Chapter 5- Greeks and Romans

"Every day is a crossroads. Every day is a chance to change your life for the better"

Leo was nervous. He knew the Entity had told him to join the rest for meeting with the Romans but he was really starting to doubt whether he wanted to go or not. From what Chiron had told him, they were going to meet the Romans in the forum and meet for lunch. But Leo knew what that really meant. It was a test from the romans. If they passed, they'd be cautiously accepted. But if not, they would be the Romans' next meal. Nico had told him all about the bad history between Greece and Rome—about the many wars they'd faced during the rise of their empires, their demigods fighting the bloody battle of the American Civil War. It didn't exactly give a good outlook on this meeting but he knew they had to try. He just hoped he could control his mouth and not say the wrong thing. Something told him that the Romans didn't exactly have a good sense of humour.

"Are you all ready?" said a voice behind him. He turned to see Chiron trotting towards them.

"Yup!" Leo grinned, "How couldn't I be ready to talk to a bunch of people who already have bad blood against us? It's just like the annual picnic session with Aunt Rosa on Día de los Muertos." He never liked his Aunt Rosa. She forced him to eat to clean the graves and make sacrifices. Then he had to stay to eat along with them. Because nothing fixed your appetite like eating with dead people.

"Try to remember that you're facing a war. And so are they. In times of crisis, many unlikely groups can band together to face the problem together. Plus neither groups are being influenced by the gods now that they don't exist. Try and capitalise on the fact that without unity, neither group can survive what is to come."

Leo nodded, taking note of what Chiron was telling him. He also realised something else.

"You make it sound like you're not coming with us."

"I'm not." Chiron agreed. "I believe my time is better spent tracking down the demigods that left us and planning how to approach them and convince them to join us again for the upcoming war. It'll be a difficult task, but one that is necessary."

Leo tried to hide his disappointment. He had been counting on Chiron to take charge of the discussion should something go wrong. He must not have done a very good job of hiding it as Chiron noticed the look on his face.

"Do not fret, Leo. You already have a good team going with you. And the Entity himself believes in you. Trust in your mission and your friends."

Again, Leo wondered if Chiron was a god or could secretly see into the future. He did keep forgetting that Chiron had been immortal just like the gods and he assumed that being cryptic came with the title.

"Looks like the rest are arriving," said Chiron.

Leo turned around and sure enough, Piper and Nico were walking towards them on the hill.

"Why did you have us meet under the tree?" Piper asked as they did a final check with Chiron on what to talk about.

"Because we're shadow travelling to the Roman Camp. It's the quickest way to get there," Nico replied, playing with his sword. Leo wasn't sure why, but that sword gave him the creeps. It felt like it was lulling him to sleep just so it could snuff his life out at any moment.

"Shadow travel both of us across all the way to San Francisco," Leo pointed out with a frown. "Will you be able to handle that?"

"Well it'll be quite draining, especially with our current situation, but I think I can manage. I will be out of commission for a while though so you two will have to do most of the talking."

"Best get going," Chiron said after they were done. "Time is limited, so the quicker you go, the better you'll be." He turned to Leo. "Remember what I told you. Keep a clear head."

Leo gave him a thumbs up as he turned to Piper. " You're the main voice of the group. Make sure to stick with the facts. I don't need to remind you of what's at stake here."

Piper nodded in understanding, her mood turning more serious.

And at last, he turned to Nico. They didn't exchange any words but Leo could tell some silent conversation was exchanged between them. Chiron nodded at them and trotted off, leaving them alone.

Nico shouldered his bag and he held his arms out to both of them.

"You ready?"

"So how does this shadow travel work?" Leo asked as grabbed his arm.

"Simple," Nico replied. "We go through one shadow, pass through the dark gloomy chains of darkness and come out of another shadow." His face changed into a smirk as he added, "I hope neither of you have motion sickness."

"Wait, why?" Leo tried to say before a wall of darkness slammed into him and he lost all sense of reality.

Shadow travel was…. weird yet thrilling at the same time. It also made Leo want to hurl. He didn't know how to explain it. At first all he saw was black. Then he appeared in something that looked like a tunnel. A long passage of just darkness just looping and wrapping around him. He could feel himself going at incredible speeds, speeds so fast it felt like his face was peeling off. Then seconds later, the atmosphere changed as light flooded his vision and he could see sunlight again. His skin clung onto the warmth from the sun, which was far more welcoming compared to the dark cold chill of shadow travel. He swung off to the side, grabbing onto something, which happened to be the bark of a tree, to keep his balance and not hurl. Piper was pretty much the same, clenching her stomach to stop her oatmeal cereal from leaving her body. Whereas Nico just leaned on the tree, seeming unaffected and watching them with amusement.

"A little warning would be nice next time," Piper groaned as she straightened herself. "Don't worry, give it a few more tries and you'll get used to it."

"You're hilarious if you think I'm doing that again"

"Good luck getting all the way back to Long Island."

"I think I'll take my chances on foot," Piper teased, causing Nico to raise an eyebrow. Rather than carrying on the banter, he turned to face the road. Leo realised that they were on an open road. Up ahead was a maintenance service tunnel."We're in Caldecott. Camp Jupiter is just ahead through the tunnel."

"They managed to fit an entire camp past a service tunnel without it being visible to outsiders," Leo said as they crossed towards the entrance.

"This place has similar enchantments to Camp Half-Blood. The gods placed them there to keep them hidden from monsters and also mortals. It's why neither place has been breached. Well except from really lost pizza guys, according to Annabeth," Nico added, remembering the time Annabeth had told them the story while Percy had disappeared. (Note for Kleidon: This is a reference to when Percy was in the outerlands. Just a conversation between Annabeth, Nico and Bianca when she mentioned the story of a lost pizza guy. Matches with canon timeline after battle of the labyrinth)

"Wait, what?"

Nico was saved from having to tell the story as they approached two people, one holding a spear and the other had a golden sword just laying in his arms.

"Halt! Identify yourself in the name of Rome!" The person holding a spear spoke, leaning his spear forwards.

Nico strode forwards. "Nico di Angelo, ambassador of Pluto. This is Piper McLean, daughter of Venus, and Leo Valdez, son of Vulcan. We're here on a peace treaty with your officers and Praetors. I believe that Praetor Reyna would've informed you about this."

The two guards glanced at each other. Neither seemed suspicious but there was definitely curiosity. Leo wondered if they were informed of who they really were and why they had come. The one holding a sword nodded at his partner and jogged away.

"Wait here," the other one said. "There is a greeting party to meet with you before you speak with the Praetors."

There was an awkward silence as they hung around, waiting for this greeting party. Leo wondered whether to stir up a conversation, but what do you say to a roman guard holding a spear sharp enough to separate his head from his body? How's it hanging?

Luckily, he didn't have to wait long. Soon enough, the other guard had returned, flanked by 2 other people. Their armour were embroidered differently and a badge pinned on their shoulders.

"Ambassador of Pluto right?" The one on the left asked.

Nico nodded. "And these are my comrades. Piper McLean—" Piper waved them hello. "—and Leo Valdez." Leo flashed them a peace sign.

"Welcome to Camp Jupiter." The one on the right gestured for them to follow. He had huge, muscular arms and tan skin, easily towering over Leo. "I'm Michael Kahale, Centurion of the First Cohort and this is Hank, Centurion of the Third Cohort."

Leo nodded like he understood. He remembered hearing that the Roman camp was split by cohort rather than cabins in Camp Half-Blood but that was the extent of his knowledge. In hindsight, Leo should've done a bit more research before coming but a certain dragon had preoccupied his time.

Piper let out a small gasp as they entered the Camp and Leo couldn't help but mimic it. Camp Jupiter was massive. The late afternoon sun burned across the pink sky. Across the hill they could see the entire city of Rome. Buildings towering over them, built from a pristine metal and the scent of freshly baked desserts wafted through the air. The two Romans smirked at the look on their faces. They crossed through the camp and walked towards the city limits.

"Praetor Reyna wishes to speak with you in the Forum. She has gathered the rest of the officers for lunch," Michael said. Leo was more focused on the buildings in the city. As an aspiring mechanic and child of Hephaestus, he could appreciate well-crafted engineering and the structural design of each building. To his trained eye, he could see years and years of Roman history melded with modern art and design. While he didn't necessarily agree with honouring tradition all the time, he could easily say it was utilised beautifully.

"Praetor Reyna," Hank called as they arrived at the forum. "Our guests have arrived."

Leo took a good look at a woman with a dark braid and black obsidian eyes. Even without an introduction, he could've singled her out as a leader easily. The way she held herself with such confidence, her face betraying no emotion whatsoever, the way her jaw was set, ready to take on any problem thrown at her. It was a look of someone who had been through hardships and could still lead an army to war. Her amour gleamed in the reflection of sunlight, medals shining on her chest.

"Welcome to New Rome, honoured guests," Reyna spoke, holding out her hand. He shook it, glad that he had taken the time to clean up before arriving. "I'm Reyna and this is my co-praetor, Jason." Another boy walked up to them. He had close-cropped blond hair and an angelic face, almost like a carved statue. He had a small scar that was on his lip. But what really drew Leo's attention was his eyes. They were startling electric blue and Leo could tell they held immense power.

"As Reyna said, welcome to New Rome. It's a pleasure to have you here," Jason said with a warm smile, shaking their hands as well. He turned to one of the other officers standing behind him. "Alert the spirits in the kitchen that our guests have arrived and we'll be starting soon." The officer saluted him and ran off. Leo realised how formal these people were. For someone like him, who had ADHD, unlimited energy and preferred playing by his own rules, he could never survive in conditions like this.

Jason took notice of how worn out Nico looked. "Do you want to get to the medic room?"

"No need. If I can just lie down for a bit somewhere, I should recover in about half an hour," Nico replied, holding the wall for support.

Jason nodded, gesturing for another officer to take Nico somewhere to rest.

The rest of them sat down around the table, sofas arranged neatly to give everyone ample space. Leo and Piper sat next to each other, near the pizza and other snacks that appealed to Leo. Romans had good taste in food.

"This place is nice," Leo said in an undertone to Piper. "A lot different to camp. More people and much more area."

Piper was about to respond when Reyna raised a toast to friendship and began introductions. There was Michael of the First, Larry of the Second, Hank of the Third, Leila of the Fourth and Gwen of the Fifth. And of course the praetors—Reyna, daughter of Bellona; and Jason Grace, son of Jupiter. At hearing Jason's parentage, Leo almost choked on his food. Another child of the Big Three. Which meant, he was related to The Assassin. He wanted to address it but Piper's eyes glanced at him, telling him not to mention anything yet.

"So, Leo and Piper." Reyna took a bite out of her apple. "We've been told you have a story to tell us. You are aware of the threats we will be facing. Please enlighten us."

Leo stumbled, not expecting to start talking this soon already. Luckily for him, Piper had no problems and started talking about the developments in the past few weeks—how camp had been abandoned since the fall of the gods and how she and Leo were found by Coach Hedge and taken to Chiron. She explained about the changes noticed in the mortal world and about The Entity's warning to them. She spoke with such confidence, easily answering questions by the other Romans without problems. Half way through her explanation, Nico had rejoined them.

"This Entity," Jason spoke, crossing his arms with a slight frown on his face. "How do we know we can trust him? If he's as powerful as you claim, why would we be in the situation we are in right now?"

Piper turned to look at him, as though expecting him to have an answer. He didn't. It was a valid question, but the reason he had trusted the Entity was because Chiron did. And having spoken to him in person, he seemed like he genuinely cared about the world. But how could he explain that?

"Because he's the one who told Percy about the gods' true nature. He gave him the powers and tools to free all other demigods. And he's the one who warned us about the threat to come. What reason could he have to manipulate us? If he wanted us dead, he could do it himself."

"You've mentioned the Assassin again. You keep telling us that the gods were evil. Yet you offer us no proof. The gods gave us this camp, gave us protection and a home. And while I'm aware that they had their flaws and were narcissistic, you can't expect us to believe that they were as heartless and cruel as you claim," Reyna retorted, narrowing her eyes at Nico.

Nico's eyes flared up, and Leo could tell he was close to losing his temper completely, the exact opposite of what Chiron had asked them to do.

"Okay you're right," Leo interrupted, potentially stopping a duel of blades between Nico and Reyna. Piper looked at him in surprise, but he gave her a look that said, I've got this. "We haven't shown you actual proof that the gods are who we say they are. But I'll get you that proof." He couldn't even believe the words that were coming out of his mouth. How was he going to find evidence that the gods were as bad as they were told? But he knew that this was the only way he could gain the romans' trust. "I promise you on my life, I'll find you the evidence of the reason why we can trust the Entity. But until then, you're going to have to believe us. As Nico said, if the Entity truly wanted us dead, we would be. Trust me, I've met him." He ignored the looks of surprise shot by Nico and Piper. He hadn't had a chance to tell them what happened earlier. "But the point is he has done nothing that shows he wants to harm us. All he's done is given us a warning and advice. And as you've seen for yourself, we have bigger problems to handle than wondering about the gods' true nature and whether The Entity can be trusted. So, unless there are other problems or issues we have to deal with, we should try and work on this alliance."

Leo was ninety-nine percent sure that any moment now, he was going to get skewered by the Romans and lose any chance of friendship with them. Judging by the look on Nico's face, he thought so as well. There was no sound for a few moments, increasing Leo's nervousness.

"I agree."

Leo turned to see that, surprisingly, it was the son of Jupiter who had spoken. Out of all the people who he thought would agree with him, he didn't expect the praetor to stick up for him.

"Leo's right. Despite our difference of opinions on the gods, it doesn't matter. We're all in this situation together and we need to face it united if we're to have any hope of beating whatever is to come."

With the praetor agreeing with Leo, the other officers started voicing their agreements as well. However, they awaited Reyna's decision. Her face was stoic but her eyes were in thought. She had a silent conversation with Jason but relented in the end.

"Very well. I hope you can keep your word, Leo Valdez. For your sake as much as ours. Now, to focus our attention on main matters. Jason, if you will."

Jason stood up, gesturing for one of the wind spirits. He grabbed a map of them and rolled it out on the table for the three Greek demigods to see.

"Ever since the fall of Olympus, the mortal world has been changing drastically. We've received reports about monsters emerging from the shadows and openly attacking through the streets. So far, nothing drastic has happened. We've sent out teams to engage and dispose of them. But things are getting out of hand. A few of our eagles reported sightings of large sea creatures appearing from the depths of the oceans. Creatures never seen or heard about before. And they seem to be targeting areas surrounding California or near our Camp." Jason pointed at certain areas just beyond their camp on the map. "We're not sure where they're coming from or why they've chosen to appear now." Leo didn't miss the look of recognition on Nico's face. Neither did Jason. "Nico, do you know something?"

Nico sighed, holding his head in his hands. "Yeah, I know why they're appearing now. That'd be because of Neptune's death." When he realised everyone was still looking at him confused, he elaborated. "Hermes…sorry Mercury, told Percy about the repercussions from killing the Olympians. Neptune conquered and controlled many beasts deep within the sea and used them as he saw fit. Well, he mainly used them to terrorise countries that had offended him or as an outlet to release stress and rage, but that's besides the point. He kept them on a leash and locked them deep in the ocean where no mortal has ever ventured to. With him dead, there was no one to keep them in check. I guess they realised that and decided to surface up onto the land. However, about the change in monster activity is something you'll have to ask Percy himself. He didn't share everything that he had learnt."

"Is there any way we can keep them in control? Or, at the very minimum, kill them before they attack innocent people?"

"Well, Percy could perhaps." Nico said. "He's a son of Poseidon so he can control sea creatures or at the very least, deal with them. The ocean is his domain after all. Other than that, I really don't know. Maybe you can Jason. Being the son of Jupiter does give you a lot of power over the skies. But I'm not sure how helpful it'd be."

"I've defeated the Trojan Sea Monster. That one didn't go so easy and I almost died. I was unconscious for a few days," Jason remembered his quest from around two years ago. "These sea creatures are twice the size of that one. So, I'm not too sure of the odds."

"You fought the Trojan Sea Monster?" Piper asked, raising her eyebrows giving Jason an appraised look. "The one that Hercules fought in the ancient times?"

"Yeah. Got it as a quest from Juno. Let me tell you, it doesn't look like what they show you on TV. It's a lot bigger and hideous. And its breath stinks," Jason added as an afterthought.

"What about you? You're a son of Pluto, do you not have any powers that can deal with them?" Larry asked, leaning forward. Nico shook his head.

"I won't be particularly useful, especially on the sea. My powers work best on ground or on subterranean levels. Where I can use shadows and the underground. The ocean, I wouldn't be of much use. It'd help if we knew whether these creatures were being controlled by someone or if they're doing it of their own will."

"We do have an answer to that," Reyna said, surprising him. She glanced at Michael who nodded. "We were out on a reconnaissance mission to gather intel from the monsters grouping together. We ended up having to kill most of them but one of them gave us something. He wouldn't say much, too stubborn to give up information. But he said, 'Alaska is where the master is. And he obeys someone far more powerful. You romans will face your end, very soon.'"

"It sounds like whatever is causing these problems is in Alaska. We should try and go there, find out what's happening," Leo said. There was a moment of silence as the romans stared at him; he wasn't sure why.

"Did….did I say something wrong?" Leo asked, recalling his words.

"No. Sorry Leo, you wouldn't know. It's just that… us Romans stay away from Alaska," Jason replied, carefully looking at the officers around him.

"Wait, why?" Piper asked, pushing herself forward. "What's wrong about Alaska?"

"It's to do with our history," Reyna replied when no one else volunteered to say anything. "Alaska is known as the land beyond the gods. The area is beyond our understanding and the power of the gods when they were around. We've called it cursed for a reason. Thirty years ago, the Fifth Cohort led an expedition there, and they were almost wiped out. It failed and the Cohort lost The Eagle of the Twelfth Legion Fulminata."

"What's so special about an eagle?"

"It wasn't actually an eagle. It was an eagle standard. Given to us by Jupiter himself. It was the symbol and motto of the legion, entrusted to the Fifth Cohort. Supposedly, it gave us power over lightning. Ever since it was lost, no Roman has dared to mention Alaska."

"Look I get it," Piper said. "But we're past curses now. We've got a potential major war coming. We have many problems to deal with and it seems that this is one that we need to deal with as soon as possible if we're to prepare for what's coming. "

Again there was a brief silence. It was starting to get on Leo's nerves as he couldn't tell whether they had said something wrong or not. But what was really surprising was what Reyna said next.

"That's enough for today. Centurions, return to the legion. Continue with normal activities. There'll be an emergency senate meeting held tomorrow. We'll discuss details there."

Even Jason was caught off-guard, his face frowning in confusion but he hid it quickly. "You heard your praetor," Jason spoke. "We'll continue this tomorrow. Dismissed."

There were some murmurs of discontent by the other centurions but apparently none of them wanted to challenge both praetors so they saluted and left. Reyna looked behind them, as though to make sure they had really left the Forum.

"Um, what was that about?" Piper furrowed her eyebrows.

Reyna glanced at Jason before speaking. "The legion has been through enough problems already. Reinforcing security after Terminus disappeared, hunting monsters and learning about new threats. They've had enough to deal with for today. I did not wish to scare them with more information until we have a well-thought out plan to present to them tomorrow."

"It does seem sensible to send a quest to Alaska. It could potentially help identify what we're up against," Jason pointed out.

"Look, I don't want to be insensitive, but we have bigger problems than Alaska. Is it really that big of a problem that we need to focus on it right now?" Leo asked.

"Maybe. Maybe not. But the point is, as Romans, it's our duty to ensure we tackle problems that mortals are not yet capable of dealing with. This comes under that section. You want our help with the war that's coming? That's fine, but under the toast of friendship and alliance, we need help in dealing with this threat. Those are our terms," Reyna said, looking directly at Leo with her ultimatum

He looked at Nico, who shrugged his shoulders.

"It's a fair agreement. We need their help, they need ours. And plus, we'll be doing everyone a favour and removing this threat beforehand. That way we can all focus on the war. The decision is yours Leo, you're The Entity's champion. But I think it's in all of our interests," said Nico.

"I agree," Piper placed her hand on Leo's. An understanding passed between them.

"Sounds fair," Leo finally said. "So what's the plan?"

"We send a quest. Ideally of four people. It'll need to be approved by the Senate tomorrow but it's the best option," Reyna said. She turned to Jason. "Any suggestions on who we can send."

"Is this Percy Jackson available? As a son of Poseidon, he'd be an ideal candidate for the quest." Jason asked.

Nico shook his head. "I'm afraid for the time being Percy is off the grid. Only two people know where he is and one of them isn't on Earth while the other one is…. honestly I have no idea." (Note for Kleidon: The one who's not on Earth is the Entity, the other one is Domino. As per your story, Percy did not tell Zoe where he went)

"Is there any way we can find or track Percy? We could really use his help." Again, Nico shook his head but Leo raised his hands, surprising all of them again.

"I can't explain how, but I think I may have a way to find this Percy Jackson," Leo said. He had been playing with the idea since he got Corazon but having thought on the matter, he was confident that in due time, he could find The Assassin. "I won't be able to find him in time for the quest, but I believe I can find him in some time. Maybe even during the quest."

Jason looked slightly disappointed, but nodded nonetheless. "In that case, we need to find alternatives. And we do have someone else, who's descended from Neptune," he said, turning to Reyna who snapped her eyes in disbelief.

"You can't be serious Jason. He's not even a member of the legion, he's a probatio."

"He has the blood of Neptune. Out of any of us, he has the best chance of facing against sea monsters should the quest run into any."

"Jason, I doubt he's even aware that he's descended from Neptune. He's barely passed legion standard training, do you think he can go off into a quest?"

"Hold up. Time-out!" Leo interrupted, making a T with his hands. "Who are you talking about here?"

"Frank Zhang," Jason answered, "he's a new recruit who joined us a few weeks ago. He informed us that his great-grandfather was Shen Lun. According to our history rolls, Shen Lun was a descendant of Neptune."

"Which makes this Frank Zhang a descendant of Neptune as well," Leo finished, seeing Jason's point.

"It doesn't matter," Reyna said, "roman law states that to join a quest, you have to be a standard legionnaire. Frank has not yet earned his tattoos and even if that wasn't the issue, he doesn't have the experience to go on a quest."

"Reyna, do you think I want to send him on a quest as dangerous as this? Hell, do you think I'd want to send anyone in my place for a quest that I am more than capable of going on? Sometimes, we have to break the rules for the greater good. We're in uncharted territory here, with no idea of what's going on in the mortal world. And since we don't have access to a son of Neptune, Frank is the next best solution. I don't like it any better than you do, but we have to look at it tactically. He's our best shot at countering the problem. If anything, this quest gives him the opportunity to find out about his ancestry and powers."

Reyna pondered over what Jason said. Leo admitted it did make sense. With Percy not here, any other bloodline of Poseidon was the best chance of dealing with the problem.

"Alright fine," Reyna sighed. "Against my better judgement, I'll trust your word on this, Jason. Any other candidate options?"

"My sister," Nico spoke up.

"Bianca?" Piper asked, raising an eyebrow. Nico shook his head.

"I have another sister, who's in the legion. Hazel."

"You have another sister? You never mentioned this," Leo said, trying to remember if Nico had ever spoken about another sibling.

"It was a recent development. And with all that was happening, Hazel didn't want me telling anyone else just yet." He turned to the praetors. "Hazel's original life was in Alaska, believe it or not. She knows the area better than anyone else. She can lead the questers through any dangers that are ahead. Also, she's a member of the legion."

"Hazel was born in Alaska?" Reyna asked. "That's not possible. No God can pass into Alaska. It's why it's called the land beyond the gods."

"She wasn't born there," Nico amended. "Her mother moved there a few years after she was born. She spent a lot of her childhood there."

Jason and Reyna looked at each other, conversing silently.

"It does make sense," Reyna admitted. "It could give them a tactical advantage. But one of the last two members would require to be an officer of the legion. Who could we send during this time?"

"I could go," Jason offered. "As praetor of Rome, any threats to the legion are mainly our responsibility."

"That'd be a valid choice if you didn't have praetorial duties to attend to," she replied, giving him a glare as though to say you're not leaving me alone here dude.

"We could send my other sister," Nico said.

"The Greek one?"

"Yes," Nico replied, taking a sip of water. "While Alaska may be the land beyond the gods, her powers would be most effective."

"Because she's the daughter of Hades?"

"Exactly. Hades being the eldest of the big three has a higher reach of his powers, even in areas where godly powers are restricted. This gives Bianca an edge in Alaska. She'll have access to shadows like I do, giving them an exit strategy. And since it's beyond the gods, there may be spirits and other forces that haven't faded yet from the fall of Olympus. If there are, she can control them."

"If we do send Bianca, the last person must be an officer," Reyna said. "Who can we send?"

"We could send Leila or Gwen? Or even Larry?" Jason said after a moment. Reyna shrugged.

"We can decide that tomorrow at the meeting." Reyna turned to Nico. "Do you think you can get your other sister to New Rome by tomorrow?"

"I'll send her a message tonight," Nico said. "She should be able to get here by the morning, just before the meeting."

Everyone seemed satisfied by the choices.

"Now, for the last matter," Jason said. "Do we actually know what threat we're up against?"

Both Nico and Piper turned to look at Leo.

"Why are you both looking at me? Nico, shouldn't you know the most about it?" Leo said, not enjoying the spotlight.

"I only know what Chiron told me. Which is, whatever we're up against—" Nico pointed to Leo "—he's in the middle of it."

Reyna raised an eyebrow, as though she couldn't believe that this scrawny kid was the answer to the threat. Leo couldn't blame her. He was just a mechanic. Well, a mechanic who could control fire. He wasn't really a warrior. He could fight decently enough, having gotten through many street fights while on the run, but nothing worthy of fighting a war. Yet, the Entity had chosen him. Chiron said he had to figure out his own purpose. Everyone had a role to play.

"I met with The Entity," Leo started, going over his conversation with the god-like but not a god being. "He told me about a powerful being awakening. He called it his antithesis. The Dark One." He told them about the powers he had shown and about how this enemy had been born to destroy, a result of the Ancient Laws.

"So, an ultra powerful being, who was born at the beginning of time, is awakening again, to destroy everything and rule the universe for himself," Jason summed up. "Must be Tuesday already."

Despite the situation, Leo grinned at him. It was nice to have someone else providing some humour as well.

"The Entity said I'd understand more if I ate this orb he gave me. But I can't get it…" Leo trailed off as he pulled out the orb from his pocket. "Hey that's new."

"What, the orb?"

"No. The Entity said I wouldn't be able to take out the orb until the time was right. I haven't been able to remove it from my pocket until now."

"Well, looks like it's time now," Jason said. "This could give us an advantage, Leo."

Leo hesitated. Chiron's warning echoed in the back of his mind. Immortals worked differently. What if he ended up making a mistake he couldn't take back, just like Percy did?

Jason must have picked up on his hesitation. "Well, you know, you can tell us about it tomorrow at the senate. No rush to do it now. I think we all need a break." Jason stood up from his seat.

"I know we arranged to come see your camp today, but with the senate meeting, I'd ask that we postpone it for tomorrow, if that's alright with you," Reyna said, shuffling the papers and maps. Leo looked at Nico who tilted his head as though to say whatever works.

"I'll contact Chiron," he said. "Assuming we're to stay in New Rome as well?"

"There are a few guest quarters available, and a spare bedroom in my house if that's alright with you," Jason offered.

"I'll take guest quarters, if that's alright," Piper said. "Besides, I'd like to explore a bit of New Rome while I'm here."

"Same," Nico said. "I prefer being alone as well if you don't mind."

"Well, that leaves you with me," Leo said to Jason, a small smirk forming on his face. "I hope you don't mind dealing with hearing clanking sounds of metal all night, roomie."

"Believe it or not," Jason returned the grin, "I've had worse roommates."

Somehow, this alliance seemed like it'd work out.

Author's Note: So it's been a while. Sorry about that, but mental health issues, needed to take quite some time off. But I'm back somewhat. Anyways, I hope you guys enjoy the chapter. I'm going to try and update regularly and I will do my very best not to take another year break long. Feel free to yell at me in the comments. I will try an update when I can, but since it's my final year before college, a little bit busy with exams, but nonetheless I shall do my best.

I will try an update when I can, but since it's my final year before college, a little bit busy with exams, but nonetheless I shall do my best.

Discord server: VUMM3Sb

See you all in the next chapter