1. Due to issues with external spam filters, QQ is currently unable to send any mail to Microsoft E-mail addresses. This includes any account at live.com, hotmail.com or msn.com. Signing up to the forum with one of these addresses will result in your verification E-mail never arriving. For best results, please use a different E-mail provider for your QQ address.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. For prospective new members, a word of warning: don't use common names like Dennis, Simon, or Kenny if you decide to create an account. Spammers have used them all before you and gotten those names flagged in the anti-spam databases. Your account registration will be rejected because of it.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Since it has happened MULTIPLE times now, I want to be very clear about this. You do not get to abandon an account and create a new one. You do not get to pass an account to someone else and create a new one. If you do so anyway, you will be banned for creating sockpuppets.
    Dismiss Notice
  4. If you wish to change your username, please ask via conversation to tehelgee instead of asking via my profile. I'd like to not clutter it up with such requests.
    Dismiss Notice
  5. Due to the actions of particularly persistent spammers and trolls, we will be banning disposable email addresses from today onward.
    Dismiss Notice
  6. A note about the current Ukraine situation: Discussion of it is still prohibited as per Rule 8
    Dismiss Notice
  7. The rules regarding NSFW links have been updated. See here for details.
    Dismiss Notice

An Undertow of Sand (Percy Jackson and the Cthulhu Mythos)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Shujin, Jul 28, 2021.

Loading...
  1. Kalstorm22

    Kalstorm22 Know what you're doing yet?

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2019
    Messages:
    241
    Likes Received:
    491
    Great chapter!
     
    senkise19 and ArcanaVitae like this.
  2. Oxymoron

    Oxymoron Too lazy to do more

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2019
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    807
    Once again the only reason the even visit the sfw side of QQ has updated.

    Huzzah!!!!

    Also damn mans really gassed himself up trying to low-key finesse the lotus eaters, L moment there fr.
     
    ArcanaVitae and NounNoun like this.
  3. Aaron_04

    Aaron_04 Making the rounds.

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2022
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    79
    And percy gets in a but of a pickle, again, percy mah boi you seriously have to stop with the wonderfull ideas, they clearly don't work.
    Though I think something more happened in that reunion with the manager but we will see.
    Also, yes luke, Dorian not only bedded that eldritch god. He went crazt, got out of the mental hospital an decided he was going to put a ring in that finger, tentacje, wing, claw.... thing.
    What you just saw in the horizon was not a hallucination, ot was you gainning enough insigt to see the two neutron stars this man is packing
     
    GuestLurker, Caerwen and NounNoun like this.
  4. senkise19

    senkise19 Getting out there.

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2022
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    146
    Percy's Oedipus story was fun.
     
    ArcanaVitae likes this.
  5. Shujin

    Shujin Know what you're doing yet?

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2021
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    2,019
    I'm glad! I was worried it was going to come across as awkward cringe instead of funny!
     
  6. ArcanaVitae

    ArcanaVitae Know what you're doing yet?

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2021
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    2,392
    It was hilarious in a really messed up way, which means it was great. It was also a bit dark and messed up since it shows just how screwed up his family relationship used, and to some level still is.
     
    Silver W. King and Shujin like this.
  7. Cosmic Dream

    Cosmic Dream dreaming of utopia

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2014
    Messages:
    189
    Likes Received:
    2,709
    "She didn’t think I’d need it." So many layers and none of them good. :eek:

    I'm not usually one for the misery conga and lately it seems that we're only ever going down and things only get worse, but it's still weirdly compelling. I think that means you're doing an awesome job as a writer.
     
    Shujin, ArcanaVitae and NounNoun like this.
  8. Dafuro

    Dafuro Might just post in a thread.

    Joined:
    May 17, 2019
    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    1,668
    I've been reading this for the last 24 hours and each minute spent was entirely worth it, thank you author.
     
    NounNoun and ArcanaVitae like this.
  9. Shujin

    Shujin Know what you're doing yet?

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2021
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    2,019
    Thank you both for the kind words!
     
    NounNoun and ArcanaVitae like this.
  10. SmokeRichards

    SmokeRichards Know what you're doing yet?

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2021
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    633
    Oh. I didn't realize you were on QQ. I know you from AO3. One of the only PJO fics I have bookmarked. The other is Broken Bow. Well, lets follow this thread then.
     
    Shujin and ArcanaVitae like this.
  11. Shujin

    Shujin Know what you're doing yet?

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2021
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    2,019
    Glad you like the story!
     
    DawnsGate and ArcanaVitae like this.
  12. Threadmarks: I Give My Hotel A 0/5 Stars
    Shujin

    Shujin Know what you're doing yet?

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2021
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    2,019
    An Undertow of Sand
    A PJO Fanfiction

    Have you ever had someone tell you about a game or a movie or something and you’re just like ‘I have no idea what that is.’ Then they tell you the name of it and you still don’t know what it is. But as soon as they sit you down in front of it for five seconds, you realize you do know what it is, your brain just farted and refused to put the pieces together for no actual reason?

    Yeah?

    That was my brain with Crazy Eights.

    Pretty sure that’s happened to everyone at least once. To be honest, I was slowly becoming convinced that whoever made humans had been drunk off their ass the entire time. That someone was probably my mother.

    She was never going to admit it.

    Nico squinted at me from over his hand of cards suspiciously. “Are you sure you’ve never played before?”

    “It’s like Uno,” I admitted.

    “What’s Uno?”

    “Like this,” I said dryly. “Just with special cards. Switch is like this too, but with fewer rules and you just play until you run out of cards or get bored.” Which means it’s another game Artemis will fail at somehow, I thought with a smile. Then I had to blink, hard, through a dizzy spell. I took a sip of my soda to cover up my confused frown.

    Where had that come from?

    I got the mental image of a small, cute bunny rabbit with reddish fur.

    Oh okay, so not Apollo’s sister, just named after her. Someone’s pet? That sounded right, but also felt really wrong like I really should know whose pet the rabbit was. I went through the pets of everyone I knew. Neighbors had two small dogs, a fucking tarantula, Eva had a snake and Apollo had a cat he swore wasn’t his, but no rabbits. It also did nothing to explain why I thought a bunny would be bad at cards.

    Besides the obvious.

    I put down seven of diamonds and waited for Nico’s shadow to take its turn.

    I watched as the black tendril put down four of diamonds only for Nico to play a four of spades. Damn. I picked up cards from the deck fully aware of the hole Bianca di Angelo was boring into the side of my head with her eyes. Nico’s older sibling was just as olive skinned as he was half the time with longish black hair, brown eyes so dark, they looked black and a button nose.

    “Yeah?” I asked, a little annoyed at being stared at. “You said you didn’t want to play.”

    “Not… that,” she said slowly.

    Her dark eyes darted across the small round table we were sitting at. It was in the middle of the Lotus Hotel and Casino’s food court. Walking all around us, hungry hotel residents and eager kids were stopping for a bite to eat or a sugary drink between games. The delicious smells had me constantly a little hungry, so we parked here so Bianca could make snack runs when she finished off her drink. The latest run had been sushi for her and sticky, sugary crispy pastries filled with nuts and a sweet paste for us.

    So.

    Okay.

    I could have sworn a baklava was a ski mask?

    I was apparently wrong? I felt a bit betrayed honestly. I had to be at least a little right. Clearly, some wires had been crossed in my brain somewhere and I don’t think it's my dyslexia?

    It’s probably my fucking dyslexia.

    “You really don’t have a problem with that?” Bianca jerked her chin across the table where Nico’s shadow had taken a seat.

    You heard me.

    It was mostly a blob of darkness just…sitting in a chair like the rest of us. When I say blob, I mean it. A roundish blob of pitch black night. It compacted and gained definition the closer to the floor it was. Or maybe I should say, the closer it was to Nico? Kind of? Nico himself didn’t have a shadow of his own, really.

    He had Dark Link, from Ocarina of Time.

    A perfect silhouette branching off his feet into its own being that just pretended to be Nico’s shadow sometimes. It was holding its hand of cards in front of it with dark tendrils. It didn’t have a face or eyes, but was still doing a pretty good job of giving off the impression of a blank stare into space with peak ‘no thoughts, head empty’ energy.

    It didn’t have a head, but you get what I mean.

    “Most people here can’t even see it, and when they do…”

    “They forget,” Nico said.

    He and his sister shared a look as his shadow played a card.

    “I was…expecting you would forget too,” Nico admitted uneasily. “But you didn’t even blink.”

    “You can’t even see if I blinked,” I said snobbily, pushing my sunglasses up my nose with my pointer finger. Bianca’s lips twitched as Nico got his big smile back. “Why would I? It’s not dangerous, right?”

    “It saved us,” Nico said earnestly.

    “And only us.” There was something hard in Bianca’s voice. I caught a flicker of her eyes towards her brother, but then she relaxed so I don’t know if that meant anything. “You really are different from most people here.”

    “In a good way,” I said with a cheeky grin and raised eyebrows.

    Bianca rolled her eyes and started to get up from her seat. “Yes, in a good way, you - “

    An excited kid chose the wrong moment to run past and our table jolted when his foot caught on the chair that had just been pushed into his path.

    “Woah!”

    We all cried out as Bianca tipped and he fell over, his drink going flying and without thinking, I grabbed for it.

    I missed.

    There was a tugging sensation in my gut as the glass shattered all over the floor.

    “Woah,” the kid said, softer as I stared at my hand.

    The glass had obeyed gravity, but his lemonade didn’t. An arc of spilling pink lemonade hung in the air like it was frozen in time and the only clue was my outstretched hand and the weird feeling in my stomach.

    “How - “

    “Accidents happen!” We all jumped as one of the waitresses cut Bianca off.

    I hadn’t seen her arrive, but the loud sound the glass shattering made must have gotten her attention. She was dressed like an airplane attendant in a pale blue uniform, blonde hair pulled back neatly under the blue cap and bland smile. Her eyes were closed.

    She had a new empty glass in her hand that she extended towards me. “Good catch, prince.”

    “Um.” I said.

    “How?” Bianca demanded again.

    Nico raised his hands when I looked at him. “I didn’t do it!”

    “It was not I!” The new kid said, eyes wide and taking several panicked steps backwards.

    Okay.

    So I guess everyone just agreed that I was the one doing this.

    I raised my hand.

    I half-expected nothing to happen. There were literal VR suits and technology with working laser guns just across the lobby. Who knows what is and isn’t possible here? Maybe localized time stops were just so no one had to mop up messes and keep the floor from getting sticky. I was also hoping it really wasn’t me. I’ve always loved water, but I never thought about controlling it. Mom never - I had no idea what it meant if I could now.

    Or maybe I always could have.

    The feeling in my stomach seemed to shift and I…did something? My stomach felt like it was reverse-cramping. Instead of twisting up, it felt like it was a loosening rubber band. That weird ache you get when you hold a stretch that doesn’t actually hurt but it’s definitely not comfortable either. Whatever it was, the lemonade followed my hand and poured itself into its new cup.

    “Well done, prince,” the waitress said. For a second, I thought she was going to open her closed eyes (what’s with that anyway?), but there was just movement like snakes slithering through sand under her eyelids. “You can let go now.”

    I dropped my hand, but my stomach was still weird and I knew that I still had a hold on the lemonade.

    “Um,” I said again.

    I didn’t even know where to begin. So far my demigod powers have come in two categories: I Have No Idea How It Works or It Didn’t Fucking Work. I’ve never been able to consciously start using one of my powers, so I didn’t have even the slightest clue on how to consciously stop.

    “I see.” The waitress nodded slowly and there was a pinch to her face as she slowly, warily raised her empty hand. “May I?”

    I nodded slowly. “Sure?”

    The waitress poked my shoulder like she was investigating a bear trap. Then she let out a small sigh, relaxing, like she thought something was going to happen to her before laying her full hand on me.

    I could feel the difference immediately as the stretched pull in my gut faded.

    “There we are.” She removed her hand not quite fast enough to seem rude and handed the glass to the new kid. “Watch your step now.”

    “Nanty narking!” He breathed and then he trotted off happily like nothing had happened.

    “So,” I began. “Thanks? What about - “ I stopped talking when I turned back to the floor where the glass had broken and saw that the mess was already gone. “Never mind.”

    “We live to serve!”

    It was said cheerfully, but I got the feeling that the waitress with the bright smile actually meant it the one way you don’t want to hear anyone mean that phrase.

    “Every one of us is at your beck and call, prince.”

    There was a flicker of something in the back of my mind that echoed ‘We have no intention of crossing your father’ as she beamed and threw her arms out wide. “Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have any concerns. We give only the best of service at the Lotus Hotel and Casino!”

    “I’ll keep that in mind,” I promised, a little uneasy.

    With a final smile, the waitress walked back to her food booth that was decorated with a flag that…might have been Germany? Or Belgium? I don’t know. The red, yellow and black flags are a lot of European countries copying each other’s homework and I had the honor of being taught by the American education system. The hungry customers loitering around seamlessly shifted into a new line in front of her like they were just waiting for her to get back without actually waiting.

    Not gonna lie. It was kind of creepy.

    I sat down again and picked up my hand of cards. I also registered the very awkward silence that was going on.

    I decided to keep my mouth shut.

    There was no good way to say ‘I don’t know what the hell is going on’ so I wasn’t even going to try.

    “So…” Nico started. His face was scrunched up. I mentally bumped my age estimate down a year or two from ten to more like an eight and a half. Kid was smaller than me, so that was saying something and had lots of baby fat on his cheeks. “You can control lemonade?”

    “Water, I think.” I tried to smile, but it probably looked more like a grimace of ‘please don’t ask.’

    “You control water,” Bianca said flatly because I never get what I want.

    I shrugged one shoulder and tried, “Your brother has a sentient shadow?”

    Nico glanced at said shadow.

    It didn’t even twitch. Just sitting there holding its cards mutely as it stared into space.

    So maybe ‘sentient’ was a bit too generous.

    “I mean,” he said eventually as he played a card. “He’s right?”

    “We don’t even know how you do that,” Bianca snapped. Her eyes narrowed at me. “But I have a feeling he knows how he did that.”

    “I…really don’t know,” I said, completely honest. “How. I did.”

    She crossed her arms, unconvinced. “The why then.”

    “Um.” I thought about how I was going to find the words to explain this for a couple of seconds while I picked out a card from my hand. Then I thought: Fuck it. “My mother is a river goddess. Technically.”

    Bianca’s dark eyebrows flew up as Nico’s eyes widened.

    It was the obvious answer, but it felt like putting on a sock that was a little too small. I knew somewhere in my head that it was perfectly reasonable to suspect that I actually did inherit something from The Morrigan instead of Ananke.

    I just couldn’t remember why or when I figured that out.

    “Technically,” Bianca said faintly, arms dropping slightly.

    “I’m a demigod.” I shrugged. “It’s complicated.” Boy was it ever. “But there are like, three surviving rivers in Ireland that Mom made way back in the day. I never really tried checking if I had water powers before but I’m - I’m not that surprised, you know?”

    Bianca looked like she very much did not know.

    “Look, Nico’s probably a demi-something too? Some kind of spook gave him that shadow.” We all watched said shadow play its turn silently. “He’s not adopted, right?”

    “No!” Nico’s cheeks puffed, offended. “Same mom,” he said at the same time Bianca said,

    “Same dad.”

    They looked at each other.

    “Same father,” Bianca stressed with the same ‘don’t argue with me’ look Apollo got when I was being an annoying little shit on her face. “Different mother.” That hard note in her voice was back for a second. “We’re half-siblings.”

    Nico chewed on his lip, but stayed quiet as he drew cards.

    “Okay,” I said before it got uncomfortable. “Nico’s mom is not human, like mine so…”

    “I’m half-Martian?” Nico wondered.

    “What?” I said intelligently as my brain struggled with the whiplash. Where the fuck did he get half-Martian from? Was there something I missed?

    “You said she wasn’t human, so she’s an alien and aliens are from Mars,” he reasoned out loud with the bizarre and slightly concerning little kid logic we all know and love.

    Glad I grew out of that!

    “Not human doesn’t automatically mean alien,” I tried to explain. “She could be - uh.” My ADHD dove down the rabbit hole of exactly how many gods, Elder, Old and Young were technically ‘aliens’ from outer space. I mentally flailed around before blurting out, “She could be a spirit!”

    Nico gasped. “I’m half-ghost?”

    “You - I don’t think you’re a halfa, but that’s not what - “

    Bianca stared blankly like she couldn’t believe this conversation was happening. “Dead people can’t have kids.”

    The train of my thought patterns blew its fucking whistle as it mutli-track drifted from Danny Phantom to explaining what a spirit was to answering the dead person kid question.

    “Well, I mean - “

    “Dead people can have kids,” she whispered in horror.

    “No!” Crap. “Kind of,” I corrected myself. “They’re only mostly dead or like after they died, but they came back because a god said so so they aren’t dead anymore.”

    “She’s an angel!?” Nico yelled.

    I hate that I completely understood how he got there from what I said.

    “Let’s go with aliens.”

    “So Martian,” Nico said, disappointed.

    This fucking kid.

    “I - look, what do you think this is, Biker Mice from Mars?”

    “There are biker mice on Mars!?”

    I should not have said anything.

    “Wha - no.”

    “You just said - “

    “...not all aliens are from Mars,” I said desperately. Nico squinted at me. “Some are from Jupiter,” I lied through my teeth and his black eyes got round. “Some just stopped by for a visit from the next star over and some just stayed on Earth because they…got work permits to build the pyramids and stuff.”

    I can’t.

    Work permits.

    Part of me wanted to ask Mom for her green card just to see the look on her face, but most of me just wanted this stupid to stop.

    “My mom made some rivers so I have water powers, your mom worked on something…uh.”

    “Dark,” Nico said helpfully, waving at his shadow.

    “Right.”

    “And scary.”

    I blew out a breath. “Sure.”

    “...your mother made rivers in Ireland?” Bianca asked the question like it was a drowning man grabbing onto a brick in verbal form. Or someone digging through mud and shit for the tiniest glimmer of sanity.

    I sighed. “Yup.”

    She pinched the bridge of her nose. “...why?”

    “...it’s what she does?” I offered tiredly.

    Thanks to Mom’s complete lack of a mouth filter, I knew the story behind at least one of those rivers was nowhere close to PG-13. Nico and Bianca di Angelo really didn’t need to know about The Dagda’s love life. I didn’t need to know, but for some god forsaken reason, Mom had no issue with telling a nine year old all about it. Don’t ask me why I asked. I don’t know why I asked.

    I immediately regretted asking.

    “Irish river goddess makes Irish rivers…”

    There was another awkward silence as they stared at me.

    I was just on a roll today.

    “Are you serious?” Bianca finally broke, incredulous. I gave her an incredulous look right back. What did she think I was trying to say? “A goddess?”

    Nico eyed me from behind his cards. “You’re Irish?”

    “I - what.” I say my mother is a goddess and it’s the Irish part that gets him? I raised both eyebrows. “Is there a problem with that?”

    I could strangle this kid, I swear to God.

    I don’t care if he’s basically six years old.

    If there was a problem with me being Irish, then there was a problem with Mom being Irish and if anyone had a problem with Mom then I had a problem with them.

    It wasn’t rocket science.

    Bianca winced. “Nico…we talked about this.” She blindly reached out to pat her little brother on the head while keeping her eyes on me. “Forget everything Mrs. Lancashire told you.”

    “But - “

    “No buts. She was English,” she said. “And English people don’t like anything.”

    “Well, that’s straight up not true,” I said. “They like tea and… the Queen. Sometimes.”

    Bianca conceded the point with a tilt of her head.

    “That’s it though. They hate everything else,” I said, mostly joking.

    Mostly.

    Maybe it’s because I’m American, but to me, it looked like British humor is all about all the things they don’t like (which is everything, including themselves) and why they don’t like it. You’ve got a dead end trading company that barely makes rent and based in an old yellow supervan, your brother is an idiot and your best friend is enough of a moron chasing get rich quick schemes that it’s honestly surprising he’s still alive?

    That’s not depressing.

    That’s British comedy gold.

    “Like a-the-ists,” Nico singsonged and Bianca’s face twisted in pain. “And Catholics and loose women and ho-mo-sex - “

    His sister covered his mouth with her hand. “Yes. That.” She waved her other hand at me. “Besides, does he look drunk to you?”

    What.

    “Mrs. Lancashire sounds like a fucking asshole,” I said bluntly.

    Bianca choked as Nico’s monochrome eyes lit up white in glee and I rolled my eyes.

    Right. Profanity.

    Gotta watch out for those young virgin ears. The reminder just increased the respect I had for -

    For…?

    Weird.

    “She was…” If Bianca di Angelo was looking for an excuse, she didn’t find it as she slumped a little. “Better than her husband,” she said weakly. So that sounds terrible. She let out a shriek. “You’re disgusting,” she said, wiping her hand on her pants as Nico stuck his tongue out at her. Rolling her eyes, she turned back to me. “You know, because of the mob. And then when the war started and Italy…”

    “Oh.”

    It didn’t make it right, but I vaguely remembered that happening a lot on the TV and in my school about people from the Middle East after the Twin Towers -

    Hold up.

    “What does Italy have to do with the war?”

    Nico and Bianca stared at me.

    I stared back.

    “You don’t know about the war?” Nico blurted out.

    “Well,” Bianca cut in. “It’s over now, right? And I don’t think Mussolini did a lot?”

    Mussolini?

    I frowned as a sudden feeling of wrong curled in my chest. “Lancashire is an old bat, right?”

    Ancient,” Nico said solemnly.

    Bianca swatted at him.

    “Oh okay,” I said as the feeling faded. “My grandparents have a neighbor like that, super butthurt Germany lost.”

    I didn’t understand why hearing that flooded Bianca’s face with alarm. “Tell me they turned him in or at least told someone about a sympathizer?”

    A little harsh. I couldn’t blame her though.

    “They called the police on him once?” I reassured her. “Noise complaint. He’s not anyone important, just a really old jerk.”

    “Oh,” she said. “That’s good then.”

    “That he’s a jerk?” I asked, bewildered.

    “What?” Bianca startled. “No, that your folks called the authorities anyway, even if the war’s over, you never know what someone like him could do.”

    “It was a noise complaint.”

    “Funny, isn’t it?” She cracked a smile. “Sometimes that's how you get them. Like how Al Capone was convicted for tax evasion.”

    I was so fucking confused.

    “Our father’s from Greece,” Nico said suddenly, filling me with dread. Bianca and I looked at him and his face was scrunched up like he was about to cry. “If my mom’s from Jupiter, does that mean I’m not an American?”

    His shadow stared.

    I put down my cards.

    “So who wants to go bungee jumping!?”






    There was nothing like throwing yourself off a sixty foot drop at the end of a rope for your anxiety. You’d either forget your worries for a while or if you really can’t forget, try it without the rope!

    Sorry.

    Celtic humor.

    I must have bungee-jumped the lobby four or five times, dragged Bianca into playing virtual-reality laser tag and FBI sharpshooter with Nico and I, climbed the rock-climbing wall, taught Nico how to snowboard on the artificial ski slope because they already knew how to ski and just generally goofed around. It really reminded me of some of the vacations I went on with Mom and Dad. It was a bit of Six Flags, a bit of Disney World in Florida, a bit of the YMCA, a bit of the Boy Scouts and a little of the vacations abroad for Dad’s job or when we went to see my great-grandmother one time in Athens, Greece.

    Which meant sooner or later, I was going to gravitate to the pools and the waterslide.

    “Let me get changed,” I said, tugging on my jacket and looking down at my sneakers. The light beach wear Nico and Bianca wore was fine for taking a swim, but I knew from experience that wet jeans chafed like hell. “I’ll be quick, go on without me.”

    “I’ll get towels!” Nico exclaimed before he rushed off, his shadow right beside him.

    Bianca lingered. “If there is anything else you want to do instead…”

    “I love water,” I said honestly. “Really, don’t wait up. You might be okay letting a four year old walk around on his own - “

    “He’s almost ten,” Bianca said with a wry smile.

    I ignored her. “But I for one am not okay with unsupervised toddlers.”

    Her smile faded. “Unsupervised.” It almost sounded bitter, but it was gone from her voice when she spoke again. “You’re right, who knows what trouble he could get into?” She gave me a half-smile and a nod. “See you by the waterslide.”

    “Yeah,” I said, trying not to frown.

    I won’t claim to be the most observant guy on the planet, but I was starting to get the feeling that Nico’s sister really needed a break. The first month of Mom’s absence had been rough. Dad didn’t want to give up on me, but that didn’t keep him from thinking that maybe he should.

    That kind of thing comes out sometimes no matter how hard you try.

    Maybe at knife point is when I finally started taking him seriously as my father. As someone Mom chose for a reason. Because he was capable of scaring me that badly.

    I’m not sure what it said that he scared himself more.

    Bianca wasn’t anywhere near as bad as Dad was when he was working through therapy and single parenting, but I knew the Hot - Cold dynamic towards her little brother meant there was a problem.

    Nico’s birth mother was a Ghost-Angel-Kryptonian from Jupiter, so she wasn’t around, but it sounded like they were growing up with mortal parents. Maybe it wasn’t any of my business, but I liked them and wanted to help. I wasn’t going to shake my friends down for where their folks were, but maybe if I stuck around long enough until dinner, I could get some answers. I could figure out where to go from there.

    I approached one of the bellhops on the main floor. “Hey, question.”

    He grinned at me with a smile big enough to turn his eyes into a bunch of wrinkles. He was wearing a bright yellow tank top with a necklace of lotus flowers and fire engine red shorts. “What’s up, prince?”

    “I checked in, but I completely forgot what my room number is,” I told him, a little embarrassed. “Should I go back to ask at the front desk?”

    “No need!” He laughed. “There’s only a limited number of royal suites at this location and I - “ He dug into the pocket of his red shirt and held up a black key card triumphantly. “Have got a master key. Come on, I’ll show you up.”

    I followed him towards a group of elevators. I heard the soft ‘ding’ as one of them opened and a beach goer wheeled out a cart full of bedsheets and towels. I thought we were going to take the vacant carriage but as we got closer, my stomach made a funny swooping feeling.

    “We’ll take the stairs,” the bellhop said, smoothly changing his stride.

    “So, how do you all see with your eyes closed?” I asked as we climbed the empty stairwell.

    He almost missed a step. “Huh,” he said, tilting his head up. “It’s been a while since anyone was aware enough to ask.”

    “That was rude, sorry,” I apologized.

    He shook his head. “I was just surprised!” He held the door on the next floor open for me. “The short answer is that you really don’t need eyes to see, right?” He said it like that was a reasonable conclusion to make. “And if you don’t need them to see, well, no use letting all that space go to waste.”

    “Makes sense,” I said, suddenly no longer curious about their closed eyelids. “Can’t say I see the appeal.” He chuckled at the pun. “I like my eyes.”

    “Your eyes are great!” He reassured me, completely genuine even though his were closed and I was still wearing my sunglasses that no one could see through. “It’s not a popular school of thought on this side of the cosmos, that’s for sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still valid!”

    “If it works, then it works.” I could understand that.

    “Exactly!” He led me to a door and with a swipe of the keycard introduced me to the ‘royal’ suite. With a name like that I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I still was shocked to see that it was a full penthouse suite. “Here we are, prince.”

    “This is too much,” I protested.

    “Not at all!” The bellhop grinned at me. “Trust me, we are nothing but honored by your patronage.”

    “Thanks,” I said helplessly.

    The bellhop’s eyebrows knit together in a puzzled look.

    “For what? You deserve this, prince. And it’s all paid for.” He waved towards the full length coffee table in front of the clustered group of love seats, half-sofas and recliners in front of the big screen television. “There’s your keycard.” I blinked and he was right. “If you need anything, like extra bubbles for the hot tub, room service or whatever, call the front desk. We’ll send it right up.”

    I took in a big breath and stepped into the room. In my dirty sneakers and worn jeans, I felt like a hobo being mistaken for royalty.

    I knew what five star hotel rooms looked like. It wasn’t as if my family was hurting for cash. We liked having nice things, but that didn’t mean we had to go overboard. I assumed ‘royal’ were just King or Queen sized rooms with beds, couches and amenities, but instead I was faced with a full three bedroom suite with a balcony view over the Las Vegas Strip. The hot tub on the balcony reminded me a little of the penthouse I called home with our pool, but I definitely wasn’t the kind of person who took baths out in the open. I expected the stocked bar, high quality towels and linens, not so much the skeet-shooting machine by the balcony sliding glass doors and shotgun for blasting clay pigeons out of the Nevada sky.

    That’s a little excessive.

    And probably illegal.

    I picked out one of the bedrooms and shuffled out of my jacket. After I folded it up, I reached for my backpack. It was the canvas under my fingertips that made the wrong feeling come back. If I was staying at a high class hotel like this, why was all my stuff in the Bag of Holding?

    That was for tests.

    And how many times did I just want to sleep in a real bed without anything trying to kill me during a test, I thought.

    I could easily afford one night, even in a place like this. What was it, three, four thousand dollars? Maybe I was wasting time staying here, but Mom hasn’t given me a hard time limit since that time when I was seven.

    If one day was going to screw everything up, that was on her, not me.

    …what was even the test, though?

    I stared at my backpack, feeling unbalanced.

    I wanted to say that if I couldn’t remember it, then it must not be important. I couldn’t say that though, because I was getting the feeling that it was really important. I tried to think back to how I got here.

    By bus?

    …one of my cousins gave me a ticket, I remembered. I was supposed to be here.

    I changed out of my clothes, threw my dirty jeans, socks and tunic into the laundry basket and found some swimming trunks and a plain white T-shirt in the closet that was just my size. There were new sneakers too. I thought about it for a moment, then threw my old ones into the trash and fished out new socks from my bag. I wasn’t going to jump into the pool with socks on, but after I dried off, I’d want some footwear.

    I hung the key to my room around my neck and left my backpack on my bed. I took the stairs back down, feeling a little claustrophobic at the thought of the elevator. I was hurrying a little, so I ended up bumping into someone headed for the elevators.

    “Sorry.” I spun around the blond guy to keep my balance. “My bad, wasn’t looking.”

    “It’s fine,” he said, cradling a small sleepy rabbit against his chest. He looked me over with an eye color I haven’t seen on a human before. They were blue, but it was like he had fog or clouds in his irises. He frowned. “Do I know you?”

    “Nope,” I said. I grinned. “I just have that kind of face.”

    He huffed, rolling his eyes and turned away. “Whatever, Perce.”

    I spun back around, but he was already getting into an elevator. Did he just - I shook my head. I wasn’t even sure why I turned around. It wasn’t even a matter of mishearing, because that wasn’t my name.

    I always introduce myself as Percy.

    I found Bianca and Nico by the biggest pool, the same one that the huge water slide winding around the main elevator emptied into.

    “Go, Nico,” Bianca pushed him lightly, exasperated. “You don’t have to stop because I’m taking a break.”

    He took a couple steps towards the line in front of the ladder, then looked back. There was no trace of her irritation when she nodded, waved and made a show of collapsing into one of the many pool chairs around.

    “So what’s that about?” I asked as he dashed off.

    “What’s what about?” Bianca raised an eyebrow.

    “That.” I crossed my arms. “I can watch him if he’s what you need a break from.” She froze in her seat and then her bottom lip started to wobble. I swore under my breath. “Look, I really don’t mind helping if you don’t want - “

    “I do want him around!” She sat up in her pool chair, aghast. “He’s my little brother.”

    “But?” I prompted.

    She didn’t answer. We both watched Nico reach the front of the line by the water slide ladder and start climbing. I saw him glance over his shoulder. When he saw we were both watching, a megawatt grin lit his face and he climbed faster.

    “Where’s your parents?”

    She shot me a look. “Where’s yours?”

    “Upper West Side Manhattan,” I said easily. “Though I just came from visiting a cousin in - “ My brain hiccuped. “Los Angeles,” I finished slowly.

    Bianca blinked. “Oh. We’re…moving from Washington D.C to L.A too. House isn’t ready yet, but.” Her face darkened. “Soon.”

    I opened my mouth, then I closed it. I wasn’t sure what to say.

    She sighed. “I’m not perfect, but I’m keeping it where he won’t notice.”

    “Uh huh.”

    She slumped in her chair. “Alright, so obviously I’m not doing as great as I thought I was.”

    “You’re, what? Thirteen?”

    “Twelve,” she said.

    “Same.” I shrugged. “You’re a kid. Even parents need a minute to themselves someti - “

    “That’s not it,” she said quietly. “She said I have to look after him.” She? “I’m his older sister and father is busy and that’s fine.” It didn’t sound fine. “Half the time I just want to wrap him up in a blanket and never let him go, but then the other half I just can’t help wishing…”

    “Take ten,” I said gently. “We’ll be here for a while.”

    “His shadow saved us,” she said instead. ‘And only us,’ I remembered her saying earlier and suddenly, I had a really bad feeling about how their dad was the one that was busy. “We were in a hotel and there was an explosion.” Her eyes were glued to her brother on the ladder. “It saved us, but only because I was close to him. Me living? That was an accident.”

    “You can’t know - “

    “I know that, because he - his shadow didn’t save my mother,” Bianca cut me off. “She was in the next room. I saw her through the door.”

    Yikes.

    “Then the building collapsed.” She dragged her eyes away from Nico and back to me. “I don’t know how long we were trapped there in the dark, maybe a minute?” She pursed her lips, like not knowing how long she was under the rubble was her fault.

    My stomach sank as I thought of a possible reason why. Her mother had been close enough to see.

    Maybe she didn’t die right away.

    “The whole thing was unstable,” Bianca said dully, almost clinically. “Whatever blew up was on our floor, so the top was coming down. If our father hadn’t gotten us - me out, if he hadn’t come as fast as he did…”

    “He can’t control it,” I pointed out as gently as I could.

    “I know.” She looked down at her hands where she had them clenched in her lap. “I know,” she repeated. “And if he's really like you? I don’t want him to be able to control it,” Bianca confessed. I could almost see the infection drain from the abscess as her shoulders slumped and she laid back on the chair. “I owe him my life and I don’t want him to be able to control what let him save me.”

    She didn’t have to say it, but I knew why she didn’t want Nico to learn about his powers. Because if he could control it, then instead of her life being an accident, she’d be wondering about the what ifs. If someone had been around to teach him earlier, like whoever he inherited the ability from. If she had known he could do that from the beginning. If he had just figured it out sooner.

    What if her mom didn’t have to die?

    “I’ll get over it,” she insisted. “It was…a long time ago, I think. A few years. I’m getting over it, I’m just a little stressed, moving across the country and all.”

    “I get that,” I said. “Still, offer stands. I can watch a two year old, no problem.”

    “Thanks,” she said with a weak smile. “I needed - I needed to get that off my chest.”

    Nico shrieked happily as he came down the twisting slide.

    “I love him. He’s my little brother,” Bianca said. “But he has a mother.”

    Basically, emotions suck is what I was getting out of this.

    I plastered a big smile on my face as Nico splashed out of the pool. “My turn,” I said. “Coming with?”

    “Yeah!” Nico beamed.

    “So, do you remember anything about your mom?” I tried to ask as casually as I could while we waited in line.

    Nico blinked up at me. “No?”

    “Nothing?” I felt stupid as soon as I asked. If he did, he wouldn’t have been confused on which parent he shared with his sister earlier.

    Nico shrugged.

    I bit my lip as the line moved forwards. I started to have some loud second guesses when I realized the ladder to the top of the water slide was even taller than the bungee-jumping bridge. Wasn’t there safety concerns about slides literally a hundred feet long? “I’m in room 4001,” I said. “If I die, you can have my stuff.”

    “No one’s gonna die.” I could tell from the tone of his voice that Nico was rolling his eyes at me.

    “You can’t know that.”

    “Yes, I can.”

    “Can not.”

    “Can too!”

    He was giggling by the time we got up to the top and I felt a bit better. I let him go first and heard him whoop with joy all the way down. A hotel lifeguard with a whistle around her neck and dark hair bound up under her baseball cap flashed me a thumbs up. I got in the tube and pushed off.

    I laughed all the way down. Spinning and spinning and spinning around the spiral with the water splashing up around and under me in the dark tunnel where every sound echoed.

    It was the longest water slide I’d ever gone on, but it still ended too soon. The tunnel abruptly ended in favor of an open slide the last twenty feet and then I was catapulted into the pool.

    …!

    I launched myself out of the water, feeling like I was about to explode. My heart was beating in my ears and I felt like I was about to throw up all over the pool chairs as my head throbbed. I was vaguely aware that there were people around, but I squeezed my eyes shut. There was a painful lump in my throat as I tried to breathe. I hunched over, clutching at my stomach and it felt like my bellybutton was moving around under my hands. Was I -

    I’m having a panic attack, I thought dimly.

    “Percy - “

    “Don’t touch him!”

    I didn’t look up as someone scrambled away from me and my skin crawled. There was - a monster in the pool? That wasn’t right. There had been a monster in the pool. It - I -

    ‘You need only to turn off the spigot,’ rang out in the back of my mind.

    “What’s wrong with him? Is he going to be okay?”

    “My prince, you need to calm down. Please breathe.”

    I was trying.

    “What year is it?” I gasped out. I needed to know.

    “2005,” The voice from earlier said very quietly. “You have not been here long, prince. Please, do not be concerned.”

    I was supposed to be here, because -

    ‘Go in, get them, get out.’ A black haired woman with no eyes said with a quirked smile in my memory. ‘Simple.’

    I forgot.

    Before I could think better of it, I threw myself back into the water and let myself sink even though my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest in fear. I could feel it. I remembered the weight pulling me down. I looked up and I remembered the hundreds of thin tendrils covered in toothy suckers creeping over the edge of the pool towards me.

    I looked down and remembered the jaws prying my stomach open -

    I climbed out of the pool.

    Water clung to me like armor. My wet T-shirt made it obvious that my bellybutton was gaping, a sunken hole the size of a watermelon. There was a small crowd nearby. I could see Bianca and Nico staring with wide eyes. The lifeguard from the top of the slide was there too, a hand on her whistle and tense like she wanted to run.

    “Hi,” I said. “I need to speak to the manager? I’ve got an overcharge complaint.”

    “Overcharge?” She asked faintly.

    “Overcharge,” I confirmed.

    The toll was time.

    Not my fucking memories.

    She flinched when I walked towards her.

    “Don’t worry, I don’t bite.”

    I smiled my wide, toothy grin.

    “Much.”
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2023
  13. Mandoanon

    Mandoanon Know what you're doing yet?

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2022
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    1,579
    Good thing he decided to eat the leviathan thing in the dream lands. That's where his water powers are coming from right? Plus the divinity boost should be enough to really make this complaint heard.
     
  14. Dafuro

    Dafuro Might just post in a thread.

    Joined:
    May 17, 2019
    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    1,668
    Young eldritch godling runs through mind fuck hotel, management have the worst customer service moment of their lives. More news at 11!
     
  15. ArcanaVitae

    ArcanaVitae Know what you're doing yet?

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2021
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    2,392
    Yeah Percy is in so much denial that it's both sad and a little hilarious.

    Nico and Percy seem to just get each other which makes sense given that they are both torn between Eldritch nature and human nature. Percy seems to be a bit better at acting human compared to Nico though. It is still pretty obvious they are both pretty much baby Eldritch Abominations though.
     
  16. Oxymoron

    Oxymoron Too lazy to do more

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2019
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    807
    Ahh good food
     
    ArcanaVitae likes this.
  17. Kalstorm22

    Kalstorm22 Know what you're doing yet?

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2019
    Messages:
    241
    Likes Received:
    491
    Awesome chapter!
     
    ArcanaVitae and NounNoun like this.
  18. Blackgutter

    Blackgutter Versed in the lewd.

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2015
    Messages:
    1,104
    Likes Received:
    2,815
    WTF happened with his belly button? Some sort of vore thing?
     
    NounNoun and ArcanaVitae like this.
  19. ArcanaVitae

    ArcanaVitae Know what you're doing yet?

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2021
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    2,392
    It's his Hunger thing that he got from his grandpa.
     
    NounNoun likes this.
  20. Newborn_Cretin

    Newborn_Cretin Is made of meat.

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2016
    Messages:
    527
    Likes Received:
    7,215
    Shujin wow, woooow.

    Okay so this is probably the best and most elegantly melded crossover I have seen in a very very long time. You've obviously taken great care in writing this up picking the best fits for how the universes should fit together and overlap.

    I will be honest I am a humanity fuck yeah dude cause I believe in my bones that we as a species are going to make it. So I will openly admit to being biased against Gods in any setting were they don't get their shit kicked in by humanity eventually. I am biased enough that Active gods in settings usually make me roll my eyes and skip through a story to see if it deals with them in a manner I prefer and drop it if it does not. I am basically racist against Gods.

    But this story you've crafted and I've had the absolute pleasure to binge for the past 2 days completely made me ignore my great distaste for the PJ setting.

    I love the growth you've had the 3 questors obtain through the journey. Percy learning his mother is fallible and experience the whole my parents are not what I think they are, Luke learning not everything is at seems with his whole situation and Artemis learning humility and self reflection through Greek irony.

    My only complaint that's got better as the story progressed was how heavy exposition is at times but it's a consequence of having to explain things why the way they are but you inject it masterfully by having Percy teach us the things his mother taught him and having it run as his thoughts or him teaching others. It makes perfect sense with the Storys internal logic.

    I will be saving this to my favorites list.
    Again this is such an amazingly well written story. Keep up the fantastic work.
     
    LordGoliath512 and ArcanaVitae like this.
  21. Shujin

    Shujin Know what you're doing yet?

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2021
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    2,019
    Wow thank you for the kind words! A lot of research went into and is still going into this work. I'm glad it paid off! And yeah, I really couldn't see a good way to avoid the starting info dumps and did the best I could with that :/ Percy's ADHD has really been coming in clutch in handing out information lol. Thank you so much for giving my story a try even though it's not what you usually enjoy :D
     
  22. ArcanaVitae

    ArcanaVitae Know what you're doing yet?

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2021
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    2,392
    Once again I love the character development and growth Percy's gone through.

    He's more comfortable with himself and both of his eldritch and human morals and thought processes. He's also starting to acknowledge that his childhood was kind of a mess. His mom has been hiding a lot from him and as designs for him. Then him thinking about the whole Hot-Cold dynamics he and his father had.


    "Maybe at knife point is when I finally started taking him seriously as my father. As someone Mom chose for a reason. Because he was capable of scaring me that badly."

    This is the line I think describes his childhood problems the best, messed up as it is. Percy has come a long way from the Son of Fate who tired to be just like his mother and over the course of the quest has grown a lot.
     
    KenNM and NounNoun like this.
  23. Cosmic Dream

    Cosmic Dream dreaming of utopia

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2014
    Messages:
    189
    Likes Received:
    2,709
    Oh yeah, time to bring down the house.
     
    ArcanaVitae and NounNoun like this.
  24. NounNoun

    NounNoun Gather, Purify, Condense, Repeat

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2022
    Messages:
    1,924
    Likes Received:
    17,997
    and kill everyone inside. except for your buddies. maybe
     
    ArcanaVitae likes this.
Loading...