Leo Valdez lands in the centre of Camp Jupiter, valiantly striding his giant bronze dragon.
People are whispering.
“Who is that?”
“The son of Vulcan- Hephaestus. I heard he died in the war!”
“Then how is he here?”
“Is that dragon… metal?”
Leo smiles brilliantly, and raises a hand in a wave.
With surprising agility, he hops to the ground, dusts off his coveralls, and speaks. “I need to see the praetors of Camp Jupiter.”
There is movement in the crowd, two people dressed in purple togas over armour come forward.
One is a girl with light brown skin and thin fierce eyes. Her hair is braided down her back and a golden laurel is placed atop her head. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that she could kill the most dangerous of monsters with a single glance.
The other is a young Asian man, tall and broad shouldered with a look of awe on his face. His muscles let you know that he could snap your neck as easily as a twig, but his kind face says that he also would never want to hurt a soul.
Leo smiles uncontrollably, and holds his arms out wide at his friends. “Reyna! Frank! It’s so good to see you guys! I have something really important to-”
“Leo,” interrupts the male praetor, Frank, his dark eyes full of worry for his old friend, “if I were you, I’d run. Fast.”
A frown finds its way into Leo’s face. “Ouch, man. I just got here and you’re already telling me to leave.” He brings his hands to his heart jokingly. “I thought we had something special, Frank.”
Reyna shakes her head, her eyes wide, but before she can say a word, a different voice speaks, softly, “Leo?”
It was like music to his ears. Leo had wondered when he would hear the kind voice of his dear friend again. Excited, and ignoring the advice of his friends to flee, Leo turns around to see a girl.
She is quite short, with chocolaty dark skin and curly hair. She has bright golden eyes that hint at her real age, though no one would suspect her of it.
Leo can’t stop himself from smiling, and he holds his arms out again for a hug.
Running towards him at full speed, instead of a hug, Hazel Levesque, with all of her might, punches Leo square in the face.