Smoke on the Horizon

XXV. Leo


Hazel was crying.

That was the first thing Leo saw when he came out of his tent. Frank stood over her, arm wrapped tightly around her shoulders, and Nico crouched huddled to the side like he didn’t want to get in the way.

Frank kept talking to her and she kept shaking her head, her breaths raspy with the effort as she gulped down the air between sobs.

Leo thought about slipping silently back inside the tent when Frank saw him and motioned for him to come over. Hesitantly, he obliged, walking around to Hazel’s other side and smiling awkwardly.

“Morning, everybody,” he said quietly. He almost continued with How’d everyone sleep? but clearly, Hazel hadn’t had a good night.

“What’s going on?” Jason said from behind them, yawning as he strolled casually over. Piper emerged from the tent as well, saw Hazel and immediately adopted a look of deep concern.

Hazel looked up at the two of them and gave a great sigh as if seeing Jason and Piper somehow put her at ease.

Jason took notice and caught on that there was a problem. “What?” he said kindly.

“She had a dream,” Frank said. “About - about Oceanus, i think.”

“What happened, Hazel?”

She cleared her throat and wiped at her face, taking a deep breath before speaking. “I’m not exactly sure,” she began. “It was all of us, and we were in the middle of the ocean. A voice told me that I needed to get in the water if I wanted to make it, but none of you heard it. I tried to tell you and - ” Her voice broke and she steadied herself on the rock. “There was a massive wave headed for us. I jumped in right in time. But no one else made it.”

“None of us?” Leo said. “Percy, even?”

She shook her head. “I don’t know. You, Percy, and Annabeth weren’t there.”

Annabeth had made her way over, and now she stood beside Leo looking on sadly at Hazel. “Did you recognize the voice, Hazel?” she asked.

“No. It sounded like a woman, but that’s all I got.”

“Maybe we shouldn’t all go out today,” Frank suggested. “Maybe some of us could stay here.”

“Yeah, I agree,” Piper said. “We should let some of the pegasi rest for the day. Flying them out for so long is going to wear them down eventually. We can just alternate who goes and who stays.” The others motioned their agreement, including Annabeth.

“So who wants to go?” she said as she approached Porkpie, whom she’d already packed with gear. It was clear she would be going.

“I can,” Jason said.

“And me,” Nico added. Frank and Hazel voted to stay behind, as did Piper.

Only then did anyone notice Calypso’s absence. Suddenly though, her pegasus came trotting down the beach with her. Apparently, she’d decided to take a little morning ride and not tell anyone. “Are we leaving?” she said as she approached them.

“Would you like to come?” Annabeth said, a hint of irritation lacing her voice.

“Why of course,” the goddess replied, arching her eyebrows as though to ask if it was even a question.

The group finished loading up on supplies, just enough to keep them sustained for the day, and flew off, back again to scour the ocean for any signs of the son of Poseidon.

It was still quite early, the sun barely up passed the trees, and Leo decided it couldn’t hurt to catch a little more sleep. He snuck off, not wanting to disturb the others who were still trying to console Hazel, and found a nice little crevice between some rocks to nap. The sun as it rose felt wonderful as it warmed up the sand around him, and he soon was fast asleep.

Leo was at the cliff. Again with the cliff.

He recognized it this time, not having to think very hard about where he was. He’d been here before, if only in a dream, and knew for the most part what was to come.

As before, he was in a field.

Not the Fields of Punishment, he reminded himself.

He made the loop as before, finding the mountain as before. He stepped back, heard the glass beneath his foot, picked it up.

Everything was identical as the last time.

With one exception.

This time, upon looking into the glass, he did not see himself. The dark eyes that should have been looking back at him were replaced by those of a brilliant, clear, white. He very nearly dropped the shard in surprise, more than a little freaked out by the image.

His expectation of the crumbling rock was disrupted and he barely registered the telltale sound of the face breaking. He tumbled out of the way just in time, watching as it exploded beside him.

He looked up immediately, scouring the side of the mountain with his eyes. This time, he still saw nothing, no one to speak of that could have dislodged it, and as before he sensed the movement behind him.

Whipping around, glass-dagger before him, he found himself face to face with a pale, plain faced woman.

She was beautiful in her own right, long pure white hair trailing down her back, and her eyes - brilliant, clear, white.

Something in her expression spoke of pain, of sadness, and Leo had the suspicion that she was staring directly into his soul.

“Who are you?” he managed.

“That is unimportant,” she said.

“Uh, yeah. No, I think it’s probably pretty important,” Leo said. “Where are we?”

“Also unimportant.”

“Quite the conversationalist, aren’t you?”

“I am the island of Delos,” she said. “Sender of the prophecies of the night and reader of the stars. Do not trust my brother. He means you harm. I do not. Do not lose faith in your friend either, nor allow those you travel with to do so. He lives and shall return in time. But do not waste time, hero. Wait some days more and leave the ocean island you’ve settled upon behind. Soon it will not provide sanctuary as it does now. It becomes far too easy to remain where one is should enough time be allowed to pass, waiting for action instead of taking action.”

And with that, she turned away, walking back into the tall grasses, leaving Leo alone with the mountain and the shattered glass.

He felt something cold touch his feet, something wet soak into his shoes. He looked down and there found small waves of saltwater washing against him in place of the grass.

And he opened his eyes to sunlight.

It would appear the tide had come back in.

He scrambled up, not really keen on going for a swim fully clothed and ran back to where the others were still huddled in the tents, unaware of their changing situation.

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