The Third Passenger
August 12, afternoon
After leaving the "bigger on the inside" tent headache-free, I wondered on whether or not find Annabeth and apologize. For what exactly, I wasn't sure but it felt like I was the one that needed to say I'm sorry first at least. Was I happy with the idea? Not really, but it would get us back to talking again. However, after much debate, I settled on letting her cool off while I went for sword practice at the arena on my own. I had to be better and faster than Luke despite the fact that Kronos now possessed him. As I made my lonely walk, I wondered if it'd be easier to just get a Priest or a Greek Pythia and have an exorcism preformed on him.
Life is not that easy, I suppose.
When I arrived to the arena, I discovered Clarisse letting go of her frustration on a poor Greek dummy. Most unfortunately, the poor dummy never stood a chance against Clarisse's spear. As I watched, I realized that she was one of our most fierce fighters when she was in a good mood; however, whenever she was angry, she was a nonstop killing machine. I didn't think she had seen me as I approached, Riptide in hand just in case she got me confused by a dummy.
"Don't waste your breath, punk!" cried Clarisse as she stabbed the dummy's straw heart. So much for being stealthy. "Ares is out of the fight and there's nothing you can do or say that will make us change our mind, especially mine."
Anger started to ring in my ears. Were we going to lose the war because of a dispute over a broom? So many demigods had died, one of them being Beckendorf who had given his life for the cause. I wanted to ask Clarisse why she was doing this, but, without thinking, a rather dumb move from my part, I started attacking her instead. I suppose anger blinded me or my ADHD made me act on impulse but I was actually attacking Clarisse with Riptide and didn't want to stop. She was startled at first, but quickly got over it when she saw me going for her head with Riptide. Nothing like your friendly game of sparring with sharp objects to clear your head of issues, pent up anger and frustration you may have.
We fought in silence for a while. I had managed to land a couple of hits on her shoulder and ribs but she was a much better warrior than I was. I supposed having Ares as your father helps. As she dodged one of my attacks with skill, I realized that if we didn't convince her of joining us against Kronos' force again, we were sure to have an even much more difficult fight. While all of us had skills, the Ares' campers were our brute force and without them, we were doomed.
"So you're not going to help us because of a cleaning supply?" I finally asked as she went for my chest with the butt of her spear. Luckily enough I had managed to trip on a rock when I was stepping backwards and avoided the spear by falling flat on my demigod behind. I felt my face get hot from either embarrassment or pure heat from the sparring. I truly hoped that it was the latter.
"You're pathetic, Jackson," Clarisse said with a sneer. Her spear's tip was an inch away from my forehead; her brown eyes closely resembled her father's intense, fiery look. Minus the whole actual fire thing, you know. "How are you supposed to save Olympus when you can't even avoid tripping? You better hope the fight doesn't happen around rocks, otherwise the Olympians and demigods are doomed."
"I suppose that's not your concern anymore, Clarisse." I waited for her to shock me with Maimer but fortunately enough, she lowered her spear before glaring at me.
"Yeah, you're right." Clarisse turned and began to walk away towards the cabins. "To answer your question, this isn't just about a dumb broom. It is about all the insults and disrespect my cabin has gone through with the rest of the demigods. I know what it's said about us. About me. However, whenever someone wants a favor from Ares, everyone forgets the insults they've said. No one asks for forgiveness and expect us to follow orders without asking questions. In the end, Jackson, it's about pride and respect." Without another word, Clarisse left me in the arena to wonder what she had said. To be honest, I understood why she was angry but why couldn't she be angry some other time? If she had picked any time after the war to wring Michael's neck, or the rest of the campers, it would've been all right with me. However, now was not really the time to pull out of a war that was looming upon us.
I needed to clear my head. Beckendorf's death, Clarisse's decision, my argument with Annabeth, my supposed decision and death…It was all beginning to be too much for me. I wish I could talk to mom to tell her that I was alive but to also vent with her and ask for some advice. Some of her cookies would also hit the spot to be honest. I made up my mind. Considering I couldn't send an Iris message my mom nor use a cell phone, I decided to go to the only place where everything made sense for me: the sea.
Harry woke from his sleep with a violent jolt. He looked around at his strange surroundings feeling disoriented. He was about to reach for his wand until everything came coming back: the portkey to the States, fighting Bellatrix and meeting actual children of the Greek gods. As he sat upright, Harry took a deep breath and tried to recollect the rather creepy dream he just had. Everything about it gave him the shivers. He remembered Kronos looking at his friends as if they were mere pieces of art just before he disintegrated them into nothing. When he remembered his own fate in the dream, he hastily looked down his hands and was relieved to see that they were still young.
In the bed above him, Ron was snoring away with one arm and leg dangling off his bed. He tried to go back to sleep but the commotion, metal clanking and yelling from the kids outside made it an impossible task. When he decided that sleep was no longer a choice, he got out of bed and stretched, feeling a pang of jealousy at Ron's ability to sleep through almost everything except Mrs. Weasley's angry voice
Not wishing to stick around while everyone slept, Harry crossed the tent as quietly as he could with the idea of exploring camp. However, his plans of exploring went sour when he found himself face to face with Dumbledore himself.
"Ah, it seems as if you've read my mind, Harry. I was on my way to wake you considering that I wished to have a chat with you privately."
"Walk with me, Harry, no reason to wake the rest up. I fear that in the next few days, things such as sleep will be a luxury, might as well they get it now while they still can."
Harry followed Dumbledore in silence wondering what the headmaster wanted to talk about. During the day, camp was definitely more interesting that what the night had to offer. Kids of every age were walking wearing full armor, and carrying various types of weapons such as swords, spears and bows. He could not believe that a kid as young as ten was holding a bow almost as big as as he was and getting ready for war was while he, at that age, was either running away from Dudley or playing on his own with his old toy soldiers at pretend war.
"Do you know where we're going, sir?" Harry asked as he saw a climbing wall at a distance. For some odd reason, from where he was standing, it looked like there was lava around it.
"I have as much knowledge of these grounds as much as you do, Harry," said Dumbledore as he smiled. "Let's call this an exploration, if you will." As they continued walking, Harry realized that the campers were staring at them with curiosity before whispering to themselves. Having been through the awkward glances and gossip most of his life, Harry managed to ignore them just fine.
"So Harry, what are your thoughts about this place and its inhabitants?" Dumbledore asked as they arrived at a creek.
Harry stared at his old professor for a while as he gathered his thoughts. "Well, to be honest, sir, I never knew this world existed until a less than twelve hours ago. A bit weird, thought, they seem to train kids for battle as if their lives depended on it."
"Their lives do depend on it, Harry," Dumbledore explained. "The monsters you saw have absolutely no problem in killing a demigod child as young as five if it could." Harry shivered at the thought. "While usually thirteen is the age they start to be hunted by the monsters, their lives are always in danger regardless of the age. They have to develop their abilities, otherwise their life span will be rather short."
"Are there demigods back home?"
"To be honest, Harry, I don't know. The gods moved to the States many years ago, due to the country being the heart of muggle civilization. Britain was once at the heart so I think that there were demigods many years before. However, I don't doubt the gods like to travel to other parts of the world when they have some time off."
"How come we've never heard of them? How come they hide from us?"
Dumbledore winced in pain as his hand seemed to be hurting him again. Harry wanted to ask the story behind that injury but he knew better. Dumbledore hid his hand under his robe and smiled at Harry ."You see, Harry, wizards are not liked that much as you possibly already know that. Demigods are no different than muggles, except that they have a much bigger reason to dislike us right now."
"Because we're descendants from Hecate?"
"Yes, exactly that." Dumbledore narrowed his eyes on Harry. "That's not part of your History lessons with Professor Bins…how did you know this?" Harry explained his dream to Dumbledore about what Kronos had said, about the spy at camp and how Voldemort was actually the grandchild of Hecate herself. Dumbledore said nothing for a while. Harry could almost see the gear turning in the headmaster's head.
"This might be a problem." Dumbledore's tone was no longer light as it had been a few moments ago. "You see, Harry, the demigods distrust us because of our unique power, however when you add the fact Hecate has sided with Kronos their distrust towards us increases along with the gods'. Hecate herself may use her influence on our magic when the fight starts. If we help to win the battle, the gods will interfere with Hecate. They may or may not punish her but they will certainly stop her from influencing Voldemort in the future when our own war begins."
Harry was about to say something when a loud bang startled him. "Ah, I believe that it's time for dinner. Come, Harry, let us get the others. We don't want to be late when the wood nymphs serve the food."
Number one perk of being the son of the sea god was that I could will the water to get me wet or keep me dry if I wanted. So when I made my way to the dining pavilion, which, by the way, I was starving by that point, I was dry as a bone. My anger had cooled off thanks to the alone time I had at the sea and the one sided conversations I had with the fish. I had, however, yet to talk to Annabeth, which could make my anger comeback depending on the route the conversation took. As I walked towards the pavilion, none of the campers approached me and I immediately knew that word about my upcoming death had made its rounds. I was a walking, talking dead man to them. Not wanting to put up with their pity by making small talk, I approached someone whom I hadn't seen in a long time: Juniper.
"Hi Juniper!" I greeted as I caught up to her. She turned fast, her eyes looking at me with hope before a disappointed look took over. Her amber hair was a mess but I didn't want to tell her that…I'd done that more than once and trust me, I had finally learned my lesson.
"Oh…it's only you, Percy," she muttered as silent green tears rolled down her cheeks.
"Nice to see you too…" I grumbled.
"I'm sorry...I'm just worried about Grover, that's all. He's been missing for a while now…"I felt as if I had been punched in the stomach. Because of everything that had happened with the attacks, our guests, and the prophecy, I hadn't given Grover one single thought. I felt like a horrible friend right now.
"How long as it been since you've talk to him?"
"About three months…" she hiccupped as she withdrew a tissue from her sleeve. "He's been travelling all over trying to get Pan's message across to everyone. He would send me a message every other day and talk about how the other nature spirits were reacting to Pan's death." She paused for a second and gave me a pleading look. "You don't think he ran off with another nymph, do you? Perhaps he found a more exotic one and doesn't want to come back." At that thought, Juniper began to cry harder.
"What? No way, Juniper, Grover loves you," I said as I patted her awkwardly on the shoulder. "And don't worry, the sympathy link is still there and since I'm still alive, I'm sure Grover is as well. I'll find him one way or another, Juniper, and when I do, I'll punch him once for you and then tell him to get in touch with you."
Juniper smiled, "Percy, you're a good friend," she said before we continued our walk to the pavilion. My stomach was grumbling but I was, nonetheless, worried about Grover. Our sympathy link was still there…but I couldn't get in touch with him no matter how much I tried. I knew, though, that he was still alive because I wasn't dead, just as I had told Juniper.
Great side effect of sympathy links.
The pavilion was the same as always save for the extra table that had been most likely been conjured by Dumblerydore or whatever his name was. I would've told them to sit with me-the table was just way too big for one person, or two if you count my half-brother Tyson, but I doubt Poseidon would've liked that after my spirit-to-father-conversation we had.
I gave a portion of my food to the gods, asked my dad for help for the upcoming battle, and continued on my merry way to my table with a plate full of smashed potatoes, and a piece of meat. On my way back, I spotted Annabeth sitting with her brothers and sisters who were looking down at a piece of paper. Most likely going over battle plans and strategies. Making note to talk to her after dinner, I sat down at my table, ready to eat food when all of the sudden I spotted a shadow at the edge of the woods. I narrowed my eyes at the spot, my hand slowly went to my pocket for Riptide just in case. However, the more I stared at the shadow, the more it became familiar to me.
Nico had come back to camp but was not joining us due to the camp's animosity towards Hades. He remained hidden but motioned me to follow him into the forest. I should've told Annabeth or Chiron where I was going but I needed to prove them that I was not a coward at all and that I was ready to meet my fate.
"What do you mean we have to throw our food to the fire?" Ron asked Dumbledore as Harry saw all the other campers throw their own food into the fire in the middle of the eating pavilion.
"Not all your food, just a portion. It would help to pray to the gods as you do so or at least say thanks to Zeus for not sending a bolt down on any of you." Harry looked up at the sky half expecting a thunderbolt to come down on their table and burn them to smithereens. His eyesight scanned the surroundings. The pavilion was perhaps as large as the Great Hall and it sat on a hill that overlooked the sea. There were at least twelve large tables for every kid in the camp and a large bonfire. What struck Harry as strange was that the pavilion, which was framed in Greek columns, had no walls or a ceiling to protect them from bad weather.
Harry came back from throwing part of his food into the fire when he spotted an almost empty table. Percy was sitting by himself and when he suggested the idea of sitting with him to Ron and Hermione, Dumbledore explained that they couldn't because the kids were to sit in the table of their parentage along with their other half siblings.
"To be honest, I think Percy has the best deal," Fred said as he sat on the table Dumbledore had conjured. "No other obnoxious little brothers to bother you."
"Aye, does sound like bliss." George nodded in agreement. "Oi! Have you seen these goblets? They stay full with whatever you want it. What did you say this was again?" He asked Chiron.
"It's called Coke," answered Chiron, "it's what you would call a fizzy drink."
"Taste great!" George's eyes were wide. Harry stifled a laugh knowing perfectly well what was in those goblets after seeing it plenty of times in Dudley's room. George was going to be awake for a long time.
"He looks bored," Hermione said as she took a bite of her food.
"Once you a few siblings, Hermione, you will be able to understand the need to get away from them all," Fred pointed out. Harry, on the other hand, said nothing considering that he agreed with the both of them. One glance at a table, which was packed with kids of all ages, he knew that that was too many brothers and sisters. 'But being alone like Percy is just as bad…'
"Looks like the parent of that table has been busy," George said with a laugh as he, too, saw the table that was packed.
"That's Lord Hermes' table," Chiron said.
"Didn't know Percy's owl was a lord or that it had fathered kids…" George whispered under his breath causing Ron to choke on his food.
"He's the messenger of the gods, muggers and travelers, isn't he?" Hermione asked.
"Precisely, though I wouldn't use the word 'muggers' with him if I were you." Chiron nodded towards the table. "That table if packed due to many kids who haven't been determined by their respective parent. Hermes takes anyone and everyone in that needs a place to stay. Some are his actual sons and daughters but a good lot of them are the children of the other gods."
"So what you're saying is that they're being ignored by their godly parent?"
Chiron was silent for a while, as he was trying to find the best way to answer Harry's question. "Yes, I suppose that's the best way to put it and I fear that this is the reason why Luke chose to go to war against the Olympians. He felt ignored by his father and angry towards the other gods who ignored or forgot about their children and just left them behind as if they were nothing to them. In a way, this war is revenge towards the gods."
Harry could not believe what he was hearing. Parents ignoring their own children? Harry wondered how he would feel if he knew that one of his parents had purposefully ignore him for his entire life. Anger, most likely, and bitterness towards either his mother or father for doing such a thing to him. He could understand why Luke, who apparently started the war over the gods' constant irresponsibility, had started the war. However, did he really have to start a whole civil war among the demigods to get his point across?
"You alright, Harry?" asked Hermione as she lowered her fork down. She looked tired, dark circles were under her eyes and her usual bushy hair was now tied in a messy ponytail to keep it away from her face. "You're rather quiet this evening. Is your scar hurting? Because if it is, you need to tell Dumbledore immediately. "
"Huh? Yeah, sorry, Hermione, my scar isn't hurting; I suppose I'm just tired though." Harry wasn't sure if he wanted to help the gods anymore if they had this attitude towards their own children. He wanted to speak to Dumbledore about it, but he was now deep in conversation with Chiron over Voldemort, the Death Eaters, and Wizarding politics. Chiron also wanted to know how his centaur friends and distant relatives were doing in the Forbidden Forest and if they were causing Dumbledore any problems. He made note to talk to the headmaster later, after dinner.
"Oi...what's that?" Ron nudged Harry hard on the ribs as nodded his head towards the edge of the forest. Harry had to narrow his eyes to see what Ron was talking and was fixing to tell Ron that he was seeing things until he spotted a small silhouette. From a distance, he couldn't make up who it was but Percy, on the other hand, seemed to have known considering he immediately left his table and proceeded to follow the shadow deeper into the forest. "Wonder what he's up to, that Percy bloke."
"Think we should follow him?" Harry asked Ron and Hermione.
"Better than having to listen to those two talk about how they're going to try their new product on the demigods." Harry looked past Ron and saw both Fred and George plotting. He wondered if it was wise to mess with teenagers with dangerous weapons such as swords. The answer, he knew, was no and hoped that the twins would soon realize that.
Harry, Ron and Hermione managed to get away easily when everyone on their table was distracted. Harry, per Dumbledore's constant instruction, carried his invisibility cloak in his book bag. He wanted to take it out and use it, but he didn't feel safe taking it out while they were still in plain view of the pavilion and everyone.
"Wonder what he's up to." Harry and his friends entered the forest and continued to follow Percy from a safe distance. They almost lost him twice but the loud growling ahead, which reminded Harry of Hagrid's pet Fluffy, made it easy to track him again. The third time they lost him, however, they realized that not only had they walked deep into the forest and were now lost, but that they couldn't hear the voices or growling that had helped them follow Percy.
"You know, it's not nice to follow people," a voice said. The owner of the voice emerged from the shadows as if he had been one with them. "Who are you?" He was a kid of maybe twelve year of age, with dark brown hair, dark eyes and pale skin. He was wearing an aviator jacket on top of his all-black clothing. The dangerous part in all this was that he kid was pointing a rather dark and deadly looking blade at them and his eyes showed that he was ready to use it on them soon if they didn't answer his question.
"Put the sword down, Nico, they're harmless." Percy had been behind them all along while they were almost hacked by the kid. He climbed down a tree, sword in hand, and approached the kid, Nico. "Really, Nico. They're wizards. They came here to help us."
"You can't trust people who use magic, Percy, Hecate sided with Kronos…they're bound to be spies."
"Just because they're descendants of Hecate, it doesn't make them our enemy."
"I swear I have no idea what you're talking about." Hermione was shaking as the sword was now in front of her. "My name's Hermione Granger, this here," she nudged her head to the right, "is Ron Weasley, and the other one is Harry Potter. We came here from the England to help because well, if we don't, we'll be stuck with our enemy for eternity without being able to kill him."
"Yeah, and trust us, we don't want…HIM…to win any sort of war," said Ron.
Nico lowered the dark sword and stared at Harry who felt a shiver go down his spine. For some odd reason, it felt like staring at the kid was like staring at the face of death. "So you're Harry Potter."
"Have you had dreams as well about Bellatrix cursing his name?" Percy asked as he made his own sword transform into a pen.
"No…more like I met his mother, Lily Potter, you definitely have her eyes"
"I was walking in Elysium, trying to clear my head after an argument with father, when I bumped into Lily. She thinks she's in haven, due to her not knowing about Elysium, but she's happy. She talks a lot about her son."
"Elysium? That's in the Underworld, isn't it?"
"I'm Nico Di Angelo, son of Hades." Hermione gave a squeak next to Harry who now understood why staring at this kid was like staring at death. He was the son of Hades, lord of the Underworld, where all the souls went once their bodies died. "Now, I'm sorry to cut this short…but Percy and I need to go someplace."
Percy sighed, "let's go before I change my mind."
"Wait, I have to ask you questions…about my mum and my dad."
Nico looked at Harry, his dark eyes softened as he apparently took pity on Harry. "I'm sorry, Harry, but I can't summon her and it's not wise to ask about your father either. "
"But you can take me to them, to the Underworld."
"Well…we're going there…" Percy said which Nico immediately sent him a cold stare.
"We have other business to attend to, not the Underworld. Mrs. O'Leary? Here, girl." The loud growling appeared again and this time they saw the source of it. From deep in the shadows, a large black dog with, thankfully, one head appeared. Her head was low, gaze was intently on Harry, Ron and Hermione and her teeth were bare. Ron groaned and stepped back a bit, his hand was in his pocket, ready to grab the wand just in case. Harry, who was behind Ron and Hermione, also had his hand on his wand, just in case the dog decided to attack his friends.
"Nice doggy," whimpered Ron, "very nice doggy."
"Down, Mrs. O'Leary." Nico petted the dog as if she were a harmless lapdog. "They're friends, I think, so don't eat them."
"What is that?" Hermione asked, inching further away from the dog.
"Mrs. O'Leary here is a hellhound," Nico said as Harry took the opportunity of everyone being distracted to duck behind his two friends to go through his bookbag. "She harmless, so to speak."
"She doesn't look harmless," Ron whispered and Hermione agreed.
"Percy, are you ready? We have to do this now; otherwise it'll be too late…"
"Yes, let's go." Percy nodded, his complexion was pale and his eyes showed a hint of fear, Hermione noticed. Nico climbed on top of Mrs. O'Leary as if she were a horse with Percy following suit.
"Please, don't tell Annabeth any of this," said Percy from on top of the hellhound.
"Err…sure. No problem." Ron kept a vigilant eye on Mrs. O'Leary's mouth just in case she was to mistake him for a chew toy. They trotted a few paces back before running full speed ahead towards a tree.
"Hey…where's Harry?" Ron asked.
Hermione looked around to see that Harry was missing. It didn't take her long to realize what he had done.
"Harry, wait no!" from underneath his invisibility cloak, Harry heard Hermione shout for him before everything went dark.
Yeah...I updated. About time! *Hides from angry mob* I hope you guys enjoyed it. Tell me how glad you are that I updated...how angry you are...how (insert here) you are that I took forever and ever. However, just to let you know, I only updated because of a lot of people WANTING me to update. So...yeah...I write this FOR YOU! So...if you wanna know what happens next, review. Otherwise, if no one does or if I get a few reviews, I'm just going to abandon this again for good and concentrate on my other stories. Not being mean or hateful or whatever, but you have to realize that I'm in my 20's, work full time, I have projects that I'm getting paid for and have a life of my own, including a wedding to plan and a social life. I don't wanna feel like I wasted my time. Alright, rant over. Thank you! :)