This chapter has got three things:
1. Mentions of Percy
2. More foreshadowing (you probably won't catch it this time, though)
3. PEACEFUL CONFLICT RESOLUTION haha jks these are demigods peaceful isn't their style.
Reviewers- THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Happy Valentines Day everyone, and see you soon with the next chapter!
Jason let out a strangled shout, stepping as far back as he could without falling off the roof. On the ground beside him, Frank grunted, still entirely unaware- at this point, Jason was pretty jealous.
In front of him, the giant, winged horse stared unflinchingly.
'Giant' seemed like too mundane of a word for this creature. It looked a lot like Percy's pegasus, Blackjack- that is, if Blackjack was ten times bigger, a hundred times more muscular, and about a million more intimidating. This horse, enormous feathered wings obscuring the sun, possessed none of the goofiness Jason had come to expect from Camp Half Blood's pegasi.
"Nice scream there, hero." The horse stared at him matter-of-factly. "Don't worry- I get that a lot."
Jason's mouth opened even wider. He hadn't seen the horse's mouth move- on the contrary, the words had echoed in his head, deep, powerful, and almost bored.
Trying to regain some control over the situation, Jason held up his hands in a gesture of peace. "You're... a pegasus?" A radioactive hulk pegasus, maybe.
"A pegasus?" The voice sounded offended. "Come on, hero. I've got my own constellation, I'm immortal and a half, and um, hello?" He flapped his wings pointedly. "I am not A pegasus. I'm THE Pegasus."
Perhaps not a radioactive hulk pegasus.
A lot of thoughts were rushing through Jason's head at that moment, unfortunately, the only one that came out of his mouth was, "I can't talk to horses. That's Percy's thing."
What happened next was odd: Almost reluctantly, Pegasus let out a small whinny, an almost sad sound. He saw Jason looking at him curiously, then tossed his mane defiantly. Mind racing, Jason asked, slowly, "You reacted when I said Percy. Why?"
The winged horse eyed him, and though Jason tightened his grip on his sword, he didn't back down. Partly because he had no roof left as it was, but hey- he had to assert dominance somehow.
That's when it clicked- dominance.
"That was one of your riders, wasn't it? Perseus?" Jason said, excitedly, all of the thoughts coming back to him. Reyna's flying horse obsession was finally coming in handy. "He rode you to go save Andromeda! But hang on..." Jason trailed off, another thought coming back. "I thought that was a myth? An addition to the story?"
Pegasus glared at Jason (could horses glare?), then, almost reluctantly, responded. "You should know by now, hero- 'it's a myth' isn't an excuse for anything."
"I thought you belonged to Bellerophon-"
"Woah, woah, woah. Let's get something straight here: I don't belong to anyone. I occaisonally lend my services, that's all. And please- Bellerophon? That fool wouldn't have got within five feet of me if it weren't for Athena. Now, back when I was helping out Perseus? Those were the days." Something in the Pegasus' tone changed; it was softer, almost melancholy. "We flew around saving people, playing with lightening, getting girls- oh man, those Vestal Virgins, let me tell you-"
"You miss him." said Jason, cutting Pegasus off before the horse could continue.
"Excuse me?" the horse said. It sounded like missing someone was a foreign concept to him.
"Perseus. You miss him."
Pegasus snorted, eyes flashing. "Let me get something straight, little demigod. I don't miss your kind. Yeah, Perseus and I had some good times. Yeah, he said he'd visit me on Olympus, but he never came. And okay, maybe when I heard you say his name on the flying ship, I tracked you down. But that means nothing. In case you haven't noticed, I'm kind of a big deal around here- I do not need a demigod."
Now, Jason and the legendary creature were almost nose to nose. A quick glance around showed that Frank was still unconcious at their feet, and there were no civilians anywhere in sight. Jason looked back at Pegasus.
"We're on a quest. If you can help us, please do; if not: let my friend and I go."
The angry light that had blazed into Pegasus' eyes was still burning, and his nostrils were flaring. His wings shivered slightly, the breeze rustling Jason's hair. At that moment, he knew things weren't going well.
"No. No, I don't think I will. These are my skies, and I don't like being disturbed."
Note to self- reminding giant horses with abandonment issues of their lost friends is not a good game plan.
Jason summoned all of his will, and his sword sparked slightly, crackling with electricity. "I'm the son of Jupiter- Zeus."
"Funny, I thought you were familiar with myths- I'll tell you, anyways. It doesn't matter. I'm the chosen one of the house of Zeus. You're just a mistake."
Time to stretch the truth a little. "I am on a quest for Olympus, for my father."
For a moment, Pegasus paused. Then, "I'll take my chances."
Pegasus drew himself up to his full height, tossing his mane to one side. A loud whistling sound echoed across the skies, like wind during a tornado. Perhaps it was Jason's imagination, but the clouds seemed to be closing in around Pegasus, crackling with energy as he leaned menacingly towards Jason.
"Wait." He said, putting as much authority as possible into the one word. Pegasus didn't stop.
At that moment, Jason realized something: In a way, Pegasus was a combination of him, and Percy. Both were powerful alone, but when combined they created something infinitely more forceful. And it was true, he remembered suddenly: Pegasus was a son of Poseidon with the blessing of Zeus. He was more than the sea, or even the skies. He was the rain and the lightening all in one. He was the embodiment of the storm- wild, unrestrainable, forever free.
And that, Jason knew in that instant, was the key.
"He's a son of Poseidon too." blurted Jason. "He's a son of Poseidon, and he is in Tartarus."
Somehow, unbelievably, the horse paused.
"You never let someone close enough to tame you- Perseus is the only one who ever came close, and that's because he understood that you shouldn't be tamed.You, me, him, we're all from the sky. We need to be free, and because we have the skies, we are. Percy- I mean, Perseus is a son of Poseidon. He can be trapped, he can be imprisoned- but he will escape. He will get free."
The storm gathering around Pegasus seemed to thin. Jason pleaded, his voice softer than before. "Help him. For your Perseus, help ours get free."
For a moment, nothing.
Then- "You speak well, son of Zeus." Pegasus lowered himself down to rest on his haunches, eyes meeting Jason's. "I cannot be tamed, it is true. Perseus was the only one who didn't try, and that..." He blinked for a long moment, then his voice seemed to regain some of it's previous power.
"Zeus and Poseidon are more closely tied than you may think. They are brothers, after all."
"So's Hades." Jason said, not breaking eye contact.
For some reason, Pegasus almost seemed to laugh darkly. "Death and Freedom are not as seperated as you'd like to think."
A small sound came from somewhere near the horse's hooves. They both looked down at a stirring Frank, blinking slowly as he came back around. Upon noticing Pegasus, Frank blinked once, very deliberately. He tugged at Jason's leg.
"Please tell me that's not what I think it is."
"Try who, Sleeping Beauty." said Pegasus indignantly.
Frank stared for one long moment, then seemed to shrug it off- something you learned to do all too well, as a demigod.
The horse looked back at Jason. An understanding seemed to pass through them.
"Go see the oracle at Delphi, hero." said Pegasus, with a hint of a smile in his voice. "I lost my Percy. Go save yours."
Jason nodded, a sudden lump in his throat. Save Percy, sure- but add the entire world to that, and it was getting to be a heavy load.
As the legendary winged horse prepared to take off, Frank got shakily to his feet. "That's Pegasus."
"And he wants us to go see the oracle."
It was silent, then Frank rubbed the large hoof-shaped bruise on his head. "Gee, man, does everyone you talk to always get knocked out?"
Jason half-smiled, as Pegasus flapped his giant wings once, lifting off the roof and sending shingles flying. "Hey, at least it wasn't me this-"
At that second, one of the flying roof tiles hit Jason on the side of the head, knocking him out cold and dropping like a rock.
Frank looked down at Jason, wondering if he'd somehow jinxed it.
Nah, he'd decided, as he watched the giant winged horse disappearing into the sky. Some things just never changed.