The Trials of Apollo Camp Jupiter Classified: A Probatio's JournalRick Riordan
Copyright © 2020 by Rick Riordan
Illustrations by Stefanie Masciandaro
Map illustrations by John S. Dykes
Designed by Joann Hill and Shelby Kahr
Cover design by David Hastings
Cover photographs © aodaodaodaod,
All rights reserved. Published by Disney • Hyperion, an imprint of Buena Vista Books, Inc. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. For information address
Disney • Hyperion, 125 West End Avenue, New York, New York 10023.
A special thank-you to Stephanie True Peters for her help with this book
To all campers, past and present
TABLE OF CONTENTS
FROM REYNA AVILA RAMÍREZ-ARELLANO
DAY I: I MADE IT!
DAY II: UM, WHAT?
DAY III: OW!
DAY IV: NICE GOD-CRYPT, MARS
DAY V: A SACK FULL OF DEAD RATS
DAY VI: BRUISES AND BAKED GOODS
DAY VII: THE GIRL OF MY DREAMS
DAY VIII: A THRILLA ON AQUILA
DAY IX: SO NOT COOL
DAY X: CLAUDIA THE CLUMSY
DAY XI: MESS IN THE MESS
DAY XII: TWO WORDS: AIR FRESHENER
DAY XIII: BANG ON!
DAY XIV: OH, RATS!
DAY XV: GOOD OLD-FASHIONED BOOK LEARNING
DAY XVI: GAMES GONE WILD
DAY XVII: TARGET PRACTICE
DAY XVIII: PROBABLY NOT MY BEST IDEA YET
DAY XIX: HOW TO SUMMON A GOD IN SIX EASY STEPS
DAY XX: WELL, THAT STINKS
DAY XXI: QUEST, PARTY OF THREE?
DAY XXII: NOT. SO. FAST.
DAY XXIII: GOING TO THE DOGS
DAY XXIV: EXPLODING POOP BAGS AND SPRITZ BOTTLES, ANYONE?
DAY XXV: THE END (JK!)
MAP OF CAMP JUPITER
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Oh, my gods, it’s my first night in the Fourth Cohort barracks! I scored a great bunk right next to the window, and I’m writing by the light of an ancient Roman oil lamp. Sooo cool! I want to record everything I’m feeling, everything I’ve seen and been through to get here. But it’s lamps-out now. So, until next time…
One hour later…
First item on tomorrow’s to-do list: Find a store that sells earplugs. The girl in the bunk next to me snores loud enough to rattle the tiles out of a mosaic. Explains why my bed was up for grabs when I first arrived.
I’m holed up in the girls’ latrine now, writing because sleeping is a lost cause. As far as bathrooms go, this one’s pretty awesome. Marble tile everywhere with gold-plated touches, like the hinges on the stall doors. Seeing those hinges makes me a little homesick, actually. Dad would geek out over them. I don’t get why he loves restoring old hardware so much, but hey, he earns a living doing it, so no judgment.
Apparently, making money is something that comes naturally to a legacy of Mercury. “A legacy of Mercury.” Yikes. It’s still sinking in that Dad and I are descended from a Roman god, and one of the twelve biggies of Olympus, no less. Especially because I knew next to nothing about my family until two months ago. I still don’t know anything about my mom except her name, Cardi, and what she looks like. Looked like. I found a picture of her stashed away in Dad’s room. In the photo she was maybe in her early twenties, and we have the same wavy dark hair, dark eyes, high cheekbones, and large nose. She was leaning against the frame of an open doorway, one hand resting on her stomach. I think she was pregnant then…with me.
Right. Moving on.
I had no clue about the Mercury connection until my twelfth birthday, when Dad gave me an old scroll that showed his family’s genealogy. Three generations back, there’s Great-Granddad, the messenger of the gods, also the god of merchants and shopkeepers, thieves and tricksters, and travelers. Wears a lot of hats, he does, all of them winged.
Full disclosure, Dad: I thought you’d gone bonkers when you showed me that scroll. And when you told me about your past and my future—that like you, one day soon I’d be summoned by the wolf goddess, Lupa, and brought to a crumbling old mansion in Sonoma, California, where her immortal wolf pack would train me to be a Roman soldier. (I have this to say about that: Worst. Campout. Ever.) Assuming I passed all their tests—aka, didn’t die a horrible, wolf-inflicted death—I’d then trek southward through a monster-infested wilderness (second-worst campout ever) to Camp Jupiter, where I’d present your letter of recommendation to whoever was in charge and hope I’d be accepted into the ranks of the Twelfth Legion Fulminata.
Which brings me to this question: How much would it suck to go through all that and not get into a cohort? Answer: A lot.
Not that new recruits need to worry about rejection these days. According to my centurion, Leila, the legion’s numbers were badly depleted last summer. Something about a war involving the primordial earth goddess Gaea, a bunch of giants, a humungous statue of the Greek goddess Athena, and a Greek demigod camp. Good news: Camp Jupiter helped save the world! ☺ Bad news: Camp Jupiter lost a lot of people while helping save the world. ☹ More bad news: Something funky happened to demigod communications soon after our victory. Which Leila says likely spells more trouble coming our way.…
Anyway, Dad, sorry I doubted you, because it all went down just like you said it would. And now I’m here, with my official probatio name tag around my neck: CLAUDIA, FOURTH COHORT. So thank you for the heads-up. And for this journal. If I ever have kids, they can read about my life here so they’re ready when their turns come.
Welp, time to head back to bed. Tomorrow I’ll get my first real look at Camp Jupiter. And the first place I’ll visit?
Wherever they sell earplugs.
Things I learned today:
1) Oatmeal is not the preferred breakfast food among campers. At least, that’s the impression I got from the disgusted looks when the aurae delivered my bowl of it this morning. Well, to each their own, I say.
2) Bargain shopping on the Via Praetoria is easy when you’re descended from the god of shopkeepers. I was on the lookout for earplugs when I spotted a toy store that sells Roman-deity action figures. Mercury was front and center in the window, wearing nothing but a short toga. Now, I’m sure that look was all the rage in ancient times, and the figure was pretty buff, but still, I was a little embarrassed to see mini Great-Granddad standing there like that. Plus, something about his eyes reminded me of Dad.…Anyway, I bought the doll. And I think Great-Granddad approved and loaned me his powers, because somehow I convinced the shop owner to throw in Mercury’s accessories—winged cap, winged sandals, caduceus, and tiny sack of coins—for free. Short toga included (thank gods).
3) Weird things happen on Temple Hill.
I learned this last lesson while checking out Mercury’s temple after my delicious and nutritious breakfast. Compared to the dinky shrines of the minor gods and goddesses, Great-Granddad’s place isn’t too shabby. A rectangular structure with marble columns all around the outside, an ornate fresco above the entrance, and inside, a life-size statue of the god himself.
The weird thing happened when I approached the altar. Someone had put two message bins there in honor of Me
rcury’s role as messenger to the gods. The bin marked OUTGOING was overflowing with notes, but the INCOMING one was empty, a sad reminder that our communications have flatlined.
Still, I added a note of my own to the outbox. Just a little Hey, Great-Granddad, what’s the word from Olympus? I was about to leave when I heard a fluttering sound. A piece of paper had appeared in the INCOMING bin. Written on it was the Roman numeral twelve—XII—and nothing else.
Now, it’s possible that the note fell out of the OUTGOING bin. But it’s equally possible that Mercury sent it. Either way, it felt important, and I didn’t want anyone else to find it. So I stuffed the note in my pocket and didn’t give it another thought for the rest of the day.
Yeah, right. That paper has been torturing me for hours! Where did it come from? What does XII mean? Twelve Olympians? Twelve months in a year? Twelve eggs in a dozen? My age? Argh!
It doesn’t matter that my roommate is snoring again and I forgot to buy earplugs. Thanks to XII, I’m not getting any sleep tonight anyway.
I once saw a T-shirt that read EVERYTHING HURTS AND I’M DYING. I need one of those. That way, when someone asks how my first weapons practice went, I can just point to my chest. Because ow.
Yes, sports fans, in just one session in the Colosseum, I managed to slice my hand with a gladius and stab my thigh with a pugio. I twanged my cheek with a bowstring and pierced my foot with an arrow. (Note to self: Never wear sandals to weapons practice again.) I launched a weird weighted-dart thingy called a plumbata into the stands. And for my grand finale, I clocked my instructor in the head with the butt of my pilum when I reared back to throw. (She turned it into a teachable moment about why we each wear a galea, immediately followed by a second teachable moment in which she explained galea means helmet.)
Later, she asked me—nicely—how I ever managed to survive Lupa’s training. I told her the truth: booby traps. I admitted that tricks like covering a pit with branches or dropping a net from the treetops on an unsuspecting enemy weren’t very Roman, but they’d kept me alive. To my surprise, she pointed out that they dug trenches for the camp’s war games all the time, and that a weighted net, along with a trident and dagger, were the weapons favored by the retiarius, a type of gladiator. She promised to introduce me to the current retiarius champion after the next gladiator games. If we hit it off, he might even let me test-drive his weapons.
So maybe I’m not a lost cause after all.
On a less positive note, I still have no clue as to what XII means. I’ll visit Mercury’s temple again before classes start tomorrow. Maybe a new message has appeared.
If Mercury sent any other messages, someone else got to them first. Still, the morning wasn’t a total waste. I had some time to kill before my first lecture—“Great Roman Inventions: Concrete,” which was actually more interesting than it sounds (not) and taught by Vitellius, a purple-hued Lar with a captivating speaking voice (double not)—so I toured a few other temples. I loved Bellona’s fierce-warrior vibe and Jupiter’s blinged-out sanctuary. Pluto’s zombie-apocalypse theme? Not so much.
But the one that really spoke to me was the Temple of Mars Ultor. I mean, who wouldn’t dig that red marble crypt with its cast-iron doors? And inside, that massive statue of the Avenger (no, not one of those Avengers), his scarred face scowling and his spear raised as if to strike whoever dares to enter. Let’s not forget the display wall of human skulls and assorted weapons, from the kind that slice and dice to the kind that leave bullet-shaped holes. Even the ceiling pays tribute, with eleven identical and bizarre-looking shields that form the letter M.
That military man-cave—sorry, god-crypt—was built to intimidate, but the decor was so over-the-top, I broke into giggles while looking at it. I got out of there before I lost control, though. I’m not stupid enough to risk insulting the war god.
But I’m pretty sure I insulted his son. When I came out of Mars’s temple, I ran right into Praetor Frank Zhang. It was like hitting a brick wall, the guy is so solid. That should have sobered me up, but I took one look at him and started laughing all over again. I couldn’t even explain what was so funny. What would I have said? Your face reminds me of how ridiculous your dad’s temple is?
I feel bad about it, though. I would have apologized at dinner, but Praetor Frank wasn’t there.
Time to go—gotta review the recipe for Roman concrete in case there’s a quiz tomorrow.
It was touch-and-go there for a moment when the centurions spun the chore wheel this afternoon. After the full-fledged legionnaires got the fun jobs—testing the catapults, taking Hannibal the elephant for a lumber, clapping chalk dust out of the erasers—I was sure it would land on SEWER UNCLOGGING when it was my turn.
Instead, I hit the jackpot with AQUEDUCT CLEAN-OUT. Or so I thought. Turns out aqueduct clean-out does not mean plucking a leaf or two from the structure that ferries clean water into camp. No, it means slogging, sometimes crawling, through a maze of underground tunnels filled with ice-cold water and removing anything that isn’t ice-cold water. This includes dead rats, hair of both human and unknown origin, plastic trash bags (Come on, people! Reduce, reuse, recycle, remember?), and other disgusting flotsam and jetsam that could contaminate our bathing and drinking supply.
My partner in slime was a demigod son of Vulcan named Blaise. Yes, the god of forges and fire has a son named Blaise. But I didn’t laugh. After all, I’m named for Emperor Claudius, who everyone believed was a fool because he stuttered and had a limp. He ended up being a decent ruler—even conquered Britain, the only emperor to do so—but still. I’m not going to get all judgy about someone else’s name when mine conjures up a word like clod.
I figured Blaise and I would hang out together, chitchat about life as a probatio, maybe sing a few rousing clean-out songs to get us in the mood. But he just grabbed his sack and his trash picker and sloshed off. I showed him, though. I trucked right after him down that tunnel…and instantly got lost. Ha-ha! Being descended from the god of travelers doesn’t do anything for you in underground waterways, apparently.
I wandered around for an hour, shoving rat carcasses into my sack and praying my headlamp didn’t go out, before I finally spotted a ladder illuminated by daylight. When I reached it, I saw that it led up to a circular opening blocked by iron bars. I figured it was either a dead end or an exit, and I was definitely ready to exit. I climbed to the top as best I could with my hands full, and the grate opened easily when I pushed it. I swung my rat bag and picker up onto the ledge and then lifted myself out of the hole…
Right into a big fat load of trouble that began with two metal dogs and ended with Praetor Reyna.
How was I supposed to know that ladder was a secret back entrance into the principia? That’s what I would have said if I could have. But I was too busy screaming in terror as the silver and gold dogs flew at me. Luckily, Praetor Reyna called them off before they could rip open my throat, which allowed me the opportunity to explain that I was lost. I showed her my sack full of dead rodents as proof of my chore duty. Then I demonstrated that the grate she insisted was magically locked was, in fact, not. She had a frowny face while I was talking, but she sent me on my way with zero metal-dog bites, so I guess she believed me.
Either that, or she wanted the dead rats out of her office. Don’t know, don’t care, just happy to be alive!
I made a friend in the Fourth today! Her name is Janice, and she’s the daughter of—wait for it—Janus, the two-faced god of choices, doorways, and beginnings and endings. (Blaise, Janice…What is it with godly parents and their demigod kids’ names? Who’s next? A kid named Roman?) Janice is in her second month on probatio, but she knows a ton about Camp Jupiter because she was born and raised in New Rome. How cool is that?
Man, I would have loved to have grown up there. Marble, gold, and red-tile roof buildings, ginormous fountains and gardens, cobblestone streets with shops that sell togas and chariots—it’s like time-warping back to ancient Rome. Janice says gods and goddes
ses sometimes sneak down from Olympus to hang out there. Some even disguise themselves as humans and start families with retired legionnaires! I don’t know if that’s true, but if it is…mind = blown.
In fact, the only negative about New Rome might be the panhandling fauns, and they’re mostly harmless hippies who like lazing in the sun, scratching themselves, and snacking on trash. (I’d judge, but I eat junk food, so…) I got a little sad when I saw one young faun named Elon nibbling on soda-can tabs strung on a string. Not because I felt bad for him. (Well, maybe a little–the kid was sitting all alone next to a trash can.) But mostly because the tabs reminded me of the candy necklaces Dad used to buy me when I was little.
Back to Janice. We met on the Field of Mars—the pockmarked, boulder-and-rubble-strewn meadow where weekly war games among cohorts take place—during Fort-Building 101. (Today’s assignment: Build a fort. Tomorrow’s assignment: Build a fort. Day after tomorrow’s assignment: Build a fort.) My job was to construct an arched doorway. Since I aced wooden-gate installation in the previous class—picked up a little hinge knowledge from watching Dad, apparently—I figured an arch would be no sweat. But the stupid stone blocks wouldn’t stay in place. When they fell on me a third time, I blurted some inappropriate words.
That’s when this girl with wide-set eyes and long braids—Janice—yelled over, “Hey! Stick a keystone in it, will ya?” I thought she was warning me to watch my language. Turns out she meant it literally—that I should fit a wedge-shaped block in the top center spot. I did, and presto! The keystone locked the other blocks in place. Instant arch!
After class, I bought Janice a pastry from Bombilo’s café to thank her for saving me from further bodily harm. It took her forever to decide on the one to get, which I thought was hilarious since she’s the daughter of the god of choices. She could have taken all day as far as I was concerned, because Bombilo’s smelled sooo good. Just thinking about that cinnamon and sugar and vanilla and coffee odor now is making my mouth water! My merchant/shopkeeper genes are tingling too. I know I could rake in serious dough (ha!) if I could bottle up and sell that scent. Multipurpose spritz bottles…Yes, I can smell the profits already! (Double ha!)