I Learn Something New is the eighteenth chapter of The Gift of a Best Friend. It was first published on August 12, 2016.
We’ve finally reached Luke and Thalia’s house on the James River, but it wasn’t easy.
We got attacked by monsters the whole way, but Annabeth got to try out her new knife and turned a monster to dust, which was cool. She looked so happy now, happier than I’ve ever seen her before, and braver too. The best thing about it is I’m happy that she’s happy, and I have my new pet: Toothless. He’s so cute, and he likes being around my neck.
Anyway, the house wasn’t big, but we got some food and cleaned ourselves up. And our weapons too. But I noticed that Luke didn’t have one.
“How come you don’t have a weapon?” I asked him.
“Well, I use to,” he replied. “But they both got destroyed.”
“Here.” I handed him my sword. “You can have my sword.”
“Thanks, but you can keep it.”
“You need it more than I do.”
“I don’t. Take it.”
“That’s nice of you, Jasmine, but no.”
I was going to get him to take it whether he wanted me to or not.
“Take it or I’ll kill you with it,” I said, glaring at him.
“I think she’s serious, Luke,” Thalia said.
“I think she is too,” he agreed.
“She is,” Annabeth, Kika, and Honey all said.
“I am,” I agreed.
“Ok, ok.” Luke took my sword. “Thank you. And you’re quite intimidating for a little girl.”
“You’re welcome,” I replied. “And thank you.”
Kika and Honey laughed. Then they stood up quickly for some reason.
“What is it?” Luke asked.
Before they could answer, a voice came from behind us. “I had a feeling you guys were going to meet.”
“Grandma!” I said.
She, Mommy, Daddy, Fiskerton, Komodo, Pikachu, the other animals, and Nick had used their powers to appear into the house.
I gave Grandma a hug, then Mommy and Daddy.
“What is that on your shoulder?” Daddy asked, referring to Toothless.
“This is Toothless,” I replied. “He’s a dragon.”
“I can see that,” Mommy said.
“Luke gave him to me as a pet. Can I keep him? Please?”
Komodo was shaking his head. Fiskerton too.
“Is he a baby dragon?” Daddy asked.
“Which means he gets bigger,” Mommy said.
“You guys will be able to handle him,” Grandma said. “Even when he’s bigger.”
“How big does he grow to be?” Daddy asked.
“I don’t know.”
Toothless jumped onto Daddy, then Mommy.
“Well, he is cute,” she said, scratching his head. “What do you say, Zak?”
Daddy looked at Toothless, then at me. “How can I say no?”
“Yay!” I cheered. “Toothless, you’re now a Saturday.”
He cheered too by shooting his fire into the air.
Grandma laughed, then she looked at Luke and Thalia. “Hey, guys. It’s been longer than usual.”
“Hey, Raylee,” Thalia greeted.
“Hey,” Luke also greeted. “We could’ve used your help yesterday.”
“You always need my help,” Grandma replied. “But with what this time?”
“Uh . . .”
He and Thalia looked at each other, and they seemed to have a silent agreement.
“I’ll tell you later.”
“Ok . . .” Grandma said. “Umm, this is my daughter, Sarah, and her husband, Zak. And their pets, Fiskerton and Komodo. Guys, this is Luke and Thalia.”
“You’ve never mentioned them before,” Mommy said. “Well, you mentioned Luke once, but not in a very long time.”
“There’s a shock,” Luke said. “Considering we’ve known each other for a few years.”
“How do you know her?” Annabeth asked.
“Yeah?” I agreed.
“You haven’t told them yet?” Grandma asked Luke.
“We just met last night,” he replied. “And we’ve been attacked by monsters since our meeting, so no.”
“Well, have you at least told Annabeth what she is?”
“Not the word. I didn’t think she would understand.”
“Well, you never know unless you try.”
“What?” Annabeth asked. “What am I?”
Grandma sighed. “Let me start from the beginning. Luke and I met about five years ago after he had ran away from home. Nick and the animals were with me, as they always are. Now, me being the Protector of America, I deal with runaways all the time. But Luke, to me, was a special kind of runaway. Special enough that I wanted to adopt him. But he said no. I wasn’t going to force him, but—”
“But you weren’t going to stop asking me either,” Luke finished, sounding a little annoyed.
Grandma smiled. “Nope.”
“What’s adopting?” I asked.
“It’s making someone a part of the family,” Mommy explained. “In this case, if your grandma adopts Luke some day, he will be her son, my brother, and your uncle.”
“Oh. Why did you say no?”
“I like being on my own,” Luke replied. “And not rely on somebody else to take care of me.”
“I don’t blame you there,” Grandma said. “But anyway, I let Luke roam free and be on his own. I would check on him every couple days to make sure that he was still alive. Then a few months ago, Thalia ran away from her home. I caught up with her and we talked a bit, then she and Luke met, along with Toothless here. They teamed up, became friends, and now they’ve, apparently, added you two to their group.”
“Family,” Annabeth, Luke, Thalia, and I corrected at the same time.
“Aww. That makes it even more cute.”
“Does Dad know that you want to adopt him?” Mommy asked.
“Yes,” Grandma replied. “He doesn’t like it, but I don’t care what he thinks.”
“You never care what anybody thinks involving decisions like this,” Nick said.
“Why should I? Cj knows how I am. But he doesn’t like letting me do what I believe is right, but you do.”
“Only because I know I can’t stop you.”
“Ok, Mom. We get it,” Mommy said. Then she turned toward us. “How did you guys meet?”
Annabeth and I took turns telling them what happened last night. Then Annabeth showed everyone her new knife. She quite liked it.
“It’s nice,” Grandma said. “Would you like a sheath to make it easier to carry?”
“Yes,” Annabeth replied.
Grandma summoned a small sheath for the knife with her powers and it had a leather cord attached to it so that she could wrap it around her waist. Thalia helped her put it on. She really liked it.
“I gave my sword to Luke,” I said.
“Why?” Mommy asked.
“Because he doesn’t have one.”
“What happened to the one I gave you?” Grandma asked him.
“It got melted in acid,” Luke replied.
Grandma sighed. “I’ve given you so many swords I’ve lost count of how many.”
“It’s ok. It’s not your fault. But here.”
She summoned a sword and its sheath in her hands that was even longer than mine and gave it to Luke.
“Thanks.” He took it and gave me back my sword.
I put it in its sheath on my back.
“So what am I?” Annabeth asked. “You said that there’s a word for people like me.”
Thalia kneeled next to her and put her hand on her shoulder.
“Annabeth, we’re demigods,” she said. “We’re the children of gods.”
“Yes. Greek gods. And being the children of those gods makes it very dangerous for us because we attract monsters from miles away, as you already know, and they try to kill us.”
“Whose my mother?” Annabeth asked.
“I’m not sure. There are a few goddesses that have children with mortals, but I’m not sure which one of them is your mother. I’m a daughter of Zeus, god of the sky. Luke is a son of Hermes, the god of thieves, travelers, merchants, and the messenger of the gods.”
“Zeus and Hermes?” I asked.
Thalia nodded. “Yes.”
“It is not cool,” Luke argued. “It’s—”
Suddenly, Annabeth screamed in pain, and grabbed her head with her hands.
Oooo. Another cliffhanger. All I'll tell you is that it's something that didn't happen in the books. It's something I came up with.
Honestly, I'm going to have a lot of fun with the girls and Luke. They are so cute!
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