There was no feeling better than that of throwing bronze daggers at a wooden dummy. It felt even better when she struck the wooden dummy square in the head or straight in the heart. There was nothing like throwing things that made Lillyan feel better about herself. She felt refreshed every time she threw her daggers at her target.
“Maia!” Lillyan said, summoning her daggers back to her hand.
Training gave her time to think. She had been going into this search too strongly. She should have known better than to keep her eyes on the new campers for so long, but nothing would get done if she didn’t do something. She needed to figure out a way to level out the two. The only one’s that she knew of that can spy are the Hermes kids, and each one of them had a price she had to pay in order to get their help, and some of them had worse prices than the Stoll brothers, and the Stoll brothers were so much better than all of them at spying, even her.
She wasn’t desperate enough to get Travis and Connor’s candy stash from Nico and Alex’s cabin. Alex was too loyal to her half-brother to allow Lillyan to just grab it and go, and Nico was not going to let her anywhere near that cabin. It was too much effort for a pick-pocketing kid.
She moved from throwing her daggers to sword fighting. She loved the sound of metal hacking away at a chunk of wood. She could see chunks of the wooden dummy flying off of it. It was apparent now that Lillyan needed this training session. Her mind began to clear, and her stress started to melt away. She’d thank Angelique and Will for the advice, but her pride meant too much to her to say that they were right.
After a while of thinking and her stress finally gone, she finished up and cleaned the arena from her solo training session. After she was done, she left the arena and went to lunch.
“Do you feel better now, Thornbrush?” Travis asked.
“Jake’s been asking about you,” Connor added in a teasing tone.
“Quiet, Connor,” Lillyan said, trying to hide her blushing face. She sat down next to Travis with her sub sandwich and her glass of red fruit punch. “And my mind is cleared, at least.”
“That’s good,” Travis said, taking a bite out of his own sandwich. He swallowed. “So, have you gotten a plan to find the thief?”
“Not really,” Lillyan said before taking a bite out of her sub. She chewed quickly and swallowed. “But I’m going to stop being so active in my search.”
“So you finally realized that you were getting too carried away with this whole spying thing?” Camlo said, passing by with a plate full of food.
“You got enough room for that, Cam?” Jake asked, passing Camlo from the other direction, a book in one hand and a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich in the other.
“Is that little sandwich enough to feed that big brain of yours, Jake?” Camlo shot back with a smirk.
“At least I have a brain.”
“Okay, boys, that’s enough,” Angelique said from the Apollo table. “The entire camp doesn’t need to hear your bickering.”
“They were just having a bit of fun, Angelique,” Lillyan said, her fruit punch in her hand.
“They can do that in the chariot race tonight,” Nico said from the Hades table. “After all, it’s Athena Cabin versus Aphrodite Cabin.”
“That’s probably why they’re going at it,” Matt said. “They always get extremely competitive.”
“I’ve never seen Athena Cabin go against Aphrodite Cabin,” Angelique said.
“You guys actually have chariot races?” Alex said, slightly surprised. She sat by Nico. “I thought that was a joke.”
“Nope, it’s definitely real,” Lillyan answered.
“We beat the crap outta Apollo cabin once again that other time!” Travis said.
“Heck yeah we did!” Connor said, high-fiving his brother.
“Next time you guys need to lay off the spikes,” Lillyan suggested. “That was overkill.”
“We would have won if you guys didn’t throw dirt at my face!” Will shouted.
“That doesn’t matter, because we beat you Stoll brothers last time,” Jake said.
“Now it’s us against you guys,” Camlo said. “We’re gonna win!” he added as he dashed off to the Aphrodite table.
“No, you’re not, Cam; you know that!” Jake shouted.
“Cam and I are gonna beat your butts!” Piper McLean shouted back.
The banter went on the entire rest of the day, until finally the chariot race began. All demigods in camp showed up in the stands, Nico, Alex, Will, Matt, and Lillyan sat together in the front row.
In the Aphrodite chariot was Piper and Camlo. They looked ready to win with their weapons in their hands, armor on their figures, and their horses at the starting line. Jake and Malcom were ready in the Athena chariot just as prepared.
“So, what are the rules to chariot racing?” Alex asked.
“You can’t kill anyone,” Lillyan answered.
Alex waited for Lillyan to finish. Then she realized she wasn’t and that was it. “Wait, that’s it?” Alex asked, surprised.
“Racers, are you ready?” Chiron’s voice shouted.
The four demigods on the track cheered.
The drivers, Piper and Malcom, gripped their reins tightly and the fighters, Camlo and Jake, held their weapons up in fighting positions.
The drivers began the race, steering the horses around the track. Camlo struck at Jake, the child of Athena blocking it with his spear, pushing the bronze blade away from his face. In a quick, swift motion, Jake stabbed towards Camlo, only for the son of Aphrodite to strike it away with Loveless.
“So, in chariot races, you could use Greek fire on your opponent?!” Alex asked, frantically.
“As long as you don’t kill them, then yeah,” Lillyan explained. She chuckled. “Of course, the only cabins that use it are Hephaestus and Hermes.”
Piper rammed the Aphrodite chariot into the Athena chariot with the spikes on the side of the wheel. It left large gashes in the side of the other chariot, making it lose speed by going out of control.
“This is so dangerous!” Alex shouted.
“But no one dies,” Lillyan. “And besides, it’s fun to watch.”
“No one has died from this?!”
“Well, not in this generation,” Will said. “It was banned the first time because we had three deaths and too many critically injured campers.”
“What happens when someone gets killed?”
“No s’mores for a week at the bonfire, no dinner for a month… stuff like that,” Will answered.
Jake stabbed the wheels of the Aphrodite chariot, breaking a few of the supports in the wheel. Piper and Camlo could feel the difference as they bounced infinitely more than before. Camlo glared at Jake right before he slashed at the beams keeping the horses on the chariot. Jake continually stabbed at Camlo’s arm, Camlo dodging Jake; however, the child of Athena effectively kept the child of Aphrodite from releasing their horses.
“Quit trying to cripple our Chariot!” Jake shouted.
“You did it first!” Camlo shouted back.
The two of them struck at each other as they reached the start of the second lap. Camlo dodged Jake’s spear as he jabbed it towards him and struck it away, then thrusting his sword at Jake, only for the child of Athena to dodge it as well. Malcom ran into the other chariot, Piper fighting back by pushing against them.
“You are really persistent, Piper!” Malcom shouted.
“What do you expect, Malcom?” Piper shouted back. “We want to win!”
Camlo went back to trying to unhitch their opponent’s horses from the chariot. Jake smacked Camlo’s hands.
“Quit trying to let one of our horses free!” Jake snapped.
“Anything goes, genius!” Camlo said as he grabbed Jake’s spear and yanked it out of his hands. Now with Jake unarmed, Camlo was finally free to let the closest horse free from their chariot.
Camlo pierced the plank and broke it off. The horse whinnied in panic as it was freed from the chariot, tripping over it’s own hooves. Jake and Malcom’s chariot began to slow down as the Aphrodite chariot crossed the finish line.
“The Winners: Piper McLean and Camlo Loveridge!” Chiron shouted.
The two children of Aphrodite held their hands up in triumph as the children of Athena sighed in defeat.
Lillyan jumped out of the stands to the track and rushed to Jake.
“Annabeth wouldn’t have let that happen,” Lillyan overheard Malcom mutter to Jake.
Jake sighed as Malcom left him on the broken chariot.
“Hey, are you okay, Jake?” Lillyan asked.
“I’m fine,” Jake said, taking a deep breath. “That loss was just unexpected.”
Lillyan felt bad for Jake. He had worked so hard in becoming the cabin counselor of the Athena cabin, and yet he had to live up to Annabeth, the best there was. It was hard to fill the shoes of such a smart demigod such as her.
“Malcom is an idiot if he’s going to compare you the Annabeth,” Lillyan assured. “He’s just bitter about the loss.”
“No,” Jake sighed. “No, Malcom’s right. Annabeth would have won the race.”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself, Jake,” Camlo said, walking up to him. “He’s got really high expectations if he think’s you’re a bad cabin counselor.” He handed Jake his spear back.
“Thanks, Cam,” Jake said, quietly.
“That’s so weird!”
“So many kids getting claimed!”
“What?” Lillyan said, confused. She looked up into the stands where dozens of demigods were getting claimed. There were owls, flaming hammers, and ram heads.
She searched for the redheads, only to be disappointed.
Each and every one of the redheaded demigods were children of Hermes.
“Well, that’s a problem,” Lillyan muttered under her breath.
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