Promises and Solutions
Having Percy and Annabeth at camp during the school year was better than I ever could have imagined. Annabeth and Malcolm split classes half and half, Annabeth taking the more science and math heavy classes, as well as battle strategy, and Malcolm taking the ones involving more writing, reading, and history. Though I was making strides in conquering reading and writing, I was able to show off a lot more in Annabeth’s classes, and soon she was asking me to help tutor the kindergarten aged kids in math.
“Wouldn’t one of your siblings be better for that job?” I asked.
“None of my other siblings have the passion for teaching that Malcolm and I do,” Annabeth said. “They’re way too absorbed in their own studies and projects to help other people. Plus, intelligence isn’t just held by children of Athena. You know some smart mortals, don’t you?”
“My mom and her sister are pretty smart,” I said. My mom had gone to college to be a teacher, but she hadn’t been able to work since Jacob and I were born. I wondered if, now that Jacob was in school, she could start teaching.
“Well, then you must get your smarts from them,” Annabeth said, smiling.
“Or from the piece of Athena in me,” I said.
“Or both. So, do you want the job? It’ll replace a lot of your chores.”
I grinned. “Of course I want the job.”
I did my tutoring from the Poseidon cabin, mostly with Kaylina’s little brother, Aker, Brady Sauegling from the Hermes cabin, and my little brother, Scotty. Though I struggled to find things in common with Aker and Brady in the beginning, I eventually discovered that Brady was from Missouri, just like me, and that Aker liked soccer, also like me.
“Maybe someday, when I spend a school year with my mom,” I told Aker, “I’ll play on a real soccer team.”
“I want to do that,” Aker said, “but I don’t think Mom will let us live with Dad again.”
“Why not?” Brady asked. “Doesn’t she like him?”
Aker shrugged. “She says it’s not safe for me and Kaylina to go back because of the monsters. She said Jake is young enough to be at home, but Dad said looking at Jake when me and Kaylina were gone was too sad. But now we have a baby brother and a baby sister that we haven’t met yet.”
“Maybe I could help you guys go home,” I said. “Did you know that the Hecate cabin can put charms on people that make them seem more like mortals when a monster is around?”
Aker shook his head, his eyes wide.
“I heard about it,” Brady said.
“Me too,” Scotty said. “Katelyn told me she did it on her brother?”
“What?” Brady and Aker asked at the same time.
“I had to,” I said, blushing. “To keep him safe.”
Brady and Aker begged me to do it for them. They both had siblings and parents at home who were dying to see them, and my heart broke for them. “I can do it,” I promised, cringing as I said it. Nico was going to kill me.
“You promised them what?” Nico asked, slapping his forehead when I told him.
“You should have seen their faces,” I said, “No one could have said no to that.”
“You could have. You can’t do two people in the same day. You’d die.”
“I never said it had to be in the same day,” I said defensively.
“What’s Jay going to say when he finds out that you’re just offering to do it for people? I already heard that Jaq told him off for helping you.”
“They can’t just hog magic that could help everyone all to themselves.”
“Maybe it’s best that they do,” Nico said, crossing his arms.
“What?” I said incredulously.
“What’s the point of coming to camp if they can be safe out in the world without training? Next time there’s a prophecy, no one is going to be here to save the world because they’ll be out there, safe with their stupid mortal charms.”
“Nics, you weren’t there when Jay was explaining. The charm isn’t perfect. Monsters can still find you, and any half-blood would still be in danger. They’re just in a lot less danger in most cases. As long as there isn’t a super powerful monster around. The super powerful ones are why we come to camp to train.”
Nico still didn’t uncross his arms. “So a bunch of people are still going to choose to live out in the world, falsely protected by an imperfect charm, until the right monster comes along and kills them.”
“If they do that, they’re stupid,” I said. “I think everyone should have access to a mortal charm as long as they know that it’s not perfect.”
Nico nodded, biting his lip. “So we could give them to everyone, just as long as they’ve trained some first and they’re educated on the risks?”
I nodded, thinking that I had broken that rule with my brother, who had never really trained past learning how to hold a sword and going on a couple short hikes.
“Do you think we could get the Carman brothers behind that?”
“We don’t have to get the Carman brothers,” I said. “We could just get Bermuda and Tara.”
“We both know that the Carman brothers are the one with the spell book.”
“But if Bermuda and Tara already know the spell, then we don’t need the book.”
Nico hesitated. “We should talk to Percy and Annabeth about this.”
I agreed, and we ran off to find them.