So sorry this chapter took so long! Feel free to yell at me all you want! But please, still enjoy!
Piper, Chapter 33
"Piper," a hushed voice whispered her name, and she moaned in response. Her head was thudding, and her back ached from the uncomfortable position she was laying in, and her eyelids were too heavy to tear open.
"Piper!" the voice was moe demanding now, and something was shaking her shoulders.
"What?" she demanded in a sleepy voice, and her eyelids managed to fly open. At first she felt blinded. Her ever-changing eyes were not accustomed to the light, but after a fair bit of blinking, she realized it was not light at all. No, it was actually pretty dark.
A dim light was being produced, although from what, she didn't know. She was stationed in a dark cavern, with spikes protruding from the ceiling. The floor was damp dirt, like a bare garden that had received rain a couple days prior. The walls had a hard, rocky quality, and Piper could feel the scratches it had given her on her back.
Piper turned her head to find Hazel crouching next to her. She was clutching her sweater pocket. Just behind her sat Leo, playing with fire. He ignited and extinguished certain fingers, making it look like the flame was bouncing back and forth between them.
"Piper?" Hazel asked once again, and she nodded her head.
"Where are we?" she wondered aloud. Hazel hesitated, but Leo launched straight into an explanation.
"Well beauty queen," he began never taking his eyes off the fire in his hands, "right after we got our ice cream some monsters jumped out at us from behind. They knocked you out right away, real bad. Hazel and me put up a heroic fight, but they managed to get to us. 20 monsters against 2, I say we did pretty well, hung on for about 10 minutes. Anyway, they knocked Haze out, and thought they knocked me out. They dragged us to the Collosseum. Can't exactly remember whch way they went once they were inside, had a splitting headache, but eventually everything got really black, and their was this falling sensation, and suddenly we ended up here."
"And they showed up about an hour after us," Hazel added, pointing at two slumped figures. Annabeth and Frank, Piper realized. She got up, and stumbled over to them. Frank looked pretty much unharmed, except for a black eye. Annabeth, however, had a deep gash down her cheek, not unlike the one Piper was styling.
She collapsed next to them, her nausea catching up to her. A bit of throw up collected in her mouth, and she spit it out beside her. At least the ground wasn't too hard. Piper eased into the dirt, and closed her eyes. The unsettling feeling in her stomach subsided, but her head continued to thump.
"You alright, beauty queen?" Leo asked, no humor in his voice.
"I feel sick," she responded, letting out a little moan. Though her eyes weren't open, she knew Hazel and Leo were exchanging a worried glance, which made her feel guilty, as well as ill.
Piper couldn't count the time, but she bet that a few hours had passed in silence. She slipped in and out of conscious, gradually feeling a little better. Eventually when she awoke again, She heard not just 2, but 4 of her companions conversing in hushed voices. Groggily pushing herself up, she found Frank gently against Hazel, while Annabeth drew in the dirt with a small rock, drawing something out for Leo.
"Hi guys," she greeted. Annabeth looked up, and motioned her to come over.
"Tell me if you think this is too insane," she commanded, and launched into an explanation. "Leo said we got in here through the Coliseum, so I figured we must be in some kind of specialized underground chamber thingy Gaea created specially for us. To get in the ceiling, or whatever you want to call it, had to uh, disappear. So, to get out, we'd have to trick whoever was watching it into letting it disappear again, and get out as quick as possible."
Annabeth took a breath, and looked at Piper expectantly.
"Sounds like a plan," she agreed. "But how do we trick whoever, and if we do manage, how do we get out. And why are we even alive?"
"Shapeshifting," Annabeth replied simply, nodding her head towards Frank. "And it's up to the two of us to do the tricking."
Piper smiled, unsurely. Between her charmspeak and Annabeth's it, they would be able to make some progress. But would it be enough to trick Gaea, or whoever to let them out of heir prison? Piper didn't exactly have full faith in her charmspeak.
But it was a good plan; the best escape plan that they had. She hadn't really thought about it earlier, but she was sure that if she'd been awake the whole time, she'd have been driven nuts by the thought of spending the rest of her life (however short that may be), down in this hole.
Looking over at Leo, she was surprised to notice he looked calm at first, especially with his extreme ADHD. But a second look revealed the panicked look in his eyes, as he rocked ever so slightly back and forth.
So with her mind made up, she stood up, next to Annabeth, and opened her mouth to speak.
"Ah, good to know you're all conscious," a raspy voice spoke before Piper had made a sound. Gaea's voice echoed in her ears, making her headache much worse. "I've been waiting for you, Piper McLean. It's all too perfect. I couldn't believe it when my minions brought you five, and no other demigod scum. You all fit the description perfectly!"
Piper stumbled backward, surprised. The wall in front of her moved to mouth Gaea's words, but as Leo throw a rock at it, it simply bounced off. Not to mention what Gaea had said. But she saw Annabeth give her a stern look, and she swallowed down her shock.
"And what would it be that we're perfect for?" she asked as sweet as possible, putting every ounce of charmspeak she could muster into the question.
Gaea just chuckled. "My, my, you're going to have to try harder than that. You can't simply charmspeak the most powerful being to ever be. Demigod scum."
And with that, Piper lost it. "Tell me, what we are here for!" she demanded. She could feel her voice as cold as steel, and as harsh as winter at the South Pole. She could feel the charmspeak woven into her words, flowing out to the talking wall.
"To make Jason and Percy fight, of course," Gaea replied simply, and if Piper hadn't known any better, she wouldn't have been able to tell the earth goddess was under her influence.
"You see, I can send them fake dreams, of course," she continued to explain, "but to make them fight, well, demigods close to them would need to go! And that would be you 5!"
Suddenly, and image rippled before them, much like an iris message, and a dark, musky room appeared. Reyna sat there, huddled on the floor, fear in her dark brown eyes. Fear, that Piper would never have though the daughter of Bellona could possess.
The door creaked open, and in walked Percy's tall figure. He wore the praetor's toga and cape, his chin high up.
"Get up, you lazy witch," he hissed at Reyna. He slapped her face, and the cowering praetor whimpered.
"The Greeks have arrived, and you need to greet them, and Jason," Percy sneered. "Oh, and don't tell Jason about these rituals. They're for your own good, but if you tell, he'll just think you're trying to put him against the Greeks." Reyna nodded fearfully, and stood up, following Percy out the door.
"Wha-?" Leo voiced his confusion.
"Percy would never do such a thing!" Annabeth growled, and Gaea made a sound, that sounded almost like giggling. Very ugly giggling.
"He never did such a thing!" Hazel added, yelling at the moving wall-mouth. The "giggling" turned to laughter.
The scene in the image changed, to a similar room, only it was wooden. And to Piper's surprise, she saw Leo, Hazel, and herself were huddled together, whispering. She looked as if she was about to cry, and Hazel already had tears streaming down her dirty face.
The door opened, in a very familiar manner, and in walked Percy. He was wearing the same scowl, and carried Riptide in his hand.
"Listen here, you little brats," he growled. "You'll convince Jason to step down from his leadership position. I don't care how, but you must agree. Swear on the Styx!"
"No!" the real Piper breathed, realization dawning on her. The Piper in the image cried it out. Percy turned to glare at her, and she shrank back. He grabbed her hair, and whimpers escaped her lips.
"What did you say?" he demanded.
"No," she whispered. And within moments, a bronze blade flashed, making a cut across her stomach.
Blood sputtered from her chest, and Piper, (the one in the image, and in the cave), screamed.
"Piper!" Leo and Hazel both cried out simultaneously, again both real and fake. The two fake demigods sprang up, and lunged at Percy. But the son of Poseidon was quicker. He slashed his sword at them. R&F (real and fake) Leo stumbled back, howling in pain. R&F Hazel clutched her face, a new wave of sobs bubbling from her lips.
Percy kicked F Piper, and R&F Piper screamed. The image dissolved.
Frank and Annabeth, who had been standing in shock prior, ran over to them, worry heavily frosting their faces. Frank tore some of his already ripped off shirt, and wiped away the blood on Hazel's face.
"Oh my gods!" he suddenly gasped. "There's no cut!" And Piper found, in amazement, that the blood on her stomach was already dissolving into red wisps of air, no scar, or even cut, left behind.
"What's she doing?" Leo croaked, motioning towards the cavern walls. Annabeth spoke first.
"She's manipulating a dream for Jason, making it seem like Percy's hurting his friends. Then Jason gets mad, and when he doesn't find us, bala-bing bala-boom! She'll probably do the same to Percy."
And just as that was said, another image, much like the first, rippled before them.
Grover was crouching on the floor. Little "bahs" escaped his lips as if he were crying. His fur was dirty and matter, his horns were twisted oddly.
The door swung open, and in walked a tall, proud figure. Piper watched as Jason strode over to Grover, and grabbed his arm violently.
"Now you listen here," the son of Jupiter growled. "I'm leaving for my camp now, and you better not continue to spread those lies about me when I'm gone."
Grover nodded, gulping nervously. To prove his point, Jason gave Grover a final kick, leaving the satyr to limp out of the shed.
"Why would Jason hurt the fawn?" Frank wondered aloud.
"Because that's a friend of Percy's," Annabeth choked, obviousy distraught by the image. "And Jason's the one supposedly torturing Percy's friends."
The scene wavered, and Piper found a wooden room in the image that looked as if it were on board the Argo II.
A whimper drew his attention to a particularly dark corner. She could just make out 3 huddled figures, 2 girls and a boy. With a sudden pang, she recognized Annabeth, Hazel, and Frank clutching each other. Frank had a cut on his forehead, and the blood was dripping down his face. Hazel looked thoroughly sick, her face green. Annabeth seemed to be in the best condition, but she looked incredibly pale, and blood was staining a ripped up piece of orange cloth wrapped around her arm.
A gasp came from somewhere in the cave.
The door suddenly swung open, and a rectangle of light filtered into the room, framing the shadow of a tall figure. It looked almost unreal.
Annabeth sprung up, lunging at Jason, who had barley stepped into the damp room.
"You!" she screeched. She attempted to tackle him to the floor, but she was drained of energy, and Jason punched her in the stomach with ease. Doubling over, the blonde girl coughed.
"Ah!" Annabeth yelped, as she bent over, wind knocked out of her. Piper took a few steps over to her, and helped prop her up.
"You know you're no match for me," Jason snapped. "And if you don't want to suffer any more, than do as I say, and tell Percy to step down from his position."
"How could you?" The image Hazel cried, supporting Annabeth, as Piper was doing in the cave. Jason just smiled maliciously. He took out his sword, and slashed at the two girls. Frank threw himself at Jason, but the strike still came.
All three of them, Annabeth, Frank, and Hazel once again, screamed in pain, and collapsed to the floor. Piper felt herself dragged down by Annabeth's weight, and covered in her blood.
She brushed herself off, and the blood was already dissolving into air again, the scarlet streaks disappearing into the darkness. The image had disappeared, and it was pitch black.
"Leo?" she called, and the cave reignited.
"Beauty Queen?" he responded, and somehow, he tossed the flame into the middle of the room, where it remained, not spreading, simply burning.
"Help me with these guys!" she demanded, before dragging Annabeth to the wall. The blonde was already recovering, blood mostly gone, and only short, heavy breaths remaining.
Frank looked better, and was helping Leo with Hazel. She seemed to be okay, but would probably take longer, considering it was her second time, and she hadn't fully recovered from the first.
"Stupid Gaea," Annabeth mumbled, and pushed herself up. Then, to Piper she whispered, "We still need to get out of here."
Piper looked over at Frank, who was tending to Hazel. He looked up, to meet her gaze, and gave a small nod.
"Let's do this thing," she muttered to herself. "Hey dirt face, who made this cave? Surely you couldn't have, it's much too cool for that!" Piper deliberately wove charmspeak into her voice, hoping it would make the earth goddess more angry.
"Demigod scum, no one else but me could make this little prison!" Gaea retorted angrily. BINGO!
"Really, well, I doubt you could even get the ceiling to vanish again," Piper snorted. "Someone else must be doing it when you ask them."
"I'm the one to do it!" dirt face yelled obviously fazed by the disrespect intended towards her.
"Really? Then do it! Right here, right now!" Piper thought of all the happy things she could, and feuled them all into her voice. She grabbed Frank's shoulder, waving over Annabeth and Leo to do the same.
And seconds later, they were soaring through a black vortex on a red dragon.