Chapter 8 : Meeting Up With the Trio
My mind went blank. It’s not like I didn’t know this was going to happen butit was still a shock that events would move so soon. I staggered back and Annabeth quickly grabbed my arm to steady me. “I’m so sorry, Alex. I shouldn’t have told you.”
I shook my head. “No, I’m fine, I’m fine.” My voice sounded dead. “Just… get me Robby, will you.”
Annabeth quickly ran out and came back dragging Robby by the ear. I heard him complain. “What’s wrong Annabeth? Were you crying? Ow! That hurts!” Then he saw my face. Quickly running over to me, he whisp[ered in my ear, “What’s wrong?”
“Percy.” I whispered back.
The reaction was immediate. His face paled and he muttered, “Already?”
“If Percy’s missing, then that means three days later, we’re going to meet Leo, Piper, and Jason.” I start overthinking. “Should we tell them? About Jason, I mean. Or should we not? In the summer, should we go find Percy in California?”
Robbie shook me by the shoulders. “You were the one who said, ‘Go with the flow,’ so let’s just follow your advice. I get that you’re shocked but still don’t panic attack on me please.”
“All right.” To Annabeth, I made a suggestion. “I don’t think Percy just went home. Whatever happened, it’s big and we need to get the gods’ help so maybe you should ask the gods or something. I know Olympus is closed, but still, it never hurts to try.”
Annabeth’s face lit up with hope. “I’ll Iris-message the hunters too. Thalia would be worried.”
Annabeth ran out with new purpose in her step and I felt terrible. I was giving her false hope. The hunters wouldn’t be able to help and I knew that, but I needed to cheer her up.
Following Percy’s disappearance, the camp was abuzz with rumors and Robbie had to stop me from pummeling Drew Tanaka when I heard her with Cabin 10 saying, “I bet Percy just ran off. I mean, who can blame him, with a girlfriend like that.” I still managed to get in a few good punches before he pulled me off so it was worth it. After 2 days, the camp calmed down and reality set in. Percy was missing. A dragon was loose in the woods, and although I knew Leo would be able to use it, it was hard to feel sympathetic toward Festus when you were called in the middle of the night to put out fires. The mood in camp was at an all time low when suddenly, Annabeth came running over to me with a big smile on her face.
“Hera gave me a message! Apparently, there are these demigods to be brought into camp tomorrow. If I go there, I’ll meet a guy with one shoe. That guy’ll help me!” Annabeth’s voice sounded breathless. “I mean, I know it’s Hera that gave me this information,but it’s all I’ve got right now. Oh, and you’re part of the rescue team.”
“What?!” I was shocked.
“Well, I mean, you are the best with the pegasi. They love you. You’re the obvious choice. Plus, I’m going to need some support. Will alreasdy said he’s going to lend us his chariot so we’re all set for transportation. It’s just me and you.”
Okay… so now I’m replacing Butch? “That’s great!” I said, internally wondering if I had to say what Butch said. Better safe than sorry.
The next morning, I strapped up the pegasi to the chariot and we took off. As we neared the school, I saw what I assumed to be Leo on the floor and Piper and Jason standing over him. We landed and Annabeth quickly got out. “Where is he?”
I winced. Not exactly the best first impression. “What about Gleeson? What happened to your protector, Gleeson Hedge?” Okay this would not do. I jumped out of the chariot.
“Annabeth, calm down. They obviously don’t know anything. And their protector probably did his job and got carried away by monsters. Am I right?” I turned to meet their faces and I did a double take. They looked exactly like the book described them. Jason had the electric blue eyes and the windswept perfect hair while Leo was a Latino elf. Rick Riordan really did give him justice on that description. And Piper was gorgeous, with her multicolor eyes. And all three of them were staring at me like I was nuts. Well, Jason and Piper were staring at me like I was nuts. Leo was staring at me like a lovesick puppy. “And Leo, I have a boyfriend.” I added.
“Come on! Why are the hot ones always taken?!” I heard him mumble.
Annabeth looked devastated. “No, that’s not possible. She told me he would be here. She told me!”
“Well, he’s the guy with one shoe so…” I pointed to Jason.
“I was tricked!” Annabeth shook a fist at the sky. “What do you want from me!”
Looking at the trio’s matching incredulous faces, I put an arm around her and steered her toward the chariot. “Come on, let’s get to camp and sort it all out there.”
She stomped off fuming and I turned back toward the trio. “We should go.”
“I’m not going anywhere with her.” Jason’s voice sounds out. “She looks like she wants to kill me.”
Wow I really am the substitute for Butch, aren’t I. That’s Annabeth. She’s pretty intimidating on good days and well, you’ve got to cut her some slack. Both of us have gone out of our mind with worry looking for someone. And then, she got a vision to come here, to find a person with one shoe. And she did. And he’s not here.”
“Who is he?” Piper quietly asked.
“Her boyfriend. And my brother. Percy Jackson.”
As I got on the chariot, I noticed Piper’s expression of dread. Oh right. The dream. I promised myself that I would help her later, but for now, I concentrated on keeping the chariot steady. These winds were not making my job easy.
Leo looked ecstatic. “This is so cool! Where are we going?”
Annabeth replied, “The only place for kids like us. It’s called Camp Half Blood.”
Piper immediately turned defensive. “Half blood?”
I cut in. “What Annabeth means is that we’re half human, half god. Like my dad’s Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. And Annabeth over here is the strategy queen. Her mom’s Athena, wisdom goddess and all that.”
Leo looked at me. “So, you’re not a mermaid or anything like that?”
“No, I assure you, I am entirely human.”
“But you can breathe underwater, right?”
I tried to calm myself down. “Yes.”
“So you have to have some kind of gills or something. It’s just not possible!” Leo eyed me like I was a complicated piece of machinery.
“Leo, if you don’t shut up, I will personally send you to the Underworld.” I hissed.
Leo shut up.
Annabeth said, “Alex is the best with the pegasi. Since Poseidon created horses.”
Lightning flashed and I groaned, “Left wheel’s on fire, isn’t it?”
Annabeth stared at me. “Seriously, Alex, sometimes it’s like you know the future.”
“Yeah whatever. Hang on guys, it’s going to get rough.” I urged the pegasi on as fast as they could go. A few seconds later, we were at camp. I chuckled to myself thinking what we must look like, a flaming inferno with smoke billowing off the burning wheels.
Annabeth flicked me. “This is not the time to laugh Alex! Aim for the lake!”
“Yes ma’am.” As we hit the water, I made sure that air bubbles were surrounding all of us, keeping us dry. (although technically, I didn’t need one.) The naiads pulled us out of the water and I tuned out for a while, not wanting to listen to Drew’s whining.
Will and Robbie ran up to us. Will looked a bit mad. “I said you could use the chariot, not destroy it!” Robbie tried to calm him down.
“It’s not like they did it on purpose. Plus, Annabeth’ll get you a new one.” He looked at me and winked.
. As Leo got claimed, I laughed. He really was a clown. I made a mental note never to introduce him to the Stoll brothers. If they teamed up, Camp Half Blood would be completely destroyed in 3 days.
Jason started getting Annabeth suspicious with all his talk about Vulcan and tattoos. “We should get you to Chiron. Drew, would you…?”
I cut in. “No, Drew, you can stay. Robbie, do me a favor and take Jason to the Big House.” I knew I couldn’t change with the big things but gods forbid I would let Jason alone with Drew.
“Okay?” Robbie looked at me quizzically and I sent him a clear message. Just do what I tell you.
I liked being in charge for once. I finally felt that I was on top of everything. That felt pretty nice, as it didn’t happen that often. “Annabeth, take Piper on a tour. I’ll just go bring the pegasi back.” Not waiting to hear an answer, I left for the stables. I couldn’t wait until the campfire. Not only because I would see Jason’s lightning show or Piper’s extreme makeover mugging by her mom but also because I couldn’t stop worrying about Jason’s quest to save Hera. I didn’t want to be part of it but the more I thought about it, it seemed inevitable. I took care of the pegasi until it was time for the campfire as I wasn’t really that hungry.
As I took my seat near the front of the flames, I heard someone sitting next to me. “Robbie, what is it?”
“Why’d you skip dinner? I was waiting for you.”
I looked at him. “I was worried.” I noticed Annabeth talking in the background but I wasn’t really listening to her. Rachel stood up and said her piece as well but I was too focused on this conversation to actually pay attention.
“About what? You know what’s going to happen. So why would you be worried?”
“Because. I think I’m going to be part of this quest.”
Robbie started protesting. “That’s impossible.”
“I know.” I sighed, exhausted. “But I just have this feeling in the back of my mind and it won’t go away. And you know my number one rule is trust your gut. And right now my gut is telling me danger.”
“It’s all going to be great. You’re not going to be part of the prophecy, I’m sure of it. Look, Rachel’s saying it now.”
I heard the raspy voice of the Oracle start the prophecy. “Chlid of lightning beware the earth. The giants revenge, the seven shall birth. The forge and dove shall break the cage. And death unleash through Hera’s rage.” So far so good. “The girl of the sea shall help these three. And help the grace regain his place.” The prophecy ended to shocked silence. And of course, my luck had to ruin it. I glared at Robbie and he looked back at me with an expression that clearly said, “Hey, I didn’t know you would be part of this!”
I whispered to him, “I told you so.”
Here we go again.