'Wait, we're leaving..tonight?" The knapsack Annabeth tossed to me was heavier than my sword. It fell to the ground with a heavy thumb. I knelt down and undid the latch, and out spilled all these tools I guessed people used on Artic expeditions. A compass, a thermal heat scanner, a pair of sealtight goggles, and a ton of other stuff.
"Were you not paying attention?" She told me sharply, her grey eyes flashing. "I said, we leave tonight."
"But..how?" My dad asked, his eyes crinkling in confusion.
"Oh, I don't know, we'll take a Pegasus, along with some cupcakes and candy for the ride there," Annabeth clutched a paper map in her hand, teeth gritted. Me and my dad exchanged a glance, but said nothing.
"I'm..strong enough to shadow-portal all of you," Nico offered quietly. Will took his hand and squeezed it. "Are you sure?" He asked his boyfriend. "We can't have you losing as much strength as you did..you know where," He eyed the group carefully. Everyone nodded, except for me and Dad. We were clueless, but i had a sense that 'you-know-where' wasn't a place I wanted to see anytime soon.
"I know I can do it. This..this is child's play." Nico smiled a little. The lunch bell rang, and everyone filed out. I repeated the prophecy in my head;
“Ice will seep into the hearts of those with a’ half and quarter,
Searching for closure in the descendants of the sea god
They will be joined upon their journey, first to the land of the Midnight Sun
By the fiery one, Daughter of Ares
The silver wit, Daughter of Athena
The darkened soul, Son of Hades
And the mending spirit, Son of Apollo
Leave in the next fortnight
Or trouble surely is to follow.”
It's a lot to unpack. But I had..a team, right? As long..as we..got along, we would be okay, right?
Quinn comes up to me during lunch, their cheeks dusted with a blush - maybe they were sensitive to the cold?
"Hey," I set down my half-eaten PB and J and turn to them. "What's up?"
"I uh..kinda..wanted to give you..something." Their grey eyes flicked to the ground as they pulled a water lily from their pocket. It was perfectly in tact, surprisingly. "I..I thought..it was kinda nice, 'specially since you're Poseidon's granddaughter and stuff. I uh, had one of the Demeter kids make it for me."
I gently took it by the stem and admired its fragile white petals. "It's beautiful, Quinn. Thank you."
"I..uh, also had the Demeter kid put some sort of of anti-wilting spell on it, so it won't die, even out of water." They grinned, but that quickly faded. "Just..be safe, okay?"
"I..I promise." And I meant it. They grinned again, and gave me a kiss on the cheek. "..Good."
With that, they sauntered off, hands in the pockets of their cargo shorts.
"Ah, how sweet young love is.." Chiron said wistfully as he strode by. He smiled his old, patient smile and ruffled my hair. "Good luck, my dear, in pursuits both romantic and prophetical," He plucked the lily from my hands and tucked it behind my ear.
i let out a little laugh and waved as he turned away. But that didn't last long. A feeling of dread was starting to form in my stomach that only grew heavier as night approached. Annabeth said we couldn't have a proper sendoff like campers usually did when they got quests. We all convened in Percy's cabin and watched as Nico opened up a shadow portal. It was an oblong thing that sparked red and black lightning wildly.
"Just try not to get shocked," He warns us. "Unless you wanna be turned into a pile of ash."
As swiftly as we could, one by one we stepped into the portal. I was the last one in. In the blink of an eye, I'm on the deck of a fishing port. I smiled for a second -it had worked - then I threw up for the second time in two days.
"Ugh," Annabeth groaned. "Couldn't you have at least tried to keep it down until you we got on the open water?" Percy gave her a look of confusion, but said nothing.
The one thing I forgot about Alaska; it's bitterly cold practically all year round. Percy told us that our parkas are in the bottoms of our packs. They were obviously hand-crafted by the Aphrodite kids; plastic orange rhinestones cover every little square-inch of fabric. I shrugged mine on as quickly as possible and settle into the warm down inside.
Everyone does the same, and there we are, just standing alone on a dock in Alaska, looking like seven identical glitter-obsessed Michelin men. The waters are calm..until a foggy mist settled over it, I look over and I see what looks like a fishing boat. On the bow, leaned over the railing is a tall, gorgeous woman with long, sleek blonde hair that flows in the gentle wind. She's wearing a navy sailor suit, red neckerchief, hat and all.
"Brizo. She protected sailors when they were in perilous waters." Annabeth explained as the boat neared us.
"Greetings, half bloods!" Brizo waved as the ropes that hung from the starboard side magically looped themselves around the columns that stuck out from the waters. Once secured, a ramp unfolded and ended right at the edge of the dock.
"Uh, did the prophecy say anything about a boat?" My dad whispered to me as Annabeth started up the ramp with a vigor I've never seen from her.
"I dunno.." I said. "I think we'll get more pieces as we go along."
"Let's hope we do," My dad offered Brizo a goofy smile as we boarded, which she returned with a flip of her hair.
"Oh, and the little quarter-blood!" She squealed, bent down, and pinched my cheek. "Oh, your first quest! How exciting!"
"Uhm..yeah," I force a grin. "Yup. Hopefully it's not my last." Why not make fun of the circumstances, I guessed in the moment.
Brizo claps her hand. "Oh, don't be so drab, Anastasia. Just enjoy the ride, huh?" She gently led me to the cabin, where everyone was sitting in crushed velvet reclining seats. My dad had found the massage feature, and was living his best life.
This was gonna be a long, long, quest.
Brizo comes down to the cabin awhile later. "I'm sure you all know where you're headed."
No, no, we didn't. Annabeth cleared her throat and offered the goddess a half-hearted smile. "Anchorage."
"How do you know that?" Percy asks her coolly, a brow raised. Annabeth's mouth flattened into a grim line. "I have my ways, Percy." Her gaze flicked over to me, and I couldn't help but feel embarrassed.
"Well," Brizo clasped her long fingers together. "Please, relax and enjoy the ride.
Will and Nico fall asleep pretty easily, with their fingers entwined. Percy pulls my dad aside and they head above deck to talk. I watched Clarisse sharpen her knife for at least half an hour before getting bored.
I went up the narrow staircase to find that they weren't there. i peered over the rail, and saw the last glimpse of my uncle and dad's heads as they were pulled underwater by a force I couldn't see.