28- Underworld

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Percy's PoV:

"Who?" Luke asked Grover.

"Thalia and Nico." Grover whispered. I saw Luke's hand tighten around the hilt of his sword.

"Let's go." All of us stood up and ran toward the end of the corridor. I helped Rachel since she was still a little weak. When we got to the end, we saw them. Thalia seemed to  be unconscious and Nico was piggyback carrying her. In front of them was a portal like door. He was almost going to go in but he stopped on his tracks when Luke shouted. "Stop!" Nico turned. He was paler than usual and his eyes were darker. "You can peacefully handover Thalia to us or fight us." Luke said.

"I'm afraid I cannot do either." Nico said. Then he stepped back into the door. It was almost going to close when I held my arm in front of me and stopped it. Maybe it was my godly powers but I was surprised that I could actually control it. Even though, I strained to keep it open since another force was working against me.

"Go." I gritted my teeth with the effort and looked at my companions. One by one, they went in and I followed them in just as the door closed and disappeared at my back.

My eyes squinted because of the darkness of our sorroundings. In front of us was the River Styx that looked like it contained gasoline instead of water. I looked up to see a ceiling high up with stalactites and looked at my back to see earthen wall stretching as far as the eye could see on both sides. The shore was covered in green fog that made me shiver. The Underworld was spooky. And we had not even gone far yet...

"Where did that jerk go?" Luke's question pulled me out of my thoughts.

"Maybe he shadow traveled again. It should be easier here." Clarisse guessed.

"We need to get to Hades' palace." I scanned the riverside. "There should be a boat here..." And then I saw it. "There." I pointed so the others could see. A little farther away, at our right, was a wooden barge. On it was a hooded figure who was holding a wooden pole and some transparent souls of the dead. Charon. The same voice that told me who Kampê was spoke in my mind. It was starting to get annoying really.

"We should hurry. It's going to go." Grover said urgently. I cursed because I let my thoughts loose my focus. We ran to the boat and barely managed to stop it if Briares had not took a hold of it.

"Wait! We need a ride!" I shouted. The hooded figure, Charon, looked at me. I could not see his face but I was sure that he was angry because we stopped his boat.

"And why should I give you one?" His raspy voice made me cringe. Luke stepped forward and threw him a pouch that made jingles when it landed on his palm. Charon hurriedly checked inside the pouch.

"There should be enough drachmas there for all of us to hitch a ride." Luke turned to us. "Should we hop on then?"

"Uh... One small problem." Grover said. "How can we fit Briares in there?" His question made my brain stop functioning. I was so stupid to not think about fitting issues. But a stupid but worth-a-try idea came into my head.

"How about Briares gets in first and carries the rest of us?" I suggested. All of them looked at me like I just stole Poseidon's underwear. "Stop looking at me like that." Guess what? They didn't listen. Luke, thankfully, broke the silence.

"Well, it's a worth a try. Besides time is running out and we need the big guy."

"Thanks man." Luke winked at me. "Let's go then." Briares hopped on first, making all the souls move to one side and causing the barge to sway. I helped him take Rachel and then Grover got on one of his shoulders with Clarisse next. "After you." I gestured to Luke. He punched my right arm with a smile and jumped. Briares caught him and waited for me. "I can't believe I'm doing this." I muttered to myself and jumped into Briares' free arms.

Just as I got on, the barge started moving through the dark and oily waters of the River Styx. I considered sitting on one of Briares' shoulders since I looked very ungodly in this position but I changed my mind since I won't want to drown, not that I could drown really, in a oily river. The sight of the river swirling with bones, dead fish and other stranger things like plastic dolls, crushed carnations and soggy diplomas made me uneasy.

It seemed like forever until we got to the other side. But the relief left me once again as I saw a big—scratch that—an enormous three-headed guard dog infront of a high wall that never seemed to end. It should be Cerberus and the Walls of Erebus. I will forever be thankful to my history teacher. The boat stopped and we got out after the souls to stand on black sand. Just after all of us got down, Charon departed for the other side again without a word. Seemed like there was no going back. On either side of Cerberus were two very long lines of souls that said ATTENDANT ON DUTY while another line which said EZ DEATH went between Cerberus' legs. The EZ DEATH line, however, was short.

"Uhm... What now guys?" I was surprised to hear Rachel speak.

"We must go through Cerberus to get in so we must be very careful." Luke said. "The fastest way is to take the EZ DEATH line."

"Luke, you got to be kidding me." Grover said. "How can we get in without being detected by Cerberus when the line passes right through its' legs?"

"Grover has a point." I said. Luke started to look around and then his eyes landed on Briares. My eyes widened. "Oh no."

"It's the only way, Percy." Luke looked at Briares. "Can you distract him buddy?" Briares slowly nodded. I didn't know if he was scared or not because I couldn't see any emotion on his face.

"Wait." Grover rummaged in his backpack and took out a small red rubber ball. He grinned. "This should help." He threw it at Briares and he caught it. "Maybe Cerberus will like the ball."

"Why did you bring a ball with you anyway?" Clarisse asked Grover. Grover shrugged.

"Just packed some random things to eat if I get hungry." I lifted an eyebrow. "Anyway, we should go now." Luke nodded.

"Let's sneek in now." Briares went off to distract Cerberus while we quietly made our way to the EZ DEATH line. We almost made it to the line when Cerberus noticed us and growled.

"Cerberus!" Briares called out to the three-headed dog while waving the red ball in one of his hands. That took the attention of the dog instantly.

I let out the breath I was holding and followed the others to the gate. I got one last look of Briares who was now enjoying playing with Cerberus and went inside.

Word Count: 1217 (excluding A/N)
Date Published: June 1, 2017
A/N: Hey guys, sorry for not updating sooner. I had a huge writer's block. So what do you say about the chapter? Please vote and comment because it makes me really happy when you do! Thank you for supporting this story so far! I'll try to update again soon before school starts but no promises hehe. Look forward to the next chapters because they will have all the butt kicking moments and revelations! Good night!

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