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Chapter 5: The Return of Luke the Horrible

As Percy cracked open the door and slipped inside, Chiron scratched his chin in thought while holding back a testy sneeze. What was the cause of this sudden sickness? His eyes shifted back and forth unhappily, contemplating whether to inform Mr. D or not.

Stroking his beard like an evil man would a goatee, Chiron grimaced, "Perhaps it would be best..."

If Mr. D was stricken with the same illness, or maybe just because he ran the camp, it was a necessity for him to know.

Procrastinating like a master, he had a hacking fit before thinking over what was wrong with him; he knew it made no sense whatsoever. An immortal could not catch an illness or disease, he knew for a fact. He had a hunch though, but he didn't like the idea, even as the idea like dawned on him as truth.

The next cough died in his throat as he froze; no, no, even the idea was impossible! But, as impossible as it seemed, he felt the truth of the words even before they rolled off of his tongue, "The Tree of Hesperides…"

The Tree of Hesperides, the tree that provided all immortality, was dying. Chiron's eyes bulged and he stifled a sneeze of shock as he realized something.

"Oh my Gods!" Chiron called out suddenly, whirling around to stare at the door Percy had just walked through, "He'll die!"

If his hunch was right, and the Tree of Hesperides was dying, the Gods were fading, and their control over what was theirs, or previously theirs, was fading too. Nearly every single thing in the attic had once upon a time belonged to a God or Goddess, and Chiron shook his head in defeat as he realized just how dangerous that room could become. It would come alive.

Despite the headache and nausea Chiron was suddenly gaining, he readied himself to burst through the Big House's door and stop Percy; and he would have done just that too, but a scraggy-looking blonde haired man suddenly blocked his way. He crossed his arms and started Chiron in the eye challengingly.

Chiron scrutinized the boy with his eyes, taking in his appearance; he seemed to be around 17 years old, his dirty blonde hair hung like drapes over his eyes. He looked up at the clouds, then back at him. In that few seconds, Chiron almost stumbled back in shock at the large scar running down the right side of his face. A scar from a claw of a dragon.

"No," Chiron muttered. Seeing the orange T-Shirt with the words, 'CAMP HALF-BLOOD' scrawled across it in black letters, his beliefs were confirmed.

"Hello, Chiron," the boy smiled darkly, shifting in his spot and turning his eyes towards him, his left side of his face now suddenly visible.

"Luke," Chiron spoke slowly, holding his hands up as if to calm him.

I landed as a heap on the attic floor, coughing as dust flared up all around me.

Casually scrambling to my feet and brushing some dust off my shoulder, my eyes strayed across the room.

The stench made my eyes water as I accidentally kicked over something. The loud noise made me jump and spin around, feeling the dark and creepy atmosphere. The shadows looked as though they were going to make a jump at me any moment..

White sheets and blankets covered some of the things on the floor, giving the room an even more eerie glow from the dull lighting overhead.

I held my breath and looked both ways, shooting the Oracle a suspicious glance before I lifted back one of the sheets and nearly jumped out of my skin.

It was an opaque jar, green on the outside with little green lumps in the inside. I shuddered, taking in the big red letters across the front, 'Dill Pickles'. I've never liked pickles anyway.

I snorted suddenly; pickles? How preposterous. Yes, leave a jar of pickles in the scary, creepy attic, under a blanket, it's that sacred, really.

But under it, in fine print, it said, 'Ora's Box' in a pickle-green colour. Of course, I ignored it, cracking up at the thought of all the Gods having a ceremony to place the pickle jar in the Big House, speeches being given out, and goddesses swooning over the pickle jar.

I gripped the pickle jar in my hand and suddenly almost doubled over laughing, a horrible clenching feeling suddenly in my stomach as my knees buckled and I actually fell over, rolling on the floor laughing (rofl) with laughter.

A part in the back of my brain, named logic and reason, was trying to tell me that it wasn't actually that funny... oh, and yes, I was very delirious.

I laughed harder still, my sides hurting as I wheezed and coughed for breath, but to no avail. I was still laughing.

Suddenly, it wasn't too funny anymore, rather scary as I couldn't stop laughing and couldn't gasp in a breath.

My eyes were screaming now, tears streaming down my face as I continued to laugh.

Suddenly, I unclenched my hand, dropping the pickle jar, and the horrible laughter was suddenly gone, just like that.

As soon as it had left my grip, I was suddenly gulping in breaths desperately, like a fish out of water. I jumped back from the terrible, enticing pickle jar, still breathing heavily.

My cheeks were stinging from smiling, my eyes bloodshot. I wiped at them with the back of my hands.

Hesitantly, I reached down and poked at it, yelping and pulling my finger back as a shock went through it and a chuckle escaped my lips.

The small jar suddenly shook, as if something were trying to escape from it. I heard a little voice, "Help me!"

Confused, I poked it again, only to scream as another jolt ran through my whole body, except this time more painful.

My knees buckled and I fell onto the ground on my knees, holding my stomach as if I'd been punched in the gut.

"Oww," I murmured, a pain settling in my stomach - a feeling of uncertainty and pain.

"I hope I do get out!" the voice whispered from inside the jar, "Please pick me up!"

"No! Shut up!" I shouted at the pickle jar grumpily, suddenly really angry, "I'm not taking advice from a freaking pickle jar!"

I jumped in surprise as it suddenly changed shape, from a pickle jar into a golden box.

"How 'bout now?" it asked cautiously.

The box had a beautiful lady riding on a blue dragon, a bark red one soaring just beside it. This time, instead of saying Dill Pickles, it just said, 'Ora's Box', in plain red lettering, dust covering some parts.

I stared at it with calculating eyes as it changed form again into a cardboard box, but in the bottom right corner it still read, 'Ora's Box'.

Now, who the heck was Ora! And why was her box trying to speak to me.

I glared ice cold daggers at the box as I grabbed a white sheet and placed it overtop the stupid box. Besides, I had to get back on track even if there was a pit of anger burning in my stomach.

I stood, muttering curses under my breath and turning to the stupid mummy in the stupid sundress who stared at me with a stupid expression. I grimaced at the stupid mummy, a new synonym much-needed in the sudden situation.

'I am the Oracle-' it began, whispering the words in my head, but it was interrupted as I suddenly snapped, "Get on with it!"

It felt as though I had been infected with anger itself as I suddenly snatched up something and chucked it at the Oracle.

I froze and glared at the stupid dragon claw I had chucked at the stupid oracle.

'Gods, I need to think of some more adjectives other than stupid,' I thought angrily at myself, watching the claw strike the Oracle in the head and then the mummy topple over.

I shrugged and began to walk back to the ladder, prepared to tell Chiron I didn't get a prediction and that I didn't care very much about it. The only thing I cared about was the anger bubbling and brewing in my stomach right then. As idiotic as it seemed, when I had touched the Ora's Box, the shock that had gone through me had been anger; pure anger. It felt as though I'd been infected with the anger itself.

I begrudgingly stepped over a scarf and prepared myself to climb back down the ladder, but froze in my tracks as the room suddenly sparked behind me, spinning me around. My anger slowly ebbed away and was replaced with fear as blood suddenly rushed to my head and I couldn't see.

Cross-eyed, my hands swiped at air for something to stabilize myself. I grabbed something off the ground instead and fell backwards, tumbling down the ladder and landing with a thump on the floor.

"Ow!" I yelped, shrieking as I opened my eyes and saw colour and my surroundings.

On my back, I stared up at the ladder that led back up to the attic and grimaced, holding a pink scarf to my chest.

"Huh-wha?" I muttered, lifting my head off the ground for a second to look at the scarf before letting it drop back down again.

This was one of Aphrodite's scarves, I could tell from the scent. I rubbed my eyes and tucked the pink scarf into my pocket, wondering what the heck had just happened.

I had so many more questions than answers as I stumbled away from the attic, breaking into a run.

A/N: Hmmmm... Yee, you see that purple-ish button there, right in the left corner? [[actually, now it's just a blue link. Pssh]] Why don't you press that and REVIEW? :D Hehe

P.S. Sorry for the confusing chapter, confused me a bit myself too!