It was the last day of school when the gods finally hacked their way back into my life.
I had returned to California after an elaborate Birthday/Welcome home/Yay! You didn’t die! party at Camp. The Muse boys came back with me, Gavin agreeing it would be best for them to have an average life over the school year.
I began to get used to being mortal, no freaky dreams, no monsters showing up during first dates, nothing out of the ordinary. I could tell the gods were checking up on my every once in a while. Like that one time we had a substitute teacher who knew too little about Biology and too much about Mythology, plus I don’t think normal teachers wear brotanks. Also, I was actually pretty good at school without ADHD or dyslexia getting in my way, I had an A in first period English, and actually enjoyed reading. I got a ton of extra credit points during the Odyssey section, because of all the Mythology facts I knew. I was so good that my class Jeopardy team was named after me. I was also known for my great autobiographical ‘creative writing’ although they thought that stuff was all pretend. If only.
I still sucked at Algebra. I don’t think dyslexia was the cause of my misunderstanding of math over the past few years. But it was a good excuse.
I was the best in my class at P.E. all of the girls hated me, the guys too. Some of them had manly respect for me and my speed. During the badminton unit I accidentally hit a birdie so hard at one of the opposite team members it gave him a purple welt for the next three weeks. I was known as “The Pink She-Hulk”, which I didn’t mind.
At lunch I hung out with Gavin, Ryan, Austin and Jeremy on the football field and as it turns out all of them were the sons of Muses, so that’s what they had decided to name their band. They were really good and played at every rally, with there indie rock style. They slipped a lot of myth references into their lyrics which kind of felt like an inside joke.
I had began to grow out of the whole pink and purple thing. Slowly expanding through the rainbow, but still sticking to tank tops and jeans. Nor had I grown out of the ponytail thing, and only wore my hair down during special occasions.
I loved freshman year.
I didn’t fit in at all, but no one did, so it was okay.
I was happy and I didn’t want to be disturbed.
Luckily, the person who happened to interfere with my happiness was the right one.
I was sitting in fourth period art class, talking with Clary, my friend who had more freckles than friends and she had a lot of friends.
We were discussing various zombie apocalypse strategies and I was telling her about my “Costco” plan.
This was my favorite class of the day, it was all listening to indie music at full volume, talking about video games with the really chill juniors, drawing and dancing. Because of the fact that it was the last day of school, the teacher Mrs. Pirken-Dos, who we all just called Kaila had brought in a ton of pies. Clary and I sat on the counter next to the windows talking through mouths full of whip cream and singing along with Tangled, which was playing in the background.
As Clary went to go get another bottle of whip cream I looked out the window muttered the lyrics to “I See the Light.”
There was a flurry of ravens fleeing from their perches and then a new rustle.
That was when Nico feel out of the pine tree.
He landed heavily on the ground and I gasped, flinching with empathetic pain. He uncertainly got to his feet and looked around.
I slammed my palms up against the glass of the window, hoping he’d notice me, but of course he didn’t. He was too busy getting his vision straight. I’d been years, yet he still couldn’t pin-point his shadow-travel landing location exactly. This had resulted in he and I falling into a lot of awkward situations such as a lake, some family’s picnic, and one of the president’s speeches (long story).
I had to go get Nico before he got even more lost.
I rushed up tot the front of the classroom and said to Kaila, who was grading assignments, (which mostly consisted of A’s because after all, this was art class, if you try you pass) “Hey, can I go get some fresh air real quick?”
“Yeah, sure,” she replied, “Just don’t ditch and go get Taco Bell,” then she whispered, “Unless you bring something back for me.”
I laughed lightly and sped out the door.
I met Nico out in the pavilion, the big open arena between the Arts building and the theater. My high school used to be a college so it was all done in beautiful Spanish style architecture. Annabeth loved coming to visit me.
Unfortunately Nico wasn’t the only one there, Matt De La Triot, was standing with his arm wrapped in fake friendship around a very surprised looking Nico. Nico looked at me, his eyes asking the question, ‘Who is this guy and why is he touching me?’
Matt De La Triot was one of my least favorite people at the school, a cliché boneheaded football player. Apparently he thought life was like the movies, because he was appalled when he asked me to be his girlfriend and I said no. He figured that the jock always gets the girl. He was so stunned and offended when I denied him he told all of his friends it was the other way around. I had been the one asking and him rejecting. I don’t think anyone bought that.
Matt was the epitome of a cliché jock; buzz cut brunette hair, bulky build, letterman jacket and basically he thought he was better than everyone else.
So needless to say I didn’t like Matt and I liked him even less when he pulled a gun on me.
Or wait, was it a sword?
The image flickered, changing back and forth from a handgun to a double edged sword.
I blinked a few times, the image stopped flickering and stayed a sword.
“What?” I asked, confused.
“You like it?” he snarled, twirling it in his hand, “My dad gave it to me.”
“Yeah,” I mocked, “It’s lovely. You’ve got a great dad. It must be fun to be the son of a psychopath.”
For a second Matt looked surprised. I guessed he wasn’t used to people being so casual about death threats.
“I’ll have you know my father is Menoetius, a titan, like those gods you know so much about from the books,” he sneered.
“Oh yeah,” I said, “I met you dad last year. Locked him in an underworld prison cell. He wasn’t exactly the brightest guy, was he? Like father like son. You take after him.”
Matt looked dumbfounded, he clearly had not anticipated that response. He expected me to be some regular chick that he could push around.
He shoved Nico to the ground, marching up to me.
I stood my ground and let him loom over me.
“What do you mean?” he growled.
“What?” I asked, mock offended, “You mean you don’t know who I am? I’m Lea Reclin, I slay titans as a hobby. Doesn’t your father tell you anything? Oh wait, he can’t, he’s locked up because of me.”
Matt thick face and neck flooded with color, I’m not sure if it was cause he was angry or embarrassed. Probably both.
“All I know,” he growled, “Is that they titans have one thing they want. A girl, undetectable, under the radar, the first daughter of the dream god. She’s got a price on her head, a high price. Let me guess? That’s you.”
“Must be,” I shrugged, “Seems as if I’m quite the threat.”
“Not to me,” he snarled, turning around as if he were about to walk away proudly “You don’t even have a weapon.”
“Really?” I asked, smirking, reaching into by back pocket. I whipped out my sword, it unfolded it as I swung at Matt.
Matt was just as quick as me, he turned and deflected the swipe.
I was prepping for a tomahawk blow to his temple when he spotted the perfect opportunity.
He swung his sword at my torso, what would have been the perfect clean cut thought my side and into my organs.
In the last splits second before the blade touched me I thought, ‘Well this is it. I’m going to die a freshman.’
But then something strange happened the blade past right through me, like a hologram.
“Wait, what?” I asked confused, then it clicked in my head, celestial bronze doesn’t hurt mortals. I’m now a mortal.
“Oh right,” I said aloud, “Hah!” and then I slammed Matt in the forehead with the hilt of my sword.
Matt attempted to shake the blurriness out of his head for a minute then came at me again.
Using his immense strength he back me up against the art building wall.
He had his bulkiness, muscles and weight going for him.
I on the other hand was quick, agile and nimble.
I quickly let go of my blade with one hand, elbowed him in the stomach, and then used the space and time to kick him in the face.
My silver high top shoe collided with him pudgy nose.
He stumbled backwards, I spun preparing for a full blade attack to the neck, but stopped half way through, I couldn’t just behead one of my class mates, could I?
I decided no and instead went for an around the world kick.
He fell to the pavement, groaning.
“Nice try,” I said, spinning my sword in my hand victoriously, walking up to Nico, “Haven’t lost it.”
Matt pushed himself to his feet, “You can’t kill me, go ahead and hide behind your puny boyfriend. It’s like you to be into the scene kids.”
“Who Nico?” I sputtered, “He’s not my boyfriend. But you know what he is; The son of Hades, god of death.”
Nico smirked down at Matt, cracks began to open at Nico’s feet , green mist swirling out of them. About five skeletons, crawled out from the ground.
“Who’s puny now?” asked Nico.
At that moment the bell rung, it was time for lunch. Students came running out of the classrooms. All of them stopping as soon as they saw us.
To them it was three freshman, two guns, and five skeletons. I had a feeling this would make the papers. A few people whipped out their cellphones and began to take video. Clary pushed her way to the front of the crowd, and her mouth dropped open.
I grinned at her and said, “Told you I’d make a good Apocalypse partner,” and then for show I punched a skeleton in the face and Nico made it crumble.
Then I grabbed Nico’s hand and we jumped into the shadows.
We landed more gracefully than usual, both of us on our feet.
I converted my sword back into a disk and put it back into my pocket.
We appeared to be at In and Out burger, a very frightened cashier stared at us.
I walked up to him and said “Two double cheeseburgers please, a small vanilla milkshake, and…” I looked over at Nico, “A diet coke,” then handed the dumbfounded acne-ridden twenty year old a wad of cash.
I slid into a booth, curling and uncurling the receipt, Nico sat down across from me.
“So,” he began, “still not your boyfriend,” he said it so quietly I almost didn’t hear him.
I kicked him under the table, “You haven’t taken me out on a date yet.”
He chuckled silently, suddenly very nervous, “What did you think was crashing Obama’s debt ceiling conference was?”
We both laughed, the situation was lightly awkward, neither of us sure if we really wanted to be boyfriend/girlfriend.
There was a along silence, our number was called and we both got our food and ate without talking.
When we were finished Nico looked up at me and said, “I’m worried Lea,” he sighed, “That guy said your wanted by the titans. That’s not good.”
“I know,” I agreed, “but it’s Matt who said that, half of the things that come out of his mouth are lies.”
We both knew that this time Matt had been speaking the truth.
“Back when Kronos was rising, Percy came close too death so many times,” said Nico, “And that was when it was only one titans after him. You’ve got at least seven out for your blood.”
“But why do they want me?” I asked.
“Because you’re the only one who can stop them,” he replied.
“Why does everyone say that?” I groaned.
“Because it’s true,” said Nico.
I slouched in the booth, grumbling loudly as final argument.
“I think it’s time we visited Olympus,” proposed Nico.
“Agreed,” I said.
“Agreed,” said a voice from behind me.
I whipped around to see a beautiful blonde guy in his mid-twenties, grinning at me.
“Apollo?” I asked.
“No time to stay and chat,” he replied, “Zeus is waiting.”
He snapped his fingers and there was a bright flash of light.
When my eyes adjusted I recognized where we were.
I sat on the floor of the Olympus Throne Room, once again.
Zeus glared down at me and then he announced his voice booming through the room, “The time has come, Lea Reclin, for you to end the Great Stirring.”