Ask and you shall receive! While reading through it, I found that it wasn't as bad as I'd imagined it to be. There's something wonderful about the simplicity of the story and the pace of the development compared to what I write now. Makes for a (mostly) relaxing read.
Will be updated frequently as this is finished work. Happy reading!
Chapter 1 (Dec 22nd)
"Wisteria Jackson, daughter of Poseidon and Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena, will you join the Hunt?"
Wisty swallowed. She had been expecting this. After all, she was turning sixteen tomorrow, which is in around three and a half hours. That meant she was going to make a choice that will apparently save Olympus, or destroy it. No biggie.
She glanced at Annabeth, who stepped forward. "I apologize, Lady Artemis, but I must decline, for personal...reasons." Artemis nodded in understandings, and Wisty thought she shot a glare at Luke.
Suddenly, all eyes were on her. Wisty's knees felt like they were going to buckle just from everyone's gazes.
She glanced at her father, but Poseidon's face was as unreadable as the ocean. Then, she looked at Thalia and Luke. Luke grinned at her while Thalia nodded encouragingly.
Do I really want this? Wisty thought. The idea seemed very appealing: partial immortality, forever remaining fifteen, and be on adventures around the world.
Of course, she would need to turn her back on the company of men and forswear any romantic relationships. But Wisty was fine with that. She wasn't really attracted to boys anyways.
Taking a deep breath, Wisty raised her head and stared straight into Artemis's eyes. "I will," she said.
Poseidon stood up, concern clear in his eyes. "Are you sure, my daughter? Think carefully-"
"I am sure, father," Wisty spoke with resolve. "I will not turn sixteen tomorrow. I shall never turn sixteen. Thalia will be the child of the prophecy," she glanced at Thalia, who looked a little pale as she realized how much responsibility was just piled onto her. Wisty felt a little bad for dumping her with the prophecy and running off, but she knew the camp needed more time to prepare for war, so she had to do it.
Artemis smiled at her. "Very well. Repeat after me: I pledge myself to the goddess Artemis."
"I-I pledge myself to the goddess Artemis…"
"I turn my back on the company of men."
"I turn my back on the company of men," Wisty recited, her voice growing stronger and stronger.
"...accept eternal maidenhood, and join the Hunt."
"...accept eternal maidenhood, and join the Hunt," Wisty completed the oath.
"I accept," Artemis said. The room glowed in a silvery aura, which converged onto Wisty and filled her with energy. Wisty felt herself growing slightly stronger, her muscles hardening slightly, her eyesight growing sharper, and she now shone with a silvery aura. Her senses were increased twofold, as if for her whole life she had been sleeping, and only now truly awakened.
She took a deep breath. The air smelled of forests and savannahs and all the wild places of the earth. "Wow," she breathed.
"You look...stronger," Annabeth observed. Wisty gave her friends a small smile.
"Well, I guess this is goodbye for now." She gave them all a hug. When she got to Luke, Wisty whispered into his ear, "Take care of Thalia for me, alright?"
She pulled back and saw that it had its intended effect. Luke's face was as red as a ripe tomato, and he kept opening his mouth and closing it again, like he didn't know what to say. Wisty grinned at him, then retreated to Artemis's side.
During the party, Artemis pulled Wisty aside and handed her a silver tiara, the symbol of the Lieutenant of the Hunt.
"Oh, um, thank you, my lady, but I'm new. I'm sure one of your senior Hunters would like to take up the job." Wisty declined. She actually declined because she didn't want to look like some usurper. She literally just joined the Hunt, she couldn't be Lieutenant immediately.
"Oh, but this is for you, my huntress," Artemis said. "I sense you will do a fine job."
"I'd rather work my way up to the top, my lady," Wisty declined once again. Artemis tilted her head and laughed softly.
"Humble," she mused. "Very well, Wisteria, I shall give this crown to Phoebe."
"I think it's for the best," Wisty told her. Artemis smiled, as if amused.
"Do not underestimate yourself, Wisteria," she told her. "You are much stronger than you give yourself credit for."
"I am not merely praising you. I am speaking the truth."
"Right," Wisty muttered, embarrassed. "When will we go back to the Hunt?"
Artemis raised an eyebrow. "Do you not enjoy the solstice, Wisteria?"
"No," Wisty admitted. "I've never liked parties."
"Hmm. Very well, we shall return immediately."
"What?" Wisty squeaked. "But you don't want to…" she gestured around at the festivities, where all the gods and demigods present mingled freely, drinking and chatting cheerfully, without a care in the world. She spotted Luke dancing with Thalia through the crowd, and smirked when she saw him trip over his own foot. Some things never change.
"No, I am not one for drinking and dancing, I'm afraid," Artemis laughed softly. "I am much more comfortable in the forests and hills."
"I can see why," Wisty acknowledged. "Well...let's go then?"
Artemis regarded her new Hunter with amusement. "You are as blunt as my half-sister," she said.
"Um, sorry?" Wisty offered uncertainly, not sure what she'd done wrong.
A ghost of a smile flickered on Artemis's lips. "There's no need to be sorry, Wisteria. When we are in private, it is fine, but I would rather you acknowledge me by my title in public."
"Of course, my lady," Wisty said. Artemis merely nodded, and grabbed her arm and melted into moonlight. Wisty felt herself falling, then rising. When she opened her eyes, they were in a forest, and Wisty saw multiple silver tents set up in a clearing. The Hunters milling around the camp stopped as they stared at the new arrivals.
"My lady, you're back!" Phoebe exclaimed. "Where...where's Zoë?" she asked. Wisty felt a surge of guilt run through her.
Artemis took a deep breath. "Zoë...is in a better place. If you look up towards the stars, you shall see her."
All the Hunters' heads dropped as they understood the implied meaning behind her words. "She knew…" Phoebe choked out, her eyes brimming with tears.
"Hunters!" Artemis snapped, shocking them out of their daze. "Zoë died an honorable death, fighting her own father and protecting her fellow quest members. We must not dwell over this loss. For now, Phoebe, step forward."
Phoebe stepped forward, and Artemis presented her with the silver tiara. "You are now Lieutenant," she told her, "do well. Do as Zoë would do."
Phoebe straightened, but Wisty caught a flash of irritation and resignation in her eyes as she realized that, however hard she tried, she would never be as good as Zoë. "Of course, my lady."
"Also, we have a new Hunter in our ranks," Artemis announced. "Wisteria Jackson, daughter of Poseidon, has joined us in our hunts."
"Call me Wisty." Wisty stepped forward and gave a little, uncertain wave. Any doubts were dispelled from her mind, however, when the Hunters mobbed her and said their welcomes, along with many hugs and pats.
Phoebe gave her a pound on the back, nearly knocking out her teeth. "Welcome, sister."
Cynthia, their best healer from what Wisty had heard, hugged her. "You will do well, I can tell."
"Uh, thanks," Wisty told the Hunters, who were suddenly grinning deviously at her. "What!" she demanded. "Is there something on my face?"
"Oh, no, not your face," Phoebe laughed. "It's just that...there's a tradition every time a new Hunter joins."
"What tradition?" Wisty asked warily. She could tell that this "tradition" wasn't an outdoor barbecue on the lawn.
"You fight me," Artemis said. Wisty nearly choked on her own breath.
"Excuse me?" she said. The Hunters laughed at her. Wisty was sure her face probably looked about as pale as Hades was.
"You fight me," Artemis explained, hiding a smile, "in a duel to submission. It's an initiation ceremony, if you will."
"Great," Wisty groaned. "I get to fight the fastest and one of the most skilled fighters on Olympus."
"Why, thank you, Wisteria," Artemis chuckled. "Shall we go to the 'arena', huntress?"
"I don't have a choice, do I?" Wisty huffed.
"No," Artemis smiled wickedly. 'You don't."
This was completed in September 2017 and uploaded immediately after every other day. The entire story is around 50k words but took less than a month to complete - it was just me spilling words onto the page. It was a part of my Pertemis craze - still ongoing, of course - and also a way for me to make tangible things that never happened in canon, fix things that made very little sense (Thalia becoming lieutenant, for example), and take my first real foray into writing a story with an original, imaginative plot.
Editing this gave me nostalgia, of course, but there's something charming about reading your own work from years ago. To see how you have improved, but also to feel proud of what you did, no matter how terrible you think it is now. To writers who are reading, I suggest you go read your old work. You will certainly cringe but also feel inexplicably happy.