The Lightning Thief

They Got A Lot Of Coffee In Brazil

"Artie?" asked Annabeth.

"Yeah?" He grunted as he struggled with a bag of peanuts. "Quem são eles para deixar de fora destas coisas?"

"Did you hear a word I said?"

"Yeah," he said as he finally won his fight against the in-flight peanuts. He popped a few into his mouth. "Ares caught the thief that stole Zeus's master bolt and Hades's helm from Olympus, but didn't turn him in. The theif then convinces him to hold onto them to create a spectacular war between the gods." Artie popped more peanuts. "Then we come along and he gives us the bolt to take to Hades, knowing that Hades will accuse and kill Percy for stealing his helm which causes a three way fight between three of the most powerful gods on Olympus with the other gods taking sides."

"In a nutshell." agreed Annabeth.

Artie leaned to see how Percy was doing. "Hasn't moved since we took off."

Annabeth looked at Percy as well. "Can't exactly blame him."

"I can." Artie began struggling with another bag of peanuts. "We'll be fine."

"We're flying thirty- thousand feet in the air with a son of Poseidon." Annabeth reminded him . "How is that fine?"

"Zeus wants his master bolt returned as soon as possible, right?"

"Yeah?"

"Then unless I missed something, he won't risk losing it again by blasting us out of the sky."

Annabeth seemed to accept his logic, "Alright, you got a point. Still I'll feel better once we land."

Artie nodded and stared out the window. He was hours away from a hot shower and fresh clothes. In a few hours, they would land, return to camp, and everything would be back to normal, well normal as things were for demigods. He could look forward to a summer of hunting in the woods; curing the hides of what he caught, strumming his guitar on the roof of his cabin as the sun went down, and popping in a DVD before he went to sleep.

But what about after?, he asked himself.

Come the end of summer session, only a handful would stay until summer began again. It was always the problem he had, filling the hours of the day until summer began. As much as he liked leatherworking, he couldn't in good conscious kill and skin animals just because he was bored. He always preferred to have a reason, namely the leather. He knew the amount of people who wanted sandals in winter, would be miniscule. So that was out. He couldn't very well watch movies until summer began, he was fairly sure he'd run out of DVD's before January.

There are other hunting grounds, suggested a voice in his head, You said that you would hunt down the monster that killed your family.

And you said you would leave me alone, Artie countered.

I believe me exact words were 'you take even the smallest step back, so will I'

So you're saying if I don't, you're just gonna go back to your original plan and annoy me till i go . . . Alright you win.

Once again the presence faded from his mind. Artie briefly considered what he would need. The last time he had to fend for himself, he had been forced to leave with nothing but the clothes on his back and one very helpful bird. But now he had the benefit of experience and resources. Food and water would not be a problem, as there plenty of freshwater sources with even more animals that drank from them. He would not have to set traps to catch his food, now that he had a bow and an endless supply of arrows. He had picked up enough from the Apollo cabin to treat any injury he wasn't careful enough to avoid, but he would have to make sure to pack enough nectar and ambrosia for the more exotic injuries demigods were known to receive.

But I'm going to actually need armor this time around, Artie rubbed his shoulder, still sore from the Medusa snakes and Fury bites. Problem is, I need something light enough for me to wear a long time, but won't rip like paper in a serious fight.

During capture the flag, most campers wore the same kind of armor. A bronze breastplate which was designed to protect the chest. But weighing anywhere between thirty to sixty pounds, it would limit his mobility significantly, maybe even critically. Solid bronze would not only slow him down, but it would tire him much faster since he didn't tend stay in the same spot for more than a moment or two when he fought in close combat, which he knew would sometimes be unavoidable. So a standard breastplate and helmet was out of the question. He briefly considered leather armor. It was certainly much lighter and it wouldn't limit his mobility too much. It would hold up well under bludgeoning strikes, but it was surprisingly easy to cut and tear without much effort. He would have to wear so many layers, he would have the same problem he had with solid bronze armor.

I wonder, a thought came to him, how heavy a breastplate would be if it was made entirely of moonsilver?

Moonsilver had all the power of celestial bronze with a quarter of the weight and three times the rarity. The rarity came from the process of turning normal silver ore into moonsilver ore. Pure silver ore had to be mined under a blue moon and then exposed to the full moon for three months before it could be forged into bars without exposing it to even the smallest amount of sunlight. If the moon was not completely full when it was mined or if it was exposed to sunlight at all, you would be left with plain silver and a lot of lost time.

He covered his mouth as he yawned, I'll figure it out later. Knowing our luck, this isn't over by a long shot.

He closed his eyes and he fell asleep almost instantly. Before he knew it, Artie was watching himself and Jacob sitting on the roof of their house watching a large parade go by in the distance with loud samba music blaring everywhere. They looked down and saw dozens of people dancing and singing while wearing exotic and elaborate costumes making them look like human bird hybrid creatures.

Ah, Rio during Carnaval, said a voice next him. It really is the biggest party in the world.

Artie turned angrily, about to let loose on Leonidas. But he quickly swallowed his anger. This guy looked to be in his early twenties. He was wearing a black Hard Rock Cafe T-shirt and shabby looking jeans that were made to look shabby. On his feet were Greek sandals so yellow they almost glowed. His eyes were hidden behind expensive looking Ray Ban sunglasses. His sun bleached hair was covered by an old tarp hat that was common among the people who worked in the hot sun.

Artie's jaw dropped slightly, "Tio Apollo? O que você está fazendo aqui?"

Apollo chuckled, "Bom te ver também, mas vamos mudar para Inglês. Meu português é um pouco enferrujado."

"Sorry." said Artie. "I still have think what I say when I speak English."

"No problem." assured Apollo.

"So back to my question, why are you here?"

Apollo raised an eyebrow, "Can't an uncle pop in and say hi to his favorite nephew?"

"I'm your only nephew." Artie reminded him with a smile. As far as gods went, he tended to get along with Apollo the best. Though he still had to remind himself that as harmless as Apollo liked to appear, he could still reduce him to ashes. "No offense, but you guys only tend to show up when you want something."

Apollo shrugged in submission, "Alright you got me there. Yeah, I need a favor or rather your friend Grover needs a favor."

"Grover? I thought he was back at camp."

"He was, but Mr.D needed to send a replacement down south for a satyr that had a rather unpleasant argument with a crocodile."

"So you want me, head down south and help Grover bring a new demigod to Camp Half Blood."

"Not exactly, They should already be in New York by the time you land."

"So I'm just . . . what? Plan B?"

"You could say that. What do you say? Do me a solid?"

Artie sighed as he thought about it. He, though it was mostly Percy and Annabeth, had just helped defuse the bomb that would have sparked World War III. Together they had fought and killed Medusa, escaped becoming chew toys for the Chimera, and escaped the Underworld by the skin of their teeth. All he wanted was to go home, pop in a bad movie, and forget his troubles for a while. Had this been a request from anyone but a god, he would have politely declined. If he did that, then friendly or not, he would offend Apollo which could end badly for him.

At least he had the decency to ask nicely, thought Artie before he said, "Alright, what exactly do I have to do?"

Apollo smiled and handed him a pair of sunglasses, "Here, I know you lost yours."

Artie took the glasses, "Thanks, but exactly do you want me to do? Where can I find Grover?"

Apollo gave him a bright smile. "Don't worry about it. They'll find you."

Artie rolled his eyes. Never a straight answer. "Alright fine, but before you go, can you tell me something."

His uncle flashed him another bright smile, "Shoot."

Artie pointed to his brother, "Was Jacob . . . yours?"

Apollo's smile shrunk slightly and his voice grew more solemn, "Yeah he was. I met your stepmother - - -"

"Mother." Artie corrected firmly.

"Mother," amended Apollo. "I met her a while she sang in a karaoke bar, we hit off and a year later Jacob was born. I doubt I'll ever hear a mortal sing so beautifully for a long time. I know most Brazilians have a passion for music, but she put them to shame."

Artie nodded, "Jacob was the same."

"She always said the same thing." Apollo mused.

"Sem música a vida seria um erro." Artie whispered sadly. "Without music, life would be a mistake."

"Exactly." agreed Apollo then he looked at his watch. "Well I'd like to stay longer, but you're out of time. Be nice to my little girl."

Artie was about to press him for an answer when he was jerked awake. Like usual, he reached for a knife on his belt as his claws sprung. He shook his head and saw Annabeth with startled look on her face and a paper shopping bag on her lap.

"I guess I should be glad your knives broke in the Underworld." said Annabeth. She put the shopping bag on his lap. "The flight attendant said this was for you. What is it?"

Artie quickly ruffled through it. "Clothes. And something I really needed since we got back." He pulled out a brown loafer.

Annabeth frowned, "How come you get fresh clothes while me and Percy are stuck with what we got from Waterland?"

Artie stood up and looked around for the bathroom, "I'll tell you when I get back."

He entered the bathroom and quickly rushed in to don his new outfit. He emerged a few minutes later and Annabeth saw he had replaced his torn and worn Waterland tank top with a white long sleeve button down shirt. In place of his usual shorts were plain black slacks. His new polished brown loafers sparkled as spun and donned a pair of RayBan sunglasses. He then spun a gray fedora in hands as he brought up to his head.

"Why? You ask." he said. "Cause every girl is crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man."

Artie sat back down and explained his dream to Annabeth. "So when we get back, you and Percy return the bolt while I look for Grover."

"Do you even know where to start?"

Artie produced a ticket from inside his pant pocket. It was to the new Broadway musical, The Sinatra Effect, "I'll always did want to meet Ol' Blue Eyes."

Two hours later they ditched their new reporter and journalist friends and quickly hopped into a taxi. They rode the taxi to the station without a word. Percy explained he would take the bolt himself to Olympus. In case Zeus didn't believe him, Artie and Annabeth could still tell Chiron and the rest of the camp what really happened. Annabeth didn't like it, but she agreed as well as Artie. So they each took a different taxi. Percy would take one to the Empire State Building while Artie took his to Broadway and Annabeth made her way back to Camp Half Blood.

Despite the traffic, Artie's cab made it to Time Square in just as people began filing for the show. He displayed his ticket and he was lead to a balcony high above the stage. He found it strange that he was the only one with a balcony seat which meant he had the whole box to himself. He looked down and saw the seats below him were filled with kids roughly his age, while the rest were occupied by random people wearing their Sunday best.

He judged them to be students from a private school from their clothes. The boys were dark blue suit jackets with a coat of arms on the right breast pocket over light blue collared button down shirts. They had striped ties with the same colors as the coat of arms and the dark blue of their jackets and pants. The girl's uniform had the same colors, gold and blue, but wore skirts and stockings instead of pants. He figured Grover would be among the students and began searching for him. Artie managed to catch sight of his curly brown-hair just as the lights dimmed and the show began.

Though he kept his focus on Grover, Artie couldn't ignore the performance. Though the musical was called the Sinatra Effect, it had nothing to do with the late member of the Ratpack. It told the story of a young man as he traveled the world and all his adventures. Being a musical, he and several characters sang and danced to tell the story, and every single song was that Frank Sinatra was famous for. Currently the main character, aptly named Francis (Frank Sinatra's real name is Francis Albert Sinatra), strolled past through an old New York City. He was speaking with another character whom he complained as he refused to drink coffee from everywhere except one particular street vendor.

"I just don't get it." said Francis in a heavy New York accent. "Coffee is coffee."

"Yeah, but ol' Jerry gets his beans from some farm down in Brazil." said his friend in a similar accent.

"So what makes coffee better than others?" asked Francis.

"What make it better? How do I put it?"

Instantly music began to swell as he began to tap dance and more actors filled the stage, each pretending to stop to buy a cup of coffee and drinking. As his friend danced, Francis followed pretending to avoid the dancing crowd to catch every word of the song.

Way down among Brazilians

Coffee beans grow by the billions

So they've got to find those extra cups to fill

They've got an awful lot of coffee in Brazil

You can't get cherry soda

'Cause they've got to fill that quota

And the way things are I'll bet they never will

They've got a zillion tons of coffee in Brazil

No tea or tomato juice

You'll see no potato juice

'Cause the planters down in Santos all say, "No, no, no!"

The politician's daughter

Was accused of drinking water

And was fined a great big fifty dollar bill

They've got an awful lot of coffee in Brazil

Despite his appreciation for the music and performance, Artie quickly lost track of it all. He was aware as the actors performed several more song and dance numbers, but forced himself to focus on Grover in case any monsters appeared and tried to use the dim lighting. He had the advantage of a bird's eye view and excellent night vision, if monster did try anything, they would be dust before they even knew he was there. The only problem would be if the monsters announced their presence and caused a massed panic among the mortals. As confident as he was in his skill with a bow, he wouldn't risk loosing an arrow among a crowd when he didn't which one was a demigod and therefor able to be hurt by celestial bronze. He guessed Grover would sit near the demigod in question, possibly directly to the left or right.

For no particular reason, he directed his gaze to the girl on Grover's left. He guessed she was from somewhere from South America or her parents were. He got an unobstructed view when she turned to whisper something Grover. She had brown eyes that reminded him of velvet chocolate. Her thick, wavy, black hair was medium-length that ended just above her shoulder was adorned with a yellow barret. She reminded him of the Hunters with her athletic build, tanned skin, and apparent lack of make-up. He guessed she was close to his age, maybe a year younger or older.

He shook his head, Focus! it just as easily be the kid on Grover's right.

But he couldn't help it. He tried to examine the other students, but his gaze just kept returning to the girl. He was willing to admit she was cute, but not like the daughters of Aphrodite. This girl was more naturally good looking when compared to them as he found them to wear too much make up and try to hard to look good. Despite the feeling in his gut, there just was no way to physically see if she was a demigod. He continued to watch for anything out of the ordinary. His heart skipped a beat when several of them took out cellphones and began tapping on the keys, texting he guessed. If there was a demigod down there, then she or he was about to summon every monster in a five block radius.

Grover didn't seem to notice, then again several were concealing it and the only reason he could see it was because he had a bird's eye view. Artie drew an arrow from his quiver and prepared to open his bow the second something came. Several minutes passed as they continued tapping the keys making sure to keep the phones hidden. Artie sniffed the air several times and was relieved that he smelled no monsters. He sat back down and turned his attention to the performance. It was nearly over and once it was, he could confront Grover and he would tell him which student was the possible demigod.

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