The Demigod Files

Page 15

(Solution on page 159)

A handy chart for all Olympians!
GOD / GODDESS SPHERE OF CONTROL ANIMAL / SYMBOLZeus sky eagle, lightning boltHera motherhood, marriage cow (motherly animal), lion, peacockPoseidon sea, earthquakes horse, tridentDemeter agriculture red poppy, barleyHephaestus blacksmiths anvil, quail (hops funnily, like him)Athena wisdom, battle, useful arts owlAphrodite love dove, magic belt that makes men fall for herAres war wild boar, bloody spearApollo music, medicine, poetry, archery, bachelors mouse, lyreArtemis maiden girls, hunting she-bearHermes travellers, merchants, thieves, messengers caduceus, winged helmet and sandalsDionysus wine tiger, grapesHestia home and hearth (gave up her council seat for Dionysus) craneHades the Underworld helm of terrorCROSSWORD PUZZLE ANSWERS

(Solution to puzzle on page 152)


(Solution to puzzle on page 154)

Grover always says the less you know about them, the fewer monsters you attract. But surely it helps to know when to stay and fight it out and when to just get the hell out of there.
Can you tell your rancid-smelling Minotaur from your bitter and twisted empousai? Take this quiz and find out if your knowledge is godly or merely mortal.

Which one of these is NOT a feature of the bull-man (okay, Minotaur then)?a.Manicured fingernailsb.Two black-and-white hornsc.A huge, long snoutd.Coarse brown fur Don't be fooled by the empousai cheerleader outfits. They cover skin that is:a.As white as chalkb.Frecklyc.Sun-kissedd.Baby soft Drakons. Sound familiar, right? But they're only, like, several millennia older than dragons. What colour are their eyes?a.Yellowb.Bluec.Greend.Pink How big is the greatest monster of them all, Typhon?a.As tall as the Empire State Buildingb.As tall as a football pitchc.As tall as Big Bend.As tall as a centipede The Clazmonian Sow bears a striking resemblance to which farmyard animal?a.A pigb.A cowc.A horsed.A chicken I'll be honest with you, the dracaenae aren't a pretty bunch. As well as having green scaly skin, instead of legs they have…a.Double snake trunksb.Tree trunksc.Table legsd.Tin cans How many eyes does a Cyclops have?a.Oneb.Twoc.Fourd.Sixteen Instead of regular fingers like you and me, what do the Furies have?a.Talonsb.Feathersc.Drawing pinsd.SausagesThese are only a handful of the millions and millions of beasts out there trying to kill me, but if you answered mostly As, then it sounds like you don't need my help at all.
Congratulations, you might just be a worthy half-blood after all. If you need a little extra ammunition though, three words…peanut-butter sandwiches.



The end of the world started when a pegasus landed on the hood of my car.
Up until then, I was having a great afternoon. Technically I wasn't supposed to be driving, because I wouldn't turn sixteen for another week, but my mom and my stepdad, Paul, took my friend Rachel and me to this private stretch of beach on the South Shore, and Paul let us borrow his Prius for a short spin.
Now I know you're probably thinking, Wow, that was really irresponsible of him, blah, blah, blah; but Paul knows me pretty well. He's seen me slice up demons and leap out of exploding school buildings, so he probably figured taking a car a few hundred metres wasn't exactly the most dangerous thing I'd ever done.
Anyway, Rachel and I were driving along. It was a hot August day. Rachel's red hair was pulled back in a ponytail and she was wearing a white blouse over her swimsuit. I'd never seen her in anything but ratty T-shirts and paint-splattered jeans before, and she looked like a million golden drachmas.
'Oh, pull up right there!' she told me.
We parked on a ridge overlooking the Atlantic. The sea is always one of my favourite places, but today it was especially nice – glittery green and smooth as glass, as though my dad was keeping it calm just for us.
My dad, by the way, is Poseidon. He can do stuff like that.
'So.' Rachel smiled at me. 'About that invitation.'
'Oh… right.' I tried to sound excited. I mean, she'd been asking me to her family's vacation house on St Thomas for three days . I didn't get a lot of offers like that. My family's idea of a fancy vacation was a weekend in a run-down cabin on Long Island with some movie rentals and a couple of frozen pizzas, and here Rachel's folks were willing to let me tag along to the Caribbean.
Besides, I seriously needed a vacation. This summer had been the hardest of my life. The idea of taking a break even for a few days was really tempting.
Still, something big was supposed to go down any day now. I was 'on call' for a mission. Even worse, next week was my birthday. There was this prophecy that said when I turned sixteen, bad things would happen.
'Percy,' Rachel said, 'I know the timing is bad. But it's always bad for you, right?'
She had a point.
'I really want to go,' I promised. 'It's just –'
'The war.'
I nodded. I didn't like talking about it, but Rachel knew. Unlike most mortals, she could see through the Mist – the magic veil that distorts human vision. She'd seen monsters. She'd met some of the other demigods who were fighting the Titans and their allies. She'd even been there last summer when the chopped-up Lord Kronos rose out of his coffin in a terrible new form and she'd earned my permanent respect by nailing him in the eye with a blue plastic hairbrush.
She put her hand on my arm. 'Just think about it, okay? We don't leave for a couple of days. My dad…'
Her voice faltered.
'Is he giving you a hard time?' I asked.
Rachel shook her head in disgust. 'He's trying to be nice to me, which is almost worse. He wants me to go to Clarion Ladies' Academy in the autumn.'
'The school where your mom went?'
'It's a stupid finishing school for society girls, all the way in New Hampshire. Can you see me in finishing school?'
I admitted the idea sounded pretty dumb. Rachel was into urban art projects and feeding the homeless and going to protest rallies to 'Save the Endangered Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker' and stuff like that. I'd never even seen her wear a dress – it was hard to imagine her learning to be a socialite.
She sighed. 'He thinks if he does a bunch of nice stuff for me, I'll feel guilty and give in.'
'Which is why he agreed to let me come with you guys on vacation?'
'Yes… but Percy, you'd be doing me a huge favour. It would be so much better if you were with us. Besides, there's something I want to talk –'
She stopped abruptly.
'Something you want to talk about?' I asked. 'You mean… so serious we'd have to go to St Thomas to talk about it?'
She pursed her lips. 'Look, just forget it for now. Let's pretend we're a couple of normal people. We're out for a drive, and we're watching the ocean, and it's nice to be together.'
I could tell something was still bothering her, but she put on a brave smile. The sunlight made her hair look like fire.
We'd spent a lot of time together this summer. I hadn't exactly planned it that way, but the more serious things got at camp, the more I found myself needing to call up Rachel and get away, just for some breathing room. I needed to remind myself that the mortal world was still out here, away from all the monsters who were using me as their personal punching bag.
'Okay,' I said. 'Just a normal afternoon and two normal people.'
She nodded. 'And so… hypothetically, if these two people liked each other, what would it take to get the stupid guy to kiss the girl, huh?'
'Oh…' I felt like one of Apollo's sacred cows – slow, dumb and bright red. 'Um…'
I can't pretend I hadn't thought about Rachel. She was so much easier to be around than… well, than some other girls I knew. I didn't have to work hard, or watch what I said, or wrack my brain trying to figure out what she was thinking. Rachel didn't hide much. She let you know how she felt.
I'm not sure what I would've done, but I was so distracted I didn't notice the huge black form swooping down from the sky until four hooves landed on the hood of the Prius with a WUMP-WUMP-CRUNCH!
Hey, boss, a voice said in my head. Nice car!
Blackjack the pegasus was an old friend of mine, so I tried not to get too annoyed by the craters he'd just put in the hood, but I didn't think Paul Blofis would be real stoked.
'Blackjack,' I sighed. 'What are you –'

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