The Final Verse

Here is my entry for the Blood of Olympus Alternative Writing Contest.


1. The Final Verse

The Final Verse


Being a halfblood isn't so bad. 

Sure, there is the problem of daunting properties, vicious monsters, near death experiences, and the constant reminder that there are immortal beings powerful enough to blast you into dust. But, overall, being a child of an Olympian god can be alright.

Besides, you get cool powers. How cool is that? 

And, among all other things demigods have, they are gifted with the one thing most do not have. Something mortals thrive for. Something even the most mightiest gods will ponder on. 

A chance. An opportunity to prove yourself and show your worthy among the world of gods, monsters and mortals. Few normal people get their chance against fate. Demigods are blessed with the opportunity every time the lock eyes with a sneering, deadly monster.

So here Louise was. A not-so-bad demigod, about to challenge fate.

Walls of photos peered down at her. Pictures of smiling teen getting crinkled in the summer breeze coming from outside. They varied in size and age, ranging from photographs to ink etchings to even large, oil paint portraits (which were of rather famous people, surprisingly). However, all these different faces and different people from multiple times and places had one similarity, They were demigods, the challengers of fate.

Well, that could count as two similarities but, in reality, the two titles mean the same thing; have the same meaning. They were all heroes. They were everything Louise wanted to be.

“Wow,” was the only sound she could make, rich blue eyes glancing over the hundreds of faces, her heroic predecessors. Many faces were unknown to her but some she recognised. Photos of friends, portraits of some famous idol, and there were even pieces of text stuck to the walls that she memorised from her Greek mythology classes. Odyssey, Jason, Heracles, all the legends were there.

However, these were the things that were shoved aside, tucking into the corners of the walls and display boards. The ancient Greek legends were not why Louise was here.

It was camp tradition. The leader of a quest had to climb the daunting ladder on the highest floor of the Big House, into the attic were the photos remained. Although the dust was gone and sunlight freely poured into the room, the attic still caused goosebumps up Louise’s spine.

Bowing her head, she quickly revised the words the campers told her to speak. She’s been wanting this for so long. She had to get this right.

“Gods of Olympus! I...uh. Damn it.” Louise cursed. Her mind went blank. The words lost. “Wait, no! I didn't mean ‘damn it’ as in ‘damn it, Olympus’. I- Oh gods. Nevermind. L-Let’s try again.” She pushed her scruffy, dark brunette hair away from her eyes, clutching the knots caught in her fingers from frustration.

Memory of the speech to Olympus failed to appear. It was like that part of her mind leapt from her brain and got swept into the River Lethe, lost in the abyss of forgetfulness. This was not the time for Louise to be dim.

Just think something up, She thought, Demigods improvise all the time.

“Olympus, may your heroes help me with...things as I, urh, take my quest.” She proclaimed, head raised to the ceiling as if the gods were above her and were chilling on the roof. “Let the stories of your children teach me how to succeed today.” Eyes quickly went to the photos before her, hoping for ideas. A picture of a young girl with stormy grey eyes smiling along with a surfer dude, whose face was tainted with a large, brutal scar, caught Louise’s attention. She knew their story well.

“Help me avoid evil,” Louise continued, pupils remaining the scarred boy and the grey notes taped beside the photo, all written in the same girl cursive. “Or let me learn my mistakes, in the end.”

She then turned to a newer photo, showing a couple embracing each other yet gawking at the blurry camera with startled eyes. Louise’s heart sunk at the sight of the dark-skinned, bright-eyed girl beside her tall, muscular dork.

Some demigods challenge against fate and lose. Even if demigods do not succeed, they’re still deemed as great, fallen heroes. Hazel and Frank were fallen heroes.

Fighting Gaea was vicious. Louise wasn't there, fortunately, but she was told enough. By the time the Romans and Greeks stopped their destruction against another and realised the true threat, it was too late. Gaea burst from her earth and wrecked havoc. The Seven, camper call them, were trying everything against Gaea. Every attempt to distract Gaea from her destruction and get her swooped up in the sky by Festus failed. Until Frank was caught.

Frank was apparently an eagle during the time. Louise never understood how he was able to become so many animals, despite how much the story was told to her, but she recognised him for his unbelievable bravery. He was consumed by the very earth, snatched out of the sky by the Earth Mother while he was trying desperately to claw at her face and bite at her eyes. How he properly died nobody wanted to know, but it took days to dig his broken body out of the battlefield.

Hazel died as heroically as Frank. His death broke her; powered her with so much anger as she watched him crumble under the dirt that she charged straight towards Gaea without fear or thought. In the moment before Gaea could destroy her, Hazel released a pure wave of magic. Even Hecate would've been stunned. From what Louise was told, it blasted the entire battlefield and sent Gaea sky-high. Without Hazel, Gaea wouldn't have been torn from her home territory and been destroyed. But Hazel sacrificed herself  in the progress, the sheer power she released destroying her completely.

They both went Elysium. Nobody even doubted that fact. Their bravery was never forgotten and their story remained close to everyone’s hearts, including Louise’s.

“Help me become braver,” Louise added, eye stinging as she stared at their photo. She imagined Frank’s courage and Hazel’s devotion, things all demigods need. “and show me strength despite death.”

Pursuing on, Louise’s eyes jumped to the next photo on the display. A trio were together, arms over each other and their laughter captured perfectly so the joy was frozen in time. A girl with choppy, dark hair and kaleidoscope eyes was with a blond haired teen. Both probably intended to have a sweet photo as a couple before a scrawny, latino elf squeezed in between the pair suddenly.

Heavy heart lifted at their picture, a tiny smile appearing on Louise’s lips as she looked at the three. Jason and Piper she knew well. They survived the fight against Gaea in one piece and, sometimes, Louise would see them at camp. When Jason was not busy hopping between camps, building shrines and acting all Pontifex Maximus, and Piper was not occupied by meeting with Reyna or keeping peace between the camps (Charmspeak is more useful than people give it credit for), they are permanently together. It gives Louise some hope. Despite all the barriers those two faced, their love battled through it all.

Then, there’s Leo.

That kid should have been dead. From the stories of how him and his dragon rose from the wreckage of his ship and destroyed the Earth Mother in a mighty explosion, Louise expected a tragic ending. Everybody did.

Until, months later, a gigantic bronze head had crushed into volleyball court, leaving a giant crater as it cried “GET BACK!” in a rather humane tone. That was the moment everyone remembered that Leo Valdez doesn't follow the rules.

Camper say he burst out from the clouds like a god from Olympus, flying down with a booming whoop on a glorious (and rather headless) dragon with a beautiful, enchanting goddess by his side. It was like he escaped from the old Greek stories, seeming heroic, victorious, and invincible. Before the image was ruined by a black eyes and bloody nose. Courtesy of a certain daughter of Aphrodite, of course.

Louise chuckled at the tale. “Help me laugh through sadness,” She said, recognising Leo’s humour and his friend’s opportunism. “so I can stand up and seem tall.”

Now, the photo at the very centre of it all. The sight of it made her falter. The girl with grey, stormy eyes from before looked at her. She was taller and her blonde hair seemed more wavy than curled like a princess, but the same loving smile was still there. At her side was a boy, only an inch or two higher than her, with black hair, sea green eyes and a wide grin.

Annabeth Chase and Percy Jackson. The modern legends of Olympus, despite their protests against it. Their story Louise loved the most.

Together, they suffered years of fighting and torment for the sake of the gods. They battled the titan Kronos, they survived Tartarus, and went up against Gaea despite all the odds against them. Annabeth commanded the Greeks alongside the Roman legion, annihilating any monsters in their path. Percy channelled a monstrous hurricane, working alongside Jason to distract the Earth Mother until she met her end. However, through it all, the two Greek demigods stayed together. And that’s what got them their happy ending, in the end.

Percy appears in camp often, training younger demigods and helping whenever the camp calls him up (Camp Half Blood knows he still loves fighting the monsters, from the hidden smile on his face when he’s trying to complain). Annabeth apparently got a part-time internship at a architecture firm in New York. She’s living her dream and keeping an eye on Olympus, at the same time. They both live together happily in New Rome, and Sally Jackson gives the camp constant updates on them when she visits with her husband, every weekend.

Those two suffered through everything, went through hell and back, and survived. That's the sort of ending every demigod strives for.

Realising she’s been smiling at the couple for a few awkward minutes, Louise shook her head to regain focus. She blushed in her embarrassment, glad nobody else was with her. With a deep breath, her smile growing wider, she faced the window showing the camp, bathed in bright sunlight, as she said her final words.

“And, lastly, help me remain loyal, and prevent Olympus’s fall.”

At that moment, the sun seemed brighter, the air smelled salty from the nearby ocean, and everything seemed good in the world. It was like all the gods showed they approved her words, and that’s when Louise knew she had said the right thing.

“Hey, Johnson!” The peace was broken instantly by the yell downstairs. “What’s taking so long? You rearranging the display boards to fit your portrait?”

Louise chuckled, before yelling back. “Actually, I've been trying to figure out how to your giant head in our photograph!”

Oi!” was the reply before came a annoyed huff. “But come on, Louise. We’re losing daylight! I’ll prefer to start this quest without the immediate risk of monsters, you know!”

“Fine! Just give me a minute, Alex. Gods!” She cried, hearing a laugh from below until over-dramatic stomps lead away from the entry to the attic. A full-blown laugh threatened to escape Louise, and it almost did, until an idea came.

Fit your portrait? She didn't intend for a photo as big as Alex suggested but she couldn't help herself from thinking about it.

Turning away from the display of heroes, she faced one of the desks that were randomly placed within the attic. Paper scattered the wooden top, pens and half-written notes everywhere. Louise searching through the chaos, finding a blank piece and a board marker. The pen was half dried but it wrote the message clear enough. She took a pin from on of the displayed pictures and stuck the paper in the first open space she can find.

“I’ll be back.” She promised, glancing at each photo one last time as their stories gave her the encouragement she needed. “Just trust me.”

With that, she shrugged on her abandoned backpack, climbed down the ladder, and jumped off the last remaining steps before she came face-to-face with a lanky, hispanic boy. His brown eyes were blazing, looking more golden caramel than their usual mud colour, and his face was annoyingly stern.

“Took your time.” He said, voice tight as he glared down at her. She wanted to punch him for standing so tall like that. Curse her shortness. She just wanted to hide until her next growth spurt.

Instead, she scoffed. “Apologies, Sunshine. I’ll be sure to follow your routine schedule from now on.” Louise replied, sarcasm thick in her voice as she marched out of the corridor, towards the stairs.

No comment came from Alex about her reply or her military walking. Her eyes narrowed at his silence. Maybe he was so stuck up, that even sarcasm didn't reach him?

When she was beginning to question whether she broke him somehow, he bluntly grumbled, “Don’t call me Sunshine."

“Okay then, Alexander.” She teased, smirking. Louise didn't even need to look at his face to see Alex go crimson with frustration.

“You know, I'm glad you took your time. It’s probably the last time you will see that place.”

“Wooh, can we calm down with the subtle death threats, please?" Louise suggested. "And it won’t be the last time.”

Unsurprisingly, Alex laughed. “Since when were you the Oracle of Delphi?”

“Never. And I may not be a child of Apollo like you, either, but I just know this, okay?” Louise paused, waiting for Alex to argue, until she added, “Besides, I reserved us a space.”

“You know, your hunches are usually stupid.” He spoke, chuckling. Louise was ready to retaliate, until his warm smile on his face made her freeze with shock. “But, unfortunately, you’re usually right.”

"Urh..." Stunned, she blinked up at taller teen until she frowned. “Wait. "Usually right"? I'm always right." Louise snapped. 

"Whatever, Lou-Lou." Finger twitched at the new nickname, the urge to smack the boy unbearable. "Let's just pray to the gods that you're actually right. Because being dead would kinda suck." 

It was only one comment, but it made the laughter burst from Louise's throat. Alex shot her a surprised, wide-eyed look. Then he burst out laughing too. Desperately leaning on the open door of the Big House, giggles took over her until it hurt.

"Come on, Sunshine. Let's get on this quest before we get killed during another laughing fit." Louise spoke, gesturing her head to where the outside world waited for them. "Olympus can't wait for its heroes any longer."

Alex gave a roll of the eyes. Then they walked off, away from the Big House, straight towards the peak of Half Blood Hill. With a quick glance over her shoulder, Louise smiled up at the attic. She can almost imagine the legendary demigods watching her through the window for their photos, already waiting for her photo on their wall.

“You know, Olympus chooses some really bad heroes to save its butt." Alex commented on. "You'd think they'd decide on some buff or brawny kids to save the say but they ended up picking us. A healer and a idiot." 

Louise didn't comment on his description. Instead, she said, "We all heroes of Olympus. Every demigod is."

"Really? I just thought every demigod was a troubled kid."

Louise smirked, "Are we troubled kids?"

As they crossed Half Blood Hill, entering into the real world that was waiting to tear them apart and destroy them, they couldn't but lock eyes and smile.

"Yeah, you could say that."

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