Percy was still blinking rapidly after the son of Hades. Annabeth was laughing next to him apparently not that shocked. She was a daughter of Athena after all Percy thought. She grabbed his arm pulling him out of his daze, “Come one Seaweed Brain,” she said, “There is someone that wants to see you.”
She pulled him off at quite a speed which for someone who used to get outrun by dryads was no fun. Despite the revelation he just witnessed somewhere in the back of Percy’s mind was a little cheering centaur at the thought of spending the next few years with Annabeth. As long as they could make it through the senior year of high school without another deadly turn of events they’d be free in New Rome for four years. Now that was something he really looked forward to. Annabeth kept dragging Percy onwards into the woods around Camp Half-Blood he saw lots of memorable sights on their path. The stream were him and Thalia had that stand-off that the mummified oracle interrupted. The pile of rocks that had once hid an entrance to the labyrinth. And their final destination the clearing in which Grover had been put before the Council of Cloven Elders. And waiting in the clearing was the satyr himself but he wasn’t alone.
“Percy,” Grover bleated nearly jumping all the way to Percy in one Olympic standard leap. He grabbed Percy and shook him very hard, “How dare you disappear off the face of the Earth and then go on a life threatening quest without me!”
Percy laughed, “I promise not to do it again G-man.”
It was Grover and Annabeth’s time to laugh at Percy’s use of Grover’s old nickname. It was nice to be reunited at long last. The original three.
“Don’t go forgetting about me,” a black haired girl dressed in silver said stepping into the old group.
“Of course not Thalia,” Percy said smirking at the Lieutenant of the Hunters of Artemis.
“You should see him and Jason Thalia,” Annabeth said, “They’ve got quite the blossoming bromance.”
“No way,” Thalia said looking at Percy expecting him to rebuke it. He tried to think of a witty answer but was drawing up a blank. Grover looked semi-disappointed as if this meant that he wasn’t Percy’s best friend anymore. As the two girls had a little catch up Percy sat next to Grover.
“You okay?” he asked.
“Yeah I’m fine,” Grover replied without much conviction.
“You are still an awful liar Grover. Come on spill the beans.”
“I missed you Percy but everything has changed so much now. I mean why would you still want to be friends with a satyr like me. I couldn’t even find you through the empathy link,” Grover said dejectedly.
“Grover you’ll always be my best friend, here’s the deal next great prophecy you can come with no matter what. Deal?” Percy said offering his fist to be bumped by the satyr. Watching Grover’s face soften was enough of an acceptance for Percy. But the following fist bump was also a good sign of accepting the offer.
“So what did you get up to on your amazing journey across to Greece and with the Romans?” Grover said.
“That’s a long story,” Annabeth said coming to sit down across from Percy, Thalia sat next to her forming a nice circle.
“I’m sure we’ve got time,” Thalia said nudging Annabeth.
“Well if you really want to know the story I suppose we should recruit the rest of the se-,” she hesitated a pain crossing her eyes, “rest of the crew members of the Argo II to come and help.”
“Ask and you shall receive,” Jason announced strolling into the clearing. Holding his hand was Piper and behind them a shy looking Nico and Will Solace.
“Hope you don’t mind Will wanted to hear the story too,” Nico said. Percy could have sworn he blushing despite his usual pallid skin. He considered asking them who they knew but he saw Katoptris glittering in Piper’s belt he knew already how they knew.
“Hazel, Frank and Reyna have just left,” Jason said frowning.
“I’m sure between us all we can manage to fill in the blanks,” Annabeth said assured in her statement. Undoubtedly she could fill in the blanks because she’d probably kept up with all the different events. She was very logical after all. The circle widened Annabeth scooting right up Percy whilst the four newcomers filled in the gap. Nico sat next to Annabeth and whispered in her ear. She laughed at whatever he’d said and both of them looked at Percy before breaking down into giggle fits. Percy didn’t mind though if it was at his expense, it was good to see Nico happy, it had been a long time coming. Literally.
“So I suppose the story starts with you,” Thalia said turning to her brother. He looked a little unsure of how to proceed but Piper was quick to the mark. She really did have a way with words.
“We learned the hard way that the mist was powerful,” she began and she told the tale of her, Jason and Leo’s encounter with the first giants. Her voice always seemed to slip slightly when she mentioned Leo. Jason filled in on an occasion as she paused trying to blink back tears. This was going to be much harder than they’d realised Percy thought. When you see something in reflections the imperfections became much harsher and more painful. The story continued onto Percy and then the story kept going until it arrived back to Camp Half-Blood where they had all been sitting for quite a while now. The sky was dark and Percy shivered slightly knowing that the goddess responsible for night was not a friendly force. Annabeth seemed to be on the same wavelength as she was looking around a little nervously.
“Wow,” Thalia said.
“Wow doesn’t cover it,” Grover said just looking at the circle of demigods. He must have been a little proud of the ones amongst us he personally had found.
“You guys have been through a lot,” Will said looking at Nico fondly. I couldn’t help but notice that he had taken hold of Nico’s hand when Nico told his tale of going through Tartarus alone. Compared to Nico Annabeth and I had it easy Percy thought.
“Found them Chiron,” a girl’s voice rang out across the glade. “Where was my invite to the little storytelling circle?”
“Sorry Rachel,” Annabeth said smiling at our Oracle. “Has the power of prophecy come back yet? Because then you would have got your invite.”
“Well it hasn’t so no invite for me,” Rachel said as Chiron entered the little clearing which was now becoming rather packed.
“No one in our cabin has got it back either,” Will said quickly releasing Nico’s hand in Chiron’s presence. Percy almost reminded him that Chiron had been a live for long enough to have seen it all but that was how he wanted to be it was fine. Annabeth leant against Percy’s side as Chiron looked around the group of assembled demigods.
“Thalia, Lady Artemis Iris-messaged me earlier,” Chiron said looking at her in a bemused fashion, “Apparently the Lieutenant disappeared yesterday and she was getting worried.”
The group laughed at this was what we had come to expect from Thalia. No one could quash her rebellious streak. Smirking she stood up and wished us goodbye.
“See you guys later I suppose,” she hugged her brother then Percy, Annabeth and Grover. She waved to the others and began to run off. But she froze. She turned back to us her eyes a light with fear, “Guys look at Rachel.”
Rachel looked down at herself as the assembled group also looked at her. Percy realised why Thalia had frozen, around Rachel’s feet was the green mist that was associated with the Oracle.
“It seems you were premature with your question Rachel,” Chiron observed.
“So prophecies are back?” Rachel asked.
“It would appear so,” Chiron said. He laughed, “But if you could refrain from giving us another great prophecy after the conclusion of one that would be most appreciated.”
Demigods nodded in synchronisation but Percy had a suspicion that they would not be that lucky. Rachel held her hand up.
“I don’t have control over th-,” she stopped speaking she blinked but when her eyes opened they were green.
“Spoke to soon,” Chiron said shaking his head. The assembled demigods sprung back each representing their own united front. Nico and Will stood close by each other, Jason and Piper linked fingers and Percy and Annabeth were side to side as they always had been ready to take on whatever was thrown at them. Grover had jumped by Chiron each associated with the Council of Cloven Elders they represented their front. Rachel’s tripled voice rang out across the clearing.
“When claimed, the one of polluted blood,
Time will pass on the oncoming flood.
The sea will rise and take the land,
The ancient one plays a dangerous hand.
The child alone can prevent the fall,
Of Olympus as the sea claims all.”
Rachel buckled to the ground but Chiron and Grover were there by her side quickly grabbing her to prevent her completely collapsing. Percy looked at Annabeth anxiety displayed on both their faces. Chiron said, “I’m sure that’s enough excitement for one night now off to bed with you all.”
Annabeth pulled Percy into the woods and held his hand. He in turn stroked her face. Annabeth said, “We aren’t lucky enough to avoid a third great prophecy are we?”
“I very much doubt it,” Percy replied pulling Annabeth in for a hug. “But if it happens after a year from now we’ll be in New Rome and free from it.”
“Optimistic Seaweed Brain,” Annabeth said clutching her boyfriend tightly.
“It will be okay Wise Girl, we’ve got each other,” Percy said pushing Annabeth back slightly.
“Yes we do,” Annabeth said grabbing Percy’s face. She pulled it in for a kiss and Percy thought that it would be okay in the end. They really did have each other after all.