Disclaimer : I do not own Percy Jackson.
Chapter 13 : I Get Turned into Gold. Almost.
It was official.
I was never going into the air again.
I never really had the best relationship with flying things, with Uncle Zeus being all crazy and paranoid and all.
And now, I just had one too many traumatic experiences in the sky.
Namely, falling to my death.
At least this time, I wasn’t flailing around in the air.
This time, I was on a malfunctioning dragon.
Which could be worse, actually, now that I think about it.
To say Leo was upset was an understatement. “No, not again! You can’t do this again!” Whatever he was doing wasn’t working since we were still spiraling down, about to crash in a city. Finally, he seemed to get what was wrong. “Jason, take Piper and Alex out of here. Land somewhere safe! I need to reboot Festus and you guys are all too heavy. Just follow me down! Come on!”
Jason took both of our hands and leaped off the dragon. As I expected, it wasn’t much better. We were still too heavy for just Jason to handle. And all three of us knew it. Piper looked at me. “There’s a river down there. Can’t you do what you did back in Medea’s store and just surf behind us?”
Jason looked at me hopefully.
I sighed. “It’s not that simple Piper. I mean, I have to concentrate a lot to get the wave going and Leo’s going toward that mansion and that brick fence looks really tall and…”
Jason cut me off. “But you can try, right? Because if you don’t, I don’t think I can hold on to both of you any longer.”
Both of them stared at me with that look in their eyes. “Ok, fine. Let go of me, Jason. Let’s do this.”
As I hurtled through the air, I thought I gave myself a migraine from concentrating so hard. It was worth it though. The water rose up to catch me and I followed Jason and Piper to ward the mansion, making sure my wave was high enough to clear the fence.
Piper started cheering. “Great job, Alex! Keep it up!”
I grimaced. My head was starting to hurt again and my vision got fuzzy for a while. “No talking right now, Piper. I’m concentrating.”
“Oh. Got it.”
Leo hurtled down toward the mansion and I followed him into the yard. By then, I was barely holding on to consciousness. As I fell to the ground, my eyes closed and I blacked out.
When I woke up again, I saw Leo crying over the broken body of Festus. “No! No, you can’t go!” When Festus died, Leo prayed to his dad, asking him to take the head back to Bunker 9. Jason and Piper exchanged confused looks but I knew exactly what he was talking about.
After Leo calmed down a bit, we headed inside. Although not without Leo disabling the most random booby traps ever. Like seriously? An exploding doorbell? I knew King Midas was crazy but this was just going over the line. Add that to the fact that the door was unlocked and, well, let’s just say, I was not happy to have to meet my second lunatic in 2 days. At least I thought it was two days. Time was weird in quests.
It was dark inside and it seemed like there was nothing to do but sleep. The thing was, I didn’t want to sleep. I was not interested in having another talking to with my godly great grandmother. I sat down on the floor, leaning against the sofa, listening to another one of Leo and Jason’s bro-talks.
“Leo, I’m sorry for what I said back in Chicago. I mean, I don’t know where I got all that stuff. You’re amazing and I… I really am sorry.”
Leo sighed and I smiled, looking forward to his speech about being annoying and Jason being the perfect person that he was. “Seriously, Jason, don’t insult my ability to annoy. How am I supposed to resent you if you apologize? That’s just not fair. Plus, I’m supposed to resent you.”
I tried to disguise my laughter with a cough.
It didn’t work.
Leo and Jason both stared at me. I smiled at them. “Don’t notice me. I’ll just be here laughing my head off.”
The bro-talk stopped then, which was a shame because I really did want to hear some more of Leo’s sarcastic comments. Jason quickly went to sleep and then it was just me and Leo. Finally, when I got so tired, I couldn’t handle it anymore, my head drooped and I got pulled into the darkness.
Not for long, though.
“Owwww!!!” I screeched, rubbing my head. I would definitely have some kind of bump or bruise by the end of tomorrow. “What was that?!”
Oh. Coach Hedge.
“Leo, can you help me out a little bit?” I dodged the club and it whacked into the sofa, nearly hitting Piper.
“Right!” Leo sprang into action and tried to restrain Coach Hedge, but it wasn’t working.
“Who are you, anyway? Die!”
I saw an opportunity. “Alexis Forman. Daughter of Poseidon. I’m on a quest with Leo, Jason, and Piper.” I looked warily at his club. “Don’t kill me!”
“You could be a monster in disguise…” Coach Hedge looked thoughtful. “Die!”
“Gods, Leo, does this guy have a one track mind?!” I ran away from the coach, making sure that the wooden cudgel didn’t get anywhere near me.
Thankfully, Jason woke up. “What is going on?”
“Coach Hedge is awake. He’s trying to kill me. Enough said, Grace. Help me out!”
Jason looked a little bit scared and I couldn’t blame him. Grover was a normal satyr and he was scary when he was mad. This was Gleeson Hedge, a satyr with “problems.” And even saying that was putting it lightly.
Finally, Leo finally got it through to the stupid goat brain that I was neither a threat nor a monster in disguise, thank you very much, but just a regular demigod on a quest. Coach Hedge looked at me and “Hmmph, bet I could take her.”
My fists clenched. I was trying very hard not to lose my temper. Coach Hedge was not getting off to a good start. I was just about to pummel the idiot satyr within an inch of his life, but as I started toward him, intending to break his nose, King Ears of an Ass himself came walking into the throne room with a toothbrush in his mouth.
I would have laughed if I wasn’t so mad already. He looked so surprised and the way the toothbrush fell out of his mouth was just hilarious.
“Lit? There are strangers in the throne room.” Midas called out to his son.
And Mr. One Track Mind did exactly what I expected him to do. “Die!”
I had enough of this. Stalking toward Coach Hedge, I pulled back my fist and let it fly. Straight into his nose. I heard a satisfying crack and the yelp of the coach confirmed what I knew in my mind. I had broken it. As I turned back around, I noticed everyone staring at me with incredulous looks.
Finally Jason spoke. “You pull your punches?”
“I try not to.” I replied.
Leo looked terrified. “Remind me never to get you mad.”
“Well,” King Midas interrupted. “please sit down.”
A guy who I assumed was Lit from the pajama pants and the Cornhuskers shirt took a step forward and made a face. “Your Majesty,”
“It’s fine Lit. I mean they’ve already seen me in a bathrobe. Please, welcome to my humble abode. My name is King Midas.”
We sat down on the sofas while Midas was on his throne. The conversation was boring, all about patrons and death and oracles and the golden touch and the ears of an ass and all that. I did pay attention at the ears of an ass part though. I had to admit, Apollo was pretty good at his punishments for such a lighthearted god. Those ears were bad.
And then the conversation turned toward the Hunters. I really paid attention then. I liked Thalia and if the stupid king hurt her, then there would be hell to pay. Nobody messes with family. Unless, of course, it’s the occasional evil grandfather or great grandmother that needs defeating.
Then, I heard, “I have to rebuild my collection.” King Midas stood up and everybody, including me, stepped back. “I mean, you can either be turned to gold or die at combat with Lit.”
Piper tried to use charmspeak. “Please…”
She turned into gold. Soon, so did Leo. As King Midas strided toward me and Jason, we looked at each other. At the same time, we both yelled, “I choose combat!”
Midas looked disappointed. “Very well.”
“And we’re fighting together.” Jason added.
“Absolutely not,” Lit protested.
I was completely terrified on the inside but I maintained a confident mask. “What’s the matter, ‘Reaper of Men’? Can’t handle two teenage demigods?”
“You…” Lit was incensed. He started towards me, swinging his sword. At the worried look of Jason, I mouthed, “I meant to do that.”
He looked at me in disbelief.
I was more banking on the hope that his anger made him not think clearly. Thankfully, my luck held. He made some sloppy strikes that I easily used against him. When I tripped him up and he fell onto the throne, Jason saw an opening to get rid of Lit forever. Or at least for as long as we were here.
“You’d better help him up.”
Lit gasped. “No, dad!”
No more Lit, just another gold statue sitting on the throne.
Jason looked at Piper and got a determined look on his face. I knew what he was thinking. The usual hero, self sacrifice, I cannot fail my friends thing. And this tim, it wasn’t just because I read the book. Percy was the same way. All protective of his friends and family and all that. The air pressure dropped. I covered my ears. “Jason, whatever you’re going to do, do it quick!”
“You know what else, gold is useful for?”
I mouthed the next word with him. “Electricity.”
The ceiling exploded. Lightning shot down and snapped the chandelier, bringing Midas down as well. Rain poured into the house slowly turning everyone and everything back to what it was before.
Coach Hedge ran in. “What happened?”
“Nothing that you were a part of ,” I muttered. I then spoke up. “Where were you and what were you doing?” I looked at his face covered in dirt and grass. “Never mind, I think I know.”
Jason grabbed Piper. “Somebody grab Leo and let’s get them to the river.”
“What then?” Coach Hedge belched.
Jason sighed. “We’ll get there later. For now, we have to hurry up and get them out of here. We have to get ourselves somewhere safe.”
“Right.” Coach Hedge carried Leo and they ran out of there like their lives depended on it.
Next we meet Lycaon, don’t we…
Well, thank the gods I have a silver weapon.
And with that cheerful thought, I followed them.