Hope you like it

sorry it took so long. Two words, Final exams.

Okay thanks to everyone that reviewed


okay here's the main points :

1) I'm sorry but I'm putting this story on hold for a while so I can get farther with my 'sent back in time again' series. After about halfway through the lost hero or when I finish it I'll start typing for this story again. Sorry if this was inconvenient but I just want to get the lost hero over with then it will get fun to write sent back in time. Sorry again but it's better this way. Promise that I will update when I have reached the lost Hero goal.

2) I got some requests for doing the hero's of Olympus short stories from the books but I don't want to do that. There learning about Percy before all this Giant war thing was happening. Plus they find out anyway from the certain person. So all the short stories are from the first series, then after that it's done and it won't be going on. Sorry if you wanted that but it would be going against the whole story idea.

Enjoy anyway

3) Oh and The House of Hades cover came out if you didn't know that.

4)I put up a new poll so please vote.

5) Last but defiantly not least. . . This chapter is dedicated to the start of summer vacation! I'll be updating more from now on =) so I should be back to this story soon.

Just thought I would tell you ; )

Harley opened to the next page," Note says,

Here's a certain . . . chariot race.

The mysterious Apollo

"Okay." Some campers said looking at the note weirdly.

"Okay I'll start," Harley called to everyone.


Annabeth scrunched her eyebrows.

The Athena cabin did the same.

They had there suspicions.

In my dream, Grover was wearing a wedding dress.

(Sorry if you wanted the full chapter But I wanted to start it there. Also it just seemed like a thing Apollo would do.)

Everyone cracked up.

Grover blushed a deep scarlet.

"So Grover, who are you marrying?" Travis asked innocently.

"Nobody!" Grover said loudly.

Clarisse and Annabeth started laughing.

"No not that nobody!" Grover cried.

His face was getting redder by the minute.

"Wait until we tell Juniper." Thalia said grinning.

Grover put his head in his hands.

It didn't fit him very well. The gown was too long and the hem was caked with dried mud.

The Aphrodite cabin looked scandalous at a mention of a ruined dress.

The neckline kept falling off his shoulders. A tattered veil covered his face.

"This is the saddest wedding I ever." Nico said.

"I'm not getting married!" Grover cried out.

Everyone snickered.

"Wait, how would you know that Nico?" Thalia asked.

Nico blushed but didn't say anything in answer.

He was standing in a dank cave, lit only by torches. There was a cot in one corner and an old-fashioned loom in the other, a length of white cloth half woven on the frame. And he was staring right at me, like I was a TV pro-gram he'd been waiting for.

"Oh so that's when you started the empathy link." Annabeth said thoughtfully.

Grover nodded but his face was still a deep shade of red.

"Thank the gods!" he yelped. "Can you hear me?"

"It would seem." Leo said.

Everyone rolled their eyes.

My dream-self was slow to respond.

"His real self would have been too." Thalia joked.

Jason glanced around at all the laughing faces.

If I was missing . . . well I am missing, I wouldn't want them to insult me, Jason thought.

I was still looking around, taking in the stalactite ceiling, the stench of sheep

"What does that smell like? "Connor asked curiously.

"Oh you don't want to know." Annabeth said.

and goats, the growling and grumbling and bleating sounds that seemed to echo from behind a refrigerator-sized boulder, which was blocking the room's only exit, as if there were a much larger cavern beyond it.

"There was." Grover admitted to the crowd.

"He is observant isn't he?" Piper commented.

"Yeah he just doesn't use it." Annabeth said.

Then she smiled wistfully.

"Percy?" Grover said. "Please, I don't have the strength to project any better. You have to hear me!"

"Project?" Leo asked intrigued.

Hmmm. . . , Leo thought.

"I hear you," I said. "Grover, what's going on?"

"That's what I would like to know." Many of the new campers shouted.

Though some of the older one's did too.

From behind the boulder, a monstrous voice yelled, "Honeypie! Are you done yet?"

"Honey pie?" Came the question from most of the crowd.

Grover tumbled.

Grover flinched. He called out in falsetto, "Not quite, dearest! A few more days!"

Everyone tried not to snicker.

"A few more days?" Malcolm said thinking of what that could mean.

Little did he know that the rest of the Athena cabins were thinking along the same lines.

"Bah! Hasn't it been two weeks yet?"

"N-no, dearest. Just five days. That leaves twelve more to go."

"Okay I'm not good at math but that doesn't seem right." Travis said.

Everyone gave him a look.

"No duh!"

The monster was silent, maybe trying to do the math. He must've been worse at arithmetic than I was, because he said, "All right, but hurry!

"Really!" Came the reply from the crowd.

"Man he's dump." Connor said.

I want to SEEEEE under that veil, heh-heh-heh."

"Well that's inappropriate." The Stolls snickered.

Katie whacked both of the upside the head.


Grover turned back to me. "You have to help me! No time! I'm stuck in this cave. On an island in the sea."

"Well that's really helpful." Clarisse said rolling her eyes.

Grover blushed.


"I don't know exactly! I went to Florida and turned left."

"Wow. "Many people said sarcastically.

"I was panicking!" Grover admitted.

"What? How did you—"

"It's a trap!" Grover said.

"I mean of course it's a trap." Travis said.

Katie rolled her eyes.

"It's the reason no satyr has ever returned from this quest. He's a shepherd, Percy! And he has it. Its nature magic is so powerful it smells just like the great god Pan! The satyrs come here thinking they've found Pan, and they get trapped and eaten by Polyphemus!"

"A Cyclops!" The Athena cabin yelled in unison.

"Well that's not good." A camper yelled from the back.

"So that's where you guys found it." Thalia said.

Annabeth nodded.

"Found what?" Leo asked.

"You'll see."

Leo groaned.


"The Cyclops!" Grover said, exasperated. "I almost got away. I made it all the way to St. Augustine."

"Oh." Annabeth said.

Everyone looked at her.

Nobody knew what she was talking about.

"But he followed you," I said, remembering my first dream.

"What dream?" Leo asked.

"We didn't read about it but according to Percy he saw Grover running away from something and his in a bridal boutique, the thing that was following him, the Cyclops, yelled MINE!" Annabeth said.

"Oh that helps." Leo said.

Some other campers nodded in agreement.

"And trapped you in a bridal boutique."

Some campers snickered.

"That's right," Grover said. "My first empathy link must've worked then.

"What's an empathy link?" A newer camper asked.

"It's when a Satyr links his emotions with a person." Annabeth said.

(I just made that up.)

Look, this bridal dress is the only thing keeping me alive. He thinks I smell good, but I told him it was just goat-scented perfume.

The Aphrodite cabin crinkled their perfect noses.

Thank goodness he can't see very well. His eye is still half blind from the last time somebody poked it out. But soon he'll realize what I am.

"Who was he or she?" Piper asked.

"Oh you know just nobody." Annabeth said.

Grover and Clarisse actually laughed.

Everyone stared at Clarisse.

"What? I can laugh to." Clarisse said glaring.

Everyone's eye widened but nobody said a word.

He's only giving me two weeks to finish the bridal train, and he's getting impatient!"

"That's not helping anything." Connor said.

"Wait a minute. This Cyclops thinks you're—"

"Yes!" Grover wailed. "He thinks I'm a lady Cyclops and he wants to marry me!"

Everyone tried to hold it in but it was just too tempting.

They all stared cracking up.

Grover bleated, his face going red.

Under different circumstances, I might've busted out laughing, but Grover's voice was deadly serious. He was shaking with fear.

Everyone abruptly stopped and became serious.

Yes, even the Stolls and Leo . . . well a little they were just snickering now.

"I'll come rescue you," I promised. "Where are you?"

Everyone leaned forward.

"The Sea of Monsters, of course!"

All the new campers gasped.

Same just looked confused.

"The sea of what?"

"Really Seaweed brain?" Annabeth said but you could see her smile.

She really missed that dope.

"I told you! I don't know exactly where! And look, Percy ... urn, I'm really sorry about this, but this empathy link ... well, I had no choice. Our emotions are connected now. If I die ..."

"He dies too." Connor said.

"Well. . . "Annabeth stared but little Harley stared reading faster and louder to drown her out.

Annabeth humped.

"Don't tell me, I'll die too."

Connor's eyes went wide and he exclaimed," I think like Percy!"

Nobody knew if he was happy about that or not.

"Oh, well, perhaps not. You might live for years in a vegetative state. But, uh, it would be a lot better if you got me out of here."

"Yes it would," Agreed a random camper.

"Witch is worse?" Thalia asked.

Everyone looked at Nico.

"What?" Nico asked noticing everyone's look for the first time. He was looking at Leo who was building a little robot at looked about ready to explode.

"Oh nothing."

"Honeypie!" the monster bellowed. "Dinnertime! Yummy yummy sheep meat!"

Piper looked grossed out.

(Remember she's a vegetarian?)

Grover whimpered. "I have to go. Hurry!"

"Wait! You said 'it' was here. What?"

Everyone looked at Annabeth but she wouldn't talk.

Everyone groaned.

Annabeth grinned.

But Grover's voice was already growing fainter. "Sweet dreams. Don't let me die!"

"How can you sleep with that parting sentence?" Piper asked.

Grover blushed," Opps."

The dream faded and I woke with a start.

"See." Piper said," He couldn't sleep."

It was early morning. Tyson was staring down at me, his one big brown eye full of concern.

People all around grinned and smiled.

The Aphrodite cabin cooed.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

His voice sent a chill down my back, because he sounded almost exactly like the monster I'd heard in my dream.

Grover winced.

"Poor Percy." Piper said.

The morning of the race was hot and humid. Fog lay low on the ground like sauna steam.

"I never thought of the fog like that before." Travis said in thought.

"I do 't think anyone thought about it like that." Katie said rolling her eyes.

Will blushed and he hoped nobody noticed.

Millions of birds were roosting in the trees

"Birds. . . .that should be important." Leo said.

And it is. . .

—fat gray-and-white pigeons, except they didn't coo like regular pigeons.

Some of the campers, who weren't there when this event happened, raised an eyebrow.

They made this annoying metallic screeching sound that reminded me of submarine radar.

"Again he makes references to the ocean." Thalia smiled.

She wouldn't admit it to anyone but she missed kelp head.

. . . don't tell her I said that.


The racetrack had been built in a grassy field between the archery range and the woods.

Hephaestus's cabin had used the bronze bulls,

The Hephaestus cabin cheered at the mention of their cabin.

which were completely tame since they'd had their heads smashed in, to plow an oval track in a matter of minutes.

"That was a good idea." Malcom said dreamily.

There were rows of stone steps for the spectators— Tantalus,

Everyone made a face.

"Oh so it's that race. "Travis said.

Everyone grimaced.

Others looked confused.

the satyrs, a few dryads, and all of the campers who weren't participating. Mr. D didn't show. He never got up before ten o'clock.

The campers rolled their eyes.

"That's Mr. D for you." Will said.

Thunder rumbled.

Will's eyes went wide.

"Right!" Tantalus announced as the teams began to assemble. A naiad had brought him a big platter of pastries, and as Tantalus spoke, his right hand chased a chocolate eclair across the judge's table.

"You know it was fun to watch him chase food." Travis said.

Some gave him a look while others grinned.

"You all know the rules. A quarter-mile track. Twice around to win. Two horses per chariot. Each team will consist of a driver and a fighter. Weapons are allowed. Dirty tricks are expected. But try not to kill anybody!"

"That'll be good." Jason said.

"Well it did happen before. . . " An Apollo camper trailed off.

The older campers grimaced.

Tantalus smiled at us like we were all naughty children. "Any killing will result in harsh punishment. No s'mores at the campfire for a week!

"That's harsh punishment?" Jason asked disbelieveingly.

"What's a harsh punishment than?" Travis asked.

"Being dropped into a lake inside a bag full of weasels." Jason said.

Everyone gave him wide-eyed looks.

Now ready your chariots!"

Everyone leaned forward.

Beckendorf led the Hephaestus team onto the track.

Everyone looked down, sad.

The Hephaestus cabin looked the most sad out of the whole group.

Leo closed his eyes.

They had a sweet ride made of bronze and iron—even the horses, which were magical automatons like the Colchis bulls. I had no doubt that their chariot had all kinds of mechanical traps and more fancy options than a fully loaded Maserati.

The Hephaestus cabin smiled at that.

Leo opened his eyes.

"Beckendorf was good at making those. . . " Nyssa trailed off.

Everyone was thinking the same thing, Was.

The Ares chariot was bloodred, and pulled by two grisly horse skeletons.

Nico didn't know if he liked that or not.

Clarisse climbed aboard with a batch of javelins, spiked balls, caltrops, and a bunch of other nasty toys.

"Toys?" A camper asked.

"That's Percy for you." Thalia said shaking her head.

Everyone smiled sadly.

How they wished he was there.


The Apollo cabin cheered.

chariot was trim and graceful and completely gold, pulled by two beautiful palominos. Their fighter was armed with a bow, though he had promised not to shoot regular pointed arrows at the opposing drivers.

The Ares cabin grumbled.

"The hunters are way better anyway." Thalia grinned.

The Apollo cabin began to protest.

"Quiet children. Continue Harley." Chiron said making peace.

Nobody noticed but Nico looked down when Thalia mentioned hunters.

And there was more than one reason for that.


The Hermes cabin cheered.

Travis and Connor high-fived.

chariot was green and kind of old-looking, as if it hadn't been out of the garage in years.

Travis suddenly whistled loudly.

It didn't look like anything special, but it was manned by the Stoll brothers

Said brother grinned so wide that the people who sat the closest to them scooted away stately.

, and I shuddered to think what dirty tricks they'd schemed up.

The brother's grinned even wider.

Everyone, now, gave them nervous looks.

That left two chariots: one driven by Annabeth, and the other by me.

Annabeth smiled.

"This should be interesting." Leo said.

"Oh it was." Clarisse said.

Leo eyed her silently.

Before the race began, I tried to approach Annabeth and tell her about my dream.

Travis leaned over to Connor," Bet you ten dollars it won't go right."

Connor grinned," Your on."

She perked up when I mentioned Grover, but when I told her what he'd said, she seemed to get distant again, suspicious.

Travis smiled.

"Good to know your suspicious." Grover said looking at Annabeth.

Annabeth smiled sheepishly.

"You're trying to distract me," she decided.

"That was very wise." Thalia teased the daughter of Athena.

"Shut up, Thalia."

"What? No I'm not!"

"Nope. He's not." Nico said matter-of-factly.

"Oh, right! Like Grover would just happen to stumble across the one thing that could save the camp."

"Oh the irony." A Camper called.

Some people laughed.

Annabeth made a face.

"What do you mean?"

"There's kelp head for you." Thalia said to Nico.

Nico nodded and Thalia turned away.

Nico, if you looked closely, had a slight tent of pink on his cheeks.

She rolled her eyes. "Go back to your chariot, Percy."

Travis grinned.

He was about to win a bet . . .

"I'm not making this up. He's in trouble, Annabeth."

"Sorry Grover." Annabeth said.

"It's okay, Annabeth." Grover said.

"I can't look at him without picturing him in a dress." A camper whispered.

Grover blushed.

Chiron didn't know if he should scold said camper or smile.

She hesitated. I could tell she was trying to decide whether or not to trust me. Despite our occasional fights,

"Occasional?" Nico asked raising an eyebrow.

"More like all the time." Thalia said.

Annabeth glared at them.

They just smiled sweetly at her.

On the son of Hades it was a sight to behold.

Some campers blinked in surprise.

we'd been through a lot together. And I knew she would never want anything bad to happen to Grover.

"Or any of his family." Thalia said.

"And his friends." Nico continued.

"Even enemies." Annabeth finished.

Jason stared at them.

Percy sounded like a sight t behold.

"Percy, an empathy link is so hard to do. I mean, it's more likely you really were dreaming."

"Or he wasn't. . . " Nico trailed off.

"Okay I get it." Annabeth said.

"The Oracle," I said. "We could consult the Oracle."

The older campers shivered.

That thing was creepy.

And they weren't thinking about Rachel.

Annabeth frowned.

Like she was now. . .

Last summer, before my quest, I'd visited the strange spirit that lived in the Big House attic and it had given me a prophecy that came true in ways I'd never expected.

"That's what's suppost to happen. You let the prophecy play itself out." An Athena camper said.

Leo couldn't help but thinking about the prophecy of seven.

To storm or fire the world must fall . . . fire.

The experience had freaked me out for months. Annabeth knew I'd never suggest going back there if I wasn't completely serious.

Everyone nodded.

Before she could answer, the conch horn sounded.

Travis grinned but Connor did too.

"Charioteers!" Tantalus called. "To your mark!"

Everyone leaned in.

This should be interesting.

"We'll talk later," Annabeth told me, "after I win."

Travis turned to Connor," I win."

"No I do."

"No I do."







"Yes . . . dang it." Connor said.

Travis grinned and held out his hand.

Connor grinned back and place a wrapper in his hand.

Travis grinned, and without looking, put the paper in his hand his pocket.

Connor smirked.

As I was walking back to my own chariot, I noticed how many more pigeons were in the trees now—

Campers that were there grimaced.

Why hadn't we noticed? was thought by many.

screeching like crazy, making the whole forest rustle. Nobody else seemed to be paying them much attention, but they made me nervous.

"He does have good instincts." Annabeth said quietly to Thalia.

"Yeah, he just doesn't use them." Thalia said back.

Annabeth nodded in agreement.

Their beaks glinted strangely. Their eyes seemed shinier than regular birds.

The older campers sighed.

Lesson learned: Watch out for birds.

Tyson was having trouble getting our horses under control. I had to talk to them a long time before they would settle down.

"I still think it's cool how he can talk to horses." A camper said.

"I wish he was here." Annabeth muttered.

The horses did too.

They couldn't stop whining.

He's a monster, lord! they complained to me.

"Yes but a nice one." Leo said.

He's a son of Poseidon, I told them. Just like ... well, just like me.

"Just a little different." Thalia said.

"But they both have the same heart." Annabeth smiled.

No! they insisted. Monster! Horse-eater! Not trusted!

"I don't think Tyson would est them." Jason said.

The other campers nodded.

I'll give you sugar cubes at the end of the race, I said.

The Hermes cabin grinned.

Sugar cubes?

"Looks like that worked." Nico said.

Very big sugar cubes. And apples. Did I mention the apples?

Everyone smiled.

That was just like Percy.

Finally they agreed to let me harness them.

"Well if I was promised sugar cubes I would too." Travis said to Katie.

Katie rolled her eyes but she smiled at the joke.

Travis smiled.

Oh how he loved that smile. . . .

Now, if you've never seen a Greek chariot, it's built for speed, not safety or comfort.

Jason laughed," Ours aren't either."

Everyone gave him a curious looks.

(Remember Percy and Frank? )

It's basically a wooden basket, open at the back, mounted on an axle between two wheels. The driver stands up the whole time,

"Talk about foot massage." An Aphrodite camper said.

Everyone rolled their eyes.

Piper sighed.

and you can feel every bump in the road. The carriage is made of such light wood that if you wipe out making the hairpin turns at either end of the track,

Travis and Connor grimaced.

They didn't even get the chance and it hurt a lot.

you'll probably tip over and crush both the chariot and yourself. It's an even better rush than skateboarding.

"You know I never seen him skateboard." Nico said.

"Well I never seen you either." Thalia said.

Nico blushed.

I took the reins and maneuvered the chariot to the starting line. I gave Tyson a ten-foot pole and told him that his job was to push the other chariots away if they got too close, and to deflect anything they might try to throw at us.

"Weird weapon to choose." A camper said from the back of the crowd.

"No hitting ponies with the stick," he insisted.

Everyone smiled.

Tyson was just so cute.

"No," I agreed. "Or people, either, if you can help it. We're going to run a clean race. Just keep the distractions away and let me concentrate on driving."

"That would be good."

Everyone looked around but didn't know who said that.

( I know who said that *smiled evilly*)

"We will win.'" He beamed.

The Aphrodite cabin cooed.

We are so going to lose, I thought to myself, but I had to try.

"He doesn't think much of himself does he? "Jason ask.d.

" Well he was at first." Annabeth said trailing off.

I wanted to show the others ... well, I wasn't sure what, exactly.

Some heads tilted.

That Tyson wasn't such a bad guy? That I wasn't ashamed of being seen with him in public?

"He was ashamed?" Leo asked confused.

A LOT of people looked down guilty.

Maybe that they hadn't hurt me with all their jokes and name calling?

Some bit their lips.

They were so meant to Tyson and Percy . . .

. . . and now neither was there.

Jason blinked.

He didn't understand.

As the chariots lined up, more shiny-eyed pigeons gathered in the woods.

"Those birds again." Leo said.

Some took a breath.

They were screeching so loudly the campers in the stands were starting to take notice, glancing nervously at the trees, which shivered under the weight of the birds.

"Is it me or are there more?" Piper asked.

The campers looked at each other.

They didn't know what to say.

Tantalus didn't look concerned, but he did have to speak up to be heard over the noise.

"Of course he wasn't. He was too busy chasing a donut." Connor said.

Everyone laughed.

"Remember when Percy told him to do that?" Travis asked.

Everyone nodded.

Leo couldn't wait to meet this guy.

"Charioteers!" he shouted. "Attend your mark!"

Everyone leaned forward.

He waved his hand and the starting signal dropped.

"Here we go!" A camper yelled excitedly.

The chariots roared to life. Hooves thundered against the dirt. The crowd cheered.

Everyone grinned.

Even the ones that knew what was going to happen next.

Almost immediately there was a loud nasty crack! I looked back in time to see the Apollo chariot flip over.

The Apollo cabin groaned.

Thalia smirked.

The Hermes chariot had rammed into it—maybe by mistake, maybe not.

"Mistake." Travis admitted.

"Ehh but it worked." Connor said.

The riders were thrown free, but their panicked horses dragged the golden chariot diagonally across the track.

"And there goes a team." Nico said.

The Hermes team, Travis and Connor Stoll,

Everyone glanced at Travis and Connor.

They both grinned.

were laughing at their good luck, but not for long.

"Well. . . it almost worked." Connor corrected sheepishly.

Everyone laughed.

The Apollo horses crashed into theirs,

"That's like instant karma." Piper said.

Everyone nodded.

The Stolls grumbled.

and the Hermes chariot flipped too, leaving a pile of broken wood and four rearing horses in the dust.

"That hurt." Travis commented.

Two chariots down in the first twenty feet.

"That has to be a record." Leo said.

"It's not." Malcom said.

Leo's eyes went wide.

I loved this sport.

"That's Percy for you." Annabeth grinned.

I turned my attention back to the front. We were making good time, pulling ahead of Ares,

The Ares cabin growled.

but Annabeth's chariot was way ahead of us. She was already making her turn around the first post, her javelin man grinning and waving at us, shouting: "See ya!"

"Well that's arrogant." Piper said.

The Hephaestus chariot was starting to gain on us, too.

Leo and his cabin cheered.

Beckendorf pressed a button, and a panel slid open on the side of his chariot.

The Hephaestus cabin grinned.

"Sorry, Percy!" he yelled. Three sets of balls and chains shot straight toward our wheels.

"Well that's not good." A camper said.

Everyone shhed him.

They would've wrecked us completely if Tyson hadn't whacked them aside with a quick swipe of his pole.

"Go Tyson!" The crowd cheered.

Chiron smiled.

He gave the Hephaestus chariot a good shove and sent them skittering sideways while we pulled ahead.

The cheering continued.

"Nice work, Tyson!" I yelled.

"Birds!" he cried.

Then, abruptly, the cheering stopped.


We were whipping along so fast it was hard to hear or see anything, but Tyson pointed toward the woods and I saw what he was worried about.

"Birds." Annabeth said refuring to the title.

The pigeons had risen from the trees. They were spiraling like a huge tornado, heading toward the track.

"That's scary." Leo said.

No big deal, I told myself. They're just pigeons.

"Right, they are." An older camper grumbled.

I tried to concentrate on the race.

Everyone took a breath.

We made our first turn, the wheels creaking under us, the chariot threatening to tip,

Everyone stared at Harley wanting his to continue.

but we were now only ten feet behind Annabeth.

"Annabeth they're gaining on you." Travis said.

Annabeth rolled her eyes.

If I could just get a little closer, Tyson could use his pole….

"Or. . . ."

Annabeth's fighter wasn't smiling now.

Everyone snorted.

He pulled a javelin from his collection and took aim at me. He was about to throw when we heard the screaming.

Everyone winced.

That wasn't a good sign.

The pigeons were swarming—thousands of them dive-bombing the spectators in the stands, attacking the other chariots.

"Those things hurt too." Will said.

Beckendorf was mobbed.

Leo winced.

His fighter tried to bat the birds away but he couldn't see anything.

"Well there was a lot of birds." Katie said.

Everyone that was there nodded.

The chariot veered off course and plowed through the strawberry fields, the mechanical horses steaming.

Some of the Demeter cabin looked down saddened.

In the Ares chariot, Clarisse barked an order to her fighter, who quickly threw a screen of camouflage netting over their basket.

"Your still racing?" Piper asked.

Clarisse shrugged.

The birds swarmed around it, pecking and clawing at the fighter's hands as he tried to hold up the net, but Clarisse just gritted her teeth and kept driving.

"You really want to win. "Jason said to Clarisse.

Clarisse shrugged again.

Her skeletal horses seemed immune to the distraction. The pigeons pecked uselessly at their empty eye sockets and flew through their rib cages, but the stallions kept right on running.

Nico was sided on liking those horses.

"Well that's an advantage." Harley said stopping reading.

Everyone stared at him and he started reading quickly.

The spectators weren't so lucky. The birds were slashing at any bit of exposed flesh, driving everyone into a panic.

"They hurt so bad." Was heard around the crowd.

Now that the birds were closer, it was clear they weren't normall pigeons.

"Well I didn't know that." Thalia said sarcastically.

Their eyes were beady and evil-looking. Their beaks were made of bronze, and judging from the yelps of the campers, they must've been razor sharp.

"They were." Will said," I had to heal almost everyone."

Everyone nodded.

"Stymphalian birds!" Annabeth yelled. She slowed down and pulled her chariot alongside mine. "They'll strip everyone to bones if we don't drive them away!"

"Just like those . . .sheep." Grover shivered.

Annabeth patted his back.

"Tyson," I said, "we're turning around!"

"Going the wrong way?" he asked.

"Yep." Leo said popping the 'p'.

"Always," I grumbled, but I steered the chariot toward the stands.

"What does he mean by that?" A camper asked.

Nobody answered.

They didn't have the answer.

Annabeth rode right next to me. She shouted, "Heroes, to arms!" But I wasn't sure anyone could hear her over the screeching of the birds and the general chaos.

"Most didn't." A camper informed.

"Good to know." Annabeth mumbled.

I held my reins in one hand and managed to draw Riptide as a wave of birds dived at my face, their metal beaks snapping.

"Get them!" Connor yelled.

Everyone was thinking along the same lines.

I slashed them out of the air and they exploded into dust and feathers, but there were still millions of them left. One nailed me in the back end and I almost jumped straight out of the chariot.

Everyone laughed.

It was funny. . .

Annabeth wasn't having much better luck. The closer we got to the stands, the thicker the cloud of birds became.

"That . . . sucks." Leo said.

Annabeth nodded.

Some of the spectators were trying to fight back. The Athena campers were calling for shields. The archers from Apollo's cabin brought out their bows and arrows, ready to slay the menace, but with so many campers mixed in with the birds, it wasn't safe to shoot.

"The hunters could shoot them." Thalia said grinning.

The Apollo cabin scowled at her.

"Too many!" I yelled to Annabeth. "How do you get rid of them?"

"Noise." Annabeth said.

She stabbed at a pigeon with her knife. "Hercules used noise! Brass bells! He scared them away with the most horrible sound he could—" Her eyes got wide. "Percy ... Chiron's collection!"

Chiron looked fended.

Annabeth smiled sheepishly.

I understood instantly. "You think it'll work?"

"Yes!" Most of the campers yelled.

Now Chiron was fended.

She handed her fighter the reins and leaped from her chariot into mine like it was the easiest thing in the world.

"It was Seaweed Brain." Annabeth said.

"To the Big House! It's our only chance!"

"GO!" Campers yelled.

Clarisse has just pulled across the finish line, completely unopposed,

"Well that's cheating." Travis stated.

Clarisse glared at him.

and seemed to notice for the first time how serious the bird problem was.

"Wow." Thalia said sarcastically.

"Shut up!"

When she saw us driving away, she yelled, "You're running? The fight is here, cowards!"

"Oh, we love you to Clarisse." Connor said.

Clarisse growled.

She drew her sword and charged for the stands.

"And there she goes!" Travis yelled.

"If you don't -" Clarisse was cut off by Harley reading faster.

I urged our horses into a gallop. The chariot rumbled through the strawberry fields, across the volleyball pit, and lurched to a halt in front of the Big House .Annabeth and I ran inside, tearing down the hallway to Chiron's apartment.

Everyone leaned forward.

His boom box was still on his nightstand. So were his favorite CDs. I grabbed the most repulsive one I could find, Annabeth snatched the boom box, and together we ran back outside.

Chiron humphed," There classics."

Down at the track, the chariots were in flames. Wounded campers ran in every direction, with birds shred-ding their clothes and pulling out their hair, while Tantalus chased breakfast pastries around the stands, every once in a while yelling, "Everything's under control! Not to worry.'"

"What an idiot." Leo said.

"He was one." Annabeth said.

Everyone agreed.

We pulled up to the finish line. Annabeth got the boom box ready. I prayed the batteries weren't dead.

"That would suck." Jason said.

"Yes it would." Connor said.

I pressed PLAY and started up Chiron's favorite—the All-Time Greatest Hits of Dean Martin.

Chiron smiled.

Suddenly the air was filled with violins and a bunch of guys moaning in Italian.

Everyone groaned.

The demon pigeons went nuts. They started flying in circles, running into each other like they wanted to bash their own brains out.

"Probably did." Travis said with sympathy.

Then they abandoned the track altogether and flew skyward in a huge dark wave.

"Now!" shouted Annabeth. "Archers!"

Everyone cheered.

With clear targets, Apollo's archers had flawless aim. Most of them could nock five or six arrows at once.

The Apollo cabin grinned.

Within minutes, the ground was littered with dead bronze-beaked pigeons, and the survivors were a distant trail of smoke on the horizon.

Everyone cheered and the arena vibrated.

The camp was saved, but the wreckage wasn't pretty. Most of the chariots had been completely destroyed. Almost everyone was wounded, bleeding from multiple bird pecks.

Everyone winced.

The kids from Aphrodite's cabin were screaming because their hairdos had been ruined and their clothes pooped on.

Piper groaned.

The Aphrodite cabin shrieked in disgust.

"Bravo!" Tantalus said, but he wasn't looking at me or Annabeth. "We have our first winner!"

"What?" Some asked.

He walked to "He finish line and awarded the golden laurels for the race to a stunned-looking Clarisse.

Then he turned and smiled at me. "And now to punish the troublemakers who disrupted this race."

"What the heck!" A lot of people screamed.

"That's just not right." Leo said shaking his head.

"Alright campers. Time for bed." Chiron said still upset about his collection.

The crowd groaned.

Later that night you could hear this yell from the Hermes cabin," CONNOR!"

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