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I know it's technically supposed to be Thalia's turn but the thing is Percy is the main character and he gets all the dreams and important conversations with gods so that's slightly inconvenient when I'm trying to do the povs in order


The good news: they each got to sleep in their own luxury car.

The bad news: within ten minutes, Zedaph had broken a steering wheel, Grover had caused poison ivy to sprout from an air conditioner, and Thalia had kicked Percy out of her car after telling him that she and Annabeth had once considered joining the Hunters and that was why the two of them hated each other.

Good times.

Now, Percy was in Grover's Lamborghini, thinking about Annabeth and being scared to fall asleep.

"Dreams aren't a bad thing," a voice said.

At this point, Percy wasn't even surprised to see the guy from the rail yard.

"Without dreams, I wouldn't know anything about the future." He held up his hand dramatically. "Dreams like a podcast, downloading truth in my ears. They tell me cool stuff."

"Apollo," Percy said, because it was not possible for anyone else to make a haiku that bad.

"Shh! I'm incognito. My name's Fred."

"Okay... Fred. Why are you Fred exactly?"

Apollo made a dismissive gesture. "Rules. No interference on human quests. Nobody listens to Zeus anyway, but he still tries to enforce it. But nobody messes with Artemis."

"So, you'll help us?"

"I already have. We're going speedy."

Percy glanced out the window. "How fast are we moving?"

"Fast enough. It'll get you across a good chunk of America."

"And where is Artemis?"

Apollo/Fred's face fell.  "I... I don't know," he admitted. "She's clouded from me."

"And Annabeth?"

He frowned. "Oh. That girl you lost? Hm. I don't know that either."

Percy couldn't stop the spark of anger that ignited within him. Gods didn't really care about mortals, so of course Apollo wouldn't know anything about Annabeth. But it still made Percy mad.

"Well, what about the monster Artemis was hunting? Do you know anything about that?"

"Nope," Apollo said. "But someone might. Seek out Nereus, the Old Man of the Sea, in San Francisco."

"Wow," Percy said, rolling his eyes. "Despite being the god of prophecy, you don't seem to know anything."

Apollo checked his watch. "Ah! Look at the time! I have to go. I probably can't risk helping you again. Get some sleep! Dreams good! And I want a good haiku about your quest when you come back!"

"I have never written a haiku in my life," Percy started to protest, but Apollo snapped his fingers. The next thing he knew, Percy was asleep.

In his dream, he was someone else. He was wearing a Greek tunic and uncomfortable laced leather sandals. The Nemean Lion's pelt was wrapped around his back like some sort of cape. He was running somewhere, being pulled along by a girl whose face was lost in the darkness of the night.

They were in a garden of some kind. Percy could tell that much, although it was almost too dark to see. The intoxicating scents of a million different flowers reached his nose. Tall grass brushed his legs. It was beautiful and peaceful, but the girl was dragging him along as if they were about to die.

"He is coming," she panted.

"I am not afraid," Percy tried to say. The voice wasn't his own.

"You should be!" her voice was shrill and panicked.

She pulled Percy behind a thorn bush and they both crouched down, panting heavily.

"There is no need to run," Percy said confidently. "I've slaughtered thousands of monsters with my bare hands."

"Not this one," the girl said. Her voice was desperate. "Ladon is too strong. You must go around the garden, up the mountain to my father."

"I don't trust your father," Percy said.

"You shouldn't. You will have to trick him," the girl agreed. "But you cannot take the prize directly. I cannot help you. Ladon will stop me. My sisters... If- if they found out, they would disown me."

Percy nodded and stood up. "Then I will go."

"Wait!" The girl said. Her voice was surprisingly loud.

If Percy could see her face, he was sure it would be full of conflict. Her hand trembled as she reached up and pulled a brooch from her hair. "In case you must fight, take this. My mother, Pleione, gave it to me. She was a daughter of the ocean, and her power is within it. My immortal power."

She held out the pin. It glimmered in the starlight. "Take it."

Percy laughed. "How will this slay Ladon, pretty one?"

"It may not," the girl admitted. "But it's all I can offer."

Percy took the pin, and it extended into a familiar bronze sword.

"Balanced," Percy observed. "It feels good to hold. Though I usually prefer to use my bare hands. What shall I name this blade?"

"Anaklusmos," the girl answered. "The current that takes one by surprise. And before you know it, you have been swept out to sea."

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