Disclaimer : I do not own Percy Jackson or The Heroes of Olympus.
Chapter 18 : We Fight a Giant and Our Quest Ends. Finally.
At first, the battle was going great. Jason had somehow gotten a horse and even though I knew it was a venti, it looked pretty cool. Leo was hurling fireballs at Khione and she looked surprised as he got closer and closer. Piper was using some of that Aphrodite magic and killing the Earthborn easily. As for me? I was just fighting like a storm. Literally. I really didn’t know how I did it but as soon as I charged, I remembered Peryc’s fight with Hyperion and boom. Hurricane. It was pretty awesome but I didn’t think I could hold it for longer than 30 seconds. My head was starting to hurt and my strikes grew slower. Finally when I couldn’t take it anymore the storm dissipated and I started fighting like everyone else. I started helping Jason with the wolves. As we started fighting together, he yelled, “I didn’t know you could do that?!”
“I didn’t either!” I yelled back.
“Can’t you do it again?”
I shook my head. “I’ll probably knock myself out if I try it.”
“Oh.” He looked disappointed.
I noticed that although we fought really well together, we didn’t know each other like when I fought with Robbie at my side. I supposed it was because I knew Robbie and Jason and I met a few days ago. Plus, I was Greek and he was Roman. And, he was used to being the leader, being praetor and all while I was more about the “do whatever you want as long as it works” vibe. As we ploughed through the courtyard, killing (and knocking out in the case of Jason) enemies, we heard Hera’s voice.
“Hello? Remember me? Oh, don’t worry, I’m just dying over here!”
I muttered under my breath. “I can see why Annabeth hates you.”
Leo and Piper hurried over and I could see them talking to each other, Leo with massive hand motions. I didn’t really pay attention to them. Instead, I was focusing on the column of earth getting bigger every second. Walking over to Jason, I tapped him on the back.
“Hey, about the giant…”
The column cracked and Jason turned around. Our faces were the same, scared but trying not to look scared and utterly failing. This giant was like nothing I’d ever seen before. Riordan did not give him justice. Or maybe he did, and it was just a lot more terrifying when I was standing right in front of it. Dragon’s legs aside, Porphyrion was terrifying. Compared to him, Enceladus was a joke. He radiated power like no one else. To be honest, I could see the giants defeating the gods. The most terrifying part for me, was his hair. It was covered in weapons.
“I thought Riordan said his hair was “decorated” in weapons.”
Jason looked at me. “What?”
The giant’s eyes opened. “Praise to Gaia!”
His eyes were milky white, like he was blind.
Jason whimpered and I looked at him. “Did the almighty praetor Jason Grace just whimper?”
I looked at him.
“Okay maybe.” He turned to the giant. And then he turned back. “How did you know I was a praetor?”
“Ummm…” I trailed off. “Pure luck?”
He wasn’t buying it. “I don’t remember you in the camp. So how…”
I interrupted him. “Come on, we have to buy Piper and Leo some time.” His face didn’t change. “Oh damn it. I’ll tell you later, I promise.”
This is going badly. Wait, loophole!
I took a deep breath. “I swear on the River Styx that I will tell you what you need to know.” The sky rumbled. I raised an eyebrow at him. “Happy?”
I’ll just tell him that there’s a book about the quest and I read it. That’ll work.
He nodded reluctantly. “Let’s go entertain a giant.”
Jason ran up to the giant and started yelling to gain his attention.
The giant turned toward him. “Who are you? Hermes? Ares?”
I choked back laughter. He looked nothing like Hermes or Ares. Did Porphyrion even meet these gods? I mean, I know he was the bane of Zeus but seriously? Comparing Jason with Ares was an insult. To Jason of course.
“I’m Jason Grace. Son of Jupiter.”
Stop being so dramatic.
The giant laughed. “Outstanding!”
Jason dropped the stick of wood he was holding. “If you knew who I was, you’d be scared of me. I’m going to send you straight to Tartarus so you’d better be ready.”
Porphyrion looked at Jason. “So, boasting like the old times I see. Very well.” He started listing his doubtless many achievements but I was more worried about the cage. Going over to Piper, I whispered, “You doing okay?”
“I’m talking to a cage that’s made out of wood and I’m trying to free a goddess from eing covered by mud. That’s not weird at all.”
“You’ll do fine.”
“Yeah, I guess.” She started to talk to the cage again and I stepped out of earshot since I was starting to get tired just listening.
Jason was starting his part of the boasting. And he was doing pretty well. A little over-dramatic perhaps but ever since meeting Thalia, I learned to expect that from children of Zeus. The thing was, Piper and Leo had no idea what he was saying.
“Whoa dude.” Leo looked impressed and a little shocked. “You been eating red meat?”
Not quite Leo.
He launched at the giant and yelled, “Help me Alex!”
“How am I supposed to help you? It’s your fight!”
“Just! Help!” He took a sword from Porphyrion’s hair since it wasn’t like the giant was going to miss it and drove it into the ear. “For Rome!” Lightning hit his face and Jason was thrown free.
I shook my head and ran in. While the giant was distracted, I stabbed him straight in the foot and smiled as he winced in pain. And then, like an idiot I turned around and immediately got backhanded so hard across the courtyard that I hit the Wolf House. Hard. Immediately, pain shot up all over my body. Darkness started creeping up my mind. I could faintly hear Piper yelling, “Alex!”
I am not getting knocked out. Not happening. I raised my hand. “I’m fine.” I tried to laugh and instead started wheezing. “Okay, not fine. I think my ribs are broken.” I tried to stand up and immediately collapsed. “And my leg. Wow, that hurts.”
Piper started running towards me and I shook my head. “No, don’t. Get Hera out of there otherwise Jason’s going to die.”
She looked over to Jason and I guess he wasn’t doing very well because when she turned back, she looked determined. Going to the cage, she started to talk again. Then Leo yelled, “Got it!”
“Sleep!” Piper said. The charmspeak was so strong, nearby wolves started to snore. The cage disintegrated and Hera finally started being useful.
I heard her yell, “Close your eyes, my heroes!”
My eyes closed and as Hera became a supernova I thankfully saw only blackness.
When I opened my eyes again, I saw Piper shaking Jason. He was smoking and his eyes were closed. He was dead. Thalia saw me blinking and came over. Her eyes were red and puffy. “Jason didn’t close his eyes.” She choked out the words like she didn’t want to say them. “He’s dead.”
I tried to get up and surprisingly, I could. I mean, my legs still hurt but I could stand. Thalia saw the confused look in my eyes and explained, “We got you some nectar. Your ribs still probably hurt but you should be able to walk.”
I limped over to Jason and Piper. Hera was there too with a look close to regret in her eyes. Piper was yelling at Jason, telling him to wake up.
Hera shook her head. “It’s impossible,” I heard.
“Try again, Piper.” I heard myself saying. “You can do it.”
Thalia hissed. “What are you doing? You’re just giving her false hope.”
I shook my head. “Trust me. The Doors of Death are open right? If Piper’s strong enough, she should be able to revive Jason.”
“But we don’t know if that’s going to happen.”
“I do. I trust Piper.”
And I read the book.
“Jason, wake up.” Piper said. I could hear the power charged in each syllable.
He gasped and sat up. “What happened? I saw something…”
Thalia spoke up. “That was Her Majesty, the Loose Cannon.”
“Oh, shut it!
“Thalia,” I said. “Maybe it isn’t in the best interest for you to be sassing the Queen of the Heavens.”
Leo stepped in. “I don’t suppose the giant died?”
“No, he ran away.” Jason answered. “I don’t know where though.”
Greece. He literally told you…
Thalia looked grim. “I’d better talk to Annabeth.” She turned to Hera. “You’ll take them back to Camp Half Blood? It’s only fair.”
After being convinced by Piper, “Very well,” sighed Hera.
I limped away after that, not wanting to hear about the Roman camp and Roman history. After their long talk was over, I went back. “So are we ready to go now?”
“Yes.” Hera said. “Farewell demigods. For now.”
We spun around and everything turned black. If Apparating existed, I thought. It would feel like this.
When the world stopped spinning, I noticed that we were on the Aphrodite table. I jumped down and looked around and saw Robbie staring at me in astonishment. Robbie snapped out of it and ran toward me.
Hugging me hard, he said, “I thought I would never see you again.”
Even though it hurt, I bit back the pain and said, “Oh please. Of course I would make it back.”
His only response was to hug me harder. “I missed you.”
“Missed you too.”
He hugged me harder and I smiled. I was home. Finally.
He led me to Cabin Three’s table and I started to eat, feeling starved. “So, how was your first quest?”
I started to laugh and the laugh quickly turned into a cough. He quickly stood up and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Just my ribs. I already had nectar though so they’ll probably heal soon.”
He sat down. “If you say so. Anyway, your quest?”
“It was kind of like I lost track of time. A day felt like a month. So much was happening and it was a bit overwhelming to be honest.”
“Yeah, I can imagine that happening.” Dinner ended and his face brightened. “We get to burn your shroud now! Wait ‘till you see yours.”
“Who made it?”
“Annabeth. Percy would have made it but, you know. So Annabeth volunteered. She’s probably getting it right now.”
At the campfire, Jason gaped at his shroud. I looked over his shoulder to see a shroud decorated with lightning bolts and storm clouds. There was no mistaking who made that shroud. “Athena?” I asked.
“Yeah.” He turned around to look at me. “What does yours look like?”
“Annabeth’s getting mine right now.”
Jason burned his shroud and everybody cheered. Piper had a pink shroud that I could tell nobody really worked on. Although that was probably because of Drew. She looked a little relieved as she threw it into the fire. Leo burned his shroud with a little regret, seeing as here were probably some gadgets in there that he wanted to save.
Annabeth ran over holding a beautiful blue green shroud with waves stitched on the side and a trident in the middle. “I thought I would be the best equipped to make you a shroud since Percy’s gone.” Her voice choked at the end and I hugged her.
“He’s fine. He’s going to be fine.” Pulling away, I threw my shroud into the campfire and watched as the waves got consumed.
We told our story and got asked a million questions but finally, Chiron ordered all of us to bed. I walked with Robbie and at the same time, we turned to each other and said, “I need to tell you something.”
Robbie immediately said, “You go first.”
“All right.” I stayed quiet for a few seconds. “You’re not going to get mad at me or anything, are you?”
“Is it that bad?”
I sighed. “Kind of.” At his questioning glance, I said, “I might have sworn on the River Styx to tell the truth to Jason.”
“Really, Alex?” He shook his head. “I thought you said to not let anyone know.”
“Well, I kind of made a loophole.” His eyebrows drew together in confusion.
“What kind of loophole can you make around that?”
“I told him that I would say what he needed to know. So I’ll just say that there’s only one book.” He looked reluctant to believe me. “It’ll work.” We reached the cabin and I asked him. “What did you want to tell me?”
He shook his head. “I’ll just tell you later.”
I shrugged. “Fine with me.”
I stepped into my cabin and fell straight to sleep.
The next day, I heard a scream. Falling out of my bed, I crawled to the door and opened it just in time to see Drew’s major temper tantrum.
“How dare she…! No! I’m the senior counselor!”
A smile played on my lips and I walked out in my pajamas. “Piper took your place didn’t she?” I said, false sympathy dripping off my every word.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” Walking into the mess hall, my mood was 100 times better. I hated Drew and judging by everybody’s smiles this morning, I wasn’t the only one.
As afternoon drew close, I went toward Bunker 9, waiting for Leo to do his thing and open the doors. As he willed his hand to go on fire, his cabinmates gasped. “Leo! You’re a fire user!”
Everyone gasped as we went into the bunker and saw all those prototypes and designs. Even me. I was expecting a cave with some machines and work tables. What I got was this awesome high tech workplace that was nothing like I was expecting. I wandered around and heard questions behind me but I was focused on all of the designs and plans for the machines. I lost track of time and before I knew it, Chiron shooed us out in order to get ready for the head counselors’ meeting. This would be my first head counselors’ meeting since Percy disappeared. I wasn’t really ready. But going into the rec room, I started laughing. Clovis was sleeping as usual with pencils sticking out of his nose. Lou Ellen was holding Miranda’s nose and running away from her. Jason was staring at all of this with a look of confusion in his eyes. Seeing me, he went over. “This is the council?”
I laughed. “I know, it must be so different from your Senate meetings.”
“Remember, you’re telling everyone the truth here. Got it?”
“Of course.” Looking away, I smirked. He really should learn to recognize loopholes.
Sitting next to Annabeth, I listened as Jason talked about the Roman camp and how an “exchange of leaders” meant that Percy was at the other camp. Whispers broke out after he brought that information out but they stopped when he cleared his throat. Looking at me, he said, “And Alex has something to tell us.”
I sighed and slowly stood up. Everyone’s eyes were on me. “Okay, so in the mortal world, there are these books that I read. The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, etc. I loved that series and I loved those characters. I was a fangirl. Anyway, you can probably guess who those books were about.”
Annabeth tilted her head. “Percy?”
I gave her a thumbs up. “Bingo! Anyway, there was another series. There’s only one book out, The Lost Hero and it was about this whole quest and how Percy was missing.”
“So, you knew the future.” Clarisse said matter of factly.
“Yes,” I answered. “But not now. I have no idea what’s going to happen next.” They looked at me suspiciously. “I promise.”
Chiron tapped his hood on the floor. “It seems that this meeting is over. You can all go back to whatever you were doing.”
I walked out of the Big House only to ram straight into Robbie. “So they believe you?” He said quickly.
He fell into step with me. “About the thing I was going to tell you last night...”
I nodded enthusiastically. “What is it?”
“My parents called.” He looked nervous and a little excited. “They were asking if I was coming home for summer break.”
“Why ask you that now? It’s not even Christmas.”
“Yeah, I asked them that too. Apparently, we’re going to San Francisco.”
It took me a few seconds to get it. “Seriously? That is so…”
“I was going to say convenient but annoying works too.” Sitting in the woods, I continued. “You’re going to try to find Camp Jupiter right? Try to help Percy?”
“Good.” We sat together in silence for hours until we heard the conch shell blow for dinner. Everything was going the way it was supposed to but my mind was whirring around, thinking of possibilities. Going to my cabin, I lay down and tried to sleep I couldn’t. I kept on imagining all of these scenarios and all the ways Robbie’s little self-awarded “quest” could go wrong. Finally, with one thought, I drifted off to sleep.
Tomorrow’s a new day. I’ll handle it then.
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