Rachel sighed. She sat at a round table. On the other side were two students from Hogwarts (that's what she thought their school was called) Lavender and Parvati. In front of everyone was a cup of tea and in the middle of the table was a book. The Hogwarts students were supposed to be showing Rachel how to read tea leaves. Instead the two were chatting. "That Percy boy is so cute."
"I know," said Lavender. "I can't believe he's dating Annabeth."
"She's pretty," said Parvati. "Well, if she did something about her hair."
"Come on guys, can we get to the tea reading?" Rachel motioned to her cup.
"We are," said Lavender. "We have to finish our tea first."
"Could you hurry it up then?" said Rachel.
"It's too hot," said Parvati. "You have to sip it."
"Fine." The two went back to their conversation. Rachel had wanted to just pour out the tea, but apparently that could mess up the reading. The proper technique was to read the tea leaves after drinking. Rachel picked up her teacup and sipped it. They were right that it was too hot to drink in one gulp.
"It's not that I don't think she's pretty," said Lavender as she sipped her tea. "It's just her whole personality. I can't believe someone would want to date that."
"You've known her for less than a day," said Rachel. She spilt some tea from the cup as she put it down on the table. "You two only interacted for a few minutes."
"I've got a sense about this kind of thing," said Lavender. "I just know what people are like. It's a gift, like divination."
"I'm sure," said Rachel.
"You know, I do like this place," said Parvati. "It's nice and quaint."
"It's fine," said Lavender. "It'd be nice to stay here for a few days or a week. But I can't see myself spending a summer here."
"That's fair," said Parvati. "I'd prefer to spend my summer at the beach."
"Same," said Lavender.
"Yeah, I'd like it if you two went to the beach." Eventually, Rachel finished her tea, though not quick enough to save her from having to endure Lavender and Parvati's chattering. She held up her cup for the two Hogwarts students to see. "I'm done. What's it say?"
"Interesting." Lavender took the cup and looked inside. She handed it over to Parvati, who also examined the cup. "Yes, this is very interesting."
"What's interesting?" said Rachel. "What's it say?"
"Let's see." Parvati picked up the book that was in the center of the table and flipped through it. She nodded her head knowingly.
"What's it say?" said Rachel.
"Well, let's look at the tea leaves." Parvati tilted the cup so that Rachel could see. To Rachel, it looked like a collection of blobs and dots. Parvati pointed to the blobs. "You see this thing that looks like a dog's head?"
Rachel squinted her eyes to see what Parvati was talking about. "A dog? That looks like a sheep. No wait, it's an acorn."
"No, it's a dog," said Parvati. "More specifically, it's the Grim."
"The Grim?" said Rachel.
"The Grim," said Parvati. "It's a bad omen."
"What's it mean?" said Rachel.
"It means death," said Parvati.
"Death?" said Rachel. "Like I'm going to die?"
"Maybe," said Parvati.
"The first year we did Divination, Harry found the Grim in his tea cup," said Lavender. "Remember that?"
Parvati nodded. "How could I forget?"
"Is Harry dead?" said Rachel.
"No," said Parvati.
Rachel grit her teeth. "So he saw the Grim and he's still alive?"
"Yes," said Lavender.
"So who's to say this means anything?" said Rachel. "I'm the Oracle, so I can't die."
"True," said Lavender. "But it could mean someone close to you will die."
"Did someone close to this Harry fellow die?" said Rachel.
"Oh yes," said Parvati. "Cedric, who was his friend was killed. Then his godfather, Sirius, died."
The color drained from Rachel's face. "Really? After he saw the Grim?"
"Uh-huh," said Parvati and Lavender in unison.
"How long after he saw the Grim did they die?" said Rachel.
"Well Cedric died a year later," said Parvati.
"A year?" said Rachel.
"And Sirius died a year after that," said Lavender.
Rachel just stared at the two. "So someone close to me might die in a year?"
"Someone close to you will die," said Parvati. "It might be in a year. It might be in ten."
"Could it take fifty years?" said Rachel.
"Perhaps," said Parvati.
"So if I understand you guys correctly," said Rachel. "According to the tea leaves, someone close to me could die anywhere from a year to fifty years from now."
"According to the tea leaves, death is in the cards for you," said Lavender. "Someone will die in your future. It doesn't even have to be a person. It could be a pet."
"I see," said Rachel. "Well I can live with that."
"You're very brave," said Parvati.
"Very brave indeed," said Lavender.
"Let me read your tea leaves now," said Rachel. Lavender handed Rachel her cup. Rachel looked at the tea leaves. "It looks like there's an acorn in your cup."
"That means you're getting a windfall or unexpected gold," said Parvati.
"That's incredible," said Lavender.
"Great." Rachel thought of how much longer these people would be staying at Camp Half-Blood.