When Percy aroused from his sleep, he was not yet accustomed to the darkness of the place, but he began to consider whether it had been such a good idea to wake up after all. He blinked his eyes a few times getting used to the pitch dark around him, putting the search for Annabeth immediately following, though he did not know where to start. By the way the two had fallen to Tartarus, she should not be too far away. He put his hand in his pocket and uncapped Riptide, the Bronze Celestial producing a slight brightness that at the moment was very welcome, and enough to see the daughter of Athena not far from him. He approached her in a hurry, not knowing how she didn’t have a bone out of place with the fall.
Annabeth didn’t seem to be much more hurt than she already was when he found her in the lair of Arachne. Carefully Percy left the sword aside and grabbed Annabeth, trying to make her drink a little canteen of nectar. Her face contorted and she awoke, coughing a bit of nectar.
– Percy, are you okay?
– It’s I who should I ask you this. How is your ankle?
– The same. – His voice betrayed a little pain
– We need to redo this splint.
She sighed, enduring the pain as best as she could while Percy remade the dressing, applying a little nectar on the ankle swelling. The pain improved seconds later and the daughter of Athena started to feel the injury fade. If she spent more time without walking, just taking care of the injured ankle, it would certainly be as good as new in a few hours, but they did not have that time. They needed to cross the Tartarus immediately and find Nico and his other friends at the exit of the Doors of Death on Mount Epirus.
They had a vague notion of the direction they had to make, so they ate a little of what Percy still with him and then started to walk, Annabeth with an arm around Percy, still limping as she walked.
– Hey, Seaweed Brain …
– Thank you for not letting me go at that time…
– Are you kidding? And miss this wonderful chance to tour the most beautiful place of antiquity with my girlfriend?!
Only Percy to be able to joke in that situation.
Walking through Tartarus was strange. If they had found the underworld a strange place, Tartarus was even more timeless and gloomy. They had no idea for how long they were walking, or exactly where they were going, but were puzzled by the fact that they haven’t found any monster so far since that was where their souls should be gathered and imprisoned. That could only mean that the power of Gaia was even stronger than before, and probably things would not be easy in the output of the Gates of Death, in the land. They concluded that they should follow the traces of the prisoners of Tartarus; surely would be a queue of them in the exit, waiting their turn to return to the mortal world again.
Neither of them noticed the whispers coming from the shadows of the place, but as they walked and were more tired, you could hear whining voices, cries of despair and suffering. Percy couldn’t understand what they said, or even if they wanted to say something, but Annabeth did not seem to face it in the same way. When the son of Poseidon noticed, he realized that the girl was pale and breathless, ready to collapse on the floor, looking bewildered.
– Percy, I can hear what he is saying …
– He? He who Annabeth?
– Him… – The girl made a gesture with his hand, referring to all around them.
– Do not listen to what he says. Soon we’ll be out of here.
– It is… I know, I know. I just… Percy I need to rest. My ankle is killing me.
– Right. Alright.
With the dim lighting from Riptide, they improvised a small camp, but failed to light a fire because of the constant wind. Percy sat next to Annabeth and wrapped his arm on her, letting the girl fall asleep. He kept his eyes open for anything that might seem suspicious, although there was nothing to worry about besides the darkness itself. He wondered what Nico had seen that was so terrible in that place, and how the boy had managed to go through all the Tartarus alone. As he thought he heard a voice calling his name, but soon thought he was hearing things too. Quietened down next to Annabeth, he returned to his watchdog function, barely noticing in that moment that someone really wanted to talk to him.
Later, Percy would realize how that would make a difference in his journey. At that moment, he was concerned about how to proceed when Annabeth awoke.