The Trial of the Rivers

All is going well for Lea as she finishes her time as a god, but when Nico goes mysteriously missing things take a turn for the worse. No longer welcome at camp, and with new power on the rise, Lea is doubting her decisions to stay mortal. Then when news from the gods comes, saying that Lord Hades has been overthrown, Lea and some other experienced demi-gods must travel west to take back the underworld.

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3. 3- I Learn That My Fate Sucks

3- I Learn That My Fate Sucks
I sat bolt upright, grabbing for my sword, which wasn’t there. Then fell back, “Percy!” 
“Sup, goldilocks?” He said, grinning as he unpacked his bags.
“Sorry, I just…fell asleep,” I muttered, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. 
“You really miss me that much?” I joked.
“Yeah,” I sighed, honestly. Sliding out of the bed. 
He turned and looked at me, his expression a little sad, then hugged me tightly, resting his chin on top of my head.
“Cheer up, now we can go kick butt together,” he said, “But first I have to unpack, “Go get some breakfast, I’ll meet you at the pavilion.”
I took a minute to redo my ponytail, which had half fallen out during the night, and took off the rest of my armor. I had no idea how I managed to sleep with shoes and gloves on. I must have accidentally pressed my armor’s button in my sleep last night, because it was in mist form. As Percy bustled around the room, I looked into the fountain, for a second the image shimmered, and I saw a pale figure in black clothes, curled in a dark room. “Lea,” a weak voice called, echoing from the fountain. The same voice from the dream. I stepped backwards shocked, right into Percy who was shoving his clothes into drawers. 
“Whoa, hey,” he said, catching me. 
“Did you see that?” I stammered, the image in the fountain was gone. 
“What?” he inquired curiously. 
“The fountain, I saw somebody, they called my name.”
He furrowed his brow, “Weird, that’s an iris message fountain, 2nd edition, I broke the first one. Maybe someone’s trying to talk to you.”
“I’ve heard the voice before, in one of my dreams.”
“Someone powerful.”
“We’ll visit Rachel later, maybe she knows something.”
I nodded, and then Percy nudged me out the door. 
After a few minutes of standing alone at the dining pavilion, Percy met me and we had omelets while he told me all about his time as praetor, every few minutes he’d punch me on the shoulder an tell me to smile, but I was too distracted, I knew that voice. 
We spent the morning with the Hermes cabin, doing archery then played fetch with Mrs. O’ Leary in the arena. Percy ended up covered in slobber and I ended up more tired than I’ve ever been. 
By the end of the afternoon, Percy and I were sprawled out on the shaded pavement, panting, and laughing wearily. 
“Sorry, I missed Capture the Flag last night, I heard you didn’t get to play,” said Percy staring up at the clouds.
“Yeah,” I sighed, “Everyone thinks that I’m too powerful to be on any one team.”
“Bah, next time I’ll be on the other team, that’ll balance things out,” He chuckled. 
I punched him playfully, “Haha, sure, keep thinking that.”
He grinned, “Are you saying you’re more powerful than me? I’m a son of Poseidon!”
“But I’m a Primum-cruor, ex-god,” I said in a mock-boasting way. 
I rested my head on his shoulder.
“With great power comes great responsibility,” I sighed sadly. 
He sighed too, “Yeah, story of my life.”
We sat in silence, listening to other campers shout battle cries and curses, Mrs. O’ Leary pant and the clang of metal. 
I closed my eyes and let my mind drift.
When I opened my eyes again, the first colors of sunset were dancing over the camp. 
Percy snored next to me, I took a few minutes to enjoy the peace. Somewhere in my subconscious something told me it wouldn’t last. The voice still edged at my mind.
I shook Percy, and he jumped to attention, “How long was I out?”
“At least an hour,” I replied, “We missed lunch.”
“No wonder I’m hungry,” He said, making a pouty face. 
“C’mon let’s go,” I said, standing and stretching,” We can stop by the pavilion for a snack.”
We hiked across the field, every few minutes a camper would come up and greet Percy, and they’d chat for a while, he certainly had a lot more groupies than me. I guess that’s what happens when you save the world…twice.
We stopped at the pavilion and ate organic potato chips until we were decently full. 
“Rachel?” I asked, lacing up my shoe. 
“Mmhm,” said Percy through a mouth full of potato chips. 
He led me through the forest up to the small secluded cave. It looked ominous from the outside but the inside looked like a gypsy’s hideout. Through sheer purple curtain was a small room with a deep Scarlett Persian rug on the floor and paintings lining the walls. Through a wireless radio indie rock blasted, a band I recognized as “The Black Keys”. 
In the far back of the room a barefoot girl in ripped jeans and a paint splattered white blouse danced around whilst making random slashed with her paint brush at a piece of canvas. She looked so into what she was doing I didn’t want to interrupt her. 
Percy evidentially didn’t mind at all, “Hey Rach!” 
She noticed us standing at the entrance and grinned wide. 
She danced over to the radio and turned it down, “What’s up guys?”
Rachel looked different from when I had last seen her, over six months ago, she seemed older, more at peace. 
Her hair was longer now past her shoulders, and her face and body had thinned. But she still had the same brilliant green eyes with the mischievous and defiant sparkle. She hugged Percy and smiled at me brightly. 
“Lea, has been having strange dreams, those type of strange dreams,” began Percy. 
Rachel nodded and Gestured at a feinting couch on one side of the room. Percy and I sat down next to each other, Rachel sat across from us in a huge plush armchair. I felt like I was at counseling, but with two of my friends posing as my therapists. 
“Tell me about it,” said Rachel, her voice soothing, and practiced, as if she was used to this. 
I explained what had happen and her face grew dark and troubled, “I have also been having similar dreams. 
She stood up and guided us to the back of the room,  she put her hand on my shoulder reassuringly, the painting she as working on made my stomach drop, it was of the figure in the dark room. Only one new thing was present, a silvery form, standing to his right.
“A shade,” muttered Percy, “That must mean…” he trailed off. 
I looked up at him, hoping he would go on, but his face showed true astonishment. I followed his gaze. Rachel stood over me, her eyes glowing the same eerie green just as she has when we first met, when she issued the Prophecy of the Night. For a few seconds she stared at me, her hand clutching my shoulder, her fingernails digging into my skin, with a grip of iron, she stared at me for a few minutes. 
Panic rose in my gut, I knew exactly what was coming. 
A cold deep voice echoed through the cave:

Beware the daughter of dreams, 
forced to hear cohort’s screams.
On the quest she stands forsaken, 
left to watch as her friends are taken,

But alas she fights with promise,
a mortal with the heart of a goddess. 
Promises, pain, forgetfulness and fire,
a threat to the gods so very dire,

A journey to the land of the dead,
Lives’ held on a single thread,
Recall the god’s-bane who have gone before,
A final quest to restore.

Rachel feel forwards but Percy caught her before she hit the ground, and laid her out on the feinting couch. 
We stood next to each other breathing heavily.
“I think it’s time for another quest,” breathed Percy, “9th one in counting, I wonder if I can get ten, I’ll bet that’s a record.”
“We better go tell Chiron,” I suggested. 
The door to the Big House was unlocked, the screen door clacked behind us, from the main room I heard Henry call, “Hello?”
“It’s me,” I called, and we stepped into the room. 
Henry looked at us curiously, “Is something wrong?”
“We’re going to have to make a few calls,” said Percy.
Chiron walked into the room and looked at Percy inquiringly.
It took us a few minutes to explain. 
Chiron furrowed his brow, “It seems that you have to travel to the underworld, and the last lines, it seems as if the quest members are specific.”
“I think it means bring along demi-gods who have gone on a quest before, but that’s much more than three people,” said Percy.
“I fear that rule no longer became relevant after your many deviances,” said Chiron.
“So that would be, myself, Lea, Jason, Thalia, Annabeth, Leo, Piper, Hazel, Frank, and Clarisse,” summed Percy.
“That’s ten powerful of the most powerful demigods, you’d have every monster on your scent from the first second,” said Henry. 
They continued working out the details, I drifted, my mind couldn’t seem to accept the fact that I was going on another quest. Let alone leading nine other demigods, all older and more experienced than me. 
After what seemed like hours but must have been minutes Percy shook me, “Lea, are you alright? How do you feel?”
“Like I’ve been stepped on by a Cyclops,” I replied. 
“Don’t worry, you were great last time, I’m sure you’ll do just as well this time. The second quest is always the most nerve-wracking.”
“Fine?” I asked, “Did you not hear the ‘cohort’s screams’  and ‘forsaken’ part?”
His reassuring smile flickered and he looked away. 
“Don’t worry, with a dauntless team like that, we can’t fail.”
“We don’t even know what were supposed to be doing,” I argued. 
“We know that were supposed to go to the underworld and that should be easy enough, there’s an entrance in New York.”
A small rush of relief came to me, at least we wouldn’t have to cross the country.
Percy kissed my forehead, “Now I’m going to make some iris messages, you should probably get some dinner, Chiron is going to announce the quest there.”
Everyone else left the room, I stayed sitting on the leather couch bathing in the late day sunlight coming in from the window, I stuttered. Trying to call them back, but instead, I spoke out to the air weakly, “I know who it was in the dream…”
The voice had finally registered in my head.
“Nico.”

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