Author's Note: This is a fanfic that I am working right now and it is not finished yet. I haven't proof-read it, so there are bound to be tons of misspellings and 'grammar atrocities' in it.
I made this story because I want my character, Bill Besnik to have a weapon of his own before he joined Camp Jupiter, and maybe gave him a fighting experience in the process too. I planned to make it short and simple, but somehow it... grew... LOL
I'm having a bit of a writer's block, so pray that I'll get good ideas as soon as possible.
PUGIO DE SPIRITUM written by Charlotte
Spending my time training as a demigod under Lupa's tutelage is not that bad. It beats going to college. But there are things that I don't particularly enjoy. One of them is how Lupa always try to bite my head off.
You see, Lupa's a she wolf. A literal female wolf, just as her name suggests. And she is so demanding when it comes to training. She won't hesitate to go for my jugular anytime we're having one of my training session.
But I guess that's a risk for being a demigod going through training with Lupa, so I just try to live with it. What I can't really get myself used to is the fact that I have to wash my clothes using just my hands.
Don't get me wrong, I know how to do house chores back at home, but washing clothes is something that was usually done using a machine. I've never wash my clothes using just my hands, even when I was still in a foster home.
Yea, I used to live in a foster home. My adopted father adopted me when I was 9, so until that age I lived in a foster home. It's not that bad – well, apart from the fact that I don't have any parent that is. It's basically just like an orphanage, but in a lot smaller scale, ran by private individuals, and it gives more of a home-y kind of feeling compared to the state-run orphanages.
My life in the foster home constitutes another story of its own, so I'll just save that for another time.
Oh, I nearly forgot. My name's William Besnik, you can call me Bill, and I'm a demigod in training. Well, I am a demigod because one of my parent is suppose to be a god or goddess, though I don't know which one, yet. I don't even know whether it is my father or my mother that is my divine parent since I was abandoned in front of a church, so I really don't know the identity of any of my parents.
I know. It's pathetic, right? But I don't really care. My adopted father is more than enough for me.
Lupa tried to guess which diety is my divine parent, but she can only guess and not really pinpoint one in particular. My demigodly – is that a word? It's a word for me. – powers mainly involve plants and trees, so it must be one of the nature divinities, but I won't know for sure until I got claimed by my divine parent.
The problem is, I can only get claimed after I join Camp Jupiter – a camp for demigods like myself. Don't ask, I don't really understand it myself. – and to be able to join that camp, I have to go through a preliminary training with Lupa, the immortal she-wolf that once nurtured the founders of the ancient city of Rome.
So, here I am, living my daily life training with a pack of wolves – Lupa has a big family, I don't dare ask her about her cubs' father/fathers. It just feels too personal for me to ask her about it, and that is not counting the risk that she will just bit my head off if I were to dare to ask. - and try my damnedest to try and keep my clothes as clean as hand-washing permits it to be.
Today's a little bit different though. Usually when I was washing my clothes, the wolves are kind of trying not to bother me. I don't know, maybe they think washing clothes is suppose to be a sacred and solemn thing for humans – although my non-stop cursing at the stains on my clothes are not particularly sacred or solemn-like. But today one of her child – or is it a cub? This one's already matured enough, so I don't feel comfortable calling it a cub – came to me while I was in the middle of doing my laundry, and frankly, it was something unusual.
Lupa once sicked her pack on me while I was eating, she also orchestrated a surprise attack while I was sleeping multiple times, and she also sets ambushes everywhere, but never when I am washing my clothes. It's weird, and honestly, it makes me kind of paranoid because I imagine there will come a day when she unleashes her whole pack on me while I'm washing.
That's why I always wash my clothes even if I still have one set of clean pants, because I will wear it while washing. I don't want to be attacked by wolves while being naked because all my clothes are being washed. It's really not a healthy thing to think about.
Attacked while being shirtless? Pfft... I'll just go Rambo – though a skinny one at that – against the wolves. But attacked while being pantsless? No way. Never ever forever.
Back to the story.
So, there I was, minding my clothes and all the while cursing at the stains, when suddenly one of Lupa's kid – that doesn't sound right. Kid is for goats. Maybe it's a spawn? Now I'm thinking about frogs. Whatever. – approached me and nudged my thigh with its nose.
“Hey there Barney.” Lupa never bothered with naming her children, so I just call them whatever I like, and this one has eyes like Barney the dinosaur from the children TV show, so I just call him Barney. “What do you need?”
Barney nudged my thigh once again before biting my pant leg and pulling it. I can't speak to wolves, and although Lupa has the ability to speak right into my mind, her children do not have the same ability, so I communicate with them with these kind of gestures and crude sign language.
This one – nudging, biting, and pulling – means Lupa is calling me, and judging by how forceful Barney is tugging and pulling my pant leg, I guess Lupa wants me to come as soon as possible.
“Lupa wants me?” I asked. “Okay, I'll be there in a minute. Just let me finish things up here first.”
But Barney just lets out a high-pitched whine and continued pulling my pant leg forcefully.
“I know, Barney. I know. Your mom doesn't have the patience to wait for anything, but at least let me gather my clothes first.”
I guess Barney really didn't want to make his mom wait, or maybe Lupa gave the instruction of 'As Soon As Possible' as literal as wolfishly possible, so Barney just growled a little and pulled my pant leg so forcefully that I fell down forward, and then he started dragging me away.
I can sense that he didn't mean to do that in an aggressive way, it's just he wanted me to come with him right that instant, that's why I didn't try to fight back or kick him or anything else.
I just randomly grabbed one of my shirt while screaming to Barney to stop dragging me like a sack of potato.
Finally after we were far enough from the creek where I was doing my laundry, Barney lets go of my pant leg and let me walk on my own. I put on my freshly washed and damp t-shirt, and walked toward the Wolf House.
As usual, I found Lupa on the back court of the Wolf House.
She let out a huff through her nose toward Barney, which I took as a sign from her that meant “Thank you, now go away”, because Barney then just slowly turned and walked away, leaving me alone with Lupa.
I've known Lupa for more than 2 months now, but being left alone with an extra large, immortal she-wolf is never a comfortable circumstance for me.
“Thank you for coming so expediently, Bill.” Lupa's voice echoed in my head.
“Well, your son is very persuasive, of course I have to come as soon as I can.” I said with an intentionally poorly veiled sarcasm while tugging on my damp t-shirt.
“You were washing your clothes?” Lupa asked.
“Yea, but don't worry, I was just finishing it when Barney came. I'll just need to hang them to dry later.” I answered while sitting down cross legged on the ground. “So, what do you need to tell me, Lupa?”
Lupa stared at me for a while. It's not easy for me to understand animals – immortal or otherwise – unless they gave signs about what they are thinking. And at that time Lupa just stared at me with her big eyes and didn't give any sign at all about what she was thinking.
It makes me uneasy. It feels like she was considering to make me her next meal. Not a fun thought.
“I've noticed,” Lupa started. “That you somehow grown reliant to your demigod abilities when you're fighting.”
“Oh.” I felt a wave of relieve. At least I'm not going to become dinner. “Yeah, well, I don't know about being reliant to it, but I just thought that I need to practice using it in a fight, that's why I've been using it as often as I did.”
“That's understandable,” Lupa said while sitting down. “But you've been using your abilities to summon wooden weapon or shield quite regularly to fight my children in your practice sessions.”
“Do you think that it is effective? The wooden weapon, I mean.”
“Well, it's not the strongest weapon, but I can use it anytime I need it, so I guess it's effective enough. And those wood are quite sturdy, really. Especially if I summon ash wood. That wood is strong even without being treated first.”
Lupa stared at me again with her oh-my-gods-your-eyes-are-so-big-it-scared-the-bejeezus-out-of-me eyes, and then she said, “Yes, against wolves, or any animals, including humans, I guess those wooden weapons are usable. And I see that you can summon those weapon in any form you want?”
“Yea.” I said excitedly. “I thought I can only summon it in the form of a pole, but then I tried imagining a sword while summoning, and it came out of the ground in the form of a sword. Well, it might not be as sharp as a real metal sword, but it was sharp enough.
“Unfortunately I can only summon one at a time. I can't even summon a weapon and a shield at the same time.” I added dejectedly. “I've tried it a few times, it just doesn't work.”
Lupa let out a sound that somehow I felt sounded like a laughter.
“Don't worry about it,” her voice said in my head. “It's a common trait among demigods, only able to summon one thing at one particular time.”
I just pouted a little.
“But unfortunately,” Lupa continued. “Wooden weapons will not be effective against monsters. You do know that, right?”
“No. Only weapons made with Imperial Gold are effective in dispatching monsters.”
“I believe you told me that a monster attacked your home, before you decided to come here?”
“And you told me that your adopted father, a demigod himself, killed the monster?”
“Did you pay attention to the weapon that he used to kill the monster?”
“Well...” I tried to remember that incident at home when a monster came and attacked me and my dad, and then I remember that my dad did use some kind of a short sword...
“You mean,” I started. “That sword he used was made from gold?”
“Yes.” Lupa answered. “Imperial gold.”
“That explains the color. I thought it was strange that there was a sword with that yellowish color and glow like that.”
“Clearly, your adopted father still kept his Imperial Gold sword. A wise decision for a demigod living outside Camp Jupiter and New Rome.”
“And... what is that has anything to do with me?”
“You will need a similar weapon. A weapon made from Imperial Gold, if you want to be able to kill monsters, and not just hitting them with your wooden weapon.”
“The people at the camp usually lets you choose a weapon to use whenever you're going out of the camp.”
“Oh, that's great!” I said excitedly.
“But those weapons are not yours, and you won't be able to bring it with you if one day you decided to tread the same path as your adopted father tread, and live outside Camp Jupiter and New Rome.”
“Oh...” that was disappointing.
“I sense that the outside world does not disgust you, unlike some other demigods that I've trained, and the temptation to live in a normal world might be quite compelling to you. That is why I think that you will need an Imperial Gold weapon of you own, and does not belong to Camp Jupiter.”
I got excited. “Are you going to give me one?”
The next thing I know, I saw an expression on Lupa's face that I would never in my wildest dream imagine she can pull. I saw an ancient immortal wolf pulled a face that was clearly convey the thought of “Duh! You wish!”
So I just clamped my mouth shut and waited for her to say what she wanted to say next.
“No, I am not going to just give it to you.” Lupa said. Crushing my hopes, but at the same time affirming my interpretation of her facial expression. “What I want you to do is, for you to go on an errand – a little quest, if you will – and if you succeed, you will get your own Imperial Gold weapon.”
“An errand?” I asked. “What kind of errand do you have in mind?”
"I want you to go to Columbia..."
"Are you talking about Columbia, the country in South America, or is there a place called Columbia, here, in the United States?"
"There are places called Columbia, here in the United States, but I am referring to Columbia, the country."
"Okay... How am I suppose to get there?" I asked because I know Lupa, and she isn't above commanding me to go somewhere that far away on foot.
"I will arrange for transportation for you," she smirks, showing her canine that was as big as a human's arm, making me shivers for imagining that canine used to bite me. "Now, please do be quiet and let me finish."
I really don't like the idea of Lupa becoming my 'travel agent' but I decided to just be quiet and nodded. There's no use going against her ever-so-polite command, because after knowing Lupa for a while, I know how to read between the lines of her words. And hidden in this particular line she just said is "Or I will happily make your head as my lollipop."
After seeing that I understand her command, Lupa continued, "As I was saying, I want you to go to Columbia, South America. I will arrange for a transportation for you. And after you get there, I want you to find a lemur, and take the Imperial Gold dagger from that lemur."
A lemur... Why do I get a sudden urge to break into dance while singing "I wanna move it, move it."
She wanted me to find a lemur. A ridiculous looking primate with the face of a slow loris, the body of a pseudo-monkey, and the striped tail of a raccoon. She wanted me to find that? And take a dagger belonging to that lemur?
"Do you understand the quest?"
I slowly and reluctantly nodded before I said, "Go to Columbia, don't worry about the transport, you will take care of it, find a lemur and get its dagger."
"Excellent." Lupa said, satisfied. "It's not that complicated, and you will get an Imperial Gold weapon that you may claim as your own. Not a bad deal, in my opinion."
Not a bad deal? Yeah, apart from the fact that I have to run around Columbia trying to find and catch a particular lemur, and take its dagger.
I really can't get Madagascar's King Julian out of my mind.
I don't know what these supposedly Roman Demigods consider as an honorable death, but I will bet anything I own that dying in the middle of Colombian jungle trying to find a lemur will not be counted as one.
"When will I have to go?" I finally asked, giving up to this ridiculous fate of mine.
"As soon as I finished arranging your transportation," Lupa answered curtly. "I suggest you start packing the things you might need in your journey, as soon as possible."
I sighed a long sigh, nodded, and finally stood up. "I will. Please fetch me whenever the arrangements are finished."
Lupa nodded briskly, so I just turned and walked away.
After making sure that I was far enough from where Lupa was, I find the nearest tree and started banging my head on it. At least banging my head on a tree won't be the most ridiculous thing I will ever do in my live.
The fact that I was in Colombia, South America, meeting up with an Indian person is really something to be expected. But that logic only works if the Indian person were a native American Indian, and not an Asian Indian.
And yet an Asian Indian is the type of person that awaited me when I arrived in Colombia.
Yes, I'm already in Colombia right now. Even I don't believe it. Lupa hooked me up with an overly friendly hell-hound named Mrs. O'Leary and she's the one that brought me to Colombia using shadow travel.
I don't know how a hell-hound ended up with that kind of name, but I could sense that Lupa didn't really like the notion that a hell-hound donning such a name. I, personally, just wondered about how Mister O'Leary would look like.
You see, hell-hounds are - to put it simply - an over-grown dog. An over-grown-big-breed-kind-of-dog. Mrs. O'Leary may be a friendly hell-hound, but her size is nothing short of ridiculously gargantuan for a dog. She could've devour me with one gulp if she wanted to, and it'll be just like swallowing a pill to her.
But she's very friendly, that's for sure. She's like a golden retriever trapped in the body of a hell-hound. I see that she liked to play with Lupa's children, and she even tried to get Lupa to play with her, but I guess even a hell-hound is able to sense Lupa's unwillingness to play any kind of game.
And she also likes to lick me. Oh gods, I wish she didn't. Her tongue was as long as I was tall. and every time she licked me, I always looked like I was just finished being doused with a fire hydrant.
But I have to admit, Mrs. O'Leary's ability to shadow travel was very handy. We did need to make some pit-stop a few times - Columbia is a far away place - but I already where I was suppose to be in just a few hours.
The only drawback of shadow-travel was that each time we 'jumped', we have to go through a dark and cold tunnel-like place. Passing that place feels like being in the deepest pit of hell. Who knows, maybe we were passing through hell. Well, there was another drawback. It looks like shadow-traveling depleted Mrs. O'Leary's energy quite fast. This is the reason why we needed to make a few pit-stops, to give Mrs. O'Leary a chance to rest.
Once we've reached our destination, Mrs. O'Leary just lied down and dozed off.
"Hey, you're that Besnik kid that Lupa told me about, right?"
I turned around quickly, prepared to summon a wooden sword in case I'll need it. Lupa's been telling me that finding another being that aware of the existence of Roman mythological beings - including Lupa herself - is in itself a sign that that being is a monster.
But once I turned, what I saw was not a monster. Instead it was a middle aged Indian man.
"I see Lupa had trained you well," the man said while smiling.
"Who are you? And how do you know Lupa?" I asked the man, still keeping up my guard.
"I am just like you. A Roman demigod," the man answered while offering his hand to shake. "My name is Rajesh. Everybody called me Uncle Jessie."
I reluctantly accepted his hand and shook it.
"Who's your godly parent?" I asked, still keeping constant eye contact with him.
"Bacchus." he answered. I could sense a hint of pride in the way he said his father's name. "And yours?"
He caught me off-guard. I just did a conversational vaux-pas. I shouldn't ask somebody about a personal question that I don't have the answer when the same question was to be directed at myself. I asked him about his godly parent while I still don't know mine.
"You haven't been claimed then?" Uncle Jessie guessed after a few seconds passed without an answer from me.
I nodded, trying to hide my own disappointment from showing on my face.
"That's all right," Uncle Jessie said. "We usually got claimed after we join the camp. So it's quite normal for you not knowing who your godly parent is before joining Camp Jupiter."
I just nodded again in silence.
Sensing my reluctance in continuing this particular conversation, Uncle Jessie finally sighed and changed the subject.
"Well," Uncle Jessie started while spreading his arms. "Let me welcome you to my current home, Armenia!"
My jaw dropped.
Armenia? Isn't that place suppose to be somewhere in Europe?
Did Mrs. O'Leary took a wrong turn while we're heading to Colombia? Did Lupa gave the wrong directions to Mrs. O'Leary?
(To be continued)