Percy stared at the ruins of the throne room before sighing. The Olympians had fought hard, that was true, but in the end, they had been no match for his army. No match for him. Artemis and Apollo were imprisoned, spared only by the vehement pleading from Leto, who had begged that her children not be killed. Percy had hesitated at that, because he knew exactly what the two were capable of. It had been Bob who had seconded the motion, surprisingly, stating that he would act as their jailor, but even then, Percy hesitated. In the end, he stripped their power from them, leaving them immortal, but giving their domains to Helios and Selene before banishing them to Delos until he was certain they would not rebel. Hermes and Aphrodite had surrendered to him long before the war was over, in exchange for their children being spared. Ares… Ares hadn't been so lucky, slaughtering his way through Percy's guards to fight him at the foot of the Empire State Building.
The God of War was no more, faded from existence, his body dissolving to ash. Hera had followed soon after in her rage, not even making it through Lelantos before she too was gone. Hephaestus had put up a token fight, but in the end, it was Leo, who had been captured during one of their early skirmishes and defected, who convinced him to surrender, citing that Percy would show leniency and allow him to keep his seat if he just stopped fighting. That had only been a few hours earlier. Atlas had nearly fallen to Zeus' attacks despite his Master Bolt still being locked in Tartarus with Rhea, but in the end, like the others, he had fallen alone.
Demeter, Hades, and his father had joined his side almost immediately, the former retreating to the underworld, while Poseidon finally secured his realm in it's entirety, Oceanus revealing every hidden base, every nook, and every cranny there was that he knew of.
He felt her enter, chained for her safety more than anything else.
"Are you happy, Percy?" Zoe asked him, and he turned to examine her. She wasn't injured—too badly. There was a bruise forming on her cheek from where one of his guards had backhanded her when she drew a knife. "You've won. Olympus is yours, Zeus is dead. Ares is dead. Hera is dead. Dionysus is dead. What now?"
He ambled over to her slowly, the guards stepping back as he did so. He shrunk to a more mortal height, but even then, he still towered over her by nearly a foot. He placed his finger under her chin, tilting it upwards so he could examine the blossoming bruise, before he ran his hand over it, healing it with a single pass. He didn't miss the way she leaned into his palm slightly, before suddenly pulling back, realising what she had done.
"Now we rebuild," he said with a wave of her hand, her shackles coming undone. All around him, the debris and dust from the battle vanished as the thrones rumbled and disappeared, leaving the room empty save for the roaring hearth in the centre. "The mortals are panicking, of course. New York is a warzone of divine proportions, and they're fully aware as to why. There are military forces inbound already, but by the time they arrive, they'll find that New York is my new capital. It won't fall. Not to them."
"So what, you plan to reveal yourself to the mortal world as God?" Zoe spat, but he just laughed.
"No, not God—with a capital G. Just one of many," he told her, "I just want peace Zoe. But you can't make an omelette without cracking a few eggs. In this case, you can't create world peace without cracking a few nations. Some will resist. Most will fall into compliance easily enough."
"With your army of super-soldiers and Titans?"
"Among others, yes," he nodded, before his eyes shifted to the side. "You can come out, Hestia. I know you're there."
The goddess of the hearth emerged from the shadows, her age similar to Percy's, being in her mid-twenties. She stared at him with those fire filled eyes, trying to decipher him.
"My family is ruined, but the fire burns brighter than before," she said slowly, "what have you done?"
"What needed to be done," he replied, "the gods were never the source of the west, you know this. The flame of the west will last long past us. I simply gave it the inspiration it needed."
He could feel Zoe tensing behind him, but he ignored her. A huntress she may be, but she was a mortal. They were so fleeting. So weak. She posed no threat to him.
"And what of me?" Hestia asked, staring at him bravely, "am I to be replaced so easily, the guardian of the hearth?"
"Not at all," he answered, "in fact, I was going to leave you be. You're easily the most powerful god alive, Hestia. I'd expect nothing less from the eldest of Kronos, but I am not a god. I'm… different. For example, I know that Zoe is inching closer towards Ambrosius in the hopes that she might steal his blade and stab me in the back," he felt the daughter of Atlas cease moving, "but I also know that Thalia is currently leading the surviving demigods and spirits around us, hoping to ambush me and get rid of me once and for all."
Hestia stared at him in shock, and Percy snapped his fingers. Immediately, the room flared with light, and the little strike-team was revealed to the world. He recognised many of them. Thalia, Annabeth, Reyna, Frank, Jason, Piper, Clarisse, the Stoll brothers, and even Grover was there.
"Oh, did I ruin your plan?" He laughed. They were all armed, and his guards instantly went to draw their weapons, but an open palm made them stop, though their hands rested on the pommels of their swords. "There's been enough bloodshed already, and I'd rather not have more."
"What happened to New Rome?" Reyna demanded, Frank standing proudly next to her, despite his battered appearance.
"Nothing," he answered with a shrug, "Lupa and her pack fought a few skirmishes, but she surrendered to me nearly a month ago. Did Iris forget to mention that to you? Cleomenes, remind me to thank her."
"Of course, sir," the captain of his guard answered, eyes shifting between the group of warriors.
"Are you going to try to fight me?" Percy asked them, head cocked to the side. "The thrones of the gods that died have been destroyed. Artemis and Apollo are without powers, and the rest swore allegiance to me. There's no need to fight."
"Once, you would've stood with us," Annabeth sighed, but she sheathed her dagger, turning to the others. "He's right. His forces outnumber us and his generals are far better than we are. This isn't the Titan War—this isn't even the Gigantomachy. We've lost."
"There's still—" Jason tried, only for Hestia to raise a hand.
"Annabeth is correct," she said, "there does not need to be more bloodshed here. That will come soon enough, won't it, Perseus? When the mortal arrive."
"Unfortunately," he nodded. "They think they'll overrun my forces and take me prisoner to be held for trial. They still don't believe, but that's alright. They'll learn with time."
"You sound like a tyrant," Grover said quietly.
"Interesting choice of words," Percy replied, "Greeks would call me a Tyrant, but the Romans would call me Dictator. Neither of those words had any negative connotation in their original form, but over time, they came to be associated with evil and malicious leaders. Have I struck you as either of those? How many of your fellow demigods have I killed? Did I try to raze your camps to the ground? Did I not offer mercy to those who surrendered? Have I done anything to indicate I was planning something truly awful?"
"You've seized power," Zoe said, closing the distance between them. She was unarmed still, but his guards twitched. Another wave made them stand down, "and you've redistributed it. I've seen the way your mind works, Perseus. You've already got plans for the future. Governors and generals have orders for their fiefs. Small kingdoms are carved out already, aren't they?"
"In some cases, yes," Percy acceded, "places where stability is lacking have been marked for occupation and reorganising. Other places will be left be so long as they follow the laws I establish. Leaders will still be elected. Life continues on as usual, save for the fact that there's no hiding. Gods exist, Zoe, and we deserve to be heard. Demigods shouldn't have to fear leaving one of two camps."
"And what of your monster armies in Tartarus?" Zoe demanded, "what happens when they get restless, and want to come to the surface?"
"That's a hypothetical question and you know it," Percy scoffed, "I tamed Tartarus. The Pit bends to my will, and peace reigns. But let's assume Rhea fails in her leadership and the monsters begin attacking the surface, my new empire. What do you think I'd do?"
Zoe didn't answer, but Reyna did.
"You'll wipe them out," she noted, "mass genocide, most likely. That doesn't bother you?"
"Not much of anything bothers me anymore," Percy sighed, "I took the most brutal place in existence and civilised it. Do you think I did that by talking nicely and asking everything to get along with each other? You're all intelligent, and I'd never insult you by lying about what I'd do."
"You killed my father," Frank stated. Jason nodded in agreement.
"I did," Percy agreed, "and I wish I hadn't had to. I gave them all plenty of opportunities to surrender. Hephaestus, Artemis, Apollo, Hermes, Aphrodite all took the offer. Demeter, Hades and my father were already behind me. Do you know what the kicker is? I didn't want to do this. I would've hid away in Alaska for the rest of my days, but Chaos came before me and ordered me to do up here what I did in Tartarus. Who can argue against the creator?"
"No one," Hestia said softly, "Khaos demanded it?"
"I swear by my immortality that's the truth," Percy told them, "I'm very good at what I do. It doesn't mean I like doing it. But once I have to? Well, there's no stopping me at that point. You've seen what I'm capable of."
"What's our future?" Reyna asked.
"Whatever you wish of it," he shrugged, "go back to New Rome if you wish. Move to Chicago and become a painter or something like that. You could, of course, join my armies as a leader, but I won't force you to do anything. But if you continue this futile fight against me, I'll have no choice but retaliate, and that's the last thing I want to do."
There was a moment of inaction before the first sword was thrown onto the ground. Travis Stoll.
"I always liked you, Percy," he declared, "admired you, even. I wish this hadn't gone this way, but it has. The Hermes cabin has no issues with you. Our father lives, and his powers are still his—for now, at least—so I'm willing to let bygones be bygones."
Others followed, and soon, only Thalia and several hunters were armed, and none of them seemed eager to put them down anytime soon. Percy saw the daughter of Zeus having a silent conversation with Zoe, the latter clearly trying to talk her down. She wouldn't succeed, Percy knew. In forty seconds, Thalia would try to attack him, the hunters following her lead. They would all die in the attempt, and Percy would be left with a crushing guilt for killing his cousin. That was one, option at least. The other was far less brutal.
Percy snapped his fingers and the weapons in the remaining demigods hands went flying, and with an unspoken command his Praetorians subdued the hunters. Zoe groaned in annoyance.
"How did you know?" she asked him.
"Trade secret," he grinned, before turning, looking at the ruined city of Olympus. It would need to be rebuilt. An emperor needed a capital, after all. "One day, you'll understand why I did this," he told them without looking back, "maybe you'll even forgive me for it. I'm not holding my breath."
There we go. A one-shot to finish up the story of This Means War. I started writing this back in like, June, and only just now finished it. I thought about writing a second chapter covering what happens after Percy takes over the world, but I decided against it. Better to let things be a bit ambiguous. The problem with writing a sequel for this is that I made Percy so incredibly powerful, along with giving him a nearly unstoppable army made up of genetically enhanced demigod soldiers led by veteran Titans. There was no question that he would win, so there was no point in writing what was, in it's essence, a quick, brutal war. Blitzkrieg in it's finest. I hope you enjoyed this little read.
For the title—Zeitgeist is a German word that describes the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time. In context of this one-shot, it doesn't actually make much sense, but in the grand scheme, it does. The Zeitgeist of this ending is all the change that's coming. At the moment, Olympus is in ruins, and there are mortal forces coming to New York to try and fight Percy. They'll fail, and his new regime will rise. That's where the Title comes in. The ideas and beliefs that Percy holds, that all people should live without fear, without crime, will define his rule. Thousands of years after this takes place, Percy will still be there, and world will be a better place. History will talk about his wars of conquest, and they'll be mostly true, but the key feature is the result of these wars, that led to a stable, prosperous Terran Empire.