Demigods : Version 3.0 { Closed, Started }

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This would count as the third time (today) that a girl exhibited her abilities on Gabriel. It was on the fast track to becoming a bit of a theme. "Somnolence" The white haired Sleepling enchantingly announced, and flowers sprouted from the soil in between the two. Gabe would've immediately pegged her for a Harvestchild...until the air filled with a soft, gentle haze. And this is soft, in the literal sense. As soon as it was inhaled through his nose, and absorbed through his skin, everything around him became extremely comfortable. Naturally, he yawned. His eyelids began to droop as he began to realize what was happening.

"You could'a...warned...m..." His words came out slowed and slurred as his head began to bob. His limbs began to go limp. His control over the grass was relinquished, and the apple plopped to the grass once more. "This girl...she's like Benadryl in human form! I don't think I've ever felt this tired!" He thought. And yet, he couldn't find himself to object to the forceful sedation. After everything that went down today, the slow, peaceful lull of slumber didn't feel all that bad. With his eyes closed and head low, he nodded off. "Okay...so she puts people to sleep. What god even does that, the sandman?" He let out long, heavy breaths as he slept.

Mitsuko smiled looking down at his hand then looked back at him. "Well, I'll be here if you want me to be just in case you need anything. You shouldn't move too much if you're in pain anyway." She leanded back putting her hands behind her head looking a bit tired her self. Her hair rested on her shoulders as she tired her head in her palms.

She had a long day of training, and she stayed up too late last night. She yawned softly wanting to sleep, but didn't want to leave if Brandon needed anything. "I'm in no rush to do anything anyway." she said half asleep her eyes closed slightly as she nodded off.

"If I were to give a word, soon. He was confident and willing to leave everything behind. That means one of three things, we actually got the drop on him and he was covering, this is all a trap, or his plan is far enough in motion that he doesn't particularly care if we know because we are behind and don't fully know it yet. Being a child of Athena I'd bet on either the second or third options."

"We should be prepared for anything this rogue can throw at us," Chiron noted. "However, Olympus and its lone access point are the key regardless of where else he might raid... they always go for Olympus. If we concentrated our efforts there... yes. A one block radius around the Empire State Building should be our central defensive effort, supported by scouts ringed further away. We can fortify the building's interior as well. Cabins nine and fourteen can assist in that." Resisting a siege effort would require both physical and magical defenses, hence the mention of the Hephaestus and Hecate cabins.

The centaur closed the file and returned his attention to the rogue's map. "Spread word to the rest of the campers. We need to start mobilising for war."

"Very well. I will make sure everybody is informed. Though I would advise you not just wait for them to come to us, engage in some directed operations against suspected staging points. He knows we will be throwing all we have into this defense, he will be bringing a force of his own. Something like that has to leave some signs of its existence." With that she left the office and went to the cafeteria where the dinner bell was. It was a holdover but it still proved effective in gathering everyone in one place.

'I'm going to make this very easy' She thought as she immediately began to ring it as hard as possible.

110th Street, Manhattan.

She had managed to tail this shady looking character for the past five blocks. Ayane Fisscher, a child of Poseidon, had come across a peculiar sighting. Someone, clearly disguised as nymph, was performing some sort of assault on some poor schmuck that (actually) seemed to be into it.

"Ugh, and in broad daylight too." The act looked less-than-normal, and this guy clearly wasn't seeing what Ayane was seeing. "Hey, y'know you two can get fined for that sort of public indecency, right-" As she approached the two, the nymph (aware that her jig was-indeed-up) sprinted off.

"Hey!" She began to give chase, but paused at the sight of the guy, who seemed to only be...dried, lifeless remains. "Jeez-!" She turned towards the increasingly distancing being. "Hey! Stop!" Ayane began off, her brow furrowing. Whoever they were, they needed to answer to the murder.

They were racing down 115th street by this point, and despite the headstart given, Ayane was closing the distance in strides. And yet, in the back of her mind, something felt...unnatural about the situation. She made not have immediately noticed it, but her judgement was becoming clouded with the sole, raw desire to apprehend this culprit.

She could've sent out a message about the act, maybe contacted Chiron or any other higher power about her growing suspicion of something bigger at here here. Instead, her speed increased, her form grew rigid. She paid less attention to her surroundings, and took no notice of the long, subtle shadows slithering after her.

The chase reached it's climax on 120th street, where Ayane managed to put hands on the criminal nymph, tackling her down the steps of a subway terminal. The two tumbled head over heel down the concrete case, yet Ayane recovered quicker.

"You never dine and dash on a date. It makes you look like a cheapskate." The Seachild muttered, climbing atop the still dazed monster. "What did you do to that guy? Why'd you do it?" She shook the nymph, an impromptu interrogation in attempts to pry an answer from her. The nymph's wide eyed guise of shock gradually lowered into a slimy, sinister smirk. Ayane didn't appreciate the chilling defiance.

"Fine then. Let's do this the hard wa-" She was blindsided, ripped away from the nymph by a lunging hellhound. Too focused on the nymph to defend herself, the hound successfully managed to get its massive maw around her neck. The nymph slowly rose to her feet, a swelling, insidious laugh escaped her lips. As she did, more shadows appeared, and hounds rose from them.

"Pitiful. Didn't think my...influence, would have such an effect on a demigod. But! Here we are. At my mercy, or...should I say, lack of mercy." The nymph let out another low chuckle. Ayane couldn't answer, as a slow, sickening crunch echoed through the empty station. The hound around her neck dug its razor sharp teeth deeper into her, crushing bone and cartilage alike. The Seachild was slipping into unconsciousness, but could still make out the nymph's words.

"My master has some plans for this realm. Typhon, the almighty one. Oh, how I adore singing his praises! Olympus will be his for the taking. And we, his offspring...as we keep him sustained with the essence of these disgusting mortals...we will sit at his side upon the mighty pantheon!" She approached the bloodied girl, the remainder of the pack following her. "Ohhh, it will be a sight to be hold. The wanton decimation and hostile takeover, I mean. But, you won't be able to witness any of it. My apologies in advance." She walked off. With a careless wave of her hand, the pack ripped into the Seawoman, fairly grateful for the feast they were lured into.

The harvest kid, predictably, fell asleep. Ambrose crouched and picked off a long stemmed poppy. She took a deep breath, letting the heavy scent fill her nose. "Hm..." Even Lethe seemed lethargic, but not completely affected, laying down next to Gabe. "Fine. I'll be back. Whatever." Ambrose stood up and made her way to Strawberry fields. There were still campers and creatures working the fruits, and none of them paid any attention in particular to the sleepling. She took a handful, sitting in the shade as she ate. After this, it would be back to sleep for her too.

An hour had passed, maybe more, before Ambrose stood up again. Figuring that harvest kid could take care of Lethe for now, she made her way back to her cabin, cutting the lake detour out to make it back in the shortest amount of time.

When she got back to the camp, juuust as soon as she got to her cabin's door, the bell rang. Like, as soon as she touched the handle. If there was anything that could shatter unconsciousness, it was that bell. Figuring at least a few of her cabinmates would be up and out ina few, she headed, begrudgingly, to the cafeteria.

When Freya disappeared before she got hit, the Sphinx was confused at first, then looked around for her before she felt the attacks Freya made on her hind legs. She jumped back to have Freya in front of her before she moved in for another hit with a paw. Freya was surprised by it and got flung back again towards where Dorofei was. Feeling some pain in her body from landing harshly, she stood up again in order to keep fighting.

Jia raised the Rose of Sunrise into her stance, extending her sword arm towards the Sphinx. While Freya drew the beast she stepped forward and leapt into the air, slashing a deep cut into the beast's upper chest. As she landed against the wall the Sphinx snarled in pain, turning away from Freya to bat at her. Jia ducked under the first swipe, then parried the second, her arms shivering as blade met massive claws, driving her back into the wall.

Freya came at the Sphinx towards the paw that held Jia, driving her blade into it, causing the Sphinx to snarl loudly and bat Freya away, but she held onto her blade and the Sphinx's fur. Freya took her blade out and stabbed the Sphinx's paw and lower leg multiple times, who tried to get Freya off her paw, attempting to bite her.

Dorofei was still without his sword when Freya crashed into the floor nearby. Low on time, he improvised, slapping the Celestial Bronze rod into the armor of his sword-arm. Ice formed and shifted into the shape of a flat, widened blade, jutting over the top of his hand.

Following behind Freya, he rushed the Sphinx, grappling one of the front paws. The combined weight of Dorofei and his Magic Ice armor was still light enough for the creature to lift, and it repeatedly slammed Dorofei into the ground. He was slashing at the beast's ankle, his shield arm and a cracking shield the only thing keeping massive claws from tearing his heart out.

With a final stab and a sound like a whip smacking leather, Dorofei managed to slice through the back tendons of the leg. He quickly released his hold and rolled away, scrambling to get back to his feet.

Jia dropped to the ground as the paw fell away, leaping back to her feet a heartbeat later. She kicked the Rose back into her hand took a breath, letting Dorofei make his move. As the Sphinx staggered she let out a shout. "All in, now!" She sprinted forward, sliding under the batted paw of the Sphinx and driving her blade into it, cutting a deep gash in the stomach, blood spraying out around the Rose. The Sphinx snarled in agony, snapping at Jia with her jaws, the teeth tearing through her bodysuit and cutting into her arm before her off hand came around and drove her fingertips into the beast's eye with her full strength, jelly and blood spurting out around it.

Freya came at the Sphinx from behind, sinking her blade into the Sphinx's head, working her way up and around it. The Sphinx was outnumbered, but was more than willing to take at least one of them down with her.

Dorofei ran back towards the Sphinx, using his weight and the fact that Jia and Freya had weakened it to knock the beast over and jump onto her neck, raising his ice blade to slice her throat.

As thick blood sprayed from the Sphinx's neck the beast lurched and made a hideous rasping sound, then shuddered and went still.

After it was dead Jia dropped into a crouch, catching her breath. Sweat pasted her hair to her forehead, more trailing down her face and neck amidst the spatters of blood on her face and combat suit. She looked over the bite on her arm and nodded, the wounds not damaging anything serious. Pain was nothing to her. She set about bandaging it tightly, the aches from the bruises and other injuries she had no doubt sustained nothing of import now. Then she straightened. "Take a minute to patch up if you need to, catch your breath, do whatever you need to. Then we need to keep moving."

After doing any kind of necessary patching, the four of them left the carcass of the Sphinx behind and headed further into the labyrinth.

Brandon was in no rush to usher Mitsuko off to her own cabin to catch some Zs. Shoot I'll take this. With Jess givin' me the Eiffel 65 treatment, at least this here is somethin'. He leaned back to try and catch a few more winks to equal forty and give his body a chance to heal.

Or so he would have, except the dinner bell started clanging throughout the cabin. There would be no sleeping with that racket going on. "Ah damn it," he cursed as he sat back up, Mitsuko startled awake as well. "Can't they keep things quiet for a day? Just ta let me get back ta playin' shape?" He sat back up in bed, pulling his legs out from under the Nyx child. "Well, I'm sorry I gotta bail on ya, Mit'sko, but if this here is what I think it is, I gotta be at this. Damn shankin' girl done got this whole camp inta somethin' messed up." Brandon gathered his stuff and left Mitsuko to her own devices as he headed off towards the cafeteria.

A steady ringing rose into Gabriel's ears, jerking him out of sleep. "Huh? Where's that coming from?" It was very loud, invasive, blaring almost. Like an alarm that could be within five inches, as opposed to five hundred feet. The young white feline snuggled against him began to stir as well. He looked about the area, realizing her owner had disappeared. "Where'd sleepy girl go? How long was I out?" He stood to his feet.

Whatever that bell represented, Gabe wanted to ignore it. But, someone would've probably dragged him towards it anyway. So he figured he'd take the incentive this time around. He looked down at the kitty, which in turn looked back up to him. "Lead the way. You know more 'bout this place than I do." She began off in a trot, giving the Harvestchild a bit to move with. As the two reached the cabin complex, everyone interested in the sounds (Lethe included) were beelining towards the mess hall. "Is it dinner time or something? Do they need a bell that loud for dinner?" He figured it best to follow the crowd by this point. Maybe something could be answered once he made it into the cafeteria.

Mitsuko rubbed her eyes as the last of her nap faded from her mind. Brandon was gone before she could say anything, then the bell started ringing in her head. Mitsuko mustered a yawn, and pulled herself out of bed. Her nap would have to wait. If the bell was ringing like that then something was going on and it was something she needed to be at.

Mitsuko left the Ares cabin, and tripped not noticing her boots where untied. Dammit, why do you have to come untied right now? Mitsuko pushed herself up with her now cut up hands, and sat up quickly tying the offending lace. She looked at her hands seeing only minor scraps. Something she could take care of herself later on.

She ran until she met back up with Brandon sleep now long out of the corners of her mind and looked around. "This has to be urgent if someone rang the cafeteria bell." She said to no one in particular.

Brandon almost didn't realize Mitsuko had caught up with him until she was back at his side. Damn girl's got some closing speed. Course I'm hobbled so I guess that ain't a good sign. "Yeah, like I said, some shit went down in Brooklyn there. Lit'l Aphro skank defected to one a them smart-ass Athena pricks n' the girl's why my leg's off. Both of 'em are traitors, the Aphro is in rehab, and if I drop from the 1st round, I'mma make sure she stays there, permanently.

Anyway, yeah, we ah, we might be steerin' ourselves into a bit of the old school warrin', if that twat was right 'n all."

Elizabeth waited for everyone currently at the camp to enter the mess hall and find a spot at either a table or against a wall before she walked to a spot where she could be seen and heard by everyone.

"Recently I and a few other councilors were sent out to investigate a possible monster sighting in a warehouse here in New York. We found at least two moles amongst our ranks, a child of Athena by the name of Russ, and a child of Aphrodite by the name of Carolina. They plan on attacking us and then Olympus itself. Due to the nature of this threat and the clear and present danger of the situation, we will be treating this with the utmost seriousness.

As of now, this camp is at war." At the sound level in the room rose considerably and she waited a bit before ringing the bell again to regain the attention of all who were there.

"From here on in, training will be accelerated for all campers and all of you will have roles to play. We will be defending the camp and the route into Olympus itself. Those of you not ready to fight will be playing supporting roles in order to make sure everyone else is ready for when the fight does come. You will be assigned these roles by your counselors, so you are currently to return to your cabins and speak with them. You are all dismissed." With that she walked back to the cabin she was in charge of and awaited the return of their campers.

Once they had all arrived she gave them roles ranging from mission duty for quite a few of the children, she told two that they would be assisting at the forges, a few would be sent to help in whatever first aid might be necessary, and then she pulled ten campers from her cabin aside.

"I have a specific job for you ten, I have worked with you and I trust you. You are the ten best children of Hermes here, your job is to find any other moles in this camp. I don't trust a child of Athena to only have one traitor to aid him before he is willing to tip his hand. You are to keep a suspicious eye one everyone, each other and myself included. You report only to Chiron and myself and only when we are in his office. Under no other circumstances do you mention anything about this to anyone anywhere. I will also be keeping an eye on all of you. The child of Athena thinks he is sneakier than the children of a god of stealth and subterfuge. So far he is correct, it is up to us to regain the ground lost and prove him wrong."

The labyrinth group moved further into the labyrinth, using the ball of magical thread Royce held to get them through it. They encountered plenty of obstacles, all of which they overcame. After what seemed to be like hours in the labyrinth, which may or may not have actually been hours, they found their exit, a ladder not unlike the one they'd used to enter the labyrinth. One by one, they ascended it, and were finally in the mountains.

Freya breathed in the cold air and sighed with a grin on her face. "Ah, that hits the spot. Nothing beats the feeling of fresh cold air against your face." She looked around, then said "So, where are we supposed to go? We're here, we need to take care of the Chimera." Spotting what seemed to be their destination, she started charging ahead.

"Freya, wait!" Damn her, her impatience had already gotten them into a fight they really didn't need, now she was going for getting them killed. "Odds are good that we're heading into a trap. Calm down, relax, and let's do this properly. They didn't invite us to this party so they could give us a fair fight."

"Call up your skeletons. Then follow me, stick close, and keep quiet." She unslung her crossbow and slotted a quarrel into it, cocking it to readiness, then dropped into a crouch and began moving toward the Chimera's lair.

Mitsuko was just as surprised as every one around her over the news. She had never herd of a mole in the camp before, let alone two at the same time. Being the Nyx cabin counselor it was her job to assign roles to each of her siblings; most of them were new comers to the camp. She looked around seeing the shocked faces of her siblings in the dispersing crowed as they talked amongst themselves. Mitsuko wasted no time approaching the group of Nyx children.

"I want every one of you to meet me in the cabin in 5 minutes, or less. We have much to talk about, and I don't want to waste any time." She said quickly to her siblings then ran off to her cabin; while some of them followed her, others seemed lost in the moment of what was really going on.

She remained quite on the way letting the other Nyx children talk, and she would answer the occasional question as best she could. In her own head she was coming up with a plan of who she'd have go where. Only 5 children of Nyx, counting herself, she felt were battler ready. The rest would have to take up support roles, or with some major training count join her in combat. From that point on all of Nyx cabin was on her training regiment.

Once at the cabin Mitsuko drew up a training schedule for everyone to follow. In small groups, the others joined her wearing worried faces. She could tell they were scared, and she didn't blame them for it. Truth be told she was also afraid. When every member of the cabin was present, she cleared her throat grabbing everyone's attention.

"From this day forward all of you will be training with me twice a day. You all know how I train, and I want cabin Nyx to be the best it can be in the coming days. This will be hard training, my own personal training in fact. Most of you are new to the camp, and I want all of you as safe as possible. The more training you have, the more you can protect yourself. As a child of Nyx we can support of fellow campers in combat, and in defense of the camp. Seeing as there are only 15 of us I'll be giving you each different jobs." She looked around seeing some discomfort at the idea of more training, but they all knew it had to be done.

Mitsuko started to assign their roles, "Alice, Edgar, Nathan, and Natasha, if it comes to a fight you four will be with me on the front lines; I trust each of you to assist me in training as well. Shane, Cory, Samantha, Ryu, and Katie, I'll need you to help guard the camp; you're developing into great fighters, but you're not ready for a real battle yet; I will be teaching you in more defensive manner with Nathan assisting me. Kim, Richard, Sofia, Lee, and Robert, I would like you to learn battle field first aid, and support from Alice. This is your first year for many of you at camp, and your not ready to fight in anyway. We all should be able to move quickly, and quietly around when we need to due to being children of Nyx. One last thing, no matter what you think of me, or anyone else question what they're doing if it seems suspicious. Trust no one at this point. We rule the night just like our mother. Let us defend Camp Half-Blood and Olympus. Tell no one what I have just told you. We speak of these manners only in the cabin, or with Chiron. Let the night guide, and protect you."

Mitsuko sighed not sure if she was ready to lead a cabin of her siblings into war. She had never seen combat on this big of a scale, but she knew she had to be ready to fight. This was going to be a challenge for her as a leader, and as a child of Nyx.

Freya stopped, not happy about being stopped, but they had to work together, so she complied and did as Jia had asked of her, summoning her skeletons and went with Jia. She was ready with her hand on her sword's hilt, always ready to draw it.

As they drew closer, they could see a cave in the distance, with what seemed to be a few creatures guarding it. They weren't able to spot it right away where they were, but once they would be closer, they would see a handful of centaur archers staying watch, with a couple or so drakainas guarding with them.

Being battle ready meant some high grade pharmaceuticals, for starters. Two of the most senior Hypnos campers, Daniel and Joseph, were chemistry majors. Not even Ling-Lei remembered how old they were, or when they got here, but they specialized in... stronger drugs than the camp infirmary had in stock.

There's actually... more of us than I thought. Usually, campers stayed into their mid-20s, at most. Everyone eventually thought they could strike it out on their own against the monsters in the world. Except Hypnos kids, apparently. A small, small fraction of them ever made it to camp to begin with. The ones that were there rarely left.

"Alright campers, you know why you're up and awake..." Ling Lei had commissioned one of the Hephaestus campers to put up a temporary lab for them to practice in. Hypnos children didn't fight with weapons. They fought with magic. With concoctions. Not unlike Hecate kids. "You'll all be required to attend either a synthesis class, a casting class, or a session at the arena or shooting range. You'll all be allowed one tablet of Z a day, to be consumed at check out. Any camper found distributing will be penalized."

Ok, so one class a day. That's not bad. I need to brush up on... casting. Haven't had to deal with dreams since... geez, forever.
"Ambrose?"
"I know, I know. I'm going to go find someone to practice dreams with, alright?"
"Alright. Be careful, okay? No messing around, especially in campers'-"
Ambrose was gone.


"War? ...Jesus." Gabriel murmured in disbelief as the Hermes girl began announcing tasks to be carried out by her own cabin mates. He took a seat at the nearest bench, and let out a deep sigh. "Fuckin' hell. Today's been pretty damn eventful, to say the least." He cursed again. His guardian died in his arms, his mistakes got him cast out from his home, and the only place he could apparently find solace in was beginning battle plans for a full-scale assault. Things were really starting to stack on the boy's mind, and it made his brow furrow. From across the cafeteria, he could spot Rosa tending to some of their cabin's younger children. He diverted his gaze immediately, not wishing to acquire any of their attention.

Ambrose walked by the Demeter cabin. Still all at the mess hall? There was really only one camper she knew who she could really just blindside if it got to that. She would rather work with someone she kind of knew. "Gabriel Emile Aeckerd!" Ambrose walked straight up to the older camper, putting her hands on her hips. Lethe, noticing her companion's state, bounced over happily, purring and rubbing against Ambrose's leg. "I need you to help me practice."

"How even-? How'd she get my whole...? Whatever." Gabe sat up, fairly surprised at the Sleepling's completely reworked attitude adjustment. "Someone's awake." He replied. "What practice?" He asked.

"War. Practice. We all have to practice. I want you, to practice with me." she pointed at him, then to herself. "You're not brain damaged, so I can practice with you without worry. Those harpies? We were good, don't you think?"
"You were doing better than I was during that fight..." He admitted. As much as the Harvestchild got into fights, he was never considered a good fighter. "Practice wouldn't be the worst thing..." As much as he wanted to say no, he stood up. "Alright. I'm in. Lead the way, Sleepy"
"My name is Ambrose. Ambrose Lark. Let's go. We should stop by the arena and check out some armor."
"I know...?" She and Lethe were already outside before he could fully reply. "Arena. Armor. Right." He thought as he followed after her. The thought of armor still seemed somewhat farfetched to him, as he wanted to point that out earlier that day. "Things are obviously way more serious 'round here. Way more serious then they seem they should be." Granted, the whole talk of war proved that, but still. He was slowly attempting to process it all.

Ambrose was pumped. She had only been on full awake maybe twice. Once at school. Second time was at camp. It seemed like eons ago. The steps to the Armory flew by, and it seemed like two blinks, and they were there. She almost ran into the door. It was crowded, with most of the good stuff gone. Who wasn't going to practice with all the hype about fighting. Ambrose checked out some light armor. She wasn't used to it, at all, but she wasn't about to walk into the forest without it. She put it on over her nightgown: a metal breastplate and leather guards for her arms and legs. She took her scythe, giving it a cursory swing to make sure it was still sharp. She wrapped her pendant around her wrist. Without checking for Gabe, she was out the door again, heading for the forest. Lethe waited patiently for Gabriel.

Should I get armor too? Lethe crowed as Gabriel walked in.
"Can you even wear armor?" He muttered to the kitten. As he reached the armory, he spotted Ambrose already fitting herself with metal plates. She was working fairly fast, obviously showing some previous experience with the outfitting process. "Uhhh... He tried approaching a set of leather fittings himself, exchanging quick glances between the armor and the girl, in hopes to learn a proper way to equip himself. "I'm still new here, no one's told me how to work these things..."

But, she finished far before he would he figure out the difference between a shin guard and a wrist guard. Ambrose took off, speedwalking for the forests. "Jeez, hol' up." He began after her. "Guess i'm bypassing armor for the moment." She was really perked up, now that he thought about it. He eventually managed to bring up her rear. "You on something right now? Ritalin? Adderall? A shit ton of coffee?"
"Cocaine" Ambrose announced dismissively. "Cut with Adderal."
Hey, you don't have any armor on either! I wanna go!
"Oh...okay." Gabe would've took a spittake if he were drinking something. "...Not even gonna question it. Nope." It seemed like a bit much for someone her age, but he had a half-thought that it might've been one of her god given abilities or something. "...To take in major amounts of drugs." Maybe everyone else in her cabin did it too. They were already approaching the lake by this point, so Gabe decided to collect his sapling and sword. "Do you snort it? Or take it in a pill...?" He asked as he grabbed the still knife-sized weapon. He said he wasn't gonna question it, but his curiousity got the best of him. Ambrose laughed. More of a snort.
"Tablet. Not the best, but do you really think they'd let us snort or shoot up in the middle of camp? Ha ha no. Yeah. It's kind of really unpleasant, cause it means you can't sleep. But war, I guess." She stopped shortly after they passed the treeline. "Alright, any more questions before we start? You should get some sort of bark armor on or something, whatever it is you do, with your sapling."
"I'm new here, and you just said you do cocaine. Anything is possible by this point. Wouldn't be the least bit surprised if you said you snort it." With Marcy properly potted, he began towards Ambrose. "I'll improvise. S'what I usually do." He removed the dirt from the sword, and gave her a glance. "Ready when you are."

"Alright. Let's go." Ambrose raised her hand. "Insomnia!" Her voice seemed to reverbrate among the trees. Gabriel noticed a few wood nymphs scurrying among the leaves, and then disappearing. THe woods were quiet for a few minutes. Then a... bleat. Ambrose smiled wryly. A couple of sheep crept into the clearing, suspicious, showing their teeth. Their sharp, gleaming teeth. "Carnivorous sheep. Not my first choice, but whatevs. Keep em off me, harvestkid. Can you do that?"
"Yeah." "Didn't think sheep lived in upstate New York forests. Weird, but whatever." With the sword in one hand, the sapling began slithering from the opening in his backpack, and began spiraling down his free arm.

Jia grimaced as she looked over the assembled enemy forces, her eyes narrowing at the sight of the Drakaina. "Even if this were the extent of their force this would be a rough fight." She grimaced. "What's worse is that they're waiting for us and I'd bet there's more nearby..."

She went quiet for a moment. "I say we give them what they want. I go down there, let them see me, do their whole villain routine. Show their hand and if we're lucky get them monologuing. When the fight breaks out I go into a fighting retreat and once I get back inside the treeline you three pop out from hiding places and attack. Dorofei, think you could use your powers to lay some traps? Ice spikes, slippery sheets, anything to give an edge."

Dorofei scanned the area, trying to spot something in the field to use to their advantage. They were downwind, Jia was smart to plan from here. The trees were caked in a heavy layer of powder, but the snow falling now was slightly wet. He looked over to the mouth of the cave and saw that there was a great heat coming from inside.

The Chimera must like it warm. Such amatures. he reasoned.

His eyes darted quickly from the mouth of the cave to the area above it. Tons of snow packed over itself for years opon years, and just forming in the hardest parts were faint lines. He followed the trail left by the cracks to the very top of the mountain, where the snow had raised the peak several feet into the air, and curving slightly in their direction.

Dorofei's mouth stretched back in a wicked grin, giving his scarred face the look of a madman. "I do better, When they rush to attack, I bring mountain down. Just knowing when you to duck"

"Seems like an edge enough to me. I just want to get to the Chimera as soon as possible." It would be so nice to be the one to take out the Chimera. Freya wouldn't let any of the others do it. "Well? What do you say?" she said to Jia. "An avalanche...If you time it right I can get into the upper branches before it hits. Then we move in and finish the job." She unslung her crossbow and quiver and handed them to Freya. "I'll be in too close to use this, so you might find it of better use." She nodded, then unsheathed the Rose of Sunrise and stepped forward. "Hold back until they attack or I strike, they might have something to say." With that she stepped out of the treeline and approached them. "You were waiting for me, I trust? " She shouted at them, her voice as hard and sharp as the steel she held.

Freya almost remarked something back to Jia, but kept her cool this time and put the quiver on, then slung the crossbow, waiting for her opportunity. Fucking sticking me back in long range combat... I belong on the front lines.

As Jia shouted towards the guards, they all turned their attention towards her. The centaur archers started firing their arrows towards her and the drakainas slithered towards her, their swords raised high as they sped towards her with their shields held in front of them.

"No talking, huh." She danced to the sides, keeping the Drakaina between her and the Centaurs, readying the Rose to parry their attacks. She had to hold for now, there was bound to be more than just this in their path, not when they had been called to battle.

As one of the drakainas was about to swing at Jia, Freya released a bolt into its side, causing it to hiss and snarl, backing away slidly and bleeding into the snow. The other drakaina got in a hit, but only hit Jia's Rose. The blade shivered around the strike but held. Jia twisted with the strike and came around, driving her fist into the underside of the beast's ribs before dancing back. "Is this all you have? I am Jia Shang, greatest warrior of the Halfbloods, child of Athena! Show me what passes for valor among your worthless kind!"

"Ssssshut it, you worthlessss demigod!" One of the drakainas was hit with another bolt from Freya before they could attack Jia, but the other swept her tail under Jia, tripping her, and swinging her sword down at her. Jia rolled to the side and brought the Rose up into a slash, the blade slipping between scales and opening up the beast's belly, spilling her steaming entrails onto the snow. "Is this all you can muster?" She pushed off the ground and flipped upright, readying her blade for their next attack. The battle was going south for the enemy, they had to reveal their trump soon.

The centaurs were still firing their arrows, and Freya shot towards them occasionally to try and hit them, but due to not being used to a crossbow, or any kind of bow, her aim wasn't very accurate.

"That'ssss no concern of yourssss!" said the other drakaina as its partner lay there, bleeding out. She swung at Jia with her sword, doing her best against the Athena child with the help of the centaurs. This wasn't working. They were taking too long. Jia laughed in the Drakaina's face, parrying her blade and locking them before slamming her fist into the beast's neck, sending it stumbling and wheezing. "Freya, you're not going to let me get all of them are you? C'mon down!"

"Well, you were the one who gave me the crossbow..." Freya mumbled to herself, taking another shot at the centaurs before putting it away and taking out her shield and sword, holding the shield up so as to not get hit with the arrows being shot towards them. The drakaina saw that this was a fight she couldn't win, and retreated back towards the cave. "She's probably gone to get backup." Freya said to Jia once she was there near her. "I say bring it on. Although to kill time until they might come outside, we should take care of those archers. They're kind of annoying." Arrows flew towards them and past them as they dodged.

"No argument from me." Jia broke into a charge, weaving around the arrows until she was close enough, leaping into the air well over the Centaur's head and coming down blade-first, splitting the first's head like an overripe watermelon.

Freya was not far behind her, keeping her shield in front of her and holding her blade back. Once she was close enough, she slashed the centaur's arm off, then sliced its throat before stabbing through its chest. Perhaps a bit excessive, but for Freya, it was just enough.

"I think I overestimated these imbeciles!" Jia sprang to the next, severing the Centaur's bowstring with one slash, following up with a stab through the heart. They weren't given much peace to freely attack the centaurs, as reinforcements from the cave arrived. The drakaina came out with a few more drakainas, one of which looked very different from the other ones, being twin-tailed and much larger than the others. No sign of the Chimera, though. "It's probably still in the cave." Freya said, more to herself than Jia.

"Thesssse were the onessss giving you sssso much trouble?" the large drakaina asked the one Jia had left wheezing, who nodded. "Weak!" she shouted and turned towards Jia and Freya. "Demigodsssss, your journey here endssss now. Your attempt at sssstopping the Chimera are in vain! I, Echidna, will sssstop you!" She charged towards them, along with the other drakainas. Freya had taken out another two centaurs while Echidna had talked, leaving two more for Jia to take care of before all the archers would be killed.

She tugged her blade free of the last centaur. "Oh dear." Jia braced herself to run, glancing over at Freya to see if she was ready to move, and hoping Dorofei was ready. Jia nodded to Freya, then raised her sword, the Rose of Sunrise flaring with a bright light. "NOW!"

Dorofei striked the earth with his fists, and the mountain seemed to beat in time with his pulse. He stood quickly, raising his arms high above his head, the pulse changing to a rapid thud that echoed through the air. With all his strength, he slammed his arms to the floor, and the mountain suddenly seemed to fall down onto them below.

Freya was quick to run towards the cave, where the Chimera was most likely, and with the snow from the avalance now blocking the entrance, she could only move further into the cave. The avalance had taken the drakainas and Echidna with it, and straight down a large cliff.

Jia flowed like water around the Drakaina, using one to push off in a long leap through the mouth of the cave, dropping into a crouch beside Freya as the avalanche devoured the enemy behind them. "Well, that went well." The Rose flared to life, illuminating the area. "Dorofei should be able to get through that lot."

"He should, but I'm not waiting for him. He can join when he gets in." Freya said before she started walking further into the cave, which was a bit dark now with the light from the outside blocked off, and torches hanging on the walls.

Freya and Jia moved further into the cave. It was uneventful as they walked through it. They could hear a roar from inside the cave, most likely belonging to the Chimera. "Finally, we can take out that damn Chimera and return back to the camp." Freya said, more to herself. Even though she sounded like she would rather be doing something else, she still had a smirk on her face. The opportunity to fight something alive and wasn't another camper was always welcome to her.

When they reached a large opening in the cave, they saw where the Chimera stood. It wasn't as tall as the Sphinx had been, but it was still fairly large. However, it wasn't alone. "So you were able to take out Echidna and the other drakainas. I can't say we expected you to use the mountain itself to take them out, but that doesn't matter. You're not leaving this place alive." The one who spoke was a young man, wielding a war hammer made out of Celestial Bronze. Beside him was a young woman who wielded a glaive, which was also made out of Celestial Bronze. Both wore armor made from the same metal as their weapons. Clearly demigods, but Freya couldn't tell who's child they were, nor did she particularly care.

"Oh yeah? Newsflash; we came here to take out the Chimera. I'll gladly take you both out to get to it." This was a great place for Freya. With the amount of darkness, she could travel through the shadows as she pleased. Until she'd become too tired to do so, but she wasn't thinking about that at the moment. The Chimera stood behind the two opposing demigods, ready to attack when it could.

"Freya, hold up." She stared at the other two Demigods. "Cousins, right? If we're shedding the blood of kin today the least we can do is be polite about it." She saluted, holding the Rose's flat an inch from her face, the tip pointing up. "I am Jia Shang, Daughter of Athena. Before death - ours or yours - comes to this place may we speak to one another?" Jia wasn't entirely bullshitting - she was genuinely curious about these two, and it was rather impolite to kill your cousins without so much as an introduction. More importantly, it would give them time for Dorofei to catch up and even the odds, and let her take their measure before battle was joined.

Dorofei stood alone, atop the flattened section of snow that was once part of a mountain. It wouldn't be much of a problem to dig through the snow to find the entrance of the cave. He smacked the flat of his axe against the snow, and what looked like a small explosion forced a moderate pile of snow to the side. It was easy work at first, until Dorofei felt something he hadn't felt since his mother gave him his enchanted gifts. For the first time in years, Dorofei felt a chill run down his spine. A chill from a northern wind.

Dorofei turned to face the wind and spoke in Greek. "Are you going to show yourself or are you going to play games all day?"

In a blinding flash of light, a figure emerged onto the snowy plane in front of Dorofei. He struck a giant and imposing figure. He towered several meters above Dorofei, his skin a deep a sickening blue. He would have looked like a giant that had died from exposure to the cold, were it not for the monstrously large wings that the air seemed to surge around like small typhoons contained around delicate feathers.

He spoke in a deep and booming voice. " Kneel before Boreas, mortal. The God of North Winds has graced you with his precence"

Dorofei stood motionless in the face of the god. "You chose now to speak to me? I didn't know you were so dramatic."

Boreas laughed. "You're one to talk. How much longer are you going to keep up the cave-man thing? I'm almost disappointed that I don't get to hear you stomp your way through the conversation."

"What do you want?"

"I came to give you a gift. I have for you a-"

"I don't want it. Leave me be."

Boreas gave his giant wings a single great beat, and what felt like a hurricane hit Dorofei, pinning him to his knees. His rage seemed to make his voice ring from all the mountain. "You do not dismiss me, mortal. You are my grandson and you will give me what is mine."

Dorofei laughed. "And the mighty Boreas, the Great Devourer, has to ask me nicely for his magic back."

His wings gave another mighty beat, but the giant blue god didn't move.

"You will return the enchantments that Chione stole from me!"

Dorofei lauged again. It felt almost theraputic to hold the upper hand like this. "I never could figure it out when I was a child. All those years, covering every footprint in the snow, sleeping tied to a tree branch, swimming up freezing rivers, and they always found us. We'd experience just a moment of peace, and there'd be another monster, always bigger than the last. All your hope of staying alive, every ounce of it, placed into one person. Only to watch them die, and a woman made of snow descend upon you, with magic in one hand and a life story in the other. A story about an angry, bitter old god who was mad at his daughter and punished her family."

Dorofei picked his axe up and swung it back into the ground, throwing another mound of snow towards Boreas. There was now a sizable hole leading toward the buried cave entrance. Dorofei took a deep breath of the fresh mountain air. Even now, in the blistering cold, the enchantment from his mother kept him perfectly comfortable.

"The enchantment are mine, Boreas. Killing me won't place it back in your hands, and you're not exactly known for your love of demigods. There's no one to help you. Your nothing now but a bag of air."

"You shouldn't be so foolish as to mock me, mortal. The gods hold no regard for you! With a thought, I will bring the darkest creatures ever spawned by Tartarus to kill you, and no tear will be shed on Olympus."

Boreas stretched his giant wings, and with a blinding flash and a powerful gust of wind, he was gone.

Dorofei's first instinct after meeting an angry and vengeful god was to swear, and loudly.

"FUCK! Jia! The asshole! They must be at the Chimera by know. I have to get to them quickly!"

The dig to the cave entrance went faster than he expected. There must have been less snow than anticipated.

He quickly made his way down into the cave. Soon he spotted Jia and Freya. Before he could call out to them, he saw Jia raise her sword and salute someone out of view. From the sound of it, they were other demigods, and they weren't friendly. Aching with anticipation and anxiety, Dorofei stood back; He had to find a way to contact Jia without giving his presence away to the other demigods. He knelt to the ground, and stuck his Celestial Bronze rod into the earth. Concentrating, he grew a wire-thin sliver of Magic Ice along the floor, behind Jia, and sent a thin strip of Ice up her ankle and leg. Hopefully, the sudden chill would clue her in.

"Fucking seriously?" Freya said when Jia stopped her and introduced herself to the hostile demigods. She wasn't going to introduce herself, though. She could leave it up to Jia to make pleasantries with the enemy. The young man did actually respond by putting the head of his war hammer onto the ground and bowing a little. "Tristan Ryder, son of Thanatos." Upon hearing that, Freya became more interested. She knew that Thanatos children could summon skeletons much like Hades children, but they needed a bone in order to do so. She took a closer look at him, and sure enough, he had a bone on his belt. It'd be easy to counter that with her own skeletons.

The young woman was next. She held her glaive much like Tristan did with his war hammer, but the other way around so as to not stick it into the ground with the pointy end of it. "Diana Zeke, daughter of Hephaestus." Now that seemed like it would make for a problematic opponent for Dorofei, since if she was able to manipulate fire like some children of Hephaestus were able to do, he would really need help. But Freya wasn't the slightest interested in making sure he had a fair fight or not. If they had to go through these two to get to the Chimera, Freya would gladly do so.

"We haven't heard your name, daughter of Hades." Tristan said with a cheeky grin. "How the fuck do you know who my father is?!" Freya said, upset that they knew about her. "A little bird told us." Diana replied, wearing the same cheeky grin as Tristan. "Doesn't fucking matter, I'm not telling my name to dead people! Because I'll make sure that you two die, if that's what I have to do to get to that Chimera!" The two of them laughed. "It doesn't matter if you won't tell us, we already know. Along with your two other partners who we know are hiding back there." The second sentence was aimed at Dorofei and Royce, the latter had followed after Dorofei into the cave. The Chimera was growing anxious with all this waiting and talking, just wanting to attack them as it showed with a roar.

It started out simple. Ambrose wanted protection from surprisingly bloodthirsty sheep. Gabriel couldn't understand why this typically herbivore species had thing for human flesh, but it was happening right before his very eyes. "I might as well accept it." As he thought, a sleep charged at him. "Just keep 'em off of Sleepy. Just keep 'em off-" With his left hand outstretched, an collection of vines thrust forth, tangling the sheep's footing, leaving it vulnerable. With his right hand, he stabbed down into its neck. Only a few shivs were needed to secure the kill.

Gabe closed the gap between himself and the Sleepling, his back facing hers. The first kill was simple enough (if only slightly jarring, the act of killing something usually so harmless). "Hehehe, counting sheep" Ambrose chuckled to herself before clutching her pendant again, back to her partner. She had put her scythe away, concentrating intently on her spell. Whenever a sheep lunged at her, or tried to take a nip, Ambrose merely dodged, leaving Gabe with skill the work until she was finished. "Somnolence." she repeated.

No poppies appeared this time, but their angel was heavy in the air. Like magic, all the sheep in the clearing dropped, some skidding to stops at the demigods' feet. This time, Ambrose followed it with another spell. "Koma."

As she chanteed, one last lunging sheep flew through the air, catching Gabe from the side. With the extra dead weight, it was more than enough to knock him off his feet and over the wall of bloodied wool. Luckily for him, it was asleep. Wriggling from under the heavy sheep, Gabriel managed to rise back to his feet, panting. "Is that it?" He asked the Sleepling.

Ambrose's eyes misted over, and her head slowly tilted back, mouth slightly open. All the sleeping sheep disintegrated one by one, collapsing into piles of ash. Small red petals floated down among them. Ambrose's eyes returned to normal, and she quickly succumbed to a coughing fit, sitting down to catch her breath. "Wooo! Yeah, out of practice." The Harvestchild approached her. "You okay?" He crouched to her side.

"I'm fine, I guess. Now demigod dreams, those're delicious" she put on a psychotic smile, but burst out coughing a few seconds later before laughing again, ruining the effect. "I just haven't done this on a big scale before. How many was that, five? You already killed most of them..." Gabe shrugged. He honestly wasn't counting. "Just doing what you asked." Eyebrow raised at her peculiar ramblings, he offered her a hand. "Need some help?" Ambrose got up and dusted smoothed her dress down, picking out all the leaves. "Thanks. You good? Wanna go again-"

There was the sound of something coming. Something bigger than a sheep. With a lot more legs. Branches and leaves cracked as a large crab crashed into the clearing. It was easily taller than either of the demigods, and about 15 feet across. Its shell looked like a boulder, and had patches of moss and plants growing out of it. Whatever it was, it looked a lot worse since it was big. "Oh..."

"That's a big crab." Gabe stated the obvious. Its shell looked concrete tough, much too hard for his sword to do any damage. So in reply, he put his sword away, and a tangle of vines swirled around his right arm. "Might need two hands for this." He turned to the Sleepling. "Any ideas? Think you can put that thing to sleep?" Ambrose was hesitant to answer. "Um... I don't know... It'd be easier if I could get on its head."

"Okay." Gabe glanced between the Sleepling and the massive crustacean. It was approaching, gradually albeit slowly. The clearing made it slightly difficult for it to advance. It was still in arm's reach, however, and swung at the two with one massive claw. With quick thinking, Gabe grabbed for Ambrose and took cover behind one of the wider trees. WHAM! The claw collided with the large trunk. The canopy rustled, but tree was much too rooted to take any significant damage. "The canopy..." Gabriel looked up; he had an idea. He knelt to the Sleepling. "Get on my back. I'll get you to its head."

"What?" She didn't have time to ask what he planned, jumping on his back as the crab yanked its claw back. A vine fell from the tree. "Hold on tight." With two quick tugs on the vine, it shot straight up, bringing the Harvestchild and Ambrose with it. A few feet up, Gabe managed to find footing on a sturdy branch, one just inches out of the beast's reach. "We're gonna drop back down. Should be close enough to drop down on top of it."

"Yeah, have fun with that..." Ambrose held on even tighter to the Harvestchild. This was her first time in a tree, ever, and it was a lot taller than she thought it would be. Gabe observed the monster, waiting for the right moment to jump. Soon, it tried nipping at the two again, pointing a claw towards them. With Ambrose in tow, Gabriel jumped back down, landing on the outstretched claw, leaving the two sliding down the smooth carapace. Gabe brought his feet down and jumped once more, sailing through the air to land the two on the creature's rocky body. "I got you to the head. Do your thing." Gabe stated.

"All right ya'll listen up!" Brandon called the meeting of his half-brothers and sisters to order. The children of Ares had been gathered in the battle amphitheater in response to the assembly that had been called. "Ya'll heard the head honcho; we're goin' ta war!" This declaration was met with a mixture of quieted murmuring and excitement over the prospects of real fighting to do.

"Now ya'll know how this usually goes, least ya would if ya'll was payin' attention in history. Since we are the kids of war, lot of ya'll are gonna be on the front lines, out their fightin' whatever them bastards dug up from the Underworld's litter box, and sendin' it back down!" This got a few more cheers. "Some of ya though, we're gonna keep ya posted here, mannin' defenses and what not. Now I got all tha faith in tha world, that ya'll back here ain't going ta be needed, since ya'll out there are gonna whoop some ass!"

"DAMN STRAIGHT WE ARE!" came a shout in the crowd.

"Shut the hell up, Leeroy! I'm talkin' here! Dang it! Anyway, ya'll are gonna be down here ev'ry day til we get the call, trainin' and sparrin' to make sure ya'll are in top shape for this one. 'Cause this is for all the marbles, kids! Now since ya'll are probably sick hearin' me say ya'll up here, get practicin'!"

With a final cheer the Ares kids split up into sections based on their particular styles of combat and set out honing their craft as the counselor asked. Brandon meanwhile headed back towards the head offices. Right they have to give me somethin' a bit more concrete then that to tell them. Let's see if Liz and them got a plan yet.

"So much for the element of surprise." Jia mumbled under her breath. Louder, she said "what's the point of this? Why the obvious trap? What do you two get out of this? You lured us here, was it really just for a more or less fair fight? Don't you have some kind of spiel, a speech to seduce us into joining your side?" Rule of the adversarial conversation: ABA, always be asking. Provoke the other into a monologue and he'll give away information without noticing, but be careful they don't turn it around.

"We have our motive." Tyler replied to Jia. "It doesn't matter if we tell you or not, but we've seen enough movies to know to shut up. So, nice try there, child of Athena, but we're not spilling any beans. Someone is dying here today, and in case it's us, there's no way we're going to give up our motive." He gave a sly grin.

"You came here for a fight, didn't you? Then a fight is what you'll get." Diana said after Tyler was done. He summoned a skeleton that headed for Dorofei and Royce, while he himself went after Jia. Diana followed after him, and Freya went straight for the Chimera, who was glad that the fighting had finally started.

"As you wish." Jia said as the two Demigods charged her. She moved, twisting like a reed around the thrust of the woman's glaive and kicked off the ground, her foot catching the hammer and deflecting it as she rose. She twisted as she came over, landing behind them and rising to her feet, a smile on her face. She slid the Rose back into the sheath and slipped her gloves on, then moved in.

Battle principle: Polearms and blunt weapons require feet to fight. The skilled warrior needs only an inch to punch.

She pressed close to them, focusing on the man first. A heavy uppercut strike went wide, then she was inside his reach, delivering a machine gun barrage of punches to his chest and face. Tyler staggered back under the volley, dropping his hammer and engaging her in hand to hand - the man seemed to be a bit of a boxer. She bobbed her head, twisting around one punch before another clippef the side of her head, sending stars into her eyes and tearing her cheek along the bone. She stumbled backwards, and Diana moved to make a killing shot, a fast thrust to pierce her heart. Again she bent, but he enemy followed her movement and the blade sliced through her bodysuit, slicing into the flesh of her side, scraping along ribs.

Pain is nothing. She ignored the lance that it sent into her mind, ignored the wet feeling in her clothes, and just focused on the fight. Her leg came over and around, her foot landing atop the glaive and forcing it to the ground. Two more steps along it and she was at the girl, her foot coming up to put the tip of her boot into Diana's chin, sending her sprawling and unarmed to the ground. She turned and brought her hand up to parry a haymaker punch from Tyler, the sheer power of it sending a chill down her spine.

"YAH!" She bellowed as she twisted with the force of the impact, turning his power against him as she returned it with a punch of her own that slammed into his left ribs, a sharp crack filling the cave as a rib snapped like kindling. His guard wavered and she was on him with the barrage again, punch after punch raining down on his face and chest until his face was bloody, the consistency of hamburger. He made another swing at her, half blind, and she caught his wrist, twisting and flinging him into the cave wall. He struck hard and dropped.

"That it?" She panted.

"Not quite." She spun on her heel at the voice and narrowly saved her own life as the hammer slammed down, mercifully avoiding stoving her skull in, instead striking her right arm. A crack filled the cave again, and her arm went into a shape it was never meant to go.

"Aaaaargh!" She screamed. She brought her leg around, barely able to think through her pain, and swept the legs out from under the Thanatos child. She scrambled to her feet, only for Jia to twist and deliver a kick to the side of her knee.

This time it was Diana's turn to scream as a limb went a way it wasn't made to.

Dorofei always wondered why someone would send a skeleton to fight. They were, essentially, brittle frames carrying heavy things designed to break bones. As the skeletal warrior ambled it's way over to two experienced fighters with a wealth of combat knowledge.

Royce idly fiddled with his flamethrower. "So, should I take the skeleton, or..?"

There was a crashing sound as Jia's judo throw sent a man twice her size into the wall. He took a moment to appreciate her perfect technique and posture...

Royce snapped his fingers in Dorofei's face a few times. Dorofei jerked back to attention.

"Oh! No, I take skeleton. You take nap, leetle fire man."

"....Dorofei, if you keep doing that voice, I'm blocking TF2 on the camp's servers."

"Oh fine then, I'll just speak in Greek, but the Skeleton is mine."

He ran to intercept the shambling skeleton, sending a wide swing across with his axe. The skeleton parried with it's blade, its bones cracking under the force of Dorofei's swing. He let his momentum bring him forward, falling into a tackle the buckled the skeletons legs. He now had the skeleton pinned down beneath him, the sword arm thrashing madly as it slammed the pommel of its sword into Dorofei's head.

"Annoying *THUD* bastard *THUD*"

He reached his shield arm up, striking the edge into the skeleton's face, biting into the cheek bone. He shifted his weight, forcing the shield deeper into its skull. Magic Ice began to spread from the shield onto the skeleton. Thrashing joints one by one began to freeze as it tried in vain to scrape the growing wave of Magic Ice off its face.

Then the arms froze. Then its hands. The skeleton was once again entombed.

Ambrose tried to concentrate, but this was gonna be a tough one to crack. She twisted the gold chain over her wrist for safety, her spell mutterings constantly being interrupted by THIS FUCKING CRAB. As soon as she finished one sentence, it would ram into a tree, and she would have to grab onto its shell to keep from being flung off. Gabriel on the other hand was being a real trooper. Just do your thing Ambrose, not like you haven't DONE THIS BEFORE ON TOP OF A CRAB "Hey, since you control plants and stuff, maybe could you make its shell fall off, or hold it down with a TREE??" She grabbed onto a small hand hold in the rock, placing her other hand on top of where she assumed the crab's brain was. Okay, Okay, concentrate, concentrate, poppies, sleep, dreams, bed... "Somno-SHIT" Something like a blow to the head made her grip slip, and Ambrose scrambled for another hold. This was a lot harder than she thought. Dream eating was not ALL that it was cracked up to be. It got harder the more powerful or sentient a monster was, the further its brain was from where you were standing, the more awake it was... and this one was going to be a doozy.

"Bad news, plant man, crabs' brains aren't up here..." she made a downward motion with her thumb, quickly grabbing back onto the crab. "It's like, right above its mouth. below these." She kicked one of its eyes in frustration, causing it to rear up and wave its pincers around, trying to dislodge the pesky demigods.

Gabriel held on with but some effort. The whole ordeal was fairly exhilarating, yet the Harvestchild's plain face would've made the situation seem annoyingly trivial. He let out a bit of sigh as the monstrous land crustacean shook back and forth in attempts to jostle the two demigods loose. "...Maybe could you make its shell fall off, or hold it down with a TREE??" The Sleeping called out from her handhold, making Gabriel think. "Could I take control of a whole tree?" He pondered on the possibility. He could conjure vines from a canopy, or shape something small with relative ease, but he never thought of controlling anything bigger. "Well, stranger things have happened today." As he considered the idea, Ambrose revealed another revelation.

"...Crabs' brains aren't up here..." She pointed out. Gabe sighed again. "Wonderf-whoa-" The crab reared and caught him off guard, causing him to tumble backwards off of its craggy carapace. He was airborne for only a second, falling head over heels before landing flat on his butt. He scrambled to his feet, narrowly missing being stepped on by one of its hind legs. "Time to tie you up." He turned his attention towards the closest tree, an massive, elderly Redwood. He thrust towards it, arms outstretched. He clenched up a bit, and the tree rumbled a bit in reply.

The rumbling quickly began to grow, and soon some massive roots of the tree blasted and stretched out towards the crab. Straining, he used the roots to the best of his ability, using the roots to entangle the crab's legs. He managed to hold it down with what he had, but it was clear it wouldn't be enough. He ran over to a tree on the opposite side of the crab, and repeated the process. Then he did it with another tree, and another tree. In time, the crab was completely immobile, pincers included. It could barely even struggle as the Harvestchild approached it, and punched the other eye. Now exhausted by the overexertion, he looked up towards the crab's rocky top, and called out. "Hey...ya wanna...try this again?" He told the Sleepling through heavy breaths before collapsing where he stood.

While Jia took out the two Demigods and Dorofei handled the skeleton, Freya was busy fighting the Chimera. It had always been an odd creature, with two heads, one of a goat and the other of a lion, a lion's body and a snake for a tail. But none of that mattered to Freya as she held her shield up and her sword aimed directly at the Chimera. The snake hissed at her, the lion roared and the goat bleated. It swiped at her with its paw, which got blocked by her shield. The cave was just big enough for the Chimera to move almost freely in it.

Freya quickly moved to the Chimera's side and sliced it with her sword, making the Chimera roar in pain and spit acid from the snake's mouth. Freya jumped out of the way of the acid and ran around it to give it a stab here and there. The Chimera was annoyed at the way she fought and in an attempt to trip her, put the snake tail down in front of her legs. However, that just gave her the chance to slice the tail off. The snake part wriggled around before stopping as it died.

The Chimera both roared and bleated in pain at having its tail cut off like that and jumped at Freya. "Wrong move, motherfucker." Freya said with a grin as she used the shadows around to teleport behind the Chimera as it landed and slice at its hind legs. It was enough to slow the Chimera down, but it still had a fighting chance. It turned around to give her another swipe, and while she blocked it again, it threw her against the cave wall, apparently using more strength now than before. Thankfully, wearing full armor made sure she was mostly unhurt. Just sore from the impact and even more into the fight. "You sure put up a fight, but you're going down!"

They both ran towards one another and as the Chimera swiped again, Freya jumped up and plunged her sword into the goat head. "Two out of three. Not bad." Still sporting her grin, she yanked her sword out and ran down the back of the Chimera, who turned back towards her, clawing and swiping furiously. She just barely managed to block the swipes. The Chimera roared at her and once she pushed the swipes back, she gave it a roar of her own. It was more of an angry yell, but she tried.

Again the Chimera attempted to pounce her, but she was prepared. "Game over." she said as she dodged under the Chimera and stabbed it straight in the heart. She let go of the sword and watched as the Chimera slumped over, showing signs of being in pain before stopping. Freya walked over to it, kicking it over from its side onto its back and took her sword out. She put it back into its sheath and walked towards the others. "The Chimera's dead, so that's out mission." She looked at what Jia had done to the two Demigods, who were both in really bad shapes. "I see you kept them alive." Freya said and chuckled. "Well, guess who's coming back with us for interrogation. Dorofei, help me with taking deathboy over there. I'll take the blacksmith's daughter." She slumped Diana over her shoulder and started to head out of the cave.

Despite the incredible irritation of passing through the Labyrinth the first time the return trip was almost trivially easy and fast, and the trio plus their two captives were soon returning to the camp, to find the place a bustle as they readied for war.

"Looks like team two had news. Let's get these two to Chiron." She presented herself at his office. The Centaur nodded to them as they entered, and Jia relayed the tale of what had taken place.

After the two Demigod prisoners were secured and taken away, she continued. "Obviously it was a trap, but I'm not certain as to why. My guess would be they expected to be able to take us alive and convert us to their cause by some means, or maybe just killing a few Demigods was enough. I feel like there's something I'm missing."

She hissed as the healer working on her arm began the process of knitting the bone back together, the razor-sharp sensation of needles moving around inside of her arm as the shattered bone reformed.

After it was done she raised her arm. "That's always fun."

Elizabeth was in the office with Chiron when the other team had returned and she was the one who spoke first.

"Which leaves us with another question to add to the pile of things we don't know. We are blind and on the defensive, and outside of what I recovered from the warehouse we don't have much in the way of information." Chiron was the next one to speak.

"I don't like the situation either Elizabeth, but it happens to be where we are for now. Once we have readied ourselves and have the path to Olympus properly defended we will look about changing this situation, but for the moment we need to get caught up to our enemies. Good work all of you. Take a moment to rest and do what you need to, but don't expect a lot of time. Chances are we will be needing everyone soon enough." With that Elizabeth walked over to Jia.

"I'd like to speak to you myself, if it isn't too much trouble. I'm not a child of Athena, so I'd like if you could look over the information we recovered and also fill me into what exactly would cause a child of Athena to not only keep information in a warehouse near the camp but also to so readily abandon it."

"Hey...ya wanna...try this again?" Gabe huffed out from his position on the forest floor. Knowing a cue when she sees one, Ambrose proceeded down, it being ten times easier to do so as the massive crustacean's limbs were firmly entangled. Gabriel managed to sit up during the process, looking on as the Sleepling began her mantra. "Somnolence." She concluded the chant with her signature word, and the expected mist rose around the crab. Gabriel didn't really know what else she did while the crab drifted into unconsciousness, but figured the whole "dream eating" comment as just her playing up her abilities.

As soon as she completed her process, she brought forth her scythe, successfully embedding the curved blade right between the crustacean's eyes. Gabe let out a bit of relieved sigh at the small victory. "Do you never not sigh?" Ambrose asked. He sighed again, more habitually than purposely. "...S'been a long day, Ammy." He laid back into the forest floor. "Imma sigh if I want to."

"Yeah, okay, i'm just saying. It probably isn't good for your breathing habits or something." She replied, taking a seat next to him. As the crab began fading into ash, some familiar faces stepped into the clearing with prisoners in tow. The way they dismissively stepped past the massive dissolving monster, one would think this was just another everyday occurrence for the campers. It most likely was. Seems like Team B finally arrived back at camp. Refreshed, Gabe stood to his feet. "Ya did good, Sleepy." He told her, tussling her hair. "But I think i'm done for the day." With his free hand, he pointed towards the entanglement he created, making sure to put it all back the way he found it. And with that done, he quietly headed back into camp.

Jia tugged her sleeve back down and leaned on one arm, her brow furrowed. "There are a couple possibilities, but I can only see one that makes any real sense - our enemy wanted us to find that data. The question is why? That's where we get into the complicated areas and start our best Vizzini impressions. He had to know anything we learned would be regarded with intense suspicion and we would assume it to be planted lies, and hence would have our eyes on the opposite of what he was pointing at and so on and so forth. It's essentially a shell game."

She leaned forward. "In a street shell game the secret is to have the pebble in your hand the whole time. If it looks like he's threatening Olympus, the simplistic look suggests he's after the Underworld, and distracts us from his real target of Posiedon." She shrigged. "Just speaking metaphorically here. But then we get into the problem that he might have guessed we'd puece that together and go for one of the original two, and on and on it goes."

"This whole venture at the Chimera seems designed specifically to kill a few Demigod warriors. I think that's our coherent useful data. The worst thing we can do right now is divide our strength. Draw back all Demigods, call in any favors we have, and wait for our enemy to make their move, and when they do we intercept them. Combine the team you took to the warehouse and the team I took to the mountain and we can handle just about anything."

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