“Curse it, boy!” he snapped at Jason. “Didn’t you leave some for me? I like a challenge!”
Leo got to his feet, breathing hard. He looked completely humiliated, his hands bleeding from clawing at the rocks. “Yo, Coach Supergoat, whatever you are—I just fell down the freaking Grand Canyon! Stop asking for challenges!”
He didn't remember that Coach was a satyr?
Dylan hissed at them, but Mira could see fear in his eyes. “You have no idea how many enemies you’ve awakened, half-bloods. My mistress will destroy all demigods. This time, it is a war you cannot win,"
Above them, the storm exploded into a full-force gale. Cracks expanded in the skywalk, making Mira scramble away from them at lightning speed. Sheets of rain poured down, making it hard to maintain balance. Mira was afraid the added weight would shatter the glass entirely.
A hole opened in the clouds—a swirling vortex of black and silver.
“The mistress calls me back!” Dylan shouted with glee.
“And you, demigod, will come with me!”
He lunged at Jason, but Piper tackled the monster from behind. Even though he was made of smoke, Piper somehow managed to connect. Both of them went sprawling. Mira was rooted to the spot, still terrified in the air, but Leo, Jason, and the coach surged forward to help, but the spirit screamed with rage. He let loose a torrent that knocked them all backward. Jason and Coach Hedge landed on their butts. Jason’s sword skidded across the glass. Leo hit the back of his head and curled on his side, dazed and groaning. Piper got the worst of it. She was thrown off Dylan’s back and hit the railing, tumbling over the side until she was hanging by one hand over the abyss.
Jason started toward her, but Dylan screamed, “I’ll settle for this one!”
"No, no, no, no, no!" Mira whimpered.
He grabbed Leo’s arm and began to rise, towing a half-conscious Leo below him. The storm spun faster, pulling them upward like a vacuum cleaner.
“Help!” Piper yelled. “Somebody!”
Then she slipped, screaming as she fell.
“Jason, go!” Hedge yelled. “Save her!”
The coach launched himself at the spirit with some serious goat fu—lashing out with his hooves, knocking Leo free from the spirit’s grasp. Leo dropped safely to the floor, but Dylan grappled the coach’s arms instead. Hedge tried to head-butt him, then kicked him and called him a cupcake. They rose into the air, gaining speed.
"Coach!" Mira screamed, up on her feet. Why was she such a chicken? She had dreamt of having an opportunity to be a part of this for years, and now she was unable to do anything.
Coach Hedge shouted down once more, “Save her! I got this!” Then the satyr and the storm spirit spiraled into the clouds and disappeared.
Jason seemed to be torn, but his indecision lasted for only a fraction of a second. He ran to the railing, and jumped over the side. Mira almost screamed, until she remembered he'd be alright. Because, if he wasn't, how would the series last five whole books? Mira then figured out that Jason could fly... He was a son of Jupiter!
She almost jumped with joy- she remembered something!
While Piper screamed her heart out, Mira got on all fours, and tried to crawl over to Leo, who was laying on the floor.
"Leo!" she shook him, hoping she wouldn't crack the glass. "Leo, get up!"
Mira heard Piper yelling, and looked up. Jason and Piper had made it back, and they rushed over to Mira and Leo.
Leo groaned. His army coat was soaked from the rain. His curly hair glittered gold from rolling around in monster dust.
“Stupid… Ugly… Goat,” he muttered.
“Where did he go?” Piper asked. Mira sniffed.
"He got taken," Leo pointed straight up. “Never came down. Please tell me he didn’t actually save my life.”
“Twice,” Jason said.
Leo groaned even louder. “What happened? The tornado guy, the gold sword… I hit my head. That’s it, right? I’m hallucinating?”
Mira blinked. Leo knew all this! He had said so himself. Had he forgotten already? Did he have a concussion?
"Leo!" she hissed, leaning down. Drops of water trailed down her long hair, clinging to her back. "What are you talking about? You already know-"
"Shut up and go along with me!" he hissed. "Unless you want me to tell them everyth-"
Mira and Leo heard Piper clearing her throat. They both turned to her.
"Any secrets you want to share?" She raised an eyebrow. After her near death experience, she didn't look like she was in the mood for jokes.
Leo gave Mira a glare, and she looked away, rolling her eyes. Don't think about it. Ignore him and he'll ignore you. She decided.
Jason awkwardly walked over to where his sword was lying and picked it up. He flipped it. Midspin, the sword shrank back into a coin and landed in his palm.
“Yep,” Leo said, elbowing Mira in the ribs. “Definitely hallucinating.”
Mira recoiled with a wince, and crawled away with a frown. She went to check up on Leo in vain, she thought bitterly. She should have just stayed in her corner, where the chances of falling to her death were less.
Piper shivered in her rain-soaked clothes. “Jason, those things—”
“Venti,” he said. “Storm spirits.”
"-Anemoi thuellai, right?" Mira interrupted. Why does that sound better? In the books, even Piper and Leo said venti.
"I'm not sure..."
“Okay...." Piper stared at the two with a worried expression. "You acted like... like you’d seen them before. Who are you?”
He shook his head. “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. I don’t know.”
The storm dissipated. The other kids from the Wilderness School were staring out the glass doors in horror. Security guards were working on the locks now, but they didn’t seem to be having any luck.
“Coach Hedge said he had to protect four people,” Jason remembered. “I think he meant us.”
“And that thing Dylan turned into…” Piper shuddered. “God, I can’t believe it was hitting on Mira. He called us... What, demigods?”
Leo lay on his back, staring at the sky. He didn’t seem anxious to get up. “Don’t know what demi means,” he said. “But I’m not feeling too godly. You guys feeling godly?”
Mira huffed with irritation. Why was he acting this way? Why didn't he want to tell them? She glanced at Jason and Piper. They both looked young, lost, scared. Innocent, even.
With a pang she realized Leo probably wanted to keep them innocent for a while. She felt ashamed. She should have realized. Even if Leo hated her, he was still the loyal friend she'd admired so much in the books.
There was a brittle sound like dry twigs snapping, and the cracks in the skywalk began to widen. Mira struggled to keep calm. It took everything in her to not completely freak out. But just in case, she grabbed whatever was closest to her. Which happened to be Jason.
"Don't let me die," she whimpered, staring at the cracks as if they'd grow wider if she looked away.
“We need to get off this thing,” Jason said. “Maybe if we—”
“Ohhh-kay,” Leo interrupted. “Look up there and tell me if those are flying horses."
Mira's eyes lit up. Annabeth! She turned her head up, and he saw a dark shape descending from the east—too slow for a plane, too large for a bird. As it got closer she could see a pair of winged animals—gray, four-legged, exactly like horses —except each one had a twenty-foot wingspan. And they were pulling a brightly painted box with two wheels: a chariot.
“Reinforcements,” Mira said. “Hedge told me an extraction squad was coming for us.”
“Extraction squad?” Leo struggled to his feet. “That sounds painful."
“And where are they extracting us to?” Piper asked. Mira watched as the chariot landed on the far end of the skywalk. The flying horses tucked in their wings and cantered nervously across the glass, as if they sensed it was near breaking. Two teenagers stood in the chariot—a tall blond girl, and a bulky guy with a shaved head and a face like a pile of bricks.
They both wore jeans and orange T-shirts, with shields tossed over their backs. The blonde-clearly Annabeth-leaped off before the chariot had even finished moving. She pulled a knife and ran toward their group while the bulky dude was reining in the horses.
“Where is he?” Annabeth demanded. Her gray eyes were fierce and a little startling. Mira openly stared at her hero. She had always looked up to Annabeth, to her strength, bravery, intelligence, and all around badassery.
"Where’s who?” Jason asked.
Right... Percy was missing.
Annabeth frowned like his answer was unacceptable. Then she turned to Mira, Leo and Piper.
“What about Gleeson? Where is your protector, Gleeson Hedge?”
Leo cleared his throat. “He got taken by some... tornado things.”
“Venti,” Jason said. “Storm spirits.”
Annabeth arched an eyebrow. “You mean anemoi thuellai? That’s the Greek term. Who are you, and what happened?”
Jason did his best to explain, though it was probably hard to look Annabeth directly in her eyes. Even Mira was intimidated, and she knew Annabeth was a hero and not an enemy. About halfway through the story, the other guy from the chariot came over. He stood there glaring at them, his arms crossed. He had a tattoo of a rainbow on his biceps.
What was his name? Brody? Buford? Buford sounded familiar, but wrong in this situation. A Buford was definitely involved somehow... was he one of Leo's inventions? A chair, perhaps?
When Jason had finished the story, the blond girl didn’t look satisfied. “No, no, no! She told me he would be here. She told me if I came here, I’d find the answer.”
“Annabeth,” the nameless demigod grunted. “Check it out.”
He pointed at Jason’s feet.
Maybe it was Brunner... Bruce? Bu... Bu... Something with Bu...
Mira followed everyone's stares to Jason's foot. He was missing his left shoe, which had been blown off by the lightning. It looked like a lump of charcoal.
Bu.. Bu... Butch! It was Butch, wasn't it?!
“The guy with one shoe,” said the bald dude. “He’s the answer.”
“No, Butch,” the girl insisted. “He can’t be. I was tricked.”
Mira grinned. She was right. Leo saw her smiling for no reason, and rolled his eyes, nudging her to snap her out of her fantasy.
Now that she had finally remembered something on her own, Mira focused on the conversation.
Annabeth was glaring at the sky as though it had done something wrong.
“What do you want from me?” she screamed. “What have you done with him?”
The skywalk shuddered, and the horses whinnied urgently.
If they stay any longer, I'm gonna leave!
Pfftt. You said that last time, too.
I did not!
Mira gasped aloud as she heard unfamiliar voices in her head. This was it. She was going crazy.
“Annabeth,” said the bald dude, Butch, “we gotta leave. Let’s get these three to camp and figure it out there. Those storm spirits might come back.”
Annabeth fumed for a moment. “Fine.” She fixed Jason with a resentful look. “We’ll settle this later.”
She turned on her heel and marched toward the chariot.
Piper shook her head. “What’s her problem? What’s going on?”
"Seriously,” Leo agreed.
"Could we maybe leave already?" Mira said weakly. She felt an anxiety attack coming on and just knew she had to get off that blasted skywalk.
“We have to get you out of here,” Butch said. “I’ll explain on the way.”
“I’m not going anywhere with her.” Jason gestured toward the blonde. “She looks like she wants to kill me.”
"I think the storm spirits would like to do worse. Please, could we just leave? I really don't like this.." Mira said, glancing down once again. She tried to control her breathing, counting in her head.
Butch hesitated. “Annabeth’s okay. You gotta cut her some slack. She had a vision telling her to come here, to find a guy with one shoe. That was supposed to be the answer to her problem.”
“What problem?” Piper asked.
Mira had to make a conscious effort not to answer.
“She’s been looking for one of our campers, who’s been missing three days,” Butch said. “She’s going out of her mind with worry. She hoped he’d be here.”
“Who?” Jason asked.
Hurry it up! Any longer and I feel like Zeus will blast me out of here! Mira thought.
“Her boyfriend,” Butch said. “A guy named Percy Jackson.”
Mira stood in back of the chariot with Piper, Leo and Jason, while Butch handled the reins, and Annabeth adjusted a bronze navigation device. They rose over the Grand Canyon and headed east, icy wind making Mira regret wearing this outfit. She should have just gone hungry that night...
Behind them, more storm clouds were gathering, but Mira was surprisingly comfortable in the chariot. At least, more than she was on the drywall. The chariot lurched and bumped. It had no seat belts and the back was wide open, but Mira was calm.