The Titan's Curse

Free The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan

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Authors: Rick Riordan
Tags: Fiction - Young Adult
    â€œAnd, Percy, don’t worry about the bad boat. It is going away.”
    â€œWhat do you mean?”
    â€œPanama Canal! Very far away.”
    I frowned. Why would Luke take his demon-infested cruise ship all the way down there? The last time we’d seen him, he’d been cruising along the East Coast, recruiting half-bloods and training his monstrous army.
    â€œAll right,” I said, not feeling reassured. “That’s . . . good. I guess.”
    In the forges, a deep voice bellowed something I couldn’t make out. Tyson flinched. “Got to get back to work! Boss will get mad. Good luck, Brother!”
    â€œOk, tell Dad—”
    But before I could finish, the vision shimmered and faded. I was alone again in my cabin, feeling even lonelier than before.
    * * *
    I was pretty miserable at dinner that night.
    I mean, the food was excellent as usual. You can’t go wrong with barbecue, pizza, and never-empty soda goblets. The torches and braziers kept the outdoor pavilion warm, but we all had to sit with our cabin mates, which meant I was alone at the Poseidon table. Thalia sat alone at the Zeus table, but we couldn’t sit together. Camp rules. At least the Hephaestus, Ares, and Hermes cabins had a few people each. Nico sat with the Stoll brothers, since new campers always got stuck in the Hermes cabin if their Olympian parent was unknown. The Stoll brothers seemed to be trying to convince Nico that poker was a much better game than Mythomagic. I hoped Nico didn’t have any money to lose.
    The only table that really seemed to be having a good time was the Artemis table. The Hunters drank and ate and laughed like one big happy family. Zoë sat at the head like she was the mama. She didn’t laugh as much as the others, but she did smile from time to time. Her silver lieutenant’s band glittered in the dark braids of her hair. I thought she looked a lot nicer when she smiled. Bianca di Angelo seemed to be having a great time. She was trying to learn how to arm wrestle from the big girl who’d picked a fight with the Ares kid on the basketball court. The bigger girl was beating her every time, but Bianca didn’t seem to mind.
    When we’d finished eating, Chiron made the customary toast to the gods and formally welcomed the Hunters of Artemis. The clapping was pretty half hearted. Then he announced the “good will” capture-the-flag game for tomorrow night, which got a lot better reception.
    Afterward, we all trailed back to our cabins for an early, winter lights out. I was exhausted, which meant I fell asleep easily. That was the good part. The bad part was, I had a nightmare, and even by my standards it was a whopper.
    Annabeth was on a dark hillside, shrouded in fog. It almost seemed like the Underworld, because I immediately felt claustrophobic and I couldn’t see the sky above—just a close, heavy darkness, as if I were in a cave.
    Annabeth struggled up the hill. Old broken Greek columns of black marble were scattered around, as though something had blasted a huge building to ruins.
    â€œThorn!” Annabeth cried. “Where are you? Why did you bring me here?” She scrambled over a section of broken wall and came to the crest of the hill.
    She gasped.
    There was Luke. And he was in pain.
    He was crumpled on the rocky ground, trying to rise. The blackness seemed to be thicker around him, fog swirling hungrily. His clothes were in tatters and his face was scratched and drenched with sweat.
    â€œAnnabeth!” he called. “Help me! Please!”
    She ran forward.
    I tried to cry out: He’s a traitor! Don’t trust him!
    But my voice didn’t work in the dream.
    Annabeth had tears in her eyes. She reached down like she wanted to touch Luke’s face, but at the last second she hesitated.
    â€œWhat happened?” she asked.
    â€œThey left me here,” Luke groaned. “Please. It’s killing

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