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THO: The Demigod Diaries - Percy Jackson and the Staff of Hermes

Annabeth and I were relaxing on the Great Lawn in Central Park when she ambushed me with a question.
You forgot, didnt you?
I went into red-alert mode. Its easy to panic when youre a new boyfriend. Sure, Id fought monsters
with Annabeth for years. Together wed faced the wrath of the gods. Wed battled Titans and calmly faced
death a dozen times. But now that we were dating, one frown from her and I freaked. What had I done


I was tempted (briefly) to bluff my way through. Two things stopped me. First, I didnt want to lie to
Annabeth. Second, she was too smart. Shed see right through me.
So I did what I do best. I stared at her blankly and acted dumb.
Annabeth rolled her eyes. Percy, today is September eighteenth. What happened exactly one month ago?
It was my birthday, I said.
That was true: August eighteenth. But judging from Annabeths expression, that wasnt the answer shed
been hoping for.
It didnt help my concentration that Annabeth looked so good today. She was wearing her regular orange
camp T-shirt and shorts, but her tan arms and legs seemed to glow in the sunlight. Her blond hair swept
over her shoulders. Around her neck hung a leather cord with colorful beads from our demigod training
campCamp Half-Blood. Her storm-gray eyes were as dazzling as ever. I just wished that their fierce
look wasnt directed at me.
I tried to think. One month ago wed defeated the Titan Kronos. Was that what she meant? Then
Annabeth set my priorities straight.
Our first kiss, Seaweed Brain, she said. Its our one-month anniversary.


Is this an elaborate joke? she asked. Tell me you planned this with Hermes, and were actually going to
a surprise party for our anniversary.
UmWell, no. But afterward, I promise
Annabeth raised her hand. Youre cute and youre sweet, Percy. But pleaseno more promises. Lets just
find this giant.


Annabeth gazed wistfully across the Great Lawn. First sunny day in weeks, and my boyfriend wants to
take me to a dangerous cave to fight a fire-breathing giant.
Youre awesome, I said.
I know, Annabeth said. Youd better have something good planned for dinner.


Except of course that he was ten feet tall, blew fire, and ate cows in three bites.
I stepped forward. Call me old-fashioned, but I wanted to keep his focus on me and not Annabeth. I
think its polite for a guy to protect his girlfriend from instant incineration.


I looked at Annabeth. Time to fight?

She gave me a sweet smile. Smartest thing youve said all morning.


But Annabeth and I had been fighting together for years. We knew each others abilities.
We could anticipate each others moves. I might have felt awkward and nervous about being her
boyfriend, but fighting with her? That came naturally.
Hmmthat sounded wrong. Oh, well.


Meanwhile Annabeth alternately shouted, gagged, hit me, called me endearing pet names like Idiot!
Stupiddirtymoron and topped it all off with Kill you!
Finally we shot out of the ground atop a disgusting geyser and landed safely on the pavement.


I looked at Annabeth. Your turn for a brilliant idea.

Im working on it. She was beautiful in combat. I know thats a crazy thing to say, especially after wed
just climbed a sewage waterfall, but her gray eyes sparkled when she was fighting for her life. Her face
shone like a goddesss, and believe me, Ive seen goddesses. The way her Camp Half-Blood beads rested
against her throatOkay, sorry. Got a little distracted.
She pointed. There!


I smiled at the giant. Actually, Cacus, I have another secret weapon.

The giants eyes lit up with greed. Another weapon? I will steal it! I will copy it and sell the knockoffs
for a profit! What is this secret weapon?
Her name is Annabeth, I said. And shes one of a kind.


She met me at the steps of the park, grinning like crazy.

Was that amazing? she demanded.
That was amazing, I agreed. Its hard to pull off a romantic kiss when youre both drenched in muck,
but we gave it our best shot.
When I finally came up for air, I said, Rats.
Rats? she asked.
For the snakes, I said.


Theres the small matter of my reward, I reminded him.

Annabeth frowned. What reward?
Its our one-month anniversary, I said. Surely you didnt forget.
She opened her mouth and closed it again. I dont leave her speechless very often. I have to enjoy those
rare moments.


We dined on a bunch of stuff I couldnt even pronouncebut all of it was great. It was almost half an
hour before Annabeth got over her shock and spoke.
This isincredible.
Only the best for you, I said. And you thought I forgot.
You did forget, Seaweed Brain. But her smile told me she wasnt really mad. Nice save, though. Im
I have my moments.
You certainly do. She reached across the table and took my hand.


Time for a walk along the river, Annabeth suggested. And Percyfeel free to start planning our twomonth anniversary.
Oh, gods. I felt panicky at the thought, but also really good. Id survived a month as Annabeths
boyfriend, so I guess I hadnt screwed things up too badly. In fact, Id never been happier. If she saw a
future for usif she was still planning to be with me next month, then that was good enough for me.
How about we go for that walk? I pulled out the credit card Hermes had tucked in my pocketa black
metal Olympus Expressand set it on the table. I want to explore Paris with a beautiful girl.


THO: The Lost Hero

The girl leaped off before the chariot had even finished moving. She pulled a knife and ran toward Jasons
group while the bulky dude was reining in the horses.
Where is he? the girl demanded. Her gray eyes were fierce and a little startling.
Wheres who? Jason asked.
She frowned like his answer was unacceptable.


When Jason had finished his story, the blond girl didnt look satisfied.
No, no, no! She told me he would be here. She told me if I came here, Id find the answer.


Butch hesitated. Annabeths okay. You gotta cut her some slack. She had a vision telling her to come
here, to find a guy with one shoe. That was supposed to be the answer to her problem.
What problem? Piper asked.
Shes been looking for one of our campers, whos been missing three days, Butch said. Shes going out
of her mind with worry. She hoped hed be here.
Who? Jason asked.
Her boyfriend, Butch said. A guy named Percy Jackson.


Annabeth almost managed a smile. Actually, her family has a luxury condo in Queens, and she goes to a
finishing school in Connecticut. But when shes here at camp, yeah, she lives in the cave. Shes our oracle,
tells the future. I was hoping she could help me
Find Percy, Piper guessed.
All the energy drained out of Annabeth, like shed been holding it together for as long as she could. She
sat down on a rock, and her expression was so full of pain, Piper felt like a voyeur.


Sorry. A little tired.

You look ready to drop, Piper said. How long have been searching for your boyfriend?
Three days, six hours, and about twelve minutes.
And youve got no idea what happened to him?
Annabeth shook her head miserably. We were so excited because we both started winter break early.
We met up at camp on Tuesday, figured we had three weeks together. It was going to be great. Then
after the campfire, hehe kissed me good night, went back to his cabin, and in the morning, he was gone.
We searched the whole camp. We contacted his mom. Weve tried to reach him every way we know how.
Nothing. He just disappeared.

Piper was thinking: Three days ago. The same night shed had her dream. How long were you guys
Since August, Annabeth said. August eighteenth.


You dont like her, Piper noticed.

We have a long history, Annabeth admitted. I thought wed made peace, but when Percy disappeared
I got this weird dream vision from her.
Telling you to come get us, Piper said. But you thought Percy would be there.
Its probably better I dont talk about it, Annabeth said. Ive got nothing good to say about Hera
right now.


I didnt find Percy, she announced. Her voice caught a little when she said his name. He wasnt at the
Grand Canyon like I thought. But were not giving up. Weve got teams everywhere. Grover, Tyson, Nico,
the Hunters of Artemis everyones out looking. We will find him. Chirons talking about something
different. A new quest.


No, Travis, Annabeth said. First off, Im not helping Hera. Every time Ive tried, shes deceived me, or its
come back to bite me later. Forget it. No way. Secondly, Im leaving first thing in the morning to find


He looked at the pictures of Annabeth smiling. He wondered how long it had been since shed smiled. She
must really like this Percy guy to search for him so hard, and that made Jason a little envious. Was
anyone searching for him right now? What if somebody cared for him that much and was going out of
her mind with worry, and he couldnt even remember his old life?


Jason decided it was best not to ask more, but the way Annabeth said Lukes name, he wondered if
maybe Percy Jackson wasnt the only boy Annabeth had ever liked.


One of the newer shots showed a teenage guy with dark hair and green eyes. Since he stood arm in arm
with Annabeth, Piper assumed the guy must be Percy Jackson. In some of the older photos, she
recognized famous people: businessmen, athletes, even some actors that her dad knew.
Im going, Annabeth said. Jason, when you get this ship built, let me go with you.
I was hoping youd offer, Jason said. You of all people well need you.
Wait. Leo frowned. I mean thats cool with me and all. But why Annabeth of all people?


Annabeth and Jason studied one another, and Jason knew she had put it together. She saw the
dangerous truth.
Hera said my coming here was an exchange of leaders, Jason said. A way for the two camps to learn
of each others existence.
Yeah? Leo said. So?
An exchange goes two ways, Jason said. When I got here, my memory was wiped. I didnt know who I
was or where I belonged. Fortunately, you guys took me in and I found a new home. I know youre not
my enemy. The Roman camptheyre not so friendly. You prove your worth quickly, or you dont survive.
They may not be so nice to him, and if they learn where he comes from, hes going to be in serious
Him? Leo said. Who are you talking about?
My boyfriend, Annabeth said grimly. He disappeared around the same time Jason appeared. If Jason
came to Camp Half-Blood
Exactly, Jason agreed. Percy Jackson is at the other camp, and he probably doesnt even remember
who he is.


THO: The Son of Neptune

A vague sadness weighed on Percys chest. Something told him hed been to San Francisco before. The city
had some connection to Annabeththe only person he could remember from his past. His memory of
her was frustratingly dim. The wolf had promised he would see her again and regain his memoryif he
succeeded in his journey.


A jolt went up Percys spine. Camp. Yes, thats where he was from. A camp. Maybe this was his home.
Maybe Annabeth was close by.


Percy hated tests. Since hed lost his memory, his whole life was one big fill-in-the-blank. He was
____________________, from ____________________. He felt like









Then he thought about Annabeth, the only part of his old life he was sure about. He had to find her.
Up on the watchtowers, horns blew. The sentries shouted and swiveled their crossbows toward the
gorgons. Annabeth, Percy thought. He forged into the river. It was icy cold, much swifter than hed
imagined, but that didnt bother him. New strength surged through his limbs. His senses tingled like hed
been injected with caffeine.


Fuzzy bits and pieces. Percy glanced at the greyhounds. He didnt want to mention Annabeth. It seemed
too private, and he was still confused about where to find her. He was sure theyd met at a campbut
this one didnt feel like the right place.
Also, he was reluctant to share his one clear memory: Annabeths face, her blond hair and gray eyes, the
way she laughed, threw her arms around him, and gave him a kiss whenever he did something stupid. She
must have kissed me a lot, Percy thought.
He feared that if he spoke about that memory to anyone, it would evaporate like a dream. He couldnt
risk that.


Percy fingered the clay beads around his neck. Only glimpses. Murky stuff. A girlfriendI thought shed be
at camp. He looked at Frank carefully, as if making a decision. Her name was Annabeth. You dont know
her, do you?


What? Percy called, but the faun disappeared in the fog.

Then Annabeth was running along beside him, reaching out her hand.
Thank the gods! she called. For months and months we couldnt see you! Are you all right?
Percy remembered what Juno had saidfor months he has been slumbering, but now he is awake. The
goddess had intentionally kept him hidden, but why?
Are you real? he asked Annabeth. He wanted so much to believe it he felt like Hannibal the elephant was
standing on his chest. But her face began to dissolve. She cried, Stay put! Itll be easier for Tyson to find
you! Stay where you are!
Then she was gone.


I, umId better get ready. He climbed out of bed and got dressed. The whole time, he thought about
Annabeth. Help was on the way. He could have his old life back. All he had to do was stay put.


Percy imagined what that would be like: getting an apartment in this tiny replica of Rome, protected by
the legion and Terminus the OCD border god. He imagined holding hands with Annabeth at a caf. Maybe
when they were older, watching their own kid chase seagulls across the forum


Percy made a silent vow: After the Feast of Fortuna, he would find Annabeth. But for now, he had to act.
He couldnt let Gaea win.


The point is, Percy, you are the real power on this quest. You are a seasoned veteran. Ive seen what
you can do. A son of Neptune wouldnt be my first choice, but if you return successfully from this
mission, the legion might be saved. The praetorship will be yours for the taking. Together, you and I
could expand the power of Rome. We could raise an army and find the Doors of Death, crush Gaeas
forces once and for all. You would find me a very helpfulfriend.
She said that word like it could have several meanings, and he could pick which one.
Percys feet started tapping on the floor, anxious to run. ReynaIm honored, and all. Seriously. But Ive
got a girlfriend. And I dont want power, or a praetorship.
Percy was afraid hed make her mad. Instead she just raised her eyebrows.


He folded his tattered orange T-shirt and left it on his bunk.

Ill be back, he said. He felt pretty stupid talking to a T-shirt, but he was really thinking of Annabeth,
and his old life. Im not leaving for good. But I have to help these guys. They took me in. They deserve to
The T-shirt didnt answer, thankfully.


Work with me for the future, Reyna had said. I intend to save this camp.
Looking down at the valley, Percy understood why she cared so much.
Even though he was new to Camp Jupiter, he felt a fierce desire to protect this place. A safe haven
where demigods could build their liveshe wanted that to be part of his future. Maybe not the way
Reyna imagined, but if he could share this place with Annabeth


Percys face was red in the sunset. Yeah. Ive been here before. II dont know. I think I was looking for
my girlfriend.
Annabeth, Frank said. You mean, on your way to Camp Jupiter?
Percy frowned. No. Before that. He scanned the city like he was still looking for Annabeth until they
passed under the Golden Gate Bridge and turned north.


Worst of all, the farther north Percy went, the more those memories faded. He had started to feel
better at Camp Jupiter, remembering random names and faces. But now even Annabeths face was getting
dimmer. At R.O.F.L., when hed tried to send an Iris-message to Annabeth, Fleecy had just shaken her head
Its like youre dialing somebody, she said, but youve forgotten the number. Or someone is jamming the
signal. Sorry, dear. I just cant connect you.
He was terrified that hed lose Annabeths face completely when he got to Alaska. Maybe hed wake up
one day and not remember her name.


As they jogged through the lobby, Percy figured Annabeth would like this place. It was spacious and
brightly lit, with big vaulted windows. Books and architecture, that was definitely her....
He froze in his tracks.
Percy? Frank asked. Whats wrong?
Percy tried desperately to concentrate. Where had those thoughts come from? Architecture,
booksAnnabeth had taken him to the library once, back home ininThe memory faded. Percy slammed
his fist into the side of a bookshelf.
Percy? Hazel asked gently.
He was so angry, so frustrated with his missing memories that he wanted to punch another bookshelf,
but his friends concerned faces brought him back to the present.
ImIm all right, he lied.


Circe turned me into a guinea pig! Percy protested.

No excuses! Hylla said. Circe was a wise and generous employer. I had room and board, a good health
plan, dental, pet leopards, free potionseverything! And this demigod with his friend, the blonde

Annabeth. Percy tapped his forehead like he wanted the memories to come back faster. Thats right. I
was there with Annabeth.


Percy gripped his leather necklace. I started to remember in Portland, after the gorgons blood. Its been
coming back to me slowly since then. Theres another campCamp Half-Blood.
Just saying the name made Percy feel warm inside. Good memories washed over him: the smell of
strawberry fields in the warm summer sun, fireworks lighting up the beach on the Fourth of July,
satyrs playing panpipes at the nightly campfire, and a kiss at the bottom of the canoe lake.


There were other reasons Percy wanted to save Camp Jupiter.

Reasons he didnt dare put into wordsnot yet, anyway. Suddenly he saw a future for himself and for
Annabeth that hed never imagined before.


Seeing them like that made Percy happy. Those two definitely needed to get together. But it also made
him sad. He thought about Annabeth, and wondered if hed live long enough to see her again.
Think positive, he told himself.


Hazel felt strange reassuring him. He was so much older, and more in command. But she nodded
confidently. Youre going to make it back home. Youre going to see your girlfriend Annabeth.


Thats also how long it took for Percys memory to return completely.
The process had started in Portland when he had drunk the gorgons blood, but his past life had still
been maddeningly fuzzy. Now, as they headed back into the Olympian gods territory, Percy remembered
everything: the war with Kronos, his sixteenth birthday at Camp Half-Blood, his trainer Chiron the
centaur, his best friend Grover, his brother Tyson, and most of all Annabethtwo great months of
dating, and then BOOM.
Hed been abducted by the alien known as Hera. Or Junowhatever.
Eight months of his life stolen. Next time Percy saw the Queen of Olympus, he was definitely going to give
her a goddess-sized slap upside the head.


Percy knew that giants couldnt die unless demigods and gods fought them together. Nico had told him
that. Annabeth had mentioned it too, back in August, when shed speculated that the giants might be part
of the new Great Prophecywhat the Romans called the Prophecy of Seven. (That was the downside of
dating the smartest girl at camp: You learn stuff.)


There was a lot of flirting and arm-wrestlingwhich seemed to be the same thing for the Amazons. At
one point Percy was cornered by Kinzie, the Amazon whod disarmed him in Seattle. He had to explain that
he already had a girlfriend. Fortunately Kinzie took it well. She told him what had happened after theyd
left Seattlehow Hylla had defeated her challenger Otrera in two consecutive duels to the death, so that
the Amazons were now calling their queen Hylla Twice-Kill.
Otrera stayed dead the second time, Kinzie said, batting her eyes.
We have you to thank for that. If you ever need a new girlfriendwell, I think youd look great in an iron
collar and an orange jumpsuit.
Percy couldnt tell if she was kidding or not. He politely thanked her and changed seats.


Tomorrow, maybe the next day, his friends from Camp Half-Blood would arrive. As much as he cared
about Camp Jupiter, he couldnt wait to see Annabeth again. He yearned for his old lifeNew York and
Camp Half-Bloodbut something told him it might be a while before he returned home. Gaea and the
giants werent done causing troublenot by a long shot.


Annabeth? Percy felt his anger rising again. You never liked her. Now youre calling her a troublemaker?
You dont know her at all. Shes the person I most want watching my back.


Percy remembered his dream. Juno had warned that Annabeth had a difficult job ahead of her, and that
shed cause trouble for the quest. He couldnt believe that, but stillit worried him.


Percy smiled. He knew the stakes were high. He knew this day could go horribly wrong. But he also knew
that Annabeth was on that ship. If things went right, this would be the best day of his life.
He threw one arm around Hazel and one arm around Frank.
Come on, he said. Let me introduce you to my other family.


THO: The Mark of Athena

None of that was Jasons fault; but every time Annabeth saw him, she remembered how much she
missed Percy. Percywho was somewhere below them right now. Oh, gods. Panic welled up inside her. She
forced it down. She couldnt afford to get overwhelmed.
Im a child of Athena, she told herself. I have to stick to my plan and not get distracted.


Annabeth scanned the faces andoh, gods. She saw him. He was walking toward the ship with his arms
around two other kids like they were best buddiesa stout boy with a black buzz cut, and a girl
wearing a Roman cavalry helmet. Percy looked so at ease, so happy. He wore a purple cape just like
Jasonsthe mark of a praetor.
Annabeths heart did a gymnastics routine.
Leo, stop the ship, she ordered.


But Percy was down therehe was so close. She had to reach him.
Itll be fine, she said. No one will be armed. We can talk in peace. Terminus will make sure each side
obeys the rules.


Then someone else appeared from the crowd, and Annabeths vision tunneled.
Percy smiled at herthat sarcastic, troublemaker smile that had annoyed her for years but eventually
had become endearing. His sea-green eyes were as gorgeous as she remembered. His dark hair was
swept to one side, like hed just come from a walk on the beach. He looked even better than he had six
months agotanner and taller, leaner and more muscular. Annabeth was too stunned to move. She felt
that if she got any closer to him, all the molecules in her body might combust. Shed secretly had a
crush on him since they were twelve years old. Last summer, shed fallen for him hard. Theyd been a
happy couple for four monthsand then hed disappeared.


Annabeth didnt mean to, but she surged forward. Percy rushed toward her at the same time. The crowd
tensed. Some reached for swords that werent there. Percy threw his arms around her. They kissed, and
for a moment nothing else mattered. An asteroid could have hit the planet and wiped out all life, and
Annabeth wouldnt have cared.
Percy smelled of ocean air. His lips were salty.
Seaweed Brain, she thought giddily.


Percy pulled away and studied her face.

Gods, I never thought

Annabeth grabbed his wrist and flipped him over her shoulder. He slammed into the stone pavement.
Romans cried out. Some surged forward, but Reyna shouted, Hold! Stand down!
Annabeth put her knee on Percys chest.
She pushed her forearm against his throat. She didnt care what the Romans thought. A white-hot lump
of anger expanded in her chesta tumor of worry and bitterness that shed been carrying around since
last autumn.
If you ever leave me again, she said, her eyes stinging, I swear to all the gods
Percy had the nerve to laugh. Suddenly the lump of heated emotions melted inside Annabeth.
Consider me warned, Percy said. I missed you, too.
Annabeth rose and helped him to his feet.
She wanted to kiss him again so badly, but she managed to restrain herself.


Reynas eyes sparkled. You sure youre not a Roman, Annabeth? Or an Amazon?
Annabeth didnt know if that was a compliment, but she held out her hand.
I only attack my boyfriend like that, she promised. Pleased to meet you.


Part of her wanted to kidnap Percy right now, climb on board, and get out of here while they still could.
She couldnt shake the feeling that something was about to go terribly wrong.
And there was no way she would ever risk losing Percy again.
Well be fine, she repeated, trying to believe it.


All she wanted to do was be with Percypreferably alone. She knew she would have to wait.


Percy leaned over and whispered,

I want to show you around New Rome. Just you and me. The place is incredible.
Annabeth shouldve felt thrilled. Just you and me was exactly what she wanted.


Percy recounted his side of the story. He talked about waking up at the Wolf House with no memories
except for one nameAnnabeth.
When she heard that, Annabeth had to try hard not to cry.


She gave Annabeth a look of grudging respect. Percy has spoken highly of you.
The undertones in Reynas voice took Annabeth a moment to decipher. Percy looked down, suddenly
interested in his cheeseburger.


Annabeths face felt hot. Oh, godsReyna had tried to make a move on Percy. That explained the tinge of
bitterness, maybe even envy, in her words. Percy had turned her down for Annabeth.
At that moment, Annabeth forgave her ridiculous boyfriend for everything hed ever done wrong. She
wanted to throw her arms around him, but she commanded herself to stay cool.


But I remember you well. You were brave. Id never seen anyone refuse Circes hospitality, much less
outwit her. Its no wonder Percy cares for you.
Her voice was wistful. Annabeth thought it might be safer not to respond.


Hera did make mistakes. Annabeth had had nothing but trouble from that overbearing goddess, and shed
never forgive Hera for taking Percy away, even if it was for a noble cause.


Ever since hed met Annabeth at the Grand Canyon last winter, when shed marched toward him with that

Give me Percy Jackson or Ill kill you expression, Leo thought of blondes as much too smart and much
too dangerous.


Percy gave him a hard look. Annabeth says you did fire the ballista?
Man, II dont understand how it happened. Im so sorry
Sorry? Percy growled.
Annabeth put a hand on her boyfriends chest. Well figure it out later. Right now, we have to regroup
and make a plan. Whats the situation with the ship?


Shes Franks girlfriend, he reminded himself. Frank was still below, but Leo almost wished the big guy
would come up the stairs. The way Hazel was studying Leo made him feel uneasy and self-conscious.
On the way, they passed Jasons room. The door was open. Piper sat at the side of his berth, holding
Jasons hand while he snored with an ice pack on his head. Piper glanced at Leo. She held a finger to her
lips for quiet, but she didnt look angry.
That was something.


Percy still didnt look happy about it, but he took Annabeths hand. As long as youre my buddy, Im


Leo sat behind Hazel, one arm around her waist. The close contact made him a little uncomfortable, but
it was the only way he could stay on board (or whatever you called it with a horse).


Leo, who was much more comfortable with machines. Living stuff, like horses and girls?
He had no idea what made them work. Hazel was also Franks girlfriend, so Leo knew he should keep his
distance. Still, her hair smelled good, and riding with her made his heart race almost against his will.
The idea cheered Leo up. He even smiled.
We couldve made a sand castle.
A lime castle.
Their eyes locked for a second too long. Hazel looked away. You are so much like
Sammy? Leo guessed.


She climbed one of the largest boulders to get a better view. Leo tried to follow and lost his balance.
Hazel caught his hand. She pulled him up and they found themselves atop the rock, holding hands, faceto-face. Hazels eyes glittered like gold.

Gold is easy, shed said. It didnt seem that way to Leonot when he looked at her.


You remember who I am?

Jason tried to laugh, but it turned into a painful wince. Last I checked, you were my awesome girlfriend
Piper. Unless something has changed since I was out?


He was wearing faded jeans and a fresh orange Camp Half-Blood T-shirt, as if hed never been away from
the Greek side. The new clothes had probably helped his moodand of course the fact that he was
standing at the rail with his arm around Annabeth.
Piper was happy to see Annabeth with a sparkle in her eyes, because Piper had never had a better friend.
For months, Annabeth had been tormenting herself, her every waking moment consumed with the search
for Percy.


Annabeth looked apologetically at Percy.

Hes right. I should stay and help.
Ill come back to you. He kissed her on the cheek. Promise.


She had enough trouble in her life. But she could see why Annabeth liked him, and she could definitely see
why Percy needed Annabeth in his life. If anybody could keep a guy like that under control, it was


She would believe us.

Hearing the way Jason said her name, like it was a lifeline to his past, made Pipers heart sink.
Jason turned to her with a hopeful gleam in his eyes. You could convince her, Pipes. I know you could.
Piper felt like all the blood in her body was draining into her feet. Annabeth looked at her
sympathetically, as if to say: Boys are so clueless. Even Hazel winced.
I could try, she said halfheartedly.


I was stupid to ask you to contact Reyna, he said. I wasnt thinking.

Oh. Piper looked up at the clouds and wondered if her mother, Aphrodite, was somehow influencing him.
His apology seemed too good to be true.
But dont stop, she thought. Really, its okay.
Its justI never felt that way toward Reyna, Jason said, so I didnt think about its making you
uncomfortable. Youve got nothing to worry about, Pipes.


At first, Percy thought he was still asleep.
When hed lost his memory, hed spent weeks dreaming about Annabeth, the only person he remembered
from his past. As his eyes opened and his vision cleared, he realized she was really there.
She was standing by his berth, smiling down at him. Her blond hair fell across her shoulders.
Her storm-gray eyes were bright with amusement. He remembered his first day at Camp Half-Blood,
five years ago, when hed woken from a daze and found Annabeth standing over him.
She had said, You drool when you sleep.
She was sentimental that way.


Besides, Seaweed Brain, I just thought we could take a walk. We havent had any time to be together
alone. I want to show you somethingmy favorite place aboard the ship.
Percys pulse was still in overdrive, but it wasnt from fear of getting into trouble.
Can I, you know, brush my teeth first?
Youd better, Annabeth said. Because Im not kissing you until you do. And brush your hair while
youre at it.


Annabeth laughed. You know why I like it here? Its not just the view. What does this place remind you
Percy looked around: the cages and stables, the Celestial bronze lamp hanging from the beam, the smell
of hay, and of course Annabeth sitting close to him, her face ghostly and beautiful in the soft amber


We were in bad shape, struggling to get across the country to find that stupid lightning bolt, trapped in
a truck with a bunch of mistreated animals. How can you be nostalgic for that?
Because, Seaweed Brain, its the first time we really talked, you and me. I told you about my family,
and She took out her camp necklace, strung with her dads college ring and a colorful clay bead for each
year at Camp Half-Blood. Now there was something else on the leather cord: a red coral pendant Percy
had given her when they had started dating. Hed brought it from his fathers palace at the bottom of
the sea.
And, Annabeth continued, it reminds me how long weve known each other. We were twelve, Percy. Can
you believe that?
No, he admitted. Soyou knew you liked me from that moment?
She smirked. I hated you at first. You annoyed me. Then I tolerated you for a few years. Then
Okay, fine.
She leaned over and kissed him: a good, proper kiss without anyone watchingno Romans anywhere, no
screaming satyr chaperones.
She pulled away. I missed you, Percy.


Percy wanted to tell her the same thing, but it seemed too small a comment. While he had been on the
Roman side, hed kept himself alive almost solely by thinking of Annabeth. I missed you didnt really cover


But while I was there, I saw so many demigods living without fear: kids going to college, couples getting
married and raising families. Theres nothing like that at Camp Half-Blood. I kept thinking about you and
meand maybe someday when this war with the giants is over
It was hard to tell in the golden light, but he thought Annabeth was blushing.
Oh, she said.
Percy was afraid hed said too much. Maybe hed scared her with his big dreams of the future. She was
usually the one with the plans. Percy cursed himself silently.


The Kalends of July. At least the deadline makes sense now.

Whats a Kalends?
Annabeth smirked, like she was pleased they were back in their old familiar patternPercy being ignorant,
she herself explaining stuff. Its just the Roman term for the first of the month. Thats where we get
the word calendar. But how can Nico survive that long? We should talk to Hazel.


Annabeth managed a faint smile. Some romantic evening, huh? No more bad things until the morning.
She kissed him again.

Well figure everything out. Ive got you back. For now, thats all that matters.
Right, Percy said. No more talk about Gaea rising, Nico being held hostage, the world ending, the
Shut up, Seaweed Brain, she ordered. Just hold me for a while.
They sat together cuddling, enjoying each others warmth. Before Percy knew it, the drone of the ships
engine, the dim light, and the comfortable feeling of being with Annabeth made his eyes heavy, and he
drifted to sleep.
When he woke, daylight was coming through the glass floor, and a boys voice said, OhYou are in so
much trouble.


Frank! Annabeths ears were as red as strawberries. We just came down here to talk. We fell asleep.
Accidentally. Thats it.
Kissed a couple of times, Percy said.
Annabeth glared at him. Not helping!


Great, Percy said. We should take one more. Annabeth

Oh, no! Coach Hedge barked. Young lady, you are grounded.
Annabeth stared at him like he was speaking a foreign language. Excuse me?
You and Jackson are not going anywhere together! Hedge insisted.


Given time, water could overcome any barrier, and it hated to be trapped, just like Percy. He thought
about getting back to Annabeth. He thought about destroying this horrible prison for sea creatures. He
thought about shoving Phorcyss microphone down his ugly throat.
Fifty thousand gallons of water responded to his anger.


Annabeth pushed past him and took the stairs three at a time, Hazel right behind her and Frank trailing,
still gasping for air. Percy and Hedge lay on the deck, looking exhausted. Hedge was missing his shoes. He
grinned at the sky, muttering, Awesome. Awesome. Percy was covered with nicks and scratches, like hed
jumped through a window. He didnt say anything, but he grasped Annabeths hand weakly as if to say,

Be right with you, as soon as the world stops spinning.


Annabeth realized that if six of them went on these two quests, it would leave Percy alone on the ship
with Coach Hedge, which was maybe not a situation a caring girlfriend should put him in. Nor was she
eager to let Percy out of her sight againnot after theyd been apart for so many months. On the other
hand, Percy looked so troubled by his experience with those imprisoned sea creatures, she thought

maybe he could use a rest. She met his eyes, asking him a silent question. He nodded as if to say, Yeah.

Itll be fine.
So thats settled.


Athena isnt the goddess of revenge.

Annabeths nails bit into her palms. The silver coin seemed to grow warmer in her hand. Percy is
everything to me.
And revenge is everything to me, the goddess snarled.


You know, Annabeth said, Leo doesnt intend to be mean. Hes just got a big mouth. When people make
him nervous, he uses humor as a defense.
Frank frowned. Why would I make him nervous?
Youre twice his size. You can turn into a dragon. And Hazel likes you, Annabeth thought, though she
didnt say that.


Annabeth kissed him. Good luck, Seaweed Brain. Just come back to me, okay?
I will, he promised. You do the same.
Annabeth tried to push down her growing unease.


Mostly she breathed in the sea air and thought about Percy. Gods forbid she ever had to break up with
him. Shed never be able to visit the sea again without remembering her broken heart. She was relieved
when they turned away from the seawall and explored the inland side of the gardens.


Percy stood on the dock, holding Annabeths dagger.

You dropped this, he said, totally pokerfaced.
Annabeth threw her arms around him. I love you!
Guys, Hazel interrupted. She had a little smile on her face. We need to hurry.


The fort is crawling with Romans, Percy warned. Youll have to fight your way through, find our
friendsassuming theyre okayfind this map, and get everybody back alive. All on your own?
Just an average day. Annabeth kissed him. Whatever you do, dont let them take this ship!


Percy and Jason sat with their backs against the mast, their heads slumped in exhaustion. Annabeth and
Piper were trying to get them to drink some water.


Annabeth nodded agreement. Frank, can you help us get the guys belowdecks?

Frank glanced at Leo, no doubt reluctant to leave him alone with Hazel.
Its fine, man, Leo said. Just try not to drop them on the way down the stairs.


Frank didnt drop you on purpose, she said. Hes not like that. Hes just a little clumsy sometimes.
Oops, Leo said, in his best Frank Zhang voice. Dropped Leo into a squad of enemy soldiers. Dang it!
Hazel tried to suppress a smile. Leo figured smiling was better than throwing up.


Id be willing, he told Hazel. I could use the fortune cookie to find your brother.
Hazel looked stunned. What? No! I meanId never ask you to do that. Not after what Nemesis said
about the horrible cost. We barely know each other!
The barely know each other comment kind of hurt, though Leo knew it was true.
Sothats not what you wanted to talk about? he asked. Uh, did you want to talk about the holdinghands-on-the-boulder moment? Because
No! she said quickly, fanning her face in that cute way she did when she was flustered. No, I was just
thinking about the way you tricked Narcissus and those nymphs


Sonar? Hedge demanded. Pans pipes, Valdez! Maybe if you hadnt been staring into Hazels eyes, holding
hands for so long
What? Frank yelped.
It wasnt like that! Hazel protested.


Frank, I know this is weird. Believe me. But I dont like Hazelnot that way. Im not moving in on your
Frank knit his eyebrows. No?
Leo hoped he wasnt blushing. Truthfully, he had no idea how he felt about Hazel. She was awesome and
cute, and Leo had a weakness for awesome cute girls. But the flashback had complicated his feelings a


I talked to him, Leo said. I told him I wasnt trying toyou know. Make trouble between you two.
Oh. Good.
Did she sound disappointed? Leo wasnt sure, and he wasnt sure he wanted to know.


Well deal with that when we get to Rome, Piper suggested, putting a little charmspeak in her voice to
soothe her friends nerves.
Its going to work out. Annabeth is going to kick some serious booty, too. Youll see.

Yeah, Percy said. I learned a long time ago: Never bet against Annabeth.
Annabeth looked at them both gratefully.


You trust her. Pipers voice sounded hollow, even to herself.

Look, Pipes. I told you, youve got nothing to be jealous about.
Shes beautiful. Shes powerful. Shes soRoman.
Jason put down his hammer. He took her hand, which sent a tingle up her arm.


She got like this sometimes. It was one of the challenges of dating an Athena girl. Still, Percy wondered
what he had to do to get her attention. He was worried about her after her encounter with the spiders
at Fort Sumter, and he didnt know how to help her, especially if she shut him out.


Percy wasnt sure what that meant, but he wanted to crack the floor and send these stupid gold-shirted
twins down to oblivion. Hed never let Gaea spill his blood for any taskand there was no way hed let
anyone hurt Annabeth.


Hed traveled across the country to save her from the Titan. It had been the hardest few days of his
lifenot just the monsters and the fighting, but the worry.
How could he intentionally let her go now, knowing she was heading into something even more dangerous?
Then it dawned on him: the way he had felt back then, for a few days, was probably how Annabeth had
felt for the six months he had been missing with amnesia.
That made him feel guilty, and a little bit selfish, to be standing here arguing with her.


She had to go on this quest. The fate of the world might depend on it. But part of him wanted to say:

Forget the world. He didnt want to be without her.


Annabeth turned so she was shoulder to shoulder with Percy. He wanted to put his arm around her
protectively, but he doubted shed appreciate the gesture, and he didnt want to give this golden guy any
indication that Annabeth was his girlfriend. No sense giving the enemy more leverage than they already


He was so used to Annabeth providing Greek legend information that he was kind of stunned to actually
remember something useful, but he had to act fast. He couldnt let anything happen to his friends. He
wasnt going to lose Annabethnot again.


Percy thought about chasing him, but he didnt know these waters, and he didnt want to confront that
guy alone again.
That was brilliant! Annabeth kissed him, which made him feel a little better.
It was desperate, Percy corrected.


Yes, she said carefully. Its on the Tiber River. I think I can find it, but I should
Take me along, Percy finished. Yeah, youre right.
Annabeth glared daggers at him. Thats not
Safe, he supplied.


They had a silent staring contest, but Percy didnt back down. When he and Annabeth started dating, his
mother had drummed it into his head: Its good manners to walk your date to the door. If that was
true, it had to be good manners to walk her to the start of her epic solo death quest.
Fine, Annabeth muttered.


Hazel blinked, as if coming out of a trance from watching the Percy/Annabeth Show.
Umhopefully, if I get close enough. Ill have to walk around the city. Frank, would you come with me?
Frank beamed. Absolutely.
And, uhLeo, Hazel added. It might be a good idea if you came along too. The fishcentaurs said wed
need your help with something mechanical.
Yeah, Leo said, no problem.
Franks smile turned into something more like Chrysaors mask.


Percy, AnnabethI dont like you two going off on your own.
Just remember: behave. If I hear about any funny business, I will ground you until the Styx freezes


Annabeth waved it triumphantly.

International credit card. For emergencies.
Percy stared at her in amazement. How did you? No. Never mind. I dont want to know. Just keep being


This is it. Annabeth pointed at the old stone bridge. I recognize that from the map. But what do we do
Percy was glad she had said we. He didnt want to leave her yet. In fact, he wasnt sure he could make
himself do it when the time came.


They held hands across the table. Percy was content just to look at Annabeth in the sunlight. It always
made her hair so bright and warm. Her eyes took on the colors of the sky and the cobblestones,
alternately brown or blue.


Percy knew it was a horrible wish, but he almost regretted that they hadnt been captured at sea. At
least Annabeth and he wouldve been together.
You shouldnt feel ashamed, Annabeth said. Youre thinking about Chrysaor, arent you? Swords cant
solve every problem. You saved us in the end.
In spite of himself, Percy smiled. How do you do that? You always know what Im thinking.
I know you, she said.

And you like me anyway? Percy wanted to ask, but he held it back.


I missed you, he confessed. For months. A huge chunk of our lives was taken away. If I lost you
Lunch arrived.


Youll have to trust me, Annabeth said.

Percy almost thought she was talking to her sandwich, because she didnt meet his eyes.
Youve got to believe Ill come back.
He swallowed another bite. I believe in you. Thats not the problem. But come back from where?


Uh Annabeth handed him the letter and the disk of bronze. She was staring at the river god so intently
Percy started to feel jealous.


Percy gripped Annabeths handprobably a little too tight.

Tiberinus, let me go with her. Just a little farther.


Its all right, Percy. Annabeth squeezed his hand. I need to do this.
He started to protest. Her expression stopped him. She was terrified but doing her best to hide itfor
his sake. If he tried to argue, he would only make things harder for her. Or worse, he might convince her
to stay.


Annabeth kissed Percy. She hesitated, like she was wondering what else to say. Then she shouldered her
backpack and climbed on the back of the scooter. Percy hated it. He wouldve preferred to fight any
monster in the world. He wouldve preferred a rematch with Chrysaor. But he forced himself to stay in

his chair and watch as Annabeth motored off through the streets of Rome with Gregory Peck and
Audrey Hepburn.


Annabeth wanted to sob. She wanted someone, anyone, to be here for her. She wanted Leo with his fire
skills, or Jason with his lightning, or Hazel to collapse the tunnel. Most of all she wanted Percy. She
always felt braver when Percy was with her. I am not going to die here, she told herself. Im going to see
Percy again.


Why would you come to Italy to see Spanish steps? Leo asked. Thats like going to China for Mexican
food, isnt it?
Youre hopeless, Hazel complained.
So Ive been told.
She turned to Frank and grabbed his hand, as if Leo had ceased to exist. Come on. I think we should go
this way.
Frank gave Leo a confused smilelike he couldnt decide whether to gloat or to thank Leo for being a
doofusbut he cheerfully let Hazel drag him along.


Unless Frank wants to turn into a mole,

Leo suggested. Or a prairie dog. Those things are awesome.
Shut up, Frank mumbled.
Or a badger.
Frank jabbed a finger at Leos face.
Valdez, I swear
Both of you, be quiet, Hazel scolded.
Ill be back soon. Give me ten minutes. If you dont hear from me by thenNever mind. Ill be fine. Just
try not to kill each other while Im down there.


Hercules was a jerk, he said, as if reading her thoughts. I never want to be like that. But I wouldnt
have had the courage to stand up to him without your taking the lead. You were the hero that time.
We can take turns, she suggested.
I dont deserve you.
Youre not allowed to say that.
Why not?
Its a breakup line. Unless youre breaking up

Jason leaned over and kissed her. The colors of the Roman afternoon suddenly seemed sharper, as if the
world had switched to high definition.
No breakups, he promised. I may have busted my head a few times, but Im not that stupid.


Not kidnapped, exactly, Percy said. But Ive got this bad feeling. He took a deep breath, like he was
trying hard not to freak out. Anyway, shesshes gone. Maybe I shouldnt have let her, but
You had to, Piper said. You knew she had to go alone. Besides, Annabeth is tough and smart. Shell be
Piper put some charmspeak in her voice, which maybe wasnt cool, but Percy needed to be able to focus.
If they went into battle, Annabeth wouldnt want him getting hurt because he was too distracted about


Piper pulled Jason closer and kissed him.

I love you, she said.
The words just poured out of her, like the water from the cornucopia. She couldnt tell what his reaction
was, because then they were underwater.


After barely surviving the nymphaeum, he wanted to go back to the surface. He wanted to be dry and sit
in the warm sunshine for a long timepreferably with Annabeth.


Percy understood about ten percent of Leos story, but he decided it was enough since he had a more
pressing question.
Wheres Annabeth?
Leo winced. Yeah, about thatshes still in trouble, we think. Hurt, broken leg, maybeat least according
to this vision Gaea shown us. Rescuing her is our next stop.
Two seconds before, Percy had been ready to collapse. Now another surge of adrenaline coursed through
his body. He wanted to strangle Leo and demand why the Argo II hadnt sailed off to rescue Annabeth
first, but he thought that might sound a little ungrateful.


Annabeth. Nicos news was so horrible Percy had momentarily forgotten she was still in danger, which
made him feel incredibly guilty.
Well figure out the Tartarus problem later, he said.


But none of that mattered when she heard Percys voice from above: Annabeth!
Here! she sobbed.

All the terror seemed to leave her in one massive yelp. As the Argo II descended, she saw Percy leaning
over the rail. His smile was better than any tapestry shed ever seen.


Then suddenly Percy was next to her, lacing his fingers in hers. He turned her gently away from the pit
and wrapped his arms around her. She buried her face in his chest and broke down in tears.
Its okay, he said. Were together.
He didnt say youre okay, or were alive.
After all theyd been through over the last year, he knew the most important thing was that they were
together. She loved him for saying that.


Percy, let me go, she croaked. You cant pull me up.

His face was white with effort. She could see in his eyes that he knew it was hopeless.
Never, he said. He looked up at Nico, fifteen feet above. The other side, Nico! Well see you there.


Percy tightened his grip on Annabeths wrist. His face was gaunt, scraped and bloody, his hair dusted with
cobwebs, but when he locked eyes with her, she thought he had never looked more handsome.
Were staying together, he promised. Youre not getting away from me. Never again.
Only then did she understand what would happen. A one-way trip. A very hard fall.
As long as were together, she said.


THO: The House of Hades

Shed lost track of how long she and Percy had been falling hours? A day? It felt like an eternity. Theyd
been holding hands ever since they dropped into the chasm. Now Percy pulled her close, hugging her tight
as they tumbled through absolute darkness.


Annabeth pressed her lips to Percys ear. I love you.

She wasnt sure he could hear herbut if they were going to die she wanted those to be her last


She could sink to the bottom and drown, let the river carry her body away. That would be easier.
She could just close her eyes.
Percy gripped her hand and jolted her back to reality. She couldnt see him in the murky water, but
suddenly she didnt want to die. Together they kicked upward and broke the surface.


She kicked and struggled, trying to keep both of them afloat. Another cosmic joke for Gaea to laugh at:

Annabeth dies trying to keep her boyfriend, the son of Poseidon, from drowning.
Not going to happen, you hag, Annabeth thought.
She hugged Percy tighter and kissed him.
Tell me about New Rome, she demanded. What were your plans for us?
New RomeFor us
Yeah, Seaweed Brain. You said we could have a future there! Tell me! Annabeth had never wanted to
leave Camp Half-Blood. It was the only real home shed ever known. But days ago, on the Argo II, Percy
had told her that he imagined a future for the two of them among the Roman demigods. In their city of
New Rome, veterans of the legion could settle down safely, go to college, get married, even have kids.
Architecture, Percy murmured. The fog started to clear from his eyes. Thought youd like the houses,
the parks. Theres one street with all these cool fountains. Annabeth started making progress against
the current. Her limbs felt like bags of wet sand, but Percy was helping her now. She could see the dark
line of the shore about a stones throw away.
College, she gasped. Could we go there together?
Y-yeah, he agreed, a little more confidently.
What would you study, Percy?
Dunno, he admitted.
Marine science, she suggested. Oceanography?
Surfing? he asked.

She laughed, and the sound sent a shock wave through the water. The wailing faded to background noise.
Annabeth wondered if anyone had ever laughed in Tartarus beforejust a pure, simple laugh of pleasure.
She doubted it.


Next to her, Percy coughed. This place smells like my ex-stepfather. Annabeth managed a weak smile.
Shed never met Smelly Gabe, but shed heard enough stories.
She loved Percy for trying to lift her spirits.


Sheshe wouldve killed me, Annabeth stammered.

Percy kicked the dust on the rocks, his expression grim and dissatisfied. She died too easily, considering
how much torture she put you through. She deserved worse.
Annabeth couldnt argue with that, but the hard edge in Percys voice made her unsettled. Shed never seen
someone get so angry or vengeful on her behalf. It almost made her glad Arachne had died quickly.


Believe me, Ive got good reason to get into this battle. I have some enemies to devour, and youll feast
on the blood of heroes. Just leave one special morsel for methe one named Percy Jackson.
Annabeth fought down a snarl of her own. She forgot about her fear. She wanted to jump over the
boulder and slash the monsters to dust with her knifeexcept she didnt have it anymore.


Piper! Jason staggered to the helm and carefully pulled the gag out of her mouth.
Dont waste your time on me! she said. Go after them! At the mast, Coach Hedge mumbled,


At least Annabeths ankle seemed to have healed. She was hardly limping at all. Her various cuts and
scrapes had faded. Shed tied her blond hair back with a strip of denim torn from her pants leg, and in
the fiery light of the river, her gray eyes flickered. Despite being beat-up, sooty, and dressed like a
homeless person, she looked great to Percy.
So what if they were in Tartarus? So what if they stood a slim chance of surviving? He was so glad that
they were together, he had the ridiculous urge to smile.


About halfway down the precipice, Annabeth said, Stop, okay? Just a quick break. Her legs wobbled so
badly, Percy cursed himself for not calling a rest earlier.
They sat together on a ledge next to a roaring fiery waterfall. Percy put his arm around Annabeth, and
she leaned against him, shaking from exhaustion.


At least he had Annabeth. They would find a way out of Tartarus. They had to. He didnt think much of
fates and prophecies, but he did believe in one thing: Annabeth and he were supposed to be together.
They hadnt survived so much just to get killed now.
Things could be worse, Annabeth ventured.
Yeah? Percy didnt see how, but he tried to sound upbeat.
She snuggled against him. Her hair smelled of smoke, and if he closed his eyes, he could almost imagine
they were at the campfire at Camp Half-Blood.


Percy and his allies had destroyed the worst Titan, Kronos, but even his remains might be down here
somewherea billion angry Titan particles floating through the blood-colored clouds or lurking in that
dark fog.
Percy decided not to think about that. He kissed Annabeths forehead. We should keep moving.
You want some more fire to drink?
Ugh. Ill pass.


The other two empousai launched themselves at Percy. One grabbed his sword arm. Her friend jumped on
his back.
Percy tried to ignore them and staggered toward Annabeth, determined to go down defending her if he
had to; but Annabeth was doing pretty well. She tumbled to one side, evading Kellis claws, and came up
with a rock in her hand, which she smacked into Kellis nose.


Annabeth wasnt happy about it. Her throat felt like she was constantly gargling with battery acid.
Her only comfort was Percy. Every so often he would glance over and smile, or squeeze her hand. He had
to be just as scared and miserable as she was, and she loved him for trying to make her feel better.
Annabeth collapsed on a broken slab of marble, too exhausted to take another step. Percy stood over
her protectively, scanning their surroundings.


She didnt want to sleep, but her body betrayed her. Her eyelids turned to lead. Percy, wake me for
second watch. Dont be a hero.
He gave her that smirk shed come to love. Who, me?
He kissed her, his lips parched and feverishly warm. Sleep. Annabeth felt like she was back in the Hypnos
cabin at Camp Half-Blood, overcome with drowsiness. She curled up on the hard ground and closed her


Connor Stoll always burned a pack for his dad at dinner. She thought about sitting in the dining pavilion,
watching the sunset over Long Island Sound. That was the first place she and Percy had truly kissed. Her
eyes smarted.


Sending a message, Annabeth said. I just hope Rachel gets it.

Rachel? Percy asked. You mean our Rachel? Oracle of Delphi Rachel?
Thats the one. Annabeth suppressed a smile.
Whenever she brought up Rachels name, Percy got nervous. At one point, Rachel had been interested in
dating Percy. That was ancient history. Rachel and Annabeth were good friends now. But Annabeth didnt
mind making Percy a little uneasy. You had to keep your boyfriend on his toes.


He fell into Tartarus to be with you, said a voice in her head. If he dies, it will be your fault.
Stop it, she said aloud.
Percy frowned. What?
No, not you. She tried for a reassuring smile, but she couldnt quite muster one. The worry lines
deepened around Percys sea-green eyes.


Bob struck off to the left. They followed. The air definitely got colder. Annabeth pressed against Percy for
warmth. He put his arm around her. It felt good being close to him, but she couldnt relax.
Theyd entered some sort of forest.


You called yourself Nobody. He could not see you. Now you will not see your attackers.
Ive got you, Percy promised. He put his arm around Annabeth, but as the arai advanced, he didnt know
how he could protect either of them.


Percy? she called, panic creeping into her voice.

Im right here.
He tried to put his hand on her shoulder, but she wasnt standing where he thought. He tried again, only
to find she was several feet farther away. It was like trying to grab something in a tank of water, with
the light shifting the image away.
Percy! Annabeths voice cracked. Why did you leave me?
I didnt! He turned on the arai, his arms shaking with anger. What did you do to her? We did nothing,
the demons said. Your beloved has unleashed a special cursea bitter thought from someone you

abandoned. You punished an innocent soul by leaving her in her solitude. Now her most hateful wish has
come to pass: Annabeth feels her despair. She, too, will perish alone and abandoned.

Percy? Annabeth spread her arms, trying to find him. The arai backed up, letting her stumble blindly
through their ranks.


Annabeth wandered among the demons, desperately calling his name. Percy longed to run to her, but he
knew the arai wouldnt allow it. The only reason they hadnt killed her yet was that they were enjoying
her misery.
Percy clenched his jaw. He didnt care how many curses he suffered. He had to keep these leathery old
hags focused on him and protect Annabeth as long as he could.
He yelled in fury and attacked them all.


Now he was in Tartarus, dying from gorgons blood plus a dozen other agonizing curses, while he
watched his girlfriend stumble around, helpless and blind and believing hed abandoned her. He clutched his
sword. His knuckles started to steam. White smoke curled off his forearms.
I wont die like this, he thought.
Not only because it was painful and insultingly lame, but because Annabeth needed him. Once he was dead,
the demons would turn their attention to her. He couldnt leave her alone.


The Titan touched her forehead. Owie.

Annabeth stopped fighting. Her eyes cleared. Where what? She saw Percy, and a series of
expressions flashed across her facerelief, joy, shock, horror.
Whats wrong with him? she cried. What happened?
She cradled his shoulders and wept into his scalp.
Percy wanted to tell her it was okay, but of course it wasnt. He couldnt even feel his body anymore. His
consciousness was like a small helium balloon, loosely tied to the top of his head. It had no weight, no
strength. It just kept expanding, getting lighter and lighter. He knew that soon it would either burst or
the string would break, and his life would float away.
Annabeth took his face in her hands. She kissed him and tried to wipe the dust and sweat from his eyes.
Bob cannot cure this, Bob said. Too much poison. Too many curses piled up.
Annabeth hugged Percys shoulders. He wanted to say: I can feel that now. Ow. Too tight.
What can we do, Bob? Annabeth asked. Is there water anywhere? Water might heal him.
No water, Bob said. Tartarus is bad.


Annabeth struggled to get Percy to his feet. He hated making her work so hard, but he felt like a sack of
billiard balls. Even with Annabeth supporting almost all his weight, he could barely stand.

Bob, Im going on, with or without you, she said. Will you help? The kitten Small Bob mewed and began
to purr, rubbing against Bobs chin.


Yeah, sorry. He touched the groove that Sciron the bandit had cut in his hair. Crossing the Atlantic is a
hard journey, no doubt. But Id never bet against Reyna. If anyone can make it, she will. Piper circled her
spoon through her soup. Jason was still a little nervous about her getting jealous of Reyna, but when
she looked up, she gave him a dry smile that seemed more teasing than insecure.
Well, Id love to see Reyna again, she said.


Piper leaned toward him, her caramel braid falling over her shoulder. Her multicolored eyes made it hard
for him to think straight.
And where is this place? she asked.
Auh, a town called Split.
Split. She smelled really goodlike blooming honeysuckle.
Um, yeah. Jason wondered if Piper was working some sort of Aphrodite magic on himlike maybe every
time he mentioned Reynas name, she would befuddle him so much he couldnt think about anything but
Piper. He supposed it wasnt the worst sort of revenge. In fact, we should be getting close. Leo?


His voice was heavy with bitternessmore than Jason could understand. He knew that Nico had blamed
Percy for getting his sister Bianca killed, but theyd supposedly gotten past that, at least according to
Percy. Piper had also mentioned a rumor that Nico had a crush on Annabeth. Maybe that was part of it.
Still Jason didnt get why Nico pushed people away, why he never spent much time at either camp, why
he preferred the dead to the living.


Cupid, Jason called, where are you?

The voice laughed. It definitely didnt sound like a cute baby angels. It sounded deep and rich, but also
threateninglike a tremor before a major earthquake.

Where you least expect me, Cupid answered. As Love always is.


LOSING HER SIGHT HAD BEEN BAD ENOUGH. Being isolated from Percy had been horrible.
But now that she could see again, watching him die slowly from gorgons blood poison and being unable
to do anything about itthat was the worst curse of all.


Percy flopped around, causing the kitten to readjust his nest in the small of Percys back.
Occasionally Percy would groan in pain, and Annabeth felt like a fist was squeezing her heart.
She flashed back to her tea party with Piper, Hazel, and Aphrodite in Charleston.

Aphrodite had gestured proudly to Annabeth, using her as an example for the other girls: I once

promised to make her love life interesting. And didnt I?

Annabeth had wanted to throttle the goddess of love. Shed had more than her share of interesting. Now
Annabeth was holding out for a happy ending. Surely that was possible, no matter what the legends said
about tragic heroes. There had to be exceptions, right? If suffering led to reward, then Percy and she
deserved the grand prize.
She thought about Percys daydream of New Romethe two of them settling down there, going to
college together. At first, the idea of living among the Romans had appalled her. She had resented them
for taking Percy away from her.
Now she would accept that offer gladly.


At least the terrain forced Bob to go slower. Once Annabeth caught up, she could walk right behind him
and keep an eye on Percy, who was mumbling deliriously, his forehead dangerously hot.
Several times he muttered Annabeth, and she fought back a sob.


Its reptilian eyes were Annabeths favorite shade of sea green (just like Percys).


Get Percy to safety, Annabeth said. Ill distract it. She had no idea how she would do that, but it was
her only choice. She couldnt let Percy dienot if she still had the strength to stand.
You dont have to, Bob said. Any minute


She took a deep breath and marched up to Damasen. My friend is dying. Can you cure him or not? Her
voice caught on the word friend. Percy was a lot more than that. Even boyfriend really didnt cover it.
Theyd been through so much together, at this point Percy was part of hera sometimes annoying part,
sure, but definitely a part she could not live without.


With each sip, Percys color improved. He drained the cup, and his eyes fluttered open. He looked around
with a dazed expression, spotted Annabeth, and gave her a drunken grin.
Feel great. His eyes rolled up in his head. He fell back in the bed and began to snore.
A few hours of sleep, Damasen pronounced. Hell be good as new. Annabeth sobbed with relief.
Thank you, she said.


In the distance, the Maeonian drakon roared.

Percy sat bolt upright. What? Whatwherewhat?
Its okay. Annabeth took his arm.


He pulled a makeshift tunic of drakon leather over his shredded T-shirt, but it did nothing to keep out
the chill. His focus narrowed to the ground in front of him. Nothing existed except for that and Annabeth
at his side.
Whenever he felt like giving up, plopping himself down, and dying (which was, like, every ten minutes), he
reached over and took her hand, just to remember there was warmth in the world.


Percy tried to think of good things to keep his spirits upthe lake at Camp Half-Blood, the time hed
kissed Annabeth underwater. He tried to imagine the two of them at New Rome together, walking
through the hills and holding hands.


Annabeth laced her fingers through his. In the light of his bronze sword, her face was beautiful.
Were together, she reminded him. Well get through this.
Hed been so worried about lifting her spirits, and here she was reassuring him.
Yeah, he agreed. Piece of cake.
But next time, she said, I want to go somewhere different on a date.
Paris was nice, he recalled.
She managed a smile. Months ago, before Percy got amnesia, theyd had dinner in Paris one night,
compliments of Hermes. That seemed like another lifetime.
Id settle for New Rome, she offered. As long as youre there with me. Man, Annabeth was awesome.
For a moment, Percy actually remembered what it was like to feel happy. He had an amazing girlfriend.
They could have a future together.


Impossible! Akhlys said. The armies of Tartarus will find you. They will kill you.
Annabeth turned the blade of her drakon-bone sword, which Percy had to admit made her look pretty
intimidating and hot in a Barbarian Princess kind of way.
So I guess your Death Mist is pretty useless, then, she said.


He is not mortal. Come, little fools. Come experience the Death Mist.
Annabeth exhaled and grabbed his hand. Wellhow bad can it be? The question was so ridiculous Percy
laughed, even though it hurt his lungs. Yeah. Next date, thoughdinner in New Rome.
They followed the goddesss dusty footprints through the poison flowers, deeper into the fog.
He turned to Annabeth and stifled a yelp. Youreuh
He couldnt say it. She looked dead.


Her skin was sallow, her eye sockets dark and sunken. Her beautiful hair had dried into a skein of
cobwebs. She looked like shed been stuck in a cool, dark mausoleum for decades, slowly withering into a
desiccated husk. When she turned to look at him, her features momentarily blurred into mist.
Percys blood moved like sap in his veins.
For years, he had worried about Annabeth dying. When you were a demigod, that went with the
territory. Most half-bloods didnt live long. You always knew that the next monster you fought could be
your last. But seeing Annabeth like this was too painful. Hed rather stand in the River Phlegethon, or get
attacked by arai, or be trampled by giants.
Oh, gods, Annabeth sobbed. Percy, the way you look


Percy! Annabeth called.

Shed retreated to the edge of the cliff, even though the poison wasnt after her. She sounded terrified. It
took Percy a moment to realize she was terrified of him.
Stop she pleaded, her voice hoarse.
He didnt want to stop. He wanted to choke this goddess. He wanted to watch her drown in her own
poison. He wanted to see just how much misery Misery could take.
Percy, please Annabeths face was still pale and corpse-like, but her eyes were the same as always.
The anguish in them made Percys anger fade.


Youre crying, he said, which was stupidly obvious; but seeing her that way took the wind out of his
helicopter blades, so to speak. It was hard to stay mad at someone who was crying.


The first time Calypso came to check on him, it was to complain about the noise.
Smoke and fire, she said. Clanging on metal all day long. Youre scaring away the birds!
Oh, no, not the birds! Leo grumbled.
What do you hope to accomplish?
He glanced up and almost smashed his thumb with his hammer. Hed been staring at metal and fire so
long hed forgotten how beautiful Calypso was. Annoyingly beautiful. She stood there with the sunlight in
her hair, her white skirt fluttering around her legs, a basket of grapes and fresh-baked bread tucked
under one arm.


The next time she visited, Leo was putting the final touches on his first project. He didnt see her until
she spoke right behind him.
I brought you
Leo jumped, dropping his wires. Bronze bulls, girl! Dont sneak up on me like that!

She was wearing red todayLeos favorite color. That was completely irrelevant. She looked really good
in red. Also irrelevant.
I wasnt sneaking, she said. I was bringing you these.


Thanks. He meant it to sound sarcastic, but he was honestly impressed. Leo could make a lot of things,
but an inflammable, self-cleaning outfit wasnt one of them.
Soyou made an exact replica of my favorite outfit. Did you, like, Google me or something?
She frowned. I dont know that word.
You looked me up, he said. Almost like you had some interest in me.
She wrinkled her nose. I have an interest in not making you a new set of clothes every other day. I have
an interest in your not smelling so bad and walking around my island in smoldering rags.
Oh, yeah. Leo grinned. Youre really warming up to me.
Her face got even redder. You are the most insufferable person I have ever met! I was only returning a
favor. You fixed my fountain.
That? Leo laughed. The problem had been so simple, hed almost forgotten about it. One of the bronze
satyrs had gotten turned sideways and the water pressure was off, so it started making an annoying
ticking sound, jiggling up and down, and spewing water over the rim of the pool. Hed pulled out a couple
of tools and fixed it in about two minutes.
That was no big deal. I dont like it when things dont work right.
And the curtains across the cave entrance?
The rod wasnt level.
And my gardening tools?
Look, I just sharpened the shears. Cutting vines with a dull blade is dangerous. And the pruners needed
to be oiled at the hinge, and
Oh, yeah, Calypso said, in a pretty good imitation of his voice. Youre really warming up to me.
For once, Leo was speechless. Calypsos eyes glittered. He knew she was making fun of him, but
somehow it didnt feel mean.


What Gaea said He hesitated. About you getting off this island. Would you want to try it?
She scowled. What do you mean?
WellIm not saying it would be fun having you along, always complaining and glaring at me and stuff. But
I suppose I could stand it, if you wanted to try.
Her expression softened just a little.
How noble, she muttered. But no, Leo. If I tried to come with you, your tiny chance of escape would
be no chance at all. The gods have placed ancient magic on this island to keep me here. A hero can leave. I

cannot. The most important thing is getting you free so you can stop Gaea. Not that I care what
happens to you, she added quickly. But the worlds fate is at stake.


She held up her calloused, grimy fingers. Leo couldnt help thinking there was nothing hotter than a girl
who didnt mind getting her hands dirty. But of course, that was just a general comment.
Didnt apply to Calypso. Obviously.
Well, he said, you could twist some more bronze coils. But thats kind of specialized
She pushed in next to him on the bench and began to work, her hands braiding the bronze wiring faster
than he could have. Just like weaving, she said. This isnt so hard.
Huh, Leo said. Well, if you ever get off this island and want a job, let me know. Youre not a total
She smirked. A job, eh? Making things in your forge?
Nah, we could start our own shop, Leo said, surprising himself. Starting a machine shop had always
been one of his dreams, but hed never told anyone about it. Leo and Calypsos Garage: Auto Repair and
Mechanical Monsters.
Fresh fruits and vegetables, Calypso offered.
Cider and stew, Leo added. We could even provide entertainment. You could sing and I could, like,
randomly burst into flames.
Calypso laugheda clear, happy sound that made Leos heart go ka-bump.
See, he said, Im funny.
She managed to kill her smile. You are not funny. Now, get back to work, or no cider and stew.
Yes, maam, he said. They worked in silence, side by side, for the rest of the afternoon.


You told me about Festus, Calypso said. But what do you mean get back? Leo grinned nervously.
Wellto get back here, duh. Im sure I said that.
You most definitely did not.
Im not gonna leave you here! After you helped me and everything? Of course Im coming back. Once I
rebuild Festus, hell be able to handle an improved guidance system. Theres this astrolabe that I, uh
He stopped, deciding it was best not to mention that it had been built by one of Calypsos old flames.
that I found in Bologna. Anyway, I think with that crystal you gave me
You cant come back, Calypso insisted.
Leos heart went clunk. Because Im not welcome?
Because you cant. Its impossible. No man finds Ogygia twice. That is the rule. Leo rolled his eyes. Yeah,
well, you mightve noticed Im not good at following rules. Im coming back here with my dragon, and well
spring you. Take you wherever you want to go. Its only fair.
Fair Calypsos voice was barely audible.

In the firelight, her eyes looked so sad, Leo couldnt stand it. Did she think he was lying to her just to
make her feel better? He considered it a given that he would come back and free her from this island.
How could he not?
You didnt really think I could start Leo and Calypsos Auto Repair without Calypso, did you? he asked.
I cant make cider and stew, and I sure cant sing. She stared at the sand.


Go, Calypso said.

Leo turned. She was so close he couldnt stand it. She smelled like cinnamon and wood smoke, and he
thought hed never smell anything that good again.
The raft finally got here, he said.
Calypso snorted. Her eyes might have been red, but it was hard to tell in the moonlight.
You just noticed?
But if it only shows up for guys you like
Dont push your luck, Leo Valdez, she said. I still hate you.
And you are not coming back here, she insisted. So dont give me any empty promises.
How about a full promise? he said. Because Im definitely She grabbed his face and pulled him into a
kiss, which effectively shut him up.
For all his joking and flirting, Leo had never kissed a girl before. Well, sisterly pecks on the cheek from
Piper, but that didnt count. This was a real, full-contact kiss. If Leo had had gears and wires in his brain,
they wouldve short-circuited.
Calypso pushed him away. That didnt happen.
Okay. His voice sounded an octave higher than usual.
Get out of here.
She turned, wiping her eyes furiously, and stormed up the beach, the breeze tousling her hair.
Leo wanted to call to her, but the sail caught the full force of the wind, and the raft cleared the beach.
He struggled to align the guidance console. By the time Leo looked back, the island of Ogygia was a dark
line in the distance, their campfire pulsing like a tiny orange heart.
His lips still tingled from the kiss.

That didnt happen, he told himself. I cant be in love with an immortal girl. She definitely cant be in love
with me. Not possible.
As his raft skimmed over the water, taking him back to the mortal world, he understood a line from the
Prophecy better an oath to keep with a final breath.
He understood how dangerous oaths could be. But Leo didnt care.
Im coming back for you, Calypso, he said to the night wind. I swear it on the River Styx.


The squabbling sounds of Nyxs children got farther away. That was good. Percy was still running at her
side, holding her hand. Also good.


ANNABETH! PERCY PULLED HER BACK just as her foot hit the edge of a drop-off. She almost pitched
forward into who-knew-what, but Percy grabbed her and wrapped her in his arms.
Its okay, he promised.
She pressed her face into his shirt and kept her eyes closed tight. She was trembling, but not just from
fear. Percys embrace was so warm and comforting she wanted to stay there forever, safe and
protectedbut that wasnt reality. She couldnt afford to relax. She couldnt lean on Percy any more than
she had to. He needed her, too.
Thanks She gently disentangled herself from his arms.


Someday, Percys sons or daughters might have to face them all over again.

Sons and daughters.

The thought jarred him. As quickly as hopelessness had overtaken him, it disappeared. He glanced at
Annabeth. She still looked like a misty corpse, but he imagined her true appearanceher gray eyes full of
determination, her blond hair pulled back in a bandana, her face weary and streaked with grime, but as
beautiful as ever.
Okay, maybe monsters kept coming back forever. But so did demigods. Generation after generation, Camp
Half-Blood had endured. And Camp Jupiter. Even separately, the two camps had survived. Now, if the
Greeks and Romans could come together, they would be even stronger.
There was still hope. He and Annabeth had come this far. The Doors of Death were almost within reach.

Sons and daughters. A ridiculous thought. An awesome thought. Right there in the middle of Tartarus,
Percy grinned.
Whats wrong? Annabeth whispered.
With his zombie Death Mist disguise, Percy probably looked like he was grimacing in pain.
Nothing, he said. I was just


The cement settled in Percys stomach. He had always suspected how this would end. He would have to
stay behind. While Bob fended off the army, Percy would hold the elevator button and make sure
Annabeth got to safety.
Somehow, he had to convince her to go without him. As long as she was safe and the Doors disappeared,
he could die knowing hed done something right.
Percy? Annabeth stared at him, a suspicious edge to her voice.
She was too smart. If he met her eyes, she would see exactly what he was thinking.


Leo didnt seem so intent on teasing Frank. He chatted more easily with Hazelnot stealing those
wistful, mooning glances that had always made Frank uncomfortable.
Hazel had diagnosed the problem privately to Frank: He met someone. Frank was incredulous. How?
Where? How could you possibly know? Hazel smiled. I just do.
As if she were a child of Venus rather than Pluto. Frank didnt get it.
Of course he was relieved that Leo wasnt hitting on his girl, but Frank was also kind of worried about
Leo. Sure, theyd had their differences; but after all theyd been through together, Frank didnt want to
see Leo get his heart broken.


As Annabeth stared up at his dark whirlpool face, she decided shed rather die in some less memorable
waymaybe falling down the stairs, or going peacefully in her sleep at age eighty, after a nice quiet life
with Percy. Yes, that sounded good.


Percy, get over here! she yelled.

He joined her in the doorway, his face dripping with sweat, and blood from several cuts.
You okay? she asked.
He nodded. Got some kind of pain curse from that arai. He hacked a gryphon out of the air.
Hurts, but it wont kill me. Get in the elevator. Ill hold the button.
Yeah, right! She smacked a carnivorous horse in the snout with the butt of her sword and sent the
monster stampeding through the crowd. You promised, Seaweed Brain. We would not get separated!
Ever again!
Youre impossible!
Love you too!


Percy gripped Annabeths hand. Stay here. Ive got to help him.
Percy, you cant, she croaked. Tartarus cant be fought. Not by us. She knew she was right. Tartarus
was in a class by himself. He was more powerful than the gods or Titans. Demigods were nothing to him.
If Percy charged to help Bob, he would get squashed like an ant.
But Annabeth also knew that Percy wouldnt listen. He couldnt leave Bob to die alone. That just wasnt
himand that was one of the many reasons she loved him, even if he was an Olympian-sized pain in the

Well go together, Annabeth decided, knowing this would be their final battle. If they stepped away from
the Doors, they would never leave Tartarus. At least they would die fighting side by side.


But, you guysTartarus has to be the real story. What happened down there? How did you?
Percy laced his fingers through Annabeths.


She shook her head. Im not Caesar. After finding Jasons note in Diocletians Palace, tracking you down
was easy. I only did what I thought was necessary. Percy couldnt help smiling.
Reyna, youre too modest. Flying halfway across the world by yourself to answer Annabeths plea,
because you knew it was our best chance for peace? Thats pretty freaking heroic.
Reyna shrugged. Says the demigod who fell into Tartarus and found his way back.
He had help, Annabeth said.
Oh, obviously, Reyna said. Without you, I doubt Percy could find his way out of a paper bag.
True, Annabeth agreed.
Hey! Percy complained.
The others started laughing, but Percy didnt mind. It felt good to see them smile. Heck, just being in the
mortal world felt good, breathing un-poisonous air, enjoying actual sunshine on his back.


Percy studied the statue uneasily. Hed never had the best relationship with Annabeths mom. He kept
expecting Big Mama Statue to come alive and chew him out for getting her daughter into so much
troubleor maybe just step on him without a word.


Annabeth took his hand. He drank in the sight of her now that they were back in the mortal world,
without the Death Mist, her blond hair catching the sunlighteven if she was still thin and wan, like him,
and her gray eyes were stormy with thought.
Percy, prophecies cut both ways, she said.


He loved being back in his fathers elementwith the fresh sea air in his lungs and the salty spray on his
arms. He stood at the starboard rail and closed his eyes, sensing the currents beneath them. But images
of Tartarus kept burning in his mindthe River Phlegethon, the blistered ground where monsters
regenerated, the dark forest where arai circled overhead in the blood-mist clouds. Most of all, he
thought about a hut in the swamp with a warm fire and racks of drying herbs and drakon jerky. He
wondered if that hut was empty now.
Annabeth pressed next to him at the rail, her warmth reassuring.
I know, she murmured, reading his expression. I cant get that place out of my head, either.


Weve got a good crew, Percy said. If I have to sail to my death

Youre not dying on me, Seaweed Brain, Annabeth said. Remember? Never separated again. And after we
get home
What? Percy asked.
She kissed him. Ask me again, once we defeat Gaea.
He smiled, happy to have something to look forward to.

Whatever you say. As they sailed farther from the coast, the sky darkened and more stars came out.
Percy studied the constellationsthe ones Annabeth had taught him so many years ago.
Bob says hello, he told the stars.
The Argo II sailed into the night.


THO: The Blood of Olympus

Percy had stayed aboard to watch for threats from the sea, but he hadnt liked the idea of Annabeth
going on this expedition without him especially since it would be the first time they were apart since
returning from Tartarus.
Hed pulled Jason aside. Hey, man Annabeth would kill me if I suggested she needed anybody to protect
Jason laughed. Yeah, she would.
But look out for her, okay?
Jason squeezed his friends shoulder. Ill make sure she gets back to you safely.


Jasons stomach rebelled. Even if ghoul food didnt kill him, his vegetarian girlfriend probably wouldnt
kiss him for a month.


Piper caught his shoulders as he keeled sideways. Whoa, Sparky. We need to contact the Argo II, get
You havent called me Sparky in a long time.
Piper kissed his forehead. Stick with me and Ill insult you all you want.


Jasons mind drifted back to better times.

He just wanted to stay there talking with Piper, holding her hand, not worrying about giants or Gaia or
his mothers madness.


Just Leos luck. A super-hot immortal girl was waiting for him on Ogygia, but he couldnt figure out how
to wire a stupid chunk of rock into the three-thousand-yearold navigation device. Some problems even
duct tape couldnt solve.


Describe her, she insisted. Every detail.

It felt a little weird helping Hazel make a portrait of Calypso as if he were talking to a police artist:

Yes, officer, thats the girl who stole my heart! Sounded like a freaking country song.
But describing Calypso had been easy. Leo couldnt close his eyes without seeing her.
Now her likeness gazed back at him from the bulletin board her almond-shaped eyes, her pouty lips,
her long straight hair swept over one shoulder of her sleeveless dress. He could almost smell her
cinnamon fragrance. Her knitted brow and the downward turn of her mouth seemed to say, Leo

Valdez, you are so full of it.

Dang, he loved that woman!


Sit tight, Sunshine, he told Calypsos picture.

Ill get back to you, just like I promised.
Leo could imagine her response: I am not waiting for you, Leo Valdez. I am not in love with you. And I

certainly dont believe your foolish promises!

The thought made him smile. He slipped his keys back into his tool belt and headed for the mess hall.
He wasnt infatuated with Hazel any more.
His heart was far away on the island of Ogygia.
Still, Hazel Levesque impressed him even when she wasnt sitting atop a scary immortal supersonic
horse who cussed like a sailor.
He didnt say any of this, but Hazel must have picked up on his thoughts. She looked away, flustered.
Leo could dig the chariot and the two white horses. He was okay with Nikes glittering sleeveless dress
(Calypso totally rocked that style, but that wasnt relevant) and Nikes piled-up braids of dark hair
circled with a gilded laurel wreath.


That thing is really red, Percy muttered.

I wonder if its cherry-flavoured.
Why dont you swim over and find out? Annabeth asked.
How about no.


When Jason visited her cabin that evening, she made sure to keep the door open, because Buford the
Wonder Table took his duties as acting chaperone very seriously. If he had the slightest suspicion a girl
and a boy were in the same cabin without supervision, he would steam and clatter down the hall,
Jason sat at the foot of her bunk. I was about to go on duty. Just wanted to check on you first.
Piper nudged his leg with her foot. The guy who got run through with a sword wants to check on me?
How are you feeling?
He gave her a lopsided smile.


No way are you two going down there alone, Percy said.
Leo ran down the hall waving a wrench.
Man, did you have to destroy the plumbing?

Percy ignored him. Water ran down the gangway. The hull rumbled as more pipes burst and sinks
overflowed. Piper guessed that Percy hadnt meant to cause so much damage, but his glowering
expression made her want to leave the ship as soon as possible.
Well be all right, Annabeth told him.
Piper foresaw the two of us going down there, so thats what needs to happen.
Percy glared at Piper like it was all her fault.


Thats my point! Percy said. We dont know whats down there. Im going with you.
No. Annabeth put her hand on his arm. If the giants want our blood, the last thing we need is a boy and
a girl going down there together. Remember? They want one of each for their big sacrifice.
Then Ill get Jason, Percy said. And the two of us
Seaweed Brain, are you implying that two boys can handle this better than two girls?
No. I mean no. But
Annabeth kissed him. Well be back before you know it.
Piper followed her upstairs before the whole lower deck could flood with toilet water.


She fingered the red coral pendant on her necklace a gift from Percy when they started dating.
Youre thinking about Percy, Piper guessed.
Annabeth nodded.


He seems to be adjusting, Piper said.

Hes smiling more often. You know he cares about you more than ever.


Give him time. She sat next to Annabeth. The guy is crazy about you. Youve been through so much
I know Annabeths grey eyes reflected the green of the olive trees. Its just Bob the Titan, he
warned me there would be more sacrifices ahead. I want to believe we can have a normal life someday
But I allowed myself to hope for that last summer, after the Titan War. Then Percy disappeared for

months. Then we fell into that pit A tear traced its way down her cheek.


Annabeth shinned down.

Piper McLean, she grumbled, that was without a doubt the dumbest risk Ive ever seen anyone take, and
I date a dumb risktaker.


No, Piper agreed. Stop thinking about it.Just feel.

I hate that.

I know. You cant plan for feelings. Like with Percy, and your future you cant control every contingency.
You have to accept that. Let it scare you. Trust that itll be okay anyway.
Annabeth shook her head. I dont know if I can.


He ate his double chocolate delight and tried to imagine that he and his friends were just chilling on a
vacation. Which made him wish Calypso was with him, which made him wish the war was over and
everybody was alive which made him sad.


Leo forgot Apollo was there. He played the song all the way through. When he was done, his eyes stung.
He could almost smell the fresh-baked bread from Calypsos kitchen.
He could taste the only kiss shed ever given him.


I dont like it, Jason said. The way Asclepius looked at Leo
Aw, he just sensed my heartsickness. Leo tried for a smile. You know, Im dying to see Calypso.
That is so sweet, Piper said. But Im not sure thats it.


Leo checked the ancient bronze astrolabe, which was now fitted with the crystal from Ogygia. Leo could
only hope it would work.
I will get back to you, Calypso, he muttered. I promised on the River Styx.


She finished the first verse. No one spoke for a count of five.
Pipes, Jason said, I had no idea.
That was beautiful, Leo agreed. Maybe not you know, Calypso beautiful, but still


I dont like this place, Annabeth murmured.

Reminds me of when I was underneath Rome.
Annabeth slipped her hand into Percys, which made Piper feel downhearted.


This is where he struck the earth, Annabeth said, where he made a saltwater spring appear when he
had the contest with my mom to sponsor Athens.
So this is where the rivalry started, Percy said.
Percy pulled Annabeth close and kissed her long enough for it to get really awkward for Piper, though
she said nothing. She thought about the old rule of Aphrodites cabin: that to be recognized as a
daughter of the love goddess, you had to break someones heart. Piper had long ago decided to change

that rule. Percy and Annabeth were a perfect example of why. You should have to make someones heart

whole; that was a much better test.

When Percy pulled away, Annabeth looked like a fish gasping for air.
The rivalry ends here, Percy said. I love you, Wise Girl.
Annabeth made a little sigh, like something in her ribcage had melted.
Percy glanced at Piper. Sorry, I had to do that.
Piper grinned. How could a daughter of Aphrodite not approve? Youre a great boyfriend.
Annabeth made another grunt-whimper.


But when she moved them they rippled like mirages, separating into three different sets of muscular
Earthborn arms.
Percy grimaced, which looked even worse on his newly uglified face. Wow, Annabeth Im really glad I
kissed you before you changed.
Thanks a lot, she said.


You and Hazel youve got a lot more adventures ahead of you. Youre just getting started. Be good to
my sister, okay?
Hazel walked up next to Frank and laced her hand with his.
Nico, youre not threatening my boyfriend, are you?
The two of them looked so comfortable together it made Nico glad.


A loud whoop! cut through the air.

Over by the hearth in the centre of the common, Percy was grinning at something Annabeth had just told
him. Annabeth laughed and playfully slapped his arm.
Ill be right back, Nico told Will. Promise on the Styx and everything.
He walked over to Percy and Annabeth, who were both still grinning like crazy.
Hey, man, Percy said. Annabeth just told me some good news. Sorry if I got a little loud.
Were going to spend our senior year together, Annabeth explained, here in New York. And after
College in New Rome! Percy pumped his fist like he was blowing a truck horn. Four years with no
monsters to fight, no battles, no stupid prophecies. Just me and Annabeth, getting our degrees, hanging
out at cafs, enjoying California
And after that Annabeth kissed Percy on the cheek. Well, Reyna and Frank said we could live in New
Rome as long as we like.


Look. Jason pointed at the stars, which made a splash of diamonds across the sky better jewels than
even Hazel Levesque could have summoned.
Beautiful. Piper snuggled up against Jason and he put his arm around her. But arent you going to get in
Who cares? Jason asked.
Piper laughed quietly. Who are you?
He turned, his glasses pale bronze in starlight.
Jason Grace. Pleased to meet you.
He kissed her, and okay, they had kissed before. But this was different. Piper felt like a toaster. All her
coils heated to red-hot. Any more warmth and shed start smelling like burnt toast.


So much for a heroic entrance.

Leo spat a piece of seaweed out of his mouth. Festus dragged himself down the beach, made clacking
noises that meant Ow, ow, ow.
Leo looked up. Calypso stood over him, her arms crossed, her eyebrows arched.
Youre late, she announced. Her eyes gleamed.
Sorry, Sunshine, Leo said. Traffic was murder.


She offered her hand and helped him up. They stood nose to nose as she studied his condition. She
smelled like cinnamon. Had she always had that tiny freckle next to her left eye? Leo really wanted to
touch it.
She wrinkled her nose. You smell
I know. Like Ive been dead. Probably because I have been. Oath to keep with a final breath and all, but
Im better now
She stopped him with a kiss.
The pachinko balls slammed around inside him. He felt so happy he had to make a conscious effort not
to burst into flames.
When she finally let him go, her face was covered in soot smudges. She didnt seem to care. She traced
her thumb across his cheekbone.
Leo Valdez, she said.
Nothing else just his name, as if it were something magical.