Camp Half-Blood was in turmoil. Campers were all running around, fortifying around the woods in preparation for an attack. The infirmary was full, and now Sally wished that Percy had just come with her.
"What happened?" She asked as she wheeled along the path, Chiron trotting along next to her.
"We were attacked last night. Monsters just swarmed the camp, and we had to quickly arm ourselves to fight them off." Chiron said darkly, his eyes constantly looking over to the woods, as if he was in fear of what was lurking inside. "The Hunt will be here at dawn, as we need all the help we can get. We need to send somebody in there to figure out what is in there – and how the monsters are getting in."
Sally nodded in agreement as they came up to the Big House. "I'd recommend we send a few Hunters and Campers in there together tomorrow during the day, and they pull out before dark."
"That was what I had in mind." Chiron said solemnly, watching in despair as two campers carried a stretcher with a dead camper on it, a gaping wound in the stomach. The child couldn't have been more than fourteen. Sally had to look away at this. The boy was the same age as Percy.
"So how are you, Sally?" Chiron asked, and Sally nodded.
"I'm doing a lot better, thank you. The wheelchair life… its very different, but I'm getting used to it." She smiled weakly. Oh, how much she wished Percy could help them out there.
The Demon Rites
The following morning came around quickly. The Hunt entered at daybreak, Artemis bringing up the rear of her Hunters as they all entered Camp Half-Blood.
They approached a rather large pine tree that stood tall, and in its lower branches hung a golden fleece that shimmered in the morning sun. Around the base of the tree laid a dragon. It was asleep, curls of smoke trailing into the early sky as it snored away.
As the Hunters approached, the Dragon shot awake, looking at all the Hunters. Once looking at them for a few moments, it simply laid its head back down, but kept watch on the Hunt in case they tried to steal the Golden Fleece.
As each of the Hunters entered the Camp perimeters, the air around them shimmering gold momentarily, revealing the force field that was around the camp. Artemis was the last to enter the Camp, and what she saw almost shook her to the core.
Dead lingered in the air. Bodies were strewn across the field like unwanted belongings, white linen draped over the bodies. Most had crimson blotches across them from the bodies.
A young, blonde girl fell back from her form in the Hunt and turned to Artemis.
"May I check upon my siblings?" She asked. Her long, curly blonde hair was pulled back into a pony tail, and her stormy grey eyes looked panicked, unusual when they were usually filled with wisdom and pride.
"You can, Annabeth." She nodded and the girl thanked her before sprinting over to her old cabin.
Artemis then looked over to the Big House, a large, blue house near the woods. Just outside, she saw Chiron standing there tall, staring in despair at the Camp in disarray.
Behind him in the doorway, was a dark haired, middle-aged woman restricted to a wheelchair.
"Hunters!" Artemis barked, and all heads turned to her. "Return to my cabin and rest up. We will regroup at the Mess Hall at Lunch." And like that, the Hunters all left, except for one; Zoe.
"Do thee wish me to accompany thou?" She asked, and Artemis shook her head.
"No, you rest up to, Zoe. I will call upon you if I need you though." Artemis smiled and Zoe nodded and walked off.
Artemis looked around the Camp one more time before making her way to the Big House, and walked right up to Chiron.
"What happened, Chiron?" She asked.
The centaur looked away in despair. "They someone got into camp and slaughtered a few campers, and we pushed them back, but not without taking more losses."
"Too many!" Chiron cried, "I still don't understand how this possibly happened! Something is in that forest and is allowing those monsters into the Camp."
Artemis nodded. "We need all of our strongest here to help with this. I will get my Hunters to help keep watch."
"We should also send a small party into the woods." Sally piped up.
"I will not send anymore into that slaughterhouse of a forest, Sally!" Chiron argued. He was grieving and not thinking clearly. That was obvious.
"The girl is right." Spoke up a voice from the background. All eyes turned to a podgy man sitting in a garden chair at the end of the porch. As they all looked at him he took a swig of his can of diet coke.
"It's nice to see you engaging in Camp Affairs for once, Dionysus." Artemis glowered, before turning back to Chiron. "I must agree with Sally though, Chiron. It will be safer in the day, surely."
A few moments later, another camper came running over to them. He was tall with short, curly, brown hair, and looked a lot like a certain speedster that Artemis knew all too well.
"What's wrong, Travis." Chiron asked.
He took a few minutes to catch his breath, before standing up straight. "Nico and Bianca – they're gone."
"What do you mean?" Chiron demanded.
"It makes sense. It was a kidnapping. Most of the casualties were from the Hermes Cabin." Sally spoke up.
"Call a Counsellors' Meeting. Now. We need to find them." Chiron barked, and Travis nodded, before running back off.
"Why would they want two children? Chiron asked himself, and Artemis bit her lip.
"It is because of their Father. If I'm right, they are as Powerful as Sally and Thalia, if not, more powerful." She spoke.
"You don't mean..." Chiron lost his voice, as if his worst fears had been confirmed.
"Yes, I do, Chiron. Nico and Bianca di Angelo are both Children of Hades."
The Demon Rites
Sixteen individuals sat around a ping-pong table, all looking at each other. Emergency Cabin Counsellor Meetings were not very common, but was expected, especially after the attack of the night before.
The sun had only just begun to rise over the trees. A loud horn sounded in the distance, serving as a cue for everyone to attend to breakfast. But none of those around that table moved.
"Nico and Bianca di Angelo have been taken, as I am sure you are all aware." Chiron said from the head of the table.
To the ancient centaur's left sat Artemis, who was picking her nails with an arrow head. To her left, sat her lieutenants, Zoe and Thalia. Thalia was appointed after Percy was killed, in order to attempt to put a stop to the prophecy coming to pass.
Next to Thalia, sat Sally in her wheelchair, as head of the Poseidon Cabin while she was at Camp. Next to her sat the head of Cabin 4, Katie Gardener, a daughter of Demeter. She had her mother's blonde, curly hair, deep, brown eyes, and freckles littered across her nose and cheeks.
Next to Katie sat a rather tall and incredibly muscular teenage girl. She had a pair of dark, beady eyes and a mop of stringy, brown hair was slapped onto her head. She wore a constant sneer that made it clear that she was a child of the War God, Ares. This was Clarisse La Rue. Next, was a late-teenage boy who had short, blonde hair and a pair of stunning, stormy grey eyes. This was Malcolm, the Counsellor for the Athena Cabin.
Next in Cabin 7, the Counsellor was Lee Fletcher, a young, muscular boy with a mop of light brown hair and dark blue eyes. Next sat Cabin 9, a huge African-American boy sat, scowling at everyone except when he looked over at the Aphrodite Counsellor. He was Charles Beckendorf, Son of Hephaestus. Next to him sat a beautiful, slim girl with brown and blonde hair, and a pair of startling blue eyes.
This was Silena Beauregard, a Daughter of Aphrodite, and she had her eyes set on the man next to her, from Cabin 9.
From the Hermes Cabin sat two identical boys, the same as the boy who delivered the message to Chiron regarding Bianca and Nico. These were Travis and Connor Stoll – the self-proclaimed Kings of Pranks.
At the end, almost rounded up the entire table sat two stocky boys with blonde hair and pair of violet eyes each. These were Pollux and Castor, Twin of Dionysus.
And at the end of the table to the right of Chiron sat Dionysus himself, who was enjoying a can of diet coke while in his leopard print jacket.
"Two unclaimed don't mean anything compared to the amount we lost." Clarisse snapped, causing many to turn to her.
"Just because we caught your traitor boyfriend." Connor rolled his eyes before leaning forward. "If Chiron is right, they could be vital in this war."
"We already have an earth-shaker though." Malcolm said, "While you might not be in the best fighting condition, we will need you in the battlefield. They may not even be Children of Hades." He turned to Sally.
"I will only fight if it comes here. And they're children. What would any of you do if it was your brother, or your sister?" Sally argued, and Chiron nodded in agreement.
"They are of the Underworld, Children. My father has tried to murder them a few times before in fear of the prophecy." Dionysus looked around at the campers, his purple eyes locking with each of the campers' own eyes.
"We need volunteers to search into the Woods today. We need to find the breach in the Camp." Chiron said.
Connor and Travis both stood up. "All of us from the Hermes Cabin will try our best to scout the forest.
"The Hunt will aid you guys too." Thalia spoke up. Zoe looked at her angrily, about the fact that she would work with guys.
Artemis nodded in agreement. "Yes, it would be wise for you all to go."
And like that, the meeting adjourned.
The Demon Rites
It was now early evening, and the sun was beginning to set. The Children of Hermes were in the woods searching, along with the Hunters of Artemis. They were far into the woods, and their searches were fruitless.
All of a sudden, a horn sounded from behind.
Rustling began to occur from behind.
The Demon Rites
A FEW MINUTES AGO:
Clarisse was in the dungeon of the Big House, spoon feeding a dirty, dark blonde boy who had his leg chained to the wall.
"Chris, please tell me what's happening. Where did you guys break in? I don't want anyone else to be hurt." She pleaded with the boy, as if they were lovers.
He just smiled darkly when he saw that it was sundown.
"Zeus' Fist. But many will die. Right about..." He spoke gleefully.
In the distance, a deep horn sounded.
"Now." Chris smiled, like his mission was accomplished.
Screams from afar tore through the air. Blood curdling screams.
"You bastard!" Clarisse cried out, slapping him across the face before running out of the basement and out of the Big House.
Chiron came galloping over to her.
"Where?" He demanded.
"Zeus' Fist!" She cried out.
Chiron pulled the bow from behind him and notched an arrow, before lowering his back.
"Jump on. We are going to war." He ordered, and Clarisse complied.
Without a second thought, Chiron galloped into the Woods, armoured campers running in behind him.
They were rapidly approaching the Fist, and Chiron stood up slowly on Chiron's back, and drew her spear and shield.
A monster came into sight, and she let out a war cry, and leapt off Chiron, and threw her spear, impaling two monsters to a tree while she knocked one dracaena to the floor with her shield, and proceeded to beat the monster to death with the shield, until it dissolved into golden dust.
Ripping her spear out from the tree, she roared in anger as she sliced another monster in half.
Chiron loosed arrow after arrow, rendering monsters to dust.
Artemis and the rest of the campers appeared shortly after, fighting back monster after monster.
It was a long, gruelling battle. Six campers had died around Zeus' Fist during the ambush.
"Campers! Carry back the dead. We send them all off tomorrow morning." Chiron ordered, and most of the Campers left, some carrying back the dead.
Artemis approached Chiron, as a tear crept from his eye.
"We will avenge them, Chiron." She said reassuringly. Her own Hunters were caught in the fray. Luckily, they escaped with their lives.
"I know, Milady." He trotted over to Zeus' Fist, and slowly wondered round, until he saw a small hole in the formation. He could then see a faint glow of a blue delta symbol inside.
He took a few steps back.
"What is it?" Artemis asked as she ran over to him, then also taken back by the sign. "The Labyrinth." She gasped
"Aye." Chiron said. "This is worse than we thought."
The Demon Rites
"How would they know the Labyrinth would lead into Camp?" Charles yelled, slamming his fists on the ping pong table.
"Chris said they have Daedalus helping them, and got him to open an entrance here in the Camp, as Zeus' Fist has something called a 'ley line' running through it." Clarisse answered.
"It would be wise for us to abandon Camp, Chiron." Malcolm said, "It's too unsafe, us being here."
"No!" Thalia argued, staring down the other campers. "We will send a quest into the Labyrinth," She turned to Chiron, "And I will help lead it, so we can try and destroy the Labyrinth."
Chiron took a few seconds, before shaking his head. "No, it would be a suicide mission. It is too unpredictable down there."
"I am willing to take that risk, Chiron – as long as Camp is safe." Thalia argued.
"I'll join you." Lee Fletcher announced, standing up. "I can heal well." He nodded at Thalia, who nodded back.
"Who will join them?" Chiron looked exhausted – he couldn't argue with someone like Thalia. She took after her father after all, as a natural-born leader.
"I will." A girl said from the Big House doorway. All eyes turned to her, and there stood Annabeth. "I have a score to settle for Luke."
Thalia smiled at her.
"It is settled! We have a Quest!" Dionysus threw his hands up in the air.
"You three will leave at dawn tomorrow. Consult the Oracle before you leave." Chiron said, before adjourning the meeting.
Before Thalia could leave, he grabbed her by the arm. "Keep an eye on Annabeth; I don't think we have seen the last of Luke. If you were all right about Kronos, I fear he will soon rise." Chiron warned, and she smiled.
"I got this, Chiron, don't worry." She started walking away, "And if we go down, we will take the Labyrinth with us."
The Demon Rites
Percy stood in the opening of a field, twiddling his newest weapon.
Riptide, it was called. A beautiful celestial bronze sword and the balancing felt perfect. He could never have asked for a finer sword from his mother.
A few minutes later, four figures emerge from the shadows of the trees, approaching him slowly.
Astaroth, the Witch. Leviathan, the Serpent. Beelzebub, the False God. Abaddon, the Discord. Four of the most powerful demons of Hell and all are capable of killing Percy.
He capped his sword as they drew closer. "That's far enough!" He shouted, and they all stopped.
"Why are we here, Traitor?" Beelzebub yelled, taking a step closer.
"Because of Azazel and Alistair. They are planning on taking control of Hell." Percy answered, and Abaddon scoffed.
"We would know if they were trying to usurp us, Perseus." Astaroth warned.
"I have proof. What do you think happened to the Children who failed the Rites?" Percy argued.
"They were killed and made into demons." Astaroth answered.
"You knew...?" Percy took a step forward.
"Alistair brought a proposal to us. To use them, make them into weapons. So we did." She answered, holding her arms out as she strutted forward. "Azazel also warned us of your lies. And what that sword has done to your mind."
"They're liars! They made monsters out of them! It's not right!" Percy cried out.
"No, Percy," Astaroth spoke softly, "The Greeks have just made you soft."
A blast of magic left her hands and struck Percy in the side, sending him flying backwards.
Grunting, he picked himself up and looked at the four demons, all approaching him. And fast.
"Damn it." Percy cursed to himself as he ran into the trees, and dived into the nearby river, allowing the current to take him as far away from the field as possible.
The four demons all stopped when they reached the river side.
"What now?" Leviathan asked.
Beelzebub growled in anger. "We are going to put a stop to this coup going on with these pretenders before they can overthrow us."
"Percy is not one to lie. Azazel is always mad for power. I saw we look into this before we do anything." Astaroth advised.
All nodded in agreement. They were each going to investigate what was happening.
But they all knew what was coming.
A civil war in Hell was brewing.
The Demon Rites
And that is it for chapter 18 guys! Sorry about the delay, University has been an overhaul of work this semester, but now it is all coming to a close with exams and such!
Either way, I hope you guys all enjoyed the chapter!
Now, excuse me while I go and book my Endgame tickets.
Until next time guys!
~ The Prince of Souls