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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6. 6-We Create Chaos in Central Park

6-We Create Chaos in Central Park
We all loaded back into the van hastily, I had to dive roll into the back seat, accidentally kicking Jason in the face, although he didn’t seem to notice or care. Percy drove us down the unfamiliar busy streets of New York and I watched as people passed by, even though I was beat up and most of my stuff was broken I felt better, like I finally belonged. Eventually Percy pulled up and parallel parked (with a lot of instruction from Annabeth) next to a small field lined with neatly planted trees. We all scrambled back out of the van, packing up our weapons and slinging our bags over our shoulders. I breathed deeply, we were about to enter the underworld, my brain was racing fast in anticipation. To be honest, I wasn’t ready. 
Percy led the way to a small clearing, there was a large lump of rocks at the far end of the clearing. It didn’t look like anything special, just a few hunks of granite jutting up from the ground. The clearing had a strange vibe about it though, like the chill you get when your inside a cave, it smelled of decomposing leaves, wet rock and a scent that made me shiver with remembrance, death. A cool mist hung over the grass, and I felt a familiar presence, Nico had been here recently. 
Percy looked at time pitifully, he felt it too. 
He sighed, then put on a smile, “Okay now we need some music.” Everyone looked at each other desperately. 
Leo piped up, “I can do one man acapella whilst doing the Macarena.”
He then went into a fit of random body spazzes and doing what sounded like juke-boxing. 
Piper laughed and replied, “I don’t think that’s considered music, in any way.”
Leo stopped abruptly looking put-down. 
“Lea can sing,” suggested Percy brightly. 
A sudden wave of embarrassment washed over me like a tsunami., everyone turned to look at me. 
I tried to reply with no, but all that came out was a stifled squeak. 
Luckily Thalia came to my rescue, “wait, guys, I think I have something.”
She rummaged through her bag and pulled out a silver Ipod, she unplugged the silver Skullcandy headphones and blasted MCR through the tiny speakers. It sounded horrible, the speaker quality shredding the music, but it worked anyways, the there was a deep rumbling and a tiny crack appeared in the rock. I stepped forward trying to look into the darkness. Before I could react, creatures began spilling out of the hole, what followed them was much worse. Out of the chasm flew a chariot made of metal so rusty I couldn’t tell what it used to be, and covered in barbed wire, being pulled by two huge creatures, which was kind of odd since they were slightly humanoid things.
Riding the chariot was the scariest woman I have ever seen. 
She was bone thin, every veins bulging and exposed, with patchy, balding, shaggy black hair and eyes like a feral dog. A trail of drool poured from the corner of her mouth, intermixed with blood. 
“I am Palioxis. Now, Run!” 
She yelled with such intense force, my body shivered uncontrollably, and I had to fight every instinct to obey her command. But I held my ground, shaking.
I watched as my friends backed up, resisting the ever growing urge to flee.
The tiny creatures took this opportunity to strike.
I punched and threw the tiny little beings off me, but I kept my eyes on the door, and I watched in horror as the last of the hundred creatures ran out, the rocks crashed in on each other and then sank below the earth. 
“Keres!” shouted Percy. “They’re only babies but don’t let them scratch you.”
Great timing. 
At that second on of the little daemons sank it’s claws into my shoulder and tore into my forearm, sliding down. Four red streaks all the way to my inner arm. I screamed in agony. That arm had already been through so much today. White hot rage, mixed with the pain and I felt a surge of adrenaline shoot through my veins.
“Drop dead!” I shrieked. Whacking one away with the side of my wrist. Another jumped up and bit me on the back of my neck like a mini-vampire. I grabbed it by it’s wing and slammed it as hard as I could onto the ground, it exploded into dust on contact. 
My friends weren’t doing much better than I, Thalia picked on the fleeing ones with her bow, Percy and Jason hacked away with their swords whilst, Annabeth and Piper sliced with their knives. Clarisse was stabbing with her spear and Leo was no where to be found, so I was sword-less at the moment. My armor was in my bag which was sitting about ten feet away. I tried to get to it but as I knocked away creatures, more piled on. 
I could feel the venom seeping into my circulatory system as they clawed and bit me. 
I just hoped to the gods, that it wasn’t like rattlesnakes when it came to the baby’s being more venomous. 
Everything began to blur and and my legs went numb, I stumbled to my knees, more creatures latched on, tearing open my skin. 
The woman laughed as she watched me struggle.
With one final breath I yelled as loud as I could, “Get off!” 
A surge of power exploded out from my chest, and a circle of bright pink light flared out around me, a foot in circumferences then expanding fathers around me. My hair whipped around as if there was a hurricane torrent swirling around me, my hair band broke and I could feel my powers take over. I could tell my eyes were glowing by the pink rim of light around my vision. I suddenly felt stronger, re-energized. All of the Keres within ten feet of me fell to the ground, sound asleep. The pink glow faded, and I reverted back to normal. 
I took on look at myself, my clothes were ripped and bloody, a black liquid oozed from some of the bites. I unclenched my fists, stretching my fingers, and then fell, the power too much for my body to take. 
I crumpled to the ground, closing my eyes hoping to soothe the ache that tore through my temples. 
I bony finger stroked under my chin, making me look up. Palioxis, had dismounted her chariot and was now focusing on me. She chose me either as her target because I was the weakest link or because I was supposed to be the leader.
“I am the goddess of backrush, fleeing from the site of battle, now do as I say just like your friends and flee!” she growled. 
I glanced quickly to see all of my friends gone, dispersed. 
Palioxis clutched my neck, cutting off my breath, choking me and lifting me to my feet. She snarled, showing pointed teeth, and then threw me. 
I crashed through the trees, she had to be a goddess because I flew at least 300 feet, straight into a pond. Naiads and frogs scrambled to get out of my way as I crashed into the green water. I inhaled the slimy algae, continually choking. When I broke the surface, I gasped frantically for oxygen. 
Standing unscathed a the edge of the pond, was Palioxis, she laughed manically. 
“Run, little warrior, run from all that scares you.”
I mustered up the strength, courage, and breath to say what I did next, “No.”
That probably wasn’t the best choice of words when talking to a battle goddess. 
“NO! What do you mean ‘no’? You have no weapons, you are defenseless, you’re friends are gone, you’re dead.”
“Not quite,” said a voice from behind me. Percy stood tall and proud, his face defiant, as usual. 
The water around me started to swirl, gurgling to life. 
“Now it’s your turn to flee,” said Percy. 
Palioxis, flinched, she tried to smile but instead her face only twitched, a deep growling sound emitted from her, growing from her gut. She looked rabid, possessed by hatred. She wasn’t willing to go up against both Percy and I especially when he was in his element and when I was mad. 
“I will be back, I will plague you throughout your journey unceasingly.”
“I’d like to see you try!”
She whipped her glare to me, “You will drown.”
With a swirl of black mist she disappeared. 
Percy splashed into the pond, I coughed, trying to get the last of the water out but Percy used his powers and carefully drew the water out of my lungs, which I coughed back up into the pond. 
“We better not let any of the Keres find a water source or else New York will be tormented with plague,” said Percy, kneeling in the murk next to me. 
“Okay,” I agreed, trying to stand up. 
Instead I passed out, plunging back into the water.
I awoke to a cool liquid being poured on my face. I opened my eyes, blinking drowsily. My hair and clothes were still damp and they clung to my body uncomfortably. Annabeth was rubbing some gold liquid into my badly scratched cheek, the pain subdued immediately. I tried to sit up but only blacked out and fell back again, luckily she caught me before I hit the ground. “Whoa there, slowly now,” she said, helping me lean against a nearby tree. I nibbled on some ambrosia and analyzed my situation, the cut on my arm was the worst, I had multiple bites, one that pierced both sides of my right hand, which Percy was wrapping up with ambrosia soaked gauze at the moment. 
He looked at me, his sea green eye shining with worry, “You got it worst,” he said, “We all got a bit scratched up, but without a weapon or armor, you didn’t stand much of a chance. Luckily the poison isn’t very strong, but were going to need a god’s help to heal you completely. We killed most of the Keres. Clarisse, has decided to stay back here and hunt the last of them, as we continue our quest. We don’t want any escaping into the city. Leo’s setting up some traps right now.”
I sighed and I let myself sink farther down the trunk of the tree. 
“The door,” I sighed. 
“Gone, we’ll have to enter through L.A. This quest is going to be longer than we expected,” confirmed Percy. 
I groaned miserably, “Disaster already.” 
“Eh, buck up kid, nobody’s died yet,” he said with a slightly crooked grin. 
“Yet.” 
I looked around the clearing, Jason was cleaning his sword and looking at me with pity, a heaviness weighing on his shoulders. Piper was wrapping up a cut on her leg and Thalia was plucking off a few stray Keres with her bow. 
Just then, there was a crack of lightning and everyone jumped. In the middle of the clearing, stood Zeus, in a black pin-stripe suit. 
He cleared his throat, event though all of us were already listening. 
“I’m here with the information I owe you. But first things first, I see you need further help,” he opened his palm and a small white light floated up and then split into seven different pieces, one larger than the rest. The largest ball of light floated out and settled upon my chest absorbing into my body with a faint glow. I could feel the Keres’ venom disappear from my veins. I sighed, the burning sensation finally gone. The others had also been healed of the poison. Zeus continued, As you suspected, the entrance here has been destroyed and you must now travel to Charon’s Ferry. The underworld, unfortunately, has been overtaken, by whom, we do not know, so enter cautiously, the Keres were only the beginning. But not all being’s down below are volatile, seek friends in the underworld and they will find you. And what ever you do, stay away from-“
Another crack of lighting and he was suddenly gone, leaving us open mouthed and confused. 
“Well thanks for all the info!” shouted Thalia angrily, “just like him to leave us hanging.”
“Maybe, something more important came up,” suggested Annabeth. 
Everyone nodded, hoping that he would return to finish his sentence soon. 
We waited in silence and I was left to my thoughts. 
I wondered, what could be so important that he would stop mid-sentence?
Was there something wrong?
I gazed up at the New York skyline, the Empire State building rose above all else. 
Thick purple storm clouds gathered around the building tip, and it frightened me, because that meant Zeus was preparing for a fight.

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