Once again, I'm sorry for such a long update. The words just haven't been flowing recently, but hopefully that changes soon. I know you all love this story and I don't want to disappoint.
The next chapter won't be until the new year. There's a big cliffhanger at the end of the chapter. I hope you'll forgive me and enjoy the chapter.
Naruto/Percy Jackson Crossover
Dining With Divinity
"I'm not sure I like this."
Naruto lifted his head and looked at the Goddess of the Hearth. He was down on one knee, his hands toying with the laces to Thalia's shoes as he made the bunny ears. She didn't appear overly pleased. Her arms were crossed over her front and held the posture of someone who wasn't happy, but her expression told a different story. Her face appeared apprehensive.
The reason she was worried? Because Thalia would be travelling with Naruto and Gunilla and visiting Jotunheim for the first time. According to Naruto, he'd been thinking about taking Thalia to visit his old friends once she was old enough, but with this new situation, there was no time like the present. Plus, he'd introduced Gunilla to them when she was not much older than the daughter of Zeus.
They were standing outside his home. Gunilla was right there with them, having stayed with them for the past couple of days, waiting for the weekend to come. They wanted to go earlier in the week, but they didn't want to take Thalia out of school, so they waited. Thor kept his promise to the Goddess and left after dinner, though he did help himself to most of the cooking that evening, devouring everything he got his hands on. Melinoe was at the Fox's Den, running the ship that morning until Hestia went in later in the afternoon. He made sure to leave a few clones in the back to help them with the kitchen duties. Sally and Percy, meanwhile, were visiting Montauk for the weekend, having some mother-son bonding time away from the craziness they'd witnessed earlier that week. He couldn't blame them. It was a lot to take in.
The blonde stood up, ruffling Thalia's head and stepped forward towards the deity. He put one arm around her shoulders and gave her a quick squeeze, "Don't worry. Nothings going to happen to her. I'll be right there with her, and so will Gunilla."
"I know, but still," Hestia bit the side of her lip, "Isn't she too young for this? Not to mention, she has homework."
"We finished her homework last night, remember." It was rather amusing to see Hestia's worry, but Naruto wanted to alleviate her worries and ushered Thalia forward, "Thalia. Can you tell Aunt Hestia the main rule while we're away from home?"
The little girl scampered forward, "Uhuh! The golden rule is that I'm not allowed to wander off. I have to stay with Uncle or big sis Gunilla at all times!"
The blonde gave Hestia a proud look, watching as her face was a mishmash of thoughts and emotions.
"Are you sure I can't convince you to let her stay?"
He gave her shoulder another squeeze, "She will be fine. I'll be right there. It's not like the others will do anything, and any giant will run a mile if they see Gunilla." Hestia gave a little hum but still didn't appear convinced, "You know, for someone who claims she doesn't have a motherly bone in her body, you sure are worrying like one."
"There is nothing wrong with having a little apprehension to the notion that my niece is off to another world." Hestia replied in a matter-of-fact tone, "It's not like it's a place I'm able to visit on a whim should something go wrong." Only the Norse Pantheon had access to the other nine worlds that sat connected thanks to the Ygdrassil. The World Tree was so ingrained within the Norse Pantheon, it became rare, if not impossible, for a deity of another pantheon to gain access to it. She'd seen it once, back in the early days of the Greek Pantheon, long before any of Zeus's children came into being and first made contact with the Norse.
It would be correct in thinking the relationship between the two were frosty at best, with both sides keeping to their own, except for a few instances when either side met by chance while out in the world.
"Well, it's a good thing nothing will go wrong." He grinned and let out a silent laugh as Hestia gently pushed him away and started smoothing down the jumper Thalia was wearing, muttering something about not getting the creases out of the fabric. Hestia could be such a worry-wart. Leaving Thalia to be fretted over by her aunt, Naruto stood next to Gunilla, who was staring at the pair, "You okay?"
Gunilla nodded, "I'm fine. I guess I'm still just a little surprised at your new situation. I know it's been some time since we last saw one another, but I didn't think you would accept another demigod into your care. Especially, one not from the Norse Pantheon."
The older blonde shrugged, "Well, it wasn't planned. When I came to New York, it was under the guise of keeping a low profile. I figured I could stay here for a decade. Maybe two, if I was lucky." He chuckled, "I didn't expect the Fox's Den to become so popular with the divine." He nodded towards Thalia, "One day, Thalia's Mother visited, and when she left, Thalia fell into my care. She walked away and didn't look back. I still don't understand how a parent can do such a thing."
Gunilla's lips thinned, "Where is her mother now?"
"I don't know," He answered honestly, "I don't think Hestia checks on her anymore. She has no reason to, now that Thalia is here. I think she would have some choice words to give Beryl Grace if they ever met again."
"I think there are a lot of people who would say the same thing. Thalia is very loved. She has only benefitted from her mother's abandonment. Think what state she could be in if she was still under her care."
"I try not to." He put one hand on Gunilla's shoulder, "But your right. She's happy here, and that's what matters." He looked up at the sky, "I only wish her father would come down from time to time and visit his daughter." He turned back to Hestia and Thalia, "Are you finished mothering her yet, Hestia?"
"Oh, shush, you." She stuck her tongue out at the blonde before kneeling and wrapping her niece in a hug, "Be good. I want to hear all about your trip when you get back tomorrow." She kissed her niece's forehead, "I've put a few sweet treats just for you in your backpack. Don't eat them all in one go."
"Okay, Auntie! And don't worry. I'll be fine!"
The Goddess of the Hearth sighed while standing back up, "I know you will be, but I worry all the same." She gave Naruto and Gunilla each a look, "Both of you keep a close eye on her, please." When both blondes nodded, she brought both of them into a hug, "In that case, enjoy your time in Jotunheim, and I'll see you when you get back. I've packed some food for you all for when you get hungry. Naruto, there's a thermos with coffee inside and another with hot chocolate for Thalia."
"You're the best, Hestia."
Gunilla held a hand out to Thalia, which the girl promptly clasped onto, "We should get going. The sooner this mess is sorted out, the better."
"Where is the closest point to the World Tree?" Hestia asked. In order for the trio to make their way to Jotunheim, they would need to travel across the branches of the Ygdrasil that connects the Nine Worlds. They could have taken the Rainbow bridge or the Bifrost as it was also known by, but that would alert Zeus and the rest of Olympus that someone not from their pantheon had entered their territory without asking.
"Boston," Gunilla answered, "Lord Odin hoped to have an access point created in New York centuries ago given how integral this city is to the world, but your council vetoed that decision when proposed. He didn't want to ruffle any feathers by creating it without their consent."
"Luckily, I have some of my Flying Thunder God technique markers set up in Boston, so we can get there in a flash," Naruto added.
"You couldn't set up a marker in Jotunheim?"
"I do, but I can't flash between worlds. The technique doesn't let me dimension hop, in a sense. When we get to Jotunehim, I can flash us to where we need to go." Naruto tied the strap of his backpack around his waist, "We have a meeting point for when I visit. I'll flare out my chakra, and they'll head over. They'll sense it immediately." Taking Thalia's hand in his own, he felt Gunlla's hand rest on his shoulder, "We'll be gone for no more than a day. We'll get this whole mess sorted out."
"See you tomorrow, Auntie!"
"Goodbye, Lady Hestia."
Before Hestia could say a word, the trio was gone, leaving the Goddess behind. She released a small sigh before turning around and walking inside. She noticed the sky seemed to darken and grey. The weather over New York typically altered with her brother's ever-changing mood. She couldn't help but wonder what was causing Zeus's mood to fluctuate so much. With her circle of privacy, she doubted he was spying on her. He knew better than to try that. He'd made that mistake once and promised he would never do it again.
Closing the door behind her, she rested the back of her head, aginst the wood, 'Well, at least it means I get a night to myself.'
"Woh! This place is so cool!" Thalia yelled at the top of her lungs, perched on the back of the daughter of Thor, looking out across the vast void the World Tree occupied, "It's bigger than the Empire State Building!"
The trio didn't linger when they flashed into existence into Boston and made a beeline for the nearest entrance to the World Tree. Naruto's marker brought them straight to the Kendall square roof garden, where the hidden entrance sat written in the bark of a tree. It took Gunilla a wave of her hand and muttering a few words beneath her breath before a portal, no bigger than seven feet high and wide, opened up in the air, revealing a mishmash of colours awaiting them. Walking through, they found themselves standing on one of the branches of the Ygdrasil. The branch alone was the size of a freeway and stretched on behind them as far as the eye could see.
Gunilla turned her head to look at the dark-haired girl, "The Ygdrasil is likely the biggest object of power within the Nine Worlds." She told her. Her lower arms were wrapped tight around Thalia's legs to keep her in place. Naruto and Hestia had both informed her that Thalia was not a fan of heights, making walking across the branches of the World Tree far direr in the little girl's eyes, "It connects the Nine Worlds, creating a bridge between them and allowing those of the Norse Pantheon to use its branches to move from one to another.
"How did it get so big?"
"No one truly knows. Well," Gunilla stopped for a moment, a thoughtful expression on her face, "Perhaps Lord Odin might know. If he does, he keeps such information to himself. As the God of Wisdom, there is little he wouldn't know. When the Nine Worlds was born, so was the Ygdrasil. I have no idea which is older. They're both older than the Gods of our pantheons. Older than those that came before them. As old as the Primordials that make up the first age of immortals."
A loud explosion rang above them. Something heavy soon collided with one of the branches on the right side of them.
Thalia frowned, peering over Gunilla's shoulder. The Valkyrie didn't appear the slightest bit bothered by the sound and kept walking forward as she headed for one of the entrances that would take them to Jotunheim.
"What's Uncle doing?" Thalia asked, her index finger coming around to poke the blonde valkyrie on the cheek, "He just took off when we arrived. Is he not walking with us?"
"Oh, I'm sure he would walk with us if he could." Gunilla soothered, patting Thalia on top of the head, "You see, there's a creature that lives on the World Tree known as Ratatosk. Think of squirrel but one that's bigger than a truck." Thalia's eyes went wide at that, urging her to continue, "Ratatosk's goal is to bring down the Yggdrasil, and he's been trying for a long time. No one knows why he wants to bring it down, but to those who use the World Tree to get around the Nine Worlds, Ratatosk will always intercept them and try to cause mayhem. He also spends his time spreading lies and rumours between the dragon, Nidhogg, at the roots of the tree and the anonymous eagle and Vedrfolnir at the top."
"So, that's what Uncle Naruto is doing. He's keeping us safe by drawing Ratatosk's attention towards him. He and Ratatosk have met previously, and I don't think he's overly fond of him."
"I'm not sure, but I think Uncle Naruto might have stolen Ratatosk's nuts on more than one occasion. The mighty squirrels of the World Tree never forget a face, nor any slight made against him."
As she said that, the very person they were talking about landed next to them, making spider web cracks appear on the bark as he landed.
"You two, okay?" Naruto asked, wiping his brow as looking the two over.
"We're fine. I was telling Thalia about your history with Ratatosk and why he dislikes you so much."
Thalia looked up at him with all the innocence of the world residing on her face, "Did you really steal the big squirrels nuts, Uncle?"
The blonde snorted, "I didn't steal anything of his, Thalia's. His nuts did go missing, but that's because Thor stole them as a joke and blamed me for it. Now, that damn overgrown furball goes for me every time I use the Yggrasil. Admittedly, I don't use it often, but still," He shrugged and turned to look at a neighbouring branch a few hundred feet away from them, "It's still annoying!"
Soon enough, Thalia found herself fixed at the furry beast running along the thick branch next to theirs. It was massive in size and appeared larger than how Gunilla described it. Its thick greyish-brown fur stood on end with a bushy tail almost as big as the rest of its body. Its eyes were beady and black like coal, and the daughter of Zeus could have sworn she could feel it glaring in their direction. It opened its mouth, and all that came out of it was a series of barks that made the air around it waver and shimmy.
"His language is appalling," Gunilla said, shaking her head as the blonde shinobi frowned, "If Lady Hestia came with us, I fear she would burst a blood vessel if she heard his words. I'm glad they've never met."
"You and me both. I dread to think what would happen if that day ever came." He made a familiar hand sign, and half a dozen cones sprung to life and dashed across the branches and towards Ratatosk, who scurried across his branch to intercept the incoming pests, "I'll see you shortly." He patted their heads, much to Gunilla's mixture of amusement and annoyance. A moment later, he took off after his clones to join in keeping Ratatosk entertained.
The two girls ideally watched from afar as the clones jumped on the giant squirrel before the blonde shinobi skidded to a stop, threw his hand back and allowed Rasengan to swirl to life in his palm. It grew and grew until it was the size of a small truck and threw it forward to collide with Ratatosk squarely in the abdomen. The effect was immediate, and Ratatosk found itself flying through the air, launched off his feet. He soon smashed into a higher branch with a resounding impact.
Thalia scrunched up her face, "Doesn't that hurt the big squirrel?" She asked, watching closely as the giant squirrel shakily started standing back up. The expression on its face made it appear angry as it glanced down at its burnt fur.
"I wouldn't worry. Ratatosk is incredibly durable. I've seen him take a lot worse and get back up." On queue, the furry beast wobbled to his feet, the fur on the front of his body scorched from the impact with an incensed look upon his face, "See. He's fine."
"What if he falls off the side?" Thalia didn't dare look down, but the younger girl pictured it being a long way down to the bottom, "Does the World Tree have a bottom?"
"There is no bottom," Gunilla explained, "But if someone fell from the branches of the Yggdrasil, they would fall through an endless void until eventually falling through a gate that led to one of the Nine Worlds."
"Like Midgard and this Jotunheim place we're going through?"
"That's right. The last thing you want is to fall into worlds like Muspelheim or Niffleheim. One is a world of fire and lava, while the other is an endless winter of unbelievable harshness. Both are inhabited by giants of the elements of their world. They are prickly to outsiders, especially Muspelheim." Gunilla turned her head to look at Thalia, "And then you have Helheim, the realm of the Dead. I do not know much about that world, for I have never had to venture there in my five hundred years of life, but it's controlled by the Goddess, Hela. She does not take kindly to the living scouring upon her realm. I've heard she can be difficult to reason with, so most tend to avoid her."
Another explosion and both girls watched as Ratatosk sailed over them and impacted another branch far off to the left of them. The squirrel of the Yggdrasil was taking some heavy punishment, though both girls ignored him and carried on their way, even as their blonde protector pounced over, drop-kicking said beast square in the jaw.
"Man, that was irritating. I forgot how much crazy stamina that squirrel possesses." Naruto muttered, stepping through the portal in the bark of the Yggdrasil. He dusted himself off, ridding himself of pieces of bark and debris that came from his tussle with Ratatosk. Once done, the first thing he did was take a deep breath.
The air in Jotunehim was cool and clean in a way that reminded him of home. Untainted by the technological advancement of humanity and the constant growth of cities, the world of the giants remained untouched. Great mountains and forests stretched across the world for as far as the eyes could see. Nature untouched and lakes untainted, it was as if he'd stepped back in time when the Earth, or Midgard as the Norse would call it, was once the same.
He stood there for a moment, taking it all in and letting his mastery of senjutsu weave the power of nature across his body. It made him feel strong. It made him feel alive. Rejuvenated. Perhaps coming to Jotunheim was a blessing in disguise.
"Wow," He heard a few meters in front of him. Gunilla and Thalia stood side by side, the young daughter of Zeus now on her feet and eyes full of wonder as she stared at the various mountains that surrounded the land. They'd arrive moments earlier before the blonde stepped through the portal into Jotunheim, and Thalia had been quick to jump off Gunilla's back and stare at the new world around her. He and Hestia had taken her away to spots around the United States in the past five years, but they couldn't compare to the lands of Jotunheim.
"That was my first reaction when I saw Jotunheim for the first time. Of the Nine Worlds, it's one of the most beautiful. The only ones that surpass it are Asgard and Vanaheim, though many may disagree." Naruto spoke, putting his hand on Thalia's shoulder as he came to stand next to them.
"The mountains are so high. Everything is so big here!" Even the trees were enormous, standing as big as the tallest buildings in New York City, "Now that we're here, where do we need to go to meet your friends." The answer she got back was her guardian pointing towards one of the mountains off in the distance, which happened to be one of the larger ones.
"We're heading right there." Naruto pointed off in the distance, towards a tall solitary peak that sat away from the rest. It was so far away that if Thalia held out her thumb, it would be no bigger than her fingernail.
"That's kinda far, isn't it?" Thalia asked, before feeling herself getting hoisted onto Naruto's back, "Huh?"
"If we walked, it would take us two or three days to reach the mountain. That's why I'm going to run and carry you." He grinned and looked at Gunilla, "I can make a clone to carry you too if you like?" Gunilla adamantly shook her head, "Naww. Why not? You loved it when you were little."
"I'm not some child you can throw on your back all willy-nilly. Besides," Thalia watched in amazement as a set of wings sprouted from Gunilla's back, golden like the sun and each side bigger than Thalia in size, "I can just fly there, myself."
Naruto nodded, impressed at the little showboating Gunilla was showing, "Well, okay, if you're sure. We'll be waiting for you at the top." Before Thalia or Gunilla could say another word, the blonde shinobi took off from the ground like a bullet and sped across the branches of the tree's, his form barely more than a blur. All one could hear was Thalia's screams becoming more and more distant. Gunilla didn't hang around and took off into the air, her golden wings gliding her across the air currents with the grace of a swan.
"Goodness, it sure is quiet without those two around here," Hestia muttered to herself, flicking on the lights of Casa Del Uzumaki as she quietly closed the door behind her. Her day at the Fox's Den had been largely uneventful. The usual busy periods came and went with Melinoe not-so-subtly making off-handed comments about her boss and manager galavanting across Jotunheim. If Hestia didn't know any better, she would have thought her brother's child was jealous, not that the younger goddess would ever admit to such a thing.
Making her jacket disappear into her closet up in her room, Hestia found herself standing in the hallway, unsure of what to do. Normally, she'd be getting dinner ready by now for Thalia and Naruto and afterwards, ensuring her niece was ready for bed. She'd developed a routine since taking up part-time residence, but now, she wasn't sure what do to with herself.
"I suppose I could head back to Olympus for the night." She muttered to herself before hearing another crash of thunder booming across the sky, the lightning lighting up the city, "On second thought, I think I'll stay here. It sounds like Zeus has been in one of his moods all day." The weather progressive got worse as the day went on. Despite wondering what was causing her brother to have such a hissy fit, her main thoughts were with the blonde and dark-haired little girl currently a world away.
Kicking off her shoes, she stretched out her arms and climbed up the stairs.
"How about a nice long bath with candles and bubbles." She told herself, smiling at the prospect as she removed a hairpin and let her long and luscious hair flow down her back, "I think I've earned an evening to pamper myself." She didn't do it often, but she liked to treat herself when time afforded it. With Naruto and Thalia away, why not spoil herself?
Minutes later, as the bath began to fill up, Hestia found herself walking through the first-floor hallway in a white bathrobe, her hair swept down one side. A book was in her hand, one she'd been reading over the past fortnight. Before bed, she spent 30 minutes reading as a way of calming her mind and letting her body relax into the bed. It was a little habit she picked up from Athena.
A thought hit Hestia that made her stop, 'There's no one around. I'm the only one home.' Her free hand came up and played with the robe that covered her body. A playful smile was on her face, 'I mean, who would ever know?' Biting her lip and waving her hand, forcing all the shutters and curtains to cover the windows in the house, Hestia undid the knot that kept her robe tight on her person and dropped it to the ground.
"Oh, my! Look what happened." She feigned surprise, one hand cupping her chin with an innocent look washing over her face, "My robe came loose. How terrible!" Standing in the hallway, her body uncovered and bare for no one but herself to see, "I'm standing in the middle of Naruto's home, naked."
A glass appeared in her hand, steadily filling up with wine, "I'm about to drink wine in the middle of the hallway. I'm naked." She took a sip and smiled before heading back to the bathroom, "Now, I'm skipping to the bathroom. Still naked." She laughed and closed the door behind her.
Landing on top of the single peak that was her destination, she was unsurprised to find Naruto and Thalia already there waiting for her. It was peculiar to see Naruto was sitting in the middle of the peak, his hands together forming a hand sign, bluish energy rolling off him like flames. What was rather comical was seeing Thalia clutching the ground like a lifeline, almost as if she was hugging the earth.
"Land. I'll never leave you again." She heard the little girl say. She had to assume the daughter of Zeus was not a fan of Naruto's form of travel.
"So, Thalia is not a fan of the way you travel by foot." Gunilla stated, "I can't blame her. You never knew the meaning of restraint. I'm surprised her hair managed to stay in shape." She patted the younger girls hair down and took a seat on the ground beside her, looking out across the vast world of Jotunheim atop of the peak, "Are you giving them the signal?"
"I am. I should only be a moment longer." The aura of chakra around Naruto increased for a split second, tripling in size and making the peak crack and rumble from the sudden intensity. A moment later, it cut off entirely, the aura around the blonde disappearing, "That should do it. I imagine the first will be here within the next hour."
The big blue eyes of Thalia looked up at him as he came sat on her other side, "You still haven't told me who we're meeting."
"Why ruin the surprise?" Naruto replied to her, giving her a wink and took off his backpack, "It's been a long day. I can't believe how quickly it's flown by." Unzipping the top, he reached in and pulled out the thermos Hestia prepared for them, "How about a hot chocolate and a sandwich?"
Thalia nodded and watched as her uncle took off the cap and poured the warm contents of the thermos into the lid. The scent of the chocolate quickly tickled her nose and she couldn't help but hum in delight, taking it in her hands. She took a quick sip, and her shoulders slumped in joy. For most children, being at the top of a mountain would have been seen as the coolest thing in the world, but she wasn't one of them. She didn't like heights, and there was no way she was looking over the ledge.
She didn't want to think about how she was getting down. She didn't fancy the idea of getting a piggyback from Naruto again. Once was enough for a lifetime.
"What do you think Aunt Hestia is doing back home?"
A thoughtful expression appeared on the blondes face, "You know, I'm not sure. She's probably enjoying the peace and curled up in bed with a book."
"Ohhhhh, Love ya, love ya, baby!" The Goddess of the Hearth sang, still without clothes and holding a hairbrush in her right hand. Her shoulders shimmied one way, while her hips went another in rhythm with the song currently playing throughout the house, "Ohhh, love ya, love ya, baby!"
"Yeah, you're probably right." Thalia agreed and hurriedly gobbled up one of the sandwiches sitting on the napkin in front of her. The young daughter of Zeus turned to Gunilla, who sat on her other side, "So, do you come to Jotunehim often?"
The daughter of Thor shook her hand in the air, "Occasionally. Most of my duties pertain to Hotel Valhalla or Midgard. It's rare for me to visit the others worlds unless ordered too by Lord Odin." Being offered a sandwich, she graciously accepted, "Thank you."
"So we just wait here?" Thalia asked,
Naruto nodded, "That's right. We wait here until they arrive."
"Haul ass!" Hermes cried, running through the streets of Olympus and narrowly avoiding a lightning strike, scorching the ground and forcing all those in the nearby vicinity to run for cover. Everyone on Olympus knew something was off when the skies began to darken earlier that day, the air heavy with tension as they all looked upon the temple of Zeus that sat atop the peak. Rumours and whispers were quick to circulate, everyone throwing in their two drachma on what was causing Zeus's mood to sour, which only got worse as the day went on, "Everyone, seek shelter where you can!"
No one needed to be told twice. Deities teleported away returning to their temples, while nymphs and satyrs took refuge wherever they could find it.
A hand grabbed the collar of his uniform and felt his body get swung through the air, narrowly avoiding another strike of lightning. Rolling along the ground, Hermes inevitably came to a stop, pushing himself up and finding the person who inadvertently helped him from getting struck by lightning, "Athena!" Hermes cried, stepping forward and clutching the collar of her dress shirt. From the way the Goddess of Wisdom was dressed, one would think she'd just attended a business meeting, wearing a dark grey suit and heels, "Thank the Gods you're here!"
"Hermes, what the hell is going on!" Athena cried, her black hair whipping around her face as the wind started to pick up across Olympus.
"I don't know. None of us do!" He pointed up the peak, towards the temple of Zeus where the storm was pulsating from, "Everything was fine this morning, and then around noon, the storm appeared. It's just gotten bigger as the days went on. It's the worst I've seen in centuries." Hermes and Athena ducked as another stray bolt of lighting hurdled towards them. Grabbing her younger brother, Athena dragged him towards the nearest temple. In that case, it happened to be the golden monstrosity that belonged to Apollo.
Banging on the doors, Athena yelled, "Apollo! We're coming in!" She'd barely finished her sentence when the doors pushed open, offering them entrance. Bolting inside for safety, they closed with a heavy thud, "Gods, this is worse than I thought."
"Come to think of it, where have you been? I haven't seen you all day." Hermes puffed out, his back to the doors.
"I was at a meeting for most of the day with the Four Winds." Irritation washed over her expression, "Something our father was supposed to do, but informed me last minute to take his place." She held a hand in the air, "Now, I understand why."
"Apollo! Apollo, damn you! Do you have any idea what's going on?" Athena bellowed. She wanted answers. Clearly, the Goddess of Wisdom had missed something important. She didn't like not having an answer to a problem, and in this case, there was a giant red question ark hovering over her father.
"Well," Both Athena and Hermes turned their heads, spotting a head of blonde hair poking out from behind one of the many golden statues the God of the Sun kept of himself in the main foyer of the temple, "It's only a guess, but I did see someone head towards fathers temple. Ten minutes later, this storm appeared over our heads."
"Who? Who could piss of our father this much?" Hermes asked, recoiling in fright at another boom of thunder. He could actually feel the golden temple shake from the intensity.
Apollo gulped, his hands gripping the golden posterior of his statue in comfort, "Hera."
"Ohhh, yeah, that'll do it." Hermes gulped, "But what could she do that's angered him to the point that he might destroy Olympus?"
Athena looked thoughtful, her heel's tapping against the floor, "I think that's the wrong question." Athena replied, drawing the attention of both her brothers, "We shouldn't be asking what Hera's done to upset Zeus, but the reverse. What's our father done to upset his wife?"
All three children of Zeus looked at each other. It took less than a second for them to realise what the likely motive was for Hera's rage and why the thunderstorm was forming overhead. Each had a different reaction. Hermes facepalmed, Apollo shook his head while resting his forehead against the golden posterior of his statue, and Athena cursed in greek, stamping her foot angrily against the floor.
Her father was impossible.
Thalia knew something was approaching the moment she heard her uncle and protector cease talking and watched his head snap up and look towards the sky. Next to her, Gunilla reacted moments later the same way, her blue eyes gazing up at the clouds. The two blondes pushed themselves to their feet, prompting Thalia to do the same.
"Out of the nine, I shouldn't be surprised he's the first to arrive. He's always been the most punctual." Naruto spoke aloud, a hand coming to rest on Thalia's shoulder, "Are you ready to meet some people even older than I am? And a lot bigger?"
"Bigger?" Thalia asked, her face scrunching into a frown as Naruto and Gunilla focused on the sky. Doing the same, it wasn't long before the daughter of Zeus spotted what they were looking at. At first, it was a tiny black dot off in the distance, no bigger than her thumb. It was only as the seconds ran by did the object get bigger and bigger until Thalia found her jaw-dropping and eyes widening in disbelief.
By the time the figure arrived before them, it dropped from the sky and impacted the earth with a shockwave that almost made Thalia lose her footing. The only way the little daughter of Zeus could describe it was that of a giant beetle with six insect-like wings sprouting from a seventh tail coloured a pale green. It was bigger than anything Thalia had ever seen. It was a big as a New York skyscraper and spied an orange glow coming from behind its armoured face. The eyes, perhaps? Six smaller arms with three on either side grew from its main body with horn-like protrusion's sprouting from its shoulders.
"Thalia, I'd like you to meet Chomei," Naruto introduced, smiling up at his old friend, "He's known as one of the Bijuu, or Tailed Beasts, as their commonly known as. Chomei is the Seven-Tailed Beast." Naruto gave a small salute to the giant entity, "It's been a while, Chomei!"
A distinct buzzing sound resonating from Chomei began to cease, and Thalia felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end when the enormous creature leaned forward until it stood barely a few meters from them.
"Naruto," The voice called, surprising Thalia and gaining a new look of wonder. The voice was deep, but there was a softness to the voice that the daughter of Zeus hadn't expected for one so giant, "You haven't visited us in some time. Where have you been?"
"Ah, sorry about that, Chomei. I've been a little occupied. I figured the Bijuu wouldn't want me hounding them all the time, so I gave you guys some space." The blonde scratched the back of his head and chuckled, "Has everything been well?"
Chomei shrugged, "I can't complain, though that fool, Shukaku, is causing trouble again."
"Yeah, I heard. Gunilla came to Midgard and informed me what he was up to." Naruto replied, "Has Kurama or the other Tailed Beasts not tried to speak with him?"
A loud grunt left the bijuu's mouth, "You'd have an easier time drawing water out of a stone if you think Kurama cares for anything the tanuki does. All they do is bicker when they run into each other." Slowly, Thalia felt the orange glow of Chomei's eyes shift and fall upon her, "Who's this?"
Moving to stand behind Thalia, both his hands steeled on her shoulders and gave her a pat, "This is Thalia. She's a demigod, the daughter of Zeus. She came under my care five years ago and I thought it would be a good chance to introduce her to everyone." A deep hum resonated from the bijuu, "Say hello, Thalia."
Gulping, Thalia tried to steel her nerves, "H-Hello." She gave a short wave.
"There's no need to feel uneasy, child. You are a friend of Naruto's, and therefore a friend of mine." Chomei reassured and looked at Gunilla, "It's good to see you again, Gunilla. I hope you're keeping well."
"The same to you, Lord Chomei."
A deep sigh escaped the bijuu, "I'm no lord, lest I need to always remind you." He then looked back to Thalia, "You took another one in, huh, Naruto? I thought you kept to yourself these days with that little goddess following you around from time to time."
"Time's change, I guess. That's the thing about immortality. Gives you plenty of time to think and adjust."
Both turned their heads and Thalia looked off in the direction they were facing. Much like moments ago, a large figure made its way towards them, leaping from mountain to mountain with bluish hue engulfing their body.
"Our next arrival. The rest will be here shortly." Naruto said, smiling as the Thalia began to realise the next entity coming towards them was a giant cat, twin tails flickering from side to side.
Blinking in surprise, the quiet interior of Naruto's home was interrupted by a series of knocks at the front, alerting Hestia as she pushed herself up from the couch. Her peaceful night had been going blissfully. So well, in fact, she'd summoned a bottle of wine from her personal collection back from her temple on Olympus. She didn't indulge often, but for tonight? Why not?
Outside, the thunder had finally begun to cease but was replaced by a heavy downfall of rain. Whatever was eating her younger brother all day seemed to be dying down, though, it left the King of the Gods in a melancholy-like state. She would leave him be for now, but if his mood continued to fester into tomorrow, she'd have no choice but to visit and ask what was bothering him. He could be so dramatic when he wanted to be.
Humming to herself as she moved, she threw open the door, half expecting to find Naruto and Thalia standing there. Instead, she was visibly taken aback by who stood on the other side. She was drenched from head to foot, her dark hair mattes to her forehead and her chiton sticking to her like a second skin. An emotionless expression masked her face, her eyes lacking its usual fire.
"H-Hera?" Hestia spoke, unease laced in her voice, "What are you doing here?"
"I-I," Hera started but her voice was stuck in her throat. It took a moment to gather herself before anything came out, "I wasn't sure where to go. I looked for mother but she's gone off the grid again." Her expression turned pained, her lip trembling, "I-I know you spend m-most of the time here. I didn't know where to go."
"Hey," Hestia closed the distance and wrapped her up in a hug, "It's okay. Just," She felt her sister sob into her shoulder, "Just tell me what happened. Something happened with Zeus? It would explain the crazy weather over the city."
She felt her sister nod against her shoulder. She heard her sister mumble something, but Hestia couldn't make out her words.
"I'm sorry, Hera, but what did you say?"
Hera lifted her head and spoke the words Hestia never imagined her sister would ever say.
"I-I left him, Hestia. I left him for good. My marriage with Z-Zeus is over."
Hestia wasn't sure how long she was stood there looking at her sister. The only thing that came out was a word she very rarely used.
Thanks for reading everyone. I hope you all enjoyed the chapter.
Have a good Christmas. See you all in the new year.