That idea made me really uneasy. I almost changed my mind about telling Chiron, but I didn't.

"You really think the first attack will be here?" I asked.

Chiron stared at the snow falling on the hills. I could see smoke from the dragon guardian at the pine tree, the glitter of the distant Fleece.

"It will not be until summer, at least," Chiron said. This winter will be hard… the hardest for many centuries. It's best that you go home to the city, Percy; try to keep your mind on school. And rest. You will need rest."

I looked at Annabeth. "What about you?"

Her cheeks flushed. "I'm going to try San Francisco after all. Maybe I can keep an eye on Mount Tam, make sure the Titans don't try anything else."

"You'll send an Iris-message if anything goes wrong?"

She nodded. "But I think Chiron's right. It won't be until the summer. Luke will need time to regain his strength."

I didn't like the idea of waiting. Then again, next August I would be turning fifteen. So close to sixteen I didn't want to think about it.

"All right," I said. "Just take care of yourself. And no crazy stunts in the Sopwith Camel."

She smiled tentatively. "Deal. And, Percy—"

Whatever she was going to say was interrupted by Grover, who stumbled out of the Big House, tripping over tin cans. His face was haggard and pale, like he'd seen a specter.

"He spoke.'" Grover cried.

"Calm down, my young satyr," Chiron said, frowning. "What is the matter?"

"I… I was playing music in the parlor," he stammered, "and drinking coffee. Lots and lots of coffee! And he spoke in my mind!"

"Who?" Annabeth demanded.

"Pan!" Grover wailed. "The Lord of the Wild himself. I heard him! I have to… I have to find a suitcase."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa," I said. "What did he say?"

Grover stared at me. "Just three words. He said, 'I await you...'"


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