Percy couldn’t believe what just happened. He thought they were winning the war. The gods had finally gotten over their alter egos and were fighting against their counterpart giants, the legion of the undead (thankfully Nico had given and taught Hazel how to use Diocletian’s sceptre) were battling against the Gaea’s army which had escaped Tartarus and the Argo 2 members had just stopped some mud warriors which without popped out the ground and started attacking them. Now all that was left was a pile of mud on the ground while everyone was on the ground panting in exhaustion.
Jason slowly stood up and picked up his sword. Percy was about to get up too, he knew the battle wasn’t over yet as even though the gods would never admit it, they needed heroes to beat the giants. That’s when everything went wrong.
Jason suddenly raised his sword and slashed it at Leo, who fell with a surprised look. Percy yelled out and Jason turned towards him, he smiled with his dark brown eyes.
Before Percy could warn him, Frank charged at Jason but abruptly stopped. He then morphed into a lion and without warning pounced at Percy, who barely managed avoid him by veering to the side. What on earth was going on?
Annabeth yelled “It’s the mud! Don’t let it touch you” Percy glanced down and noticed that the remains of the mud warriors were attaching themselves to Frank and Jason. A wounded Leo also rose to his feet as the mud started attaching itself on him too. All three of them had those same murky brown eyes.
Percy, Annabeth, Hazel and Piper backed up to avoid being touched by the mud. Frank changed back into human form which now to Percy looked even scarier than him being a lion.
“How do we-?” Piper started, but was cut off by Jason, Frank and Leo all speaking at once.
“You have all done well to make it this far” They all spoke in harmony in the voice from Percy’s nightmares. After hearing the voice of the sleeping lady for this long, there was no doubt that it was Gaea’s eerie voice. As he stared at those lifeless brown eyes, Percy wanted nothing more than to run and hide under a rock.
As if realising his fear Gaea laughed through his friends “there is no need to be scared Perseus Jackson, you are my sacrifice after all” Percy stepped backwards, his whole body was trembling. Gaea was staring directly at him through all his friends’ eyes, this could only mean that she was in her final stages of finally becoming fully awake. He had never been so scared in his life, battling Kronos was less than an ant compared to this and that time he’d had the blessing of the Styx. Only now was he realising what raw fear truly meant, there was no way he stood a slightest chance of winning. Suddenly he was sent sprawling to the ground as someone punched him in the face.
“Snap out of it” yelled Annabeth. Percy was shocked to see her so angry. That punch had really hurt.
“After all these battles you’ve been through do you think I’ll let you chicken out here?
“But there’s no chance of winning” he murmured as he stared at Gaea’s eyes. This was the Earth itself, he’d been at its mercy his whole life. If she’d wanted, Gaea could have destroyed him before he was even born, why couldn’t Annabeth understand that?
“So what if she’s Earth!” Percy blinked had she read his mind? “We’ve been fighting her all this time”
He glared at her “that’s different, now she’s fully-“
“Awake?” It was Piper, she sounded disappointed as though she’d misjudged him. Percy was so busy staring into the eyes of Gaea that he’d forgotten Hazel and Piper were still here. He was even more startled when Hazel spoke quietly.
“Everyone feels fear it’s a part of being alive but not everyone can overcome it, I respect you because no matter how bad the situation became you managed to overcome it, and that’s how I overcome my fear” She then sighed with her voice shaking “please don’t stop now or I don’t think I’ll be able to contain it.
Percy slowly averted his gaze from Gaea and looked at Hazel, she tried to hide it but he could see fear in her eyes. Hazel was so usually so strong willed that he forgot she was still only 13 years old. He then looked down at his hands, he hadn’t even realised how much they were trembling. Was he really this weak? Annabeth held out her arm, she seemed to have regained her composure.
“Come on Seaweed Brain, if you give up now the people who died protecting us would be in vain, think about Bob and Damasen.
Percy abruptly stopped trembling. He remembered that so many lives had been taken because of Gaea, this made him angry. He took Annabeth’s hand who pulled him up, then glared at Gaea. If he was going to die here then he would die giving Mother Earth as much hell as possible.
She laughed looking pleased “I knew I was right to choose you as my sacrifice”. Sacrifice, Percy had been hearing that word ever since he’d lost his memories and he still didn’t know why Gaea needed him of all people. She’d even given up her own allies in order to protect him who was supposed to be her enemy, all because he would be useful to her. Annabeth, Hazel and Piper were all standing next to him ready for a fight but what happened next was much worse. Frank-Gaea smiled, reached out into his pocket and pulled out a pouch. Percy had no idea what was happening but Hazel apparently did.
“You wouldn’t!” she cried her hands shaking with rage. Gaea chuckled as she opened the pouch and took out a tiny piece of firewood. He instantly knew what it was and what it meant. Just like that he was in Gaea’s mercy again, one wrong move and Frank was as good as dead. Annabeth and Piper were the only ones looking confused though they seemed to have gotten an idea by my expression and Hazel’s outburst. Frank-Gaea smiled as he raised his lifeline and Leo-Gaea’s hand caught fire.
“Stop!” Percy yelled desperately as he grabbed his riptide. He had to get that wood out of Frank’s possession, even if it meant hurting his friends to do so.
“Stop!” ordered Piper using her charm speak. At first Percy thought it worked, Leo got rid of his fire and Frank lowered his tinder. Piper seemed too surprised to give another command as she just stood there, but then Gaea (using our friend’s bodies) turned towards us and smiled.
“But of course, when you become my sacrifice”. Percy’s heart fell, he should have known better than to get his hopes up. The only thing he could do right now was keep Gaea busy until he could take Frank’s wood away from him.
“I’ve been hearing the word ‘sacrifice’ for so long but I still have no idea of why you need me”.
Gaea chuckled as she saw right through me “Stalling for time won’t help, though I suppose you have earned the right to know” Frank-Gaea put the wood back in his pocket. “You see Perseus Jackson, you have a special quality that makes you very valuable to me” She smiled “If it meant saving a friend, you would go through any lengths, even if it meant destroying the world” Percy froze, he momentarily forgot he was supposed to be buying time and recalled those exact same words spoken by Annabeth’s mother. His three friends continued to stare at him with those malicious brown eyes. “In order for me to have my own body and awake completely, I need one willing and one forceful half-blood as a sacrifice, one male, one female and that is why you are valuable to me”. Percy’s world slowly crumbled around him. He was well aware of Annabeth calling him as well as the raging battle near them between the gods with the undead soldiers and the giant’s with the reborn underworld army, but it didn’t matter. He remembered his old nightmares of making the choice between saving Olympus or his friends. He thought about seeing Frank burn out and his friends killing each other. Could he really let that happen?
Percy’s voice cracked as he spoke “will you promise on the River Styx to leave my friends once I become your sacrifice?”
You can’t be serious!” shrieked Annabeth but Percy ignored her and stared into Gaea’s eyes, mainly because he couldn’t bear to look at her or any of his other friends. Gaea seemed satisfied as suddenly a pool of dark mud appeared in front of them.
“But of course, there are many other female half-bloods who do not wish to be my sacrifice, all you need to do is step in the pool” Percy was about to move forward when Annabeth stepped in front of him, so did Piper and Hazel.
“Move aside” said Percy in a dangerously low voice. He had put his friend through so much, he couldn’t let them get involved any more.
Annabeth was glaring at him as if she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She spoke in a steely voice “Sorry Percy, but if you’re go through with this then you’ll have to go through me first”. Hazel and Piper were looking at me with a scared expression but Percy could tell that they were willing to fight him. Annabeth drew her ivory sword, Piper took out Katoptris and Hazel drew her cavalry sword. Gaea was looking them, amused at the way things had turned out. Jason-Gaea took out his sword, Leo-Gaea’s hand caught fire and Frank-Gaea morphed into a grizzly bear.
“Stop!” Percy snapped at Gaea, he knew it was a dangerous move but he didn’t care. He wasn’t going to let Gaea control his friends to fight with him.
The Earth goddess simply shrugged “as you wish, but try not to destroy this place as it is the connection between Tartarus, the underworld and me”. Percy was shocked, she tried to hide it but for a split second her voice actually sounded scared. Why would Gaea, the Earth itself be scared of Athens being destroyed? He quickly masked his surprise in case Gaea caught on and glanced at Annabeth to see if she’d noticed too. As expected Annabeth looked equally surprised until she, like Percy hid it. Could it be that Mother Earth had a weakness? His eyes were drawn to Pipers Katoptris and he suddenly felt dizzy. The prophecy echoed in his mind ‘to storm or fire the world must fall’ he thought about how even the most powerful beings like Hera and Thanatos had been subdued. Percy’s mind raced, if all the immortals were the same… No this had to work, it was their last chance.
Gaea was still staring at him as if expecting some entertainment before she returned and Percy was going to give her just that. He glanced at Annabeth and nodded, Piper and Hazel hadn’t noticed the connection as they were still staring at him, scared but ready for a fight. He glanced at the ground which was now completely surrounded with soggy mud. Percy raised his hands as if trying to hug the air and the mud in the ground started to rise. For this to work he needed Hazel’s help which was difficult as she still thought he was the enemy, not to mention she needed to accept wild plan.
Gaea laughed “This is perfect, it’s my power is the ground and your power is the sea, water and soil makes mud, so we’re working together in order to bring about my rise” Percy ignored her, he needed his full concentration in order to make the mud rise. He concentrated and more mud widened until just Hazel was inside, it then span faster and faster. She looked pale but readied her cavalry sword to attack. Percy’s face was beaded with sweat, he couldn’t keep this up much longer. He desperately looked at her hoping she would understand and thankfully she did. She lowered her sword and walked towards me looking confused.
“Percy are you-“ Percy cut her off, there was no time left. He quickly told her his plan and her eyes widened “That’s-” but she stopped after seeing my expression, she knew that this was their last hope. She knelt down on the ground just as the mud storm went out.
Gaea looked delighted “one down, two to go” He turned towards Annabeth and Piper who stepped out the way with fearful expressions as he walked towards them. At this sight Mother Earth could barely contain her excitement, she laughed and clapped with the hands of their friends as she spoke “Well it seems like you didn’t need my help after all, now step in the pool as I make preparations” Leo, Jason and Frank gestured at the pool and began to glow with a shining yellow light. Percy watched horrified as for a moment it looked like their friends would internally explode. Fortunately, as Percy was hoping, the light escaped through their mouths as orbs and his possessed friends instantaneously crumpled to the ground. The three of orbs of light merged together into a larger orb and hovered near Percy.
“Well?” said the orb of light in Gaea’s voice. She was waiting for him to drop in the pool of mud. Percy glanced towards the raging battle of the gods and giants and was surprised by what he saw. Zeus had his lightning bolt raised and Porphyrion cowering before him, shielding himself with his hands. It was a similar situation with the other giants as most of them were either chained by invisible ropes or fighting desperately trying to get away. The reborn underworld army had almost been wiped out by the undead soldiers who were showing no mercy. The tide of the battle was clearly in their favour but it wouldn’t matter anymore if their plan failed and Gaea awoke. Heck even if they died and stopped Gaea from awaking they would still lose as only gods and demigods together could defeat giants. Percy took a deep breath and prepared himself, he only had one shot to get this right. He raised his hands and once again the mud rose with it.
“What are you doing?” Gaea hissed, this was the first time she’d ever lost her calm voice for more than a second and sound even remotely worried, which told him he was on the right path. He glanced at Annabeth who nodded encouragingly.
“Sorry Gaea” Percy told the shining orb “but the only one going to be sacrificed today is you” he then clasped his hands and the mud tried to morph into a cube and trap the shining orb. He then felt a sharp pain in his gut and a force that started pulling Percy’s arms apart.
“Fool” snarled the voice of Gaea. He stared horrified as the mud cube started to open, revealing the shining light again. “Did you really think you can use my own precious soil to trap me?” Percy couldn’t answer, it took all he had just to keep the mud in the air trying to surround the shining sphere. He was starting to sweat and any moment now he would pass out due to his pain. Please Dad, protect my friends, I’ll give you my life as an offering. Suddenly Percy felt stronger, he had no idea why but it was like he’d been bathed in golden light which made him remember what was important to him. Strength coursed through his whole body and he used every bit of it to seal the cube.
“Poseidon!” screeched Gaea. Percy glanced down and was surprised to see that his whole body was surrounded by a blue aura. He remembered seeing a similar red aura Clarisse went on a rampage against the titan army.
“The blessing of Poseidon!” Annabeth yelled, she seemed shocked “I’ve never heard that happening before, not even in myths”. That was great and all but Percy was pouring in all his newly found strength to seal the cube but it still wasn’t enough, rays of light kept piercing through and the soil was overpowering the water in the mud. Soon the soil would take over which would be a disaster. Suddenly the air pressure dropped with a pop almost making him black out. He didn’t need to turn around (not that he could) to know who it was.
“Jason!” Piper yelled but reunions could wait. Jason seemed to grasp this as he got straight to the point.
“I have no idea what’s going on right now, nor am I in any shape to fight but one thing’s clear, I won’t let you be the hero again” There was bitterness in his voice but it didn’t matter right now, Percy needed all the help he could get.
“Help seal that cube first, save the rivalry for later!” shrieked Annabeth, even though it was only her voice, Percy could tell that she hated being useless at the most critical moment. It took Jason a few moments to register her words but then a gust of air blew past him and surrounded the mud cube.
“Son of Jupiter” Gaea groaned. Her voice was much weaker now and the light was beginning to fade as the air started sealing the holes “I should have killed you when I had the chance”. She then laughed “You do realize that this will only hold me for two centuries at most don’t you?”
“You really need to admit defeat when you see it” Percy and Jason told Gaea together. Wow talk about thinking alike. The Mother of Earth let out a final roar which shook the entire city before the shining orb was sealed by the mud cube. Just when he thought it was over, the mud started to drip. Percy cursed, he should have known better than to trust soggy mud. Soon Gaea’s light would start piercing through it again, there was only one way to stop this now, they needed- suddenly a blast of fire was thrust past him and he’d never been happier to hear their fiery friend’s voice.
“If I’m not mistaken” said Leo “then I just completed a very nice looking earth cube” He watched as the cube instantly dried (thankfully Leo hadn’t made the fire hot enough to melt the cube) and now there was only one thing left to do.
“Hazel Now!” yelled Percy making everyone jump. Hazel stood up as the ground cracked open revealing a hole right beneath the cube. Percy finally relaxed his arms which were aching all over and the brown cube which contained the Earth goddess started to free fall. Just for good measures Jason used his air to direct the cube right down the hole. Soon Hazel after sealed up the tunnel, Percy turned around and grinned, finally he could say it was over.
Frank was beginning to stir as he regained consciousness but all of us were hurt some way whether it was our pride or just physical injuries.
“So-“ Leo started but was interrupted by a voice and grape smell he knew too well.
“I don’t mean to spoil your victory” grumbled Dionysus “but could you please prod those giants over there first, they really are an eyesore”
The rest was history, The Gaea’s army had pretty much disintegrated and the giant’s remaining were so cut and bruised up that Percy almost felt sorry for them as they turned to dust with a little cut of his riptide.
Soon after Frank (who was still upset about not being able to do anything) had dismissed his legion (which were until now just lounging around waiting for further instructions) Zeus ordered everyone to get back to Olympus for a council. This was fine by Percy as he’d had enough of Athens.
What he wasn’t fine with however was how they got there. One moment they were in Athens and the next moment Percy spun so fast that he almost black out and when he regained his focus he was in a familiar throne room.
“A little warning next time” coughed Leo as we struggled to get up. Percy, being the first to get up was staring at the Olympians, how did he not notice this before? He knew the gods could look any way they wanted but this was different. They now had both Roman and Greek aspects to them and some had changed much more than others.
“Like the new look?” said a voice from behind. He was so used to getting snuck up on by enemies that he instinctively spun round while uncapping his riptide. “My apologies” said Poseidon “I should have called you first”.
“D-dad” said Percy dropping his riptide, he too like the other Olympians had changed. Poseidon still had jet black hair like Percy but his sea green eyes were gone. They were instead replaced by dark blue eyes and he no longer had a beard. Although his father still wore shorts and a T-shirt like a fisherman he couldn’t quite help thinking that his father wasn’t the same person anymore. Poseidon seemed to realise this as he smiled sadly.
“You probably guessed but when the Romans and Greeks made a truce back at your camp, our personalities stopped fighting with each other and we soon became one”. The sea god smiled “overall it turned out for the best as we became much stronger when our personalities fused which helped us defeat the giants”. He stared at Poseidon for a few seconds then grinned, so Nico and the others had made it to camp in time. His father seemed to read his mind as his smile faded and he glanced over in Hades direction.
Percy also glanced over. The god of the underworld was sitting on his throne. He looked the exact same as before, pale skin with greasy hairy. The only difference was that his hair was a little shorter. Hades was staring at the floor, usually his eyes were full of a hungry lust for power but now they were just depressed.
“What happened to him?” asked Percy. If there was something that could make the god of dead like this then he wanted to know what it was.
Poseidon sighed “I’m afraid this war didn’t go without its casualties”. Percy suddenly felt cold despite how warm it was in Olympus. If Hades was this depressed when someone died, then that could only mean-
“Nico” He’d almost forgotten that the others were here as well and it was Jason who spoke.
Poseidon nodded gravely “He used up the last of his energy to shadow travel one last time and his last efforts stopped the two camps from all-out war. Percy couldn’t speak. Nico had helped him out so many times in the war against the titans, he had saved his life in Tartarus and now he sacrificed himself to stop another war. After all this, not once had he found out what made him tick.
“He left a message for you before he died” It was Reyna. She was wearing full celestial bronze battle armour and she was eyeing me with those steely guarded eyes. How she’d gotten here, Percy didn’t know but that didn’t matter. He was about to ask but Annabeth beat him to it.
“What’s the message?” Reyna took a deep breath before starting, “I died because it was something I felt I needed to do, not to save the world or stop Gaea”
Percy blinked. What did he mean by that? He glanced at his friends who also looked baffled apart from Jason, who was staring at him.
“What?” Jason quickly averted his eyes.
“Nothing…” There was definitely something Jason knew that he didn’t but Percy wasn’t in the mood to ask. He’d just figured out the meaning behind the Great Prophecy. Seven half-bloods shall answer this call were us, the combination between Greek and Roman heroes. To storm or fire the world must fall, Gaea had literally fallen to underground but he suspected even the prophecy didn’t know who it was by. Percy had called the storm to tell Hazel the plan which indirectly made Gaea fall, Leo had sealed up Gaea’s cage with fire and Jason had also used strong winds to seal the cube. An oath to keep with a final breath was Nico’s oath, he’d used his all his energy to put a stop the war just to tell him he didn’t do it to save the world. And foes bear arms to the doors of death were two demigods a giant and a titan, all foes who worked together to shut doors of death. Overall Percy felt miserable, they may have saved the world, but they lost so much in the process.
“What about the Athena Parthenos? Asked Annabeth. Percy blinked, he’d almost forgotten that it was supposed to be the Greek and Roman peace maker.
“It was a storage of old memories” answered Reyna “It projected the images of the mindless slaughter by old wars of the Greeks and the Romans”
“That’s all it took?” asked Percy unconvinced. He didn’t think the Romans would be scared by a few images projected by a statue.
Reyna laughed “Octavian wanted to continue but have no idea about the blood spilled in the past, and it also showed the peace that could be achieved if they collaborated” Percy slowly understood, Greeks and Romans had been fighting monsters as well as themselves since they could remember, peace would be a dream come true.
Zeus’s voiced boomed causing him to jump “Poseitune, is it too much to ask for you to take a seat?” Poseidon winked at me.
“Not at all Zupiter” and a split second later he was on his throne Now that all the gods were seated Zeus glared at the demigods standing in front of him.
“Now then, explain how a few little heroes managed to defeat the Earth itself, something I regret to admit even us gods couldn’t do”
Annabeth started to explain what happened in Athens. She didn’t mention the part about him trying to sacrifice the world for their friends but by looking at Athena’s satisfied expression, he could tell that she already knew. By the time she’d finished the gods looked all looked shocked.
Leo frowned “I don’t get it, if Hazel made a tunnel to trap Gaea in a well-made cage, couldn’t she just escape? Percy knew it was dangerous to say this in front of a bunch of powerful immortals but it didn’t matter, besides he actually felt good knowing that even someone as powerful as Gaea had a weakness.
“An immortals consciousness can be in many places at once” explained Percy “They may be powerful when they merge their all consciousness together but it’s also when they are the most venerable” Zeus’s eye twitched but he carried on “If an immortals consciousness is trapped when together then the immortal is practically helpless” Ares jumped up pointing his finger at us. “These kids knows our weakness, kill them now before they spread it” The other gods started muttering amongst each other. Percy cursed, now he’d done it. Poseidon stood up to speak but Zeus raised his hand for silence.
“We will deal with that later but Gaea is still the main problem”
“What do you mean, I thought she’s gone?” asked Frank.
This time is was Poseidon who answered “Her consciousness cannot be contained by a cage for very long, she will break free in a maximum of 200 years. Percy was shocked at first but it soon quickly changed to anger.
“So what we did was a waste of time?” yelled Percy, he knew it wasn’t their fault but he didn’t care. They had been through so much, lost so many lives for no reason.
Zeus laughed “Not at all, we’re saying that if nothing is done Gaea will rise. I was about to ask but Hades took over, his voice shook but it radiated with power.
“Whenever the Gaea begins to break the cage, someone will need to seal it again”.
Percy didn’t need to ask who, every single god in the throne room had their eyes on him.
“I won’t be alive to-“ he begun but Annabeth grabbed his hand and spoke.
“He already said he won’t become a god”. What? They were trying to make him a god again? No matter how many times they asked he would always refuse.
Athena spoke quietly “If he doesn’t Gaea will destroy the world”. Percy glanced at his other friends.
“One of you can do it” His friends suddenly started looking elsewhere.
Finally Jason spoke “Sorry Percy but I think no one else wants that role”
“Yep” said Leo “I still have some unfinished business” He had no idea what that meant but Leo seemed really happy about it.
“Percy” said Poseidon “you said before you wanted to live out your life the normal way” He glanced at his father who was smiling “Gaea still has another 200 years to come back, you can live your life however you want before then”
Percy blinked and glanced over at Annabeth then his friends. He couldn’t find anything wrong with that and neither could they. Apart from a few he didn’t like, the other gods were nodding their heads with agreement.
He smiled and gripped Annabeth’s hand “Fine, as long as…”
Life as a demigod is never easy, but an easy life isn't necessarily the best.