Chiron turned to the small group of campers gathered before him. They included the three children of the Big Three: Shade, son of Hades; Thalia, daughter of Zeus and Percy, son of Poseidon. Also present were Grover, Annabeth, Tyson and the two new campers Alex and Sky. He was deeply concerned about questing with such a big group, but that was what the Oracle had said. Her words still sounded in his mind:
Eight shall go west with you to the wild lord,
Three shall be children who sow discord
Three shall be campers, tried and true,
Two shall be who to the camp are new
Along the way, allies you will find,
Two twins at first sight, but not in their mind.
Go to the one whose mind may be changed,
And to the one of the Three first named.
But be warned, all who go may not return,
And all who do something difficult will learn.
With a heavy heart, Chiron relayed those words to the campers who seemed to match the Oracle's words. Their reactions were varied.
Shade didn't care. To him, the world was ending, and it didn't matter if he went to see his father sooner rather than later. Tyson was excited, he had created tons of gear and weaponry, and was anxious to test them out. Chiron, well, Chiron was very nervous. He didn't like that they would find new people who had never been trained, and that the whole group wouldn't come back. Sky was worried about Alex, as usual, but otherwise didn't care. Percy was a little nervous – he was a powerful half-blood that could topple Olympus, and there were too many annoying prophecies. Thalia was mostly annoyed with being dragged away from the Hunt. When she wasn't fighting with the Hunters, it was actually quite fun. Annabeth was being Annabeth, mind racing through a whole lot of stuff and possibilities and things like that. Similarly, Alex was being Alex. The young girl really wasn't quite so sure what was going on - Sky had mentioned a really long trip though, which sounded fun.
Chiron was slightly appalled at taking Alex and Sky. Alex seemed too young to be submitted to danger and possibly death, and Sky never went anywhere without Alex and, it was slightly hard to deal with his own horse butt in the travel arrangements, let alone two. What he decided to do, since cars, planes and probably trains were out of the running for transportation, they were going to have to walk, or rather, ride.
decided, would ride the black pegasus that he rescued from the
Princess Adromeda with Grover. Alex would ride Sky with Thalia. He
himself would take Hades' son Shade and Annabeth. He had asked the
camp horses for volunteers - Flame, a fiery palomino, was
picked. Flame volunteered to take Tyson by himself. Chiron made sure
all the campers were settled on their mounts, and took time for any
last minute ride swaps. He then took the other two volunteers - Blues
(a blue roan) and Night (speckled white on black) - and asked
them to carry the supplies needed: food; blankets and a giant tent.
He couldn't take water though - water was too heavy, and they did
have the son of the sea god. Chiron believed he was all set. So, the
group set out in double file, Chiron and Blackie at the head;
followed by Sky and Flame; Blues and Night bringing up the rear.
Then they were attacked.
"Demonic spiders! Aahhh!" shouted Grover, fearfully pulling spiders off himself and accidentally throwing them on Percy who shouted at Grover. "Stop it, Grover! They aren't the enemy! They are just little spiders. Look over there!" Grover picked up his head and looked and screamed "The Minotaur! For Pan' s sake! NO! This cannot be happening! EEEKKK! Spiders! GET OFF ME!!"
Annabeth snapped at Grover, "Get serious, Grover. Concentrate on what's important!" She eyed the Minotaur, not being happy at all.
Percy and Thalia both charged, sword and spear at the ready, as Alex looked at Sky. "What do we do?"
And Grover was being Grover, trying to swat the spiders and get his pipes at the same time.
While Percy and Thalia busily distracted the Minotaur, Sky carefully slipped into the shadows to the sides and back of the monster. She crept around until she was directly behind the bull-headed creature. She whispered to Alex to free her hunting knife, took a dagger in hand and charged, racing straight at the monster's head, dagger held out in front of her. The monster didn't even know she was coming... until she tripped on a log. Sky and Alex were sent crashing head first into the back of the monster's knees. The Minotaur turned to look at them while giving any one of the two advancing heroes the chance to spear it from behind. He sank his teeth into Sky's shoulder. She was already dazed, and the Minotaur had a slight poison in his teeth. She began to relax, feeling woozy and exhausted. Her shoulder hurt like fire, but why bother feeling pain? It seemed much better to sleep... Sky sank to the ground like a stone and fainted. Alex was trapped beneath her friend, her leg crushed under the heavy horse-like body. The Minotaur was looming ever closer, teeth bared, when Alex felt a pull on her t-shirt. Sky had fallen clear of the Minotaur, close enough to the group for Blues to get close enough to Alex. Blues barely managed to pull Alex clear of Sky before the Minotaur attacked her too. As it was, the teeth clipped her leg and broke her skin. Alex fainted clear away in Blues' grip. While the Minotaur was preoccupied, Shade, like the shadow he was named for, slid lithely up a tree and dropped with crushing force onto the Minotaur's neck, instantly breaking it. The monster disintegrated almost instantly, but not so fast for Shade to miss grabbing a horn as his trophy.
Chiron hustled over to the prone duo, busily giving orders. "Annabeth - go into my bag on Night's back. I have some ambrosia and nectar in there. Get it quickly! We still might loose these two."
Annabeth nodded as she practically sprinted over to Night, searching for the ambrosia and nectar. She pulled it out and ran back.
For some reason, Percy
couldn't help but note that now two sons of the Big Three had a
Minotaur horn in their possession.
Blues had pulled the now-limp girl out of harm's way, and had leaned her body against a tree. He then went to help Chiron with Sky. Chiron was having trouble pulling the big centaur/satyr upright so he could get her to swallow some of the nectar. It took Blues and Chiron to haul the horse girl up into a kneeling position, and Blues had to stay by her side to prevent her from tipping over once more.
Shade dropped the Minotaur horn and lifted Alex, hugging the still form against his chest. She was so small, he thought, so fragile. Sitting down by Chiron, Blues and Sky, Shade positioned Alex so that her head leaned against his chest. He took the nectar Chiron passed him with a sheepish smile, and proceeded to feed Alex like he would his sister (if he had one).
"They're gonna be all right?" Annabeth asked. The two children of the Big Three with nothing to do were taking out their frustration on the ground, in Percy's case or examining her bow, as Thalia was doing.
Shade gently held the reviving Alex to him, not understanding the feeling that was coursing through his veins. She was so precious – and he knew that he would do all he could to protect her. Chiron was busy coaxing a sleepy Sky to her feet. Twisting, he stamped his hoof to call attention to himself. "I believe we will camp here tonight. If you are bored, prepare the camp." He hauled Sky to her hooves, and helped Shade up with Alex, who fell into a true sleep almost instantly, her breath flowing evenly against Shade's chest.
Of course, that meant everyone. Percy was wrestling with a tent pole, while Grover bleated on the other side, trying to keep it upright. Thalia, on the other hand, didn't seem to have any trouble with the tent the girls would share, having already set it up.
Sky wobbled toward the girls' tent, Shade carrying Alex right beside her. After tucking Alex into a sleeping bag, he hurried over to the tipping tent poles of the boys' tent where Chiron was frantically running around, trying to help everywhere at once. Together, Shade, Chiron, Grover and Percy managed to set up a dirty and leaning but still workable tent. Chiron easily set up a roaring campfire a safe distance away from the tents and surrounded by rocks. He began passing out sticks and hot dogs to roast.
"No marshmallows?" Percy cracked, only to be poked by Annabeth's stick. By the time he looked back, Annabeth had a hot dog on the end, innocently roasting it over the fire. Thalia was also roasting a hot dog, while Grover, being a vegetarian, was fiddling with an apple, waiting until everyone else had their food, to be polite and all.
"We will have marshmallows, but later." Chiron's hot dog caught fire. "Oh darn."
Percy and Thalia
couldn't help but laugh at the centaur's expression, while Annabeth
had forcibly handed her stick to Grover while getting water from one
of the water bottles. She opened it and poured it over Chiron's hot
dog. It was either that or roll it in the ground.
There was crashing in the bushes, and the leaves started to shake. Chiron instantly drew his bow and reached into the quiver on his back. Shade emerged from the girls' tent with Alex in his arms, squeezing her protectively to his chest. The bushes rattled again, and out stepped an olive skinned teenage boy. Then several things happened at once. A tree branch cracked and fell on Shade's head as Sky panicked, sending her earthly powers out everywhere (also killing the fire). Chiron fired his bow, his tranquilizer arrows instantly putting the boy into a deep sleep. The boy crumpled, waves of heat coming off his skin, rekindling the dying embers into a bonfire that scorched Tyson and singed Blues and Night, scaring them into a gallop towards the woods, knocking Annabeth and Percy to the ground and nearly trampling Thalia. Flame spooked and reared, scattering the fire/bonfire. Flaming coals and embers were thrust into the sky, showering everyone around. The only person protected was Alex, who was trapped under a motionless Shade.
I'll add more next time!