le Hill. <Ho! do you %ean-.t )no! that %uch. </ust get Percy do!n here. He. 5ran) !al)ed a #e! ste"s* thin)ing a$out that.. E erything under the earth $elongs to hi%.. 6o #ind Ha(el. <That. It. <&ut not you-.s not li)e Ha(el . :itellius !ould.t scare you-. <I don.t he stay 6ree)-..Li)e there !as so%ething !rong !ith it-.I# he. <Pluto. e gi en Percy an hour-long lecture on the su$+ect* "ro$a$ly !ith a Po!erPoint "resentation* $ut 5ran) too) his $est shot. 5ran) al%ost !anted to laugh.s cool. 5ran) shrugged. He +ust got $ad luc) !hen the gods !ere di iding u" the !orld* you )no!. He %a)es e ery$ody else ner ous* $eing the son o# Pluto* and all. <Nico is )ind o# %ysterious. She hesitated.

'ars $eca%e a lot %ore i%"ortant and disci"lined. 5ran) couldn. Percy #ro!ned... <I didn. And $ac) in the ancient days* !hen Ro%e #ell* the eastern hal# o# the e%"ire sur i ed . e heard stories o# de%igods occasionally lea ing 0a%" /u"iter. The gods $eca%e a $igger deal in Ro%an ti%es .s nothing le#t o# the 6ree)-. 5ran) li)ed saying that !ord.s !hy they.s !hy* !hate er country !e settle in* 0a%" /u"iter is al!ays in the !est . Percy stared at hi%..re saying the old 6ree) gods ... That. They reached the gates. The east is considered $ad luc)..There. <2h 7. I. <&ut #irst 7 a$out those ials I #ound at the ri er. <The eastern e%"ire lasted another thousand years* $ut it !as al!ays %ore 6ree) than Ro%an. 5ran) loo)ed around to %a)e sure there !ere no ca%"ers or Lares near$y* $ut the %ain gates !ere still a hundred yards a!ay.s still a "art o# the gods. <3ne ial heals.s a sensiti e to"ic. The gods changed to Ro%an $ecause that. %ore "o!er#ul and !idely )no!n. So %any ci ili(ations $ase the%sel es on Ro%e.s )ind o# a sore su$+ect. <So you. <I. "ersonalities. <It !as called &y(antiu%. So%e "eo"le say 6ree) in#luence is still around* li)e it.. It sounded cool. /u"iter !as 7 !ell* %ore res"onsi$le as a Ro%an god than he had $een !hen he !as Peus.t )no! that. 5or those o# us !ho #ollo! the Ro%an !ay* it.ll ta)e you to the $aths to get you cleaned u"*. <And /uno $eca%e a hi""ie $ag lady*. Percy noted.than 6reece. They %ade this huge e%"ire. 5ran) said. <6orgon.t $la%e hi% #or #eeling con#used. Percy said.s !here the centre o# "o!er !as. <That. That. <Huh. The 6ree)ORo%an stu## ga e hi% a headache* too. . the Ro%an "art o# the territory. they +ust changed "er%anently to Ro%an. They re+ect Ro%an training and try to #ollo! the older 6ree) style .s $lood*. li)e $eing solo heroes instead o# !or)ing as a tea% the !ay the legion does. 3ne is deadly "oison.re still around today. the 6ree) hal#..

5ran) shoo) his head.Listen* I !asn. 'ur)y stu##.Ro%ans !ere su""osed to $e unsel#ish and hel" their co%rades* $ut 5ran) !asn. I +ust .s s%ile #aded. <>eah. Percy had a chance to get his %e%ory $ac)* and he !as !illing to !ait in case so%eone else needed the ial %ore.. <&ut i# !e could #igure out !hich ial !as !hich* it %ight heal your %e%ory.. Does your %o% get to see you %uch-.t sure anyone else at ca%" !ould ha e %ade that choice... He couldn.t cry at 0a%" /u"iter.5ran). <So you don. <I guess so 7 she. <Ho!-. <5a%ily* #riends-. >ou !ere trying to "rotect %e..d $e at ca%". 2sually 5ran) !ould lie. <>ou )no! a$out that. <3h 7 right. He loo)ed at 5ran) care#ully* as i# %a)ing a decision. Percy s%iled.. e loo)ed $ad. 5ran) as)ed. <'ay$e 7 I guess.d say an accident and shut o## the con ersation. 5ran) sto""ed at the $athhouse entrance. <I )no! e ery$ody at ca%"* $ut no Anna$eth. &ut* !ith Percy* 5ran) #ound it easier to tal). There. &ut you should hang on to those ials #or no!. <I# I. He gra$$ed so%e to!els #ro% the su""ly shed. We %ay need the% to sa e li es.s "ro$a$ly !orried out o# her %ind. <She died. He couldn.t )no! her* do you-. He.s eyes !idened. <Her na%e !as Anna$eth.. He ga(ed across the hills.t sho! !ea)ness.t going to )ee" the%.Is your %o% %ortal-.t re%e%$er anything-. . Percy.s a $attle co%ing. 5ran) stared at hi%* a little $it in a!e. 5ran) !i"ed the s!eat o## his "al%s. <>ou do-. Percy )nitted his $ro!. What a$out your #a%ily. 3ther!ise his e%otions got out o# control. >ou don. <I )no! !hy you did it* 5ran)...d co%e into ca%" carrying a ial o# "oison* that !ould. <3nly gli%"ses. A girl#riend 7 I thought she. Percy #ingered the clay $eads round his nec).

<>eah. <0anada. She 7 she didn.t )no! . That %ust $e so hard on you. %o ing #or!ard. Percy nodded. 5ran) sighed. >ou ha e %y dee"est condolences. >ou didn... >ou )ind o# are.. What %attered !as listening. The #uneral !as right $e#ore I ca%e do!n here. . 'y %o% !as a ca"tain. The only thing that hel"ed !as %o ing on . 5ran) %anaged a s%ile. She sa ed so%e soldiers !ho !ere "inned do!n $y ene%y #ire. <&ut* yeah* 0anada has troo"s there. It !as li)e Percy had #aced death $e#ore* li)e he )ne! a$out grie#. <I. As they !al)ed into the stea% roo%* 5ran) thought o# his grand%other* his %o% and his cursed childhood* than)s to /uno and her "iece o# #ire!ood. <A#ghanistan. >eah... He al%ost !ished he could #orget his "ast* the !ay Percy had. <Ho! a$out you sho! %e the $aths no!-.t as) #or %ore details* !hich 5ran) a""reciated. Percy suggested..t need to say you !ere sorry. He didn.% #ilthy.t say he !as sorry* or %a)e any o# the !ell-%eaning co%%ents 5ran) al!ays hated8 3h* you "oor guy.t. <She !as in the %ilitary-. He didn.I didn.<She died in the !ar*. he said. <'ost A%ericans don.. <0anadian. She !as one o# the #irst !o%en to die in co%$at.t %a)e it.

.

N .

&ut he re%e%$ered the hours leading u" to it . A $lue-and-!hite "late s"lit into "ieces.s house !as a ra%$ling grey stone %ansion on t!el e acres in North :ancou er.. S%ash. The %orning !as cold and dri((ly* $ut 5ran) didn. 0rac).s chastise%ent8 'en do not cry.5ran) 5RANK DIDN. Th!ac). He !ore a $lac) !ool suit and a $lac) o ercoat that had once $elonged to his grand#ather.d loaded so%e o# his grand%other. >ou !ill endure* 5ai. The sacri#ice %edal* a sil er disc on a red-and-$lac) ri$$on* gi en #or death in the line o# duty* "resented to 5ran) as i# it !ere so%ething i%"ortant* so%ething that %ade e erything all right. What sort o# na%e is 5ran). With e ery arro!* he i%agined he !as stri)ing do!n his "ro$le%s. 0a"tain E%ily Phang died trying to sa e her co%rades. Sni"ers in A#ghanistan.t #eel the chill.T RE'E'&ER '20H A&32T the #uneral itsel#. Es"ecially Phang %en. Her $ac)yard ran straight into Lynn 0anyon Par). The clothes s%elled li)e !et %oth$alls and +as%ine. 5ran) had $een startled and u"set to #ind that they #itted hi% #ine. That is . His grand%other. A tea"ot e1"loded !ith an arro! through the %iddle. With his $o! and 4ui er* he "ro$a$ly loo)ed li)e a ery dangerous $utler.s "orcelain in a !agon and toted it into the yard* !here he set u" targets on old #ence"osts at the edge o# the "ro"erty.d $een shooting so long his #ingers !ere starting to lose their #eeling. his grand%other co%ing out into the $ac)yard to #ind hi% shooting arro!s at her "orcelain collection. A teacu" s"un into the !oods. His grand%other. He.she !ould scold. No one called hi% 5ai e1ce"t his grand%other. The #a$ric !as itchy $ut !ar%. He. The o##icer !ho ca%e to tell hi%8 <>our %other is a hero.

And no! 5ran) had no one e1ce"t his grand%other. though the t!o situations "ro$a$ly !eren. A #ourth arro! hit the #ence"ost and stuc) there* 4ui ering. He. <We %ust tal).t dare say that.t ha e to go to the #uneral.d ne er #elt so angry..s #ace !as #ull o# $itterness and disa""ro al. With her high-collared $lac) dress and se ere $un o# grey hair* she loo)ed li)e a schoolteacher #ro% the JL@@s. <Sto" this ridiculous $eha iour*. His %other had told hi% years ago8 There is no arguing !ith 6rand%other. 6rand%other.not a 0hinese na%e.s arro!s stic)ing out o# the ground* the trees* the #ence"osts and one in the head o# a s%iling garden gno%e. <It is .ll only %a)e you su##er !orse. said his grand%other. 5ran) couldn. <5ai*.t sound $eneath you. She sur eyed the carnage8 her "orcelain in the !agon* the shards o# her #a ourite tea sets scattered o er the la!n* 5ran).d $e grounded and !ouldn. I. He !anted to hurt her #or $eing so %ean all the ti%e* #or letting his %other go o## to !ar* #or scolding hi% to get o er it.t that di##erent. ery irritated.. He !ondered ho! his %other had turned out to $e so nice . All she cared a$out !as her stu"id collection.t i%agine his %o% gro!ing u" !ith 6rand%other any %ore than he could i%agine her on the $attle#ield .% not 0hinese* 5ran) thought* $ut he didn. She loo)ed nothing li)e 5ran). 5ran) turned. To 5ran).s %o%. <The car !ill $e here soon*.s astonish%ent* she )ic)ed aside one o# her #a ourite teacu"s. 6rand%other said. She !as clutching a shoe$o1-si(ed %ahogany chest that 5ran) had ne er seen $e#ore. She. She didn.d $een right.d ne er done anything this $ad $e#ore. 5ran) thought she !ould yell* or hit hi% !ith the $o1. she said. He. al!ays laughing* al!ays gentle. Thud. 'ay$e he. It. He !aited #or 6rand%other to e1"lode.

5ran) didn.. He. That !as cool.d ne er had %uch interest in learning.d heard her right. &ut no! she is gone.t )no! %ost o# the "eo"le in the "hotogra"hs* either. <I ha e %y o!n a""oint%ent !ith Death soon enough.t sure he. He loo)ed %ore closely at the %ahogany $o1. <I a% old*. 6rand%other sat ne1t to hi%* her "osture sti##* her hands #olded o er the $o1. 5or a horri$le %o%ent* he !ondered i# it contained his %other. 'aster o# $o!s. In the "arlour* 5ran) sat on a el et so#a* surrounded $y intage #a%ily "hotos* "orcelain ases that had $een too large #or his !agon and red 0hinese calligra"hy $anners. Without !aiting to see i# he !ould #ollo!* she turned and %arched to!ards the house. He !ondered !hy he. 6rand%other said* as i# that !ere a sur"rising announce%ent.s sto%ach #luttered. <>our %other !anted you to ha e this*. Whene er 6rand%other started lecturing hi% a$out his ancestors . 5ran) !as #ourth-generation 0anadian. ho! they. 5ran).s ashes* $ut that !as i%"ossi$le. <6oing. She %ust ha e )e"t it loc)ed in the attic . He didn. When she !ent a!ay to the !ar* she entrusted it to %e. <She )e"t it since you !ere a $a$y.t care a$out 0hina and all these %usty anti4ues. I cannot teach you the s)ills you !ill need* and I cannot )ee" this $urden. 5ran) !asn.5ran) !as du%$#ounded. Then !hy did 6rand%other hold the $o1 so gingerly* as i# its contents grie ed her<0o%e inside*. the one roo% 5ran) !as #or$idden to .t )no! !hat the calligra"hy said. The only 0hinese characters he could recogni(e !ere his #a%ily na%e8 Phang. He didn. It sounded li)e she had said his li#e de"ended on that $o1.d co%e o er #ro% 0hina and "ros"ered in the i%"ortOe1"ort $usiness* e entually $eco%ing one o# the !ealthiest 0hinese #a%ilies in :ancou er . I# so%ething !ere to ha""en to it* I !ould ne er #orgi e %ysel#. 6rand%other had told hi% there !ould $e a %ilitary $urial.. !ell* it !as $oring. >ou !ould die.d ne er seen it $e#ore. she said. she said !ith reluctance.Where-. And soon you !ill $e going* too.

Ha en. <'ost !ould ha e sco##ed at your %other.d al!ays said she )e"t her %ost alua$le treasures u" there. 5ran) touched the $urnt end. $ut the $ullies at school teased hi% a$out stu"id stu## li)e that8 0on#ucius say 7 all that gar$age.. Losing his %other !as "ain#ul enough. It loo)ed li)e dri#t!ood .t you e er !ondered !hy your #ather ne er ca%e $ac)-. The ti" !as charred. He couldn. 5ran) had ne er e en $een to 0hina.t !ant to thin) a$out his #ather* . The ashes le#t a $lac) s%udge on his #inger. <5ai* do you )no! o# "ro"hecies. I )no! o# "ro"hecies and gods. He thought a$out 6rand%other. Inside* cushioned in el et lining* !as a terri#ying* li#e-altering* incredi$ly i%"ortant 7 "iece o# !ood. 6ree)* Ro%an* 0hinese . I# 6rand%other had had a sense o# hu%our* 5ran) !ould ha e thought she !as )idding. <Wait 7 !hat-. <Not %uch. The 4uestions %ade hi% unco%#orta$le.t #igure out !hy 6rand%other !as acting so tense and serious a$out it.Do you )no! o# the gods-. It !as a$out the si(e o# a T: re%ote control. she said* <&ut I did not. <He !as 7. <A little* 6rand%other*. Pro"hecies %ade hi% thin) o# #ortune coo)ies* !hich !eren. he said. He didn.s a stic)*.t !ant to hear that. <'y %ind is not addled. Was she going senile<Sto" ga"ing at %e=. I did not 4uestion !hat she told %e a$out your #ather. hard and s%ooth* scul"ted into a !a y sha"e. &ut 6rand%other ne er teased. He o"ened the lid !ith tre%$ling #ingers. she sna""ed. she said "lainly. Her eyes glittered. It still #elt !ar%. he said.s silly gold statues o# 0hinese i%%ortals* her su"erstitions a$out "utting #urniture in certain "laces and a oiding unluc)y nu%$ers. <>our #ather !as a god*. He !anted nothing to do !ith it. 5ran) #altered.. they intert!ine in our #a%ily.e1"lore. She handed the $o1 to hi%.s tale*. <It. not really .t e en 0hinese . She. &ut* o# course* 6rand%other didn.

<Wait 7 !e. She !as li)e %e . <I# you $othered to learn the #a%ily history* 5ai* you %ight )no! this. He !as a god... <>es* clean your ears* 5ai . 5ran) +ust stared at her. Strong and $ra e* 5ran) could $elie e. <Shortly a#ter you !ere $orn* a isitor a""eared at our hearth.t say* or "erha"s she didn.re 0hinese. >our %other !ouldn. It is no sur"rise a god !ould #all in lo e !ith her* gi en our #a%ily. 5ran) said nu%$ly. She "ointed at the $ig stone #ire"lace.. 6rand%other sco!led.s nostrils #lared. He %ust ha e )no!n she !as o# ancient $lood. a g!ai "oh .. >our %other and I sat here on the couch* +ust !here you and I are sitting.too.. <She !as a !hite !o%an . <&ah.. He still sus"ected she %ight $e losing her %ar$les* $ut he as)ed* <What )ind o# god-. 0hina and Ro%e are not so di##erent* nor as se"arate as you %ight $elie e. She sighed in e1as"eration. <A !o%an a""eared at the #ire*. &ut* #or no!* I %ust e1"lain the #ire!ood. <'y !ords are !asted on this young o1= >ou !ill learn the truth !hen you go to ca%". >ou !ere a tiny thing* s!addled in a $lue $lan)et* and she cradled you in her ar%s. It sounded li)e a s!eet %e%ory* $ut 6rand%other told it in a $itter tone* as i# she )ne!* e en then* that 5ran) !ould turn into a $ig lu%$ering oa#. she continued. In Ira4. Perha"s your #ather !ill clai% you. He #ell in lo e !ith your %other $ecause she !as a natural !arrior. He !ent %issing in action. 6rand%other. <Ro%an*. And $e#ore that 7 as I said* ancient $lood. <&eyond that* I don. strong* $ra e* good* $eauti#ul. <A goat*.t )no!..t )no! hersel#. <He !as in the ar%y* li)e 'o%. dressed in $lue sil)* !ith a strange cloa) li)e the s)in o# a goat. Why !ould Ro%an gods !ant to date 0hinese 0anadians-. 3ur #a%ily is #ro% 6ansu Pro ince* a to!n once called Li-/ien. The $lood o# "rinces and heroes. she said. Picturing 6rand%other as good or $eauti#ul !as %ore di##icult.

His li#e !ill $urn $right and short.s #a%ily history didn. <That is the ery stic). He !ill return your #a%ily to its roots and $ring you great honour. 5ran) could hardly $reathe. He !ill #ree Thanatos #ro% his icy chains .Phang= I. He !anted her to )ee" tal)ing. at you . "o!ers* gi#ts* $lood o# Pylos. He loo)ed at the $o1 in his la"* and the s%udge o# ash on his #inger. No! %ay I continue !ithout interru"tions. <The 6ree) na%e #or Death. your son is destined to die. <This 7 this . He des"erately !anted to as) !hat it all %eant . The story sounded ridiculous* $ut suddenly the "iece o# dri#t!ood see%ed %ore sinister* colder and hea ier.% too old to tell e ery story t!ice= The !o%an !ith the goat-s)in !as a goddess.t see% so $oring. I can al!ays tell these things. <>es* %y thic)-headed o1*. . 6rand%other said i%"atiently. <&e#ore the goddess disa""eared* she "ointed at the #ire and said* EHe !ill $e the strongest o# your clan* and the greatest. <Wait* !ho-. <I do not argue !ith goddesses* $ut "erha"s this one did not see the #uture clearly. <No "o!er co%es !ithout a "rice* 5ai*. 6rand%other said.F.t !ant to interru"t 6rand%other again. Suddenly 5ran). and she told your %other* in "er#ect 'andarin* no less8 EHe !ill close the circle.F. She s%iled at the $a$y . 6rand%other snorted.The goddess said* EThe $lood o# Pylos is strong in this child #ro% his %other. &ut the 5ates ha e decreed he !ill also $e the %ost ulnera$le.F. He !ill ha e the Phang #a%ily gi#t* $ut he !ill also ha e the "o!ers o# his #ather. We ha e )e"t it e er since. The goddess disa""eared* and I snatched the !ood #ro% the #ire i%%ediately. As soon as that "iece o# tinder is consu%ed . she said. that stic) at the edge o# the #ire ..F.s side. <Thanatos*. Whate er the case* she said* EHe !ill go to ca%" and restore your re"utation there.&ut he didn. What !as this ca%"* and !ho !as his #ather.. <I# it $urns u"* I die-.

She thought the #a%ily gi#t !ould "rotect her.. Would you* too* su##ocate.I do not )no!. <She thought 7 she thought he. 6rand%other e1haled sourly.t $ear to "art !ith it* #or #ear so%ething !ould go !rong. <E%ily !as #oolish* going to !ar* though I su""ose I al!ays )ne! it !as her destiny. He !anted to "rotest that this !as +ust a stu"id legend. archery-. 5ran) closed the $o1. Tonight* a#ter the #uneral* you %ust go south. She see%ed to $e challenging 5ran)8 I# you do not $elie e it* $urn it. &ut her eyes !ere de#iant..<It is not so strange*. It did not hel" %e. It did not hel" %y #ather* or his #ather. >our %other said i# she did not co%e $ac) #ro% co%$at* Lu"a !ould send %essengers. 6rand%other !ondered* <i# !e coated the stic) in another su$stance.What. 5ran) shoo) his head.d $e in A#ghanistan-.. Kee" it close. Strange things cons"ire !hen one tries to cheat #ate. <>ou and your archery= 5oolish $oy. Then she ga e it to %e. <Ro%an* 0hinese . <What !ould ha""en*.. She died $ra ely. <I# it.t $urn* li)e "lastic or steel. 6rand%other said.s ho! she sa ed those soldiers. No dou$t that. 'ay$e 6rand%other !as trying to scare hi% as so%e sort o# re enge #or $rea)ing her "orcelain. &ut the gi#t has ne er )e"t our #a%ily sa#e.s so dangerous* !hy not seal the !ood in so%ething that !on. 6rand%other s"read her hands* as i# this !as $eyond her understanding. &uildings can $urn do!n. the destinies o# %en can o#ten $e "redicted* and so%eti%es guarded against* at least #or a ti%e. She couldn. The #ire!ood is in your "ossession no!. >our %other !ould not ta)e the ris).s our gi#t . >ou %ust #ollo! the "ath. >our %other thought the stic) !as only sa#e in her "ossession* until she !ent to !ar. And no! you ha e $eco%e a %an. As long as it is sa#e* you are sa#e. <She !ent. <&ut 7 !hat "ath.Why not "ut it in a sa#e de"osit $o1-. They !ill escort you to a "lace !here the children o# the gods can $e trained #or their . Soon you !ill #ind out. &an)s can $e ro$$ed. She ho"ed to %eet your #ather again.

<She chose your "ath years ago* and it !ill not $e easy. He $egged #orgi eness #or the great-grand#ather he )ne! nothing a$out. We ha e o$ligations.. 5ran) ca%e out to %eet the%. <>ou. &ut she rose #ro% the couch and stood tall* her "osture as sti## and correct as e er.d +ust let %e go-. Reyna let hi% +oin the legion. The car !ill $e !aiting. she instructed* <you %ust s"ea) to the "raetor in "ri ate.s %outh 4ui ered. Her eyes loo)ed %oist. 6rand%other.d lost her hus$and years ago* then her daughter* and no! she !as a$out to send a!ay her only grandson. The cere%ony !as a $lur8 sole%n #aces* the "atter o# rain on the gra eside a!ning* the crac) o# ri#les #ro% the honour guard* the cas)et sin)ing into the earth. <The goddess said you !ould $ring our #a%ily #ull circle.. 0o%e. Ho"e#ully they !ill not )ill you #or !hat he did* $ut you %ight !ant to $eg #orgi eness #or his actions. he as)ed. His +ourney south $egan . <When you arri e at ca%"*. <This is sounding $etter and $etter*. 5ran) !as shoc)ed to reali(e she !as near tears. to the Wol# House in Sono%a* and e entually to 0a%" /u"iter* !here he s"o)e to Reyna "ri ately as 6rand%other had instructed. She ne er did tell hi% !hat his great-grand#ather had done* $ut she . The charred stic) !as !ra""ed care#ully in three layers o# cloth in his coat "oc)et* ne1t to his heart.. 6rand%other. He too) his tra el "ac)* his !ar%est clothes* his $o! and his 4ui er.s sacri#ice %edal !as tuc)ed in his "ac). &ut no! it is ti%e #or the #uneral. <>our last #a%ily-. That night* the !ol es ca%e. It has $een %any years since the San 5rancisco incident.t understand %ost o# !hat 6rand%other said* $ut one thing !as clear8 she !as )ic)ing hi% out. 5ran) %u%$led.. They ho!led on the #ront "orch. His %other. 5ran) #elt as i# he !ere $eing shot !ith arro!s* his heart s"litting into "orcelain shards.destiny.s oice had no trace o# sy%"athy. She. Tell her your great-grand#ather !as Shen Lun. He didn.

ll $e treated $adly. Percy said.re telling %e that #ortress !as $uilt today-. His #irst %onth at ca%" !as s"ent )noc)ing o er ro!s o# !ea"ons* $rea)ing chariots and tri""ing entire cohorts as they %arched. It %ust re%ain our secret* or you. <&ut do not %ention the na%e Shen Lun to anyone else. Reyna had told hi%. He thought a$out the stic) !ra""ed inside his coat "oc)et* and !hat it %eant that /uno had a""eared at ca%".s head as he !al)ed !ith Ha(el and Percy to the !ar ga%es. 'ay$e A"ollo !ould clai% hi% today and e1"lain his "o!ers and gi#ts. E ery day* he !o)e u" !ondering i# the stic) !ould so%eho! catch #ire and $urn* and he !ould cease to e1ist. 3nce they got out o# ca%"* the 5i#th 0ohort #or%ed t!o lines $ehind their centurions* Da)ota and 6!en. <They did a good +o$ today*. His #a ourite +o$ !as caring #or Hanni$al the ele"hant* $ut he.o$ iously )ne!. Was he a$out to die. The engineers had $uilt a stone #ortress !ith an iron "ortcullis* guard to!ers* scor"ion $allistae* !ater cannons and no dou$t %any other nasty sur"rises #or the de#enders to use. The grass !as cro""ed short $y all the unicorns* $ulls and ho%eless #auns that gra(ed here. <Legionnaires are trained to $uild.. gi ing Hanni$al indigestion $y #eeding hi% "eanuts. <Wait*. He hadn. The earth !as "itted !ith e1"losion craters and scarred !ith trenches #ro% "ast ga%es.t ha e %any %erits. They %arched north* s)irting the edge o# the city* and headed to the 5ield o# 'ars . Who )ne! ele"hants could $e "eanutintolerant. 5ran) could tell it !as $ad. the largest* #lattest "art o# the alley.He ho"ed not.. <>ou. At the north end o# the #ield stood their target. Ha(el noted.5ran) #igured Reyna !as regretting her decision to let hi% +oin. I# !e had to* !e could $rea) do!n the entire ca%" and re$uild it .s $ad #or us. Ha(el grinned. <That. <I +udge "eo"le $y their o!n %erits*. that !as #or sure. All o# this ran through 5ran).t $rought his #a%ily any honour yet .d %anaged to %ess that u"* too . 2n#ortunately* 5ran) didn.

Percy stu%$led* trying to )ee" ti%e !ith the le#t-right %arching rhyth%. <Li)e ca"ture-the-#lag. Ta)e %ay$e three or #our days* $ut !e could do it. We ha e to get "ast those scor"ions and !ater cannons on the !alls* #ight through the inside o# the #ortress* #ind the $anners and de#eat the guards* all !hile "rotecting our o!n $anners and troo"s #ro% ca"ture. The Third and 5ourth 0ohorts asse%$led as #ar as "ossi$le #ro% the 5i#th. <Do you guys s"end a lot o# ti%e laying siege to #orti#ied cities-.d $e sur"rised !hat you can learn in the !ar ga%es. 3ur +o$ is to get inside and ca"ture the% !ithout getting slaughtered.. <Guic) thin)ing. <Not e ery night*.. u%* !hich is li)e "aint$all* e1ce"t !ith 7 you )no!* "oison and acid and #ire $alls. 5ran) said. <So%e!here inside* the 5irst and Second 0ohorts are )ee"ing their $anners. Percy said. 5ran) laughed.. And our cohort is in co%"etition !ith the other t!o attac)ing cohorts.. Ha(el said. So%eti%es !e do chariots and gladiator co%"etitions* so%eti%es !ar ga%es. We do that* !e !in. Percy as)ed. Tactics. <We ha e di##erent training e1ercises. The centurions #or the attac)ing side gathered #or a con#erence. &attle s)ills.s eyes lit u". The cohort that ca"tures the $anners gets all the glory.. Percy. >ou. We sort o# !or) together* $ut not really.d s"ent his #irst t!o !ee)s #alling do!n. I thin) I li)e ca"ture-the-#lag. Ha(el "ointed at the #ort. <Li)e !ho !ill sta$ you in the $ac)*. <Tea%!or)*. <So you attac) a di##erent #ort e ery night-..s harder than it sounds. They %arched to the centre o# the 5ield o# 'ars and #or%ed ran)s. Ha(el agreed. So%eti%es death$all . 5ran) said. <So !hy are !e "ractising this* any!ay-. <>eah* !ell 7 it. <Es"ecially that*. 5ran) sy%"athi(ed. <Let.so%e!here else.s not*. In the s)y a$o e the%* Reyna circled on her "egasus* Sci"io* ready to "lay . He.

<Percy* you %ust. Percy #ro!ned.s ar%our...s glo!ing $ron(e s!ord . 5ran) said. <5or sure. Horns $le!. he said in a%a(e%ent.ll thro! us at the !alls #irst to so#ten u" the de#ences. 6!en said.s the "lan=. The $lade !as lea#-sha"ed* and the !riting on the hilt !as 6ree). The !hole cohort groaned. <What i# I hurt so%e$ody-. 0hances are !e. Loo)ing at it %ade 5ran) uneasy..ll get the !orst duty and get eli%inated early. <All right* here. <Well* not usually. </ust stay !ith us* Percy.. <I don. <They.. <We can use real !ea"ons* right-.re !i%"s= &ac) in %y day* !e died all the ti%e* and !e li)ed it=.. <I )no!* I )no!*. Ha(el laughed.s a%$assador. <>eah*. not I%"erial gold* and not a gladius. 5ran) "ro""ed his "ilu% against his shield and chec)ed Percy. The only "erson not "artici"ating in the ga%e !as Nico di Angelo* <Pluto. Hal# a do(en giant eagles #le! in #or%ation $ehind her . Then the Third and 5ourth 0ohorts !ill %arch in and get the honours* i# they can e en $reach the #ort.. E ery "iece o# ar%our !as "ro"erly ad+usted. They. con#erence* loo)ing gri%. The only thing that !asn. E ery stra" !as correct. <&ut %ay$e this ti%e !e. And i# they do .re thro!ing us at the !alls #irst to so#ten u" the de#ences. I. Da)ota too) a 4uic) s!ig o# Kool-Aid #ro% his tra el #las).ll . e +ust ne er seen a s!ord li)e that. e done !ar ga%es $e#ore. <>ou did it right*. <No one dies*. "re"ared #or a%$ulance airli#t duty i# necessary. The legion %edics are "retty good !ith a%$rosia and nectar* and unicorn draught.t )no!. <We heal the%*. Da)ota and 6!en !al)ed $ac) #ro% the o##icers. 'ay$e.* !ho had cli%$ed an o$ser ation to!er a$out a hundred yards #ro% the #ort and !ould $e !atching !ith $inoculars. 5ran) i%itated the oice o# :itellius8 <They. <3r try to.t regulation !as Percy. Ha(el said. 5ran) agreed.re#eree.

They. She turned $ac) to the !hole cohort.s the 'ural 0ro!n-. Percy #ro!ned. <>eah*. <5ran)=. <5irst line !ith Da)ota*.t loo) so sure. Still* the ca%"ers gru%$led and co%"lained.% not sure I can control the cannons #ro% this #ar a!ay. She could e en control Da)ota during his hy"eracti e $ug-+uice #its.s $rilliant=. <&ig honour #or the #irst soldier to $reach an ene%y #ort.. he as)ed.d $een #orced to %e%ori(e all the "ossi$le a!ards. No$ody $elie ed in luc) #or the 5i#th. :ictory #or the 5i#th=. 6!en said. <What. Percy didn. He #altered* and loo)ed at Percy.ha e so%e luc)=. <The cannons on the !alls*. 'ay$e !e can s"read the de#enders too thin. Ha(el $ea%ed.s !here the de#ence !ill $e !ea)est. 5ran) said. hec)* I don. There.. Dra! their #ire.. 2sually !e don. Sho! Percy the ro"es. <&ig ote o# con#idence. <That.re under a lot o# "ressure. I# you could control the%* li)e you controlled the ri er . Try to stay in one "iece.t )no! ho! they !or)* $ut they. E ery$ody li)ed her $ecause she too) care o# her "eo"le and tried to )ee" their s"irits u". 6!en turned to 5ran).t e en get into the #ort $ecause !e. Try a #lan)ing attac) on the !estern !all. Percy as)ed. <>ou se enteen* #ro% &o$$y o er* ta)e charge o# the ele"hant and the scaling ladders.s ro! !ithout %uch enthusias%. <We. >ou.s a "u%" syste% .t $e attac)ing. He. <What-. <Water cannons. Try to )ee" hi% ali e.ll get you closer. <That. 5ran) said* <they dra! !ater #ro% the a4ueduct. 5ran) "ointed to the eastern !all o# the #ort* !here the 5i#th 0ohort !ouldn.ll %a)e sure you get the 'ural 0ro!n.ll ne er . <Loc) shields and ad ance in turtle #or%ation to the %ain gates. I. <I don. <'ilitary %edal*. <EDo !hate er-F.. <I# any$ody gets o er the !all #irst* I. Lea e it to 6!en to $e the o"ti%ist.ll notice no$ody in the 5i#th is !earing one.t )no! ho! I did that at the ri er.re $urning or dro!ning or 7.. Second line ... Ha(el sighed. 5ran)* Ha(el* Percy 7 !ell* +ust do !hate er. The cohort cheered hal#-heartedly and $ro)e ran)s.

So%e are colla"sed* or $uried dee"* $ut a lot o# the% are still "assa$le.d ne er got to use the% $e#ore* $ut %ay$e tonight !as the night. <Snea) u" ho!-. 5ran) nodded a""ro ingly. <0an you do that thing again-. The 5ield o# 'ars is riddled !ith tunnels #ro% o er the years. He.t tell any$ody=. Percy said* <to slo! the% do!n.. I thin) !e can snea) u" "retty close $e#ore they see us. <Ne er %ind. I.ta)e three )ids seriously. He. <>ou said you !ouldn.s tal)ing a$out the trenches..s attention... Ha(el can #ind ca es* tunnels* tra"doors .s go. It. <The rest is u" to %e*. Percy* he. <And i# I can )noc) out the !ater cannons 7. <And it !as our secret*.d got so caught u" in the idea 7 Ha(el %uttered under her $reath. He. Percy nodded* li)e he !as !ar%ing to the idea. I%%ediately 5ran) #elt terri$le.. 5ran) turned to Ha(el. he said. He al!ays stoc)ed u" on s"ecial arro!s. she gru%$led. <Let. She "unched hi% in the chest. 5ran) chec)ed his 4ui er. 'ay$e he could #inally do so%ething good enough to get A"ollo. <What do !e do then-. 5ran) #elt hi%sel# $lushing. <I told you Pluto !as cool. . &ut i# !e can get close .s the god o# e erything under the earth. Percy as)ed. <>eah* sorry. I can e en colla"se the% i# I ha e to.s #ine. <Li)e you did !ith the gorgons*..% "retty good at #inding the% and using the%.

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NI .

I +ust do... she said.s an o"ening +ust ahead*. <There. <The engineers !ere s%art. 5ran) stu%$led o er so%ething and cursed. <&ut I..t )no!*. Nothing he "lanned e er !ent right. Ha(el said.% sure.5ran) 5RANK HAD NE:ER 5ELT S3 S2RE o# anything* !hich %ade hi% ner ous. 5ran) sli""ed his hand inside his ar%our. 5ran) !ondered. The "iece o# !ood !as still sa#e and secure in his coat "oc)et* though one good shot #ro% a scor"ion %ight set his li#eline on #ire 7 &ad 5ran)* he chided hi%sel#. Ha(el #ound the% a tunnel !ith no "ro$le%.. A$o e* they heard the sounds o# $attle . <0ould !e tunnel straight under the !all-. He al!ays %anaged to $rea)* ruin* $urn* sit on or )noc) o er so%ething i%"ortant. It !as as though tunnels %anu#actured the%sel es to suit her needs. Passages that had $een #illed in years ago suddenly un-#illed* changing direction to lead Ha(el !here she !anted to go. <I don.t +ust #ind tunnels. Percy as)ed.s glo!ing s!ord* Ri"tide. . And don. Ha(el announced. They $uilt the !alls on old #oundations that go do!n to $edroc). 5ire is the <5-!ord. Dirt rained do!n on the%.ll co%e u" ten #eet #ro% the east !all. The thing 5ran) had tri""ed on !as glea%ing sil er.t as) ho! I )no!. <Ho! can you tell-. <We. The tunnel shoo). <No*. Don.t thin) a$out it. )ids shouting* Hanni$al the ele"hant $ello!ing !ith glee* scor"ion $olts e1"loding and !ater cannons #iring. >et he )ne! this strategy !ould !or). In #act* 5ran) had a snea)ing sus"icion she didn. Percy $rought his s!ord around #or %ore light. They cre"t along $y the light o# Percy.

War ga%es had deteriorated into <$eat u" the 5i#th.t touch it. get $eaten u". A !ater cannon discharged !ith a +a!rattling THR2'* and a +et o# li4uid car ed a trench in the dirt right in #ront o# the cohort. Another e1"losion roc)ed the tunnel* and they #orged ahead.s dangerous.. They "o""ed out o# a hole +ust !here Ha(el had "redicted.He crouched do!n.t e en ad ancing. <Sil er-. Shooting it accurately u" the !all !ould ta)e %ore #orce and s)ill than %ost archers .s hand sto""ed a #e! inches #ro% the chun) o# %etal. It loo)ed li)e a giant Hershey. <I.s ision !ent red !ith anger. As they !atched* the chun) o# "latinu% san) into the ground. They stood $ac) and laughed* !atching their <allies.ll e1"lain later*. Please don. He stared at Ha(el. The de#enders clustered on the !all a$o e the gates* yelling insults at the tortoise #or%ation as it staggered $ac) and #orth.s east !all loo%ed. <Ho! did you )no!-. <It. The iron ti" !as sha"ed li)e the nose cone o# a roc)et. In #ront o# the%* the #ort. Percy !histled. 5ran). Ha(el sounded scared out o# her !its. <Don.s %assi e*.. An ultrathin gold ro"e trailed #ro% the #letching.. she "ro%ised. Ha(el said. They !ere trying to reach the %ain gates* $ut the de#enders a$o e "elted the% !ith roc)s and shot #la%ing $olts #ro% the scor"ions* $lasting craters around their #eet.s a lot o# "ressure* all right. <Let.s Kiss* a$out the si(e o# his #ist.s sha)e things u". <Platinu%. 5ran) didn. He reached in his 4ui er and "ulled out an arro! hea ier than the rest.ll go a!ay in a second. The Third and 5ourth 0ohorts !eren. <That. It. 5ran)... he said. <It.t understand ho! a lu%" o# %etal could $e dangerous* $ut he too) Ha(el seriously. In the light o# Percy.s s!ord* Ha(el loo)ed as ghostly as a Lar.t touch it=. 3## to their le#t* 5ran) could see the %ain line o# the 5i#th 0ohort ad ancing in turtle #or%ation* shields #or%ing a shell o er their heads and sides.

5ro% the %ain ro"e* handholds e1tended at t!o-#oot inter als* %a)ing a ladder. 5ran) hesitated. Percy grinned. De#enders screa%ed as a !atery shoc)!a e #lattened the% against the $attle%ents. 'ysti#ied* they lo!ered their shields and stared at the chaos. 2" on the !all* so%e$ody yelled* <3"en !ide* losers=. When it reached the to"* the %etal "oint #ractured into a do(en lines that lashed out and !ra""ed round anything they could #ind . He !as hal#!ay u" $e#ore the de#enders .. <It. Percy as)ed. 5ran) said.could %anage* $ut 5ran) had strong ar%s and good ai%. 'ore )ids ca%e across the $attle%ents to laugh at the%. This is your "arty. <6ra""ling hoo)-. "arts o# the !all* a scor"ion* a $ro)en !ater cannon and a cou"le o# de#ending ca%"ers* !ho yel"ed and #ound the%sel es sla%%ed against the $attle%ents as anchors. A de#ender a""eared on the !all a$o e the%. #ires !ere doused. 5ran) said* <no! !ould $e good.. <Hey=. <0hec) it out= 'ore icti%s=. Kids to""led o er the !alls $ut !ere snatched $y giant eagles and carried to sa#ety. 3ne a#ter another* the !ater cannons on the $attle%ents e1"loded.s called a hydra arro!*. 5ran) shot his arro!. Then the entire eastern !all shuddered as the e1"losion $ac)ed u" through the "i"elines. At the %ain gates* the 5i#th 0ohort #orgot a$out their #or%ation. 5ran) said. Percy closed his eyes. he shouted to his $uddies. The scor"ions. It strea)ed u"!ard* carrying its glittering ro"e. <0an you )noc) out the !ater cannons-. <What does that do-. KA-&33'= The cannon e1"loded in a star$urst o# $lue* green and !hite. A #e! ran to the nearest !ater cannon and s!ung the $arrel to!ards 5ran). <>ou #irst* 5ran). <6o=. He raised his hand. De#enders scattered in con#usion or !ere tossed through the air* gi ing the rescue eagles 4uite a !or)out. Then he slung his $o! on his $ac) and $egan to cli%$. 'ay$e A"ollo is !atching* he thought ho"e#ully. <Percy*.

t let the% get the $anners*. Then Ha(el a""eared ne1t to hi%* s!inging her $ig ca alry s!ord li)e she !as $orn #or $attle. He cla%$ered to the to" o# the !all* !here three de#enders !ere trying to hac) do!n his ro"e ladder. 3ne good thing a$out $eing $ig* clu%sy and clad in %etal8 5ran) !as li)e a hea ily ar%oured $o!ling $all. <Those are ours. Hanni$al the ele"hant tru%"eted !ith ha""iness* $ut 5ran) couldn. Ha(el gru%$led. 5inally* #ro% the edge o# the 5ield o# 'ars* a $attle cry !ent u". <A little late*. He too) co%%and o# the $attle%ents* s!ee"ing his "ilu% $ac) and #orth and )noc)ing do!n de#enders. 6!en !as the #irst to un#ree(e. She grinned and re"eated the order. 5ran) glanced $ac) at 5i#th 0ohort. He launched hi%sel# at the de#enders* and they to""led li)e "ins. <We can. <No*.t a##ord to !atch. They %o ed li)e a tea%* as i# the three o# the% had $een !or)ing together #or years. 5ran) screa%ed. <Well-..reco ered their senses enough to sound the alar%. Percy lea"ed onto the !all and raised Ri"tide. A cheer !ent u" #ro% the $attle#ield. he said. . 5ran) said. Together they cleared the de#enders o## the !alls. The 5i#th 0ohort charged in $ehind the ele"hant* and the $attle !ent hand-to-hand.s %ain grou". They !ere staring u" at hi%* du%$#ounded. &elo! the% the gates $ro)e. So%e shot arro!s. <5un*. <Attac)=. So%e tried to get under his guard !ith their s!ords* $ut 5ran) #elt unsto""a$le. The Third and 5ourth 0ohorts ran to +oin the #ight. They rushed do!n the interior ste"s and into the ene%y $ase. No %ore tal) !as necessary. Percy agreed. 5ran) got to his #eet. Hanni$al $arrelled into the #ort* arro!s and roc)s $ouncing har%lessly o## his Ke lar ar%our.

.

NII .

s e%$le%s !ere "ro""ed carelessly against one !all. $ut Percy "ut a sto" to it. He $ro)e his "ilu% o er a de#ender. "ride o# 0a%" /u"iter* a !ell-oiled* highly disci"lined !ar %achine .5ran) A5TER THAT* THE &ATTLE WAS 'A>HE'. ran)s in a co%"letely unorthodo1 style* rolling under their #eet* slashing !ith his s!ord instead o# sta$$ing li)e a Ro%an !ould* !hac)ing ca%"ers !ith the #lat o# his $lade and generally causing %ass "anic. The cohort. . %ay$e ordering the 5irst 0ohort to stand their ground* %ay$e trying to sing so"rano . <Let. 3$ iously the de#enders ne er drea%ed an assault !ould get this #ar.s head* then reluctantly dre! his gladius.s $eauti#ul* 5ran) thought. 5ran)* Percy and Ha(el !aded through the ene%y* "loughing do!n anyone !ho stood in their !ay. 5ran) shot arro!s until his 4ui er !as e%"ty* using $lunt-ti""ed %issiles that !ouldn. Inside* the 5irst and Second 0ohort standard-$earers !ere sitting around a ta$le "laying 'ytho%agic !ith cards and #igurines.s hel%et. Hanni$al $usted do!n the huge doors. The centurion colla"sed li)e a soc) "u""et. 6ods o# 3ly%"us* she.s go* slo!"o)es=. Ha(el and Hanni$al rode straight into the roo%* and the standard-$earers #ell $ac)!ards out o# their chairs. He so%ersaulted o er a line o# shields and sla%%ed the $utt o# his s!ord into 3cta ian.t )ill $ut le#t so%e nasty $ruises. The 5irst and Second 0ohorts .s $ac). The inner )ee" !as irtually unguarded. They ran to the centre o# the $ase. 'ean!hile* Ha(el cli%$ed onto Hanni$al. #ell a"art under the assault and the sheer no elty o# $eing on the losing side. She charged to!ards the centre o# the #ort* grinning do!n at her #riends. Part o# their "ro$le% !as Percy. 3cta ian screa%ed in a shrill oice . He #ought li)e a de%on* !hirling through the de#enders.

A cou"le o# ca%"ers rushed out o# the #ortress* carrying a girl on a stretcher. They set her do!n* and other )ids started running o er. Together they "araded out o# the #ort* "ast stunned ene%ies and lines o# e4ually %ysti#ied allies. 6!en didn. She !as in $ad sha"e. Her #ace !as ashen grey. <Hel"=. The 5i#th 0ohort #or%ed ran)s around the%. trying to get gau(e and "o!dered unicorn horn under 6!en. so%e $urns* $ro)en $ones* $lac) eyes* cuts and gashes* "lus a lot o# ery interesting hairdos #ro% #ires and e1"loding !ater cannons . Slo!ly the ca%"ers regrou"ed on the 5ield o# 'ars. so%e$ody yelled. The %edics $ar)ed at e eryone to stand $ac) and gi e her air. She sounded as i# she !ere trying not to laugh.s $ac) !ith Ha(el. Reyna circled lo! o erhead on her "egasus. <Asse%$le #or honours=. 5ran) !ondered i# he !as drea%ing. He slid o## the ele"hant. She lay on her side on the stretcher !ith a "ilu% stic)ing out o# her ar%our . <The ga%e is !on=.s ar%our to sto" the $leeding* trying to #orce so%e nectar into her %outh. 5inally one o# the %edics loo)ed u" at Reyna and .Hanni$al ste""ed on the ta$le* and ga%e "ieces scattered. he %uttered as he ran to her side. They %arched out o# the )ee" triu%"hantly !ith the ene%y colours. al%ost li)e she !as holding it $et!een her chest and her ar%* $ut there !as too %uch $lood. It !as the $est night o# his li#e . The !hole legion #ell silent as the healers !or)ed . His co%rades s!ar%ed hi%* "ounding hi% on the $ac) and co%"li%enting hi%. E en #ro% a distance* 5ran) could tell it !as 6!en. &y the ti%e the rest o# the cohort caught u" !ith the%* Percy and 5ran) had disar%ed the ene%ies* gra$$ed the $anners and cli%$ed onto Hanni$al.t $e #i1ed. 5ran) shoo) his head in dis$elie#.t %o e. <No* no* no 7. until he sa! 6!en. $ut nothing that couldn. 5ran) sa! "lenty o# %inor in+uries .

t see% to notice the se en-#oot har"oon stic)ing out through her chest. Honoura$le death is one thing* $ut this 7..shoo) his head. She !as dead. </ust trust %e. E eryone stared at her in horror. <6!en. Her e1"ression !as as hard and dar) as iron.. I don. Hanni$al nu((led 6!en. <What. <There !as a ri er* and a %an as)ing 7 #or a coin. The centurion !as !atching !ith %ore interest than concern* as i# he !ere e1a%ining one o# his stu"id gutted teddy $ears. 6!en tried to sit u"* $ut couldn.s ha""ened-. He !anted to strangle 3cta ian !ith his $are hands* $ut at that %o%ent* 6!en gas"ed. 5or a %o%ent* there !as no sound e1ce"t !ater #ro% the ruined cannons tric)ling do!n the !alls o# the #ort.t ha e a "ilu%. She didn.t. So I +ust 7 I +ust le#t.I turned around and the e1it door !as o"en.s ears. . &lood roared in 5ran).t understand. 6!en had $een s"eared #ro% $ehind . E eryone ste""ed $ac).s e eryone staring at-. He didn. <Don. She $lin)ed. 5ran) scanned the cro!d #or 3cta ian. <There !ill $e an in estigation. What.t sure !hat she %eant.s no !ay. &ehind 5ran)* a %edic !his"ered* <There.What . She has to $e dead. 5ran) !asn. <Why. 6!en did !hat he as)ed. Reyna sur eyed the ca%"ers #ro% her "egasus. Then he noticed the %ar)s engra ed in the !ooden sha#t o# the "ilu%8 0HT I LE6I3 NII 5.s hair !ith his trun). 5ran) )nelt ne1t to her. <Wh-!hat is it-. No$ody tried to hel". The colour ca%e $ac) to her #ace.t try to get u". Whoe er did this* you cost the legion a good o##icer. 6!en o"ened her eyes. "ossi$ly a#ter the ga%e had ended. The !ea"on $elonged to the 5irst 0ohort* and the "oint !as stic)ing out the #ront o# her ar%our.. /ust close your eyes #or a second* o)ay-..

. ho!-.. <>ou %ight .s eyelashes. The $lood sto""ed 4uic)ly. <6!en*. <What. Ha(el said gently* <there. <I 7 !hat-. Percy said. he said. In the %idst o# the legion* a colu%n o# #ire $lasted into the air. She stu%$led against 5ran). <What-. He glanced at Ha(el as i# !arning her to stay 4uiet. <Percy* Ha(el . The !ood !as slic). Ha(el sna""ed. Her hand "ressed against the ragged hole in her ar%our.t ha e ti%e to thin) a$out it. Ha(el $ent do!n to e1a%ine the !ound. 0a%"ers !ho had $een soa)ed $y the cannons #ound their clothes instantly . With 5ran) and Percy. 3ne o# the %edics reali(ed !hat he !as "lanning. <Ho! . 0a%"ers dre! !ea"ons.s no easy !ay to say this. 6!en "rotested. <It.. 5ran) glo!ered at 3cta ian* $ut the centurion.. Sci"io reared* al%ost thro!ing Reyna. Reyna turned to Nico* !ho !as !atching gri%ly #ro% the edge o# the cro!d. <Don. <I #eel #ine*. 5ran) !ondered !hat that !as a$out* $ut he didn. Hanni$al tru%"eted ner ously.s e eryone !orried a$out-.. A thunderous oice rolled across the #ield8 DEATH L3SES ITS H3LD. <I )no! that oice*.t sound "leased. Later* 5ran) thought.5ran) gra$$ed the sha#t o# the "ilu% $elo! its ti"* $ut his hands !ere sha)ing. <Hold her steady. So%eho! you ca%e $ac). <'a)e it !orse-.s closing on its o!n*. <I don. <Pluto ne er lets "eo"le return #ro% the dead. Heat seared 5ran). THIS IS 3NL> THE &E6INNIN6. <Is this so%e "o!er o# Pluto-.t )no! ho!* $ut . 6!en didn.s hel"* she got to her #eet. hel" %e.. >ou !ere dead.t e en !ince. Deal !ith hi% later.s #ace !as a %as) o# "olite concern. He didn. 3ne* t!o* three=. He "ulled the "ilu% out #ro% the #ront. <6ood 4uestion. Nico shoo) his head.t=. 5ran) too) a dee" $reath. she said.

E eryone scra%$led $ac)!ards as a huge soldier ste""ed out o# the e1"losion. <I #ight a lot o# "eo"le. The god scratched his chin* as i# trying to recall. Percy /ac)son* his s!ord still in hand* !as glaring at the giant soldier. He reali(ed the soldier !as silently !illing hi% to a""roach. e got s"un)* de%igod*. "atron o# the e%"ire* di ine #ather o# Ro%ulus and Re%us.t )no! !hat.s. e %et*. you. As e eryone else ste""ed $ac)* 5ran) ste""ed #or!ard. <That. the soldier said. It. His #ace !as angular and $rutal* %ar)ed !ith old )ni#e scars.t. <>ou. e ne er #ought %e as 'ars. He radiated con#idence and "o!er. <Kneeling is good. He !ore a utility $elt !ith a sidear%* a )ni#e holster and se eral grenades. he said. <What do you !ant-.t ha e %uch hair* $ut !hat he did ha e stood straight u". e isited 0a%" /u"iter. No!* )neel* as $e#its a . The !orst thing !as that 5ran) #elt dra!n to hi%. <We. 5ran) noticed that one "erson !asn. He !as a#raid the !ar god !ould $last his ne! #riend !ith that e1tra-large 'JQ. Percy said. <We 7 !e had a #ight 7. A collecti e gas" !ent u" #ro% t!o hundred ca%"ers and an ele"hant.s $een a long ti%e since I. &ut to these #ollo!ers* to the children o# Ro%e* I a% 'ars . &ut I assure you . <Ares is %y 6ree) #or%.. He too) three %ore ste"s.d $e dead. 5ran) didn.s good*.. <>ou. The soldier !as ten #eet tall* dressed in 0anadian 5orces desert ca%ou#lage. E en Reyna dis%ounted. His $lac) hair !as cut in a #lat-to""ed !edge li)e 5ran). 5ran) !anted to say so%ething to e1cuse Percy and "lacate the god* $ut he didn. I# you had* you. In his hands !as an o ersi(ed 'JQ ri#le. 5ran) des"erately !anted to run a!ay and hide* $ut he couldn. Then he san) to one )nee.t )neeling. His eyes !ere co ered !ith in#rared goggles that glo!ed #ro% inside. Percy said. The other ca%"ers #ollo!ed his e1a%"le and )nelt. Instead* the god $ared his $rilliant !hite teeth.stea%-dried.re Ares*.

/u"iter doesn. The %onsters you #ight no longer return to Tartarus !hen they are slain. <Lord 'ars*.child o# Ro%e* $e#ore you try %y "atience..t li)e it* $ut he )nelt. Reyna rose uneasily. <This one should $e dead* yet she.. <3h* you can get u" no!.t li)e us co%%unicating directly !ith %ortals* es"ecially no!adays* $ut he has allo!ed this e1ce"tion* as you Ro%ans ha e al!ays $een %y s"ecial "eo"le.s i%agination* or did the god glare at Nico di Angelo<Thanatos has $een chained*.. I. 'ars loo)ed around* and noticed that e eryone !as still silently )neeling. e al!ays !anted to say that. Reyna said* <!e are honoured. Any 4uestions-... <Percy*. <Ro%ans* lend %e your ears=. 2nless Death is unleashed to return to his duties* you !ill $e o errun.s not. <The Doors o# Death ha e $een #orced o"en* and no one is "olicing the% . <So #ar $eyond honoured . >ou %ust #ind Thanatos and #ree hi% #ro% the giants. said 3cta ian.s #eet* the ground $oiled in a circle o# #la%e. 'ars scanned the cro!d. ar%ies that you !ill not $e a$le to )ill.% only "er%itted to s"ea) #or a #e! %inutes* so listen u". Percy clearly didn. She a""roached the god* #ollo!ed $y 3cta ian* !ho !as $o!ing and scra"ing li)e a cha%"ion gro eller. 3nly he can re erse the tide. 'ars sna""ed. at least* not i%"artially. <I. Was it 5ran). a good* hearty $ello!* so in#ectious it al%ost %ade 5ran) s%ile* though he !as still shi ering !ith #ear. 6aia allo!s our ene%ies to "our #orth into the !orld o# %ortals. Around 'ars. He "ointed at 6!en. 5ran) said* <"lease. 'ars announced. Her sons the giants are %ustering ar%ies against you . So%e %ortals !ho died long ago are no! !al)ing the earth again. <&eyond honoured*.. I co%e #ro% 3ly%"us !ith a %essage. .. <Well-. He laughed .

>ou !ill disco er this. <I order a 4uest=. Again* 5ran) !aited #or the god to stri)e hi% do!n* $ut 'ars +ust grinned li)e they !ere t!o old $uddies tal)ing trash.Perha"s I ha e #ought you $e#ore. li)e your #riend 0enturion Shish Ke$a$. Percy s"o)e u". <Right*.t you !ant endless carnage-.<Well*.re the god o# !ar*. 'ars. <>ou. <Right. Percy said. 0an you i%agine a !orld in !hich no one dies . 'ars $ello!ed. e er-.t you. 3cta ian raised his hand. <Don. >ou !ill ser e %e. I "rotect the legions. Reyna said* <Thanatos is the god o# death* the lieutenant o# Pluto-.s in#rared goggles glo!ed $righter.t $e #oolish* $oy=. Those !ho )no! ho! to ta)e ad antage o# this !ill e1"loit it.t !ant !ar !ithout end. 'ars continued* <e en %ortals !ill e entually #ind it i%"ossi$le to die.s $een ca"tured $y giants. <Insolent* aren.. <&ut the $arriers $et!een li#e and death !ill continue to !ea)en. So%e de%igods !ill also $e a$le to #ind their !ay $ac) #ro% the 2nder!orld .. 'onsters are already harder to dis"atch. I don. 6!en !inced. Soon they !ill $e co%"letely i%"ossi$le to )ill. <0enturion Shish Ke$a$-. I. <Don.t die* isn...I# !e can stay ali e inde#initely . the god said.0arnage !ithout any "oint. <Endless slaughter !ith no conclusion.Is that !hat you !ant-. the god announced. <I# le#t unchec)ed*. <And there#ore "eo"le !ill sto" dying-. <Not all at once*.. 'ars said.Ene%ies that rise again and again and can ne er $e )illed.re saying that he. I a% ha""y to crush %y ene%ies under#oot* $ut I don. I can understand !hy I. <And you.d !ant to )ill you. I a% the god o# %ilitary %ight used #or a righteous cause.% the god o# Ro%e* child.t that a good thing. <&ut* ah* %ighty all-"o!er#ul Lord 'ars* i# !e can. >ou !ill . <>ou !ill go north and #ind Thanatos in the land $eyond the gods.t #ight !ithout reason. <Not li)ely*.

A 4uest re4uires a "ro"hecy* a %ystical "oe% to guide us= We used to get the% #ro% the Si$ylline $oo)s* $ut no! it. <T!o hundred Ro%ans* and no one. <>-yes* %y lord. <That. Then the grenade %or"hed into a $all"oint "en* and 'ars $egan to !rite.#ree hi% and th!art the "lans o# the giants. He %outhed8 0an your s!ord do grenade #or%Percy %outhed $ac)* No. <There=. <Is that not clear-. So %y ad ice is8 don. >ou can add it to your $oo)s* engra e it on your #loor* !hate er. There !ere %any screa%ing Ro%ans. <This says* E6o to Alas)a. <>es*.Ne er %ind=. 0o%e $ac) $y sundo!n on /une t!enty-#ourth or die. the god interru"ted. Ro%e !ill $e o errun* its legacy lost #ore er. Ne1t to 5ran)* Ha(el %ade a s4uea)ing sound. &e!are 6aia= &e!are her son* the eldest giant=..re the augur-. 'ars sighed. 'ars said. <The land $eyond the gods-. I# you don. 3cta ian read the scroll. 'ars stared do!n at her* his gri" tightening on his 'JQ. 'ars #inished !riting and thre! the scroll at 3cta ian. <A "ro"hecy. Shut u".s got a "en. 'ars "ulled a scroll #ro% his utility $elt.. So i# I could +ust run and get a$out se enty stu##ed ani%als and "ossi$ly a )ni#e . 5ran) loo)ed at Percy !ith !ide eyes.. 5ind Thanatos and #ree hi%.t #ail. <Anyone got a "en-. E eryone here re%e%$ers the land !here the legion lost its honour= Perha"s i# the 4uest succeeds* and you return $y the 5east o# 5ortuna 7 "erha"s then your honour !ill $e restored. He slung his 'JQ onto his $ac) and "ulled out a hand grenade. <2%* Lord 'ars* +ust one tiny thing.. .s right* Ha(el Le es4ue.F.t $e any ca%" le#t to return to.s u" to the augur to glean the !ill o# gods.t succeed* there !on. The legionnaires stared at hi%. 3cta ian so%eho! %anaged to $o! e en lo!er. >ou )no! !hat I %ean. <>ou.

6ood !o%an. 'ars casually "o""ed another grenade o## his $elt.s tooth*. 5irst o er the !all* !on the ga%e #or his tea%. 'ars continued. <A 4uest=. <The "ro"hecy is clear=. He turned to 5ran). 3cta ian announced. <Nice +o$ ta)ing the !all* )id. 'ars said. <>ou ha en. 'ars de%anded.<Well* %y lord 7 usually "ro"hecies are unclear. <'y )id* here=. A sense o# dread settled o er hi%* !orse than the day the %ilitary o##icer had co%e to the door.s talents yet* ha e you.%ere* )id. 'ars de%anded. <>ou see that "lay* re#-. <The ti" is a dragon. 2nless you. Who. His legs turned !o$$ly. Reyna raised her hand. . Ha""y late $irthday* )id.t learned to use your %o%. 'ars ta""ed the grenade to his chin. This )id 5ran) "ro ed his stu## tonight. They. <0.re not $lind* are you-. They rhy%e* and 7.t sto" it. <No* Lord 'ars. He tossed 5ran) his 'JQ. 5or a s"lit second 5ran) thought he. <No!* !hat else.There !as so%ething else 7 3h* yes.s the re# #or this ga%e-. <Then %a)e sure he gets the 'ural 0ro!n*.s !ea"on.re !ra""ed in riddles.re $lind* that !as an ':P "lay. Reyna loo)ed li)e she !as trying to s!allo! a %ouse.. 5ran) !anted to %elt into the dirt...Well . >ou. The $urnt stic) in his coat "oc)et #elt hea ier. He ste""ed #or!ard against his !ill. He )ne! !hat !as co%ing* $ut he couldn. he yelled at the legion* in case anyone hadn.t heard. that s"ear !ill gi e you so%e $reathing roo% until you do. <That !as %y )id. When 5ran) caught it* the !ea"on !as a s"ear.. No* 5ran) thought. <E%ily Phang. 'ars grinned. <She !as a good soldier. <>es-. <6ood ans!er. Ti%e you ste""ed u" to a real %an. It had a sha#t o# I%"erial gold and a strange "oint li)e a !hite $one* #lic)ering !ith ghostly light.d $e crushed under the !eight o# the %assi e assault ri#le* $ut the gun changed in %idair* $eco%ing s%aller and thinner..s son*.

Her e1"ression !as "art a%a(e%ent* "art nausea* li)e she. The god o# !ar !as sending hi% to Alas)a. He "ointed at Percy.s i%age #lic)ered..d $een handed a death sentence. 'ars said. The god eru"ted in #la%es* and then he !as gone. <A e* 5ran) Phang* son o# 'ars.d #inally %anaged to s!allo! that %ouse. 'ars said. Lightning crac)led across the s)y. 5ran) didn. <>ou can ta)e t!o co%"anions*. <2ntil ne1t ti%e* Ro%ans. 3# course* no one said a !ord. As #or the second* I don.t care. >ou all are good at those.>ou get three charges out o# it* so use it !isely.. 'ars !as his #ather.. The !hole legion #ollo!ed her lead* $ut 5ran) didn. 3ne o# the% needs to $e this )id. The god. Pic) !ho%e er you !ant.t understand* $ut 'ars acted li)e the %atter !as closed. 5ran) had $een handed %ore than a s"ear #or his $irthday. <That.s %y cue*. <Those are the rules. His "er#ect night had $een ruined. <No!* %y )id 5ran) Phang is gonna lead the 4uest to #ree Thanatos* unless there are any o$+ections-. . <He. Ha e one o# your senate de$ates.t !ant their attention any %ore. She raised her ar% in a Ro%an salute. Do not disa""oint %e=. He. &ut %any o# the ca%"ers glared at 5ran) !ith en y* +ealousy* anger* $itterness. Reyna turned to!ards 5ran)..s gonna learn so%e res"ect #or 'ars on this tri"* or die trying.

.

NIII .

she called. Percy called* $ut the #aun disa""eared in the #og. #or %onths he has $een slu%$ering* $ut no! he is a!a)e. <I don. He sa! the !ar god stal)ing to!ards hi% in the sur#* a s!ord in his hands. The goddess had intentionally )e"t hi% hidden* $ut !hy<Are you real-. He sa! a huge shi" in a dry doc)* !or)ers scra%$ling to #inish the hull* a guy !ith a $lo!torch !elding a $ron(e dragon #igurehead to the "ro!. Tyson is close .Percy PER0> SLEPT LIKE A 'ED2SA :I0TI' .t see you= Are you all right-. She cried* <Stay "ut= It.ll $e easier #or Tyson to #ind you= Stay !here you are=. He had drea%s* o# course.s the closest. !hich is to say* li)e a roc).re trying to get a loc) on your "osition. He sa! a curly-haired #aun in ragged clothes running to catch u" !ith hi%.t crashed in a sa#e* co%#orta$le $ed since 7 !ell* he couldn. &ut her #ace $egan to dissol e. Percy re%e%$ered !hat /uno had said .t e en re%e%$er.re on our !ay to #ind you. <Than) the gods=. Then she !as gone. <No* Percy. We. Percy called. Des"ite his insane day and the %illion thoughts running through his head* his $ody too) o er and said8 >ou !ill slee" no!. It. at least !e thin) he. the #aun said.. Then Anna$eth !as running along $eside hi%* reaching out her hand. The i%ages accelerated. . He hadn.t ha e any s"are change*. he as)ed Anna$eth.s %e* 6ro er= Stay "ut= We. <5or %onths and %onths !e couldn. <What-. He !anted so %uch to $elie e it that he #elt li)e Hanni$al the ele"hant !as standing on his chest. <What-. He al!ays had drea%s* $ut they "assed li)e $lurred i%ages #ro% the !indo! o# a train.

E en the #riendlier "arts o# his drea% !ere distur$ing. <This !ill $e #un* son o# Ne"tune. They died a lot. In the $ac) o# the roo% sat an enor%ous shado!y #igure. /uno can "lay her little ga%es !ith 6ree)s and Ro%ans* $ut in the end* you !ill $e %y "a!n. 0o%e north.. >ou !ill $e %y "a!n.t "lay chess* $ut he !as "retty sure that $eing a "a!n !as $ad. He stood in a theatre-si(ed ersion o# the ca%". Percy !o)e* shi ering. 5or a %o%ent he didn. !hat had he called it. 6olden grass ri""led* and a #ace a""eared in the landsca"e .s %ind8 So this is the de%igod !ho destroyed %y son Kronos. a "rinci"ia !ith !alls o# ice and #ree(ing %ist hanging in the air. It.s dogs. Wonder#ul. Her eyes re%ained closed* $ut her oice s"o)e in Percy. >ou !ill $e the )ey to the gods.t loo) li)e %uch* Percy /ac)son* $ut you. A golden giant !as !aiting to $rea) hi%. 'ay$e that. an e%"athy lin).s #ace in the hills. 'eet Alcyoneus.re alua$le to %e. So%e$ody na%ed Tyson !as searching #or hi%* too* and Anna$eth had !arned Percy to stay !here he !as. de#eat. A #aun na%ed 6ro er !as loo)ing #or hi%. He lay in his $un)* staring at the ceiling and trying to control his racing heart$eat. &ut !hat unner ed hi% %ore !as that slee"ing !o%an.The scene shi#ted. I a!ait you ato" the ice.s ision turned dar). Then he re%e%$ered8 0a%" /u"iter* the 5i#th 0ohort $arrac)s.. His s)in glinted !ith gold and sil er* as i# he !ere an auto%aton li)e Reyna.s !hy Don had detected a . Percy stood on the 5ield o# 'ars* loo)ing u" at the &er)eley Hills.s head4uarters . The giant. . Percy didn. Percy. a slee"ing !o%an* her #eatures #or%ed #ro% shado!s and #olds in the terrain. >ou don. The #loor !as littered !ith s)eletons in Ro%an ar%our and I%"erial gold !ea"ons encrusted !ith #rost.s oice $oo%ed in the ast cha%$er.t )no! !here he !as. &ehind hi% stood a collection o# ruined e%$le%s* tattered $anners and a large golden eagle on a sta## o# iron.s $een aeons since I $ro)e a de%igod o# your cali$re.

Da)ota. Percy as)ed ho"e#ully.re !illing 7. He !as scared.d $etter get ready 7. .re in ited to the %eeting-. Percy said* <should I !ear %y $edsheets-.d acce"ted Percy li)e #a%ily. a toga. 5ran) snorted. <I* u% 7 I. <That. 6etting clai%ed $y the !ar god in #ront o# the !hole ca%" . <&ecause 7 you )no!* the 4uest. 5ran). e got the senate %eeting. Hel" !as on the !ay. He staggered around li)e a Kool-Aid-stained ghost. <So ho! co%e !e. >ou. His roo%%ates !ere rushing around* getting dressed and $rushing their teeth.t li)e the idea o# this 4uest* es"ecially since it ca%e #ro% 'ars* and es"ecially a#ter his drea%s.s +ust #or the senators.... >ou* %e* Ha(el. !hat a night%are. Plus* ho! could Percy say no to that $ig "outy $a$y #ace. He had $ags under his eyes li)e he hadn. <&rea)#ast ti%e-. <We ha e to $e in on the discussion. There. He had sy%"athy #or 5ran).s head !as stuc) in his toga. <2%*.5ran) had $een gi en a huge tas) that !ould %ost li)ely get hi% )illed. And the three o# the% had %ade a good tea% last night. 3ne o# the Lares !as gi ing hi% "ointers on !here to tuc) and #old.t sle"t !ell. At $rea)#ast* Percy !as conscious o# e eryone loo)ing at hi%. Then !e. The !hole ti%e* he thought a$out Anna$eth.re ten o# the%* elected yearly. All he had to do !as stay "ut.s hel". 5ran) "ro$a$ly didn. He could ha e his old li#e $ac). 5ran) sounded !orried* li)e he !as a#raid Percy !ould $ac) out.He sat u" in his $un).s head "o""ed u" #ro% the $un) $elo!. Da)ota !as !ra""ing hi%sel# in a long "iece o# red-s"ec)led cloth . I %ean* i# you. e got to $e at ca%" #i e years to 4uali#y. <A 4uic) $rea)#ast.t %ean to guilt hi%* $ut Percy. Still* he didn. He needed Percy.s heart #elt "ulled li)e ta##y. He cli%$ed out o# $ed and got dressed. Ha(el and 5ran) !ere solid* de"enda$le "eo"le. They !ere !his"ering a$out the "re ious night8 <T!o gods in one day 7. They.

I $et the Ancient Ro%ans hated togas as %uch as !e do. hi)ing u" their he%s* trying to )ee" the cloth #ro% sli""ing o## their shoulders. Percy noticed Nico di Angelo in the grou"* !earing a $lac) toga and tal)ing !ith 6!en* !ho loo)ed a little "ale $ut sur"risingly good considering she. Ha(el #idgeted !ith a stone that loo)ed li)e a t!o-carat ru$y.. Ha(el said. <Than)s* :itellius*. 5ran) interru"ted. <Why. Percy. He #illed u" on "anca)es* eggs* $acon* !a##les* a""les and se eral glasses o# orange +uice.s %etal greyhounds dashing $ac) and #orth along the road. Reyna and 3cta ian led the "rocession o# senators out o# ca%"* !ith Reyna. The ghost :itellius a""eared ne1t to the% in a "ur"le shi%%er.. . Da)ota stu%$led along in his red-s"ec)led ro$e. Why* the a%ount o# $lood on his toga . he !ondered. <No !ea"ons allo!ed inside the Po%erian Line*..s hand !ent to his "oc)et* !here his "en al!ays stayed. &y the !ay* you didn. she said. I re%e%$er the one !hen 0aesar !as assassinated. <We should get going. He !as too hungry to care. <Here !e go. Percy !as glad he !as !earing a regular "ur"le T-shirt and +eans.d $een dead the night $e#ore. He "ro$a$ly !ould ha e eaten %ore* $ut Reyna announced that the senate !ould no! con ene in the city* and all the #ol)s in togas got u" to lea e. Nico !a ed at Percy* then !ent $ac) to his con ersation* lea ing Percy %ore sure than e er that Ha(el.t $ring any !ea"ons* did you-. <Ho! could Ro%ans %o e* in those things-. <Water cannon u" %y nose 7. <&ona #ortuna* you three= Ah* senate %eetings. <They !ere +ust #or #or%al occasions*.<2n-Ro%an #ighting 7. A lot o# other senators see%ed to $e ha ing trou$le !ith their togas* too .Are !e not su""osed to-.s $rother !as trying to a oid hi%. Ha(el* 5ran) and Percy trailed $ehind. <Li)e tu1edos.

'ay$e he loo)ed %ad $ecause he. Han)* senator* Third 0ohort . <The city li%its.. As they got closer to the city* Percy could a""reciate ho! $eauti#ul it !as. <Po%erian*. That. Percy ho"ed he !as )idding. Inside is a sacred Esa#e (oneF. The tiled roo#s and gold do%es glea%ed in the sun. the statue said. oh* nice shoes* Han)= Ah* !ho ha e !e here-.t noticed $e#ore* $ut a line o# identical statues ringed the city at inter als o# a$out a hundred yards. In the distance rose the coliseu% and the horse-racing arena. Percy didn..t !orry. <Ha e your IDs ready. Percy loo)ed to his le#t and right. <Don. a li#e-si(e %uscular %an !ith curly hair* no ar%s and an irritated e1"ression.t get $loody. Reyna* "raetor* o# course.s so senate %eetings don. Legions can. The central "la(a !as "a ed in !hite and grey stone* decorated !ith statues* #ountains and gilded colu%ns..t %arch through. Nothing li)e that has ha""ened in %onths.<The !hat line-. Percy as)ed. 6ardens $loo%ed !ith honeysuc)le and roses. . <Ter%inus*. 3n the side o# the road stood a !hite %ar$le statue . ery !ell. In the surrounding neigh$ourhoods* co$$lestone streets !ere lined !ith #reshly "ainted to!n houses* sho"s* ca#Ss and "ar)s.d $een car ed only #ro% the !aist u". &elo! that* he !as +ust a $ig $loc) o# %ar$le. He hadn. The senators "assed through easily.t notice they. The statue chec)ed the tattoos on their #orear%s and called each senator $y na%e. <Single #ile* "lease=.d reached the city li%its until the senators in #ront o# hi% started slo!ing do!n.. Ha(el* 5ran) and Percy !ere the last ones. Ha(el said* <this is Percy /ac)son. 5ran) nodded. Percy* this is Ter%inus* the god o# $oundaries. <6!endolyn* senator* 5i#th 0ohort* yes. Nico di Angelo* a%$assador o# Pluto . 5ran) said. No !ea"ons allo!ed. <Li)e /ulius 0aesar getting assassinated-.

. /ulia scra%$led out and $rushed o## her dress.s a trained "ro#essional. do you see !here I. <The thing is*. She.t )no! ho! Ter%inus could tell* $ut he too) out his "en. said the statue. <Not to !orry*.. Percy glanced at Ha(el and 5ran)* !ho didn. Won. </ulia !ill ta)e good care o# it. <5ront and centre.. 5ine. Ah* !ea"on in your "oc)et. Percy didn. &ring the tray. She had "igtails* a "in) dress and an i%"ish grin !ith t!o %issing teeth.re ne!*./ulia=. <>es* "ro$atio ta$let. Ter%inus said. Reluctantly* Percy "ut his "en on the tray.s %y assistant. <We. <Lea e it in the tray. >ield to chariot tra##ic !hile !al)ing on "u$lic roads. <3h* there you are*. Ter%inus loo)ed the other !ay and caught sight o# /ulia $e#ore she could hide. The little girl s4uealed !ith delight. She "ic)ed u" a tray and "resented it to Percy.. Still* he !asn. <>ou are entering the $oundaries o# the city "ro"er. 3n it !ere se eral "aring )ni es* a cor)scre!* an o ersi(ed container o# sun lotion and a !ater $ottle.% "ointing-.d $een "ractising. When you get to the Senate House* sit on the le#t-hand side..<Ne!* eh-.ll %a)e sure it doesn. The little girl nodded. <No!* a #e! rules* since you. Wait* !here. A little girl a$out si1 years old "ee)ed out #ro% $ehind the $ase o# the statue. Ter%inus glanced $ehind hi%* and /ulia scurried in the other direction. <Pro-#ess-ion-al.t see% to #ind anything odd a$out this. Ter%inus said.t !ild a$out handing o er a deadly !ea"on to a )id. Kee" the "eace inside the line. he said* <the "en returns to %y "oc)et auto%atically* so e en i# I gi e it u" . And* do!n there .Ta)e it out= Ta)e it out=. She said each sylla$le care#ully* li)e she. <Guite dangerous*. said the god. Ter%inus assured hi%.. <>es* 'r Ter%inus. <Where did that girl go-.t !e* /ulia-. <>ou can "ic) u" your !ea"on on the !ay out*. Ter%inus said.t !ander o##. </ulia-.

That roc) is entirely too close to that tree. No* Ha(el* loo) !here I.% "ointing. Ter%inus continued* <that. His %ar$le #ace turned a dar) shade o# grey. 0o%e on. /ulia duti#ully set do!n the security tray and "ointed to!ards the %ain "la(a. We.d $etter catch u" to the senators. <Kind o# our last line o# de#ence i# the city. 0ollege-age )ids !ere hanging out at the #ountain.. 5ran) said. </ust don. <No*.. Ha(el grinned.s attac)ed. Ha(el did !hat she !as told* and they continued do!n the "ath* Ter%inus still shouting orders at the% !hile /ulia did cart!heels across the grass.t so $ad*. <Today he !as laid $ac).s a cutie. <A s%art alec* eh. We need to get going.s the general store.. They sell ta"e %easures.ll #orce you to %easure e ery $lade o# grass in the alley. <He inha$its e ery $oundary stone around the city*./ulia-. the god said testily. <Is he al!ays li)e that-. As they a""roached the #oru%* Percy !as struc) $y the sheer nu%$er o# "eo"le. <Ter%inus isn. Percy said* <you don. /ulia* "oint #or %e* "lease . <And the )id. <The sho" !ith the $lue a!ning*.Well* 'r Rule 5louter* right do!n there in the #oru% . <>eah* she. Ha(el added.t %a)e hi% angry* or he. Se eral o# the% !a ed at the senators as they "assed. Her "arents li e in the city. Percy as)ed. <5ine* #ine* you %ay "ass*....s %ore o$sessi eOco%"ulsi e. <&ut stay on the right side o# the road= And that roc) right there .t ha e any hands. And tuc) your shirt in. Ha(el said* <Than) you* Ter%inus. 3ne guy in his late t!enties stood at a $a)ery counter* #lirting !ith a young !o%an !ho !as $uying co##ee.<2%*.. Percy #iled that in#or%ation. 'o e it t!o inches to the le#t.. Ha(el ad%itted. An older cou"le !as !atching a little $oy in dia"ers and a %iniature 0a%" /u"iter shirt toddle a#ter .. &uy one= I !ant those +eans e1actly one inch a$o e the an)les and that hair regulation cut. 2sually he. A""arently this !as a sore "oint #or Ter%inus.

Percy "aused at the door!ay* trying not to thin) a$out /ulius 0aesar getting slashed to death at a senate %eeting. He i%agined holding hands !ith Anna$eth at a ca#S. <3r descended #ro% de%igods*. . He $elonged so%e!here else* !ith his other #riends. Then he too) a dee" $reath and #ollo!ed Ha(el and 5ran) inside. Percy as)ed. The senators %ade their !ay to a $ig !hite-do%ed $uilding on the !est end o# the #oru%.re +ust citi(ens li ing their li es. 'ay$e !hen they !ere older* !atching their o!n )id chase seagulls across the #oru% 7 He shoo) the idea out o# his head.s a good "lace to go to college or raise a #a%ily !ithout !orrying a$out %onster attac)s e ery day.s #ace . I# /uno !as right* an attac) !as co%ing in less than #i e days. 'ost o# his %e%ories !ere gone* $ut he )ne! this "lace !asn. He didn. #or%ing in the hills a$o e ca%". 'ay$e t!o* three hundred "eo"le li e here. Percy i%agined that slee"ing !o%an. He i%agined hordes o# %onsters descending into this alley.t $e any ca%" le#t to return to. Percy i%agined !hat that !ould $e li)e8 getting an a"art%ent in this tiny re"lica o# Ro%e* "rotected $y the legion and Ter%inus the 30D $order god.t !ant to "icture !hat %ight ha""en to the% i# this "lace !as destroyed. <All these "eo"le are de%igods-. <Li)e I told you* it.. &esides* 0a%" /u"iter !as in danger.The eterans act as* li)e* ad isers and reser e #orces as needed* $ut %ostly they. I# you don.t his ho%e.seagulls.t succeed* 'ars had !arned* there !on. the #ace o# 6aia . He couldn. Ha(el said. He thought a$out the little girl /ulia* the #a%ilies !ith )ids* his ne! #riends in the 5i#th 0ohort* e en those silly #auns.t a##ord to indulge in that )ind o# thin)ing. Ro%e !ill $e o errun* its legacy lost #ore er. 'erchants !ere o"ening their sho"s #or the day* "utting out signs in Latin that ad ertised "ottery* +e!ellery and hal#-"rice tic)ets #or the Hi""odro%e.

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<5irst o# all*.t e en a #ull %e%$er o# the legion= He. The chairs !ere e%"ty* $ut one had a s%all el et "ac)age on the seat. 3cta ian stood in #ront !ith a )ni#e and a &eanie &a$y lion* +ust in case anyone needed to consult the god o# cutesy collecti$les... Nor are !e here to de$ate the choice o# 5ran) Phang.Percy THE SENATE H32SE INTERI3R loo)ed li)e a high school lecture hall. Percy* Ha(el and 5ran) sat on the le#t side o# the se%icircle. Reyna !al)ed to the "odiu% and raised her hand #or attention. she said. A se%icircle o# tiered seats #aced a dais !ith a "odiu% and t!o chairs.t stand on #or%alities. A ghost #ro% the second ro! yelled* <A$surdus= 5ran) Phang isn. <Enough* Da)ota*.s on "ro$atio. <I lo e #or%alities=. <We !on.. said the $oy ne1t to hi%. The 4uest has $een issued $y 'ars 2ltor* "atron o# Ro%e. she said* <!e. He has chosen Percy /ac)son and Ha(el Le es4ue.. Da)ota got u" so #ast he s"illed Kool-Aid #ro% his #las).s lea e Larry. <We )no! the 5i#th !ill %ess u".s not #air. Reyna shot hi% a cross loo). <Right* this is an e%ergency %eeting*.s co%"anions. <All three #ro% the 5i#th 0ohort-. The u""er ro!s !ere #illed !ith se eral do(en ghosts and a #e! older eterans #ro% the city* all in #or%al togas.. <And not s%art*. <We !ere "lenty good last night !hen !e !hi""ed your "ode1* Larry=.re not here to ote on the 4uest itsel#. <That. <Let. As 4uest leader* 5ran) has the right to choose his co%"anions. Reyna said. called out Han) #ro% the Third. They should ta)e so%e$ody good. a ghost co%"lained. A 4uest %ust $e led $y so%eone o# centurion . The ten senators and Nico di Angelo occu"ied the rest o# the #ront ro!.s "ode1 out o# this. We !ill o$ey his !ishes.

<Silence=. <3ur "raetor recogni(es that no one $elo! the ran) o# centurion %ay lead a 4uest.ran) or higher. Reyna %ust ha e recogni(ed this* too. That %eans certain 7 ad+ust%ents. I# only 3cta ian had $een the one in charge* things !ould ha e $een done %ore sensi$ly.s still a "ro$ie=. said another. <Water cannon u" %y nose=.. 3cta ian said* #orcing out the last !ord* <to $esto! u"on you the 'ural 0ro!n #or $eing #irst o er the !alls in siege !ar#are.. 5ran) glanced ner ously at Percy. 5or the #irst ti%e* Percy reali(ed this scra!ny* #unny-loo)ing scarecro! o# a )id %ight $e a dangerous ene%y. <It is %y 7 "leasure*. <He.. 5or good or ill* 5ran) %ust lead this 4uest . He sounded reasona$le and su""orti e* $ut his e1"ression !as "ained.. This !as her idea* he see%ed to say. He handed 5ran) another $adge* a $ron(e crescent* and the senate e1"loded in "rotest. <I%"ossi$le=. &ut* alas* he had no choice $ut to su""ort Reyna* $ecause 3cta ian !as a loyal Ro%an soldier. so our "raetor has decreed that 5ran) Phang %ust $e %ade centurion. 3cta ian. <We %ust o$ey the !ishes o# 'ars 2ltor. <0ato*. This is co%"letely . 3cta ian %anaged to con ey all that !ithout saying it* si%ultaneously cal%ing the senate and sy%"athi(ing !ith the%. Suddenly Percy understood !hat an e##ecti e s"ea)er 3cta ian !as. A loo) o# . He set do!n his )ni#e and &eanie &a$y and too) the el et "ac)age #ro% the chair. Reyna sna""ed. one yelled. yelled a third. I# it !ent !rong* Reyna !as to $la%e... 3cta ian handed hi% a $ron(e $adge sha"ed li)e a laurel !reath. <5ran) Phang*. Reyna cla""ed her hands* and 3cta ian ca%e #or!ard.s oice sounded a lot %ore co%%anding than it had the "re ious night on the $attle#ield. He care#ully cra#ted his !ords to "ut all the res"onsi$ility on Reyna. Then he got to his #eet and a""roached the augur. <Also* $y order o# Praetor Reyna* to "ro%ote you to the ran) o# centurion. he said* <co%e #or!ard.

5ran) held u" his #orear%. <There is an o"ening #or centurion*. 5ran) %uttered so%ething li)e* <2d-dud. I ad%it it.. Reyna continued* <I ha e the right to re"lace o##icers. <We acce"t 5ran) Phang* Son o# 'ars* to the T!el#th Legion 5ul%inata #or his #irst year o# ser ice. <As "raetor*.s ar%. <No!*. Then the s%o)e and #la%e died* and ne! %ar)s !ere seared onto 5ran). Do you "ledge your li#e to the senate and "eo"le o# Ro%e-.t $la%e her. <>ou %ay sit do!n. The senators shouted* <Senatus Po"ulus4ue Ro%anus=.. She loo)ed tired #ro% the "re ious night. A#ter ten years in the legion* she !ill retire to the city and attend college.. 5or a %o%ent his eyes #illed !ith terror* and Percy !as a#raid his #riend %ight "ass out. 3cta ian raised his hands to the hea ens. 5ran) Phang* your ID* "lease. 0o%"ared to getting s)e!ered !ith a "ilu%* college sounded "retty good.. . Percy couldn.s ordeal* $ut also relie ed.irritation #lashed across her #ace. Then he cleared his throat and %anaged8 <I do. 5ire $la(ed on 5ran). <>our ar%*. 5ran) re%o ed the lead ta$let #ro% round his nec) and handed it to 3cta ian. 6!en o# the 5i#th 0ohort* !e than) you #or your ser ice. 5ran) loo)ed at his #orear%* !hich !as still stea%ing. she said. E eryone turned to 6!en* !ho %anaged a $ra e s%ile. 3cta ian glanced at the audience as i# to say8 This !asn.s s)in8 SPGR* an i%age o# crossed s"ears* and a single stri"e* re"resenting the #irst year o# ser ice. 3cta ian said. Reyna said* <!e %ust discuss the 4uest. The senators shi#ted and %uttered as 5ran) returned to his seat. Percy !his"ered. <3ne o# our o##icers* also a senator* has decided to ste" do!n. <Did it hurt-...t %y idea* #ol)s.s unusual #or a ca%"er on "ro$atio to rise directly to the ran) o# centurion* $ut I thin) !e can agree 7 last night !as unusual.

.s so #ar north that the Ro%an gods ha e no "o!er there. li)e he !asn.s %etal dogs rolled o er on their $ac)s and !hi%"ered.s %ar) and the 'ural 0ro!n .. I )no! you guys don. <Loo)*.s eyes shone !ith "ride. 3cta ian turned to the senate and s%ir)ed* li)e* What did I tell you<I !as as)ing*. So%e o# the ghosts shi%%ered and disa""eared. called 3cta ian.re going to the land $eyond the gods . He. <0enturion Phang*. <2% 7. That. <Weren..% ne! here. Ha(el. He see%ed %ysti#ied $y the $adges in his hand . <Did you hear the 4uestion-. She "inned the %edals to 5ran).t you get it-.'ars !as "retty clear.. E en Reyna. <The 5i#th 0ohort led that e1"edition.<>eah. <2% 7 sorry. one o# the ghosts !hi%"ered.Natural leadershi".d only )no!n 5ran) #or a day* $ut he #elt "roud o# hi%* too. Larry !as so startled* he #ell $ac) on his "ode1. Alas)a.. <. <What you did last night. The "lace is s!ar%ing !ith %onsters. <>ou deser e it* %an*..s shirt. 5inally Senator Larry stood. <He %entioned it=.s !hy 'ars is . Percy continued. Do you e en )no! !here you are going-. A lot. We #ailed* and !e ha e to $e res"onsi$le #or %a)ing things right. Ha(el "ut her hand on 5ran).t sure !hat to do !ith the%. <Let %e. $ut don. 5ran) sco!led. Percy s%iled.t you listening last night* 3cta ian.. No de%igod has co%e $ac) #ro% there ali e since . the centurion. The senators s4uir%ed in their togas. he said. What-.s cra(y.s shoulder and stood. It. We. <I )no! !hat 'ars said* $ut that.. 5ran) $lin)ed. <Since you lost your eagle*. <Here. <&ut centurion .t li)e to %ention that %assacre in the JDL@s . Percy said. Alas)a is cursed= They call it the land $eyond the gods #or a reason. Percy continued* <I )no! I. 3cta ian said li)e he !as tal)ing to a three-year-old* <i# you ha e a "lan #or the 4uest.

'ost insults Percy could shrug o## .s "lans* Percy /ac)son.. Percy too) a dee" $reath. $eing called !ea) or stu"id or !hate er.Do you e en )no! !ho this son o# 6aia is-. That na%e see%ed to lo!er the te%"erature in the roo% $y #i#ty degrees. Do you e en )no! !here to loo). It. Reyna gri""ed her "odiu%.re a child o# Pluto-. No! he.s sitting u" there in Alas)a !ith a chained death god* and all your old e4ui"%ent. <>es.s na%e is Alcyoneus.s %ustering his ar%ies and sending the% south to attac) this ca%". This giant* the son o# 6aia* he. <We. <Letus* in Ro%an.s the one !ho de#eated your #orces thirty years ago. He glanced at Ha(el. <Praetor* i# I %ay*.&ecause you. 3cta ian sighed in e1as"eration. &ut his old 6ree) na%e is Thanatos. he said.t "rocess the slur.re ha""y to let hi% stay 6ree).sending us. <Really-. <Well* !hate er you call hi% 7 ho! do you e1"ect to do all this and get $ac) $y the 5east o# 5ortuna. Nico di Angelo had $een so 4uiet that Percy had al%ost #orgotten he !as there.. He !as te%"ted to s%ac) 3cta ian on the head again* $ut he reali(ed 3cta ian !as $aiting hi%* trying to %a)e hi% loo) unsta$le. <Ha(el and I 7 !e learned a .s the t!entieth no!.re going to con#ront this son o# 6aia*. &ut it da!ned on hi% that 3cta ian !as calling hi% a s"y .That. Ha(el s"o)e !ith such certainty that e en Percy !as sur"rised. <We. he said* %anaging to )ee" his co%"osure.. She nodded..s the e ening o# the t!enty-#ourth. <>ou see% to )no! a lot a$out our ene%y. <Thanatos* right-. <Ho! do you )no! this* Ha(el. I. No! he stood in his $lac) toga. That !as such a #oreign conce"t to Percy* so not !ho he !as* he al%ost couldn. He.ll get $ac) your eagle and unchain this god 7. 3cta ian said. When it co%es to Death 7 !e.t )no! e1actly !here to loo)* $ut I ha e a "retty good idea. The senators shi ered.. <I don. When he did* his shoulders tensed. a traitor.% sure o# it. The giant.

. cried a ghost. &ut !ith Alcyoneus 7 he !as di##erent. <It has ha""ened*. &ut the eldest giant !as Alcyoneus. Which is !hy our JDL@s e1"edition !as doo%ed to #ail. the "lace !here he !as $orn. <Any!ay 7 the giants !ere hard to )ill. <And i# Alcyoneus has $een re$orn in Alas)a .re doo%ed=. These three de%igods %ust tra el to Alas)a.s do%ain. Da)ota $elched. Nico "aused to let that sin) in. shouted a senator.t )no!. &y any %eans.>ou sound 4uite #a%iliar !ith hi%.. Reyna #ro!ned. <Silence=.. <We.. <The 4uest is i%"ossi$le=. yelled Da)ota. The )ing o# giants !as Por"hyrion* the anti-/u"iter. Nico said. They %ust #ree Thanatos and return $e#ore the 5east o# 5ortuna..t $e de#eated there*.. Another round o# arguing and shouting $ro)e out. <Then he can. <'ore Kool-Aid=. According to "ro"hecy* they could only $e de#eated $y gods and de%igods !or)ing together. He !as $orn to o""ose Pluto.. He !as co%"letely i%%ortal* i%"ossi$le to )ill $y god or de%igod* as long as he re%ained in his ho%e territory . 'ars has gi en us this 4uest* and !e ha e to $elie e it is "ossi$le. <Indeed. I# they can retrie e the lost eagle in the "rocess* so %uch the $etter. <Senators* !e %ust act li)e Ro%ans.s !hy !e )no! o# hi% in "articular. Ha(el #inished.little a$out the giants #ro% our #ather.That could ne er ha""en=. <In the #irst giant !ar* the gods called on heroes to +oin the%* and they !ere ictorious. <E er. All !e can do is ad ise the% and %a)e sure they ha e a "lan. <Sorry* did you say gods and de%igods 7 li)e* #ighting side $y side. to usur" that god. That. Whether it could ha""en again* I don. Nico "ic)ed at the edge o# his toga. Each giant !as $red s"eci#ically to o""ose one o# the t!el e 3ly%"ian gods . <>ou do . Reyna loo)ed at Percy !ithout %uch ho"e. Reyna called.

He.s res"onsi$le #or %a)ing sure souls go to the a#terli#e and stay there . <2h 7 ho! do you chain Death-. <&ut no! Thanatos has $een ca"tured* chained u".s $een done $e#ore*. <Thanatos catches souls*... the Pro"hecy o# Se en. <3)ay. Nico said. <So* i# !e could #ree Thanatos* then the dead !ould stay dead-. <>ou %ean the Doors o# Death*.s a $ig $order* !ith lots o# holes in the #ence. Pluto tries to seal u" the $reaches* $ut ne! ones )ee" "o""ing u" all the ti%e. That. Pluto is the god o# the 2nder!orld* $ut the actual god o# death* the one !ho. 3cta ian rolled his eyes. <In the old days* a guy na%ed Sisy"hus tric)ed Death and tied hi% u". <It. <I thought Pluto !as the god o# the dead..s lieutenant* Thanatos. 5ran) raised his hand. He glanced at 6!en. &ut it. 0ato the ghost snorted.. <They are %entioned in the Pro"hecy o# Se en* !hich sent the #irst e1"edition to Alas)a .s %ore co%"licated than that*. No! I hear a$out this other guy* Thanatos* and the Doors o# Death #ro% that "ro"hecy . Reyna said* ignoring 3cta ian. that. He turned to!ards Nico.ha e a "lan-. <E1actly*.s a guarded $order to )ee" "eo"le #ro% crossing $ac) o er !ithout "er%ission.s Pluto.s li)e the $order "atrol* the "olice. <We all )no! ho! that turned . What does all that %ean-. Percy !anted to ste" #or!ard $ra ely and say* No* I don. <2% 7 no o##ence. Nico said. Percy said..So there. <It. Nico said. Nico too) a dee" $reath.. Percy said* <and de"orts the% $ac) to the 2nder!orld. <And no! a giant has ca"tured hi%*. E ery$ody !ould li)e to $e in Li#e* right.s li)e 7 !ell* i%agine Li#e and Death are t!o di##erent countries. <5irst* I need to understand so%ething.t=That !as the truth* $ut loo)ing around at all the ner ous #aces Percy )ne! he couldn.s !hy he de"ends on Thanatos* !ho. Another ti%e* Hercules !restled hi% to the ground. <Why does that not sur"rise %e-..t say it.

<Not alone.s a conce"t e en I don.I# !e #ree hi%* he can reta)e the%. There are %any !ays into the 2nder!orld . <She can "ic) and choose !ho to let out .. Percy su%%ed u"* <$ut they. That !ould ta)e a %assi e 4uest 7 an ar%y o# the .t thin) so*. 5ran) scratched his head... With Thanatos i%"risoned* all those e1its !ill $e easier to use. He. Nico said. <So !e can catch the% and de"ort the%*. those are the "ersonal doors o# Thanatos* his #ast lane $et!een Li#e and Death. <Thanatos is only "art o# the solution*. Nico nodded. 3nly Thanatos is su""osed to )no! !here they are* and the location shi#ts o er the ages.s no %atch #or 6aia. the Ri er Sty1* the Door o# 3r"heus . <&ut Thanatos )no!s !here the doors are* right. I# !e rescue Thanatos* that %eans at least he can catch souls again and send the% $elo!.ll ha e an easy !ay $ac) to the !orld o# the li ing. <In a de"ressing nutshell* yes*.ll get a little $reathing roo%. "lus s%aller esca"e routes that o"en u" #ro% ti%e to ti%e.out= We Lares re%e%$er=. <The Doors o# Death 7 !ell* that. &ut unless !e. So%e loo)ed alar%ed* li)e their %ouths had $een glued together. No!* the Doors o# Death .t co%"letely understand. 6aia. Suddenly all the Lares !ent silent. 'onsters !ill die !hen !e )ill the%* li)e they used to* and !e.. <I don. 'ore o#ten* it !ill $ene#it e il souls and %onsters* the snea)y ones !ho are loo)ing to esca"e. Percy guessed.t stay do!n #or long.ll +ust )ee" co%ing $ac) across. Nico e1"lained.s %inions ha e sei(ed control o# the% . Nico said. The other ghosts gru%$led in agree%ent. li)e 6!en here. <Which %eans 6aia controls !ho can co%e $ac) #ro% the dead*. Nico "ut his #inger to his li"s. the !orst %onsters* the %ost e il souls. I# I understand correctly* the Doors o# Death ha e $een #orced o"en. Percy !ished he had that "o!er o er certain li ing "eo"le 7 li)e 3cta ian* #or instance. So%eti%es it %ight !or) to our ad antage and let a #riendly soul co%e $ac) .re a$le to reta)e the Doors o# Death* our ene%ies !on. They.

<'ars has clearly chosen the least . 3cta ian as)ed sce"tically. <Here it co%es.t $e )illed. <>eah*.s "ro$a$ly enough #or one !ee). Percy tried to sound con#ident* though he could #eel the le el o# "anic rising in the roo%. trans"ortation* %oney* %agic* !ea"ons. 5ran) added. <A lot*. <So you do ha e a "lan-. <5oes $ear ar%s to the Doors o# Death*.t ha e resources to send an ar%y to these Doors o# Death and "rotect the ca%".d had night%ares a$out 6aia* too . <5irst things #irst.d seen isions o# !hat !ould ha""en !hen the ca%" !as in aded $y %onsters that couldn.. 3cta ian said. We %ust not s"read our resources too thin* es"ecially $y #unding "ro+ects that ha e a sli% chance o# success. I can. <Praetor* i# I %ay*. i# she. she said. <I# this $egins the ancient "ro"hecy* !e don.s the Pro"hecy o# Se en 7. <Nothing re%ains e1ce"t #or us to ote on !hat su""ort !e can gi e the 4uest . 3cta ian said. She loo)ed at Percy* and #or +ust a %o%ent he could see ho! scared she !as. Then !e can !orry a$out the Doors o# Death. Ha(el said...s concentrate on succeeding !ith that and getting $ac) $e#ore the 5east o# 5ortuna..$est de%igods.t i%agine e en s"aring se en de%igods .. <T!o gods ha e !arned us !e !ill $e attac)ed #our days #ro% no!.. <I don. <The ca%" is in gra e danger*. 5ran) said in a s%all oice. 'ars told us !e only needed three "eo"le #or the 4uest to Alas)a. <3h* great*. Percy %uttered. She did a good +o$ o# hiding it* $ut Percy !ondered i# she. <That. Reyna studied the%. <And !e i%"ro ise*.. <:ery !ell*. 3cta ian loo)ed at the three o# the% !ith "ity* as i# to say* Poor little things. <That. Reyna said.. Let. &ut #irst !e ha e to #ree Thanatos. Percy loo)ed at his tea%%ates.t )no! !ho the se en are* or !hat that old "ro"hecy %eans* e1actly. She loo)ed li)e she !as %entally !riting her o!n o$ituary. <We go to Alas)a as #ast as "ossi$le 7.

<We. 0an you at least gi e us a $oat-. <It is ery traditional.. 3cta ian laughed.t order a %assi e e1"edition* nor did he as) us to #und their ad enture.% #ine. Whate er the case* he !isely didn. This is !here the $attle !ill $e lost or !on. 3cta ian turned to the senators. 'ore %uttering #illed the cha%$er. The three ad enturers !ill sur i e or #ail on their o!n %erits. Senators* the %otion is as #ollo!s8 the 4uest shall go to Alas)a. The senators. Reyna straightened in her chair.% guessing !e should a oid that. 5ran) +u%"ed to his #eet. <:ery !ell*. All in #a our-.t %uch o# a Ro%an=. And "ro iding no other aid see%s ery .. Air tra el 7 I ha e a #eeling that !ould $e $ad* too. <Would you li)e us to charter you an aero"lane-. Ha(el %ade a grunting sound. Perha"s that is $ecause he considers the% the %ost e1"enda$le.6oing o erland* across the earth . 6aia is the earth goddess* right. <A $oat=. <3cta ian*. eyes %o ed $ac) and #orth $et!een 3cta ian and Reyna* !atching the test o# !ills. No other aid !ill $e #orthco%ing.ll $e too slo!. Percy glanced o er. An uneasy %ur%ur "assed through the cro!d.li)ely candidates #or this 4uest.. Reyna said sternly* <a $oat is little enough to as). She shoo) her head and %outhed* 5ine. Plus* it. . Let us see i# these 4uesters ha e the strength to sur i e !ithout hel"* li)e true Ro%ans=. &ut a $oat. The senate shall "ro ide #ull access to the Ro%an na y doc)ed at Ala%eda. she said tightly. <No. Perha"s 'ars is "laying the long odds. Sea tra el has ne er $een the Ro%an !ay* $ut he isn. &e#ore he could start a #ight* Percy said* <5ine= No "ro$le%. The idea %ade Percy nauseous. I. &ut at least gi e us trans"ortation. 3cta ian e1clai%ed.ll "ut it to a ote. I# these three succeed* !onder#ul= &ut they should do so $y their o!n ingenuity. <Traditional=. I say !e )ee" our resources here and de#end the ca%". I. <The son o# Ne"tune !ants a $oat.

5ran) snarled. Percy ga(ed across the #oru%. <So 7 !e.s a rash choice* Percy. Ser e %e $y staying* or ser e %e $y going. <Are you )idding-. And* 3cta ian* i# I %ay con#er !ith you #or a %o%ent. <I. and he !as #airly sure he. 5ran) nodded %isera$ly. <The %otion is "assed. /ac)son* I only #ollo!ed you $ecause Reyna charged %e !ith a %essage..% !ith you*. Ha(el said. Ha(el "ic)ed u" a large e%erald #ro% the "ath and sli""ed it in her "oc)et. <What do you !ant-.s #ace s%iling in the shado!s and ridges.. He loo)ed u" at the hills* and i%agined 6aia.s hand !ent u". &ut* #or no!* he had to act. <>ou $ac)sta$$ing* sli%y . I. She !ants you to . <Hardly the right $eha iour #or a ne! centurion.d had that e1"erience $e#ore. <I# either o# you !ants to $ac) out* I !ouldn. he told 5ran)... <&esides* I !ant to chec) out the Ro%an na y.d #elt li)e the !orld !as riding on his shoulders . He couldn. &ut i# he stayed "ut this ca%" !ould $e destroyed. <3h* dear*. 3cta ian said. He turned to Percy. Percy as)ed. Percy %ade a silent o!8 a#ter the 5east o# 5ortuna* he !ould #ind Anna$eth.t let 6aia !in.. Stay "ut* Anna$eth had said in his drea%. 3cta ian s%iled.E ery senator. Reyna turned to 5ran). <Already decided I. Percy turned and sa! 3cta ian +ogging to!ards the%.t $la%e you.t !in* little de%igod* she see%ed to say.That. <0enturion* your "arty is e1cused. They !ere only hal#!ay across the #oru% !hen so%eone called* </ac)son=. >ou can.% your ene%y. &oth Percy and Ha(el had to restrain hi%. The senate has other %atters to discuss. He #illed his lungs !ith #resh air. <And "ull sentry duty #or the rest o# the !ee)-.re "retty %uch toast-.. 5ran) %anaged a s%ile. Percy !as incredi$ly glad to see the sunlight.% a loyal Ro%an. In that dar) hall* !ith all those eyes on hi%* he.

d li)e a "ri ate !ord !ith you $e#ore you lea e on your 4uest.. ah . Reyna !ill %eet you there a#ter the senate ad+ourns. t!o lac)eys* here. 3cta ian s%iled !ic)edly.re"ort to the "rinci"ia !ithout your ..% sure I don. Percy said. .t )no!. 6ood luc) and good$ye* Percy /ac)son. She. <The last "erson she had a "ri ate tal) !ith !as /ason 6race. And that !as the last ti%e I e er sa! hi%. <I. <What a$out-..

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3r sala%i.s e1"ression* he thought he %ight need to de#end hi%sel#. I hear 3cta ian %ight get elected "raetor* assu%ing the ca%" sur i es that long. <I hate senate %eetings. Auru% and Argentu% too) their "osts on her le#t and right and #i1ed their ru$y eyes on Percy. When 3cta ian gets tal)ing 7.s side* !hich %ay$e !asn. Reyna said* <and ho! you %ight hel" "re ent it. <I# it. <Do you )no! !hat this is-. He started to get u". Percy said. <6ee* than)s. Reyna sco!led. <Stay seated*. Percy as)ed. <>ou. She sat do!n and "ut a ring on the ta$le .. 3cta ian is a tal)er. <Which $rings us to the su$+ect o# doo%sday*. a $and o# sil er etched !ith a s!ord-and-torch design* li)e Reyna.re s%arter than you loo). Percy nodded.re a !arrior.s not you. <>ou .. We ha e a lot to discuss. &ut $e#ore I "lace the #ate o# 0a%" /u"iter in your hands* !e need to get a #e! things straight. so%ething li)e $ologna.. <>ou lea e a#ter lunch. Percy !as sitting in one o# the "raetor chairs that he.t !ant to get it !rong ..d I do !rong-.... <What.<&ellona* yes. He tried to re%e%$er the na%e $ut he didn.s a$out the chair . She "lun)ed do!n her dagger so hard the +elly-$ean $o!l rattled. /udging #ro% Reyna. Reyna gro!led.t the "ro"er thing to do. <The 7 uh* !ar goddess. <The sign o# your %o%*. <>ou. Reyna scrutini(ed hi% care#ully...Percy PER0> WAS 6LAD RIPTIDE HAD RET2RNED to his "oc)et.s tattoo. <It. She narro!ed her eyes. Put hi% in #ront o# the senate* and suddenly he $eco%es the "o!er#ul one. She stor%ed into the "rinci"ia !ith her "ur"le cloa) $illo!ing* and her greyhounds at her #eet.d "ulled to the isitor.

.. It see%s so long ago. Reyna. e got #our stri"es on your tattoo. Please lie. Percy got the #eeling they !ere thin)ing* Please lie.>ou really don... Reyna ta""ed the sil er ring.d had $ad %anicures<It. He couldn.t i%agine !hy. e $een #our years ago.% telling the truth..s hand rested hal#!ay $et!een her dagger and the +elly $eans. 3cta ian thin)s you. the A%erican 0i il War* #or instance. He thin)s you !ere sent here $y 6aia to #ind our !ea)nesses and distract us.don. Reyna #ro!ned. I ha e no "roo# o# this and* i# our Lares )no! anything* they re#use to say. <>ou. <3ld legends-.re sincere*. </ust $e#ore you ca%e to ca%".'ay$e they. <I $elie e you.t re%e%$er %e or %y sister* Hylla-. -. <&ut not e eryone at ca%" does. 'ay$e they hadn. He $elie es the old legends a$out the 6ree)s. Percy had a #eeling that i# she %ade a sudden %o e she !ouldn. she said* <heroes !ho #ollo! the older #or%s o# the gods.ll $elie e %e.. <So%e $elie e 6ree) de%igods still e1ist*. Reyna loo)ed at her #orear%. <I. 5our years. I !as +ust a little girl .t li)ed the dee"-tissue %assage. He really did. she said..s a $lan)*. <Since your dogs aren.% sorry. <3# course. There are legends o# $attles $et!een Ro%an and 6ree) heroes in relati ely %odern ti%es .t re%e%$er !here you sa! this ring $e#ore. <Ho! did you .t attac)ing %e* I ho"e you.t recall %e e en i# you had your %e%ory.t $e gra$$ing #or the candy. Percy tried to re%e%$er. <It !ould. &ut 3cta ian $elie es the 6ree)s are still around* "lotting our do!n#all* !or)ing !ith . one attendant a%ong so %any at the s"a.re a s"y. he said. 5or so%e reason* Anna$eth and he had isited a s"a and decided to destroy it. Auru% and Argentu% snarled. Percy shoo) his head. &ut you s"o)e !ith %y sister* +ust $e#ore you and that other one* Anna$eth* destroyed our ho%e. I su""ose you !ouldn. I.

. <Were you t!o a cou"le-..s true* $ut 5ate $rought %e here to 0a%" /u"iter. <&ut I. Praetors !or) closely together. li)e the eyes o# a hungry !ol#. e got a lot o# good "eo"le !ho )no! this ca%" $etter than I .t go ery #ar in this ca%" !ithout hearing that na%e. <The !ay you tal) a$out hi% 7. <I don. <>ou. A !arrior* not a sche%er. Percy #ound Reyna. She !aited. Percy said.% ne! here. No! you. His throat !ent dry. e done !ell. <3# course* I could $e !rong. I.ll hel"*. All I as) is that you !or) !ith %e #or the #uture. I need a "artner in "o!er . T!o gods ha e ta)en a s"ecial interest in you since you arri ed* so I can. >ou. <I $elie e the gods sent you to hel" %e*.t understand !here you co%e #ro%* any %ore than I understood it #our years ago. <I $elie e you ca%e #ro% so%e!here*..the #orces o# 6aia. Reyna said. He thin)s you are one o# the%.. E er since then* 3cta ian has $een "estering %e* agitating #or ne! elections. <Loo)* I. I intend to sa e this ca%". &ut I thin) your arri al is so%e sort o# re"ay%ent. Perha"s the gods sent you here to test %y +udge%ent. Reyna said* <gi en ti%e. she said. <We %ight ha e $een*. >ou destroyed %y ho%e once. She shrugged. It. I don.. The %etal dogs glared at hi%* their %ouths #ro(en in snarl %ode. e $een sent to sa e %y ho%e. <3h 7 you %ean 7 oh. <Is that !hat you $elie e-. I. 'y sister hates you still* it.d !or) against 3ly%"us 7 or Ro%e.t $elie e you.d "re#er so%eone li)e /ason. Percy had seen enough hungry !ol es to )no!.s eyes $ored into hi% .re i%"ortant* and dangerous.s eyes a lot harder to %eet. Percy reali(ed she !as sending hi% a silent in itation.. Reyna. &ut /ason !as only "raetor #or a #e! %onths $e#ore he disa""eared. he "ro%ised.s co%%on #or the% to $eco%e ro%antically in ol ed. &ut I thin) 7 I thin) you !ere sent here to %a)e u" #or the loss o# /ason. $ut I. /ason 7 Percy couldn. e resisted.t hold a grudge against you #or the "ast* Percy.

d ha e %ass "anic. I# !e succeed on this 4uest* Ha(el and 5ran) !ill $e heroes.. Reyna said. Things are !orse than you reali(e.t do. I. /ust thin) a$out it. e got a girl#riend. &ut I.s nails dug into the ta$le. >ou could as) one o# the% . Seriously. In #our days* I ha e to %a)e a choice. e as)ed 3cta ian not to share his auguries* or !e. >ou !ould #ind %e a ery hel"#ul 7 #riend.s not ery Ro%an o# you. <Ho! $ad-.s #orces once and #or all.. Percy. <The "oint is* Percy* you are the real "o!er on this 4uest. I.ll !or) !ith 3cta ian. .. A son o# Ne"tune !ouldn. Reyna. I.d %a)e her %ad.t $e %y #irst choice* $ut i# you return success#ully #ro% this %ission the legion %ight $e sa ed. As #or 5ran) Phang* he has a good heart* $ut he. I# !e are to #ight o## an in asion* !e %ust ha e t!o strong "raetors. <Reyna 7 I. <A %an !ho turns do!n "o!er-.s so%ething a$out that girl 7 ru%ours a$out !here she ca%e #ro% 7 No* she !on.s seen a great ar%y %arching south* %ore than !e can "ossi$ly de#eat. she said. <5a%ily history-. <E en the senate doesn.t !ant "o!er* or a "raetorshi". <No one !ill #ollo! a child o# Pluto.re led $y a giant ..s ho"elessly naT e and ine1"erienced. &esides* i# the others #ound out a$out his #a%ily history at this ca%" . Percy re%e%$ered !hat 5ran) said a$out the %onster attac)s getting %ore #re4uent. Instead she +ust raised her eye$ro!s. <That. She said that !ord li)e it could ha e se eral %eanings* and he could "ic) !hich one. There. >ou are a seasoned eteran. We could raise an ar%y and #ind the Doors o# Death* crush 6aia.s #eet started ta""ing on the #loor* an1ious to run.t co%e $ac)* or re#use %y o##er 7 Well* I. They. Together* you and I could e1"and the "o!er o# Ro%e. <Please*. e seen !hat you can do.d "re#er you* $ut i# you #ail on your 4uest* or don.t )no! the !hole truth. I %ean to sa e this ca%"* Percy /ac)son. The "raetorshi" !ill $e yours #or the ta)ing.% honoured* and all. And I don.do.. Percy !as a#raid he. He..

&ut i# you can #ind her she could o##er you alua$le hel". <I don. The ene%y !ill $e here soon .<Alcyoneus-. I.. &ut sho! her that ring as a to)en #ro% %e* and she %ay hel" you instead. e got t!o giants to !orry a$out. Reyna agreed. I can. Reyna didn. <I can. <So !e.s $ad* $ut not ho"eless.s gone silent.d $e #oolish to co%e here hi%sel#.s o)ay. Her territory is !ell de#ended. <>our sister 7 the one !ho hates %e-.s one %ore "ossi$ility 7. <She !ould lo e to )ill you.t ans!er* $ut Percy could see the . 5ind %y sister* Hylla. 'y sister has a "o!er#ul #orce. <Lu"a and her !ol es are trying to slo! the% do!n* $ut this #orce is too strong e en #or the%.. <'ay-. In #act 7.t i%agine she. <Partially* yes. She. I# he is truly in ulnera$le in Alas)a* he.t stand a chance. <'a)e sure she. Percy as)ed. Percy shuddered.. And there. With these ar%ies "assing through . Reyna #ro!ned.s $een o erco%e.t thin) so.t s"o)en to her in !ee)s.d seen Lu"a in action. Percy guessed. <>ou !ant %e to chec) on her*.% as)ing you #or a #a our* !hich %ay also hel" you.. Reyna read his e1"ression. The "raetor nodded. I# this ene%y !as too "o!er#ul #or Lu"a* 0a%" /u"iter didn.t gi e you %uch hel"* $ut your +ourney !ill ta)e you close to Seattle. <>es* it. <I can.. Percy said. I# you succeed in $ringing $ac) our eagle* i# you release Death so !e can actually )ill our ene%ies* then !e stand a chance. He )ne! all a$out the !ol# goddess and her "ac).s ha""ening here .. $y the 5east o# 5ortuna at the ery latest.. <She %ight send hel"-.t s"ea) #or her. It could %ean the di##erence $et!een success and #ailure on your 4uest.. He. <In #act I ha en. <3h* yes*. <6reat*. It %ust $e one o# his $rothers. And i# you tell her !hat. Reyna slid the sil er ring across the ta$le.

He could tell the audience !as o er. She !as terri#ied* gras"ing #or anything that could sa e her ca%". <Wish %e luc). It !as di##icult. Reyna ga(ed at hi% #or a long ti%e* as i# trying to translate his !ords. The %etal greyhounds gro!led. >ou.Not ery Ro%an at all* Percy /ac)son.What )ind o# #orce does she ha e-. That didn.t !orry. <Don. They...ll thin) a$out %y o##er.% sorry. She needed so%e ti%e $y hersel#. . <>ou destroyed the "o!er o# our %istress*. 'y sister and I 7 !ell* !e sur i ed..ll #ind her.t resist turning. <I# I hurt you* I. &ut in the long run I thin) !e are $etter o## a!ay #ro% that "lace.% sorry*. <I. Where do I loo). No !onder she !anted Percy. <And than) you. I ho"e you. Percy too) the ring. <An a"ology. The de#ence o# the ca%" rested on her shoulders alone.. /ust go to Seattle. &ut at the door o# the "rinci"ia* Percy couldn. she said.t sound encouraging* $ut Percy sli""ed the ring onto his leather nec)lace !ith his $eads and his "ro$atio ta$let. Reyna said.des"eration in her eyes. <Ho! did !e destroy your ho%e .d %a)e an interesting "raetor. <5ight !ell* Percy /ac)son*. Percy said. <>ou #reed so%e "risoners !ho too) re enge on all o# us !ho li ed on the island.. She !as the only "raetor.. Reyna !as ha ing trou$le holding hersel# together* )ee"ing u" the i%age o# the con#ident co%%ander. <Still* I.ll #ind you. Reyna sna""ed her #ingers to silence the%.s hel". that s"a !here you li ed-.

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The T-shirt didn. gladiator #ighting* Latin lessons* "aint$all !ith ghosts* eagle training and a do(en other acti ities that sounded $etter than a suicide 4uest. They deser e to sur i e. He #elt "retty stu"id tal)ing to a T-shirt* $ut he !as really thin)ing o# Anna$eth* and his old li#e. They too) %e in. Percy didn.% not lea ing #or good. No$ody see%ed "articularly ha""y.d cleaned u" his $ac)"ac) #ro% his tri" south and had )e"t %ost o# his &argain 'art su""lies. The other ca%"ers )e"t glancing o er at Percy li)e he !as the cor"se o# honour. <I. 3ne o# their roo%%ates* &o$$y* ga e the% a ride to the $order o# the alley on Hanni$al the ele"hant. He also )e"t his leather nec)lace !ith the $eads* the sil er ring and the "ro$atio ta$let* and o# course he had Ri"tide in his "oc)et. He had a #resh "air o# +eans and an e1tra "ur"le T-shirt #ro% the ca%" 4uarter%aster* "lus so%e nectar* a%$rosia* snac)s* a little %ortal %oney and ca%"ing su""lies.Percy L2N0H 5ELT LIKE A 52NERAL PART>.t ha e %uch. E ery$ody ate. <I. Reyna %ade a $rie# s"eech !ishing the% luc). Peo"le tal)ed in hushed tones.ll $e $ac)*.t ans!er* than)#ully. Percy #ollo!ed Ha(el and 5ran) to the &arrac)s to "ac). &ut I ha e to hel" these guys. He.. 5ro% the . 3cta ian ri""ed o"en a &eanie &a$y and "ronounced gra e o%ens and hard ti%es ahead* $ut "redicted the ca%" !ould $e sa ed $y an une1"ected hero 9!hose initials !ere "ro$a$ly 30TA:IAN.. Then the other ca%"ers !ent o## to their a#ternoon classes . Su""osedly* any retired legionnaires they %et on the tri" !ould hel" the% i# sho!n the letter. At lunch* Reyna had handed hi% a scroll o# introduction #ro% the "raetor and ca%" senate. He #olded his tattered orange Tshirt and le#t it on his $un). he said.

Ter%inus conducted a rigorous %ental "at do!n. He turned to Ha(el and 5ran) and tried to thin) o# so%ething u"$eat to say.0o%e along=. Shado!s %o ed across the hills* and Percy i%agined the #ace o# 6aia getting closer and closer. Nor%ally* yes* I guard the city* $ut #or international de"artures I li)e to "ro ide e1tra security at the ca%" $orders. Ter%inus hu##ed. &ut !e. Percy as)ed. A sa#e ha en !here de%igods could $uild their li es .hillto"s* Percy could see e erything $elo!. No!* co%e o er here so I can "at you do!n. I intend to sa e this ca%". he !anted that to $e "art o# his #uture. <2h* sure. <I thought you +ust guarded the city. 'ay$e not the !ay Reyna i%agined* $ut i# he could share this "lace !ith Anna$eth 7 They got o## the ele"hant. A #a%iliar oice said* <IDs* "lease.. . The god. e allo!ed t!o hours $e#ore your "lanned de"arture ti%e* you )no!.ll ha e to %a)e do. The Little Ti$er sna)ed across golden "astures !here the unicorns !ere gra(ing.. Percy sto""ed hi%sel#. <Well. E en though he !as ne! to 0a%" /u"iter* he #elt a #ierce desire to "rotect this "lace. >ou really should. <>ou again-.s #ort and setting u" $arricades #or a ga%e o# death$all. Wor) !ith %e #or the #uture* Reyna had said. <&ut you don. The te%"les and #oru%s o# Ne! Ro%e glea%ed in the sunlight.. 3n the 5ield o# 'ars* engineers !ere hard at !or)* "ulling do!n the re%ains o# last night. He stood ne1t to the ar%less statue. Then the ele"hant ta1i ser ice headed $ac) into the alley. A statue o# Ter%inus a""eared at the su%%it o# the hill. <6lad to see you* too* 'r Rule 5louter..t ha e . $ut on the northern hori(on* stor% clouds !ere gathering. A nor%al day #or 0a%" /u"iter . Loo)ing do!n at the alley* Percy understood !hy she cared so %uch.. Percy sighed. Hanni$al !ra""ed the three 4uesters !ith his trun). &o$$y !ished the% a sa#e +ourney.s %ar$le #ace #ro!ned irrita$ly.

Percy as)ed. <Ah* !ell. <H%"h= Pro$atio ta$let8 Percy /ac)son* 5i#th 0ohort* son o# Ne"tune. said the god. 5ine* go. <&ecause last ti%e . The &er)eley Hills see%ed to $e #ree o# any Ro%an ca%". No* I guess not. Ter%inus as)ed. <Wait . $ah= I !ish I could throttle hi% !ith %y $are hands.ll $e !anting your o!n security lane and a "ass to the e1ecuti e lounge ne1t. Tal) a$out sco##la!s . <Guest tra ellers= Al!ays in a rush. Ha(el Le es4ue* daughter o# Pluto. No!* let.t ha e a %agical &ART train or so%ething-. <>ou. <Are you sure-.<>ou see% to $e clean*. And that haircut is regulation "er#ect. 5ine. 6ood luc)=. Ter%inus decided. /ust tra el sa#ely* and !atch out #or Poly$otes. <>es*.Watch out #or 7 Political so%ething or other-. she %uttered. . Ter%inus said any!ay. <Do you ha e anything to declare-.Well done* 5ran).. Ter%inus sco##ed. Ah= 0enturion. Do you need any directions today-. <Well* this is a gru%"y $unch*.. Ter%inus %ade a straining e1"ression* li)e he !as #le1ing his none1istent $ice"s. In #act* the entire alley !as gone... Any #oreign currency or* ahe%* "recious %etals to declare-. <No=. Percy as)ed. 3ut you go* no!. <No*. I i%agine he can s%ell a son o# Ne"tune a %ile a!ay. <No. <0hange trains at T!el#th Street in 3a)land. >ou !ant 5ruit ale Station. I a""ro e= 3## you go* then* 0enturion Phang. </ust do!n to the &ART station*.. When Percy loo)ed $ac)* Ter%inus !as gone. Percy said. !ho-. /ust $e care#ul o# hi%. <'agic trains=. <>ou guys don. 5ran) Phang. <I declare this is stu"id. An in isi$le #orce )ic)ed the% across the $oundary. Percy loo)ed at his #riends.s see . 5ro% there* you can !al) or ta)e the $us to Ala%eda. <Any idea !hat Ter%inus !as tal)ing a$out.

This !as his #ather.d seen in his drea%s. Percy sighed. We.t e en )no! !e had a na y.. e erything #ro% #i#ty-#oot yachts to ten-#oot #ishing $oats.s ca alry s!ord !as !ra""ed in a $edroll slung on her $ac). Pretty %uch nothing in the %ortal !orld scared hi% any %ore.t scared o# gangs.d ha e the u""er hand as long as they !ere at sea. They had to !al) through so%e rough neigh$ourhoods* $ut no$ody $othered the%. No$ody loo)ed at Percy li)e he !as a ho%eless !ild child.% !orse.s last #e! %onths* the tri" !as easy. <Well* !e "ro$a$ly +ust a""eared on the s%ell radar #or e ery %onster !ithin #i e %iles.re loo)ing #or-. He. 5ran) had stored his s"ear* $o! and 4ui er in a long $ag %ade #or s)is.. <Ne er heard o# hi%.d "er#ected his !ol# stare o er the last #e! %onths . 0o%"ared to Percy.. a loo) that said8 Ho!e er $ad you thin) you are* I. 5ran) said. Ha(el and 5ran) shoo) their heads. It too) the% t!o hours to reach the doc)s in Ala%eda. Ha(el sounded as i# . I%%ediately he #elt $etter. He scanned the sli"s #or so%e sort o# %agic essel .s do%ain. a trire%e* %ay$e* or a dragon-headed !arshi" li)e he. They got o## in 3a)land.. No %onsters attac)ed. A#ter strangling sea %onsters and running o er gorgons in a "olice car* Percy !asn. Ha(el sounded out the na%e care#ully. In the late a#ternoon* they %ade it to the Ala%eda doc)s. Percy loo)ed out o er San 5rancisco &ay and $reathed in the salty sea air. Ha(el. Do(ens o# $oats !ere %oored at the doc)s . Whene er the local gang %e%$ers ca%e close enough to loo) in Percy.<Poh-LI&-uh-tease-. <I didn.d $etter get %o ing. <Sounds 6ree)*. Together the three o# the% loo)ed li)e nor%al high schoolers on their !ay to an o ernight tri". <2% 7 you guys )no! !hat !e.s eyes* they 4uic)ly eered a!ay. They !al)ed to Roc)ridge Station* $ought their tic)ets !ith %ortal %oney* and ho""ed on the &ART train. <That narro!s it do!n. Whate er they #aced* he.

The $oat had $een "ainted dar) $lue at one "oint* $ut the hull !as so crusted !ith tar and salt it loo)ed li)e one %assi e nautical $ruise. Painted eyes droo"ed sadly at the !ater le el* as i# the $oat !ere a$out to #all aslee".t thin) 7 -. 5ran) said.. 2nder the tar" !as an old steel ro!$oat !ith no oars.R. No oars* $ut that didn. <3h 7. Ha(el see%ed es"ecially ner ous. <Ho" in. The Pa1 !as still a $oat. <>ou don. He +u%"ed a$oard* and the hull hu%%ed under his #eet* res"onding to his "resence. <This.G. Then he "ointed at the steel !ool and it #le! across the #loor* scru$$ing and "olishing so #ast* the steel $egan to s%o)e. <The %ighty Ro%an na y. He !illed the scu%%y !ater to #lo! o er the sides and out o# the $oat. He gathered u" the gar$age in the cooler and "ut it on the doc).she !ished there !asn.t %atter. Percy "ointed at the ro"e* and it untied itsel# #ro% the doc). 3n the $o!* the na%e Pa1 !as still reada$le* lettered in gold. 5ran) "ointed.s con#idence !a ered..P. <This is a "iece o# +un). When they had settled on the seats* Percy concentrated* and the $oat sli""ed a!ay #ro% the doc). The slee"y oice o# 6aia . 3n $oard !ere t!o $enches* so%e steel !ool* an old cooler* and a %ound o# #rayed ro"e !ith one end tied to the %ooring.d $een doing it his !hole li#e. At the end o# the doc) !as a tiny $oat* li)e a dinghy* co ered in a "ur"le tar". Ha(el and 5ran) loo)ed a little stunned* $ut they cli%$ed a$oard. <There. <&ehold*.ll do*. Percy could tell that the $oat !as ready to %o e* +ust a!aiting his co%%and.t one.. <No !ay.s got to $e a %ista)e*. /uno !as right* you )no!. Percy i%agined 3cta ian laughing at the%* $ut he decided not to let it get hi% do!n. E%$roidered in #aded gold along the can as !as S.. Ha(el said. he said. He unco ered the $oat* his hands !or)ing the )nots li)e he. Percy. When it !as done* the $oat !as clean. At the $otto% o# the $oat* a "lastic $ag and t!o e%"ty 0o)e cans #loated in se eral inches o# scu%%y !ater.

s too late.s %ind* startling hi% so $adly the $oat roc)ed. >ou !ould ha e $een sa#e #ro% %e there. >ou chose "ain and %isery.!his"ered in Percy. Percy !aited* $ut the oice o# 6aia !as silent. <2h* !hat-. 5ran) as)ed. <Nothing*.s see !hat this ro!$oat can do. >ou. He turned the $oat to the north* and in no ti%e they !ere s"eeding along at #i#teen )nots* heading #or the 6olden 6ate &ridge. <Let. No! it. he said. %y i%"ortant little "a!n.. >ou could ha e chosen a ne! li#e in the sea. <6et o## %y shi"*. Percy gro!led. .re "art o# %y "lan* no! .

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N:II .

the eu"horia she.d co%e $ac) #ro% the dead. They s"ed $y a "ac) o# sea lions lounging on the doc)s* and she s!ore she sa! an old ho%eless guy sitting a%ong the%.s #ace !as red in the sunset. E ery!here they !ent* they. <Did you see that-. Ha(el as)ed. e $een here $e#ore. &y the ti%e they "assed the "iers along the San 5rancisco E%$arcadero* she #elt so !oo(y she thought she !as hallucinating. She didn. It $rought $ac) $ad %e%ories 7 As soon as they le#t the doc)* Ha(el. And this little $oat* the Pa1* loo)ed so %uch li)e that other $oat they. I 7 I don.d loo)ed li)e a di##erent "erson !hen he.Ha(el HAPEL HATED &3ATS. no roads. She got seasic) so easily it !as %ore li)e sea "lague. I.. 5ro% across the !ater* the old %an "ointed a $ony #inger at Percy and %outhed so%ething li)e Don. He scanned the city li)e he !as still loo)ing #or Anna$eth until they "assed under the 6olden 6ate &ridge and turned north. <>eah.d had in Alas)a.d had to ta)e the train or a $oat.t %entioned this to Percy. The !ay he.t e en thin) a$out it.t )no!.s sto%ach started to churn.d ho"ed her condition %ight ha e i%"ro ed since she. <>ou %ean* on your !ay to 0a%" /u"iter-.. &e#ore that. 5ran) said. <No.d #elt last night !hen they.d s!e"t the . She hadn.d !on the !ar ga%es* riding Hanni$al into the ene%y )ee"* 5ran). Percy #ro!ned.s sudden trans#or%ation into a leader. He. <Anna$eth*. Percy. Ha(el tried to settle her sto%ach $y thin)ing o# "leasant things . I thin) I !as loo)ing #or %y girl#riend. 3$ iously not.d scaled the !alls* calling on the 5i#th 0ohort to attac). She.t !ant to %ess u" the 4uest* $ut she re%e%$ered ho! horri$le her li#e had $een !hen she and her %other had %o ed to Alas)a .

. <I# !e #ree Thanatos*. I don. <I )no! ho! to stay hidden.de#enders o## the $attle%ents 7 Ha(el had ne er seen hi% li)e that $e#ore.ll %a)e the $lac)outs $etter or !orse.t !ant to die a second ti%e. Nico too) her hand. She.t #eel +ealous o# &ianca di Angelo. As i# there !as any !ay the 4uest !ould end !ell #or her. <6ood luc)* Ha(el*. <Dad needs all the hel" he can get*. Nico s%iled..s !hat he !as thin)ing. . +ust li)e her #ather had se enty years $e#ore. Ha(el told Nico* <I %ay ne er see you again. Then he %elted into the shado!s .. They entered the Paci#ic currents and s)irted the roc)y coastline o# 'arin 0ounty. Ta)e care o# %ysel#* Ha(el thought $itterly. he said. &esides 7 I. &e#ore they had le#t* her $rother had "ulled her aside to !ish her luc).d $een so "roud to "in the centurion. Then her thoughts turned to Nico.d stay at 0a%" /u"iter to hel" de#end it* $ut he said he. <That !as the $est I could do #or you.t !orry. he said. <&e care#ul*. 'ay$e I can #ind the Doors o# Death #ro% the other side. Ha(el said. <The 5ields o# Punish%ent loo) li)e a "rison riot. The 5uries can $arely )ee" order...% not sure i# it. The $oat shuddered* +olting Ha(el $ac) to the "resent. Thanatos !ill send %e $ac) to the 2nder!orld 7.s $adge to his shirt. heading $ac) to the 2nder!orld.% going to try to trac) so%e o# the esca"ing souls. He didn.d $e lea ing today . She didn. he said. She +ust !ished that she had %ore ti%e !ith Nico and her #riends at ca%". Ha(el ho"ed he. 5or once* she didn. <I# 6aia is guarding those doors . <Don. His #ingers !ere so "ale* it !as hard to $elie e Ha(el and he shared the sa%e godly #ather. The closer you get to Alas)a 7 I. <I !anted to gi e you a chance at Elysiu%*.t !ant to lose %y sister.t say the !ord again* $ut Ha(el )ne! that. /ust ta)e care o# yoursel#. &ut no! I !ish there !as another !ay.

He )e"t his eyes #i1ed on the shoreline. Ha(el laughed. It sna""ed in his $ig #ingers..d seen their destiny and )ne! it !as only a %atter o# ti%e $e#ore they %et a %onster they couldn.s )nees li)e the sa#ety $ar on an a%use%ent ride* !hich %ade her thin) o# the ti%e Sa%%y had ta)en her to the carni al during 'ardi 6ras 7 She 4uic)ly "ushed that %e%ory aside. It "assed o er Ha(el. As they "assed Stinson &each* he "ointed inland* !here a single %ountain rose a$o e the green hills. <Seasic)ness*. /ason had to $attle Krios . <That !as $ac) in August* $e#ore I . And so%e crac)ers.5ran) held his s)i $ag across his la". 5ran) "ulled out a saltine. <2h* no "ro$le%*. <That.. e got so%e nectar..t !ant that one. Percy #ro!ned. 2%* %y grand%other says ginger hel"s 7 I don.t sure !hat he %eant* $ut Percy did re%ind her o# /ason* e en though they loo)ed nothing ali)e. he said.t ris) a $lac)out. 5ran) as)ed. /ason told %e a$out it.t "aying %uch attention. &ig $attle ha""ened on the su%%it* at the old Titan $ase. She couldn. hand-to-hand co%$at !ith a Titan* i# you can i%agine.s s!eet o# you* though. <Kids at ca%" are al!ays tal)ing a$out it.t laugh. <It. <6uess you don. <>ou o)ay-. u%* $e#ore I got to ca%". <That loo)s #a%iliar*. The legion destroyed the ene%y.. Ha(el !asn. he said shee"ishly.s "alace and a$out a %illion %onsters. . she con#essed. <I. <I didn... <'ount Ta%*. 5ran) "outed li)e it !as so%eho! his #ault.s o)ay. Ha(el %ustered a s%ile. Percy !asn.. <No*.. I shouldn. He started digging in his "ac).t thin) it !ould $e this $ad.. <I can i%agine*.t $eat. <6ods* 5ran) 7 Sorry. 5ran) said. <>ou loo) 4ueasy. They had the sa%e aura o# 4uiet "o!er* "lus a )ind o# sadness* li)e they. 0rac)er e1"loded e ery!here. Ha(el said.t ha e any o# that* $ut . Percy %uttered. <Were either o# you there-.

She didn. the !itch.t !al) around to!n.t go $y Gueen 'arie any %ore. Winter !as the !orst. They had one roo%* !ith a hot "late and an ice$o1 #or a )itchen. Her ision !ent $lac)* and she sli""ed $ac) in ti%e. 3ne corner !as curtained o## #or Ha(el* !here she )e"t her %attress and storage chest. Her %other !as rarely ho%e.Ha(el understood the #eeling. She reali(ed her %ista)e too late. her house in Se!ard* the si1 %onths she. She !as +ust 'arie* the hired hel". E ery day o# su%%er acation* she stayed a!ay #ro% ho%e as long as she could* $ut she couldn. She thought a$out her #irst death* and the %onths leading u" to it .t get enough sun. The :oice too) o er* gi ing Ha(el orders* "utting her to !or) on their horri$le "ro+ect.s child !ho li ed in the old shac) $y the doc)s.d coo) and clean all day at the diner on Third A enue #or #isher%en* railroad !or)ers and the occasional cre! o# na y %en. She. I# she ca%e too close* the )ids +eered .d "inned her dra!ings and old "hotos o# Ne! 3rleans on the !alls* $ut that only %ade her ho%esic)ness !orse. Whether or not their 4uest succeeded* her +ourney !ould $e o er $y the 5east o# 5ortuna.d s"ent in Alas)a* ta)ing that little $oat into Resurrection &ay at night* isiting that cursed island. At night* 'arie Le es4ue !ould trans#or%. Their rental house !as a cla"$oard $o1 sus"ended on "ilings o er the $ay. She. When su%%er ca%e* Ha(el couldn. The :oice stayed longer $ecause o# the constant dar)ness. The cold !as so intense that Ha(el thought she !ould ne er $e !ar% again. She. It !as a s%all co%%unity. At night* Ha(el #ell aslee" to the sound o# icy !ater la""ing against the roc)s under the #loor$oards. The other )ids s"read ru%ours a$out her . When the train #ro% Anchorage rolled $y* the #urniture shoo) and the "ictures rattled on the !alls. The !ind %ade the $uilding crea) and groan. She !atched the sun set in the ocean* and she )ne! she had less than a !ee) to li e.d co%e ho%e s%elling li)e PineSol and #ried #ish.

They. not nearly as scary as Ha(el. She could. It !asn. &ut Pluto had !arned her %other a$out Alas)a. e $uried the to!n !ithout hal# trying. e gi en the% dia%onds* "earls or gold. The adults !eren. She couldn. The curse ne er see%ed to $other the%.at her or thre! $ottles and roc)s. She s"ent the day !al)ing the hills. Ha(el could. I# he !as a god* he should $e a$le to do that. She. She loo)ed u" at the ra ens and i%agined they !ere his e%issaries. She attracted ra ens.t $la%e the%. that strange "ale %an in the sil er-and-$lac) suit.d #ind a sno!%elt !ater#all and drin) cold* clean !ater until her throat hurt. Their eyes !ere dar) and %aniacal* li)e his.d co%e $ac) and "rotect her #ro% her %other* %ay$e use his "o!ers to get rid o# that a!#ul :oice. She.s "ro$le%.t s"ea) to her. &ut she didn. Ha(el !ished he. 3ne day in %idsu%%er* she stayed out later than usual* chasing a horse. When Ha(el got thirsty* she. There !as so %uch in the hills Ha(el could. I# he !as !atching Ha(el* he didn. Her old li#e see%ed as distant as the radio "rogra%%es she listened to* or President Roose elt tal)ing a$out the !ar. 2" here in Alas)a* gold !as easy.d ha e to go ho%e. e %ade their li es %isera$le.t a $ad !ay to "ass the ti%e* $ut she )ne! e entually she.t %uch $etter. She o#ten !ondered i# she had i%agined hi%. So%eti%es she thought a$out her #ather .d cli%$ as high as she could and let the sunshine !ar% her #ace. It !as a land $eyond the gods.t "rotect the% here.d seen it #irst !hen she had heard a crunching .d ca! at her #ro% the trees and !ait #or the shiny things that al!ays a""eared in her #ootste"s. He couldn.t really hate the locals #or "ushing her a!ay. 3ccasionally the locals !ould discuss the /a"anese and so%e #ighting on the outer islands o# Alas)a* $ut e en that see%ed #ar a!ay . She !ondered i# they re"orted her %o e%ents to her #ather. She sa! $ro!n $ears* too* $ut they )e"t their distance.

She ran #or ho%e.t understand ho!* $ut the horse !as de#initely gone.sound $ehind her. <Are you trying to get %e in trou$le-. It !as eating so%ething o## the "ath* and #or a second Ha(el had the cra(y i%"ression it !as %unching one o# the gold nuggets that al!ays a""eared in her !a)e. Then 7 Ha(el %ust. Then she heard a train !histle #ro% do!n in the alley. 5inally she sto""ed at a cree) #or a drin) and loo)ed at the s)y* thin)ing it %ust $e around three in the a#ternoon. 'ay$e . She got !ithin ten #eet* and the horse $olted. 'ay$e her %o% had had to !or) late. It !as too !ell groo%ed* its coat too slee) #or a !ild horse. +ust li)e the one she.d ridden on her last day in Ne! 3rleans* !hen Sa%%y had ta)en her to the sta$les. Her %other !asn.t there. 5or a second Ha(el #elt relie ed. She reali(ed it had to $e the e ening run to Anchorage* !hich %eant it !as ten at night. A !is" o# stea% curled #ro% the ground. She s"ent the rest o# the a#ternoon trying to catch it . e $een the sa%e horse* though that !as i%"ossi$le. The train !histle echoed through the hills again* and she reali(ed ho! %uch trou$le she !as in. The horse loo)ed at her !arily. She turned and sa! a gorgeous tan roan stallion !ith a $lac) %ane . Ha(el didn. She lost trac) o# ti%e* !hich !as easy to do !ith the su%%er sun staying u" so long. <Hey* #ella*. She glared at the horse* gra(ing "eace#ully across the cree). e i%agined it. she called. I +ust !ant to ride again. It could. al%ost too 4uic) #or her eyes to register. I# she could get close enough 7 What. Ha(el #igured it %ust $elong to so%eone. The horse !hinnied.Return itNo* she thought. The horse s"ed a!ay in a $lur o# $lac) and tan* #aster than #or)ed lightning . She stared at the s"ot !here the horse had stood.She could #ind its o!ner. getting %addeningly close $e#ore it ran a!ay again.

a little s)i## her %other had $ought !ith a #e! gold nuggets #ro% a #isher%an* !ho had a tragic accident !ith his nets the ne1t day.s8 Wic)ed girl. &esides* her %other !as tra""ed. I# the island had a na%e* she didn. I.t )no! it. Her storage chest !as o"en and her #e! clothes stre!n across the #loor. 3nce Ha(el had %ade the %ista)e o# as)ing the to!ns#ol)* $ut they had stared at her li)e she !as cra(y. She too) the ro!$oat . Her %attress had $een shredded as i# a lion had attac)ed it. Worst o# all* her dra!ing "ad !as ri""ed to "ieces. A#ter se eral %inutes* she turned and loo)ed ahead.s curtain !as "ulled do!n.t trust the :oice* $ut she didn. Ha(el didn. I# Ha(el )e"t hel"ing* her %other !ould $e #reed. Then she sa! the !rec)age. The :oice had "ro%ised that they !ere al%ost done !ith their tas). Pinned to the !all !as a note in red on the last "iece o# dra!ing "a"er* in !riting that !as not her %other. The sun !as #inally going do!n o er the %ountains* turning the s)y $lood red. She !anted to ignore the su%%ons. She sto""ed once to $e sic) o er the side. In the %iddle o# the $ay* the glistening $ac) o# a !hale ra)ed the sur#ace.s $irthday gi#t* Ha(el. As al!ays* the roc)ing o# the $oat %ade her sto%ach 4ueasy. <Ain. Ha(el had learned not to as) a$out that.% !aiting at the island. Pluto.t no island there*.tonight they !ouldn.t disa""oint %e. said one old #isher%an* <or %y . She !anted to run a!ay* $ut there !as no!here to go.s only lu1ury* had $een destroyed. Ha(el so$$ed in des"air. She ro!ed to!ards the $ay.s %other see%ed ca"a$le on occasion o# reaching the island !ithout any trans"ortation. Seals glided $y her $oat* loo)ing at Ha(el ho"e#ully* sni##ing #or #ish scra"s.s %outh.t ha e to %a)e the +ourney. E en in %idsu%%er* chun)s o# ice s!irled in Resurrection &ay.t see any other o"tion. They had only one $oat* $ut Ha(el. Her coloured "encils !ere all $ro)en. Right in #ront o# her* out o# the #og* the island %ateriali(ed . an acre o# "ine trees* $oulders and sno! !ith a $lac) sand $each. Ha(el. Don.

No %atter !hat she tells %e* I !ill %a)e this the last night. she as)ed. At the centre o# the island* t!o %assi e $lac) $oulders #or%ed the entrance to a tunnel. She i%agined that i# she #ell aslee" here her $ody !ould sin) into the earthen #loor and turn to %ulch. Ha(el didn.. Tonight. It !as a greasy $lac) $ird al%ost as large as an eagle* !ith a +agged $ea) li)e an o$sidian )ni#e. The last night* Ha(el told hersel#. The !alls glo!ed !ith lu%inescent %osses . She hi)ed inland* care#ul to stic) to the trail. The !hole cha%$er thru%%ed !ith energy* an . It "ec)ed at the $oat.s "ro! and #le! to!ards the island. The $oat slid ashore* crac)ing through a #ine layer o# ice and $lac) silt. That ga e her enough strength to ro! on. She decided to ta)e it as a "ro%ise. Ha(el !as a$out #i#ty yards #ro% the shore !hen a ra en landed on the $oat. it croa)ed.d stray into their clutches.t )no! !hat they !ere* $ut she )ne! they !ere !atching her* ho"ing she. <Tonight*. The ca e !as as large as a church sanctuary* li)e the St Louis 0athedral $ac) ho%e on /ac)son S4uare. Ha(el let the oars rest. <The last night. The island !as #ull o# dangers* $oth natural and %agical.s stern. The ra en tilted its head. <Are you #ro% %y #ather-. It !as the only truly !ar% "lace Ha(el had #ound since %o ing to Alas)a. Its eyes glittered !ith intelligence* so Ha(el !asn. The air s%elled o# #reshly turned soil.$oat !ould. <The last night..t %uch sur"rised !hen it tal)ed. green* red and "ur"le. Ha(el %ade her !ay into the ca ern she called the Heart o# the Earth. 6lo!ing !hite s"irits* aguely hu%an* dri#ted through the trees. 3 er the %onths* Ha(el and her %other had !orn a "ath #ro% the $each into the !oods. e run into it a thousand ti%es. She tried to decide i# the ra en !as !arning her* or ad ising her* or %a)ing a "ro%ise.. The s!eet* %oist heat %ade Ha(el #eel dro!sy* $ut she #ought to stay a!a)e. &ears rustled in the undergro!th.

She !ore sno! $oots and !aders and a stained !hite shirt #ro% the diner.s too late.d $een co%ing here* #our or #i e nights a !ee) as the :oice re4uired. The :oice had ne er relin4uished control !hile they !ere on the island. Its drea%s !ere so %alicious* so #it#ul* that Ha(el #elt hersel# losing her gri" on reality. <What ha e I done-.t ha e %e. <'other-.d colla"sed !ith e1haustion* she.d lost !eight.d o er!hel%ed Ha(el. >ou all $elong to %e* 6aia %ur%ured li)e a lulla$y. Ha(el had cried* she. 5or %onths they.d gi en in to des"air.% Ha(el Le es4ue. She stared in horror at the thing in the "it. The #issure in the earth had #illed !ith gold and "recious stones* . She !as a!a)e and conscious. &ring %y %ost alua$le "ossession to %e.t thin) so. She.s #rail oice echoed through the ca ern. No* Ha(el thought. She ne er !ould ha e $een %ista)en #or a 4ueen. 'arie turned. &ut the :oice that controlled her %other had urged her on relentlessly.s %other. <It. This "lace !as ali e. Her eyes !ere o"en. Return to the earth. her %other as)ed hel"lessly. In si1 %onths* her hair had turned as grey as lint.. I. <3h* Ha(el* !hat did I do to you-. 6aia !anted to consu%e her identity* +ust as she. 'arie Le es4ue stood o er the "it.s !a es $attering the island* $ut Ha(el didn. Perha"s it !as +ust the sea. 2se your "o!ers* child. Her %other. She !anted to consu%e e ery hu%an* god and de%igod that dared to !al) across her sur#ace. Surrender. not 6aia. >ou can. Ha(el reali(ed !ith a shoc) that it !as her oice . &ring alua$les #ro% the earth. This should ha e %ade Ha(el #eel relie ed* $ut it %ade her ner ous. The earth !as aslee"* $ut it "ulsated !ith "o!er. At #irst* her e##orts had $rought only scorn. Her hands !ere gnarled #ro% hard !or).s.echoing $oo%* $oo%* $oo% that re%inded Ha(el o# a heart$eat.d "leaded* she.

She. <I.. 3#ten she concentrated all night on raising it* until her %ind and soul !ere e1hausted* $ut she didn. Ha(el )nelt and "ut her ar% round her %other. Inside* so%ething glo!ed !ith heat. Her %other glanced #ear#ully around the ca e. 5or that* she needs %y #ree !ill. Sorry.. It e%erged so gradually* night a#ter night* that Ha(el had trou$le +udging its "rogress. She )no!s it. They could run a!ay* $ac) to Ne! 3rleans.d $een scolded and $la%ed #or her %other. . There !as hardly anything le#t o# her . They could get out o# here. She. <No* she. She.s only one %ore thing she needs #ro% %e. I.d $een treated li)e a #rea)* dragged a!ay #ro% her ho%e in Ne! 3rleans to this cold !ilderness* and !or)ed li)e a sla e $y a %erciless e il goddess.t %a)e hersel# #eel angry. <She let %e go. Ha(el said.s un#ortunate li#e.$u$$ling in a thic) sou" o# "etroleu%.d acco%"lished.s nothing !e can do. A $ody !as #or%ing out o# sil er and gold* !ith oil #or $lood and ra! dia%onds #or a heart. Ha(el couldn. She loo)ed hel"less and alone* horri$ly sad.t notice any di##erence. <She 7 the :oice-. Ha(el should ha e $een #urious.d li ed in #ear o# her %other #or years. No! Ha(el could see ho! %uch she..t cut it. There.s here. The thing !as t!o storeys high* a s!irl o# roc)y tendrils +utting li)e a s"ear ti" #ro% the oily %orass. <Tell %e ho! to sto" it. +ust s)in and $ones and stained !or) clothes. >et the s"ire did gro!. She should ha e des"ised her %other. E en in the !ar% ca e* she !as tre%$ling. <What can !e do-.s too late. Her %other shoo) her head. There. Ha(el !as resurrecting the son o# 6aia. Then* slo!ly* a roc) s"ire $egan to gro! li)e a %assi e tuli" $ul$. &ut she couldn.. Ha(el !as a#raid to get her ho"es u"* $ut i# her %other !as really #reed then nothing else %attered.% sorry* Ha(el. He !as al%ost ready to !a)e.s treasure du%"ed in a tar "it.% so sorry.t see it clearly* $ut she )ne! !hat !as ha""ening. Her %other #ell to her )nees and !e"t. It loo)ed li)e a dragon. Sorry didn. <Is she gone-.

I !as angry !ith your #ather. I $la%ed you.s !hy I can #ind things under the earth-. He s!ore on the Ri er Sty1. <Let.s going to hatch. <Tell %e ho! to sto" her. <>our . her %other agreed. 6aia. He !arned %e the greediest !ishes cause the greatest sorro!s..s oice. I i%agined li ing li)e a 4ueen .s dise%$odied oice echoed through the ca e.Ha(el didn.. your !ish-.. The ground tre%$led. I ne er thought the old gris-gris s"ell !ould !or) on a god.t re%e%$er the last ti%e she. and you ha e $rought hi% #ro% the de"ths* Ha(el Le es4ue. <Soon*.t li)e the sound o# that. He "ro%ised %e anything. Ha(el said. She #elt a so$ $uilding in her chest. &ut I insisted. I !as so $itter that I listened to 6aia. <All the !ealth under the earth*. 3nly one thing re%ains. . she said.s got to $e so%ething !e can do*. I !as so tired o# $eing "oor* Ha(el. Her %other gestured listlessly around the ca ern. >ou ha e %ade hi% ane!. I as)ed #or all the riches he had. <When you !ere $orn* he !as so "leased and "roud. Her %isery !ould soon $eco%e too great to hold inside* and her s)in !ould shatter. <There. &ut he courted %e* told %e I !as $ra e and $eauti#ul 7. So tired. <That. His a!a)ening cannot $e sto""ed.s eyes. She stared at her $ent* calloused hands.. <Pluto !arned %e*. I !anted it. <That. She loo)ed at Ha(el so tenderly 7 Ha(el couldn.. I $la%ed hi% #or %y "ro$le%s.s get out o# here*.s ho! she #ound %e* ho! she !as a$le to control %e. 'y eldest rises* she said* the %ost "recious thing in the earth ..d seen that )ind o# a##ection in her %other. <And !hy they $ring only sorro!. the !i#e o# a god= And you 7 you recei ed the curse. her %other said. she urged. I !as a #ool. Ha(el #elt as i# she !ere e1"anding to the $rea)ing "oint* +ust li)e that s"ire in the "it. <That thing in the roc) 7 it. 5irst I su%%oned hi% 7 +ust to see i# I could. <He controlled it. <He told %e %y !ish !as too dangerous.

Alcyoneus* 6aia said. <I !on. The %ortal con#lict !ould rage #or decades until all ci ili(ation !as s!e"t a!ay* and the earth goddess a!a)ened #ully.s drea%s !ere so "o!er#ul they cast shado!s across the ca e !alls . While the gods are di ided* #ighting each other in this %ortal World War* he !ill send #orth his ar%ies to destroy 3ly%"us. &ut no! he !ill !a)e and* soon* so shall I= With terri$le certainty* Ha(el )ne! !hat !ould ha""en .% sorry* Ha(el. He !ill raise an ar%y o# %onsters. All this* the goddess "urred* $ecause your %other !as greedy and cursed you !ith the gi#t o# #inding riches. )no! that it !as only $ecause I lo ed you. He !ill !al) these icy %ountains and #orests. She !as terri#ied* $ut no! that her %other !as #ree* she #elt li)e she could con#ront her ene%y at last. While the gods #ought each other to a $loody standstill* an ar%y o# %onsters !ould rise in the north.. He %ust rise #irst* and this !ill $e his ne! ho%eland . <She needs you to gi e your li#e !illingly to raise that . Ha(el !asn. Ha(el #inally understood. Alcyoneus !ould re i e his $rother giants and send the% #orth to con4uer the !orld. Ha(el. &ut I a% done !ith your hel"* girl. #ar #ro% the gods.s throat constricted.. The gods o# 3ly%"us !ould ta)e sides in the $attle as they al!ays did in hu%an !ars. <'other-. <I. The !ea)ened gods !ould #all.Ha(el clenched her #ists. that thing. The earth goddess. She "ro%ised to let you li e i# . In %y slee"ing state* I !ould ha e needed decades %ore* "erha"s e en centuries* $e#ore I #ound the "o!er to resurrect Alcyoneus %ysel#. <I# you sacri#ice yoursel#*. 6aia !ould rule #ore er. I# you can #orgi e %e* "lease . I $rought you here #or one reason only. >our %other re4uired 7 incenti e. This creature* this e il goddess* had ruined their li es.t going to let her !in. she yelled. Eldest o# the giants. ghastly shi#ting i%ages o# Na(i ar%ies raging across Euro"e* /a"anese "lanes destroying A%erican cities. Ha(el said* reali(ing the truth.t hel" you any %ore=.

<No. 5or once* her %other didn. I !as #oolish to thin) I needed anything else.. <I !on. at least not yet. Her li#e !ould $e thirteen short* $itter years !ith an unha""y ending. a soul to $e consu%ed #or Alcyoneus to a!a)en. Ha(el %ade her decision. She )issed Ha(el. and she !ould $e a$sor$ed. Ha(el !ould sur i e to see the end o# the !orld* )no!ing that she.t $e #oolish* 6aia said* $ut Ha(el detected concern in her tone* %ay$e e en #ear. Her eyes shone !ith "ride.d caused it. She.d e en said she %ight #ind a horse o# her o!n. Around the s"ire o# Alcyoneus* oil $u$$led* then churned and eru"ted li)e a $oiling cauldron..s #orehead and held her close..t loo) sad or angry. /e!els and . Ha(el su%%oned the last o# her !ill"o!er. she said. They !ould die* $ut not as sacri#ices to 6aia. The air turned searing hot. She reached dee" into her soul. 6aia !ould honour the $argain and let Ha(el li e.. <Ha(el* go.s eyes. Her %other !ould ste" into the #issure and touch that horri$le s"ire . &ut none o# that !ould ha""en i# she died no!. He. 'ay$e that strange stallion in the hills !as %eant #or her. Her !ar%th ga e Ha(el the courage to continue.d ne er see Sa%%y again* or return to Ne! 3rleans. The s"ire $egan to sin). Ha(el $elie ed it. Their souls !ould go to the 2nder!orld* and Alcyoneus !ould not rise .. Not #or that. She called on her #ather* the Lord o# the 2nder!orld* and su%%oned all the riches that lay in his ast real%. Her %other rose unsteadily.s "o!er. That !as the %ost horri$le thing. The ca ern shoo). <>ou !ere %y gi#t* Ha(el*. <She.s "ro%ise8 so%e day her curse !ould $e !ashed a!ayI a descendant o# Ne"tune !ould $ring her "eace. <'y %ost "recious gi#t. The only thing 6aia needed !as a !illing sacri#ice . She %et her %other.t li e. Instincti ely Ha(el )ne! that their #inal act !ould re+ect 6aia. She re%e%$ered her #ather.ne1t. Don. >ou !ill destroy yoursel# #or nothing= >our %other !ill still die= Ha(el al%ost !a ered.ll let you li e* $ut you %ust hurry.

Hal# a century. Ha(el san) into her %other. a #e! decades.chun)s o# gold shot #ro% the #issure !ith such #orce that they crac)ed the ca ern !alls and sent shra"nel #lying* stinging Ha(el. . At $est* you !ill delay hi% . >ou cannot "re ent his rise.s ar%s* into the dar)ness* as oil #illed her lungs and the island colla"sed into the $ay.s s)in through her +ac)et. The roo# cru%$led. The #issure e1"loded. Would you trade your li es #or thatHa(el ga e her an ans!er. Sto" this= 6aia de%anded. The last night* the ra en had said.

.

N:III .

They !ere on a cli## o erloo)ing a $each. She sat u" groggily* her head s"inning.s not %edical 7 not really. e $een luc)y so #ar* $ut it. <We couldn. <I.. she ad%itted. I ha e the% once in a !hile. <Is it %edical. <Where are !e-. <I try to hide it*. <A hundred and #i#ty %iles-. 5ran) e1haled. <A $lac)out-..s hand* !hich startled her 7 though "leasantly so. The night s)y $la(ed !ith stars. To her right* hugging the edge o# the cli##* !as a $uilding li)e a s%all church !ith a searchlight in the stee"le.s getting !orse. &ehind the%* #ields o# tall grass rustled in the !ind.t !a)e you.t I noticed $e#ore-. she said. Ha(el groaned... I ha en.re in 'endocino* a$out a hundred and #i#ty %iles north o# the 6olden 6ate. 5inally !e decided to $ring you ashore.Why ha en. The sur# !ashed gently against the stern o# their $eached $oat. she as)ed. A lighthouse* Ha(el guessed. She o"ened her eyes. e $een out that long-.t hide the truth #ro% the% any %ore. 5ran) too) Ha(el. A$out a hundred #eet a!ay* the ocean glinted in the %oonlight.t $een honest !ith you*. <It !asn. <Than) the gods you. Nico says . She too) a dee" $reath. Percy )nelt $eside her* the sea !ind s!ee"ing his hair.Ha(el <HAPEL=. <0o%e on* "lease= Wa)e u"=. She re%e%$ered !hat Nico had said8 I# a #lash$ac) li)e that ha""ens !hen you. <What ha""ened !as a $lac)out.re a!a)e= We.t seasic)ness. He "ut his hand on her #orehead as i# chec)ing #or a #e er. <I. She couldn. The roc)ing o# the $oat !as gone. She !as lying on solid ground* her $undled s!ord and "ac) $eside her. 5RANK SH33K HER AR'S* sounding "anic)ed.re in co%$at 7 <I . It. We thought %ay$e the seasic)ness .

Percy. <Don. <Ne er %ind. <I* u% 7 I thin) I understand your $lac)outs*. <That !as du%$.t !ant you to . He cleared his throat and let go.s hand. he said. I. She couldn. said Percy.. I.s intense green eyes !ere hard to read.ll get the su""lies. e had so%e #ood and !ater.ll )ee" her sa#e*. <I. <>ou t!o stay here.t tell !hether he !as concerned or !ary. +ust the lighthouse and the #ield o# grass stretching inland. Ha(el.. <5ran)* +ust )ee" your eyes o"en. I# she #ailed the% on this 4uest* (on)ed out !hen they needed her %ost 7 she couldn. Stu"idly* she. Percy %uttered a curse in 6ree). <I. I le#t %y su""lies do!n at the $oat.t $ear that idea. I can !al) 7. He $lin)ed* then rushed on.s a side e##ect #ro% %y "ast* #ro% !here he #ound %e.s #ine*.. Ha(el said #ee$ly.. e %et.d #orgotten to $ring a !ater $ottle.t )no!.d sli" $ac) into the "ast* $ut they deser ed to )no!.it. Ha(el #elt $ad as)ing the% to ta)e care o# her* $ut she. 5ran) said.ll go. <>eah. 3nce they !ere alone* 5ran) see%ed to reali(e he !as still holding Ha(el. She shouldered her "ac) and s!ord.t e en thin) a$out it*.ll e1"lain*. <Not li)e 7 $ad di##erent..s.. /ust the . Her heart$eat stu%$led. So%ething a$out this "lace 7 I don. She !as a#raid i# she started tal)ing she.d li ed the last #e! hours in $oth the "ast and the "resent.d !o)en u" "arched and e1hausted* as i# she.ll $e right $ac). Percy glanced at 5ran). <And !here you co%e #ro%. <Not until you. Then he scanned the hori(on as i# he sensed trou$le* $ut there !as nothing to see ....s tongue #elt li)e cotton.s hand on Ha(el. Percy dashed o##. <I don. <>ou do-. She cla!ed through her "ac). <No* I. he as)ed.. <>ou sure-. she "ro%ised. <Where e1actly did Nico #ind you-. <It. <>ou see% so di##erent #ro% other girls I. <Is 7 is there anything to drin)-. 5ran) "ro%ised.

!ay you tal). The things that sur"rise you . li)e songs* or T: sho!s* or slang "eo"le use. >ou tal) a$out your li#e li)e it ha""ened a long ti%e ago. >ou !ere $orn in a di##erent ti%e* !eren,t you- >ou ca%e #ro% the 2nder!orld., Ha(el !anted to cry . not $ecause she !as sad* $ut $ecause it !as such a relie# to hear so%eone say the truth. 5ran) didn,t act re olted or scared. He didn,t loo) at her as i# she !ere a ghost or so%e a!#ul undead (o%$ie. <5ran)* I ., <We,ll #igure it out*, he "ro%ised. <>ou,re ali e no!. We,re going to )ee" you that !ay., The grass rustled $ehind the%. Ha(el,s eyes stung in the cold !ind. <I don,t deser e a #riend li)e you*, she said. <>ou don,t )no! !hat I a% 7 !hat I, e done., <Sto" that., 5ran) sco!led. <>ou,re great= &esides* you,re not the only one !ith secrets., Ha(el stared at hi%. <I,% not-, 5ran) started to say so%ething. Then he tensed. <What-, Ha(el as)ed. <The !ind,s sto""ed., She loo)ed around and noticed he !as right. The air had $eco%e "er#ectly still. <So-, she as)ed. 5ran) s!allo!ed. <So !hy is the grass still %o ing-, 3ut o# the corner o# her eye* Ha(el sa! dar) sha"es ri""le through the #ield. <Ha(el=, 5ran) tried to gra$ her ar%s* $ut it !as too late. So%ething )noc)ed hi% $ac)!ards. Then a #orce li)e a grassy hurricane !ra""ed around Ha(el and dragged her into the #ields.

NIN

He(el

HAPEL WAS AN ENPERT 3N WEIRD. She,d seen her %other "ossessed $y an earth goddess. She,d created a giant out o# gold. She,d destroyed an island* died and co%e $ac) #ro% the 2nder!orld. &ut getting )idna""ed $y a #ield o# grass- That !as ne!. She #elt as i# she !ere tra""ed in a #unnel cloud o# "lants. She,d heard o# %odern-day singers +u%"ing into cro!ds o# #ans and getting "assed o erhead $y thousands o# hands. She i%agined this !as si%ilar . only she !as %o ing a thousand ti%es #aster* and the grass $lades !eren,t adoring #ans. She couldn,t sit u". She couldn,t touch the ground. Her s!ord !as still in her $edroll* stra""ed to her $ac)* $ut she couldn,t reach it. The "lants )e"t her o## $alance* tossing her around* slicing her #ace and ar%s. She could $arely %a)e out the stars through the tu%$le o# green* yello! and $lac). 5ran),s shouting #aded into the distance. It !as hard to thin) clearly* $ut Ha(el )ne! one thing8 She !as %o ing #ast. Where er she !as $eing ta)en* she,d soon $e too #ar a!ay #or her #riends to #ind her. She closed her eyes and tried to ignore the tu%$ling and tossing. She sent her thoughts into the earth $elo! her. 6old* sil er . she,d settle #or anything that %ight disru"t her )idna""ers. She #elt nothing. Riches under the earth . (ero. She !as a$out to des"air !hen she #elt a huge cold s"ot "ass $eneath her. She loc)ed onto it !ith all her concentration* dro""ing a %ental anchor. Suddenly the ground ru%$led. The s!irl o# "lants released her and she !as thro!n u"!ard li)e a cata"ult "ro+ectile. 'o%entarily !eightless* she o"ened her eyes. She t!isted her $ody in %idair. The ground !as a$out t!enty

#eet $elo! her. Then she !as #alling. Her co%$at training )ic)ed in. She,d "ractised dro""ing #ro% giant eagles $e#ore. She tuc)ed into a roll* turned the i%"act into a so%ersault* and ca%e u" standing. She unslung her $edroll and dre! her s!ord. A #e! yards to her le#t* an outcro""ing o# roc) the si(e o# a garage +utted #ro% the sea o# grass. Ha(el reali(ed it !as her anchor. She,d caused the roc) to a""ear. The grass ri""led around it. Angry oices hissed in dis%ay at the %assi e clu%" o# stone that had $ro)en their "rogress. &e#ore they could regrou"* Ha(el ran to the roc) and cla%$ered to the to". The grass s!ayed and rustled around her li)e the tentacles o# a gigantic undersea ane%one. Ha(el could sense her )idna""ers, #rustration. <0an,t gro! on this* can you-, she yelled. <6o a!ay* you $unch o# !eeds= Lea e %e alone=, <Schist*, said an angry oice #ro% the grass. Ha(el raised her eye$ro!s. <E1cuse %e-, <Schist= &ig "ile o# schist=, A nun at St Agnes Acade%y had once !ashed Ha(el,s %outh !ith lye soa" #or saying so%ething ery si%ilar* so she !asn,t sure ho! to res"ond. Then* all around her roc) island* the )idna""ers %ateriali(ed #ro% the grass. At #irst glance they loo)ed li)e :alentine angels . a do(en chu$$y little 0u"id $a$ies. As they ste""ed closer* Ha(el reali(ed they !ere neither cute nor angelic. They !ere the si(e o# toddlers* !ith rolls o# $a$y #at* $ut their s)in had a strange greenish hue* as i# chloro"hyll ran through their eins. They had dry* $rittle !ings li)e cornhus)s* and tu#ts o# !hite hair li)e corn sil). Their #aces !ere haggard* "itted !ith )ernels o# grain. Their eyes !ere solid green* and their teeth !ere canine #angs. The largest creature ste""ed #or!ard. He !ore a yello! loincloth* and his hair !as s"i)y* li)e the $ristles on a stal) o# !heat. He hissed at Ha(el and !addled $ac) and #orth so 4uic)ly* she !as a#raid his loincloth %ight #all o##. <Hate this schist=, the creature co%"lained. <Wheat cannot gro!=,

<Sorghu% cannot gro!=, another "i"ed u". <&arley=, yelled a third. <&arley cannot gro!. 0urse this schist=, Ha(el,s )nees !o$$led. The little creatures %ight ha e $een #unny i# they !eren,t surrounding her* staring u" at her !ith those "ointed teeth and hungry green eyes. They !ere li)e 0u"id "iranhas. <>-you %ean the roc)-, she %anaged. <This roc) is called schist-, <>es* greenstone= Schist=, the #irst creature yelled. <Nasty roc)., Ha(el $egan to understand ho! she,d su%%oned it. <It,s a "recious stone. It,s alua$le-, <&ah=, said the one in the yello! loincloth. <5oolish nati e "eo"le %ade +e!ellery #ro% it* yes. :alua$le- 'ay$e. Not as good as !heat., <3r sorghu%=, <3r $arley=, The others chi%ed in* calling out di##erent ty"es o# grain. They circled the roc)* %a)ing no e##ort to cli%$ it . at least not yet. I# they decided to s!ar% her* there !as no !ay she could #end o## all o# the%. <>ou,re 6aia,s ser ants*, she guessed* +ust to )ee" the% tal)ing. 'ay$e Percy and 5ran) !eren,t too #ar a!ay. 'ay$e they,d $e a$le to see her* standing so tall a$o e the #ields. She !ished that her s!ord glo!ed li)e Percy,s. The yello!-dia"ered 0u"id snarled. <We are the )ar"oi* s"irits o# the grain. 0hildren o# the Earth 'other* yes= We ha e $een her attendants since #ore er. &e#ore nasty hu%ans culti ated us* !e !ere !ild. We !ill $e again. Wheat !ill destroy all=, <No* sorghu% !ill rule=, <&arley shall do%inate=, The others +oined in* each )ar"os cheering #or his o!n ariety. <Right., Ha(el s!allo!ed her re ulsion. <So you,re Wheat* then . you in the yello!* u%* $ritches., <H%%%%*, said Wheat. <0o%e do!n #ro% your schist* de%igod. We %ust ta)e you to our %istress,s ar%y. They

!ill re!ard us. They !ill )ill you slo!ly=, <Te%"ting*, Ha(el said* <$ut no than)s., <I !ill gi e you !heat=, said Wheat* as i# this !ere a ery #ine o##er in e1change #or her li#e. <So %uch !heat=, Ha(el tried to thin). Ho! #ar had she $een carried- Ho! long !ould it ta)e her #riends to #ind her- The )ar"oi !ere getting $older* a""roaching the roc) in t!os and threes* scratching at the schist to see i# it !ould hurt the%. <&e#ore I get do!n 7, She raised her oice* ho"ing it !ould carry o er the #ields. <2%* e1"lain so%ething to %e* !ould you- I# you,re grain s"irits* shouldn,t you $e on the gods, side- Isn,t the goddess o# agriculture 0eres ., <E il na%e=, &arley !ailed. <0ulti ates us=, Sorghu% s"at. <'a)es us gro! in disgusting ro!s. Lets hu%ans har est us. Pah= When 6aia is %istress o# the !orld again* !e !ill gro! !ild* yes=, <Well* naturally*, Ha(el said. <So this ar%y o# hers* !here you,re ta)ing %e in e1change #or !heat ., <3r $arley*, &arley o##ered. <>eah*, Ha(el agreed. <This ar%y is !here* no!-, </ust o er the ridge=, Sorghu% cla""ed his hands e1citedly. <The Earth 'other . oh* yes= . she told us8 ELoo) #or the daughter o# Pluto !ho li es again. 5ind her= &ring her ali e= I ha e %any tortures "lanned #or her.F The giant Poly$otes !ill re!ard us #or your li#e= Then !e !ill %arch south to destroy the Ro%ans. We can,t $e )illed* you )no!. &ut you can* yes., <That,s !onder#ul., Ha(el tried to sound enthusiastic. It !asn,t easy* )no!ing 6aia had s"ecial re enge "lanned #or her. <So you . you can,t $e )illed $ecause Alcyoneus has ca"tured Death* is that it-, <E1actly=, &arley said. <And he,s )ee"ing hi% chained in Alas)a*, Ha(el said* <at 7 let,s see* !hat,s the na%e o# that "lace-, Sorghu% started to ans!er* $ut Wheat #le! at hi% and )noc)ed hi% do!n. The )ar"oi $egan to #ight* dissol ing into #unnel clouds o# grain. Ha(el considered %a)ing a run #or it. Then Wheat re-#or%ed* holding Sorghu% in a headloc). <Sto"=, he yelled at the others. <'ultigrain

#ighting is not allo!ed=, The )ar"oi solidi#ied into chu$$y 0u"id "iranhas again. Wheat "ushed Sorghu% a!ay. <3h* cle er de%igod*, he said. <Trying to tric) us into gi ing secrets. No* you,ll ne er #ind the lair o# Alcyoneus., <I already )no! !here it is*, she said !ith #alse con#idence. <He,s on the island in Resurrection &ay., <Ha=, Wheat sneered. <That "lace san) $eneath the !a es long ago. >ou should )no! that= 6aia hates you #or it. When you th!arted her "lans* she !as #orced to slee" again. Decades and decades= Alcyoneus . not until the dar) ti%es !as he a$le to rise., <The JDL@s*, &arley agreed. <Horri$le= Horri$le=, <>es*, Wheat said. <And our %istress still slee"s. Alcyoneus !as #orced to $ide his ti%e in the north* !aiting* "lanning. 3nly no! does 6aia $egin to stir. 3h* $ut she re%e%$ers you* and so does her son=, Sorghu% cac)led !ith glee. <>ou !ill ne er #ind the "rison o# Thanatos. All o# Alas)a is the giant,s ho%e. He could $e )ee"ing Death any!here= >ears it !ould ta)e you to #ind hi%* and your "oor ca%" has only days. &etter you surrender. We !ill gi e you grain. So %uch grain., Ha(el,s s!ord #elt hea y. She,d dreaded returning to Alas)a* $ut at least she,d had an idea !here to start loo)ing #or Thanatos. She,d assu%ed that the island !here she had died hadn,t $een co%"letely destroyed* or "ossi$ly had risen again !hen Alcyoneus !o)e. She had ho"ed that his $ase !ould $e there. &ut i# the island !as really gone she had no idea ho! to #ind the giant. Alas)a !as huge. They could search #or decades and ne er #ind hi%. <>es*, Wheat said* sensing her anguish. <6i e u"., Ha(el gri""ed her s"atha. <Ne er=, She raised her oice again* ho"ing it !ould so%eho! reach her #riends. <I# I ha e to destroy you all* I !ill. I a% the daughter o# Pluto=, The )ar"oi ad anced. They gri""ed the roc)* hissing as i# it !ere scalding hot* $ut they $egan to cli%$. <No! you !ill die*, Wheat "ro%ised* gnashing his teeth. <>ou !ill #eel the !rath o# grain=,

Suddenly there !as a !histling sound. Wheat,s snarl #ro(e. He loo)ed do!n at the golden arro! that had +ust "ierced his chest. Then he dissol ed into "ieces o# Weeta$i1.

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5ran) cli%$ed the roc) and !atched the% go.ll do it= He. Within %inutes* the )ar"oi had $een reduced to "iles o# seeds and arious $rea)#ast cereals. <E1cuse %e-. Ha(el +u%"ed do!n and +oined the #ight. 5ran) called #ro% the to" o# the roc).t understand !hy* $ut she shouted at the grain "iles any!ay8 <He. She "ointed to the roc). <>ou need to see this. <Schist=.Ha(el 53R A HEART&EAT* HAPEL WAS +ust as stunned as the )ar"oi. 3n the o""osite side o# the road* grassy hills stretched to the hori(on* e%"ty o# ci ili(ation e1ce"t #or one dar)ened con enience store at . <6uys*.d you hold the% o## so long-. Percy slashed Ri"tide through Sorghu% and charged to!ards 'illet and 3ats. 5ran) shot an arro! through &arley* !ho cru%$led into seeds. Percy e1tinguished his lighter and grinned at Ha(el. Ha(el didn. Do!n $elo! the%* an ar%y !as on the %o e. Stay dead. <Percy* no light= Put a!ay your s!ord=.ll set this !hole #ield on #ire. Percy and Ha(el cli%$ed u" to +oin hi%. Stay a!ay #ro% us* or the grass gets it=. Ho!.t ha e #ound you other!ise.. <Try it*. We !ouldn. he !arned* <and I. Wheat started to re-#or%* $ut Percy "ulled a lighter #ro% his "ac) and s"ar)ed a #la%e.s cra(y=. As soon as Ha(el sa! !hat he !as loo)ing at* she inhaled shar"ly. Then 5ran) and Percy $urst into the o"en and $egan to %assacre e ery source o# #i$re they could #ind. <Than)s #or yelling. 5ran) !inced li)e the #la%e terri#ied hi%. The re%nants o# the )ar"oi scattered in the !ind.. The #ield dro""ed into a shallo! ra ine* !here a country road !ound north and south. <A $ig "ile o# schist. He touched the s!ord ti"* and Ri"tide shran) $ac) into a "en.

<>ou. Percy ga(ed #urther do!n the road and his #ace !ent . colu%n a#ter colu%n %arching south* so %any and so close that Ha(el !as a%a(ed they hadn.t heard her shouting.s not right. <'ay$e they. The !hole ra ine !as #ull o# %onsters .. She shoo) her head. <And those things $ehind the% .s not as) the%* o)ay-. <The Earth$orn #ought the Argonauts*. They !atched in dis$elie# as se eral do(en large* hairy hu%anoids "assed $y* dressed in tattered $its o# ar%our and ani%al #ur.s not !hat !e !ere taught at ca%". Ha(el $elie ed in %onsters* $ut so%e o# the descri"tions !ere so !ild she had thought they %ust $e +ust ridiculous ru%ours. 0entaurs are cra(y* al!ays getting drun) and )illing heroes. <Are they su""osed to ha e $ull. <That.s horns-.. <The Earth$orn. Ha(el !his"ered. she %ur%ured. <0entaurs*. 5ran) said. Then she reali(ed they had actual horns +utting #ro% their shaggy hair. They !ere hu%an #ro% the !aist u"* "alo%ino #ro% the !aist do!n. e #ought the% $e#ore-.re a s"ecial $reed*. She. She* 5ran) and Percy crouched against the roc).. Percy said. The creatures had si1 ar%s each* three s"routing on either side* so they loo)ed li)e ca e%en e ol ed #ro% insects. 5ran) %ade a cho)ing sound. 0entaurs are good guys. <Let. </ust heard a$out the% in %onster class at ca%". Percy as)ed.. They !ere dressed in $ar$arian ar%our o# hide and $ron(e* ar%ed !ith s"ears and slings. <6egenes*. she as)ed. 3nly no!* a !hole ar%y o# those ru%ours !as %arching $y. reading Pliny the Elder and those other %usty authors !ho descri$ed legendary %onsters #ro% the edges o# the Ro%an E%"ire. <&ut 7 that.d ne er li)ed %onster class ..the to" o# the nearest rise. At #irst* Ha(el thought they !ere !earing :i)ing hel%ets. Ha(el !atched as the horse-%en cantered "ast.

The %onster ar%y !as enough to %a)e anyone des"air* $ut Ha(el reali(ed that so%ething else !as going on !ith Percy. /ust the sight o# those !ea"ons %ade Ha(el. Si1 o# the %onsters !ere yo)ed li)e o1en* "ulling a t!o-storey-tall siege to!er #itted !ith a giant scor"ion $allista. His #ace !as hu%an* $ut his hair !as !ild and green* li)e a %o" o# sea!eed. <No argu%ent*.s throat. Percy groaned. I# they !ere only a #e! hundred %iles north o# 0a%" /u"iter* their 4uest !as already doo%ed. She glanced at 5ran). They could ne er %a)e it to Alas)a and $ac) in ti%e.t 4uite $elie e her eyes. As he turned his head #ro% side to side* sna)es dro""ed #ro% his dreadloc)s. There !as no !ay the legion could #ight so %any. 0entaurs. Then she sa! the giant. <Reyna )no!s. <They )no!*. The sea !ill %a)e hi% #eel $etter.. :i"er dandru## . He !as taller than the siege to!er . All !rong. <'y gods 7 0yclo"es..s sto%ach clench. she urged.s 7. He loo)ed "ale and sic)ly in the %oonlight* as i# his %e%ories !ere trying to co%e $ac)* scra%$ling his %ind in the "rocess. Percy "ressed the sides o# his head.d #aced that ty"e o# #ighter in . gross. <Let. The ca%" 7 !e ha e to !arn the ca%".. <There are too %any o# the%. 5ran) said. She. When he a""eared o er the ridge* Ha(el couldn. This is !rong.slac). !ith scaly re"tilian legs li)e a Ko%odo dragon #ro% the !aist do!n and green-$lue ar%our #ro% the !aist u".. <0yclo"es. He !as ar%ed !ith a %assi e trident and a !eighted net. Sure enough* lu%$ering a#ter the centaurs !as a $attalion o# one-eyed ogres* $oth %ale and #e%ale* each a$out ten #eet tall* !earing ar%our co$$led out o# +un)yard %etal. A lu%" #or%ed in Ha(el. <0o%e on*.. thirty #eet* at least . <We need to get hi% $ac) to the $oat. His $reast"late !as sha"ed li)e ro!s o# hungry %onstrous #aces* their %ouths o"en as i# de%anding #ood.

$ut ne1t to the giant she loo)ed li)e a child. the 0yclo"es shrie)ed. The store on the hill !as encased in a rain$o!* closer and $righter than any Ha(el had e er seen. She !asn. The grain s"irit %entioned hi%* too.. That. It !as the tric)iest* snea)iest* %ost e il co%$at style she )ne!.gladiator training %any ti%es. Ha(el )ne! they should lea e.s aura o# "o!er e en #ro% here. <That. as i# she !ere standing near a "o!er#ul %agnet* and all the iron in her $lood !as $eing dra!n to!ards it. As the giant got close* a 0yclo"s !o%an $ro)e ran)s and ran $ac) to s"ea) !ith hi%. She and her #riends cre"t a little #urther do!n the schist and )e"t !atching.. Ha(el s4uinted. The light !as anchored at the store* shooting u" into the hea ens* . a creature o# the earth so %ale olent and "o!er#ul that he radiated his o!n gra itational #ield. &elo! her* the ene%y ar%y dissol ed into chaos* %onsters screa%ing in "ain and outrage. This giant !as another child o# 6aia . <3ne o# his &rothers* I thin).t sure ho! she )ne!* $ut she could #eel the giant. The giant sna""ed $ac) an ans!er* as i# he !as annoyed. <Too "retty=. The #e%ale 0yclo"s $ar)ed an order to her )indred* and three o# the% #ollo!ed her u" the hill. Ha(el !as $linded. She re%e%$ered that #eeling #ro% the Heart o# the Earth as she had raised Alcyoneus . She "ointed to the closed-u" con enience store on to" o# the nearest hill and %uttered so%ething a$out #ood. <Not Alcyoneus*. When they !ere hal#!ay to the store* a searing light turned night into day.s Poly$otes. 5ran).d +ust ste""ed out o# a dar) theatre into a sunny a#ternoon. <&urns our eye=. The one Ter%inus %entioned. She #elt li)e she. Their hiding "lace on to" o# the roc) !ould $e in "lain sight to a creature that tall i# he chose to loo) in their direction. Ha(el said !ea)ly.s not .s oice 4ui ered. &ut she sensed so%ething i%"ortant !as a$out to ha""en. <Who is he-. This giant !as a su"ersi(e retiarius. She !as enor%ous* #at and horri$ly ugly* !earing a chain-%ail dress li)e a %uu%uu .

<I a% hungry. <Let.s #eet.$athing the countryside in a !eird )aleidosco"ic glo!.Where chocolate %u##ins-. <Horri$le goddess=. He thre! the ca)e $ac) at the sho"* and it a"ori(ed in the light.re already late. <A chocolate %u##in. The giant raised his trident and net. A tiny dar) o$+ect ca%e sailing out o# the !indo! and landed at the giant. With so%e di##iculty* he %anaged to shout and "ush and "u%%el his troo"s into su$%ission. When the thing did not e1"lode* Poly$otes $ent do!n cautiously and "ic)ed it u". His troo"s hit the ground.. Poly$otes said. <I a% Poly$otes= Kneel $e#ore %e so I %ay destroy you 4uic)ly. When they. Alcyoneus . she $ello!ed at the store. <0o%e out and surrender=. 5inally the giant leader see%ed to reali(e that his troo"s !ere thro!ing a!ay "er#ectly good e4ui"%ent. Poly$otes yelled* <6renade=.>ou dare insult %e !ith a chocolate %u##in-. Se eral %uttered hungrily* <0hocolate %u##in. <We.s attac)*. <6oddess=. No ans!er #ro% the store. She !ailed in agony and dro""ed her clu$* retreating !ith %ulti-coloured $listers all o er her ar%s and #ace. 'y $oys !ant snac)s=. The rain$o! continued to shi%%er. A""arently* no one in the store !as i%"ressed. he roared. <No=. He roared in outrage. He co ered his #ace. said the lady 0yclo"s. The lady 0yclo"s he#ted her clu$ and charged at the store. he shouted. <6i e us snac)s=. The %onsters got to their #eet.d 4uieted do!n* he a""roached the rain$o!-shielded store hi%sel# and stal)ed around the $orders o# the light. The other %onsters !ent cra(y* charging the con enience store* then running a!ay as the rain$o! light $urned the%. <Sto"=. So%e thre! roc)s* s"ears* s!ords and e en "ieces o# their ar%our* all o# !hich $urned u" in #la%es o# "retty colours. As she hit the rain$o!* her !hole $ody $egan to stea%.

!ants us at the ca%" in #our days. Ha(el "ondered !hat the 0yclo"s had said8 3range and "ur"le ones. He ai%ed that last co%%ent at the store* $ut got no res"onse.I co%e to annihilate you=. He %ight still $e ali e.. Ha(el. Pur"le . <'ore than that*. Poly$otes insisted. 5ran) nodded. The other 0yclo"es $ello!ed in a""ro al. <I s%ell sea god. I can sense 7. That couldn. We ha e no ti%e #or %inor goddesses=. >ou 0yclo"es %o e ine1cusa$ly slo!ly.t get sea god=. &ut orange 7 Percy had sho!n u" in a tattered orange shirt. &elo! the%* the ar%y $egan to %arch south again* $ut the giant Poly$otes stood to one side* #ro!ning and sni##ing the air. <She #ought /ason. </ason*. Ha(el "ut her hand on his shoulder and tried to "ress hi% #lat against the roc). The rest o# the %onsters +oined in. <Sea god*. Ha(el shoo) her head.t sho! it.t )no! any Leo or Pi"er at ca%". she !his"ered.. She didn. Poly$otes gro!led.t get %u##ins* you don. ti%e. he %uttered. <3# course you s%ell sea god= The sea is right o er there=. <Do !e %arch or sni## the air-. The lady 0yclo"s 'a 6as)et snarled. <The ca%"* yes. :engeance= The orange and "ur"le ones destroyed %y ho%e. 'arch= 'arch=. He #ro!ned* turning his head and sha)ing out a #e! %ore sna)es. He too) one last loo) at the rain$o!-encased store* then ra)ed his . Percy still loo)ed sic)ly and da(ed. I# the na%es %eant anything to hi%* he didn. To Ha(el. <:ery !ell. <I !as $orn to destroy Ne"tune. o$ iously the colour o# 0a%" /u"iter. She glanced at her #riends. Percy !as sha)ing. 'a 6as)et scolded.s !hole $ody tingled. <Do those other na%es %ean anything to you-.t $e a coincidence. No! 'a 6as)et !ill destroy theirs= Do you hear %e* Leo.s horror* he turned in their direction. <I don. The lady 0yclo"s gro!led./asonPi"er.

He laughed !ic)edly and thre! the sna)es into the tall grass on the hillside..s go.. <We. Percy shuddered iolently. 5ran) said. <Well 7 any goddess !ho thro!s a %u##in at a giant can. 3nce they !ere gone* the $linding rain$o! shut o## li)e a s"otlight.t $e all $ad. See i# your store gets %any custo%ers !ith these sentries outside.s a goddess inside* %ay$e she can hel" us. And she couldn. They should get hi% $ac) to the $oat. Let. <Let. 6radually* the last colu%n o# %onsters "assed o er the hills and disa""eared into the night.. she said. <A gi#t* goddess= 'y na%e* Poly$otes* %eans E'any-to5eedF= Here are so%e hungry %ouths #or you. They $oth loo)ed at Percy* !ho !as sha)ing li)e he had hy"other%ia. e got to try*. Seeing that ar%y see%ed to ha e triggered so%e )ind o# %e%ory* lea ing hi% shell-shoc)ed. She didn.t sha)e the dread#ul #eeling that i# she hadn. . <I# there.t su%%oned that schist she. Ha(el got the #eeling the )ar"oi !ouldn.t li)e the idea o# the three o# the% %a)ing their !ay $ac) to the $oat in the %iddle o# the night. <And that $urning rain$o! %ight co%e $ac). <E1ce"t a $unch o# sna)e things are guarding the hill no!*. Then he %arched south* his %assi e Ko%odo legs sha)ing the earth. 3n the other hand* a huge stretch o# grassland lay $et!een the% and the $each. Ha(el* 5ran) and Percy !ere le#t alone in the dar)* staring across the road at a closed-u" con enience store. <That !as di##erent*.t stay a!ay #ore er.. 5ran) nodded gri%ly. Ha(el )ne! he needed hel"* or rest* or so%ething.#ingers through his hair. Ha(el said. 5ran) %uttered.d $e a ca"ti e o# the giant right no!. He $rought out three sna)es that see%ed larger than the rest* !ith !hite %ar)ings around their nec)s.s go to the store*.

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d ne er use it.s oice argued. 5ran) loo)ed do!n at his $ody and sighed. His $o! and s"ear sla""ed against his $ac). 'ay$e there had $een a %i1-u". Percy had %ade it clear that he hated 'ars* and 5ran) couldn. Not necessarily in that order. She !as a natural !arrior* 6rand%other. Ha(el )e"t !atching 5ran) out o# the corner o# her eye* li)e she !as a#raid he %ight turn into a %uscle-$ound #rea).t there so%e sort o# DNA test #or gods. 'ars !as a %oron.s crescent* the 'ural 0ro!n. 0orrection8 e en %ore o# a %uscle-$ound #rea). He !as a lactoseintolerant )lut(* !ho couldn. A real %an.5ran) 5RANK HATED 0H303LATE '255INS. He hated sna)es. He should. 5ran) didn. 5ran) shoo) the thought out o# his head.s !ea"on . It is no sur"rise a god !ould #all in lo e !ith her* gi en our #a%ily.s $u## little $ully $a$ies. )ids.t e en "rotect his #riend #ro% getting )idna""ed $y !heat.Perha"s the godly nursery had accidentally s!itched 5ran) !ith one o# 'ars. e $een "roud o# the%* $ut he #elt li)e he. The $lood o# "rinces and heroes.t )no! ho! his #riends could stand to $e around hi%. The %o%ent he got it* he silently s!ore he.s %other ha e got in ol ed !ith that $lustering !ar god. He !as no "rince or hero.t $la%e hi%. He hated the s"ear* too. I# Alas)a really !as a . +ust go into a trance and e1"erience so%e other ti%e* li)e $e#ore he got dra#ted #or this insane 4uest* $e#ore he #ound out his dad !as a godly drill sergeant !ith an ego "ro$le%. As he trudged u" the hill* he !ished that he could "ass out li)e Ha(el . Wasn. His ne! %edals #elt cold against his chest8 the centurion. No !ay !ould 5ran). And he hated his li#e. Ancient $lood.d only got the% $ecause his dad had $ullied Reyna.

t ti%e to noc) an arro!. He and the sna)e studied each other.s ar%.. He thought he. It s"un out o# sight* !ailing* <Screeeee=. . Percy stu%$led. Don. He didn. As they got closer* 5ran) !orried that the store %ight $urst into rain$o! light and a"ori(e the%* $ut the $uilding stayed dar). It s)idded through the grass* $ursting into orange #la%e and !histling8 W33= At least it illu%inated the %onster. Ha(el yelled $ehind hi%. <6o=. <0o%e on=.d gra$$ed an e1"loding arro!* $ut it !as only a signal #lare. It sailed through the air so #ast* there !asn.t !hine* his grand%other !ould say. While Ha(el hel"ed hi% u"* 5ran) turned and noc)ed an arro!. The creature stared at the arro! (i""ing $y as i# !ondering* What the hec) is thatThen it #i1ed its large* yello! eyes on 5ran). She !as right. Where er it touched* the grass !ithered and died. 5ran) heard his #riends cli%$ing the ste"s o# the store. 5ran) s!ung his $o! and s%ac)ed the %onster do!n the hill. He shot $lindly. The sna)e s"rang at hi%. Phang %en do not !hine. <5ran)=. <Nice "oisonous* #ire-$reathing re"tile.t sure he had anything to return to. The sna)es Poly$otes had dro""ed see%ed to ha e anished. He had to co%"lete this i%"ossi$le 4uest* !hich at the %o%ent %eant reaching the con enience store ali e. Sitting in a "atch o# !ithered yello! grass !as a li%ecoloured sna)e as short and thic) as 5ran). <Nice cree"y re"tile*. The sna)e hissed* #la%es $illo!ing #ro% its %outh. He !asn.land $eyond the gods* 5ran) %ight stay there. 5ran) yelled. Its head !as ringed !ith a %ane o# s"i)y !hite #ins. 5ran) had a +o$ to do. It ad anced li)e an inch!or%* hunching u" in the %iddle. They !ere t!enty yards #ro% the "orch !hen so%ething hissed in the grass $ehind the%.t dare turn and run. 5ran) said* ery a!are o# the dri#t!ood in his coat "oc)et.

<5ortune-teller. Incense %ust ha e $een $urning so%e!here. <We. he said %isera$ly. When 5ran) turned* he sa! all three %onsters circling in the grass* $reathing #ire and turning the hillside $ro!n !ith their "oisonous touch. Along the !alls* glass cases dis"layed crystal $alls* geodes* %acra%S drea% catchers and a $unch o# other strange stu##. <Then !e. he %uttered. He loo)ed !orse than e er* li)e he.d !al)ed onto a stage. <>eah*. The #loor$oards crea)ed under their #eet. Percy leaned against her. 5ran) !ondered..d $een hit !ith a sudden #lu. . A girl "o""ed u" #ro% $ehind the granola $ins. Ha(el %uttered. 5ran) dro""ed his disintegrating $o! and ran #or the "orch... <'ay$e !ater. <Ho"e not*. It s%elled li)e a $ou4uet o# #lo!ers !as on #ire. The !ide aisles !ere lined !ith $ins o# nuts and dried #ruit* $as)ets o# a""les* and clothing rac)s !ith tie-dyed shirts and gau(y Tin)er &ell-ty"e dresses. He heard an outraged hiss* ans!ered $y t!o %ore hisses #urther do!nhill.s #ind you a "lace to rest. 5ran) said. <Sit do!n 7. <Let.t %uch co%#ort to 5ran). His #ace glistened !ith s!eat. 5lute %usic started u" li)e they. 5ran) na igated $et!een t!o Ne"tune statue #ountains.s sho"-. <Hel" you-. They didn. He. The ceiling !as co ered in !ind chi%es. He #ollo!ed his #riends inside. Percy and Ha(el "ulled hi% u" the ste"s.5ran) #elt "roud o# hi%sel# until he loo)ed at his $o!* !hich !as stea%ing !here it had touched the sna)e.ll ne er get out o# here*. He !atched in dis$elie# as the !ood cru%$led to dust.d lost his $o!. As they ste""ed through the door* lights ca%e on.t see% a$le or !illing to co%e closer to the store* $ut that !asn.d $etter go in. Ha(el "ointed to the hand"ainted sign o er the door8 RAIN&3W 3R6ANI0 533DS U LI5EST>LES. 5ran) had no idea !hat that %eant* $ut it sounded $etter than #la%ing "oisonous sna)es.

<>ou !ant to $ro!se. She loo)ed young* $ut her hair !as #ri((y !hite* stic)ing out on either side o# her head li)e the !hite o# a giant #ried egg. <>our na%e is 5leecy-.s o)ay=.5.Don. The girl cla""ed her hands. The !ater e a"orated. The #ountain dissol ed into %ist.s head rolled o## and !ater s"e!ed out o# his nec)* s"raying a rac) o# tie-dyed %an satchels. <3h* I )no!=.s all right. the girl said.5ran) lurched $ac)!ards* )noc)ing o er one o# the #ountains. <Well* in the language o# the ne$ulae . <2h 7 sorry a$out the #ountain*.d i%agined it* $ut Ha(el loo)ed +ust as sur"rised. He al%ost goosed the girl !ith his s"ear. 5leecy giggled.. Her eyes #lashed !ith lightning. 5ran) tried to re%e%$er ho! to s"ea). 5ran) glanced at Ha(el to see i# he. She snorted. he %anaged. She turned to 5ran).re not li)e those a!#ul %onsters. 5ran) $ent do!n to clean u" the %ess. The sea god. She re%inded 5ran) o# the college-age hi)ers he so%eti%es sa! in Lynn 0anyon Par) $ehind his grand%other.s oice called8 <5leecy.t scare the custo%ers* no!. It. De%igods are !elco%e. Those Ne"tune #ountains are so gru%"y-loo)ing they $u% %e out.3. 5ran) straightened slo!ly* trying not to cause any %ore da%age. <Hold it= It..s house. >ou. She !as short and %uscular* !ith lace-u" $oots* cargo shorts and a $right yello! T-shirt that read R. They +ust !ant to use the restroo% and ne er $uy anything=. <Really* it. <Sorry=. <We !ere +ust . <Ee"=. Ha(el loo)ed %orti#ied.s no "ro$le%. 5ro% the $ac) o# the store* a !o%an. The girl. Ha(el as)ed.s eyes !ere really distracting. The irises changed colour #ro% grey to $lac) to !hite. Ta)e your ti%e. &ring the% here* !ill you-.L. Rain$o! 3rganic 5oods U Li#estyles. Percy turned a sic)ly shade o# green as he stared at the deca"itated statue o# his dad. she said. A stone Ne"tune crashed to the #loor.

s eyes !idened. She loo)ed #riendly enough* $ut so%ething a$out her %ade 5ran) #eel sha)y* li)e he !anted to cry. Iris %ade a #ace. She s%elled li)e rose "etals..t loo) so good.ll get your #riend #i1ed u". We. Percy %uttered in a da(e.it.re here. <Not the Iris . 0o%e to the $ac). the !ay she s%iled !ith +ust one corner o# her %outh* the !ar% $ro!n colour o# her eyes* the tilt o# her head* li)e she !as considering a 4uestion.. <0loud ny%"hs. <3h* they. <&ut you can call %e 5leecy. &ut* dear %e* he doesn. She ru%%aged under the counter and $rought out a "ac)age o# chocolate-co ered ca)es that loo)ed ...L. <So glad you. !a ing 0hinese cats* %editating &uddhas* Saint 5rancis $o$$le heads and no elty di""y drin)ing $irds !ith to" hats.t de#ine %ysel# $y %y cor"orate identity. <The R. I. <3h* I li)e this one= 2sually no one )no!s a$out cloud ny%"hs. 0o-o" . She %ade a series o# crac)ling and $lo!ing noises that re%inded 5ran) o# a thunderstor% gi ing !ay to a nice cold #ront.% Iris=. She leaned o er the counter* !hich !as lined !ith do(ens o# little statues . 5ran) stared at her.s actually . Ha(el. <Hello=. At the $ac) o# the store* $ehind a counter !ith an old-#ashioned cash register* stood a %iddle-aged !o%an !ith oli e s)in* long $lac) hair* ri%less glasses and a T-shirt that read8 The 6oddess Is Ali e= She !ore a%$er nec)laces and tur4uoise rings. <Ne$ulae 7. She gestured around her "roudly. 5leecy led the% through the "roduce aisle* $et!een ro!s o# au$ergines* )i!is* lotus #ruit and "o%egranates. an e%"loyee-run coo"erati e "ro%oting healthy alternati e li#estyles and organic #oods..5.s %y o##icial +o$* yes. &ut I don. <Well* that. She re%inded 5ran) o# his %other..3. 5leecy $ea%ed. In %y s"are ti%e* I run this=. Iris loo)ed horri#ied. <&ut you thro! chocolate %u##ins at %onsters. the rain$o! goddess-..re not +ust chocolate %u##ins. It too) hi% a second* then he reali(ed !hat it !as . 'y $oss !ants to %eet you.

e1actly li)e %u##ins. <Ho! did you . <Aren. 5leecy chi%ed in. <&esides* those %onsters should $e glad to ha e so%e healthy snac)s. 5or a second 5ran) !as a#raid he !anted the cu"ca)es.t try to "ut %e in a $o1* de%igod= I. <All natural=.. <I can act in sel#-de#ence* $ut I !on. 0ouldn. <I stand corrected. Ha(el said.t you sto" the%-. Percy leaned against the counter.. <3h* I. <0an you send one-. e $een reading a$out &uddhis%. <Iris-%essage-. Iris crossed her ar%s..re #ro% 0a%" /u"iter* and yet 7 3h* I see.t sure he.t you a 6ree) goddess-.re lactose intolerant* aren. <I )no! these things. Al!ays eating +un) #ood and heroes. /uno is u" to her tric)s. <>ou should try one* 5ran). he said !ith di##iculty. Iris said. . They. Percy #altered. He loo)ed li)e he !as going to thro! u" all o er the goddess.t ha e the% tro%"ing through %y store* tearing u" things and distur$ing our #eng shui.. And Taois%.re so unenlightened. <0ould you at least hel" our #riend here. I. <Interesting.. Iris studied Percy %ore closely.d heard right. <'onsters %arching south*. &eing the %essenger goddess 7 !ell* I do learn a lot* hearing all the co%%unications #ro% the gods and so on.. ita%in-enriched* soy-#ree* Iris s%iled. >ou.% not de#ined $y %y "ast.I thin) he.% strictly non.s #eng shui.. <Isn. >ou. <2%* o)ay*. 5ran) !asn. I couldn. <&ut 7.t you-.s sic). <Iris-%essage*. She tossed the ca)es on the counter. 5ran) suddenly #elt as 4ueasy as Percy.t $e dra!n into any %ore 3ly%"ian aggression* than) you ery %uch. Ha(el loo)ed %ysti#ied. <It.. I ha en.t decided $et!een the%.s 7. <These are gluten-#ree* no-sugar-added* goat-%il)-and-sea!eed-$ased cu"ca)e si%ulations. <Don. Percy reached across the counter..t that so%ething you do-. he said.iolent*. <6oing to destroy our ca%".

s !onder#ul at it* really* and I don.s an ancient !ay o# co%%unication. She tilted her head 4ui((ically* +ust the !ay his %other used to .t ha e ti%e to ans!er all those re4uests "ersonally. al!ays relying on their road syste%s and giant eagles and !hatnot. It %esses u" %y !a. Ha(el #ro!ned. Then the goddess "ulled a ial #ro% $ehind the counter and s"rayed so%e honeysuc)le-s%elling oil around Percy. 5ran) as)ed. <>our !a-. Iris said. I i%agine that old Poly$otes 7 !ell* %eeting hi% in a state o# a%nesia can. <5ran) and I ha e a lot to tal) a$out. Ha(el as)ed. that.. <'%%. 5leecy* !hy don. The Ro%ans ne er too) to it . <Don.. That should #i1 hi% u".t you ta)e Percy and Ha(el into the $ac). <There* that should $alance your cha)ra. As #or Iris-%essages .s #ace.t !orry*.>ou can get the% so%ething to eat !hile you arrange their %essages. . She. And #or Percy 7 yes* %e%ory sic)ness. <Sure* $oss=.t tell the other gods* $ut 5leecy handles %ost o# %y %essages these days. Iris glanced at her assistant* 5leecy. The 6ree)s used it.. as i# 5ran) !ere the $iggest 4uestion in the roo%. &ut yes* I i%agine 7 5leecy* could you gi e it a try-. <What a$out 5ran)-. that is to say* Ne"tune. Iris !in)ed at 5ran).<What-. They see%ed to ha e a silent con ersation.t $e good #or a child o# P . Iris turned to hi%. <3h* don. 5leecy* gi e hi% a cu" o# green tea !ith organic honey and !heat ger% and so%e o# %y %edicinal "o!der nu%$er #i e.

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NNII .

5ran) couldn. Iris !as right.t $reathe. 5ran) set his s"ear on the #loor. I )no! !hy she ga e you a re"rie e. He sat across #ro% Iris. <I i%agine that hal#-$urnt stic) in your "oc)et gets hea ier e ery day.s $ac)yard.t )no! !hy his %other !as u" in the . 3utside in the dar)* the sna)e %onsters restlessly "atrolled the hillside* s"e!ing #ire and "oisoning the grass. <Thin) a$out it. &ut Iris ro"ed her ar% through his and led hi% to a ca#S ta$le at a $ay !indo!. I !as /uno. His %other leaned out the !indo! o# the attic* high a$o e* !a ing and calling to get his attention.. <That. Iris s!i"ed her hand in #ront o# her li)e she !as cleaning a !indshield. 5ran) #elt his ears getting !ar% !ith anger. the goddess said. e died. >ou !ere $orn !ith too %any gi#ts. He didn.:E PRE5ERRED T3 go !ith his #riends* e en i# it %eant he had to endure green tea !ith !heat ger%.. His hand !ent instincti ely to his coat. 5ran) !asn. I )no! things.s not true* 5ran). 5ran) $rought out the "iece o# #ire!ood and un!ra""ed it #ro% its cloth. <Too %any gi#ts-. </uno sa ed you #or a reason*. <Ho! do you .t ha e any gi#ts=. Iris said.s s"ear !as* the "iece o# tinder !as !orse. I# she hadn..s %essenger #or ages.t a""eared that day !hen you !ere a $a$y and !arned your %other a$out the #ire!ood* you !ould. 5ran) sa! hi%sel# !hen he !as #our years old* running across 6rand%other.5ran) 5RANK W32LD. <She !ants you to ser e her "lan. A %iniature rain$o! a""eared. An i%age shi%%ered in the rain$o!. That sort o# "o!er tends to $urn out a %ortal li#e.-. <5ran)* I )no! ho! you #eel*. It !eighed hi% do!n. <A re"rie e-. <I told you. As un!ieldy as 'ars.t su""osed to $e in the $ac)yard $y hi%sel#... <I don.

s !ords8 He !as your great-great-great.d drea%ed it.s ho! he could $eat the%= 5ran) didn. The $ear regarded the little $oy* and it !as di##icult to tell !ho !as %ore startled. When she "o)ed his $elly !ith so %any greats* 5ran) rolled onto the #loor to esca"e the tic)ling. Her ar%s !ere around hi%.s long $lac) hair !as "ulled $ac).attic* $ut she told hi% to stay $y the house* not to go too #ar. Then there !as Sung 6uo* also called Seneca 6racchus* !ho #ought t!el e Ro%an dragons and si1teen 0hinese dragons in the !estern deserts o# 0hina. This ti%e* 5ran) o$eyed. The $ear !as gone. He s4uealed !ith delight and ran to the edge o# the !oods* !here he ca%e #ace to #ace !ith a gri((ly $ear. His %other. 'a%a &ear +ust needed directions* she said. No! he could a""reciate +ust ho! surreal the e1"erience had $een. The scene in the rain$o! changed. She !ore her ri%less glasses that 5ran) al!ays li)ed to steal* and her #u((y grey #leece "ullo er that s%elled li)e cinna%on.s sto%ach e ery ti%e she said great-* do(ens o# ti%es* until he !as giggling uncontrolla$ly. She "ut hersel# $et!een the $ear and 5ran) and told hi% to run to the house. He !as the strongest dragon o# all* you see* his %other said. 5ran) sa! hi%sel# as a si1-year-old* curling u" in his %other. 5ran) as)ed !hat had ha""ened. There !as no !ay she should ha e $een a$le to get do!n #ro% the attic so #ast. Then 5ran). She !as telling hi% stories a$out heroes* "retending they !ere all related to 5ran)8 one !as Nu 5u* !ho sailed in search o# the eli1ir o# li#e.s %other a""eared at his side. When he turned at the $ac) "orch* he sa! his %other co%ing out o# the !oods. His %other s%iled.t )no! !hat that %eant* $ut it sounded e1citing. That.s la" e en though he !as %uch too $ig #or that. 2ntil 5ran) sa! that scene in the rain$o!* the %e%ory had $een so ha(y he thought he. The rain$o! i%age had no sound* $ut 5ran) re%e%$ered his %other. 5ran) did e1actly the o""osite. And your ery oldest ancestor that !e )no! o#8 he !as the Prince o# .7 She !ould "o)e 5ran).

a !orn-out slogan that could $e "rinted on Iris.s ho! it !as. 5ran) insisted. 3ur #a%ily is #ro% %any "laces* $ut our ho%e is Li-/ien. So %any heroes= Were they #ro% Pylos* or Ro%e* or 0hina* or 0anadaHis %other s%iled* tilting her head as i# considering ho! to ans!er. It hurt to see her again. e only scratched the sur#ace.t thought a$out these stories in years* $ut no! they ca%e $ac) to hi% as clearly as his %other. <>ou !anted to $e an archer.re $oth stretched $et!een !orlds8 6ree) and Ro%an* the "ast and the "resent.. In the rain$o! i%age* little 5ran) as)ed !here their #a%ily !as #ro%. Al!ays re%e%$er* 5ran)8 you ha e a s"ecial gi#t.s T-shirts* right along !ith The 6oddess Is Ali e= and 'y 3ther 0ar Is a 'agic 0ar"et= &ut* the !ay Iris said it* it sounded li)e a challenge.. <I don. 5ran) "ressed his hand against his "ants "oc)et* !here he )e"t his %other. <What ha e you tried-. >ou %anaged that "retty !ell. E en Hercules had trou$le= The co%%ent %ade no sense to 5ran)* then or no!. His hoarse.Pylos= Hercules #ought hi% once.t $e anything*. &ut you are stretched %ore than . His ancestor had $een a $ee)ee"er5ran) hadn. they.t easy #or Hercules. It !as a hard #ight= Did !e !in. He !anted to $e a little )id and curl u" on her la". The rain$o! dissol ed* lea ing +ust Iris and 5ran).5ran) as)ed. Iris said. >our #riends Ha(el and Percy .. No* our ancestor lost. e got (ero s)ills. &ut it !asn. >ou. oice !as It sounded li)e one o# those stu"id things "arents say to $oost your sel#-estee% . <I. The sil er %edallion !as cold as ice. Li-/ien* she said at last. That.s sacri#ice %edal. Iris as)ed. His %other laughed* $ut there !as sadness in her oice.t understand.s #ace. >ou can $e anything. I%agine trying to #ight a s!ar% o# $ees. <>ou can $e anything. 5ran) !anted to go $ac) to that ti%e. <>our %other e1"lained it*. <I can.

5.s.No one $othered to gi e %e one. <I don.t !ant to $e a hero. She !ants you to #ight the giants and 6aia. >ou can let go* too.t !ant to $e a !ar god. 5ran) thought a$out that. I started R. The idea !as thrilling8 re+ect the gods* his destiny* his dad. Send %essages $ac) and #orth across the rain$o! #or anyone !ith a golden drach%a. <Not !ant to.'y #riends are counting on %e. e #ound "eace here at the co-o". 'ay$e you can.s %y sacred ani%al.% #ree o# that $aggage. <A golden !hat-. His %other had died in a !ar. 5ran) %uttered. 5ran) didn. <>ou !ant %e to a$andon the 4uest* let 0a%" /u"iter $e destroyed.. Where are %y te%"les.* and no! I.t ha e to $e !hat your "arents and your grand%other e1"ect.L. the $lood o# Pylos on your %other. Where did con#or%ing e er get %e.t esca"e #ate.t )no! the #irst thing a$out hi%.s orders* or /uno. &eco%e a R35Lco"ter.. 'ars clearly didn.. He didn. <Than)s*.3. <I. Iris s"read her hands.s side* and your #ather is 'ars.They ne er %ade any. &ut do !hat you !ant* not !hat they tell you to do. What. <Ha e to*. >ou could stay !ith us* i# you !ant. 5etch go$lets o# !ine #or /u"iter.s ser ant. I ha e to go on this 4uest and . Well* #ine= I. Do your o!n thing* 5ran)= 5ind a ne! "ath=. >our #a%ily is ancient . <. Deli er letters #or /uno. he as)ed. I used to thin) li)e that. >ou don.I s"ent #i e %illennia ser ing e eryone else* and I ne er disco ered %y o!n identity. 5ran) had lost e erything than)s to a !ar. <I can.% the son o# the stu"id !ar god. Iris said. Then I got tired o# $eing e eryone.t ha e any choice*.either o# the%.t tell you !hat to do* 5ran). $ut that +ust %a)es your li#e %ore "recious= >ou don.. .. 5ran) said. <Why are you telling %e this-.t ha e to #ollo! the !ar god. No !onder /uno !ants you to $e one o# her se en heroes.ll $e holding it !hen it ha""ens* and your li#e !ill end . <Not i%"ortant. So%e day that "iece o# !ood !ill $urn. &ut thin) a$out this8 !hat do you !ant-. &ut I learned to let go. I #oresee that you.s son.

Not to %ention 5ran). >ou.. >ou can $e anything* his %other had said. 5ran) as)ed. All that stood $et!een hi% and Death !as a hal#-$urnt stic). <>ou )no! !here the giants are hiding hi%-. <Wasn. <The "oint is you ha e o"tions.3. I# you continue this 4uest 7 !hat ha""ens !hen you #ree Thanatos. shirt* selling crystals and drea% catchers to de%igod tra ellers and lo$$ing gluten-#ree cu"ca)e si%ulations at "assing %onsters. <I e1"ected as %uch* $ut I had to try. Iris ga(ed thought#ully at the !ind chi%es s!aying on the ceiling. I# you %ust go* at least I can o##er so%e ad ice. <In the old days* he co%%itted . He can tell you !here Thanatos is $eing held. so%eho! she had co%e $ac) #ro% the 2nder!orld. <Phineas 7.s %y +o$. <No 7 Alas)a is $eyond the gods.t !ish it on anyone* es"ecially a nice $oy li)e you.t there a story a$out hi%-. And Ha(el . 6rand%other in#uriated hi% so%eti%es* $ut* still* she !as his only li ing #a%ily* the only "erson ali e !ho lo ed hi%. See) out the seer Phineas. He. &ut there is so%eone !ho !ould )no!. 5ran) re%e%$ered !hat his grand%other had said8 she had an a""oint%ent !ith Death. he said.s o!n "ro$le%8 according to Iris* he should ha e died !hen he !as a $a$y.t $e that sel#ish. s"here o# control.L. He )no!s %any things.s $lind* $ut he can see the "ast* "resent and #uture. Iris nodded reluctantly. <I ha e to go*. No* he thought. Iris sighed. The tas) ahead o# you 7 Well* I !ouldn.Will it $e good #or your #a%ily.5.t $e a$le to stand it.. I can.ll need hel" #inding Thanatos. 'ean!hile* an undying ar%y !ould o errun 0a%" /u"iter. 5ran) said.>our #riends-. Would Thanatos ta)e hi% a!ay* too5ran) tried to i%agine staying here !ith Iris* "utting on a R.. The location is shielded #ro% %y sight. I# Thanatos stayed chained u"* 5ran) %ight not lose her.<A !hat* no!-. I# Death too) her again* 5ran) !ouldn. <It.

The Argonauts . I# he. He used his gi#t o# sight #or e il. sister* $ut it. <I )no!. And* 5ran) 7 there. Iris hesitated.ll ha e to clear those $asilis)s o## the hill..s true. <>our sisters-. <Ho! do I use the s"ear-. I don.s not ery cute.t loo) old enough to $e the har"ies.ll ha e to handle that on your o!n.t $e a$le to lea e until they.s still "lagued $y har"ies* do not )ill the%* no %atter !hat Phineas "ro%ises you.. &ut you %ust "ro%ise %e one thing.s another "ro$le%.ll chec) on your .We %a)e e1cellent lactose-#ree rice %il). <&asilis) %eans Elittle cro!nF* !hich is a cute na%e #or so%ething that.t ad ocate iolence. >ou.d "re#er not to ha e the% )illed. <>ou %ean the sna)es-. 5ran) rose. <>ou. &ut you !on.re %y sisters. Win his hel" so%e other !ay. <Then you !ill ha e to use your #ather. She glanced do!n at the #loor.. They. Su##ice it to say* the Argonauts dro e a!ay the har"ies in e1change #or Phineas. Weasels are deadly to $asilis)s. I# you.re doing $attle* I. While you. <>es* 5ran).ll #ind hi% in Portland* 3regon* !hich is on your !ay north. I# your #riends try to $attle the% 7 !ell* I #oresee see $ad things ha""ening. she said.re deter%ined to lea e* you. Though his gi#t* his story 7 that you %ust disco er on your o!n. 3nly you ha e the a$ility to )ill the %onsters. I can. <5resh out o# !easels*.s hel". <I# you had so%e !easels* #or instance.re gone.. <&ut ho!-. I. That !as aeons ago* $ut I understand Phineas has returned to the %ortal !orld. 5ran) ad%itted. <The "rince o# Pylos-.. including your ancestor* $y the !ay . Are you sure you !ouldn.re li ing creatures* a#ter all.horri$le cri%es. <I !ish there !as another !ay*.s gi#t. /u"iter sent the har"ies to "lague hi%. The har"ies are not e il..t li)e to li e here instead. They. <>es*. 5ran) reali(ed that she !as loo)ing at his s"ear. Iris said.

<Than)s 7 than)s* Iris..d ne er $e her )night in ar%our. No* I %eant a de%igod #riend.I# he ad%itted ho! !ea) he !as* that his !hole li#e de"ended on a hal#$urnt stic) 7 Ha(el !ould ne er see hi% as a hero. &ut ho! could he con#ess his secret. . I ho"e 5leecy #ound the right %edicinal her$s. <3ne last $it o# ad ice* 5ran)*.s s"ear and %arched out to #ace the $asilis)s.s #ingers curled around the tinder..d seen in those rain$o! i%ages. The last ti%e* !e had a %i1-u" 7 Well* I don. <>ou.t thin) those heroes !anted to $e daisies. &ut "erha"s i# you didn. 5ran) gru%$led..re destined to die holding that "iece o# #ire!ood* !atching it $urn. <Are you o##ering-.d lose it in this collection. <I. And ho! could he e1"ect her to ta)e that )ind o# $urden #ro% hi%He !ra""ed u" the tinder and sli""ed it $ac) into his coat. Iris laughed gently.. She s4uee(ed his hand. Ha(el* 5ran) thought i%%ediately.t lose ho"e* 5ran). Rain$o!s al!ays stand #or ho"e. He loo)ed serious and gri%* nothing li)e the little $oy he. Perha"s i# you trusted so%eone enough to hold it #or you 7..d sell it as a dri#t!ood "a"er!eight $y accident. She %ade her !ay to!ards the $ac) o# the store* lea ing 5ran) alone. The goddess stood. <Don.#riends.d rather ha e a #e! good !easels.t )ee" it yoursel#. <Ho"e*. He. Her glasses #lashed* and 5ran) sa! his o!n re#lection in the lenses. It !ould get %i1ed u" !ith %y crystals* or I. 5ran). There !as no one he trusted %ore. So%eone close to your heart. I. she said. He "ic)ed u" his #ather. <3h* dear* no.

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NNIII .

s nose. The acrid s%o)e $urned in 5ran).t do 5ran) %uch good i# he couldn. He didn. 2n#ortunately* a 4ui er #ull o# arro!s !ouldn. He thought a$out those stories his %other used to tell . He !as too slo! and $ul)y. I !ant to $e good !ith a s"ear. His %other. &esides* he had no idea !here the $asilis)s !ere.d sto""ed $lo!ing #ire as soon as he ca%e outside.t li)e #ighting u" close.s disgrace at 0a%" /u"iter* and !hat the #a%ily "o!ers %ight $e. He. generations o# heroes !ho had $attled Hercules* #ought dragons and sailed %onster-in#ested seas. . A #e! !ell-"laced e1"loding arro!s* a #e! craters in the hillside . There !ere no giant eagles ready to snatch hi% u" and ta)e hi% to the %edics i# he %ade a %ista)e. He !anted to stand on the "orch and shoot the sna)es#ro% a distance. >ou can $e anything. So%ething told 5ran) his !ish had not $een granted. "ro$le% sol ed.5ran) 5RANK 'ISSED HIS &3W. And i%%une to "oison . and #ire. They.d done o)ay during the !ar ga%es* $ut this !as real. He ste""ed o## the "orch and le elled his golden s"ear. 5or the #irst ti%e* he started to !onder a$out this Prince o# Pylos* and his greatgrand#ather Shen Lun. The !ithered grass crunched under his #eet. The s"ear #elt +ust as a!)!ard in his hands. Patches o# #la%e still s%ouldered on the hillside.t shoot the%. 5ran) didn.t understand ho! he could ha e e ol ed #ro% a line li)e that* or ho! his #a%ily had %igrated #ro% 6reece through the Ro%an E%"ire all the !ay to 0hina* $ut so%e unsettling ideas !ere starting to #or%. 6reat* he thought.s oice echoed in his %ind. The gi#t has ne er )e"t our #a%ily sa#e* 6rand%other had !arned.

. li)e a do!sing rod searching #or !ater. The dragontooth "oint di""ed to!ards the ground all on its o!n .d ca"tured Ha(el.d ha e ti%e to ta)e it $e#ore he cru%$led to dust li)e his $o!. Why !asn. Instead he ad anced to!ards the #ire. 5ran) struggled to li#t the s"ear. Then he. He !ondered i# gorgon $lood could cure $asilis) "oison . Then* a$out t!enty #eet ahead* he sa! a $urst o# #la%e. . He considered thro!ing his s"ear. 5ran) had !al)ed straight into an a%$ush.d gone south !ith the giant Poly$otes.A reassuring thought as 5ran) hunted "oisonous #ire-$reathing de il sna)es. Then he heard the grass rustle on either side o# hi%.d $e !ithout a !ea"on. The other t!o $asilis)s slithered into the clearing. That. The %onster #i1ed its "ale yello! eyes on 5ran). E ery ti%e a $ree(e %ade the grass rustle* 5ran) thought a$out the grain s"irits !ho. Little cro!n* 5ran) re%e%$ered.s golden s"ear #elt cold and hea y. <Sto" that. So%eho! the real $asilis) !as e en %ore terri$le.d ha e enough trou$le +a$$ing the %onster !ithout his s"ear #ighting against hi%. He. As tiny as it !as* this e1tra-s%all "ac)age o# #ire* "oison and e il !ould $e %uch harder to )ill than a large* $ul)y li(ard. %eant. He had thought $asilis)s !ere huge dragonli)e %onsters that could "etri#y you !ith their eyes. 5ran) had seen ho! #ast it could %o e. The night !as 4uiet e1ce"t #or the crac)le o# $rush #ires.s !hat <$asilis). . He cre"t do!nhill* his eyes stinging #ro% the s%o)e. &ut e en i# he had the ials and %anaged to choose the right one* he dou$ted he. It hissed* and e1"anded the collar o# !hite s"i)es round its nec).s $lood ials* $ut they !ere $ac) at the $oat. The sna)e rose u" on its tail.t it attac)ing5ran). He e%erged in a clearing o# $urnt grass and #ound hi%sel# #ace to #ace !ith a $asilis). Stu"id idea.t need any %ore "ro$le%s right no!. Ho"e#ully they. 5ran) didn. He !ished he had the gorgon..

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NNI: .

a tight T-shirt* ca%o "ants and ar%y $oots. It see%ed li)e %adness* $ut 5ran) let the s"ear ti" dro". 'ay$e they !ere laughing.So%ething he. $ro)en o## in the dirt. No! he had a golden stic). The $asilis)s hissed in three-"art har%ony. incinerate the $asilis)s* so at least his #riends could get a!ay.t there $een so%e story a$out dragon. When he li#ted it out* the ti" !as gone . e got 7 u% 7 a%a(ing "o!ers . and stu##. So%e cra(y "art o# hi% !anted to $ring out his "iece o# #ire!ood. Then so%ething clic)ed in the $ac) o# 5ran). Hadn. He dro e it into the ground.t $elie e ho! stu"id 5ran) !as. 5ran) couldn. The s"ear ti" !as al%ost too hea y to li#t no!* as i# the +agged !hite triangle o# $one !as trying to touch the earth. His oice sounded s4uea)y.s %ind8 'ars had said the ti" !as a dragon. <I. E erything a$out the creature !as grey8 grey clothes on grey #lesh on grey $ones. .. I# he !as going to die any!ay* %ay$e he could set o## a %assi e $la(e . Wonder#ul.t $la%e the%.d read in %onster class at ca%" 7The $asilis)s circled hi%* ta)ing their ti%e. He !atched in horror as a hu%an s)eleton cra!led out o# the ground. 'ay$e they +ust couldn. 'ay$e they !ere hesitating $ecause o# the s"ear.s tooth.s teeth "lanted in the ground. <Stay $ac)=. &e#ore he could get u" the courage* the ground ru%$led at his #eet. The $asilis)s hissed and $ac)ed u". 0rac). It too) on #lesh as i# so%eone !ere "ouring gelatin o er its $ones* co ering the% in glo!ing* trans"arent grey s)in. Dirt s"e!ed e ery!here* and a s)eletal hand cla!ed the air. Then ghostly clothes en elo"ed it .5ran) 5RANK SWEPT HIS SPEAR &A0K AND 53RTH.

The s)eleton !arrior.. His head !as on #ire* $ut other!ise he loo)ed "retty good. It "ulled out its ri$ and used it to cut o## the creature. Then the s)eleton deca"itated the other t!o %onster carcasses and )ic)ed all the ashes to dis"erse the%.s #ace. 5ran) reali(ed. The other t!o $asilis)s hissed !ith rage.re %a)ing sure they don.t co%e $ac)*.s right #oot and hand !ere slo!ly dissol ing #ro% "oison. 5ran) re%e%$ered the t!o gorgons in the Ti$er . 3ne s"rang at 5ran)* $ut he )noc)ed it aside !ith the $utt o# his s"ear.s o!n ri$s. he yel"ed. The $asilis) dissol ed into ashes. 5ran). 5ran) !hi%"ered li)e a "u""y. The other sna)e $elched #ire directly in the s)eleton. !aiting #or orders.. The s)eleton !arrior !as !aiting* 5ran) reali(ed . <>ou. The !arrior %arched #or!ard and sto%"ed the $asilis).It turned to!ards 5ran). the !ay the ri er had "ulled a"art their re%ains to )ee" the% #ro% re-#or%ing. In a $lur o# %otion* the s)eleton "ulled so%ething #ro% his shirt and #lung it across the clearing* i%"aling the $asilis) in the dirt. <Not %e=. <That 7 that !as gross. The $asilis) did the s%art thing.t see% to $e cru%$ling #ro% the $asilis).s touch. <3r slo!ing the% do!n* any!ay. It turned to #lee. Then he reali(ed it !as one o# the s)eleton. .s head under his $oot. 5ran) turned to!ards the last $asilis)* !hich !as curled at the edge o# the clearing studying the%. The s)eleton !arrior stood at attention in #ront o# 5ran). 5ran) !as glad his sto%ach !as e%"ty. His legs shoo) so $adly he had to su""ort hi%sel# !ith the s"ear sha#t.s I%"erial gold s"ear sha#t !as stea%ing $ut* unli)e his $o!* it didn. He gra$$ed the nearest sna)e and* though his grey #lesh $egan to s%o)e on contact* he strangled the $asilis) !ith one hand and #lung do!n its li%" $ody. <Kill the $asilis)s=. The s)eleton stu%$led o er to the $asilis). Its s)ull grinned $eneath an e1"ressionless grey #ace. 5ran) thought it !as a )ni#e.s head. The s)eletal !arrior lea"ed into action.

Ha(el had dra!n her s"atha. 5ran) said. 5ran) could call on 6rey t!ice %ore. He !anted to add* Please don. Already* a ne! dragon tooth !as starting to gro! out o# the golden sha#t. $ut i# his #riends ha""ened to $e in the line . <I sense death.L. <I don. What ha""ened-. <>ou )illed the% all-. 5ran) s!allo!ed. As its #ace disa""eared $eneath the dirt* the !arrior see%ed to grin at the last na%e . Then it $egan to cru%$le* sin)ing $ac) into the ground. Percy stared at hi% in a!e. <Wait=.3.Its "oisoned #oot and hand !ere %ostly gone.d sensed %ale olence in the s)eleton. 5ran) as)ed. . >ou get three charges out o# it* 'ars had said* so use it !isely. Ri"tide !as in his hand.&ones. 5ran) ad%itted. !hat are you-. Percy loo)ed $etter* e1ce"t he !as carrying a tie-dyed %an satchel #ro% R.We ca%e as #ast as !e could. <I. It !as no "et. The s)eleton saluted !ith its stu%" o# a hand. Then it !as gone* lea ing 5ran) alone !ith his "ointless s"ear. <6rey*. Percy turned in a circle* loo)ing #or ene%ies.% not sure*. 5ran) got the #eeling it !ould do !hat he said . He e1a%ined the ti" o# his s"ear. 5ran) heard #ootste"s $ehind hi%. she as)ed. He already #elt li)e enough o# a %is#it !ithout trying to e1"lain his ne! undead %inion.t hurt %e. <3)ay 7 $ut 7. Its head !as still $urning. <What . <Iris told us you !ere out here $attling the $asilis)s $y yoursel#* and !e !ere* li)e* What. Either %y $rother has $een here or 7 the $asilis)s are dead-.6rey-. Three charges. &ut he. de#initely not his style. It !as a icious* undead )illing #orce* $arely controlled $y the "o!er o# 'ars. or %ay$e that !as +ust its s)eletal teeth sho!ing. <Are you o)ay-.5. Percy and Ha(el ran into the clearing. Ha(el crouched ne1t to the earth !here 6rey had disa""eared.t e en )no! !hat to call you= Tooth 'an. he %uttered.

Which %eant 5ran) needed to learn those talents . e got to see. he gru%$led.s talents. <I. 'ars had told hi% the s"ear !ould gi e hi% $reathing roo% until he learned to use his %other..o# #ire* oh !ell.ll e1"lain later*. <Right no!* there. And i# 5ran) !as a little slo! gi ing it directions it %ight start )illing !hate er !as in its "ath* including its %aster. Ha(el as)ed. . <What-. <5ran)* are you o)ay-.s a $lind %an in Portland !e. he said. #ast. <Than)s a lot* Dad*.

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3. Iris. E%$arrassing.s ho! his %ind #elt .d 4uic)ly stu##ed it !ith ita%in-enriched "astries* dried #ruit leather* %acro$iotic $ee# +er)y and a #e! crystals #or good luc). in a hurry* so %ay$e Iris hadn. He #elt li)e the $ag !as a co%%ent on his %assi e* incredi$le uselessness. Then he. He couldn. He.d le#t R. sorry* %asculine accessory $ag .ll need this. 5irst* he.t hel" it. She. &ut he couldn. Then she.d sho ed it at Percy8 Here* you. And the giant Poly$otes 7 that giant had gi en hi% a #eeling the o""osite o# !hat he #elt !hen he stood in the ocean.Percy PER0> ALREAD> 5ELT LIKE THE la%est de%igod in the history o# la%e. !as rain$o! tie-dyed !ith a "eace sy%$ol stitched in !ooden $eads and the slogan Hug the Whole World.>eah. li)e his %issing %e%ories !ere aching.s %edicinal tea had hel"ed his $ody #eel $etter* $ut his %ind still hurt. Percy !ished it said Hug the 0o%%ode.d !atched that ar%y %arching south and had so%e )ind o# ner ous $rea)do!n.d $een du%$ enough to lea e the% alone !hen he had run $ac) to the $oat* and Ha(el had $een )idna""ed.t $elie e ho! he.d $ro)en do!n !hen his #riends had needed hi%. Percy. As they sailed north* he "ut the %an satchel as #ar a!ay #ro% hi% as he could* $ut the $oat !as s%all.s energy had drained out o# hi%* lea ing hi% !ea) and #e erish* li)e his insides !ere eroding.d heard stories a$out a%"utees !ho had "hanto% "ains !here their %issing legs and ar%s used to $e.d seen those e il centaurs and 0yclo"es* it had see%ed so !rong* so $ac)!ards* that he thought his head !ould e1"lode. Worst o# all* the #urther north Percy !ent* the %ore those .L. 3h* that loo)s good. They. When he. The hand$ag .5. That.t %eant the $ag as a criticis%. The $ag !as the #inal insult.

'ay$e he. He !as terri#ied that he. <I got in touch !ith Reyna*. <So this Iris-%essage !or)ed-.s #ace !as getting di%%er. she said.s li)e you. 5ran) !ouldn.d lose Anna$eth.d !a)e u" one day and not re%e%$er her na%e. 'ean!hile* Ha(el and 5ran) traded stories a$out the e ents at Rain$o! 3rganic 5oods.%e%ories #aded.3. She didn. 'ean!hile* the ene%y had only a #e! hundred %iles to %arch.L.t say ho! he had %anaged to )ill the $asilis)s* $ut Percy got the #eeling it had so%ething to do !ith the $ro)en "oint o# his s"ear. The sight o# that ene%y ar%y had sho!n hi% !hat they !ere u" against.s standard and %a)e it $ac) to 0a%" /u"iter $y the e ening o# CR /une. 3r so%eone is +a%%ing the signal. &ut no! e en Anna$eth. e #orgotten the nu%$er. 5ran) e1"lained a$out the $lind seer Phineas in Portland* and ho! Iris had said that he %ight $e a$le to tell the% !here to #ind Thanatos. When he !as done* Ha(el told 5ran) a$out their ti%e !ith 5leecy. 5our days.re su""osed to thro! a coin into a rain$o! and say this incantation* li)e 3 . Whate er had ha""ened* 5ran) sounded %ore scared o# the s"ear than the $asilis)s. <>ou. 5ran) as)ed. It !as early in the %orning o# CJ /une* no!.re dialling so%e$ody* she said* $ut you.d tried to send an Iris-%essage to Anna$eth* 5leecy had +ust sha)en her head sadly. At R.t %ention his #ailure to contact Anna$eth. Sorry* dear. The !ind !as cold* $ut it #elt good* clearing so%e o# the con#usion #ro% his head. Ha(el ga e Percy a sy%"athetic loo). He had started to #eel $etter at 0a%" /u"iter* re%e%$ering rando% na%es and #aces.* !hen he.s #ace co%"letely !hen he got to Alas)a. The hull rattled as the Pa1 "loughed its !ay north. Still* he had to concentrate on the 4uest. Percy guided the $oat through the strong currents o## the northern 0ali#ornia coast. I +ust can. It.t connect you. He $ent his !ill to "ush the $oat as hard as he could. They had to get to Alas)a* #ind Thanatos* locate the legion.5.

t ha e to #ight alone against the giants. She %ight send hel" . 2nless !e unleash Death* and get $ac) !ith the eagle . Then he caught a $rea). <That I !ould. her e1"ression. A#ter a #e! %ore hours o# na igating* Percy. It !as an old-#ashioned gesture* $ut cute* so%eho!.So I had to say* 3 5leecy* do %e a solid. Percy )e"t thin)ing a$out 0yclo"es and centaurs. >ou ca%e #ro% so%e!here* Reyna had said.d "ass out #ro% e1haustion.s eyes started to droo". <Not !ithout hel". Percy !ished he could re%e%$er. He thought a$out Anna$eth* the satyr 6ro er and his drea% o# a giant !arshi" under construction. It doesn. !hat did she call it .s i%age a""eared in the rain$o!* li)e in a t!o-!ay ideo call.. E1ce"t 5leecy )ind o# changed it. She.. Scared her out o# her %ind. There %ust $e allies out there. A )iller !hale sur#aced ne1t to the $oat* and Percy struc) u" a %ental con ersation !ith hi%. Not* you )no!* the $aths. <Any!ay* !e told Reyna a$out the ar%y* $ut* li)e Percy said* she "retty %uch already )ne!. Ha(el #anned her #ace li)e she needed air..s doing !hat she can to shore u" the de#ences.t change anything.Iris* goddess o# the rain$o!* acce"t %y o##ering. He #ingered the $eads on his nec)lace* the lead "ro$atio ta$let and the sil er ring Reyna had gi en hi%.. assu%ing she didn. <The ca%" can. It !asn. 5ran) said. She ga e us her . I #elt )ind o# stu"id* $ut it !or)ed. Reyna. A#ter that* they sailed in silence. 5ran) #inished.d $e a$le to tal) to her sister* Hylla. <I %ean . e "aid to see*.t stand against that ar%y*. He !as a#raid he.t e1actly li)e tal)ing* $ut it !ent so%ething li)e this8 0ould you gi e us a ride north* Percy as)ed* li)e as close to Portland as "ossi$le- .t )ill Percy on sight. 0a%" /u"iter shouldn. He could call #or hel". 'ay$e in Seattle he. her direct nu%$er. She !as in the $aths. <5ran)=. Sho! Reyna at 0a%" /u"iter.

They s"ed north under !hale-"o!er* and at Ha(el and 5ran).t $een !ith the Ro%ans !hen they had attac)ed* $ut he sa! it all clearly8 a Titan in ar%our* Anna$eth and t!o other girls #ighting at Percy. e got a %an satchel #ull o# %acro$iotic $ee# +er)y* though. A $oy !ith curly $lac) hair !as cursing as he "ounded the engine !ith a !rench. 3ne !as a teenage guy !ith short $lond hair.s side. His drea%s !ere as dis+ointed and scary as e er. The riggings and ar%a%ents !ere co%"lete* $ut so%ething !as !rong. So%ething told Percy that she %eant 0a%" /u"iter.s u""er $ody.t %a)e sense. 0ould $e 6aia %essing !ith us again. Pro%ise not to #eed %e this* and I !ill ta)e you north. The $ron(e dragon #igurehead glinted in the %orning light. <0ould $e the #i((roc)ets. <I )no! that=. A hatch in the dec) !as o"en* and s%o)e "oured #ro% so%e )ind o# engine. Percy )nelt o er her* !atching as she dissol ed into stars. Deal. the $lond guy as)ed. The !hale shuddered. He hadn. <Ho! long-. 3ne o# the girls died in the $attle. Are you seals. The curly-haired %echanic !hac)ed the engine a #e! %ore ti%es. He i%agined hi%sel# on 'ount Ta%al"ais* north o# San 5rancisco* #ighting at the old Titan stronghold. Then the scene shi#ted again.. <They %ay not ha e that long*. Soon Percy had %ade a %a)eshi#t ro"e harness and stra""ed it round the !hale.re su""osed to lea e today. The other !as a girl !ith long dar) hair.No* Percy ad%itted. Then he sa! the giant !arshi" in its dry doc). <T!o* three days-. That didn.Eat seals* the !hale res"onded. T!o other de%igods s4uatted ne1t to hi%* !atching !ith concern. the girl !arned. 0ould $e the sa%o"hlange. the girl said.s the solstice*.s insistence Percy settled in #or a na". <We. He sa! a $oy and his dog roa%ing o er the yello! hills . I.% not sure=. <>ou reali(e it. I.

s ision s!e"t "ast hi%* into the head4uarters. It !as a 0yclo"s in ragged +eans and a #lannel shirt. We a!ait you* the giant. In a alley $et!een the %ountains lay a %assi e #ield o# ice. The 0yclo"s carried a %assi e clu$ o er his shoulder* $ut Percy didn.s oice $oo%ed. Dis"layed $ehind hi% !ere the tattered* #ro(en $anners o# a Ro%an legion* including a large* golden eagle !ith its !ings s"read. Percy sat u" and $lin)ed. the 0yclo"s %oaned to the dog.o# 0ali#ornia.t sure !hich !as . <Why does he s%ell #urther-. 0o%e north= >our #riends !ill die* yes. He sa! a range o# sno!y %ountains* so tall they $ro)e the clouds. <I thought I sle"t hea ily*.s na%e* calling hi% 7 $rother<He s%ells #urther a!ay*. While you #u%$le your !ay north* trying to #ind %e* %y ar%ies !ill destroy your "recious ca%"s . The edge "lunged into the sea* hundreds o# #eet $elo!* !ith sheets o# #rost constantly cru%$ling into the !ater. Percy lurched a!a)e in cold grey daylight* rain #alling on his #ace.s slee"ing #ace a""eared in the shado!s o# the roc)s.. He )e"t yelling Percy. I ha e great "lans #or you. >ou cannot !in* little de%igod. Ha(el said. <Welco%e to Portland. 6aia.t #eel that he !as an ene%y. At the crossroads outside the "rinci"ia* a #igure in dar) ro$es stood shac)led to the ice. His s)in glinted gold. Percy. 3n to" o# the ice #ield stood a legion ca%" . #irst the Ro%ans* then the others. the dog $ar)ed* and Percy. Do not #ear* Percy /ac)son. &ut* as the i%age $eca%e clearer* Percy reali(ed it !asn.t a $oy. The scene around hi% !as so di##erent #ro% his drea% that he !asn. <R335=. There* in the gloo%* sat a giant e en $igger than Poly$otes. Such a alua$le "a!n* she said soothingly. The dog !as a sha%$ling %ountain o# $lac) #ur* easily as $ig as a rhino. ra%"arts* %oats* to!ers* $arrac)s* +ust li)e 0a%" /u"iter e1ce"t three ti%es as large.s drea% changed again. &ut I !ill "reser e you #or no!.

Alas)a has hundreds o# those. Percy nodded. <The )iller !hale too) us as #ar as the 0olu%$ia Ri er. 3n Percy. she said. <Ho! did !e get here-. Slee" o)ay-. 5ran) !i"ed the rain o## his #lat-to" hair. He tried to #ocus on the "ositi e8 a !arshi" %ight $e on the !ay to hel" 0a%" /u"iter. As the Pa1 glided south* Percy told the% a$out his drea%s.. 5ran) ga e hi% a loo) li)e* >ou !on. 5ran) said.. <The Willa%ette*..t $elie e this. <Any!ay*. an al%ost cosy-loo)ing cluster o# to!ers $et!een the $an)s o# the ri er and a line o# %isty #orested hills. He !as glad he hadn. He had this !eird i%age o# giant doctors in scru$s and #ace %as)s* "ulling their $oat u"strea%. Would ha e $een e%$arrassing* his $eing son o# the sea god and all. The cold rain !as so light it see%ed sus"ended in the air.t said anything. .s le#t !ere industrial !arehouses and railroad trac)s. <A#ter that* the $oat )ind o# too) o er and na igated us here all $y itsel#. He didn. The three de%igods stared u" at the $uildings o# dri((ly do!nto!n Portland. <So no! !e #ind a $lind %an in the rain*. To his right !as a s%all do!nto!n area . Then !e hit this ri er . Ha(el and I too) turns slee"ing. Percy ru$$ed the slee" out o# his eyes. Percy thought 5ran) had said surgeons. Then he "assed the harness to a cou"le o# t!el e-#oot sturgeons. 5ran) said..t narro! it do!n %uch. 5ran) continued* <the sturgeons "ulled us #or a long ti%e. Then he reali(ed 5ran) %eant sturgeons* li)e the #ish. <'ay$e this seer dude Phineas can tell us !hich one. When Percy descri$ed the Ro%an #ort on the ice* Ha(el loo)ed trou$led. The $oat doc)ed itsel# at a !har#. <Right*.t %ention !hat 6aia had said8 >our #riends !ill die. The Pa1 #loated on an iron-$lac) ri er through the %iddle o# a city. <So Alcyoneus is on a glacier*.real. A #riendly 0yclo"s and a giant dog !ere loo)ing #or hi%. Ha(el o##ered. <That doesn. Hea y clouds hung lo! o erhead.

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Another o##ered sushi on a stic).T AS HARD AS THE>.Percy IT WASN. They ran to!ards the sounds. The ne1t $loc) o er* they #ound a $ig o"en "ar)ing lot !ith tree-lined side!al)s and ro!s o# #ood truc)s #acing the streets on all #our sides. A third !as selling dee"-#ried ice-crea% sand!iches. They. do(ens o# di##erent )itchens coo)ing at once. Percy had seen #ood truc)s $e#ore* $ut ne er so %any in one "lace.-. <>ou thin) . They sa! so%e $icycle tra##ic and a #e! ho%eless guys huddled in door!ays* $ut the %a+ority o# Portlanders see%ed to $e staying indoors. Percy glanced at his #riends. <Pro$a$ly*. 5ran) agreed. He !as a$out to suggest that they sto" #or $rea)#ast !hen he heard a oice do!n the street yelling8 <HA= TAKE THAT* ST2PID 0HI0KENS=. This ti%e Percy !as s%art and $rought %ost o# his su""lies #ro% the $oat. .d $rought light!eight Polartec +ac)ets !ith their su""lies* so they $undled u" against the cold rain and !al)ed #or a #e! $loc)s through the %ostly deserted streets. As they %ade their !ay do!n 6lisan Street* Percy loo)ed longingly at the #ol)s in the ca#Ss en+oying co##ee and "astries. 3ne ad ertised KoreanO-&ra(ilian #usion tacos* !hich sounded li)e so%e )ind o# to"-secret radioacti e cuisine. The screa%ing and the !eed !hac)er hel"ed. #ollo!ed $y the re ing o# a s%all engine and a lot o# s4ua!)ing. 3thers !ere "ainted $lue or "ur"le or "ol)a-dotted* !ith $ig $anners out #ront and colour#ul %enu $oards and ta$les li)e do-it-yoursel# side!al) ca#Ss. So%e !ere si%"le !hite %etal $o1es on !heels* !ith a!nings and ser ing counters.D TH326HT. He e en stu##ed the %acro$iotic +er)y in his coat "oc)et* in case he needed to threaten any %ore )iller !hales. The s%ell !as a%a(ing .

Their $odies !ere co ered in %oulting #eathers* and their !ings !ere ti""ed !ith tiny* shri elled hands.s sto%ach ru%$led. The "ar)ing lot itsel# !as nothing $ut a s4uare o# crac)ed as"halt* %ar$led !ith !eeds.Percy. The guy in the $athro$e !as old and #at. In the %iddle !as a "icnic ta$le "iled high !ith #ood #ro% all the di##erent truc)s. <Har"ies*.s Phineas*. In the centre o# the lot* $ehind all the #ood truc)s* an old %an in a $athro$e !as running around !ith a !eed !hac)er* screa%ing at a #loc) o# $ird-ladies !ho !ere trying to steal #ood o## a "icnic ta$le. Their hu%an #aces had sun)en eyes and hollo! chee)s. His $athro$e !as s"attered !ith )etchu"* and he )e"t stu%$ling around in #u((y "in) $unny sli""ers* s!inging his gas-"o!ered !eed !hac)er at the hal#-do(en har"ies !ho !ere ho ering o er his "icnic ta$le. He !as clearly $lind.3h* %an* that sounded !ay $etter than !heat ger%. said Ha(el. The $ac)s o# the #ood truc)s !eren. Percy !asn.t nearly as a""eti(ing as the #ronts. 5ran) guessed. They ran across the street and s4uee(ed $et!een the KoreanO&ra(ilian truc) and a 0hinese egg-roll $urrito endor.. They !ore ragged $urla" sac)s #or dresses. he $ello!ed. <That. <Which %eans . 2n#ortunately* there !as %ore ha""ening than +ust coo)ing. He !as %ostly $ald* !ith scars across his #orehead and a ri% o# stringy !hite hair. His eyes !ere %il)y !hite* and usually he %issed the har"ies $y a lot* $ut he !as still doing a "retty good +o$ #ending the% o##. They !ere cluttered !ith stac)s o# "lastic $uc)ets* o er#lo!ing gar$age cans* and %a)eshi#t clotheslines hung !ith !et a"rons and to!els. As they di ed #or the #ood* they see%ed %ore des"erate than . 'ost o# the #ood carts !ere o"en #or $usiness* $ut there !as hardly anyone around. <&ac)* dirty chic)ens=. These loo)ed li)e they !ere star ing. They could get anything they !anted= Dee"-#ried ice crea% sand!iches.t sure !hy* $ut he had a ague sense that har"ies !ere su""osed to $e "lu%".

Another har"y circled higher than the rest. <Son o# Ne"tune=.s #ace and "o)ed hi% in the eyes.s direction. The red-#eathered one !ith the hurt $ac) #le! unsteadily do!n 6lisan Street and out o# sight.% Percy /ac)son. This is . Percy co%"lained.s $ac) !as turned she %ade a !ild di e #or the ta$le.. The har"ies too) that the !rong !ay. <3# course not* %y dear. Percy $it $ac) his anger. <De%igods=. <Hey* sto" it=. <I can al!ays s%ell de%igods. He reached #or Percy. WHIRRRR= The old %an s!ung his !eed !hac)er.t tell %e . <I thought I s%elled the ocean on you* Percy /ac)son. They glanced o er at the three de%igods and i%%ediately #led.. <I. <Than) you* strangers= >our hel" is %ost a""reciated. I. He a""roached the old guy* )ee"ing one eye on the !eed !hac)er. !ait* don. Ha(el #ro!ned. <3!=. <2h* !hate er. She gra$$ed a $urrito in her cla!ed #eet* $ut* $e#ore she could esca"e* the $lind %an s!ung his !eed !hac)er and s%ac)ed her in the $ac) so hard that Percy !inced..angry. The $lind %an yelled in triu%"h and )illed the "o!er on his !eed !hac)er. And you . The old %an laughed. The har"y yel"ed in "ain and #luttered o##* dro""ing yello! #eathers as she #le!. 'ost o# the% #luttered a!ay and "erched in the trees around the s4uare* staring de+ectedly at the "icnic ta$le.d $e sur"rised ho! shar" %y other senses $eca%e once I !as $linded..% also a son . She !atched care#ully #or an o"ening* and !hen the old %an. He gra(ed one o# the har"ies. !ings. She loo)ed younger and s%aller than the others* !ith $right-red #eathers. Percy #elt sorry #or the%. He grinned acantly in Percy. <Ha=.t %eant to hel" the old %an* $ut he re%e%$ered that they needed in#or%ation #ro% hi%. Phineas e1clai%ed. He hadn.. <Do !e s%ell that $ad-. The har"y yel"ed* dro""ed the $urrito and #le! o##. &ut you. Percy yelled. the old %an said. I.% Phineas.

% con#used*. <Don. 5irst* you start carrying a %an satchel. <So%ething li)e that*. Percy said. <We need so%e in#or%ation. Perry !ho-.s old ne!s. Percy said..d $een run o er $y a truc)* $ut Phineas had already %o ed on to other %atters. Ne1t thing you )no!* you.t !orry.t stand to thin) a$out eating !ith those "oor $ird ladies !atching hi%. He "atted his $elly* !hich !as the si(e o# an o erin#lated $as)et$all. <That.. As hungry as Percy !as* he couldn. He !a ed his hand at the "icnic ta$le. <And here 7 3h %y* the s%ell o# gold and dee" earth. He ho"ed all sons o# Ne"tune didn. &lah* $lah* $lah. <Hey 7 yeah. <2% 7 no*. /ust his luc) he !as related to this gru$$y old dude. that the har"ies !ere )ee"ing %y #ood a!ay #ro% %e*. We !ere told .d hel" you. Percy ad%itted. 3)ay. <Loo)* I.t share the sa%e #ate.. <Prince o# Pylos.s %ore to your story* 5ran) Phang ... Percy ru$$ed his eyes. the son o# 'ars. Do I loo) li)e I. <Ancient $lood*. &ut there.% %issing any %eals-. Phineas turned to Ha(el. 5ran) loo)ed li)e he. Are you hungry-. <.o# Ne"tune* you )no!.He didn. 5ran). <Things ha e changed* %y #riends=. Ha(el Le es4ue* daughter o# Pluto. All three o# the% duc)ed. That story a$out your greatgrand#ather.re running around in a $athro$e and "in) $unny sli""ers* chasing chic)ens !ith a !eed !hac)er.t really destroy the ca%". In the near$y trees* the har"ies shrie)ed %isera$ly. I lo ed the Argonauts=.. I )no! a$out your #a%ily. <Pericly%enus* e1actly= 3h* he !as a nice #ello!. he said. 5ran) %uttered. <W-!ait. Phineas !a ed his !eed !hac)er in an e1"ansi e gesture. And ne1t to you . <When I #irst . Phineas grinned. No!* !hat an interesting grou". Phineas laughed. Phineas #inished* <and* i# you hel"ed %e* I.s %outh #ell o"en.

Phineas turned to Percy* <!ell no!* you don.. 5ran) %uttered. An outrage= So this ti%e* !hen %y "atron $rought %e $ac) to li#e . Percy #ro!ned. &ut 6aia is !a)ing. 5ran) loo)ed li)e the truc) had $ac)ed u" and run o er hi% again.>our girl#riend here understands.s your $usiness. <I. He turned to 5ran). He turned to Ha(el. He sent the har"ies to steal %y #ood. I told the% to )ill the har"ies* and I.% ali e again* and in e1change #or %y hel" .t e en )no! !ho you are= I could tell you* o# course* $ut 7 ha= What #un !ould that $e. Ha(el dre! her s!ord..s already re!ritten the rules o# li#e and death= I. 6aia is not %y "atron=. Phineas loo)ed a%used.d $een sla""ed.t=. <5or instance* you.. Phineas ga e hi% a !ic)ed grin.. <What are you tal)ing a$out-. a "ro"hecy here* a "ro"hecy there .And &rigid 3. <>our "atron-. <So you tal)ed too %uch* and the gods cursed you.got the gi#t o# "ro"hecy* aeons ago* it. The ta$les ha e $een turned* so to . I get %y #ondest !ish. They !anted in#or%ation* too* you see. Who do you thin) o"ened the Doors o# Death. <>our li#e de"ends on a $urnt stic).. And Darth :ader is actually Lu)e.re su""osed to $e dead. <Why* 6aia* o# course. 5ran) as)ed.% not his . <And you*. Ha(el gri""ed her s!ord li)e she !as te%"ted to "o%%el-!hi" the old %an.t let the% )ill the har"ies. <6ot it*. I# he had heard the s!ord $eing dra!n* he didn. I don. The old %an arched his $ushy eye$ro!s li)e* 0an you $elie e it.t 6aia your "atron* too-. >ou see* I had a $it o# a $ig %outh. Well* they dro e those nasty creatures a!ay* $ut Iris !ouldn. Ha(el $lin)ed li)e she.s #ather. She. And you .Shaughnessy shot 'iles Archer in The 'altese 5alcon. <3h* they didn. Isn. <5ine* i# you !ant to $e no$le and stic) !ith the losing side* that.<I had to %a)e a deal !ith the Argonauts. I ga e a!ay too %any secrets that the gods !anted )e"t. Why did they sto"-.t .t see% concerned.d coo"erate.s true /u"iter cursed %e. And the !inner o# the ne1t Su"er &o!l !ill $e .

ll see i# you. >ou started this !hole thing= I# it !eren.t #or you* Alcyoneus !ouldn.re li ing creatures. Horri$le +o$ they. Phineas s%iled. <They can eat only #ood #ro% %y ta$le* and they can...re here a$out* is it. We should send you $ac) to the 2nder!orld oursel es. <Ha(el-. <They. <3h* I. Phineas sneered. Ha(el ad anced on the seer. </u"iter ordered the% to. she told Phineas.% %ad at /u"iter* too*. Phineas agreed. <In ti%e* 6aia !ill see that the gods are "ro"erly "unished. <They. <>ou.% +ust a cra(y old %an shooing a!ay "igeons=. <>ou $elong in the 5ields o# Punish%ent=. &ut* #or no!* I.s eyes got as !ide as 4uarters.. &ut you. They thin) I.s"ea).re cursed=. No! I can eat all I !ant* all day long* and the har"ies ha e to !atch and star e.Those #eather-$rained de%ons tor%ented %e #or years=..t $e tal)ing. <5orget it*. Then !e. <They. >ou see* 6aia has sho!n %e the easy . Percy said* trying to control hi%sel#.ll #ind out soon enough* 5ran) Phang. <Ha=. Ha(el sna""ed. It. Phineas said.>ou !ant to #ind Thanatos.s he tal)ing a$out-.I !ouldn. 5ran) "rotested.. <&eauti#ul-. <&ut it !as their duty*. <>ou. <What.s $eauti#ul=.ll ha e to do %e a #a our.s not !hat you. <>ou.s $eing )e"t at Alcyoneus. the old %an said.t lea e Portland. <And %ean. Phineas said.re a!#ul=.% en+oying Portland. He. e done* ruling the !orld. <3ne dead "erson to another* girlie. I can tell you !here that is.re !or)ing #or the ene%y. The %ortals ta)e no notice o# %e.re %onsters=. Ha(el stu%$led $ac). 3# course I can. He re ed his !eed !hac)er* and the har"ies !ailed in the trees. <>ou could try.t e en die.t $e ali e=. Why are you so %ean to the%-. <&ut I dou$t I. Since the Doors o# Death are o"en* they can.d stay dead ery long.s lair.re still s!eet on your girl#riend. 5ran). &ut that.

And !ith Thanatos in chains there.s one har"y !ho. They ca%e to a silent agree%ent8 they !ould ne er hel" this cree"y old %an.s other #riends* !here er they !ere. No!* o## !ith you= &ring %e a har"y=. She ga e %e these. /ust re%e%$er that !ithout %y hel" your 4uest !ill #ail. Percy loo)ed at his #riends.% $lind= I don. Har"ies hate $eing tied u". They needed a Plan &.s 4uic)er than the rest. Percy !as te%"ted to let Ha(el use her s!ord.ll e en #eed her so that she lasts longer.s !ily* that one.s the #a our-.t care. He "ointed at the scars on his #orehead. I !ant her tied u" !here I can )ee" an eye on her 7 ah* so to s"ea).. Al!ays does her o!n thing* ne er roosts !ith the others.. <I don. In #act he !anted to strangle the old %an hi%sel#. <There. >es* I. the old %an groused. 0a%" /u"iter* he told hi%sel#. <The red one*. She.s no one to )ee" %e do!n= &esides* i# you )ill %e* you !on.s the only one I ha e trou$le !ith. he said.t )no! colours=. <I. Percy guessed. Sa ing the ca%" is %ore i%"ortant. <0a"ture that har"y*. Phineas lic)ed his li"s greedily. 3n the other hand* they had to get his in#or%ation.ll en+oy that. I# they !asted ti%e searching through Alas)a loo)ing #or the giant. It causes the% e1tre%e "ain.t get %y secrets. <At any rate* she. <&ring her to %e. He gritted his teeth.s lair* 6aia.!ay $ac).s ar%ies !ould destroy the Ro%ans 7 and Percy... And e eryone you lo e in the !orld !ill die. Phineas said $ree(ily. <3h* go tal) a%ong yoursel es*. . 'ay$e I. <What. He re%e%$ered Alcyoneus taunting hi% in his drea%s.

.

NN:II .

Percy "ro%ised..LL NEED S3'E 35 >32R 533D. <We. They sto""ed across the street. <That %an 7. the !ay she a oided tal)ing a$out her "ast* the !ay Nico di Angelo had $een so secreti e and cautious. <He needs to die. Percy re%e%$ered ho! con#ident she.t sure ho!.d co%#orted hi% at the shrine o# Ne"tune and %ade hi% #eel !elco%e at ca%".. In the grey light* her gold eyes loo)ed %ore li)e tin. The cold %ist #elt good on his #ace. He led his #riends out o# the "ar)ing lot.s #ace* Percy said* <0o%e on* guys.Percy <WE. Percy shouldered his !ay around the old %an and snatched stu## o## the "icnic ta$le .t a ghoul li)e Phineas. He. It !as hard to tell in the rain* $ut she see%ed to $e $lin)ing $ac) tears.t sur"rised that she had co%e $ac) #ro% the 2nder!orld. Again. The rain had slo!ed to a hal#-hearted dri((le. Ha(el s%ac)ed the side o# a $us-sto" $ench. She see%ed 7 !ell* ali e* li)e a regular )id !ith a good heart* !ho deser ed to gro! u" and ha e a #uture.ll get hi%*. <He. Percy too) a dee" $reath* trying to cal% do!n.t change ho! Percy sa! her.. ta)ing control o# the situation !ith the gorgons and ushering hi% to sa#ety. a co ered $o!l o# Thai noodles in %ac-and-cheese sauce* and a tu$ular "astry that loo)ed li)e a co%$ination $urrito and cinna%on roll. She.d sus"ected that #or a !hile . She !asn.d acted !hen they #irst %et . &e#ore he could lose control and s%ash the $urrito in Phineas. Percy !asn. Her long curly hair !as "lastered do!n the sides o# her #ace.s nothing li)e you* . No! he !anted to return the #a our* $ut he !asn. &ut that didn. She loo)ed lost* $edraggled and thoroughly de"ressed.

e only got t!o %ore uses out o# the s"ear* right-. he o##ered* <%ay$e scare hi% . <>ou. I should ha e $een sent to Punish%ent. Percy said. /ust try to )ee" the other har"ies #ro% stealing this stu##* o)ay-. he yelled across the street. He didn. 2n#ortunately* 5ran) see%ed !ra""ed u" in his o!n thoughts. ene%ies he could hit #or Ha(el.t )no! the !hole story. Percy !asn. Ha(el loo)ed at the #ood in his hands.s a good "erson=.t sure !hat the old seer had %eant a$out 5ran). <I. She reached out tentati ely* as i# she !anted to ta)e his hand $ut !as a#raid he %ight e a"orate.t thin) Phineas can $e scared into coo"erating. Let. Percy "ointed u" the street. 5ran) $alled his #ists. I don.s-tooth "oint* !hich had gro!n $ac) co%"letely o ernight.. &esides* you. his greatgrand#ather destroying ca%"* his Argonaut ancestor and the $it a$out a $urnt stic) controlling 5ran).re going to use that as $ait-. <>eah. Percy decided not to as) #or e1"lanations. He loo)ed around li)e he !as searching #or any$ody !ho %ight disagree !ith hi% .. <Let.t care !hat he says. I. <'ore li)e a "eace o##ering*. e got an idea. I guess 7. she sta%%ered.re not=.s )ee" that as a $ac)-u" "lan* $ut I don. <>ou don. 5ran) sco!led at the dragon. <0o%e on.t 7.s li#e. I . <The red-#eathered har"y !ent that !ay. Percy said. <I ..Ha(el.s see i# !e can get her to tal) to us.% +ust as $ad . <5ran) 7. A #e! har"ies s4ua!)ed in the trees* $ut no one else "aid the% any attention. He slung his s"ear o## his $ac) and gri""ed it uneasily.s #a%ily history .t !ant the $ig guy reduced to tears* es"ecially in #ront o# Ha(el. .s o)ay*.. <I could inti%idate that old %an*. <No* you. <She. I don. &ut it had clearly sha)en 5ran) u".s sa)e. <5ran)* it.. Ha(el stared at 5ran). She shoo) her head.

They crossed the street and #ound a $ench to sit on* ne1t to a $ig $ron(e scul"ture o# an ele"hant. The har"ies #luttered a#ter the%* "erching on trees* %ail$o1es and #lag"oles* #ollo!ing the s%ell o# #ood.d seen ho! 4uic)ly the har"ies could snatch things.. Thai noodles #or a chance to tal)* o)ay-.t !orry a$out it* %an*.t re%e%$er* $ut it %ade hi% #eel ho%esic). He. 'ay$e they +ust thought the Thai %ac and cheese !as so good it needed an ar%ed escort. <Loo)s li)e Hanni$al*.re 0hinese. 'ay$e in his ho%eto!n. <Don. 'ay$e they thought the har"ies !ere "igeons and the !ea"ons !ere lacrosse stic)s or so%ething. 5ran) said. 5inally he s"otted her* circling a$o e a stretch o# "ar)land that ran #or se eral $loc)s $et!een ro!s o# old stone $uildings. <I %ean* hers isn.t hurt you*. We. Percy !ondered !hat the %ortals sa! through the 'ist. He #linched. He loo)ed at Ha(el and Percy* !ho !ere trying hard not to laugh. The "lace re%inded Percy o# 7 so%e other "ar). <Let. <We !on.. Ha(el said. He didn.Percy unco ered the Thai noodles and un!ra""ed the cinna%on $urrito. . s"icy "e""ers and cheesy goodness. Percy said.. They !al)ed do!n the street* Ha(el and 5ran) !ith their !ea"ons out. <'y grand%other has one o# those.t !ant to lose his "eace o##ering $e#ore he #ound the red-#eathered har"y. The red har"y circled lo!er. <We +ust !ant to tal). <E1ce"t it. 5ragrant stea% !a#ted into the air.s see i# !e can %a)e #riends !ith the har"y. Percy called u" in a nor%al oice.t t!el e #eet tall. Percy )e"t a tight gri" on the #ood. he as)ed. Paths stretched through the "ar) under huge %a"le and el% trees* "ast scul"tures and "laygrounds and shady $enches.He couldn. <0ould I +ust die #ro% e%$arrass%ent no!-. He raised the Thai noodles and #anned the s%ell u"!ard .s 0hinese*. &ut she i%"orts stu## 7 #ro% 0hina.

. Ella sni##ed the $urrito. Her hands snatched at her hair* her $urla" dress* the raindro"s* !hate er %o ed.. <6ods* she. she %uttered* loo)ing side!ays. In English. Ella "o)ed her head out o# her !ings.s #oot. Ha(el said. <Ella doesn. Percy hesitated. <Sto" it=.. she stuttered. Her #eathery legs !ere li)e stic)s. Ella tried to hide under her !ings as her sisters ganged u" on her* scratching !ith their cla!s. Percy yelled. <6ood #or har"ies. 5ran) guessed. Ella doesn. She ni$$led at the edge and shuddered #ro% head to #oot* ca!ing li)e she !as dying. EHar"yF. She !as still tre%$ling. <N-n-no=.s #ast=. >u%. <0heese*. She %o ed in +er)y $irdli)e t!itches* her co##ee-$ro!n eyes darting restlessly* her #ingers cla!ing at her "lu%age* her earlo$es* her shaggy red hair. She said all that !ithout ta)ing a $reath or %a)ing eye contact.. A $ig yello! har"y gra$$ed the $urrito and the !hole #loc) scattered* lea ing Ella co!ering and shi ering on to" o# the ele"hant.% so sorry. She !as "ain#ully thin. <N-no*. <And hea ily ca##einated*. <>our na%e is Ella-. In Latin. With her shoulders hunched* Percy could see the $leeding gash on her $ac) !here Phineas had hit her !ith the !eed !hac)er.t li)e cheese. Ha(el touched the har"y.The har"y strea)ed do!n in a #lash o# red and landed on the ele"hant statue. <0inna%on is good*. She started to eat* $ut the $igger har"ies s!oo"ed do!n. Are you o)ay-. <Nnnnnnooo. <I. Aella.t li)e cheese. She "ic)ed at her #eathers* "ulling . she "ronounced. He and his #riends ran to hel"* $ut it !as too late. &e#ore Percy could react* they $egan "u%%elling Ella !ith their !ings* snatching at the $urrito. <Ella. Her #ace !ould ha e $een "retty e1ce"t #or her sun)en chee)s. Guic)er than Percy could $lin)* she lunged* snatched the cinna%on $urrito* and a""eared ato" the ele"hant again.

No cinna%on #or Ella.F Si1teen. <W-!ea) Ella. A li$rary !ouldn.. <It does sound #a%iliar* li)e 7 I don.. She caught a raindro" out o# the air. <Wait=.. <Loo). JDDR to C@@R.s #irst choice #or . At the na%e Phineas* Ella s4ua!)ed in terror and #le! a!ay. 3nly cheese. Percy.. Ha(el called.s so%ething she heard Phineas say-. <S-s%all Ella*.t ha e $een Percy. EIngredients8 &acon* &utter.s ears !ere ringing. 5ran) glared across the street* !here the other har"ies !ere sitting in a %a"le tree* tearing the $urrito to shreds.s her nest-.F. 'ay$e it. <It. <5riends*. he said* <!e !ant to $e your #riends. <Ella 7 !hat !as that you said-.d +ust "lunged a hundred #eet under!ater and $ac) u" again. <>ou thin) that.F.re si1teen.out tu#ts o# "lu%age.t %o ing as 4uic)ly no!.. 5ran) "ointed. Ella said. <'ultno%ah 0ounty Li$rary-.s see i# it. Page si1teen* 'astering the Art o# 5rench 0oo)ing.% stu"id. she stuttered angrily. &ut a#ter !atching her get "ic)ed on* he !as sure o# one thing8 !hate er else ha""ened* he !as going to hel" her. <E&utter.F. Those lines 7 I )no! those lines. <ETen seasons.t %ean . Percy set do!n the Thai noodles. <Ella*. A single red #eather #luttered do!n to the street. We can get you %ore #ood* $ut .ll get you so%ething else*. >ou. Ella !asn. She #la""ed her !ay to the to" o# a three-storey red$ric) $uilding and scuttled out o# sight o er the roo#. He reali(ed that Ella !as di##erent* e en #or a har"y. he "ro%ised.. Percy nodded. <E&acon.s o"en. They ran across the street and into the lo$$y. She glanced side!ays at Percy* then loo)ed in the air and started reciting to the clouds. <No* $e#ore that. He #elt di((y* li)e he. <EA hal#-$lood o# the eldest gods* shall reach si1teen against all odds. 5ran) s4uinted at the sign on the $uilding. <Let.. Ne1t to hi%* Ha(el shi ered.F.t )no!* li)e a "ro"hecy.s all right. <We. 3h* gods* I. <I didn.

Percy got !ithin #i e #eet and )nelt do!n. /er)y !ould $e good #or har"ies.That sounded a$out as %uch #un as 0hinese !ater torture or getting his teeth e1tracted.Architecture* $oo)s 7 Anna$eth had ta)en hi% to the li$rary once* $ac) ho%e in . <I. Percy and his #riends ad anced slo!ly* trying not to scare her..% all right*. He too) so%e o# the %acro$iotic +er)y out o# his "oc)et. It !as s"acious and $rightly lit* !ith $ig aulted !indo!s. With his dysle1ia* he had enough trou$le reading signs. She "ic)ed at her #eathers and %uttered under her $reath* li)e she !as "ractising lines #or a "lay. Ella didn.t "ay the% any attention. Ella lunged and snatched it i%%ediately. <Hi. &oo)s and architecture* that !as de#initely her 7 He #ro(e in his trac)s. Let. At the to" !as a door !ith a handle alar%* $ut so%eone had "ro""ed it o"en !ith a co"y o# War and Peace. 3utside* Ella the har"y huddled in a nest o# $oo)s under a %a)eshi#t card$oard shelter. Percy sla%%ed his #ist into the side o# a $oo)shel#. <Percy-.so%e"lace to isit. Loo)* I don. The %e%ory #aded. I. concerned #aces $rought hi% $ac) to the "resent. As they +ogged through the lo$$y* Percy #igured Anna$eth !ould li)e this "lace. <Percy-. he lied. He !as so angry* so #rustrated !ith his %issing %e%ories* that he !anted to "unch another $oo)shel#* $ut his #riends. Sad. 5ran) as)ed. <N-not #ro% his ta$le. She huddled $ac) in her nest* sni##ing the +er)y* $ut sighed and tossed it a!ay. <What. Percy tried des"erately to concentrate. .s #ind a !ay to the roo#. It too) the% a !hile* $ut they #inally #ound a stair!ell !ith roo# access..% . Sorry !e scared you. Where had those thoughts co%e #ro%. A !hole $uilding #ull o# $oo)s. Ella cannot eat. </ust got di((y #or a sec. Ha(el as)ed gently.t ha e %uch #ood* $ut 7.s !rong-. in .

s Al%anac JDQ?*.... 5ran) agreed. Words cal% Ella do!n. she said.F. <She. <That.re going to #ind a !ay to $rea) the curse.t ha e to run a!ay. Percy "ic)ed u" a $oo) at rando% . We. <Nothing. Percy said. <ERecorded in English $y Perry 0o%o* JDK@. Ella said. <Ella*.F.s i%"ossi$le*. Would you li)e that-. 5ran) !his"ered. he said* <ha e you read all o# these-. Ha(el said. <She. <There has to $e a !ay*. His hands !ere sha)ing. They all loo)ed old and %ilde!ed.s a genius chic)en*. >ou don. Percy said. So%e had "rices !ritten in %ar)er on the co ers* li)e the li$rary had got rid o# the% in a clearance sale. Percy re%e%$ered that line she. &iology. <EStart $reeding ani%als* /anuary t!enty-si1th. Ella %uttered.s a%a(ing*.s I%"ossi$leF*. <ESecretariatF*. Ella said instantly* <E#a oured three to t!o-in the JDKM Kentuc)y Der$y* #inished at standing trac) record o# one #i#ty-nine and t!o #i#ths.F EIt !as the $est o# ti%es* it !as the !orst o# ti%esI it !as the age o# !isdo%* it !as the age o# #oolishness 7 F. <EPhotosynthesisF*. <Word #or !ord. Words.F. <That.s "art o# the curse.re going . <Ella*. <'ore.t $ecause she.% going to say his na%e. He !as starting to #or% a terri$le idea a$out !hy Phineas !anted to ca"ture Ella* and it !asn.d recited* A hal#-$lood o# the eldest gods. Ha(el said. <No!* loo)* I. He !as sure it !as a$out hi%. <Ella* do you re%e%$er the* u%* third "aragra"h on "age si1ty-t!o . >ou can only eat his #ood. 'ore do!nstairs. <ENoun. <What is she saying-. Percy stared at the %ound o# $oo)s around her. Percy #elt uneasy. She $lin)ed.. <EIt. Percy guessed.s 4uoting $oo)s*. Words* !ords* !ords. Percy closed the $oo). <5ar%er. a tattered co"y o# A History o# Horseracing.d scratched hi%. The synthesis o# co%"le1 organic %aterials. he said* <!e.<Not #ro% 7 3h* right*.

t see s%all things . Then Ha(el tried* and Ella let her "our so%e nectar on her $ac).. <3)ay* Ella. 6od stu##. &esides that-. &ut he can. Ha(el s%iled. <N-n-no= No Phineas. Percy said* <you ha e #irst-aid su""lies-. <6a%es o# chance. He !aited #or her to $olt* $ut she +ust shoo) her head igorously. <>ou %ean he. <Tric)s are #or )ids. <Phineas s-sees $ig things. He hurts Ella. <I thin) I get it*. <0hance*. 5ran) rolled his eyes* $ut Ha(el continued "atiently* <Right. Ella said. He #elt incredi$ly sorry #or her* $ut he !as also starting to reali(e +ust ho! s%art she !as.. We need to #igure out ho! to tric) hi%* though. >ou har"ies %ust )no! hi% $etter than any$ody. <We !on. <Phineas is $ad*. Ella is 4uic).. Percy agreed. &-$ut he !ants to ch-chain Ella. 5ran) ru$$ed his chin.to sa e you #ro% the curse. We +ust need to #igure out a !ay to $eat 7 Phineas.s $lind. <Phineas sees the #uture. When he scooted closer* she recoiled and started to shrie). <&ut does Phineas ha e any !ea)nesses-. Ha(el s"o)e in a soothing oice* li)e she !as trying to cal% a horse. Percy !atched the har"y "ic) at her $urla" dress. And he is $lind. ?@ Tric)s to Teach >our Dog* $y So"hie 0ollins* call nu%$er si1-three-si1 .s $etter.s s"irits rose. <3n it. T!o to one. <N-no*. &ad odds. She tried to reach the gash on her $ac)... <See. Ella insisted. 0all or #old. Too 4uic) #or hi%. <A$solutely*. <5ran)*. The !ound $egan to close.t let hi% hurt you again. Pro"hecies. He )no!s tons o# i%"ortant e ents. E1citing. li)e rando% occurrences* s"ontaneous ga%es o# . Not s%all stu##. Is there any !ay !e can tric) hi%-. He. <&lind. And cheese..s a ga%$ler-.That. <Any idea !hat she %eans-. Percy. <And !eed !hac)ers. 5ran) $rought out a ther%os #ull o# nectar and e1"lained its healing "ro"erties to Ella.. he said. she said.. 5ates.. Rando%..

>e". &ut !hat do !e ha e to !ager. 6aia !on. Percy said. That.t !orry a$out that*. .s a genius*. <Don. Healing 7 no"e* no"e. Ella %uttered. I# !e can te%"t hi% into %a)ing a $et 7. 3ne you li e* one you die. <So%ething si%"le* !ith high sta)es*.d retrie ed #ro% the Little Ti$er.. 5ran) $rought out the t!o cera%ic ials he.chance.t do that #or Phineas. <What-.What )ind o# ga%e do !e "lay-. Ha(el nodded slo!ly. <Li)e t!o choices. That %a)es ga%$ling e1citing #or hi%. <Sight*. he said. <6orgon. <2nless !e die.s o## the ta$le.. <I. e got a "lan. Ha(el as)ed. Percy said. 5ran) and Percy e1changed a %eaning#ul loo). <Sight is good #or $lind %en. And the "ri(e has to $e so%ething Phineas !ants 7 I %ean* $esides Ella. <Ella.s $lood*. they said si%ultaneously... 6aia )ee"s Phineas $-$lind* de"endent on 6aia. <>ou %ean i# he loses* he has to tell us !here Thanatos is.

.

NN:III .

<Really.. His !eed !hac)er !as at his side.Winner ta)e all-. Phineas suc)ed the grease o## his #ingers.. <A ga%$le 7 ho! interesting.s %outh t!itched. /ust getting her into the "ar)ing lot had $een a %a+or challenge* $ut no! she started $ac)ing a!ay* %uttering* <E/u"iter. Percy said.s !ings.. A %inion o# /u"iter. <No*.s a %onster. Si1ty-three satellites. <I. he called cheer#ully.% $lind* so I don.t get all high and %ighty !ith %e. <She. His %il)y eyes see%ed #i1ed on a "oint +ust a$o e Percy. <She isn. e $rought %e %y har"y-.s head.s here*. Percy said.t understand her alue.Percy THE 3LD 'AN WAS RI6HT WHERE they.re #ro% the Ro%an ca%"* aren. Don. Percy said.s not yours. <The har"y isn. He sat on his "icnic $ench !ith his $unny sli""ers "ro""ed u"* eating a "late o# greasy shish )e$a$. e co%e to ga%$le..t #or sale.I# so* good luc) co%"leting your 4uest. A !ind s"irit.. He "ut do!n his shish )e$a$ and leaned to!ards Percy.. She. <Welco%e $ac)=. His $athro$e !as s%eared !ith $ar$ecue sauce.t "art o# the deal.. In#or%ation in e1change #or the har"y.F No %inions. She see%ed to $e the only one !ho could touch the har"y !ithout causing lots o# screa%ing and t!itching. Phineas laughed. Ha e you co%e to )ill %e* then. The old %an.d le#t hi%* in the %iddle o# the #ood truc) "ar)ing lot.Perha"s you don. <3h* "lease= >ou. Ella s4ua!)ed. &esides* she isn. <I hear the #lutter o# ner ous little !ings.t e en hu%an. He held his s"ear ready* . 5ran) stayed at Percy.Ro%e !as $uilt on sla ery. Hydrogen and heliu%. <She..s a "erson*. Ha(el "ut her ar% around Ella. >ou.t see. <I see 7 Well* actually* I. <&ut she.s side. No"e.t you.

<I ha e a di##erent !ager. We s!ear to drin) at the sa%e ti%e. Let %e s%ell the%.ll s!ear on the Ri er Sty1 that they loo) identical. E en !e don. <So I choose !hich ial to drin). 3ne heals.d $e unsto""a$le.t ha e your sense o# s%ell*. I could ca"ture that har"y %ysel#=. she said* !ithout hesitation. We. <No uncor)ing* no sni##ing $e#ore you decide. >ou ha e to drin) the other one. <2h* you. Percy said. Percy loo)ed $ac) at Ha(el. I... Phineas stro)ed his $eard. <That. <The loser dies* o$ iously*. <Ter%s 7. They..as i# the old %an %ight charge the%. <>ou get to choose a ial*. <Pro"hecy and sight 7 I. What are your ter%s-..% $lind. Phineas !as $reathing shallo!ly. Percy countered. There are !orse things than death. And I.d $uild %y "alace here* surrounded $y #ood truc)s.re our 2nder!orld e1"ert. <:ery !ell* de%igod.re !earing "in) $unny sli""ers* $ut Phineas ga e it his $est shot. <And I don. Ella said ner ously. I# you choose the right one* it could cure your $lindness. <5irst you agree to the ter%s. A illainous laugh is hard to "ull o## !hen you..re e1actly !hat I told you8 gorgon. Percy $rought out the cera%ic ials. <Not so #ast*. <That )ind o# "oison !ould "ro$a$ly )ee" e en %e #ro% co%ing $ac) . <No"e* no"e* no"e.. With all this !eird stu## going on !ith Death* is an oath on the Ri er Sty1 still $inding-. Percy could tell he !as hungry to ta)e the o##er.. <Right*.. <N-noo*.s $lood. <>ou can hold the ials. They loo) e1actly the sa%e.s not #air= I. I could o!n this city.t )no! !hich is !hich. <Let %e #eel the%. Percy said. <>es*. <To $rea) such a o! 7 Well* +ust don.. Phineas said.s $lood* one ial #ro% the le#t side o# the %onster* one #ro% the right.t do it. Percy said. And I s!ear that none o# us )no!s !hich is !hich. 3ne )ills. e got t!o #las)s o# gorgon. Phineas held out his hands eagerly.

So I.ll ca"ture her %ysel#* you )no!.d struc) a ner e. Phineas ta""ed his nose thought#ully. The old %an. <Not an o"tion. <Do !e ha e a deal-.ll $e dead* una$le to gi e you in#or%ation. Percy could tell he. Whoe er controls that har"y 7 !ell* I !as a )ing once. <>ou #ace death* Percy /ac)son. He !anted to thin) the old %an !as +ust "syching hi% out* $ut .to li#e 7 #or a long ti%e* at least. It !ill cost the !orld dearly. This ga%$le could %a)e %e a )ing again. Phineas gru%$led. I# you sur i e today* you. A $ig sacri#ice is co%ing* and you !on..s e1"ression soured... Percy !as glad he. <Kee" it to yoursel#* $ut s!ear on the Ri er Sty1 it. 'y essence !ould $e scattered and degraded. A co%"letely une1"ected ga%$le 7 it %a)es the #uture cloudy.re getting ahead o# yoursel#*..re not going to li)e your #uture. Percy said.. &ut I can tell you this* Percy /ac)son . Percy. >ou. 5ran) had suggested the ans!er.t it $e si%"ler +ust to hand o er the har"y-.t ha e the courage to %a)e it. <I# I die* %y #riends !ill s!ear to lea e you in "eace and not ta)e re enge. Phineas s%iled slo!ly. <I can. Ho! does that hel" you-.s sour green tea.d tal)ed this through !ith his #riends ahead o# ti%e. Annoying ho! that !or)s. <&ut i# you !in* you get e erything*. <>ou !rite do!n the location o# Alcyoneus. <Those are high sta)es*.t gi e you.. Percy said.s s"eci#ic and accurate. <I# I lose*.s lair ahead o# ti%e*.d ha e your sight $ac)* !hich e en 6aia !on. 3nce I ha e %y sight* I. Wouldn.s %outh tasted li)e Iris. the old %an said* <I. <>ou. a $it o# #ree ad ice. Percy said. As %uch as 6aia had gi en hi%* he resented $eing )e"t in the dar).t #oresee the outco%e. It %ight $e easier i# you +ust choose the "oison. That !ill cost you dearly. Phineas !anted to see. >ou also ha e to s!ear that i# you lose and die* the har"ies !ill $e released #ro% their curse. <So you are starting to understand her !orth.% ris)ing 4uite a lot.

t %entioned that. he as)ed again. <I s!ear this is the location o# Alcyoneus. <Let %e #eel the ials. Not that you.F. His chance o# sur i al %ight $e a hundred "er cent .s #ace !ith concern. e e er )no!n.d chosen to go to 0a%" /u"iter8 >ou !ill #eel "ain* %isery and loss $eyond anything you.re the descendant o# an Argonaut. I.d assured the% the odds !eren. <ES!ear not $y the %oon* the inconstant %oon. Ella %uttered.. <I s!ear on the Ri er Sty1 to a$ide $y the ter%s* +ust as you ha e descri$ed the%. <S!ear*.t as $ad as #i#ty-#i#ty.% calling your $lu##. Phineas sat on one side. <I also s!ear*. &ut you %ight ha e a chance to sa e your old #riends and #a%ily. Phineas laughed. <Do !e ha e a deal-..s lair. >ou say I. Percy ga(ed at the hills in the distance. He. He did ha e a "lan. 5ran). He hadn. Let. 5ran) Phang* you. He sent his thoughts into the ground $eneath hi% and ho"ed the goddess !as listening. 3)ay* 6aia* he said.% a . In the trees around the "ar)ing lot* the har"ies gathered to !atch as i# they sensed !hat !as at sta)e. Phineas grinned.s !arning !hen he. Phineas scri$$led so%ething on the na")in and "ut it in his $athro$e "oc)et.s hands !ere clenched so tight Percy thought he %ight $rea) his gold s"ear* $ut he %anaged to gru%$le* <I s!ear it on the Ri er Sty1. 5ran) and Ha(el studied Percy. I# I !in* do you and your #riend Ha(el s!ear to lea e %e in "eace* and not see) re enge-. Percy dre! his s!ord and s!e"t all the #ood o## the "icnic ta$le.ll li e long enough to read it. 3# course* the "lan could $ac)#ire. Percy sat on the other. 5ran) $orro!ed a na")in and a "en #ro% a #ood truc) endor. Phineas held out his hands. Ha(el said. <In that case* #ind %e so%ething to !rite !ith.so%ething told hi% the "rediction !as true. He re%e%$ered /uno.s get started. or (ero. I trust your !ord. He i%agined the shado!y #ace o# a slee"ing !o%an...

>ou say you. e got "lans #or %e* and you. I choose this one. <Any %o%ent no!* %y sight !ill return=. <Percy=. a %ild earth4ua)e* +ust strong enough to %a)e Percy. Ha(el said $ehind hi%. Percy too) the ial on the right. Ella ca!ed ner ously. The ial on the le#t see%ed to sha)e slightly %ore than the one on the right.d . Percy "assed hi% the ials. His teeth !ere chattering.re going to s"are %e until I %a)e it north. Who.Let %e ha e the%. The old %an raised his ial. <A toast to the sons o# Ne"tune. Phineas grinned !ic)edly. No! !e drin). <Losing your ner e* Percy /ac)son. <>ou !ere a #ool* Percy /ac)son.. Ella said. Percy had chosen !rong. <3h* gods*.s ision $lurred. Phineas curled his #ingers in a gras"ing %otion. he cried. A tre%or "assed through the ground .t die=. He could see Phineas grinning in triu%"h* sitting u" straighter* $lin)ing his eyes in antici"ation.d $een stu"id to ta)e such a ris).s teeth chatter.. At the sa%e %o%ent* Phineas hunched o er li)e he.&ecause one o# us is a$out to die. He. <No"e* no"e* no"e. The old %an co%"ared their !eight. His %outh tasted li)e gasoline.alua$le "a!n. <>es=. He closed his #ingers around the le#t-hand ial. 5ran) gri""ed his shoulders.. Then he set the% $oth on the ta$le and rested one hand lightly on each. <Percy* you can. I%%ediately* Percy dou$led o er* his throat $urning.s %ore alua$le to you . He #elt li)e $ro)en glass !as !or)ing its !ay through his sto%ach* into his intestines.. Percy. They $oth uncor)ed their ials and dran). <No"e=. He gas"ed #or $reath 7 and suddenly his ision cleared. He ran his #ingers along the cera%ic sur#aces. %e* or this old %an.

.. He didn. There !as nothing underneath .. <Those*. She in#luenced Phineas to choose the !rong ial. When your death co%es* I "ro%ise it !ill $e %uch %ore "ain#ul than gorgon. He tried to cla! the "iece o# "a"er out o# his ro$e "oc)et* $ut his hands cru%$led* his #ingers turning to sand. <No one tric)ed you*. The $lind )ing !ailed in agony. Percy said.t #eel cured o# anything in "articular. A ga%$le* Percy /ac)son.% not sure.s .d choose the "oison. >ou #orced %e to choose* and you are %ore i%"ortant to %y "lans than the old seer. the old %an !ailed. 5ran) shoo) his head in dis$elie#. She thin)s she can use %e as "art o# her "lan. <She !ants %e to %a)e it to Alas)a. Percy rose unsteadily.. His %e%ory hadn.s oice s"o)e in Percy. he screa%ed.s $lood. He staggered to his #eet and stu%$led a!ay #ro% the ta$le* clutching his sto%ach. <>ou %ade your choice #reely* and I hold you to your oath. <6aia !ould )ill her o!n ser ant rather than you. no sign that Phineas !as trying to re-#or%. It !as a slee"y !his"er* !ith +ust a hint o# grudging ad%iration. e e er seen* or the stu"idest. <I. She thin)s 7 I.s %ind.That.. <6aia*. &ut do not "ress your luc).$een "unched. 5ran) stared in horror at the re%ains o# the old %an.t=. Percy said. <6aia* you . <>ou . you . <2n#air=. A sic)ly yello! a"our rose #ro% his ears* his $eard* his $lind eyes. you can. She loo)ed at Percy in a!e. He turned in a circle* stea%ing and slo!ly disintegrating until there !as nothing le#t $ut an old* stained $athro$e and a "air o# $unny sli""ers. A !o%an. &ut the "ain had sto""ed.t %agically returned. <Percy* ho! did you )no!. Ha(el "rodded the ro$e !ith her s!ord. <>ou tric)ed %e=.. Stea% ca%e out o# his %outh. 5ran) said* <are the %ost disgusting s"oils o# !ar e er.>ou !ere so con#ident he. <That !as either the $ra est thing I.% too alua$le=.

Percy said. <I )no! !here that is*. she said. Truc)s shoo) $ac) and #orth. she %uttered* hal#-singing. He handed the note to Ha(el.. <Plans and "lots. Percy crouched o er the $athro$e and "ulled the old %an. <Phineas* no"e. In the trees around the "ar)ing lot* the other har"ies #inally o erca%e their shoc).s note out o# the "oc)et. They s4ua!)ed !ith e1cite%ent and #le! at the nearest #ood truc)s* di ing through the ser ice !indo!s and raiding the )itchens.. .!hat you !ere $etting on-. The lady in the ground. e got a long* long !ay to go.. <We. 5ood and !ords #or Ella* ye". 5eathers and #ood $o1es #le! e ery!here. <Plans*. 0oo)s shouted in %any languages. All that ris) #or t!o !ords. &ig "lans #or Percy. Ella %uttered. <We.re running out o# ti%e..s "retty #a%ous. Percy handed her the !hole $ag o# +er)y and she s4uea)ed !ith +oy. 'acro$iotic +er)y #or Ella.d $etter get $ac) to the $oat*. <It. It read8 H2&&ARD 6LA0IER. &ut !e. <No"e* no"e* no"e*.

.

NNIN .

F 5riends %elt Phineas and gi e Ella +er)y. <5riends*. 5ran) !as %uch too s!eet and gentle #or that.d li$erated #ro% the li$rary. >ou started this !hole thing= Phineas had said.s a good "erson=.s recycling $in.t really "lanned on ta)ing the har"y !ith the%* $ut Ella acted li)e the %atter !as decided. They hadn. Percy had assured her that she !asn. She had al!ays #elt "rotecti e o# hi% $ecause o# his clu%siness and his . She re%e%$ered the !ay he had loo)ed on the hillside in 'endocino* alone in a clearing o# "oisoned grass !ith his s"ear in hand* #ires $urning all around hi% and the ashes o# three $asilis)s at his #eet. She re%e%$ered ho! 5ran) stood u" #or her in Portland* shouting* <She.d done so%ething e en !orse than tor%ent har"ies. She )e"t thin)ing a$out Phineas !ith stea% co%ing out o# his eyes* his hands cru%$ling to dust. <ETen seasons. &ut she !as.Ha(el E:EN &E53RE SHE 63T 3N THE &3AT* Ha(el #elt 4ueasy. li)e he !as ready to ta)e on any$ody !ho denied it.t li)e Phineas. Ella !ill go !ith her #riends. I# it !eren.. A !ee) ago* i# so%eone had suggested that 5ran) !as a child o# 'ars* Ha(el !ould ha e laughed. She. she %uttered.t $e ali e= As the $oat s"ed do!n the 0olu%$ia Ri er* Ha(el tried to #orget. JDDR to C@@R. Percy )nelt in the $o!* steering the% to!ards the ocean !ith his #rea)y %ind-o er-!ater "o!ers. No! she !as roosting co%#orta$ly in the stern* ni$$ling $its o# +er)y and reciting rando% lines #ro% 0harles Dic)ens and ?@ Tric)s to Teach >our Dog.t #or you* Alcyoneus !ouldn. She hel"ed Ella %a)e a nest out o# old $oo)s and %aga(ines they. Ha(el sat ne1t to 5ran) on the centre $ench* their shoulders touching* !hich %ade her #eel as +ittery as a har"y.

The s)y started to dar)en* the sea turning the sa%e rusty colour as Ella. Why did the 'inotaur cross the road. He had %ore courage than she. she said* <!hen you guessed I ca%e $ac) #ro% the 2nder!orld.t $e ali e.d reali(ed. he said 4uietly.s ta$le. She e1"lained her %other. <>ou !ere right*. <'y %o% used to say you shouldn. <It.s o)ay* Ha(el*. The story #looded out. e erything e1ce"t her $oy#riend Sa%%y.% 7 I. CJ /une !as al%ost o er. She e1"lained ho! her %other had su%%oned Pluto and #allen in lo e !ith the god. sodas and %u##ins he. She #elt li)e a da% had $ro)en.% an esca"ee. . The 5east o# 5ortuna !ould ha""en in the e ening* e1actly se enty-t!o hours #ro% no!.He "ointed out $uildings along the coastline that re%inded hi% o# "laces in :ancou er..)nac) #or getting into trou$le.. 5inally 5ran) $rought out so%e #ood #ro% his "ac) . She e1"lained ho! they had %o ed to Alas)a* ho! Ha(el had hel"ed to raise the giant Alcyoneus* and ho! she had died* sin)ing the island into Resurrection &ay.s !ish #or all the riches in the earth* and ho! that had turned into Ha(el. He !as the one loo)ing out #or her. She descri$ed her li#e in Ne! 3rleans .s !ings.s curse.d le#t ca%"* she sa! hi% di##erently.d sca enged #ro% Phineas. Since they. &ut i# you don.s o)ay. The ri er !idened into the ocean. She !as a#raid to tal) . The Pa1 turned north.t try to carry a "ro$le% alone. Loo)ing at 5ran)* she couldn. She didn. He "assed the% around.s %ind. She had to ad%it that the change !as )ind o# nice. not +ust $ecause she !as e%$arrassed. I. Ha(el too) a sha)y $reath.t !ant to tal) a$out it* that.t $ring hersel# to tal) a$out that.t !ant to $lac) out and sli" into the "ast. As they sailed* 5ran) )e"t her s"irits u" $y telling her silly +o)es . She descri$ed the :oice* and ho! 6aia had slo!ly ta)en o er her %other. I shouldn.Ho! %any #auns does it ta)e to change a light$ul$.

<0ourse you shouldn. 5ran) as)ed. <ESli" Sliding A!ayF*. Si%on says* 5ran)* go !ith her.s $oat* crossing the Sty1. Paul Si%on. Don. <Wh-!here are !e-. Ha(el had no idea !hat Ella !as tal)ing a$out* $ut her ision dar)ened as she clung to 5ran). <Ha(el-. <It. <It. I coo"erated !ith 6aia too long. She #ound hersel# $ac) in the 2nder!orld* and this ti%e 5ran) !as at her side. >ou did the right 7. She !aited #or hi% to %o e a!ay #ro% her* %ay$e tell her she !as a %onster a#ter all. He . e gone to Elysiu%. &ut it !as too late.. said Percy. Her %outh #elt dry as sand. I let %y %other die. They stood in 0haron. De$ris s!irled in the dar) !aters . <Ha(el*. Instead* he too) her hand.s hand.t !orry*. His oice trailed o##* as i# he. 3ne %o%ent he !as a handso%e A#rican %an in an e1"ensi e sil) suit..t as) 7. <Please don. The $oat%an turned and grinned..d $eco%e a Lar..s %y "ast. <I didn.d had an un"leasant thought. <>ou sacri#iced yoursel# to sto" the giant #ro% !a)ing. Ha(el #elt strangely cal%. 5ran) stood at her side* shi%%ering !ith a ghostly "ur"le light as i# he. She re%e%$ered her descent into the dar)ness* her arri al on the $an)s o# the Ri er Sty1* and her consciousness $egan to sli".t go to Elysiu%. all the re%nants o# hu%an li es cut short.She )ne! Percy and Ella !ere listening* $ut she s"o)e %ostly to 5ran).>ou should. She #elt her "ulse thro$$ing in her nec). &ut i# Nico $rought you $ac) . he said !ith a &ritish accent. a de#lated $irthday $alloon* a child.s du%%y* a little "lastic $ride and groo% #ro% the to" o# a ca)e . Ella %uttered. <>ou stood u" to a goddess all $y yoursel#... <It !asn.t !orry. The ne1t %o%ent he !as a s)eleton in a dar) ro$e.. <What ha""ened in the 2nder!orld 7 I %ean* a#ter you died. <Nu%$er #i e 2S single.t $ra ery. I could ne er $e that $ra e. I al%ost let her !in.s +ust an echo. When she had #inished* she !as a#raid to loo) at hi%. 5ran)* go !ith her.

She had courage to stand against the %ight o# 6aia..s li#e hung in the $alance. <The %other in#luenced her*. <6uilty o# co!ardice* !ea)ness.. <The . The giant three-headed dog 0er$erus gro!led in the gloo%* $ut he let the% "ass. -. 5ran) !hi%"ered. <The child died #or a no$le cause.. she said.What is her #ate-. <Watch.addressed Ha(el* as i# he couldn. said the third +udge.d ta)e you across* didn. <&ut she acted too late*. said the #irst +udge. /ust as $e#ore* the +udges as)ed her no 4uestions. <She is young*. The $oat slid onto a dar) $each. <'y %other.t see 5ran) at all. She "re ented %any deaths $y delaying the giant.t I. Ha(el led 5ran) to the $lac) gates o# Ere$os. the #irst +udge said. Three $lac)-ro$ed #igures in golden %as)s stared do!n at Ha(el. <>our %other 7. said the #irst +udge.t $e "ro"er* lea ing Pluto. $ench. <Who .. The s"irits "arted #or the%* sensing she !as a child o# Pluto.ll decide %y #ate*. the second +udge argued. <Th!arted 6aia*.s rise. The +udges regarded her* their golden %as)s #ro(en in cree"y s%iles. <&ut she raised the giant in the #irst "lace*.t ha e a coin. The i%age o# 'arie Le es4ue shi%%ered a$o e the +udges. Inside the gates* they !al)ed into a large "a ilion and stood $e#ore the +udges. Ha(el #ound the courage to s"ea). <Told you I. They si%"ly loo)ed into her %ind* "ulling thoughts #ro% her head and e1a%ining the% li)e a collection o# old "hotos.. <Where is she.. Wouldn.Sall right you don. <An interesting 4uestion*. <>es*. <Pre ented Alcyoneus #ro% !a)ing. the third +udge said sadly. She !as #ro(en in ti%e* hugging Ha(el as the ca e colla"sed* her eyes shut tight.. <Her %other.. <The di ision o# #ault. <They. <She is guilty o# aiding and a$etting an ene%y o# the gods. the second +udge said..s daughter on the !rong side o# the ri er.

6old %as)s* Ha(el thought. <Would you ta)e #ull res"onsi$ility. She loo)ed so %uch li)e her %other* her hair gathered $ac) in $raids* her golden eyes #lashing !ith a%use%ent. That !ould $e reasona$le.. so%eone she lo ed.t all her #ault. She !ore a !hite dress . the #irst +udge said si%"ly.t t!isted her. The i%age aged. <No=.. a !edding dress. Ha(el sa! hersel# as a little girl* grinning* !ith her hands co ered in #inger "aint. She sa! hersel# on her thirteenth $irthday* riding across the #ields on her $orro!ed horse. Eternal Punish%ent #or 'arie Le es4ue.s not #air.d ne er gi e her a #air trial. Then the i%age aged e en %ore. See !hat you %ight ha e $een 7. Ha(el sa! hersel# at t!enty.% not that ugly* a% I.t %a)e her #eel $itter. She didn. <Ha(el*. Another i%age a""eared a$o e the +udges. >ou !ere destined #or great things.>ou could lay this guilt on your %other. She !ondered i# the gold !as "oisoning their thoughts so%eho!* so that they. e loo)ed li)e this i# she. the #irst +udge !arned. At the end* she tried to "rotect %e.. <&e!are* Ha(el Le es4ue*.. <No*. Ha(el shouted. <>ou lost this li#e*.I. Punish%ent #or your %other. Instead she thought8 'y %other %ight.s soul. <No* it !asn. <What are you doing-. The sight didn. She lo ed %e. <S"ecial circu%stances.t e en !onder !ho% she !ould ha e %arried. She s4uee(ed his hand* urging hi% to $e silent. The +udges tilted their heads in unison.She sa! hersel# in Alas)a* trudging do!n Third Street in the sno! and dar)ness on her !ay ho%e #ro% school.d let go o# her anger* i# 6aia hadn. 5ran) !his"ered. Ha(el said. Ha(el sa! hersel# gro!ing u" . <No* "lease= That. >our %other di erted your "ath. her hair $eca%e longer* her eyes sadder. Elysiu% #or you.child can ha e Elysiu%. 6old has al!ays $een cursed #or %e. The . She !as %isled. Sa%%y laughed as he raced a#ter her8 What are you running #ro%.She !as s%iling so !ar%ly* Ha(el )ne! instincti ely she %ust $e loo)ing at so%eone s"ecial .

.t su##er-. >ou could ha e $een a hero. <The $la%e %ust $e di ided*. White sails cut across !ater and the souls o# great heroes $as)ed on the $eaches in "er"etual $liss. Ha(el re%e%$ered e erything.. Ha(el said. <>ou ga e u" Elysiu%*.s "alace 7. <Did you e er see your %other again-. lost and con#used* not re%e%$ering their "ast or e en their na%es. she told 5ran)* !ho still dri#ted ne1t to her as a glo!ing "ur"le Lar. <She didn.. She "ointed to a large $lac) castle in the distance. These s"irits 7 it. <&ut 7 !hat ha""ens no!-. Ha(el said. <She !ouldn.% sorry* Ha(el Le es4ue. In the distance* under the arti#icial sunlight o# Elysiu%* the Isles o# the &lest glittered li)e e%eralds in a s"ar)ling $lue la)e. Ha(el shoo) her head. <Nothing 7 #or all eternity. I. She "assed through the "a ilion* into yello! #ields that !ent on #ore er.t lea e the 5ields o# As"hodel. <Nothing*.. S"irits around the% chattered li)e $ats . <I could ne er reach it.+udges "aid hi% no attention. They dri#ted ai%lessly. Not enough good. the #irst +udge agreed. Ti%e !as %eaningless* $ut a#ter an eternity* she and 5ran) sat together under a $lac) "o"lar tree* listening to the screa%s #ro% the 5ields o# Punish%ent. <>ou didn. She led 5ran) through a cro!d o# s"irits to a gro e o# $lac) "o"lar trees. 5ran) said in a%a(e%ent* <so your %other !ouldn. .s li)e an eternal drea% #or the%* an endless trance.t deser e As"hodel*. <>ou should $e !ith the heroes.. <No resolution. 5ran) "rotested. <&oth souls !ill $e consigned to the 5ields o# As"hodel.t )no! %e* e en i# I could #ind her. <So %any ti%es I tried to !al) to %y #ather.. Not enough e il. I can. 5inally the second +udge sighed. Perha"s that !as $ecause she !as a daughter o# Pluto* $ut she ne er #orgot !ho she !as* or !hy she !as there. <Re%e%$ering %ade %y a#terli#e harder*. This is the $est I could do #or her.t deser e Punish%ent*.

he "rotested. <Phineas said your li#e de"ends on a $urnt stic) . He told her ho! the goddess /uno had a""eared !hen he !as a $a$y* ho! his grand%other had snatched the "iece o# !ood #ro% the #ire"lace. <What is 7. 5ran) said. It hadn. Ha(el couldn. Ha(el s!allo!ed $ac) a so$. <In #act 7 since !e. Ha(el thought a$out that i%age o# hersel# as an adult* s%iling and in lo e.t ta)e %uch $itterness to sour her e1"ression and %a)e her loo) e1actly li)e Gueen 'arie. <That. When he un#olded it* Ha(el sa! a hal#-$urnt "iece o# dri#t!ood* glo!ing !ith "ur"le light.t $een this hard in As"hodel the #irst ti%e* !hen she !as on her o!n.t allo! hersel# to #eel that !ay. His #ace turned a dar)er shade o# "ur"le.% su""osed to $e too "o!er#ul or so%ething. <>ou !ould ha e had a good li#e.<This is +ust an echo*. It only see%s li)e #ore er.... Then the truth hit her* as cold and harsh as a $last o# !inter !ind.s $eing 'ars 7. Ha(el said.% sorry* 5ran)*. &ut she !as deter%ined not to get angry a$out her #ate... She )ne! it !ouldn. . he said 4uietly. >ou 7.s not the "oint=. That* and %y dad. <I. she said. <I.. e got eternity to tal)* there. <&ut it does. Iris said I !ould die holding this* !atching it $urn. He $rought out an o$+ect !ra""ed in cloth* a$out the sa%e si(e as a "air o# glasses.s !hy %y li#e can $urn u" so easily. <We. <>ou !ere going to %arry so%eone*. <>our li#e !as ta)en #ro% you. so%e talent !e got #ro% our ancestor* the Argonaut.t %a)e it easier to carry. >ou lost all that. Ha ing 5ran) !ith her %ade her #eel so %uch sadder. <6rand%other said I had gi#ts . She #ro!ned. So%eti%es sharing a "ro$le% doesn..s so%ething I !ant to tell you.ll !a)e u"* 5ran).. I deser e $etter* her %other al!ays said.s true*. >ou !ere going to gro! u" to $e a $eauti#ul !o%an. That. <I thin) your %other !as !rong. 5ran) sli""ed his hand into his coat "oc)et. <This is %y li#eline* literally. He shrugged. <It.

Why !ould he trust her !ith his li#e<5ran)*. <That.% Pluto. as strong and healthy as an o1.s "resence in her $lac)out. Ha(el had al%ost #orgotten she !as reli ing her "ast. <I ca%e loo)ing #or %y sister.t $elie e his li#e de"ended on so%ething as s%all as a stic).s !hy I. Why !ould you trust %e-. <And you. 2ntil no!* she.d acce"ted 5ran).re ali e. <>es*. <Is that "ossi$le-.s gone. <>ou. &ut $e#ore she could say anything a shado! #ell o er the%...s a lot to as)* $ut !ould you )ee" it #or %e-. <&ac) to li#e-. She !anted to tell hi% he !as %a)ing a %ista)e. I.5ran) turned the "iece o# tinder in his #ingers. Ha(el #igured he !ould $e huge !hen he !as an adult . <A child o# Pluto. >ou re%e%$er your "ast. Ha(el.% telling you. she said* <you )no! !ho I a%. Ha(el as)ed. <Aren. <5ran)* ho! can you carry it around !ith you-. he said. <I trust you %ore than any$ody.. Nico sighed. <3ur ride is here*.s daughter. He didn. <&ut she. He held out the #ire!ood. Nico studied her li)e he !as reading a %enu* deciding !hether or not to order. <I..re %y $est #riend. she as)ed. E en in his ghostly "ur"le #or%* he loo)ed so $ig and sturdy.t you terri#ied so%ething !ill ha""en to it-.d led hi% along* nu%$ly re"laying her "ast* $ecause it see%ed only #air to sho! hi% the truth. Death has gone %issing* so I thought 7 I thought I could $ring her $ac) and no one !ould notice. He "laced the #ire!ood in her hands. 5ran) guessed. <I )no! it. he said.% Nico di Angelo*.t notice 5ran)* $ut he loc)ed eyes !ith Ha(el and see%ed to read her !hole li#e.s head s"un.re di##erent*. E erything I touch goes !rong. Ha(el said. She ... &ut no! she !ondered i# 5ran) !as really e1"eriencing this !ith her* or i# she !as +ust i%agining his "resence. Nico di Angelo stood o er her in his $lac) o ercoat* his Stygian iron s!ord at his side.. She couldn. She. <>ou. <It should ha e $een. She !anted to gi e it $ac).

I.% too late. <I. He held out his hand. >ou deser e another chance. .% sorry.chose to $e re$orn into a ne! li#e... 0o%e !ith %e. <>ou..re %y sister too.

.

NNN .

She sat u" groggily* s4uinting in the %orning sunlight. She !asn. He nodded. He !anted her to )ee" the "iece o# tinder sa#e..t )no! !hy* $ut Ella told %e not to !orry a$out it. Ha(el ga(ed o er the !ater. No one had e er trusted her !ith so%ething so i%"ortant. Ha(el shared.. No %ore $lac)outs.t loo) li)e a ery e##ecti e #or% o# "ersonal hygiene. <5ran)-.t )no! !hat she. &iggest A%erican $lac)out* JR August C@@M. <>ou $oth "assed out*. She could #eel the "iece o# #ire!ood* !ra""ed in cloth. Ha(el "ressed her hand against her coat "oc)et. <No"e*. She crouched in the stern* "reening her !ing #eathers !ith her teeth* !hich didn.. &oo)s in Seattle. Percy said. e reached Seattle. <No"e* no"e* no"e.-. Ella said.. . e $een ha ing con ersations li)e that all night.Are you guys $oth going to "ass out #ro% no! on-. Percy scratched his head. He didn. Neigh$ourhoods rolled across a series o# hills. PER0> WAS SHAKIN6 HER SH32LDER. No %ore $lac)outs. <Did !e +ust 7 !as I +ust . She s"at out so%e red #lu##. 5ran) groaned* ru$$ing his eyes. <Wait*. <I don. <Wa)e u". She said you !ere 7 sharing-. <Sharing is good.. We.d %eant !hat he said.Ha(el <HAPEL. She loo)ed at 5ran). <>eah 7 !e. <Sharing*. No %ore $lac)outs.. <>ou !ere there. 'ore $oo)s #or Ella. Percy said. Ella agreed.s tal)ing a$out. They !ere sailing through a large $ay* %a)ing their !ay to!ards a cluster o# do!nto!n $uildings.t say anything* $ut his e1"ression !as clear8 he. <>ou %ean you guys shared a $lac)out. I still don.t sure !hether she #elt honoured or scared.

Ha(el said.t sure !hy. Percy nodded. She #elt as i# she.t trying to li e in t!o ti%e "eriods any %ore. E ery %uscle in her $ody $egan to rela1.>et Ha(el did #eel di##erent 7 %ore grounded* as i# she !asn.d reli ed her entire "ast* right through to the "resent.d $een !earing #or %onths. She as)ed %e to #ind her and sho! her this. As they got closer* Ella scratched ner ously at her nest o# $oo)s. She !asn. Ha(el started to #eel edgy* too. Pointy. Ella !ill #ind li$raries instead. she as)ed. <2% 7 !hy are !e sto""ing here-.Ha(el thought.. <6et $oo)s instead. She. <No"e* no"e* no"e*.. <Reyna has a sister-. <A""arently Reyna thin)s her sister could send hel" #or the ca%". 3uch.d #inally sli""ed out o# a lead +ac)et she. <A%a(ons*. So%eho!* ha ing 5ran) !ith her during the $lac)out had hel"ed. 5ierce. 5ran) as)ed* li)e the idea terri#ied hi%. No! all she had to !orry a$out !as the #uture . H%%. No %ore $lac)outs. No . Ella said. Doesn. Percy steered the $oat to!ards the do!nto!n doc)s. <That !ould %a)e sense*. <A%a(ons.t li)e A%a(ons. <Reyna has a sister here. <A%a(on country.5ro% the tallest one rose an odd !hite to!er !ith a saucer on the to"* li)e a s"aceshi" #ro% the old 5lash 6ordon %o ies Sa%%y used to lo e. Ella %uttered..d +oin the A%a(ons. It !as a $right* sunny day* and Seattle loo)ed li)e a $eauti#ul "lace* !ith inlets and $ridges* !ooded islands dotting the $ay* and sno!ca""ed %ountains rising in the distance. Shields. &ut 7 is it sa#e #or us to $e here-. Percy sho!ed the% the sil er ring on his nec)lace.s sister is also a daughter o# &ellona* I can see !hy she. A#ter enduring the% #or so long* the idea see%ed too good to $e true. assu%ing she had one. S!ords. 5ran) reached #or his s"ear. <I# Reyna.Li)e 7 #e%ale !arriors-. Ho! could Ella $e sure they !ere gone. Still* she #elt as i# she !ere $eing !atched.

Ella glanced at the do!nto!n doc)s* only a #e! hundred yards a!ay. <Well 7. 5ran) "ic)ed a single red #eather out o# the air. Percy said. <We ho"e the A%a(ons !ill hel". <That.. <>eah*. Ha(el. They sto""ed at a side!al) ca#S and had so%e e1cellent grilled sal%on sand!iches. All the !hile* Ha(el !as a!are o# the ti%e tic)ing $y.s ner es started tingling. Ella !ill #ly a!ay no!.. They $arely had ti%e to unload their su""lies $e#ore the Pa1 shuddered and $ro)e into "ieces.t* li)e* )ill %en on sight* do they-.. &ut they #ound no A%a(ons.% "retty %uch holding it together !ith %y !ill"o!er at this "oint. 5ran) said ner ously* <they don. And she did. Ha(el loo)ed do!n at her #eet.s head #elt li)e a i$rating gong. Ella* do you ha e any idea !here !e can #ind the A%a(ons-. CC /une no!* and Alas)a !as still a long !ay a!ay.re not #i1ing it*. She loo)ed around* sure she !as $eing !atched. Ha(el said. &esides* the Pa1 isn. I. <What no!-. <And* u%*.s encouraging. <I "ro%ised Reyna. <Ella !ill #ind #riends later. <We. They doc)ed at the !har#. Water !as lea)ing $et!een the #loor$oards.. Percy agreed.ll either need to #i1 it or #ind a ne! $oat.. <6uess !e. <3h.t doing too great. <We ha e to try*. They $ought so%e co##ee so strong Ha(el. They #ound so%e great salty cara%el chocolate at a candy store. 3nce they sa! Ella (oo%ing $et!een high-rise to!ers* a large $oo) clutched in each #oot. Percy stared at the stee" hills o# do!nto!n Seattle. They e1"lored #or hours.. 'ost o# it san)* lea ing only a $oard !ith a "ainted eye and another !ith the letter P $o$$ing in the !a es. I. 5inally they !andered south o# do!nto!n* into a "la(a surrounded $y s%aller glass and $ric) $uildings. .A%a(ons. e $een "ushing it "retty hard.

. <Hylla*. That. Percy !al)ed through the doors. <This is the %ain ca%"us #or A%a(on*. 5ran) said. She "ulled a s!ord out o# thin air* s!e"t Percy o## his #eet !ith the #lat o# the $lade and "ressed the "oint under his chin. Her s%ile !as #riendly enough* $ut her eyes re%inded Ha(el o# the "olice%en in Ne! 3rleans !ho used to "atrol the 5rench Guarter at night. <We.. <We.re loo)ing #or A%a(ons. <Did you ha e an a""oint%ent !ith so%eone* or . She )ic)ed 5ran) in the chest and sent hi% #lying $ac)!ards across the lo$$y.They sell stu## on the Internet. .. <3h*. <'ay I hel" you-. <2h* no* Ha(el. Kin(ie glanced at Ha(el. A do(en %ore girls in $lac) #looded u" the staircase* s!ords in hand* and surrounded her. Ha(el had a $ad #eeling a$out this "lace* $ut she and 5ran) #ollo!ed. In the %iddle o# the roo% stood a young !o%an in a $lac) "antsuit* !ith long au$urn hair and a security guard. They al!ays see%ed to loo) through you* as i# they !ere thin)ing a$out !ho %ight attac) the% ne1t. glass !alls* a glossy $lac) #loor* a #e! to)en "lants and "retty %uch nothing else.s ear"iece. Kin(ie %o ed so #ast Ha(el. They.s a %odern thing. The o##ice $uilding on their le#t had a single !ord etched on the glass doors8 A'AP3N. They.t #ollo!.. Kin(ie nodded at Ha(el* ignoring the $oys.re not actually A%a(ons.re loo)ing #or a girl na%ed . Ha(el said. The lo$$y !as li)e an e%"ty #ish tan) . Against the $ac) !all* a $lac) stone staircase led u" and do!n.<There*.s s"ear* though neither should ha e $een isi$le through the 'ist. she said cautiously.re a co%"any* right. <2% 7 I ho"e so*. she said.s s!ord* then 5ran). <2nless 7.s eyes al%ost couldn. Her na%e tag said KINPIE. Too late* Ha(el reached #or her s!ord. Percy interru"ted.

re not sla es.d seen as a child.s #eet $egan to hurt. 0ranes hu%%ed and ro$otic ar%s !hirred* #olding card$oard $o1es* "ac)ing shi"%ents and ta)ing things on and o## the $elts. Ha(el co%"lained* !hich . The only hu%ans Ha(el could see !ere so%e $lac)-suited security !o%en "atrolling the cat!al)s* and so%e %en in orange +u%"suits* li)e "rison uni#or%s* dri ing #or)li#ts through the aisles* deli ering %ore "allets o# $o1es.t sto" hersel#.ll %eet Gueen Hylla* all right.. The %en !ore iron collars round their nec)s. <They. Ha(el )ne! it %ight $e dangerous to s"ea)* $ut she !as so outraged she couldn. She. So%e o# the shel es !ere so tall they !ere only accessi$le $y ladders and cat!al)s* !hich ran across the ceiling li)e theatre sca##olding. They +ust )no! their "lace.s !ea"ons and %arched the% do!n so %any #lights o# stairs that Ha(el lost count. Ha(el re%e%$ered ne!sreels she. They !al)ed so #ar that Ha(el. Star) #luorescent lights glo!ed along the roc) ceiling.Kin(ie glared do!n at Percy. <5irst rule8 %ales don. Kin(ie snorted. &ut that !as nothing co%"ared to this* and al%ost all the !or) !as $eing done $y co%"uters and ro$ots. <The 2nder!orld isn. The A%a(ons con#iscated the trio. She thought they %ust surely $e getting to the end o# the !arehouse !hen Kin(ie o"ened a large set o# dou$le doors and led the% into another ca ern* +ust as $ig as the #irst.d al!ays $een i%"ressed $y the scenes o# #actories $uilding "lanes and guns #or the !ar e##ort . 5inally they e%erged in a ca ern so $ig it could ha e acco%%odated ten high schools* s"orts #ields and all. <>ou )ee" sla es-. >ou. She. Aisles o# %etal shel es stretched out #ore er* stac)ed high !ith crates o# %erchandise. <The %en-. Second rule8 tres"assing on our territory is "unisha$le $y death.t this $ig*. 0on eyor $elts !ound through the roo% li)e !aterslides* carrying $o1es in e ery direction.ll $e the one deciding your #ate. No!* %o e.t s"ea) !ithout "er%ission.. hundreds and hundreds o# !ea"ons co%ing o## the line e ery day.

Ha(el as)ed. We ha e %ore i%"ortant "ro$le%s. Kin(ie nodded. And ti%e 7 ti%e is de#initely an issue. <We could ta)e the% straight to 3trera. A guard grunted. Sur"risingly* the guards listened. The guards tried to hit hi%* $ut Percy duc)ed.. <Perha"s you. No!* #inally* !e.ll $e richer than any %ortal nation. They crossed a lane o# #or)li#t tra##ic* na igated a %a(e o# con eyor $elts and duc)ed under a ro! o# ro$otic ar%s that !ere "ac)ing u" $o1es. <I. 5ran) gru%$led. 5or a second Ha(el thought the A%a(ons %ight start #ighting one another* $ut Kin(ie see%ed to get her anger under control. <It. she said. We. Kin(ie s%iled s%ugly.t true* $ut it #elt that !ay to her #eet. <Sto" it=.. Ha(el as)ed. !hen the !ea) %ortals de"end on us #or e erything . Percy said. 'ost o# the %erchandise loo)ed "retty ordinary8 $oo)s* electronics* $a$y dia"ers. <0ancel #ree shi""ing-.ll learn res"ect*. Hylla is 4ueen. Then . <Let. Soon* !e.d sooner !ear an iron collar and dri e a #or)li#t. <>ou. &ut against one !all sat a !ar . We are stronger* !iser .re right. Kin(ie said.re !asting ti%e. <Enough*.t reali(e they are #unding the A%a(on )ingdo%.s %ales li)e you !ho ha e ruined the %ortal !orld.. another guard %uttered. Percy tried to hel" hi%* $ut t!o %ore guards "ushed hi% $ac) at s!ord "oint. It too) %any years and %ost o# our #ortune to $uild. <'ore hu%$le*.. <What do you %ean-. The %ortals don.. <Hylla is going to +udge us* right-.. <2ntil tonight*.re turning a "ro#it. <No=. <>ou ad%ire our $ase o# o"erations.s go. the re olution !ill $egin=. <What are you going to do-.>es* our distri$ution syste% is !orld!ide. The only har%onious society is one run $y !o%en. A guard sla%%ed the hilt o# her s!ord into his gut. Kin(ie snarled."ro$a$ly !asn. Ha(el said. <So ta)e us to her. Kin(ie gri""ed her s!ord. 'ight !in her #a our that !ay.

The shi""ing and handling charges are stee"* $ut . At the end o# the !arehouse !as a dais constructed #ro% "allets o# $oo)s8 stac)s o# a%"ire no els* !alls o# /a%es Patterson thrillers and a throne %ade #ro% a$out a thousand co"ies o# so%ething called The 5i e Ha$its o# Highly Aggressi e Wo%en. 3RDER chariot !ith a $ig $arcode on the side. <The "egasus. So%eone %ust. Gueen Hylla* Ha(el assu%ed . $lac) %asti##s* giant eagles* a lion-eagle hy$rid that %ust. The "rongs o# each #or)li#t had $een shar"ened into o ersi(ed s!ord $lades. &ut A%a(ons can. e $een a gry"hon and a red ant the si(e o# a co%"act car. The shel es in this roo% !ere stac)ed !ith cages containing li e ani%als. 5inally they entered a s%aller ca ern that loo)ed li)e a co%$ination loading (one and throne roo%. Standing guard along either side !ere do(ens o# #or)li#ts %odi#ied #or !ar. Percy as)ed. An iron-collared %ale dro e each %achine* $ut an A%a(on !arrior stood on a "lat#or% at the $ac)* %anning a giant %ounted cross$o!.It. This !ay. <What are you doing to that "oor ani%al-.ll $e #ine. Kin(ie #ro!ned. She !atched in horror as a #or)li#t (i""ed into the roo%* "ic)ed u" a cage !ith a $eauti#ul !hite "egasus and s"ed a!ay !hile the horse !hinnied in "rotest.t* %ale.3NL> 3NE LE5T IN ST30K.. Ha(el de%anded. The !alls !ere lined !ith %etal shel es si1 storeys high* decorated !ith !ar $anners* "ainted shields and the stu##ed heads o# dragons* hydras* giant lions and !ild $oars. .t $elie e !hat she !as seeing . They need su""lies. <>ou can $uy a "egasus online-. <3$ iously you can.. Hanging #ro% the yo)e !as a sign that read8 S33N= 9'3RE 3N THE WA>. !atched and listened #ro% her throne. At the $ase o# the ste"s* se eral A%a(ons in ca%ou#lage !ere ha ing a heated argu%ent !hile a young !o%an . We ha e #ollo!ers all o er the !orld. e ordered it. Kin(ie glared at hi%. Ha(el couldn.

d chased in Alas)a. not the !inged )ind* $ut a %a+estic and "o!er#ul stallion !ith a honey-coloured coat and a $lac) %ane. <Is he 7.Hylla !as in her t!enties* lithe and lean as a tiger. to $e clai%ed only $y our %ost courageous !arrior* i# you $elie e the "ro"hecy.s hi%*. Kin(ie sco!led in annoyance* $ut !hen she sa! !here Ha(el !as loo)ing* her e1"ression so#tened.s not #or sale. <Ne er %ind. <3trera.s agents* s"reading their lies. A #e! #eet #ro% the 4ueen. <It. <That. The guards all laughed. Then Ha(el sto""ed so a$ru"tly that the guards $ehind her stu%$led. No horse could li e that long. <He. a little older* "erha"s* $ut !ith the sa%e long $lac) hair* the sa%e dar) eyes and the sa%e hard e1"ression* li)e she !as trying to decide !hich o# the A%a(ons $e#ore her %ost deser ed death.t he-. &ut* no* he.t hallucinating.. <Ah* yes. <Hi%* !ho-. Kin(ie said "atiently* as i# she understood Ha(el. <Is he #or sale-. Ha(el couldn. Percy as)ed. <Then !hy is he in a cage-.s e1"ression $eca%e "ained* al%ost e%$arrassed. Ha(el as)ed.. Ha(el $lin)ed to %a)e sure she !asn. 5ran) as)ed. Kin(ie too) one loo) at the argu%ent and grunted !ith distaste. She !as sure o# it 7 $ut that !as i%"ossi$le. Ha(el %ur%ured. She had no cro!n* $ut round her !aist !as a strange $elt %ade o# interloc)ing gold lin)s* li)e the "attern o# a la$yrinth. Kin(ie. Ha(el could hardly control her oice.s Arion*.s throne* t!o A%a(ons guarded a cage. Inside !as a $eauti#ul horse . She !ore a $lac) leather +u%"suit and $lac) $oots.t $elie e ho! %uch she loo)ed li)e Reyna . <Pro"hecy-. . It !as the sa%e horse she.s #ascination. <What-.. &eauti#ul* isn.s a royal treasure o# the A%a(ons . His #ierce $ro!n eyes regarded Ha(el* and she could s!ear he loo)ed i%"atient* as i# thin)ing8 A$out ti%e you got here.

she %anaged. <Are you telling %e you. Percy said. &ut Percy* 5ran) and a do(en A%a(on guards !ere staring at her* so she tried to %as) her e%otions. She ste""ed do!n #ro% her dais o# $est sellers and dre! a dagger #ro% her $elt.s grou" a""roaching* and she sna""ed* <Enough=. <0irce.. %ay$e it. Percy %uttered so%ething in Ancient 6ree) that Ha(el !as "retty sure the nuns at St Agnes !ouldn. The 4ueen !a ed the% aside and $ec)oned Kin(ie #or!ard. Ha(el !anted to #ree that horse. <I +ust re%e%$ered. e had a%nesia.t ha e li)ed. <Let. . This %ade no sense to Ha(el* $ut the 4ueen nodded. she said.s Island*. <What.. Kin(ie sho ed Ha(el and her #riends to!ards the throne. Hylla 7 she !elco%ed us at the doc)s* too) us to see her $oss. <What did Percy do-.Kin(ie gri%aced. <>ou destroyed %y ho%e... <S"a. he said.s see the 4ueen. Pirates. She !anted it %ore than anything she had e er !anted $e#ore.s starting to heal %y %ind.s the scary !o%an !ith the dagger tal)ing a$out-.. The arguing A%a(ons shut u" i%%ediately. <0li"$oard*. <We. Ha(el insisted. Why else !ould you $e stu"id enough to co%e here-. The gorgon. <'y 4ueen* these de%igods . 5inally the 4ueen noticed Ha(el. e co%e in "eace*. >ou %ade %y sister and %e e1iles and "risoners. She glared at Percy /ac)son !ith %urderous rage. <Percy*. The %etal $ars shuddered* and the guards retreated ner ously. The argu%ent at the #ront o# the roo% gre! louder. Hylla $ared her "er#ect !hite teeth.>ou )no!* I %ight actually $elie e you. 5ran) said uneasily. </ust as)ing*. <>ou=. <&ecause 7 he is di##icult. The Sea o# 'onsters.s $lood . The 4ueen shot to her #eet.. Right on cue* the horse sla%%ed his head against the cage door. <>ou !ere incredi$ly #oolish to co%e here*. Hylla !or)ed #or the sorceress.

. <Well* the "irates learned to res"ect us. <Where %y sister and I "arted !ays. I !as there !ith Anna$eth... I thin) I. <Guic)ly.This %ale destroyed 0irce. <3# course* I sur i ed and "ros"ered.. She told the A%a(ons a$out Reyna $eing their "raetor* and the ar%y o# %onsters that !as %arching south. We learned to #ight 4uic)ly.. <Ne er %ind. She told the% a$out their 4uest to #ree Thanatos in Alas)a.<Peace-. Percy "rotested.It isn. She glared at Ha(el.. <No e1cuses=. They $urned our s"a to the ground. &lac)$eard and his "irates. 5ortunately !e !ere daughters o# &ellona.s right. She lo!ered her )ni#e to Percy. <>ou released our ca"ti es . 'y sister and I !ere their "risoners #or %onths.. The 4ueen dug her )ni#e in a little dee"er. <What did he do. <Reyna sent us= >our sister= Loo) at the ring on his nec)lace. She descri$ed 0a%" /u"iter. <>ou. Hylla said.re !elco%e*. Ha(el tried. She shuddered. E entually !e %ade our !ay to 0ali#ornia !here !e .t 7. I# !e hadn. She ran her dagger under his chin. e erything= And this de%igod !ith his #riend* the $londe .. As Ha(el tal)ed* another grou" o# A%a(ons entered the . <Anna$eth.. She turned to Ha(el. She ste""ed to!ards Percy until they !ere nose to nose. <0irce turned %e into a guinea "ig=. Hylla #ro!ned. I had roo% and $oard* a good health "lan* dental* "et leo"ards* #ree "otions .. She hesitated as i# the %e%ory !as "ain#ul. Percy said. <Ha e you e er $een )idna""ed $y "irates. <0irce !as a !ise and generous e%"loyer. I ha e risen to $e 4ueen o# the A%a(ons.t #un.ll )ill you. <Wait=. So "erha"s I should than) you.s nec)lace until the "oint rested on the sil er ring. <E1"lain this. The 4ueen raised her eye$ro!s at Ha(el. Percy ta""ed his #orehead li)e he !anted the %e%ories to co%e $ac) #aster. Ha(el yel"ed. The colour drained #ro% her #ace.s school o# %agic=. <That..

s leather cord and yan)ed it o## his nec) .When I !as 4ueen . <Ha e !e $eco%e so !ea) that !e listen to %ale de%igods.ll let hi% destroy your ne! ho%e* too=. <Reyna 7 that #oolish girl . e $een $rought $ac) $y the Earth 'other hersel#= I $ring tidings o# a ne! !ar. The other A%a(ons %ade !ay #or her* treating her !ith such res"ect that Ha(el !ondered i# she !as Hylla. <Ho! %any ti%es did !e $attle the Ro%ans in %y day-.. <As you say . <So !e need your hel"*. Why should A%a(ons #ollo! /u"iter* that #oolish )ing o# 3ly%"us* !hen !e can #ollo! a 4ueen. Hylla gri""ed Percy.d #ound the%sel es in a "it !ith t!o !ild tigers. <Well=. &ut I s"ea) the truth* Gueen Hylla.roo%.. She said the !ord li)e a taunt.. <&ut* #or no!* I a% 4ueen.. <I !ill "ass +udge%ent*...When I ta)e co%%and . $eads* ring* "ro$atio ta$let and all.. Ha(el #inished her story. She laughed* and the A%a(ons around her +oined in. <Ro%ans need our hel"-. <Reyna needs your hel". The older !o%an s"read her hands and %ade a %oc)ing $o!. until she noticed ho! Hylla and the older !o%an stared daggers at each other.s %other . at least* until tonight..Will you s"are the li#e o# this son o# Ne"tune* e en though he once destroyed your ho%e. 3ne !as taller and older than the rest* !ith "laited sil er hair and #ine sil) ro$es li)e a Ro%an %atron. <I# you ta)e co%%and*. Ha(el held her $reath. <I see. Hylla interru"ted* <you are here as a guest. Hylla said. the older !o%an interru"ted. the !o%an as)ed. <I. <Ho! %any ti%es ha e they )illed our sisters in $attle. 'y !ord is la!. Hylla said in an icy tone* <once I .Perha"s you. The A%a(ons loo)ed $ac) and #orth $et!een Hylla and 3trera* !atching #or any sign o# !ea)ness. >ou are not 4ueen any %ore. <3trera*. 3trera loo)ed at the asse%$led A%a(ons* !ho !ere standing ery still* as i# they.

. <As our 4ueen co%%ands. The 4ueen turned to!ards Ha(el. &ut any o# you !ho !ould li)e to hear %ore a$out 6aia* and our glorious #uture !ith her* co%e !ith %e=.. The older !o%an sneered* $ut she didn. 5irst* I !ill tal) !ith this one. Kin(ie snorted !ith disgust* then she and her guards hauled Percy and 5ran) a!ay.ha e all the #acts. Her anger dissol ed* and Ha(el sa! des"eration in her eyes.. The 4ueen loo)ed li)e one o# her caged ani%als $eing !his)ed o## on a con eyor $elt. .s "ersonal guards. <It is %y duty to hear out a #e%ale !arrior $e#ore I sentence her or her allies to death. That is the A%a(on !ay.t ha e %uch ti%e. <We %ust tal)*. A$out hal# the A%a(ons #ollo!ed her out o# the roo%. &y %idnight* I !ill %ost li)ely $e dead. <Ta)e these %ales to the holding cells. That is ho! I rule . $y reason* not #ear. At Hylla. <We don. Hylla said. Hylla turned to Kin(ie. 3trera raised her hand to the cro!d.t try to argue. She +a$$ed a #inger to!ards Ha(el.s signal* e en they %o ed out o# earshot. Soon Hylla and Ha(el !ere alone e1ce"t #or the 4ueen. The rest o# you* lea e us. 3r ha e your years in the 2nder!orld %uddled your %e%ory* 3trera-.

.

NNNI

Ha(el

HAPEL 03NSIDERED 'AKIN6 A R2N 53R IT. She didn,t trust Gueen Hylla* and she certainly didn,t trust that other lady* 3trera. 3nly three guards !ere le#t in the roo%. All o# the% )e"t their distance. Hylla !as ar%ed !ith +ust a dagger. This dee" underground* Ha(el %ight $e a$le to cause an earth4ua)e in the throne roo%* or su%%on a $ig "ile o# schist or gold. I# she could cause a distraction* she %ight $e a$le to esca"e and #ind her #riends. 2n#ortunately* she,d seen the A%a(ons #ight. E en though the 4ueen had only a dagger* Ha(el sus"ected she could use it "retty !ell. And Ha(el !as unar%ed. They hadn,t searched her* !hich %eant than)#ully they hadn,t ta)en 5ran),s #ire!ood #ro% her coat "oc)et* $ut her s!ord !as gone. The 4ueen see%ed to $e reading her thoughts. <5orget a$out esca"e. 3# course* !e,d res"ect you #or trying. &ut !e,d ha e to )ill you., <Than)s #or the !arning., Hylla shrugged. <The least I can do. I $elie e you co%e in "eace. I $elie e Reyna sent you., <&ut you !on,t hel"-, The 4ueen studied the nec)lace she,d ta)en #ro% Percy. <It,s co%"licated*, she said. <A%a(ons ha e al!ays had a roc)y relationshi" !ith other de%igods . es"ecially %ale de%igods. We #ought #or King Pria% in the Tro+an War* $ut Achilles )illed our 4ueen* Penthesilea. >ears $e#ore that* Hercules stole Gueen Hi""olyta,s $elt . this $elt I,% !earing. It too) us centuries to reco er it. Long $e#ore that* at the ery $eginning o# the A%a(on nation* a hero na%ed &ellero"hon )illed our #irst 4ueen* 3trera., <>ou %ean the lady ., <. !ho +ust le#t* yes. 3trera* our #irst 4ueen* daughter o# Ares.,

<'ars-, Hylla %ade a sour #ace. <No* de#initely Ares. 3trera li ed long $e#ore Ro%e* in a ti%e !hen all de%igods !ere 6ree). 2n#ortunately* so%e o# our !arriors still "re#er the old !ays. 0hildren o# Ares 7 they are al!ays the !orst., <The old !ays 7, Ha(el had heard ru%ours a$out 6ree) de%igods. 3cta ian $elie ed they e1isted and !ere secretly "lotting against Ro%e. &ut she,d ne er really $elie ed it* e en !hen Percy ca%e to ca%". He +ust didn,t stri)e her as an e il* sche%ing 6ree). <>ou %ean the A%a(ons are a %i1 7 6ree) and Ro%an-, Hylla continued to e1a%ine the nec)lace . the clay $eads* the "ro$atio ta$let. She sli""ed Reyna,s sil er ring o## the cord and "ut it on her o!n #inger. <I su""ose they don,t teach you a$out that at 0a%" /u"iter. The gods ha e %any as"ects. 'ars* Ares. Pluto* Hades. &eing i%%ortal* they tend to accu%ulate "ersonalities. They are 6ree)* Ro%an* A%erican . a co%$ination o# all the cultures they, e in#luenced o er the aeons. Do you understand-, <I . I,% not sure. Are all A%a(ons de%igods-, The 4ueen s"read her hands. <We all ha e so%e i%%ortal $lood* $ut %any o# %y !arriors are descended #ro% de%igods. So%e ha e $een A%a(ons #or countless generations. 3thers are children o# %inor gods. Kin(ie* the one !ho $rought you here* is the daughter o# a ny%"h. Ah . here she is no!., The girl !ith the au$urn hair a""roached the 4ueen and $o!ed. <The "risoners are sa#ely loc)ed a!ay*, Kin(ie re"orted. <&ut 7, <>es-, the 4ueen as)ed. Kin(ie s!allo!ed li)e she had a $ad taste in her %outh. <3trera %ade sure her #ollo!ers are guarding the cells. I,% sorry* %y 4ueen., Hylla "ursed her li"s. <No %atter. Stay !ith us* Kin(ie. We !ere +ust tal)ing a$out our* ah* situation., <3trera*, Ha(el guessed. <6aia $rought her $ac) #ro% the dead to thro! you A%a(ons into ci il !ar.,

The 4ueen e1haled. <I# that !as her "lan* it is !or)ing. 3trera is a legend a%ong our "eo"le. She "lans to ta)e $ac) the throne and lead us to !ar against the Ro%ans. 'any o# %y sisters !ill #ollo! her., <Not all*, Kin(ie gru%$led. <&ut 3trera is a s"irit=, Ha(el said. <She isn,t e en ., <Real-, The 4ueen studied Ha(el care#ully. <I !or)ed !ith the sorceress 0irce #or %any years. I )no! a returned soul !hen I see one. When did you die* Ha(el . JDC@- JDM@-, <JDRC*, Ha(el said. <&ut . $ut I !asn,t sent $y 6aia. I ca%e $ac) to sto" her. This is %y second chance., <>our second chance 7, Hylla ga(ed at the ro!s o# $attle #or)li#ts* no! e%"ty. <I )no! a$out second chances. That $oy* Percy /ac)son . he destroyed %y old li#e. >ou !ouldn,t ha e recogni(ed %e $ac) then. I !ore dresses and %a)e-u". I !as a glori#ied secretary* an accursed &ar$ie doll., Kin(ie %ade a three-#ingered cla! o er her heart* li)e the oodoo gestures Ha(el,s %o% once used #or !arding o## the E il Eye. <0irce,s island !as a sa#e "lace #or Reyna and %e*, the 4ueen continued. <We !ere daughters o# the !ar goddess* &ellona. I !anted to "rotect Reyna #ro% all that iolence. Then Percy /ac)son unleashed the "irates. They )idna""ed us* and Reyna and I learned to $e tough. We #ound out that !e !ere good !ith !ea"ons. The "ast #our years* I, e !anted to )ill Percy /ac)son #or !hat he %ade us endure., <&ut Reyna $eca%e the "raetor o# 0a%" /u"iter*, Ha(el said. <>ou $eca%e the 4ueen o# the A%a(ons. 'ay$e this !as your destiny., Hylla #ingered the nec)lace in her hand. <I %ay not $e 4ueen #or %uch longer., <>ou !ill "re ail=, Kin(ie insisted. <As the 5ates decree*, Hylla said !ithout enthusias%. <>ou see* Ha(el* 3trera has challenged %e to a duel. E ery A%a(on has that right. Tonight at %idnight* !e,ll $attle #or the throne., <&ut 7 you,re good* right-, Ha(el as)ed.

Hylla %anaged a dry s%ile. <6ood* yes* $ut 3trera is the #ounder o# the A%a(ons., <She,s a lot older. 'ay$e she,s out o# "ractice* ha ing $een dead #or so long., <I ho"e you,re right* Ha(el. >ou see* it,s a $attle to the death 7, She !aited #or that to sin) in. Ha(el re%e%$ered !hat Phineas had said in Portland . ho! he had had a shortcut $ac) #ro% death* than)s to 6aia. She re%e%$ered ho! the gorgons had tried to re-#or% in the Ti$er. <E en i# you )ill her*, Ha(el said* <she,ll +ust co%e $ac). As long as Thanatos is chained* she !on,t stay dead., <E1actly*, Hylla said. <3trera has already told us that she can,t die. So* e en i# I %anage to de#eat her tonight* she,ll si%"ly return and challenge %e again to%orro!. There is no la! against challenging the 4ueen %ulti"le ti%es. She can insist on #ighting %e e ery night* until she #inally !ears %e do!n. I can,t !in., Ha(el ga(ed at the throne. She i%agined 3trera sitting there !ith her #ine ro$es and her sil er hair* ordering her !arriors to attac) Ro%e. She i%agined the oice o# 6aia #illing this ca ern. <There has to $e a !ay*, she said. <Don,t A%a(ons ha e 7 s"ecial "o!ers or so%ething-, <No %ore than other de%igods*, Hylla said. <We can die* +ust li)e any %ortal. There is a grou" o# archers !ho #ollo! the goddess Arte%is. They are o#ten %ista)en #or A%a(ons* $ut the Hunters #orsa)e the co%"any o# %en in e1change #or al%ost endless li#e. We A%a(ons . !e !ould "re#er to li e li#e to the #ullest. We lo e* !e #ight* !e die., <I thought you hated %en., Hylla and Kin(ie $oth laughed. <Hate %en-, said the 4ueen. <No* no* !e li)e %en. We +ust li)e to sho! the% !ho,s in charge. &ut that,s $eside the "oint. I# I could* I !ould rally our troo"s and ride to %y sister,s aid. 2n#ortunately* %y "o!er is tenuous. When I a% )illed in co%$at . and it,s only a %atter o# ti%e . 3trera !ill $e 4ueen. She !ill %arch to 0a%" /u"iter !ith

our #orces* $ut she !ill not go to hel" %y sister. She,ll go to +oin the giant,s ar%y., <We, e got to sto" her*, Ha(el said. <'y #riends and I )illed Phineas* one o# 6aia,s other ser ants in Portland. 'ay$e !e can hel"=, The 4ueen shoo) her head. <>ou can,t inter#ere. As 4ueen* I %ust #ight %y o!n $attles. &esides* your #riends are i%"risoned. I# I let the% go* I,ll loo) !ea). Either I e1ecute you three as tres"assers* or 3trera !ill do so !hen she $eco%es 4ueen., Ha(el,s heart san). <So I guess !e,re $oth dead. 'e #or the second ti%e., In the corner cage* the stallion Arion !hinnied angrily. He reared and sla%%ed his hoo es against the $ars. <The horse see%s to #eel your des"air*, the 4ueen said. <Interesting. He,s i%%ortal* you )no! . the son o# Ne"tune and 0eres., Ha(el $lin)ed. <T!o gods had a horse #or a )id-, <Long story., <3h., Ha(el,s #ace #elt hot !ith e%$arrass%ent. <He,s the #astest horse in the !orld*, Hylla said. <Pegasus is %ore #a%ous* !ith his !ings* $ut Arion runs li)e the !ind o er land and sea. No creature is #aster. It too) us years to ca"ture hi% . one o# our greatest "ri(es. &ut it did us no good. The horse !ill not allo! anyone to ride hi%. I thin) he hates A%a(ons. And he is e1"ensi e to )ee". He !ill eat anything* $ut he "re#ers gold., The $ac) o# Ha(el,s nec) tingled. <He eats gold-, She re%e%$ered the horse #ollo!ing her in Alas)a so %any years ago. She had thought he !as eating nuggets o# gold that a""eared in her #ootste"s. She )nelt and "ressed her hand against the #loor. I%%ediately* the stone crac)ed. A chun) o# gold ore the si(e o# a "lu% !as "ushed out o# the earth. Ha(el stood* e1a%ining her "ri(e. Hylla and Kin(ie stared at her. <Ho! did you 7 -, The 4ueen gas"ed. <Ha(el* $e care#ul=, Ha(el a""roached the stallion,s cage. She "ut her hand

$et!een the $ars* and Arion gingerly ate the chun) o# gold #ro% her "al%. <2n$elie a$le*, Kin(ie said. <The last girl !ho tried that ., <No! has a %etal ar%*, the 4ueen #inished. She studied Ha(el !ith ne! interest* as i# deciding !hether or not to say %ore. <Ha(el 7 !e s"ent years hunting #or this horse. It !as #oretold that the %ost courageous #e%ale !arrior !ould so%e day %aster Arion and ride hi% to ictory* ushering in a ne! era o# "ros"erity #or the A%a(ons. >et no A%a(on can touch hi%* %uch less control hi%. E en 3trera tried and #ailed. T!o others died atte%"ting to ride hi%., That "ro$a$ly should, e !orried Ha(el* $ut she couldn,t i%agine this $eauti#ul horse hurting her. She "ut her hand through the $ars again and stro)ed Arion,s nose. He nu((led her ar%* %ur%uring contentedly* as i# as)ing* 'ore gold- >u%. <I !ould #eed you %ore* Arion., Ha(el glanced "ointedly at the 4ueen. <&ut I thin) I,% scheduled #or an e1ecution., Gueen Hylla loo)ed #ro% Ha(el to the horse and $ac) again. <2n$elie a$le., <The "ro"hecy*, Kin(ie said. <Is it "ossi$le 7 -, Ha(el could al%ost see the gears turning inside the 4ueen,s head* #or%ulating a "lan. <>ou ha e courage* Ha(el Le es4ue. And it see%s Arion has chosen you. Kin(ie-, <>es* %y 4ueen-, <>ou said 3trera,s #ollo!ers are guarding the cells-, Kin(ie nodded. <I should ha e #oreseen that. I,% sorry ., <No* it,s #ine., The 4ueen,s eyes glea%ed . the !ay Hanni$al the ele"hant,s did !hene er he !as unleashed to destroy a #ortress. <It !ould $e e%$arrassing #or 3trera i# her #ollo!ers #ailed in their duties . i#* #or instance* they !ere o erco%e $y an outsider and a "rison $rea) occurred., Kin(ie $egan to s%ile. <>es* %y 4ueen. 'ost e%$arrassing., <3# course*, Hylla continued* <none o# %y guards !ould )no! a thing a$out this. Kin(ie !ould not s"read the !ord

to allo! an esca"e., <0ertainly not*, Kin(ie agreed. <And !e couldn,t hel" you., The 4ueen raised her eye$ro!s at Ha(el. <&ut i# you so%eho! o er"o!ered the guards and #reed your #riends 7 i#* #or instance* you too) one o# the guards, A%a(on cards ., <With one-clic) "urchasing ena$led*, Kin(ie said* <!hich !ill o"en the +ail cells !ith one clic)., <I# . gods #or$id= . so%ething li)e that !ere to ha""en*, the 4ueen continued* <you !ould #ind your #riends, !ea"ons and su""lies in the guard station ne1t to the cells. And !ho )no!s- I# you %ade your !ay $ac) to this throne roo% !hile I !as o## "re"aring #or %y duel 7 !ell* as I %entioned* Arion is a ery #ast horse. It !ould $e a sha%e i# he !ere stolen and used #or an esca"e., Ha(el #elt li)e she,d $een "lugged into a !all soc)et. Electricity surged through her !hole $ody. Arion 7 Arion could $e hers. All she had to do !as rescue her #riends and #ight her !ay through an entire nation o# highly trained !arriors. <Gueen Hylla*, she said* <I . I,% not %uch o# a #ighter., <3h* there are %any )inds o# #ighting* Ha(el. I ha e a #eeling you,re 4uite resource#ul. And* i# the "ro"hecy is correct* you !ill hel" the A%a(on nation achie e "ros"erity. I# you succeed on your 4uest to #ree Thanatos* #or instance ., <. then 3trera !ouldn,t co%e $ac) i# she !ere )illed*, Ha(el said. <>ou,d only ha e to de#eat her 7 u%* e ery night until !e succeed., The 4ueen nodded gri%ly. <It see%s !e $oth ha e i%"ossi$le tas)s ahead o# us., <&ut you,re trusting %e*, said Ha(el. <And I trust you. >ou !ill !in* as %any ti%es as it ta)es., Hylla held out Percy,s nec)lace and "oured it into Ha(el,s hands. <I ho"e you,re right*, the 4ueen said. <&ut the sooner you succeed the $etter* yes-, Ha(el sli""ed the nec)lace into her "oc)et. She shoo) the 4ueen,s hand* !ondering i# it !as "ossi$le to %a)e a

#riend so #ast . es"ecially one !ho !as a$out to send her to +ail. <This con ersation ne er ha""ened*, Hylla told Kin(ie. <Ta)e our "risoner to the cells and hand her o er to 3trera,s guards. And* Kin(ie* $e sure you lea e $e#ore anything un#ortunate ha""ens. I don,t !ant %y loyal #ollo!ers held accounta$le #or a "rison $rea)., The 4ueen s%iled %ischie ously* and #or the #irst ti%e Ha(el #elt +ealous o# Reyna. She !ished that she had a sister li)e this. <6ood$ye* Ha(el Le es4ue*, the 4ueen said. <I# !e $oth die tonight 7 !ell* I,% glad I %et you.,

.

NNNII .

. Kin(ie led her u" three di##erent ladders to a %etal cat!al)* then tied Ha(el.CR-0ARAT &L2E Ha(el THE A'AP3N /AIL WAS AT THE T3P 35 a storage aisle* si1ty #eet in the air. Secret A%a(on technology* "erha"s. She sent out her senses* searching #or . So #ar she had nothing. Ne1t to the% on the cat!al)* three $ored-loo)ing A%a(on guards leaned against their s"ears and ga(ed at little $lac) ta$lets in their hands li)e they !ere reading. To"a(. She needed to co%e u" !ith a $rilliant rescue "lan. Percy and 5ran) !ere in t!o o# the cages* tal)ing to each other in hushed tones. Ha(el #ound the idea al%ost as unsettling as the $attle #or)li#ts do!nstairs.d still $e e%"ty-handed against three trained !arriors* and she had to act $e#ore they "ut her in a cage. <6et %o ing* girl*. Kin(ie had %ade sure she could $rea) her $onds easily* $ut she.s hands loosely $ehind her $ac) and "ushed her along "ast crates o# +e!ellery. &uy all three and sa e JCA= Ha(el #ro(e. A hundred #eet ahead* under the harsh glo! o# #luorescent lights* a ro! o# chain-lin) cages hung sus"ended #ro% ca$les. She "assed a "allet o# crates %ar)ed T3PAP RIN6S* then another la$elled SIL:ER 5RIENDSHIP &RA0ELETS. Ha(el !al)ed as slo!ly as she could* $ut her %ind !as racing. la"to" co%"uters. An electronic dis"lay ne1t to the #riendshi" $racelets read8 Peo"le !ho $ought this ite% also $ought 6ARDEN 6N3'E S3LAR PATI3 LI6HT and 5LA'IN6 SPEAR 35 DEATH. Sil er. Ha(el thought the ta$lets loo)ed too thin #or $oo)s. Then it occurred to her they %ight $e so%e sort o# tiny . !hat did %odern "eo"le call the%. 6ods o# 3ly%"us* she !as stu"id. Kin(ie ordered* loud enough #or the guards to hear. She "rodded Ha(el in the $ac) !ith her s!ord.

I.0o%e on.ll ta)e custody o# the "risoner. <'a)e the% co%e here*.ll get sus"icious. She !as standing ne1t to a si1-storey-tall %ountain o# +e!ellery.s ar%. Doris gro!led. Ha(el %uttered o er her shoulder.. Kin(ie hissed. The guard Doris "ulled on Ha(el. <Here... Ha(el #ell to her )nees and tried to "ut on her $est seasic) #ace. <Well.s ar%. <What is it-..% #eeling nauseous= 0an. <Why . <Why can. <We.. Kin(ie told the guards. The nearest guard set do!n her reading ta$let. 0o%e get her. <There you go*."recious %etals* and her $rain al%ost e1"loded #ro% the #eed$ac). .. A%a(ons 7 too 7 scary. <No!* are you going to co%e ta)e the "risoner* or should I tell Gueen Hylla you. <Not 7 #eeling so good.d ha e to !orry a$out that later.t 7 !al)... <3oo#=. Kin(ie turned to lea e.t $e 4ueen %uch longer. She tried to yan) Ha(el to her #eet* $ut Ha(el !ent li%"* li)e a )id thro!ing a #it in a store. The nearest guard rolled her eyes and trudged o er.re not doing your duty-. The guards #ro!ned in their direction.ll see* Doris.s the third "risoner. She !on. <5ine. &ut i# I !ere you* Kin(ie* I !ouldn. The #irst guard gra$$ed Ha(el. Ha(el concentrated on the !all o# +e!ellery ne1t to her8 #orty large $o1es o# sil er $racelets. &ut in #ront o# her* #ro% here to the guards* !as nothing $ut "rison cages. Kin(ie yelled at the%. <What are you staring at-.t !orry a$out Hylla. <I.. <Kee" %o ing= They. <2%* $ecause .t you !al) another thirty "aces* Kin(ie-. <>ou are not thro!ing u" on %e*. Ha(el had ho"ed the other t!o guards !ould co%e* too* $ut she. <Please. Ne1t to her* the $o1es $egan to tre%$le.. Ha(el !aited until her ste"s had receded do!n the cat!al).

s"ears. She $ro)e her $onds* !hich !ere a$out as sturdy as toilet "a"er.Ha(el thought. 5our and a hal# seconds later* Ha(el had t!o A%a(on cards.. <3ur !ea"ons and su""lies are at the end o# the cat!al). 3)ay 7 The second guard +ogged o er. 5ran) stared at her in astonish%ent. Ha(el turned to!ards the third guard.t )no! that.. The guard turned and ran. <E1ce"t this. The doors "o""ed o"en. Doris started to say* <3h* gi e %e a . <A%a(on cards= Pass the% u"* unless you !ant %e to undo those #riendshi" $racelets and let you dro"=.. We should hurry. She raced o er to the cages and s!i"ed a card. <Hel" %e !ith this la%e little girl. A%a(ons na%ed Doris and Lulu. The entire "allet o# +e!ellery e1"loded !ith a sound li)e a thousand slot %achines hitting the +ac)"ot.. <3r are you going to %a)e %e co%e o er there-. e #allen to their deaths* $ut Ha(el !asn. Ha(el shouted o er the side to Doris and Lulu. Ha(el #igured this !as her $est chance.. <I !ill ne er !ear +e!ellery again. Doris yelled to one o# her co%rades. Ha(el tossed hi% his nec)lace. She su%%oned a #e! hundred $racelets* !hich lea"ed at the guards and lashed round their an)les* lea ing the% hanging u"side do!n #ro% the $otto% o# the cat!al)* screa%ing li)e la%e little girls. Ha(el snarled.t that %ean.. A tidal !a e o# sil er #riendshi" $racelets "oured across the cat!al)* !ashing Doris and Lulu right o er the railing. <Should I )ill you #ro% here-. . <Ha(el* that !as 7 a%a(ing. She "ic)ed u" one o# the #allen guards. She !as terri$le !ith s"ears* $ut she ho"ed the third A%a(on didn. Pretty soon .<Lulu=. Alar%s $egan !ailing throughout the ca ern. They !ould. Percy nodded. &e#ore they could haul her to her #eet* she yelled* <3oooh=. and #lattened hersel# against the cat!al).

<>eah*. 5ran) said. Ha(el said. The second A%a(on they %et !asn.. e $een loyal to Hylla. A#ter you. <The graecus has so%e %o es* %y #riend. Percy grinned. Percy started to as)* <What the .t any Ro%an techni4ue=. she said* <that.ll ha""en. As the A%a(on +a$$ed at hi%* he sideste""ed* cut her s"ear sha#t in hal# and sla%%ed the hilt o# his s!ord against her hel%et. <>ou* Ha(el Le es4ue*.t so #riendly. Percy and 5ran) stu%$led $ac)!ards. that !asn. A%a(ons tra""ed u" to their nec)s in $ead nec)laces* se eral %ore u"side do!n in a %ountain o# a%ethyst earrings and a $attle #or)li#t $uried in sil er char% $racelets. <I. She s"un her s"ear !ith lightning s"eed* $ut this ti%e Percy !as ready. Instantly the stallion $urst #orth* rearing in triu%"h. She !as dressed in #ull ar%our* $loc)ing the throne-roo% entrance.. <Ho! did you . They stu%$led across one A%a(on !ho %ust. When they got to the $otto% o# the ladder* they #ound a scene that loo)ed li)e 'ardi 6ras Ar%ageddon .ll e1"lain later. . He dre! Ri"tide and ste""ed into $attle. Let. E ery ti%e A%a(ons s!ar%ed $eneath the%* de%anding their surrender* Ha(el %ade a crate o# +e!ellery e1"lode* $urying their ene%ies in a Niagara 5alls o# gold and sil er. Ha(el dashed o er to Arion.. As soon as she sa! the esca"ees* she turned a!ay li)e they !ere in isi$le. The guard cru%"led. 5ran) said* <are entirely #rea)ing incredi$le. They retrie ed their things !ith no "ro$le%* then started cli%$ing do!n the ladder. She !anted to )iss hi% right there* $ut they had no ti%e. <So%e o# the% !ant us to esca"e*. <'ars Al%ighty*.s cage and s!i"ed an A%a(on card across the loc).. They ran $ac) to the throne roo%. The #irst "art o# the esca"e !as easy.s go=. They ran into the throne roo%. As "ro%ised* Hylla and her guards had cleared out.

s s"atha #elt e1actly the right length. He can get us out o# here. When they sa! Arion* they $ac)ed u" 4uic)ly and headed #or the $attle #or)li#ts. Ha(el said. <There=. Percy guessed. <I re%e%$er seeing that chariot. <Three o# us can. I# they hadn. <The "oint is he. The horse !hinnied angrily. Ha(el aulted onto Arion.<2% 7 is that thing ta%e-.t #it on one horse* can !e. <Then you and Arion should get along #ine*.F. Percy turned "ale. They had to %a)e it outside. <He. He !anted to go #ull s"eed* $ut he needed %ore roo%. No A%a(on dared challenge her.re a .s a son o# Ne"tune* too. She grinned do!n at her #riends. Ha(el as)ed. 5inally they reached the chariot.. 5ran) s"luttered. A do(en A%a(ons charged in* #ollo!ed $y %ales in orange +u%"suits.. Arion sto""ed $y the yo)e* and Percy set to !or) .s a chariot in the !arehouse* and he. Ha(el could #eel Arion straining to run. <2h* I %ean a Ne"tune thing. <>ou s"ea) horse-. <E1cuse %e-. She gallo"ed into the larger ca ern and scattered a cro!d o# %ales. 5ran) said. 5ran) did not loo) thrilled. Arion !hinnied again. Ha(el $o!led into a "atrol o# A%a(ons* !ho scattered in terror at the sight o# the horse.We. <He +ust said* EI !ill tra%"le you to death* silly 0hinese 0anadian $a$y %an.s #ast. Any!ay* he says there.ll #all o##* or slo! hi% do!n* or . 5ollo! %e* guys=. Percy said. <I don. She s!ung it at e eryone !ho ca%e !ithin reach. 5or once* Ha(el. you )no!* actually* I. Percy )noc)ed out an A%a(on. Percy and 5ran) ran a#ter her. <3uch*. <S"ea)ing to horses is a Poseidon thing*.. Percy said...s e1"ression %ight ha e %ade her laugh. <5ran)* the horse says you. <E&a$y %anF-.t $een in such a $ad situation* Percy. so%eone yelled #ro% the $ac) o# the throne roo%.t thin) so*.s $ac). 5ran) s!e"t t!o %ore o## their #eet !ith his s"ear.s !illing to "ull it.% not going to translate that.

<The stairs=. A #ull ar%y o# A%a(ons stor%ed into the !arehouse. In no ti%e the chariot !as ready. <Ella=. Ha(el cried des"erately. He +u%"ed a$oard and yelled* <5ran)* co%e on= Ha(el* go=. 3trera hersel# stood astride a $attle #or)li#t* her sil er hair #lo!ing as she s!ung her %ounted cross$o! to!ards the chariot. Ha(el shouted at the s)y. Ha(el glanced $ac) a #e! ti%es to %a)e sure 5ran) and Percy hadn. <Sto" the%=. e done this $e#ore-. 5inally they reached the lo$$y.We ha e to lea e=. 5ran) as)ed. His hands #le!. Ha(el #elt the tension in Arion.t e en slo! do!n. The #resh air !as %a)ing hi% cra(y to run* $ut Ha(el "ulled $ac) on his reins. 3H '> 63DS=. A $attle cry !ent u" $ehind the%. So%ething e1"loded $ehind her* $ut she didn. <Surrender=. she yelled. 5ran) yelled. <>ou. The #or)li#t raised its ra(or-shar" tines. An arro! !hi((ed "ast Ha(el. &ehind the% a $attle #or)li#t clattered u" the stairs and roared through the lo$$y* a %o$ o# A%a(ons $ehind it. Percy didn.t need to ans!er. <No !ay this horse can "ull a chariot u" that %any #lights o# . Their )nuc)les !ere !hite on the sides o# the chariot* their teeth chattering li)e !ind-u" Hallo!een s)ulls.t loo) $ac). She %ight $e lost* or ca"tured $y the A%a(ons. Than)#ully the stairs !ere !ide enough #or the chariot* $ecause Arion didn.s ri$ cage. 3trera screa%ed.t #allen o##. Ha(el s"urred Arion. They raced across the ca ern* !ea ing around "allets and #or)li#ts. . Arion crashed through the %ain doors into the "la(a and scattered a $unch o# guys in $usiness suits. 5or a horri$le second* she !as a#raid the har"y %ight $e too #ar a!ay to hear. <Where are you. <Ella=. He shot u" the ste"s !ith the chariot rattling and groaning.s head.!ith the reins and harness.

Ha(el glanced $ac) and sa! a line o# s%o)ing "a e%ent !here Arion. He thundered to!ards the doc)s* lea"ing o er cars* $arrelling through intersections. Sunlight $ent around the%.s hoo es had touched the ground. She heard a roar that she later reali(ed !as a sonic $oo%* and Arion tore o er Puget Sound* sea!ater turning to stea% in his !a)e as the s)yline o# Seattle receded $ehind the%.s ears "o""ed. <Ella is here. Arion shot a!ay #ro% the A%a(ons and s"ed through do!nto!n Seattle. The !orld see%ed to elongate. 6o no!. A%a(ons are "ointy. Ha(el screa%ed at the to" o# her lungs* $ut it !as a screa% o# delight. . Arion reached the !ater and lea"ed straight o## the doc)s. she #elt a$solutely unsto""a$le.In a #lash o# red #eathers* Ella landed in the chariot.. She leaned #or!ard and said* <Arion* run=. Ha(el !arned. in her t!o li es . 5or the #irst ti%e in her li#e . Ha(el. <Hold on=.

.

NNNIII .

Tree. They crossed the Iron!or)ers $ridge into North :ancou er* and the chariot started to rattle dangerously. He snorted !ith satis#action* as i# to say* That. 5inally* +ust as they !ere getting into :ancou er* the chariot !heels $egan to s%o)e. At last Arion sto""ed at the to" o# a !ooded hill. Percy groaned and started unhitching Arion #ro% the ruined chariot.d crossed into 0anada.s ho! !e run* #ools. The horse see%ed to $end ti%e and s"ace as he ran* $lurring the landsca"e and %a)ing 5ran) #eel li)e he. <Ha(el=. <We. The horse didn. 5ast. The horse s"ed north across Puget Sound* (oo%ing "ast islands and #ishing $oats and ery sur"rised "ods o# !hales. 5ran) had gone sailing here once on a school tri". She got the %essage and "ulled the reins. 5ran) yelled. They.d +ust drun) a gallon o# !hole %il) !ithout his lactose-intolerance %edicine.t see% ha""y a$out it* $ut he slo!ed to su$sonic as they (i""ed through the city streets.t hel" %atters. The s%o)ing chariot colla"sed* s"illing Percy* 5ran) and Ella onto the !et* %ossy ground. Ella didn.5ran) 5RANK WAS RELIE:ED WHEN THE WHEELS 5ELL 355. He #ollo!ed High!ay DD north* running so #ast that the cars see%ed to $e standing still. The horse roc)eted onto dry land. She )e"t %uttering8 <Se en hundred and #i#ty %iles "er hour. 6rinning . Ella #luttered around in di((y circles* $on)ing into the trees and %uttering* <Tree. He. :ery #ast. 5ran) stu%$led to his #eet. He tried to $lin) the yello! s"ots out o# his eyes.. 3nly Ha(el see%ed una##ected $y the ride. Eight hundred and three. The landsca"e ahead $egan to loo) #a%iliar .d already thro!n u" t!ice #ro% the $ac) o# the chariot* !hich !as not #un at the s"eed o# sound. 0rescent &each* &oundary &ay..re $rea)ing u"=. Eight hundred. Tree.

!ith "leasure* she slid o## the horse,s $ac). <That !as #un=, <>eah., 5ran) s!allo!ed $ac) his nausea. <So %uch #un., Arion !hinnied. <He says he needs to eat*, Percy translated. <No !onder. He "ro$a$ly $urned a$out si1 %illion calories., Ha(el studied the ground at her #eet and #ro!ned. <I,% not sensing any gold around here 7 Don,t !orry* Arion. I,ll #ind you so%e. In the %eanti%e* !hy don,t you go gra(e- We,ll %eet you ., The horse (i""ed o##* lea ing a trail o# stea% in his !a)e. Ha(el )nitted her eye$ro!s. <Do you thin) he,ll co%e $ac)-, <I don,t )no!*, Percy said. <He see%s )ind o# 7 s"irited., 5ran) al%ost ho"ed the horse !ould stay a!ay. He didn,t say that* o# course. He could tell Ha(el !as distressed $y the idea o# losing her ne! #riend. &ut Arion scared hi%* and 5ran) !as "retty sure the horse )ne! it. Ha(el and Percy started sal aging su""lies #ro% the chariot !rec)age. There had $een a #e! $o1es o# rando% A%a(on %erchandise in the #ront* and Ella shrie)ed !ith delight !hen she #ound a shi"%ent o# $oo)s. She snatched u" a co"y o# The &irds o# North A%erica* #luttered to the nearest $ranch* and $egan scratching through the "ages so #ast* 5ran) !asn,t sure i# she !as reading or shredding. 5ran) leaned against a tree* trying to control his ertigo. He still hadn,t reco ered #ro% his A%a(on i%"rison%ent . getting )ic)ed across the lo$$y* disar%ed* caged and insulted as a $a$y %an $y an ego%aniacal horse. That hadn,t e1actly hel"ed his sel#-estee%. E en $e#ore that* the ision he had shared !ith Ha(el had le#t hi% rattled. He #elt closer to her no!. He )ne! he,d done the right thing in gi ing her the "iece o# #ire!ood. A huge !eight had $een ta)en o## his shoulders. 3n the other hand* he,d seen the 2nder!orld #irsthand. He had #elt !hat it !as li)e to sit #ore er doing nothing* +ust regretting your %ista)es. He,d loo)ed u" at those cree"y

gold %as)s on the +udges o# the dead and reali(ed that he !ould stand $e#ore the% so%e day* %ay$e ery soon. 5ran) had al!ays drea%ed o# seeing his %other again !hen he died. &ut %ay$e that !asn,t "ossi$le #or de%igods. Ha(el had $een in As"hodel #or so%ething li)e se enty years and ne er #ound her %o%. 5ran) ho"ed he and his %o% !ould $oth end u" in Elysiu%. &ut i# Ha(el hadn,t got there . sacri#icing her li#e to sto" 6aia* ta)ing res"onsi$ility #or her actions so that her %other !ouldn,t end u" in Punish%ent . !hat chance did 5ran) ha e- He,d ne er done anything that heroic. He straightened and loo)ed around* trying to get his $earings. To the south* across :ancou er Har$or* the do!nto!n s)yline glea%ed red in the sunset. To the north* the hills and rain#orests o# Lynn 0anyon Par) sna)ed $et!een the su$di isions o# North :ancou er until they ga e !ay to the !ilderness. 5ran) had e1"lored this "ar) #or years. He s"otted a $end in the ri er that loo)ed #a%iliar. He recogni(ed a dead "ine tree that had $een s"lit $y lightning in a near$y clearing. 5ran) )ne! this hill. <I,% "ractically ho%e*, he said. <'y grand%other,s house is right o er there., Ha(el s4uinted. <Ho! #ar-, </ust o er the ri er and through the !oods., Percy raised an eye$ro!. <Seriously- To 6rand%other,s house !e go-, 5ran) cleared his throat. <>eah* any!ay., Ha(el clas"ed her hands in "rayer. <5ran)* "lease tell %e she,ll let us s"end the night. I )no! !e,re on a deadline* $ut !e, e got to rest* right- And Arion sa ed us so%e ti%e. 'ay$e !e could get an actual coo)ed %eal-, <And a hot sho!er-, Percy "leaded. <And a $ed !ith* li)e* sheets and a "illo!-, 5ran) tried to i%agine 6rand%other,s #ace i# he sho!ed u" !ith t!o hea ily ar%ed #riends and a har"y. E erything had changed since his %other,s #uneral* since the %orning the !ol es had ta)en hi% south. He,d $een so

angry a$out lea ing. No!* he couldn,t i%agine going $ac). Still* he and his #riends !ere e1hausted. They,d $een tra elling #or %ore than t!o days !ithout decent #ood or slee". 6rand%other could gi e the% su""lies. And %ay$e she could ans!er so%e 4uestions that !ere $re!ing in the $ac) o# 5ran),s %ind . a gro!ing sus"icion a$out his #a%ily gi#t. <It,s !orth a try*, 5ran) decided. <To 6rand%other,s house !e go., 5ran) !as so distracted* he !ould ha e !al)ed right into the ogres, ca%". 5ortunately Percy "ulled hi% $ac). They crouched ne1t to Ha(el and Ella $ehind a #allen log and "eered into the clearing. <&ad*, Ella %ur%ured. <This is $ad #or har"ies., It !as #ully dar) no!. Around a $la(ing ca%"#ire sat hal# a do(en shaggy-haired hu%anoids. Standing u"* they "ro$a$ly !ould, e $een eight #eet tall . tiny co%"ared to the giant Poly$otes or e en the 0yclo"es they,d seen in 0ali#ornia* $ut that didn,t %a)e the% any less scary. They !ore only )nee-length sur#er shorts. Their s)in !as sunstro)e red . co ered !ith tattoos o# dragons* hearts and $i)ini-clad !o%en. Hanging #ro% a s"it o er the #ire !as a s)inned ani%al* %ay$e a $oar* and the ogres !ere tearing o## chun)s o# %eat !ith their cla!li)e #ingernails* laughing and tal)ing as they ate* $aring "ointy teeth. Ne1t to the ogres sat se eral %esh $ags #illed !ith $ron(e s"heres li)e cannon$alls. The s"heres %ust ha e $een hot* $ecause they stea%ed in the cool e ening air. T!o hundred yards $eyond the clearing* the lights o# the Phang %ansion glo!ed through the trees. So close* 5ran) thought. He !ondered i# they could snea) around the %onsters* $ut !hen he loo)ed le#t and right* he sa! %ore ca%"#ires in either direction* as i# the ogres had surrounded the "ro"erty. 5ran),s #ingers dug into the tree $ar). His grand%other %ight $e alone inside the house* tra""ed. <What are these guys-, he !his"ered. <0anadians*, Percy said.

5ran) leaned a!ay #ro% hi%. <E1cuse %e-, <2h* no o##ence*, Percy said. <That,s !hat Anna$eth called the% !hen I #ought the% $e#ore. She said they li e in the north* in 0anada., <>eah* !ell*, 5ran) gru%$led* <!e,re in 0anada. I,% 0anadian. &ut I, e ne er seen those things $e#ore., Ella "luc)ed a #eather #ro% her !ings and turned it in her #ingers. <Laistrygonians*, she said. <0anni$als. Northern giants. Sas4uatch legend. >e"* ye". They,re not $irds. Not $irds o# North A%erica., <That,s !hat they,re called*, Percy agreed. <Laistry . uh* !hate er Ella said., 5ran) sco!led at the dudes in the clearing. <They could $e %ista)en #or &ig#oot. 'ay$e that,s !here the legend ca%e #ro%. Ella* you,re "retty s%art., <Ella is s%art*, she agreed. She shyly o##ered 5ran) her #eather. <3h 7 than)s., He stuc) the #eather in his "oc)et* then noticed Ha(el !as glaring at hi%. <What-, he as)ed. <Nothing., She turned to Percy. <So your %e%ory is co%ing $ac)- Do you re%e%$er ho! you $eat these guys-, <Sort o#*, Percy said. <It,s still #u((y. I thin) I had hel". We )illed the% !ith 0elestial $ron(e* $ut that !as $e#ore 7 you )no!., <&e#ore Death got )idna""ed*, Ha(el said. <So no!* they %ight not die at all., Percy nodded. <Those $ron(e cannon$alls 7 those are $ad ne!s. I thin) !e used so%e o# the% against the giants. They catch #ire and $lo! u"., 5ran),s hand !ent to his coat "oc)et. Then he re%e%$ered Ha(el had his "iece o# dri#t!ood. <I# !e cause any e1"losions*, he said* <the ogres at the other ca%"s !ill co%e running. I thin) they, e surrounded the house* !hich %eans there could $e #i#ty or si1ty o# these guys in the !oods., <So it,s a tra"., Ha(el loo)ed at 5ran) !ith concern. <What a$out your grand%other- We, e got to hel" her., 5ran) #elt a lu%" in his throat. Ne er in a %illion years

had he thought his grand%other !ould need rescuing* $ut no! he started running co%$at scenarios in his %ind . the !ay he had $ac) at ca%" during the !ar ga%es. <We need a distraction*, he decided. <I# !e can dra! this grou" into the !oods* !e %ight snea) through !ithout alerting the others., <I !ish Arion !as here*, Ha(el said. <I could get the ogres to chase %e., 5ran) sli""ed his s"ear o## his $ac). <I, e got another idea., 5ran) didn,t !ant to do this. The idea o# su%%oning 6rey scared hi% e en %ore than Ha(el,s horse. &ut he didn,t see another !ay. <5ran)* you can,t charge out there=, Ha(el said. <That,s suicide=, <I,% not charging*, 5ran) said. <I, e got a #riend. /ust 7 no$ody screa%* o)ay-, He +a$$ed the s"ear into the ground* and the "oint $ro)e o##. <3o"s*, Ella said. <No s"ear "oint. No"e* no"e., The ground tre%$led. 6rey,s s)eletal hand $ro)e the sur#ace. Percy #u%$led #or his s!ord* and Ha(el %ade a sound li)e a cat !ith a hair$all. Ella disa""eared and re%ateriali(ed at the to" o# the nearest tree. <It,s o)ay*, 5ran) "ro%ised. <He,s under control=, 6rey cra!led out o# the ground. He sho!ed no sign o# da%age #ro% his "re ious encounter !ith the $asilis)s. He !as good as a ne! in his ca%ou#lage and co%$at $oots* translucent grey #lesh co ering his $ones li)e glo!ing /ell-3. He turned his ghostly eyes to!ards 5ran)* !aiting #or orders. <5ran)* that,s a s"artus*, Percy said. <A s)eleton !arrior. They,re e il. They,re )illers. They,re ., <I )no!*, 5ran) said $itterly. <&ut it,s a gi#t #ro% 'ars. Right no! that,s all I, e got. 3)ay* 6rey. >our orders8 attac) that grou" o# ogres. Lead the% o## to the !est* causing a di ersion so !e can ., 2n#ortunately* 6rey lost interest a#ter the !ord <ogres,. 'ay$e he only understood si%"le sentences. He

charged to!ards the ogres, ca%"#ire. <Wait=, 5ran) said* $ut it !as too late. 6rey "ulled t!o o# his o!n ri$s #ro% his shirt and ran around the #ire* sta$$ing the ogres in the $ac) !ith such $linding s"eed they didn,t e en ha e ti%e to yell. Si1 e1tre%ely sur"rised-loo)ing Laistrygonians #ell side!ays li)e a circle o# do%inoes and cru%$led into dust. 6rey sto%"ed around* )ic)ing their ashes a"art as they tried to re-#or%. When he see%ed satis#ied that they !eren,t co%ing $ac)* 6rey stood at attention* saluted s%artly in 5ran),s direction* and san) into the #orest #loor. Percy stared at 5ran). <Ho! ., <No Laistrygonians., Ella #luttered do!n and landed ne1t to the%. <Si1 %inus si1 is (ero. S"ears are good #or su$traction. >e"., Ha(el loo)ed at 5ran) as i# he,d turned into a (o%$ie s)eleton hi%sel#. 5ran) thought his heart %ight shatter* $ut he couldn,t $la%e her. 0hildren o# 'ars !ere all a$out iolence. 'ars,s sy%$ol !as a $loody s"ear #or good reason. Why shouldn,t Ha(el $e a""alledHe glared do!n at $ro)en ti" o# his s"ear. He !ished he had any #ather $ut 'ars. <Let,s go*, he said. <'y grand%other %ight $e in trou$le.,

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5ran)

THE> ST3PPED AT THE 5R3NT P3R0H. As 5ran) had #eared* a loose ring o# ca%"#ires glo!ed in the !oods* co%"letely surrounding the "ro"erty* $ut the house itsel# see%ed untouched. 6rand%other,s !ind chi%es +angled in the night $ree(e. Her !ic)er chair sat e%"ty* #acing the road. Lights shone through the do!nstairs !indo!s* $ut 5ran) decided against ringing the door$ell. He didn,t )no! ho! late it !as* or i# 6rand%other !as aslee" or e en ho%e. Instead he chec)ed the stone ele"hant statue in the corner . a tiny du"licate o# the one in Portland. The s"are )ey !as still tuc)ed under its #oot. He hesitated at the door. <What,s !rong-, Percy as)ed. 5ran) re%e%$ered the %orning he,d o"ened this door #or the %ilitary o##icer !ho had told hi% a$out his %other. He re%e%$ered !al)ing do!n these ste"s to her #uneral* holding his "iece o# #ire!ood in his coat #or the #irst ti%e. He re%e%$ered standing here and !atching the !ol es co%e out o# the !oods . Lu"a,s %inions* !ho !ould lead hi% to 0a%" /u"iter. That see%ed so long ago* $ut it had only $een si1 !ee)s. No! he !as $ac). Would 6rand%other hug hi%- Would she say* 5ran)* than) the gods you, e co%e= I,% surrounded $y %onsters= 'ore li)ely she,d scold hi%* or %ista)e the% #or intruders and chase the% o## !ith a #rying "an. <5ran)-, Ha(el as)ed. <Ella is ner ous*, the har"y %uttered #ro% her "erch on the railing. <The ele"hant . the ele"hant is loo)ing at Ella., <It,ll $e #ine., 5ran),s hand !as sha)ing so $adly he could $arely #it the )ey in the loc). </ust stay together., Inside* the house s%elled closed-u" and %usty. 2sually the air !as scented !ith +as%ine incense* $ut all

He re%e%$ered ho! terri#ied* ho! re"ulsed she had loo)ed !hen he had su%%oned 6rey. 5ran) re%e%$ered Iris* the rain$o! goddess* !ho. getting angry at 6rand%other !hen he had so %any others to $e angry at8 /uno* 6aia* the giants* his dad 'ars. unless she.s e1"ression !as sy%"athetic* $ut that +ust %ade 5ran) #eel !orse. In the "arlour* &uddha statues and Taoist i%%ortals grinned at the% li)e "sycho clo!ns.t enough o# a #rea) already. 6rand%other. <That.the $urners !ere e%"ty. It see%ed silly to hi% no! . Let. The #ire"lace !as dar) and cold. Ha(el. 3r eaten #or lunch* 5ran) thought.* his s"elling a!ards #ro% school 9yeah* he "ro$a$ly !as the only non-dysle1ic s"elling cha%"ion de%igod in the !orld* as i# he !eren. Es"ecially 'ars. He "ushed that thought aside. <It.d ha e to gra$ those later.t right. Again .s large "orcelain ases !ere strung !ith co$!e$s. and his "hotos o# his %o% .s it. Ha(el hugged her chest as i# to )ee" the "iece o# #ire!ood #ro% +u%"ing into the hearth.. 5ran) said. Ella had said the Laistrygonians !ere canni$als. he told Percy* !hich sounded stu"idly o$ ious. <>eah*.s old roo% !as the sa%e. in her #la) +ac)et and hel%et* sitting . They e1a%ined the li ing roo%* the dining roo%* the )itchen.s the #ire"lace*. At least* they usually did. Dirty dishes !ere stac)ed in the sin)* !hich !asn. She insisted that her collection $e dusted regularly..d $een da$$ling in &uddhis% and Taois%. None o# his things had $een touched . that !asn. <0o%e on.d $een scared o## $y the giants. his e1tra $o! and 4ui er 9he. 5ran).s %aid ca%e e ery day . 'onsters ignored regular %ortals. 6rand%other. Percy as)ed.s chec) u"stairs.t right. Loo)ing at the "orcelain* 5ran) #elt a t!inge o# guilt #or ha ing destroyed so %any "ieces the day o# the #uneral. The ste"s crea)ed under their #eet.s !hat-. <That. <Is that .. 5ran) #igured one isit to this cree"y old house !ould cure her o# that.

s s%iling #ace in those "hotos* the "ain o# losing her !as as #resh as e er. <>ou don. A single candle $urned on the nightstand. Si1 !ee)s since he. They chec)ed the other $edroo%s. A di% light #lic)ered under the last door .t you ta)e the %iddle $edroo%s-. 5ran) clenched his #ists. <6uys* it. <Roo#s are good #or har"ies.s roo%. <Hey* )id.s cro!n.on a Hu% ee in Kandahar Pro inceI in her soccer coach uni#or%* the season she. Ho! ho"elessly la%e !as that.&ut %ostly he #elt sad. No one ans!ered.d $een here. Ella said. Des"ite the gloo%* he !ore dar) sunglasses !ith $lood-red light glo!ing $ehind the lenses.t ans!er. Tell your #riends to ta)e a hi)e. <Nah* they can. In so%e !ays it see%ed li)e #ore er. At her $edside sat a large %an in $eige 0anadian 5orces #atigues. Ha(el !his"ered.. 5ran) glanced at his #riends. <There.t see %e. The god loo)ed u" i%"assi ely. Listen* !hy don. 5ran) )noc)ed 4uietly.s tea%I in her %ilitary dress uni#or%* her hands on 5ran).s 7 it. <See !ho-. <What do %ean* 'ars. He #elt a little e%$arrassed . He "ushed o"en her door.s $eauti#ul.Where-. 5ran) said..s shoulders* the ti%e she. <She. Would you gi e %e a #e! %inutes alone !ith .s "ro$a$ly #ood in the )itchen. 0o%e on in. <Sure*. <>our %other-. The %iddle t!o !ere e%"ty. Ha(el as)ed gently. 6rand%other lay in $ed* loo)ing gaunt and #rail* her !hite hair s"read around her #ace li)e a $asilis). /ust a "ri ate con ersation . <Roo#*. #atherOson* right-. &ut !hen he loo)ed at his %o%. 5igured it !as $etter this ti%e. <5ran)-. 6rand%other.s nothing.d isited his school #or career day. <'ars. 5ran) couldn. a si1teen-year-old guy !ith a $unch o# "ictures o# his %o%. The !ar god chuc)led.d coached 5ran).Is your grand%other 7 is she o)ay-.t see hi%-. <'ars*.. He counted to ten $e#ore he trusted hi%sel# to s"ea). Percy gri""ed his s!ord. 5ran) said in a da(e.

5ran) #elt li)e the roo% !as tilting. 'ars #inished.t ine ita$le.t )no!=.. </uno&oar. 5ran) con#essed.s stu"id*.I.s $een )ee"ing trac) o# you. He !ished she !ould !a)e u". 5ran) $lin)ed.s !his)ers* )id. <>ou. 5ran) !anted to s%ac) the cal% loo) o## his #ace* $ut %ay$e that !as +ust 'ars. 5ran) said. 'ars shrugged. <The Laistrygonians outside )ne!*.s holding on #or you. <The se en 7 you %ean in the ancient "ro"hecy* the Doors o# Death. No$ody !elco%es !ar .t a tric) or illusion or so%ething-. &ut !ar #inds e eryone sooner or later.s ready to die*. too) your %o%*. Ha(el laid her hand on his ar%.s secret !ea"on. <3# course* 5ran). 'ars said. <She.. <.t $la%e you.re /uno. %ay$e all three. <Is it really you-. Then he !al)ed into the $edroo% and closed the door.s $een ready #or !ee)s* $ut she.d "re#er it i# it !asn. Not /uno= >ou.s aura %a)ing hi% #eel aggressi e.re s%art. 0o%e on* Ella* Percy. His oice $ro)e.. he as)ed 'ars. <She. He loo)ed do!n at his grand%other* slee"ing "eace#ully.. 3$ iously she. It . ste"s had receded..% one o# the .s ine ita$le. <5or %e-.I thin) she . <War isn. The !ar god laughed so loudly the !indo!s rattled* $ut 6rand%other didn.t e en stir. I thin) you !orry her %ore than Percy or /ason or any o# the se en. <That..t sell you out. not i# they. He !ished there !ere another chair to sit in.t sure i# he !anted to cry or screa% or "unch 'ars in the glasses . He !asn. <This isn.Ho! could she )no! I !as co%ing $ac). <I i%agine a certain goddess told the%.t %e-. The god shoo) his head. 5ran) !as so stunned he al%ost #orgot his anger. <Why. </uno-. 'ars said. 5ran) !aited until his #riends. No* I %eant 6aia. It. It )ills "eo"le. <>es*. I# anyone could ta)e on a !ar god* his grand%other could..I didn.%y grand%other. She !ouldn. <0an.

Whether that.s true or not* I don.No !ay !ould a goddess $e !orried a$out 5ran)* es"ecially !hen there !as so%e$ody li)e Percy /ac)son to !orry a$out.And /ason* and . Percy /ac)son 7 she $elie es she can control hi%. <No* you. they. They. . <0o%e on* $oy. Ha""ens to e ery$ody. <I. all !aiting to coo) 5ran) #or $rea)#ast. They. The ogres ha e le#t her alone so #ar.d rather )ill you right a!ay.s 4ueasiness disa""eared. She $elie es it. 6rey had )illed si1 o# the ogres* $ut +udging #ro% the ca%"#ires around the "ro"erty* there !ere do(ens %ore .s the $ait* see. /uno ai%s to unite the 6ree)s and Ro%ans and send the% against the giants.se en. <No !ea)nesses-. <&attle +itters...s sto%ach t!isted into a )not. Was 'ars "laying so%e )ind o# tric). <>ou. >ou.re here* I i%agine they. 5ran) shoo) his head. <>eah* she. That... <Any!ay* 6aia doesn.s $een !aiting to tal) to you. he as)ed.ll attac) in the %orning. <>es* yes.% going to thro! u"*. <I.No! that you.s !hy she su%%oned the Laistrygonians. Thin) it through= 3$ iously your #riends are $eing groo%ed #or that %ission* too* assu%ing you %a)e it $ac) #ro% Alas)a ali e.ll inherit your #a%ily gi#t. All o# the others ha e !ea)nesses she can e1"loit.. you !orry her. he said. 'ars shrugged* clearly uncon inced o# the "lan.t !ant you to $e one o# the se en.% nothing $ut !ea)nesses.. &ut you . e already s%elled your "resence. &ut the Laistrygonians are hungry to try.. that $eing you .. 5ran). She. 'y li#e de"ends on a "iece o# !ood=.t )no!. 'ars grinned..re selling yoursel# short.re su""osed to $e a good tactician.s the only !ay to sto" 6aia. 'ars !a ed his hand i%"atiently. 'ars sna""ed his #ingers* and 5ran).re not. <&ut %y grand%other . She. Any!ay* 6aia has these Laistrygonians con inced that i# they eat the last %e%$er o# your #a%ily . e $een here #or days* !aiting.

And* uh* in case you ha en. E er heard o# the &attle o# 0arrhae.re gonna $e $rea)#ast #or canni$als.. <E1actly*.. 'ars agreed.t )no!* $ut Reyna al!ays said there !ere %any lost legions.s descendants ser ed in a legion. !ell* this is the "art I don. <So%eho!* the #a%ily got to 0hina. I thin)* li)e in the days o# the Ro%an E%"ire* one o# Pericyl%enus. 'ay$e there !as another legion that disa""eared into the east. The #a%ily gi#t. $attles #or the%.. The T!el#th #ounded 0a%" /u"iter.. 'ars laughed. 5ran) had !anted to tal) !ith 6rand%other a$out it* $ut no! he had no one to consult $ut 'ars.t #igured it out yet* your s"ear !on. 'y %o% used to tal) a$out a guy na%ed Seneca 6racchus* $ut he also had a 0hinese na%e* Sung 6uo. They #ought these guys called the Parthians on the eastern $order o# the e%"ire. E1ce"t then Parthia got in aded again #ro% the other . <He !as %y ancestor* a 6ree) "rince* an Argonaut. This is your 4uest* )id. 'ars cla""ed silently. <So%e sort o# gi#t #ro% the gods.t $e ready to use again #or t!enty-#our hours* so I ho"e you. I thin) . He stared at the !ar god* !ho !as s%iling !ith a$solutely no sy%"athy. 'y %o% said he #ought li)e a s!ar% o# $ees. 5ran) de%anded. 'ars rolled his hand in a <go on. <Ha= That !ould $e #un.<6et us out o# here* then=. <Pericly%enus. &ut I don.. Ten thousand %ore !ere ta)en "risoner. 3ther!ise* you. <Sna" your #ingers and $lo! u" the canni$als. The 5ates ha e clear ideas a$out !hat +o$s $elong to gods* and !hat has to $e done $y %ortals. <True enough. 5ran) sounded out the !ord care#ully* li)e a s"elling-$ee challenge.. <And one o# the "risoners !as %y ancestor Seneca 6racchus-.Huge disaster #or the Ro%ans. 5i#teen thousand Ro%ans died.t #ight %y )ids.. e learned ho! to use the #a%ily gi#t. gesture. 5ran) said. <The Parthians "ut the ca"tured legionnaires to !or)* since they !ere "retty good #ighters. <Not $ad* )id. He died #ighting Hercules. <He had an a$ility that hel"ed hi% in co%$at*. What else-.

5ran) re%e%$ered.. Any!ay* that. She al!ays "ut her duty #irst* ahead o# . 5ran) guessed. Legion... 'ars stood and stretched. He settled in 0hina* "assed the #a%ily gi#t to his )ids* and so on.ll $e tough. <He !as good*. So do you understand your gi#t-.... <She.s gi#t. The Ro%ans e entually "ut do!n roots and $uilt a ne! ho%eto!n called .s li ed a #ull li#e*. >our %o% !as the sa%e !ay.t got %uch strength... e en cra(ier than a #a%ily %o ing #ro% 6reece to Ro%e to 0hina to 0anada.ll die.re getting it. That. He didn. E entually your #a%ily e%igrated to North A%erica and got in ol ed !ith 0a%" /u"iter . And old Seneca 6racchus* he had your #a%ily. 'ars ad%itted. <>eah* it. <She. <>eah.t !ant to $e !rong and ha e 'ars laugh at hi%.. <She said he !as 7 he !as the %ost "o!er#ul dragon o# all.t !ant to say it aloud.ll o##er you so%e hel".. Li-/ien.ll see. 'ars said. Don.s ho! a Ro%an legion got to 0hina. <'y %o% said he #ought dragons*. <She !anted to tell you all this hersel#* $ut I #igured I. <The old !o%an only stuc) around this long out o# a sense o# duty. <I . <What. <And the Ro%an "risoners got ca"tured again. &ut against an ar%y o# those ogres .. <5ull circle*. 5ran) #inished.t $e sel#ish. <When your grand%other !a)es u" in the %orning* she. He didn.d co er so%e o# it since the old $ird hasn.s ready to %o e on. 'ars loo)ed "leased. I thin) so. Then I i%agine she.s !hy I lo ed her.. <Li-/ien*. <'y %other said that !as our ancestral ho%e. <Not good enough to a oid the $ad luc) o# his legion* $ut good. </uno said I !ould $ring the #a%ily #ull circle. <We. 'ars nodded at his grand%other.direction .. <&y the 0hinese*.. 5ran) hesitated. Kind o# e%$arrassing. He had an idea* $ut it see%ed cra(y .t +ust lea e %e. <Sel#ish=.&ut I ha e to sa e her= She can. 5ran) said. <No! you.

<>eah*. <I hate that "ro er$. >ou thin) you.He. <Li#e is only "recious $ecause it ends* )id. you said you !ere !ea). Ta)e her ad ice. &ut i# you ta)e the hard "ath . This !as his #atherSure* 5ran) understood a$out his %o% $eing a hero.s ho! you rea" the s!eet re!ards. 5ran) %uttered. Ta)e it #ro% god.. And so%e day soon he. no "ain* no gain.. $ra ery* loyalty* $rains.. 'ars too) o## his sunglasses. E en !ithout the #a%ily gi#t* your %o% ga e you your %ost i%"ortant traits . He understood she. It isn.Sa%e conce"t.ll $e going*. 5ran) !as so disgusted he could hardly s"ea). <I.t )no! ho! luc)y you are. 'ars shrugged...t hel"#ul* )id. They %ean so%ething. ah* that.t gi e the% u"* not #or anything. 'ars "ro%ised. e $een* %iniature s"heres o# #ire $oiled li)e nuclear e1"losions.It.t $urn yet. What do they call it these days . >ou !ant to )no! !hy /uno s"ared you* 5ran). <He $attled you and !on..s true. That !asn.t right. 'ay$e so. E en her li#e. &ut she. Duty.re not as good as the other Ro%ans. <And lea e %y grand%other $ehind to die. He can.. <E en %e. &ut e ery hero has a #atal #la!. <Eat $itter* taste s!eet*. Eat $itter . <Sel#-"ity isn. <'ay$e.t !orthy o# you. e got a role to "lay. e got to decide ho! to use the%.s going to #ace a . >ou %ortals don.. Sacri#ice..t #air. >ou can still #ree Thanatos and sa e the ca%".d le#t hi% alone.s $ecause you. <&ut #irst . No! you. >ou thin) Percy /ac)son is $etter than you.s too loyal to his #riends. In the %orning* listen to your grand%other. It !asn.. Where his eyes should. He !as told that* years ago. 'ars laughed .. <>our %o% used to tell %e this 0hinese "ro er$. 5ran) gru%$led. <Real luc)y.d sa ed li es and $een really $ra e. That. a harsh %etallic sound. <&ut it.e erything. Percy /ac)son. <He is*. 5ran) said.Why that "iece o# !ood didn.s not true. >ou do the easy thing* the a""ealing thing* the "eace#ul thing* %ostly it turns out sour in the end.

I thin) that. <No!* get u". Sunlight strea%ed into the roo%.. The gods* the traditions* the cultures that sha"ed the !orld you li e in8 it. !ithout your sense o# duty .. >ou said all heroes ha e one.s all going to cru%$le* 5ran)* unless you !in this. <5ai* get u".. &ut you. She ca%e into #ocus* loo)ing do!n at hi% #ro% the $ed. 5ran) shoo) his head. So%eone had "ut a $lan)et o er hi% during the night and a "illo! under his head* $ut he had no idea ho! it had ha""ened. 'ars continued. Thin) a$out it. As %uch as I !ould li)e to sla" that ridiculous #ace o# yours* I a% in no condition to get out o# $ed. 5ran) as)ed. <>ou gotta ans!er that yoursel#* 5ran).s going #ail. We ha e %uch to discuss i# you and your #riends are to esca"e here ali e. The god !a ed his hand. 5ran) $lin)ed his eyes. The god s%iled dryly. . #i e thousand years o# la!* order* ci ili(ation.s !orth #ighting #or. No!* get so%e slee". He lay s"ra!led on the #loor.s eyes #elt hea y. <>our !hat-. The !hole !ar !ill go side!ays* and 6aia !ill destroy our !orld. He colla"sed* and e erything !ent dar). He couldn. he. Without you* 5ran) .re #inally as)ing the right 4uestions.t hear this.. 6rand%other still loo)ed horri$ly !ea) and "ale* $ut her oice !as as steely as e er. >ou need the rest.. 5ran). <5ai*.sacri#ice he can. The ogres ha e surrounded the house. The legacy o# Ro%e is on the line . <War is a duty*. <What. <The only real choice is !hether you acce"t it* and !hat you #ight #or.. <6rand%other-. <5atal #la!. 'ars raised an eye$ro!.s %ine-.t %a)e. said a #a%iliar oice* harsh and i%"atient.. <>es* %y silly o1.

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gi ing each other high #i es* tying "lastic $i$s round their nec)s* $rea)ing out the )ni es and #or)s..s nostrils #lared.. <>es* 6rand%other. 6rand%other. 5ran).s #a ourite $rea)#ast. 5ran) turned. He loo)ed at 6rand%other in astonish%ent. 3ne ogre had #ired u" a "orta$le $ar$ecue and !as dancing in an a"ron that said KISS THE 033K. <Did you . Their s)in glea%ed red.. So%e carried clu$s or s"ears. <6ood. >ou %ust eat. <The attic-. <Wea"ons*.d sho!n u" at the !rong "arty. . She !a ed her hand at the nightstand* !here so%eone had set a glass o# orange +uice and a "late o# "oached eggs and $acon on toast . e ne er handled !ea"ons $e#ore. 6rand%other said.. All o# the% !ere in a #esti e %ood .s $ecause !e )ee" !ea"ons in the attic* silly $oy. A #e! con#used ogres carried sur#$oards* li)e they.. <>ou can +oin the% !hen !e. <Right. Their shaggy hair* tattoos and cla!s didn. The scene !ould. At the edge o# the la!n* the Laistrygonians !ere stac)ing $ron(e cannon$alls. <That. e sent your #riends to the attic*. e $een al%ost #unny* e1ce"t 5ran) )ne! he !as the %ain course. I. Do you thin) this is the #irst ti%e %onsters ha e attac)ed our #a%ily-. No!* sit. There %ay $e ho"e #or you yet.t loo) any "rettier in the %orning light.re done. Des"ite his trou$les* 5ran) suddenly #elt hungry. <>ou told %e I could ne er go in there.5ran) 3NE L33K 32T 35 THE WIND3W* and 5ran) )ne! he !as in trou$le. 5ran) gru%$led. <Was that sarcas%* 5ai Phang-. <I..

Her $reathing sounded li)e a crac)ly "a"er $ag in#lating and de#lating* $ut she s"o)e !ith #ir%ness and clarity. Ha(el had done all that #or hi%...s not . 6rand%other guessed..t the house sta##. 5ran) o"ened and closed his %outh li)e a #ish. <Than) you* 6rand%other. Loo) in %y nightstand. At any rate* your #riends ha e sle"t and eaten. They are ta)ing stoc) o# the !ea"ons in the attic. She nodded. And "ic)ed out so%e clean clothes #or you in your $edroo%.s %on)ey* o# course not= And it !asn. We %ust s"ea) o# your esca"e "lan. <Not your girl#riend-. 5ran) o"ened the dra!er and "ulled out a sealed en elo"e.. >ou.t let her get a!ay. I a% glad to see you one last ti%e* e en i# your clothes are dirty and you need a haircut. No* your girl#riend Ha(el %ade that #or you. e $een a little $usy* 6rand%other.. <I ad%it* I !as so%e!hat "leased !hen they said you !ere co%ing $ac)..d taste terri$le.. she said distaste#ully* <!hich is ridiculous. I told the% you !ould $e along shortly* $ut there are too %any ogres to #end o## #or long. <She. >ou need strong !o%en in your li#e* i# you ha en. . <Well* she should $e* you dolt= Don. <They !ant to coo) you and eat you*. &y the !ay* you should sho!er. 5ran) ate !hile 6rand%other ga e hi% a sort o# %ilitary $rie#ing. She e1"lained that the ogres had $een surrounding the house #or three days* !aiting #or 5ran) to sho! u". <No e1cuse #or slo""iness. He couldn. In the daylight* her s)in !as so translucent* her eins see%ed to glo!. >ou s%ell li)e $urning horse hair.<'a)e you $rea)#ast. <I. And $rought you a $lan)et and "illo! last night. No!* to $usiness.t %a)e sounds co%e out.t noticed.&y &uddha.5ran) had $een sure he.s 7 u% 7 she. Is this ho! you re"resent your #a%ily-. Too dangerous #or the% here.d destroyed any chance !ith her last night !hen he had su%%oned 6rey.

e #igured the% out. <&ut I. Do your duty.<>ou )no! the air#ield at the end o# the "ar)-. she %uttered. It !as a$out three %iles to the north* do!n the %ain road through the canyon. <The gi#t o# Pericly%enus 7 I thin)* I thin) he !as a son o# Poseidon* I %ean Ne"tune* I . <'ars has $een isiting %e these last #e! days* )ee"ing %e co%"any.. 5ind Death in Alas)a and release hi%.s notice*. <The ogres are getting restless*... All you ha e to do is reach the air#ield. He told %e o# your 4uest. Sho! those to the "ilot as !ell. <Do not argue* $oy*. 6rand%other %uttered so%e curses in ra"id-#ire 'andarin. He. <He is an old #a%ily #riend. The house ru%$led. 6rand%other had ta)en hi% there so%eti%es !hen she !ould charter "lanes to $ring in s"ecial shi"%ents #ro% 0hina.ll die. No!* did your "raetor gi e you letters o# introduction-.. <That is true*. <2h 7. I ha e a letter #or hi% in that en elo"e* as)ing hi% to ta)e you north. 6rand%other said.. <There is a "ilot standing $y to lea e at a %o%ent. He sta%%ered out the details o# his discussion !ith 'ars the night $e#ore* $ut he #elt %uch %ore tongue-tied in #ront o# 6rand%other. 6rand%other said.. <0ould you #ind it again-. I. 3utside a $all o# #ire e1"loded in %idair* lighting u" the entire roo%. <&ut . 6rand%other agreed. <2h* yes* $ut . <&ut i# I succeed you.ll die any!ay. I.. <>es=.ll ne er see you again. 5ran) nodded %utely.s a eteran o# the legion. <6ood.% old. I thought I %ade that clear. 6rand%other as)ed. <We %ust hurry. No!* a$out your "o!ers* I ho"e you. <6ods o# your ancestors* $oy= Ha e you learned nothing-. In case he has any dou$ts* or gets cold #eet* those credentials !ill %a)e hi% honour-$ound to hel" you in any !ay "ossi$le.

He !as un"o"ular as a descendant o# Ne"tune.. The seer said he !as $la%ed #or the JD@Q earth4ua)e that destroyed San 5rancisco and the old location o# 0a%" /u"iter. <He !as the grandson o# Poseidon* $ut good enough. <The sea god.%ean 7.d $een teased in school and on the streets so%eti%es* $ut not that %uch* and ne er at 0a%" /u"iter. 6rand%other agreed. <Ha e you at least #igured out !hat it is-. Ho! did your $rilliant intellect arri e at this #act-. A 0hinese $oy had ne er $e#ore clai%ed Ro%an $lood. 5ran) s!allo!ed do!n his $rea)#ast. And he !as un"o"ular $ecause he !as 0hinese. He !as #alsely accused* #orced out in sha%e. His %other.. He !as the greatest dragon . An ugly truth . <&ecause a"ologi(ing #or so%ething you didn. 5ighting li)e a s!ar% o# $ees.t do anything !rong* !hy did you tell %e to a"ologi(e #or hi%-.. 5ran) s"read his hands.t thin) great-grand#ather actually did it. <No*. They only %ade #un o# hi% $ecause he !as clu%sy and slo!.t our gi#t..s old stories s!irled in 5ran). He !as un"o"ular $ecause his real gi#t !as %uch stranger than causing earth4ua)es..t sure i# the ca%" !ould hold you to $la%e. 6rand%other as)ed.t do is $etter than dying #or it= I !asn. 6rand%other.. <And our real gi#t-. No$ody cared a$out that. I did not )no! i# the "re+udice o# the Ro%ans had eased. <6o on.t do. $ut there is no denying it. No$ody at ca%"* not once* had %ade #un o# hi% #or $eing Asian. <At ca%"* they said a descendant o# Ne"tune had caused the disaster. He. 6rand%other nodded grudgingly. 0ausing earth4ua)es isn.s chee)s #lushed. &ut 7 $ut I don. Ne"tune is the god o# earth4ua)es. <A seer in Portland 7 he said so%ething a$out %y great-grand#ather* Shen Lun. <So 7 i# he didn. <&ut* yes* he !as $la%ed. He couldn.t i%agine !hat it had $een li)e #or his greatgrand#ather* accused o# destroying the entire ca%"* dru%%ed out o# the legion #or so%ething he didn.s head.

This gi#t !as only gi en once to a %ortal #a%ily.t !orry a$out %e. Poseidon %ust ha e $een #eeling es"ecially generous !hen he $lessed our ancestor . <5inally* a di% light goes on in that head o# yours. >our %other !as not si%"ly $oosting your sel#-estee%. <Li ing things. all o# us !ith the $lood o# Pylos. It hel"s i# you )no! the creature !ell. <>ou can $e anything*. 3utside* a cheer !ent u" #ro% the ogres. Se en is an unluc)y nu%$er in 0hinese . 6rand%other hu##ed. She !as telling you the literal truth. We are uni4ue a%ong de%igods.o# all. I. <That. So%eone shouted* <Phang= Phang=. I ha e no intention o# $eing de oured $y those ridiculous ogres. He re%e%$ered his %other.. I don. &ut there is nothing !e can do a$out that. Don. I !ill die in %y o!n ti%e* in %y o!n !ay. >ou ha e no ti%e to !aste. e ne er . 5ran) !as so $e!ildered he $arely noticed. <3ur ti%e is u". 5ran) said. 6rand%other said.t li)e this Pro"hecy o# Se en that 'ars told %e a$out. <&ut . 6rand%other said.t )no! ho! to use %y "o!er. It did not sa e your %other 7. 6rand%other said.s !hat she al!ays told %e. <Anything-. >es* 5ai Phang. It also hel"s i# you are in a li#e-and-death situation* such as co%$at. <>ou can*..s a""earing ne1t to hi% in the $ac)yard* as i# she. The gi#t has o#ten "ro en a curse..>ou ha e al!ays said you are not co%#orta$le in your o!n $ody.d #lo!n #ro% the attic. Why do you loo) so sur"rised* 5ai.t . Another e1"losion shoo) the house. He re%e%$ered her co%ing out o# the !oods* saying that she. <>ou %ust go* silly $oy*. 6o=.d gi en a %a%a gri((ly $ear directions. I can. or es"ecially s"ite#ul. <&ut 7.. a ghost nu%$er. <Within reason*. We all #eel that !ay . <3r you !ill not sur i e to reali(e your destiny. 0eiling "laster #ell li)e sno!. . No!* go= To%orro! e ening is the 5east o# 5ortuna. I don.

he said. She %uttered so%ething under her $reath. He stared at her* du%$#ounded* $ut her e1"ression i%%ediately soured. <Than) you* 6rand%other*. <Sto" ga"ing* $oy= 6o sho!er and dress= 0o%$ your hair= 'y last i%age o# you* and you sho! %e %essy hair-. <I !ill %a)e you "roud. His last i%age o# 6rand%other !as o# her glaring out o# the !indo!* as i# thin)ing a$out the terri$le scolding she !ould gi e the ogres !hen they in aded her ho%e. He #elt li)e his heart !as $eing s4uee(ed through a +uicer* $ut he $o!ed #or%ally. 5ran) al%ost thought she had said* >ou ha e. . He "atted do!n his hair and $o!ed again.5ran) turned at the door..

.

NNN:I .

<Roc)et launcher-. <Potatoes. At the $ase o# the gun* a $as)et !as #illed !ith %ore edi$le a%%unition. <Potatoes-.. <And !e ha e a "otato gun. 5ran) said* <!here are the others-. <No"e* no"e*. the sa%e !indo! his %o% had !atched hi% #ro% !hen he had %et the $ear. At the #ront !indo! stood so%ething that loo)ed li)e a %achine gun !ith a cluster o# $arrels. he !ondered aloud. Its eight $arrels !ere loaded !ith s"uds. Do!n in the yard* the ogres !ere %illing around* sho ing each other* occasionally yelling at the house* and thro!ing $ron(e cannon$alls that e1"loded in %idair. Potatoes. 5ran) said. She glanced u"!ard* then returned to her reading* alternately "ic)ing at her #eathers and turning "ages. His #a%ily had collected enough ancient ar%a%ents to su""ly an ar%y.5ran) 5RANK T33K THE G2I0KEST P3SSI&LE SH3WER* "ut on the clothes Ha(el had set out . <Roo#. 5ran) didn. al%ost as %any as in the 0a%" /u"iter ar%oury.. She !as sitting in a "ile o# 0hinese scrolls* reading se en or eight at once. <Ella*. said a oice #ro% the corner. .t li)e "otatoes. The attic !as #ull o# !ea"ons. Ella doesn. <They ha e cannon$alls*. At the $ac) !indo!* a scor"ion cross$o! !as %ounted and loaded* ready #or action.t li)e ogres. Ella doesn. then gra$$ed his s"are $o! and 4ui er and $ounded u" the attic stairs.. Shields* s"ears and 4ui ers o# arro!s hung along one !all . The har"y had %ade a nest #or hersel# $et!een t!o old stea%er trun)s.t understand until he s!i elled the %achine gun around. an oli e-green shirt !ith $eige cargo "ants* really.. <Roo#. He loo)ed out o# the !indo! . 3gre-!atching..

<Alas)a. The house shoo) #ro% another e1"losion.<Starch*. <Starch is $ad #or ogres. 6rand%other had said their house had $een attac)ed $e#ore. Why there !as a garden hose on the roo#* 5ran) !asn. <&eauti#ul day* huh-. Si1 hundred t!enty-si1 thousand* #our hundred t!enty#i e s4uare %iles. <'oose. Suddenly she s!itched to Latin* !hich 5ran) could +ust $arely #ollo! than)s to his classes at 0a%" /u"iter8 <To the north* $eyond the gods* lies the legion. e got to go hel" Ha(el and Percy. Percy said gri%ly. . 5alling #ro% ice* the son o# Ne"tune shall dro!n . <'oose*. 3utside* an ogre $ello!ed* <5ran) Phang= Sho! yoursel#=.t sure* $ut e ery ti%e the giants sent u" a cannon$all* Percy su%%oned a high-"o!ered $last o# !ater and detonated the s"here in %idair. 5ran) said.t. <'orning*..Where did you read that-.. 5ran) could hardly $reathe.s not sa#e here !ith the ogres. He )nelt ne1t to her* care#ul not to get too close.. &urnt. +eans* his "ur"le T-shirt and Polartec +ac)et . <H%%.d o$ iously $een #reshly !ashed. <I. Ella said. 'oose.. $ut they. </ust 7 stay here* o)ay-. No"e. He "ulled do!n the ladder to the roo#. Will you co%e !ith us-. Ella said* sa ouring the !ord. Then 5ran) re%e%$ered . his #a%ily !as descended #ro% Poseidon* too. 5ran) needed to reach the roo# and see ho! Percy and Ha(el !ere doing* $ut he #elt $ad lea ing Ella alone. <Ella* !as 7 !as that a "ro"hecy. She sto""ed and scratched her dishe elled red hair. The house shoo) again. Ella t!itched unco%#orta$ly.. He held his s!ord in one hand and a garden hose in the other. The rest is $urnt.re going to $e #lying to Alas)a soon. He !ore the sa%e clothes as the day $e#ore . 'ay$e they had "ut a hose u" here #or +ust that reason. <No"e*.. Dust rained do!n #ro% the ra#ters. <5ran) shouldn. State %a%%al8 the %oose. 'oose. <Ella* it.s cro!n.. We. Ella said thought#ully.

I !asn. <Why are you s%iling-..s #ace $urned.The !ay you co%%anded it* so con#ident and e erything .ll destroy your !ater "ressure. 5ran).t let her get a!ay* his grand%other had said. Don. Percy laughed. <Are you o)ay-. <5ran)* %ay$e I !as sur"rised. Ha(el loo)ed $a##led. She gestured at the ar%y o# ogres* !ho !ere getting increasingly $old* shu##ling closer and closer to the house.s !al) $et!een the t!o attic ga$les.. e got one %ore tric) u" %y slee e. <&ut right no! !e ha e other "ro$le%s to !orry a$out. And 7 not hating %e. She !ore +eans* a crea%-coloured +ac)et and a !hite shirt that %ade her s)in loo) as !ar% as cocoa. 5ran) !asn.Ha(el "atrolled the !ido!. Her curly hair #ell around her shoulders.s +ust 7 last night*. When she glanced at 5ran)* her eyes #lashed !ith concern.d )e"t his %outh shut* $ut it !as too late no!. he %anaged. She shoo) her head in dis%ay. <>ou !ere 7 i%"ressed 7 $y %e-.. He !ished he. >our la!n has a s"rin)ler syste%. She gri""ed her s!ord. I thought 7 I thought that you thought 7 I !as re"ulsi e 7 or so%ething. she as)ed. 'ay$e I !as scared o# that thing. I !as i%"ressed. he sta%%ered. She loo)ed so good it %ade 5ran).t sure he. And the clothes.s chest hurt. When she ca%e close* 5ran) could s%ell +as%ine sha%"oo. <Than)s #or $rea)#ast. >ou need strong !o%en. <3h* uh* nothing*. Ha(el raised her eye$ro!s. 3)ay-.t re"ulsed* 5ran). li)e* 3h* $y the !ay* guys* I ha e this all-"o!er#ul s"artus !e can use. <It. <Honest*. Ha(el "ro%ised. 5ran) as)ed. <Honest-. <I. <When I su%%oned the s)eleton. <Dude* it !as "retty a%a(ing. Percy readied the garden hose. No "ressure* no hose* and those cannon$alls are going to "lough right into the .. I couldn.d heard her right. &ut re"ulsed.t $elie e it. <Why !ould I hate you-. I can $lo! it u" and cause so%e con#usion do!n there* $ut that.

s side.s another "ro$le%*. <'ay$e .s ears* %a)ing it di##icult to thin).d $e o)ay.We can. <What-. All these "u((le "ieces s!irled around in 5ran). She !as i%"ressed. He got the #eeling that !hen they #inally connected* they !ould create a "icture he didn. Ancestor on %y %o%. <And !hat a$out your grand%other.s secret !ea"on* or that this $ig Pro"hecy o# the Se en de"ended on hi%. <There. 5ran) ga e the% the #i e-second ersion8 <Pericly%enus... 5ran) said. The old $lind %an had thought that controlling Ella !ould %a)e hi% a )ing.house. Ha(el.t understand her true alue* Phineas had told the% in Portland. >ou.% not good !ith air tra el.s dangerous #or a son o# Ne"tune.ll hel" us.re related.t +ust lea e her.t $elie e he !as /uno.. <I. <&ut Arion. Ha(el didn. Percy said. <6uys* I.. <He. She said she.s %ind... %ay$e Arion !ill #ind us. Percy al%ost stu%$led o## the roo#.t e1actly the truth* $ut it !as as %uch as 5ran) could %anage. He #orced hi%sel# to concentrate. 5ran) couldn. >ou don. He re%e%$ered !hat his grand%other had told hi% a$out the nature o# his gi#t* and ho! he had to lea e her here to die. e got a role to "lay* 'ars had said.t li)e. .t hate hi%. &ut Ha(el and Percy !ere counting on hi%. He had to do his $est. It !asn. It. e got an esca"e "lan.s a legion eteran. Argonaut. Do(ens o# ogres !ere ca%"ed on his la!n* !aiting to tear hi% a"art* and 5ran) could $arely control the urge to grin. As #or %y grand%other 7 she !as "retty clear. <>ou. Ha(el said. He thought a$out that !eird "artial "ro"hecy Ella had recited in the attic* a$out the son o# Ne"tune dro!ning.s "raise !as still ringing in 5ran). 5ran) cho)ed $ac) a so$. He.ll ha e to ris) it 7 and so !ill I*..s not $ac)*.s note #or the "ilot. <&y the !ay* !e. He told his #riends a$out the "lane !aiting at the air#ield* and his grand%other.

d read a da%aged te1t o# "ro"hecies. <No*.. <&urned $oo)s o# "ro"hecy. <Phang=. <The $oo)s 3cta ian !anted* $ac) at ca%"-. &ut I don. <0ra(y. <Phang=.t !ant to tell Percy the $ad ne!s* a$out a son o# Ne"tune dro!ning* $ut he re"eated the lines.6randson o# Poseidon. Ha(el ste""ed closer to hi%.. They had s"otted their $rea)#ast. <I %ean yes* $ut it.t )no! ho! a son o# Ne"tune can dro!n. <That.s got to $e the eagle*. <The thing is*. It e1"loded in an orange #ire$all.s i%"ossi$le=.t )no! ho! to use it. Percy turned his garden hose and shot another cannon$all out o# the s)y. Another %assi e cheer !ent u" #ro% the Laistrygonians. I can $reathe under!ater.5ran)* that. e got to "rotect Ella* ta)e her !ith us..>eah. Ha(el.. 5ran) said. <They )ee" doing that. Ha(el. Why are they yelling your na%e-..s %outh #ell o"en.s this a$ility %y #a%ily has* su""osedly. 5ran) said* <Ella re%e%$ers e erything she reads.s not +ust that. a line #ro% the old 6reat Pro"hecy. <The !hat-. She said so%ething a$out the "age $eing $urned* li)e she. He didn.re a . <And Ella recited so%ething li)e this once $e#ore* in Portland .>ou don.s eyes !idened. She recited a "ro"hecy do!nstairs. <I don.s . <Listen* !e. Percy . I# I can. $ut that. <Ne er %ind*. 5ran) said.s +a! tightened. Ha(el said. <3# course*.. &ut the cro!n o# the legion ..t #igure it out .t thin) .. Percy nodded.. <Tell you later. The ogres cla""ed !ith a""reciation and yelled* <Pretty= Pretty=. I thin) 7 I thin) it !as a$out this 4uest. they yelled. 5ran) as)ed. Percy.. 5ran) reali(ed they !ere staring u" at hi%* "ointing and !a ing and laughing. a descendant o# Ne"tune. Ha(el said. <The "oor thing needs our hel". <>ou. And there.

guessed. 5ran) said.s !al) and !a ed li)e a roc) star. I. <6o=.s ca"e li)e a Ro%an standard $earer and a "lastic $i$ !ith a lo$ster on it. <0o%e do!n* son o# 'ars= We.. I# Ella actually read a co"y so%eho!* and %e%ori(ed it . 0o%e* $e our honoured guest=.ll try to %eet you in the garage* $ut don. The ogres cheered as 5ran) "aced along the !ido!.s the %ost alua$le har"y in the !orld*. . <0o%e do!n* and !e !ill s"are the others .re lying*.. Ha(el gri""ed 5ran). We only !ant you=. <They. <6i e us your ans!er* 5ran) Phang=. <Why do I get the #eeling that Ehonoured guestF %eans the sa%e thing as EdinnerF-. 5ran) tried to control the $eating o# his heart. <We. Percy #ro!ned. the ogre yelled u".ll still ha e to $rea) through a line o# ogres*. your #riends* your "oor old granny. 5ran) !ished 'ars !ere still there. <Then she. Percy %uttered. <The s"rin)ler syste%*. an ogre shouted #ro% $elo!.s car is in the garage.t !ait #or %e. Ha(el !histled under her $reath. He loo)ed at Percy. Ha(el said. The thing is li)e a tan).. <5ran) . He could use so%e$ody to sna" his #ingers and %a)e his $attle +itters go a!ay.s an old 0adillac. 6et Ella* and get in the car. Why-. <The lost Si$ylline $oo)s that outlined the entire destiny o# Ro%e. <5ran) Phang=. I can do this. <Sure. 5ran) said. He !as $igger than the rest* !earing a lion. <No !onder Phineas !anted to ca"ture her.s hungry-. <2se it as a distraction-. <I. e $een !aiting #or you. I# you can get it started . It.ll $uy you as %uch ti%e as I can. Ha(el $elie es in %e* he thought.. He grinned and yelled* <Hey* do!n there= Who.. <>eah* I got that*. <6rand%other. <E1actly*. <0an you dri e-. His #riends ran #or the ladder. Percy said.s ar%. 5ran) agreed.

He descended the ladder into the attic. Wait there=. 5or a "anic)y %o%ent* he !ondered i# 6rand%other had "layed so%e sort o# cruel +o)e on hi%. He had ne er e en seen a real dragon. Then he ran to the %achine gun. 5ran) +ust !ished he had one.d got her to the cadillac. &ut nothing ha""ened. <Do you "ro%ise to s"are %y #riends-. He i%agined hi%sel# as a #ire-$reathing dragon. He ho"ed that !as a good sign. 'ay$e he..ll $e right do!n. 5ran) !ouldn.s neat "rinting. <0o%e do!n=. Ti%e #or Plan &. Eight high"o!ered s"uds $lasted the giant in the chest* "ro"elling hi% $ac)!ards !ith such #orce that he crashed into a stac) o# $ron(e cannon$alls* !hich "ro%"tly e1"loded* lea ing a s%o)ing crater in the yard.ll ta)e that as a no*.s head and $le! u" the chi%ney. <I. He s!i elled the $arrel* too) ai% at the lead ogre* and "ressed the trigger. they yelled. <>ou don.I !on. Then he shouted do!n8 <3)ay* #ine= >ou !in= I. The ogres laughed. That !ould $e +ust his luc). The ogres cheered* $ut their leader in the lion-s)in ca"e sco!led sus"iciously. 5ran) as)ed. The ogres started to $eco%e restless. He !anted to s!ee" do!n on the ene%y and destroy the%. <Hold on=. he %uttered. A #e! Laistrygonians he#ted their cannon$alls.d %isunderstood the gi#t. 3ne thre! a cannon$all that arced o er 5ran). <Hungry=. 'ay$e 5ran) !as the only %e%$er o# the #a%ily !ho hadn.t inherited it. &y so%e %iracle* 5ran) !asn.t taste ery good that !ay. 'ay$e they. He had no clue ho! to change hi%sel#.5ran) tried to su%%on his #a%ily "o!er. 5ran) yelled.t !ant to char %e* do you. <Do you s!ear on the Ri er Sty1-. Ella !as gone. The cheering turned to catcalls. He strained and clenched his #ist and thought a$out dragons so hard* $eads o# s!eat "o""ed u" on his #orehead. . He gra$$ed an e1tra 4ui er o# arro!s la$elled ASS3RTED :ARIETIES in his %other. That !ould $e e1tre%ely cool.t hit !ith shra"nel.t ha e %uch ti%e.

Ella !as curled u" in the #ront* her head tuc)ed under her !ings* %uttering* <>i)es. 5la%ing cannon$alls $urst $ehind the%. Percy yelled. &y the ti%e the other %onsters o erca%e their con#usion* the 0adillac !as hal# a %ile do!n the road. While the rest o# the %onsters ran around in con#usion* 5ran) "ulled his $o! and rained arro!s on the%. S%o)e and #ire "oured do!n the second-#loor hall!ay. Percy gunned the engine.. 0ho)ing #ro% the ash and soot* he $urst into the garage. They $egan thro!ing cannon$alls . 2n#ortunately* the ogres reco ered 4uic)ly. The 0adillac.s headlights !ere on. <6rand%other=. 3ne hit an ogre and instantly turned hi% into a "otted rose$ush. >i)es. The ogres ran to interce"t* $ut Percy shouted at the to" o# his lungs* and the irrigation syste% e1"loded. They shot out o# the garage $e#ore it !as #ully o"en* lea ing a 0adillac-sha"ed hole o# s"lintered !ood. 5ran) di ed in the $ac) ne1t to Ha(el. He lea"ed o er it and stu%$led through the )itchen. The attic disintegrated $ehind hi%. A hundred geysers shot into the air along !ith clods o# earth* "ieces o# "i"e and ery hea y s"rin)ler heads. do(ens at a ti%e. So%e o# the %issiles detonated on i%"act.t reach her roo%. He raced to the ground #loor* clinging to the $anister as the house shoo) and huge chun)s o# the ceiling colla"sed. 5ran) glanced $ac) and sa! his #a%ily %ansion on #ire* the !alls colla"sing in!ard and s%o)e $illo!ing into the . 3thers s"lintered li)e $uc)shot and le#t the giants !ith so%e "ain#ul ne! tattoos.A""arently starch !as $ad #or ogres. >i)es. The 0adillac !as going a$out #orty !hen they hit the #irst ogre* !ho disintegrated on i%"act. The engine !as running and the garage door !as o"ening. The $ase o# the staircase !as a s%o)ing crater. he cried* $ut the heat !as so intense* he couldn. The !hole house groaned under the i%"act. <6et in=. 5ran) ran #or the stairs.

<We. 5ran) agreed.s head sla%%ed into the ceiling. The Laistrygonians !ere closing in !ith alar%ing s"eed. He sa! a large $lac) s"ec) . &ehind the%* %ore e1"losions ri""ed through the #orest. circling u" #ro% the #ire.s i%agination* $ut he thought it had #lo!n out o# the second-storey !indo!. The 0adillac hit a "othole and !ent air$orne. <5ly !ith !ings= N-n-no aero"lanes.s)y. <Ho! #ast can Laistrygonians run-. Ha(el as)ed.We can. 5ran). <6et to the "lane= They. Ha(el "ro%ised. Ella %ade a horri$le* "ain#ul !ail li)e she !as $eing $urned. It %ight.t %iss it=. It see%ed i%"ossi$le* $ut she had "ro%ised she !ould die in her o!n !ay* not at the hands o# the ogres. <Let.t #orce her. <6rand%other-.re co%ing=. The #irst line o# ogres $urst out o# the !oods and $arrelled to!ards the air#ield . <A$out three %iles=. she yel"ed.ll "rotect you=. only a #e! hundred yards a!ay. When the !heels touched the ground* Percy #loored the $ra)es* and they s!er ed to a sto" +ust inside the gates. <It. Percy said. Percy held u" his hands in e1as"eration. #i e hundred yards a!ay* #our hundred yards 7 Percy and Ha(el %anaged to get Ella out o# the 0adillac* $ut as soon as the har"y sa! the aero"lane* she $egan to shrie). 5ran) said. <N-n-no=. 5ran) ho"ed she had $een right. They dro e through the !oods and headed north.s o)ay*. The ogres !ere three hundred yards out.s not #ind out*. <>ou can. S%o)e $oiled into the s)y... The gates o# the air#ield a""eared $e#ore the% . he %ur%ured. <What do !e do. 5ran) cli%$ed out and dre! his $o!. Its stairs !ere do!n. A "ri ate +et idled on the run!ay. e $een 5ran). . <No*. %ay$e a $u((ard .

<Sa#e. /ust li)e that* she !as gone .. Ella !as hy"er entilating.s eyes lit u". >ou.% sorry* Ella.. <Ella* !ould you li)e that.. <No "lanes.s daughter !al)s alone* the 'ar) o# Athena $urns through Ro%e.ll %iss her*. Ha(el said. He targeted the largest clu%" o# ene%ies and shot a tuli"-sha"ed arro!. Percy said. 5ran) unslung his $o! and noc)ed an arro!. >ou. e got an idea.Would you li)e %y #riend to ta)e you to 0a%" /u"iter and sho! you our ho%e-.ll see her again*. <Hide*. <No "lanes*. <0a%"*. Percy said. Ha(el said sadly.. Ella is 4uic). 5ran) tossed his grand%other. <A #riend-. Percy agreed.s too alua$le to lea e $ehind*. I can send a #riend to %eet you and ta)e you to 0a%" /u"iter. An e1"losion sent the air#ield. Hiding is good #or har"ies. Then in Latin8 <EWisdo%.<She.F. Percy nodded. Percy "ro%ised* $ut he #ro!ned uneasily* as i# he !ere really trou$led $y that last $it o# "ro"hecy . The ogres !ere al%ost in thro!ing distance. N-n-no "lanes.. the thing a$out Athena. And #ast. Then she !inced at her o!n !ords. a red strea) disa""earing into the !oods. <6ods* I. 5ran) too) co er $ehind the 0adillac and started #iring at the ogres.s gate s"inning into the air.Will you $e sa#e #ro% the ogres-. she insisted. And s%all. <Sho! that to the "ilot= Sho! hi% your letter #ro% Reyna too= We. <I. <2h* right*. Percy !a ed his hand in a tell you later gesture. e got to ta)e o## no!. /ust as he. she agreed.re a li ing thing* not a treasure.. Ella* can you hide in the !oods.ll $e sa#e at ca%". <3)ay*. Percy. <That sounds i%"ortant* $ut !e can tal) a$out that later. He and Ha(el ran #or the "lane. I sound as $ad as Phineas. <I.s letter to Percy. <No "lanes*.d ho"ed* it !as a .. All the $oo)s and #ood you !ant. Ella %uttered. <Ella !ill hide no!. </ust stay around this area. <We.

<0o%e on=. <5ran)=. . 3 er the interco%* the "ilot. e understood situation +ust #ine. He di ed into the "lane +ust as the stairs started to rise. Ha(el shrie)ed.s oice said* <Senatus Po"ulus4ue Ro%anus* %y #riends. There !as no sa#ety announce%ent* no "re-#light drin) and no !aiting #or clearance. Welco%e a$oard. ran)s. 5ran) heard the "lane. He hadn.d #ailed to sa e his grand%other. The "lane $an)ed to the le#t. I can do this* he thought. He.d #ailed to use his "o!ers. He. A #e! %iles to the south* a s!irling "yre o# #la%es and $lac) s%o)e !as all that re%ained o# the Phang #a%ily %ansion. He noc)ed an arro!. So %uch #or 5ran) $eing i%"ressi e. Another t!o cannon$alls sailed to!ards hi%.. When :ancou er disa""eared in the clouds $elo!* 5ran) $uried his head in his hands and started to cry. 5ran) )ne! instantly it !as going to hit the "lane. He let the arro! #ly. Ne1t sto"8 Anchorage* Alas)a. It interce"ted the cannon$all %idair* detonating a %assi e #ire$all. The sur i ors !ere only a hundred yards a!ay* and so%e o# the $righter ones stu%$led to a sto"* reali(ing that they !ere no! !ithin hurling range. 5ran) ran. A #iery cannon$all hurtled to!ards hi% in a slo! arc. Ro"es lashed out li)e s4uid tentacles* and the entire #ront ro! o# ogres "loughed #ace #irst into the ground. Another $last ri""ed through run!ay $ehind the%* $ut then they !ere in the air.hydra. The "ilot %ust. "ushed the throttle* and the "lane shot do!n the run!ay. the the He the 5ran) loo)ed do!n and sa! the airstri" riddled !ith craters li)e a "iece o# $urning S!iss cheese.t e en sa ed their har"y #riend.s engines re . &ehind hi%* %etal groaned as 0adillac e1"loded. S!athes o# Lynn 0anyon Par) !ere on #ire. He shot three %ore arro!s as #ast as he could* $lasting enor%ous craters in the ogres.

.

NNN:II .

He e1"lained the "ro"hecy /uno had issued !hen he !as a $a$y . 5ran) re#used to e1"lain e1actly !hat his <#a%ily gi#t.N3 03NTEST. 5ran) )e"t his head do!n li)e he !as asha%ed to ha e $een crying* $ut Percy didn. !as* $ut as they #le! north* 5ran) did tell the% a$out his con ersation !ith 'ars the night $e#ore.t %a)e you any less o# a %an* es"ecially !hen you had +ust #ended o## an ar%y o# ogres that !anted to eat you #or $rea)#ast.t $la%e hi%.d #lo!n $e#ore. He. So%e o# that* Percy had already #igured out. He tried to #ocus as 5ran) and Ha(el tal)ed. The details !ere ha(y* $ut he re%e%$ered a "egasus na%ed &lac)+ac). Percy still couldn. &ut a son o# Ne"tune 9Poseidon* !hate er.Too !eird #or !ords. Ha(el !as reassuring 5ran) that he. He.s heart raced* and he !as sure /u"iter !as sla""ing the% around.d $een incredi$ly $ra e. 5ran) had sa ed the% #ro% the Laistrygonians and got the% out o# :ancou er.d e en $een in a "lane once or t!ice. Percy !ould. Ha(el and 5ran) had o$ iously shared so%e cra(y e1"eriences !hen they had $lac)ed out together* and they. E ery ti%e the "lane hit a s"ot o# tur$ulence* Percy. didn. He.d done e erything he could #or his grand%other.t get o er the #act that 5ran) !as a distant relati e.d %ade . a$out his li#e $eing tied to a "iece o# #ire!ood* and ho! he had as)ed Ha(el to )ee" it #or hi%.6reat-ti%es-a-thousand ne"he!. 5ran) !ould $e his 7 !hat. e "re#erred dri ing 6rand%a Phang.Percy AER3PLANES 3R 0ANNI&ALS.t $elong in the air. The "oor guy had +ust lost his grand%other and seen his house go u" in #la%es.s 0adillac all the !ay to Alas)a !ith #ire$all-thro!ing ogres on his tail rather than sitting in a lu1ury 6ul#strea%. As #ar as Percy !as concerned* shedding a #e! tears a$out so%ething li)e that didn.

he said* <I. <>ou.t you-. She !as the youngest one on the 4uest* $ut she !as al!ays holding the% together and co%#orting the%.6ods* i# 3cta ian #ound out . I don.t li)e her as Hera.s ears turned red. >et she didn. Still* Percy couldn. <>eah*. she as)ed. <>ou are a 6ree) de%igod.. 5ran).s al!ays $een sure . <Another ca%"*.d sli""ed into another language. Ha(el tuc)ed her #eet underneath her. /ust saying the na%e %ade Percy #eel !ar% inside. No! they !ere #lying to Alas)a* !here she had died once $e#ore. It %ade Percy #eel silly #or $eing scared o# aero"lane tur$ulence.. 0a%" Hal#&lood. Ha(el re"eated. Percy gri""ed his leather nec)lace. <He. Ha(el and 5ran) stared at hi% as though he. They !ould try to #ree Thanatos* !ho %ight ta)e her $ac) to the 2nder!orld.. <5ran)*.. 6ood %e%ories !ashed o er hi%8 the s%ell o# stra!$erry #ields in the !ar% su%%er sun* #ire!or)s lighting u" the $each on the 5ourth o# /uly* satyrs "laying "an"i"es at the nightly ca%"#ire and a )iss at the $otto% o# the canoe la)e. 5ran) said.t i%agine !hat )ind o# courage it had ta)en #or 5ran) to e%$ar) on a 4uest* )no!ing that one s%all #la%e could snu## out his li#e.s $een co%ing $ac) to %e slo!ly since then.t li)e her any $etter as /uno. Percy gru%$led.t sho! any #ear. <I didn. <He. <A 6ree) ca%".so%e sort o# deal. </uno has so%e sort o# "lan #or us* a$out the Pro"hecy o# Se en. <I started to re%e%$er in Portland* a#ter the gorgon.d declare !ar*.s another ca%" . She studied Percy !ith her lu%inescent golden eyes* and he !ondered ho! she could $e so cal%. There.. It also e1"lained !hy e en no!* out o# ha$it* 5ran) )e"t chec)ing his coat "oc)et* and !hy he !as so ner ous around #ire. It..s $lood. With his head lo!ered* his %ilitary haircut %ade a shar" $lac) arro! "ointing do!n.% "roud to $e related to you.re a son o# Poseidon* aren.

In %y drea%s* I sa! a de%igod that %ight ha e $een hi%. there. <3# course !e trust you*. <2h* I %ean* not to s"y. I thin) it !as so%e )ind o# e1change.s going to $e a lot o# sus"icion..re a #a%ily no!. she said. <We. I thin) they. <I# !e get $ac)*. <That. Aren. <'ars said /uno !ants to unite the 6ree)s and Ro%ans to #ight 6aia. Percy agreed. 6ree)s and Ro%ans ha e a long history o# $ad $lood.t !e* 5ran)-. He !as !or)ing !ith so%e other de%igods on this #lying !arshi". <Still not !or)ing*. e got to $e care#ul ho! !e e1"lain this !hen !e get $ac). >our #riend /ason . <That. 5ran) ta""ed ner ously on the $ac) o# his seat. Ha(el laughed* $ut there !as ner ous tension in it. Ti%e !as sli""ing a!ay. <I tried it last night at . e got to contact a #riend . Percy said. to )ee" %y "ro%ise to Ella.s "ro$a$ly !hy the gods ha e )e"t us a"art this long. She leaned o er and )issed hi% on the chee).. Ha(el did so%ething he !asn. Percy nodded reluctantly. Ha(el too) a dee" $reath. <Ho!-. I# a 6ree) !arshi" a""eared in the s)y a$o e 0a%" /u"iter* and Reyna didn..the 6ree)s !ere out there* "lotting against us. <>eah*.t )no! it !as #riendly . 5ran) said.t e1"ecting. I ho"e you trust %e. &ut she s%iled !ith such a##ection that it !ar%ed Percy right do!n to his #eet. <I %ean* I trust you guys. <We.s !hy /uno sent %e*. Percy said sadly. he said. It !as totally a sisterly )iss. I #eel 7 !ell* I #eel as close to you t!o as to any o# %y old #riends at 0a%" Hal#-&lood.re co%ing to 0a%" /u"iter to hel". &ut !ith the other de%igods* at $oth ca%"s . &ut* +ee( . Percy too) a dee" $reath. I thin) he !as sent to %y ca%"... <I. He thought Percy !as a s"y.. <3ne o# those Iris-%essages-. <Any!ay* !hat do !e do no!-. 5ran) said. <Do I get a )iss-. <Sure*.. They !ere al%ost hal#!ay through /une t!enty-third* and to%orro! !as the 5east o# 5ortuna.

.. <0lose=.s oice* $ut he )ne! they only had a #e! seconds to tal). 'ay$e it. I. What he. He stretched out* closed his eyes and drea%ed he !as #alling #ro% a %ountain o# ice to!ards a cold sea.% ho"ing I can contact %y #riend in %y drea%s.t lea e Ella $y hersel# !ith those ogres around. When he raised his head* his $ig $ro!n eye !as red #ro% crying.t allo!ing a connection.. The edges o# the ision !ere already dissol ing. The #ire#ighters co%"letely ignored hi%. We can.s house. In the !eird* terri#ying* horri$le e1"erience o# losing his %e%ory and getting ri""ed out o# his old li#e . The drea% shi#ted.s heart to hear the "ain and !orry in the $ig guy. Ta)e the couch* %an. <We. The la!n loo)ed li)e a !ar (one* !ith s%o)ing craters and trenches #ro% the $lo!n-out irrigation "i"es. <>eah*. 5ran) said. He !as $ac) in :ancou er* standing in #ront o# the ruins o# the Phang %ansion.your grand%other. His %essy $ro!n hair !as s"attered !ith rain and %ud. <&ut I need to try. &elo! the%* sno!ca""ed %ountains $ro)e through a $lan)et o# clouds. The Laistrygonians !ere gone. <I. Another $u%" o# tur$ulence %ade hi% gra$ his seat. he trusted the%. Ha(el and 5ran) !ere the $right s"ots. I# Alas)a !as the land $eyond the gods* Percy #igured the #urther north he !ent* the harder it !ould $e to co%%unicate !ith his #riends* e en in his drea%s. He #elt luc)y to ha e Ha(el and 5ran) !atching out #or hi%. &eside one o# the craters )nelt a 0yclo"s in o ersi(ed +eans* $oots and a %assi e #lannel shirt. A cre! o# #ire#ighters !as "ac)ing u" their e4ui"%ent* getting ready to %o e out.d said to the% !as true .s $ecause %y %e%ories are still +u%$led. Percy nodded. <So close* $ut gone=. he %oaned.% not sure I can slee"*. e still got hours to #ly. 3r the gods aren. It $ro)e Percy. . At the edge o# the #orest* a giant shaggy $lac) dog !as $ounding around* sni##ing the trees. Percy said. No luc). The %ansion !as reduced to a $urnt-out shell.

he chuc)led* "lanting his trident in the ground. There.'y $rother is co%ing $ac). 0a%"ers scra%$led to %uster. Percy tried to )ee" his oice #ro% crac)ing.s a giant. .s hiding in the !oods around the house.. He "aced eagerly across the hill* sna)es dro""ing #ro% his green dreadloc)s* his dragon legs sto%"ing do!n s%all trees.s ar%y !as arrayed to Percy. The drea% shi#ted.A red har"y-. <'y $rother is o)ay. /ust $e care#ul= There.Leary= We %ust #ind a har"y=.<Tyson=.&rother-. e co%e to destroy you= Stheno=. <5ind a har"y. Tyson. She.% o)ay.s #ort* horns !ere $lo!ing. 6et her $ac) to 0ali#ornia.ll see you soon.s a de%igod ca%" in the 3a)land Hills . <I. /ust #ind Ella. <Percy.s %y #riend..s ar%y %arching south. centaurs !ith $ull. She. <Tyson* I. At the legion. he called.% here . <0an. 'eet %e a$o e the 0aldecott Tunnel.She..t see you= Where is %y $rother-. Tell Anna$eth . <&lo! your little horns* Ro%ans.. siege to!er cast a shado! across the #eet o# the giant Poly$otes* !ho grinned do!n at the Ro%an ca%". !ell* not really. <>es= Protect her* o)ay.s le#t and right . <>es*.s horns* the si1ar%ed Earth$orn and e il 0yclo"es in scra"-%etal ar%our. The giant.% #lying to Alas)a.s #ace started to dissol e. <W335=. The 0yclo"es. 0a%" /u"iter. I. I.s a har"y !ith red #eathers. 3n his green-$lue ar%our* the decorati e #aces o# hungry %onsters see%ed to $lin) in the shado!s. I. said the dog.I %iss you=. Percy #ound hi%sel# standing in the hills north o# 0a%" /u"iter* loo)ing do!n at the 5ield o# 'ars and Ne! Ro%e. The 0yclo"s loo)ed around #rantically.. <Tyson* I. <3a)land Hills 7 0ali#ornia 7 0aldecott Tunnel. Tyson gra$$ed the air li)e he !as trying to catch $utter#lies. He shouted to the dog8 <'rs 3.. <I %iss you* too.% o)ay. I.ll $e $ac).

. <Alcyoneus had $etter s"are the son o# Ne"tune as he "ro%ised. <I thin) there !as cheese and crac)ers* too*. <Perha"s it. <Al%ost* great one. <They #ly straight to their death. <>es* %aster=. Stheno said hel"#ully.s #oot. Poly$otes gro!led. <Would you li)e a Pu""y-in-a-&lan)et-.s colour sche%e.The gorgon scra%$led out o# the $ushes. Stheno ste""ed $ac) 4uic)ly to a oid getting #lattened $y the giant. <Though &argain 'art has a %uch $etter deal.re on sale this !ee) . <3nly silence*. They.re tiny hot dogs in crescent rolls* $ut they.s duel* $ut it is only a %atter o# ti%e $e#ore 3trera "re ails and co%es to our aid. la$our contract. Poly$otes ri""ed an oa) tree out o# the ground and thre! it into the alley. <6ah= That 0yclo"s !o%an !ill gi e %e an ulcer. Winery tour-.. Although* I su""ose they. Not our "risoner Death. Her li%e green i"er hair and &argain 'art est clashed horri$ly !ith the giant. <We do not yet )no! the !inner o# last night. <0yclo"es= I tell you* Stheno* !hen I destroy Ne"tune and ta)e o er the oceans* !e !ill renegotiate the 0yclo"es. His $lood shall !ater the stones o# 'ount 3ly%"us and !a)e the Earth 'other= What !ord #ro% the A%a(ons-.. Stheno said. She held u" a tray o# #ree sa%"les.. 'a 6as)et !ill learn her "lace= No!* !hat ne!s #ro% the north-.re not actually "u""ies.. <&ah= Ne er %ind* then= Are our #orces ready to attac)-. 'a 6as)et and hal# her 0yclo"es sto""ed in Na"a. The giant loo)ed around* as i# +ust noticing that a $ig "ortion o# his ar%y !as %issing. Poly$otes a$sently scratched so%e i"ers out o# his hair. Ah* s%all EdF death* I %ean. <What sort o# "u""y-. So%ething a$out a !inery tour. <The de%igods ha e le#t #or Alas)a*. <H%%.s +ust as !ell !e !ait* then. <What-.They "ro%ised to $e here $y to%orro! e ening.. <3h . <H%%*. Stheno said. I !ant that one chained at %y #eet* so I can )ill hi% !hen the ti%e is ri"e. she said. <Ah* they.re #lying to hi%* too. Poly$otes said...

.. Ha(el laid her hand on his shoulder. 5ran) stood in the aisle* !ra""ing his s"ear and ne! $o! in his s)i $ag.re $eyond the hel" o# the gods. Soon* the legacy o# Ro%e !ill $e destroyed #or the last ti%e=. In the distance* a city !as car ed out o# the !ilderness* surrounded $y lush green #orests on one side and icy $lac) $eaches on the other. &y then* !e %ust in ade . <Ho! long !as I out-. A%a(ons or no. Ha(el said. Poly$otes s"read his hands in #ront o# hi%* ta)ing in the alley li)e a "anora%ic "icture. <A #e! hours*.. <>es* great one=. <We. Percy sat u" groggily. <We. Percy loo)ed out o# the !indo!. Stheno announced to the troo"s8 <Pu""ies-in-&lan)ets #or e eryone=. <Welco%e to Alas)a*. he said. A glittering inlet o# the sea sna)ed $et!een sno!y %ountains. Percy !o)e !ith a +olt as the "lane started its descent.To%orro! at sundo!n is 5ortuna. . The drea% #aded. <>es* $lo! your little horns* de%igods.re al%ost there.s 5east. The %onsters cheered. In the %eanti%e* dig in= We set u" ca%" here* on high ground. <Slee" o)ay-.

.

NNN:III .

He* 5ran) and Ha(el had an i%"ossi$le tas) to co%"lete $e#ore then. He re%e%$ered Tyson* his $rother. /uno had stolen his %e%ory and sent hi% to 0a%" /u"iter #or a reason. He re%e%$ered his ho%e* and that ga e hi% a ne! deter%ination to succeed.Percy THE PIL3T SAID THE PLANE 032LDN. His drea% o# Tyson had li#ted his s"irits. They loo)ed an1ious $ut not sur"rised !hen he told the% a$out the giant. Not %uch to loo) #or!ard to. He should.s .d learned that the giants "lanned to use hi% as so%e )ind o# $lood sacri#ice to a!a)en 6aia. He still !anted to "unch her in her godly #ace* $ut at least he got her reasoning.T WAIT #or the%* $ut that !as o)ay !ith Percy. Still* Percy #elt strangely in igorated.d ne er i%agined $e#ore. As they too) a ta1i into do!nto!n Anchorage* Percy told 5ran) and Ha(el a$out his drea%s. I# they sur i ed till the ne1t day* he ho"ed they could #ind a di##erent !ay $ac) .s ho%e territory* out o# contact !ith his old #riends +ust as his %e%ories !ere co%ing $ac). Se"arately* $oth ca%"s !ere doo%ed.t dare "ut into !ords . Reasons he didn. There !ere other reasons Percy !anted to sa e 0a%" /u"iter. t!o #a%ilies. He. Plus* to%orro! e ening !as the 5east o# 5ortuna. not yet* any!ay.s t!o #riends to the 2nder!orld. He had seen an i%age o# Poly$otes. anything $ut a "lane. They. Suddenly he sa! a #uture #or hi%sel# and #or Anna$eth that he. He understood that no!. I# the t!o ca%"s could !or) together* they stood a chance o# sto""ing their %utual ene%ies. At $est* they !ould unleash Death* !ho %ight ta)e Percy. He !as #ighting #or t!o ca%"s no! .d #ought together* cele$rated ictories* shared good ti%es at 0a%" Hal#-&lood.s ar%y a$out to in ade 0a%" /u"iter. e $een de"ressed. He !as stuc) in Alas)a* the giant.

The ta1i dri er grinned in the rear ie! %irror.t sure !hat the #irst "art %eant* $ut he !as starting to ha e an idea a$out the second. La)es and huge stretches o# !oods cut through the %iddle. <Sure*. It !as late a#ternoon* $ut the sun !as still high in the s)y.ar%y closing in on ca%". He had to sur i e this 4uest #irst. The to!n itsel# had a !eather-$eaten loo) to it* !ith closed stores* rusted-out cars and !orn a"art%ent co%"le1es lining the road* $ut it !as still $eauti#ul. <Enough. <Which %a)es hi% your great-great-great .s a 0yclo"s-. Percy nodded. <As long as he can get Ella to ca%"*. He !as still thin)ing a$out the lines o# "ro"hecy the har"y had recited . <I can. Ha(el said. He tried to set the 4uestion aside. He !asn.t $elie e ho! %uch this "lace has gro!n*. The Arctic s)y !as an a%a(ing co%$ination o# tur4uoise and gold.. <A$out se enty years*. The dri er slid the glass "artition closed and dro e on in silence. 5ran) cho)ed !hen he heard a$out Tyson. <Please. 5ran) co ered his ears. Then there !ere the giants. According to Ha(el* al%ost none o# the $uildings !ere the sa%e* $ut she "ointed out #eatures o# the landsca"e8 the ast #orests ringing the city* the cold* grey !aters o# 0oo) Inlet tracing the north edge o# to!n* and the 0hugach 'ountains rising greyish-$lue in the distance* ca""ed !ith sno! e en in /une.. The ta1i turned on High!ay 3ne* !hich loo)ed %ore li)e a s%all street to Percy* and too) the% north to!ards do!nto!n. Do(ens o# $right-$lue %en* . <&een a long ti%e since you isited* %iss-. Percy said. <I... a$out the son o# Ne"tune dro!ning* and the %ar) o# Athena $urning through Ro%e. Ha(el said. Ha(el %uttered. Percy had ne er s%elled air this clean $e#ore. <>ou ha e a hal#-$rother !ho.% !orried a$out her.

The Hy"er$orean !as cradling a Nati e A%erican tote% "ole !ra""ed in #urs* hu%%ing to it li)e a $a$y..re e ery!here in Alas)a* li)e $ears. <Here is good.. The %ortals didn.t )no!* "eace#ul. %ore li)e a college ca%"us than a city* $ut Ha(el loo)ed a%a(ed. Ha(el said. <Hy"er$oreans*. The ta1i "assed !ithin a #e! yards o# one !ho !as sitting at the edge o# a la)e !ashing his #eet* $ut the dri er didn. <When !ho did !hat-. <Wait*. <That . &ut these guys loo) 7 I don. <2% 7. Percy said. that.t get agitated and %a)e the +e!ellery sho"s e1"lode. <I re%e%$er the%.each thirty #eet tall !ith grey #rosty hair* !ere !ading through the #orests* #ishing in the $ay and striding across the %ountains. He !as a%a(ed he re%e%$ered that na%e. e $een al%ost cute. <Northern giants. <They usually are*. 0an you let us out-. sho"s ad ertising #urs* Nati e A%erican art and gold.t "anic..s !here the 6itchell . Percy ho"ed Ha(el !ouldn. she said.s huge*. <They ne er $othered %e* though one al%ost ste""ed on %e $y accident once.t $een the si(e o# a $uilding* he !ould. Ha(el agreed. 3ne stood right at the intersection o# Northern Lights Road* straddling the high!ay* and they dro e $et!een his legs. <&ears-. They. I #ought so%e !hen Kronos in aded 'anhattan. 0o%"ared to :ancou er* do!nto!n Anchorage !as tiny . As the dri er turned and headed to!ards the seashore* Ha(el )noc)ed on the glass "artition. They "aid the dri er and ste""ed onto 5ourth Street. <It.t see% to notice the%.. <The giants are in isi$le to %ortals*. The ta1i dro e through do!nto!n* "ast a $unch o# tourists. 5ran) "ointed at the $lue guy. None o# the giants "aid the% any attention. 5ran) said ner ously. That sounded #airly $otherso%e to Percy* $ut the ta1i )e"t dri ing. 5ran) said. <Long story. I# the guy hadn.

. It !as $ustling !ith "eo"le* $ut they scored a ta$le at the !indo! and "erused the %enus. &et!een $ites o# $lue$erry "anca)e* Ha(el dre! a s4uiggly cur e and an N on her na")in. Seeing the% li)e that %ade Percy ha""y. <T!enty-#our-hour $rea)#ast=. <>ou )no!*..Hotel used to $e.t really ha e a "lan $eyond #inding the #astest !ay to the Hu$$ard 6lacier* $ut Percy s%elled so%ething coo)ing near$y .. Those t!o de#initely needed to get together.s* li)e* dinnerti%e*.He reali(ed he hadn. <I lo e $rea)#ast*.. <I. 5ran) !hoo"ed !ith delight.t tell #ro% loo)ing outside.% hungry.s o)ay that !e. he said* <$rea)#ast sounds great.s. <Dude*.t eaten since that %orning at 6rand%a Phang.re here. <So this is !hat I. The sun !as so high it could. It used to $e there. And they. e %o ed 0ity Hall.re eating Rudol"h-.d li e long enough to see her again. Though* u%* I.. . Percy said* though he couldn. 'y %o% and I stayed there our #irst !ee) in Alas)a.t as good as Ha(el. They #ound a ca#S right $y the $each. He thought a$out Anna$eth* and !ondered i# he. Thin) "ositi e* he told hi%sel#. I. The red-nosed reindeer did not stand a chance. <5ood*. <It..% thin)ing.% sure the #ood here isn. We. She ta""ed N. Percy had ne er seen anyone eat as #ast as 5ran).d eat $rea)#ast* $rea)#ast and $rea)#ast i# I could. 5ran) said. She led the% in a da(e #or a #e! $loc)s. e $een noon. The #ood !as e1cellent. Ha(el el$o!ed hi%* $ut her s%ile !as "lay#ul. <Anchorage. They all ordered %assi e "lates o# eggs* "anca)es and reindeer sausage* though 5ran) loo)ed a little !orried a$out the reindeer.s. <>ou thin) it. Percy said* <I could eat Prancer and &lit(en* too. he said. sausage* %ay$e. <0o%e on. They didn.. &ut it also %ade hi% sad.

t $e too #ar #ro% Se!ard.re not sure ho! #ar-.s a $ig "eninsula o# land $elo! us* and %y old ho%e to!n* Se!ard* is at the $otto% o# the "eninsula* here. Ha(el nodded. <That. There.. This ti%e to%orro!* the 5east o# #ortuna !ould $e starting.t )no! 7 his "lane %ight $e too $ig #or the little Se!ard air"ort..% "retty sure it. Percy said.. She ta""ed the lo!er right corner o# her na")in.s the train line. he said.. <Land %eans 6aia. <It. 5ran) "olished o## the last o# his Rudol"h. We could go around $y sea* I guess* $ut it !ould ta)e #ore er. <It. Ha(el held u" her hand in a "lacating gesture. Anchorage is at the to" o# this sli er o# ocean* 0oo) Inlet. <5ine*. I# !e can get to Se!ard sa#ely. e got %uch choice* though.. <No %ore "lanes*. <I. <&ut you.t see that !e. <It shouldn. Ha(el sighed... <&ut land is dangerous*. Percy ga(ed out o# the !indo!..s a %a"* Percy. <&oat*. Loo)* #ro% Se!ard* the Hu$$ard 6lacier is do!n here so%e!here. Percy said i%%ediately.s ar%y !ould #lood into the alley. <I don.s o)ay. There. 5ran) as)ed. <And !e.s a train that goes #ro% here to Se!ard.s the closest to!n to the Hu$$ard 6lacier. <That. We don. She dre! another N at the $ase o# the seagull. Percy said. It only ta)es a cou"le o# hours. So %uch to do* and only t!enty-#our hours le#t.t ha e that )ind o# ti%e. Ha(el #ro!ned and shoo) her head. 2nless they unleashed Death and %ade it $ac) to ca%"* the giant. <It.. Ha(el said. Ha(el glared at hi%. And i# !e chartered another "lane . <Please. . The Ro%ans !ould $e the %ain course at a %onster dinner. We %ight $e a$le to catch one tonight.. She dre! a dotted line $et!een the t!o Ns.<It loo)s li)e a seagull.s !here Alcyoneus is.re the eye.s #ace*.s only accessi$le $y $oat or "lane. <>ou +ust cut o## the seagull. Percy noted. We could ha e as)ed our "ilot to #ly us do!n* $ut I don.s throat..s head*.

What did they thin) had ha""ened to Percy. He got change #ro% the gi#t sho" and stood in #ront o# the "ay "hone. He.t sure ho! %any coins it !ould ta)e* or i# he could e en %a)e the call go through* assu%ing he re%e%$ered the nu%$er correctly. Sally /ac)son* he thought.s turnta$le or his teacher chiron. He !asn.t recogni(e this . It !ould $e li)e* %idnight in Ne! >or).s na%e. and ran $ac) into the station.t !hat he !anted* $ecause he thre! the !hale $ac) and )e"t !ading. <6ood $rea)#ast*. :oice %ail. He "ic)ed u" the recei er and "unched in a Ne! >or) nu%$er . Percy should ha e #igured. Sure* %ost o# that had $een during the school year* $ut still 7 not cool.d lost se en %onths o# his li#e. A""arently that !asn. They !ere strange anti4ues to hi%* li)e his %o%. Percy !ondered i# he could e en %ani"ulate !ater here* or $reathe under!ater. He $rought out a )iller !hale in one #ist. The station !asn. No$ody in the ca#S noticed. 5ran) said. As near as he could #igure* he. The ocean here #elt di##erent . still "o!er#ul* $ut #ree(ing* slo! and "ri%al.d ne er used a "ay "hone $e#ore. <Who. The giant ste""ed into the $ay* crac)ing the ice under his sandals* and thrust his hands in the !ater. No gods controlled that !ater* at least no gods Percy )ne!.t $e a$le to "rotect hi%. That !as his %o%.t #ar. And he had a ste"dad 7 Paul. They !ere +ust in ti%e to $uy tic)ets #or the last train south.s ready #or a train ride-.Across the street* a #rosty $lac) sand $each led do!n to the sea* !hich !as as s%ooth as steel. As his #riends cli%$ed on $oard* Percy said* <&e !ith you in a sec*.s a"art%ent.'ay$e they had already held a %e%orial ser ice. A Hy"er$orean giant lu%$ered across the street. They !ouldn. Ne"tune !ouldn. his %o%.s 5ran) Sinatra cassette ta"es.

t ha e said that. He shouldn. She and 5ran) see%ed to get that. They !ere %issing the .. His %o% )ne! all a$out 4uests* and no! she. Soon they !ere heading south along the coast* !atching the landsca"e go $y. Another !as using a "ine tree as a tooth"ic). Ho! he could "ossi$ly e1"lain all this. The conductor shouted* <All a$oard. </ust 7 %ade a call.<Any!ay* I. They didn.% ali e.% o)ay. The train !as #ull o# tourists ohhing and ahhing and sna""ing "ictures* $ut Percy #elt sorry they couldn. Ha(el #ro!ned.. <Hey* I.t see the Hy"er$oreans. he said. They "assed #orests $uried in sno!dri#ts* $ig artillery guns 9to set o## s%all a alanches and "re ent uncontrolled ones* Ha(el e1"lained. Hera "ut %e to slee" #or a !hile* and then she too) %y %e%ory* and 7. Hy"er$orean giants )e"t a""earing in the strangest "laces.. and la)es so clear they re#lected the %ountains li)e %irrors* so the !orld loo)ed u"side do!n. 3ne !as lounging in a la)e li)e it !as a hot tu$. <>eah*. The train !histle sounded.s oice on the recording hit Percy in the gut so hard* he could $arely s"ea) at the tone. I "ro%ise. He !inced. A third sat in a sno!dri#t* "laying !ith t!o li e %oose li)e they !ere action #igures.nu%$er. His oice #altered. Lo e you.t as) #or details.% on a 4uest . Hearing Paul. I. <>ou o)ay-. He %ade it +ust as they !ere "ulling u" the ste"s* then cli%$ed to the to" o# the dou$le-dec)er car and slid into his seat. &ald eagles soared o erhead. He "ut do!n the recei er.% sorry..t the easiest "lace to concentrate.d $e !orried. He stared at the "hone* ho"ing it !ould ring $ac). &ro!n $ears lu%$ered through the %eado!s. <I. Percy tried to thin) a$out the 4uest* $ut #or an ADHD )id li)e hi% the train !asn. The train raced o er $ridges and along cli##s !here glacial !ater#alls tu%$led thousands o# #eet do!n the roc)s. I.ll %a)e it ho%e. he croa)ed. <'o%*. 0ool things )e"t ha""ening outside. Percy ran.

really good shots. 'ean!hile* 5ran) studied a %a" o# Alas)a that he,d #ound in the seat "oc)et. He located Hu$$ard 6lacier* !hich loo)ed discouragingly #ar a!ay #ro% Se!ard. He )e"t running his #inger along the coastline* #ro!ning !ith concentration. <What are you thin)ing-, Percy as)ed. </ust 7 "ossi$ilities*, 5ran) said. Percy didn,t )no! !hat that %eant* $ut he let it go. A#ter a$out an hour* Percy started to rela1. They $ought hot chocolate #ro% the dining car. The seats !ere !ar% and co%#orta$le* and he thought a$out ta)ing a na". Then a shado! "assed o erhead. Tourists %ur%ured in e1cite%ent and started ta)ing "ictures. <Eagle=, one yelled. <Eagle-, said another. <Huge eagle=, said a third. <That,s no eagle*, 5ran) said. Percy loo)ed u" +ust in ti%e to see the creature %a)e a second "ass. It !as de#initely larger than an eagle* !ith a slee) $lac) $ody the si(e o# a La$rador retrie er. Its !ings"an !as at least ten #eet across. <There,s another one=, 5ran) "ointed. <Stri)e that. Three* #our. 3)ay* !e,re in trou$le., The creatures circled the train li)e ultures* delighting the tourists. Percy !asn,t delighted. The %onsters had glo!ing red eyes* shar" $ea)s and icious talons. Percy #elt #or his "en in his "oc)et. <Those things loo) #a%iliar 7, <Seattle*, Ha(el said. <The A%a(ons had one in a cage. They,re ., Then se eral things ha""ened at once. The e%ergency $ra)e screeched* "itching the% #or!ard. Tourists screa%ed and tu%$led through the aisles. The %onsters s!oo"ed do!n* shattering the glass roo# o# the car* and the entire train to""led o## the rails.

NNNIN

Percy

PER0> WENT WEI6HTLESS. His ision $lurred. 0la!s gra$$ed his ar%s and li#ted hi% into the air. &elo!* train !heels s4uealed and %etal crashed. 6lass shattered. Passengers screa%ed. When his eyesight cleared* he sa! the $east that !as carrying hi% alo#t. It had the $ody o# a "anther . slee)* $lac) and #eline . !ith the !ings and head o# an eagle. Its eyes glo!ed $lood-red. Percy s4uir%ed. The %onster,s #ront talons !ere !ra""ed round his ar%s li)e steel $ands. He couldn,t #ree hi%sel# or reach his s!ord. He rose higher and higher in the cold !ind. Percy had no idea !here the %onster !as ta)ing hi%* $ut he !as "retty sure he !ouldn,t li)e it !hen he got there. He yelled . %ostly out o# #rustration. Then so%ething !histled $y his ear. An arro! s"routed #ro% the %onster,s nec). The creature shrie)ed and let go. Percy #ell* crashing through tree $ranches until he sla%%ed into a sno!$an). He groaned* loo)ing u" at a %assi e "ine tree he,d +ust shredded. He %anaged to stand. Nothing see%ed $ro)en. 5ran) stood to his le#t* shooting do!n the creatures as #ast as he could. Ha(el !as at his $ac)* s!inging her s!ord at any %onster that ca%e close* $ut there !ere too %any s!ar%ing around the% . at least a do(en. Percy dre! Ri"tide. He sliced the !ing o## one %onster and sent it s"iralling into a tree* then sliced through another that $urst into dust. &ut the de#eated ones $egan to re-#or% i%%ediately. <What are these things-, he yelled. <6ry"hons=, Ha(el said. <We ha e to get the% a!ay #ro% the train=, Percy sa! !hat she %eant. The train cars had #allen o er* and their roo#s had shattered. Tourists !ere

stu%$ling around in shoc). Percy didn,t see any$ody seriously in+ured* $ut the gry"hons !ere s!oo"ing to!ards anything that %o ed. The only thing )ee"ing the% a!ay #ro% the %ortals !as a glo!ing grey !arrior in ca%ou#lage . 5ran),s "et s"artus. Percy glanced o er and noticed 5ran),s s"ear !as gone. <2sed your last charge-, <>eah., 5ran) shot another gry"hon out o# the s)y. <I had to hel" the %ortals. The s"ear +ust dissol ed., Percy nodded. Part o# hi% !as relie ed. He didn,t li)e the s)eleton !arrior. Part o# hi% !as disa""ointed* $ecause that !as one less !ea"on they had at their dis"osal. &ut he didn,t #ault 5ran). 5ran) had done the right thing. <Let,s %o e the #ight=, Percy said. <A!ay #ro% the trac)s=, They stu%$led through the sno!* s%ac)ing and slicing gry"hons that re-#or%ed #ro% dust e ery ti%e they !ere )illed. Percy had had no e1"erience !ith gry"hons. He,d al!ays i%agined the% as huge no$le ani%als* li)e lions !ith !ings* $ut these things re%inded hi% %ore o# icious "ac) hunters . #lying hyenas. A$out #i#ty yards #ro% the trac)s* the trees ga e !ay to an o"en %arsh. The ground !as so s"ongy and icy Percy #elt li)e he !as racing across &u$$le Wra". 5ran) !as running out o# arro!s. Ha(el !as $reathing hard. Percy,s o!n s!ord s!ings !ere getting slo!er. He reali(ed they !ere ali e only $ecause the gry"hons !eren,t trying to )ill the%. The gry"hons !anted to "ic) the% u" and carry the% o## so%e!here. 'ay$e to their nests* Percy thought. Then he tri""ed o er so%ething in the tall grass . a circle o# scra" %etal a$out the si(e o# a tractor tyre. It !as a %assi e $ird,s nest . a gry"hon,s nest . the $otto% littered !ith old "ieces o# +e!ellery* an I%"erial gold dagger* a dented centurion,s $adge and t!o "u%")insi(ed eggs that loo)ed li)e real gold. Percy +u%"ed into the nest. He "ressed his s!ord ti" against one o# the eggs. <&ac) o##* or I $rea) it=,

The gry"hons s4ua!)ed angrily. They $u((ed around the nest and sna""ed their $ea)s* $ut they didn,t attac). Ha(el and 5ran) stood $ac) to $ac) !ith Percy* their !ea"ons ready. <6ry"hons collect gold*, Ha(el said. <They,re cra(y #or it. Loo) . %ore nests o er there., 5ran) noc)ed his last arro!. <So* i# these are their nests* !here !ere they trying to ta)e Percy- That thing !as #lying a!ay !ith hi%., Percy,s ar%s still thro$$ed !here the gry"hon had gra$$ed hi%. <Alcyoneus*, he guessed. <'ay$e they,re !or)ing #or hi%. Are these things s%art enough to ta)e orders-, <I don,t )no!*, Ha(el said. <I ne er #ought the% !hen I li ed here. I +ust read a$out the% at ca%"., <Wea)nesses-, 5ran) as)ed. <Please tell %e they ha e !ea)nesses., Ha(el sco!led. <Horses. They hate horses . natural ene%ies* or so%ething. I !ish Arion !as here=, The gry"hons shrie)ed. They s!irled around the nest !ith their red eyes glo!ing. <6uys*, 5ran) said ner ously* <I see legion relics in this nest., <I )no!*, Percy said. <That %eans other de%igods died here* or ., <5ran)* it,ll $e o)ay*, Percy "ro%ised. 3ne o# the gry"hons di ed in. Percy raised his s!ord* ready to sta$ the egg. The %onster eered o##* $ut the other gry"hons !ere losing their "atience. Percy couldn,t )ee" this stando## going %uch longer. He glanced around the #ields* des"erately trying to #or%ulate a "lan. A$out a 4uarter %ile a!ay* a Hy"er$orean giant !as sitting in the $og* "eace#ully "ic)ing %ud #ro% $et!een his toes !ith a $ro)en tree trun). <I, e got an idea*, Percy said. <Ha(el . all the gold in these nests. Do you thin) you can use it to cause a distraction-, <I . I guess.,

</ust gi e us enough ti%e #or a head start. When I say go* run #or that giant., 5ran) ga"ed at hi%. <>ou !ant us to run to!ards a giant-, <Trust %e*, Percy said. <Ready- 6o=, Ha(el thrust her hand u"!ard. 5ro% a do(en nests across the %arsh* golden o$+ects shot into the air . +e!ellery* !ea"ons* coins* gold nuggets and* %ost i%"ortantly* gry"hon eggs. The %onsters shrie)ed and #le! a#ter their eggs* #rantic to sa e the%. Percy and his #riends ran. Their #eet s"lashed and crunched through the #ro(en %arsh. Percy "oured on s"eed* $ut he could hear the gry"hons closing $ehind the%* and no! the %onsters !ere really angry. The giant hadn,t noticed the co%%otion yet. He !as ins"ecting his toes #or %ud* his #ace slee"y and "eace#ul* his !hite !his)ers glistening !ith ice crystals. Around his nec) !as a nec)lace o# #ound o$+ects . gar$age cans* car doors* %oose antlers* ca%"ing e4ui"%ent* e en a toilet. A""arently he,d $een cleaning u" the !ilderness. Percy hated to distur$ hi%* es"ecially since it %eant ta)ing shelter under the giant,s thighs* $ut they didn,t ha e %uch choice. <2nder=, he told his #riends. <0ra!l under=, They scra%$led $et!een the %assi e $lue legs and #lattened the%sel es in the %ud* cra!ling as close as they could to his loincloth. Percy tried to $reathe through his %outh* $ut it !asn,t the %ost "leasant hiding s"ot. <What,s the "lan-, 5ran) hissed. <6et #lattened $y a $lue ru%"-, <Lay lo!*, Percy said. <3nly %o e i# you ha e to., The gry"hons arri ed in a !a e o# angry $ea)s* talons and !ings* s!ar%ing around the giant* trying to get under his legs. The giant ru%$led in sur"rise. He shi#ted. Percy had to roll to a oid getting crushed $y his large hairy rear. The Hy"er$orean grunted* a little %ore irritated. He s!atted at the gry"hons* $ut they s4ua!)ed in outrage and $egan "ec)ing at his legs and hands.

<Ruh-, the giant $ello!ed. <Ruh=, He too) a dee" $reath and $le! out a !a e o# cold air. E en under the "rotection o# the giant,s legs* Percy could #eel the te%"erature dro". The gry"hons, shrie)ing sto""ed a$ru"tly* re"laced $y the thun)* thun)* thun) o# hea y o$+ects hitting the %ud. <0o%e on*, Percy told his #riends. <0are#ully., They s4uir%ed out #ro% under the giant. All around the %arsh* trees !ere gla(ed !ith #rost. A huge s!athe o# the $og !as co ered in #resh sno!. 5ro(en gry"hons stuc) out o# the ground li)e #eathery Po"sicle stic)s* their !ings still s"read* $ea)s o"en* eyes !ide !ith sur"rise. Percy and his #riends scra%$led a!ay* trying to )ee" out o# the giant,s ision* $ut the $ig guy !as too $usy to notice the%. He !as trying to #igure out ho! to string a #ro(en gry"hon onto his nec)lace. <Percy 7, Ha(el !i"ed the ice and %ud #ro% her #ace. <Ho! did you )no! the giant could do that-, <I al%ost got hit $y Hy"er$orean $reath once*, he said. <We,d $etter %o e. The gry"hons !on,t stay #ro(en #ore er.,

NL .

<&ears*.d destroy hu%an ci ili(ation. He could see !hy it !as a land $eyond the gods.d seen. <They !on. She !asn. +ust the harsh !ilderness and a $unch o# ani%als and %onsters. Sure enough* a cou"le o# $ro!n $ears !ere lu%$ering in the %eado! a #e! hundred #eet a!ay* their coats glea%ing in the starlight. 'ortals and de%igods ca%e here at their o!n ris). It got cold in the !oods. There !ere no rules* no "ro"hecies* no destinies . Percy had heard !hat she "lanned to do. They re%inded Percy o# his %o%.t li)e the 'other Earth you %ight read a$out in a children. The stars !ere so thic) Percy !as te%"ted to sto" and ga!) at the%. 3nce they heard a helico"ter #lying in the direction o# the train !rec). Then he "ut the thought aside. Then the northern lights cran)ed u".t $other us*.. !a es o# ghostly $lue #la%es ri""ling $ac) and #orth. 5ran) said. As near as Percy could #igure* it !as a$out %idnight !hen the sun #inally set.t a gentle goddess. Percy and 5ran) didn.s a%a(ing*.t argue. I# she e er !o)e u" #ully* she.Percy THE> WALKED 3:ERLAND 53R A&32T an hour* )ee"ing the train trac)s in sight $ut staying in the co er o# the trees as %uch as "ossi$le. 6aia !asn. Ha(el "ro%ised. #or the !hole !orld to $e li)e this. <That. A#ter another cou"le o# hours* they stu%$led across a . Percy !ondered i# this !as !hat 6aia !anted .s #airy tale. Ha(el "ointed. None o# the% had le#t hi% s"eechless li)e Alas)a.s gas sto eto" $ac) ho%e* !hen she had the #la%e on lo! . </ust gi e the% a !ide $erth. She !as enge#ul and iolent. As they trudged on* Percy thought a$out all the cra(y "laces he. T!ice they heard the screech o# gry"hons* $ut they sounded a long !ay o##. He !ondered i# that !ould $e such a $ad thing. E erything here !as rough and unta%ed.

And you ga e u" the last charge on your %agic s"ear to hel" so%e de#enceless %ortals. Percy ta""ed his granola $ar on the ta$le. <Not true*. >ou sa ed %y li#e $y shooting do!n that gry"hon. e e er %et 7 %ay$e the only nice one. Percy. >ou held o## an ar%y o# Laistrygonians so that our "lane could ta)e o## in :ancou er. 3n the other end o# to!n !as a store !ith a "icnic ta$le and an old rusted "etrol "u%" in #ront. <Well* let. Percy loo)ed across the ta$le. They "assed a cou"le o# houses* a "ost o##ice and so%e trailers.t ha e a s"ear* ..tiny illage $et!een the railroad trac)s and a t!o-lane road.s +ust 7 I !as su""osed to $e in charge o# this 4uest* the centurion* and all. <A$out !hat-.s #ace %ight ha e $een ala$aster* li)e an old Ro%an statue. The city li%it sign said8 '33SE PASS. <That.s #eet #elt li)e $loc)s o# ice . <It.. <No! I don. 5ran) said $itterly.s see. ery sore $loc)s o# ice.t #igured out ho! to use*. E erything !as dar) and closed u". >ou are* hands do!n* the nicest child o# the !ar god I. 5ran) stared u" at the northern lights* still coo)ing across the stars on lo! heat. Percy said.re related. 5or a second* Percy thought it %ight $e so%e sort o# statue #or ad ertising. So !hat do you thin)-. They ate in silence* !atching the stars* until 5ran) said* <Did you %ean !hat you said earlier-. The store had a hand-"ainted sign that read8 '33SE PASS 6AS. Standing ne1t to the sign !as an actual %oose. 5ran) said. &y silent agree%ent they colla"sed around the "icnic ta$le. >ou single-handedly too) out three $asilis)s !hile I !as si""ing green tea and !heat ger%.s +ust !rong*. 5ran) too) out his last sodas and so%e granola $ars #ro% the train ride and shared the% !ith Percy.% su""osed to ha e these "o!ers I ha en. <I. I #eel li)e you guys ha e had to carry %e. <A$out 7 $eing "roud that !e. Then the ani%al $ounded into the !oods. In the starlight* 5ran). Ha(el "ut her head in her hands and "assed out* snoring.

d #aced death do(ens o# ti%es.s %y $est #riend*.re all scared.% not going to let that ha""en.That %eans it.s /une t!enty-#ourth no!... <&ut the 5east o# 5ortuna is 7. He see%ed lost in thought.d ne er $een so alone . E en no!* !ith the %e%ories co%ing $ac) 7 he. He started to snore in har%ony !ith Ha(el.s a#ter %idnight* isn.d $een to the 2nder!orld and $ac).t scared*.d ne er $een this #ar a!ay #ro% ho%e $e#ore. e1ce"t #or Ha(el and 5ran).% al%ost out o# arro!s.t it. He.and I.s train !rec)* the guy #elt sorry #or the% and treated the% to $rea)#ast.d $e !orried i# you !eren. e $een thin)ing a$out it. &ig day ahead. all in less than eighteen hours. He. The o!ner !as a little sur"rised to #ind three teenagers crashed out on his "icnic ta$le* $ut !hen Percy e1"lained that they had stu%$led a!ay #ro% last night. &ut sitting at this "icnic ta$le* thousands o# %iles a!ay* $eyond the "o!er o# 3ly%"us* he. he said to hi%sel#. his %o% in Ne! >or)* 0a%" Hal#-&lood* Anna$eth. 5ran) thought a$out it. <Another ins"iring s"eech #ro% /ac)son*. 5inally he leaned #or!ard until his head $u%"ed the "icnic ta$le. <I. We ha e to #ind our !ay to Hu$$ard 6lacier* de#eat a giant !ho is unde#eata$le in his ho%e territory and get $ac) to 0a%" /u"iter $e#ore they. Percy thought a$out his old li#e .. Soon .. he "ro%ised. <I.re o errun . We need you. 5ran) ga(ed at Ha(el* still snoring lightly. 5ran) lo!ered his head. Percy said.. <She. <I. &elie e %e* I. 5ran) said. Her #ace !as $uried under a %ass o# curly $ro!n hair. The #east starts tonight at sundo!n.. <It.t lose her* too.% scared. He.d lost all o# that #or eight %onths. Percy sighed. Percy said* <he %ight clai% your li#e. At da!n* the store o"ened u". He called a #riend o# his* an Inuit nati e !ho had a ca$in close to Se!ard.s. <I lost %y %o%* %y grand%other 7 I can.. <And !hen !e #ree Thanatos*. And 7 I. Ha(el !ould say the sa%e thing. And Ha(el. <Rest u"* 5ran). <We. And* 5ran)* you are a leader.% not going to lose either o# you*.

they !ere ru%$ling along the road in a $eat-u" 5ord "ic)-u" that had $een ne! a$out the ti%e Ha(el !as $orn.t %eet the%. They.t sound ha""y to see her old ho%e. He san) li)e a stone until the earth closed o er his head . He said they could !ait #or hi% to #i1 the engine* $ut since Se!ard !as only a #e! %iles a!ay* they decided to !al) it. The to!n !as a thin crescent on the right-hand shore* !ith !har es e1tending into the !ater and a cruise shi" in the har$our. Ha(el said. She didn. The ground !as s4uishy* $ut he didn. Ha(el and 5ran) sat in the $ac). . Percy rode u" #ront !ith the leathery old %an* !ho s%elled li)e s%o)ed sal%on.t see% sur"rised* as though this ha""ened to hi% se eral ti%es a day. His ne1t ste" !ent straight through the ground. Percy shuddered.. The truc) $ro)e do!n a #e! %iles outside Se!ard.d had $ad e1"eriences !ith cruise shi"s.t li)e ho! #ast the sun !as rising. He told Percy stories a$out &ear and Ra en* the Inuit gods* and all Percy could thin) !as that he ho"ed he didn. The dri er didn. He had enough ene%ies already. and the earth s!allo!ed hi%. Percy ste""ed o## the road. &y %id-%orning* they cli%$ed o er a rise in the road and sa! a s%all $ay ringed !ith %ountains. The road cur ed round the hillside* $ut it loo)ed li)e they could get to to!n #aster going straight across the %eado!s. <Se!ard*. <0o%e on. He.d already lost a lot o# ti%e* and Percy didn.t thin) %uch a$out it until Ha(el shouted* <Percy* no=.

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NLI .

t thought a$out this $oggy soil .s curse. she told 5ran). Not no!= she !anted to screa%.Ha(el <>32R &3W=. Neither o# the% had yet reali(ed Ha(el. They sat together* Gueen 'arie hu%%ing cheer#ully !hile Ha(el dre! "ictures. <Don. This is a gi#t #ro% %e. No!* too late* she re%e%$ered the dire !arnings the locals had gi en her. Ha(el. She and her %other sat in the "ar) near their a"art%ent* ha ing a "icnic $rea)#ast.t as) 4uestions. She.s #irst "recious stone8 a s%all dia%ond. She hadn. since $e#ore she had died. The 5rench Guarter !o)e u" around the%* ready #or 'ardi 6ras. 5ran) didn. She gra$$ed the other end* too) a dee" $reath and +u%"ed into the $og. HAPEL SH32TED. Her %other had +ust sold Ha(el. The earth closed o er her head. He dro""ed his "ac) and sli""ed the $o! o## his shoulder. 5loats !ere $eing . 'arshy silt and deco%"osed "lants %ade a sur#ace that loo)ed co%"letely solid* $ut it !as e en !orse than 4uic)sand. Ha(el !as $ac) in Ne! 3rleans.. Instantly* she !as #ro(en in a %e%ory. Ella said I !as done !ith $lac)outs= 3h* $ut* %y dear* said the oice o# 6aia* this is not one o# your $lac)outs. She re%e%$ered this day. She !as se en years old. <Hold one end*. %us)eg .d e en $ought Ha(el a ne! $o1 o# crayons and a "ad o# "a"er.s heart raced.t let go. Gueen 'arie !as in an e1cellent %ood. /a(( $ands "ractised. She tried not to thin) !hat !ould ha""en i# it !ere dee"er than the length o# the $o!. It could $e t!enty #eet dee" or %ore* and i%"ossi$le to esca"e. She had $ought orange +uice #or Ha(el and cha%"agne #or hersel#* and #ritters s"rin)led !ith chocolate and "o!dered sugar.

.ll ne er ha e to deal !ith the $urden o# your curse.>ou.s li#e. The s%ell o# %agnolias and roses !as o er"o!ering.re su""osed to $e dead. A #eeling o# "anic rose in Ha(el. <I can gi e you that.re sin)ing into a $og* su##ocating-. The sunrise turned the s)y to red gold* and the !ar% stea%y air s%elled o# %agnolias and roses. 6aia said. She could i%agine her hand clenched on the end o# the $o!* $ut e en that !as starting to #eel #u((y. Ha(el tried to #orce hersel# $ac) to reality. <0a"tured-. as)ed 6aia* s"ea)ing through her %other.t %y %other. . >ou. <It. <What do you %ean-. It had $een the ha""iest %orning o# Ha(el. This is 6aia tric)ing %e. <What is real-. Her gri" !as loosening. >ou should $e glad I ca"tured hi%. >ou can gro! u" in Ne! 3rleans* and your %other !ill adore you.s an illusion=. >ou can $e !ith Sa%%y .decorated !ith #resh-cut #lo!ers. Is it real that you. <>ou are an illusion* Ha(el Le es4ue. Ha(el said* cho)ing on the s!eet scent o# #lo!ers..s #ace. <Let %e hel" %y #riend=. It !as the %orning o# 'ardi 6ras* and the !orld see%ed #ull o# "ossi$ilities.. 0hildren laughed and chased each other* dec)ed in so %any coloured nec)laces they could $arely !al). She tried to get u"* $ut the so#t $ed o# grass %ade her la(y and slee"y. I %ay ha e used you* $ut Nico used you and lied a$out it. Her %other o##ered her a #ritter.s. No* Ha(el thought. <This is #a)e*. >ou !ere only $rought $ac) to li#e $ecause the gods ha e a tas) #or you. <>ou !ant your old li#e $ac)*. Her %other s%iled* $ut her eyes !ere $lan) !hite. <>ou could stay here. The oice !as 6aia. Ha(el said. This %o%ent can last #or years. Ha(el could al%ost $elie e she had a $right #uture. This isn. The s%ell o# $a)ed $read and %elting chocolate !as into1icating.s chest. <Is your second li#e real* Ha(el.

The li#e you could. All you ha e to do is let go. 5ran) "ulled her u" !ith such #orce it nearly "o""ed her ar% out o# the soc)et. The Ne! 3rleans %orning %elted into dar)ness. e had together al!ays haunted hi%. She didn. Would real #riends as) you to gi e u" your li#e. When she o"ened her eyes* she !as lying in the grass* co ered in %uc). <I ha e you in %y e%$race* Ha(el. He.ll die any!ay. 6aia "urred. Ha(el !as dro!ning in %ud* one hand on the $o!* Percy. &elo! her* so%ething gra$$ed her an)les* $ut she didn. you can gro! u"* %arry Sa%%y.Tell %e !ho is lying* and !ho tells you the truth.6aia s%iled* si""ing her cha%"agne. it.ll ne er coo"erate !ith you= LET .. <That. I# you gi e u"* at least I can %a)e it "leasant #or you.% ready to use hi%. .s not really your concern.t sto" that #ro% ha""ening.s dead no! .d lost her li#e once. Her %other. <Sto" it=. a heart attac) in the JDQ@s.t !ant to die again.ll $e thro!n $ac) into the 2nder!orld to rot #ore er. She )ne! it !as Percy* su##ocating* des"erately gras"ing #or a chance at li#e.s #ace dissol ed. >ou. She.. &ut no %atter . >ou can ha e an entire li#e in your #inal %o%ents .s hands around her an)les* dee" in the dar)ness. &itterness !elled u" inside her. 3nce you release Thanatos* you. <The $oy should ha e )no!n $etter than to search #or the Doors. 5ran) and Percy !on.He gre! u" and %o ed to Te1as. Percy s"ra!led at her #eet* coughing and s"itting %ud. Ha(el glared at the goddess. Do you )no! !hat ha""ened to hi% a#ter you died in Alas)a. 2S .s right*. &ut he ne er #orgot you.ll )ee" hi% sa#e in the earth until I. 63=. Ha(el !iggled the end o# the $o! #rantically. 5orget sa ing Percy /ac)son. <>ou !ere destined to %arry Sa%%y. <And you can ha e it again*. <>ou too) that #ro% %e=. He $elongs to %e. I. He al!ays !ondered !hy you disa""eared. <I. Ha(el screa%ed. He %arried and had a #a%ily.t "anic. Ha(el tightened her gri" on the $o!.. Ha(el started to cry. 6aia said.

5inally he got the% to the side o# the road* !here they sat and shi ered and s"at u" %ud clods.t !ant to )ee" that to hersel#. Ha(el couldn.s clai% that she.t . Ha(el didn.t see ho! 5ran) could sto" Death. He yan)ed so%e e1tra clothes #ro% his $ag and started to!elling o## Ha(el. She "ressed her coat "oc)et* !here 5ran).t sure i# she !as cold or in shoc)* $ut she %anaged to e1"lain a$out the %us)eg* and the ision she. she cho)ed out. Ha(el didn. The !ar%th #elt good* $ut it didn.s o##er o# a #a)e li#e* and the goddess. <She )ne! !hat to say*..t #eel her hands.. She !ondered !hat !ould. Not the "art a$out Sa%%y . you sa ed %e* Ha(el. <Does it see% li)e 6aia let us go too easily-.s #ace* $ut it didn. Percy "luc)ed a %ud clod #ro% his hair. He !ra""ed Ha(el in a $ear hug. Ha(el s4uinted at the sun* !hich !as no! high in the s)y. <'ay$e she still !ants us as "a!ns. His li"s !ere $lue. <I didn.s hal#-$urnt #ire!ood !as still securely !ra""ed.d seen !hile she !as under.. We. 5ran) !ent $ac) to to!elling and #ussing o er the%. that !as still too "ain#ul to say out loud . <>ou !ere do!n there so long=. She !asn.re not going to let you die again. 'ay$e she !as +ust saying things to %ess !ith your %ind.t e er do so%ething li)e that again=. 5ran) cried. 5ran) "ut his +ac)et around her shoulders. >ou )no! that* right. She !as a#raid the des"air !ould o er!hel% her. <0an.5ran) ho ered o er the%* yelling* <3h* gods= 3h* gods= 3h* gods=.t sto" her tre%$ling. He sounded so deter%ined. <>ou .ll #igure out !hat ha""ened to Nico* I "ro%ise. He dragged Percy #urther #ro% the %us)eg.We.. <She )ne! ho! to get to %e. $reathe*. Percy ru$$ed his shoulders. oh* gods* don.t thin) . $ut she told the% a$out 6aia. <Sorry=.d ca"tured her $rother* Nico. e .t !ant to argue* $ut she didn. <This is a real li#e.t do %uch good. Ha(el agreed.

He $elie ed in her. <Any hotels or so%ething !here !e could clean o##. She !as counting on Ha(el to release Death.t al!ays #elt that strongly* $ut 5ran) had trusted her !ith his li#e..d sun) in the %ud #ore er. <I.. Percy ga(ed do!n the road. She !ould ha e %ade any sacri#ice to )ee" 5ran) sa#e. . She glanced at the rising sun 7 Ti%e !as running out. His li"s !ere returning to their nor%al colour. The !ind co%ing o## Resurrection &ay !as +ust as cold as she re%e%$ered.ha""ened to hi% i# she. Hylla !ould ha e duelled 3trera t!o nights in a ro! $y no!* assu%ing she had sur i ed.% not sure*.re losing ti%e. <I %ight )no! a "lace !e can #reshen u". We. She thought a$out Hylla* the A%a(on Gueen $ac) in Seattle.t ha e got to the !ood do!n there. She %anaged to stand. She couldn.t $elie e ho! %uch it had gro!n since JDRC. The %ain har$our had %o ed east as the to!n had e1"anded.I %ean 7 hotels that acce"t %ud "eo"le-.t $ear the thought o# any har% co%ing to hi%. Ha(el ad%itted. 'ay$e that !ould ha e sa ed hi%. <We should get going. Perha"s she hadn. 5ire couldn. She thought she recogni(ed so%e !arehouses along the shore. She loo)ed at the to!n $elo! and couldn. 'ost o# the $uildings !ere ne! to her* $ut the grid o# do!nto!n streets see%ed #a%iliar.

.

NLII .

The !alls !ere "er#orated !ith holes li)e $uc)shot.s greetings had !ound u" cru%$ling to dust in a !arehouse in Alas)a* Ha(el had no idea* $ut it #elt li)e a cruel +o)e8 as i# the cards !ere #or all the holidays she. A:AILA&LE <0o%e on*. Their #aded la$els read8 6reeting 0ards* Assorted Seasonal.d ne er got to cele$rate . The roo% hadn..d used se enty years ago .'ay$e I can go sho""ing. Ha(el only hal# heard hi%. the last night o# her li#e* !hen she. 5ran) as)ed.s sa#e-. 'ouldering card$oard $o1es !ere stac)ed along the !alls. . The roo# sagged. She led her #riends along Third A enue. ST3RA6E . <6uess no running !ater.s !ar%er in here* at least*.d co%e ho%e #ro% the hills and #ound her %other %issing. she said. I could #ind us so%e clothes. The $ig !hite t!o-storey Se!ard Hotel !as still in $usiness* though it had e1"anded to t!ice its old si(e. Ha(el #ound an o"en !indo! and cli%$ed inside.s Days.t $elie e it* $ut her old ho%e !as still there* leaning o er the !ater on $arnacle-encrusted "iers. They thought a$out sto""ing there* $ut Ha(el didn. The door !as $oarded-u"* and a hand-"ainted sign read8 R33'S .Ha(el WHEN THE> 63T INT3 T3WN* Ha(el #ollo!ed the sa%e route she. <It.t thin) it !ould $e a good idea to trai"se into the lo$$y co ered in %ud* nor !as she sure the hotel !ould gi e a roo% to three %inors. The railroad station !as still there. 5ran) said.% not as %uddy as you guys. I. Instead* they turned to!ards the shoreline. Ha(el couldn. Their #eet )ic)ed u" dust that s!irled in the $uc)shot $ea%s o# sunlight. Why se eral hundred $o1es o# season. <2h* you sure it. decades o# 0hrist%ases* Easters* $irthdays* :alentine. Her #riends #ollo!ed.t $een used in a long ti%e.

s 7 that. She. Had she really %ade the%. Percy "ointed to the "hoto o# Gueen 'arie. <She loo)s li)e you. <No*. <Loo)* !e "assed a store on the last $loc).s $eauti#ul.S 6RIS-6RIS .t understand !hy he loo)ed so s"oo)ed. Had he really re%e%$ered Ha(el all that ti%e. Then Percy studied the "icture o# Sa%%y. e got a little %oney le#t. Still 7. They see%ed not to ha e aged.Her %other stared out at her #ro% one "hotogra"h* s%iling in #ront o# her $usiness sign8 G2EEN 'ARIE. Percy #ro!ned.-.s 7 he.s #ine. 0HAR'S S3LD* 53RT2NES T3LD. she croa)ed. <Sorry* Ha(el.. <That !as in JDRJ. She #orced hersel# not to loo) at 5ran). An old sign !as "ro""ed against the !all8 63LD PR3SPE0TIN6 S2PPLIES.d #ind a $are !all $ehind it* $ut !hen she %o ed the sign* %ost o# her "hotos and dra!ings !ere still "inned there. <Is that your %other-. Ne1t to that !as a "hoto o# Sa%%y at the carni al. She thought she. e seen hi% $e#ore*. He !as #ro(en in ti%e !ith his cra(y grin* his curly $lac) hair* and those $eauti#ul eyes. He shoo) his head* li)e the thought !as too unco%#orta$le.s Sa%%y. He !as %y . Do you !ant so%e ti%e . Ha(el said. 'ay$e I should go get you guys so%e #ood and clothes and .. We. uh . I . <That. This %ust $e really hard. <I.. <No* it. the girl !ho shared one )iss and a $irthday cu"ca)e !ith hi% $e#ore disa""earing #ore er5ran). <I guess. #riend #ro% Ne! 3rleans.She cli%$ed o er a stac) o# $o1es in the corner that used to $e her slee"ing area.t ha e*. Percy said. He. I# 6aia !as telling the truth* Sa%%y had $een dead #or o er #orty years. <Who 7 -.3r had he #orgotten the "eculiar girl he used to go riding !ith . He sa! that she !as crying and cla%"ed $ac) his 4uestion. Ha(el didn.s "ro$a$ly dead no!. 5ran) cleared his throat. Her crayon dra!ings o# Ne! 3rleans loo)ed so childish.. <>ou couldn.s #ingers ho ered o er the "hoto. The sign %ust ha e "rotected the% #ro% sunlight and the ele%ents. <Who is that-.

His oice 4ua ered li)e it had his #irst day at 0a%" /u"iter* !hen Ha(el had sho!n hi% the shrine o# Ne"tune. <>ou !ould ha e done the sa%e #or %e. he said. Percy set his s!ord on the #loor !here it glo!ed !ith a #aint $ron(e light. &e $ac) soon. She #elt guilty e en loo)ing at that old "icture o# Sa%%y* !ith 5ran) trying to $e so s!eet and su""orti e.F I !as sure I !as dead. 5ran) !asn. <>es*. <&ut !hen I !as do!n in the %ud* I re%e%$ered that line #ro% Ella. They disco ered that $o1es o# greeting cards %ade "retty good "laces to rest i# you arranged the% li)e %attresses. e told you that earlier. I thought. 3nly no!* she )ne! that 5ran) !as a descendant o# Ne"tune* too. Ha(el shrugged. The #loor$oards crea)ed under his #eet. It didn. They #ound so%e old $lan)ets in a crate and used the% to clean u". <I should. <>ou. she said.t do her any good to thin) a$out her old li#e. He tried so hard to "rotect her.. and* since she had .. the descendant o# Ne"tune that Pluto had "ro%ised !ould ta)e a!ay her curse so%e day. he agreed. a hundred $o1es o# !et !i"es or so%ething-.% dro!ning in the earth..re the $est* 5ran). <Well 7 I. I. Ha(el "ut the gold "ros"ecting sign $ac) o er her %e%entos.t )no! .t the %ost i%"ressi e-loo)ing hero in the !orld* $ut he. She. Percy had see%ed so inti%idating and "o!er#ul* li)e a real hero. 3nce he !as gone* Percy and Ha(el %ade te%"orary ca%". <Than) you #or sa ing %e*. EThis is !hat it %eans. They too) o## their +ac)ets and tried to scra"e o## the %ud. E en his clu%siness !as endearing.d ne er #elt %ore con#used .don.% the only one not co%"letely co ered in %ud* any!ay.. &ac) then she had !ondered i# Percy !as the ans!er to her "ro$le%s . a$out the son o# Ne"tune dro!ning. <That !ould $e great*.d trusted her !ith his li#e.s "ro"hecy . Then he stretched out on a $ed o# 'erry 0hrist%as JDLC..

you can see the guy is cra(y a$out you.t $elong in this century. I can. He sho!ed o## his "ri(es. And 5ran) . He loo)ed at her cautiously. <Percy*..d got a ne! 4ui er o# arro!s #or hi%sel#* so%e rations and a coil o# ro"e. 5ro% a hunting store* he. Don.s"ent her !hole li#e con#used* that !as saying a lot.ll dro!n so%eone else. >ou. <5or the ne1t ti%e !e run across %us)eg*. <We. <We.re su""osed to #ight 6aia together. >ou. <Success=.re too alua$le to %e* to the ca%"* and es"ecially to 5ran).t . Soon she !as #eeling %uch $etter. she said* <that "ro"hecy %ight not ha e $een co%"lete. <There. The lacy !hite "a"er #ell a"art in her hands. This li#e is !orth #ighting #or* Ha(el. <>ou thin) so-.. He !as so %uch older* and %ore in co%%and. This is your last day* she re%inded hersel#. She closed her eyes.t get too co%#orta$le. 'ay$e you. Ha(el #elt strange reassuring hi%.. &ut she nodded con#idently..% going to need you at %y side !ay longer than +ust today..ll %a)e it $ac)* too* Ha(el*. <I don. all the luc) that ha""ened today* good or $ad* !as su""osed to $e an o%en o# the . 5ran) thought Ella !as re%e%$ering a $urnt "age. <Please* don. Nico only $rought %e $ac) so I could correct %y %ista)es* %ay$e get into Elysiu%. <>ou.t e1actly a hot sho!er* $ut Ha(el duc)ed $ehind a !all o# greeting card $o1es to clean u" and change. he said.. 5ro% a local tourist sho"* he had $ought three sets o# #resh clothes* so%e to!els* so%e soa"* so%e $ottled !ater and* yes* a huge $o1 o# !et !i"es.re going to see your girl#riend Anna$eth. he insisted. 5ran) cli%$ed in* triu%"hantly holding so%e sho""ing $ags.re going to %a)e it $ac) ho%e. <>ou. It !asn. I.s %ore to your destiny than that*. Ha(el "ic)ed u" an old alentine. he said.re not going to let anything ha""en to you.t get %y ho"es u". The !indo! crea)ed o"en. The 5east o# 5ortuna .

entire year to co%e. Ha(el said* <#ro% !hat the ca"tains tell %e* it.. <'ay$e I could %a)e the $oat go #aster-. Ha(el shoo) her head. E en the cheese$urger and #ries didn. <No! !e #ind a $oat to Hu$$ard 6lacier.s treacherous . I #ound the "er#ect "lace.d %uch rather ride into $attle on that $eauti#ul horse. <No $oats-. She sli""ed the "iece o# dri#t!ood into her ne! coat "oc)et. She !ished Arion !ere still !ith her. <3h* I can get a $oat*. Percy turned "ale. So%eho!* she.t easy. E er since they. >ou. <I# !e. 5ran) as)ed. Ha(el had no %e%ory o# the "lace #ro% the JDR@s* $ut the #ood s%elled a%a(ing.t get there until to%orro! %orning.s a tiny air#ield. >ou ha e to charter a "lane t!o* three !ee)s in ad ance.s cheese$urger !as . E en at to" s"eed* !e couldn. They said !e could try* $ut it. <E en i# you could*. They ate in silence a#ter that.. 3ne !ay or another* their 4uest !ould end this e ening.d ha e to %a)e sure it stayed sa#e* no %atter !hat ha""ened to her. <I tried to get a $oat. <We. &ut 7 I %iscalculated.d $een calling to hi% in her thoughts* ho"ing he !ould hear her and co%e #ind her* $ut that !as +ust !ish#ul thin)ing. She could $ear her o!n death as long as her #riends sur i ed.re going to $attle to the death* I !ant lunch #irst.t do the tric). While 5ran) and Percy ordered* Ha(el !andered do!n to the doc)s and as)ed so%e 4uestions. When she ca%e $ac)* she needed cheering u". ice$ergs* %a(es o# channels to na igate. <A "lane-. 5ran) led the% to a sho""ing "la(a near the !har#* !here an old rail!ay car had $een con erted to a diner. she said. <I as)ed the $oat ca"tains a$out that. She. she said.. <&ut the glacier is #urther than I thought. 5ran) as)ed. She tried to sound con#ident* $ut it !asn.d ha e to )no! !here you !ere going.d le#t :ancou er* she... 5ran) "atted his sto%ach. <So*.re in trou$le*. Ha(el.. Ha(el said.

<We ha e to get out o# here. I# he. She !as a#raid it !ould s"ea) to her li)e the other ra en* so %any years ago8 The last night.s ca!ing changed to a strangled yel". Ha(el stood and unsheathed her s"atha. . It $ur"ed* and ra en #eathers #luttered #ro% its $ea). Percy dre! his s!ord. The gry"hon s4ua!)ed and #la""ed its !ings. e lost the only #a%ily she had. Percy slashed at it !ith his s!ord* $ut the gry"hon eered out o# reach.d $een ca"tured $y 6aia.s a call #or hel"*. She ho"ed Nico !as still ali e* and 6aia had +ust $een lying to %a)e her unsettled. Ha(el had a $ad #eeling that the goddess !as telling the truth. 5ran) grunted.d eaten a$out three $ites !hen a ra en settled on the tele"hone "ole a$o e and $egan to croa) at the%. She !ondered i# ra ens al!ays a""eared to children o# Pluto !hen they !ere a$out to die.t concentrate on it. Suddenly* the ra en. <Nice one* Percy. It %anaged to scra%$le onto the "ier* !here it shoo) its $lac) #ur li)e a !et dog.s #orces* Ha(el %ight. Perched on to" o# the "ole !here the ra en had $een* a #at ugly gry"hon glared do!n at the%. She. 5ran) got u" so #ast that he al%ost to""led the "icnic ta$le. <I thin) that. She stared at her cheese$urger. The gry"hon di ed a#ter the%. They too) the ste"s to the nearest "ier and raced to the end.. Nico had told her that he.. With no clear "lan* they ran #or the doc)s. 5ran) #linched* and his shot !ent !ide. 5ran) noc)ed an arro!. Ha(el shi ered. Ha(el #ollo!ed their eyes. He too) ai%* $ut the gry"hon shrie)ed so loudly the sound echoed o## the %ountains.e1cellent* $ut she couldn. Ha(el raised her s!ord* $ut an icy !all o# !ater sla%%ed side!ays into the gry"hon and !ashed it into the $ay. Percy !arned.d search #or the Doors o# Death #ro% the other side. Tonight. The gry"hon s!oo"ed a#ter the%* its #ront cla!s e1tended #or the )ill.

A tan $lur ca%e ri""ing do!n the street and onto the "ier. <0an he handle it-. . The horse shot across the !ater* his hoo es turning the to" o# the sea to stea%. Ha(el $ea%ed. 5ran) !ra""ed his ar%s round her !aist* and Ha(el thought that i# this !as going to $e her last day on earth .. it !asn. e $een i%agining it* $ut she cried out des"erately* <Arion= 3 er here=.<>eah*. &ut $ad ne!s . <All right* no need to $e rude*. Percy said.% !ith you..s go. 5ran) noc)ed another arro!. There !as no !ay they could #ight that %any* and no $oat could ta)e the% a!ay #ast enough. horse . <&ecause he. <6ood horse= Really good horse=. she cried. They cli%$ed on* Ha(el in #ront* 5ran) and Percy $alancing "recariously $ehind her. The stallion %ateriali(ed right $ehind the gry"hon* $rought do!n his #ront hoo es and s%ashed the %onster to dust. <Didn. <He #ollo!ed %e=. She %ust. Percy raised Ri"tide. <Run* Arion=. loo) o er there. <I. A$out a %ile a!ay* o er the %ountains* a $lac) cloud !as s!irling . Percy said. <All three o# us-. a !hole #loc) o# gry"hons* do(ens at least. he said. li)e the !hinnying o# a horse. <Not going do!n !ithout a #ight.s the $est . Then Ha(el heard a sound in the distance . E:ER= No!* get on=. <Let. Ha(el had ne er $een so ha""y in her li#e... 5ran) $ac)ed u" and al%ost #ell o## the "ier.t a $ad !ay to go out. <Ho! . <To Hu$$ard 6lacier=. Arion !hinnied indignantly.-.t )no! i# I could still do that in Alas)a.

.

NLIII .

a "er#ect co%$ination o# horse and hu%an.t ha""en. Arion ca%e to a halt on a #ro(en tur4uoise sla$. 5ran). 3n #oot* she ne er !ould ha e #elt so $ra e. The !ater turned the consistency o# sha ed ice in $lue stic)y syru". They raced through icy straits* "ast $lue #+ords and cli##s !ith !ater#alls s"illing into the sea. Arion +u%"ed o er a $reaching hu%"$ac) !hale and )e"t gallo"ing* startling a "ac) o# seals o## an ice$erg. The $oat ca"tains in Se!ard had !arned her it !as three hundred nautical %iles to the Hu$$ard 6lacier* a hard* dangerous +ourney* $ut Arion had no trou$le. The !ay Arion !as %o ing* she %ight not notice he !as gone #or #i#ty or si1ty %iles. When Ha(el glanced $ac)* their teeth !ere clenched and their eye$alls !ere $ouncing around in their heads. 5ran) and Percy didn. It see%ed li)e only %inutes $e#ore they (i""ed into a narro! $ay.d seen glaciers $e#ore* couldn. Pur"le sno!ca""ed %ountains %arched o## in either direction* !ith clouds #loating around their %iddles li)e #lu##y $elts. Percy sat at the $ac)* hanging on tight* des"erately trying not to sli" o## the horse. A hal# a %ile a!ay stood Hu$$ard 6lacier.t !ait to charge into $attle. The glacier !as $lue and . Ha(el ho"ed that didn.Ha(el RIDIN6 ARI3N* HAPEL 5ELT P3WER52L* unsto""a$le* a$solutely in control .t loo) so ha""y. In a %assi e alley $et!een t!o o# the largest "ea)s* a ragged !all o# ice rose out o# the sea* #illing the entire gorge. 3n horse$ac)* she couldn.t e en #eel the cold. She !ondered i# this !as !hat it !as li)e to $e a centaur.t 4uite "rocess !hat she !as loo)ing at.s chee)s +iggled #ro% the g#orce. E en Ha(el* !ho.s rear. He raced o er the !ater at the s"eed o# sound* heating the air around the% so that Ha(el didn.

. <What is that-. <2%* hold on* then* you guys*.t #ly=. <A stor%-. <With the cussing re%o ed. Ha(el said ner ously.s largest re#rigerator.!hite !ith strea)s o# $lac)* so that it loo)ed li)e a hedge o# dirty sno! le#t $ehind on a side!al) a#ter a sno!"lough had gone $y* only #our %illion ti%es as large. <Arion* giddyu"=. <We can. As i# on cue* a sheet o# ice silently cal ed o## the side o# the glacier and crashed into the sea* s"raying !ater and #ro(en shra"nel se eral storeys high... Arion nic)ered. Percy said. The crac)ling o# the ice gre! louder.. a &33' al%ost as +arring as Arion hitting the sound $arrier. Ha(el tried not to laugh. <We ha e to*. <Dude*. Percy told the horse* <I. 5ran) as)ed. All that ice !as sending o## !a es o# cold* turning the $ay into the !orld.. The air gre! colder. <>ou %ean that thing is $rea)ing u"-. The eeriest thing !as a sound li)e thunder that rolled across the !ater. </ee(* Ha(el*. As soon as Arion sto""ed* Ha(el #elt the te%"erature dro". <No*. 'illions o# tons o# ice. This ti%e Arion !hinnied so angrily* e en Ha(el could guess he !as cursing. 5ran) ga(ed at the clouds a$o e the glacier. e $een sus"ended #or saying less than that. <I thought the horse couldn. Arion shot to!ards the glacier li)e a runa!ay roc)et* $arrelling straight across the slush li)e he !anted to "lay chic)en !ith the %ountain o# ice. 5ran) loo)ed incredulous. As Arion closed the distance* the glacier loo%ed . <What did he say-. <The giant is at the to". <Ice crac)ing and shi#ting. Percy said* <tell your horse to !atch his language.He said he can get us to the to".ll see !hat he can do as soon as you gi e the !ord. Ha(el* he "ro%ises you. Ha(el said. 5ran) said. A %illisecond later the sound hit the% .t get close to that thing=.

<Loo) out=.t translate* $ut Ha(el !as "retty sure Arion !as calling out to any other horses that %ight $e in the $ay8 &eat that* ya "un)s= Then he turned and ran inland across the to" o# the glacier* lea"ing a chas% #i#ty #eet across. Percy didn. Arion !as !ay ahead o# hi%. When they !ere a$out #i#ty yards #ro% the $ase* a thundercla" rattled Ha(el. The horse sto""ed. It !as li)e #alling do!n a %ountain in re erse. The sea !as no! three hundred #eet $elo! the%. Arion !hinnied a challenge that echoed o## the %ountains. Hanging #ro% the guard to!ers* $anners o# #ro(en $lue cloth shi%%ered in the Arctic sun. so%e no larger than sno!$alls* so%e the si(e o# houses. Then it !as o er. There !as no sign o# li#e. Ahead o# the% stood a #ro(en Ro%an ca%" li)e a giant-si(ed ghastly re"lica o# 0a%" /u"iter. 5ran) shouted* !hich see%ed a little unnecessary to Ha(el. So%eho!* they %anaged not to #all o## as Arion scaled the cli##s* +u%"ing #ro% #oothold to #oothold !ith i%"ossi$le s"eed and agility. The trenches $ristled !ith ice s"i)es. Pieces !ere constantly cru%$ling o## . Percy and 5ran) $oth cussed li)e horses and held on des"erately !hile Ha(el !ra""ed her ar%s round Arion. The sno!-$ric) ra%"arts glared $linding !hite. <There=. The side !as riddled !ith cre ices and ca es* s"i)ed !ith +agged ridges li)e a1e $lades.s $ones* and a curtain o# ice that !ould ha e co ered 0a%" /u"iter cal ed a!ay and #ell to!ards the%. No sentries !al)ed the !alls.so large that Ha(el got ertigo +ust trying to ta)e it all in. Percy "ointed. The gates stood !ide o"en. Arion stood "roudly at the to" o# a ridge o# ice that loo%ed o er the oid. In a $urst o# s"eed* he (ig(agged through the de$ris* lea"ing o er chun)s o# ice and cla%$ering u" the #ace o# the glacier. Still* Ha(el had an uneasy #eeling in her gut. She re%e%$ered the ca e in .s nec).

<No$ody. the o""ressi e sense o# %alice and the constant $oo%* $oo%* $oo%* li)e 6aia.d !or)ed to raise Alcyoneus . She #elt as i# her soul !ere $eing "ulled #or!ard* dra!n to!ards Death li)e dust to!ards a acuu%.t "rotect her #ro% Death. Ha(el gri""ed his hand. <&ut I don.. The ice see%ed sta$le* co ered !ith a #ine car"et o# sno! so that it !asn. At the crossroads* in #ront o# the sno!-$ric) "rinci"ia* a tall* dar)-ro$ed #igure stood* $ound in icy chains. She could see straight do!n the :ia Praetoria. 5ran) said.. <3$ iously*.Resurrection &ay !here she. This "lace #elt si%ilar* as i# the earth !ere trying to !a)e u" and consu%e e erything . Ha(el urged Arion #or!ard. as i# the %ountains on either side !anted to crush the% and the entire glacier to "ieces. <No de#enders. Ha(el %ur%ured.% all right*. he "ro%ised. <We.. Percy said* <ho! a$out !e go on #oot #ro% here-. <5ran)*. <I. They dis%ounted and too) so%e tentati e ste"s.No giant. +ust the ya!ning icy gates and the #ro(en $anners crac)ling in the !ind.s heart$eat. <Thought you. She didn.d ne er as). Percy loo)ed around uneasily. Ha(el !as trained to s"ot "its* snares* tri" lines and all sorts o# other tra"s Ro%an legions had #aced #or aeons in ene%y territory* $ut she sa! nothing . e got you*.t thin) !e ha e a choice. They a""roached the gates !ithout $eing challenged.This has to $e a tra". she lied. Percy and 5ran) !al)ed on either side* s!ord and $o! ready.s ta)ing you a!ay.t !ant to let go.t too sli""ery. 5ran) sighed !ith relie#. &e#ore Ha(el could change her %ind* she urged Arion . She al%ost #ell o## Arion* $ut 5ran) caught her and "ro""ed her u".. His o!n li#e !as as #ragile as a hal#-$urnt "iece o# !ood. Arion trotted s)ittishly. He !as so solid* so reassuring* $ut 5ran) couldn. Her ision !ent dar). <Thanatos*.

<Hello-. in co!ardice and #ailure.through the gates. The layout !as so #a%iliar . Arion cantered $ac) and #orth* sensing her dis4uiet. 'ost o# the shades !ere on #oot* $ut t!o soldiers $urst out o# the sta$les in a golden chariot "ulled $y ghostly $lac) steeds. When Arion sa! the horses* he sta%"ed the ground in outrage.t $e lenient to her a second ti%e. 5rost-co ered s!ords !ere stra""ed to their !aists. cohort $arrac)s* $aths* ar%oury. hel%ets !ere #ro(en and ragged. Ha(el #orced out the !ord.t see the 4uest through* i# she didn. They !ere shades . It !as an e1act re"lica o# 0a%" /u"iter* e1ce"t three ti%es as $ig.t hu%an.t #ace her #ate $ra ely* she !ould still die . &ut she also had a #eeling that i# she didn. The "lu%es on the centurions. 5igures in Ro%an ar%our e%erged #ro% the $arrac)s* the "rinci"ia* the ar%oury and the canteen* $ut they !eren. the chattering ghosts Ha(el had li ed !ith #or decades in the 5ields o# As"hodel. <>e"* here. Instincti ely she )ne! that Thanatos could si%"ly touch her* and she !ould die. The +udges o# the dead !ouldn. No! that she !as here* Ha(el #elt a rec)less urge to #inish the 4uest.s $ac). Their $odies !eren.d $een #ighting the A%a(ons* or #ending o## the gry"hons* or cli%$ing the glacier on Arion. Pila and dented shields #loated in their s%o)y hands. 5ran) gri""ed his $o!. <'r Death-. She )ne! she !as in %ore danger than !hen she.s the tra". The hooded #igure raised his head.. E en on horse$ac)* Ha(el #elt tiny and insigni#icant* as i# they !ere %o ing through a %odel city constructed $y the gods. .t %uch %ore than !is"s o# $lac) a"our* $ut they %anaged to hold together sets o# scale ar%our* grea es and hel%ets. They sto""ed ten #eet #ro% the ro$ed #igure. Instantly* the !hole ca%" stirred to li#e.

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NLI: .

Ha(el THE 6H3STS 53R'ED RANKS AND EN0IR0LED the crossroads.s old sSance ta$le. Trying to control that %uch at once !ould $e li)e trying to control "lutoniu% in a reactor. I# you control these shades* tell the% . %ay$e not e en #ro% 0a%" /u"iter. His !ings gli%%ered in shades o# $lue* $lac) and "ur"le. She !ondered i# she could use her "o!er to control the !ea"ons* %ay$e disar% the ghosts* $ut she !as a#raid to try. 'ichael :arus. 'ost !ere ar%ed !ith I%"erial gold !ea"ons . &eauti#ul !as the right !ord #or Thanatos . He !as the %ost $eauti#ul %an Ha(el had e er seen.s. Her oice #altered.t +ust a "recious %etal. Ha(el re%inded hersel# to $reathe. Ha(el could #eel the co%$ined "o!er o# all that gold hu%%ing around her* e en scarier than the crac)ling o# the glacier.t recogni(e* as i# they.re here to rescue you. ti%eless* "er#ect* re%ote. <Thanatos=. not handso%e* or hot* or anything li)e that.s hood #ell a!ay and his ro$es dro""ed o## as he s"read his !ings* lea ing hi% in only a slee eless $lac) tunic $elted at the !aist. The god. Ha(el turned to the ro$ed #igure. <We. He !as lean and %uscular* !ith a regal #ace and $lac) hair #lo!ing do!n his shoulders. He !as $eauti#ul the !ay an angel is $eauti#ul . %ore I%"erial gold than the entire T!el#th Legion "ossessed. I%"erial gold !asn. I# she #ailed* she %ight !i"e Hu$$ard 6lacier o## the %a" and )ill her #riends..d died at di##erent ti%es* on di##erent 4uests . not an entire legion* $ut %ore than a cohort. There !ere a$out a hundred in all . So%e carried the tattered lightning-$olt $anners o# the T!el#th Legion* 5i#th 0ohort . His s)in !as the colour o# tea)!ood* dar) and glistening li)e Gueen 'arie. 3thers carried standards and insignia Ha(el didn. . His eyes !ere as honey gold as Ha(el. It !as deadly to de%igods and %onsters.s doo%ed e1"edition #ro% the JDL@s.

0elestial $ron(e rang against the ice* $ut Ri"tide stuc) to the chain li)e glue. He could si%"ly tell her to die.s chains.. Thanatos turned his attention $ac) to her.s Alcyoneus-. He s!ung his s!ord at the god.s eyes scanned the ghost soldiers. I assure you. Percy agreed. <Daughter o# Pluto* child o# %y %aster* you o# all "eo"le should not !ish %e released. Ha(el de%anded. She !ould )eel o er on the s"ot* her soul o$eying that $eauti#ul oice and those )ind eyes. dee" and %elodious. <So ho! do !e get you out-. <I a% #re4uently %ista)en #or the god o# lo e. <Do you understand !hat you are saying* Ha(el Le es4ue.re here to sa e you*. His #eet !ere $are* shac)led round the an)les and also chained. <Sa e %e 7 -.. <That !on. &ut I a% Death.t !or)*. <A really $u## 0u"id*. <Don.s eyes stung* $ut she !as done $eing a#raid. <As #or the giant* he is close. She dou$ted Thanatos e en needed to touch her to )ill her. These shades are not %ine. His oice !as as gorgeous as he !as . Together* they +ust %anaged to yan) Ri"tide #ree $e#ore the #rost reached their hands. Thanatos said. Ha(el didn. <Where.. !e. <We.d $een a scared little girl .s !rists !ere shac)led in icy %anacles* !ith chains that ran straight into the glacier #loor. 5ran) said. she %anaged. They are his.. Percy "ulled #rantically. Ha(el. <>ou co%"li%ent %e*. She #elt as i# she !ere %ade o# ashes.<3h*.t you thin) I )no! that-. They shi#ted unco%#orta$ly* as i# an Arctic !ind !ere rattling through their ran)s. Thanatos narro!ed his eyes. Percy ste""ed #or!ard. <We. 5ran) ran to hel".re . Any second* she %ight cru%$le and $e suc)ed into the acuu%. Death has %ore in co%%on !ith Lo e than you %ight i%agine. Thanatos. She. she said in a s%all oice. The god. Thanatos said si%"ly.t dou$t it. <It.Do you understand !hat that !ill %ean-.re !asting ti%e.s 0u"id*. 5rost $egan cree"ing u" the $lade.

.. Ha(el said !ea)ly. No! she !as a soldier o# Ro%e. <So i# !e let you go*.t a riddle.se enty years ago. <5ran)* no*. I# I die* I die.. She !asn.s got to $e another . <Listen* Death. They #ought #or Ro%e. No! 6aia has "ro%ised the% a second li#e i# they #ight #or her today. 5or treason against the gods* they !ill #ace eternal "unish%ent. <It isn. <Without the riddles* "lease-. <3nly the #ire o# li#e can %elt the chains o# death. Percy su%%ed u"* <!e get %o$$ed $y a $unch o# $lac) a"our dudes !ith gold s!ords. Death %used. >ou do understand that these shades !ere once de%igods li)e you. Percy as)ed. 5ine. 3# course* i# you release %e and de#eat the%* they !ill ha e to return to the 2nder!orld !here they $elong. And yet it !as her ti%e. She dre! her ca alry s!ord* and Arion reared in de#iance.% stu"id #or setting you #ree. <No*.Was it #air !hen I guided your %other to the 2nder!orld-. They are not so di##erent #ro% you* Ha(el Le es4ue..d $e a%a(ed ho! o#ten I hear that !ord* 5ran) Phang* and ho! %eaningless it is. Is it #air that your li#e !ill $urn so short and $right.d lost her %other $ecause she acted too late. <There. <Not #air. 5ran) staggered li)e he. &ut o# course these shades !ill try to sto" you.d $een "unched. Death said sadly. <>ou. She !asn.s not #air= Do you !ant to $e #reed or not-. Ho! do !e $rea) those chains-.t going to #ail again. <Interesting..t co%e $ac) #ro% the 2nder!orld and tra el thousands o# %iles to $e told that I. <That. 5ran) dre! a sha)y $reath. Thanatos s%iled. She. /ust tell us ho! to $rea) your chains.t going to let do!n her #riends. I. <I didn. Li)e you* they !ere sent to As"hodel. There is no #airness in Death. Are you sure you !ant to release %e and da%n these souls #ore er-. I# you #ree %e* I !ill do %y duty. 5ran) clenched his #ists. They died !ithout co%"leting their heroic 4uests.ll #ight this !hole ar%y i# I ha e to. <5air 7. Thanatos studied her #or a heart$eat.

Ha(el had ne er seen hi% #ully #or%ed* $ut she )ne! hi% $etter than she )ne! her o!n "arents. The giant a""roached* grinning at her !ith his solid sil er teeth. She )ne! the oil that ran in his eins instead o# $lood.d seen in 0ali#ornia.!ay. His rust-red dragon legs "ounded against the ice as he entered the ca%". 'ore than anything* she !anted to destroy hi%.. He had %etallic golden s)in* ar%our %ade #ro% "latinu% lin)s and an iron sta## the si(e o# a tote% "ole. Precious stones glinted in his red $raided hair. 5or %onths* she had raised gold and ge%s #ro% the earth to create this %onster. <Ah* Ha(el Le es4ue*. He s"read his hands* sho!ing o## the ran)s o# ghostly soldiers. She )ne! the dia%onds he used #or a heart. Laughter $oo%ed across the glacier. e !aited so long=. And this is your ne! legion. I. &ut no %atter=. . Standing at the gates o# the ca%" !as Alcyoneus.s. She had %ade hi%. He !as e en larger than the giant Poly$otes they. A ru%$ling oice said8 <'y #riends. <Welco%e* Percy /ac)son= Welco%e* 5ran) Phang= I a% Alcyoneus* the $ane o# Pluto* the ne! %aster o# Death. he said* <you cost %e dearly= I# not #or you* I !ould ha e risen decades ago* and this !orld !ould already $e 6aia..

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NL: .

They %ean so%ething. <>ou.Ha e you $rought %e a "resent-.5ran) N3 5AIRNESS IN DEATH.s choice* sa ing her co%rades at the cost o# her o!n li#e. I# Death a""ro ed o# his "lan* 5ran) !as "retty sure he !asn. <5ran)* no. <That "ac)age you. Those !ords )e"t ringing in 5ran). a lu%" o# grie# he. Duty.I need it. Thanatos s%iled and li#ted his %anacled !rists. Sacri#ices %ust $e %ade. In 5ran).% doing. So%e things !ere !orth dying #or.s head. His %other. <What "ac)age do you s"ea) o#* 5ran) Phang.d e1"lained !hy he lo ed E%ily Phang so %uch8 She al!ays "ut her duty #irst* ahead o# e erything. This god had ta)en his %other. The golden giant didn. He tried to )ee" his oice steady. Ha(el glanced at hi% in dis%ay. E en her li#e. <Ha(el. 5ran) understood !hat he had to do to $rea) those chains...re )ee"ing #or %e. No! it !as 5ran). <Please. #inally $egan to dissol e.s chest* a hard )not o# anger and resent%ent . The giant Alcyoneus ste""ed #or!ard* his re"tilian #eet sha)ing the ground. He.. He #inally understood his %other.t scare hi%. He got !hat 'ars had $een trying to tell hi% ..t going to li)e the results. 6reat.s sacri#ice %edal #elt !ar% in his "oc)et.re right* 5ran) Phang.. 'ars had !arned hi%. The ar%y o# shades didn. &ut the thought o# #reeing Thanatos %ade 5ran) !ant to curl into the #oetal "osition.t scare hi%. I )no! !hat I. He understood !hy his %other ne er ca%e ho%e. Sitting on Arion* she loo)ed li)e a 4ueen* "o!er#ul and $eauti#ul* her $ro!n hair s!e"t o er her shoulders and a !reath o# icy %ist around her head. .d $een carrying since the #uneral . Sacri#ice. There has to $e another !ay.s turn. I .

<E1ce"t a !hole lot o# "ain. >ou see* the Titans didn. E en no!* !hile %y #orces destroy your little Ro%an ca%"* %y $rother Por"hyrion is "re"aring #or the real $attle in the ancient lands= We !ill destroy the gods at their source. A#ter that* o# course* 6aia has "lans #or you.% the son o# Poseidon. <>ou %ean 6reece-. <No need to !orry a$out that* son o# 'ars. <I. <&ut actually I. His sil er teeth %ade his %outh loo) li)e a car grille. said Alcyoneus. >ou !on. Alcyoneus chuc)led... <>eah* #lattering.. I. They "lanned to destroy the gods in their ne! ho%e o# A%erica. <True* !e .. We giants )no! $etter= To )ill a !eed* you %ust "ull u" its roots.t )ill you right a!ay* $ut %y $rother Poly$otes !ishes to )ee" you as a "et.% #ro% 0a%" Hal#-&lood. With Ha(el Le es4ue in %y ser ice* I !ill ha e all the riches under the earth as !ell=. e $een !aiting to %eet the #a%ous Percy /ac)son. The sound echoed across the %ountains. I !ill re"lace Pluto as Lord o# the 2nder!orld. 5ran) said. Ha(el gri""ed her s"atha. <I don. The giant roared !ith laughter.. Alcyoneus raised his hand* gesturing #or the% to !ait.Well done. the giant said easily. The giant grinned. So%e dre! s!ords and li#ted shields. <We !ill crush $oth ca%"s under#oot.. He thin)s it !ill $e a%using !hen he destroys Ne"tune to ha e the god. <The source-. The ghosts "ounded their s!ords against their shields.% sorry I can. And this one 7 %y* %y* I. Percy raised Ri"tide. <6ree)* Ro%an* it doesn. 6aia hates you a$o e all others 7 e1ce"t "erha"s #or that u"start /ason 6race. I already ha e Death in %y custody. The ghosts stirred.. I. <>our #ight !ith Kronos. e #ollo!ed your "rogress* son o# Ne"tune*. Alcyoneus said.<Nothing #or you* 6olden &oy*. <3h* $ut you ga e %e li#e=.t li e long enough to see our ulti%ate ictory.t %atter*.t do ser ice.s #a ourite son on a leash. <S"o)en li)e a child o# 'ars= Too $ad I ha e to )ill you. 5ran) as)ed.t thin) $ig enough.

>ou could $e 4uite 7 "recious to us. <>ou. <Are you sure-. She tossed hi% the stic). <Ah* little Ha(el. >ou. <I raised this %onster #ro% the earth. <>eah*. She loo)ed do!n at 5ran) and "ulled the !ra""ed-u" "iece o# #ire!ood #ro% her coat.. Why die again-.re going do!n. Ha(el said. She charged the giant. Alcyoneus "lanted his sta## on the ice. !orth o# ge%s. <Against a s%all ar%y.. She "ursed her li"s. <Then I. <Are you sure you !ill not +oin us o# your o!n #ree !ill.s %y "lace to )ill hi%. . Soon* your ci ili(ation !ill $e !i"ed out. And* Percy 7 can you "rotect hi%-. It.% the daughter o# Pluto. Ha(el. &ut* really* the !orld is in al%ost as $ad a sha"e no!.. <Do !hat you ha e to. His hair glittered !ith %illions o# dollars. <5at chance* 6olden &oy.s eyes #lashed !ith anger.. Ali e or dead* you three !ill +oin %y ar%y.ho"ed to a!a)en 6aia during World War II.re %y $est #riend* too* 5ran). The Doors o# Death !ill stand o"en. Percy shoo) his head. Ha(el s"urred her horse to!ards the giant. That !ould.. e $een glorious. Those !ho ser e us !ill ne er "erish.. he said. e got 6olden &oy*.Sure* no "ro$le%. I should ha e told you that.. <Wait. Percy ga(ed at the ran)s o# ghostly Ro%ans. I.

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NL:I .

Thanatos said. He tried to $reath in her +as%ine scent so he. .d ne er #orget it. It !ould $e the last ti%e 5ran) s%iled #or %onths.. I !ill al!ays $e "roud o# you* 5ran)* she said. sa)e. Horri$le !ar%th s"read through 5ran). He sa! Percy disa""earing into the %us)eg* then Ha(el di ing a#ter hi%. He thought a$out #la%es* and instantly the !ood $la(ed..ll $ring our #a%ily #ull circle.s li es #lashing $e#ore their eyes* $ut no! he e1"erienced it literally. to hel" his #riends* $ut he )ne! they !ere $eyond the gods. 5ran) re%e%$ered ho! alone he had #elt holding on to the $o!* ho! utterly "o!erless. We need you.ll tra el e en #urther than I. He had "leaded !ith the 3ly%"ian gods . e en 'ars . He sa! his %other the day she le#t #or A#ghanistan. The icy %etal $egan to %elt* the #la%e so $right it !as %ore $linding than the ice. He sa! hi%sel# at the "icnic $ench in 'oose Pass* !atching the stars and the northern lights as Ha(el snored so#tly $eside hi%* Percy saying* 5ran)* you are a leader. He !as a!are o# Percy standing o er hi%* s!inging his s!ord and yelling in de#iance as the ghosts closed in.s $ody. <6ood*. reach. >ou. So%e day* you. 5ran) had heard a$out "eo"le. She "o)ed hi% in the $elly #or old ti%es.s right leg. >ears #ro% no!* our descendants !ill $e telling stories a$out the hero 5ran) Phang* their great-great-great. He heard the giant $ello! and Arion !hinny angrily* $ut he didn. She s%iled and hugged hi%.t dare loo). <:ery good* 5ran) Phang. His hands tre%$ling* he held his "iece o# tinder ne1t to the chains on Death.5ran) 5RANK 2NWRAPPED THE 5IREW33D and )nelt at the #eet o# Thanatos.

t noticed the second chain had %elted. A %iniature hurricane o# !ater and ice a"our churned around hi% as he !aded through the ene%y* )noc)ing Ro%an ghosts a!ay* de#lecting arro!s and s"ears.s standard. Percy !as #ighting li)e a !hirl!ind. 5ran) loo)ed #or Ha(el. 3ne o# the $lac) a"oury ghosts !as !earing the lion-s)in ca"e o# a standard $earer and holding a "ole !ith a golden eagle* icicles #ro(en to its !ings. He dre! the% a!ay* and 5ran) couldn. As %uch as those shades !anted to )ee" Thanatos chained* they !ere Ro%an s"irits.d got so distracted* he hadn. He. Guic)ly* 5ran) sta$$ed the #ire!ood at the chain on Death. .s goal. The legion.With a clan)* the #irst chain $ro)e. he shouted at the ghosts. 'aintaining a stor% li)e that had to $e di##icult. then he sa! Percy. <Watch your #ire* $oy*. He ris)ed a glance o er his shoulder. He couldn.s right hand.t hel" $eing a!ed $y his $old strategy. Still* Percy couldn.t see her or the giant. In #act 7 he !as a !hirl!ind. Death !arned. 'ore i%ages #lashed through his %ind.. 5ran) cursed. He %o ed his #ire to the shac)les on the god.s other leg. <>ou don. 5ran) !asn. <0o%e and get it=.t sure !hy . Since !hen did he ha e that "o!erHe %o ed through the ene%y lines* and e en though he see%ed to $e lea ing 5ran) unde#ended* the ene%y !as co%"letely #ocused on Percy. The "iece o# tinder !as al%ost hal# gone no!.t ha e any to !aste. Their %inds !ere #u((y at $est* li)e the ghosts 5ran) had seen in As"hodel* $ut they re%e%$ered one thing clearly8 they !ere su""osed to "rotect their eagle. Des"ite the cold* his #ace !as already $eaded !ith s!eat. 5ran) started to shi er. <>ou !ant it $ac)-. 5ran) !atched as Percy "loughed through a line o# legionnaires* scattering their shields !ith his "ersonal cyclone.t #ight o## that %any ene%ies #ore er. He )noc)ed do!n the standard $earer and gra$$ed the eagle.

As #or Ha(el* she and Alcyoneus had %anaged to destroy %ost o# the $arrac)s in their $attle. He.re /uno.d o erturned the chariot and destroyed se eral $uildings* $ut e ery ti%e he thre! o## a !a e o# attac)ers in his hurricane* the ghosts si%"ly got u" and charged again. His "ain #aded.s $edside* loo)ing at 5ran) !ith those nucleare1"losion eyes8 >ou. Ha e you #igured out your gi#t yetHe heard his %other say8 >ou can $e anything.s last chain sna""ed. The third chain sna""ed. >our %other !as not si%"ly $oosting your sel#-estee%. &ehind hi% !as the side gate o# the ca%" and* a$out t!enty #eet $eyond that* the edge o# the glacier.s s"eed )e"t the% ali e. No! they !ere #ighting in the !rec)age at the %ain gate. He sa! Percy at the end o# the :ia Princi"alis* holding o## the ar%y o# ghosts. 5inally* Death.. Then he sa! 6rand%other. Percy had $ac)ed u" al%ost as #ar as he could go. he said !ith satis#action. <5ree*.s stern #ace* her s)in as thin as rice "a"er* her !hite hair s"read across her "illo!. >es* 5ai Phang. She !as telling you the literal truth. E ery ti%e Percy slashed one o# the% do!n !ith his s!ord* the ghost re-#or%ed i%%ediately. Arion !as "laying a dangerous ga%e o# tag* charging around the giant !hile Alyconeus s!i"ed at the% !ith his sta##* )noc)ing o er !alls and clea ing %assi e chas%s in the ice. <6reat. 5ran) thrust the tinder at the last shac)le. With a des"erate yel"* 5ran) +a$$ed his #ire!ood into a "ile o# sno! and e1tinguished the #la%e. Thanatos raised his ar%s. He thought o# the large $lac) $ird circling o er the #la%es o# their #a%ily %ansion. He thought o# the gri((ly $ear his %other had interce"ted at the edge o# the !oods. <Then do . He !as still ali e. 5ran) $lin)ed the s"ots #ro% his eyes. 3nly Arion. &ut !hen he too) out the "iece o# tinder it !as no %ore than a stu$* s%aller than a candy $ar.s secret !ea"on. >ello! s"lotches danced in his eyes. His $ody !as rac)ed !ith "ain.He sa! 'ars sitting at his grand%other.

>ou !ant to "lay-. 5ran) )ne! that. Nor%al arro!s #ro% a hunting store in Se!ard !ouldn. Arion screa%ed as the giant got a luc)y shot.so%ething=.3# course.. Arion stood o er her* trying to "rotect her* rearing and s!atting at the giant !ith his #ront hoo es. Percy yelled* holding the golden eagle alo#t.% going to $urn* it %ight as !ell $e $right. His sta## sent horse and rider tu%$ling o er the ice* crashing into the ra%"arts. <I. <They can die no!=. 5ran) told hi%sel#. <Do so%ething. . <6o hel" her=. The entire ghostly ar%y had hi% surrounded* gradually #orcing hi% to!ards the edge o# the glacier. Those !ho die in this $attle !ill stay dead. 5ran) yelled. 5ran) %uttered* sli""ing his #ire!ood into his coat. She !as hal#-$uried in a colla"sed "ile o# sno!-$ric)s.t ha e the%. I# he could +ust su%%on 6rey 7 $ut he couldn. <:ery hel"#ul.t $e in t!o "laces at once.. <Percy=. The giant laughed.s aid. Is it #air your li#e $urns so short and $right. Thanatos said agreea$ly. Percy didn. <>ou. Thanatos ga e hi% a cal% s%ile. The son o# Poseidon !as a$out to $e o er!hel%ed* $ut 5ran) ran to Ha(el. e got these guys=.. Percy nodded understanding* $ut he loo)ed !orn out. 5ran) dre! his $o! to hel". So%ething a$out !atching the #ire!ood $urn* s%elling the acrid s%o)e o# his o!n li#e* had %ade hi% #eel strangely con#ident. I !ill !atch. Then* #ro% across the ca%"* Ha(el yelled in "ain.Death had as)ed. <Ha(el=. Then he dro""ed it.t do any good. His hurricane !as slo!ing do!n. <Than)s*. He thought he understood his "o!ers at last.re %ost !elco%e*. His stri)es !ere getting slo!er. <Hello* little "ony. He too) one ste" to!ards Percy. <No such thing as #air*. <I# I. 5ran) !ould ha e to use his gi#t. 5ran) glanced $ac) at Percy* !ishing he had his s"ear.

the giant %u%$led in a stu"or. His ar%s stretched into !ings* and his sight $eca%e a thousand ti%es shar"er. He staggered $ac)!ards as 5ran) landed in #ront o# Ha(el and returned to his nor%al #or%.s head. <Ha(el* get $ac) on your horse. He crashed into the giant as a #ull-gro!n gri((ly* a thousand "ounds o# "ure #orce. He re%e%$ered the $ear he. The giant charged* and 5ran) charged to %eet hi%. <5ran) 7. His #ace !as slashed* $lac) oil dri""ing into his eyes instead o# $lood* $ut the !ounds !ere already closing.d seen on the train ride. His $ody $eca%e s%aller and lighter. Alcyoneus $ello!ed in "ain. 5ran) $ashed the giant. <We. He gra$$ed the ro"e he. His $ac)"ac) !as still !ith hi%. <2rgg*. -. >ou cannot )ill %e here=. 5ran) s"rang at the giant. He soared u"!ard* then di ed at the giant !ith his talons e1tended* his ra(or-shar" cla!s ra)ing across the giant..Alcyoneus raised his icy sta##.ll see*.d $ought in Se!ard* 4uic)ly %ade a noose and #astened it round the giant. He re%e%$ered the $ald eagles they.s eyes. <5ool=. &e anything. . A s!i"e o# his cla! !as li)e a hea y!eight #ighter s!inging a chain sa!. He !as still s%all co%"ared to Alcyoneus* $ut he sla%%ed into the giant !ith such %o%entu% that Alcyoneus to""led into an icy !atchto!er that colla"sed on to" o# hi%. <I a% i%%ortal in %y ho%eland* 5ran) Phang= And than)s to your #riend Ha(el* %y ne! ho%eland is Alas)a. Po!er coursed through his ar%s and legs. She stared at hi% in a%a(e%ent* a ca" o# sno! dri""ing o## her head.s #ace $ac) and #orth until his %etallic #eatures $egan to dent. As he ran* his $ody $eca%e hea ier* thic)er* ri""ling !ith %uscles.d %et #ace to #ace !hen he !as a child. 5ran) changed to his regular #or%. Alcyoneus shouted.s scaly dragon #oot. <What +ust 7 ho! did . 5ran) said. 5ran) !as too #ar a!ay to hel" 7 $ut he i%agined hi%sel# rushing #or!ard* his #eet lea ing the ground.

e got an idea* $ut !e. you . 5ran) ran to the giant. 5ran) yelled.ll e1"lain later*. a !all o# grey !ater e en taller than the glacier. 5ran) cursed. Water shot #ro% the chas%s and cre ices in the ice. . uh 7... and sla%%ed it into the giant. 5ran) loo)ed $ac) at Ha(el. Ha(el said.s head* "ic)ed u" the nearest hea y o$+ect he could #ind . He tossed her the other end o# the ro"e.<Ha(el* here=. <&ut Percy=. <Kill . As the !a e hit* the $ac) hal# o# the ca%" cru%$led. The entire ar%y o# shades edged #or!ard* their !ea"ons $ristling.. He held Ri"tide in one hand and the legion. The giant said* <2rgg. The entire edge o# the glacier "eeled a!ay* cascading into the oid .s golden eagle in the other. a legion shield . The entire glacier shuddered. And .ll ha e to . Percy glanced o er. Alcyoneus %uttered. you !ere a $ird. He sa! the #allen giant and see%ed to understand !hat !as ha""ening.. His hurricane !as gone. 5ran) said. 6hosts #ell to their )nees. carrying $uildings* ghosts and Percy /ac)son o er the edge. <I.s nose. <We need to drag this guy inland* as #ast and #ar as !e can. He yelled so%ething that !as lost in the !ind* "ro$a$ly8 6o= Then he sla%%ed Ri"tide into the ice at his #eet. &ehind Percy* a !a e surged u" #ro% the $ay . uh . Ha(el +ust stared at hi%. Ho! could he ha e #orgotten. <Percy=.Through the ruins o# the ca%"* he sa! Percy !ith his $ac) to the edge o# the cli##. <Ho! #ar can Arion "ull this guy-. <>ou . Then a $ear. <I.

.

NL:II .

Perha"s he #eels your li#e is not #inished* or it could $e an o ersight. Death as)ed hel"#ully. 5ran) and Ha(el e1changed ner ous loo)s. I# you. <>ou.s see 7.ll ne er )ill hi% here. <That.d $est hurry* %y #riends* or you.s o)ay. <&ut Percy 7. <I ha e ideo-con#erencing ena$led. >ou. <Is he . <Pluto gi es %e s"eci#ic orders #or esca"ed souls* you see.t 7 you. 'ean!hile the glacier )e"t cru%$ling* the edge getting closer and closer... <Too soon to tell. . As #or this one 7. Ha(el yel"ed.s nose until Alcyoneus $egan to snore. I ha e his S)y"e address here so%e!here 7. he said !ith satis#action.re not going to .. <Then our $usiness is co%"lete.-. <Ah* yes*.s na%e. <Well* let. He sla%%ed his shield into the giant. 5ran) nodded nu%$ly. <I thin) so. 5ran) could $arely s"ea) his #riend. <0lai% your li#e-. Thanatos loo)ed do!n at Alcyoneus !ith distaste. Ha(el #altered.d li)e %e to call and as) . <No=.ll dro!n* too. Death ta""ed the screen a #e! ti%es* and all 5ran) could thin) !as8 Please don.t let there $e an a"" #or rea"ing souls. <I don. Thanatos glided to!ards the% on his $lac) !ings* his e1"ression serene. Dro!ning* dro!ning. Thanatos as)ed.5ran) 5RANK WAS S3 ST2NNED THAT Ha(el had to yell his na%e a do(en ti%es $e#ore he reali(ed Alcyoneus !as getting u" again.. <Are you sure-. >ou )no! !hat to do-. <>ou %ean you !on. <2% 7.t see you on the list*.. <There go so%e souls. He "ulled a "ure-$lac) iPad #ro% thin air.. 5or so%e reason* he has not issued a !arrant #or yours. Thanatos said.

Alcyoneus %u%$led. <2rgg*. <>ou !ill #ind the ans!er in Ro%e.. Death loo)ed u" #ro% his iPad. she as)ed.<Really* no.. <What a$out the Doors o# Death-. 5ran) )ne! they had to lea e* $ut there !as one %ore 4uestion he had to as).s #eet.Ho! do !e close the%-. 3nly one sort o# de%igod can read the signs that !ill ulti%ately lead you to the Doors o# 'e. >ou. I can tell you to start your search in Ro%e. "ossi$ly "ity* though that didn..t 7 !ell* it.t your ti%e* either. 5ran) hit hi% o er the head again. <As #or you* 5ran) Phang* it isn.s chest and Arion too) o##* racing across the ice* dragging Alcyoneus li)e the !orld.. 5are!ell* de%igods* until !e %eet again. e got a little #uel le#t to $urn.s nec) to )ee" hi% #ro% $olting. The original Ro%e. Ha(el loo)ed as i# se eral thousand "ounds o# !orry had +ust $een li#ted #ro% her shoulders. And no! I %ust #ly south to your 0a%" /u"iter. <Hurry=. <The Doors o# 'e.t see% li)e an e%otion Death !ould understand.t tell you e1actly !here they are.s not entirely a "hysical "lace. I can. Ha(el "atted Arion. e got to ta)e Alcyoneus a$out ten %iles due north=. The cli## !as still cru%$ling* the edge only t!enty #eet a!ay no!. They %ust $e located through 4uesting. The crac)s !idened in the ice under 5ran). <Ah* yes. <What a$out %y $rother-. 0losing the% !ould $e good* $ut I #ear it is $eyond %y "o!er. >ou !ill need a s"ecial guide. We !ill %eet again under less "leasant circu%stances. he said.t thin) I.s . I ha e a #eeling there !ill $e %any souls to rea"* ery soon. Arion !hinnied i%"atiently. he told Ha(el. Thanatos dissi"ated into $lac) s%o)e. Ho! you !ould do it* I ha en.% doing either o# you a #a our.s #ace. <Than) you. <We. A loo) o# irritation #lic)ered across Thanatos. <Where are they.t the #aintest idea.. Thanatos ga e her a strange loo) . <Is Nico ali e-. 0rac)s a""eared in the ice under their #eet. &ut don. He cli%$ed onto the giant. The location isn..

Ha(el cut the ro"e and Alcyoneus !ent s)idding "ast.. 5ran) #elt "retty stunned hi%sel#. The giant. Percy had gone o er the side o# the glacier to sa e the%. Arion rode the glacier li)e a high!ay* (i""ing across the ice* lea"ing cre ices and s)idding do!n slo"es that !ould. As they raced along* the hal#-conscious 6olden &oy %u%$led a tune that sounded li)e </ingle &ells. His nose !as $ent in an odd direction. He.d crossed into #riendly territory .s eyes light u". His !ounds had . 5ran) didn.d +ust turned into an eagle and a $ear. The son o# Ne"tune shall dro!n. He )ne! roughly !here they !ere going* $ut there !ere no signs or %ar)ers on to" o# the glacier. <Here=. 5ran) shouted. He. 5ran) !ould #ind hi% . He )ne! he. Arion eered to one side. It !as a short tri".Where. 5ran) #elt a su$tle i$ration in his o!n $ody* li)e a tuning #or) "ressed against his sternu%.t co%e all this !ay +ust to lose their #riend.s head )e"t $ouncing and hitting the ice.d +ust ha e to ta)e his $est guess.s golden s)in "aled as i# it !ere turning to $rass. <What. And Percy 7 5ran) s!allo!ed do!n his #ear. 5inally Arion (oo%ed $et!een t!o %ountains into a alley o# ice and roc)s* li)e a %assi e $o!l o# #ro(en %il) !ith $its o# 0ocoa Pu##s.ugliest sled. 5ran) re#used to $elie e Percy !as dead. He could still #eel #luid energy ri""ling through his $ody* li)e he !as hal#!ay $et!een a solid and li4uid state. $ut #irst they had to deal !ith Alcyoneus. No. I%%ediately Alcyoneus +u%"ed to his #eet.t ha e to )noc) out Alcyoneus too %any ti%es* $ecause the giant. He isuali(ed the %a" he had $een studying on the train #ro% Anchorage. e %ade a sno!$oarder. ho%e territory.Who-. Not only that8 Ha(el and he had released Death* and $oth o# the% had sur i ed. They hadn. 5ran) lea"ed o## +ust $e#ore the giant sla%%ed into a $oulder.

<Tactics*. Slo!ly* understanding da!ned in the giant.re not in Alas)a any %ore. The giant. 3il still . e ne er )no!n a child o# 'ars !ho can change his #or%* $ut that doesn. Ha(el slashed her s!ord across the $ac) o# the giant. He tensed and sni##ed the air.t you #eel it* Al. He loo)ed around #or his iron sta##* !hich !as still $ac) at Hu$$ard 6lacier. Do you thin) your stu"id soldier o# a #ather ga e you the strength to #ace %e in one-on-one co%$at-.t )ill %e* Thanatos or no=. 5ran) said.s cal#. <Actually*. <That. <What are you tal)ing a$out* !ar $rat-.s +e!el-encrusted hair $ac)!ards.s eyes. <>ou can. 5ran) said..s %y gi#t #ro% 'ars. &lac) oil s"outed #ro% the !ound. Thanatos is #ree* eh. Alcyoneus stu%$led. A $attle can $e !on $e#ore it. The giant snarled.s eyes narro!ed. <Sto" that=. 6aia still controls the Doors o# Death. I a% i%%ortal in %y ho%eland=. No!* !hy ha e you $rought %e here* son o# 'ars-. 5ran) said* <I ha e so%e $ad ne!s a$out that. <Ne1t 4uestion-. <That s%ell 7 li)e snu##ed-out souls.. 0an.t %atter. See* I got %ore #ro% %y dad than strength. An in isi$le #orce yan)ed the giant. >ou. <I. The giant gro!led and charged at Ha(el* $ut Arion ni%$ly darted out o# the !ay. Ha(el dre! her s!ord. Ha(el %ade a gra$$ing gesture !ith her #ree hand. <To )ill you*. He "ointed o er his shoulder.&ah= It doesn.healed* though his golden s)in had lost so%e o# its lustre. <This is Alas)a. Alcyoneus shouted. <Ho! a$out t!o on one-. He loo)ed do!n incredulously at his !ounded legs. <We crossed the $order a #e! hundred yards $ac).s e er #ought $y choosing the right ground. Ha(el rushed in* slashed his other leg and raced a!ay $e#ore he could regain his $alance.t %ean you can de#eat %e.>ou !ant to get to Alas)a 7 you ha e to go through %e. Then he ga e u" and "ounded the nearest $oulder to "ieces !ith his #ist. <>ou dare ta)e %e #or a sleigh ride-..

6ah=. 5ran) head-$utted hi% so hard Alcyoneus #le! $ac)!ards and landed s"read-eagled on the ice."oured #ro% his cal es* turning the ice $lac). 5ran) stood his ground. His $ody s!elled to %assi e si(e. I. It also hel"s i# you are in a li#e-and-death situation* such as co%$at. <I%"ossi$le=.s nec). <I. <5ran)-. The giant )e"t co%ing. can.t use his gi#t again* i# he #ro(e* he !as dead.. Ne1t ti%e you choose the $iggest state #or your ho%e* don. He !al)ed u" to the giant* !hose oily !ounds !ere stea%ing. /ust $e#ore Alcyoneus s%ashed into hi%* 5ran) changed. 5or a s"lit second* 5ran) dou$ted his "lan. Alcyoneus gro!led. His s)in thic)ened. Welco%e to 0anada* idiot.s s!ord ca%e do!n on the giant. The giant staggered side!ays. 0hec).d cared #or* #ed* $athed and e en gi en indigestion to at 0a%" /u"iter. 5ran) turned $ac) to his nor%al #or%.s a ti"* Alcyoneus. <Here.ll . He loo)ed into the giant. 5ran) nodded.. <I got this. His golden s)in $egan to corrode* $rea)ing into chun)s.t . )ill %e*.d al!ays #elt too $ig and clu%sy. He.s only ten %iles !ide.ll . the one he. Ha(el. Ha(el dis%ounted and stood ne1t to 5ran)* her s!ord ready. T!enty yards. <>ou can. He charged at 5ran)* deter%ined to reach the international $oundary.t .. Alcyoneus sla%%ed into a #ull-gro!n ten-ton ele"hant.t set u" $ase in the "art that. the giant $ello!ed. Dou$le chec). Ha(el called ner ously. His %outh gre! tus)s and his nose elongated. Then he re%e%$ered his grand%other. Alcyoneus dissol ed into a "ile o# e1"ensi e roc)s. <>ou . The ge%s #ell out o# his hair and si((led in the sno!. He screa%ed in #rustration and sla%%ed into 5ran) again* $ut Alcyoneus !as co%"letely out o# his !eight di ision. His ar%s changed to stout #ront legs.s seething eyes. ery .s instructions8 It hel"s i# you )no! the creature !ell. Ten yards. I# he couldn. No! he used that #eeling. <'ay I-. He $eca%e the ani%al he )ne! $est .

t read her e1"ression. <An ele"hant-. <>eah. 5ran) "ic)ed u" his ro"e. He !as a#raid he. It see%ed li)e a good idea. Ha(el and 5ran) loo)ed at each other.5or a !hile Ha(el and 5ran) stood together* !atching the re%ains o# the giant %elt into the ice.. <>ou are a%a(ing*.. .d gi en Percy on the aero"lane.d #inally done so%ething so !eird that she. a real )iss on the li"s* %uch $etter than the )ind o# )iss she. He couldn.d ne er !ant to $e around hi% again. E en no!* Thanatos is attending the death o# 0a%" /u"iter* the #inal destruction o# your Ro%an #riends. 5ran) scratched his nec). The %ountain ru%$led as i# the !hole earth !ere laughing. They cli%$ed onto Arion and s"ed $ac) to!ards 6lacier &ay.t !on. Neither said a !ord. <And you %a)e a ery handso%e ele"hant. &e#ore he could say anything* a oice echoed across the alley8 >ou ha en. The shado!s disa""eared. 5ran) #elt so #lustered that he thought his $oots %ight %elt through the ice. Ha(el as)ed. >ou !ill ne er reach ho%e in ti%e* taunted the oice o# 6aia. Shado!s !ere shi#ting across the nearest %ountain* #or%ing the #ace o# a slee"ing !o%an. 5ran) Phang8 lu%$ering )lut(* child o# 'ars* "artti%e "achyder%. 5ran) loo)ed u". Then she )issed hi% . she said.

.

NL:III .

<That. Percy considered. Percy said. he could do that.. Ha(el said "roudly. <That. 5ran) %ar elled. He loo)ed %ad. <2n#air.re ali e=. I can. He !as still loo)ing at 5ran) li)e he !as %i##ed. &ut ne1t ti%e I say you.. I #ell t!ice that #ar #ro% the St Louis Arch. <I got a $one to "ic) !ith you* Phang. Percy #ro!ned. <>ou did !hat-. and it.s un#air that I can $e an ele"hant-.t turn into ani%als. li)e they !ere +ust %eeting #or lunch or so%ething. <2% 7 yeah. 5ran) shu##led his #eet.d caused8 se eral hundred acres o# ne!ly o"en !ater dotted !ith ice$ergs and #lotsa% #ro% the ruined ca%".>ou can $reathe under!ater and $lo! u" glaciers and su%%on #rea)ing hurricanes .. The i%"ortant thing !as I didn. Percy shrugged.s co%"letely un#air. Pericly%enus* %y ancestor* the Argonaut . The only re%ains on the glacier !ere the %ain gates* !hich listed side!ays* and a tattered $lue $anner lying o er a "ile o# sno!-$ric)s. He stood at the edge o# the glacier* leaning on the sta## !ith the golden eagle* ga(ing do!n at the !rec)age he. <Ne er %ind. <So the "ro"hecy !as inco%"lete=.s your #a%ily gi#t. <It "ro$a$ly said so%ething li)e8 The son o# Ne"tune !ill dro!n a !hole $unch o# ghosts. He "assed do!n the a$ility.. I guess you got a "oint. Ha(el grinned. Percy shoo) his head in dis$elie#. <>ou. >ou can turn into an eagle.>ou can change sha"e-.. 5ran) stared at hi%.And a $ear-. Ha(el as)ed. <An ele"hant. <3)ay. .. When they ran u" to hi%* Percy said* <Hey*. <The #all.re totally $east .That !as nothing.. <And he got that gi#t #ro% Poseidon*. <And an ele"hant*.5ran) PER0> WAS WAITIN6 53R THE'.t dro!n.

Ha(el used her a$ilities to le itate so%e ite%s #ro% the $otto% o# the sea. They could use that gold eagle. <This one has I%"erial gold !heels and a1le*. Percy said.The last one . <3ne thing #irst* though.s ro"e to stra" do!n %ost o# the gold !ea"ons and the $est "ieces o# ar%our.% not dou$ting Arion.</ust shut u"*..t $e %uch good in a #ight* $ut it loo)ed li)e solid I%"erial gold.s strength*. <It loo)s li)e Santa. <Please.s sleigh*. <0an Arion e en "ull that %uch-. He says* yes* he can "ull it* $ut he needs #ood.. he said care#ully* <$ut !ill the chariot hold u". Ha(el* there. <It should hold. The horse too) the dagger in his teeth and che!ed it li)e an a""le. Percy said* <I a% seriously going to !ash your horse. They couldn.t #it e erything in the chariot* $ut they used 5ran). It too) all three o# the% to raise the chariot* $ut #inally they. I.. It !as $ent and dull* so it !ouldn. E en 5ran) hel"ed $y turning into a seal* !hich !as )ind o# cool* though Percy clai%ed his $reath s%elled li)e #ish.s %outh. . <I. Ha(el "ic)ed u" an old Ro%an dagger* a "ugio. 0a%" /u"iter is under attac). 5ran) said. It too) the% a long ti%e .s %outh !ith soa". $ut they all )ne! those !ea"ons could %a)e the di##erence $et!een ictory and de#eat i# they got the% $ac) to ca%" in ti%e. <I# you guys are done*. Percy crac)ed a s%ile.. Ha(el said* <!e need to go.s a$out a ton o# I%"erial gold !ea"ons and ar%our at the $otto% o# the $ay no!* "lus a really nice chariot.% $etting that stu## could co%e in handy 7. Percy nodded. 5ran) %ade a silent oath ne er to "ut his hand near that horse. <Here you go* Arion*.. Percy s!a% do!n and $rought u" %ore. 5ran) said. <Ha(el*. too long . she said. <High-"er#or%ance #uel..d %anaged to haul e erything ashore to a $lac) sand $each near the $ase o# the glacier. Arion hu##ed.

0o%e on=. . The horse. They s"ed south* a alanches tu%$ling do!n the %ountains as they "assed. she yelled.<I# not*. <6iddyu"=. 5ran) and Percy cli%$ed into the chariot. Ha(el said* <this is going to $e a short tri". &ut !e.re out o# ti%e. Ha(el s!ung u" onto Arion.s sonic $oo% echoed across the $ay.s $ac).

.

NLIN .

d $een a$ducted $y the alien )no!n as Hera. No!* as they headed $ac) into the 3ly%"ian gods. The giants intended to attac) the original 'ount 3ly%"us and destroy the gods #ore er. The "rocess had started in Portland !hen he had drun) the gorgon. Ne1t ti%e Percy sa! the Gueen o# 3ly%"us* he !as de#initely going to gi e her a goddess-si(ed sla" u"side the head. E en !orse8 sa ing $oth ca%"s !ould $e only the $eginning. Percy )ne! that giants couldn. Nico had told hi% that. Eight %onths o# his li#e stolen. 9That !as the do!nside o# dating the s%artest girl at ca%"8 you learn stu##.s "lan8 unite the Ro%an and . Anna$eth had %entioned it* too* $ac) in August* !hen she.s ho! long it too) the #astest horse on the "lanet to get #ro% Alas)a to San 5rancisco &ay* heading straight o er the !ater do!n the North-!est 0oast. He. His #riends and #a%ily %ust $e going out o# their %inds. territory* Percy re%e%$ered e erything8 the !ar !ith KronosI his si1teenth $irthday at 0a%" Hal#-&loodI his trainer 0hiron the centaurI his $est #riend* 6ro erI his $rother* TysonI and %ost o# all Anna$eth . 3r /uno 7 !hate er.s %e%ory to return co%"letely.s $lood* $ut his "ast li#e had still $een %addeningly #u((y. t!o great %onths o# dating* and then &33'. That.Percy 532R H32RS.t die unless de%igods and gods #ought the% together. I# 0a%" /u"iter !as in such $ad trou$le* he could only guess !hat 0a%" Hal#-&lood %ust $e #acing !ithout hi%..s also ho! long it too) #or Percy.d s"eculated that the giants %ight $e "art o# the ne! 6reat Pro"hecy . That. He understood /uno. !hat the Ro%ans called the Pro"hecy o# Se en. According to Alcyoneus* the real !ar !ould ha""en #ar a!ay* in the ho%eland o# the gods.

His +oints !ere so sti## he could $arely !al). <>ou did great* Arion. They raced "ast the 'endocino lighthouse. When they reached the hillto" a$o e the 0aldecott Tunnel* Arion shuddered li)e a $ro)en car and ca%e to a sto"* his chest hea ing. I# he !ent into $attle li)e this* the ene%y !ould call hi% 3ld 'an /ac)son.t loo) %uch $etter. They tore through &er)eley and into the 3a)land Hills. Ha(el "atted his sides lo ingly. The Lares had #or%ed shi%%ering "ur"le lines against a %o$ o# $lac)* a"orous shades in ancient ar%our.d $een co%#orta$le seats or an in-#light %eal. 6iant eagles circled the $attle#ield* doing aerial co%$at !ith t!o sna)e-haired ladies in green &argain 'art ests . 3n her "egasus Sci"io* Reyna #le! around the giant Poly$otes* trying to )ee" hi% occu"ied. Arion shot straight under the 6olden 6ate &ridge into San 5rancisco &ay. The coastline $egan to loo) #a%iliar. When Percy and Ha(el +oined hi%* Percy. What did you e1"ectPercy and 5ran) +u%"ed o## the chariot. Shortly a#ter!ards* 'ount Ta% and the 'arin headlands loo%ed out o# the #og. The T!el#th Legion !as arrayed on the 5ield o# 'ars* trying to "rotect the city. <6uys 7 you need to see this. The legion itsel# !as ta)ing the $runt o# the attac)* $ut .6ree) de%igods to create an elite tea% o# heroes* then so%eho! con ince the gods to #ight alongside the%.t going !ell. He ho$$led to the to" o# the hill and "eered do!n at the ca%"... Stheno and Euryale.s heart san). Percy !ished there. His legs !ere !o$$ly. The $attle had $egun* and it !asn. Scor"ions #ired into the ran)s o# the Earth$orn. The horse !as too tired e en to cuss8 3# course I did great. &ut #irst they had to sa e 0a%" /u"iter. :eteran de%igods #ro% the city had +oined the $attle* and !ere "ushing their shield !all against an onslaught o# !ild centaurs. Hanni$al the ele"hant "loughed do!n %onsters right and le#t* $ut the de#enders !ere $adly outnu%$ered. 5ran) didn.

s Lu"a-. She !ould hel" her children as %uch as she could* train the% to #ight .s u" to us.their #or%ation !as $rea)ing. 5ran) scra%$led $ac)!ards. Percy scanned the hillto"s. 5ran) as)ed* des"eration cree"ing into his oice. I# Tyson had got his drea% %essage in :ancou er* hel" %ight $e close.s #irst rule !as sel#-su##iciency. As Percy !atched* a cannon$all hit the Senate House and the do%e "artially colla"sed. <Where. They !eren. They only attac)ed !hen they had astly su"erior nu%$ers* and usually under the co er o# dar)ness. That !as Lu"a. <It. Each cohort !as an island in a sea o# ene%ies. e $een heard all the !ay #ro% Ti%es S4uare to 0entral Par). &esides* Lu"a. Percy said.t ha e to. a good Ne! >or) ca$ !histle that !ould. He !histled as loud as he could . A huge $lac) sha"e $ounded out o# no!here . <We can.s !ay. <Hellhound=. <We.s o)ay=. <They. Percy thought a$out his ti%e !ith the !ol# goddess. We can do this.. <'ay$e !e don. Percy said. <These are #riends.t haul this stu## oursel es. He..re too late*.. <She and the !ol es 7 they should $e here. Ha(el said. They had to "ro e their !orth or die. We..d also learned that !ol es had li%its. a %asti## the si(e o# an S2:* !ith a 0yclo"s and a har"y on her $ac). The 0yclo"es.. Ro%ans had to #ight #or the%sel es. Ha(el said. Percy tried to $race hi%sel#* $ut it !as no good. Shado!s ri""led in the trees. siege to!er shot glo!ing green cannon$alls into the city* $lasting craters in the #oru%* reducing houses to ruins. Tyson sla%%ed into hi% and s%othered hi% in a hug.. <She did !hat she could*.d co%e to res"ect her teachings* $ut he. Tyson cli%$ed o## and ran to!ards Percy. e got to get the gold eagle and these !ea"ons to the legion. No! it.t #ront-line #ighters. <&ut Arion is out o# stea%=. $ut in the end they !ere either "redator or "rey.re still #ighting. <She slo!ed do!n the ar%y on its !ay south. <&rother=. Percy grinned. 5or a #e! . <No*.

Tyson #ound Ella. he said* <you $ig char%er* you.. Still* he !as Ha(el. he said. And a 0yclo"s. <>ou can as) your $rother 7. Tyson turned the sa%e colour as Ella. she announced. he said. to !ring the )id. <Hey* 'rs 3.seconds* Percy could only see $lac) s"ots and lots o# #lannel. <2% 7 No. <Tyson*.s "lu%age. Ella !as $lushing.. Was she $lushing. <0yclo"es are strong. Percy %anaged to get to his #eet and !i"e o## the dog slo$$er. Tyson too) care o# Ella. she said. He. He leaned do!n and !his"ered ner ously* loud enough #or all the others to hear8 <She is "retty.s nec) #or ha ing "retended he didn. His oice !a ered !hen he sa! Ha(el. Ha(el had told hi% !hat Thanatos had said a$out searching #or the Doors o# Death in Ro%e* and Percy !as an1ious to #ind Nico #or his o!n reasons . he as)ed. Tyson .s this $attle ha""ening. Then Tyson let go and laughed !ith delight* loo)ing Percy o er !ith that %assi e $a$y $ro!n eye. <I li)e it !hen you are not dead=. Percy said. <Long story. 5ran) ta""ed his head li)e he !as a#raid his $rain had short-circuited. .t )no! Percy !hen he #irst ca%e to ca%". <>ou ha e a hellhound na%ed 'rs 3.Leary-. <Ella is not strong*.Leary*. <Any!ay* there. <Ella #ound a dog*.Leary. <>eah* I lo e you* too* girl.. Ella #luttered to the ground and $egan "reening her #eathers. <We !ere !orried a$out you.. 6ood dog.s e1"ression.s $rother* and #inding hi% !as a con ersation #or another ti%e. these are %y #riends* 5ran) and Ha(el.. <>ou are not dead=. <Are you o)ay-. <&ut* yeah* this is %y dog* 'rs 3. Ha(el %ade a s4uea)ing sound. <Sorry*..&e#ore Percy could decide* his $lac) %asti## "ounced on hi%* )noc)ing Percy to the ground and $ar)ing so loudly that e en Arion $ac)ed u".d al%ost #orgotten that Nico di Angelo !as %issing. Percy turned to Ella* !ho !as counting all the $ar$s in one o# her #eathers. <A large dog. Percy raised his eye$ro!s.....

Ha(el ran to the chariot and dug out the $iggest Ro%an hel%et she could #ind* "lus an old Ro%an $anner e%$roidered !ith SPGR. As 4uic)ly as "ossi$le* he "ointed out !hich !ere the good guys and the $ad guys on the $attle#ield. Ella !ill go !ith Tyson. </ust scare the% a!ay*. Ella re"eated. Percy sti#led a laugh. <&rother=. His $ig $ro!n eye got %isty. Then our #riends !ill )no! you. <Ella li)es $eing sa#e... Percy said.s ar%y. /ust don.re loo)ing at 6eneral Tyson o# the 0yclo"s ar%y. The hel%et !as ridiculously s%all* and he "ut the ca"e on $ac)!ards* li)e a SPGR $a$y $i$.s the "lan. <&ut i# the legion %ista)es Tyson #or an ene%y . Tyson said. <>ay=.. <Is he a #ighter..s your $rother.Is any other hel" co%ing-.Leary . Percy said. Tyson crushed 5ran) in a hug. <Put those on* $ig guy. Percy "ro%ised. She handed the% to Tyson. 5ran) loo)ed at Tyson !ith tre"idation. Stay sa#e.t !ant our #riend here getting hurt. Percy said.. <Actually he.re on our tea%. <I. >eah* he. Sa#ety in nu%$ers.. <Tyson* !here. Leo says to%orro!* %ay$e t!o days. <Ella* +ust stay here. Sa#ety de"osit $o1es. e got it=.5ran)* you. <It. And* 'rs 3. Tyson !as alar%ed to learn that $ad 0yclo"es and $ad centaurs !ere in the giant. Tyson "outed.s Anna$eth. Percy s%iled. <3)ay* here. <R3335=.t get hurt. <I ha e to hit "ony-%en-. <Than)s*. Percy agreed. <I.s %ore li)e a great-great. <Sa#e*.% on your tea%=. Is Tyson a #ighter-.. <2%* Percy-. <What-. <Ho! do you #eel a$out "ulling a chariot-. <We don.t ha e t!o %inutes*... <I +ust 7 don.7 3h* ne er %ind.<Right*.ll do*. . And* $y the !ay* Tyson* 5ran) is a descendant o# Poseidon. <The $ig shi" is not ready. <3h 7 #ine. Whate er. 5ran) %u%$led through a %outh#ul o# #lannel. Then they !ill co%e.

.

L .

-. They s)irted the "eri%eter o# the ca%" and too) the northern%ost $ridge o er the Little Ti$er* charging onto the 5ield o# 'ars at the !estern edge o# the $attle. Percy lea"ed o## his hellhound and slashed !ildly through the other %onsters. These !ere the )ids !ho. He shouted* <5i#th 0ohort=. and stayed disintegrated* than)s to Death . A#ter the 0yclo"s disintegrated .s Al%anac. and sla%%ed into the nearest 0yclo"s. and soared a$o e the%.Leary. A horde o# 0yclo"es !as ha%%ering a!ay at the ca%"ers o# the 5i#th 0ohort* !ho !ere trying to )ee" their shields loc)ed +ust to stay ali e.Percy THE> WERE* WITH32T A D32&T* the strangest rein#orce%ents in Ro%an %ilitary history. She ga!)ed at Tyson and started to say* <Who . !hich Percy still #ound totally un#air .s teeth. As #or Percy* he rode 'rs 3. Tyson ran do!n the hill* !a ing his clu$ and yelling* <&ad "ony-%en= &33=. Seeing the% in trou$le* Percy #elt a surge o# "rotecti e rage. 5ran) trans#or%ed into a $ald eagle . This !as his #a%ily. Ha(el rode Arion* !ho had reco ered enough to carry one "erson at nor%al horse s"eed* though he cursed a$out his aching hoo es all the !ay do!nhill. !hile Ella #luttered around hi%* reciting #acts #ro% the 3ld 5ar%er. Tyson charged at the 0yclo"s leader* 'a 6as)et* her chain-%ail dress s"attered !ith %ud and decorated !ith $ro)en s"ears. Tyson hit her in the head so hard she s"un in a circle . The last things the "oor %onster sa! !ere 'rs 3.d ta)en hi% in.Leary into $attle !ith a chariot #ull o# I%"erial gold e4ui"%ent clan)ing and clin)ing $ehind* the golden eagle standard o# the T!el#th Legion raised high a$o e hi%.

The ca%"ers reco ered #ro% their shoc) and %o$$ed the chariot.s go* let. Da)ota urged* grinning li)e a %ad%an as he s!igged red Kool-Aid #ro% his #las). <To $attle=.d %et $e#ore. <5i#th 0ohort=. <5or% ran)s=. Percy did his $est to hand out e4ui"%ent 4uic)ly.Leary charged on!ard* the entire cohort #ollo!ed .s $adge and 'ural 0ro!n glea%ed on his !inter +ac)et. Percy ho"ed 0hiron !ould #orgi e hi%* $ut these centaurs !eren. <5ollo! the eagle=. When the ca%"ers o# the Third sa! the eagle standard* they shouted insanely and #ought !ith rene!ed e##ort. They had to $e de#eated. <3ur co%rades need hel"=. #orty e1tre%ely shiny gold-"lated !arriors screa%ing #or $lood. He hit her again* and 'a 6as)et $ro)e into dust. The centaurs didn.t e1actly consistent. As Percy and 'rs 3.d $een sho""ing at a King 'idas clearance sale. the centurions shouted. <Let. <&ad 0yclo"s Lady=.t stand a chance. he $ello!ed. <6eneral Tyson says 63 AWA>=. <6et your I%"erial gold !ea"ons right here=. Soon the 5i#th 0ohort !as e4ui""ed !ith ne! !ea"ons and shields and hel%ets. They !eren. 5ran) ordered. Soon there !as nothing le#t $ut "iles o# dust and assorted hoo es and horns. The t!o cohorts .and landed on her ru%". The ca%"ers cheered. he $ello!ed. 3nce e ery 0yclo"s !ithin #i#ty yards had $een reduced to ashes* 5ran) landed in #ront o# his troo"s and trans#or%ed into a hu%an. The t!o cohorts crushed the% li)e a ice. &ut they !ere suddenly the %ost "o!er#ul cohort in the legion.s go=. They !ere so%e other $reed.t li)e the Party Ponies he. His centurion. They sla%%ed into a herd o# !ild centaurs that !ere attac)ing the Third 0ohort. In #act they loo)ed li)e they. 'ean!hile Ha(el charged around on Arion* slicing her s"atha through one 0yclo"s a#ter another* !hile 5ran) $linded the ene%ies !ith his talons.

Kar"oi grain s"irits . they sailed through the air . She !as so stunned that the giant al%ost s!atted her out o# the air* $ut Sci"io dodged.ca%e together* their %ilitary training )ic)ing in.s sta##. !ere rushing through the tall grass a$ducting ca%"ers at rando%* "ulling the% a!ay #ro% the line. "oison and #ire. E ery ti%e one landed* the Ro%ans "anic)ed and ran. Poly$otes +a$$ed his trident and s!ung his !eighted net* $ut Sci"io !as al%ost as ni%$le as Arion. The ca%"ers dre! s!ords and ad anced to!ards the centre o# the $attle. 5ran) shouted* <Pila=. Percy #elt a rush o# "o!er coursing through the standard. Reyna soared a$o e the giant* di ing in !ith her +a elin !hene er he turned his attention to the ground troo"s. those horri$le little "iranha 0u"ids . The eagle let loose a $linding #lash* and a thousand tendrils o# lightning . The re%aining Earth$orn thre! $arrage a#ter $arrage o# stone and %ud. a !a e o# death cutting through the si1-ar%ed %onsters. Then Reyna noticed the 5i#th 0ohort %arching to their aid !ith the eagle. The giant hi%sel# )e"t sha)ing $asilis)s out o# his hair.d already learned a$out the $asilis)s. Thunder shoo) the alley. Poly$otes de%anded. <Ro%ans=. When 5ran) yelled* <5ire=. /udging #ro% their corroded shields and the s%o)ing "lu%es on their hel%ets* they. At the $ase o# the a4ueduct* the 5irst and Second 0ohorts !ere trying to encircle Poly$otes* $ut they !ere ta)ing a "ounding. Shields loc)ed* they %arched into $attle against the Earth$orn. Her oice $oo%ed across the #ields. He raised the eagle and shouted* <T!el#th Legion 5ul%inata=. Her "ur"le cloa) sna""ed in the !ind. <What is this-. Reyna loc)ed eyes !ith Percy and ga e hi% a huge s%ile. De%igods and %onsters ali)e turned and ga!)ed as Percy $ounded #or!ard on his hellhound. A hundred s"ears $ristled. <What is this-. <Rally to the eagle=. Her golden ar%our glea%ed.

Ta)e care o# this. He handed Da)ota the standard.s senior centurion. <I !ill carry it !ith honour. e got #ree sa%"les=. The loo) on 3cta ian. The ene%y. <>ou are the cohort. E en Hanni$al the ele"hant !as ha ing a hard ti%e !ading through so %any %onsters.t o er. A do(en #resh $asilis)s #ell out o# his hair* turning the grass to "oison yello!. Stheno yelled. Da)ota $lin)ed* then he straightened !ith "ride. Another ar%y a""eared on the . He dro""ed his Kool-Aid #las) and too) the eagle. Percy dis%ounted. I. Then* !hen his o!n troo"s started to cheer* he had no choice e1ce"t to +oin the shouting8 <Ro%e= Ro%e=. <Stand your ground=. His $lac) Ke lar ar%our !as ri""ed so that his la$el +ust said ANT. The %onsters. siege to!er !as still hurling e1"losi e green #ire$alls into the streets... The gorgons had disa$led the giant eagles and no! #le! unchallenged o er the giant. <5ran)* Ha(el* Tyson*.e1"loded #ro% its golden !ings . Poly$otes $ello!ed.s #ace !as "riceless. e got a giant to )ill. When the lightning sto""ed* the 5irst and Second 0ohorts !ere #acing one sur"rised-loo)ing giant and se eral hundred s%o)ing "iles o# ash. The giant Poly$otes $ac)ed u" uncertainly* $ut Percy )ne! the $attle !asn..I cannot $e destroyed= 0o%e #or!ard* son o# Ne"tune. The 5ourth 0ohort !as still surrounded $y 0yclo"es. The eterans and Lares on the eastern #lan) !ere $eing "ushed to!ards the city. I !ill $rea) you=. He raised Ri"tide* $ut $e#ore he could ad ance* horns $le! in the northern hills.s centre line had $een charred to o$li ion. <I.s re%aining centaurs and the Earth$orn* trying to rally the%. The centurion stared at Percy !ith shoc)* then outrage. arcing in #ront o# Percy li)e the $ranches o# an enor%ous deadly tree* connecting !ith the nearest %onsters* lea"ing #ro% one to another* co%"letely ignoring the Ro%an #orces. Percy said* <hel" the 5ourth 0ohort. <>ou thin) this changes anything* Percy /ac)son.

With a nasty hiss* the grass !ithered and s%o)ed. hundreds o# !arriors in $lac)-and-grey ca%ou#lage* ar%ed !ith s"ears and shields. until the A%a(ons changed course and headed straight #or the %onsters. The $attle#ield descended into a$solute chaos.s aid= Destroy the %onsters=. The giant thrust his hand under the !ater. said Ha(el.&ut I a% $orn to o""ose Ne"tune. They %et $y the a4ueduct* !hich had so%eho! sur i ed the $attle so #ar. He #lung so%e at Percy* !ho instincti ely de#lected it !ith his !ill. Reyna !heeled her "egasus to!ards Percy. <A%a(ons* #or!ard=.. &ut Percy had only one goal. <Let %e see your "o!er= Does !ater do your $idding. <>ou see. He "ointed at the giant. Inters"ersed a%ong their ran)s !ere a do(en $attle #or)li#ts* their shar"ened tines glea%ing in the sunset and #la%ing $olts noc)ed in their cross$o!s. <6reat. . Her eyes glea%ed.s ar%y cheered .Does it heal you. Poly$otes #i1ed that. Her e1"ression said8 I could hug you right no!. intact eastern #lan).. The A%a(ons lo!ered their s"ears and charged do!n the hill. He s!i"ed his trident and s%ashed the nearest $ric) arch* unleashing a !ater#all. To the #inish. The giant. Her troo"s. 3n the largest #or)li#t stood a girl !ho loo)ed li)e an older ersion o# Reyna* in $lac) co%$at ar%our !ith a glittering gold $elt round her !aist. She shouted* <Ro%ans= Ad ance=. The li4uid s"lattered the ground in #ront o# hi%. <6o on* then* son o# Ne"tune=.3ur rein#orce%ents ha e arri ed= Ro%e !ill #all today=. cry echoed through the alley. Poly$otes taunted. As the torrent "assed through his #ingers it turned dar) green. <A%a(ons*. 5ran) said. <Gueen Hylla=. Their #or)li#ts $arrelled into $attle. 'e. <>ou. A%a(on and Ro%an lines s!ung to!ards the ene%y li)e the Doors o# Death the%sel es.ridge . <Destroy=. <She sur i ed=. Poly$otes laughed.. The A%a(on 4ueen shouted8 <To %y sister.

He +u%"ed o er a $urning scor"ion and duc)ed as hanni$al thre! a 0yclo"s across his "ath.% #ine=. Tyson called. s"illing #ro% his !ound. He )ne! he couldn.s groin is sensiti e. He "lunged Ri"tide into the giant. <&ut I !ill $rea) you still.<'y touch turns !ater to "oison*. Percy )e"t running. Ella !as #luttering a$o e hi%* dodging %issiles and calling out ad ice8 <The groin.t )ill Poly$otes alone.s see !hat it does to your $lood=.. Tyson #ound its groin. The Earth$orn.s #ace. 3ut o# the corner o# his eye* he sa! Tyson "ounding the Earth$orn into the ground li)e a ga%e o# !hac)-a-%ole. The cut !as already closing. <I. While Poly$otes !as $linded* Percy charged. He "assed 'rs 3.. Percy yelled as he ran $y* #ollo!ed $y a giant screa%ing $loody %urder. <What-. He thre! his net at Percy* $ut Percy rolled out o# the !ay. $ut Arion sto%"ed hi% into a "ile o# $rea)#ast cereal.. the $lood o# i%%ortals . 3ne grain s"irit yelled* <Wheat= I. <6ood try* de%igod*.s $elly then !ithdre! it and aulted a!ay* lea ing the giant roaring in "ain. S'ASH= <6ood. <Percy needs hel"-. <Let.% good=. He turned and $olted to!ards the city.ll gi e you !heat=. >es. <6otta catch %e #irst*. He di erted the !ater#all straight into the giant. Poly$otes yelled* closing #ast.Leary* !ho loo)ed u" curiously !ith a gorgon !riggling in her %outh. Poly$otes said. Gueen Hylla and Reyna +oined #orces* #or)li#t and "egasus riding .Stand still and die=. he snarled. the giant yelled incredulously. <I. Percy had no intention o# doing that. &ut he did ha e a "lan. <>ou run* co!ard. The stri)e !ould ha e dissol ed any lesser %onster* $ut Poly$otes +ust staggered and loo)ed do!n at the golden ichor . Percy said. <Die=. In the distance* he sa! Ha(el and Arion gallo"ing across the $attle#ield* cutting do!n centaurs and )ar"oi.

% only one god. When the colu%n cru%$led* Percy used the unleashed !ater to guide the colla"se . <0o%"letely unacce"ta$le=. Percy $olted #or the city li%its. he co%"lained.. . E1cuse %e a %o%ent. The nearest statue o# the god !as a$out si1ty #eet ahead. <I.s head. <>es* I )no!= Wait . <Ter%inus* co%e on=. It..I. When "eo"le don. Percy too) another ste" #or!ard* and the god shrie)ed indignantly.t care= Rules are rules. <I guard $orders.. <&uildings on #ire= In aders= 6et the% out o# here* Percy /ac)son=. The giant s!ung his trident.t they $e ci ili(ed and attac) %ore slo!ly..s this giant* Poly$otes. <Ter%inus=. 5ran) turned hi%sel# into an ele"hant and sto%"ed through so%e 0yclo"es* and Da)ota held the golden eagle high* $lasting lightning at any %onsters that dared to challenge the 5i#th 0ohort. He glanced $ac) and sa! the giant al%ost !ithin ar%. His stone eyes sna""ed o"en as Percy ran to!ards hi%. Ter%inus co%"lained. <&ut !e.t sto" all the %issiles*. <Why can. <I can. A god and de%igod !or)ing together .together* scattering the dar) shades o# #allen !arriors. <Hel" %e )ill the giant*.t )ill giants.% trying*. All that !as great* $ut Percy needed a di##erent )ind o# hel". $ringing do!n se eral tons o# $ric)s on the giant. Percy said* <and this !ill all $e o er. he said. <I don.s not in %y +o$ descri"tion. <&ut there. To $uy so%e ti%e* Percy duc)ed $ehind one o# the a4ueduct. that.t #ollo! the rules* I get ery* ery angry.. He needed a god.. Ter%inus closed his eyes in concentration..s reach. I don.re under attac).s the only !ay to )ill hi%. A #la%ing green cannon$all sailed o erhead and suddenly a"ori(ed. Ter%inus sni##ed. <Sto" right there* young %an= No !ea"ons inside the Po%erian Line=. he yelled.s colu%ns.

Percy said. <What are you-. Poly$otes "ointed his trident and ran to!ards Percy.% 'AD=. He "ushed the statue o er and turned $ac) to Percy. <I. <6reat o##er*. <>ou 7 you !ill die slo!ly*. <&ut I thin) I. <That. They slithered a!ay !ith 5ran) chasing a#ter the% in hot !easely "ursuit. <Hold that thought. As the last %onsters !ere %o""ed u"* Percy. 5ran) changed #or% . 5resh chaos s"read through the ran)s..s #riends started gathering* #or%ing a ring around the giant. The !ater !as still "ouring o er hi%* turning to "oison and creating a stea%ing %arsh around his #eet.% going to head-$utt you so hard . 5eel that.Those are %y hands round your nec)* you $ig $ully. <I !ill torture you under the sea. He shoo) his head* and %ore $asilis)s #le! #ro% his hair.. <I !ill ta)e you "risoner* Percy /ac)son*. <Hey* ugly=. Poly$otes #ro!ned* o$ iously con#used that he !as $eing told o## $y a statue.ll +ust )ill you instead.Percy thought 5ran) had lost his %ind* $ut !hen 5ran) charged the $asilis)s* they a$solutely #rea)ed out. He "ic)ed u" his trident* no! dri""ing !ith green eno%. <Shut u"=. <No! I. Poly$otes $arrelled across the city li%its.s A6AINST THE R2LES=. <THAT. 6et o er here= I. . Poly$otes snarled. As the giant reached the Po%erian Line* Percy +u%"ed aside li)e a $ull#ighter.. All around the%* the $attle !as !inding do!n. he gro!led.Percy s%iled. <6et $ac)=. shrin)ing into so%ething lean and #urry 7 a !easel.% strangling you.. E ery day the !ater !ill heal you* and e ery day I !ill $ring you closer to death. <Rarrr=. Poly$otes $ello!ed in rage. Ter%inus cried. Poly$otes $urst #ro% the ruins o# the a4ueduct. 5ran) !arned. Ter%inus shrie)ed. the giant "ro%ised. He s"rinted $ac) to!ards the giant.S IT=. Ha(el s"urred Arion and "ut hersel# $et!een the $asilis)s and the ca%"ers.

.s head as hard as he could into Poly$otes.T=. A%ong the chanters !as Reyna hersel#* !ho held u" her hand and gras"ed Percy. <Ha=.s #ace. Percy +u%"ed u"* aulting o## the giant. &e#ore he )ne! it* they !ere raising hi% on a shield. The giant stu%$led $ac)!ards* tri""ing o er Ter%inus.s $reast"late* sin)ing the 0elestial $ron(e hilt-dee" in his chest.ll ne er !in=. 5or a %o%ent* the $attle#ield !as silent e1ce"t #or a #e! #ires $urning* and a #e! retreating %onsters screa%ing in "anic.t reali(e Percy !as charging until it !as too late. They %o$$ed hi%. <>ou cannot de#eat %e alone. He. <Percy /ac)son* you.<Enough=.s #ace.d li)e you to %eet %y #riend Ter%inus.s )nee* and dro e Ri"tide straight through one o# the %etal %ouths on Poly$otes. <>ou DIDN. Percy staggered a!ay* co%"letely e1hausted..s in congratulation. Percy raised the stone head a$o e the giant. Tyson* Ella and 'rs 3. Too late* a!areness and #ear da!ned in the giant.. said the head o# Ter%inus.. Percy s%ashed the god. <I. shouted Ter%inus. The giant laughed so hard that he didn. The Ro%ans $egan to chant* <Percy= Percy=.s "edestal and crashing to the ground. Then the %o$ o# cheering Ro%ans carried hi% around the .s )ill this u"start. e got yoursel# a deal= Let. The giant ste""ed on the statue and $ro)e Ter%inus in three "ieces . Arion !as ni$$ling contentedly on a golden shield.s a god=. While he !as trying to get u"* cla!ing at the s!ord in his chest* Percy he#ted the head o# the statue. the giant groaned. The cry changed to* <Praetor= Praetor=. <That !ill teach hi% to o$ey the rules o# Ro%e. <I. <>ou. A ragged circle o# Ro%ans and A%a(ons stood around Percy. 5ran) and Ha(el !ere grinning at hi% !ith "ride.Leary !ere there.% not alone.s nose* and the giant dissol ed* cru%$ling into a stea%ing hea" o# sea!eed* re"tile s)in and "oisonous %uc). "edestal* $ody and head.

Po%erian Line* care#ully a oiding Ter%inus.s $orders* and escorted hi% $ac) ho%e to 0a%" /u"iter. .

.

LI .

Wind ny%"hs (i""ed around the roo%* deli ering orders o# "i((a* $urgers* stea)s* salads* 0hinese #ood and $urritos* all #lying at ter%inal elocity. ho! Hylla had de#eated her challenger 3trera in t!o consecuti e duels to the death* so that the A%a(ons !ere no! calling their 4ueen Hylla T!ice-Kill. She told hi% !hat had ha""ened a#ter they. Whate er the case* no$ody co%"lained. The restored golden eagle stood "roudly $ehind the "raetor. He had to e1"lain that he already had a girl#riend. !hich see%ed to $e the sa%e thing #or the A%a(ons. %agical horns o# "lenty that s"illed out recycling !ater#alls o# #ruit* chocolate and #resh-$a)ed coo)ies.Percy THE 5EAST 35 53RT2NA HAD N3THIN6 to do !ith tuna* !hich !as #ine !ith Percy.d hel"ed out $y $andaging the !ounded a#ter the $attle.d disar%ed hi% in Seattle. 0olour#ul A%a(on and Ro%an $anners hung side $y side #ro% the ra#ters. 0asualties had $een light* and the #e! ca%"ers !ho. 3r %ay$e Pluto had gi en those #ol)s a "ass* li)e he had #or Ha(el. Des"ite the e1hausting $attle* e eryone !as in good s"irits.s ta$le* and the !alls !ere decorated !ith cornuco"ias . E en the #auns !ere in ited* since they. 0a%"ers* A%a(ons and Lares cro!ded the %ess hall #or a la ish dinner.t $een ta)en to the 2nder!orld. 5ortunately Kin(ie too) it !ell.d "re iously died and co%e $ac) to li#e* li)e 6!en* hadn. The cohorts %ingled #reely !ith the A%a(ons* +u%"ing #ro% couch to couch as they "leased* and #or once the soldiers o# the 5i#th !ere !elco%e e ery!here. .d le#t Seattle . Percy changed seats so %any ti%es he lost trac) o# his dinner. There !as a lot o# #lirting and ar%-!restling . At one "oint Percy !as cornered $y Kin(ie* the A%a(on !ho. 'ay$e Thanatos had turned a $lind eye.

Kin(ie said* $atting her eyes. &ut* loo)ing around this roo%* I thin) !e $oth %ade good choices..t )no! !hat to say.<3trera stayed dead the second ti%e*. The sisters raised their glasses to Percy and $ec)oned hi% #or!ard. E ery$ody as)ed #or a s"eech* $ut Percy didn. Strangely* our destinies !ere %ade "ossi$le $y the hero you all +ust raised to "raetor on the $attle#ield . 5ortuna !ould $less the%= He "assed his hand o er Percy.t the $est "erson #or "raetor* $ut the ca%"ers dro!ned hi% out !ith a""lause. <That.d loo) great in an iron collar and an orange +u%"suit..t tell i# she !as )idding or not. Gueen Hylla "ounded hi% on the $ac). He "rotested that he really !asn. He ri""ed o"en a teddy $ear and "ronounced good o%ens #or the co%ing year . Percy /ac)son.. She #or%ally !elco%ed the A%a(ons* than)ing the% #or their hel". I# you e er need a ne! girl#riend 7 !ell* I thin) you.t al!ays seen eye to eye . <We ha e you to than) #or that. Reyna raised her hands #or 4uiet. It #elt li)e so%eone !as "ressing a hot iron into his s)in* $ut Percy %anaged not to screa%. 3cta ian e%$raced hi% and !his"ered* <I ho"e it hurt.s ar%8 a trident* SPGR and a single stri"e. <>ou earned these* Percy..s an understate%ent. 'ore cheering. Then she hugged her sister and e ery$ody a""lauded. The Ro%an sy%$ols $urned onto Percy. . <And I.. e decided not to )ill you. Reyna too) a!ay his "ro$atio nec) "late.s ar% and shouted8 <Percy /ac)son* son o# Ne"tune* #irst year o# ser ice=. Reyna continued. Then Reyna ga e hi% an eagle %edal and "ur"le cloa)* sy%$ols o# the "raetor. <I +oined 0a%" /u"iter. <She +oined the A%a(ons*.. Hylla laughed. He "olitely than)ed her and changed seats. 3cta ian shot hi% a dirty loo)* then turned to the cro!d and s%iled li)e this !as all his idea.. <'y sister and I ha en. Percy couldn. 3nce e eryone had eaten and the "lates sto""ed #lying* Reyna %ade a short s"eech.

t 4uite reco ered #ro% the $attle* $ut the #ires !ere out* %ost o# the de$ris had $een s!e"t u"* and the citi(ens !ere deter%ined to cele$rate.. <'an* congrats and stu##= A!eso%e= Hey* do you ha e any s"are change-. Percy and his #riends dri#ted do!n to the city* !hich !asn.s ta$le. <>es* good.d "redicted Percy.ll )ee" that in %ind.s ca"e is an inch too lo! on the . Tyson )e"t calling #or "eanut-$utter sand!iches* eating the% as #ast as the ny%"hs could deli er. E eryone called the% the sa iours o# Ro%e* and they deser ed it. Percy sat #or a !hile !ith Tyson and Ella* !ho !ere honoured guests at Da)ota.re in to!n* +ust let %e )no!.s great-grand#ather* Shen Lun* to the legion.t caused the JD@Q earth4ua)e a#ter all. Roy Disney. All the attention e%$arrassed Percy* $ut he !as ha""y to see ho! !ell Ha(el and 5ran) !ere $eing treated. There !as e en tal) a$out reinstating 5ran). :itellius the Lar #ollo!ed* stu%$ling o er his shi%%ering "ur"le toga and read+usting his s!ord* telling e eryone ho! he.s 5east* and Inde"endence Day #or Pan(i$ar. And Tyson.s $irthday* and 5ortuna.s rise to greatness. At the Po%erian Line* the statue o# Ter%inus !ore a "a"er "arty hat. Percy said. He %ade his !ay around the %ess hall one %ore ti%e* $ecause all the ca%"ers !anted hi% at their ta$le. </une t!enty-#ourth is a good day. A""arently he hadn. <Than)s* Ter%inus*. <Welco%e* "raetor=. <I. She glanced at Tyson* then $lushed and loo)ed a!ay.s hat* a stac) o# coo)ies in each hand. A#ter dinner* the entire legion got the night o##. he said. she said. Don the #aun "o""ed u" in a nurse. <S"otted his talent right a!ay=. Ella "erched at his shoulder on to" o# the couch and ni$$led #uriously on cinna%on rolls..s roll o# honour. #aces s%ashed !hile you. <0inna%on rolls are good #or har"ies*. <>ou need any giants. <I de%anded he +oin the 5i#th 0ohort=.<2%* than)s*. Percy said. >our "raetor.. the ghost said "roudly.

<Although*. They .ll ta)e the $lue cro!n. <5ran)=.% gonna $e Percy /ac)son !hen I gro! u"*. a gentle rain o# gluten-#ree R. 'ay$e it !as an old Ro%an %usical tradition. The co##ee sho"s !ere doing a $ris) $usiness* and street %usicians #illed the air !ith the sounds o# guitar* lyre* "an"i"es and ar%"it noises. They "ut on their hats and continued to the #oru%* !hich !as lit u" !ith %ulticoloured lanterns. She o##ered Ha(el a gold "irate hat. Where is %y assistant. Ha(el s%iled and ru##led her hair. There . <I. Ha(el said.s head* <5ran) Phang !ould $e good* too.. she told Ha(el sole%nly..s a good thing to $e* /ulia. She held u" a $o1 #ull o# "arty hats. 9Percy didn. >ou go ahead. he said.L. 5inally he said* <I. e $een in a "arty %ood too...% a little tired* guys.5.d #ound a "lay%ate she could roughhouse !ith. The goddess Iris %ust.t get that last one. cu"ca)e si%ulations* !hich Percy #igured !ould either %a)e cleaning u" harder* or re$uilding easier.le#t. As Percy and his #riends strolled "ast the da%aged Senate House* a da((ling rain$o! a""eared in the night s)y. The little girl ran out #ro% $ehind the "edestal.s $etter. She !as !earing a green dress tonight* and her hair !as still in "igtails.3. Percy tried to decline* $ut /ulia ga e hi% the $ig adoring eyes. 5or a !hile* Percy !andered the streets !ith Ha(el and 5ran)* !ho )e"t $rushing shoulders. <That. 5ran) said* "ic)ing out a hat sha"ed li)e a "olar $ear. <Ah* sure*. The #ountains glo!ed "ur"le. 2n#ortunately the goddess sent another $lessing* too . Ha(el and 5ran) "rotested* $ut Percy could tell they !anted so%e ti%e alone. When she s%iled* Percy sa! that her #ront teeth !ere starting to co%e in./ulia=. <I.. 5inally* she. The cu"ca)es !ould %a)e great $ric)s.Leary "laying !ith Hanni$al in the 5ield o# 'ars. that. As he headed $ac) to ca%"* he sa! 'rs 3.

Reyna had gi en hi% the second "raetor. not $y a long shot. He drea%ed he !as carrying /uno across the Little Ti$er.s house* too. To%orro!* %ay$e the ne1t day* his #riends #ro% 0a%" Hal#-&lood !ould arri e.t stay there.t ery heroic* e en in a drea%=.s house on the :ia Princi"alis* $ut as soon as Percy loo)ed inside he )ne! he couldn. she as)ed. $ut so%ething told hi% it %ight $e a !hile $e#ore he returned ho%e.d stood here !ith Ha(el* getting his #irst good ie! o# ca%". 6aia and the giants !eren.t done causing trou$le .t !ait to see Anna$eth again. Percy said. /uno tutted disa""ro ingly.#rolic)ed around* sla%%ing into each other* $rea)ing #orti#ications and generally ha ing an e1cellent ti%e. Eight %onths is nothing* %y dear. Percy headed $ac) to the 5i#th 0ohort $arrac)s and cli%$ed into his $un). As %uch as he cared a$out 0a%" /u"iter* he couldn. I lost eight centuries once* %issed %ost o# the &y(antine E%"ire. The %o%ent she hit the !ater* she anished and rea""eared on the shore. Percy sto""ed %idstrea%. <>ou stole eight %onths o# %y li#e #or a 4uest that too) a !ee). she cac)led* <that !asn.s stu##. <3h* %y*. She !as disguised as a cra(y old $ag lady* s%iling and singing an Ancient 6ree) lulla$y as her leathery hands gri""ed Percy. and Percy !as sure that he !ould $e on that dragon-headed !arshi". Why-. He let go and du%"ed the goddess in the ri er.. It see%ed li)e so long ago that he. Percy already #elt uneasy ta)ing /ason. He didn. It !as nice* $ut it !as also #ull o# /ason 6race. Ne! >or) and 0a%" Hal#-&lood . He yearned #or his old li#e . <Eight %onths*. Things !ould $e a!)!ard enough !hen /ason ca%e $ac) .t !ant to ta)e the guy. Percy su%%oned the "o!er o# the ri er. He "assed out instantly. It s!irled round . No! he !as %ore interested in !atching the eastern hori(on.s nec). At the #ort gates* Percy sto""ed and ga(ed across the alley. <Do you still !ant to sla" %e* dear-. <>ou %ortals and your short li es.s title o# "raetor.

t get testy.s %onsters and sche%es as !ell* and )ee" you hidden #ro% your #riends $ac) east all that ti%e .. I. <No!* no!*. Percy said.t sound so sur"rised* dear= I. <>ou and I ne er got along.s a #ullti%e +o$= I# I had to guard you #ro% 6aia. it. Why !ould you !ant a loose cannon on your tea%-.% right. >ou are uns!er ingly loyal* and you ins"ire loyalty.% glad you understand. <&ecause I )no! you* Percy /ac)son. /uno laced her croo)ed #ingers. <E1actly. >ou are a hero o# Ro%e.t needed at 0a%" /u"iter until no!* to sa e the Ro%ans at their %o%ent o# greatest crisis.s $ac)* "rotecting your #riends .. 3""osing 6aia* !or)ing $ehind /u"iter. 5irst* I needed /ason and his #riends to #ree %e #ro% %y "rison .hi%* s"inning into a #roth o# !hite !ater. They trust you no!. <6reat*. Percy sent a !a e crashing do!n on the old !o%an* $ut /uno si%"ly disa""eared and %ateriali(ed #urther do!n the shore. <Don. Percy de%anded. <I al!ays !anted to $e glue. >our ti%ing here !as "er#ect.. <A distraction. she said* <you are in a $ad %ood.s sel#estee%. <A loose cannon.. Together* you and /ason !ill unite the ca%"s. . Percy #elt the !ater rising !ith his anger* s"inning #aster round hi%. <>our "rison. >ou !ould ha e $een a distraction . They.. <Don. I# !e are to de#eat 6aia* our "lans %ust $e ti%ed "er#ectly.% a s!eet old !o%an... &ut you )no! I. no* %uch $etter you ta)e a sa#e na". /uno said.. In %any !ays* you are i%"ulsi e* $ut !hen it co%es to your #riends you are as constant as a co%"ass needle. The eight %onths $et!een 7 !ell* I do ha e other "lans $re!ing* %y $oy. <Why %e-. a loose cannon. <The Heroes o# 3ly%"us %ust unite= A#ter your ictory o er Kronos in 'anhattan 7 !ell* I #ear that !ounded /u"iter. >ou are the glue that !ill unite the se en.>ou !ere in "rison and they let you out-. e had ti%e to $uild the Argo II. And !hile you sle"t /ason 6race has learned to trust the 6ree)s. At any rate* you !eren. <'y*..

She has a hard tas) ahead o# her !hen you arri e in Ro%e. <And he !as !rong. Percy said.. I. The ri er s!irled out o# Percy.s control. <>ou ne er li)ed her.ll tell you this* Percy /ac)son. Percy #elt his anger rising again.re calling her a trou$le%a)er.t )no! her at all. <He should $e used to that* a#ter so %any aeons %arried to %e* $ut alas= 'y "roud and o$stinate hus$and re#uses to as) %ere de%igods #or hel" again. She. <And i# !e #ail-. <Anna$eth-. &ut you %ust "ro e yoursel#. 3nly $y sailing to the ancient lands and closing the Doors o# Death !ill you con ince /u"iter that you are !orthy o# #ighting side $y side !ith the gods. the one !ho hates %e %ost.s the "erson I %ost !ant !atching %y $ac). The one !ho !ill cause you the %ost trou$le is the one closest to you . When the !a e receded* she !as gone. <We !ill see* young hero. The goddess s%iled dryly.<&ecause I !as right*.. <Then 6aia has already !on. No! you. Percy said. <I# Ro%ans and 6ree)s don. It !ill $e the greatest 4uest since Aeneas sailed #ro% Troy=.. Whether she is u" to it 7 I do not )no!.t get along-.. He $elie es the giants can $e #ought !ithout you* and 6aia can $e #orced $ac) to her slu%$ers. He san) into the dar)ness o# the !hirl"ool. . The old lady shrugged.>ou don. I )no! $etter. Percy su%%oned a #ist o# !ater and s%ashed it do!n at the old lady.

.

LII .

S. As Percy !as a "raetor no!* he could go "retty %uch !here er he !anted* !hene er he !anted. The letter read8 6ood +o$* )id. 5ran) reached into his coat "oc)et. A real %an.. The engineer cor"s !as !or)ing on a ne! arch that !ould co%%e%orate the ictory o er Poly$otes.. Percy told the% a$out his drea% o# /uno. <These !ere on %y "illo! this %orning. 3n the sta$le roo#* Ella roosted in a "ile o# old Ro%an scrolls* her head tuc)ed under her !ings. Ha(el #ro!ned. $ut Percy )ne! they.s $est !ea"on is his %ind. This !as your %o%. He "assed the% to Percy. . .. Tyson snored on a $ed o# hay ne1t to the unicorns* a $liss#ul loo) on his #ace li)e he !as drea%ing o# "onies.Leary had rolled on her $ac) and co ered her ears !ith her "a!s. Sho! hi%* 5ran). Percy thought he %ight $ring out his "iece o# #ire!ood* $ut instead he "roduced a thin "a"er$ac) $oo) and a note on red stationery. 'rs 3. They didn.s cele$ration. P.s #a ourite $oo). <The gods !ere $usy last night. The $oo) !as The Art o# War $y Sun T(u.t ha e ti%e. <Li)e the Tooth 5airy isited. 3n the !ay* they "assed the sta$les* !here Tyson and 'rs 3. Percy had ne er heard o# it* $ut he could guess !ho sent it. a "arade around the city #ollo!ed $y a !ee) o# ga%es and cele$rations . Ha(el said she.Percy THE NENT '3RNIN6* PER0>* HAPEL AND 5RANK ate $rea)#ast early* then headed into the city $e#ore the senate !as due to con ene. The citi(ens !ere already $usy s!ee"ing u" cu"ca)e si%ulations* con#etti and "arty hats #ro% last night. When they got to the #oru%* they sat $y the #ountains and !atched the sun co%e u". 6i e it a read.Leary !ere slee"ing in.d ne er get the chance.d e en heard tal) o# a #or%al triu%"h #or the three o# the% .

% ali e. <'ay$e 'ars is di##erent than Ares.d ha e to en#orce the la!s o# death and ha e Thanatos $ring %e $ac) to the 2nder!orld. &ac) in :ancou er* 'ars told %e I. Percy as)ed. It should ha e $een.. I thin) %y dad is turning a $lind eye. I thin) he !ants %e to #ind Nico.t on that list o# esca"ed souls. I thin) .t isit %e or e en tal) to %e !ithout ac)no!ledging I. <>ou !ere !illing to $urn u" to sa e the 4uest. <>ou thin) your dad is gi ing you a "ass-. Percy !ondered i# they.t )no!.. &esides* 5ran) had already gi en enough. He. <Ha(el* ho! a$out you-. 'y na%e !asn.t telling hi% e erything.. <'ay$e*. 5ran) said dou$t#ully. I. They see%ed %ore co%#orta$le around each other this %orning* not 4uite as ner ous and a!)!ard. He !ondered i# 'ars had said so%ething a$out hi%* $ut Percy !asn.I ho"e your #riend Percy has learned so%e res"ect #or %e.. Then he. Percy handed $ac) the $oo). 5ran) #li""ed through the "ages..d ha e to "ut %y duty ahead o# %y li#e or the entire !ar !ould go side!ays. 'ars can. <Pluto can. I thought he %eant #reeing Thanatos* $ut no! 7 I don.d started dating. <Wo!.t e1"ect %ore than that.. <No*. He had !atched his #a%ily ho%e $urn do!n. He ho"ed so* $ut he decided it !as $etter not to as). He glanced ner ously at Percy* and Percy got the #eeling 5ran) !asn.s hand. Ha(el s4uee(ed 5ran). She loo)ed do!n. Percy said. Ha(el shrugged. she ad%itted. Percy glanced at the sunrise* ho"ing to see a !arshi" . <There. I don.t sure he !anted to )no!. <Any !ord #ro% Pluto-. Se eral dia%onds "o""ed out o# the ground at her #eet.d lost his %other and his grand%other.% still ali e* so %ay$e the !orst is yet to co%e.s a lot in here a$out sacri#ice* )no!ing the cost o# !ar. Percy as)ed.t thin) Ares can read. <In a !ay* I thin) he sent a %essage through Thanatos. <>ou ris)ed your li#e*.

The tension $ro)e.s %ore to the "ro"hecy. /uno had !arned that Anna$eth had a di##icult +o$ ahead o# her* and that she. a$out sinister #aces a""earing in the shado!s o# the hills. Percy re%e%$ered his drea%.t $elie e that* $ut still 7 it !orried hi%. Tyson ca%e running across the #oru%* Ella #luttering $ehind hi% !ith a scroll in her talons. <As soon as the shi" gets here* !e. When they . Percy said. No! that Percy had ta)en a!ay his chance at "raetor* 3cta ian !ould $e loo)ing #or other !ays to e1ert in#luence.descending #ro% the s)y. I +ust ho"e !e can con ince her .d already tal)ed a$out this. I# he got hold o# Ella 7 <>ou. I# 3cta ian #inds out Ella has the Si$ylline &oo)s %e%ori(ed 7.ll sail #or Ro%e. a$out the child o# !isdo%* and the %ar) o# Athena $urning through Ro%e 7 do you )no! !hat that.I %ean 7 !e )no! you. <We. All three o# the% started crac)ing u"* %ay$e a little too %uch* $ut it !as a relie# to $e ali e* !ith the !ar% sun shining* and not !orrying . <The "ro"hecy Ella ga e us . he ad%itted... Percy shuddered. And you could "ic) anyone at 0a%" /u"iter no!. <Are you )idding-. <>ou thin) I.% not sure*..ll #ind your $rother*. &ut are you sure.re in.s a$out-. Percy said.0o%e on=. I %ean* #or her o!n sa#ety. <Percy 7.re not "art o# the se en* !e. <I thin) there. e got tons o# #riends at the other ca%".. <I# you !ant us to co%e along* !e. 'ay$e Ella can re%e%$er the rest o# it. 3cta ian used "ro"hecies to )ee" his "o!er at ca%". <Percy=.re right*. <I. <We. He couldn. Ha(el too) a dee" $reath. 5ran) sli""ed his $oo) into his "oc)et.d understand .d lea e %y tea% $ehind. e got to "rotect her. I# !e.s !heat ger%* running #ro% canni$als and hiding under $lue giant $utts in Alas)a. Ha(el and 5ran) e1changed uneasy loo)s* li)e they. <We need to ta)e her !ith us . So #ar* nothing. 5ran) said.d cause trou$le #or the 4uest. at least #or the %o%ent . Percy "ro%ised.A#ter sur i ing 5leecy.

5ran) as)ed. <6reetings #ro% your #riends at 0a%" Hal#-&lood* et cetera.% 7 ah 7 su"re%e co%%ander o# the Argo II. >ours in de%igodishness* and all that. <So yeah* I. said the guy in the ideo.re gonna $e sailing to!ards you in a$out* I dunno* an hour in this $ig %other !arshi".reached the #ountain* Ella dro""ed the scroll in Percy.d +ust had se eral cu"s o# co##ee.d a""reciate it i# you. The "arch%ent turned $lan)..s old $oy#riend. He loo)ed o## screen and yelled8 <What. <The scroll is #ro% Leo.d seen that #ace in an old "hoto. <S"ecial deli ery*. she said. I.% the 7. The scroll loo)ed unre%ar)a$le* $ut !hen Percy s"read it across his la"* a ideo recording #lic)ered on the "arch%ent. He. Percy understood !hy.. So o)ay= I# you could tell the Ro%ans that.s a$andoned house in Se!ard. 3il la%"s s!ung $ac) and #orth on the ceiling. Ha(el said. Ha(el loo)ed li)e she. A !ind s"irit.d not* li)e* $lo! us out o# the s)y or anything. 5ran) as)ed. <6ood %orning* $rothers=. <What. Tyson had hay in his hair and "eanut $utter in his teeth. He is #unny and s%all. He turned $ac) to the "arch%ent screen. <>ou )no! that guy-. A )id in 6ree) ar%our grinned u" at the%. <It can. He !as sitting in a dar) roo% !ith ti%$er !alls li)e a shi". See you soon.d seen a ghost. >es* Ella got a s"ecial deli ery. and not +ust #ro% his drea%s.s %y title. <What-. He re%e%$ered the "hoto in Ha(el. Ha(el sti#led a screa%. He had an i%"ish #ace* curly $lac) hair and !ild eyes* li)e he.s !rong-. Slo!ly* Percy reali(ed the curly-haired )id loo)ed #a%iliar .t $e*. <:ery #unny* Pi"er*. <5ro% an aura.. We.. <What-.s ca$in. This is Leo.A% I li)e ad%iral* or ca"tain* or . A girl. Leo gru%$led. Peace out.. The )id on the !arshi" loo)ed e1actly li)e Ha(el.s oice yelled $ac)* <Re"air $oy. <Hey=. . >eah* I li)e that= Any!ay* !e.s la".

. Tyson )e"t !a ing and grinning at Percy. &ut !hy do %ore.<It.. He. <0o%e on.t %a)e hi%sel# $elie e that. The senate shi#ted restlessly* $ut %ost o# the% !ere too a#raid to interru"t 3cta ian !hile he !as on a roll. E en Tyson and Ella had $een allo!ed to sit in the $ac). <&ut ho! 7 ho! . &ut he. <It. <Why should !e trust these 6ree)s-.d ne er yet run across a coincidence.s na%e is Leo.s $een se enty-so%ething years. And it. Percy said. chairs on the dais* !hich %ade Percy sel#conscious. 3cta ian continued.t ..Why te%"t #ate-. "art o# the 4uest*. The Senate House !as "ac)ed. <That guy. e got to !arn the% a$out the !arshi". It has to $e a 7.ll $e the #irst to congratulate our heroes #or $ringing $ac) the legion. <I. <>es* I )no!. 3cta ian !as saying. Percy said. Percy said. <The ca%" is sa#e*. <It can. It !asn. 3cta ian sta%%ered* <I !asn.s eagle and so %uch I%"erial gold= Truly !e ha e $een $lessed !ith good #ortune. she said. <I..t $e*.re .t easy loo)ing digni#ied !earing a $edsheet and a "ur"le ca"e.s "lan and the Pro"hecy o# Se en. The senators ca%e %arching into the #oru% !ith Reyna at the lead. They !ere interru"ted $y horns $lo!ing in the distance.s Sa%%y :alde(*.s %eeting ti%e*. And you. We. <. 'ean!hile the sun cli%$ed in the s)y* shining through the $ro)en senate roo# and gi ing 3cta ian a natural s"otlight.% glad you as)ed.d seen a lot o# things8 destiny* "ro"hecy* %agic* %onsters* #ate. :eterans and ghosts #illed the $ac) ro!s. 3 er the "ast #e! years he. Gueen Hylla* 5ran) and Ha(el sat in the #ront ro! !ith the senators.d $een "acing the senate #loor #or #i e %inutes* going on and on* trying to counter !hat Percy had told the% a$out /uno. He !anted to say a coincidence* $ut he couldn. Percy stood* ta)ing the 4uestion as an o"ening. Percy and Reyna occu"ied %atching "raetors.

#or $etter or !orse. <>ou. <Ha=. <I* #or one* trust Percy. this other grou"* 0a%" Hal#-&lood. An uneasy ri""le s"read through the senate. And there. <I )no!* I )no!*..!ise to let %e e1"lain* since I !as. <She told %e that the Pro"hecy o# Se en is co%ing to "ass. It has to change i# !e. <6aia is !a)ing*. A #e! nodded in agree%ent. 6ree) or not* he restored the honour o# the legion.re to de#eat 6aia. <He. 6!en said #ro% the second ro!. Se en de%igods* 6ree) and Ro%an* !ill ha e to close the Doors o# Death together.s right*.s a good reason #or that. <>ou clai% /uno intends #or us to !or) !ith this . Would anyone here say he is not a true hero o# Ro%e-. Percy said.t serious-. 'ars also a""eared to you in "erson. 3cta ian had no choice $ut to sit do!n and try not to loo) e%$arrassed.s only the $eginning.s !hat the Pro"hecy o# Se en %eans. So%e o# the senators snic)ered.. Do you thin) t!o o# your %ost i%"ortant gods !ould a""ear at ca%" i# the situation !asn. 3cta ian s%iled s%ugly.. &ut that can change. <We. So%e o# his allies in the senate $egan nodding and gru%$ling. That. shouted a Lar #ro% the $ac) ro!. <The last ti%e a "raetor tried to inter"ret the Pro"hecy o# Se en* it !as 'ichael :arus* !ho lost our eagle in Alas)a= Why should !e $elie e you no!-. e de#eated t!o o# her giants* $ut that.s !ord. she said. . E en so%e o# the eterans loo)ed uncertain. e al!ays thought o# the 6ree)s as your ene%ies. <>ou clai% this is a co%$ined 4uest*. Her o"inion could change e erything . The real !ar !ill ta)e "lace in the old land o# the gods. No$ody argued. <I carried /uno across the Ti$er*. The 4uest !ill ta)e us to Ro%e* and e entually to 6reece. Percy re%inded the%* s"ea)ing as #ir%ly as he could. >ou sa! hi% on the $attle#ield last night. Percy !atched her an1iously. Percy said. They are )no!n #or their dece"tions. I thin) the gods ha e )e"t our t!o ca%"s a"art $ecause !hene er !e %eet !e #ight.. >et the 6ree)s ha e $een our ene%ies #or aeons. Reyna stood.

Percy said. <>ou 7 !hat-. 3cta ian shouted. Reyna #ro!ned. Hear the% out...t $e !orried. <It is a lot to $elie e. A !ee) ago* !ould you ha e thought Ro%ans and A%a(ons !ould $e #ighting side $y side-.% sorry to interru"t* $ut our scouts re"ort . I. Tyson said ha""ily* "ointing at the hole in the ceiling.t reali(e it. 3n the tallest %ast* a $ig !hite #lag o# truce sna""ed in . Reyna $ac)ed u"* al%ost tri""ing o er her toga. During the Titan War last su%%er* !hile you !ere attac)ing 'ount 3thrys* !e !ere de#ending 'ount 3ly%"us in 'anhattan.. Gueen Hylla laughed. As it got closer* Percy could see $ron(e shields glinting along the sides* $illo!ing sails and a #a%iliar-loo)ing #igurehead sha"ed li)e a %etal dragon...% sure they. Percy loo)ed o er the ro!s o# ner ous* dou$t#ul s"ectators. <The de%igods o# 0a%" Hal#-&lood ha e already $een !or)ing !ith 0a%" /u"iter*. <Shi"=.s got a "oint. </ust let the% land.re %eant to go !ith %e on this 4uest. <3h* co%e on=. I.. <>ay=.<'ay$e so*. <We !ill re%e%$er that* i# this turns out to $e a tric). Percy said. Right on cue* a %essenger rushed into the Senate House* gas"ing as i# he. <>es. I #ought Kronos %ysel#.s %a)ing things u"* no!. 3cta ian loo)ed %eaning#ully at the senate. /ason is co%ing $ac) !ith a $unch o# 6ree) de%igods. Percy said. e earned your trust. <&ut I thin) I.. The other #our are on their !ay #ro% 0a%" Hal#-&lood right no!.. <I )no! it.% on your side. Ha(el and 5ran) .s hard to $elie e*. <3n your li#e-.% telling you. <Praetors= I. <He. Sure enough* a 6ree) !arshi" a""eared out o# the clouds* a$out a hal# a %ile a!ay* descending to!ards the Senate House.d run all the !ay #ro% ca%". <We +ust didn. 3ne o# the% is /ason 6race* your old "raetor. /ason !ill $ac) u" e erything I. <&ut ene%ies can $eco%e #riends. I s!ear it on %y li#e.re going to a""ear in the s)y in a hea ily ar%ed !arshi"* $ut !e shouldn. <He.>ou say they..

<>ou need to as)-.d $een their leader %uch longer than Percy... &ut these aren. The Argo II.t sure. All eyes turned to!ards Reyna. <Praetors=. Reyna said. <His #riends are attac)ing in a !arshi". Her e1"ression turned a little !ist#ul.s true. he "ro%ised.d e er seen. Her e1"ression hardened.. 'ost li)ely* the Ro%ans !ould #ollo! her lead. I# it is a tric)* then I !ill #ight !ith you* as I did last night. <No*. She studied the a""roaching !arshi". Senators* let us ad+ourn to the #oru% and %eet our 7 ne! #riends. We !ill trust his !ord . <>ou say /ason is a$oard 7 I ho"e that. Tyson ran a#ter the%* yelling* <>ay= >ay=. <Hold your #ire*. Percy said #ir%ly. !ith Ella #luttering around his head.ll see. He !as strangling his teddy $ear.. 3cta ian shot to his #eet.t ene%ies. <The o%ens are horri$le= This is a tric)* a dece"tion. the %essenger cried. &ut* #or all our sa)es* I ho"e !e can )ee" the "eace $et!een our ca%"ers and your 6ree) #riends. !hether #ro% e1cite%ent or "anic* Percy !asn. <We !ill*. We %ust attac)=.s orders 7 !ell* he didn. Let the% land. she said. He has led the% here. Percy /ac)son is your duly chosen "raetor. . I say !e stand ready* $ut do not attac).s shoulder. <What are your orders-. She. <>ou. I !ill #ight to de#end this ca%" !ith %y li#e. <>ou all raised %e as "raetor #or a reason.t )no! !hat !ould ha""en. <I trust your +udge%ent. His #ace !as red !ith rage. 0haos and con#usion* at the ery least. She glanced u" at the !arshi". Reyna stood at Percy. He +a$$ed a #inger at Percy. &ut it is not a tric). I# she etoed Percy. <&ut ha e the legion stand ready. &e!are 6ree)s $earing gi#ts=.the !ind. <I su""ort you* Percy*. It !as the %ost incredi$le shi" he. unless !e are gi en clear reason not to. 3cta ian ga e Percy a disgusted loo)* then thre! do!n his teddy $ear and #ollo!ed the cro!d. Let the% s"ea). The senators sta%"eded out o# the auditoriu% .

<0o%e on*.. He )ne! the sta)es !ere high. <Let %e introduce you to %y other #a%ily. >ou )no! that* right-. Ro%ans ta)e that seriously. <Ter%inus is going to ha e a heart attac). Ha(el said* <you s!ore on your li#e. . e %issed hi%. I# things !ent right* this !ould $e the $est day o# his li#e..re co%ing do!n right in the #oru%*. He thre! one ar% round Ha(el and one ar% round 5ran). <They. he said.I. He )ne! this day could go horri$ly !rong. She %arched outside* lea ing Percy alone !ith Ha(el and 5ran). &ut he also )ne! that Anna$eth !as on that shi". <Percy*. I# anything goes !rong* e en $y accident* 3cta ian is going to )ill you. 5ran) said ner ously. Percy s%iled..

.

. the %ost co%%on coin in the Ro%an currency syste% drach%a the sil er coin o# Ancient 6reece . &ellero"hon a 6ree) de%igod* son o# Poseidon* !ho de#eated %onsters !hile riding on Pegasus &ellona the Ro%an goddess o# !ar &y(antiu% the eastern e%"ire that lasted another J*@@@ years a#ter Ro%e #ell* under 6ree) in#luence 0elestial $ron(e a rare %etal deadly to %onsters 0entaur a race o# creatures that is hal# hu%an* hal# horse centurion an o##icer o# the Ro%an ar%y 0er$erus the three-headed dog that guards the gates o# the 2nder!orld 0eres the Ro%an goddess o# agriculture 0haron the #erry%an o# Hades !ho carries souls o# the ne!ly deceased across the ri ers Sty1 and Acheron* !hich di ide the !orld o# the li ing #ro% the !orld o# the dead cogno%en third na%e cohort a Ro%an %ilitary unit 0yclo"s 90yclo"es* "l.. a %e%$er o# a "ri%ordial race o# giants* each !ith a single eye in the %iddle o# his or her #orehead denarius 9denarii* "l.6lossary a$surdus out o# "lace* discordant Achilles the %ightiest o# the 6ree) de%igods !ho #ought in the Tro+an War Aescula"ius the Ro%an god o# %edicine and healing Alcyoneus the eldest o# the giants $orn to 6aia* destined to #ight Pluto A%a(ons a nation o# all-#e%ale !arriors Ana)lus%os Ri"tide8 the na%e o# Percy /ac)son. Their na%e co%es #ro% their shi"* the Argo* !hich !as na%ed a#ter its $uilder* Argus.s s!ord argentu% sil er Argonauts a $and o# 6ree) heroes !ho acco%"anied /ason on his 4uest to #ind the 6olden 5leece. augury a sign o# so%ething co%ing* an o%enI the "ractice o# di ining the #uture aurae in isi$le !ind s"irits auru% gold $asilis) sna)e* literally <little cro!n.

6ree) #or%8 satyr 5ields o# As"hodel the section o# the 2nder!orld !here the souls o# "eo"le !ho li ed li es o# e4ual good and e il rest 5ields o# Punish%ent the section o# the 2nder!orld !here e il souls are eternally tortured 5ortuna the Ro%an goddess o# #ortune and good luc) 5ul%inata ar%ed !ith lightningI a Ro%an legion under /ulius 0aesar !hose e%$le% !as a lightning $olt 9#ul%en. .Elysiu% the #inal resting "lace o# the souls o# the heroic and the irtuous in the 2nder!orld Ere$os a "lace o# dar)ness $et!een Earth and Hades #aun a Ro%an #orest god* "art goat and "art %an.

6aia the earth goddessI %other o# Titans* giants* 0yclo"es and other %onsters. 6ree) #or%8 Peus )ar"oi grain s"irits Laistrygonians tall canni$als #ro% the north* "ossi$ly the source o# the Sas4uatch legend Lar 9Lares* "l. 6ree) #or%8 Hera /u"iter Ro%an )ing o# the godsI also called /u"iter 3"ti%us 'a1i%us 9the $est and the greatest. Patron o# the e%"ireI di ine #ather o# Ro%ulus and Re%us. 6ree) #or%8 Athena 'ist %agic #orce that disguises things #ro% %ortals .. !ho ha e hair o# li ing* eno%ous sna)esI 'edusa. 6ree) #or%8 Ares 'iner a Ro%an goddess o# !isdo%.s rite o# "assage into %anhood Lu"a the sacred Ro%an she-!ol# that nursed the #oundling t!ins Ro%ulus and Re%us 'ars the Ro%an god o# !arI also called 'ars 2ltor. house god* ancestral s"irit legion the %a+or unit o# the Ro%an ar%y* consisting o# in#antry and ca alry troo"s legionnaire a %e%$er o# a legion Li$eralia a Ro%an #esti al that cele$rated a $oy.s eyes can turn the $eholder to stone graecus 6ree)I ene%yI outsider grea es shin ar%our gris-gris a oodoo a%ulet that "rotects #ro% e il or $rings luc) har"y a !inged #e%ale creature that snatches things Hercules the Ro%an e4ui alent o# HeraclesI the son o# /u"iter and Alc%ene* !ho !as $orn !ith great strength Hy"er$oreans "eace#ul northern giants ichor the golden $lood o# i%%ortals I%"erial gold a rare %etal deadly to %onsters* consecrated at the PantheonI its e1istence !as a closely guarded secret o# the e%"erors Iris the rain$o! goddess /uno Ro%an goddess o# !o%en* %arriage and #ertilityI sister and !i#e o# /u"iterI %other o# 'ars.. Kno!n to the Ro%ans as Terra 6egenes earth$orn %onsters gladius a short s!ord gorgons three %onstrous sisters 9Stheno* Euryale and 'edusa.

'ount 3thrys the $ase o# the Titans during the ten-year !ar !ith the 3ly%"ian godsI Saturn. When he re ealed too %uch o# the "lans o# the gods* Peus "unished hi% $y $linding hi%. Phineas a son o# Poseidon* !ho had the gi#t o# "ro"hecy. 6ree) #or%8 Poseidon 3trera #irst A%a(on 4ueen* daughter o# Ares "alliu% a cloa) or %antle !orn $y the Ro%ans Pantheon a te%"le to all the gods o# Ancient Ro%e Penthesilea a 4ueen o# the A%a(onsI daughter o# Ares and 3trera* another A%a(on 4ueen Pericly%enus a 6ree) "rince o# Pylos and a son o# Poseidon* !ho granted hi% the a$ility to sha"e-shi#t. He !as reno!ned #or his strength and "artici"ated in the oyage o# the Argonauts.s head4uarters %uster #or%al %ilitary ins"ection ne$ulae cloud ny%"hs Ne"tune the Ro%an god o# the sea. .

s $elt Hi""olyta !ore a golden !aist $elt* a gi#t #ro% her #ather* Ares* that signi#ied her A%a(onian 4ueenshi" and also ga e her strength. Saturn the Ro%an god o# agriculture* the son o# 2ranus and 6aia* and the #ather o# /u"iter. 6ree) e4ui alent8 Kronos scor"ion $allista a Ro%an %issile siege !ea"on that launched a large "ro+ectile at a distant target Senatus Po"ulus4ue Ro%anus 9SPGR. s"artus a s)eleton !arrior s"atha a ca alry s!ord Stygian iron li)e 0elestial $ron(e and I%"erial gold* a %agical %etal ca"a$le o# )illing %onsters Tartarus hus$and o# 6aiaI s"irit o# the a$yssI #ather o# the giantsI also the lo!est region o# the !orld . <The Senate and Peo"le o# Ro%e. They !ere rescued and raised $y a she!ol# and* u"on reaching adulthood* #ounded Ro%e. 6ree) e4ui alent8 Hades Poly$otes the giant son o# 6aia* the Earth 'other "raetor an elected Ro%an %agistrate and co%%ander o# the ar%y Pria% the )ing o# Troy during the Tro+an War "rinci"ia the head4uarters o# a Ro%an ca%" "ro$atio testing "eriod #or a ne! recruit in a legion "ugio a Ro%an dagger Gueen Hi""olyta. Tar4uinius Su"er$us* a )ing o# Ro%e* $ought the% #ro% a "ro"hetess na%ed Si$yl and consulted the% in ti%es o# great danger. retiarius Ro%an gladiator !ho #ought !ith a net and trident Ri er Sty1 the ri er that #or%s the $oundary $et!een Earth and the 2nder!orld Ro%ulus and Re%us the t!in sons o# 'ars and the "riestess Rhea Sil ia !ho !ere thro!n into the Ri er Ti$er $y their hu%an #ather* A%ulius.I re#ers to the go ern%ent o# the Ro%an Re"u$lic and is used as an o##icial e%$le% o# Ro%e shades s"irits Si$ylline &oo)s a collection o# "ro"hecies in rhy%e !ritten in 6ree)."ilu% a Ro%an s"ear Pluto the Ro%an god o# death and riches.

It started !ith a 4uarrel $et!een the goddesses Athena* Hera and A"hrodite. In Ancient Ro%e* e1ecuted cri%inals !ere thro!n into the ri er.Ter%inus the Ro%an god o# $oundaries and land%ar)s Thanatos the 6ree) god o# death. Ro%e !as #ounded on its $an)s. Ro%an e4ui alent8 Letus Ti$er Ri er the third-longest ri er in Italy. trire%e a ty"e o# !arshi" triu%"h a cere%onial "rocession #or Ro%an generals and their troo"s in cele$ration o# a great %ilitary ictory Tro+an War the !ar that !as !aged against the city o# Troy $y the 6ree)s a#ter Paris o# Troy too) Helen #ro% her hus$and* 'enelaus* the )ing o# S"arta. .