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Josh's P.O.V

I was feeling a lot better now. However, there's one question. Who placed the healing systems in my cabin? Because I'm sure that previously, I did not heal while I am in my cabin, but this time I did. Could it be Melody's magic? Because I can sense magic at work, or was it somebody else?

Anyways, it doesn't matter. I am feeling a lot better, and I am ready to play capture the flag. Since the war is over, Chiron has announced that we will be playing capture the flag.

I am fired up, because Capture the Flag is one of my most favorite games ever, and it has been a while since I played Capture the Flag.

Yesterday, I was too tired to play Capture the Flag, and I really remembered how Mary tricked me to going to capture the flag and it turns out that Capture the Flag is today, not yesterday.

I brought my gears with me and headed to the capture the flag arena. I found out that I was in a blue team with Annabeth, Piper, Leo, Percy, Melody, Mary, and the rest of Athena, Aphrodite, Hephaestus cabin. The Ares cabin, along with Demeter, Hades, Zeus, Dionysus, Artemis, and Apollo cabin were in the red team.

Annabeth, as always, the one who came up with a great plan to attack the enemy base. She told all of us to form a squadron and the main attack team will march on the front, and me, as always, flanks the opposition and takes their flag while the opposition leaves their flag unguarded.

"Sounds like a good plan." I said, then I moved into my position.

Jus then, Melody walked towards me, and gave me a hug. "Good luck, father!" Melody said, as she touched my armor, which made my armor glowed brighter and to repel more attacks from the enemies.

"Alright, everyone ready?" Annabeth yelled to her team mates.

"Ready!!" The entire blue team yelled.

"Alright, let's go!" Annabeth said, and we all went to our positions.

Unfortunately, the game was halted with attacks of monsters. One laistrygonian giant apparently have attacked Thalia's pine and took the golden fleece so the monsters have easy access to Camp Half-Blood. We were forced to abort capture the flag, which is a disappointment for me because I like capture the flag very much.

Anyways, I brought out my weapons and then we only spotted one laistrygonian giant, and Percy went in for the kill.

It was only one monster, but since the golden fleece wasn't there anymore, the magical barriers were deteriorating. Just then, Melody arrived at Thalia's pine, and examined the tree. Melody touched the tree and the tree began to heal, and yellow aura covered the tree, the presence of healing. However, it can only stand a limited amount because her magic is not limitless, unlike the golden fleece.

So, Chiron ordered guard from the Ares cabin, and Mary, to guard the camp 24/7. I and Melody will be taking the night shift, and siince we got plenty of time, we resumed Capture the Flag.

But Chiron decided to call it a day and to resume capture the flag later on the day, so now I have my freetime that I can spend on the pool.

I looked at the clock in the dining pavilion, and it says 11:00, and I keep heading to the pool.

Once at the pool, I climbed up and looked at the pool below. It has been significantly upgraded since the last time I was here, and this time there were more sandbag weights and more training dummies. There's certainly have been improvements on the water treatment system along with the water generation system. I stepped closer to the pool and touched it with my right hand, and it was cold, but I think I can manage this. I jumped into the pool and began to swim for the bottom of the pool, while setting up my wristwatch to a stopwatch to see how long I can stay underwater.

It was a feeling that I had never forgotten. Along with the cold that inflicted my body, my movement underwater is much more free since the water doesn't feel as solid as before.

I can see Thalia's pine from the bottom of the pool, but my vision is a little obscured from the glass walls, but Thalia's pine looks just as okay as it is, except that the leaves started falling off, the signs of the magical barrier is deteriorating.

This can get so serious, but I'm sure that it's the turn for the Ares cabin to fend off the monsters, while the other campers continued to their regular camp activities.

I didn't realize that I was still holding my breath when I reached about 5 minutes underwater. I kept swimming around and suddenly I saw something in the distance of the entrance to Camp Half-Blood.

It was a drakon, just a regular drakon, not the ones that requires an Ares child to kill, but still is terrifying. I quickly swam back up, gasping and coughing once I reached the surface of the pool, and quickly climbed down and went to the scene, while grabbing my weapons that is under the pool.

I get to Thalia's pine, and it turns out that another monster attack had been initiated here. This monster attack will just keep going on and on. But the question is who is sending all this monsters? We know that Gaea has been defeated, but who is sending all these monsters to Camp Half-Blood?

It matters not. Our first priority is to get rid of these monsters before they can enter the camp and cause havoc. I drew my sword and began charging the drakon. The drakon waited and breathed fire at me, which I dodged and I quickly aimed to stab its neck, but the drakon moved so it only grazed his neck. Then, I turned and whirled around and sliced the drakon's back. The drakon roared and I grabbed its neck and stabbed it. Then the drakon disintegrated.

Apparently, my earlier assumptions were wrong. There is just one monster, and there are no others, but still we have to prepare ourselves.

I looked at Mary, that is standing behind me, and the rest of the Ares cabin. They're looking at me in a somewhat funny sort of way, and some are trying not to laugh.

"What?" I asked.

Even Mary started to laugh, and she pointed at me "Look down."

Sure enough, I looked down, and I noticed that I was only wearing my underwear. I immediately dashed onto my cabin and get dressed, only to remember that my clothes that I wore earlier is still at the swimming pool, so I ran into the swimming pool and grabbed my clothes. The sight of the swimming pool makes me want to swim again, and that's precisely what I want to do since my body is quite hot now from the exertion of killing the drakon and sprinting. I touched the water, and it's still cold to the touch. I jumped into the pool, take a deep breath and swim under the water.

The water felt colder than my previous encounter, but still it does some good by cooling my body so that saves me from countless hours of being under the AC all day when I can just chill out here. I swam back and forth under the water, watching the campers on their everyday activities through the glass wall.

I felt my body getting colder as the water surrounding me gets slightly colder, and when I read the thermostat, it read 14 degrees celsius, which is fine by me. I swam towards the sandbag weights area and when I grabbed one of them, I was shocked that one of them is a magical cold pack. It felt cold to the touch, and it feels light in my hands. I noticed that I was underwater for about 3 minutes already, but I want to stay down without releasing the air I'm holding, so I went to the sandbag weights and chose the 10 kilogram one and wear it. As expected, I stayed on the bottom of the pool underwater without having to let go some of the air I've been holding in.

I faced up, looking at people at the pool, and now it's the Apollo campers and Artemis campers (Gary and Melina). Gary and Melina noticed me on the bottom and waved at me. I waved at them too, smiling at both of them.

The temperature of this pool is starting to affect me. I was beginning to get slightly dizzy and feels like I'm about to run out of breath, but I kept holding it in. I went to the new chamber Chiron just build, and it's located at the bottom of the pool. I went there, and it appears to be pitch black, so I decided not to go in there.

I swam slowly to the surface, and when I reached depth about 10 meters, I stopped, because I saw Mary climbing up the pool and she did a cannonball that creates a huge wave that knocks the other demigods on the surface aside. Mary sank until about 7 meters, and thankfully for me I'm 10 meters from the surface which left only 3 more meters for her to reach me.

But Mary didn't appear to see me as she quickly swam to the surface. I got to admit Mary did displace some of the water in the pool, but not too much as we were able to swim.

After another minute underwater, I decided to surface. I surfaced near Mary, and I gasped for breath, and Mary looked surprised to see me here.

"Joshy!" Mary said, as she swam a couple of inches away from me to her surprise. "Where were you?"

"Well, I was hiding under the pool." I told her, as I shivered from the coldness of this pool. I kind of expected that Mary had seen me since the glass walls inside the pool is transparent, but I guess Mary wasn't paying attention to that.

"Nice day to chill out, right?" I said. "Sunbathing and swimming, just made my day."

"Since when did you like swimming?" Mary asked. "I never seen you swim so often until a few days ago."

"Well, since I like sunbathing. I figure out that sunbathing while swimming would be great."

Mary gave me a puzzled look. I could tell that Mary was thinking that I maybe am a descendant of Poseidon, since I liked the water so much.

"Josh, you've been sunbathing at the beach, but you only develop your liking of water now, is it possible that.... you're related to Poseidon?"

I chuckled. "As far as I know, no. I don't feel related to Poseidon. If I were, then I could have Poseidon related abilities now, would I?"?

Mary shook her head. "Right...." Mary said, and we passed a couple seconds of silence and Mary asked again. "But... how did your likings of water develop?"

I wish I could explain, but my liking of water just came suddenly when Chiron first proposed to make a floating magical pool, which was about 1-2 weeks ago. I didn't know what exactly came to me when Chiron proposed making the pool that is very wide.

I shook my head. "I wish I know why." I said, swimming around, and just before I submerged, Mary said, "Wait!"

I stopped myself from submerging and faced her.

"I was just wondering, how long can you stay underwater?" Mary asked.

"I can stay at most.... 10 minutes underwater." I told her, floating to the rim of the pool. "How about you?" I asked her back.

Mary expressed a look of somewhat sad, as if she didn't want to know how long she can go underwater. But she finally got the words out. "2-3 minutes." Mary said.

"That's great. You're better than most people in diving." I told her. "Anyways, I'm going down, so...."

"Wait! Let me help you." Mary said.

I gave Mary a look that says, What help?

"Well, it might be better for you to push yourself and go to 11 minutes." Mary said.

"Sure, you can help me. But how?"

"I can bring you underwater and up the surface so that you don't have to use your energy to swim down and swim up. Therefore, you can hold your breath longer."

"Yeah, that sounds good." I said. "How about....."

"Yeah?" Mary asked.

"How about...." I pointed at the clock which was in front of us. "I go under for 11 minutes underwater and you use you hand to....."

Just then, a conch horn blew and we are supposed to go down to Capture the Flag area. Apparently, Chiron has sped up the time for the initiation for Capture the Flag. Chiron has ordered Mary and the Ares cabin to go to Thalia's pine to stand guard in case there's monsters coming to interrupt the game of Capture the Flag. I grabbed my golden equipments and headed to the capture the flag arena.

Once I got there, the teams are the same. I was in a blue team with Annabeth, Piper, Leo, Percy, Melody, Stella, and the rest of Athena, Aphrodite, Hephaestus cabin. The Hermes cabin, along with Demeter, Hades, Zeus, Dionysus, Artemis, and Apollo cabin were in the red team.

Annabeth do a rerun of the strategy that she had already made, and I was flanking to the side with Leo to get the flag from behind. Melody and Stella has a job of defending the flag, and I'm sure that Melody and Stella will do a very good job defending the flag, since Melody will be using her invisible barrier to block the other teams entrance to within 10 meters of this flag.

I kinds wished that Mary was here in this Capture the Flag, but she and the Ares cabin were tasked to guard this camp, and will be forced to miss this wonderful capture the flag.

Annabeth is optimistic that our team will win, because we have the big guns in this side. Leo and Piper were also considered the big guns too due to their powers and their involvements in the second gigantomachy.

I got to admit that I hang out with Leo for sometime, and he shared many cool jokes with me. He has a good sense of humor. However, it never occured to me that Leo was actually using humors for defense, until Annabeth told me about it.

Piper was cool to hang out with too. Jason had been killed in a quest, and now she is lonely. I also sometimes talked with her too, but whenever I do, I feel his lingering feeling to stay with her, but fortunately I was able to control that now.

The conch horn blew, indicating that the game had begun. I immediately ran towards the right flank, and Leo is following me. He uses his pyrokinetic ability to intimidate the opposition, which it worked because at the sight of Leo's fireball, the enemies scrambled into panic, with the exception of Katie Gardner, that summons vines that wraps Leo's legs that made him trip. I snapped out of my trance and charged at Katie. Apparently, she is ready. She stood her ground, and when I charged at her, she sidestepped, but the way she had stood earlier made me anticipate that trick. I stopped in my tracks, looked to my left and slammed my shield at her face, knocking her out.

Leo was done getting the vines out of his legs, and he suggested to move on. "Come on, golden boy. There's a battle to be won."

I smiled, sensing his humor is active even in the middle of a battle. I veered left, where the flag is, and spotted some guards. The guards are Gary and Melina. Apparently, both of them are having a chat, so we can just sneak through them and take the flag.

But also, the fact that they were having a fun time having a chat also makes me suspicious. There could be traps lying around here, and I don't want to be trapped into one of them.

There's only one way to find out. I made a solid hologram, something that I haven't done in years, and sent him sneaking to the flag. Then, I saw him tripped a trap, and the rope just sprang up and caught him in the leg, and by the time he is in mid-air, I willed him to disappear, and when Melina and Gary looked at where the trap has sprung, no one was there.

"That is really weird." Melina said to Gary. "Our traps have been designed perfectly. A person should have walked into the trap before it sprang up."

As Melina and Gary were looking in the left direction, I made another solid hologram. I can't tell how draining it was to make just a few solid holograms. I used to be able to make lots, but for some unexplained reasons, I seemed to feel nauseous whenever I made a solid hologram that looks identical to me.

I sent him running, and he tripped another trap, but by the time Gary and Melina looked at the direction where the trap had been sprung, there was no one there.

By this time, I giggled, since Melina and Gary are increasingly frustrated because their traps sprung even though no one was there.

I sent another clone running, and this time he ran and he didn't trip any traps this time, so it can be concluded that there's no more traps.

I and Leo ran towards the flag, and I quickly snatched the flag before the guards realize it. Gary and Melina saw it, but we were already a few meters away from them. Once I got the flag, we started to run towards our base, and once my leg touched the creek, our team cheered in happiness.

At the meantime, people that were trying to get to our flag were greeted with an invisible shield that rebounds them back a few feet, and this makes it frustrating for them. Then, I showed them my flag, and then the team that are trying to break inside our team's flag got frustrated and Melody let go of the invisible shield. 

Everyone on the red team was complaining about Melody's use of invisible barrier, but nevertheless, we have won the capture the flag game. 

I went back to my cabin, and checked my schedule. Now it's time for swordfighting, and I went to the swordfighting arena. There, I met Percy and Annabeth, the most powerful demigods mentioned by Nico. They are a formidable couple, since they can improvise separately, and in one glance, they knew what to do. 

I approached them. 

"Oh, hi." Annabeth said, and she glanced briefly at Percy, and back at me. "You seemed.... taller." 

Everybody has been saying that. Apparently, I was beginning to lose my pituitary dwarfism trait, and I was starting to grow, but that was a few months ago. Soon or later, I would be in normal height, about 5'10. 

That is reliefing to hear that. On my growth research report, I was thinking if I can use it to make my body grow faster, but unfortunately it was stolen by Hippolyta's and Mary's mortal parents. Fortunately for me, I was able to find that growth hormone and I used a little at a time and made myself normal again, which takes time. How did I use it? Let's just say that everytime I ate at my cabin, I put a milligram dose powder of growth hormone. It's a small amount, so in about 5 months, I would have grown an inch until I have successfully acquired my target height. 

"Thanks." I told her. 

Then, I stepped into an arena, and found a dummy. I practiced with the dummy, while Percy and Annabeth practiced with each other. I got to admit that Percy had Annabeth on his side, they both become the most powerful demigods of all time. 

I sliced and hacked at the dummies. I kicked one dummy hard in its chest and the dummy is knocked back a few meters away. 

Just then, I feel the same headache that I experienced back in the battle in Arizona. It's the final signs of my barrier breaking down. I began to feel nauseous. 

"I will be back in my cabin." I told Percy and Annabeth. 

Both Percy and Annabeth nodded, and they went back to swordfighting. 

Before I went to my cabin, I called for Melody in the magic practice arena. I told her that I need to do the self-induced coma now, and Melody nodded her head. "Let me come with you." Melody said. 

I nodded my head, and allowed Melody to come to my cabin. 

Once inside my cabin, Melody wished me goodluck on my coma, and she even put an enchanted amulet in my chest that will increase the speed of the barriers forming by 10 times. 

"Thanks, Melody!" I said. 

Then, I went to my bed, and after a couple of deep breaths, before I know it, I went to self-induced coma.

To be Continued

(Next story: Atalanta's Return) (Synopsis: Atalanta has returned from the dead when Thanatos was unchained, and since then has escaped death for 20 years, and strangely, she loses the ability to age, which was traded with her increased speed in footrace (a.k.a long distance running contest). Many men wanted her as their wive, but there's one rule: They have to beat Atalanta in a footrace. Those who lost will be killed by Atalanta herself. Now: Josh, fresh out of his coma, along with his friends, must compete with Atalanta. Will Josh and his friends survive? Or will they die a gruesome death?)

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