We were the first heroes to return alive to Half-Blood Hill since Luke, so of course everybody treated us as if we'd won some reality-TV contest.
The campers throw Percy, Annabeth, and Grover a big party in celebration of their successful quest.
Percy and Annabeth get to burn their funeral shrouds, which we guess is standard procedure for Greek homecoming parties.
The Ares cabin is super-mad at Percy for making a fool out of their dad.
Percy goes to sleep, happy and content in his cabin for the first time.
He is home.
Sally writes Percy a letter telling him that she made a life-sized statue called "The Poker Player" and has sold it to a local art gallery for a lot of money. She has used the money to find a new apartment, to enroll at NYU for her first semester, and to put a down payment on a spot at a private school for Percy. She doesn't pressure Percy to come home, but just wants him to know that it's an option for him.
That Fourth of July, Hephaestus's cabin rigs some truly spectacular fireworks.
Percy and Annabeth sit on the beach and watch the fireworks.
Grover is awarded his Searcher's license and seems older, wiser, and more mature.
That night, he says goodbye to Annabeth and Percy for good. He's about to embark on his search for Pan – his life's dream.
Percy spends the rest of his summer devising new tricks and strategies for capture the flag, improving in camp activities, and thinking about what the Oracle had said to him – he still feels uneasy about this.
What had he failed to save that matters most? What friend had betrayed him?
The last night of the summer arrives, and the counselors hand out the summer bead for everyone to wear. It is jet black with a green trident in the middle – a symbol of Percy's successful quest.
Percy is truly in heaven at having found a real family.
He hasn't responded to his mother's offer to have him come home and go to school in New York. He's been postponing making a decision.
The next morning, he realizes that he has to make a decision by noon, or else the cleaning harpies will get to him.
Percy still can't make a decision, so he decides to go for a walk to clear his mind.
He finds Luke in the arena, slashing at straw dummies with a new sword: the Backbiter. The Backbiter is special because it can kill both humans and gods.
Luke looks really intense.
He suggests that they go into the woods and find some monsters to kill, just one last time before the summer is over.
Percy thinks it's a good idea.
They go into the woods, and Luke drinks a Coke out of a real Coke can (which is strange, because they don't have canned Coke at Camp Half-Blood). Where did Luke get these?
Luke throws his empty can in the stream.
He snaps his finger and a little fire erupts in the ground. From it a scorpion crawls out.
Percy realizes that Luke is the friend that will betray him, that is betraying him.
Luke intends to kill Percy with the scorpion and leave Camp Half-Blood for good.
As the scorpion crawls up his leg, Percy asks Luke a series of questions.
Percy realizes that Luke was the thief who stole the lightning bolt and the helm of darkness. Ares caught Luke, but Luke convinced Ares to let him go free, enticing him with visions of a war that would break out when these symbols of power were not returned to their rightful owners. Ares was greedy for war.
Luke serves Kronos and feels that the gods are a waste of space.
He disappears, leaving Camp Half-Blood to go serve Kronos forevermore.
The scorpion lunges for Percy. Percy cuts the scorpion with Riptide, but the scorpion manages to bite him anyway.
Percy hobbles back to camp, but is soon completely crippled.
He calls for help from the wood nymphs who carry him to safety.
After sipping on some Nectar and other healing medicine concocted by Chiron, Percy comes back to life.
He still feels weak, but he is happy to see Annabeth, who is nursing him.
Chiron is there too – he is about to go report this incident to Mount Olympus.
Percy wants to get up and start looking for Luke, but Chiron tells him to chill out for the time being.
Chiron knows that Kronos wants Percy "unraveled."
Chiron tells Percy that he must decide whether he's going to stay at Camp Half-Blood for the year or go home by the time Chiron is back from Mount Olympus.
Percy realizes that Annabeth is going home for the year to live with her dad. She has taken Percy's advice and has tried to make peace with her family.
She tells Percy that when she gets back next summer, they will go on another quest together to find Luke.
Percy thinks that this sounds like a great plan.
Annabeth goes to meet her family on Half-Blood Hill.
Percy decides he's going to go home too. He thinks about his dad and wonders if his dad would approve of this decision:
"I'll be back next summer," I promised him. "I'll survive until then. After all, I am your son." I asked Argus to take me down to cabin three, so I could pack my bags for home. (22.214)