A view to a blessing
Chapter 2: Souvenir of a golden cat
Content: Our heores are going to face the first test!
Thanks to Mr. Riordan for creating these freaking universe and characters. I only own Licor and Arthur.
« You will face a test to have a blessing,
A golden one, big, feline, killing
The monster you will not succeed in,
Unless you enter a usually defended estate,
Leaving an unusual one with help,
Smoke without fire, believe in.
Your brother will act family, save you,
And his father discover a deep link."
Everybody was gathered in the room at the Big House. By everybody I mean Mr. D, Chiron, Argus, and the counsellors. We were all concerned by the prophecy we had heard. By the way, there was somebody else there. Something… The Oracle had left its sanctuary; and stayed on the big table we surrounded.
Luke had cursed me and "all my family" before dying. This could mean all the gods, half-gods, and even mythological creatures. A disaster if we didn't do anything…
This is what we had understood from the prophecy we had last week. We also understood that I would have to face twelve tests, helped by a son of an immortal, and an Olympian God. Family acting. We had decided that all the counsellors would help.
That is the reason we were all in this room, listening to the prophecy. It was not a game, but we had to see who would accompany me.
Nobody spoke. We were all thinking.
After a moment, Chiron breathed hard. "Ok, I think I know what you will have to do. Or face. I guess it is like a ritual. Everybody here knows what Heracles did. Percy, you will follow his lead. It will not be such a surprise, taken that you already killed the Nemean lion."
"I had been helped then," I replied.
"And you will now too."
We all turned to see who had spoken. Licor had stood up. He was steady. Determined. Such a look was unusual in his face.
"Are you sure you were designed, Licor?"
"It could be dangerous, son."
"I can feel it. And yes, Father, this will be dangerous, but it would be much more for Percy without me. My decision is taken; unless Percy refuses, I will accompany him."
Mr D looked amazed. He had barely spoken to Licor before. He had had eyes only for his twins. And they were dead… Fighting for freedom. Against Kronos, to save Western Civilization.
Licor was a lot alike his father. Not really tall, plump. He had curly hair, wore sandals and shorts. And he had something with plants. Especially vines. Normal. He could have them grow from everywhere; not very strong, always impressing.
Everybody remained silent. That was an agreement. I would leave with Licor. It was not a "problem" to me, I was in good terms with him. There was just one point.
Where would we find the lion? The last time I had seen him, he had found me by himself. And he had died. I was not even sure he had reappeared yet.
I guess Annabeth read my thoughts on my face, eventhough I am not certain she had looked at me in the eyes since the beginning of the meeting.
"Where will they find the monster?" Nothing more… I had expected a smile, a look, something…
Chiron turned to Arthur. "I guess your father can help."
He nodded. "I'm gonna ask him."
Annabeth seemed to understand. I didn't. But didn't ask.
"I have an answer." Arthur was out of breath. We had not seen him for an hour, and he seemed… different. Fitter. Brighter. His strange orange eyes were shining. I knew he had been talking to his father.
"You'll find it not far from there. I guess you even already went there yet. A little shop called something like 'Auntie… something'."
"That's it! You know it, right? Father told me something like that."
The place where Medusa used to keep her statues… I didn't know I would ever go back there.
And yet I had. I was standing at the entrance, Licor next to me.
The atmosphere was still heavy, dark. The statues hadn't moved. One had it head off; a satyr, who had once been Grover's uncle. A polish ball, last souvenir of my facing the monster some years ago, was on the floor. I grabbed it. Don't ask why, I don't know. I put it on my pocket.
"O-kay… I like this place. Really. Can't a little light reach this marble silence?"
That's when we heard it. A big 'ROOOOAAAAAAAARRRRRRRR!!!!!', but way worse than that.
And a big flash. Somehow Licor had had his light. I guess it was not this sort he was expecting.
The lion was standing in front of us. It was even higher than the thought I had kept from our last face. This time I had been moving, and jumping on suspended planets. I had seen it from above.
And I had been with Zoë. I won't say Licor is unusable. This would be mean. He was nice. He was taking risks for me. He
Ok, so long to my prejudice. Maybe Licor had been a Hunter in a former life.
The fact is, he jumped backwards, took out his sword, and hold it pointed at the monster.
I had an example to follow. Licor sucked at sword-fighting. I was a nerd. And he was holding a sword, I was only thinking…
I uncapped my pen. Riptide in my hand, its reassuring weight on my wrist. I was in my element. "Cover me!" And I charged.
Licor didn't move. Neither did the lion.
"Percy, you know what you are doing, right? Stop it. Stop it! It'll kill you! Look at its mouth!"
Fortunately, I finally heard his screams. I started an emergency breaking, my feet planted in the ground. I stopped one or two inches from its claws rose. It seemed to have raised the leg in order to have me skewered by myself. I wouldn't give it this fun.
During that time, Licor had to have been thinking for a plan. I am not saying we had not thought before coming here. Just that it seemed to be impossible now.
"Percy! When will you stop to act like a fool? I thought you knew how to battle! We have a plan, remember?"
I was trying to remember. But my senses were like hidden behind a veil. I couldn't feel this adrenalin surging through my body, this ADHD powers that would save my life.
I closed my eyes. I thought it was better to calm down. It was not. I opened them when I felt the ground moving. The lion was charging. And I wouldn't move. Strange. I was looking at my death coming. Something like 'Oh, look at this nice lion! So cute. I want to stroke it.'
When the oversized teethe were so close that I could smell its breath on my face – horrible, have you ever smelled boar guts? – Licor pushed me hard on the floor. He had saved my life.
The problem is that he had sacrificed his for that. He was standing right at the monster. He raised his arms, like a cross, closed his eyes, and… I don't know, because I closed mines too.
I just heard a last roar, and then a little noise, like a bubble exploding and a tiny smell of alcohol – I'd say it was wine – and nothing more. The lion had kept charging. I hadn't heard any flesh tearing, bone destroying, brains smashing or other noises you could expect during these moments.
I opened my eyes back. Licor had not moved. His cheeks were just a tiny bit redder than before. He also looked stronger. I can't say why.
But the lion had a problem. It couldn't walk along a line anymore. Jerky moving I recognized as drunken ones. Licor had managed to have the monster drunk…
I barely moved. My head was heavy. My side was hurting.
Licor came to me, and helped me on my feet.
"How did you do that, mate?"
"Did what?" He looked serious, but I was still able to see he was lying. He put his hand in his pocket, probably hiding something.
"You used a magic item? May I see it?"
"Just a second, you know. I own one too, I won't break it, I promise."
"Percy, the lion is right behind you. The effects won't stay much longer. You should concentrate a little. I can't recognize you…"
The fact is, neither could I. Nor could I recognize Licor. I hadn't done anything clever since the beginning. Licor had saved me twice or thrice. Licor had used his items at the good moments. I didn't even know where Riptide was. Not in my hand, and I could see it nowhere. Lost… How would I do?
I tried to find who had spoken. Doing it, I didn't notice the death-running lion on my right side.
I still hadn't found. And I remembered it was Licor. At the same time, I also remembered I was fighting a hungry flesh-eating lion. And it was by me. I had to react.
I closed my eyes, and crouched on the floor. I grabbed my head with hands. I was missing my mother. How was she? Was she with her lover, Mr… Blofish – fis, whatever?
Something erupted being me. I could feel it growing by my feet. I don't know why, but I thought to a snake. This feeling gave me such a shock that I jumped up.
Bad idea. The lion was just above me. I had managed to avoid the mouth by crouching - which I had not even thought to when I did it – but my standing had me hit by the legs.
It didn't hurt as much as I had been expecting. But it hurt. A lot. I tried to look at Licor. He was concentrated on a deep effort. I understood that he had had vine growing around the lion's legs, in order to slow it down.
The monster was struggling to free itself.
Licor opened his eyes, saw me lying on the floor, silently swore, and ran to me.
"Percy! Percy! Why did you stood? I was doing it. Percy! How do you feel? Can you see me?"
Barely. I tried to answer, but couldn't. My vision was fuzzy. I couldn't see well, but well enough to notice the lion smashing the vine. Licor had not. He was turning his back to this scene. To save me again…
He took a little pipe from his pocket. The sort of one you use with soap, to make funny bubbles, colourful and bright. Then you can have fun exploding them. They are beautiful glowing in the sun. Like Annabeth. Her blonde hair, in the wind. Bubbles fly away in the wind…
POP! Mom doesn't really like wine. She is never drunk... Why was I thinking to that?
Not only had I heard this noise – why did I think it was the second time? – that a strange feeling filled me from nostrils to toenails. My whole body became fuzzy. My thoughts seemed torn apart from my head.
I would act without wanting it, without thinking to it.
"Sorry, mate. I had no choice. Pain would have filled you, and in your estate you certainly have died. I hope you won't act even more foolishly than
He was cut by a clawed hand on the back.
The lion had silently approached, while we were speaking. Licor had not noticed it. I had, but had forgotten this fact.
It is exactly what happened at that very moment.
I didn't know what to do. The lion was going to achieve Licor. I couldn't prevent that.
Suddenly, another wave of vine appeared. But this looked… stronger. Harder. More lethal.
I wrapped the raised leg of the lion, the one which was going to kill Licor, and broke it. As easily as I would have broken matches.
Another dry noise. Another scream from the injured monster.
As this was taking place, I saw it without noticing it. My eyes sent messages, but my brains wouldn't take them in account. At least, the part of my brains I thought I was still controlling.
The other made me walk to the monster. It had the mouth opened to scream pain and fury.
I simply put my hand in my pocket, took the cold ball inside – I didn't even know there was one, strange. When had I picked it up? – and threw it into the mouth.
The monster choked. Tried to spit it. But it wouldn't leave. It was already lacking of oxygen, if monster need oxygen.
After three or four other tries, the monster stopped moving. And slightly and silently disappeared into gold particles.
Done. It was done. The monster was dead.
I only had time before falling asleep from all the events, experiences I had just lived, to see a little plump man, in sandals, crouched next to Licor, weaving a hand on his back. The man turned his head to me.
I was so tired and out of mind, my seeing was so fuzzy that I barely could see my feet, but I could swear the man smiled.
Done for the first test. How did you find it? I need to know! Review please!!!!