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Worrying was going to get Zedaph into more trouble than it got him out of.

He wished this world was like Hermitcraft sometimes. There, you could just throw together a redstone contraption to solve your problems, or at least get someone to do it for you. It was simpler there.

This world was not like that.

In this world, things were less like Mumbo redstone and more like Doc redstone. People were less willing to help, and diamonds were not a currency. And you couldn't locate someone with a quick type in chat, because there was no chat. And dying wasn't a quick recovery. Dying here was a never recovery.

Zedaph had gotten into a habit of fidgeting when he was worried. If Bdubs, Ren, and Tango were worried, they hid it a lot better than he did.

He tried to take his mind off things - arts and crafts, pegasus riding, trying to make automations in the forge like the Hepheastus kids. He always ended up ruining it somehow. Once, he had only survived a fall into the ocean from the back of a pegasus because Percy had happened to be walking along the beach and did aquaman things.

Pegasi did not like Zedaph very much.

He had volunteered to go on the quest with Annabeth, Percy, and Thalia to Maine to find some new demigods. They had politely declined, looking as if he didn't actually want to do it and they were doing him a favor by letting him stay behind. Maybe they were. But that wasn't the way Zedaph saw it.

The other Hermits and children of Athena noticed. Of course they did. But Annabeth hadn't exactly been helpful. Her theory was that Grian ran off to join Luke's army. Zedaph refused to believe it. He knew that the Hermes cabin was campaigning for a quest to search for Grian and Gem, and he wholeheartedly agreed, although Annabeth stood against it and said it was too risky.

So when the bus crashed in the lake and she wasn't there, Zedaph thought against his will, who's taking risks now?

"What's that?" Bdubs asked. "In the sky?"

Tango glared at Bdubs. "If this is one of those made-you-look pranks-"

"It's not!"

Zedaph looked up and was mildly alarmed. "What is that?"

"Sun big," Tango observed.

Bdubs looked traumatized. "SUN BIG?!!"


They scrambled to run away from where it looked like it would land, even though it was unclear.

Before it crashed straight into the canoe lake, Zedaph got a glimpse of... a school bus?

There were naiads with half-weaved baskets on the shore. The lake steamed, and Zedaph was sure about half of it evaporated. Campers, nymphs, and satyrs ran for the lake, curious and worried as to what was going on.

Zedaph followed them.

Tango was quickly joined by a curious half-sibling of his as they entered the crowd.

"WHAT'S GOING ON?!" Bdubs screamed.

"I don't know," Zedaph answered, fidgeting with the sleeve of his jacket as he, Tango, and the other Hephaestus kids ran to investigate.

Yeah, it was definitely a school bus. Except it was glowing - bright rays of sunlight reflected off the water and into everyone's eyes.

Despite the brightness, Tango peered at the bus in the lake. "Holy crap, there's people in there!"

There was a splash to Zedaph's left as someone dove into the lake, maybe a naiad, maybe a camper determined to rescue the people inside. Then Zedaph realized it was Tango, so, a camper.

The first person out was a guy, about seventeen or eighteen, with golden hair. He surfaced, grinning like it was the best day ever. "That was awesome! I will write a haiku about that!"

Alarmed, Zedaph took a step away.

Tango surfaced with a coughing and shaking Thalia, and then Percy with a ten-year-old boy with olive skin and black hair. A girl wearing silver slapped the hand of an Apollo kid away from her.

By then, the bus had mostly settled at the bottom of the lake, and the survivors left. From Zedaph's view, most of them were girls, and most of them seemed to know what they were doing.

Not one failed to glare at the sandy-haired guy as they passed him. He grinned in return.

Chiron trotted up, wide-eyed. "Lord Apollo," he said to the sandy-haired guy. "What a... surprise."

Wait, that's Apollo? The sun god?

The Apollo kids all looked fascinated, so Zedaph assumed that was a yes.

Apollo ignored him for the moment and talked to Thalia. "See? I told you you could do it!"

Thalia was just shuddering. "Never again," she said. "Never again."

Apollo turned to Chiron. "I bring word from Artemis," he said dramatically. "The Hunters need a place to stay. She is hunting a.... well, I don't really know what she's hunting. But it'll be fine!"

Chiron pursed his lips and looked at all of the unfamiliar girls, who had turned their glares to the campers, who looked rather uncomfortable. "Uh- very well, then."

Apollo snapped his fingers, and the bus teleported to shore. And then again, and it became a car. Apollo made a peace sign, got in, and drove away - except the car flew like it was covered in pixie dust.

The campers watched in awe as the sun went back into the sky.

"Well, that was an experience," Tango said.

Zedaph was preoccupied searching everyone who was wet. His heart sank more and more as he looked.

Percy, Thalia, and Grover joined them. The boy who Percy had been supporting earlier was trotting behind them excitedly. "Who are these people? Who are their parents? Why does that one have red eyes? How much damage do they do?"

"Well, it depends on the sword," Tango explained immediately, probably misunderstanding the question. "A diamond sword does 7 damage without crits or enchantments, and it also depends on the armor that the opponent is wearing-"

Zedaph ignored the geeky kid and the equally geeky teenager and turned to Percy, Thalia and Grover. "Where's Annabeth?"

Percy bit his lip. "I'm sorry, but-"

"Wait," Zedaph said. "No. She's not."

"She's not dead," Thalia said, shooting a glare at Percy. "She's just... uh... captured."

Zedaph breathed a sigh of relief. "I guess our rescue quest will have to go beyond Grian and Gem, then..." he muttered.

Captured was still bad. But at least his sister could be rescued.

"I'll talk to Chiron about it," Percy promised. "If he even believes that she's alive."

Zedaph fidgeted with his sleeve some more. "He has to," he said. "I don't really feel like running away from camp again."

But if they don't let us go... that might be what I have to do.

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