Percy Jackson's fall into Tartarus

This story is for Heroes of Olympus fans, who like Percy as the focus character. I thought up this story to entertain fans while they wait for the House of Hades to come out. Spoiler Alert! If you haven't read The Mark Of Athena, then this story will give away the ending. This is my first story, so please give me feedback to improve! I do not own any characters or content. All content belongs to Rick Riordan. Cover art belongs to fbcdn.net.

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14. Horrid Combat

Andromeda's confidence chilled Annabeth to the bone. She turned to respond, but Andromeda had pushed herself to her feet, and was hobbling painfully in the opposite direction. Almost glad to see her go, and with no other choice, Annabeth began running towards the yells. At first she had assumed it wouldn't take long to reach the quarrel, but after a couple minutes she didn't seem any closer. Her dagger's orb of light glowed around her as she ran, and she realized she should be able to see Percy's sword before she reached him. As if on queue, a dim light began to cut the darkness. It grew bigger, and as it did the yells grew louder. The light bobbed and weaved though the dark, just like Percy's sword would. Soon Annabeth could hear more than yells; the clang of metal and bits of words that she could never bring herself to repeat. She picked up her pace until she was sprinting full tilt towards the fight.

She began to make out Percy with his sword, defending wildly against three swordsmen. They weren't men, however; they had no heads. Once within sight, Annabeth noticed their faces were displayed across their chests, and their armor was carefully sculpted to protect their face and gut. Each was armed with a different weapon, one with a spear and chain net, another with a short sword, and the other with a shield on one arm and a staff in the other. They all had minor injuries, obviously by Percy's hand, but he was losing his fight and Annabeth was still a good hundred meters away. Even though she was sprinting, time seemed to slow to a crawl. Percy stood in the center of his opponents, each coordinating their strikes against him. Staff-man aimed a blow to Percy's knees, which Percy deflected off the edge of his blade, allowing spear-man to throw his net around Percy's free arm. 

70 yards to go.

Spear-man tugged at the net, pulling Percy backwards to the ground. Staff-man began slamming him in the chest with his staff. Percy struggled to free himself from the net while trying to deflect the attacks. It wasn't going well. He looked horrible, too, like this fight had been going on longer than Annabeth had seen it. He was covered in gashes, each surrounded by green and purple bruises. They couldn't have all been dealt by his three current attackers, either, some were stabs, some were punches, others were scratches from claws. Andromeda was right, he was covered in the bloody bandages Annabeth had applied earlier. They hung off him so torn that they should have fallen off long ago. He looked even worse than Andromeda had when Annabeth found her.

50 yards.

Finally, Percy whipped his sword over his head and cut at the net. Although it didn't damage the chain, his sword edge slid along it until it reached spear-man's hand. It sliced straight through his wrist, gushing out dark powder. Spear-man grunted, but was otherwise unfazed. Apparently, he didn't have much need for his limbs. Once Percy's arm was free, he rolled backwards to get out of the spear-man's reach. Before he could stand, short-sword, who'd stood back and watched until this point, kneed him in the back and plastered him flat on the ground. His sword skittered from his hand to rest a few yards away. Resting on top of Percy, his attacker allowed it's company to start beating him, old fashion bully style.

Almost there!

None of them noticed Annabeth as she watched short-sword bring his heel down on Percy's head. He didn't lose consciousness, thank the gods, but he didn't continue to struggle or get up. The demons took turns kicking and punching him, beating him senseless. Right before Annabeth reached them, she could hear the demons laughing and chatting while they worked. She didn't wait to find out what they were talking about.

With her knife already in her hand she leaped towards spear-man, bending her left elbow so that it hooked under his arm and whipped him around. He and his comrades bellowed in surprise as he tried to regain his balance. Before he could, Annabeth brought her dagger down right between his eyes, ripping a hole in his armor. He burst out screaming and staggered away before Annabeth could retrieve her knife. Now weaponless, she turned to face the other two men. As she did, staff-man dropped his weapon and tackled her in the gut. Taking her by surprise and knocking her flat, he reared back his fist. Acting on impulse she shoved both hands upward, jabbing one into each of his wide eyes. Screeching, he flailed and grabbed at his chest. Pushing him off, she stood and faced the remaining sword-armed monster. He had moved from kneeling on Percy to standing with one foot on the ground, the other on Percy's head.

He considered Percy, moving his head with his sandals. "Is this yours?" His voice was full of false consideration. Don't let him crush Percy's skull. Distract him.

Thinking fast and putting on a nonchalant face, she responded with, "No, it's not." She managed to sniff in Percy's direction, as if in disgust. "However, I'm happy to destroy you and take his sword." Annabeth stepped forward and scooped up Riptide, leaving it glowing in her grasp. She tossed it from one hand to the next, pretending to judge it's weight. Coax him away. She turned away from the demon as he continued the conversation.

He seemed unimpressed with Annabeth's statement. "Why are you here then, demigod? Tartarus isn't a good place for you." Annabeth constantly checked his location with his voice, but decided not to answer his question. She walked over to the man she'd punched in the eyes, who was beginning to recover. She felt horrible, after seeing Andromeda completely chopped and diced, but Percy wouldn't recover from injuries like these demons would. Steeling her gut, she prepared to make her point, but she didn't have to do it on her own. The stupid creature didn't notice her weapon, and tried to catch her off-guard. As he lunged for her throat, Percy's sword sunk up to the hilt just beneath his left eye. He screamed, jumping up and panicking as if on fire. Gripping the hilt he pulled it from the wound, making it gush black dust. Dropping Riptide and grabbing at his face, he sprinted into oblivion with his cries echoing behind him.

Annabeth remembered she needed to keep her image straight. She grinned, trying her hardest to make it look genuine and amused. She then walked to Riptide and picked it up again. "Yep. I like this one." She swung it for show, remembering back to some skills Percy had taught her. Glancing around for her knife, she remembered it was still in the spear-man. Turning to him, she forced her lips into a smile. "I'd like that back too, though." She approached him, and he crawled backwards with terror in his large face. This is horrible. All of it. She held out her hand, wanting to keep her act up long enough to scare away the leader. Or what she assumed was the leader.

The man let out a pitiful whimper, and reached up to his forehead. The damage looked fearsomely painful, but he braced himself and ripped it out, making it drip the black blood all monsters shared. Whining like a wounded animal, he began to drag himself away. Annabeth let him go. She couldn't bear to hurt him more. The last demon cleared his throat, drawing her attention. He was standing in front of Percy now, and watching Annabeth with wide eyes. She realized she must look pretty insane at the moment.

His expression was hard to read, mostly because it was literally spread across his entire body, but Annabeth got the sense that she'd turned him timid. He was shifting from foot to foot. "You cannot expect to destroy my brethren and go unpunished. You should have been more careful." He fought to keep his voice under control. With that he began stepping forward cautiously, his sword in front of him. Just behind him, Percy was stirring, slowly pushing himself off the ground. He looked horrible; he wouldn't be much use in this fight. I can't just leave him without a weapon, but I don't want short-sword here to notice him. In a split second decision, Annabeth threw Riptide end-over-end towards the hostile swordsman. He easily dodged and his confidence grew. "You'll have to do better than that!" He lunged forward and met Annabeth head on, blade to blade.

He was a good swordsman. True, he wasn't as good as Percy, but Annabeth had to work to keep him in check. They exchanged moves, each looking for weaknesses to capitalize on. Eventulally, Luck decided to give him his golden opportunity. Annabeth received his overhead strike on the flat of her blade, and he managed to free up one foot to sweep Annabeth's legs from under her. Crashing down, he stood over her and prepared for his final strike. Just as his sword came down, Percy's sword tip ripped straight through his face from behind. Annabeth had become so focused she'd forgotten about Percy. The monster bellowed in anger and pain, but Percy didn't pull his blade out. He pushed it down, forcing the horrible being to his knees. With him out of the way, Annabeth could see Percy clearly.

And she didn't like it.

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