A Feast And A Fight
Jason led them into the heart of New Rome. The place was an exact miniature of the original Rome of old. They entered a ginormous mansion at the center of the city. “This is the Great Hall,”Jason told them.
“This place is amazing,” Robert said.
“Violet, you seem to be getting close to Connor,” Jason said as the two of them walked hand in hand. “Our guests should have baths before we eat. Please show Connor to a private bathroom were he can get washed up. Return here immediately afterward. I'll meet you soon after you arrive, I’m sure.”
“This way,” Violet said as she led Connor down a hallway.
“Are we to get cleaned as well?” Robert asked.
“Of course,” Jason said. “Nick, show Robert to a private bathroom please.”
“Fine,” Nick said as he started to walk down towards a hallway that they'd already passed. “This way.”
“Why don't you guys let Lupa know that our guests have arrived,” Jason told Jeremiah and Derrin.
“Sure thing,” Derrin said. Then he and Jeremiah walked off.
“I assume I get a bath as well?” Annabeth asked.
“Yeah,” Jason said as he started walking down the hall. “This way.”
Twenty minutes later, Robert, Connor, and Annabeth were freshly bathed. They each had changed into their spare pair of clothes and had armed themselves, just in case. After another ten minutes went by, Jason had gathered the three of them together. “Where are the furies and Cerberus?” Annabeth asked Jason.
“The furies are flying around and Cerberus is napping in the shade,” Jason replied. “We should get going. The feast starts at six and it's already five thirty.”
“I'd hate to be late,” Connor said. “Will Violet be there.”
“Yes,” Jason said. “Her seat will be next to yours. And Robert will be sitting next to Annabeth and myself.”
“You called yourself a praetor earlier,” Robert said. “Is that something special?”
“The camp's elected leader,” Jason responded with pride.
“Like the Head Camper,” Robert said.
“The Head Camper?” Jason asked him.
“It's my title,” Robert told him. “The Greek campers at Camp Half-n-Half elected me as their leader, as the Head Camper. It is an honor.”
“Then yes,” Jason said. “Like the Head Camper. It would seem that you and I are of equal standing and position. I am glad to have such an esteemed guest here and the camp is honored.
“I noticed twenty barracks,” Annabeth said.
“Yes. They house the twenty cohorts,” Jason told her.
“Are the cohorts decided by godly parents?” Robert asked.
“No,” Jason replied. “We split up into twenty groups of twenty or so. The centurions decide who goes were.”
“Interesting,” Robert said.
“What?” Jason asked.
“We split up according to our godly parent,” Annabeth told him. “Your system of doing things is just different from ours.”
“I see,” Jason said as they reached the dining hall. “Time for the feast,” He announced as he opened the doors and they entered the dining room.
“That looks amazing,” Connor said as he looked at all the food.
“Connor, over here,” Violet called as she waved him over. When he had walked up to her, she patted the chair to her right and said, “This is your seat.”
“Lucky me,” Connor said with a smile as he sat down.
“We need to talk,” Violet said, seriously.
“What about?” Connor asked her.
“You and your friends could be in danger. You need to convince Lupa that we need to join forces. You need to win the camp over,” Violet said. “Plus, we were making out earlier. I’d like to talk about that.”
“We're in danger?” Connor asked. “I gotta warn my friends.”
“I sent them notes,” Violet said as she grabbed his hand to keep him from going. “They know. Now, about that kiss...”
“Yeah, sorry about that,” Connor said. “I didn't mean to take advantage of you. I understand if you don't ever want to see me again.”
“Why would I want that. I just wanted to talk about our relationship,” Violet told him. “You know, make sure you wanted one. That way we can be official or we can just end it.”
“I definitely want to be in a relationship,” Connor said. “But I’ve never had a girlfriend before.”
“That's okay,” Violet said with a seductive smile. “I've never had a boyfriend before.”
While Violet and Connor talked, Robert was conversating with Jason. “What's it like leading the Roman camp?” Robert asked.
“Difficult and rewarding,” Jason said. “I get to know everybody. What's it like leading the Greeks?”
“The same,” Robert said. “You know, I have always thought of you as enemies, but it would be nice to think of you as friends.”
“Peace does sound nice,” Jason said.
“So your not the reason we are in danger,” Robert said. “Who is it that plans to kill us.”
“Lupa,” Jason responded. “But she doesn't plan to kill you. She's just wary, cautious. If you win her over, there will be no problems. If not, I will try to help you and your friends escape.”
“How,” Robert asked. “Why?”
“Like I said,” Jason said, “I like the idea of peace. I have recruited several demigods to my cause. They will aid in your escape as well, should things take a turn for the worse.”
“Their loyal to you over the Head Counselor?” Robert asked.
“If you mean the alpha, our general, Lupa, then yes. A few demigods have more loyalty for me than her.”
“Let us hope things don't go bad,” Robert said. “I would not have us come to blows if it can be avoided.”
“Nor I,” Jason agreed. “Let us hope.”
Annabeth was having a conversation with Derrin, who sat to her left. “Do you like Jason?” Annabeth asked him.
“Yes,” Derrin replied. “That's why I follow him before even Lupa. If things go badly and Lupa decides that you three must die, Jason, myself, and some others will do everything we can to get you out safely. We want peace with you Greeks.”
“This is a good start,” Annabeth said, indicating the feast. “Speaking of which, when do we get to start eating?”
“When Lupa arrives,” Derrin told her. “Do your best to win her over during the feast. That's your best chance at surviving.”
“Thanks for the tip,” Annabeth thanked him.
“Sure thing,” Derrin said.
“If you don't mind me asking, Why warn me?” Annabeth asked him.
“I want a war with the Titans,” Derrin replied. “I'm Mars' son.”
“Oh,” Annabeth replied, rather turned off from the guy.
“Let the feast begin,” Lupa said as she strode into the room.
Connor gulped when he looked at the wolf. “That's Lupa?” he asked violet.
“You don't know much about Roman Mythology, do you?” She said. “Yeah, that is Lupa, the she wolf who raised Remus and Romulus.”
Robert studied Lupa as she sat at the spot to the right of Jason. He knew who she was because demigods at Camp Half-n-Half were trained to defeat her should they ever cross paths, but she was a lot scarier in person than the practice dummy had been and she was even bigger. “Lupa, this is Robert and Annabeth, the Greeks. Robert, Annabeth this is Lupa, our General,” Jason introduced them.
“Nice to meet you,” Annabeth said.
“Thank you for the hospitality,” Robert added.
“You're nice,” Lupa said. “I don't like nice. If your nice, your weak.”
“I assure you,” Robert said. “We are strong and very skilled.”
“So perhaps we have reason to be wary of you,” Lupa commented. Robert couldn't believe he'd been stupid enough to brag about his skills to possible enemies. That wasn't wise. Probably why Annabeth hadn't spoken.
“You need not be wary,” Annabeth told Lupa. “We've come to speak with you about an alliance to end our feud.”
“Oh, are those your intentions?” Lupa asked, as if she knew something Annabeth didn't.
“Yes,” Annabeth said.
“Don't lie to me girl,” Lupa said harshly. “You come, bringing war with you. You care not about ending the feud.”
“We do care about ending the feud,” Robert protested. “We do not come to fight. We merely seek an alliance.”
“Yes, but war will come with the alliance,” Lupa said. “With Titans no less.”
“How'd you..? Never mind,” Annabeth said. “Can you, Jason, Violet, Robert, Connor, and I go talk in private?”
“Who is Connor and why bring Violet?”
“Connor is the third Greek demigod here. Violet should come because I’m requesting it.” Annabeth said.
“Very well,” Lupa said. “I'm going to my room. Jason, gather everyone and then meet me there. We will continue our discussion then.”
“We'll be with you momentarily,” Jason said as the wolf walked out of the room. “Connor, Violet, get over here.”
“What?” Violet asked.
“You two are with us. We're to talk with Lupa in her room,” Jason answered her.
“The wolf?” Connor asked, barely hiding the dread he was feeling.
“Yes,” Jason responded as he walked out of the room and down the hall. “Follow me.”
Five minutes later, the group reached Lupa's room. It was desinged like a gigantic doghouse with one huge dog bed in the center of the room and five blankets, making a semicircle, in front of the dog bed. “Come. Sit,” Lupa growled.
“Thank you for obliging us,” Robert said. “This guy here is Connor,” he said as he pointed at Connor.
“What do you have to say for yourselves?” Lupa asked.
“Ma'am?” Connor asked.
“Present your case, Greeks,” Lupa said.
“We've been given a prophecy from the gods,” Robert started.
“It was made clear that unless we unite and fight the Titans, everyone will be killed,” Annabeth continued.
“So we came in the hopes of saving everybody,” Connor finished.
“You think I did not know this?” Lupa asked. “Oracles are not the only ones able to communicate with the gods.”
“So what do you want us to present to you?” Conner asked.
“Why we should join with you Greeks,” Lupa said.
“The prophecy...” Robert started.
“Real reasons,” Lupa growled. “What will you Greeks bring to the table?”
“We train in a very good fighting style,” Annabeth said. “We have greater numbers than you too.”
“Am I to take your word about your skills at face value?” Lupa asked.
“A demonstration to prove their value,” Violet said.
“Yes,” Jason agreed. “We can go to the arena and have fights.”
“Will each of you agree to one battle? In order to prove your worth,” Lupa asked.
“I agree,” Robert said, fingering the flashlight in his pocket.
“If it is necessary,” Annabeth responded.
“I guess,” Connor consented.
“We'll go to the arena then. Violet, lead our guests to the arena. Jason, stay here. We need to talk.”
“Who or what are we to fight?” Connor asked when Jason walked into the arena.
“Lupa had me set up fights that I thought would be fair,” Jason said. “Robert, you will be battling me. Annabeth, you'll be battling Violet. Connor, your opponent will be Nick.”
“When do we begin?” Connor asked.
“Lupa's getting Nick,” Jason said. “When they get here we will continue.”
Three minutes later, Nick and Lupa showed up. “You two will go first,” Lupa said, looking at Nick and Connor. Once everybody except Nick and Connor were in the stands, Lupa said, “You may begin.”
Connor drew two short swords immediately. Nick drew a whip with three imperial gold knife blades at the end and a square shield made of immortal iron. Nick attacked first.
Nick lashed at Connor with his whip, but Connor jumped out of the way. Then, Connor charged at Nick and slashed at his arm, but Nick deflected the blow with his shield. This went on for five minutes or so. After five minutes had gone by each of the boys was covered in minor cuts and bruises.
“That's enough,” Lupa called and the two boys went up into the stands. “You're next,” She contiued, looking at Annabeth and Violet.
Once Annabeth and Violet were upon the sand, Jason said, “You may begin.”
“Annabeth drew Twinkle and Twilight while Violet drew a bladed round shield to defend while she attacked with her bow and arrows. Violet shot a couple of arrows, but Annabeth dodged them with ease. Annabeth went in to strike Violet, but she used her shield to fend the blow off and countered by swinging the bladed edge of her shield at Annabeth. Over the five minute course, Annabeth took the upper hand in the fight. Annabeth only had a few cuts and bruises, but Violet had several.
“Enough,” Lupa called. Then she fixed her eyes on Robert and Jason. “You two now.”
Jason pulled a coin from his pocket. He flipped the coin, caught it, and the coin became his double edged sword. Up close, Robert could tell that sparks were flying off of it. Robert drew his trident and said, “Good luck.”
“You too,” Jason said.
Lupa called, “Begin,” and the fight started.
Jason came in swinging, but Robert deflected each blow and countered. Jason dodged most of the counters, but a couple connected. Then Jason shot a lightning bolt at Robert from his sword. Robert deflected it with a lightning ball, and then started launching fire balls at Jason.
Jason managed to avoid the fireballs, but Robert had him right where he wanted him. He threw his trident into the ground in front of Jason so that Jason would think that Robert had missed his mark. The deception worked. Jason charged Robert, in the hopes of defeating him, but he suddenly sunk into the earth, up to his neck, like it was quicksand.
“Good show,” Lupa said. “Free Jason. You three have proved the worth of the Greeks. Sleep here tonight, and tomorrow, we will all set out for Camp Half-n-Half.
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