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III

Family Loyalty (Or Lack Of)

Arabelle wasn't much of a scholar but there were days when she wondered what Camp Half-Blood had looked like in the days before Kronos had attacked Manhattan. There were days when she wished she could have been there and experienced the tense atmosphere. She guessed that she wouldn't be exaggerating when she thought that it wasn't unlike how Camp Half-Blood was now.

Tense.

Disorderly.

Cacophonous.

And there were days when she thought that the atmosphere at Camp Half-Blood during the present day was worse than the atmosphere back then.


The camp was surrounded in chaos as usual, so it wasn't much of a surprise when more fights broke out among the cabins. This time the cabins were fighting over the Nike cabin and who would join what side. Some of the boats that carried some of Percy's allies had set to the waters on accident and others on purpose. Verbal and physical fights alike broke out among everyone and no one was without a bruise or two. Sometimes the injures were far worse.

Arabelle Dames, seventeen years old but not yet councilor of the Aeolus cabin, was one of many campers who tried to stay away from most of the fighting. This meant she was neutral for now, and being neutral meant you were automatically everyone's enemy.

She sat on the steps of the Aeolus cabin and watched as the endless fighting took place. One Nike camper was starting to throw punches long after the others had. The other campers were watching but some were trying to avoid the fighting. Arabelle and her siblings simply waited out in their cabin until most of the fighting was over for the day. However, unlike Arabelle, they had all chosen Zeus's side because of their father, Aeolus. They all felt loyalty towards their father but Arabelle didn't want that to cloud over the real reasons for staying neutral. All this fighting was pointless in her opinion but each side felt...correct. Zeus was protecting the gods against future traitors and enemies but at the same time she didn't believe that Percy Jackson, the Percy Jackson who saved the gods from Kronos, would attack camp. She couldn't believe he would do something outrageous like that.

But with so many witnesses... She simply did not want to be caught in this fight, or at least not sink further into the ground.

She felt the concrete underneath her hands and she tensed them as the Nike camper threw another punch at the other guy's face. Her own face was bruised slightly from the many angry campers who wanted everyone to choose a side. All this fighting was wrong. The camp was just tearing itself apart.

“Arabelle, you have to choose a side sooner or later.” She looked up and saw her half-brother watching the fighting with a pained look on his face. She didn't answer him right away and instead turned back to the two campers. A crowd had begun to form around them.

“How can they be fighting like this? Don't they see that fighting only tears us apart?” she half asked, half said to herself.

“Arabelle, we're in a war right now. Do you expect everyone to think rationally?”

He has a point there, she thought. But if I had to choose a side... She looked at the fighting and shuddered. She didn't want to be around all this fighting, all this hate, but both sides had equal amounts. But if she thought about it in a rational way... In a way, Poseidon was defending and Zeus was attacking...

“Poseidon.” she murmured and stood up from the concrete steps. Her half-brother looked at her and frowned. “What are you doing?”

“Going to the boats.”

“They probably all left already--”

“I have a pegasus. I could at least follow them.” she replied and held his gaze. He finally sighed in defeat. “Go. But you know you can't come back. At least not until all this fighting has stopped.”

“I know.” She gave him a small smile that he returned, but neither said anything else. She stepped inside the cabin and began to gather items she would need. When she had finished packing, she slung her backpack over her shoulder and fit her spear into her right palm.

She slowly walked out of the Aeolus cabin to find the stables where the pegasi stayed. She didn't know if all the boats had set sail yet, but she at least wanted to say goodbye.

When she stepped inside the stables, all the pegasi looked up at her with curiosity. She passed by them and found a pure white pegasus with amber eyes. When she reached her left hand out to pet its head it nuzzled her hand in response. She smiled at the action but the smile soon faded into a frown. “I have to leave for a little while, Sparks, but I promise that I'll be back soon. Don't be too fussy while I'm gone, okay?” Her frown lifted into a sad smile as she walked away from the pegasus. It looked at her in confusion as she walked away from the stables and towards the canoes. While she walked, she took notice of the glances that were thrown her way. Some angry. Other relieved. Others indifferent about it all.

When she reached the few canoes that hadn't yet set off, she turned one last time to look at Camp Half-Blood. After her mother had died, this place was her home and now she was leaving it and didn't know when she would be coming back. If she would be coming back. The trees seemed to be closing up the view of camp, like they knew she wasn't welcome until this fighting had all ended. And they might have known since the dryads were almost always watching, but she didn't really expect them to choose a side in all this. Barely any of the satyrs had.

She let out a slow breath, turned back to the canoes, and clambered into the nearest one.

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