Percy Jackson and the Olympians Part One
Percy's Dark Secret
Written by fans of Goodreads
Annabeth sighed and pulled her cap tighter over her head. Of course, she knew it wasn't going to make her any more invisible, but she was nervous. Something was wrong with Percy, really wrong. And she was determined to find out what it was. She sighed again and pushed open the door to his room.
Percy jumped and threw on the covers when his door opened, "Who's there?!" Geez, does nobody knock anymore?
Annabeth froze. He was supposed to be in training. She mentally cursed herself. Percy narrowed his eyes.
"Annabeth? What are you doing in here?"Annabeth considered her options. A) Pull off the hat and confess or B) Try to leave without being noticed. She chose the latter.
Percy stood slowly, "Annabeth, I know you're there. Take off the hat!" Annabeth began to slowly back out of the room... and she tripped on something lying on the floor. Crash! She fell, and off tumbled the hat.
"Annabeth! What are you doing?!?!" Percy was mad, but also scared. What if she'd noticed his secret??
"Percy, I'm sorry, I…" she stumbled for an excuse. "I think I twisted my ankle," she finished lamely.
He frowned, and bent down next to her, "I think I have some ambrosia here somewhere..."
"Percy, I'm okay, really I...." Her eyes focused on his side. "Percy! By the... oh my gosh! What have you DONE TO YOURSELF?"
She stared in horror at a growing black spot in his side. Percy paled.
"A-Annabeth it's not what you think!" He covered the spot with his hand.
“Not what I think? Oh Zeus!" Annabeth looked at the ceiling. "You need some ambrosia!"
"No!" Percy said hurriedly, "I'll be fine! Honest!" Oh no...
"Percy." Her voice turned threatening. "You tell me what's happening RIGHT NOW."
He bit his lip, "I-I can't. I'm sorry." He looked away from her murderous glare.
Percy felt terrible. Here he was, lying to his best friend. If she only knew....
"Perseus Jackson, answer me! What is that thing on your side? What aren't you telling me?" She demanded
"Please, Annabeth." His voice was agonized. The way he sounded broke her heart, but she couldn't just let... whatever that thing was continued to grow on him, "Percy, you need help. Now tell me right now; what is that?"
"A curse? What'd you do Seaweed Brain?" Annabeth asked. Di immortales, what if the curse... no, she couldn't think like that.
Percy took a deep breath. "It all started when my pants exploded..." he began, remembering.
She arched an eyebrow, "Your what did what?"
Percy blushed deeply. "My pants exploded. It was an accident."
Annabeth took a deep breath. "Okay. Your pants exploded. That was the beginning. Then what?"
"Well, I figured pants exploding = trouble and trouble = gods so I went outside.”
"So, your pants explode, and your solution is to walk outside?" Annabeth asked
Percy glowered at her. "Not helping, Annabeth."
"Anyway, continue," Annabeth prompted.
"Hera was standing outside in this really dark dress, so I thought, uh-oh, this must be bad. And then she asked for a favor."
"If Hera was the one who did this to you..." Annabeth grit her teeth in anger
"Annabeth," he whined, meaning "quit interrupting"
"Sorry," she muttered.
"She asked me for a favor." Percy took a deep breath, "She wanted me to......wait."
"Wait? For what?"
"No, I mean... Can't you hear it?"
"She wanted you to do what?" Annabeth asked, her eyes locked on the spot.
"No seriously, Annabeth. Do you hear that?" Percy asked.
"Do I hear what?" she frowned.
He stood up quickly, pulling her to her feet.
"Ouch," Annabeth winced, gingerly testing her foot.
"Annabeth" Percy said distractedly. "You really can't hear it?"
Percy put his hand to the black tendrils curling from the skin at the base of his ribs. "She's here."
And then Annabeth heard the voice.
"Percy. You have failed me. You broke the rule. You will pay"
"Percy. PERCY!" Annabeth shouted, shaking him.
As if in a trance, Percy let go of her. She half collapsed and watched him slowly walk towards the cabin door.
"Percy. You shared the secret that must never be shared. Now two shall bear the curse that was only ever meant for one."
And suddenly Annabeth felt a searing pain in her ribs
She glanced down at her side, and saw the black spot on her side just like Percy's, and the pain flooding through her body was almost unbearable.
He was standing in the doorway of Cabin Three, his silhouette illuminated by the blinding white light coming from outside.
"Percy Jackson. You are running out of time. You must go now, or the consequences will kill you."
Annabeth squinted towards Percy's figure and she could see him shaking his head slightly.
“Perseus,” the voice whispered.
The light seemed to multiply a thousand times, then it vanished, leaving an imprint on the inside of Annabeth's eyes.
"Percy," she whispered. "What was that all about?"
"The curse," Percy said quietly. He turned around a fierce look in his eyes, and saw the mark on Annabeth's side. "No. NO! What did she do to you!?"
He looked at her, distraught. "I never saw it coming."
His eyes blazed. "Annabeth, I am so sorry that she cursed you. I won't let it kill you. I'd rather die." He came closer. His hand brushed her cheek. "Don't be afraid," he whispered, and pulled her closer, stroking her hair.
“I'm not afraid," she whispered back. "Percy, please. Tell me what happened. What’s wrong with us?" she begged.
Percy's eyes unfocused and he repeated distantly,
"The curse is brought upon those who have felt the hand of death, and have suffered their fears in Hades breath
It will spread it's mark of end, black as night,
Until a sacrifice of love cleanses it white."
Suddenly he dropped her, barely seeming to notice when she screamed from the pain in both her ribs and her foot. "That's it," he breathed.
“What's it? Percy?"
He looked down at her in half-confusion, like he forgot she was there.
"I have to make a sacrifice if I want the curse to go away."
"What?!?" said Annabeth. "Percy, no! I don't care about the curse! We can do it together, just please don't go running off hurting yourself."
Percy thought for a second. She was a skilled fighter and good backup to have, however, she was his girlfriend and he didn't want anyone hurting her anymore than she was already.
"No," he said.
"NO?!" she repeated.
"No," he said again.
"No!" said Annabeth.
"Annabeth, I'm sorry. I can't risk you getting hurt. And you would only be in danger because of your ankle and your ribs."
"I'd like to see you stop me," she threatened darkly.
He grinned, and before she could react he had her pinned against the bedpost, his hands locked firmly on her wrists. He held up some security rope they used for training and tied her in a tight knot onto the bedpost. "I bet I can," he said.
"Percy, please." she looked at him, her eyes shining.
"Do I need to gag you, too?"
"No." Her voice was quiet. "By the time they hear me, you'll be long gone."
He leaned in and kissed her.
"I will make this right," he whispered.
Annabeth closed her eyes as his lips quickly brushed her forehead, and when she opened them again, he was gone.
Percy fled camp traveling to the place hera told him to go
"The Underworld, first." Percy said under his breath as he walked out of the cabin, "To meet up with them to get my next assignment."
Little did he know, someone was in the shadows, watching and following him.
Percy whistled, and Blackjack swooped down.
Yo boss! Whatcha up to?
"I need you to take me to DOA Studios," Percy said, "Fast. It's important."
Okay, boss. Whatever you say.
“Thanks, Blackjack," said Percy.
Percy hopped onto his back, and they flew up into the sky
Ya, whatever. Are we stopping for doughnuts?
Percy sighed, "Not this time, sorry."
Aw man. I really like doughnuts. They are so yummy and sweet.
"Yeah, well, our adventure now won't be quite as tasty," Percy muttered.
What d'ya mean?
"Nothing, Blackjack. Let's get going." Blackjack gave a horse-like shrug and bent down for Percy to climb on. Then, like a clap of thunder, they were gone.
Annabeth was in Percy's cabin, not even bothering to try and undo the ropes yet. She felt numb.
Percy sighed sadly. How could he let this happen to Annabeth?
Way to go, Seaweed Brain, he thought to himself. You finally get a beautiful girl to kiss you,to be your girlfriend for crying out loud, and you curse her.
Annabeth closed her eyes and leaned her head back Oh Seaweed Brain...
Percy flew over Arizona then California. They landed in front of the door to DOA studios.
"Okay, Blackjack. It's solo from here," Percy said as he leapt off.
Percy rolled his eyes. "Look you can't come with me."
"Look, I'll tell you when I get back."
"Not now, Blackjack, I have to go!"
But I swore I saw someo-
"Blackjack! I'll see you later! I'm sure..."
He was suddenly cut off with loud thunder ..
It started pouring rain, complete with lighting. Zeus. Not a good sign. Percy sighed and started running.
While Percy was running, he wondered if he made the right choice. "It's too late to turn back now," he said to himself. He kept on running until he tripped on a bench and fell to the ground. Percy swore, but instead of getting up, he just stayed there, as if he needed to calm down.
Then he heard a rustling sound. Percy's head snapped to the direction of the sound. ”Snap!” Something from behind suddenly knocked him out, and the last thing he saw was the stars in the sky.
Everything hurt. Percy blinked his eyes open only to be staring into glowing, red eyes
"Son of Poseidon," it hissed. "Come with us. Our mistress wants to see you.”
Percy groaned. "Who are you?"
The red eyed creature growled. "Follow."
"You have Twitter?" asked Percy stupidly.
The creature’s eyes flashed scarlet. "I am not a bird!! I am a servant of Mania!!"
"Mania!! The mother of ghosts, the undead, and the spirits of the night. The goddess of insanity. The one who cursed you and your friend because you broke the seal of secrecy. You were never supposed to tell anyone about your eternal punishment. Now whoever discovers your secret will share the curse until it is broken, once and for all."
"Huh? Wait, eternal? And what has Hera got to do with-"
"All will be explained. Follow," it hissed, steaming breath into Percy's face.
The creature reared up onto its hind legs and pawed at the rock around them. Percy realized he was trapped - trapped in a cave about 3 meters square with walls made of jagged dark rock that seemed to go up forever.
"Okay," he said. "Otherwise I'm stuck forever right?"
The creature didn't answer. Percy tried to focus on it, but apart from its sharp red eyes it was blurry. Either he had lost his eyesight or the mist was still hiding it, even though Percy knew they were far from the mortal world.
One of the walls started shaking and a huge gap appeared.
"Follow," the thing said. "Mania will see you now." It padded silently through the arch.
Standing or actually floating above him was a ghost. Well, she looked like a ghost. She shimmered above him, her dark green eyes feeling like they were penetrating him, and her black locks flowing down like snakes on her shoulders. "Well, well." she said, looking mildly amused. "Perseus Jackson. Haven't you been a naughty, naughty boy." And then everything went black.
Meanwhile, Annabeth was sitting in the cabin, trying to decide what to do. She wanted to go after Percy as soon as she could, but not without a plan. What if she hurt herself or was lured into a trap?
She felt a sharp pain in her chest, and looked down, pulling her shirt up, only to see the black "curse" had grown up the entire side of her abdomen and was spreading to her chest.
When the black mark hits the heart, there will be no time to cry
For because of betrayal the one of Athena shall die.
Annabeth banged her head on the wall, something she had never done before because it looked stupid when other people did it. It felt stupid too. She sighed. "Where are you, Percy?" she whispered.
Annabeth froze. That hadn't been her.
"Percy!?!" the voice called again. Footsteps sounded toward the cabin door. "Are you in here? Can I come in Percy? I need to talk about cabin timetables."
Annabeth tried as gently as she could to quietly lower herself back onto the bed, with her hands tied up.
Annabeth tried to think how to get out of the rope from her hands, then she remembered she had a knife in her boot. She slid her hand down her leg and into her boot, then she felt something sharp, took out the knife, and started cutting the rope. After she cut herself loose she found out that she was bleeding from her hands the rope had scratched her wrist badly.....then she started to feel dizzy and could hear her heart pounding and then she heard hooves......."Annabeth what have you done?" said Chiron, and caught her before she fell, and gently putting her on the bed. He called some Apollo kids to come and help her.....three days has passed....Annabeth wakes up feeling relaxed, at first she thought she just took a nap but then her memories came really fast.
Percy's eyes had to adjust to the sudden pitch-black darkness that drowned the last of the moon's sliver light. Red eyes gleamed with such intensity, that he had to squint to keep the redness from overwhelming his vision. They served as a guide through the eerie cave, though it was more than once or twice that he felt himself coming close to tripping over stalagmites. Now any doubt of letting Annabeth come had vanished, and for once in his life, he was glad to be facing danger alone.
Now that the memories had returned, Annabeth was worried for Percy's sake. She felt that something was off, but she didn't know what. 'What has Seaweed Brain gotten himself into now,' thought Annabeth. Within the next few hours, she gathered her things and went off to find Percy. She wasn't exactly sure where to go, but she knew a certain horse that would tell her.
As he continued to walk down the path, he started to feel uneasy again, but he was still glad Annabeth was somewhere safe.
Deep in thought, Percy did not see the small shaft of light coming from around the corner. Walking down the last part of the corridor, he saw a giant door at least three times as big as him. It started to open.
"Where are we going anyway?" Percy asked.
The creature snarled.
"I am taking you to see my mistress," the creature growled.
'Wait - but - wasn't that her, just then?"
"Just then? You've been asleep three days Perseus," it said, an amused tone slipping into its gravelly voice.
"I - wait, what?!"
"Mania can do many, many things, Perseus Jackson."
"Yeah, her. Okay, so it was, what three days ago? The, um, ghost lady? That was her?"
"The ghost lady? Respect my lady, son of Poseidon or you will be the one that comes out of it worse."
"Wow, that’s, um - "
"Silence. My mistress is through those doors. I am not permitted to follow you there. Go."
"I - okay, sure," Percy said slightly nervously, and he walked into the square of light.
"Blackjack!" Annabeth demanded. "Where did you take Percy?"
Blackjack perked up at the word 'Percy.' Neither could fully understand each other. Blackjack whinnied.
"Percy." Annabeth repeated, though feeling a bit odd talking to a horse. "You took him somewhere. I need to find him."
Blackjack stomped a hoof. He nodded, his ink-black mane fluttering. A mutual agreement passed through them: Percy needed to be found.
Annabeth slipped onto Blackjack's back. His dark, feathery wings unfolded beneath him, and he reared, preparing to take flight.
Blackjack flew up into the sky and Annabeth was hugging his neck tightly so she wouldn’t fall. They flew through woods and flew up a mountain and then blackjack landed and Annabeth got off his back and thanked him and gave him a donut since she knew he was always bugging Percy about it and the horse ate it fast.
"Blackjack go back to camp and I'll be there soon." but she didn’t know if she was going to make it back.
Percy walked and stopped in front of a big gold door and before he was going to knock it opened by itself and he went into a big room and by his surprise he saw a single ghostly figure that illuminated the surrounding darkness. Percy felt his world collapse on him, as a sense of nausea made everything spin. Fear shot through him to the point of madness. He tried desperately to steady himself on his feet.
'This is what it feels like to be in the presence of the goddess of insanity,' Percy thought.
"Mania!" he shouted with a confidence he didn't know he had.
A harrowing chuckle turned his insides to ice, echoing and permanently searing itself into Percy's mind.
Percy had never known pain like this, not even when he was almost dying from a drakon. Ice spread through his veins and chilled him to the bone, making him feel like he was being burned. He screamed, but it was too late.
What seemed like snapshots of his greatest fears burned themselves into Percy's mind. Fears so deep within him, he felt himself screaming to escape this madness, his vocal cords searing with pain.
Camp Half-Blood in ruins, a great fire burning and sending soot in the air with such clarity that his eyes stung.
All his loved ones, empty shells of bodies littering the ground.
His mother, Annabeth, Grover.
And deep in his mind, he knew it was all his fault.
Annabeth followed a path that was barely visible.
As she walked, she thought about what she might do when she found Percy. Hug him and kiss him because she missed him so much? Slap him because he left her? She had no idea. Either way, Percy would be back with her and that's all that mattered.
As she went around the last bend in the path, the mountainside started to shake.
Percy could barely stand it anymore. He heard someone scream and had hunch that it was him.
As quickly as it had begun, the pain ceased. Percy stood up from kneeling on the ground and uncovered his ears. He stared at Mania.
She stood there with a permanent glare on her face. Red hair that went down to her waist and a classic Greek dress in black. White wings were coming out of her back which was completely uncharacteristic.
Percy slowly moved his hand down to his pocket to grab Riptide. He had a feeling he might need it.
Slightly stepping forward, the goddess of insanity said, "Come forward, Perseus Jackson..."
"Who are you....." Percy stuttered. Her image shimmered.
"I am Mania, goddess of the dead and wife of Phobos."
Percy said, "But... but.... no you aren't!"
She smiled a look that was alluring and deadly. "It is not in recorded history, no, but I was once his wife, and he gave me the power to produce images of fear. It comes in handy, as you may have noticed."
She lifted her hand, and a new image came to Percy's mind. Percy, staring in shock as his blade sliced through Annabeth's abdomen, causing her to gasp and breathe. "Percy," she gasped, and then fell into his arms.
His greatest fear was Annabeth dying. Of course. He sobbed in horror as he held her bloody, unmoving body. Then, he heard a voice; Annabeth's.
“Percy? Are you here? “
END OF CHAPTER ONE
Annabeth rushed to Percy's side as he collapsed to the floor. She felt her chest burning with pain and knew it was the curse but ignored it. "Oh Seaweed Brain," she said. "You should never have gone without me.” Mania stepped forth, eyes glowing like coals. "Get away from him daughter of Athena," she hissed, "or shall I kill you as well?" Annabeth glared at the goddess. "How about we make a deal? You leave Percy alone, heal him and I-" she gave a gulp. "-and I will stay here with you.” Mania hissed thoughtfully. "I have need of new recruits" she said. "But I also need that one. How about you join me and he stays here too?"
Mania gave a wicked smile. "I wasn't asking" she whispered and Annabeth screamed.
Pain racked her body and she fell to her knees. Her vision clouded and the world turned black.
Annabeth's head throbbed with pain, the world around her a haze. Her heart skipped a beat as she opened her eyes.
Percy, an unconscious heap, lay chained to the wall next to her.
Everything came flooding back to Annabeth: Percy, gone and missing; the curse, a still-swirling hole glued to her side. Mania, the psychotic goddess of doom, and the visions, oh gods the visions. She shuddered at the thought, her shackles clanging on her wrists.
Her greatest fears flashed through her mind once again.
"Percy!" She said in a whisper. A groan escaped his lips.
"Seaweed brain, wake up!" Percy's eyes fluttered open, and as if on cue, the wicked goddess melted into sight.
Mania chuckled, "Foolish demigods, thinking you could bargain." She scoffed.
"Please, let him go!" Annabeth begged, "I'll stay. Just let Percy go!"
"Annabeth, no!" Percy yelled.
"Hush, Percy!" She said, tears starting to bud in her eyes, "I'll be your most valuable recruit. Just don't make Percy suffer too!"
"No" Percy looked at Annabeth. "I'm the one she wants. Not you. If I die I want to be able to know that at least you are alive."
Annabeth threw him a skeptical look.
"Really Percy? Since when have you said something noble like that?"
Percy attempted a grin. "I got it from a book," he replied. "Pretty good huh?"
"Wait- you Seaweed Brain can actually read?"
"Enough!" Mania shrieked. "Enough talk!"
"Take me!" Percy yelled.
"No, let him go!" Annabeth yelled.
"If you stay then I'll just come back for you!" Percy argued.
Mania clicked her fingers irritably and gags appeared over Percy and Annabeth's mouths.
"Much better" she sighed. "Now I can hear myself think.”
Annabeth and Percy gave her dark looks. Mania laughed.
"Why that horrible look?" she asked. There was no reply.
"Aren't you going to speak?" Mania pouted. "Has the cat got your tongue? Or rather has the gag got your tongue?"
The goddess threw back her head, laughing madly. Percy looked at Annabeth."She's mad!" Percy's look said. Annabeth rolled her eyes. "Well duh. She is the goddess of madness.”
"No bargaining shall be done." Mania said and with that she disappeared as if into thin air, along with Percy and Annabeth’s gags. Percy blurted:
"Annabeth, I can't leave because I had.... I had made a deal with her before. I had thought it was no big deal at the moment but,"
"What had the deal?"
"How could I have been so stupid? I should've known,"
"Percy! What was the deal?!"
"It's Mania Percy. She's not a cartoon.”
"Yeah well anyway it's kind of a long story. You know how I told you that my pants exploded? It's about that. So Hera was there telling me that she needed me to do her a favor.”
"What was it?"
"I'm about to tell you Annabeth. Can you keep quiet until I'm done?"
"So Hera told me that Mania has been released. Madness will sweep over the land and blah, blah, stuff like that. The important thing is that she told me that I had to stop her. And I asked her “Why me?” and she looked at me real hard and then my pants exploded!"
"Right. So did she give you any hints or anything on how to kill her?"
"Nope. She just disappeared. I guess we'll just have to find out for ourselves.”
"Great" Annabeth sighed.
Percy fell asleep after that, and Annabeth found herself in a room with Mania again, ungagged. "Mania," she said, "If you don't let Percy go, I will never do what you want. I am quite useful in a fight, too. If you will let Percy go, allow me to just save him, I will fight for you and be your slave," she took a deep breath. "forever."
Mania looked thoughtful at that. "I see your point, Miss Annabelle-"
"Annabeth," Annabeth muttered.
"Let us see what our friend Percy can offer."
"No, please-" but Mania snapped her fingers and he was awake.
"What's wrong?" he gasped, still waking up. "Annabeth, are you okay?"
"Your friend is fine. She has made me a promising offer for your life, and I was wondering if you could top it." Mania hissed.
Percy looked at Annabeth. Her eyes pleaded with him. He turned back to Mania. "Anything," he said. "I will do anything."
Annabeth made a strangled sound. He turned back to her. "Before, that wasn't just a noble comment, Annabeth. I won't loose you ever again. I love you."
Annabeth looked at him. He had never said that to her before.
And the walls started falling. Annabeth screamed as the wall behind her jolted. Percy tried to hurriedly yank his arm out of the chain. "COME ON!" he shouted, and gave a final pull as it yanked out. As if in slow motion, the wall fell on Annabeth, who was still chained to the wall. Percy leaped on top of her, his body forming a protective covering for her. Annabeth listened in horror as the wall fell and crushed him.
"Percy?" Annabeth whispered. "Please talk." Percy did not speak. Annabeth yanked her hands out of the chain and checked for a pulse. There was none. Percy turned to dust and reappeared besides Mania, without any of the former bruises but he didn't seem quite... solid.
"Percy has topped your offer. You are free to go and never return." Mania said and waved her hand.
"Wait! No! I'll make you a better deal! No!" Everything went black after that. Annabeth woke up in her bed in her Cabin.
"Annabeth you're back!" cried a voice. "What happened?" Annabeth recognized the voice as Thalia.
"We've searched for months! Where's Per-"
"Yes. My hunters are still looking for you and Percy. What happened?"
Annabeth shoved Thalia away and started sprinting, not even bothering to answer when Thalia called for her. Mania had her boyfriend. And she was going to get him back.
"I'm going with you!" Thalia yelled, grabbing her silver bracelet.
"NO!" Annabeth shouted. "I'm doing this alone!"
"Percy's my friend too!"
"But he gave up his life for me! I won't risking losing someone else that I love!"
"I'll just follow you." Thalia whistled and another Pegasus appeared.
"I'll just lead you off."
Thalia was quiet. "Will you at least take my bracelet?" she whispered.
Annabeth nodded, "Of course."
Thalia smiled. "Okay," she said, and handed Annabeth the bracelet. "Thanks," Annabeth said.
Thalia nodded, "Be safe."
"Thanks, Thalia." smiled Annabeth. She ran off the direction that Mania was hidden, with her boyfriend.
Thalia sighed, and waved after her friend.
"To Percy, Blackjack!" Annabeth said.
Blackjack nodded and took off like a bullet. Annabeth was on her way to Percy. She grinned in exhilaration and scratched Blackjack when he let her down. "Thanks buddy!" she called, and ran up to Mania's lair.
She pounded on the door."I WANT MY BOYFRIEND BACK, AND I WANT HIM NOW, YOU B-"
"Well, well, Annalynn," said Mania, opening the door.
Annabeth glowered. "My name is Annabeth, and I want Percy back, now.”
"I'm sorry, but I'm afraid you're a bit too late for that." She grinned menacingly
Then, she caught sight of Percy, alive and well, but beat and chained to the wall.
She breathed a sigh of relief. "You're alive, "
"For the moment," he replied, giving a tired grin.
"Why did you bring him back?" Annabeth said suspiciously.
"Well, my dear, you can't get information by torture if he is already dead," Mania replied.
"T-t-t-orture?" Annabeth stuttered.
Percy looked at her. "I'm fine," he promised.
Annabeth glowered at Mania, but the world was turning dark and she felt a pain in her side. She yanked up her shirt to find almost all of her abdomen black.
Percy's eyes widened. " No, " he choked in disbelief.
"Percy," she gasped.
And then she fell.
"Annabeth!" Percy yelled. He fought against his chains, but he couldn't get free, "Stop it! I stayed now let her go!"
"I didn't do it," Mania said, mildly amused. "She bears the curse. It is killing her."
"Save her! I'll do anything, just save her!"
"I can't," said Mania.
"You have to!"
"I can't," Mania snapped.
"Please, let me go to her, please-" he broke off, choking.
"She is dying, there is nothing you can do about it." Mania said coldly.
"There has to be something, please!"
"It's the curse of Hades,” snapped Mania.
"Hades? What does he have to do with this!?"
"He is the one who cursed you.
The curse is brought upon those who have felt the hand of death,
And have suffered their fears in Hades breath
It will spread it's mark of end, black as night,
Until a sacrifice cleanses it white."
"A sacrifice will save her?" Percy clarified.
"Yes," Mania said, confused. "But-"
Percy's brow furrowed. "A sacrifice," he repeated. "What kind of sacrifice?"
"A big one, obviously," said Mania impatiently.
"Big meaning..." Percy prompted
"Death, for example."
"Death..." Percy had a bad feeling he knew exactly what kind of death.
"Death. Die. Live no more. A life for a life."
"A life for a life..." Percy echoed, "If I give up my life to Hades, will that save her?"
"Yes," said Mania. "Why would you give your life?" she mused.
"Annabeth's everything to me, I can't just let her die because I got myself into this mess." Percy said brokenly, "I love her too much."
Suddenly Annabeth groaned, the blackness rising up her neck. Percy started at her in shock.
"It looks like you have a matter of minutes left before she dies," said Mania.
"What must I do to save her?" Percy asked, yanking against the chains.
"Why would I tell you that? You are my prisoner," said Mania, and then she disappeared into nothing.
"Stop! Wait! Come back!" Percy yelled, "Annabeth, just hang on, I'll get you out of here!" Percy pulled and strained at his chains.
"Hades! Hades get your godly butt down here!"
"WHO DARES MAKE FUN OF THE GOD HADES?!?!?!?!" boomed a voice.
"I should have guessed," snapped Hades voice. "What do you want, son of Poseidon?"
That sounds very inviting," said Hades, "but whatever for?"
"It's Annabeth- your curse, it's killing her. I would like to..." he swallowed. "like to take her place. Please."
"Hmm... I don't know, Jackson. Poseidon would have my head."
"Can you remove the curse?" Percy asked, hoping Hades would just sight and do some of his weird godly magic.
“Please." Percy begged him. "You hate me. You want to kill me, please. Tell me what I have to do, please, she only has minutes ....." he choked.
"I can see that! Her life force is slipping away as we speak!" Hades snapped, "I can't just take the curse away!"
"I know. I have to sacrifice myself. Tell me what to do, please."
Hades sighed, "Poseidon's gonna kill me..." He muttered, "Alright! Fine! You win, boy. It's rather simple, really. All you have to do is speak the words, 'My breath your breath, my heart, your heart, my blood your blood, my life your life,' over her, and then suck the curse out of her by physical contact, like a kiss."
Percy nodded, "Can you get me out of these chains first?!"
"Of course I can. I am a God!'
Hades sighed, snapped his fingers, which released the chains, and then disappeared. Percy rushed to Annabeth's side. She was barely breathing. "You beautiful, brave, stupid girl," said Percy. He cupped his hand under her head and spoke the words with tenderness. "My breath your breath, my heart, your heart, my blood your blood, my life your life," and pressed his mouth to hers.
The black on Annabeth began to recede back to the source. The mark swirled, and then disappeared all together.
Percy looked down, not surprised, when he saw the black mark spreading on his chest.
Annabeth's eyes blinked open, "P-Percy?" She caught sight of the mark on his chest, "What have you done?" She whispered in horror.
"Annabeth, I love you," he whispered, smiling, wanting those words to be his last.
Annabeth thought furiously for anything that would be able to save Percy.
"The bracelet Annabeth, the bracelet" a voice whispered in her head.
"M-mom?" Annabeth asked tentatively.
"Annabeth, Thalia's bracelet, it will get you out of there before the curse spreads again."
"Mom, no! Percy!"
" Let him go, Annabeth"
" I'm sorry,"
Annabeth felt herself slipping.
Percy woke up, blinking, in a white room with white floor and a white ceiling. He guessed he was either in an insane asylum or he was a different kind of blind. Then Aphrodite appeared. "You loyal demigod," she said. Percy looked down and saw he had no mark. "What happened?" he asked. "Is Annabeth alive? Why don't I have the curse anymore?"
"Yes that girl is alive and is, as we speak, fighting with Thalia saying she must go back. As to your second question I removed the mark."
"What? But how?"
"Because even though Hades usually puts that kind of curse, this time it was I who put it."
“What??? Why? Why would you do that? Annabeth could have died, you-"
"I will not be spoken to in that manner" She interrupted him. "I knew you had strong feeling for the girl so I put a test. If you really loved her you would've done what you did, if you did not, you would've both died"
"What if Hades hadn't helped me know what to do?"
"Please, if he hadn't I would've sent him. Having a punk for a boyfriend does have its advantages."
"What if I said the words wrong? Can't you see the problems here?" Percy seethed.
"Well that would've been your problem."
"MY PROBLEM?" Percy roared. "YOU ALMOST KILLED HER, YOU LITTLE WITCH!"
Aphrodite sighted and snapped her fingers. Percy kept mouthing things but not a sound would come out. "Much better."
"Yes that's true, but the important thing is that I didn't kill her. She is fine now and so are you. Now I need a favor."
Percy groaned. He really didn't feel like going on a quest for some make-up or whatever it was Aphrodite wanted.
"I need you to go to Tartarus."
“Why?” Percy questioned cautiously.
"To meet the god of Tartarus of course."
"And why would I want to meet someone who's going to kill me as soon as he sees me?"
"He wants to speak with you first."
"Great, another god wanting to talk to me, then kill me" Percy grumbled
Aphrodite tutted. "Really Percy, Lieon isn't going to kill you right away. I made him promise.”
"Why? I though you hated me."
"No,no I don't hate you Percy. I find you quite...interesting."
"Right, thanks a lot for that then. Is he still going to kill me?"
"I really can't say Percy dear. He is a little bit unpredictable sometimes. But if he kills you, well at least I tried."
"And you actually expect me to go?" Percy asked in disbelief.
Aphrodite nodded. "Well of course Percy! Unless you want your friends to die!" she gave a little laugh. "And you don't want that to happen do you?"
"I hate you"
"Hate is a passionate emotion, Perseus Jackson."
"Wait..." said Percy. "Wouldn't the god of Tartarus be Hades?"
"No," said Aphrodite, looking amused. "His son, Lieon, guards it."
Percy glared at her. "What makes you think that I will do what he says?"
"Why, because he has Annabeth."
END OF CHAPTER TWO
Percy walked through the underworld muttering ancient Greek curses. He trudged through the fields of punishment with his head down so he wouldn’t see the horrors and endless torture. He walked on. His destination: Tartarus.
He was hoping Annabeth was okay. Please, don't be hurt, Wise Girl,
Annabeth opened her eyes to see only darkness, "H-hello?"
"Annabeth, friend of Perseus Jackson." said a voice.
"Who wants to know?" Annabeth asked.
“Lieon, Son of Hades, God of Tartarus. You are being held here for ransom until he comes for you."
"Who is he?" Annabeth asked cautiously
"Perseus, of course."
“Percy? Come to Tartarus??? "No," she whispered, "No, no, no, no, no!"
"It is too late," boomed the voice. "The boy is in the Underworld as we speak. You are not in Tartarus now, but are at the gates, and will be thrown in unless he does what I want."
"No, please, don't let Percy get any closer! I'll do anything!"
As if on cue, Percy ran into view. "Lieon," he panted. "I know she's here-" he cut off when he saw her.
"Annabeth." he continued like he hadn't heard her. "Are you okay?"
She rolled her eyes. "Today is an off day for me, okay? Usually I'm the one fighting and saving your butt.”
"You can't always be the knight in shining armor, Annabeth," said Percy. "Sometimes you have to be the princess too."
"Since when have I ever wanted to be a princess?" She asked, smirking even though their situation was... well, not fun.
"Well, you're pretty enough to be one." He smirked back.
"What do you want for her freedom?" Percy asked.
"A favor." replied the god.
"Oi! No more favors! First Hera, Then Aphrodite, then you"
"This favor is urgent! I need the sword of Ares, made by Hephaestus himself. It has bathed in Zeus's lightning bolt and been dipped in the River Styx."
"Ok. Do you have any handy hints about where it might be or something? Because that would be great you know."
Lieon scowled. "You mortals are always asking questions. Perhaps I should kill you now. I am growing tired of your constant questions.”
Lieon leaned over Percy and Percy dug around in his pocket for his sword and drew it out. He clicked it and a pin-prick of light shone in Lieon's eyes. Percy looked at what he was holding. It was a little Yoda torch. Then Percy remembered. When his pants had exploded he had to borrow some pants from a Star Wars nerd.
Lieon shielded his eyes and took a few steps back.
"Stop that mortal! I will not kill you now. Maybe later. But if you shine that light in my eyes again-" he drew a finger across his throat and Percy nodded. He understood perfectly well.
"So, the sword? Where is it?"
Lieon rolled his eyes. "Why should I know?"
"Uh, ‘cause you are asking me to find this thing for you."
Lieon smiled. "And if you don't find it I'll kill your girlfriend." He winked and Percy recoiled.
"Uh, okay. You don't know anything about where this sword thing could be?"
"I suggest you ask Nerius."
"You know. The know it all guy. He'll tell you."
"Yeah, but if I catch him. And he's in San Francisco!!"
"That’s not so far."
"Where are we?"
"Well if you go straight up... still LA. Hollywood. You know where the big letters are on the hill?"
"If you go straight up..."
"Like this." Lieon clicked his fingers and suddenly Percy was standing on top of the windy hilltop, protected by the shelter of a giant 'L'.
Annabeth was screaming before Lieon even snapped his fingers, but before she could tell Percy to stop being an idiot, he disappeared.
"NO!" she yelled, her throat tearing out of her.
"Daughter of Athena," Lieon turned back to her, "my father would like to have an audience with you."
"I am not going to go see your dead, ugly, dad unless it is to kick his butt," Annabeth spit.
"I'm afraid I wasn't giving you a choice," Lieon said sadly, and snapped his fingers.
The last time Annabeth had seen Hades, it was about chickens and he had been exploding with rage and caught on fire. Now he looked like an evil villain out of a movie, with a long black cloak and a skull ring. He twirled it absently on his finger and didn't look at her. When he spoke, it boomed through the hall and sounded almost.... bored.
"Well, well, well. The pretty Annabeth, tied up in my lair. This is very uncharacteristic of you, you know. Usually when I meet you it is with a threat hanging over my head and a weapon unfairly pointed at my throat."
"Give me a sword and I'll change that," Annabeth promised.
Hades clucked disapprovingly. "No, this time you are doing what I want, and that is how we must leave it."
"Why do you want the sword?"
"A friend of mine needs it."
Hades looked up at her when she said that. "Now how would you know that?"
"Percy had to do her a favor the other day, and then she put your curse on him-"
"Ah, yes, I remember that your boyfriend wanted to sacrifice himself for you. Quite a pity he didn't actually die."
"What?" Annabeth was stunned.
"Mmm. It was actually Aphrodite who put the curse on him, 'Lover's sacrifice' blah, blah, blah. It was the first test to see how much he would do to have you back. That's why you're here, you know. To use as.... shall we say... a motive for him to get going."
" No, "whispered Annabeth.
"Yes, yes, yes, I am quite the genius, aren't I?" he commented, looking at his nails. "But anyway, I didn't bring you here to talk about my nephew."
"What for, then?"
"Do you know how children of Athena are born?"
"From her mind," stated Annabeth.
"Mmmm. And sometimes, a piece of her power is 'transferred' into them. I believe you may have some special powers."
" If you call 'kicking your butt' special power, then yes , I do have," Annabeth spat.
"YOU-" suddenly there was a knock on the door. It was Lieon. "My lord, I think you need to come see this," he said.
" Oh , you can actually see ? " Annabeth said, trying to imitate Percy's sarcasm.
"I thought that shirt was a mistake," she added.
Hades smirked. "Still a smart mouth, I see," he observed, and turned back to Lieon.
"My lord, quickly now you must come see this," Lieon said
"What is it?"
Lieon gestured to a stone fountain off to the side. Annabeth couldn't see into it all that well, but for a moment she was pretty sure she saw an image flash on the surface.
"It's the Poseidon Boy."
Annabeth heard herself gasp. The world seemed to be spinning when she saw the image clearly. It was Percy, clutching at his abdomen and dripping with blood.
"Oh, wonderful..." Hades muttered, "Now how am I supposed to get that sword?" He snarled.
"Percy.... he could be....d-d-d-d-dea-" Annabeth broke off, sobbing.
"Hush, girl!" Lieon snapped, "My lord, perhaps you should heal him?"
"Why would I do that?" Hades asked.
Lieon just stared at his father.
"What?" Hades said impatiently.
"Because," said Lieon slowly. "If he dies you won't get the sword?"
"Oh, yes," Hades said vaguely. "No, wait. There's lots of other demigods aren't there? Like this one." He prodded his toe at Annabeth, who glared at him through tear glazed eyes.
Lieon sighed. "Remember why we need the son of Poseidon?"
Hades looked confused. Then his face lit up. "Oh yes, because only he can-"
"Oh, yes." Hades looked satisfied. "The mortal mustn't know?"
"What?" Annabeth said. "What! Tell me!!"
"Oh no." Lieon said, shaking his head. "Can't spoil it for you."
Annabeth glared at them, but said nothing. She'd figure it out for herself soon enough.
"Save. Him," She said sternly. Hades sighed.
"Fine. I suppose I do need him." Hades snapped his fingers, and Annabeth watched as Percy healed.
She took a deep breath. Percy looked down at himself, amazed, then glanced their direction like he knew they were there. He gave a rueful half-smile, saluted, and ran off.
"Good luck Seaweed Brain" Annabeth murmured.
Lieon heard her. "He'll need it," he smirked.
"What do you need the sword for?" Annabeth demanded. Lieon didn't answer her.
Hades didn't even turn to look at her, "The boy must act quickly if he is to succeed." He said
"What do you mean?"
Hades lifted an eyebrow at her, but said nothing.
He turned to Lieon. "I have some business to attend to," he said airily. "Please escort the girl back to her ah, sleeping quarters."
"What, but-" Annabeth protested, but then darkness overcame her and everything went black.
Percy's breathing was heavy as he ran. How was he supposed to find the sword of Ares?!
Ares. A god even more threatening than Zeus.
Running uphill he bumped into a girl about 12 with auburn hair that seemed to bend moonlight to her will.
"Artemis?" he asked.
She squinted. "Perseus Jackson?" she asked, surprised.
"Yeah, uh what are you doing here?"
"What are you doing here ? "
"Um..." Percy wasn't sure if he was allowed to tell the gods about the quest. "I, uh..."
"You're on a quest to recover the sword of Ares," said Artemis, her eyes shining.
"Uh, yeah... wait. How did you know that?"
Artemis smiled. "I am a goddess, Perseus Jackson."
" Then why did you ask me in the first place? "
Artemis rolled her eyes. "Just checking. Now, about your quest…."
"I have to-"
"Percy, I know about the quest."
"I strongly advise you against completing it."
Percy stood staring at her, gobsmacked. "Huh?"
"Bringing the sword to Hades, that would maybe.." Artemis hesitated. "and Lieon, if..."
"You. Are making absolutely no sense at all, Milady."
"Yes, I-" Artemis paused. "I'm sorry Perseus. I can't tell you much. I've been having splitting headaches recently. Migraines... they make me feel confused. I'm only twelve! I shouldn't be getting migraines..."
"Um, milady? Are you gonna help me on the quest or-"
"Percy, if you bring the sword to Hades it will ruin your future! You cannot complete the quest! It will make things sooo much harder for you!"
Artemis clutched her face. It looked weird, Percy thought offhandedly. "She is a brave maiden. But not all maidens can be saved."
"I love her!!" Percy shouted, and he had never known this to be truer.
Artemis sighed. "I never thought much of love in that context. So often let down and hardly ever true. That is why I protect my hunters from all of it."
"You don't understand, Artemis!"
"Perhaps I do."
"Perhaps I don't."
"Sorry? Oh yes."
"Why? Artemis I have to get the sword. To save Annabeth."
Percy just stared at her. "Wait, so can you save her?"
"Sadly not. Gods cannot venture into each other's places of power. Have you learned nothing, Perseus?"
"I've learned heaps actually."
Artemis smiled sadly. "I cannot help you Perseus. I cannot persuade you. I wish you luck. I will send help for you."
She faded away into smoke. Percy stared blankly at where she had been standing. "Artemis?"
He didn't want to be alone. He wanted a companion. He had always hated solo quests, but he wanted Annabeth more than ever.
"So what's up, huh?” said a familiar voice behind Percy. He wheeled around to look straight into the grinning eyes of Thalia Grace.
"Hey." She shouldered a weapon.
"Why are you here?"
"Artemis sent me to help. Not a lover's quest anymore, is it? It’s a quest to save a friend who needs us."
"Poetic," said Percy grinning.
"So, getting déjà vu yet? Let’s go to Frisco!" Thalia said brightly, running down the hill.
"Wait," Percy said abruptly, causing Thalia to stop in her tracks.
"What ?" she asked .
"We can't wait forever you-"suddenly Percy hugged her tight ..
She was surprised. "Percy? Are you okay?"
He leaped back. "Sorry, Thalia. I can handle monsters, and almost getting killed, but when Annabeth's life is on the line...."
His voice shook. Thalia pursed her lips.
Percy knew she was going to come along with him either way, so he gave up.
"Fine, Thalia, you can come," he said.
"Great!! So do you even know where in Frisco we're supposed to be going?"
"Um.... no?" said Percy. "I figure we just tick Ares off and he'll show up."
"Isn't that what you normally do?" Thalia asked raising her eyebrow.
"We'll yeah, but at least this time I have a valid reason," Percy smiled.
Thalia rolled her eyes. "Boys," she muttered. "I'm glad that I gave them up long ago." She raised her voice. "Come on, Seaweed Brain. We have some godly behind to kick.
Percy stopped suddenly. He always remembered what Annabeth used to say. "Seaweed brain." That was her favorite insult. How he missed her. Then he put on his determined face. Ares had what he needed, and he was going to get it, even if he had to kick some godly butts.
Thalia, recognizing the look on his face, said, "Head out of the clouds Jackson. We've got a girl to save." He still seemed dazed. She waved her hand in front of his face. "C'mon!!!"
Annabeth made puppy eyes. "Please?"
Lieon glared "No."
"With a cherry on the top?"
"For the last time I won't tell you what the sword is for!"
"Fine, but can you at least tell me why your nose is so big?"
He scowled and left the room, trading places with a skeleton that had the clothes of a.... clown? Hades is weird Annabeth decided.
Annabeth was smart, and although she wasn't patient, she could be when she needed to. She determined that her bonds were black metal chains, with many ways to get out of them. All she needed was something really, really, hot.
Annabeth looked around her cell. There were no windows with the stereotypical bars and the door melted back into the wall every time Lieon entered or exited. The floors were bare. She didn't know what she was going to do.
Then she remembered something her mom had given her last summer.
She pulled it out of her pocket. It was a δυσχέρεια εντοπισμού, or a distress locator. She could contact any Person in the world at any time. She opened it and whispered a name.
"Greek gods, Seaweed Brain! Do you really have no idea where you're going?! I thought you said you just had to be obnoxious!! You're being plenty stupid. Why isn't it working?"
Then suddenly an image shimmered in front of Thalia, it was Annabeth, her nose bloody but otherwise okay. "Thalia thank the-" she froze when she saw Percy.
"Percy?" Annabeth gasped. Her heart pumped so hard she swore Percy could hear it.
"Annabeth?" he gasped. Thalia rolled her eyes. "Nice to see you too, Annabeth."
"I need something hot." Annabeth replied. Percy ran his hands through his hair and grinned. "Not that kind of hot. No you idiot. Something that will get me out of here!! So if you have, like, you know, a welding torch on you or something, that'd be great."
“Well if you guys are with this love fest I will be very glad to help." Thalia rolled her eyes.
Even though she was transparent, Thalia could still see Annabeth blushing.
"It's fine. You know, I happen to have something better than a welding torch. Or have you forgotten who my dad is?"
"Oh right" Annabeth said. "I can't give you and actual lightning bolt so..." Electricity flew towards an arrow that had suddenly appeared in Thalia's hand. She gave the arrow to Annabeth, carefully handling by the feathers on the bottom.
"Thanks, Thalia! One sec guys,"
"Sure. It's what I do. Right Jackson?"
Percy was still staring at Annabeth, mouth gapping, as if he couldn't believe she was even there.
"Percy," Annabeth said gently picking at the cuffs with the arrow, "close your mouth before you start catching flies."
Percy blushed and closed with mouth. "Y'know, I think Rachel might give us a better idea where the sword is. She is, after all, the oracle.”
"That's not a bad idea. Anyone got a drachma?" Thalia asked.
Percy started to dig around in his pockets.
"Uh... Hey guys," Annabeth said, "do you think we could maybe work on one thing at a time? I still want to get out of here. And I solved one problem." She held up her, now free, hands.
"Right, sorry Annabeth."
"I found one," Percy said proudly, holding up the shining gold coin.
"Can your dad help?' Percy asked Thalia and, as if on cue, the crashing sound of thunder opened rain. Percy shone Riptide's light against the falling drops to create a rainbow. "Oh Iris, Goddess of the Rainbow, accept my offering!" he threw the coin into the rainbow and it disappeared. "Show me Rachel Elizabeth Dare, Camp Half-blood."
The mist rippled and the fiery red hair of Camp Half-Blood's oracle appeared.
She was in the main room in the Big House at the camp talking to Chiron.
"I don't know," she was saying. "All I know is Annabeth was here four days ago and then she just disappeared. Percy hasn't been seen for days, and Thalia was called out by Artemis. The camp feels unprotected without any of those three here!"
"It is disturbing," Chiron said. "Normally Percy and Annabeth give me a thumbs up before they leave."
"I think you mean a heads up, Chiron."
"Ummm... hey, Rachel," Percy said. Rachel whipped around.
"Percy? Thalia? Percy!" Chiron exclaimed. "You haven't been here in months!"
"Uh yeah, about that... Rachel, we need a prophecy. Or just an answer I guess. To a que-"
"Percy, shut up. You're rambling," Thalia snapped.
Percy looked offended.
"Rachel. Where can we find the sword of Ares?"
"Percy," Chiron began. "Where exactly have you-"
He was interrupted by Rachel who began intoning the prophecy as her eyes glowed and green smoke foamed out of her mouth.
The daughter of Athena, trapped in Hades tomb
Must find out the secret in the golden room.
The son of Posedion must stop the godess of fears
Across the ocean filled with tears.
There on an island, he will find what he seeks
But it cannot be his treasure to keep.
A sacrifice and a suffering in one final breath
This quest is marked with the fate of death.
Suddenly the connection between them started going fuzzy. Annabeth's eyes widened. "Oh, no." she whispered. Then something groaned and grabbed her foot, yanking her out of Thalia and Percy's view. "No!" Percy shouted, but the connection was gone.
Meanwhile, Chiron was back at camp, sitting at his desk when Nico rushed in, panting out the words, "Big, trouble, must, come..... see....."
The mist was just fading from Percy and Thalia's IM and Rachel had left only moments before to organize the campers.
"Yes Nico? What's wrong?"
"There's.... Who were you talking to? Was it Percy?!"
"Yes. Percy and Thalia, but we did not share many words. I believe Annabeth was there as well and in some sort of trouble."
"Well then we have to go help them don't we?!"
"They are beyond our help Nico. Now, what is the problem?"
"Oh right. There's some sort of strange monster attacking the boarders. One that no one's ever seen before...."
"Never been seen before? Impossible," said Rachel.
"I think you'd better come and see...."
They left the Big House out to the strawberry fields and saw a increasing number of campers gathering towards the south part of the camp. There appeared to be an enormous shadow lurking in the woods just beyond the boarder.
Rachel exhaled. "So," she said nervously, "A monster, huh?" She might be the Oracle, but she was still very afraid of monsters.
"Maybe you should, you know, go make prophecies or something or chat up that new Demeter guy. He was looking at you earlier," Nico said.
"Yeah.... Yeah.... I think I'll go do that..." She said, her voice shaking slightly. "You guys have fun killing monsters."
Nico squeezed her hand. "You'll be alright, Rach," he said, and then ran off, unsheathing his sword.
Rachel tried to grin at Chiron, who was climbing out of his wheelchair, but it came out looking more like a grimace.
"Go Rachel," Chiron said. "We'll handle this."
"Yes, sir. Be careful, okay?"
"I am always careful." He winked and galloped off.
"Yeah, sure. You Greeks are never careful," she muttered under her breath and walked off towards the cabins.
The monster had two heads, one of a boar and one of a wolf. The rest was very random.
"What is the update, Nico," shouted Chiron.
"The monsters fangs inject some sort of black curse that makes the victims crumble to pieces," Nico shouted back.
Its short necks made a V, it had the body of a lizard and a giraffe’s tail. Instead of feet it had flippers and he had wings like a butterfly but dark and goth-like.
"Watch out for the poison," Nico screamed. He saw the monster starting for someone, its fangs drawn out. He squinted, then started sprinting. The person, obviously clueless, was Rachel.
"RACHEL!!" Nico screamed. She turned to look at him, but that that moment her eyes glazed over and she began to mutter something about a curse black as death.
"Oh, please, not now!" Nico yelled. "RACHEL!" Rachel, still in a trance, stood helplessly in the monster's path. Nico made a desperate leap and shoved her out of the way. He turned to defend himself right as the monster's fangs sunk deep into his arm.
Suddenly coming out of the trance, Rachel snapped back into reality and watched Nico battle the monster in front of her, defending her.
"Oh my gosh," she breathed, seeing the black fluid dripping from the gash in his arm.
"Rachel!! Move! Get out of here!!!" Nico shouted.
"RACHEL!" he screamed. "GET AWAY FROM HERE! RUN!"
Not bothering to argue, Rachel moved out of the way and ran to Chiron.
"Nico! He's hurt!! I think that.... THING bit him!!"
"There's nothing we can do for him now," Chiron said calmly.
"You can't be serious. You're Chiron! Call the gods, get some magic potion, do something!!!!!!" she shouted.
Then, Apollo appeared. "Jesus, do you know how hard it was to track it? It is hard to track! "
Rachel stood staring open mouthed.
"I had to call in the big guy and, Zeus, I HATE calling in the big guy!! He's so... pushy. Such a day ruined."
"What... are you talking about?" she spluttered. "Never mind, I have to go see Nico..." she sprinted back to him, finding him lying on the ground and looking pale.
"Apollo!" Rachel called, pointing at Nico. He was already on the ground shivering, half of his arm in shadows.
"Hold on Nico. Apollo's here. He'll make you okay. He'll make you okay.”
"Rachel," he said softly, "Its okay. I'll be with my dad, where I belong." he sucked in a sharp breath. "But there is something... I have.... always" his breath was coming in sharp bursts, "wanted.... to tell you....." he took a staggering breath.
"Excuse me miss," Apollo said. Rachel scooted over a bit.
The god leaned over Nico staring intently at the wound. Then he simply poked it with his finger releasing a small stream of golden magic.
"Hmmmmm..." He said. "This is strange." He poked it again. "I've never seen anything like this."
Apollo closed his eyes, and taking a deep breath, cured Nico. "You're lucky you're the son of the Lord of the Underworld. Anyone else and you would've died about five minutes ago"
Rachel released the breath she had been holding.
"Thank the gods!"
"Well, more like god. I am only one you know."
Rachel gripped Nico's arm. "So he's going to be okay?" she asked.
"Probably," said Apollo. "I've never dealt with this before, so I suggest that he rests for a while."
"What did you want to tell me?" She asked Nico
"That you owe me one," he said, hoping his dark hair covered his blush.
"Yeah, whatever you idiot. C'mon. Let’s get you back to your cabin."
She held out a hand and helped him up. Using her for support they walked back to the camp.
"And I do not owe you one. I think you owe me one."
"I do not!"
Walking with Thalia, with her shield in the open, was nothing easy. He stumbled every time he backed up.
"Will you please put that thing away?" Percy asked. "There's nothing to fight right now."
"One can never be too prepared."
Percy rolled his eyes.
"I suppose I could put it away for a little while," Thalia said slowly. "But if something happens and we're not ready, it goes on your head!!"
As if on cue, a monster with two heads, one of a boar and one of a wolf, came crashing upon them. It had the body of a lizard, flippers, a giraffe's tail and goth-like butterfly wings.
"I told you, Seaweed Brain!" Thalia shouts and taps Aegis. Percy uncapped Riptide.
"BACK ME UP," Thalia shouted.
"Well duh! What do you think I'm trying to do?" He said, backing her up.
Then it all happened so fast. The monster was closing them in, the wounds Percy was giving it not even slowing it down a little bit. In a few seconds, they were overwhelmed as the monster picked up Thalia and left her flailing in its grasp.
"Holy Zeus! How is it so fast on its flippers!?" Percy asked, dodging blows.
Then he looked up. "Thalia!" he yelled.
"Well don't just stand there" Thalia shot. "Save me!"
"I'm a little busy right now," he shouted back, fending off octopus like legs.
Percy managed to slice on if the legs, making the seal-like arm drop Thalia.
Thalia landed hard in the surf.
"You couldn't have told it to put me down gently?"
"Sorry, I didn't really think about that," Percy retorted. "I'm kind of busy here can't you tell?"
"I thought you were just taking a stroll in the park. You look rather bored."
Percy was sweating like a freaking pig. Thalia retrieved her sword from where it had fallen and began slashing at the monster's flippers.
Blocking blows and looking for the monsters weak spot. Thalia glanced quickly around to see Percy lifting his sword and bringing it down onto the monsters tail. Instantly the monster roared and disappeared in a whirlwind of yellow monster dust. Thalia looked at Percy "How did you know to do that?"
"Annabeth." said Percy with a grin. Percy looked down and stomped. "Hear that, it’s some type of trap door."
"Here we go again." whispered Thalia under her breath.
Climbing down the trap door, with Thalia muttering curses in Ancient Greek, Percy began to wonder if it was such a good idea after all.
"Percy?" She said. "How far down does this thing go?"
"I have no idea!" He called back. "I can't see the bottom."
"You do realize you most likely lead us into a trap right?" She asked.
"I've got to get Annabeth back, whatever it takes. I'm not going to leave her down there all by herself!"
"You really do love her, don't you?" Thalia admitted
"Yep," Percy replied. "almost as much as I annoy you.
Thalia smiled and continued walking. "I'm starting to think this tunnel goes straight to Tartarus"
Percy ignored the joke and continued down, determined to find Annabeth wherever this tunnel led him. He put his foot out to step on the next rock and it went all downhill from there... literally. He slipped and went tumbling down finally landing hard against a cliff. Thalia landed next to him.
"Where in the name of Zeus are we?" she asked.
"How am I supposed to know?" Percy demanded.
"I don't know, but considering you were the one to lead us down here I figured you might have SOME idea."
The tunnel was dark with only the faintest glow of light coming from the tunnel entrance far above their heads. Percy drew Riptide which offered a small bit of light.
"Is it possible we could be headed to the Underworld?" he asked.
"I don't know," Thalia whispered, a shiver running down her spin. "I didn't think there were any entrances than the main one and the one in New York."
Suddenly, there was a crash from above and a great roar sounded, making the walls vibrate. Rocks came showering down on them.
"Percy," Thalia breathed, "I think the monster's back."
"You could guess that," Percy said with fear consuming his voice.
They stood still, wide eyed as the patch-work beast came into view.
With every roar of the monster, the more debris came falling on Percy and Thalia.
Percy was running through escape options in his mind. They could stay, fight the monster and try to go up the way they came or they could find another way out. No option seemed very good.
Suddenly Percy smelled something familiar. It was the ocean. Could this cavern be under water? They journeyed so far, it was entirely possible.
"Thalia!" Percy shouted. "I have an idea!"
Thalia transformed her bracelet to Aegis to shield them from the chunks of rocks raining down on them. Percy loudly told her his plan over the continuous rumble of rocks.
"That might just work Seaweed Brain," Thalia grinned.
Percy and Thalia jumped.
Despite her confidence in Percy's plan, Thalia screamed on the way down. Heights were not her friend. She couldn't see a thing other than the faint glow of Riptide a few feet away and she had no idea how far down the bottom was, if there was even a bottom. Suddenly she felt Percy's grip on her arm and braced herself for impact.
They hit the water hard. Thalia was sure it would have killed her if it weren't for Percy.
"Thalia, you okay?" Percy asked.
"Yeah. The current's taking us away from the monster I think."
As if on cue, there was a great splash and the monster landed in the water next to them.
Annabeth was finally free. Unfortunately, all she could see was darkness and that creepy clown skeleton that Lieon left to watch her.
Annabeth got out her hidden knife inside her sleeve she had not been able to get while in chains
She debated whether she should stab the skeleton and whether it would do any good. He hadn't moved since she got there so she figured it wasn't worth it and began searching for a way to get that stupid door open.
She tried hacking, using one of the clown's bones and running into the wall like she had seen on Harry Potter. None had worked.
If only Nico were here, she thought. Then again, if Nico were here I probably wouldn't have gotten into this mess at all.
She sat down against the wall of her prison.
"Think Annabeth!" she shouted. Then it hit her. "GOSH I'm stupid!"
She pulled out her distress locator.
"Nico di Angelo," she whispered.
All Annabeth say was a pale lump. Then the image formed and she saw Nico, but he looked terrible, like he'd been poisoned.
The scene before Annabeth shocked her. Nico was sitting in a bed, looking sick and very pale. By his side was Rachel. "-learned something about the Oracle," he was saying. "It is very important, and that's why I came. You are in danger-" he froze when he saw Annabeth.
"Nico I need help"
Rachael, now alert, turned to see who it was. She breathed out a sigh of relief when she saw it was Annabeth, but her eyes widened like two golden drachmas again when she saw where Annabeth was.
"Nico," said Annabeth weakly, "I know this isn’t the best time, but I am kind of outside the gates of Tartarus and I would prefer not to die today."
Nico's eyes widened. "Tartarus? Why are you there?"
"Your dad and this guy named Lieon-"
"LIEON?" Nico paled.
"I'm stuck in Tartarus. Lieon, Hades's son, your umm, half brother, trapped me"
"Lieon?" Nico said again.
"Well, Lieon is the god of Tartarus, and he sent some monsters that almost killed me"
"I know," whispered Nico. "And if Lieon really is down there, you need to run. Now."
"Why?" asked Annabeth.
"Because, Lieon wants to kill you."
Percy and Thalia were set adrift somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. They'd been out there for what felt like forever. Percy's powers somehow kept them floating and dry but it was awkward for Percy to be holding hands with Thalia. If Artemis saw me now, she'd probably turn me into a squirrel or something, he thought.
"So, we are looking for a sword. In the middle of the ocean," said Thalia.
"Well, there's land there" she said, pointing.
"Well," Percy said, "It's our best shot. I say we go for it."
"And risk meeting something worse than what was back there? We need a better game plan."
"We're floating in the middle of the ocean Thalia. How do you suggest we do that?"
"How about you explore, and I stay in the water, that way if something eats you I can leave safely.
Percy rolled his eyes. "Fine, we both go."
Closing his eyes and focusing, Percy willed the water to carry the two of them to the island by wave. Normal sixteen-year-old kids probably got places by car or bus or train or walking, Percy thought, I travel by controlling water with my mind. It was one perk of being a demigod.
"Uh, Percy?" said Thalia.
"I think we've got a problem." she pointed. "Somethin' big that looks like heck is coming toward us."
"What?" Annabeth exclaimed. "Why would Lieon want to kill me?"
"Well, first off, he's really evil, and supported the giants, second, Athena humiliated him so bad, Tartarus was the only place he could hide"
"Get out of there, Annabeth."
"There's just one small problem..."
"I can't. He's got me trapped here and I can't get out. That's why I need your help. Please."
Nico looked at Rachel.
"What do you think?" he asked.
"I don't know. Chiron said not to let you go anywhere for at least 24 hours. You're not strong enough."
"Um, long story-"
"You know, I would love to hear about that," interrupted Annabeth, "but someone is coming! Bye!" and with that she shut it off.
"Nico, I know you want to help her, but you can't. Lieon will rip you to shreds!" Rachel said.
"I can't just leave her down there. Lieon's bad news, especially for Annabeth."
"Well, I can't just sit back and watch you run off to your death," Rachel said. "I thought personal loyalty was only Percy's flaw," she said under her breath.
"It is his flaw, but I have it sometimes too," Nico said brushing the top of Rachel's hand.
Nico grunted as he tried to sit up. Rachel pushed him back down with a look that was more deadly than his black blade.
"You’re not going anywhere hurt. Not on my watch," she said.
Nico was thinking of what to do. He needed something big to happen...
As if the gods had heard him, Rachel slipped into one of her oracle trances. Green haze spewed out of her mouth before she could get in the last word.
"The dark and black goddess of fears
Will release an evil that has been trapped for years
And use a goddess to help in her aid
Something lost to be stolen and a debt repaid.
A life for a life, an eye for an eye,
There is danger in a sparrow's wistful cry."
And then she collapsed. Nico used what strength he had left to lay her on the bed. "I'm sorry, Rachel," he said, and then tried to back out of the room as quickly as he could.
Outside was pouring rain, and Nico had to run through it with a hurt leg. The rain sloshed in his shoes but he kept running, hopefully fast enough.
No such luck.
"Nico!" he heard Rachel shouting. "STOP! Stop or I will come after you!"
She ran as fast as she could, her legs flying behind her. A few feet away from Nico, she slipped, and his arms flung out to catch her.
"Did.... you....really......think.......you.....could...get away?" Rachel panted.
"I was trying," Nico admitted.
"You can't do this," she said. "You would get hurt, and you are already weak..." she went on and on, but all Nico could think about was how pretty she looked in the rain. Finally he couldn't stand it anymore and kissed her. She froze, then relaxed and wrapped her arms around his neck. He shut his eyes and put his arms around her waist, pulling her closer.
Rachel's mind went mushy for a little while. His lips were soft, and surprisingly warm in this cold.
Soon enough, her mind snapped back and she pulled away. She was the Oracle! Oh would Apollo be mad.
And as if on cue, thunder rumbled and she could see three figures descending from the sky. One with a red radiance and with shades in his eyes that seem to glow, the other with a scroll in his hands, and the last held a lightning bolt ....
The trio touched ground right in front of Nico and Rachel, who were still in each others' arms. The air around felt like it was vibrating from their powerful aura.
"We've been searching for you," boomed the one with lightning bolt.
Nico shoved Rachel behind him. "For who?" he asked.
"The Oracle, of course," they boomed as one.
"You aren't touching her," Nico growled.
"I'm afraid that is not your choice to make, young one," one of the voices scratched. "We need the Oracle to help us with something important."
Nico seethed. "Yeah? Like I don't know who you are. You are never going to touch her."
Rachel gripped his arm. "Who are they?" she asked, her voice shaking. He turned back to look at her.
"It's okay, they won't hurt you," he promised.
The voices sounded amused. "The son of Hades, caring for a mere mortal."
"She's not a mere mortal," Nico growled.
"Ah, yes. She bears the curse of the Oracle. Have you told her the dangers yet?"
Rachel started shaking. "Danger? What danger? Nico?"
"I tried to tell you," he said tightly.
"Well I'm listening now."
"Not here, Rachel," Nico insisted.
The three beings watched the scene before with amusement. "You haven't told her about your father's curse, then?" they said as one.
"Hades’ curse? But it was broken," Rachel said, confused.
"I would appreciate it if you would shut up," said Nico stiffly to the beings.
They ignored him. "There is a different curse now."
"Which," Nico said loudly, "she doesn't need to worry about because I will convince my father to undo it."
"Your father needs the sword. He will go to extreme measures to do it."
"Nico, please, I deserve to know. It's my life," Rachel begged.
"I will tell you." The one with the scroll stepped forward.
"The new curse," he began, "is a curse on the Oracle. It is a curse that can either be for good or bad, and we have come to discover which that is," he explained. "The curse determines if the Oracle is a source of evil or good, used for the friend or foe. It will tell us where your fate and loyalties lie."
"My fate?" said Rachel. "I tell fates, I don't have them."
"Oh, but you are wrong," the being said. "You play the most important role in this particular test. You will either bring the goddess of fears her wish, or her destruction. Are you ready to find your fate?"
"NO!" Nico screamed.
"Yes," Rachel argued.
He whirled around to face her, his hands shaking with anger. "This is dangerous, Rachel, and I don't want you fighting with or against Mania. She is evil, and you are not getting hurt."
"I have to play my part," Rachel said softly. "Now tell me who I am," she said to the beings.
They began chanting slowly, moving around in a circle.
"For the dark or for the light
For the wrong or for the right
For the evil or greater good
Which side not to take, what one she should."
A light rose in the circle and moved toward Rachel. Nico watched in horror as it turned black. The beings eyes flashed open. "We are sorry," they said, "You are dark."
Nico froze and started trembling. This would mean that she had to leave, and not talk to him ever again.
Rachel looked at him. "It can't be true," she sobbed.
He didn't meet her eyes. "It is, Rachel," he said quietly.
And then she collapsed.
We are so dead, Percy thought. So freaking dead.
The monster came thundering out of the underbrush and with a roar jumped into the surf right next to Thalia and Percy.
"SERIOUSLY!" Thalia shouted, "does this thing EVER die?! How many times do we have to kill it?"
"I don't know," Percy shouted back, "but I would guess at least one more time."
Thalia saw the grin Percy had, and she knew that grin. That grin said he had a plan that was most likely going to kill them.
Percy sprinted across the shore line and gathered up a colossal amount of water while Thalia fended off the beast. The wave casted a glittering shadow over her and the monster and she was nearly distracted herself. Percy willed the wave down and it unleashed its full force on the monster.
The monster screamed a sound like nails on a chalkboard. Percy cringed.
"Is it dead?" Thalia shouted over the rushing water.
"I doubt it!"
"Let's get out of here then! Before it regains its footing!"
Percy nodded. They ran into the underbrush and Percy began analyzing the information they had and where they might need to go first.
The island landscape around them was breathtaking. The sky seemed like the perfect shade of blue and the green hills looked interminable. But Percy had a strange case of déjà vou. It felt like he'd been there with Annabeth before.
The blind truth hit him like the wave hit the monster.
"Thalia, we need to get out of here, NOW." Percy said with an unfamiliar urgency in his voice.
"Why, it’s so beautiful. Stop being a spoil sport." Thalia said as she passed him
"No, Thalia! This is..." Percy started, but Thalia was already hiking through the thick forest.
Their heads turned to the direction of the music before Percy could complete his warning. The music was indescribable, like your best and worst memories all being relived in an intriguing tune.
It was a combination of sweet chords mixed with harsh notes that rubbed their skin the wrong way.
"I've been here before, I know it," Percy said.
"I feel like I have too," Thalia whispered. "Is this a dream?"
"More like a nightmare."
The music grew louder and they turned to greet someone they hadn’t seen in a long time: Bianca Di Angelo
"Bianca aren't you supposed to, you know, be dead?" Percy asked. "Not to send the wrong message, but you know..."
"Yeah, I thought I was dead too!" Bianca said confused.
Percy thought on why he would see Bianca on Siren Island. The pain and guilt shot through him like it did years ago at Nico's accusation. HE brought Bianca hear. He wished he could fix her death. Now his wish was here.
“Did Nico tell you I applied for rebirth?” she asked.
"He told us, but when you're reborn aren't you reborn as someone else? Not the same person again?"
"Normally yes, but maybe dad made an exception."
The music kept beating in the background. The island was losing its beauty and taking on a dark aura.
"Something feels very wrong about all this," Thalia said. "Sirens are never good news. Percy we need to get out of here now."
"Yeah. Wait, Bianca, do you want to help us with a quest since, you know, your other ended a little early?" Percy said and not succeeding at a casual comment.
As if being drained from its life, the island's green hills became hills of bones. On one of the bigger hills, the sirens, ugly bird-women creatures, appeared.
Before Bianca could answer, the echoing melody captivated her and she was being drawn toward the creatures.
"Percy," Thalia warned, "we need to go."
"But what about Bianca? We can't just leave her here."
"Percy, she's not real. We have to go."
"She may not be alive but she’s here and real now and we can’t leave her to die again! I did the first time and I’m not now! Percy stormed toward Bianca but he was nearly under the sirens spell too.
Thalia ran over to the nearest tree and yanked off a handful of leaves. She stuffed them in her ears and marched over to Percy. After she siren proofed him he looked like a drunken nymph.
"Whaaaat's happening, Thalia?" he slurred. "Why do you look like dryad with a bad hair job?"
"I'm glad your humor is still with us," Thalia muttered. "C'mon, Percy. Bianca isn't real..."
But the will of the Siren's was too strong and Percy slipped out of her grip like the ghost he might become.
Percy floated to the Sirens' hill but instead of going toward them, he passed through into some kind of bone chamber hidden to the naked eye where Bianca went.
The wailing tomb, Thalia thought numbly of the prophecy given to them by Rachel. She screamed in frustration as if that could break Percy's trance. She had no choice but to follow if she wanted Percy to stay alive. Running up the hill, she used her spear to break the brittle bones of the tomb.
"To heck with this!! Possibly literally!"
She held her breath and followed him.
Annabeth didn’t know how long she was sleeping, but when she woke up she was still in her complementary dungeon.
Lieon was with her now instead of Hades' clown. Of all things, why a clown? Annabeth thought.
"Awake now are we, Princess?" he said.
"Only if you're talking about yourself."
"I wasn't. You don't have to be so miserable down here, sweetheart. It's not so bad."
"If by so bad you mean absolutely horrible then I think you're on the right track. If not, you're delusional."
"Oh I most certainly am, Princess." he said grinning sinisterly. Annabeth rolled her tired eyes.
"Call me that again and I'll knock your nose in."
"Not with your hands AND feet chained." and with a flick of a wrist that’s what she was.
She glared at him. C'mon Percy, she thought, any time now would be great. Unfortunately her boyfriend didn't magically appear.
Lieon threw a tray of slop at her. "Have fun eating like a dog," and he sashayed away.
"I won't have to thanks to your idiocy," she said, slipping dagger from her sleeve.
She cut her bonds and poked at the tray. This is disgusting, she thought.
Ewwww there was hellhound hair in it! "I’d rather eat spiders," she claimed as she finished cutting the bonds at her feet.
I thought Hades was nicer to his prisoners. He's never been this bad before, she thought.
Maybe it has something to do with my "power.” He won't have to worry about that for much longer. Now for a way out, she thought. There was no point in waiting for Percy anymore to be her knight in shining armor. She felt along the walls for any loose stones.
She hit something and dug her fingers into the crack. Pulling out the brick she peered through the hole.
She saw Hades’ throne room. Hades was yelling at Lieon but she couldn’t hear much.
"I - the sword - she can't know," was what she got from Hades.
"You - she's captured - I won't," was Lieon's response.
Her mind was racing. Does Hades’ have the sword? She had to tell Percy.
But where in Gaea's earth was Percy. The last time she saw him he was with Thalia.
There was a huge crash from the throne room.
"You idiot boy!!" Hades screamed. "He's too close! He cannot succeed!"
"Percy Jackson will never succeed," Lieon cried.
Mania looked at all the little demigods and the oracle. So far from their goals. She liked what she was seeing. Laughing evilly, she sat back and thought she was literally going to enjoy the show.
"Why didn’t you tell me before!" Rachel screamed at Nico.
"Well, I was kind of being attacked by a dangerous zoo animal collage monster earlier." He retorted.
"We would love to stay and watch you play Argue Tag, but we need to go," the fiery-eyed figure said. "Let's go, Oracle. Her Most Feared is waiting."
"Where are you taking me?" Rachel demanded as Nico was trying to pull her from the figure's grip.
"Well I thought a smart girl like you could guess!" exclaimed the demon eyed one. "Clearly I was wrong," he mumbled and his companions chuckled.
"Where are you taking me?!” Rachel demanded louder.
"Where else?" he questioned. "To Mania."
"She's not going anywhere especially to "Her Most Feared.” You'd have to kill me before she leaves with you!" Nico said darkly.
"That can be arranged," the figure said with a wicked grin.
"You kill me and my father will throw you in Tartarus for all eternity!" Nico threatened darkly.
"Been there, escaped that. You really should know your monsters better, boy!" demon eyes said.
"Rachel, I'm going to try to get you out of here. Whatever you do, don't look back I'll be fine," Nico said quietly. They were still so close; Nico didn't think the Bothersome Big Three heard.
Focusing as much as he could, even though his side was still throbbing, he tried to make Rachel disappear into a fissure in the ground. He had done it once a couple of years ago when he found out his sister was never coming back and he first found out he was a son of Hades.
It didn’t work. He was still too weak. Demon Eyes was still dragging Rachel and Rachel was dragging Nico.
"Say bye-bye to your boyfriend, girl," demon eyes taunted.
But Rachel didn’t have a chance to utter a word before she was ripped away from Nico.
Nico stared at his empty hands. He would find Rachel, even if it cost him the ultimate price.
When Thalia finally broke through into the bone tomb of the Sirens, she found Percy lying on the floor. He was unconscious but still breathing, sort of.
She saw Bianca being lured to the hideous sirens whose demonic song was fainted because of her o-so-spectacular earplugs.
Like only a hunter of Artemis can do so gracefully, she loaded an arrow and one-by-one, took down the sirens.
When Thalia went to check on Percy, she saw he had a long shallow gash on his thigh. It was bleeding. No wonder he was unconscious, she thought. "He lost a lot of blood." She cut a strip off her jacket and fed Percy some ambrosia. She thought about their quest. It would not go well if Percy couldn't walk. Finally, after about half an hour, he woke up. "Boys drool a lot," she thought, "Another good reason to become a hunter."
Percy was dizzy. He saw Thalia hovering over him, and a bunch of ugly dead bird ladies in a big heap. Bianca was sitting in the corner of the cave looking as pale as....well death.
"What in Hades happened?" he asked.
Annabeth was pacing back and forth around her compacted cell. Her Athena brain processed the new information over and over and the only conclusion she came up with was that Hades had the sword.
Now all hope is lost, she thought. Why would Hades be keeping me in here if Percy came back with the sword. That was my ransom right? Oh, Seaweed Brain...
Annabeth felt like sobbing into Tartarus but she didn't because Lieon came back in. She quickly stepped in front of the hole in the wall.
"Oh, looks like the Wise Girl finally broke down. Wow, you lasted longer than most," Lieon said, unimpressed.
"Don't call me that," Annabeth said, thinking of Percy. Getting over Percy might be harder than she thought. "Answer me three questions, Lieon. Three questions. Then I'll be quiet."
Lieon's eyes narrowed. "I don't trust you, daughter of Athena. And I thought children of the Big Three were bad."
"Think of this as your golden opportunity to prove to your dad you can take charge," Annabeth said matter-of-factly. "If he sees you could get ME to stop talking, he'll be impressed."
"How about no questions, and you stay down here," muttered Lieon.
"One question?" Annabeth begged.
"Is Percy okay?"
Lieon looked straight into her eyes. "Perseus Jackson is headed for heck."
END OF CHAPTER FIVE
"Long story," Thalia said. Percy felt like he had been melted into a blob of silly-putty and red slime was oozing out of his leg. Wait, that was blood.
"Okay, seriously, what happened?" He questioned again.
"Like I said long story and we don’t have much time so scarf down some ambrosia and MOVE IT!" Thalia said rushed.
Percy obediently chewed on a piece of ambrosia and felt better almost immediately better.
"Ok, I had some ambrosia. Now can you tell me?"
"Percy how many times do I have to tell you? WE-DON'T-HAVE-TIME! Is that understood?" Percy nodded. He had to. It was dangerous angering the daughter of Zeus and it may result in electricity and the smell of burnt hair.
He had been there once, and that is an experience he didn't want to repeat.
The ghost of Bianca di Angelo was gone, now that the Sirens were dead, but Percy had a feeling they were still being watched.
"Okay, now we have to go to Frisco and find Nerius." Both girls looked at Percy.
"What?" he asked. He was getting uncomfortable from their stares.
"You’re the sea navigator." Thalia said. "Go out to sea and navigate."
Percy glared at them and then limped toward the shore.
"Okay..." he said slowly. "Let's find out where we are."
He stepped into the surf and ran his hands through the water. The ocean calmed him and his nautical senses told him they were on the Siren's island in the middle of the Sea of Monsters. Had it moved since he'd last been here?
Apparently it had. They were 100 miles off the coast of California.
"This should be easy," he said and turned to Thalia. "Okay. We're 100 miles out from Cali, so it should take us about 45 minutes to get back to the main land straight shot."
"Wait, by strait shot you mean....," Bianca said skeptically.
"Yep," said Percy sarcastically. "Hop on."
"Not the water!" the girls cried in unison.
45 minutes later Percy and Thalia washed up on the San Francisco shore. They weren't sure if Bianca was with them because she was, well, invisible. Percy wasn't too thrilled about confronting Nerius because a.) Nerius already knew them and b.) that guy smelled awful like Blackjack's stable when it hasn't been cleaned for a while.
They didn’t bother with disguises and anyway, it would be THALIA this time. Percy refused to dress up like someone who lived in a dumpster again.
They spotted the crazy old man on a dock, chucking acorns at fish.
Talk about the old man and the sea, Percy though.
Thalia wasn't sure how to approach this situation. She couldn't just go up to him and say, "Hi Nerius, can you answer a question?" and jumping him was out of the question.
Somewhere, Bianca started moving her invisible self over the man.
"I got this," she said determined.
She simply floated up to him, or at least Percy assumed she did, and tapped him on the shoulder, making him jump about a foot in the air. They couldn't hear what she said, but the sea man kept looking over at them with a look as if he had rotten seaweed stuck in his teeth. Finally, the old geezer got up and waddled over to them.
"Your little ghost friend is quite convincing," he said. "What do you want Jackson?"
Percy was startled at the old man's sudden willingness.
"Umm-um we're looking for the s-sword of Ares and we thought you might know where it might be." Percy stuttered.
"Oh, so you didn’t come back for a rematch?" Nerius looked disappointed.
"No. I didn't think I could beat you again," Percy said, hoping praise would get him in better books.
"Quite right you are there boy. Now, what do you want? I would like to go back to my nap."
"We already told you, sir," Thalia said. "The sword."
"Oh yes. That," Nerius said, scratching his head.
The old man closed his eyes, as if focusing. After five minutes, the three figured he fell back asleep. When Percy went to shake him, Nerius sat up with a jolt.
"So you did want a fight, son of Poseidon!"
"No!" Percy said, frustration growing. "I want an answer to where the sword is. And don't say I already know the answer. I don't!"
"Fine, Perseus Jackson. My only answer is to find your brother, the Cyclopes."
Percy was confused. "Tyson?" he asked.
"No, silly, said Nerius.
"Then who?!" they shouted together. The old man had plenty more nuts in him to chuck at the fish for a while. Percy told the fish to scram before the nut bombing began again.
Nerius sighed. "That sword is very highly guarded. The information regarding it is precious. I'm afraid there is only one way to obtain the information."
"How?" asked Percy.
Nerius regarded him with cold eyes. "To kill the one who possesses it."
Please be okay, please be okay. Annabeth relentlessly prayed to the gods to send her some sign that Percy was alright.
"He's with Thalia, Thalia will keep him safe," she tried to convince herself but she was forced to remember the tiny accident when Thalia was turned in TREE.
Uuuggg. He's dead meat.
"LIEON!" she screamed. "LIEON! GET DOWN HERE!" Annabeth had her dagger, and she was ready to send him straight to Tartarus.
*"I'm not home!" he screeched. "Go Away!"
“In case you didn’t notice I'm locked in a cell at the edge of Tartarus, so there is really no where TO go but down." She yelled back to him. "I don’t think Hades would like it if i just stumbled a little-"
He was down there in an instant, scowling at her. "I will send the hellhounds to rip your pretty face," he threatened.
Annabeth blinked. "What did you say?"
"I will send the hellhounds to rip your pretty face," he repeated.
*"Well not even Aphrodite could make your face pretty," she smiled sweetly.
"HHOOOOWWW DDDAAARRREEE YYYOOOUUU!" he boomed. Maybe upsetting him wasn’t the best idea.
"Kidding," she said nervously, "although I could punch you for saying that."
He looked momentarily confused. "That you're pretty?" She glared at him venomously. "Well, it's true," he mumbled.
"Will you answer one more question?" she tried to keep the plea out of her voice.
"Yes."Lieon said simply. "I just did."
"No. And if you’re pretty little brain wants to ignore me, NOOOOO!”
Annabeth pressed her lips together, making a promise not to say anything to him.
Lieon glared at her for a minute, then stormed out of the dungeon.
She sat there for what seemed like hours, counting the seconds like drips of water. She pretended that she was out of these bonds and could murder Lieon on the spot, even if he was a god. After about 10,346 seconds, he reappeared. "My father wants to see you," he said gruffly. "That's not a request," he snapped when she opened her mouth.
And so she trudged on down with Lieon, literally into heck.
Nico needed a plan to get Rachel back. He was very, very, infuriated at those three ugly demon dudes. He was going to get Rachel back, whether she was dark or not. And there was only one person who could know where she was being held prisoner.
But where would Mania be? All Nico knew was that Percy and Annabeth had been captured and somehow escaped from her, but at a price. Nico would pay any price, even death, for Rachel back. He had never heard of Mania before that day so... wait. The prophecy Rachel had said before the demon dudes came.
Nico struggled to remember it. So many things had happened and thoughts had entered since she spoke it. He was pacing back and forth in his cabin, even though his wounds from the monster still pounded his side.
Nico then decided to go ask his dad, Hades.
He knew what Hades would say, "Son, I am not helping you get back a girl, blah, blah, blah." But Nico would pay anything to have Rachel back.
Knowing it would be futile to get help from his too-busy-with-the-dead dad, Nico set out to find other help from a goddess who he knew could help him. In the shadows of night, he slipped away to go across the country to seek help from Nemesis, goddess of revenge.
"Ah, son of Hades. What brings you here?" Nemesis asked Nico.
Nico had met Nemesis in a dark alley a couple blocks from the Empire State Building. It was about midnight but Nico didn't feel drowsy at all. He was ready to make a deal with someone who you shouldn't, well, meet in an alley.
"I have come to make a deal with you, of course. Normally I would prefer somewhere with more shadows, but this will do." Nico tried to sound like this was just an everyday thing so Nemesis wouldn't sense his desperation.
"Ah, I see. And this wouldn’t be to get back someone you love, would it? I've done far too many of those favors recently." Nemesis sounded manipulative, but Nico could be too.
"Not at all," Nico lied, smirking. "I want revenge for something that was taken from me. The kind of stuff you do."
"I see." Nemesis smiled. "Go on."
"Okay Seaweed Brain, let’s see if your kelp can conjure something helpful for a change." Thalia teased Percy.
"Like what? The last time you told me to do that you wanted food. I told you. I. Can't. Make. FOOD!"
"No, this time all I'm asking is that you find a way to kill a god." Thalia said it like she was ordering a hotdog.
"You did kill a titan." Bianca pointed out from.....somewhere. Percy wondered if Annabeth's invisibility cap could make her visible.
"Yeah but he blew up into like a million pieces when Luke, err, sacrificed himself. On the bright side, Ares likes me better than Kronos," Percy said.
“Percy, get real. The only gods who like you a teeny sliver are your father and Aphrodite." Thalia said matter-of-factly.
"I'll vouch for that. Hades really can’t stand you either." Bianca's voice said from close by.
The sad thing is they were right.
“Do you think Nerius was absolutely, positively, 100% sure we have to kill the one with possession of it? Couldn't we just distract Ares? Other than the fact that he's IMMORTAL, the last thing this quest needs is for a bunch of Ares kids to get revenge on us for their father," Percy said, changing the subject. What-gods-can't-stand-Percy was one of his least favorite discussion topics.
"Of course I don’t think he's completely positive, for god's sake he's chucking NUTS at FISH by a HOMELESS SHETLER." Percy said to loud for comfort.
"We don't have another option," said Thalia.
"Yes, we do," said Bianca.
Percy looked at Bianca in shock. "What is our other option?" Percy asked her. He ran over to her and grabbed her shoulders and shook her.
"Geez Percy, let go of me, and take a shower. You smell like a pig that landed in a garbage truck. Anyways, we could like have my dad help us. He could totally distract Ares while we take the sword and then we walk out like we never did anything." Bianca said.
"That is the stupidest idea I have ever heard." Thalia said.
"The only other way Ares was subdued in Greek mythology was when he was trapped in a big jar and tied in bronze chain. Unless you have a jar and/or bronze chain that could hold a god with unlimited weapons and power, I don't think it's happening any other way," Bianca said. Even though she was invisible, you could practically see the smirk on her face.
"Now, now girls, we need to get along if we are going to get this sword from Ares." Percy said.
"Shut up Percy" Thalia said, giving him a glare.
"Sooo... Do I need to get my dad, or are we going to kill ourselves? Did I mention that my dad can keep us safe. I mean, he is a god after all." Bianca said, looking as happy as she could be, because she knew she won this one.
"Yeah, go get him. Be back in 1 hour, or I am sending Percy to get you." Thalia said and then laughed.
"So not funny. Remember, I could drown you at any second with a snap of my fingers. Watch out." Percy said and then imitated Thalia drowning.
"Anyway, Bianca, your dad said I can have no help from him. I think the only way we could get Ares to help is if we went on a quest for him."
"Well," said Thalia, "I guess we have a quest to do."
Nico had a quest to do.
It had been hours and Nemesis still hadn't contacted him. Nico was beginning to wonder if she'd decided he was a
lost cause when suddenly she melted out of thin air.
"We'll son of Hades, it would appear that you are in luck. I have the tools you need, but for a price."
"What is that exactly?"
Nemesis looked at him expectantly. "Why, half-blood, I want you to give up the god part of you. I want your powers of the dead. It will make you completely mortal."
Nico nearly fell back. "You want me to- you want me to what?!"
"No, I-I can't do that." Nico said quietly.
"Why not?" Nemisis asked. Nico looked down.
"I need them."
"I'd leave Rachel forever," Nico whispered. "I can't do that."
Nemesis shrugged. "She's mortal, right? You would be fine. She can die, if you'd rather."
"NO!" Nico shouted. He took a shaky breath.
"Well, the only way to have a sliver of a CHANCE to get her back would be to give me your powers. And sooner is better than later." Nemisis looked like she was sucking on a lemon.
"I thought you told me this was about revenge not some lost love." Nemesis raised her eyebrows.
"Um, it is." Nico closed his eyes. "Will it... kill me?" he asked. "Because I am not going to give up everything that I love and know." Nico said.
"Well then, I will be going." Nemesis said.
"Wait. I will only give you my powers after you help me get my revenge on Mania." Nico said.
"Okay half-blood. Follow me, and we will begin your revenge." Nemesis said with a little laugh. Little did she know, Nico was bluffing.
“That will depend on if your father is merciful. You are his son and will remain his son, but that has never stopped Hades before."
He was not about to give up his powers for Nemesis.
"True," said Nico. "But, it's Rachel. I will do it." he added, "But only if you swear on the River Styx."
"I swear on the River Styx that I will help you get revenge and your girl back."
"Good, now let's go." Nico said as he followed Nemesis.
"Great, now we found Ares' hideout, all we have to do is find a way in, and ask him what quest he wants us to do, and then do it and get the sword, save Annabeth, and then go home and live happily ever after." Percy said.
"Not so fast Seaweed brain." Thalia said.
"Percy," Bianca's disembodied voice said, "Ares isn't just going to give you a quest. This is his sword we're talking about. He's not just going to give it up."
"I KNOW THAT!" Percy screamed. "BUT HE HAS ANNABETH, BIANCA! I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!!!!"
"Cool your jets." Thalia said as she pushed open the door. Percy followed her, red faced, and they could feel that Bianca was close behind. The first room was dark and musty. There was a counter with an old cash register on it. The floor was covered with dust, no footprints to be seen anywhere.
"ARES!" Percy yelled.
Thalia grabbed on to his arm. "Maybe this isn't the best time, Percy-" He yanked out of her grasp.
"ARES! I KNOW YOU ARE LISTENING! GET YOUR GODLY BUT DOWN HERE!"
Thalia ran up behind him and clapped her hand over his mouth.
"Percy," she hissed, "Shut. Up. Do you want to get us KILLED?!"
"Here, let me go and look around. He won't notice I'm here, since I'm a ghost." Bianca said. She opened a door and closed it behind her as she went through.
"Well, now we have to follow her." Percy said, and then took off running.
They froze when Ares appeared in front of them. "You better have a heck-a good reason for me to be down here," he said, crossing his arms.
"You weren't here?" Percy asked, dumbly.
"No. I was up on Olympus, spending some time with my family."
Ares glared at her.
“You better be or I'll tell daddy." Ares snorted back."Then you’ll really be sorry." he laughed.
"So, what are you twerps doing down here?"
Thalia and Percy nudged each other because neither of them wanted to ask, for fear of being turned into demigod-juice
"Hello?" Ares said snapping his fingers in their faces. "I asked you a question!"
"We don't mean any harm, sir," Bianca said behind.
Ares whirled and was shocked to find there was no one there.
He waved his hands in the air to detect the invisible person, and he looked crazier than Nerius.
"Who was that!" Ares exclaimed.
"Uhhh," Thalia struggled to come up with a trick.
"I-It’s a lost soul," Percy covered.
"It can posses anyone, even gods."
"Ha-yeah. Do you really expect me to believe you?" Ares questioned.
Bianca must've put her hand on his shoulder because he jumped higher than Annabeth when she saw a spider.
"Who's there?!" He shouted.
"I told you," Percy said, "it's a ghost. It can posses even you."
"Unless...you give us what we want." Thalia grinned mischievously. This was a plan worthy of Athena. Well, maybe.
"The sword," Ares said. "You're not getting it."
"Wait," Percy said confused. "How did you know about that?"
"I'm a GOD for Olympus' sake Jackson what do you expect?!"
Sucking in his breath, Percy asked, "What do you want for the sword?"
"I'm not into trade, Perseus. If you want to barter, go to Nemesis or Aphrodite."
Just then, Bianca slammed a door. Shattering and clanging filled the air.
"My ARMORY!!!!!" Ares yelled like Aphrodite when she ran out of lip-gloss.
Ares' armory was like nothing they had ever seen. It looked like a Spartan military camp with futuristic technology. Weapons from every era were thrown about so you had a battle ax from the Middle Ages next to a Civil War musket and gas used in World War I right beside a Roman cavalry sword.
But everything was scattered or shattered on the ground thanks to Bianca.
In the corner of his eye, Percy saw a glint of metal.
At first, the sword of Ares looked like his sword, Riptide, but Percy figured it was just like Hermes's caduceus or Zeus's lightning bolt, always changing. The gold hilt was ornate, with fire patterns and scenes of war engraved in it. It looked specially customized for Ares, like if Percy tried to fight with it, it would be awkward and unbalanced in his hand.
Percy dove for the sword and almost had it, but Ares was quicker. He slashed at Percy. Percy just backed up in time to avoid being cut in half. He grabbed his sword, Riptide, uncapped it, and attacked the god of War.
Percy would like to have thought he made a more decent battle cry that "AHHHHHHHHHH" but he didn't and the god of War looked like he was going to double over and crumple to the ground laughing.
"Is that all you got, punk?" Ares said between laughs.
It wasn’t. When Ares leaned back laughing, he tripped on a Revolver and fell on a giant sludge hammer. His thick skull made a "clink" as it hit.
Ares was down, but he landed right on his left hand where he was holding the police badge/sword.
"I'm not getting it," Thalia and Bianca said in unison. They were smart to not want to be blasted into demigod puree.
Percy lunged for it and almost had it out of the god's hand when he came to his senses.
Percy jumped away just as Ares blasted the revolver near him, narrowly missing Percy's face. "I told you not to mess with me punk." Ares said with a grimace on his face. Percy grabbed Riptide and uncapped it. He began slashing at the God, but it was no use. For a big guy, Ares sure could move fast.
Out of the corner of his eye, Percy saw Thalia moving in behind Ares and he guessed Bianca tapped him on the shoulder again because he jumped giving Percy the perfect advantage
Ares was only distracted for half-a-second, but that was all the time Percy needed. He swung his sword and gave the god a long cut down his chest. Golden Ichor, the blood of the gods, oozed from the cut.
"You'll pay for that." Ares said. But the cut weakened him significantly, so now Percy could block his lighting fast strokes and go on offense instead of just avoiding being cut to death.
Ares' strikes became weaker and weaker but his wound was healing. Percy stabbed his sword in the god’s knee while he was being distracted by Bianca. Ares howled in agony and Percy pried the badge out of his meaty hand.
"You may have gotten me back my shield but you will NEVER have my sword," Ares roared.
"We'll see about that," Thalia said, taking out Aegis. Percy could never get used to the face of Medusa (even though it was a copy - a really good copy) scowling back at him every time he looked at Thalia's shield.
Percy hoped that the shield would distract Ares - or scare him - for enough time for an escape.
Unfortunately, he barely flinched.
"On second thought, RUN!" Thalia yelled, already dashing without confirmation that the others were behind her.
The pain was unlike anything Nico had ever known. It spread through him like a fire, burning and scorching him, leaving him writhing in pain and screaming in agony.
Who knew loosing part of who you are would hurt so much.
It's for Rachel, he thought. I'm doing this for Rachel.
Still, that didn't stop the pain. The goddess of revenge was showing no mercy.
After what felt like hours, the pain finally left him.
"Get up son of Hades," nemesis ordered. Nico could barely lift his head. "There is no mercy for those that have crossed me. Get up."
"You promised you'd help me. You swore!"
"Yes I did. And here is your help." She tossed him a bottle with a thin piece of paper rolled up in it. "Thank you for your business son of Hades." With that, she disappeared.
It was a note that said:
Dear Son of Hades,
I have for-seen you coming, and you must know one thing. You are mortal now and it is almost impossible to get the girl you love back. However, crush this bottle and she will appear.
Beware: Whoever is touching her when you crush the bottle will transport also.
Suddenly, Nico was not alone. Two people suddenly appeared next to him: Percy and Thalia.
"PERCY!!!" Thalia shouted. "I told you to take us to the person who needs our help the most! There's no one here! Gosh!"
"Ummmm.... Hi," Nico said from the floor.
"NICO?" they said in unison.
"Ya, well um I am trying to save Rachel here so if you could just-"
"Nico?" said a familiar voice.
"Rachel?" Thalia said looking up. "How did you-"
"Thalia," Percy said slowly, "we need to go. She's bad news,"
"No. The other one."
Nico looked down. The bottle was lying in pieces in his hand.
With strangling fear he realized who he had brought. He threw himself protectively in front of Rachel.
"Mortal, now, I see, "said Mania.
"What?" cried Rachel.
"Nico," Percy said. "What is she talking about?"
"Percy, now's not a good time..." Nico said quickly to avoid the question. He didn't dare look at Rachel, for fear she'd have one of those weird vision things.
She grabbed on to his arm, tighter. "Nico, please," she begged.
"No Rachel! Not. Now." Nico struggled to keep his cool.
"It's about the prophecy I told you," she said really fast so he wouldn't interrupt her again.
He flinched. "Rachel,"
All the sudden Mania's booming voice interrupted them. "I am sick of this love fest," she screeched, and with one swift motion sent a sword flying through Rachel's heart.
"NO!" Nico screamed in agony as she crumpled before him, covered in blood. He ran over to her desperately. "I can feel her life force, it is gone! Gone! And so are my powers!"
Percy shifted uncomfortably. Rachel was his friend, and he was frozen in shock.
"The sword..." he stuttered. "Nico, the sword. It can bring back one life."
Nico was astonished, but he said nothing, and didn't even ask for an explanation as to how they had gotten the sword from Ares.
"You press it to her for-head, the flat end of the blade," Thalia said softly.
Nico started forward with the sword-
"Wait." Percy said.
Nico looked up at him, desperate.
"Bianca, she's here."
Nico was confused. "Nico, you can either bring back Bianca or Rachel."
Nico looked like he was just ripped from the world. No one should have to make a choice like that.
He looked at Rachel, soft and sleeping, and then thought about his sister. Tears stung in his eyes.
Nico longed for another option, some way to save his sister and the girl he loved, but there was no other choice.
"Rachel," his whisper was chocked out.
Bianca would understand. She could get reborn. Rachel was "evil." She couldn’t. He would never wish the horrors of punishment on anyone.
"I'm so sorry, Bianca." He whispered, and pressed the blade to Rachel's forehead.
Color and life lit up Rachel's face like fireworks. I don’t even think she could see this coming Nico thought.
Her eyes met Nico's face, "You brought me back..." She said hoarsely.
Thalia and Percy and Bianca stood there and thought they were watching a chick-flick. Bianca was quietly sobbing.
Nico looked at Bianca.
"I...I hope you understand." He was fighting back tears. Bianca smiled.
"Of course I do."
Rachel looked around. She saw Nico, Thalia, Percy, and a shadow that looked strangely like Nico's sister Bianca. They all wore the same expression of worry and concern.
"I-I thought I was with Mania?" she sounded confused.
No one knew the proper words to tell her that she died.
"It’s okay, you're safe now," he whispered.
"I thought I was evil," Rachel said. "I'm dangerous."
"Nico did something he won’t tell us, Mania killed you, we got the sword of Ares, it had power to bring someone back from the dead and Nico choose you over Bianca and you two had a mushy reunion. Any more questions?"
"But I'm dangerous," Rachel whispered.
"That's a risk I'm willing to take," said Nico.
Rachel still looked puzzled.
"How come you didn't use your powers?" She asked Nico.
Nico stayed as silent as the dead.
"How come you didn't use your powers?" She asked again, more firmly this time.
"Look, guys, we should get outta here," Nico stalled.
"Nico," Bianca said heartbroken.
Nico looked away. He didn't want to tell her. Or anybody.
"I think I know," she said helplessly. "It's a Hades thing. Nico's powers died today."
Rachel looked at him. "Nico?"
"I did it for you." Five words but they left a stinging feeling in the air.
Rachel went white.
She couldn’t help the crying and anger that came next.
"But your POWERS!!" she screamed through the tears. "Now you’re a boring mortal, like ME!!!"
"You aren't boring, Rachel," he whispered.
"Well compared to you people (she motioned toward Percy and Thalia) I am!!!" Rachel stormed, tears still jumping down her face.
She didn't get too far due to the fact that a.) she didn't know where she was and b.) Nico started after her.
"Rachel!" he called. "Rachel! Please!"
"Look, Rachel," Nico was crying which made her cry even more.
"I didn’t do this for you, I did it for us."
Just like every big sister should, Bianca interrupted.
"Sure beats being dead though, doesn’t it?" said the ghost.
Rachel was sobbing even harder. "Let me guess, you had to choose who to save," she said. When there was no reply, she took off running again.
"Rachel, you don’t understand, Bianca's going to be reborn you would have been...." She barely her his next words "punished because your evil."
Her eyes were blurry, and she made a choking noise, running faster and faster. She tripped on something and lost her balance. She waited for the ground to find her and bury her.
She the footsteps of her friend thundering close behind. She resisted when Nico tried to pull her up. she heard Bianca whispering to her.
"I know you love him. It's okay," Bianca whispered in her ear. Her voice sounded calming, like a running river or one of Artemis's bows shooting through the woods.
Rachel buried her face in the ground not caring about the mud her tears were forming.
Just like that, the ghost was gone and Rachel was left sobbing in the dirt.
"Rachel, if you’re going to act like this because i lost my power, imagine how I would act if YOU had them."
Nico's stupid comment made her crying cease for a moment and laugh.
"Oh Nico," she whispered. "I’m so sorry."
"Don't be," he said solemnly. Without thinking, Rachel hugged him. It seemed like the right thing to do.
He wrapped his arms around her and held her while she sobbed. Suddenly, Percy came running into view, his eyes red and his voice hoarse.
"Nico." He was out of breath.
Nico released Rachel. "What's wrong?"
"It's Annabeth." Percy took a staggering breath. "I think she is dead."
Nico looked grim, he was trying to detect her death, even though his powers were gone. Rachel's eyes flooded again. Percy ran over to a trash can and started slashing at it in a wimpy attack to distract himself.
Still having his eyes closed Nico said, "Where did you see her last?"
Percy could barely speak without crying. Much less explain the Tartarus drama.
"S-she’s-she....." He was whimpering.
He could control the ocean, but not his tears.
He sat down in frustration. Why was being a demigod so hard? All he wanted to do was save her, but now...
Running, Thalia joined the club of tears but she could get out the details of what happened. The sun was now setting, a blood red color, and an eerie chill came about in the air.
"Do we still have the sword at least?" Percy stuttered out.
Thalia wearily took the sword strapped to her back off and handed it to Percy.
"Great, at least we have something to go on."
Trying to cheer them up, Nico sang, "To Tartarus we will go, to Tartarus we will go, oh down in he-heck to Tartarus we will go."
Annabeth sat in a cold damp place that was nowhere and everywhere all at once. Her energy was dwindling and she didn’t know how much longer she could survive until Percy came. Oh that’s all she wanted was to feel his arms around her and his lips on hers once again. Annabeth sobbed silent tears because she wasn’t strong enough for loud ones. Annabeth sent Percy a message in her mind maybe it will work she thought... just maybe...
No. She had to stop being delusional and get the heck out of this heck hole. She had to get out before Lieon came back to tear her up more than she already was.
Annabeth slowly got up and ran her fingers against all the sides of whatever type of prison she was in.
She knew she was in a different one than before, but this one was made of hard metal, not dirt. There was little light but as far as she could tell, there was no door. One the floor, she nearly slipped because of.....blood. Her blood.
Everywhere hurt, but she knew she needed to get out of here. She needed to find Percy. Suddenly light flooded her prison. She saw that she was trapped in a metal box with no entrance or exit to be seen. The floor was covered in blood. Then the light disappeared as quickly as it had come.
Annabeth’s vision went fuzzy but she stayed calm and kept on moving. She looked up... the sealing wasn’t that hard for her to reach. And there was a latch... a real latch. Annabeth’s hopes soared until she touched it and a shooting pain went up her arm. "Damn it," she whispered under her breath. The latch of course was enchanted.
Her audience with Hades didn't go so well and it earned her a "small" hit to the head. The walls seemed like they were closing in. Mother, Annabeth thought, what should I do?
Annabeth took a deep breath and thought about what her mother would tell her.
She looked back up at the latch and realized it was glowing...
It was a faint gold color that seemed to be getting brighter by the minute.....
Just when she thought the light couldn't get any brighter the latch broke and there was Percy with riptide glowing in his hand. he reached down and pulled Annabeth up out of the prison. He hugged her and was crying just as much as she was.
"Come on," Percy said. "We gotta get out of here." Annabeth smiled, she was extremely happy that he was here.
However Annabeth was just so tired and there where little black spots in the line of her vision.
"Annabeth, Annabeth" said Percy grabbing her waist and lifting her into his arms. At that moment the darkness swallowed Annabeth and she passed out.
"Nico!" Percy shouted. "Thalia!!! Annabeth needs help!"
She was covered in scratches and gashes, many still seeping blood. It made Percy sick to his stomach and he feared for Annabeth even more.
Thalia ran over with Ambrosia, and nectar.
"Annabeth, eat this." Percy said.
She gladly obliged. "Percy, you’re here," she choked out.
"Course I am." he flashed her that smile she loved as much as him.
"Did Hades get the sword?" Annabeth asked. "When I met with him... he said what he would do... and it's kind of awful..."
"Only after we gave it to him. He thought it was a fake and there was more cursing from him then at a centaur party"
"So you have the sword, right, Seaweed Brain?" Annabeth asked slowly.
"No. Hades has it."
Annabeth cursed in Ancient Greek under her breath, "Wonderful..." She muttered.
"Why?" Percy asked. "We got you back, Rachel's alive, we're all in one piece - more or less. I thought Hades and the rest of the Big Three were on good terms. A war against your father can be a really good bonding exercise."
"Well ha-ha remember Hades said we had an hour to be gone or we were his, except you know, Bianca cause she’s his kid AND dead.”
Annabeth said, "Well, I'm really glad to be here with you." She leaned over and kissed him for a really, really long time.
Thalia whistled. "Make out later escape NOW!!!"
Percy and Annabeth smiled
"Yes mother," Percy said.
They were running through the fields of punishment when their lead, Nico, jerked left.
"Nico," Thalia asked, "where are we going?"
"Out no duh," he yelled back with Rachel at hand.
"This doesn’t seem right," Annabeth countered.
"Nico," Percy called, "I've been here more times than I would like to admit. I don't think we're going out.'"
Suddenly Nico changed, the illusion falling.
"Hello, children," said Mania. "Welcome to heck." With that, she released their hands and sent them straight to Tartarus.
"Where's Nico?!" Rachel shouted. "What have you done with him?!"
She was falling, but she heard Mania say, "Let's just say he will be joining you in the land of the dead soon."
She disappeared, and just as Rachel was about to be enclosed into Tartarus, she felt a bloody hand grip hers.
Annabeth, Rachel thought. Thank you.
At that moment Rachel loved Annabeth more than she ever had.
Percy was panicking. He felt like Thalia at that moment, he was falling and he didn't know what he was going to hit. All he knew was he had Annabeth's hand in one of his and Thalia's in the other.
"Were not going to make it!" he alerted them. Then a thought struck him. Where was Bianca?
Bianca was gone. She just vanished as if Mania sucked her life force into her own. Percy thought it was fruitless. He couldn't keep Annabeth, Thalia, Rachel and Nico up. He was only one demigod. He was a son of Poseidon in a place where shadows swallowed any water. Percy thought of the River Styx. NO, he thought, been there and there probably was more dead stuff in there than actual water. Percy was losing his grip, on holding on the small ledge of the Underworld and on life.
Plus, its touch was deadly. Annabeth's voice called down to him. "Percy..." she groaned. "Can't hold on..."
Percy saw his friends in pain. The girl he loved, the hunter, his mortal friend. None of them could hold on. And then, the only thing he could do, was let go.
To be continued
GREEk gods Powers
Hades God of the dead
Poseidon God of the ocean, earthquakes, and horses
Zeus God of the sky
Athena Goddess of knowledge and war
Hera Queen of the gods
Mania Goddess of insanity
Lieon Guard of the Underworld
Ares God of War
Artemis Goddess of the moon, hunting
Phobos God of fear
****** This book is a fanfiction of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians/Lost Hero series. All characters and personalities are the copyright of Rick Riordan.