Disclaimer: Percy Jackson and the Olympians along with Heroes of Olympus do not belong to me.
The Son of Kronos
Zoe took a few deep breaths in a futile attempt to calm her nerves. Artemis noticed this and, once again, gave her a reassuring smile before gesturing for her to continue. Zoe smiled slightly, "T-The oath was to never speak to anyone about the existence of that man, unless he were to reveal himself to them first…
"His name is Perseus, milady, and he's the real eldest child of Kronos."
Artemis was staring at her lieutenant, uncomprehending. Surely she had misheard what Zoe just said. It would have been impossible for such a secret to be kept for so long. Somebody would have eventually let word of his existence slip, even if they were under an oath on the Styx. Oaths on the Styx could be broken, her half-sister Thalia was proof enough of that. So how was it possible that everyone who had knowledge of the man never revealed his existence, even if by accident?
Zoe began to fidget nervously as Artemis continued to stare at her blankly. Artemis knew she should try and reassure her Hunter, but her mind was still reeling at what she was just told.It was true thatthere were plenty of immortals who had the ability to hide themselves from the Olympians and were able to keep their existence a secret, but the secret was always revealed eventually, and none of them had nearly as big of an impact as another child of Kronos would have.
"Zoe," Artemis began quietly, "are you absolutely certain that he is a child of Kronos? Is there even the slightest chance that you're wrong?"
The Hunter shook her head despairingly, tears streaking down her face now, "I'm certain, milady. He's not just a child, he's the child. I would recognize his eyes anywhere."
Artemis' mind was going haywire. Even if immortals were able to handle and process information a lot better than mortals, there were still some things that were just too much and kicked their brain into overdrive. The revelation that there was another son of Kronos out there, one who was eve older than Hestia… well, that would definitely qualify as 'too much to handle'.
"Well then, I… I must hunt him. It shall be a solo hunt, tell the girls to prepare, I'll call my brother and have him take you all to Camp Half-Blood," Artemis muttered, no longer paying attention as she thought about everything she had just learned.
"No!" Zoe suddenly shouted, shocking Artemis out of her dazed state. "Milady, you mustn't hunt him, he's far too dangerous!"
Artemis' eyebrows furrowed and she frowned at her lieutenant, "Are you implying that I would fail on my hunt?"
"Yes, milady, and if you'd just let me explain why, you'll understand why I'm firmly of that belief," Zoe responded in a panicked voice.
Artemis gave Zoe a curt nod of her head.
"Perseus… Perseus was being trained by the Titans before Hestia was being born. I was, of course, not alive at the time, but he told me stories. His father, my father, Pallas, Iapetus, Koios, Oceanus and Hyperion all took part in training him, both in weapons and his powers. He's the God of Time, Elements, Battle, Creation, Storms, Earth, Destruction, and Darkness. By the time I met him, he was able to defeat all of them in battle save Pallas and Kronos himself. I don't know what he's been up to for the past three thousand years, but I have no doubts that he's gotten stronger. Far stronger."
The goddess just stared at her, processing the long list of domains she had listed and who his trainers had been. After a few minutes, Artemis broke the tense silence by asking almost inaudibly, "What was he to you?"
Zoe hesitated. She knew her best friend would be on the look-out for any lies, but at the same time, she didn't want to reveal the full extent of her feelings for the son of Kronos. Hades, she wasn't even quite sure what the full extent of her feelings for him was. She knew she cared deeply for and held affection for him, but she wasn't sure if it was love or not; even if it did turn out to be love, a relationship between the two of them was impossible. She was a Hunter of Artemis and she was loyal to her mistress, whereas he was the eldest son of Kronos and was fanatically loyal to his father and the Titans. Also, she was almost certain that he saw her presence with Artemis as a personal betrayal and an insult.
"I-I… Once upon a time, he was my best friend. Before I joined the Hunt, back when the Titans were still in power. He had been getting lonely, his only real friends being his trainers, and I was alone, as I had nothing in common with my sisters, something I know my father noticed. One day, while I was tending to the Garden, my father summoned me to him. Being the obedient daughter I was, at the time, I quickly made my way to him, only to be shocked when I found him with Kronos and Perseus. Kronos told me to swear an oath on the Styx and I did. One did not refuse the Titan King, it just didn't happen. After I swore the oath, Perseus hesitantly introduced himself and who he was. If you saw his eyes earlier, you would have seen how they were gold but held only malice in them. That was how he looked at me when we first met.
"Our fathers left us alone with each other, ordering us to get to know one another, and they went off to do their own thing. After a few tense minutes, I started to ask him things about himself and, while he was cold for a long while, he eventually started to open up to me. The more he opened up to me, the more his eyes lost their cold, malicious glint. In place of that maliciousness was joy. After getting past his hardened exterior, I found out that he was generally a happy person. There were a few subjects that even mentioning would cause him to put back up that cold wall, such as Rhea, but there were very few of them.
"We became good friends on that day and soon he started to visit me in the Garden when he wasn't training. Just like he opened up to me, I opened up to him. I told him of my hatred for being imprisoned in the Garden and how I longed to explore the world. As the years went by, he became my best friend. But then came the day Othrys fell. I knew nothing of what happened during the battle and tried to find information on it. I kept hoping he could stop by, if only briefly, to talk, but he never showed up. He had completely disappeared and I haven't seen him since."
Zoe paused, regaining her bearings, "Until earlier, that is. I am absolutely certain that man was Perseus, the cold, golden eyes, the way he caught that arrow, and his mastery over shadows was a dead giveaway. If that wasn't enough of a giveaway, the Manticore began to mention how he was on a mission for Perseus' father, at which point he murdered the monster he had only moments prior saved. I knew just by looking at him that he changed. I'm sure he's become far more like his father, and although we didn't really see him fight, I have little doubt that his skills in battle have improved by leaps and bounds.
"I hope that answers your question, Lady Artemis," Zoe finished finally.
Artemis just stared at the girl who she thought she had known everything about. The girl who, until recently, she had thought was her best friend. Maybe she still was her best friend, after all, the things she had just revealed were all very personal, not to mention she had been under an oath on the Styx. Regardless, that didn't change the fact that her lieutenant had deceived her.
Maybe if Artemis had been thinking rationally, she wouldn't have said what she did next.
"I stand by my decision. I am going to hunt down that boy and bring him before the Olympians. Now, do as I said and tell the girls to prepare for Apollo's arrival," she paused for a moment. "Might as well warn the demigods, too."
Zoe tried to protest, but Artemis merely silenced her with a look and dismissed Zoe to carry out her orders while she prepared for her own, personal mission.
"Where's Apollo? I swear, he's always late in the winter," Artemis commented, annoyed.
The demigods, Hunters of Artemis and Artemis herself were all gather near the edge of the cliff that Annabeth and Perseus had gone over the previous day. The demigods kept themselves isolated from the Hunters and talked amongst themselves about various things. Meanwhile, the Hunters were all complaining to each other about needing to get a ride from Apollo of all people and were asking Artemis why they couldn't join her on her solo hunt. Zoe attempted to convince Artemis not to go on the hunt once more, only for the goddess to quickly ignore her pleas.
Suddenly a bright light started to approach them and Artemis shouted, "Everyone close your eyes until he lands!" Quickly following the goddess' orders, the demigods, Hunters, and lone satyr did as they were told and waited to open them once more until the light seemed to dim, no longer glaring through their closed eyelids.
"Little Sis!" Everyone suddenly heard. All eyes turned to the source of the voice. The owner of the voice appeared to be a tall nineteen-year-old guy with bright blonde hair and mischievous blue eyes. He was staring at the twelve-year-old-looking goddess with a large, stupid grin plastered over his face.
Artemis just sighed, exhausted. "Apollo, how many times have we been over this? I am not you 'Little Sis', I'm older than you, idiot! I helped deliver you, for gods' sake!"
Apollo just rolled his eyes, "Whatever helps you sleep at night, Little Sis." The god then turned his attention to the large gathering of teenagers around him. His focus quickly zeroed in on his sister's Hunters. "Hey girls," he said with a flirtatious wink at some of the older Hunters, who just glared back at him.
"For the last time, Apollo, do not flirt with my Hunters!" Artemis screamed at him, before hitting him hard over the head.
The God of the Sun flinched at his sister's shrill voice and rubbed the back of his head. Despite appearing to be a little girl, Artemis could sure hit hard. He soon raised his arms up in surrender, "Fine, fine. No flirting with your Hunters. Got it. So whatcha need, Little Sis? You never call, you don't write, I haven't heard from you in ages!" He finished dramatically.
Artemis grumbled to herself before saying, "I need you to take my Hunters and these demigods to Camp Half-Blood. I have a solo hunt I need to go on, so I don't have to take them to camp myself."
"Alright, a one-way trip to Camp Half-Blood, sounds simple enough. All aboard!" The god shouted, suddenly appearing as a train conductor. When nobody moved towards the Sun Chariot, he turned around and saw it was still in its car appearance. "Oh, I should probably change that," he muttered as he snapped his fingers, turning it into a bus.
The Hunters and demigods slowly boarded the bus, but in the meantime, Zoe made one last futile attempt to stop Artemis from going after Perseus. She was truly worried for her mistress, and knew that if the goddess decided to try and pursue Perseus, bad things would happen. Unfortunately for the lieutenant, the goddess wouldn't hear any of it and ordered her to get on the bus while she resumed a speedy conversation with her annoying brother.
Zoe sighed and moved to the back of the bus to sit with her sisters. She had hoped to get through to Artemis, but she knew once Artemis had mind set on something, it was nearly impossible to change. She was just stubborn like that.
Meanwhile, the demigods had all elected to sit in the front of the bus, as far away as possible from the Hunters, who would occasionally throw harsh glares towards the males in their group before going back to conversing with one-another.
"Alright! Who wants to drive?" Apollo called out cheerfully as he walked up onto the bus. After a few seconds of nobody volunteering, Apollo took on a crestfallen expression before seeing Thalia and brightening up once more. "Other Little Sis! Come on up here and drive! Don't give me that face, it's not that difficult and I'll be right here to walk you through it!"
Needless to say, the flight back to Camp Half-Blood was anything but pleasant.
Perseus was currently stealthily hunting his prey, who was ironically none other than the Goddess of the Hunt herself, Phoebe Artemis. Despite the stealth and focus his current missions required, Perseus couldn't help but let his thoughts drift a little.
During his self-imposed exile in Tartarus, he hadn't really thought about the events that led to his father's defeat so much as he planned revenge on those who had murdered the man. He hadn't really thought too deeply into the chain of events thought caused Kronos' downfall, but at the moment, he just kept thinking back to the point where he felt the most responsibility for causing the Titan King's death.
Perseus stared silently at the tiny figure before him. He didn't understand how the tiny little… thing… in front of him was a possible threat to his father's power. Despite himself, he felt oddly affectionate towards it. Regardless of the affection he felt rising within himself, he knew what had to be done, so he forced the emotions he was feeling back down.
No, Perseus thought to himself. She might end up overthrowing Father. That's something I cannot allow to happen. Sure, she may look harmless and peaceful right now, but she's still a threat to his power. These… emotions… I feel towards her are only because I've never seen a baby before. After she's gone, everything will go back to normal and I won't feel these sickening emotions anymore.
But as Perseus stared at his little sister, little baby Hestia, he found that no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn't do it! He repeatedly tried to force his arm to stab downward, to bury his dagger into the small body of his new-born sister, but despite his mind telling his body to do it, he just couldn't. He had always been taught by his father that family was everything. That family was important and they should be loved and embraced with open arms. Yet here he was, trying to end his little sister, someone who had yet to even speak. Here he was, trying to cut her existence short, for the simple reason of keeping his father in power.
He sighed in frustration and brought the dagger back down to his side as he stared quietly at the snoozing baby. The whole reason he had been trying to kill her was because he knew that his father had nothing planned for her. Nothing planned to prevent her from becoming a threat. He knew that, for once, his father, the man he had always looked up to, didn't know what to do.
Perseus thought deeply as he stared down at the softly snoring form of his baby sister. He was, of course, curious what it would be like to be an older brother. To have younger siblings that would look up to him for help and guidance. He wanted to know what it would be like to hold the affections of the little sister he was staring at. Would she love him? Or would she end up hating him? Was it possible that she could be loyal to him, and more importantly, their father?
No, he decided. Ouranos was quite clear that I will be the only one forever loyal to Father. She has to go. As he reached that conclusion, a sickening feeling erupted in his chest. It was agonizing and he struggled to figure out what it was. After minutes of it, he finally discovered what it was.
Fighting back the guilt that was eating him up inside, Perseus concocted a plan that would solve everything. He began to feel elated, but the guilt was still there.
Hestia doesn't have to die, but at the same time, she won't be a threat to Father! Perseus thought excitedly, ignoring the more sickening of the two raging emotions within him. Focusing solely on his excitement and elation, the guilt slowly faded away.
Perseus quietly snuck out of baby Hestia's room and rushed to find his father. He just had to tell him of the brilliant plan. Perseus knew the Titan wouldn't immediately like it, after all, family was very important to him. But at the same time, Perseus was sure that it would be the best solution for everyone in the end. A twinge of guilt tried to worm its way back up to the surface, but he pushed it back down again as he thought of his brilliant plan once more.
Kronos will have to swallow Hestia whole.
(Author's Note: I really don't like how this part turned out, but I felt like I needed to include it for insight on Perseus' personality before the First Titan War.)
Perseus suddenly felt sick to his stomach. He had caused his father's downfall. If it weren't for him, then Kronos never would have devoured sweet baby Hestia. Nor would he have subsequently devoured Hades, Demeter, Poseidon, and Rhea. Or even that rock that was apparently disguised as Zeus. And if Kronos had never eaten his children, then they never would have had a reason to hate the Titan and overthrow him.
Suddenly, Perseus found himself wondering why his father didn't hate or blame him.
After a few minutes of internally warring with himself, he finally remembered why he had been so confident in his plan. He remembered why he thought it was the best possible choice. His reasoning behind everything.
Yes, it was true that his siblings were imprisoned in Kronos' stomach, but it was either that or kill them. Letting them live had never really been an option. Ouranos' curse on the Titan King had ensured that they all would have betrayed their father at some point in the future. No matter what, Kronos would have been overthrown. Perseus had merely suggested the option that seemed to hold the best possible outcome. His father must have realized all of this, which was why he didn't hate Perseus.
Despite the guilt he felt at his role in his father's downfall, he couldn't help but sigh softly in relief. He was over-reacting and over-thinking everything.
Suddenly, he was pulled from his thoughts when a silver arrow embedded itself in his shoulder. Golden ichor quickly gushed out of the wound when he violently yanked the arrow out and he stared at the wound blankly for a moment. Soon, another arrow came flying towards him, but before it could reach him, he snatched it out of the air and looked in the direction it came from.
His golden eyes were harshly glowing, fueled by his fury at allowing himself to get distracted. He was even angrier that he had allowed himself to be hit because of the distraction. He glared at the exact person he had just been hunting, the Goddess of the Hunt. A vicious snarl plastered its way onto his face. He was going to make here suffer.
Artemis, seeing the furious look on his face, shot five more arrows at him in rapid succession. While he was busy dodging and weaving his way around the arrows with an inhuman grace, Artemis fired three more arrows before vanishing her bow and summoning her daggers and charging her target with all the speed and grace she could muster.
Unfortunately for Artemis, Perseus was ridiculously skilled at dodging and managed to evade each and every arrow she shot at him. By the time the goddess reached him and started to attack with her daggers, he had managed to summon forth Hell's Fury and managed to parry and dodge her attacks.
Thanks to Gaia's blessing on the sword, Perseus' shoulder wound quickly began to heal as he fought with the goddess. Where previously there had been golden ichor spurting out of the wound, there was now sand and it was instead healing and closing said wound at a rapid pace. Perseus continued to fight the foolish goddess before him, unbothered by the rapidly healing hole in his shoulder.
The very first time he had ever used Gaia's healing blessing, saying it had felt weird would have been an understatement. It had felt to his as if his entire body had fallen asleep and the sight of the sand gushing out of his body had left him highly perturbed. However, after dealing with the feeling on several more occasions, he had quickly grown accustomed to it.
Artemis, however, was not so calm. When she saw the gaping hole in Perseus' shoulder start spitting out sand instead of golden ichor, she knew she was in trouble. After only thirty seconds of up close fighting, the wound had already fully healed itself and Perseus began to parry and dodge her attacks with ever-growing ease.
At some point in the increasingly difficult fight, Artemis had changed into her divine form in an attempt to gain the upper hand against her opponent. Unfortunately for her, the large increase in power and speed granted by using her divine from was only just enough for her to keep up with her opponent's constant slashes. Unlike her, Perseus had not changed to his divine form, he was, after all, merely toying with her at this point.
Suddenly she saw an opening and, making a split-second decision, decided to take it. She feinted a slash with her left dagger at his midsection and stabbed downward with her right aiming for his foot. She had believed that he would parry away her strike towards his chest but would be unable to move his foot in time. What she hadn't expected him to do, however, was flip over her strikes and elbow her in the back of the head, making her momentarily lose her balance.
During the split-second following her loss of balance, Perseus managed to land a shallow cut along the goddess' left leg, drawing an ear-piercing shriek as she felt the blade start to rip away at her very being. She had never before felt such agonizing pain. Before she could react to the pain beyond the shriek, Perseus slammed the hilt of his sword into the back of her head, sending her into unconsciousness.
Perseus stared coldly at the unconscious goddess before him. To him, the fight had been rather boring. In fact, there had been monsters in Tartarus that had put up more of a fight than her. He didn't even really consider it a fight. Beyond getting hit by the one arrow at the very start, she hadn't even managed to land a blow on him and he had merely been toying with her the entire time. Even when she took her divine form, he had still been playing with her. He had honestly expected a lot more from a goddess whose prowess in battle was the stuff of legends on Olympus.
He sighed and shook his head. Perhaps he had over-estimated her, he didn't even use any of his powers aside from healing his shoulder, and yet, over the course of their short fight he had counted thirteen different openings where he could have ended it then and there. Granted, those openings were so minute and short that he was pretty sure nobody else would have ever seen them. She was definitely a nimble and agile fighter, though, and had he not trained for three-thousand years in Tartarus, he might have considered her a slight threat, but now… Truly, this was just pathetic.
He bent over and grabbed the back of her parka before roughly lifting her up and throwing her onto his shoulder. He was briefly surprised at how light she was but quickly shook it off and remembered that she was in the form of a twelve-year-old girl.
Then, without a second thought, he pulled a shadow towards them and shadow-travelled to Mt. Othrys.
Author's Note: I was truly not pleased with this chapter as a whole. I especially disliked how I wrote the flashback and the very brief "fight" between Artemis and Perseus. Despite my feelings, I still wanted to include them in the story. In the end, though, I honestly felt like I just wanted this awful chapter to be over.
Also, I feel like a large number of people missed me post Chapter 2, I posted 2 and 3 at about the same time on the same day.