When the light faded, we were in a completely different place.
I closed my eyes, and thanked Apollo and all of the other gods in as many ways as I could think of.
I observed my surroundings, pale white walls, perfectly clean glass windows, soft dully colored carpets and tile floors. Your average shopping mall, different stores with the latest trends in fashion, people bustling in and out, chattering about daily routines. Of all of the places Apollo could have transported us to, he had to choose this one. As I Glanced around, I began to recognize my surroundings, it was recently remodeled, but still the same format. It wasn't just any mall, it was the Roseville Galleria Mall, just twenty minutes away from where I lived. The mall was beginning to set up Christmas decorations, which felt a bit strange due to the strangely out of season warm weather. It hadn't even started raining yet and it was late December. In fact Christmas was in four days, that really hit me hard.
It was so nice to be in such a familiar and pleasant place. I laughed out loud, and started walking down the crowded upper floor corridor, past Love Culture, by the Merry Go Round, around Auntie Annie's Pretzel stand, which I had to pull Percy away from, and to the giant windows, next to the food court. I pushed open the large glass double doors and into the warm winter air. Even though I was badly injured in multiple places, I managed to run down the concrete steps. I got lots of concerned looks from adults, because of the blood still streaking down my face and neck and onto my shirt. I strided past the children's playground and to my favorite place in the entire mall, a large fountain with bronze animal statues mingling in the water. Raccoons with their young, koi swimming under the fountain and frogs resting on the bronze Lilly pads, and herons and beavers all crafted beautifully in an irreplaceable wildlife scene.
I sat on the fountains edge, watching my reflection smile back. A gold glint caught my eye, underneath the silky surface of the water, gleamed two gold drachmas.
"Oh my gods, Are you okay?" asked a unfamiliar voice from behind me.
I turned to see a girl, about my age, stared at me her deep brown eyes worried.
I looked examined her to see if I knew her somehow, long silky brunette hair French braided over her shoulder, camo print olive green tank top, and jeans shorts, adding to the Katniss' look about her. She wore faded purple converse, and no jewelry. I noticed a few scars up and down her arms and legs, making her look even more rugged and tough that before.
Then she smiled and extended her hand, "I'm Maria. You look familiar."
"I'm sorry, but you don't," I replied. I was stunned by her abruptness and confidence. I'm pretty sure I looked like a freak right now, staring like a psychopath into a fountain with cuts all over my face.
Then she gasped and stumbled backwards, "Beware the daughter of dreams, forced to hear cohort's screams. Morpheus' bane, will never know her kin's pain. On the quest she stands forsaken, left to watch as her friends are taken."
I almost fell into the fountain. I caught myself on one of the bronze Koi fish.
"Y-you..." she sputtered, "I'm so sorry," she held her head in her hands.
"Girl, I think you just issued a prophecy," I said, hoisting myself out of the fountain, "Not a particularly nice one, though."
I recalled the words, clearly it was talking about me. What's a cohort? And "kin's pain" sounds fun. "Left to watch as her friends are taken", it didn't seem like I had a bright future ahead of me.
She looked terrified of me, "I saw you in my dream. My nightmare."
"It's alright. I'm not evil or anything," I reassured her, "or at least I hope not," I muttered to myself.
"You, you know about the monsters?" she asked, straightening up. Her eyes gleaming with both surprise and tears.
"I think I know a whole lot more than you do," I admitted, "About the gods and that whole business."
She opened her mouth as if to say something, but no words came out, just a small "Uh."
"Maria, is it? I'm Lea, Lea Reclin. Daughter of Morpheus," I jumped off the fountains edge and walked up to her, extending my hand.
"Maria Martinez, daughter of Hecate," she stated, composing herself.
"Cool, do live at Camp?" I asked.
"Where?" she questioned, furrowing her eyebrows, confused.
"Obviously not," I said, "It's a safe place for demi-gods like us."
The tightness in her jaw line slackened, she looked relieved.
I dipped my hand in to the cool fountain water and picked up one of the drachmas. At the largest waterfall the water gurgled and splashed creating a glittering rainbow mist. I flicked the drachma into the swirling colors and said, "Oh Iris, goddess of the rainbow, show me Henry Reclin at Camp Half-blood."
The mist shimmered, and an image appeared just as it had the first time Nico showed me this trick. I saw Henry at the archery range at Camp Half-Blood, "Alright Apollo cabin, aim, fire!"
I heard multiple quick thuds, the sound of arrows hitting their targets.
"Eh-hem," I fake coughed.
Henry jumped and whipped his head around to see me. At first he grinned, recognizing my face, and then he look extremely frightened.
"Holy Zeus, Lea, you look horrible!"
A few snickers from the Apollo cabins, but mostly interested whispers.
"Gee, thanks," I replied.
"And why are you at the mall?" he asked.
More snickers from the Apollo cabin.
"Henry, I found another demi-god, send a satyr, she be waiting here."
"Alright will do. Tell me what's going on, are you alright?"
"I can't, I don't have time. We have to get to Mt. Shasta by tomorrow."
"I understand," he sighed, bowing his head, "Is there any way I can help?"
"Can you call mom and tell her to pick us up?" I asked.
"Of course, I'll do that right now."
"Lea, put some nectar on your cuts, that'll clean em up."
"Be careful, I know you can do this. I love you."
"Love you too," I said and watched, somewhat sadly, as the image shimmered and faded. Homesickness forming in the pit of my stomach.
Maria stood behind me, she looked sad to , I could tell from her eyes, she wanted to find a home.
"Camp will be perfect for you. You'll love it there, it's hard not to and you'll have family, brothers and sisters that you don't even know about."
She smiled, "That sounds amazing."
"It is," I agreed, only deepening the feeling in my chest.
"Sup?" said another voice from behind me, it was strangely muffled.
I turned to see Percy, with one pretzel in his mouth and two in his hand. Nico stood behind him nibbling on a pretzel also.
"We stopped to get a snack," he said, which like always, when Percy ate, was garbled due to the large quantity of food in his mouth. He offered me a pretzel.
"I can tell," I said rolling my eyes, but not refusing the warm pretzel. It was coated in cinnamon sugar and it tasted like heaven.
"Who's the last one for?" I asked.
"Me," he replied almost looking surprised that I would as such a silly question.
I rolled my eyes again and grinned at Maria.
"Who's that?" he asked.
"A daughter of Hecate who just issued a prophecy about my imminent suffering. You know, not a big deal that you missed that for getting snacks," I mused sarcastically.
Maria stepped forward and took the pretzel from Percy's hand, which lea to him letting out a weak, "hey," and looking at his shoes more sad at the loss of his pretzel than embarrassed with his manners.
"Nice to meet you too," replied Maria.
Just then a Black Prius screeched up at the pick up lane.
"I think our ride's here," I said, then turned to Maria, "Stay here at the mall sleep in the stores if you have to, a satyr will come and pick you up in a few days."
"Thanks, I hope I'll see you again soon," she replied hugged me, which hurt my ribs, and then she slung her navy blue Jansport backpack over her shoulder and marched back into the mall.
"I think it's time I say good bye too," said Percy. He looked down at me, his sea green eyes sad, "Annabeth's in trouble."
I didn't know what to say, what would we do with out Percy?
As if he had read my thoughts, "You'll be fine," he put his hands on my shoulders and looked straight into my eyes, then he hugged me.
I melted into him, curling my fingers into his green shirt. His toned my body pressed up against mine, I breathed in deeply. He smelled of salt-water, but not the gross seaweed kind, but how I imagined a clean beach. Like those ocean breeze body-mists. I stared up at his face, it was relaxed smiling down at me, his hair windswept. I sighed and layed my head against him. He was so warm and welcoming, so familiar. I never wanted to let go, but when he pulled away I didn't fight.
"Go get her," I sighed.
He kissed my forehead.
"How will you find her?"
"I have friends in high places," he said then whistled. He looked up at the sky and I followed his gaze.
I waited a few minutes, and then watched as a form appeared in the sky.
"You'll meet him soon enough, but you better get out of here, he seems to think Prius' are good landing strips."
I walked over to the Prius and opened the door, giving Percy one last longing look, he smiled and waved as if it were no big deal. As if he weren't about to go save his girlfriend from monsters and we weren't about to go battle an evil titan that's trying to take over the world.
Then I ducked into the car.
My mom was sitting at the front seat, her hands clutching the steering wheel so hard that her knuckles were white. She murmured to herself as if she were reciting lines, "I'm so sorry to put you through this, I meant to tell you sooner, I wanted you to meet your father, we need to talk about this later."
"Woah, mom. Chill. We're all cool here," I said.
She tightened, she clearly wasn't ready to see me yet.
Then she smiled and turned to me, the second she saw my face her eyes widened and she panic, "Oh dear lord! Lea, What happened to you?!"
"It's all right mom, I'll clean up when we get home," I said, then looked out the window, nodding to Nico, beckoning him in.
My mom smiled again, she looked a bit older than she used to, lines of worry on her face, a few gray strands draping from her hairline, but other than that she had the same rich brunette hair, pulled up in a bun. It was sad that she always wore it up, I loved how it draped over her shoulders, different shades of auburn cascading in waves down her back. Her rich brown eyes, warm deep, and true looked into mine. I wondered how she must've felt when she gave birth to a child with bright pink and purple eyes. The doctors must've though I was a freak of nature. I have been asked so many times if I was wearing contacts, and it's always the same answer, "No, this is my actual eye color."
I looked nothing like my mother, besides the same jaw line, and similar almond eye shape, we were so different. She was thin built but voluptuous, I was skinny, with an athletic build, broad shoulder, a swimmer's body, as Henry had called it. I wondered if she was sad that her child didn't even look like her own, she had never shown any signs of it.
"I would hug you, but you'd probably get blood all over my suit, and I just got it dry-cleaned," she joked. When my mom wasn't obsessed with work, she was pretty cool.
Nico final decided for himself that it was a good time to join us. He opened the car door and slid into the backseat.
"Who's your friend?" my mom asked.
Nico sat silently in the back with his hands folded obediently on his lap.
"That's Nico, were pretty close," I replied casually.
Nico's cheeks flushed at the last part and he looked away uncomfortably.
My mom examined him, then turned to me and made a face that clearly said, "Not bad."
I replied with a face that said, "Mom, Seriously? Not now."
We drove home in pleasant silence, I watched the wonderfully familiar landscape fly past. The sign that read "Got mud?" in what looked like real mud, and the broken down arch-way that Henry had told me burned down about thirty years ago and was the only remains of the house, almost made my cry from nostalgia.
I wanted her to keep driving all the way back to Auburn, but after ten minutes she turned off and we headed for the town of Lincoln. It was painful living so close to my old home, but not being able to go there. It was just beyond my grasp.
When we finally reached my current house, it looked the same as it always had, I thought back to the last time I saw it, the day Lamia attacked, the day I learned I was half-blood. It was only a few months ago, but it felt like ages.
I rushed inside, darting upstairs flopping onto by bed. It felt like the softest thing ever, a fuzzy pink zebra print throw blanket, multiple down pillows, all on top of a tempur-pedic foam mattress, passed own from my mom, because it didn't work for her. I sighed, breathing in deeply then exhaling, the room was so unused that it still smelled like fresh paint, one of my favorite smells. Everything in my room was exactly how I left it, except a bit more organized. My schedule for the first day of school on my desk, various band posters(The White Stripes, The Beatles, Imagine Dragons, and don't tell anyone this, but a boy band called R5) all mounted on my pink with different shades of purple, magenta and silver splatter painted walls.
After sitting in my room, staring at everything I owned, I finally took a shower. Washing all the blood from my face and arms. It felt absolutely wonderful, I hadn't showered or bathed, which when thinking about it, made me feel disgusting. When I finished showering, I returned to my room, I put on a fresh pain of denim jeans and a new pink tank top. I loved looking at my closet, it was so monochromatically color-schemed, everyday I had to choose between, pink, purple, magenta, pink or purple. Soon I would be adding some neon orange in there. I stopped and looked at my mythology books for a while, taking my time gazing at the wonderful illustrations, they were fairly accurate, except when it came to Apollo, his hair wasn't that curly. I had to sigh when I read about Morpheus, I sat on my bed, and red through the facts, he wasn't very popular in Greek Mythology, he rarely made an appearance. I continued to flips through the pages, then when I got bored I threw the book onto my bed, I would take them to Camp with me next year. The book hit my sheets with a hard thunk and when I glanced back at it my heart dropped, it was wide open, displaying the page on Nyx. I slammed the book shut, and snarled at it, "I'll kill you so well, you won't even exist any more, not on these pages, not anywhere."
I heard a chilling laughter break the silence, but I no longer felt fear, only resentment and determination. She was going down.
I clunked down my stairs, and surprisingly walked in on Nico and my other casually chatting at my dinner table, my mother sipping tea and Nico settling for water. Their was a glass on the table half filled with what looked like sparkling apple cider. It was quite and odd scene.
"Lea, you should drink some Nectar, it'll help heal you," said Nico, gesturing to the glass.
So that's what Nectar looked like.
I took a small sip, and nearly spit it back out, the taste was not what I expected. I thought it would taste like melted honey, but instead it was a completely different but similar taste.
It tasted exactly like the Shamrock Shakes Henry and I used to get at a restaurant called Local Heroes. We would get them whenever I was sad or whenever my mom left for a business trip and Henry didn't feel like cooking, so instead we went out for burgers.
I took another sip, let the warm liquid flood down my throat. It soothed every ache and eased every ailment. By the time I was finished with the glass, I felt like a completely different person.
"Can I have more?" I asked, sounding like a greedy little toddler.
"No," snapped Nico.
"Why not?" I whined, I wanted more of the wonderful taste and feeling, it was like drinking starlight.
"Because, you'll explode," explained Nico, quite blatantly
I glanced at the clock, it was five thirty in the evening. Geez, I must have spent a while in the shower.
"I'm going to bed," I stated, "I'm to morning we ride! ... in a Prius to Mount Shasta."
With that, I went back into my bed room, shoved the pink, slightly burnt zebra print and black duffel bags off the mattress, absent mindedly and I flopped onto the bed. I fell asleep instantaneously.
Of course, my slumber wasn't left untainted.
My dream began the same as if always had, with Nyx, her black cape whipping in the wind. Her laugh shook the hillside, and the night sky began to fall slowly crushing me, as if the sky was eating me alive. But this time I fought back, I fought the sky as it came down upon me, but it was of no use. I wasn't strong enough to hold the sky.
I took a deep breath, exhaling deeply, Nyx stopped laughing, confused by my sudden calmness.
I closed my eyes, concentrating, "Next time," I grunted, "Don't attack me when I'm at my strongest."
I opened my eyes, and felt the sky lift off of me, Nyx face was shocked, a vibrant pink light illuminating what I could see of her face. I knew where the light was coming from, although it was hard to believe. I recalled what Percy had said to me after fighting the Kraken, "Oh, and by the way. You're eyes glow when you do that."
"Never, try to intimidate someone who can control dreams, through a dream. Bad idea."
Now Nyx had no suave comeback, "You insolent child," she snarled, her voice deepening, sounding like rocks being ground, "I am immortal, even if you do kill me now, I will come back. You, you will die, sooner or later."
I cut her off, "Tell me something I don't know, you're threats are powerless. I'll see you tomorrow."
"You're forgetting something...or should I say, someone," she crooned.
Before I could ask what she was talking about, everything flashed white, and I was somewhere else.
In a park, it looked familiar, when I turned to see a tall rusty iron colored building I knew where I was immediately, .
From behind me I heard an ominously familiar sound, one that I knew from the arena during battle practice with the Ares cabin.
I followed the sound, shoving through crowds of pedestrians visiting the museums or taking walks. They didn't notice me, I was just a figment. This was horrible when it came to maneuvering through the crowds but wonderful when it meant getting through security. I dashed into the tea gardens jumping over the check in stands. After crossing three extremely arched tiny bridges, passing over thirty Buddha statues, and running past hundreds of maple trees, I found the source of the sound, Percy.
He was surrounded my demon snake ladies, Dracaena, and they were winning. He slashed and parried, but his stance was strange, almost as if he were leaning against a wall. Suddenly that invisible wall sprouted a leg, and kicked a Dracaena in the face. It hissed and backed away, clearly unamused.
Then I saw her, from behind Percy a blonde girl stepped out, I could only see her back, but she was feirce. A quiet admiration welled up in me, she could definitely hold her own in a fight.
Before I could try to do anything to help them, which I probably couldn't do much as a figment, the dream flashed again and this time I knew my surroundings immediately.
A cobblestone road with little shops on the side. A flower shop, a bistro, art store, music store, bakery, and a little café lined the roadside. Draping flowers hung from banisters and the street lamps glittered in the warm sunlight that shone through the clear blue sky.
A man sat at one of the café's table.
"Hey dad," I said.
He smiled, "Hello, Lea. I'm sorry I couldn't stop," he paused, "Her, from intruding your dreams."
"It's all right, dad. I have a feeling she won't be bugging me again." I smirked and sat down across the table from him and my dad grinned even wider, his pride contagiously spreading to me, "Is there something you need to tell me?"
"I just wanted to end your dreams on a good note, your friends will be fine, they're strong and so are you. You can defeat Nyx, I believe in you."
"Thanks dad," I stood up and walked to the Bookstore, the exit from my dream and into my room stood before me. I wanted to stay and talk with me dad for a little longer but I knew I needed to go.
Today was the day I defeated Nyx, all I had to do now was wake up.
I opened the door and walked through.