AN: I got no responses about the idea of using veterans proposed last chapter, did y'all really have no thoughts on the matter?
Son of the Moon
Face set in stone, Miranda dodged and rolled around her opponents, tripping them up with her sickles. Surrounding the sparring arena, the other Amazons all watched the fight, particularly a noticeably displeased Queen Hylla. Ever since she'd come to the base of operations for this order, the Queen had been looking for any reason she could to have her discharged from the ranks, knowing what other master she served. The laws of the Amazons were clear though and Miranda made sure to follow them to the letter. She had not once spoken to Gaea, Thalia, or Pollux since arriving, nor had she done anything besides obey the orders she was given by her superiors.
Instead she'd been proving her strength, winning fight after fight and slaying any monster that remained in the area as she was ordered to. It was easy enough to see the split growing from within the Amazons, how many followed Hylla loyally despite her 'radical' beliefs and wanting to change many of the ancient traditions. Others though were quietly, and in private vocally, upset with their leadership, the thought of changing traditions as well as Hylla's remaining strong connections to both the Greeks and the Romans. Planting the seeds of doubt into their minds had been deliciously simple and now, even should her fight for the throne fail, she would likely still take away several followers with her.
"Enough." Hylla's voice echoed in the large room as Miranda stopped fighting, "The match goes to Miranda, Daughter of Demeter." At that, Miranda's new allies and followers amongst the Amazons swarm her, offering praise and sending mocking looks to the members of Hylla's camp who she'd just soundly beaten. "By right of combat, you Miranda, are now a full member of the Amazon Order, your probationary period thus ended." Hylla drew her sword, cutting away a band that was braided into Miranda's hair to signify her improvement in rank.
"If I am fully Amazon now, then I challenge you for your title as Queen." Miranda straightened, staring Hylla in the eyes, seeing that the woman had fully expected such a declaration.
"Very well. As is tradition, our fight shall take place tomorrow evening after sunset. Spend this time putting your affairs in order daughter of Demeter, I do not expect you to live for much longer." Hylla spun around and proceeded back to her chambers, those loyal to the current queen going with her. She had a little over twenty-four hours to prepare before fighting one of the better combatants she'd come across amongst demigod kind. It was best to get ready and find whatever 'advantages' she could get.
Snarling, Thalia stabbed at a training dummy with her spear, working out her frustration as best she could on the inanimate object. She'd planned to allow her Percy to have concubines, such as that slut Kelli, but that was just as playthings, a way to keep him occupied and around should she be unable to satisfy at times. But this? Gaea's declaration of planning to have Perseus bed and breed the Earth Mother? That was something far different as Thalia knew Gaea would place herself far above a mere concubine position. What if Gaea decided she wanted to keep Percy for herself? What if she made to relegate Thalia to a concubine position? What if-
"Something wrong brat?" the amused voice of Kronos cut off her thoughts as she turned to see the Titan of time sneering at her, "Did someone take away your favorite toy?" taking in a deep breath, Thalia worked to keep her temper under control. "What? Not going to respond? My, my, my, it's almost like someone never taught you any manners. Well, there's no case for bad parenting or bad breeding. I wonder if that little runt that follows you around is just as uncouth?"
"Coming from you?" Thalia snapped, "A cannibal? Someone who tried to murder your own children? You're nothing more than a barbarian and a thug playing at being a King."
"Impudent bitch!" Kronos' golden eyes flared as he moved to backhand her before stopping himself, "Know this, you may be my mother's favorite little pet, but that brother of yours has no such protect-" the threat was cut off as Thalia finally snapped, letting loose with all the lighting she could muster at Kronos, the booming of thunder echoing throughout the base from the force of it. Thalia's face was alight with fury as she poured out all her rage into the lightning, she sent coursing towards Kronos who was quickly overcoming his surprise, drawing his massive Scythe to strike back at her.
"Enough!" Gaea's voice was firm, the rumble beneath their feet making her irritation clear as she gave them both disapproving gazes, "Kronos, go to your quarters. I'll be speaking with you shortly. As for you Thalia Grace, you are to come with me. We need to have a talk." Forcing herself not to gulp at the goddess' look, Thalia nodded and followed after her, Kronos departing as ordered. They walked in silence for some time before Gaea finally spoke "Such rage." The earth mother tutted out with a scoff, "So possessive, even after you already planned to throw other women at this 'son of Artemis'. Or is it just because you saw yourself as above them?" Gaea's smirk showed that the woman knew full well what Thalia had been thinking "I have no intent to take your prize from you my dear." Gaea smirked at her, "I merely wished to…have a taste so to speak." Her eyes then hardened "However, that could all very well change should you fail me. Think of it as motivation to succeed no? Lest your precious Perseus warm my bed…and only my bed, for all eternity."
"Yes…my lady." Thalia forced out, knowing she'd made her bed and would have to lay in it, determined to make it so Gaea would have no cause to make good on that declaration.
"There is one other thing, which is why I chose to spoke with you first." Gaea's expression turned less cold and more serious, "Your brother is back along with a handful of Romans. He is however, missing one of his hands."
"What?!" Thalia's eyes snapped open wide, lightning arcing around her at her panicked state, "What happened?!"
"He apparently tried capturing the Praetor Reyna to bring back, wanting to do with her what you're aiming to do with Perseus. She did not approve and removed his hand before he fled." Gaea responded as Thalia was taken to Jason's medical room where he was getting fitted for a golden prosthetic, "I figured you should be aware. I meanwhile shall be speaking with my son." With that, Gaea left her alone with a passed-out Jason.
"He fled immediately after I cut off his hand though." Reyna scowled as she called him and the others through Iris Message, filling him in on Jason Grace's recruitment mission to Rome, "We've been doing role call and found a few of our Legionnaires defected with him. Including Octavian, the Augur, and his right-hand Michael Kahale. Even some of the legionnaires that were held in prison awaiting trial for crimes committed, including murder, were taken. The worst of that bunch was one Bryce Lawrence, child of Orcus the god of Punishment. That one is a sadist and one to watch out for."
"Fucking brilliant." Percy grit out, pinching the bridge of his nose with his new metal fingers, the cold sensation helping at least somewhat with his growing headache, "Anything else we should be aware of?"
"Yes, I found out that Miranda Gardener, that daughter of Demeter you told me defected along with Thalia and Poseidon? She went to the Amazons and used the traditions Hylla hasn't managed to change in order to join their ranks. She's challenged my sister for the position as Queen and they'll be fighting tomorrow."
"Miranda is tough but she's no Hylla." Percy nodded, "In a straight fight there's no way I can see Hylla losing."
"Unless Miranda cheats." Reyna scowled, "Hylla has been trying to change the Amazons, improve them, build up their strength and fix their more…distasteful traditions. Not all of the members are happy with this so I'm sure many would be happy to look the other way at sabotage, if not attempt it themselves."
"Is there anything we can do to help?" Percy frowned, concern for his friend growing.
"No, if we try to help then Miranda can claim interference and the other Amazons will try to kill her and us. All we can do is pray that Hylla is able to see the sabotage coming and prevent it. What about your end?"
"The gods bucked up and gave a list of every demigod child that they were aware of." Percy nodded, glad he had at least some good news to share "Ares, Apollo, and Dionysus have been finding some human veterans that they thought were all but guaranteed to handle the procedure safely and have been recruiting them to help find, protect, and escort said demigods back to camp. They aren't going to stay for the war itself, they're concerned about the other areas without demigod protection falling to monsters, but we're at least getting the new campers easily enough and this will still give a wider area of defense against any wandering monster threats making themselves known."
"And…the arms?" Reyna glanced at them for a moment before refocusing on his face, his friends having all thankfully done their best to not stare.
"I'm…adjusting." He sighed, "I'll likely be spending the next year or so getting used to them, their enhanced strength, and the different upgrades Hephaestus will be making for me. I'll work to hold down the fort here, I want you to do the same on your end."
"Understood Percy, stay safe." Reyna gave him a nod before dissolving the message, leaving Percy alone in the training room. Gritting his teeth, he threw himself back into it, he needed to master these new arms if his home was going to stay safe.