I literally started writing this chapter as soon as I got my fifth review/comment, and ending up working on it all day, from about maybe half an hour before noon (I woke up less than an hour before noon and nearly overslept) to nearly midnight, not including the time when I was actually paying attention in class and doing homework for most of the afternoon.

Julia Feingold – I Know My Kingdom Awaits

Julia knew that there were three certainties in her life –

1. She was Julia Feingold, fatherless only child of Eve Feingold, resident of Los Angeles;

2. Her sister-in-all-but-blood was Alice Miyazawa, fatherless only child of Mari Miyazawa, fellow resident of L.A;

3. She always had the uncanny ability to speak different languages easily – which made the additional language classes a breeze, navigate without ever looking at a map, and bypass security measures without batting an eye… which her mother had said was G*d's gift to her.

Yet nothing had prepared her for her life turning upside down when a fire started in their homeroom and her sister came charging out, muttering about their Math teacher being a cannibalistic nutjob. Then Coach Butcher tried to murder her sister again, so she subconsciously ripped a sword(!) from the hands from an older boy and stabbed him to dust – no body left behind. And now they were on a strawberry farm van heading east with said older boy and two others, all of whom were wearing obnoxiously bright orange T-shirts. What a time to be alive.

"Okay, how do I say this…" murmured the smaller boy of the two, only to be interrupted by the owner of the sword, who had since put said sword back in his scabbard, "the gods are real. I mean, the Greek gods." What.

"B-but isn't there only one… G-O-D?" she stuttered out. She glanced at Alice – please, tell me, there can't be more than one G*d, they say He's angry that the people of the olden days didn't give up on polytheistic cults, please tell me that this isn't some mad pagan cult – but her sister only gave a solemn nod.

"We don't talk about the metaphysical G-O-D," the smaller boy – Cecil – explained, "though this isn't denying that He doesn't exist. For all we know, He could have created the gods and channels his power through them." Hmm, that made a bit more sense, but…

"Anyway," continued the other boy – Chris, was it? – "they exist, flaws and all, and move with Western civilization. Since America's the center of Western civilization right now, they're here and living on the new Mount Olympus – the Empire State Building."

"E-excuse me, but you mean the Empire State Building is… a mountain in Greece?" Alice questioned incredulously. Julia then tried to envision those pictures in her World History textbook hanging off the Empire State Building like those images of King Kong. The mental picture almost made her laugh out loud. "Yeah, that's kind of ridiculous to think about."

"Not exactly, we mean like, a whole other dimension connected to Earth with the building," Chris clarified. "The elevator, to be precise."

"Moving on, you guys heard about the so-called myths about the gods having kids with mortals?"

She shared a glance with her sister, remembering that time they watched Disney's Hercules during a sleepover. "Yeah, but Hercules' mom wasn't Hera, right?"

"Spot on," Cecil continued, smirking, probably mentally recounting a prank that involved the animated movie. "His mom was a mortal, and the gods' tradition of having kids with mortals didn't stop there. They've been doing that all through history."

"What Markowitz means to tell you godly crotch goblins is that you're demigods, or half-bloods – children of gods," the girl driving the van – Clarisse – bluntly stated from the driver's seat. "One of your parents is mortal, and the other is a god – or goddess. We're taking you to Camp Half-Blood, in New York, where you learn to protect yourself from monsters like that empousa you had for a teacher and the Laistrygonian coach. I'm a daughter of Ares, and these two are Hermes' boys."

"There's supposed to be a satyr looking out for you two though," Chris frowned at the two girls, then proceeded to explain, "a half-man, half-goat. Usually undercover with a cap and something wrong with their legs… and some plant-related name."

"A guy called Parker Linden was in our class last year," Alice recalled. Julia then added, face twisting into a frown, "But he didn't show up this year."

"Dammit," Clarisse muttered from the front. "Your protector died in the war and we forgot to send a new one. He was a good guy. Kind of kooky, but a good guy."

"Speaking of a war, do you guys happen to know a guy called Castellan? Miss Belcher said he betrayed their master last month and wants to eat his siblings as collateral damage… me included." Alice kept on recounting, only for the three older demigods to flinch and Chris to go pale.

"He meant our brother, Luke Castellan," Chris disclosed, eyes widening into some form of Thousand-Yard Stare. "He was possessed by Kronos, the Titan of time, who was trying to overthrow his kids' reign on Olympus, but Luke sacrificed himself to stop him…" He trailed off, obviously not wanting to add more details.

"We fought the Titans for three days in Manhattan. We lost a lot of good people there," added Clarisse from the front. A moment of silence then filled the van, before Clarisse continued driving with vigour, as though she was trying to get them to New York faster.

"Well, at least we know your godly parent, sis, as she was after you," Cecil put a hand on her sister's shoulder. She only barely contained the flare of envy as he continued, "Welcome to the Hermes brood."

The rest of the journey mainly consisted of games of Cards Against Olympus, Mythomagic (in which all of them sucked, which prompted Cecil to complain about how the best player of the game refused to stick around Camp for more than a few hours), and Uno; with occasional breaks for food and restroom usage. (They refused to stop in Las Vegas since they were forewarned there was a whack Hotel that messed with people's sense of time in its vicinity.)

The van ran into a gang of six-armed giants wearing nothing but loincloths (gross, but she had a feeling this wouldn't be the grossest thing she'd see as a demigod) in Colorado, but a few precise sword strikes from the boys caused them to melt into clay stains on the side of the road. In Nebraska, a group of grain spirits tried to drag Chris off, which then got turned to piles of cornflakes when Clarisse sent her electric spear in their direction.

As the demigods pulled into Iowa, a huge gryphon (or so the others said it was) pulled the van into a merry chase across the state that the group only eluded with road directions from Julia and Chris. A while later, they passed the state border into Wisconsin, where they picked up an older, taciturn teenager called Ryker, who was on the run from some snake women – Scythian dracanae.

They stopped by Chicago for their break, where they were ambushed by a pack of bear-sized mastiffs when getting lunch, which the citizens mistook for several large, black vans blocking up the road for no particular reason (which they also didn't seem especially mad about, other than a lot of grumbling). Eventually, they were attacked by demon pigeons again (she was with Alice when Auntie Mari went to interview some celebrity in San Fran that time), which they had Alice scare off with her rendition of Let It Go. (Julia wondered if it was worth it if life as a demigod was so stressful.)

When they finally reached Half-Blood Hill, the van was, once again, chased, but this time by arm-length, crowned snakes. "Okay, we gotta run, run, run, run!"

Alice sped off, with Ryker barely behind. Julia didn't find the snakes particularly scary, but she ran nonetheless as the three older, more experienced Campers fought the serpents. As soon as the demigods crossed the border, though, a hologram of a winged golden staff entwined with a pair of snakes – like what Alice drew in her book, goodness, was that just a few days ago? – appeared above Alice's and Ryker's heads.

"Congrats on getting Claimed," a stocky blond with sad purple – purple! Like… the color of grapes! – eyes commented as he manipulated the surrounding plants to strangle the serpents. Her eyebrow quirked in confusion. Why are you looking at me too? Did one of those demon pigeons just stop by and take a dump on my head or something?

"Nice to know you two are one of us as well," Cecil pointed out, then he turned to the violet-eyed guy. "Hey, Pollux. How's it going at Camp?"

"Fine. We lost Capture the Flag though. Say, what are these kids' names?"

"Alice Miyazawa here. Hello, everyone!" her sister gave the gathering crowd of demigods – nearly all of whom were wearing those bright orange T-shirts, seriously, that alone would attract monsters without considering the scent – a friendly little wave.

"My name is Ryker… Ryker Bunschoten."

"…Wait, Bunschoten, as in Marvin Bunschoten, that televangelist that died in the police chase in his 'Lamborghini for the Lord'?"

"Rumor says he ended up in the Fields of Punishment… I heard Percy mention it after his quest to the Underworld."

"Raymond! Don't be so blunt! His father literally just died a few years ago!"

Ryker began to look increasingly uncomfortable at the gossiping Campers. "I'd rather not talk about it, but..."

Julia decided to spare him from humiliation due to who his mortal parent was (just because he was the son of a… SOB didn't mean he wasn't a decent guy himself) by asking a stupid question. "I'm Julia Feingold, and what did you mean by 'Claimed'?"

"It means your godly parent sent a sign to basically say, 'yeah, I made this kid'," Chris replied wryly. She wondered why he didn't seem very happy about that, but she nodded. "A caduceus showed up above your heads, which means at least Father had the sense to Claim you three ASAP."

She nodded again, before the words began to settle in. Chris' father… as in Hermes… as in Alice's father… as in my father? She blinked. Her worldview had basically shattered in the span of a few days, but at least she had a little time to consolidate her learning about the truth about herself:

1. She was Julia Feingold, demigod daughter of Eve Feingold and Hermes, resident of Los Angeles but staying in New York;

2. Her sister by godly blood was Alice Miyazawa, demigod daughter of Mari Miyazawa and Hermes, fellow resident of L.A but also staying in New York;

3. She always had the uncanny ability to speak different languages easily – which made the additional language classes a breeze, navigate without ever looking at a map, and bypass security measures without batting an eye… which her mother had said was G*d's gift to her… which probably counted as the perks of being the daughter of an actual Greek deity.

That night, Julia turned to Alice in their bunk (they had to share a bed for the night since one of the Ares kids – Clarisse's siblings – blew up several minor deities' cabins and their residents had to sleep in the Hermes cabin until they were fixed). "Hey… if we're both daughters of Hermes, does that make us sisters by… what's the word… ichor? Can we tell the teachers we're real sisters now?"

"Yeah, I think that counts," her sister by ichor whispered back, and eventually, both sisters drifted off to the lands of Morpheus in peace.

DATE OF WRITING: 18 March 2020

DATE OF EDITING: 18-19 March 2020

That rationalization I made for the co-existence of all sorts of pantheons in the Riordanverse, coupled with Samirah's beliefs and thoughts on the gods, is my interpretation for the religious background in the Riordanverse, since I went to a Christian (Protestant) primary school and went through a religious phase when I was younger, and now still want to try to make peace between the conflict between science and religion. (I am currently agnostic-Christian.)

For the record, some of the Campers, including Cecil, still remember li'l Nico and his Mythomagic phase back in The Titan's Curse.

According to my research, Chicago has among the worst traffic in public. And yes, I did look up car routes between L.A and NYC to write this fic. You're welcome.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my take on the Hermes' sisters backstory, since no one talks about them and as we see from Hestia and Hades, the ones left behind tend to be the most fascinating ones. If you have any suggestions and headcanons for any characters, especially those with little to nothing given about their backgrounds, please send them in and I'll possibly try to compile a fic about them or something. Until next time!


UPDATE: Upon rereading TLT, I have discovered that the televangelist is from Upstate New York, not Wisconsin. I admit that this was an error on my part, but to be honest, where the asshole was from is not important. Let's just say that he was divorced and his ex-wife moved to Wisconsin with Ryker.