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I had weird dreams full of barnyard animals. Most of them wanted to kill me. The rest wanted food. I must’ve woken up several times, but what I heard and saw made no sense, so I just passed out again. I remember lying in a soft bed, being spoonfed something that tasted like buttered popcorn, only it was pudding. The girl with curly blond hair hovered over me, smirking as she scraped drips off my chin with the spoon. When she saw my eyes open, she asked, “What will happen at the summer solstice?” I managed to croak, “What?” She looked around, as if afraid someone would overhear. “What’s going on? What was stolen? We’ve only got a few weeks!” “I’m sorry,” I mumbled, “I don’t…” Somebody knocked on the door, and the girl quickly filled my mouth with pudding. The next time I woke up, the girl was gone. A husky blond dude, like a surfer, stood in the corner of the bedroom keeping watch over me. He had blue eyes—at least a dozen of them—on his cheeks, his forehead, the backs of his hands. When I finally came around for good, there was nothing weird about my surroundings, except that they were nicer than I was used to. I was sitting in a deck chair on a huge porch, gazing across a meadow at green hills in the distance. The breeze smelled like strawberries. There was a blanket over my legs, a pillow behind my neck. All that was great, but my mouth felt like a scorpion had been using it for a nest. My tongue was dry and nasty and every one of my teeth hurt. On the table next to me was a tall drink. It looked like iced apple juice, with a green straw and a paper parasol stuck through a maraschino cherry. My hand was so weak I almost dropped the glass once I got my fingers around it. “Careful,” a familiar voice said. Grover was leaning against the porch railing, looking like he hadn’t slept in a week. Under one arm, he cradled a shoe box. He was wearing blue jeans, Converse hi-tops and a bright orange T-shirt that said CAMP HALF-BLOOD. Just plain old Grover. Not the goat boy. So maybe I’d had a nightmare. Maybe my mom was okay. We were still on vacation, and we’d stopped here at this big house for some reason. And… “You saved my life,” Grover said. “I…well, the least I could do…I went back to the hill. I thought you might want this.” Reverently, he placed the shoe box in my lap. Inside was a black-and-white bull’s horn, the base jagged from being broken off, the tip splattered with dried blood. It hadn’t been a nightmare. “The Minotaur,” I said. “Um, Percy, it isn’t a good idea—”