The Quest for Athena Parthenos is a solo quest taken up by Greek demigod Annabeth Chase to follow the Mark of Athena in search for what it leads to. Ella the harpy recites the prophecy in front of the Senate at Camp Jupiter, when Percy Jackson and his friends are trying to ward off attention of Ella's ability from people such as Octavian.
Wisdom's daughter walks alone,
The Mark of Athena burns through Rome.
Twins snuff out the angel's breath,
Who holds the key to endless death,
Giants' bane stands gold and pale,
Won through pain from a woven jail.
Unraveling the Prophecy
The prophecy unravels throughout the story:
- The first line refers to Annabeth having to go on a solo quest without any special powers.
- The Mark of Athena—a burning, red symbol of an owl—led Annabeth to the Athena Parthenos in Rome.
- The twin giants Otis and Ephialtes contain Nico di Angelo ("Angelo" being Italian for "angel") by putting him in a bronze jar, which is gradually suffocating him.
- Nico holds the information to the Doors of Death, and he is also Hades' son.
- The Athena Parthenos, the giants' bane, is made of gold and ivory (which is pale).
- During her confrontation with Arachne, Annabeth tricks the spider into weaving an enlarged set of Chinese Handcuffs, which she calls "Chinese Spidercuffs." She then tricks Arachne into stepping into it, therefore trapping her. "Won through pain" refers to how Annabeth did it all with a broken ankle and the pain of facing her fears.
Before the Quest
The solo quest begins when Annabeth encounters Minerva on the Grand Central Station. After leaving Sally Jackson's apartment, she went to take a train at Grand Central Station and saw her mother looking at a map. She seemed confused and didn't even recognize Annabeth when she called out to her. Annabeth questions if she is actually Minerva, her Roman form, but she yells at her to never call her that. She claims that she was Athena before the Romans destroyed Athens, took away her title as a war goddess, and stole her statue. In order to avenge her, she orders Annabeth to follow the Mark of Athena and hands her a small subway token that changes into a small silver coin. When Annabeth said that she needed help finding Percy, the goddess claims that she cares nothing for him and if he joined the Romans, then he should perish with the rest of the Romans. She also claims if Annabeth would help them as well, then Minerva stated that she is no child of hers. Minerva then turns back to subway map and looks just as confused as before.
Start of the Quest
After the seven arrive in Rome, Annabeth sets out on her solo quest with Percy Jackson initially joining her. They stop for lunch and then meet the gods Rhea Silvia and Tiberinus who are there to take Annabeth on the first part of her journey. They bring her down to the Tiber River and Annabeth continues to follow the Mark of Athena into a labyrinth. She finds a room with several ghost servants of the god Mithras who attempt to kill her, but she is saved and escapes them by collapsing the room, breaking her ankle in the process.
Annabeth escapes the spiders chasing her by creating a woven bridge over a chasm and thus finally finds the floor-cracking room where Athena Parthenos is covered in spider webs, guarded by Arachne. Annabeth stalls Arachne from trying to kill her by tricking her into creating a masterpiece (which is actually a Chinese handcuff), slowly removing all the webs on Athena Parthenos. When Arachne is done, Annabeth points out a flaw in the inside and Arachne gets herself stuck inside the handcuffs. Upon the realization, the rest of the group aboard the Argo II and Nico di Angelo come to the rescue and take Athena Parthenos. The floor begins to increasingly crack until Arachne falls through the giant cracks that lead to the pits of Tartarus. One of the spider webs that are attached to Arachne attach to Annabeth and Annabeth is trying to keep herself from falling. Percy tries to help her, but they both realize that it will not work. Percy orders Nico to lead them to Greece and Annabeth and him both let go and fall into Tartarus.