~Ana's Point of View~ I stood by what I did. Plus it was a chance to test my powers. I was thoroughly pleased, by the way. As I was looking over the sticky disaster I'd made, I just happened to catch Clarisse's gaze as she walked over to me, her tray still in hand. She passed it off to Annabeth, who was trailing behind her. She grabbed me by the arm and dragged me to the Big House. I stumbled behind her, trying to catch my footing so I could at least keep in time with her.
"They were the ones taking it too hard," I said as I tripped up the steps of the porch. "I mean, did you hear that song?"
"I heard it alright, Anastasia.” Clarisse sounds..disappointed? “But how you reacted maybe wasn’t the way to go about defending yourself.”
Was..was she kidding me? She’s the daughter of the god of War. I was expecting a high-five from her, maybe a fist bump, at the least. But, no. She was gonna be lecturing me. Great.
We sat down on the bottom step and she crossed her arms over her chest. We sat in silence for a good two to three minutes.
“So..what exactly do you want me to be doing?” I asked. The silence was starting to get awkward.
“I..I really don’t know. Sometimes I find that just..sitting with your feelings helps to sort them out. It’s something that..took me..y’know, some time to figure out, but it helps.” She looked out onto the waterfront, which was shimmering white because the moon was hitting it just right.
“..I still don’t know how I feel about getting a quest. Percy helped me, kinda..” I said suddenly. “I mean, I don’t even know what I’m really going up against, or who!” I throw my hands up in the air.
“Well, that’s kinda th’ fun thing thing about quests,” Clarisse smiles a little. “You never know what’s gonna hit ya, but ya keep on going. Sure, it’s scary, and sometimes things go wrong. But I always like to think..that I’m doing the right thing, y’know?” She sets a hand on my shoulder, like everyone had been doing that whole day. “I can see the potential in you to do great stuff. Who cares if you only have like, what half the powers we do? It’s what you make of them that counts.”
Poseidon’s underpants. She was right. I took my pin from my pocket and grinned.
“So you’ll help me to train?” I ask.
She nods, and I can see the spark igniting in her big, brown eyes. “Swear on Zeus’s lightning bolt. You’re gonna be in tip-top shape by the time I’m done with you.”
The next morning, I wake up with a spring in my step. Until breakfast. Instead of my usual banana and orange juice, Clarrise sets an orange, a container of Greek yogurt, and two bananas in front of me.
“Uh..I think we might have mixed up our breakfasts.” I chuckled nervously and pushed everything away except for one banana. Clarisse raised a brow at me. “No can do, An. You have to get as much nutrients inside of you as possible if you want to make it through training with me.”
“..Can we skip the yogurt?” I asked meekly. No offense to the Gods, but they have to know that their yogurt tastes like crap.
“Calcium. It’s good for your bones.” She ripped off the lid and stuck a spoon in it. The Ares kids are staring at me. They were probably wondering how I was gonna fit all of that..into well, me.
I really, really didn’t wanna eat it. But I did, and it was..alright. Except for the yogurt. That still sucked. My stomach hurt so badly after all of it, I had to sit in my chair for a few extra minutes just to wait for the churning to settle. As I waddle for my cabin, I’m stopped by Annabeth.
“What is it now?” It comes out sharper than I intended, and she steps back.
“Percy and I have someone we want you to meet,” She says calmly. Oh.
She leads me to the Poseidon cabin. Percy was sitting on his bunk, faced with this..giant? With one eye. Percy offered me a polite smile and acted like everything was okay.
“Niece?” The cyclops looked at me with his one, giant, doe-brown eye. His hair sticks out in awkward black points.
“Yeah, bud. That’s our niece.” Percy grins. “Anastasia, this is Tyson. My brother..er, half-brother.”
Tyson let out a little squeal, and before I can react, I’m crushed in his thick tree-trunk arms and pressed into his tummy.
“I’m an uncle!” He cheered. He pulled me away from his chest to get a better look at me. “Stacey! I’m’ma call you Stacey!”
I feel my stomach start to churn again. I slip out the door and puke everything I’d shoved down in a grassy patch by the side of the cabin. I had just been hugged by a cyclops who was apparently my uncle. I leaned up against the cool stone of the wall and took in a deep breath.
What had I gotten myself into?
“Clarisse gave you breakfast, right?.” Came a soft voice from beside me. I looked over, and there was Will Solace, holding out a bottle full of water. I softly uttered a ‘thank you’ and took it from him.
“A cyclops just hugged me,” I told him, my voice was still shaky. “I’m not crazy, right?”
He laughed a little bit. “Nope. Unless that’s what you were going for.”
I snorted and untwisted the plastic cap from the spigot. “Afraid not.”
“Tyson’s..daunting at first,” He says. “But trust me, he’s the sweetest guy you’ll ever meet. He seems pretty excited to be an uncle.” He leaned up against the wall, too, and shoved his hands in his pocket. “The one thing about this place,” He muses. “Is that you gotta give it a fighting chance, no matter how weird things get.”
“How do I do that?” I asked, a smile creeping up on my face.
“You just have to go with the flow. It’s what I learned when my dad got turned into a mortal.” He grimaces a little bit.
He sighs. “It’s a long story. Maybe I’ll find the time to tell you on our quest.” He punches me lightly in the shoulder and grins. “Stay strong, An. Now, come on. We kinda got a task force meeting going on in Percy’s cabin.”
He turned the corner and headed inside. I took another sip of my water, and used the rest to wash away some of my upchuck. I slip inside and see that Nico, Percy, Annabeth, Will and Clarrise are all huddled up in a circle, conversing sharply. I can’t hear it all that well. Tyson’s sat on a bottom bunk, the frame waning and threatening to break under his weight. He was sniffling and wiping puddle-sized tears from his eye. A..bird-girl of some sort is crouched on his shoulder, trying to comfort him. She has wild red hair that sticks out in some places.
I probably scared him, is what I realized. Slowly, I made my way over to him. “Hi, Tyson.”
Tyson lets out a little whimper and stares down at me. “You are back!” He says gleefully. “You aren’t scared of me?”
I shook my head. “No, no, of course not. I just got sick from breakfast.”
I nodded, and I was pulled up into his arms for another hug. “Yay! Stacey’s back!”
The bird-girl’s feathery arms bristle. Her coffee-colored eyes flick to the ground. “Ella is nervous. Ella doesn’t know this new person.”
“That’s Ella! My girlfriend!” Tyson said proudly. “She’s very pretty.”
Ella let out a little titter. “Oh, you stop.” She says. Tyson sets me on the ground, and I’m pulled into the ring of conversation by Clarisse.
“Ah, the girl of the hour.” Percy says. “How nice of you to join us.”
I couldn’t stop my eyes from rolling. “Sorry, I was sort of puking. I’ll make sure to be on time the next time around.”
“Okay, okay, that’s enough from the peanut gallery,” Annabeth says. She has a pen tucked behind her ear and a notepad in the other. “We need to start planning to get out of here as quickly as possible. Alaska is a long way from here.”
Just as she said that, I felt a draft start to sift in from..I didn’t know where. All the doors and windows were closed. “How do you know we’re headed to Alaska?”
“The land of the midnight sun? That’s Alaska’s nickname.” Annabeth raised a brow. “Of course we’re headed there. There’s no way around it.”
The door suddenly bangs open with a wild gust of wind, and in ran Leo, who was shaking like a leaf. “Whew!” He comments as he pushes the door shut. “Temperature’s dropping like crazy.” He jabs a thumb behind him.
“Ice will seep into the hearts of those with a’ half and quarter,” Ella said suddenly. “You all must leave soon! Or else Ella fears something will happen to Percy and Stacey!” She started flapping her wings wildly. Tyson’s face crumbled. “I don’t want Stacey and Percy to freeze!” He wailed.
“Woah, woah, big guy!” Percy headed from his bunk over to Tyson’s and set a hand on his back. “Me and Stacey aren’t gonna become popsicles anytime soon. I promise.”
“For sure. In fact, I double promise.” Percy held out his fist for a bump, which Tyson returned with a little explosion at the end.
A vision flicked through my head. Me, Percy, and..my dad, for some reason, all frozen in giant blocks of ice. I shook my head and shivered.
“Better make that a triple promise,” I whispered to myself. “We’re gonna need all the luck we can get.”