Summary: It's nice not being the last demigod anymore. I'm back, better than ever, in my totally unbiased opinion, and ready to shake things up. [Time Travel. Eventual Percy and Artemis. Reasonably powerful Percy.]
Disclaimer: I don't own the Percy Jackson series or characters. Sadly, I personally have not yet discovered a method of time travel, so I can't go into the past and steal all of Rick Riordan's ideas before he even has them.
Chapter Ten: I commit fratricide
So there I was, swimming along in the Sea of Monsters. Had to keep in shape, you know?
Okay, fine, it wasn't just exercise. I was scouting. Now, you'd think that as the leader of the quest I wouldn't get such a lame and boring task. Unfortunately, I'd been outvoted. I'd voted for no scouting while Annabeth had voted for me scouting in the water. And, well, I didn't really have the energy to argue.
So I was swimming along in the calm waters when I met a shark. He was a friendly shark; most are, to me, considering my lineage, but this one seemed particularly nice, so I named him Bob. After, you know, Bob the Titan.
Anyways, I was swimming along with my new friend Bob when we saw a ship. A big ship. Like, a big old honking trireme. You know, the normal kind, with black sails with a painted gorgon's head. The normal kind.
Bob saw him first- Sharks have way better vision than you probably think- and sort of nudged me. When I saw it, my eyes widened. Now, you might have noticed that I said the ship had black sails and a painted gorgon's head. When I called it normal, I lied.
I'd encountered the ship once, years ago or years into the future, whichever way you wanted to see it. My half brother was on the ship. He was the leader actually, with a crew of- get this- dolphin men. Which may seem hilarious, but isn't in the moment, when there are like fifty of them pointing spears at you. Trust me; I've been there.
So I hightailed it back to our ship, saying goodbye to Bob quickly.
"Hey, Annabeth!" I shouted as I landed on the deck, propelled by a miniature wave.
"I'm right here," she said quickly, looking up from where she'd been reading on one of the trireme's benches. "What's wrong?"
"We've got incoming," I said grimly. "Now, I'm not saying that I agree with the whole scouting decision still, but it did bear some fruit."
She gave me a deadpan look. "So basically I was right but you don't want to say it."
"Tomato, tomahto," I said flippantly.
"So what kind of incoming are we looking at?" she asked.
"Guy named Chrysaor," I said. "Also known as Golden Boy. He's my half brother, the son of Poseidon and Medusa, so he'll probably be able to counter my water powers somewhat. He's also got a crew of about fifty dolphin men, who were cursed by Dionysus once upon a time. They've got spears and are relatively skilled, though even if they weren't they could probably overwhelm us with pure numbers."
"Great." Annabeth sighed. "And we can't go around them?"
I shook my head. We could try, but I needed to get to Circe's island anyways, to destroy it so Reyna and Hylla could leave and start their new lives. And if Chrysaor was in the Sea of Monsters, it was likely that he was here to do business of some sort with Circe, so it was, consequently, likely that we would run into him at the island.
"Go get Tyson," I said. She shot me a dirty look. I rolled my eyes. "All you've gotta do is find him and tell him to come up here, not socialize."
With a huff, she went running off. I walked over to where I'd left my backpack, pulling out the wind thermos. If we were going to survive this, we needed to strike preemptively.
I pulled on the backpack, tugging the straps over my shoulders and stretching at the same time. I'm efficient like that. I felt around in my pocket briefly for Riptide, breathing a sigh of relief when I felt it. Logically, I knew that it was going to be there, but it was always comforting to know where one of my two greatest weapons was.
A second later, I heard footsteps as Annabeth ran up behind me, Tyson's heavier thuds following her.
"What's the plan?" Annabeth asked, panting a bit.
"Thanks for asking," I said. "It's pretty simple, really. We can't beat the fifty of them in a straight up fight, no matter how strong Tyson is or how incredibly skilled I am or how invisible you are, so we're going to strike preemptively."
Annabeth tilted her head slightly. "Percy, how exactly do you suggest we strike preemptively against another ship?"
"We have cannons," I said simply.
"The ammunition isn't damaging," Annabeth pointed out. "It's either fireworks, for celebrations, or fake cannonballs, for the war games."
"Huh," I said. "Well, shit. There goes that plan. Luckily, I have others."
Yeah, that wasn't something I'd known. I'd assumed that the triremes on standby in the harbor had been battle ready. Apparently, I had assumed wrong.
"Fine, new plan," I said. "Annabeth, you go invisible. You're our trump card, or one of them at least. Tyson and I will board them once we ram their ship. And then-"
"Wait, wait, wait," Annabeth said quickly. "Ram their ship? We need our own ship in one piece, Percy."
"We need it mostly in one piece," I corrected. "I can hold it together long enough to find somewhere to stop for a couple hours to patch it up, if it's damaged badly enough."
"That won't work," Annabeth said, shaking her head. "A major hole in your plan is that we don't have the supplies to fix the ship. It also might be much more damaged than you think, and even if it isn't, you'll still need to concentrate on holding it together for hours, maybe days."
"Right," I said. "Well, we've got twenty minutes. What do you suggest?"
"Well," she began. "You have fire arrows, right?"
"Good," she said. "Then, you'll start out by trying to shoot the leader, if he's on deck. Right after that, whether you hit him or not, shoot the sails. If they get set on fire, it'll definitely distract at least some of them. I'll go invisible, like you said, because it's almost inevitable that one of us will be boarding the other if my first plan fails.
"After that, you'll use your water powers, as quickly as you can so Chrysaor has no time to counter you, to try to capsize their ship. If that doesn't work, we'll have to actually fight. Tyson will fight them with his fists-"
"No," I interrupted. "He'd die quickly. He's strong, yes, but Chrysaor's incredibly fast. Faster than me, even. He'd slice through Tyson with his imperial gold sword before we can blink."
"Imperial gold?" Annabeth asked.
"Like celestial bronze," I said. "Except, well, the Romans used it." Use it, I corrected mentally. But I couldn't exactly tell her that yet.
She looked at me strangely, and I worried she was beginning to see through my little foresight deception, before she shook her head quickly as if to clear it.
"I was planning on having you shooting from afar," Annabeth said, "while I picked them off invisibly. What do you suggest, Percy?"
"Unless you can shoot-" Annabeth shook her head, "-we're going to need to go all melee. I'll take Chrysaor while Tyson distracts the dolphin men and you slice and dice 'em from behind."
"It's a stupid plan," Annabeth said bluntly.
"It's the only one I've got that'll get us through alive," I said. "It's a backup plan, anyways, so hopefully we won't need it. Hopefully I can actually capsize the ship."
"Backup plans are created for a reason," Annabeth said. "We'll probably end up needing it."
"Fine," I grumbled. "We're on course to reach Chrysaor and his crew in about ten minutes. Be ready."
Our plan A failed the moment Annabeth said, "Wait, do they keep prisoners?"
"Uh . . ." I said eloquently. I squinted to see, grimacing as I saw some of the dolphin people pointing and undoubtedly sounding the alarm. And . . . yep, that looked like people tied up. Two people- girls if I hadn't missed my mark. "Yeah, that's not good."
"Percy, we fight?" I flinched slightly; I'd almost forgotten Tyson was there. Can you blame me? He'd been silent for the past twenty minutes or so and hadn't even really entered my field of vision.
"Looks like it," I said grimly. "Get ready for a collision."
"Dammit, Percy," Annabeth growled. "I thought we weren't going with that plan!"
"How else do you propose we get onto their ship to rescue the prisoners?" I asked. I clenched a fist, silently urging our ship to speed up. It lurched forward. "Brace yourselves. I'll see how much I can blunt the blow with water, but this is still gonna hurt." I pulled my ring off my finger, enlarging it and nocking a fire arrow.
I gritted my teeth as we rammed into the ship a second later. There was a loud crunch as the helm of our ship punched a hole in the side of Chrysaor's. I fired at the sail quickly, since I couldn't see Chrysaor on deck yet, before minimizing my bow and slipping the ring back onto my finger. I managed to keep my footing, somehow, though Annabeth wasn't so lucky, and I heard her cursing again as I enlarged Riptide.
"I'm getting really sick of that," I heard her mutter.
I ignored her grumbling, taking a running jump off of our ship and onto Chrysaor's. I rolled, coming up in time to dodge to the side and slice through a spear. I saw a spear piercing my chest and brought my sword up just in time to deflect it, ducking another spear from behind, twisting as I came up, Riptide slicing through my second attacker's stomach.
I swayed to the side to avoid a third attacker, grabbing onto his spear and pulling, his own momentum giving him no resistance, and consequently no avenue to avoid the first attacker's spear through his side.
I deflected the first attacker's spear again, using two hands on my sword to shove him back. I had a flash of foresight and stepped out of the way of a thrust from someone behind me which would have gone through my shoulder, almost casually reaching back with my blade and slicing off his head. I quickly turned back to the first attacker, only to find him lying on the ground, blood pooling through his shirt. Annabeth must have been there.
I growled as I had to avoid another spear that would have gotten me in the heart- from behind. "Is this attack Percy from behind day, or something?" I rammed into the dolphin man with my shoulder, slamming him into the railing of the ship. I spun around, but saw no dolphin men near me.
The instant I saw Tyson, I knew why. He was occupying a lot of them by himself. They couldn't really do more than nick him as he swatted them like flies. My eyes widened as I caught a flash of gold and I took off running.
I sped up, realizing that I wasn't going to make it in time, pushing myself as fast as I could go to get across the deck in an instant. I lunged and just barely managed to deflect Chrysaor's sword before it could slice through Tyson's neck.
The cyclops in question managed to knock out his dolphin man opponent with a headshot.
I turned to face Chrysaor quickly in case he chose to attack again, but he seemed perfectly content to stand with his sword held in a ready position.
"It's not often that I'm boarded," he growled. "But it ends now, demigod."
"It does, does it?" I asked. "From where I'm standing, you're outnumbered." We were still outnumbered slightly, actually, but it was only by about five dolphin men, which wouldn't be too difficult to get rid of.
"True," Chrysaor admitted, realizing, as I did, that his crew didn't mean much against a well trained demigod and a cyclops. "But are you willing to kill two prisoners to beat me?"
"Two prisoners?" I asked, slowly turning, just enough to see the mast, where the two girls had been tied up. My shoulders slumped when I saw two of the dolphin men holding spears to the girls' throats.
"Yes," Chrysaor said smugly, and I just knew that he was smirking under his Medusa mask. "Two prisoners. So unless you want them to come to harm, Hero, you will stand down and cede your ship to me. As well as everything in that backpack."
I steeled my face. "What makes you think we even want to save those girls?"
He laughed. "For one, you said save, not keep alive, which seems to indicate that saving them was first on your mind."
"It was just a word," I said. "I could easily be using it as a fill in for keep them alive."
"You could be, but you're not," Chrysaor said, calling my bluff. "Furthermore, I know that you're a son of Poseidon. You probably could have capsized my ship, since you did catch me off guard. But you didn't, which indicates that you saw the prisoners and didn't wish to kill them. It wasn't my crew that stayed your hand, certainly, with the way that you were cutting them down a minute ago."
I gritted my teeth. "The instant those girls die, I will gut you."
"Gut me?" Chrysaor laughed again, cold and harsh. "Do you know who I am, Demigod?"
"Yes," I said slowly. "Chrysaor, Golden Boy, son of Medusa and Poseidon, first known user of imperial gold weaponry."
"First known?" he growled. "I was the first, Brother, before the Romans. Me! I'm surprised you even know of me, as much as my name has been stricken from history."
"I didn't," I said. "I have prophetic visions and in one I saw you explaining all of that. You really are unknown, pathetic, really." I kept talking, hoping to distract him.
"Pathetic!" Chrysaor yelled. "Pathetic?! We'll see who guts who!"
"We will?" I asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Yes," he said, visibly calming down. "One on one, a duel to the death. If you don't want the girls to die-"
"What girls?" I asked, smirking.
"Those girls," he said, before looking behind me and freezing. I glanced back as well, my smirk growing. Where the two girls had been were the corpses of the two dolphin men who had been holding them hostage. They'd evidently been killed quickly and silently. Chrysaor's eyes swept the deck wildly, looking for a sign of the two girls. "Where are they?"
His cold tone probably would have sent shivers through someone who hadn't faced the end of the world, but it was me, so my answer was simple and a bit flippant. "No clue."
"You're lying," he said. "You have to be."
"Nope," I said, "Nothing but the truth. The cold, hard truth, Chrysaor. What are you going to do now?"
He lunged towards me almost immediately and I deflected his blade once, twice, pushing myself to keep up with the physically older and obviously much more experienced swordsmen. Another exchange and I was struggling to hold onto my blade. Just when I thought he was about to disarm me, he lunged forward. I desperately brought my blade up, hoping against hope that my second chance wouldn't end so suddenly, that I wouldn't be taken out by someone like Chrysaor.
A second later, Chrysaor was impaled on my blade and I had no idea how. Or at least until I looked over his slouched form and saw Tyson, fist still extended. Huh.
Chrysaor coughed up blood. "Next time we meet." He paused to cough again. "You're dead, Hero. Dead." He glared at me- or I guessed he did, considering I hadn't bothered to de-mask him- as he dissolved. Huh. So he was a monster after all.
"Well," I said slowly, falling to a knee, breathing hard as my adrenaline began to dissipate. "That went well."
Tyson let out a whoop, and I grinned.
Annabeth rolled her eyes exasperatedly. Still, she couldn't stop a smile from materializing.
"Huh," I said, eyes widening as I beheld the two girls we had saved. We were in the cabin of Chrysaor's ship, where Annabeth had led them. It was golden all over. Everything was gold plated, from the bed to the table to the walls. Say what you will about Chrysaor, but he certainly lived up to his moniker.
I wasn't sure I could really call both of the former prisoners girls, considering that one of them was about five years older than us. Not mentally, I knew, but still. The other girl seemed around our age. I noticed that they were each wearing Camp Half Blood shirts. They were practically swimming in them, so I guessed that they were some of the XXL ones I'd bought for Tyson at the camp store before the quest. I guessed that they hadn't had much on before, something I hadn't really noticed while I was fighting to rescue them.
My eyes had widened because I was surprised. And I was surprised because the two girls- which was what I'd decided to keep calling them- were ones I knew. Reyna and Hylla. Hylla looked eighteen or nineteen while Reyna looked my age, give or take a year or so.
"Annabeth, I think you'd better leave the room," I said.
The two girls began shaking and Annabeth shook her head quickly. "I can't just leave them. I don't think they should be alone with a male so soon after Chrysaor."
"I saved them," I protested.
"I know," Annabeth said. "They're still a bit traumatized, obviously."
"Fine," I said. "Just know that you'll probably be memory wiped after hearing the conversation."
Her eyes narrowed. "You can erase memories?"
"Not me," I said, rolling my eyes. "The gods can, though, and this is a secret that they will do practically anything to keep."
"And you won't get your memory wiped?" Annabeth asked skeptically.
"Nope," I said. "I've had training on defending my mind, so if any god did try, they'd probably end up breaking me and making me go mad. Considering there's a prophecy about me saving or destroying Olympus, I don't think they want that."
Annabeth looked shocked. "How do you know about that?"
"Apollo told me," I said quickly. "Anyways, you have a choice. Leave now and have some inkling that there is a secret or stay and forget this entire conversation."
Annabeth looked uncertain, glancing between me and the shaking girls, before she stood a bit straighter and said, "I'll stay."
"On your own head be it," I said, shrugging. I was a bit annoyed, and not at all happy that she'd chosen to get her mind wiped, but there wasn't anything I could really do about it short of knocking her out, which would just scare Reyna and Hylla and make the entire situation much worse.
We waited a moment in silence as I fumed and the other three waited for my explanation. Finally Annabeth said, "Well?"
"Right," I said. "First things first, don't interrupt me until I'm done. You'll probably have quite a few questions, which I'll answer, even if you, Annabeth, won't remember them, but I want to say everything first. It probably won't take too long.
"Okay. First things first, you two are Romans." I pointed to Reyna and Hylla. "Roman demigods. Me and Annabeth are Greek demigods."
"Annabeth and I," Annabeth muttered. I chose to ignore her.
"These are two separate things. Someone born to Zeus would not have the same abilities or inherit the same disposition as someone born to Jupiter, ignoring their mother's possible influence.
"You two are daughters of Bellona, who's a fairly big goddess for Romans, but not one of the big twelve. You probably just have better minds for strategy and an instinctive understanding of weapons, since she's a goddess of war. Maybe some good leadership capabilities.
"Now, while we could take you back to Camp Half-Blood with us, it probably wouldn't really work out long term. There are two main options for you two, really, besides that. One is joining the Roman Legion in San Francisco. Another is joining the Amazons, who are somewhere along the west coast. I can't remember exactly where, sorry.
"I'd suggest both starting out in the Legion and going from there. You'd have to start out by going to Lupa, the wolf goddess who raised Romulus and Remus, and get training from her. That's how it works there, I think. And that's all I really have to say. Any questions?"
"Um," Reyna said in a small voice, "Is this all real?"
"Uh," I said, turning to Annabeth.
She gave me a dirty look before turning to Reyna with a kind smile on her face. "Yes, this is all real. Demigods, gods, monsters, all of it's true. I've lived this life since I was seven."
"Who was the person who kidnapped us?" Hylla asked, glaring at us both. It seemed like she didn't trust us yet.
"Chrysaor," I said. "Also known as the golden boy. He's a pirate; the first pirate, he claims. He sells girls to Circe and she ensnares them, trapping them on the island for eternity in her sorceress cult or whatever." She actually treated the women on the island fairly well, but I wanted to dissuade Reyna and Hylla from ever seeking her out.
"Anyways," Hylla said, "Reyna wasn't asking if the monsters were real. We've had to deal with them from a young age. She was asking if the camps were real, if there's really a place- or places- for people like us to go where we can be safe."
"The answer is still yes," Annabeth said. "I go to Camp Half-Blood and so does Percy. I didn't know about the . . . Legion before Percy said it a second ago, so you'll have to ask him about that."
"It's true," I said, shrugging. "It's called Camp Jupiter and it's separated into five cohorts; everyone goes to one. You can get in with a letter from a previous member of the Legion or with a god's approval, but the most common way is through the Wolf House, where Lupa hangs out. It's led by two people, the praetors, who control the military, while most major decisions are made by the senate. It's a lot like Rome was back in the day."
"Can you take us there?" Reyna asked. I hated how quiet and scared she sounded, so unlike the Reyna I had known before.
"Of course," I said. "As soon as this quest is over, I'll get you to Camp Jupiter."
"I still remember," Annabeth said as soon as we stepped out of the cabin and closed the door, leaving the two sisters to themselves.
"Give it a minute," I said. "I'm not entirely sure how this works. I don't know if you'll forget in like five seconds, if a god needs to actually be in front of you, or if you'll forget overnight. I'm not an expert on this."
"Do you see me getting my memories wiped?" she asked.
"Huh?" I said. See her getting her memories wiped? I had no idea what she was asking.
"In the future," she said, rolling her eyes. "Your visions."
"Oh, those," I said, kicking myself. "No. No visions about that."
"So it might not happen," Annabeth said triumphantly.
"Sure." I waved a hand. "Or I might just not have had a vision about it. I don't see everything. It's not like I'm constantly seeing the future. I see things when I see them and I see what I see. I can't really influence it."
She huffed, glaring at me.
"I'm just telling it like it is," I said. "I'm not going to go out of my way to get your memories wiped, but it's no skin off my nose, really. This isn't something you need to know right now."
"When, then?" she asked. "When will I need to know it?"
"You might not," I said, shrugging.
"Why don't I know?" she asked, changing tracks. "Couldn't our two camps coordinate, meet up, train together?"
"Greeks and Romans don't get along," I said. To me, it explained everything. Annabeth didn't appear to agree so I continued. "In the past, whenever the two camps have met, there's been bloodshed between them. Eventually, the gods decided that enough was enough and that they didn't want their children to massacre each other simply because of ancient nationality."
"How long ago was this?"
"No clue," I said. "I know basic stuff, but history of anything isn't my strong suit."
"You know a lot about all the monsters we face," Annabeth countered.
"History and mythology are different," I said. "And anyways, most of my information comes from my visions."
"They really aren't," Annabeth said exasperatedly.
"Are too," I said, sticking out my tongue.
"Why do I even try?" she asked, looking straight up at the sky.
"I ask myself that every time," I said.
"Why you try?" she asked.
"No," I corrected. "Why you try. We both know I'm always right."
She snorted. "Keep dreaming, Percy. Just keep dreaming."
"Whatever," I said. "I'm gonna go take a nap."
Annabeth suddenly looked sly. "But Percy, no self respecting teenager would-"
A/N: Well, that took a while. I can blame it on school, after school tennis, my dog wasting away, or a number of other things, but in the end, the result was this chapter taking forever. No excuses will change that, and I'm sorry it took so long. I'll try getting the next one out soon, but in the interest of not being accused of hypocrisy or lying again, I'm making no promises.
This is the third rewrite of the chapter, because the first two sucked. I'm still not sure about this, but I liked the addition of Chrysaor. I was planning for this chapter to be half Chrysaor, half Circe's island, but then I decided to just have Reyna and Hylla on Chrysaor's ship. After all, he did business with Circe in canon, and though the type of business is never mentioned, I inferred that he brought female demigods to her island and sold them.
Is it true or not? No idea. Either way, I had him bringing Reyna and Hylla. This can also be considered part of the butterfly effect, considering that it's highly unlikely he brought them to Circe's island a week before Percy and Annabeth arrived in canon. It's a pretty weak excuse, I know, but whatever. Considering the fact that the fates are absolutely canonical, you can consider it them messing with Percy or something.
This chapter is honestly pretty meh, but I felt like I really needed to put something out, so I did. Next chapter will be better.
As always, please favorite and/or review if you're enjoying the fic, follow if you want to read more when I publish it, and review if you find any errors or if you have constructive criticism.