A/N: Sorry for not getting this up on Thursday. I had a sudden project at work. Also, I will most likely miss next week due to school.

Many thanks to Bboy13 for favoriting and following this story.

I do not own My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Library of Congress,

Chapter 3: Back to School

I almost ran to my hotel room to get ready. I'd had an adventure over the summer but Thalia had led the quest. This quest was mine. And that felt very good.

Argus took Chiron and me back to camp that afternoon. "You will need to visit the Oracle," Chiron said.

"I know," I replied. "I'm not a kid anymore Chiron."

"You're all kids to me," he said. He was as cheery as ever.

"Where is she?" I asked. Our Oracle, Rachel Elizabeth Dare, is the Mayor of New York City. She stays in the city, close enough to camp to get there for any quest that might happen, during the summer. But she has her own duties and during the school year she's liable to be anywhere. One time Jim Davis had to travel to Beijing in December.

"She's currently in Albany lobbying for more money," Chiron said. "Take a pegasus."

Argus dropped me off at the stables. I walked about a foot into the stables before an albino pegasus gently head-butted me to the ground.

"Hello to you too Tiger," I said between chuckles. White Tiger, or Tiger as I called him, wasn't technically my pegasus but he refused to let anyone else ride or groom him. I loved that pegasus, even when he shoved me to the floor. Which he did often. Eventually I managed to stop dodging hooves and get back up. I grabbed a brush and began grooming him. "You ready for a ride?" I asked. He neighed and brushed his head against my side. He lowered his front legs and let me get on. "North," I said and Tiger bolted from the stable, into the field and into the air.

When I die, I hope I'm riding a pegasus. There is no greater feeling in the world. We were flying a thousand feet in the air through the chilly air of southern New York. Tiger's wings bit through the low clouds as I arrived over the Hudson and began to follow it up river. I knew that I could fall asleep and Tiger wouldn't let me fall but the forest ground and the ever-cleaning river was such a beautiful sight that I didn't think there was any chance I'd fall asleep.

At one point Tiger dove down and flew next to a tanker that was traveling down river. I was very grateful for the Mist. The Mist can be manipulated by demigods and gods. For example, I made them think we were a really large Eagle. That wasn't very far from the truth.

About four o'clock (demigods have a natural ability to do things like tell time from the sun), we flew into Albany. Tiger landed in front of the Capital building, a huge three story mansion along the banks of the Hudson. Tiger took off and began grazing across the river. I walked into the building.

I had never actually been inside the capital building. It was beautiful and majestic and extremely confusing. I resorted to manipulating the Mist pretty quickly. I made the security believe I was an important person in order to get them to divulge Rachel's location. I went with the Secretary of State. I finally got that she was in the chairman of some committee's office and then, after another half hour, determined where that office was in the building.

I entered without knocking and clearly interrupted an important conversation. Rachel turned and recognized me immediately. She just shook her head.

"How did you get - " the chairman started to ask. I snapped my fingers. "Miss Dare, I just remembered I have a very important meeting with the Governor in five minutes. Please accept my apologies. Can we resume in an hour?"

Rachel continued to shake her head and fight back a laugh. "Yeah, sounds good," she said, not taking her gaze from me. The chairman quickly packed up and left his office. "You better have a really good reason to interrupt that meeting young man," Rachel said once the room was clear. She moved around to sit behind the desk.

"I'm trying to save the world," I offered. She finally let out the laugh. In many ways Rachel was a second mother to me. She was one of Dad's best friends (but only friends!) and had been at camp for much of my formative years while my real mother had been working on Olympus. I think she viewed me as a son too.

"Finally got a quest of your own then?" she asked. There was a smile she couldn't hold back on her face. I nodded.

Suddenly the smile disappeared from her face. Her eyes rolled back in her head and green smoke began seeping from her nose and eyes. "Approach, seeker, and ask," an ancient voice that definitely wasn't Rachel's said. I'd heard about the Oracle, but this was a little more unnerving than I was expecting.

"How can I find and close the Doors of the Deep?" I asked once I finally worked out the shock value.

The Oracle sat still, the green smoke filling the room, for what felt like several minutes. Finally, she opened here mouth and spoke:

Head in three's strength for the Mount held most dear

Sail in protection, the sea you shall fear

The dragon following through hot and cold

Lock the door; discover the action bold

As suddenly as it had started, the green, smoky nightmare ended. Rachel's eyes returned to normal and the green smoke dissipated. Rachel's smile returned. "It appears to have worked," she said in her normal voice.

"Yeah," I said.

"I suppose you'll have to go then," Rachel said. I nodded and headed for the door. "Winston," she said when I'd gotten to the door.

"Alex," I corrected her.

She only smiled. "Good luck kiddo," she said. I smiled and headed out.

A couple minutes of begging with Tiger later we were back in the air and headed south. I took the opportunity to catch some sleep while Tiger had me so surely on his back. Before I knew it the bright lights of the Manhattan skyline at night were in view and we flew easily into camp. I gave Tiger a large sugar cube and tons of hay. He deserved it.

Everyone except my father had returned from Olympus in my absence. He was getting a crash course in his godly powers, and those he didn't have. Almost as soon as I left the stable, my mother was ushering me into the Big House. Several plates of food were set out on the ping pong table. Chiron sat in his wheelchair on one side, Mr. D. sat disinterested at the head of the table. My mother ushered me to a chair across from Chiron and took her seat next to me. She began shoving food in my mouth. I was thankful; I hadn't eaten since breakfast.

Chiron cleared his throat. "Did you get a prophecy?" he asked with a grin.

"Right," I said with a mouth full of food. My mother scolded me. I told them the prophecy. "What does that even mean?" I asked when I was done.

"What did you expect?" Mr. D. asked. He was looking at a magazine but I knew there was no way he was actually reading it.

"Usually I'm pretty good at decoding her, but I'm drawing a blank," I said between bites.

"Well, let's think a little," Chiron said. "Head in three's strength for the Mount held most dear. Thoughts?"

"Well, let's start with the obvious," I said. "I need two other people."

"I don't like to assume anything is obvious with the Oracle," Chiron said. "Keep an open mind about the line. However, I agree you should have three on the quest. Who do you have in mind?"

"Airiana and Jayzon," I said immediately.

"And where are they now?" Chiron asked.

"Airiana is in Iowa at school. Jayzon is in Oklahoma with his family," I said.

"And if you can't do that much traveling before the quest?" Chiron asked.

"I'd rather have Airiana," I said.

"Jayzon's your best friend," Mom said surprised.

"Hera's powers are great for a lot of things," I said. "Battle is not one of them. I need Airiana's power if I'm going to survive in the world of the big G God."

Mr. D. laughed. "Don't write off your mother's powers that quickly Winston Alexis. She can be scary enough when she wants to be," he said.

"Alexander," I said through gritted teeth.

"Moving on," Annabeth said. She always took offense when Hera was called my mother. "What Mount is she talking about?"

"I was assuming Olympus," I said.

"Not a very long sailing trip," Mr. D. said. "Be faster to drive."

"The real one?" I suggested.

"No longer held dear," Chiron said. "It's just another mountain since the destruction of Rome."

"But religious mountains is a good idea," my mother said. "What religious mountains are still held dear?"

"I have not kept up on the new religions," Chiron said. "But there is one mountain held dear by over half the world's population. If you're looking for the most dear Mount, I think that's the one."

"The Temple Mount," I said. "The House of the big G God. It makes sense."

"Then we shall move on," Chiron said, though his face betrayed that he wasn't saying something. "Sail in protection, the sea you shall fear."

"Well I was going to fear the sea anyway," I said. "And the shadows. They're the domain of Triton and Chris now."

"Sail in protection?" Mom said. "Protection from the Sea?"

"Probably," I said. "What can protect us from the Sea?"

"The same thing that protected humanity the last time," Chiron said. "The boat itself."

"What?" I asked.

"During the Flood, Prometheus created a large boat to protect a human named Deucalion. The boat was very similar to Noah's Ark in that it was designed for protection. No god or agent of a god could damage a single plank in the boat. It protected Deucalion through the flood and saved humanity," Chiron said.

"Well, where is it?" I asked.

"I do not know," Chiron said.

Mr. D. started laughing. "I take it you know," I said.

"Prometheus made a mistake in design," Mr. D. said. "We couldn't destroy a single plank, but we could destroy the boat. Poseidon finally got his hands on it about 300 years after the Flood and dismantled it piece by piece."

"What did he do with them?" I asked.

"He hid them," Mr. D. said.

"Where?" I asked. I didn't really expect him to answer.

"In plain sight," Mr. D. said. "He planted them as far away from Greece as he could. They grew into trees and he built a forest around them."

"Where?" I pressed further.

Mr. D. motioned through the air. "As far away from Greece as he could. New England."

"We have to build it?" I asked.

"Yup," Mr. D. said with a shrug.

"From individual trees in the forest?" I asked.

"At last check," Mr. D. said. "And if you have a single plank in the boat from the wrong tree, Triton can crush it." The smile on his face betrayed the dismay on my own.

"Demigods can do amazing things," Chiron said. "And I'm quite sure that building the ship will be your smallest problem." That made me feel wonderful. "Let's move on. The dragon following through hot and cold."

"What dragon?" I asked.

"Impossible to say," Chiron said.

"You said the boat protects against the gods as well," Mom said. "Does that mean that Triton can't send a monster to destroy the ship for him?"

"Yes," Chiron said. "But a monster could do it of its own accord. I think you should be on the lookout for a monster. Though probably not until you reach the Mareā€¦um Mediterranean. The last line: Lock the door; discover the action bold."

"Mare?" I asked but Chiron flashed me a look that said drop it. "I like the locking the door part," I said to change the subject. "What bold action?"

"It seems like you'll discover that near the end of the quest," Mom said.

"I agree," Chiron said. "Any other comments?"

"So let me get this straight," I said. "I've got to go pick up two demigods from Iowa and possibly Oklahoma, head back to New York, find special trees in the forest (when I don't even know what makes them stand out), sail to Israel, find the Doors of the Deep that are hidden from even the gods, sail to them and close them?"

"All in the time limit," Mr. D. said calmly sipping his freshly made Diet Coke.

"What time limit?" my Mother and I said simultaneously.

"Triton knows where the Doors are, presumably he has already started the process of opening them," he said.

"Process?" I asked. "How long does it take?"

"Forty days," Mr. D. said. "If you open them any faster all you get is a really impressive geyser. The good news is that Triton doesn't need to personally oversee the process. He shouldn't be waiting for you, unless of course he wants to stop you. Or just wants to have some fun. I should watch."

"Great, add defeat a god to the list," I mumbled.

"Don't forget about the dragon that will be chasing you," Mr. D. added cheerfully.

"Triton will want to time the Flood with his attack on Olympus," Mom said.

"Are we sure that Triton is the leader?" I asked.

"No we're not. In fact I suspect Triton is just a follower. If they are building a new council, a son of Zeus will be responsible," Chiron said. "As for when, I agree the Flood will be timed with the attack."

"When to attack?" I asked.

"The Winter Solstice is approaching," Mom said. "The gods are weakest on that day. It's when I'd attack."

"True," Chiron said.

"We'll be ready if they come that day, we always are," Mr. D. said, suddenly appearing interested.

"And we will join you on Olympus," Mom said. "We won't stand by while Olympus falls."

"Then it's agreed. Alex, you'll need to get done by nightfall on December 21. That gives you 25 days, including tomorrow. Thankfully it was an early Thanksgiving this year."

"That's impossible," I said.

"You are a demigod, nothing is impossible," Chiron said. "Besides, you don't have a choice. Failure means the end of the world."

"The gods will be on your side," Mom said. "The Ark you build will be a sailing ship. Zeus can give you a tailwind."

"So I should pray to Zeus while on the ocean?" I asked.

"That will likely get you nowhere," Mr. D. said. He was disinterestedly reading his magazine again.

"You have any suggestions then?" my mother rudely asked.

Mr. D. grinned. "I should turn you into a lamb and then eat you while watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding," he said. "Which, coincidentally, contains your answer." He stood up and took an operatic pose before quoting. "The man is the head of the household, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants." He sat down. "Or something like that." He returned to his magazine.

"Thanks," I said. "And what does that mean?"

"It means you'll need to pray to Hera to stand a chance of getting Zeus' help on a quest," Chiron said.

Chiron stood from his wheel chair, which was always painful to watch. "Ah, freedom," he said. He turned to my mother. "Annabeth, I agree we need to help defend Olympus on the Solstice. I will travel to your father-in-law's school and bring the demigods there home. If you would round up the others please. Alex, I'll leave tomorrow. If you wish to ride with me it will speed up your trip."

I didn't get to sleep for a long time that night. And once I did, I wished I'd stayed awake.

I found myself in the lobby of the Library of Congress, the floors of bookcases rising menacingly over my head in the dark. I'm not sure why the library was dark as there were people working there.

I found who I was supposed to see there immediately. She was wearing slacks and a blouse that made her blend into the books surrounding her, but her piercing gray eyes found me immediately and her smile told me I was recognized.

"Jessica, I'm going to take a break," she said louder than one would normally hear in a library. She walked over to me and motioned out the front door. I obeyed.

"Did you summon me?" I asked as we began to descend the stairs.

"No," Athena said. "You summoned yourself."

"How does that happen?" I asked.

"The mind is a strange thing," Athena said. "My children do it often when there is something they do not understand or a question that they want another opinion on. This is the first time I've seen it from someone who I have not claimed though."

"But I don't know what I don't know," I said.

"Yes you do," Athena said. "Think."

"Well, there's the prophecy," I said.

"What do you think about the prophecy?" she asked, placing her hands behind her back. We were halfway down the street.

"Well, I have to do about fifteen million things and I have to do them all by the Solstice," I said.

"That's what your mother thinks," she said. "What do you think?"

She had hit upon why I was there. "I think she's wrong," I said, stopping.

"And why do you think that?" she asked, stopping and facing me.

"Militarily, the gods are not weakest on the Solstice," I said. She smiled.

"It is the shortest day of the year," she said with a tone for me to continue.

"Yes," I said. "And the god's powers are weakest on that day. But they know that so they're prepared to fight that day. And this year the demigods will be there to defend the mountain."

"If Zeus lets them," Athena interrupted.

"Well there's that," I said. "But the day's not that much longer on December 22nd. How much stronger are the gods on that day?"

Athena smiled. "My daughter is very wise," Athena said, beginning to walk back toward the Library. "If you place her on a battlefield, she will win it for you. But one can win a battle before they arrive on the battlefield. You, Winston Alexander, are truly my grandson. You have a lion's share of this knowledge. You are correct; they will not attack on the Solstice because we will be ready that day. We would win that day."

"It's Alex," I said. I know I shouldn't have, but I couldn't help myself.

"You will have to choose which name you use," she said. "Names have power. What name you use will define who you are; Winston achieves peace, Alex wins wars. But don't make that decision too soon. The fate of the world might just rest on the choice."

"You have a bias?" I asked.

"I do," she said. "So does your mother, which is why you are Winston Alexander and not Alexander Winston. But ultimately you will make the choice."

"Yeah," I said. We arrived at the base of the steps to the Library and paused before climbing. "When would you attack?" I asked.

"I cannot tell you that," she said. "Zeus does not want us to do anything which might help a demigod succeed, whether we believe that demigod is with us or against us. But, you are on the right track. The best strategy for defense begins with thinking about how you would attack yourself."

"Well, December 22nd is a good choice; the gods tend to be hungover with their defenses down. No offense," I quickly added. We began climbing the steps.

"I do not get offended at the truth," she said.

"But are there other days?" I asked again.

"There are many," she said.

"In the next forty days?" I pressed.

She shrugged. "A few," she said. "Find them out if you want to know your real time limit." We entered the library.

"Great, another thing to do," I said.

"Well, what else were you planning to do on that boat?" she asked. We walked to the row of books she had been working on when I had arrived. "I must get back to work now," she said.

"Thanks for the help," I said. I turned around and began to leave, not sure how long I would have to walk before I woke up.

"Winston Alexander," she said as I got to the end of the row. I turned back around. "You forgot the book you checked out," she said.

I was suddenly awake. Early morning rays were seeping in my bedroom window, illuminating the room that I was sure my mother would make me clean when I got back from saving the world. My room was on the second, upper, floor on the ocean side and I often found myself starring out the window at the beach in the morning. I always got comfort from this.

But today was different. That calm, rolling, blue mass was in enemy hands. It was what I was supposed to fear.

I turned away from the window and got dressed for the day. This was difficult: What do you wear when riding a centaur halfway across the country? I ultimately picked out jeans and a camp t-shirt. Boring.

I always have a bag, well more a backpack, packed for a quick getaway, and when I went to pick that bag up was when I saw it. Lying on my desk, which was way cleaner than when I'd last left it, was a book. It was hardback with a plain blue cover and appeared to have about five hundred pages. There was a notecard lying on the front which said:

Some light reading for your trip,

A.

P.S. I expect it back on January 1st. Late fee is 3 Drachma a day.

I picked the book up and flipped it open. It was a textbook intended for an introduction to ancient religions titled Ancient Religions of the World. I rolled my eyes: I knew this stuff. I was putting the book in my backpack when I noticed the bookmark. A bookmark listing the Presidents of the United States through 2020 was sticking out of the book. I opened the book to the marked page that was the beginning of the chapter on ancient Egypt. I placed the notecard and the bookmark back on that page and placed the book in my backpack.

Chiron was talking, in full centaur form, to my mother outside Hera's cabin (or as I call it, home) when I stepped outside with my backpack. He nodded to me when he'd finished the conversation. I didn't listen in.

"You ready?" he asked, walking up to me. I nodded. "Hop on," he said. He bent his front legs so I could get on his back and then he stood up. "Don't pull out any hairs," he said quickly. And then he started to run.