Superman flew a few meters above the water, making the final leg of his journey. Most of it was made above the clouds, but he didn't want to make his appearance to his destination like a god descending from the heavens. No, this would take some humility on his part. "He who exalts himself will be humbled", he thought to himself, recalling the Bible verse about the subject. It was good advice, and Superman often followed it.
Superman could see his journey's end ahead, an isolated island somewhere in the vicinity of Greece. As he advanced, he used his telescopic vision to find one of the guard posts. Finding one, he slowed his approach so that the guards could see and identify him. His flight continued to slow to a hover, and he approached the shores of Themyscira Island.
The pair of amazon guards eyed the man warily. Superman was known to the Amazons, but he was still a man, and unaccompanied by their princess, no less. Any other time Wonder Woman could and would have vouched for him, but this time Superman was alone.
"Greetings, Superman of Earth." stated one of the Amazons. "What is your business with us?"
"I request an audience with your queen." said Superman.
The guards looked to each other, and silently made a decision. The second guard leapt away and ran toward the interior of the island. The first said, "Come with me."
Superman alighted on the shore and walked behind the woman warrior. Typically, she was a few inches taller than him, her athletic form lithe and graceful as befitting a warrior who was as dexterous as she was strong.
In a few minutes they were in the guest area of the island that doubled as an arena, and Superman was directed to stand in front of the throne dais reserved for Queen Hippolyta. After waiting for a while, the queen and her entourage appeared, and she sat on her throne. Superman bowed at the waist to her.
"Superman of Earth," she began, and he straightened, "Kal-El of Krypton, Clark Kent of Kansas…"
Superman was stunned. He had not thought that they would know his secret identity. His face must have shown his shock as Queen Hippolyta smiled slightly at his discomfort.
"Oh yes, Superman, we know much about you." She said. "We make sure that we are quite well informed about the goings-on in the world of Men, and your actions lately have been quite noteworthy."
Superman was sure that his face had gone completely white with fear, or red with embarrassment. If Hippolyta's scryers had been able to discern Superman's civilian identity, they must know of his romantic involvement with Wonder Woman, or perhaps even his most secret of thoughts concerning their princess. After all, not only were the Amazonian magics potent, but Superman was always weak against magic in general.
It was too late, however. He was here, and the queen was waiting for his next move. He would have to approach this subject with not only humility but boldness. Superman took a breath and began.
"Queen Hippolyta, I ask a boon." He said.
"You are quite brave to ask a boon of *me*, Man of Steel." She said, emphasizing the word "man". "What is this boon you request?"
Superman took another steadying breath. Bad guys and interplanetary gods were one thing; this was quite another, and something that could not be won by force of might, but diplomacy.
"I wish to court your daughter." He said.
Hippolyta began to smirk, then chuckle, then outright laugh. Soon the entire court was laughing at Superman in a mocking fashion. Now Superman was sure he was red with embarrassment.
"Superman of Earth," she said when she was done laughing, "we know of your intentions, but this is Themyscira Island, and if you want my daughter's affections, you must *earn* it from *us*!"
Hippolyta snapped her fingers and Artemis, champion to Themyscira Island, appeared. She genuflected before her queen.
"For our blessing," Queen Hippolyta said, "you must defeat our champion."
Superman though this to be completely unfair. Artemis was an extraordinarily capable warrior, they all were, but he could take out the entire island if he was inclined to. Not that he ever *would*, but he was able.
Artemis stood and grinned at Superman, relishing the idea of testing her mettle against the Man of Steel. Superman looked past her and grimly nodded his assent to Hippolyta. Immediately Artemis jumped into the arena with Superman.
Artemis moved first, throwing a flurry of punches at Superman. He blocked and dodged, wanting to first gauge her strength and ability. When he knew how much force it would take to defeat her, he would…
Artemis maneuvered Superman to a position where she could position her weight against his and flip him over her shoulder, which she exactly did. This was not the first time this had happened to him, nor would it be the last. Superman though he may be, even he had to succumb to gravity and physics with someone with the skill enough to use them. It was fine by him, though, as it continued to give him the information he wanted.
Superman stood up and dusted himself off. The crowd of women cheered on Artemis and jeered Superman. Using the crowd's enthusiasm, Artemis pressed the attack with a straight punch that she intended to use to break the man's nose.
As her punch flew straight and true, Superman raised had hand to stop it dead. There was a loud *SMACK* as the two met, and Superman had to admit it had real power; he really felt it. Artemis was less admirable towards Superman as she snarled and leapt back. As she leapt back her right hand reached behind her back and she produced what looked like a large dagger. She charged at Superman and before he realized, her dagger had grown in size into a spear, and she lunged at him with it.
He had left his guard down and barely dodged the spear. His reactions were excellent, but so was Artemis' and she scored a hit on his arm where a moment ago his heart was located. It tore through his costume and skin alike. "Oh, good." he thought to himself, "Another fine Hephaestus-crafted weapon."
Artemis whirled and thrust with the spear. Superman dodged and weaved away from the point while and prepared to catch it by its non-lethal end, when…
"Mother! What is going on here?"
The entirety of the arena froze, Hippolyta, Artemis and Superman included. Wonder Woman descended from the sky to her mother's right hand.
"Well?" she demanded. "Why is Superman fighting Artemis?"
Hippolyta glowered at her daughter. "Speak not to me in that tone, Child!" She said. "Your paramour has come requesting my permission to allow him to be your man. Isn't that charming?" the last she added with a slight derisive tone.
Wonder Woman looked at the situation, between her mother, Superman and Artemis. Her face grew red with furious embarrassment.
"I…wha…is…is this what I *think* it is?" she asked.
Queen Hippolyta looked at her daughter. "It is indeed." She said. "And now that you're here, you can take over for your champion." Then she added flatly, "Your Queen demands it."
Wonder Woman looked at Superman. She knew what was going on, and while she was embarrassed and upset that Superman would do this without her knowledge, she also knew that he did it because he loved her and wanted the long-term relationship with her, and finally, this was the only way for her people to accept it. She gently descended from the dais to the arena.
"Thank you, Sister." She said to Artemis, dismissing her. "This is my fight now."
Superman steeled himself for the next round. He knew Wonder Woman's capabilities, and prepared himself to battle the woman he loves.
Wonder Woman spent no more time in preparation. She unhooked her lasso and began using it as a whip against Superman's face. Each crack of her lasso produced a disorientating effect against Superman's eyes as he began making adjustments at to the flickering end. Her distracting attack worked perfectly; invulnerability to bullets notwithstanding, *everyone* flinches when something is flicked at the eyes. Suddenly, Superman was entrapped by Wonder Woman's golden lasso. Wonder Woman was one of the few people Superman had met who could muscle him down, and that's exactly what she did, using her lasso to lift, bring over, and slam Superman to the ground. The crowd cheered for their princess and booed her male opponent.
Superman had a flash of inspiration, a way for them both to win. With speed that only the Flash could best, he rose above the ground a few feet, and then dashed towards Wonder Woman. Around and around he flew, entrapping her alongside with him in her own lasso. Face to face, Superman and Wonder Woman looked at each other and smirked as they realized what had happened and how it looked.
Hippolyta stood up from her throne. "Enough!" she called out.
Superman and Wonder Woman untangled themselves from the golden lasso, and then faced the queen side by side. Queen Hippolyta regarded them, and said:
"Superman of Earth, Kal-El of Krypton, Clark Kent of Kansas:" At this Wonder Woman looked between her mother and Superman, her thoughts mirroring his own from earlier. Gently Hippolyta said "You are welcome in our sight."
"We have known of your relationship with our daughter, our Princess, for some time now." She continued. "You have humbled yourself for her sake, and you have fought for her. You have honored us in your request. These things you did not need to do for your own benefit, but you have done so for her sake. And so I bless your request, and wish you many happy years together."
Superman and Wonder Woman bowed together to the queen as she nodded her assent, and then left with her entourage. Superman and Wonder Woman flew off together, back to the World of Man, to continue their journeys together.