The Princess of Olympus: Lone Wolf

"Who are you?" Leo asked, once they all had gotten into the helicopter, with him in the pilot seat and Jaia, beside him, in co-pilot. Jaia stared out the window trying to get her thoughts in order. 'Who actually was she?' Jaia did not know how to answer that question, and instead said, "Where do you want me to start?" Leo glanced at her, taking in her messed-up pin curls and her ripped, lavender dress. Then he look at her eyes. They weren't a harsh emerald-green as usual, and at the moment, seemed guilty. "From the beginning," he finally responded. Jaia sighed. "Very well." And then, Jaia Silverglass began the tale of the Princess of Olympus.

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5. Chapter 4: The Princess's Kryptonite and Memories from the Past

        EVERYONE HAS THEIR KRYPTONITE, their weakness—even the Princess of Olympus.

        Jaia had turned Hayes off, content that she would be fine—had replaced it with her Nightcore Sad Songs. That normally got her through the day—the days after finding out Percy was going to disappear and the day when it actually had come true. She should’ve done something. Anything. Then maybe she wouldn’t be walking around with her earbuds jammed in, taking another lovesick puppy to his cabin. Speaking of that puppy—

        Someone tapped her shoulder. She turned to see Leo signalling her to take out her earbuds. Jaia frowned and holding a grudge, she pulled them out of her ears. Jaia already missed the comfort of Nightcore.

        “What?” she hissed.

        “Aren’t you suppose to give me a tour?” Leo pointed out.

        Jaia shrugged her shoulders and quirked her mouth. “Well, okay.”

        “So,” she said, spreading her arms out for a dramatic effect, “this is Camp. There’s shit over there and Greek stuff. Cabins, campfire, dinner pavilion—done.”

        Jaia continued walking at a faster pace.

        “That wasn’t a tour,” Leo said, jogging up to her.

        She glared at him. “Didn’t Will do that?”

        He didn’t answer.

        “Seriously! Can’t anyone pay attention? Gods, people suck.”

        Leo fidgeted around with a few gears. Definitely ADHD.

        “So . . .” he asked. “Do I get a sword?”

        Jaia muttered a few curses when her phone beeped. She pulled it out, ignoring the stares from Leo.

        “What the—”

        A text appeared on the screen, and Jaia’s eyes widened slightly. “This is not good!”

        A virus, she thought, just what she wanted. “Damnit!”

        She hacked the server, wondering who sent the message. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. The text vanished, but was replaced with another. Against her better knowledge, she clicked on it. A picture of a chlorine Bottle being dumped into water with the words ‘Hello, Princess’ below it. Jaia panicked. Who sent her that? The number was encrypted. Someone clearly wanted her dead if it had anything to do with that substance. Jaia remembered the first time she had found out that she could die if she came in contact with that chemical. First, her vision would get blurry. Then her hair and lips changed from their natural pigment to a bright blue as did her emerald eyes that dulled to blue, almost deathly looking. Mostly it was the grey skin that freaked Jaia out. It reminded her of a zombie, and a zombie Jaia became when chlorine was the ending result. A girl who had been already lacking emotions to a—

              “Jaia?”  

             “Hmmm . . .” she murmured, barely paying attention.

       

“You okay?” Leo asked concernedly. He twirled around a mini-screwdriver in his hands.

            “Uh,” she started, still staring at the message. “Yeah. I’m fine.”

        Jaia managed to close the message—without deleting it, pressing down on the off button.

        “Let’s, uh . . . go to your cabin,” Jaia decided, her hands shaking as she tucked the device back into the purple, polyester jacket.

        “Was that a phone?” Leo questioned.

        “No. Well . . . not exactly.”

        “I thought they weren’t allowed at Camp.”

        She cocked a smile. “And who says I follow the rules?”

        Leo whistled. “Not only feisty, but a bad girl. You surprise me, Jaia Silverglass. I like that.”

        “So you couldn’t remember the tour Will gave”—he nodded, to which Jaia rolled her eyes— “and instead remembered my name? Damn, and I thought I was bad.”

        “So . . .” he directed back to the topic. “Do I get a sword?”

        Jaia stifled a laugh. “You . . . a sword? Uh, sorry not sorry. You’ll probably make your own, seeing as how you’re in Cabin Nine.”

        “Yeah, what’s up with that? Vulcan?”

        She narrowed her eyes slightly. The Roman names really put an edge on her.

        “Usually we don’t call the gods by their Roman names,” Jaia said. “The original names were Greek. And so, your dad’s Hephaestus.”

        “Festus?” Leo seemed dismayed. “Sounds like the god of cowboys.”

        “No, He-phaestus,” Jaia corrected. “God of blacksmiths and fire.”

        Leo stared at her like she had said something wrong. She hadn’t, had she?

        “No, Jaia. His mom died in a fire. He thinks it was his fault. Let me show you,” Older Jaia committed.

        A swirls of images passed through Jaia’s head, one by one. A little boy no older than five—maybe six, was working with his mom.

        Esmeralda.”

        She said something to him that Jaia didn’t catch, there wasn’t any sound. They were about to leave when his mom had forgot something in her workshop, and from there everything went dark. Very dark. The boy lit his hands on fire. Though it wasn’t his fault. A voice, one Jaia recognized, but couldn’t remember who it was. The fates she told him, wouldn’t let him die, but they hadn’t said anything about his mom. The flames rose higher, the mom trapped in fields of red with blue-tipped flames. She did not come back out alive, and the images slowed and slowly grew darker until nothing was left. Jaia came out of her vision, but when she tried to ask Future Jaia something, she had gone again without another word.

        “So the flaming hammer over my head,” Leo said. “Good thing, or bad thing?”

        “What?” Jaia hadn’t payed attention. She was still a little alarmed with the vision.

        “Oh,” she thought, processing what he had said, “you were claimed so fast. That’s normally . . . uh, good.”

        Jaia did not have the time to answer his questions, nor take him to his cabin. What she needed to do was find out who was sending the messages and trying to hack her servers. Jaia wished Percy were here, he would’ve known what to do. Even being a Princess—Olympus’s Heir—she still relied on people to help her through, she had been lucky that she got to Percy after the Titan War. Maybe she should’ve told him, then she knew he’d would’ve worried for her safety. Jaia was threatened almost everyday on Olympus. Not everyone loved and adored the Princess, sometimes those threats became serious and Jaia ran. She always ran. Deep down, she still was the little girl who couldn’t save her friend that chilly October night.

        “But that Rainbow Pony Dude, Butch—he mentioned a curse.”

        “Um . . . that’s nothing that you should worry about. Just some superstition after Cabin Nine’s last head counselor died—”

        “Died? Like, painfully?”

        “I’ll—I’ll leave that to your bunkmates to tell you about it.”

        “Yeah, where are my home dawgs? Shouldn’t their head counselor be giving me the VIP tour?”

        “He, um, can’t. You’ll see why.” Jaia forged ahead before Leo could bombard her with more questions. The last few were intense, especially after what happened in the Titan War. Simply too many memories.  

        Jaia and Leo were halfway across the green when Leo suddenly stopped.

        “Leo, what’s the hold-up?” Jaia asked.

        His chocolate eyes were glued to a spot on the lawn. Jaia didn’t understand. ‘What was he seeing?’ she asked herself. She slowly walked over to him and put a hand on his forearm—and she found herself seeing what he was seeing. An old lady in a widow’s dress, with a black shawl pulled over her hair. Her face—leathery skin and piercing dark eyes. Her withered hands were like claws. She looked ancient, but Jaia felt that she knew her. A presence she couldn’t describe trapped her there—for a moment she was four years old again.

          Jaia remembered the throne room, occupied with taken chairs, large glares from Zeus, and her father he hadn’t had an expression Younger Jaia could put into words. Different, unfatherly like was how she interpreted it all those years ago. That presence, it didn’t come from Zeus, that was darker—stranger. The woman she was  like—

        “Do remember, I hadn’t wanted it to happen, my warrior. Be strong. Be strong for me,” Hera said.

        Jaia saw herself in a little room, a secret one hidden under her father’s throne. That was were Hera had taught her all the things that she should’ve learned— the subjects the other eleven Olympians avoided. Hera, Hera, Hera! That woman, under the disguise that had been Hera! Wasn’t it? There wasn’t any other explanation to explain it.

        Jaia’s vision flashed white and color returned. Little Jaia—so scared and so afraid, walked down to the middle of the throne room and turned around, flinging herself upon her knees. Tears streamed down her cheeks onto the marble tiles in a pattern: one drop, two drops, one drop, two drops. Little Jaia heard the lightning bolt crackled in Zeus’s hands, and her grip on her silk dress tightened. The lightning bolt flung forward, but she didn’t move, not even a little bit. Screams escaped from her mouth. They seemed more like howl's than screams, so high-pitched, so defined. The pain, it sizzled, and when the four-year-old turned to see her back, it was burnt, blackened, a large mark: a zig-zagged line—the scar that never faded. If Jaia looked at her back, it looked fresh almost as if it been yesterday. Her vision of the throne room and her younger self brightened until it was no longer a scene, just an everlasting white color. Her mind released her, and she was back, no time had gone by. Jaia just hoped she didn’t accidentally send that to Leo.

        “Who was that little girl?” Leo said, trying to act calm.

        Jaia’s fear came true, but she couldn’t tell him or Piper or Jason who she was, so she lied. “What kind of shit are you seeing?” she asked. “First, you're talking about an old lady and now a little girl? I think the Mist is playing with you. How about we head straight to your cabin now?”

        Leo wanted to protest, but when he looked back toward the big white cabin, the old lady he was talking about disappeared. Jaia saw the lines in his forehead, he had been sure she was there, but Jaia was terrified that he had seen Hera and somehow knew her. However, she was more concerned if he knew that the little girl in the vision was her.

        “Just messing with you, Lone Wolf.” Leo pulled some gears and levers from his pockets and started fiddling with them.

        “Don’t call me that,” Jaia grumbled. At least he hadn’t found out.

        “Alright, let’s go see Cabin Nine, Princess,” he said. “I’m in the mood for a good curse.”

        “This day can’t get any worse,” Jaia muttered.

        From the outside, the Hephaestus cabin looked like an oversize RV with shiny metal walls and metal-slatted windows. The entrance was like a bank vault door, circular and several feet thick. Jaia opened the door, and brass gears turning and  hydraulic pistons blowing smoke.

        Leo whistled. “They got a steampunk theme going on, huh?”

        Jaia shrugged her shoulders and her usual blank face was on. She knew how to play a good round of poker.

        Inside, steel bunks were folded against the walls like high-tech Murphy beds. Each had a digital control panel, blinking LED lights, glowing gems, and interlocking gears. Every camper had their own combination lock to release their bed, and there was an alcove behind it with storage, maybe some traps to keep out unwanted visitors. A fire pole came down from the second floor, even though the cabin didn’t appear to have a second floor from the outside. A circular staircase led down into the basement. The walls were lined with every kind of power tool Jaia could imagine, plus a huge assortment of knives, swords, and other implements of destruction. A large workbench overflowed with scrap metal—screws, bolts, washers, nails, rivets, and a million other machine parts. That’s why Jaia loved this place.

        Last Summer she spent almost all her time here and Percy would always tell her that there was a mix-up and she was actually a Daughter of Hephaestus. Jaia actually was only she never told him. In this place, she spent her time, since she was five years old. She and Beckendorf would talk about building a Wi-Fi system for camp—the reason she had been trying for years to get it working right, for his memory. Jaia, Charles, and Selina—they were always together. Their deaths really affected Jaia. She didn’t forget Annabeth and she too came with them, but that wasn’t often. Annabeth was twenty-four-seven with work. The reason why they weren’t that close nowadays. So on those days she and the two would hang out. They didn’t care that Jaia was years younger. It had seemed to Jaia that they were all the same age. Those two, she loved them so much, letting go of them. Well, Jaia hadn’t been good with that. Not at all, they both promised her they’d see each other again. But that might never happen if Jaia’s parents don’t stop trying to make her a goddess.

Leo wandered the cabin with his eyes, before picking up a weed wacker from the wall.

            “A weed wacker? What’s the god of fire want with a weed whacker?”

            A voice in the shadows said, “You’d be surprised.”

        At the back of the room, one of the bunk beds was occupied. A curtain of dark camouflage material retracted, and Jaia could see Jake. He was still like the end of last Summer covered in a body cast. His head wrapped in gauze except for his face, which was puffy and bruised.

        “I’m Jake Mason,” Jake said. “I’d shake your hand, but . . . “

        “Yeah,” Leo said. “Don’t get up.”

        Jake cracked a smile, then winced, it hurt him too much.

      “Welcome to Cabin Nine,” Jake said. “Been almost a year since we hand any new kids. I’m counselor for now.”

        “For now?” Leo asked.

        Jaia stepped forward. “Hello, Mary Sue!”

        “Is that you, Lone wolf?” Jake said. “I figured you were back, I got Awesome here.”

        “Damnit! I told her that she had to go back to the cabin,” Jaia sighed. “She didn’t bother you, did she?”

        “No,” he retorted, “Quite the opposite. This one’s been keeping me company.”

        “Whew! Wait what did she say? Did she need anything?”

        “Yeah, but I better let you look at her. I have no idea how you built her. Whatever you did it was very complicated.”

        “Like you wouldn’t believe,” Jaia admitted. “Come on out here, Awesome Sauce. Jake’s compromised your location, I know you're here.”

        The purple computer flapped her angel wings and flew over to Jaia.

“Woah! That’s a computer! How did you build her? What did you use? How long did it take?” Leo asked, very impressed with Jaia’s computer.

        “Let’s just say,” Jaia said, fiddling with Awesome’s wings, “ a long time.”

        “So what did you need?”

        A few clicks in Morse Code.

        “She said there’s another breach,” Leo pointed out.

        “I know. I understand Morse Code,” Jaia shot back. “Awesome, let me see.”

        She typed into the screen defenses against the intruder. They shot back. Jaia sent more code and blocked them within their own boundaries.

        “This should hold them, for now.”

        “Wait,” Leo realized. “You have a internet server? Why?”

        Jaia stared at him. “I’m keeping a promise for an old friend. I don’t break promises to the dead.”

        An ‘Oh’ was all he said. She rolled her eyes.

        “So is everyone down at the forges?”

        “Yeah,” Jake said wistfully. “They’re working on . . . you know, that problem.”   

        “Oh.” Jaia changed the subject. “You got a spare bed for Leo?”

        Jake studied Leo, sizing him up. “You believe in curses, Leo? Or ghosts?”

      “Ghosts? Pfft. Nah. I’m cool. A storm spirit chucked me down the Grand Canyon this morning, but you know, all in a day’s work, right?”

    Jake nodded. “That’s good. Because I’ll give you the best bed in the cabin—Beckendorf’s”

        Jaia winced. “You sure ‘bout that Jake?”

        Jake called out: “Bunk 1-A, please.”

        The whole cabin rumbled. A circular section of the floor spiraled open like a camera lens, and a full-size bed popped up. The bronze frame had a built-in game station at the footboard, a stereo system in the headboard, a glass-door refrigerator mounted into the base, and a whole bunch of control panels running down the side. Jaia’s eyes directed to a picture taped to the front of the headboard. It was of a five-year-old Jaia, and a younger and more alive Beckendorf and Silena. All of them bright with grins plastered on their porcelain faces.         Leo jumped right in and laid back with arms behind his head. “I can handle this.”

        “It retracts into a private room below,” Jake said.

        “Oh, heck, yes,” Leo said. “See y’all. I’ll be down in the Leo Cave. Which button do I press?”

        “Hold on,” Jaia protested. “Here let me take this.”

        She reached off and pried the tape holding the picture of the three friends.

        “What’s that?” Leo asked curious.

        “Just a photography. You can look at if you’d like,” Jaia said, handing him the photography.

        “Wait. Was this you?” he said, pointing to the five-year-old, golden-haired girl. “And you smiled? Definitely a long time ago.”

        “Yeah, it was. I guess that was a time we still had things to smile about.”

        “So, you weren’t always the girl who walks ‘round saying curse words.”

        “Oh, did the Lone Wolf do that to you?” Jake smirked, but he grunted with pain. “We'll all be, still playing with fire.”

        Jaia was sure if Jake was out of a body cast he’d do more than try to smirk. He was known to embarrass the heck out of her as a young child, but Jaia had to remind herself, she wasn’t a little kid anymore, not that she really had the chance. Jaia supposed she had smiled often and would wear those goofy grins everywhere she went. She and Annabeth, giggling around making people people feel stupid as them were the only ones who understood Arabic, besides the some of Athena cabin. Stop, Ju—Jaia! How did that slip out? She hardly thought about that . . . anymore. Then she remembered, only a few seconds went by, she almost forgot to respond being stuck inside her head, battling internal conflicts.

        “I never stopped. It burns, but I’ve adjusted to the flames,” Jaia reminded him. “Like I’ve kind of said, they were better times. People don’t stay the same forever.”

        Leo looked at her in awe, like he could connect to her words.

        He frowned. “So you were the nice little girl? I would have prefered that Jaia.”

        “Shut up,” she punched him, and a smile slipped onto her face.

        “You know,” Leo noticed. “You really pretty when you smile.”

        Jaia blushed. She couldn’t help it.

        “Oh, she’s blushing! She’s blushing!”

        Jaia looked down. She felt weird. It must be the emotion part of her. Aphrodite warned her one day that would happen again. Focus, Jaia, she commanded, Heart turn to stone!

“So who are those two?”

        Her smile disappeared and her face darkened. He killed the moment, and her heart hardened in her chest with pain, remorse—memories. Goal accomplished, she sighed. Something inside her wished that her heart wasn’t all stone and tough as she seemed.

        “Just some old friends,” Jaia said bitterly.

        “Anyway,” Jake interrupted. “Leo, if you don’t mind sleeping in a dead man’s bed, it’s yours.”

        Suddenly Leo didn’t seem feel like kicking back. He sat up, careful not to touch any of the buttons. “The counselor who died—this was his bed?”

        “Yeah,” Jake said. “Charles Beckendorf.”

        Jaia flinched. She hadn’t gotten used to hearing his name now that he was dead. Jaia didn’t know how she felt about that. She wasn’t in too much grief, where she’d expect to play board games and watch reruns of old TV shows like The Twilight Zone, with him again. Those memories were no longer with her.

        Everything seemed to have died the day her brother came back from the mission and told everyone Charlie didn’t make it out. He was dead. Sometimes Jaia had a hard time believing it, but everytime she came back to the Hephaestus Cabin he wouldn’t be waiting for her. She knew that. They, Silena and Charlie, were supposedly waiting for her down in—in a . . . better place, she guessed. Elysium.

        “He didn’t, like, die in this bed, did he?” Leo said.

        “No,” Jake admitted. “In the Titan War, last summer.”

        “The Titan War,” Leo repeated, “which has nothing to do with this very fine bed?”

        “No,” Jaia said softly. “But”—her tone grew loud with annoyance, clearly irritated— “I now wish it did,” she said, getting up and walking over to the equipment with Awesome Sauce following her like a lost puppy dog.  

        “What’s up with her?” Leo mouthed.

        “The Titan War was hard on her. Well, it was for everyone, but she hasn’t been the same since, I guess. Not that she had been okay from the start,” Jake replied, as if Jaia weren’t in the same room.

        It was partially true. Jaia was preoccupied with taking apart her flying friend, trying to repair the glitches in her system. She heard bits and pieces of their conversation. She figured they were talking about her. Everyone did at some point.  

        “So what exactly happened?” Leo said, eyeing Jaia’s odd behavior, watching as she took the outer layer of her computer off.

        “The Titans,” Jake elaborated. “The powerful guys that ruled the world before the gods. They . . . uh, tried to make a comeback last summer. Their leader, Kronos, built a palace on top of Mount Tam in California. Their armies came to New York and almost destroyed Mount Olympus. A lot of demigods died trying to stop them.”

        “I’m guessing this wasn’t on the news?” Leo shouted over the sound of Jaia welding pieces of metal together.

        Jaia thought maybe that would drowned out the sounds of the previous summer. What had happened. But that didn’t stop the pain hitting her harder than a truck.

      “You didn’t hear about Mount St. Helens erupting, or the freak storms across the country, or that building collapsing in St. Louis?”

        Leo shrugged. “Guess I was busy.”

        Jaia cut the welding, admiring her work. A new backing for her computer. She had made holes for Awesome’s Wings, so she wouldn’t have to remove them and redo some of her hard work. Jaia held her work up to the overhead lamp and then frowned. It was pink. Jaia despised that color. It reminded her way too much of Aphrodite and that Pink Barbie Freak House. Shrugging the color off, thinking she and Awesome could deal with it, she placed it on, and used screwed the screws back into place. Jaia then continued to busy herself fixing her angel-winged companion.

        “Doesn’t matter,” Jake said. “You were lucky to miss it. The thing is, Beckendorf was one of the first casualties, and ever since then—”

        “Your cabin’s been cursed,” Leo guessed.

        “Jake?” Jaia called. There was an unnerving edge to her voice.

        “Yeah, JJ,” he said suspiciously.

        “Where’s the hoverboard?”

        He looked at her, surprised, unsure how to answer that question. “Uh, didn’t we say that we were only going to use that for emergencies?”

        Jaia stared him down, straight into his eyes, a darkening tone playing around within the swirls of her emerald irises.

        “Well,” she said, a frantic feeling coming over her. “Something’s gonna happen. I can feel it.”

        There was a silence, an utter belief. The three of them trapped in a mystic world of eye stares and unsaid words, or confusion and eyebrow raises. Until Jaia stopped it all.

        “So where is it?”

        “In the cabinet to your right.”

        She pulled it out, dust collected on its dashboard, the sides in perfect condition. It didn’t seem like it needed any tweeks. An engine on the back. A big one with blades, sharp, spinning wildly she assumed, when it turned on.

        “So what’s going to happen, Jaia?”

        “I don’t know,” she thought. “I don’t know what it could be.”

        “Backtrace,” Jake instructed. “What happened today?”  

        “Well first since I got here, I of course roasted Drew. Then I of course made some puns. I went on the tour with Piper and Annabeth . . . drama. Not getting into details. Awesome came around to say hi. Uh, Annabeth and I got in a fight, because we were having some technical difficulties with the server. Piper borrowed my phone to call her dad. Hush, hush about that. Then she gave it and I—I . . .”

        Jaia felt her back pocket. The phone.

        “And what, Jaia?” Jake asked concernedly.

        “The . . . phone’s . . .  gonna . . . ring,” Jaia stuttered. A moment passed. A long pause that made Jaia eery and bible came up the back of her throat. She swallowed it down, scared to say the next words.

        “Jaia, ten seconds,”  the voice Jaia knew too well, whispered, and sent chills down her back.

        “Five,” she said into the silence.

        Jake looked at her, his eyes widening at what she meant. And Leo who she forgotten awhile ago, stood there petrified. Warm brown eyes clashing with emotionless, haunted, emerald gems, gleaming oddly. A way everyone thought she was cursed, and she had been, it all started with her birth, the baby coming out of her mother’s womb, looking more like Aphrodite than her mother or father.

        “Four.”

        Her countdown continued, and the seconds ticked by slow as an hourglass without sand. She drew a map out of her jacket. A path to the forges; she knew she wouldn’t be able to. Annabeth was going to call her in less than a few seconds. She quickly mapped out the route and wrote a message on the side.

        “Three. Two. One.”

        Silence. A plausible time in a horror movie, when the character realized the storm was coming. Until they found out, it was already there.

        The phone rang.

        Chainsaws and high-pitched screams filled the tension in the air.

        “Seriously? Horror?” Jake said. “That’s your ring tone?”

        Jaia didn’t answer.

        “Are you gonna pick that up?” Leo asked. “Jaia?”

        She wouldn’t look at him, instead her attention was focused to the cell phone screaming in her pocket. Literally.  

        “You gotta pick that up, you know that, Jaia. Whatever the reason is, you have to pick that up, Jaia. Right now. Someone needs you to answer.”

        Jaia stared at him and visibly swallowed, knowing she was about to approach her doom. She shakily pulled out the clear smart device and pressed the green phone icon. She held it up to her ear. The cool screen pressed up to her ear. She studied her black, chipped nail polished finger nails. Calm down, she commanded.  It’s not the time to be scared.

        “Hello?”

        “Jade,” a frantic voice announced, “Hera Cabin. Rachel. Prophecy. Piper.”

        The device almost fell out of her hands. She had to be strong, especially for Annabeth on the other line. Now was not the time to be weak.

        “Put the phone on speaker, Annabeth. Now.”

        “Jade . . . I um . . .”

        “It’s the one with the microphone and sound waves.”

        The line exchanged and—  

        “Free me,” a lady roared, “Free me, Piper Mclean, or the earth shall swallow us.”

        The lady, Jaia recognized that voice, it was . . . Hera. The deep voice. An older woman. Trapped the voice seemed to scream. Trapped. Threatened. Jaia didn’t need anymore confirmation.  

        “I’m coming over there now. Stay on speaker phone.”  

        “Jake! Leo!” Jaia called out, with her phone pressed against her ear. “I got to go this instant.”

        Jaia forcefully shoved the map into the Leo’s hands, who didn’t move a muscle.

      “It’s written down how to get to the Forges’, and leave Jake to sleep. He has to recover.”

        “I’m over here, you know,” Jake grunted.

        “I know, but you never listen to me.”

        “It’s not that I don’t—”

        “I don’t have time, Jake. Annabeth. I got to go!”  

        She threw the hoverboard down onto the group and flipped to switch. Immediately, with no delays, it hummed to life, it’s motor kicking in the jets firing. She shakily hurried herself onto the board and stabilized her balance. Jaia pressed her foot down on the purple scanner, so it could begin to defy gravity. Successfully, it picked her up and she stered it out of the cabin as she would have normally done on a skateboard.

        In the distance, Leo was looking back at her and Jaia could still hear the boys’ conversation, thanks to her perspective hearing.

        “Who is that girl?” Leo wondered.

        “That girl, she’s our Jaia,” Jake answered.

       As she flew on the hoverboard, getting shaking of heads from the campers below as she whizzed by, she thought out the message she wrote on the side of Leo’s Map. ‘It was not your fault,’ the words echoed in her mind. 'You didn’t kill her, Leo. You didn’t murder Esmeralda, your mother,  I know it.

        Jaia was about to dwell on it more, when a loud voice boomed coming from Hera’s Cabin. Chills rolled down her back. Relax, she cooed. It’s just Hera. Mean, old scary Hera. Yeah, I didn’t make myself feel any better.

        At all the times the hoverboard could die, it died, and Jaia fell, reminding herself that she was not an egg. The impact was hard as she tucked her legs under and rolled, to avoid any damage to her bones. She brushed herself off, leaving the hoverboard, which was now in a million pieces, lying on the ground, when she briskly ran into Hera’s Cabin.

        Rachel held onto Piper’s shoulders. Rachel? When did she get back? Piper’s face, Jaia couldn’t forget that face of terror. That complete look, the look of immediate death, and how Rachel’s eyes were enchantedly a blazing green, harsh. Harsher than Jaia’s shattered glass orbs. The voice spoke out again and Jaia stepped forward, entranced. Our enemies stir. The fiery is only the first. Bow to his will, and his king shall rise, dooming us all. FREE ME!

        Piper’s knees collapsed from under wait. Her and Rachel’s bodies lying on the ground like rag dolls. Red and brown hair spilling all over their shirts and pants.

        Jaia and Annabeth exchanged a glance. They knew what this meant. They needed help. This was the start of a new quest.

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