"So, Alex McConner?" Angelique asked, trying to remember the name. That was another thing she tended to do; she'd say the first and last name of a person she just met over and over to get their name right.
Alex nodded, her hands on her knees. She looked tense; her nerves seemed to get the better of her. Nico sat beside her on a log, arms resting on the handle of his Stygian Iron sword stuck in the dirt. Will sat across from him while Angelique sat next to him on another log while Lillyan and Camlo sat on another log between the two other logs, Lillyan sitting next to Angelique and Camlo sitting next to Alex. They sat around a campfire, the darkness of the night surrounding them.
"She's twelve, not much younger than you guys," Nico said. "It seems as if Hades has broken the 'no kids from the eldest gods' rule," He added.
"So she was actually born twelve years ago, and not out of her own time?" Lillyan said. Nico looked at her. She covered her mouth "Sorry, I didn't–!"
"Don't worry about it, I'm over it," Nico said, adjusting his legs. "But yeah, she's like Percy," Will gave him the same look he gave him before. "Who I am definitely over, by the way," He added, looking at Will.
"Okay, so I don't usually pry, but I just gotta know," Angelique began, "Are you guys dating?" Holy Hera, she sure liked to ask that question.
Nico nodded. "Yeah, we're dating. Me and Will. Dating–!" Will gave him a look as if he were saying are you sure you love me, though? "–How many times do I have to say it? I'm over Perseus Jackson, Will! I'm with you, not him, I–!" He paused for a second, "–I love you, Will," He said quietly. He was embarrassed about the PDA, but Lillyan guessed he kind of had to say it.
"Say it louder," Will said, a smirk forming on his face.
"I love you, Will, not Percy, okay?" Nico said, his face turning red. "Can you not be mad at me now? Please?"
Lillyan had seen it so many times before between them. Whenever they fought, Will Solace would get Nico Di Angelo to say "I love you" before they made up. It was so adorable, Lillyan could almost vomit– Well, maybe not vomit, but whatever.
"You know I can't stay mad at you and that adorable, pale face," Will said, teasing him. Nico couldn't help but crack a smile.
"Oh man, you guys are adorable," Angelique said, getting all giddy about the romance. Lillyan wondered why she wasn't a kid of Aphrodite, or even Eros for that matter. She seemed all about romantic relationships.
"Oh, you think so?" Will said with a laugh. "Don't worry, Angelique, you'll find that one guy– or girl, I mean, I don't know how you roll, but you get the point," He said hugging her from the side.
"Thanks, Will. That makes me feel so much better," Angelique said, jokingly.
Opal whinnied in distress, continually pulling at his reins trying to get away.
"Yeah, don't like your smell either," Nico said waving his hand at the Pegasus. "Stupid winged horse…" He muttered, pulling his sword out and stabbing it back in the earth. He seemed annoyed. "So how long do you guys have now?"
"A little more than, like, a week," Lillyan said, cleaning off the dagger she had used on the Kindly Ones. "We still don't know where to look."
"We were hoping we'd find the Lyre here in Iowa, but it seems like that's not going to happen," Camlo said, fiddling with his ring. He was nervous, and Lillyan knew it. He always got nervous just at the mention of Iowa, it was doubly so when they were actually there. "We're probably just wasting our time…" He muttered, staring at the dirt.
"Well, have you tried thinking about the prophecy you got? What is it, anyway?" Nico asked.
Lillyan recited the prophecy to the two veteran demigods. "We've established that we need to go west of Camp, that doesn't help; we've recognized that we need to play a song, we don't know what it is; we know the muses are probably going to tell us what we're doing, but we don't know how to contact them; and we think the child of ghosts is Alex," Lillyan said. Gods, that was a mouth full. "Of course, it could be you, but it's less likely than it being Alex."
"Well, I'm the Ghost King, that's not the same as child of ghosts. That could be any child of Hades or even Pluto, for that matter, but I highly doubt this has to do with Hazel," Nico said. "It probably is Alex, if we go by that logic."
"Ugh, all this thinking is making my head hurt," Lillyan whined as she slumped over and put her face in her hands.
"Why are you looking for a Lyre?" Alex asked quietly. Everyone looked at her surprised. Did she just talk for the first time?
"Um, a child of Hermes stole Apollo's Lyre," Angelique explained, still astonished that Alex talked. "We need to get it back or else Apollo is going to start a war with Hermes."
"I–I had a dream once about someone hiding a string instrument. I thought it was a harp, but I guess it was too small to be one…" Alex continued quietly. "It was a girl around my age and she hid it somewhere in Nevada, I think… Or was it Arizona? I–I don't know, but does that help?"
"That does, actually," Camlo said.
"Was the girl blonde?" Lillyan asked. She had to know that she was innocent. She was innocent. Innocent.
"N–no, she was a redhead," Alex said. "Why?"
"Because I've been accused of stealing the Lyre, which I didn't," Lillyan said with confidence. Now she knew it wasn't herself. Now all they had to do was find the Lyre in the Arizona or Nevada area and she was home free!
"We should go to bed, it's getting late," Will said, getting off the log.
"I'll put out the fire," Nico said as he got up as well.
Lillyan put her dagger away on her belt and got up. She stretched and got into the tent on the left. She then took off her backpack and set it in the right-hand corner; she opened it up to get her sleeping bag and set it in the middle. That was a tendency of hers; Lillyan needed to be in the middle or she'd never get any sleep. The walls of the tent bugged her.
She peeked outside the tent as Alex and Angelique entered the Tent. Camlo seemed to have already entered the boys' tent as Nico and Will stood outside holding hands with their heads against each other. She could barely hear them mutter their I love you's to each other right before their lips made contact. Ugh, they were so adorable, it made Lillyan sick to her stomach. She retreated back into the tent and sat down on her sleeping bag.
She took out her pocket watch from her pocket. It was the watch her dad gave her the one time she got to meet him on a quest with Camlo and Jake. It was also the first time either of her parents said they loved her– her mom never actually saying it. He told her that it wasn't just a time-teller, it was a navigator, a moon chart, it was so much more than just a clock. It was also the time he gave her her winged shoes. They weren't ordinary either. Instead of saying Maia to make them fly, she just had to kick her heels and the wings just fluttered open; it let her use the daggers she got when she came to Camp Half-Blood, the ones that she needed to say Maia to get them back so she didn't lose them. It was pretty handy.
She opened the pocket watch to see the spinning hands on the different dials and circles. Around the edge was the moon chart, currently on one of the bigger moons indicated by the arrow that pointed to the current moon. It told her that she was facing west, back to the way they needed to go. She closed the watch, laid down, and closed her eyes.
Her dream was a normal demigod dream, of course, one of those hinting dreams or whatever it was they called them. She honestly didn't care.
She was running away from a couple of Hellhounds, back when she was running away from home. It was just before Nico and Will found her, killing them off. They hadn't gotten there yet; it must have been when the Hellhounds had started going after her. She had run a long time, but things didn't seem right. She wasn't in a forest; she was between two walls of rock. Before she knew it, she was hearing a hum and there was a man a few feet away. He was handsome with a surfer bod and– was that Apollo?
She would never know because she woke up before she got any closer.
"Lilly?" She heard Angelique say. Lillyan sighed.
"Yeah, sunshine?" She said rubbing the left side of her face, still half asleep.
"Why did you call Nico 'Ambassador of Pluto'? Isn't that a Roman thing?" Angelique asked. Lillyan looked at her.
"I went to Camp Jupiter once with Di Angelo. I kept begging him to take me on one of his visits so I could meet Percy Jackson," She said as she sat up. "I heard so many people call him 'Ambassador of Pluto' that I tease him about it all the time ever since."
"What was Camp Jupiter like?" She asked.
"It was like a military camp– lots of barracks' and weaponry…" Lillyan explained. "The place I visited to visit Percy was New Rome, which is like this safe haven for demigods. Di Angelo told me there were ghosts just wandering around there, I didn't believe him, but boy was I wrong."
"So did you actually get to meet Percy Jackson?" She asked.
"Gods, you are just full of questions today, sunshine!" Lillyan teased. "Yeah, I did, actually. I was so excited, he's my idol, you know?"
"Yeah, I know," Angelique said with a grin.
"I also got to meet Annabeth Chase, she made me think of–!"
"Maeng!" Nico's voice shouted. It wasn't angry, but it was loud.
"Hey! I'm telling a story here, Di Angelo!" Lillyan joked.
"Well, does that really matter? I got an Iris message from someone that wants to talk to you, Angelique!" Nico shouted.
The two girls peeked out the tent, trying to see what the commotion was about, but no one was in front of the tents. They got out and looked to both sides where, eventually, they saw Nico Di Angelo, Will Solace, Alex McConner, and Camlo Loveridge standing in front of an image of Lillyan's idol in an Iris message.
"Oh, my gods, it's Percy Jackson!" Lillyan squeaked out, her voice cracking.
"Hey there, Lilly! Is that Angelique next to you?" He said, pointing to the daughter of Apollo.