Chapter Thirteen

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"Gabriel!" Kronos called. A guard steps forward, bowing his head. "Yes, My Lord?" He asks. Percy looks the guard up and down quickly. I could take him. Percy thought, convinced that Kronos was going to have this guard kill him for speaking out. "Retrieve my sword. Jackson and I will be sparring."

Arabella, Rynn, Juliana, Asher, Noah, and the guard all voices their disapproval. "Silence." Kronos commanded. Percy was really starting to hate the Titan. "Jackson and I have fought before, haven't we?" Kronos asked with a fake smile. "Yeah, and I kicked your ass." Percy said with a scoff. Kronos' smile plummeted into a scowl. "Now, Gabriel." Kronos demanded.

The guard presented a sword to Kronos. "It's not Backbiter, hmm?" Percy taunted. "No," Kronos spat, "It's better." Percy glanced at the other demigods and saw a slight bit of fear in their eyes. "My Lord, may I talk to Percy for a brief second?" Asher requested. Percy's eyes widened. Kronos frowned but nodded. Percy walked over to Asher. The pale boy gripped Percy's shoulders tightly.

"Kronos doesn't fight fair, Percy. You have to know that." Asher warned. "He'll talk a lot, use trigger words against you. He'll take your deepest secrets and use that against you as well. Be prepared." Percy's shoulders sagged. "Thanks, Asher." Percy said with a smile before returning to the middle of the room. "Will you accept the honor of starting our match, Mercy?" Kronos asked Arabella. She nodded and looked at her feet. "Well, I believe we're ready whenever you are, my dear." The Titan said with an uncharacteristic smile.

"Go." Arabella said. No count down, no preparation. Go. Percy twisted Katastrofí in his hand, seeing Kronos copy the trick quickly. Percy took offense, feinting right and attacking left. He swiped the blade with a backwards hand, giving Percy more power. Kronos laughed mockingly. "You fight like Luke Castellan, Jackson!" He sounded pleased with the discovery. Percy faintly heard Juliana ask, "Who's Luke Castellan?" "Shut up!" Percy shouted at Kronos in response. The Titan laughed again. "Just as hot-headed as him, as well. Tell me, Jackson: how hurt were you when you found our your first demigod friend was going to be your destruction?" Kronos teased as he and Percy slashed and blocked each other's swords.

Percy shook his head, remembering Asher's warning and not letting the Titan in his head. "Have you told the others why you're here and not with the demigods loyal to the gods-" Kronos was cut off as Percy swipes the sword and a cut arose from across Kronos' bicep. "Have you ever stopped being a dick? There's your answer." Percy spat back.

"Where's your friends, Jackson?" Kronos taunted. Percy felt undeniably angry, pushing harder and slashing Katastrofí with more force. "Shut up." Percy growled. "Where's your blonde little princess, Jackson?"

"I SAID SHUT UP!" Percy screamed, throwing the sword onto the ground and thrusting his hand forward like Darth Vader with the Force. Kronos' face turned a purple-red, dropping his sword to claw at his throat. Percy tightened his invisible grip, eyes dark as Kronos struggled for air. The Titan clawed at his throat, leaving angry red scratches across the skin, almost drawing ichor.

"Percy! Percy, stop!" The others called, wanting to intervene but scared of Percy's power. At this point, Kronos was desperately trying to stay conscious. Percy just squeezed his fist harder and harder, his eyes turning darker and darker as time went on. "Percy, stop it!" Noah yelled. The extreme level of charmspeak in his voice managed to break through to Percy and make him see reason. Percy gasped and unclenched his fist, watching as Kronos crumbled to the ground, gasping for air.

The Titan gasped desperately and all the guards and other demigods rushed over to him, muttering things like, "Are you alright, Lord Kronos?" Percy backed away from everyone slowly, looking at his shaky hands. Before he realized it, he had his back to the door of the room. He looked up nervously to make terrified eye contact with Rynn. Rynn stood up quickly.

"Percy, it's alright-" She started cautiously. Percy whipped around and flung open the door, sprinting down the hallway and around the unfamiliar castle, ignoring the desperate cries for him to come back.

Percy ran and ran, eventually stumbling into a dead-end hallway. A singular door stood at the end, and Percy approached it quickly, curious to its contents. The demigod pushed the door open, gasping as it closed behind him. The ceiling was the night sky, stars lighting up to show constellations. Percy's eyes traced a pattern of stars that made out the Huntress- Zoë. "I'm sorry, Zoë. You said I was a man you could be proud of, but you shouldn't be." Percy cried out quietly. He looked down at his hands again, sinking to the floor and scooting backwards until his back was against the wall and he was crunched up in a ball. Percy rested his head on his knees and sat there, feeling useless and like a monster.

For almost an hour, Percy sat there, occasionally looking up at the stars in the ceiling. Currently, his head was on his knees, his eyes shut tightly. He heard a loud creak and pulled his head up, seeing the door cracked open and the undeniable form of Noah standing in the doorway. "Percy?" He asked. Percy grumbled in reply. "Guys? Guys, I found him!" Noah shouted down the hallway. Noah entered the dark room fully, slowly approaching Percy.

He knelt next to the crunched up boy, slowly sticking his hand out to put it on Percy's shoulder comfortingly. "Hey. Hey, Percy. It's all alright." Noah said sweetly. "No, n-no it's not...it's not. I don't- I don't want to be a monster, Noah. I can't- I can't control this and I don't want to hurt anyone and-" "Shh, it's alright." Noah slowly gathered Percy into his arms, rocking him slowly as Percy calmed down from his break down.

That's how the others found them, Percy's eyes wide and anxious and Noah slowly rocking them back and forth, mumbling comforting things. The other demigods came and sat around the other two. "It's alright, Percy," Rynn started, "Kronos doesn't blame you. He's the one that provoked you." "I should have been able to control it, I should have been able to stop. Why did I let myself lose control...oh god what if I hurt-" "Shh." Noah interrupted, glaring at Rynn for completely ruining all progress they had made as he took Percy back and forth slowly once again. Rynn ducked her head.

"It's alright, Percy. We can talk about it some other time. You're not at fault whatsoever." Arabella comforted, placing a hand on Percy's back. Percy smiled nervously, nodded, and quickly took a shaky breath. Noah released Percy from his hold. "Are you alright?" Percy looked up at the constellation that was his friend, wishing that Zoë or any of his old friends were here with him.

"No, but I'm gonna have to be."

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