It was the next morning when Tyson was shaking me awake. I glanced up at him through tired eyes and looked up at him. He didn't say anything but just pointed towards the fountain where Percy was still sitting. I sighed and swung my legs over my bed pulling myself up. I went over to him and tapped him on the shoulder.
"It's time to go." I muttered. He nodded and I helped him stand up. We all silently dressed before grabbing our bags and heading outside towards Zeus's fist. I was in my usual black shorts with my camp t-shirt. I had my necklaces/swords and my ring ready on my hand with my bracelet on my wrist to. I was decked out in shields and armor. In my backpack was a flash-light with a bedroll. An extra set of clothes because you know our clothes always have something happen to them on quests. Then I had my own thing of Ambrosia and nectar along with a regular water bottle. I also carried a lighter in case you know. Blake met us there and pulled me off to the side of the group.
"Hey, you promised me to be careful in there. You better come back out in one piece with everything attached." He said. I nodded
"I will I swear." I laughed. He smiled and pulled me closer in a hug.
"Fuck it." He muttered as I looked up at him confused. He slammed his lips onto mine and buried his hand into my hair. I squeaked at the sudden kiss but wrapped my arms around him tightly. After a few minutes someone coughed and I pulled back. I looked up at him and he smiled down at me. I looked to see it was Percy who had an amused smile on his face. I blushed and glanced down at the ground. Oh shit I was gonna get teased about this all through the quest.
"I have something to." he murmured. I glanced up at him confused. He pulled out a little box and my eyes went wide. He flicked open the top and pulled out a Claddagh ring. In the center where the hands were holding the hearts it was a July birthstone. I smiled as he plucked it out of the box and smiled. He grabbed my left hand but looked at me with confirmation before he slid it on. I nodded and he slid it on.
"A promise." He said. I smiled up at him.
"Always a promise." I whispered pulling him closer to me kissing him.
"Okay, lovers time to let each other go! Let’s go!" Percy said. I pulled back away from Blake and smiled at him.
"I love you." I said.
"I love you too." He murmured as I pulled away from him. We walked over to the rocks and all of us stared at them.
"Well, good-bye sunshine." Grover muttered.
"Hello rocks." Tyson said. I laughed.
"Let's kick Luke's ass." I muttered. The ring on my finger was making me fight with a new fierceness and I was ready to do anything to make my world safe again. I was the first one to drop down in to the hole. I landed on the balls of my feet in the hallway and stood up moving out of the way.
"Drop down." I called up. They dropped down one by one and once we were all down here we started to walk. We only walked about a hundred feet or so before I started to feel the thing of being trapped in a hallway happening. I took a deep breath and shook my head. We kept following Annabeth who kept sticking to the left wall. Percy glanced at me.
"You okay?" He asked. I nodded and he chuckled at me knowing better.
"Claustrophobia is setting in a little." I muttered. He stared at me shocked.
"I didn't know you were claustrophobic." He said. I chuckled and shrugged at him.
"Neither did I... until right now." I said. He shook his head a smiling working its way across his face.
"If we keep one hand on the left wall and follow it we should be able to find our way out again by reversing course." She said but right as she did that the wall disappeared. I stared at where the labyrinth had taken us. We were in a circular room. There were eight tunnels wrapping around the circular room and I nodded.
"And this is why I never liked this place." I muttered.
"Um, which way did we come in?" Grover asked.
"Just turn around." Annabeth said. I turned to look at her before turning my way to look at one of the tunnels.
"Left walls are mean. Which way now?" Tyson asked. I looked each of the tunnels as Annabeth swept her flash-light over them each.
"That way." She said settling one.
"How did you come to that conclusion?" I asked.
"Deductive reasoning." She said. Percy and I glanced at each other.
"So... you’re guessing." Percy said. I smiled at him. My smart-ass little brother had finally rubbed off from me.
"Just come on." She said as she walked forward. The tunnel we filed into narrowed and got shorter. This was when my claustrophobia kicked in even more and I took deep breaths to try to keep myself from having a panic attack.
"Come on Cassi keep it together." I whispered to myself. I heard someone start to hyperventilate behind me and I glanced at Grover.
"I can't stand it anymore. Are we there yet?" Grover asked. Well, at least I wasn't as bad as that.
"We've been down here maybe five minutes." Annabeth said. Well, that five minutes felt like 5 hours.
"It's been longer than that. And why would Pan be down here? This is the opposite of the wild!" Grover said. I shrugged as we kept walking forwards. The tunnel got really narrow right before opening up into a huge room.
"Whoa." Percy said as he shined the light around the room. The whole room was covered in mosaic tiles. It was pictures of the Olympians at a dinner with all sorts of creatures. I saw Poseidon there with his trident with grapes at the end of it. In the middle of the room was a fountain. I walked up to it and looked at the dust covered on it. It had been at least an inch of dust which was super gross.
"What is this place?" Percy asked.
"It looks...Roman." I muttered.
"You're right Cassi. These mosaics are about two thousand years old." Annabeth said.
"But how can they be Roman?" Percy asked.
"The Roman empire came after the Greeks. The Romans took the Greek gods as their own and renamed them." I said.
"The Labyrinth is a patchwork. I told you, it's always expanding, adding pieces. It's the only work of architecture that grows by itself." Annabeth said.
"You make it sound like it's alive." Percy said. That's when the tunnel started to groan from in front us and my eyes widened.
"Well, I think Percy just upset it saying that it's not." I said turning around to look at them as Grover whimpered something out.
"All right. Forward." Annabeth said. My eyes bugged out of my head as I glanced down the hallway that had the sounds coming from it.
"Down the hall with the bad sounds?" Tyson asked.
"Yeah, the architecture is getting older. That's a good sign. Daedalus's workshop would be in the oldest part." She said. Okay, so that sounded like sound logic, right? Right. Then we started walking through the tunnel and as we did I noticed graffiti on the sides and a neon sign. Percy said something but I wasn't paying attention. At one point we were walking through mud and I'm pretty happy that I had put on my boots today and not some sneaker or something or I would've been mad. At one point we stumbled upon a wine cellar which I promptly took a bottle of wine from and smuggled it into my bag with only Percy shaking his head.
"It won't hurt anyone." I muttered.
"That's what Bianca thought too." He said. I swallowed and then rethought about it for a moment. It was a while later that we stumbled upon a skeleton.
"It's not like one of those Luke's has going for him, is it?" I asked nervously as I pulled out my sword. Annabeth shook her head.
"A milk man." Annabeth said. I nodded.
"What?" Percy asked.
"A milkman." I said.
"Yeah, I know what they are but...that was when my mom was little, like a million years ago. What's he doing here?" Percy asked.
"Some people wander in by mistake." Annabeth said. I raised my hand.
"Like me." I said. She glared at me for interrupting her and I smiled.
"Some come exploring on purpose and never make it back. A long time ago, the Cretans even sent people in here as human sacrifices." Annabeth said. I nodded.
"He's been down here a long time." Grover muttered.
"Only bones, don't worry, goat boy. The milkman is dead." Tyson said.
"The milkman doesn't bother me. It's the smell. Monsters. Can't you smell it?" Grover asked. I glanced at Grover as I tightened my hand around the hilt of my sword.
"Lots of monsters but underground smells like that. Monsters and dead milk people." Tyson said. That kind of deflated the tension that was building up in my body.
"Oh good I thought maybe I was wrong." Grover whimpered again. I rolled my eyes.
"We have to get deeper into the maze. There has to be a way to the center." Annabeth said as she started forward again. I stopped paying attention to which way we went because it was pointless but at one point we started right back in the Roman mosaic room but we weren't alone. There was someone there dressed like a doorman but had two face on each side of his head. I stared at them confused.
"Well Annabeth! Hurry up!" the left side said.
"Don't mind him. He's terribly rude. Right this way, miss." The right side said. They were going to make her choose which way to go. Right. So one either led us to death or it was the right way.
"Uh....I don't..." Annabeth said.
"That funny man has two faces." Tyson said.
"The funny man has ear, you know! Now come along, miss." Left side said.
"No, no this way miss. talk to me, please." Right side said. I glanced behind them to see the doors were covered by wooden doors with locks on them. I sighed and rubbed my eyes.
"The exits are closed." Annabeth said.
"Duh!" Left side said.
"Where do they lead?" She asked.
"One probably leads the way you wish to go. The other leads to certain death." Right side said.
"Point for me." I muttered. Percy looked over at me confused.
"I-I know who you are." Annabeth said.
"Oh, you're a smart one! But do you know which way to choose? I don't have all day." Left side said.
"Why are you trying to confuse me?" Annabeth asked.
"You're in charge now. All the decisions are on your shoulders. That's what you wanted, isn't it?" Right side smiled.
"I-" She stuttered.
"We know you, Annabeth. We know what you wrestle with every day. We know your indecision. You will have to make your choice sooner or later. And the choice may kill you." The left side said. I glanced at her confused.
"No... I don't-" She said.
"Leave her alone. Who are you, anyway?" Percy asked.
"I'm your best friend." The right side said.
"I'm your worst enemy." The left side said.
"I'm Janus. God of doorways. Beginnings. Endings. Choices." They said together. Well that's cool. I guess.
"I'll you both soon children of Poseidon. But now it's Annabeth's turn. Such fun!" The right side said. A shiver went down my back. I didn't want to see these two ever again.
"Shut up! This is serious. One bad choice can ruin your whole life. It can kill you and all your friends. But no pressure, Annabeth. Choose!" The left side said.
"Don't do it." Percy said.
"I'm afraid she has to." The right side said.
"I- I choose-" Annabeth said but before she could do anything a light came flooding into the room. I glanced down at the floor until it died down and then glanced up at the person who had come. My mouth dropped open. Hera.
"Janus, are we causing trouble again?" She asked.
"N-no milady!" Janus stuttered.
"Yes!" The left side said.
"Shut up!" The right side said.
"Excuse me?" Hera asked.
"Not you, milady! I was talking to myself." Janus said. I let out an audible sigh.
"I see. You know very well your visit is premature. The girls’ time has not yet come. So I give you a choice: leave these heroes to me, or I shall turn you into a door and break you down." Hera threatened. I paled slightly but why would she do any harm to us.
"What kind of door?" Left side said.
"Shut up!" Right side said. They started talking about French doors before Hera commanded them to be gone. When they disappeared Hera turned to us and smiled.
"You must be hungry, sit with me and talk." Hera smiled. That's when she waved her hand and the fountain started to flow. A table appeared with all kinds of sandwich and pitchers of lemonade. I smiled up at Hera.
"Thank you." I smiled.
"Who...who are you?" Percy asked. I face palmed and Hera chuckled at me.
"I'm Hera. Queen of the Gods." Hera smiled.
"And you just met my idiot little brother." I smiled. Percy glared at me and I smiled at him.