- Also note that Percy Jackson dies in the end of these books, so just a heads up. (Heroes always win, what if they didn't???)
I was aboard the Princess Andromeda with one of my demigod pals, Charles Beckendorf. Typically I don't go spend my summer vacation on fancy cruise ships- I never had the time and I never had the money. My family's idea of a good time was staying up late to play board games and chugging a whole pack of soda. Beckendorf was busy strapping some awesome man power (or is it demigod power?) to the ships pipes with thick strips of silver duct tape. Dynamite. "How much time?" I asked glancing at the open door behind us. The entire room was small with no other exits. We had to do this fast. Beckendorf tapped his watch, his face covered in sweat. "Not enough. I need at least 10 more minutes."
I didn't reply- something has caught my attention. And once again, we are in a perilous situation: footsteps. They were coming, pounding rapidly down the stairs, thumping and iminant. We didn't have that much time. We were too late. Unless...I created a distraction. Beckendorf locked eyes with me and seemed to understand what I was thinking. "Percy don't." He warned deadly serious. I shook my head stubbornly and uncapped Riptide from my pocket. "I'll buy you some time. See you at the meeting point."
And without looking back, not stopping to think I must be crazy, I stepped out the door. The demons were hurrying down the stairwell, talking amongst each other.
"Dude, that last episode of Dr. Who though!"
"I know, totally cool. Wish I hadn't missed season 4, reforming takes awhile." The other monster responded wistfully.
They seemed to be in a good mood, I felt a little bad about ruining their day. They were going to have to miss the next season too.
When they spotted me, they stopped talking.
"Hi?" I tried for a slight smile. "I'm a demigod." That was kind of obvious, I was holding a sword and a Camp Half-Blood T-shirt flared like a signal from my chest. An explosion of screaming and yelling, I couldn't even tell what they were saying over the frantic pointing fingeres and stumbling over one another. Sure enough, they gave chase. Lead them away from the boiler room, I thought to myself as I dashed up the stairs. I slashed at random, kicking and jabbing the evil baddies.
I fought my way up the stairs, hacking with Riptide, a celestial bronze arc of terror and destruction. It slashed through the air, vaporizing monsters who screamed in horror at the sight of my blade. The screams never lasted more than a second. I shoved through dissintegrating bodies and ran out towards the pool. A giant crab rose to meet me, roaring and clashing it's heavily razored claws in my direction. For a split second, I wasn't sure what to do. Then, without another moments hesitation, I raised one of my hands and summoned a wave of water from the pool. I doused the crustacion and pushed it into the water without much effort. I slipped past easily without the obstacle in my way. (NOTICE THAT THIS IS WHERE THE DIFFERENCES CHANGE PERCY'S FATE!)
I was already past the second deck, when the alarm rang, calling for backup. It was an annoying CLANG CLANG CLANG! I kicked a demigod in the gut and slammed the hilt of my sword down just hard enough to make him pass out. He raised his arms at the last second to cover his face, but it didn't do much good. As I continued my ascent up the stairs, I felt guilt pour through my veins. I couldn't kill a fellow demigod- last summer we might have laughed together and sang around the campfire while roasting marshmellows. We might have played Capture the Flag together, we could have evn joked together. I couldn't do it, demigods didn't reform like monsters.
I swept through another row of dracaene and dashed up to the meeting point where Beckendorf was waiting for me, just as we planned. He looked out of breath, as if he had run all the way from below deck up here. (He probably had, we were in fact on a monster infested enemy boat.) "Ready?" I asked, panting. He nodded and moved his hand to his wristwatch, which held the timer for his Greek Fire to go off. I told him the plan, in about a summary of 10 seconds. "You make this place go BOOM, I propel us away on the water, we get back to Camp Half-Blood and tell the others the good news."
Beckendorf stepped closer towards the edge of the ship. All we needed was a little momentum to jump-start us- we had to get as far away as possible
"I'm afraid, that won't be happening." A third menacing voice interrupted our conversation. Someone stepped out from behind the shadows of the lower deck. The darkness seemed to cling to the figure, as if this truly was the god of chaos itself. The demigod was tall, aged well into his early twenties with sandy mangled hair and a lean scowling face.
"Luke," I growled clutching Riptide closer, for the sake of safety. I couldn't describe how much I still liked him, and hated him at the same time.
Luke just smiled sadly and held out a deadly glowing scythe in front of him. Dark ancient power seemed to radiate from the weapon.
Beckendorf and I took a step back instinctevly.
"I'm afraid I'm not Luke, little desperate hero." Luke purred easily. I noticed something in his voice had changed. Cold and raspy, malicous and ancient. The thing in the pit- the one that had spoken to me in my dreams since I was only 12 years old.
"Kronos, I thought you were chopped up," I said gritting my teeth. "Remember? The gods didn't want you around, so they got rid of you. How was your time in Tartarus? I hope you liked it, I'm planning you another vacation." Being cut into a million pieces might leave a subtle hint that no one wanted him around.
He just nodded absently, wielding his scythe in front of him. "Yes, thank you for the history lesson. But I'm not here to reflect on the past- well actually I want revenge for that, but see, I'm going to write a new chapter. And as for getting rid of someone- I think it should start with the two of you." A cold cruel gleam in his eyes made me shudder.
Beckendorf looked at me urgently and nudged my elbow with ferocity. "Percy, you two can chat later. We're on a time sensitive mission." He spoke through his teeth, but I understood.
Before I could do anything, a strange heavy feeling crushed me. Every movement I made felt like it had been slowed down, like a snail. My sword suddenly weighed a ton and it took all my effort to keep it from crashing to the floor. The point of the end dipped and I cursed in my mind-the only thing not working in slow motion- and I struggled with keeping it straight, held out in front of me. My knuckles turned white on the hilt.
I tried to make the signal to Beckendorf, that we should jump but my left hand fingers were in slow motion, taking their time to form the signal we had practiced. I just about cussed out loud, except that my lips wouldn't form the words fast enough.
Beckendorf's face was beaded with sweat. His eyes told me what he wanted to say. 'It's too late. His monsters are coming to get us.' But, I wasn't one to be misjudged. My forehead creased with concentration and anger, Kronos thought he could just waltz in and say, "Hey guys! Remember me? I just want to over throw you as revenge from when you toppled me from my seat of power, so hard feelings for everyone!"
I couldn't believe after all we'd done to get this far, we were going to die because I couldn't figure out how to move. So you can't move? My brain taunted. Do something to MAKE something else move!
I concentrated as hard as I could, calling on the power of the sea. My strength felt twice as powerful- presumably because we were on a ship in the ocean. Come on ocean. A little help? Just then, a powerful burst swept past me from the ocean, hundreds of gallons of sea water responding to my command, and launching itself straight at Luke, er Kronos. I sank to my knees, groaning from the wrenching pain in my gut that came with the flood of water. Beckendorf pulled my up by my arm- more liked yanked- and tried to guide me to the edge. I blinked, hating myself for being so stiff and groggy. Meanwhile, Kronos spat sea water of his mouth and cursed in Ancient Greek. The time spell snapped and Beckendorf and I could move freely- which was great because we needed to escape. Kronos was drenched head to toe, and a piece of seeweed was plastered to his face. It would have been funny if his face wasn't so down right murderous. His scythe was cast to the edge of the ship, causing several of his monsters to leap back in surprise. No one wanted to touch it.
I took that as my cue to leave the party."NOW!" I glanced at Beckendorf, hoping he would take the cue. An army of monsters swarmed up the stairway flanking on all sides except behind us. I grabbed for Beckendorf's arm and pleaded with the ocean to jump-start us. Just one more small wave. A wall of water rose from the ocean with dramatic size and slammed down on the boat. I was surprised it didn't capsize but I couldn't worry about that at the moment. Beckendorf and I were launched off the deck and went sailing through the skies. Kronos watched, doing nothing as we catapulted into the ocean. His face was expressionless but I had the feeling he thought he won. Beckendorf set off the explosives with a frantic slam of his watch. Kronos didn't really look surprised at all, the last I saw of him was him smiling as the ship blew up around him, in a deadly fireworks show.
The impact into the water wasn't too rough- it would have killed any regular mortals jumping from a height like that, but we weren't mortals. I tried my hardest to speed us as far away from the Princess Andromeda as I could, but it was harder than I'd thought. My vision grew fuzzy from all the power I'd been using. I'd gotten better at controlling how much energy I could use without burning up, but I still had limits.
The explosion racked throughout the sea, causing tremors and vibrations I could barely handle. It's hard to explain, it felt like a burning feeling throughout the ocean a melting of my bones, but then also pain like a thousand flaming knives digging into my skin. I didn't know how Beckendorf survived it, maybe somehow indirectly I was protecting him in layers of oxyen. I used about the rest of my strength to create a bubble of air to help him breath.
The Greek Fire burned all around us, even though we were a good many yards away from it. That's the thing about Greek Fire, it still burns underwater no matter what. I pulled the Hephaestus Cabin leader behind me through the water, trying not to groan in pain.
I got us back to camp, without much trouble. (We had a run in with some hippocampi who wanted to help, and I obliged as I was tired.) Beckendorf didn't look good, his face was pale and I had to press my hand to his lungs, to get the water out of his system. He was unconscious, and Silena wasn't happy about it. "Charlie, oh Charlie!" She wept on his chest. Finally she shot me a dirty look (I was standing somewhere in the back feeling guilty), "If you'd tried harder this might not have happened! He could have died!" With that she turned on her heel and followed him back to the infirmary, as she insisted on carrying one half of his stretcher without Ares Cabin helping her.
Annabeth hugged me and said, "I'm glad you guys made it out." I didn't have time to be emberassed with the hug because Chiron cut in. The old centaur nodded. "You must tell me what you saw, Percy. It may be important." I described what I had seen and Annabeth nodded and whispered something in Chiron's ear. "Yes, well he need not know yet. Perhaps it is your small friend Nico di Angelo. We can not assume just yet." He patted Annabeth's head, reassuringly.
Annabeth frowned, but didn't say anymore. It was obvious she was holding something back. I probably, as inquisitive as I am, would have asked, but I didn't really care at the moment. I knew they must be talking about the Great Prophecy, which I had been hearing about since I was 12. I had enough excitement for one day though. I was ready to crash. I said goodnight and requested food sent to my cabin at dinner time, because I wasn't waking up until one tomorrow afternoon. And thought would only be to check on Beckendorf.
Everything was going according to Kronos' plan. Perseus Jackson would go back to camp and tell his little camping friends how he'd blown up the monsters, and now the gods were safe. He polished his blade with a special rag, holding it up to the light so it gleamed. "Backbiter", Luke Castellan had called it. He had not known what true power was. And now, here Kronos was, possessing his body as the fool had not realized what his greater purpose was until much later. Then, had he pleaded to choose someone else. But it was too late- the fate was sealed and could not be changed.
Kronos knew that the young heroes thought that just maybe he had been destroyed in the ship wreck. But, he was in charge of time. He could bend time in anyway he wished. But, most of his essence was on Mount Othrys, planning. Only a little of him was on the Princess Andromeda, as gods also could exist in many places at once.
Little did young Perseus know, Kronos had already talked to the Fates, who had given him the Great Prophecy. He was not worried. He could kill Nico di Angelo, and Perseus his own time. Ahh... time. It was an amusing thought, seeing as he was the Lord of Time. He knew Olympus was destined to at one time crumble. It could not last. Either to his will, or his mothers or even the great powers beyond that. Olympus to preserve or raze. Rise or fall by the ghost kings hand. And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death. All of that, confirmed that Olympus was going to fall. And he would be there, to witness it.