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.


5. 5- I Stab Lady Liberty

5- I Stab Lady Liberty
The car ride was crowded and noisy as we zoomed down the small winding road through the forest, farther and farther away from Camp and safety. Percy drove, with Annabeth in the passenger seat, Clarisse, Thalia and Leo, sat in the middle seats, whilst, Piper, Jason and Myself were crammed in the back. They chatted happily, as if we weren’t driving towards what seemed like out inevitable doom and Percy cranked up the radio every time the noise sank below a roar. 
Every few minutes Percy would announce something for the whole car to hear, and Clarisse would reply with “Nobody cares, dweeb.”
So far, the dynamics of our group were extremely chaotic. 
* I watched as trees whizzed past, soon the scenery faded into suburbs, then city. We had reached NYC, Percy pulled over at a Starbucks and we filed out to stretch our legs and get some coffee.
Percy led all of us into the starbucks, there weren’t many people there just a few hipsters. I was surprised. I guessed it wouldn’t be crowded at ten in the morning, a lot of the usual customers would be at work. 
Piper, Jason, and Percy ordered first, already knowing what they wanted, Annabeth calculated what drink could give her just the right amount of cafenation while not being too procy. Clarisse shoved to the front and got an extremely sugary cappuccino just to prove that she could and Leo got espresso which I didn’t think he needed. Thalia and I went with vanilla frappuccinos, mine drizzled with caramel. Annabeth bought everyone a pastry, handing me a cinnamon roll. I shared it with Thalia and she talked on and on about how nice it was being a hunter, all the great meals, and how there were never any catfights, which was a surprise.
“Everyone’s so diplomatic and kind,” she said, “Iwish you would join.”
“I don’t know,” I said, thinking about, “Gotta know what I’m giving up before I take an oath to never date.”
Thalia scoffed bitterly, “I’m sure you wouldn’t miss out on anything.”
Our conversation carried on lightly, the sky clouded over but we were comfortable in the well furnished room. Percy and Annabeth sat next to each other in big purple armchairs, Clarisse was sitting alone at a booth, lunging at me intimidating whenever I looked over at her. Jason and Piper sat next to each other on the couch reading people magazine, I heard Piper say, “Ugh, I can’t believe they did that story on my dad. He’s not trying to make a comeback. He was never gone.”
Jason just grinned and ruffled her hair, sipping at his cocoa. 
By this time all of the hipsters had left, I’m guessing they didn’t like our ‘mainstream’ presence.
Leo was over at the bar trying to flirt with the barista, it wasn’t going well, she was texting whilst he was joking around trying to impress her. I had to smile, he was so adorable and desperate. 
I was watching them when suddenly he said something and she hissed at him. Like literally hissed at him, like a snake. He jumped back startled and said, “Whoa there,” he sounded like he wasn’t sure if that meant she was into him or ready to eat his face. 
Unfortunately for little bachelor Leo, she wanted to eat his face. 
The door behind her slammed open and four more baristas walked. Slithered in a I mean. 
The mist faded from around them, making their scales visible.
Always with the snake ladies coming first. It’s like they were the common pawns. 
Well at least they’re not hard to kill. 
They flicked forked tongues at us, assessing the situation. 
Leo stumbled backwards.
Clarisse did the exact opposite, she ran forward pulling a spear from nowhere, yelling at battle cry. 
She tried to stab at one of the dracaena but it was too quick, it dodged the jab, slipped to the side and used some net flinging contraption that pinned Clarisse to the wall. 
She yelled and struggled but couldn’t get free. 
The other Dracenae used the same handheld device, I jumped out of the way. Unfortunately for Piper and Jason that caused the to be secured tie to the couch, which fell over backwards. Percy and Annabeth had also been trapped. 
Only Leo, Thalia and I were free and the Dracaena were out of nets. 
They hissed angrily at us and somehow managed to slither over or around the counter. 
Thalia backed up to the door and began firing silver arrows at them. As she did that, I dodged her arrows and came at he other dracaena with my sword. They were more skilled in combat than I was used to, but I still managed to behead one of them. I rolled and sliced, dodged and parried. 
When it comes to battle I was thankful for my slow motion vision, or else I would have been hit by a lot of arrows and sliced open by talons. 
Thalia had killed two of them already with her perfect headshot aim, but unfortunately she had also given the Starbucks wall and new form of wall art, made up of all of her arrows. 
She drew her knives and joined me. Leo had disappeared somewhere, but it was okay we didn’t need him. Thalia and I kicked butt together. 
With Annabeth calling out formation and various moves, Thalia rolled over my back, cut off one of the snake ladies legs, then I vaulted off her back and cut another dracaena in half, making her explode into dust. 
Just when we thought we had the advantage, and it was two on two the dracaena  pulled out a new contraption. It was a small silver disk, “a gift from the masters,”  hissed one of them. And then she opened it like a locket. 
A sonic wave of screeches sent Thalia and I flying backwards. 
She and I hit the glass windows. 
My back was all that collidided with the glass but Thalia was not so lucky, her head hit with window with a loud thunk. 
She groaned and then passed out. 
I was alone.
I could cut out the others, but judging by the fact that the Dracenae were about five feet away I didn’t have time. 
Wait, where was Leo?
With perfect timing Leo jumped up from behind the counter sliding over it secret agent style, yelled “Eat foam!” And then grabbed one of the nozzles for the counter shoved it into one of the dracaena’s mouth and clicked the lever. 
There was a few milliseconds were she stared at him surprised and then she exploded sending dust and hot foam everywhere. I took the distraction as an opportunity, I plunged my sword though he last dracaena’s back. 
Leo and I stared at each other for a minute, myself panting, trying to regain the breath that had been knock out of me when I hit the window. 
“How did you do that?” I gasped. 
“Just increased the heat and pressure by 200%” he said, helping me up, “Sorry it took so long I don’t usually work with machines intended for coffee drinks,” he said wiping off his hands. 
We both stood for a minute looking at the now ruined, once beautifully furnished room.
“You’ve got a bit on your face,” he said to me, and wiped some of the demon cream of my face. 
I tried to say thank you but was too distracted.
We cut down the others, I let Leo handle Clarisse. She cursed at us for not letting her down sooner. 
Annabeth and Piper tended to Thalia’s concussion. 
We all washed off and regrouped, the makeup the Aphrodite cabin had put on was running down my face due to being splattered with hot foam. Piper helped me wash all of it off, but my hair and nails remained good enough to leave as they were. 
Then we left, Leo taking two bottles of whip cream with him. On the way out I flipped the sign to say closed.
We hung out around the car for a minute planning our next move when I suddenly felt the urge to start walking down the street. Something was drawing me to a store down the street. While everyone was bust conversing I slipped out of view and strutted quickly down the street. There was a small antique’s shop, I stopped to look inside it’s large glass windows, a gleaming silver platter reflected back at me, except the reflection was not my own. 
“Zeus?” I questioned, appalled. Stepping back, I ran into a few pedestrians who grumbled angrily but continued on there way. 
Zeus’s electric glare stayed on me, his gray beard appeared whiter than normal and his wrinkles were more pronounced, he looked tired. 
“Lea,” he said assertively, “I know you have places to go, but first I need a small favor. You see, I had Hephaestus make me a container, a quiver, of sorts, to holt my master bolt in, some of my attendants were on there way to delivering to me, when they were intercepted. I need you to go and retrieve it, before they figure out it’s use and destroy it or use it to their own advantage.”
“Where is it?” I asked. 
A few passerby’s looked at me weird, to them I was talking to a dinner plate. 
“The Statue of Liberty, of few monsters have a hide-out there, they keep it up in the torch, you’ll have to slip past both the monsters and mortal guards and up the service ladder, if you can do this I will reward you greatly with what you need.”
“What do I need?” I asked.
“Information,” he responded. 
I was about to object and ask further what he meant, but a flash of light hit the platter and his reflection disappeared, leaving me to stare at my own dumbfounded face. 
Somebody grabbed my arm, I was about to throw a punch, when Percy said, “Lea, oh gods you scared us, why did you wander off?”
I explained to him and he agreed that we needed the reward, “We don’t know anything really about our quest, maybe he knows why we need to go to the underworld in the first place.”
He and I headed back to the others, where they all nodded in agreement to Percy’s proposal, the car ride was silent, we all knew another fight was coming. Annabeth began to think out loud, listing off battle strategies and telling us facts about the way the Statue was built, so that we would know how to navigate it. It sounded pretty simple, the metal frame work surrounded a small spiral staircase up into a small observation room. 
When we reached the ferry, the skies had turned a turbulent swirl of gray around the Empire State Building, which was visible in the distance. 
Leo was trying to make me laugh, but my mind was elsewhere, he gave up after a few minutes and began twirling a piece of wire in his fingers. We loaded out of the car, within seconds Percy began to shift uncomfortably on his feet, he shuddered, “Definitely monsters here.”
“How do you know?” I asked.
“Just a feeling I get,” he replied, I could see he had Riptide clutched in his fist. 
We were all a bit jumpy, this would be the first monster I’d fought in a long time, and with all of our demigod stench I’m sure we could round up an army of baddies in no time. 
Annabeth was mapping out a plan with a small pamphlet she had found on a park bench. 
We decided that Annabeth, Thalia and Clarisse would stay by the entrance to stop anything from following Percy, Piper, Jason, Leo and I. 
I also remembered Thalia’s fear of heights, and looking up at the Statue in the distance, I started to feel a bit queasy myself. 
We boarded the ferry trying to look as innocent as possible whilst secretly concealing magical weapons. It was hardest for Clarisse who had to carry a compact electric spear. Annabeth and Piper, on the other hand had to strap knives to their calves to go unnoticed. I became very thankful for my necklace seeing them go through security. 
The Statue above us loomed, Lady Liberty’s face glaring apathetically into the distance. 
We were on small island, perfectly trimmed lawns, and cement pathways covered the entirety of it. Not many tourists were here, thank the gods, since it was a Thursday. 
We stopped to regroup at a large open circular plaza. I started to notice some tourists giving me strange looks. But not the “Who are they?” looks instead they were glaring, as if they knew who I was and they hated me.  I started to notice that feeling Percy was talking about, like we’d just walked into a nest. 
Annabeth put her hand on my shoulder, scaring me out of my daze. 
“The door is right there, we’ll patrol and no one suspicious will follow you in, but once your in there we won’t come after you. Don’t worry there’s enough of you to each watch each other’s backs, Percy keep an eye on Lea, Lea watch out for Jason, Jason-Piper, Piper-Leo, Leo-Percy. You guys good?”
We all nodded, and I led the way through the dark glass doors. In the building it was dark and dismal gray, it smelled like cleaning supplies, and fresh floor wax. Leo shuddering, “It’s feels…historical in here. I hate historical.”
Piper rolled her eyes, and we checked our surroundings and headed up the stairs. We spiraled up and up, undisturbed, the metal frame work surrounding us, I began to feel very claustrophobic. 
The guy in front of me, a decent looking sixteen year old, with jet black hair, stopped suddenly. I was about to ask him if he was alright but then he turned around to face me. 
I instantly reached up to my necklace, but he was quicker, he reached out and snatched the gold disk, snapping the chain, and dropped it over the railing. I watched in silence, as it fell, clattering to the floor, at least a hundred feet below, a small shattering noise notified me, at least on of the gemstones was broken. I gasped, choking for air, shock welling in my throat. The boy smirked his eyes flashed, they were electric blue, and not like Thalia’s. They looked unnatural, glowing almost. 
I had absolutely no idea what to do, I was weaponless, my forks were in the car, and my sword was on the floor, possibly broken. 
I stood motionless, the boy was about to say something, he leaned close to my face. I could feel his ice cold breath on my cheek. Suddenly a fist collided with his nose, causing it to concave. He didn’t seem very phased by the fact that his nose was now a crater, instead he glared angrily at Jason, who was standing behind me, his golden sword drawn. The boy opened his mouth, instead of words, a shriek came from his mouth, like that of a hawk and his body transformed into a human-like figure, swirling mist crackling with electricity making up his being. 
“Venti,” muttered Jason angrily, “I’ve dealt with your kind before.”
The Venti cackled inhumanly, “You think you are strong.”
“We are,” I managed to say in my proudest voice.
He whipped his head back to glaring at me.
“Hey!” called a voice from behind us, “What’s the hold up?” 
“Lea, go!” said Jason. 
I took the brief distraction to dart forward, avoiding making contact with the electric creature. 
I was so glad I had kept up on my cardio recently, because those stairs were killer. I could hear shouts from behind me, and I felt pursuers on my back, it wouldn’t be easy to out run wind creatures. 
I shoved past angry tourists, they shouted at me to slow down and watch where I was going. 
I felt bad for cutting, but that guilt multiplied by hundreds when I heard screaming then silence, I had put those innocent people in the path of monsters. I had finally reached the observation deck, it was a tiny room with slanted windows showing the outside, metal grates over them, the only way out now was back the way I’d come or down the stairs ahead. I stopped to catch my breath, I thought I was safe, at least for a little while. Jason, Piper, Percy and Leo could probably hold them off for a while. As I stood my hands on my knees breathing deeply, I began to notice how everyone was staring at me and everyone had blue eyes. Electric blue eyes.
I shrieked, the noise was strangled by my own breathlessness. 
Then I spotted it, the exact thing I needed, a locked door, my money was on the fact that there was a service ladder behind it. The blue eyed people began to close in, there were no real tourists there. Sometimes mortals are tricked into staying out of divine business. In this instance they knew, without knowing, to stay out. 
I backed up to the service door, with a quick turn, I kicked the door, the handle broke off and I rammed through. I hastily shut the door behind me, and analyzed my situation the monster banged at the door trying to ram there was through the steel, for a second I thought I was safe that maybe they couldn’t get through. Then everything went silent, underneath the door, mist began to seep through the cracks . I turned climbing as quickly as I could up the tiny ladder. 
There was a small hatch at the top, I could hear the Venti shrieking and chattering below me, I punched open the hatch with my bare fist, which ended up throbbing like crazy. 
I jumped up and closed the hatch behind me. I was on the torch and I was not alone. 
In the small circular ring stood three other people, Venti inevitably, for a minute they stated a me confused. They obviously didn’t think that they’d have guest. We all stood motionless for a minute, then we all heard the chattering from below and they snapped into action. 
One glanced to the side, I followed his gaze to a small leather bag of sorts in looked like an ancient scroll carrier. I tried to grab it, but the closest one got there before me, he took it and rocketed into the sky. The other two transformed into their spirit selves and began to swirl around me. My feet whipped out from underneath me and I began to be lifted into the air, tumbling over my self in the mini tornado of wind, my hair flying around like crazy. Then the launched me, flying out into the sky, I didn’t go very far, but still there was nothing underneath me but air. For a few seconds everything slowed down, I saw the two storm spirits fly away, and I noticed something whip past me, the first on, he’d flown the wrong direction and now he was going to catch up with his buddies. My arm instinctively shot out and I gripped onto the leather carrying case. I was pulled rapidly through the air, I wrestled, with him for the bag. He gave me one last look and tried to grab for my hair, I punch him square in the face. For a second he looked dazed and he body turned completely into mist, the satchel slipped through his body and I began to fall again. I was right next to the State I tried to grab for something, my grasp catching on her dress I hung for a minute, but my strength failed. I let go and I shot downward, half-sliding, half-falling. I tried to get a new hold on the statue, the slick surface making my fingers fumble across the folds of the limestone fabric. 
I was only about a hundred feet from the ground when, everything around me began to slow again, the ADHD in my head causing the world to seep into the same slow-motion it always does when I’m in danger. I looked at the leather satchel, I didn’t think there would be anything in it to help me, because it was empty. But then a flash a bronze shone from the side, a small knife was strapped to the side, and as I fell I grabbed it and stabbed to my side. The unimaginably strong metal sank into the limestone and the world flying past me was yanked to a stop. My arm was almost pulled out of it’s socked, but I hung pretty much unscathed, a hundred feet from the ground. I panted, thinking of what to do next, there was no good option. I could either fall, and land on cement or stay here until my arm failed. 
I looked at the ground, people moving around like tiny figurines, no one noticed me, the mist must have been pretty thick around here. 
I scanned the crowd for bright orange and my eyes met a match, I could see two people in neon orange shirts near the entrance and another in silver. I watched them for a minute, then more people busted through the door, three more orange shirts and Jason in purple. I could see that Annabeth was the first to spot me. Within seconds Jason was flying up to me, “You want down?” he asked playfully. 
“Nah, I think I’ll just hang up here,” I said sarcastically. He held me in his arms and lowered us to the ground. We walked up to the group proudly, “Got it,” I said, holding up the satchel.
“Sweet,” said Leo.
“Are you okay,” asked Thalia.
“Aside from almost falling to my death, I’m good. Jason, how fast can you get this to Zeus?”
“Give me five minutes,” he said, and I handed it to him. He flew off towards the Empire State building and just like he promised he was back in no time. 
“The attendant said Zeus would be visiting us with our information soon,” he said, upon landing. 
“Let’s hope he keeps that promise,” said Piper.
“Oh Lea,” said Percy, he stepped up to me, and held out his hand. In his palm was my necklace, dented, one of the small jewels shattered and the chain completely broken. 
I held it in my hand, gently, I pressed the center jewel, in turned into sword form, the blade was a bit warped, and one of the stones was till broken, but other than that it looked fine. 
“Can you fix it?” I asked, looking at Leo. 
He looked sad, “I can get the dent out, but the chain and jewel are beyond fixing.”
“Okay, thanks,” I turned it back into mist form, and stuck it in my back pocket with my shield trinket, “We better get going.”
And with that, we set off, our journey already painful even though it had only just begun.

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