opinions can offend the gods

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The four kids hurried into the tourist-filled landmark. A janitor was mopping the floor, making it smell clean, along with the open doors letting in a spring blossom scent. Yellow caution signs were dotted around the tiled floor, in hopes no kid slipped on the freshly wiped slates. 

Ciarda swiftly yanked the baseball cap off a young child, the boy turning in confusion. He didn't understand where his hat had gone. She discreetly slipped it over her curls, praying that it covered the gash on the back of her head. 

Annabeth had helped her brush the blood from her neck and hair length in the bathroom of the thrift shop, however it didn't stop her wound from bleeding. 

"It's six hundred and thirty feet wide, six hundred and thirty feet tall, both to within an inch," Annabeth geeked out about her mother's sanctuary. She'd never been and was practically skipping as they strolled inside. "It's got no internal support. Each side is balanced perfectly against the other. The arch is held up by symmetry, it's held up by math." 

"You seriously make my headaches worse," Ciarda squeezed at her temples, hoping the migraine would cease. The squad treaded through the arches entrance, trying to blend in with the thousands of students looking around on their field trip. 

"It's earthquake-proof, so Poseidon can't ruin it," Annabeth mentioned, making Ciarda snort and Percy mutter an insincere thanks. They slipped past tour guides and security guards. 

"Excuse me," Annabeth forced her way through the giggling students. Their eyes boggled at the famous painting which scattered on some of the walls.  "This is how you show Athena your love. A monument to the power of perfection." 

"It's a monument to some other stuff too," Grover's sick voice made Ciarda's head snap in his direction. Her eyes followed his eye line, scanning the stuffed animals. Taxidermy made even her feel sick, nevertheless a boy hereditarily connected with nature. 

"You're talking about what some humans want this place to be about. I'm talking about what it actually is." Annabeth explained. Grover rolled his deep brown eyes. "Whatever."

"We're safe here, right?" He mumbled, his eyes naturally leading back to the polished skulls which stood proudly underneath glass. Horns just like his had been sawed off and placed around the head in a shrine-like manner. "No monsters can enter. Not even Echidna."

"Great," Grover's panicked voice was one that Ciarda could easily identify. Sparks of those nights in the woods, trying to get a Forbidden Child to the treeline came back. A mixture of Luke's terrified face and Percy's minotaur that ribboned her skin apart. The blurry haze of Thalia's face. Blood everywhere. Pain. 

"And since our other train literally exploded, I'm gonna see if there's another one we can get tickets on," Grover trotted off, his hooves disguised with crutches. His comforting voice brought Ciarda back from her tortured thoughts. "Just because we're prey doesn't mean we need to be helpless," His sentence was faint as he walked away, Ciarda's eyes moving to the painting of fighting animals for human entertainment. Her sigh echoed around the hall. 

"He doesn't like it when people mess with animals," Percy explained to Ciarda, falling into step with her. She raised a dark eyebrow at him. "I've known him longer than you have, Buster," She nipped. They watched in silence as Annabeth walked around the room reading information about the Arch. It was nostalgic for her, even if she'd never been there before. Athena's aura echoed around the place.

"So, Ares is your dad, huh?" Percy tried to make general conversation, Ciarda closing her eyes as she trailed a finger along undusted glass. "I wonder if he's around, watching out for you," The teenage boy continued. Ciarda said nothing, continuing her strides. 

"Be right down, just going to take a shit!" He mimicked a gruff man's voice. Ciarda cocked her head at him, a diminutive smile playing on her lips. Percy couldn't help the grin on his face. He was breaking down her walls, slowly but surely. 

"Nice," She chuckled, dusting her dirty hand on her new trousers. "I have a gift," Percy shrugged, his voice breaking. He had bought a new green flannel in the thrift shop, dragging it onto his shoulders carelessly. 

Ciarda shook her head, inhaling gradually before letting out a raspy laugh. "Pretty lucky we were in the right city to be in Athena's safe haven, huh?" 

"Luck or Fate?" Ciarda's eyes were still red-rimmed from her exhausting mission in Medusa's lair. The group had let her sleep for hours on the train, hoping she would regain her energy. She'd never made someone feel their fears for so long before; the energy it took was immense. 

"When did you get your special tricks?" Percy felt an urge to ask, referencing how she had made him feel his worst nightmares with his eyes open. Her eyebrows furrowed, revealed from under her light fringe. 

"I was seven. Eros and Eurytion were trying to teach me a lesson after I stole their breakfast once. They made me give them my breakfast every day for a month. I got hungry and weaker in the morning, but I put on a show for Chiron. And then one day, they came over to take it and I just snapped. It was my favourite breakfast that day, so I yelled at them. I screamed 'no'. They got angry and embarrassed and tried to take my plate." 

"Then what happened?" Percy questioned, studying her face. A small smile whispered on her rouge cheeks. "In seconds they were on the floor, holding their heads and begging it to stop. Their screams were ones to relish in." 

So that was the real reason they never messed with her again. Percy stared at her. "I think you're a homicidal maniac," He decided, making Ciarda snuff a chuckle. "Maybe it's just in my genes." 

The two locked eyes, brown on blue, delicate smiles on both of their faces. "You know, a temple is a temple, you could talk to your Dad while we're here?" Ciarda suggested, making her pace gentle for Percy. He looked down for a moment. 

"The thing with your Dad, trying to talk to him. It works for you, it's different. But my father? I don't want anything from him. He's had his chances. Honestly, you've done more for me in the past few days than he has done for me in my entire life. If I had to stick with someone-" He cut off. 

"Careful Pinky-Pie," Ciarda's ebony eyes twinkled, "I think you were about to call me a friend." 

"Somewhere around here, the Oracle is laughing at us-" Ciarda spoke to them, smiling slightly. Maybe he wasn't so terrible to be around - when he wasn't being stupid. 

Her eyes widened and her instincts kicked in when Percy's body fell forward, collapsing into her. "Percy!" She exclaimed in confusion. 

Her strength helped her hold him up. Annabeth rushed over to help the pair, grabbing one of his arms. They put his biceps around their shoulders, letting Ciarda get a good look at his face. Red eyes, dark eyebags and putrid skin. The boy looked positively dying. 

𝐖𝐀𝐑 𝐎𝐅 𝐓𝐈𝐃𝐄𝐒  | percy jacksonWhere stories live. Discover now