The next day, Nico and I were both exhausted, but we trained as hard as we could, ate a lot, and babysat in the nursery. While I was giving the Barcelone quadruplets a snack, Griffin Finnighan brought me a letter from my mom.
“I’m in charge of mail delivery this week,” he explained. “I hope it’s good news.”
“Thanks,” I said, smiling. I set the letter on the table and he left. When the quadruplets all had their applesauce and cheese crackers, I sat down and opened the letter.
As August approaches and I sign Jacob up for kindergarten, I can’t help but think about how you could be at home, starting second grade. Jacob and I had our first run-in with a monster at the grocery store -- a cyclops in the meat section. We had to leave the store without our cart and go home because I was so scared for his safety. I know having you home would only increase the possibility of an attack, but at least I would know that you would be able to defend us.
I haven’t mentioned you to your dad since May, and he hasn’t mentioned you either. I wonder if, if you wanted me to, I mentioned you and asked if you could come home for school in the fall, if he would be okay with that now. I would love to have you home, and so would Jacob. He asks about you when I put him to sleep at night.
With the threat of us being attacked increasing, part of me wonders if I should send him to camp, but I can’t bear to let go. Will you ask Chiron what he thinks and let me know?
I love you,
Why did she always insist on referring to Bob as “my dad?” And why did she think I would want to come home just because he said I could?
I took a deep breath and reminded myself that Bob wasn’t the enemy. He just didn’t understand my world. Besides, I did miss Jacob and my mom, but with Percy and Annabeth promising to be at camp for the next school year, I couldn’t go home. I’d never forgive myself if I missed that kind of time with Percy. But the prospect of Jacob being in danger made me mad. I knew that my mom would be heartbroken if he had to come stay at camp, but I also knew someone who had recently bragged about discovering a way to survive more easily in the mortal world.
I left the canoeing lesson that Percy was teaching early and ran to the Hecate cabin. If the Carman brothers, who had discovered this magic in the book that Hecate had given Jaq, wouldn’t teach me the spell, maybe Bermuda or Tara, their sisters, would. And if even they wouldn’t, I could get Chiron involved.
The Hecate cabin was not the safest, most stable place in the camp, so I hesitated before I knocked on the door very lightly. A few seconds later, Jay Carman answered the door and scowled at me. “What do you want?”
“Can I come in?” I asked.
Jay looked behind him, then opened the door wider.
I walked in to find Bermuda on her bed and no one else around.
“Everyone else is training,” Jay said. “This is our time off.”
Bermuda smiled at me, and I managed a small smile back.
“So what do you want?”
“You know that spell you were talking about that makes it easier to survive in the mortal world?”
Jay smirked. “What about it?”
“I need to learn how to use it.”
“What for?” Bermuda asked.
“Jay, do you remember my little brother Jacob?”
Jay rolled his eyes. “How could I forget one of Mr. D’s spawn?”
“Your mom banged Mr. D?” Bermuda asked, laughing.
“Shut up,” I said. “I need the spell to protect him. Can you teach me or not?”
“Jaq would kill me if I did.”
“Would you rather just teach me or would you rather I get Chiron and Mr. D involved?”
Jay sighed. “Here’s the thing. We’ve never actually cast the spell on anyone but ourselves.”
“So?” I asked.
“So,” Jay said, rolling his eyes, “casting a spell on someone else is a different skill set.”
“Could you figure it out before school starts in August?”
Jay shrugged. “What’s in it for me?”
I crossed my arms. “I’ll do your chores for a week.”
Jay crossed his arms and smirked. “A month.”
“A month or your poor brother goes unprotected.”
“Fine,” I said. “A month if you’re not too stupid to figure out how to cast the spell on someone else.”
“Deal,” Jay said, holding out his hand. I shook it and then left the cabin.
On the third day of August, Jay and his little brother Jarko, who was only three, sat down at the Poseidon table at breakfast.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Percy said. “Not allowed.”
Jay looked at me. “We’re here on business.”
Percy looked at me quizzically, and I shrugged. “Business can be done after breakfast.”
Jay looked at me. “Now or never.”
I scowled and got up. “Then come with me.”
We stood at the edge of the pavilion, me leaning against a pillar, and Jay and Jarko standing in the shade. “We figured it out,” Jay said, smirking.
“I’ll believe it when you teach it to me.”
Jay turned to Jarko and began an incantation in Ancient Greek. Some of the words were so archaic that I didn’t understand what they meant. When Jay finished, Jarko didn’t react and I couldn’t see anything different.
“How do I know that you’re actually doing the spell I need?” I asked.
“First off,” Jay said, “it’s not a spell, it’s a charm. We call them ‘mortal charms’ because it manipulates the Mist so that all but the most powerful monsters won’t be able to figure out that you have godly blood. Second, Mom taught you to sense magic, didn’t she? Or did you forget?”
“I didn’t forget,” I said.
“So sense it.”
I took a deep breath and imagined reaching a tendril from between my eyes, feeling the fabric of the universe and sensing any alterations. Sure enough, around Jarko, there was something. A fortified wall of Mist, constantly swirling and changing so that it was hard to get past. I looked at Jay and nodded. “This will work. Teach me.”