Time once again for one of my sample one shots.
AKA 'I have an idea that I'd like to see as a story, but I don't have clones to write it. So I'll write up what a first chapter of it would be like and post it, with the chapter being fully adoptable, and adaptable, for someone else to bring to life'.
I wrote this entire chapter in three days just in the hopes that someone would do it for me…this may be odd behavior.
One warning I'll give is that I'm a lot more familiar with the Rick Riordan setting than th setting, and the former's wiki is better than the latter at helping me look over information. So…apologies on any errors on the latter's end.
Today's idea was sparked by Spacebattles user Scionofrevan with my own expansions and innovations on top of his own formula.
There were phrases called understatements.
The word meant 'the presentation of something as being smaller, worse, or less important than it actually is.'.
Saying that she and Percy had been having a bit of a hard time recently was an understatement.
There was no harder time after all that falling into Tartarus itself and having to fight your way through it while negatively attacked your very core.
They had their past literally try to kill them, they had skirted on the edge of oblivion. They had seen friends sacrifice themselves to a fate worse than death to let them escape, only after they had tried to stand up against said fate worst than death and failed, and now they were on an elevator was slowly bringing them back to earth and their friends.
Oh, and she had lost her precious knife. It was amazing that she only just remembered that.
With everything that had happened, that felt trivial.
The two of them were leaning against the walls of said elevator as it slowly climbed upward, a finger on the button that they'd need to hold for twelve minutes to get through without vanishing into nothingness. How long would it take to get them back to their friends?
When they had fallen into Tartarus it had taken a day to land in it. Hesiod had said it would have taken nine days, but time in Tartarus moved weirdly that she wasn't even going to ponder it.
She'd rather not imagine getting out and finding their friends with grey hairs.
Percy's hand entwined itself with hers, and she shot him a weak smile. That was what either of them could really do at this point.
Then the sound of the elevator grinding to a halt rang through her ears like a blast from the Master Bolt at close range. Gears were grinding together in a cacophonous chorus, metal bits were snapping, and the faint smell of burning smell of immense heat hit her nose like a stink.
Both her's and Percy's eyes darted for the button. It was still being held down.
"Wait, this isn't really an elevator right? Then why is it making those sounds?"
Her eyes felt wider than when she had been first about to fall into the pit.
The Doors of Death, which were as much an elevator as Apollo's Sun Chariot was actually a car, then exploded in a blinding blast of energy and temperature-less heat.
It began like a soft whine. The sort of thing that would be let out by some sort of machine that would slowly give you a headache.
However every second it continued to pick up on shill volume, and soon all of them were starting to visibly strain under it.
All who could had both of their hands covering their ears to try and block out the sound. If they were busy using a hand to hold the button to ensure Percy and Annabeth could get out of Tartarus, they had plugged their ear into the side of the Door of Death here on earth like a suction cup to spare themselves a hand.
However he could tell it wasn't working, as the sound became shriller and shriller.
Bast was yowling in pain.
The Cat Goddess wasn't the only one feeling that sudden rush of agony: as everyone of the magicians of the 21st Nome was currently demonstrating it in some way or another.
Her brother was rolling on the ground and clutching his ears, Felix was crying as he squeezed a magical penguin with all his strength, and said magic penguin was letting out an eerily scream that wasn't just because it was being squeezed hard by the boy.
Bast yelled out the name of order itself in a tone that was loaded with pain.
"I don't think this is bloody Ma'at."
She managed to growl that out as Bast grasped her temples.
"It's screaming! Ma'at! The Du'at! The universe! The universe is screaming!"
The magic of their sacred island of Delos should have protected them.
In truth it was doing that: unlike most of their fellow Olympians they were not currently trying to bite off their own arm because of the demigod civil war.
However whatever was happening was worse than that.
She couldn't even stand up from the pain that was running through her like a rabid Chimera. She was basically held on a single knee by a pool, one eye shut and the other half closed from pain.
The half eye obscured her vision a bit, but she could see her hair rapidly changing colors and styles. Auburn, black, blonde, brunette, pure white, silver grey...
Her form was also constantly shifting in age: she was barely managing to stay in balance as her form shifted constantly between a twelve year old, an eighteen year old, a six year old….and everything in between.
It wasn't something she was even consciously doing!
"Reality is tearing itself apart!"
She could hear her brother running around behind him: pain wasn't keeping him down as it was making him run around and constantly shout. She could tell her twin was in pain even through her own, and that pain was keeping him in motion.
"Something is wrong with the universe! The universe is in error! Error! Something's gone wrong that shouldn't have! GAHHHHHHHHHH!"
He slammed himself into a tree, given what it sounded like. However her brother was still being flung around by godly sinew constantly being propelled by pain, and he wasn't done shouting yet.
"Paradox! It's an uncorrectable paradox!"
He had to give whoever did it all of the praise he could muster. They had managed to break the rules of fate itself.
Now everything was going to die!
Beatrice, the dumb snake, was currently thrashing about unable to even drip venom on his face for once. Sigyn was clutching her head in pain, and she fortunately did not empty the venom cup on him when she dropped it in her agony.
He was in pain too, in a different way than he normally was. However he couldn't help but laugh through it all.
"Tell me my wife, do you know that fate can't be fought, but only played with?"
She didn't answer him, and he didn't wait for one as his prison began to shake.
"Fate being immobile is a fundamental principle of our reality. It doesn't matter if you are the King of Failures down in New York City or the King of Zebra Cookies, you can't do anything to it. They can delay it, but you can't go against it. When fate says that Heimdall is going to kill you in Ragnarok, you have to roll with it. Even when I can't actually see happening because Heimdall's a total chump. Now my wife, what happens when someone manages to keep something fate said was supposed to happen from happening. What that is, is what is happening right now! Someone who was supposed to win has lost, and reality can't adjust things to put them back on track! Thus reality is coming apart at its very seams! I don't know what will happen when it's completely undone, but I'll be awaiting it eagerly! This could be goodbye Sigyn as no one may survive this paradox we're in: you were adequate."
He woke up, and he still felt horrible.
Annabeth was also waking up, and he really hoped she wasn't seeing what he was seeing. Because what he was seeing was a new sort of horrible that could make even Tartarus look pleasant in comparison.
And he wanted to vomit when he said that part, if he had anything to vomit up.
Her eyes went wide too, and he could confirm that she was in deed seeing what he was seeing.
Her sunken eyes were matching mirrors to his own in the horror they were witnessing.
It was nothing.
A giant endless void of pure white that stretched out in all directions, including below and above them. There was nothing and had likely never been anything. They were all that was here.
It was like that one episode of Spongebob where Squidward broke the time machine, but outside of a cartoon it was real, and it was now.
It was soul crushing.
Annabeth's gasp of horror hit him worse than anything in Tartarus. And Tartarus had hit him with a lot of horrible things.
Everything was peaceful at Kuoh Academy, as they always should be.
It was honestly a bit of a lazy day: lessons were light as were contracts. As such things were mostly in a state of 'what can you be doing right now'.
Koneko was leaning against one of their chairs, her head bobbing along to some sort of music that was confined mostly to earbuds. The type of music wasn't quite her thing, as it really did seem to be more yelling and saying things than an actual tune, but Koneko enjoyed it so she'd leave her to it. Koneko needed more joy in her life.
Kiba was a bit more proactive in doing something that could be considered useful. He was going through stances with a sword: practicing combat techniques that could one day save his life. Of course she could also tell that it was not entirely serious training, but more him doing something to be doing something.
It was a bit more than what she or Koneko were doing at very least: she was just forming magic circles in her hand idly.
She was just seeing if anything would spark really. It wouldn't be much to get them to do anything, but it wouldn't really be anything too great. She was hardly going to blast Koneko's music player with destruction powers or anything. That would be horrible.
Of course that did leave the question as to where Akeno was. She trusted her with her life, but she wasn't unaware of the possible mischief she could get up to if she was left alone too long and got bored. Akeno and boredom was not the safest combination in the world. To other things anyway, and to political situations.
Fortunately for anything that shouldn't be in or near Gremory territory, Akeno had walked in with a box of food in her arms. She sniffed it quickly. Some sort of sweat.
Koneko and Kiba looked up from their activities in anticipation, and she stood up to greet her dear friend.
"Half off sweets that don't suck! I got all our favorite flavors, and a couple of weird ones to complete the set for the discount."
Her queen put them down on a table and grinned, even as she moved to pick up one of the miscellaneous flavors out of curiously.
Her lips curled up.
"Barbeque and caramel?"
Akeno giggled a bit at the combination and the fact that she did in deed eat it. Kiba and Koneko quickly joined in at the giggling, and she was tempted to join in herself.
However things quickly became unfunny and it wasn't because her body had managed to fully process 'barbeque and caramel'.
It was like a shock that had went through Akeno, something akin to if she had been struck by static electricity or something. Normally that would do little to phase Akeno, but her hung suddenly flopped down like she had suddenly fallen asleep. They all were staring at the girl in concern when she raised her head up to look her right in the eye.
Akeno's eyes were dulled out and didn't seem focused at all.
"Someone broke the system. Can you fix it?"
The voice came from Akeno, and it sounded almost like a lifeless version of her. However it was not Akeno's voice.
Instinctively she manifested her powers in her hands: holding it right in front of Akeno's body. To her side Kiba had drawn a sword and Koneko had entered a stance for immediate punching. Like her of course she could tell neither of them really wanted to attack Akeno's body, but the person currently talking wasn't Akeno.
"Who are you?! You are controlling the body and suppressing the mind of my friend and the queen of my peerage! Free her now!"
There was no visible change to the possessor's body language, or tone as Akeno's voice continued to speak words that were not Akeno's.
"The one called Akeno was the most compatible. The others are strange and alien, and you seem to be the one who can do it. You must do it! Akeno is also alien, but familiar enough that I can use her to communicate. You are also strange, alien, odd. But what happened is also strange. Just one cog, cannot fix it. I can speak but I cannot act. Calamitrons are all over me!"
"Do not speak nonsensical words with my Akeno's mouth!"
Akeno's body reached out to grab her shoulders, shooting quickly enough that they couldn't stop her, though when the least destructive of those means was Koneko punching her it was hard to say what they'd have actually done. Akeno's body was now shaking her rapidly.
"You are evil but you are also good! I can see them, but I can't do anything! Someone did something impossible! The Failure King is bound by pride, the Sun King is trapped within himself, and the Undercover King is incapacitated by pain! He is like the others! The system is falling apart and your kind…your kind did it! One of yours was in the primordial pit! We are all going to die! Do it for your goodness, and do it for atonement! Countless will die unless you do something, I can't find anyone else! I don't have time to find anyone else!"
"Do what exactly!?"
Her shout seemed to somewhat calm down whatever was controlling Akeno, though her eyes as dulled as they were still had panic. His words were certainly clearer than 'calamitrons' but they were still a combination of phrases she couldn't make heads or tails of. We he saying a devil did something in a pit and caused something horrible? Who were the kings he was talking about? Also what was a calamitron?
"I'm scared. Things shouldn't be happening as they are. Sorry. Forgiveness…yes forgiveness. Perhaps I was wrong to think that one of yours did it. Later later...I'm not used to dying. That is not how I was made. We are all different species with the same name, but many of us fear death and fading. This is worse…worse worse worse. Equal and inequal. Focus, must focus on how to save and not to see everything die."
Akeno's hand was held up and a set of directions appeared via magic. The directions were…somewhat nonsensical looking.
"They need a boost to get out. Jumping a car is a good analogue. They need to get home. If they don't everything will die. Do whatever is it you apparently can do, I don't know the details fully. Go go go go go go…"
Akeno's eyes flashed a bit, as if she was back in control, but they went dull again as whatever was controlling Akeno took back control.
"There is little time left! Go! Go! Go!"
She had a lot of questions she'd still like to ask, and also she still had a lot of suspicions. But the tone of the voice, the urgency, and the directions that were provided…
Well her parents and brother could call her a reckless idiot later. Just as many instincts were telling her that this was important as they were telling her that it was a trap, and she listened to the former.
With that she teleported away to the destination she was provided, and found herself in an empty white void that stretched on for what seemed like eternity.
A sense of dread came over her at the possibility that she was quite possibly trapped in some space that didn't truly exist, but she could still feel where she had come from in the back of her mind. Much like a tether or something. She could still return with ease.
As her eyes gazed over the endless nothing she had been teleported to, a faint bit of color could be made out in the distance. She flew over to the color. As she did, she got a bit of a clearer idea of what she was seeing.
The first thing she could make out was there were two figures that were giving off color: people.
The second was that these people did not look well, like they had went through hell (per the human saying) before topping it off by ending up in this void. They were barely managing to not collapse on the non-existent ground, and their eyes seemed almost glazed over in despair.
They didn't even seem to notice her land near them, and she took a bit to look them over a bit.
Both of them would be about sixteen or seventeen year old humans: a young man with dark hair and green eyes that would be quite striking if they weren't dulled out in extensional despair and just plain exhaustion of more than just a physical sorts. The girl next to him had blonde hair and grey eyes that would be sharp if they too weren't overcome with despair and exhaustion.
Odd magic clung to them and over tattered orange shirts and jeans. Of course odd magic wasn't the only thing she could comment on.
She could sense power from both of them: a power that had been through a lot recently but unmistakably power. However she had no idea what she was exactly sensing.
It wasn't that of a sacred gear, or from any species she recognized. Even what bits felt vaguely familiar she couldn't really place a name too, and even that felt off. She struggled with a good way of putting it to herself, perhaps it was like something familiar being made with different ingredients or materials and thus feeling or tasting off as a result. The young man had more power in him than the girl, but the girl wasn't exactly without abilities either. She just couldn't feel even a vague direction of what they even were.
The two had noticed her, and they stared at her with unfamiliarity and wariness. Both looked ready to stand up more defensively, but the attempt made both of them collapse from what appeared to be a rush of sudden exhaustion of the body and mind, if not also the soul.
They crashed down on the non-existent ground they were somehow all on, and their eyes seemed to have both rolled back. They were out cold, though they did seem to be still breathing.
If barely. Was there even oxygen here?
She knelt down next to them as she gave them another feel over with magic.
Just as she could feel a tether on herself, she could also feel a tether on them. They could be sent back if the tether was given a yank, and she could do it. However the energy to do so didn't seem like something either of them could access…
She felt a sudden feeling of power in her pockets, and with a quick fishing trip she pulled out a pair of evil pieces.
A rook and a knight, though there was more to them than there should be. She could sense something else to them, an additional power.
'This is a recording of sorts I have implanted into your mind. This will only play once so please do not interrupt it with ranting or something. You will cause the deaths of innocents and the undeserving of death if you do so. I was able to pick up the exact natures of your powers of revival with these 'evil pieces' from the mind of Akeno. She also needs therapy, but you probably knew that already. I just felt the need to say it out of genuine concern for her wellbeing. With a bit of my own additional help, you should be able to use the evil pieces to restore them and send them back home. There will be complications, but the lives saved will be immeasurable. Know at the very least that if anything of issue does come to you from this, I will be there to assist you and your associates with all of my abilities. For even what you are, you are a good person'
The comment to her species aside, she still had questions. Whoever it was who was hijacking Akeno had managed to also swipe two of her evil pieces and put some sort of energy into them she didn't recognize. Also the recording made her wonder just who these strangers were. Were they of some faction she wasn't particularly familiar with?
She had little idea of what was going on, but there were at least two lives on the line. The fact they were also powerful was almost trivial at the possibilities that were being implied about whom these two were and how many others were depending on them.
So she placed an evil piece on each of them: the rook on the boy and the knight on the girl and began the ceremony.
She felt herself get yanked back to the Occult Research club house. She hadn't a clear idea of how long she had been gone, as the looks on Koneko and Kiba could go either for only a bit or for a good while.
Akeno was still having her body hijacked, though the blank stare that was looking back at her seemed to radiate joy.
She hadn't even the time to tell whoever it was running around in Akeno's body to get out before the presence used Akeno to hug her.
The person in her queen's body hugged differently than Akeno did. Akeno's body soon let her go and took a step back.
"The world has stopped screaming. Thing should return to normal quickly, though I do wonder what the world will interpret the disaster as? It had gotten to a point that the less sensitive had begun to notice that something was amiss…oh well despite what some say I don't know everything. I don't even know how this will all play out, it is almost exciting in a nervous sort of way. I do hope the two are okay, they do have busy lives. Now, time to go home. Sorry about the calamitrons!"
With that bizarre word Akeno blinked, and her eyes were suddenly back to the way they usually were, if with a lot more confusion.
"…The hell? Why do I feel like I need to give my soul a shower?"
She didn't get an answer as she was given a hug by three different pairs of arms.
His mind was a bit hazy as he opened his eyes.
What greeted him wasn't the white void that was going to make it hard for him to watch a certain television channel ever again without suffering a mental breakdown, but a scary temple that was much more typical, and much more inviting.
Several bodies were lying in front of him, and he could absently feel another hand on his body. Annabeth's hand.
She was alright. Thank the gods.
The bodies were…Hazel! Nico! An oddly buff Frank! Everyone! Everyone was here!
He was surprised that he was able to get up and walk towards the passed out group and look at them closer. Just to see that they were still alive and breathing.
He moved to the newly buffed up Frank because the fact he had come back to see his friend taller and buffer than he had been before (how long had they'd been gone? No one had grey hair…). He reached down to adjust Frank's face down body for a better look after he noticed him and the others were in fact all breathing, only to be surprised when, with barely any effort at all, he found himself holding the entirely buffed up, yet still quite heavy, form of the Son of Mars in his hands more like he was lifting up a sack of potatoes.
In surprise he lifted up the conked out Frank with little issue other than arm strain from the angle. Frank didn't seem to trouble him that much to lift.
"…Okay, either you got buff and you replaced half your body with air sacs, or something is really off here. You got any answers Frank?"
Frank didn't answer him on count of still being out cold. Why did he think he'd get an answer from him?
Come to think of it, why did he have so much energy anyway?
He turned, still holding Frank like he was more poodle than man, to the stirring Annabeth, who looked quite confused.
About what had even happened, why the didn't feel like they had been stuck in Tartarus nearly as long as they had when it came to their energy levels, why everyone was out cold, why Frank now looked like he was a quarterback, and how he was lifting said Super-Frank.
"..I have no idea what's going on either. So, want to get out of this place and find the Argo? I can probably carry more than just Frank…"
She nodded to the idea, though she looked around a bit at the place that had been the earth-side end of the Doors of Death before her eyes gained a new layer of 'the hades' about what was going on.
"Percy…you can see clearly too, right?"
He nodded, not entirely sure where she was going with that.
"There aren't any light sources in here. It should be pitch dark."
The room was silent for a moment as that observation clicked to him like a realization that no, the state he had been in did not in fact have chipmunks.
Something you didn't notice at first, but when someone did point it out…
The only thing that seemed normal was the fact that when she and Percy found the food on the Argo, they ate it in a frenzy that would have probably caused some of their friends mental trauma if they hadn't still been unconscious.
Their self control broke so quickly that she was undying thankful they had gotten everyone into their rooms before they got near it. She was honestly not sure if they might have just left Leo behind and forgot him in their feeding frenzy.
It probably also messed with their food budgets, but budgets, like plans, don't survive unexpected events. Like being stuck in Tartarus for the Gods only knew how long (and well, their friends, but they were still out cold and couldn't really answer them).
Wait, why was she talking like they had a food budget? Their food was linked with Camp Half Bloods. Unless Leo managed to find some rare ice cream only sold in some obscure Italian city that she and Percy might have guzzled down without thinking, in which case she and Percy would profusely apologize.
Perhaps their minds were still dulled a bit; even if no where as much as they should be after Tartarus.
It was after she had guzzled down several plates of bacon in the time it took an equally ravenous Percy to do the same to one that a dawning realization came over her.
He held up a cup that was rapidly filling up again with blue milk mid-motion to let her continue.
"Have I been moving faster?"
"Well, I don't know. You were quick at carrying Nico and Hazel…but Nico and Hazel are kind of small."
She was sure they'd both appreciate the observation.
Meanwhile Percy hadn't had issues carrying both Jason and Frank, which was something he shouldn't be able to do. Demigods were stronger than the average human, and Percy was strong even for a demigod…but they were still the two biggest members of their crew. Just carrying them like that…
The odd strength he had after…whatever had happened was bizarre, and she had been trying to figure out if something like that had happened with her as well.
She eyed her empty plate with a curious look, and with a fork in hand she'd try to test something.
With a thought she made a request for cherry tomatoes, and one at a time. With her fork she readied herself, and the moment one appeared she speared it.
Her movements were quick, nearly as fast as the plates could provide, and before too long she had two fork ends loaded with speared little tomatoes.
She held up said fork uneasily, and Percy eyed her tomato stabbing with unease.
"…You are amazing enough to do that without something weird going on?"
The words were honest, and him sounding hopeful that he was the only one with something weird going on.
"Leo would be the only one with a timer, so we can't test it with a run. I'm already a lot faster than you…"
"…and he's out cold. You know, why is that? Everyone's out cold, and no monsters attacked them? That many demigods lying on the floor should be a monster feast. Heck, where are all the monsters?"
Percy followed his question up with a whistle, one that she knew was meant to call Mrs. O'Leary the Hellhound.
She could see his growing concern when she didn't get a response from her.
"Who'd have a drachma to try an Iris Message?"
Neither of them looked quite up for rooting through their unconscious friends pockets for a drachma to test that.
Little tests of her reaction time and speed that didn't scream 'conclusive' and a lot of food eaten and they collapsed asleep.
Not in their rooms, and not in a way that would really traumatize or scandalize anyone not named Hazel. However after…everything, she couldn't really say that such things mattered.
They were alive, they were safe, they were confused, and honestly they were tired.
They couldn't seem to figure out what was going on, and trying to figure it out without sleep wasn't going to help anything.
Demigods could often have dreams that could give context or hints.
She was certainly having a clear dream, but she didn't recognize the place she was in.
"Why a Chase. This is totally not something I often deal with. Not at all, though the owl blood is certainly a change of pace. It's more sunny days and scholars in my neck of the woods."
The cave, or the person in Red Sox garb with a ton of scars on his face who was sarcastically greeting her.
Dreams were a one way communication thing, so as the person came up to look at her she really couldn't do anything.
"I must admit, when I was done laughing at reality disintegrating I was rather curious how it fixed itself. Seems to be a 'you' thing, and yikes how does it feel to know that you failed so badly reality decided it was just going to take its ball and go home? That's a new one, and I've seen a few such massive failures in my time. I'm sure the headache queen is quite proud of that."
"Oh yes, you must be very confused. It's certainly a better state than like, half of mythology right now. Given how badly your little chunk was doing with its little civil war and Gigantes problem, I'm amazed you all noticed. Though while I am certainly quite amused at the most recent failure I can pin on the Olympians like a tail on an ass, I do have to wonder why I can talk to you now. Your blood is thin on our end, and the means of boosting the power that you could possibly draw from it…"
As this person continued to talk in a way that didn't answer any question and only expanded or added to the ones she had, he suddenly started looking at her with a renewed level of befuddlement.
"…The hel are you?"
He waved her off before she could remember she couldn't answer.
"Oh I know your name girl: Annabeth Chase. Randolph mentioned you once. Daughter of Athena, a hero of the Olympians, and I have to give your insulting skills at Hera my actual respect. But looking at you real closely, I do have to ask this question, and I do mean honestly ask you it. What are you?"
With that she woke up even more confused and worried, but also in the midst of being hugged by tearfully joyous friends along with Percy the moment they both woke up.
So it was just that bit better for the moment.
They eventually managed to get through the crying and hugging and sheer relief to start talking about everything that had happened since Rome.
There were clearly a few things that didn't come up fully: Leo seemed to be a bit annoyed at Percy for some reason, and Nico seemed to have a certain awkwardness that she wasn't entirely sure of aimed at Percy of all people…
However when they got to the part about the Doors of Death (and past Bob, Damasen, and Small Bob…)
Nico's panic at the part about of the elevator failure was some of the most emotion she had seen out of the boy in years.
"…It happened. We were there, it exploded."
"And that was around the time that everything started to hurt."
Percy and Jason's points didn't clam Nico down, but caused him to start looking at them all in utter horror.
"That's even worse. The Doors of Death shouldn't have exploded like that, and if they did…oh gods what did we even experience."
Everyone's eyes were on her now, and she pinched her nose.
"…That's at least what a god in my dreams said. I didn't recognize him: most gods don't wear Red Sox jerseys or would call my mother a 'headache queen'. Perhaps disintegrating isn't the best word, but Nico did say that it shouldn't have happened. Percy and I somehow blew up when we shouldn't have, and ended up a place that we shouldn't have. A white void."
"The Argo had a lot of weird readings, and what stuff it recorded that isn't crazy talk is blank, like a clock that lost power and got reset to 12:00. Also a lot of the cosmetic damage got buffed out like everything started to fall apart but got restored better than before, so that's a bit of good news. Also hey, none of us can figure out where Clytius and co went off to, so maybe reality going on the fritz got rid of them for us."
Leo's silver linings did not reduce the alarmed looks on any of them.
"How did you even get out? If reality…well if everything nearly did stop being because you got blasted into a white void, it didn't because you guys got out of it."
She and Percy exchanged uneasy looks. They had talked about that a bit, and there was a problem.
"We…well we don't know honestly. On my end I can tell you I had a good while of just staring into the void in horror, and that's mostly it. I do remember seeing someone coming towards us, but then the both of us collapsed in exhaustion and we woke up back in that…House of Hades as you guys called it."
Fortunately Percy did not comment where his mind had gone when there. This was not the time to make a reference to cartoons.
It was also very much not funny.
"It's the same on my end. I can at least remember that the someone we saw did look human, but that's about it. I think it was a she, but that's all I can really remember."
Everyone had a pensive look on their face, as if trying to figure out what goddess it was.
It was the most reasonable answer, though for the life of her the idea of what goddess it could have been eluded her.
There was no deity that came to mind in the position of 'fixing the universe'. The closest she could come to guessing was Chaos, but that answer didn't really sit well with her.
Chaos wasn't really known for being sentient or taking a form. Tartarus had been befuddled when he took on a physical form and confused, she couldn't imagine Chaos being that coherent in a physical form.
Also Chaos was generally seen as male, but compared to the confusion primordial dieites had in taking a physical form that was a minor point.
"There is another oddity, at least with me. Frank, this is going to be a bit odd, but I'm going to need to lift you."
Everyone agreed that it was odd that he had been able to lift Frank like he had just did, including Frank himself.
That had in turn led to them trying to explore exactly was going on in the most scientific way possible, though it had led to some debates.
"You should do a moose next!"
Holding the black bear that had once been Frank up over his head for a minute longer before putting him down without much effort on his end, said bear turned back into Frank who was looking at Leo incredulously.
"Do you know how big a Moose is?"
"It's just a deer. They can't be that big."
"Just a deer? Leo, Moose are big. Like really big."
"So like what, a big buck?"
"Try 450 kilograms. Or 1000ish pounds. A Black bear is like half that."
He trusted Frank on that one. He was Canadian after all.
"Huh…..okay what about something smaller then. Like a Walrus."
Now he was staring at Leo in shock.
"Leo, Walrus are even heavier than that."
He was a Son of Poseidon. He knew Walruses, if only be reputation.
"…Dang. So what animal weighs like, seven hundred pounds?"
"Have you checked any of your powers that don't involve lifting?"
Frank's point, perhaps said just for being somewhat done with being used as a block of weight today,
The last few days had been…interesting. Of course by interesting, she really meant 'vexing'.
It all came down to the two she had reincarnated out of that void and the thing that had possessed Akeno to get her to do it.
That being they couldn't find any of them to actually get answers from. Least of which were names and what they actually were.
It had started with her and Sona taking Akeno in to ensure that nothing negative had been left over from her being possessed by the unknown being. They had looked her over with their skills, but her own efforts had led to a dead end and she was at a point where her pride was not worth Akeno's health.
They hadn't found anything when it came to leads, and even the experts in the underworld had no idea what it had been. They had noticed some lingering magic, but it seemed to be inert and would, at worst, add some new abilities to Akeno's arsenal if she learned to use them, and at best do nothing. As of now Akeno had little interest in doing anything with it but try to wash it away along with their soap budget.
What had come after that was examining her, and she was found to have a residue that had some similarities to that of that of the unknown three. It was a distant similarity, and far less permanent then the echoes in Akeno's magic, but it was there, and on lesser levels on Akeno and even lesser so on Kiba and Koneko and the room they had been in.
It was some sort of particles, and she was curious if those were the 'calamitrons' that had been brought up by the unknown possessor several times. They didn't seem to be particularly dangerous despite their name, but no one could track any more of them down. A similar issue was found with the energy signatures.
She had managed to find what it had been that had felt familiar to her with the two in the void, and it had turned out to be what she had been felt was familiar with that of the Olympians, but the similarities were so limited she wasn't unconvinced it was entirely coincidental. It was different enough that she'd be laughed out of using in a court of law in any case.
While that had been a near complete dead end, the white void was a bit more clarified. Devils were familiar with other dimensions, and the white void had been identified as a space between spaces.
A void that did and did not exist and was basically a place that you shouldn't end up in or want to end up in for that matter. It was also somewhere that if you ended up there as beaten up as the two in the void had been, that something had gone very wrong. Usually if someone had managed to interfere with a teleportation spell, but she had been told that the sort of void she had been sent to was more extreme than just a simple teleportation to the underworld.
So that was where she was at: two people who were part of her peerage she didn't have names, locations, or any knowledge of beyond what she had only glanced for moments, an unknown third individual who had left strange magic and particles in its wake, and no lead beyond a possible messed up transportation spell and that she should be looking at Greece for leads.
And yet as it turned out, a scan of Gremory territory had led to a lead that was better than poking around Zeus's territory: a couple of the possible calamitrons that had no reason to be in a warehouse on the shore but were.
Hence why the four present mobile members of her peerage sneaking around the front of a locked and abandoned warehouse, their ears sharp and listening for anything.
"Idiots! What are you doing grabbing humans in bulk! This is a quality operation, not quantity. If we want quantity, we go for Elevens! We can trap them just with some rice balls instead of the actual effort we need in most other places."
The voice was harsh and Japanese sounding, though there was something off about the way the words were said. It sort of reminded her of the difference between the written word they used when compared to that of a few centuries ago.
She didn't need to look to tell that Kiba had a murderous look in his eyes. It wasn't quite what they usually ended up doing, going after human crime and the like. They were devils, not policemen. However this was where they had detected any hint of a lead, and such a crime would explain why the two had been so beat up and she couldn't find them. It also, to be blunt, fucking disgusting of a career choice and she had no reason to keep it around.
"Surely they can't all be Mu Kosei. The bosses want a restocking of those gear things you find in places like this right for the next base sale event, and surely we must have grabbed one of those in this haul right? One of these must have the boosted or twilight things..."
"We have lists for these sorts of things! You somehow grabbed the best friends of the boosted gear user and not the one who actually is worth something! We grab them when their wills are still up for being broken down for sale, not before they can develop!"
Frankly if she hadn't made that order Kiba and Koneko would have disobeyed her orders and run into with furious idiocy. She was already going to attack in a moment or two, and giving the order saved them to risk of the two developing bad habits of going off half cocked or against her orders.
She avoided the need to keep order, and started the attack with a forceful blow to the door by Koneko and a charge in by Kiba armed with a Holy Eraser sword.
She and Akeno were behind with spells at the ready to fire if needed, though it didn't seem need to.
The warehouse was mostly empty: with two large lines of barred cages on the side that were filled with a mismatch of a couple of hundred of residents of the town, including several students of Kouh Academy based on their uniforms. They'd erase their memories of this as an act of mercy as much as their own security.
The ones who had been talking were three different men: all of them looking fairly 'regularly shady' for lack of a better term. They looked shifty at a glance, but not in a way that made them stand out from most. However what did stand out about them was the powers they used, which she couldn't quite identify the exacts of what they were.
The man that Koneko had lunged at morphed his arms into bear arms and swung them at Koneko, who had matched the clearly enhanced blows with her own. They grabbled for a moment before she swung forward and kneed him in the crotch, which caused him to collapse and she moved to restrain him.
Meannwhile the one that Kiba had taken to swinging out shot lasers from his eyes. Kiba blocked them with the Holy Eraser, which shattered from the blast instead of being absorbed by the weapon. Kiba didn't lose a beat before forming another sword, which was also destroyed by laser vision. However by this point Kiba had managed to swing behind him and hold a third sword up to his throat, thus neutralizing him.
The third one, who seemed to be the one who was the leader or at least the smartest one, instead formed a barrier that engulfed the third of the room he was in separating himself and some of the captured townsfolk from them. His eyes were rapidly looking the four of them over in a means of rapid thinking, as if he was trying to formulate a plan that wasn't just trying to protect himself with a barrier. Given how said barrier took a blast of lightning from Akeno well enough, perhaps he had a point. However it was an odd barrier, as it didn't look like one she had seen used before, especially from one person.
"Computer, analyze current status of operations site and threat levels!"
The man barked as a machine behind him lit up.
"Scanning and analyzing, scanning and analyzing….scan complete. Analysis of current scenario levels and developmental status and differential patterns complete. The leader of the ones currently opposing Zygerri operation 5356-HDX is recognized. Rias Gremory. Pure-blooded Devil Variety 08-20-08 slash 01-06-12. Deviation from known parameters low, progression mostly within expectations of temporal markers. Sales potential low due to undesirability of Devil Variety 08-20-08 slash 01-06-12 in markets. Threat level high."
She had no idea if she should be mortified at the clinical nature of that analysis, or insulted that she was considered worthless.
"Peerage data analysis of Rias Gremory: Queen is Akeno Himejima. Reincarnated Devil Variety 08-20-08 slash 01-06-12 cross category 'Nephilim'. More than expected deviation from known parameters detected, likeliness of factoring into extraction and recovery scenario minimal. More extensive analysis of oddities in scans required for accurate assessment. Sales potential slightly higher than Rias Gremory, value not worth energy expenditure in current conditions. Threat level high."
"And just how is that machine getting that information?"
Neither the nervous man looking at her and Akeno warily nor the machine offered her anything.
"Peerage data analysis of Rias Gremory: Knight is Yuuto Kiba. Reincarnated Devil Variety 08-20-08 slash 01-06-12. Originally human. Minimal detected deviations from known parameters. Possesses acquisition focus target 'Sacred Gear' titled Sword Birth. Sales potential highest of detected peerage members though his status as a reincarnated devil will require additional effort to maximize sales potential. Threat level low."
"I'm the one that actually appeals to you weirdoes, and yet I'm the one who is considered the least dangerous? My apologies President, I do hate to wound your pride in such a manner."
It was a mostly humorous apology aimed more at the barrier user who was still protecting though he did still seem a bit bothered she or Akeno might take it badly that he was more appealing to these weirdoes than they were. She sent him a look of understanding before blasting his barrier with her own magic as the user laughed.
"Peerage data analysis of Rias Gremory. Knight is Annabeth Chase. Reincarnated Devil variety Devil Variety 08-20-08 slash 01-06-12. Originally…error."
Annabeth Chase? The girl's name from the void, and the one she had used her knight piece on. It would seem she had come to the right place. However, there did seem to be something further wrong. The machine was no longer shouting out facts and prices of her peerage, and was now shouting out error constantly. The man with the still unbroken shield was staring at her in utter shock and bewilderment.
"Annabeth Chase, a reincarnated devil. What madness is this? I demand answers!"
"Yeah, you are not the one in position to ask questions. You can't escape and once Akeno breaks your barrier down you won't have anywhere to run. Now you'll be giving me my answers. A knight and a rook of the House of Gremory have been missing and details on them have been quite scarce. The only leads I had on their whereabouts have brought me to your doorstep and your illegal operation, and your machine both happens to know of their status and their name, which you do as well. I expect answers and I'd do them before we have to be unpleasant."
Akeno was already going to be in a terrible mood for being analyzed, and she was not against letting her old friend have fun with the three of them for their crimes against people, let alone possibly her own peerage.
"I'm going to ask questions because I'm honestly baffled. There shouldn't be an Annabeth Chase anywhere you could possibly get to reincarnate her. 020120 and Annabeth Chase are mutually exclusive. And if you somehow actually did…and you said there was a rook too. Oh god, if you somehow reincarnated Annabeth Chase there can only be a few other possibilities…computer match the names to peerage analysis! Perceus 'Percy' Jackson, Thalia Grace, Luke Castellan…"
"Error error…Perceus 'Percy' Jackson matched to rook. Error error error…."
The man was staring at her like she was a crazy person.
She clasped her hands together, a grin on her face as the barrier continued to take damage and started to crack a bit from Akeno's assault. It was a good barrier, strange as it was without any visible magic circle to it, but it was going to go down soon. They'd get to take the trafficking scum down, and she'd get exactly what she'd came for out of him.
"Excellent, I now have names for my missing peerage members. Tell me sir, what have you done with them and where can I find them? I'd very much like to get to know them after saving their lives and properly induct them into my family."
He continued to look at her like she was mad, though a growing wicked glee seemed to be overcoming his emotions as they continued.
"…You know, this operation might just be a wash, but you may have very well created an even more profitable opportunity for us. Lost the battle and won the war, a war that you might have just made for us. The clashing of things never meant to meet always creates the best opportunities for gathering interesting merchandise, and not just people. No one misses unique things when cities burn after all. Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase…Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase…Percy Jackson! Oh you little devil, do you even realize what you've done?!"
His barrier was now nearly cracked, and he looked just as cracked in his own expression.
"Clearly I don't, why don't you tell me just what I've done that supposedly is so terrible?"
Her tone was dry, while his grin looked wide enough to be flooded with all the waters of a storm.
"Someone told me that there was an unexpected near collapse in an untapped 06-01-05 class a few days ago, and I had thought it was odd that I noticed some scant calamitrons in this place. I had thought they had been blown here by the near collapse, but apparently something even crazier happened instead! Center-base 122119, emergency recall of agents 'Bear Arms', 'Visual Lasers', and 'Strong Barrier'!"
A shimmering of some sort of teleportation, though again without a magic circle visible, formed over all three of the traffickers. It briefly spread onto Koneko before she hopped off 'Bear Arms' and the effect faded, and quickly the three vanished from sight. Moments later the barrier was broken and the warehouse got a fresh blast of lightning in the wall.
She could only stare, even as the computer that had shouted out things it shouldn't have known blew itself into pieces moments after its masters had left.
"One of these days, I'm actually going to get a straight answer to what is going on with my new peerage members. No more calamitrons, no more odd powers, no more cryptic bull-shit. Just a straight and to the point answer that I can actually understand."
"What are you!? You are no demigod!"
She was honestly wondering that herself, but she was certainly not going to answer Enceladus as she avoided his rapid thrusts of his spear with what she had eventually deduced to be, in fact, enhanced speed.
She then knocked away his spear with a slash from her dragonbone sword before rapidly stabbing him in the leg.
The giant made to destroy Athena bellowed in pain, and he was having it better than the giants that Percy was fighting. He heard the sound of what she thought was Otis complaining about liking that hand, the sound of said hand being flung into another giant with the gentleness of a cannonball to help Piper out, and the sound of rushing water, slashing swords, and angry giants, which did include the M.I.A Clytius.
"Your so called brilliant plan didn't work out that well did you? You might have caught Percy and me, but you underestimated us!"
"I did not! There is something wrong with you both that messed up our calculations!"
With that weak attempt to cover his mistakes the giant bellowed flames at her, which she avoided. She noted how close the flames came to striking her, and how little she felt the heat.
She mentally added it to the list. She didn't seem to feel heat as much as before.
Both she and Percy had a few changes that were shared. They were all a bit stronger and tougher overall, they both could see in the dark and in general see better even out of the dark, other sense like hearing were also seemingly better and they both could understand and speak seemingly any language (at the very least human ones). There was also some anecdotal evidence that were both overall stronger at night, but she wasn't ready to say that as a certainty yet.
She, on top of her recently noted resistance to heat that she certainly did not have before the Doors of Death, was notably faster. She reacted to and moved at a speed that she hadn't seen many demigods move before, and she wasn't sure she'd be able to find a comparison to unless one of the children of Nike joined the Hunters or something. She was remembering things better and more clearly after reading them (she had always been very good at remembering things heard), which Piper and Hazel had suggested was a sign of her intelligence being raised. Being smarter wasn't quite as easy to measure as increased speed' after all.
Percy meanwhile was notably stronger and tougher as she had been feeling notably faster, while all of his abilities seemed supercharged. He could control more water with less effort, manipulate more wind, shake more earth, and otherwise was just shattering every giant that tried to get him, or worse any of the others with them.
"Why won't you bleed!?"
She avoided a grab from the giant and stabbed him in his hand, sending spurts of golden ichor down onto the earth.
"Because none of you can cut us!"
They had been after that this entire engagement: they wanted to spill demigod blood and revive Gaea in full on a sacred site in Greece. However between Percy's strength and her speed, they had been having trouble even landing a blow to draw blood.
If that would even work with her and Percy at this point was a question: she had noticed that their normally excellent healing abilities seemed better since the Doors of Death on top of their general toughness boost, and while she hadn't exactly been testing it out by cutting themselves up the possibility that they might heal too quickly to bleed was there.
Of course a much darker possibility was also present, one that she had tried to keep to herself and could only hope that Percy hadn't thought of (for all their jokes about his intelligence, it was something she could see him coming to the same concern as her on). Were they even still counting as demigods?
There had been a near constant string of confusions with every thing from mythology they had met since the House of Hades about what she and Percy were. The unfamiliar like Mimas, Nike/Victoria, and Kymopoleia questioned 'what they were' openly, while those who had met them before and had noticed them since then, like Mrs. O'Leary, Polybotes, and even a certain cow-faced bitch had been notably confused to look at them. Of course after a bit of uncertainty Mrs. O'Leary had taken to licking Percy as normal, Polybotes still tried to kill Percy as he was want to do, and the cow queen was the cow queen.
Even Grover had been a bit bewildered by Percy via empathy link dreams according to Percy, though the end result was otherwise as fine as the Mrs. O'Leary example minus Grover licking Percy. That would just be weird.
Of course the question of 'would they even still count' was academic as long as none of them got cut, and she planned to keep it that way. Enceladus moved to stab her once more, and she countered it with a sword block. The way their weapons clashed did create an opening that both she and the giant noticed, but it also created a shockwave that knocked both of their weapons loose.
"What magic is that!?"
She was just as clueless, but she getting a bit too used to strange things happening to her to get too baffled, so she reached for his dislodged spear. She swung it away with all her strength, hearing it hit a giant (she believed it was the anti-Fates giant Thoon) in the head before grabbing her sword again and lunging for his throat.
As she quickly began feeling his ichor seeping into her shoes she felt a surge of power across the world and the sound of thunder. She grinned at the recovering yet horrified giant. That could mean only one thing.
Reyna and Nico did it. The Gods were freed from the shackles of madness brought on by the Demigod Civil War, and it seemed like Zeus actually wanted to do something for a change. Without him blocking the other gods, the giants no longer had their inability to die. Demigod plus God equals destroyed giant.
What happened after the gods arrived was pretty straight forward. The giants were quickly destroyed by god and demigod teamwork, and then the gods seemed a bit confused. Apollo, who had already looked like he was having a bad day, was very surprised to see that none of them had been cut and bled blood for a ritual.
Then Zeus started to yell at Hera and Apollo, but mostly Apollo, for causing the giant war in the first place. For some reason. He wasn't entirely sure why he thought they were actually to blame for the giants coming when the giants were supposed to come again (or the fact that it had started decades ago), and apparently there was an actual reason or two beyond 'Zeus' for the reason if the Fates were accurate, but it at least meant that the list of gods that were looking at him like he was utterly baffling to look at did not include the god most likely to smite him for sneezing.
A quick tap on his shoulder had him turn and see his father Poseidon, who held a finger to his lips as if requesting he not talk. He leaned in close for a whisper.
"Don't say anything. As long as a certain pseudo-theatre god is busy venting, he won't notice and none of us will say anything. Even Ares, if only because he thinks it might give him another war. We'll talk later, figure out what happened."
The way his father said it made it sound like 'what happened' was a bit more than just 'why could he lob giant body parts at other giants like dodgeballs'. But he didn't have any chance to try and silently ask about anything else before Zeus started to rant more loudly, Jason accidentally made it worse, Piper made all the gods look like they had swallowed a lemon, and Aphrodite to say the opposite thing that Dionysus had once said.
He could ponder which of the two gods was being more truthful, but Zeus declared that Apollo was going to be punished, the gods left, and the seven of them were left in the middle of Athenian ruins with a greatly reduced sense of urgency.
"Um…so what do you we do now? I mean, Gaea didn't wake up, the war got pacificed…"
Frank's question hung over them like the smell of a dead giant. Their bodies were all plopped into Tartarus by Hades, and monsters didn't really leave corpses, but his point still stood.
"I mean I've always wanted to properly visit Athens, but Percy really does need to see his mom again. Plus even if the war is over, there still is Octavian, but the Argo will take time traveling back across the Atlantic, let alone getting to the Atlantic…"
"I could probably shadow travel Percy back to New York, or you could call that friendly hellhound to do it for you."
It was a rare event that seven demigods had no idea what they should be doing right now, but that was the case for the seven of them.
Seven demigods that were called the greatest heroes of the age (though he questioned why he was always put in that list), and they had no idea what they were even supposed to do now.
It was like something was missing and the gap that it left was filled with, well nothing.
Eventually they did manage to get back to America, where things eventually went back to normal, or at least a new normal.
His mom had hugged him relentlessly the moment he had returned. She had also cried a lot. Also, he was apparently going to be a big brother, which made him cry even more.
Octavian had apparently been turned into a pig by the Hecate Cabin at some point, and unlike the other Romans who had been turned into bigs no one was quite up for having him be turned back. He was apparently saner as a little piglet than he had been for a while at the very least. As long as they made sure no one turned the creep into bacon that would seemingly be the end of it.
He and Annabeth had been offered scholarships to New Rome's university and a place in New Rome after that to retire too, the Argo was now part of Camp Half Blood's defenses with some interest in building a second one for Camp Jupiter, and Leo had rebuilt Festus the metal dragon.
Both had then gotten involved a few weeks later, along with Jason and Piper, in a surprise revival by Gaea. In the end of that Gaea was scattered, and Leo was presumed dead. However he actually wasn't, managed to free Calypso, and told them that he wasn't dead several days later to their shared relief and anger cocktail.
Also Nico apparently had been attracted to him. For years. But was over it?
Oh, but then it turned out the Egyptians Gods were a thing, they had magicians, one of the magicians wanted to use a lighthouse to absorb Gods, and some of those magicians, but not the lighthouse weirdo, even had cellphones to call people instead of magical hand symbols. Also hybrid Gods and Egyptian Gods and Setne the lighthouse magician also had no idea what 'they were', and vulture goddesses got very cranky when they realized that reality had a fit 'because of you'. Setne meanwhile wanted to know how they did it.
Said magician was in a snow globe now and Nekhbet had slunk off somewhere to continue to mutter about he and Annabeth apparently 'nearly dooming the world and giving them all a massive headache'.
But the most shocking and horrifying thing of all was probably Annabeth actually being able to understand Blackjack. They hadn't realized it until she had responded to his steed's suggestion about 'sneaking past the harpies', and after they were all done mutually staring at each other in shock Blackjack had promptly began letting off everything he had ever wanted to say to Annabeth in one massive spewing of word vomit.
That was probably the twelfth most horrible thing to ever happen to him.
But things were seemingly returning to some degree of normal. Of course it was when that was finally happening that he and Annabeth woke up in his father's grand hall with several gods all looking at him and Annabeth.
She had to admit, she took a bit more time to stop freaking out that she was about to drown than she'd have liked, but when she was done blushing in embarrassment she had taken to studying just which gods were present.
The room was similar in scale and design to the halls of Olympus, which was something she had noticed was common in the architecture of Hades and Poseidon's palace. The great seats were also in a set of twelve, but there were not twelve gods present.
Poseidon was present, and next to him on the right was a goddess that she believed was Amphitrite, given her green skin and horns. His wife, though she was no Hera to Percy from what she understood. The cow herself wasn't present.
To Poseidon's left was Hades, mirroring where Poseidon himself would sit when Zeus was at the head of a council. Hermes and Dionysus were also to the same side. On Amphitrite's right was her mother Athena and Artemis. In the center was a fire that Hestia was tending to.
It was an…potentially explosive combination of present and absent gods. Having her mother, Percy's father, and Hades in the same room was, to use an understatement, potentially explosive.
"With a certain someone being busy with 'punishing' Apollo and my sister Hera covering in case, this secret meeting is begun. The topic in question is the unknown events that occurred to Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase and the effects of those events on their persons and souls. Protocols of secret meetings are to be observed by all in attendance."
By that, she guessed he meant 'do not give Zeus any reason to notice, so don't say his name'.
The two of them mirrored the acknowledgements given by the other gods, and that seemed to be the expected thing to do.
"Let's begin shall we with the facts. As a goddess who had managed to avoid the worst of the civil war schizophrenia I can attest as a witness to the full accuracy of events as observed outside of Tartarus. The similarly under effected Amphitrite can provide any additional context I may have missed."
Artemis had taken to speaking first, her moon-like eyes observing the two of them with a wary concern.
"Per the expectations of prophecy 'foes bear arms to the Doors of Death', battle was indeed had at both ends of the Doors of Death. Per unfortunate circumstances the battle on the Tartarus end was done by the demigods present."
The gods present all seemed, to varying degrees, possess some level of displeasure that it had come to that. Her mother and Percy's father in particular seemed to wish that falling into Tartarus had not needed to be involved.
"Yes, along with the giant Damasen, the Titan formerly known as Iapestus, the Maeonian Drakon, and a spartus cat named Small Bob."
Percy's eyes had watered a bit at remembering that, and she felt a bit of that herself. Though the only Olympian who seemed to care about that part was Hades, who had employed 'Bob' before that point.
Artemis acknowledged the point with a nod.
"I have the details of the battle from the side of Leo and Jason from their own memories. Per all expectations nothing should have gone amiss from that point. However this was the moment that something did, which caused a disturbance that could pierce even madness and our protective sanctuary and nearly spelled the doom of the world. Do you recall what that was?"
"We do. Would you like us to try and explain?"
Artemis shook her head.
"Viewing your memories will be more effective. A lack of the correct words may lead to inaccurate information."
With that explanation she felt like fingers were rubbing against her mind and the wince she could see Percy having suggested a similar feeling. Over the center hearth fire an image appeared much like that of an Iris Message, which featured her and Percy's slumped over moments in the Doors of Death.
Then came the grinding noise that made both her and Percy flinch, and every god present to share a reaction of utter shock and confusion. That paled in their reaction to the explosion, as every god present shouted out a swear word that made her bones tremble.
A few of their forms even flickered gold for a moment out of their sheer stunned horror.
Hades's loud declaration was met by unamused looks from Artemis, Athena, and Poseidon.
"Are you calling my daughter a liar? I can certainly verify that the same memory is also present in Poseidon's son.."
Hades stared at the frozen image of the white endless void in utter horror. An utter stare of horror from the master of the Helmet of Darkness, the inducer of utter horror.
"I said impossible, not a lie. What happened then shouldn't have happened! There was no reason for the Doors of Death to react like that!"
"But they did, and the world nearly ended as a result."
Dionysus's dry tone was made just a bit less dry with the flavoring of legitimate horror.
Hermes was probably the god least overtaken with visible terror: though the horror was still visible as he was looking at the frozen image with a calculating face. Did he have a suspicion of what was going on?
"The state that followed this was about an hour as seen by the time of mortals. During that time every being from every pantheon of god was rendered catatonic or otherwise managed some level of failing defense against the stress of the world tearing itself apart, the mortals without a strong connection to any were starting to be affected, and reality began to come apart at the seams. However that was then reversed somehow…"
Artemis's tone was shaken, but she resumed the flow of memories from the two of them that they were all being presented with. It was mostly a flow of despair, until the person they had briefly seen appeared.
With the benefit of seeing her own memory she could make her out clearly: she was indeed a she, with an inhumane beauty and long red hair the color of crimson. She was wearing a set of clothing that mixed black, white, and magenta together in what sort of looked like a uniform. Looks of shock, confusion, and concern were visible in her blue eyes.
That was around the time the memories fuzzed out and were replaced by them waking up in the House of Hades.
The Gods all exchanged glances.
"That would be what undid the universe destroying paradox. That young woman, whoever she was, managed to somehow return you both from that void to where you were supposed to end up. However I cannot say I recognize the woman."
Poseidon's summation was met by more unease from the gods, and she took the risk of speaking up.
"Forgive me for questioning this, but are you she wasn't just a god from another pantheon? Percy and I had recently encountered the gods of Egypt, could it have been one of them or another pantheon if they exist?"
"A good guess, but I'm afraid not daughter. While I can think of a few who could have managed to avoid the full blunt of the near calamity, that girl isn't any of them. She does have a somewhat resemblance to Loki's female form of choice, but only slightly. Also if he had saved you he would have not been confused as he was when he was in your dream afterwards."
She took a moment to register just what her mother had said.
"That was Loki?!"
"Indeed. You are probably confused as to how he contacted you, so I'll explain. It is after all, going to be relevant to this meeting. From your father's side of the family you inherited distant ancestry to the Norse God Frey. This connection is hundreds of years back, and would normally do little for you if anything. However the other unknown in your situation seems to have enhanced that ancestry, and enabled abilities as a Legacy of Frey in you. Your resistance to the heat of Enceladus's flames, along with the disarming spell you performed afterwards was a result of that latent ability set invigorated, as is your ability to understand horses. It also means Loki can bother you in your dreams if he gets bored."
Her mind was racing at that. Norse Gods were real, and she was a legacy of one? Frey…he was a Vanir right?
Her eyes widened: Loki had talked about her uncle Randolph and Chases in general. What did that mean for…
Her mother raised her hand before she could speak.
"Your concern of your family is admirable daughter, but it is not relevant to this meeting. Should it conclude ideally you may go and check in on them."
The last part was said sympathetically, though it was also in a way that made her worried.
What was a 'un-ideal' ending for this meeting?
"Of course speaking of the Vanir ruler of Alfheim comes the changes to the both of your abilities. The ability differences noticed from what either of you should possess have been noted and are as such."
With a wave of his hand a golden list with both her's and Percy's noticed changes were listed for the meeting to see in Ancient Greek.
"Are there any notable absences in this list?"
She looked the list over: enhanced strength, language comprehension, unlocked Legacy abilities…
"Percy and I perfect vision in the dark. It was one of the first things we noticed at the House of Hades."
Poseidon nodded and that power was added to the bottom of each of their lists.
She couldn't really see anything further that was missing, though there a few things listed that she had in the 'maybe' category like enhanced healing. She didn't argue them, and Poseidon nodded.
"Good, now that we've established the abilities of unknown origin that have appeared in the aftermath of the incident, it is time to determine their origin. Brother?"
Hades rose from his borrowed throne and approached them: fortunately decreasing in size so that by the time he had stepped up to Percy he was not capable of using an apartment complex as a foot stool.
He held his hand over Percy's forehead and it began glowing.
Percy winced a bit, but he tried to hide it. She didn't think any of the gods cared that he winced, though she wasn't going to say in what way she meant that.
She honestly didn't want to think of the answer.
Another swear word came out of Hades as the king of the dead took an astonished step back. That was not a good sign.
Nor was the fresh wave of alarm that came over all the other gods present, particularly from Poseidon. She took a peek at Percy herself, and she also gasped, as did her boyfriend.
"Why is there a chess piece in me!?"
Percy had been rendered transparent by whatever Hades had done, allowing them to look inside of him. Indeed in the center of Percy, pulsing much like a heart, was a glowing red chess piece. A rook specifically, that was beating in what seemed to be tandem with his own heart. Each time it beat a wave of red energy echoed through Percy's body, dissipating all over his system. The only place it was concentrated outside the chess piece was around his skin, which had a red glow to it like it was reinforcing it.
"Yes, why is there a chess piece in my son?"
The tone from Poseidon was the sort of tone that you didn't want to hear a god speaking in. It promised terrible disasters and unleashed horrors on the one responsible, and great collateral damage.
"Hades, check my daughter."
Athena's declaration made her briefly worried Hades would start something about ranks and power levels and some other godly pride thing, but he didn't argue as he held his hand over her the same way. She again winced from whatever he was doing, and when she looked down at her transparent self she did in fact see the same thing that Percy had. Just that instead of a rook, there was a knight piece in her.
"Um Annabeth…you know you have wings right?"
She stared at Percy in confusion. Wings? However with a bit of twisting she looked behind her and indeed there were a pair of thin black wings, transparent, that were visible now. A quick look at Percy also showed the same wings, missed initially in the shock of seeing the chess piece.
"There will be blood!"
The words came out of Poseidon and Athena at the same time, and she wasn't entirely sure it was just her imagination that the world trembled. Their faces were sheer with rage directed at the chess pieces, though not at them themselves, and promised punishment right out of the pages of mythology.
"Before you do that, I'd suggest we figure out exactly what these things are. The last thing any of us want is soul damage."
Soul damage?! What was that supposed to mean, and why did it make all of the gods present look uneasy.
'Let me explain. This is always the part that causes issue between demigods and their parents. Neither side is wrong from their perspective, and actually saying it aloud tends to make it better in the end.'
A voice rang in her head, and from what she could tell Percy's. It was a voice she hadn't heard that often, but Percy had witnessed a few times more.
'The difference in perspectives between gods and mortals that often comes up is tied to that of the soul. To a human or demigod, what matters is the life. The span of time in which the mortal body is persisting on the earth. However to a god such things are so fleeting they are a lesser concern to that of the soul. The soul is forever, and ensuring the soul in question ends up in the best state it can is the goal of a godly parent. A life if temporary, but the afterlife is forever. Artemis using the opening after the war to guarantee her hunters a place in Elyisum is an example of what this ideally entails. On top of the rules of gods and fate, it is the best a god can do. However the concern here is that the chess pieces may have a negative impact on such an end goal. It is possible they may trap your soul in a limbo between afterlives in a way simply having lesser ancestry from another pantheon such as Annabeth's Frey blood, or even dying in another afterlife such as the Land of the Dead or Helheim wouldn't do. You usually see this when mortals try to get into two different afterlives at the same time, but the idea of it happening to a child of a god is among the most terrible things they can imagine. That isn't even going into other possible issues that the chess pieces could cause, like forcing you against us.'
Hestia's point was…explanatory. It certainly fit with how the gods acted, though it didn't sit with her perfectly.
A human life was the time in which they did things. It was what made their mark on the world and on others. It was the time that let them prove themselves worthy of Elysium in the first place.
Also if it was so important, why did it never come up. 'I'm sorry I never talked to you in your life, I just cared about your soul more'.
'Godly pride mostly.'
That made sense. That made far too much sense.
Hermes finally spoke up, and all the attentions were drawn to him.
"A ha what exactly?"
At Dionysus's question Hermes pointed at her transparent body.
"I was looking for one for a while, and I spotted one. It is indeed a calamitron! That explains every oddity!"
Hermes nodded at Poseidon's confusion.
Her mother said the word in surprise, though clearly knowing what exactly it was. She just sounded surprised to have it come up here and now.
"Indeed, a calamitron."
"And what, do tell, is a calamitron?"
Artemis asked the question that everyone here but Hermes and Athena had.
"A calamitron is a particle that appears whenever the universe is breached. It is essence a sure sign of trans-universal travel. Seeing as there is one in Annabeth's body, and I do think I see another in Percy's, it is clear evidence to what had occurred!"
"Wait are you talking like, other universes? Different earths? Mirror universes where people have evil goatees like that Star Trek episode?"
Percy looked braced to expect the gods to not understand what he meant, but they seemed to know exactly what Percy was talking about. Though Artemis did have a look on her face that made her suspect she preferred Star Wars to Star Trek.
"I was not aware those existed."
She had the impression that Dionysus was not the only god here present to think that, though he seemed the only one willing to admit it.
In fact she felt like someone was searing her soul with their vision, so she was pretty sure she was quite right.
"I had seen the research humans had put into it so I knew it was likely, but to be so certain…tell me Hermes you indeed have traveled to other worlds?"
It was not a question. Hermes nodded.
"Indeed. I've popped over into a few out of boredom. Each and every time I got coated in calamitrons, though only from worlds like our own. The times I've traveled between truly different worlds, such as from one world with the cute red-head lady Hephaestus with an eye patch to another world with a cute red-head lady Hephaestus with an eye patch I was not coated with calamitrons.. It also gave me a clear idea of exactly the sort of problems that we've been having."
No one responded to him immediately, perhaps they were all trying to imagine what he could possibly mean by 'cute red-head lady Hephaestus with an eye patch'. It was just such an alien image that it was hard to really fathom. It also made her immediately assume Hermes had probably flirted with her, and she wondered if she was the only one to think that.
"You see, as we all know fate cannot be fought nor can it be changed. However in truth that rule only applies to what is in this universe. If you were to go into another universe with the same rules it does not need apply to you as a visitor. The reason reality crashed was a result of this: someone from another universe interfered with the Doors of Death! Then what was quite possibly a second person, the mystery red-head, interfered again and put things back on track, which is where the chess pieces in their souls came from!"
The declaration hung in the air, and everyone seemed to be absorbing the thought. It was a lot to take in.
"Question, if the chess pieces also came from another universe, and we've been doing things with them that apparently shouldn't have happened, why hasn't the universe broken again?"
Percy's question was the first to piece the silence, and a few gods were looking a bit curious on that very thought themselves. Hermes however had an answer.
"That is actually further proof. You see while fate cannot be fought against, it is also adaptable. Fate can adapt itself to minor interferences. I actually saw this myself on a few other earths with some experimenting…"
Hermes sounded a bit sad when he reflected on this, and she was sure she could guess what he tested.
"…For example, and I didn't actually do this I should probably say, imagine me grabbing you and Thalia back before you turned sixteen and throwing you both into another universe. Say, to one of the cute red-head lady Hephaestuses with eye patches. Fate wouldn't be able to have your birthday be the climax of the great prophecy, but reality could adapt itself to Nico's own birthday instead. Kronos would have four years of setbacks, though in the end the same result would occur."
"Don't get any ideas."
This time it was Artemis and Poseidon speaking in unison, and it was directed at Hermes. He waved them off.
"It was simply an example. What happened with you was similar: fate couldn't go the way it was supposed to because of your alien powers, but it wasn't so interrupted that it couldn't adjust itself. That's why Gaea managed to manifest herself later, and she was beaten just as she was supposed to be. Just at a different date, place, and context. Reality crashed because it wasn't able to do that with the case of the interference at the Doors of Death. Really the only hole in this theory is that we have no evidence of calamitrons in Tartarus, but seeing as no one is going to volunteer to go and look…"
And no one was volunteering to check.
"Can you get the mystery woman?"
At Poseidon's question Hermes nodded.
"Indeed I can. She's the most logical source of the chess pieces, and I can use them to sense the universe she hails from and teleport to her location to bring her back here. The side effects may sting a bit, but there shouldn't be any side effects."
She eyed Percy with an annoyed look at him offering himself as tribute. That was not a good habit and he knew it as well as any of them.
"If something does go wrong, I'll heal faster. On top of everything, we are underwater."
His bad habits were not helped when they had logic behind them. Hermes popped over after this point with flexing fingers and a determined expression.
"That's the spirit! The worst that should happen is some lesions, and those should heal right up. Alrighty, let's release some calamitrons and get us some answers!"
She had been complaining about people continuing to use phrases she hadn't the slightest of clues on, or just laughing at her when she got anything concrete about how foolish and crazy she was. Now, she was just wishing she could find anything.
Any end for finding Percy and Annabeth was completely dried up, and nothing they looked into helped them there at all. They had looked into anyone with those names, and what people had the same names were not her peerage members. They had tried to find those weird human pieces of scum for more information but the had seemed to have gone into hiding so well it was like they didn't actually exist anywhere.
The closest thing she could do to finding anything was looking over the closest match to their energy signature, and even that was liable to be nothing but a coincidence. But she really had nothing more she could be doing right now.
"And I thought that trio of creeps were the worst."
Koneko had put down a book simply titled "Zeus' with a dry expression and an even drier tone.
She herself had a book with a very similar theme to 'Zeus': that being 'The Family Tree of the Olympian Gods'. It made her appreciate the fact that devils had something leaning on the concept of standards to some degree. Even a certain Phenex…maybe…possibly… not really.
The entire free members of her peerage were going over literature on the subject of the Olympians in what even she could call a vain hope. If she wasn't a devil she was pretty sure this was the part where one prayed for a miracle.
It was as she made this little quip to herself however, that a thin line formed in the air in front of her. The line was slowly being pushed apart, as if something was traveling through it via some sort of very bizarre transportation spell. It was like lightning how quick they all reacted to it, with Kiba and Akeno pointing a sword and sparking finger at it while Koneko leapt over her and looked ready to punch something. The line continued to be pushed apart, and out of the line came the speeding form of something. No, it was someone.
Eventually that something flew out of the portal line and flew right over them, fluttering for a moment before swerving around to be in front of them once more. Her peerage continued to tense in preparation for the attack, and she got a look at who had come.
The man was middle aged in appearance, and was dressed something akin to that of a jogger. His hair was like salt and pepper, and his eyes were serious and analytic as if they were already calculating actions many moves in advance. The most striking thing about this man however, were the winged sandals and helmet worn by him, along with a caduceus entwined with twin snakes. The identity of this man was obvious. Hermes, the Greek God who delivered messages.
However there was something off. She knew what Hermes looked like, and it wasn't this.
"Accessing the internet! Taking in potentially useful data. Bargaining prowess will be enhanced with useful data."
One snake on the caduceus spoke hummed as the other added.
"Hacking! Oh hey, Heaven has its own servers! As does the Odin…oh dear gods no!"
"What did you expect would happen if you did that George? It was either going to be porn or concentrated motivational speeches if you looked there. Frankly it would have to be pretty depraved to be worse than the motivational speeches."
The Hermes-alike ignored the two snakes bickering to focus on her instead.
"Heaven and Odin then, and I can tell in your eyes exactly what you are thinking. 'This guy looks like Hermes but he doesn't look like Hermes'. I'd look in your mind to be sure that is what you are thinking, but honestly it is a bit odd in structure and I'm still figuring out how to fully navigate it. It's a different architecture, and we don't have time to fully figure it out. I'll be blunt then, I am indeed Hermes the Greek God of messages, weights, roads, measures, and more things than you can shake a stick at, but not the one you are seem to be familiar with to some extent. I am the Hermes of another universe."
"That's an interesting story. Any reason we should believe it?"
She agreed with Akeno on that one. Other universes with inhabitants and alternate timelines and everything were unproven theories limited to fiction. She could admit to herself it would explain a few of the oddities she had been dealing with since Akeno got possessed, but it was so outlandish it wasn't worth thinking about.
Also he'd be wise to not try to read her mind without permission.
The Hermes-claimant looked unamused at their doubt as he pulled two things out of a satchel he had with him. They were action figures of some sort, labeled as being from something called 'Hephaestus T.V' and covered in several garish labels in what looked like a mixture of English and Ancient Greek. However it was who the action figures were of that made her nearly gasp aloud. The one in his right hand was Percy Jackson holding a sword (Fully poseable! Retrieves prop Anaklusmos if lost via magic! Not indestructible!) and in his left was that of Annabeth Chase (Fully poseable! Comes with 7 stock hubris phrases! We'll send you a new one with proof of act of Hera!). They were apparently from something called the 'Unscripted Adventures of Percy Jackson' show (Percy Jackson is completely unaware of it, when he finds out the show ends).
He made the action figures and their boxes vanish just as easily, and she got a chance to fully feel his power. It was a strange one that was mostly alien and unusual, but one that had just that bit of similar feeling to that of the Olympians, and even more so to the missing Percy and Annabeth.
"I do hope that was satisfactory. I have other means of proving my point as needed without further digging into my complete merchandise collection. I will of course say this bluntly: your actions in that white void had many consequences. I'm sure you'd be happy to know that you saved our world with whatever it is you did there. If nothing else we can thank you for that. However in the process you have done unknown things to two of the greatest heroes in our history, and we would very much like to know exactly what you did. There are chess pieces in their souls, and we have questions."
While there were still doubts in her mind that this man was really an alternate universe counterpart to Hermes, she was in deed convinced that he was in deed connected to her missing knight and rook, and that wherever they were (be it another universe or some other place far removed from the state of things) they were in fact as confused as she was. Everyone that had powers would know exactly what evil pieces were, so to not know it was a red flag of something being amiss. If they were from another universe or just somehow avoided the conflicts between all the factions in the world until this point they were owed an explanation at the very least.
"Martha! There aren't any Mormons in this universe! That's kind of weird, even by Mormon standards."
"Christianity does seem a bit more streamlined, though I do have to question their choices of garments for their warriors…I don't think that's kosher."
"Pretty sure kosher is the older abrahamic faith…"
At the opposite end of her personal duties to her peerage members, going with this Hermes would also allow her to figure out just who they were, and keep the man's snakes from gaining any intelligence that could be used against her family and devils in general.
"Very well, I assume you wish to bring me somewhere to answer the questions you have? I will accompany you and answer your questions as much as I am able to. I take it there would be little issue with me bringing my peerage with me, or asking my own questions?"
Akeno's worried hiss was acknowledged, but she didn't respond to it. This was the best option they had of resolving the situation, and the only options were attempting to fight an unknown but likely powerful opponent or attempting to run from someone who either was a famously fast god, or claimed to be his equal. No option was perfect, but there was only one that had the potential to end well.
The word was said the way someone would say an unfamiliar word. However the Hermes before her seemed to connect it to Kiba, Akeno, and Koneko quickly enough, and nodded.
"Yes, that would be acceptable. Do you want to bring the one in the sealed room as well?"
She felt a chill run through her as he revealed knowledge of her bishop. Was he reading her mind now for her deepest secrets, or was he able to sense Gasper somehow?!
"The latter actually, though your mind is still hard to really get into the depths of just yet. As I said it is different than what I'm used to see. Sort of like your mind is running linux, that's a thing in this universe right?"
"It is boss. The best operating system does in fact exist in this universe just as in ours."
"Macintosh is better, and it also exists here. It's not as good as our own versions though."
"While I would greatly prefer you stay out of my mind, I can assure you that bringing Gasper would be cruel of me. Gasper is nervous of new places, among other things that need not be discussed as this present time. So, shall we go?"
The intruder shrugged, and tapped the ground with the butt end of his caduceus. As a result another line opened up in space; slowly expanding into a portal that didn't feel nor look like any she had seen before.
"Sorry about the calamitrons, but they're unavoidable."
Again with that word? Regardless of her own annoyance at that unexplained word she walked through the portal first. She didn't let anyone see her nervousness and concerns of what might be ahead. She was the king, her peerage depended on that and she could not show weakness or fear.
She felt them form up behind her in a line down the crack through glowing lights and endless darkness, with the Hermes-supposed forming the tail-end of their marching column. As she walked along she felt a bit of pressure build around her, like enhancing gravity. She frowned in confusion; especially as she could tell her peerage was also feeling it.
'That, if you are curious, is a universal difference. Power flows easier in your universe, and traveling between them leads to conversions. It's sort of like with currency on a border, just replace 'how much money do I need for a sandwich' with 'how much overall power does it take for me to blow up a house'. And no, it isn't part of a trap. We'd be able to destroy you effortlessly even in your own universe ''at your current power level'' is I believe the operative term.'
His thoughts rang in her head in a telepathic message, and she'd have shot him a look if she wasn't sure that would cause Koneko behind her to worry. However before she could find a way to express her displeasure with the telepathic communication without her permission a light became visible at the end of the tunnel.
"We are arriving at a secret meeting. I will warn you all now, do not use the names Zeus, Jupiter, Jove, or any means of getting his attention during your time here. We will obliterate you for our own sake without prejudice. It's a safety precaution, it cannot be helped. Also you will be able to breath, so don't freak out too much. It will only embarrass you more when you stop."
With that warning they stepped through the crack, and into a sudden feeling of being held under untold gallons of water. For indeed they were underwater, and it did in fact take her a moment to remind herself to breath. For that she was rewarded with a fresh gulp of air, and a moment to get a read on where she had arrived.
It was an underwater court, that much was obvious to see. It was also clearly Greek with their distinct form of architecture in use for the columns and thrones. The thrones were massively large, and it took her a moment to fully grasp their size.
As well as the size of the ones who were sitting in them, which came to include Hermes as he shifted his size and took on an equal great size mid-step from behind them into a seat. He announced the arrival of the 'person of interest' to the gathered group, and she had to admit she was now really leaning into this being exactly what he had said. A gathering of gods from another universe to her own. Alternate Olympian gods. She took a moment to guess which ones were present, as it was not a full showing of their group.
The one who took the lead here was not Zeus as Hermes had said, but given the setting and the trident the identity could only be a single deity. Poseidon was leading this meeting, dressed in clothing that she could quite horrifying image her brother wearing if Grayfia wasn't with him. The flowery vacation shirt aside, he was looking at her like he had very poorly hidden fury aimed for her, the seawater around him looking several degrees warmer than that of the water around him and moving in distinct currents. His eyes were a piercing and distinct green she felt like she had seen before, but his looks made that more obvious. The god resembled Percy Jackson immensely, and she would assume he was his father.
Hermes had made it clear that they had no idea what an evil piece was, and if that was the case she knew that she had entered a very dangerous situation where she'd need to explain things carefully. The god was confused, and that confusion had created anger. Anger from a god who her research showed a protectiveness towards his children at least in her world, and she guessed in this one as well.
To his right was a woman with green skin and horns who she quickly guessed was Amphitrite, the queen of the seas. A goddess who humans had little written about, and her own research hadn't been the most in depth on. However she was also looking at her with displeasure. If it was for making her husband angry or for another reason it was basically immaterial. In the end that was another god whose anger was aimed at her and her peerage.
To the left of Poseidon was a pale being with oil-black hair and robes that almost shimmered with screams if her eyes weren't being distorted by the water too badly. His black eyes swept over her entire group, particularly her peerage, with an intense focus aimed at Kiba in particular. A helmet that was on the arm rest of the throne eventually gave her an idea of this god was. Hades, the Lord of the Dead. Could he tell that Kiba had been the closet of the three to death upon reincarnation? She had seen images of Hades in her research, and the difference between the two was certainly striking on a physical level at the very least.
Two male gods were on the same side of the room as Hades. One of them was Hermes, who had raised his caduceus and she would hazard a guess it was doing something beyond showing it off. Were the snakes transmitting such informations as what was on Heaven's servers to these gods for their records? The other she couldn't quite identify from his appearance alone: he dressed like Poseidon in garbs she could have nightmares of her brother wearing quite easily, though he was a lot less physically imposing. He sort of reminded her of some anti-angel newspaper comics from the underworld made to mock the beings as past their prime. His eyes were bloodshot. He wasn't Hephaestus or Apollo clearly…could he be Dionysus?
Whoever the god was he wasn't quite looking at them with the same intensity as Poseidon was, but she had a feeling that there was a certain element of a mask on when it came to just what he was thinking.
On the side with Amphitrite were two goddesses. The first was decked in an elegant mixture of cloth and armor the likes of which would be striking in the underworld elite. Her eyes were staring down her with a similar intensity to that of Poseidon, but in a different way. Poseidon's eyes looked like they were minutes away from hitting her with a hurricane, while the eyes of this goddess looked more like she was assessing how to most efficiently bring her demise should it be deemed necessary. There was some similarity in her appearance to that of Annabeth, was she her mother? Though that confused her a bit, as the goddess seemed likely to be Athena. Why did a virgin goddess have a daughter? Was that just a thing in her universe and here Athena was as prone to lovers and physical affection as Aphrodite or Demeter?
Those two goddesses were not whom she believed the final massive goddess looking her way was. The goddess was dressed in silver clothing more meant for moving quickly than taking great blows, and a silver bow was at her side. The auburn-haired goddess was in all likelihoods Artemis then. She was looking them over in tense contemplation like a trap with eyes, and she noticed a bit of interest be drawn to Koneko specifically. Could she sense her heritage, or was it something else?
Looking down from their great sizes she noticed three others present. One of them was a woman in shawls who was tending the fire that was somehow burning underwater, and she'd guess that would be Hestia. The other two were faces that she hadn't seen since the white void, and she saw them awake for the first time and in far greater health.
She finally got to see their eyes in full, and the green and grey that Percy and Annabeth had were striking and similar to their presumed parents in a way that was undeniable. She flashed them a big smile, and she was a bit saddened to see them react to her smile with uncertainty but she supposed it was to be expected. They hadn't really ever seen before after all, and were probably confused.
"As requested, I have brought the woman seen in the memories to this meeting from her universe. She has agreed to answer any and all questions, though she requested to bring along her associates. I judged that to be of no concern to you?"
At Hermes's declaration and Poseidon's brusk nod to the part of it being no concern she took a step forward and gave the gathered gods a polite bow. The gesture seemed to confuse them all but Hermes.
"Why is she doing that? She's not Japanese, none of them are except for that other girl her age. The one that's familiarish, even if I couldn't tell you how right now."
The likely-Dionysus's question seemed to be the reason for this confusion, and it was an easy enough question to answer. It wasn't her attention to start that way, but showing her willingness to answer their questions should help ease tensions.
"It is true that I am not native to the Japan in my universe, but I have always had a fondness for its culture and it is where I currently attend school. I can however speak any language that you would like here. My name is Rias Gremory."
"Yes the ability to speak every language fluently. An ability that my daughter did not have prior to the incident that you were a part of. I take it you can fill in the details we do not possess on it? Both in your side of the incident, and of what your actions were in general."
The most certainly Athena was curt and she nodded back.
"I am indeed prepared to cooperate with your questions. Would you like me to start at the beginning?"
"We'd like you to start by allowing us to view your memories. Before you protest about your privacy or the fact your brain apparently runs differently, seeing your memories play out will spare us having to interrupt you every five seconds as you explain what half of the things in your universe even are. I haven't even looked at Hermes's data all that much and I don't want to drag this out for you to explain what a sacred gear is, or what a Nekoshou is, or who the Grigori are, or whatever might possibly come up. It saves us all time."
Most-likely Dionysus's statement caught her off guard in a few different ways. First for making her peerage all visibly flinch in a way she couldn't tell was intentional or not. The second was her generally not wanting people fingering around her memories. The third was wondering how he was even seeing that information. Was he someone looking the information over while also looking utterly bored? Did he have some ability to duplicate himself or something to let him do two things at once?
She briefly looked around and saw no sympathetic looks from these gods, and even Hestia was just poking at the flames and not looking at her. However her gaze came along the two she had saved and her nerves relaxed a bit. Two members of her peerage needed an explanation, and if she had to give it this way she would do it.
"Very well. Do what you must. I will of course offer any explanation required."
The feeling of fingers stroking her brain made her visibly wince.
"Well you weren't wrong about the different feel to her mind Hermes…ah there."
And with that a pillar of steam formed in the water above the fire, creating an almost holographic image of her memories with the occult research club just before Akeno was possessed. She was curious to watch the reactions of those present to what had possessed Akeno, and she could tell that they did in fact know the identity of the possessor. What surprised her though was a general look of surprise on their faces about it. Were they surprised by the fact this presumably alternate universe god was the one to seek her out.
Percy and Annabeth noticed this too and looked about ready to ask something, but she saw Hestia motion for them to hold their question.
Eventually the memory came to the white void where she found Percy and Annabeth and that of their reincarnation, and she would guess this would be the most likely source of escalated tension. Indeed the spinning red magical circles around the two of them during the process did make every one present look rather spooked and she had the distinct feeling of increased water pressure on her.
Eventually the other being hugged her and apologized about calamitrons and the memory ended. Given what said being had said and Hermes own comment she'd guess the presence of additional factors like 'near world destruction' that had not been shown to her. Of course she'd be very unlikely to get that information as it was clear that these gods had further questions for her.
"So now that we have seen the full means of how both sides of the incident played out there remain only two questions. The question of who caused the incident and their motives for doing so will seemingly remain unexplored in this meeting, but now for the second and most pertinent question. Rias Gremory, what was it that you did to my son and the daughter of Athena?"
She felt an increase of water pressure once more as the question was asked, and she could feel Koneko become uncomfortable. She slipped a hand back to grab her rook's hand. She could idly see Posiedon look ready to tell her to stop, but a motion from Amphitrite calmed him before that.
With one hand holding Koneko's she began her own explanation.
"The explanation will be a bit complicated. It is a common enough procedure on my own world, and it does involve many terms that, per already provided commentary, you all are not familiar with. I will endeavor to explain it as best I can and answer any questions that you have. What I performed was something that is often done to roughly three broad groups of people with a fairly common degree of overlap. The willing, the heavily injured, and the recently deceased. Percy and Annabeth, whose names I'll add I learned from a third party and not through any ability of my own, were between the second and the third category."
"So in your universe the rules of death are commonly violated? Hermes suggested that counterparts to ourselves exist in your universe, and I somehow doubt that any version of mine would tolerate such things."
Hades was the first god to speak up.
"I cannot speak for your counterpart's views on the matter beyond the fact that a Hades does in fact exist in my universe. I have never met him before."
He wasn't quite pleased with her response, but he did let his issue lie for the moment.
"This method is known as reincarnation, and is done with chess pieces known as evil pieces. I assure you however that the name is thematic and not inductive of any inherent corrupting nature."
She put the last part in because she was sure it would be a problem, and indeed it did. All present looked alarmed to various degrees. Percy and Annabeth were probably the most animated about it: they both looked at each other with looks of mutual concern. She could almost imagine them wondering if they had been doing anything 'evil' in the time since they were reincarnated.
The word reincarnated, however, also seemed to alarm the present gods and whom she guessed were demigods (she was pretty sure Percy and Annabeth were demigods, but that hadn't come up yet). Water pressure increased again, and she could feel Athena undressing her with her mind, though unlike a young man doing the same it seemed more for the means of cutting her apart via vivisection. A term Akeno had clarified to her a while ago meant cutting open a living being to look at their organs.
"I'm guessing we have hit a difference in meaning. In our context reincarnation is another word for rebirth. That would be the resetting a soul with the waters of the river Lethe to have another life. This process is a part of how the underworld determines the placement of a soul after death, with multiple heroic and noble reincarnations for a hero being considered the highest ideal to strive towards. Such a status is not the case with either Percy or Annabeth who have not suffered memory loss."
Hermes was the god who spoke up to explain where the explosion of tension had come from. He was tenser in tone than before, but it did at least fill her in as to what the problem was.
"Reincarnating is indeed something else entirely. Actual death is not a requirement. If I may be so bold to bring this up, but I do believe that if they had indeed died to a point of creating problems for your afterlife you would have taken notice of it? If it has created a problem I do apologize tremendously."
That did indeed seem to cause the gods present to relax slightly. Some more than others, and the parents and Hades least of all.
"Reincarnate suggests a change, and we have indeed noticed changes to the heroes in question. Their abilities have been notably enhanced, and an examination of them also revealed wings on them unlike any we have seen. Could you explain this?"
The goddess that was likely Artemis was the next one to speak, and the part about wings made her curious. Where there devils in this universe? Or did they just look very different from those in her own?
"I can, though I do believe there may some difference in the words I will use as they pertain to my own universe versus your own. While I won't pretend that the amount of information that Hermes's snakes were able to gain on my world wasn't concerning, I do hope that it can provide some clarity on the matter."
Hermes had a wary eye on her, and he seemed to get what she was doing. Ideally he would have managed to get that information and having it say it aloud might give her the cover to keep the water pressure from getting too intense and causing her or her peerage injury.
None of them had complained yet, and she'd have to thank them for handling themselves well so far when she was questioned, and she'd like to keep them from harm if possible.
"While I do hope you are not asking me to display the contents of your Odin's hard drive for everyone here to see I can comment on some general trends I did notice. Perhaps you'd like me to start with the notable differences in Christianity in your universe compared to our own. That stuff gets everywhere regardless of the universe. As I'm sure you might have heard George say in shock there are no Mormons in your universe, and your version of Christianity seemed to be absent of many schisms and infighting effects that our version went through. I could list all of the doctrinal changes that resulted in from what languages your bibles are written in to their choice in official uniforms. I could even comment on the fact that your world happens to be in some sort of post-conflict cold war after a massive war decimated the numbers of your universe's angels, devils, and fallen angels that seem notably different from the ones in our world…and you are not an angel. Tell me Rias Gremory, what are you?"
Hermes seemed to catch on what she was aiming for, and she suppressed a grin. That had gone exactly in the direction she wanted. Even in her world devils were generally seen as evil, and gambling on their status in this world was something she felt like avoiding. Hermes setting up the part about them being notably different should give her enough wiggle room to prevent harm to her peerage.
"Everything you said was correct. I cannot speak for what your world's counterpart to my kind are like, but in my world I am what is known as a devil. Reincarnation via the evil pieces was developed by my kind to repopulate our numbers quickly following the devastating wars that decimated my kind. Though in truth without us showing it most of us appear perfectly human."
She took a risk and sprung her wings out to emphasize that fact, though she'd have to see how this would go over.
Every god present was looking at her in shock, though the way many of their faces were looking suggested that it was in fact notably different from whatever sort of devils existed here in this universe. Percy and Annabeth seemed the most shocked, and she had to admit the looks of near horror that had come over their faces hurt a bit. Shock or not, it was a bit hurtful to see such reactions from her peerage, like the idea of what they were was utterly horrible to them. It was painful enough with Gasper's own power and heritage.
"Wait, I was actually in a church the other day helping my mom out with a volunteer thing. I even shook a priests hand afterwards, and I didn't catch fire or anything."
Percy was the first to speak: with a tone that had just the hint of a joke in his genuine shock and confused terror.
That was a bit odd. Did God not enforce the same rules in this universe?
"A devil. You turned my son into a devil. You tied his soul to the Christian Hell. And not just that, but one in another universe itself."
Poseidon's tone was quiet, but the growling of an intense typhoon was in the depths of his voice. Her ears popped, and she noticed his entire body was trembling with barely restrained fury.
"If you mean fire and brimstone that is a different thing in of itself from the devils of my world. The Hades of my universe is in charge of sorting souls for various heavens or the actual hells that would be where evil people are punished. A devil is not doomed to a punishment hell in death."
She tried to keep the panic out of her voice, and she wasn't sure how successful she was in the face of a living cataclysmic stone glaring daggers at her. Did he even hear her words, or were they all white noise devoured by his anger before they could register to him?
"The exact nature of your afterlives aside, perhaps you do not know what it is at stake here. You may indeed have saved our world, but in doing so such a thing has clearly bound our children to two different afterlives. Their souls will be stuck in limbo between the two after death unable to be rewarded or pursue further rewards. Their existences will be agony."
Athena had a similar tone to her as Poseidon, but the impression was very different. She was less a storm that would smash everything to her as the feeling of a knife on every point of her body at once ready to inflict the most excruciating of deaths. On top of the threat of two imminent deaths Percy and Annabeth themselves were even more terrified than before.
To terrified members of her household, there was only one thing she could do. It may even be the only thing she could possibly do to save the lives of herself and her peerage. She hadn't looked back at them, but she could tell they were ready to defend her with their lives. A fight they knew was unwinnable, but they would seek to defend her as best they could.
"I do not know the nature of death and how a soul is placed in any afterlife. Not even on my own world, let alone your own. However I will offer you this vow, and I will repeat it in any way that you wish. I vow to devote the resources I can offer as heir to the house of Gremory, little sister to one of the Great Satans, and that of those part of my household to finding a way to ensure that their souls do not end up in such a fate. You may not know the nature of my household, but my family is famous for treating those it takes into our home as reincarnated devils as beloved family. I will do no less with your son and daughter and find a means of ensuring the afterlife for them that you wish."
She could tell that her peerage were about to go and speak, trying to appeal to these gods with their own back stories. They were willing to defend her with their secrets and tragedies as much as their own powers. She held a backwards facing hand to them to request they not do that just yet.
That might work, but it might need to be timed just right. Both Poseidon and Athena looked unchanged in their expressions, but at the very least Percy and Annabeth seemed a bit calmer.
"Even if the parts about your resources are true, and I must confirm that your family indeed does have that reputation according to Martha, perhaps you forget the problem that you have called time. I can tell that your type of devils does have a lifespan, you are not immortal. How much time can you really devote to them?"
"A devil can live for 10,000 years, and I am not even one percent into my lifespan. I promise I will use those years to ensure your children's souls go to your afterlife alone."
She had to admit she was surprised at the reaction that caused. At the mention of 10,000 years as a life span every deity present seemed to be taken aback. It even shocked Poseidon and Athena out of their utter rage.
"You must be miscounting. Or does it only apply to certain devils."
She shook her head in response to Dionysus's disbelief.
"That is correctly counted and for all devils. True if they eat poorly they might only live 9,800 years or so, and some can live longer than that. 10,000 is the average lifespan."
"Does that take into account the lives that died in this great war your kind had? Such casualty levels could drive the average down considerably, making the true age expectancy much higher.
At Hermes question she honestly didn't have an answer. She couldn't remember if that was factored in or not.
As she admitted her uncertainty every god present seemed to recover from their shock a bit, though she wasn't entirely sure why. Why would 10,000 years mean that much to a god?
"So we've reached a critical juncture. We have obtained all of the information we sought in this meeting. We know what caused our universe to nearly end, and we know what became of the Son of Poseidon and the Daughter of Athena. The complications that are the result of this status have been given an unexpected twist by a truly staggering time span. With 10,000 years, the ramifications may indeed by mitigatable. However the requirements of the reveals of the alternate universe and the reactions of the gods to it have left two voices somewhat stifled. Their own input on this matter should be heard now."
It was Amphitrite who had spoken, and from some reactions she noticed it may for the first time in this meeting. She gestured towards Percy and Annabeth.
"I am no goddess of death but I can only presume that the matters of the soul are easier done in person than afar. While the most logical solution would be the ability to travel between the worlds enough to attend to their needs and duties in both, there is more than logic to take into consideration. A new world means new threats after all. Your resolve was heard Rias Gremory, and I assume that if they chose to stay in our world and never visit yours you would hold to your vows?"
She nodded in affirmation to that.
"Then the heroes shall decide which it will be. Heroes are being of two worlds who can travel anywhere as they please. The choice to travel to another world should be among them."
With that the two heroes had all the attention, and after a moment of surprise at it they walked towards her. The way they walked was that of familiar and experienced fighters, a walk that she had not seen in any of her peerage. They were powerful, but they did not come to her as trained warriors.
The two stopped just a ways away from her. Their eyes met, and she noticed some similarities in how their eyes were with their parents beyond color.
Annabeth's eyes had the quality to them of analyzing her and her peerage, trying to decipher everything from just a glance. She had to admit being impressed that the girl could tell that Konoko was not just there to be cute. Even without seeing her fight the daughter of Athena could tell that she was dangerous, and that was something many could struggle to do.
Percy's meanwhile was that of a storm brewing in them much like his father's. What it was exactly wasn't as clear. Did he hate her?
"Will being a devil do anything to those around me?"
That was the question that came out of Percy's mouth, and she had to admit that was not she expected.
He looked at her with a more focused storm in his eyes: a storm that was much more akin to what his father had.
"My mom's pregnant. I'm going to be a big brother to a half brother or sister next year. This evil piece won't do anything to them will it?"
Of all things he was worried about that? She smiled at him. It was unexpected as a concern, but one she could alleviate.
"Being around children, born or otherwise, won't do anything to them. You won't make them a devil, you won't make them evil. They will be just as they would be if none of this happened at all."
It was amazing how quickly the storm in his eyes died down. His features relaxed, and she felt like she was seeing his more natural expression now.
"That's a relief. You know, I honestly have to thank you. Doing things to my soul is kind of scary, but I was able to use the powers from it to protect my friends. That's really big to me; I don't know how clear I can make that."
He held out a hand to her.
"I honestly was hoping that I might get a bit more normal in my life. I mean I spent eight months asleep recently, and I also fell into Tartarus. However if I really do have 10,000 years…well maybe I can do normal a bit later. Though I do have to catch up on school work."
"And I'll be happy to help you with all of that as much as I can."
She felt warmth in her heart. It seemed like at least Percy was going to give this a chance. Now if Annabeth…
"Another world sounds interesting. There are things I need to do here: friends, family, school. But I'm up for seeing your world, though I can only hope it won't take 10,000 years to get through the part about our souls. I actually talked to someone who had some mummies stuck between afterlives a while back and I'd rather not be part of that. Plus someone needs to keep an eye on this seaweed brain and I don't know if I can trust you to do that just yet."
Her heart was so warm now she was glad she was underwater.
"We'll make this work, I swear it in the name of House Gremory."
Her promise to both was followed by a cough from Poseidon.
"If you want to make an oath in this world, you don't swear on such things. If you are truly serious on your intentions and expect me to trust you with my son, you will swear on the river Styx."
"The same goes for my daughter. You will promise the following on this 'I, Rias Gremory, will devote myself to finding the means of keeping the souls of Annabeth Chase and Percy Jackson from being trapped between world after death. I will ensure that they will die as they should have before I reincarnated them.' You will swear this on the river Styx."
She felt like there was more to this than just the words used, but she'd do it. She opened her mouth ready to swear this oath.
"Oh I don't think that will be necessary Athena. Her promise is just as good as one on the Styx."
Hermes's words shot through the gathering like a high powered magical attack.
No one said anything immediately, but the looks on Percy and Annabeth's faces made it clear that he was saying something major. More than just her own personal honor, but more something akin to a very binding oath.
Athena looked ready to argue, but a second Hermes suddenly appeared in front of them with the same grin as the one on the throne.
"Now if you are going to do the commuting thing, I should teach you how to travel between universes. Normally it isn't teachable, but with those pieces you should manage it. Now I'm curious if it will be only you two being able to move to and from or if it would be something like a portal you can take and have people go through. Let's find out in a little place of mine a certain god wouldn't look."
In a moments flash she was teleported away with her now reunited peerage, but she was sure that she was missing something. There was something else going on here other than confirming the gods here could have multiple copies of themselves doing things at any given time.
The moment the bit of his essence he called up to ferry the six away every god in the room was staring at him like he was insane. Even Hestia, which was a rarity.
"Hermes, explain yourself. That oath was not any more binding than a pinkie promise in practice."
Athena's glare was wilting, but he smiled back.
"You were a bit too quick to jump the gun on that one. You were thinking 'what if the girl was lying'. Trust me as the god of thieves she wasn't. For a devil she's not really that sinister. Must be a thing with that universe. No it is better that you don't put a restriction on her like that."
"Perceus is an admiral hero, but he is also one who is constantly attacked by monsters, recklessly throws himself in to protect others, and is no longer protected by the Curse of Achilles. He likely does not have 10,000 years of life to get his soul fixed. If you are worried that such an oath will keep the devil girl from doing unrelated activities to their souls as recreational sports or fornication your priorities are highly misplaced."
Artemis was also giving him a wilting glare. It was the sort of thing they both inherited from Zeus. He shook his head again.
"An oath like that wouldn't stop her from enjoying life, even if it could be made like that. No I'm thinking that this could lead to something even better than saving his soul."
He snapped his fingers as the space above the fire began displaying things he had picked up from the other universe. Little factoids and observations like the difference in power conversion and the training potential of devils.
"We all want to save their souls. However with the powers that this accident has added and opened up, we might see something occur that we haven't for quite a while. Forget just ensuring a good afterlife: Poseidon and Athena will get something far greater than that."
With that he pointed at Dionysus, and the expression of everyone in the room became ones of utter shock.
"What I'm proposing is simple really. The Christians compared us to devils, so why not have some fun with that slander to have two new gods ascend via the power of devils. Percy became the strongest demigod of our age, of all the demigods currently alive by any pantheon, through the strife and battle he was thrown into by the Titans and Giants. That puts his life at great risk sure, but in fighting against that and raising his strength to match I am sure adding in another world and another power set, let alone 10,000 years, will bring him to that rare threshold. Plus this time if Annabeth can go the same way there is no reason for him to fight against it and keep himself mortal like some love-mad martyr.."
A simple explanation from him always did leave a room agreeing with him. A master of thievery was always a master of turning any situation into a good one for all involved after all. This was no different.
END FIRST CHAPTER SAMPLER
Quick detail notes, for use of both the casual reader and one who might want to take this idea on for themselves to keep or change as they wish.
DxD's setting is before canon's chapter 1: don't have a clear idea when but Issei is a few months removed from Raynare or Truck-kun or whatever at the very least.
In the Riordanverse the set up takes place during House of Hades, but the plot gets going when it comes to interactions with Rias and co between Blood of Olympus and The Hidden Oracle/The Sword of Summer. The Demigods and Magicians stories have happened by that point, as has The Serpents Shadow.
The DxD character Rizevim was pointed to me as a possible antagonist, given that he does react badly to alternate timelines in post anime productions DxD. However he can be replaced with another villain if someone takes this up, either from DxD or from somewhere else (an adopter can edit the part where the character responsible is tied to the DxD devils, though it is left ambiguous that it was a mistaken allegation in text).
As to who got Rias in the right direction (and thought it was a DxD character responsible for things)…I do have an idea of what Riordanverses character it was. I left a few hints, and I'll hint a few other things including A: that this character has come up a few times, B: that when I say Riordanverses I do include at least some of the Rick Riordan Presents books (that aren't canon to his books, but I hold will probably Arrowverse stuff into them at some point), which is where Calamitrons originated) and C: that you could also, in adopting it, change the character into someone else (like Riordanverse Odin or something). Heck you could set it up as to have not had anyone do it deliberately and chance had Rias manage to save the Riordanverse from a reality breaking paradox.
The Zygerri are an idea I came up with a while back who first appeared in another fic of mine called The Britannian Succession Crisis of 2017 ATB, though they don't originate from it. Basically the Zygerri are a fanfic idea I had for a multiverse-spanning criminal empire of human traffickers who traffic in humans across universes with the aid of technology and quirks. They are honestly here because I felt like Rias and co were getting too little even with my greater familiarity with the Riordanverse characters and I wanted to do more with her. They could easily be removed in a full version taken by someone else, as they are honestly 'filler that exists to fix a problem I'd have probably been able to fix if there was any canonical means of Rias to sense her peerage or start getting dreams from them like this was a Fate Servant/Master thing or something'.
Apollo is confirmed to be under 5,000 years old. That is part of what shocked the Olympians so much about devil lifespans.
The last part with Hermes is inspired by the fic 'Son of the Western Sea'. Just with more Percabeth. Like other parts of this an adopter can remove it or make it more prominent.
Potential aspects for an adopted version of this concept
Percy and Annabeth noticing anime tropes in the DxD world, DxD characters noticing Youth/YA novel tropes in Riordanverse world, and the lack of their familiar tropes in the other world (This is also called 'Percy and Annabeth are confused by breast physics' or 'DxD characters are amazed that Camp Half Blood T-shirts don't seem to be made of tissue paper')
At least in this version the DxD Earth is Earth-020120 and the Riordanverse Earth is Earth-020520. If you want to do the Earth-# thing you can use that, or you could use your own numbers and I'll keep the numbers for my own ideas on the topic.
At least in my (and Scionofrevan's) discussions, we are of the opinion that the evil pieces would probably boost the inherent powers within both Percy and Annabeth: so Percy and Annabeth's demigod powers are probably stronger on top of the specific Evil Piece abilities. It's a bit of an idea of mine, based on talk in the Magnus Chase series, that Annabeth and other Chases are Frey Legacys (on top of Magnus being Frey's son), so my own take is that Annabeth's evil piece and its magic is probably boosting the power of that to a point she'd actually get something out it.
Both Percy and Annabeth have hints in the original series that they do have a talent for magic (Book 1 for Percy and 2 for Annabeth). Worth keeping in mind.
Please please please do not replace Issei with Percy. By all means water Issei down if you must, frankly if I wrote the story I'd probably have him interact with Percy and character develop a bit into, IDK, a guy who says something perverted every 10 words versus, IDK, 7 before he becomes a major player in the story events, but no bashing and no killing him off permanently.
Somewhat related to that…do think if you want to do something with Percy that isn't strict Percabeth, and I don't just meant undoing the ship. I don't know who'd you have to character develop more to make..(IDK off the top of my head….) Percaxenobeth or something between Percy and Annabeth, but do keep that in mind.
General verse crossover shenanigans are welcome (Example, Riordanverse Loki swapping places with DxD Loki against DxD's will and Kokabiel wanting to start a war across multiverses instead of restarting the great war).