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This story was voted the Article of the Month for {{{1}}}!

Hi! I'm Amberfire3, dauther of Hecate! I'm new here... so yeah. Leo is cool. So I made a story about him/Piper. Then it escalated into a crazy story about OC's and a different 7 heroes... and.. yep.

===NEW: OK, so at the beginning of each chapter I put a different Owl City song quote! Beacuse I'm that much of a Hoot Owl. So if you're an Owl Xity fan too, tell me in the talk page what the name of every song is! I'll give you.... free rainbow llamas or something. ^_^

The Flaming Dove
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Chapter 1 -Leo~ Flaming Valdez gets... Angsty?

It's quite clear that I'm stuck here

So I'll devise a plan and cut out a door in my new living room floor

The porch light is so bright

That I will quickly sneak down the dark metal shape of the rusty fire escape.

I was sitting in my room on the Argo II. It was a large, comfy room with a porthole window and lots of flame-colored beanbags. I had tacked up lots of pictures of Jason, Piper and I on my walls, and the porthole had a clear view of Festus' head. But, even with this epic room, I was miserable. I had taken to locking myself in my room for hours at time, just to think, and (though it's hard to admit) sometimes cry. Since when did Flaming Valdez, supreme commander of the Argo II, become so... angsty?

Well, you see, when Jason's memories came back, so did mine. The Mist that had fogged up my brain for so long had lifted. And now I remember everything.

It was me who had become Piper's best friend at the Wilderness School.

It was me who had set fire to Coach Hedge's pants that memorable day.

And it was me who had gone up onto the dorm roof the night of the meteor shower and summoned the courage to kiss Piper.

When the memories filtered back, I stopped talking for a few days. I went into ultra-fixing mode, and that helped take my mind off of it. But they noticed, and asked me what was wrong. I was stubborn, and said 'Nothing' like it was no big deal. But I was burning inside.

Piper doesn't remember, I don't think. Lucky girl. I think Aphrodite was kind enough to make her stay in Mist-mode. As I pondered this, I summoned some scraps from my tool-belt absent-mindedly, and I was done before I realized what I was doing. I had made a small model of Festus' head.

I missed Festus. He was like a best friend to me. I was no longer a third wheel when he was around. We were in pairs: Piper and Jason, and Festus and I.

Wow. Creepy. I was paired up with an automaton, while Piper- Piper had her Jason.

I sat up on my beanbag at this. It was almost dinner. Dinner on the Argo II... It's pretty boring, though the food is first-class.

I exited my room, walked down the hallway and pushed open the Dining Room door.

Clarisse, Annabeth and Piper were already there, talking about what would happen at Camp Jupiter. Annabeth was twirling a gray strand in her hair, which I noticed she did when she was nervous or exited. Clarisse had her Doc Martens on the table and was picking at her teeth with a carving knife, which was normal. And Piper was chewing her lip. Man, she was cute when she chewed her lip.

"Hey, guys!" I exclaimed as I approached. "What's up?"

"Oh, you know, talking about the Romans..." Annabeth trailed off. "Leo, where have you been all day, anyway? You missed lunch!"

"Er, I was.. in the boiler room," I lied. "The fire was dying."

"So you gave it fire... all day?" Piper asked sceptically.

"Uh.. yeah. And I.. uh.. adjusted the Dubstep soundboard."

"Hmm." Annabeth wasn't buying it.

"So, any screaming men in purple togas yet?" I joked nervously.

"Leo, we're five days away from Camp Jupiter. We left Camp Half-Blood yesterday."

"I was kidding! Anyway, where're the others?"

"Well," Clarisse said. "Hedge is sleeping, Jason is sending an Iris-message to Thalia, and Connor, Travis and Grover are finishing their game of Guitar Hero. Pretty much like normal."

"Ah. When's the dinner bell going to-"

I was cut off by, obviously, the dinner bell. Connor, Travis, Grover and Jason wandered in all at different times, but Coach Hedge seemed to still be asleep. Good riddance. The cooks onboard, Mellie and Argus (who knew they were good at cooking?), presented their food, an odd mixture of cheeseburgers and fancy Italian pasta. As we all chomped down on our food, pretty soon the conversation turned to Percy Jackson and Camp Jupiter. I stopped listening.

Jason was doing most of the talking, obviously, but I didn't really care, to be honest. I caught words like 'senate' and 'Terminus' and 'praetor' and 'Reyna'. Wait.. who was Reyna? I hadn't heard her name in the conversations before.

"Reyna is praetor currently, unless she's stepped down, or been... killed. There might be another praetor by now, since I left, but I doubt it. I was praetor with Reyna, and you don't want to get on her bad side. But if you're her... friend, she should be okay."

Man, these talks were always boring. Or depressing, like yesterday, when Jason had told us about Camp Jupiter's feelings for Greeks. About how they would probably kill us without explanation.

But as I watched Jason, I saw how his face sort of.. lit up whenever he mentioned this Reyna girl. And he mentioned her a lot.

Hmm... this could be fun. I had never seen Piper jealous before. And, maybe, just maybe, she'd come to me instead of him. I had a lot of grudges against Jason. He stole Piper from me, he was Roman, so he got all the attention, even though he is kind of... dim. And he's always so... perfect. He'd sacrifice anything for his friends...? Psh, yeah right. I can tell when something's just an act. He's the son of the King of the Gods, for goodness sake! They'd be talking about him for years, and I'd just be his trusty sidekick, Flaming Valdez, the dangerous fire guy who had a magic tool belt.

As I watched the others natter away, I thought to myself, when am I gonna get some glory over here?

Chapter 2- Piper~ Hot Stuff and Stolen Kisses

This is me praying that this was the very first page

Not where the story line ends

My thoughts will echo your name until I see you again

These are the words I held back as I was leaving too soon

I was enchanted to meet you too..

"And Reyna is a daughter of Bellona, the war godess, so she's good in a fight. But she might be persuaded to kill us. Piper, maybe you should use charmspeak," Jason was saying, "and persuade them to hear us out."

"Huh?" I was so distracted by how hot Jason looked that I barely heard what he'd said. I saw Leo rolling his eyes on the far side of the table. I focused on the task.

"So, you want me to charmspeak the Romans?" I asked.

"Um, yeah. We should have Leo make a bullhorn again, and you can tell them to drop their weapons and that we want to talk."

"Okay, let me try," I said eagerly. When they nodded, I cooed in my most charm-speaky voice, "Drop your weapons. We come in peace. We want to talk with you."

Clarisse dropped her carving knife on the table. I winced. I had forgotten how weak Clarisse was when it came to charm-speaking.

"Hey, Clarisse, snap out of it," I whispered. She jerked and looked around wildly.

"Sorry! Sorry!" Clarisse exclaimed. She picked up her knife and smiled sheepishly.

"Okay.. maybe I should practice in my room," I said. "I'm done with my food anyway." I walked out of the Dining Room. I avoided my room, though, and went to the front of the ship and stared down at the states of America that were whizzing past. I felt so at peace when I stood there, like I was meditating or something.

"Hey Piper!"

I jumped. Then I realized it was only Leo. I grinned and faced him.

"What do you want, Valdez?"

"Nothing. I like coming up here to be with Festus. Sometimes, I swear, he talks to me!"

I was surprised and stared him in the eye. "Really?

"Nah, I'm just messing with ya. Breath mint?" he asked, pulling a packet from his toolbelt. I laughed. Breath mints seemed to be his signature object.

"No thanks. I'd better get back to my room, and practice my charm-speaking," I answered. Leo looked disappointed, somehow.

"Hey, Leo, are you OK?"

"Huh? Um, yeah, I'm.. fine."

I could tell he was lying. He fiddled with some gears and wrenches, like he did when he was nervous.

"What's wrong, Leo?" I wondered out loud.

"Er.. nothing, Piper. Nothing.." he replied. I wasn't convinced.

"Seriously. What's-"

Then he kissed me.

His lips were so warm, like I was kissing a fire. He was hot. Not in the appearance way. I mean, heat-hot. But I guess he was handsome, too. Fireworks exploded in my brain, bringing back memories that weren't there before. Leo, setting fire to Hedge's pants. Leo, laughing with me about some stupid joke. Leo, kissing me on the dorm roof... For one blissful moment, everything was perfect.

But what about Jason? I thought. Sweet, kind Jason...

I came to my senses and pushed Leo away. His dark, laughing eyes were serious and sad.

"Piper- I'm so.."

"Leave me alone, please. Just.. go away," I pleaded. His gaze hardened.

"Is this about Jason?" Leo spat the name with contempt. I didn't answer and stormed off. Then I paused. Jason himself was standing off to the side with a stony face, glaring at Leo. He had obviously seen the whole thing.

He didn't see me, so I ran off to my room, and slammed the door. Then I started crying. Luckily, Leo had made the room soundproof, like all the rooms on the ship. I looked at every photo plastered on my wall. Most of them were of the three of us- Leo, Jason and I- but I had a few photos of just Jason, and one of Leo and I.

The door eased open with a creak. I got up hastily, all ready to slam the door in the face of Leo- or Jason- when I found myself staring into the calculating gray eyes of Annabeth.

"Hey," she murmured. "I saw what happened. Can I... come in?"

I was stunned. "Um, sure, I guess. Though I don't really want to talk about it."

"Talking about things helps you get over them. Well, it works for me, anyway."

She entered the room and sat on one of my hot-pink chairs.

"So, how did it happen?"

"Well.. um... we were just joking around and then I said that I'd better get back to my room to practice charm-speaking, and he didn't seem very happy. So I asked him what was wrong and... he just.. kissed me."

"Hmmm. But did you want to kiss him?"

"I- I- I don't know. You remember the story about Jason kissing me on the dorm roof and how it was just the Mist messing with me?"

"Yeah?"

"Well, it happened, but not with Jason. It was Leo."

"Ah. I see."

"So I'm not sure if I should like Jason, or Leo, or neither..."

"Maybe it's just your mom messing up your life," Annabeth mused.

"I don't think she would.."

"My mom didn't want me to date Percy, maybe your mom doesn't like Jason so much."

"Oh yeah?" I wasn't entirely convinced. But the thought of the fireworks with Leo made up my mind. He was cute after all, he was funny and sweet...

"Um, I think I'll call it a night."

"Okay. Just remember, if you want to talk about it, I'm always here." And with that, Annabeth left my room.

I collapsed onto my rose-colored water bed.

Mom, why do you make everything so complicated?

Chapter 3- Leo~ Pipes Gets Blown Away... Literally

I feel like I'm falling

So Darling, don't let me go


The thought is appalling

But should I slip away into the stormy sea

Will you remember me..


I blew it. I am such an idiot! Why did I have to kiss her? And if I did, why didn't I check to see if Jason was watching?

I cursed myself while I lounged on a beanbag in my room. I had locked the door and the windows- just to make sure. I didn't realize I was crying until a tear fell off my nose and onto my hand.

Piper had held onto the kiss for a second there... Who am I kidding? I thought. She probably never wants to see me again. I sighed loudly and hoped Piper would hear me so she would see how sorry I felt. Then I remembered that I had made the room soundproof.

What had my father said in that dream many months ago, when we were still on our quest? Something about not working well with organic life forms?

Great, I thought. That gene is hereditary.

I checked the clock on my bedside table, which read 7:05. It was way too early to go to sleep, but I didn't want to be forced to go back to the Dining Room and plan what to do at Camp Jupiter, so I sunk into my foam matress and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

I dreamed I was back at the front of the Argo II. Piper was right there, but whenever I talked to her or touched her she turned to smoke. I called for help but the winds picked up and were so intense I couldn't say or do anything for fear of being carried overboard. I spotted Jason manipulating the winds nearby, so I summoned fire and blasted it at him, and he just blew it away with the winds, and Piper was yelling at us both to stop and then- the dream changed.

I was in a cave. It wasn't, like, a regular cave that was covered with moss and bones and stuff, but it was a luxury cave, if that exists. The walls were clean and moss-free, and the floor was covered in mismatched carpets. There was a door with curtains that had snakes on them. And there was a girl sitting on a white couch in the middle of the room.

The girl was about my age, maybe a little older, with a shock of bright red, curly hair and green eyes. Her face was covered in freckles and she was tall and slim. She was wearing a bright green t-shirt with the words 'Art is Life' on it and there were marker doodles all over her jeans. She smiled at me and said, "Hello, Leo, my name is Rachel Elizabeth Dare. Er, I sort of hijacked your dream, is that okay?"

I nodded dumbly. I had seen her before, at a couple of campfires, and I knew who she was. I mean, she had recited the prophecy that made me go on the quest with Piper and Jason! She looked different in daylight, though.

"Uh, hi. Why am I here, exactly, Rachel?" I asked.

"Oh, yeah. Um, yesterday I made a prophecy."

"And...?"

"It went like this:

Son of fire, beware the sky,

The dove will fall by lightning's eye

And only magic will heal a heart

Then for the dove, the flame departs

The eagle sinks in his despair

While fire and dove sail the ship in the air."

"Oh. Wow. Did you say something about the dove.. falling?" I asked. A terrible thought ran through me: Piper was the dove.

"Yeah. Um, I don't know what it means either, but I'm pretty sure fire represents Hephaestus, the dove represents Aphrodite and lightning and eagles are symbols of Zeus. I know you're ADHD, Leo, so I've written it down for you, in case you forget it. And I know you're terrified of the prophecy, and I am too. I don't want anyone to fall, or sink, or whatever. So make sure you-"

But I heard a horrifying, disturbing scream and Rachel vanished. I knew it was Piper. I was back in my room and Piper was in trouble.

The prophecy, written in clear printing, was in my hand. I pocketed it and sneaked a look at my clock as I hurriedly rushed out the door, still putting on my tool-belt. It was 4:32 am. I rushed out to the main deck and kept myself hidden, just in case. Then I saw them.

Jason was holding her down at her neck with his new sword. She was still in her white nightgown and her hair was a mess. Her eyes looked around wildly.

"Don't move or even think about screaming again. And don't charmspeak me either, or I swear I'll do it!" he whispered. I was stunned. Why would Jason want to kill Piper?

I pulled out a gigantic hammer from my tool-belt and readied myself for charging at him. Then I realized that it would be a stupid thing to do. Jason would see me and instantly kill Piper. No, the best thing to do would be to go to Annabeth and Argus. They would do something.

But I really just wanted to go over there and defend her. She would probably be killed soon anyway. So, I did the stupidest thing I have ever done in my entire life. I charged.

I was lucky Jason didn't see me at first, or else I'd have died straight away. Piper gave me away when I was right next to him. She looked at me with wide eyes and Jason looked where she was staring. His eyes found mine. I had the advantage of surprise, so I knocked him on the head with full force. The blow should have made him pass out, but he stayed standing with his sword to Piper's throat.

"Ha," he said, his ice-blue eyes flashing. "You think your stupid hammer is going to knock me out? Please, Leo, will you ever learn?"

"Let go of Piper," I hissed. "What has she ever done to you?"

"Oh, the usual stuff. Like betraying me and running of with Flaming Valdez."

"Hey, she didn't 'run off' with me. If you actually asked her, she would tell you that I kissed her, and she ran away from me because she didn't want to betray you. Let her go, do whatever you like with me!" I pleaded.

"Nice try, Valdez. I can tell she likes you. Only the Mist tied her to me."

Then he shot a gust of freezing wind at me. I don't know how, but I was suddenly paralyzed by the wind, and I couldn't move when Jason lifted Piper up and tossed her over the edge of the ship. I could see her falling down, her screams lost to the wind.

No! I wanted to scream. I couldn't believe my eyes. Piper, oh Piper...

It was all my fault. Why did I have to kiss her?

I found I could move again, and Jason didn't stop me when I ran to the edge of the ship and jumped.

Chapter 4- Piper~ Only Magic

Leaning back, the pilot smiled

And shouted, "Have a good trip!"

I signed off and closed my eyes

Then I was falling through the sky...

I was so stupid. I couldn't sleep with the guilt, so I had slipped a note under Jason's door at 4:25, bearing the words: Meet me at the main deck in five minutes. I'm sorry. There's something important that I have to tell you.

He came at 4:30 exactly, but he looked different. He was holding his sword, and there was a steely glint in his blue eyes.

"Jason, what's wrong?" I had asked him.

"Oh, nothing," he had replied nonchalantly. "Just my heart breaking into two-million pieces."

That's when he had pinned me down with his sword. I had screamed so loudly I was sure someone would hear it. But no one came. I was so sure I was about to die when I spotted Leo sneaking towards Jason, a gigantic hammer in his hands. I tried not to stare at him or give him away, but it was like someone had said, "You have to not look at that guy". So, of course, I looked straight at him.

I was such a fool. And now I was plummeting towards the Earth from a height of about 10,000 feet. I screamed and screamed but no one heard. The winds had taken my voice.

Now I realized how evil Jason was. Was he going to go back to his room and pretend he didn't know anything? Was he going to stay there and say Leo had jumped off the Argo II with me in his arms and there was nothing he could do to save her?

He had pretty much killed the girl he loved as payback for loving someone else. Normal boys would have cried or given her the cold shoulder, but no, Jason just had to go all out and try to murder her.

I couldn't look down, so I looked up instead. Instead of seeing a warship grow farther and farther away from me, I saw Leo. Leo?

He was about 100 feet above me, screaming wildly, and he was holding something in his arms. It was a couple of brightly colored pieces of fabric with strings attached. Then I realized they were parachutes.

We were almost at the ground. There was no point in passing me the parachute.

But he did, and I miraculously caught it. I fumbled with the straps 200 feet above the ground, then I released the parachute. I floated down easily and landed- well, I didn't know where we were. It was the middle of a forest, and it was getting light. An owl hooted in his tree.

Leo was almost at the ground, but then he crash-landed and sat in a crumpled heap.

"Leo!" I shouted. "Oh gods, oh gods, oh gods..."

I ran towards him, and I saw that he had landed on a mangled tree stump. I hauled him off of it, but he was bleeding. A lot. Apparently an extremely sharp branch had pierced him right in his chest. Right at his heart.

I knew that no tree would actually have a branch incidentally in that exact spot. This was the work of some god.

The body in my hands moaned. Leo was still alive!

'Ambrosia and nectar," I murmured. He was thankfully still wearing his toolbelt. I asked it for amrosia and nectar, but nothing came out. I repeated the order. Still nothing. Maybe the belt was still cooling down from the parachutes, or maybe it just couldn't produce magical items.

"A bandage, then," I whispered. I reached into the belt and pulled it out. I wrapped it around the wound as best I could, but I wasn't Apollo's daughter. I couldn't do anything.

But there was something...

"Leo," I whispered. Charm-speak would help. I was sure it would. "Leo, nothing's wrong. You're not hurt. Your wound is closing. Everything is fine."

I opened the bandage, and I saw that the wound was closed. I breathed a sigh of relief. Then it fell open again, bleeding even more heavily.

His heart was still beating, though it was uneven. That wasn't a good sign.

Then I saw something sticking out of Leo's jeans. A piece of paper, written on in clear printing.

A prophecy.

I read it hurriedly, ancious to see what it said. If it involved Leo, it wouldn't end well.

Son of fire, beware the sky,

The dove will fall by lightning's eye...

Well, that came true, didn't it? I thought, intrigued. I'm the dove, Leo's the son of fire, Jason's the lightning, it all fits...

I was interrupted when someone coughed. I looked up.

It was a woman in dark robes, with a dog and a polecat beside her. She had an exotic face, dark yet beautiful. She was holding two torches in her hands. I remembered something from my Greek mythology reseach with my father.

"Hecate. Goddess of Magic, and Crossroads. Mother of Circe."

"Yes, child," Hecate said. Her voice was honey smooth. "Your friend, the son of Hephaestus, he's hurt."

Duh! I wanted to shout. But it was a goddess, so I stayed calm.

"Yes, ma'am. He landed on a branch and it scratched his heart, I think. I don't have nectar or ambrosia, and I'm not sure even that will work.."

"No, child, it won't work. That branched was cursed by.. ah yes.. Zeus himself. And.. Aphrodite as well? Only very powerful magic will heal that wound."

Leo moaned again. "You mean to say," I said, my voice shaking, "that he will die?"

"No, no, you don't understand. I am the goddess of magic. Only I can heal that wound. But why should I?" Hecate slyly looked me over. Her dog barked loudly.

I had nothing with me except the clothes on my back and Leo's toolbelt. I had even been stupid enough not to bring my sword! There wasn't anything I could give the goddess. Unless..

"I- I'll give you my power.. to charm-speak."

"Really? Now, what would I do with that?" she chuckled. "I already have that power. I'm sorry dear, but if there is nothing you can give me..."

I sobbed. Hecate turned.

"Actually, there is something you can give me..."

She walked back to me and a bottle appeared in her hands. She bent over and collected a couple of tears in the bottle.

"Demigod tears. All I needed to complete my newest potion!"

I was confused. "Why couldn't you just go up to a demigod and ask them for their tears yourself? I mean, you're a goddess, you can do anything, right?"

"Ah, but Piper, the cause of the tears has to be for love. Real, true love. It won't work otherwise."

And with a snap of her fingers, the wound in Leo's chest closed. He jolted awake, mumbling about falling.

"Goodbye now, dear child. I must remind you not to go looking for Jason. With your luck, he will find you."

With one twirl of her torches, the goddess dissolved into gold sparks, her dog and polecat growling one last time before bursting into flame.

Leo stared straight at me, his warm, coal-black eyes cloudy and unsure.

"Pipes, what happened?"

Chapter 5- Leo~ Guess who Left the Fire On?

There were skies that burst open with a downpour to drown me alive

But the world took a spark like a match in the dark and the fire brought me to life..

I didn't really remeber what happened next. One moment I was falling from the Argo II, then I had opened the parachute, and then.. I had woken up at the sound of a woman's voice. But when I opened my eyes to look for the woman, she was gone, and Piper was there. She ran at me, and hugged me so hard I felt like a Cyclops was crushing me.

"Oh, Leo, Leo, Leo!" she murmured. "You saved my life!"

It was true, of course. But she had saved me lots of times before. Anyway, we needed to do something... about Jason.

"What do we do about Jason?" I asked Piper. "He's probably telling everyone about how we committed group suicide, Romeo-and-Juliet style."

"Huh, maybe. I just hope we can go back. The Great Prophecy and all..." she trailed off.

"If the Great Prophecy involves Jason, I don't want to be part of it!" I snapped.

"I... I agree." Piper sounded a little strange.

I pulled her closer and looked right into her eyes. "Piper, are you still in love with Jason?"

"Uh.. I'm not sure right now. I'm so confused..."

I was disappointed, but not surprised. Perhaps Aphrodite is working a little love magic on her, I mused.

"Well, I'm gonna make some tacos! Don't worry, I'll make tofu," I announced after a few moments of awkward silence. Piper nodded, her eyes unfocused.

I summoned the ingredients and made a small fire. I hummed as I cooked, not sure what song I was humming.

Piper looked at me strangely. "Valdez, you just sang the theme song from King of Sparta!"

I remembered watching that movie a long time ago, with a particularly nice foster family. That didn't stop me from running away, though...

"Hey! Valdez! Your tacos are burning!"

I snapped out of it and quickly got the tofu off the grill.

"One extra large tofu-and-red pepper taco for the lady, and one extra-extra large beef-and-chili supreme taco for me!" I declared, handing her the taco.

We ate in silence, watching the forest for monsters. Luckily nothing came. It was just about sunrise, after all. Mosters were weakest at this time of day.

"Okay, Piper, do you want to get some rest? It's been a long night," I suggested.

"Leo, it's 6:30 am. Why would we sleep now?"

"Well, I thought it would be a good idea if we slept now and walked later. Something tells me you didn't have much sleep last night."

Piper nodded grimly. "I guess you're right. Where are we going to walk, anyway?"

"Back to Camp Half-Blood, I guess. To tell our story."

I summoned two small sleeping bags from the belt. It would take a while to cool down, but we couldn't sleep on the ground.

I left the fire going for warmth, and we shuffled into our sleeping bags.

I fell asleep almost immediately. Luckily, it was a peaceful, dreamless sleep.

And then I woke up to the real nightmare.

Fire was raging around our makeshift campsite, devouring the trees and the ground. Piper was screaming, beating her sleeping bag against the ground to snuff out some flames. She wasn't doing it fast enough. Fire licked her legs and she fell into the sea of flames. I lay there helplessly, fire-free. I tried to stop all of the flames but I just couldn't. I guess I was only made for kindling fire, not destroying it. I got up and ran to Piper. As soon as I touched her the flames around her died. All of the flames died. She looked into my eyes, her face twisted with pain.

"My.. my leg hurts," she whispered, her voice cracking.

I took a look at it.

"No," I muttered. Her leg was smoking faintly, red and scabby. It was mottled red, pus yellow, pink and dark brown. Black scorch marks were scattered all over her leg. It was pulsing to the beat of her heart. It looked like her foot had died. A third-degree burn.

"What? What's wrong?" She sat up, then immediately fell back down again.

"Um, Pipes, Your leg was really badly burnt. I don't think you'll be able to walk again, unless you have some ambrosia, or nectar."

"Too bad we don't have any of that."

"Yeah."

Then I realized that this whole fire was my fault. It was either the fire I left on, or I had unknowingly started a fire in my sleep. I had caused this. Piper's leg was burnt.. because of me.

"I have to leave," I mumbled, stumbling up.

"What? Why?" Piper asked.

"Duh," I said. "I started the stupid fire. You'll never walk again." Tears were openly streaming down my face now. I had to look away from Piper's leg.

She shook out her messy hair. "I don't blame you! Accidents happen!"

"That's what I am, an accident. Look, Pipes, I can't endanger you like this anymore. What if.." I gulped. "What if next time I get you killed?"

"I'm sure that won't happen," Piper reassured me, before starting to tremble and whimper with the pain of her leg.

"Look. Cold water's probably the best thing you can do for the burn. I- I have to leave. You'll get killed otherwise. Bye, I'll.. I'll miss you."

Then I kissed her, for luck. Her breath tasted like smoke. And I left, to go somewhere else, anywhere but here.

Chapter 6- Piper~ The Most Godly Teenager Ever

My burns were third degree,

But I'd been set free...

I didn't know where I was, I couldn't walk and I had no food or water.

Cold water's probably the best thing you can do for the burn.

Thanks, Leo, I thought dryly. What water? And how am I supposed to get there?

I had been sitting there for about 20 minutes, twiddling my thumbs and trying not to faint from pain and dehydration, when something appeared in front of me in a flash of fire. I screamed, but then realized it was just a small model of Festus' head. Leo?

There was a note taped to it, written on in messy handwriting.

Hey Pipes,

Good news is we landed in a forest in Kentucky.
It's not too far from camp.      
Bad news is I didn't give you anything to help you walk.
Sorry about that.       
Remember Festus' flickering eye...

I'm sorry,but leaving you was the only way to keep you safe.
Don't forget about me.

Leo


That doesn't help me very much, I thought, annoyed. And what's with 'Festus' flickering eye'? And, how is Kentucky not far from camp?

I picked up the model of Festus again. It had been made with remarkable detail. The eyes were red and everything.

Festus' flickering eye...

I pushed on one of the model's eyes. A button popped out of its ear, bearing the note: To Camp Half-Blood. In wonder, I pressed the button.

I was sucked into the tiny head. I tried screaming but my mouth was pressed shut. It felt like I was being squashed into a tiny cylinder. Then I blacked out.

*********

I dreamed I was stuck in the fire again. It was practically the same, though Leo wasn't there. It was Jason.

He kept hitting the ground with lightning, which started even more fires.

"You like it hot, don't you, Piper?" Jason sneered. "Why else would you go for scrawny Leo?"

I tried to tell him how wrong he was, when the pain became too much. I screamed, in angony, then Jason pulled the air out of my lungs with his wind powers. I stumbled around, gasping for breath, but he wouldn't give me any oxygen. That and the smoke left me blue in the face. I frantically ran around, searching for air, but I couldn't get any. The world darkened and I fell into a sea of fire...

*********

"Shh, she's coming around," a familiar voice muttered. I opened my eyes to see Chiron, Rachel Dare and a teenage guy with golden hair and a bright smile standing over me. The teenager looked troubled, even though he was seriously cute. He looked like one of the guys from the Apollo cabin, though I'd never seen him before.

The first thing I felt was excrutiating pain. It was my leg. Then I felt my head hurting. Then I felt relief, because I was alive.

"What- what happened?" I whispered. Chiron grimaced.

"Nyssa found you in the Hephaestus cabin. You were holding this." Chiron handed me the model of Festus' head. "You were moaning about something... a fire."

"Well, duh!" Rachel murmured. "How else would she get such a bad burn?"

The teenage guy smiled. "Hey, who are you, anyway?" I asked him.

"I, Piper, am Apollo."

"Wait... what? Really?" I said, in shock. There was no way this teenager could be a god.

"Yeah. I know, shocking, right? Anyway, I happened to stop by."

I knew that was bull. He was the god of healing and prophecy. He had obviously known I was going to be injured.

"Okay, Apollo, tell me why you're really here," I said.

"Oh, I like this girl. She's got spunk!" Apollo declared. "Alright, I'm here to heal you, since none of my children could do it. It looks like some god fixed your injury or something. But I guess I'll be able to do it. I'm the god of prophecy. I know you're important!"

He fixed his hands onto my leg. I braced myself for pain, but all I felt was a glowing warmth. Literally. When I looked over to my leg, I saw it was shining with golden light. After about 30 seconds, I found my leg completely healed. I sat up, threw the covers back and tentatively took a step. I took another, and soon enough I was walking around my infirmary bed.

"Okay, if you're well enough for that, my job is done here!" Apollo announced. He turned into a ball of light, and we all looked away as he transformed into a supernova.

"Now, Piper," Chiron said. "What happened?"

I explained everything; the kiss, Jason turning into a maniac, us falling, the fire, how I got here.

Chiron narrowed his when I told him how Jason tossed me overboard.

"Dirty Roman. I never trusted him."

Sure, Chiron.

I finished my story. Chiron promptly left to send an Iris-message to everyone, including the people on the Argo II.

Rachel looked very troubled.

"What's wrong?" I questioned.

"I should have forseen this. The prophecy.." she mumbled. I remembered the prophecy from Leo's pocket. I recited it.

"Son of fire, beware the sky,

The dove will fall by lightning's eye

And only magic will heal a heart

Then for the dove, the flame departs.. But that did happen!" I realized. "Jason is lightning, he tossed me over the edge, and Hecate, she's magic, she healed Leo, and the Leo left for my safety, or wahtever his excuse was... It all fits!"

"You're right." Rachel said. "I need to think. I'll be up in the Rachel-cave. And, Piper, isn't there a cabin you need to see to?"

"Oh, yeah." I had made Mitchell temporary counsellor of Cabin 10 in my absence. "I'd better get back to them."

Then I walked back to the Aphrodite cabin. I heard shouting and arguing through the door. I pushed it open.

Drew was standing up straight, looking down on Mitchell and Lacy, who were cleaning garbage off the floor. Lacy was wearing the Shoes of Shame.

I strolled in, and everyone gasped except for Drew.

"Piper, you're back!" squealed Lacy, and she ran to hug me. I grinned. Lacy and I had become good friends during my time at Camp Half-Blood.

Drew sneered at me. "Oh, McLean's back from her little trip. Too chicken to see it through?"

"Garbage patrol for the next week, Drew," I said nonchalantly. "Or have you forgotten who's senior counsellor? Also, for your information, I came back because Jason tried to kill me."

Utter silence.

"But, Piper," a girl called Ivy called out. "Jason's, like, your boyfriend. Why would he try to kill you?"

I retold my story. The rest of them sat silently, in awe, even Drew. I embellished the romantic sort-of parts, like when Leo first kissed me, because I knew they would like those bits best. I answered all sorts of questions. But I was exhausted.

"Now can I please get some sleep?" I asked wearily.

Without waiting for an answer, I clambered into bed and fell fast asleep.

Chapter 7- Piper~ I Make Four New BFFs

Home will always be here, unseen, outta sight

Where I disappear and hide

I think dreamy things as I'm waving goodbye

So I'll spread out my wings and fly..


I woke up to a bright, sunny day. Sunlight was filtering in through the windows, and a cool breeze tickled my face. Then, I remembered. Leo was out there somewhere, alone. Jason was on the Argo II, probably thinking up another evil plan. And I was lying in my bed in Camp Half-Blood, not doing anything about it.

I clambered out of bed and yawned. It was very early in the morning, and no one else was awake yet. I strolled out of the cabin and sat down on a bench placed near the Mess Hall. I sat there, thinking about ways I could find Leo, or kill Jason, when I heard footsteps behind me.

I turned around to see three girls of about my age walking towards me.

One of them had wavy flame-red hair and unusual amber-colored eyes. She was tall and skinny, with freckles. She had a dreamy look about her. I thought I recognised her from the Apollo cabin.

Another was quite short and slim, and had dark brown hair that was frizzy and fell in ringlets. She had green eyes, but when I looked closer, they flashed grey and brown. She was wearing a black leather jacket over her orange t-shirt.

The last one had platinum blonde, long hair that was poker-straight. Her eyes were grey, which reminded me of Annabeth, though she wore square glasses. Then I realized that she was from the Athena cabin. She was fiddling with an owl-shaped keychain.

"Um... what are you guys doing here?" I said tentatively. They looked at each other and the blonde one nodded, which looked like a signal.

The short one with the curly hair stepped forward. "We couldn't help overhearing what happened.. to you.. over the past few days. We were thinking that you might want to get revenge on Jason, or else find Leo."

Wow. When had everyone become able to read me so well?

The blond girl whispered in the short one's ear, and she spoke again.

"Sorry, forgot to introduce ourselves..." she told me sheepishly. "I'm Luna Goodfellow, daughter of Hecate. She," Luna pointed to the red-head, "Is Calliope Smith, daughter of Apollo. And," she indicated the blonde girl, "she is Amber Silverberg, daughter of Athena."

"Pleased to meet you," I said politely. "Now what were you talking about before?"

Amber stepped forward. "Well, the three of us, we're sort of best friends. We were walking to Luna's cabin when we passed by yours. You were telling the Aphrodite cabin about your... adventure. We listened, and we decided we wanted to help." Amber had a Canadian accent, which I found strange. There weren't many campers from Canada.

I nodded. "But what can you guys do, to help me? I mean, I don't want you guys hurt or anything..."

"Well," Calliope exclaimed, "Luna can turn invisible, and even teleport short distances. Amber is really good in battle, and she's extremely intelligent. And, I can heal wounds, and you can charmspeak." Calliope spoke in a soft voice, and she looked really self-concious.

"What weapons do you have?" I asked, curious. They probably could help me a lot.

"Well, my owl keychain, Hedwig, turns into a sword," Amber told me. "Luna has five throwing knives, and Calliope uses a Metaba Autorevolver." Calliope blushed. I was impressed, as I didn't think Calliope could hurt anything on purpose. I remembered something Annabeth had said when I had first come to Camp Half-Blood: that Apollo cabin was good with missile weapons. I guess a gun was a missile weapon.

"Um, I guess it's settled then. You guys will come with me to find Leo, and then we'll go find the Argo II."

"Really?" Luna squealed.

"The problem is, there's four of us. Traditionally, there should be only three," Amber muttered.

"Well, then, this won't be a traditional quest, will it? Okay, I'll meet you guys in the Hecate cabin after breakfast!" I declared cheerfully.

Then the bell sounded for breakfast. I winked at the girls and jogged up to the mess hall.

******

After eating a quick breakfast, I pelted down to my cabin and grabbed a backpack. I stuffed a few outfits in there, some ambrosia and nectar I found lying around, and other supplies. I grabbed 100 dollars and 20 drachmas from the wallet I had left here. I put on running shoes and strapped Katropis to my belt. At last, I was ready.

I spotted Kyler Crest from the Poseidon cabin utterly failing at archery, and cursing repeatedly in Ancient Greek. His sea-green eyes were troubled, and they clashed with his brown hair. Juliet Hart from the Eros cabin was trying to give him some 'pointers'. She was pretty much hitting every bullseye while he watched, in a jealous rage. She finished with one last perfect hit and poked him on the forehead as she left, obviously flirting. He smiled and kissed her cheek. I didn't know they liked each other.

How cute.

I shook myself out of watching them. I was procrastinating.

I raced towards the Hecate cabin. From afar it looked like a bland cabin made of grey stone bricks, but as you moved closer you realized it had magical writings on it. They were in a strange, forgotten language, though, so no one had ever translated them, as far as I knew. I had never been inside before. I pushed open the door.

Hecate's cabin was glowing purple. Then I realized that it was just the walls that radiated some sort of violet aura. The beds were large, and the bedspreads were purple with black and green pillows. The beds had canopies over them. Two torches blazing with green fire hung above a fireplace. The fire was out but as I looked closer I saw that a small, coal-black dog was lying in the hearth, rolling aroud in the soot as if some invisibe spirit was rubbing his stomach.

I spotted Amber and Calliope standing next to a bed. I wondered where Luna was.

Then I did a double take. Clothes were folding themselves into a small suitcase. A hand appeared in the air. Something shimmered, and Luna was there.

I cleared my throat.

"Oh, Piper, you're here!" Luna said, as if she hadn't just appeared and her clothes hadn't folded themselves. She must have seen my shocked expression, as she went on, "Sorry. Did I mention I could turn invisible?"

"Now I remember!" I cursed my forgetfulness. "Sorry. I forgot."

"That's okay. Sometimes it scares the daylights out of Calliope!"

"So, are you guys packed?" I asked. When they all nodded, I got up and said, "What's the plan?"

Luna smiled. "Well, there isn't an easy way to get out of this camp, is there?"

"So, is there a way?"

She paused dramatically.

"Yes. We have to go through the labryinth."

I could see Amber and Calliope exchanging shocked faces.

"No way, Luna, it's way too dangerous! Besides, didn't the entrance collapse when Daeldalus died?" Amber exclaimed.

"Um, well, that could change, and what other way is there?"

We all shook our heads. There was no way to navigate the maze without a mortal's help. Amber started on about each and every risk we would take by entering the labryinth. Just then, I saw a flash of pink at the door.

I tiptoed back to investigate. I looked straight into the shocked eyes of Juliet Hart.

Juliet was very pretty. Her startled doe eyes were hazel-green and her long, straight hair was a rich shade of fawn brown. She had Cupid's-bow shaped lips and rosy cheeks. She was carrying a bow and a quiver stuffed with arrows wiith oddly heart-shaped ends.

"What in the name of Aphrodite are you doing here?" I asked.

"Um, I don't know..?"

"Seriously? Vous êtes si ennuyeux!"

"Piper, you know I can speak French as well, right? And I'm not annoying! Ok, fine! I eavesdropped. I'm so, so sorry, and I'll never do it again! I promise.." She sounded like she'd rehearsed this. I scoffed and stalked back into the cabin.

"Wait! I, I... I want to come with you!" she called after me.

I turned. She looked desperate and I knew that she was the only camper in her cabin. She must be so lonely...

"Ok."

As soon as I strolled back into the Hecate cabin I knew the others had listened in. They were staring at Juliet with suspicion, but they would accept her, given time.

"No, no, no and no!" Amber cut through my thoughts. "Definitely not. Five quest members.." she trailed off. I saw that she was twitching a little bit. "The last time there was a quest with five members, two of them died! For gods' sake, we can't do this!"

Luna seemed to be scanning Juliet. "She wouldn't really do anything to help us on our quest.."

"Um, yes, I would!" Juliet retorted. "You know my arrows? They make whoever's hit fall instantly in love with whoever they first see. No, not love. Uncontrollable desire. They were treated with esscence of Love-In-Idleness. Also, I make a pretty good shot with other arrows, too!"

"Yeah, but what about the quest for Artemis a few years ago? We can't have something like that happen again!" Amber screeched. Wow, I thought. She's getting a bit stressed out.

I nervously retrieved Festus' head from my pocket and fiddled with it anxiously while they debated. My fingers found a button on the bottom of it. I turned it over, confused, and there was a note at the bottom.

Just ask where you want to go, then press the button. ~L.V

"Guys, come over here for a sec, and stop arguing. Anyway, Juliet will come with us whether we like it or not," I whispered. They walked over. "Touch the dragon head."

They followed the order, looking really confused.

"Take us to wherever Leo Valdez is," I murmured. I pressed the button.

And again I blacked out.

Chapter 8- Leo~ Embers

The fire I began, is burning me alive

But I know better than to leave and let it die

I’m a Silhouette asking every now and then:

“Is it over yet? Will I ever smile again?"


I burned for days. Fire flickered through my hair and danced across my body. I felt powerful, and unstoppable, like an eternal flame. Whenever I saw a person, I hid behind a tree or bush. Once the bush I was hiding behind burst into flames as well. The man in front of me looked shocked and terrified, like he was the next Moses. He was running away screaming before I could say 'Vegetarian tofu tacos'!

I remembered sending Festus to Piper. I had sat and worked on it for half an hour straight, and even I wasn't sure what it could do. I recalled slipping some notes inside it, but not what was on them.

I felt no pain during the burning. I didn't know if I was more mortal, more demigod or more flame. The fire seemed to be coursing through my veins. I didn't sleep, I didn't eat. The fire was giving me energy. Or I was giving energy to it.

I felt the change when I was walking through some thick woods on my third day. It was as if all the fire was burning out. I felt raw and smaller than before, like I was a pile of embers instead of a blazing flame. I summoned some fire but my hand just burned red. I felt weak, too. I needed water, so much water... There! A spring of fresh, clear water...

I didn't realize that I had fallen to the floor until I was crawling towards the water. I had just reached it when.. it vanished.

What? No, no, no! How could it have vanished? I thought desperately. I sighed with relief as I spotted it again, a few meters ahead.

I determinedly inched towards the spring. I was about a second from it when, yet again, it vanished.

I rolled onto my back in despair. Were the gods playing tricks on me? I knew they had placed that branch where I was falling, Zeus and Aphrodite, but they didn't hate me that much, did they?

I was just about to pass out from dehydration when a heard a loud bang! It was coming from a few meters behind me. I summond enough energy to look that way. I saw five girls just.. lying there. They were all wearing Camp Half-Blood t-shirts. One had blonde, straight hair, one had wavy, long, ginger locks, one had fawn-colored hair and those hipster glasses I had seen before, one had short, curly brown hair and was wearing an awesome black leather jacket, and one had choppy dark hair that was partially braided...

No, I thought. It can't be Piper. It can't be, and how would she have gotten there?

The answer came to me as I racked my brains. Festus. He can teleport people... But how could they have known where I was?

I didn't have time to ponder this, because the girl with hipster glasses coughed and sat up.

"Kyler? Is that you?" she rasped.

"Uh, no," I whispered, finding my voice come back. "I'm Leo Valdez."

"Who? What? What am I doing here?"

"I could ask you the same question."

"Huh? Oh, right. Today wasn't a dream, I guess. I'm on a quest, I think, to find you and kill Jason Grace."

She sounded very confused.

"Then, we all touched the dragon's head, and we all blacked out or something," she said.

"Um, who's we?" I asked.

"Well, me, of couse. I'm Juliet Hart, 'the romantic one', daughter of Eros. Then there's Amber Silverberg, 'the genius', daughter of Athena, and Luna Goodfellow,'the weird one', daughter of Hecate, Calliope Smith, 'the gentle one', daughter of Apollo, and Piper McLean, 'the leader', daughter of Aphrodite, but I guess you already knew that."

She talked so fast I could barely register what she had said.

"Who's Eros?"

"Greek version of Cupid."

"So, your dad is a chubby toddler? How does that even work?"

"Duh! He's not actually a toddler!"

Her tone was so angry another girl jolted awake. She was the one with curly hair.

"What? Quest.. Dragon.. fainted.. labryinth.. w- what happened?" she stammered groggily.

"Whoa. Slow down. It's okay. I'm Leo, Leo Valdez."

"Good, it actually worked. Okay, where are we?"

She really gets straight to the point, I thought. She must be Amber, the daughter of Athena.

"I actually have no clue," I answered.

She smiled cheekily. I saw her eyes change from green to brown. They change, like Piper's.

"Well, I'd better wake everyone else up. By the way, I'm Luna, Luna Goodfellow."

I grinned. So she wasn't 'the genius', she was 'the weird one', the daughter of Hecate, who was the goddess of...

She snapped her fingers, and sparks flew from her hands.

The goddess of magic.

The other three girls shot up. They all started talking at once. Piper was even talking in French.

"Où sommes-nous? Est-Léon ici? At-il fonctionné? Où est Festus?"

I grinned even wider, because I had no idea what she was talking about. Juliet was reassuring her in French.

"C'est ok. Leo est ici. Tout va bien."

"Où est-il?" Piper shot back. Her eyes found mine. They turned bright blue and she smiled.

Piper. Why had I left her, exactly?

Oh, right. The horrible burn. But, as I looked closer, I saw that the burn was gone. With new energy I peeled myself off of the ground and walked towards the girl I loved.

Chapter 9- Juliet~ So Much for Perfect

(Author's note- I'm sorry that this is a filler chapter. I just couldn't resist the POV of Juliet... Sorry. I'll let you get back to reading.)

I tried to disappear

But your the only reason I'm floating here

Eyes painted crystal clear

I can see our future through the atmosphere..


I mean, I didn't really need to kiss him. I just couldn't help myself. Kyler was just so cute.

We had come back from dinner, on the night before I left.. for the quest. We were both the only people in our cabins, so we had become great friends over the past summer. He was relatively new, and as the son of Poseidon, he was pretty powerful. I knew he had been attacked by a lot of monsters, but he wouldn't tell me anything. We said goodnight and went back to our cabins, but I couldn't sleep, so I took a walk around the deserted campgrounds.

After a while he came out of his cabin too. He had been watching me, and he wanted to join me on my late-night stroll. He had snuck a few cherry Cokes into the camp, somehow. As we shared them, we talked for a while, meaningless things like the Argo II- we had both helped build it, along with the rest of the camp, and we were curious about its status-, and how Travis Stoll and Nyssa had started going out. It was happy talk, mindless chatter. It helped me not think too much about anything. It was distracting and fun. Just what I needed.

It was almost midnight when we started yawning more than talking. Kyler saw me to my cabin, Cabin 21. He pushed open the heart-shaped door (I mean, could the idiotic designers have picked a stupider-looking door?), and motioned for me to go in. I didn't.

I forced myself to go in for the kill. I mean, go in for the kiss. So I did.

Sea-green eyes widened in surprise, then melted as he understood what was happening. His mouth tasted like saltwater and sunlight. It was full of energy and I knew, in that moment, that everything would be perfect.

But now I was stuck in a random forest with four other girls and a guy, all of whom I barely knew, and I didn't even get to say goodbye to my boyfriend. We had only dated for about, what, 8 hours?

So much for perfect.

The other girls were okay, but they weren't my friends. And Leo and Piper were a different story. I had never really talked to them before, as they were the famous guys, the guys who went on that awesome quest and saved everyone's lives, etc.

So, let's recap. I had kissed the guy I liked, I had joined a quest out of boredom, it spiralled out of control, and I had crash-landed in a weird forest with four other girls and a guy. Fun.

"Okay, so we'll stay the night here, then we'll get Festus to take us to Jason, then we'll save the day, blah blah blah," Leo cut through my thoughts.

Calliope looked doubtful. "But, what if we don't save the day? What if he captures us? What if Rome has been against us all along and they're marching to Camp Half-Blood right now?" she whispered. Luna looked a little scared, but she shook herself out of it.

"Don't worry, Callie. It'll be fine."

The daughter of Hecate sounded confident enough, but I was sure I detected some hesitation there.

"Hey, I'll fix dinner," Leo announced. He pulled some stuff out of his toolbelt and wandered over to a place where the forest floor was free of branches or leaves. His hand glowed red onimously. I waited for something to happen, but there was no loud BANG, or any explosions, or anything.

"Um, Leo, what's going on?" I asked. He said nothing, but the red glow faded from his hand.

He finally spoke. "You guys know I can maniplate fire?" When we all nodded, he continued. "Well, I started burning more. I almost burned Piper to death, and that was when I was asleep. When I left her there and sent her Festus, I mean, Festus's head, I burned constantly. I mean it. I couldn't stop, I felt so powerful and strong, but this morning, I felt sort of... burnt out. I couldn't make fire very well. I needed water, really badly, but the gods were messing with me so I never got any." He coughed to prove his point. "Anyway, that's when you guys came. And now, I can't use my power."

I jumped up and got my pack. I took a nectar flask and gave it to him.

"Nectar. It should help."

Piper glared at me. I shrugged and mouthed 'Well, he needed it.'

It's not like I'm in love with Leo. Gods, no! But being a daughter of Eros makes me caring. And loving. But mostly caring.

After he had a few sips- that's the most demigods can take without being burned alive- Leo summoned fire again. This time, it worked.

He was so happy, his hair actually caught fire. It went out quickly.

"Well, I'd better get on with dinner. Anyone object to tofu tacos?"

Chapter 10- Luna~ Two Guys Crash our Party- I mean, Quest

I'll meet you there

You could be anywhere

I'll meet you there..

I hated tofu tacos. I mean, tofu doesn't taste like anything! What's the point? I didn't object, of course. That would've been rude.

I forced myself to take another tasteless bite. I was sick of it. I pointed one finger at the taco, thought really hard about mac and cheese, and a second later it had changed into a bowl of Kraft Dinner. I visualized a spoon, which promptly appeared in my hand. I smiled and dug in. Being a daughter of Hecate has its perks.

Everyone ate in silence, and I heard a river rushing, far away. It was a soothing sound. Everyone had just about finished their disgusting dinners when I heard a faint rustling sound.

Leo's head shot up. I guess I wasn't the only one who had heard. I casually took two of my throwing knives out of my pocket and held them defensively. Amber whispered some words to her owl keychain and it grew to become a long, curved sword. Calliope's hand jerked towards her backpack, where I knew she kept her gun, but she changed her mind. Some bushes right near where we were sitting crackled, and a boy shot out.

He looked our age, with cropped brown hair and sea-green eyes. He looked tough, but he smiled cheekily. I recognized him immediately. It was Kyler Crest, that Poseidon kid. I wondered how he had found us.

Then, another kid crept out.

He was short for a guy, about my height. His gray-green eyes reminded me of seafoam, and he had sandy blonde hair. His nose was upturned slightly, and he had an odd, almost elfin face. I had never seen him before, but there were so many campers it was hard to remember all of them.

"Hi," Kyler said, waving awkwardly.

"What in the name of Zeus are you doing here, Kyler?" Juliet shrieked. "Don't you know how dangerous it is to go around with five- no, six, counting that guy you brought with you- more demigods? With you being a son of Poseidon, all the monsters in this part of the country could have smelt us by now! What were you thinking?"

"Um, well, it's kind of hard to explain...."

The small guy crossed his arms and spoke in a British accent, "He missed you too much, Juliet, and he dragged me along with him."

"Robin!" Amber choked out. "What...?"

Then, I had an epiphany. The small guy, the one called Robin, was Amber's brother. He was a child of Athena.

"Oh, right. I forgot to introduce myself. I'm Robin Paylor, son of Athena, at your service." He grinned.

"Robin! Go back to camp right now, brother! I can't deal with this, there's too many of us now... with Leo, Piper, you and Kyler, that makes.. eight demigods! No way are you staying here! No way!" Amber started to twitch.

Oh no, I thought. She's getting anxiety again.

I snapped my fingers and she stopped twitching. She yawned and keeled over, fast asleep.

"What did you.." Robin started.

"I'm Luna, daughter of Hecate. The only way to get her to stop stressing is giving her a power nap."

"O-kay," Piper cut through. "How did you find us, anyway? We travelled by teleportation."

"Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention," said Kyler. "I can sort of teleport to any body of water I want. I grabbed Robin here and thought really hard about the water closest to Juliet, and presto! Here we were."

"Well, that's swell. I spend so much time on creating a teleportation device, and Mr Fish-For-Brains can do it himself." Leo muttered.

We all spent a few more minutes in silence, thinking about whether we needed these guys in our quest or not.

"Lets have a vote, shall we?" Amber whispered. She had woken up after a few minutes. "Raise your hand if you think they should stay."

I found my arm going up. Leo, Calliope, Juliet and Piper had done the same. I smiled at Amber, who was sour after being outvoted.

"Fine," she murmured. "You can stay."

They whooped and sat down next to us.

"Is it really that late?" I wondered out loud, staring at the black sky. It was dotted with stars.

"G'night, everyone," Robin said, and we all closed our eyes and slept.

Chapter 11- Piper~ A Super-model Vampire?

I'll dissolve when the rain pours in,


When the nightmares take me,

I will scream with the howling wind,

'Cause it's a bitter world and I'd rather dream.


I woke up the next morning groggy and disoriented. The previous day had been too much for me. Luckily, the campsite wasn't on fire when I woke up, and no monsters had come in the night.

Or so I had thought.

The rest of them were already awake, except for that kid, Robin.

He must be still sleeping, I thought.

"Hey, Leo, got any breakfast in your toolbelt?" I asked hungrily.

"Oh, yeah, I was just about to pull out some cornflakes."

"Hurry up," Amber snapped. "I'm starving." She still sounded angry from last night.

"Okay, okay."

He produced a massive box of cornflakes, and Luna was summoning a few bowls when she froze.

"I thiught.. I thought I heard..."

She was interrupted by a muffled scream.

"What was that?" Calliope whimpered.

"I have no-" Kyler was silenced by another shout. "Hey, that sounds like.."

The son of Poseidon jumped to his feet. "Robin! He's in trouble!"

Luna's throwing knives suddenly just appeared in her pockets. I still hadn't gotten used to how powerful she was.

I unsheathed Katropis and beckoned the others to follow.

We pushed our way through the undergrowth. There were thorns everywhere, but Luna and Kyler didn't seem to notice them. They were at the front of the group and were listening hard.

Suddenly, Luna started running, as fast as she could.

"C'mon! I know where he is! This way!" she yelled. She led us through a path we hadn't seen before. The brambles cleared and we stepped into a clearing.

My heart pounded so hard It was hard to believe no one else could hear it. Amber froze and looked as if she wanted to scream, or cry, or go home. Calliope put her hands over her eyes. Kyler made like he was going to go over there but Luna pulled him back.

"Aphrodite help us," I prayed.

It was a woman, a beautiful woman with chocolate brown eyes and flowing dark hair. She was wearing a snakeskin dress- I briefly wondered how there could be a snake that big- and boots.

But I almost had a heart attack when I saw her teeth.

They were long and pointed, like a dog's. No, not like a dog's.

Like a vampire's.

She was holding Robin down with a rope- no, it was a living snake. The boy looked unconcious, but as I looked closer I saw his hand inching down towards his sword. The woman-vampire-thing smiled and leaned in, aiming for his neck.

Quick as lightning she recoiled, and I saw why. Tiny lights flashed in front of her eyes, like flashbulbs. Luna's magic had worked. The woman screeched and looked as though she was blind. All of a sudden, Robin reached his sword and sliced through the snakes holding him down. He swished his sword and, in a few seconds, had the woman pinned down and he was holding his sword to her neck.

"Now," the vampire woman cooed. "You wouldn't want to hurt a pretty girl like me? I'm your friend. Everything will be fine if you just let me go.."

For a moment I thought Robin would fall for the obvious charmspeaking, but I was proved wrong when Luna called out, "Don't listen to her! She tried to kill you! Robin, please!"

The boy shook himself and stabbed the vampire-woman in the heart. Yellow dust rained down on him. He kicked them apart to make sure that she didn't reform, but the sand still rattled ominously.

We stumbled over to him. I pulled Calliope with me, muttering, "You can open your eyes now."

Kyler spoke first. "That was some.. amazing swordplay there."

Robin grimaced. "I let her get me. I was the only one awake, and then, she just... grabed me. She, she was so.. persuasive. I can't believe I let that happen to myself."

"Don't worry, Robin. Even the most valiant warriors have been persuaded by charm-speak," I reassured him.

He still looked unsettled, but Luna put her arm around him. He suddenly looked a lot calmer, and I knew she must have done some sort of magic.

Amber blinked, hard. "Robin, that- that was a full-grown Lamia. A child-eating vampire-woman. It's a miracle that you somehow survived that. Robin, you're.. amazing!"

Robin looked a little calmer, and gave a shaky smile. I felt sorry for him. Not many people can take the stress of actually fighting to the death. I knew I barely survived it.

"Come on," Leo said. "Lets get back to camp, and maybe we can finally get to Jason."

We trudged back to the campsite. Luna kept her arm around Robin the whole way. It definitely soothed him. I didn't know what kind of magic she was using, but it was working. Juliet grinned when she saw them, and she whispered in Kyler's ear. He chuckled and whispered something back.

When we finally reached the campsite I spotted Leo looking sad. I sidled up to him and asked him what was wrong.

"Well, don't we have to get to Jason? I mean, they're probably already at Camp Jupiter by now," he replied. "And there are eight of us. That's way too many. More monsters than the Lamia will definitely find us if we stay too long. And I just want to see Jason dead, locked up or far, far away. Is that too much to ask?"

I figured it was a rhetorical question, so I merely nodded and joined the others.

"So, do you think we should stay here for a while?" Luna was saying. "Robin's kind of shaken up."

I went up to her. "Wasn't the point of the quest to find Jason and destroy him? Also, more monsters could come. I'm sure I saw the Lamia reform, and who knows what else could happen? It would be easier just to go."

They all looked uncertain. "I guess you're right, we should leave pretty soon," Kyler said. The others nodded.

"Oh, and as for Robin, I'll get him some nectar," Juliet added. Luna gave her the same look I gave her when she had offered to give Leo some of the godly drink.

I thought for a second, and the answer came to me. Duh! I thought. Luna and Robin like each other. Luna wasn't working any magic back then. Only love calmed him down.

I watched the two of them sneak looks at each other. I scooted over to Leo and held his hand for a moment. His hand was really warm. I couldn't tell if it was his fire or just him being sweaty and nervous.

"Hey," I murmured, leaning into his chest. "We'll find Jason. Everything will be alright."

"I know," he sighed. "I'm just worried that we won't have a happily ever after."

I was left with that thought. It wormed itself into my brain.

We won't have a happily ever after. 'We won't have a happily ever after. We won't have a happily ever after.

Chapter 12- Amber~ Caged

I've had just about enough

Of quote, "diamonds in the rough"

Because my backbone is paper thin

Get me out of this cavern

Or I'll cave in..

I was worried about Robin. He was my brother, and though he was a few months older than me, the Lamia attack had scarred him emotionally.

I'm such an idiot! I thought to myself. I'm his sister; I should have protected him. This is all my fault!

I distracted myself by watching Luna chat with my brother. He was smiling and laughing, a soft look in his eyes. Oh. I know what's going on, I thought. They're falling in love.

I shrugged. If that was what made him happy. I busied myself with packing up the campsite. It was hard work to roll up all of the sleeping bags, and we were running a little low on nectar. Courtesy of Juliet, I recalled, rolling my eyes. I finished by rescuing Festus's head from a pile of dirt where he had landed.

"Okay, let's go!" I chided, nudging Calliope and Juliet, who were deep in conversation. We have to get there soon!"

Piper and Leo were already standing, and Piper was prodding Luna and Robin. Kyler was standing off to one side, staring melancholically into the forest.

"Okay, is everyone ready?" I asked, holding out the dragon head. The others shuffled over to me and placed their hands on the miniscule model.

"To wherever Jason Grace is," Piper muttered. I pushed the button.

The world went black, and we fell into a squashed darkness.

**********

We awoke in a cage. The bars were close together and there seemed to be no way to get out. On the outside, there was only darkness.

I felt for Hedwig in my pocket, and sighed with relief. The keychain/sword was still there. I struggled to my feet and looked at the others. Luna was groaning and Robin, beside her was wincing in pain. Kyler, Juliet and Leo looked out cold, but Calliope opened her eyes and whimpered, while Piper was already standing.

"Where in the name of Aphrodite are we?" she questioned.

A cold, sneering voice answered. "Venus, you mean. Welcome to Camp Jupiter, my friends. You were convientently knocked out, so we moved you to a... different room."

A figure was standing just outside of the cage. It was a blonde boy with electric blue eyes and a purple cape, holding a lantern. A girl was standing next to him. She had long black hair and mean, dark eyes, and was also wearing a purple cape.

I knew the blonde guy was Jason, but who was the other girl?

"Reyna, go and check on Percy, Hazel and Frank, then the others from the Argo II."

The girl called Reyna nodded and swept off.

"Jason," Piper pleaded. "Get us out!"

"Not a chance, pretty girl," Jason whispered. "You marked me as your enemy the moment your lips touched Valdez's. And Rome isn't something you want against you. Soon, Camp Half-Blood will be overrun!"

"Jason, I-" Piper stopped. "What have you done with Annabeth, Clarrisse, and the others?"

"Same as you, locked up. You're in Rome now, sweetheart. And you can't do anything about it."

I was horrified. How would we get out? I haven't succeeded in protecting Robin. We'll probably die in here, and so will everyone in Camp Half-Blood.

Mother, I'm so sorry. Please, help!

"You'll never.. never stamp out Camp Half-Blood! You have no right!" Calliope spoke up. I was surprised at how confident she sounded.

"Well, we succeeded against Greece in ancient times, didn't we? Why should this be any different?"

"Jason," Piper whispered. I knew she was charm-speaking. "Stop, let us and everyone else out. Why would you kill everyone.. for a kiss? A small, unimportant, stupid kiss?"

"Don't try your devil talk on me, or I'll kill everyone in this cage," Jason snapped. "Starting with Valdez."

Piper recoiled and sat down in silence.

"Now, we'll just have to wait. The eagle standard that the Jackson boy so convienietly rescued will have Greece conquered in no time!"

Chuckling insanely to himself, the son of Jupiter walked away, leaving us in a cold, dark cage with nothing but pain and time.

Chapter 13- Leo~ We Break Out of our Roman Prison

Think, of the sun, and the sound, of it rising

Still, on the run, with our eyes on the horizon..


I woke with my head throbbing like crazy. I cursed and rolled over. It must be a school day, I thought. And the throbbing in my alarm clock.

"Leo," a soft voice said.

"Not now, mom. I'm tired."

"Huh? No, Leo, it's Piper. Wake up."

Oh, yeah.

I sat up, groaning. The eight of us seemed to be in a cage. Everyone was standing over me, exchanging worried looks.

"What happened? And where are we?"

"We're in Camp Jupiter," Luna answered. "When we were unconcious, Jason and the Romans moved us in here. They took most of our weapons, and your toolbelt. And, I can't even teleport out. This cage- and the lock- is magic-proof. We think that it's also fire-proof. Try your power, maybe it'll work."

I summoned the fire, but my hand only glowed red.

"Damn! It's like in King Midas' place!" I cursed and the flame died.

"Hey, maybe we can all pray to our parents," Calliope whispered. "Maybe they can help."

"We can try, but this place is Roman. I don't think Greek gods can help," Kyler said.

We sat there in silence, praying. Dad, if you can hear me, please help us. I don't want any of us to die, especially Piper. Please, dad, send us help. Tell me... tell me what I can do to save them.

I jumped when a gruff voice whispered, "The answer is right in front of you, Leo. Help will come, I assure you."

"Did anyone else hear that?" I asked, my question echoing around the room.

"Hear what? Did Hephaestus speak to you?" Amber questioned.

"Yeah, he did, and he said that the answer is right in front of me." I was confused. The only thing in front of me was the door of the cage.

Then, a lantern was lit. Literally.

A girl was standing in front of us, outside of the cage. She had long, black hair and dark eyes. She was holding a lantern and was wearing a purple cape-thing.

And standing behind her was our friends from the Argo II. The only people I didn't recognise were an asian boy with chubby cheeks, a small, black girl with curly, cinnamon brown hair, and a tall guy with sea-green eyes and black, ruffled hair.

"Come with us if you want to live!" the girl with the purple cape hissed. "Jason is evil. The whole of Camp Jupiter knows it, but he'll kill us all if we don't obey."

"Sounds like fun, to be Roman," I whispered. The guy with black hair laughed.

"C'mon," the black girl said. "Jason's the only one with the key, but the cage is made of silver. I can do this."

We watched in awe as the bars of the cage distorted until there was a hole we could easily walk through.

"Wow," Piper murmured. "That's so cool! How did you-"

"We don't have very much time," Annabeth interrupted. "Just come with us."

I was the first to walk through the cage. It was such a relief to be free. Cool, fresh air calmed my fire. The others followed sceptically.

"How do we know we can trust them?" I heard Amber mutter to Juliet.

"I heard that," the girl with the purple cape said. "And you can trust us. Why would we let you and all the other Greeks out if you couldn't?"

"Don't worry," said the guy with black hair. "I'm Percy Jackson. You may have heard of me. You can trust us."

Percy Jackson? The famous guy who pretty much saved the world? We should be bowing down to him!

Kyler looked a bit sick.

"You- you're Percy Jackson?" he stammered.

"Um, yeah..? What's wrong?" Percy looked concerned.

"I'm Kyler Crest. Your half-brother. My dad is Poseidon too."

Percy paled.

"Okay, we can all have a family reunion later. After we destroy Jason and all he stands for," the purple-cape girl snapped.

"Okay, Reyna. Sorry, it's just-" Percy gulped. "It's just that I've never met anyone like me before."

"Let's go, guys," Clarrise said, and we all headed down a dark hallway.

Chapter 14- Calliope~ And, Everyone you Love Dies

Every push, every shove, every war, every love

Yeah the coals are beginning to glow..


It was very dark in that hallway. The only light was from Reyna's lantern, but I could sense that there wasn't much juice in it.

"Reyna, your lantern, it's going to-"

And the lantern flickered off.

Someone gasped, and I forced myself to be calm. As I was a daughter of Apollo, I was weakest in darkness.

Reyna cursed in.. what was that, Latin? "Now what do we do? We can't go anywhere without light."

I had a brilliant idea. Why didn't I think of it before?

I cleared my throat, which was already dry from lack of light. "I'm Calliope, daughter of Apollo. As my dad's the god of light, and the sun, I can probably summon some light."

"Well, it's worth a try."

I thought hard about warmth, sunshine, and light. My memories of Arizona were perfect for that. Instantly, a ball of dazzling light shot out of my hand and it hovered just in front of us. It was definitely enough light to see by.

"Wow," the asian kid, Frank, murmured. I grinned at him and we kept on walking.

Eventually, we came to a set of stairs. Reyna put her finger to her mouth in a 'shh' signal, and she crept up the stairs, making no sound.

We waited a few moments, watching for any other signals.

Suddenly, we heard a scream. I put my fingers in my ears, but nothing could block it out. It was full of pain and misery, and it din't seem to stop.

"Jason. What are you-"

There was a whimper, and then silence.

We heard more shouts, screams and yells. It all became too much for me, and I tiptoed upstairs to see what was happening, accompanied by Amber and Robin.

It was terrible and disturbing.

Reyna lay against a golden dog statue with a cut through her heart. She wasn't breathing. I was positive that even healing from Apollo couldn't bring her back now.

If the leader dies, what is there to fight for? I asked myself.

My friends, and all of the innocent souls out there, I decided.

I forced myself to look more closely. Through the door, I could just see many, many Romans fighting. I gulped as I spotted one of them struck by a giant blast of lightning and fall. I also saw a guy with crazed eyes and straw-like hair hack a soldier to the ground.

Okay, that's it.

I slipped my gun from the hidden holster. Amber and Robin's swords were out, and they looked ready to fight to the death.

"Guys!" Annabeth hissed from close to me, and I jumped. "There's no way you can go out there!" She seemed to have joined us.

But Amber was already running for the door, and I saw why. A young boy, who couldn't have been older than eleven, had fallen over, with a twenty-something year-old man chasing after him maliciously.

I watched in horror as Amber threw herself in the middle of the two. She fought like crazy, her curved sword flashing in the sun. The boy managed to run towards us. His hair was short and blonde, and his eyes were pure black.

"Help me, please," the boy muttered. He clutched his sides, and I recognised the symptoms of a bad stitch. He must have run a long way.

"Don't worry, we'll protect you," I assured him. "Just go down the stairs and my friends will meet you there. By the way, what's your name?"

"Oh, I'm Nate, son of Nox. Thank you, so much. I'm sure I would have-"

Nate stopped, staring at the door. I followed his gaze.

And fell to the ground.

I couldn't take it. No, no way. It couldn't happen. She's too good.

But I couldn't stop myself from looking again.

Amber was dead.

Her gray eyes were glazed as she stared at the sky. There was a clean cut through her chest.

I looked at Robin. His mouth was open and he was wearing an expression of utmost horror.

"Look away, Robin," I whispered.

He kept blinking. i wondered if he was going to have some sort of stroke.

Annabeth started crying behind us.

"Okay, that's the last strike. I'm going out."

I hadn't realized the words had left my mouth until Robin stood and told me he'd go with me.

*********

The battle was complete madness. I shot with perfect accuracy, but I only shot at the warriors who were cornering young, injured, or old. But as I saw Robin lash out at countless others, I went into full-blast killing mode. I had to avenge Amber. She was the first friend I made in Camp Half-Blood, and now she was just- gone.

We were battling people in a field when I heard swift footsteps behind me. More enemies.

I turned around to stare into the faces of Frank, Annabeth, Percy, Clarisse, Piper and Kyler. They had followed us.

"Let's go," I commanded. They nodded and we pushed through another line of enemy soldiers.

Then, I turned on the spot, looking for more enemies, when my eyes looked upon a guy with blonde hair and electric blue eyes.

Jason.

He'll pay for what he did! He started this war, and Amber died. He needs to be destroyed.

I snuck up on him. He was busy firing lightning everywhere, and I winced as each of his strikes hit someone.

I pointed my gun at him. He was vastly underprotected, with no one guarding him.

I pulled the trigger.

Wind shot towards it. The bullet stopped an inch from Jason's heart.

"Thought you could defeat me that easily?" the son of Zeus sneered.

I didn't have time to say anything before the bullet, under his power, zoomed as fast as lightning and embedded itself in my stomach.

I doubled over in pain. There was blood gushing out of the bullet hole.

I'm dying, I realized. I'm dying, from my own bullet. And I didn't even kill Jason.

My last memory was of Kyler and Juliet rushing over, shouting and crying out.

The world went black.

Dead.

Chapter 15- Luna~ Battlefield

Fight back the flight deck,

Bring on the breakneck,


Cue the solar eclipse!

Summit the sunset,

Dubtail the dragnet,

And blow your backbone to bits!


I impatiently paced the floor. I didn't see why we couldn't go to war- us being Hazel, Nate, Juliet, Grover and I. Everyon else had gone out to try and defeat Jason and the other evil Romans.

The others were talking to Nate, trying to find out about his past.

"I'm a son of Nox," he started. "Goddess of the night. I'm eleven, almost twelve. I only came to Camp Jupiter a few months ago, and I was placed into the Third Cohort. For the past few days, since the Argo II landed, everything's been a bit... suspicious. Jason got more controlling. Percy Jackson apparently 'stepped down' from the role of Praetor, but most of us know that it's not true. We were all forced to give our weapons to Jason and his lackeys and we thought that they were doing it for our safety, but it was actually just so we couldn't fight back. You saw what they did to Reyna, and your friend..." he trailed off. "We have to fight back. We can't just let them slaughter everyone!"

"You have to stay here," Hazel warned. "You're too young to fight." Nate crossed his arms, but didn't argue.

"We have to go out there," Juliet said. "We have to fight for what we love."

"Well, I'm fighting for Amber, for Reyna, and for Robin," I exclaimed.

"And I'm fighting for Frank and Percy," Hazel added.

"For Kyler, and for Leo and Piper, who drove us to get on this quest," Juliet finished.

Grover sighed. "I guess I'm just staying here with Nate, then?"

"Oh, well.. yeah." I said. "Sorry about that, but what if someone comes in here?"

I pointed to Reyna and Amber's bodies, which I had levitated to the top of a podium, and I had covered them with a blanket I had found.

"I guess you're right," Grover muttered. "Hey, Nate, do you know how to play Mythomagic?"

"You bet!" Nate said. "Just a sec, I think there's some cards and stuff over there.."

Juliet, Hazel and I rose in silent agreement. We grabbed our weapons, some nectar, ambrosia..

"So, we're going to fight, and try to help some other people if they're injured, and then we'll find the others and join them?" I asked.

Hazel nodded. I noticed she didn't have a weapon with her.

"Hey, Hazel, do you have a sword or something?" I questioned.

She cursed and put her hand to her face.

"Drat, Arion's got it.. though he could really help us.."

"What are you talking about?" Juliet enquired, looking as confused as I felt.

Hazel didn't answer, but whistled as loud as possible. The air was rippling, then I blinked hard. When my eyes opened again, a horse was just... there.

It was tall, for a horse, and was bay with a long, dark mane. It was holding a long wooden sword in his mouth, which I found strange. Usually I didn't mind horses, but this one was staring at me like I was a particularly good-looking hay-bale.

Juliet looked nervous as well. I couldn't blame her, this horse was creepy. Hazel was already mounting him, and she was giving him something to eat, which looked suspiciously like gold.

"Um, Hazel, are we supposed to get on it?" I called.

"Oh, no, of course not!" Hazel exclaimed. The horse snorted and gave me what looked like a glare. "Arion only fits one rider. It's just that, I can get to the others quicker on him."

I nodded and she yelled, "Giddyup, boy!" The horse reared and surprised me as he sped off at the speed of sound.

"Well, now what do we do?" Juliet inquired, her innocnt face staring at the dust Arion had just whipped up.

"We fight."

*************

I examined some drops of blood on the battlefield. I was invisible, and Juliet had trotted off, looking for other wounded people. She was holding a borrowed set of bow and arrows, and she looked ready to kill.

The blood led to an old fir tree. I circled it, and found two people lying there. There was blood everywhere, coating the leaves with red.

I approached the girl first. She was about my age, with blonde hair and a tattoo of a rainbow above one dark line. Her eyes were unfocused and she was murmuring something about Kool-Aid.

I shed my invisibility, and crouched over her. She didn't seem hurt, but she was definitely in shock.

"Are you hurt?" I asked in a gentle voice. I worked some magic into her, to calm her senses.

"I'm... not hurt. The other one.. help him. Dakota.. help him.."

I glanced at the boy. He was buff, and has a mess of curly black hair. His eyes were closed and his mouth was stained faintly red.

He was dead.

The other girl was still muttering.

"Shh, it's okay. It'll be over soon, you'll be safe. Shhh, everything's fine."

"Dakota.. is he... okay?"

I didn't know what to say to her. I could lie and say Dakota was alive and well, but I couldn't lie about something like that. I didn't want to say he was dead, though.

I became invisible once more and bowed my head. Then, I had an idea. I couldn't bring Dakota back to life, but I could do something for him..

I repeated words only I had read, on one of the blocks that made up my cabin. It was a blessing for the dead.

"Spirit, freshly gone. The light will shine and guide you, the Styx shall whisper the way. After shedded tears, serve your master as a shadow, a shade. You are now but a breeze on a riverbank, mist over a mountain, a wisp of air, a drop of water in an ocean. Listen to the guidance, wraith. You are blessed, peaceful spirit, to journey to Elysium and smile again. Peace, shade, peace and blessings."

I had no idea what that would do, but I waited for an explosion, or a flash of light, or something, but nothing happened. I got up and walked away.

************

"Juliet?" I shouted. "Where are you?" I was walking in the midst of a battlefield, and I couldn't find any of my friends- or enemies, now that I think about it. I had lost one of my throwing knives when I had thrown it at a thuggish girl who was cornering a small boy. I had no time to retrieve it, though, and I still had four left.

I saw more dead bodies than I would have cared to see. It was disturbing, and I wanted to bless them, but there wasn't time. I ran through the throngs of people, invisible. I had tried teleporting, but I can only teleport to a specific place, not 'where Juliet is', not like Festus' head can do.

I looked around once more, but was distracted by the sight of a shrieking woman lying on the ground, clutching her baby, while a man stood over her- with a sword. I pelted over there and whipped out a knife. I threw it at a nearby tree, to get his attention.

"Hey, man," I called, shedding my invisibility. "Pick on someone your own size."

The man eyed me warily. "You're not my size, so why don't you fight a ten-year-old while I take care of these ones?"

I rolled my eyes. I had never tried this magic, but I was confident that I could do it.

I visualized myself- but tall, strong, and buff. I felt power coursing through my veins.

I towered over him, a knife dancing around my hands. "Now, run along, before someone gets hurt."

The man took one look at me and ran off.

I shrank back to myself, and ran to the woman's side.

"Are you okay?" I asked. the woman stared at me.

"I'm- I'm fine," she whispered. "Thank you, for saving my baby."

"No problem. You'd better get to somewhere safe."

The woman nodded and scampered off.

Now, where are the others? I thought, and I caught sight of a tall, bay horse before it dissapeared.

There.

Chapter 16- Leo~ Tear Ghosts and Necromancy

She dried my eyes and drifted off

While every tear was held aloft

The heavy rain clouds felt terrible

'Cause she made my stormy sky beautiful..

I ran through scores of people, looking for only one thing: choppy, chocolate-brown hair. I caught sight of a disappearing horse and a girl racing through the crowds who looked suspiciously like Luna, but no Piper.

Gods, I thought. Where is she? She can't be dead. Piper, please don't be dead!

I searched and searched. Finally I reached a field. In a corner of the field, a body lay. Most of my friends, including Piper, and Hazel, who was sitting on a bay horse, were there. Piper buried her face in her hands.

I rushed over there. A man tried to block my path but I pushed him away with such force that he backed away.

Piper was sad, and there could only be one explanation. Another of our group was dead.

As soon as I got there, Piper's sobs reached my ears. I spotted Juliet crouching down, Kyler sitting next to her with blank, shocked eyes.

I looked down upon the body. Long, wavy red hair, unfocused amber eyes, a gun in her hands. Calliope was dead.

This war was getting more and more real.

I put my arm around Piper and she leaned into my chest. Tears were pouring down her face like a waterfall.

I patted her shoulder and wondered what we would do with the body.

Just then, a girl darted across the field. She was wearing a leather jacket and her curly brown hair was tangled and frizzy. It was Luna.

"What's going on?" she rasped, sounding like she'd been through a rough day.

Then she saw Calliope.

I noticed she kept her feelings inside. She had been dejected when Amber had died, but she'd barely even cried. She must have seen many dead bodies on the battlefield, but she'd never broken down before.

Now she was kneeling in front of her best friend, tears pouring down her face. She was muttering something fiercely, like a blessing.

I only caught bits of it, like "Breeze on a riverbank," and "Listen to the guidance." After she had finished, she stepped back and surveyed the field. There seemed to be no one there.

"He'll pay for this," she whispered. "Jason will pay. No way can he murder two of my friends and get away with it. Uh-uh."

Two of her tears flicked off of her nose and sank into the ground.

Then, I jumped back. The tears were growing, sprouting if you could call it. They balloned into two life-size people. One was Calliope.

The watery ghost things stood by us. Luna looked terrified. Come to think of it, we all probably looked terrified.

"Luna," Hazel gasped. "Who's your godly parent?"

"Um, Hecate."

"What? Really? But how.." Hazel trailed off. She saw the other ghost thing for the first time.

He was buff and tall, had curly hair and a drunken-sort of smile. He grinned lazily.

"Dakota," she breathed. She turned to Luna. "How the hell did you do that?"

Luna still looked stunned. "I have no idea."

"Wait," Annabeth chimed in. "Hecate is the goddess of magic and crossroads? But I think we're forgetting something. Isn't she also associated with necromancy?"

I had no idea what necromancy was. I supposed it had something to do with bringing back the dead.

"Well, yes, but..." Luna cut off. "You know, Annabeth, I think you're right."

"Can you.. control them?" Frank asked. He alone looked unafraid to see the ghosts.

Luna shrugged.

"Calliope, Dakota, spin around."

They did so.

"Can you talk?" she enquired. The ghosts shook their heads. "Okay, then, walk with us."

The ghosts obeyed.

"Well, now what do we do?" I said. "We've got some ghosts, and we- we failed to defeat him once. How are we going to do it now?"

"Water. Zeus' greatest rival is Poseidon, it makes sense that he wouldn't like water. Maybe earth as well?" Percy said. It was a smart idea.

"Might work. It makes sense," Annabeth responded. She leaned back into his arms.

"But, where is Jason?" I questioned. "If we can't find him, how will we kill him?"

"Duh," Robin said. "Festus."

I cursed myself for not thinking of it before. But there are too many of us! I thought. How will all of our hands fit on that tiny model?

But I stopped thinking about it. We had other things to worry about.

The monsters were pouring in.

Chapter 17- Juliet~ Man Down

When the sky fell in,

When the hurricanes came for me,

I could finally crash again,

And that's how I became the sea..


I shrieked. Monsters, monsters everywhere...

I readied my bow. Frank did the same. Annabeth drew her dagger, Luna took out her knives, Piper unsheathed Katropis, and the rest drew their swords.

I looked at Kyler. His oddly blue-tinted sword was glinting in the sunlight. He said it was made out of 'Pacific Steel'. He winked at me, and I nocked an arrow.

I shot at a gigantic cyclops that came barreling at me. It hit him right in the brain and he disintergrated. I shot at more monsters. Giants, Empousai, giant scorpions, Venti and three Lamia, all thirsty- for our blood.

Luna had cornered the Empousai, speaking to them in a language that wasn't Greek, Latin or English. They nodded, said something else, backed away and disappeared.

"What did you do?" I asked her.

"Empousai are servants of Hecate. I asked them to leave. They told me that they were tricked into fighting for Jason!" she replied breathlessly.

"That means that these monsters might not neccessarily want to kill us!" I said.

Luna looked extremely excited. She was just about to turn around when I spotted a giant scorpion poised a few yard away from her, ready to strike. I couldn't shout, that would only startle her. I couldn't fight the scorpion either; it was too far away to shoot.

She noticed me looking anxious. She was about to walk towards me when the scorpion jumped.

"No!" I screamed.

Then, a streak of silver flashed between them. The sound of a gunshot shattered my ears.

But, no one can shoot a gun in this group.. I thought. Then I remembered.

Calliope's ghost.

I smiled and pulled Luna up from where she had fallen over in surprise.

"W-what just..h-happened?" she stammered.

"Your necromancy saved your life," I answered. "Calliope's ghost shot the scorpion."

Luna still looked shell-shocked. I patted her on the back.

We worked as a team from then on, saving each other's backs every time a monster snuck up on us.

We were having particular trouble with a ventus. It was horse shaped, and it kept darting out of reach whenever we tried to get it.

Luna tossed one of her throwing knives at it, but missed as the ventus dashed away again.

She growled in frustration.

"I only have two left now!" she shouted, stomping her foot in anger. The ventus took her momentary distraction as an advantage, and galloped in to destroy her.

Kyler barreled in and stuck his sword into the ventus. The sword jolted with electricity, but Kyler looked unharmed, and the ventus dissolved into smoke.

"Thanks," Luna breathed. She was more careful after that.

We seemd to be winning aainst the army of monsters. Occasionally, a monster simply walked away from the fight, as if he wasn't bothered to be involved anymore. A Lamia cornered Frank but spat at the ground and stalked off, vanishing into blood-red steam.

The last scorpion exploded into dust. We all cheered and stumbled towards each other.

"Is that it, then?" I rasped, my voice cracking from exhaustion.

Robin shrugged, but he looked miserable. His sword was bent; he had tried to slice a gigantic ogre, which saw him coming and knocked the sword out of his hands, bending it. Luckily, Robin had still been able to use it, and he sent that ogre crying for his mama.

"Should we check if there are any more monsters?" Hazel asked wisely. We were all set to walk around checking for 'hidden surprises' when I heard a faint crackling sound behind us, and some laughing and stomping. I turned, and saw them.

Right in the front was Jason Grace, his cape blowing in the wind. His eyes had a steely glint to them, and as I watched, he positively cackled with glee. There was an army behind him, led by a boy with straw-like hair, crazy eyes and- was that a deformed teddy bear?

The others had seen him to by now and they cursed and gasped to find their worst enemy had snuck up on them.

"Ah, our band of misfits," Jason yelled through the wind. "Come to lead the rebellion?" At that, his army laughed. "Now, how do you think you can defeat me?" Jason shouted. "I have an army!"

"And we have a Frank," Percy declared. At that, Frank turned into an elephant.

I almost fell down in amazement. Frank could turn into an elephant? Now that was an awesome power. Judging by the others' faces, they had no idea Frank could shapeshift, but Percy and Hazel just smirked.

Frank-the-elephant trumpeted and stomped over to Jason and his crew. He somehow managed to stamp out quite a few monsters before anyone reacted. Jason looked shocked, and in those bright blue eyes I could see a trace of panic. He composed himself and raised his hand.

A blast of lightning felled Frank-the-elephant, who was blasted a few yards away from Jason. He crashed to the ground, shrinking back into a human. Jason looked satisfied and sneered.

"It appears that your secret weapon wasn't so helpful," Jason said proudly. "None of you are any match for me! I'm the son of the king of the gods!" With that, his posse gave a great cheer.

Piper looked pained. After all, this was her ex-boyfriend talking.

Percy made a sound not unlike a growl. He marched forward, water forming from his fingertips. His eyes were wild and upset, like a rabid dog's. Annabeth stumbled forward, trying to get to him, but Percy just looked at her and motioned for her to get back. I understood. This was his fight.

The son of Poseidon summoned a great sphere of water to surround him. He blasted a high pressure stream of it towards Jason, who was hit by the force of it. He staggered but got up quickly. On and on this kept happening. Jason kept retaliating by shooting lightning at Percy, but the electricity never seemed to get through to him. But Percy was losing. His sphere was shrinking, as if he didn't have enough power to keep it, like a cheetah can run extremely fast but can't keep it up for more than a few seconds.

Kyler was running towards his brother. His close-cropped brown hair shone in the ironically bright sunlight.

"You're not taking my brother!" he shouted.

Then a few things happened at once.

First, Percy's sphere died away and he fell to the ground.

Second, Jason laughed and summoned a ball of lightning to throw at Percy.

Then, Kyler took a leap and took the lightning. His muscular form glowed as he was electrocuted with enough force to kill twenty men. He crashed to the ground.

No, no way. He'll be all right, he'll pop right up again and Jason will die...

But Kyler didn't get up. I sank to the ground, sobbing.

No, no, please, this isn't happening...

But I knew, I had known right from th start. I was just kidding myself. Getting my hopes up.

Because it was certain that Kyler Crest would never get up again.

Chapter 18- Piper ~ The Shocking

I'm scared to death that I'll never be afraid...

I watched in horror as Kyler fell to the ground like a marionette who's strings had been cut. Juliet was on her knees, crying.

Luna put her arm around her. They were the only girls left from the original quest, apart from me. I knew that I would protect them with all of my power. I couldn't let them all die. No way.

Leo and Robin looked ready to kill, Robin armed with just a bent sword, Leo with his bare hands. Annabeth wasn't crying, but he gray eyes glinted with worry for Percy, who was stll lying in the middle of us and Jason, along with Kyler. We had no idea if Percy was alive or not. It was the same with Frank.

"J-Jason," I stammered. It was a whisper, but it somehow managed to resonate around the entire camp.

"Jason, please. Call your soldiers off!" My voice thickened with the most charm-speak I had ever used. "Help us in defeating Gaia, instead of this stupid war that has no meaning. If you kill us all, then what happens?"

Jason looked stricken. Maybe he had no plan for what would happen next.

"So many people are dead. Even Reyna. You killed her. You also killed Calliope, who was the most innocent, kind girl I ever knew."

"This war killed Dakota, your senior centurion and friend. I'm pretty sure I saw Bobby's dead body too. He was one of your barrackmates. Why are you doing this, anyway? I heard it was a kiss. I knew you, once. The old you would have never let something like that bother you!" Hazel chimed in, her voice quieter, but it was heard no less.

Percy and Frank sat up. Jason looked so confused, like his emotions were conflicting, that he didn't see them run back to us.

Percy summoned a wall of water, which surrounded us. His sea-green eyes were sad but determined.

My voice rose, until it was like a wall of pure sound.

"Jason, stop all of this. This isn't right. I never thought you'd kill people because you were jealous."

That word seemed to shock Jason like he had been hit by one of his own lightning bolts. His sky-blue eyes darkened.

"You think I was jealous? You'd been in love with me for about six months, then you and my best friend just randomly kiss? Do you know how hard that is for someone who's memory had just fully come back? Well, it's freaking hard. Okay?"

I had no answer. I guess I would be pretty jealous if Jason kissed Lacy randomly. Oh gods, now I have that image in my head. Gross.

But I wouldn't try to kill him, would I?

I opened my mouth, all ready to say that, when I saw Jason's face. It was so depressed and angry, but there was something else deep inside his expression, like... love, and hope. I stepped forward. Too late, I realized I was outside of the protection of the water wall.

Jason's eyes narrowed.

"If I can't have you, nobody can!" he yelled.

Too late, I saw what was going to happen. I screamed as a white-hot blast of pure electricity entered my body and shocked me until I fell.

Pain, so much pain. And light. It blinded me, I couldn't see anyything. Then, cool darkness enveloped me, and I sank into it gratefully.

Chapter 19-Leo~ The Aftermath (or, How to Save a Life)

If you cut me I suppose I would bleed the colors

Of the evening stars.

You can go anywhere you wish cause I'll be there, wherever you are...

Piper fell like a toppled statue, her eyes rolling back into her head. I was in shock.

No way. Not after all this time...

I was so stunned that I almost didn't catch what Jason did next.

His face screwed up in pain, and he stammered, "Wh- what did I just do? Piper? Piper! No!"

He stumbled forward. A few of his lackeys tried to pull him back, but he shoved them away. "There's nothing I can live for. No."

Then he did the unexpected.

"Gaia, take me. Use me. Kill me. I don't care anymore," he yelled. He held out his arms, and the wind rose, howling like wolves.

Earthen tendrils crept upwards. They snaked across his body and covered his face. All was silent, and Jason Grace was swallowed completely by the earth.

I stood there, gaping at the freshly turned earth where Jason sank down. I knew Jason was bloodthirsty, cruel, over-ambitious and overprotective, but even I didn't wish something like this upon him. I stood stock-still for a moment, then remembered there were more important things to do.

Not caring about anything else in the world, not even Jason's fate, I ran to Piper. It was extremely doubtful that she was alive, but I checked for a pulse anyway.

Nothing. Her body was cold, but there was.. just something there.

I chocked back tears and concentrated. I willed warmth into her body, into her heart and blood.

"Percy," I growled. "Send water into her mouth."

Startled, the son of Poseidon obeyed. Then I gave Piper some mouth-to-mouth.

Everyone else was like, Ew, you're kissing a dead body, but I was sure that Piper would be okay. Something just... told me.

Suddenly, with a shocked breath, Piper awoke.

"L- Leo?" she whispered. Total and utter silence from our friends, who had gathered around her.

She winced as she sat up, rubbing her temples. "What just happened? Wasn't I struck by lightning?"

I didn't answer. She would probably go into shock.

"What happened to Jason?" I couldn't tell her. She would probably get upset.

Luna gathered herself and went over to Piper first. "C'mon, Piper. I'll get you some chocolate and we can talk."

Piper looked calmed already. Her hand brushed over her hair, which had frazzled and stuck straight out when she'd been electrocuted. She self-conciously brushed it with her hands.

I grinned. Beauty Queen was back.

Meanwhile, Juliet had broken free of the group and had run over to where Kyler had fallen. Percy looked back at us and decided to join her.

I watched them stand over his body, talking. Percy put his arm around Juliet and they sat in the grass.

In silent agreement, everyone stood and wandered over to them. We sat in a circle around Kyler's body.

Piper nibbled on a gigantic square of chocolate, it seemed to be having a calming effect on her.

After a few silent moments, Luna stood up. She made a pressing motion with her hand, and the patch of ground that Kyler was lying on sunk, leaving a ten-feet-deep hole, with Kyler lying in it.

She made a box with her hands, and a coffin materialized around the son of Poseidon. Another flick of the wrist and the hole was filled up, topped with a gravestone that read:

Here lies Kyler Crest.

He was the best, most loyal friend anyone could have.

May he reach Elysium safely.

Kyler Crest, 1996-2012

Juliet started crying. Piper patted her back comfortingly, and offered her a square of chocolate. Juliet took it gratefully.

A bouquet of white, yellow and lilac-colored roses bloomed on the gravestone.

I didn't know what was going to happen next, if we were going to defeat Gaia, who the real 7 heroes were, whether Jason was alive or dead, or which gods really wanted me dead, but I did know that whatever happened, we would stick together.

Forever.

Chapter 20 ~ Epilogue: The New Seven

(A/N: This is going to be in third person)

Symphony of silver tears,

Sing to me and sooth the ring in my ears,

Overcast these gloomy nights wear on,

But I'm holding fast because it's darkest just before the dawn..

After the confusion had been sorted out and the enemies still loyal to Jason had been locked up securely, the questers lay awake in the dorms of the barracks, listening to each other's breathing.

All of them were terrified that the others would start screaming, crying or mumbling in their sleep, so they all tried not to stay awake too long. But the events of the past day kept running through their minds.

Finally, they all got to sleep.

Piper's dream went like this:

She was standing in a forest not unlike the one where they had stayed the previous morning. Was it really only today? she thought. It seems like it's been years.

She strolled through the forest. Sunlight was streaking through the treetops, and she stopped for a moment to bask in the sunlight.

She finally reached a clearing. There were seven benches just.. there. So, she decided to sit on one.

She sat there for a while, wondering what was going to happen, when Leo materialized in another bench in a flash of fire. He yelled in surprise when he saw Piper, but was distracted when Luna rushed onto her bench from another entrance to the strange clearing.

One by one, Percy, Frank and Hazel also appeared, whether by randomly popping straight onto a bench or walking into the clearing.

Finally, only one bench remained. Piper wondered when Juliet would get here. She was obviously the one to occupy the final bench, as she had been there through everything.

To her surprise, Nate, the son of Nyx, crashed through some ferns and took a seat on the last bench.

Piper was just about to ask why they were all here when a ball of pulsating light rose from the ground. It morphed into a small, wispy creature not unlike a fish, with mist for a tail.

It spoke, in a high, feminine, ghostly voice:

"Seven Half-Bloods shall answer the call,

To storm or fire, the world must fall,

An oath to keep with a final breath,

And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death."

Piper knew the prophecy. It was the Prophecy of Seven, the new Great Prophecy. But why was the throbbing light telling them this?

"You are the Seven.

You must heed the Call.

The Gods are waiting.

Take heed, demigods. The Gods don't want to be crossed when Olympus is in a state of tragedy and confusion.

Remember the Wisp's warning:

Take heed. Don't cross the Gods."

There was a flash of light and Piper jolted awake, along with everyone else.

The boys staggered into the girls' dorm.

They immediately started talking about the dream. It was loud enough to wake Juliet up.

"What are you guys talking about? What dream?" she asked. They all looked at each other. Juliet wasn't one of the seven.

Suddenly, Piper's vision blurred. Dark spots clouded her eyes, and she collapsed, breathing hard.

"What? What is it?" Leo asked frantically, bending down to smooth her hair.

Piper tried to look at him, but all she could see was darkness, and she rubbed her eyes, but nohing changed. Her eyes flashed bright white and her irises turned blue permanently.

"What's going on?" she shrieked. "I- I can't see!"

And indeed, Piper Mclean could not see.

Beause she was blind.

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