Winston Jackson And The Olympians: The Queen's Hero
Rick Riordan is an amazing author and all the characters and most of the places in this story belong to him. I only humbly walk in his large footprints.
As I write this, the Heroes of Olympus series is being released. While I choose to include some of my favorite characters from The Lost Hero, I am not including the Heroes of Olympus series as cannon. Jason Grace, his friends and the Roman camp do not exist for the purpose of this story.
My story "Uncharted Territory" is a preface to this story. It is not required to understand this story but does provide interesting background information.
The fine print out of the way, enjoy!
Chapter 1: I Earn My Powers, Sort Of
If you think you might be one of us, stop reading right now.
You're still reading aren't you?
I told you to stop. STOP!
You're still here? Oh well, don't say I didn't warn you.*
My name is Winston Alexander Jackson (yes, I was named for the British Prime Minister, my mom's a history geek, I've learned to live with it). Most people call me by my middle name, or Alex for short. At least when they're not mad at me, which most times they are.
Anyway, I used to believe as you do. I used to think that having the powers of the Greek gods and goddesses would be cool. And I had the possibility of getting the powers of two of the gods (Poseidon and Athena). You see, my father, Percy, is a son of Poseidon and my mother, Annabeth, is a daughter of Athena and they did some really cool things, but that is another story. Some mortal guy named Rick wrote it all down for them. He did a really good job too, you should check it out.
Sorry. I tend to ramble. You see, being the child or grandchild of a god is not all it is cracked up to be. The gods have blood which is geared for battle, which is really useful when a monster is attacking you and all you can defend yourself with is a toothpick. But when there are no monsters attacking it kind of sucks. The mortals call it ADHD, but we just call it normal. Our minds are also geared for reading ancient Greek, which really helps for like one week in Social Studies class but is really annoying the rest of the time. Mortals call it Dyslexia.
Even in my world, I'm not normal. I've known about this stuff since I was born, most demigods have to wait until they mature and start attracting monsters. But, since both of my parents are demigods, I grew up in Camp Half-Blood, watching all the fantastic quests and longing to get my chance but never getting it since I hadn't actually been claimed by any god and I didn't display any powers. All I got to do was sit around camp and watch everyone else have all the fun.
That all changed one sunny, Saturday afternoon. My mother was up on Olympus helping her mother with some repairs to her temple when Grover, my dad's best friend, came bounding up to Hera's cabin, which served as our home. (I would never insinuate that it is our cabin, I do not fancy getting turned into a toad and fed to a snake.)
"I think I may have found a half-blood," Grover whispered to my dad.
"You think?" Percy asked.
"Well, it's definitely a strong smell, but it's one I've never smelled before. I don't know if she's just wearing a strong perfume or if she's a half-blood."
"Does she display signs?" Percy prodded.
"The usual, dyslexia, ADHD and the like. But as far as pointers to a specific god, nothing. Well…" Grover said, trailing off.
"Well…?" my dad tempted.
Grover looked around nervously. "She seems to have mood swings, getting happier during the spring and summer months and sulky during the winter."
"That is a sign of Demeter," Percy said.
"But that's just it," Grover said, even quieter. "She doesn't smell like a child of Demeter. She smells different."
My dad thought for a while. "I'll go and check it out," he finally said. "Alex, look after the cabin, I wouldn't want anything to happen to it."
"No way!" I protested. "I'm not sitting here while you have all the fun. Come on, what could happen anyway?"
"A LOT," Percy and Grover said together.
"Come on, please?" I said. "You'll have three."
"Fine," my dad said after considering this argument. "But grab your sword."
I didn't stick around to let him change his mind, or realize that once we picked this girl up we'd have four. I went straight to my room, and picked up a bronze wristwatch and a small bronze ring and slipped them on. Both were gifts from my Cyclops uncle, Tyson. Both were magical items, the only cool things I had ever owned. I came back out to find Grover and my dad waiting, my dad wearing a similar watch. He eyed both of my items, as if making sure they were in working order. Seeming to approve, he told Grover to lead the way.
We headed across the grounds to the stables, where my dad picked out three pegusi for us to ride. He, of course, got Blackjack, but I was pleased that he picked an albino one named White Tiger for me. Tiger, as I called him, was born the same day that I was, and we had kind of clicked. I hadn't thought my dad had noticed.
"This one insisted on taking you," my dad said.
Oh yeah, I forgot. He had the powers of my grandfather. And one of the perks of that was talking to horses. Grover could talk to them too, being a satyr and all. I already felt out of place. I patted Tiger on the snout and said thanks before getting on his back. I always talked to him. I didn't know if he could understand me or not (I couldn't hear him), but it had always seemed like the right thing to do.
"Okay, Grover. Lead on," Percy said.
If you ever have the chance to take a flight on a Pegasus, do it. It is amazing. The only way I can think of describing it is a motorcycle ride on steroids. The wind in your face, the breeze of the wings as they flap and glide, the beautiful landscape as it unfolds below you. It is truly a life changing experience. And it never gets old.
Grover led us across to upstate New York, to a little private school named Charles Institute of Learning for Troubled Youth. "Troubled?" I said.
"That's usually a good indication of a half-blood," my dad said. Grover only smiled. We landed inside the gates of the school and the pegusi started to munch on the lawn as soon as we got off. Grover looked longingly at them. I wondered what the pegusi looked like to the mortals through the mist, even horses would be out of place here (The mist is a thing which hides our world from mortal eyes, just in case you don't know).
Grover looked at his watch. "Lunch just started," he said. "Good timing, we can just stay next to the wall, out of sight. Watch from afar."
That's what the plan was at least. We entered the cafeteria unnoticed, and we slid up and sat at the far end of the corner table to watch lunch. It didn't take very long to spot the girl that Grover had asked about. And once I had seen her, I didn't bother to look anywhere else. There was no taking my eyes off of her.
"Look, three o'clock," Percy said without moving his head. Grover and I looked (I looked very reluctantly) and saw a man standing there. The man was six foot tall at least and was staring daggers into the girl Grover had pointed out.
"Monster," Grover said, sniffing the air. Suddenly the man turned his head and stared directly at me. It was extremely unnerving.
"I think he's spotted us," I said.
"Winston," my dad said. I nodded, picking up the use of my first name. "Get the girl out of here. Get her back to camp, you understand?" my dad asked. I nodded again. As much as I talked of adventure, I was terrified of actually having to fight a monster. That was dad's job.
"Here we go again," Grover said as he and my dad got up and walked toward the monster. I saw my dad pull a ball point pen out of his pocket. I walked over to the girl.
"Nice weather today, isn't it?" I said. Stupid thing to say.
"Do I know you?" she asked. Told you it was stupid.
Some people started to scream in the corner where the monster had been. I looked over. The man had grown to about eight feet tall and a scorpion tail was emerging from his rear end. My dad had uncapped Riptide, his weapon of choice, and Grover had grabbed several trays of food, one of which he was munching nervously.
"No, you don't know me, but if you want to live, you might want to change that pretty quick. Let's go!" I said, grabbing her and running as fast as I could in the opposite direction. Surprisingly, she didn't argue. We ran across the cafeteria, dodging flying food and student alike and out the doors into the main hall. I turned toward the door and froze.
Almost everyone was running as fast as they could toward the door, but two beautiful girls were standing still and looking right at us. The one on the left smiled at me, and immediately I was filled with a desire to do anything she wanted. I started to go towards her; I just wanted to touch her. She seemed too beautiful to be real.
"Hey, weird, creepy guy. You going to do something about this?" the girl we had come for said, causing me to stop momentarily. I turned back to her.
Suddenly I felt a tug in my gut, almost like someone had grabbed it with a hook and tugged really hard. I turned back to the girls. They were still standing in front of both doors with the smirk on their faces, but they definitely looked different. They now had flaming hair, and pale skin. They were standing slightly lopsided due to the fact that they had one fake bronze leg and one real donkey leg. Empousai. "Come little hero. Come a little closer," the empousa on the left said, "I want to give you a kiss."
"Get behind me," I said to the girl I was rescuing.
"What's wrong," the empousa on the right said.
"You're ugly," I said pulling my ring off my finger and throwing it in the air. As it came down it morphed into my three-and-a-half foot long sword, named Goliath by my wonderful uncle, which I caught easily in my hand; hitting a button on my watch while doing so, causing it to form into a large bronze shield.
I had no idea what I was doing. The sword had been a gift, so I hadn't gotten rid of it. But it had never felt right and I wasn't particularly good with it. And these were empousai: professional monster hit-women. But I couldn't sit by and do nothing. I had to protect Airiana. Whoa, how did I know her name?
I didn't have time to figure that out because the first empousa lunged at me. Instinctually I raised my shield and swung the sword at her. But she hit me too hard and while my hand came through on the swing, the sword went flying behind me. Great, I thought. Now what? The second empousa hurled herself towards me and I blocked her easily with the shield. But I had no way to kill them. And Airiana was still unarmed behind me. That's where the first empousa went! I thought, but before I could look behind me, the second empousa came roaring back at me, claws extending.
"Where's your sword, half-blood?" she said.
Suddenly I felt something in my pocket. Yes, a gift from the gods! I thought reaching into my pocket. My hand wrapped around a thin, cold object. I pulled it out and looked at it, my confidence falling through the basement floor.
The empousa laughed. "A toothpick? Oooo, I'm scared," she said. Sure enough I was looking at a tiny, bronze toothpick. Gee thanks, I thought, but even as I thought it, I somehow knew what to do. I twirled the toothpick and it extended into a shiny, celestial bronze gladius. The tiny sword felt different than my previous one, it was easy to hold, almost like an extension of my arm.
The empousa was only stunned for a short time before snapping out of it and lunging at me. My training, reflexes and instincts took over. I let her get deeper on me than I had before finally catching her with my shield and stabbing up with the gladius. The sword stabbed her torso and she vaporized in front of me, leaving the fake leg behind. I picked it up, folded it at the knee and stuffed it in my pocket.
"Well that was fun," Airiana said. (How did I know her name?) She was easily holding Goliath at her side and the empousa was nowhere to be found. Suddenly the wall behind her exploded and my dad came flying out of the cafeteria. He scrambled up and I heard a roar from the cafeteria.
"Time to go," I said and the three of us raced for the door. We got out on the lawn and searched for our rides. It only took a couple of minutes to find the two grazing pegusi (Grover's must have found him), but that was long enough. The monster my dad had been fighting with had burst out of the doors. He was now a large lion with the scorpion tail tipped in a ball of spikes. He raised the tail and my dad and I raised our shields, blocking a volley of spikes.
"So what do we do now?" Airiana said behind me.
"Dad, grab the pegusi, we'll deal with this," I said. Somehow, I knew that Airiana had something up her sleeve. Well, if her dress had sleeves of course. She drew my sword, I drew my toothpick. The monster roared in laughter and I could only imagine what we looked like. But we didn't have any other options. The monster raised its tail again. I raised my shield.
"Oh no you don't," Airiana said.
The spikes never came. Instead a loud roar rang across the grounds. I looked out from behind my shield. The daisies growing in the flower beds beside the doors of the school had grown thicker and significantly longer. Two, one from each side, had wrapped around the tail and pulled it back down. Several others were shooting out, trapping the monsters legs and body down to the ground.
"What the…?" I asked looking at Airiana. But she had put the sword away and was moving her hands as if she was tying a knot. Is she doing this? I thought, but even as I thought it, I knew it was true.
"Nice work," my dad said as he pulled Blackjack and Tiger up behind us. My dad and I got on our respective rides and I pulled Airiana up onto Tiger.
"I hope you like flying," I said as we pushed off the ground leaving the monster yelling threats up at us from under a mountain of vegetation. As Tiger flew, Airiana grabbed my waist for support, which totally made it the best Pegasus ride ever.
*Yes. This is a lot like the first pages of The Lightning Thief. I took it from there, it is a fan fiction after all.