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I'd love to tell you I had some deep revelation on my way down, that I came to terms with my own mortality, laughed in the face of death, et cetera. (14.1)
But Percy is terrified to be diving 600 feet, straight into the muddy waters of the Mississippi River.
The river catches Percy comfortably.
His chimera bite heals, and he feels the venom leaving him.
He realizes that he is completely dry, even though he's underwater. He also realizes that he can light a cigarette lighter underwater. Cooool.
Everything he touches becomes dry.
He also realizes that he is breathing. Underwater.
Percy hears his mom's voice in his head urging him to remember his manners, so he thanks his dad for helping him.
Percy sees Riptide in the muddy river bottom near him.
A voice says, "Percy, take the sword. Your father believes in you" (14.20).
He sees a spirit in the water. She is the color of water, and she has green eyes.
The water spirit tells Percy she is simply a messenger. She says that his mom's "fate is not as hopeless as you believe," and tells him to go to the Santa Monica beach when he reaches Los Angeles (14.24).
The water spirit messenger calls Percy "brave one" and repeats that he must go to the beach in Santa Monica. As she's leaving, she warns him not to trust any gifts.
Percy surfaces to find chaos all around him: "every emergency vehicle in St. Louis was surrounding the Arch. Police helicopters circled overhead. The crowd of onlookers reminded me of Times Square on New Year's Eve" (14.40).
Percy keeps a low profile and hooks up with Grover and Annabeth.
News reporters are reporting that Percy Jackson caused the explosion on the top of the Arch. He is now a fugitive of the law.
The three head back to their Amtrak train, which is due to depart for Denver very soon.