ncalkins dose not own anything; not beta'ed; ooc;
"Come on guys!" Percy said excitedly rushing through the ghost; toward, the airport of death.
Clarisse and Luke exchanged looks before they reluctantly followed Percy. Unlike Percy who just plowed through the spirits; they tried to weave through them, but there where too many to avoid all of them. Clarisse shivered as she walked through a five year old girl. The girl chattered at her in a incomprehensible way; angry that someone has stepped through her body. Luke twisted around a elderly couple not wanting to piss off another part of the underworld.
Luke looked up at the archway that said YOU ARE NOW ENTERING EREBUS. In silver letters shinning brightly against the black stone. As he passed under the thick slab of stone he noticed the bottom was ruff, spiky. Clarisse stepped closer to Luke almost reaching for his hand. Luke was glade she didn't, but at the same time wanted to be as close to a living human as possible. Percy was out of the question because he seemed perfectly okay with the chill, the gloom, and the scary ambiance. And he was walking a good few paces in-front of them; unlike Percy, Clarisse and Luke were not that excited to trek through the Underworld like they were on a Sunday morning hike.
Cerberus howled once more, prompting Luke to gulp and Percy to yell. "HEY CERBERUS!"
A bark came forth from the blackness. Clarisse focused on her surroundings taking in all there was to see. A good fighter took in all surroundings at a glance and figured out what could be used in a fight if the need arose. There wasn't much.
There were three separate entrances under the welcoming sign. Each entrance had a pass-through metal detector with security cameras mounted on top. Beyond this were tollbooths manned by black-robed ghouls like Charon. Cerberus was no were to be seen; though the demigods knew the gate keeper was there, but where? It couldn't be that easy to hide a giant three headed dog in a bleak and barren land like the underworld.
The dead queued up in three lines, two marked ATTENDENT ON DUTY, and one marked EZ DEATH. The EZ DEATH line was moving much quicker then the other two, which were crawling. Luke's eyes bounced around from the entrances and security cameras to the ghouls and the ghost. He looked down at his feet only to see fog and his robe. He moved his hand, the robe covered it until he lifted it up showing pink flesh. Luke moved his hand to his other hand and pinched. Well, that answered that question; despite the feel and look he was in fact alive.
"Why is the underworld so weird?" Luke asked Percy turned with a questioning look that almost looked offended. Luke shook his head gesturing to all around them. "I mean they have security cameras and metal detectors. Robes when ghost don't need clothes and fog...There shouldn't be any fog when there is no water."
"And why is that line moving quicker then the other two." Clarisse waved her newly acquired gun at the lines.
"The security cameras is to record all those coming into the underworld. My dad likes to keep a record and it's easier to record them then write them down on paper. That and if any spirit escapes Hades can put a bounty on their head...But, that doesn't happen often. The metal detectors are for any living beings that might pass through, or it's for demigods and their weapons; I'm not really sure. I've never seen them in action." Percy trailed off rubbing his chin.
"Wouldn't want to be that guy." Clarisse said nodding her head to a sulking man who was being patted down by the ghouls. "Wonder what he did?"
Percy shrugged as he answered the rest of the questions. "The robes are because even if their spirits I don't think they would be comfortable wondering around naked; that or even Greek gods don't want to see naked people where ever they go."
"Or it's because Hades had Persephone and you." Clarisse said pointedly; from what she heard of the King of the Underworld he tended to be protective of those he cared for.
Percy shrugged again uncomfortable; he was pretty sure that the dead had not been running around naked for a long time. "The fog is a natural occurrence given off by the spirits. Kind of like we give of heat waves; they give off cold waves. That and Hades likes creeping people out. By the way Clarisse can you get ride of that gun, it's making me uncomfortable."
"We're in the underworld and a gun in bothering you?" Luke muttered.
"Why do you keep calling your dad, Hades?" Clarisse asked after getting use to hearing Percy call Hades daddy or dad it was weird to hear him say anything else.
"My dad always told me that if I negotiate business then I need to be professional. This is business and I will not act familiar." Percy said clasping his hands behind his back as they got closer to the gate. They could hear barking in front of them, but still no sign of Cerberus.
"I don't think he meant when you're dealing with him." Luke muttered as they hurried along. "And you never told us why that line," He pointed toward the EZ DEATH LINE. "Is moving faster then the others."
Percy spared a glance to his right where Luke's voice had sounded from behind him. He unclasped his hands and held them next to his sides; he quickened his pace. "That line leads to the fields of Asphodel, it moves so fast because people do not get judged. They basically stand in a wheat field for the rest of their afterlife."
"Boring." Clarisse commented as she picked up the pace to walk next to Percy looking ahead to the swirling fog. Howls and barks stilled echoed. "We're coming Cerberus!" Percy called his answer was a whine.
"Those that are judged face the chance of going to the fields of punishment."
Before them the fog began to give way in certain places high above their heads. Just where the paths split three ways was an enormous shadowy monster. At first it seemed half transparent like the dead, causing Clarisse and Luke to squint at it; Percy quickened his pace toward the shadowy monster. As they got closer to Clarisse and Luke's alarm there was three sets of teeth and three pairs of eyes. A rumbling growl spewed forth from the shadows.
Percy sped up to a jog and then a full out run. Luke sped up and reached for Percy's arm; alarmed he shouted, "Percy!"
When he grabbed Percy's arm, it caused Percy to jerk back and fall on his bottom. Percy's arm twisted in Luke's grasp, but he did not let go. Percy whined; his bottom hurt, his arm hurt and so did his left hand because it had tried to break his fall. Clarisse hurried by their side; Luke tried to pull Percy away from the shadowy monster as Clarisse twisted her ring to get herself some amour and a electric spear.
"Stop!" Percy cried struggling to get away from Luke. Luke pulled Percy up by his arm and wrapped his left arm around Percy's chest. He was trying to get Percy to stop struggling when he heard something that made his freeze. A growl.
Clarisse moved in front of them; spear lifted toward the sound. Her eyes glared from underneath her Spartan like helmet. Her shield raised in front of her, eyes peeking from above it as her spear barely touched the edge the shield. She spread her feet apart in a ready position; tensing as a black paw the size of a van came thudding down squashing spirits underfoot.
"Uh, Clarisse?" Luke said pulling the no longer struggling Percy up. Widened sea green eyes looked around at the ghouls that were surrounding the demigods. They did not look friendly.
Clarisse took a quick look around and then huddled close to the other two. She placed herself back against Percy's side and Luke's side. Luke face the right sword drawn and Percy faced the left wide eyed. One of the ghouls stepped forward, though they did not look friendly, he seemed slightly confused. He approached Percy, Clarisse seeing this hurried in front of him. Holding the spear out to keep the monster at bay, she waited.
"Why do you hurt young master Percy? Are you not friends?" The ghoul asked a protective edge echoing in his voice coming from his lizard like lips. If they were not friends of Percy the ghouls would have to ratify the situation. Master Hades made it quite clear to his servants that Percy was under his and there for their protection.
"What?" Luke asked still holding onto Percy's arm. He felt confused; why would a ghoul ask if they were friends and what did he mean by hurt?
"Of course we're friends!" Clarisse shouted as ripping tearing fear attacked her. What if they weren't. "And what do you mean hurt?! I'm trying to protect him from the likes of you!"
The ghoul bristled and seemed offended; it was hard to tell for Clarisse. She wasn't use to reading ghoul expressions. Percy pulled out of Luke's hold and marched around Clarisse. Turning toward his friends he glared in an exasperated way. He understood they wanted to defend him, but this was his home and Hades wanted to see them. So, it stood to reason that they wouldn't be killed in the underworld's main road. Now, if they wandered into the field of punishment then that would be a different story.
"Guys, he's talking about the way Luke twisted my arm."
Luke flushed, then said defensively. "I was trying to stop you from running head first into danger!"
"Danger?" Percy asked taking steps toward Cerberus. Clarisse tensed; she didn't like her comrade putting himself in danger. "Cerberus is not dangerous. At least not to me." Percy said coming to a stop in front of the solidifying shadow.
A giant head came down and rested behind Percy. Cerberus the rottweiler let out a whine as red eyes roved over Percy's from. A silvery mist curled from under is chin as he crushed the souls that walked beneath him. Percy turned toward Cerberus and smiled he rested his hand on Cerberus's nose. Clarisse edged forward drawing the attention of the other heads of Cerberus; his growl echoed all around them making the demigods tense.
"No!" Percy snapped tapping Cerberus on the nose. "Bad! Their friends. Be good."
Cerberus whimpered as Percy turned away from Cerberus and addressed the ghouls.
"I'm sorry for the unneeded concern. My friends reacted that way because it's practically instinct for demigods to react to any danger that may or may not be real. Our lives literally depend on being paranoid." Percy smiled then turned to Cerberus. "Up!" He commanded waving his arm in a upward motion.
Cerberus stood up in guard position. Percy turned to his friends and motioned for them to follow. Together they walked under Cerberus and through a metal detector. An alarm went off, but was immediately silenced. A ghoul nodded to them as they passed. It's cracked dried mold green skin rasping. As they walked further down the path, Cerberus whimpered.
"I'll see you soon Cerberus!" Percy called over his shoulder receiving a woof in answer.
They walked on through the fields of Asphodel; Clarisse and Luke becoming increasingly depressed being surrounded by the angry, sad, faces. The ghost floated along in a line. Grim faces pressed around from all sides. Not a smile or a happy glimmer to be seen. As they crept closer to a silk black and purple tent with a banner over the entrance that said: 'JUDMENTS FOR ELYSIUM AND ETERNAL DAMNATION Welcome, NEWLY DECEASED!'
"The dead are depressing." Luke commented glancing at the faces floating by him.
"No their not." Percy said seeing Luke raise an eyebrow he elaborated. "These spirits have yet to be judged. So, some of them are probably worried. Some are angry believing that they died to soon. Most morn over the fact they left their families. They have regrets. Once they are judged it will either get worse or better."
Clarisse looked thoughtful as they passed the tent. Behind the tent the road split into two. One leading to the fields of Punishment. Lava, minefields, torture and screams abound. The other to Elysium. A gated community with the sound of laughter spilling out, artificial sunlight and the smell of barbeques. "What happens if they end up in the wheat fields?"
"It's kind of up to them. I've seen spirits form groups bonding over things and being moderately happy."
"Yeah, like they survived WW2, they liked fantasy, they liked Anime, they were a Space Husbands fans..." Percy shrugged. "Lots of things. Others just reflect on their life. Going over every detail and if they were reincarnated they go over they other lives too. They think of what they could do differently and how it could have changed things."
"Sounds kind of sad." Clarisse said clutching the back pack strap over her shoulder. It looked a little weird with her armor on and her electric spear strapped to her hip, but she wanted to be prepared for anything.
Percy nodded as they continued on their way. As they walked a glimmer caught Luke's eye causing him to stop. There in the middle of the Elysium valley was a lake with three islands floating on the silvery surface. The islands of the blessed for those that were reborn three times and achieved Elysium three times. Luke pointed to the islands when he had the others attention. "That is were I want to go."
Clarisse nodded a smile tugging at her lips. Percy smiled briefly then frowned; he looked at Luke. "You know getting there will not be easy."
"No, duh." Luke scoffed as he began walking again. "I'll struggle a lot, but that's life. It's not worth doing if it's easy."
Percy smiled as he walked beside Luke. Clarisse gave one more glance at Elysium commenting, "It's sad that Elysium is so small compared to the rest of the underworld."
"Don't be fooled. It's bigger then people think, the houses all connect and there is an underground to consider too." Clarisse's and Luke's eyebrows raised. Percy laughed lightly. "Remember, not everyone would be happy siting on a lawn all day sipping lemonade. Not only that, but imagine if all the people in the fields were judge. Sure, the punishment fields would grow but so would Elysium. Think about how many people have been brainwashed by society to think their evil for something they can't control or something that the older generation didn't like."
"Like if their deformed in some way." Clarisse offered. "Or their sexuality."
"Or if they like fantasy books or video games that people claim are the devils work because it's something new so their scared of it."
Percy nodded. "Those people who have heard such thing all their life soak it in. Sometimes all the way to the soul. A lot of the souls in the Asphodel Fields mistake what they have been told to be the ultimate truth. They see things in black and white or they've heard it from so many that it sticks. So a lot of the souls in Asphodel could be good enough for Elysium, but because of what the living did to them they do not believe it."
Percy began to fidget with the crease of his jeans. They were nearing Tartarus where Kronos was held. Where Percy had almost got sucked down and where he's dreams have been taking place. Nothing good could come from going near that place.
"Hey, there's something I've been wondering." Clarisse said drawing Percy's and Luke's attention. "What happens if a soul is born and makes it to Elysium. They are reborn to try for the Islands of the Blessed, but end up doing evil in their second life. What happens to them?"
"I don't really know." Percy said thankful for the distraction. He really wished his dad had created a tunnel or something that went strait to his castle. "I would suppose papa would just put them in Elysium or he would let their third life sway the judgment to either side. Of course it would probably depend how bad of an act they did in their second life."
"Uh, guys." Luke said pointing to the sky. He seemed extra twitchy, his feet were jerking as he fought to stay in place. Percy and Clarisse looked to the skies to see the furies circling above them. Percy waved happily while Clarisse looked at them nervously, it didn't matter if her friend was well known in the underworld some habits never die. They never noticed Luke hissing Maia under his breath.
They did however notice the thump and curse that came from Luke as his shoes grew wings and bucked him off his feet. Luke's fingers dug into the ground, rich black dirt getting under his nails. Small sharp rocks cutting his fingers, legs, belly, any part of him that became exposed as Luke was pulled by his feet by an unseen force. He could hear Clarisse's and Percy's fearful shouts as they chased after him.
The world was passing in a blur. The ground was scratching his front, his face, he gets a brief glimpse of terrified faces rushing toward him arms out stretched reaching; then his world flips and he's on his back flopping like a fish reaching for his shoes to take them off.
"Shit!" Luke cursed as his hands missed the flapping shoes. He remembered now, these shoes had been cursed by Kronos long before he had been chosen for this quest. Long before his dad had apologized and they had worked to rebuild their relationship.
He skidded along giving up on trying to undo his shoes, now he was desperately trying to find something to grab hold of. But, there was nothing. He was going to die. He was going to die and never see his family or friends again. He was going to die. Luke squeezed his blue eyes shut, tears falling from them. He was so scared it make him sick, but at the same time he was relived. If he had gone through with the plan this could have been Percy or Clarisse.
He was still reaching blindly for something when a hand grabbed his. His eyes snapped opened and connected with Clarisse's dark brown eyes. They shined with worry and a hint of smugness, she had caught him. That smugness quickly disappeared as they were still being pulled along by the shoes. She had thrown herself onto the ground to catch his hand. Percy grabbed onto Clarisse's legs digging his feet into the ground trying to get purchase; only to fall as his feet gave way from under him.
They were being pulled further and further, closer and closer to the gaping maw that is Tartarus. The terrible darkness without end that held one of the most feared Titans in all of history. The king of Titans, Kronos. Percy squeezed his eyes shut, this was bringing back memories that he would rather forget. He snapped them open when Clarisse let out a shrike, Luke was beginning to go over the edge.
Percy did the only thing he could think of. He screamed.
His high pitched wail echoed, bouncing off stone walls. It was answered, but not by his papa's smooth voice. This voice was ruff; it sounded like steel screeching against stone creating a high pitched scream; bringing forth images of death, bloody sacrifices and damned alters.
"Why do you scream, little hero?" The voice cooed. "Your daddy can not help you, your father can not help you, uncle Zeus can not help you, there is no one here for you or your little friends. They have all abandoned you."
"No." Percy mumbled as Luke went further over the edge. Clarisse held onto his hand tightly, staring with dread at her friend surrounded by darkness. Luke's eyes were bright with panic and tears. He could feel invisible hands gripping him and trying to drag him down.
Clarisse's chest now rested on the ledge. Both hands gripping at Luke, his panic reflecting in her eyes. Her hands felt sweaty, her heart pound; she was failing. Her friends were going to die and there wasn't a thing she could do. Tears welled in her eyes. Tears she didn't want to fall, but they did anyway splattering against Luke's face.
A coldness surrounded Percy. Making each breath filled with icicles. His blood froze and so did his heart. It was true. No one was coming. The law stopped gods from helping demigods, even in the event of stopping the destruction of the world. Tears tracked down his face. He was only twelve...only twelve.
"I'm sorry." Luke choked out. It was all his fault. If he didn't let his bitterness fill him. If he had focused on his demigod family more then his unreachable immortal family. If he didn't listen to Kronos's poisonous words. If he hadn't stolen the Lighting Bolt. If, If, If...
"It's my fault." Luke gasped a sob tearing from his throat. Blue eyes blinked through tears staring at his friend's face. Clarisse's face was stained red with the strain of trying to hold him up against the hands trying to drag him down. Brown eyes filled with fear, helplessness, glittered with confusion.
"I stole the lighting bolt." Luke confessed. Clarisse's shocked face was his answer and so was Percy's gasp. Weather that gasp was from the gradual dragging toward the cliff or his confession Luke didn't know.
"How sweet. Demigods in their last moments." Kronos mocked, Luke realized he was playing with them in that moment. Insured that no one would help them and insured that they could not save themselves. He was feeding of their despair, drinking in this moment and getting ultimate entertainment.
"I'm sorry." Luke pleaded, if he was going to die. He wanted to die with a clear conscience. He wanted to die with his friends knowing the truth, even if that meant they hated him. "I was so angry. So angry at the gods for abandoning us. I was angry at Hermes for abandoning my mom and me. At my mom for scaring me when I was little. Kronos talked to me. He whispered things in my ear and told me, showed me a better world. A world were we could all have been happy."
He trailed off. Clarisse was still hanging on, but her expression had changed. The terror was still there, but another emotion was there too. Unreadable, hidden in the shadows.
"I was wrong." Luke admitted. "We could have been happy. I was_am happy with you guys and the gods do care to a point. Percy and you showed me that the most. Thank you. Thank you for letting me on this quest to right what I have wronged...Now, I want you to let go."
"What?!" Percy shouted still holding onto Clarisse, pulling futilely.
Luke winced at Percy's shout. He opened his eyes staring with determination into Clarisse's eyes. "I want you to let go. There is no point in all of use dying!" Clarisse opened her mouth to protest when Luke shouted. "NO! Listen to me! If one of us dies it's fine! The rest can still complete the quest and save everyone else! If all of use die here, then there will be no hope for anyone!"
Clarisse turned red and glared at Luke that hidden emotion now showing clearly. She was enraged. "You dummy!" She shouted brown eyes spitting fire. "You think we're just gonna let you die! It doesn't matter what you did in the past you set out to make it right; you can't do that while your dead! So, stop being a bump on a log and find a foot hold for gods sake! Start trying to pull yourself up! Percy and I are doing all the hard work trying to pull your fat self up a fucking cliff, but do you do anything! NO! You flop around like a dying fish! Instead of fighting like the solider you are! STRAIGHTEN UP AND FIGHT!"
Luke stared at her for a moment in amazement. Then, he smiled and began to kick his feet searching for a hold. He felt his feet hit one, he slipped making Clarisse grunt; but quickly regained his hold. He began to push up trying to lift himself up out of the chasm. The hands that were trying to drag him down were tightening their hold making the climb harder then it normally would have been. Then it began to get easier. Luke looked up with excitement, they were going to make it. Then he noticed something Clarisse was growing red, flames bellowed in her pupils.
"Ares." Luke breathed as he was being pulled up. Clarisse's blessing making it easy for her to left Luke up. Luke rested his free arm on the ledge and was a chest height when a violent tug came from the chasm.
Clarisse slammed into the ground with a grunt. Luke gasped as the breath was knocked out of him; he had slammed into the wall he was trying to climb. Percy grunted as he was pushed against the ground by an invisible force. He didn't know what was going on. First Luke's shoes wigged out, then he starts babbling about letting him die, finally they all slammed against the ground for no reason with Luke still hanging off the side of a cliff!
Clarisse strained not only to pull Luke up out of danger, but also to rise herself off the ground. She didn't understand. At first pulling him up had been easy, she had gotten to her knees and Luke had been up to his chest out of Tartarus. Then next thing she knew it would be a struggle just to lift a pebble. She clenched her eyes shut and pulled with all her might.
Luke stared up at Clarisse, her head was raised and her eyes clenched shut. She was straining to lift him. Being stubborn in her refusal to let him die, Percy too was trying with all his might to move, to help; Luke could hear him struggling as well. Luke studied Clarisse above him, the red glow that was once around her was gone. It made since, Ares probably could only give so much blessings before Zeus cut him off. Clarisse's clenched eyes snapped open when Kronos once again gave a mighty tug, once again he was toying with them. Luke noticed something even though Clarisse's blessing was fading her eyes were still filled with the flame of war.
A final slam knocked the wind, flame and strength from Clarisse. Weariness coated her like a blanket. She could still hear Percy struggling to get up he was trying to call water, shadow, something, but nothing was working. It was almost like Kronos was blocking their powers, soaking into their pores to make their normally swift gifted abilities slow. Time move forward like normal, they moved at a normal speed; however, they were held down and it seemed like Kronos was choking them from within. Stopping the godly side of their blood and letting the human side take control.
Clarisse felt tears of frustration fill her eyes. She had never felt so weak, except for against Ares. She had always been strong. Able to beat anyone. Demigod, human or monster all fell before her strength. She mostly only ever fought to show off her strength and the one time! The one time she was fighting to protect something, she fails. Clarisse felt disgusted at herself, she was too weak. Too weak to save her friends, her family, the first people besides her mother who truly excepted her.
'You did your best kid. Sorry.' A gruff voice echoed in her head. Clarisse closed her eyes and rested her head on the ground. 'Dad.'
Then something surprising happened. Clarisse felt a hand wrap around her middle and lift her up. Brown eyes snapped open to see a pale hand sitting her up. She was still clutching Luke's hand who was slowly rising up.
"Daddy!" Percy exclaimed as Hades held him close.
"I can not pull the son of Hermes up. Tartarus is a vacuum it will try to suck in anything with power and the fact that Kronos is trying to suck down a demigod, a god would be a true prize."
"Please stop talking about Kronos sucking thing!" Luke shouted turning green.
"What are you talking about?" Percy asked raising an eyebrow at Luke's head as Clarisse pulled him up to the point he could rest his arm on the cliff's edge.
"Now is not the time." Clarisse said as Luke turned red and Hades glared at Luke the hand holding Percy coming up to rub his head.
"It's nothing Percy. The son of Hermes is just being weird." Hades said. Percy looked at him. "Daddy, his name is Luke." "I know."
Clarisse gripped about Luke being fat as he gave a gleeful laugh. He could tell Clarisse was relieved. Her brown eyes were warm with happiness as they worked together to get Luke out of the pit. His feet found crevices and pushed him up; while Clarisse pulled at his hand and arm. Her hand was sweaty, but that was okay. Kronos wasn't...
Pulling. Luke and Clarisse gave a start as Luke slipped falling until it was only his head and his hand over the edge. Percy and Hades had stopped talking Percy tightened his grip on his dad's arm once again wrapped around his middle. Hades tightened his grip on Percy and the girl, Clarisse, his son had said.
"Must...Must have slipped." Luke have a nervous laugh only to yelp has once again invisible hands violently pulled him down.
Clarisse held onto Luke's hand once again she was pressed to the dirt playing tug a war with a Titan. Luke looked down into the blackness and then looked up at Clarisse, fear played on his face like a marching band played on a football field. Clarisse breath caught in her throat. Luke was slipping.
"No." Clarisse whispered as Luke's hand began to slip her other hand shot out and grabbed Luke's arm. It's didn't help, no matter how she tightened her hold or chanced her grip.
Luke and Clarisse stared at one another, they could hear Percy struggling against Hades to come and help; but Hades was keeping a strong hold on him. Luke's arm and hand slipped even more. Clarisse's hand went from Luke's arm to his wrist, she began to try to pull him up again determined to pull him up. A tug ruined that play. Clarisse was losing her hold she looked into Luke's terror filled eyes.
"No." Clarisse whispered as she realized she would not be able to hold on to Luke. Luke realized that too and so before he slipped he gave her a smile that would haunt her dreams for the rest of her life. Then he was gone.
Clarisse stared into the darkness her arm still outstretched wanting to grab and pull up the boy that is no longer there. Her vision blurred, tears fell from her eyes as sobs broke from her throat. She felt an arm wrap around her middle and she was pulled back onto a larger body. She could see Percy crying and screaming for Luke to comeback, screaming that Percy could save him, screaming for Hades to let him go. Percy was hitting his father's chest, wanting to get away to save a friend that was no longer there. Clarisse could hear and see all of this, but it didn't really register. She just rested her head on Hades shoulder and cried.
"Why didn't you let me help!" Percy screamed tears streaming down his face. Hades stared at him stony faced. He had been like that since Luke had slipped. It killed him to see his adoptive son in such pain, but there was nothing he could do. Luke's soul would be dissolved by Tartarus; Percy would not even have to comfort of seeing his friend as a spirit.
Hades held Percy close and cradled him to his chest. "I am sorry for your loss, but I could not lose you."
Percy sobbed anger draining out of him. He stopped struggling and pressed his face to Hades's chest. The two grieving demigods didn't see a streak of light that disappeared into Tartarus. Hades felt a smile tug at his mouth as he summoned a rope that tied itself to that light. Skeleton guards appeared and took the rope anchoring the impromptu rescuer.
"That fool." Hades muttered as he held the demigods close. Though, he couldn't say he wouldn't do the same.
Luke was falling. Falling in complete darkness. He could remember what had just happened or what had happened. For some reason falling in darkness made one lose all since of time; what could be seconds to him could be hours to Clarisse and Percy. He could remember Clarisse's terror filled eyes turn hopeless. He remembered smiling at her and then falling. Right before the darkness descended he could remember seeing tears falling from broken brown eyes.
Luke didn't really understand the darkness. Maybe it was like a lid. Once you fell at a certain point it closes and seals off the outside world. It made sense, if you didn't want something getting out then you sealed it in. He did wish there was light though or something other then the cold breeze as the fell. Then again he preferred the falling then the landing that would no doubt occur eventually. Hopefully Kronos wouldn't eat him...Not, that he could being cut up and everything. Luke shook his head. This whole thing was unsettling enough without thinking of Titans with no mouth eating him.
The darkness was disturbing. He knew his eyes were open, but he couldn't see anything not even his hands that he could feel he was waving in front of his face. The fall wasn't so bad, but it did make him nervous. He couldn't tell what was coming and he couldn't tell if there was a flying creature that would attack him. Maybe, he was being paranoid. Hades wouldn't have flying monsters in Tartarus with the soul purpose of picking apart the beings that fall in...Right?!
Luke would liked to stop thinking because making himself panic wouldn't do any good. He tried to get his shoes to fly but as soon as he did Kronos was pulling again. Luke frowned as Kronos laughed a grating sound of screeching metal.
"Maia." Luke said deactivating the shoes.
"That's it little hero. Accept your fate." Kronos cooed beneath him. Luke scowled into the darkness. "This was not part of my plan, but it will work just as well."
Luke rolled his eyes. The heck did he care for Kronos's planes. He was probably going to dissolve anyway. He situated himself so that he seemed to be laying on his stomach. He pulled his leg up and he felt around his foot until he found his shoelaces then he began to untie his shoe. There was no point in keeping these shoes if they're cursed.
"I will use you." Kronos gloated. Luke decided he might as well listen. He didn't understand why bad guys always gloated, maybe they secretly wanted to be stopped; they just did the things they did because they were board or they had rotten childhoods.
'Well, there goes one.' Luke though as he felt his shoe fall. He turned his attention to his other shoe while thinking spitefully. 'I hope they hit Kronos and it hurts.'
"I will take possession of your body and use it to take down the gods! I wonder how your little friends will feel when they fight you and when you kill them."
Luke felt a rush of anger toward Kronos, with defeat quick at it's heels. There was nothing he could do if Kronos did that. Only thing he would be able to do is if Kronos took over his body he could try to fight back, as long as he awareness was not vaporized. He wanted to yell at Kronos for all the good that would do, though it might make him feel slightly better. He never got the chance though as a voice from above yelled,
"NOT MY SON!"
Luke's descent came to a jerky halt. Arms wrapped around his midsection pulled him to a bigger body then his. The arms holding him had a strange white glow. Luke could see under his socked feet were winged shoes propelling them upward. Luke looked up at the determined face of his father.
"DAD!" Luke shouted in surprise. Hermes looked down with a mischievous grin. "What you think I would let my grandfather use your body to come back to life."
Luke smiled at his father; who smiled back. Those smiles were quickly whipped away as invisible claws raked at Luke's legs. Hermes jerked down as Luke cried out. His pants were torn and blood ran down his leg from scratches. Hermes glared down into the darkness.
"Hold on, Luke."
Luke turned and wrapped his arms around his dad's shoulders. "Yeah, like I have anything better to do." he grumbled as Hermes shielded Luke from Kronos's attack.
Luke's wounds healed and his pants mended as Hermes shot up toward the "lid". Luke felt strange as he looked at his arm which was encased in a warm white glow, not unlike the one that surrounded Hermes. He could feel Kronos still trying to get him, but he was struggling as if Luke was surrounded by a barrier. He probably was; he could feel every hit. It was almost like a sword glancing of a shield; the recoil hurt, it might leave a bruise. However, it was preferable to the alternative.
Hermes tightened his hold on Luke. This darkness was maddening. No doubt Luke would have to have some counseling or talking to about all of this. He should talk to Charon about that. Counseling for demigods after a quest. It seemed like a good idea. After all they were human and children at that. No, doubt that the thing they got into would mentally scar an adult; a child's mind would be altered forever.
Hermes rose with great speed, the rope around his waist was helping him in that regard pulling him up and anchoring him to the underworld. Sooner then expected the blackness was gone. Father and son hovered in front of the edge of the underworld. Looking down at Hades and his friends; Luke felt concerned. His friends were not looking up. They were sobbing into Hades's shoulders.
Luke tapped on his father's arm and pointed at his family. Hermes nodded and landed right next to Hades. The black rope disappeared and so did the skeletons. Hades nodded at Hermes, collected the shadows from all around them. The shadows wrapped them in a cold embrace, there was a brief moment of cold darkness alive with strange noises. Luke personally preferred this and it's fast travel to the falling into Tartarus.
"Daddy, why did you bring us here?" Percy asked pulling away from his father; Clarisse seemed a little dazed. Shadow travel did take some getting use to, because Percy had been exposed to it as a child and because he spent most of his time in the underworld he fared better then Clarisse. He knew where he was and he was able to get his bearings faster.
"I thought it necessary to leave the lip of Tartarus, less father tries to rise again." Hades said, Percy wanted to ask questions about Kronos. However, his father seemed troubled enough. Percy shifted the weight of the backpack he was carrying onto his other shoulder.
He didn't know what to do now. Something big was happening, bigger then the quest they were on. However, the quest had to take priority for now. Percy and Clarisse had to put aside any questions or grievances to save the world. Percy bit his lip. Put aside any grief, any grievances...He had to forget about...
"Luke." Clarisse breathed and walked away from Percy's side.
She walked down obsidian steps away from Hades's bone throne. Green tortes lit the dark throne room, her steps bounced off the obsidian walls. She couldn't tare her eyes from him. A ghost, a phantom, something, someone who should be dead and yet here he was alive.
Percy wanted to turn to look, but was hesitant. What if, Clarisse was hallucinating? The stress from the quest and seeing her friend...die...was too much. He glanced at his father, relying on him to tell him the truth. Was his friend going mad? His father smiled at him and motioned for him to turn around. Percy took a deep breath and slowly turned with eyes close.
"Hey, guys don't we have a mission to complete?" A familiar voice echoed through the hall.
Percy's green eyes snapped opened there in front of him was Luke a couple of steps away from Hermes. Percy walked down the steps eyes not moving from is friend. Shock was stopping him from running to the son of Hermes; Clarisse didn't have that problem.
"Luke!" Clarisse screamed running forward. Luke blinked in surprise as she pulled him into a hug. He was just starting to return the hug when she gave him a squeeze, pulled away and socked him in the arm. "Don't you ever die in front of me again!"
"Hehe, I'll try not to." Luke chuckled then turned to Percy. "What no hug from you?" He held up his arms. Percy smiled and walked into Luke's arms.
"Glade to have you back." Percy whispered into Luke's shoulder.
"Glade to be back." Luke said pulling away.
"Let's not repeat that performance." Percy told Luke as he stepped away from him.
The gods watched their children with warm eyes. Hades quickly shook off his warm expression and hardened his eyes. He approached the demigods. Clarisse and Luke tensed at seeing Hades eyes looked rock hard. Percy flinched slightly; he knew that this was just Hades business look, but it didn't make standing under those stone cold eyes any easier.
"Perseus." Hades began making sure his voice was firm. He didn't want to scare them (to late for that), but he did want them to know he meant business. "Where is my helm?"
"I don't know father, we came here looking for help. We don't even know where the lighting bolt is." Percy said making Hades raise an eyebrow.
"No?" Hades questioned. He waved his hand toward Percy's backpack. "Then why did you bring the lighting bolt?"
Percy looked at Luke and Clarisse confused. "Lighting bolt?" he mouthed to them. Clarisse seemed puzzled, but Luke was turning pale.
"He got to him." Luke whispered, his pale face turned red with anger. "That bastard used us!"
Percy's eyes widened and he ripped off his backpack. He opened it and took a step back as a bolt of lighting rocked out of the bag. Hades flinched back, his mind echoing with the last time he had seen that blinding light. He didn't want to lose his adoptive son; with that though in mind Hades readied himself to pull Percy away from the bag if it showed anymore signs of danger.
Clarisse stepped forward her mouth hanging opened in shock. She couldn't believe it. There it was the thing they had risked they lives for, sitting in a bag that her dad had given them. She shouldn't be surprised. War tactics 101: set two enemies against each other and wait until they tire each other out, then go for the kill.
Percy's eyes stared at the bolt in disbelief. He's head shot up to look at Hades and Hermes. Hades stared stone faced, Hermes covered his mouth with his hand staring at the bag. This didn't look good; if Zeus got wind of this he would think the demigods had it all along and was delivering it to Hades to give him the power to over throw his younger brother.
"I didn't know it was there!" Percy shouted in desperation. He really didn't, he didn't want him daddy to be mad at him or for his cousin to think he was a thief. Hades reached forward and rested his hand on Percy's shoulder. "We know." He said calmly, Hermes sent Percy a smile over Hades shoulder.
Percy calmed down as Luke bent down to close the bag again. He gave it to Percy. Percy looked at his dad and stepped away letting Hades's hand slide off his shoulder. "I think we know who has your helm."
"Ares." Clarisse hissed glaring at the bag on Percy's shoulder. Percy and Luke grimaced; Clarisse was pissed and this was not going to be pretty.
Percy pulled out the pearls that his dad had given him. Milky white mist swirled in a hypnotic way within the frail breakable shell. Percy was kind of shocked that the shell didn't break; he handed the other two lightly glowing pearls to Luke and Clarisse. "With this we'll find out where he is. I'll get your helm back father."
As one the demigods dropped the pearls to the floor and stomped on them. For a moment nothing happened; then the salty smell of the sea rose from under their foot. A white bubbling mass built under their shoes, steady growing larger and encasing their foot.
"Sea foam." Luke said amazed staring at the growing puddle under his feet. That puddle covered both of his feet now, the smell of the sea growing stronger.
Hades wrinkled his nose. He really hoped the smell wouldn't linger; though, knowing his brother. He would make a pearl with a lingering sent just to spite him. Hades stepped back from his son, not wanting to get any foam on his shoes. They were leather and expensive, he wasn't going to let his brother ruin another pair of his shoes.
Hermes watched as his son was encased in a bubble. His heart still pound from saving Luke from Tartarus. As a god he was not aloud to interfere, he was to stay at a distance from all things so as to not affect their path; as a father he wanted to guide his children and mostly at this moment he never wanted to let Luke out of his sight again, he wanted to protect him. Hermes glanced at Hades standing stiffly next to him. The green light made shadows dance across his form. Though to most Hades would look cold; Hermes knew Hades well. He was one of the only gods able and willing to visit him. Hades was just as worried for his son as Hermes was for his.
The two gods watched at their children ascended to the roof. Hermes tensed as they approached the stalactites, but quickly relaxed as they safely fazed through. Hermes and Hades stared at the roof for a moment. Hades then turned to Hermes clearing his throat. Hermes directed his attention to Hades.
"I think the human saying is, 'If you do not tell, I will not.'" Hades told Hermes black eyes boring into Hermes.
"Tell what?" Hermes asked with a clueless expression. Hades raised an eyebrow as his favorite nephew gave him a mischievous smirk. Hermes turned and with a quick goodbye flew out of the throne room.
Hades turned away from the door. He glanced at the ceiling with a quick prayer that his son would be okay; then left to do some paper work. As he walked through the spot were Percy and his friends had left a scowl transformed his face. It still smelled like the ocean.
22 pages! Sorry it took so long. I discovered that as a I write it's kind of like what I would think chiseling rock to make a statue. It takes a little bit at a time and it takes time to get done. I have a lot of story ideas, maybe more will come out; but I think I will only work a little bit with them. Some are there but I don't know how to start...
www. Medievalcollectibles for a look at cool armor and to see the Spartan helmet I had in mind. It's under the name Spartan helmet and it's normal nothing fancy but still cool.