Oh, don’t be afraid of dreams,” a voice said right next to me. I looked over. Somehow, I wasn’t surprised to find the homeless guy from the rail yard sitting in the shotgun seat. His jeans were so worn out they were almost white. His coat was ripped, with stuffing coming out. He looked kind of like a teddy bear that had been run over by a truck. “If it weren’t for dreams,” he said, “I wouldn’t know half the things I know about the future. They’re better than Olympus tabloids.” He cleared his throat, then held up his hands dramatically: “Dreams like a podcast, Downloading truth in my ears. They tell me cool stuff.” “Apollo?” I guessed, because I figured nobody else could make a haiku that bad. He put his finger to his lips. “I’m incognito. Call me Fred.” “A god named Fred?” “Eh, well…Zeus insists on certain rules. Hands off, when there’s a human quest. Even when something really major is wrong. But nobody messes with my baby sister. Nobody.” “Can
And, whoa!” He looked at Mr. D. “You’re the wine dude? No way!” Mr. D turned his eyes away from me and gave Nico a look of loathing. “The wine dude?” “Dionysus, right? Oh, wow! I’ve got your figurine.” “My figurine.” “In my game, Mythomagic. And a holofoil card, too! And even though you’ve only got like five hundred attack points and everybody thinks you’re the lamest god card, I totally think your powers are sweet!” “Ah.” Mr. D seemed truly perplexed, which probably saved my life. “Well, that’s…gratifying.” “Percy,” Chiron said quickly, “you and Thalia go down to the cabins. Inform the campers we’ll be playing capture the flag tomorrow evening.” “Capture the flag?” I asked. “But we don’t have enough—” “It is a tradition,” Chiron said. “A friendly match, whenever the Hunters visit.” “Yeah,” Thalia muttered. “I bet it’s real friendly.” Chiron jerked his head toward Mr. D, who was still frowning as Nico talked about how many defense points all the gods had in his game. “Run along now,” Chiron told us. “Oh, right,” Thalia said. “Come on, Percy.” She hauled me out of the Big House before Dionysus could remember that he wanted to kill me.