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Shadow Puppets

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Percy was tired. His sword arm dipped slightly as he slashed an enemy cyclops to dust. He knew this was all going to be worthless if the gods didn't come to fight with them.

To his left Leo crumpled to his knees under a herd of telkhines. "Burn him! Burn him!" They screamed lobbing balls of lava at the son of Hepheastus.

Percy figured he'd be alright, being a fire user and all. A hellhound bounded out of the shadows, catching Percy off guard. He brought his sword forward in the nick of time, watching the shadow traveling beast melt into darkness.

"Percy!" Jason coughed a few feet away. A fire had started in the distance, heading in the direction of Piper. Jason looked awful, his clothes were tattered, his face covered in grime and his face tired and beat. "Fire..." He croaked his eyes drooping with tiredness.

Percy nodded with effort. He didn't know if he had the strength to put it out, doing it might kill him but he had no choice. It would kill Piper, who was currently backed into a corner holding out a sword to a small armada of dracane.

Come on water, any time now. Percy thought concentrating. A thunderous roar filled his ears and a familiar tugging in his gut told him that the fire was being put out. Still, the effort almost knocked him unconcious, he crumpled and breathed heavily. Somewhere in the distance, he heard Piper yelling 'Pranks Jerky!' Or maybe she was saying 'Thanks Percy?'

A dragon soared overhead, shooting spines into the enemy. Gae's forces were spread out in a tactical way, but the dragons spines and fire balls slammed into them and sent a majority of them screaming for their mothers. That was hopefully Frank in animal form. What Percy saw next through the haze in his eyes was a full grown ancient drakon slam into Frank the Dragon sending them both spiraling downwards to the ground. Percy figured the drakon wasn't on their team. 

Percy made the mistake of looking into the drakons eyes when it soared about three feet above him and lay paralyzed on the ground as a gorgon approached him. 

"Not now Seaweed Brain!" Another voice. Annabeth. "You've got to get up,"

Percy blinked and rolled over onto his back. "Annabeth...if-if I don't make it I want you to-"

He was cut short when Annabeth shoved an ambrosia square in his mouth and then swung her blade and ninja kicked the gorgon to dust while barely looking at the monster at all. He choked for a moment then slowly climbed to his feet while parrying the claws of some mythological monster with Riptide. 

"You're not dying on me," Annabeth kicked the legs out from underneath a small boar and wiped her forehead which was beaded with sweat. 

Percy was about to reply when another sound reached his ears. 

"HELP!" Hazel screamed from a couple yards away. Two giants had advanced on her, rubbing their hands together with anticipation. They were short, and were dressed in the same clothes. Otis and Ephialtes. Percy wondered what they must be thinking. Daughter of Pluto they always taste the best...we will kill this idiot girl who interferred with our plans. HEY! WHY ARE YOU WEARING THE SAME OUTFIT AS ME?

Frank roared in anger from above, blasting a wave of fire in the direction of one of the giants. Apparentally, the drakon's first attack he'd survived. Unfortunately, that meant he turned his back on the drakon he was still currently fighting. Before he could turn around again, the drakon raked its claws down his back, sending their dragon friend crash landing in the middle of the battle field. The drakon shot a wave of blue flame at Percy in triumph then turned and flew to a secluded area behind a bush, like it was waiting for a signal. 

"Frank!" Leo scrambled to his feet and punched a telkhines in the face with a firey hand. He dug into his tool belt and slammed a hammer down on the skull of the last telkhine with an angry "GUH". He sprinted towards Frank who was still in dragon form, clutching his side and moaning. He didn't seem to be able to change back into human form, Percy remembered something about 'having a clear mind'. Since he was in pain, that would be hard.

Percy got to his feet with the help of Annabeth and they fought a path towards Frank as well. They worked in sync, each working together to defend one another while crossing swords with enemies at the same time. It was if they had done it countless times before...and the sad thing was, they had. 

Jason raised his sword to the sky and blasted lightning at the Giants which still were trying to kill Hazel. Somehow the daughter of Pluto had managed to avoid death, which was ironic. She'd called Arion and had been darting under and around their legs, playing a dangerous game of twister and tag. 

Reyna appeared at the top of a hill and  scanned the battlefield. She clutched her spatha and shouted at Frank loudly in her commanders voice. "Frank! CALL THE LEGION."

Percy at first wondered what she was talking about, but then he remembered Frank was now a praetor of a dead legion. Reyna seemed to think they needed an army of deceased ghosts to defeat the earth. 

That's when he remembered something... "Nico," he murmured. I haven't seen him since the battle started. "Annabeth! Help Leo keep the monsters off Frank. Tell Frank to call the dead legion."

"Going to find Nico?" Annabeth ducked under the blade of an enemy demigod and elbowed him in the ribs. 

"Right," Percy confirmed not really surprised how well Annabeth knew him. After all, they'd been to Tartarus and back. He blocked a strike from an unkown sword and knocked it out of the owners hands before sprinting the other way. 

He spotted Nico under a rock. Or at least...an arm. "Oh gods," Percy sprinted over to the boulder and prayed that Nico wasn't squished. He closed his eyes and lifted the rock, trying not to drop it again. Not as bad as holding the sky... He told himself.

"P-Percy?" Nico lifted his head. Dirt and grime was sprinkled on his face like sprinkles on a Christmas cookie. Little tinges of red oozed from gashes all over his skin.

Percy sweated, and tried to nod to his pocket. "Ambrosia...for you..." He wheezed.

Nico crawled out slowly. Thankfully the rock slanted a little so Nico wasn't exactly squished. He would at least have a few broken ribs at the minimum.

The son of Poseidon wearily tried to set the huge rock down, but it more of slipped and landed with a hard thud! Nico chewed the ambrosia trying not to look like he was going to cry.

"Thanks," he muttered. "You should go. Annabeth will need you,"

Percy scratched his head and started to form a sentence. He was cut off when...gods the Minotaur had slammed the hilt of his sword on Percy's head. The son of the Big a Three crumpled like a stack of paper.

"DI IMMORTALES!" Nico cursed. He began to recite incantations a redial tinge in his eyes as he pointed his crooked fingers at the Minotaur. Erupting from the ground came a swarm of ghost and skeletons armies, all dog piling onto one enemy. He never stood a chance.

"Lares and ghosts to me!" A familiar female voice shouted. Nico whirled around, turning into the little boy he once was, if only for a moment. His heart yearned for the owner of that voice, he wanted to hug her. A swirl and mix if emotions all stormed in at once leaving him speechless.

"Bianca," He whispered his eyes tearing up.

And it was her, fully in flesh and not looking a day older than when he had last seen her. They were the same age now, that much was obvious.

She turned fully to look at him. "Look at you," she breathed. "You've grown up."

Nico didn't say anything. He rushed up to her and gave his big sister a full on tackle hug. "I missed you so much," His voice started to crack.

"Nico..." Bianca wiped a tear from his cheek, just like she used to. "I'm only here because... Lady Gaea let me through the Doors a couple days ago. I'm so sorry."

Nico took a shaky step back. "Lady G-Gaea?" He repeated softly. His eyes started to water but he forced himself to remain emotionless.

Bianca held out her arms like she still wanted to hug him. "But it's still me. I'm still the sister you love." When Nico didn't respond she continued. "What have the gods done for us? They will lose this war- how do you fight the earth? The gods let me die in that wretched junk yard. They especially dislike children of Hades. Lady Gaea doesn't care about any of that."

Nico's eyes narrowed. "And you're helping her! Hades is still your father! Our father! And...and he loves us, even if he never showed it. He protected us, mom wouldn't have wanted this."

Bianca scowled, something Nico had never seen her do before. "Then, I suppose I must kill the young hero whom Gaea has assigned me without your help."

Nico flinched when she took a step toward him. "W-who is that?"

Bianca ignored him and soured at her soldiers. "Restrain my brother! Keep him away from the battlefield, I'm sure Lady Gaea and I can talk sense into him."

Nico opened his mouth to protest but was immediately swamped with Legion ghosts and Greek spirits. One shoved a piece of cloth into his mouth while others pinned his arms and legs. He struggled like crazy but eventually the army had their prize. A trusses up Nico do Angelo wrapped in ropes and chains from head to toe. They tossed him to the side, heavily guarded until Bianca could get back. And Nico, for the first time in his life hated her.

Percy almost died when a vial of Greek fire was thrown his way. He barely managed to deflect it carefully, sending it back to the thrower in a matter of milliseconds.

"Percy!" A new voice? He recognized that voice...he turned.

"It's me, Bianca!" A girl in tattered clothing rushed up to him. She moved as if to embrace him.

"Gee, that's great Bianca!" He grinned. "Where's Nico? We can tell him the good news!"

Bianca's face turned sour for a moment. "I...um haven't seen him yet."

Percy frowned and rubbed the spot where he'd been hit by the Minotaur. "Um he was right over there-" he was cut short when Bianca swung her blade at him.

He ducked at the last minute swinging his sword to counter her strike. Bianca could see the confusion oh his face, but she didn't care. The son of Neptunes face showed a mix of horror and understanding.

"What are you doing?" He grunted with effort. Bianca knew she was a good swordsman as well as archer. Lady Gaea had taught her well, besides she was a daughter of the Big Three.

"What my mistress asked," she replied easily.

Percy was aware of the Romans charging in from the left, but he expected no help to come his way. "Drop your weapon Bianca. You've been killed once, I don't want to kill you again."

Bianca smirked, something se never had done before. "Come at me then," She taunted. The words felt odd on her tongue, but she'd picked up a few things while staying with Gaea's army. Seeing Percy's expression of hurt almost made her reconsider her plans. Almost. 

Percy hesitated and for a moment it looked like his lower lip quivered then he swung his blade in a Celestial Bronze arc straight at the daughter of Hades. 

"Traitor!" He shouted eyes filling with anguish.

Bianca sidestepped his blow and faltered for a moment. "Don't act like the gods ever did anything for us ! They let me die!"

Percy deflected her strike and slammed his sword against her shield. Hard. Bianca barely managed a quick block, but her arms had not been prepared for the shock and vibration of celestial bronze against Stygian Iron.

She dropped her sword and desperately shook out her hands in pain. "You would hurt me?" Bianca asked with a slight quiver in her voice.

"You would betray me?" Percy shot back.

Bianca sank to her knees and bowed her head in defeat. "You have won. Make my death quick please."

Percy shrank his sword back into a pen without much hesitation. "Get up Bianca." He held out his hand.

Bianca smiled to herself as she stared at his feet. Oh Percy, always so predictable.

She took his hand and firmly pulled herself up.

"Now Bianca-" Percy started. He didn't finish, Bianca smiled to herself as she yanked her sword out of his back. Percy gasped then stumbled in the uneven ground.

He wheezed then turned and looked at Bianca. His gaze had no pleasing or betrayal in it. Instead it seemed to say, you made your choice.

"PERCY!" Bianca looked up from his bleeding form to see Jason flying straight for her. She held her sword in front of her and braces herself for a strike. It never came, a bolt of lightning blasted her backwards a couple hundred feet and Jason knelt by Percy's side.

"It's okay buddy, it's okay." His voice was hoarse.

Percy smiled and his eyes twinkled a little bit. "Okay," he repeated. His fingers grabbed at the piercing in his back. Jason knew too much blood was being released.

"Annabeth. I'm going to find Annabeth. Hang on!" Jason sat up on his back legs then disappeared in the army of enemies. Percy picked up Riptide and felt the coolness in his hand. The perfectly balanced sword. Defender of anyone who held it.

"Oh gods PERCY!" Annabeth slammed two enemy warriors out of her way and kneeled over her boyfriends dying body.

"Here..." Percy felt his vision get darker. Everything was beginning to blur. He found Annabeth's hand with his and patted Riptide in it. "Take it Wise Girl..." He choked up a mouthful of blood.

Annabeth shook her head, tears streaming down her face, but accepted the gift. "I love you," She whispered into his left ear.

Percy's wound ached, it was pain he never felt before. "I love you...Annabeth," He murmured.

Jason bowed his head and Percy smiled once more. "Wait...for you...Elysium..." Then he fell back with his eyes glazed and lifeless. His hand still rested in Annabeth's and she didn't let go. 

Annabeth stared for a moment then pretty much broke down. Jason touched Annabeth's shoulder then murmured a sort of blessing. "You deserve Elysium, you deserve it a thousand times over. May the gods be with you." 

Annabeth knelt by his body, thinking of every good moment they'd ever had together. The time she first met him...when she'd watched his unconcious form as he struggled against nightmares in his sleep. She remembered nursing him back to health and wiping away his salivia. The quests they'd gone on together...the first kiss they shared. It hurt too much. 

Jason said nothing, only protected the couple in a wall of wind. Annabeth hadn't known he could make a circle around people and throw up a wind wall, but she didn't really think of it much. The effort was probably killing him. 

Monsters charged at them from all sides but she didn't even look up. Jason stumbled from the outside and the wind wall flickered for a moment and a small cat leaped in just before the shields went back up. 

Annabeth vaguely thought in the back of her mind skeleton cat that Percy and I met. She watched it approach.

"Small Bob?" She croaked. It mewed in answer and padded over to Percy's corpse. It nosed his unkempt black hairs and licked his cheek. It seemed to be thinking the same thing Annabeth was. Why won't you wake up? 

His purpose is not over, do not grieve. The wicked voice of Gaea echoed in Annabeth's mind.

She stood and glared at the monsters pounding at her shield. "Fight me if you dare Gaea. FIGHT ME."

Aadly, you will not be the one to oppose me. Jason and Leo will try but shall fail, Gaea purred softly.

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