I need to make it expressly clear that this is an AU or Alternate Universe based upon PJO and the MCU with elements from many Marvel sources. So there will be things different from the books, comics and movies mostly because anything after The Last Olympian has been altered in some way and even some elements from the first books have changed.
I will be attempting to keep author notes to a minimum. I feel they detract from the story and bloat word counts. They will be solely reserved for important things that need explaining, otherwise those that leave reviews asking for clarification will have them answered in PMs whenever I get around to it. I think there's a couple people here that I have regular exchanges with at the end of every chapter and its nice to converse with people who enjoy my work!
Also! You can find me on the Emerald Library Discord! It's a fantastic place to interact with other writers and readers! Generally, we chill and chat about ideas, future works and have a good time!
You can find the link to that on my profile!
The pairing, as of 06/10/2022, is undecided. If you have any suggestions feel free to let me know!
Credit for the Cover Art goes to duckduck#3344 on the Emerald Library Discord!
For more fan art be sure to check the pins in my channel for the Emerald Library Discord!
Now without further ado!
Welcome and Enjoy!
For all the cheering and exclamations of victory, there was a certain indifference emanating from the Son of Poseidon. An expression of nothing marred his worn, dirtied and bloodied face as he limped his way through the celebrating crowds of demigods, immortals, nature spirits and legacies.
It was an almost surreal and ethereal experience for him as he trudged through the Halls of Olympus, the slight creaking of his wooden crutch echoed in his ears more than the shouts of jubilation that pervaded the marble streets of the Immortal City.
It felt like he died when he woke up surrounded by bronze shards and silver ash and before he knew it, he was on Olympus walking with the hundreds if not thousands that rejoiced in the victory won.
And for all intents and purposes, he did die. Or at least a part of him was wretched from this plane of existence.
But that was not what those around him saw.
They saw a stoic and slightly smiling Son of Poseidon limping along with all the other injured fighters. They didn't recognize him yet of course, his armor was near-damaged beyond repair, scratched and dented in a few places and with parts that had melted and seared to his body.
From acid or fire, he didn't know nor did he particularly care.
A Drakon had slashed at the side of his abdomen and had gouged a chunk of his armor out and nearly killed him from the poison in its claws. It had to be sewed shut and bandaged via telekinesis given the state of his armor as they didn't have the time for a lengthy surgery that would be required to peel the armor from his body.
He was also covered in a layer of grim. Blood, ichor, golden and silver dust and ash with a touches of mud clung like an perverse infection to his armored body. His heritage did nothing for him as his hair was matted in either a layer of sweat or blood.
He didn't exactly know what it was that called the rat's nest that was his hair home.
To any casual observer, he simply looked as a part of the throng of warriors that were as equally as disheveled and unappealing as he was.
However, there were a few that noticed something off about him. The more astute individuals noted that there was a certain distance kept from him. As if he had this invisible barrier that was protecting him and preventing anyone from getting too close.
Not that those around him nor he for that matter, seemed to notice. They skirted around him, trailed behind him or had a little more speed in their step. Whether it was done in respect or fear was unknown.
If they were around him, they might have gotten an idea as to why. However, like everyone else, they were soon swept up in the celebrations around them.
The people that were around him, however, felt it even if it was a subliminal feeling. An ocean of unbridled power teeming within him, a vicious and unrelenting storm awaiting to be unleashed. His steps were done with what seemed to be a confident and stoic resolve. While there was a veritable stampede towards the Throne Hall of the Olympians. His quiet and injured stride seemed to echo over everyone else's stomps and jumps.
Though there were those around him had noted the slight trembling and hesitation in his steps. as if every single one was a calculated risk. Sudden and erratic twitches from his shoulders or arms that made it seem that he was being jolted with a bolt of lightning and was ready to draw an absent blade or instinctually dodging arrows. His sea green eyes while teeming with unbridled power and glowing, had such an empty and lifeless aura about them but still the scanned for threats across the pavilions.
That smiling and assured demigod was a front, they would realize if they had the leave to study him for a time.
No one did though.
A mask and charade for the masses that were to engrossed in their own revelry. Not that he didn't care for them. Nor did he spite nor scorn them. It was as much a play for them as it was for himself.
Because he knew.
He just knew.
That if he stopped for even a single moment. That it would all come rushing back to him. He didn't want to deal with that. Not ever. But if he had to, now was not the time, not in front of those he saw as kin and friend.
He knew that he had to be strong for them. He couldn't show weakness nor break apart from the horrors of Tartarus or the battles waged in the shadows of Mount Olympus, not so soon after the collapse of Gaea's armies.
They may have won the war but the cleanup could turn into an even bigger mess if it wasn't taken care of swiftly and properly.
The time to for him to grieve would be later but not now. Not with everyone else.
The massive crowd continued. Nymphs and musicians performing dance and song for the weary armies of Olympus. Platters of food and drink, carried by spirits of the wind abounded and shouts of glee and jubilation were had.
The crowd thinned as more and more joined the festivities. Their rewards would come later for their part in the fighting. At the moment, only the commanders of the armies and particularly exceptional fighters would be joining the Olympians in their council to receive their gifts in private.
Herding that many demigods into the Throne room was a bad idea, especially if they were forced to remain still and quiet throughout its entirety. They would be there all week if they were to sit through it all.
He counted twelve among their number as they waited at the massive and heavy Imperial Gold doors that hid the Throne Room of Olympus. They looked just as battered and worn down as he did.
A mixture of Greek and Roman demigods stood. Their armor and livery giving away their heritage. Despite enduring the same trials and spilling blood and killing monsters across the same battlefield, there was still a clear divide between them, as the Greeks stood to the left of the doors while the Romans were to the right.
They may be cordial but with a millennia of civil war and bloodshed between the two camps and the inherent rivalry between the two aspects, it would take many years of repairing and mending the relationship between them. It was not something that was going to happen magically overnight.
He didn't know any of them. How could he? Not a month after their victory in Manhattan, he was abducted and put to sleep for two years. He wouldn't know any of the Greeks. The few that still remained were too wounded and the rest he had grown up with were dead. Two years was a lot of time for change.
Especially since they were gearing and preparing for another war. Hundreds of demigods from Olympians and major and minor gods and goddesses flooded Camp Half-Blood, in the aftermath of the Second Titanomachy. Apparently, even Greek legacies were being called upon during those two years.
Not that he knew.
The time spent in New Rome was negligible. He was there for all of a handful of days before being sent out by Mars to reacquire the Aquila for the Legion, who had also been spending their time in those two years to bring the Legion to bear as they had a similar injection of semi-divine children.
Not that he knew then either.
By the Gods, he didn't even know there was a Second Great Prophecy until he returned to New Rome from his quest.
The only one he knew here was Reyna and that was because of his impromptu elevation to command staff and many a sleepless night was had preparing for the next day's battles, taking and making reports, receiving and giving counsel from and to the Olympians, and even fighting the enemy.
They were quite literally, running on sheer will because as much as they were fighting the armies of the Primordial Goddess, they were keeping their own from fracturing within.
It turns out putting near two thousand demigods of both Roman and Greek ancestry and of various parentage in a single camp was a bad idea.
Reyna, Percy, Nico, Thalia, Annabeth and the rest of the Seven were sometimes, quite literally, the only people that were keeping the army from falling apart. And that was because no one wanted to cross swords with any of them.
The legacies and nature spirits wisely kept away from where there was the clear divide from the two aspects and consequently where the feuds tended to spring full force.
They may have some strength in their heritage but a fifteen year old first generation demigod had a better chance of laying the smackdown on a legacy double their age regardless of whatever training they may have had. They would stand no chance against a group of them.
It became rather apparent that while the demigods detested the idea of mingling together, they were afraid of the Daughter of Bellona and the Son of Poseidon. Reyna and Percy stood together in the back of the group.
While the Praetor had also participated in the fighting, being the principal commander of the armies of Olympus had typically kept her away from the heaviest of the melees. Her Imperial gold armor, while muddied still had a slight sheen to it from where the metal was still visible, though the purple cloak she did wear was pocketed in holes and scorch marks. He guessed it was her pride as both a Roman and in her position ensuring she didn't completely divest herself of the piece of apparel.
The two were on…amicable terms. They helped each other out of necessity rather than want. Where her authority was usually enough to break any feuding demigods, those that would continue to press their luck had the honor of meeting him.
Considering his reputation, being practically thrust from one war to another and from his…time in Tartarus, getting on his bad side was not a good idea for those that wanted to remain within the realm of the living.
Not that it had ever resorted to an actual execution but none wisely tested the Son of Poseidon.
He didn't know if he should be afraid of the fact that they would actually think him capable of doing something like that. The Romans, he understood to a degree, Children of the Seas made for ill omens. In regards to the Greeks…
He pulled his thoughts from that. He was barely standing as it was. While the crutch was certainly a help, it was the hand and the body of the Praetor that kept him upright.
But Reyna seemed to be using him as support as much as he was in regards to her.
They stood leaning on each other for support. Their gazes locked on nothing in particular simply staring into the distance, quite a few of the demigod group around them were much the same.
Looking but not seeing.
There was silence as the simply stood there waiting.
It was minutes before they the massive Imperial Gold doors inched open of their own accord.
Just enough room for the demigods to file through one by one. They all looked around as if waiting for some order to enter. Most looking to the Praetor and the Son of Poseidon for direction.
It was only natural. They had spent the last eighteen days taking orders, well the demigods had been. The two of them had been issuing them.
Chain of Command and all that.
When Percy didn't feel Reyna move, he gestured with his head, indicating towards the doors. As one they moved towards the doors. One by one entering the door in a single column. Percy and Reyna stopped at the threshold where he nudged the Praetor with his shoulder.
Her charcoal eyes blinked and she looked between him and the door.
He nodded and she stood a little straighter. Composed herself and entered, her tattered cloak floating depressingly behind.
Percy paused before the threshold for a moment later. He felt his arm spasm and his shoulder jerk and he grunted slightly at the sharp pain. He took a breath of air and composed himself.
And entered the Throne Hall of Olympus, the creaking of the wooden crutch trailing ominously behind him.
The moment he crossed the doors, the Imperial gateway slowly slid shut, groaning and thudding at the exertion.
The Throne Hall wasn't like he remembered it from two years ago. Well, anything could have been construed as different. After all, it was in ruins and near a simple pile of marble and gold rubble when he had last seen it.
The marble and limestone cobble pathways were much the same around Olympus proper, lined with torches filled with golden liquid fire. In Olympus, the buildings were marble and gold and perfect, unnaturally so. That it couldn't be anything other than divine work that made them.
In the Throne Room of the Olympians however, it was…more ominous. Dangerous. Like a desperate shadow veiled the hall from sight and sound. Fourteen Thrones sat in a near tight semi-circle. A clear divide of male and female within the Immortal Pantheon. Evenly spaced, each throne, one for each Olympian, was designed for and reflected the realm of the Lord or Lady.
In the center of all the Olympians was a roaring hearth fire, lined with an ornate palestone and embellished with gold filigree. The white stone did not get pockmarked by the flames that caressed and traveled over them but sizzling was heard whenever contact was made by the fire within.
Zeus sat at the innermost with Hera, his wife, to his direct right and Poseidon, Percy's father, to his direct left and on it went. Ending with Hades, who sat on a grand obsidian and skull throne, on the male side, and Hestia who had her own warm varnished and gleaming wood throne.
Off on both flanks, were two galleries also separated by gender.
In the female grouping of smaller thrones but no less ornate were Hebe, Harmonia, Hecate, Iris, Nemesis, Nike, Tyche, Bellona, Lupa and Amphitrite.
Khione would have been among them, due to a distinct lack of the Snow Goddess upon a snow white throne. Due to her recent siding with the Primordial Goddess, it was deemed that she would be stripped of her place upon the wider Council in the interim while the Olympians decided her punishment.
She had been temporarily replaced with Amphitrite, though the immortal wife of Poseidon seemed to have a desire to be anywhere but Olympus.
Among the males, were Hypnos, Triton, Kratos, Thanatos, Deimos, Morpheus and Pallas.
The lesser Immortal deities of the Pantheon granted audience within the Council chambers surprised Percy but he did not linger on the thought long. He only remembered Zeus granting seats to the two Eldest of Kronos and Rhea two years ago.
And only at his own urging.
The Immortals were all sitting. Tired but noble postures from the final moments of the war when everything simply went chaotic. Their weapons of power thrummed with energy, either lazily in their hands or casually leaning against their respective seating.
He turned his thoughts back to the Throne Hall.
Green Greek Fire torches lines the walls of the throne hall, interspaced occasionally with the warm golden liquid fire ones. Though given the vastness of the Hall, shadows pervaded throughout. The light did not reach everywhere and left a vacant and haunting atmosphere.
It seemed fitting. Percy supposed. Here the Council decided the fates of billions of mortals and discussed matters that could ripple into the coming centuries.
Perhaps that was the point…He took a sharp intake of breath as he stopped in his injured stride. Not noticing the questioning and worried looks of both Immortal and Mortal alike.
Annabeth. His Annabeth was the chief architect of Olympus in the aftermath of the Second Titanomachy and considering the devastation brought about by King of the Titans, Percy had assumed it would take a them starting from scratch to rebuild.
So she must've imparted something into the designs. The atmosphere was proof of that. She wanted to remind the Immortals of the weight of their decisions, that a Hall of Thrones was not there for mere show and grandeur but for exchanges of counsel.
The neglect and arrogance of the Immortals that ruled them were always the subject of daughter of Athena's silent ire. Percy shared much of the same sentiments.
But still they served, knowing that not doing so would end horribly for them. 'The lesser of two evils.' Annabeth had always spoke in hushed tones. They didn't hate their godly parents.
They simply wished for them to grow from their stagnation.
It was a shame that it took two wars and the loss of hundreds of heroes for them to do so.
His gaze glassed over.
"Perseus?" A voice questioned. It was a soft, serene and melodious whisper. One that made him shiver internally and pull his haze filled mind back to the present.
Reyna had apparently taken his arm and began guiding him to a seat provided by the Council.
The crutch creaking all the way.
There was clear divide between the two aspects. The Roman demigods sat to the right while the Greeks sat to the left. But that was not had entered the mind of the Son of Poseidon. No, the first thing on his mind was that the seats provided were arranged in a similar fashion to the Olympian Council before them. Percy sat opposite of Zeus while Reyna to Hera.
His mind drifted. It was merely coincidence nothing more. He had gotten rather good at deciphering those. After all, it wouldn't do for a leading combatant and commander to be jumping at every shadow.
At least he hoped it was coincidence.
"Heroes!" Zeus intoned. The demigods rose, not as one, as the tired stood slowly and deliberately while the injured among them had taken more time to do so. "I would not ask you to bow. Not this time anyway."
It went without saying that if they did bow, more than a few would topple over themselves from the exertion.
"Please sit. We are all tired." The demigods did not need to be told twice as they did all sit. Most of them reclining in their chairs with water, mud and grime smearing against the backs of the seats. Percy was different as was Reyna. Leaning forward against his crutch, knowing that if he were to recline comfortably he would simply fall asleep and that would not be good.
The wooden crutch protested against the added weight.
Zeus began speaking. Though his words fell on the deaf ears of Percy.
The Son of Poseidon cared not for the onery speeches of the King of Olympus. In fact, he had longed stopped caring for much of the declarations and flowered words of many of the Olympians. They were beings of action, emotion even and yet…
They liked to talk.
It was not long before gifts were to be given. A Roman then a Greek.
Then a Roman then a Greek. While bowing was ignored, there was a clear and present deference from the demigods to the Immortals of Olympus as they dipped their heads low when they approached. Not daring to meet the eyes of the rulers.
Their names filtered through his ears as they continued to be called up and given their gift. Weapons and a title for the most part. A Greek demigoddess named Miranda, a daughter of Demeter to be specific, had been granted the request to join the eternal Hunt.
Artemis would most likely be going on a recruiting drive as the numbers of the silver maidens had been diminished severely upon the fields in Mount Olympus' shadow.
His mind drifted back to the arrangement of their seats as that was not a thought he was willing to entertain at the moment. Miranda was seated directly across from the Goddess of the Hunt.
Just a coincidence.
"Reyna Ramirez-Arelleno, Daughter of Bellona." The stoic Praetor stood from her seat, casting worried glances to both Roman and Greek demigod alike, her gaze lingering slightly longer on the Son of Poseidon as if seeking something, but turned and held her head high when it was met with no response.
Percy's mind was too…tired to care at the moment. He simply couldn't bring himself to offer anything more.
The daughter of Roman War Goddess stepped in the center just a scant few meters away from the hearthfire that was burning before her. The Praetor dipped her head low, bringing her arm to her chest in a salute but did not do anything else.
Bellona moved across from her, intending to deliver the gift to her daughter herself.
"You have made me proud, young Reyna." Her lilt had a distinct Latin intonation. "You have made Olympus proud."
Ares…no, Mars stood from his gunmetal throne, his gaze casting about across to the other Olympians who had all shifted to their Roman Aspects.
It had been explained to him by Annabeth that with the return of the Parthenos, that the clashing aspects of the Immortals would all but disappear. Now unless they specifically chose to show themselves as a certain aspect, they would appear only Greek to Greeks and only Roman to Romans.
He shook his head. His mind drifting far too long as he returned his focus to the Praetor of Rome.
The Roman War God, standing in full Roman centurion plate and helm resting atop the arms of his throne, spoke. "The Daughter of Bellona has shown us that the backbone of Olympus may lie in its heroes, it is the mind where the battles are won."
The Hall was silent. Bellona spoke next. "Where others might have crumbled in the face of this duty, you stood tall and strong. The responsibility of command is a heavy burden to bear, my daughter." The Roman War Goddess moved around the hearthfire and stood next to her daughter, cupping her cheek and moving to lock gazes. Twin pairs of charcoal eyes stared at each other.
"May this," A swish of her hand, and cloak of glittering darkness was pulled from seemingly nowhere as it folded into a neat and tight square. "remind you to never fear your past and to only look onwards."
Percy watched the Praetor accept the proffered cloak with hesitant hands, but cast her gaze downwards. Bellona took a step back and smiled at her daughter but when Reyna didn't move from her position a frown began forming. "What is wrong?"
"I have a request." Her voice was soft but echoed through the chamber. Bellona looked to Jupiter who leaned back into his Imperial Gold throne. He nodded slightly to the War Goddess after a moments deliberation.
"What is it?" Bellona spoke softly.
Reyna looked up, willingly this time but not at Jupiter, Mars, nor her own mother. Instead, her gaze locked to the Maiden Goddess of the Hunt. "I wish to join the Hunt, if you'll have me." Her eyes flicked behind her to the Son of Sea God who was leaning on his crutch.
A pair of dull sea green met a pair of impassive dark charcoal.
She turned her attention back to the Goddess of the Hunt.
Reyna Ramirez-Arellano, Daughter of the Roman War Goddess Bellona and the best Praetor that Rome had seen since the times of the Empire, did not want the burden of the Legion any longer.
There was a few glances shared between the Immortals of the Council at the surprise request.
"The decision ultimately lies with Diana." Jupiter intoned but Percy could tell he was unhappy with the request. Mars and Bellona stared at the Praetor of New Rome with a neutral gazes.
The Maiden Goddess looked to Percy as well, a clear displeasure in her eyes. For what? He didn't know. She turned her eyes back to Reyna an inscrutable look on her features. "Are you sure, Daughter of Bellona?"
There was hesitation in the moments that followed as Reyna slightly shifted in her stance. It was a solid minute before the Praetor tucked the black cloak into her armor and twisted her arms so that she unclipped the purple cloak of the Praetor, wincing slightly as she did so. No doubt, she had a bandaged wound that was irritated at the action.
The tattered purple cloak was folded as best as possible but given its rather damaged state, it looked more like a dirty crumpled blanket than the regal symbol that it was supposed to be.
She winced again as she knelt before the feet of her impassive mother, laying the purple cloth at the feet of the Roman Goddess.
It was at this did Percy stand from his position, in support of his friend as did all the other heroes from their seat, only moments after he did.
Glares erupted from most of the Roman deities at them.
The galleries of the wider Council were looking on in indecisiveness.
But he didn't care.
It was clear the Council did not like the decision undertaken by the Daughter of Bellona.
It was Reyna's choice though. There was nothing they could do against a maiden for taking on the Oath of the Huntress. To do so would be tantamount to declaring war on the Goddess of the Hunt.
And the last thing anyone needed was another civil war.
She was even spurning her mother. Not to mention, Jupiter and Mars the unequivocal patrons of New Rome.
The Praetor of Rome was abandoning her post.
"Very well." Bellona's voice was like cold steel. Impassive and unyielding and held no emotion. "If that is your choice." She did however bend to pick up the tattered Praetor's cloak and place it within her robes before returning to her seat in the gallery, her stature stiff but composed but not sparing any more glances to her daughter.
Percy could barely see the tears falling from her eyes and onto the chiseled marble floor. The stoic Reyna was crying but no sound escaped her.
Diana glanced at the still standing Percy, who looked all but ready to spring into action once again to defend his friend should any attack her. Her eyes soon locked onto the slightly trembling form of Reyna.
"We will discuss this after the Council meeting, daughter of Bellona. However, should you do this," The Immortal Huntress was still offering the former Praetor an out. "I will not waste the talent of command you possess. You will be my Lieutenant."
She still trembled and didn't move from her kneeling position. There was silence.
"Miranda." Percy intoned. His voice cutting through the tension like a searing dagger through soft flesh. He still was leaning on his crutch, he didn't move his gaze as his eyes kept glued to the Roman deities before him. Waiting for any of them to try something.
Percy wished they would try something, anything.
While he only spoke her name, the daughter of Demeter was quick to understand what he was getting at. Get her away. The new Huntress, donned in the silver clothing of her patron, hastily moved and gathered the broken Reyna in her arms and eased Reyna onto the seat previously occupied while Miranda stood on her side, like a vigilant guardian but looked entirely unsure of what to do.
Percy looked to the other demigods, and nodded slightly. There was an unease as they looked between the deities and Percy before they did follow his unspoken command. Sit.
They sat, slowly and methodically. If their postures were tired before, all senses of laziness were now gone. They sat rigidly, ready to spring at a moments notice.
But Percy remained standing from his seat.
Jupiter sneered lightly at the Son of Poseidon before his form flickered and returned to Zeus and as if emanating as a wave, the forms of the deities before him also changed to their Greek counterparts.
While the anger was gone, there was clear displeasure in their eyes at what had just occurred.
Only Poseidon, Hestia and surprisingly Hera shared looks that weren't ones marred in scorn or disbelief. Only a proud gleam in the eye of the Sea God and a pair of slight smiles from the Keeper of the Hearth and the Queen of Olympus. Bellona still sat impassively in her seat.
However, Percy's features remained as impassive as ever, still leaning on his wooden crutch.
"Perseus Jackson." The King of Olympus spoke, having lost its previous boisterousness, as it was replaced by a touch of poison.
The Son of Poseidon began taking measured steps forward. The creaking of the crutch and the near-silent steps of his, echoed throughout the Hall.
Most assumed that given his previous defiance that he would not even bother with inclining his head in deference of Zeus.
Most assumed wrong.
As Percy stood before the hearthfire, he gathered what strength remained in his tired and sore arms and lightly tossed the wooden aid into the burning pit. It was a sudden gesture that caused many around to stand suddenly as they thought the Son of Poseidon would collapse without the support. The fire however, grew in intensity but not in temperature.
Only in size. Something that was not possible with the simple addition of wood.
He still stood though, favoring his left leg heavily and a light hiss of pain escaped his lips at the sudden movement. His now free hand clutched his pained abdomen as he slowly maneuvered and limped around the hearthfire to the exact center of the demi-sphere of the Olympian Council.
Wincing and hissing in pain that the movement caused him without support.
In clear and deliberate movements, with his hand still applying what little pressure his body could conjure from his waning strength to his abdomen, the Son of Poseidon eased himself onto one of his armored legs, while his free hand clenched into a fist and set his bare knuckles onto the polished marble floor.
To the observant deities, blood began to lightly trickle onto the marble floor below the demigod.
There was a pregnant pause as they were unsure of what to do in response.
That was until the last person everyone thought would speak did so. Her voice soft, caring and remorseful. Though Percy knew not why the Queen of Olympus would deign to even lift a finger in his support.
"Your actions, time and time again have saved not only us and your kin but the Mortal Realm from certain destruction. I believe I speak for everyone here that you have our eternal gratitude and respect. That if there ever was a debt that could never be fully compensated, it is this one." One could hear a pin drop as Hera spoke instead of her husband. Her voice laden with hope, concern and above all else…sincerity and regret. "You have taught me that in the battlefield there is an equality, be they immortal or not. You have taught me that grudges and jealously towards the heroes that protect us, is a childish venture. I hope that you can forgive me of these slights."
There was no response and Percy kept his head bowed and his eyes locked onto his reflection against the sheen marble floor.
Zeus was about to say something as thunder boomed in anger but was suddenly cut off with the raise of one of Hera's delicate hands. He grumbled something under his breath that sounded more like the dark clouds that were forming behind him.
Hera continued. "For your actions and your stand against the Primordial Goddess, we are prepared to offer you something that has only been offered once before. We offer you an opportunity to become immortal and a seat upon the Olympian Council. We offer you the position of the 15th Olympian."
There was an unnerving silence as everyone waited for his answer.
They must've thought him broken.
They must've thought him vulnerable with no more attachments to the Mortal World.
They had forgotten that with nothing to live for with the exception of his mom, there was no reason for him to accept life in perpetuity.
And he would not subject himself to that torture.
Not after Tartarus.
"No." His voice was soft, much like Hera's own. But unlike the Queen Goddess' the words seemed to reverberate throughout the entire Throne Hall.
There was more silence.
His father was the one to speak next, seemingly coming to the conclusion that his son would not speak unless spoken to. "Then what would you like?"
Percy's head slowly rose and locked onto the steps that lead up to the Seats of Power themselves. His tone forced at a neutral but also tinged with a formal accent. "I spoke rarely with the Questers. Ann-" He stopped short, unable to finish her name. "She was the only one I really spoke to but there were times when I did converse with the others in the few days that we were together."
There was a slight pause as he considered his words. "Imagine my surprise, when the Son of Hephaestus spoke of a lost island. A home or rather prison to a Titaness to be exact." There was a sharp intake of breath from the King of the Gods. Zeus knew exactly what he was leading up to. Perseus looked to the King of Olympus, an vibrating electric blue meeting glowing sea green. "You swore on the Styx. You swore you would set them free!" Percy practically hissed the last word at his King.
Thunder rumbled overhead.
"The girl is an enemy to Olympus!" Zeus boomed but remained seated. Others made to intervene but harsh lupine glares from Percy froze the beings in their seats. They were all complicit in this act. They would receive no compassion from him.
"And?" Percy asked, his own voice harsh. "Calypso has been imprisoned for thousands of years! Do you really think she would support an enemy that has been beaten not once but twice?"
Zeus made to retort but Percy was not finished. "Do you think she would want to support a father that all but threw her to the wolves? Do you really think keeping resentful and innocent Immortals in locked cages is a good idea? Tell me if I am wrong but should someone else come to break them free from lives of isolation that they wouldn't side with them?"
The implication was clear. What they were doing only brewed anger and a thirst for vengeance. He should know, he experienced it in the Pit. If they wanted to avoid all of this war they needed to understand that giving their enemies free allies was not in their best interest.
There was a pause. Lightning crackled off the salt-pepper beard of the King and arcs of his domain danced off his pinstripe suit and struck his throne.
Hera spoke again, standing as she did so and placing a firm grip on the arm of her husband, breaking the standoff. "Perseus speaks the truth." The Son of Poseidon's gaze locked to Hera's. "We will maintain our promise."
Zeus growled in annoyance but it was more of an ominous rumble of thunder rather than something so animalistic.
He nodded. He knew his only allies on the Council were limited to the Queen, his father and Hestia. Poseidon could not help without sparking off a war. Hestia was a pacifist and her younger brother would take advantage of that. That left only Hera to uphold their word.
Percy slowly stood. His legs trembling as he did so as he grimaced in pain. He still held his abdomen. "No other requests?" Artemis ventured though he didn't know why.
Percy deliberately shook his head. "I have no reason to trust any promises this Council makes." The Hall fell silent at his jaded words as he slowly turned, grunting as he did so and limped over to the rest of the demigods.
As he did, Zeus spoke. "You may join the festivities." He waved his hand away in a dismissive manner as Hera took his full attention. It was clear that the Council was still in session and the presence of the demigods was not needed.
The demigods stood from their seats and began following Percy out. Though they could've easily overtaken him given his state. They wouldn't do so.
As soon as they exited, Miranda holding a weary Reyna at her side, spoke. "We should go get something to eat." She began moving.
She stopped but did not turn, Percy turned to the other demigods as well. "As far as anyone is concerned everything is okay." He gave the demigods meaningful looks. "The last thing we need is a civil war."
They nodded, not trusting their voices speak. When Percy said nothing more they left without another word.
He still clutched his abdomen. The poisonous slashes of a Drakon were often fatal but given his heritage, he had withstood most of the negative side-affects with little concern. Only spiking pain was had before turning to a thrumming ache. It would heal but it would also take time.
He began limping through the walkways of Olympus. Many steered clear of him and gave him a wide berth but more than once a brave demigod or nature spirit would land a drink in his free hand.
It was quickly discarded. Whether by handing it to someone nearby or simply dropping to the floor as soon as the being that did so walked away. A wind spirit would catch it, so he wasn't all that concerned with leaving shards of crystal across the paved cobble roads of Olympus.
He found himself a reclusive view. One with a perfectly polished marble bench that faced the Mortal World, the Manhattan Skyline and Nightlife bustling as ignorant mortals went about their business. None the wiser that a war that decided their very fate was just waged and won right under their very noses.
Percy sighed as he sat down and he looked onto the skyline and the Atlantic beyond.
He should've known it was a matter of time before he was disturbed.
He felt them take a step forward, the slight trepidation in the movement.
"I've come to apologize." The voice said. It was meek and held an undercurrent of hesitation. As if he would lash out should she speak. Percy had never known Artemis to be this hesitant. "On behalf of my father and our…Roman side."
Percy didn't move to acknowledge her as an Olympian of her caliber should, nor did he answer her apologies.
It wasn't out of disrespect. Well, some of it was. Most of it because he was tired. Tired of all the fighting.
Of all the death.
The fact that he witnessed arguably one of the strongest demigods he knew, break so thoroughly, in front of the Olympians no less and her own mother, was such a blow to his own morale that he found that if he did speak he would break as well.
Especially, if it was to one of the Council.
It was only the adrenaline that kept him from doing so before.
And blinked again, refocusing his vision as he felt himself begin to give into exhaustion. He pounded his wound, hissing slightly in pain as he did so. Pain was good. Pain meant he was alive and awake.
He didn't see the frown that marred the face of the Immortal Huntress at the action.
He felt another pair of steps. Two pairs in fact. "Perseus." The voice brimmed with power and emotion. He recognized it. It was his father's.
It was at this did he slowly stand, clutching his abdomen.
He heard her before he saw her. A soft ethereal voice one. But where the Queen's words held a tinge of steel, Calypso's were sprinkled with tones of silken song. "You are bleeding." It was said matter of factly.
He looked to her and a small chuckle escaped his lips. It was a hollow one though. One that didn't hold the normal humor he would usually have in these situations. He did look down though at his hand. The wound had opened again with the constant strain. His most recent action did not endear his body to him. "I guess I am."
She moved forward but Poseidon stopped her. "Artemis, if you would give my son and I a moment of privacy." It was an order not a request.
The Huntress looked conflicted but did as she was told, taking a forlorn Calypso with her.
"I take it he isn't happy with me?" Percy's voice was mocking but, again, there was little humor in his words.
"No, he is not." Poseidon agreed but paused as he looked to his son. "Hera forced the issue and he put it to a vote. Questioning the honor of the Council gave you some support and was an intelligent move. A stupid one but intelligent nonetheless. Shedding light onto the strategic importance was what swayed most of the Council. Those that weren't were wise to abstain. Leto and many other peaceful Titans and Titanesses are being freed as we speak. Calypso was merely the first, considering the circumstances."
"I'm sensing there is a catch."
There was another pause. "It was agreed that should any of them go against Olympus that you would be sent to deal with the problem. Permanently."
"That was just a fluke."
"Chances are that if you go fishing for a fluke, you just might catch one." Poseidon chuckled lightly at his joke but given the seriousness of what occurred, his features were quickly schooled. A light but tight smile tugged on Percy's lips at the joke but it didn't last long. "Regardless, it is doubtful they would. If the Daughter of Atlas was any indication, they are all grateful of your involvement. It would be wise to visit them personally and reinforce the idea that it was you and, by extension, Olympus that freed them."
As much as he hated the idea of continually being used, he couldn't nor wouldn't go against the counsel of his father, it made sense, was logical and would prevent unnecessary fighting and deaths. "I'll go as soon as I'm healed."
Percy would begin to realize how just how much he hated politics.
Poseidon frowned as he heard the words. "I will send a message with the details but you should get some rest." Percy didn't respond to that as Poseidon continued. "Concerning Calypso, she should be placed under your care, while my brother does not trust you nor her, he wouldn't dare smite her if she is and placing her with the Hunters will bring unneeded conflict to my niece."
"It's not my decision to make."
"You think she would choose anything else?"
Percy didn't answer that. Where else would she go? She wouldn't be welcome in New Rome just by virtue of her nature and considering just how out of touch she was with the mortal world she wouldn't fit in there unless someone helped her.
The Hunters would have been a good choice, probably the best choice. But considering Reyna's recent request, it was would be for the best that she remained out of the care of Artemis.
That was a whole other mess of problems. Why were the Olympians so adverse to the idea of the former Praetor becoming a Hunter? They were ready to kill just on sheer principle of the matter.
He had known the Roman aspects of the deities to be warlike and disciplined but they were downright angry and bloodthirsty at the daughter of Bellona.
"Regardless of any decision she makes, Calypso is your responsibility now." Poseidon said in finality before sighing as he looked to his wounded son. A suspicious look flashed across his father's features but it was gone just as quick as it had appeared. "I need to go but remember, it is as Hera said, Olympus owes you a debt that can never be repaid."
And with those parting words, the God of the Seas disappeared in a cascading mist of seawater, just as Artemis returned with Calypso.
"Calypso, its been a while." Percy greeted the Titaness as she moved forward. The Daughter of Atlas was as he remembered, like she hadn't aged a day in the time he had last seen her. Though instead of the chiton, she wore a white blouse and blue jeans along with a pair of woven sandals. Her caramel hair was in the same manner as well, done in a long braid though unlike Reyna she had it over her shoulder.
She engulfed him in a hug, uncaring of his disheveled and dirty state. Even through all the mud and grime, he could feel the tears shedding from her eyes. He winced in pain at the sudden contact. "You've grown up." She pulled away.
"Time tends to do that." He said lightly.
"Lady Artemis filled me in on the…details of what happened." The Titaness looked away and she wrung her hands together.
"Perseus, I have to go to the daughter of Bellona. I trust she will be safe in your care?" Artemis questioned. Though it was clear she was conflicted on whether or not to stay.
He nodded his response and the Goddess filtered away, casting a hesitant glance back before she rounded the corner.
The pair moved back onto the bench. They sat close but not enough to be considered intimate. "Do you want me to heal you?"
He shook his head. "You couldn't if you tried. Its Drakon venom. Best I can do Is let it heal on its own."
Her eyes widened slightly at the revelation. He should be dead, at best. "How are you alive?"
"I flushed it from my body as soon as I could." Percy said as he still clutched his side and attempted a shrug. "It still burns though."
She sighed as she shook her head. Whether in exasperation or something else, Percy didn't know.
"What now?" She looked to the Manhattan skyline. Vestiges of the sun began to make itself known over the horizon but it was still dark over the Mortal city.
"For you?" At her nod, Percy continued. "Camp Half-Blood, most likely. The Romans would sooner kill you than let you near their city. I would suggest the Hunters."
She frowned as she cut him off. "Artemis has already told me that I would not be welcomed there."
Percy nodded. "Things right now are…complicated. Zeus is looking for a reason to kill me, and Reyna did something that their Roman aspects were ready to kill her for."
Calypso sniffed. There was an a trail of tears on her cheeks. "One war to the next." She murmured, though Percy wasn't sure he was supposed to hear it. He ignored it though and continued to look to the City of Manhattan. The horizon now a bright orange.
"And what of you Perseus Jackson?" Calypso asked, her voice as soft as can be and held by a thread of sadness, as she looked to the demigod beside her. "What are you going to do now? What do you want to do?"
He didn't move a muscle as Percy considered her words. What was he going to do now? What did he want to do?
"I don't know." The Son of Poseidon finally said. His voice hollow. Void of empathy and emotion. There was always something that needed doing. Some grand task that needed to be completed. He supposed he could go hunting for the remnants of Gaea's armies. But that was short-term. Nothing that wouldn't take longer than a year.
But what did he want? There wasn't much of what he wanted that existed left on this world. His friends were dead and even the Olympians, for all their power, cannot restore life. "I don't know." He repeated, his voice cracked and he felt a couple tears form at his eyes.
Maybe he would train. After the ordeal with Gaea there was something off about his inherent abilities. They were always powerful, but now…it was a surge. Like he had been charged. It was a thought at least.
Maybe he would travel. Annabeth would have loved that. Visiting the Louvre, the Smithsonian or maybe even tour and try to enjoy the monuments he had blown up all those years ago. They spoke often of that in the Pit.
A hollow chuckle escaped his lips and Calypso turned towards him fully, her dainty hands clasped in her lap and her dark eyes looked at him in suspicion but expectantly, not accepting his previous answers.
But right now…all he wanted to do was to rest. Maybe his father was right in that regard. Maybe it was time to actually rest and recuperate. It would be nice to sit and enjoy a decent meal that wasn't hastily eaten or the liquid fire of Tartarus.
Sitting here looking over the city…suited him fine for now.
"I think I'll just sit here." He paused if only for a moment as he looked to the city. The mortal world looked so innocent. So normal. "I think I'll just sit here." He mumbled silently. Calypso turned slowly to face the city at his words.
And they both sat in silence as they watched the sun slowly rise over the city of Manhattan.
'It is the soldier above all others that prays for peace. For it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.'