During the next 7 hours, Piper just wandered around the deck, knowing that there was no way she could sleep even though she probably needed it.
The moment when Percy and Annabeth finally came in sight inside Tatarus, running towards the doors with Annabeth's arm around Percy's neck and his arm around Annabeth's waist kept replaying in her mind over and over again.
At the moment she first saw them clearly at the doors, she'd thought that they had taken the saying "looking terrible" to a whole new level. They had looked haunted, tired, and weak and yet, at the same time, they'd also looked stronger than ever, as if there was nothing in the world they couldn't handle.
Annabeth and Percy had both had bruises and scratches, and their clothes had been torn and at least as filled with dirt as their skin had been.
The joy that had exploded inside of Piper had soon been erased by terror when Nico had closed the doors from the inside. She had known all along that I was the plan, but there was still at big side of her that agreed with Percy; Nico was just a kid. He had only been 13 years old!
No, Piper thought as she brushed some hair behind her ears. Nico might not be dead, yet. Don't you dare think of him as if he is!
She knew that the chances of Nico surviving Tartarus for more than two weeks would be between slim to none. He hadn't been able to recover enough from last time through the last couple of weeks to once again survive in Tartarus. At least not for long.
Piper's thought were interrupted when Leo, who was the only other person on Argo II who was sleeping, came running over to her. "Festus says that he can sense land not very far from here."
"America?" Piper frowned. "How long time have we been flying?"
"For almost seven hours," Leo replied. "Look, would you mind waking up the others? I need to make sure this ship doesn't get out of course."
"Sure," Piper said and sighed. She looked at the horizon, then she went to wake the others.
"So what's the plan?" Piper asked, half an hour later, when everyone was finally gathered. And with "everyone", Piper meant everyone except Coach Hedge who was busy watching baseball in his room.
It hadn't taken long time for her to wake all the others, and it hadn't taken long time for them to get ready, either.
Percy looked at her, quizzed, though since he still hadn't taken a bath or changed clothes since he came out of Tartarus, he looked bewildered.
"What do you mean?" Percy asked.
"Well, we do need to have a plan," said Jason, who was sitting beside Piper.
Piper looked at Annabeth, who, just like Percy, hadn't taken a bath or changed clothes. "You've got any ideas?"
Annabeth looked at Percy for a moment. To Piper it kind of looked like they had a silent conversation even though neither of them spoke.
Finally Annabeth spoke up. "We do what Percy and I always do."
"And what is that, exactly?" asked Leo and motioned for Annabeth to elaborate.
"We improvise," Percy said.
The whole crew stared at Percy and Annabeth in disbelief.
Frank was the first one to speak. "We're talking about stopping a war between the two camps and you two want us to improvise."
"That's just suicide," Leo murmured.
"Look," Percy said. "Annabeth and I have never really had a plan. We didn't have any plan when we had to retrieve Zeus' lightning bolt –"
"Neither did we have a plan when we went to the sea of monsters to get the fleece," Annabeth added. "Nor when we were in the labyrinth."
"And we definitely improvised when we fought against Kronos' army," Percy said.
"A lot," Annabeth murmured.
Jason stared at Percy with raised eyebrows. "I start to wonder how you're still alive."
"I think you can thank me for that." Annabeth gave a short, depressed laugh.
Percy snorted. "Then where were you, when I was chased by skeletons or when I was fighting the Minotaur."
Annabeth ignored Percy's comment and looked at the others with a sincere look on her face. "The point is that we'll survive with or without a plan."
"And we all know that if we make a plan now, nothing will go after that plan," Percy said and ran his hands through his jet black hair.
Piper noticed that the only one around the table was Hazel; she just looked down at the table. Piper didn't blame her. The girl had just lost her brother the day before.
"Well –" Frank begun, but was interrupted by a loud CREAK.
Leo ran out of the door to the deck, and after a few moments his head appeared by the door. "I think you guys would want to see this."
Percy and Annabeth looked at each other with wide eyes for a few seconds before storming out the door, followed by Jason, Piper, Frank and Hazel.
They all leaned over the side where Leo stood. Piper got surprised when she realized they were less than one kilometer from Camp Half-Blood.
But the joy of almost being back was ruined by the fight that was going on all over the camp.
Piper closed her eyes and opened in hope that the fight had been something she'd imagined, but unfortunately it seemed to be very real.
"I don't know about you," Hazel said, her voice sounding weak. "But I think right now would be the time to go and dress up for war."
"Hazel's right," agreed Jason. "This could get very ugly."
Piper wasn't sure what she had expected to see when they came back to the camp, but it sure wasn't the hunters, the nature spirits and the satyrs fighting side by side the Greek campers against the Roman campers.
Though she immediately felt stupid. Of course they would fight besides the Greeks!
Nobody seemed to notice Piper, Leo, Annabeth, Percy, Jason, Hazel, Frank and Coach Hedge as they climbed down to earth (or, in Jason's case: flew).
Not even when Piper cried out that they had to stop fighting with her best charmspeak, nobody reacted.
Suddenly the earth shook, and Piper had to fight to stay standing.
When the earthquake stopped everybody was quiet. Nobody moved at all. Piper looked around to figure out who could've caused the earthquake.
Then she remembered that there was only one person who could've done it, since the god of earthquake was also the sea god.
Okay, so I have no idea when the next chapter will be up, but I'm pretty sure it'll be during the next couple of weeks, but I'll be really busy do once again idk. I'll try to get it up as fast as possible, but I just can't make myself write faster than my imagination can create the storyline, sorry.
Anyways. I hope you liked this chapter c: