Smoke on the Horizon

XV. Percy

XV. PERCY

“What do you mean?” Percy had come to learn that if a god was ‘sticking to tradition,’ it was probably not a good thing.

Momus chuckled in respone.

“Your loss for not knowing your history, demigod. Even your Athena friend is unsure. It would appear she is not as wise as she’d like to think.”

Percy scowled. He hated it when people called him out for not knowing things - especially when it was a god.

Annabeth didn’t look any happier with Momus’ remark.

“You judged a competition between the gods,” she said potently. “You were too critical so you were thrown off Olympus.”

“It’s a start,” he yawned.

“So what would you have us do?” Percy said.

“You will each create something for me. Something extraordinary. If I am pleased, I’ll let you go. Simple.”

Percy looked around at the others. “All of us.”

“What?”

“You let all of us go.”

“Yes, yes, yes. Of course. Now. You have one hour - begin!” He fluttered his wings and poofed away.

“What is he talking about?” Percy said, turning to Annabeth.

“I remember now,” she said, her face pale and angry. “Momus mediated a competition between Hephaestus, Poseidon, and Athena back in the old days. Hephaestus created man, Poseidon, a bull, and Athena built a house.”

“Very good.” Momus had reappeared a few yards away, watching them intently. “Yes, they all thought they were so clever, yet were indeed so flawed. Had I created something it would have been perfect. But, alas, the Olympians didn’t appreciate my criticism and I was banished for my truthfulness.”

“I don’t remember what you thought was wrong with them though,” Annabeth said, continuing the conversation as if the god had been there all the while. Percy then wondered if he had been.

He doubted Momus would actually answer, thinking Annabeth may have gone too far, but Momus continued.

“Yes, they were quite small feats. Nothing extraordinary - there was much wrong with them but for one, the man had no way to see inside his heart, his intentions. I merely suggested that a door be installed so that one could see these things. They are quite important you know, seeing how untrustworthy humans are.” He glared around the circle.

“Uh, you know that’s not really how people work, right?” Leo said quietly.

Momus didn’t appear to hear him.

“The bull was inefficient - the eyes should have been lower to allow it to see properly over its horns. And the house, well the house was simply economically unfriendly. Totally un-transportable. Should’ve had wheels. Wheels make everything better,” he mumbled, half to himself.

“Uh, right. So, is our timer still counting down here or have we timed out?” Percy said.

“Oh no, you’re down to, let’s see - 56 minutes now! But I almost forgot. Can’t have any help from little friends. I’ll just hang onto them for you until you’ve finished.” Momus snapped his fingers and Jason, Piper, Hazel, Frank, Nico, and Calypso all vanished. “Break a leg!” he yelled, and he disappeared too.

“Awesome,” Percy said. “Now we get to fight.”

“For now we’d better get thinking,” Annabeth suggested. “We only have an hour, and there’s a hitch in this game Momus is playing.”

“Isn’t there always?”

“He can’t be satisfied. That’s who he is - god of mockery and judgement. There’s no pleasing him.”

“Well that’s great. So we’ve got an impossible mission here then? So, why are we trying, again?”

“Us competing will please him, or at the very least make him think he’s got one over us.”

“So it’s our job to get one over him,” Leo said. “What did you say before, all the gods created separate objects? So Momus’ll be expecting that. Why don’t we work together? Throw him off?” He said it as if it were the most obvious answer.

“What do you have in mind?”

“I dunno, but it should be something that we can use to fight with. Something that he won’t realize until it’s too late.”

“A trap,” Annabeth said. “Leo, you’re a genius.”

“Ah, gee, don’t make me blush,” Leo waved bashfully.

Percy laughed. “Okay, Admiral, what’s the plan?”

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