Disclaimer : I do not own Percy Jackson.
Chapter 14 : I Become the Most Important Person on this Quest
I shivered, my teeth chattering. We were huddled in a cave and a storm raged outside the opening. I leaned closer to the fire and tried to warm up my hands. Snow seemed to find me wherever I sat. Leo got a huge laugh out of that. He seemed to think that I had the worst luck out of everybody in this quest. But I knew better. Khione was being the annoying, grudge holding, evil snow goddess that she was. I scooted over, closer to Piper. She was shaking, her forehead shiny with sweat. I was worried about her. We did as much as we could but nobody in our group was really qualified to heal anyone. I didn’t count Coach Hedge. His idea of sports medicine was just messed up. As I sat, looking after Piper, she suddenly opened her eyes.
“Oh my god.” She gasped.
“Gods.” I couldn’t help but add.
Jason glared at me and leaned over to tuck a blanket around her. “Don’t worry, you’re all right. You did get hypothermia though. We gave you as much nectar as we could and Coach Hedge did some nature magic.”
“I wouldn’t really call that magic.” I scoffed. “Piper doesn’t look that great. She needs something warm. You know, hot chocolate, maybe a warmer jacket, not being in the snow, all those things.”
“You think I don’t know that?” Jason sounded annoyed. To be fair, I was being annoying. “Can’t you stop with the snarky comments for once?” He looked at Piper. “Alex is right though. You don’t mind if I…”
I nearly laughed at the awkwardness of it all. Both of them were trying desperately to stay calm.
They were failing.
And it was hilarious to watch.
Leo cleared his throat. “Well, if the lovebirds can pay attention for a few minutes, I have something to tell you.”
We all turned our heads.
“So anyway, I had this dream. I mean, it was a little hard to understand with all the signals messed up but the important thing is my dad talked to me.”
He told us all about his dream, along with the warning Hephaestus gave about the sons of Gaea. After he finished, silence reigned.
“Well. That’s a lot to take in. My brain’s starting to go on overload.” I said, mostly to break the awkward silence.
“Yeah. There’s more though. Think your overloaded brain can handle it?” Jason asked, eyebrows raised.
To his surprise, I started laughing. “Jason says something sarcastic! This requires a celebration! I have hope in you yet.”
“Oh shut up Alex.” Jason’s voice had lost his bite.
“I knew I’d grow on you someday.”
“Don’t get your hopes up. I still think you’re useless.” Jason made a dismissive motion with his hand.
I opened my mouth to give him a verbal beating but Piper interrupted me. “Jason, what were you going to say?”
The annoying amnesiac voiced his suspicions on somebody *cough, cough, Khione* manipulating the gods. As expected by our little ragtag group of demigods and a satyr, silence fell after this “new” revelation. Leo was warming up some burgers and it made the whole cave smell awesome but I couldn’t relax. I knew what was coming, those stupid werewolves, and it was torture. Knowing things but not being able to say them, just because you didn’t want to mess up the future. That had to be the most stressful thing in the world.
After Coach Hedge enlightened us on his age and his view on nature, Piper finally opened up about being a spy. I felt bad for her. She looked like she was expecting everyone to hate her. I patted her on the back. She looked at me with shock evident on her face. “Why are you like this? I was ordered to kill you!”
“So was Silena.” I simply said. “But just like her, you made things right. Don’t worry, we can save your dad and save Hera. It’s just going to be kind of hard.”
Piper laughed nervously. “Not helping, Alex.”
“Yeah, yeah…” I stopped. “What’s that?”
Howls pierced the night sky.
All of us grew tense and I got my throwing knives ready. A few seconds later, wolves started creeping into the cave. Red eyes gleamed in the darkness and I thought I heard a squeak from Leo. The alpha padded in and Jason stepped forward, speaking Latin. I cringed. I never studied Latin, that was Robbie’s thing. I didn’t exactly want to learn a whole new language just because I was obsessed with a book series. But apparently Robbie did. And I wish I took his advice and took the class with him since the wolves backed off.
“Ok, I have to learn Latin.” Leo said, echoing what I was thinking. “What’d you say?”
The wolves were starting to come back again and I cursed. “Damn it!”
Now, instead of alpha wolf, we got alpha wolf turned into a human. To be honest, I preferred wolf form better. Lycaon did not know how to dress. Somebody seriously needed to tell him that month old furs were not fashionable whatsoever. He growled and gave us all the information we needed about our enemies and how they wanted to kill Jason in a “very special place” and I almost groaned. What was it about these villains that made it impossible to keep their mouth shut. I supposed I could have been happy because they gave away everything, but this was an insult to demigods’ intelligence.
Anyway, Jason, like the idiot that he was, just sliced through him. And of course, it wouldn’t work, his sword being Imperial Gold and all. I tossed him my knife. “Use this!”
He tossed it back. “I don’t know how to use a knife! I’ve never really used one before!”
“Great.” I muttered. “Leaving me to do all the work.” I went straight into action. Whirling around, wounding werewolves, and dodging those sharp teeth. “Am I still useless?” I shouted to him while cutting off a wolf’s paw.
“No, actually.” Jason said, eyes wide as he watched my whirlwind of terror.”You have officially become the most useful person on this quest.”
“Oh joy.” I said. “Everything I wanted and more.”
“Stop being sarcastic!” Jason groaned. “And pay attention!”
“Oh relax, I can do this forever.”
But I couldn’t go on forever and there seemed an endless supply of werewolves to fight. I fell back and gasped, “There’s too many!” The wolves regrouped and started slowly walking toward us, relishing in our fear.
“What are we going to do?” Piper quietly said, her voice trembling. She was scared. She tried to hide it but I knew.
Just as all seemed lost, silver arrows rained down on the pack. “Hunters!” I cheered. “Thalia! Go cuz!”
Although you could have come a bit earlier. I thought in my mind.
The wolves ran like the cowards they were and one of the Hunter’s wolves came toward us, intelligent eyes shining.
Coach Hedge (being the idiotic goat that he was) took a step forward, raised, his club and asked, “Kill it?”
“No!” I pulled him back. “Wait.”
Hunters came rushing in in their white parkas, looking all cool. I couldn’t help but admire their way of working seamlessly together. When I read the books, I always wanted to be a Hunter. Of course, this was before I got together with Robbie. Thalia took the arrow that wounded the werewolf’s hand. She turned around and told Pheobe to go and watch the entrance, then she turned and saw me. “Alex! I didn’t know you were part of this quest!”
“Annabeth didn’t tell you?” I asked confused.
She shook her head.
“Oh well anyway, it’s great to see you Thals.”
“Don’t call me that, Ariel.” She shot back.
Jason took a shaky breath. “You’re Thalia?”
“Yeah…” She raised her eyebrows. “Do I know you or something?”
“Thalia. I’m Jason, your brother.”
She looked shocked, jaw dropping, eyes wide and everything. But once that shock wore off, she ran to Jason, looking him over. “Oh my gods, it’s really you! That scar on your lip, it’s really you!” She hugged him. “We need to talk. Sit, I’ll explain everything I can.”
Piper collapsed and Thalia hurried over. She frowned. “Don’t you know nature healing?” she asked to Coach Hedge.
“That’s what I said.” I answered. “You should probably take her to one of your special tents and stuff. Some hot chocolate would be appreciated as well.”
“Yeah, you. You can take her,” she said, pointing at Leo. (who, by the way, looked absolutely positively in love, which I would have to warn him against later.)
“Actually, can you stick around?” Jason asked.
Leo looked like he’d won a million dollars. “Yeah, sure man!” He sat down.
I leaned over and tapped him in the back. “If I were you, I would refrain from flirty comments. Hunters take their vows of not dating very seriously.”
Leo looked like I had crushed his dreams, which, to be fair, I probably had. “Really?” He whined.
You’d better thank me, Thalia. I just saved you some very embarrassing comments.
Thalia started talking to Jason about their mom and he had gotten abandoned when he was a baby. As I watched Jason’s face grow a bit overwhelmed, I changed the subject.
“Hey, don’t tell him that much now. Let the news sink in first. He just met you Thals, seriously. Give him a break.”
Jason shot me a grateful look.
I mouthed back, No problem.
“Anyway, any luck with Percy?” I asked, even though I already knew the answer.
“No, we have no clue where he is. It’s like he disappeared off the face of the Earth. What about you, any clues whatsoever?”
Oh you have no idea.
“No, unfortunately. I’m really starting to miss him. I mean, he was annoying but he was my brother, you know?”
“Yeah, same here. We’re family, we stick together.” The mood dimmed for a while until the white wolf came and yelped.
Thalia stood up. “We have to get moving. I’ll take you to Aeolus’s palace.”
Pheobe gladly gave me a parka and some hot chocolate when I asked. These were the perks to being a girl. The boys didn’t have much luck with getting that stuff until Thalia intervened. The parka was warm and light and the hot chocolate was great. I was ready to roll and we headed out toward Pikes Peak. I ran alongside Thalia and I started laughing when I saw Leo puffing and panting. He finally slowed down and started talking to Jason. I turned my attention to Thalia.
“So where did you look? I mean, where did you focus on?”
She knew exactly what I was talking about.
“Well, we asked around and looked in places that we thought he could be in but Percy’s just gone. I mean, I don’t know if we can ever find him. We’ve looked through the country.”
We reached the bridge and I gasped at the enormity of Pikes Peak. Thalia laughed. “You just noticed?”
“Don’t be like that Thals, you know I’m slow with reactions.”
She shocked me. “Don’t call me Thals!”
“Fine, fine.” I muttered. “You’re so bad with nicknames.”
We waited for the rest of the group to catch up and Coach Hedge and Piper went on the bridge. I could see Jason was nervous and I nearly started fangirling.
Jiper! Although it’s ot my favorite ship in the world, it’s cute! And it’s happening!
“Are you alright?” Thalia asked.
I noticed that in my fangirling glory, I was fidgeting around a lot. “I’m fine, absolutely great.”
“All right.” She sounded skeptical. “You go next.”
I quickly but carefully walked across the bridge. Jason and Leo were some way behind me and I did not want to start running because the Human Torch lit up again. That was not part of my plan.
Thankfully, I made it across. “Yes!”
“Oh my gods.” Piper said.
I turned around only to see Leo smoking and the bridge melting. I could hear bits and pieces of the conversation. “…exchange… bridge…story… Wolf House”
The bridge melted and Leo almost fell, but Jason pulled him out of the way. They started running toward the palace and Piper looked to me.
“Ice is water, right? Can’t you control it?” She sounded frantic.
“Listen Piper, I can already make hurricanes out of thin air, heal myself using water, stay dry underwater, talk to horses and fish and control water with my mind. If I could control ice, I would be the most overpowered girl on this planet. So no, I can not control ice. Nor do I want to, actually. “ She still looked worried. “They’re gonna make it, alright? Look, they’re back!”
And so they were, looking pretty frazzled. At least Jason looked frazzled. Leo looked sheepish. “It wasn’t my fault.” He said, pleading his point. “It just happens whenever I’m excited and stuff.”
“What was that, cupcake!?” Coach Hedge yelled. “You just melted the bridge and even though I like action and killing, that’s just not cool!”
Never thought I’d agree with the satyr.
Jason sighed. “Nobody got hurt so we’re alright. Let’s just concentrate on Aeolus, all right guys? As long as we don’t annoy him, we’re probably not going to get killed.”
And with that, we headed to meet Aeolus, our third madman in 3 days.