“Kronos said his body had been prepared.”

“I shudder to think what that means. But perhaps it will limit Kronos’s power. For a time, at least, he is confined to a human form. It binds him together. Hopefully it also restricts him.”

“Chiron, if he leads the attack—”

“I do not think so, my boy. I would sense if he were drawing near. No doubt he planned to, but I believe you inconvenienced him when you pulled down his throne room on top of him.” He looked at me reproachfully. “You and your friend Nico, son of Hades.”

A lump formed in my throat. “I’m sorry, Chiron. I know I should’ve told you. It’s just—”

Chiron raised his hand. “I understand why you did it, Percy. You felt responsible. You sought to protect him. But, my boy, if we are to survive this war, we must trust each other. We must…”

His voice wavered. The ground underneath us was trembling.

Everyone in the clearing stopped what they were doing. Clarisse barked a single order: “Lock shields!”

Then the Titan lord’s army exploded from the Labyrinth.


I mean I’d been in fights before, but this was a full-scale battle. The first thing I saw were a dozen Laistrygonian giants erupting from the ground, yelling so loudly my ears felt like bursting. They carried shields made from flattened cars, and clubs that were tree trunks with rusty spikes bristling at the end. One of the giants bellowed at the Ares phalanx, smashed it sideways with his club, and the entire cabin was thrown aside, a dozen warriors tossed to the wind like rag dolls.

“Fire!” Beckendorf yelled. The catapults swung into action. Two boulders hurtled toward the giants. One deflected off a car shield with hardly a dent, but the other caught a Laistrygonian in the chest, and the giant went down. Apollo’s archers fired a volley, dozens of arrows sticking in the thick armor of the giants like porcupine quills. Several found chinks in armor, and some of the giants vaporized at the touch of celestial bronze.

But just when it looked like the Laistrygonians were about to get overwhelmed, the next wave surged out of the maze: thirty, maybe forty dracaenae in full battle armor, wielding spears and nets. They dispersed in all directions. Some hit the traps the Hephaestus cabin had laid. One got struck on the spikes and became an easy target for archers. Another triggered a trip wire, and pots of Greek fire exploded into green flames, engulfing several of the snake women. But many more kept coming. Argus and Athena’s warriors rushed forward to meet them. I saw Annabeth draw a sword and engage one of them. Nearby, Tyson was riding a giant. Somehow he’d managed to climb onto the giant’s back and was hitting him on the head with a bronze shield—BONG! BONG! BONG!

Chiron calmly aimed arrow after arrow, taking down a monster with every shot. But more enemies just kept climbing out of the maze. Finally a hellhound—not Mrs. O’Leary—leaped out of the tunnel and barreled straight toward the satyrs.

“GO!” Chiron yelled at me.

I drew Riptide and charged.

As I raced across the battlefield, I saw horrible things. An enemy half-blood was fighting with a son of Dionysus, but it wasn’t much of a contest. The enemy stabbed him in the arm then clubbed him over the head with the butt of his sword, and Dionysus’s son went down. Another enemy warrior shot flaming arrows into the trees, sending our archers and dryads into a panic.

A dozen dracaenae suddenly broke away from the main fight and slithered down the path that led toward camp, like they knew where they were going. If they got out, they could burn down the entire place, completely unopposed.

The only person anywhere near was Nico di Angelo. He stabbed a telekhine, and his black Stygian blade absorbed the monster’s essence, drinking its energy until there was nothing left but dust.

“Nico!” I yelled.

He looked where I was pointing, saw the serpent women, and immediately understood.

He took a deep breath and held out his black sword. “Serve me,” he called.

The earth trembled. A fissure opened in front of the dracaenae, and a dozen undead warriors crawled from the earth—horrible corpses in military uniforms from all different time periods—U.S. Revolutionaries, Roman centurions, Napoleonic cavalry on skeletal horses. As one, they drew their swords and engaged the dracaenae. Nico crumpled to his knees, but I didn’t have time to make sure he was okay.

I closed on the hellhound, which was now pushing the satyrs back toward the woods. The beast snapped at one satyr, who danced out of its way, but then it pounced on another who was too slow. The satyr’s tree-bark shield cracked as he fell.

“Hey!” I yelled.

The hellhound turned. It snarled at me and leaped. It would’ve clawed me to pieces, but as I fell backward, my fingers closed around a clay jar—one of Beckendorf’s containers of Greek fire. I tossed it into the hellhound’s maw, and the creature went up in flames. I scrambled away, breathing heavily.

The satyr who’d gotten trampled wasn’t moving. I rushed over to check on him, but then I heard Grover’s voice: “Percy!”

A forest fire had started. Flames roared within ten feet of Juniper’s tree, and Juniper and Grover were going nuts trying to save it. Grover played a rain song on his pipes. Juniper desperately tried to beat out the flames with her green shawl, but it was only making things worse.

I ran toward them, jumping past duels, weaving between the legs of giants. The nearest water was the creek, half a mile away…but I had to do something. I concentrated. There was a pull in my gut, a roar in my ears. Then a wall of water came rushing through the trees. It doused the fire, Juniper, Grover, and pretty much everything else.

Grover blew a spout of water. “Thanks, Percy!”

“No problem!” I ran back toward the fight, and Grover and Juniper followed. Grover had a cudgel in his hand and Juniper held a stick—like an old-fashioned whipping switch. She looked really angry, like she was going to tan somebody’s backside.

Just when it seemed like the battle had balanced out again—like we might stand a chance—an unearthly shriek echoed out of the Labyrinth, a sound I had heard before.

Kampê shot into the sky, her bat wings fully extended. She landed on the top of Zeus’s Fist and surveyed the carnage. Her face was filled with evil glee. The mutant animal heads growled at her waist. Snakes hissed and swirled around her legs. In her right hand she held a glittering ball of thread—Ariadne’s string—but she popped it into a lion’s mouth at her waist and drew her curved swords. The blades glowed green with poison. Kampê screeched in triumph, and some of the campers screamed. Others tried to run and got trampled by hellhounds or giants.

“Di Immortales!” Chiron yelled. He quickly aimed an arrow, but Kampê seemed to sense his presence. She took flight with amazing speed, and Chrion’s arrow whizzed harmlessly past her head.

Tyson untangled himself from the giant whom he’d pummeled into unconsciousness. He ran at our lines, shouting, “Stand! Do not run from her! Flight!”

But then a hellhound leaped on him, and Tyson and the hound went rolling away.

Kampê landed on the Athena command tent, smashing it flat. I ran after her and found Annabeth at my side, keeping pace, her sword in her hand.

“This might be it,” she said.

“Could be.”

“Nice fighting with you, Seaweed Brain.”


Together we leaped into the monster’s path. Kampê hissed and sliced at us. I dodged, trying to distract her, while Annabeth went in for a strike, but the monster seemed able to fight with both hands independently. She blocked Annabeth’s sword, and Annabeth had to jump back to avoid the cloud of poison. Just being near the thing was like standing in an acid fog. My eyes burned. My lungs couldn’t get enough air. I knew we couldn’t stand our ground for more than a few seconds.

“Come on!” I shouted. “We need help!”

But no help came. Everyone was either down, or fighting for their lives, or too scared to move forward. Three of Chiron’s arrows sprouted from Kampê’s chest, but she just roared louder.

“Now!” Annabeth said.

Together we charged, dodged the monster’s slashes, got inside her guard, and almost…almost managed to stab Kampê in the chest, but a huge bear’s head lashed out from the monster’s waist, and we had to stumble backward to avoid getting bitten.


My eyesight went black. The next thing I knew, Annnabeth and I were on the ground. The monster had its forelegs on our chests, holding us down. Hundreds of snakes slithered right above me, hissing like laughter. Kampê raised her green-tinged swords, and I knew Annabeth and I were out of options.

Then, behind me, something howled. A wall of darkness slammed into Kampê, sending the monster sideways. And Mrs. O’Leary was standing over us, snarling and snapping at Kampê.

“Good girl!” said a familiar voice. Daedalus was fighting his way out of the Labyrinth, slashing down enemies left and right as he made his way toward us. Next to him was someone else—a familiar giant, much taller than the Laistrygonians, with a hundred rippling arms, each holding a huge chunk of rock.

“Briares!” Tyson cried in wonder.

“Hail, little brother!” Briares bellowed. “Stand firm!”

And as Mrs. O’Leary leaped out of the way, the Hundred-Handed One launched a volley of boulders at Kampê. The rocks seemed to enlarge as they left Briares’s hands. There were so many, it looked like half the earth had learned to fly.


Where Kampê had stood a moment before was a mountain of boulders, almost as tall as Zeus’s Fist. The only sign that the monster had ever existed were two green sword points sticking through the cracks.

A cheer went up from the campers, but our enemies weren’t done yet. One of the dracaenae yelled, “Ssssslay them! Kill them all or Kronossss will flay you alive!”

Apparently, that threat was more terrifying than we were. The giants surged forward in a last desperate attempt. One surprised Chiron with a glancing blow to the back legs, and he stumbled and fell. Six giants cried in glee and rushed forward.

“No!” I screamed, but I was too far away to help.

Then it happened. Grover opened his mouth, and the most horrible sound I’d ever heard came out. It was like a brass trumpet magnified a thousand times—the sound of pure fear.

As one, the forces of Kronos dropped their weapons and ran for their lives. The giants trampled the dracaenae trying to get into the Labyrinth first. Telekhines and hellhounds and enemy half-bloods scrambled after them. The tunnel rumbled shut, and the battle was over. The clearing was quiet except for the fires burning in the woods, and the cries of the wounded.

I helped Annabeth to her feet. We ran to Chiron.

“Are you all right?” I asked.

He was lying on his side, trying in vain to get up. “How embarrassing,” he muttered. “I think I will be fine. Fortunately, we do not shoot centaurs with broken… Ow! …broken legs.

“You need help,” Annabeth said. “I’ll get a medic from Apollo’s cabin.”