Chapter no 33 -One More Jolly Rancher for Old Times

The Chalice of the Gods

was halfway down the hall when the counselor’s door opened. “There you are!” Eudora said. “Come in! Come in!”

I was in too much shock to argue. Besides, a few more minutes of tardiness probably wouldn’t make any difference, so I followed her inside.

I sat on the little blue plastic chair and nodded to Sicky Frog, because by this point, I was pretty sure the creature was sentient. Eudora seemed to be making herself at home in the counselor’s office. She’d added a collection of seashells to her desk—maybe in case she needed to freshen up her hairdo. On the back wall, she’d tacked up a motivational poster of a smiling sea otter with the message LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE!

I thought maybe I should buy her another poster as a thank-you gift, once I was safely graduated and on the other side of the country. One that said:


“So!” Eudora rubbed her hands together. “Tell me all about it! I heard you got Ganymede’s letter!”

“It’s kind of a do-it-yourself letter, but yeah.” I told her about my adventures since I’d last seen her, making sure she understood there was no longer any need to send me anywhere via her magical sewer pipes.

When I mentioned the call from Poseidon, a trickle of seawater leaked from her scalloped hair.

“I—I see! I would have been happy to talk to the office myself. I’m so sorry your father had to be bothered with that.” She paused, looking suddenly terrified. “Not that you are a bother, of course!”

“It’s cool,” I said. “Actually, it worked out great.”

Her shoulders relaxed as she realized I wasn’t going to yell at her or demand that my father banish her to the Mariana Trench.

“I’m so glad to hear that,” she said. “I think this experience would make a great subject for your personal essay on the application. Bravery! Initiative! Self-discovery!”

“Yeah,” I said, trying not to cry about the fact that I would have to write yet another essay. “I think we all learned an important lesson here today.”

“Sorry?” “Forget it.”

She leaned forward conspiratorially. “And . . . may I ask, were you tempted at all to drink from the chalice of the gods? You can tell me the truth.”

I thought about poor Ganymede sweating Greek fire at the brunch, about the way Zeus treated him like a trophy, about the various looks of distaste Hebe, Iris, and Geras had made when I mentioned Ganymede’s name.

“The truth?” I said. “I wasn’t tempted a bit.”

She studied me as if I’d grown a set of tentacles. “Fascinating. May I see your letter from Ganymede?”

I pulled out my blank sheet of paper and slid it across the desk.

“Oh, goodness . . .” Eudora rubbed the edge of the paper. “This is very nice. Arachnean-silk fiber! Eggshell finish. Triple weave. It will make quite an impression on the admissions committee.”

“It’s blank,” I said.

“Ah, details. I’m sure you’ll add the right words.”

I wondered if I could use that approach for my English class. Maybe I had been looking at this writing stuff all wrong. I could buy some expensive cardstock at the stationery store, fill it with Blah, blah, blah, blah,and my teacher would go, Oh, nice paper! A+!

Eudora reluctantly slid the blank letter back to me. “Well done, Percy.

When you do write your letter, it’s not necessary to thank me too much.”

I looked at the poster of the smiling otter, who was loving that laughter medicine, then at Sicky Frog, who was not.

“Okay,” I said.

“Just a short mention would be sufficient,” Eudora said.

“So I guess we’re all done for now?” I pointed to the door. “ ’Cause I’m really looking forward to spending the rest of my day in class.”

“Of course you are!” Eudora said, because much like minor goddesses, Nereids don’t do sarcasm. “And I know how proud your father must be!”

I couldn’t bring myself to respond. It still felt surreal that I had talked to my dad. He’d called the school. He’d been watching. It almost made up for all the demi bags he’d never brought me, though honestly, I couldn’t blame him for skipping those Olympian brunches. He was too smart to subject himself to phoenix eggs Benedict.

“Soon, we’ll have to talk standardized testing,” Eudora reminded me. “And you’ll need those other two letters of recommendation by winter break. But for now, you should relax! What else do you have on your plate today?”

“A discussion about some short story. A math test. A chemistry lab.”

She nodded contentedly, as if I’d given her the perfect description of relaxation. “Remember, I am here if you need anything. Now, what color Jolly Rancher would you like? Green? Yellow?”

She really didn’t know me very well. She offered me the jar, and I dug around until I found the only blue piece.

Eudora smiled. “You’re going to do just fine, Percy. I have a good feeling about this year! Now if you’re running late to third period, I could always—”

“I’ll walk,” I said quickly. “But thanks, Eudora.” I saluted her with my Jolly Rancher, then saluted Sicky Frog. “I’m sure I’ll see you soon.”

I have to admit, it was kind of relaxing sitting in English class. No, I hadn’t read the story or done my homework. But I was pretty sure I could bluff my way through a literature conversation today. I could talk about bravery, initiative, and self-discovery. You can get a lot of mileage out of that stuff.

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