The Lives And Times Of Artemis Gallezi
Everyone dared not move, except Dionysus who flipped through his wine magazine. Bianca helped Zoe to her feet as she coughed on the floor, recovering from Artie's forearm pressing on her neck.
"I-i-i-i-s it over yet?" whimpered Grover removing his rasta cap from his eyes. "Is he g-g-gone?"
"Yes my satyr." said Chiron as he clawed his heart.
Percy couldn't blame him. Deep down, Artie had somehow shook all of them on a primal level, like he was lion in a den of rabbits. Percy had always considered Artie to be harmless, unless you were a monster. Now Percy understood why Artie was avoiding everyone lately, even the people he considered friends. If you were to catch him at the end of a really bad day or made him furious, like Zoe had, he was liable to rip your throat out with his bare hands if he was unable to keep himself in check.
What terrified Percy, and he guessed everyone else as well, was what Artie swore before leaving. If you ever, EVER, say that again. I swear on the River Styx with the gods, titans, and very earth itself as my witness ; I will cast you so deep in Tartarus that even Hades himself won't be able find you even I have to go down with you.
"Someone want to explain what just happened?" asked Bianca.
"You mean how Artie just went Rambo on Zoe?" asked Travis Stoll as if he wasn't sure he believed it himself.
"I never knew he had a temper like that." said Silena, almost whispering."If Appolonia hadn't stopped him . . ."
"If he hurts anyone, its on you." Appolonia settled back in her chair, "I warned you about making him mad, Zoë."
Chiron cleared his throat to get everyone attention. He waited until Zoe and Bianca had sat down before speaking, "This is meeting is over. The rest of you may leave. Zoë and Bianca, stay. Thalia, Percy, and Appolonia you as well." Chiron stayed silent until the rest of the councilors left. "While I don't approve of his reaction, I understand it, and it's time the rest of you do as well. Especially you Zoe, you need to see this the most." Chiron fished a drachma out of pouch and poured water onto a hot plate to create a rainbow and tossed the drachma. "Iris, goddess of the rainbow please accept my offering. Show us the life of Artemis Raposo Gallezi."
(NINETEEN YEARS AGO - NEAR THE ALASKAN CANADIAN BORDER)
The rainbow swirled. Suddenly Percy and everyone else were looking at clearing in a dark forest during winter. The trees and ground covered in snow as more of it rained down gently, covering the ground in fresh powder. The only light was the rays of a full moon in the cloudless night. Suddenly three people burst into the clearing. A man, a women Percy guess to be his wife, and a small boy holding his mother's hand. The boy didn't look older than three. They stopped to catch thier breath. The man had deep-set brown eyes that were like two splotches of mud. His fine, straight, very short hair was the color of charcoal that matched his thick full beard He had a broad-shouldered build and cream-colored skin. He wore a dark red and black hunting jacket and matching cap. Old and worn looking boots protected his feet from the cold air. He watched the way they came, keeping his rifle ready. Percy turned his attention to the women holding the hand of the small child. The woman slitted cobalt-blue eyes. Her thick straight hair was the color of black coffee, and worn in a dignified yet uncomplicated ponytail. She was very tall and with a narrow build that made her seem much taller then she was. Her skin is cream-colored, like the man, and had slightly pouty lips. Judging from the blood on her clothes and the blood splatered on the man's clothes and face, Percy guessed they were being chased.
"Did . . . we . . . lose . . . them?" asked the woman as she breathed hard.
"I'm not sure." the man answered. "I don't hear anything and it's too dark to see anything. Still we should keep moving."
"I'm tired mommy." said the boy. "Can't we go home?"
"Soon baby." she told him as she hugged him. "Soon."
"Let's go, I know a cave not to far from here. We can bunker down there for — "
The man didn't finsh. A gunshot shattered the silence of the forest and the man fell to floor. The woman screamed as she picked up the boy and ran for her life. She was four feet away before another gunshot broke the night's silence. She fell with the boy in arms. The boy struggled to get out from under her. Percy could see she had been wounded severely like the man, her husband and the boy's father Percy assumed.
The shook her as tears streamed down his face, "Mommy?"
She coughed and held his hand as she tried to smile, "Run baby. Run and don't look back."
He sniffled, "But mommy — "
"I know you're scared baby . . . I love you . . . but you need to go now."
The boy wiped his face, kissed his mother, and began running into the forest. The mother smiled as he got several feet into the forest, then a third and final gunshot exploded and she saw her son fall.
"NO!" she screamed and began crying.
"You should have thought about him when you ratted us out to feds." said man who entered the clearing.
Percy saw he had several scars on his face. He was wearing old army boots and camo clothes. On his head was an old rangers beret with writing Percy couldn't make out in the darkness and an eye patch on his left eye. In his hands was an old but clearly still deadly hunting rifle. The way the man smiled, reminded of him Echidna. Cocky and snakelike. He had round brown eyes that were like two rotten acorns. He was bald, but had a thick soot-black beard and mustache. He was tall with a lithe build. His skin was tanned brown from spending countless hours in the hot sun. He walked up and kneeled to the crying women.
He pointed to his eye patch, "Still getting used it. Won't lie to ya darling, it's added a couple of strokes to my game, but it gets the job done."
She tried to to move but he held her down with a hand. She mumbled something and he bent lower, "You might wanna speak up darling."
He scratched his chin, "Well, when you gave the feds our entire operation, the boss lost a bundle and several clients didn't get thier prized pets."
"You . . . mean . . . they set free endangered species. You and your men poached." said the women between pained choked sobs,
Percy could see what she was doing.
On the very edge of the mist, was the little boy crawling away. He was dragging himself inch by inch pulling himself with only his arms. His mother was doing her best to keep the man focused on her, to give her son a chance to escape. He made it maybe a foot before he grabbed a root which snapped.
No, pleaded Percy silently, don't notice him.
The man looked and saw the boy crawling. He smiled to the women, "Tough little hombre you get there darling, too bad he won't get far."
"He shall get farther than you." said a voice.
The man turned and was face to face with Artemis as she floated a few feet off the ground. The goddess looked exactly as she had when she had met Percy and his friends in Maine, silver streaked auburn colored hair and silvery eyes that matched Artie's incredibly beautiful. The man dropped the gun and began to groan in pain. His face grew longer as antlers sprouted from his head. His clothes fell off and Percy could see his hands and feet were shrinking, becoming hooves. Before long the man was nothing more than a common deer. Artmies regarded him coldly and whistled. The whistle was answered with the howls of wolves. The deer took off instantly followed by a huge wolf pack that ran into the clearing and chased after him. Percy was sure he wouldn't get far, not if Artemis had anything to say about it. Artemis turned and saw the women was stumbling toward her son who had now was sitting up against a tree. The man was draggin himself against the ground, much like the boy had, and rejoined the woman and child She sat up against the tree and cradled the boy in her arms, all the while whispering and crying to him. The man hugged them close as he tried to control his hiccuping sobs. They looked up as Artemis stopped and regarded them and dying child in thier arms.
"Please save him." he begged the goddess. "He's all we have."
"I cannot." she answered with a look of sympathy.
"But we saw you . . . " said the women, pointing to where the deer stood before the wolves came.
The goddess seem to be considering something. It was several moments before she spoke. "There is a way, but it would require a great sacrafice on your part. Both of you."
"Anything . . . " she coughed up blood. "Anything. I'll do anything."
"Me too." the man coughed up blood as well." Just save our little Artie."
"Very well." Artemis laid a hand on the woman's chest as well as the man's. "Before I do this, what is the boy's name? Arthur?"
The women smiled, "Star. His name is Artemis Star."
The man smiled as half chuckled as he coughed up more blood. "It was his favorite story when he was a baby."
Artemis smiled, "A good name. I shall make sure he turns that name into a title."
Suddenly the women and glowed bright silver and shrank into small balls of light in the hands of the goddess. She combined them in one hand and blew the ball over dying Artemis Star. The boy began to glow bright like he was absorbing what little light the moon gave and ampliphied tenfold. A huge flash erupted so bright Percy and everyone else had to look away. The sound of crying infant began to fill the silent the light finally died, Percy saw Artemis holding a bright silver bundle which gurgled and was hard to see but Percy knew what he just saw.
Artemis was holding little baby Artie.
With a wave of his hand, Chiron froze the image. "Artie was originally born a mortal to a normal mother and father. His mother, Megan Beretti, was part of an environmentalist group that fought against poaching of endangered species. She discovered there was group within them that used the group as cover to sell endangered animals to the highest bidder. She reported them to the authorities and stopped them."
Percy looked to see Zoe's reaction. She looked ashamed while Bianca was doing her best not to look shocked. Thalia looked angry as she clenched her fist, her nails digging into the table. Apollonia was impassove, but tears ran down her face. Percy guessed that even she didn't know all of Artie's past. With something like that, Percy doubted Artie would ever tell anyone, even Apollonia.
Chiron continued, "She eventually married William Star, a recreational hunter, and had a son they named Artemis Star, Artie. However no good deed goes unpunished. The ones in charge gathered enough funds to hire an assassain to kill her and her family. As you saw, Artie was the sole survior. Artemis's magic returned him to the begining of infancy. While Artie had been born a full mortal, from then on he was a half blood."
Grover had a question, "But Chiron that looked southern Alaska, how did Artie get all the way to Rio? He didn't even learn english till he got here."
Chiron nodded, "There is still more to see." He waved his hand and the image shifted, "We have only begun to see how Fates shaped the boy."
(NINETEEN YEARS AGO - MOUNT OLYMPUS)
Percy now saw what looked like Olympus. The room was spacious and reminded him of a cabin lodge. The room was furnished with old wooden furniture and several stuffed animals heads were mounted over a stone fireplace. There was even a bear skin rug rolled in front of a roaring fire. Artemis was sitting on a chair staring at wooden grandfather clock. The way she stared at the clock made it seem it was counting down to something bad. Then suddenly the door flew open, revealing the the silhouette of tall thin teenager. Artemis must have just as surprised because she just stared as Apollo sang, his voice sounding like multiple people. It was an old song Percy guessed, something his mother might have listened to when she was young. One of those songs that never goes quite out of style.
Carry on my wayward son
There'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more
Apollo then began strum his air guitar, somehow making it sound as if a drummer and bass player were in the room with him. Artemis tried several times to have her brother to turn down the music, but Apollo was to far lost in the music as he continued playing his air guitar. It was as if Apollo had brought a Kansas concert with him. Then again, he was the patron god of music, he probably could if he wanted even if the band was no longer together.
"APOLLO!" shouted Artemis over the music, shaking the room to its core.
Needless to say Apollo stopped his impromptu concert.
"Aw sis." he complained. "I was just getting to the good — is that a baby crying?"
"Oh dear." gasped Artemis. She opened her arms and baby Artie appeared in her arms, wrapped in a wool blanket and crying.
Apollo just stared, dumbfounded as his sister, rocked Artie to calm him. "You didn't . . ."
"No." she quickly answered. "Not in the way you're thinking."
"So he really is . . .?" Apollo asked, the word stuck in his craw.
"The closest thing you have to a nephew." She said handing Artie over to him.
Artie yawned as Apollo smiled sadly, "You can't keep him here."
"That's why I asked you to come. I've kept him hidden for a month while I looked for his family, but he doesn't have any. Both his mother and father are dead."
Apollo smiled slightly, "I'd hardly say his mother is dead."
Artemis ignored the ribbing. "I'm at my wits end with him. I don't understand how mortals put up with them. The crying alone is driving me mad and he always seems to be hungry."
Apollo sniffed and held Artie at arm's length. "What exactly have you been feeding him?"
Again Artemis ignored the question. "Are you going to help me or not?"
A golden crib appeared, complete with a mobile which Apollo spun after he set Artie in it. "Alright. So you said his mother and father are dead?"
"Yes. Both were killed."
"Hang on. I get his father his dead, but if he's your — "
"He's mine yes, but like I said before not in the way you're thinking. Now please get back to the problem at hand."
"Okay . . . any older siblings? Aunts? Uncles? Grandparents?"
Artemis shook her head. "Like his parents, he is an only child. And both sets of grandparents have long passed."
Apollo frowned as he leaned over the edge of the crib and watched Artie reach for the mobile. He let Artie grab his finger "Quite a grip he's got there. He definitely has your hair."
"Apollo!" The room shook slightly with her anger. "Would it kill you to focus?"
Apollo waved his hand and boombox appeared floating above the crib. "I think better with some ambiance."
Artemis rolled her eyes. "Fine. Just something quiet. Maybe something help him sleep."
Apollo pressed play and a loud rock song came on. Percy was sure it was from Metalica's new album. Instantly Artie began to cry much to his mother's displeasure. Artie did not let up as Apollo continually pressed the next song button. Percy had known Artie's taste in music was retro to say the least. He shared Chiron's taste for Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra and since he met Appolonia, he had discovered mariachi. But the music you could always count on him to listen to or play was the music from his home country, Samba. Which is exactly what finally came on that stopped Artie from crying.
"He stopped" gasped Artemis. "I . . . I think he likes that."
Apollo closed his eyes as he listened. "Ahh Samba, I miss Rio."
Apollo nodded. "The second largest city of Brazil, Rio De Janerio. Most just call it Rio though."
"And you've been there?"
"Yeah, during Carnival."
"Did you meet anyone there?"
"Well yeah. People come from all over for . . ." Apollo trailed off as he realized what his sister was gettting at. "Ohhh . . . you sly fox."
Artemis was trying not to smile at her brother. "It's perfect. The city is surrounded by jungles, mountains, and the sea so he should be safe."
"Yeah you're right." Apollo agreed. "There aren't many monsters south of Mexico."
"I meant safe from the other gods." Artemis explained.
"That too I guess." Apollo admitted. "I'd hate to think how Ares would test him."
"Or Aphrodite." added the goddess. "I wouldn't put it past her to try something. We have never seen eye to eye."
Artie squealed and Artemis picked her up. She rocked him as he grabbed playfully at her hair. For a second she looked torn, not sure whether to hand over the infant. "Please tell me she will take care of him. This woman, she has had a child with already hasn't she?
Apollo nodded. "Won't even take much convincing on my part. She said she wanted to have two. He should be safe with her until he's ready."
Artemis looked at baby in her arms who smiled at her. She sighed and reluctantly handed Artie to Apollo. She rubbed her arms as she looked away fighting the urge to take back the infant.
Apollo put hand on her shoulder, "It's always hard the first time. But he'll be fine I promise."
"Before you take him, I have a gift for him."
She took out a red feather from with in her white dress. She crushed the feather in her hand and blew it into the air. There a small flash of light and red tailed hawk appeared with a triumphant screech.
"Tobias . . . " whispered Percy to himself.
Tobias fluttered to Artemis's shoulder, She motioned to Artie. "I want you to watch over him. Do what I can't and protect him." The bird cawed gently and locked eyes with Artie who grabbed at him playfully.
"You really think that's a good idea?" asked Apollo.
Artemis gave him a look.
"Just making sure." He looked at Artie, "Come on sobrinho, time to meet your new home."
Again Chiron froze the image. He spoke to everyone, but Percy thought he sounded like he was speaking directly to Zoe. "While he thinks otherwise, Lady Artemis did have feelings for Artie. Though she could not risk raising the boy on Olympus against all ancient laws."
"In all my years serving Lady Artemis." said Zoe almost in shock at what she saw ."Never had seen her so . . . " She couldn't even finish her thought.
"Apollo brought the child to mortal woman in Rio. He had already sired a son with her three years previously and asked of her to watch over the child until he was ready for Camp Half Blood." explained Chiron. "For eight years the boy grew a lived a normal life, but it was not to last."
"Please no more." pleaded Zoe. "I see my mistake now."
"Yes you do, but not how severe."Chiron waved his once more and scene shifted.
(ELEVEN YEARS AGO - RIO DE JANERIO, BRAZIL)
Percy saw he was watching a little league soccer game. The stands were occupied by parents who cheered on thier kids. On the far end was Artemis watching the game. Percy followed her gaze to a little kid who was bouncing a ball off his body keeping it in the air. His number was ten which Percy knew was Pele's number, Brazil's most famous soccer player. Artemis seemed more like a bored twelve year old than a goddess. Percy guessed she must have gotten over her feelings for Artie for the most part but she still cared enough to pop in every now and then. Secretly Percy was jealous of how much Artie's Olympian parent cared for him and he wondered if Poseidon ever checked in on him. He liked to think he had. A whistle blew and the game began. Artemis watched for a time without moving a muscle. A ghost of smiled appeared on her face as she watched Artie steal the ball and outran everyone else before scoring a goal.
"Well if it isn't mother of the year." said gruff familiar voice.
Artemis turned to see Ares sit down next to her with a bag on peanuts which he ate with gusto.
Artemis was clearly surprised, "What are you doing here?"
Ares shrugged, "Same as you. Watching a little league soccer game, unless it's something more for you."
Percy guess she was about to tell him off when another person sat down next Ares. She had perfect make-up and skin with silky smooth light brown hair. She wore a mid driff and a skirt with matching shoes and purse. She looked familiar to Percy, but he was certain he never met this women before.
The new women smiled at Artemis, "Oh don't mind us. You looked so preoccupied during the council. We assumed you might need assistance. Who would have thought you didn't want to miss your boy's soccer game." She crossed her legs and scanned the field. She frowned and asked Artemis,"Which one is he?"
The crowd cheered as Artie scored another goal, "One guess." said Ares pointing to Artie, "Little Pele there."
Aphrodite leaned to see and smiled, "Oh he's cute as a little rabbit. And fast too, the others don't stand a chance."
"You got that right." agreed Ares tossing the empty peanut bag over his shoulder.
"So why are you two here?"asked Artemis again.
"Like I said, we were just curious." answered Aphrodite.
"Speaking of curiosity, how old is the little runt?" Ares asked.
Artemis looked insulted when he called Artie runt, but she just said curtly,"Eight. He's eight years old."
Again Chiron froze the image. Although he kept a straight face, his tone told Percy the worst part was yet to come. He looked to Zoe, who clearly wanted to leave, but she just stared at the image as if she knew what was coming and it wouldn't make it any easier. He felt sorry for her, it was hard to watch but it must have been torture for her. He looked at the others. Bianca and Silena were wiping thier eyes, even Grover wiped his nose on his shirt.
"Eight years old." repeated Chiron. "The child barely enjoyed his second life for a decade when it all came crashing down, costing the boy everything. And all his mother could do was watch as her child was hunted like an animal for four years."
"He wasn't any older than Annabeth when Luke and I found her." realized Thalia.
She had kept so quiet Percy had completly forgotten she was even there. Then he thought about what she said. Thalia and Luke had found Annabeth after she ran away from home at seven years old. Percy then remembered what Annabeth had said to him when he first arrived at camp and asked about Artie, Lots run away from home and have to fend for themselves. Its not uncommon for them to find other half bloods and group up, though not all do.
Chiron nodded grimly, "Yes but the trials that laid ahead of him would be much harsher and unforgiving. Let us watch."
(ELEVEN YEARS AGO - RIO DE JANERIO, BRAZIL)
The imaged shifted as Chiron waved his hand over it. Artie was walking down a street tossing a soccer ball in the air as he walked. Tobias flew over head keeping pace with him. Despite the lack of streetlight, Artie seemed to know exactly where he was going. He turned the corner and saw the door was open. Percy guessed it was his home as Artie put down the ball and carefully peeked inside. It was . He looked younger but still evil as Percy saw him with his sinister scowl and mismatched eyes. He was holding Artie's stepmother in the air by her neck as she kicked, struggling to get free. Tears streamed down her bruised face while pulled at Thorn's grip on her neck. Percy could see why she was crying, and it was just because Thorn had bruised her face. In the doorway that lead to another room, a pair of white sneakers stuck out, small enough to fit a twelve year old. Percy understood instantly and he wished he didn't. It was Artie's step brother, the son Apollo sired three years before he brought Artie to Rio. If it wasn't for the fact that it was Thorn, Percy would have just told himself it was just pair of shoes rather than accept the truth.
Percy glanced at everyone else. Thalia gripped the table so hard her knuckles turned white and shook with such force. Grover was clearly horrified and counting their lucky stars it wasn't him. Again, Appolonia remained impassive as tears ran down her face and neck only to be absorbed by her shirt. Bianca and Silena were wiping their eyes determined not to break down. Zoe just stared at the image like she was in trance. Percy guessed she was close to her breaking point. Percy turned as he heard Thorn speak. He thought he would have a hard time understanding since Thorn was speaking Portuguese, but the image displayed subtitles in ancient Greek. Like a foreign film for demigods.
"Where is he?" hissed Thorn. "Where is the boy?"
"ir para o inferno" She responded.
Thorn tightened his grip on her neck and she yelped. "Tell me where he is and I might make it quick." he growled.
She just spat in his face defiantly. Thorn roared and threw her down, right in front of Artie who yelped. Percy barely heard it, but Thorn smiled triumphantly. He threw off his coat and shifted into his true form. He looked exactly as Percy last saw him. He had a body of a lion with razor sharp claw protruding from his front paws. His barbed tailed flexed like a cat waiting to pounce on an unknowing mouse. He displayed his shark like teeth as he smiled smugly. He advanced slowly, savoring the meal that was surely to come.
"Run!" screamed his mother. "Run before-"
Thorn silenced her, permanently.
His tailed stabbed downward and entered the base of her neck. Artie fell back as tripped trying to get away. He just looked up at the monster who had just killed his brother and mother. He switched his gazed between his mother and the monster, as if he couldn't believe or comprehend what had just happened or what was about to happen.
Thorn brought up his tail with Artie's mother still attached. He flicked his tail and she fell to the floor, "That's right boy, run and let's see how long you last."
Thorn fired several spines from his tail. Artie rolled as they land just above him in the door. He slammed the door and nearly fell when Thorn crashed through the door and chased after him. He roared, sensing the kill to come.
Something's wrong, thought Percy.
Artie clearly wasn't running a fast as he could or rather as fast he had come to expect. Thorn was clearly toying with him. He would catch up and then let Artie get a little farther. Occasionally Thorn would lanch a volley of spines, forcing Artie to turn to avoid them. Thorn was corraling him into a corner, sooner or later Artie would reach a dead end, literally. Percy continued to watch as Artie did hit a dead end, or so he thought. There was solid wall on either side of the alley, but Artie did not slow down. Thorn turned the corner and smiled that evil smile. Then something happened.
Artie began to gain speed and did something amazing. Using a pile of crates like a set of stairs, he jumped on top of them and leapt towards the top of the wall. His fingertips were all that stopped him from falling down. He managed to haul himself up just as Thorn decended on him. He rolled off the top of the wall and crashed through some wooden crates stacked against the wall. Percy winced when he landed and again when Artie stepped out covered in cuts and splinters. Artie pulled out some of the larger pieces but stopped when a large paw appeared on the top of the wall his just scaled. Percy saw he had two choices and seconds to decide. Artie looked to his left and saw a steep desent that ended with the beach and ocean. He then looked to the right which lead to the forest surrounding the city with the jungle not far behind it. Artie took a step to the left but stopped when a hawk's screech turned his attention to the sky. Tobias screeched again and now circled the path that lead to the jungle. Thorn cleared the wall just as Artie took off towards the jungle. He continued running toward a tall security gate, with Thorn on his heels. Again Artie began pulling away from Thorn who continued to fire spines, each time nearly connecting. Thorn was becoming frustrated with the fact his prey was proving difficult and it showed on his face as poured on the speed to catch Artie. Then Percy realized that Artie was running towards another dead end and this time he wouldn't be able to climb it. Artie started to slow as he saw the bright orange sign on the gate. Percy couldn't read it but he knew from the picture of a skeleton with lightning coming out of it meant that the gate was electrified, probably to stop from wild animals from entering the city. Artie skidded to halt a few feet from the gate. He looked behind him.
Thorn was mad. He continued his relentless pace towards Artie. Percy had the feeling Thorn did not plan on slowing down at all , he wanted to trample Artie for all the trouble he was giving him. Artie kept switching his gaze between Thorn and the gate behind, like he was trying think of a plan. He had maybe a minute before Thorn was on him. He touched the fence tentatively and found it was not live. With that in mind, he scrambled up the fence with surprising speed, though he received several cuts and punctures from the barbed wire that sat at the top of the fence. Artie had just finished lowering himself when he saw how close Thorn was. He looked around like a panicked rabbit under a hawk's eye. He spotted a box mounted on a pole only a few feet away. He ran to it and pried it open. The switch was old and was difficult, but Artie dug in heels and threw it up. It was just in time as he began to hear the fence hum with power. Thorn tried to stop when he saw what Artie had done, but barreled full speed into the electric gate. Percy must have missed how fast Thorn was going because he almost went all the way through. He created a hole large enough for a small car to fit through. Percy could see Thorn was beyond furious as he struggled against the gate on top of him and the volts coursing through his body.
"This proves nothing child." he barked at Artie as he struggled. "I've not let a prey escape in over a thousand years. So go now and begin your life of fear for so long as we both draw breath, I WILL NOT YIELD!"
Thorn continued yelling and struggling as Artie took off into the jungle and disappeared in the thick foliage followed by Tobias closely behind. The view panned and turned to show Artemis standing high above the ground on a thick branch, surveying what her son had just done. Percy couldn't see her face, but he liked to think she was impressed with what she saw.
Chiron froze the image."This was his first brush with our world. As you can see, he was not only able to survive, but he managed hold his own with a monster that would have killed any of you at his age."
"Don't you think you're giving the boy too much credit?" asked Mr. D. "He didn't kill the beast after all. Even after all these years, he couldn't do more than deliver a few injuries."
"I have no doubt that monster will meet his end at the boy's hand one way or another." Chiron said firmly. Chiron stared at the frozen image, "As you all know, Thorn was true to his word. He did let up in his pursuit of the boy. In a way he created his own worst enemy. Four years of cat and mouse turned the boy into a master of the wild which aided him greatly, no matter where he went. Still despite all this, he was never able to fight the creature directly." Chiron waved his hand over the image, each time showing Artie and Thorn in different locations and terrains, "The Andes mountians of Chile, the Garganta del Diablo waterfalls of Argentina, even the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador. For four years since that night the manticore pursued him all over south and central america.
"Until he managed to delay the monster enough for him to escape on a cruise ship heading for Florida." said Percy remembering what Annabeth and Grover had told them when he first met Artie.
Chiron nodded, "Yes. Let us see exactly how."
(SEVEN YEARS AGO - CANCUN, MEXICO)
Once again the image shifted and saw a how much Artie had changed while he ran across a grassy field. All that survived of his clothes were his shorts which hung in tatters and were stained every which color. He was barefoot and shirtless. His hair was long and unclean, tied back in a ponytail. He clearly had not bathed in some time as mud and grime clung to him. Percy was surprised how little Artie had changed since he was eight and even now not much had changed. Sure he had gotten taller and more muscular, and he still had that deep tan from so much time in the sun. He still hadn't acquired his silver eyes but he still had that determined look that told Percy he was not the one to give up easily, like he took the manticore's words to heart, to never yield. Tobias screeched as lead Artie to some sort of decaying ruins covered in green moss and vines. Percy was sure he had seen this before in school but couldn't seem to remember where Artie was now or which ancient civilization had built these ruins. He was fairly sure Artie was still in northern south America, but that still covered a lot of ground.
"Those are Aztec ruins." said Appolonia. "He's somewhere in Mexico, my guess is near Cancun since that where he hoped on the ship."
"How can you be sure?" asked Grover.
"My mother's from Mexico and she used to take me there when I was little." she explained
Percy only heard every other word as he focused on Artie. As he ran, Percy could see Thorn chasing after him, flanked by two dracaenae. Thorn shot spines while one dracaenae threw javelins and the other threw bolas trying to stop Artie from running. It was like he had eyes in the back of his head, no matter what came at him Artie would simply move just enough for the projectile to miss so he would not have to slow down. Artie eventually ran into a large moss covered temple that looked like a slight breeze would knock the whole thing down. He stopped in the doorway to make sure Thorn saw him, he did. Percy could have sworn he saw a faint smile appear on his face before Artie ran inside. So he was leading them into a trap Percy realized, that's the Artie he had come to know.
Thorn entered the temple with a dracaenae on each side. Percy could there was only way in or out and so did Thorn as he smiled. "Spread out and find him. He cannot escape this time."
"You sssaid that lassst time." hissed the dracaenae on his left as she advanced slowly.
"And the three other timessss before that assss well." added the one on the right.
Thorn motioned to the door, "This is the only way out and I'm not about to let him pass."
Where is he?, thought Percy.
Artie had simply disappeared. There was nowhere to hide or so he thought. Some movement behind a large decaying statue caught his eye. It was Artie. He had squeezed into the space between the statue and the wall. He was crouching as he switched between the dracaenae and the ceiling, as if waiting for them to get into position for something. Percy could see he was holding a vine in his hands and saw it coming. Artie pulled the vine and two pieces of rock fell to the floor followed by two glass jars filled with green liquid.
"Greek fire!" Thalia realized.
The jars exploded as they hit the ground, completely engulfing the two in green flames. Thorn did nothing but growl as he saw his helpers scream as they burned to nothing, he wasn't about to let Artie escape.
"Impressive child." he growled as he looked for him. "You have grown strong these past years but it will not save you."
Artie stepped out and locked eyes with the beast. They still had fear but not as much when he first met Thorn. Thorn shot two spines which missed as Artie dropped to the floor. Had Artie jumped to either side, the spine would have killed him. It seemed after four years, Thorn had run out of tricks.
"You will not escape this time." smiled Thorn. "The only way out is this door and you will not pass."
Artie stepped on a fallen statue, three fallen statues to be exact. Percy thought that was strange when he saw all three had been tied together by three vines woven together to form a strong rope that lead to the ceiling. Artie said nothing a pulled a single vine that hung on his left. A large piece of rock fell from the roof. Sunlight poured in through the hole that Artie had taken the time to conceal. So there was another way out. Now the only problem was reaching a hole fifty feet overhead. Thorn seemed uneasy as was starting to put it together, but not fast enough. Artie grasped the rope made of woven vines and sliced it. The second he did, Artie shot into the air as if he could fly. Then Percy saw it. Once he cut the vines a large shadow appeared behind Thorn. Artie had used the statues to hold the weight of a huge boulder that would seal in anyone or anything inside the temple. As gravity took the boulder down, Artie would go up straight toward the hole in the roof. The image shifted slightly to show Artie on the roof of the temple he had just sealed .There was his silver backpack which he opened and tossed another jar of greek fire. Thorn howled in pain as Artie sealed the hole with a thin sheet of rock and piled small boulders the size of bowling balls on top of it. He took out a several pieces of paper of the pack and studied them for a time, ignoring the screams of agony below him. Percy could see he was staring at a map of the region. Artie looked to the sun and then to mountains in the distance as he determined his next move. He was interuppted by a screech of a hawk, a red tailed hawk to be exact.
Tobias landed at his feet with a ticket and brochure in his beak. Artie took it and looked at it. Percy could see it was a brocure to a cruise ship. It would leave Cancun making stops all over the Caribbean for two weeks after making a stop in Florida. Florida was circled in red marker with the words written in ancient Greek,
'Do not Reboard'
Artie looked he was about to ask where Tobias had gotten it when he took off heading north calling him to follow. Artie looked at the ticket and then stuffed in his bag before sliding down a moss covered column and took off after Tobias. Artie disappeared in the distance as the view panned up to reveal Artemis and another woman sitting on a much higher part of the temple. The woman looked familiar to Percy. She had stormy grey like Annabeth and she wore similar earrings, little silver owls. She was wearing a simple white t-shirt, jeans and hiking boots. She looked to be about thirty, but she could have passed for someone much younger.
"Impressive." remarked the women."He could pass for one of mine."
"Indeed." agreed Artemis." But I'm sure he could defeat even them."
"Really?" said the women, not insulted but interested. "Care to explain sister?"
Artemis smiled proudly, "I do not deny the intelligence or fighting skills of your children Athena, but he has one thing they do not posses or rather he has more of it."
"Which is?" asked Athena.
"His will stronger than any other hero before him." Artemis said firmly. "You've said many times before. Where there is a will, there is a way, if I remember."
Athena surveyed the smoke escaping from the crack of the temple and the howling of Thorn as thrashed and roared, trying to escape the trap Artie had sprung. Percy had the feeling Athena didn't want to admit Artemis might be right.
"Perhaps." she finally said. "But do you think it wise to have waited so long before sending the child to Camp Half Blood?"
"I'd ask the same thing of Zeus with his daughter." countered Artemis. "She spent two years on the run with that son of Hermes before they even learned of the camp's existence."
"True." agreed Athena." Do you think the child will make it?"
Artemis waited a moment before answering, "He has not disappointed me yet."
"Again sister." repeated Athena. "The boy is impressive."
The scene shifted until Percy saw and everyone saw the deck of a cruise ship. Tourists walked around with their families as the talked and laughed, enjoying their vacations. It took a minute or two for the people to clear and reveal Artie sitting on a deck chair with Tobias perched over him. Artie had somehow gained a tanktop, jean shorts, and sandals. His hair was slightly shorter, but still tied back in a ponytail. He watched everyone with hungry expression on his face, especially the kids laughing with their parents. He took out a picture from his back pocket,which just made him look worse. Percy could see it was a picture of his stepmother and brother on the beach in Rio, with the Christ the Redeemer statue on the mountain overlooking the city in the background. His mother was bending over to face the camera with an arm around Artie and his brother. They all were dressed for a day at the beach and laughing at the camera. Percy could see it must have been taken a little before Thorn had shown up at his home and ruined his life.
"Lovely beaches." said a voice in Portuguese
The voice seemed familiar to Percy despite the unfamiliar language. Like before subtitles appeared in ancient Greek for anyone watching to understand what was being said. Artie looked and up and Percy gasped at who he saw. He was wearing his standard Hawaiian shirt, shorts, and flip flops. He had a trimmed beard and sea green eyes. On his head was a fisherman's hat with several lures hanging off of it. In his hands was a long sleek fishing pole. It was Percy's father. The lord of seas himself, Poseidon,
"What is my dad doing there?" asked Percy.
"He does like to hang out around Florida or so I've been told." Grover pointed out
Percy watched as Artie spoke with his father. Something he hadn't gotten to do until two years later, well after Artie had arrived at Camp Half blood.
"You're from Brazil?" asked Artie.
"I could spend a hundred years on the ocean there and live off nothing but what I catch." said Poseidon, ignoring the question.
"So you're tourist." concluded Artie.
Poseidon tossed a small sardine to Tobias. "I just visit every now and then. As I said, lovely beaches and great place to fish. I know people say Sao Paulo is better, but I don't find it as relaxing as Rio."
"You speak Portuguese very well."
"When you've been around as long as I have, you learn it helps to speak the language." Poseidon motioned to the picture ."I take it you're from there or spent some time there. Your accent is too spot on for someone who took a class."
Artie looked down at the photo and took a while to answer as if he was careful with the word he used.,"Yeah I stayed a for while. Not as long I wanted though."
"Well the beaches in Florida are nice. You can catch me any day of the week chatting with fishermen or taking pictures for tourists. but I have a soft spot for one beach in particular."
Poseidon pulled out a map from his back pocket and showed it to Artie. He pointed to the Florida coastline. "We'll be docking here tomorrow morning before going onto the rest of the Caribbean islands." His finger went far north and stopped on Long Island. "This one of my favorite spots. It's called Montauk. I met a very nice girl there and I've had a soft for it ever since."
Artie watched as Poseidon drifted west, "But this place I think would be better for you. It's a summer camp for children like you. Children who don't have anywhere else to call home."
"You mean an orphanage." said Artie.
Poseidon laughed lightly, "Not exactly. You can only stay for the summer if you want, But I've been told it's a very nice camp, so nice in fact some of kids there stay year round. I'm actually considering sending my own boy there, once he's old enough."
Artie didn't say anything. He just stared at the god of the seas, like he was considering to trust him. Percy understood, anyone would have a hard time trusting people after four years of being hunted like an animal. Tobias just perched on the railing, looking out to the ocean. Poseidon reeled in his line and pulled out small fish the size of his pinky. He frowned as he tossed it into a bucket of water at his feet and looked back down at Artie, "You don't have to decide now."
He took out a pen, drew on the map, and handed it to Artie, "I've marked it in case you decided to head that way or if you're in the neighborhood. I also marked some places you might want to checkout, I hear the everglades are very nice this time of year if you're into catching your lunch."
Artie perked up,"Really?"
Poseidon nodded, "I've never tried it myself, but I've heard alligator taste just like chicken, if it doesn't taste you first."
Artie stared at the map for a while, "Thanks, but who are y-"
But Poseidon was gone by the time he looked up. All that was left was a small bucket of water with the fish he had caught which Tobias snatched and ate in one bite. An announcement came over the loud speaker in Spanish. Percy must have guessed it was close enough for Artie to understand. He looked over the railing and saw the skyline of Miami, Artie had made to the United States.
Chiron froze the image again. "Though he did not kill the manticore he managed to delay it long enough board a ship heading to the United State. Now while he had run into other monsters during those four years, it would only be a matter of time before something finally killed him as they are much more abundant than in south America. Which why Poseidon provided the child with directions to Camp Half blood."
"But why?" asked Percy. "What did all the gods go out of their way to help him?"
"Yeah." agreed Thalia. "I'm saying I'm jealous or anything, but Percy has a point. I doubt anyone here had gotten so much attention from them. It's something out of the old stories when the gods just popped up when you needed them."
"Think about it." said Dionysus. "He was the first child.
Chiron took a deep breath to collect his words. "Lady Artemis had no children prior to Artie not even in ancient greece. So to the other gods, he was merely a source of entertainment. They were curious how the first child fo Artemis would fare against the world and what he would acomplish."
Bianca realized something. "He's alot stronger than he lets on. You guys looked just as surprised as we were just now.
Chiron looked uneasy, "The boy's ferocity has indeed grown. I'd hate to see what would happen if he does discover who captured Annabeth. It would make his first episode with the manticore look like two kittens fighitng over a ball of yarn."
"What do you mean?" Percy asked. "He didn't really fight Thorn, he just ran."
Chiron waved his hand over the image and it shifted again, "Watch and you will see."
(SEVEN YEARS AGO - EVERGLADES, NORTHERN FLORIDA)
Artie was sitting near a campfire roasting something on a stick. Percy guessed he was in the everglades Poseidon mentioned. As his eyes adjusted Percy saw Artie take a bite. It wasn't something that Percy wouldn't considered eating unless he had no other choice. It he couldn't tell what kind, but Percy was sure Artie was eating a snake. Artie continued eating when the wind blew past him and froze. He sniffed the air and his eyes got wide. He threw on his bag and dumped dirt on the fire. He took off with Tobias following over head. Eventually Artie stopped by the top of a waterfall to drink and refill a canteen from his bag. When he he stood up, he sniffed the air. He turned just as something shot through the bushes and landed in his leg. He screamed as he fell. Then something emerged from the bushes. It was Thorn, and he was smiling.
"Where's your escape route now child?" boasted Thorn in Portuguese translated by the iris message.
Artie reached for his backpack, but Thorn fired another spine into his shoulder, "None of that now. You won't be able to take it with where you'll be going."
Like what his mother did when Thorn attacked her, Artie spat. He followed with a string of curses that the iris message didn't translate .
Thorn seemed amused, "You are a spirited one, I'll give you that but it ends now."
Suddenly a battle screech erupted from Tobias as he swooped down and slashed at Thorn's eyes with his talons. Thorn roared in pain as Tobias took off and turned for another dive. Thorn fired spines which most missed, except for one that clipped a few feathers from his wings. They must have been key feather for flying because Tobias plummeted to the ground. He slowed his descend enough to land, but he couldn't get back into the air again. Thorn advanced on him slowly. Tobias hopped and flapped his wings, desperate to get off the ground. This was the first time Percy had ever seen Tobias terrified for his life as he screeched, calling for help. He looked to Artie and cawed sadly almost as if saying good bye. Then something happened. Something that Artie had only done twice more since then.
Like before his eyes flashed red. His finger nails grew into razor points and his canine teeth grew into fangs. His whole body shook with rage as he stood on all four like an animal despite the spines in his shoulder and leg. Then he pounced on Thorn's back leg. Thorn howled in agony as Artie sank his teeth deep and ripped a chunk out. Artie slid under Thorn just as his tail come down and turned his soft underbelly into confetti. Thorn stomped around trying crush him underfoot ,but he simply rolled out from under him. Thorn then tried responding in kind by snapping at Artie with his teeth. All he got was a chunk ripped out of his neck by Artie's teeth. He bit and slashed as he rolled under narrowly avoiding Thorn's paws and tail. At this point Percy was sure Artie would kill Thorn if it wasn't for the fact he knew Thorn was still alive. Thorn staggered around as turned to leave. Artie pounced once more, attempting to finally end the monster. Unfortunately Thorn's tail slammed into him sending him flying against a wall of solid rock. Percy was sure he heard the sound of bones cracking. Thorn took the opportunity to run. He wasn't sure how child could do all that with his bare hands, and wounded child at that, but he wasn't planning sticking around to find out. He left a large trail of blood in his wake which smoked in the moonlight along with the venom from his wounded tail which was bent at weird angles.
Everyone watched as Artie struggled to his feet. Clearly his fumes were running fumes. He was bleeding and broken bones stuck up from under his skin, the result of being thrown into a wall of rock. He still had the venomous spines from Thorn's tail in his shoulder and leg. His breaths came in long heavy rasps, each one sounding pained as he walked to Tobias who was still trying to get in the air. He picked up his bird and put him on his uninjured shoulder. Then walked to his bag and began dragging across the floor as he staggered and stumbled into the forest. Percy was sure Artie wasn't thinking clearly because he was constantly turning and changing directions at every tree, the venom was starting to take it's toll. If it wasn't Tobias, Percy was sure Artie would have died. Still on his shoulder Tobias pulled at Artie's ear forcing him to turn his head. About a hundred yards ahead were several torches hanging and the faint sound of music mixed with the sounds of one great party. Artie tapped Tobias's beak, his way of saying good job, and became moving slowly towards the lights, using the trees to hold himself up. With each step his breathing became more ragged, as each step was bringing him closer and closer to death. He tripped over an upraised root and went down like ton of bricks. Tobias hopped off his master and began poking him with beak and pulling at his tattered tanktop and anything else to get Artie to stand up.
Then a voice echoed through the trees. The voice of the goddess, Artemis.
"Only a coward accepts death, my son" she said. "Now rise."
That seemed to revive Artie. He tried to stand but he couldn't. He may have the will but his body just didn't have the strength. Tobias cawed sadly as he tried pulling his master's shirt. Artemis spoke again, this time more demanding as if her son was defying her in someway.
"You have never yielded before." she reminded. "You will not start now!"
Like when he was shot by his mother's assassin, Artie began to pulled himself along the floor, using only his arms as Tobias pulled trying to help. It was reasonable that everyone would think of Artie as a stubborn mule that often got him hurt, but now they new better. At the tender age of twelve, he showed that he had a will to live that rivaled the even the most die hard warrior. Artie clawed at the trunk of tree as he hauled himself up. He looked and saw was now only few feet from the camp. Each step he took, it looked like he was about to fall, but he did not. With each step, Artemis spoke encouraging him farther along with Tobias who hopped along the floor cawing at him.
"That's right show me you have no limits." she demanded. "Show me only the gods themselves can stop you."
Artie walked through the bushes right into a wild party being thrown by the centaur members that formed the Florida Chapter of the Party Ponies. They all froze and stared at the zombie half blood dead on his feet. It was dead silent, even the musicians had stopped mid song. Then Artie collapsed for the third time nearly crushing Tobias.
A centaur galloped to him and picked up the son of Artemis and his bird in his arms, "Someone find some nectar and get Euphrasia out of her tent NOW!"
Several centaurs galloped they rush to obey thier orders. The centaur looked down at Artie and Tobias as he trotted in place, agitated. "You're gonna be fine kid. Just stay with me. Help's on the way."
"Di immortales Cosmas." said a women's voice. "What in the name of the gods happened to the child?"
The centaur holding Artie, Cosmas apparently, turned. "Eurphrasia! He just collapsed in front of us."
Percy had seen her before when Chiron and the Florida chapter ambushed the Princess Andromeda. Eurphrasia wasn't much different from your run of the mill centaur. She was wore glasses that made her look much older than she was. Percy guessed her to be no more than twenty five though he wasn't sure if centaurs aged like satyrs or not. She was cute, in a quiet shy girl kind of way. She was wearing a shirt that said, Party Ponies Florida Chapter. And where her waist met the horse half, which was a golden stallion, was a belt that looked like carpenter's belt with lots of pouches and pockets for holding lots of different things.
A young centaur ran up and handed Cosmas a small canteen, "Here's the nectar. It's not much but it's all we got."
The centaur began unscrewing the cap to the canteen, but Eurphrasia stopped him, "Stop. Those are manticore spines. You give him nectar and you'll kill him."
"Then pull out the spines." said Cosmas.
She shook her head, "It's not that simple, pull them out wrong and they'll inject more venom."
"Alright doc. Do what you need to do."
She took the nectar from the centaur, "Find me some cloth and hot water. Make sure it's clean."
The centaur rushed to the nearest table and ripped the picnic table cloth before tearing it into strips. He called for another centaur to bring hot water who galloped into the forest with several large waterskins.
Eurphrasia took Artie from Cosmas, "Have someone bring my supplies from my tent, all of them."
"Got it. What else?"
"Set up a tent with a table for my supplies and cot for the boy to rest. I won't be able to move him once I finish"
The scene swirled and shifted. Percy saw that he was seeing the inside of a large tent. Several candles lit the interior and several torches hung on the supports that formed the body of the tent. A table filled with lots of different shaped beakers and bottles was in the corner with a cot next to it. A figure was bent over the table,working on old mortar and pestle. The image began to clear and Eurphrasia came into view. She continued working the mortar adding several liquids from various bottles and several dried herbs she took from her belt. She scraped the paste from the mortar into a cloth and then poured a small amount of nectar into before gathering the cloth in her hands. She squeezed and a clear liquid dripped into a small shot glass. She poured half of it into a small bowl with a silvery paste and began mixing it into the paste.
"Luckily for Artie, Eurphrasia is one of the finest healers in a thousand years. Few posses her knowledge of medicinal herbs and poisons and the ones that do, aren't the most friendly of creatures." explained Chiron.
A thought came to Percy, "But he's immune to venom. When we fought Medusa two years ago, he was bitten by like twenty different snakes and the most he got was a slight headache."
"Yeah." said Grover. "And when he fought Thorn in Maine, it just weakened him a little."
"Manticore venom cannot kill." explained Zoe. "But if mixed with nectar, it causes so much agony the mind simply shut off to escape it.
Chiron nodded, "Yes that it true, but keep in mind the rainforest and jungles of Brazil are home to many venomous snakes and serpents. I wouldn't be surprised if his immunity came from being bitten on countless occasions."
"That could be it." agreed Thalia, "But it might be more than that. Its one thing to be bitten by a rattlesnake, but a manticore who been trying to kill you for four years, that doesn't seem like something anyone can fight through sheer will."
Chiron scratched his bear as he thought about it, "You have a point. Artie has always had a strong constitution when it comes to the natural world, especially when it comes to venom. My guess is a high tolerance to venom is one of the abilities he possesses as the son of Artemis."
They turned thier attention back to the iris message. It seemed that Chiron had forgotten to freeze the image while they considered Artie's tolerance to poison and venom. Eurphrasia was just finshing the last bandage on Artie's shoulder when Cosmas enter with Tobias on his shoulder who fluttered down next to Artie. Eurphrasia began scrubbing her hands in warm water as Cosmas began moving bottles and vials aside on the table. He put Artie's silver back pack and began emptying it on the table. Percy could see the map of south America along with the map his father had given him. Cosmas then took out a small roll of bandages with a basic salve followed by a needle and thread for stitching up more serious wounds. Cosmas unwrapped two cloth bundles filled with nuts and berries. Percy guessed them to be an emergency food cache in case Artie didn't have the chance to hunt while Thorn was chasing him.
Cosmas put a punctured canteen on the table, "We followed his trail and found this. It looks like you were right about the manticore, we found lots of those spines along with blood that was definitely not human near a waterfall close to here."
Eurphrasia looked uneasy. "I still don't understand what made it back off. Manticores aren't known for letting their prey escape, especially when they're unarmed."
"Oh he wasn't unarmed." corrected Cosmas as he took out another thing from Artie's bag. "We also found these."
Eurphrasia handled with great care and awe, "But these are made of"-
"Moonsilver, I know. Isn't exactly growing on trees. The only ones I know for sure who use them are the Hunters."
"He's not one of them."
"Clearly. My guess is he bought them on Olympus or found them."
Eurphrasia stared at the knives, "These look strange. They're not regular hunting knives like the Hunters use."
"They're called Bolo knives. I have a cousin who lives in Cuba who uses them. I sent an Iris message and he explained those are called Jungle Bolos because they're intended for combat rather than agricultural work."
"So he's from Cuba. He's been mumbling in his sleep and it seemed like Spanish."
"He might have spent some time in Cuba, but I don't think he's from there. Take a look at this.
Cosmas handed Eurphrasia a photograph. Percy could see it was the same photo that Artie was staring on the cruise ship.T he photo of Artie with his brother and mother at the beach with the Christ The Redeemer statue in the background.
"This was taken in Rio de Janerio, Brazil." realized Eurphrasia.
Cosmas held up the map of south America. Apparently Artie had marked and traced the trail he made as Thorn chased him around the continent. "From what I can tell he's been all over south America but he started in Rio."
Eurphrasia set down the photo to study the map, "Alright he's from Rio, but how did he get here? Rio is three thousand miles south of the country."
Cosmas picked up the map Poseidon had given Artie and the brochure of the cruise ship, "I think he stowed away on this cruise ship that left Cancun, Mexico and jumped ship when it made port in Miami."
Eurphrasia studied the map, "Clearly he was heading to Camp Half Blood in New York. It's marked along with which roads to take to get there."
"So he's a half blood?"
Eurphrasia nodded, "I'll send word to Chiron. Maybe he can send someone to recover him."
"Speaking of recovering, how is he?"
"Oh he's fine." said Eurphrasia. "He'll be out for — "
"Out for what?" asked Cosmas as he looked up from the map.
He saw why Eurphrasia had stopped mid sentence. Artie was on her back with his knife to her throat. He locked eyes with Cosmas as he tried to see how big of a threat he could be. It seemed Artie was still trying to process what exactly Cosmas and Eurphrasia were.
"Quem é você?he asked.
"Huh?" Cosmas clearly did not speak Portugese.
"Quem é você? Artie repeated."Onde eu estou?
"We can't understand you." said Eurphrasia speaking slowly in hope he would respond to her tone rather than her words.
Percy would have been in the same boat if it wasn't for subtitles that ran across the bottom of the iris message. Artie clearly didn't remember collapsing in front a dozen centaur or even what centaurs even were. To him, Artie had barely escaped one monster to be captured by more.
Suddenly Artie began to shake his head as if he keeping himself from falling asleep. He held his head, "O que. . . o fez. . . você. . . o que eu fiz. . . sentir. . ."
With that Artie began to pass out. He dropped the knife and it clattered on the table. He would have fell if Eurphrasia did have the presence of mind to catch him. Clearly Artie was in no state to be moving, let alone fighting his way out of a centaur camp. Eurphrasia set Artie back in the cot and covered him with a blanket as he began to shiver, no doubt still fighting the venom in bloodstream. She placed a hand on his forehead than placed a wet cloth then covered him in more blankets. Tobias watched her work then perch on the bar right above his Artie's head looking concerned.
"I don't think I'm gonna sleep tonight." said Cosmas. "Not after that."
Eurphrasia rubbed her neck, "That makes two of us. Is there anyone who speaks Portuguese? I'm not sure I'll be so lucky next time."
"Unless you count a few blue collar jokes, I'm afraid not." Cosmas joked.
"I'm gonna need a few things from town. I'll make you a list." said Eurphrasia as she began jotting down a notepad.
"You mean he's still not better? He seemed fine to me."
Eurphrasia shook her head "It's not for him. He'll be out for at least two days."
Cosmas scratched his head, "Then what do you need?"
Eurphrasia handed him the list. "I don't need all of it, but the one I circled take priority. Especially a portuguese to english dictionary."
Cosmas just stared at the list, "You don't seriously think you'll learn a whole language in two days do you?"
The image shifted slightly. Eurphrasia was standing at the same table, now stacked with several books. She held one in her hands as she glanced at Artie every so often, who was still covered in blankets with Tobias perched on the metal bar that arched slightly over Artie's head. She returned to the book in her hands. She had barely turned the page when Tobias cawed. She turned and saw Artie was stirring as he woke up.
"Tobias? . . . o quê. . ." he managed to say. "I thought . . ."
Eurphrasia walked to him, book still in hand. "Thank the gods."
Artie did what he naturally did when startled, he sprang to his feet or at least tried to. He jerked maybe two inches before he fell back with a half yelp half groan of pain. Eurphrasia tried to help, but he swatted her away in terror which resulted in more cries of agony. She took the hint and stepped back as Artie laid back down and panted, exhausted by his exertion.
"You shouldn't move." Eurphrasia warned. "You're too badly wounded."
"Huh?" grunted Artie.
"Oh that's right. No english." Eurphrasia quickly began flipping the book in her hand, stopping to pronounce a word in Portuguese. "Let's see . . . não se mexa. . . demais. . . dói? "
Tobias cawed and squawked as if to confirm her words. Artie ignored the squawking and tried to sit up only to yelp and fall back on the cot. Tears welled up in his eyes as he gritted his teeth, trying not cry out. Eurphrasia adjusted the blankets and dabbed at Artie's forehead with a wet cloth. Artie coughed a little, groaning at the pain it caused him. He was too tired to protest as Eurphrasia placed a hand on his forehead. She noticed his labored breathing and how clammy his skin felt against her skin.
"You still have a fever." She retrieved a bowl filled with what looked like ambrosia pudding from the table she was standing at. She held a spoon to his mouth. "Eat this, it'll help with the pain."
Artie kept his mouth shut as he watched Eurphrasia with a mixture of caution and fear.
"You'll feel better, Você vai se sentir melhor." Eurphrasia sighed when Artie clamped his mouth tighter. She forced the spoon against his mouth. "Come on."
Artie turned his head defiantly. Then she resorted to what mothers normally did when infants refused to eat and tried to jam the spoon his mouth. Each time Artie turned his head every which way and kept his mouth as tightly closed without shattering his own teeth.
"I. Am. Trying. To. Help. You." She growled with each thrust of the spoon, not caring she was smearing Artie's face with ambrosia. "You. Stupid. Kid."
Apparently Tobias grew tired of the scene and decided to end it. He hopped from his perch and landed on Artie's chest. Tobias's weight must have been much heavier than at first glance, because Artie screamed in pain. Eurphrasia took the opportunity and stuffed Artie's mouth with the pudding. Artie coughed and sputtered at the sudden invasion, but ended up swallowing most of it.
"There." said Eurphrasia smugly.
Artie stared daggers at Tobias and growled.
"Stop that." Eurphrasia tapped Artie's nose with the spoon. "He's only trying to help you." She filled another spoon and held to Artie's lips, he still kept them closed. "I'll have him peck and poke if that's what it takes for you to open your mouth."
Tobias screeched angrily, again as if to translate.
Artie opened his mouth slightly and accepted the food without protest, though he watched Eurphrasia like Tobias. Which is to say, like a hawk.
Chiron then slashed his hand through the rainbow, severing the connection. "She continued to treat Artie until he was ready to travel to New York. All the while teaching him some english as well as some medical knowledge. Artie even learned how to cure hides and leather during his month long stay with the Florida Chapter of the Party Ponies."
"Please tell me that was the last of it." pleaded Zoë.
Chiron nodded. "Yes. After a month with them, Artie eventaully reached Camp Half Blood. The rest is a story that I will let Artie tell, if he so chooses."
Percy wasn't sure if he should ask, but decied to anyway. "Chiron, why didn't he tell anyone? Even Apollonia didn't know until you showed us."
Thalia spoke. "Would you have treated him any differently? Knowing then what you know now?"
Percy didn't answer.
"He didn't want anyone's pity." whispered Apollonia. "Especially mine."
"I also showed you for another reason." said Chiron. "Though he refused to explain when he first came to me, I knew. Artie believes himself to be cursed."
"How so?" asked Zoë.
"Everytime he forms a bond with a person, he eventully loses that person." Chiron explained. "He loved his mother and father and they died. He loved his mother and brother in Rio and lost them as well. He became attached to Luke as brother but lost him once he was claimed. Annabeth was one his closest friends and she is lost. And I'm sure since his mishap at Circe's Isle, he belives he was slowly losing Apollonia."
"What about me?" asked Percy.
Chiron shook his head, "This what Artie belives. Unfortunate things have happened to him, but they do for all demigods. I'm quite certain Artie belives that sooner or later, he will lose you too Percy."
Thalia asked, "What do you want us to do?"
"If by some good fortune, you and Artie cross paths along your quest." Chiron answered. "Try to aid him where you can. If he loses Annabeth or even one more person he holds dear, I fear he will truly and completly give in to this belief."