Annabeth felt more nauseous than ever. Red spots danced before her eyes, but she helped Sadie drag the dog creature backwards by its tail into the sand dunes. Sadie seemed to take pleasure in pulling the monster over as many rocks and broken bottles as she could find.

The beast snarled and wriggled. Its red aura glowed more brightly, while the golden rope dimmed.

Normally Annabeth liked walking on the beach. The ocean reminded her of Percy. But today she was hungry and exhausted. Her backpack felt heavier by the moment, and the dog creature’s magic made her want to hurl.

Also, Rockaway Beach was a dismal place. A massive hurricane had blown through more than a year ago, and the damage was still obvious. Some of the apartment buildings in the distance had been reduced to shells, their boarded-up windows and breeze-block walls covered in graffiti. Rotted timber, chunks of tarmac and twisted metal littered the beach. The pylons of a destroyed pier jutted up out of the water. The sea itself gnawed resentfully at the shore as if to say, Don’t ignore me. I can always come back and finish the job.

Finally they reached a derelict ice-cream truck half sunken in the dunes. Painted on the side, faded pictures of long-lost tasty treats made Annabeth’s stomach howl in protest.

‘Gotta stop,’ she muttered.

She dropped the dog monster and staggered over to the truck, then slid down with her back against the passenger’s door.

Sadie sat cross-legged, facing her. She rummaged around in her own backpack and brought out a cork-stoppered ceramic vial.

‘Here.’ She handed it to Annabeth. ‘It’s yummy. Drink.’

Annabeth studied the vial warily. It felt heavy and warm, as if it were full of hot coffee. ‘Uh … this won’t unleash any golden flashes of ka-bam in my face?’

Sadie snorted. ‘It’s just a healing potion, silly. A friend of mine, Jaz, brews the best in the world.’

Annabeth still hesitated. She’d sampled potions before, brewed by the children of Hecate. Usually they tasted like pond-scum soup, but at least they were made to work on demigods. Whatever was in this vial, it definitely wasn’t.

‘I’m not sure I should try,’ she said. ‘I’m … not like you.’

‘No one is like me,’ Sadie agreed. ‘My amazingness is unique. But if you mean you’re not a magician, well, I can see that. Usually we fight with staff and wand.’ She patted the carved white pole and the ivory boomerang lying next to her. ‘Still, I think my potions should work on you. You wrestled a monster. You survived that train wreck. You can’t be normal.’

Annabeth laughed weakly. She found the other girl’s brashness sort of refreshing. ‘No, I’m definitely not normal. I’m a demigod.’

‘Ah.’ Sadie tapped her fingers on her curved wand. ‘Sorry, that’s a new one on me. A demon god?’

‘Demigod,’ Annabeth corrected. ‘Half god, half mortal.’

‘Oh, right.’ Sadie exhaled, clearly relieved. ‘I’ve hosted Isis in my head quite a few times. Who’s your special friend?’

‘My – no. I don’t host anybody. My mother is a Greek goddess, Athena.’

‘Your mother.’


‘A goddess. A Greek goddess.’

‘Yeah.’ Annabeth noticed that her new friend had gone pale. ‘I guess you don’t have that kind of thing, um, where you come from.’

‘Brooklyn?’ Sadie mused. ‘No. I don’t think so. Or London. Or Los Angeles. I don’t recall meeting Greek demigods in any of those places. Still, when one has dealt with magical baboons, goddess cats and dwarfs in Speedos, one can’t be surprised very easily.’

Annabeth wasn’t sure she’d heard right. ‘Dwarfs in Speedos?’

‘Mmm.’ Sadie glanced at the dog monster, still writhing in its golden bonds. ‘But here’s the rub. A few months ago my mum gave me a warning. She told me to beware of other gods and other types of magic.’

The vial in Annabeth’s hands seemed to grow warmer. ‘Other gods. You mentioned Isis. She’s the Egyptian goddess of magic. But … she’s not your mom?’

‘No,’ Sadie said. ‘I mean, yes. Isis is the goddess of Egyptian magic. But she’s not my mum. My mum’s a ghost. Well … she was a magician in the House of Life, like me, but then she died, so –’

‘Just a sec.’ Annabeth’s head throbbed so badly she figured nothing could make it worse. She uncorked the potion and drank it down.

She’d been expecting pond-scum consommé, but it actually tasted like warm apple juice. Instantly, her vision cleared. Her stomach settled.

Tags: Rick Riordan Percy Jackson & Kane Chronicles Crossover Fantasy