The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.
"The Truth Hurts"
Artemis could barely think under the weight of the sky. The longer she held it, the more impressed she was with the daughter of Athena for holding it for that long. And she's a mere mortal.
The goddess's clothes were dirty and tattered, and combined with the bruises forming on her upper back and shoulders, Artemis knew she wasn't a pretty sight. It was only made worse by the amount of times a grouchy monster would decide to spit on her to make themselves feel better.
She had no grasp of time either. What felt like hours to her could've been mere minutes, or vice versa. Exhaustion was a constant, as was soreness and pain. However the proud goddess knew she could go on for eternity like this, since she was a goddess. She didn't require food or water to survive, but desperately could use some to regain strength.
Her lack of sleep also hindered her as well, making her see things. But like before, she didn't need to sleep. The benefits of immortality.
Sudden footsteps roused her, and her silver eyes were able to force themselves up to meet the disapproving glance from Perseus.
The Precursor looked split whenever he saw her. She could see hate in his eyes, but he seemed displeased with her current state. Whether that was because he'd rather have her dead though is up for debate, but regardless he took exception to the monsters that liked to toy with her.
The immortal warrior's eyes locked on hers, and for an instant a rogue thought flew through her mind. Prettier than the sea…..
Artemis's head blossomed in pain as a voice thundered in her mind.
I don't know what you're doing but STOP thinking that! Diana's harsher voice echoed in Artemis's head. The Greek goddess growled, attracting Perseus's attention, but he said nothing, just kept gazing at her with unreadable eyes.
That wasn't me!
The goddess groaned under the weight of the sky, rubbing her head on her arm to get rid of sweat dripping into her eyes. Her fair skin shined with a layer of perspiration, which only made the groaning of her muscles more pronounced.
Peering up through her auburn locks, the goddess panted. "Enjoying…the…..view?" She huffed out to Perseus, managing a pained smirk. The cunning immortal knew angering the Precursor likely wouldn't go over well for her, but she was known as a little too much headstrong. And even Artemis could let her pride get the better of her, unable to pass up quips against Perseus.
The warrior snorted and returned a feral grin to her. "Believe me, there is nothing enjoyable about this."
Artemis's face twisted in confusion, drawing a chuckle from the Precursor. "You think I like babysitting you? If I'm going to be forced to spend time with you, I'd rather it be spent with my sword tasting your blood- not you sitting there groaning every few minutes for days on end."
Artemis managed a snort despite her predicament, her silver eyes sweeping across the room. A few dracanae stood guard, and every once and awhile an Empousa would pay her a visit. Bitches.
Returning her steely gaze to the immortal, she gave a haughty laugh. "Don't you think it's…funny that you are forced to be here?"
Perseus's shoulders rose slightly, making him seem larger and more imposing. "What do you mean?"
"Well, I mean, Atlas leaving you here shows a lack of respect and trust. Also it means he's hiding something from you." The last bit was a stretch, but judging from the flash of surprise on his face Artemis surmised that her suspicions were correct.
Hand resting on the hilt of his sword, which seemed to poison the air around her, he spoke. "Lack of respect?"
"Absolutely. Look around, you've been given the job of monsters who are worth nothing." She huffed out, before taking a deep breath in. Did everything just get blurry? Why was there a floating puff ball?
In her haze, Artemis could tell she hit a nerve. Perseus's posture was certainly agitated, and from the interactions she heard it was clear Atlas and the Precursor didn't get along. Artemis's head tilted down as she panted once more, lungs straining to bring in clean oxygen, untainted by the sword. "I bet…..he has…..your friends."
Artemis gasped as a gloved hand grabbed her neck, forcing her gaze up. Silver eyes met sea green.
"Shut. Up." He hissed. Artemis let out an amused snicker, coughing as he backed off. "I regret putting an arrow into you, but I was not deceiving about wanting to help."
Perseus rolled his eyes, sneering as he did so. "You expect me to believe that? Olympus has had it in for me since I left the ice."
"Only because you attacked us. What are we supposed to do?" The Precursor said nothing, letting an inkling of pride surge through Artemis. That's right, you got nothing to say now don't you.
Artemis coughed violently once more, staggering on her knees. Perseus didn't even bat an eye, only giving her an intrigued glance. Ignoring the pain in her throat, Artemis forced the words out. "You have been…..wronged. I get that. But…the Titans will not help. If they wanted to…..you'd already be with your friends."
Perseus glared at her when she finished her declaration, seemingly itching to strangle her.
"Why should I even be listening to you?"
"Look…I know…..where to look. Make yourself useful and…check for yourself. Why do you think Atlas…wants to keep you here? Ignorant?" Artemis's lungs heaved, and when she finished she was left gasping for air. Perseus's eyebrows arched down, and the goddess's blurry vision was privy to the immortal warrior crouching down to her level. "If I were to check, where should I go?" Perseus's neutral voice exuberated in her head, and the goddess managed a small grin. "Mt. Saint Helens."
The immortal warrior nodded, standing up. His imposing figure was not lost on Artemis as his green eyes peered into her soul. "Thank you." He said stiffly, before promptly turning on his heels and storming out. The goddess took a deep breathe in, trying not to focus on the immense pain and burning on her back as she contemplated her odds at escaping.
Not good. Not good at all.
Hades was beyond furious.
First, his kids are exposed to the camp full of delinquents.
Second, they are almost killed by that stupid monster.
Third, his damn niece took on his daughter into her merry band of virgins.
Finally, said niece got herself captured. Leaving his daughter, with no experience, to embark on a quest for her. A quest that seemed doomed to fail.
The god of the underworld paced through his domain, entering the chambers of Erebus. The first thing he felt was a dark rage, followed swiftly by severe irritation.
Hades! To what do I owe the pleasure?
Hades' black eyes pulsed furiously. "You know why I'm here." He thundered into the empty chamber. If the primordial had a physical form at the moment, he would've been sulking. Hades continued when his retort was met with silence. "I clearly told you not to go after the Precursor, and what did you do? You went after him of course. Directly disobeying me."
You have no control over me! Erebus hissed in anger, letting the shadows scream out in fury. Hades glared at the darkness, wrestling it back under his control. "In your crippled state, I dare say I do. Last warning: if you should disobey me again I will rip what's left of you apart- permanently."
The ominous threat was left hanging in the air for a few moments, with a grumbling Erebus acknowledging it. "Good." Hades said, clasping is pale hands together. "Second reason why I'm here- I want to know who that Precursor is."
Hades could tell Erebus was rolling his eyes mentally.
Why do you want to know?
Hades gave a chilling grin to the darkness, his bony smile almost as eerie as those of his skeletal guard. "Let's just call it preparing for the worst. Now, I want to know everything."
The great fortress home to the Precursor King was buzzing with activity in the early hours of dawn. The entire royal family had awoken under the moon, and even the majority of the regular citizens were awake as well shortly after.
Sol however was not dictating law or performing any duties befit of a king. Instead he was staring in reserved interest at a flower his daughter had recently acquired.
The deep indigo of the petals was eye catching. If anyone was to see it, their eyes would be drawn to its beauty. They glowed an eerie blue in the darkness, almost pulsing with a hidden energy. Sol's blazing eyes narrowed, lips pursing.
"You…..should not be here."
The flower seemed to twinkle in response, as if laughing at him. I am here whether you want me to be or not. He imagined it saying. The Precursor King stood from his throne, gently cradling the flower as if it was the most fragile object in existence.
The throne room doors opened, grand pillars made of Iron and Adamantium. A heavily armored black knight strode in, red cape billowing behind him. The supernatural glow about him however indicated who he was.
"Xerox." Sol greeted, stepping down to meet the captain of his vanguard and best friend. Xerox lifted his visor, reaching out an armored hand in return. "My lord." He said respectfully, tilting his head. Sol chuckled, shaking his head. "You do not need to honor me with titles Xerox." The captain nodded, lifting his head back up. As he did so his eyes caught sight of the indigo rose, causing him to adjust rigidly. Alarmed, he spoke rapidly. "Why do you have a Kingborn flower? Where did you even find that?"
Sol raised an eyebrow at his friend's antics, thrusting the flower towards him. Xerox leaned back, as if the flower was poisonous.
Sighing in mild humor, Sol shrugged. "You tell me, Xerox. Your son found it."
Xerox's usually stern face broke revealing a look between astonishment and trepidation. "I see." He said slowly. "What does this mean then?"
"Well he gave it to my daughter." Sol stated mildly, causing Xerox to sigh this time around. "Oh dear. Sol, I sincerely apologize for that boy's behavior. If you'd like, I can take that flower from you and we can pretend like it never happened."
Sol frowned, pulling the flower away now. "No, it's a bit late for that my friend. The Creator favors him, allowing such a gift to bloom for him. And then for him to gift it to my daughter?" An unasked question hung between the two immortals, one smiling tiredly and one biting his lip.
"Should I put him through the trials again?" Xerox asked.
"No. They will not be enough."
"So what then? It's not like he has to fight a war or unite our entire species like you did. I can't think of anything else that could draw out the power within him, if it even exists." Sol scratched his head before lethargically rubbing his face. "Xerox, do you know what caused my powers to unleash themselves?"
The Vanguard frowned, shrugging. "I assumed it came from extreme duress."
"Oh it did."
Xerox shrugged once more. "I've only heard rumors, none of which are accurate enough. So I do not know."
Sol somberly grinned, his eyes betraying the emotion placed on his face. "It took watching my younger sister and mother being ripped apart by the Desert Nomads. While the wars crippled the various factions, mine was relatively left alone. One day I go out on a patrol mission with my father and brother, and when I get back?" Sol cut off, eyes shining. Xerox dipped his head somberly.
"I did not know it was their deaths that caused your powers to manifest. I am deeply sorry to hear this Sol." Xerox said sympathetically. Sol waved his hand, sighing in defeat. "I have long gotten over their deaths, as the millennia have luckily granted me peace. However, I am getting tired. More and more challengers arise as our race keeps expanding. And it was none of my competitors who found the Kingborn rose, it was young Perseus."
"I once again offer my apologies-"Sol laughed out loud, drawing a concerned look from Xerox. "Are you alright my lord?"
"Alright? Xerox you humor me too much! I am elated that Perseus was the one to find it! At least, when the time is right, I can announce it. That way some of the would-be usurpers would go away."
"So you intend on going ahead with the ritual then? Now that another has been chosen?"
"No." Sol responded firmly. He placed the flower on a pedestal, turning back to his friend. "We must wait. Perseus is not ready. And I fear that the only thing strong enough to unlock his powers is if something was to happen to my daughter."
Xerox's royal blue eyes widened slightly, fully understanding the situation. "I understand."
"Should anything happen to us, I need you to guarantee the safety of my daughter, even if it means my death. Your son and my daughter are the future, and they must be protected at all costs." Sol's eyes became alit, his blonde hair almost glowing with passion.
Xerox put a fist to his chest, pounding the armor. "It will be done." His blue eyes glanced down questioningly at Sol's sword, causing the King to chuckle. "Yes, Xerox. He will get the sword too. I'm afraid he may need it if he is to unlock his full potential."
The slow patter of rain on concrete lulled Artemis in and out of consciousness. The constant burning on her back caused by the immense weight of the sky would wake her up, as if saying you don't get sleep. All you get is pain.
Artemis groaned, silver eyes dulled. She hadn't seen Perseus for quite some time, however it may have only been a day at most for all she knew.
Luke and Atlas returned not too long ago, sneering at her as they came. The goddess could only watch as Annabeth was dragged out along with them, her blonde hair dirtied and grey streak prominent. "My lady….." She murmured, weakly tugging at her chains. A nearby monster kicked her, sending her sprawling. Artemis growled lowly, glaring daggers at the perpetrator. However before she could say anything, Luke backhanded the dracanae fiercely. "Do not touch her. May I need to remind you that we need her alive?"
Atlas gave a deep chuckle, onyx eyes expressing the deep darkness within him. "Why not let them have some fun? Not like we need her for much longer anyways. My daughter and the rest of the quest will be here shortly."
Quest? Artemis couldn't think beyond that one word. However she had a feeling it had been mentioned in front of her before, but the pain of holding up the sky had clouded her thoughts. Everything was becoming muddled together.
Suddenly, all the guards vanished, as did Atlas and Luke. It must've been only a few minutes before she heard the sounds of teens talking.
"What's Mount Othrys?" A male demigod asked. Artemis thought she recognized the voice of Theseus Jackson
"The mountain fortress of the Titans," Zoë said. Artemis's heart clenched as her lieutenant spoke. Oh Zoë, you're too faithful.
"In the first war, Olympus and Othrys were the two rival capitals of the world. Othrys was—" She stopped abruptly, groaning slightly.
"You're hurt," Theseus said. "Let me see."
"No! It is nothing. I was saying… in the first war, Othrys was blasted to pieces."
"But… how is it here?" Theo asked in response.
"It moves in the same way that Olympus moves. It always exists on the edges of civilization. But the fact that it is here, on this mountain, is not good."
"This is Atlas's mountain," Zoë said. "Where he holds—" She froze. Her voice was ragged with despair. "Where he used to hold up the sky." The quest had come into sight, seeing the swirling vortex above. Artemis's eyes met Zoë's, whose chest throbbed at seeing her mistress's state: the sky resting on the shoulders of a twelve-year-old girl with auburn hair and a tattered silvery dress.
Artemis, her legs bound to the rock with celestial bronze chains.
"My lady!" Zoë rushed forward, but Artemis said, "Stop! It is a trap. You must leave now." Her voice was strained as it came out. Gosh am I really this weak?
She was drenched in sweat. The weight of the sky was causing her bones to screech in protest. It was clear to all present that Artemis was not meant for this.
Zoë was crying. She ran forward despite Artemis's protests, and tugged at the chains. As she did so, a booming voice spoke behind them: "Ah, how touching."
Atlas stood off to the side, his suit making Artemis want to beat his face until it looked like a smashed watermelon. Beside him was a rather antsy Luke, and the dracanae guards who left earlier; now holding a golden sarcophagus. Annabeth had now been gagged, hands bound behind her. Theo growled when he saw Luke, albeit reluctantly, holding a blade to her throat.
"Luke," Thalia snarled. "Let her go." Luke's smile was weak and pale. He looked even worse than he had when Theo crashed in on the secret meeting in D.C.
"That is the General's decision, Thalia. But it's good to see you again." Luke responded. Thalia spat at him.
The General, Atlas, chuckled. "So much for old friends. And you, Zoë. It's been a long time. How is my little traitor? I will enjoy killing you."
"Do not respond," Artemis groaned. "Do not challenge him."
"Wait a second," Theo intervened. "You're Atlas?" Said Titan glanced at the son of Poseidon. "So, even the stupidest of heroes can finally figure something out. Yes, I am Atlas, the general of the Titans and terror of the gods. Congratulations. I will kill you personally, as soon as I deal with this wretched girl."
"You're not going to hurt Zoe" He said. "I won't let you." Atlas sneered. "You have no right to interfere, little hero. This is a family matter." Theo frowned. "A family matter?"
"Yes," Zoe said bleakly. "Atlas is my father."
You could've heard a pin drop.
The silence was deafening. Artemis already knew this, but members of the quest were obviously uninformed. Theo looked back and forth between Zoë and Atlas, looking, surprisingly, unsurprised.
Artemis felt a massive pain erupt like a geyser in her head, which interrupted her focus. Atlas kept threatening the quest, with Theo and Thalia heatedly responding back. Ugh, why can't you both just shut up?
Luke waved a hand, and a sacrificial blazer materialized. The monster!
Before Artemis recovered, the battle began. Thalia against Luke, and Theo and Zoë against Atlas. That is a mistake.
Why yes, yes it is.
Diana, can you please leave? You and I cannot fight right now.
Despite the fact that her other personality left, something was still nagging at Artemis's head, begging to be freed. She twitched, trying to ignore the foreign pressure in her head. Diana what did I say?
No response except for the pressure only increasing.
Frowning with effort, Artemis spared a glance- and saw no sign of the Precursor. Is he at Mt. Saint Helens? Part of her hoped he had gone, however a sinking feeling inside her was coming to the realization that he likely had not. Judging from the way Atlas was grinning as he toyed with the quest, it was likely Perseus did not go.
And then Theo was beside her. "The sky," He said. "Give it to me."
"It will crush you!" Artemis exclaimed, however the boy ignored her. Slashing at her chains, he slid down next to her. In that moment, a great weight was lifted from her. Artemis felt her body already begin to heal itself, muscles and bone growing stronger by each second.
The boy is strong.
Releasing the sky with a begrudging nod, she fully left the burden. However the pressure in her head was still building, as if waiting for a calamitous moment.
The goddess rushed forward, pressing the Titan who was focused on his daughter. The sudden ferocious attack surprised him, giving Artemis and Zoë the advantage. Their combined speed and agility overwhelmed Atlas, and they slowly drove him back, opening up wound after wound.
We can do this.
As Artemis went to deliver a devastating blow, a new player entered the field.
Her arm was caught in an iron grip, armored hand crushing her immortal bones. Artemis gasped in pain and shock, turning her gaze to the man responsible.
The immortal warrior was suited in his full battle armor, face hidden beneath his mighty war helm. However the two glowing eye slits showed his true power, disguised under the armor.
He swung his double edge spear, which Artemis deftly jumped over. Zoë barely dodged, getting a nice cut to the abdomen. Artemis tugged violently, pulling the warrior off balance. Zoë tried to fill him with arrows, but a shield sprung up to deflect her arrows.
"I told you to go to Saint Helens! Why did you not go?"
Perseus sneered, delivering a breathtaking punch to the gut which stole the air from the goddess's lungs. "You really think I'd listen? After everything?"
Artemis gasped, stumbling back to recover her breath. "You are being lied to! Why do you let yourself be deluded?!" The pressure in her mind had become a dull pain, which was slowly increasing. Every time she glanced at Perseus it flared up, almost blinding her.
"You are the deluded one Artemis." He said coldly, brandishing his spear. Zoë suddenly leapt from the shadows, but he spun around, catching her with his shield. The huntress flew back, slamming into the rocks off to the side. "Zoë!" Artemis shouted in agony, heart wrenching as she watched her best friend get tossed aside.
Atlas meanwhile was panting behind Perseus, grinning madly. His wounds were slowly healing, however he had no intention of rejoining the fight. "Kill her now Perseus, do what your kind was born to do - kill the goddess!"
Thalia had managed to work Luke to the edge of the cliff where they desperately fought for ground.
Artemis forced herself to look into Perseus eyes, or where she assumed his eyes were. "Your race was murdered by them. These Titans? They are just as bad as the Primordial Gods. In helping them rise, you are betraying your own race."
Perseus punched her across the face, igniting a crack! Across the mountain. "You know nothing!" He growled vehemently, eyes glowing. Artemis let her mind travel to the out of body she experienced with the Precursor princess, and all the emotions that had coursed through her body.
Oh, she knew. As Perseus raised his weapon, Artemis pulled out her last wild card.
"I found Astra." She whispered. Perseus faltered, causing Atlas's face to redden in fury. "What are you waiting for you idiotic dog! Kill her!" He roared. Perseus cocked his head, frozen.
"She showed me the end of your people. The genocide committed against them. Why would she show me that if I wanted you dead?"
"You lie!" Perseus snarled.
"I don't. And you know it." Artemis struggled to stand, leaning away from his weapon. Her head was throbbing "She loved you. Loved you more than life itself. By doing this you disgrace her memory." Perseus gave a yell of frustration, tossing his spear away. Atlas cursed as the Precursor grabbed Artemis, hands pressing around her neck as if to crush her.
The pressure in Artemis's head was overwhelming.
"I will kill every last one of you gods! I will hunt your kind to the ends of the earth! Just like you did to my people!" Perseus shouted. Artemis gasped, mind clouding over as she gave in to the immense pressure.
Artemis felt her mind roughly shoved aside, as another entity took control of her. Diana.
Not me princess. Diana responded deep in the recess of her mind. Artemis mentally frowned. Then who?
Artemis's body glowed from the inside, as if a fire was alit within. Her body turned a neon orange, and a great explosion blasted back Perseus and Atlas. When the smoke cleared, Perseus trained his eyes on Artemis.
Or what was supposed to be her.
In her place stood a flaming warrior, wearing armor similar to Perseus's. Her helm was decorated with the wings of a phoenix, and a deep red fire licked at her arms and face. Pulsing orbs of fire stared into his soul, reaching into him.
He knew only one other person who wore that armor.
Perseus slowly stood up, eyes dimming in disbelief. "Astra?"
The Precursor Princess did not respond, instead settling for an aggressive kick to the chest, sending Perseus flying. He slammed into the black rock, chest aching from the force of the kick. How is this possible?
Atlas roared, spittle spraying from his lips as he hurled his javelin at her. Astra dipped her body, contouring it in an impossible bend before combing back and giving him a right hook. Atlas's eyes rolled backwards for a brief second, head rattling from the blow.
Perseus jumped up, throwing his double edged spear at her. She merely batted it away, turning her fiery eyes upon him. Two daggers materialized in her hands, one in a reverse grip and the other in a forward one. Drawing his own sword, the two Precursors circled momentarily before lunging at one another.
While Perseus had the edge in strength, Astra's agility and speed left Perseus spinning. She ducked below his swing, slicing up with one dagger. Perseus deflected the strike, only for her other arm to swing around, going for a kill. Perseus raised his free arm, blocking the other strike and holding her for a moment in a standstill.
"Astra! What are you doing?!" A head-butt was his response. As he stumbled back, Astra turned back on Atlas, who was collecting himself. With the grace of a panther, she jumped off the wall and struck downwards, carving two deep gashes into Atlas.
"AGH!" He screamed in pain, pushing her away. Using the moment of the push, Astra twirled around and with a powerful extension of the legs she kicked him towards Theo.
The demigod groaned, rolling forward to allow Atlas under the sky. Once free, he promptly collapsed onto his face, trying to crawl to his friends. Perseus clenched his fists, low growl exiting his throat. Gripping his sword tight, he charged at Astra. The Princess leapt back, before countering with a few powerful blows.
Rolling fluidly to the side, Perseus slashed at her legs. Expecting the jump, he brought his knee into her gut, earning a groan of pain. Slamming his sword hilt into her chest plate, Perseus drove her into the wall pinning her. "Stop this. Now!" He pleaded, eyes searching, trying to see beneath the helm. However his words seemed to only incite more fury, as the orange fireballs that were her eyes nearly seared him with their heat. Her whole body lit up with an intense fire, and her knives dropped from her hands.
Perseus looked down in confusion, only for Astra to blast him into the air with two mighty streams of liquid fire. If not for his armor Perseus knew his skin would be burning horrifically. He landed roughly on the ground, the streams of fire continuously striking him.
Astra, or who he thought was Astra, stalked towards him, hands outstretched. The demigods were finishing their fight now, with Luke on the edge of the cliff.
I've failed. Perseus thought to himself, trying to get up. But Astra was powerful, and the flames only burned harder and moved faster. She stepped before him, and with one hand she struck him hard in the helmet.
Perseus felt it loosen, and with another strike his entire helmet rolled off his head, unveiling his black hair and unique green eyes.
Astra's fist hung, suspended in the air. Perseus slowly raised his hands, opening himself up to the next hit. "Why'd you stop?" He whispered. Astra snarled, yanking him up. She punched his chest several times, letting off some steam. Perseus just sat there and took it.
He wasn't expecting a response, but a rather quiet voice responded back to him. "Why?" It sounded like someone had overlapped her voice with another's, giving it a sort of echo or distortion. But it was her. It was Astra.
Perseus frowned, hands dropping. Blood trickled down his face, prickling at his skin as it slowly drooped off his nose. "Why what?"
"Why are you with them?"
"Yes! You sided with those responsible for our races death!" Perseus clenched his fists, eyes narrowing at her. "The gods killed our kind. I only wanted to return the favor!" he hissed. Astra laughed sarcastically, thumping him. "These gods are not our gods. They are different. The true successors to our enemies are the Titans, like him." She gestured to Atlas.
"This goddess, Artemis, has shown me everything. You've been made a fool Perseus, a wonderful fool! Can you not see the atrocities they commit every day?"
"And what of the gods!?" Perseus roared back. Astra growled, pressing her knives to his chest. "They are not perfect, but the Titans? Fine." She spun her knives, thrusting the handles to Perseus. Confused, he took them.
"If you are certain you're right, then do it- kill me. Right now. Plunge these blades through my heart and end me forever."
What!? Artemis mentally shouted. Diana was equally furious and they rose back up to take control, only for Astra to brutally beat them back. Wait.
Perseus looked at Astra like she had grown a second head. Not another second went by before he spoke. "No, absolutely not." He said without hesitation, dropping the blades. The metal clattered as they clunked against the obsidian ground. "Why not?" Astra challenged. Perseus stepped back, shaking his head. "I can't kill you, you know that!"
"So why are you with the Titans? Murderers? Thieves?" Astra pushed Perseus roughly, sending him staggering. Her fury was evident through the increased heat emitting from her body and the rise in flames in her eyes.
"The gods-" He tried to defend himself, but she stopped him.
"The Olympian Gods didn't kill our family. The Olympian gods are not the Primordial gods!"
"How can I trust you? What if the goddess whose body you're in right now has mislead you?"
Astra did not answer, picking up her blades. The flames on her arms flickered out, leaving only the fire of her eyes, which too was dimming. She touched Perseus's arm, speaking softly. "Go to Mt. Saint Helens. See for yourself the truth, the betrayal. Please, for me?" She asked gently. "And come back. If you still believe what you do now, I fully expect you to kill me next time I see you." She turned around and walked towards the middle of the room, staggering slightly.
Perseus's eyes grew wide, and he hustled forward. "Wait! You didn't even tell me how this is possible, how you're alive! You need to-"Astra's body glowed a magnificent orange, and when it died down Artemis was in her place.
The goddess's eyes rolled back into her head, and she collapsed. Just as her head was going to hit the ground, Perseus caught her gently, setting her down. He gave her a softer look than he'd given to anyone else. "I'll come back for you." Looking up, he saw the remaining demigods watching in absolute confusion. "Heal her. You must leave. If you are still here when I'm back…." He left the threat open. Once they began to move, bringing nectar to Artemis's lips, he vanished, leaving the battered group of demigods and the goddess in the destroyed ruins of Mt. Othrys.
He didn't look back.
"You think the master would approve of this lazy demonstration you call digging!?" A telekhine shouted. His compatriots groaned, using their pickaxes harder to carve out more ice. While the majority of the monsters were in Hephaestus's hidden forges, some were trying to dig out in the millennia old ice.
"Is that ice-man still attached to the cables?" He asked. Another telekhine nodded frantically in response, working on the said wires. "The power is flowing freely to the chamber. Lord Kronos is starting to fully absorb his power now."
"Good! Keep sucking it out of him!" The leader shouted. He looked at the armored knight before him, warily eyeing the royal blue eye slits that seemed to pulse every few seconds. "Hurry!"
Perseus appeared at the entrance to the excavation site, frowning at the amount of guards. A cyclops strolled up to him, with several giants behind. "Sir, I'm afraid you can't come in."
The Precursor frowned, crossing his arms. "Well that's funny, I didn't ask to come in. But now that you mention it, I'd like to." The cyclops and giants eyed each other, before the cyclops spoke again. "I'm under order to not let you in."
Uncrossing his arms, Perseus sauntered to the cyclops before him. "I'm certain we can make a deal, yeah?" He spoke lightly, smiling at the giants. The cyclops grunted, scratching his head. "I'll have to ask the boss man first." Turning to leave, he never saw the blade thrown at him. As he turned to dust without a sound, the giants roared and charged Perseus. The Precursor drew his sword, and in moments the giants lost their heads.
Advancing forward, Perseus's eyes glowed as he became a whirlwind of death. The monsters at the site tried to stop him from entering once they heard the commotion, but it was useless. The immortal warrior carved a deadly path towards the heart of the excavation, eventually stumbling upon the Telekhines.
The leader growled, baring a set of razor sharp teeth. "You! Kill him!" However as the telekhines rushed the Precursor, he was not paying attention. Instead his eyes were drawn to the black knight in the ice, green eyes widening. It can't be…
When the first telekhine chomped on his hand, furious green eyes glowed with power. Using unreal speed, he snapped the neck of the first one, before gutting the next two. After ripping the heads off a few more, the rest tried to escape.
Perseus brutally killed each monster, scattering their ashes until they were nothing. When he was finished, Perseus retrained his eyes on the knight before him, panic etched on his face.
No! I will not allow him to die!
Seeing the cables drawing the knights life force, Perseus quickly severed the connection. The knight remained partially locked in the ice however.
Walking towards the millennia old ice, Perseus took a pickaxe. With a mighty swing, he lumped off a massive chunk of blue ice, the cold air released dropping the temperature. Grunting with effort, he cut off another massive chunk, then another.
He kept going until the knight was no longer in place. Once the last bit blocking him was cleared, the black knight fell forwards out of the wall. Perseus caught up, grunting with effort, and laid the knight down on the cold ground.
"Come on, don't die on me!" Perseus exclaimed, trying to yank the helmet off.
It was no use.
As he pathetically tried to remove the sealed armor, a slight cough behind him resonated in the cavern. "Well, Perseus, this is rather awkward if I do say so myself."
Slowly turning around, Perseus's eyes blazed at the traitorous Titan. Beside him were two more armored Titans: one with flaming armor and a sword, and one with silver armor and a spear.
She was right. Humiliation and embarrassment coursed through Perseus's veins, shame making him squeeze his eyes tight. The Black Knight was still unresponsive, and the three Titans closed in on the Precursor. As his emotions got the best of him, Perseus felt himself slip into his original tongue.
"I'm going to kill all of you!" He growled vehemently in the Old Tongue, spouting curses. The Titans paused, watching the furious knight brandish his fearsome spear.
"Kill him!" Prometheus hissed. Hyperion rushed forward first, but was swatted to the side by Perseus. Before he could strike, Iapetus lunged forward. The piercer slashed through his shoulder pauldron, but did not strike Perseus himself. The immortal warrior spun around, his spear clashing with Iapetus's. As he danced with the two Titans, Prometheus edged into the cavern further, before dashing towards the end of the cables.
Panicking, Perseus swung wildly, slashing at Hyperion's shoulder. His blade bit into his armor, digging into skin. Hyperion's wound began to burn, wound not healing. "Ugh!" He groaned, retreating a few steps clutching at his wounded shoulder. Iapetus charged again, but Perseus was ready this time. Batting away his spear, Perseus lurched forward and impaled Iapetus through the gut on his spear. Iapetus gasped, silver eyes widening in alarm as the Precursor metal ate away at his insides.
Perseus lifted him into the air, spear ripping through his body. Before he could fully kill him, however, Hyperion slammed into his back. Perseus collapsed onto the ground, rolling gracefully away while Hyperion picked up his brother. "Prometheus!" He shouted. The Third Titan came back around, dragging a golden sarcophagus. "Let's go." He said.
Perseus gave a shout, charging again, but the Titans all vanished.
Slamming his weapons onto the ground in anger, he stormed towards the back of the cavern. Breath escaping him, he froze.
Several bodies of Precursor Knights lay tossed about, power sucked from them.
Screaming in frustration, Perseus almost missed the weak scratching.
Spinning towards the Black Knight, he saw his hands clawing at the ground. Perseus raced over, taking off his own helmet to gaze into the eye slights of the Knight. Two royal blue eyes gazed back at him through them, giving the black metal a dark blue hue.
"Father?" Perseus asked, touching the helmet. His fingers could feel the extreme cold even through his armor.
The warrior nodded gingerly, trying to raise an arm to grab his son. Perseus clutched his forearm, holding onto it for dear life. "You'll be ok. You're safe now that I've found you. You understand?"
Xerox coughed weakly, shaking his head. "What does that mean?" Perseus pried.
"I'm dying." Was his father's short response. Perseus swallowed hard, emerald eyes becoming glassy. He tapped his father's visor. "Can you take this off?" Xerox reached up, slowly pulling his helmet off. His pitch black hair was stuck to his forehead, royal blue eyes tiredly looking back at his son.
The two were a literal mirror image. The only difference was the eye color.
But Xerox was pale. Cold sweat trickled around him, and he felt his life force fading. "Listen to me, Percy. You must find Sol's Sword, find the Princess. They will not stop-"He entered a coughing fit, luminescent silver blood staining his gauntlet. Perseus felt his eyes burning, struggling to not cry as his only family member left died before him. "I found Astra, I think. But the sword? Where is it?"
"I left it with your friend, Helix. I managed to encase myself close to him." Perseus looked around, remembering the bodies of the Precursors he saw. "He is not here. And neither is the sword."
Xerox's blue eyes dulled, and he slid back down onto the cold ground. His breathing became weaker, eyes struggling to stay open. "You…..must find….it. It's…your…right."
"What? What are you talking about?"
Xerox managed a weak grin, so similar to Perseus's. "The Creator…..chose you…..to succeed Sol. Find it. Save our kind."
"Not without you. I don't know what to do- Father I've made a terrible mistake. I need your advice, please."
Xerox's eyes slowly closed, grip on Perseus weakening. "All…..is….redeemable….with right…..effort. Your mother..…..taught me that."
Perseus smiled sadly, nodding. "I understand." Xerox's eyes became pained, panicked, and he struggled to talk. "I…need….you….to…..know-"He began to cough more blood, eyes dropping. Perseus sniffed harshly, grief already taking hold. "Yes?"
"Your…mother…she…..she…" He trailed off, life leaving him. Perseus frowned, shaking his father. "What? What about her?"
"She lives." And with that, the great General Xerox, one of the strongest Precursors to ever live, died.
A burning sensation filled Perseus as his whole body seemed to clench. No. This cannot be happening. I couldn't have let this happen!
But he did.
Perseus's eyes illuminated the whole cavern as he felt an immeasurable rage cloud all of his thinking. With a shout of grief, he unleashed beams of power which obliterated the cavern. Unknown to him, everything had just changed.
Collapsing to his knees, Perseus replayed Xerox's words. His final sentence burned in Perseus's head, leaving unanswered questions. However he was at a loss.
Perseus could do nothing more but weep over grief and guilt, for if he had only listened to his father's advice sooner he could've saved him.
The Truth hurts.
Hope you all liked this chapter. I honestly wish I could write an entire story of the Precursors since they're so unknown, but you all will have to live with the small hints and flashbacks.
I hope you guys enjoyed this chapter. It's been a while and I'm feeling a bit rusty, so I hope it wasn't too terrible. Drop a review or PM me and let me know what you guys think, that lets me know if I'm on the right track.
Until next time.
(Thank you some random fucking guy for once again editing this to make it more legible.)