Disclaimer: Some lines and references are taken from The Lost Hero.
A/N: My apologies for the late update. My summer has been pretty chaotic, and to think, with school finally over, I thought that I would have all the time in the world. Apparently, I don't. I learned that the hard way. Anyway, I've decided to make the poll on my profile live so that you could see the results, however, that does not mean that the poll is closed. I haven't closed it yet, so keep on voting, people! These are the results as of right now:
Hey, you know what I just figured out? AnnaBeth Chase. ABC. That could be her nickname or something. Was Rick Riordan smart or what? Okay, you may now forget that completely random thought and without further ado, I present the next, and horribly late, chapter.
Chapter Nineteen: Flecte in Ventum
Bend in the Wind
Thalia stared agape at her reflection. "What the hell did that goddess do?"
She blinked back, recalling what she had last seen—a white light. The next thing she knew, Thalia woke up at a table at a sidewalk café. It was sunny, there was a hoard of people interacting with their daily lives, and she had no idea she had been in California until she looked at one of the license plates that had passed by. Her placement in setting wasn't the only thing that shocked her. After finished with looking at her surroundings, she gawked to find that someone had given her a wardrobe change.
Where was her purple t-shirt? Where were her ratty, torn jeans? And where was that darn Pegasus? She was wearing some sort of leather get-up: black leather jacket, dark leather boots, black tights…she looked like a spy from Mission Impossible. And it was freaking hot for Pete's sake! She looked like an odd duckling when all these Californians were wearing regular tank tops, t-shirts, and shorts to embrace the sun. She should have known that dove was Aphrodite/Venus. After all, it was one of the goddess' main symbols that fully represented her.
She had roughly forty-five minutes to get Mount Diablo where Enceladus would eventually be. Thalia could barely see Mount Diablo after the Rockies. Trying her very best to beat the time, she impulsively waved her hand, calling a cab in.
"Um, hold on," she murmured when the driver looked at her expectantly. Her hands reached deep into the pockets of her jacket and surprisingly, she found a rather large wad of cash.
That's from your father, she heard a woman's voice ring in her head.
"Thanks, Aphrodite," Thalia grinned before she slipped into the backseat of the taxi cab, quickly giving the driver instructions on where to go.
Thalia had really hoped that the cab could take her all the way up to the top, but apparently, luck was not on her side. She could already tell the cab couldn't go on once she felt the car lurch and grind against the rocky road. Halfway up, she was a bit dismayed to find that the ranger's station was closed, and there was a thick chain that was blocking the way.
She frowned, giving the cab driver a couple bills before getting out of the car. "Keep the change. And I suggest you get out of here, quick," she carefully warned.
The daughter of Jupiter slipped pass that multiple chains, mentally preparing herself for the trek up the mountain. Once she started climbing, she held a grudge towards the love goddess for giving her such clothing. She'd probably be world's dirtiest hero—not that way—once she reached the crest of the mountain. But funny thing, she didn't feel the least bit tired when climbing. Thalia vaguely realized that this invulnerable thing did come in handy.
Just over the ridge where she was standing, she could see Enceladus' camp, which was equivalent to the size of a football field. There were extra logs and large construction equipment, including intimidating things such as sideways guillotines, hydraulic axes, cranes, rotating blades, and etc. In fact, Thalia could see the ugly monster all the way from her standing point.
Thalia regarded the thirty-foot tall giant and the extra large spear he was holding, and half-heartedly wondered how she was going to take him down. Size was obviously her disadvantage, for sure. The monster was surrounding a large, purple fire, and when Thalia squinted to see exactly what he was doing, she saw that he was chanting under her breath.
But it was on the other side of the bonfire that caught her gaze. On one post was an unconscious man, his head slumped in a way that Thalia couldn't quite see his face, but she hinted that the man was Piper's father. A few feet away, Piper and Bobby were each tied onto their own separate posts, their faces pale and wide-eyed. When Enceladus suddenly turned around in the duration of his chanting, Thalia quickly ducked under the shadows of the mountain's final crest.
And she had absolutely no plan on how to take this. Inwardly cursing under her breath, she scrambled along the ridge, nimbly jumping over a few pointed rocks that looked quite threatening. Here, her conscious was undoubtedly saying: Don't you dare do anything stupid. Yeah, well, too late.
She walked straight into the clearing.
Alarmed at the sudden movement, Enceladus abruptly stopped his chanting. He narrowed upon seeing the blue-eyed girl in his presence, a wicked smirk donning his less than adequate face. Surpassing his face, her eyes drifted to meet the shocked faces of her fellow demigods, looking as though they had seen something utterly horrible. Due to certain circumstances, she might as well be a ghost to them.
"What a nice surprise," the giant rumbled, shaking the ground beneath her in the slightest. He glanced at the demigods strapped to the poles. "You two lied! The daughter of Jupiter is alive!"
Thalia silently regarded Piper and scowled up at Enceladus. "I see you've broken your word, jackass. She made before noon and you were supposed to give her father back."
Enceladus let out a hearty laugh, and Thalia was sure the effect was close to a small earthquake. "She broke her word as well. She didn't bring you, daughter of Jupiter—"
"Stop calling me that," Thalia snapped.
"You an amusing one," Enceladus noted obliviously. "It's almost a pity you have to go. You could have done well in entertaining me, but you'd make an even better sacrifice to Gaea."
Gaea? The top-notch Mother Nature that supposed had flowers in her hair and birds singing around her and a whole bunch of wild animals helping her do chores? No, wait, now she was thinking of Disney's portrayal of Snow White.
She had always pegged Gaea as one of the good guys.
When the giant oaf opened his mouth, she started upon seeing his teeth glow. Thalia barely had time to dive towards the right when fire streamed from his mouth. Why was it that all the bad guys got the neat powers?
Disregarding the thought, Thalia scrambled on her feet, jumping over the mediocre pits of flames, her intention and getting towards Bobby, Piper, and Mr. McLean. Enceladus must have realized what she was doing so he quickly sent another wave of hot flames towards her, and it hit the ground so hard, it sent Thalia reeling back in ridiculous somersaults.
She hit the ground, slamming right on her backside. But as soon as she struck the dirt, Thalia was back on her feet—now if the little dip in the River Styx didn't happen, her endurance wouldn't have been possible. Swatting at the gray smoke around her, she used that as an advantage to slip past the giant's legs, trying as much as she could to blend in with the conflagrated fog. She snatched Piper's dagger that had been strewn on the ground and reached the owner of the weapon first.
"Get your dad out of here," Thalia ordered her as she cut at Piper's bindings with the blade.
Piper stared at her, kaleidoscopic eyes boggled. "But—y-you—you died!" she stuttered over her words, and Thalia couldn't blame the younger girl for doing so.
"It's a long story," the blue-eyed girl finally ripped the ropes that attached Piper to the post. In a flurry, her hand sneaked out and lashed a wide arc on the ropes that bound Piper's father, cutting it loose. "Get your dad out of these mountains as fast as possible. And make sure you don't get caught doing so, got it?"
For a moment, Piper was too traumatized to respond. Here in front of her was a girl who was supposed to be dead. At Thalia's hard glare, the daughter of Venus mutely nodded.
The smoke was still too thick and Enceladus was busy stamping all over the fiery remains, searching for her that very instant. Once Piper wrapped an arm to support her father, Thalia made her way over to Bobby, preparing to release him from the post. She had expected Bobby to react in a similar way as Piper had done, but the First Legion boy stood as stoic as an army soldier—like how a true legion member should stand.
"I'm not even going to ask," Bobby remarked, grinning, obviously elated that the leader of their quest was alive again.
Thalia smiled back. "Good."
Once the tight ropes around him loosened, Bobby struggled out of them swiftly. "If you can distract Enceladus," he said, "I think I can get one of the cranes to work."
"Of course you can get it to work," Thalia retorted dryly. "You're a son of Vulcan, aren't you?"
Bobby's response was a satisfied smirk. "All the way." He started to leave, but he stopped after a few steps, turning back to face Thalia. "Oh, by the way, your sword is over there." He pointed across the dirty glade, where her golden barrette laid.
Thalia wasted no time and ran towards her clip, smiling once the cold barrette was in her palm again. With one tap, her sword was back in her hand.
"Daughter of Jupiter!" Enceladus roared, spotting Thalia's bent form once the smoke cleared up.
"I hate it when people call me that," Thalia muttered under her breath as she dodged more incoming fire blasts.
Right as she stood, she felt her skin prickle on instinct to know that Enceladus was sending fire once again. There wasn't enough time to dodge away from the flames, so she intuitively struck up her sword hand, her blue eyes flashing. In that moment, electricity met fire and the effect was pretty deadly. A minor explosion happened in front of her very eyes, and Thalia jumped back a few paces so that her face wouldn't get singed to pieces.
Enceladus cackled. "You cannot defeat me, daughter—"
"Do not call me daughter of Jupiter again, you dimwitted asshole!"
Honestly, Thalia was fine with people referring to her as Jupiter's daughter or Zeus' daughter. But this Enceladus guy— he was too much.
With an offended outcry, Enceladus jabbed his spear toward her. Thalia narrowly missed the spear's sharp pointed by jumping to the side, and she immediately parried the large spear with her much-too-tiny sword. Her hands trembled as she bared the weight of the giant's spear, and she felt as though both her wrists were about to snap at the impact. She let out a sharp intake as inched her blade from the spear's tip, letting the larger weapon hit the mountain wall right beside her.
As the spear was nearly rooted inside the rocks of the mountain, Thalia streaked forward to where she stood right under the giant, taking her sword and driving it into the thick dragon hide skin of Enceladus' foot. He bellowed in pain at the gnawing stab he received while Thalia watched as the golden ichor ran down the giant's foot. She wished she had golden blood like the immortals. It looked a lot nicer than red blood. Her impractical thoughts were interrupted when Enceladus sent another blast of fire at her.
Now all she really could think of was: Where the heck is Bobby and that crane? as she pointed her sword at the giant's knee, and struck it hard.
Avoid fire. Stab at Enceladus' legs. It went on like that for what seemed like an eternity.
"I'm not some minor monster!" Enceladus bellowed to her. "I am a giant, born to destroy the gods—"
Who gives a shit? Thalia thought, annoyed.
"—Your little gold toothpick can't kill me!"
He was still talking? But the moment got the better of her in her own distracting thoughts as fire blew past her. It missed her by a millimeter, but one stray speck of flame flew and grazed the outer crevice of her left ear. That small part alone was enough to undo her.
Her electric blue eyes widened tremendously at the touch as the small fire melted around her ear. She let out a gasp as she involuntarily dropped her sword and fell to the ground, spasmodically twitching against the earthy dirt. Thalia's hand jerking fingers strove hard to reach towards her left ear to swat away the speck of fire but no avail. Not only could she not move, she couldn't breathe either. The oxygen in her body was leaving her, as though a cruel vacuum was slowly sucking away all the air to leave her flopping around like a fish out of water.
She didn't feel the spear tapping against her foot, to see if she was dead or not. However, she could hear Enceladus' boisterous, earth-shaking laughter. In the next minute, her leg was caught between the giant's plump index finger and thumb. Slowly, she levitated from the ground in a dizzy spell, her mind blank as she was held in mid-air, twirled around only to face Enceladus' ugly face, his fangs baring.
"Good try, daughter of Jupiter," Enceladus said mockingly, knowing well that Thalia couldn't rebuke him for calling her that title this time. He dangled her, laughing again as her thin body flailed back and forth. "But I cannot be beaten. And now, my first sacrifice to Gaea!"
Thalia felt all the blood rush to her head as she was hung upside down. Eternal damnation, here I come. Again.
As she twirled around for good, dramatic measure, she could see the tip of the spear slowly making its way towards her chest, Enceladus just inching to ram the thing through her body. Thalia tried to look on the bright side. There was none. Besides the fact that the tiny fire on her ear finally blew out. She tried to summon any form of electricity, but she was still recuperating from her body breakdown.
There was another overwhelming roar, but it didn't come from Enceladus. It sounded more like it came from a large machine. She nudged in Enceladus' hold, spinning to see a construction crane moving, with a determined Bobby in the operator's seat. She saw his finger moved to one of the triggers, and with one push, the crane moved altogether and the metal hook swung to the side and struck the giant's head.
Enceladus howled in his span moment of pain, stumbling back a couple of clumsy steps, and abruptly released Thalia from his grip. She tumbled in the air, headed straight for the ground and almost hit in a way that would damage the strength of her bones had the winds not saved her—Thank you, Dad—and she floated the rest of the way down until her feet was planted firmly on the ground.
She looked up at the sky and noticed the dark clouds coming in, that hadn't been there before. Giving her father more mental words of her appreciation, her eyes trained onto the stormy sky, her eyes flashing electrically.
Lightning surged through her body as she beamed brightly, hitting Enceladus to throw him off again. A thunderous sound emancipated from the clouds as an immeasurable streak of lightning hit the ground with a deafening crack. The brilliant lightning bolt that Thalia had called separated the rocky crater, causing each side to messily rip away from the other. The giant slipped down the side of the crater, tripping over his feet, but not falling. Thalia herself fell forward into the rift, but the crane had lowered to her level, catching her before she could fully crash in.
After Enceladus caught his footing, he sneered at the demigods. "My fate is preordained! Giants cannot be killed by gods or heroes! You have won nothing! My brothers are rising, and they are ten times as strong as I am! We sill destroy the gods at their very roots and you will die, Olympus will die—"
"Yeah, yeah, whatever." Thalia clasped tightly onto the railings of the metal hook and signaled Bobby.
Bobby, catching her finger moment, flicked at the trigger again. The crane physically moved forward, the metal hook swinging horizontally, with Thalia hanging on for dear life. The crane's metal hook hit the side of Enceladus' face one last time before the giant tripped over and fell into the crevice, the earth shaking along the way.
Enceladus was gone.
Well, for now, at least.
With an odd jolt, Bobby lowered the crane down until the metal rested atop the ground, letting Thalia jump off of it and onto the remnants of the mountain, which was on fire.
"You have perfect timing, Bobby," Thalia commented, her head still spinning.
Bobby passed her a grin. The look soon turned to one out of concern. "Hey, are you alright? It looked as though that lightning bolt thing you did took a lot of energy from you."
"No, duh," Thalia couldn't help but at sarcasm in her response. "I'm just a little light-headed. I just need a little nap, but that's probably unlikely."
"No, duh," Bobby repeated smartly, laughing at his consul's glare.
Above them was a helicopter, the flying vehicle circling the mountain. Thalia thought it might be firefighters or reporters that were observing the mess they caused. The two were beyond shocked when the helicopter lowered for them to see a female pilot with a glazed look in her eyes, with Piper and her dad in the backseat.
Thalia looked at Piper skeptically. "How did you get a helicopter?"
"Bullhorn…?" Thalia turned around, looking at Bobby with an expression of confusion before she was cut off.
"Just get in," Bobby sighed in exasperation, tired from their fight with Enceladus as he physically pushed Thalia into the helicopter with his hands behind her back, ignoring Thalia's agitated look.
As they got on board, the helicopter took off. The pilot kept asking questions over the radio, inquiring the whereabouts of where they were going, but all three demigods ignored him. They flew over the crevice, and Thalia instantly peeked out the window to see if she could see Enceladus from her viewpoint. With minor unfortunate luck, she only saw a pit of blackness in the hole that her lightning bolt had created.
Piper's dad—in which Thalia was informed that his name was Tristan— didn't look too good. It made sense, considering he was a hostage of Enceladus' for that amount of time. He sat in the corner of his seat, his knees drawn up to his chest, his hands winded over his knees as he rocked himself, his eyes hollow and dark. Tristan McLean certainly looked as though he had definitely seen better days in his years.
"Is he okay, Piper?" Thalia asked as she hesitatingly eyed the other girl's father.
In return, Piper let out a sad sigh. "He's just a little distressed."
Mr. McLean continued to rock back and forth. "I live in a world of monsters. I live in a world of monsters. I live in a world of monsters. I live in a world of monsters. I live…" he chanted the mantra over and over.
"My mother gave me a vial," Piper said, taking out a small vial. "It'll take away his recent memories. It'll make it as though none of this had ever happened to him," she added quietly, swooshing the pink liquid.
Wordlessly, Thalia turned back to watch Tristan McLean with scrutiny.
"I live in a world of monsters…"
"Give it to him," the black-haired girl advised after that.
Piper swallowed nervously and nodded in consent. She made her way over to her father, murmuring soft words to him in the slightest of desperation, but her father didn't seem to be listening. The image was a little heart-breaking, so Thalia walked away in the space the back of the helicopter provided for her to give them a minute.
Seemingly out of thin air, Bobby appeared at her side. "So what next?" he asked.
"We head for the Wolf House," Thalia rubbed at her eyes tiredly. "I'm pretty sure that's where Juno is."