12 We Check In to C.C.’s Spa & Resort
I woke up in a rowboat with a makeshift sail stitched of grey uniform fabric. Annabeth sat next to me, tacking into the wind.
I tried to sit up and immediately felt woozy.
‘Rest,’ she said. ‘You’re going to need it.’
She shook her head. ‘Percy, I’m really sorry.’
We were silent while the waves tossed us up and down.
‘He may have survived,’ she said half-heartedly. ‘I mean, fire can’t kill him.’
I nodded, but I had no reason to feel hopeful. I’d seen that explosion rip through solid iron. If Tyson had been down in the boiler room, there was no way he could’ve lived.
He’d given his life for us, and all I could think about were the times I’d felt embarrassed by him and had denied that the two of us were related.
Waves lapped at the boat. Annabeth showed me some things she’d salvaged from the wreckage – Hermes’s Flask (now empty), an airtight bag full of ambrosia, a couple of sailors’ shirts and a bottle of Dr Pepper. She’d fished me out of the water and found my knapsack, bitten in half by Scylla’s teeth. Most of my stuff had floated away, but I still had Hermes’s bottle of multivitamins, and of course I had Riptide. The ballpoint pen always appeared back in my pocket no matter where I lost it.
We sailed for hours. Now that we were in the Sea of Monsters, the water glittered a more brilliant green, like Hydra acid. The wind smelled fresh and salty, but it carried a strange metallic scent, too – as if a thunderstorm were coming. Or something even more dangerous. I knew what direction we needed to go. I knew we were exactly one hundred and thirteen nautical miles west by northwest of our destination. But that didn’t make me feel any less lost.
No matter which way we turned, the sun seemed to shine straight into my eyes. We took turns sipping from the Dr Pepper, shading ourselves with the sail as best we could. And we talked about my latest dream of Grover.
By Annabeth’s estimate, we had less than twenty-four hours to find Grover, assuming my dream was accurate, and assuming the Cyclops Polyphemus didn’t change his mind and try to marry Grover earlier.
‘Yeah,’ I said bitterly. ‘You can never trust a Cyclops.’
Annabeth stared across the water. ‘I’m sorry, Percy. I was wrong about Tyson, okay? I wish I could tell him that.’
I tried to stay mad at her, but it wasn’t easy. We’d been through a lot together. She’d saved my life plenty of times. It was stupid of me to resent her.
I looked down at our measly possessions – the empty wind Flask, the bottle of multivitamins. I thought about Luke’s look of rage when I’d tried to talk to him about his dad.
‘Annabeth, what’s Chiron’s prophecy?’
She pursed her lips. ‘Percy, I shouldn’t –’
‘I know Chiron promised the gods he wouldn’t tell me. But you didn’t promise, did you?’
‘Knowledge isn’t always good for you.’
‘Your mom is the wisdom goddess!’
‘I know! But every time heroes learn the future, they try to change it, and it never works.’
‘The gods are worried about something I’ll do when I get older,’ I guessed. ‘Something when I turn sixteen.’
Annabeth twisted her Yankees cap in her hands. ‘Percy, I don’t know the full prophecy, but it warns about a half-blood child of the Big Three – the next one who lives to the age of sixteen. That’s the real reason Zeus, Poseidon and Hades swore a pact after World War II not to have any more kids. The next child of the Big Three who reaches sixteen will be a dangerous weapon.’
‘Because that hero will decide the fate of Olympus. He or she will make a decision that either saves the Age of the Gods, or destroys it.’
I let that sink in. I don’t get seasick, but suddenly I felt ill. ‘That’s why Kronos didn’t kill me last summer.’
She nodded. ‘You could be very useful to him. If he can get you on his side, the gods will be in serious trouble.’
‘But if it’s me in the prophecy –’
‘We’ll only know that if you survive three more years. That can be a long time for a half-blood. When Chiron first learned about Thalia, he assumed she was the one in the prophecy. That’s why he was so desperate to get her safely to camp. Then she went down fighting and got turned into a pine tree and none of us knew what to think. Until you came along.’
On our port side, a spiky green dorsal fin about five metres long curled out of the water and disappeared.
‘This kid in the prophecy … he or she couldn’t be like, a Cyclops?’ I asked. ‘The Big Three have lots of monster children.’