Nico took my hand, at looked me in the eyes, “Camp Half-blood, here we come.”
Then we took a step forward and fell. The shadows engulfed us, and we dropped at a gut wrenching rate. Shadow traveling was never my preferred way to travel, but going vertically was much worse. My heart caught in my throat and I gasped for air. Nico pulled me against him and I held on tight.
We hit the ground hard, and both fell backwards, letting go of each other.
I looked around, expecting to see Thalia’s tree and Peleus and the straw berry field, but instead glimmering white marble reflected back.
“This is not Camp Half-Blood,” I stated, quite loudly, my voice echoed off the walls.
“No you most definitely are not,” boomed a voice from my left.
I whipped my head around to see twelve huge thrones all with people sitting in them.
One of the figures stood, she was tall elegant and noble looking, She had long dark hair, olive skin, blazing grey eyes and a helmet tucked under one arm, “Welcome to Olympus, Lea Reclin and Nico di Angelo.”
“Athena,” I muttered.
“Yes, child, I am Athena.”
“Cool,” I muttered, amazed by my surroundings.
The room was completely circular, it’s didn’t have any wall but was lined with marble columns and past them a blue sky with glowing pink-gold clouds drifting by. The marble itself, had little bits of what looked like opal in it. And the floor was a star chart plotting out the night sky, all of constellations marked in gold.
I stared at the Olympians, scanning from left to right, a man with a dark curly beard, disapproving look, and goblet in his hand, an old homely looking woman in a brown dress sitting on grain the grew up to form her thrown, then a beautiful young woman, with her soft brown hair braided to the side, a silver dress and headband with a moon on it. Dionysus, Demeter, and Artemis. Nest to Artemis, sat Apollo, who smiled brightly at me. Athena stood next to him, her face warm and proud.
In the two middle seats sat who I figured would be Hera and Zeus.
Hera’s rich brunette hair was braided back elaborately and her royal blue dressed shimmered like a peacock feather. Zeus wore a clean white toga and golden sandals, he looked exactly like the pictures, the same grey and white curly beard.
Next to him was Poseidon, who matched Percy’s description perfectly, and Hades, who looked a lot like Snape from Harry Potter, to me.
Lastly on the right there was a biker dude, Ares, and woman who looked like a mix between Angelina Jolie and Megan Fox, Aphrodite, and then a middle aged man with salt and pepper grey hair swooshed to the side like they would in the 60’s. next to Hermes sat Hephaestus, who also smiled at me.
I felt welcome, but out of place.
I noticed that Athena was no longer looked at me, but rather through me.
I turned around to see a familiar face, Percy.
I ran up to him, hugging him as tightly as I could , he embraced me back.
“I knew you could do it,” he whispered to me.
Next to him stood the blond chick, “Hey, I’m Annabeth, you must be Lea, Percy’s told em about you,” she extended her hand and I shook it vigorously.
She didn’t come off as uptight as I thought she would.
She looked up at the gods, and I turned back around to face the Olympians.
“Step forward, Child of Morpheus, it is time for us to reward you for your valiant deeds,” stated Zeus.
I walked forward hesitantly, with a small nudge from Percy.
“What would you like as your reward, immortality perhaps?”
I thought for a minute scanning their faces, “I would like a separate gift from each of you,” I replied, more confidently than I felt.
Poseidon chuckled, “The girl knows her worth.”
“Hephaestus, I would like you to make another Speed Daemon, custom designed to Percy’s liking,” I began.
Hephaestus nodded and grunted, which I figured was his way of saying yes.
“Hermes, send a message to my mother, tell her that I’m all right and I’ll be back for Christmas.”
“Okie, dokie,” he replied pulling out a I-phone with a wall paper of two coiled snakes.
“Dionysus, come back to camp, from what I hear your needed there.”
Dionysus shot a sideways glance at Zeus, who nodded, then Dionysus replied, “Alright fine.”
“Aphrodite-“ I began to state, but she cut me off.
“Let me guess you want to be irresistibly gorgeous, just like me and to have all then men falling at your feet,” she snapped her fingers.
And when I looked down at my feet, I noticed I was no longer wearing my converse, but was now wearing leather gladiator sandal with four inch heels and gold studs and even more horribly, I was wearing a dress. I was dark magenta and a drapy sheer material, it was short in the front but long in the back. Luckily I still had my armor on, but no tank top underneath,, which made me extremely self conscious.
My hair had snapped into perfect ringlets, and my skin which had earlier been, bruised cut, and scarred was now flawless with a perfect golden tan. I could only imagine the horrible thing she could have done to my face, like mascara or blush or worst of all… lipstick.
“No,” I warned, “I was going to say that I want to you to leave me alone and not interfere with my life at all.”
“Oh, shame, this could have been so much fun,” she said, fake pouting.
“You promise that you won’t interfere?”
“Can’t make a promise that I won’t keep,” she twitted, “But I’ll try my hardest to resist, promise.”
“Good enough,” I sighed, I had a feeling that was all I would get out of her, and she made it fairly clear that she wasn’t going to change me back into my old outfit.
“Hera, you too, I’ve heard about how badly you can screw up demi-gods lives. I want you to promise to leave me alone.”
Hera gasped, obviously offended, she looked like she was about to strangle me, but she closed her eyes and took a deep breath and sighed “I promise.”
“As for the rest f you, I’m sure I’ll be needing something from you in the future, so for now let’s just leave it at an ‘I owe you’ sort of thing,” I said, happy with decision.
“Thank you Lea, our counsel with you is done, your father is waiting for you outside,” said Athena, sitting back down.
I turned, sighing with relief, I was glad that I no longer had to face them. I could feel there eyes on my back as I walked away from them.
Percy, Annabeth, and Nico followed me. I stumbled, tripping over my own feet, due to the cursed high heels. Red hot embarrassment flooded to my cheeks, yes I had just tripped in front of the gods. Nico rushed to my side, taking my arm, as if he were my chauffer, but actually more for supporting me and helping me maintain my balance.
I now realized a newfound respect for models, they manage to strut in these torture devices daily. I took one last look back, glaring at Aphrodite as if to ask “Are you going to switch me back of not?”
She just smiled encouragingly and waved her hand as if to say “Keep going, you’re doing great.”
I scoffed, and bent down, unstrapping the heels. Even though I had only walked a few feet in them, my arches felt relief as they hit the cool marble floor. With that, I left the heels on the ground, and strutted out of Olympus, barefoot.
There was a small waiting room outside the main hall it was made out of the same marble and had comfy iridescent white chairs lined up against one wall, a desk was on the opposite side.
A strict looking white blonde woman sat at the desk speaking to her blue tooth, “Hello you’ve reached Olympus please leave a message, Olympus please hold, Olympus I’ll transfer your call,” she then looked up at me and moved her blue-tooth speaker away from her mouth, “Morpheus was delayed, please wait here until I call you,” she then turned to the others, “You will wait here whilst your friend is being accommodated.”
She then went back to typing and answering calls.
“Gods, this place is beautiful,” I sighed, flopping onto one of the chairs and kicking my bare feet up onto the glass table, which caused the receptionist frown deeply.
“Thanks,” replied Annabeth.
I looked up at her raising an eyebrow.
“Since Olympus was destroyed in the war, it has been my task to redesign the entire place,” she explained, looking quite proud.
“Oh, cool, nice job,” I said, then began to watch the TV mounted in the corner insistently. Percy and Nico sat down on either side of me, and Annabeth sat next to Percy.
A newscaster on the screen was talking feverently about the weather, “Downpour and snow all over the country, it’s almost as if winter has been saving up it storms and has now decided to release it fury.”
The TV auto switched channels, the second I got bored, it was now showing my favorite news show Good Day Sacramento, “A strange pink and gold haze is hanging over northern California today, look forward to a beautiful and early sunset.”
There were little wreaths hanging everywhere on the screen and a little title was displayed “Happy Holidays.”
I turned to Nico and whispered, “Merry Christmas.”
We looked into each other’s eyes for a few minutes, knowing that this moment would be one we’d remember forever. We’d had saved the world together, and nothing could make me forget that.
“Lea Reclin, to the Third Chamber please,” drawled the receptionist.
I stood up and looked at my friends they nodded, ushering me on, I took a deep breath and march through the door marked 3.
My father was waiting, sitting at a small round marble table. The setting was relaxing, the breeze blowing through the columns from outside. I liked how there were no walls, but it made me feel leery knowing how high up we were.
My father looked up at me warmly, his kind face shimmered like a mirage. This was my first time seeing him in person.
“Hey dad, what’s up?” I asked casually sitting across from him.
“I am here to offer you a job,” he replied calmly, as if the answer were obvious.
“A job,” I questioned.
“Yes, I was wondering if you wanted to be my apprentice.”
I didn’t reply, I didn’t know how to.
“Lea, I want to you to help me with my godly duties,” he continued.
“You’ve been doing this for more than a thousands years, how is it any harder now, it’s not like you’re getting older?”
“No, but there are much more people now, much more dreams, I am having trouble handling it.”
I was speechless again, what did he mean, his apprentice?
He answered my question, “I want you to help me created people’s dreams, help me manage them.”
“But what about school, what about camp?” I sputtered.
“Lea,” he said, his voice draping on me like silk, he placed his hand on mine, “You may have denied Zeus offer for immortality, but it is not out of the question yet.”
“Are you saying you want me to be a god?” I gasped, choking on my words.
“Yes, Lea, I want you to be the Dream Keeper.”
End book 1