Thalia Gets Turned Into a Tree is the twenty-second chapter of The Gift of a Best Friend. It was first published on September 9, 2016.
We made a camp fire, and Toothless lit it for us with his fire. We all sat around it, along with our new friend, Grover.
He told us that he is a satyr, and a satyr is half man, half goat. He even showed us his goat legs that he covers with his pants. Satyrs are also vegetarians, which means they don’t eat meat.
Jasmine asked him why, and I wondered that too, but Thalia and Luke didn’t let him tell us because they didn’t want to scare us. Jasmine wanted to know, but they wouldn’t tell her and she eventually gave up asking and moved on to another question.
“How old are you?” she asked Grover.
“Twenty-three,” he replied.
We stared at him, because he was even shorter than Thalia, who was twelve.
“Yeah, uh, satyrs grow half as fast as people do,” Grover explained. “So I’m only about eleven-and-a-half in human years.”
“That sums it up,” Luke said. “But can you explain to us more about this camp?”
“Well, it’s really the only safe place for half-bloods. You learn all about the gods, monsters, and how to fight them, and if you don’t know who your godly parent is, you will once you get there. Eventually. Do any of you know who your godly parent is?”
“Luke’s a son of Hermes,” Thalia said. “And I’m a daughter of Zeus. But Annabeth doesn’t know who her godly parent is, except that it’s her mother.”
“Ok. A daughter of Zeus? It’s rare for someone to be his child. In fact, you—” He faltered.
“What?” Thalia asked.
“Nothing. It’s just rare.”
Thalia turned red and looked away.
“I think we’ve been here long enough,” Luke said.
“You’re right,” Grover agreed. “The sooner we get to camp the better.”
So we put the fire out, gathered up our stuff, and continued on our journey.
I’m kind of excited to see this camp and I couldn’t wait to get there. I think Jasmine was too. But if Grover was supposed to lead us there, he’s wasn’t good at it.
He led us to dead ends, some toward monsters, and we had to run for our lives. We managed to get far away from them with a few stabs, but they were still chasing us. We reached Brooklyn, and Grover led us to some old house on Flatbush that seemed deserted.
“Are you sure about this, Grover?” Thalia asked.
He scratched his head. “Umm, I don’t know.”
“Of course you don’t,” Luke said.
“Luke,” Thalia said harshly.
“I’m sorry, guys,” Grover said. “I know I’ve messed up a couple times already, but I’m going to lead you all to camp.”
“Ok,” Luke said. “But I’m pretty sure it’s not in this house.”
“Can we go in?” I asked.
“Yeah?” Jasmine agreed. “I want to go in.”
“I don’t know,” Luke said. “There’s something about this house that doesn’t feel right.”
“I agree,” Thalia said. Then she looked at Grover. “You’re our navigator, goat boy. Should we go in or not?”
He scratched his head again. “I’m not sure. Maybe—”
Suddenly, we heard a voice from inside the house.
It sounded like it was a boy. And Thalia looked really surprised to hear him.
“Jason?” she called.
“Jason?” I asked.
Then it happened again.
My head started hurting, and I held it with my hands.
I saw myself. I was older, sixteen again, like the last vision I had.
Jasmine was with me, and so was that boy with the sea-green eyes, but he looked a little different from my last vision. A little taller and stronger. Toothless was also there, but he looked like ten times his size.
But I didn’t recognize any of the other five people—three boys, two girls—there. One of them looked about thirteen and the others were about fifteen or sixteen. One boy in particular was sitting at the other end of the table from where I was sitting.
He had blond hair, and a small scar on his upper lip. He didn’t look at all familiar, but his eyes did. They were blue, and they looked just like Thalia’s. Before I could think more on it, my vision ended, my head stopped hurting, and I was back at the old house. But Thalia was gone.
“Where’s Thalia?” I asked.
“She ran into the house,” Grover replied.
“We were going to run after her,” Luke said. “But we didn’t want to leave you behind while you were, I guess, having another vision?”
“What did you see?” Jasmine asked.
I shook my head. “I don’t know. But we have to—”
I was interrupted when another voice called. “Jasmine!”
“Mommy?” Jasmine asked.
“Jasmine, help us!”
She was about to run inside, but Luke stopped her.
“Whoa,” he said. “Something’s not right here, Jasmine. Why would your parents be here?”
“I don’t know,” she replied. “Maybe they were chasing a cryptid?”
“Do you feel any in there?” I asked.
“Sort of. But my mommy and daddy are in trouble, and I’m going to help them.”
She pushed Luke away and ran into the house with Toothless flying behind her.
“Jasmine!” Luke called, but she didn’t come back.
“Should we go after them?” Grover asked.
“Yes,” I replied.
“We don’t really have a choice,” Luke agreed.
We went inside the house.
We got separated.
I don’t remember how, just that we heard Thalia and Jasmine scream from all around us and ran toward where we heard them come from and got separated from each other along the way. So I was alone. It was dark, and I had no where to go. Again.
I tried going back the way I came, but any of the ways I went didn’t look familiar to me, based on the little light from the moon through the windows, so I was lost too. But not for long.
I was walking down a dark hallway when I ran into somebody. I couldn’t see who it was since it was really dark, so I did the natural thing: I screamed.
“It’s ok, Annabeth,” it said. “It’s me. Your best friend.”
“Jasmine?” I asked.
“Uh-huh. Toothless, can you please give us some light?”
He blew some of his fire, and I could see them both now.
“Are you ok?” Jasmine asked me.
“No,” I replied. “Did you find your mommy and daddy?”
She shook her head. “No. But Toothless can see in the dark.”
“I don’t know. He just can. We were looking for my mommy and daddy and Toothless saw you.”
“Did you see Thalia?”
“No. Where’s Luke and Grover?”
“I don’t know. We got separated.”
“We heard you and Thalia scream and ran off to find you two.”
Jasmine looked confused. “I didn’t scream.”
“You didn’t?” I asked.
She shook her head. “No. I didn’t see anything that scared me. And I don’t think Thalia screams.”
“Then who did we hear scream?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t hear anyone scream.”
Now I’m so confused. Was someone else in this house besides us?
“Let’s go find Thalia, Luke, and Grover,” I said.
“Ok,” Jasmine said.
Toothless was tired from using his fire, so Jasmine had him stop and to watch out since he’s the only one that can see in the dark. Jasmine and I held hands while we walked to know where each other was.
After a long time, we finally found Thalia, Luke, and Grover. But it wasn’t good.
We came into a big room, I think it was the living room, and there were bones all over it. Thalia, Luke, and Grover were tied up and hanging from the ceiling, their mouths covered with rags.
But that wasn’t the worst part.
There was a fire burning in the middle of the room, and sitting next to the fire was a big monster about five times my size. His back was to us, so he didn’t see us coming. Yet.
“What is that?” Jasmine asked, whispering.
“I don’t know,” I whispered back. I was shaking. “But we have to help Thalia, Luke, and Grover.”
“I know. But how? Should we fight?”
“I think we have to.”
We grabbed our weapons, but the monster heard us. He turned toward us, and I noticed that he only had one eye. One big eye in the middle of his face. He smiled at us.
“Now, Annabeth, don’t you worry,” he said. “I love you. You can stay here with me. You can stay forever.”
I froze. His voice sounded exactly like my dad’s.
Jasmine was also surprised. “How—how did he do that?”
I shook my head. Then the monster spoke in her mom’s voice, but she wouldn’t listen and she got mad.
“You are not my mommy!” Jasmine yelled.
He tried talking to her again in her dad’s voice.
“Shut up!” she said. Then she looked at me. “And he’s not your daddy.”
I unfroze and nodded. “I know.”
We held up our weapons and charged at the monster. He was too surprised to expect our attack.
Once we reached him, I stabbed my knife into one of his feet, and Jasmine stabbed him in the other with her sword. He yelled in pain.
I jumped off his feet and ran to help Thalia, Luke, and Grover. “Come on, Jasmine!”
“You help them get free,” she replied. “I’ll fight him. Go help her, Toothless.”
Both Toothless and I didn’t want to leave her to fight the monster alone, but she was doing ok and we needed to help our friends. So we did.
Toothless used his fire to burn the rope that they were hanging from and they fell to the ground. I cut the rest of the ropes from around Thalia first with my knife, then Luke, and then Grover.
They still had their weapons with them, and they grabbed them. We turned back toward Jasmine and the monster.
He had grabbed Jasmine with his hand and held her upside down, but we were already running to her to help.
Toothless flew in front of the monster’s face and blew tiny fire balls in his eyes. That distracted him good and he let Jasmine go. She fell toward the floor, but Luke caught her in time. Thalia stabbed the monster in the chest and he turned to dust.
We all were breathing hard.
“That was amazing, you two,” Thalia told me and Jasmine.
“Yeah,” Luke agreed. “That was really brave.”
We both smiled.
“What was that monster?” Jasmine asked.
“It was a Cyclops,” Grover replied, shaking a little. “They have the ability to imitate someone’s voice perfectly.”
“How do they know how someone sounds like if they’ve never heard them speak before?” I asked.
Grover shook his head. “I don’t know. But they did that to trick people to capture and eat them.”
“Like he did to us,” Luke said.
I looked at Thalia, who looked sad, and I remembered the boy’s voice I heard from the Cyclops.
“Who’s Jason?” I asked her.
She looked at me, then everyone else, and looked away. “It doesn’t matter.” Her voice was barely a whisper. “He’s gone.”
“What happened to him?” Jasmine asked.
I saw a tear fall down Thalia’s face and she wiped it away.
“Thalia?” I asked.
“Annabeth,” Luke said. “If Thalia doesn’t want to tell us, we shouldn’t push her to.”
I didn’t want to, but I nodded. “Ok.”
Thalia gave Luke a small smile.
But Jasmine wasn’t done. “My grandma said that one your mommy’s a selfish, alcoholic bitch who gave her son to another bitch. Is that what your mommy, Thalia?”
She smiled a little bit. “Did your grandma actually say it like that?”
“Well, she’s right. But that’s all I’m telling you about it. So lay off it. All of you.”
Thalia looked sad again.
“We should get out of here,” Luke said.
And we did.
We were in trouble.
The monsters that were chasing us before had caught up to us thanks to that stupid Cyclops. We only fought the ones that got too close, but there were too many of them. We kept running from them.
We were coming up to a hill.
“We’re here,” Grover said, prancing nervously at the summit. “We’re almost to camp. Hurry guys! Hurry!”
We struggled up the hill.
Luke held my hand, pulling me along, Jasmine right beside me. Thalia stayed behind us, keeping the monsters back with her terrifying shield, Aegis.
After we reached the top of the hill, I looked down the other side and saw the camp below.
I tripped and twisted my ankle. Luke picked me up and carried me.
We looked back and saw that the monsters were just a few yards away, and they were surrounding Thalia.
“Go!” she yelled. “I’ll hold them off!”
She waved her spear, and lightning slashed through the monsters. But more kept coming.
“We have to run!” Grover said.
He led us into camp. Luke followed. I was crying and hitting his chest.
“We can’t leave Thalia alone!” I screamed.
But it was too late.
I looked back one last time and saw Thalia be defeated by the monsters. I cried more. Jasmine did too.
Then I heard thunder. Suddenly, I saw a big tree appear right where Thalia was.
The monsters backed away from it and tried to come toward us, but for some reason, they couldn’t, like something was blocking their way. None of it made sense to me.
But one thing did:
Thalia was gone.
Aww. Thalia's gone.
Another thing that I had to make up partially. And, yes, I used the movie part at the end with Thalia because that wasn't explained well in the book if that tree was already there or that it sprouted from Thalia, as weird as that sounds, lol. But we know she'll be back. I liked the part with the Cyclops and Jasmine and Annabeth teaming up like that. What about you?
Also, I don't know if you guys remember from the past ten chapters or so, but yesterday, in this story, was Annabeth's birthday, and on Monday is Jasmine's birthday, so happy birthday to the two of them!
Please review here.
- Annabeth has a vision of Jason, a boy Thalia mentioned.