SO GUESS WHAT I HAVEN'T GIVEN UP ON!
Yeah, I had honestly lost every single iota of inspiration for this piece until one particularly brilliant human who goes by the name TheProfoundNight sent me this blindingly amazing idea. The vast majority of this chapter was written by TheProfoundNight, and that is literally the only reason that this chapter got written at all. They also gave me an AWESOME start on chapter four, so we'll see how that goes.
TheProfoundNight, I know I promised this would be up on Wednesday, but I got sick on Wednesday, so that didn't happen. I'm sorry!
But here it is! CHAPTER THREE!
SPOILERS: Uh, nothing's coming to mind. Let me know if I missed something.
WARNINGS: Nope! Should also be good.
DISCLAIMER: The majority of this chapter goes to TheProfoundNight, and obviously we're playing in Riordan's sandbox.
Maybe This Time We Can Live
"I win," Percy said with a surprised, pleased expression. Triton tried to scowl from his position on the ground with Riptide at his neck, but he couldn't hide his faint grin.
"So it would seem," he said, rising to his feet and shifting back into his mer form. "In my defense, I'm not used to fighting with two legs."
Percy raised an eyebrow, smirking. "You're still underwater," he pointed out. "In the middle of the courtyard. You definitely had home-field advantage, so don't start on me with your excuses."
Triton sighed, wondering—not for the first time—just why he had exerted so much effort trying to save the life of this infuriating child.
Percy had been at Atlantis for just under a fortnight. Under the care of Poseidon, Amphitrite, and a veritable army of healers, he had recovered almost completely. At Poseidon's request, the demigod had agreed to remain with them for a bit longer.
Since he was now fully recovered, Triton had offered to spar with the young man, curious to see just how strong the so-called "Hero of Olympus" really was. In order to make things a little more even, he had taken on a human form and had curbed his full power—at first. However, Percy was a true master with his weapon, and he was just as home in the sea as Triton was. It had been all the god could do to keep up with him.
"Quite impressive, Perseus," Amphitrite said from where she leaned against an open archway, watching them. "Your skill with the sword is as great as they say."
Percy flushed, a happy little smile spreading over his face. "Thank you, My Lady," he said with a quick bow in her direction.
Triton glanced over at the demigod with a frown. He wouldn't say they were on the absolute best of terms yet—after all, he was still the product of Poseidon's unfaithfulness—but Percy had begun to relax around Amphitrite and Triton, easily conversing with them.
They were definitely at least friends by now, and Triton had noticed that Percy dropped formalities with those that he trusted. For example, he called Poseidon "Dad" instead of Triton's more respectful "Father." He did the same with Hades and Hestia, calling them Uncle and Aunt respectively.
So for him to call Amphitrite "My Lady" was unusual.
The Queen raised an eyebrow. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought we'd already had a conversation about titles?"
The boy grinned at her. "Indeed we did, My Lady!" he said. "But when you called me Perseus—you know, the name only the Olympian Council and people who wanna kill me use—I thought we were reverting."
Amphitrite laughed quietly while Triton snorted, rolling his eyes.
"My apologies, Percy," she said, pushing off the wall and walking over to them. "It's been…a bit of a stressful day."
"What's wrong?" the boys asked in unison.
A frown furrowed her brow. "We've received reports of a severely polluted stretch of water approximately one hundred miles north of the city. The seafolk in the area have all fled their homes for fear of sickness."
Triton scowled. Blasted humans…
"I could summon some help," he offered. "There are a few debts I could collect on."
"Or Dad could break out the sand dollars again," Percy kept a straight face, but his eyes were sparkling as though with an inside joke.
Amphitrite smiled tiredly at him. "I would ask him, but…I fear this will require more power than convincing stubborn river gods to cooperate."
Percy nodded, his eyes going distant. He absentmindedly chewed on his lower lip, like he always did when he was thinking hard about something.
"Is it okay if I head out for a few hours?" he looked up at Amphitrite.
She tilted her head. "May I ask why?"
He grinned. "Just something I'd like to check."
She nodded. "Be safe. And let me know when you return."
He bowed. "Thank you, Amphitrite. See you later, Triton!"
The older son of Poseidon couldn't help his soft smile as the boy gathered the currents around him and shot off into the blue.
"He's something, isn't he?" Amphitrite rested her arm around Triton's shoulders. "There are few who could defeat you in a one-on-one battle, even with you in an unfamiliar form."
Triton's smile slipped. "He has to be the best," he answered quietly. "To do what he's done, to survive what he's done. He has to be unbeatable. And honestly, he's fought Titans before. I never stood a chance."
His mother frowned. "Do not underestimate or undervalue yourself, my son," she warned, and he shook his head.
"I'm not, don't worry. I'm just…not exactly in his league," a wry smile pulled at his mouth. "I would bet even Father would have a rough time defeating him if Percy really put his mind to it. He is a mighty warrior."
Amphitrite laughed. "It would be amusing to watch, at the very least," she admitted. "His form and focus are admirable. Truthfully, I could find no flaw in his performance."
"And yet, he drives himself into the ground," Triton sighed, crossing his arms.
"Hmm," her eyes sparkled with humor. "Like he drives his mother into the ground with excessive worry."
They shared a quiet laugh, savoring the moment of peace.
"You were right, Mother," Triton admitted after a while.
"Hmm? About what?"
"About Percy. He has…changed Atlantis, I think."
Amphitrite smiled. "He has changed us, my son." She tilted her head. "Is that a bad thing in your eyes?"
Triton looked around him, taking in the peace and the underlying feel of joy and contentedness radiating through their world.
"No," he said. "Not even a little bit."
Percy paused at the very edge of Atlantis, putting two fingers in his mouth and performing his very best underwater whistle.
He waited a couple of minutes, and was about to do it again when a familiar call rang out and Rainbow was zipping up to him, ecstatically looping around him so fast he almost started a small whirlpool.
Percy laughed. "Hey, Rainbow!"
Lord, Lord, Lord! the hippocampus shouted happily. You are back! I am so happy to see you!
"I'm happy to see you, too," Percy grinned, rubbing Rainbow's neck and scratching his ears. "But seriously, my name is Percy. No need to call me Lord."
Of course, Lord Percy!
"No, no, just Percy is fine."
Yes, Lord Percy!
"No, it's—never mind," Percy shook his head with a little laugh. "Anyway, I need to get to the pollution in the north. You know what I'm talking about?"
Rainbow visibly wilted. It is very bad, Lord. Everyone has run away. It is killing, Lord.
Percy's heart twisted. "Well, get me up there and I'll do my best to fix it. Sound good?"
Rainbow perked right up. Yes! I will take you as fast as I can! Hold on, Lord!
Percy clung tight to Rainbow's neck as the hippocampus tore through the water, hoping he would be able to do what he had promised.
Percy was not pleased.
Rainbow had gotten him as close as he could, but eventually the hippocampus had to admit that he could go no further.
So Percy swam on alone, squinting as the pollution burned his eyes and skin. He pressed on, seeking the source of the poison, one hand pressed over his nose and mouth in an attempt to filter out some of the toxin.
"Ugh, what the Hades?" he groaned as he finally reached the center. "There's nothing here!"
He stretched out his senses, reaching deep into himself. If he couldn't find the source of the poison, maybe he could at least cleanse this stretch of water.
A frown pulled at his brow.
"That's…strange," he murmured.
He could feel the pollution burning against his skin, but when he reached out with his powers, the water felt perfectly fine. As though there was nothing wrong with it at all. It…honestly, it felt like one of Hazel's illusions. The Sea Prince focused his power and snapped his fingers, and the burning sensation on his skin instantly faded.
He opened his eyes and inhaled sharply. The water was clear.
Percy's lips thinned. That wasn't good.
"Styx curse it," he grumbled, whistling for Rainbow.
The hippocampus zipped back up, spinning around him twice before settling down.
Lord, Lord, you did it! The excitable creature cheered. You made the water nice again!
Percy smiled faintly at him. "It's a start. Hey, can you give me a lift back to the palace?"
Of course, Lord!
Percy rolled his eyes skyward.
"That's never going away, is it?" he muttered to himself as he swung onto Rainbow's back.
Percy was almost to the throne room when Triton found him.
"I wouldn't go in there, Percy," he called. "Father's in a meeting."
Percy bit his lip. "Do you know what they're talking about?"
Triton nodded, leaning against the wall. "He's meeting with his council to discuss the pollution problem Mother was talking about earlier."
Percy huffed out a sigh. "Styx. Triton, there is no pollution problem."
The elder Prince's eyebrows went up. "Come again?"
"That's where I went, earlier," Percy said quietly. "It just seemed weird to me that the issue could have grown to that size without any of us noticing it. It wasn't that far from here. Only about three miles, and Dad would have noticed it a long time ago. So I was curious and went to take a look. It was Mist, Triton. The whole thing was a Mist construct, and it was strong. Whoever did this was powerful."
Triton frowned, arms crossing over his chest. "That's really not good," he sighed. "I was hoping we could have some peace for a few decades after all the chaos of the last few years, but apparently not. Come on, then. Father will want to hear this."
Side by side, the Princes of Atlantis flung open the doors of Poseidon's throne room.
And there you go! I know it's been a really, REALLY long time since I published anything in this story, so I apologize for any continuity errors there might be.
But I hope you guys enjoyed! Please leave a review, it is SO encouraging to get feedback from y'all! Even if it's just a "I liked it". It really makes my day.
See you next time!