Hey guys! Chapter 2 is here!

About this chapter: I was researching on the hunters and Zoë and I came across the myth of Kallisto. While it doesn't do Artemis any favours, I thought it was great to develop Zoë's storyline so I've adapted it a little bit and this chapter revolves around it.

Also, IMPORTANT: While I've managed to keep it general and I didn't go into details there are mentions of sexual assault in this chapters so reader's discretion is advised.

It was honestly painful to write this but I'm happy with the result and I hope you guys think the same. Please review, fav and follow!

Cheers for reading!

Chapter 2. "Remember."

The first thing that made Zoë feel at home with the hunters was the allyship between them.

So, yes, she had to endure some cold attitude from those who became hunters a few centuries before her but they had made it clear that in danger, they would guard each other's back, even if it meant their deaths.

Zoë appreciated that more than she could say with words.

She also realized quite early during her time under Lady Artemis's rule that all the girls in the group had stories like her, in which the world had cast them aside for some reason, and they had stumbled across the world until Artemis took them in.

Zoë had been a few decades with them when Artemis began to allow her to hunt with her own chosen group of privileged maidens. There, she had become friends with Phoebe, a ginger daughter of Apollo with incredible tracking skills, and Kallisto, the lieutenant of the Hunters.

Zoë gazed at her ginger friend beside her, barely listening as she babbled on about one thing or the other as they made their way towards the nearest lake to bath. The hunter smiled, knowing that the hardships were going to appear in her life again, because life was hard, but she would never have to face them on her own.

Not when there women standing around her in support.

"My friend, I know that you have stopped listening a while ago," Phoebe taunted her, her musical voice light with a glee that never seemed to simmer down.

"I apologize, Phoebe, I was reminiscing," Zoë replied before smirking and shoving Phoebe away playfully, "besides, you were probably telling me a story I have heard dozens of times before."

"Why am I friends with such a cold person?" Phoebe replied with a laugh.

"I am cold and thoughtful, while you are cheerful and childish," Zoë shrugged, smiling when Phoebe snorted. "It only makes sense for immortals so different to be the best of friends."

Phoebe smiled brightly at her but then, they finally made it to the lake, and found a girl sobbing heavily on her knees, her hands cradling her hair desperately.

The pair of hunters stood frozen on their spot, dread growing in their hearts as they recognized the dirty blonde hair pulled in a messy bun, the tall frame and the olive skin tone, yet struggled putting together the image before them to the mental image they had of Kallisto.

Kallisto was a greek slave that joined the hunters after the fall of Troy. She escaped the city in the midst of the slaughter and joined the Hunters, soon enough becoming close friends with Artemis and being honoured as her lieutenant. She was their rock, perpetually calm and determined in spite of the odds, her glare able to scare off even the most insistent of men.

To see Kallisto so broken was a picture neither Zoë nor Phoebe had wanted to encounter in their lifetime.

After what felt like an eternity, yet not one long enough, Zoë slowly advanced towards their friend and lieutenant, Phoebe hot on her heels.

"Kallisto?" Zoë asked as she neared the sobbing girl but she raised a hand, ordering to stop them, before standing up, her back still to her friends.

"Do not take another step." Kallisto ordered, her voice harsh with swallowed anguish. She stood tall, despite of the sobs still rocking her body.

Zoë and Phoebe exchanged a concerned and slightly bewildered look before the latter raised her hands in surrender. "Kallisto, we are staying where we are, we promise but please, tell us what is wrong."

"I will tell you what is happening."

Kallisto stiffened noticeably at that voice, proceeding to bury her face in her hands defeatedly, her sobs now louder, as if the lieutenant of the Hunters had finally lost any self-control she had left. Behind her, Phoebe and Zoë turned slowly, their eyes widening as they laid on Lady Artemis behind them.

If it wasn't for her silvery-yellow eyes and her potent, godly aura, one could perfectly mistake her for Phoebe's older sister. Her long auburn hair was braided and fell down her back. She wore a silver, shimmering, hooded, hunting dress like the other girls, her quiver hung across her back and her bow clutched in her fist. Her silver circlet shimmered against the sunlight as the goddess pulled down her hood.

Zoë and Phoebe knelt at once, Artemis barely restrained anger warning them to be as polite as they could manage. Zoë whispered as the goddess of maidenhood walked between her and Phoebe, "Greetings, my lady."

"Stop with the false courtesy, Zoë, daughter of Atlas," Artemis's voice had lowered to a whisper, her eyes set on the her broken best friend who still refused to turn around. "Kallisto, you will only worsen your faith if you continue hiding the truth to me. Turn around, now."

"We don't understand, my lady. Kallisto, what is happening?" Phoebe asked as she and Zoë stood again, her voice trailing off as their lieutenant took a deep breath.

Then, Kallisto turned around, showing their barely protruding belly to her three close friends. She gazed at Artemis with ferocity, her tears no longer acknowledged as they continued to roll down her cheeks. "My lady, King Zeus cornered me a few months ago while I was bathing in a lake. This is his son I am carrying."

Phoebe and Zoë exchanged a look, barely withholding from gasping as Kallisto's story dawned on them. They knew what being 'cornered' meant, for they had all experienced at least once. It was just the world's way of working, and that meant that men were educated under the belief they could have anything they wanted, including women. Zoë, just like the rest of the women, had been taught that they were to accept men's advances and be grateful if it wasn't the end of them, so when she started living with women only, swearing off men, it was only then that she began to understand how wrong was that conception.

There was something she knew with clarity, though. As Kallisto had been raped by Zeus, there was no way Artemis would punish anyone but Kallisto herself, even if she was her best friend.

However, she knew she couldn't say anything against it so at last, Zoë could only manage to cover her mouth with shock, her eyes welling up with frantic tears as she realized the gravity of her friend's situation.

If Artemis noticed her followers reactions, she didn't comment on it. She walked forward until she stood before a shivering Kallisto, proceeding to reach down and grab the cloak Kallisto had been wearing to conceal her now obvious pregnancy. The goddess handed it to her lieutenant and began to walk away back towards the camp.

"You three, follow me. There are matters to be discussed," Artemis ordered as she strutted past Zoë and Phoebe.

The three hunters could only stare at each other with great fear before following their goddess silently, fear expanding to her every nerves.

"When did this happen?"

They had made it to Artemis' tent, ignoring for the most part the looks sent their way by the other, curious hunters. The goddess sat on her throne, her eyes pensive as she played with one of her hunting knives. Kallisto stood before her, flanked by Zoë on her right and Phoebe on her left. Zoë and Phoebe kept their arms crossed in order to restrain themselves from protecting their friend while Kallisto kept her hands clasped together before her, her back straightened proudly even if her eyes betrayed the grief and fear she felt.

Zoë looked apprehensively at her lieutenant, bewildered as the usually blunt and courageous greek swallowed nervously. As bad as it may sound, she found it hard to recognize her friend when she looked so weak but still, she couldn't help but understand the dynamic displayed before her.

She imagined this was the sort of friendship anyone could hope to have with a goddess, one in which things were okay for one second, and a mess in the next.

Kallisto took a hesitant step forward, so Zoë was able to see Phoebe a few feet beside her. The two exchanged a look filled with dread before tuning into the meeting in time to see Kallisto kneel before their leader.

"My lady, Lord Zeus approached me disguised as your ladyship, and cornered away from my fellow hunters. Once he...was done, he showed himself in his true form. A weeks later I discovered I was carrying his baby," Kallisto explained, her voice quivering for the first time when Artemis didn't react visibly to the lieutenant's story. "I apologize, my lady, I did not mean for this to happen. I tried to refuse but he would have none of it. I did not want to hid the truth from you but I feared your reaction at my broken vow. Please, please have mercy."

Artemis regarded her best friend in contemplation before raising from her throne, slowly walking towards Kallisto. As she reached her, she rested her hands on her friend's shivering shoulders. "What happened is not your fault, my dear. My father, Lord Zeus, gets what he wants, it has always been that way and neither me nor anyone else can hope to stand against it."

Behind the pair, Zoë and Phoebe released a breath they did not know they were holding, relief overpowering their senses as they saw their friend okay and forgiven by their goddess.

But then, Artemis continued.

The goddess of maidens narrowed her eyes after a second, her expression growing colder as rage was noticeably filling her again. She stepped away from her best friend and continued talking as she sat on her throne, "However, you did hide this from me. Your vows clearly state that you must be loyal to me and you broke them by being dishonest towards me, your lady and your best friend. As your friend, your clear distrust of me hurts me clearly. As your commander, it makes me realize you are not the best candidate for the position as lieutenant of my hunters."

Zoë stepped forward, her hands hold up in a pleading manner. "My lady, please-"

"Enough. I will not hear anything from you," Artemis cut her off, her eyes still on her fallen lieutenant. "Is there anything you would like to say in your favour, Kallisto?"

"It's okay, Zoë. I saw this coming," Kallisto looked at the hunter with a small smile before sobering up as she glanced at her goddess, the one she had given everything for. Her eyes hardened with resolve to spend the rest of her time on Earth with calmness and courage. She took a deep breath and spoke at the goddess, her voice almost a spat as she thought of how the gods had forsaken her, messing with her life at will, leaving her to die once they were done. "What's your decision, my lady?"

Artemis cocked her head thoughtfully. "I can't let this go unpunished. I will allow you to have your son but I will advise you to run as fast as you can on your paws for if we catch you, Kallisto, make no mistake. You will not live to tell the tale."

Kallisto stepped back in fear. "Paws?"

For an answer, Artemis snapped her fingers, immediately transforming her former best friend, her former lieutenant, into a big brown bear. Behind them, Zoë and Phoebe tried to run towards the aid of their friend but Artemis held a hand up threateningly, warning them from not taking another step. The goddess then stood up and glared at the bear. "Run. Now."

The bear whimpered but complied, barely looking at either of her friends as she rushed away of the tent and into the night.

Artemis stared after her friend with grief before scowling as she looked at the two remaining hunters, whose eyes were still on the entrance their friend had escaped through. "Prepare our supplies. The three of us are leaving to track her down tomorrow at sunset."

Zoë turned towards the goddess immediately, her expression showing the outrage she didn't dare to convey in her words. "My lady, we are Kallisto's friends. You surely cannot expect us-"

"I can because I am your commander and you have sworn an oath to me. I do, because you are her closest friends, you spent every day with her, and yet you failed to see what was so obvious," Artemis snapped in return. She gestured in a dismissive manner at the two hunters. "Prepare our supplies."

Zoë and Phoebe looked at each other with barely concealed anger before bowing their heads stiffly and disappearing into the night as well.

Zoë and Phoebe tried to slow themselves down, giving Kallisto the opportunity to escape. Months passed, in which Zoë and Phoebe advanced as slowly as possible through endless forests, mostly involved in grieving silences or angry periods in which they practiced their fencing skills to make their anger evaporate before Artemis joined them again.

They tried everything in their power to slow themselves down but they were perfectly aware they had nowhere else to go, so they couldn't risk offending the hunting goddess. They continued moving and, since they were immortals and excellent hunters, and Kallisto was now a bear that left very obvious footprints all over her tracks, it only passed ten months before they caught her.

It was nightfall, one in which the clear, starry sky lightened the scene at that clearing in the forest perfectly. Zoë and Phoebe stood side by side, their bows aiming reluctantly at the bear and the cub bear hidden protectively behind its mother's legs.

Artemis materialized between her two hunters, gazing at the bears before her with disdain and carefully hidden pain. Then, she glanced at her followers. "Shoot them."

Zoë shook her head, desperate tears rolling down her eyes as she looked at the goddess pleadingly, her bow still aiming her friend and her child. "My lady, I beg of you-"

"I have been listening to Kallisto's prayers," Artemis said, her voice a whisper, "Which is why I ask this of you. Kallisto, tell her of your prayers."

Artemis snapped her fingers and Kallisto turned back into human, her face pale as tears rolled down her cheeks. She looked at Zoë and Phoebe with a small smile, her child shivering behind her legs. "I have missed you Zoë, Phoebe. Lady Artemis is right. I cannot continue this life, being hunt down by you, unable to rest. My son Arkas does not deserve this kind of life and I cannot give her one different, even if that means our death. I love you two so much and I forgive you. It is okay."

Zoë looked at her with wide eyes, tears rolling down her cheeks, anguish clutching at her throat the more she studied her friend. She took in her dishevelled, dirty hair, the bags under her eyes, and her shivers as she knelt down, hugging her son behind her back.

She remembered the laughing girl who would practice archery with her and Phoebe, the one who cheered whenever she managed to best Phoebe, cursing when she lost against the ginger. She remembered how carefree they used to be, their naivety clear as they thought life would be this happy for the rest of eternity.

She could not do this so she threw her bow to the ground and glared at Artemis. "Kill me with them, I care nothing about it. I will not kill my friends."

Phoebe threw her bow to the ground too and smiled at Kallisto before reaching and grabbing Zoë's hand in solidarity. The two then glared at their lady in defiance, preparing themselves for their end.

Surprisingly, the goddess of maidenhood smirked in response before snapping her fingers again. At once, Kallisto and Arkas disappeared up into the night, new stars appearing on the sky above them after a few minutes.

Zoë opened her mouth in shock, whispering as she looked up, "What have you done?"

Artemis was calm, a sufficient smile on her lips as she stared at her two hunters. "I wanted to test you, Zoë. I have been studying you, and I have noticed you have what it takes for the task I have pending for you. When you refused to kill your friend, even at the cost of your own death, you confirmed that you have the loyalty needed to do your new job."

Zoë looked at her lady with a frown, barely noticing the tears still rolling silently down her face. "What task."

"The task of taking over Kallisto's duties," Artemis replied, "As of now, you will be called Zoë Nightshade, lieutenant of the Hunters of Artemis."

That night, long after Artemis left them and Phoebe fell asleep, Zoë stood guarding their hiding spot, her eyes on the new constellation before her, which was shaped like a mother bear and her cub. When she managed to speak into the night, her words came out with clear with determination.

"I will honour your memory every day, Kallisto. I will use my position to defend all women unable to defend themselves. I will use my position to save all the women I can, in honour of you, the one I could not save. I will remember you every day until I die. I swear it on the River Styx."