"Percy Jackson!" The herald called. "Step forward."
I did as I was told, stepping up to the podium that sat at the end of the great hall.
Chaos turned to look at me. Now what did he look like? I guess I couldn't really
tell you. I was looking at the physical embodiment of what existed before the universe. He, or she really, was older than shapes. Shapes weren't even a thought when he began. So he could appear as whatever he wanted. Now-a-days, he preferred to appear to people as the image that made them the most comfortable, maybe an old man with a white flowing beard, or a parental figure. He even appeared to have some of the traits of the person you loved the most, as disturbing as that might be sometimes.
Today though, he looked like a teacher. He had curly brown hair, graying at the edges. His eyes were soft and kind, but when he looked at you, he seemed to be able to tell who you were on the inside, not just whatever exterior you were displaying. He had on a brown tweed jacket and jeans. If I walked into a school and saw him in the halls, I would have figured he was a history teacher or something, which he probably would have been. He was there.
I stood in front of him. He looked down at me and smiled. "For the dedication you have shown for this Order, and the willingness others have shown in following your lead, I have decided to award you a promotion." Chaos announced. A servant ran over, holding a wreath of laurels on a padded pillow. "From here on forward, you, Percy Jackson, shall lead the Knights of Mine. They shall follow your orders as they do my own." Chaos gingerly took the wreath, placing it on my head. "Stand, Percy Jackson, as the new Suzerain of the Knights of Mine."
I stood, turning to face those behind me. They weren't very many of us. A couple dozen at most. It seemed like insignificant compared to what the hall was built to hold. From where I stood at the top of the podium you still couldn't see the double doors at the end. Two rows of pillars marched down the hall, soaring up to the roof it held above. The hall was built to hold a small city at least. We certainly didn't have that many.
Chaos put his hand on my shoulder. "I hope I have chosen my champion well."
"Me too," I said. "Me too."
"I am sorry to tell you your celebration will be short-lived." He said sadly.
"Why is that?" I looked at him.
"You must go home." His expression looked pained, like every word hurt. "Olympus needs you one more time. I am sorry."
I took a step back in shock. "You want me to help them?" I spat. "After what they did to me? To her!?"
"I know why you do not want to help, but this is a task you and I cannot ignore. Your Gods will rip your world apart in their civil war. I can no longer sit idly by while your kind destroys itself. Enough have died already."
"Forget it." I waved him off. "I'm not helping the Gods any longer. I saved them once, and they paid me back in pain and suffering. And you want me to do it again?"
"If you ignore this, millions will die. Do not think Zeus will spare any. You know personally what he will do to those he thinks opposes him. And what side, do you imagine, will he believe your parents will take?" Chaos warned. "If you do nothing, what will happen to those you care about?"
I sighed, defeated. "Is it really like I have a choice?"
"You could ignore the situation. It will resolve itself, sooner or later, possibly even without bloodshed. But that is a long-shot. You can stay here with the Knights of Mine, but doing so would almost certainly mean destruction for mankind."
I slumped down on the steps, suddenly feeling drain and exhausted. It seemed the world always had something wrong with it, and I had to do something about it. I guess the last year had been uneventful, at least for me, but it felt like a short break. Once again, I had to save the world. It was getting old.
He looked at me. Chaos looked genuinely sorry for my fate. "I'm afraid, Percy Jackson, that once again you do not have much of a choice."
The second I got back to my room, I slumped down on the bed. Emotions swirled around inside of me like a hurricane. I didn't know what I should be feeling. Angry? Happy? Sad? My mom would be happy to see me I guess. But going back. Going back would stir memories I would rather forget and be done with. I never heard another thing from any of my friends after… after what happened. After Annabeth-
Someone knocked on the door. I sat up, annoyed. "Come in," I said finally.
Aly poked her head in. "Are you doing okay?"
"Ya," I frowned. "Why do you ask?"
"Because you looked like you wanted to hit something earlier." She came in, closing the door silently behind her. Her long black hair was tied up in a bun and she was still dress in our formal robes, made from black silk. They were absolutely the most uncomfortable thing I had ever worn.
"Chaos told me where we're going next." She said. "Do you want to talk about it?"
No, I thought bitterly. I don't want to talk about it. But Aly was too stubborn for her own good. I knew she wouldn't leave until she got something out of me.
But I still said "No."
"You shouldn't keep everything bottled up forever." She sat down on the bed next to me. "You can tell me."
I studied her, trying to gauge what I should say next. "I guess I just miss her."
"Who?" Aly asked. "Your mom?"
I was going to say No, but the word got stuck in my throat. I couldn't get it out. So I just shook my head.
She gave me a smile. "I'm sure she misses you too. You haven't left once since you got here." I must've of done something because she looked at me with concern. "Um, does she know you're here?"
"What? Oh, ya." I glanced at the picture on my bed stand. "Ya she knows I'm here. She was the one who convinced me to come. She said that I needed some time to just get away. I guess she was right. She usually is." I said quietly.
"But you kinda wondered what would have happened if you stayed, I'm guessing." Aly said it like she had thought that too. I looked at her in amazement. Aly was pretty stubborn most of the time, but she was pretty darn smart, too. She could read people like books when she wanted too.
"Ya sometimes." I finally answered. I was starting to feel uncomfortable with this conversation. "I, uh, need to do some, uh, things." I tried. Cut me some slack. I wasn't exactly the smoothest guy in the world.
Aly seemed to take the hint. "Oh, uh, ya sure. I should probably go get ready anyways." She gave me a small smile. "It was nice talking to you Percy."
"Um, ya. Nice talking to you too I guess."
She walked out, shutting the door behind her.
After she left, I went back to lying on my bed. But I couldn't get comfortable. I kept moving, switching positions. Eventually I got up and started pacing the room, but it didn't do much to help either. I kept thinking back to what she said. What would have happened if I didn't leave?
Nico, Grover, Thalia, Tyson. I never heard from any of them after the accident. No one visited me. Not even my father, though I guess I wasn't too surprised by that. But still, not even got a get well card. And for the first time in a long time, I thought about the day Chaos had paid me his first visit.
I had managed to get up the stairs to our apartment in Manhattan with Pauls' help. The moment we reached the door, it flew open and my mother tackled me with a hug.
"Oh, I'm so glad your home!" She nearly crushed the life out of me.
"Ow! Ow! Owww!" I cringed. "The ribs. The ribs."
She finally let go, letting me breath again. "I'm just so glad your home again." She said exasperated. "I was so worried you would never get to leave the hospital." She hugged me again, not so intense this time, thank the Gods.
Paul patted my shoulder on the way in. "Your mother was worried sick about you."
"I couldn't tell," I replied.
"I guess that'll be the last time I let you borrow my Prius. At least I won't have to worry about those dents in the hood." Paul gave me a small smile.
He was trying to cheer me up, but all he did was make me feel ten times worse. It wasn't just the car that I had destroyed. I tried to move into the kitchen where my mom was making me something to eat. I hardly made it a couple steps before I stumbled. If Paul hadn't been there, I would now being laying on the ground, and I doubted I would've been able to get up.
"You should take it easy for awhile." Paul said gently.
I shook my head. "I've been in bed for two weeks already. I need to move around. I hate being cooped up like this." I tried to take another step.
Paul laughed as he helped me off the couch. "A bed would be good for you right now. I'll tell your mother you went to your room."
I told him ok, even though the last thing I wanted to do was 'take it easy'. After doing nothing but sit in a hospital bed for the last two weeks, I didn't want to spend anymore time lying down. But the second my head hit the pillow, I passed out.
I don't remember how long I was out. As far as I was concerned, it could've been a couple hours, or a couple weeks. Someone knocked on the door, waking me up. I remember thinking that was weird. I could hardly hear the doorbell ring from my room, let alone a knock on the door.
My door was closed, but I heard the man at the door speak clearly.
"Hello Sally Jackson. It is good to meet you." The man said.
I heard my mom give a strangled yelp. "Who… Who are you?"
The guy mused over her question. "Who am I? Well that is difficult to define. I am many things, and I am nothing. But what I am? That is much simpler. I am the beginning and the end. The master and the servant. The Alpha and the Omega." He chuckled. "However, you may call me Chaos. I find it is much simpler. And much easier on the tongue."
My mother didn't reply. I wasn't surprised. I was still trying to figure out if he was speaking English.
"Have… Have we met before?" My mother managed.
"No we have not." He replied.
"Then why do you look…" she started.
"So familiar?" Chaos offered. "I can take any form I choose, but I prefer to choose the form that you are comfortable with. It can be unnerving at first. But I am not here to see you. I have a proposal for your son."
"Percy?" My mother asked, completely surprised. "what do you want with him?" By this time I had made it out to the hallway. Chaos stood just inside the doorway. He looked just plain weird. He had the traits of everyone I knew and it kept shifting. Thalias' spiked hair, Nicos' pale skin, Tysons' build, Grovers' Rasta cap… Well you get the point. Everyone I missed.
When he looked at me, I nearly fainted. His gray eyes startled me. I never thought I would see those eyes again. My heart started running a marathon in my chest.
He turned and spoke to me in an ancient, powerful voice. "I would like to offer you a chance at a new opportunity, if you would accept, Percy Jackson. A life in the Knights of Chaos."
If you can figure out what Percy and Annabeth are referring to in the last two chapters, you are good.
With Annabeth in the Hunters, and Percy a servant of Chaos, how is Percabeth going to survive?
But first, Annabeth and Thalia are going to have to figure out how to get to Nico.