The Princess of Olympus: Lone Wolf

"Who are you?" Leo asked, once they all had gotten into the helicopter, with him in the pilot seat and Jaia, beside him, in co-pilot. Jaia stared out the window trying to get her thoughts in order. 'Who actually was she?' Jaia did not know how to answer that question, and instead said, "Where do you want me to start?" Leo glanced at her, taking in her messed-up pin curls and her ripped, lavender dress. Then he look at her eyes. They weren't a harsh emerald-green as usual, and at the moment, seemed guilty. "From the beginning," he finally responded. Jaia sighed. "Very well." And then, Jaia Silverglass began the tale of the Princess of Olympus.

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7. Chapter 6: A Sky Without Stars

        A FEW HOURS HAD past, and no one found Jaia.

      Her eyes were still half-opened, frozen, blue crystals, unmoving and unblinking. The pale complex of her skin turned a tainted grey, making her seem zombie-like. The sun barely went down, but her hair no longer shone like strands of gold, they too had changed, but darker a rich-looking color of a dark ocean blue, almost as dark as her soul. However, looks tell half the story and Jaia, even though she created the impression of death in water, Jaia was closer to fall off the face of the world than to meet Charon and be dragged off, having to pay, of course, to go to the Underworld. It wasn’t until Jaia from the future, made her appearance to prove the present-day Jaia Silverglass otherwise.

        “JJ, wake up!”

        “What? I’m not dead?” she said, but her body didn’t move at all.

      “Well, not exactly yet. You’re fine for now, but you can’t move your body. So, you’re half dead?”

       "That sounds reassuring,” she said sarcastically. “What do you mean by not able to move my body? All I see is darkness.”

     “Uh, it’s hard to explain. Your brain’s still running, so you’re talking from your thoughts or conscience? I don’t know exactly, or at all, but you are going to die soon if no one finds you.”

        If Jaia could move, she would’ve rolled her eyes and maybe stalked off, annoyed.

        “Great. How ‘bout you go away, so I can die alone as I should. ‘Cause no one’s gonna find me, hon.”

        “Then how am I alive? And how am I helping you from the future if I’m in the past gonna die?”

        “I uh . . .”

        Outside Jaia’s cabin, riots began to form.

        “Jaia?”

        “Jaia!”

        “Did she come back from Starbucks?

        “It’s burned down? Then she must be back!”

        “Where could she be? We’ve looked everywhere!”

        Future Jaia snorted. “See, they’re looking for you.”

      An eye roll would’ve happened. “Whatever. I bet Annabeth’s gonna be glad when she finds me and then drag me down to the stupid infirmary. Wait how can I hear outside of soundproof walls?”  

     “At least you’d be alive, and I don’t know. Maybe the chlorine stripped the walls down? I don’t know, I’m still you, I don’t know everything.”

        Jaia “frowned”. “Whatever. It’s not like I was helpful being alive. I just leave everyone.”

        A crash came from downstairs. Some scrambling and a few shouts.

        “Leo, check upstairs,” a voice commanded.

        “Where’s the stairs—”

        Another crash. “I found them.”

        “Leo, get moving!”

        “I’m going, Nyssa!”

        Stomps emitted from the stairs. A door opened and Jaia could tell Leo lost his breath.

        “Jaia?”

      Footsteps came closer to her floating body. Then they stopped. Jaia knew he stared at her. He probably didn’t know what to do. Stupid son of Hephaestus, she thought.

        “He’s not stupid, just different, you’ll see.”

        “Oh my . . .  Jaia! Nyssa, I found her!” Leo hollered. “Or what’s left of her.”

       “Oh this is just priceless what’s going to happen next. Here, I’ll let you see.”

        The darkness that clouded Jaia’s vision disappeared. She could see again, and through the window of the recording room, Jaia saw Leo—curly, dark hair and all. He looked like he lost his mom all over again. The way his chocolate eyes stared directly at her haunting figure, it scared Jaia, and nobody ever frightened the fearless girl. Nyssa, at that moment, decided to enter her room.

        “Leo, where is—oh my gods! No. No No! We gotta get her out of there now!”

        He didn’t budge. “Isn’t she a daughter of Poseidon? Can’t she breathe underwater?”

        Nyssa gave him a darkened glare. “Chlorine is her fatal flaw, and if we don’t get her out of there now, she has more of a chance of dying, if she isn’t already dead.”

       Nyssa motioned to Leo to grab her desk chair. She got ahold of it and rammed it into the window. It didn’t break.

        “Great. Where’s that computer when we need it?”

        Jaia guessed it was an appropriate time for Awesome to show up and she did, only her wings were drooping. Her battery obviously almost out of juice.

        “Oh, there you are, Awesome. Can you use your lasers, get Jaia out?”

        Awesome answered with a ‘No’.

        “No?” Leo questioned. “So you’re going to let her die? She made you to be her friend, she helps you, and when you’re given the chance to help her, you say no?”

        “Why do you care? Honestly, why do you care? She obviously wants nothing to do with you. So then, what makes you care for her so much?” Awesome typed.    

       “Seriously, you’re asking this now? You’re possibly best friend . . . uh maker, is trapped in a room dying. And yes, we do have our differences, but”— he glanced at her with his eyes full of . . . was that love? No, it couldn’t be—“I’m not going to let her die. She might be the most sassiest, sarcastic, and smartest curse wordy girl that I know, and I did just met her today, but honestly I would never let her die. I’m being serious and . . . that’s rare, so like don’t let her die.”

        Awesome shrugged her wings, somewhat satisfied with his answer, and pointed her camera at the window. A red laser shot out of the lense and burned through the glass. It shatter around the inside of the room, as the water moved out of the open window and spilled onto the floor in pools around Nyssa and Leo’s feet.

        Leo rushed up after most of the chlorinated water emptied out of the paneless window.  He stuck his arm around the other side and unlocked the door.  He turned the knob on his side and opened the door, to cause more water to rush out and revealed Jaia’s body, a soggy heap on the carpeted floor, with her dark blue hair fanning wetly around her face.

        “Jaia,” Leo gasped. “Wake up.”

        He lightly shook her. Nothing, only a wet rag doll on the floor.

        “Jaia,” he pleaded. “Come on just wake up.”

        “I’m trying,” she said.

        “He can’t hear you, Jaia.”

        He shook her harder. Nothing.

        “Leo, Leo, Leo!” Nyssa said.

        He wouldn’t look at her.

       “Leo,” Nyssa snapped. That got his attention. “You’re going to have to perform CPR. Do you know how to do it?”

        “Do movies count?”

        “I’ll tell you how. Hurry up, we don’t have much time!”

        He nodded. “Tell me.”

        “Get her laying on her back.”

        Leo flipped her over.

        “Good. Now put your hands on top of each other and push hard on her chest thirty times.”

        He pushed on her chest and muttered how many times he compressed.

        Nothing. She didn’t move a muscle.

        “It’s not working,” Leo informed panically.

        “Tilt her head back. Give her an airway to breathe.”

        He put a finger under her chin and moved it back gently.

        “Leo, give her a mouth to mouth treatment,” Nyssa awkwardly said.

        “What?”

        “You heard me.”

        He shook his head. “This wasn’t the way I wanted to kiss you, Jaia Silverglass,” he murmured, which Jaia hadn’t catched. “Don’t kill me for this.”

        “No!” Jaia screamed.  

        He pushed a lock of dark blue hair away and clamped his mouth on top of hers. He breathed a breath into her mouth. Leo tasted her lips. They had a liner of cherry chapstick and a lingering taste of vanilla and chocolate ice cream. He let her go, staring at her eyes.

        Jaia felt Leo looking into her eyes. Was that disappointment?

       Leo repeated the CPR process a few more times, switching between chest compressions and mouth to mouth. After a while, Jaia still did not breathe or flutter her eyes. Her chest had not risen. Leo thought she was gone.

        “Nyssa, she’s not coming back. She’s not responding.”

        Nyssa muted herself and Leo put a hand against Jaia’s cheek, rubbing his fingers against her greyed face in a circular motion.

        Jaia willed herself to wake up. Her body made no attempt to take a breath.

        Leo decided to try one last time and he breathed into her mouth. He let go. For a moment, he admired her chapstick, how she rubbed it unevenly on her lips. The way he imagined her emerald eyes glowing like it once did in the photograph. He got the chance to sort of see her smile, when he made her laugh. However, now, she was halfway gone, laying in a pile of wrinkled clothes, greyed skin with eyes and hair that hollowed out her face.

        “Just wake up, Jaia. Wake up,” he supplicated.

      Pain connected with her nervous system and she spurred to life, coughing up water, but then not waking up completely.

        “Jaia!” Leo said. “Okay, we’re going to get you out of here. Hold on.”

        He somehow managed to scoop her up into her arms. He held onto her tightly, afraid that she’d die if he didn’t.  

        Awesome followed them downstairs and he caught a small glint from Awesome’s wings. Jaia saw him carefully remove it from her wings, and still held onto Jaia. Her phone was now in his hands. Awesome probably had gotten it after breaking the window. Leo looked at Jaia who was half asleep. He turned it on to come across a password screen.

        “Awesome,” he sighed. “What’s your full name?”

        “Awesome Sauce Unicorn Sauce Hot Pink,” she responded in Morse Code.

        “Great,” Leo muttered. “Jaia has some creative names.”

     Jaia watched as he plugged the numbers into the screen and was transported to what she had on earlier, ‘Come to This’ by Natalie Taylor. The karaoke version.

        “How’d you know that was her password?”

        “I didn’t.”

        “Okay, do you happen to know why there’s a karaoke on her screen too?”

        Leo made a face. “Why?”

        Nyssa exhaled. Her eyes lost their brightness. “She doesn’t sing.”

        “And how’s that important?” he frowned.

        “Since she stopped singing when her friend died eight years ago.”

        “Oh.”

     He flipped through her phone, not caring if he invaded her privacy. He came to her messages. He clicked on the one with the picture. Jaia felt like she was going to have a heart attack.

      “Now what’s more interesting, is to why would Jaia have this on her phone.”

       He showed her the picture of the chlorine bottle and the short message: ‘Hello, Princess’ below it.  

       Nyssa’s eyebrows twitched. Her face was perplexed.

       “Jaia definitely has some questions she needs to answer,” Nyssa said.

        Then they left Jaia’s cabin. 

        Leo casted a look at Jaia. “What are you hiding, Lone Wolf?”

 

                The next time Jaia Silverglass woke up, she felt pain in her entire body, was in the infirmary, and Leo Valdez was holding her hand.

       She shook out of his grip. Hurt flashed through his eyes, and for a few seconds, Jaia actually felt guilty. Luckily, she depleted that feeling.

        “What are you doing here?” she whispered.

        Jaia pretty much lost her voice from singing and the chlorinated water.

        “Girl, I saved you. You should be thanking me,” Leo said.

        “Don’t sass me right now, Leo,” she said hoarsely. “I’m on my effing death bed.”

        “Jaia, you’re not going to die—”

        “Jaia!” Annabeth swore in Greek. “What the Hades? You almost died, you idiot.”

        Annabeth, who was outside shouting at people, had came inside with a furious expression, and her grey eyes were sharpened, like a pencil point. She rushed over to Jaia’s beside and smack her on the head.

        “Don’t you dare pull another one of these. Do you understand, Jaia?”

        “Yes, mother,” Jaia smirked.

        “Gods, Jaia! What am I going to do with you?”

        Jaia shrugged her shoulders. “I guess how everyone is drowning me in chlorine.”

        Annabeth sighed. “Jaia, we don’t joke about that.”

        “Why not?” Jaia said. “How else am I gonna forget that creepy lady who was trying to get me to join her side.”

        “What creepy lady?” Annabeth and Leo said in unison.

        They looked at each other, suspicious, then glanced at Jaia.

      Jaia sighed. “Some weirdo woman was talking about how my “talents” were need for her plan, but when I wouldn’t agree to help her, she attempted to take me out.”

        Jaia glimpsed down at her hands.

        “With chlorine?” Leo asked softly.

        She nodded. “Yeah. I must be a stupid child of Poseidon to be allergic to chemical water.”

        “Jaia, you know that’s not true—” Annabeth tried.

        “Whatever, Annabeth. I honestly don’t care.”

        “Fine, but what happened?”

     Jaia explained everything that had happened to her when she was trapped in the recording studio, except for where the chlorine threat originated from and about her singing.

    “So, let me get this straight. You just happen to be in your recording studio, because one of the machines started making odd noises, and a woman tried to kill you for no apparent reason, except for the one that doesn’t make any sense?”

        “Pretty much. How many people know that I um . . . disappeared?”

        Annabeth eerily shrugged. “I was worried, you weren’t anywhere, and yes, I did tell almost everyone, but they don’t know except for Will, Nyssa, and Leo, that you were drowning in chlorine.”

        “Good. Keep it that way. I don’t want all those annoying people giving sympathetic crap. And don’t even tell Chiron. I’m most definitely don’t dealing with any of the shit he’s got to say.”

          “Jaia, we have to tell—”

          “No, I forbid it.”

          “You forbid it?”

          “Yes, and now, I’m leaving,” she said getting up.

          She got up, but the pain in her body made her wince.

        “Jaia, you sure. I don’t want to—"

        “Annabeth,” Jaia reassured, “I’ll be fine. See you at the campfire tonight.”

        Annabeth wearily let Jaia have permission to go, with a nod of acknowledgement, and walked out the of the infirmary.

        “Leo,” Jaia said, “can I have my phone back?”

       He shook his head. “No.”

       “What?” Jaia snapped.

      “You tricked Annabeth into believing you, Jaia, but I’m not falling for it. I saw the messages. Someone threatened to kill you earlier, and you didn’t even bother to tell Annabeth about it. How about the karaoke, Jaia? What really happened?” Leo said.

    He probably was expecting her to have a sarcastic remark back, but her crystallized eyes watered instead.

       “Nothing that concerns you, Valdez. Now do me a favor, stay away from me, before you regret knowing me.”

        Jaia turned and was about to leave the infirmary when Leo, who was exactly three inches taller than her, grabbed her wrist.

        “Jaia, wait. I didn’t mean—”

        “Leo, just please, stay away from me.”

       An artificial tear streamed down her face, and Leo brushed it away with his thumb. She ripped the hand on her cheek and wrist away from her.

        “Stay away from me, Leo,” she repeated.

        “Why?” Leo asked, stepping closer to her.

        She laughed a little, but it was more painful than amusement.

        “Because, Valdez, I’m a sky without stars.”

        Without another word, Jaia left Leo on the steps of the camp’s hospital more confused than ever.

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