Text copyright © 2015 by Rick Riordan
Cover art by Antonio Capraro
All rights reserved. Published by Disney • Hyperion Books, an imprint of Disney Book Group. 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 Books, 125 West End Avenue, New York, New York 10023.
My Two-Headed Guidance Counselor
The Library of Deadly Weapons
My Demon Satyr Tea Party
My Personal Zombie Apocalypse
About the Author
Your quest begins now!
Use your demigod skills to help Zane Carver in his battle to survive. The choices you make will impact the story at every turn. As he is pitted against zombies, ghosts, and demons, you’ll help Zane navigate through this adventure and learn who his godly parent is.
Be sure to read the prompts. They indicate that you have a decision to make.
And remember, your selections will have consequences. Choose wisely….
My Two-Headed Guidance Counselor
Ugh. Not again.
“Pop quiz!” Mr. Scheer, our English teacher, grinned like this was fantastic news. “All books and notebooks away! Take out a pen or pencil. Let’s see what you remember from our Greek mythology unit!”
We called Mr. Scheer “the Professor” because he used to teach college. He also used to be a hippie, but the only remaining evidence of his wilder days were his too-long brown hair and the acoustic guitar he always kept nearby, just in case a folk song could illuminate some teaching concept.
As soon as the quiz was distributed, I flipped straight to the end for the one thing I knew I could answer: the extra credit question. Papers rustled as other students did the same. Although he was a little intense with his expectations, the Professor wasn’t entirely heartless. He always lobbed us an easy bonus question. This time it was:
My favorite Greek god is _____.
Just as I made my selection, the intercom crackled. “Mr. Scheer? It’s Ms. Lane from the front office.”
All the students looked up. Across the aisle, my best friend Sam shot me a nervous glance. A message from the front office almost always meant that somebody was in trouble, and often that somebody was me.
Please not this time, I thought. For once, not me.
“Good morning, Ms. Lane,” said Mr. Scheer. “Who would the principal like to see today?”
“You know who,” Ms. Lane sing-songed.
My face flushed as oooooh’s circulated around the room.
I’m always getting into trouble, usually over crazy stuff. Take last week. My biology class went on a behind-the-scenes tour at the local aquarium, and while my friends and I were on the roof, checking out the sea otter tanks, this seventeen-year-old sea otter named Lola took one look at me and torpedoed up and out of the water.
For the record, sea otters are NOT all fuzzy and friendly. Marilyn, the aquarium lady, had just finished telling us about their sharp little teeth, so it wasn’t like any of us was going to try to catch Lola. I was afraid she might attack me, but instead she almost seemed afraid of me. She hopped and flopped her way over to the next tank—which happened to house a kelp forest and a bunch of sharks—and SPLOOSH, disappeared straight inside.
The entire class circled the perimeter of the kelp forest while a diver suited up to fetch Lola.
“Don’t worry,” said Marilyn, sounding pretty worried. “The sharks were just fed this morning, so Lola should be okay. I think.”
I decided to trust Marilyn, because she looked like a librarian with her pulled-back hair and black eyeglasses, which were attached to one of those cord thingies so she would never lose them.
We were shepherded back to school right away, but thankfully we heard later that Lola had been recovered safely. The otter had calmed down as soon as I left and she allowed the divers to return her to her otter-mates. Nobody blamed me for the incident, but I knew the truth. Something about me had freaked out that otter so much that she felt safer in a tank full of sharks.
That’s just one example, but if I’m entirely honest with you, I’ve experienced weird incidents like that my whole life. Something inexplicable happens, and then I just seem to make it worse by doing the exact wrong thing. When I was in kindergarten, my first report cards said things like “accident-prone” and “always seems to find trouble,” but over time, the timbre shifted to more accusatory, as if everything was my fault. Teachers usually say I’m too smart for my own good.
Anyway, as I made my way toward the principal’s office, I wondered what I had done this time. The corridors were surprisingly quiet. I ran my hand along the orange lockers, then reached down to the keychain hanging out of my front pocket. It was an old, heavy silver coin with a gigantic tree etched on one side, and a face engraved on the other. The face was worn away so badly I couldn’t even tell if it was supposed to be a man or a woman. My folks had given me the coin for my twelfth birthday. I remember being pretty underwhelmed (I wanted an iPad), but they made a big deal out of it being a family heirloom that was supposed to bring me good luck, so I let my dad drill a hole in it and stick it on my key ring. Now I didn’t feel whole without the familiar weight in my pocket.
At the end of the hallway, I suddenly stopped. The lockers here were a different color…dark red instead of orange. When had that happened? I looked back the way I’d come. The entire row was now the color of blood. I was sure they’d been orange a moment before.
A shiver went down my spine. I must have been mistaken.
As I was pondering that, I caught a flash of movement out of the corner of my eye: something fast and yellow—like some sort of animal—streaking across the opposite end of the hallway. By the time I tried to focus on it—cue the scary music—it had vanished.
“Hello?” I called out. “Is anyone there?”
A strange smell hung in the air—metallic and faintly acrid, like someone had left open a jar of pickles.
My imagination must be acting up, I figured. Or maybe I’d had too much pizza at lunch. That cafeteria food could definitely cause hallucinations. Slightly spooked, I hurried to Principal Moore’s office and pushed my way through the glass doors, where Ms. Lane was waiting for me.
As far as school staff went, Ms. Lane was pretty cool. She always wore bright red lipstick and big gold hoop earrings, even though she was sixty years old. Her big, warm laugh and massive smile always put kids at ease. She actually seemed to care about what was going on in our lives.
“There you are!” she said to me. “What took you so long?” She gave me a sly smile. “Did you run into someone special on the way here?”
“Ms. Lane!” I protested.
“Honey, if I can give you one piece of advice on dating, here’s what I learned the hard way: Marry the first time for money, and the second time for love. But don’t tell your parents I said that.”
I shuffled my sneakers on the gray carpet. “Uh, thanks for the advice.” I didn’t want to be rude, but I’ve never really had much interest in dating.
The intercom buzzed on Ms. Lane’s desk. “Has our guest arrived?” asked an unfamiliar female voice.
“Yes, Ms. Roche,” said Ms. Lane. “We were just chatti
“Great, I’ll be right out,” the voice replied.
“Ms. Roche?” I asked. “I thought Principal Moore wanted to see me. Who’s Ms. Roche?”
Ms. Lane swiveled her chair to face me. “Oh, she’s filling in as guidance counselor since Mr. Zinck is out sick. Don’t worry, she’s a peach. You’ll chat with Ms. Roche first and Principal Moore will join you when he’s available.”
Great, a guidance counselor AND the principal. How much trouble was I in, exactly? I couldn’t ignore the feeling in the pit of my stomach that I was about to face a firing squad.
And what kind of name was Ms. Roche? I pictured a woman with six legs, brown insect wings, and long, creepy antennas.
Instead, a young, pretty lady sashayed into the room. Her blond hair shimmered in the light, which was odd, since the dim fluorescents in the office usually made everyone look gray and ill. “Hi there! I’m Ms. Roche!”
I was caught a little off-guard. “Uh, hi…”
“Follow me. We’ll be using Mr. Zinck’s office.”
The guidance office looked the same as always: a crystal candy bowl on the desk, a mounted antelope head against the far wall, and the requisite fire extinguisher in the corner.
“Please sit down.” Ms. Roche’s tone was calm and warm. “So you’re probably wondering why we called you down. We noticed you were involved in an incident on Monday…”
Oh man, the weirdness in the cafeteria. I had totally forgotten about that.
“Right,” I said. “Look, I don’t know how that tray of enchiladas exploded. I was just standing there—”
“It’s fine,” she assured me. “Principal Moore simply wanted me to find out what happened. But since I’m new here, I thought we could start off with some general questions, get to know each other a bit. Okay?”
She seemed so nice and understanding, my shoulders began to relax. “Yeah, sounds good to me.”
“Great. First question.” She picked up her pen and opened a red folder on her desk. “What’s your favorite class?”
“Interesting,” said Ms. Roche. She raised her eyebrow, and something about her expression suddenly didn’t seem so friendly…more like eager. For reasons I couldn’t quite understand, I started thinking about those blood-red lockers in the hallway, that strange acrid smell, and the flash of movement I’d seen out of the corner of my eye.
“Um,” I said nervously, “so you normally work at another school in the district?”
I was hoping to make this ‘getting to know you’ thing more of a two-way street, but Ms. Roche just smiled.
“Let’s concentrate on you, shall we? Next question. In general, would you describe yourself as happy or discontented?”
“Well, I really think it depends on the day.”
Ms. Roche smirked, like she’d been expecting that answer. “Next question—”
“Um, can I ask you something first?”
“No,” she replied breezily. “So next question: Any phobias?”
I frowned. This was definitely getting weird. I’d taken those What Color Is Your Parachute? quizzes before, but this one seemed strange even for a guidance counselor to administer.
“Um, rats totally freak me out. We had them in our walls when I was a kid, and I used to stay up all night listening to them.”
Ms. Roche nodded sagely. “Perfect. Now let’s talk about Monday’s incident in the cafeteria. We’ve heard from multiple people that you were the person sitting closest to the scene. Can you tell me what happened?”
I started tapping my feet, the way I always do when I get nervous. I wasn’t quite sure why, but I wanted to get out of this office. “Well, I was just eating my lunch. I heard a commotion and saw Carter McKeown—he’s this mean red-headed guy—stealing Kevin Small’s lunch.”
“Uh huh,” replied Ms. Roche, scribbling down some notes. “What happened next?”
“Well, I used to ride the bus with Carter in elementary school, so I thought maybe I could talk him down before things escalated. I was just getting up, but before I could do anything…I don’t know what happened. The lunch tray just, like, exploded. Carter got steaming enchilada in his eyes and all over his face, and he just took off screaming. People thought I’d done something to make that happen. But I didn’t. Honest.”
“Hmm.” Ms. Roche flipped to another page in the red folder. She pursed her lips in concern. “But that’s not the first odd incident in your file, is it? According to this, you prank-called the police last week about an earthquake?”
“It wasn’t a prank!” I crossed my arms. “I was in the chemistry lab by myself. I was cleaning up because I got in trouble for…well, that doesn’t matter. The point is, I felt a tremor. I swear—the beakers were shaking, the Bunsen burners were flaring up…I thought the roof was going to cave in! I tried to open the door, but it got locked somehow. I yelled for help, but I guess no one could hear me, so…”
Ms. Roche frowned. “The incident report says that no one else felt anything.”
“The quake was real,” I insisted. “I didn’t know what else to do, so I grabbed Lexi’s phone and dialed 9-1-1.”
Ms. Roche’s eyes gleamed with a strange light. “Lexi is a friend of yours? Why did you make the call from your friend’s phone and not your own?”
“I—I don’t have a phone. My folks…they won’t let me have one. Anyway, Lexi accidentally left her cell phone at my house the day before and I still had it, so I used it, because…” I faltered. I really didn’t like the way Ms. Roche was staring at me, like she was enjoying my discomfort. “Why do you care if I have a cell phone?” I asked. “And what does it have to do with the cafeteria incident?”
“Oh, it all ties together, my dear. Your lack of a phone explains a great deal—such as why we didn’t detect your presence sooner.”
My mouth went dry. “Detect…my presence?”
The second hand on the wall clock ticked. I started fingering my lucky coin again. The details of the office came into sharper focus. On the table behind Ms. Roche was a stack of red folders like the one she was using for my notes. The folder on top of mine had an intricate gold seal and the word CONFIDENTIAL stamped across it.
“Wh-what does a red folder mean?” I stammered. “And why do I have one?”
“Oh, my dear…” Ms. Roche rose. “Because you’re very special.”
For the first time, I realized that her hair was the same color as that flash of movement I’d seen in the hallway—but that couldn’t have been Ms. Roche. No human could have moved that fast, and that thing in the hall had seemed…more like a wild animal somehow.
My pulse began to race. “I want to see the principal now. I was supposed to see Mr. Moore.”
Ms. Roche’s laughter was deep and throaty. “I’m afraid that isn’t possible. Mr. Moore was in my way, just like Mr. Zinck. They would have interfered with our conversation, so I took care of them.”
“Took care of…” My heart climbed up my throat. “You don’t mean…You couldn’t have—”
Ms. Roche exhaled, and a chillingly familiar metallic scent wafted through the room. Her fingernails grew, transforming into claws.
“What the—” I bolted for the door, but Ms. Roche was fast. She sprang across the office in a blur of yellow and blocked my path.
“Leaving so soon?” Ms. Roche growled. “We’re just getting down to business.”
Then the most insane thing happened. Her jaw opened wide. Her head peeled back like a hoodie and out of her mouth grew a new head: a feline snout, black lips and white fangs, and large, hungry gold eyes. Her yellow dress changed into sleek fur. Ms. Roche became a fully formed lioness, standing upright on her haunches, ready to tear me to pieces with those gleaming claws.
“I’m so glad you used your friend’s cell phone,” she purred. Her voice was the only thing that hadn’t changed. “Otherwise we might not have found you in time.”
I tried to scream for help. My voice wouldn’t work
. Besides, this creature had already gotten rid of the principal and the counselor. If nice old Ms. Lane came running in, trying to help me, I’d only get her killed. I backed up, nearly falling over my chair.
“We who?” I squeaked. “In time for what?”
“No matter.” Her tail flicked back and forth. The crazed look in her eyes made my knees turn to jelly. “I’ll make this easy for you. Your death will be quick.”
She bared her fangs.
I clenched my left hand, suddenly aware I was gripping my lucky coin. Why hadn’t my parents given me a pocketknife? Or a mini-canister of lion spray? Can you even buy lion spray? Or do you just buy bear spray and hope for the best?
My thoughts were interrupted as Ms. Roche lunged at me, claws extended and fangs exposed. I shouted, instinctively dropping to the ground and rolling to my right.
My left fist, still clenched tightly, suddenly felt like it was gripping hot lava. I opened my hand to drop the coin, but liquid metal spilled out instead.
Ms. Roche saw it and scrambled back against the far wall. “No!” she said. “How…?”
We both watched as the liquid metal ate through the floor, then through the concrete below, and then through the dirt. I heard a loud rumbling, and Ms. Roche howled as an oak tree erupted through the floor. Its branches lifted her up, wrapped themselves around her waist, and tore at her as they writhed and grew. Ms. Roche seemed to disintegrate into smoke and dust, and then the tree broke through the ceiling, still rising, reaching for the sun.
The fire alarm and sprinkler systems went off, dousing me with cold water.
A loud thud made me jump out of my skin. I turned as the office door splintered and blasted inward like it had been hit with a battering ram. Standing in the doorway was my best friend, Sam, his eyes wide with alarm, his curly blond hair disheveled. His backpack was slung over one shoulder. But something about his appearance was wrong. His jeans…he was wearing fur jeans. No. Wait. Those weren’t jeans. They were actual fur. And his feet…his feet were hooves.