The mark of Athena page 1


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Chapter 1Until she met the exploding statue, Annabeth assumed she was prepared for anything.She’d paced the deck of their flying warship, the Argo II, checking and also double-checking the ballistae come make sure they to be locked down. She confirmed that the white “We come in peace” flag to be flying indigenous the mast. She the evaluation the arrangement with the rest of the crew—and the back-up plan, and also the backup arrangement for the backup plan.Most important, she pulled aside your war-crazed chaperone, Coach Gleeson Hedge, and encouraged that to take the morning off in his cabin and watch reruns of blended martial arts championships. The last point they necessary as they flew a miracle Greek trireme right into a potentially hostile roman inn camp was a middle-aged satyr in gym clothing waving a club and also yelling “Die!”Everything appeared to be in order. Even that secret chill she’d to be feeling since the ship launched had dissipated, at the very least for now.The warship descended with the clouds, however Annabeth couldn’t avoid second-guessing herself. What if this was a negative idea? What if the Romans panicked and also attacked lock on sight?The Argo II absolutely did no look friendly. 2 hundred feet long, v a bronze-plated hull, placed repeating crossbows fore and aft, a flaming metal dragon for a figurehead, and two rotating ballistae amidships that could fire explosive bolts powerful enough come blast through concrete…well, the wasn’t the most suitable ride because that a meet-and-greet through the neighbors.Annabeth had tried to give the Romans a heads-up. She’d inquiry Leo to send one of his one-of-a-kind inventions—a holographic scroll—to alert their friends within the camp. Hopefully the blog post had gained through. Leo had actually wanted to paint a huge message ~ above the bottom of the hull—WASSUP? v a smiley face—but Annabeth vetoed the idea. She wasn’t sure the Romans had actually a feeling of humor.Too so late to turn back now.The clouds broke around their hull, revealing the gold-and-green carpet of the Oakland Hills listed below them. Annabeth gripped one of the bronze shields that lined the starboard rail.Her 3 crewmates took their places.On the stern quarterdeck, Leo rushed around like a madman, checking his gauges and also wrestling levers. Many helmsmen would’ve to be satisfied through a pilot’s wheel or a tiller. Leo had additionally installed a keyboard, monitor, aviation controls indigenous a Learjet, a dubstep soundboard, and also motion-control sensors from a Nintendo Wii. He could turn the delivery by pulling ~ above the throttle, fire weapons by sampling one album, or raise sails by shiver his Wii controllers really fast. Also by demigod standards, Leo was seriously ADHD.Piper paced ago and forth between the mainmast and the ballistae, practicing her lines.“Lower her weapons,” she murmured. “We simply want come talk.”Her charmspeak was so powerful, the indigenous flowed end Annabeth, filling her through the desire to drop she dagger and have a nice long chat.For a kid of Aphrodite, Piper tried hard to play down her beauty. This particular day she to be dressed in tattered jeans, worn-out sneakers, and also a white tank optimal with pink Hello Kitty designs. (Maybe as a joke, despite Annabeth might never be certain with Piper.) her choppy brown hair to be braided down the best side v an eagle’s feather.Then there was Piper’s boyfriend—Jason. The stood in ~ the bow ~ above the increased crossbow platform, wherein the Romans could easily point out him. His knuckles to be white top top the hilt that his gold sword. Otherwise the looked calm because that a male who to be making himself a target. End his jeans and also orange Camp Half-Blood T-shirt, he’d donned a toga and a purple cloak—symbols that his old rank as praetor. With his wind-ruffled blond hair and also his icy blue eyes, the looked ruggedly handsome and also in control—just favor a child of Jupiter should. He’d grown up in ~ Camp Jupiter, so hopefully his familiar confront would do the Romans unconvinced to punch the ship the end of the sky.Annabeth tried come hide it, yet she tho didn’t fully trust the guy. That acted too perfect—always complying with the rules, constantly doing the honorable thing. He also looked too perfect. In the ago of her mind, she had a nagging thought: What if this is a trick and also he betrays us? What if we sail into Camp Jupiter, and he says, Hey, Romans! inspect out this prisoners and also this cool delivery I carried you!Annabeth wondered about that would happen. Still, she couldn’t look at him without gaining a bitter taste in she mouth. He’d been component of Hera’s forced “exchange program” to introduce the two camps. Her many Annoying Majesty, Queen that Olympus, had encouraged the other gods that their 2 sets of children—Roman and also Greek—had to combine forces to save the human being from the angry goddess Gaea, that was awakening from the earth, and also her horrible kids the giants.Without warning, Hera had actually plucked increase Percy Jackson, Annabeth’s boyfriend, delete everything his memory, and also sent him to the roman inn camp. In exchange, the Greeks had gained Jason. No one of the was Jason’s fault; yet every time Annabeth experienced him, she remembered just how much she let go Percy.Percy…who to be somewhere listed below them right now.Oh, gods. Panic welled up inside her. She forced it down. She couldn’t afford to get overwhelmed.I’m a son of Athena, she called herself. I need to stick to mine plan and also not acquire distracted.She felt the again—that familiar shiver, as if a psychotic snowman had crept increase behind her and was breathing under her neck. She turned, however no one was there.Must be her nerves. Also in a world of gods and also monsters, Annabeth couldn’t think a brand-new warship would be haunted. The Argo II to be well protected. The Celestial bronze shields follow me the rail were enchanted come ward off monsters, and their onboard satyr, Coach Hedge, would have sniffed out any intruders.Annabeth wished she can pray come her mommy for guidance, but that wasn’t feasible now. No after last month, when she’d had that horrible encounter v her mom and also gotten the worst current of her life.…The cold pressed closer. She thought she heard a pass out voice in the wind, laughing. Every muscle in she body tensed. Miscellaneous was about to walk terribly wrong.She virtually ordered Leo to turning back course. Then, in the valley below, horns sounded. The Romans had spotted them.Annabeth believed she knew what come expect. Jason had defined Camp Jupiter to her in great detail. Still, she had trouble believing her eyes. Ringed through the Oakland Hills, the valley was at least twice the size of Camp Half-Blood. A tiny river snaked about one side and curled towards the facility like a capital letter G, emptying right into a sparkling blue lake.Directly listed below the ship, nestled in ~ the edge of the lake, the city of brand-new Rome gleamed in the sunlight. She well-known landmarks Jason had actually told she about—the hippodrome, the coliseum, the temples and parks, the neighborhood of 7 Hills through its winding streets, vibrant villas, and flowering gardens.She saw evidence of the Romans’ recent battle with an military of monsters. The dome was cracked open up on a structure she guessed was the Senate House. The forum’s wide plaza was pitted v craters. Some fountains and statues were in ruins.Dozens of kids in togas were streaming the end of the Senate house to obtain a much better view the the Argo II. Much more Romans arised from the shops and cafés, gawking and also pointing as the delivery descended.About fifty percent a mile to the west, wherein the horns to be blowing, a Roman fort stood on a hill. That looked as with the illustrations Annabeth had actually seen in military background books—with a protective trench lined v spikes, high walls, and watchtowers armed with scorpion ballistae. Inside, perfect rows of white barracks inside wall the main road—the Via Principalis.A column of demigods arised from the gates, your armor and spears glinting together they hurried toward the city. In the midst of your ranks was an actual war elephant.Annabeth want to soil the Argo II before those troops arrived, yet the ground was still numerous hundred feet below. She scanned the crowd, hope to capture a glimpse the Percy.Then other behind she went BOOM!The explosion nearly knocked her overboard. She whirled and found herself eye come eye with an angry statue.“Unacceptable!” the shrieked.Apparently he had actually exploded into existence, appropriate there top top the deck. Sulfurous yellow exhilaration rolled turn off his shoulders. Cinders popped approximately his curly hair. Indigenous the belt down, he was nothing yet a square marble pedestal. From the waist up, he was a muscular human number in a carved toga.“I will not have actually weapons within the Pomerian Line!” the announced in a fussy teacher voice. “I certainly will not have Greeks!”Jason shooting Annabeth a look the said, I’ve acquired this.“Terminus,” he said. “It’s me. Jason Grace.”“Oh, i remember you, Jason!” Terminus grumbled. “I assumed you had better sense 보다 to consort v the opponents of Rome!”“But they’re no enemies—”“That’s right,” Piper jumped in. “We simply want to talk. If us could—”“Ha!” snap the statue. “Don’t shot that charmspeak ~ above me, young lady. And also put down that dagger prior to I slap it the end of your hands!”Piper glanced at she bronze dagger, i m sorry she’d supposedly forgotten she to be holding. “Um…okay. However how would you slap it? friend don’t have any arms.”“Impertinence!” There to be a spicy POP and also a speed of yellow. Piper yelped and dropped the dagger, which was now smoking and sparking.“Lucky for you I’ve just been v a battle,” Terminus announced. “If ns were at complete strength, ns would’ve blasted this paris monstrosity out of the skies already!”“Hold up.” Leo stepped forward, wagging his Wii controller. “Did friend just speak to my ship a monstrosity? I understand you didn’t perform that.”The idea that Leo might strike the statue with his gaming maker was sufficient to snap Annabeth out of her shock.“Let’s all calm down.” She raised her hand to present she had no weapons. “I take it you’re Terminus, the god the boundaries. Jason called me you protect the city of new Rome, right? I’m Annabeth Chase, daughter of—”“Oh, I know who you are!” The frosting glared in ~ her v its empty white eyes. “A child of Athena, Minerva’s Greek form. Scandalous! friend Greeks have no feeling of decency. Us Romans understand the appropriate place for that goddess.”Annabeth clenched she jaw. This frostbite wasn’t do it straightforward to it is in diplomatic. “What exactly do friend mean, that goddess? and what’s therefore scandalous about—”“Right!” Jason interrupted. “Anyway, Terminus, we’re right here on a mission the peace. We’d love permission to land so we can—”“Impossible!” the god squeaked. “Lay under your weapons and surrender! leave my city immediately!”“Which is it?” Leo asked. “Surrender, or leave?”“Both!” Terminus said. “Surrender, climate leave. I am slapping your challenge for asking such a stupid question, you man boy! do you feel that?”“Wow.” Leo studied Terminus with experienced interest.

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“You’re wound increase pretty tight. Friend got any type of gears in there that require loosening? I can take a look.”He exchanged the Wii controller because that a driver from his magic tool belt and tapped the statue’s pedestal.