“Mount Othrys,” stated Zeus, “Home of the Titans.”
“What do the titans have? Did they steal a part of the staff?” I asked.
“No,” replied Zeus, gruffly, “They made it. The Titan Orb.”
The mirage flickered to show a milky white orb sitting on a black podium.
“It is the fourth and final component of the Celestial Staff, explained Zeus, “It is also the most difficult to retrieve.”
“Most difficult?” I exclaimed, “Do you have any idea what I just went through.”
Zeus shifted uncomfortably in his throne.
“There will be countless monsters there guarding it and titans too,” said Zeus stiffly, “Choose the right time and the right team to go.”
“Alright,” I said, “Percy and Nico, just like always.”
“Unfortunately,” chimed Zeus, “Taking more than one demigod will undoubtedly alert the enemy of your presence.”
I sat there in stunned silence, I could only choose one demigod.
Well then it would have to be Nico.
“And a child of the big three is out of the question,” added Zeus.
“Oh you have got to be kidding me!” I yelled and then marched out of the room.
Obviously Zeus didn’t have much more to say cause he let me go without another word.
I met Annabeth in the lobby, she followed me as I strutted by.
“Why are you even here?” I snapped, then soften my voice apologetically, “Sorry, not that I don’t want you do be here.”
“I’m the only one who can open the safe,” she explained, “Maximum safety, and only Zeus, Hera, Thalia, you and I know about it.”
“Okay, so I should probably keep it a secret?” I said.
“Unless you want the staff pieces in the hands of the titans,” replied Annabeth.
“Got it,” I chirped as we began the long descent in the elevator.
She and I drove to camp together chatting about Percy and how he was doing, and how Nico had abandoned me.
I understood why, I would have done the same thing. If my father and his realm were in trouble I would help him before going home, even if that meant leaving a friend alone. You have to sort out your priorities when your going to war.
I still didn’t like leaving him there. We arrived back at Camp around midnight. Annabeth and I both went straight to our cabins to get some sleep without even saying goodnight.
I slept restlessly, tossing and turning worrying about Nico and the Underworld.
As soon as the sun rose, so did I.
I didn’t feel all that tired but I knew I should be.
First thing I went to see Jake and Ava, since Nico and I had left the chariot in the Underworld I knew there was no way of getting it back, and with a chariot the games today were out of the question.
I walked idly to the Hephaestus cabin, which was already whirring with life. I doubt most of those guys ever slept, they lived off coffee and ambrosia according to Ava.
I walked up the steps cautious for any booby-traps and knocked on the large metal door.
The door swung open, revealing a tall, handsome and absolutely naseuasting person.
Lance Beckett glared dawn at me, he smirked and yelled back into the cabin, “Jake that girl you’ve got the hots for is here!”
Jake stumbled to the doorway seconds later, “Hey Lea,” he stuttered, color rushing to his cheeks.
“Morning,” I said smiling at him, then I glared pointedly at Lance, and he sauntered back into the cabin.
“Where’s Ava?” I asked, peering into the practically empty cabin.
“She’s putting the finishing touches on the chariot,” replied Jake grinning.
“The Chariot?” I asked confused, “But Nico and I left it in the Underworld.”
“Yeah, Ava and I figured you two would find a way to destroy it or lose it somehow, so we built a second one just in case,” he explained.
I stood for a minute, trying to look angry, then I hugged him.
“Screw you guys,” I said, trying to contain my grin, “Why did you think I’d lose it?”
Jake raised his eyebrows.
I punched him on the shoulder and then we began the walk to the Track.
Other Cabins were already there doing final revisions on their chariots.
A lot of them looks pretty cool, Ares of course was crudely made with red paint splattered on it, Apollo’s glowed golden and the Hephaestus cabin’s was gorgeous, made from multiple types of metal, with rocket launchers on the back.
I observed for a while, the games didn’t start until after breakfast, but people were already beginning to fill the stands, with bowls of cereal in their hands.
I watched as an Aphrodite girl braided one of her horses mane and then I realized, without Nico I wouldn’t have any skeletal horses to pull the Chariot, heck I didn’t even have someone to drive it.
I ran to the stables, darting into the warm barn that smelled of damp hay and well…horse.
Someone else was already in there.
“One minute, I’m still trying to calm down Jackie. She’s nervous, the others were talking trash to her last night,” said Percy, stroking the forehead of a black mare.”
“Percy?” I sputtered, “What are you doing here?”
“Annabeth told me last night that you might need a new partner, now I can’t promise I’ll be any good but…” he said then I cut him of with a tackle hug.
“I have the best friends!” I exclaimed.
“Yeah, you do!” he agreed, “Now lets go get some breakfast and then go win a Chariot Race!”
He and I walked to the dining pavilion together, sitting down to eat our frosted flakes in content silence until he asked me, “What happened last night?”
I summarized Nico and I’s adventure in the Underworld and Percy nodded understandingly.
“I get why he stayed there,” said Percy.
“Yeah me too,” I agreed, “But I wish he didn’t. Is that selfish of me?”
“A little,” admitted Percy, “But your only human.”
“I wasn’t always,” I muttered to myself and then finished off the last of my cereal.
“Meet you at the track,” offered Percy, and he and I fist-bumped for good luck.
He arrived at the track about five minutes after me, leading two horses with him, Jackie and a chestnut stallion who he called Gerard.
Within minutes the horses were hitched up and ready to go.
I quickly ran back to my cabin changing into some jeggings, combat boots, a camp shirt, and leather biker gloves to help me keep my grip.
I pulled my hair up hastily and sprinted back to find Chiron in mid-speech. He went over the rules, “No killing or maiming,” and the other basics.
Then all the Chariots lined up, there were about twenty-five teams of two. In the stands I could see Cloe holding up a sign that said, “GO LEA!”
I grinned and gave her a thumbs up.
There was a few minutes of stressful silence after Chiron finished his speech and then he blew the conch.
Percy whipped the reigns, and I sprung to action, I shot a acid magnet at he Hermes cabin’s wheels and got a direct hit. I shot two more at the Hephaestus Cabin, but missed both times. I dodged the javelin that a Ares kid through at my head, it whizzed over me but connected with the Hecate chariot on my left, knocking out the driver, the chariot spun out of the track, taking to other minor cabins with it.
“Get rid of the Ares kids!” yelled Percy and he dodged another javelin.
I launched a magnet and it hit the Ares chariot on the left wheel and the acid ate through the wheel within seconds. The chariot clunked to a stop, leaving the Ares kids to curse at Percy and I’s dust,. He and I laughed triumphantly.
Only Hephaestus, Athena, Apollo and Nike was left. All of them ahead of Percy and I.
The Nike cabin through a gold laurel boomerang at the Apollo cabin which collided with the drivers helmet knocking him out. The two golden stallions pulling the chariot reared up and stopped in their tracks. This caused the Athena cabin, who was directly behind Apollo’s, to rear end the golden chariot ahead of them, causing both chariots to crumple on impact.
“Being directly behind the chariot probably wasn’t the wisest choice of the Athena cabin,” I said as Percy and I rode past.
Percy snickered and then said, “Now just to take out the next two.”
The Hephaestus chariot was yards in front, the rocket launchers and automaton horses giving them extra speed. The Nike cabin, was attempting to take out Lance and his goony with the laurel boomerang, but they couldn’t throw that far. The Nike cabin was so focused of Hephaestus they didn’t even notice Percy and I catching up.
I launched our last three acid magnets at the Nike cabin, they were perfect hits, and as the decaying wheels began to drag in the dirt, Percy and I jetted by.
He and I weren’t fast enough though, just at we passed the Nike cabin Lance was crossing the finish line. He held his hands up in the air victoriously waving at the crowd, lathering himself in the applause. His brother, who had a bloody nose, didn’t look too happy.
Lance winked at me as Percy and I rode into second place.
The Nike chariot dragged in a few minutes later, the two girls in it, glaring at us.
Children of the Goddess of Victory were very sore losers.
Percy and I jumped down from our chariot and he grinned at me, in turn causing me to smile with him. He raised his fist to the sky and the crowd roared with applause.
Lance, Lance’s brother, the Nike girls and I all met Chiron at the podium.
“Here we have our Chariot Racing finalists!” Announced Chiron, “The Hephaestus Cabin, the Morpheus and Poseidon Cabins, and the Nike Cabin!”
“Nice job,” cooed Lance, down to me, from his position on the first place stadium, “For a girl.”
“You didn’t do so bad yourself,” I sneered, “For a sexist pig.”
His eyes widened in shock then he squinted in rage, he surely about to say something foul when Chiron continued speaking, “As you all know, next week we will be headed to Disneyland! Make Sure to pack your bags appropriately. Remember, NO FIREWORKS,” he glared pointedly at the Stoll brothers, “this last event leaves us with five finalists to compete at the Finals; Hephaestus, Ares, Apollo, Nike and Morpheus. Good luck to them.”
The crowd whooped and hollered, rushing out to meet there cabin-mates out on the track.
There was a lot of cleanup to be done. Percy took Jackie and Gerard back to the stable and Jake and Ava took the Chariot back to there cabin leaving me to stand alone.
Henry came over and congratulated me, patting me on the back and saying, “Nice job Lea, I can’t wait till you bring that gaudy Hephaestus kid down to size next week,” then he winked and left to go get lunch.
I went back to my cabin changed out of my sweaty clothes and then went and ate lunch with Percy and Annabeth. After lunch Percy and I went for a swim in the lake while Annabeth taught the Tyche cabin battle strategies. The afternoon faded away quickly and soon the sun was setting.
After having a quick splash war with Percy, which I of course lost (never challenge the son of Poseidon to a splash war) I headed back to my cabin to get out of my sopping clothes.
All of my things, my armor, clothes, shield were all there, just like they should be but something felt off about the room. The cabin glowed with an eerie pink light, a light all too familiar to me.
Sitting on my bed were the Oracle Dice, radiating the magical pink light that used to glow from my hands.
I scooped them up, letting the warmth spread to my palms.
I took a deep breath, scared for what they may show of my future and let them drop to the floor.
The landed softly, but the sounded seemed to echo as the plastic clacked against the wood of my floor, it landed with two ones facing up.
A mirage mirror shimmered to life in front of my face, it showed Mount Tam, just like the mirror on Olympus had, the it zoomed in all of the way into the temple on the very peak, showing what I knew to be three Titans.
The one who was speaking I recognize, it was Menoetius, the titan I locked up down in the Underworld last year.
He was speaking with two others a male and female.
The woman was beautiful, with dark thick hair and Mongoloid features, she wore a dress of deep scarlet that made her white skin seem to glow. The man was very strange looking, he wore a white toga, his hair and eyes were white to, and then glowed brightly, his skin looked like the night sky, dark blue and speckled with stars like freckles.
“Astraeus,” said Menoetius to the starry man, “You must go East to wake the others.”
“But- ” objected Astraeus, “What if somebody attacks here.”
“Yes,” agreed the woman with a voice like silk, “It is unwise to leave this place so unprotected. Especially with me leaving to find the rest of our children.”
“No!” shouted Menoetius, “You will follow your orders! I will stay here! No one will get past me!”
“But what of the mortal girl?” asked the woman, “The one who will surely come to take the orb.”
“Bah! She fears being alone, she will come with her friends and I will sense them before they even get close!,” argued Menoetius.
“But she defeated your son- ” objected the woman, “An you before, she can surely do it again!”
“Clymene!” warned Astraeus “Do not upset him.”
Clymene pursed her lips, “Very well, while Astraeus and I finish gathering the troops you will watch the orb. Do not dare let anyone slip past you!”
Then she and the starry titan disappeared in a whirl of white light.
The mirage faded.
But the pink light in my cabin did not.
The dice still layed on my floor, pulsing with energy.
I picked them up and let them roll again.
They both landed on six.
My distant future sprung to life on a new mirror in front of me.
This vision was much less complicated.
I saw myself.
I was falling from the Empire State Building.