I know I should be focusing on my other stories instead of adding a new one, but what can I say? I was inspired and got on a writing kick to finish the first chapter of this one.

As you may have guessed, this is a Gamer/PJatO crossover. I had been reading Maroon Smoke's version, The Flip of a Coin, and found his iteration of Percy to be interesting as a flawed hero archetype yet different from the source material. As some longtime readers may have gathered, I rather appreciate faithful characterization, so I got his permission to write my own with – I feel – a more canon-compliant Percy.

I did borrow a few things I liked from his fic, though. I'll name them as they become relevant. And here's the link to his fic, attach to standard ff URL:

Without further ado, let's go!

Chapter 1: Welcome to Camp Half-Blood

The past few hours – days? – have been a rather hazy combination of possible dreams, maybe being interrogated by a girl that was spoon-feeding me weird pudding, and a buff guy that may or may not have had multiple eyes. Jury's out on whether that last one was a hallucination.

Still, this was abnormal even for my stretched standards with my repressed memories growing up. Because I'm pretty sure I would remember a translucent blue screen hovering in front of me as I stared past it while waking up. My eyes finally focused long enough to see what it said.

[Έχεις κοιμηθεί σε μια μεγάλη καρέκλα. Ηυγεία και η Μάνα αποκαταστάθηκαν κατά εβδομήντα πέντε τοις εκατό.]

Despite my dyslexia and a history of game text ranging from "legible" to "murder on my eyes" depending on how it was shown, I could tell exactly what it said as if I was reading plain English.

[You have slept in a large chair. Health and Mana were restored by 75%.]

Confused, I waved my hand and the window disappeared—not like an illusion dissolving, but swiping right to vanish like an interface.

Finally looking around, I noticed that I wasn't at my apartment or the cabin at Montauk. Not a good sign, considering the last thing I remembered happening. My "bed" truly was a large chair, and I was on the porch of some building I couldn't see all the details of, green meadows before me with green hills further back. The air smelled like strawberries, so there might have been a farm nearby. At that point, I saw the blanket on my legs and registered the pillow behind my head.

Tugging it off to free myself and glancing to my side, I noticed a side table with a chilled drink on top. Casting aside the paper umbrella inside, I grabbed the glass and worked the straw towards my mouth, feeling like I was running on empty.

When I started slurping it down, two bars appeared in the corner of my eye, one pale green and the other a rich blue. Both near-instantly jumped from mostly filled to full. I almost missed the taste, but couldn't forget the taste of my mom's homemade blue chocolate chip cookies.

Before I could properly process either of those things, a familiar voice said, "Rough night?"

Grover was leaning against the porch railing nearby, dark circles under his eyes and a shoebox tucked under his arm. His clothes had changed – though he had his pants back, which was always a plus – but that wasn't my main focus.

Above his head, two lines of text hovered, moving with him as he walked closer to me.

[Grover Underwood]

[Lv. 9]

"You saved my life," he said, drawing my attention back down to his regretful face. "I… well, the least I could do… I went back to the hill. I thought you might want this."

He set the box in my lap with a frankly worrying sense of seriousness. Setting the empty glass down, I took it in my hands and popped it open. I hadn't even had time to try believing that last night was a dream before proof was staring me in the face.

The horn of the Minotaur, blackened tip and jagged end where I'd broken it off. Even blood on it from stabbing that overgrown cow. None of it had been a dream.

I felt like I should be denying it, or having a stronger feeling about that, but I just felt hollow as I realized the most important fact of all.

"My mom's dead, isn't she?"

Grover winced and curled in on himself like I'd seen him do countless times before, "I'm sorry. I failed you. I– I couldn't even stay awake for it!"

He kicked some imaginary dirt on the porch only for his shoe to pop off and reveal a split hoof on a furry limb. Ah, stuffed shoes. That made sense for blending in. Again, I realized I was taking the sight far too calmly, even as Grover uttered some sort of curse and fit his hooved foot back in.

I felt like I had to say something, "It wasn't your fault."

"Yes, it was," he replied sadly. "I was supposed to protect you."

"What do you mean 'protect'?"

"That's my job. Or at least it was…" Grover explained. Then he walked over and gingerly picked up the empty glass, "I know you just woke up, but Chiron and Mr. D want to see you."

"C-can I just have a minute?" I asked, hating the stutter. But everything was just piling on with the weird windows, the confirmation that last night wasn't a dream and that I barely escaped with my life while my mom wasn't so lucky. I needed time to try putting this together.

He nodded, "Yeah, they're expecting us, but I'll go ahead and return this glass first. What'd it taste like?"

I blinked before asking, "Sorry, did you want some?"

"No! No, I was just wondering," he replied in a shocked tone and then trailed off.

I smiled wistfully, "My mom's chocolate chip cookies."

"All right, I'll handle this, but we really should get going soon," Grover reminded before leaving.

Trying to focus on thinking about the windows, I noticed a small square of the same kind with a star in it and a small "3" inside a darker blue circle. Reaching up, I touched it, and the square stretched into a rectangle that read "Notifications" before dropping down into a trio of windows, still relatively smaller than the first window I'd seen.

[Focus Interface activated by elevated emotional state.]

Guessing that meant I would get notifications in the corner instead of in front of me, I let it be for now and read what else they said.

[Achievement: By the Horn]

[You killed a Minotaur with one of its own horns! Bragging rights abound!]

- You gained 200 EXP

- You gained one Minotaur horn

[Even though you blundered into it and had the wrong context, you thought of your friend and took his feelings into consideration.]

- You gained +5 Reputation with Grover Underwood.

I frowned, while swiping them right to remove them, since all of this sounded like a video game. All the apparent living myths were strange enough, but this? Was my life really that warped? And why now? Still, only one way to find out if there was more to this, pulling from my limited experience with games. With no buttons and holographic windows, my best guess was voice activation.

Hoping no one was listening, I whispered, "Status."

A massive window opened in front of me as I leaned back in surprise. Not only that, but it had multiple tabs up top that I decided to check later. I only had so long before Grover came back—best to get the important things out of the way first.

[Perseus Jackson]

[Lv. 8; 247/500 XP]

HP: 1500/1500
MP: 750/750
SP: 2000/2000

Allegiance: N/A

STR: 8
VIT: 7
DEX: 13
INT: 6
WIS: 9
CHA: 10

Unsorted Points (UP): 10
Perk Points (PP): 1

Money: $0; 0 [?]

Son of [?] and Sally Jackson, Percy is the current [?]. Despite his past of relocating to different schools and getting in trouble through mysterious events, Percy is determined to face anything that life throws at him.

Special Status: [?] (Increased HP and MP regen, increased STR and DEX, and automatic cure of Poisoned and Bleed statuses in [?]); Rookie Black Marketer (10% increase to Charisma when buying or selling items)

"Rookie Black Marketer?" I mumbled, thinking over how that could've come up. Then I remembered my time at Yancy and how I made some money selling candy that was banned on campus, not that Gabe let me keep a cent of it anytime I visited mom. If it weren't for that operation, I wouldn't have enough money to actually tolerate Yancy; too bad he cleaned me out before we left for Montauk.


- Man of [?]

Automatic control over [?] and granting of [?] (Lv. MAX).

- [?] Whisperer

Ability to communicate with [?] and [?]

- Adrenaline-Driven Hyperfocus Duality

25% increase in DEX during combat. Comes with Attention Deficit flaw.

"No way…" I muttered. The acronym of that four word "perk" had me reach to click it, a description ballooning between the name and the bonus as it was highlighted, since it couldn't possibly be-

[Adrenaline-Driven Hyperfocus Duality]

[Known commonly as ADHD in mundane humans, this trait is persistent in any [?] and allows the possessor to perceive action at a quicker rate and operates as the roots of battle instincts.]

What. The heck? All of these censored bits were getting annoying since that little question mark along with the "mundane humans" term implied that I'm not fully human!


- Monster Bait (Suppressed)

10% chance to attract monsters within 100-meter radius.

- Attention Deficit

25% less chance to retain information. Can be overcome with rigorous discipline in study and sword or counteractive Perk.

- It's All Greek to Me!

Dyslexic perception due to being predisposed for reading Ancient Greek over English. Also grants skill of Ancient Greek (Lv. MAX). Can be overcome with enchanted eyewear or counteractive Perk

- Bleeding Heart (?)

[Must have WIS of 50 to perceive this flaw on your own.]

Well that just seemed insulting. As if the "Monster Bait" comment wasn't enough, now this freaky game screen is telling me I'm too dumb to see something? 50 points to Wisdom seemed ages away from where I was now.

Swiping the screen away since the "Stats" were too much to unpack and I could check the others when I figured out where on Earth I was, I put a hand to my forehead.

"Percy Jackson, you've been attacked by a myth, found out your best friend is a myth, lost your mother and now are being told that your life is stats and bonuses," I said to myself in a quiet tone since I couldn't be sure whether Grover was close.

I took a deep breath and let it out.

"How am I not freaking out?!" I demanded to myself in a slightly louder half-shout.

As if in answer, another screen popped up in front of me, displaying an apparent Skill.

[Gamer's Mind] (Lv. MAX)—Passive

Allows the user to shrug off any encroaching mental effects and remain calm even in the face of disaster.

- Immunity to mind control, emotion control and Fear status.

- Immune to [?]-based manipulation by those within 20 levels of you except in [?] (within 5 levels).

Thanks, game. There went my last hope of being a normal preteen boy.

"Um…" Grover came back from inside. "I didn't mean to overhear, but I have pretty good ears. Are you okay? I get that it can be a lot to take in for-"

I held up a hand to stop him, "I know that I should be, but if it hasn't had time to really sink in, then it's better than losing my head. Let's just go."

He seemed hesitant and offered to carry the horn if I was still tired, but I refused as politely as I could. While not a happy memory or a trophy I was exactly proud of, I had paid for it and wouldn't let anyone have it. Besides, on top of whatever treatment they gave me and my new… power, I was back to a hundred percent.

On the way, I asked Grover how long I was out, and it turned out it had been two days. Not ideal, but it could've been worse. If this "game" healed me from sleeping in the chair, then it must have come last night instead of before then. I sure didn't remember any help during the Minotaur fight even though it counted my battle with it as an achievement.

We walked around the perimeter of what I could now tell was a large farmhouse. Pretty nice, all told, though it looked like it could use a fresh coat of paint. Probably shouldn't say that out loud, or I could get saddled with doing the job.

After we turned the corner, I stopped and stared for a moment.

First off, the ocean was plainly visible, which means we were at the coast wherever we were on Long Island. Second, the architecture looked straight out of a Greek city, except brand new. Third, if the other satyrs playing volleyball with some kids in identical orange shirts to Grover's wasn't enough, there were winged horses being ridden alongside regular ones on a trail nearby.

A light tug on my arm made me turn to the porch, where a square table was set up near the end. Two men sat across from each other playing cards, the blond girl I half-remembered leaning on the railing nearby.

The man facing me looked short, but stout – maybe a bit on the pudgy side – and had a grumpy expression with his nose looking a bit red. His eyes seemed expressive, but narrowed right now, and I could've sworn his hair almost looked very dark purple in the sunlight instead of black. His clothes could only be described as "loud casual", with a tiger-patterned Hawaiian shirt.

"That's Mr. D, the camp director," Grover told me. "Be polite. The girl is Annabeth Chase; she's been here longer than about any other camper. You already know Chiron…"

At that point, I noticed the second man was sitting in a wheelchair instead of the same kind as his card opponent. His clothes and hair only tipped me off further, and I asked, "Mr. Brunner?"

He glanced at me with a slightly mischievous smile, and indicated the chair to the side between him and Mr. D, "Good to see you, Percy. Now we have four for Pinochle."

Sitting down in one of the open chairs, I set the horn down on the table nearby, unsure about what to say. Mr. D beat me to the punch since he heaved a sigh and grumbled, "Guess I have to say it. Welcome to Camp Half-Blood. There. Don't expect me to be glad to see you."

Now that I was closer, I could see the caption above his head too, and it instantly sent up a red flag as far as I was concerned.

[Mr. D]

[Lv. ?]

Deciding to step carefully until I could figure out who he was and how his level was unreadable, I turned to… Chiron instead.

"Annabeth?" he called, waving the girl forward. Their own levels were visible to me now.

[Annabeth Chase]

[Lv. 12]


[Lv. ?]

Chiron continued as he faced me while gesturing to Annabeth, "This young lady nursed you back to health, Percy. Annabeth, my dear, why don't you go check on Percy's bunk? We'll be putting him in Cabin Eleven for now."

She nodded, "Sure, Chiron."

Given a closer look, she seemed almost like a stereotypical beach girl, tanned skin and curled blond hair. But her eyes were calculating and gray in color, practically blotting out that possibility. Anybody who assumed she was a dumb blond would probably eat dirt in a matter of seconds, and she didn't appear to see me as any different since I swore she was making plans to do just that to me.

Her eyes darted to the Minotaur horn on the table before returning to mine, but she didn't seem impressed at all as she said, "You drool in your sleep."

With that, she ran off the porch and across the grass since she apparently had other plans.

"I didn't say or do anything stupid while I was out of it, did I?" I asked.

Chiron shook his head, "No, Annabeth simply believes in reserving judgment until receiving more information. Now, our usual orientation will likely not suffice, but perhaps we can talk while playing."

Mr. D shuffled the cards and his eyes darted to Grover, "Are you going to play or what, Underwood?"

"Yes sir!" he replied hurriedly as he sat in the fourth chair.

Then the director turned to me, "I assume you know how to play Pinochle? One of the greatest games invented by mankind—I would assume all civilized people know the rules."

"I'm afraid not, Mr. D," I replied, forcing down my knee-jerk response to disrespect him back. Pretty easy to when his unknown "level" was staring me in the face.

He snorted, "Just cap any answers with 'sir,' so we're not here all day."

Chiron patiently explained the rules while Mr. D shuffled the cards. After they were dealt, Grover flinching every time a card landed near him, I finally couldn't take it anymore.

"Mr. Brunner-" I stopped myself. "Well, I guess Chiron is your real name? What is this place? Why is Grover a satyr? And the Minotaur-"

The director slapped his hand on the table, "Names have power, young man. Don't go uttering them for no reason. Now are you bidding or not?"

Realizing that everyone else had placed their bids, I did so and turned to Chiron for answers.

He sighed, "Did your mother tell you nothing, Percy?"

I frowned as I thought about our time together before everything went wrong, "Last evening… she said that she didn't want to send me here, that she was afraid of losing me. Even though my dad apparently wanted me here when I haven't ever seen him."

"That's how most of them die," Mr. D said.

My free hand clenched against my thigh, but I focused on my cards only to find I had nothing worth playing this round.

Chiron continued his explanation, "Well, you know that Grover is a satyr. Last night, you encountered the Minotaur and killed it—no small feat, I assure you. What may not have sunk in yet, is that the gods are very much alive."

I stared at him, waiting for any sort of further information or indication this was some sort of prank. Mr. D apparently won a hand as he tallied up his points with a gleeful laugh. Grover took the opportunity to ask if the director was going to eat his Diet Coke can, taking it when given permission. He always was a bit of a nervous eater.

"Are you telling me… that with the monsters and satyrs being real, there's also an Olympus with all the ones that live there?"

Mr. D let out a single grunt, "Kid's at least taking it quieter than most of the other brats do."

"Immortal means immortal, Percy," Chiron pointed out. "Whether people choose to believe or not."

"So, you're… the Chiron," I realized. "The same one-"

"Who trained Hercules among countless other heroes, and continues to do so today," he finished with a proud smile.

I glanced down at his wheelchair, but decided it would be explained in due time, looking to Mr. D instead. He looked back at me, still not with any politeness, but appearing expectant. The shirt was probably a clue, tiger print could translate to a tiger skin like how Hercules wore the Nemean lion's pelt. Grover seemed afraid of him and answered to him like the man was his boss.

"…Dionysus?" I asked in surprise. If so, he appeared to have aged rather poorly since I remembered him being the God of Revelry too.

In the corner of my eye, a bar extended from the notification box, before sinking back in with a "1" now indicated as a saved note. I had managed to read it before it disappeared, though.

[You demonstrated basic knowledge of Greek myth from context clues.]

- You gained +1 reputation with Dionysus.

Another immediately followed, but Mr. D's snort got my attention, "I would hope you could recognize a god when you see one. Most appear in disguise or shifting forms. I even gave you a hint by wearing my old favorite shirt."

I glanced down at his new can of Diet Coke that he apparently summoned while I wasn't looking.

"A punishment by dear old dad," he explained sourly. "Along with being confined to this place to 'be a better influence.' Ha!"

Chiron spoke at that point, "You're taking this far better than I'd hoped, Percy. And I am glad that you made it here. It's been such a long time since I made a point to observe a prospective camper."

"Way I see it, with what happened last night and Grover admitting that Mrs. Dodds was real too, either you're telling the truth or I'll wake up in a straitjacket any minute now," I replied dryly.

Mr. D let out a laugh, "That's a good one! You wish this was insanity. I had my doubts, Chiron, but the boy might at least be entertaining."

Then he set down his cards, "And I believe that this is my win."

"I'm afraid not, Mr. D," Chiron replied, setting down a straight and tallied his new point total. "The game is mine."

What little cheer the director had vanished while he let out a sigh through his nose as if losing to Chiron was normal. He stood up with Grover mirroring the action, "I think I'll catch a nap before the sing-along tonight. But first, Grover, we need to talk about your less-than-perfect performance. Again."

"Y-yes sir," Grover replied with a gulp.

Mr. D then turned to me, "Cabin Eleven, Percy Jackson. Mind yourself as you learn to survive."

As he left with Grover at his heels, I realized I'd never told the director my last name. While he easily could've heard it from Chiron, I had a hunch that wasn't the case.

Seeing Grover disappear inside the house, I asked, "Is Grover going to be okay?"

"Old Dionysus is not truly mad at Grover," Chiron reassured me. "He simply hates the job he's been assigned. For lack of a better term, he's been grounded here until the next century by Zeus as punishment for pursuing a wood nymph declared restricted – twice – and while forbidden to indulge in any wine as well. Honestly, I must thank you, Percy. That's the first laugh I've heard out of him in years."

"Ah. Yeah, that'd do it," I agreed. "So, is Olympus still all the way in Greece?"

"Much like the gods, the palace that acted as the convergence point for their power moved as well," he answered. "They move with the heart of Western civilization—Germany, France, Spain, several hundred years in England. The residence of the gods is still called Mount Olympus out of tradition, but lies here in America."

I frowned, "And where do I fit into all of this?"

Chiron tapped the side of his head with a smile, "Now, that is the question, isn't it? One we intend to see answered. For now, though, we should get you settled into your cabin and introduce you to your bunkmates. There will be time for lessons tomorrow."

Then he set his hands on the armrests of his wheelchair as if about to rise. Getting the feeling that I was about to find out how Chiron looked different from his myth, I took a step back as he kept rising with his legs unmoving. What appeared to be white fabric was attached to his waist that kept getting longer, but it quickly turned out to be fur as it was the front of an animal.

As a long leg rose out of the wheelchair with another, I realized that yes, the man I knew as my Latin teacher was indeed that Chiron.

Leaving the box behind – since the wheelchair must have been mostly illusion, now a metal box with fake legs attached – he stood as a centaur with a white stallion body, his waist smoothly transitioning into the muscly equine form where its neck would usually be. He still had his upper body's clothes on, but was lifting and lowering his horse legs as he appeared to stretch.

"What a relief," he sighed. "Despite the expansion, I always feel cramped in that disguise. Come, Percy. Let's meet the other campers in your cabin."

I followed – at his side instead of behind since I couldn't help my memories of cleaning up after horses – and asked, "You said that you came to Yancy to 'observe.' What's that about?"

"Ah, yes. Normally, satyrs like Grover are sent to schools to keep watch for any prospective campers that may not be safe out in the world," Chiron explained. "However, if a particularly promising one comes along, I tend to get involved myself. Stronger campers emit a stronger scent to monsters, you see—they require a closer eye kept on them. Unfortunately, my senses have been off since the winter solstice. Mrs. Dodds would not have snuck past me if I was at my best."

I remembered him saying that when I listened in on him and Grover at Yancy, and suddenly that Monster Bait flaw made sense.

With that, Chiron led me through the camp, apparently happy to answer any questions I had. Several of the campers stopped what they were doing and stared at me as we passed by. Luckily, I was able to tune out their looks for the most part. If nothing else, Gamer's Mind kept me from making an idiot of myself.

As we passed by the strawberry fields, he explained that the berries were their export crop helped along by Mr. D. Apparently, his powers worked best with wine grapes, but he's not allowed to grow those either. It made sense—they had to pay their expenses for the land and building materials somehow.

But seeing other satyrs working reminded me of Grover, and I asked, "Grover's not going to get in too much trouble, right? I mean, I was the one who ditched him when we got back—he did everything else right."

"I might agree with you, since he did get you to camp," Chiron sighed. "But it's not up to me. Dionysus and the Council of Cloven Elders must judge whether he is worthy. While you decided to leave, he shouldn't have lost track of you for such an extended period. And there is the unfortunate… fate, of your mother along with Grover being unconscious and needing to be carried over the property line."

I frowned, "He was unconscious because lightning struck the road right in front of us and we crashed. Can't he get another chance?"

"That was Grover's second chance," the centaur pointed out regretfully. "Only received begrudgingly, I assure you, after what happened last time five years ago. I tried to urge him to wait longer before trying again. Grover has big dreams, Percy. Perhaps bigger than reasonable. He's still so small for his age…"

"Wait, how old is he?" I asked in confusion.


Here I thought nothing could surprise me anymore as I gawked, "And he was posing as my grade?"

"Satyrs mature half as fast as humans, Percy," Chiron patiently explained. "Grover has been the equivalent of a middle school student for six years. Even by satyr standards, he is a late bloomer. He also struggles with woodland magic right now. Perhaps he will be able to find another fulfilling career."

I pursed my lips, wanting to ask if his first mistake was really so bad. But I had the feeling that it wouldn't be a good question to ask. And that aside, a thought had occurred to me that if the gods were real, the Underworld could be real too.

Even in passing, I knew that the myths involving retrieving a loved one didn't end well. Gamer's Mind would probably be put to the test then to keep me from acting rash.

After we passed by the forest that was reportedly "fully stocked" with monsters, and Chiron asked if I happened to own a sword and shield – I'm pretty sure he was being funny, since I didn't even know about monsters until Mrs. Dodds – he showed me the rest of camp. It was nice to have a tour of the place I'd apparently be staying in for an unspecified amount of time.

Chiron indicated the archery range, canoeing lake, along with other activity centers and the amphitheater, containing a firepit where sing-alongs were held. The next point of interest was the arena. All these teens were given live weapons to spar with—because that sounded like a great idea. After the dining pavilion, we reached the cabins.

If I knew more words, I could probably describe the set as something more positive than just "different."

Arranged in a U, with odds on the left and evens on the right, the only thing they shared was a brass number above the door. Nine had smokestacks emitting fumes, Four had plants growing on it and a roof appearing made of grass, Seven looked to be made of gold and shone too bright to look directly at. At that point, I decided to just follow Chiron. The commons area all the cabins faced seemed nice enough. Plenty of space, paved with cobblestone and decorated with several outdoor accessories and a few basketball hoops.

In the center, there was another firepit, this one lit even though it was a hot summer day. A young girl appearing no more than nine was dutifully tending it with a stick.

Before I could try to move closer to see if I could find a name or at least ask why she was tending a fire, I decided to stick with Chiron since he wasn't stopping. The girl must not have been that odd a sight.

"Twelve cabins for twelve Olympians?" I asked.

He nodded with a smile, "Indeed."

"There a reason some of them look to be empty?"

"All in due time, Percy," he replied while leading me across the pavilion.

We passed Cabin Five, a savage thing with uneven red paint and a barbed wire roof. To complete the aggressive look, there was a stuffed boar head over the doorway beneath the number. A girl inside that was with the other arguing/fighting cabin mates must have sensed me watching since she immediately caught my eye and sneered at me.

I frowned slightly since she reminded me of Nancy Bobofit, if she spent three years weight-lifting and went from redhead to brunette.

Doing my best to ignore her, I asked Chiron, "Are there any other centaurs around here?"

"No, my kinsmen tend to be wild and barbaric," he explained. "You might see them in the wild or at major sporting events, but not here. With that said, I believe we have arrived."

Annabeth was waiting for us, reading a book that appeared to be written in Greek. From the pictures about various structures like pillars and temples, it must have been an architecture book. I already knew from my "flaw" that I would be reading books like that before long.

She looked up at our arrival, not closing the book, but giving us her attention. Annabeth still looked to be sizing me up, but addressed Chiron.

"Annabeth, I have masters' archery class at noon. Would you take Percy from here?" he requested.

She nodded, "Yes sir."

I looked past her to Cabin Eleven, which was the closest to a normal cabin if a bit musty. The paint was peeling and the door along with the threshold were worn down. A symbol of that scepter with two snakes hung over the door—a caduceus, that was it.

Annabeth and I opened the door, Chiron staying outside since he was too tall for the doorway. The campers inside still bowed with respect once they noticed him.

Some of the other cabins on the way had a good number of kids, but this one was full to the gills with campers. To the point where most had sleeping bags set up on the floor instead of using the bunk beds. Their names and levels overlapped with each other to where I couldn't pick any out.

"Well, then. Good luck, Percy. I'll see you at dinner," Chiron said in farewell before leaving for the archery range.

I knew I was being sized up as they stood up from their bow and looked at me. But, unfortunately, Gamer's Mind didn't fix my coordination since I tripped over the worn threshold and stumbled. Some snickers rang out, but I at least managed to keep my feet under me.

"Percy Jackson, meet Cabin Eleven," Annabeth introduced curtly.

"Regular or undetermined?" a voice from the crowd asked.

I didn't know what he was talking about, but Annabeth answered for me, "Undetermined."

A groan rang across the crowded space.

"Come on, now," a new voice said scoldingly. A sandy-blond teen looking older than the other cabin members came forward, "That's what we're here for."

He was pretty well-built, more for speed than raw strength, but not lacking in that regard. He had a leather necklace with five colored beads too, along with sandals instead of shoes. The most eye-catching feature was a pale scar that went from below his right eye to his jaw.

[Luke Castellan]

[Lv. 23]

"Welcome, Percy. You can have that spot on the floor, right there," he said, pointing me to a miraculously empty space.

"This is Luke," Annabeth said, with her voice unsteady since the first time I met her. I glanced to see her blushing before she noticed me and her face hardened again, "He'll be your camp counselor for now."

I raised an eyebrow, which was enough of a cue for Luke to pick up.

"You're undetermined," he explained. "They don't know what cabin to put you in, so you're here. Cabin Eleven takes all newcomers, all visitors. Naturally, we would. Hermes, our patron, is the God of Travelers."

I moved to the spot given to me, but I had nothing to mark it as mine. Unless I wanted to carve my name into it. And no way I was leaving the Minotaur horn here, not when I could recall Hermes being the God of Thieves too. Some of my bunkmates were already looking like they were thinking of what they could pickpocket out of me.

"How long will I be here?" I asked.

"Good question," Luke replied. "Until you're determined."

The question of how long that would take was answered by the people around me, several older and not all sharing the same features or disposition of Luke and the suspicious inhabitants eyeing me for valuables.

"I see," I muttered in reply. Realizing I still had the menu I saw earlier to inspect, I nodded to Luke and excused myself, "I need some more air; I'll see you all later."

The counselor nodded in understanding, "Give it time. You might come to like it here!"

As I left, the overlapping conversations of the cabin resumed. I would just have to hope I had a spot to sleep tonight even if it wasn't precisely "my" spot.

I looked around for a place to be alone, but apparently Annabeth decided that she wasn't done with me since she soon caught up.

"Passable, but you could've done better, Jackson," she said.

I turned around, "Don't judge me for tripping. If Hermes is fine with his cabin being… rough, then he should be fine with some fixing or expansion to make it more comfortable for those inside."

"First off, don't drop names like that casually," she lectured. "Second, I'll ask Chiron to IM Hermes about that since we can't modify them without permission. Third, you have a lot to live up to already—you know how many campers wish they had your chance to battle the Minotaur? What do you think we train for?"

"I almost died," I pointed out. "It was my mom's advice, protecting Grover and pure adrenalin that saved me that night. In any case, if that was the Minotaur like Chiron is the same one as back then, why isn't it dead? Theseus killed it in the old story, which is apparently true like all of them."

She shook her head, "Monsters can be killed, but they don't die, Percy."

"Which means…?" I asked leadingly.

"They don't have souls like you and me," she clarified. "Their essence can be dispelled temporarily. Sometimes for a whole lifetime if you're lucky, but they always reform. They're primal forces—Chiron calls them archetypes."

I thought about the other monster I had recently fought, and promptly said, "Oh, crud."

"Oh, right, your… math teacher," Annabeth realized. "She's still around, and all you did was make her angry."

"You heard about that?" I asked.

"You talk in your sleep too."

I took a breath and asked, "Perhaps you know why there's one super-crowded cabin when there are plenty of available ones to sleep in? Chiron wouldn't say."

"You don't just choose a cabin to stay in, Percy," she replied. "They're determined by your parent."

"My mom is Sally Jackson, she worked in a candy store at Grand Central Station. Used to, anyway," I pointed out.

She frowned, "And I'm sorry about your mom, Percy, but I meant your other parent."

"…He's not dead, is he?"

She proceeded to explain that my need to be at Camp Half-Blood indicated that I was one of them. Annabeth even correctly guessed that I was dyslexic and had ADHD, saying that they were my brain being set for ancient Greek and my battle reflexes. It felt like she'd had this conversation with several kids before.

"If you weren't like us, you couldn't have survived the Minotaur, much less the ambrosia and nectar we gave you," she finished.

I raised an eyebrow, "Come again?"

Apparently, the stuff they were nursing me back to health with could kill a normal human. Good to know they had such a strong hunch before feeding it to me in my half-aware state. Annabeth called me a "half-blood" with utmost certainty.

"Well, well, a newbie!" a gruff female voice spoke up.

Apparently, I wouldn't be getting the alone time I needed right now.

I turned around to see the Cabin Five girl from earlier leading a trio of other huge and buff girls, all with camouflage jackets like hers. I knew a gang when I saw one, and could see where this was going. I didn't have time and really just wanted to see what this game power could do.

Despite myself, my eyes were drawn towards the leader's name and level.

[Clarisse LaRue]

[Lv. 18]

Six levels higher than Annabeth and ten higher than mine, but still below Luke. But if I was a betting boy, Clarisse specialized in Strength and probably VIT.

"Clarisse," Annabeth sighed. "Why not go polish your spear or something?"

"Sure, Princess," the bigger girl sneered. "So I can run you through with it Friday night."

Annabeth cursed, "Erre es korakas! You don't stand a chance."

My mind knowing Greek probably extended to speech since I could tell it meant "go to the crows." Worse than it sounded, I'd bet.

"We'll pulverize you," Clarisse boasted as she turned to me. "Who's this little runt?"

Annabeth replied, "Percy Jackson, meet Clarisse, daughter of Ares."

Deciding to try defusing the confrontation to slip away, I said, "The God of War? Explains those muscles—gains like that don't happen overnight."

The four seemed more confused than flattered, and Annabeth looked scandalized that I had just said that.

"What? If anybody's looking for a workout, these girls are clearly the ones to go to," I replied to her defensively.

I got grabbed by the front of my shirt as Clarisse growled right in my face, "Are you mocking us, punk?"

"Not at all," I replied.

She sneered, "Well, we have an initiation ceremony-"

I took the opportunity to prick her in the side of the hand with my Minotaur horn, making her grip loosen as she grunted in surprise. Slipping out, I tossed the horn to Annabeth, who caught it in surprise as I kept my eyes on Clarisse while jumping back to make distance.

"Cheap trick, Jackson!" Clarisse growled while ready to rush me, her back-up fanning out to box me in even as they left me to her.

I shrugged with an unapologetic smile, "All's fair in love and war. If I fight fair against you, I'm gonna lose."

She let out a half-chuckle and moved, much faster than I anticipated. I knew if she grabbed me, I was done, so I stayed at the edge of her reach instead of moving in close. It gave me less opportunities to strike with my shorter arms, but also kept me out of her grapple range. But she had a lot more experience than I did, even with the fights I'd been through. She dodged or outright tanked whatever punches I threw and landed some punishing counters.

As a last resort, I kicked in the side of her knee as hard as I could hoping to create an opening for something better, but she only stumbled slightly before grabbing me by the face and shirt, swinging me through the air before slamming me back-first into the dirt. Only then did I notice the bars from earlier in the opposite corner of the Notifications, my green bar a little over half.

Clarisse then planted a boot on me, likely leaving a footprint on my shirt as she said, "Not the worst fight I've ever had. Stay on the ground, Jackson. I've had my fun."

With that, she walked off, whistling for her girls to follow her. Annabeth walked up and looked down at me from above.

"I think part of what you did got her tolerance, if not her respect," Annabeth said. "Usually, when she 'initiates' a new camper, it involves the girls' bathroom toilet. Bad news is that you also caught her eye—she'll be back."

I got up and some of the campers seemed to be talking among themselves again. It seemed news traveled fast, and witnesses had already started spreading what happened.

Annabeth showed me the workshop, arts-and-crafts center, and rock climbing walls – which featured quakes, rockslides and lava, along with the threat of being squashed if not fast enough – before we stopped at the canoeing lake.

Thinking I could get some time to check the menu at last, I tried to wrap up the explanation she was giving me before Clarisse interrupted.

"So, the Olympians are our missing parents… Do you know yours?"

"Cabin Six," she answered.

I raised my eyebrow at her, "Remember, new guy here."

"Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and Battle."

I nodded, "Explains a few things."

"Meaning?" she said warningly.

"Reading for fun, your wisecracks, the weighing looks you've been shooting me since I got here, and how you seem to be impatient about answering questions 'everyone' should know—do I need to go on?" I replied.

She frowned, but appeared to concede the point, continuing, "If your godly parent decides to claim you, they'll send a sign."

"Are you saying they don't always? Is that why Cabin Eleven is so crowded?" I asked.

She gripped the railing of the pier, "The gods are busy. They've always had a lot of demigod kids, and… sometimes they don't care. They ignore us, Percy."

I frowned, wanting to deny since I was so sure my dad loved my mom. But the crowd in Hermes' cabin spoke for itself. If he really cared about mom, why didn't he stay with her or take her with him?

"I have training to do," she announced. "Dinner's at seven-thirty, you'll know the call for it when you hear it. Follow the cabins to the dining pavilion."

With that, she left, finally leaving me with enough space to check the menus I'd been given. But first, I should probably check those backed-up notifications. A quick glance showed there were now nine inside the little star box.

Touching it while sitting down, I read them as they dropped down in a list.

[You correctly deduced the true nature of a being before you.]

- You gained +1 to WIS

[You made a joke that appealed to a bad sense of humor.]

- You gained +5 reputation with Dionysus.

[You successfully navigated a conversation with someone who dislikes you on principle.]

- You gained +1 to CHA

[You demonstrated proper courtesy in your introduction to a god while even getting a laugh out of him.]

- You gained +20 reputation with Chiron.

[You made a deduction from context clues presented before you. Your teacher is pleased!]

- You gained +5 reputation with Chiron.

[You tried to talk your way out of a situation by laying on flattery, but failed. You get a C+ for effort, though.]

- You gained +1 to CHA.

[You've created a new skill through a special action.]

[Flirt (Lv. 1)—Instantaneous]

[MP cost: 0/SP cost: 10]

[Never underestimate the power of charm. A moment's distraction with a compliment can assure victory, whether in battle or to stall for time.]

- (CHA x .1)% chance of flustering human opponents.

- Does not work on straight males or homosexual females.

- 5% chance to resist Seduction tactics from other parties.

- 1% chance to resist Charm spells from other parties.

- (CHA x .001)% chance of working on monsters or humans/deities with Maiden status.

[Brawling increased to Lv. 3]

[Feel the burn! Rein in the pain! Keep going! You've taken some hits, but kept fighting.]

- You gained +1 to VIT

[Even though you lost, you stood your ground and fought with all you had.]

- You gained +25 reputation with Clarisse LaRue

- You gained +10 reputation with Camp Half-Blood

Okay, that left me with more questions than answers, but it seemed that I could get stat points from certain actions and even create new skills for myself. Now for the rest.

Realizing that I could probably save myself some trouble and questions, I tried thinking as clear as I could, 'Status.'

A window popped up, but not the one I was hoping for.

[Mental Navigation not enabled. Would you like to switch?]


Making sure I was alone again, I touched "Y" and thought 'Status.'

The proper menu appeared this time, confirming that my stats had changed since last time.

HP: 1267/1600
MP: 800/800
SP: 2100/2100

STR: 8
VIT: 8
DEX: 13
INT: 6
WIS: 10
CHA: 12

Looked like my health was gradually recovering over time—good to know. And I had somehow gained an extra hundred points in Health and "SP" along with fifty points to Mana, which would have to be figured out later.

I looked at the tabs up top – Status, Inventory, Skills, Perks, Reputation, Quests, Options – and found a question mark at the end, which usually indicated a Help menu. Focusing on it, I managed to activate it without needing to think "Help." That meant verbal thoughts or focus could activate "Mental Navigation."

Starting with "Stats" on the list, I read a brief manual over what each one represented along with the reveal that each bar was two stats combined and multiplied. Health was Strength and Vitality times 100, Mana was Intelligence and Wisdom times 50, and Skill Points were Vitality and Dexterity times 100.

Strength was self-explanatory, Vitality covered the ability to take hits, Dexterity was speed and finesse for things like blade fighting, balance and flexibility, Intelligence meant raw book knowledge and calculation, Wisdom was problem-solving and intuition, Charisma represented people skills and seduction, and Luck apparently only controlled "monster drops" and the likelihood of calling on the gods for help. Outside of "patrons", it had said at the end.

With that done, I went back to the Status page and looked at the unspent points I had, ten in all. The Help screen would probably fill any gaps I had for the other pages, but I was always a "learn by doing" kind of person. It could wait now that I had the basics.

While I always believed the point of a fight was not getting hit, I didn't want to be made of paper either in light of Clarisse showing there are better fighters who can out-predict me. Especially not with real monsters like the Minotaur or worse.

STR: 8 - 12
VIT: 8
- 11

HP: 1600 - 2300
SP: 2100
- 2400

That took care of those two for now, and I had three more points. I wanted to put them in DEX, but that was already my highest stat, and it would probably be better to try plugging up my weaknesses before I decided to specialize.

INT: 6 - 9

MP: 800 - 950

I didn't feel any different from any of the stat boosts, but it was only three or four points each—there would probably be more, and I could train to boost them a bit further. Next, I had a "Perk Point," and would want to see what that was about in the Perks tab. From the others' descriptions, they could only help in this mess I've wound up in.

As soon as I switched to that menu, there was a window that popped up over it. So this game did come with a tutorial of sorts. I guess the help screen was just for basics and reviewing any important information.


[These are special benefits either gained by spending Perk Points, being an integral part of you, or undergoing special life experiences through quests or otherwise. However, keep in mind that spent PP can't be taken back, and picking one route may leave others closed if they're incompatible with each other.]

I furrowed my brow in thought. I only had one perk point right now, so I should do my best to make it count for the long run. Mentally clicking the message to dismiss it, I was introduced to a skill tree. My name was at the top, apparently labeling it as my Perk chart, and it branched outwards into seven routes that seemed to reflect the different base stats. Expanding each one, I read them in turn to fully consider my options.


[Do you lift, bro? With this perk, you certainly can as your body takes on the traits of a troll.]

- 10% increase in STR

- Further 15% increase in STR during battle

- Warning! Incompatible with Grace of Moonlight, Bookworm and People Person -

Good for raw combat potential, bad for much else and cutting off three "paths" of the perk tree. Besides, imagining myself as a trunk-armed beast just felt wrong.

[Man of Iron]

[You might not have the suit, but you certainly have the grit. Stand your ground!]

- 15% increase in VIT

-50% chance of negating knockback

- Warning! Incompatible with Grace of Moonlight -

[Grace of Moonlight]

[The moon smiles upon you and protects you with its light while concealing you with its shadow.]

- 10% increase in DEX

- 20% less chance of being detected by hostiles at night

- Learn Moon's Dance (Lv. 1)—Weapon Style (Sword/Dagger)

- Warning! Incompatible with Troll and Man of Iron –

Between the two, Grace of Moonlight was more my speed. Being able to take hits was good, but not getting hit at all was better. Right now, Grace of Moonlight was my number one pick.


[Are you sure you aren't a son of Athena? Your brain devours books like an all-you-can-eat buffet!]

- Learn new skills (INT)% faster

- 10% more chance to retain information

- Negates Attention Deficit and It's All Greek To Me flaws while keeping Ancient Greek (Lv. MAX) and Adrenaline-Driven Hyperfocus Duality

- Warning! Incompatible with Troll -

[Beyond Your Years]

[You see the world and people around you with eyes that most would say belong to an elder. However, this perception can sometimes backfire if it unsettles people.]

- Gain Foresight (Lv. 1) and Insight (Lv. 1)

- Gain Blunt Honesty flaw

- Warning! Incompatible with People Person -

[People Person]

[You relate to people and reach them in a way that most would call unorthodox, but is really just part of your charm.]

- 10% increase in CHA

- Gain Diplomacy (Lv. 1)

- Warning! Incompatible with Troll and Beyond Your Years -

[Tyche's Draw]

[While she won't fight your battles for you, sometimes it's good to have the Goddess of Fortune rooting for you.]

- 10% increase in LUCK

- 5% increase in monster drops

- ?

Reading the last four in succession, I decided on the order I would pick them as I got more Perk Points.

As much as I wanted that fighting style and boost to my DEX, Bookworm was the far more practical choice for now, where I'm still low-leveled and in a place where I'm taught to fight monsters. Not to mention that it would be easier to train my INT and WIS if I lost the two flaws. People Person and Tyche's Draw were also appealing, but could wait.

So, resolving to get Grace of Moonlight second, I mentally selected Bookworm.

[You have gained a new perk!]

With that, the perk tree lost a branch as the one I selected lit up. And the whole thing shrunk until it was in a window within the screen, indicating it was a sub-menu. Bookworm appeared on my Perks list, and – more satisfying – my two flaws relating to my dyslexia and attention span disappeared, the Flaws list reformatting.

Before I could open any of the other menus, a conch shell blowing with a loud bellow interrupted my train of thought. I blinked as I realized that I couldn't have known it wasn't a foghorn or something.

Still, I mentally dismissed my menu and got up. I don't know how long I was sitting around, but I was certainly hungry enough for dinner. With my new way to go through my menu, I could check the other tabs in secret later.

And there we go! First chapter had a lot to go through, and I hope I did it well. I hope I explained well enough how Percy's thoughts and reactions don't precisely match the original—plagiarism aside, a few characters had no reason to say anything different aside from synonyms and different order.

Hope you all enjoyed, and I'll see you next chapter.