I woke up earlier than usual but of course Mom was still up before me. She was already midway through making blue pancakes when I walked into the kitchen.
“Morning Mom. Pancakes? What's the special occasion?” I asked.
“I just thought you'd need some fuel for your date today.” She responded.
I smiled and we sat down at the table and dug into our pancakes. At around seven Paul joined us and at around half past seven the kitchen was empty again.
I spent the rest of the morning preparing for my date with Annabeth. It was going to be perfect. We would enjoy a picnic at one of the lesser known parks in Manhattan then we would take a fly on Blackjack that just happened to pass over the Rockefeller Center, so that Annabeth could tell me all about the architecture and the art there and then I would fly her home.
At twelve o'clock I picked Annabeth up from the train station and we walked to the park where my picnic was already set up. (I had blackmailed Will Solace into minding it for me so that a bum didn't try to steal it or something.)
“Wow Seaweed Brain, you've done well.” she told me with a peck on the cheek. “But don't think I didn't just see Will run off as soon as he saw us.”
“What? He was minding our spot” I responded.
“Being blackmailed into sitting here for an hour is not the same as mining our spot.” She smiled knowingly.
“Lucky I'm adorable and you love me, blackmail and all” I told her.
“Lucky is the word” Annabeth said with a raised eyebrow. “Now is this a date or what?”
The next three hours went surprisingly smoothly- like no monsters at all. And the following hour of flying was also monster free.
I decided to stop for a drink and walk the rest of the way home after dropping Annabeth at her place and flying back to Manhattan.
I should have known something was up after an entire day without monsters but apparently I never learn because I took a shortcut through an alleyway- rookie mistake- and got surrounded by these three hags in togas.
They looked like they could have been pretty once but had since shrivelled up like raisins and been attacked by some sort of demonic cat. Their skin was grey and their clothes hung in tatters off of their wrinkly, skeletal forms. Their hair was stringy black and all across their bodies and faces there were scratches that looked like they had been attempting to claw themselves out of their own bodies. Tear tracks stained their faces and each of their expressions seemed to depict utter despair.
“Perseus Jackson” they droned in sync.
“Why does every monstrous nasty know my name?” I said. It's true too. They always turn up and say “Perseus Jackson” like it's some revolutionary thought. Sure it was a bit freaky the first time but it's just getting old now.
“You have inflicted pain and suffering on many monsters. It is time you reaped what you have sown.” said miserable hag no.1.
“And it's your job to inflict pain and suffering on defenceless demigods is it?” I questioned.
“We are the Algea.” said miserable hag no. 2.
“Is that supposed to mean something because I haven't exactly brushed up on my greek stories lately so...” I was trying to remember where I had heard of them before but it would be a whole lot easier if they just told me.
“We are the spirits of sorrow and distress. I am Lupe; spirit of pain” said Lupe. (also known as miserable hag no. 3)
“I am Ania; spirit of grief” said Ania.
“I am Achus; spirit of anguish” said Achus- obviously.
“Well that was incredibly well rehearsed, thank you, now I'll just head home an-”
“Not so fast Perseus” Lupe interrupted me before I could finish.
All three hags ran at me with ferocity I didn't expect from three decrepit women wearing tattered togas.
I uncapped Riptide and the initial attack was pretty easy to fend off. Elbow, dodge, punch and bludgeon with Riptide's hilt. And the fight continued like that until a plethora of snakes burst forth from their togas. I know: it's weird.
I was midway through cutting a cobra's head off when an anaconda constricted itself around my leg and I turned to hack at that when a white hot pain burst from the back of my head and all went black.
I woke up upside-down to an ache at the base of my skull. I took in my surroundings and noticed a pit filled with not just snakes, but spiders and scorpions and I think I saw some centipedes. The pit was ringed with flames just for dramatic effect I suppose and the Algea stood in front of me. We were in some kind of warehouse.
“Lookie here, he's awake” said Achus with a vindictive giggle that may have had something to do with the large bruise from my elbow on her forehead. Oops.
“Hey where'd you get the nasties, I didn't think venomous animals fell under your jurisdiction?” I asked feeling really proud that I used the word 'jurisdiction'.
“We have friends” said Lupe.
“Lots of friends” Ania chimed in.
“Friends that wish you pain, grief and anguish” finished Achus.
The hags cackled for a bit and an idea occurred to me.
“Pain, grief and anguish. Hmmm. What's the difference between those again?” I asked.
“Pain is far superior and much more horrible than the other two.” Said Lupe.
“Oh I see.” I replied.
“NO. Grief is the most horrible and far superior to pain” said Ania.
The two sisters started to bicker and I inched Riptide out of my pocket.
“You are both wrong.” Achus interrupted. “Anguish is the most important and far more terrible than either pain or grief.”
The argument got louder and they all turned to face each other, yelling and shouting their opinion.
I used the distraction to uncap Riptide and I kept the cap in my mouth. I reached up to the rope that was suspending me over the pit and grabbed it. I began to hack at the rope between my hand and my feet. Riptide quickly worked it's way through the rope and my feet dropped but I remained suspended by holding onto the rope.
I recapped Riptide and held onto the rope with both hands, leaving the pen in my mouth. I began to swing back and forth until I was able to leap to the edge of the pit.
My pant leg caught on fire but that was nothing a bit of stomping and cursing couldn't take care of. (The cursing didn't really help) The Algea remained miraculously oblivious as he approached them while uncapping his pen.
“You ladies need a bit of work on your evil plans” I said as I swung Riptide at them, slicing through the three women in one swipe leaving nothing but golden monster dust and the echo of their bloodcurdling screams.
I left the warehouse and found that I was only three blocks from my place and simply walked the rest of the way home.
Now this story is actually a pretty average day for me so I don't think I need to say agin that being a demigod sucks.
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