Sayuri and I started braking orders getting everyone ready for whatever was coming. I hadn’t gotten a good look at the monster but it was huge. Larger than any monster I had ever met and believe me I‘ve met hundreds.

I pulled my main weapon Allagi Kataigida out of the air. Allagi Kataigida is Greek for Changing Storm. It was one of the gifts Zeus had given me when I set out on my journey. Its default mode is a six foot celestial bronze staff but it has the ability to change into any weapon I need, everything from a knife to a shotgun. It can also summon blasts of lighting, like my dad’s Master Bolt.

I turned and jumped onto Zeus’s Fist. The monster was getting closer and its foot steps shook the ground. Suddenly everything went silent. The hairs on the back of my neck started to stand up. I started to think that maybe the other team hadn’t attacked yet because they had been attacked by the monster.

Instead of a giant monster bursting through the trees a dark figure walked calmly into the clearing. I recognized the figure as Jacob Phantasma son of Hades. He only shows up a few times a week and mainly keeps to himself. He was my height but with darker hair that grew down to his shoulders and black eyes. He was wearing dark armor and holding a black fedora.

The fact he was standing there didn’t settle the feeling in my stomach in fact I was ready to keel over. However I steeled my nerves and called out, “What do you want Jacob?”

From where he was standing I could see him laugh. “Why I want your flag of course.” I looked over at Nolan he looked up at me with a quizzical look. Like; “Is this guy serious?” I had a feeling something was about to go wrong but I decided to push my luck. I called out again “And what makes you think I’ll just hand it over?”

He put on his hat and it transformed into a black helmet. “This!” He snapped his fingers and the monster burst into the clearing. It was a dragon only this one was twice the size of anything I had seen. It had to be 50 feet tall at least. It had dark green scales, a rectangular head with two horns and rows of sharp teeth that would’ve made a T-rex cry. Its reds eyes swept over us and I felt a wave of terror ripple through the team.

My team broke ranks and started to feel but Nolan ran in front of them and started shouting orders. Sayuri managed to climb on to the fist and shake me out of my daze, literally. “Joe snap out of it!” she screamed “That thing is gonna kill us if we don’t do something!”

I heard her but it was like she was miles way speaking through a pipe. I was deep in thought. There was no way this thing should’ve been able to get into camp. Sayuri finally gave up shouting and smacked me in the head.

That was enough to snap me out of it. I raised my staff to the sky and lightning flashed over head. That got everyone’s attention. Even the dragon looked shocked like I might be an actual threat. I roared at the top of my lungs, a bolt of lightning came down from the sky, connected with my staff and shot toward the dragon.

Usually when I blast a monster with that much voltage they’ll immediately turn to dust. Unfortunately the blast only stunned the monster. When it tried to move it looked like it was chained to the ground.

I figured I had a few minutes before the dragon was able to move again. “Jacob,” I called out, “How did you bring that thing into camp?”

“Simple,” he called back, “He’s a creature of the Underworld, with some help from the Hecate cabin we brought him here with very little trouble. He only obeys me and if you don’t hand over the flag soon I won’t be responsible for what happens.”

The dragon was coming around and I didn’t want to imagine how fast and how much destruction he could do. I put Apollo’s sunglasses hoping to find the dragon’s weakness. I switched through the options and stopped when I got to infrared. I could see about 80 figures in the woods behind the dragon. “Oh great,” I thought “The rest of his team is here to watch us get killed”.

I kept switching through the options, it seemed hopeless. I had stopped on clear sight, an option that let me see clearly through the mist. I was about to take them off when I caught a glimpse of something. The dragon was shimmering and seemed almost transparent. I looked at Jacob and saw a dark haze connecting him to the dragon. I looked at the other campers and saw that they had faint strands of light connected to the dragon as well and seemed to be controlling it.

I smacked my self in the head. “Oh my gods.” I said aloud.

“What?” Sayuri yelped, “What is it?”

“Put these on and look at the dragon. I’ll be back in a sec.” I said.

I jumped off the fist, into the air and flew at the dragon. It looked at me like I was a kamikaze wasp. I got an inch from its face and shot up. My staff turned into a spear and hurled it at the dragon. It passed through like I had thrown it through a waterfall. I looked back at Sayuri and her jaw dropped. We shared a silent understanding, “This thing is a hologram.” She turned and started yelling to Nolan and Angelica.

Meanwhile Jacob had begun backing toward the woods.

“Oh-no you don’t,” I yelled, “You’re not going anywhere.”

Jacob glared and hurled a boulder up at me. I dodged at blasted him with a current of air. Nolan came sprinting out of no where and kicked Jacob in the head. Jacob’s helmet flew off and rolled in the grass. Beneath me the dragon started to shudder and stop. It looked like an internet video that kept buffering and couldn’t play right.

Once the rest of my team realized the dragon was a fake they started laughing and imitating the dragon. Jacob regained consciousness and looked around at everyone laughing. Apparently he didn’t have a sense of humor because he got a look of pure hatred on his face. He looked back at his team and yelled “Forget the trick, attack!”

The dragon disappeared and his team started to pour out of the woods. My team rushed to get back into position. The other team was almost a yard away when the conch horn blew. The Ares cabin came into view carrying a black banner; the flag.

Chapter 4