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JASON TURNED TO THE SATYR, "Coach, you know anything about that?"

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JASON TURNED TO THE SATYR, "Coach, you know anything about that?"

"Nah. I'm just a satyr. They don't tell us the juicy stuff. Especially an old—" He stopped himself.

"An old guy like you?" Piper asked. "But you're not that old, are you?"

"Hundred and six," the coach muttered.

Leo coughed. "Say what?"

"Satyr's mature a lot slower than humans." Kyra commented, remembering what she had learn from her time at Camp Half-Blood,

"Don't catch your panties on fire, Valdez. That's just fifty-three in human years. Still, yeah, I made some enemies on the Council of Cloven Elders. I've been a protector a longtime. But they started saying I was getting unpredictable. Too violent. Can you imagine?"

"Wow." Piper tried not to look at her friends. "That's hard to believe."

Coach scowled. "Yeah, then finally we get a good war going with the Titans, and do they put me on the front lines? No! They send me as far away as possible—the Canadian frontier, can you believe it? Then after the war, they put me out to pasture. The Wilderness School. Bah! Like I'm too old to be helpful just because I like playing offense. All those flower-pickers on the Council—talking about nature."

"I thought satyrs liked nature," Piper ventured.

"Shoot, I love nature," Hedge said. "Nature means big things killing and eating little things! And when you're a —you know—vertically challenged satyr like me, you get in good shape, you carry a big stick, and you don't take nothing from no one! That's nature." Hedge snorted indignantly. "Flower-pickers. Anyway, I hope you got something vegetarian cooking, Valdez. I don't do flesh."

"Yeah, Coach. Don't eat your cudgel. I got some tofu patties here. Piper's a vegetarian too. I'll throw them on in a second."

The smell of frying burgers filled the air. Kyra looked over at Piper, noticing her quite demeanor. Her father was still a prisoner to the Giants and she knew it was taking a toll on the daughter of Aphrodite.

Leo handed everyone their burgers and Kyra was quick to take a bite. 

"We need to talk." Piper sat up so she could face everyone, "I don't want to hide anything from you guys anymore." They looked at her with their mouths full of burger, "Three nights before the Grand Canyon trip," Piper continued, "I had a dream vision—a giant, telling me my father had been taken hostage. He told me I had to cooperate, or my dad would be killed."

The flames crackled. Everyone was silent while they took this information in.

Finally, Jason said, "Enceladus? You mentioned that name before."

Coach Hedge whistled. "Big giant. Breathes fire. Not somebody I'd want barbecuing my daddy goat."

Jason gave him a shut up look. "Piper, go on. What happened next?"

"I—I tried to reach my dad, but all I got was his personal assistant, and she told me not to worry."

"Jane?" Leo remembered. "Didn't Medea say something about controlling her?"

Piper nodded. "To get my dad back, I had to sabotage this quest. I didn't realize it would be the three of us. Then after we started the quest, Enceladus sent me another warning: He told me he wanted you two dead. He wants me to lead you to a mountain. I don't know exactly which one, but it's in the Bay Area—I could see the Golden Gate Bridge from the summit. I have to be there by noon on the solstice, tomorrow. An exchange."

Piper didn't meet their eyes and Kyra separated herself from Jason to grab Piper's hand to provide some sort of comfort,  "Gods, Piper. I'm so sorry."

Leo nodded. "No kidding. You've been carrying this around for a week? Piper, we could help you."

She glared at them. "Why don't you yell at me or something? I was ordered to kill you!"

"Aw, come on," Jason replied, "You've saved all of us on this quest. I'd put my life in your hands any day."

"Same," Leo said and Kyra nodded,

"You don't get it!" Piper exclaimed, dropping Kyra's hand, "I've probably just killed my dad, telling you this."

"I doubt it." Coach Hedge belched. He was eating his tofu burger folded inside the paper plate, chewing it all like a taco. "Giant hasn't gotten what he wants yet, so he still needs your dad for leverage. He'll wait until the deadline passes, see if you show up. He wants you to divert the quest to this mountain, right?"

Piper nodded uncertainly.

"So that means Hera is being kept somewhere else," Hedge reasoned. "And she has to be saved by the same day. So you have to choose—rescue your dad, or rescue Hera. If you go after Hera, then Enceladus takes care of your dad. Besides, Enceladus would never let you go even if you cooperated. You're obviously one of the seven in the Great Prophecy."

"Hate to say this, but Hedge is right." Kyra commented, "Your dad, for the moment, is alive. Enceladus won't kill him until the solstice if we don't show up."

"So we have no choice," Piper said miserably. "We have to save Hera, or the giant king gets unleashed. That's our quest. The world depends on it. And Enceladus seems to have ways of watching me. He isn't stupid. He'll know if we change course and go the wrong way. He'll kill my dad."

"He's not going to kill your dad," Leo replied. "We'll save him."

"We don't have time!" Piper cried. "Besides, it's a trap."

"We're your friends, beauty queen," Leo continued, "We're not going to let your dad die. We just gotta figure out a plan."

Coach Hedge grumbled. "Would help if we knew where this mountain was. Maybe Aeolus can tell you that. The Bay Area has a bad reputation for demigods. Old home of the Titans, Mount Othrys, sits over Mount Tam, where Atlas holds up the sky. I hope that's not the mountain you saw."

Piper tried to remember the vista in her dreams. "I don't think so. This was inland."

Jason frowned at the fire, like he was trying to remember something. "Bad reputation ... that doesn't seem right. The Bay Area ..."

"You think you've been there?" Kyra asked, looking up at him,

"I ..." He looked like he was almost on the edge of a breakthrough. Then the anguish came back into his eyes. "I don't know. Hedge, what happened to Mount Othrys?" 

Hedge took another bite of paper and burger. "Well, Kronos built a new palace there last summer. Big nasty place, was going to be the headquarters for his new kingdom and all. Weren't any battles there, though. Kronos marched on Manhattan, tried to take Olympus. If I remember right, he left some other Titans in charge of his palace, but after Kronos got defeated in Manhattan, the whole palace just crumbled on its own."

"No," Jason stated and everyone looked at him.

"What do you mean, 'No'?" Leo asked.

"That's not what happened. I—" He tensed, looking toward the cave entrance. "Did you hear that?"

For a second, nothing. Then Kyra heard it: howls piercing the night.

"Wolves." Kyra whispered, taking back her place in Jason's arms.

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