AN: Okay, so bad news. This is just an author's note. JUST KIDDING. Hope I didn't drive you away.
Finally, I've updated. Going to try to get the next chapter up soon. I haven't had a lot of time to just sit down and right lately. Sorry if this chapter is short and rushed (and if Clarisse seems a little off; there's a reason, I promise) but hey, it's here. Didn't review it extensively; I'm a tool, I know.
Nevertheless, I hope you all enjoy and thanks for sticking with me.
Please read and review!
Disclaimer: NOT MINE
Percy decided that being stuffed into a barrel fucking sucked. He couldn't hear Thalia anywhere. He hoped that she had managed to turn invisible again before Polyphemus returned. Then it occurred to him: how would she know which barrel contained him?
He was drawn out of his thoughts as he felt himself being lugged high into the air. He was uncomfortably flipped sideways, folded against his own body awkwardly. Gods, that hurt. He gulped. Here went nothing.
The barrel he was in was thrown a short distance but it still hurt immensely. He was in the cave now; he was sure of that. He heard the sheep around him. Percy also heard someone else's breathing. He closed his eyes tightly. He really, really hoped it was Thalia and not Polyphemus.
"Oh! I forgot to get the—" and the Cyclops left the cave.
The top of his barrel popped open and an invisible hand reached in and gripped his hair, using the short black strands to pull him up out of the water.
He sputtered, forgetting that he had allowed water to enter his mouth. He blinked several times, hoping to focus his vision on the person in front of him. He realized then that she was still very much invisible.
After a few moments, a figure shimmered out in front of him. Annabeth was there, staring at him in shock, her Yankees cap dangling between her fingers.
"Percy?" she asked, surprised. She turned to face Silena, who was still sliding out of the ropes she had been tied in. "What are you doing here?"
If that was Annabeth, where was Thalia—?
"Give me back my basket!" Polyphemus' whiney voice rang through the air, reverberating off the walls of the cave.
Ah, there was Thalia. Wait, what was she doing outside? That wasn't part of the plan. She was supposed to be in there, with them.
"Is that Thalia?" Annabeth asked, clipping her hat to her belt loop hurriedly. Her tone was notably worried. "What is she doing out there? He's going to—"
"She can handle herself," Clarisse said, appearing from the back of the cave. She supported a limping Grover as they walked through the cluster of sheep. Then she spotted Percy and she angrily grumbled to herself. "We could have done this without your help."
For the first time, Percy thought better of saying something.
Annabeth glanced around for the first time. "What's with all the barrels, anyway? I mean, I get why you were hiding in one, but why are there seven of them?"
"Odysseus tricked Polyphemus into drinking wine. We decided to get him drunk again. It might be easier to fight him that way."
"Not if Supergirl pisses him off before he even gets in here," the daughter of Ares pointed out.
Annabeth seethed. "What is she even thinking?" She turned on Percy. "You shouldn't have let her do this."
Percy scoffed, not believing she was actually giving him trouble about this. He knew better than to try to stop Thalia from doing something that she was determined to do. "Annabeth, you're—"
"I've already seen her sacrifice herself once, Seaweed Brain," she interrupted angrily. "Gods, why do you even—?"
"Guys," Silena cut in. "We should be focusing on getting out of here. Don't you think, Annabeth?"
Annabeth shook herself out of her anger. "Yeah, yeah. Sorry."
Clarisse cleared her throat. "Should we escape now and challenge him? Maybe with Thalia and Percy, it will be easier. The odds will be better, anyway."
Was that almost a compliment?
"We should go to the back room and wait for him to return." Annabeth glared at Clarisse as she said it, almost begging her to disagree. "Hopefully, once he gets back in here, he'll drink the barrels. Then we'll be able to trick him into moving the boulder again."
"Or we'll destroy him," Clarisse said. "Either way."
Silena nodded, beginning to walk back to the spinning room. "Clarisse, Grover, lead the way."
Percy followed them through a series of pathways, finding himself in a skeleton-cluttered room. Not a second too late, they heard the loud footsteps as Polyphemus re-entered the cave. Percy hoped he wouldn't come in the spinning room. Maybe the rum would distract him enough.
Clarisse helped Grover over to a corner, sitting him down in it before sliding her own body down. It was then that Percy noticed how banged-up they looked. Clarisse had bruises all over her skin, and her armor and camouflage pants were torn and bloodied. The fur of Grover's leg was matted with blood and sweat.
"What happened to you two?"
Clarisse narrowed her eyes. "Nothing I can't handle."
"When Polyphemus tossed us in here, it wasn't actually a nice flight," Annabeth answered. "Luckily, Silena and I had something to break our fall."
"Yeah, me," Clarisse grumbled to herself but everyone else heard her.
Percy sat down next to his satyr friend. "Hey, buddy."
Grover smiled. "Knew I could count on you."
"Of course you can."
Clarisse appeared disgruntled and turned her body to face Silena.
Annabeth sat next to Percy. She was looking worse for wear. Her face was stained with dirt, and her hair was damp and tangled. She still looked pretty, but mostly she looked like something was bothering her. He knew what it was; she was still worried about Thalia.
"This wasn't part of the plan," he told her quietly, as if it should've soothed her worries. "She was supposed to be in here with us."
"And you were supposed to be in the barrel."
Thalia shimmered in the doorway, a Zeus-esque scowl on her face.
Annabeth stood immediately, rushing over and hugging her. Thalia patted her on the back awkwardly, furrowing her eyebrows in the confusion. "What's gotten into you?"
Annabeth pulled away quickly and shoved Thalia in the chest. "You and Percy are stupid."
Clarisse rolled her eyes. "This whole trip, she's been thinking something horrible happened to you doofuses. Just humor her, would you?"
Percy couldn't help but notice it—something was different about Clarisse. She was almost calmer than usual even though they were definitely in a stressful situation. He watched as she interacted with Silena, who looked like she was seconds away from passing out.
"Uh, okay," Thalia said, bewildered.
"Has Polyphemus had any of the rum?" Percy asked, bringing himself to his feet.
"Oh, yeah," she replied shakily. "He's disturbing."
"Did he see you? We heard him yelling about his basket," Annabeth questioned next. "And then we heard you yell some rather colorful expletives."
Thalia shook her head. "He didn't see me. He thinks he killed me with the boulder he uses to block the cave entrance. We're clear to escape after he gets wasted enough."
Boy, the Olympians would be so proud of them.
Annabeth nodded. "Good. We need to avoid confrontation, if possible."
"Well, shit," Clarisse grumbled, snickering whenever Silena poked her in the ribs. "Avoiding confrontation isn't really my thing, Princess."
Annabeth rolled her eyes. "Then you can throw a pebble at him while we're running."
Clarisse started to argue but then she actually seriously considered it. She nodded, pleased with that small display of violence. "Can Silena over here give him a makeover or something?"
Silena waved her hand dismissively. "Oh, honey, you can't fix that kind of ugly."
They heard stumbling and Thalia turned her head to the entryway of the spinning room. "Sounds like someone is getting his fill. We'll have to wait a few. He'll drink them down, no problem."
Clarisse scowled. "What the fuck are we supposed to do until then?"
They were all half-way into a game of I-Spy when they heard the loud drunken yells from Polyphemus.
"Tasty satyr! Demigods, where are you? Do not hide from Polyphemus!"
"I think it's time, guys," Percy said, standing.
"You think?" Thalia responded, fixing him with a sarcastic look. "So we all know the plan, right?"
Annabeth clucked her tongue softly. "Find him."
"Trick him," Silena added. "Shouldn't be too difficult."
"Clarisse, no," Annabeth asserted. "Avoiding confrontation, remember?"
"Where is my bride?" Polyphemus bellowed with an obnoxious laugh.
The daughter of Ares gritted her teeth in anger, and Percy swore that he saw steam billow out of her ears. "Sure I can't just—"
"It's too big of a risk," Annabeth said, effectively ending the argument. "Now let's do this."
They all slowly and cautiously made their way into the main room, where they noticed that the boulder that had been blocking the entrance was gone. They could make a clean escape, if they could convince Polyphemus to simply release them. He was intoxicated enough to where they all pretend to be fellow Cyclopes, if push came to shove.
"I smell demigods! And goat!" Polyphemus announced brightly, throwing down the last barrel. "Here comes the bride, here comes the bride!"
"Fucking kill me," Clarisse muttered.
Thalia and Percy held back snickers but Silena and Annabeth shushed them; Silena did so with a gentle look, whereas Annabeth settled for punching them. They loved Annabeth.
Polyphemus finally spotted them and lolled his head to the side. He was sitting, leaning against the cave wall. "Food!"
Percy didn't think he was drunk enough.
Thalia stepped forward to lie but Percy held her back. She sucked at lying. Surprisingly, Clarisse voted for Silena to go. The daughter of Aphrodite stepped in front of them all and clapped her hands together, pretending to be excited.
"Gee, this is a beautiful place you have!" she complimented. "Say, you know what would—"
"Food," Polyphemus declared once more, trying to stand.
Silena's eyes hardened over. "Let us go," she commanded, her voice clear and loud. "Lead us to the Golden Fleece, give it to us, and let us leave this island."
Everyone in the room looked at her like 'what the fuck are you doing', but Silena maintained her solid stance. Why was she trying to boss around a freaking Cyclops? She was going to get them killed!
Polyphemus didn't look angry, though. He tilted his head like he was contemplating it, and then he nodded as if it made sense to him. He finally managed to stumble to his large feet. "Follow me, food."
Percy gaped. "What—how—?"
"Charmspeak." Annabeth turned to Silena admiringly but also suspiciously. "You can charmspeak."
Silena released a slow breath, looking to the ground but nodding.
Clarisse cleared her throat. "It doesn't matter." She looked at Silena, actually offering a small smile. What the hell? "What you did was amazing. Let's get out of here."
Did Clarisse actually compliment someone? What was wrong with her?
Percy turned to Thalia, wondering if she was finding the behavior strange, only to see her raising an inquisitive eyebrow.
The son of Poseidon followed the rest of his friends as they all exited the cave. Polyphemus looked confused but actually escorted them across the bridge. Then he stopped. He shook his giant head, his eyes becoming un-clouded. His face grew red with anger.
"Fuck," Silena cussed. It was strange hearing the word fall from her mouth. "He's awake."
"What?" Percy asked, drawing his sword defensively.
"He's come out of it," Annabeth explained, gulping. "The charmspeak wore off."
Thalia looked bothered but she nodded, accepting it. She waved her hand. "Annabeth, Grover, Silena—go get the fleece."
Clarisse squared her shoulders. "We can handle this."
"But—" Annabeth started but she was dragged away by Grover and Silena.
"You lie to Polyphemus!" the Cyclops bellowed. He clenched his mighty fists. "You will pay!"
Thalia spun her sword threateningly. "No, I don't think we will."
Polyphemus swung his arm, trying to knock her aside. She jumped over his fist as it sailed her way. When she landed, she rolled into an offensive position and slashed out. While her sword sunk into Polyphemus' side, Percy distracted him by dodging his wide-ranged attacks.
Clarisse took the offensive with Thalia, sticking to the Cyclops' right flank, jabbing out with her spear. Percy faced Polyphemus directly, smoothly sliding out and underneath his blows.
Until the Cyclops finally managed to land a hit.
Percy sailed backwards, flying through the air until he eventually landed on his ass. Thalia glanced back briefly, checking on him, but it was enough time for Polyphemus to catch her off-guard. He swatted her aside, and she fell into the chasm below.
"Thalia!" he yelled, scrambling to the side of the cliff even though his head thumped painfully. "Thalia! I'm coming!"
"Fish Brain, no!" Clarisse yelled, flipping towards him expertly and grabbing him by the back of his shirt.
She physically tossed him away from the edge, instructing Grover to prevent him from moving. She turned back to Polyphemus, who promptly charged her. Angrily, she lifted her booted foot and pushed at his midsection.
Polyphemus stumbled but remained standing. Clarisse didn't let up. She kicked and punched and shoved until the Cyclops fell over, bleeding from his side and clutching his wounded face.
Clarisse raised her spear, seconds away from jamming it into the monster's eye.
Percy was shocked and distressed and dazed. She had moved so quickly, attacked so fiercely. She was the daughter of the god of war, he reasoned.
"Please, no!" Polyphemus begged. "The sheepies need me!"
"I don't," Clarisse responded, thrusting her spear down.
With reflexes that the demigods didn't know the Cyclops possessed, Polyphemus grabbed the spear and tossed it into the chasm after Thalia. Not really a smart move on his part. Clarisse growled, lifting her foot to stomp his lights out. He grabbed her foot and held her in the air, standing to his feet with an evil chuckle.
"Silly bride!" he told her loudly. "You cannot fight your husband! You will not take my pretty fleece."
"Put me the fuck down!" the daughter of Ares bellowed, swinging her body back and forth. "You ugly fucking bastard!"
"No worries!" he assured her, shaking her violently. "I have decided to eat you instead!"
Percy climbed to his feet, glancing back to see that Annabeth and Silena had retrieved the Golden Fleece. Good. If his instincts were right, and he sincerely hoped they were, they were moments away from leaving the island with the fleece and Thalia.
But for now…he had something to take care of.
He charged Polyphemus, angrily thrusting his sword in hopes of finding any inch of skin to penetrate. The Cyclops wailed, dropping his ex-bride on her face. Silena rushed forward and helped Clarisse up, ushering her back.
Polyphemus clutched his chest, eyes widening at the excessive river of blood that flowed down his giant body. He looked into Percy's eyes and started to say something, but Percy wasn't willing to hear it.
He had pushed Thalia into the chasm. He had tossed away Clarisse's weapon. He had kidnapped Grover. He had assaulted Annabeth and Silena. Polyphemus hurt Percy's friends.
Percy yelled, dropping his sword and pushing into the monster as strongly as he could. It was enough. Thank the gods it was enough. Polyphemus tumbled into the chasm, grasping at the air like it was supposed to cushion him and save him from falling to his death.
Percy panted, falling to his knees and peering over the edge, watching as Polyphemus fell to the water below. Would it be enough? Would it kill him? Did Percy want it to kill him?
He was brought out of his thoughts by the sound of loud snarling. He glanced around to see that the sheep had flocked together and were now facing the demigods, starting across the bridge. They looked angry; Percy supposed that he would be, too, if someone threw his herder into a chasm.
"Guys!" he called loudly, turning to face his friends. "We have to get out of here!"
"Thanks a ton for that, Captain Obvious." Clarisse peered into the chasm nervously, as if she were actually considering jumping. "Shit. Killed by sheep. We'll go down in myths, for sure."
Silena twiddled with her thumbs. "Maybe I can try to charmspeak them?"
Annabeth's eyebrows furrowed. "Will it work on man-eating animals?"
"Gee, never tried," the daughter of Aphrodite responded anxiously. "It's worth a shot, I suppose."
Clarisse shook her head. "No, I won't let you do that. In order for us to make it, one of us will have to stay behind and get eaten by the sheep…Percy, will you do the honors?"
"Fuck you," he spat out but he truly wasn't upset. He was just worried. The sheep were gaining on them. What hope did they have left?
Percy froze at the sound of the call. At first, he assumed it was Polyphemus, but the voice was different. Percy knew that voice. He looked up to see a good friend—a good brother—standing among the sheep, earning their attention and holding it.
"Tyson." Percy smiled wider than he ever remembered smiling. Then, louder, he announced, "Tyson!"
Tyson glanced up, smiling at his brother's excitement. "Big brother!"
Grover fidgeted uncomfortably. "Cyclops?"
"It's cool," Percy said, so unbelievably relieved to see Tyson standing feet away from him. "He's my brother."
Annabeth was breathing heavily, exhausted. The fleece looked like it was heavy in her hands. Her eyes were watery and red as she squinted down into the chasm. "Tyson, I need you to get someone for us."
Tyson perked up. "Anything for Annabeth."
She blushed but continued to say, "Thalia is—"
"On a boat!" Grover finished. "What the—" He cut himself off, bleating in confusion.
Annabeth quickly swiveled her head to see the Queen Anne's Revenge pulling around the cliff that it had been hidden behind.
Percy grinned at her surprise but didn't dwell on it. He rushed ahead, asking Tyson to keep the sheep at bay. He obliged.
"Come on!" Percy called back to his friends. "That would be our ride."
"Tyson," Annabeth said as she passed him. "Follow us when we're close to the shore. And hurry."
"Yes, Annabeth," he said, grinning goofily as the sheep affectionately nudged him.
She took off into a sprint and Clarisse, Silena, and Grover hurried after her.
They made it to the beach quickly and gestured for Tyson to leave the sheep. The demigods and satyr boarded the ship, and Annabeth immediately made her way over to Thalia. The blonde girl was panting heavily still, appearing as if she were seconds away from collapsing into a deep, deep sleep.
"Was this part of your plan?" Annabeth asked, waving her arm around. "This whole fall-off-the-cliff, scare-the-shit-out-of-Annabeth, and then commandeer-the-ship thing?"
Thalia shook her head, smirking. "Nah." She clucked her tongue. "So, you were scared, huh?"
Annabeth rolled her eyes and playfully shoved her. "Why am I friends with you?"
Thalia wagged her eyebrows. "Why wouldn't you be?"
"Annabeth, Thalia!" Grover called. "We have a problem!"
Percy turned to see what he was talking about. Tyson was making his way towards them. Okay, so what? What was so bad about—
And Polyphemus was right behind him.
"Oh, shit," Thalia muttered. "Did I forget to mention that he's still alive?"
"Tyson!" Percy yelled. "Hurry!"
His Cyclops brother glanced behind him and suddenly stopped running.
"Tyson! What are you doing?"
Tyson quickly lifted a large boulder and spun around to face the larger Cyclops. When Polyphemus opened his wide mouth, Tyson didn't hesitate to toss the boulder into his throat.
While Polyphemus was struggling and choking on the rock, Tyson waded into the sea.
Unfortunately, a boulder quickly forced him onto his ass. Polyphemus had managed to spit the rock out, and boy did he look angry. "You, young Cyclops! Traitor to our kind."
"I am not traitor," Tyson argued, stopped in place by the monster's words.
Percy felt Thalia getting impatient, and he rushed to prepare the ship further, still keeping his eyes on Tyson.
Tyson lifted the boulder that had hit him and launched it into the air. This time he managed to toss it hard enough to knock Polyphemus over. The older Cyclops didn't look like he was going to get up anytime soon. The sheep crowded around him, hovering over his large body.
"And I am not monster," Tyson continued, his brown eye narrowed in defiance. He spared one last glance before finally climbing onto the ship.
Percy accepted Tyson's fierce, smothering hug. "That was awesome, Tyson."
"Thank you, brother." Tyson said seriously, no trace of that goofy smile on his face. "But who will take care of sheepies?"
Clarisse snorted. "The sheepies could eat off that for months." She then frowned. "Did I just say sheepies?"
"See," Percy said, approaching Thalia. "If I had not taught you how to steer earlier, you wouldn't—"
"Shut the fuck up."
Laughing, the son of Poseidon helped Thalia maneuver the ship further into the sea and away from Polyphemus' island, the large Cyclops' cries dying in the misty air.
Clarisse walked to the wheel and nudged Thalia. Percy could tell it had to sting a little bit. "C'mon, Supergirl. Let's get this fleece to your stupid tree."