"Percy, what the hell is that?" Jason gritted out, grabbing the armrest for dear life as I rotated the wheel again, my car skidding through the cornfields. The brakes screeched in protest as my tires dug deep into the soil.

"I'm not sure, but it isn't quite happy to see us, if you can't tell," I shot back, rolling down the window. The arid Midwest heat instantly fogged up the mirrors, and I couldn't quite get a read on where the bird was. "Brace yourself. Actually, wait, can you keep Silena and Malcolm in place with your powers?"

"Sure, why—"

I slammed on the brakes again, and the steel assailant went shooting past us, disappearing somewhere into the night sky with a disgruntled squawk that sounded more like a foghorn.

Not wasting any time, I shoved the gear into P, kicked the door open, and flipped out into the fields of Kansas, murder on my mind.

I raised my hand, a fireball spinning to life on my fingertips. To my disappointment, the dry climate instantly came into play- some of the wheat sparked and swayed in the nighttime, lighting up the area around me.

I doused the flame a moment later, figuring that it probably wasn't in my best interest to spark anything too big out here. I'd have to rethink my strategy- not that the monster was keen on letting me do that.

SCREEEEEEECH!

I ducked under a steel wing, its knives barely grazing my forehead. My hand flicked up immediately, dousing the bird in a torrent of ice-cold water. I felt a tug in my gut, and it hardened instantly, letting me kick the bird with my full power.

Ignoring the ringing feeling in my foot, I just hoped Silena wouldn't be too mad when she found out I emptied her Hydroflask for this. The waves of wheat, which stood up to my elbow, flattened for a moment from the flap of the monster's wings.

As luck would have it, of course, the kick did little more than annoying it. I mean it! I'm no avian expert, but that level of annoyance is pretty universal. The bird, whose name was written around its neck in a gigantic, glowing collar- Alcyone, if you were wondering- turned back, snapping through my icy prison with a flick.

I frowned to myself as I ran through my mental database of Greek mythology, blasting a torrent of ice water at it again. This time, Malcolm's Buzz Lightyear cup was the unfortunate source.

Mid-air, the water hardened into spikes of ice with wicked-looking tips. They glinted in the low light of the moon, whizzing toward the bird at breakneck speeds.

ROAR!

Alcyone roared and the air currents around her churned, actually becoming visible for a moment. A white tornado shimmered to life and tore apart my attack, shattering the icicles in the night sky.

Little snowflakes floated downward at me. I might've even found the sight pretty if it wasn't for the fact that I had to deal with a murderous Pokemon. My fingers twitched.

I was tempted to just say damn all the consequences and incinerate the overgrown pigeon, but I knew it wouldn't be a good idea.

Forest fires are a huge problem in this part of the country. You take a natural setting like a forest, grassland, plain- anything that consumes natural fuels, really, and bam!

Just a hint of ignition and it spreads like crazy. There's nothing to stop it, and before you know it, there's fire everywhere. It's bad for the environment, ruins the ecosystem, and it would draw way too much attention to me right now. Plus, I'm already kind of warm, and that much heat would push me into the realm of being uncomfortably warm.

Jokes aside, the lack of fire and lightning like that does kind of restrict me in a few different ways.

While you won't hear me denying I'm physically strong, I do lack sustained damage in some ways- especially when my more powerful abilities like lightning and fire are out of the equation. They're like my signature combo.

But Percy! You're the son of Poseidon! How can fire and lightning be your most offensive abilities!

Hi! Yes. I hear you. Now, hear me.

Water is powerful, sure, but more so in the sense of its adaptability. It can literally be manipulated in so many ways, pulled out of almost anything- the possibilities are endless. I use it to augment my body, provide me with near limitless stamina. All kinds of things.

It's also the only linear element. The more water you have, the more damage you do. It's really that simple.

The only thing, of course, is that I need a body of water to do all of that in a sustainable way. Even if I were to pull water out of the air here- suicide, by the way, seeing as I'm in Kansas- it wouldn't be enough.

Think about that one episode of Avatar, when Katara and Toph get stuck in the jail cell and she needs to work out and sweat enough to break them out. Without pre-existing water, I'm kind of in the same boat.

I'd wipe the floor with Katara though. Just so you know.

Anyway, I feel like I shouldn't complain too much. Like I said earlier, it's not like I'm completely up the creek with no paddle.

I'm more of a tactical, burst damage kind of guy anyway. And, besides, even without those two big hitters, I'm still capable of wiping out the majority of monsters.

I just need to think. Think, Percy, think.

Before I could even begin formulating a plan, Jason came flying out of the car, his hands flickering.

Okay, how do I put this nicely…

Well, for starters, I'll just put it out there that I love Jason. I do! Not only is he actually my family, you know, as my cousin and all, but we've had some good times this past year.

Obviously, I'm still trying to get through to him in some ways, and we're still getting to know each other and stuff, but we get along well, and he has a lot of qualities I like. Plus, we're currently undefeated in Wii Tennis, so…

Aside from that, he's dependable. Loyal. Once he considers you a friend, there isn't much he won't do for you. And the lengths he'll go to protect you? Off the chain. I'd be thoughtless if I didn't mention his shoulder massages, too.

Besides, he was trained to be a warrior since birth, so he's been training with Triton and me, and man, it's the most fun I've had in a while.

I don't know quite how to put it into words, but Jason has shown- from time to time, of course- this profound ability to quickly analyze situations, and make calculated decisions in the heat of battle.

I'd chalk it up to battle experience, maybe, but I feel like it goes beyond that. It's like his thing.

Triton has his musical career, I have basketball- every good warrior needs some sort of outlet for their emotions or they'll go crazy. Hitting swords can't be your whole life!

The thing with Jason is, despite our best efforts to find him an outlet, this is his outlet. Fighting is his hobby, his job, his punishment, his relaxation- it's his life. Around the house, he's always flipping around some knife. At the dinner table, he's sharpening his dagger or offhandedly flipping his coin. I once caught him taking a nap with a spear nestled in his arms.

At a fundamental level, he appreciates the art of fighting and loves big, pointy weapons. I can respect that. I can understand that.

Right now, though, as you're about to see- it can be quite the problem.

He appreciates the art of fighting- not the art of battle.

Don't believe me? Try to think back to the first time I fought the man- in the process of trying to take me out, he exploded an entire building, demolished about five acres of land, and actually lit a body of water on fire for a brief period of time.

And therein lies his biggest flaw- for all his immense power and battle prowess, he's a goddamn wrecking ball. In every way I'm tactful, he's brash. For all the finesse I fight with, he bridges the gap with raw, unrelenting strength. His technique revolves around power and lots of it- with little to no regard for everything around him.

In not so many words, as long as he's okay, he doesn't care too much about everything around him. I've learned to work around this, but in situations like this where the environment is a powder keg waiting to be lit...

"Jason, no!" I tried to warn him, but he lunged forward, blue electricity crackling to life on his fingertips. With a roar and a deafeningly loud clap, an arc of lightning exploded at the bird. It twisted and careened in the air like it had a mind of its own, and for a moment, I thought he actually sniped the damn thing out of the sky.

The bird simply weaved the bolt, crying into the inky darkness of the night. I'll be the first to tell you that I don't speak bird, but whatever it was trying to say, it was pissed off. That squawk felt like a big old fuck you to the both of us. It felt personal.

To my horror, the bolt bent around, shooting back at me.

I slipped into [Accelerate], blurring out of the blast radius before Jason's powerful bolt torched me. I rolled to a stop a few feet away, frowning again as the wheat caught fire.

The air shifted. Alcyone seemed to understand the concept of forest fires, and she released a gust of desiccated air that fed the flames, swelling them to even greater heights. They meshed together like a light show, and soon, a trail of fire exploded outward in every direction, hissing, and roaring.

"Jason!" I screamed over the cacophony of fire as a scary thought crossed my mind. "You need to get back to the car and get Silena and Malcolm out of here! If the fire reaches the gas tank, we'll all be screwed sideways!"

"Why me?" Jason shot back, dodging another lunge from Alcyone, who was seemingly only going after him now. My eyes widened fully as I placed the name now.

Alcyone was the daughter of Aeolus and the wife of Ceyx, son of Phosphorus. Aphrodite once told me once that they were the cutest couple around- her words, not mine. Really, I mean it! They're still on her best couples list, right behind Jack and Rose.

Jokes and ex-girlfriends aside, if I remember correctly, the reason Alcyone and Ceyx got themselves in some hot water was that they would often refer to themselves as Zeus and Hera. I'd imagine that was like the ancient equivalent of comparing yourselves to Kim and Kanye, or something.

Needless to say, this supposed slight enraged the drama queen- er, king of gods. The notion that the couple was even comparable to his relationship with Hera, which was the pinnacle of a good relationship if you look past all the cheating and stuff, was downright offensive.

As a punishment, Zeus threw a stray thunderbolt burning Ceyx's ship, burning him alive, and killing him. Later, Morpheus, taking Ceyx's form appeared in front of Alcyone, informing her of what had happened. Alcyone was so moved by her grief that she killed herself by falling into the sea.

The choppy part, I mean. She didn't drown herself in the shallows, which was the image that first came to my mind for some reason when I initially heard the story.

My dad, feeling sorry for the couple's fate, transformed them into halcyon birds; legend has it that halcyon birds build nests when the sea is calm, exactly because they both drowned at sea or something.

Yeah, I know. Some of those old myths can get a bit…weird.

"She's going to go after you! Because of your dad!" I grunted, jumping in the air, and tossing a stick at Alcyone. Something felt wrong about this whole thing. Why would a relatively peaceful part of the myths be terrorizing random fields in Kansas? "Stop arguing and go!"

Jason stopped in his tracks. I could tell he wanted to fight, to help, but he must've seen the pleading look on my face because he nodded grimly. I appreciated his faith in my judgment. "I'm coming back in a second!"

"You won't have to," I muttered under my breath, staring closely at Alcyone. My ring burned against my finger, and the metal monster was pinned to the ground, an electromagnetic current running through it.

I'm still not sure who my dad must've absorbed to get this power, and at this point, I'm too lazy to ask. That part of the ring doesn't usually come in handy, anyway. Alcyone just has the misfortune of being conductive.

I walked up to the restrained myth, my shoes crunching against the burning wheat. Sweat beaded on my face, but I tried not to pay it too much mind as I stepped closer to her.

"Um, hello," I said lamely, crouching down to beak-level. I ran my hand over the bird's underside, trying to put together some sort of initial hypothesis.

Like I mentioned before, in the who's who of Greek mythology, Alcyone isn't really up there with the big hitters. She's almost like a C-list celebrity, and I mean, is that really a surprise?

Her parentage isn't anything crazy, she's only a part of one myth, and even in that one myth, she didn't do anything to write home about. The whole point of her story is supposed to be a warning, a cautionary notice to anyone trying to compare themselves to the king and queen.

I honestly didn't even think she was immortal. Her myth made it seem more like she was, you know, a bird and then she died, but I guess I was wrong.

I looked closer at her.


Alcyone [STAR-CROSSED LOVER]

Level- 40

HP- 30,000/30,000

SP- 10,000/10,000

MP- 500,000/500,000

Allegiance- Ceyx

STR- 28 (+15)

VIT- 15

DEX- 127 (+20)

INT- 83 (+15)

CHA- 50

WIS- 85

LUC- 0

Once a peaceful Halcyon bird, Alcyone's found herself caught in the crossfire between the Olympians and the Titans.

REP: N/A!

Perks: [Locked] due to [Mind Control]

*The Perk [Mind Control] restricts the intended being's free will and ties it directly to its owner.


"Okay," I muttered, leaning closer to her as she started to thrash about. She was more riled up than some of the birds back at camp. "Okay. That's okay. You're okay. You just need to give me a bit. I'll fix it."

I started examining her body closely. The metal hull didn't have a scratch on it, leading me to infer that I'm either the first one she's fought, or I'm the first one to survive the initial attack. So, she's physically fine. Good.

Why Kansas, though? Am I forgetting some huge thing about this sprawling plain of a state?

Let's see, let's see…Kansas gained entry into the union as the thirty-fourth state to gain statehood on January 29, 1861. It was named after the river that flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansas Native American tribe that inhabited the area.

Camp databases don't indicate any lost artifacts around here, nor do they particularly warn about any special grade monsters around.

I guess it's halfway between Camp and San Francisco, from a pure distance standpoint. Is it possible that someone knew we'd be coming here?

Impossible. Even if someone knew we'd be coming through here, how could they have guessed we'd be coming through this exact field? It's Kansas! There's like a trillion of them!

They would've had to set up long before we got here. Even then, this plan didn't exist until last night. It's unlikely anyone could've put all of this together. I haven't really believed in the concept of a coincidence in a while now, but I guess it's possible this is just a statistical anomaly, we'll call it.

I pushed some of my hair out of my face. The flames were starting to get a bit bigger. The only person that can really answer my questions now is Alcyone, and she's still unresponsive. Now since I kind of have a baseline of what's happening, I'm comfortable enough to get to work.

[Mana Detection] took over my vision, bathing the world in various shades of gray. Alcyone lit up a pinkish color, with her collar showing up black. I noted with interest that the collar was putting vein-like substances into her body. Her mind, specifically.

That's kind of like what Aphrodite's bond did to me, to a lesser extent. She didn't outright mind control me, but she did sap some of my emotions.

Maybe that's what this collar is doing- stunting some of Alcyone's positive emotions while bringing the negative ones out to the forefront and topping it all off with a mind-control bow on top.

That makes sense, I think. She got noticeably angrier when Jason flung a lightning bolt at her, so there has to be some type of free will in there.

No matter. I pulled out Riptide and got to work, holding it at a 45-degree angle. I stabbed into the collar with all my might and began hacking through it like a piece of wood.

If anyone's interested, I used a pumpkin cut. That is, I put a little wedge in the first part of the collar, and then ground my way through the rest. Eventually, it opened like a window, and Alcyone instantly shrunk down to the size of a dog.

Rather than the metallic prison she was in before, the real Alcyone had bright white feathers on her body and a rose gold tail as long as a peacock's. Her claws and beak were gleaming gold, and her eyes changed to a blue-ish color.

Her body feathers glowed faintly in the darkness, and honestly, felt a little hot to the touch, as well. With one flick of her wings, all of the fire was instantly put out.

"Alcyone?" I said uncertainly. The plains swayed a bit in the nighttime breeze.

Alcyone bobbed her head, stretching her wings as she hopped closer to me. I sat, unmoving, as she hopped up into my lap and rested her head on mine.


DO YOU ACCEPT [ALCYONE] AS A COMPANION?

[YES/NO]


Curiously, I hit yes, and I heard an exhale in my head.

Oh, thank Poseidon! I've been stuck in that body for ages!

I blinked as the bird preened. Uh, not Poseidon, but close enough.

Alcyone looked at me curiously. Right! Perseus Jackson, son of Poseidon! I hope you don't mind that I bonded with you, I just needed to be able to communicate! I figured you'd need it.

You'd be right. I mused. Are you the Alcyone from the myths?

I sure am!

You don't mind me asking, then, why you're swooping over these Kansas fields like some sort of bomber jet?

Alcyone let out a low, sad, call. I didn't want to be! They made me this way! Those nasty Titans!

The Titans roamed through here? I asked, trying to put two and two together in my head. Unfortunately, with the lack of information, it was like trying to put together apples and oranges. Did they do this recently?

Not Titans. Titan. One. Coeus. He's the one that put this thrice-damned collar on me! And he didn't roam through anything! He broke out of prison!

Coeus? The name felt familiar to me. If I remember correctly, he's the Titan associated with memory. Or wait- is that his sister? Damn it, I'm blanking right now. Regardless, I continued, Broke out of prison?

Yes, you dolt! Coeus represented one of the four pillars that hold the heavens and the earth apart. He was the pillar of the north! Ring any bells?

That did ring some bells. Right. During the Titanomachy, Coeus tried to stop Zeus and the other Olympians. When he and the rest of the Titans got worked, they were banished to the Underworld.

Alcyone tittered. I'm not quite sure if it was an impressed titter or a satisfactory one, but I digress. Well not anymore. Coeus broke himself out and came to me next.

Why you?

I was wondering that myself. Even in Elysium, I lived a rather quiet life. I was a schoolteacher, you know?

Do they have those in Elysium?

Children die too, Perseus.

I nodded at the somber thought. I suppose. So when did this happen?

Anyway, he yanked me out of Elysium and took the fastest pipeline to your plane. A one-way trip to wherever we are now. To ensure I couldn't run to the gods, he put that collar on me. As for when it happened- yesterday.

I lifted the collar up, examining the inside. It looked kind of like a logic design board I'd seen in class this last year.

There were some AND gates, with a few NAND and OR gates, as well. To save us both some time, all you really need to get from that is that, well, I didn't even know it was possible, but somehow, Coeus found a way to wield mana like actual electricity.

Maybe wield's the wrong word. It's more like he figured out how to force it to behave.

Basically, there's an input- a power source. In this case, I'd bet my right leg it's Coeus. The power source funnels itself into the board, where the technology of the collar determines whether or not the conditions of whatever spell Coeus cast are met.

In your everyday engineering, the purpose of this sort of device is to define positive and negative voltages and currents.

Well, why do we need that?

You see, in everyday appliances, your passive components, things like resistors, capacitors, inductors, all have a defining equation. These equations establish a relationship between voltage and currents. We can't just assign voltage polarity and current direction any which way, or the entire thing will either short circuit or blow up.

Imagine if you tried to turn on your TV to watch some football, and it just exploded into a million tiny pieces! It would be mayhem.

The golden rule when it comes to that stuff is that voltage polarity and current direction have to be consistent with each other, just like mana does.

Coeus adapted this principle to restrict and refine his flow of power. That way, he could offhandedly keep Alcyone under his control without checking on how much power he was pumping in there.

I felt like I was foaming at the mouth. This guy's a true genius!

To put it in terms you might care about more, if I could adapt this sort of technology into my own life, I could calculate just how much power I'd need to use my destructive abilities like earthquakes and storms without letting them get out of control!

I could make this collar into something smaller, like a bracelet or a ring, and it would let me spam those abilities without my concerns of collateral damage from before! I could make a storm of any given size without it getting out of hand, and I could harness the power of earthquakes to a degree I found it impossible to do right now.

The problem with those abilities right now is that I still can't restrict my flow of power that easily, even with the Game in mind. If my power's like a dam, things like fireballs are little bucketfuls.

Earthquakes and storms are like rivers' worth. The hard part about keeping that level of power steady is the amount of concentration required. It feels like I'm pulling a string of yarn at an incredibly slow pace, and I have to keep going at that exact pace or it'll turn into a tsunami.

I know. It's a bit confusing. My point is, with this sort of logic, I could just pump in however much power I wanted, and the technology would restrict it to just the right amount. I'd become a monster.

I put the collar away instantly. I needed to reverse engineer it later. Did he say where he was going?

No. Not one word out of him the whole time.

I groaned. Of course, he didn't. Well, we can't waste any more time, then.

Time for what?


My quest mates found the situation a little bit weirder than I did.

"You're telling me a Titan up and walked out of the Underworld and, um, our friend downstairs didn't even do anything about it?" Silena asked sarcastically. She was holding a still-woozy Malcolm. "Doesn't that seem a bit off to you?"

Exits flew by us. Knowing that there was an actual Titan walking around somewhere on the mortal plane made me that much more anxious to grab an apple and hightail it back to camp before anything could go wrong.

Well, more wrong than it had already gone for us this summer. Otherwise, yeah, things have already gone pretty off the rails.

"That's a good point," I frowned, drumming my fingers on the steering wheel. A point I hadn't considered, either. "We should IM him."

"Do we have any water left?" Silena asked, rummaging through her bag. "How long can you make a bottle last?"

"I've heard I last long enough."

"Har, har," Silena grumbled, eventually procuring a kiddie bottle of water. She held it in her hands unsurely. "Is this good enough?"

"Good enough," I agreed, slowly converting the water inside the bottle to a fine mist. I looked away from the road for a moment, flipping a drachma into the mist. "Iris, please accept my offering. Lord Hades."

Scarily enough, the mist rippled a bit, but nothing showed up. That's never happened before. I looked warily at Jason, "Um. Toss another one in there."

Jason dug around my center console, eventually finding another drachma to put in. This time, the mist rippled to show my uncle.

Hades, who was in the middle of talking to someone, turned to face the message, a megawatt grin on his face. He looked a bit drunk, "Percy! How's my favorite nephew doing?"

"Uncle!" I replied, a smile forming on my face despite the situation. "Doing alright, I think. How's it going?"

Hades took a sip of beer, shrugging. "Doing alright as well. You know I love hearing from you, and you better be coming to poker night, but I do have my hands a little, eensie meensie sprinkly bit tied up at the moment. Is there something wrong?"

"Well, yes," I said, the strain of keeping the spray alive and driving slightly coloring my tone. "You have a few escapees. Coeus and Alcyone."

Hades raised an eyebrow as he munched on some crackers. To his credit, he didn't even bat an eye. "Huh. Escapees, you say? I find that extraordinarily surprising given Aphrodite's additions over the summer, but that Coeus was always a sharp one. Still…wait, what day is it?"

"Wednesday."

"Oh, shit!" Hades yelled out of nowhere, groaning and putting his head into his hands. "Sephy's taken Cerberus to the groomer for the week. They're supposed to come back tonight. Yeah, no, I could see how they got out. Bastard probably waited for this moment."

"Eh, Hades, hurry up, will you?" A slightly accented voice said from out of the view of the message. I couldn't place it, though it seemed vaguely Hispanic. "You've had your turn for a while now."

"Yeah, yeah, hold on, Mike, I got it. Just let me handle this," Hades groaned, rubbing his eyebrows. "What're you up to right now?"

"Driving to San Francisco to steal a golden apple."

"You don't do things halfway, do you, kid?" Hades rubbed his chin. "You got quest mates with you?"

"Yep."

"Okay, new plan," Hades said, snapping his fingers. A black card the size of a phone appeared on our center console. "Split in half. Two of you go after Coeus and the other two do whatever you're doing with the apple."

"Lord Hades," Jason said respectfully. His leg was bouncing. "How would you recommend we prioritize this?"

Hades smirked, "Heh. Good kid. Well, Coeus being on the loose doesn't bode well at all, but I've heard about your camp, too, so I'd say they're about equal. That card there is like a GPS- it's keyed to Coeus and it'll lead you right to him. All you need to do is press it on him and he'll be transported to his cell, where I'll personally ensure he doesn't go out anytime soon."

The other voice spoke again, "Come on, Hades. Uses tu cerebro. Let the best warrior go after your runaway, let the faster one go for the apple. Both problems get resolved fast, eh? Now move the damn chesspiece."

Hades grinned like a madman, moving forward a piece I couldn't quite make out. I was more surprised he didn't combust whoever it was in front of him for talking to him like that. "You heard the man. Call me if you need anything."

The mist faded as Hades slashed through it, and I looked back at Jason. "What do you think?"

"While we're near equal in fighting, I can grudgingly admit you're faster than me," Jason replied, his eyes trained on the road ahead. "You should go after the apple. I'll track down the Titan."

"Fair enough," I said, a sense of dread permeating my body. Even though I knew the answer, I asked, "Who goes with who?"

"Malcolm should go with you," Jason answered instantly. "There's more room for error with Coeus. If he goes with you, you can leave Alcyone with him and grab the apple and run. If he goes with me, he'll be put in immediate danger no matter what. Additionally, it'll hamper my own ability to fight, as I'll have to worry about his safety. It's objectively easier for you to run around with Malcolm than it is for me to fight a Titan with him."

"Yeah…yeah, I thought so," I said, looking back at the sleeping boy. "I can take him and the bird with me. You take Silena."

"This feels like camp kickball all over again," Silena complained, though I could pick up on her nervousness. "Last pick again. At least I get to ride with wonder boy."

"I thought I was wonder boy!" I exclaimed.

The tension in the car broke. Silena laughed loudly, "Well, you had to lose the title sometime, right?"

Jason, smiling, turned the card over in his hand. "This device says Coeus is currently in Washington. Bellevue."

Washington? That felt a bit out of the left field, but maybe there's something I have no idea about over there. "How do you plan on getting there? I can give you some cash if you need it."

Jason shook his head. "Too slow. I'll fly us both over. That way, we can be efficient."

He held the card in front of me, pointing at a rest stop somewhere in Utah. "It looks like that's the best takeoff spot to optimize our route and yours."

"It's settled, then," I said, thinking back to Malcolm's drawing more and more. "We'll stop by there, and you and Silena can take off for Coeus while the rest of us steal an apple."


AN: Hello everybody!

Sorry for the extra week in between updates- I was finishing up my finals and then, of course, my vacation started to I did a lot of time-consuming activities like watching Spider-Man, recovering from Spider-Man, thinking about Spider-Man, replaying the Spider-Man videogame…well, I think you get it.

Realistically, though, I did take a trip down to Florida, I went to New Hampshire, caught an NBA game. Busy!

Oh, and now for the stuff you'll find interesting- I finished mapping out almost the next fifty chapters of the story. Fun, right? I also decided what the final pairing is going to be, and the only hint I'll give you guys is that it is one of the people on the poll.

I won't say who, though, but…it probably isn't who you're expecting. It's like that one Dwight Schrute quote: It's never the person you most suspect. It's also never the person you least suspect, since anyone with half a brain would suspect them the most. Therefore, I know the killer to be Phyllis, a.k.a. Beatrix Bourbon, the person I most medium suspect.

I wonder who you all medium suspect. Drop the name in the reviews below if you'd like!

So, have fun with that. Hope my first chapter back isn't quite as rusty as it feels to be. Leave some reviews, though! I missed everyone.


Splithaven: I've been wanting to do a Percy x Hera story for a while now, honestly. I feel like it would be a nice challenge, but it probably won't be feasible for this story or any related ones. It would have to be a completely unique premise.

Riptide013: These are my favorite kinds of reviews to read! The story is indeed only a fraction of the way through, and I thank you for your praise! I agree with your assessment, though, and I'm hoping to use the gaming interface a bit more moving forward.

HedgelordSupreme: Thank you for all your kind words! Leo is an interesting topic and one I've gotten quite a few questions about, but I'm being purposefully quiet because I have huge plans for him. I will say, though, his appearance will be similar to Piper and Jason- earlier than usual.

SSJRikudou: Hey! I agree with your assessment of Canon Percy's fatal flaw, but when I say this one has a different one, believe me, he does. I'm sorry you find my use of other, established things for inspiration, but I'll likely continue to do so. It's a way for me to pay homage to some of my favorite franchises, and it's quite helpful when coming up with abilities. Even some of the phrases I used, like statistical anomaly are tributes to other works. That one is from The Lie I've Lived, I think. Sorry if this is a dealbreaker.

DragoTheDominant: Why, thank you! I always wanted to write this story in a way that people would feel like that! Glad to see I've seemingly succeeded! Happy holidays to you as well, friend.

FanficAddict: I LOVE Triton. And Atlantis. Rest assured, all of those things will be making an appearance again.

bleacherspam1: Thanks! I agree on all accounts; I've never been a fan of reading lines upon lines of numbers. If you enjoyed that level of scaling, maybe you'll enjoy the logic of mana a bit more. Thanks for the review.

Malosi: Thank you! I'll play all my plot points close to my chest, so I unfortunately cannot answer your third and fifth point, though I'm glad to hear the rest of them.

JackBlaze123: Hah! We've already talked at length but I'd be remiss if I didn't point out how much I appreciate reading your comprehensive reviews. Cheers, man.

See you all next year! Ha, ha.