The mark of Athena web page 1
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Chapter 1Until she met the exploding statue, Annabeth believed she was prepared for anything.She’d paced the deck of their flying warship, the Argo II, checking and double-checking the ballistae to make certain they were locked down. She evidenced that the white “We come in peace” flag to be flying indigenous the mast. She the evaluation the setup with the remainder of the crew—and the backup plan, and also the backup setup for the backup plan.Most important, she traction aside your war-crazed chaperone, Coach Gleeson Hedge, and also encouraged the to take the morning turn off in his cabin and also watch reruns of combined martial arts championships. The last point they required as they flew a magical Greek trireme right into a potentially hostile roman camp was a middle-aged satyr in gym apparel waving a club and yelling “Die!”Everything appeared to be in order. Even that mysterious chill she’d been feeling because the delivery launched had dissipated, at least for now.The warship descended v the clouds, however Annabeth couldn’t avoid second-guessing herself. What if this to be a bad idea? What if the Romans panicked and attacked castle on sight?The Argo II definitely did no look friendly. Two hundred feet long, through a bronze-plated hull, mounted repeating crossbows fore and aft, a flaming metal dragon for a figurehead, and two rotating ballistae amidships that might fire explosive bolts an effective enough to blast v concrete…well, the wasn’t the most appropriate ride for a meet-and-greet with the neighbors.Annabeth had actually tried to provide the Romans a heads-up. She’d asked Leo come send among his one-of-a-kind inventions—a holographic scroll—to alert your friends within the camp. Hope the message had gained through. Leo had wanted to paint a giant message on the bottom of the hull—WASSUP? v a smiley face—but Annabeth vetoed the idea. She wasn’t sure the Romans had actually a feeling of humor.Too late to turn earlier now.The clouds broke about their hull, revealing the gold-and-green carpet of the Oakland Hills listed below them. Annabeth gripped among the copper shields the lined the starboard rail.Her three crewmates took their places.On the stern quarterdeck, Leo rushed roughly like a madman, checking his gauges and wrestling levers. Many helmsmen would’ve to be satisfied with a pilot’s wheel or a tiller. Leo had likewise installed a keyboard, monitor, aviation controls native a Learjet, a dubstep soundboard, and also motion-control sensors indigenous a Nintendo Wii. He could turn the ship by pulling top top the throttle, fire tools by sampling an album, or advanced sails by shaking his Wii controllers really fast. Also by demigod standards, Leo to be seriously ADHD.Piper paced ago and forth in between the mainmast and also the ballistae, practicing her lines.“Lower her weapons,” she murmured. “We simply want to talk.”Her charmspeak to be so powerful, the words flowed over Annabeth, filling her with the desire to drop her dagger and have a nice lengthy chat.For a boy of Aphrodite, Piper tried hard to play under her beauty. Now she was dressed in tattered jeans, worn-out sneakers, and a white tank top with pink Hello Kitty designs. (Maybe together a joke, though Annabeth might never be certain with Piper.) she choppy brown hair was braided under the appropriate side v an eagle’s feather.Then there was Piper’s boyfriend—Jason. That stood in ~ the bow on the elevated crossbow platform, whereby the Romans could easily point out him. His knuckles to be white ~ above the hilt of his golden sword. Otherwise that looked calm because that a male who to be making self a target. End his jeans and orange Camp Half-Blood T-shirt, he’d donned a toga and also a violet cloak—symbols of his old rank as praetor. With his wind-ruffled blond hair hair and his icy blue eyes, that looked ruggedly handsome and also in control—just like a kid of Jupiter should. He’d get an impression up at Camp Jupiter, so hopefully his familiar challenge would make the Romans unconvinced to blow the ship the end of the sky.Annabeth tried come hide it, yet she still didn’t completely trust the guy. He acted too perfect—always following the rules, always doing the honorable thing. He also looked as well perfect. In the earlier of she mind, she had a nagging thought: What if this is a trick and also he betrays us? What if we sail right into Camp Jupiter, and he says, Hey, Romans! check out these prisoners and this cool delivery I carried you!Annabeth wondered about that would happen. Still, she couldn’t look in ~ him without gaining a bitterness taste in her mouth. He’d been part of Hera’s forced “exchange program” to introduce the 2 camps. Her most Annoying Majesty, Queen the Olympus, had persuaded the other gods that their 2 sets that children—Roman and Greek—had to integrate forces to save the civilization from the evil goddess Gaea, that was awakening indigenous the earth, and also her horrible youngsters the giants.Without warning, Hera had plucked up Percy Jackson, Annabeth’s boyfriend, wiped his memory, and sent him to the roman inn camp. In exchange, the Greeks had gotten Jason. None of the was Jason’s fault; yet every time Annabeth observed him, she remembered how much she missed Percy.Percy…who was somewhere below them best now.Oh, gods. Scare welled up inside her. She forced it down. She couldn’t afford to get overwhelmed.I’m a child of Athena, she told herself. I need to stick to mine plan and also not obtain distracted.She felt that again—that acquainted shiver, as if a psychotic snowman had actually crept up behind her and was breathing down her neck. She turned, yet no one to be there.Must be her nerves. Also in a people of gods and also monsters, Annabeth couldn’t believe a brand-new warship would be haunted. The Argo II to be well protected. The Celestial copper shields follow me the rail to be enchanted to ward turn off monsters, and their onboard satyr, Coach Hedge, would have actually sniffed out any intruders.Annabeth wished she might pray come her mommy for guidance, but that wasn’t possible now. No after last month, when she’d had actually that horrible encounter with her mom and also gotten the worst present of she life.…The cold pressed closer. She believed she heard a faint voice in the wind, laughing. Every muscle in her body tensed. Other was about to walk terribly wrong.She virtually ordered Leo to turning back course. Then, in the sink below, horns sounded. The Romans had spotted them.Annabeth assumed she knew what to expect. Jason had described Camp Jupiter to she in good detail. Still, she had actually trouble believing her eyes. Ringed through the Oakland Hills, the sink was at least twice the size of Camp Half-Blood. A little river snaked approximately one side and curled toward the facility like a capital letter G, emptying into a sparkling blue lake.Directly listed below the ship, nestled in ~ the leaf of the lake, the city of brand-new Rome gleamed in the sunlight. She recognized landmarks Jason had told her about—the hippodrome, the coliseum, the temples and also parks, the ar of 7 Hills v its winding streets, vivid villas, and also flowering gardens.She saw evidence of the Romans’ recent battle with an army of monsters. The dome to be cracked open on a building she guessed was the Senate House. The forum’s large plaza was pitted with craters. Part fountains and statues were in ruins.Dozens of children in togas to be streaming the end of the Senate house to acquire a far better view the the Argo II. An ext Romans emerged from the shops and cafés, gawking and pointing together the delivery descended.About half a mile come the west, where the horns were blowing, a Roman ft stood top top a hill. That looked as with the illustrations Annabeth had seen in military history books—with a protective trench lined with spikes, high walls, and watchtowers armed with scorpion ballistae. Inside, perfect rows of white barracks lined the main road—the Via Principalis.A shaft of demigods arised from the gates, your armor and spears glinting together they hurried towards the city. In the midst of their ranks to be an actual battle elephant.Annabeth wanted to soil the Argo II before those troops arrived, yet the ground was still several hundred feet below. She scanned the crowd, hoping to catch a glimpse of Percy.Then other behind she went BOOM!The explosion practically knocked she overboard. She whirled and also found herself eye come eye through an upset statue.“Unacceptable!” he shrieked.Apparently he had exploded into existence, ideal there top top the deck. Sulfurous yellow acting rolled turn off his shoulders. Cinders popped approximately his curly hair. From the waist down, he to be nothing yet a square marble pedestal. Indigenous the waist up, he was a muscular human figure in a carved toga.“I will certainly not have actually weapons inside the Pomerian Line!” the announced in a fussy teacher voice. “I absolutely will not have Greeks!”Jason shooting Annabeth a look the said, I’ve obtained this.“Terminus,” he said. “It’s me. Jason Grace.”“Oh, i remember you, Jason!” Terminus grumbled. “I thought you had much better sense 보다 to consort with the adversaries of Rome!”“But they’re not enemies—”“That’s right,” Piper jumped in. “We simply want to talk. If us could—”“Ha!” snapped the statue. “Don’t try that charmspeak ~ above me, young lady. And put under that dagger before I slap it the end of your hands!”Piper glanced at she bronze dagger, i beg your pardon she’d apparently forgotten she was holding. “Um…okay. But how would certainly you slap it? you don’t have any kind of arms.”“Impertinence!” There was a spicy POP and a speed of yellow. Piper yelped and also dropped the dagger, which was currently smoking and sparking.“Lucky for you I’ve just been v a battle,” Terminus announced. “If i were at complete strength, ns would’ve blasted this flying monstrosity out of the sky already!”“Hold up.” Leo stepped forward, wagging his Wii controller. “Did girlfriend just speak to my delivery a monstrosity? I recognize you didn’t do that.”The idea the Leo might strike the statue through his gaming device was sufficient to snap Annabeth the end of her shock.“Let’s all calm down.” She increased her hand to show she had actually no weapons. “I take it it you’re Terminus, the god of boundaries. Jason said me you safeguard the city of new Rome, right? I’m Annabeth Chase, daughter of—”“Oh, I know who you are!” The frosting glared in ~ her through its blank white eyes. “A child of Athena, Minerva’s Greek form. Scandalous! you Greeks have actually no feeling of decency. We Romans recognize the ideal place for that goddess.”Annabeth clenched she jaw. This frostbite wasn’t do it basic to be diplomatic. “What precisely do you mean, the goddess? and what’s therefore scandalous about—”“Right!” Jason interrupted. “Anyway, Terminus, we’re here on a mission that peace. We’d love permission to land so us can—”“Impossible!” the god squeaked. “Lay down your weapons and also surrender! leave my city immediately!”“Which is it?” Leo asked. “Surrender, or leave?”“Both!” Terminus said. “Surrender, then leave. I am slapping your challenge for asking such a stupid question, you man boy! perform you feeling that?”“Wow.” Leo learned Terminus with professional interest.
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“You’re wound up pretty tight. Friend got any gears in there that need loosening? I could take a look.”He exchanged the Wii controller for a driver from his magic tool belt and also tapped the statue’s pedestal.