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Veronica Kamwetz

XVI

A Fallen Friend

A man stood on the edge of the cliff. From his face, I'd guess he was in his mid-forties. He had salt-and-pepperish hair that probably had been black in his youth. He turned around and looked at me with sea-green eyes.

"Veronica," he said. "Daughter of Nike. You have to leave. Fast. I don't know where you are... But you need to get out... You and JT will be the deciders for the rest of eternity. Your being here can make or break everything.

"We NEED you."

I woke up and shook off my demigod dream. It was brutal in a psychological way. That man... it was Percy Jackson, the real leader of the Olympian League. I saw the rest of Team Delta lying in a pile beside me. Only Josh was not in the pile, being only a few feet away.

Desmond and Emma were just waking up and I calmed myself down enough to look around. We were in some kind of arena... there were a bunch of animal corpses in the middle. My first instinct was to make sure Monty wasn't one of the corpses, but I quickly realized there was more important things to worry about. Maxwell Eir was standing in front of Josh, glaring evilly at him.

"Hey, Eir!" I shouted. I figured if I could distract him from Josh, Desmond, Emma, and I could take Maxwell down. But while Maxwell did glance at me, all he did was snap his fingers.

I'm guessing the finger-snap was a signal because Shirato leaped down from above and grabbed my throat. Desmond and Emma instantly struck at Shirato, but all of a sudden Cesar and Drake came out of nowhere and stopped them.

"Jack, now would be a good time to wake the Tartarus up," Desmond said.

And that's when a kid showed up and grabbed hold of the still-unconscious Jack and JT.

"Oh, Kamwetz, Moon, Halman, this is Blake Lavers, son of Pistis," Maxwell introduced. "Blake, this is Team Delta of the Olympian League."

"Cut the small talk," Drake Vapor said. "Let's just get to the Rest of Eternity."

You and JT will be the deciders for the rest of eternity. Percy Jackson's words jumped into my head.

"What's the Rest of Eternity?" I asked Blake.

"Burning Sun's latest strategem," Blake said. "It involves using meteoric weaponry and decaying carbon in order to harness the energy of true heroes to successfully annihilate Olympus. You see, this entire world contains huge amounts of meteoric minerals..."

"Blake, stop telling them EVERYTHING!" Shirato screamed. Blake's face visibly reddened. I'd deliberately chosen to ask him because, as a son of the honesty goddess, I figured he'd have a difficult time lying.

Decaying carbon and true heroes - that must be why they brought Team Delta into an arena with dead animals. We couldn't let them harness our energy. We had to do our part to protect Olympus.

JT subtly kicked Blake. Hard. Looks like the man was just pretending to be out cold.

Jack followed suit and drove his elbow into Shirato's face. Maxwell realized he was being outmatched and shouted, "Up, now!"

The rest of Liquid Fire followed him to the top of the arena and took some of the stone from the arena's walls. Meteoric stone.

Suddenly, I felt my strength leaving me. I was fading, and by the looks of it, so were the others.

I clasped JT's hand, hoping our minds could come up with some plan...

Then JT tossed me at Maxwell with the last of his strength, and fell over.

This was a terrible plan. From closer to Liquid Fire, my strength was depleting even faster. I let out a single scream. "Help!"

Then... nothing.

In front of me, I saw Monty was standing there. He had heard my scream and ran from who-knows how far to save us. The members of Liquid Fire all fell over, unconscious, from Monty's power.

"Monty..." I whispered. The giant rabbit was dying, no doubt about that. He looked at me with a big black eye and whispered a single word.

"Furrn." Friend. And then his eyes shut forevermore.

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