Chapter 1~A Rude Awakening
I woke up to the second most annoying sound ever invented by mankind, the alarm clock. I hit the snooze button and went right back to sleep, only to be woken up when it went off about ten minutes later. It was a vicious cycle, the alarm clock would wake me up and I would go back to sleep, only for it to go off again.
“Ashton Faith!” I heard from the opposite side of my door, combined with the sound of knocking. “That is the fifth time it has gone off, if you don’t wake up you will be late for your last day of school!”
“What’s the point Mom? I mean all my exams are finished and no one is going to be there,” I called back as I placed a pillow over my head to try and block out the noise.
“Well if no one is there, I’ll let you walk home,” she called back and I knew anymore arguing would be useless. “Now come down, I made you some French toast.”
As much as I didn’t want to wake up, I couldn’t really say no to French toast, especially when it was made by my mom. She had her own specially way of making it, adding applesauce to the batter in order to give it the faintest taste of apples. Just then the alarm clock started buzzing again and I felt the urge to toss it out the window.
I got up a moment later and walked over to my dresser to pull out some clothes. The city of Albany and all the towns bordering it were experiencing one of the worst heat waves in modern times and I wished that maybe the Ice Elemental could escape from the man I had called the Collector, and pay my city a visit. As far as searching for the other Elemental spheres, I had kind of left that to the other demigods at Camp Half-Blood. My quest was finished, I had retrieved the Earth Sphere, but no one ever said I had to be the only one to find them. Shortly after the quest last winter, I returned home because of school. Aisling also returned to her family outside Philadelphia and Kimi decided she would stay at camp, not really having any place else to go.
We kept in touch over the past few months, mostly using Iris Messages as cell phones were out of the question. It wasn’t like I wanted to let every monster in the New York area to know I was here. We even figured out that Iris could make a three-way rainbow for an additional drachma. Last time we talked, Aisling talked about a cross country trip that her family was planning on, something she was very excited about. Her school didn’t have as many snow days this year as we had, so she got off school almost a full week before me and was currently somewhere in Ohio. Kimi on the other hand was still at camp, practicing archery and learning a few things about healing from the Apollo cabin, which she spent a lot of time with.
She had also informed me of various groups searching for the Elemental Spheres in order to try and summon some kind of greater power to prevent them from fighting, but with little luck. The Elementals themselves had been keeping a low profile for the past several months. Even though Fire was still missing, something had stopped them from fighting for the time being, maybe for fear of being captured themselves.
However, that didn’t mean there weren’t any problems at all. For example, last week at my school, a kid had snuck into the swimming pool and went to do a cannon ball into the water. The only problem was that all the water in the pool turned to air and the kid broke his leg. While he tried to tell everyone that the water simply vanished, the Mist convinced everyone that the pool had been drained for cleaning and the student just wasn’t paying attention. The guy wasn’t exactly the brightest kid in school so everyone believed he would be dumb enough to jump into an empty pool.
Anyway, I pulled a pair of blue jeans from my dresser and slipped them on before looking for a shirt that wasn’t completely wrinkled. I eventually found an older t-shirt with a Magikarp on it and the words ‘I swear, when I evolve I'm going to kill you all.’ I thought it was funny when I bought it, but only a few of my friends actually got the joke. Regardless, I slipped the shirt on over my head and headed downstairs, where a plate of French toast and bacon was waiting for me. I sat down and instantly dug in while my mom started getting ready to leave for work. She worked as a therapist for a somewhat large company, normally dealing with people that had lost their faith or where incredibly depressed for one reason or another. I guess that was what attracted my dad, Pisteuo, to her, but I never got the courage to ask him.
“Now listen, we have an inspector coming in today so I have to leave early. Finish your breakfast and catch the bus for school. If I get any calls from school saying that you skipped, you can kiss our trip to the beach this weekend goodbye,” my mom threatened. We had planned on going to the beast to celebrate the end of summer, but what she didn’t know was that I wasn’t a big fan of the beach. It was always crowded, as well as the traffic just getting there always caused a few extra hours to the trip, and most of all I hated sand, which got everywhere and you could never manage to get rid of it all. However she also loved our yearly trip to the beach, so every year I would pretend I was excited to make her happy.
“I wouldn’t dream of skipping our trip,” I said in a happy tone as I gave her a smile. She kissed my forehead and picked up a piece of toast, putting it in her mouth, and ran out the door. I heard the car pull away and continued eating my breakfast. Once I finished, I placed my plate in the sink and headed out the door myself, not even bothering to bring my backpack as there would be little need for it.
It didn’t take me long to make it to my bus stop, which was only a few blocks away from my house and I looked up and down the street waiting for the bus to arrive. There were normally about 3 other kids at my stop, but apparently their parents gave them a pass or they just decided to skip. I looked up at the bright sun and felt like I was going to melt, even if it was early morning. I really had a dislike for hot weather, as there really wasn’t much you could do about being hot. I liked the cold better because even if I was cold, I could just put on an extra jacket or something.
Just then, storm clouds began to roll across the sky as the wind picked up and the dark clouds blocked out the sun. A lightning bolt fell from the sky and struck the street sign I was standing a few feet from. The impact sent me falling to my feet and I looked around, half dazed. I saw a kid standing at the end of the sidewalk, holding a spear in his hand. He couldn’t have been less than a year younger than me, but he lowered the tip of the spear until it was only a few inches from my nose.
“Look at me!” he yelled. “This is all your fault!”