Percy kissed Annabeth; he hoped not for the last time.
“Seaweed brain” She smiled, though it looked strained.
The cave was impossibly large and was decorated with the bones of prized kills; many Percy guessed were demigod bones. It was unguarded, not a great sign.
“They’re waiting for us” Jason said.
“Thank you Captain Obvious” Leo teased.
Percy looked back at the crew of The Argo ll, his friends. If any of them died...well it would be on him.
“Hazel can you tell what’s down there?” He asked.
All eyes flicked towards her. She looked pale. Frank squeezed her hand reassuringly.
“There’s a series of tunnels and a lot of movement but it does lead to the temple” She finally said.
Dread filled Percy’s veins. His throat tightened. The giants would be there to meet them. Blood would be shed. He wanted to crawl into the sea and hide in its depths. But no, he couldn’t and wouldn’t leave his friends. It was August 1st, the feast of Spes, one of two things would happen: they all die and Gaea would awaken then promptly after, doomsday occurs or the better option they all live, put Gaea to sleep for like ever and he and Annabeth go and get a cheeseburger. He smiled at that idea. A thunderous roar sounded. It made Percy’s teethe chatter.
“Canadians!” He shouted.
Barrelling towards them was a horde of Laistrygonian giants. Frank shot him a dirty look. Percy shrugged.
“Well they’re from Canada anyway” He amended.
“Food!” The giants chanted.
Their shaggy hair flopped up and down as they clambered towards them. Leo was the first to come to his senses. He took off at a hasty dash. Percy grabbed Annabeth’s hand and started running. The others followed suit. Percy knew that the Laistrygonians were herding them into the cave, pushing them onwards. Piper tripped, sending her and Jason tumbling into Frank. They fell in a messy heap. The giants cheered. Their yellow teethe were covered in saliva, they were dribbling. The largest of them broke away from the group. He had a tattoo of Betty Boop on his hairy chest and held a bolder above his head. Percy stopped in his tracks. He turned and ran back to where Frank, Piper and Jason were scrambling to get up. Annabeth was at his side. The first giant was almost on them. In a panic Percy chucked Riptide with all his might. It sliced through the air and lodged itself into the giant’s neck. He dropped his boulder and exploded into a pile of green dust. The other three caught up to Percy and they set off again for the cave. The Laistrygonians howled in fury. Percy guessed he had just taken down the big boss Canadian. They caught up to Hazel and Leo who were standing outside the cave’s entrance, breathless.
“Come on” Percy yelled.
Without stopping he plunged into the oppressing darkness of the cave. He couldn’t see a thing. The giant’s roars could still be heard so on they went, delving deeper into the darkness. Leo summoned flames to his hands. He held them up high as they ran so they could see. Being a human torch made Leo really useful at times like this. Percy found it strange how much Leo had changed from when they had first met. He rarely told jokes anymore and acted really weird whenever Percy was around. He had tried to ask Leo what was bugging him but he would just laugh and shrug it off. Leo pretended like he didn’t know what Percy was on about.
They came to be at a five way intersection. A lovely tunnel extended from each one, they just oozed homeliness what with their jagged rock floors and uneaten limbs strewn wildly.
“Hazel?” Percy asked.
She stepped forward. Her golden eyes shone in the fire’s light.
“That one” She sighed.
She pointed to the one in the middle where blood was smeared across the ground. Glowing eyes stared out at them from the darkness of that opening. They receded and faded on the group’s approach.
“Ladies first” Percy offered.
Annabeth, Piper and Hazel shoved him forward.
“Just a suggestion” Percy smirked.
He took a deep breath and led the group down the tunnel.
“Hazel” Frank whispered though Percy could hear it clearly. “If I die-”
“Listen, you are not going to die, none of us are and if you leave me you’ll regret it” Hazel interrupted, her voice choking with tears.
Percy gripped Annabeth’s hand tighter. He wouldn’t be separated from her again.
“Leo, how’s it going?” Jason asked.
“Mhhh” Leo grunted, barely looking up.
He was trying to build his machine with only one hand and with the other lit the path they were taking. He kept handing mechanical things to Piper to hold. Percy had tried to think of a better plan but even Annabeth couldn’t come up with anything. It would all depend on whether Leo finished his techno gadget. Percy took a step forward then regretted it. He tumbled into a ditch that hadn’t been there a second before. He landed with a thump and Annabeth landed hard on his back.
“Oww” He groaned.
“Sorry” Annabeth said, rolling off him.
Jason’s head popped over the side.
“You guys okay?” He called down.
The ground at his feet crumbled and he too crashed into Percy at the bottom.
“Oww” Percy repeated.
Jason got off of Percy then helped him stand.
“Gaea’s messing with us” Hazel stated from above. “That hole appeared from nowhere”
The earth at their feet rumbled. It seeped up, latching onto Percy, Jason and Annabeth. All three recoiled in fear. They began to sink.
“Help!” Annabeth shouted.
Piper, Hazel, Leo and Frank jumped into the ditch. Leo handed all of his gadgets to Piper. He shot a controlled blast of fire at the soil eating Percy. It turned to slosh and Frank helped Percy to get up. Leo then repeated the process at the soil eating Jason and Annabeth. The dirt melted and they were free. The group climbed out of the ditch, breathing hard. It sealed up and was covered by rock, matching the rest of the floor.
“Thanks man” Percy told Leo.
The others patted him on the back.
“I’m just awesome that way” Leo explained.
Hazel spread her hands in a wide arc. Precious stones appeared on the floor and coated the tunnel.
“That should stop her at least for a while” Hazel remarked. “I’ve surrounded the tunnel in millions of stones”
“Good thinking” Piper said.
Even covered in dirt she looked stunning. Percy still found it strange how a child of Aphrodite could be so unlike an utter girly girl. The roar of one of the Laistrygonian giants echoed all around. They were closing in.
“Time to go” Annabeth concluded.
Percy took the lead and dashed down the tunnel, the others closely behind.
“When this is over we’ll be fit enough to win the Olympics” Leo joked.
No one laughed. Fear clung to them all. The tunnel slanted upwards slightly and they came to be at the foot of a staircase made of stone and soil. At the top they all knew would be the temple. It was where Gaea would rise or she would fall.
“Nice knowing you guys” Leo mumbled.
“It’s been awesome” Percy told.
“Don’t get all sappy on us” Piper ordered.
Percy dramatically feigned wiping tears from his eyes. They started their ascent. The stairs were steep and soon all of them were worn out. Their footsteps reverberated off of the walls and amplified the sound. Leo yelped. Percy turned just in time for him to see Leo slip and fall face first into the steps in front of him. The flames from his hand went out.
“Leo?” Jason called.
“Leo are you okay?” Piper asked.
Leo groaned. The flames reappeared to his hand. He rose, rubbing his nose. It had been bashed pretty badly. He picked up the gadget he was working on. A few screws had come loose.
“You alright man?” Frank wondered.
“Yeah, my nose hurts like crap though” Leo replied. “At least I still look better then you”
“Hey” Frank complained.
“Come on, let’s keep going” Hazel smiled.
They continued on.
“I know a song that’ll get on your nerves, get on you-” Percy sang.
“Please stop” Annabeth begged.
“I know a song that’ll get on your nerves and it goes something like this” Piper laughed.
Soon all of them were singing, even Annabeth after much complaining.
“I know a song that’ll get on your nerves, get on your nerves, get on your nerves” They sang not at all in tune. “I know a song that’ll get on your nerves and it goes something like this”
On and on they went singing like strangled cats. Percy was glad he had managed to lighten the mood. They took a short break, consuming what little water they had left.
Percy surged forward, moving further from the group. Annabeth was at his side.
“You should slow down, you won’t have any energy left to save the world” Annabeth commented.
“We have to hurry” Percy explained.
“I know, we only have a short amount of time left, but we always manage it somehow” She replied.
A huge calloused hand came into the light. Before anyone could so much as blink it had Percy and Annabeth in its grip and was dragging them away. Jason charged forward. He leapt and brought his sword down with bone breaking force. It sunk to its hilt above the knuckle of the hand’s index finger. A booming voice roared in anger. The hand shook in a spasm but did not let Percy or Annabeth go. Frantically they struggled and kicked to no avail. Jason yanked his sword out. The wound on the hand healed almost immediately. It shook Jason off like he was no more than a pesky fly. He slammed into the others and like bowling pins they all went down. The hand receded back into the shadows from whence it came with Percy and Annabeth in tow.
The giant was at least fifty feet tall and was humanoid from the waist up. Like the rest of his kind he had scaly dragon legs. They were the colour of lima beans. He had green hair, breaded with the weapons of defeated foes and startling white eyes. He pulled Percy and Annabeth from a hole in the floor where the stairs ended and held them up to his face. He burst out in laughter, spit flying everywhere.
“Kronos was defeated by the likes of you”
“I’m tougher then I look and man do you need a mint” Percy replied.
“You will show me respect Perseus Jackson, I could crush you in an instant” The giant warned.
Percy was finding it hard to breathe in his grasp. Annabeth was having the same trouble.
“Why don’t you crush us then or you afraid?” Percy asked.
“I am Porphyrion, I fear nothing” The giant boasted.
“I’ve heard of you” Percy told. “You ran away from the goddess of marriage”
Porphyrion squeezed tighter. Both Percy and Annabeth turned a harsh shade of pink. They couldn’t breathe.
“Stop!” Annabeth pleaded.
The giant smirked. He loosened his grip. They gasped, trying to get enough air in. He tossed them into the air. Before they could hit the ground he snatched the pair back into his hand. Percy saw spots. His head spun.
“Behave” The giant ordered.
He turned with them in hand, revealing the temple they were in. It was menacing to say the least. It was a large cavern that stretched out as far as the eye could see. Pillars of ivory and gold held up the ceiling that was adorned by stalactites. On the walls there lay silk tapestries and from Annabeth’s face he could tell they had been made by Arachne, mother of all spiders. They depicted scenes of the giants slaying the gods and Gaea rising to her full majesty. They were breathe taking. Scattered around the room were the giants, or at least the ones that hadn’t been defeated. Some were shorter than others but they all had dragon legs and stupid looking hair. In the center there was an altar, carved from bone. Percy shuddered. He knew that was where the ‘sacrifices’ would be…well sacrificed.
“Our friends will come for us and they will bring the Gods with them” Annabeth lied.
She was trying to buy for time. The likelihood of the Gods much less their friends coming to the rescue was slim.
“Yeah my dad is on his way right now, he told me so himself” Percy shouted for all hear.
The giants snorted. They were not buying it. Percy tried to reach for Riptide but couldn’t, the giant’s grip was too tight.
“You will die today and so will the Gods” One giant bellowed.
The others cheered. They pumped their fists into the air and swung their weapons with glee. Annabeth managed to get a hold of Percy’s hand.
“Ready?” She asked.
Percy nodded. He wasn’t sure what she was doing but she was the smart one so he knew to follow her lead. She managed to pull out the drakon’s fang from the slip in her belt. She stuck it into Porphyrion’s finger and swiped downwards. A greenish goop spilled out, drenching Annabeth. The giant growled. He shook them again. Percy managed to pull Riptide from his pocket. He uncapped the pen and it grew to its full size. He stabbed Porphyrion’s hand, shoving the blade in to its hilt. With a yank he managed to it out then repeated the process again. The giant yelped and dropped them. Percy took hold of the scales on Porphyrion’s shin and grabbed Annabeth.
“Good idea” He grinned.
He released his hold and they slid down the giant’s leg as though it were a slide. They landed with a thump at Porphyrion’s feet. They groaned and before the other giants could react dashed back to the entrance to the stairs. They had to regroup with the others. Porphyrion roared in anger. He turned and attempted to step on Percy and Annabeth. They managed to dodge Porphyrion’s massive foot and dived into the stairs. They toppled down the stairs, two at a time. They kept falling and whacking their heads on the stairs for a couple of minutes. When finally they stopped Annabeth somehow managed to stand. She heaved Percy to his feet. His head felt like it might fall off. Nasty bruises were already forming. The stairs shook as the giants headed for them.
“Come on seaweed brain” Annabeth instructed.
Percy, with what little energy he had left, ran down the stairs. He could hear Annabeth behind him. A loud rumbling sounded. The earth above their heads began crumbling. Percy stopped abruptly. Annabeth barreled into him. Millions of rocks and clumps of mud crashed into the stairs below them. They were trapped. The voice of Gaea laughed all around them.
“No!” Percy yelled.
Frantically he slashed at the wall of earth before him. His efforts were pointless. They saw Porphyrion’s hand draw near.
“Percy” Annabeth whispered. “Percy just stop”
He faced her. In the dim light he could see her. Tears trailed down her cheeks.
“The others can’t get to us now, we’re on our own” She told.
He pulled her into a tight embrace.
“I love you” He said. “I won’t let you die”
Porphyrion once again grabbed them and pulled them back into the temple. Repeatedly he shook the pair and tossed them into the air. His hand had completely healed.
“Mother” The giant called. “The time to sacrifice the mortals draws near”
He placed Percy and Annabeth onto the altar. With one hand he held them in place and with the other picked up his staff. He was going to crush them with it. Percy struggled to no avail. Annabeth had lost most of the fight in her. Percy tried to calm his nerves. He concentrated hard and felt a tug in his stomach. The moisture from the soil in the stairs solidified and formed a small trickle of water. Percy pushed harder. The small trickle became a stream and the water soon filled the stairs up to the entrance of the cavern. The water slowly made its way inside. There was silence. Porphyrion was waiting for the order to strike from Gaea. One of the walls of the cavern exploded.
Rocks cascaded across the ground. Leo and Hazel stood side by side. Leo had softened the rock and Hazel had blown through. Jason, Piper and Frank stood behind them. Porphyrion raised his staff. He brought it down.
“Notus!” Jason yelled.
A dry breeze whipped through the cavern. It knocked Porphyrion off balance and his staff landed beside Percy’s head. The other giants charged in the direction of the others. Percy forced the water to shoot up around the giant’s legs. Then with some effort froze it. They bellowed in rage. The breeze came around again, knocking Porphyrion onto his big butt. Percy and Annabeth rose. A bronze skinned man materialized. He wore a wreath of withered, smoking barley on his head and a Greek chiton. Percy guessed correctly that he was Notus. Percy froze Porphyrion’s feet to the ground.
“You called” Notus smirked at Jason.
“Thank you lord Notus” Jason replied.
The ice began to crack; Percy wouldn’t be able to hold the giants for much longer.
“My lord how do we stop Gaea?” Jason asked.
Notus looked at his surroundings. He wore a weary expression.
“To storm or fire the Earth must fall” He finally said. “If the fire ever gets here”
The ice shattered and the giants were free. Notus held his hand up. A wicked wind tore through the cavern. It propelled some of the giants into one another but others managed to stand against it. Slowly they edged closer. Porphyrion charged forward, the wind ineffective. He swung his staff like a baseball bat and sent Notus flying into the ceiling. The old God moaned. The wind abruptly stopped. He fell face first to the ground. Jason sent an arc of lighting at Porphyrion. The giant smirked. It had caused him no pain. Percy and Annabeth raced towards the others. They had to get out. Porphyrion swung his staff again and sent Annabeth slamming into the cavern wall. She landed with a sickening crunch.
“Annabeth!” Percy cried.
She did not reply. A hot white rage filled Percy. He howled in fury. The other giants were recovering. Percy uncapped Riptide. He charged at Porphyrion. Shards of ice shot around him. A wave of water followed in his wake. The whole cavern shock, he was causing an earthquake. Hazel and Frank dragged Annabeth back to the hole. Jason shot bolts of lightning at any giant that got too close. Frank turned into a dragon and jumped onto a giant, knocking it down. Percy thrust his sword forward. The shards of ice shot into Porphyrion’s legs. The wave surged high over the giant’s head and came crashing down. Porphyrion was propelled backwards. A huge jagged rock ran through his back as he hit the ground. He roared in pain and his face began to crumble. By this time Notus had gathered his bearings. The God flew over to where Porphyrion lay and with a hard kick the giant crumbled to dust. Percy breathed hard. The other giants gawked at him.
“Get him!” Gaea commanded, her voice echoing through the cavern.
Percy made his way back to the others. Notus kept the remaining giants busy. Annabeth lay between Hazel and Piper. Leo furiously worked on his contraption. The girls moved away on Percy’s approach.
“Is she...” His voice broke.
Hazel and Piper exchanged a look.
“Percy I’m sorry” Hazel whispered.
“No!” He wheezed.
He pressed his ear to Annabeth’s chest. There was not a thud to be heard.
“Annabeth please” He sobbed. “You can’t!”
He hit her chest again and again, trying to make her heart beat. Tears burned his eyes.
“Percy stand back” Jason instructed. “I think I can help”
Reluctantly Percy moved away from Annabeth’s body. He felt numb inside. Jason crouched over her and placed his hands on her chest. He sent a surge of electricity through her body, it convulsed then fell. He repeated the process two more times. Percy watched anxiously. His heart hammered in his chest. Jason pressed his ear to Annabeth’s chest. He sent another wave of electricity into her body. Her chest began to slowly rise and fall. Relief washed over Percy. She was alive. He wiped tears from his eyes. Weariness settled over him. Taking on Porphyrion had drained him drastically. He could barely stay conscious.
“Thanks” He sniffled.
“Don’t mention it” Jason replied.
There was a brilliant light and the twelve Olympians appeared. They wore purple and orange, signifying that their two personalities were stable. Reyna, Nico and Coach Hedge had made it back to camp and made peace between the Greeks and Romans. Some of the Olympians nodded to Percy in acknowledgement. The giants shouted in anger. Zeus scanned the room. He locked his eyes on Jason who stood stock still, staring up at him.
“Attack” Zeus commanded.
The Olympians attacked the giants and fighting broke out all around. Jason joined his dad and together they took down Leon. They moved on to the next giant. Frank and Ares took down Mimas. Hazel and Piper thought together with various Gods who were engaged in vicious battle. Hades summoned an army of the dead. They surged forward and took to hacking and stabbing at various giant’s legs.
Leo still worked on his device. His dad, Hephaestus came over to take a look. Percy kissed Annabeth’s forehead. He ran to join in on the fighting. Another giant fell. The voice of Gaea boomed across the cavern. She didn't sound very happy. Cracks appeared in the surface of the ground. From them hundreds of Earthborn emerged. They had six arms each and wore nothing except canvas loincloths.
“Done” Leo announced, holding up the device.
Piper ran to him. Aphrodite shrank to human size and followed. Huge clumps of dirt and rock formed from the ground and shot in their direction. Piper went down, the clump exploded on impact. It left scrapes and gashes across her body. She screamed in pain. Aphrodite helped her to rise and they managed to get to Leo.
Poseidon fought with Percy. Together they sent wave after wave at the giants. Poseidon created dozens of hurricanes and unleashed them on what giants and Earthborn were in his sights. He managed to tear apart two dozen Earthborn and sent three giants sprawling across the walls, starting to crumble. One at a time Percy stabbed his sword into them before they could reform and they turned completely to dust.
“Good work my boy” Poseidon told.
Percy beamed; it had been a long time since he had seen his dad. He loved it when his dad complimented him.
Leo extended a pole from the device and hammered it into the ground. Then he welded it so that it would not come loose. Hephaestus swatted clumps of dirt away whenever they got to close to Leo, Piper and Aphrodite. The ground at their feet turned to quicksand. Hephaestus slid a huge chunk of scrap metal under them before the machine was pulled under. Huge hands made of rock emerged from the ground. They tried to smash the device. Hephaestus pulled a hammer from his pocket. He smashed one and them the other to pieces.
“Alright ladies” Leo said. “Sing!”
He handed them each a microphone.
“Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop. When the wind blows, the cradle will rock. When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall. And down will come baby, cradle and all” They sang, voices oozing with charm speak. “Sleep, Gaea, sleep. Your father tends the sheep. Your mother shakes the dreamland tree. And from it fall sweet dreams for thee. Sleep, Gaea, sleep. Sleep, Gaea, sleep”
Most of the lullabies they were singing had come from the internet because the crew of the Argo ll hadn't known all that many. Percy put his ear plugs in to block out the charm speak, though he was already feeling extremely sleepy. The device caused their voices to resonate down through every layer of the earth. The remaining Earthborn curled into balls on the floor and started snoring. They sank back into the ground. The cannonballs of mud and rock halted.
“No stop” Gaea slurred.
Her voice was heavy with tiredness. Piper and Aphrodite continued to sing. The other Gods had stuck their fingers in their ears to block out the sound. Despite this Dionysus had been a bit too slow and dropped to the floor, snoring. One at a time the little number of the giants that remained dozed off. The ground at their feet rumbled. Gaea was snoring. They continued to sing for a few more minutes just to be sure. The rest of the giants were taken care of which was made a hell of a lot easier with them being asleep. When the work was done everyone cheered. They had succeeded. It was over.
“We have won” Zeus declared. “There will be a feast on mount Olympus in celebration”
There were cheers all around.
“And to the seven heroes who aided us, I guess I must say thank you” Zeus grumbled. “You may come to the feast if you wish”
The Olympians said their goodbyes. Percy managed to get Apollo to heal Annabeth completely. It wasn't long before she stirred.
“Thanks” Percy smiled.
“No problem Percy, catch you later” Apollo replied.
“You have become a great young man” Zeus told Jason. “I am proud to be your father”
Jason looked awestruck. He thanked Zeus.
Notus and Hephaestus made their way over to Percy and the others. They had gathered beside Annabeth. She was sleeping peacefully.
“Dad, can you take me to where I want to go?” Leo asked.
Hephaestus smiled. “My son I can do one better, she has been freed”
Leo pumped his fist into the air and yelled with glee.
“I will take you to her shortly” His dad stated.
“Thank you” Leo grinned.
Percy hadn't a clue as to what they were on about.
“Do you have the bombs?” Notus asked.
“Yes I’m not an idiot” Hephaestus muttered.
From his pocket he brought out huge bronze cylinders with timers on their sides. Greek fire bubbled from within them.
“Urr why do you have bombs?” Percy stared.
“We’re going to blow up the cavern so that there’s no chance that Gaea can awaken” Notus explained. “She can only wake if two demigods are sacrificed here”
“Oh okay” Percy replied.
A line from the prophecy made sense to him now. To storm or fire, the world must fall. The bombs were the fire and the world was the cavern. Notus took the bombs and flew around attaching them to the walls and ceiling. When he was finished he came back to the others.
“I've primed the bombs, they will go off if thirty minutes” He said.
The two Gods teleported away as all the other Gods had done.
“Hey you can’t just leave us here” Hazel shouted.
“Come on” Frank instructed.
He turned into a dragon and everyone jumped on. They had to keep hold of Annabeth to make sure she wouldn't fall. Frank crawled through the hole in the cavern wall they had created. It was a tight fit but they managed to make it through and eventually got to the original tunnel. A loud ringing sounded and then there was a huge explosion. The tunnel shook and began to collapse.
“Hurry!” Leo shrieked.
Frank broke into a dash. A piece of rubble fell on his tail. He let out a roar of pain and flicked it off. Percy bumped this way and that; twice he nearly fell off. Frank shot through the cave entrance just as it collapsed. He returned to his human form, causing the others to fall on top of him in a huge dog pile.
“Oww” Frank mumbled.
They all laughed and got off of him. Annabeth opened her eyes.
“Percy” She croaked. “My head hurts”
Percy crushed her in a bear hug.
“I thought you were dead down there” He told.
“What happened? Did we defeat Gaea?” She asked.
Percy nodded. He kissed her and didn't let her go for quite some time.
“Get a room” Leo told.
The others laughed.
“What now?” Jason wondered.
“What do you mean what now? We just saved the whole world” Piper replied.
“Let’s go home” Annabeth suggested. “What about the feast?” Frank asked.
“You can go but I’m going home” Annabeth answered. “Me too” Percy stated. “And then I’m going to get a cheeseburger” “Sounds like a plan” Annabeth smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck.
Leo looked up to the sky. “Dad I’m ready” He called. “See you later guys” He vanished. “Does anyone know how to fly the Argo ll?” Piper asked.