The Titan's Curse

Riddle Me This And Riddle Me That

Somewhere between Zoë saying they needed to reach the Garden Of Hesperides before the sun had fully set and Percy sacrificing the Nemein pelt to his father so Grover and Bessie could reach Olympus safely, Artie passed out from the venom in his blood. Part of actually welcomed it, if only to escape the molten lead that was replacing his muscles. He was fully aware that his quest was barely halfway completed, he still had to free a guardian and save Annabeth, but his body had all it could take and then some and took his will out of equation. He did not dream or even realize, until he opened his eyes again, that had fallen asleep as Thalia carried his on her back.

Artie found himself staring into a white light. He had seen enough movies to know what that meant and tried to keep away, but he couldn't move. He was about give in when the strangest thing happened.

The white light spoke.

"Well, looks like he finally coming to." it said. "And here I thought I was gonna have to use those smelling salts."

Artie groaned and opened his eyes fully. He saw he was laying on a couch in a living room of a house. The floors were fresly polished hardwood with LEGO's scattered about. His ears caught the sound of purring and saw two cats curled up on headrest of the couch, watching him with mild curiosity. The air smelled of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and light jazzy played quietly from somewhere in the house.

Then he saw man sitting on the coffee table with a stack of magazine and a doctor's medicine bag.

Artie recognized him. "Tio?"

"That's Spanish for Uncle, right?" He smiled and spoke with a southern drawl. "Sorry, son. I ain't your Tio. See this here?" he pointed to a name tag on his breath pocket. With his dyslexia, it took Artie a moment to see it read , Dr. A. P. Ollo. MD. "That's my name. Doctor Adonis Perry Ollo."

Artie nodded his understanding, . "And I thought doctors didn't make house calls anymore."

"We don't." said the doctor as he ruffled through his medicine bag. "But I was in the neighborhood and it just so happens Mrs. Chase's two little boys caught a simple case of the sniffles."

Artie groaned as the venom in his blood had decreed he had ignored it long enough. It started off slow like usual, but it quickly increased and Artie found himself taking deep breaths. He remembered the painkillers he had brought with him and had taken after their fight with Talos. With trembling fingers, he reached into a pouch on his belt and found it empty.

"Mew!"

Artie looked down and saw Diego batting the pill bottle around like a toy across the wood floor. "Diego!" He grunted. "No!"

Artie reached for the pills but fell back onto the couch, his breathing labored and ragged. Diego noticed how much his master wanted his toy and nudged toward his feet with an apologetic yowl.

Dr. A. P. Ollo picked up the bottle and shook his head at the bottle. "Painkillers. Now that's a misnomer."

"What?" Artie grunted.

"A misnomer." repeated the good doctor. "It's when you give the wrong name to something." He shook the bottle and pills rattled. "Like these. They're called painkillers, but you have to keep taking them or the pain comes back."

"I can live with that." Artie held out a trembling hand.

"Hold that thought." Dr. Ollo began digging around in his medicine bag. "Now where did I leave . . . is that it? . . . no, those are placebos. Wait, if those are here . . . then that means . . . uh oh, he is not gonna like that one bit."

"Doc, I can't tell if it's too hot or too cold in here." Artie's breathing was rapid and sweat glistened on his forehead. "Scratch that, it's too hot."

"Aha!" Dr. Ollo pulled a small glass vial stopped with a cork. "Found you!" The doctor tilted the demigod's head back and poured the vial's contents into his mouth. "Now this is the real stuff."

Artie coughed at the bitter sour taste with just a slight hint of cola and lemon, but almost instantly the pain disappeared. It did not gradually fade, but vanished in the blink of an eye. His limbs felt soothed and relaxed like he had just had a deep tissue massage and he felt like he had a shot of pure espresso directly into his blood.

"What was that?" he asked. "I haven't felt like this in years."

"Sometimes ya gotta go old school. In this case, herbal." Dr. Ollo held up the empty vial. "It's ground up Valerian and kava root, echinacea, white willow bark, cat's claw, and bit of cola and nectar. The sugar and caffeine in the Cola go into over drive when mixed with nectar which results in instant relief and the rest of the herbs eliminate the pain completely."

"How can I thank you?" Artie asked.

Dr. Ollo smiled and reached into a pocket. "I've been meaning to give this to someone important, but we sort of had a falling out." He held out a gold necklace. "This means a lot to him."

Artie examined the necklace. The chain was thin, but made of pure gold. The ornament was made of bronze, celestial he was willing to bet, and he stared at it. It was of two masks, one smiling and the other crying, the ancient Greek symbol for the two sides of Theater. Both were symbols for two of the nine Muses and used exclusively during ancient Greek plays. Even today, no actor or musician in the world would be ignorant of their meaning. The smiling mask, Comedy, represented Thalia, the muse of comedy and idyllic poetry. The sad mask, Tragedy, represent her sister Melpomene, the muse of tragedy and singing.

Artie recognized it and was at a lost for words.

The last time he had seen it . . . it was hanging from his mother's neck in Rio.

"How . . . when did you . . ." Artie looked up. "Who . . ."

But the good Dr. A. P. Ollo was gone. If Artie had any doubts to the doctor's true identity, they were gone. Not only had this 'doctor' happened to have a very familiar name, but no mortal doctor toted around the perfect mixture of herbs to cure the agony caused by manticore venom. To Artie's knowledge, only two people knew that cure, now three since the doctor had told him. The first was Euphrasia, the centaur that had treated him when Thorn ambushed him and Tobias in the Florida Everglades seven years ago. The second was the god of doctors himself, his uncle on the Olympian side, Apollo. And Artie was sure the doctor's name wasn't just a subtle hint, using the word subtle as loosely as possible.

So he was supposed to give his mother's necklace to someone, but to whom? The doctor had said he had meant to give it to someone important. Someone he had a falling out with. Someone who the necklace meant a lot to him. The only person that came to mind was Artie's brother, technically his cousin, Jacob Gallezi, but he had died nearly six years ago to the day with his mother.

Artie placed necklace in a pouch on his belt, "I'll figure it out later." He scooped up Diego and gently put him into another pouch. "Come on, let's find the others."

"Oh, I see you're up." said a voice. "Are you feeling alright?"

Artie turned to see a pretty Asian woman with red highlighted hair tied in a bun carrying a tray of sandwiches, cookies, and Cokes on a tray "Um, where are my friends?"

"You're friends are upstairs in my husband's study." she answered. "You are Artie, right?"

"Yes, Mrs?" Artie didn't know her name.

"Chase." she said.

"Oh, you're Annabeth's stepmother." Artie realized.

"Yes." she nodded. "Come with me, I'm sure your friends would like to know you've recovered."

Artie followed Mrs. Chase up the stairs and down the hall to a room where he heard voices that seemed to be arguing. Artie opened the door for Mrs. Chase seeing it was the polite thing to do and her hands were occupied carrying snack that Artie was finding difficult not to inhale its contents all by himself.

"Thank you, Artie." Then Mrs. Chase announced to everyone in the room. "Snacks!"

Artie saw that his friends were all there talking with an athletic looking , middle-aged man with sandy-colored hair and intense brown eyes. It seemed he had not shaven for a couple of days and his shirt was buttoned wrong so one side stuck up higher than the other side. He also wore an old fashioned aviator's cap and goggles, but they hung around his neck rather than on his face and head.

As was his habit, Artie examined the room for signs of enemies, but he did not find any. He saw there was no place side as the study was wall to wall bookcase, each one stuffed with books. In the center, and really caught Artie's attention, was a table with war toys. Soldiers and miniature tanks fought alongside a blue painted river with faux trees and hills. Old fashioned biplanes hung and dangled on strings from the ceiling, tilting at weird and crazy angles like in the middle of a dogfight.

Artie was reminded of a line from Letters From Iwo Jima, "The United States is the last country in the world that Japan should fight."

"Actually this the Third Battle of Ypres" said the sandy haired man. "Japan and America were allies during World War One, but not for the second one."

"This is Annabeth's dad, Artie." said Percy. "You feeling better?"

"A lot better." Artie turned to Mr. Chase. " At midnight, I'll turn into a pumpkin and drive away in my glass slipper."

Mr. Chase smiled and responded. "And that will be the end of the fairy tale."

"Oh no," said Thalia. "It's spreading."

"What?" asked Mr. Chase. "Don't tell me you haven't seen Roman Holiday?"

"Sir!" said Zoë. "We do not have much time."

"She's right." said Percy. "Annabeth's in danger."

"Right!" Mr. Chase patted his pockets. "I'll drive you."

"Actually, Mr. Chase." said Artie. "It's probably not a good idea for you to come. Its too dangerous."

Mr. Chase frowned. "Now wait a minute, young man. Annabeth is my daughter. Dangerous or not I can't just . . . just . . ."

Artie sighed. He hated playing that card, but he saw no other way. "And if something happens to you? How do you think Annabeth will feel going on knowing you got hurt, or worse, because of her?"

"I . . . I, um . . ." Mr. Chase was at a lost for words.

"Trust me on this. I know what that feels like." Artie said gently. "Its not something you ever really get over. She might accept it, but she won't forgive herself and won't allow herself to forget."

"But . . ."

"Look sir, Annabeth was a friend and more when I needed one." Artie decided to pull back a bit. "Technically, they're here to rescue Artemis, but my quest to save Annabeth."

"Just you?" Mr. Chase asked. "But you're just one person."

"Mr. Chase, I may not be as strong as Percy or Thalia. I may not be experienced as Zoë. Heck, I know I'm nowhere near as smart as Annabeth." Artie said firmly. "But I never give up. I swear on the Styx, if by my life or death, Annabeth will be back home by Christmas and you two can watch Bringin' Up Baby like you always wanted."

Mr. Chase relaxed a bit, but sighed not wanting to admit Artie was right. "Alright. I don't like it, but you have a point." he patted his pockets. "Honey?"

"Yes?" Mrs. Chase poked her head in the doorway.

"Have you seen my keys?" asked the college professor.

She rolled her eyes, "Fredrick, honestly. You'd lose your head if it wasn't wrapped in your aviator's cap. Its on the peg by the front door."

Zoë grabbed a sandwich. "Thank you both. We should get going. Now!"

"I got it!" Artie exclaimed and disappeared in a flash, running down the stairs

"How did he — " Mr. Chase began to ask.

"Found them!" Artie reemerged and tossed the keys to Zoë.

Zoë dropped the sandwich she had been holding to catch the keys. Not one to let food go to waste, Artie snatched the snack mid air and ate in two large bites.

Zoë glared at him.

"What?" he asked.

"Nothing." Zoë said as she grabbed another sandwich.

"Mew!" Diego popped his head out and sniffed the air. "Mew!"

"Okay, fine." Artie sighed and snatch Zoë's sandwich for the second time.

Zoë glared at him again. "Artie . . ."

"What?" Artie said feeding Diego pieces of bologna. "Hey, my finger isn't food."

Zoë rolled her eyes. "Never mind. Let us be off."

They all ran down to the driveway where a yellow VW convertible sat. With the sun going down, Percy and Artie figured they had less than an hour to find save Artemis and Annabeth.

Zoë weaved in and out of traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge with Artie following slightly behind on his motorcycle. Then sun was sinking on the horizon when they reached Marin Country and exited the highway. The roads became increasingly narrow, winding through forest and around hills and around the edges of steep ravines. Both Zoë and Artie did not slow, though Artie thought Zoë should.

While he knew he should concentrate on the road and Zoë driving like a Fury of Hades, his mind going a mile a second. He thought of Annabeth's welfare and hoped she wasn't hurt. And if she was, nothing that couldn't be fixed with some bandages, a hot meal, and lots of undisturbed rest. There was his mother's necklace and the task Dr. A. P. Ollo had asked of him, to say nothing of the last two lines of his prophecy. They hadn't run into any guardians or kings. Then there was the fact he had spotted the Princess Andromeda docked near the beach. That meant they would have to possibly deal with Luke's forces along with Luke himself and the General.

Speaking of the General, Artie was also considering what the General had said to Thorn in D . C. It felt like it had been ages ago, but his words were fresh in Artie's mind now that he had time to think a bit and regard what the General had meant.

I gave you a simple mission eight years ago and you failed. I provided you with an opportunity to redeem yourself and it took you four years with nothing to show for it. The general had shouted.

Was The General the reason Artie was an orphan?

Had The General somehow learned of Artie's existence?

Did he send Thorn to kill the hero before he learned of his potential?

Artie admitted it was a possibility, but what was his motive? Artie was not a child of the Big Three so he could not be the one to save or destory Olympus. Yes he might be the only child of Artemis, but that couldn't be the only reason for the General to want him dead.

Then Zoë slammed on the brakes of the car, causing it to spin twice before sliding to a stop at the edge of a cliff.

Artie himself slid to a stop, squeezing the handbrakes and turning the bike so its side rubbed against the ground, and saw his friends pile out just a bolt of lighting obliterated the yellow VW convertible with a thunderous BOOOM!. Artie felt several something pound hard on the entire right side of his body and the sound of metal colliding with metal around him. It was someone , or several someones, had shot rocks and pebbles at him with slingshots. Artie looked down and saw small pieces of metal sticking out of his armor and motorcycle. Once again, Artie seemed to be lucky as his armor would not have protected him had he been a few feet closer. The right side of his body might a bit a sore tomorrow and covered in light bruises, but it was infinitely better than being turned into a human cheese grater.

Artie pressed a button on the bike's handlebars and it shrank. He quickly pocketed the small metal figurine and rushed to his friends. "You guys alright?"

"Are you?" Percy asked. "You got pieces of metal sticking out."

"I'm fine." He assured. "The armor took most of the hit."

"Where's Zoë?" Percy shouted. "Zoë!"

Percy felt something pull on his arm and Zoë hissed. "Silence, you fool! Do you wish to wake Ladon?!"

"You mean we're here?" Artie sniffed the air. "I can't smell anything but eucalyptus."

"Very close." said Zoë. "Follow me."

They all stepped in the fog, into the Mist, and disappeared.

When the fog cleared, they were still on the side of the mountain, but the road was dirt instead of paved asphalt. The grass was greener and thicker. The sunset made a blood red slash across the sea. The summit of the mountain seemed closer than it had been only a moment ago, swirling with storm clouds and raw power. There was only one path directly in front of the heroes and it led through a lush meadow of shadows and flowers. They had reached the Garden of Twilight and Artie hoped the giant lizard was not the guardian he was supposed to free. He was fairly sure that it would appreciate for a moment and reward with a quick death rather a slow drawn out agonizing one.

Now Artie had killed, skinned, and even in one case ate one, his fair share of dragons, but this one was frightening to scare other dragons. Its serpent body was a s thick as large booster rocket, glinting with glittering copper scales rather than the dark olive green drab the dragon Artie used to make his armor. This dragon also reminded Artie of the hydra he, Percy, Annabeth, and Tyson faced in Florida on their quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece, with more heads than he wanted to count or know.

If not for the giant dragon, the garden was beautiful. The grass shimmered in the evening light as the light caught the dew just right. The flowers were such brilliant colors they almost seemed to glow in the faint light. Stepping stone made of polished black marble led a round a five-story tall apple tree, bough glittering with golden apples. These were not plain yellow apples that could be found in any market that sold produce, but actual golden apples. Artie's nose tingled when their sweet alluring fragrance when he caught the scent, knowing a single bite would be the most delicious thing he ever ate. Artie saw that Percy had the same look on his face, Percy swallowed hard as he licked his lips at the sight of the succulent fruit.

Then the shadows in front of the heroes began to move. There was a beautiful, eerie singing, like voice from the bottom of a well. Percy reached for Riptide while Artie opened is bow and drew an arrow in the blink of an eye, but Zoë stopped them both.

Four figures shimmered into existence, four young girl that all looked very much like Zoë. They wore white Greek chitons. Their skin was the color of warm caramel. Silky black hair tumbled loose around their shoulders, much like Artie's or Zoë's if they did not tie their long hair back. That was when everyone realized these were the Hesperides, Zoë's sisters. They were all as beautiful as her, and most likely just as dangerous if not more.

"Sisters." Zoë said.

"We do not see any sister." said one of the girls. "We see four half bloods and a Hunter. All of whom shall die quite soon."

"Except for one, sister." said another.

"Yes, it would be a shame for him to die." agreed a third.

"You've got it wrong." Percy stepped forward. "No one is going to die."

They studied Percy critically as the first Hesperide spoke. "Perseus Jackson."

"Yes." mused the second. "I do not see why he is a threat."

"Who said I was a threat?" Percy asked.

The fourth looked up at the mountain behind her. "They fear thee. They are unhappy that this one has not killed thee yet." She pointed to Thalia.

"Tempting." Thalia admitted. "But, no thanks. He's my friend."

"There are no friends here, daughter of Zeus." she said coldly. "Only enemies. Go back!"

Now Artie stepped forward. "Yeah, yeah. We get it." He paraphrased Mad Max 2 :The Road Warrior. "Just walk away. We will spare your lives, just walk away." Artie growled. "Not without Annabeth and Artemis."

"Ah, the misbegotten child of the now disgraced moon goddess." said the first Hesperide. "You are quite different from him."

Artie flexed his hands, claws sprouting in anticipation. "Say that again."

"He speaks the truth." said Zoë. "Artemis must be freed. Let us pass."

The girl shook her head. "You have no rights here anymore. We need only raise our voices to wake Ladon."

"Tell me," Artie motioned his armor. "What this is made of?"

"He will not hurt me!" Zoë said firmly.

"No? What about thy so called friends?"

Zoë opened her mouth to shout, but stopped when she heard music, a single guitar to be exact. Artie heard it too, as did everyone else. It was low and baritone and though it sounded like a simple scale one would play to see if the instrument required tuning, it sounded beautiful as it was part of an actual melody. There was a pause and another similar scale followed, this one higher and seemed to continue the gentle melody. Then melody began with a sudden and quick kick of energy. Artie had heard that melody countless times and knew it to be Mariachi music. He and Appolonia absolutely loved it when Antonio Banderas sang it during the opening scene in Desperado. And to erase any doubt, the mystery guitar player added his voice to the music, his voice sounded like it came from all over.

Soy un hombre muy honrado,

Que me gusta lo mejor

A mujeres no me faltan,

Ni al dinero, ni el amor

Jineteando en mi caballo

Por la sierra yo me voy

Las estrellas y la luna

Ellas me dicen donde voy

Ay, ay, ay, ay

Ay, ay mi amor

Ay mi morena,

De mi corazon

Then a teenager emerged from behind the tree that Ladon guarded. Of course the music woke the dragon, but he did not seem to mind. In fact, once he had fully awoken, Ladon's head swayed to an fro as he enjoyed the music too much to bother eating the singing demigod even though he was right under the tree.

As the demigod walked to them, still strumming and singing, Artie got a good look at him. He looked to be someone just leaving high school, or entering college, with a lean build and deeply tanned skin. His face seemed familiar yet alien, like he was a long lost relative of someone he knew. Like Artie, his eyes were hid behind sunglasses, though his seemed brand new and expensive while Artie were chipped and cracked from his quest from Camp Half Blood. And also like Artie, the demigod had a slash over an eye, though his was long healed and over his right eyes while Artie's was fresh and over his left. His long silky chestnut brown hair blew free in the wind and matched a well trimmed mustache and goatee in color and luster. He wore a long golden leather trench coat over a clean dark shirt, fresh blue jeans, and combat boots. And though Artie thought the stranger was wearing gold watches on both wrists, it turned out to be celestial bronze gauntlets which did not seem to hamper his fingers as they delicately plucked and strummed the strings.

His belt buckle was strange, yet unmistakably familiar. It was the coat of arms for the city of Rio De Janerio. In the foreground a silver eagle, a symbol of Brazil's royal family, appeared perching on a sphere that was silver and blue with a white star. Written in the sphere was the city's motto in latin, Recte Rem Publicam Gerere, Conduct the affairs of the public with righteousness. In the background, the rock formation Dedo de Deus was red in color and was visible from the city on a clear day. On the outer part of the coat of arms were two stalks of plants. sugarcane on the left and coffee on the right. If there was any confusion to what the belt buckle represented, the words on a gleaming silver banner cleared things instantly, Estado Do Rio De Janerio.

Me gusta tocar guitarra

Me gusta cantar el sol

Mariachi me acompaña

Cuando canto my cancion

Me gustan tomar mis copas

Aguardiente es lo mejor

Tambien la tequilla blanco

Con su sal le da sabor

Ay, ay, ay, ay

Ay, ay mi amor

Ay mi morena,

De mi corazooooooooon

The demigods all stood dumbfounded as the stranger bowed dramatically and the Hesperides gave him a polite applause and entertained smiles. Artie could not help but strain his memory. He was certain he knew this stranger, he just wasn't sure how. Had he met him when he was running all over South America? Judging by the music, he could have been from Mexico or his parents were, but why wear such extravagant belt buckle of Rio if he wasn't from there? He was clearly was a child of Apollo, but most likely turned against the gods in favor of the Titans. What else could explain his presence here and the fact Ladon and the Hesperides seemed to welcome him with open arms.

"A most beautiful melody." said the first Hesperides.

"Yes." agreed the second.

"Who are you?" Artie demanded.

"Our father sent him to guard us." answered the third Hesperide.

"But Ladon is more than sufficient." added the fourth. "But he is quite the bard and we have come to enjoy his company."

The new demigod cocked his head slightly, as if not sure what he saw., and asked in perfect Portuguese. "Resolva meu enigma e Eu lhe direi, Artie. Eu até permitir que seus amigos passar Ladon sem luta."

"Quer juro pelo Styx?" Artie asked cautiously.

"Juro que na rio Styx." swore the demigod.

"What is he saying?" Zoë asked.

"He swore on the river Styx to let us pass Ladon without fighting him if I solve his riddles." Artie translated, his eyes never leaving the demigod who was smiling charmingly at the Hesperides who responded in kind. Apparently this son of Apollo took after his father more than he knew.

"Your friends." corrected the demigod, his voice carrying a slight accent."You stay."

"Alright." Artie frowned, not wanting to waste more time. He'd figure out a away later. "But in english."

The demigod smiled wickedly and recited. "There is not wind enough to twirl. That one red leaf, nearest of its clan, Which dances as often as dance it can."

"The sun." Artie said instantly.

"How did — " Percy began to ask.

"I heard it before." Artie said before speaking to the demigod. "Two more? These things tend come in threes right?"

"Correct. To the riddle and your assumption." The demigod nodded. "I have keys without locks yet I unlock the soul. What am I?"

"A guitar." Artie answered instantly again.

"You heard that one too?" asked Thalia.

"Yeah." Artie nodded. "When I was in school, I had a teacher and Jacob— "

"The final riddle." announced the wanna be Riddler. "Who are the two brothers who live on opposite sides of the road yet never see each other?"

"Eyes." Artie answered.

"Correct." said the demigod. "But will you indulge me in one more?"

"I answered your riddles." Artie reminded him. "You swore on the Styx."

"Yes and, as we agreed, your friends may pass." said the demigod calmly.

"Who are thee to say who shall pass or not?" demanded Zoë.

"The answer would mean nothing you, Hunter." He looked to Artie. "But I'm sure you would finding it quite interesting."

"I doubt it." Artie sneered. "Go on."

The demigod raised an eye brow and recited. "Like the Simon told McClane in Die Hard Three, you do not see. Like Rambo returning to 'Nam, you know who I am. But if Leia was Luke and Luke was Vader, what would he say to her?" The demigod motioned to Artie. "Solve that and you have my name."

Artie struggled with that one, but he knew the movies that were mentioned. The villain, Simon Gruber, in Die Hard Three had told McClane a lot of thing over the course of the movie, but what did this demigod mean? The line about Rambo was easy to decipher, Artie did know the demigod and quite well as Rambo was right at home in Vietnam. But the last line was confusing for a moment, even if about Star Wars.

"Let's see." Artie muttered to himself. "Darth Vader said 'I am your father' to Luke. But if Luke switched with Vader and Leia took his place, then he wouldn't say that. He'd say I am your . . ."

To say the answer hit Artie like a ton of bricks would be putting quite mildly. Artie began to hyperventilate, his breathing was abnormally fast and deep. He clutched his chest as he fell to his knees then to his side, curling up into a fetal position.

"Artie!" Thalia knelt by him.

Zoë checked his pulse. "His pulse is racing."

Thalia knelt by her friend and laid a hand on him, noticing he was sweating despite the cold. "He's going into shock."

Percy drew Riptide. "What did you do to him?"

"Nothing." said the demigod in mock innocence. "He must have figured out the answer. I did say he would find the answer interesting."

"Explain thyself!" Zoë demanded as she and Thalia leveled their weapons at him. "Now!"

"Fine." The demigod sighed. "It's really the last line that means anything. In Star Wars, Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father, Anakin Skywalker."

"Everyone know that!" Percy snapped.

"Quite true." agreed the demigod. "But when Luke was born, he had a sister Leia. Both of them were children of Anakin Skywalker AKA Darth Vader."

"Get to the point!" bellowed Thalia, shaking her spear. "Or I will."

"Well, Luke wouldn't say 'I am your father' to Leia if he took Darth Vader's place." The demigod explained calmly. "He'd say . . ."

"I am your brother . . ." Percy whispered.

They all did multiple double takes back forth between Artie, shaking on the floor, and demigod with a taste for riddles.

"You mean thee are . . .?" Zoë's voice trailed off.

"Jacob Gallezi." said the demigod with a bow. "Artie's one and only stepbrother."

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