Annabeth Chase and the Lighting Thief

(3) Percy Becomes Supreme Lord of the Bathroom

I sat outside cabin 11 trying to read my book, which was in Ancient Greek, waiting for Chiron and Percy.

While they were approaching, I looked Percy up and down and tried to think of who his godly parent would be.

Definitely not Ares, too bony for Hephaestus, maybe Apollo? No, his hair is black and in serious need of a haircut.

“Annabeth,” Chiron said, “I have masters’ archery class at noon. Would you take Percy from here?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Cabin eleven,” Chiron told Percy, gesturing towards the doorway. “Make yourself at home.”

Percy looked at the cabin while the Hermes kids bowed to Chiron. I didn’t understand why they did that. It’s just Chiron.

“Well, then,” Chiron said. “Good luck, Percy. I’ll see you at dinner.”

He galloped away towards the archery range.

Percy stood in the doorway, looking at the kids. The campers were staring at him, sizing him up. Percy immediately changed his expression.

“Well?” I said, getting a little impatient. “Go on.”

He tripped coming in the door and made a total fool of himself. There were some snickers from the campers, but none of them said anything.

I announced, “Percy Jackson, meet cabin eleven.”

“Regular or undetermined?” Somebody asked.

Percy looked dumbfounded, but I said, “Undetermined.” Everybody groaned. Luke walked forward to greet him. “Now, now, campers. That’s what we’re here for. Welcome, Percy. You can have that spot on the floor, right over there.”

“This is Luke,” I said and Percy glanced at me. I hardened my expression again. “He’s your counsellor for now.”

“For now?” He asked.

“You’re undetermined,” Luke explained patiently. If I were him I would’ve ran Percy over with a pegasus by now. “They don’t know what cabin to put you in, so you’re here. Cabin eleven takes all newcomers, all visitors. Naturally, we would. Hermes, our patron, is the god of travellers.”

Percy looked at the tiny section of the floor they’d given him. He fidgeted with the Minotaur’s horn in his hands and looked around at the campers’ faces, I could tell by his expression he didn’t want to be here.

“How long will I be here?” He asked.

“Good question,” Luke said. “Until you’re determined.”

“How long will that take?”

The campers all laughed.

“Come on,” I said, I was getting impatient and he was embarrassing himself. “I’ll show you the volleyball court.”

“I’ve already seen it.”

“Come on.” I grabbed his wrist and dragged him outside. I could hear the kids of cabin eleven laughing behind us.

When we were a few meters away, I said, “Jackson, you have to do better than that.”

“What?”

I rolled my eyes and mumbled under my breath, “I can’t believe I thought you were the one.”

“What’s your problem?” I could tell Percy was getting angry now. “All I know is, I kill some bull guy –”

“Don’t talk like that!” I told him. “You know how many kids at this camp wish they’d had your chance?”

“What, to get killed?”

“To fight the Minotaur! What do you think we train for?”

He shook my head. “Look, if the thing I fought really was the Minotaur, the same one in the stories...”

“Yes.”

“Then there’s only one.”

“Yes.”

“And he died, like, a gajillion years ago, right? Theseus killed him in the labyrinth. So...”

What I wanted to say was “You’re an idiot” but what I said was, “Monsters don’t die, Percy. They can be killed. But they don’t die.”

“Oh, thanks. That clears it up.”

“They don’t have souls, like you and me. You can dispel them for a while, maybe even for a whole lifetime if you’re lucky. But they are primal forces. Chiron calls them archetypes. Eventually, they reform.”

“You mean if I killed one, accidentally, with a sword –”

“The Fu... I mean, your maths teacher. That’s right. She’s still out there. You just made her very, very mad.”

“How did you know about Mrs Dodds?”

“You talk in your sleep.”

“You almost called her something. A Fury? They’re Hades’ torturers, right?”

I glanced nervously at the ground. “You shouldn’t call them by name, even here. We call them the Kindly Ones, if we have to speak of them at all.”

“Look, is there anything we can say without it thundering?” He whined, “Why do I have to stay in cabin eleven, anyway? Why is everybody so crowded together? There are plenty of empty bunks right over there.”

He pointed to the first 3 cabins, and I felt myself pale. “You don’t just choose a cabin, Percy. It depends on who your parents are. Or... your parent.”

I stared at him, waiting for him to get it.

Instead he said, “My mom is Sally Jackson, she works at the candy store in Grand Central Station. At least, she used to.”

“I’m sorry about your mom, Percy. But that’s not what I mean. I’m talking about your other parent. Your dad.”

“He’s dead. I never knew him.” He said plainly.

I sighed. “Your father’s not dead, Percy.”

“How can you say that? You know him?”

“No, of course not.”

“Then how can you say –”

“Because I know you. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t one of us.”

“You don’t know anything about me.”

“No?” I fought the urge to laugh. “I bet you moved around from school to school. I bet you were kicked out of a lot of them.”

“How –”

“Diagnosed with dyslexia. Probably ADHD, too.”

Percy looked embarrassed. “What does that have to do with anything?”

“Taken together, it’s almost a sure sign. The letters float off the page when you read, right? That’s because your mind is hardwired for ancient Greek. And the ADHD – you’re impulsive, can’t sit still in the classroom. That’s your battlefield reflexes. In a real fight, they’d keep you alive. As for the attention problems, that’s because you see too much, Percy, not too little. Your senses are better than a regular mortal’s. Of course the teachers want you medicated. Most of them are monsters. They don’t want you seeing them for what they are.”

“You sound like... you went through the same thing?”

“Most of the kids here did. If you weren’t like us, you couldn’t have survived the Minotaur, much less the ambrosia and nectar.”

“Ambrosia and nectar.” He repeated.

“The food and drink we were giving you to make you better. That stuff would’ve killed a normal kid. It would’ve turned your blood to fire and your bones to sand and you’d be dead.”

This kid was so dumb I had to spell it out for him.

“Face it. You’re a half-blood.”

“Well! A newbie!” I groaned internally and looked over. “Clarisse,” I sighed. “Why don’t you go polish your spear or something?”

“Sure, Miss Princess,” she replied, “So I can run you through with it Friday night.”

“Errete es korakas,” I said, which roughly translated in Greek for “Go to the cows” I hid my laughter. “You don’t stand a chance.”

“We’ll pulverize you,” Clarisse said, but her eye twitched. Perhaps she wasn’t sure she could follow through on the threat.

She turned her attention on Percy. “Who’s this little runt?”

“Percy Jackson,” I said, “meet Clarisse, Daughter of Ares.”

He blinked. “Like... the war god?”

Clarisse sneered. “You got a problem with that?”

“No,” he said, standing a little taller. “It explains the bad smell.”

Clarisse growled. “We got an initiation ceremony for newbies, Prissy.”

“Percy.”

“Whatever. Come on, I’ll show you.”

“Clarisse –” I tried to say.

“Stay out of it, wise girl.” I stayed quiet, I wanted to see what this kid was made of.

He handed me his Minotaur horn and got ready to fight, but before any of us knew it, Clarisse had him by the neck and was dragging him towards a cinder-block building that was the bathrooms. He was kicking and punching. She dragged him into the girls’ bathroom and I followed behind Clarisse’s siblings.

They were all laughing, and Percy was still struggling against her.

“Like he’s “Big Three” material,” Clarisse scoffed as she pushed him towards one of the toilets. “Yeah, right. Minotaur probably fell over laughing, he was so stupid-looking.”

Her friends snickered.

I stood in the corner, watching through my fingers pretending to be scared so I wasn’t next, I wasn’t about to gargle toilet water with Percy.

Clarisse bent him over on his knees and started pushing his head towards the toilet bowl. Percy was straining to keep his head up. And then the plumbing started to rumble and the pipes shudder. Clarisse’s grip on Percy’s hair loosened. Water shot out of the toilet, making an arc straight over his head, and the next thing I knew, Percy was sprawled on the bathroom tiles with Clarisse screaming behind him.

Water blasted out of the toilets, hitting Clarisse straight in the face so hard it pushed her down onto her butt. The water stayed on her like the spray from a fire hose, pushing her backwards into a shower stall.

She struggled, gasping, and her friends started coming towards her. But then the other toilets exploded, too, and six more streams of toilet water blasted them back. The showers acted up, too, and together all the fixtures sprayed the camouflage girls right out of the bathroom, spinning them around like pieces of garbage being washed away.

As soon as they were out the door, the water stopped running.

The entire bathroom was flooded. I hadn’t been spared like Percy had. I was dripping wet, but I didn’t get pushed out the door, I was standing in exactly the same place, staring at Percy in shock.

He looked down and registered he was sitting in the only dry spot in the whole room. There was a circle of dry floor around him.

Percy stood up, his legs shaky.

“How did you...”

“I don’t know.”

We walked to the door. Outside, Clarisse and her friends were sprawled in the mud, and a bunch of other campers had gathered around to gawk. Clarisse’s hair was flattened across her face. Her camouflage jacket was sopping and she smelled like sewage. She gave Percy a look of absolute hatred.

“You are dead, new boy. You are totally dead.”

Instead of walking away Percy said, “You want to gargle with toilet water again, Clarisse? Close your mouth.”

Her friends had to hold her back. They dragged her towards cabin five, while the other campers made way to avoid her flailing feet.

I stared at Percy and a realization dawned on me. A key tactic that could insure us victory on Friday during capture the flag.

“What?” He demanded. “What are you thinking?”

“I’m thinking,” I said slowly, “that I want you on my team for capture the flag.”

A/N: What would you guys prefer; having 5 different books for each PJO book or one book for all five?

If y’all chose only one book, I’ll have to change the name of the book!

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