Gaia towered over them, rising from the ground like no enemy they had ever faced before. The tiny group of demi-Gods were exhausted, battered and bruised from fighting Gaia and her army. Percy raised his sword, the battle was almost over, he could feel it. Gaia was too powerful.
Gaia had been slowly draining the Gods power for months, growing stronger with every ounce of power she gained. With her rise they would fall. The rift between the camps had made the Gods vunerable. The Gods had been left confused between their Greek and Roman selves causing chaos for the demi-Gods, but with the Gods weakened, Gaia had finally managed to tip the balance and rendered the Gods useless to the demi-Gods. Now, suddenly, they were down to their last remnants of life. Olympus was falling. From the camp, that was now a battlefield strewn with fallen demi-Gods, Percy could see Zeus on his knees. The Gods had ran out of time. Percy felt a fresh wave of dread come over him, he couldn’t save the Gods.
Since he was twelve years old he had been risking his life on quest after quest, fighting countless monsters, all for the Gods. And when they needed him now, Percy had been willing to die for them. He thought of Hazel, whose blood had already been spilled, Frank fighting to protect his injured girlfriend, Nico joining them to help his sister. They all stood by his side facing the worst of them all, they were taking their final stand against Gaia. After risking so much already, they were ready to lay down their lives. Abandoned by the Gods all their lives, they were left to sacrifice themselves for them.
The last time, Percy swore, this was the last time he would ever risk his life or the lives of his friends for the Gods. They’d been through too much already, they were not pawns to be used. He’d been to Tartarus and back for them, he’d been to the Doors of Death themselves and now, this was the end.
Gaia loomed over them, power radiated from her. All around them demi-Gods were fighting Gaia’s army, her form was terrifying, so huge she consumed the earth and sky.
Percy panicked. He’d had enough. With Gaia’s rising meant the fall of Olympus, the death of the Gods. But that didn’t have to mean the end of the world. He wouldn’t let it.
“Pathetic,” she spat at them. “Puny demi-Gods could never defeat me. Look at you, so foolish to fight for your selfish Gods. You are nothing more than puppets to control for their own amusement. They would let you die for them, just to threaten a new war once you are gone and let more of you take their place at their feet. You have chosen wrong.” Her words struck Percy hard, he would never let her rule, but could he honestly say the Gods were doing much better?
What had the Gods ever done but used him, used all of them. For centuries and centuries, causing war and destruction leaving demi-Gods to die pointlessly during their tirade and if they survived, cleaning up their mess afterwards.
Leo felt Percy tense. He knew Percy heard the truth in Gaia’s words too. He could see the Gods fall all around him, dying. Dying, was it possible? Leo could still see the image of Hazel falling, the blood of Olympus, Gaia only needed one more and she would have the power to fully rise and drain the Gods of everything they had left. And judging by the chaos they had already seen her cause even in her current form, he definitely didn’t want to let that happen. But the Gods could not help them now, and without them, they couldn’t save the Gods. Leo suddenly felt hopeless.
Save the Gods, save the world? For how long? How long would the peace last before the Gods found another reason to fight, another way to use and endanger their demi-God children? They'd already kept the camps apart, Piper scorned. Kept her from Jason. What if she'd never found him? The thought was unbearable. As long as the Gods were around there would never be peace, it was only a matter of time until the demi-Gods were needed to fight again.
Annabeth’s heart broke as she saw monster after monster lay waste to Camp Half-Blood, cabins destroyed, demi-Gods slaughtered. Gods dying as Gaia drained them of their power. Reyna had managed to bridge the gap between the two camps and now both sides were fighting Gaia's monsterous army. But the demi-Gods had allied too late to save the Gods, they'd become too weak. Annabeth thought the camp would last forever but even the Gods rule was waning, Gaia was winning. Gaia cannot win, she thought. But her confidence was fading.
“The Gods will die and there will be no one left to mourn their loss. Gods only cause war and destruction, they are stupid and petty. You were wrong to fight on their side.” Gaia rose higher, the Gods cried out as the last of their life slipped away.
Percy could hardly believe it. He’d seen plenty of monsters die, but Gods were different. Is it possible? he thought.
It was now or never. They had to make a decision. Save the Gods, save Olympus? Or just save the world.
Gaia sensed the end coming, but she needed the blood of one more to fully rise. “The world will be better off without your useless Gods, using children to fight their battles. Letting their children come to die alongside them. How heroic,” she scorned. “The world is mine!” The earth shifted under their feet in an almighty earthquake.
“No!” Percy roared. “It’s ours.”
The demi-Gods charged. They all knew it was for the last time.
Gaia screamed as they attacked. The ground shook beneath their feet with her rage, massive fissures opening up in the earth around them.
Everything seemed to happen at once then for Percy. He saw Piper swallowed up by the earth as they ground under her crumbled away, Jason didn’t hesitate and flew in to the chasm after her. The others dodged the voids as best they could and rushed on Gaia. Everywhere demi-Gods were battling Gaia's forces, Roman and Greek alike.
Suddenly Percy found himself somersaulting through the air. It had only taken Gaia a second to strike and he landed hard with a sickening thunk. The world around him shifted out of focus, he could see red across his vision.
Gaia let out an unearthly roar.
The blood of Olympus?
Whose blood was second? Piper, Jason? It took Percy a second to realize, it was his.
He felt a cold rush over him and the world swam out of focus, everything around him turning black.
Piper felt the earth fall from under her feet. One second she was charging, dagger raised, the next her feet connected with nothing but air.
She screamed, feeling her stomach flip, like she was on the worlds biggest rollercoaster. She heard Jason yell after her but all she could see was darkness, pulling her further down.
The wind rushed past her as she fell. Suddenly she felt a snag on her jacket. Piper cried out at the sudden stop, pain flaring up in her neck from whiplash.
Jason strained to lift Piper, he felt like he was caught in a whirlpool or tornado. Gaia's evil energy was sucking them down further. Jason and Piper sank deeper and deeper, he felt like running the wrong way up an escalator.
Finally he found the strength and managed to summon up a huge gust of wind and the pair sailed out of Gaia's grasp. Shooting up out of the hole they landed hard on the cracked ground.
Piper collapsed breathing hard, she sat up wincing and rubbed her neck, pain still crippling her. She felt her head spin painfully, everything happened so fast, she was too disorientated to focus.
Before Jason had a chance to even speak to Piper, a monster charged at him. He sprung to his feet, sword raised, blocking the monsters path to Piper and was instantly locked in battle.
Leo saw Piper fall and watched as Jason plunged full speed into the earth after her. Percy was thrown a million miles an hour by Gaia swotting him like a fly. The others continued their charge only to be cut off by Gaia’s army. The Gods were powerless to save their own children.
Percy had called the world ‘ours’, they all knew what that meant, as impossible as it seemed. The world was the demi-Gods'.
Leo had been tormented by the Gods for years, he knew they all had. Gaia, Hera, his father, they had all been the same.
He knew Percy had decided the same thing.
Gaia’s earth splitting roar hit Leo like a tidal wave and he was almost knocked off his feet. The blood of Olympus had been paid. Time had ran out.
Gaia had risen.
All around them the world erupted in blinding light. Leo was witnessing the most unbelievable sight, the Gods burst apart into a trillion tiny pieces, leaving nothing but golden dust blowing away into the wind.
Annabeth stared in awe and horror at the beautiful sight. Not even the daughter of wisdom could have thought it possible. They were on their own now, it was up to them to save the world one last time.
Frank was battling next to her after Nico had taken Hazel somewhere safe. Annabeth saw him changing into animal after animal, ploughing through as many monsters as he could. As the Gods vanished she saw him falter, in his distraction a monster charged at him and knocked him off his feet. She gasped and rushed to his side but was cut off by another monster and she lifted her sword and carved through the beast.
Leo charged, he was determined. This wasn’t the end for the demi-Gods, far from it, this was their time.
Arms raised to the sky, an expression of pure ecstasy on her face as the Gods vanished into dust, Gaia could never have seen it coming.
Anger raged through him as Leo dived. He swung his sword in an fiery arc as his hands and sword set ablaze and brought it down as hard as he could into Gaia’s chest, right in to her evil heart. Her form shuddered causing the earth to shake and the ground at their feet ripped apart further, almost sending him sprawling. He clung to his sword as it ripped down Gaia's body, she was set alight with Leo's flame as his sword spread the blaze across her. She screamed as his fire fought against her powers of earth, 'to storm or fire the world must fall'. Leo heard the words echoing in his mind and he felt power surge through him. Gaia was finally losing, his power burning away at hers. His enflamed hands grew brighter and heat almost burnt him. The flames flared across Gaia, he felt the power of the Gods surge through him, golden dust shone inside the flames. No longer the Gods power to control, and no longer aiding Gaia, their indestructible power fuelled Leo's flames and Gaia's form turned to ash at his finger tips.
The Gods may have been gone but energy can never be destroyed, only transferred. By some miracle it had been transferred to Leo, just when he needed it most.
Gaia crumbled, her form burnt to cinders. She was sucked back down into the earth, like being caught in quicksand. The earth claiming her once again to sleep for another eternity.
Victory was finally theirs.
Leo was left falling, a gaping chasm opened and his vision was consumed by the darkness that awaited him. Leo flailed and plunged his sword into the chasm walls, he could feel Gaia's essence in the rocks pulling him further into the pit. He strained to slow himself down but there was no way to stop himself from being swallowed. Leo lost his grip on the sword, he was falling too fast, there was nothing he could do.
He thought of Calypso, knowing now he could never keep his promise of returning to free her from Ogygia.
Suddenly he heard a mechanical screech and gold flashed across his vision. His mind went hazy and he blacked out still falling to his death.
Annabeth couldn’t believe what she was seeing, Festus shot across the sky towards Leo as he fell, thank the Gods he'd made more modifications to him on the Argo II. They both plunged into the chasm and smoke blocked her view of them, something was burning.
Gaia's forces fell along with her, no longer having the power to fight alone now their mistress was gone. They disappeared back in to the earth where they came from, from dust to dust.
Demi-Gods all around camp stood in shock as Gaia’s army was finally defeated, even when it had been too late for the Gods.
Piper saw Annabeth and rushed over to her. "Annabeth," she called. Once her head had cleared Piper had raced back into battle, Jason had been busy with his own fight and she quickly lost sight of him. “It’s over, but how?” she exclaimed. “And Gods! Leo did that?!”
Annabeth gasped, hugging her hard, the last she’d seen of her she’d been falling into a pit. “I didn’t think it was possible,” Annabeth breathed, releasing her.
“Where are the others?” Piper asked, dreading the answer.
“Percy . . .”
In the seconds before the end of the battle Percy felt the water engulf him. The blood cleared and he felt his injuries slowly healing. He used the last of his energy to look up, and he saw the glowing figure of Poseidon standing over him, straining as water rushing from his hands. The very last of Poseidon's energy flowed into Percy.
“Thanks dad,” he croaked, as light suddenly blinded him. He watched as Poseidon drifted away like golden sand.
Whatever else he could say about the Gods, Percy would always have that. In his dying moments, his father had saved his life.
A few hours later, they were all gathered around a burning camp fire in the middle of the wreckage of Camp Half-Blood. The clean up after the battle was underway, but now all Leo wanted to do was to sit and eat. Usually at every meal they threw some food into the fire as offerings to the Gods, but now there was no need to. Some campers found themselves following the old tradition, maybe out of habit or maybe to honour the memories of the Gods.
Memories. That was all they were now. The idea still baffled Leo, but not as much as the fact that after everything they’d been through, it was him who had finally put an end to Gaia.
“So,” Piper began, looking uncertain. “That’s it? No more Gods? Just like that?”
“Not necessarily,” Annabeth answered. “Gods don’t really die, they will eventually reform. But for now as far as we’re concerned, yes the Gods of Olympus are gone.”
“But it will take them centuries, at least, for them to reform,” Frank added. “I mean, we have just shut the Doors of Death and everything.” He had been busy tending to Hazel's wounds since the battle. Hazel herself looked fine now, but Frank couldn't help but fuss over her. Nico was sitting with them too, looking extremely grateful not to have lost another sister.
“They’re our great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren’s problem now.” Leo only stopped adding greats to take a bite of pizza.
“So we better make sure we make the most of it now then, so the Gods have less to mess up when they get back.” Jason had his arm slung around Piper’s shoulders. "That's a lot of responsibility, we better make sure we use the power better this time. The Gods messed up far too much."
"If only Luke was here to see this," Percy exclaimed. Luke Castellan. Now that was a name Annabeth hadn't heard in a while. For years Luke was trying to wage a war of the Gods, pitting Gods against each other and gathering an army of demi-Gods to fight them. He even tried to raise Kronos but the titan would have caused even more chaos than Gaia had.
"I would never have guessed we'd end up doing exactly what he wanted," Annabeth frowned. "An all out war with the Gods would never have worked. He went about it all wrong. He would never have been able to defeat the Gods."
Luke had died entering the River Styx a few years ago, he'd even poisoned the protection around camp, almost killing their friend Thalia, Jason's sister. She was now with the Hunters of Artemis, although Annabeth realized with Artemis gone there was no Hunters.
“Speaking of the Gods,” Reyna said. “Does this mean the Roman Gods are gone too? Or just the Greek?”
“All of them I guess,” Nico said.
Reyna paled, the idea was still too crazy for most of them to understand. It would take a while to sink in.
“Wait, wait,” Piper shook her head. “All? As in all Gods? Egyptian, Norse? Or just Greek and Roman?”
Percy hadn’t thought of that. “I don’t know,” he shrugged.
Annabeth glanced at him remembering the time he'd told her about his run in with another demi-God like them, but somehow, he hadn't been like them at all.
“I can’t imagine we affected any other religions,” Annabeth hoped. “It was Greek and Roman who had the closest ties.”
Leo gulped. “Other religions? What are we getting at here? Are there more camps?”
“Not long ago we had no idea a Greek camp existed,” Reyna reminded.
“Still, we can’t be sure,” Annabeth said. “Right now, we have our own camp to worry about.”
“Well, we have you for that. Now’s your chance to be a real architect.” Percy smiled. “We can start again, build a new camp. Our own way this time.”
“Camp, or camps?” Piper asked, glancing at Jason, clearly wondering if he was planning on joining Reyna at Camp Jupiter.
“Camp.” Reyna answered. “At least for now. Camp Jupiter is mostly intact. We can work as one for now rebuilding your camp. And after that, demi-Gods can live between the two camps if they desire. There will alway be a place for you in New Rome.”
"Don't worry," Jason took her hand. "I'm going wherever you are. And I can't wait to show you New Rome one day."
Annabeth's smile brightened. “Now that we know about each other there’s no reason not to, we’ve fought together after all. We might as well stay that way. The Gods would never have understood that.” Now Annabeth knew they could live long and happy lives together without the Gods interrupting them. She could study to be an architect, they could even live together in New Rome after they re-built Camp Half-Blood. Annabeth knew they could learn a lot from the Romas, she could build a school, anything she wanted. Homes for families like Coach Hedge, Millie and their new baby. A place where all demi-Gods were welcome and safe.
“To us!” Percy cheered. “The new Blood of Olympus.”
Leo patted Festus, on the ride to Camp Half-Blood he'd decided he couldn't leave Festus out of the action. He was now a fully functioning metal dragon again.
And after saving his life, he couldn't be more proud of him.
"It's time," Leo said. "First thing tomorrow we're heading to Ogygia. There's someone waiting for me."