Hera was serving us sandwiches and lemonade. She was giving Tyson more sandwiches and then turned to Annabeth.
"Queen Hera. I can't believe it. What are you doing in the Labyrinth?" Annabeth asked.
"I came to see you naturally." Hera said as she flicked a finger. I watched as all the grime and dirt wipe completely off Annabeth and I frowned. Did I really look like that to? I hoped not. Then I froze at her words. I saw Percy and Grover exchange uneasy looks before I did with Percy.
"I didn't think. Well, I didn't think you liked heroes." Annabeth said as I licked my lips lightly.
"Because of that little spat I had with Hercules? Honestly, I got so much bad press because of one disagreement." Hera sighed.
"Didn't you try to kill him, like a lot of times?" Annabeth asked. Hera waved her hand dismissively and I gave her a wide eyed look.
"Water under the bridge. Besides, he was one of my loving husbands’ children by another woman. My patience wore thin, I'll admit it. But Zeus and I have had some excellent marriage counseling sessions since then. We've air our feelings and come to an understanding- especially after that little incident." Hera said.
"You mean when he sire Thalia?" Percy asked. I wrapped my arm around his neck and put a hand over his mouth in disbelief that he had really just said that to Hera. It was fucking Hera! Why would you say that to Hera!? Queen of the mother fucking gods! She turned to look at him coolly.
"Percy Jackson, isn't it? One of Poseidon's...children." She said. Her eyes flickered to me and I gave her a wide smile and Percy grabbed my hand and pulled it off of his mouth. I gave Percy a pointed look before taking a bite out of my sandwich.
"As I recall, I voted to let you live at the winter solstice. I hope I voted correctly." She said. She then turned back to Annabeth to say something to her.
"You're an idiot." I muttered to Percy.
"Sorry I didn't know." He muttered.
"At any rate, I certainly bear you no ill will. I appreciate the difficulty of your quest. Especially when you have troublemakers like Janus to deal with." Hera muttered.
"Why was he here? He was driving me crazy." Annabeth said.
"Trying to. You must understand, the minor gods like Janus have always been frustrated by the small parts they play in the universe. Some, I fear, have little love for Olympus, and could easily be swayed to support the rise of my father." Hera said. Well, how do you think some of the demigods feel too? No offense Hera it's how the demigods feel about their parents not claiming them. They're sick of the roles they play in life to going through not knowing who one of their parents are.
"Your father? Oh...right." Percy said. I groaned leaning back in the chair shaking my head. Percy could be dumb as a rock sometimes I swear. Hera just ignored him.
"We must watch the minor gods. Janus. Hecate. Morpheus. They give lip service to Olympus, and yet-" Hera said.
"That's where Dionysus went. He was checking on the minor gods." Percy said. Hera nodded at him.
"Indeed. You see, in times of trouble, even gods can lose faith. They start putting their trust in the wrong things, petty things. They stop looking at the big picture and start being selfish. But I'm the goddess of marriage, you see. I'm used to perseverance. You have to rise above the squabbling and chaos, and keep believing. You have to always keep your goals in mind." Hera said.
"What are your goals?" Annabeth asked.
"To keep my family, the Olympians together, of course. At the moment, the best way I can do that is helping you. Zeus does not allow me to interfere much, I am afraid. But once every century or so, for a quest I care deeply about, he allows me to grant a wish." Hera said.
"A wish?" I asked skeptically. Hera looked at me and nodded before turning back to Annabeth.
"Before you ask it, let me give you some advice, which I can do for free." Hera said. Well, that was wonderful. We don't get charged for advice. Glad I keep to my will and soul a little longer there, gods.
"I know you seek Daedalus. His Labyrinth is as much a mystery to me as it is to you. But if you want to know his fate, I would visit my son Hephaestus at his forge. Daedalus was a great inventor, a mortal after Hephaestus's heart. There has never been a mortal Hephaestus admired more. If anyone would have kept up with Daedalus and could tell you his fate, it is Hephaestus." Hera said. Oh yay another god to visit.
"But how do we get there? That's my wish. I want a way to navigate the Labyrinth." Annabeth said. I frowned. I think she had asked the wrong thing because when I glanced at Hera she seemed disappointed to.
"So be it. You wish for something, however, that you have already been given." Hera said.
"I don't understand." Annabeth said.
"The means is already within your grasp. Percy knows the answer." Hera said looking at him. I looked at Percy with narrowed eyes. What has this little brat not been telling me?
"I do?" Percy asked. I groaned and put my head down on the table.
"But that's not fair. You're not telling us what it is!" Annabeth argued.
"Getting something and having the wits to use it.... those are two different things. I'm sure your mother Athena would agree." Hera said. Then we heard a distant rumble and I glanced up at the ceiling waiting for it to start coming down on us.
"That's my cue. Zeus grows impatient. Think on what I have said. Seek out Hephaestus. You will have to pass through the ranch, I imagine. Keep going, and use all the means at your disposal, however common they may seem." She said as she pointed towards the two doors. They disappeared to reveal two corridors.
"One last thing, Annabeth. I have postponed your day of choice. I have not prevented it. Soon, as Janus said, you will have to make a decision...and that goes for the you also, Daughter of Poseidon. Farewell." She said with one glance at me. I knew who she was talking about. Then she snapped her fingers and turned into white smoke. All the food and drink disappeared with her, and I frowned. Damn I wanted to finish my sandwich.
"What sort of help was that? 'Here, have a sandwich. Make a wish. Oops, I can't help you!' Poof!" Annabeth said as she stopped her feet. I just stood up and moved away from the group as they said something else. I glanced down between both tunnels.
"Left." I heard Grover and Tyson say.
"Why?" I asked.
"Because something is coming from the right." Grover said.
"Something big and in a hurry." Tyson said.
"Left is good. Let's go." Percy and I said together. Then we all ran to the left corridor together. We were walking down in and soon we reached a dead end. I stared at the huge boulder in the middle of our way.
"Anyone pack dynamite?" I muttered as we heard something coming from behind us. I felt the color drain out of my face.
"Tyson can you?" Percy asked.
"Yes!" Tyson said quickly. He slammed his shoulder into the rock making dust rain down on us.
"Please hurry." I whispered as I looked down the hallway. My skin was prickling and it wasn't from being cold. It was from what was following us. He slammed into the boulder again just enough room for all of us to squeeze through. We fit through.
"Close it!" I squealed. We heard a frustrated cry on the other side after we sealed the entrance on whatever was following us. I leaned against the boulder and took a deep breath. I winced at the stitches tugging on the side of my waist. Those things were going to be a pain in my ass until they dissolved.
"We trapped it." Percy said.
"Or trapped ourselves." Grover said. I glanced up at what he was talking about to see we had stumbled into a square concrete room with bars at one of the doors across the room. Hm, well that was great. Annabeth tugged on the bars as I looked out them.
"Shhh, listen." Grover said. We heard voices above us and it sounded like rocks crumbling against each other. Tyson's eye grew wide.
"What language?" Percy asked.
"Can't be." Tyson said.
"What?" I asked confused. Tyson bent the bars on the door and was able to slip through.
"Bruh." I muttered. We followed him and as I looked around the place seemed familiar.
"I know this place. This is Alcatraz." Annabeth said.
"You mean that island near San Francisco?" Percy asked.
"My school took a field trip here. It's like a museum." She muttered. As we ran I kept glancing around to see what was above us and spotted it way before anyone did.
"Stop!" I muttered quietly. Tyson kept running though and Grover grabbed him.
"Stop, Tyson look!" Grover said pointing to what I was looking at it.
"It's her." Tyson whimpered. I swallowed nervously and shook my head. I didn't want to be back with these monsters. These were the ones I had encountered when I was with Luke and I had hoped never to see them again. They were the ones who made a cold sweat break out across my skin and were the essence of my nightmares at night.
"Get down!" Grover hissed. We crouched down in the shadows but the Kampe wasn't paying attention to us.
"What's she saying? What's the language?" Percy asked.
"The tongue of the old times. What Mother Earth spoke to Titans and...her other children. Before the gods." Tyson said.
"Do you understand it? Can you translate?" I asked. He nodded and closed his eyes. When he spoke his voice went as raspy as the Kampe above.
"You will work for the master or suffer." He said. Annabeth said something to Percy but I was staring at Tyson.
"I will not serve." He said as his voice changed to mimic the one probably in the cell.
"Then I shall enjoy your pain, Briares. If you thought your first imprisonment was unbearable, you have yet to feel true torment. Think on this until I return." He said. Then I watched the Kampe walk toward the stairwell and I had the big urge to run to that stairwell and kill her. It was the same one on that ship that had kept me from jumping off the damn balcony two years ago. My hand tightened around the hilt. She spread her wings and leaped off the catwalk she had been on and flew across the way and then disappeared around the corner. Her wings left a sulfur smell to the air.
"Horrible. I've never smelled any monster that strong." Grover stammered. I straightened out of my crouch and licked my lips.
"Those were the monsters I was talking about during the war council meeting. Luke had one when I was on the Princess Andromeda. The one that was up there kept me from jumping off the cruise ship when I first got there. Grabbed me when I was on the balcony getting ready to jump. It's called a Kampe." I muttered.
"Cyclopes' worse nightmare." Tyson said looking at me.
"Kampe?" Percy asked. I nodded.
"Every Cyclops knows about her. Stories about her scare us when we're babies. She was our jailer in the bad years." Tyson said.
"I remember now. When the Titans ruled, they imprisoned Gaea and Ouranos's children- the Cyclops and the Hekatonkheires." Annabeth said.
"The heka-what?" Percy asked.
"The hundred-handed ones. They called them that because...well, they had a hundred hands. They were elder brothers of the Cyclopes." Annabeth said.
"Very powerful. Wonderful! As tall as the sky. So strong they could break mountains." Tyson said. Then that's when Tyson continued to talk about Kampe's and I glanced around. I didn't like being here. That's when I heard the dreaded words being uttered by Annabeth.
"I guess we should check it out before Kampe comes back." She said. I groaned quietly and Percy just grabbed my wrist and dragged me along behind the group. I kept glancing back over my shoulder hoping that nothing was going to come up behind us for a sneak attack. When we got the cell that the voice had come out of I kept watch hoping they would keep this quick. That's when I heard Tyson call out as he dropped to his knees.
"Briares." He called. That's when I realized he had been crying.
"Great Hundred-Handed one! Help us!" Tyson said. I glanced back at the Hundred Hands and saw him looking up at us.
"Run while you can, Cyclops. I cannot even help myself." He muttered. I stared at him for a moment before looking back towards the walkway we had come up from.
"You are a Hundred-Handed one! You can do anything!" Tyson insisted.
"I cannot. Kampe is back! The Titans will rise and throw us back into Tartarus." He moaned. A shiver went down my back and I shook my head.
"The hell I will go into Tartarus." I muttered to myself as I slid my Stygian sword out quietly. That's when Percy asked how it did something and I glanced back to see the faces changing on the Hundred-Handed one. That's when I felt Grover shift beside me. He looked at me and then towards the others telling them we had to go because Kampe was coming back. I glanced back up at the sky waiting to see her descend from the darkness.
"Tyson, I think you'd better break the bars." Annabeth murmured. I glanced over at Tyson and Annabeth. That's when I watched Tyson rip the bars apart and Annabeth start trying to get Briares to come out of the cell.
"I cannot. She will punish me." Briares said. I shook my head.
"Don't worry about her. I have a bone to pick with her if she comes near us." I promised smiling.
"They are getting strong again. Kampe said so." He said.
"Don't listen to that." I said.
"Come on." Percy murmured. That's when I heard Percy challenge him a rock, paper, scissors game. I looked at Percy through narrowed eyes.
"Is that a good idea? Playing a game with him now?!" I demanded. Percy just flat out ignored me as Annabeth game him the same crazy look I had given him as he pounded his hand three times. Briares did the same and I watched he gave Percy a shit ton of all three. In my opinion that was cheating but he also had a hundred hands to use. Percy had his fingers pointed.
"What is that you made?" Briares asked.
"A gun. A gun beats anything." Percy said. He had learned that from the new guy Percy's mom was dating. I remember that day in the kitchen when they were doing that stupid shit.
"That's not fair." He said.
"I didn't say anything about fair. Kampe's not going to be fair if we hang around. She's going to blame you for ripping off the bars. Now come on!" Percy said quickly. I nodded.
"Demigods are cheaters." Briares sniffed. I chuckled quietly and nodded.
"You don't even know the half of it." I muttered. That's when I got this feeling. I glanced around and then heard a growling from below. I looked down to see Kampe snarling at us. She glared at me and I glared at her brandishing my sword.
"It's been a while." I muttered.
"Cassandra Chrysler." She snarled.
Sorry guys! I know it's long over due!