I sighed as I glanced around the place we were in. It was a gym or something along the lines of that at this boarding school. We were also at a dance too. Blake and I were slow dancing while keeping our eyes and ears open looking for any signs of a teacher taking someone they shouldn't or two kids that looked like they were freaking out somewhat. I pulled back to look at Blake and he was smiling at me.
"I love you," He murmured.
"I love you too," I smiled as I kissed him lightly.
"You two are supposed to be helping us on this mission, not sucking face!" Annabeth hissed.
"Don't get your panties in a twist." I said as I rolled my eyes. Her face went red and glared at me. That's when I went to go get a drink and I left Blake with Annabeth. I don't exactly know if that was a good move or not but I didn't exactly care right now. As I walked over I saw Percy looked skittish. I glanced at him confused and he saw me and waved me over quickly. I walked over to him quickly.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"I saw Thorn going with the two kids come with me." He said as he grabbed my wrist. I nodded and we followed him. We got the entrance hall again and we saw the kids on the far side wall. I glanced around and didn't see anything so I gave Percy the all clear and I noticed he had Riptide out. I got my own out and glanced down at my own sword which was the one my father had given me when I noticed that it had some Greek lettering on it. After staring at it for a minute the word clicked. It spelled 'Andromeda'. Of fucking course. I wasn't that lucky to escape that without having it to come and bite me in the ass. I wonder if my dad knew this and was laughing about it as I thought about it. Percy walked over to the kids quietly as I walked behind him covering him making sure that Dr. Thorn wasn't going to come out here.
"It's okay we're not going to hurt you." I heard Percy murmur soothingly to them. That's when I heard something. I turned around and saw Dr. Thorn. Before I could open my mouth he swung his tail and slammed it into my stomach and sent me flying across the room and I groaned as I hit the floor. I noticed Percy had already been slammed to the wall.
"I know all about you Perseus Jackson...and Ms. Cassandra Chrysler." He said. He came over to me before glancing at Percy. He had a pale look coming over him and I glared at Dr. Thorn as he grabbed me by my hair and forced me up. I felt something poke into my shirt.
"Don't make me hurt you little one." He whispered as I stood up and walked over to the other three. Percy swung out at him blindly and that's when he threw another dart and it stuck next to the girl, her name was Bianca. I finally remembered it! She whimpered quietly.
"You all will come with me nice and quietly or you'll see how good I can throw those." He said. He then took us out the doors and I glanced at Percy who looked pained. I had my sword still out and I was tempted to just throw it and hope for the best but I didn't exactly know how that plan would work out. Thorn was muttering the whole way up and Bianca and Nico, the younger brother, were retorting back things at him. I knew when he said they had a ride waiting for us it would take us to Luke and Kronos; a place where I seriously didn't want to visit. As long as I didn't see him again I would be happy. When we got to the clearing we had to be at he pulled us to a halt and Bianca had to grab Percy from falling over the edge of the cliff that the clearing backed up to.
"How do we fight him?" Bianca whispered.
"I'm working on it." Percy whispered. I glanced at him.
"I saw I just charge him and see how it works." I said. Percy stared at me like I was stupid.
"We saw how well that turned out with Luke." He muttered. My cheeks flushed in anger and he realized he had said the wrong thing. I whipped around to face Thorn. He stared at me and shook his head with a twisted sneer on it.
"Don't try Princess by all means, Son of Poseidon, jump! There is a sea. Save yourself." He said. I winced slightly at the name.
"Why did he call you both those names?" Bianca asked.
"Explain later." Percy murmured.
"You do have a plan though, right?" She asked. I saw Percy glanced backwards slightly and shook my head. He wasn't really going to go expect us to jump, was he? He was insane if he thought so.
"I would kill you all before you hit the water. You do not realize who I am, do you?" Thorn said. That's when I felt something swipe against my arm. I glanced down to see I was bleeding now and the cut burned. I hissed covering it with my hand glaring at him.
"But sadly you are all wanted alive because trust me if you weren't I would have killed you all already." He sneered. I rolled my eyes and my hands tightened around my bracelet. I was pressing onto the shield charm and it was heating up under my finger tip.
"Wait who wants us? Because you're not going to get anything! We don't have parents. It's just Nico and I!" Bianca demanded.
"Aww but don't worry you brats. Once my employer comes you'll have a new family." Thorn said and my heart started to beat several thousand time faster.
"Luke. You're taking us to him." I whispered horrified and Thorn's mouth twisted.
"You have no idea what is happening Cassandra and Perseus Jackson. I will let the General enlighten you. You both will be a great service to him tonight and he's looking forward to meeting you both." Thorn said. I glared at him.
"The General? Who's the General?" Percy asked.
"Ah, here we are. You transportation is here." Thorn said. Percy glanced over but I already hearing the blades of the helicopter. I was not going to whoever this fucking was, over my dead body I was.
"Where are you taking us?!" Nico demanded.
"You should be honored. You will have the opportunity to join a great army! Just like the silly game you play with the cards and dolls." Thorn said.
"They're not dolls! They're figurines! And you can take your great army and-" Nico snapped.
"Now, now. You will change your mind. If not we have other uses for you. We have other monstrous mouths to feed. The Great Stirring is underway." Thorn said. my hand slipped up to my necklace and I pulled lightly at the key Blake had given me and it slipped off like a good break-away key should and I tucked it away into my palm.
"The Great Stirring of whom?" I asked.
"The stirring of monsters. The worst of them and the most powerful are now awaking. They have not been seen in thousands of years! They will cause death and destruction that the likes of you have never known! And soon we will have the one to bring down Olympus!" He laughed. Bianca whispered something to Percy and right after he said something back something tugged on my pinky lightly.
"It's Annabeth." A voice whispered from beside me. I looked slightly over that way to see no one so she had to have her Yankee's cap on.
"When I shove Percy and then somersault forward and take the attack from the front. Blake, Grover, and Thalia have the back." She breathed. I nodded ever so slightly and took a step towards Thorn to get out of Annabeth's way.
"Get back in line!" Thorn said. I held up my hands showing that I wasn't going to do anything. That's when I saw Percy and they go down and I rolled forward and got my sword out. I got to my feet and ran at him and I got my shield out in front of me. Thalia was taking him on from the back and he was towards her now. His tail which I didn't notice till now smacked me back into the ground to where i had been with Percy. I got up.
"Fuck this." I muttered. I went back to where he was fighting Thalia and she was knocked back onto her butt and Grover was playing a tune which had grass growing from the ground and wrapping around Thorn's feet. Blake, who had been behind Thalia, was underneath her trying to get her back to her feet so they could go fight again. When Thorn roared he started to change. I backed up slightly with wide eyes. He became part lion, with a tail that was throwing thorns out.
"Manticore!" Annabeth yelled. I raised my shield as they started to pelt against the side. I saw Grover get tossed to the side and Blake went with him after a few seconds. I ran at him.
"Yield!" He yelled.
"Never!" Thalia and I yelled as we charged him. That's when the helicopter came over us with these blinding spot lights. The light blinded me and Thalia and I ended up tripping over my feet while Thalia was sent backwards by the tail while I was lying in the dirt. I coughed sending up a whole pile of dust into the air.
"Now do you see how futile it is? Yield," He said. That's when I glanced up as I heard a horn being blow. I glanced back towards the woods and cursed. The Hunters of Artemis were fucking coming. I really didn't like those girls at all. They always stared down at me whenever I was near them as if I had sinned or some bullshit. I glanced up at Thorn who had frozen.
"No, it can't be-" He said. That's when a silver arrow got lodged into his shoulder and he yelled with pain. I smirked and as he started to throw his thorns into the forest silver arrows met them and split them in half. I was about to swing at him when Percy swung at him who had come up to save Thalia. Thorn pulled the arrow out as he swung Percy away. That's when I jumped up and was joined by twelve hunters or so. They had their bows and arrows ready and I had my sword ready. Then one of the girls stepped forward with her bow pointing at Thorn.
"Permission to kill, my lady?" She asked.
"This is not fair! It is direct interference! It's against the Ancient Laws." He yelled.
"Not so, the hunting of all wild beasts is within my sphere. And you foul creature are a wild beast. Zoe, permission granted." Another girl from beside me said.
"If I can't have them alive I shall have them dead!" Thorn yelled as he went to go for Thalia and Percy.
"No!" Annabeth and I yelled at the same time. Annabeth charged at Thorn but I lunged and grabbed him from behind.
"Half-bloods get out of the line of fire!" Zoe yelled. Annabeth jumped onto his back with me and drove her dagger into his mane. I sliced him with my sword while he was flailing back and forth. Annabeth must have done so rodeo lessons or some shit because she was holding on well. I on the other was thrown off and hit a tree.
"Fire!" Zoe snapped.
"No!" Percy yelled. The hunters let go their arrows and they struck their target. Luckily no of them seemed to hit Annabeth. I saw Thorn stumbling backwards and my eyes got wide as I managed to pull myself up.
"Annabeth get off him!" I screamed.
"This is not the end, Huntress! You shall pay!" He yelled right before he jumped off the cliff with Annabeth still on his back.
"No!" I screamed. That's when Percy went to go bolt after her but I heard the echoing of guns. All the hunters except Zoe scattered.
"Mortals are not allowed to witness my hunt!" She said. She pushed her hands out and the helicopter exploded into a flock of ravens. Blake ran over to me and helped me up. The Hunters came over to us and I headed towards Percy and Thalia.
"You two," She said looking at us.
"Zoe Nightshade." I muttered.
"Perfect timing as usual." Thalia snapped. She scanned the rest of us.
"Six half-bloods and a satyr, my lady." She said.
"Yes, Some of Chiron's campers, I see." The younger girl said.
"Annabeth! You have to let us save her!" Percy yelled.
"I'm sorry, Percy Jackson, but your friend is beyond help." A girl said. Percy tried to fight against their holds but they held him down tight.
"Cassi do something!" He snapped at me.
"Percy I would if I knew where he took her! He probably got some magic stuff going on and took her somewhere else." I said.
"And you both are in no condition to hurtle yourself off cliffs!" She said.
"Let me go! Who do you think you are?" Percy demanded. I groaned not wanting to hear any of this. Zoe stepped forward as if to hit Percy and I stood in front of Percy and put my hands on my hips. I would like to see her try because then it would be a fight.
"No, I sense no disrespect Zoe. He is simply upset. He does not understand." The girl ordered. The little one who had been giving orders stepped up beside Zoe and I bit the inside of my mouth slightly.
"I am Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt." She said. Of course she was. Of course Artemis had to be here when I wanted to slam one of her Hunters into the nearest tree trunk.
"Um...okay." Percy said. I let out a frustrated sigh and looked back Percy incredulously. Grover though the total suck-up gasped.
"Thank you, Lady Artemis! You're so...you're so...Wow!" He said. I glanced back at him and shook my head about to slam my own head through a tree trunk. Boys what idiots! Blake just stood there slightly shocked.
"It's a pleasure Lady Artemis." Blake muttered.
"Get up goat boy! We have more things to worry about like Annabeth is gone!" Thalia snapped. That's when Bianca started to freak out and they started to explain to her how she was a child of the Olympian gods. I watched as they explained to Bianca and Nico that they were demigods and everything and eventually Grover kicked off his shoes to show he had hooves. I really didn't care about these two kids. I walked over to the side of the cliff and sat down by the side looking down at the crashing waves, actually I think of it as a glare and not just looking down. Why did I have the feeling that Luke was behind the attack? Hell he probably was. After about five minutes alone Blake walked over to me.
"Are you alright?" He asked. I nodded quietly and he sighed and sat beside me.
"Hey you know you should talk about things more. I think it's unhealthy to keep everything in." He said as he dangled his legs off the side of the cliff. I shrugged and pulled my legs closer to me.
"What's your deal with the Hunters?" He asked quietly as I watched them call their wolves to guard as they set up camp for the night.
"They look down at me, and I'm pretty sure you can guess why." I said. He stared at me confused.
"Well I mean I have fucked guys." I muttered. He sighed and wrapped his arms around my waist.
"There's a difference between fucking and making love Cassi." He murmured. I wanted to scoff, because sometimes I when I was really down in my thoughts I believed that no one but my own mother loved me, even if I knew it not to be true. My dad loved me in his own twisted way. Blake loved me so much. Percy loved me as an older sister and my friends loved me as if I was their sisters but still I felt betrayed by love because of Luke. Blake pressed his lips against my head lightly.
"Cassandra Chrysler." Zoe said. My eyes blazed.
"What?" I snapped.
"Lady Artemis wishes to speak to you and your brother." She said. I nodded and kissed Blake lightly while Zoe glared at me before I stood up and followed her into the tent where Percy and Artemis already were.
"Join us Cassandra Chrysler." She said. I looked down at Percy who was sitting across from her and I decided I better not offend this goddess so I sat down next to him.
"Are you surprised by my age?" She asked.
"Not really, no." I said.
"Uh....a little." Percy said.
"I could appear as a grown woman, or a blazing fire, or anything else I want but this is what I prefer. This is the average age of my Hunters before they go astray." She said. I flushed my cheeks while I saw Zoe stare directly at me.
"Astray?" Percy asked confused.
"Grow up, become smitten with boys. Become silly, preoccupied, and insecure. Forget them." She said. I saw Zoe sit down next to Artemis glaring at me and Percy. I glared at her back daring to say something to me.
"You must forgive my Hunters if they do not welcome you Percy. It is very rare that we have boys in our camp. They are usually forbidden to have any contact with the Hunters. The last one to see this camp...which one was it?" Artemis asked as she looked at Zoe.
"The boy in Colorado, you turned him into a jackalope." Zoe said. I seriously wanted to scoff. Really? That was cruel; they could've just wiped his memory or something not transform him into a freaking animal. This was why I hated the Hunters.
"Oh yes. But anyway, I asked you two here so that you could tell me more of what happened than what Bianca did. She reported back that the monster said some disturbing things. She might have not understood them and I would like to hear it from you both." She said. Percy glanced at me as I leaned back slightly. I shrugged at Percy.
"You can tell it." I said. He sighed but started to talk. When he finished Artemis was frowning.
"I feared that was the answer." She said.
"The scent, my lady?" Zoe asked. She nodded.
"What scent?" Percy asked.
"Things that are stirring that I have not hunted in a millennium. Prey so old that I nearly forgotten them." She sighed. She stared directly at us then.
"We came tonight sensing the Manticore but he was not the one we sought out. Tell me again, exactly, what Dr. Thorn said." She said.
"Um, 'I hate middle school dances." Percy said. I shook my head.
"I think she's referring to the person she called the General was going to explain everything to us." I said. Zoe paled and I had a slight satisfaction that my words had caused that.
"Go on," She said as she looked at me.
"Then he went on to say that there was the Great Stirring of Monsters. Then he went on about how this one monster was really important and that it was the one that could take down or bring the down fall of Olympus." I said. Artemis stilled completely as if my words had just frozen her. Well, that was completely unexpected.
"Maybe he was lying." Percy suggested.
"More than likely he wasn't." I said.
"Your sister is right, he was not. I've been to slow to see the signs. I must hunt the monster." Artemis said. Zoe looked at her.
"We will leave right away, my lady." Zoe said.
"No, Zoe. I must do this alone." Artemis said.
"But, Artemis-" Zoe said. I wanted to laugh so hard.
"This task is too dangerous even for the Hunters. You know where I must start my search. You cannot go there with me." Artemis said.
"As you wish my lady." Zoe said reluctantly. Then they kept talking about how they were going to hunt the monster and I zoned out completely.
"-I want you two to escort the Hunters back to Camp Half-Blood. They can stay there is safety until I return." Artemis said.
"What?!" Zoe and I echoed each other. We glared at each other heatedly before she looked back at Artemis.
"But Artemis, we hate the place. The last time we stayed-" Zoe said.
"Yes, I know. But I'm sure that Dionysus will not hold a grudge just because of a little misunderstanding. It's your right to use cabin eight whenever you are in need. Besides, I hear they rebuilt the cabins you burned." Artemis said.
"And now there is one last decision to make. Have you made up your mind?" Artemis asked as she turned towards Bianca who I noticed had been present the whole time.
"I'm still thinking." Bianca said after a moment.
"Wait, thinking about what?" Percy asked and I glared at the ground.
"They asked her to join the Hunters." I said between my teeth.
"What? You can't! You have to come to Camp so Chiron can train you. It's the only way to learn to survive." Percy said.
"It is not the only way for a girl." Zoe said. I rolled my eyes.
"Bianca, camp is cool! It's got Pegasus stables and a sword-fighting arena and...I mean, what do you get my joining the Hunters?" Percy asked.
"To begin with, immortality." Zoe said.
"She's joking right?" Percy asked as he looked at me and then Artemis.
"Nope, Hunters get immortality." I said from between my teeth. Percy looked at Artemis.
"Zoe rarely kids about anything. My Hunters follow me on my adventures. They are my companions, my sisters in arms. Once they swear loyalty to me, they are indeed immortal...unless they fall in battle which is unlikely. Or break their oath." Artemis explained and I set my lips into a thin line as Zoe stared at me.
"To forswear romantic love forever. To never grow up, never get married. To be a maiden eternally." Artemis said.
"Like you?" Percy asked. Artemis nodded and Zoe glared at me.
"So you go around the country recruiting half-bloods-" Percy began.
"Not just half-bloods. Artemis does not discriminate by birth. All who honor the goddess may join. Half-bloods, nymphs, mortals-" Zoe said.
"Then what are you?" Percy asked.
"That is not thy concern, boy. The point is Bianca may join if she wishes. It is her choice." Zoe said.
"Bianca, this is crazy. What about your brother? Nico can't be a hunter." Percy said.
"Certainly not, he will go to camp. Unfortunately, that's the best boys can do." Artemis said. My eyes blazed and Zoe smirked in my directly.
"Hey!" Percy said.
"You can see him from time to time. But you will be free of responsibility. he will have the camp counselors to take care of him. And you will have a new family." She smiled.
"A new family. Free of responsibility." Bianca repeated. She was going starry eyed.
"It's not all that they make it to be." I said. Zoe glared at me.
"Just because you have forsaken your oath-" Zoe snapped. I glared at her and stood up as I opened my mouth.
"Whoa wait! Cassi you were a hunter?!?" Percy interrupted. I nodded slowly.
"Your sister was the youngest hunter, then, I believe." Artemis said. I clenched my fists.
"-And she forsworn her oath! I'm surprised that Lady Artemis didn't turn her into a rabbit!" Zoe snapped. Percy stared at me and I glared at the ground.
"I was 8 at the time what did you expect? I thought boys had cooties still! I was with you all for 4 years! I wanted to grow up instead of being stuck in a 8 year old body and Lady Artemis let me go!" I snapped at Zoe. Percy was staring at me shocked.
"And then you ran into that boy while he was out on that quest." She grimaced. My nails dug into my palms. As much as I hated to admit it she was right. I had run into Luke who had been on a quest for something and had convinced me to come back to camp. He had said, 'Come on Cassi do it for me! I know you miss me!'. Of course he had liked me and thought of me as a sister but until then I didn't realize how much I had missed him which started my crush on him again. Which I knew was against my oath and after trying to get rid of the crush I approached Artemis and asked her if she could release me from my oath because of my crush. She had been sad to see me go but she had also approved of my decision to come to her before it escalated, thought I knew she was still mad about it happening.
"You don't understand. He helped me get to camp. He saved my life numerous times! Of course I would have missed him and had a crush on him. He was a hero in my eyes at the time." I said. She shook her head.
"He convinced you to give up your oath. He convinced you to come back to camp for him. And what did he end up doing? He started to beat you. I warned you nothing good would come from you and him together! I warned you and her!" She said coolly. I flinched and Percy stared at me shocked.
"Hey look-" Percy said.
"Do not talk about Luke. He changed. He was nice and sweet and caring. He still is! He just is on the wrong path. We went down different paths." I said. She scoffed.
"You call someone who beat you nice?" She snorted.
"Shut up Zoe." I snapped. Zoe went to open her mouth again but Artemis put her hand up.
"Zoe what Cassandra did was her decision. She came to me before anything escalated and I respect her for it. What she does now is her own doing." Artemis said. Zoe shut her mouth and sat there raging in silence.
"I do miss you on the hunt though." Artemis said as she smiled faintly at me.
"I've done things that wouldn't let me be in the Hunters. I found what love means and I do not dream of giving it up. Luke showed me how love can be and how twisted it can be. Blake shows me every day that what Luke showed me was wrong. Blake shows me what to love someone truly means and for that I am grateful because love and hope is all I have left to keep me sane sometimes." I said. She nodded.
"Of course," She said. I turned and looked at Bianca.
"Think hard about this girly and when it gets tough do not say I didn't warn you." I said as I went to walk out.
"Wait, Cassi!" Percy called.
"We'll talk about it later Percy." I muttered before walking out of the tent. I sighed at the cold air. I went back to the cliff and sat down at the edge letting my feet dangle. I leaned back so I could stare at the stars. It was perfectly silent, just like how I liked it.
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