Chapter 1: The Body

Percy POV

"We shall destroy you a thousand times in the name of the Mother Night!" Screeched the arai.

"Only - only a thousand - " My attempt at a witty response died in my throat as I saw the enemy advance. Not wanting to risk getting cursed, I turned tail and ran for my life.

Hearing them following, I increased my speed. The acid air started to burn at my throat, sapping my stamina, and I looked around, desperate for a way to fight them without getting cursed. Finally, I spotted a tree through the fog that the arai were stirring up. My eyes lighting up with hope, I turned towards it, uncapping Riptide and hearing its usual shink sound.

Just as I reached the trees, I noticed a dark, imposing figure looming behind it. My arms and legs stopped functioning at once, freezing in place with my ADHD failing me for once. It was Tartarus. Knowing that destroying the arai wouldn't help me one bit if I got near Tartarus, I turned again, my limbs loosening, and ran away from both, stumbling and losing my footing on the way. I slipped and fell to the ground, feeling a sort of relief at the brief break from running, and coming to terms with my fate.

Just as Tartarus's dark sword entered my body and I felt my soul getting severed from me, I jerked in place, and felt my pain end.

Line Break

I woke up gasping, covered in a cold sweat. It had been a year since the war with Gaia, but Tartarus had left its mark on me permanently. It was that same old nightmare, though the nightmares seemed to be getting worse recently, for some reason. But I wasn't going to let that bother me today. I was finally going to go see Tyson and my dad in the ocean after so long. I was also planning to get Annabeth a Cyclops-made present, so I didn't tell anybody I was going. I had already asked Tyson to get the present made (some owl-shaped earrings), so I was hoping to quickly meet up with him and my dad, grab the earrings, and get back out before anyone got too worried.

I got ready, and before anyone saw me, I started on the way out of camp and to the beach. However, my plan was quickly spoiled by Jason. He saw me leaving, and called out to me. Not wanting anyone else to notice, I quickly motioned to him to come near me. I told him as quickly as I could, "I'm hoping to surprise Annabeth today. I'm getting her some owl-shaped earrings from Tyson in the ocean."

He responded, "Oh, that's cool. Can you take me along too in one of your air bubbles?"

I answered, "Sure, but why?"

"I'm thinking that I can ask Tyson to make some earrings for Piper too while I'm there," he said.

"Oh," I said. "I was actually planning to get out quickly so Annabeth doesn't get worried… "

"Oh," he said. "Well, that's fine then. I'll get them another time. I'm going to New Rome today anyway, I was actually heading to the airport just now. I just thought I might give earrings to Piper before leaving."

"Okay," I said, and we both went our ways.

3rd Person POV

2 Hours Later

Annabeth was wandering around camp, wondering where Percy was, when she saw Piper. "Piper!" She called out.

"Yeah?" Piper responded.

"Have you seen Percy recently?" Annabeth asked.

"No, why?" she said, confused.

"I don't know. I can't find him, and I've looked all over camp."

"Should we tell Chiron?" Piper asked.

"Yeah, that's what I was thinking… " Annabeth replied, and immediately took off in a jog to tell Chiron about Percy's disappearance.

But she suddenly stopped halfway there. "Wait," she said. "I haven't seen Jason today either. Maybe it's possible they went somewhere together, and - "

Piper cut her off, "I wish that was possible, but Jason left for Camp Jupiter today, so that's why he's not here. I don't think Percy would have gone with him."

Annabeth took off again sadly so she could tell Chiron. However, the centaur seemed to be coming toward them himself. She immediately asked, "Have you seen Percy anywhere, Chiron?"

He replied, "No, but we have bigger problems. Come with me. You need to see something." He seemed shocked, and Annabeth decided she should probably see what Chiron wanted to show them.

When they walked into the Big House, the TV was on. It had been added after the war with Gaia, when the gods rewarded all of the demigods of Camp Half-Blood and Camp Jupiter with the power to use technology without sending up a flare to monsters. It was open to some news channel. Annabeth didn't know what Chiron wanted to show them, until she realized that it was probably the news. She read on the screen, "BREAKING NEWS: TEENAGER FOUND DEAD IN WOODS OF LONG ISLAND SOUND."

Annabeth and Piper both gasped. "Could it be some demigod?" Piper asked.

Annabeth had the same worry, and she couldn't even voice her greatest fear: that this teenager was actually Percy.

A reporter on the screen said, "And here is another glimpse of the dead body."

The screen changed, and showed a picture of the teenager's body. It wasn't Percy. However, it was none other than… Jason Grace.