AN: I don't own PJO or HoO. Thanks to the people who have been reviewing my story, I really appreciate it. It encourages me to keep writing, so if you like this story follow/favorite or review! Thanks, everybody! And know… the moment you've all been waiting for….
Raiden was suddenly falling through the air, much much farther then he had thought he would. Too far. The little light from the trapdoor he had just blasted open showed the floor rushing up towards him.
Raiden squeezed his eyes shut, wishing he wouldn't hit the ground for some reason. He waited to slam down. But then the air in his ears faded, and when Raiden opened his eyes he saw the floor a few feet below him. He hovered there, mid air.
"How-" Raiden lost his control, and he slammed face first onto the concrete.
"Raiden?" Someone shouted down to him. He rolled blearily onto his back, looking up at the square of light above him by about three stories of darkness. But there was something wrong about the light. It was brighter down there at floor-level. Raiden crawled onto his hands and knees, then his feet. "Raiden?"
Someone else called, "Get Esperanza!"
"I'm good!" He called up. He wasn't sure they had heard him, since now there was scuffling and banging as someone went to find Esperanza. Raiden turned his attention back to the room. He walked towards a golden glow on the other side of the room, which had to be at least the size of the warehouse above. There's the sound of wind rushing through the room, though Raiden can't feel it. He wondered why that was, but before he could investigate, Esperanza shouted to him from the hole in the ceiling.
"Raiden, you okay?"
"I'm fine!" Raiden called, going back to under the square of light. Esperanza is leaning over the hole in the ceiling, her face worried. "I'm okay! I think I flew! I stopped myself from hitting the floor just in time. I don't know how I did it, though."
Esperanza didn't grin or laugh the way Raiden expected her to. Instead her face darkened, and she shot him a glare. "Well don't stand there bragging about it, get up here."
"I can't," Raiden admitted. "I don't know how I did it."
"Then freaking figure it out," Esperanza told him.
Raiden shook his head, then realized she probably couldn't see him and called, "No, there's something down here. Just a minute."
Esperanza looked like she wanted to argue, so Raiden hurried away from the square of light in the ceiling quickly. He was sure he could see it, now-a golden glow on the other side of the huge room. Esperanza shouted after him as Raiden ran towards it, but he had a feeling that this was important. There was a nagging at the back of his brain, screaming even louder then Esperanza to keep going.
Then Raiden saw it. A black sheet was draped over something faintly glowing golden on the ground. Raiden crouched and yanked the sheet away, revealing what was hidden underneath.
It was a longbow, almost five feet long, and made of solid gold. Silver engravings ran up the handle, showing little suns and flowers and hearts. It was set carelessly on the floor, with a quiver of golden arrows next to it. As soon as he uncovered it, the golden glow it cast intensified and lit up the entire chamber, lighting it up like it was daytime. The room wasn't a room, but a huge rough cave.
"Raiden?" Esperanza shouted. Raiden picked up the bow, noting how it much less then it should've, and ran back to underneath the trapdoor. "What's that?"
"A bow!" He shouted up to them. "I'm going to try to climb up to you."
"Get on with it," Esperanza told him. Raiden wondered why she was angry, but figured it might be better not to ask. He closed his eyes and tried to summon the same feeling he had when he had stopped himself from hitting the floor.
I want to fly.
His feet lifted off the ground. He flew slowly up to the trapdoor, and hands grabbed his arms to pull him through. He was glad they did, because it was right about then that he lost his concentration and would've fallen otherwise. Charles and Bianca pulled him through the trapdoor, and he carefully set down the bow and arrows for them all to see. He sank into a crouch, the rest of them sitting down as well automatically.
"Damn…." Bianca whistled appreciatively of the bow. "That's nice. That was down there?"
"Yeah," Raiden nodded. He felt tired from his short flight, but still full of adrenaline.
He could fly.
"Are you okay?" Esperanza asked. She had her arms crossed, and was frowning at him. Raiden wondered again what was wrong.
"I'm fine," Raiden grinned.
"Good." Esperanza said, then before Raiden could react she hit him on the arm with her wrench, hard. Jeez, did she carry that thing with her everywhere?
"Ow!" Raiden yelped. "What was that-"
"What were you thinking you freaking idiot?" Esperanza demanded. "You lit the carpet on fire and blasted through the trapdoor without even thinking to get me and August? You just thought, 'hey, why don't I fall to my death? I've always wanted to try that!'"
"I don't think it's totally-" Cassie started to say.
"I'm sorry, Ez." Raiden said. He wanted to let Cassie defend him, so he wouldn't have to deal with this, but the look on Esperanza's face told him not to. He had scared her, and for that he was sorry. She was the one he liked the best out of these strangers he was living with-he didn't want to piss her off. "I shouldn't have just gone through like that."
Esperanza nodded, her anger fading. "Apology accepted. Stupidhead."
"Now that mom and dad are done fighting," Bianca interrupted. "Let's chat about this bow here, and how I really really want it."
"I'm not sure any of us should use it," August said, frowning at the bow. "It looks… it looks kind of familiar."
"You mean you remember it?" Cassie asked hopefully.
"No…" August shook his head slowly. "I've just seen it before."
Charles signed something long and complicated, and Cassie translated. "Charlie says he's seen it before, too. It was in a book he was looking through the other night. He's going to get it." Charles was already halfway up the stairs.
A few minutes later, he was back, holding up a paperback triumphantly. They all gathered around the table, the bow and arrows left on the couch. Charles flipped quickly through the book, looking for the right page.
He stopped on a page with a photo of the same bow. There were notes scrawled in the margins, with lines connecting to different symbols on the bow. The notes were in pencil, and not part of the original book. Written across the top in capital letters was; APOLLO'S BOW.
Cassie suddenly jerked back, wincing. "Cass, you okay?" Bianca asked, grabbing her shoulder to steady her. Cassie stared at the book.
She lifted it up and turned to the front page. Written in the margins on the title page was the words; property of Cassie Jackson.
"Cass, this is your book?" Raiden asked cautiously. Cassie still looked shocked.
"I don't-I'm not sure. I had the feeling I knew it, but then I remembered. I remembered something, and it's already starting to fade, I have to tell you-" Cassie trembled a little. "I remembered Esperanza calling me in the middle of the night. She told me the bow was important, that it was the key to our plan. She had dreamed about it. But that's all I remember." Cassie winced, her eyes rolling into her head. She crumpled. Bianca and Charles, sitting on either side of her, caught her and lowered her forward gently so her head rested on her arms.
Charles moved his hands around quickly, signing something. Only August understood. "I think he says that if we're remembering things midday now, then maybe the memory loss will wear off. Maybe it's not permanent."
Raiden wished he could believe that. From the hope on Charles and August's faces, they already did. But Bianca was shaking her head, and Esperanza looked doubtful. Raiden just didn't feel like it was permanent. He felt like someone had used windex on his brain, and everything that had once been there was wiped clean.
Maybe he would never remember.
"I don't think so," Raiden said. "I'm sorry. I just don't think it will be that easy."
"Yeah, it was a longshot." August said, he and Charles deflating a little.
"But now we have a cool bow," Esperanza offered. "It must be here for a reason, and hidden for a reason."
"Did we bring it here?" Bianca guessed.
"I dunno." August shrugged. "Maybe we'll remember more. Maybe one of us will remember how it got here. Or how we got here."
"For now," Raiden said, turning back to the book they had abandoned on the table, next to the snoring Cassie. "Let's see what Cassie had to say on the bow, before she lost her memory."
They read through the brief page on Apollo's bow quickly. The typed paragraph under the photo says that Apollo's arrows bring instant death or can return to full health whoever they shoot, based on the shooter's intentions. The bow itself wasn't super important, but it had been given to Apollo when he was a child by Hephaestus, so Apollo could protect his mom Leto. Otherwise, it wasn't super important.
Cassie's notes in the margins were mostly about where the bow might be. Probably with Apollo had been underlined, and another flip through the book found that the pages on Apollo and Apollo's chariot were scribbled on as well. Written in caps underneath the image of the chariot was WITH THE BOW?.
"Whatever we wanted with it, we definitely wanted it." August said. "All these notes are about finding the bow." He glanced at the bow, glowing merrily on the couch. "I guess we did."
Piper sat in the window booth of a cafe, cradling her cup of coffee. Normally, they would've sat outside while they planned what to do next, but not today. Today, everyone in California was staying inside. It was getting too cold to do anything else.
In the corner of the cafe, the TV was muted, but showing a news broadcast about the strange phenomenon that had puzzled the entire world. It flashed across pictures of weather maps, solar cycles, people in white coats in labs with telescopes pointed up at the sky. Then it changed to withering crops, biting cold winds, and stores running out of vitamin D pills as people hurriedly stocked up.
Piper turned away from the TV, to Will and Nico. Will wasn't looking good. He was pale and thinner then he should be, though the sun had only gone away the day before. He looked almost washed out, the sunshiney glow that normally surrounded him having faded. Nico's aviator jacket was draped around his shoulders, but he shivered a little anyway. Nico and Will were talking quietly, and holding hands. Piper couldn't hear much, but she guessed they were talking about Bianca, or their side quest from Apollo.
They hadn't heard from Apollo since he had made his mysterious request, and the sun had gone missing. But from Will's condition, Apollo couldn't be doing too well. None of them knew what could've snatched the sun from sky.
Piper tuned back into Jason, Percy, Leo, and Annabeth's conversation.
"The winds are getting stronger and colder." Leo said, with a glance at the TV. "Maybe Khione has something to do with this?"
"No," Annabeth shook her head. "Khione is up north. The prophecy said go south."
"I think the cold weather is just a side effect of whatever's happened to Apollo." Percy guessed, taking a bite out of his blueberry pie. "Without the sun, the whole planet's cooling down."
"The sun isn't really gone, though, right?" Piper checked. "It can't be. There's still a big ball of fiery gas in outer space."
"Yes," Annabeth agreed. "But Apollo's chariot isn't going across the sky. Without that, the sun is nowhere near as powerful. We can't even see it anymore, but it's still there. It won't be enough to keep us lit and heated for long, though. The weather will get colder, and days will get shorter and darker."
"But what could make the god of the sun stop doing his job?" Jason wondered. "What could stop Apollo?"
Nobody had an answer for that one.
"Our first priority is still our kids." Leo said, and of course nobody argued. Apollo was just something to talk about that didn't make them all want to scream and punch things or burst into tears. Leo twisted his coffee cup between his hands nervously.
Piper knew that Leo couldn't lose Esperanza. None of them would ever be the same if they lost their children, but it was even worse for Leo. Calypso had died a short two years ago, when Esperanza was just thirteen. Leo had held it together, and he and Esperanza had stayed close. But if anything happened to Esperanza, Leo might not be able to handle it. Piper was worried about that.
And about Raiden, of course. He was the oldest of his friends, and he and Esperanza were inseparable, but Piper was sure that Raiden would be trying to protect and take care of the others. She almost wished he wouldn't, things would be easier for him if he didn't. But it was in his nature. Besides, Esperanza wouldn't let him do anything stupid (though somehow managed to do a lot of stupid things herself).
"I think it's pretty clear what we have to do for now," Frank said. "Keep going south, and looking wherever we can. Something will appear and tell us where they are."
"That seems pretty uncertain." Jason said.
"All the prophecy said was to go south to face the beast." Hazel said, nibbling a bagel. "So does anyone know of any beasts to our south?"
Suddenly Percy's eyes widened. "Oh-"
"Percy?" Annabeth looked puzzled. Then she seemed to realize something as well. "You think its-"
"Must be." Percy nodded.
Annabeth turned to the others. "Percy and I went to the sea of monsters once, the bermuda triangle. Two of the most famous monsters live down there, Scylla and Charybdis who guard the bermuda triangle. Beasts. And they're south of us."
"The kids are in the sea of monsters?" Nico scowled. "Okay, so we go to the sea of monsters and face Scylla and Charybdis. The sea of monsters is… well, a sea. How do we find six kids in someplace that big?" Nico and Will had stopped whispering to each other and had turned to join the others.
"We'll find them." Percy promised. "I can use my sea powers."
"But what if they aren't there?" Will worried. "If we go all that way and we were wrong?"
"We still find them." Piper said determinedly. "They'll be there."
AN: Thanks for reading. Please review, y'all, it helps me write. It's like you learn in science class: Genius writer + reviews = great story! I'll update as soon as I can.