Mae and Addison were sitting on a couch in the ping-pong room. Mae was still wearing her flannel pants and white t-shirt from bed. Her hair had been french-braided, and she was not wearing her familiar headband. Her knees had been drawn up to her chest, and her arms encircled them. Her chin rested on her knees, and her eyes stared frozenly at the floor. For reasons unknown, Jason, Piper, Leo, and Annabeth had been summoned. Remy stood by Mae’s side.
"What was your dream about?" asked Chiron, gently. Mae took a shaky breath.
"I was running through the woods and was being chased by a woman." began Mae. Remy comfortingly put a hand on her shoulder.
"She kept trying to hurt someone. A boy. I kept screaming something about not killing him. She also said something referring to seven half-bloods. It reminded me of a poem. A depressing one." said Mae, still staring at the floor.
"Seven half-bloods shall answer the call. To storm or fire the world must fall. An oath to keep with a final breath, and foes bear arms to the Doors of Death." recited Annabeth. Mae nodded.
"That was it. She claimed the boy that we were taking about had to keep his oath." she responded. Annabeth looked lost in thought.
"Was there anything about the woman that might give us a hint of who she is?" asked Annabeth. Mae thought long and hard.
"She looked like she was surfing on land. It was like she wasn’t walking, and she sounded like she had just woken up." responded Mae. She saw a look of dread pass over everyone’s faces.
"Gaea," said Piper, solemnly. Mae’s brow wrinkled as she tried to remember who she was in Greek mythology.
"Mother Earth?" she guessed. Jason nodded mutely.
"What does she have to do with anything?" asked Mae.
"Earlier this summer, Gaea tried to awaken, and these three stopped her for the time being." explained Annabeth, nodding briefly at Jason, Piper, and Leo. Mae nodded.
"Why is that a bad thing though?" she asked.
"Gaea is trying to eliminate all the gods because she still resents them." said Annabeth, shortly. Mae nodded again while remembering the stories.
"Addison, what was your dream about?" asked Annabeth. He shifted uncomfortably with everyone’s eyes on him.
"It was Mae, but she was surrounded by light. She kept stomping the earth, and there was a hammer trying to smash clay beetles that kept pouring out of the ground," said Addison.
"Mae and I are going to be the ones that stomp out Gaea," said Leo. Annabeth nodded slowly.
"The hammer stands for Hephaestus, and Leo is his son," she explained, to Addison who looked confused. There was a gasp around the room as a glowing hammer appeared above Addison’s head.
"I think you have two more members to add to the group, Jason," said Chiron. They all kneeled.
"Hail, Addison Abbott, son of Hephaestus, god of fire and crafts and of blacksmiths." said Chiron. Leo looked up smiling.
"Hey, brother," he joked, weakly.
It as still early in the morning when they set off.
"We could use a son of Poseidon, right about now," said Leo, steering the large boat. The boat was big enough for all six half-bloods to live comfortably. Mae was still having a hard time processing all of that information and found a little nook on the backside of the ship. It was not very big but neither was Mae. She watched the water trail behind the boat. A feeling of loneliness crept over her. As soon as Addison had gotten claimed, he had become distant. She had made a few friends at camp, but they were not gone. Annabeth was a little too uptight, and she did not know Piper very well. Jason was too hot to be a very good friend. She would be too nervous to even get a sentence out. Leo. Leo was funny and extremely nice, but he was with Addison. There was a faint scratching noise. Addison was climbing down to the little nick. Mae scooted over as much as possible. It was still a tight squeeze.
"Whatcha doing?" asked Addison, as thought he had not been ignoring Mae for the entire boat ride.
"Hey," she said, smiling a little. Addison was then struck with how beautiful she really was. Her braids had been let loose, and the ribbons hung down the back of her fiery, wavy hair. Her familiar headband held back her hair from her freckled face. She was wearing a plain white, v-neck shirt; dark jeans; her dingy, blue, gray, and yellow converse; and a dark blue windbreaker.
"I found this in the storage room," said Addison, holding out a beautiful dark blue scarf with light blue beads. Mae’s dark blue eyes matched perfectly with it. Her smile was priceless. She took it slowly and gently wrapped it around her neck. Addison untucked her hair from the scarf and gently let it slide onto her back. Mae’s voice deserted her.
"It’s beautiful," she said, huskily. Addison smiled.
"Glad you think so," he said. All of a sudden, the day seemed a whole lot better.
"How far away are we from the other camp?" asked Mae, watching a fish dart away in the water.
"A couple of days," responded Addison. Mae glanced out of the corner of her eye at Addison. He had a strong jaw; milk chocolate brown eyes; and a tan face accented by his blond buzz cut. She had grown up with that face always hovering by while protecting her from all the mean kids. Because of his good looks, Addison was considered popular. Mae hung out with him and was considered "popular" as long as she was with him. It had always been hard to hang out with Addison at school since he was older, and all the girls considered Mae a threat. She got a threat to back away from him at least once a week. But still, Addison had kept her safe. Mae started to hum and gradually began to sing softly.
"When the sun goes down o’er Dublin town, the colors last for hours, oh, the lights come on, the night’s a song, and the streets all turn to gold. A gentle mist all heaven kissed, like teardrops off an angel’s wing, don’t you know you’ll cleanse your soul, with a walk in the Irish rain," sang Mae. Her voice echoed eerily off the walls of the rock walls surrounding the boat. Addison was speechless.
"Where did you learnt that song?" asked Addison.
"My grandma used to sing it to me when I was little. My family’s Irish, you know," said Mae, smiling whimsically. Piper’s head appeared over the top of the nook.
"Guys, we need you up top," said Piper. Her voice had an unspoken warning in it. Mae and Addison scrambled up to the top. The rock walls were widening out, but there was a too healthy looking plot of land in the middle of their path. The halfbloods stood uncertainly.
"Whatever it is, we should avoid it," said Mae. The others nodded in agreement, but as soon as they thought of it, it was like the island heard them. Whichever way they tried, the island blocked their exit.
"I don’t like this," mumbled Annabeth. Mae could not help but agree with her. Beautiful palm trees dotted the white sands.
"We have to drag the boat across the island," said Leo. Mae glanced at the island. There was something dark and forbidding about that little island. She gulped.
"Leo, do you have wheels for this thing?" she asked.
"Yeah, I’m a son of Hephaestus. I’m good at stuff like that." said Leo.
"Put ‘em on," ordered Jason. Leo gave him a look.
"We’re going to need to go as fast as possible across that sand," said Mae. Addison pulled a large crate filled with bits and pieces.
"I’ll help," said Addison. Leo docked the boat, and they got out uneasily. Everyone stayed on the boat while Addison and Leo hooked up the wheels.
"This is making me nervous," said Jason. Piper took his hand and squeezed it reassuringly. Leo half glanced at Mae, but she was too busy scanning the woods. Same with Annabeth.
"Hurry up," snapped Annabeth, gripping her dagger. Leo did not even crack any jokes he was working so hard. When they finally finished, the other four jumped out and hauled the rope connected to the boat. They made slow progress, and everyone was drenched in sweat by the time the boat moved ten feet.
"You couldn’t have made this thing any lighter?" gasped Jason. Leo rolled his eyes. No one’s eyes left the tree-line. When they finally made it halfway, something shifted. Mae jolted and pressed the button on her headband. An arrow was notched on the string and aimed directly at the thing.
"It’s a hippalectryon," said Annabeth. The thing had the foreparts of a rooster and the body of a horse. Four more stepped out.
"Will it eat us?" asked Mae.
"They are mostly tame," said Annabeth, a little uncertainly. A cyclops came out of the trees. An ugly snarl was etched on his face. More came pouring out of the trees.
"And then again, it wouldn’t hurt to just, umm, get rid of a few. Over-population can get pretty serious," said Leo. Mae’s arrows nailed two of the cyclops in the eye. They disintegrated. The teens put their backs into it and made much better time. One cyclops got extremely close. Somehow, he managed to avoid all the arrows that Mae shot. With a shriek, Mae ducked and rolled with some difficulty to the side as he struck. Her bow was too big for her to maneuver with. As if on cue, the bow shrank to a much more suitable size. Addison pulled out the wallet and pulled the golden card. It morphed into his battle axe. A scream echoed across the sandy dunes. Mae was shooting arrow after arrow into his body, but nothing was happening.
"Little girl, me wear armor. Arrow do not pierce." grunted the Cyclops, swinging his club. What they both mistook for his mottled skin was actually a strong hide used for armor.
"Aim for the head," shouted Annabeth, slashing her way through an army of hypalectryons. Mae did, but her arrow got embedded in his skull.
"Fancy helmet," grunted the cyclops, nearly stepping on her. Mae was getting desperate. Leo was frantically trying to remove the wheels so that they could get out of there, but he was too busy warding off the monsters to do so.
"Protect Leo and the ship!" shouted Addison, charging towards Mae. With agility beyond her years, Mae dodged a quick punch and rolled away to safety. This cyclops was slightly smarter than the average cyclops. He faked hitting her, and instead, he knocked her clean into a tree. Mae’s arm twisted weirdly, and she landed with a grunt. Addison hacked through the horde and ran directly at the cyclops. Since the cyclops had pointed out the armor, it was easy to distinguish from the rest of his skin. Addison caught him off guard, and with a heavy swing, he cut his head off. The rest of the monster’s body disintegrated. A blast of lighting eradicated the existence of the rest of the monsters. Addison rushed to Mae’s side. Tears streaked her filthy face, and she was very pale. The freckles stood out sharply in contrast. She clutched her arm and moaned. Addison pressed the button on the side of the bow, and it returned to a headband. He replaced the headpiece and scooped her up in his arms. Leo had finally gotten the wheels off.
"Climb aboard," shouted Leo, glancing uneasily at the fringe of foliage. The half-bloods sprinted over to the boat as they heard a roar from the palm trees. They set sail. Dozens of Cyclops and their animals came rushing out of the woods too late.
"Worst island ever," muttered Leo, at the helm. No one responded. Mae was given some Nectar and Ambrosia to heal the arm. Everyone took showers and got changed while they silently waited until they faced their next deathly challenge. Mae was made to rest by Annabeth.
When Mae woke up, she walked up to the deck and surveyed the land around her. In the distance, Mae could make out a fringe of little islands. Her arm was feeling better, but it still twinged.
"Where are we?" asked Mae.
"We have to travel through the Sea of Monster," responded Annabeth. She looked grim.
"The Sea of Monsters? With the Sirens and stuff?" asked Mae, horrified. Annabeth nodded, but her face was slightly twisted as though she as thinking of something humorous.
"How the heck are we supposed to live? Better yet, why don’t we avoid it?" asked Mae. Annabeth could not help but smile.
"You can’t avoid it unless you don’t want to reach the other side. The place is magic, and it will keep cropping up." said Annabeth.
"Remind me why we aren’t taking the land route?" asked Mae.
"Because of Gaea, she would kill us much easier from there," said Annabeth, still smiling. Mae could not see what was so funny.
"What are you laughing at?" she demanded. Annabeth smiled a little more mournfully this time.
"Because you sound just like Percy," said Annabeth. She left Mae with a wide open mouth on the deck.
Addison gazed into the distance but could hear the steady murmur of voices from Mae and Annabeth. He smiled at Mae’s questions and could imagine her face when she said those words. He turned to Leo.
"Hey, Leo, have you considered armor plating the sides of the ship?" asked Addison, trying to think of something other than Mae who accompanied his thoughts quite frequently lately. Leo grinned.
"That would be awesome!" said Leo, enthusiastically. The boys set to work while they sped onward towards the Sea of Monsters.
Jason stood puzzling over a map. Piper walked up behind him.
"What are you doing, Jason?" asked Piper.
"According to this map, we have to pass by the Sirens,and Scylla or Charybdis," said Jason. Worry filled his thoughts and creased his cute face. Piper glanced down at the map.
"How can you tell?" she asked, confused. Every letter swam out of focus.
"I’m Roman, remember? Latin is my language," said Jason. He rubbed his forehead and stared down at the paper.
"Come on. You need a break," urged Piper. Jason finally gave in and leaned up against the rail.
"How are we supposed to get past these creatures?" asked Jason. Piper did not know. She shrugged.
"I’m sure Annabeth will have thought of something," reassured Piper, laying a hand on his arm comfortingly. Jason nodded.
"Yeah, I’m glad someone else is here," he said. Piper felt a sharp jab at her heart. He acted like they had never done anything together. As if they had never had each other’s backs. Jason’s eyes widened when he realized how that came across.
"Oh, I’m sorry, Piper," he said, turning to her. "I didn’t mean it like that." Piper nodded but still felt miserable. It only confirmed her fears that Jason did not really need her. Mae walked up.
"Guys, in order to avoid the Sirens, we need to plug our ears with wax," said Mae, holding out a handful of wax. They gingerly took it. After plugging their ears, they waited to pass by the Sirens. They were not very beautiful, but they had their charm. Mae could not hear their voices. Such a surge of an overwhelming desire to pull them out overtook her. Without thinking, Mae attempted to pull an earplug out. Addison saw her hand go up, and he jumped across the deck. Mae hit the deck with Addison on top. He gripped her offending hand. Realization dawned on Mae’s face, and she mouthed thank you. Addison kept her hands pinned to her side but let her get up. Piper gazed at Mae being held by Addison and felt a pang of jealousy. Mae did not even like the guy, and he was holding her. At least, she pretended not to like him. They sailed by, and Piper turned around to go down below deck. Tears were streaming down Annabeth’s face as she stared without really seeing the Sirens. Piper was startled. Annabeth disappeared below deck.