What do I feel? I feel rage. Burning, searing, white hot rage.
Water flooding her lungs, is all I can think about. Gushing to every corner possible, making it impossible to reach for air.
Water, the strongest in my father’s domain, meaning in my domain; something resourceful and innocent, something that could’ve never been imagined as dark; it is now sucking the life out of her.
Maybe if I were in my right sense, I would’ve noticed Annabeth through my peripheral vision. Her face consisting of horror and dismay would’ve brought me back.
I shoot straight up from my cabin on the Argo II.
“Because blue is awesome.”
“Yeah…but not as food...”
“Careful. The last person to say that was turned to stone.”
That, there, is the ice breaker of the most awkward breakfast in the history of Greek Gods; I guess it didn’t help that everyone dining is faced with the threat of dying in the next few hours. So, like any other Demigod in history, we avoided the subject.
Piper gets cut of as the Argo II shifts, along with the water beneath.
And just like that, we switch into pre-war mode.
I immediately reach for Riptide. I’m not the only one however. Annabeth has her drakon bone sword out; given by Damasen. Piper has Katoptris. Jason has his Gladius along with Hazel and her Spatha. Leo has a hammer from his tool belt, which I found pretty cool, and Frank had turned into a bear, which I found even cooler.
We run towards the door.
After so many tries, we learned to go out in a single file line. The time we were getting attacked by monster pirates? Yeah, it took us about 3 minutes to get out the door we’d just tried to walk through at the same time. When we did make it out, it turned out they were monster graffiti artist pirates.
But, we made it out this time.
The closer we get to Athens, the more worried we get when we have one of these attacks. And now since we’re actually docked here, I’m terrified.
I didn’t like admitting it but all through this, all through that place, I’ve been terrified.
But, nobody could know that.
The son of Poseidon; returner of Zeus’ bolt at age 12, scavenger of the Sea of Monsters at 13, holder of the weight of the world at 14, blessed by pan at 15, leading an army of demigods against the Titan army at 16. Defeater of the prophecy at 16. I could handle anything.
Best thing those did is prepare me for more. I was not prepared for this.
“What the Hades?” Hazel stops dead in her tracks, her lengthy sword lowered at the sight.
Frank slowly morphs from a bloodthirsty bear to a frowning Frank. The transformation on him, credit to Mars, has made Frank enjoy battle more than usual. Definitely more that the kid who used to pray every day before dinner to be claimed by Apollo, who was practically the God of HAPPINESS.
“What is this?” Even Annabeth looked bewildered.
What were a hoard of Nymphs, Satyrs and Dryads doing on the Argo II?
“Um…hello. HELLO!” I shout across the deck. I suspect it’s hard to hear over the large speaker one of the satyrs is holding on his shoulders. Thankfully, some Dryad covered in moss in the front lines hears me.
“Guys! They’re over there!” The moss covered Dryad points at us.
“YEAH!” The deep throated satyr holding the boom box shouts as the crowd mocks him.
A group walk up to us as more keep pouring in from the rope ladder I’m pretty sure that wasn’t there when I did rounds last night.
I weave my way to the font of the group.
“Son of Poseidon! I am Nirada, the Dryad!” The moss-covered…well, Nirada, greets, a green tint on her cheek.
“Yeah, okay. Hi Nirada. So, what are you doing on our ship?” I ask, as nicely as possible. Annabeth tenses beside me, I don’t know why. Maybe she has a lead.
“We’re simply requesting you keep us safe from…” She stops, leans forward and whispers, “The Earth Mother…”
“What are you really here for?” says Piper, the Charmspeak strong in her voice. So strong, it gives me thoughts.
For us to win the war. Blue food. Nico and Reyna getting to Camp Half-blood on time. Seeing Mom and Paul one last time. For me and Annabeth to survive one last battle.
“We seek asylum for a couple of my friends in your ship.” Nirada speaks again, though this time it’s kind of robotic; probably due to the Charmspeak.
“a couple?” Frank mutters under his breath. I couldn’t blame him. The whole ship is filled with so much people; I’d have thought this is some boy band concert.
“Who’s your leader?” Jason speaks as loud as he could, projecting his voice over the hundreds of nature spirits.
“That’d be Old Mal.” One of the Nymphs at the back shouts over the chatter.
Slowly, however, the chatter stops. I see shuffling in the crowd. Soon enough there is an elderly satyr with a great silver beard and a walking stick carved out of wood with a vine wrapped around it, hobbles towards us.
Leo lets out an involuntary chuckle,
“Hey there, Dumbledore, how can I help you?”
Old Mal simply looked at him with a glare in his eyes. He stomps his walking stick on deck. Vines, resembling Mr D’s, pops through the celestial-bronze-disguised-as-wood floor and wrapped itself around Leo’s leg; he struggles.
I realise, for the first time, how truly scared Leo is. How I noticed? His vine-wrapped leg is now on fire. And his face may as well be considering how red it is.
I guess he went through as much pain as I did after finding the mark of Athena. Sure he didn’t have to crawl through the depths of Tartarus but he did something that could make my trouble run for its money. He left his one true love on an island he might now return to.
“Enough!” I say in a stern voice. All jokes were over. We’re in the middle of a war people! Huh, that sounds good. Maybe I should say it out loud.
“We’re in the middle of a war people!”
Old Mal looked taken back by my outburst; probably ashamed that a 16 year old hooligan had to remind his wise self to get back on track.
I feel something odd towards him. Maybe not Empathy link though, but something pretty close.
“How about we go downstairs…?”
“So Gaia had been…whispering…to you?” Hazel’s hand is shaking. I like to think Frank would’ve enveloped the shaking mess in his blessed-by-Mars hands but I suspect his hands were just as bad.
After all, there is only so much the God of War can do to courage.
“That’s true.” Nirada nods in agreement.
“Is that possible? She’s not awake yet.”
“No…it’s…it’s definitely possible. Gaia is Mother Earth.” I say.
“Yeah, and a couple years back, Kronos was whispering to…” Annabeth pauses, “…to Ares. To make him steal Zeus’ lightning bolt. We had a whole quest on it when we were 12.”
“Yeah, I think Percy mentioned battling Mars.” Hazel nods slowly, placing her free hand over the shaking one and slipping it underneath the table. I know she thinks that everyone assumes she’s weak, being only 13, but I’m pretty sure no one on board would willingly fight Hazel Levesque.
“Wait, so it is true when you said you beat Mars in battle?”
“You got a quest at 12?”
“QUIET!” Old Mal booms, clanking his stick on the surface once again for effect. “Give the demigod some breathing space.”
I feel a rush of gratitude towards Old Mal. He’s sort of like my own personal Gandalf. I can see Nico di Angelo being like this if he’d never entered the Lotus Casino and grew up in Camp Half-blood; or even me, if I survive this.
“So, will you take a bunch of war refugees in your humble ship?” The leader of the Nymphs, Millicent, who somehow had moved next to me, says while running her finger down my arm.
Feeling uncomfortable, I nudge away. If she didn’t get the hint then, she’d definitely gotten it when Annabeth slammed a knife on the table, her gaze burning through the thick brown layers of her hair.
“Well, maybe we should…let them” Piper speaks to us, hinting for us to share our opinions.
“But can the others be trusted?”
“I assure you, we are as loyal and as harmful as a mere daffodil that grow on the hillside.” Old Mal tilts his chin up in pride.
“No! Deanna is a total know it all! Just because she got a poem written by her she thinks she’s better than us!” Nirada huffs and crosses her arms over her chest. We ignore her.
“How do you know one of your people isn’t corrupt?” Jason leans forward; his glasses making him look like a lawyer.
“I’ve made them all swear upon the river Styx. An oath like that cannot be broken unless the corners of the world collapse.”
I still feel uneasy. Like I should know something.
But I guess it wouldn’t kill me to let them.
What doesn’t kill you will come back to kill you later. That’s what I learnt from my experience with Empousai.
“Do we have an agreement?” Filip asks, a foreign accent mixing with his deep voice.
“Ye-” Frank starts before something hits me.
“Not quite yet!” All eyes fall on me. “We want the loyalty of ALL nature spirits.”
Old Mal chuckled, “How do you suggest I do that, Percy Jackson. I’m just an old Satyr.”
“I figured it out Old Mal.” I turn to my friends “Old Mal here is Malcinos, the first Satyr to be born. From Ouranos’ blood after Kronos cut him in pieces. Since then, you’ve been confined to Athens. You wouldn’t find that in a history book now would you?”
Malcinos leaned back leisurely on his chair, as if he’d been waiting for me to figure it out.
“How did thee find out?”
“First of all; your stick. You’re magic. Satyrs have woodland magic but it’s expressed in music. You’re stick seems kind of like a wand.”
He thought about it for a moment.
“Second, the link you have with demigods. I have an empathy link with a satyr called Grover. Grover Underwood-”
“-Blessed by Pan?” I nod, “Yes; quite the celebrity amongst the nature spirits. Working for Gaia without even knowing it. Cleaning the environment…”
I feel my stomach sink. I ignore it.
“Yes, well, I felt a weaker connection. Something peculiar…”
He doesn’t reply, as if waiting for me to continue. But I can’t. That’s all I got. I take this moment to look at the bewildered looks on my friends’ face. Well maybe not Annabeth, hers is more proud and full of admiration.
When he realises I won’t speak, he chuckles. “Well, son of Poseidon, I think your father finally took pity on you.”
I don’t know what to think of that.
“None the less...you are not as du-”
“-dumb as I look? Yeah, I get that a lot.”
“Very well. What would you like me to do for you?”
“We want you to alert your people at Long Island Sound. Tell them to infiltrate all weapons on ground. Both Greek and Roman. Prevent any way for war to begin. Hold them off until Reyna and Nico get the Athena Pantheons to campus.”
He thinks for a moment, weighing the options.
“I agree to the terms and conditions.”
“Smart. That was really smart.” Annabeth grins at me, smile wrinkles forming next to her eyes. She leans up and pecks me on the cheek. I set aside the goofy ball of goof building up inside me. We have a war to run.
“We head to the Acropolis, just as Piper saw in Katoptris.” I turn to them.
“Some people should stay. To keep Nature Spirits in check and man the ship.” Hazel reminds, pointing far to the door where the nature spirits were still piling in.
“3 people go. 4 people stay. 3 usually go on a quest; luck will be on our side sending 3. Nico…he’ll Iris Message you when he’s reached Camp Half-blood. You head down to the Acropolis when he does with the Argo. Hopefully the Gods will be there soon after.”
I give Jason a look of admiration at finally taking the lead. Becoming a leader.
“Which three?” Piper asks, looking over everyone present as if assessing the best options.
“The 3 Gaia wants the most.” Annabeth answers, confident in her words.
“Isn’t that dangerous?” I ask, even though I know not to question Annabeth.
“But it’s what Gaia least expects, don’t you think? We send the most valuable and catch her off guard. Catch the Giants off guard as they probably have been training some Giants for the front line for who Gaia thinks is going to be sent.”
“She has a point. So that’ll definitely be Annabeth, Percy…” Frank starts, counting his fingers.
“and Leo.” I answer without hesitation. They give me confused looks, “to storm or fire the world must fall. Gaia would never think we’d let Leo go.”
“Waterboy has a point.” Leo grumbles.
“Don’t call me Waterboy.”
“Yeah! Don’t call Seaweed-Brain waterboy.”
Annabeth grins at me.
“So, Percy, Annabeth and Leo go. Hazel me and Piper and Frank stay,” Jason thinks the plan through. If there are any flaws, we over-look it. That’s how demigods back then did it. That’s how we’re going to do it.
There are tons of flaws however…
We have no Nectar or Ambrosia.
It’s a death trap.
It’s an ARMY of Giants versus3 demigods.
Nico and Reyna might not make it on time.
“Good luck guys.”
We shouldn’t waste time, but we all hug the people we’re leaving behind or are leaving us to go to our impending death
I hug Jason first. Aside from his glasses digging into my shoulder, it’s the closure I needed. 2 camps uniting. 2 sons of Jupiter and Poseidon; Zeus and Neptune working together. Marking an end to a rivalry lasting several Millennia.
I hug Hazel next. Her gentle touch makes tears well up in my eyes. She cries into my shoulder.
“Hey, it’s okay. We’ll make it. We always do.” I offer a smile. She returns it. Before pulling back, I whisper in her ear, “I’ll keep them safe. No matter what.”
I pull back to see the faint smile of understanding.
I hug Piper next. Her face is twisted as she’s sobbing the most. She may not be the average daughter of Aphrodite but her heightened emotions still show from time to time.
“Keep him safe, would you?”
She smiles through her tears.
I move on to Frank as do Annabeth and Leo to others. His emotional stability and sheer strength equals to a painful hug. I don’t mind.
“It’s okay, big guy.”
Tears drop from my eyes without warning now. That’s what I called Tyson. My half-brother. I never really realised how much I missed him.
“You’re ama-Zhang.” I smile through the tears. This had been sort of a joke between the 2 of us.
“You have a good Percy-nality.”
And we leave as soon as possible. Because I know deep inside, this war will shed more tears than blood. And that’s something I'm not prepared for again.
“I…is thi…” I cannot formulate a sentence with my heavy panting. Annabeth’s shortcuts were the Gods’ gift to demigods but even she couldn’t find a way around a steep hilltop.
We left the Argo a few hours ago at the most. I think it would probably be about 3 o’clock but I couldn’t be sure. Chiron hadn’t taught me how to read time from the position of the sun. And I wouldn’t dare have a phone; it’s basically monster bate.
“This is it.” Annabeth’s voice glazes over. She is starring at the Acropolis in awe.
“Where’s that flying son of Jupiter when you need him?” Leo wheezed falling on his knees.
“I doubt he could carry my coolness.”
“Yeah, that would be a problem…And my hotness. Quite literally. I might burn him.”
“That’s true. I think Annabeth’s brain is kinda heavy too.”
I snap my head to Annabeth. She is now a few metres away from Leo and I.
She turns and I see what she is yelling about.
There is a girl, next to a giant metal post, bleeding out on the floor. Her condition makes me wince. There were wipe lashes across her face; sweat matting her hair to her forehead. No, not sweat; blood. Her clothes were in tears as were her feet bare. She is clutching her stomach as if in pain. Me, being me, ran to her.
Riptide raised and feet thundering on the rubble.
I ignored the cries.
I run towards the girl. Only when I get to her, the result shocks me.
I feel someone running up behind me but I can’t will myself to look away.
The girl is as pale as pale could get. This pale is more pale than ‘Nico di Angelo Pale’. The girl, she’s crying all right, crying blood. She is fading away. As if her flesh is turning to mist. Mist.
“It’s a trap!”
I look to Annabeth beside me. Her eyes are calculating. But we don’t have time. I see Leo in the distance, walking up to us, to warn us as I know he’s figured it out.
But it is too late. I feel a tug on my leg, as if a snake is wrapping itself around my legs. Or a rope. I feel the same rope tangling around Annabeth’s. We’re pulled together and now swung upside down, slowly moving upwards as if the metal post is pulling us up.
“PERCY! ANNABETH!” Leo screamed. Him being so far away, I could barely hear him.
My heart is pounding more than it should. I’m more fearful than I should be. I try to think of a way out as the imaginary rope started pulling us higher. I hear a cackle down below.
“Percy Jackson, Mother once told me that your Fatal Flaw would be fatal.”
Leo looked up to Annabeth and me, nervousness oozing out of him like water from a leaked dam. We’ve got a dam leak.
“Hold them off! Call Festus! I know you’ve been working on him! CALL. FESTUS!” I shout. If he didn’t hear me, he moved out of paralysis anyways.
Leo reached in his tool belt. But before he could find what he is looking for, the ground opened up.
Did you ever get stuck on a question at school? Who am I kidding, of course you have. But have you tried and tried to do this one question but you just can’t do it on your own. You want to keep trying but you just know it’s hopeless. That’s how I imagine Leo to have felt when 12 spaces in the earth opened up, revealing 12 Giants. One for each Olympian.
I have to crane my neck to see everything below me, as I’m several feet above ground. But all I see are 12 Giants of 10 feet circling around an ant-like Leo Valdez.
Maybe this means that it’d be hard for all 12 Giants to catch him, because I could barely see him.
“MIMAS! I have your hunting.” I hear Clytius, born to destroy Hecate, shout. Shout loud enough for my ears to pop.
“I wouldn’t be so sure! We’ve defeated you before!” I see what he is doing.
When in doubt, talk trash.
“Ha!” I can feel the smirk on Clytius’ face, “you’re no Hazel Levesque, Son of Fire. And by fire, shall you be shattered.
And they attacked.
It all happened so fast. There is fire. A lot of fire.
What surprised me the most is that Mimas, the Giant born to oppose Hephaestus isn’t the one bothering Leo. It is Thoon, Giant born to oppose the Fates.
“Always the odd wheel…” “Never, are you, going to make it back to Ogygia.” “Your friends would rather see you die.” “Let me make your death quick, as you no longer are living.”
But what pleased me is that instead of bring him down, Thoon is adding fuel to Leo’s already burning inferno.
And, in a sense, I mean that literally as all the fire beneath me isn’t from Mimas.
“Percy…” Annabeth whispered pain evident in her voice.
Oh yes, I forgot. We were dangling off an 80 ft tower.
“Percy…my leg…” I looked up but my vision glazed.
When my vision clears, I see the problem.
The rope burns on her ankle.
“It’s…it’s bleeding. Percy! If Gaia wakes it’s GAME OVER!”
I don’t respond. I don’t say ‘it’s going to be okay’ because I'm not even sure anymore. If a single drop of blood falls on the ground then it’s one step towards impossibility.
I try loosening the rope. I can’t. The more I struggle the tighter it gets.
Annabeth is in the brink of sobbing. All this way, just to lose.
I can’t stand to look at it; I craned my head back to Leo. At the absolute wrong time as Mimas had just wacked him 30 feet into the air. He landed with a thud that could be heard from here.
When all hope is lost, I felt something eclipse the sun. The area is shadowed.
This could make a very interesting story; I can see it happening,
And then, kids, when all hope is lost, BAM! There is the Argo II coming to our rescue!
I wouldn’t believe it if I weren’t there but once it had passed the sun, it was quite a sight.
Jason jumping off deck with his Gladius caught with lightning; Hazel on Arion with her helmet and Spatha. Frank with his Spear and aura of war. And that’s when it began. Total mayhem.
Hazel, being the smart one, came up to us on Arion. She raised her palms at us; I feel the ropes around my ankle loosen. And we’re lowered.
“It’s okay. It’s going to be okay.” I whisper to Annabeth as we fall to gravity, because I can now. Now we have hope.
We meet Hazel at the bottom.
“Let’s go kick some Giant a-”
Before I know it, Polybotes had swiped his arm at me and Annabeth. For a second I’m weightless. But the next, I land about a lengthy distance away. I landed on my left ear. And from Clytius’ annoying cackling and THIS blow, I wouldn’t be surprised if this ear went all Katniss Everdeen on me.
But Annabeth is worse. She landed on a rock. A sharp one. Sharp enough to cut a wound.
And before we could do anything, the red liquid slipped on to the ground.
Before I could say anything, I see Polybotes coming at me. I dodge.
I uncap Riptide and fight the nearest Giant. Mimas. With Leo Valdez.
“I was right.” I say, swishing Riptide at Mimas as Leo shoots a fire bolt.
“About what Fishboy?”
“Working on Festus. He came didn’t he?”
Leo stopped. Whether it is to think or to throw his body off to the side to avoid Mimas’ hammer, I guess we’ll never know.
I stab Mimas in the back of his thigh. He groans in agony as a coating of water glistens on my sword. Along with a coating of gold Ichor.
“I didn’t call him. I didn’t get time.”
I hit a mental pause.
If Leo didn’t call Festus, this would have to mean…
“Percy!” Frank calls me, pointing to the sky.
“VICTORY FOR THE GODS!” Zeus cried.
“NO MERCY!” Ares waves his spear.
“RETURN TO TARTARUS!” Hades’ Helm of Darkness gleams in the sun.
“APOLLO IS SO HOT!” Apollo shouts.
The Gods, all 12 Olympian Gods and Hestia ride through the heavens on personalized chariots. And it isn’t just me having a double-take; the Giants hit a temporary pause. For one glorious second, they waver.
The chariots vanish as they settle on the rubble. The Gods return to their human forms.
They are still tiny compared to the Giants but standing there, together, as a united family, they looked more powerful than a planet of Giants.
I couldn’t help catch the eye of my father, Poseidon.
I shake away the chills and the shock. I stand forward.
That’s when the real battle began. And all Tartarus break loose.
Polybotes instantly finds me again.
“I’ll kill you, make your Father watch and kill him after.” His voice is pure menace.
“Not today, Polybotes!”
I see the tip of Poseidon’s trident smashing into Gaia’s precious earth.
I charge with Riptide.
I haven’t felt good whilst battle in a long while. Not after seeing what it could do. But this: fighting alongside my father, did the trick.
I swish, slash and stab Riptide. Everywhere my sword touch on Polybotes’ flesh, it faded away with water. And soon enough, Polybotes’ disintegrated back to Tartarus.
I was breathless but Poseidon wasn’t. Perks of being a God I guess.
“Poseidon…” I pause, “…Dad. Did you have something to do with me finding out about Old Mal?”
He looks me over. I notice he no longer wears a Hawaiian floral shirt but now a Greek tunic.
Poseidon doesn’t answer my question. Just smiles.
“Sally carries child. It’s a girl.”
And he stalks away.
So do me, stunned with more happiness than I could contain.
I’m going to have a sister.
If I survive.
I run over to the Giant Annabeth is fighting with her mom, Athena.
“Come at me, Enchilada!” Annabeth taunts. Enceladus mustn’t have liked Enchiladas because he charged at Annabeth. Athena steps forward with Aegis protectively. But before she could blast him with her powers, I stab Enceladus in the back. His flesh starts disintegrating.
The ground swallows him. And he goes down unwillingly. Though not before having one last swipe at me.
I’ve never met my Father. Not like Percy and Poseidon. Annabeth and Athena. Nico and Hades. I've always got fame at Camp Jupiter for my heritage. But now, as I’m fighting beside him for the first time; seeing him for the first time, I see what it’s all about.
We’re fighting Porphyrion, King of Giants. And I knew, no matter how powerful the Gods are when united, one drop of male demigod blood spills and it’s over.
Zeus strikes his Lightning Bolt. I take this moment to look around. Annabeth and Athena had just defeated Enceladus.
No. Percy is there as well.
But now he isn’t. He had just been thrown out by Enceladus. But that isn’t what bothered Jason; it is the trickle of blood dripping from the corner of his mouth, threatening to spill.
“PERCY!!” I shout, as loud as I my throat could hold. But no; I remember seeing him fall on his ear earlier.
My shouting however caught Poseidon’s attention. “The blood!”
Poseidon knew what was about to happen, but the blood is dripping. A few more seconds and…
He pointed his Trident at Percy.
He wouldn’t. He wouldn’t!
No matter how ruthless Gods may be, Poseidon wouldn’t kill his son, after all this.
But power burst from the three tips of his trident, and it landed square on Percy’s chest.
He didn’t disintegrate, though.
But the blood in the corner of his mouth isn’t quite red anymore.
I don’t know what happened. One minute I’m uncapping Riptide and the next, I get hit by a blast of power. A blast of power from my dad. I could just smell the saltwater.
Why would he do this? Has he finally realised how liable I could be held for this carnage?
But, now, all I see is a white light. A bright white light. For some reason, I could relate this to seeing a God in their true form. I don’t know how, though; I’d never gone through that to know what it feels like.
But it dies down. And so do my knees. I land on the rubble, my eyes stinging, my skin jittery, and a bad migraine playing in my head. Then, suddenly, I hear water. Gushing water from a waterfall. It calmed all my senses. I taste salt on my tongue.
And then, I pass out.
I catch glimpse of a blurry blonde.
I try opening my eyelids but they feel heavier than the weight of the world. I try anyways. All I catch is more blurry yellow pictures.
I force them to stay open.
My vision clears. The first thing I see is Annabeth’s face; her tear stained face. She had a little smile on. I smiled back for a moment before thinking to look around the room.
13 Olympians. Gawking at me.
With that, I shoot up from my sleeping position.
“Woah there!” Annabeth puts her hands on my shoulder, “Wouldn’t want to disintegrate everyone in the room…”
“Wait…Who was it?”
Annabeth knows exactly what I mean.
“It’s…it’s Leo. He went back to Ogygia after, sort of setting the ship on fire.”
To storm or fire the world must fall.
I had a thousand questions I needed to ask. But I ask the most important one first.
“What did you mean by disintegrate?”
They don’t answer. My ADHD kicks in. I start noticing the bugs crawling through the floor. Poseidon avoiding my eye. The laughter outside.
A smudge on the corner of my mouth.
I wipe it with the back of my hand.
What I see isn’t what I expected.
Ichor. Blood of the Gods.