It was obvious that the god standing before Angelique was her dad, Apollo. His bow gave that away, but Angelique still couldn’t quite grasp the idea that she was the child of this… flamboyant, way-out-of-her-league god. He was stunning, beautiful, even. If this is what Apollo looked like, she’d hate to meet Aphrodite.
Suddenly, Angelique heard Lillyan snapping her fingers in front of her face.
“Hey, sunshine,” Lillyan began. “You okay?”
“Uh, fine,” Angelique said with a couple blinks of her eyes. “I’m fine.”
“I am not!”
“Guys?” Alex began. She pointed to the golden instrument on Lillyan’s back. “The Lyre?”
“Oh! Right,” Angelique said, slightly flustered. “Dad, w–we’ve come to return your Lyre.”
“That I didn’t steal, by the way!” Lillyan pointed out, as she unstrapped the Lyre from her back.
The daughter of Hermes held it out to the sun god.
"Oh! And here's your, uh, pan flute," Angelique added, holding out the said instrument in front of her.
“Thank you~!” Apollo sang. “And of course I already know it wasn’t you.” He added, taking the lyre and the pan flute.
“Then why–?!” Lillyan began, slightly annoyed.
“Well, at first I thought it was you,” Apollo said. “But then I realized that you don’t steal as often as the rest of your siblings!”
“Why you little–!”
“Lilly!” Camlo said holding her back.
“Then who was it?” Alex asked. “Do you know the name of the redhead?”
“Yes,” Apollo responded.
They’re faces lit up.
“But I can’t tell you that,” Apollo added.
“Don’t give me those faces!” Apollo scolded. “Just go back to Camp Half-Blood. You’ll find your answer there– and also a very angry Will Solace.”
“Fine,” Lillyan muttered as she broke free of Camlo. “Cam, Iris message Chiron to send Argus over and pick us up.”
“Have fun with your new Great Prophecy!” Apollo said as they ran out of the grand hall. “I love you, my precious Angelique!”
As they left, Angelique had a weird feeling in her gut. It wasn’t like the other times, like when a monster came and attacked right after, it was more like something she didn’t want to be true would be true. That’s a feeling right?
It was a long and quiet walk back down the pathway.
“Oh, man,” Alex said. “Will is going to scream at me,” She cringed at the thought when they reached the elevator.
“He’s not going to scream,” Angelique assured. “Maybe force you to stay in the infirmary for three or four days, but not scream.”
“He only does that to Nico,” Lillyan said. “Can’t blame doctor boy… After all that crap ghost king pulled after the Gaea thing.”
“What’d he do?” Alex asked.
They entered the elevator again. Angelique once again felt claustrophobic.
“Well, he overused his shadow travel, he summoned a bunch of undead soldiers to fight in the battle, and not to mention that rumor about him...” Lillyan trailed off.
“Let’s just say that a Roman cornered him and Reyna on a boat with the Athena Parthenos and his body was never found,” Camlo continued before squirting a spray bottle and flipping a drachma into it. “Oh, Iris, goddess of the rainbow, please accept my offering. Show me Chiron.”
Instantly, the rainbow made in the mist created the image of Chiron.
"Hey, Chiron!" Camlo said cheerfully.
"Hello, Camlo," Chiron replied. "I suppose you and your questmates are done with your quest?"
"Yes we are!" Camlo agreed. "So do you mind sending Argus to pick us up?"
"I don't mind at all," Chiron said. "He'll be on his way."
The message ended. Camlo and Lillyan sighed.
"What was that sigh for?" Angelique asked, confused.
"A sigh of relief," Lillyan explained. "We're going home the safe way... This time."
It occurred to Angelique that the way that Lillyan had said that meant something bad happened the last time Argus hadn't come to pick them up and they had to walk back to camp. She wouldn't complain or pry, but she would wonder what happened. She would eventually ask, but now was not the time for that.
They reached the bottom floor.
"So this is it, huh?" Angelique asked. "The quest is over."
"Basically," Lillyan answered. "Of course, this isn't the end of the big prophecy."
"Big prophecy?" Alex asked.
"The big prophecy– a thing that tells us what big event is going to happen, such as the titan war and the giant war," Camlo explained. "Sometimes it defines some of the greatest heroes–!"
"Like Percy Jackson, Jason Grace, Annabeth Chase..." Lillyan rambled.
"There was more than just your favorites, Lil," Camlo pointed out. "You know, like Leo Valdez who actually defeated Gaea?"
"What about Nico?" Angelique asked.
"Yeah, and Nico who brought peace between us and the Romans along with Reyna," Camlo explained. "You're always focused on the big shots and none of the ones who really made a difference!" He added as they reached Argus's vehicle.
"Percy made a difference," Lillyan muttered.
"Not really," Camlo argued.
"Stop bickering and get in the car," Alex shouted from inside the vehicle. "I'd rather deal with Nico and Will than you three bickering..." She muttered.
Instead of bickering even more, the trio did as they were told. Once the car door was closed, Argus drove off towards the camp. The quest was over.
The drive was quiet. It wasn't just because Argus wasn't the talkative type, it was more that the four demigods were unsure of what to say. The quest was over, they had nothing to talk about without arguing again. That was, except for the real thief that took the lyre.
"So if the thief wasn't Lilly, then who was it?" Camlo seemed to have the same idea.
"There are too many Hermes kids to tell," Lillyan explained.
"Well, Apollo said it was a friend of mine, but I don't really know any other Hermes kids that I can call my friend– definitely not the Stollbrothers," Angelique said.
"Maybe someone who hasn't been claimed yet?" Camlo suggested.
"But there are still plenty of kids who haven't been claimed yet that you know," Lillyan argued. "That's still a lot of people."
"The gods don't hold true to that deal with Percy, do they?" Alex muttered.
"You know about that?" Camlo asked, slightly confused.
"Nico told me when Hades claimed me one night," Alex explained. "He told me a lot of stories, too."
"So who could it be?" Angelique asked.
"We'll have to find out," Lillyan said. "When we get back to camp, we'll find them; then Chiron and Mr. D will handle the rest."
"What would they do to them?" Angelique asked.
"What they deserve, hopefully," Alex replied.
"You ask a lot of questions, Angie–!"
"Do not call me Angie," Angelique interrupted Lillyan.
"Okay, fine, Angelique," Lillyan muttered. "All your questions will be answered, just not now."
"You'll find out when it happens," Lillyan said with a sigh. "Now would you quit asking questions? It's getting annoying."
The vehicle went silent again. The question still rung in Angelique's head: Who stole the lyre? She wasn't eager to find out, but it was something she needed to find the answer to.
It was a while before they reached Camp Half-Blood once again. Will and Nico were waiting at Thalia's tree, and they did not look happy. The four demigods got out of the car, Alex close behind Angelique.
"What in Tartarus were you thinking, Alex?!" Will scolded as they approached. "You could have gotten killed!"
"But I didn't," Alex argued, quietly.
"Which is why we won't say it again: no more shadow travel!" Will commanded.
"At least until you're stronger," Nico explained.
Alex sighed. "Okay."
"For now, we have a redheaded kid of Hermes to find," Lillyan said. "Well, a redhead who might be a kid of Hermes."
"Well, that can't be hard to find," Will said. He paused. "Can it?"
"Have you seen the newbies?" Camlo asked. "There are a lot of redheads."
"And I hang out with all of them," Angelique said.
"Well, that will be difficult," Nico said.
"You got that right," Lillyan agreed. "Until one of them gets claimed or they fess up to stealing it, we're stuck."
"We can discuss this tomorrow, right now it's time for the bonfire," Will explained. "Come on, Angelique, we need to prepare the sing-alongs with the rest of the cabin."
"Right behind you..." Angelique muttered under her breath.