A/N Apologies for not updating, but there had been a series of events that have distracted and discouraged me from writing. Namely, I've gotten addicted to League of Legends, so I have not been writing for much. Also, my 3rd year of highschool took much more effort than I expected in order to maintain my grades. Sorry for that, and hopefully I'll start updating soon again. Anyways, enjoy. Thanks to PercyxArtemis for being one of the PM'ers who encouraged me to continue.
"To the Gods!" Chiron bellowed, stamping his hoof against the pavilion. The rest of the campers stood up and thrust several cups of coke, sprite, water, and what appeared to be a gigantic vanilla smoothie with marshmallows and sprinkles on it.
'Huh. Never thought about that.' Artemis mused as the heavenly scent of burnt sacrifices (or food) floated over to her from where her Huntresses scraped their food into the flaming brazier. 'I wonder if that smoothie tastes good...'
After giving Perseus a more detailed (and unnecessarily longer) tour of the camp, they had returned just in time for dinner, as well as enjoyed the show of a daughter of Ares brutally beating down one of her siblings. Ares seriously needed to have a councillor for his kids. She could see one of his daughters with a chainsaw strapped to her back and a son was cutting his steak with an oversized claymore.
She was brought out of her musings when Hestia arrived. "Ah, the sweet smell of the sacrifice. I can't remember the last time that I received one. Probably around 400 years ago. Perseus was the only one who actually sacrificed to me. Ironic, really, that the fire in which the demigods sacrifice into, never receives the sacrifice itself. Nice to see Perseus back though."
Artemis raised an eyebrow. "You seem in a good mood today. A very good mood."
"How can I not? My little demigod is back and he's all grown up."
"You speak as if he was your son."
"Well, I raised him as such after his mother passed away on his fifth birthday."
Artemis paused. "You never said that before. You've been holding onto a lot of secrets, Auntie Hestia."
"Like you don't have any yourself, Artemis. My, my, our family's little virgin girl has fallen in love. Again. Please use protection whe-"
Artemis slammed her palm onto Hestia's lips, her cheeks showing a small tint of red. She glanced around, looking for any who overheard their conversation (and Zeus help them if they did) before turning her gaze onto Hestia. "What? What do you mean-"
That was as far as she managed to say before the gigantic smoothie from before suddenly expanded, before blowing up in an enormous gooey mess of sweetness. The sugar covered everything in the Dining Hall. The tables, the campers, the hunters, and even Chiron. Not even the goddesses were spared from the gigantic smoothie bomb of doom.
Hestia chuckled softly, as every person in the room turned towards the two twins, Travis and Connor Stoll. Just as they were about to drag the twins into the middle of the room and humiliate them (again), Perseus walked in, his face dropping from his usual professional look into an incredulous look as he observed the hall. Silence reigned as everyone watched Perseus, the Hero of Heroes, stare at the once in a lifetime sight. Whipped cream and sugary sweets were everywhere, Chiron's face looked like Santa Claus, and the sea of people looked like crazy old beggars. Oh, and there was a girl with a chainsaw revving in the background. He slowly backed out the door.
Chiron (thankfully) hammered his hoof against the pavilion. "Since our dinner was so untimely interrupted, we will be cutting this short so we can clean ourselves before the game." And then he slowly ambled off mumbling about how the kids would be the death of him.
Thalia burst into laughter, and before long, the rest of the campers followed. One by one, they left and prepared themselves for the highly anticipated Capture the Flag.
Hestia glanced around the now empty pavilion. "Well, that was interesting" She increased her body temperature and the cream melted off of her, and before long she was clean again. "Now, where were we, Artemis?"
Artemis just sighed.
"Capture the Flag!" Chiron bellowed. "Two teams on each side will attempt to capture the opposing team's flag while at the same time defend their own. Weapons of all sorts are allowed. Maiming and killing are frowned upon and your dessert privileges will be taken away for a week. The river..."
Perseus looked at Zoë questioningly as Chiron droned off into the background. She shrugged. "Campers like them, the desserts. Don't know why. Same as someone taking away your weapons or not letting you sleep for a week."
"Ah. I see."
"... Blue team will be the Hunters and the Guardian. Red team will compose of the campers. Perseus and I will serve as battlefield medics. The goddess Artemis shall not be participating. There is an hour and a half time limit. After that, it will be a sudden death round where five fighters of both sides will be randomly chosen and pitted against each other. To the victor the spoils. Let's begin!" A loud sound was blasted across the clearing as ten satyrs raised what looked to be ox horns. 'Wonder if they are from the Minotaur..." Perseus pondered.
"Hunters, move out!" Zoë ordered, picking up the flag of Artemis, before marching off into the grove. The rest of them followed, some more enthusiastically than the others. The twins, Alice and Selena, were literally glowing. It would have been an awe-inspiring sight if they did not sport the same matching bloodthirsty look. And they were riding on gigantic wolves.
The moonlight shone through the trees, giving the huntresses and Guardian strength and resolve as they continued their trek. Bianca stumbled upon the uneasy footing of the roots. She yelped as she tripped.
"Easy now, I got you." Perseus whispered as he held onto the back of Bianca's hunting tunic. "Don't worry, this will be your first battle, so you'll be on defence. Just keep a sharp lookout, and when you shoot an arrow, don't rush. Line up your shot, and watch for the distance. Do not worry if they are closing in upon you. Just focus. And if you miss, don't worry about it. You still have some training to do and you're still a beginner, so you should be expected to miss some arrows."
Bianca nodded, still pale at the prospect of fighting her brother. "Oh, and first timers in the camp usually stay on defence, so don't worry about harming your brother. Besides, the Hunters shall not attack young ones. Just the annoying males. And probably the girl with the chainsaw." Bianca squeaked.
"Why is there even a chainsaw here?"
"You're asking me? I just came back from the dead several days ago. If you want one just go to the Shed. That's where they keep all the weapons. If you're a pyromaniac, I believe there was a flamethrower in there."
Bianca stared incredulously at the taller Guardian, before she gave the most evilest smile that Perseus had ever seen. "Do they have stabby things that can spin around and stab things again?"
Perseus had to stop and think for several seconds as he tried to remember if there was a weapon that suited Bianca's... needs.
"Possibly... I think what you are speaking about is a chakram... I will check after this game, but remember, your main weapon is a bow, and huntresses should attack from afar and only resort to close combat quarters in dire needs."
"'Kay. How large is this forest anyways? We've been walking for twenty minutes now. And why are you following us if you're the medic?"
He shrugged. "To be honest, I have no idea how large this forest is. It's always moving, shifting and growing. And I'm following you because I'm the medic for the Huntresses, while Chiron is the medic for the campers. Anyways, several tips for you; keep your distance, and only close in when you know you can beat them. In this case, don't, since the campers will most likely overcome you in close-combat. Also..."
To be blunt, the huntresses dominated the campers. Not surprising, although Thalia and Annabeth almost managed to win the game, with Annabeth using her invisibility cap to hide among the group that Thalia led, and then taking the advantage of the distractions that occurred in the confrontation with the main hunter forces. They almost won, and the only reason they lost was because of Zoë's athletic speed. And Bianca's lucky stink arrow that clipped Annabeth's back several metres before she reached the river, forcing her to drop the flag and cover her nose or risk breathing in the smell of every feces known to man. Those arrows were deadly stuff.
Michael played as the defence commander, and he did a surprisingly good job at it. Apparently, he was a good leader if he wasn't so arrogant. He took out almost all of the hunters that Zoë had taken with her. And then he was knocked out by the twins, Alice and Selena, using a gigantic warhammer and an axe, respectively. Not exactly a stealthy weapon for a regular huntress, but the fact that they rode on gigantic wolves seemed to say "Stealth? Who needs it" right before they bludgeoned their opponent's face in.
All in all, it was a good fight, until the children of the big Three started arguing about childish matters. Thalia blamed Michael for being a lousy defense and vice versa for Michael. Thalia summoning lightning to shock Michael, Michael dousing Thalia in icy cold water, regular everyday occurrences when you had a child of Poseidon and a child of Zeus.
That was, until the mummified Oracle of Delphi from the attic walked through the forest smelling like herbs and, well, the attic. She stepped forward and in a raspy voice announced the prophecy. Except Perseus wasn't there, he was too busy scrounging around inside the weapons shed.
"I'm sure it's here somewhere." The Guardian mumbled to himself, while gently moving a rocket launcher to the side. When the match had ended, Perseus had healed all the wounds that the Huntresses had received and walked off towards the shed. He was now finding a weapon that Bianca had requested. Technically, the shed was the size of a warehouse, and the fact that it was close to 300 years since it was last cleaned and organized made the entire floor, walls and ceiling a living deathtrap if you stepped in the wrong location.
Squinting his eyes, Perseus managed to see a four-pronged bladed chakram, what Bianca had requested, but was unfortunately much, much too big for her. Perseus sighed before continuing his search, instinctively ducking as an automatic crossbow fired an arrow at his face.
He spotted a dim glow in the back of the warehouse, and as he squinted his eyes, he noticed the sharpest sword-like metal pieces surrounding a red orb. Flying over to the weapon, he picked it up and examined it more closely. There was an orb in the center, around the size of his hand that was surrounded by essences of red and dark energy. Four sword-like metal pieces, with the sharp end pointing out and where the hilt would have been pointing towards the central orb, gleamed in the moonlight. The metal pieces seemed to orbit around the orb, and as Perseus focused upon the orb, the orb took flight and followed his mental commands, the deadly metal hovering around the orb following and spinning as it went. Deeming it satisfactory, Perseus flew back to the entrance of the shed (*Cough* Warehouse of pointy stuff *Cough*) and walked back towards the forest, the extraordinary weapon floating in the air behind it, humming a low frequency just loud enough to be heard.
He met the campers and huntresses walking halfway towards the forest, looking shell-shocked, as well as the Oracle's body walking and shuffling slowly back to the Big House. Perseus was naturally confused, before dismissing it and continuing on his way.
Several campers moved a healthy distance away from the floating weapon only a few inches away from Perseus' back as he strode across the clearing to Bianca. Just before Bianca would have collided with him, she looked up and almost shrieked in fear of the shadow-covered Guardian before forcing the instinct down.
"Here you go," Perseus spoke, "Your new weapon. Unfortunately, the bladed chakrams were much too large for you and should you have lifted it, you probably would have failed to lift it up to your waist, never mind wielding it in battle."
Bianca stared wide-eyed at the weapon as Perseus levitated the orb over to Bianca, making extra sure that the metal blades were out of her arms' way when she tried to catch it.
"How do I control it?"
"Honestly? I have no idea. This weapon has been following me ever since I walked out of the Shed, but I suppose that the weapon does have conscious thought and will probably follow your mental commands. From what I've seen, the orb is like the centerpiece, and the metal blades will orbit around it. Here, have a go."
Bianca gently touched the orb with both hands, before making a lifting motion. She gasped as the orb slowly rose off her hands without any physical contact.
Perseus studied the weapon for several more seconds. "I suppose that its function is designed upon flexibility and one's mental prowess. Your skill with the weapon depends on how fast you think. You could parry with a blade and retaliate with three others causing you to have deadly close combat skills whenever you are caught in an unfortunate situation. I also think that you could probably launch your blades at-"
The four blades instantly broke off from their hovering and smashed into the tree right behind Perseus, causing a nymph to instantly jump out. She cursed several times, and was about to slap Perseus before she realized who he was. Instantly, she turned crimson, and *Poofed* back into her tree, the surrounding trees slightly shaking with laughter.
Perseus switched his gaze back onto Bianca, who was trying to hide behind one of the other hunters. No such luck, as the hunters immediately stepped out of the Guardian's line of sight. Bianca looked bashfully towards the floor, and mumbled an apology.
Perseus resisted the urge to sigh as he continued his lesson. "Anyways, like I said, you can launch the blades at an object and instantly recall them at ease." He watched amused as the blades smoothly slid out of the bark, the former wounds of the tree repairing itself. "There appears to be a limit to how far you can extend your weapon, but the overall capabilities of the weapons will only be restricted by your imagination and mental prowess. I have yet to understand the full capacities of all the weapons, but I suppose the more you use it the more you will discover."
Bianca looked awestruck as she admired the weapon in a new light. Before Perseus had the chance to react, Bianca had tackled the Guardian into a hug. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" She squealed. Her sudden actions caused the majority of the demigods and hunters still around to stare at the pair in confusion. She suddenly untangled herself from her hug and dashed off towards the cabin with her new weapon floating dangerously around her, nearly decapitating several individuals as she ran.
Perseus's eyes followed Bianca's trek a bit longer, before meeting Artemis's eyes. She gestured for him to enter the Arena with her. Slightly confused, Perseus turned, being careful not to smash an unsuspecting individual's head with his wings, and trudged off towards the Arena.
His tenor voice echoed throughout the empty stands, his footsteps becoming large drum-like beats as he walked. She turned her hooded face slightly to acknowledge his presence.
"There was a prophecy." She started. "Spoken by the Oracle. It told of a quest to save a goddess."
The Guardian immediately stiffened as he became alert.
"Five shall go west to the goddess in chains,
One shall be lost in the land without rain,
The bane of Olympus shows the trail,
Campers and Hunters combined prevail,
The Titan's curse must one withstand,
And one shall perish by a parent's hand"
Perseus pondered a bit more. "This goddess in chains. Do you know who it can be?" He asked respectfully towards Artemis.
She shook her head sadly. "I have my suspicions. Several goddesses that I have not spoken with in a long while would be Athena and Demeter. They've always kept to themselves, like me."
"Will we be going on the quest with the five companions to save the goddess?"
"No. We have our own hunting to do."
Perseus raised a burned eyebrow. "Pardon?"
"The Spirit of Delphi spoke to me when we were alone. She gave me another prophecy, one that I am only allowed to share with you."
The Guardian watched her carefully, before gesturing for her to continue.
"The two travel through the bleakest of nights,
Challenged by trials of strength and might.
Guardian and Mistress, Protector and Huntress
Will walk alone to seek the hidden Goddess.
One shall fall in the burning agony of the Hellfire,
One shall be torn apart in the curse of the Forlorn Spire,
Prices will be made to overcome the trials burned,
As the bond above all is broken and spurned."
The silence that followed the Lady's ethereal voice was full of tension as both warriors took the time to take in the prophecy. Perseus was still trying to make sense of the prophecy when he felt the cool, small hand of his mistress resting upon his cheek. He shifted his view towards his Lady's face and watched as crystalline tears cascaded off her cheeks and onto the floor.
"I do not want to lose you again..." She whispered shakily. "I've been lost without you, and I do not want to undergo that feeling ever again. You promised that you would never leave me helpless or would do anything to harm me."
The Guardian's large wings once again shifted to cover both of them as they he comforted Artemis. The black cocoon hid all sight as the goddess wept upon her protector's shoulders.
"We cannot deny the prophecy. We are but toys in the grand view of Fate. We must do what the prophecy ordains of us and find this hidden goddess."
"But what of us? Have we not suffered enough? We have barely been together for a few days before we are told that we must be split apart again."
"I will follow and protect you to my last breathe. I shall not fall in battle and leave you by yourself."
"But what of the prophec-"
"Damn the prophecy!" Perseus said in a sudden stroke of anger. "I shall not fail you, my mistress."
Artemis's eyes widened at Perseus' rare phase of anger, before a new shower of tears fell from her eyes.
Perseus hugged her mistress in his best way of comforting her.
'I shall not fail.'
It was a solemn morning as Perseus untangled himself from Artemis's deathlike embrace. They were still in the arena, and the morning horn had just sounded. He stood up and cracked several of his bones to loosen himself up for the daunting task ahead. He watched as his mistress still slept soundly, small traces of tears still upon her cheeks. While deities do not require sleep, they still may partake in the act of relaxation due to old habits.
Carrying his mistress bridal style, he travelled towards the respective cabin of his mistress, ducking under the tiny door and laying his mistress upon one of the more comfortable beds. Most of the hunters had already left for breakfast, except Bianca and Kate. Kate was desperately trying to wake up Bianca without having Bianca's new weapons spear her. Turning around, Kate yelped as the looming form of the Guardian appeared right before her, lowering Artemis's body into a bed. Her yelp instantly woke Bianca, and Bianca stumbled as she attempted to leap up, her bow and weapons in a mess around her.
Both hunters stared at the Guardian incredulously before noticing the slumbering goddess. Perseus merely held up a finger to his lips, before gesturing to them to join breakfast. Which Bianca quickly did in a hurry as she realized that she overslept. Perseus watched amused as Bianca quickly changed and dragged Kate towards the dining hall, the hovering blades orbiting her erratically as she ran.
Time passed quickly for Perseus, and before long he was called to a meeting to discuss the prophecy of the five venturing to find the goddess in chains. He kept silent as the meeting carried out, melding into the shadows of The Big House.
Zoë was voted as the de facto leader of the company as well as the representative of the hunters. Thalia was the main representative of the Campers of Camp Half-Blood. Michael and Annabeth were the next two members of the quest, and the final one was Bianca. Bianca nearly fell off her chair, so distracted by her newest weapon, when she was called out by Zoë. By now, many people had realized Bianca's unhealthy obsession with sharp objects, more specifically her four blades and hovering orb, and often walked a wide berth around her.
Chiron continued his analysis of the prophecy, but Perseus had already blocked out the room's arguments and voices. He had gone on his fair share of quests prior to his induction as a Guardian, and he understood why Chiron was going through the very specifics of everything the Oracle spoke, but it was incredibly tiresome for those not participating in the quest. Surprisingly, Chiron turned to the almost forgotten Guardian in the background.
"Perseus, anything to add?"
The occupants of the room swiveled their heads towards the Guardian. He raised his eyes slightly, the hellfire eyes observing and chilling the less hardened warriors.
"Follow what Zoë says. She is the most experienced out of all of you. Do not disobey her."
Thalia and Michael seemed to take offense at what Perseus said, but quickly stifled their retorts when the fiery eyes of the Guardian focused upon them.
"Disobedience will lead to destruction of the group. This shall result in a failure of the quest. You must save the kidnapped goddess before the Winter Solstice. Do not fail."
His solemn tone quickly made the mood downcast. Chiron shifted uncomfortably, his hooves leaving a hollow sound upon the wooden floor. "I believe that is it then," Chiron spoke out. "We wish you luck upon your quest, heroes. Argus will lend you one of the camp's vans for you to use in your quest. You will all set out tomorrow morning, just before the sun breaks. Good luck, and may the fates be kind to you."
With that, the campers trudged out of the cabin. The sun had already begun setting, as the meeting had taken the majority of the day. Zoë and Bianca immediately followed Perseus's path towards the outskirts of the forest. He leaned against the side of a tree as Zoë climbed up a nearby pine tree and laid upon the branches. Bianca simply sat upon one of the nearby stones.
"It is imperative that you take caution in your quest. The prophecy is unclear and states of two of your members being led to tragic fates. The Mistress of the Hunt would be saddened if any of those two were either of you two. Bianca, you are the newest to any of the monster fighting and you have the least amount of experience. Stay with Zoë and do not endanger yourself. Zoë, watch over Bianca the most, but remember to take your role as a leader seriously as well. The rest will follow your lead, so make sure not to take foolhardy risks without considering the consequences."
Zoë nodded, the expression on her face grim. Bianca looked nervous but quickly agreed to Perseus's guidance. "Won't you come with us?" Bianca asked.
The Guardian shook his head. "My Lady and I have our own hunting to do. One that is only for us two."
Zoë looked alarmed. "What? Why? I never heard about this other hunt! Where art thou and the Lady going? Why are thou not taking the other-" she spoke rapidly.
Zoë snarled at the tone. "Why. Why didn't our mistress tell us of her hunt, and why is she bringing only thou and not the rest of the hunters?"
The Guardian turned his head, his expression darkening as he glared at the huntress. Zoë seemed to shrink back slightly at his gaze.
"We did not have a choice. The Spirit of Delphi has spoken, and we must act."
Zoë widened her eyes at Perseus's explanation. Bianca looked on alarmed as she realized that Artemis and Perseus had been given another prophecy.
"What will happen in thy Hunt, what is so special about it that only thou and Artemis can go on it?" Zoë asked, slightly panicked.
Perseus grimaced at that question. "Something that will require all of my effort to watch over my Mistress." He sighed tiredly. "You should rest up for your quest tomorrow. I wish you luck, and happy hunting. May you all live to see the sun rise the next week." Perseus stood up and started to walk back into the general direction of the lake. "My Mistress and I would have already left by the time you and your company have woken up. Do not tell anyone else of this conversation."
He left the two hunters shell-shocked as he trudged onwards.
Artemis woke up from her rest and raised her head slightly to see the interior of her Cabin. She tried to recall what happened the night prior before remembering the events. Grimacing slightly, she stood up and prepared her hunting equipment. She traded her traditional attire of a silvery-celestial hunting tunic with a dark green hunting cloak, before strapping her quiver and bow onto her back. She strapped several throwing weapons onto her tunic before sliding her hunting knives up her sleeves.
As she prepared her equipment for her hunt, she heard the shuffling of two of her hunters walking. Glancing outside, she could see that the moon had already risen and the majority of the camp gathering around the campfire. Intrigued, she opened the cabin door to see Zoë and Bianca walking into the cabin. They stared at Artemis's outfit for quite a while before Zoë turned towards her face.
"Are thou really going on thy own hunt?" Zoë asked, timidly.
Artemis looked slightly confused before she realized what Zoë was asking. Slowly, she nodded. Zoë suddenly hugged Artemis fiercely, small tremors in Zoë's body as she sobbed silently. Artemis was bewildered while Bianca stared mournfully at Artemis.
"Zoë, what's wrong?" Artemis asked.
Zoë didn't respond for a while before she finally looked up at Artemis's face. "Thou art the closest thing to a mother that all of us could have, my lady. Please, come back safely."
Artemis's visage softened as she slowly smiled. She glanced at Bianca and gestured for her to come.
"You two were the ones chosen to leave upon the quest, weren't you? I hope you both come back safely. You are all like family to me." She whispered into their ears.
She materialized two identical amulets, with the sigil of the crescent moon upon them.
"Take my blessings. With these, you will have speed beyond measure. You will always be connected to each other and when the darkest hour arrives, I will be there to help my daughters."
She smiled serenely as the two hunters reverently looped the amulets around their necks.
"I wish you luck in your quest. Now, I have my own hunt to attend to." She spoke softly, before leaving the cabin.
She met up with Perseus near the lake. The naiads had been busy refilling up the lake with water from the sea and purifying it. There were no more traces of the bus-smash-lake accident that occurred only yesterday.
"Are you ready, mistress?" Perseus inquired as he dipped his hand into the serene lake.
She nodded. "We should start where we last saw Hyperion's army. There are bound to be clues that can lead us to find this hidden goddess."
Artemis reached back and pulled her hood over her face, as Perseus's hellfire eyes grew larger.
"Let the hunt... begin."
First update in a year for this story. Hope I didn't disappoint.
Also, making the icons take an extremely long time to make if you want it to correctly reflect your story. I do believe I spent up to an hour trying to get the correct colour scheme for Hooded Hunter Artemis and Guardian Perseus.