*WARNING* Story contains child murder
Artemis was just walking back into the palace from the palace gardens when her name was called. She turned to the direction of the voice and saw her twin brother, Apollo, standing at the fountain in the centre of the garden.
She walks to him and asks, "What is it, Apollo?"
"Look at this," he says, looking at the waters of the fountain. Curious, Artemis moves to stand beside him, looking into the waters as well.
In the water, there was an image of a red-haired woman with brown eyes, standing at what must be the square of a town that was in the midst of a celebration. Apollo and Artemis both knew that the celebration was in honour of them and their mother, Leto. The woman stood there, dressed in fine silk and exquisite gems, looking angry and annoyed.
Suddenly, she speaks.
"People of Thebes! I wish for you to lend me your ears and listen to what I am about to say!"
The people stops celebrating after hearing this woman's angry demand.
She stands there with her hands on her hips, looking at the people haughtily.
"I am Niobe, daughter of the great Tantalus, and I wish to voice my anger to this celebration!"
Artemis suddenly becomes as alert as her brother and watches this woman intently.
"What folly is this that you worship someone who has only two children? She is so-called the Titan of motherhood and all that she can produce is one pair of twins? I, on the other hand, have born seven pairs of beautiful twins, the Niobids; seven sons and seven daughters! So why is it that I am not worshipped just as much as the supposedly 'great' Leto is? I deserve greater! I have done what she did not! Fortunate indeed I am, and fortunate I shall remain!"
Just then, an elderly woman approaches to her from the crowd.
"Be wary of what your mouth speaks, vain Niobe, or you shall indeed face the wrath of the gods you insult."
Niobe scoffs. "Spare me your pity talk. I have every right to voice what I wish to."
And with that, she walks away from her position.
Apollo and Artemis were far beyond furious.
"HOW DARE SHE? HOW DARE SHE COMPARE US TO HER MORTAL CHILDREN?" Apollo shouts in immense rage.
"AND HOW DARE SHE INSULT OUR BELOVED MOTHER!" Artemis adds in just as much rage.
Apollo shouts in anger and bangs his fists against the edge of the fountain.
They both stood silent, feeling the anger burning greatly in them.
"I know just what to do," Apollo seethes.
Artemis snaps her head to him. "And what's that?"
He turns to look at his sister with a glare.
"We take away what is most precious to her - The Niobids."
Niobe was in her children's room, tucking them in for bed. She looks at the row of seven girls on her left and then to the row of seven boys lovingly.
"Good night, my dear children. You are indeed greater than that blasted Leto's twins."
She grimaced at the thought of Leto and shook away that thought. She blows out the candle in her hands and exits the room.
When she and her husband, Amphion, finally retire to bed an hour later, that was the time when two godly figures appear in the room of the Niobids.
Apollo and Artemis stood in the middle of the room, looking at all the children in disgust. Both of them had a quiver of arrows and their own bows; Apollo's arrows and bow were gold while Artemis' was silver.
Artemis loaded her bow with an arrow and moved to the bed of the youngest girl twin. She watched as the girl slept soundly, not suspecting anything to happen to her.
Artemis drew back her arrow and aimed at the girl's heart.
"This is a punishment to your mother," Artemis seethes.
And she lets go of the bowstring, the arrow immediately piercing the young girl's heart and killing her. Then she pulls out the arrow of the girl's lifeless body and puts it back into her quiver before producing a new one.
She then turns to Apollo, who watched, and nods her head to him. He moves to the youngest boy twin and does the same, piercing his heart with the arrow.
Together, they both killed the remaining pair of twins at the same time; Apollo killed the boys while Artemis killed the girls. When it finally came down to the oldest and last pair, both Apollo and Artemis says, "This is the price for your cursed mother's tongue."
And they both shot at the same time.
They stood silent for a while as they pulled out their arrows of the bodies they killed. Then they moved to the centre of the room and looked at what they have done. They made sure that each and every child was really dead before disappearing from the room.
The next morning, Niobe enters her children's room as she usually does to greet them good morning. But at the sight of their bloodied and dead bodies lying in their beds, she fell to her knees and screamed in grief.
Soon after, her husband killed himself, unable to bear the thought that he had lost what was most precious to him in one night.
Niobe began to walk the lands, alone and crying endlessly. Finally, she stops walking at Mount Sipylus, where she continues to cry there.
Zeus, who had seen the whole thing that very night, was unable to stand the sounds of Niobe's cries any longer and turned her into stone, where she would forever weep silently.
On the other hand, Apollo and Artemis along with their mother Leto, who had also heard Niobe's insult and was immediately angered by it, still does not show pity even to this day.