The door to Aphrodite's silky white limo slammed shut and burst into light, blinding Percy temporarily.
"Well that was insightful." He muttered to himself, angrily throwing a pebble miles out of sight. The hot desert wind ruffled his hair and kicked up tiny dust devils all around him.
He could see Grover, Thaila, Bianca and Zoe returning from their food run, all looking curiously at Percy. He could see their mouths moving but could hear what they were saying. They seemed to be arguing. Thalia pointed at me, then shoved Zoe from the behind, which seemed like a death wish to a sane person. Zoe only glared violently and trudged to me like she was being sent to her death.
"Perseus." She said solemnly.
He flinched at his full name.
"I have been sent to speak to you."
"Not of your own will huh?"
Zoe paused. "No. You would find thouself not very approachable."
"Me? I'm very approachable." Percy said, watching Grover grow himself a stump to sit on out of ear shot. Thaila and Bianca started practicing disarming on eachother.
Zoe motioned to the ground. "Perhaps. Sit."
So he did, crossing his legs and slumping over himself. "You here to yell at me for illegally leaving camp and joining a quest that isn't mine?"
There was a nagging at the back of his mind, kept telling him is wasn't his fight, that wouldn't stop ever since Blackjack flew over the camp borders. Even more since he gods with little to zero advice and more than plenty death threats approached him.
It just felt like he wasn't suppose to be here. But he knew he had to be. His own mind was tearing him apart.
"No," the Hunter responded to him, picking the dirt from under her nails with a hunting knife. "but don't give me reason to speak with you longer."
Zoe sighed. "You are a different case, Perseus. As a Hunter, I have always shunned men. Boys. All of the male gender."
Percy stayed silent, unsure why he was being told this.
"I, uh," Zoe stumbled over herself. "Blast this all, why me?" She asked suddenly, shaking a fist at the sky. Above them a huge clap of thunder rumbled the sky.
"Whoa woah that last thing we need is you fighting Zeus, just take a second." Percy grasped Zoe's right arm and and yanked it down.
"This quest has been hard on me. With my Lady missing, the Hunters are not as strong as among her presence." She sighed and looked at Percy. "Tell me about your coming to Camp Half Blood."
Percy was suprised at the question. Zoe wasn't the personal or caring sort, but he began with killing the Minotaur. Like any twelve year old does. Time passed quickly, Percy found himself spilling everything that happened up until Westover Hall. Until Bianca and Nico.
"Life has not spared you any hardships, Perserus."
Percy laughed bitterly. "I guess you could say that."
"It doesn't seem fair, does it?"
"Then, what, pray tell, is keeping you here? Leave Percy Jackson. You do not owe the gods." Zoe's eyes were bright with... somthing. Anger. Sadness. Regret.
Percy took a few seconds to respond. He knew his answer must be delicate. "No, I don't owe the gods. And no, this isn't my quest. But my friends. My family. Camp Half Blood is the only place I've ever felt at home. I gotta keep it alive. I don't have another choice."
Zoe furrowed her eyebrows, and stared incredulously at Percy. "Your fatal flaw will be the death of you."
He looked out to the horizon. His hair picked up in the wind and she could see him thinking. His eyes were a beautiful sea green, his hair so dark it cast shadows onto his face. He had thick eyebrows and a fuller bottom lip. He was tan with a spray of dark freckles over his entire face.
Words formed in Zoe's mind but she could not get them out.
I've only been in love once, and I thought it would only be once. But you, Percy Jackson, might prove me wrong.