The Blood of Olympus: A Writing Competition
As much as he tried, Percy couldn’t sleep. What were probably minutes felt like hours. He should have been comforted by the familiarity of his cabin, but everyone was unsettled after the battle just days beforehand.
Sighing, Percy checked his alarm clock (which he never used for the alarm function, obviously). It read midnight. Percy sat up and pulled on some jeans and a shirt – maybe a visit to the beach would help; it usually did. He didn’t care about curfew or the harpies, who were still trying to clean up from the battle. He had a feeling they’d make an exception.
As he walked past the other cabins, he peaked inside – barely anyone was in them; most were still in the infirmary recovering from various injuries. Those who weren’t…He hung his head down low and continued walking. Too many had died – Amazons, Hunters, even Octavian, which no one had seemed too sad about. But Leo’s disappearance hung over the camp like a black cloud.
Percy reached the beach and sat down on the soft sand, listening to the calming sound of the waves. He wondered when he’d get to see his mom again. He hadn’t had any proper contact with her since before Christmas, before Hera had kidnapped him.
He was so lost in though he didn’t notice Annabeth’s gentle footsteps on the sand behind him. ‘Hey, Seaweed Brain,’ she whispered. She sat down next to him, and for a moment it was just the two of them, side by side, like they’d done too many times in battle. Annabeth gave him a peck on the cheek. ‘What are you doing out here?’
‘I could ask you the same thing, Wise Girl.’
Annabeth smiled, but her eyes were sad – they’d seen too many injuries, too much death. Despite that, sitting there in the moonlight, Percy thought she’d never looked more beautiful. ‘Couldn’t sleep, I guess,’ she replied after a minute.
‘Me, too.’ Percy doubted anyone could sleep that night, even those who hadn’t been on the Argo II – everyone had seen their fair share of battle. He and Annabeth sat together, watching the waves lap against the beach.
Hazel wasn’t sure which was darker – the darkness of the night sky or the shadows of the Hades-Pluto cabin. It didn’t help that her brother, Nico, had been ordered to stay in the infirmary, so she was on her own.
Hazel couldn’t help feeling that Leo’s disappearance was her fault. She knew everyone else thought she was crazy for thinking that, but she was the one who had already died. She should have returned to the Underworld. Instead, Leo was, and he hadn’t done anything wrong. It was driving Hazel nuts. Why couldn’t anyone else see that?
Restlessly, she replayed this thought over and over in her head, trying to think of a counterargument. Leo knew what he was doing. There was nothing anyone could have done to save him. But it was no use, her guilt overpowered these arguments.
Despite being tired, she couldn’t sleep. As she pulled the curtain back from the window, the full moon gleamed in the sky, as though Artemis-Diana herself had made it shine especially bright, just for her. Hazel hoped things with Apollo would be okay, and made a mental note to give some offerings to the twins at breakfast. Then she saw what – or rather, whom – the moon’s gleam lit up; Percy, walking past the cabins. He looked like he’d had as little sleep as she had. Once he’d passed the cabins, a window opened in Athena cabin. Annabeth climbed out and pursued her boyfriend.
The thought of a boyfriend sent Hazel’s thoughts to Frank, and she wondered if he was awake. Then, in a flurry of un-Hazel-like-ness, she decided that it didn’t matter, her guilt was killing her.
A few minutes later, after dodging the barbed wire and other assortment of hazards surrounding the Ares-Mars cabin, Hazel plucked up the courage to knock on the window above Frank’s bed. The cabin itself was almost as dark as her own, though she suspected it was more for camouflage than a fondness for it. Almost instantly, Frank opened the window and immediately saw her sadness, and climbed out. ‘What’s wrong?’ Worry filled his face. ‘It’s Leo, isn’t it?’
Hazel couldn’t help it; she burst into tears. ‘It’s my fault,’ she sobbed. Frank held her, and guided her past the dangers to a secluded area between cabins.
‘It is not your fault, Hazel – there was nothing we could do, nothing anyone could do. Leo knew that his destiny was to take down Gaea, and he succeeded. How? He believed in us, and he believed himself, and it’s time we started believing in him, too.’ Hazel stared at Frank.
‘You know what?’ She sniffed and wiped her eyes. ‘You, sir, are going to make an excellent praetor.’ He blushed.
‘Come on, let’s go down to the beach – you’ll feel better,’ Frank suggested. Hazel reluctantly nodded, wiping away the last remnants of her tears before taking Frank’s hand.
Piper and Jason sat side by side on the rooftop, watching the stars shine down on the camp. They’d had their last laugh, their last recalling of memories, now there was nothing left but to pray for the best. ‘What do you think we’ll do now?’ Piper asked. Jason shrugged.
‘I have no idea. Moving on isn’t an option, but maybe change is – the camps are united, maybe that will be the dawn of something new.’
‘Too bad Leo can’t be part of it,’ Piper said. ‘I’ve tried to be upbeat about it, but I can’t. Leo’s gone, and he always thought he was the seventh wheel – on his own because he thought he had no one else…but he had us! Now he’ll never know that.’
Jason didn’t respond, maybe because he had no reply, or maybe he agreed with her. Then he pointed and frowned. ‘What’s going on down there?’ Piper looked at where he was pointing. Four people had gathered on the beach, and she had a feeling she knew who. ‘Come on.’ Jason grabbed her and they floated down on the winds.
‘I wonder what Jason and Piper are doing,’ Annabeth said. No sooner had she said this, the wind picked up, and sand swirled everywhere. When it cleared, Jason and Piper had landed a few feet away.
‘Man, you just wasted an awesome entrance,’ Percy said, trying to get the sand out of his hair.
Jason grinned. ‘I’m a son of Jupiter. I live for wasting awesome entrances.’ Their chuckles were interrupted by Hazel crying out in pain.
‘Argh!’ She sat with her hand in her hands, as though she’d just gotten the world’s worst headache.
‘Hazel?’ Annabeth sounded concerned.
‘It’s like…a buzzing in my head,’ Hazel managed to get out, wincing with every word. Annabeth shot Percy a silent look: Like Nico gets when someone dies. Either Hazel’s pain was worse or the son of Hades was better at controlling the pain he let show, Percy had no idea.
As if to answer this, Reyna and Nico came running onto the beach seconds later. ‘You, too?’ Nico looked at Hazel, trying to resist the pain himself. ‘It’s worse than when someone dies,’ he muttered.
‘I was on watch in the infirmary and he suddenly got a pain in his head,’ Reyna explained. Then their pain cleared. The children of the Underworld had a silent debate, which Nico seemed to win.
Hazel murmured, ‘No…it couldn’t be…’ She stood up, looking at the dark sky, and gasped. Percy squinted, trying to see what she saw. In the distance was a small bronze glow, and it grew bright and brighter by the second.
But, Percy realized, it wasn’t just a glow. It was a bronze dragon, flying through the night sky. As it grew closer, Percy saw it wasn’t alone. The automaton landed on the beach 20 feet away. A teenaged girl with long caramel hair climbed off, smiling like a lunatic. Her white shirt was streaked with grease from the automaton, but she didn’t seem to care. Her face seemed familiar, like Percy had seen this girl before. Then it hit him.
Calypso quickly nodded at him, then turned her attention to the dragon. Apparently Calypso wasn’t the only passenger. It seemed obvious now – if Festus had survived the explosion, clearly he would, too. Someone slid off the dragon, covered in even more grease and burns than Calypso. He turned and grinned at the shocked demigods.
‘I thought I told you to trust me?’ Leo said, grinning even more crazily than Calypso was.