"So, Hero, what will you choose?" He whispered menacingly.
Percy woke up drenched in sweat again, the vicious cackle still ringing in his ears. He was frightened and rattled, his mouth open in a silent scream. Still, he was glad that he had not screamed this time. The last time he did that, the whole camp had awoken and all the campers had been worried. Annabeth, his beautiful girlfriend, had refused to leave his side for 2 days, before he could persuade her to go and rest herself.
He peeled the sweaty sheets from his body and went to the bathroom to wash his face. After he had washed his face, he stood over the basin and saw his reflection in the mirror. Gone were the clear sea-green eyes with their usual spark. In their place haunted shadows had crept in. His sun-kissed skin was all but a myth now. He was slowly regaining his color as he spent more time in the sun now. His general appearance looked like a traumatized victim and he realized that it was exactly what he was- a broken soldier, who fought in not one but two wars, on the front lines of almost every godly battle of the previous few years.
But he was scared right now. The constant visits of Tartarus, in his dreams were making the hero of Olympus anxious. Tartarus was threatening him. He knew that sometimes gods made empty threats but Tartarus had already proven that he was not a god to make irrelevant promises. Few days ago, when his scorn had angered Tartarus, Blackjack, his pegasus had been ambushed by some monsters. He had escaped but had sustained some deep injuries, though nothing which couldn't be healed. When he had asked Blackjack about the attack, the pegasus told him that he was just roaming near the beach and after that all he saw was darkness. Even Chiron had not known which monsters did it but it was obvious that they could've easily killed the pegasus. But he knew. It was Tartarus, and he was mocking him- as though he wanted to frighten the hero into succumbing to his demands.
This time however Tartarus threatened to hurt a demigod if his conditions weren't fulfilled. Percy shuddered at that. The threats were steadily growing very serious. All the demigods were his friends but he felt hopeless this time. It was only a matter of time before Tartarus threatened to kill everybody he cared for. Tartarus said he wanted his revenge for Gaea's death but Percy knew there was something else going on. There was a bigger plan.
Percy shook his head and stood up. These days he went to the lake very often to clear his head. He left the cabin and headed towards the lake. He had just touched the surface of the lake when suddenly he heard a scream...