Chapter 4: A Meeting with Old Friends
Gods of Olympus I hated demi-titans.
The last time I saw them, I was running away on a stolen pegasus while they were shooting arrows and throwing spears at me.
We didn’t exactly get off on the right foot.
As I looked into the makeshift campground, I realised that I recognized several of them, including one of their leaders, Nathan Frost, the son of Oceanus. He especially hated half-bloods for defeating and forcing his father back into hiding two summers ago in the Second Titan War. He was on a vengeful quest to eradicate the world of mostly anything that was tied to the Olympian gods.
I saw the campers milling about, and immediately my weapons were drawn: my golden spear, my bronze and gold triangular shield, and my bronze dagger in my shield hand, while I strapped my silver Roman sword, or gladius, to my belt, the same one which I had stolen from these demi-titans last summer. I had half a mind to go charging into the make-shift camp and challenge every person now and there, but Elizabeth had her hand on my arm, restraining me.
“We can’t go charging in like that, we’re totally out-numbered. They’ll strike us down in minutes,” she reminded me in a hushed voice. She had her bronze sword drawn, while Rebecca had her knife in her hand as well. I knew she was right, but my anger was boiling up, ready to release itself. I took a deep breath and ran my finger over the lightning bolt shape on my spear, and it shrank back into the ring I kept on the middle finger of my left hand. I sheathed my dagger onto my belt, and shrank my shield back into the leather bracelet on my right wrist, but on a whim, I redrew my shield, and set it on the ground. I wasn’t entirely sure that they hadn’t already seen us, and were waiting for us to let our guard down to attack us and capture us.
“We should get some sleep,” I said quietly, and the other two agreed.
“We should probably do it in shifts though, just to keep an eye on them,” Elizabeth suggested, and Rebecca and I nodded in agreement.
“I’ll take first watch,” Rebecca volunteered, and I was too tired to protest because I just slumped sideways asleep.
I woke up to the sound of what I thought was artillery shells. Then I realized the dog was barking.
“Just go do your business, I don’t care,” I grumbled at it, but I didn’t expect the familiar voice that followed in response.
“So, the famous Matthew Anderson is stuck on dog duty. How pitiful,” said the cold, commanding voice I recognized from my last quest. I carefully and slowly raised my head and opened my eyes to find the despicable form of Nathan Frost, the leader of Camp Othrys. His cold sea-green eyes stared down the blade of his silver dagger at me with contempt, but I casually stood up, stretched, and yawned as I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes.
“Hey Nathan. Long time no see, huh?” I said with a smirk. He was at least courteous enough to return the smirk.
“Ah yes. Last time I saw you, you were flying off on a stolen pegasus, while I looked like a fool for not confronting that spy and stopping you all,” he said bitterly.
“Oh yes, what ever did happen to dear Emily Parker?” I asked innocently. Emily Parker was a demigod spy we had met at when we infiltrated the demi-titan camp in the summer. She was responsible for our grand escape, but I hadn’t heard from her since. She was the daughter of Trivia, the Roman form of the Greek magic goddess Hecate. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention this whole Greek/Roman thing. It’s complicated, but to sum up, the gods have Greek and Roman forms, and the Greek and Roman demigods aren’t supposed to know about each other, but I accidentally found out about it after the quest because of a stolen T-shirt. I was sworn to secrecy to not reveal any of this information to my fellow demigods, not even my closest friends.
“She fled too, the coward. She probably went back to her own camp, or was eaten by a monster. Whichever is fine by me. At least she’s gone now,” Nathan said indifferently, which made me a little mad. How someone could just shrug off a human life was baffling, but I suppose her running away was better than what Nathan would have done if she stayed at that cursed camp.
“So is there a specific reason to this unexpected visit?” I asked like he was an unexpected neighbour or something that I hadn’t seen in a while and I was inviting him to afternoon tea.
“Oh, we just wanted to invite you into our little camp, and offer you a nice meal,” Nathan said with obvious fake innocence, probably mocking me.
“Well that sounds delightful, but I do have to ask; where are my friends?” I inquired, silently panicking when I realised I couldn’t find them.
“Don’t worry,” Nathan said with a look of concern, which made me even angrier, but I knew I couldn’t let him know he was getting to me. “We took them on ahead while you were sleeping. Your dog too, but I do have to inquire where you got it,” he mocked me.
“We picked him up at the pound. He was the runt of the litter, if you can believe it,” I said as unhelpfully as possible. Nathan smirked like he was having a good time, and then turned to his soldiers.
“Tie him up with the others. I’ll decide his exact punishment later,” Nathan announced, and a couple of burly guys in silver armour hauled me up and dragged me down the hill.
I was brought into a bare tent with nothing but a single chair at the entrance, an old kerosene lamp in the far corner, which might have been some sort of fire hazard, and a wooden supporting pole in the center of the tent. Rebecca and Elizabeth were tied to the pole, unconscious, but my presence made them stir. The guard threw me to the ground, and then lashed me to the pole beside my friends, and then left without another word.
I tried to wake up my friends silently, but when that didn’t work, I yelled, “WAKE UP YOU TWO!” It didn’t have the immediate affect I was hoping for, but the girls started to stir nonetheless. Elizabeth’s eyes fluttered open first, her icy blue-gray eyes cloudy with deliriousness. Rebecca’s calculating gray eyes had the same cloudiness.
“But Nana just made cookies,” Rebecca complained sleepily, and I rolled my eyes.
“We’ve got to find a way out of this. Anybody got any suggestions?” I asked impatiently, struggling against my bonds.
“Five more minutes daddy,” Elizabeth mumbled, and then slumped down again. I thrashed as much as I could against the rope to try and get then alert.
“Will SOMEBODY help me out here!” I exclaimed in frustration, but my outburst apparently gained the wrong kind of attention. I burly guard entered, and unfortunately, I instantly recognized him. Christian Pike, the son of Menoetius, was a demi-titan spy at Camp Half-Blood posing as a son of Ares when I came to camp. After visiting Camp Othrys, I had discovered his true identity, and we had banished him from our camp and sent him back to his own in disgrace. I had a pretty good hunch that he still held a major grudge against me.
“Well well well, what do we have here?” he asked with a grumbling sneer. The pink scar over his right eye shone against his cruel face.
“So you’re still around,” I snarled. “They didn’t kill you off for being so stupid?” Christian returned my snarl at the taunt.
“Actually, I almost was,” he admitted. “But Nathan thought I was too useful to waste like that.”
“Really? You too useful? I find that hard to believe,” I said with a tilt of my head.
“Yeah, if you can believe it, my strength does come in handy,” he told me, and just to prove his point, he punched me in the jaw so hard; I thought I heard something crack, and I definitely tasted blood in my mouth.
“What was that for?” I lisped through a swelling jaw.
“To prove a point. Plus I didn’t get to do that before you kicked me out,” he said, and just to rub salt in the wound, he swung his leg hard and his metal toed boot came in contact with my stomach, and some of the blood from my mouth flew out.
“That was just so you would shut up,” he said, and with one final snarl, he left me hunched over in pain and dripping blood against my two friends.