Welcome back…. I'm predicting the future….What's that I see? Oh, the future says I will never own either Persona or Percy Jackson. Damn.

What else does it say? Beta'd by N^Z##$^&*R and special credit goes to #^ %$8 Go read "A Charming Joker"


After they left the big house, they went towards the woods in the northern sector of the camp. It seemed like a good place to stay out of sight.

Ren made sure they avoided the cabins in the center of the camp, though Ann noticed his eyes kept darting to the gray cabin that looked like a library mixed with a bank. Why? She did not know, but Ann was sure she'd get him to spill it eventually.

Going through the camp they blended in seamlessly thanks to the shirts. No one questioned them. Not even a brief pass by Chiron coming from the archery range gave them away as they sunk into hiding in plain sight. Occasionally they'd receive the odd glance, but there were simply too many hyperactive kids to keep track of.

As Ren and Ann entered the woods, they saw a multitude of things. First, it was girls with green-tinged skin, green eyes, and leaves and flowers in their hair. Ren guessed they were dryads given how they came in a puff of smoke from various trees and bushes. They were mostly harmless, frolicking with flowing dresses and chitons, occasionally stopping to attempt conversation with them.

Spaced out was the best way he could describe them, they almost exclusively talked about plants and which god or satyr they caught the eye of while making the poor schmuck run into a tree. Haru would like conversations about this, but it wasn't really his thing (The plants, not the pranks). When they started inviting him and Ann to 'Check out their plant' was when Ann pulled him away deeper into the forest.

Second, it was the Satyrs who in comparison frantically ran to and fro carrying twigs, berries and talking about new demigod sightings or rumors. He even heard whispers about the "masked demigods" in Brooklyn, and if anyone was going to investigate.

They picked a spot just before the creek emptied out into the Long Island Sound. They were about to sit down for lunch when they heard scurrying coming towards them…no it was more akin to marching.

Heeding his instincts, he morphed his arm to his phantom thief attire and shot his grappling hook up to the highest branch he could. Ann immediately clung to his side, and he secured her with an arm around her waist.

The air reverberated with the sound of the hook slinging its occupant into the upper canopy. Right before they reached the branch the hook was snagged on, Ren disengaged the hook, allowing them to blast past the branch and into the maximum lift. Both himself and Ann twirled in the air before landing on the same branch, crouching to see what exactly they were fleeing from.

Down below they could see they were running from…Ants? No these weren't like any ants they had seen before. They were huge, ranging from the size of a dog to some upwards of a small car. All of them were marching southwards into the woods like a long train, each carrying something shiny in its mandibles.

"Hecate is telling me those are Myrmeke ants," Ann informed him with a hand to her ear.

"Infestation then?"

"Most likely," She paused for a moment, "She's telling me they build nests in places with a lot of shiny things they can steal in hopes of hoarding enough gold to become human-like the first Myrmidons,"

"So, like Morgana then?" Ann laughed in response to Ren's in-joke.

"Pretty much, though Hecate is offering to burn the hive if we want all the treasure in it,"

"Yes, do it, Trickster. Together with the magic goddess, we shall set the world alight in a blaze of glory!" The fire giant exclaimed excitedly.

Baal was immediately disgusted at the proposition, "How about no?! It's bad enough that humans are building over the land with their disgusting concrete. We do not need you burning the rest of it to the ground, you pyromaniac bellhop!"

"Okay Boomer…" The little girl mocked.

"The world must burn, Baal…" The giant's sword glowed ominously at his words.

"Not today it isn't!" Baal shot back.

"Rich or poor, the treasure doesn't matter. The world will be our target tonight," Having enough of the giant's words, Baal summoned his scimitar and lunged at him. The giant brought his sword up in preparation to receive the blow.

Before the two could clash another persona appeared in between the warring deities and grabbed both by the wrist and began to speak in an ethereal dual voice, "I have to disagree with you Baal, in our culture, fire is a purifier to cleanse and restore," The combined deity offered as a counter opinion

"But this isn't your culture. He-ho. In most countries now, that's called arson ho-he," Black Frost pointed out.

Ishtar seemed to be aligned with the burn everything side, "Sometimes you must burn the old to get to the new!

"Like how Gilgamesh burned you? What was it? A faulty battering ram and a shoe that bites the feet of the owner? Or my personal favorite 'A drafty back door'" Alice lashed out.

A pregnant pause filled the mindscape similar to the museum outburst.

"Now that was a burn worthy of me," The fire giant said a little too proudly.

"WAIT UNTIL I GET MY HANDS ON YOU!"

With a sigh, Satanael separated the two with his wings.

"You okay there, Ren?" Ann waved her hand in front of him bringing him back to reality, tuning out his personas.

He shook his head, "Sorry, Hecate sparked off an argument on the ethics of arson among my personas," he then went from crouching to sitting on the branch, "While I'm all up for monster-slaying and looting, now's not the time, it'll be way too conspicuous. We'll just wait here" He summoned his bag and began to pull out a container of curry and a thermos of coffee. Seeing the food, Ann sat down and joined him.

As the two ate their food, Ren calmly scanned the forest now that he had the perfect vantage to do it from. Off in the distance on the other side of the creek, he could see some rocks that resembled a poop pile. He could also see a giant ant hill which he guessed was Myrkete's nest.

Further behind the hill, he could see a gated section of woods that was slightly darker than the rest. In the middle of the darkened flora, he could see puffs of smoke rising. Every so often, he would see trees sway allowing him to capture a glimpse of a shack that had banners with groovy and peace on them. The oddest part was that he was drawn to the cabin as if it was calling his name. When he used his third eye, the entire section of the woods was glowing a light blue like the pine tree. The cabin in the middle was a vivid blue. He decided to put it on his list of 'things to do eventually' as he stuffed his face with curry.

As they calmly ate their late lunch, listening to the rhythmic steps of the ants beneath them, he suddenly felt Ann slot herself into his side, "So, do you mind telling me now what you saw back there?"

Ren instantly stopped chewing and snapped the lid on his container. Even he wasn't entirely sure how to feel about what had happened in the big house. "I guess if I'm going to be more honest from now on, I'll tell you, maybe you or Hecate would have an idea of what it all meant." Her blue eyes stared at him in curiosity waiting for him to explain. He opened his mouth and began.

When he had separated from Ann, he immediately headed up the stairs. He knew the office where the records were kept was most likely somewhere on the first floor given that Chiron was a centaur and thus probably struggled with stairs. He was confident Ann could get the files safely. He had a bigger fish to fry.

Ren had seen someone watching them from the attic sending killing intent his way and he was going to find out who. He callously passed by the various rooms on the second floor to head to the next stairwell.

He grabbed the box post to slingshot himself around the corner, but as soon as he rounded the bend, with the sharp clap of skin-on-skin he smacked into someone.

He stopped himself from falling in the collision by using his back foot as a stand and pivot. He grabbed the other person, wrapping his arm around the middle of their back to keep them from falling as well. He heard a squeak of surprise from the other person at the unexpected action.

He looked down at the other person and saw it was a young girl who could look to be no more than 12 or 13, she had blonde hair done in princess curls clipped into a ponytail, like his own (now long-term) disguise. She had tanned almost bronze skin and gray currently unfocused eyes.

In addition to her typical camper wear, he noticed she also had a leather string of beads around her neck each with varying designs. He'd noticed the Stoll brothers also had their own set of beads, but she had more than the both of them combined. He figured it either meant rank or length at the camp. If it was the latter…. Ren felt truly bad for her given her age.

He noticed the light slowly return to her eyes as she shook her head to bring her senses back. Ren let go of her thinking she was fine to stand on her own. She then looked up at Ren and briefly studied him. Her eyes widened and she said something unexpected.

"M…Mother?!" she gasped before clinging to Ren in a hug, her arms around his midsection, her head buried in his stomach. Her body's warmth seeped into his as the frigid air circulated around the stairwell.

He had to fight against Athena's instinct to wrap his arms around the girl, to protect her. Thanks to Athena he could feel a resonance between this girl and him. It was obvious she was an actual child of Athena compared to the one he was pretending to be.

The personas in his mind were wrapped around Athena in a vice, careful to not remove her from being his active persona, but strong enough to keep her from more overtly influencing Ren.

"I know it's hard to see a child with similar powers to yours. But you must remember, she belongs to the Athena of this world!" Baal cried as he gripped her right arm and spear.

"At the end of the day were just shadows, we…we might be becoming more real and corporeal," Ishtar glanced at her now black hair as she had Athena in a full nelson, the rest of her body floating parallel to the ground, "Hell, we might even be real in our own world."

"What she's trying to say is we were born of the human mind, different from these gods who simply exist from as far as we can tell. It is not our place to claim these children as our own." Satanael supplemented his words with slow beats of his wings, pitch black feathers falling, which slowly soothed and relaxed the thrashing, normally stoic war goddess.

Ren finally managed to tame his instincts and put his hands on the girl's shoulder to gently force her away.

"I…I'm sorry kid, I'm not your mother," It pained him to say that to a child.

She turned those big gray eyes onto his face as she studied him intently as if she saw a beloved passage of her favorite book. Slowly her face turned pink as she realized her mistake.

"I'm so so sorry, you just look so much like my mother, Athena. You wear the same earrings she does, and you even feel and smell like her. Same hair too, except yours is black. Your eyes…I guess yours are more silver than gray…with flecks of gold in them too. But this warmth I felt from you, just who are you? Are we siblings? I've never seen you before," she crossed her arms in thought.

Ren presumed he was a dead ringer for the Athena in this world. Useful information to file for later. He exhaled to buy time to sort his thoughts. "This is my first time in camp. Me and some other demigods have been living on our own for a while. We were doing rather good too if I do say so myself. Gonna be in the Hermes cabin for now. Though I've always known Athena was my mother."

"Then why come here all of a sudden?" Was that a note of envy he detected in her voice?

He flashed her a disarming smile, and the girl relaxed her arms a bit. "The storms have been getting a bit…intense outside and we thought we'd come here until it blows over. After that, we're outta here."

She nodded her head "That is true. So, why are you up here?"

This girl was full of questions. Annoying, but also adorable. Like a younger version of the days when Makoto was endlessly stalking him, "I was walking to the infirmary and saw something move up here, so I thought I'd check it out."

She scratched the side of her head "Might've been me? I was just making a quick check to the Oracle to see if it might have a quest for me. Maybe I'd finally get a chance to see the world again,"

"Oracle? Quest?"

"Oh, you don't know, being out in the world and all," Definitely envious, and she was being petty about it as kids do.

"The only way most of us who live here at camp get to leave is if the Oracle says a prophecy that sends us on a quest," she said with clear spite in her voice.

"Hmm, interesting…" He purred in his feminine voice, "Maybe if I go up there, she'll issue me a quest?"

A frown twisted on her face "I doubt that. She hasn't issued a prophecy in two years."

"We'll just have to see. Never know what might happen. Nice talking to you kid," he said as he began ascending the stairs leaving her at the foot of the current flight.

"My name is Annabeth Chase, not 'kid,' mind telling me yours since we're siblings?"

"Right…" He half-heartedly agreed to the insinuations they were siblings" It's…. Renee. Renee Anderson."

"Renee…," she said as if trying to burn the name into her memory. "Do you mind if I ask you one more question before you go?"

"Fire away kid,"

"I said it's Annabeth, not kid. But we're kin, right? You're my older sister, right?" He nodded his head, "You said you live out in the world earlier," he nodded again "Do you….do you think you can take me with you when you leave? I think Chiron would be more accommodating if I lived with a sibling. I just want to be outside of the camp for once. Please?"

Out of all the things to ask, Ren wasn't expecting that, he was legitimately caught off guard at her question. He let out a soft laugh. Annabeth's expression darkened as a result.

"Why even ask me? Someone you've only just met."

Annabeth's eyes flitted to the ground, "Why not? There's few people you can trust when you're a demigod. Since you're a daughter of Athena too, if there's anyone in this world who could understand me most, it's probably you."

Ren bit his lip but quickly released it as he chose his words carefully, "What we do is dangerous, we fight tooth and nail every day. And any drachmas dropped was another day survived," He walked back down the stairs, reached out his hand, put it on top of her head, and ruffled her hair. The girl squeaked in surprise at the sudden gesture.

Annabeth swatted his hands away, "But all we do here is train to fight monsters, what's the point in training if we never get to put it to the test?!"

"The point is, Chiron hopes you never have to use what you learned if possible. The glitters aren't always gold once you realize you could die at any given moment." Ren said with a sad half smile.

"You're safe here, Annabeth. I know it must be boring. But I would never forgive myself if I let my 'little sister' get hurt," Annabeth's face blushed at the acknowledgement she received. Ren then pulled her into a hug. Both Athena and Annabeth gave a content sigh at the contact.

"But what about you? Why do you get to risk yourself? We're kin, your life is just as important as mine," she said as she gripped him tighter.

"I chose this life, Annabeth. I'm old enough to choose it, with all the freedoms and hardships that come with it. I take full responsibility for my own actions no matter where they might lead me."

"That's not fair," she whined into his stomach.

Ren then pried her off once more and pulled something from his pocket, "Tell you what. If in four or five years you still feel the same, then I'll consider taking you on," Ren then handed her a card, a copy of the exact one he gave Sally.

She nodded her head as she took the card and inspected it gingerly "Joker…" she said as she studied the image of the blood-red glove grabbing the white domino mask on the black background with his Phantom Thief name in white lettering.

"It's what my friends call me. Now that I think about it you would get along great with my friends 'Queen' and 'Panther.'" She looked confused waiting for Ren to elaborate why, but he decided to let it remain a mystery. It would be more fun for both him and her if she could figure out why.

Ren gave her his signature smile leaving her in suspense "See ya, Annie," he said then gave her a two-finger salute as he headed up the stairs again. Behind him, he could tell Annabeth was pouting at his last act of teasing.

Ann cooed as he finished the part about Annabeth, "Aww, that doesn't seem so bad, actually kind of cute she mistook you for her mom, and then older sister," Ann gushed at his side.

"Big sister Renee…" she said dreamily. "Wait till the other hear about this!" she said evilly.

Ren scratched his cheek sheepishly. "Please don't. I'll never hear the end of it. Also, that wasn't the freaky part."

She kissed his cheek and he blushed in response. "I know, I just think it's sweet you did that for her," her expression then soured, "I'm also disturbed this place is almost like a cross between an orphanage and a 'school for gifted children."

He tilted his head. "Was that an X-Men reference? I expect that from Futaba or Ryuji, even Makoto and Yusuke, but not you."

Ann puffed out her chest, which wasn't as distracting as usual thanks to the baggy t-shirt she was now wearing. "I have a lot of hobbies about which you don't know. Now continue with your story," she gestured in a shoo-shoo motion.

"Okay, where was I?"

"Stairs."

"Right,"

Ren ascended the steps that turned into a ladder, leaving the young blond girl behind him. He quickly reached the trapdoor that led to the attic. He hesitantly pushed it open and poked his head through.

He was greeted by the sight of dusty relics found in any typical attic. What wasn't typical was that the relics were swords, shields, breastplates, and other instances of assorted weaponry and armor with cards in front of them. Interspersed between them were various spoils of war taken from monsters over the years.

He brought his body fully through the entrance and stepped to one of the displays, it was a wicked jet-black sword on a pedestal.

1945

The stygian iron sword was taken from a Hades demigod in the European theater by Ares camper Dwight D. Eisenhower.

"Hmm, even American presidents can be demigods in this world, and World War II included a bunch of them I suppose" Ren mused to himself.

*rustle*

He suddenly heard something move in the background. He summoned his knife and took a reverse grip hold as he moved slowly through the attic. It was a surprisingly big attic now that he thought about it, it must've been magically enhanced.

He turned the bend and became horrified at what he saw. In front of a stained-glass window was a literal corpse sitting on a stool. No. Calling it a corpse would imply it was still somewhat fresh. These were the mummified remains of something that was once human long ago. The mummy looked as if it was female during life, a Romani person too by the looks of the clothes. Stringy long white bleached hair came from the purple head wrap she wore. The traditional Romani dress it donned was frayed and moth-eaten. Her skull lacked eyes, yet Ren got the feeling she was looking right at him soon as he turned the corner.

"She is still alive. How? I don't know. But I can tell she's still alive," Alice informed Ren.

"She has been cursed, and a powerful one at that," In a rare moment, The fly lord shared his wisdom.

"Can you fix her?" Ren asked in his mindscape as he approached the cursed spirit and tilted its jaw.

"I'm afraid not, her curse is a rather specific and complex one. I doubt even the boss could remove it safely. If you can find the being that did this, you could use the corresponding persona to get rid of it." The fly lord shrugged all his arms

"Problem, it could be anybody. Even a human."

"On top of that, we currently lack access to the velvet room," Satanael added to Ren's point.

Ishtar flipped her hair, "Just blast it with light or some prayer slips and be done with it and put the poor thing out of its misery. I'm sure we have both options among us."

"Seems like you're being pretty frosty about this he-ho."

Most of his other personas groaned at the bad pun. Even Fafnir blew a burst of steam in petulance.

"Bad pun aside, can you blame me, Frost? The pitiful thing is begging to die. Some fates are worse than death…. I should know." Ishtar's face was shaded from the other personas.

The fly lord decided to steer the conversation back on track, "On that happy note, using light magic would do one of two things here, both useless. One: you might 'purify' her physical body, but the spirit would remain rooted because of the curse."

"At that point, she'd be a mindless ghost or mania. Arguably worse than her situation now," Alice said somberly as she gripped a teddy bear (That had TNT strapped to its back).

The fly lord fiddled with his staff, "Outcome two is that the body simply reassembles itself due to the strength of the curse."

"In other words, there's nothing we can do for her…" Ren thought.

While Ren was caught in his personas conversation a green mist slowly started to pour out the mouth of the corpse.

"Trrrriiiiccccksssteeerrr…." She rasped and suddenly grabbed his arm.

Ren tried to pry himself from her grasp, but she was surprisingly strong lest he ripped the arm out of her socket, and he so didn't want to deal with that.

Her skull sockets illuminated with neon blue irises; made unsettling against the black background they were on. Ren was unsure if that was a good or bad sign, he was leaning towards unbelievably bad, and potentially catastrophic.

The green smoke started to billow in copious amounts around both of them. She then multiplied into three and each of their forms began to shift.

The farthest one began to crouch as a red bodysuit and black gloves formed on her person. Her hair looped into two giant braids with purple highlights forming on each side. A woven cloth was around her shoulders.

The nearer one was standing up…but with a slight lean to her posture. She had a white bodysuit and black gloves with green highlights in her braided hair. A spool of thread was clasped in her left hand. Her woven cloth was around her waist as a pseudo skirt.

The one grasping his arm began to grow from the dainty mummified gypsy to a tall woman in a black bodysuit who dwarfed him at almost 7ft tall. Her hair was almost completely blue compared to her sister's highlights. It was more apt to say the blonde braid was a highlight to the blue. The cloth all three seemed to share was around her head almost like a helmet. Golden scissors gleamed in the other hand that wasn't grabbing Ren.

These were the Moirai, he knew that from the time he used them as his personas. However, they were different from the ones he knew. They constantly shifted. If he squinted, he could sometimes see three old ladies, others he saw three stunning auburn-haired women. They seem to stay mostly on the appearance he knew during his adventures in the metaverse. Even his personas seemed confused at the sight before them.

Clotho started to speak first

For the trickster to this world, he has come

In his presence, words of fate will become undone

Atropos raised an eyebrow at her sister and let go of Ren. Lachesis picked up for the second stanza.

%^*% enemies #$%^&*#%#! # again

Powers +_ $##&^$% $ &$&'!'€£will obtain

Her line came out as mostly static, even her mouth was somehow pixelated. Her two sisters looked at her in confusion, and even Lachesis herself looked befuddled at what she just uttered, as she scratched her scalp. Atropos shook her head and began to speak.

Beware ¥%$# %^ three&*%$&*$# not true

^%$^ death %# ! &^%# due

Her line had even more static than her sister's. Her face was red in agitation as she massaged her throat. Her sister's brows were wrinkled in worry. Atropos took a deep breath, cleared her throat, and began to speak again.

*&^%$^ weavers ^&%$#*? *£# their place

The past revisited, revealed for all to retrace

More static came out of her mouth, though the last line was clear. Her two sisters stared at her mouths slightly ajar. Why? He didn't know, but he was sufficiently creeped out. It was clear this was NOT supposed to happen. Atropos gestured to Clotho to speak, indicating she was washing her hands of the ordeal.

Sea of many the Trickster must tame

To call upon their spirits, and champion freedom in this unfair game

Clotho had a smug look on her face as her stanzas were the only ones to come out clear. The other two looked at him expecting an explanation.

He swallowed and pushed down his unease and plastered a cock-sure smile on his face. "Maybe that's a hint that fate isn't absolute. People can get things done under their own power. Your first line basically said that your prophecies don't work on me, so why should I believe anything else you said? You even said, 'Beware three not true' you're a trio might it refer to you guys."

All three had various expressions of shock, disbelief, and anger. Clotho spool flickered suspiciously with what looked like a wooden club. Lachesis wanted to speak but Atropos held out an arm in front of her and shook her head. Atropos gave him a face that looked like a mix between sadness and pity as the green smoke enveloped them again and they vanished from sight.

They had left behind the mummified Oracle from before, though now she was on her butt(?) slowly inching back from him, free hand covering the remainder of her face.

While she was cowering in terror, Ren took the opportunity to plant the bug right under the window sill. He didn't fully believe in prophecies, but he thought it'd be a clever idea to hear if any were issued given the Greeks' known reliance on them.

As he walked back to the trapdoor, he thought about the encounter more. It made him uneasy and left a bad taste in his mouth. Firstly, was the fact he saw the image of his former personas. The second was that they called him by his epithet, which was never a good sign. Then the sisters said the word "death" specifically. It all combined into a trifecta of shit. Though there was a glimmer of hope among the muck. The last line was clearly a reference to the collective unconsciousness, so that meant they were still connected to their world in some way.

As much as he held on to the hope he'd see Lavenza, Igor and all the others again, it didn't stop the shaking of his hands, and the murk surrounding the rest of what he heard. A dark cloud followed him as he thought about the line "Past revisited, revealed for all to retrace." Ren almost didn't notice when Ann came up to him as he descended the last flight of stairs.

Ann was currently donning a frown on her face, the shadows of the leaves projecting on half of her face, "That does remind me, we still have the other bug."

Ren shot her a curious look, "Already taken care of. I placed it on the porch when we left. But that's all you have to say?"

She leaned back on his torso, facing away while she forcefully exhaled "Well what else am I supposed to say? You got a doomsday prophecy that we don't even know all the words of. It….is kind of disturbing that they seemed to know who you were…. also, the fact they have a dead person in the attic."

"She's not dead," Ren pointed out.

She waved him off, "Same difference from the way you described her," she then turned her head slightly so she could look at him through the edge of her vision. "You mentioned it in the van, but you really are worried for her, aren't you?"

Ren brought out the platinum double bookmark he received from the twins and flipped it in his fingers. "How could I not? Even compared to Akechi and me, she's the most scared by what Yaldabaoth did, and unlike us, she didn't have Maruki to talk to."

That got Ann's attention: she flipped from laying sideways on the branch to fully facing forward with her legs dangling in the air. "What do you mean? You never told us much about her."

"When I first met Lavenza, she wasn't Lavenza per se," at Ann's confused look he handed her the bookmark which she took hesitantly and inspected it.

"She was actually a pair of twins named Caroline and Justine. As Morgana told you, Yaldabaoth forcefully took over the Velvet Room. Lavenza was the first line of defense against him."

Ann bit her lip and looked sadly at the bookmark. "Don't tell me…."

"Yeah. He literally ripped her in two and erased her memory. The worst part was that she was unknowingly forced into his servitude. Right before I came for you guys in the jail cells, I fused the twins back into her. She took a visit to my room right before we left, she was still having nightmares about it as she fell asleep on me.'' He turned and saw Ann's somber face staring at him, "It hurts to know she's still going through that alone. Not to mention the one she loves is missing."

"I felt the same way about Shiho," her face then went red as a tomato, "Uh the part she was going through that alone. I-I-I love her of course but as a friend."

Ren smiled at her, "Uh-huh, like Ryuji loves his mom. I totally get it."

Ann swatted his shoulder, "You know what I mean!" She then turned to look at the campers starting to gather at the pavilion. "We still got some time," She then gained a devious smirk "Want to tell me how Lavenza fell for you?"

Ren could tell it wasn't a question but a demand. He fiddled with the owl earring he was currently wearing. "Well, I don't want to go into the deeper details without her here. It started as me showing her around town because she, or they-the twins, had never gone out into the world before. It started out professional, I'd complete a task for them fusing personas or they'd request a place to visit. As we started doing more things, the more I was captivated by their wonder, it was like seeing the world with a fresh pair of eyes.'

Ann fanned herself, "So you were the knight in shining armor saving the princess," she paused for a moment, "-es from the tower. How romantic!"

"When you put it like that…Basically. Anyways it came to a head when we fought each other with no holds barred"

"Wait, you fought her?! Them?!"

"Yeah, I told you they were the ones who taught me how to fuse personas. Long story short, we fought under the agreement that the loser has to reveal a secret," he flashed Ann a shit-eating grin, "I won, and they both confessed to me."

"And then you started dating right?"

"Not exactly…."

"Wow, that's a surprise coming from you," Ann said flatly.

He sheepishly shrugged his shoulders "I was caught off guard. Didn't help that once they fused back into Lavenza her feelings became twice as strong." he looked over and saw Ann had a very disbelieving look on her face. "She's just so forward, every time I see her it's an I love you or I missed you, or you're the greatest man in the world."

"In other words, you're the girl and she's the guy,"

"Essentially, yes."

Ann slapped him upside the head "Well man up and give her an honest answer. You basically already confessed you love her."

He straightened up "You know what? You're right," he then lost his nerve "Then there's Igor and she mentioned she had sisters."

"So? You're dating Makoto and she's sisters with Sae,"

"That's different. Sae is fun to tease. I don't know Lavenza's sisters at all."

She crossed her legs "At least I know if you don't have the balls, she will,"

Ren wanted nothing more than to drop down and take his chances with the ants of doom. "Can we continue this later?" He pleaded "How about you tell me what happened to you? Did you get the information safely?"

Ann pulled out and held up the USB "Yeah I did, but we will talk about this some more later."

Ann then proceeded to tell Ren about Chiron's office and the encounter with Luke. As she spoke Ren became more puzzled at the teen's actions. On top of that, it rubbed Ren the wrong way. He basically tried to seduce and recruit Ann.

Ren tilted his head in thought, "He clearly saw through you, his questions were too pointed for that. The question I want to ask is why? Why didn't he rat you out or try to detain you? Also, how did he know about Hecate? Why was he in the office?"

Ann threw her hands up at Ren's barrage of questions, "Whoa! You're asking the wrong one here. That's more of a you, Makoto, and Akechi thing. All I know is that he felt dangerous…. In a mentally unhinged kind of way."

"Fair enough, looks like they might begin at any moment," Ren looked up at the sky and sure enough, it was now orange with the sunset rapidly retreating giving way to the hot summer night. The Myrkete's parade was now long gone.

"I guess time really does fly when you're talking to someone," Ann said as she watched a camper decked out in heavy hoplite armor far below scout out the territory.

"By the way…. have you-"

She cut him off, "Already taken care of, they won't notice us unless we want them to. We just look like birds to them. Add some stealthonol and they'd have a better chance to get Yusuke to sell his art."

"Still stuck on that huh," Ren replied as he shook the spray can he brought out from his bag.

She raised her arms as he sprayed her, "The image is pretty funny,"

"Well, I think that is even funnier," Ren pointed to the pile of rocks on the other side of the creak. Thanks to their persona's enhanced vision they could see that on top of the pile a gray flag with an owl emblazoned on it, was wedged into the top boulders. Around it was campers also in hoplite armor, and blue horsehair atop their helmets, fumbling and stumbling every couple of steps, either due to the heavy armor or the almost comically oversized shield they were forced to carry. Though the inexperience was offset by the sheer volume of people on that side of the creek.

In sharp contrast, the campers on their side of the creek, though smaller in number, looked more comfortable in their gear and trained in their movements. The ones that stuck out to Ren were the ones with the red horsehair plumes and boars on their shields. They weren't even trying to control the bloodlust they were leaking out. It was having an adverse effect on their teammates too as the others had given them a very wide berth.

"The war god's children," Athena told him.

"Aren't you a war god?" Ren pointed out in jest.

Ren could sense discontent as his attempt at a joke, "The other war god, Ares."

"That group is obviously going to splinter off on some kind of vendetta. If I had to guess, probably led by the girl with the obvious electric spear," Ren pointed out.

"Yep, and seeing as it's the largest group it's going to leave the flag wide open! Finally, Queen's tactic training is paying off!" Ann had an incredibly pleased look on her face as if she was a child who found the cookie jar.

"I feel bad for the poor soul that crosses their path, but I wouldn't write off their team just yet. That group over there strikes me as a trap type. They could compensate defensively for losing most of the front-liners. Ren motioned to a group of campers who had shinier, sleeker, custom-made armor on compared to the rest. All of them had something in their hands that wasn't a weapon. Some had barbed wire, others rope, and some just had an old-fashioned shovel.

"Oh look, it's Percy!" Ann pointed to one of the lone campers by the base of the rocks. He looked totally lost compared to the others on the blue team who at least were stumbling with a purpose. His face was almost obscured by his Corinthian helmet that had a blue horsehair plume. But they could clearly see his distinctive sea-green eyes. His sword was ill-fitting for his frame and completely unbalanced. It wouldn't be too hard to disarm him, Ren noted. Another camper walked up to him with an owl on their shield and mumbled something to him. He then hefted his shield and slowly made his way toward the creek on their right side.

Before Ren could comment on which groups of campers belonged to which Olympian, he heard a loud low conch ring out through the forest signaling the start of the game.

As soon as the sound ended, just as Ren theorized, the boar-shielded campers barreled towards the creek leaving most of their teammates behind.

Ren massaged his temple as he realized they were making a beeline towards Percy. "I've only known him for two weeks and that kid is a magnet for trouble."

Ann sweat dropped at the comment "Wow. I think you are absolutely the last person qualified to say that"

"I call it how I see it."

"And that's how you get into trouble."

"I have no regrets. I ended up with lifelong friends and girlfriends like you."

"Kiss ass." Ren began to open his mouth to retort. "Don't wanna hear it, Ren! Back to watching the game!" Ann exclaimed before Ren could reply, though she did have a blush on her cheeks.

Down at the creek, Percy was standing completely unaware a group of enemy demi-gods was closing in. What was worrying was the canine figures in the near distance. Ren assumed they were a part of the forest fauna along with everything else he'd seen to that point. Though he attached a silencer to his pistol just in case. (Stolen from Akechi)

The Ares campers moved with the grace of a bull in a China shop as they barreled their way through the underbrush and into Percy's view.

Ren and Ann couldn't even call it a fight what happened next. Percy was easily overwhelmed mostly due to the lead girl and her electric spear.

Ann had her whip in hand ready to jump in at a moment's notice "This is more bullying than fighting. Just say the word Joker, I can put them to sleep before even knowing what hit them."

Ren crossed his arms "I admit this is more of a personal grudge, but we can't do anything without exposing ourselves. Besides, he has to learn how to fight at a disadvantage, we can't do everything for him. Look at the situation. The problem is they're forcing him to defend, and when he puts up his shield, the girl takes advantage and shocks him with her spear because, you know, metal conducts electricity. Pretty clever team-fighting actually."

"Well, what would you do then?"

"If it was me, I'd use my speed. The armor makes them slow and older ancient styles have obvious chinks for smaller weapons to slip into." Ren then sent an appraising look to Ann "You? I'm quite sure you already know, but your whip could be used to keep them at a distance. Furthermore, you can capture and drag them into each other's way, or even disarm them."

He then turned his gaze back towards Percy who was slowly ceding ground towards the creek. "Him? He doesn't have that option. His opponents have swords also, and the spear-user outranges him, and he lacks the speed to get in close with the oversized armor and shield. Not to mention the sword is unbalanced."

"O-kay," Ann elongated the word "So it's hopeless then. What is he supposed to do now, Mr. Tactician?"

Ren let out a small chuckle. "The Venus of shogi once taught me that in the case when no matter what plans you make will lead to defeat, there's only one thing to do: concede. Drop the shield and the sword and run away."

A light of understanding entered Ann's eyes, "Then they'll give chase and it'll buy time for his teammates!" She pointed to a group of blue-helmeted campers who were steadily picking their way towards the red flag. "But he won't do that. Right Joker?" She finished as she hung her head.

A dull sound rang out as Percy was knocked down into the creak "Exactly, he's got too much pride to not try and make a point. Not to mention he's only twelve, he hardly knows better. Lastly, if Annabeth was anything to go by, he's itching to show what he's made of."

Ren also noticed twigs and leaves shifting for seemingly no reason just a few yards off from the scuffle. A quick switch to his third eye revealed the outline of someone invisible just standing by. Meanwhile, Percy struggled to find his bearings in the 5-on-1 battle.

Ren frowned at the sight, "Sloppy work. If it wasn't for the heat of battle they would've been noticed already. Someone more experienced or wasn't consumed by bloodlust wouldn't have let them slide. Invisibility is useless if someone can still detect you."

Suddenly to everyone's surprise, Percy leaped back to his feet in the creek and using his sword and then shield, instantly dispatched two of the five Ares campers. The third person managed to get out of range of a sharp sword swing, swung with the intent to maim. The girl quickly charged forward in response and thrust her spear forward. Ren could tell it was an action done in equal parts fear and equal parts rage.

Her thrust was fast, but Percy was faster. He caught the spear between his sword and shield and with a quick jerk, snapped it in two. The girl recoiled spouting obscenities, but Percy forced her silence via a hard hit to her face with the pommel of his sword. The crunch it made indicated he had broken her nose. Confirmed by the blood spurting out onto her armor, painting it to match her helmet plume.

Ann's jaw was slack at the scene of Percy all of sudden dispatching all but one of his attackers. "How did he do that? It's like what he did against the minotaur."

Ren thought back to that rainy night when Percy first displayed an incredible feat of athleticism. Now, what did these two events have in common? Ren knew he was a son of Poseidon–

"Wait water! It was raining that night and he's standing in the creek!"

"Water gives him a power boost, Ann."

"Huh? Wha?"

"Think about it, Poseidon is the god of the seas, which probably extends to dominion over all water. Then it was raining that night and we found him and he's currently standing in the creek."

Ann caught on to where Ren was going, "So as soon as he leaves the creek, he's gonna be drained and useless."

"But he doesn't have to. Look." At that minute, the camper Ann had described as Luke had grabbed the flag and was now hauling ass towards the creek line defended by fifteen other campers and pursued by ten.

The Ares campers tried to stagger into place in an attempt to cut him off, but it was futile as his swiftness carried him across the creek and the red flag turned into gray with a caduceus on it, winning the game.

Annabeth, the girl who Ren had met earlier had materialized, revealing herself as the invisible person Ren had detected.

"That's Annabeth."

"Hmm, she is?" Ann put her thumb on her chin, as Annabeth leaned over and started examining and talking to Percy. "If she had black hair I could definitely see the resemblance to you….At least more than the Trolls."

"Stolls."

"Trolls. Anyways, she sucks at being invisible. She made waaay too many disturbances" Ann had noticed too. He'd be hard-pressed to find any member of the team who wouldn't notice. Standard Phantom Thief training denoted being aware of your surroundings.

Annabeth seemed to have convinced Percy to step out of the creek, to which he almost collapsed. The other campers had now crowded around in concern which now included Chiron, and Ren could finally see the middle-aged schoolteacher in his full horse glory unimpeded by other heads.

Before Percy could recover an almost inaudible whistle could be heard, and the hound Ren had seen, leaped up onto a nearby rock and surged forward with blinding speed that reminded Ren of the dog shadows from palaces. The snarling beast latched on to Percy turning them into a tumbling ball of fur and metal. Ren pulled out his silenced pistol confident he could make the shot, but he hesitated at the thought of giving away his position.

However, it seemed someone else had made the decision for him as a volley of arrows now came from the beast's neck. Chiron's crossbow was raised, painting him as the savior. As if to add more fuel to the fire of confusion going on, a blue holographic trident was now above Percy's head.

Mumbling broke out among the crowd, and eventually, Chiron said something, which was promptly followed by one camper kneeling. After the first one, the rest started following like a chain of dominos.

"So, this only confirms what we already knew," Ann said, she turned her head to see Ren crouching preparing to leap to another branch.

"Where are you going!?"

Ren jumped to the next branch while Ann scrambled to get up and follow him. "Home. We've got what we wanted, and I've seen enough here," He sped up, Ann struggling to follow him, he only hoped the bugs would do their job.


Percy was not having a fun time. First, he lost his mom. Then he got the news that she was captured. Next, he had to live like a hobo with like fifty other people, and his toiletries were constantly being swiped. It continued with the fact he had yet another bully to deal with. He had to learn how to read Greek and a bunch of other stuff normal kids would never even dream of being a necessity to live. Life simply sucked, but at least he'd take this over Gabe any day.

His only saving grace was that he was good at swordplay, and his new not friend Annabeth. That didn't last long after he was 'claimed' during the capture the flag game.

He promptly took his meager belongings to the spacious Cabin 3. So at least that aspect of his life changed for the better. It was offset by the fact Luke was tougher than ever on him in sword practice.

Annabeth was ignoring him like he'd peed in her cheerios, always muttering something about Poseidon and some chick named Renee-whoever that was. He did occasionally catch a glimpse of her toying with a jet-black card that had a blood-red glove on it. Every time he did, she'd quickly stuff it in her pocket, hiding it from view.

When he saw it the first time, he felt the slightest of headaches form, he'd definitely seen that glove before–multiple times when he thought about it. The image of the person attached to the glove always seemed to slip through his fingers. But he did remember a mop of black hair, and he was confident one of the times was the night of the Minotaur. He'd brought it up to Chiron, Grover, and Annabeth, but Grover didn't remember anything except the smell of magic, and the other two just mentioned them falling from the sky during the night on a 'divine wind.' It was why Annabeth thought he was a child of Zeus and was sorely mistaken during the capture the flag game. He put it on his growing list of things people didn't believe him about.

Speaking of Chiron, he had made him go to the attic in hopes of receiving a prophecy, and he saw something that made him want to bleach his brain. A living corpse cowering in the corner sucking her thumb like a baby in the fetal position. When she saw him, she said something about tricks and then morphed into Smelly Gabe and his poker buddies.

"You shall go west, and face the god who has turned,

You shall find what was stolen, and see it safely returned,

You shall be betrayed by one who calls you a friend,

And you shall fail to save what matters most, in the end."

If that wasn't confusing enough, they paused and added an addendum (Thank Annabeth for that word) to it. Gabe and his buddies looked just as confused as he did when it happened.

"The %#$ $% is now intertwined with the ^&$^#% voice.

Your own tale of &%#$ begin if you take his choice"

The first part was easy, go to LA and confront Hades, then retrieve the Master Bolt, and stop a world-ending war. Easy enough. The second half he didn't want to go into, though Percy had a sinking feeling about 'what matters most' meant. So, he omitted the second two lines when he told the others.

The last two lines were something not even Chiron had seen before. Part of a prophecy coming out as static was something not even seen in the ancient days. Great. Now he had to be weird in not just the mortal world, but the divine one too.

So that brought him to today where after a quick packing of his almost non-existent things and being handed a magical pen/sword, he was sent on his way to the nearest bus stop with his two companions. One of which was of course his best buddy Grover, the other was surprisingly Annabeth.

After a lecture on why he and Annabeth couldn't get along because of their parents (Sins of the father much?) Argus had dropped them off at the bus stop on the upper east side. So far so good right? As he boarded the bus, he noticed a van that looked like it had googly eyes off in the background but put it out of his mind, figuring it was some kind of party bus. He was determined to make this trip as painless as possible. That lasted until the old ladies got on the bus.


AN: I included a Batman Arkham Knight reference in this chapter. A kinda obscure one at that. You get an E-cookie if you find it. Maybe the first person will get a shout-out in the next chapter(I'm on a Batman high right now)

In case you haven't noticed. Ren's female disguise came from the Mementos Missions manga. The Tl: Dr is: In order to investigate a poisoning Mika is being framed for with Akechi, Ren has to go undercover because the suspect has already seen his face. This chapter and the last 3 have been riddled with references from that manga. I just took that concept and ran with it. Really great manga, I highly recommend it if you're a Persona 5 fan. Although I guess you are in some capacity if you're reading this story.

Rant incoming: I had a ton of fun with this chapter itself. First, it was the Annabeth/Ren interaction. I discovered I have no trouble writing fluff. Also, I got to toy with Annabeth's wanderlust here. If you go back to the first 3 books she has a very strong wanderlust. She's just itching to see the world in the first 2 books and will do anything necessary to find her chance. It's also I feel one of the big reasons she wanted to join the Hunters in Titan's Curse. She could kill 2 birds with 1 stone. She could constantly sate her need to see the world and she could forcibly kill off her feelings for Percy and Luke. Once she gets her own quest in BotL she realizes going around risking your life because fate said so isn't all that it cracks up to be.

Exploring that side also made me realize that in HoO, part of the reason she's so pissed is that the moment she's finally ready to settle down, Percy goes missing. Not just the fact Percy vanished.

Loved writing the Lavenza chat scene too. The game doesn't go into it fully but she is jacked up from what Yaldobaoth did to her and that she still has some of the Caroline forcefulness in her.

Also huzzah, Percy POV in this chapter. He ain't stupid he has seen some stuff. Though don't expect them too often he is a supporting character in the grand scheme of things. To put it in perspective this is Paper Mario and he is Luigi. After Lighting Thief, he's off in the waffle kingdom doing his own thing(With some variations) while we follow the PT's. Though their paths will cross occasionally

See ya next time Takamura out.