Hey guys! Sorry for the insanely long wait! Things got really busy. I am going to keep this AN relatively short, because I feel like people don't really read these up at the top very often anyways. I would just like to say thank you. Thanks for all of your reviews, follows, and favorites. It means so much that people are liking what I am writing. Please continue to do so, as it really helps motivate me! Thanks, and enjoy the chapter.
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~ Chapter 4 ~
I watched intently as the demigods walked toward the shadows. My eyebrows raised in surprise as they walked into them and disappeared. It was only due to my many years of espionage experience that I was able to school my features back into their regular blank state fairly quickly.
Just as everyone else started to recover from their shock, I turned my attention to a movement in the doorway. It was Fury, and he didn't look to pleased. After a few more minutes everyone else had quieted down, so I figured that it was safe to assume that they had all spotted our visitor as well.
"Would anyone care to tell me what in the blazes is going on?" He said, shooting his glare at each of us in turn.
Tony was, unsurprisingly, the first to reply.
"Uh, JARVIS? Why didn't you tell me Big Tall and Grumpy was standing in the room?" he asked his AI, but when he didn't get an answer, he started to get worried. "JARVIS?" he tried again as he pulled out his phone and started tinkering with it. Finally we heard the whirring sound of a computer starting back up.
"JARVIS what happened? You are supposed to be unhackable," Tony asked, more intrigued than worried at this point. The rest of us just waited in silence, knowing from experience that our little chat with Fury wasn't going anywhere until Tony was done with his thing. Plus, we might have been a little curious too.
After what seemed like forever, JARVIS answered. "Sorry Sir. My systems were overridden by a program called Hephaestus TV."
"Does that mean..." Steve started questioningly, glancing at Thor. He shrugged, and I saw Tony shudder.
"Now thats just creepy," Tony added, and included another shudder just for the sake of it.
Someone cleared their throat, and we all turned our attention back to the person who started this conversation. He looked increasingly impatient as he glared at each of us again.
"Now that thats over, can someone tell me what is going on?" he asked again, but it was more of a demand than a question.
Thor stepped up this time, and proceeded to explain to Fury about the Greek Gods, Goddesses and their children.
When we were finally finished explaining, which shockingly took even longer than when we first learned of it, we all sat in silence for a couple minutes. Bruce opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted by JARVIS.
"Sir, it appears that a horse has just landed on the roof. I believe that it has two riders. Would you like me to initiate the security protocol?" the AI said, almost seeming amused.
"No JARVIS, I think we should probably check this one out ourselves. We need an excuse to get out of this room anyways," Tony answered, as he got up and walked toward the elevator. The rest of us followed him, assuming that it had something to do with the Greeks, because really, that's the only explanation that would make any sense.
The elevator ride up was relatively quiet, and I don't think any of us were prepared for the sight that greeted our eyes when the doors opened.
Standing in the middle of the roof, there was two teenagers. One of them had messy black hair and a really nice tan. I quickly recognized him as Percy, one of the demigods that we met this morning. For some reason he was feeding a black horse doughnuts from a box that the other person was holding.
Speaking of her, she was wearing an orange T-shirt like Percy. She had blonde hair that fell in curls around her shoulders, and striking grey eyes that I could see from here. The girl was talking to Percy animatedly in a different language that I assumed was Greek.
Percy was in the middle of saying something to her, when he turned his attention to the horse. He looked surprised for a second, and then looked up at us. After nudging the girl, he waved and the odd group started walking toward us.
We met them in the middle of the roof, and I took a closer look at the horse. He was jet black, and chewing on a glazed doughnut. Strangely enough, the air right above his back was a little fuzzy. Glancing over at Clint, I noticed that he was staring at the animal in barely disguised fascination. Looking back at Percy, I saw that he was watching us with an amused smirk on his face.
Tony, being his usual self, decided to break the silence. "How did you manage to get a horse on my roof?"
The horse in question snorted indignantly, and Percy chuckled lightly.
"Jeez man, you need to stop spending time around Arion. If it gets much worse, I'm going to have to start washing your mouth out with soap," the demigod said to the horse. The black horse snorted again, and Percy laughed. There was something off about the way he was talking to the horse, not to mention the strange foggy stuff that was hanging over the horse's back. I didn't have much time to contemplate it, because the teen turned his attention back to us.
"To answer your question, Mr. Stark, he flew here. And he doesn't appreciate being called a horse," Percy said sarcastically. Tony didn't like that answer at all, and he started to say so when the blonde girl started talking.
"Actually, that brings up a good point. By the way, I am Annabeth Chase, Daughter of Athena, and Architect of Olympus. What Seaweed Brain here meant to say was that he isn't just a horse. Who understands what I mean by that?" Annabeth asked, her grey eyes sliding over each of us calculatingly. When they reached me, we locked eyes, and it felt like she was looking straight through my soul and figuring out how much of a threat I posed. Her eyes themselves were a striking grey, and looked like they held a knowledge of a person much older than her. If you looked deeply enough, they almost seemed shattered. Like she had experienced something that nearly broke her, but lived through it. Before I knew it, she turned her gaze to the rest of the team.
Doing the same, I looked at the group next to me. Clint had stepped forward in response to her question, the amazement still evident on his face if you knew where to look. Thor had done the same, though he just looked like this sort of thing happened every day. Bruce shuffled forward hesitantly, looking unsure as he squinted at the black horse that Percy was now whispering to.
Annabeth nodded, then told the rest of us to look closer at the horse. As she snapped her fingers, the fog that had seemed to be over the horse's back disappeared, leaving behind two beautiful, sleek black wings. I felt my jaw drop in astonishment, and I quickly schooled my expression.
"Avengers, and strange eyepatch guy, meet Blackjack," Percy said with a smug grin as he gestured dramatically to the pegasus, who in turn struck a fancy pose.
Tony sputtered and mumbled something under his breath a few times before asking, "How did we not see those before?"
Annabeth smiled and stepped back beside Percy. "It's called the Mist. It hides all of the things that would key the mortals into our existence from their eyes," she explained as her cold look swept over each of us once more.
"But we can get into that later. At the moment, I am afraid that there are more pressing matters at hand. Can we continue this discussion somewhere out of plain sight?" the blonde haired girl asked, though it was more of a demand than a question.
As the team started to walk back to the elevator, I watched as Annabeth scribbled something on a piece of paper and tied it around the Blackjack's neck. Percy said something to the pegasus before he flew off, and the two joined us in the elevator.
The ride back down to the conference room was an awkward one.
Nobody said a word the whole time. To make it even better, everyone stared at us. Natasha stared at us indifferently, while Clint still looked fairly excited. Steve was watching us with, was that sympathy? And Bruce and Tony were inspecting us like only a scientist would. The strange guy with an eyepatch did his best to melt me with his glare. It wasn't even that bad, but he could still take some lessons from Lupa. At least the elevator music didn't sound like Apollo had picked it out.
Finally the elevator dinged and we spilled out into a nice looking hallway. Tony led the way to the conference room and each of us settled into a chair around the long table that occupied the middle. In terms of a conference room, it wasn't too bad. It was all very modern, with a giant screen making up one of the walls, and a long whiteboard on another. Those really nice chairs, ya know the ones that spin and are frankly a horrible idea when you have an ADHD demigod in the room, were placed around the long white table that had a giant screen over it. All in all, it was really state of the art, but I found myself wishing that instead of all this high tech stuff there was just a ping pong table and a random assortment of chairs.
The one-eyed guy, who I had decided to start calling Eyepatch, cleared his throat. He pinned Annabeth, who was seated beside me, and I with a cold stare and said, "I assume that we are going to finally learn what we are up against."
I nodded as Annabeth pushed her chair back and stood up. It was actually for this exact reason that she had come along. She would be able to explain any questions that they had way better than I would. I suppose that comes with being the daughter of the wisdom goddess, but I personally thought that it was just because Annabeth is that awesome.
"Sir, it seems that there might be a slight problem."
Annabeth was just about to start explaining, when she was interrupted by a voice that came from nowhere. In less than a second, both of us were in defensive stances and had our weapons out. A few of the Avengers chuckled, and explained that it was just Tony's AI, JARVIS. We slowly started to relax, and I put riptide, still in pen form, back in my pocket.
"Sorry, I had no intention of frightening you two, but it seems that there are a few monsters heading this way," JARVIS said, his british voice coming from everywhere in the room at once. The Avengers all snapped to attention immediately.
"Do you know how many of them there are?" Annabeth asked, not wanting the Avengers preparing for war if it wasn't necessary.
"According to the new software that I acquired after this morning, I believe that there are three empousai and four hellhounds," JARVIS smoothly replied, leaving a majority of the room confused if their faves were anything to go by.
"I'll take care of it!" I replied, quickly hopping up. Even though I had only been in that room for a few minutes, I could feel my ADHD starting to act up. Annabeth nodded, and turned back to the table. Right as I made it to the door, Clint stood up. I shrugged in reply to the obvious question in his eyes and asked, "Do you have any Celestial Bronze arrows?"
"I had a few made a couple of years back, though I haven't ever needed to use them," he answered briefly. I shrugged again and looked toward Annabeth.
"I'll give him the rundown on the way down," I told her, and after receiving a nod, turned and retraced my steps to the elevator.
We had to stop briefly at the Avenger's floor so Clint could grab his bow, and then we were on our way. Figuring I should warn him about what we were up against, I decided to give him the basics of empousai and hellhounds before I launched into my explanation of the coming events.
"Okay, so you should know that this will be completely different from anything you have ever experienced. Empousai are probably the worse of the two, but hellhounds aren't much better. Depending on how powerful they are, it might take more than one arrow to finish them off. The empousai are going to appear like beautiful women and they will use their beauty and charm speak to get you to come close. Once they have got you under their spell, they will suck your blood, so I would leave them to me if I were you. Hellhounds are basically what they sound like. Arrows are fairly effective against them, though once again it may take more than one," I explained, feeling myself slip into commander mode as I did.
Clint, nodded like a soldier, and got his weapons ready as the light that said we were on the first floor lit up. I pulled out riptide, earning a questioning glance from Clint as I did so. Smirking, I uncapped it and walked out of the elevator, not even pausing to look at his shocked expression.
There they were, just like JARVIS had said, three empousai, one of which was unfortunately very familiar, and four hellhounds. I saw Clint sneak his way over to the hellhounds, who were currently chewing up the chairs in the main lobby, and turned my attention to the three arguing monsters dressed in cheerleader uniforms.
They were so immersed in their argument, that they hadn't even noticed our entrance.
"- not going to be pleased."
"The asgardian should know better -"
"- doesn't matter. It's better than rotting in Tartarus."
" True, and we get all of the demigod blood we want. Especially the sea god's -"
"You know, it's considered rude to talk about someone behind their back," I said, making my presence known. The arguing monsters hissed and turned to face me, scowling.
"Get him!" Kelli screeched, and the other two lurched forward claws out. I attacked, swiping riptide at the one on the left and dodging a strike from the one on the right. Rolling as one of them swiped at me, I made it to my feet and swung. There was a poof of golden dust and the two remaining empousai yelled in rage.
I spared a glance over at Clint, and was relieved to see him holding his own. He was firing at the hellhounds left and right, and was soon down to two. I wasn't sure how he would handle this whole mythological creatures thing at first. Sure, he fought aliens, but hellhounds are a whole different ball game.
The uneven clanking of the empousai tore my attention back to the monsters in front of me. Kelli's friend swiped at me, and I instinctively parried, and jabbed as she exploded in golden dust.
Kelli was the only one left now, and she was slowly walking up toward me. Her form kept flickering between cheerleader and monster, until it finally settled on the latter.
"How many times am I going to have to kill you before you stay dead for a century?" I asked snakily as we circled each other, weapons glinting in the fluorescent light.
She sneered but didn't attack, and I just knew that I was about to listen to some rant about how they are serving a superior being and how we would all die a painful death soon. It seems I was proven right when she opened her mouth, the sharp teeth on full display.
"Perseus Jackson, we meet again. Pity I can't just kill you myself, but the Lady wants you to herself after your little excursion through the Pit," The monster sneered as I winced at the reminder of the events of last year. "But that's not even the best part," she added, her eyes lighting up slightly as if she was picturing my gruesome death as she spoke.
"You little upstart demigods have no clue what is to come. He will rise, and there is nothing you or your pathetic mortal friends can do to stop it. Not even that foolish Asguardian is aware of what he will release!" Kelli finished, throwing in a cliche evil laugh before she burst into flame and vanished.
I started to wonder about how soon my "imminent demise" was actually going to come, but was interrupted by a growl in the other corner. Quickly turning toward the sound, I spotted Clint getting backed up into the corner of the room by a limping hellhound. Judging by the gold dust covering Clint, the other three had already been disposed of. This last one already had three arrows sticking out from various parts of his body, and one glance at Clint's quiver told me that they were the last ones he had.
"Hey Hawkeye!" I yelled, and watched as his head snapped up at me. After capping riptide, I tossed it toward him. I usually don't give my sword to anyone, but I wasn't just about to watch the guy get turned into puppy chow. Letting out a sigh of relief as he caught it, I watched as he uncapped it and swung just as the hellhound leaped.
It exploded into the customary golden dust, and I let out a laugh at Clint's expression. He had a look of shock, confusion, and awe at what had just happened. Brushing off the monster dust as he walked over, he silently handed me back riptide. His expression had morphed into one of seriousness, and I knew it was time to actually tell him the reason a group of monsters had invaded Stark Tower.
I walked over to one of the plush chairs that hadn't been ripped to shreds, and sat down, placing riptide in my pocket as I did so. Clint found another one, and dragged it over in front of me. I let out a sigh, and began.
"Okay so I am sure Thor has told you the bare minimum of whats going on here, but thats probably all. What we demigods know as of right now is that Loki, the Norse god of mischief has teamed up with the Greek goddess of mischief, Até. You can imagine how bad that is, right?" I asked, watching his expression become hard at the mention of Loki. Obviously there is some bad experience there, but I understand how that feels so I won't pry. Even if I am trying to stall.
"Anyways, it started out with them doing small things, like advertising a fake beauty contest in a sewer for Aphrodite or trading Hephaestus' metal shipment with Ares' weapon's shipment. Little stuff like that, ya know. Then it all stopped about a month ago. The gods insisted that they were just to scared of their wrath to continue, but then groups of organized monsters started to pop up everywhere. Kinda like what just happened here actually. They would hint that something was coming for us, something big. Sometimes they would mention names, and others would hint at something much bigger. Then demigods started having dreams. Dream of mass chaos and darkness that made no sense, which is unusual because our dreams tend to be prophetic. The gods still insisted that it was nothing, until Hades reported that things were stirring in Tartarus," I explained, but paused when I reached that name. Even though it has been months since that awful place, it still haunted me. Annabeth wasn't much better, but we have been able to get back to a resemblance of normal. Chances are we won't ever stop having nightmares. According to Chiron, there is no way to live through something like that and not be changed by it, especially something as terrible of the pit itself. I felt Clint's eyes on me, and forced myself to take a deep breath and continue on.
"He couldn't tell them what exactly it was, just that it was something powerful and ancient. The gods finally acknowledged the issue, and after a few more council meetings, they have an idea of the mischief gods' plans. The gods got scared enough to contact Odin, and here we are. At the moment we think that Nyx, the primordial goddess of Night, is involved in their plans as well, but haven't had any confirmation. They haven't told us what they think it is, just that it's bad. We just know enough that we know to plan for another war," finishing, I was surprised to find that I had been unconsciously fiddling with riptide. I shoved it back into my pocket, and stood up before I glanced at Clint.
The blood seemed to have disappeared from his face. He sat for a moment longer before standing up and following me back to the elevator. We had been gone from the meeting long enough, I doubted that there would be anything left to listen to.
The ride back up was quiet, aside from the elevator music. Clint stood in thoughtful silence. It was probably his training kicking in, as he seemed to shift into a professional demeanor. He actually seemed pretty used to this sort of situation, and I couldn't help but wonder how often things like this popped up for the Avengers. Sure, this is really far on the bad scale, but he was taking this better than a regular mortal would. Shoot, he was taking this better than a regular demigod would.
Pretty soon, we were back on the conference room floor. He led the way back and I followed him back into the room. The talking stopped as we walked in, and I gave them all a sly grin as I waved. Seeing that we were fine, they continued their previous conversation as we took our seats. My ADHD still hadn't calmed down from the battle, so I can honestly say that I have no clue what they were talking about for a while there. It sounded like a more informative version of the explanation I told Clint, which is the exact reason that I brought Annabeth along.
Every so often, someone would interject with a question, and eventually they shifted into a different topic of conversation altogether. Figuring that I should probably pay attention, I stopped spinning my chair and listened to the conversation. Annabeth was explaining the properties of the Mist.
"So if it really hides all this stuff from our sight, how are we going to help fight against this threat?" Steve asked thoughtfully.
"Well, that is actually one of the reasons that we rode Blackjack over. We wanted to see how many of you can see through the mist. Leo, the head camper of the Hephaestus cabin, has a few ideas for things that will allow you to see through it. He plans on working with the Hecate cabin, but it won't be easy and they need a number before they start. It is actually really similar to what the gods did to upgrade JARVIS. Same idea," Annabeth answered, the sun streaming from the windows and lighting her blond curls up. It amazed me sometimes just how beautiful she was. The way her grey eyes watched me as a smirk found a way onto her face - wait. She just asked me a question. I felt my mind shift into rewind mode. Clearing my throat, I tried to hide my embarrassment as I asked for her to repeat it.
"Can you pull out riptide real quick, Seaweed Brain?"
I nodded as I reached into my pocket and uncapped the pen. Everyone who had yet to see it, let out a collective gasp. Some of them even pulled out their weapons out of habit (Natasha and Eyepatch), and sheepishly put them back when it was obvious that I wasn't going to start attacking them. Annabeth asked them one by one, what they saw me holding, and I realized that they must have wanted an example of the mist at work. Several of them, (Natasha and Eyepatch again) saw a gun, and I couldn't help but be reminded of my very first quest. Steve saw a baseball bat, and Tony saw a wrench. The rest of them all saw riptide as it was, although Bruce seemed unsure. Annabeth snapped her fingers and manipulated the mist so that the rest of them could see it as well.
She went on to explain that the Hulk side of Bruce could probably see through the mist. Annabeth continued by saying that it was a good thing, because we had been unsure about how well the inventions would have reacted to the Hulk in the first place, and he just needed to practice until he could see them even as himself without trying. Then she continued to explain things and answer questions, and I am ashamed to admit that I tuned out again.
Thankfully it was over soon, and the Avengers all insisted that we order pizza. Annabeth declined, saying that she had to get back to camp, even though I could tell that she really wanted to talk to Tony about the architecture of his tower. I told the Avengers that I would meet back up with them after I saw Annabeth off, and we got back in the elevator after a few short goodbyes.
"So, I hope you are planning to visit often," I started to say as I felt her hand slip into mine. As I waited for her reply, I couldn't help but wonder at how perfectly they fit together.
"Of course! You really are a Seaweed Brain if you would think that I would pass up the chance to ask Tony Stark a few of my questions!" she teased me, and I pretended to look offended before she broke down into a fit of giggles. I soon joined her, and we laughed for the rest of the elevator ride.
When the doors opened, we walked away from the elevator a few feet, and I gave my best taxi cab whistle. As we waited for Blackjack, we watched the sun set over the city, my arm over her shoulders. Pretty soon, we spotted a black dot coming toward us.
"Hey Boss. You called?" Blackjack said as he landed.
"Ya Blackjack. Could you take Wise Girl here home? And how many times have I asked you to stop calling me boss?" I asked as we walked over to the pegasus.
"You got it Boss," He replied, completely ignoring my second question.
I shook my head, exasperated, before turning to Annabeth. She grinned at me, and I felt myself return it, as she slid her arms around my neck. We kissed, just a short one, but it felt like a promise that we would get through this together. Then she pulled away and climbed onto Blackjack.
"See ya Wise Girl," I said, waving as the pair walked back to the middle of the roof.
"Try not to be such a Seaweed Brain without me!" she shot back, waving her hand goodbye.
"Take care of her Blackjack," I called as the horse took off, and started flying toward camp.
"Sure thing, Boss," is all I heard before they were out of sight. I turned and walked back to the elevator, pressing the button to go to the floor that the Avengers said they were eating on.
There it is. The ending was a little abrupt, but I wrote it late last night. I might go back and fix it up a little in the future, but for now it works for me. Anyways, what did you guys think? It was a lot longer than usual. Do you all prefer that, or do you like shorter chapters? Also, I can't figure out which POV that I like to write from. I will probably try each character at least once, so if any of them seem OOC, please let me know. Other than that, I don't know what else to address. Oh, there was that fight scene. That was actually my first time writing anything like that, so I would appreciate it if you let me know what I could improve.
I also said that I was going to try to reply to reviews, so even though I really should work on my homework, here you go.
Glossette - Ya, it was in a way. Thanks, and I hope you enjoyed this chapter!
Mikeo - Thanks! That means a lot. And I wouldn't be opposed to more reviews... *hint, hint* ;)
Protagonist Of Life - Thanks for taking the time to review! I am glad you are enjoying it!
andy6rocks1 - Here's your update! And thank you for reviewing!
youngwriter - Thank you! I am so glad that like it.
Pen-Always-In-Hand - Here you go! Thank you!
Young Writer Author - Thank you! For reviewing, favoriting, and following!
Meg the Patriot - Hmm... Lets see. That's actually a really hard question. My favorite music genre is either songs from musicals or just regular pop songs. I also love accapella music. My taste kind of varies. My favorite artist is between Bruno Mars, Christina Perri, Train, Sara Bareilles, and more. (I am really indecisive...) And song would have to be anything that has a story and or is funny. Barenaked Ladies also are pretty great. I love the song If I Had a Million Dollars from them. I love Bruno Mars' Grenade and It Will Rain. Some others are My Freeze Ray (Neil Patrick Harrris's Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog) and almost every Joshua Kaddison and Garth Brooks song. I'm going to stop now before this gets to long.
As for the other question, I am currently in both choir and band. I am part of a girls only singing group, jazz band, and regular band (which is concert, and marching). My school is relatively small, and we don't have an orchestra class. If we did though, I probably be a part of that too. :)
Thank you for reviewing - by the way! I love the input! I will do my best to add some more details. And on the Percy front, I tried to steer away from that depressed kinda thing. I'm not saying that it won't be a part of the story - you can't go through something like that and not be affected by it - but it won't be the prominent point.
Thanks again! I had fun answering your questions, even if I'm not 100% sure that they are actually answered. ;)
Thats all the review for now! Thank you all for reading! Please let me know what you thought, and continue to let me know what I can improve on!