Chapter 8

                “Hunter!” Marina and Kyle ran over and met Hunter. “We were just coming over to see you. We came earlier, but Chiron told us to go away. Were you like, being treated or something?” Hunter looked up at his friends and blinked hard a few times, until he entered back into reality. “You okay?”
                “Yeah, I’m just a little shaken up. I don’t even know where to start…WAIT! Who won Capture the flag?” Hunter started walking again. He was heading towards the Hermes cabin.
                “Really? You get attacked by the chimera. You’re almost killed. You’ve been pretty much asleep for the past 8 days! And you want to know who won capture the flag? Our team won, but we need to have a serious chat about your priorities.” Kyle said. Shaking his head at Hunter. Marina was walking along, chuckling.
                “Good. So it was worth it. Can you guys help me with….something, though? Right now.” The three of them arrived at Hermes cabin. “Just wait here, real quick.” Hunter turned to enter his former cabin, but Marina grabbed his shoulder
                “Wait, before we agree to anything, what are we helping you with?” Marina asked looking concerned.
                “I’ll tell you in a second.” Hunter went inside and was prepared to pack up all his stuff, but it was gone. Hunter looked around the cabin and none of it was to be found. He walked back out.
                “Hunter, please. What’s going on?” Marina looked at Hunter. Hunter had a confused look on his face.
                “My stuff is gone.” Hunter looked around and saw Chiron walking by the mess hall. He ran over to talk to him.  “Chiron, my stuff is gone.”
                “That’s because, Hunter,” Chiron looked at him. “We’ve already moved it.” Chiron smiled down at the boy he has raised for the past 12 years. “It’s good to finally see you out of bed. Nice watch.” Chiron looked at Marina and Kyle finally arriving to where Hunter was standing. “We should talk later. Find me tomorrow.” Chiron trotted off. Hunter turned towards the Artemis cabin, but Kyle and Marina blocked his path.
                “Hunter. What is going on with you?” Marina asked, staring Hunter in the eye.
                “Marina I’m glad that I have friends like you that care about me so much and I will explain it to both of you.” Marina eased her gaze. “In just one minute.” Hunter took off towards the Artemis cabin. He went inside and saw his stuff organized by his bunk like he had it in the Hermes cabin. He smiled and flopped down on to his new bed.  He cried short tears of joy. It was finally sinking in that he was claimed. He felt like he could just fall asleep right there, even though he had only been truly awake for about 2 hours.  Hunter got up and walked back out to see Marina and Kyle staring at him like he was a crazy person. They were still staring when Will walked up.
                “Hey Hunter, it’s good to see you out of bed. When I saw that your stuff was gone I thought the worst. Why IS your stuff gone, if you’re standing here?” He looked at Kyle and Marina. “And why does it look like they think you’re crazy?”
                “Will. Kyle. Marina. You are looking at my new home.” Hunter smiled and nodded towards the cabin behind him. Kyle and Marina’s jaws dropped. Will’s eyes grew to twice their size.
                “Wait…So after all these years of being unclaimed, you get attacked by the chimera, and then you find out that you are the only son of a goddess that was sworn to virginity for all eternity.” Marina said. Kyle was still staring at Hunter, mouth wide open. “How does that make sense?”
                “Alright, man. Congrats! Maybe that means I’ll get claimed next. I’ll just go track down a big monster to fight.” Will said with a big smile on his face. He walked up beside Hunter and gave him a big pat on the back. Hunter smiled. Kyle was still staring.
                “Thanks, man. I’m actually not Artemis’s son though. She accepted me into the Hunters. I’m the first and only male Hunter of Artemis. And Kyle, if you if you leave your mouth open like that, a bird is going to build a nest in it.” Kyle finally closed his mouth just to open it again.
                “How is that possible? Artemis detests men. Why would she accept one into her elite corps of warriors?” Hunter smiled.
“I will tell you guys everything, but first, it’s 1 o clock. I’m going to get lunch.” Hunter started to tell the story as he ate lunch. After that he returned to the front of the Artemis cabin and relayed everything he had learned in the past 3 hours. 2 hours later
                “…and now I get to live here in the Artemis cabin, unless the Hunters are in camp, then I will sleep in Hermes again, until they leave. I’m kind of like her secret hunter.” Hunter chuckled at the idea and looked up at his audience. They were all still absorbing the truckload of information that was just dumped on them. Will and Marina finally started nodding in recognition.
                Kyle finally said, “Wait…so you’re a Hunter of Artemis?” Everyone turned and looked at Kyle.
                “Really? Kyle? I tell you the biggest news of my life and that’s all you got out of it?” Marina slapped Kyle in the back of the head.
                “Hey! I understand. I just haven’t absorbed it, yet. So watch it with the head-slapping.”
                “That’s really big news, man. It’s a good thing you found out, though. Some people go their whole lives without being claimed.” Will’s head sank as he said that.
                “Come on, Will. Hunter got claimed. I started to think he wasn’t even a half-blood. He can’t eat Ambrosia. He can’t drink nectar. Has never showed signs of ADHD or Dyslexia. We now have an explanation, but I had pretty much given up on him ever getting out of Hermes. We know you’re a half-blood.” Kyle said, trying to comfort Will.
                “What the heck, Kyle.” Hunter was struck speechless. Marina, finally, broke the silence.
                “Wait so what did you get for becoming a Hunter? Where’s your bow? Your knife?”
                “Oh yeah I totally forgot about that. See this watch?” Hunter imagined himself holding a bow. The bow appeared in his hand. “See? Now, how cool is that?!”
                “It’s way better than a trowel.” As he said that a thorny rose grew and poked him in the side. “OW! Sorry, mom! But I prefer it over a stupid watch.”
                “What about the knife? Don’t Hunters get knives?” Marina asked.
                “Uhh…Artemis didn’t really talk about it.” Hunter lied. He felt ashamed that he couldn’t summon his knife, without exhausting himself. He reached up and grabbed his pendant and rubbed it four times.
                “Is there a William here? A William Monterey? Why am I asking? I know you’re here.” The four campers turned to see a man in a Postman’s uniform. In his shirt pocket you could see a cell phone and two small snake heads poking out. “I need you sign for this, man.” Hermes walked over and handed Will a pen and the form.
                “Who’s it from? Am I finally being claimed?” Will brightened his face and looked at Hermes. He took the form and quickly signed it.
                “I’m the messenger god. Not the ‘read-the-mail-and-dictate-it’s-words-to-young-half-bloods’ god.”
                “Well, of course not. That doesn’t roll off the tongue at all.” Kyle said rolling his eyes at Hermes. Marina slapped him in the back of the head again.  Hermes took the form back and handed Will a package. It was wrapped in brown paper and was no smaller than a toaster.
                “I’ll see you kids, later.” Hermes said as he snapped his fingers and disappeared.
                “Who’s it from?” Hunter asked.
                “There’s no return address. It just says deliver to Will at Camp Half-Blood, Half-Blood Hill, Farm Road 3.141, Long Island, New York 11954” Will stared at the package.
                “Well, don’t keep us waiting,” Marina said. “Are you gonna open it?”
                “I’m not sure I’m ready to find out what’s in this package.”
                “Will, I was a mess when I didn’t know where I came from or why I was here. Now that I know though I feel…complete. I feel like I have a reason to be here. So no matter if you like the answer or not, you’ll feel better once you know.” Hunter said that and put his hand on Will’s shoulder.
                “You’re right, man. Thanks.” Will took a deep breath then tore open the package. After it was completely opened, Will stared at the inside of the box. He reached his hand inside and pulled out a shiny silver belt buckle. On its face was a shining golden horseshoe. Will reached inside again and pulled out a small slip of paper. “Wear this. Your time will come. I promise. That’s what the note says. And a belt buckle. A note and a…a belt buckle. Alright now, I can move into the Pegasus stables. My dad is the COWBOY GOD! I feel so much better, Hunter! I’m so glad that I got this package.”
                “Will I-“ Marina tried to comfort him.
                “I’m so glad that I finally have a place here in camp half-blood! You get a new cabin, a cool watch-bow thing! I get a belt buckle and…a MYSTERY!” Will stood up and started pacing while he ranted. Tears streaming down his face. Hunter stood up and grabbed his shoulders.
                “WILL! I found out that my parents are both DEAD! I was abandoned to be raised by a centaur. FOR 12 YEARS! I had absolutely no place! No belonging! Your godly parent cared enough to tell you that they’re watching over you. That you haven’t disappeared from their sight. That they didn’t ABANDON YOU! I have been waiting for 12 years to get anything from my parents. The first thing I’m told is that they are dead and not only that, but if I want to stay here I have to be ALONE my whole life! And you’re pissed, because your parent waited 6 YEARS to give you something?! Not to sound mean, but get over it! Not to mention the fact that you had a loving mortal parent at home who you could go home to whenever you wanted. You sent her an Iris message every night your first year! I would know I should you how to do them, remember?!” Hunter had tired himself and was damp from the sweat and the tears.
                “I gotta go.” Will picked up his stuff and ran towards Hermes cabin. Hunter looked back and realized that Marina and Kyle had left a long time ago. Hunter yelled at the sky, went inside flopped down onto his bed, and fell asleep.