Sacred Sparta, I am SO SO SO SO SO SO sorry for the delay! I've been really busy AND I've had this wicked case of writer's block ever since January. But this will make up for it. I promise. There's a lot of stuff in this chapter.

Ugh. So much has happened in life that i don't even have the time to tell you.

I'm sick of disclaimers. I won't even bother this time. You know all I own is my characters and plot line.

Enjoy!


Chapter 14

Disturbances

When she came back, Lola was still fuming.

"I hate that guy!" she repeated incessantly. "How could he do that? I'm going to kill him! That should be easy, considering I'm—"

"A child of Hades who really shouldn't hold grudges?" I offered.

"Yes, except for that last part. What's wrong with me holding a grudge against someone? I do it all the time," she replied nonchalantly.

"I heard somewhere it was a really bad fatal flaw for children of Hades."

"And where did you hear that? What's a fatal flaw?"

"I forget. ADHD, remember? But a fatal flaw is…well…a fatal flaw. It's a flaw so bad it can get you killed. We all have one."

"Hmph. That doesn't sound nice. And Greg isn't nice anymore, either. When I get my hands on him—" This was ADHD Lola, connecting things to other things entirely. It never ended prettily.

"He'll be begging for mercy and you'll hold your Hades-y grudge anyway?"

"Why are you defending him?" she asked fiercely. Her eyes blazed like a fire, flickering flames inside of her hazel-red eyes.

That was the same question I had asked myself when I found out Katie didn't like Greg at all. I'd gotten really defensive when she wouldn't tell me why she hated him. I wouldn't forget how I'd felt then. And then, I had tried to convince myself that it was because he was my friend. But was it?

"I don't know," I mumbled honestly. This couldn't happen to me. Affectionate feelings should not come to me now. Not on a quest. That could be bad. Really, really bad. Fatally bad.

Fatally bad.

Fatal.

Fatal flaw.

I figured it was pride. But I realized now that that wasn't entirely the issue here. That was hardly the fatal flaw.

My fatal flaw was love.

That was why I had cared about Annoying Dude getting angry earlier. My brain said to leave, but my fatal flaw ticked away, and suddenly, I cared. It was hard to explain.

And it was why I didn't quite mind anymore what had happened. My heart seemed to want it, even if my brain said otherwise.

I found all this highly disturbing. I didn't want this to happen.

"Lola, I need some sleep, okay? I'm going to bed." I made sure all my belongings were in place, made sure the dagger was well concealed yet easily attainable in the bedside drawer, and tucked myself into the covers of the hard, shabby, and pathetic bed. I didn't really need sleep. I was just trying to avoid Lola's impending wrath.

Lola got tucked herself in up in the top bunk, but I didn't know that she was armed, because out of nowhere, her Stygian iron sword went through the structure of the bunk bed and narrowly missed my face by centimeters.

"DUDE, what was that for?" I shrieked.

She only groaned at me, muttered something incomprehensible about Greg and traitors, took the sword out and sheathed it, and never made a sound again.

"You could have killed me, you know!" I screeched.

There was no response.

Lola, what is wrong with you today? I asked myself. Okay, so Greg tricks me into something, so? It's not my fault, yet she acts like I did everything on purpose and I'm a total traitor. I don't get that. She's acting more like a child of Ares than me, which, I mean, isn't really hard to do, I suppose, but still. If she wants to blame, she can blame Greg…no, not Greg. He hadn't planned for that. So I guess you can blame the annoying man insisting that we kiss, right? Right?

But when I went to sleep, I did not expect more dreams. I really should have, but I didn't. And I didn't like what I got, either.

First thing I got was a glimpse of McKenna crying and trying to soothe herself, but that didn't last long. It barely lasted for a few seconds.

The second thing I saw was Isabelle, Sacramento, and Katie. I didn't get how this thing worked for Katie. How she could see me and I could see her. She wasn't a child of Morpheus, and this was only supposed to work for children of Morpheus, last I checked. Maybe Isabelle was doing that. I didn't feel like thinking on it.

"Eve? You doing okay over there?" Isabelle asked tentatively.

"Yeah, why?" I asked. In honesty, I was under-doing it. I was more than fine. If fine meant great, then I guess you could say I was fine, but in the usual language of the normal people, fine doesn't mean great, so I guess I was more than fine in reality. Oh, well. Best not let ADHD get ahead of me.

"No reason. Just checking in," she replied. "What's going on over there?"

I told her everything except the part with Greg. Katie really wouldn't like that, and I didn't feel like arguing with her right now.

"Wow, Chiron disagreed with Zachary? That's strange."

"Strange, but we're enjoying ourselves thus far," I remarked. At least, I was starting to enjoy myself .

"Hey, Eve?" Katie asked tentatively.

"Yes?" I asked. She looked worried.

"Is…well, I just wanted to know…is…is Travis okay?" Katie asked.

"Travis Stoll?" I looked to confirm.

"Er, yes."

"Why?"

"Um, Connor wants to know."

"But...you haven't been at Camp...how would he have asked you, considering he probably doesn't even know you left?"

"...He Iris Messaged me."

"No he didn't," Sacramento whispered.

"Shhh!" Isabelle scolded.

"He's fine," I said warily.

She breathed lightly. "Ok, good."

I eyed her suspiciously. I knew Travis and his brother, Connor, always played tricks and pranks on the camp (them and Kristen would be a disaster), especially the Demeter cabin because Katie was so easy to prank. If you had ever been to Camp Half-Blood, you would know that it's just common knowledge there. What I didn't know was why she cared now.

"Is that all?" I asked them. Sacramento seemed to look very pleased, possibly because she was in on Isabelle's secret plan. Either that or she also seemed to grasp the notion that I was grasping.

"Yeah," Isabelle said. "Sweet dreams."

Then it shifted.

I saw the same thing I'd seen before: the world in red, everything destroyed, friends dead, and Ares children to blame for it all.

I tried yet again to wake them all up. It didn't work, of course. If it did, I'd be really surprised, honestly. But no. They stayed dead, no matter what I did.

I heard Simon's voice in my head. Please don't mess this up.

It was too late for that. I hadn't done anything, as far as I knew, but it was destroyed anyway. Only in my dreams, but nonetheless.

But maybe now wasn't time for dreams.

I had to be careful out there, not here. It didn't matter here. I had to not mess things up in the real world. Who cared if I messed up in a dream?

I got up and left, to go be independent. It didn't matter if I messed up, because it was a dream. So I went to tell those Ares kids what was wrong with them.

But sadly, I woke up before it could ever happen.

It was morning now, thank goodness. Another day. And we'd be spending that day in town, considering Zachary couldn't make us go anywhere.

I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I couldn't go to see Lola, seeing as she would probably rip my head off. I didn't want to talk to Rosa, what with her being weird and all with her strange talk of love. I was most certainly not going to talk to Greg. That was a matter for another time. Talking to him right now would ultimately destroy me, and I don't recommend being destroyed, to be perfectly honest. Kyle was always an option, but he would either say, "TEAM GREG AND EVE!", "How COULD you? You INSULT me," or would be entirely useless and start talking about something no one cared about.

There were a few other options. I could talk to Isabelle, but I was annoyed with her for letting Katie in on her plan, and I was not about to go face Katie, either. I supposed I could talk to Sacramento, but with her being so young, I doubt she'd be able to help me with anything. I mean, there was a such thing as just talking, but with what happened to me that wasn't easy to do.

I could try to Iris Message the Titan camp to find McKenna. That would be the smart thing to do, considering no one else seemed to have thought of that yet, not one out of the lot of them. It would be important to know where she was, her health status, how long she had left to live. But I couldn't bring myself to worry her more by proving that we were coming. She didn't want us to come. It would crush her to see living, tangible proof that we were risking our lives for her. I wouldn't want anyone to do that to me. So I pushed that option aside.

I could talk to Zachary, perhaps. Ask about McKenna and whatnot. But I was more than sure he didn't want to talk about that.

I'd say Jasmine would be an option, but I knew her too well, and she would pester me with questions, like: did I like Greg in that way, or how was the quest treating me, or why did Apollo claim me last year, or something like that that I wouldn't have an answer for. I couldn't deal with infuriating questions right now, especially not from a twelve year old that was too curious about my upbringing. Or at least not one who acted like I was her older sister. Being an older sister wasn't my thing.

I might be able to talk to Corry, but I didn't really know him, and asking him about his captured girlfriend who would have to be going insane by now and was being mocked by monsters every day and was definitely losing sleep and health over worrying about us would be just as painful as asking Lola about an Aethiopian drakon, or asking Zachary about McKenna.

I suppose I could talk to other people on the quest. But who was there to talk to? I wasn't going to touch Field with a ten foot pole, and I was smarter than to go to Penelope about boy problems. I could see it now:

"Penelope, I've got a boy problem."

"Got a problem, eh? I'll fix that for ya."

Cue Penelope conking me on the head with a frying pan.

Yeah. That wasn't happening.

Going to Kristen would be as insane as...well, Kristen. I didn't really know anyone else on the quest, to be honest. There were my brothers, Gordon and Rico, but they wouldn't be of any help. Who else was there?

I could think of everyone's names, and I knew them all individually, that much was a fact. But who to talk to? Travis might be good to talk to. He had a sense of humor more than a mile high, which would help me out of my moping state. And I could ask him about why Katie wondered if he was okay.

I had the awkward feeling that Travis Stoll and Katie Grander liked each other.

Well, at least that meant I wasn't the only one with issues right now.

I'd keep that in mind.

Before I fully decided who to go to, I ran over a few other people in my mind. I could talk to Louis. He was good company and would probably be able to help out at least a little. I'd have to keep him in mind, too.

I didn't think I could bear talking to Chiron. He wasn't the reason I was on this quest, but he was the one who declared all the quests, offered people quests, made the rules for quests. And here I was, on a quest. Though it was indirectly, I was here because of him, and I couldn't talk to him with that knowledge at hand.

Trying to contact Annabeth and the others wasn't out of the question. It wouldn't work, I knew, and it would probably just make me more frustrated, but it was worth a shot.

I went down to the lake, said the incantation and tossed the drachma into the water.

No response. Like I expected.

Of course, missing people couldn't respond. If they could respond, they would have told people where they were, and if we knew where they were and could find them, they wouldn't be missing, so really, only missing people could be missing and if someone was missing and people knew where they were they were either not missing because someone would undoubtedly go to find them or hopelessly pathetic if they were not sent a search party.

So. That was my logic.

Anyway.

I was left with Travis or Louis to talk to, and I wasn't sure what would be a better option. Someone who could make jokes to make me feel better, and perhaps I might be able to distract myself by focusing on someone else's relationship, or someone who might be able to help me get over my own problems.

Being true to my father's character, I chose the selfish road and decided to help myself by going to Louis instead.

That almost scared me, because that meant I was getting more and more like my father each day. I tried to remember the things I had done. I had challenged Circe, I had hit Field, I had yelled at Katie (though that was justified), I had used my Ares-sibling powers to grasp information from Leslie's very core, and now I was being selfish by choosing to help myself. I mean, either way it seemed a tiny bit selfish because no matter who I went to, it would be helping myself. But if I chose Travis, I might be able to help him a little in the process. But with my choice to talk to Louis, that couldn't really benefit him in the way that it might Travis.

But I shook it off. Found my composure and went to scout out Louis.

Sadly, it is apparently REALLY hard to find children of Hermes.

I had to look in the arcade, the restaurants, the cabin, even the Port-o-Potty outside the cabins, which was a new personal low in terms of places I've looked for people.

Instead, I found him in the woods. Being a son of Hermes, you would think he'd be out pranking people, not sitting in a tree gazing up at the leaves. But what do I know? Maybe he was building a trap up there and was staring at the leaves because he was trying to think of a good way to put them in someone's food and give them some poisoning.

I doubted it. But you know, that's just me, trying to make people be in character.

Really ironic coming from a daughter of Ares who doesn't act much like one.

"Louis?" I asked.

He jumped a little, and if I'd startled him any worse, he may have fallen out of the tree.

"Hm? What?"

"I just need to talk to someone," I said. "I'm having one of those days."

"And you choose to come to a son of Hermes who may very well have been setting up traps to suspend someone in midair with rope. Delighted."

It was like he'd read my mind or something. But I forced myself to forget that and moved on to the conversation. The only problem was that I didn't exactly know how to start this. I couldn't just say, 'So, I kissed Greg last night and I may or may not have enjoyed myself. Help me, guy I barely know.' That would be really stupid.

"So, I heard you and Greg-"

"Yeah," I stopped him abruptly so he couldn't finish the sentence. I didn't like to think about it. "How did you know?"

"Kyle," he explained with a laugh. "He talks a LOT."

"Did you just figure that out?"

"No. I figured that out a few years ago when he hadn't been claimed yet and was in my cabin. He was in the sleeping bag next to my bunk. He stayed up all night talking to me about his excitement of what was going on. Literally all night. I'm pretty sure I only got about three hours of sleep that night."

"That sounds like him," I murmured.

"Do you need to get anything off your chest or did you come here to distract yourself?"

That was Louis. Getting to the point of things. I didn't know him well, but I recognized that attribute.

I didn't reply. I didn't have a reply to reply with.

"You don't know," he voiced for me.

I nodded in a lame attempt to respond.

"Well then," he said cheerily, plucking a leaf off of its place on the tree. "Let's get you distracted, shall we?"

"Um...we shall? I guess?"

He dangled his legs for a moment and then jumped down from the tree, probably scraping his leg upon falling to the dirt. He brushed himself off and got up.

"What'll be a good distraction then, hm? Finding a monster to kill? Talking? Skipping stones? You name it," he offered.

"Are there even monsters here?" I inquired.

"Yessss, there are, Bensssson."

I turned to see who had said that. It certainly wasn't Louis. This was a hissing, snake-like female voice. That description far from fit him.

Of course, with my luck, there were going to be monsters here. There would always be monsters in my life, everywhere I went.

Then I realized something.

We were in a remote town in the middle of the United States. How in Elysium did the monsters find us here? That couldn't be a coincidence. We must have had a spy in our group.

Clearly, it was Field. It could be no one else. Who else would betray us, would give us up to Kronos?

The monster facing us was a dracaena. Luckily, these were probably the easiest to kill.

Sadly, she had an army of empousai behind her.

Well, I shouldn't say 'army'. There were really only four of them, but with how powerful and hard to kill they were, there might as well have been an army.

"And you shouldn't usssse the word 'monssssterssss', Bensssson. That title is sssso harsh, girl."

I hated the way they emphasized the 's' sounds. They weren't able to help it, of course, but it felt like a snake was crawling up my back. Their voices always made me feel that way.

The beasts came forward. Because I wasn't armed, I intended on making a run for it, but Louis warned me not to leave. If I ran, they would follow, and monsters in the middle of a Colorado town wouldn't look so good. The mortals would probably only see a gang of teenagers trying to ambush us, but you never could tell who could see through the Mist. You had to be extra cautious.

Louis, it seemed, was always armed, so he pulled out his gleaming celestial bronze sword and used that to defend himself from the first monster, and quickly pulled out a knife from him belt. Why he held knives and swords in his belt, I didn't know, but I was very grateful for it right now.

He tossed me the sword, and I caught it a little shakily. It's kind of hard to catch a sword singlehandedly while hoping you don't get chopped up by the sword or monsters.

Louis was able to stab an empousa right through the middle with his knife, but the snake woman and the other three demons were still going strong.

I hacked and slashed at the dracaena, but she wasn't dying. She was being a smart monster and wearing armor. Stupid smart monster.

Luckily, the dracaena was seemingly wounded for at least a moment, so I could focus on the creepy vampire-like thing that was closing in on me. She looked almost comical with one bronze leg and one donkey leg, but the rest of her was truly terrifying.

"Back off!" I yelled, trying to look threatening. My attempts only came off as weak, though, because she just laughed at me and tried to attack me again. I managed to lop off one of her arms, and she crumbled into that weird monster dust. I restrained myself from grinning and went in on the snake woman. She was still on the ground, defenseless. I made my move and soon enough, she, too, turned into that weird powdery, glittery dust that monsters turn into when they die.

Now it was down to two empousai. They were both trying to turn Louis into their next buffet, but I wasn't going to have that happen. I slashed at one of them, trying to distract it. She lashed back at me and sent me tumbling to the ground. I still had my sword, but I was doomed anyway, of course. I had sustained a few scrapes from the landing.

The demon laughed sadistically. I tried to run her through, but she was surprisingly fast for someone with one donkey leg and one mechanical leg. She got away before I could strike.

I managed to bring myself up, but I was pretty sure I'd twisted my leg in a way that it was most definitely not supposed to be twisted in. It really hurt, but I tried to ignore it.

"Oh, Eve Benson. The other one told me you would be easy to fight, but I never imagined it would be this easy. What did you call her again? Mrs. Dailey, was it?"

That set me off like a car alarm.

I planned my attack, but she kept getting away, giggling like a madwoman. Meanwhile, Louis seemed to be giving in.

Louis was clearly entranced by his pursuer. I certainly didn't think she was beautiful, what with the flaming hair and all, but I knew that the Mist affected people in different ways. He might've been seeing someone worthy of Aphrodite. And that was very bad.

He dropped his weapon almost automatically, like he'd had a command. I saw the empousa lean in for the kill.

"Louis!" I shouted, but he didn't seem to hear me. "Louis!"

Maybe it was the Mist, maybe it was a boy thing. I didn't know. But he clearly saw something other than what I saw. Because what I saw was a demon about to kill a teenage boy. If he was seeing that, he wouldn't have dropped his weapon.

I attacked my monster again, but as I sliced away at her, she kept running. And of course, I tried to follow her. But my injured leg gave in, and I toppled to the ground. My sword fell, away from me. The beast picked it up and pointed it at me. I was defenseless. On the ground, a daughter of Ares, utterly hopeless.

"LOUIS!" I cried again, as loudly as I possibly could. This was my last chance.

He seemed to register his name, but did little else. "LOUIS MILLER, SON OF HERMES, SNAP OUT OF IT, YOU FOOL!" I hollered.

The incessant screaming got him back into focus. "Eve, wha-?"

Then he realized the flaming vampire-esque monster standing right in front of his face trying to lure him in.

It would have been stupid to go for his knife. The empousa would kill him if he made one move.

But I couldn't stop fighting my monster, either. If I stopped to protect Louis, my pursuer would most definitely kill me with one swift move, and then I'd be no help to him at all. I couldn't risk that.

I gave it my all to kill that thing, but she wasn't about to stop now. The longer I attacked, the weaker I became, and that made me easier prey.

I fell again, and soon enough, the monster was about to kill me.

"No!" Louis shouted, and he ran at the empousa, kicking it away from me before it could lean in for the kill.

Then the other one grabbed him by the arm and threw him to the ground. He managed to grab his knife, but he wasn't fast enough. The empousa sank her fangs into his shoulder as he screamed.

I reached for my sword and killed the injured monster with one slice, then went in on Louis's attacker. Being smart, she backed off, which also meant she got away from Louis. Good.

"You. Go. Go tell Kronos and his minions that this isn't finished. We've barely begun, understand?" I growled through gritted teeth.

She actually looked frightened. Obviously, she knew what an Ares kid could do if someone disagreed with them on such a serious matter. The demon ran off. I never found out where she went, but I would eventually discover that the Titan Lord got the message.

I turned my attention to Louis. He was on the ground, bleeding. He was definitely suffering.

"Louis? Louis, hang on. Are you going to be okay?"

"What do you think?" he muttered.

"Right. Stupid question. Do you have ambrosia and nectar? Something?"

He shook his head feebly. He was getting weaker by the second.

"Louis, you've got to hang on. I'm going to go get help, okay?"

Louis shook his head again, though it clearly pained him to do so. And if it hurt him to barely turn his head, we had a serious problem.

"That will only waste time that we don't have," he said quietly. His voice was fading.

"You're weak. You don't know what you're saying."

"No. I do."

"No? What do you mean, no?"

"It takes too long to get help. I'd die while you've left. And I don't want... to die alone..."

It was getting harder and harder to hear him. He was losing consciousness.

"Louis, listen to me. You are not going to die. You're just..." I tried to think of a comforting way of saying dying, but that was pretty impossible.

"Dying?" he said hoarsely, trying to make a joke out of the situation. "Yeah. That's what happens when you get bitten by a monster."

"Louis. Stop it," I ordered. Though I wasn't sure what good it would do for an Ares child to boss around a dying guy. "You're not dying."

"Tell that to...Hades..." Then he went still.

"Louis? LOUIS! NO!"

I didn't know what to do. I couldn't avenge him. I'd sent his killer away. I couldn't just leave his body there. But I couldn't stay either.

I did something I didn't think I would ever do. I reached into my pocket and pulled out the cell phone Becca had given me for my birthday and dialed one of the only numbers I even had.

You better pick up, boy, I thought. You mess things up enough, not picking up will result in your immediate destruction via me.

Luckily, the fool heard his phone ringing.

"Eve? What are you using your phone for, you're gonna get us all killed. Do you know that phones attract monsters? Don't you know the dangers of-"

"Shut up, Kyle! Get help and bring it to the forest, now. Louis is gone."

"What?"

"You heard me, GO!"

"Um, okay..." he said sadly and hung up, off to find help.

And then I cried.

That night I walked by the shore of the beach. I couldn't believe Louis was dead. It was the first casualty I had ever witnessed that wasn't a monster.

I swore I would fight to the death now. Whatever it took. Louis died for me. I couldn't let that hang.

And then I thought about the prophecy.

There will be many a death, that is for sure.

This was only the beginning.

I was about to start crying again, when the Iris Message appeared.

Katie showed up. No Isabelle and no Sacramento, just Katie.

"I heard," she said.

"How?"

She sighed. "Isabelle told me. She watches dreams whether she wants to or not, and someone was dreaming about it. I'm sorry."

"I don't want to talk about it," I whispered.

"Let's talk about other things, then."

"Field," I grumbled bitterly, "he sent those monsters. The monsters that killed Louis. He's a traitor."

"Why don't you guys kick him off of the quest, then?" Katie asked.

"That's the thing. We can't. Chiron gave us strict orders, we can't disobey him. We're not allowed to leave anyone behind. Not even Field." It wasn't fair. I was more than sure Chiron knew that Field was a traitor. But rules were rules.

"Field is a liar and a traitor, though. Isn't there a loophole?"

I looked at her sadly. "No, not that we know of. But Field's probably basking in the glory of the rule...I hate him. He's a liar. A deceitful, disgraceful liar."

"You're not even kidding. It's in his blood," she told me. "He's not even a son of Khione."

"Who's his parent, then?"

"Apate. Goddess of lies and deceit. It's obvious, isn't it? Besides, whenever we give our food offerings to the gods at Camp, he talks to Apate. I've never once heard the name Khione mentioned."

"Figures. I should have known..."

Of course. Field had lied the entire time. Was there even one moment of truth? Anywhere?

I remembered what I had been told about Isabelle watching his dreams, about him liking me.

That was a very disgusting thought.

He was disgusting.

And of course he would lie about his parentage. He was born to be a liar. Maybe he couldn't help it. But it was clearly something he was made to do. Lie.

Then I realized something. Katie was saddened about Louis, of course. Could I get her to tell me why she hated Greg, now that she would understand I'd be sad and maybe listen to me this time? Would it be possible?

"Katie, you're going to hate me for this..."

I told her everything that had happened. It was clear she was fuming on the inside, but she acted calm outwardly, probably because she didn't want to show too big of a temper.

"I wouldn't get too close to him, Eve."

I looked at Katie with something that was in between utter confusion and a death glare. "What do you mean?"

Katie sighed, playing with her fingers nervously, the Iris Message beginning to look more and more fuzzy, the connection starting to break. "Well, Greg used to...no. I can't tell you."

"Tell me."

She sighed again. "I didn't want to have to tell you. Nobody likes to mention it. Out of the people who know, Kyle is the only one who can accept it...who can forgive him...I can't. Even Isabelle has a bit of a hard time getting over it."

"Just tell me."

Katie looked at me, giving me a piercing look. Not a bad kind of pierce...almost like she pitied me.

"Greg used to be on the bad side."

I couldn't respond. That was too much. "...What?"


Hope that fixed how long my hiatus was.

Did it?

Did you like it?

I did.

CLIFFHANGER MWAHAHAHAHA.

SUCKERS.

At least I'm not Rick Riordan. He constantly Rick Rolls us.

Anyway.

Review!