prepare yourself for an untimely death

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"We're not gonna have much time, they'll be up here any minute. And if my mother isn't going to protect us, then we're just going to have to fight it out up here," Annabeth adjusted the strap on her shoulder. Her bag slammed into the narrow staircase when she tried to rush up it. 

Ciarda couldn't help the small smile that played on her lips. This was about to be a warzone; something hummed with the feeling of home. 

Percy groaned whilst Grover yanked him up the stairs. His body was falling whichever way he was pulled, which made Grover's job extremely difficult. Ciarda held a hand on Percy's back in case the demigod toppled backwards. 

"Oh no," Grover paused at the top of the stairs, making Ciarda leave the pair and climb a few more steps. The highest point of the Arch was packed with tourists. 

"We've got to get everybody out of here," Grover stated like the fact wasn't obvious. Annabeth looked to Ciarda, whose eyes were also on the big red button behind the door. With a sharp nod, Annabeth pulled down harshly on the fire alarm whilst Ciarda, synced with her plans, started pushing everyone toward the exit. 

"FIRE PEOPLE, THIS IS NOT A DRILL," Letting them ascend into chaos was her favourite part. "Okay, stop being dramatic," Grover placed a hand on her shoulder. For being in a place of inevitable death, she was having quite a fun time. 

"You, Percy and Grover follow them down," Ciarda referenced to Annabeth whose eyebrows scrunched. Her braids smacked her shoulders when her head whipped to the side. "What? No, no, no. W- We're not splitting up," Grover panicked. 

"Grover, Annabeth, come on," Ciarda shoved them toward the door. "No, no, no, no, no," Percy shook his head. His curls stuck to the immense sweat pouring off him. His eyebags were even more sunken, like a skull. He was dying. "We're all getting out of here together." 

"We won't make it. The Chimaera is a demigod-killer. Someone has to stay back and buy everyone some time," Ciarda explained, helping Percy to the door. When he started to limp, she used her strength to take most of his weight. Annabeth and Grover followed. 

"Take him to the river, let it heal him. Then don't stop. Not till you get to Hades. Not till you have the bolt, do you hear me?" Ciarda ordered. Her eyes, piercing black eyes, showed that she was not taking no for an answer.

Percy stared at her in horror. She was going to be dead soon. And she had come to terms with it - a thirteen-year-old girl.  What was wrong with this world he'd been thrown into?

"Why you? Why does it have to be you?" Annabeth's eyes glossed. "You've been my friend for so long, I don't want to lose another one." Ciarda's eyes, for the first time in Annabeth's life, soften towards her. "You're okay, this is what the prophecy wants. I need to protect the Forbidden Child. It's all the Oracle wants from me. I need to do this," She reassured them, finally revealing what Fate wanted from her on this mission. Her hand graced Annabeth's cheek. 

"Keep the stupid ones out of trouble," She winked, looking at the boys behind Annabeth. A big crash was heard from the Arch's other side, and lights flickered. Ciarda smiled softly at Grover, her gaze darting to Percy. 

"Don't fuck this up, Seaweed Brain," She raised a strong eyebrow. Turning with purpose, she swung her golden sword. Whispers of death followed her. The battle spirit struck her. 

"Wait!" Percy's struggling voice stilled Ciarda. She turned to face him. Something in her eyes had disappeared, she'd hidden her soul away for her killing spree. 

He painfully reached to his side, a whirring noise echoing down the stairwell before his sword appeared. He flipped it in his hand, pointing the handle toward her. 

"Take this," He offered his sword to Ciarda. Her eyes, usually cold and dark, had turned a swirling honey brown. "It was an honour knowing you, Percy Jackson," She smiled, her teeth just as chipped and dented as the first time he'd met her. Death swarmed her aura. 

She clutched the sword's handle, confused when Percy pulled her body forward. She crashed into Grover and Annabeth, Percy holding onto his sword and pulling the vault door shut. He gasped at the door, out of breath. "Wait!" Grover yelled. 

"NO!" Ciarda screamed, rushing forward and pounding on the door. "PERCY LET ME IN!" She couldn't stop bashing the door, her knuckles beginning to get bloody. Ares children had inhumane strength, but not enough to break down a thick steel door. "PERCY PLEASE, THIS IS WHAT THE ORACLE TOLD ME TO DO," She cried. 

"Percy, no! Don't do this. They'll kill you," Annabeth knocked on the door. The trio kept bashing on the door, hoping that the stubborn Percy Jackson would open it for his friends. 

"Poseidon's never helped me before. He wasn't going to start now," Percy panted, his sweat-lined forehead resting against the door. It vibrated with the strength Ciarda was hitting it with. "Percy, please," She begged. "I would never have made it to Hades," Percy cringed. He hated the unusually weak sound of Ciarda's voice. 

"Percy? Percy, please!" Grover tried to open the door any way he could, looking around it for cracks or entrances. The place was sealed shut. "You can make it," Percy told them, "And now you will." 

Metal crashed and the Chimaera roared, and Percy knew it was time to do his bidding. He turned from the door, his vision slanting and blurring. He walked forward, his knees feeling like jelly. The poison was taking full effect. 

"PERCY PLEASE!" Ciarda's vision tunnelled, and her knuckles pummeled into the steel. They were bashed and bloody from her efforts. 

Grover pulled her back, telling her that banging on the door wouldn't help. His eyes widened when he saw tears on Ciarda's cheeks. Such an uncommon sight took him by surprise. "I can't have another Forbidden Child's blood on my hands," She shifted, burying herself into Grover's shoulder. The boy didn't hesitate to wrap his arms around her. Sobs echoed from inside her frame. 

Annabeth and Grover froze. They never realised she blamed herself entirely for Thalia's death. 

𝐖𝐀𝐑 𝐎𝐅 𝐓𝐈𝐃𝐄𝐒  | percy jacksonWhere stories live. Discover now