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I walked into the house after that nice little welcome. The inside and outside of her house have one thing in common: flowers are everywhere. Flower pots, flower baskets, stray flowers, and lots of vases filled with flowers.

I pointed to some purple flowers on a book shelf. "What are those, Mr. Gardner?"

He turned to look at me. "You don't know what type of flower that is?"

Katie rushed to help. "They're lavenders, Travis. Smell them; they smell really good."

I leaned in to sniff. But just then, a toddler came racing through and pushed me out of the way. I stumbled and the vase of lavenders fell off the shelf. Before it could break, I caught it.

Horror of what just happened washed through me. Katie's face was filled with terror like a scared bunny.

"I am so sorry, Mr. Gardner. I didn't mean to do it." I apologized nervously.

Katie's father's face turned a weird shade of purple and red mixed together. "You idiot!" he roared. "How dare you come to my house and knock over my flowers?"

"I'm s-sorry. But I-I swear, it wasn't my f-fault," I stammered.

"Oh yeah? Sorry my-" Katie's dad let out a string of profanity. I think I just learned about twenty new swear words.

"Dad," Katie said. "He didn't do it on purpose. Mandy pushed him and he still caught it, didn`t he? "

Mr. Gardner looked like he wanted to scream at me more but simply grumbled and stomped out of the room.

Katie sighed. "Travis, you need to be more careful around my dad."

Oh, not her too. Why was the universe so against me these days? "I caught it!" I threw up my hands.

She sighed again and a boy in his early teens marched over. He had spiky brown-blond hair and a light, faded green like jade color for eyes. He came up to me and held out his hand.

"My name is Brady Gardner. I assume you're the Travis Stoll that's dating my older sister Katie?"

We shook hands. "Yep, I'm dating Katie."

Brady nodded. "Hey, Katie, Mom wants to see you."

Katie groaned and left.

Brady and I watched Katie leave the front door and into what I assume is the kitchen because a sign points into the room and says EAT AND COOK HERE.

I was about to leave when, suddenly, Brady pounced onto me.

"What the hell?" I asked through a mouthful of Brady's flower scented light blue shirt.

Brady glared at me with his jade-green eyes. "If you hurt Katie, I'll hurt you, got that?"

I know I probably should have kept my mouth shut, but I couldn't help but laugh. "You? Hurt me? Yeah, right! Dude, you do realize that I'm three years older than you and I have training almost every day? Besides, if I hurt Katie, she'd probably hurt me even more!"

Brady got up. "Whatever." And with that, he left the room.

Wow, Katie wasn't being dramatic when she said her family was bad.

Katie lived in a small town at the corner of Utah called Whenvale. And when I say small, I mean small.

So you can sense my surprise that there was a prank store.

I entered the store and looked around. All sorts of goodies were in oddly colored drawers and the store was dimly lit, mostly shining on the things hanging on the lemon-yellow walls. I was the only one in the store, which I found odd, because who wouldn't want this stuff?

"Hi!" An overly-perky cashier greeted me when I came in. "May I help you?"

I shook my head and turned to look at the whoopee cushions.

Before dinner, I decided that I would go to the local prank/ joke store. I needed to stock up anyways and I was going to write down the price of everything I buy so I can charge Connor five bucks more than I paid for.

I inspected the whoopee cushions carefully. I always made sure to check that the material isn't cheap. Sure, it requires brains and time, but it's worth it.

Cool! I thought when something shiny caught my eye.

Video cameras. Perfect item to spy on people with. Connor's definitely going to love this! Night vision, films up to one hundred hours of footage and hi-def.

One thousand bucks. Hmm . . . well, it would seem unusual if something costs a thousand and five bucks, so I guess I'll have to charge Connor a thousand and five hundred, plus tax.

Miss Perky noticed me looking at the cams.

"Those are the video cameras. They're just absolutely perfect to spy on demigods, don't you think?" She asked with an evil glint in her eye.

Every instinct in my body told me to run like hell. If I don't run fast enough, then I can fight.

Crap. I realized. I left my sword at Katie's house! Stupid Travis!

The girl's red hair turned into fire. She grinned at me cruelly and I realized she no longer had teeth; instead, fangs had taken its place. She jumped on to the table and I saw that one of her legs looked like it was made out of tin and the other looked like a horse's leg. But I knew it was a donkey leg because Percy told me about Kelli, and I'll tell you that I never really wanted to meet any empousai.

"Such a nice, fresh demigod." She laughed. "I will savor every drop of your blood."

"Oh, really?" I said. "What are you?"

She snarled. "An empousai, you idiotic demigod. Didn't Percy Jackson tell you about me?"

I shook my head. "No, I don't think he did."

"Well, he must have thought he banished me forever, but I reformed quickly. My name's Kelli." Her eyes looked like they were in another place.

I gulped. This was the exact monster Percy had fought before and barely made it out alive. Percy was a lot better than me in combat and I don't have any weapons.

Thankfully, Kelli didn't seem to notice any fear in his eyes.

"Percy says he kind of regrets not letting you kill him, you know."

Her gaze snapped back to me. "I'm not that stupid."

I shook my head. "No, really. I'm telling the truth."

She cocked her head to the side. "How do you know?"

Mercifully, after all those years of lying, stealing, cheating and doing pranks, the Stoll brothers excelled in those activities. It was their area of expertise.

I merely shrugged. "I manipulated the Mist to get him talking and then I made sure he remembered nothing of it." I lied.

"It's actually quite a shame I have to kill you now. You seem like a fine person." She smiled ruefully. "And that was ingenious! Using the Mist on Percy Jackson? Fabulous!

Good thing I was good at acting. I ducked my head and blushed furiously. "It was nothing." I mumbled.

"You really are making me re-think the decision to kill you."

I smiled. "Then don't kill me. Look at the bigger picture." I walked next to her said, "Imagine. I'd be way better than Luke and I know a secret passage into Camp Half-Blood. The gods are filthy people and I have no interest in worshipping them anymore." I tried to convey every single tone of disgust in my voice.

"How?" Kelli asked.

My plan was working! Kelli bought it and was intrigued.

I shrugged. "I'm a son of Hermes."

"Well, let's get going right away!" Kelli shouted enthusiastically.

I shook my head. "I need to go to the washrooms first." I lied again.

Nervousness churned in my stomach and I felt cold yet sweaty. Was that even possible? How could you be cold and sweaty?

You're over-thinking this, Travis. I told myself sternly.

Kelli glared at me suspiciously. I shrank a little under her scrutiny, afraid that she might catch me.

"Fine." She told me. "But if this is an attempt to escape, your efforts will be futile. Trust me, I'll be sure. I'll be outside your door."

I nodded like the good boy I am (not) and followed her to the washroom.

If you could really call it that.

What Kelli led me into could hardly be called a washroom. More like a closet with a bucket in the corner and a hose.

"This- this is the washroom?" I asked, gulping.

She smiled evilly. "Of course. What else would it be, pretty boy?"

I shook my head. "Never mind."

I shut the door and leaned against one of the walls.

Task one: Stall so I can have more time to think- check.

Now what?

Please, I begged the gods. I need help!

My prayer was met with silence.

Look, I'm sorry about what I said. It was to save my life!

You boy! Demeter's voice sounded in my head. How dare you talk about the gods like that!

Well, if I die, Katie would be pretty upset, wouldn't she?

Demeter grumbled something unintelligible. At least I don't hear voices in my head like a crazy old nut.

Demeter! I heard Hermes, my father shout and I winced at the level of noise as all the gods were taking sides in my head and did not know how to control their volume.

Sorry, son. Hermes laughed.

It's okay. I replied. Just help me.

A nice tinkling laugh sounded in my head. Sorry, dear. Forbidden. I heard the unforgettable voice of Aphrodite laugh.

Gods, why is everything forbidden? I whined.

The gods all laughed raucously and disappeared from my head.

Someone started to pound on the door loudly. "Hey, demigod! You better not be taking a dump!"

I suppressed the urge to laugh. "Sorry!" I called. "I'm just hesitating because- well, I don't normally pee in buckets."

I am so good at this lying thing.

"Spoiled brat!" Kelli teased.

I relaxed just a smidgen. At least we were on friendly terms.

Suddenly, I tripped over my own shoe laces and bumped into the wall. Ouch. That was going to bruise tomorrow.

Then, an idea hit me. It was a slim chance but I'd take anything at this point.

I pushed the dingy door open. "I'm done, Kelli."

Kelli rolled her eyes. "You took so long. You're such a girl."

We started to walk back into the main area and I looked around.

"Wait." I told Kelli.

"Wait for what?" She asked. "I'm not going to stay much longer. Either you cooperate and leave or I kill you."

I nodded."But I just want to take some video cameras."

"Fine! Take whatever you want."

I smiled and walked up to the aisle with the video cams.

See, I vaguely remember that when I tripped, coming up the aisle, I saw a Celestial Bronze dagger. I'm not quite sure how it got there, but I assume I'm not Kelli's first victim here.

I picked it up and I slipped it in my back pocket. Then, I took some video cameras and other stuff. I'll just charge Connor a random price.

I walked up to Kelli. "Okay, I'm ready."

She rolled her eyes. "Let's go. I'm thirsty and I would drink from you but you've promised to be my partner so I can't exactly kill you . . . unfortunately. I imagine you would be tasty."

Uh . . . nice to know how tasty I would be. I appreciate the compliments- sarcasm noted.

Her eyes traveled to my neck. "I could find another demigod, though . . ." She trailed off, her crimson red eyes were full of blood-lust. "Yes, yes."

Now's the time, Travis!

I pulled out the dagger in one deft motion and lunged. Kelli simply side stepped.

"How dare you!" She snarled, her face contorting into something ugly.

I didn't answer, simply focusing on the battle. I got a scratch on her but she singed my arm with fire.

"Shoot." I muttered when she kicked my leg swiftly.

She smiled in an evil type of way. "I will drink your fresh blood!"

I jumped onto her back and avoided her flaming hair- I didn't want to burn myself. It was a risky move but proved itself useful when I finally stuck the Celestial Bronze in her chest.

She snarled in agony and anger and dissolved into yellow monster dust. I disgustedly shook it off of me and appraised the mess.

Racks were knocked over and everything on shelves had ended up on the ground. Part of the floor was singed and monster dust was covering about half the store- not that the store was very big.

I shrugged, took my things and ran out of there as fast as I could. I didn't even stop once on my return to Katie's house.

So, that's chapter three! I know it's not that good- just a filler- but it's definitely longer and now my story has a dose of demigod battle- the way every PJatO story should have.

I hope you enjoyed it! And no review requirement for this chapter- I'm feeling nice today. But I still appreciate reviews and wouldn't mind if you guys added me to your subscribe lists!