I considered walking to the Empire State Building. That was the modern gateway to Mount Olympus, but I doubted the guards would let me up to the secret six hundredth floor. Zeus would not make it so easy.

Perhaps I could find my old friend Chiron the centaur. He had a training camp on Long Island. He could offer me shelter and guidance. But that would be a dangerous journey. A defenseless god makes for a juicy target. Any monster along the way would cheerfully disembowel me. Jealous spirits and minor gods might also welcome the opportunity. Then there was Cade and Mikey’s mysterious “boss.” I had no idea who he was, or whether he had other, worse minions to send against me.

Even if I made it to Long Island, my new mortal eyes might not be able to find Chiron’s camp in its magically camouflaged valley. I needed a guide to get me there—someone experienced and close by….

“I have an idea.” I stood as straight as my injuries allowed. It wasn’t easy to look confident with a bloody nose and coffee grounds dripping off my clothes. “I know someone who might help. He lives on the Upper East Side. Take me to him, and I shall reward you.”

Meg made a sound between a sneeze and a laugh. “Reward me with what?” She danced around, plucking twenty-dollar bills from the trash. “I’m already taking all your money.”


She tossed me my wallet, now empty except for Lester Papadopoulos’s junior driver’s license.

Meg sang, “I’ve got your money, I’ve got your money.”

I stifled a growl. “Listen, child, I won’t be mortal forever. Someday I will become a god again. Then I will reward those who helped me—and punish those who didn’t.”

She put her hands on her hips. “How do you know what will happen? Have you ever been mortal before?”

“Yes, actually. Twice! Both times, my punishment only lasted a few years at most!”

“Oh, yeah? And how did you get back to being all goddy or whatever?”

“Goddy is not a word,” I pointed out, though my poetic sensibilities were already thinking of ways I might use it. “Usually Zeus requires me to work as a slave for some important demigod. This fellow uptown I mentioned, for instance. He’d be perfect! I do whatever tasks my new master requires for a few years. As long as I behave, I am allowed back to Olympus. Right now I just have to recover my strength and figure out—”

“How do you know for sure which demigod?”

I blinked. “What?”

“Which demigod you’re supposed to serve, dummy.”

“I…uh. Well, it’s usually obvious. I just sort of run into them. That’s why I want to get to the Upper East Side. My new master will claim my service and—”

“I’m Meg McCaffrey!” Meg blew me a raspberry. “And I claim your service!”

Overhead, thunder rumbled in the gray sky. The sound echoed through the city canyons like divine laughter.

Whatever was left of my pride turned to ice water and trickled into my socks. “I walked right into that, didn’t I?”

“Yep!” Meg bounced up and down in her red sneakers. “We’re going to have fun!”

With great difficulty, I resisted the urge to weep. “Are you sure you’re not Artemis in disguise?”

“I’m that other thing,” Meg said, counting my money. “The thing you said before. A demigod.”

“How do you know?”

“Just do.” She gave me a smug smile. “And now I have a sidekick god named Lester!”

I raised my face to the heavens. “Please, Father, I get the point. Please, I can’t do this!”

Zeus did not answer. He was probably too busy recording my humiliation to share on Snapchat.

“Cheer up,” Meg told me. “Who’s that guy you wanted to see—the guy on the Upper East Side?”

“Another demigod,” I said. “He knows the way to a camp where I might find shelter, guidance, food—”

“Food?” Meg’s ears perked up almost as much as the points on her glasses. “Good food?”

“Well, normally I just eat ambrosia, but, yes, I suppose.”

“Then that’s my first order! We’re going to find this guy to take us to the camp place!”

I sighed miserably. It was going to be a very long servitude.

“As you wish,” I said. “Let’s find Percy Jackson.”

Used to be goddy

Now uptown feeling shoddy

Bah, haiku don’t rhyme