“Okay. Five packs of cookies, two orders of leum kleum, a pound of soft caramels, and one batch of coconut pudding.” Pharm set down all the packages on his little counter top. The faces of no less than five big Ares cabin kids lit up. “That will be twenty drachmas.”
“What?! Twenty? Last week it was fifteen!”
“Prices went up.” Pharm said simply. “I had to practically beg the Wild Doctor Gang to buy me ingredients while they were out on their last quest. It cost me extra since Pha is pissed that Kit got bit by something particularly nasty.”
“But you can’t just-”
“Oh… And did I forget to mention…” Pharm smiled and pointed to the side. “That my boyfriend is here today!” The five Ares campers looked to the side to see the second eldest son of Poseidon glaring at them as he casually leaned against the wall. “So…” Pharm smiled a little more cheerfully. “Twenty drachmas?”
Can opened the door to the Hades cabin and no less than three skeletons came over and bowed to greet him. Can handed over his bag and slipped off his completely worn down sneakers and handed them over as well. The third skeleton lead Can down to the bathrooms where Tin was waiting with a bath drawn in a large black marble tub.
“I absolutely love your skeleton butlers.” Can announced as he began stripping without a moment’s hesitation. “Like, the absolute best kind of butlers.”
“I bet you say that to all children of Hades,” Tin said dryly.
“Technically I do because you’re the only one here.”
Tin opened his mouth, closed it, and then opened it again. “You’ve been taking lessons with Kao again, haven’t you.”
“Am I finally too clever for you?!”
“Just get in the tub.”
“Beam! Beam, you have to help!” Yo ran into the Apollo cabin and everyone turned to look. Not out of alarm, but mostly because the short son of Aphrodite had that effect on people.
Beam had already jumped out of his bed. “What’s wrong? Did someone hurt you?”
“Worse! The Ares cabin kids are trying to hit on Pete again!”
Beam’s expression turned thunderous and his fellow siblings immediately turned away. “How many.”
“Twenty of the newest.”
Beam walked over to a patch of wall by his bunk and tapped it. The wall opened to reveal ten gleaming celestial bronze bows, a quiver, and a shooting glove. Beam slipped on the glove and strapped on the quiver. He ran his hands down his options before selecting the oldest and most worn looking bow.
“It’s been a while since I used you, my pretty songbird,” Beam said to his bow. “How about we teach some Ares boys a lesson?”
Yo’s eye twitched. “You… You’re using that one?”
Beam plucked the string and a beautiful note resounded in the air. Several of the other Apollo cabin mates harmonized with it while humming. “I think we should have some music while teaching. It helps children learn.”
It was past curfew when Win heard the scratching at the door of the Poseidon cabin. There was only one person it could be. Win ran over, careful not to wake Dean (Pete was out on a quest with Kao), and opened the door to find Team wobbling back and forth.
“Win… Hia… I can’t… I couldn’t…”
“Come.” Win held out a hand and Team took it immediately. “No sleep for the sleepy, no dreams for the dreamer.”
“I’ve got you.” Win pulled Team into his bed and wrapped himself around him. “You’re safe. You’re with me.”
Team closed his eyes and his breathing began to even out. Although the oceans and seas were known for being rough and turbulent, Team knew of no calmer or safer place than Win’s arms.
“Is… Is Kongpob okay?” Arthit asked as Kao opened the door to the Athena cabin. “I haven’t seen him around for a while…”
“Oh, you have nothing to worry about, Arthit,” Kao said with a smile. “He’s been working on a serious project. But I think he’ll be-”
“It’s finished! Everyone come look!” Another Athena camper shouted.
The sound of scrambling and feet stomping motivated Arthit to push past Kao and walk deeper into the cabin. All the way at the back, before a surprisingly large loom, Kongpob stood proudly as the rest of his siblings made appreciative noises. It was only once Arthit had managed to get to the front that he recognized what he was seeing.
“This… This is…” Arthit reached out and Kongpob took his wrist and pulled him closer to let him touch the work on the loom. “This is the tapestry I saw on my last quest…”
“Do you like it Arthit?”
“How did you… When did you?”
“It was tricky… Especially since the original is supposed to be one of Arachne’s… So I had to get over some… Issues.” Kongpob winced. “But if it’s for you, how could I back down?”
“You… You duplicated a tapestry created by the mortal enemy of your mother, for me,” Arthit said faintly.
“Yeah… I did. Do you like it?”
Kongpob was allowed to enjoy Arthit’s look of wonder for another moment before he found himself being hit by the older son of Hephaestus. “You idiot! Why would you work so hard to copy something you hate to even look at!”
“I don’t hate it! It’s just not well documented! I mean, it’s useful that at least Arachne made a website for her designs during the last war against the gods-”
“You dummy! You idiot! You… You…” Arthit had stopped punching Kongpob’s arm. “You locked yourself away for more than a month for this!”
Kongpob looked up and smiled. “So… does this mean you missed me?”
“I thought you were sick and dying!”
“No… Just lovesick.” The entire Athena cabin and Arthit were torn between cooing and gagging.
“Ae… This is Pearl,” Pete said as he lead Ae to a particular stall in the pegasi stables. “Mom gave her to me as a tenth birthday present.” Pearl stuck her head out and Pete pet her fondly. “I hope you two get along well.”
Ae made eye contact with Pearl, who seemed to regard him carefully. After a few sniffs and an offering of several sugar cubes, Pearl allowed Ae to pet her. Although the initial static shock was regrettable, Pearl seemed to get over her initial distrust quickly. Especially since Ae was the son of the god of the skies.
“She’s very nice,” Ae said softly. “You’re very lucky to have her.”
“I’m lucky to have you too,” Pete said before kissing Ae on the cheek. Pearl whinnied in protest. “Oh, hush you. Are you going to go tattle on me to mom?” Pearl winked and Pete frowned. “If you tell mom, I’m going to stop giving you those special apples you like that Pharm can grow!” Pearl whinnied in protest, but ended up huffing and avoiding eye contact. “Thank you. I’ll bring you two tomorrow.”
“You really have an interesting relationship with your pegasus.” Ae blinked. “She’s more like your sister.”
“She certainly thinks she’s my mom. I know that.” Pete scrunched up his face, but Ae pinched his cheeks to get him to stop. “Come on, I want to show you off to my siblings next. They’ll love you!”
“Didn’t Forth tell you not to try making me a magical bow that can also turn into a multi-tool?” Kit said as he cleaned the burns on Ming’s arms. “Even Kao said you didn’t get the mechanics right.”
“But Kitkat, you’ve been wanting your own special bow for a while now! One that collapses into a multi-tool would be so perfect for you!” Ming gave Kit a pout. “Is it really my fault that the thing blew up while I was trying to put in a corkscrew to be a wine bottle opener?”
“Yes.” Kit dabbed disinfectant on one of the burns a little harder than he normally would, making Ming hiss. “Yes, it is.”
“Na… Kitkat… Just kiss my burns better…” Ming continued to pout, but made his eyes as wide as possible. “Please?”
Kit sighed before muttering a prayer and kissing the largest burn on Ming’s arm. The was a brief glow under Kit’s lips and the burn shrank under the advance of fresh and new skin until it disappeared. Kit repeated the process on several other large burns. Ming’s smile became bright enough to rival Kit’s father, Apollo.