Chapter 5~Meeting Old Friends
“Ok, name and godly parent,” the guy at the checkpoint into Camp Half-Blood said. It was a new system they had started a few months back. Basically, when returning or leaving camp you had to check in and out at the border. While Chiron said it was to insure the campers where safer, it was really because Mr. D wanted to prove it isn’t his fault if someone goes missing.
“Ashton Faith, son of Pisteuo,” I said to the boy behind the desk. He just smiled as he wrote down the name on a clipboard and placed it back down on the table.
“Alright, everything checks out,” he said before turning his attention to Joseph. “And what about you? I don’t think I have ever seen you before. Are you knew and do you know who your godly parent is? I mean you look about 14 or 15 so your parent should have claimed you by now.”
“I’m Joseph Mierek, son of Zeus!” Joseph half shouted, but he at least tried to sound reserved, even if it was obvious he was annoyed.
“Oh right, I heard from Chiron about your…circumstance,” the boy said before writing the name on the clip board and placing it in the desk. “Well anyway, welcome back to Camp Half-Blood. As you know, it is Friday so Capture the Flag is tonight. You have a few hours to prepare, 3 hours and 47 minutes to be exact.”
“Thanks I guess,” I said. I wondered how he knew the exact time to the minute of when the game started. I mean I have always liked being on time when I can and I even have about three clocks in my room, but this kid behind the desk didn’t have one and he still knew. I wondered if he was silently counting the seconds in his head or something.
“Come on, let’s get out of here,” Joseph said and stormed off, figuratively of course.
“Who is that guy anyway?” I asked Joseph after I took a few quick steps to catch up with him.
“His name is Stephen Scale. He is a child of Nemesis and he is kind of strange. I understand his mom is the god of balance and all, but this affects him more than anyone I have ever seen. He is always on time, and I mean exactly on time. If he is late, he shows up early for whatever he is scheduled for next. At one point he walked over to the Ares table at lunch and told one of them to sit on the other side of the people to switch sides as the number of people was uneven. Needless to say, they took offense to it and almost started a demigod food fight,” Joseph explained and I looked back at the plain looking guy, wondering if he was an idiot for asking an Ares camper to do anything, or if he was just that confident that nothing would go wrong.
“Ash,” came an excited voice that was still hanging on the edge of softness and I felt some arms reach around me. Before I could even react I was embraced in a warm hug and for a moment I couldn’t see past the red hair.
“Kimi,” I said surprised and awkwardly hugged her back. Joseph on the other hand was mostly ignoring me until Kimi released me from her sudden hug. “It has been a long time. How is everything at camp since I’ve been gone?”
“Not much, a few fights between demigods and a couple renovations to the Big House. The wood started to sprout grape vines after Mr. D got a bit upset by something and it caused the house to become structurally unsound. Or at least that is what the Hephaestus cabin said before they started rebuilding it,” Kimi said, as I had been gone for almost six months now. I also didn’t leave under the best of circumstances.
During our quest last winter to find out why the Elementals were acting so strange, Fire had appeared to me and told me that Kimi was a part of her that she created so not all of her would be captured by the Collector. It made sense after hearing it, as the flames on Olympus where I found Kimi were avoiding her and her bow channeled fire into it. However, there was something else. Kimi didn’t know this as she hadn’t seen my chat with the fire being. She also had problems remembering her past, mostly because she didn’t really have one.
The worst part was that I hadn’t told her any of this. For some reason I was scared that if she knew the truth, she would think less of herself, like she wasn’t a real person and only an after image of something else. It scared me so much, that I started to experience nightmares of my own fear attacking me and being powerless to stop it. I decided half way into Winter Break that I had to leave camp and head back home to distance myself from her. However, what I hadn’t planned on was leaving her alone for the most part. Aisling also returned home after the break was over and so did a lot of other demigods. I talked to her sometimes using Iris messages, but she very rarely talked about meeting new friends or things she was doing.
“You two catch up, I’m going to report to Chiron that we are back,” Joseph said and it broke me out of my daydream.
“Oh, ok. See you later I guess,” I told him and waved goodbye as he left.
“Good, he’s gone,” Kimi said, which I had to admit surprised me a bit. “Come on.”
Before I could protest she grabbed my wrist and started pulling me along. She dragged me across camp and didn’t seem to notice the weird looks we were getting. When we passed the Aphrodite cabin, one of the guys sunbathing out front gave us a whistle that made me blush a bit. She eventually stopped as we reached the edge of the forest. Despite the camp border being bigger, there were still areas that camper avoided out of fear of being attacked by monsters or something. The Camp Half-Blood Forest was one of those places and I wondered what Kimi was planning.
“Ash, I need to tell you something,” she said after remaining silent for an uncomfortable amount of time. I looked into her eyes, but all I saw was fear and uncertainty.