Trials of Tartarus

Trials of Tartarus

A Chapter by Eli_Wolf-Queen
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Chapter 4

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Chapter 4 
Mutt's POV
I knew that she’d probably never end up reading it, but for some reason it felt like she was here when I wrote it down. It felt like she was standing next to me, supporting me.

I knew that she was, just no physically. She was in town, as safe as she could be at this moment. And she was worried about me. I didn’t regret getting her out of Tartarus when I had the chance, out of everything I did recently, that is the last thing that I could ever regret.

My regret regarding Moon is that I couldn’t explain anything to her. I couldn’t help her understand why I was doing what I was doing. I couldn’t help her understand that it had to be done.

I hoped that she knew. That she could somehow sense it. Even though she had no real way of knowing. Even though she didn’t have to know. Biting the end on the pen slightly I quickly jot down one last sentence.

P.S. Even though you’re a thousand or so miles away from me, you’re never further than a second from my heart.

None of these trials mattered if Moon died. My life didn’t matter if she died. That wasn’t the problem though, the problem was that she was there, and I was here. And all I wanted was for her to be standing right next to me.

“Oh good you’re up,” Caltaya says, walking in through the magic door.

I jerk my head up to look at her, eyes wide. Shock coursed through me until I finally calmed down enough to see who it was.

“Don’t do that! You scared the bunnies outta me!” I shout, leaping up.

“Bunnies?” Caltaya asks, raising an eyebrow.

“Hey, I don’t question you, so you can’t question me. Got it?” I say, resisting from placing a hand on my hip and snapping.

“Right, totally. Who would dare question the Great Mutt?” Caltaya says sarcastically.

“Uh, excuse you?” I retort. “It’s the ‘Awesomely Amazing Mutt’ to you.”

“Wow, what did I ever do to be so special?” Caltaya says, it came out more like a groan.

Almost like she was being forced to pray to someone that she didn’t believe in, or someone that she knew wasn’t going to answer her. I can’t help but grin at her.

“What was that?” I ask, placing a hand around my ear. “I didn’t quite catch that over the smell you brought in with you.”

“Excuse you?” Caltaya shouts, turning around from where she was heading towards the table. She places her hands on her hips and glares at me. “Just who do you think that you are Matthew Shax?”

“I don’t know why you would even bother asking that!” I exclaim. “Obviously you already know my name, considering you used it in that sentence of yours. I mean like, yeesh.”

She narrows her eyes at me, but I could see the smile threatening to break through.

“So am I forgiven?” I ask hesitantly.

She blinks, expecting something other than that I guess. Finally she shrugs, “I’d be an idiot to remain mad at you. Besides, if I killed you then you’d be stuck down here with me and I’d have to deal with you 24/7 over and over again. Do you understand how annoying that would be?” She fakes a shudder.

“ANNOYING?” I shout accusingly. “DON’T YOU MEAN ABSOLUTELY, MUTTASTICALLY AWESOME?”

She gives me a strange look, “I can’t believe you just said that…”

“And why not?” I demand. “It’s the truth is it not?”

“Mhm, lemme think. NOT,” she says.

“How rude,” I say. “You’re just jealous that you can’t be as fabulous as me.”

To add effect I pretend to flip my hair over my shoulder, like I was a drama queen. Like Zeus really is.

She rolls her eyes at me, “Yeah that’s my problem.”

“Aw, don’t be bitter about it,” I say with a fake pout. “Not everyone can be Mutt-a-fied.”

“Do you purposely do this? For the soul purpose to annoy the hell out of me?” She demands.

“I dunno. Is it working?” I ask.

“Yes, a lot of a little bit.”

“EH! Then it is now!” I say, clapping my hands.

Caltaya takes a deep breath, possibly to calm herself, but really, it just seems to make her look more upset.

“Can you pretend to be serious? For even a minute?” she asks.

I nod childishly and narrow my eyes. Crossing my arms over my chest and slouching down a bit I give her my best serious stare.

“How’s this?” I ask in a deep voice.

“Childish,” she groans.

“Childishly serious?” I question.

“No,” she states simply.

I shrug, “It’s your own fault then. You ask the impossible and expect miracles. Real life never works like that. Nothing does.”

“Keep writing Mutt,” Caltaya says, nodding towards the paper in my hand. “Your words will keep you alive. That love you feel? That’ll kill you.”

“You’re wrong,” I say instantly. “Love’s the only thing that’s been keeping me alive. It’s all I have.”

“You think that now,” Caltaya says. “But it’s not true.”

I bite my lip, and then I clear all my thoughts, so that he can’t read them and I lean forward to whisper in her ear.

“Are there cameras?” I murmur.

She looks confused for a second before whispering, “No.”

I lean back on me heels, away from her.

“I need you to teach me how to guard my thoughts,” I say.

Her eyes widen, “I can’t. I really, really can’t do that.”

“Yes you can. You know how,” I point out.

“That’s not my point,” she snaps. “I can’t teach you how to do that.”

“I won’t guard all of them. Just some of them. I’ll leave enough for him to think that he still can read them,” I say.

“That might work, or it might kill you,” she hisses.

“I’m willing to try anything. Are you?” I ask.

“Your parents,” she says finally. “Think of the happiest memory you have of your parents.”

I shake my head, “I never met Poseidon until I was older, and I have no happy memories of him.”

“Then your mother,” she says.

“The happiest day I have with my mother is the day that she threw Quinn and I out of the house and locked the door behind us,” I say.

“Well then that’s not going to work,” she says.

“Guess not,” I say.

“The point is, you have to find a memory that gives you happiness and strength. Not like a boosted ego or anything but real strength. Strength that only comes with
being happy. Parents are usually the ones that teach children that kind of strength,” Caltaya says.

“Guess mine skipped that chapter in Parents Guide to Raising Demigods,” I say with a smile, but it came out bitter.

Caltaya smiles sadly at me, “Do you have anything?

“One thing,” I say. “It might work.”

She gives me a nod of encouragement.

I close my eyes, letting the memory wash over me. Lenzie’s laugh was the first thing that I hear when it takes hold.

𝌀

‘Well? Are you coming?’ she shouts back at me.

We were at Looker’s Point, the stupid cliff that changed everything. The one that would overlook Godville. This was before we knew we were demigods. When it was just me, Alex, Quinn, and Lenzie, the neighborhood kids.

We were about eight at the time, Alex and Quinn were already there, dangling their legs over the cliff.

‘Don’t you think we should go back?’ I call. ‘Our parents will be worried.’

‘It’s fine,’ Quinn says. ‘They won’t even notice were gone.’

It was the truth of her words that hurt me. She was right, our parents didn’t care about us.

Lenz and I hung back, staying away from the cliff. She was laying on the ground beside me.

‘Hey Lenz?’ I ask.

‘Mhmm?’ she mutters.

‘Do you think that people can be forgiven?’

‘Of course,’ she says, rolling over to stare at me.. ‘Depending on what they did, I believe that everyone deserves a second chance. Some more than others.’

‘What if I don’t know if they do deserve it?’ I ask.

‘Mutt,’ Lenz says. ‘Your father… He. I’m sure that he had a good reason for leaving. Just like my mother. Just like Alex’s father.’

‘I don’t think so,’ Alex says. ‘I think that they were all good friends. And I think that they decided to have kids, and that’s how we were born. But then, they didn’t want us. So they left so they didn’t have to have us.'

Quinn drops her chin onto her hand, staring out at the ocean.

‘Or maybe they had to leave. Maybe they were in a crash and they all got really, really hurt and they had no choice but to leave. Maybe they are watching over us right now, regretting that they can’t be here. Maybe they had no choice,’ she says, whispering the last part.

Lenz rolls back over and places her head on both of her hands, kicking her feet up into the air and then down again.

‘Maybe they decided that we’d be better off without them. Maybe they didn’t want us to ruin their life. They got married to our parents prematurely and they weren’t ready for the commitment. So they took off together. Leaving us alone, with parents that don’t care about us,’ she suggests.

‘Or maybe they just left,’ I whisper.

We did this almost everyday, came to this cliff and told our dreams, fears, hopes. Everything. And we let the wind carry our voices into the world. It almost felt like we were someone making it final by doing that.

When we were younger we used to believe that the wind was taking our voices to our parents. As we grew older we lost that hope. Instead we went to the cliff for comfort.

It was this day though, that made me feel accepted. Made me feel happy.

‘It doesn’t matter,’ Alex says, turning so that she was facing Lenz and I. ‘Who cares why they left. Who cares that our parents don’t want us. We have each other, and together we’re a family.’

𝌀

I look up at Caltaya.

“How do I know if it worked?” I ask.

“How do you feel?” she replies.

I frown, “I feel… Hopeful. Light. Free.”

“Then it worked,” she says with a nod. “Can I ask why you wanted to be taught that?”

“Because I’m going to figure out a plan to get out of here, but I need your help,” I explain.

“What makes you think that I would help you?” She demands.

“Because even though you can walk freely, this place holds you a prisoner,” I point out.

“Maybe so,’ she says, looking down at her hands. “But I deserve to be in this prison.”

“You can’t fix the past by being stuck in the future,” I say.

She closes her eyes for a brief second, before nodding, “You’re right. Running from the past won’t make it go away. It’ll just make it ruthless. So tell me, O’ Awesome Mutt, what’s the plan?”

“I haven’t gotten that far yet, I was just hoping that the block thing-y worked before I went any further with anything,” I explain.

“Well, I’d say that’s great and all, because I guess it is, but uh. Don’t you think that you should, I don’t know. COME UP WITH A PLAN?” She snaps.

“I’m getting there. “What’s this next challenge?” I ask.

“I don’t know,” she groans. “I haven’t bothered looking yet.”

“Wait. Looking? As in, you can see what my challenge is going to be?” I demand.

“Not exactly,” she says.

“What exactly then?”

“I get a piece of paper saying what he’s going to be testing on it. That’s all I get,” she says. “Here.”

She snaps her fingers and a blue box appears, she hands it to me. I open the box to see a measly scrap of paper rolled up and tied with a little red ribbon in the shape of a bow.

I slid the bow off and and unravel the paper. Inside was a simple word: FEAR.

“What does this mean?” I ask. “Is he going to test my fear? Or what?”

Caltaya flips the paper over and holds it up to be so I can read the other side. On that there was: CONQUER.

“Oh. Right. I knew that,” I say with a small grin.

“You don’t have to act tough,” Caltaya says. “Not within these walls. It’s okay to be scared while you’re here. But out there? That’s when you need to pretend that none of this bothers you.”

“I can’t do that,” I say. “If I break down out here, I’m not going to be able to put myself back together. And no potion that you mix up will fix me.”

“Nothing can fix you if you don’t want it to,” she says..

“That’s great advice,” I acknowledge. “Maybe you should try to use it yourself sometimes.”

‘My advice is to help you, not solve my own problems,” she growls.

“See, that’s your problem Cal,” I say, nudging her in the side. “You’re never going to truly be happy. Not until you solve your own problems. Stop trying to fix mine. I can do that on my own, when I’m ready for it to happen. You need to worry about yourself.”

Just as the darkness was about to claim me I hear her whisper: “But I’ve been broken for so long. I don’t remember what it’s like to be fixed. Not anymore.”

𝌀

I wake up in a room that had three pipes hanging from the ceiling. I look around, wondering exactly what this was supposed to be.

There was another bloody note on the other wall.
Face your fears or face your death.

With great effort I refrain from rolling my eyes at the words. Clearly this person was just about as dramatic as Zeus. They should start a club. Dramatic Dream? Dynamite Drama? Delusional Daydreams? Drama Donkey? Yep, that sounds about right. They could even make a website,

Dramadonkeydelusionaldaydreamingdynamitedrama.org.

It had a nice ring to it. Now all I had to do was convince Zeus. Except that would be a little hard.

Smirking to myself I let those thoughts go towards the open part of my mind for the Trial Master to view. I could almost feel his annoyance circulating through the room.

I sigh dramatically and think, Wow. Looks like some people will just never appreciate true art.

Before I could think on it anymore the pipes erupted, there was this gurgling noise, almost like water. Except the red liquid that came out of the pipes wasn’t water. It was lava.

I leap back, even though the water still hadn’t touched me. Moon’s voice breaks through my thoughts as they go back to one of the first conversations I had with her.

‘Well I mean, I know that you can breath underwater, but what if it wasn’t water? Can you drown in like, a pit of fire?’

Well uh oh, Alex says in my head. This doesn’t look good.

Look up, Lenzie says, ignoring Alex.

My eyes drift upwards, there was platforms leading up to a hatch on the ceiling. They were positioned almost like stairs.

Time fly waterboy, Bat says. I could almost hear the smirk in his voice.

Oh no, no, no. I think, backing away until my back hits the wall. No way. I’ll burn. I can’t do that. I can’t. I really, really cannot.

The first platforms just about 100 feet off the ground, Lenzie says, probably trying to reassure me. And it’s only about 5,000 meters until the opening all the way up there. You’ll be fine.

Just don’t look down, Derek adds.

Or mess up and drop, that could be fatal, Alex continues.

Are you guys supposed to be helping me? Because right now all I am is majorly freaked out and wanting to curl up and cry.

You can’t do that! Bat says. You’d die that way!

I’m going to die either way! I point out.

Just, get up there, Bat says.

You act like that’s sooo easy! Quinn says. Children of Poseidon do NOT belong in the air. Children of Hades do not belong in water and children of Zeus do not belong in the ground!

Unless they’re dead, Derek clarifies.

So you’d rather drown in fire instead of braving a little bit of sky? Lenzie demands. Never thought you were a coward.

Or stupid, Alex adds.

Or weak, Bat joins in.

Guys, I know what you’re doing, but it’s not going to work. It can’t work. Because I can’t just think like that.

Mutt, listen to me, Moon’s voice comes, the first time I’ve heard her. Ignore them. Just listen to the sound of my voice okay? I know that you can do this. There’s so much water in the air, if you use it to boost you up this won’t be a problem. You’ll be flying via water.

Water is my thing.

Yeah, water is your thing, Moon repeats. Which is why I know that you can do this. I believe in you Mutt. Believe in yourself.

Your belief is all I’ve ever needed.

With that I do what she says, using the water particles in the air to make an invisible, water powered, jet back that I casually shrug on. I look up.

Oh gods, that’s really far, I think.

Don’t look at that, Moon chides me. Don’t bother with that. Just focus on the water. Focus on me. Focus on anything but up. And then fly.

I do as she says, closing my eyes and listening to her voice.

See? It’s not so hard once you figure out how to do it. Flying… It’s as close to freedom as some of us get. And you’re doing great, Moon whispers in my head. Can you feel it? The air around you. Invading your lungs with purity. Cleansing your soul. Flying isn't that bad. Not even for a son of Poseidon. Open your eyes Mutt.

I open my eyes, and they widen slightly I realize that I was on the very last platform. The lava was rising faster now, coming out of seven pipes instead of three. I hadn’t even noticed that the few platforms I touched triggered another pipe to slide out of the ceiling.

I blink, so this wasn’t really about flying. Or facing my fear. The reason for this test was literally to test how smart I was. To see if I could figure out why more pipes were falling from the sky. And to see if I could do so before it was too late.

Eighteen total platforms. I would’ve been dead before I hit the eighth one. With that knowledge I silently thank Moon for guiding me through, and then I slip up through the hatch.

Closing it and securing it behind me I look around. I was in yet another plain room. But it looked like a cellar. The walls were stone, and there was bars over all the doors. The floor hard, cold cement.

Good job… I suppose.

𝌀

This time, I welcomed the darkness.
















© 2019 Eli_Wolf-Queen


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Added on May 3, 2019
Last Updated on May 3, 2019
Tags: romance, gods, goddesses, mystery, @AirieLeva


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Eli_Wolf-Queen
Eli_Wolf-Queen

Hastings, NE



About
I enjoy watching the sunset and the sunrise. I enjoy staying home rather than going out and partying with people I don't know. And I enjoy watching television shows that interest me. more..

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