LAST TIME

"Yes, I deduced that but what I mean is a break. A few days off from training and other stuff. A vacation, if you will."

#That is a wonderful idea!# Alexander exclaimed. #You should totally do it.#

"Umm…"

"Don't think of it. Do it. Take a few days' vacation and go somewhere. Miami is wonderful at this time of the year. Go there with your mother. Spend some time relaxing."

"But with all that is happening—"

"Please, Percy. Don't underestimate us. Your absence for a few days here isn't going to spell doom for Olympus. We are pretty capable." Athena said exasperatedly.

"Yes, I know that."

"Then go. Take a week's vacation. No training. No usage of powers unless it is for some emergency. Give your body and powers time to cool. To rest. It is necessary for you as it is for me."

"Then you come as well."

"I would love to but I have to finish this before the end of this month so Hephaestus can start integrating the program into the Automatons," Athena said remorsefully.

"Okay. I will go after the trials for the captured demigods take place. And if you need anything, just IM me."

"For sure."

"Now go to bed."

"Yes, mother," Athena said, rolling her eyes.


Ch.32 An Olympian War Council

THALIA POV

"Fuck this all to hell," I muttered as I pushed myself off the bed in Apollo's temple and shakily stood up on my feet after two whole days. That being said, I immediately regretted my actions as several parts of my body flared up with pain due to the sudden movement.

As I stumbled, I opened my palm, making my Ax fly from where it rested against the wall of the room. As soon as the handle smacked against my palm, I used it to stabilize myself.

The fragrance of ozone immediately soothed my senses as I breathed deeply, eyeing the minuscule tendrils of electricity flitting across the Ax's blades.

I swallowed the pain welling up in my body with a grimace as I took ragged breaths. A part of my mind told me that I should've stayed in bed but I told it to fuck off. I was no longer staying on that damn thing. I needed to walk and move around. Enough was enough.

Using my Ax as support, I hobbled toward the full-length mirror in the room and once again regretted it. I looked like shit. I had only been sponged by Nymphs since coming here. I wasn't allowed to shower or do anything else a normal civilized person should do. Some shit like the possibility of the wound on my stomach opening because of any strenuous activity which included stuff like bending down.

If I needed help, I had been graciously provided with a bell that would immediately summon a pair of Nymphs to my room.

I had thought the situation was awesome when I had heard of what it entailed. Laying in bed all day and being able to do anything I wanted, including watching T.V. without any restraint.

The novelty had quickly worn off in a few hours.

Now, I just wanted to fucking move off the bed.

So, here I was, trying to stand normally, without wobbling, in front of a full-length mirror, using my new Ax as a cane.

My eyes fell on the cause of this all. The bandaged wound on my abdomen, inflicted by the motherfucking daughter of a bitch, Aura.

Sometimes I really wished I was born to Poseidon. Why? Cause I would've been able to lie in a bathtub and heal in a few hours like Percy could. Had he been in my position, he would've already been walking around without a problem.

But I couldn't heal like that. Apollo and his assistants had healed me as much as they could within the limits of the ancient laws. But the rest, namely the deep wound, inflicted by a 'godly sword', would need to heal on its own. And even once it was healed, the scar would remain for the rest of my life… my immortal life.

'Bye-bye bikinis. Forever.'

Not that I had actually worn a bikini in my life but it did count for something, right?

A part of me wanted to rip those bandages off but my survival instinct said a firm no. The matter was settled. I wasn't ripping the bandages off.

I just slowly raised my hand to the smaller bandage on my forehead and pressed it slowly, wincing in pain as I did.

At least, it was now only a small bandage and my head was no longer wrapped in golden bandages.

But now, for the main part. I needed to get out of this room. But I couldn't go around Olympus wearing an olive green sports bra as my top. Not with all the lecherous gods who might be around.

I looked around the room for a shirt or something to wear. Thankfully, my eyes fell on the small silver duffle bag Zoe had brought me with the essentials.

I carefully hobbled toward the bag and picked it up. Inside, I found a simple silver t-shirt with the words, 'Hunters Extraordinaire' printed on it in bold black letters.

Sometimes, I really despised Artemis's obsession with silver. It was worse than Percy's obsession with blue. But then again, Artemis didn't eat silver-colored food. She just wore silver. And painted her house silver. And preferred her things in silver. And her huntresses in silver. That's all.

With a grimace, I sat down on the sofa, breathing heavily. The action did soothe my aching muscles a bit, relieving them of pressure.

A part of me considered just walking around the room for a bit but the rest of it demanded a change of scenery.

With a heave, I got off the sofa with my Ax's support and walked out of the door.

"Miss Thalia! You should be in bed! You are not allowed to go out." A Nymph said, running toward me. She was one of those who came to me whenever I rang the bell.

"No, I am just going to roam around."

"Miss, it is—"

"My decision is final," I said firmly, glowering at her, making her wilt back immediately. Unlike the rest of my body, my glare was still working perfectly.

Turning on my heel, I slowly limped out of Apollo's palace.

Sunlight assaulted my eyes along with the hustle and bustle of Olympus. As I looked around, it seemed that I had chosen the wrong time to venture out of my room.

The sun was high in the sky, signifying it was around noon. The heat, while not unbearable, wasn't pleasant either. And that was not to mention the scores of deities moving around.

All I wanted to do now was to be alone. Away from the crowd, away from people.

With another heave I pushed myself forward and started to walk down the road, keeping near the walls of the palaces to support myself.

Some people stared at me curiously before continuing with their business without a care in the world.

I continued to walk slowly across Olympus. I didn't know where I was going. I was just going. If I got lost, I decided that I would ask someone for directions back to Apollo's palace.

I only knew that behind me was the throne room of Olympus and to my right was the elevator that led down to the mortal world. Where Percy was right now, probably a few blocks away, living with his mom.

I continued to walk as the crowd began to thin and the wind began to pick up speed.

A few minutes later, I found myself at the edge of the eternal city of gods. Around me was a green field, filled with some trees and a few boulders of various shapes and sizes.

Though, the oddest thing was a big black machine of some sort, with a whirring contraption sticking out, pointed at the sky, emitting tendrils of electricity every few moments before they died out. The machine was placed only a few meters from the edge of the mountain.

The wind around the place ruffled my t-shirt and blew my hair out of my face.

I hobbled and slumped against a tree, sliding down the trunk to sit under its shade. Above me, blood-red berries of some sort hung low from the branches, just out of reach. I could probably stand and use my ax to bring quite a few bunches of berries down but decided against it.

I just wasn't hungry.

But I was tired. And frustrated. And itchy. Especially on my scalp.

The wound on my abdomen stung painfully in response, making me groan.

I dropped my ax to the ground beside me and slumped against the tree trunk, closed my eyes, and wished for the pain and the itching to go away. Even with the godly painkillers, it still wasn't all flowers and roses. Especially now that the dose had been drastically reduced now that the wounds had healed substantially and were no longer crippling.

The wind blowing against my skin began to feel good and was tinged with the slightest fragrance of ozone. It smelled like the air moments before a thunderstorm broke out.

"How are you, Thalia?" A voice called, making my eyes snap open.

My dad sat beside me, leaning against the same trunk that I was.

"Dad," I said hesitantly, wondering if I should call him Lord Zeus instead. Or sir. Or something else.

But the sparkle in his eyes assured me that it was the right answer.

"How are you feeling, child?" He asked again, making me hesitate.

"I am healing."

He merely nodded at my answer and looked away before speaking again. "You know, you were supposed to stay in your bed. You were given complete bed rest for a reason."

"I couldn't stay cooped up in that room. I needed a change of scenery." I said edgily.

"You sure did," He commented as he continued to gaze into nothingness.

I didn't know what else to say, so I kept my mouth shut for a moment before blurting, "So, what's up?"

My father chuckled lightly. "Nothing too interesting. Just war."

I flinched. Right. Stupid question.

"You see that device there?" he asked, gesturing to the contraception in front of us. "Those are aerial defense systems. Placed all around the edge of Olympus, equipped with cannons, machine guns, and a lightning emitter."

"Cool," I said.

"Certainly. Though, they are yet to be tested. No aerial monster attacks yet."

"That's good, right?" I asked.

"Maybe," He shrugged. "I would rather have a tested product on the front line than a completely new one when total war breaks out. But, it is the best first-line of defense that we have right now."

I just nodded. I didn't care much for tactics and stuff except for those few things that Chiron, Annabeth, Percy, and Artemis had managed to hammer into my head. I fought better alone.

"So, what do you think of this ax, daughter?" He asked out of the blue, picking the weapon up. The ax had become wreathed by tendrils of electricity as soon as my father had touched it, making me eye it wearily.

In the distance, the sound of thunder rumbling could be heard as winds around us began to blow a little faster than they had been before.

From thirty-three miles an hour, it had increased to thirty-seven miles an hour.

And I had no fucking idea how I knew that. I just knew.

"The Ax is cool. Thank you, dad." I replied, making him nod.

"It is not a gift but a reward, Thalia. A reward for defeating and slaying the Titaness, Aura."

"But why did you give it to me through Percy's hands?" I blurted.

Percy had talked with my father more times than I had. It was always been a bit of a sore point for me.

"I do not wish to test the fates more than I already have tested them. I broke the oath by conceiving you. The first breakage is always the most perilous even if I gave up godly food for two years and drank the water of the Styx to atone for my mistakes."

Wait, what?

"But, after that, I aided you to reach the camp by giving divine aid and not to mention, your shield and spear. It… it was what led to your… death all those years ago. And then, I broke the rules again and turned you into a tree to prevent your soul from going to Hades."

I remained silent, not wanting to talk about that phase of my life.

My father ran a hand through his beard.

"Nonetheless, what matters is now. As far as I am aware, the penalties should've been exacted by now. This should be a fresh start henceforth."

"Wait," I interrupted. "This was all… penalties for what you did? Including Aura driving a sword through my stomach?"

He just gave a nod.

"Wonderful," I said sarcastically as my wound stung once more. "How do you know there aren't any more penalties left?"

"Because, the gift I gave you, the second gift, your spear, broke. And then, you unlocked your true powers which you hadn't been able to reach until now."

"Excuse me?"

"I see Perseus hasn't told you yet. Then again, I am not sure if he himself understands the mechanics of what happened, beyond the single line from what Nemesis reasoned to him for holding him back from helping you."

"Can you stop speaking in riddles?" I asked irritatedly. This was making my head spin.

Zeus smiled.

"Have you ever wondered why your powers were so limited despite being my daughter? How could your friend, the son of Poseidon, summon stronger lightning bolts than you could?"

"He is Percy Jackson," I said simply. That was the reason the whole camp had been accustomed to. Same with the hunters.

Zeus chuckled.

"No, he can summon lightning bolts because he is Percy Jackson," My dad replied. "But they were stronger than yours, or accurately, yours were weaker because a part of your powers had been rendered inaccessible, by the mechanics of fate."

I frowned. "So… how powerful am I now?"

Zeus shrugged. "There is no way to measure power. Will you be as strong as your friend, Perseus? I doubt it. Will you be as strong as the best of my children throughout history? Yes. In fact, you might just be stronger than them."

"But I feel no difference."

"Of course, you do. Had your powers not been unlocked, you would still be lying in the bed, comatose. The stronger a god or a demigod, the faster they heal. Simple."

"So, like, I will be able to summon stronger bolts of lightning with more voltage and stuff?"

"Even more in number than you could before. First, you used to get tired within a couple of bolts. Now, you can do much more." He added. "Also, if you don't know, thunder and lightning aren't the only things I can control."

"What do you mean?" I implored.

"I am also the Lord of the sky and the winds. And, being my daughter, the powers should reflect in you as well."

"You mean I can control the air? And… do what with it?"

Zeus raised an eyebrow before keeping the Ax down and holding his palm out. A moment later, the air swirled violently around his palm, and a miniature tornado, six feet in height formed in the center of his palm with miniature dark clouds hovering overhead.

"Tornadoes," I breathed. "Like Percy can form hurricanes, I can form tornadoes."

"You underestimate the power we have over winds, Thalia. Broaden your mind to the possibilities of what you can do with the wind. How can you manipulate it? Your control over the winds is similar to what Jackson has over water. It is up to you to use it. Think of the possibilities. And once you do, practice your control over it." He said, mysteriously, a smile blooming over his face.

"Why can't you just tell me?"

"Some things are meant to be found by the wielder themselves. For now, that is all I can tell you. But know this. Even we gods do not know fully what we can do. Your friend, for instance, found a use for his father's earthshaker powers that even Poseidon hadn't. You are a great hero, Thalia. You have a great destiny ahead of you."

His electric eyes bore into my own, his tone carrying a firmness and a touch of pride I had never heard before.

"You might be overshadowed by your friend. But remember. You are as important as he is. He might be the child of the prophecy. But, someday, he will need a friend, a partner, an equal by his side. He will need a pillar of support. And that will be you, my child."

"I… do not love him in that way," I said, baffled at what my father was saying.

Zeus blinked for a moment before laughing uproariously. "Oh, daughter. Not all partnerships are held by romantic love. Some are held by complete trust, faith, and friendship. I wish for you and Perseus to forge the bond that Poseidon and I couldn't forge. Side by side, you both will do wonders. Because if he is the sword, you are the shield. And, both are equally important, even to the greatest of warriors and to forge the greatest of destinies."

With that, my father disappeared in the wind, leaving me alone before I could even say something.


PERCY POV

My new leather boots clicked on the marble tiles as I walked into the throne room of Olympus. Most of the gods were already in attendance, seated at their thrones. Their humongous forms, each about twenty to twenty-five feet in height loomed over me. Even standing, my height barely came above their knees.

Only Hestia was seated at the hearth, having the height of a normal, human eight-year-old girl, as she tended to the roaring fire, as tall as her.

The notable absences in the throne room though were of my Father, Ares, Aphrodite, and Hermes.

The rest of the gods were present, seated on their chairs, doing something. Zeus and Hera were conversing about something. Athena had a laptop on her lap and was rapidly typing something. Apollo was listening to music on his iPad. Hephaestus was making something with the array of parts assembled on an attached table to his throne. Artemis was kneeling next to Demeter's throne, as they were examining and talking about something on the tablet that Artemis held.

Oh, and Dionysus was snoring on his throne.

Suddenly, my shadow began to darken all of a sudden as I felt power gathering within it. Before I could even try to repel the force, the shadows leaped up, taking the form of a man, who had shadow traveled in front of me.

I did the obvious thing. I went for my sword and swung the flat of my blade at the newcomer.

My sword clanged against another pitch-black sword that appeared out of nowhere in the intruder's hand. A fraction of a second later, the intruder leaped away, putting some distance between us. But, I wasn't done as I fired a beam of sea-green energy at him.

A pitch black wall of shadows absorbed the beam of light and covered the intruder.

"Calm down, Perseus. It's me. Hades." Hades's voice rang from behind the wall of shadow, before it dispersed, revealing the Lord of the underworld standing there, wearing a pitch black tuxedo. He held a pitch black helmet in his left hand. The helm of darkness.

"You are going to get skewered one day for doing that, Uncle H. Artemis almost got you the last time," Apollo said from his throne.

"I would've if it hadn't been for his stupid helm," Artemis muttered, glaring at the helm of darkness as she rose to a standing position.

"Right…" Hades drawled. "No one has gotten me in more than four millennia. So, good luck trying."

"Hades, if you are quite done with your regular surprise entry and almost skewerment, please take a seat while we wait for others to arrive," Zeus said in a clipped tone.

"Oh, of course. Where's my throne?"

Zeus just waved his hand and a black, designless throne rose next to my father's seat.

"Gracias," Hades waved as he walked to his throne, growing in height and size on the way.

I was surprised by his presence but didn't voice my opinion.

Zeus, though, seemed annoyed over something as he raised his master bolt and thunder shook the sky, making me cover my ears.

Even Dionysus was startled awake by the sound as he almost fell off his throne.

#They better come fast.# Alexander muttered in my head. #Zeus doesn't appreciate tardiness.#

Suddenly pink smoke began to gather around Aphrodite's throne and a moment later, the goddess herself appeared seated on the throne, looking as ethereal as I had first seen her.

She met my gaze and winked at me, making me roll my eyes before I gagged on the perfume.

Suddenly, a bow twanged and a breeze blew away the perfume, leaving only pleasant hints of it in the air. I looked up and saw that Artemis was the one I had to thank for it, so I just gave her a two-fingered salute.

A flash of red and golden light simultaneously erupted in the throne room as Ares and Hermes appeared on their thrones, looking attentive.

We waited for one more minute, staring at each other in silence before Zeus growled. "Where's Poseidon?"

There was no response from the gods and Zeus turned to stare at me.

"What?" I asked incredulously.

"Where's your father, boy?"

"How am I supposed to know that? I am here for—"

"I know what you are here for," Zeus replied testily. "I am asking if you know where your father is or the reason for his tardiness."

"I am sorry, I have no idea. He might be busy with some work in Atlantis though." I guessed.

"The happenings of Olympus take precedence over what happens in the respective kingdom of gods."

"Oh for the love of— just IM him!" Athena interrupted us.

"Yes, that's all we have to do," Zeus said sarcastically. "Iris! Show us Poseidon in Atlantis."

Mist gathered above the hearth before a cool female voice rang out. "Lord Poseidon is currently busy and has ordered to not extend my domain over any part of Atlantis."

"Then I order you to do it as the king of Olympus," Zeus said steadily.

"Very well. Connecting. This might take a moment."

A moment later, the mist wavered dangerously as I felt an irrational bout of anger before it dispersed all of a sudden.

The mist shimmered and my father appeared in the IM, wearing a Greek chiton with sea-green armor underneath it. His eyes looked stormy and his trident was glowing in his hand.

"I am coming, brother. I heard your call. I have things to deal with in my kingdom, you know?"

"And you too are aware of the fact that the matters of Olympus take precedence over the matters of our respective kingdoms, aren't you?"

"Not in the times of war, Zeus. Oceanus has launched an attack on my borders with a dozen sea Drakons at once. I was just dispatching Troops when you called. So, if you will give me a few minutes, I will be there. Till then, you can begin with your introduction speech." Poseidon said before slashing his trident through the message, cutting it off.

Zeus grumbled under his breath before looking back at the council. "Very well,, we will start without him. So, as we all know, we have gathered here to decide what to do with the prisoners my daughter, Artemis, and her huntresses, along with the son of Poseidon have captured a few days ago. The prisoners in question are demigods who have joined the Crooked One against Olympus."

"Just behead them, I say! Or crush them to a pulp! A public execution will send a damn excellent message to the enemy!" Ares exclaimed, his voice brimming with excitement.

"Thank you, Ares, for the completely stupid suggestion," Athena cut in, her voice as dry as the desert air. "Pray tell us where you are going to conduct a public execution of all things?"

"Shut up, owl head. It is your job to figure those things out. Not mine." Ares waved her off, making Athena purse her lips.

"Thank you, both of you for— oh, you have finally joined us, Poseidon," Zeus said as my father appeared in a sea breeze, seated on his throne.

"I didn't miss anything, did I?" Poseidon asked, looking around the room.

"No," Zeus sighed before banging his master bolt on the floor. Suddenly, a gust of wind blew through the whole throne room before the humongous doors banged shut.

"Now, as I was saying, it would've been a normal, straight-up interrogation followed by an immediate execution like we used to do. But, someone has objected to doing so and several members of the council have supported him." Zeus declared, glaring at me. "So speak, Perseus Jackson. And this better be worth it."

"Thank you, Lord Zeus. So, my point is really simple. These demigods are simply misled by the false doctrines of the crooked one. They are your children whom the titan lord has bewitched to turn against you. We all know of his silver tongue and his abilities for deception. In such a case, it would be rather… unfair of us to execute them for just being misled by a force much greater than themselves."

Zeus narrowed his eyes. "My father had tried to persuade you too, into joining his side. You didn't fall for it. It was your choice to support Olympus. They made theirs. To go against Olympus. To go against their family. Surely, as the champion of Hestia, you realize that."

"Yes, I certainly do. But, as her champion, I seek to make families and not break them by executing demigods for a mistake not entirely their own?" I added as the goddess herself gave me a smile from the hearth. "And to begin with, you all haven't been model parents either. Don't give me that look, Olympians. You know what I am speaking about."

Many Olympians glared at me but I ignored the glares.

"And that aside, if we execute them, we would be no better than the Titans. Kronos ate you all because he didn't like the chance of someone overthrowing him. And you are executing demigods because they were misled by a master manipulator to stand against you. And instead of giving them a chance to rekindle, you are executing them."

"There is a difference between the execution of a potential enemy and a straight-up enemy, Perseus," Athena said. "The demigods in question were a part of the Titan army while the elder Olympians were newborns when they were eaten. So, there is certainly a difference."

"And there is a difference between demigods and straight-up gods, isn't there? The threat that a bunch of gods pose to a reign is much more than what a bunch of demigods pose, being quite negligible in comparison, to be honest."

Athena gave me an unimpressed look. "Says the demigod who has felled more Titans than half of this council combined."

"...touché," I replied. "But seriously—"

"Even if we consider your point, son of Poseidon, what do you suggest we should do with them? Let them go so that they can rejoin the titans against Olympus?" Zeus questioned.

"Of course not. Make them swear loyalty to Olympus in exchange for all the information they have on the titans and letting them live. Simple."

"Oaths aren't completely foolproof," Zeus said.

"We have a wisdom goddess amongst us. Let her make the wording of the oath. An oath that would be taken on the river Styx. The oath will hold their loyalty to Olympus."

"And if they refuse?" Hermes asked.

I took a deep breath before giving a defeated nod. "Execution."

The gods in the council began to mutter in the ascent of the idea while Zeus considered it.

"The idea is certainly sound," Demeter piped up. "If they swear the oath, well and good. If they don't, execute them and tell Hades to take their souls to the fields of punishments."

"Certainly, all the more work for me."

"Don't be a crybaby, Hades. If you can kidnap and torment my daughter—"

"Oh, not again—"

"Then you can certainly take these few souls!" Demeter completed, ignoring Hades, as she glared daggers at the Lord of the Underworld.

Even a braver person than Hades should've cowered at the glare Demeter was levying at him but Hades didn't even flinch, being too used to it.

"Now, if you both are quite done, let us get back to the topic at hand," Hera stated. "The fate of the demigods. We all have heard the points that the son of Poseidon has put forth. I think we should put it to vote."

"Quite right. All for Perseus's idea of the oaths?" Poseidon boomed as he raised his trident above his head. He was followed by Hermes who raised his caduceus and Apollo, who raised his golden bow. Artemis and Athena followed their lead by raising their bow and spear respectively. Demeter took a moment to consider before she too, raised her sickle as she saw Hera raise her Lotus staff.

Zeus gave Poseidon a brief glare before booming, "And all against?"

Dionysus and Ares raised their weapons in the air, followed by Hephaestus who raised his hammer.

Aphrodite remained seated and so did Zeus.

"Seven Olympians for, three against, and one, two including me abstaining," Zeus said, looking at Aphrodite. "The ones against, if you wish, may put forth your points for you being against the motion."

"Too wimpy. Execution will send a strong message, I am telling you," Ares grunted.

"Automatons are better than humans. Humans can betray."

Dionysus just shrugged. "Less brats for me to handle."

Zeus's eye twitched at the responses. "Alright, we shall go forward with the idea the Son of Poseidon has given us. Athena, wording the oath is your responsibility and so is the part to administer them. Take Aphrodite and Ares with you for intimidation and charm speak respectively."

"I do not need the hot-hea—"

"That was an order, not a request," Zeus declared. "Aphrodite and Ares are going to be there with you when the demigods take their oaths. If they refuse, Ares, you are allowed to behead them ONCE Athena gives consent."

Ares rubbed his hands in glee.

"Now, we are done with this, Hermes, please fetch Chiron from the camp so that we can continue with the next agenda of this meeting. You may leave now, Son of Poseidon."

"Father, wouldn't it be wise to let Percy stay?" Artemis asked, glancing at me just as Hermes disappeared in a flash of light. "He is the child of the prophecy, after all."

Zeus blinked for a moment before giving the most eloquent shrug I had ever seen. "I do not mind him staying. If he wishes to stay, he might sit beside his father's throne for the duration of the session as long as he doesn't share the details of the meeting outside this room or opens his mouth out of turn. If he doesn't wish to, Chiron is going to be here anyway to represent the camp."

#Stay. It would be terribly rude to go now. And we might get a piece of intel or two from this.# Alexander suggested.

"I would like to stay."

"Very well, go on."

I walked toward my father's throne just as a chair with a sea-green cushioned backrest and seat appeared out of nowhere next to his throne. Poseidon smiled warmly at me for a brief moment before looking at the doors of the Throne room.

I followed his gaze as well and saw Chiron galloping into the throne room in his full centaur form, followed by Hermes who went back to his seat in a blur of movement.

Chiron meanwhile trotted toward the center of the room before giving a short bow to Zeus. "Lord Zeus. You have called for me?"

Sometimes I really wondered why Chiron addressed the gods as Lords and Ladies. Zeus was one thing but he did it for every Olympian, including the younger ones. Even I, a demigod, didn't give that much respect to them every single time, except for the customary greetings. But then again, that was me. I wasn't as remotely respectful or diplomatic as Chiron was.

"I have indeed, Chiron," Zeus boomed. "The war council has been called and you, as we know, are the connection between us and the camp. And as such, you must be made aware of what the situation is so you can prepare our children accordingly."

"Of course, my lord."

"Very well. Give us an update about the camp and its happenings and most importantly, the needs of the camp."

Chiron nodded thoughtfully. "The camp, as of right now, as you might know, has only a handful of demigods, most of whom are one of your children. A total of eighteen demigods to be precise. The ones who are notably busy are the children of Athena and Hephaestus who are working daily to manufacture weapons, especially arrows and modern machinery, which they are trying to improve."

Athena's sharp gray eyes gained a bright, almost silvery sheen to them while Hephaestus sat up straighter on his throne.

"The children of Ares and Apollo have started training the rest of the campers in close combat and archery respectively. Perseus though is the one who oversees sword fighting entirely by himself and takes a long training session every time he is at the camp."

"Is there anything you need to aid these activities, Chiron?"

"Indeed. Raw Celestial Bronze has been requested by the Hephaestus and Athena cabins in order to make things and work on projects. Along with materials to make Greek fire and explosives. And, funds to purchase things from the mortal world including, but not limited to cars and building materials."

"Cars? Why do they need cars?" Apollo piped up from his seat.

"Lord Apollo, the need for cars is because, at this moment, camp half-blood only has two vans with the capacity to carry twelve people each. Which is not enough. And, on top of that, the Athena cabin has taken inspiration from Percy's car and is insistent on making a few similar prototypes with weapons so that they can be sent on quests."

I frowned. I hadn't heard of this. Well, I had heard Malcolm and the Stolls moaning about how cool my car was and they wanted one, but I didn't know that they were this serious. Especially not with the Stolls who were moaning about it.

"Quests?" Apollo asked again. "As far as I know, my oracle is yet to issue any quest since the last one to rescue Artemis a few months ago."

"Yes. But, for instance, the Demeter cabin, or more accurately, Katie Gardener wishes to get a few specific varieties of plants that she says will help in defense of the camp when controlled by herself and her siblings. She knows where they are found and assures me that they won't be difficult to get. Silena, the head of Aphrodite cabin, has asked for a variety of perfume and fragrances that repels monsters."

"Women perfumes, especially of Givenchy" Aphrodite breathed. "Monsters abhor that smell."

"What?" Artemis asked. "How…?"

"It is true. Seriously" Athena confirmed, seeing Artemis's skeptical look. "The fragrance of the perfume makes their noses itch in the wrong way and their senses begin to scream danger or go haywire… which, I am not sure of."

"So, you need funds, both mortal and godly along with raw Celestial Bronze?" Zeus asked.

"Yes. And the permission to authorize small level quests freely if the oracle doesn't put forth one." Chiron replied, making Zeus pause.

"Alright. It will be arranged. You will receive the funds shortly along with the raw celestial bronze."

I raised my hand and cleared my throat loudly, making Zeus look at me.

"Yes?"

"Sir, no offense but the gods can directly arrange a few things like the cars for instance."

"That would mean one of us having to go and buy the required amount of cars and transport them to the camp. And that will be a waste of time for us."

"That is not what I meant. Lord Hephaestus has quite an impressive collection of cars and vehicles, most of which are gathering dust in his garage. So, if he permits, some of them can be transported straight to camp half blood."

"Hephaestus?" Zeus asked.

"I do not mind," The forge god grunted. "I have tens of thousands of those things, most of which I will eventually dismantle to get the parts and metal I need. So, giving a few dozen away won't make a difference to me. I'd rather see my creations being put to good use by my children."

"Excellent. Set up a garage in the camp with those vehicles, Hephaestus. And, not only cars. Put bikes and boats as well if you can." Zeus ordered.

The forge god stroked his beard which emitted sparks of fire, before nodding in consent. "Done. It will be placed in the camp by the end of the week once Chiron or the demigod select the ones they want."

"In addition, I will ask my son, Triton, to bless the boats for better durability, speed, and quality." Poseidon boomed from beside me.

Artemis suddenly cleared her throat making all of us stare at her.

"Can I… also get some of those for my hunters?" She asked in an uncharacteristically shy tone.

Hephaestus grunted in affirmation, making her beam. Her smile seemed to light up the whole throne room in silvery light.

"Well," Zeus drawled. "Now, that is solved, as I was saying, the rest will be arranged for the camp as soon as possible. I will personally make sure of it. Now, pertaining to this matter, besides the cars, from henceforth, all materials the huntresses will need, will be supplied from camp half blood instead of Olympus directly."

Artemis's head snapped toward her father with an incredulous look. "But, fath—"

"No buts, Artemis. And I might add, over the duration of this summer, and all summers henceforth, the hunt will operate from the camp for those two months. All hunt missions can be sent off from there."

Artemis was on her feet in an instant. "You cannot do that! My huntresses hate being there! The cam—"

Thunder boomed in the sky, silencing her.

"No buts, Artemis," Zeus reiterated. "And think of it this way. You can recruit more huntresses in the two months every year."

Artemis huffed and sat back on her throne in response.

"Well, now we are done with this segment, let us start with what we have to say. I shall go first." Zeus declared, making many Olympians roll their eyes. "My domain has seen a spike in rebellious wind spirits and a variety of monsters with the capacity to fly. Symphian birds, Gryphons, and such. Poseidon?"

"War," He replied grimly. "Oceanus has banded with several sea deities to attack Atlantis in a bid to gain back the control of the seas. I am sorry, but my aid to Olympus is going to be limited to my son, Percy as of this moment. I cannot allow the seas to be overrun in the best interests of all— Atlantis, Olympus, and the whole world combined."

Zeus nodded grimly before looking at Hades, who was sitting on his throne, watching the proceedings silently so far. "Hades? What is the situation of your realm?"

"To put it simply, had it not been for me, the upper world would've been overrun by monsters from the depths of Tartarus. I have stationed a considerable chunk of my Army at and around all the known entrances to Tartarus within the underworld. And, not to mention that a few weeks ago, I faced off Iapetus myself."

Everyone in the room perked up at that. Hephaestus had stopped fiddling with the device in his hand. Athena's pen paused in mid-stroke. Apollo took off his headphones and leaned forward. Even Dionysus looked alert.

"Iapetus?" Zeus breathed sharply. "What happened?"

"He crawled out of Tartarus. But, as he just returned to the surface, I felt the spike of power through my domain and immediately knew what was happening. I teleported as close as I could to the entrance and hurried to the source of it. There, I found him, looking like a deer caught in the headlights."

"Hades," Zeus growled warningly, not appreciating the humor.

"I confronted him. Even his stint in Tartarus hasn't reduced his ability to wield the spear, I must say. He is as sharp as ever, as quick as ever. But, not as powerful. After a few minutes of heavy fighting, I managed to push him back into the pit with a powerful shadow blast. But, his form is still intact. I merely delayed his return. Next time, he won't take the same path."

"How good was he?" Apollo asked, leaning forward. "No offense but you all never talk about the Titans and their powers even despite defeating them."

All the elder gods looked grim before Zeus finally spoke again after a heavy sigh. "The best of them, namely, my father, Iapetus, Hyperion, Krios, and Coeus were a force to reckon with. And that is not to mention the younger generations. Atlas, Pallas, Perses, and Metis. Metis sided with us in the last war. Perses and Palas were neutral."

"And what of the rest?" Dionysus asked.

"Among the names I mentioned, if it came down to pure combat and power, Krios and Coeus are the only ones that I can confidently say that you all will win against. Krios because his powers aren't based on combat and the same with Coeus, who was a strategist more than a fighter. The rest… were insanely powerful and skilled."

"That does nothing to help, father," Athena said dryly.

"Iapetus would defeat you in a straight-up spear combat unless you fight extremely cautiously," Zeus growled testily as thunder boomed in the sky, making Athena recoil a bit.

"That's not possible," I muttered, making Zeus turn to me.

"Iapetus, quite literally, was the inventor of the spear fighting we know today, Perseus Jackson. He was the one who taught Atlas. And you know the skills of the General yourself. Even at his weakest, it took both you and Artemis your full powers to defeat him if I am not wrong."

I shut my mouth immediately, but Zeus was not done.

"Athena, while undeniably one of the greatest spear wielders of the universe, wins not by sheer skill but the power of her mind and brilliance. She analyzes, she waits for the right opportunity and then strikes. Each of her moves is calculated to the extreme. If she faces Iapetus, he won't give her the time to do that. He is lightning fast. He is capable of causing sonic shockwaves by just the movement of his spear, that too in his mortal form. So believe me when I say, he is the best of the best with a spear."

Zeus took long, deep breaths.

"He was nicknamed the Piercer for a reason. It was because his spear skewers his enemies before they even see it coming. See, I am not saying that Athena cannot defeat him. She cannot defeat him by sheer spear-wielding skills. It would require her fullest attention to do so."

I glanced at Athena, who was looking stonily at her father, clutching the armrests of her throne tightly, her knuckles white.

#It is a perfect assessment if a teensy weensy bit exaggerated. Athena might not be as fast as Iapetus but she ain't slow either. And where she lacks speed against Iapetus, she makes up with intellect. I would say that they would be equals overall and the battle would be one that I would pay money to watch.#

'Can you elaborate? Zeus said that Iapetus is more skilled than Athena Which I do not think is possible. Athena knows every move and has them down to perfection. I cannot imagine someone being better than her.'

#You could say that Iapetus is Athena, spear-wielding at 1.25X speed.#

'He is insanely fast,' I noted. Even on a good day, I could barely defeat Athena in pure combat when she used her spear. And this was when she was fighting me in a white chiton with nothing but a celestial bronze spear off the racks in her hand.

No Aegis. No Armor. No godly spear. Just pure skill.

I shuddered to think how good Iapetus would be if he was faster than Athena.

'If what you say is true, why is Zeus exaggerating?'

#To hammer in a message into all gods, especially the younger generation like Apollo and Hermes. Gods too get cocky, Percy. He needs to hammer things into them. Just see now. When you visit Athena for your next spar session, see her fight. You are going to get your ass handed to you on a silver platter.#

I just groaned.


And… DONE! Hope you all enjoyed the chapter.

A huge thanks to Lupore, Wind, and I_amaSWITCHbot for betaing the chapter

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