Percy didn’t think they would last much longer. The monsters just came in relentless waves. It was like looking through his own memories, old monsters he’d fought and new ones. Geryon was riding a fire breathing horse- Percy’s own kind- and cracking his whip. The Minotaur even had the guts to make an appearance, what after both his horns being snapped off by Percy himself. Frank was doing his ‘son of Mars’ thing, glowing red one minute and turning into a rampaging rhino the next. Percy was still slightly jealous that he couldn't turn into a giant PercyKoi.
Piper was trying her best, but the bigger the monster got, the less the charmspeak washed over them. The less monsters she killed, the more monsters that got annihilated by Percy’s hurricane. He could feel his power seeping away, but he couldn’t stop going at 110 percent. He had to save his friends.
He was in the middle of bringing down a deadly arc upon a pack of lycanthropes when someone yelled, “Percy!”
He whipped his head around while parrying with the wolf’s teeth.
“It’s me! Leo!”
Percy was confused. Leo couldn’t teleport. But as he turned around he could see the all too familiar mist of an Iris Message. Leo was trying to get his attention by waving and Calypso stood in the background. Percy swiped the wolf down and faced Leo.
“Hey, uh, you look a little stuck…”
“You called me for that?” Percy yelled.
“No man, we’re coming! Supreme commander Valdez is ready to roll!”
The display cut off and the sounds of the battle worsened. He was fighting when he saw that familiar blonde hair scraped into a ponytail was working towards him. A clap of lightning struck down and illuminated the room for a few seconds before the smell of smoke filled the air.
Annabeth yelled, “Percy!”
He glanced around, then saw the girl he had known for several years. She killed the monster she was fighting, then ran towards him. Annabeth threw her arms around his neck and kissed Percy on the cheek. “I’m glad you're safe, Seaweed Brain.”
“You too.” He kissed her in reply. “Is everyone okay?”
“Yep. We only managed one roof collapse.” Annabeth gave a meek grin. “But we’re good.” She surveyed the battle around them. “You got the worst, huh?”
“Thats me. I’m just so handsome, I attract monsters by the dozen to come and have the honour of dying upon my sword.” Percy put a regal expression on his face and Annabeth cracked a smile.
“Well then, Prince Charming, we can’t keep your adoring fans waiting.” She sprinted off and joined Piper as she fought.
Percy looked around to see where he was needed most. Frank- I mean, the elephant- was doing fine stampeding everyone in a ten metre radius. Piper had Annabeth by her side, stabbing monsters in the bellies and confusing them with random commands like, "Turn around!" "Shake your hips!" "Touch your toes!" Annabeth waded through the enemy, circling monsters, stabbing out sporadically with her dagger. Piper was realising that the herd of empousai she was facing could not alone be killed by charmspeak. Because they already charmspoke. Annabeth ran towards Piper, then stopped.
"Kelli? Huh. You finally managed to persuade your friends to get out." Annabeth growled.
The empousa snarled back in response. "Where's Percy Jackson? I can feel a feast coming on."
Kelli lunged. Piper rolled and came up on one knee, shooting pineapples and mangoes. Annabeth sidestepped easily. "Out of practice?" The daughter of Athena called sweetly.
Kelli's eyes glimmered. "Annabeth," She said firmly, using charmspeak in her voice. "Come down here." Annabeth swayed slightly and stepped towards the pack, who were grinning manically.
Piper shot Annabeth in the head with a peach, and invisible fog seemed to clear from her grey eyes. She shook her head. "Hi-yah!" She yelled, lunging forward and stabbing Kelli in the chest. Kelli started to wail, a horrible sound, then erupted into dust. "Nice work!" Piper yelled.
"There's still like, seven more! Get to work!"
Piper confused the empousai by shooting fresh pot roast and glazed hams, knocking the monsters off balance with their mis-matched legs. Annabeth yelled out cynical comments and threw rocks she picked up off the ground. The half- vampire-half- donkeys dissolved into dust, their essence floating back to Tartarus.
Jason was calling down the summons of lighting, and letting it all loose on the two hydras that surrounded him. He threw his javelin that lodged in it's neck. The hydras snarled and spat poison goo. Jason dodged and rolled, using the combat training Lupa had taught him. Hazel was drowning miniature monsters with charm bracelets and necklaces from a nearby department store, surrounding them with walls of precious metal. Everything was fine until he saw Geryon, the Texas cowboy still very much alive, the horse's hooves thundering on the ground towards Hazel, who was blissfully unaware of his presence.
“Oh no you won’t!” Percy snarled, then ran into the battle.
The three chested man turned around and almost fell off of his skeletal steed. He readied himself, then scratched his chest as if it was nothing. “You,” he growled.
Percy pointed Riptide at his middle chest accusingly. “Look dude, I don’t know what is wrong with you, but for the last time I will send you back to Tartarus!”
Geryon pouted- not a good look- “You would kill an innocent man like me?”
“Save it for later, you stupid oaf.” And he charged.
Luckily Geryon was out of shape. He had probably been snacking on Monster Donuts and Starbucks while he was down in Tartarus, instead of focusing on combat skills. Percy anticipated his moves, while Geryon ran around trying to dodge. His horse had long since given up and was grazing lazily on the hillside. Percy managed to get the old man lying on his back and Percy put his foot on his left chest. He gave his best taxi cab whistle, and a few moments later a dark shape appeared.
'Blackjack!' Percy called through his mind.
'Yo, boss! What can I do?'
'You see this man? Trample on him. On all his chests. Hard as you can.'
Blackjacks eyes glistened.
'Then do I get a donut?' He asked, 'I heard there's a good place near here.'
'Maybe. Stampede him first.'
Percy removed his foot as his pegasus had already started using Geryon as a tap dancing stage.
“I’ll get you-”
Blackjack did a step-shuffle-toe on his face.
All around Percy the monsters were disappearing. He watched as Jason speared the hydra with his javelin, then skewered the monster into a hydra flavoured shish-kebab. Some of the monsters had sense to flee. Others hacked away at the demigod team, trying their best but failing. Slowly, with the work of his friends, the monsters disappeared and soon enough, only spoils of war were left.
He called in the five demigods and they crowded around in a semi-circle. Percy could hear Blackjack ball-changing and stomping on Geryon.
“Where’s Leo?” Frank asked.
He looked up, as if to decide what shapes the clouds were today. “Never mind.”
Percy gazed to the sky, and saw Buford, the SuperTable, carrying Leo and Calypso. Leo waved from the tabletop, holding a bottle of Lemon Pledge and a rag.
“What the-” Annabeth said.
Buford set on the ground and started putting. “Thanks for the ride, man,” Leo said to his table, and set down the cleaning supplies on the shining surface. The newly arrived demi-god looked up at their confused faces. “Yeah, um, apparently public transport doesn’t work in a war against Greek nasties.”
He moved to Frank pulling a bag out of one of Bufords drawers. “Hey man, Buford says he’s sorry for losing your pants when he pulled them out of the laundry basket to distract Octavion. He got you some new ones and dry cleaned them.” He handed the bag to Frank.
“Thanks, but, uh, a table went into a clothes shop?”
Leo grinned and patted Buford. “He’s special.”
Percy interrupted. “I hate to break up bromances, but now is not the time.”
He addressed the group. “OK. Gaia's sleeping; for now. She was only- well, half awake's not the right word. She was-”
“Like when you’ve just woken up. When your alarm clock goes off.” Piper offered.
“Yeah. So technically, we were Gaias alarm clock. We woke her up, and while she was dazed and slightly grumpy she made a fully fledged war. Hopefully she’ll sleep for-.” Realization dawned on Percy’s face.
He glared at Leo. “Nico was with you, wasn’t he?”
Leo made a gurgling sound in his throat. “Man…. I’m so sorry..” He was suddenly interested in his Nikes.
Percy looked like he’d been winded, slapped and kicked in the gut. Hazel started crying and chunks of emerald popped up around her feet. “You…” Percy growled.
Annabeth put her arm around his shoulder. “Hey. It’s all right.”
“But I promised to keep them both safe...” Percy whispered. “And now they’re both dead.”
“If it makes you feel any better, Thanatos said he’ll be avenged.” Leo added, but Annabeth gave him a death glare with her stormy grey eyes.
“As Percy was saying,” Annabeth continued, “hopefully Gaia will sleep for a long time, until we’re all in a rest home, hopefully, but to be honest, I don’t think she will. We’ve gained one more member,” Annabeth glanced at Calypso, “And we’ve lost one.” Annabeth looked uneasy.
“Camp Half-Blood is partly destroyed. Camp Jupiter; likewise. We have a lot of work to do to repair the camps. The gods have started recovering. And-”
Percy snapped out of his daze. Pointing behind Piper, he yelled “Piper, duck!”
Too late she understood. A bronze sword point embedded itself in her chest, and she stared down in shock. Blood started seeping through her blue singlet.
“Pipes!” Jason yelled.
'This is it,' a sleepy voice murmured. 'The final sacrifice.'
Frank brought the enemy down, a cyclopes, and the monster dissolved into dust.
Jason laid Piper on the ground, and she obliged, staring at the sword point in shock.
“Someone, do something!” He yelled.
“Jason…” Piper whispered, “Love you…” Her eyes fluttered shut.
“Pipes, no!” He cried.
Annabeth pulled a canteen of nectar and some ambrosia out of her bag. She slowly started to trickle it into the wound. She shoved the ambrosia at Hazel. “Here.” Calypso started to sing an enchantment song in ancient Greek.
Percy kneeled next to Annabeth.
“I think its time, for the plan with Carter.” He whispered.
"So its true? Sadie told me, but, I mean, how can you be sure that it works? It could just be another trick."
"Well, yeah, but we've gotta try. I mean, Carter's healing potions, they worked amazingly. Look. Gaia's huge. Everyone underestimated her. Even the gods forgot her monumentus size. She's like Typhon, times two. And the gods barely defeated him."
"Their magic is so different from ours, though. Ice and fire. If we tried to use them together, they'd probably explode. And-"
"Can't you just trust me on this? Once? Carter and I worked together to defeat that petsuckos crocodile or something. You and Sadie killed, uh-"
"Serpais." Annabeth said shortly. "But-"
"Do you really, in that awesome Athena head of yours, believe that seven puny demi-gods with a few special powers, can defeat this... this apparition?"
"Well, no...." Annabeth whispered.
“We don’t have any more time, any more backups, any more anything. It’s now or never.” He said seriously. "To defeat her, we'd need to ring up the whole ghost army, all the Romans, all the Greeks; who are currently defending our home turf, all the-"
"I get it." She sighed. "We're done for unless we call on all the people to help."
"Yes! Did you see how she used us? Manipulated us? She could've made one of us do the chicken dance or order a pizza while she was still half asleep. And if I tried to do that, I'd probably end up with anchovies on my pizza. And I hate anchovies."
Annabeth glared into Percy's eyes, but he stood his ground.
"Um, guys...? Hate to interrupt," Frank said, "But Piper is dying here. Help is accepted."
Annabeth started trickling the nectar over her wound and talked to her soothingly, muttering words of encouragement under her breath.
Piper's breathing became shallow.
Staring at the bleeding figure on the ground, Percy muttered a word under his breath. Six letters. Two syllables. The harmless name could start or change anything. He knew they had underestimated Gaias unlimited power. Thinking that seven demigods could save the world….. pfft. Wouldn’t happen.
“Carter. I need you.”