statues

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Footsteps approached the four demigods who hid in the dark, the wooden door they crouched by squeaking before the staircase lit up in fire. Blasted with heat, Percy stood in front of Grover, taking the brunt of the smoke. Soot drenched his face, making him cough erratically.

Hues of dancing orange showed the millions of statues that surrounded the basement. It was Medusa's lair. 

"Come on," Annabeth whispered, yanking Grover by his sleeve into the maze of terrified sculptures. "Let's go," Ciarda pushed Percy forward - not her usual aggressive shove, this was urgent and protective. 

Her sword glimmered in the firelight, Medusa's footfalls echoing down the stairs. Her slow pace showed she was taking her time, she enjoyed the chase. 

They ran through the labyrinth of stone people, Ciarda's eyes catching terrified policemen and grandmothers, monsters and more.

Stumbling when Ciarda's eyes caught the sight of a frozen baby, she lost her footing. Trying to stay on her feet, she tumbled into a monster with feathered wings. The brunt of her collision impacted her shoulder, cracking the wing into crumbling pieces. 

"Come on!" Percy pulled her up, grasping onto her hand and weaving her through the stone crowd. A baby. Medusa really was a monster. But then again, so were all the powerful figures of Olympus.

"Over here!" Annabeth called as quietly as she could, Percy and Ciarda joining them. The Daughter of Ares held her shoulder, grinding her chipped teeth in pain. 

"There's four of us and only one of her. If we split up she can't be watching us all at once," Grover explained. "I don't think it's that simple," Annabeth's mind whirred whilst she thought ten steps ahead. "It could be," Grover argued. 

"Here's the plan. I'll get in the air, I'll draw her attention. As soon as you hear me say 'maia' you guys start-" Grover, with Luke's flying shoes, started moving in the air. "Okay, erm. Off. Down." Grover flew away into the darkness. 

"I'll split, see if I can help. Ciarda, look after him," She had a glint in her eye which told Ciarda that she had a plan. Ciarda nodded slyly, turning to Percy. 

"We are not our parents until we choose to be," Medusa's voice had returned to its slippery silk. She was nearing them. 

"Percy I need you to push my shoulder back into its socket," Ciarda grabbed his hands and placed them on her aching shoulder. His marine eyes widened. "I can't-" He shook his head removing his warm palms from her. 

"If you don't then I can't protect you or myself. One hand here and the other there, and now slide it back in," She showed him where to put his hands. They stared at each other for a moment, the burning fire in her eyes enough for him to ready himself. Nodding at him, she closed her eyes. 

In one swift motion, her arm was back in its socket. Ciarda stretched her shoulder with a sigh of relief. 

"You three have chosen." 

Ciarda then rapidly yanked Percy along, trying not to look at the terrified stone creatures which felt like they reached out to grab her. "Come this way," She hauled Percy lateral, running down a sanded path. 

Percy was ordered to hide stationary by the stone statues to their left, letting her rush off without telling him why. He watched her hide opposite him, underneath the body of a clothed gorgon holding a pot of coins. 

"A daughter of a self-righteous mother, who chose self-righteousness for herself. A daughter of the God of War, you look up to him and want to be him, Ciarda. And yet you let him, and everyone around you, even dearest Percy, deny you the truth. Of who your mother really is." 

Ciarda's eyes widened, confused by Medusa's words. She gripped the leathered hilt of her sword tighter in her sweating palms. The lair was getting hotter. 'She's lying', Ciarda repeated, begging to herself that it was true. Why would Percy know who her mother was? He would've told her. 

"And you, you could've shown your father what it was like to stand up for someone you love."

Her heels clicked on the ground, her snake hair hissing aggressively when she approached him. Percy closed his seafoam eyes. He prayed to his father that this was a part of Annabeth and Ciarda's plan. 

"You could choose to save your mother instead of doing your father's bidding. If none of you will help teach these lessons, perhaps you should be the lessons. When I ship your statues to Olympus, maybe that will get my point across even better." 

Ciarda turned her sword out, hearing the heels coming closer. She watched as Medusa told Percy to stand, grabbing his shirt and tugging at him to move towards her. 

Percy had his eyes shut and Medusa was focused on him. He whimpered in confusion, not knowing where she was, his sword at the ready. He couldn't fight something he couldn't look at.

Medusa twirled one of his curls around her skeletal finger before Ciarda, cursing Percy and all he was made for, whistled loudly. With her eyes shut, she didn't know if Medusa was looking at her or not. 

"What beautiful hair, I had hair like this once," She grabbed a lock of Ciarda's brunette waves and tugged it gently. "Shame that now all you have is snakes," Ciarda sneered, letting Grover's shoes propel towards the sound of the whistle - a trick Luke had told her about years before. 

She took back her promise to dump the box in the Hudson, now knowing that it homed her best friend's prized possessions. 

"I didn't really think this through," Grover roared, Medusa's head twisting to watch him. He crashed into a crate of dust and stone. 

Being distracted, Ciarda's eyes shot open and she stared at Medusa. Tinnitus rang in her ears whilst she glared at the monster. Her snakes started moving frantically, biting the air. Percy's eyes slowly squinted open, the boy stepping back in confusion. 

Medusa's mouth opened. And a bloodcurdling scream made Percy's blood run cold. 

Keeping Medusa stuck in the torment of her own terrible fears, Ciarda couldn't move until Annabeth pulled off her invisible cap and shoved it on Medusa's head. 

"Now!" She yelled, Percy swinging his sword of celestial bronze. Her screams fell silent.

The sound of Medusa's head hitting the floor was both satisfying and unpleasant. It was soon followed by the thump of Ciarda's exhausted body in the sand. 

...

After using Medusa's head to take down Alecto, Percy and Annabeth returned to see Grover standing in front of a statue. He was slumped, not his usual posture - especially for a Satyr. Annabeth looked for Ciarda, finding her sharpening her sword blade using part of a sharp statue she'd broken off. 

Her face was solemn, just like Grover's. 

Percy's memories flashed to him rushing to her side, her eyes flickering in a burning orange. Her eyelids slowly shut, rendering her unconscious. Annabeth had helped him move her limp body to a warmer place near the stairs, putting cold stone on her hands. 

"What's wrong?" Percy questioned his best friend, Grover looking up at the stone Satyr. "Uncle Ferdinand." Annabeth and Percy comforted him, allowing his eyes to become glossy. "This is as far as he got in his quest. We're not even at Trenton. But look at him, he's not like the others - he isn't afraid."

Grover cleared his throat and got over himself, the trio now looking to Ciarda who was sulking in the corner. Shadows passed over her face, hiding the sadness which wallowed in her eyes.

Percy hummed, beginning to walk over, but was stopped by a small hand. "Let me talk to her," Annabeth placed her hand on Percy's arm to stop him when he attempted to talk to her. 

Before he could argue back, Ciarda appeared next to them. Blush rolled on her cheeks, telling the three how cold she truly was - even though she would rather die than admit it. Grover proposed to her his jacket, the girl shrugging off his offer. She didn't need anyone's help. 

Her dark eyes were deadly when they looked into Percy's, her sword singing in the air. "Do you know who my mother is?"

𝐖𝐀𝐑 𝐎𝐅 𝐓𝐈𝐃𝐄𝐒  | percy jacksonWhere stories live. Discover now