Chapter 9

The Witches Island

Harry and Percy were dragged out of the water and into the boat. Harry was never so relieved to see Annabeth Chase than he was at that moment. Thank the gods that Percy was a son of Poseidon. Harry knew he wouldn't be here now if it weren't for Percy. Harry looked around almost scared of what he would find.

Harry looked around desperately for Eve and Cat fear bubbling his stomach. It was like he had swallowed acid. His stomach bubbled as the fear consumed him. Harry couldn't lose his best friends. They couldn't be gone! They couldn't!

Then Harry heard shouts from behind him. Harry had never felt such a sudden surge of euphoria through his heart. The all-consuming fear turned to euphoria as Harry spotted his friends in the other boat. They were alive. They were all alive.

'TYSON!'

It was only when Harry heard Percy's heart-wrenching screech that Harry in his euphoria had forgotten Tyson who had given his life for them. Tyson the Cyclops hadn't made it. Harry looked around hoping to find the Cyclops somewhere but to no avail.

Tyson was nowhere to be seen.

Percy who had been ashamed of his brother and furious at his father for lumping him with a Cyclops for a brother was only now realising what he had when it was too late, but that was family. Fred and George were always frustrated with Percy (for good reason Harry thought not so privately) and tended to bully their younger brother Ron. However, Harry knew if gods forbid anything happened to either of them Fred and George would never forgive themselves for not being able to save them.

'Percy,' Annabeth said looking at Percy with a lot of pity. 'I'm really sorry.'

The three of them were quiet as the waves moved them rocking gently along in stark contrast to the turbulent emotions in the boat. Harry didn't know what to say to Percy. How to begin to comfort someone who had was grieving for a loved one!

He'd never had a brother or at least not to his knowledge and he had been too young to truly understand his mother's death. The closest he had were Cat and Eve but it was not the same and Harry had just experienced the terrible fear that they had died.

Harry shivered at that very idea. The only thing that Harry could say was that Tyson was a monster he could survive! Only Harry had no idea what it would be like to survive Tartarus which was far worse than the Underworld.

'He might have survived,' Annabeth said quietly. 'I mean, fire can't kill him!'

Percy nodded numbly, but he looked like he was in shock. Harry could see that the other boy was breaking inside. Harry wanted desperately to find something to say. Something that would make it not better – nothing could make it better – but at least bearable. Something to remind him that Tyson would survive this whether he was whole or not.

'Percy-'Harry began without much idea of what he was going to say.

'Is he dead?' demanded Percy glowering at Harry.

It took Harry a second to realise in his chaotic state of mind what the son of Poseidon was asking. Harry hadn't sensed anything, but that could be because the Cyclops was in Tartarus, which was outside Hades' purview. Harry sighed not sure how to explain when most didn't understand the difference between Hades and Tartarus.

'I didn't feel anything,' Harry said softly trying to be as gentle as he could; not wanting to sound cold and callous. 'But as Tyson's monster he'll be sent to Tartarus, which is outside Dad's control. I'm sorry, Percy, really I am but he will be back. Tyson's strong he'll survive this I know he will!'

'He's not a monster,' growled Percy.

Harry didn't say anything as they lapsed into silence once more Harry not wanting to point out that he technically was. Not that was automatically a bad thing. Harry had spent more time in the Underworld than any living creature he of all people that there was no black and white. Those born of darkness could be good while those born of Light could be evil. Monsters could choose to be good while humans could be more monstrous than actual monsters. Villains could do a good deeds while heroes left others to suffer.

Look at Hades who was dark and murderous. Harry was well aware of the darker aspects of his father's and to some extent his personality. Yet Hades loved him and was there for him as much as the laws allowed. Unlike many of the other gods who didn't have the time of day for their children.

Harry's ADHD seemed to be going mad. At this point Harry felt he could really do with a monster to fight to get rid of the terrible grief that was practically emanating from Percy. Of course, Harry didn't actually mean it but apparently one god or another thought that he had.

Because no sooner had the thought crossed Harry's mind than a massive creature that had to be two hundred feet tall – at least – from rising out from under the currents. It looked like the shrimp that the nymphs sometimes served. It had a semi-transparent pink shell and hundreds of legs that from Harry's position under the creature Harry could see only too well.

Harry looked up at the massive creature. Immediately Harry wished that he hadn't. It's face was slimy and pink with a huge gaping maw that Harry knew would want to swallow them whole if it had half a chance.

Already he and his fellow bedraggled demigods drew their weapons steeling themselves for the latest fight for their lives. Harry cursed their rotten luck that they had barely gotten out from jaws of Charybdis. Now they were already being attacked without having any time to rest or recover.

Or maybe it was the fact that there were six demigods in the middle of the Sea of Monsters sure to attract all manners of creatures to them. Harry just hoped he hadn't cursed them by his restless thoughts, Harry thought as guilt stirred in his gut. Harry didn't know what this creature was only that they needed to destroy it before it consumed them all.

'Skolopendra,' muttered Annabeth distractedly as the beast caused the water to push the boat back. 'Need a plan.'

'WEAKNESSES!' Harry shouted over the roar of the approaching creature.

'FIRE. WE NEED FIRE,' yelled back Annabeth unable to do much with only a dagger. 'AVOID THE SHELL.'

'Eve,' Harry said without thinking.

'CAN EVE SUMMON FIRE?' yelled Percy.

Harry nodded distractedly thinking about the bluebell flames that Hermione had taught them all make. They weren't as good as Hermione and they didn't even come close to Eve's flames but he could at least do something to help. Hopefully.

'TELL EVE!' shouted Annabeth.

'Sonurus,' muttered Harry pointing his wand at his throat as the huge sea monster pulled the two boats back towards him. 'EVE! CAT!' Harry yelled as the boat was rocked by the monster. 'BLAST IT WITH FIRE. CLARISSE. ANNABETH. PERCY. GO FOR ITS UNDERSIDE!' Harry shouted as fire was seen from the other boat causing the monster to bellow. 'AVOID THE SHELL!' Harry shouted over the roars.

"TWO PRONGED ATTACK!' Harry screamed hoping that the others would understand.

The monster seemed torn between the two boats each of whom were blasting the creature with fire and stabbing it with swords if it got too close. Harry could see the burn marks of the creature, but it still wasn't going down.

That was when Percy jumped up on the giant creature scrambling with both hands and sword. Harry couldn't decide if Percy was very brave or foolish. Harry got that feeling a lot when Percy was around as the other boy was the most reckless person Harry had ever met.

Somehow Percy managed to drive his sword right through the creature's burnt underside at the same time that Eve sent a magical fireball to where Percy was. Harry winced at the burns that were sure to have resulted as Percy fell back into the sea – again. Annabeth and Harry pulled a miraculously uninjured (that could only be thanks to the salt water) demigod back into the boat.

'You alright?' asked Harry trying to be casual.

Percy groaned, 'fine…' 'You?'

'Fine,' Harry said shaking his head. 'Your impossible you know that Percy. You should have been fried.'

'Son of Poseidon,' Percy said.

Annabeth rolled her eyes looking somewhere between annoyed and amused, 'Seaweed Brain.'

Percy groaned, 'we're barely into the Sea of Monsters-'

'And we've already been attacked,' agreed Annabeth with a frown.

'That's something I'm worried about,' agreed Harry.

'You were?' asked Percy.

'There's a reason that no more than three are sent on quests,' Annabeth said grimly.

'There is?' asked Percy.

'Of course, there is, Seaweed Brain,' snapped Annabeth rolling stormy grey eyes annoyance colouring her tone.

'Well, what is it Wise Girl?' snapped Percy.

Harry cleared his throat before Annabeth could argue back, 'monsters sense us,' Harry pointed out.

'The more of us there are,' Annabeth explained. 'The stronger our scent is. Three is the optimum number. Between having enough to complete the quest, but not be too much of a beacon.'

Harry nodded, 'it doesn't help that there are two children of the Big Three. Having one of us would be attract enough monsters to us as I'm sure you know but having two of us…. As well as four other demigods.'

'Should we split up?' asked Percy frowning not liking the idea.

'I don't know,' admitted Annabeth. 'It would be less so it would hopefully attract fewer monsters... but-'

'But if we split up we'll probably encounter monsters anyway. We are in the Sea of Monsters,' Harry said grimly. 'I don't think we should split up we're stronger together especially as the trio without Percy will be significantly disadvantaged. We might not even make it without your navigation skills. Plus, there's been more than three demigods on a quest before anyway.'

'The Argonauts,' agreed Annabeth.

'I know what Clarisse will say,' Percy muttered darkly.

Harry couldn't exactly disagree with that statement considering what Clarisse was like. Harry knew that Clarisse would want to split. He wasn't sure about what Cat and Eve would say. It would probably depend on how the split would happen because they would want to stay with Harry.

The two little boats sailed on in the scorching heat through the green ocean. None of them said much just trying to stay out of the heat as much as possible and ration the little drinks they had saved. Harry had never wished for the cold and dark of the Underworld more than he had today.

Percy spoke about his latest dream that he got from Grover. Both Harry and Annabeth agreed that Grover Underwood didn't have long before Polyphemus discovered Grover's duplicity. It was not looking good for Grover.

Harry feared what would happen if they didn't get there in time. According to Annabeth they had less than twenty-four eyes to save Grover. Harry scowled at the ocean promising that he wouldn't let another friend of Percy's die because he was too slow!

'We have to get there in time,' Harry said grimly. 'I will not let him die! Not-'Harry cut himself off before saying he wouldn't let someone else die.

In the past year, he was responsible for two sons of Demeter and wasn't fast enough to save the Cyclops all because he was scared of being revealed as a child of Hades. No! Harry had to be stronger than this! He had to be! He couldn't lose any more of his allies! He wouldn't let fear of rejection get anyone else killed ever again!

Percy looked surprised at Harry's venemance, 'not that I'm not pleased or anything, but I had the impression that you didn't like Grover.'

Harry snorted bitterly, 'it's not me who doesn't like Grover.' Harry sighed, 'Nymphs, Satyrs, Children of Demeter … They can sense the death on me and they're Life … I'm the son of the Lord of the Dead …'

Annabeth nodded, 'I understand. Grover always had an adverse reaction to you. Said you smelt like death. I always thought you were a son of Thanatos or Charon. It wasn't until last year when you somehow managed to convince Hades,' Annabeth said with a mixture of disbelief, distaste and not a small amount of fear, 'not to kill us that I suspected you were Hades' son.'

'So you weren't surprised?' asked Harry quietly.

'Not really,' admitted Annabeth shrugging, 'but I understand why you didn't tell me.'

'Do you think we'll be able to make it on time?' asked Percy quietly his voice filled with worry and fear for his other friend.

'If Polyphemus doesn't change his mind and try to marry Tyson earlier,' Annabeth said nervously.

'Yeah,' Percy said bitterness and anger clouding his voice as he clenched his fists. 'You can never trust a Cyclops.'

Annabeth flinched guilt and sorrow filling her eyes at how she had treated Tyson, 'I'm sorry, Percy. I was wrong about Tyson. I wish I could tell him that.'

Percy glowered at Annabeth who couldn't meet her friend's eyes, but Harry could tell that his heart wasn't in it. As much as Percy wanted to be angry at Annabeth when it wasn't Annabeth he was angry at her; it was the world. To rage at Annabeth and the world for taking his brother away from her, he couldn't stay mad at her.

'Annabeth, what's Chiron's prophecy?' asked Percy frowning at her.

Harry sat up suddenly hoping that he would finally get the answers he was looking for. Neither Annabeth nor Chiron had told Harry even when Chiron had thought it was about him. If his father knew he hadn't said anything and trust Harry he had asked and begged all three of them but nothing. Hell Harry had even tried breaking into the Big House to find out only to be chucked out on his ear by Mr D. who had made it clear if he did anything like this again he would be running about the forest in rabbit form.

Hopefully, Percy would have more luck in convincing Annabeth to talk. Harry certainly had had none although that could be because she hadn't realised he had anything to do with the Great Prophecy. It really frustrated Harry their refusal, not to tell Harry anything. It was about them! He knew that much as Chiron had implied it was. It was his – their – right to know what this bloody prophecy said!

Annabeth was looking conflicted biting her lip as she glanced at the two sons of the Big Three. Harry was feeling anger coursing through his blood. She wasn't about to not tell them because of Chiron! Who was it who said they shouldn't know!

'I shouldn't,' Annabeth said sounding torn.

Harry clenched his fists furious, 'it's about us!' Harry snarled. 'It's our right to know it!'

'Harry calm down,' Annabeth begged looking frightened.

Harry didn't like making his friends frightened of him so his anger cooled – slightly. He was still desperate to know, but he wasn't radiating Fear and Death. Harry looked guiltily at his old friend but as nervous and worried and upset Annabeth looked it seemed to be more caused by their questions than Harry's powers.

Percy was more placating than Harry who was simmering in his anger, 'look I know Chiron promised the gods he wouldn't tell me – us,' Percy said glancing at Harry.

'But you didn't!' Harry spat.

'So you can tell us,' Percy added kindly.

'Knowledge isn't always good for you,' Annabeth said voice quiet, pain in her eyes.

Harry suddenly realised that whatever the prophecy had said it didn't spell out happy endings for them but which hero ever did have a happy ending!? A demigod's life was a tragic one and that was the way of it.

Harry knew it so whatever the prophecy said it didn't change what they already knew. Never mind prophecies had a habit of not revealing themselves until they had come to pass. Often in ways that you hadn't expected.

'Your mother is the goddess of wisdom,' Percy said incredulously.

'I know,' Annabeth said sounding really upset about something. 'But every time heroes learn the future, they try to change it, and it never works.'

Harry frowned and nodded reluctantly conceding that Annabeth had a point, 'whatever the prophecy says about us it's bad. Something that neither the gods nor you want to happen.'

'The gods are worried of something we'll do when we get older,' guessed Percy. 'Something when I turn sixteen.'

Annabeth twisted her Yankees cap in her hand once more looking more and more nervous. Annabeth opened and closed her mouth a few times before she took a deep breath and readied herself. Harry and Percy both unconsciously leant forwards to hear what Annabeth was going to say.

'Look, I don't know the full prophecy,' Annabeth said quickly as though saying it quickly would make it easier.

Harry nodded encouragingly calmer now that it looked like he was about to get some answers, 'just tell us what you know.'

'It warns about a half-blood child of the Big Three – the next one who lives to sixteen,' Annabeth explained not looking at either of them.

Percy and Harry looked at each other wondering which of them if either of them were the ones who would become the hero in the prophecy. Harry feared what he might do. Harry knew that he had an awful temper that he had inherited from his father although he was less likely to torture and morder people in his tempers. Children of Hades and tempers never were a pleasant thing.

Harry shivered. Harry wondered if he was pushed could he become what the gods feared? Harry hoped to every god and goddess there was that he wouldn't but he knew there was a darkness in his blood that whilst not being evil was dangerous.

'That's the real reason Zeus, Poseidon and Hades swore a pact after World War II, not to have anymore kids. The next child of the Big Three, who reaches sixteen, will be a dangerous weapon,' Annabeth said grimly.

'Aren't all demigods?' pointed out Harry knowing how gods used demigods to do their dirtywork. 'It's how we're raised.'

'Not enough to be a threat to Olympus,' Annabeth said unhappily.

Harry was completely and utterly horrified. The only threat to Olympus Harry knew of was Luke and Kronos. As much as Harry hated Zeus he did not want to destroy Olympus. But if something Harry could do in the future could destroy Olympus! He couldn't! He wouldn't!

'What?' Harry demanded agrily hoping for another explanation.

'How?' Percy said sounding completely baffled.

'It's not like we don't know a demigod could bring down Olympus,' Harry said bitterly thinking of Luke with fingers clenched.

Annabeth's face set knowing what Harry was thinking, 'yeah,' Annabeth said throat thick. 'That hero will decide the fate of Olympus. He or she will make the decision that either saves the age of the gods or destroys it.'

Harry felt sick as he realised what that meant. Harry gripped the side of the boat suddenly wishing he hadn't pushed Annabeth for the Prophecy. What the hell was the choice this hero had to make that could destroy everything?

Percy looked just as pale as Harry was which was even worse considering that Percy usually looked like he'd spent the whole year under the heat of the baking sun. Percy now looked seasick which was quite something for a son of a sea god.

'That's why Kronos didn't kill me last year,' Percy suddenly realised.

Annabeth nodded looking grim, 'you – either of you – could be very useful to him. If he can get even one of you on his side, the gods will be in serious trouble.'

Harry looked even grimmer, 'if he can get one of us on his side-'

'-then he'll kill the other one of us,' Percy said looking grim.

'Well, it's just good that neither us are going join Kronos,' Harry said fake cheerfully.

He was still terrified of the prophecy. However, Harry knew that you couldn't stop prophecies ever! Harry and Percy would just have to face the future when it came as terrifying and that was that. Harry feared that both Kronos and the gods would feel that Harry would be more easily turned because of who his father was, his family's dark reputation and his own Fatal Flaw.

'But if it is me in the prophecy,' Percy said not being cheered knowing he was the elder one.

'We'll only know that if you survive another three years. That can be a long time in half-blood. Chiron refused to speak to me about who the hero could be,' Annabeth said.

'That would be me,' Harry said dryly. 'He knew that I was a Child of Hades from about a month after I came to Camp. I remember Chiron first learned about Thalia, he was desperate to get her to camp.'

'He must have thought she was the hero. Then she went down fighting and got turned into a pine tree and once again she thought it was you again,' Annabeth said nodded. 'Until Percy came along who was closer to sixteen,' Annabeth added.

'The kid in the prophecy … he or she couldn't have been like a Cyclops?' Percy asked frowning looking slightly hopeful that it wasn't about him. 'The gods have lots of monster children.'

Harry shook his head, 'it said half-blood that only counts demigods. It doesn't even include legacies – descendants of demigods,' Harry explained at Percy's blank looks.

'Then why do the gods even let us live? It would be safer to kill us,' Percy said.

'It's not like Zeus hasn't tried,' Harry muttered darkly glaring up at the cloudless blue sky.

Annabeth sighed, 'Harry's right there's plenty of gods who probably would want the two of you dead, but they're probably afraid of what Hades and Poseidon would do. Other gods … Maybe they're still watching you, trying to decide what kind of hero you're going to be. You could be a weapon for their survival, after all.'

'Doubt they'll give me a chance,' Harry said darkly, bitterness colouring his tone knowing what those who didn't know him thought of Harry. 'Do you think that I don't know what people think of children of Hades?'

Annabeth looked sadly at them too, 'the real question is … what will you do in three years? What decision will you make?'

'Did the prophecy give any hints?' asked Percy desperately.

Harry shook his head snorting, 'since when do prophecies give anything but vague advice.'

Annabeth hesitated looking conflicted chewing her lip looking between Harry and Percy but at that precise moment a seagull swept down landing on their mast. Annabeth looked shocked at the cluster of leaves in her lap and sat up straight looking straight ahead. Sure enough, out of nowhere a small island rose up brown against the blue of the sea.

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Will they stay together?

What will Circe think of the witches and wizard?

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Chapter 10

Pigs and Witches

The six demigods meet Circe

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