"Oh, when you walk by every night, talking sweet and looking fine, I get kind of hectic inside…" Gwen sang loudly. She grabbed my shoulder, rocking me back and forth.

I laid my head against the window, sighing. Two seconds. I was just about two seconds away from smashing my head into it repeatedly.

Liz took over, "Mmm, baby, I'm so into you, darling, if you only knew, all the things that flow through my mind- come on Percy, it's the good part! Sing! Sing it!"

"But it's just a sweet, sweet fantasy, baby! When I close my eyes, you come and take me!" Gwen and Liz both sang, dragging the me on and on. "On, and on, and on, it's so deep in my daydreams but it's just a sweet, sweet fantasy, baby…"

"I'm going to explode," I said, mainly to myself.

Gwen and Liz paid me no mind, continuing their karaoke version of Fantasy. "I mean it. I'm actually going to explode."

I had a bone to pick with Mariah Carey and the guy who invented karaoke if we ever crossed paths in person. They were officially on my hit list, somewhere below Ares and somewhere above the guy who invented online homework.

Excessive? Maybe. I mean, like, come on. I like karaoke as much as the next guy- which isn't a lot, mind you- but karaoke after an entire day of practice, on a school field trip to Oscorp of all places? That's just foul.

It's a horrible thing to put a teenaged boy through. Just horrible.

I guess this is just kind of what I get for choosing to sit with Gwen and Liz. I don't know how they always have so much energy, but they do.

You'd think I'd learn my lesson after seeing how energetic they can be in the mornings, but nope, here I am, squeezed into a little bus seat meant for two people with both of them, late in the afternoon. And they're singing. In my ear.

I guess maybe I thought the six-hour school day would wear them out, at least a little bit. It certainly wore me out.

The worst part about this whole situation, the thing that really pushes it over the edge for me is that Gwen literally works at Oscorp. You'd think she'd be a little less excited to go to work on a school field trip when she spends Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons here, but whatever.

Maybe she's just more excited to annoy me. Beats me.

Trying to shake the building annoyance out of my system, I tuned out the singing on what felt like both sides of me and observed everyone on the school bus, including the chaperone and the bus driver.

My growing suspicion from the other night was still pretty unfounded- I'd re-examined almost every single person who'd been at that party, but, to my disappointment, there wasn't anything out of the ordinary in any of them.

The hypothesis I'm sitting on right now is, well, whatever happened with the Minotaur was external, and nothing I did that night tied into its sudden appearance. Whatever was going to happen with it was going to happen regardless. Freak monster attacks happened to demigods all the time, especially stronger ones like me.

That being said, I was still on edge.

I'd noticed the absence of spoils, or even the golden dust that normally appears with a successful monster kill. Whatever happened wasn't normal- everything about the way it found me to the way it died made me consider the fact that it had been sent to find me.

But why?

Who was capable of controlling and regenerating the Minotaur, of all things, and why would they send him my way? Why would it die so weirdly?

My round of observation ended with Peter Parker.

He's…an interesting kid. I still don't really know what to think about him.

His stats, well, they're pretty bad, even for a regular human.


Peter Parker [YOUNG GENIUS]

[Level]: 9

HP- 4,000/4,000

SP- 50/50

MP- 0/0

[Allegiance]: N/A

STR- 3

VIT- 3

DEX- 4

INT- 10

CHA- 1

WIS- 0

LUC- 2

[Money]: $20

[PERKS]: Genius, Tech-Savvy, Misunderstood Machiner…

At a young age, Peter Parker's parents were said to have died in a plane crash, leaving him to be raised by Ben and May Parker. Now in high school and his teenage years, Peter Parker feels like an outsider and is trying to find his place in life.


It wasn't a bad breakdown if you really considered it, but I don't know. I guess if I put my personal feelings aside and just view him objectively, there isn't anything that makes him exceptional.

He's got, as you can tell, a few talents and a few flaws, but overall, he's just an average kid. Painfully average.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Personally, I don't mind him too much. I think he's a nice enough guy and watching him get flustered around MJ, Gwen, and just about any other girl at school is pretty funny.

The problem is, well, I think he minds me. A lot.

I noticed it the most last night. The entire dinner, when he thought I wasn't looking, or when I made MJ laugh- honestly, even when I just talked, Peter's face would prune up like I made him drink pure lemon extract.

When I see him in school, he just turns on a dime and goes the other way. We take the same bus from time to time when I want to go to MJ's, and no surprise, he gives me weird stares during those times too.

I get it, kind of. Clearly, he thinks I'm just some random dude moving in on his girl, but that isn't true! If anything, she's moving in on me!

Despite his attitude toward me, I still don't want to be rude to the guy, so our interactions just end up charged with this weird energy. It always feels like he's trying to end the conversation as quickly and efficiently as possible and then hightail it somewhere else.

My eye unconsciously tracked the movement of his lips- he was talking to one of the teachers about something.

I'm so excited for the Genetics Exhibition today, I think he said. I'm still not the best at reading lips, so he was either saying that or mentioning how much he likes waxing pears. I'd like to think it's the first one. I hear it's going to be simply gorgeous…

I looked away- that conversation was doing to be rather boring to listen to or read, rather.

Thankfully, by the time my inner monologue was just about done, Gwen and Liz finished the song. Liz went to queue another song on her phone, but I reminded her that we were almost at Oscorp.

"Oh, phooey. One of these days I'm going to make you sing karaoke with me," Liz promised, sipping some water. Her dark eyes glittered playfully, "And you're going to like it, Jackson."

I settled on what was quickly becoming my trademark saying, "Yes, dear."

"Save your breath, Liz, the himbo's zoning out. He isn't listening to you," Gwen teased, poking my shoulder. She tucked some hair behind her ear, "Earth to Percy!"

Unluckily for her, she was right. I wasn't listening. The bus had turned a corner, and our destination was in sight.

Oscorp.

I half-expected it to look like some sort of evil-mastermind building. You know, dark clouds covering the top with your random lightning bolt coming down from time to time. Witches flying their brooms, maybe even a guard dog up front. I'd expect nothing less from a building holding a mythical staff capable of leveling Manhattan.

It wasn't like that, though. Don't get me wrong- it was still scary, just less in your face about it. Or, well, maybe it was the idea of what was inside that was truly terrifying.

It was a humongous skyscraper- a bastille of glinting steel that stretched so far into the sky that I couldn't even make out the top. I could see blinking lights through the cover of clouds, but that didn't give any indication of how tall the tower truly stretched.

It looked mean. Sturdy. Discreetly armed guards stood out front, where our bus parked a few moments later. We walked outside behind our chaperone a moment later.

Norman Osborn himself was standing at the base of the stairs, a polite smile plastered on his face. He had his arms out in an inviting gesture, but to me, it looked more like the embrace of a grizzly bear getting ready to feast.

It felt weird.

I'd poured over blueprints of this building for weeks. I made entrance plans and escape plans and stared at them until my brain felt like mush. I'd worked on theories of where the staff could be, and now, here I was, entering the belly of the beast.

"Thank you so much for visiting my little company," Norman greeted us with an indulgent laugh. For the first time, I noticed a nervous-looking man beside him who was missing an arm. Another wave of polite laughter passed through the crowd as he said, "Let's head inside before I talk your ears off. Believe me, my own son is a teenager, so I know how quickly you all zone out…"

The lobby of Oscorp was what I'd expected. It was spacious enough to be a train station, and banners of random scientific inventions- probably Oscorp patents- hung from the ceiling. There was a giant clock behind the check-in desk, where a rather attractive woman was diligently at work.

She waved at us as we passed by.

We walked past that, into a gigantic elevator that was somehow large enough to fit my entire class and the two men.

Norman was in front of me, talking to his colleague about something in a low tone. Now since we were out of the street, I took a moment to take a closer look at the man I was contracted to eliminate eventually.

Osborn was tall, broad-shouldered, and his stats indicated that he was insanely intelligent, too. His black suit was spotless, and his slicked hair didn't have a single hair out of place. I caught the faint smell of aftershave and peppermint wafting off him.

The elevator dinged open, and we were led to an open clearing in what looked like a huge science lab. It was elaborately designed with high-tech equipment and efficiently laid out. Each different space had the perfect amount of area to hold machines, a workstation, and a chair.

Still, despite the obvious lavishness of the floor, it looked like the spaces were poorly altered- as if everything was rushed to accommodate this whole demonstration. Chairs were pushed up against the wall, papers were haphazardly shoved into places- even some of the beakers were still out.

Norman seemed to notice this too, his polite smile tightening. I watched as he spoke to his colleague again, this time tightly gripping his good arm. The man, if possible, grew even more nervous.

"Welcome to our lower-level lab," Norman, recovering admirably, walked over in front of a gigantic tube, where periodic displays of something were flashing in dazzling displays of red and blue light. "The research of myself, a student intern, and my colleague Dr. Curtis Connors has been in dealing with the effect of various forms of radiation on the human genome. In recent years, we've seen the effects caused by such exposures."

Connors smiled at our assembled crowd, even though his body was still shaking. "Mr. Osborn is correct. There is also evidence of an emerging number of individuals born displaying the effects of genetic mutations. Our experiments are attempting to categorize exactly how the various forms of radiation we may come in contact with will affect the human genetic structure, so as to prevent future undesirable mishaps, and at the same time, how the enhancement might be beneficial in the treatment of disease or birth defects."

Norman took off, walking toward the elevator. I was tempted to follow him but reminded myself that the gods- my bosses- had told me to keep a low profile until Luke put his plan into action.

You see, the gods were privileged enough to think like that. They didn't have to worry about anything other than ensuring Kronos' rise.

I had a thousand more things to consider. The lives of others, potential damage to the city, my life as a normal-ish high school student.

For now, though, I'd play by their rules.

The rest of the presentation was pretty standard. Our teacher, annoyingly enough, told us to walk around in pairs after. Our homework for the day was to work together and write about five interesting things around the lab.

It wouldn't be a public-school field trip if it didn't involve some sort of busywork, I guess.

I asked Liz if she wanted to be my partner.

"Maybe I would've been your partner if you sang with me," Liz said petulantly, crossing her arms and walking over to Gwen.

That was that.

I groaned, turning my attention to the rest of my class. Of course…of course, every single other person immediately partnered up, leaving just one other person.

"Hey, Percy," Peter said awkwardly, walking up to me. His fingers were restlessly moving on the strap of his satchel. "Do you want to, uh, work together?"

"Sure," I said brightly, putting a fake smile on my face. It's just for a few minutes, Percy, just for a few minutes. "What do you want to see first?"

Working with Peter wasn't so bad. The boy was rather bright, and at the moment, his love for science seemed to be trumping his apparent dislike of me. I caught him throwing glances my way when he thought I wasn't paying attention.

We walked over from the big spectrometer- or so Peter claimed- to the petri dish cleaning area, to the computer station. At each stop, Peter told me about a million different things about everything, so the homework wasn't too bad, either.

Eventually, though, we got to the live samples. It was a small habitat made entirely of spiders- spiders that Oscorp claimed were genetically enhanced using the science that was being shown off.

Here's where the story gets a bit tricky.

I noticed instantly that these samples, under the guide of science, were a bit more complicated than that.

Multiple pings went off in the general direction of the display, and I stepped closer to the glass, peering curiously at the samples.

Focusing a bit, I activated [Mana Detection] and stared.

Forest green mana erupted around the little arachnids, painting a dire picture.


Noble False Widow (Mana Infused) (Genetically Engineered)

Oscorp, while trying to perfect the Super-Soldier Serum for S.H.I.E.L.D, developed a drug known as Oz. They used various animals in their experiments including these spiders, causing their lifespans to be drastically shortened. Osborn commissioned the use of the Thyrsus to keep them alive for further testing.

HP: 1 /1,000

MP: X/X

Prize for victory: $3

Monetary reward payout set as DOLLAR.


My fingers tightened around the glass display. There were five habitats and only four visible spiders. Was one hiding? Had it died already?

I did a quick look around, focusing as hard as I could. No green mana popped up, and I turned my attention back to the display case, where one of the spiders was looking at me intently.

I was still having a hard time wrapping my head around all the random stuff about drugs and sword or shield or whatever, but I knew these things were bad news.

Anything infused with any sort of mana tended to be avoid-at-all-cost. Even little spiders like this could spell out disaster for just about anyone.

Let me explain.

Think blood transfusions, for example. Blood typing is immensely important in those situations- you can't just stick a needle into your arm and inject your blood into someone, even if they're in dire need of it.

If you inject blood that's incompatible with your blood type, your immune system literally rips the foreign blood cells apart, triggering a cascade of reactions that could range anywhere from mild discomfort to blood clots clogging up your veins and killing you.

Not fun.

Mana, as you may or may not expect, is even more complicated than that.

Unlike blood, which has certain types, everyone has their own specific mana. It's like a fingerprint, almost. No two mana signatures are exactly the same, and as such, they can't be grouped together.

Well, grouped together in those ways, anyway.

Sure, certain types of mana have fewer adverse effects if injected, but most of them lead to a bad time.

There's a term for it, actually: mana poisoning.

Mana poisoning occurs almost any time foreign, malignant mana enters someone's body, and trust me, it leads to long-lasting, negative effects.

It really depends on how a variety of things: whether the poisoning was intentional, how different the types of mana are, how much you ingest…

Remember when my dad was telling me about his trident a while back?

The only reason I could even touch it was because it recognized me as one of the seas, and his family. If I'd been anyone else, my entire arm would've been shredded to smithereens and my body would've snapped like a glowstick.

That's my dad- one of the most peaceful Olympians. A guy like Mr. D would do much worse if his mana ended up anywhere it wasn't supposed to be. Especially now, given that his staff is missing.

There are ways around this, of course, and Luke's smart enough to know them. I'm certain he won't have any issues using the staff and its power, but if that leaks to anyone else, they'll be packed up and put in a casket before they even register it.

That's what makes these spiders so incredibly dangerous. I can't even begin to wonder how the drugs they've been injected with mess with the already great danger of Mr. D's ire. I'd rather take my chances trying to breathe in space.

The bottom line is, well, I need to get rid of these things. Now.

Just as I was about to start, I noticed some of my classmates starting to move away from the sights and walk toward me.

If I want to do this, I was going to need a distraction.

I felt a small tug in my gut, and somewhere off in the distance, one of the pipes burst open with tremendous force. I winced a bit as I saw the stream start pouring into an expensive-looking computer, but hey- just doing my job for the greater good.

As everyone began freaking out over the burst pipe, I waved my hand in a straight line.

FWOOSH!

A wall of fire exploded underneath the spiders, instantly engulfing the display, and sending a ring of air shooting outward.

I put some momentum into my legs and jumped backward at this exact moment, making a big show of the supposed explosion. I crashed into one of the workstations, someone's cold coffee spilling onto my head.

I smacked my lips. Caramel macchiato. Sweet.

"Percy!" I heard Gwen scream as she came running for me.

"I'm okay, I'm okay," I said, looking past her at the display, where none of the green mana remained.

Crisis averted.

"Ow!" Peter howled from somewhere off in the distance, his hand shooting up to his neck.

No fucking way.

A spider that looked exactly like the ones I'd just destroyed was dangling off of Peter's neck- and to my surprise and horror, neither [Mana Detection] nor [Observe] would work on it. He swatted it a moment later, collapsing onto the ground.

"Thank you for visiting Oscorp!" The diagram behind him beeped. "We really hope you enjoyed your stay!"


Not even ten minutes later, an ambulance arrived at Oscorp, and Peter and I were shoved in there. I was being forced to go for being so close to the explosion, and Peter, well, the ruling on the floor was that he'd fainted like a baby.

"I just don't know what happened," Connors was yelling over the sirens frantically. "Everything was fine one moment, and it just exploded…"

Gwen gave me a kind but worried smile, stepping in. There was something satisfying about the way her eyes reflected the multiple lights of the ambulance. "Since I'm an employee and a student, I worked up enough clearance to come with you. My boss all but demanded it. He thinks if he fronts this hospital bill and I sweet talk you, you won't sue the company."

"Oh, interesting," I said, pretending to think deeply. Not even a full minute of silence in, Gwen was biting her nails, "Okay, deal. I won't sue."

"Huh?" Gwen was dumbfounded. The EMTs closed the door behind her and a moment later, the ambulance started moving. "T-that's it? All I had to do was ask?"

"I mean, yeah. Accidents happen, it's a lab," I shrugged, obviously not mentioning the fact that I was the one who caused the explosion. "If you want to make it seem more convincing, we could kiss or something. Just if your boss needs proof, that is."

"Percy!" Gwen's face turned pink.

"Can't blame a guy for trying," I smirked, leaning back into the side of the ambulance as we took off. "I'm just trying to help you keep your job, Gwen."

We rode in silence for a few minutes, passing through the midday traffic with ease. Funny how sirens will do that for you.

I shot Peter a worried look- for some reason, his vitals weren't changing. Despite being hooked up to medical gear, his health was still dropping.

"He'll be fine," Gwen seemed more like she was trying to convince herself. She wasn't as great of a liar as she thought she was- the slight wrinkle of stress on her forehead told me all I needed to know.

Almost as if the universe wanted to shut Gwen up, Peter's monitor started beeping loudly. The charts were going haywire- his heart rate kept shooting up and down.

"Peter!" Gwen screamed, slamming her fingers against the divider, where the EMTs were driving. "Help us! He's going crazy!"

I stood up, walking toward Peter. His forehead was beaded with sweat. His eyes were moving rapidly under his eyelids. His hands kept clenching and unclenching into fists. I placed a hand on his forehead, "He's burning up."

Looking a bit closer, I got the foreboding feeling that my prediction from earlier was becoming true. It looked like Peter was having some sort of internal struggle- one that he wasn't on the winning side of.

I gripped the railing of his stretcher. Modern medicine wasn't going to do much for him, if anything.

I had to get help.

I peeked at Gwen, who was staring intensely at Peter's beading forehead. I felt bad, but…

THWACK!

I knocked Gwen out and lightly placed her in one of the chairs. I needed silence to pull this one off.

I flipped open my inventory discreetly and pulled a drachma out of the bag my dad gave me earlier this year.

I flipped my water bottle over, drawing a little bit of water out and condensing it into a fine mist. I didn't have enough control to keep reusing the water vapor, so I needed to hurry up and make the message before I ran out of water.

"Oh goddess, accept my offering," I muttered, flipping the coin into the barely visible rainbow that just formed on the mist. It disappeared with a golden shimmer. "Dionysus at Camp Half-Blood."

A moment later, I was looking through the mist at strawberry fields and the Long Island Sound in the distance. I seemed to be on the porch of the Big House. In front of me, Mr. D and Chiron were playing cards.

"Mr. D!" I urged.

He raised his droopy eyes. "Boy. What do you want?"

"I found out some of what Luke's doing with the Thyrsus!" I said quickly. "He's infusing animals with their power, and one of them bit a mortal. I think he's going to die."

"And, pray, how is that my issue?" Mr. D basically sneered. "Your mission is to retrieve the staff once Luke makes a move, not play babysitter to foolish mortals."

I tried to curb my building anger, "This kid is going to die because you were negligent with your staff. Isn't it your responsibility to help someone caught in the aftermath?"

"If you desire help with your mission, call again," Mr. D's tone tightened. "I don't have time for your stupid requests. Good day."

He waved his hand, and the message fizzled out.

Peter's condition was getting worse. His skin was turning deathly pale, and his vitals were on the brink of bottoming out.

Panicking, I threw another drachma into the mist- my bottle was half empty. "Oh goddess, please take my offering! Apollo!"

For a few scary moments, nothing happened. The coin stayed on the rainbow, unmoving. Annabeth had told me once that the rainbow goddess Iris who oversaw this stuff generally only carried messages for the gods.

If you know how to ask, and she wasn't too busy, she'd do the same for half-bloods. Apparently, she'd become busy in the minute I was talking to Mr. D.

Thankfully, the coin went through a moment later.

Apollo's face swam into view, just like I remembered it: tanned, handsome. He was wearing a tank top that said: SATURDAYS ARE FOR THE BOYS! and was clearly driving some sort of convertible. Biggie was playing through the speakers.

He flashed me a smile, "Cuzzo! You taking me up on those archery lessons?"

"Lord Apollo, I-"

"Just Apollo's fine."

"Apollo," I amended, twisting the message to show him Peter's worsening condition. "This kid I know was bitten by a spider with Mr. D's mana, and it's killing him!"

"Oh, and the fat fuck won't help? Typical," Apollo groaned. He took a sip out of a can and wiped his lip. "What's up, though? You know gods can't interfere with mortals, right?"

"Well, technically, Mr. D was the one who interfered with him. You'd be the one fixing it," I offered. "And don't you guys have kids with mortals? How does that work?"

"Huh," Apollo said succinctly. He adjusted his Ray-Bans, and I saw him open his phone. "That's a good point. Lemme check the list of mortals destined to die real quick, just to make sure he isn't on there. What's his name?"

"Peter Parker."

"P…Patrick, Porter, Portsmouth, Pinkertons, Polly…okay, no Peter Parker as far as I can tell. So, what's the dealio, you think I should heal him?" Apollo asked, but not to me.

For the first time, I noticed a rather attractive woman sitting next to him. She shrugged, "Yeah, why not? I like the kid."

"Yeah, little cuzzo is pretty cool," Apollo agreed, rubbing his chin. "How's about this, P-dog. I'll heal the kid, and you owe me a favor later on?"

"What kind of favor?"

"Nothing weird. Just like, if I need a den cleared out, or a dude to hit the bars with." Apollo explained. "Call it an IOU. It's still frowned upon for gods to do stuff with mortals, so in case anyone asks, I need to be able to point at the favor and call it an equivalent exchange."

"Yeah, sure," I said, a little distrustful, but more focused on healing Peter. If anything happened to him…I'd feel like it was my fault. Somehow. Someway.

Apollo grinned, "Cool. See you around, kid."

He swiped his hand, and the mist faded.

A moment later, Peter's body seized up, bathed in a golden light. I watched with bated breath as his vitals started evening out a bit. His breathing calmed. Some of the color returned to his face.

The scaries were over, for now. Thank Zeus.


The hospital room was still a somber scene, which made sense. It was hard to be happy in a place full of dying people. Well, unless you were having a kid, or something, but I digress.

Gwen called Peter's aunt and uncle, and they got to the hospital as fast as they could. May and Gwen were inside with Peter, while Ben and I sat outside the hospital room. We'd been sitting in silence for a few minutes.

Ben was calmly flipping through a magazine when he abruptly said, "Everything alright, son?"

"Yeah, I think. Why do you ask?"

Ben looked over at me, lowering his glasses a bit. He offered me an understanding smile, "You look like someone stole your puppy."

"I…" I did feel a bit odd, but I didn't know how to describe it. Peter's brush with death made me feel a bit more vulnerable than I had in a while. It had been so long since I just…just straight up couldn't help someone. That I couldn't do anything. "I don't know."

"Gwen tells me you ran for Peter the moment he dropped. No hesitation. Listen, Percy, I was never the most educated guy around. God knows I stopped being able to help Peter with his homework after the fifth grade," He chuckled to himself softly. I turned to face him as he continued, "Always lived a quiet life. The opposite of Peter's father, really. As brothers…God, we were more different than you could ever imagine. The one part where we agreed, though, was the way we carried ourselves. He lived by a philosophy, a principle, really. He believed that if you could do good things for other people, you had a moral obligation to do those things."

One of the nurses walked by us, wheeling a mother and her newborn out toward the parking lot. I stared at the cooing baby in its mother's arms, mulling over Ben's words.

"I don't have much left, son," Ben sighed, putting the magazine down. He placed a warm hand on my shoulder. "Most of my family, friends…well…I'll just say that Peter means a lot to me. More than I think you'll be able to appreciate until you have kids of your own. I know it's hard to wrap your head around…but what you did could've very well saved his life. You kept this family whole. If you hadn't ran for him, I could've been saying goodbye to another member of my family."

"Thank you," I said, my eyes a bit warm.

"No, thank you, son," Ben said solemnly, standing. "I'm going to check up on Peter. Do you want to come?"

"I'll wait."

Ben entered the room with another fatherly smile and wave.

I put my head into my hands and took a deep breath. This mission was already off to a rocky start. Peter was in the wrong place at the wrong time and almost died for it…the only reason he wasn't in a casket right now was godly intervention.

How dangerous was this mission going to be? Would everyone around me be put in danger just by association? Could bad things just happen to them without rhyme or reason, without me being able to do anything to stop them? That spider getting to Peter was my fault. It wasn't a good enough excuse that I just didn't see it. I should've looked, should've been more careful.

The intercom blared overhead, reminding some nurses to get to the geriatric department as soon as possible.

I sighed, pulling my head out of my hands. A burning feeling of determination roared to life in my chest, warming up my entire body and leaving my fingers tingling.

I needed to get stronger. Much stronger.


AN: Nothing much to say here! A rather short chapter (by my standard, anyway) but a necessary one. I don't want to pack too much into chapters like this that have a particular purpose and then leave them feeling bloated.

I'd be remiss if I didn't plug this new story I'm developing, though.

It's going to basically be a retelling of Jason's story, with him as an MC. I always thought he was a vat of untapped potential. Rick kind of did him dirty by making him a plot device and just anti-Percy. And well, we all know how many Ls he takes, from his own girlfriend, to BoO, to the prophecy…

It would be a reconstruction of his entire character and arc, set in an AU. I wouldn't stray as far from canon as I have in this one, but I'd definitely tweak a lot of the characters like the gods and such.

I don't have too much planned just yet but keep watch for that sometime in the next month or two.

I'm also planning a sort of tag-along story to this one, where I post non-canon one-shots and other stuff. Let me know if you'd be interested.


Rotam: Percy x Sadie is an interesting prospect, but in terms of timelines, I don't see it working out for a few more years (in the story) so I'm a bit hesitant to hitch a ride on that one.

Boomer14: Glad to hear it! I hear you on the stretching out part, but trust me, this arc plays a major role in Sea of Monsters. It's a necessary addition to sort of scale things to where they need to be, given my changes to canon.

Caelum Est Finis: Triton is probably my favorite character in the whole story. I really just developed him after how I interact with my own little brother, so every compliment to Triton is basically going straight to my ego.

Darkanaklusmos70: A lot, and I mean a lot of people have requested Pertemis. I just don't know if it's feasible given the story and Percy himself.

Joe Lawyer: You know, sometimes I do honestly just forget to use it. It's a fault on my part and I'm making more of a point to incorporate it. As for casual fun, well, you'll see. I definitely think either Black Cat or Danvers would be great for a temporary fling, but who knows?

Blondeandfun: Maybe you're right! I'll never tell…

offlinepunk2077: I hear ya. Canon is my priority. Or well, the events of canon. Marvel won't start in earnest until after TLO.

falcon5: Shoot, I'm stupid. I don't have any plans for Peter's romantic life, so huh, maybe. As for Spider-Man…*rubs hands* I was sick for a while so I rewatched every Spider-Man movie, reread a hundred issues of the ultimate run. replayed the PS4 game, and watched over a dozen video essays on the character. I'm ready.