Bia was victorious. Ananke's warrior believed, knew, she had won. Without the pathetic goddess of wisdom to watch Clary's back, there was nothing to stand between Bia and triumph. Clary, Bia thought, looked like a hurt, confused puppy, without her owner, without protection, without anywhere to go or anyone to turn to. She looked hopeless and helpless. Finally, finally Bia would have her revenge for that humiliation she went through on the day of The Challenge. Finally Bia would humiliate Clary and Athena the way they had humiliated her. Athena was taken care of. Athena was dead. A god, the goddess of wisdom and war strategies, was dead and by Bia's command. Victory had never tasted so sweet. And now it was Clary's turn.

XXXXX

Clary was still in shock. She still couldn't believe that a god was dead! How can that even be possible?! They're supposed to be immortal! They're supposed to be undefeatable! They're supposed to be all powerful and… immortal! And now since Athena was dead, Clary's powers as Parthenos were gone. To battle Bia and Ananke Clary would have to depend on the skills she'd acquired as Parthenos, and her Shadowhunter training.

Regaining her composure, Clary took a step forward, and waited for Bia to make her move. After a few seconds, Bia attacked. She charged with her sword in hand. Clary was weaponless. She waited for Bia to get a bit closer. When she was close enough, Clary ducked, rolled on her back and when she was on her knees, she kicked behind her and hit Bia on her knees. Bia fell and lost her footing. Now, Clary thought, was her chance. She stood above Bia ready for a strike to the chest.

Bia, however, didn't fall for that one. When Bia saw that Clary was going to strike, Bia kicked and hit Clary on the stomach, knocking all the air from her. Clary fell, completely weak. Bia now was above her, with her sword ready to strike. Clary was holding on to her stomach, trying to make the pain dissipate. She sneaked a peak, and saw that Bia was about to deliver the final blow. Clary knew she had to move, but the blow to her stomach still dominated over her body. She couldn't move. This is it, Clary thought, This is my end.

"You are sentenced to death. By order of Ananke, goddess of fate, your punishment is sealed." Bia raised her sword high. She swung her sword down swiftly and hard. Unexpectedly, her sword clashed with a weapon. Bia followed the weapon up to its bearer.

"You are interfering! You, too, will die!" Bia shouted to the warrior holding the staff.

The warrior, however, pushed Bia and her sword back. Bia stumbled and tripped. The warrior turned to Clary, saw she was weak and picked her up. Seeing that the other warriors were nearby, the warrior took Clary to them.

"Clary!" Jace called out.

Hearing him loud and clear but unable to respond, Clary held up her hand in assurance.

"She's still weak from the blow." The warrior who rescued her informed. "She needs to rest. Can you take her to a secure location?"

"Yes." Jace confirmed. "The Institute. Alec! Izzy! Help me!"

Alec and his sister obliged and helped their brother. While Jace was carrying Clary, Alec ran in front of him, his bow and arrow ready to fend off any demons that would attack. Isabelle watched the rear, her whip ready. When they got to the steps, Alec ran forward and opened the door form them. They ran inside and closed the door behind them.

XXXXX

After a few minutes of resting, Clary was feeling much better. Jace was at her side constantly. Alec and Izzy were with them, and when they saw or felt that Jace and Clary were having a private moment, they left with the pretext of having to do something. When Alec and Izzy were called back, Izzy brought gear from her own, and Alec had weapons. Jace stayed with Clary while she changed into gear. When she was descent, Jace took out his stele.

"Ready? You're going to be Marked for the first time in a whole year."

"I know. Will you do it? I haven't done it in a long time, I feel like I'll mess it up." Clary confessed.

"Yeah, I'll help you."

Jace Marked her with the usual runes. On her right hand, the Clairvoyance rune, on her chest, the Angelic Power Mark, and on her right arm the Blocking rune. He also Marked her with the heightened speed, strength and soundless. When he had finished those, he then looked her in the eyes.

"Take your shirt off." He commanded her.

She looked at him baffled. "Jace—"

"Not for that." Jace said, reading her mind. "I'm going to Mark you… on your heart."

Clary remembered he once told her that the closer a Mark is to the heart, the best chance it has of effect. She did as she was told. When she was in her bra, Jace reached around her and unhooked it. Clary couldn't help but feel desire for him. She tried to breathe in and out calmly, but her own breathing betrayed her.

Jace leaned down and captured her lips with his own. She took her hand and held on to him by his neck. The kiss was passionate, but they held themselves back. When he broke the kiss, he looked at her. "When this battle is over, we'll pick up where we left off."

Clary felt joy and a boost of encouragement at the fact that he said when, not if. When the battle is over. "Okay." She agreed.

Jace then returned to his original task. With his left hand, he Marked her on her heart with the rune Clary herself had created: Fearless.

XXXXX

Bia was not happy that Night Sky, Artemis's warrior interfered. Bia was livid. She will die, too, Bia thought. She will die, not only for interfering, but for letting that pathetic little excuse for a warrior Clary escape! When Bia had made up her mind to attack, she was held back. She looked up and saw that more Soldiers were coming. She recognized them all. This was going to be a harder battle than she thought, but not impossible. After all, Ananke was going to kill every single one of their gods. Just as Clary was left bare, without any god behind her, these, too, would be left to fend for themselves as lost puppies.

Bia took a mental roll call on who of the divine soldiers were present. Catalyst, Ares's soldier, Night Sky, Artemis's soldier, Belvedera from Apollo, Orator from Hermes, Amaranth from Demeter, Ember from Hestia, Wings from Zeus and Campana from Hera.

Bia had never officially met any of them, or seen how they fight, but through Ananke's wisdom and knowledge she was able to take up information about every single one of them. She knew their weapon of choice, she knew their best strategies, and what gave them power. She knew that night time was the point of day that Night Sky was most powerful, so she wouldn't be such a problem. Apollo's soldier, however, was at her most powerful state when the sun was out, so she was going to be the strongest of them all at the moment. She would be a real challenge.

Bia took a moment to think of her strategy. She took in her surroundings, her weapons at her disposal, and those who would be at her side as soon as she'd call. Bia thought she'd have a good chance at defeating them all. She went for it.

Summoning more demons, Bia and her army attacked straight on. The demons went for the soldiers. Bia went for Night Sky. She jumped and had her sword ready to strike as soon as she came down. Night Sky, however, was ready for the strike. When she saw the attack coming, Night Sky took her staff in a horizontal position high above her head and blocked Bia's sword. When the weapons clashed, Night Sky pushed up and was able to free herself from Bia's attack.

Bia, at the moment her feet touched the ground, turned and attacked straight on this time. Night Sky dodged her attack. When Night Sky was turning away, she took her staff and hit Bia on the back with the end of her staff. Upon feeling the hit, Bia screamed in pain. This disabled her temporarily. Bia called for more demons to protect her while she recovered.

XXXXX

Night Sky saw the horde of demons coming towards her. Knowing she was no match for so many demons Night Sky retreated. She jumped away, but on her way up, a demon caught hold of her leg. Night Sky felt the pull and lost her strength. She knew she was going down, but she didn't know where she was headed. When all seemed lost, she was suddenly let loose. Feeling the rush of wind downwards, Night Sky was able to recover. She took her legs in and braced her body for a hard landing. When she was on the ground and standing, she looked to her liberator. Amaranth, Demeter's Soldier, was putting away her razor-sharp thorns. Night Sky nodded once in gratitude. Amaranth returned the gesture.

XXXXX

Bia had recovered from the blow to her back, and was able to hold her sword again. When she was back in the field, she was headed straight for Night Sky. Suddenly the doors to the Institute shot opened. Everyone turned. They saw Jace, Clary, Alec and Isabelle coming down the steps. Bia looked at all of them and thought that finally the cowards came back. She feasted her eyes on Clary. Bia kept enjoying the fact that Athena was no longer with her. Bia could almost savor the sweet taste of victory as she would sink her sword in her body. She was definitely looking forward to it.

Bia thought Clary looked weird. She didn't know if it was because she wasn't Parthenos anymore, or because she was dressed like the Shadowhunters. Black made her red hair stand out even more. Then Bia's eyes fell on Clary's bear arms. She saw black marks, like those of the Shadowhunters. She remembered Ananke had said that only those of Nephilim blood could have these markings. She said something about that it was the language of heaven, and that it was supposed to give the Shadowhunters extra powers or abilities in battle, and that if anyone of not Nephilim blood wears them, they either die, or turn into what is known as Forsaken. Bia didn't remember exactly what forsaken was, but she knew it was not good.

Clary was wearing these marks. And she was still alive, and human. Bia's heart began to pound. Clary was a…

"You're a Shadowhunter?!"

"Surprised?" Clary asked, her eyes full of anger and hate.

"But… how?! You were supposed to be a mere human, nothing more!"

"I'm sorry to have disappointed you," Clary said, "But this is who I truly am. I was born Nephilim, and I will die Nephilim. But not today."

Clary reached down her right hip and pulled out a blade. She brought it to her mouth. "Tamiel." As soon as she said that, the blade glowed an immense bright light, and Clary was ready to fight. "Let's go."

Bia wasn't sure what to do now. She had never expected this. Ananke hadn't either, she knew. As far as anyone knew, Clary was a human who Athena had chosen as her soldier. No one had ever mentioned anything about a soldier being Nephilim. Bia was terrified, but she couldn't back down now. Not now, not ever. Bia would take this to the end.

She took her sword and charged. Clary focused her strength on her legs and jumped. She flipped in the air, and when Bia was directly beneath her, Clary injured Bia with her blade on her shoulder. She now had a huge gash on her shoulder, and blood spilled. Bia could not hold on to her sword anymore. The effort alone caused pain and blood to spill quite freely.

Bia was finished. "No," Bia managed to say in a breathy voice, her eyes full of angry tears, "It's not supposed to be this way. I'm supposed to be victorious! I'm supposed to humiliate you, not you me again!" Bia was crying. "How do you keep winning? No matter what happens, you're always standing on top! Why can I never defeat you? Why can I never be better than you?!"

Clary took a step forward. "If that was your goal the entire time, that was your downfall. Striving to be better than everyone else, wanting to humiliate others is not the way to follow. The Athenian way taught that very clearly, and if you could not understand that lesson, you never understood any lesson."

Bia was crying to herself, in defeat. The end had come. She didn't want to accept it, but she had no other way.

Suddenly, the heavens opened up. Everyone turned their attention and were taken by surprise. Ananke came from the doorway. She did not look happy. She looked at everyone, the soldiers, the demons, the Shadowhunters, Clary, Bia.

Upon seeing her goddess Bia was filled with renewed courage. The end had not arrived after all! Her goddess was here to save the day, and to give Bia the prize she'd deserved all along: Clary's head. "Ananke! I need your strength! Please, bestow it upon me!"

To her surprise, Ananke only glared at her. She didn't move or say anything. Bia was not understanding. "My Lady?" Then she saw it. Around Ananke's wrists were shekels. The shekels had chains running down them. The chains ran all the down to where the eye couldn't follow. Bia didn't know what to make of this. "My Lady, what is going on?"

And then, the unspeakable happened. The chains were tugged; Ananke stumbled and behind Ananke Athena, in full armor and a sword in the other hand, emerged. She shoved Ananke to her knees and held her sword above her neck.

"Athena!" Clary shouted.

Bia was so shocked, she was speechless and motionless. "But… you died! How… are you…?!"

Athena looked at Bia directly, and with her glare alone, Bia fell to her knees. "You thought I died."

"But, Clary lost her powers! If you didn't die, why then, did you leave her?" Bia asked, her face full unanswered questions.

Athena took a step forward. "I am not the goddess of wisdom and war strategies for nothing, Bia. You should know this. I planned this from the beginning. Ever since Ananke announced that she had seen the future and that all the gods were dead and she was the sole ruler, I began to make preparations. I knew I had to choose a soldier, but this soldier had to be someone special, someone with incredible potential and abilities. For some time I had known about the existence of Nephilim. I turned my sight to them. I saw Clary. I saw her battle and her mission. I saw her powers, and her passion for those she loved. I knew she was my soldier. After I chose her and taught her everything, I knew Ananke would attack soon. I sent Clary back with a mission. Her mission was to protect the humans from obliteration. I knew I could count on her. And she has not disappointed me at all.

"When you saw that Clary lost her powers and you all believed I was dead, it was all part of my strategy. I had to make you all believe you had won so Clary could go back to her Shadowhunter ways and finish this mission. And since everyone thought I was dead, I was able to go to Ananke's lair with my army and we took over."

Everyone was amazed. It was true. Athena was not goddess of wisdom and war strategy for nothing. "Clary," Athena spoke. "It's time to put an end to this empire."

XXXXX

Clary heard her goddess, but didn't know what she meant. Suddenly, understanding flooded over her. It's time to put an end to this empire. Athena had said. Clary reached for her stele, went to the middle of the battlefield and drew on the ground. She drew the same words that she'd drawn on Valentine's ship. MENE MENE TEKEL UPARSIN

Suddenly, all the demons were destroyed. The chains holding captive Ananke broke and then Ananke burst into flames. She wailed and screamed, and then she was gone. Bia had a look of astonishment in her face. She could not believe what she was witnessing. Then, Bia herself combusted. She was gone in the blink of an eye. Everything was destroyed. The only ones remaining were the divine soldiers, Athena and the Shadowhunters.

Athena sheathed her sword and walked to Clary. "Thank you. You have served me well. If it wasn't for you, this mission would've been a complete failure. Thank you."

Clary began to bow. "You need not do that anymore. You are no longer my soldier. You are no longer sworn to me. You are free. You can go back to your life, to your friends, to him."

Clary turned to face Jace. He looked at her with happy eyes. Clary faced Athena again. "If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be who I am now. So," she bowed, "Thank you."

XXXXX

Alec, Isabelle, Jace and Clary went inside the Institute. Everyone had left. Pandemos, Aphrodite's soldier, reported to everyone that all over the world the attack had been neutralized. Everyone could go back home.

Alec and Isabelle went to their rooms after Jace had announced that he and Clary had some unfinished business. They both knew what that unfinished business was. They didn't want to disturb them, so they went their separate ways.

In his room, Jace locked the door and took Clary by the hand. He guided her to the bed. He took a seat, and Clary remained standing. "You're free. You can stay with me forever now."

Clary sighed. "Forever, just you and me."

"Always."

Jace pulled Clary in for the kiss, and in the process lifted her shirt off. When they were both free from any obstacles keeping their bodies together, he lay on top of her, kissed her lips, her neck, her chest. He loved her that night. Clary knew this was only the beginning of a lifetime of love and many nights to come. She couldn't think of a better way to spend it, or a better person to spend it with. She and Jace were going to be together forever. And that, she thought, was perfect.

THE END