~Bleach/PJO A7 Ch11~
Artemis wasn't sure what course of action she should take next. She hadn't exactly thought about it while she was getting tortured and raped.
Her hand, wrapped around a glass cup, trembled, cracking the glass at the thought of her lost maidenhood. That vile bastard Atlas had done this to her, as some petty form of revenge against her for defeating him several years earlier and trapping him back under the sky. She had not trusted men before 'The Incident' as she mentally referred to it within her mind, but now she could hardly stand being in their presence. She even shied away from her younger brother if she had the chance. Thankfully, he was too busy asking Ichigo about his home universe.
Thankfully, she had retained enough power during her imprisonment to avoid pregnancy. She did, however, fear for her half-sister, Athena, and her Aunt, Hestia, who Atlas had explicitly threatened to do the same, vile act had she not complied.
Even now, after dozens of showers later, she still felt dirty. Unclean. Just the thought of Atlas putting his rough hands on her, pawing at her breasts, and pressing his manhood against her womanhood, made her feel weak. But also furious.
If Atlas believed that in the many thousand years she had been alive, that his one single act would break her, he was dead wrong. She would get her revenge upon the Titan. And she would have a smile on her face as she castrated him slowly.
Her thoughts turned away from her defilement, thankfully, to the man Apollo continually pestered. Ichigo Kurosaki was an enigma. The first and most obvious was his vivid orange hair. Was it natural where he came from? Or was his hair color just as strange there as it was here? Another thing was that he was from another universe and yet strangely, he had actually helped she and Apollo escape. Why did he do that? He owed them nothing. And yet, simply because Zoe had asked him to, he had rescued her and her brother when he had asked her if there were any more prisoners in the dungeon.
Well, that wasn't entirely true. She did have an inkling as to why he had rescued her. Artemis's theory was that he had done so to gain their favor. Well, at the very least, Zoe's favor. After all, Zoe was the person most likely to know where the Titans kept their prisoners, being the daughter of a Titan herself. Likely, Ichigo had rescued her so that Zoe would tell him where he could find Athena.
But, it was evident that Ichigo did not know her half-sister at all. Athena had no reason to help him, even if he did rescue her. Perhaps her curiosity would be aroused but she would focus on trying to win back the world from the Titans long before she would try to discover a way to travel across universes.
Artemis cast her silver gaze outside the cave they had remained holed in for the past week. Out there, Ichigo had decided to train Thalia and Phoebe as well as to continue training Calypso and Zoe. Adrenaline began pouring through her veins and her heartbeat increased as she watched Ichigo take Thalia's lightning bolt in one hand like it was nothing and simply shrug off the after effects.
He cocked his head slightly to the left, avoiding Phoebe's arrow that had been aimed at his eye. With his bare hands, he easily caught Calypso's sword, which had attempted to skewer him like a piece of meat, disarmed her by ripping the sword from her tight grasp, and let go of the sword in favor of grabbing Calypso by her forearm, and spinning to throw her in what was previously his blind spot. Calypso collided with Zoe who had attempted to attack Ichigo from his blind spot behind him towards his right.
A moment passed before Thalia tried to unnerve him using her inferior copy of Aegis, Athena's shield decorated with the image of Medusa in full petrifying gaze mode. He didn't even flinch. Instead, with some unintelligible shout, he launched a red fireball of some sort at Thalia. Thalia shielded herself with her shield but was still sent flying off her feet with the explosion that occurred and slid on the ground, down but not yet out of the fight, if her twitching was anything to by.
Ichigo immediately spun on his feet, coming to a stop before the former Lieutenant of the Hunt and a current member of the Hunt, Zoe and Phoebe respectively. The two were wielding that standard Hunt weapons, twin silver knives. All members of the Hunt were required to learn how to wield twin knives as their close combat weapons and archery as their ranged weapon, the reason being that if they were ever forced to fight in close combat, they would be able to put up a fight. They were, of course, encouraged to learn more weapons to wield in their spare time which they did so happily, considering their immortal lives. The twin knives and the bow were simply the minimum.
Zoe and Phoebe fought in tandem, covering each other's weaknesses, of which there were few, and capitalizing on each other's strength. This worked well because they had fought together hundreds of times in the past, totaling to several years of experience fighting together. Zoe, within the first minute, realized that even now, Phoebe had a tendency to slightly overextend herself every fifth slash of her knife. Normally, Ichigo would have immediately capitalized upon the flaw in Phoebe's technique and thrown against a tree for her mistake. Instead, Zoe countered Ichigo before he could make a move against Phoebe. The duo fought Ichigo on equal footing for several precious minutes which Thalia took gratefully to catch a second wind while Calypso tried to see if there was opening in the flurry of hands and knives that she could take advantage of.
Ichigo would admit that they were good. Zoe had improved greatly in the time she had spent with he and Calypso. Now, however, it was time to take it up a notch. Ichigo whispered a word Artemis couldn't quite catch but she did notice what exactly took place. To the astonishment of nearly everyone, he simply vanished.
Not even a second later he reappeared behind the duo and slammed both his fists against the back of their respective heads with enough force to stun them for a while but not nearly enough to kill them.
"Time," Ichigo called out in the quiet air, immediately halting Calypso in her tracks. "Not bad. Not bad at all. But you all can do better."
As Ichigo explained to them their weaknesses and where they could do better, Apollo came up to Artemis. "He's good, huh?"
"Exceptionally so," Artemis admitted after a minute of contemplation. "Even I would be hard pressed to match the combined duo of Zoe and Phoebe in a straight fight. I would win, of course, but it would be a difficult match without the use of my powers to strengthen my speed and strength."
Apollo grinned. "And how would you match up against Ichigo without powers?"
Artemis frowned. "It is difficult to say. It appears his strength is nearly equal to my own without any enhancements. His speed equally so. His style of fighting is refined yet at the same time, rough. I detected elements of karate, predominantly, throughout the fight, but also simple street brawling tactics as well. It is as if he trained in a specific discipline for several years but later on branched out to simply reacting to any actions almost instantly. His style of fighting is also somewhat unpredictable. A few times throughout the fight, I believed Ichigo would react in a certain way only to find myself surprised at what he had chosen to do instead. My own style combines several elements of several disciplines and I use the same style when wielding knives. Furthermore, I have yet to see him use his sword. Zoe has informed me that he is especially skilled in the few times she had witness him using his sword but until I can see for myself, I cannot say."
"You've certainly given this some thought, little sis," Apollo laughed at the irritated glare Artemis sent his way before he turned uncharacteristically serious. "Thinking of challenging him?"
"Not to a fight," Artemis said at last. "Perhaps to a light spar. After I have recovered some more."
Apollo's mood lightened. "Good. Anyways, I heard from Calypso that he can shoot a thousand arrows within seconds."
Artemis jerked her head in surprise. "What?"
Apollo nodded his head sagely. "Apparently, he considers that covering fire. I don't know about you but I don't think I could pull off that many arrows in that amount of time. Maybe a little less than half. And only with light arrows."
"I can do a little more than half but a thousand arrows is ridiculous. Even for gods of archery." Artemis turned to look at the man with orange hair. "Which begs the question as to how he is capable of how he was capable of doing so."
"Well, he obviously isn't going to reveal all his abilities to us. He may have rescued us but he doesn't have any reason to trust us. Even if it was Zoe who said we were trustworthy," Apollo commented.
Artemis looked at her brother sharply, anger tinging her silver eyes. "Are you implying that Zoe is not trustworthy?!"
Apollo waved his hands frantically. He really didn't want to deal with an angry Artemis so soon. Irritated was fine. Angry? Not so much. "Not at all! I'm just saying he only has Zoe's word to go by. I'm sure Calypso won't exactly say nice things considering we've trapped her on an island ever since the first Titanomachy. But she's nice enough not to say bad things about us either. I'm pretty he doesn't know Thalia or Phoebe too well. Would you take one person's advice on something or would you get a second and even third opinion?"
"I see your point," Artemis murmured, her anger rapidly abetting.
"So, you see, he has no reason to reveal anything to us. I just thought I'd mention that interesting tidbit about him and add it to your list of information about him," Apollo said.
"What makes you think I'm collecting information about him?" Artemis inquired.
"Well, I'm doing the same thing, if only because I'm interested in him," Apollo replied.
"I didn't think you swung that way, Apollo."
A heartbeat of silence. "Holy crap! You just made a funny!" Apollo paused. "Shit. The world really has ended, hasn't it? Artemis cracking a joke. Who'd have thought it?"
Artemis smacked him upside the head. "Don't be stupid, Apollo. I have made jokes before."
"Yeah, about bears and how to skin them, no doubt. Boring jokes that your Hunters only laugh about because you'll turn them into jackelopes if they don't laugh."
Artemis quickly shut him up with another slap to the head. Apollo, after complaining of a headache, stood there quietly with his sister, observing the orange haired Shinigami and his temporary students.
Much to Artemis's distinct pleasure, she hadn't once flinched away from Apollo for the entire time. Despite his antics, she could always count on her brother.
One month later...
Artemis obtained everyone's attention by banging her glass on the dining table, shattering the cup. Glass splinters became embedded in her hand, drawing blood, but the moon goddess cared not for such a minor injury. Instead, she focused her glare upon the man seated in front of her. The orange haired man from another universe. Ichigo Kurosaki.
In response, Ichigo simply sighed. He had seen this coming for a while now. Artemis was angry. And for whatever reason, she was angry at him. It had happened over the course of a month. The goddess's anger had slowly grown, usually after he avoided answering her questions about his abilities or what he planned to do. Sometimes he faked hearing Calypso calling his name. Other times, he Shunpoed far away from the goddess. And even other times he looked at her with a blank expression and asked, "Did you say something?" In retrospect, it probably wasn't very nice of him to antagonize the goddess for an entire month but nowadays, ever since the second war with Aizen, he wasn't very nice. Gruff, unavoidable niceness, is what he liked to call his actions every time Calypso told him he was a good person.
"You're going to have to pay Calypso back for that cup, Artemis," Ichigo still couldn't help himself.
It was funny when her entire face went red. Especially since there wasn't exactly anything to do in the way of entertainment. Except laugh when he managed to make Thalia run away in horror when he muttered under his breath about unveiling his hidden tentacles. Apparently since aliens came from space and space was higher than the sky, she was afraid of aliens. Or trip Phoebe every time they sparred. Damn, being cooped up has made me a bastard. We really need to get a move on.
"Enough games, Ichigo Kurosaki," Artemis hissed. Phoebe immediately perked up eager to see Ichigo get chewed out by her lady. "I want to know your plans. Now."
The room was silent. The tension that filled the on-going silence could be cut with a butter-knife. Everyone knew that this discussion had been a long time coming, especially since the answers Ichigo had given a month ago was entirely unsatisfactory. And since he had chosen to scowl at them every time one of them had asked a question the following morning.
Ichigo turned to face Apollo. "You have some sort of prophecy thing going on for you, don't you? Why don't you tell her my plans?"
Apollo raised his arms in alarm as if a policeman had told him to raise him hands. "Whoa. I am not getting into this conversation."
Ichigo sighed and looked down to his unfinished plate. His fork started moving some peas across his plate aimlessly. He could literally feel Artemis's ire growing. Finally, he answered her. "I'm going to protect this world from the Titans. Then, I'm going home."
Ichigo felt a pang in his heart when Calypso's expression turned sad. He had grown to like the sweet girl who had nursed him to full health two years ago. What wasn't to like about her? She was sweet, caring, and compassionate. She was always nice to everyone, even two of the Olympians who had forever trapped her on Ogygia. She never had an unkind word for anyone. She was a fighter like many of the women had known.
And she liked him.
He had known this for a while now, always stealing glances when she thought he wasn't looking. When she handed him something, her hand always lingered on his. And she always smiled at him. Ichigo couldn't recall a time when she hadn't smiled at him. Coming from a war-torn time where there wasn't even time to blink let alone smile, it was a refreshing – and, since it was Calypso's smile he was recieving – and beautiful sight.
"Why?" Artemis demanded. That was what the goddess really wanted to know. "Why would you save a world that has nothing to do with you?"
Ichigo put his hands around the back of his head and leaned back in his chair. Then, he suddenly straightened his chair and stared intently into Artemis's silver eyes. "Because I can. Because I have the power to help people. What use is power if I can't protect the people I want to protect? If you had the power to protect even a single person, wouldn't you do all in your power to protect that person? I would. I have the power. So I will protect. I will protect this world. I will protect my friends. And I will protect all those who can't protect themselves. It's what I've always done, Artemis, and at this rate, it's what I'll continue to do until the day I die. It doesn't matter where I'm at, in Soul Society, Hueco Mundo, the human world, Hell, or even in another universe. I will always protect my friends and those who can't protect themselves. No matter what."
A silence permeated the air. Artemis couldn't believe what she was hearing. Protect? As many people as he possibly could until he died? She wanted to call him a liar but his eyes told her the truth. His brown eyes spoke of determination and resoluteness. A willingness to sacrifice his own life if need be so long as he protected the person or people in the end.
In a way, Artemis could relate. She would do anything for her Hunters, including sacrificing herself for them if that sort of situation ever took place. Every time a Hunter had died, she often grieved for weeks though privately, so that she wouldn't show weakness in front of her Hunters.
Artemis stood up and glared at Ichigo.
"Then, I suppose you wouldn't mind proving your strength, right?"
"Lord Kronos, a member of Lord Hyperion's guard seeks an audience with you, sir," a dracaena annouced loudly, ceasing Kronos's musings of how to flush out the pitiful resistance of the Greeks and Romans.
Piercing golden eyes struck fear into the heart of the dracaena. "Send him in."
Moments after the dracaena had disappeared from the throne room, Kampe nervously entered the throne room. She was much better, having been able to wash up slightly and get new bandages before meeting with Kronos. The only visible evidence of the slaughter she and Hyperion had been on the losing side of was the various puncture holes throughout her scaly skin, marking where each of those damnable light arrows had pierced her flesh.
She hissed slightly as she made to bow to Lord Kronos. Even now, her very soul flared in pain with each movement. She knew not what sort of sorcery the orange haired man had inflicted upon her; all she knew was that she was in constant, agonizing pain with her every movement. It was like a poison; with each passing day, her pain grew stronger, her soul, her essence becoming more and more fragile. She was lucky enough to have traversed the land formerly known as the United States of America from east to west without collapsing though it was a close thing.
"I trust Hyperion has a reason as to why he has neglected his duties these past days," Kronos's voice was smooth but with a hidden, barely palpable, deadly edge it.
"Lord Hyperion has... died, my lord," Kampe hissed slightly as the pain flared once more.
"What?" The very air around her became dense, squeezing down on her as if her very life was in jeopardy.
Kampe selected her next words very carefully lest she earn the ire of the Titan before her. "A god killed him, my lord. A god I have never encountered before. I do not recognize him from any mythology, Greek, Roman, or otherwise. He has strange powers, my lord. He shot hundreds if not thousands of arrows of light at us when Lord Hyperion and I chased him after discovering that he freed the twin gods, Artemis and Apollo."
The pressure lessened slightly. Kronos was still angry, especially at the thought of two liberated Olympians but this information of this new god intrigued him, if slightly. He had slain or imprisoned all other gods from different mythologies when he conquered the world. So weak was their power that he had done it one fell swoop. It was an enjoyable experience. However, for a god to escape his notice was near impossible. Something was amiss about this new god that had mysteriously appeared.
Kronos sat back in his golden throne and relaxed slightly. "Tell me more about this new god."
Kampe let loose a breath of air, having believed that she would die. She knew she would resurrect, at least she thought she would despite the current pain originating from her essence, but it would be a painful experience. "He is powerful, my lord. With a single attack made from light, he obliterated Hyperion's palace. He shot many arrows at us, injuring both of us. He was capable of fighting on even footing with Lord Hyperion for a while, toying with him, before using strange spells and ultimately decapitating him with the larger of his two swords. And that is another strange thing about him, my lord. He threw his sword up in the air once and let loose an enormous amount of power before two swords descended from where there was only one. In this state, he was as powerful if not, more powerful than Hyperion when he is in the east, under the rising sun, and in divine powerful."
Kronos narrowed his eyes, however, before he could speak, the doors to his throne room slammed open. "King Kronos!"
"General," Kronos acknowledged Atlas with a small scowl. It seemed that his nephew would never learn proper manners. "What is it?"
"Thanatos has faded," Atlas announced.
Kronos snarled. "What? How? Were your torturers too rough on him again?! I warned–"
"No, King Kronos. They weren't torturing him when he faded. We don't know why he faded, he just did," Atlas interrupted.
Kronos heaved a sigh. His thoughts wandered, thinking of a multitude of reasons as to why Thanatos would choose that particular moment to fade. Then, a thought struck him.
"No," Kronos whispered in disbelief.
His voice carried to the two other occupants of the throne room.
"No, what?" Atlas asked.
Kronos ignored his General. "Kampe, when that god unleashed his power, what did you sense from him?"
Kampe closed her eyes in an attempt to remember. "Power. A crushing, overwhelming fountain of power that seemed as if it would never stop flowing. But also, a sense of righteousness, of holiness, if that makes sense. A sense of darkness, a great evil rivaling even Tartarus himself. A sense of balance; these two feelings were in perfect harmony. The last thing I could sense from his power was death."
Kronos inhaled sharply. "A God of Death then, with other domains as well. No wonder Thanatos faded. He sensed the presence of a new God of Death and turned over his powers to him."
"What?!" Atlas shouted in disbelief.
"Quickly, Atlas, gather an army. A God of Death is moving freely and by doing so, he nullifies the resurrection we have been enjoying," Kronos ordered. "Send Koios to me. I have need of knowledge of the future."
As Atlas left, Kronos peered at Kampe. "You claim to have been injured by this new god?"
"Yes, my lord," Kampe quickly replied.
"Yes, I see it. He has fractured your soul," Kronos waved a hand and a soothing sensation enveloped her entire body. "Because I myself have experienced the shattering of my soul, I have also gained the ability to reverse damage done to the soul by reversing the state of your soul through my manipulation of time. You have done well to bring this knowledge to me. Now rest and in three days' time report to Koios. Perhaps he might have something for you to do."
"Thank you, my lord," Kampe bowed before scurrying away.
Kronos shook with mirth. "It is always fun when some poor fool decides to incite a rebellion. How long do you think you can last against me, God of Death?"
Artemis gritted her teeth before releasing her twin silver knives, allowing them to drop to the dirt. She had managed to inflict a total of one injury upon her opponent– a thin, shallow gash on his left arm from a knife wound that had instantly healed– and lasted perhaps fifteen minutes using a combination of guerrilla tactics in the form of retreating to the trees and using her bow to engaging him in furious close combat before rapidly retreating. She had lasted fifteen minutes against the monster known as Ichigo Kurosaki before he tired of it and used some sort of speed technique to get behind her and force her to yield with his sword– Zanpakuto against her neck.
He assured her that she had done good to injure him if slightly especially when she was still recovering from being imprisoned and tortured.
She panted, leaning against a tree for support. "You're an absolute monster, Kurosaki."
Ichigo grinned. "You wouldn't believe how right you are, Artemis."
Despite her protests, he lifted her and pulled her on his back. It was obvious that she wouldn't be able to walk the half-mile back to camp. "Don't be stupid, Artemis. You're supposed to recovering your strength not end up half-dead if we're going to end up doing this every day. I didn't rescue you to die, ya know?"
The two of them never noticed the single drop of Ichigo's blood that had fallen to the ground when Artemis had injured him turn gold.
~Bleach/PJO A7 Ch11~
Sorry about the late update. I didn't even realize that it had been this long since I lasted updated this story.
I don't think any of you were expecting this particular plot twist. Neither did I... until today.
Krazyfanfiction1: Well, you might have noticed that I've posted a couple of other stories. I don't know anything about 'World of Twelve' and I don't feel confident about my knowledge of DC or Marvel to write anything in those fandoms.
Thorndsword: I know they don't but you have to realize that I also need to take into account the PJO universe. In the PJO universe, souls (such as Kronos's) do regenerate as evidenced by his near-complete resurrection in the final book and his regaining a conscious. Monsters also resurrect even when they've been destroyed.
Friaku: You'll see this in a later chapter but when you consider Athena and her personality, do you really think Athena would help someone (with the possible exception of her own children since technically, they fight for her) for nothing in return? Besides, since when has Ichigo been one to back down to what he pecieves as wrong? As to the question of his humanity– Quincies are humans. They're spiritually aware humans. They have a name for themselves as spirtually aware humans. It's kind of like how everyone has a nationality they identify with such as Canadian, American, British, French, Italian, ect. Just because they call themselves by some other name, it doesn't mean they aren't human.
Exanime Draco: I hope he was better in character in this chapter then. Remember, he's been through a couple wars. He's not really someone to beat around the bush when something comes up but charge straight through.
Thanks for reading!