AN: Underlined bits are taken straight from the book as I thought it would be good to start a similar way. Disclaimer: none of these characters are mine and neither is the world. That all belongs to the genius Rick Riordan.
Look, I didn't want to be a half-blood.
If you're reading this because you think you might be one, my advice is: close this book right now. Believe whatever lie your mom or dad told you about your birth, and try to lead a normal life. Being a half-blood is dangerous. It's scary. Most of the time it gets you killed in painful, nasty ways.
If you're a normal kid reading this because you think it's fiction, great. Read on. I envy you for being able to believe none of this ever happened.
But if you recognise yourself in these pages- if you feel something stirring inside- stop reading immediately. You might be one of us. And once you know that, it's only a matter of time before they sense it too, and they'll come for you.
Don't say I didn't warn you
[line break dedicated to Chiron]
My name is Percy Jackson.
I'm twelve years old. Until a few months ago, I was a boarding student at Yancy Academy, a private school for troubled kids upstate New York.
Am I a troubled kid?
Yeah you could say that
I could start anywhere in my short and miserable life to prove it. But things really started going bad last May when our sixth-grade class took a field trip to Manhattan. Twenty-eight mental-case kids and two teachers on a yellow school bus, heading to a Metropolitan Museum of Art to look at Ancient Greek and Roman stuff.
I know- it sounds like torture. Most Yancy field trips were.
And Mr Calvert, our Latin teacher, was leading this trip so it was bound to be worse than normal.
Mr Calvert was this middle-aged, bald man who usually resembled 'Hitman' in his smart suits and with the sharp expression he always wore. In class, all he did was talk faster than an auctioneer for the hour and we had to try and write down everything he said word for word even though he could barely remember what he said if you asked him to repeat himself. And with my dyslexia, it was very hard to keep up and I ended up with huge gaps in my notes.
I hoped I wouldn't get in trouble for once.
Boy was I wrong.
See, bad things happen to me on field trips. Like at my fifth-grade school, when we went to the Saragota battlefield, I had this accident with a Revolutionary War cannon. I wasn't aiming for the school bus, but of course I got expelled anyway. And before that, at my fourth-grade school, when we took a behind-the-scenes tour of the Marine World shark pool, I sort of hit the wrong lever on the catwalk and our class took an unplanned swim. And the time before that… Well, you get the idea.
This trip I was determined to be good.
All the way into the city I put up with Nancy Bobofit, the freckly, redheaded kleptomaniac girl hitting my best friend Grover in the back of the head with chunks of peanut butter-and-ketchup sandwich. Grover was an easy target. He was scrawny and he cried when he got frustrated. He must have been held back several grades because he was the only sixth-grader with acne and the starts of a wispy beard on his chin. On top of all that he was crippled. He had a note excusing him from PE for the rest of his life because of some sort of muscular disease in his legs. He walked funny like every step hurt, but don't let that fool you, you should have seen him run when it was enchilada day in the cafeteria.
Anyway, Nancy Bobofit was throwing wads of sandwich that stuck in his curly brown hair and she knew I couldn't do anything about it because I was already on probation. The headmaster had threatened me with death by in-school suspension if anything embarrassing, bad or mildly entertaining happened on this trip. That last part shouldn't be too hard with Mr Calvert in charge.
"I'm going to kill her," I mumbled.
Grover tried to calm me down. 'It's ok. I like peanut butter." He dodged another piece of Nancy's lunch.
"That's it," I started to get up but Grover pulled me back to my seat.
"You're already on probation," he reminded me, "you know who'll get blamed if anything happens."
Looking back on it I wish I'd decked Nancy then and there. In-school suspension would've been nothing compared to the mess I was about to get myself into.
~~~Time skip to at the museum~~~
Mr Calvert walked around, giving dull lectures in his monotonous voice about bits of old Greek rubble. I'm not ashamed to say that I wasn't in the least bit interested in what he had to say about any of it so, when people started to talk over him, I joined in but my pre-algebra teacher and other teacher chaperone, Mrs Dodds, glared at me. Nancy Bobofit sniggered at something Mr Calvert was saying and he turned round. "Mrs Dodds did I hear someone snigger?"
"Yes you did. It was Percy," she replied, glaring at me. Nancy grinned, knowing she'd got me in trouble.
"Ahh, Percy. I think you of all people should be listening to me more. Care to tell the class what this picture represents."
I almost sighed in relief as I recognised it from when my mom used to tell me stories when I was little. I used to really like Greek myths before Mr Calvert came along. "That's Kronos eating his kids right?"
"Yes," he sounded surprised I knew, "and care to explain why he did this?"
"Kronos was the king of the gods, no titans, and his kids, who were the gods, were destined to overthrow him so he ate them but Rhea replaced her final child, Zeus, with a rock, which Kronos ate instead, and when Zeus grew up he tricked Kronos into barfing up all his brothers and sisters."
"Eeww!" One of the girls behind me squealed at the mention of vomit.
"And there was this big fight between the gods and the titans," I continued, "and the gods won."
Some people snickered behind me.
"And when are we actually going to need this? It isn't going to say on our resume 'please explain why Kronos ate his children'," Nancy muttered behind me but Mr Calvert didn't appear to hear.
"Yes, well done, Mr Jackson. Zeus did indeed feed Kronos a mixture of mustard and wine which resulted in Kronos disgorging all the other gods who, being immortal, had grown up unharmed inside Kronos' stomach. On that note, it's time for lunch." We all headed outside, the girls clutching their stomachs and the boys acting like doofuses .
Me and Grover sat on a fountain away from everyone pretending we didn't know the other kids. Nancy was trying to flirt with a sandy haired boy who looked about 18. He was with two girls, one, about my age with blonde hair in princess curls and the other, about 13, wearing punk clothing with black, spiky hair. He was having none of it and then the younger girl punched Nancy in the nose, she got up and stalked away towards me and Grover. She dumped her lunch on Grover's lap and grinned at me with her crooked teeth.
"Oops," she said sarcastically. Her freckles were orange, like someone had spray painted her face with liquid cheetos. I tried to keep my cool, 'count to ten, get control of your temper' the school counsellor had said, but my mind went blank and I felt a tugging in my gut. A wave roared in my ears. I don't remember touching her but the next moment Nancy was sat in the fountain and she screeched "Percy pushed me!"
The others were staring in shock. "Did you see?"… "the water, it like, grabbed her,"
The blonde girl was looking over in astonishment, too. She turned to her friends just as Mrs Dodds materialised next to us. She soothed Nancy, promising to get her a new top at the gift shop etc. etc. etc. Then she rounded on me. She had a triumphant gleam in her eye, like I'd done something she'd been waiting for all year. "Now, honey,"
"Yeah I know," I grumbled, "a month erasing textbooks." That was not the right thing to say.
"Come with me," Mrs Dodds hissed, shortly.
Then Grover did something incredible. "Wait! It was me. I pushed her." I stared at him, dumbfounded. He was terrified of Mrs Dodds.
She glared at him so hard his whiskery chin trembled.
"I don't think so," she said.
"You-will-stay-here," she said. "Honey, now!" She barked at me. I followed her into the museum. At first, I thought she was going to make me buy a new shirt for Nancy but she lead me deeper into the museum, all the way back to the Greek section. It was completely empty, which was rather strange. Mrs Dodds stood with her arms crossed in front of a big marble frieze of the Greek gods. She was making this weird noise in her throat, like growling. Even without the noise, I would've been nervous. It's weird being alone with a teacher, especially Mrs Dodds. Something about the way she looked at the frieze, as if she wanted to pulverize it . . .
'You've been giving us problems, honey,' she said.
I did the safe thing. I said, 'Yes, ma'am.'
She tugged on the cuffs of her leather jacket. 'Did you really think you would get away with it?'
The look in her eyes was beyond mad. It was evil. She's a teacher, I thought nervously. It's not like she's going to hurt me.
I said, 'I'll – I'll try harder, ma'am.'
Thunder shook the building.
'We are not fools, Percy Jackson,' Mrs Dodds said. 'It was only a matter of time before we found you out. Confess, and you will suffer less pain.'
I didn't know what she was talking about. All I could think of was that the teachers must've found the illegal stash of candy I'd been selling out of my dorm room. Or maybe they'd realized I got my essay on Tom Sawyer from the Internet without ever reading the book and now they were going to take away my grade. Or worse, they were going to make me read the book.
'Well? ' she demanded.
'Ma'am, I don't . . .'
'Your time is up,' she hissed. Then the weirdest thing happened. Her eyes began to glow like barbecue coals. Her fingers stretched, turning into talons. Her jacket melted into large, leathery wings. She wasn't human. She was a shrivelled hag with bat wings and claws and a mouth full of yellow fangs, and she was about to slice me to ribbons.
Then things got even stranger.
Grover ran in and shouted "Run, Percy!". Except, he wasn't exactly Grover. I stared down at his legs trying to comprehend what I was seeing until he shouted at me.
"I'll explain later! Right now, we need to stay alive!" That got me back to my senses. He started playing his pan pipes he'd been practicing and just as I was about to ask how that would help, I got my answer. Grass started to grow around Mrs Dodds and wrap her up. I went to grab the closest weapon to me, a bronze Greek spear, and ran at her just as she ripped away the grass entangling her. She jumped at me with her claws and attempted to shred me. I jumped out of the way and landed on my back, the spear encumbering my movement. I clambered back up as she started preparing for a second attack.
"Die, honey!" She snarled.
This time, as she charged at me, I was ready. I hefted the spear and pointed it right at her chest. The spear pierced right through her and she disintegrated into dust like a sand-castle in a power fan, coating me from head to toe in the sulphurous dust. I could still smell the sulphur in the air.
"Grover, what was that!? And what's with your legs!? Why are you, half donkey!?"
He made a sound sort of like an irritated bleat. "Goat! I'm a goat from the waist down. And that was a Kindly One. I wish I knew how much they wanted you. There'll be more coming soon" he rambled, not making any sense.
"Whoa what's a Kindly One? Who wants me? More what will be coming? And why are you half goat then?"
"Percy, I promise I'll explain everything to you soon but right now we need to run. I don't know how many monsters are coming after you but I can smell a fair few," he said, before grabbing my shirt and dragging me out the door and down a corridor. We bumped into the three people I saw outside except this time they were armed: Punk with a crackling spear and a shield with the face of a woman with snake hair on it that sent a shiver down my spine and made me want nothing more than to run in the opposite direction; Blondy with a small bronze dagger and a deadly glare that could stare down an army and Sandy with a sword like the ones from the Greek exhibit and a stance that left no doubt that he could wield it.
In seconds, they had me hidden behind Punk with her shield; Grover in a choke hold with Blondy's dagger at his neck and Sandy pointing his sword tip into Grovers chest. "What are you planning to do with this boy, monster?" Sandy asked calmly.
"Hey leave him alone. He's my friend!" I shouted and tried to run forward but Punk grabbed me and pulled me back.
"Look, there's too much to explain right now. We'll tell you later but right now we need to deal with this monster and go," she told me seriously staring into my eyes fiercely with her electric blue ones.
"Now, I'm going to repeat myself, what were you planning to do with this boy?" Sandy said again with a dangerous, threatening tone.
"Look guys, Grover is my friend he just saved me from the monster. A 'Kindly One' was it called?" Their faces paled visibly and Grover nodded quickly.
"Impossible," Punk muttered under her breath, "why would a Kindly One be coming after him?" She said a bit louder
"It's complicated and I'm not really at liberty to say to any old stranger but yes. Yes I did save him. I'm a satyr. Surely you've heard of us. We're nature spirits, we're the good ones!"
"We know exactly what you are and with our experience, your lot never do anything without an ulterior motive of some sort," Blondy hissed at him angrily. Clearly she'd had a really bad experience with 'nature spirits'.
"Guys, trust me. He's my friend. We've been best friends for the whole year and he tried to take on the bat-hag-thing on his own to protect me," I told them quickly, trying to save my friend.
"Are you sure?" Sandy looked at me doubtfully. "You've obviously only just found out about this world and we've been in it a lot longer. We need to be careful with his sort," he finished, looking scathingly at Grover.
"How can I know you lot are nice?" I asked, "I've met a lot of people and basically none of them were nice so I'm inclined to think that all people are going to beat me up but Grover is one of the only people who's been nice to me and it turns out he's not even a person,"
"Trust me. I can promise you that we're nothing like the other people you've met," Blondy reassured me but she'd said exactly what I wanted her to say.
"Then why do all nature spirits have to be the same. I can promise you that Grover isn't like the other nature spirits you've met," I told her triumphantly. She glared at me, furious apparently for losing an argument and Sandy laughed at that. He put his sword down and gestured for Blondy to do the same with her dagger.
"If you're so sure then ok. I'm Luke by the way, and this is Thalia," Sandy pointed to Punk, who waved as she lowered her shield and spear, "and finally Annabeth," he finished, pointing at Blondy, who inclined her head towards me. She studied me with her fierce grey eyes as if she was thinking of the best way to take me down in a fight.
"Thanks. I'm Percy," I told them.
"This is all great, guys. I'm glad we're all friends now, honestly, but like, we really need to run," Grover said urgently, gesturing to the entrance to the museum and we heard something running down it very quickly. We all looked at each other and ran the opposite way. Luckily the museum was still empty so we ran through with little resistance. Grover led us to the gift shop and ran through the fire exit. Me and Annabeth followed and finally Thalia and Luke.