She honestly didn't expect Will to be standing above her. She didn't even know it was Will until she rolled off her bed. Did she sleep in? She's never done that before.
She looked at Will Solace. She hadn't noticed, but he was tan, like, really tan. It was as if he'd spent the majority of the summer out on the canoes and surfing on the California beaches. She loved the beaches back home. One day she'd spent the entire day bathing in the sun– her mind got off track.
"Hey, Will. Am I late?" Angelique asked her cabin counselor.
"No, no! It's not that. You muttered something in your sleep and I was trying to figure out what you were saying," Will said with a smile. "Anyway, I suppose I should tell you that Nico and I will be going off on a search mission. There's another demigod wandering around somewhere in Iowa. Nico thinks it's another child of Hades, but we'll find out if he's right or not."
"Oh, I hope you find him… her, whatever," Angelique said.
"You sure like that word," Will said as he started walking out of the cabin.
"'Whatever'. You say that word a lot," Will said, shutting the door behind him. Shortly after, he opened it again. "By the way, before you leave, I have something for you, so don't you leave without seeing me first!" He said, and then he left.
After breakfast in the eating pavilion and talking with the Oracle, Rachel, Angelique tied her long, wavy, brunette hair in a ponytail and packed her backpack– essential stuff. Chiron had always told her to pack only what you need, and, since it was going to be a long journey, it's better to pack only the essentials since it was lighter. It wasn't long until Chiron came over to Angelique to tell her that they should leave.
"Oh! I have to talk to Will first; he said he wanted to give me something before we left," Angelique said.
"You should leave right after, then. There's no use in delaying," Chiron said before he trotted away.
Angelique quickly grabbed her sweatshirt and ran for the Infirmary, as that was the most likely place that her cabin leader would be at. Just as she suspected, Will Solace was packing a bag of ambrosia and an extra med kit, just in case. Nico Di Angelo always did have a reckless streak, Will had once told her. It seemed like he'd get into a lot of trouble between the seven years that Will and Nico were friends (honestly, she thought they might be more than that, but she didn't want to ask).
"Will! I'm about to leave, whatever you're going to give me, give it to me quick. Chiron wants us to leave soon–!" before she could continue, Will had thrown her a pan flute. There were markings on it depicting everything that Apollo was about, much like her bracelet. "It's a pan flute," She looked at Will confused.
"Not just any pan flute, one of dad's pan flutes. He told me to give it to you– said something about being able to help you out on your quest," Will said.
"Great," Angelique said unintentionally putting too much sarcasm into her voice. "That it?"
"No, I also wanted to warn you."
"Since it's your first quest, it's going to be... hectic," Will said. Angelique gave him a look as if to say really? "Now, hear me out. Dad can be pretty brutal when it comes to his things getting stolen and since Lil is a daughter of Hermes…"
"...He's going to target her," Angelique said. She had just realized, if Apollo really was accusing Lillyan for his stolen Lyre, she'd be targeted with a lot of things, like some kind of sickness or maybe agony by Haiku.
"That's exactly right; just… just look after your friends, okay? You can do a lot of things as a kid of Apollo, but Apollo can do a lot more," Will said. "That's about it, now go on and find dad's lyre, you don't have much time."
"Thanks, Will," Angelique said as she ran out, she passed Nico on her way out. She waved at him as she ran, but she didn't have much time to look back to see if he waved back. She faintly heard Nico say What was that about?
She headed for Thalia's tree.
She passed other kids– Piper McLean, Camlo's cabin leader, Matt who was heading to the docks, and twelve-year-old Mandy Kent, who hadn't been claimed yet– making sure to avoid Clarisse La Rue in the process. The daughter of Ares had almost dunked her head into the toilet on the second day of her days at camp, but Angelique was too quick from her taekwondo lessons (A request by her mother) and quickly put Clarisse off balance and allowing the Ares kid to dunk her own head into the same toilet. It was a quick reflex, nothing unusual, but she quickly apologized as she ran out of the washrooms and back to cabin seven. She wasn't mean enough to do that stuff on purpose, it just happened.
When she reached the pine tree at the edge of camp, she saw Camlo and Lillyan by two pegasi waiting for her with their bags. On Camlo's right ring finger was his celestial bronze ring that said Loveless in Greek. On Lillyan's belt were her daggers and her unused short sword. She was tapping her foot as she looked at her pocket watch.
"Well, you're not late, but, like my mom used to say, 'being early is on time, being on time is late'," she said, closing her pocket watch and sticking it in her pocket.
"I had to talk to Will. He needed to give me something," Angelique said. She held up the pan flute.
"A pan flute, are you kidding?" Lillyan said.
"Apparently my dad gave this to him to give to me. He said it might help," Angelique said as she strapped it securely into her backpack.
"Yeah, by making us deaf!" Lillyan said crossing her arms. "Why does Mr. Sunshine think it's going to help us find his stupid–!"
"I would stop there, Lilly," Angelique said putting up her hand. Lillyan shot her a glare. "Hey, if you want to get the plague, go right on ahead, or maybe you want to get cursed with saying rhymes for the rest of your life?"
Lillyan rolled her eyes and kicked her heels commanding the wings on them to flutter open. She started ascending.
"Man, no one has ever talked back to Lil; I mean, she's like the Hermes version of Clarisse sometimes," Camlo said. "Wonder why we're friends with her?" He asked as he started to mount the white pegasi named Opal. She hadn't noticed before, but half of the Pegasus' legs were black.
"I heard that, pretty boy!" Lillyan shouted angrily.
"I know! You were supposed to!" Camlo shouted back. "Come on, sunshine, let’s go."
Angelique was familiar with the new nickname, "sunshine"; it was a good change from "Asian freakazoid". It was less against her Korean roots; it fit too, now that she knew she was a kid of Apollo. She mounted the black Pegasus and they both took off.
"So, where should we start looking first?" Angelique asked her friends loud enough so they could hear her.
"Dunno, you're the leader of this mission. What was the prophecy Dare gave you, anyway?" Lillyan asked as they kept flying.
Angelique had totally forgotten about telling them about the prophecy that their Oracle had given her. There was no better time than now, so she recited the prophecy as they continued to ride off to their destination- whatever it may be.
"Across to the west is where you will look,
Play the song, find what your friend took.
The muses to guide, to risk what means most,
Return the lyre, with the child of ghosts."
"Well, we know which direction we're going," Camlo shouted. "We go west."
"We'd be going as far as California! We can't possibly search the entire state!" Lillyan shouted concerned.
"We have to try; we can't risk war," Angelique shouted. "We only have two weeks."
"I didn't steal it, you know," Lillyan said loudly.
"I know, that's another thing. We have to prove you're innocent," Angelique said. She wasn't going to let her dad accuse her friend of a crime she never committed.
"I wonder what the prophecy means by 'return the lyre, with the child of ghosts'? I mean, it can't be talking about Nico," Camlo said, getting closer to the two girls.
"Maybe it means we need to get Di Angelo home safely, I mean, Solace keeps saying he's prone to accidents and overworking his underworld-y powers," Lillyan said. "It's possible."
They flew in silence for a couple hours. Before they knew it, they reached Los Angeles, the one place she didn't want to be at ever again. The pegasi landed at the edge of the city where no mortals could see them. Camlo tied their reins to a tree so they could get back home on them. Angelique paced around, thinking of where the lyre could have been hidden. She couldn't think of anywhere in Los Angeles that could harbor the instrument. Across to the west is where you will look… Anywhere west of Long Island– that spans the entire country, but across might be different. California, Nevada… anywhere on the edge of the west coast. That just barely shortens up their choices. They still had a lot of places to look.
"Let’s try looking at musical places, like…" Lillyan began as she thought.
"Like the Greek Theatre?" Angelique suggested.
"There's a place called that?" Camlo asked.
Angelique nodded. "I've been there before. It was a concert my mom and stepdad put together. I played Andante and Bouree by Handel. It might be there, I don't know," She honestly didn't know if the lyre would be there or not, but it was worth a shot and she kind of liked the idea of going back there. She liked that place, it was nice.
They started their trek over to the Greek Theatre. She told them it was right next to a golf course which her stepdad loved to go to in his free time, so she suggested sneaking past the course so that she didn't have to risk getting caught by him. She never liked her stepdad, he was a snob and blamed her for everything; he also smelt like rank cologne that apparently was the "Best on the line". Gross.
When they reached the amphitheater, they looked around, under rocks, behind chairs, even under the stage, but no luck. It had nothing. They kept searching. Every inch of the LA area was searched; they left no stone unturned. There was nothing in LA, and Angelique doubted there would be anything else in California.
"Where else can we look in LA that would have the Lyre? I mean, seriously, where in Hades will we find that sacred instrument?" Camlo said.
"We just need to keep looking. It's only been a day, two if we count yesterday," Angelique said. "We may only have two weeks, but we just started, we can't give up."
"Then where are we looking next, sunshine?" Lillyan asked.
"Maybe-!" Angelique stopped, mid sentence.
"Holy Hera…!" Camlo said quietly.
Lillyan took out a dagger from her belt. "It just had to be Hellhounds."