The Titan's Curse

By Artie Gallezi

Adventure

The Master's Forge

"Artie?" said Appolonia

"Yeah?"

"Are you sure you want me to use this?" Appolonia held up his magic quiver.

"I'm not going to need it just sitting here." Artie gestured to the cave they were standing in. "Plus, since you refuse to sit this one out, I'll be able to keep my mind on my work."

"You could join in." she suggested. "Just this once."

Artie shook his head. "If it was anyone but them, I might. But I need to finish the armor."

"Alright." she sighed. "I'd better get going."

"Wait, take this too." He draped his cloak around her. "Use the white side, the black side will make you too much of a target."

"But — "

"They won't expect any of the campers to use camouflage, at least not good camouflage. You remember how to cover your tracks?

"Yes, but — "

"Remember, stealth is your greatest weapon. They can't fight you if they don't know you're there."

"Alright, but do you really think this is necessary?"

"Prepare for the worst and hope for the best." He kissed her cheek. "You'd better get going."

She returned the kiss, "Thanks."

Artie watched her jog off into the forest just as conch horn blew, signaling the start of the Capture the Flag game against the Hunters. Artie lit a fire to warm the cave and began to put the armor together. He did a quick assessment of the pieces. There were two sets of everything. One large and one small. The smaller would be the inner layer while the larger would be the outer. Artie and Beckendorf agreed that for the armor to be effective, it required two layers of moonsilver. So that meant three layers of leather. The outermost would be the dragon hide he had cured while the middle layer, the one separating the metal piece, would consist of hardened rawhide. The final layer, besides the clothes he wore under, would be a thin piece of supple cured deer hide. Not only would the armor protect him against almost all slashing attacks, but the leather would also cushion any attack from blunt weapons, like a club or bat. It was really only against piercing strikes, like stabbing, that the armor was vulnerable to. But with two layers of moonsilver and three of leather, it was the best Artie could hope for without adding another layer and more weight.

He examined the pieces more closely. The pair of boots that were designed to eliminate the need for shin guards. The front was high enough to cover his knees while the back ended just below to allow him the full use of his knees. The breeches would protect him from the waist down to just above his knee with cords running down the side to either tighten or loosen them. He was glad, Beckendorf had listened to him to not make a skirt like so many designs from ancient times. The chest piece would be something between a vest and a tank top with the sides open so it would accommodate him in the coming months, should he gain more muscle or decided to change his diet to pizza and ice cream. Finally, he had a pair of shoulders to protect his shoulders. They each had a round end to match his round shoulders with a short length running down the side of his biceps, connected in the front and back so it formed a single piece that he would have to slip over the chest piece before he attached them. As for his hands and forearms, Beckendorf had completed them last summer when he returned from the sea of monsters. They had been slightly damaged from his fight with Thorn in Maine, but he could easily repair them once he finished the rest of the set.

He unrolled a leather roll he kept in the cave that held a wide assortment of knives, needles, and other tools he used to make countless leather goods. His hand drifted over several knives before drew one and ran it against a smooth whetstone. Gripping the knife with his teeth he rolled out the dragon hide, placing several heavy stone on the corners to prevent it from moving, and began cutting out the shapes he would need for the top layer of his armor. As he worked, his thoughts drifted to Appolonia and his quiver. While he had warned her about its cool down requirement between arrows, he worried something could wrong. He had to be honest with himself, even though he had been using that quiver for almost six years, he wasn't sure if he had learned everything that he needed to learn. Still, it was nothing compared when he first acquired it during his quest to Yellowstone National Park.

The memory was still fresh in his mind.

(NEARLY SIX YEARS PREVIOUSLY, SOMEWHERE IN MID NEBRASKA)

The hot sun had finally set and took the stiffing heat with it.

Artie had been walking alongside a deserted road for all day and it looked like he would do the same for the night. The landscape had not changed in the slightest all day. There was a wheat field to his left and, on the other side of the road, one on his right. He cursed his luck. It had been an uneventful, if somewhat boring, ride until the Greyhound bus he boarded in New York stopped in Chicago. The bus had to be refueled and inspected, and after sitting in hot bus with nothing to do but stare out window, Artie was grateful for the two hour delay to stretch his legs. He was also grateful he had packed lightly or rather he didn't have much to pack. Just a spare shirt, socks, and shorts in a small rucksack with an emergency cache of mortal money and a few golden drachmas.

He had finished the last bit of food he had brought the previous morning and it was mid day. So he followed his nose to a nearby hotdog stand and bought himself his first hotdog ever. He had seen them when the cruise ship he stowed away on docked in Miami and when he and the Party Ponies passed through New York, but he had never had one. And the smell was intoxicating, especially to his sensitive nose. The vendor was a tall friendly looking man with a warm smile.

He looked down at Artie and smiled, "First time in the Windy City?"

"Windy City?" he asked.

"Chicago's nickname." he explained. "So you are new. I take it you've never had a Chicago Dog then?"

Artie shook his head. "No."

The vendor's smile grew even bigger, "Then you're in for a treat. I'll drag it through the garden for you. It's the only way to eat a hotdog."

"Drag through the garden?" he repeated. Artie was still learning all the subtleties of the english language.

"Here," said the vendor, handing him the hotdog.

"Thank you." Artie paid for it along with a soda and sat on a nearby bench to enjoy it.

He marveled at what he held in his hand. The bread was dotted with poppy seeds as it held the dog. It was topped with tangy yellow mustard, sharp chopped onions, bright green sweet pickle relish, a pickle spear that ran from end to end, fresh tomato slices, pickled sport peppers, and he even caught the faint smell of celery salt. He took a bite and before he knew, the only sign he had even held one was the mustard on his face. It was the best thing he had ever eaten in his life. Better than the food he ate at Camp Half Blood and infinitely better than the unseasoned wild animals and plants he grew up on in the jungle. He threw the wrapper in the garbage bin next to the bench and was about to tuck the can of soda in the his rucksack for later when he heard a deep voice behind him.

"Still hungry." it said.

Artie thought it was the vendor and turned around. "No — "

He froze when he saw a much taller man and looked up. He was over eight and half feet tall with bulging muscles underneath a bloodstained shirt. It was when Artie saw that this man had only one eye in the center of his head, that he realized the man was not a man, but a cyclops.

"— thank you." he finished

The cyclops smiled wickedly. "Still hungry . . . you make nice snack."

Artie responded the only way he could think of and threw the soda as hard as he could in the monster's face. Luckily for him, the can hit him in his only eye before exploding and covering his face in sweet sticky cola. Artie reached for his knives and curse the Oracle for telling him to travel unarmed. With the bus still an hour away from departing, he did the only think of and ran. He managed to lose the cyclops quite easily, but by the time he did, he succeeded in getting himself lost in the Windy City. An hour and one very helpful homeless man later, he found the bus station, but bus had already departed well before that. Using the little money he had left, he bought a train ticket as far as Des Moines, Iowa. He continued his way west, either walking or hitching a ride from a friendly truck driver, mostly walking. It was when he found a map on the side of the road and matched up the sign on the side of the road that learned he was somewhere in the middle of Nebraska, with Yellowstone National Park in the next state over, though on the far side where it bordered Idaho. He was grateful he hadn't encountered anything dangerous since Chicago, but he would have felt a little safer if he had his knives. At the very least he could have used them to skin the countless rabbits he encountered on the road as well as a start a fire, but he had to settle for the oily and tough taste of raw snake whenever he chanced upon one. He could have ate a rabbit, but he no way of making a fire and had learned the hard way the result of eating raw rabbit meat.

It was pitch black with only a slight sliver of moon providing the only light. As far he could tell from the map, he was several hours away from the nearest town, even if he ran the rest of the way. Thunder boomed and he looked up just in time to be met with the beginning of a massive downpour. Just his luck, not only did it have to start raining heavily when he was on foot in the middle of nowhere, but it had to be only an hour after he hopped off a truck only an hour earlier. On the truck he could have made it to a town and found shelter from the rain, rather than being left with no choice but to continue walking down a deserted road at night. He made a mental note not to accept any more rides from truckers, at least until dawn. Knowing his luck, he end up meeting a crazy homicidal manic with a machete and a hockey mask and he doubted severely he could get Mr. Voorheese's autograph. For one thing, he didn't have pen or paper.

A thunderous crack of lighting, lit up the night sky. As the light died, Artie saw the faint outline of a building just down the road. He began running and reached a gas station in minutes just as it began to rain harder. It looked it had been abandoned sometime before. All the windows had been boarded up along with bay doors that, when it was open and running, allowed cars to be brought onto lift to be fixed. The gas pumps were missing, likely removed when the station had shut down, but the overhead awning still stood though it swayed with the hard wind. It may not have been a five star motel or even a one star, but it would give him a dry place to rest for the night. Using an old rusty hammer he found, no doubt long forgotten when the mechanics left the shop, he managed to pry a single board off the front door and crawled inside. Like he expected, it was dark and dusty, but dry. It looked like a typical office. There was a counter stilled littered with old paperwork and pens as well as the desk behind it. There was an old looking wooden bench with a leather cushion that filled the air with even more dust when he sat on it. Instinctively he located the light switch and flipped it on. Surprisingly, a single florescent tube dimly lit up the room. It was dim, but he now he wouldn't have to feel around in the dark. He was surprised that the station had power. What surprised him more was a vending machine. It looked brand new with a digital readout for various kinds of snacks. Next to the vending machine, sitting on small folding table, was a coffee machine with an unopened box of hot chocolate. He pushed a button at random and, without putting any money in, it dispensed a small bag of cookies. He took out the cookies and went to a small water fountain. He turned the knob and clear cool water shot out. He tasted the water and found it tasted perfectly pure, like the natural springs he often found in forests and jungles in South America. Not sure how an abandoned gas station still had electricity and running water, he filled the coffee pot with water, poured cocoa mix into a fresh filter, and went about making himself comfortable.

He guessed there had been some sort of confusion and the utilities were never officially shut down and since no one had been around to use them, the error went unnoticed. He changed out of his wet clothes and hung them to air dry. He found a box of old Styrofoam cups and poured himself some hot chocolate to warm up as he munched on the bag of cookies. As he considered the next part of his quest, at least how to avoid walking the whole way, a flicker of movement where he pried the board off caught his eye. Tobias hopped inside and shook the water from his feathers. He fluttered to Artie's side and picked at the now empty bag of cookies. Artie offered the last one he held, but Tobias turned up his beak at it. Artie understood instantly, Tobias was looking for meat. He walked to the machine and found that it had jerky. Not sure if it would happen again, Artie pressed another button. Artie took the dried meat from its wrapper and handed it to his feathered friend who tore it with gusto. He explored the office a little more and found a small wardrobe. He opened and found it was filled with old mechanic uniforms. Unfortunately, they were far too large for him. He was too tired from the hours of walking and the hot cocoa and decided he could explore the rest of the station in the morning. He folded two uniforms for a pillow and used a third for a blanket as he laid down on the bench to sleep, Tobias keeping watch high in the corner of an empty shelf.

Artie awoke the sound of hushed voices. He shot up like a rocket, reaching for knives at his belt that were not there. He held absolutely still as his listened for the voices again. They came again a second later. Although this time he could guess there were two, a man and a woman. He quietly got off the bench and looked up to see Tobias had his head tucked under his wing, sleeping soundly as he perched overhead. The sounds seemed to be coming from the shop where mechanics would have worked on the cars on lifts. He quietly opened the door and entered the shop. There was a sliver of light coming from a close door on the far end of the shop. Not sure if he would need a weapon, Artie went to the giant toolboxes and began opening drawers. Slowly so not to make noise, he opened several drawers to find them before finally finding a small, but heavy, metal mallet. Not much of a weapon, but it was better than his bare hands. He slowly creeped to the light, gazing around so not to be surprised if something should pop out at him. As he did, he noticed several small and weird looking machines and tools. There was something that looked like a cross between a record player and a laptop as well countless little parts littered around when the two machines were taken apart and combined. There were also countless little metal statues that could be confused for toys, but they were too finely detailed and painted that it would have been a terrible crime to even risk damaging them.

As he creeped closer, he could her a girlish giggle. "Oh, that tickles."

A rough male voice responded, "You tease."

Artie's cheek went warm and red as he had a vague idea of what was going on and turned around. He was the one trespassing after all, best he left before they even realized he was there and ruined the moment. He'd take a couple fo snacks from the machine in the office and leave after refiling his canteen. As he turned his elbow tapped a ceramic bowl and it crashed to the floor.

"Eeep!" squeaked the woman. "What was that?"

"Probably a rat." assured the man. "Now, where were we?"

"I told you coming here was a bad idea, but you just wanna rub his nose in it." said the woman. "I'm going back to Denver."

"But — "

There was a great flash of pink light.

"I didn't even like Waterland when it was running." grumbled the man.

Artie waited a moment before taking a step. A sharp piece of the ceramic bowl cracked under his foot, piercing the thin leather of his sandal and his foot. He jumped back and yelped in pain.

"That was no rat!" exclaimed the man.

Artie barely had the time to dive behind a workbench before the door flew open. In the doorway stood a giant of a man. He was clad only in boxers, black with red lambdas, and a red tank top. His eyes, like Artie's, were hidden behind red tinted wraparound sunglasses as he scanned the room. The rest of his face was scarred with his hair in an oiled crew cut. In his hands, he held a metal bat.

"Best y'all come out now." he said. "Alot quicker for the both of us."

Artie remained where he was, under the workbench and not daring to even breath.

"Alright." said the man. "Have it your way."

The man waved his hand and clothes materialized around him. In less than a second, he was fully dressed black jeans, combat boots, a leather duster, and muscle shirt. Before Artie could even gasp, he held out the bat like a rifle. The bat morphed into a wicked looking double barrell shotgun, decorated with blood stains and barbed wire wrapped around both barrels. Slowly but eagerly, the man began his hunt for the person who had interrupted his moment with his woman. Artie knew he had to get out of there. This man was not human and he had no weapons. Even with his speed, Artie doubted he could reach the office and crawl in time. He might if he didn't stop to grab his bag, but he wanted to avoid that. He knew the loss of his nectar and ambrosia alone would come back to bite him. He gazed down around him. He might not be able to hurt whatever this man was, but he might able to buy himself some time. He picked up a couple scraps of the ceramic bowl and threw them, hoping in the dim light that the man would not see where they came from.

At the first clack, the man turned and fired. "GOTCHA!"

The only thing he got, was a box. Of course that box was filled with highly pressurized, and highly flammable, sprays cans filled with break cleaner. So naturally the box, and several objects near it, went up in flames. The man didn't seem to mind in the slightest as he continued to scan the room, ignoring the small explosions that occurred when the fire reached another box of brake cleaner. Artie miscalculated in thinking that it would be enough buy himself time to reach the office, he stopped in time just in time for a shotgun blast to splinter the door frame. Like before he dove to the floor as another blast obliterated a counter top and various objects that sat on it.

The man chuckled amusingly, "Oh, you're a wascally wittle wabbit." He cocked the shotgun menacingly. "But not wascally enough for the God of War."

Artie nearly bolted for the door again. If this man was Ares, the Greek god of war, he didn't stand a chance in a fair fight. And this was far from a fair fight. His only chance to live would be to escape and put as much distance as he could between him and the god. He was about to think of plan when another godly blast exploded over his head. This was a warning shot and Artie looked at Ares. He was about a second away from begging for mercy when he noticed he was still clutching the hammer he found. He gazed over the mad god and saw it was lined with boxes of motor oil and other boxes marked 'highly flammable'.

"Beggin' won't help." Ares cocked his shotgun. "But' since I'm feeling generous, I'll let you have one shot. Make it count."

Artie made the mistake of looking at the door. The door slammed shut as soon as he did. He returned his gaze to Ares who was smiling wickedly and shook his finger at him.

"None of that now." he chided. "Your move."

Artie did the only thing he could do and threw the hammer.

Ares watched it sail well over his head before it bounced off the shelf behind and over him and land at his feet. He switch his gazed between the hammer and Artie, who did the same. Ares smiled before he doubled over in laughter. His laugh was so loud and thunderous, it shook the the entire room and several objects fell to the floor and shattered.

"Kid, you're lucky no one else was here to see that." said the god. "Otherwise I'd — "

Artie did not get to hear what the god would have done. As luck would have it, Ares's thunderous laughter was enough send the shelf and everything it held to the floor. Before he knew it, Ares was covered in motor oil and other kinds of highly flammable liquids. Ares slipped on the slick oil that coated the floor as he stumbled backward and fell to the floor. Artie used the opportunity to grab the remains of a flaming box and hurled at Ares. Instantly the oil that coated Ares, and Ares himself, caught aflame. The god bellowed in rage and pain. Artie knew this would not slow Ares for more than a half a minute, three quarters if he was lucky, and ran to the door that lead to the office. It was still shut tight and locked. Panic sank in and he began to pound on the door as hard he could. He then began ramming his shoulder against it, but the door seemed to be made of steel and refused to budge. Or something had fallen across it on the other side and barricaded him in with one very angry greek god. He paused to see that angry Greek god was getting to his feet with gritted teeth. Artie began ramming the door again and again as futile attempt to escape. Artie was rewarded with something large, metallic, and tube like rolling out of a cabinet overhead nearly clonking him on the head. It landed with hollow clang and rolled against his leg. He glanced down at it and saw it was resembled a bronze fire extinguisher with a leather strap to hang across one's back.

That was when he felt a presence behind him. "BATTER UP!"

Artie brought up the tube in time for Ares's bat, formerly his shotgun, to take most of the force. Unfortunately, the remaining force sent Artie flying like rocket into the sliding bay door, crumpling around him. By some stroke of luck or gift of fate, the force had not snapped his spine. But it did leave him heavily dazed and tittered on the edge of consciousness. He fell forward out of the Artie shaped crevice his body had created. Ares walked slowly to him, twirling his bat like a cane. Artie tried to move, but his arms were finding difficult to obey his will. He wished that Ares would freeze long enough for him for the room to stop tilting back and forth. At the thought of freezing, his mind flashed to a scene from Jason X, where the infamous Jason Voorheese was kept at bay with liquid nitrogen. He severely doubted that a gas station carried enough to stop a was when he heard a faint whir and looked at the bronze tube. A thin shaft of wood with a feathered end shot out of the top of the bronze tube.

Ares paused in front of Artie and plucked the arrow. "Sorry kid, not much use without a bow."

He tossed it over his shoulder.

"I know you'll appreciate this." Ares raised his bat overhead and smiled. "Hasta la vista, baby."

Artie closes his eyes, not wanting his final sight to be that of a scarred brute. That was when he and Ares both heard a rapid beeping. Artie cracked his eye open as Ares turned around. It was the arrow that Ares had tossed like a piece of trash. It was only then that Artie saw it wasn't a common arrow, but one with a cylinder head instead of a razor triangular one, and the head was beeping rapidly as a red light flashing alarmingly.

"What the — " Ares began to say.

The words were thrown back into the god's throat as the arrow exploded. But instead of light and heat, there was mist and cold. It was as if the season went from stifling summer to freezing winter in a blink of an eye, though all Artie felt was a cool gentle breeze kiss his face. He looked around and saw all the fires had gone out, though they still smoked and some of the objects in the room had acquired a thin layer of frost. He then looked up and saw Ares, literally frozen like a statue with his bat still raised like it had been only a moment before. He allowed himself a sigh of relief before he shakily got to his feet. He gave the now frozen Ares a wide berth and made his way to the door. Like almost everything else in the room, the door had acquired a thin sheet of frost. He wasn't sure how he had escaped being frozen like Ares, but he guessed the god unknowingly acted as a shield and took the magic frost for him. The door still refused to budge and he if he was unable to force door before Ares sent him into an aluminum bay door, he was most certainly unable to do it after. He began searching for a hammer or something heavy to smash the door.

Crick . . . crick . . . crick . . .crick

Artie turned and saw the ice encasing Ares was beginning to crack and shattered. That only meant one thing, Ares would be free and even angrier than before.

Artie couldn't help but roll his eyes at his luck. "Claro. Por que não?"

Before he could indulge in more colorful oath that would have resulted in someone washing his mouth with soap, Artie was thrown head over heels as the ice statue exploded. Ares shook himself to dislodge any remaining shard of ice and frost and hefted his bat as he menacingly walked to Artie. As he walked Ares swung his bat from side, smashing several objects in his wake. Artie regained his bearings just as Ares's boot came into view. He gulped and looked up, cursing himself from doing so.

"Ice to see you!" Ares brought down the bat.

Artie closed his eyes and brought up his arms to fend of a blow from an angry god. He waited and was surprised it did not come. He opened his eyes and saw someone else was standing next to Ares. He was huge lump of a man with his shoulders at different heights and a huge, bulging and bald, misshapen head. His long brown beard was thick and bushy that reached his chest and , unless Arte was seeing things, it sparked fire from time to time. He wore a blue jumpsuit with the sleeves torn off that revealed huge thick muscular arms. On his feet were thick black work boots, though one of them had a leg brace. There was a name embroidered over the chest pocket of his jumpsuit, but Artie could not make it out. When Artie looked father up, he saw this stranger had caught the bat with a single hand and was staring daggers at Ares.

The sudden appearance of his brother surprised the war god, "Hephaestus? What are you doing here?"

Hephaestus shoved him, "That's my line."

Ares shrugged and casually threw the bat over his shoulder, "Your wife invited me over for tea."

Hephaestus's beard began to smoke. "Well, since this is my realm, I rescind that invitation."

Ares cocked his head to Artie, "But he — "

"I SAID GET OUT!"

"The punk ain't worth my time anyway." Ares scowled and disappeared in a flash of red light

Tap . . . tap . . . tap . . . tap

Hephaestus opened the door to the office, "Aphrodite, if that's you, you got some explaining to do."

That was when Tobias flew out with a screech and buffeted the smith of Olympus with his wings. Hephaestus began swatting at the bird of prey, "Hey, quit that. Deactivate. Stand down. Shut down."

"Tobias!" Artie shouted. "No."

Tobias instantly stopped and landed next to Artie. In his talons, Tobias held an ambrosia square which Artie accepted and inhaled it. He instantly felt better, his sore muscles and bones began to radiate warm and energy. A massive hand appeared in front him.

Artie looked up Hephaestus, "Thanks kid."

Artie took the god's hand and Hephaestus brought him to his feet. "You're Charles's dad."

"Charles?" asked Hephaestus.

"Beckendorf?"

"Oh yeah, him." Hephaestus held out a hand. "Hephaestus, god of metalworking and master smith of Olympus."

Artie hesitantly shook the hand, "Artie Gallezi"

"Gallezi? Artie? As in Artemis Raposo Gallezi?"

"Do you know me?"

"Just the name." Hephaestus looked like he almost let something slip. "What happened here? I tell ya, I leave to grab a bite and the pace goes to Tartarus."

Artie explained everything as best as he could as Hephaestus picked around the room looking annoyed at the thought of rebuilding several previously completed projects. "The woman you heard, you said she mentioned a place?"

Artie nodded, "Something about Waterland and Denver, I think."

"Denver, I'll have to remember that for later." Hephaestus scratched his beard. "Well Artie, it looks like you stopped my idiot brother from smashing some of the more complicated projects, put out a fire that would have burned down my shop, and you even made him mad and survived. Normally I'd thank you and leave it that, but my sister would annoy me to no end if I didn't give you something for your trouble."

Artie tried to politely refuse. "That's okay. If you don't want to — "

"No, no." Hephaestus cut him off with a wave. "Now, what could I give you?"

Tobias screeched and both of them looked to see him perched on top of the bronze tube that had produced the explosive frost arrow. It was then that Artie realized it was a quiver, though a magic one at that.

"Oh, I almost forgot I made that." The quiver floated to Hephaestus and rubbed a bit of dirt off of it. "I offered this to my sister when she asked for a bow and quiver, but she only wanted the bow. Said she had no need for such ridiculous toys. She can be a little snotty if you ask me." He tossed to Artie. "You're lucky I couldn't bear to destroy it. You'll have any kind of arrow you can think of, though it requires a cooldown between the more complicated gadgets. Just remember that the more powerful arrow you use, the longer you have to wait before use another one. But plain celestial bronze arrows, those you shot until forever and a day."

Artie stared at the magic quiver in his arms. "Thank you, Lord Hephaestus."

He inclined his head, "As for a bow, I made a couple hundred eons ago that would have been perfect for you, but I gave it to my sister so she could give it to her . . . other sisters. You'll have to seek her out and see if she is feeling generous."

"Where is she?" Artie would have settled just a single gift from a god, but arrows are useless without a bow and vice versa.

"Last time I checked," Hephaestus rubbed his head. "She was in Wyoming. Yellowstone National Park, I think."

"I'm on my way there." said Artie. "That's where the oracle said I would meet my godly parent."

"Really?" he seemed genuinely surprised. "Well, I wouldn't want to keep you."

Hephaestus waved his hand and all of the bay doors shot open. The sun had already rose in the east and bathed the interior in warm sunlight. Tobias screeched triumphantly and flew out into the sky. Artie thanked the god again and stepped out to continue his quest. Now he had a weapon to defend himself, granted it was more of half weapon, but one couldn't have everything.

As the gas station disappeared Artie heard Hephaestus call out to him, "Go easy on my sis. It takes a big god to admit when you're wrong and she can be a little stubborn at times."

A conch horn blew in the distance and jerked Artie out of his memory.

He was so deeply engrossed in his memory, he had failed to notice that not only he had finshed his armor, but had just finshed donning it. He finished tying the knot on his right boot, doused the fire, and sprinted off into the forest where the game against the hunters had concluded. As he ran, Tobias descended from the sky and flew along aside him.

Tobias cawed when he saw Artie in his armor.

"Wait until i get my cloak back." Artie smiled, "Then you and Thalia will be right."

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