My Friends Go On A Quest And All I Get Is This Lousy Knife:
I was feeling homesick today. I missed my parents, I missed my country. Being on the other side of the planet, detained in a camp full of mythical beings and half-god kids… well, even if I had a few friends, it still wasn’t easy to cope. Matters weren’t made any easier given the fact I was the only mortal in the entire valley. Oh, and one last minor gripe; it’s so weird to be surrounded by American accents. I was the only Australian there, so when I spoke, I stood out. Maybe I didn’t feel so much like an outcast anymore, but it was still unsettling. Technically, I shouldn’t even be able to see everything here, due to the Mist, but apparently some mortals were gifted with the sight to pierce through the veil of distortion it creates. Great.
The camp was abuzz. Everyone was getting hyped for the game of “Tag” (trust me mate, at Camp Half-Blood, nothing is ever as casual as it sounds) that was going to be played tomorrow; apparently, Quintus, the guy who organised it, said this little exercise was going to be a little “special”. I didn’t really know what that meant, but it made me feel glad I wasn’t going to be involved. Regular capture the flag matches were rough enough, I got the feeling the “special” aspect of this game of tag was in no way pleasant. I was happy enough letting the demigods do all the dangerous camp activities. I decided I may as well get some target practice with my .22, so I headed for Cabin Eleven. As I rounded the corner of a building on my way to the cabins, I bumped into a girl. She was about my age, storm-grey eyes, blonde hair with a pale white streak…
That’s right, this girl was with Percy when Chiron first introduced me. Annabeth. Yeah, that’s her name.
Her stormy eyes narrowed.
“Aren’t you gonna move?” she asked rather bluntly. There was some judgement in her tone, almost like mild dissatisfaction with me. What got my insecurities all shaken up was how it felt like that was for reasons other than being a mortal. Emphasis on reasons, plural.
“Oi, sorry,” I retorted sarcastically, raising my hands in mock defence. It might not have been the best attitude to have answered her with, because those calculating eyes of hers narrowed at me dangerously. Bugger, I thought.
“Just because you won against Michael Yew in a contest of marksmanship doesn’t mean you can act so arrogantly,” she upbraided.
“Whoa, whoa, where’d that bloody come from?” I defended in surprise. “Arrogant?”
She scoffed, rolled her eyes, and pushed past me. As I watched her thump off to the armoury (which by the way looks like a bloody tool-shed. No, not covered in blood, just… you know what I mean. I’m Aussie), I got this feeling about her. Like she was scarier than any bully I’ve ever suffered, even Clarisse. That thought sent a chill down by spine.
After my brief encounter with Annabeth, I retrieved my .22 from the Hermes Cabin, fortunately not stolen or tampered with by any of its occupants (I’m looking at you, Stolls). With rifle in hand, I made my way over to an area by the canoeing lake set aside for me to use as a small firing range. I admit, Chiron was one of the nicest immortals I’ve ever known. Which isn’t saying much, since I’ve only met a few, except for the nature spirits. But compared to Dionysus, the Centaur was infinitely nicer. I set my rifle down, leaning it against a crate meant for resting on so I could actually shoot straight. I was too weak to keep the weapon stable without support. Next I fished out a box of .22 bullets from my pocket, and flicked the cardboard box open, pinching one of the tiny rounds from the box; the tip gleamed with a subtle, ethereal glow, almost impossible to notice in the light; celestial bronze, the staple material for monster-fighting weapons. It wouldn’t have been the first time bullets have been made out of this stuff; Percy told me Annabeth’s father melted down celestial bronze weapons and casted them into bullets for Vickers machineguns mounted on a Sopwith Camel which he used to protect Percy, Annabeth and a bunch of other people from monsters, and the bullets were particularly effective. And it was a mortal who did that. Sure, one that attracted the attention of a Goddess, but a mortal nonetheless. It could be done. It made me wish that I was a little bit stronger so I could use an F88 Austeyr; something like that loaded with Celestial Bronze bullets would be far more useful if I got attacked by monsters than this little peashooter. Better than nothing, I thought.
I chambered the .22, took my preferred prone firing position, took aim, fired and immediately scored a bullseye. What happened the other day when I challenged Michael Yew didn’t just go away; it still felt like time raced and slowed when I looked down those iron sights. It still felt a little strange, but as I sent more bullets downrange, I began to feel relaxed, like I usually did when target shooting before this whole thing began. I was just better at it. A few times I thought about trying my luck out on some hapless bird and seeing if I’d gotten good enough to hit a small, moving target. But the fact the celestial bronze bullets probably wouldn’t have even hurt the mortal birds (at least I thought they were mortal) made me forget such ideas. Not to mention I wasn’t sure what the nymphs would think of me knocking poor birds out of the sky. Unless I saw an Indian Minor; dad always told me if I ever decided to move onto live targets, make sure they were Indian Minors. He really hated the things. Thought the introduced species pests, and for good reason; they were highly aggressive and ran other native birds out of the area, and were very noisy. Which is ironic, because the Noisy Minor, a related species, was a native bird. Though I doubt there’d be any around here.
After about half an hour scoring consistent bullseyes, I decided to pack it in. Partly because I was out of cartridges. Partly because I got bored. I never used to get bored with shooting, but now that I seemed to be an expert marksman without even trying, a stationary target didn’t seem exciting anymore. I guess it’s time I stepped up to moving targets. So, with rifle in hand, I made for the Hermes cabin. Now what was I going to do? I had a whole day left with nothing to do but sit around. Maybe I could go ask one of the Hephaestus people to cook up some moving targets. If they weren’t out at that game of “Tag”. I sighed; I really can’t stand not doing something. Then I got an idea. With a purposeful pace, I headed for the Arts and Crafts building. When I got there, I found it somewhat lacking in population compared to normal. Probably all at that game. The first to notice me was some guy a few years older than myself, a son of Athena judging from the startling grey eyes.
“Oh hey. What’s up?” he greeted casually, before looking back down to the wooden carving of some chapel or similar building he was working on. Ignoring the extensive detail he put into something smaller than my head, I tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention.
“You got any paint?” I asked him without preamble. He set his chisel down on the work table and gave me a lopsided look.
“Why do you want paint?” he asked with a questioning, almost suspicious tone. I lazily hefted my rifle up before letting it hang down by my hips again.
“I wanna paint my .22, mate. Got anything that isn’t magical?” I specified, wary of anything at this place. I wanted to make my gun aesthetically pleasing, not cause it to shoot flaming bullets. Athena kid muttered under his breath and shook his head, like I’d asked a stupid question.
“Paint is paint,” he muttered. “I’ll go and have a look.”
With an annoyed roll of his head, he walked off into an enclosed room at the far end of the open air building. After five minute, Old Mate returns, holding a five litre drum of paint (judging from its size, I don’t know Imperial volume measurements), an aerosol can and several brushes of varying sizes. He held it out to me with a blank look on his face.
“The only thing magical about this paint is its colour; just ask what colour you want, and the can and the drum will change to that colour. Once its applied, there’s nothing magical about the paint. Satisfied?” he explained, raising one of his eyebrows. I curled my lips inwards slightly, and then shrugged, taking the items from him.
“I guess a little magic can be convenient,” I remarked.
“Whatever,” he responded, before returning to his little project. Rude much, I thought. That or just annoyed. Doesn’t matter I guess, got what I wanted. Time to retreat to the relative privacy of Cabin Eleven.
Since I doubt my cabin mates would appreciate me getting paint all over the place, I grabbed several dozen sheets of paper to use as something to get messy instead. Why didn’t I just paint my rifle there? Because was happier inside my cabin, I guess. So long as no one ran me out of there. Fortunately, there were only a few people in the cabin, some asleep, others browsing their most recent ill-gotten gains, paying me only minimal notice with my luggage, a few lazy “hey man, what’re those fors” before returning their attention back to their own business. Suited me fine. I set up the sheets of paper in my designated corner, laying the rifle down on its side, tape I found in the cabin covering the exposed action and bolt, as well as the sights and the barrel’s tip. With the internal workings protected, I took the spray can in hand, and shook it several times. I then sat there for a moment, unsure of what to do next.
“Uh… white?” I uttered uncertainly. I didn’t notice anything at first, but I realised a little rainbow patch on the side of the metallic dome top changed to pure white, letting me know what colour was currently selected. Heh. Convenient.
With a hiss from the can, I began to gradually apply a new coat of straight white to the exterior of the weapon, covering up the brown of the wooden furniture. Once I’d finished turning the .22 into a blank canvas, I grabbed my chin in contemplation. What to do next? In the next moment, I got an overall idea in mind.
“Sterile, synthetic grey,” I said, half-amused with my unrealistic request. But when I began spraying on the next coat, I realised that the dull grey actually looked like it was some synthetic plastic polymer, and that made me quite happy.
“Alight. Time to do something awesome,” I said to myself, even though I’ve never really excelled with finer arts due to my lack of hand-motor coordination and stability. Eh, I’ll manage. So, for the next few hours or so (in which time the other occupants slowly vacated until I was alone), I spray painted and brushed on colour, adding on layer after layer in various yet simplistic patterns, while decorating it with angular, geometric markings of meaning to me. It was far from finished when I was painting a symbol on one side with a thin brush. At that point, I decided to pack it in for the day, continue tomorrow. That’s when one of the Stolls came running into the Cabin.
“Blake!” he exclaimed, seeming a bit urgent. “There you are!”
I turned to him, cocking my head.
“What’s wrong?” I muttered.
“Haven’t you heard? Percy and Annabeth are missing. For a few hours now,” he answered. I got to my feet, and I wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to do.
“When’d this happen?”
“During the Tag game. We’ve been looking all over. Think you could help us look?”
“Why me?” In all seriousness, there was probably quite a few more people more useful than I was still in camp.
“Just come on,” he urged, so I followed him without much protest. I guess I was kinda worried about Percy.
The forest in which the game had taken place in was huge and – to me – foreboding; it wasn’t a place I felt particularly safe in. I was just a regular old mortal, everyone else was a demigod who trained to fight monsters. As I had expected, my help proved fruitless. We were all scattered throughout the forest, calling out the missing pair’s name. I began to grow tired, and I didn’t think I’d be searching for much longer. That’s when Old Mate from the arts and crafts building came bounding through the trees, calling out to me and a few others.
“Chiron says we’ve found them,” he said.
“Thank the Gods,” someone exclaimed.
“Thank Pete for that,” I mumbled.
The Athena kid stepped up to us, shaking his hands.
“Chiron also said to go to the amphitheatre. Something big’s come up. I don’t know what exactly, but he looked nervous, worried. There’s definitely a problem,” he explained. A few of the campers began to speak up in question, but the Athena kid waved them down.
“Don’t ask me, just go to the amphitheatre. Chiron’s gonna explain what’s going on.”
Everyone muttered to themselves, but complied with the order. As the group began to move off back towards camp, the messenger stopped me.
“Not you, man. Chiron said this doesn’t concern you, and you’d rather not know anyway,” he told me. Well that just makes me feel loads more comfortable, I thought. I didn’t like it; being excluded from… whatever this was is one thing, but being told I wouldn’t want to know anyways didn’t put my tensions at ease.
So, much to my chagrin, the camper escorted me back to Cabin Eleven, where I was confined for much of the rest of the evening.
Sitting on the edge of a bed alone inside the Hermes Cabin, I laced my fingers together and rested my chin on them. What was going on? I could feel something wrong was afoot, but I was denied access to whatever meeting Chiron had convened. It was obviously quite important; everyone looked worried when they were told Chiron looked worried. And I was worried too. At this moment, I began to feel really homesick, longing for the grey gums of my homeland. It was when I was deep in thought that I was startled back into reality with a loud knocking at the cabin door. I got up, and was surprised to be greeted with the equine frame of Chiron, his human torso towering overhead.
“Come with me child,” he said. I felt like asking a million bloody questions, but I kept my jaw shut, obeying his request silently. He led me away to a secluded spot beneath a tree out behind the cabin. It was night time now, so the moon and the clouds were directly overhead.
“I know you’re probably anxious and confused as to why I barred you from the meeting, and what exactly is going on,” he surmised.
Sighing, he gazed up into the starry sky with a wistful expression. “I… cannot tell you the details. Not all of them at least.”
That makes me feel loads safer.
“It’s because I’m a mortal, isn’t it,” I guess correctly. He didn’t answer that question, but I could tell it was the truth. He grunts and returns his attention to me.
“Percy is going on a quest, along with Annabeth. He will not return for a while, and there is always the possibility he won’t at all,” Chiron explained. I felt a little lighter. Percy? Gone? He was perhaps the one guy in the camp who seemed to be sympathetic to my situation, and he was, even if I hadn’t known him long, a friend. To hear he would be leaving for a good length of time on a quest he mightn’t survive was unsettling to me. To think kids here would really go on such missions, some times to their deaths…
“When are they leaving?” I ask.
“As soon as possible. Probably tomorrow. If you wish to say your goodbyes, I suggest you do it now and not then.” Chiron remained silent for a moment, but then suddenly leaned down closer to me. “There is a danger coming. Percy’s quest is an attempt to stop it, but there are no guarantees.” He spoke in a hushed tone that possessed an air of impending danger like he described that was almost tangible. Then, I felt him press something into my right palm and close my fingers around it, leather strapping around something round from the way it felt.
“Be safe child. I’m so sorry you had to be drawn into this,” he apologised. And with that, he let go of my hand, and trotted off silently, a sense of dread trailing behind him. I myself remained standing in that spot looking after him until he disappeared from sight. At that point, turned my attention to whatever the Centaur had given to me, and my eyes widened in shock when I saw what it was.
A foot long Celestial Bronze dagger.
I never got to say goodbye to Percy. The weight of what Chiron told me last night, and the blade he’d given to me made me retreat to the relative safety of Cabin Eleven’s interior. By the time I got around to looking for Percy, he’d already gone, along with Annabeth and two others, a Grover and a Tyson from what others had said. I felt glum, knowing I may never see Percy again. And I guess Annabeth too, to a lesser extent. I mean, I doubt she liked me at all, but I still felt bad knowing she could be dead before they finished their quest as well. So I was left alone. Alone because now the camp seemed to have their thoughts elsewhere, like there was a more pressing issue than a mortal walking in their midst. No one was particularly interested in giving me any attention. I had a feeling it was probably because I wasn’t to know what they knew. I was back to being the complete outcast, but this time I couldn’t fully blame them. Yeah, I wasn’t being made privy to information about something that might put me in danger, but everyone seemed like they were prepping for a battle, and their nerves were a little shaky. Something was coming, I could feel it. And the dagger Chiron gave me was enough evidence for me to prove danger was closing in on Camp Half-Blood. I would be a liability more than anything in a battle, not to mention I had no desire to be in one, but Chiron wanted me to be able to at least somehow defend myself. I wasn’t strong in a fit, but I at least needed to learn some defensive techniques. So I made my way to the coliseum, where Mrs O’Leary was currently absent from, much to my relief. I asked one of the Athena kids to teach me a few moves, figuring that the smart ones would make reasonable teachers. Only problem was, they were too smart, and this guy was being far too technical, even for me. I’m smart, but I’m not versed in defensive combat lexicon. Fortunately, one of the Aphrodite girls, of all people, was a bit more understandable.
“Okay, now shift your weight with the motion, like this,” she said nonchalantly, standing behind me and holding onto my arms, which proved about as helpful as a Boomerang that never came back. Yeah, you laugh now, but how about you have an Aphrodite girl hold your arms from behind so close, and then let’s see whose laughing. Even when they’re not trying, their own passive charm was enough to make me blush. Trust me, their children of the Goddess of Love. They don’t need to try. Still, I found myself getting the hang of things, even if a little slow just to get the movements right. And that was when trouble showed up.
“So, hotshot mortal’s trying to play hero now, eh?” came the piggish taunt from Ares Cabin ugly number one, Clarisse. I audibly gulped when I heard her voice from behind me, and turning around to see her in full Greek armour was scary, believe me. Her face was largely hidden by the helmet she wore, but her messy brown hair stuck out from beneath the helmet’s edges, but those vicious eyes were never more noticeable now that they were framed by the celestial bronze Greek helm, complete with red horsehair plume Mohawk. Normally in situations like this, when faced with a bully, leave quietly and calmly. But, in normal situations, the bullies don’t have massive, electric spears. She stepped forward, and I stepped back.
“You’re not scared of me, are ya?” she taunted again.
“Leave him alone, Clarisse, he’s just learning defensive techniques,” the Aphrodite girl defended, but even she sounded a bit tense. Clarisse shot the girl a glare, and the Aphrodite camper gritted her teeth. I stared at Clarisse, and she looked angrier than normal… almost like, she wasn’t trying to get amusement out of me, but rather just really wrathful. Even her taunts had an unusual hateful edge to them. I was afraid of her at the best of times, but now, I was downright terrified. She sneered, and spun her spear around in her hand.
“Well then, if you’re learning, listen up!” she shouted, striking the dusty ground in front of me with the spear’s tip, kicking up dust as red electricity crackled along the celestial bronze head of her weapon. I jumped backwards with a yelp, gripping the dagger even tighter.
“You mightn’t be gonna go into battle, but if you’re gonna need to fight back, you need to control your fear,” she said, twisting the spear tip in the ground, her eyes focusing at that point with a studied intensity. “You, you’re afraid of me. That’s understandable.” She pulls the shaft back. “But it also means you’ll be killed.”
The blunt statement made a pit form in my gut. She began to circle me, spinning the spear around slowly.
“If your fear is uncontrolled,” she said, stopping in her tracks, “you hesitate… and you die!” She thrust the blunt end of her spear right into my gut, knocking the wind out of me and making me grunt. “You run!” she cries, swinging the shaft towards my shins. I try to stumble out of the way, which causes me to not notice her change the direction of her swing. “And you die!” The wooden pole of the spear catches me in the hips on my right side, spinning me whilst stinging me. I gasp in pain, and stumble over, putting my hands to the ground to stop me collapsing completely.
“Clarisse, stop!” the Aphrodite girl asserted, but the Ares camper simply ignored her.
“You see? You’ve got no guts,” she growls, flicking the end of the spear into my chest, forcing me onto all fours, gasping again in pain. “When that moment comes, that monster, even nastier than me, is gonna tear you apart and pick the meat from your bones and use them as toothpicks, and since you’ve got jack all meat on you, you’ll be just the appetiser for the main course, us!”
I pant hard, trying to stop myself from tearing up. Never in my life had I been physically abused like this. She wasn’t getting any satisfaction from me, she was venting rage and anguish, and I was the perfect punching back. I then went deadly still as I felt a tingle of static play across the back of my neck, and cold radiating from something near; the tip of her spear. Oh god, she was gonna run me through. I felt her foot press to my sides, and she rolls me onto my back roughly.
“You don’t know a damned thing about a fight!” she yells at me, spit hitting me in my face. “About fighting. About war. About who we are. You will never be one of us!” And she begins to swing her spear. I somehow figured it wasn’t a killing blow, but it’d result in a nasty cut all the same.
No please! I thought. And then, I felt like my whole body turned to water. And I moved. I don’t know how, but I flicked the blade around to a reverse-grip hold, blade facing out, and parried her spear, causing a spark of red lighting to lash out around the point of contact. Pain coursed through my arm, partly from the shock that managed to travel through the leather wrapping of the handle, mostly because the force of her swing was so great, and I was so weak. I gasped out in agony, before letting my arm drop to the side, still holding the dagger in the reverse-grip style. But it seemed Clarisse was more shocked than I was; the sudden stop from my parry shook her helmet loose, and it slipped off and clattered to the ground as she took a step back, her eyes wide with disbelief.
“I-Impossible,” she uttered quietly. I was still lying on the ground, gasping in pain. Clarisse went to step forward, but another camper came in between her and my battered form.
“That’s enough Clarisse!” the guy asserted firmly. It was Old Mate from the craft building, the one making the church carving. Clarisse glared and sneered, but remained silent as she picked up her helmet and fumed off. The Athena kid helped me to my feet, and with my thin, fragile frame, that hurt quite a bloody bit.
“O-Ow!” I exclaimed. Complaining was pretty stupid, considering the life these people led, but I deserved some slack! That beating hurt like hell.
“Ease up, man,” the guy told me. “Consider yourself lucky she didn’t go all out on you.”
“That was… ack!... bad enough,” I retorted wheezily.
“I’ll admit, I’m impressed you manage to take that with how skinny you are. And you ain’t crying like a baby,” he joked.
“Stuff you mate.”
He laughed, helping me limp to the Apollo Cabin, for healing.
“But what was really impressive was that block you pulled. Where’d you learn how to do that?”
“I… don’t know. I just sorta did it. I’m more surprised I had to strength to stop her from snapping my arm like a twig,” I admitted.
“Yeah that too. But, she’s wrong you know. Standing up to Clarisse, you got some guts,” he said, patting me on my stomach. I grunted and glared at him.
“Dropkick, don’t do that!” I growled. He laughed again as he let an Apollo camper take my other arm.
“Haha, you’re a mysterious one, I’ll give you that much.
The rest of the afternoon was spent lying on a bed on the veranda of the Big House with Aria by my side.
“So, for all your fragility, you managed to not only get through one of Clarisse’s beatings with just bruises and without bleeding, but also parry her spear with a knife successfully,” the Dryad summarised, cracking a small grin. “I’m impressed Blake.”
“People keep telling me that,” I answer with a groan. “I still hurt like hell.” I really didn’t know why people kept congratulating my not having bled everywhere or lack of damage to my skeletal structure. I was skinny as a toothpick, and just as resilient. Compared to these demigod kids, I was nothing. Though apparently most of the praise came from the fact I blocked her blow with a knife, which felt like my body was twine pulled taut and someone was strumming me with their fingers. In other words, it hurt a lot.
“You’re full of surprises for a mortal,” she said, pressing some large leaves covered in some cool, organic gelatine substance to the bruise on my stomach, which helped ease the soreness of the blue mark where Clarisse had jabbed me with the butt of her spear. “First you teleport out of nowhere, then you practically make a blink dash back into the lake, then you best an Apollo camper in a contest of marksmanship, and now you out of nowhere perform an expert knife block. That was no simple feat Blake. And you don’t even know how you did it?”
I shook my head.
“No, I don’t know how. It just… happened. Like it was a defence reflex or something. I don’t bloody know,” I said, groaning as I touch my forehead with my right hand. “Would have been nice if I did it sooner.”
“Maybe you can do it again,” Aria suggested. “Like with your rifle, perhaps if you focus, you could do it again. I have a feeling you’re not quite as unimpressive as you seem.”
I honestly really didn’t know what to think at that point. I know people always assumed me underwhelming, but the fact is my own personal point of view was no different, always regarding myself weak, uncool, uninteresting and unhelpful. And now, I had several strange, extraordinary things happen to me inside of two weeks. I was confused and lost, and my emotional state fluctuated, being reasonably happy one moment, to being anxious and alone the next.
“I don’t see what’s so great about that, Aria. I’ve almost died twice while here, three times if you count my chat with Mr. D. I don’t belong here, and I can’t leave,” I grumbled. Aria’s expression turned sober.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t realise you’d be so sensitive about the issue,” she apologised, applying another, smaller leaf to my hip.
I sighed tiredly and groaned to sit up. I was probably gonna be sore for a few days after this, especially the ache in my right arm.
“Don’t be. It’s not your fault. I mean, hell, you’re the one nursing me here,” I reassured, which reminded me that a pretty girl was the one doing the nursing, making me blush softly, much to my internal embarrassment. Her smile returned, and she chuckled softly. She’s teasing me in her mind, isn’t she, I thought. Aria then stood up and gave me one last farewell-for-now smile.
“I take my leave, Blake. I’ll see you again soon,” she informed, before walking away and melting into a tree, leaving me alone with a view of the setting sun over the valley. I murmured to myself, before turning to look at the small table to my right with a small tray holding a glass of coke on top, and the dagger which certainly saved me from a nasty cut. The Celestial Bronze gleamed in the fading, amber light, and as the daylight darkened, the subtle glow of the supernatural metal became more noticeable. I picked it up with my right hand – an effort given the aching pain and stiffness that afflicted my arm – and narrowed my eyes in scrutiny. Maybe…
I focused on the blade, and came to realise it just didn’t feel right, the dagger that is. The straight, double-edged weapon, with its pointed tip, just felt… impractical. I don’t know how I came to that conclusion. I mean, in my study of weapons (mostly modern) in my spare time, I had read a bit about combat knives, and I honestly preferred the more survival-orientated weapons, just as useful in CQB as they were helping you not die in the wilderness. But more than that, the weight felt off. It wasn’t balanced right, not to some, inherent personal preferences I didn’t realise I had. Yet, a pragmatic part of that subconscious preference said this will do. And then, I began flexing my fingers and spinning the knife around expertly, hand coordination that I never used to have. And I found myself holding it in a position I preferred to others, which was different to how most of the demigods here held daggers; reverse-grip, blade out, the same way I held the dagger to deflect Clarisse’s spear. I flicked the knife back and forth between that style and a normal grip with swift, fluid motions. I frowned at this sudden skill with a knife; I didn’t know how I could do such things, or why they were happening now… other than being stuck in a camp full of half-human, half-god children and mythological creatures.
“Hmm… there’s something else to this,” I muttered to myself.