He ran towards the collapsing hole. They watched as he gave them one last smile.
“Tell Calypso I’m sorry.”
“NO! NO! PLEASE DON’T!”
Even though it happened a few hours ago, he could still hear the screams of agony. Unrecognisable screams of pain. He blinked several times and shook his head, trying to get rid of the wails. Or were they his? It all happened so fast. Reyna and Nico managed to return the Athena Parthenos, just in time before the two camps broke out into bloodshed, and shortly rejoining their group before they had to split to fight Gaia.
Reyna told them Octavian somehow got himself killed by a stray pegasus, who went out of control, by the name of Blackjack. Frank smiled at the thought. Apparently someone has fed him too many doughnuts and he went on sugar high, accidentally trampling on Octavian. He walked to the shaking figure sitting on the edge of the cliff. Every step he took he winced, out of pain from both his injuries and the sadness leaking out of the sobs he heard.
He couldn’t help but feel pity. All around him were people in sorrow, but had the comfort of others supporting them. All but them. They had no one. True they’re not exactly best buddies. But everyone needed someone. Frank winced before he sat down. He hesitated, “ So… Guess the sunrise is a different view from what you’re usually used to, huh?”
There was a short silence, one that Frank was dying to break. He gave a wry smile. Not literally of course. That was definitely not a joke he was going to break out any time soon. He didn’t hear anymore sounds.
“Yeah I guess it is.” Nico Di Angelo looked at him and gave a sad smile.
Frank looked back at the sunrise, wondering how something so beautiful could still exist, after everything that just happened. Why did it still exist? Why didn’t the rest of the world die along with them? “I know what you’re thinking and if she was here right now, she would have slapped you.” If Frank didn’t have the hearing of an elephant, he would’ve missed the quiet voice.
“Most definitely.” It was as if nothing at all happened. The world was still turning. Frank couldn’t help but feel resent. How could he not? He gave a quick glance at the Underworld kid next to him. Why isn’t HE feeling mad at the world? Of all people, he was the one who had also lost the most.
Frank’s eyes started to glisten as he flashed back.
He quickly ducked before a giant’s axe chopped his head off. He looked around him to see several giants ganging up on him.
“Hey giants. We don’t want to hurt poor Frank do we?” He felt his broken ankle throb as he looked at Piper gratefully as she charmspoke the giants, “I think we should let him go, don’t you think so?” The giants looked at each other, confused. Piper’s charmspeak was extremely powerful, compared to when Frank first met her. But the more time passed by, the stronger Gaia was getting, the weaker Piper’s charmspeak would become.
Frank screamed to Piper, “PIPER RUN! I’LL FOLLOW!”
He changed to an eagle and flew above the giants. He flew above Piper, trying to catch her with his feet, but with one broken ankle, it was almost impossible to do. Piper caught on to what he was trying to do and as Frank’s foot caught the shoulder of her shirt, she grabbed on. They flew for a couple of miles till Frank fell; the pain in his ankle made him woozy.
“Frank? Frank? I can see Percy and the others. Wait here okay.”
Frank opened his eyes to see that he was on a hill. He could see the giants gaining; there were considerably a lot less than before they were let loose. He smirked at the idea of his fellow demigods destroying giants triple their size. Imagine Hazel summoning up lumps of gold as ammunition! He looked around to see Piper talking to Jason. Hazel ran up to him, “Oh gods. Leo, pass some ambrosia.”
He was on the verge of blacking out if some ambrosia had not been stuffed into his mouth. Everyone looked half-dead already - their clothes were tattered, dirt and blood all over their bodies. Frank thought he probably didn’t look any better anyway. Annabeth looked the worst; her left arm hung uselessly on her side. Frank swallowed the ambrosia, “How many?”
Percy was the one who answered, “Not as many but the main problem is still there: Gaia.”
“Uh guys. Giants are coming, 6 o’clock.”
Frank looked behind him when he felt someone swat his head. “In front of you, you nut,” laughed Leo. Reyna looked around nervously. no scratch that. Everyone looked on edge at that moment. Annabeth looked like she was thinking, “The giants are drawing us away from something.”
“How do you know?”
She sighed, “They’re all coming from the same place right? It’s like they’re chasing us off. That must be where Gaia is finally awakening.”
Nico spoke up, “Then it’s finally close. I can feel it. All the spirits are feeling restless. And that definitely is not something you want to see.”
Reyna shuddered, making Frank think that something definitely happened whilst they went to return the Athena Parthenos to the camp.
“Let’s split up. Piper, Nico, Frank and me. Annabeth, Jason, Leo, Reyna and Hazel. We’ll go in opposite directions and meet up where Gaia is then.”
Everyone looked at Percy and nodded. Frank looked at him with respect and awe. Percy Jackson was someone who had that natural leadership. Albeit, when he first met Percy, he was a confused and mad guy who sounded completely off his rocker. Frank didn’t see any of those things in the guy in front of them at that moment. They split into their groups and ran.
Even now, Frank struggled to remember what happened then. He had ‘short-term memory loss’ or in Annabeth terms, post-traumatic amnesia.
He remembered running to what looked like a huge pit, not knowing if there were still giants left. It looked like a huge sunken circle. But in reality, it was land collapsing, almost like quicksand. He looked around to see familiar faces. All conveyed the same understanding: Gaia.
He winced. Blurry images took over his mind.
He saw an earthquake. He saw landslides. The earth was betraying its inhabitants, obeying Gaia instead. Were they too late? ‘To storm or fire the world must fall.’ He then understood. Gaia is the earth. They have to fight her in her territory - in the earth itself, a sure suicide mission. He voiced this out loud. Everyone looked at each other. It meant losing an ally, a friend. Frank looked at his feet and thought of the obvious but sad possibilities: storm being Jason and fire meaning Leo. He looked up to have Percy catch his eyes. Then he saw Percy give Annabeth a tight hug and a kiss after exchanging looks with Jason before he ran. Before he ran towards the sinking hole.
Annabeth screamed, “PERCY NO WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”
Percy stopped. He looked back and smiled, “Well, Leo has an oath to the River Styx. And Jason’s not the only one who can create storms, am I right?”
A hurricane of water appeared on top of the hole. Frank then gasped with realisation. Poseidon. The god of the sea. The Earthshaker.
Annabeth started running to him, crying, but tripped on the unbalanced ground. Jason was shaking his head. Piper clung onto him whilst sobbing. Next to Frank, Nico looked pale as Hazel buried herself in his shoulder. Leo and Reyna had tears in their eyes. Frank could only look, only to realise that his tear ducts had let loose.
“Besides,” Percy gave a cheeky smile, “ I have to act dumb sometimes.”
Annabeth tried to get up, “Percy no! I made a promise! I made a promise to keep YOU safe remember! I promised Chiron! Please! Percy!”
He turned back and ran towards the collapsing hole. They watched as he gave them one last smile, “Leo! Tell Calypso I’m sorry… Wise Girl, I love you.”
Annabeth sobbed against the ground, “No! NO! Percy! Please! PERCY!”
Frank looked to Percy, only to see that he had gone. His relative was gone. One of the last members of his family was gone. Percy Jackson was gone. He felt too numb to realise the ground moving beneath him and Nico. It was too late when he noticed a hole growing underneath him and Nico.
He felt someone push him and Nico to the floor and looked up, only to see Hazel clinging on a rock for dear life. He started getting up, “HAZEL!”
She looked up at him and gave a teary smile, “Guess I’m heading off to help Percy.”
The hole widened, the edges crumbling as Hazel tried to hold on. Nico jumped up and ran, “NO HAZEL!”
Frank could no longer see her cinnamon-coloured hair. His last image of her beautiful gold eyes were ones filled with tears and love. In the matter of minutes, both Percy Jackson and Hazel Levesque were gone.
He trembled, sobbing, only to feel a hand patting his shoulder. He lifted his eyes to see himself next to Nico on the cliff. Both pairs of eyes were filled with tears as they looked to the horizon and saw pegasi flying towards them. Flying to take them back to their camps. Back to their homes. Frank looked behind him to see Annabeth walking, supported by Piper. She lost her best friend. The love of her life. Only to have lost him when they had just found each other. He and Nico had both lost their only living family member. And the person they truly loved. Frank felt that he could understand Nico’s pain. But realised that Nico must feel burdened with more as he had lived his current life out of solitude. He looked back to the horizon and to Nico.
“A new start for us back at camp I guess.”
The now seven demigods stood together, facing the horizon, as they waited for the pegasi to arrive.