“No,” Chiron insisted. “There are more serious injuries to attend to. Go! I am fine. But, Grover…later we must talk about how you did that.”

“That was amazing,” I agreed. Grover blushed. “I don’t know where it came from.” Juniper hugged him fiercely. “I do!” Before she could say more, Tyson called, “Percy, come quick! It is Nico!”


There was smoke curling off his black clothes. His fingers were clenched, and the grass all around his body had turned yellow and died.

I rolled him over as gently as I could and put my against his chest. His heart was beating faintly. “Get some nectar!” I yelled.

One of the Ares campers hobbled over and handed me a canteen. I trickled some of the magic drink into Nico’s mouth. He coughed and spluttered, but his eyelids fluttered open.

“Nico, what happened?” I asked. “Can you talk?”

He nodded weakly. “Never tried to summon so many before. I—I’ll be fine.”

We helped him sit up and gave him some more nectar. He blinked at all of us, like he was trying to remember who we were, and then he focused on someone behind me.

“Daedalus,” he croaked.

“Yes, my boy,” the inventor said. “I made a very bad mistake. I came to correct it.”

Daedalus had a few scratches that were bleeding golden oil, but he looked better than most of us. Apparently his automaton body healed itself quickly. Mrs. O’Leary loomed behind him, licking the wounds on her master’s head so Daedalus’s hair stood up funny. Briares stood next to him, surrounded by a group of awed campers and satyrs. He looked kind of bashful, but he was signing autographs on armor, shields, and T-shirts.

“I found the Hundred-Handed One as I came through the maze,” Daedalus explained. “It seems he had the same idea, to come help, but he was lost. And so we fell in together. We both came to make amends.”

“Yay!” Tyson jumped up and down. “Briares! I knew you would come!”

“I did not know,” the Hundred-Handed One said. “But you reminded me who I am, Cyclops. You are the hero.”

Tyson blushed, but I patted him on the back. “I knew that a long time ago,” I said. “But, Daedalus…the Titan army is still down there. Even without the string, they’ll be back. They’ll find a way sooner or later, with Kronos leading them.”

Daedalus sheathed his sword. “You are right. As long as the Labyrinth is here, your enemies can use it. Which is why the Labyrinth cannot continue.”

Annabeth stared at him. “But you said the Labyrinth is tied to your life force! As long as you’re alive—”

“Yes, my young architect,” Daedalus agreed. “When I die, the Labyrinth will die as well. And so I have a present for you.”

He slung a leather satchel off his back, unzipped it, and produced a sleek silver laptop computer—one of the ones I’d seen in the workshop. On the lid was the blue symbol Δ.

“My work is here,” he said. “It’s all I managed to save from the fire. Notes on projects I never started. Some of my favorite designs. I couldn’t develop these over the last few millennia. I did not dare reveal my work to the mortal world. But perhaps you will find it interesting.”

He handed the computer to Annabeth, who stared at it like it was solid gold. “You’re giving me this? But this is priceless! This is worth…I don’t even know how much!”

“Small compensation for the way I have acted,” Daedalus said. “You were right, Annabeth, about children of Athena. We should be wise, and I was not. Someday you will be a greater architect than I ever was. Take my ideas and improve them. It is the least I can do before I pass on.”

“Whoa,” I said. “Pass on? But you can’t just kill yourself. That’s wrong.”

He shook his head. “Not as wrong as hiding from my crimes for two thousand years. Genius does not excuse evil, Percy. My time has come. I must face my punishment.”

“You won’t get a fair trial,” Annabeth said. “The spirit of Minos sits in judgment—”

“I will take what comes,” he said. “And trust in the justice of the Underworld, such as it is. That is all we can do, isn’t it?”

He looked straight at Nico, and Nico’s face darkened.

“Yes,” he said.

“Will you take my soul for ransom, then?” Daedalus asked. “You could use it to reclaim your sister.”

“No,” Nico said. “I will help you release your spirit. But Bianca has passed. She must stay where she is.”

Daedalus nodded. “Well done, son of Hades. You are becoming wise.” Then he turned toward me. “One last favor, Percy Jackson. I cannot leave Mrs. O’Leary alone. And she has no desire to return to the Underworld. Will you care for her?”

I looked at the massive black hound, who whimpered pitifully, still licking Daedalus’s hair. I was thinking that my mom’s apartment wouldn’t allow dogs, especially dogs bigger than the apartment, but I said, “Yeah. Of course I will.”

“Then I am ready to see my son…and Perdix,” he said. “I must tell them how sorry I am.”

Annabeth had tears in her eyes.

Daedalus turned toward Nico, who drew his sword. At first I was afraid Nico would kill the old inventor, but he simply said, “Your time is long since come. Be released and rest.”

A smile of relief spread across Daedalus’s face. He froze like a statue. His skin turned transparent, revealing the bronze gears and machinery whirring inside his body. Then the statue turned to gray ash and disintegrated.

Mrs. O’Leary howled. I patted her head, trying to comfort her as best I could. The earth rumbled—an earthquake that could probably be felt in every major city across the country—as the ancient Labyrinth collapsed. Somewhere, I hoped, the remains of the Titan’s strike force had been buried.

I looked around at the carnage in the clearing, and the weary faces of my friends.

“Come on,” I told them. “We have work to do.”



There were too many good-byes.

That night was the first time I actually saw camp burial shrouds used on bodies, and it was not something I wanted to see again.

Among the dead, Lee Fletcher from the Apollo cabin had been downed by a giant’s club. He was wrapped in a golden shroud without any decoration. The son of Dionysus who’d gone down fighting an enemy half-blood was wrapped in a deep purple shroud embroidered with grapevines. His name was Castor. I was ashamed that I’d seen him around camp for three years and never even bothered to learn his name. He’d been seventeen years old. His twin brother, Pollux, tried to say a few words, but he choked up and just took the torch. He lit the funeral pyre in the middle of the amphitheater, and within seconds the row of shrouds was engulfed in fire, sending smoke and sparks up to the stars.

We spent the next day treating the wounded, which was almost everybody. The satyrs and dryads worked to repair the damage to the woods.

At noon, the Council of Cloven Elders held an emergency meeting in their sacred grove. The three senior satyrs were there, along with Chiron, who was in wheelchair form. His broken horse leg was still mending, so he would be confined to the chair for a few months, until the leg was strong enough to take his weight. The grove was filled with satyrs and dryads and naiads up from the water—hundreds of them, anxious to hear what would happen. Juniper, Annabeth, and I stood by Grover’s side.

Silenus wanted to exile Grover immediately, but Chiron persuaded him to at least hear evidence first, so we told everyone what had happened in the crystal cavern, and what Pan had said. Then several eyewitnesses from the battle described the weird sound Grover had made, which drove the Titan’s army back underground.

“It was panic,” insisted Juniper. “Grover summoned the power of the wild god.”

“Panic?” I asked.

“Percy,” Chiron explained, “during the first war of the gods and the Titans,

Lord Pan let forth a horrible cry that scared away the enemy armies. It is—it was his greatest power—a massive wave of fear that helped the gods win the day. The word panic is named after Pan, you see. And Grover used that power, calling it forth from within himself.”

“Preposterous!” Silenus bellowed. “Sacrilege! Perhaps the wild god favored us with a blessing. Or perhaps Grover’s music was so awful it scared the enemy away!”

“That wasn’t it, sir,” Grover said. He sounded a lot calmer than I would have if I’d been insulted like that. “He let his spirit pass into all of us. We must act. Each of us must work to renew the wild, to protect what’s left of it. We must spread the word. Pan is dead. There is no one but us.”

“After two thousand years of searching, this is what you would have us believe?” Silenus cried. “Never! We must continue the search! Exile the traitor!”

Some of the older satyrs muttered assent.

“A vote!” Silenus demanded. “Who would believe this ridiculous young satyr, anyway?”

“I would,” said a familiar voice.

Everyone turned. Striding into the grove was Dionysus. He wore a formal black suit, so I almost didn’t recognize him, a deep purple tie and violet dress shirt, his curly dark hair carefully combed. His eyes were bloodshot as usual, and his pudgy face was flushed, but he looked like he was suffering from grief more than wine-withdrawal.

The satyrs all stood respectfully and bowed as he approached. Dionysus waved his hand, and a new chair grew out of the ground next to Silenus’s—a throne made of grapevines.

Dionysus sat down and crossed his legs. He snapped his fingers and satyr hurried forward with a plate of cheese and crackers and a Diet Coke.

The god of wine looked around at the assembled crowd. “Miss me?”

The satyrs fell over themselves nodding and bowing. “Oh, yes, very much, sire!”

“Well, I did not miss this place!” Dionysus snapped. “I bear bad news, my friends. Evil news. The minor gods are changing sides. Morpheus has gone over to the enemy. Hecate, Janus, and Nemesis, as well. Zeus knows how many more.”

Thunder rumbled in the distance.

“Strike that,” Dionysus said. “Even Zeus doesn’t know. Now, I want to hear Grover’s story. Again, from the top.”

“But, my lord,” Silenus protested. “It’s just nonsense!”

Dionysus’s eyes flared with purple fire. “I have just learned that my son Castor is dead, Silenus. I am not in a good mood. You would do well to humor me.”

Silenus gulped, and waved at Grover to start again.

When Grover was done, Mr. D nodded. “It sounds like just the sort of thing Pan would do. Grover is right. The search is tiresome. You must start thinking for yourselves.” He turned to a satyr. “Bring me some peeled grapes, right away!”

“Yes, sire!” The satyr scampered off.

“We must exile the traitor!” Silenus insisted.

“I say no,” Dionysus countered. “That is my vote.”