For anyone specially critical about poems, sorry in advance? *shrugs sheepishly*
And guys, sorry, but it's really troublesome to post in this website, so I decided that I'll be posting solely in wattpad from now on. I'm still KitsuneTails25 there with the same profile pic.
"That is all for today. If anyone sees anything unusual, receives any dreams, or anything at all, report it to me," Chiron said, concluding the meeting.
The demigods around the table murmured to each other as they started to leave the room, worried voices and worried looks present in most. Clarisse went out with a scowl, likely about to blow off some steam by hacking into a poor dummy. Nico pushed off against the wall he was leaning on, pursed lips and a frown on his face, giving Annabeth a nod before leaving Will. Piper gently rested a hand on Annabeth's shoulder, wordlessly offering support, before taking Jason's hand on the way out. Everyone gave her sad, sympathetic glances and words ever since they failed to find Percy anywhere. Practically everyone in camp did.
Annabeth knew that her red eyes made it clear that she had been crying. She knew her hair was a mess from running her hand through it multiple times and not bothering to fix it. She knew that tears kept welling up in her eyes whenever thoughts managed to slip through her attempts to keep them away.
She knew that she, to put it bluntly, looked like shit.
But Annabeth was getting tired of everyone's sympathetic words and pitying looks, tired of... this. All this.
She thought that things were over, that life had started to calm down, and now they only have to worry about building their lives with the occasional monster to fight. Unbidden, her hands curled into fists. Her eyes burned, and something in her chest also burned. It was not just pain. It was stronger, burned hotter, and screamed to be let lose to those against her.
It pumped a harsh beat in her heart, making her want to scream and destroy even as she wanted to cry.
She pushed herself up, her chair scraping the floor at the motion. Chiron's gaze was a heavy weight on her back, but she didn't want to see that now familiar look on his face again.
Slow deep breaths passed through slightly open lips as Annabeth strode with stiff shoulders and a raised head. She may not look like the most composed in her appearance, but she will not let it mirror in her composure. After everything they went through, she will not let this bow her over.
Annabeth will find Percy, one way or another.
Her eyes wandered across camp, flitting from camper to camper as they either went through activities or did preparations, taking in the worried faces, the tenseness in the veterans of the wars. Annabeth couldn't blame them, considering the last time Percy had disappeared.
The memory made her breath catch, but she immediately steadied back her breathing and pushed the memory away.
She reached the stables, and it wasn't long afterwards that she entered a glade with a canopy so thick it rendered anything inside invisible from the air. The only clue to its location is the hole amongst the leaves where the first visitors had burst through on the backs of myrmekes.
Bones, both animal and human littered the grass, crunching under the pegasus' hooves. Annabeth unmounted from Blackjack as his wings folded against his side, patting his great black neck softly.
"Don't worry Blackjack," she said, staring determined at the end of the glade, "Soon, we'll be one step closer to finding Percy." Blackjack whinnied back, and while she couldn't understand him like Percy can, she knew that the pegasus can understand her.
Where her gaze was directed stood two tall oak trees. They were thick, like giant living doors, and between them was a passage through.
The Grove of Dodona.
A few years ago, Apollo the sun god was stripped of his immortality as punishment from his father, Zeus. He became an awkward teenage mortal, acne and all, and arrived in camp with a little girl who was said to be his master. Long story short, it all ended with the little girl abandoning him and the camp getting a new source of prophecies in the form of the Grove.
With a deep breath, she entered the living gates.
The Grove consists of young oaks arranged in concentric circles around a slightly larger one in the center. It was surrounded by trees even more formidable than the ones creating the entrance, a wall of living wood that separated the Grove from the rest of the world. Annabeth carefully picked her way through the acorns glowing on the ground, until she came to a stop before the center tree. The brass chimes wasn't hard to find.
It was still, and thus unable to silence the whispers coming from the trees. Voices talked about things that seem random and unimportant like a sale on toasters and scarves, other voices traded rhymes as if playing a game.
Trick or treat
A piece of string reached towards the ground, an addition to make getting a prophecy easier without having to stand on a chair, or another person. With a slight pull, soft notes clanged through the air, and the whispers silence as if in wonder at the delicate sound. Then the ground rumbled, the central tree shook, and–
"Speak," Annabeth commanded.
A voice boomed.
A plan, a test, performed through Wings of Owl,
Her love turned sightless by immortal's view.
A whisper made to the unknowing fowl,
A life created and started anew.
Claws, fangs, hot water and a pair of wings,
The Sea unchanged and changed tremendously.
With hope and will and two glittery rings,
Owl's daughter sails alone through wind and sea.
Go north and journey under the star's light,
Through metal and fire and beasts that prowl.
Where a King will lose his rule to the Night,
A kingdom freed with a triumphant howl.
To prove his worth his life will be the cost,
Farewell, but nothing is forever lost.
The chime stilled, the booming voice quieted, and not a single whisper came from the trees.
Annabeth didn't say anything. She was frozen to the spot, staring sightlessly at the trunk in front of her. Then she turned sharply and marched right out.
Leaves rustled as demigod and pegasus shot through the air, and then the clearing was empty.
The relationship between god and demigod had always been distanced. That's a fact many demigods knew well, and it had been that way for a very long time. In fact, before the recent wars, countless generations of demigods would come and leave camp (whether through life outside with mortals or through early death) without ever getting even a single dream or gift or a sign of "Hey, this here is mine" from their parent. This was what made demigods turn from the Gods and join the Titans. It's what drove Luke to his fate.
It was only after Percy made them swear to claim their children after the Titan War, and after the fact that demigods were instrumental in killing Giants in the Giant War slapped the Olympians in their faces, that demigods started to get more attention from their immortal parents. More or less.
Annabeth was luckier than most. She worked as The Architect of Olympus, giving her the chance to see and talk with her mother while they planned blueprints and schedules. The relationship she had with her mother throughout the years was rocky, a boat sometimes sailing smoothly and sometimes just barely staying afloat in gigantic waves. Her relationship with Percy, son of Athena's rival, certainly didn't help any, but eventually Athena settled to grudging acceptance.
At least, Annabeth thought she did.
Now, now the metaphorical boat had fully capsized, sinking rapidly into the ocean's endless depths, triggered to destruction by a few words of prophecy.
One part of Annabeth can barely believe it. Even now, as she impatiently waited to the sound of grating elevator music, that part of her pleaded for it not to be true. That part desperately went through the prophecy over and over, in the hopes of finding something that might contradict the first line.
The other part of her, the one that was hurting, grieving, and just angry, was waiting for confirmation. Waiting for a target. And Athena is the only target currently available.
Once Annabeth reached the gardens, where her gut told her to go, she saw her. Athena stood with her back to Annabeth, still, straight-backed, and seemingly waiting for her.
The part that kept denying quieted, because what else would Athena be doing here if she didn't know why Annabeth would be looking for her?
"Where is he?"
The words cut across the distance between them, something angry and hurt compacted in them. Athena didn't turn around, didn't even flinch. The garden was empty aside from the two women, only the blossoms and marble statues serving as witnesses.
Annabeth's gaze was cold on her mother's back. "Why did you take him?"
What did you do to him, she didn't say, but was nonetheless heard, why did you do this, where did you put him, why now, why why why
"It needed to be done," Athena said, finally turning to face her. Her eyes were cold and gray, with something else, something unreadable, swimming in them.
"What," Annabeth whispered, but her voice was sharp, "It needed to be done? What reason would excuse you doing this? Is the world ending? Is Olympus gonna fall? Are you gonna die?! What is it?!"
"Control yourself, Annabeth," Athena said, "Do not let your emotions rule you."
Her temper bubbled over. "Oh, fuck you!" A startled look cracked through Athena's mask. She ignored it and continued, "It's not like I asked for the love of my life to be taken, to be kidnapped, not even 24 hours after he proposed! If you expect me to not be emotional afterwards, then fuck you!"
"Annabeth!" Her mother's eyes flared.
Annabeth inhaled sharply, taking deep breaths as she resisted the urge to shout some more. Shouting will do no good, she needed answers.
"Explain," she said shortly.
The goddess didn't look happy at being ordered, but Annabeth didn't look cowed at the perceived slight. Athena exhaled lightly, before she seemed to gather herself, carefully rearranging her expression into a blank and calm mask.
She looked away, to the distance.
"It was a test."
Annabeth bristled. "A test? What, to test his worth?" At Athena's silence, her face darkened even more. "Haven't everything he went through, everything we went through enough? What more do you want? We went through hell. We fought for your asses and won wars for you and you still want him to prove his worth?!"
Athena looked unmoved as she made eye contact with Annabeth again, watching as her daughter stood with clenched fists and gritted teeth, a picture of someone just a hair's breath away from going physical. The goddess raised a hand, palm up. Light pooled inside in languid swirls, and in that light, images danced within.
"All those times he fought, it was at the risk of not only his own life, but the world's and his loved ones in it. He dies, the world dies. So might as well fight. If he fails, at least then he died on his feet instead of on his knees," Athena said softly, watching as images from the past flickered in the light.
Annabeth was transfixed as moments between months and years went by in the palm of Athena's hand, from meeting Percy at 12, to the kiss under the lake, to stumbling out of Tartarus, and on and on. Athena then closed her palm, extinguishing it, just before Percy pulled out the ring.
The images had reopened wounds and scars, and Annabeth felt Percy's absence even more acutely in her heart. It made the heavy weight in her chest flare in pain, then empty itself like tipped jar, leaving only a hollow pang of longing. But she blinked back the tears, gathering herself; she had no desire to cry in front of the goddess. She breathed, inhale, exhale, and then glared, waiting for Athena to continue.
Athena dropped the hand, staring distantly at a nearby rose. "But now, it's different. If he dies, the world won't die with him. The only one who will be harmed is himself, not his loved ones. So the question is," she paused slightly, looking back at Annabeth, grey on grey, "will he fight just as hard, or will he lay down and content himself with simply waiting for you in the afterlife?"
Dread iced through Annabeth's veins. No. "What did you do to him?!" Because after everything they went through, the thought of Percy going through something even worse than all those is terrifying. And they survived Tartarus.
And then Annabeth realized, that yes, they experienced Tartarus. But Percy had Annabeth with him, and she had him.
This time, Percy had no one.
And it is way, way more difficult to keep going, when you are alone.
Athena had that unreadable look in her eyes again as she pursed her lips. "He is not trapped in eternal suffering, if you're worried about that. He is trapped, but...not always suffering from injury."
"If that's your attempt at making me feel better, then you need to practice more," Annabeth snarked. Or rather, snarled, barring her teeth in anger.
Athena simply snorted and with a wave of a hand a familiar baseball cap appeared in front of her. Before Annabeth can react, it shrunk, its colors turning gray and metallic, until at last a ring floated in front of the goddess. It hovered over to Annabeth, who caught it when it abruptly dropped.
It was a ring, made of steel and without any markings or designs.
"A baseball cap is too noticeable where you are going," Athena said. "You will be very far from my seat of power, so its ability is limited. It can grant you invisibility for up to 24 hours, and no more. Use it wisely."
It was a silent dismissal, but Annabeth didn't move. She stared down at the ring, imagining it sitting next to the ring Percy gave her, and felt a little sick at the thought. Of this...thing given by Athena right next to Percy's, when Athena was the one to take him.
But a gift from a god is never useless, and it would be unwise to spitefully throw it to the ground. So Annabeth wore it on her right hand, away from her engagement ring that sat on her left. It was a little gesture, almost petty maybe, but it made her feel marginally better.
Without a word, Annabeth turned around and started to walk away. She stopped at the entrance to the garden, and at last she spoke in a voice trembling with cold fury.
"I'll never forgive you for this, Athena."
And with those last words, those damning words that denounced the relationship between them, she left.
Annabeth strode out the elevator and out the building with even steps and an even expression, her tense shoulders and jaw the only indication of her feelings. It was only once she was out and reached where Blackjack was standing, did she let herself go a little. She dropped her head, dropped her shoulders with a sigh. Her eyes closed and her forehead leaned on the pegasus' neck, her fingers tangling with his mane.
Blackjack whinnied, and it had a concerned tone to it. Somehow. Annabeth just started to pick up a few things from being with Percy.
At the thought, she bit her lip almost hard enough to draw blood, but a tear still managed to escape regardless. She inhaled sharply and mounted the pegasus, wiping tears from her eyes before they got the chance to fall on their own.
She knew that she had to go back to camp. She knew she needed to discuss the prophecy with Chiron, and make plans, and start preparations...
But instead, the words that came out of her mouth were a distant,
"East 104th and 1st, Upper East Side, Blackjack. You know where it is."
To be honest, I forgot that this was supposed to have happened years since the end of the series, where Percy and Annabeth are adults and had finished their schooling.
And so, after finishing chapter 7 1.0, I had to delete and rewrite part of it to make 2.0. So...yeah. That got added to the usual "I just didn't feel like writing" reason I have when I don't write *sheepish laugh*
Anyways, tell me what you think! Press that little star button thing, do some emoji in the comments section, leave and never come back, leave and come back later, worship some old god and chant in ancient tongues, do whatever!
Tune in next, for the continuation to this, until Annabeth's departure for another world.
Post Date: June 2, 2020
Edit: Oh, whoops. I forgot that Jason is uh...dead. I only got to read the first two books, but I did see mentions of him being dead in the fandom. Thanks for pointing it out Matt!
Edit 2: I was so distracted by my mistake I didn't get to finish reading Matt's comment, in that he said he's happy Jason is apparently alive here...*wince* Sorry... you know what? It's not like Jason will become some big thing in the story, so might as well keep him alive.