Mr.P3pp3r: Oh my stars and garters (is that how it goes?)! We did it! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!
Lance: Right, so it's nice to see he hasn't changed much. Shouting like a maniac, late to the party, as always. At least you didn't take an entire month unlike last time.
Mr.P3pp3r: The Maths were biting me!
Lance: Right… Anyway, here's the next chapter for all of you who manage to put up with that… guy.
The sun had just begun to rise by the time I woke up. Birds were singing, the grasshoppers were still singing, and my head felt like someone had dropped an anvil on it. Good GODS! My head! "Gah! Shit!" I mumbled, having to force myself to wrap around the tree unless I wanted to take a sudden mud nap. Hint: I did not.
Once the pain subsided, I took a quick review of my surroundings. Still in a tree? Check. Grassy fields nearby empty of monsters and people? Check. Spooky ghost of Annabeth still haunting my sorry ass? Gone. For now.
Anyhoo, once everything was good enough I slowly lowered myself from the tree. Contrary to what the Hunger Games taught, sleeping in a tree was neither comfortable nor good for your back. Seriously, keeping your back locked on to durable, scratchy wood would drive nearly anyone insane.
Dew had soaked into my shoes when I landed, catching my attention but not surprising me. For the whatever-th time in a row, the gods were gone so I had no idea how my powers were going to react.
I shook the remains of the tree bark from my clothes, checked to make sure I didn't take any surprise injuries over night (you'd be surprised how often something like that happened to a demigod), and then set off for the base. I could feel Gaea's influence pull at me as I concentrated to bring it forward. It was nearly instantaneous, seeing as how my sight went away faster than in an ink cloud.
With my human sight gone, I could once again see the surrounding earth, only this time with a whole lot of nothing above it. Sure, I could sense when this dirt chunk or that rock was suddenly flung into the air, but aside from that it was like looking at a starless sky. However, that wasn't really what I was after.
Though sensory overload was a total bitch in this sight, I could still go a few seconds before narrowing my vision. Kind of like a sonar, but with contractions instead of pulses. Yeah, in all honesty I have no idea how to describe it better. That was usually Rick's schtick. Every few bursts, I would sense an oddity in the terrain: an unusually large dirt mound here, divots in the dirt there. The various blips of oil popped up again, but this time, I could feel a metallic touch around it… Like a can… aluminum? I didn't know much about vehicles, but I supposed some types of aluminum could make a military vehicle. Of course, this information wasn't all at once. I had to space these damned bursts out every few minutes because of how many rocks, pebbles, dirt mounds, and other geo-sciency things were in between me and the military vehicles.
Still, after some time of trying an pulsing, I got a rough feel for where their base was. It at least about three kilometers south-west of my position. So, I started hiking. Was I going to take on all of them at once? No. But I could provide valuable intel. As I walked I began to play around with my new power. The farthest I could keep my new 'sight' without overlaying myself was about ten feet in a circle. Any farther and my head would start to hurt. Of course, I was talking about a full visual. Not looking for specific things.
Perhaps the best discovery today was how to turn it on and off. It wasn't a thing based on will, like my hydrokinesis. It was like a mental trick. I didn't nail it every time, but the few times I did taught me that blinking made it easier.
After about three hours of walking, mainly due to me stopping once in a while to try and figure out my new powers, and man, I had a hard time. I could occasionally "push" or squeeze things together, but it didn't go farther than that. I could also sense large concentrations of metal, although ore was a different story. The amount of impurities made it hard to detect. However, mud was a different story. Anything with a good degree of water and dirt in it was easy work. I guess trying to control it as both water and dirt made it easier, even though I had to focus nearly everything in doing so.
I would have said something about a menacing plot of land, but the base looked just like those forward bases they showed in movies: guard towers every so often along the bordering wall, the actual wall itself being large slats fit into place. Alarm towers popped up here and there, and the faint sounds of military training and exertion could be heard. I'm pretty sure this was the right area. It didn't seem to rely on any previous structure, and that was a feat in itself. I mean, building a military installation locked down with… Jesus, the amount of weapons here, just on the outside, was demoralizing.
They were pretty well positioned, too. Bastards had set up on a large hill. Most of it was barricaded with obstacles and patrols, heavy guns and the occasional artillery piece. With only one road to and from the base, the thing was on serious lockdown. A large checkpoint sat about halfway up the road, and had at least three watchtowers overlooking it. I had the good fortune of seeing all this from the cover of a forest, but even then I didn't exactly like being near the base. I had no clue if they had spotted me… Scouting? Definitely. Infiltration? No, not really… while that "join us" sign was inviting to a part of my mind, I was in no way good at it. Be prepared, Annabeth recited.
Blow them up? I needed explosives and intel of where their ammunition stockpiles were. Oh, right. I closed my eyes and tried to grasp that part of my mind, and it came eventually. Immediately, there was a load of intel. First, their fuel. Solar panels, and… oil. Lots of it. I guessed we could just wait for them to run out, but by the way they seemed to not give a shit about their consumption, there was a potential source. Rigs? Not a problem yet. There were also some oddly placed patches of land, sorta like farms. What? Did you think they wouldn't have one? Everyone needed a reliable source of food.
Monsters. Mutants, specifically. It seemed they were more focused on repelling those. After all, there was literally no human threat in the area. Our forces had no chance of taking them on, so all that stuff had to be reserved for the mutants. That got me thinking about them. They clearly hadn't spread out this far yet, so this was looking pretty good. I turned my attention towards the hum of a truck, and I reflexively lowered into the trees.
A black truck stopped at the checkpoint, and someone opened the gates. In there were traces of oil, but not too much or neatly packed like guns. I assumed this was food of some kind. The sight was very random in terms of what I saw, but with the right focus everything was possible. I turned it off and looked for the water in their bodies. I could 'feel' where they were, but it wasn't as precise compared to my vision.
I sat there for another hour or so, gathering as much information and intelligence as I could from my little vantage point. It was boring for the most part, sitting still for so long without moving too much. Still, better than being shot because I wanted to take a stroll. In those two hours I learned four major things.
First, these people did have helicopters. Probably stripped straight from the military and still fresh-loaded with enough firepower to wipe us off the [no longer existing] map. Some of them looked to be transport helicopters. They were thick and bulky looking, kind of like a giant, metal pelican. If memory serves, the Hephaestus cabin had two of the same helicopters. Blackhawks I think they were called. Either that or Nighthawks, I'm not entirely sure. I never really shared their enthusiasm for technology, not unless it helped me killed monsters quicker. I preferred simple things, like a knife, or a spear or something.
Still, two hours felt long enough to study this base without giving myself away. That and if I didn't move soon I'd go freaking nuts and possibly get myself shot, blown up, or possibly hunted. Going as slow as I could, I ducked and crawled deeper into the forest. I was anxious to leave faster, but I knew to better keep quiet when they had tanks and helicopters.
Once I felt I was deep enough in the forest, I moved normally again. I traced my steps back as best I could, using my new earth powers to try and find my way back. Went about as well as you would think with my luck, but I did make it back (and totally did not take about six hours to get back in a straight path). Yeah, navigation without a map was much harder than fiction gave credit for.
Night had fallen already by the time I got back. The gate guards were changing shifts as I reached the gate. They didn't do much aside from give me a complimentary nod as I walked through. Everyone was going to bed as I entered the town square. Lance was part of the group taking watch on the wall, along with John and Gwen. She gave me a dirty look - which was already becoming a common occurrence - but mainly left me alone. Good, I was tired and was not looking forward to having an argument.
My little cottage was calling my name like a Hallelujah chorus. I shuffled over, locked the door behind me, and just fell right onto the bed. I didn't even have to wait, I was out like a light.
Brother had finally returned after spending an entire day 'practicing' his swordplay. Well, that was what I told Gwen whenever she asked where he was. Granted, it wasn't a very detailed lie, but it was convincing enough considering Perseus spent his time either resting, scouting, killing mutants, or practicing, which gave me four options to lie with.
Still, Gwen wasn't too happy with him staying out for the entire day. She usually didn't care about what he did, but ever since the invasion she harbored a resentment for him. She placed the majority of the blame on him for not having been there in the first place. It wasn't fair, but John tried to assure me time and again that she was just working through the anguish. Honestly, I didn't care because I knew Perseus had no care either. However, I was interested in what the scouts had to say about the base.
A seemingly nigh-impenetrable fortress situated on a perfect hill, walls and towers lining its perimeter, armored trucks and helicopters going in and out at random intervals. Honestly, it was sounding more and more like a modern Troy. I'm sure Brother had gathered some more information from his little… uh, 'practice session.'
However, I felt asking him for information could wait until morning. From the looks of him, he didn't exactly have an easy walk. Wonder what happened to him.
Back on the wall, I was stationed with John and Gwen, both having volunteered for this night's watch. John had a semi-automatic rifle. Gwen had a marksman's rifle with a scavenged ACOG scope. I was told that she had learned from Samuel, and even though I never really met him, I was told he was a good man. John and Gwen mainly held idle chitchats while I spent my shift looking out into the night. I couldn't explain it, and neither could Percy, but I had a sort of power rush at night. My senses heightened, I could see better than others at night, and I could last in a fight against my brother long enough to actually have him sweat a little.
"Lance?" John asked. I was shaken from my boredom by his question. Guess they were trying to get me to talk with them. I could only imagine what they would ask.
"What? Sorry, I wasn't really paying attention." I saw no reason to try and lie to them when I really wasn't paying attention. I'll be honest, small talk actually bored me more than reading history. At least history was exciting with revolutions, wars, and things that weren't about the weather. Gods, I never understood how people could talk about the weather.
John sighed, "I was asking how your training with Percy was going?" Well, it wasn't what I expected right off the bat, so I told them.
"It's going well. I'm feeling much better than when I first joined." Of course, for some reason, this felt… annoying. Like you know those things that you never talked about, and you get super annoyed when people ask you?
Gwen looked upset, judging by the way she crossed her arms at my response. "I've noticed he pushes you harder than most of the other trainees your age." I shrugged.
"Well, I can't tell you anything you don't already know. We're related, and our family was always big on… martial arts." Was that the right word? Not completely true, but certainly not the truth as it was. That was one of the few good things I learned from Zeus, mainly whenever he and Hera had a spat. It happened in public on Olympus more than you'd imagine. I assume they just got used to it and started doing it in front of everyone else.
"Look, Gwen and I are just worried that Percy might be pushing you a bit too hard." John replied. He even put his hand on my shoulder as a sign of comfort. Oh boy, if only they knew about the hell I went through training with Myrmidons. They always had "training" fights to the death because they were immortal and could revive on Olympus, and they only pulled their punches enough to not kill me. Didn't mean they went easy, though. Chiron once told me camp half-blood had a lighter regime, but not that easier. I believe you could still seriously maim your opponent, but then there would be no desert.
Still, instead of laying on them that my brother and I were half-god myths walking around I just shrugged. Percy told me that was the average human teenager's response to adult worry.
"I'm fine, if that's what you're wondering." I told them. I'm sure they talked some more about my safety after that, but I tuned them out and went back to staring out into the wilderness. Off in the distance I could see a tree line, and I could easily imagine all the monsters that stalked there. The monster threat had died down after the remaining engineers patched up the last of the wall, and set up a second, inner wall around the main square as a precaution, but that still didn't mean we didn't get the rogue mutant wolf or bear, now and then.
Speaking of which, a pack of six or so appeared within my sights. From what the watchguy taught me, they had been approaching us for at least 30 minutes. Seeing them was a fluke, but a good one. Still, glowing red eyes… really? Guess that was a design flaw. I honestly think it would be more scary if they didn't have eyes. But how could they see with no eyes? Maybe some kind of sensory organ on their knees?
Shut up, brain.
"Gwen, John. Wolves, that way!" I pointed to the wolves, grabbing Riptide from my belt while Gwen switched to a longer-ranged scope. Again, I know seeing them should have been nigh-impossible, but I told you the night gave me strength. Oddly enough the monsters seemed to get bolder at night, but I had assumed they were like the old monsters, where they used the night as cover and to scare mortals.
"I see them," Gwen said, lips curling in distaste when she counted them. Yeah, seven wasn't a pleasant pack to deal with. She didn't open fire…sniping was apparently much harder than people gave credit for. Instead, she kept an eye on them while John alerted another group of guards below us.
The defensive groups were armed with improvised pikes and spears, and we had installed some openings through the walls to use them without having the hassle to have more people leave the town. Otherwise, us interior guards all had a makeshift one-hander with a dingy shield, or some other weapon. No bows, since they weren't really effective against targets of that size. John stayed with Gwen, training his rifle on them while I helped organize the offense.
"Are you sure we can't use guns?" Someone nervously added. Gwen shook her head. "We need to save ammo."
By now, the midnight-black and white wolves had noticed us, and started a mad dash towards the riflemen. Gwen signalled the defense and they moved in under her, pikes ready to lash out. Mia popped open the… well, openings, and ran back to her tent.
"I'll take the big one." I told them.
They didn't argue. I had shown my kills to some other fighters, and apparently they were impressed… The joy I felt didn't overlap the shit of never seeing many of those faces again. Those damn military dudes… Riptide glinted in the moonlight as I readied the blade. My heart began to beat harder, practically jumping out of my chest in anticipation. The other tensed up and readied to fight the monsters.
They were feral, truly. Since their only apparent target was Gwen and John, they tried to jump up and hit them, and the moment they did so, our hidden pikes thrusted towards them. A variety of pained howls filled our ears, but this was a good thing.
"Now!" I yelled. I know, a tad bit late. The two manning the gate pulled back, opening up a gust of cold air.
We charged to their exposed flanks, and I thrust Riptide into the first's shoulder, and further down into its neck. My two flanks, the spears stabbed at the other others. Then, our duos of sword-and-shield fighters each took their own wolf. In the heat of the action, I took notice of a shattered pike head… And a monstrous growl. Its flank was barely harmed, but thankfully no one was injured, and the other fighters had led the smaller wolves away to make room. The lead wolf lunged with a slash, probably hoping to tear me open like a package of kibble, but I had learned from Percy's School of Ass Kicking -as he so eloquently put it -and weaved under and around the attack. The wolf was open, and soon found a broken bronze sword piercing its chest. I pulled back.
Percy had taught me first to end a battle as quickly as possible, and to not drag it out like the movies or stories did. So I took Riptide and thrust forward at its neck. Unfortunately, the thing was still fast enough to block, although its large forearms gained a gash. A bit of black and purple sludge fell on my shirt. Damn, this shit was just so difficult to wash out. Well, if it was going to be that way… then it was on! I weaved to its side and thrust towards an opening, but the wolf leaped back and back in with its jaws snapping. Big mistake, as I stepped through, decapitating the wolf during its attack.
Still, I had other things to worry about at that moment. While two people could hold off a wolf, it usually took three survivors to take one down with no scratches. I rushed the left wolf first, catching it by surprise and stabbing it in the side with Riptide. The two guards took the moment to help the others with their wolf.
My next wasn't as large as the leader, nor as fast, so a quick slash across its chest to the abdomen and it was down for the count. The four guards were hacking and stabbing their wolf, and soon enough we were all covered in grime and monster blood, but alive and only suffered moderate scratching. The ones with spears poked at their corpses for a while, until the damn things all started dissolving.
"That's the fourth one this week," I heard one of the guards grumble. Wait, what?
"Fourth?" I asked. "Yeah, these things have been attacking more and more. "Kinda like it happens more when you guys are gone." another told me. i knew who she was referring to, but… that sounded strange. And why weren't Percy and I told of this?
We headed back inside, one guard going to the infirmary to get her scratches looked at. I rejoined Gwen and John back on the wall. Our shift would be ending in a couple of hours, but I could pass the time with the new supply of questions I had. "So, when were you guys going to tell us about the mutant attacks?" I asked, not even trying to hide my accusatory tone.
John lowered his shoulders, obviously not wanting to have this conversation. Fortunately for him, Gwen answered instead. "We didn't want to worry you. Percy is so bent on training you that we feel it would be best for him if he didn't have another thing to worry about." Huh. Guess that constantly pissed off attitude was a ruse.
"He's been looking so down lately, we didn't want him to lose it." John supplied. "Ever since you guys came back, he's been… acting odd. He's been spending less and less time around, going out on missions or looking for mutants to fight."
...They weren't wrong, especially about that last part.
"We're worried he might not be moving on properly." John explained. I sighed. Percy wasn't one for talking about his feelings. From the stories told about him, the only people he ever really trusted with his feelings were Mother, Annabeth, and Grover. Seeing as how I wasn't any of them I figured I had no chance getting to him.
Hmm, how can I get him to open up? I could take him on a monster-hunting quest and try that. Or I could challenge him to a spar at night, maybe get him that way, I thought.
I had a feeling they were kind of right about him not moving on from the attack. My guess was that he wanted to get back at the people that killed so many of his friends. If I were in his shoes, I'd probably want the same thing. Maybe it could be a start. Gwen wouldn't approve of an attack on the base, and I could understand since if we didn't get them in one blow then we'd have Hades to pay.
Still, Percy was powerful, strong enough to cause even Zeus to worry. I may not have his strength, but I did have knowledge of nearly every ancient demigod and their tactics. Odysseus and his success against the Trojan Wall. Achilles and his group of warriors. Heracles and his conquering of the Twelve Labors. Mortals may have learned the general ideas, but they never learned about the monsters, bandits, and other trials along their adventures. I had even learned about Percy's adventures, mainly because he was my only real thing to look up to, but also because he saved the world on three separate occasions. I had learned about how he defeated Procrustus, tricked Atlas, slew Giants, and took on the Norse mythology.
I wasn't a child of Athena, and I certainly wasn't Annabeth (aka the wise one), but I could suffice for an average tactician. For the next few minutes or so, I tried to think of ways to get Percy to open up more, and then transitioned to how to attack the base.
"Oh, and," Gwen added, noticing a yellow shade sneak past. "Don't think you can skip watch duty by giving your job to a kid."
Clove, or Clive, as he put it, gulped nervously. Gwen snapped the binoculars from my hand and threw it towards him.
Once my own duties ended, I figured the first thing we'd need plenty of explosives. How to get those explosives was another story altogether, but one step at a time. I headed back to my little place, shut the door, then crawled into bed.
The moment I saw the flying ship, I knew it had to be a dream. The ship looked like a someone saw a stick figure and made it into an airship. The thing had four wings that acted like slow wings, two in front, two in back, propelling the ship along the skies. It rocked a little like a ship at sea, but what really got me was how it had no propellers. Instead, and this is me just spitballing here, it had what looked to be thrusters, three positioned at the back and two placed under the ship near the midsection. It was… actually pretty badass looking, but the one nagging question that kept coming back was Why the hell am I looking at this thing from the side?
I looked around, taking in my surroundings and found myself in what I had assumed to be an ornate waiting room. Giant, half circle windows on either side, built-in lighting adoring both the floors and ceiling, and plenty of people standing about. Now, I'm usually not one to judge, but the first thing that I noticed about the people was that some had normal brown, black, and blond hair, a few others had unique colors. I saw blue, pink, and one person even had a dark shade of crimson. It was almost black, now that I looked at it.
Once I got a full look at everything, I noticed I was rocking slightly. I took another look outside, this time looking along both sides, and noticed the two massive wings slowly fluttering up and down.
Shit, where the Hell am I? I wondered, looking around the room again to try and find some sort of hint as to where I was, or possibly where I was going. Maybe a map, or a manifest? There was some kind of poster, but I couldn't recognize any details… As I looked around, a wall-mounted black screen flickered to life, and a woman appeared on the opposite side of the waiting area. She reminded me of a… teacher of some kind, with light blond hair and a supposed ponytail. Maybe a tutor?
She began to talk, but I couldn't hear anything. No sound whatsoever. It was like the world was on mute, not that I minded. However, as she spoke, more and more I was more interested in how everyone aboard had some sort weapon on them. Some had strange swords that I was sure wouldn't be effective, others various rifles and polearms, but a couple had some sort of weapon I had never even seen before. The one that caught my eye, however, was a white and silver rifle, not too big, not too small. A wicked scythe sat where the bayonet would have been, along with some other fancy mechanisms I didn't understand.
"Nice, ain't it?" A shape materialized next to me, a puff of smoke scattering off. I couldn't tell his face, but the bandages created a strange image. Sort of like a mummy, if that mummy had come from Colorado (when it still existed).
This made me aware of the… well, I wasn't that observant. It was like a castle, you know, like the ones from those old kids books? The ones with the pointy towers? It was like one of those, but with a humongous jar of fireflies placed on the tallest tower in the center of the entire castle. I hummed in approval of the lavishly decorated gardens and entrance, admiring the serene beauty, leading up to the castle with the enormous beacon. Good gods, the more I looked at the castle, the more I felt… nostalgic? Worn? What is that term for when you feel sad and hollow, but hopeful and happy at the same time?
It was quite a view…
"Hey, Percy?" Lance shouldered into my room, throwing the door off its hinges and collapsing in a cloud of dust.
On what could almost be described as reflex, I bolted up and grabbed my knife, before realizing that it was merely my brother. There was a minute of silence.
"What?" I groaned.
"Uh… what?" Lance hesitated.
I was irritated. "What were you going to say?"
"Oh. Right. I was… just wondering if you're doing ok."
"What do you mean?"
Lance thought his answer for a second. "The people… no, never mind. It's nothing." He looked down at the mess.
Walking to the sink, I took a gulp of water, controlling it to rinse through my teeth and finding… shit. I spat the contents out into a disposal hole and walked out to the settlement.
"Oh," I added. "Don't forget to fix that."
Now was seven, Kronos reminded me. Not many others were up at this hour, mainly the 'veterans' of the group, so I saw about two or three people on my way to breakfast. The meal that day was boxss of dry oats, powdered with a hint of old cinnamon and served with the last packages of powdered milk. I had taken a place at a table on the far side of the open tent, away from everyone. Normally, I'd talk to someone like Helen or Jacob, but hey, life isn't fair to us all.
Last night had been a dreamless sleep, which was a frequent thing for me these days. I guess without Apollo around I wouldn't get many dreams of the future. Oh well. Halfway through my breakfast grog, Lance had walked in. Normally he'd be sleeping until ten or something, which no one really complained about since he was mainly shifted for night watch, but today he'd clearly had other intentions. Maybe it was that thing he wouldn't tell me. He didn't even bother to grab breakfast, just made a direct beeline for my table. What's gotten into him?
He sat across from me. "Brother, I've been thinking…" he began.
"You gonna tell me what you wanted to say just then?" I quipped. "Is this…" I whispered.
"Brother, we don't have any female teenagers…" Okay, true, but true from the beginning too. We never really got many survivors in the way of under 18. To think about mom… yeah, I would see her rather find me instead of protecting herself. A shame, really, but I couldn't blame them. Families were like that.
"Now isn't the time for jokes. I've been working on some plans to take over the base." This time he lowered his voice.
I raised an eyebrow, but I made no move to stop him. "I've been thinking about all the different ways we could attack the base, both as humans…" he looked around before continuing, "and as demigods."
Ok, now that got my attention.
"Now as humans we'd need a great amount of resources, but that would take too long and there's no telling when they might check on us again. Not to mention they have numbers, firepower, and defense on their side."
I swallowed the last of my oatmeal, washing the remains down with the rest of the milk. "So we can't go at it as humans," I surmised. Another word Annabeth liked to toss around. My guess was correct, seeing as Lance nodded.
"Yeah, so we go at it as demigods. We can't let anyone know who we are, so we'll need disguises or some way to hide our identities. There's a great opportunity soon. The more… experienced members guess that there'll be a storm around tonight."
"But what about their guns?" I asked. "That's where you and the rain come in. I know rainwater is the hardest to control compared to seawater, but if you can manage to control the water to damage their equipment, then we'll have a shot. Mind telling me what you saw for perimeter defense?"
Really loud. I wish no one had seen, but there was no point trying to hide it anyways.
"Lance, you don't just attack a base. It's more complicated than that." I slapped him on the back. "Come on, let's work on it together."
Man, seeing that flabbergasted face made my day.
Retrieving several papers and maps from the white tent, we set up shop in our shack. Lance peeked outside to make sure no one was looking, and shut the (now fixed) door.
At first, I was not convinced. But as time went on and the plans got more solid, I thought we had a chance. Thought. Maybe it was revenge, maybe it was about gaining approval from the survivors, but as I reflect, it was probably more about how they were doing better than us.
"Lance," I said, catching him before he could go on planning again, "there's something else I have to tell you. When I went out to find the base, I had… another experience." Lance shot me a confused look.
"How do you mean?"
"Remember when we were going to Dad's? How I had that little episode and suddenly got stronger? Well I had another experience… with the earth."
That caught his attention. "You mean, like Gaea?" I nodded. "On my way to the base, I was practising a little with new earth powers. It made me blind physically, but I could still see with the vibrations around me."
"Is there anything else you can do?" he asked. I had to force myself not to squirm with the way he looked at me. It was too much like Annabeth. "I can control dirt, but only just a little. The biggest advantage right now is finding the basic shape of structures. Anything moving, really."
Lance nodded, his face calm but I could tell he was excited. His legs were bouncing fast enough to leave afterimages.
"Alright, this changes everything, then. We'll have to come up with a new plan, but we're going to take these bastards down tonight." At least he was enthusiastic about it.
Night had fallen. The cracked moon had taken refuge behind some serious looking thunder giants. A part of me wondered if there was a chance of tornados. Nature wasn't exactly predictable anymore… okay, probably not, but whatever. Man, I have no idea how weather works. Should have studied harder.
Lance and I were in my shack, going over the plan once again before we headed out. We both wore warm clothes colored dark blue to fit in with the night. Kronos was safely tucked under my sleeve in its bracelet form, while Lance carried Riptide in a sheath on his hip. We had sewn hoods onto our jackets, while Lance had a simple filtration mask.
"Right, so no questions?" he asked. I nodded.
Let it be said that we were both strategists, but I was the less patient one. Lance grew in an environment filled with ancient gods that could kick your ass easily, and relying on muscle was the worst mistake. I'd always feel frustrated when I wasn't part of the action, there to help, or winning the battle. The worst was when a friend fell...
Everyone else was tucking in their homes for the night. The night watch on shift had bundled themselves in scrap rain jackets to protect them from the rain. Gwen, John, and Bran were long asleep, the duties of being leaders tiring their minds. There was no cold, since these new… abilities made heat preservation much easier. I felt like I could take a dip in the Arctic, and be fine. refreshed, even.
In front of us was a table loaded with weapons and equipment. Two pistols, one scoped rifle, several homemade grenades, a box Lance refused to let me open (little bastard), and five boxes' full of seawater. Not exactly seawater, but close enough. It mainly relied on us trying to find the best concentration of salt, which took a couple of tries.
I took one of the pistols, two grenades, and loaded the boxes onto my back. Lance took the rest, and we hid most of our armaments under our jackets before going outside. Hank, the "veteran" didn't even bother stopping us. Lance and I leaving was common practice, mainly because everyone thought I had singled him out as a favorite trainee. That was partially true, if only because he was a demigod and had been born to fight monsters.
We trekked a few hundred meters in a straight line away from the gate. Once we were out of sight, we turned left and began our march to the base. As we walked, I swapped to my 'Earth-vision' - yeah, that's what I'm calling it until I come up with a better name - and began to 'look' around the area. Monsters were all over the place, but they weren't attacking. Now, I'm not one to look a gifted horse in the mouth, but even I had to question that. A couple paced back and forth as we walked by, but none of them made a move.
"Lance, there's monsters everywhere… but they're not attacking." Lance looked around (all I saw was a half-bright silhouette turn its head back and forth).
"We probably shouldn't overstay our welcome, then." Picking up the pace, but still jogging at a leisurely speed towards the base (hey, that rhymes!). With my trainees, I had them fed with the best food possible, to ensure they would be in top shape, and sprinting half a mile before they could even think about getting tired. Cause when you're in the wilds, lonely, out of ammo, and out of weapons, the best choice was to FUCKING RUN.
The Mutants picked up their pace, but so did we. Just beyond the bushes, I could feel their bodies of black-and-purple blood, churning for human flesh.
By the time we got to the base, the rain was falling pretty damn well, but I wasn't cold. The monsters had stopped following us when Lance had burned one of them with a magic blast, but I couldn't tell if there were any more around us, since the wolves had been long gone from my senses. The base was mostly dark, with only a few lights on here and there. This was it. We were going to either take these bastards down, or die trying. Preferably not dying would be good. I had to control my breathing to keep from getting too excited.
"You ready?" Lance asked. I nodded, and began to put all my focus towards the rain.
Rain was sort of a shared domain between Zeus and Poseidon, but since Poseidon kids only happened to excel in controlling large bodies of water, it belonged to Zeus. Unless it was on the ocean, of course. I gave up as soon as the mental block arrived, so plopped down the boxes of salt water instead. The water fell seamlessly under my control, while the power "buffs" as I'd like to call them made the process easier. The idea was to use the existing water to gather rainwater, therefore increasing my supply. I waved the large slither around and between trees, through grass and puddles to gather more. I sucked the last stream dry of water and brought my abomination in front of us.
"That's some freaky shit," Lance mumbled. I allowed myself a smirk as the water 'snake' made its way to the base. I tried to move it stealthily by avoiding the sights of the guards, but I face palmed once realizing my mistake.
How the fuck do snakes move?
Duh, they crawl. I moved the water down into the grass and spread it out like a flat plane, to decrease the chance of someone finding that the moving water was not natural. The sheet glided…
"See that radio tower they have? Good place to start. Their tanks and cars too, if you wish." Lance spoke.
Now, Percy. The tanks or…
I guess I'll just wing it then.
I willed the water to freeze, and with all my strength, knocked it into a Humvee. Said aluminum armour dented and flipped over the car.
They must have had some sort of alarm system hooked up to the car, because as soon as the vehicle hit the ground, sirens started buzzing, with what I could see… woah, that was a lot of people. A symphony of other lights sprang up and soon found my ice fist, which I happily hit their lights out with (oh my god, best pun ever).
Instead of targeting the people, I had to hit them where it hurt the most- the vehicles. Without them, they would be simply men and women with rifles. Oh, the machine guns too. Without machine guns, their defence against the white-and-black menace would be weakened severely.
"Take some of it!" I shouted. Lance nodded and held a portion of the water, while i went to town on their vehicles. One, two, three, last one-
My eyes burned as a bright beacon of light focused on us, and at that moment, I had only one instinct.
Bullets rained on our position as I lost focus, forcing me to drop the water. One round grazed my arm, but I escaped the light. I didn't know how hard I ran, and for how long, but I could tell that I was in a constant struggle to avoid the spotlight. They must have realized my water snake was gone!
The alarms blared once again as a large gate opened, several squads of soldiers rushing out to greet us, laser sights scanning the forest. I chucked a grenade towards them, and dove into the ground.
I looked up, to see that the soldiers were still alive, perfectly fine. What-
I forgot to pull the pin.
One of the members fired on me, drawing attention of his fellow troops. I ran back off into the forest, using as much of the terrain to my advantage as possible. I still had some saltwater left, about a bottle left. Using as much concentration as I could spare, I pulled the water into the air, having it follow me as it slowly grew larger and larger. Before long, I had collected a sphere resembling a bowling ball. I stopped and hid behind a tree, hoping to catch my breath, but more importantly, find an opportunity.
The soldiers didn't have much trouble following me into the woods, but they weren't going as fast as I was. I guess the threat of monsters will keep even the hardest bastards at bay, eh? Even if they weren't afraid, I wasn't going to let this advantage go to waste.
The soldier closest to me was about fifteen feet away, sweeping back and forth over the area in front of her. I'm not sure just how many monsters she'd dealt with, but I'm sure she wasn't expecting a ball of water to come zipping out of the forest. Poor girl didn't even react when the ball of water covered her entire head. She had stood still, a look of fear and confusion on her face as she probably tried to process what was going on.
However, that soon changed in the span of seconds as she realized she couldn't breathe. I watched from the forest as she began to thrash and throw herself about, trying to free herself from the water. I had it follow her every movement. Behind her, her comrades were just watching, stunned that water, water, had come alive and was slowly killing one of them.
Instinct took over, and I focused on the fine control of water. Increasing the tension of the water around her neck, I felt the objects become one. I raised my arms and slammed it into the ground, the water following my movement. There was a sickening 'crunch' as her back broke.
Instinct, survival, and fighting were not the same. She cried out silently as the last of the air escaped her broken lungs, her broken back stopping her body from trying to help. In some corner of my mind, I remembered a time where things were much simpler, a me with moral decency and a care for life. Care for life that I had taken. But I refused to stop. These people killed my friends. These people killed hundreds of men, women, and children, all just trying to survive in this Hell. These people decided on who lived and died that day. Now… now I was returning the favor.
Any sick feelings I had were washed away in my anger, suppressed by my desire for absolute revenge, and by God I was going to get it! This was all my fault, and I was going to fix everything!
The girl hadn't even hit the forest floor (I remembered throwing her into the air) before I moved on to my next targets. I imagined dividing my mind like four plane-mirrors, and the sphere split into four.
Although rage was a powerful emotion, the process of killing was no longer a haze. Each move was methodical, like a difficult math problem. I couldn't grasp the water within their bodies, so I sent some towards them. I flung one like a bullet into some soldier's throat, and hardened its tension until it killed him. Two more water spheres, two more bodies dropping, their necks either bulged or internally combusted. I threw my last at a shotgun wielding soldier, and lodged the water halfway into his throat. I gripped my hands until it bled, with the water also contracting until I could no longer hold it. The sphere exploded, blowing a hole in the soldier's throat. Which fucker had it worse, I'll let you decide.
I let go of the water and focused on the bow diluted blood within the corpses, and grasped several tendrils. I increased then tension within my mind and spun the tendrils, sending another soldier flying to certain death. The real question was, how long before they retreat?
"Fall back! Everyone fall back!" I heard someone shout from the edge of the forest. Guess I got enough of them to get their goose.
Kronos was in my hand without me having to turn around. The bronze scythe whirled about to strike at the mutant wolf that had somehow managed to sneak up on me. The thing jumped back before I could kill it. We locked eyes with each other, its burning yellow orbs unblinking as we stared each other down. My hand tightened around Kronos. The mutant wolf growled at me, regarded the scythe in my hand, then… moved right by me? What?
Goodsir: Let's end it here, shall we? Good work this week, P3pp3r. Fantastic writing as usual!
Mr.P3pp3r: Aight! And spectacular writing on your part as well, Goodsir! Sorry I took so long, college homework is killing me. Thankfully I'll have this weekend (and Monday and Tuesday) to myself, so I should be on more during that time.
Goodsir: Oh, thanksgiving extended break, I see? Me too.
Mr.P3pp3r: NOPE! Just staying in another state with visiting family, and classes those days aren't going to be doing more than study sessions.
Goodsir: Well, then… REVIEW!