Disclaimer: I do not own Rick Riordan, the Percy Jackson books, characters, series, movies, or anything else you may recognize.

Chapter Forty

Forgiving a Hero

The palace doors had been ripped off the hinges and Kronos was standing in the middle of the throne room laughing. "Finally! Now which seat of power should I destroy first?"

Hestia and Rachel were long gone, thank the gods.

Ethan stood off to the side, just out of reach of Kronos' scythe. As soon as Ethan saw us, he said, "They're here."

Kronos turned and smiled at us. "Should I destroy you first, Jackson? If that's the choice you make, of course – to fight me and die instead of bowing down. Prophecies never end well, you know. Well, I guess you've seen it firsthand." He looked over at Andee and his smile grew. "Nice shackles. It would be a shame to see something happen to them."

Andee glared at him. I was furious because he was the one that made it so she had to wear them in the first place. "Luke fought with a sword, but I guess you don't have anywhere near his skill," I said to get his attention off of Andee. I really didn't like how he was looking at her.

Kronos sneered at me and his scythe turned into Backbiter, Luke's old half-steel half-Celestial bronze sword. He immediately lunged to attack. I didn't hesitate to block his attacks and stab him. Ethan began inching towards my back, trying to get to my Achilles' heel.

"You thought I was a bitch under Kronos' control? Let's see how your perception of me changes now that you have to fight me," Andee said, moving in-between me and Nakamura. I could feel the heat radiating off her body.

Grover started playing his reed pipes, the sound filling me with warmth and courage. I jumped onto Hephaestus' seat as Kronos backed me into it. It warned me that it was going into defense mode, so I leapt over Kronos, and he got to feel defense mode instead. Apparently it involved a lot of electricity.

Annabeth saw a chance and charged Kronos. She went flying backwards with a flick of his hand. Grover rushed over to her and Andee kicked Ethan hard in the stomach, winding him and using his moment of pain to get closer to me.

"Nakamura, you know where Jackson's vulnerable spot is. Kill him and you will be rewarded beyond measure," Kronos said.

"Do you really want to see the end of the world? Is that the reward you want?" I asked Ethan. "Do you really want to see everything destroyed – the good, the bad, everything?"

"There's no throne to Nemesis – no throne for my mother," Ethan said angrily.

"Yes! Strike them down! They deserve to suffer!" Kronos shouted gleefully.

"Your mother is the goddess of balance," Andee said calmly. "Minor gods deserve so much better and we all know that. And it's something we can change."

"You know nothing about this!" Ethan yelled at Andee. "You're practically worshipped wherever you go!"

"Two of my best friends are children of minor goddesses. They don't have a place at camp, and I don't agree with that. It's not right, nothing about that is right!" Andee said. "But total distraction isn't balance. Kronos doesn't build, he only destroys and that's all he'll ever do."

Ethan's good eye blinked a couple times before he charged Kronos. His blade shattered and Ethan fell back, grasping his stomach because one of the shards of his own blade had ricocheted and pierced his armor.

"They deserved better, if they just…had thrones –"

Kronos stomped his foot and a fissure appeared in the ground, swallowing Ethan and sending him plummeting through the open air underneath the mountain. "So much for him." Kronos lunged at me and the fighting started again. The two of us were kicking up coals and sparks. "When Olympus falls, I'll use Poseidon's throne for kindling."

That made me fight even harder.

Andee stood ramrod straight behind him, muttering under her breath in Ancient Greek, I only caught a few words, but from what I gathered, she was trying to heal Luke's mind enough for Kronos to be pushed back for a few moments.

Kronos put a spell on me, slowing me down so that I felt like I was trying to run through quicksand. Before it had much time to affect me, Andee threw a quick spark at my butt, jolting me back into normal motion.

That's my Andee.

"You are losing, Percy Jackson. Look," Kronos said, pointing to the hearth. Inside the coals I saw the gods trying to fight Typhon, but it wasn't working well. Typhon stepped into the Hudson River and I prayed, knowing that my plan had to be put into action right now. Like a miracle, a conch horn sounded and a funnel started appearing around the monster. My dad appeared looking like his normal self, which gave me hope.

"NO!" Kronos screamed.

"Mow, my brethren! Strike for Olympus!" Poseidon shouted. Hundreds of Cyclopes rode in on sharks, dragons and sea horses, all of them led by Tyson. All the Cyclopes had lengths of chains and threw them like lassos to capture Typhon. There were too many chains to break free and Typhon started to get weight down while Poseidon threw his trident at the monster's throat. Golden blood spewed everywhere and water continued to wrap around Typhon like a cocoon, dragging him underwater and into a tunnel designed by my dad to take him straight down to Tartarus.

Kronos slashed the coal, really pissed off now.

"What was that about us losing?" I asked before adding, "They're on the way. You've lost."

"I haven't even started."

Grover leapt in front of me just as Kronos was about to attack, but Kronos tossed him aside like a used rag. Annabeth stepped in this time, trying to get Luke to come out. Andee continued with her healing spell, her hands moving in ways I hadn't seen before, like she was moving and picking at certain parts of his brain and healing them.

Kronos informed Annabeth that Luke's body would soon burn away and he'd assume his true form. Annabeth ignored him, continuing to talk to Luke, telling him that he promised and that he was holding back Kronos. "Family, Luke, you promised."

"Annabeth," he said in his own voice. He stumbled forward like he couldn't control the body anymore. "You're bleeding…my knife."

Annabeth tried to raise her knife but it clattered out of her hand. Her arm was bent at too funny of an angle to be able to hold it. I gave it back to her but stood between them.

"Don't you dare touch her," I growled at him.

"He's changing," Luke said hoarsely. "Help me. He's…he's almost ready. He won't need my body anymore. Please –"

"NO!" Kronos shouted, looking around for his sword but it was lying in the glowing coals. He started crawling towards it but Andee stopped healing and raised a hand, the metal of the sword melting.

"Oops…did you want that?" Andee asked.

"The knife, Percy. Hero…cursed blade…"

I could tell from the look on Annabeth's face that she understood what he meant. Andee nodded to me, as if to say it was safe.

"Percy, you can't do it. Kronos will break what little control Luke has," Andee said, looking at Luke who nodded.

"Only my hand…I know where…I can…can keep him controlled…" Like said. His skin was starting to glow and smoke. "Please…no time…"

I understood now. My whole point-of-view changed as I gave the knife to Luke. Grover cradled Annabeth and Andee knelt behind me, not sure what to do in this situation.

Luke unlatched the side straps of his armor and exposed a small bit of skin under his left arm. He stabbed the knife into it with difficulty, and even though it wasn't deep, Luke howled in pain. There was an explosion of energy around Luke. His blue eyes opened.

"Good…blade." Grover, Annabeth and surprisingly enough, Andee, all had tears in their eyes. "You knew. I almost killed you, but you knew…"

"Shh. You were a hero at the end, Luke. You'll go to Elysium," Annabeth said.

Luke shook his head. "Think…rebirth. Try for three times. Isles of Blest."

"You always pushed yourself too hard," Annabeth said, giving a watery laugh. She touched his fingertips to hers.

Luke coughed and his lips became red with blood. "Did you ever love me?" He looked at Andee. She shook her head, frowning a little. "Good. I'm sorry…for everything. When I acted the way I did, I was trying to get him to not want you. I was trying to protect you from him."

"I know, Lucas, I know," Andee said with a sad smile. "Thank you."

"I love you, Annabeth. You'll always be my little sister," Luke said.

"I love you too," Annabeth said, tears making lines in the dirt on her face as they fell.

"Maybe we can get some ambrosia or Andee's blood," Grover suggested, desperately grasping at straws.

"You're the bravest satyr I've ever known. But there's no healing this," Luke said, falling into another coughing fit. He grabbed my sleeve. "Ethan, me, all the unclaimed. Don't let it…don't let it happen again."

"I won't. I promise."

Luke passed away a few moments later. Andee sang the same song she had sung for her fallen brother, tears streaming down her face as she closed Luke's eyes. The gods arrived a few minutes later.