Percy Gets A Quest
Percy leaned on the railing of cabin three, the Poseidon cabin. He looked to the distance and saw other campers enjoying each other's company. He missed the Hermes cabin. Sure it was overly crowded and rowdy, but it was worth not having to deal with solitude and dealing with the fact he wasn't supposed to be alive.
"Welcome to the club." teased a voice above him.
He looked up as Artie jumped down from the cabin's roof. Like usual we was shirtless with his eyes hidden by sunglasses and his hair hidden by his Party Pony Florida Chapter bandana. Tobias landed on the railing and cawed gently.
"What are you talking about?" Percy asked once he got over being startled.
"I know that look and feeling that comes with it." he admitted. "The solitude is getting to you. We humans are social creatures. We're aren't meant to be by ourselves."
"You don't know what you're talking about." said Percy angrily.
"Sure what could I know about dealing with loneliness? Or cooping with the fact neither of us should be alive?"
"What do you mean? Your mother is Artemis. She isn't one of the Big Three."
"True," Artie admitted. "But she swore on the River Styx to be a maiden for all time. For all intents and purposes I shouldn't be here, yet here I am. The same goes for you.
"I don't understand what you're trying to say."
"We loners need to stick together." Artie explained. "If you ever need help or advice, feel free to ask."
"He might have to." called a voice below them. The looked down and saw an old friend and satyr.
"Grover!" greeted Artie. "Como vai?"
"Mr. D and Chiron want to see you both." answered Grover.
"What about?" asked Artie.
"Not sure, but Mr. D is angry and Chiron is nervous."
"That can't be good." said Percy.
"Well Chiron anyway. Mr. D is always mad about something. Let's go. It's like I always say, " Artie hopped over the railing and landed next to Grover. "O que no mata engorda."
"What does that mean?" called Percy as he took the steps down.
He smiled, "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger."
Artie and Percy took their seats at the pinochle table. Chiron was there as well in his wheelchair with Mr. D in his usual leopard skin Hawaiian shirt and sweat pants. He looked up from his cards to address Percy and Artie.
"Well don't expect to kowtow to you just because old barnacle beard's your daddy." said Mr. D, sounding rather bored."I have half a mind to turn you into a dolphin and send you swimming back to you father."
Artie did his best to stifle a laugh, but Mr. D caught it, "And don't think just because you're mommy's precious little boy doesn't mean you're off limits either. For you, I'm thinking of a jackolope. You're mother seems to be found of them."
"Mr. D." warned Chiron.
"However, Chiron thinks it would be against my duties to 'keep you brats safe from harm' and he has another way."
"Transmogrification is a form of harm." said Chiron.
"Nonsense," insisted Mr. D "They wouldn't feel a thing. A slight tingle at best. Better than what you're suggesting at any rate."
"Mr. D." Chiron warned again.
"Oh fine then." Mr. D looked at them as he waved his hand a security pass appeared in his hand, "If they're still here when I return, I'll turn him into an Atlantic bottle nose and the other into jackolope and set his own bird on him and be done with the matter entirely."
With that Mr. D disappeared.
Chiron went ahead explained the reason for summoning them was retrieve Zeus' master bolt before the summer solstice in ten days, in order to prevent a civil war among the gods. Artie was to accompany Percy and aid him. Since he could smell monsters just like any satyr and he would know where monsters, namely Hades' minions, were.
That amazed Percy, "You can do that?"
Artie shrugged, "I never gave it a second thought until I got here. Can't tell you how many times it's come in handy."
"It is much more useful then he lets on." smiled Chiron. "With that nose of his, he can tell which god sired which demigod."
"Which means . . . " Percy said aloud as he thought about it. "You knew how my father was when we first met."
"I had my doubts." admitted Artie. "But with the pact of the big three, I just assumed you spent too much time on the beach or something."
"While not flawless, it has kept the Hermes cabin from being overcrowded, well more than it is now." explained Chiron. "Back to the matter at hand. You accept the quest, Percy?"
"Do I have choice?" he asked looking at Artie.
"I'm not making the choice for you, but personally I'd like to stay on the top of the food chain." He motioned to Tobias, "Though I'm sure Tobias here would be happy either way."
Artie and Chiron waited as Percy went up to to the attic for an audience with the oracle. Artie whispered to Tobias who cawed and took off towards cabin eight. Artie had agreed to join Percy, but he had questions of his own.
"Chiron, if you don't me asking," he started. "What's the real reason you picked me for this?"
"I thought it was obvious." Chiron answered. "Percy hasn't even been here a month and yet he is about to set out on a quest. You accomplished yours under similar conditions."
"Yeah, but that was to discover who my mother was. I didn't go anywhere near the Underworld, unless you count the fight with Orion."
"I agree. Grover volunteered to accompany Percy, but he would be in as much danger as Percy since he is not yet very accomplished in woodland magic. You on the other hand have similar abilities. You can smell any ambushes coming during the day and any who chose to use the cover of night would regret it. Plus as the first child of Artemis, your strength is on par with other children of the big three."
"Wanna run that by me again? What does being the first have to do with anything?"
"Eons of having children with mortals has, for the lack of better word, diluted the bloodline on the godly side. While still powerful, there are no heroes here that can measure to the heroes of old. Except for you, child."
"So what you're saying is since I'm the first child ever of Artemis I'm more . . . godly than most heroes? Kinda like a modern day Hercules or Theseus?"
"Correct. Percy is going need all the protection he can get, so naturally you're my first choice. Also it might do you well if you spent some time away from camp for a while."
"You mean away from Luke. You want me to forget about Luke and replace him with Percy. No offense to him."
"I wouldn't use the word replace, regain perhaps. But until you patch things up with him, you could use a friend that doesn't squeak, chirp, or otherwise communicate in a way only you and satyrs can understand."
Artie thought about his life and childhood back in Rio. He knew demigods were known to lead hard lives and he was no exception .As a child he had a hard time forming a bonds with any other children his age and few friends he had, didn't last very long. He learned to accept that he was different and the solitude that came with that difference. His only companions were the wild birds and stray animals that roamed the city in search of food.
Artie's mental flashback was interrupted as Percy returned from his audience with the oracle. Percy looked a little shaken, but then so did he when he consulted the oracle. Percy recited the prophecy given to him. Artie sensed he was leaving something out, like a crucial detail that might get them killed, but he didn't say anything.
Chiron must have guess the same by the look on his face, but all he said was, "You are allowed two companions to travel with you. Artie has already agreed to be the first and another camper has offered to join you."
Artie smiled, "Let me guess."
Annabeth appeared out of thin air as she took off her Yankees cap. She was packed and ready to go. Her knife strapped to her arm and a wry smile aimed at Percy
She said confidently, "I've been waiting for a quest a long time, seaweed brain. Athena's no fan of Poseidon, but if you're gonna save the world, I'm the best one to stop you from messing up."
As if to punctuate her words, Tobias returned with a bronze quiver in his talons that he dropped on the table before settling on Artie's shoulder. As he flew a small fox carried a small leather satchel in his mouth which he dropped at Artie's feet before scampering off into the forest.
Artie smiled as he donned his quiver, "Well, Annabeth and I are packed. Better get a move on, Percy. We are on a deadline."