Chapter no 35

The Chalice of the Gods

Pretty Much the Best Good-Night Kiss Ever About the Author

That night, I told Annabeth the full story.

After dinner, she’d headed back to her dorm, but once I’d had enough of

doing homework, I lay down in my bed, fired up my makeshift Iris-message machine, and tossed a coin into the rainbow. I was a little afraid Iris’s staff, Mercedes, might fly through my window and beat me upside the head for using another form of messaging, but thankfully that didn’t happen.

“Hey,” said Annabeth.

She shimmered in the rainbow light, her head propped on one hand, an open textbook on the bed in front of her: some math stuff that was beyond me.

Her smile was the perfect antidote for my long crazy day. Sure, she had smiled at dinner (And laughed at me. A lot.), but this was a warmer, more intimate smile. I liked to think it was just for me.

“I wanted to tell you about Olympus,” I started.

She was delighted to hear about Barbara’s request for a selfie and an autograph. “Of course! Happy to!”

I was a little surprised by how unsurprised she sounded. Maybe she got these requests all the time and just didn’t talk about them.

“Thanks for the loan of the Yankees cap, by the way,” I said. “You never told me it makes you uncomfortable when you wear it.”

She gave me a one-shoulder shrug. “All power has a price. Even being invisible. My mom taught me that a long time ago.”

She sounded wistful, maybe a little sad, but not resentful. She had apparently accepted the way the world worked according to Athena, even if

she didn’t always agree, even if it sometimes didn’t make any more sense than Annabeth’s math homework did to me.

“Speaking of your mom . . .” I told her what had happened at the brunch, when Athena locked eyes with me under the table.

Annabeth’s expression was difficult to read. Iris-messages were always a little hazy, but she looked like she was trying to sew my words together in her mind, to make a coherent story out of them.

“Wow,” she said at last. “Yeah.”

“She helped you.”

“I . . . guess? She didn’t kill me, anyway.”

“You know what this means?” She stretched her hand toward me. Her fingers dispersed into water and light as they hit the Iris-message, but I reached toward her anyway. When the image re-formed, it looked as if our hands had merged, fused together at our life lines. Annabeth was smiling again.

“My mom gets it,” Annabeth said. “It’s weird that she didn’t before, seeing as she’s usually so far ahead of everyone else, but I guess this isn’t a battlefield.”

“Sorry, she gets what?”

She laughed. “How serious I am about you, Seaweed Brain.”

My chest tightened, but it wasn’t an unpleasant feeling—more like a snug woolly sweater being wrapped around me. “So you think she helped me for your sake?”

As I said it, I realized it made a lot of sense. At least, way more sense than Athena helping me for any other reason.

“She knows I am going to see this through,” Annabeth said. “I’m going to make sure we both get to adulthood and have a chance to settle down— hopefully after having a lot of fun while we’re in college.”

“You had me at fun,” I said. “Actually, you had me at the whole thing.”

I told her what I had thought about while I wrestled Geras, how I’d decided to hug it out with old age because any future that had us in it was a future I wanted to live through.

“Oh, my gods.” Annabeth brushed away a tear. “You know, sometimes you can be so sweet.”

“Only sometimes?”

“Let’s stay focused, shall we? You still have two more letters of recommendation to get before winter break. That means two more quests for the gods.”

“Easy-queasy.” “You mean peasy.”

“No, I’m pretty sure it makes me queasy. But we’ll make it, right? I mean, if even your mom is on our side . . .”

“I wouldn’t press too hard on that point, but it’s a good sign. And, yes, we’ll make it. Hey, Percy?”


“I hate to break it to you, but I think I might love you.” “Ah, crud. I was afraid of that. I love you, too.” “Finish your homework. Good night.”

“Good night, Wise Girl.”

And as we always did, we rolled toward each other, breaking the Iris-message as we came together, but in the mist and the last flecks of light, I thought I could smell her presence, and feel the warmth of her hug.

Honestly, that was enough to make me believe anything was possible.

Except homework. I fell asleep almost immediately. And for once, I had pleasant dreams.

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