That was the only thing on Zoë Nightshade's mind.
Well no. Actually, that would be a lie.
There were a million things on her mind. To start, her imminent death. Then there was the quest to close the Doors of Death and the war with the Giants and their mother the earth goddess. And her friends on the Argo II. But actually, the most prominent thing on her mind was Percy Jackson.
Her eyes stung from more than just the air whizzing by her as she fell into what seemed to be accurately deemed the endless abyss.
Gods of Olympus that one demigod had changed her.
She had always taken great pride in her uncanny ability to not find any good qualities in the male species. They were liars, cheaters, abusers and just about the worst kind of monsters roaming the world.
And why not? She had seen firsthand the kind of atrocities men were capable of.
She had a good life, surrounded by a family of likeminded sisters and a mistress who cared for them as if they were her own children. Actually she had had a great life. And for thousands of years, she hadn't even thought a better one existed.
Then she met Perseus Jackson.
Damn that half-blood. Why did he have to be so different than not only any male she had ever met but really any person at all? In all seriousness, where did he come off breaking the mold for the male species? They were supposed to be the abusers, not the abused. They were the villains, not the heroes! And after having such a miserable childhood, what right did he have turning around and being so, ugh, perfect.
No! Boys with terrible childhoods are supposed to become monsters themselves when they grew up. They weren't supposed to be self-sacrificing heroes who turn the world of man-haters upside down!
She had seen many boys with terrible lives turn around and ruin the lives of others the moment they had the power and strength to do so. And she had had no problem with it. In fact, she preferred it. It fit her idea of men perfectly and for millennia, it worked.
Then she went to that damn wilderness school. She would have died and that would have been fine; death in service to her mistress, a fitting end for a huntress.
But nope. That stubborn child just had to throw himself off the side of a cliff and rescue her. And as if that weren't enough, he had to turn out to be a pretty down to earth guy! She had expected him to want to be showered in praise for his bravery. Instead, he had the nerve to only care about his siblings, standing up to the entire Olympian Council to protect them no less!
And don't even get her started on the quest to Mount Othrys; fighting a Titan, defying fate to save her life! Who does that?
She brought her hands to her face where the moisture of her long since blow away tears had been.
Percy Jackson did that. The boy she loved. And who loved her, unconditionally. Holy Zeus she sometimes had a hard time understanding it. She was not exactly what you would call an easy girlfriend. Quick to anger, sometimes abusive and as stubborn as a person could be were a few ways to describe her. And yet, he loved her anyway. Like a lot.
What chance did she really have?
Brave, handsome, kind and just, he had had the girls of Camp Half-Blood drooling after the mysterious son of Hades. And yet to him, it was like they had been invisible. He had first been her friend. And seriously, like the best friend a girl could ask for. He gave her space but didn't let her turtle up in her cabin like she had wanted. Instead, he convinced his father to break the Ancient Laws just to cheer her up.
She let out a scream in the endless darkness.
It wasn't a scream of fear. It was a scream of anguish, of what she was losing. He had turned down becoming a god to be with her and she goes and falls into Tartarus like an idiot! Well there goes her happy ending.
Well, to be honest, she had kind of already had one. Even with the ups and downs, losing Percy for months and finding him only to be sent of a perilous quest, it had been the best time of her life. Her time with him was more than she could have ever wanted. He just made her happy; happier than she had been as a hunter, happier than she had been as a Hesperide. It was undoubtedly the best part of her life, despite how brief it had been.
Her eyes widened as she saw the tunnel open up into a cavern. It glowed with a dim red light and the first thing she noticed was the noxious smell as it seared her nasal cavities.
Whatever kind of air was down here was certainly not meant for human consumption. An acidic sulfur smell consumed her senses and stung her eyes.
She turned her body around, trying to get a look at the spot where she would do her impersonation of a fly on the windshield.
She could see the outline of a river below and wondered if she would land in it. She doubted her powers over water would protect her but she kind of hoped she wouldn't have to find out. A quick death was the best option at this point. Even if she did survive, it would only prolong her suffering before she inevitably fell to one of the horrors of Tartarus.
She took a deep breath as she entered the cavern and closed her eyes, preparing herself for death.
"I'm sorry Percy." She whispered as she fresh tears stung her eyes.
Suddenly she felt her body snatched, wrapped up in strong, powerful arms.
"Oh no you don't." Percy whispered. "You don't get to get rid of me that easy. Not now, not ever!"
Before she could even comprehend what was happening, Percy let loose a feral sounding scream. The water beneath them erupted hitting them so hard that the last thing Zoë remembered was something grabbing her hand tightly before she lost herself to the darkness.
A.N: This is just a teaser. I'm starting work on chapter one but wanted to get something up because, well, you guys PM a lot. But here it is, the start of the FINAL destinies book.
Thanks for all the support and prodding, it finally got me moving. You guys are awesome.