In an Ocean of Stars
The Last Centurion 1
After the Giant War Percy thought that he could finally get a quiet life, but it all came crashing down when Zeus went to war against Poseidon, forcing Percy to go into hiding. After countless skirmishes, the Council has made a tough decision and forced Percy into a marriage with Artemis in hopes of stopping the godly war. Also, deep down in a dark pit, a Primordial stirs...
(Thanks to TooManyIdeasTooLittleTime for helping me with the summary)
Reuploaded 1 Jan 2023
Don't expect Artemis to fall in love with Percy immediately, this is going to happen slowly, I want to keep it as realistic as possible and explore how both of them slowly learn new things and deal with their unexpected engagement, they will have to learn how to care for each other.
Fully expect Diana (Artemis's roman form) to pop up in the story at some point, I want to explore both sides of the goddess's personality in-depth but I want to do that without overdoing it.
Percy is going to be powerful and skilled but not unrealistically powerful, at some point: far down the story, he would eventually become an Olympian god.
This is NOT a guardian of the hunt story.
NON-CLICHÉ GUARANTEED (No chaos, no guardian, no wings, no torture at the hands of the hunters, no champion of a billion gods, etc.)
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Percy Jackson and related stories.
Chapter One: Wrath of Olympus
Percy looked up at the sky disdainfully and for the millionth time that week, he found himself wondering just how long he was going to survive.
Dark and sweeping clouds shrouded the heavens in an inky blanket of gloom, denying even a single ray of sunlight from passing through and providing some solace to the humans who so desperately yearned for the warm embrace of the sun.
Much like most other people, Percy did not recollect the last time he had felt the wonderful sensation of the sun against his skin.
Over the past couple of years, Earth had witnessed some of the worst weather in several centuries, massive earthquakes had leveled entire cities and catastrophic events like hurricanes and tsunamis had become more and more common, these disasters often ended up claiming thousands of innocent lives as they raged across cities destroying anything and everything that dared stand in their way... In the last three months alone, there had been two major tsunamis in the Pacific Ocean and if that wasn't bad enough already, one-fifth of the ozone layer had mysteriously depleted due to 'unknown reasons'.
The mortals had chalked up all of those catastrophes to global warming, but being a demigod, Percy knew better: The two sole reasons behind this apocalyptic situation were none other than his own father and his uncle— The God of Seas, Earthquakes, Storms, and The God of Sky, Lighting, and Thunder respectively.
Poseidon and Zeus had always been known for their bitter rivalry, but it had recently escalated to unprecedented levels when Zeus attempted to have his brother voted off the Olympian council. In the end, however, his plan had failed rather spectacularly when Poseidon was able to retain his seat by turning the rest of the Olympians against their king... But ultimately this resulted in the worst clash between the two brothers till date when Zeus challenged the God of the seas to a duel.
The clash between Poseidon and Zeus was one of epic proportions. The gods fought fiercely, their weapons clashing in the air as they tried to gain the upper hand. The earth shook beneath their feet, and the sky was filled with lightning as Zeus called upon the power of his domain. But Poseidon was no pushover, using his mastery over the oceans to unleash massive waves and whirlpools in an attempt to overwhelm his brother.
For five long months, the battle raged on, with no end in sight. The other Olympians watched in awe; their hearts filled with fear at the thought of what would happen if one of the brothers emerged victorious. But in the end, neither god was able to claim victory, both gods were forced to retreat when it became clear that they were equally matched and no one could gain the upper hand.
Instead of accepting the draw with dignity, however, Zeus was consumed by a burning rage. His humiliation at being unable to defeat his brother was too much to bear, and he declared an all-out war against Poseidon. This included attacks on all sea creatures, every port city, and, of course, Poseidon's children. Percy, as the only living mortal child of Poseidon, found himself caught in the crosshairs of this ancient feud. The days that followed were some of the darkest and most dangerous he had ever faced. The fate of the world hung in balance as the two brothers engaged in a battle that would shake the foundations of the earth itself.
Fortunately, this time the other Olympians wisely chose to stay out of the conflict and instead focused on minimizing the damage and saving the world from the combined rage of the two elder gods. However, their efforts were largely in vain, as the brothers were unable to see reason and the devastation continued unabated.
Percy, as Poseidon's most prized son, bore the brunt of Zeus's wrath during these difficult years. He lost count of the number of times he almost got struck by lightning, and dark, billowing clouds seemed to follow him wherever he went. Every time he was out in the open, he was pelted with massive hailstones that seemed to rain down on him with a vengeance. It was as if the sky itself had turned against him, the heavens determined to claim his life to appease the unquenchable blood lust of its master. Despite the Olympians' efforts, it seemed that there would be no end to this cycle of violence.
However, despite the severity of the danger the sky presented, none of this had been Zeus's worst blow. No, Zeus's worst attack on Percy came when Athena forced Annabeth to break up with him on Zeus's orders. This blow completely shattered Percy's heart as his love was brutally taken from him. Despite how much it hurt to be away from her, the last time he saw Annabeth, he made her swear on the Styx to move on with her life and not wait for him any longer. He did this because he feared that the king of gods could try to hurt him by hurting the woman he loved.
As the savior of the world, Percy had gained tremendous respect from the divine world, and Zeus was already pushing the limits by targeting him with lightning bolts. However, in the eyes of most gods, Annabeth was not nearly as valuable as Percy, so there was nothing stopping Zeus from going all out and trying to kill her. This forced Percy to make the hardest decision of his life - he had to sacrifice their relationship to ensure her safety.
This was how Percy, the hero of Olympus, found himself sitting on the small terrace of his humble two-bedroom flat in Hawaii - the safest place for a son of Poseidon in the entire country. Surrounded by expansive seas, which fell under his father's domain, Hawaii was the only place where Percy could step outside his house and walk on dry land without fear of being struck by hailstones the size of footballs.
Percy sighed in disappointment as he looked at the empty beaches across from his apartment complex, which had once been teeming with tourists but were now reduced to barren wastelands. Gone were the days when people could roam freely without a care in the world. In this new world, everyone was shuttered behind their doors, afraid of when the next disaster might strike without warning.
Olympus, Throne Room.
The gods of Olympus were assembled in their throne room, looking down on the suffering planet below. Most of the gods were in attendance, but there were two notable absences: Zeus and Poseidon, who were too busy fighting each other to attend the conferences on Olympus.
However, on this particular day, their absence turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it gave the other gods the opportunity to have a serious discussion about how to bring the two brothers back to their senses.
"This madness has gone on for far too long! They need to be stopped before they destroy the entire world in this pointless quest to feed their overinflated egos!" Demeter, usually soft-spoken and amiable, erupted in outrage as another city fell into the grip of famine.
Demeter had every right to be angry; the clashes between her brothers had destroyed most of the harvest around the globe, and the constant disasters had caused terrible famines in many parts of the world, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths. Demeter had tried her best to help the mortals and support their survival in any way she could, but when the seas and sky themselves turned against her efforts, there was little she could do other than stand by and watch in sorrow as all her hard work was undone by the frivolous vanity of her brothers.
Hera, who had been sitting next to Demeter, nodded gravely as she listened to her sister's words. "You are right, sister. I have tried my best to calm Zeus's rage and make him see reason, but he refuses to yield. He is determined to exact revenge on Poseidon, and no matter how hard I try, he won't listen to my pleas."
Hermes, who had been sitting on his plush throne comfortably, suddenly peered around nervously before leaning in and whispering, " The last time I visited Atlantis, they were preparing for an even larger-scale war. I saw hordes of cyclopes reinforcing the city and forging weapons capable of wiping out entire continents. The air was thick with the smell of molten metal and sweat as they worked around the clock to prepare for war. It was a terrifying sight, and I was treated with distrust and suspicion as the son of Zeus." The god said, shivering at the thought of the cold reception he had received; the only reason he had even survived the visit was that his status as the messenger of deities gave him diplomatic immunity in these circumstances.
"Zeus is doing the same thing," Hera remarked gravely. "He is amassing an army of monsters, minor gods, and creatures, all bent on destroying Poseidon and his followers. Even the demigods are choosing sides. The tension in the air is palpable, and it's only a matter of time before the two brothers clash again in a final, devastating confrontation. The worst part is, I don't know if the world would be able to survive this.
"At this rate, there won't be anything left of civilization in a few decades," Athena, the goddess of wisdom, added gravely. "The humans are struggling to survive as it is, with famine and natural disasters plaguing their lands. If this war continues, they won't be able to sustain themselves for much longer. Their countries will descend into anarchy, and they will start fighting amongst themselves until all of humankind is consumed in its own flames. If we don't act immediately, the destruction of the planet is imminent."
"So, are we all in agreement then? That it's time we took this situation into our own hands?" Hades asked for confirmation. He and Hestia had recently been reinstated to the council and had immediately taken a proactive role in trying to save the world from their brothers.'
Hestia, the wise goddess of the hearth, and the eldest of the gods nodded in agreement. "Yes. If they refuse to stop acting like children, then it is up to us to take control and find a solution. We cannot stand by and watch as they destroy everything we hold dear."
"But what are we going to do? How do we stop them from fighting?" Apollo asked, feeling frustrated and uncertain. It seemed unlikely that anything short of sending one of the brothers to Tartarus would improve the situation now.
Hera chose this moment to speak up again, giving Apollo a crooked smile. "Don't worry about that, Apollo. I have an idea. Just gather the council tomorrow and side with me when I call for a vote."
Apollo quivered internally at the expression he saw on the Queen's face, Hera could be ruthlessly cunning when she wanted to, and Apollo knew that better than most people, he had had the misfortune of experiencing her wrath for being Zeus's son from another woman and he could say with certainty that he wasn't looking forward to whatever malevolent scheme she had cooked up this time.
"Vote on what?" Hermes voiced everyone's unasked question; he too knew that the Queen of the gods did not shy away from being exceptionally cruel if the need arose.
"You will see soon enough..." Hera smiled mysteriously which only made the gods present there feel that much more agitated about her plan.
That evening, every Olympian god except Zeus, Poseidon, Apollo, and the two maiden daughters of Zeus received a letter written by Hera herself. These letters were meant to bring the rest of the gods into her plan to save the planet.
The gods who were left out were excluded for a good reason. Hera had concluded that it was almost guaranteed that they would never side with her plan, so she decided to keep them in the dark and only reveal her plan at the last moment to minimize the chances of any mishaps. While Hera had no reservations about carrying out her plan, the rest of the Olympians did feel guilty about going through with it, but in the end, they understood that it was necessary to save the world and agreed to it anyway.
It was clear to everyone that Hera wanted to punish her husband and her brother, and she wanted to do it in a way that would leave a lasting impression. The next day, her plan was put into action when she called an emergency gathering that all fourteen Olympians were obliged to attend.
Zeus and Poseidon appeared at the same time, their eyes immediately locked onto each other as they began to glare and snap insults. The tension in the throne room was palpable as the other Olympians watched with bated breath, knowing that at any moment, the two brothers could erupt into violence.
"That's enough!" Hera roared, her voice shattering the tension as Zeus and Poseidon jumped back in surprise.
Zeus was about to speak when Hestia joined Hera, her eyes narrowed in anger as she scowled at her younger siblings. "NOT A WORD FROM EITHER OF YOU!" she snapped, her voice dripping with disdain.
Hestia rarely raised her voice, but when she did, everyone listened. A pillar of searing hot flame engulfed her form. Within seconds, the 8-year-old goddess transformed into a 30-year-old woman, looking down at them sternly.
"Now sit silently and listen to what our sister has to say," she commanded, and even Zeus and Poseidon couldn't help but shrink back under her intense gaze. The sky god had never seen Hestia this angry before, and to be honest, it was a little intimidating.
But despite his fear, Zeus couldn't help feeling a sense of satisfaction as he saw his brother fidget nervously under their sister's glare. It was clear that Hestia was not messing around, and the brothers knew that they had no choice but to listen to what she had to say.
The throne room fell into silence as Hera continued to speak. "For two long years, the world has suffered under the wrath of the gods. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have died, and children have been orphaned. For two years, we have failed as rulers. We, as Olympians, are supposed to be responsible for the well-being of the world, but as we all know, due to the actions of two members of this council, all of humankind is now facing the threat of extinction. This is unacceptable. When we named ourselves as the new rulers of this world, we did so with a vision: a vision to be benevolent rulers, to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving. But with great sorrow, I must admit that over the past few millennia, we seem to have discarded those noble visions. Our inability to settle this pointless feud is a testament to our great and irrefutable failure."
"But I say that it's time we stopped. It's time we remembered who we are and what our obligation to the world is. This feud has to end, and if the parties concerned cannot decide for themselves, then we, as a council, must do it for them. This is why today I propose that we pass a peace treaty and finally bring this madness to an end. I hope everyone here appreciates the severity of this situation. Their crimes against humanity cannot go unpunished. And I believe that the terms of the agreement that I am about to propose would satisfy both requirements rather effectively."
The rest of the council displayed their support by applauding and nodding in approval, but the two gods in question did not look amused. "If you think that I am honoring any peace treaty that you cook up in that scheming head of yours, then you have the wrong idea, woman!" Zeus thundered in anger. "How dare you speak against your king?!
Despite Zeus' furious outburst, Hera remained unmoved, a sly smirk playing across her lips as she retorted, "I wouldn't be so sure about that, dear."
"Well, I am not going to accept any treaty either! Your suggestions are preposterous Hera!" Poseidon rebuked in anger, he was not allowing himself to be pushed around by anyone, especially his least favorite sister.
But Hera paid no heed to their objections, instead turning her attention back to the council as she prepared to drop the bombshell that would be her masterstroke. Drawing a deep breath, she declared, "Olympians, today I propose that one of my husband's Olympian daughters marry the most treasured son of Poseidon. This is the most effective way to ensure that peace between our two sides endures. Additionally, what better way to punish them for their grave offenses than to have them witness their beloved children suffer the consequences of their actions? This will motivate them to think twice before claiming the lives of millions of innocent people in their petty sibling rivalry."
The proposal was met with a chorus of outrage from Zeus, Poseidon, Athena, and Artemis, each of them erupting with a fierce "WHAT?!" Artemis, her fury barely contained, looked as if she might launch herself at Hera at any moment.
The goddess of marriage responded gravely and answered in a deeply sympathetic voice, "This is the only way I see of restoring peace; I am afraid that if we do not act now then the world will suffer appalling consequences."
The room fell silent as the gods took in the gravity of Hera's proposal. Zeus and Poseidon were both seething with anger, their pride bruised by the suggestion that their children should be used as pawns in their own personal feud.
Athena and Artemis were both outraged at the thought of being forced into a marriage for the sake of peace, and the rest of the gods seemed uncertain about what to do.
"Absolutely not," Artemis exclaimed, her fury palpable. "I refuse to marry anyone, do you hear me? This is unacceptable, Hera. I can't believe you would even suggest such a thing." The goddess of the hunt was seething with anger, and for a moment, she considered drawing her bow and ending the queen of the gods right then and there. But she managed to hold back her murderous urges, knowing that such an act would only bring more chaos and destruction."
"I agree," Athena added, her voice shaking with rage. "I will not be forced into a marriage against my will. This is outrageous and I won't stand for it." The goddess of wisdom and war clenched her fists, ready to fight for her freedom and independence. The tension in the room was palpable, as the two powerful goddesses stood their ground against the unreasonable demands of Hera.
"Enough!" Zeus bellowed; his fists clenched in fury. "I will not allow my daughters to be sullied by the offspring of that lowlife scum from the sea. This is an affront to everything I stand for, and I won't stand for it. I'll tear down the very foundations of the earth before I see my daughter marry a son of Poseidon."
"I will not allow this either," Poseidon growled, his eyes narrowed in anger. "I won't have any of my sons tainted by association with his daughters. This is an outrage and I won't tolerate it. I'll unleash the full power of the oceans before I let them come anywhere near my sons." The god of the sea tightened his grip on his trident, ready to defend his family and their honor. The tension in the room was electric, as the two powerful gods prepared to go to war to protect their loved ones.
"SILENCE!" Hestia ordered, "This is the Olympian council and YOU WILL RESPECT ITS AUTHORITY!" A surge of power soared out of the goddess and pinned every god back into their thrones, "This matter shall be put on a vote, and NO ONE, I repeat NO ONE will question the council's resolution!" She ordered and her sudden anger sent the two brothers cowering under Hestia's glare, their tempers momentarily silenced.
The truth was, Hestia, detested the plan being proposed. She would have scrapped it immediately if given the chance. But she knew that it was not up to her. Hestia had a pretty good idea of how the vote would go, and the best she could do was try to ensure that Hera's plan didn't make things worse. There was also the fact that this was necessary. If her brothers couldn't learn to respect the consequences of their actions, then perhaps this was the only way to teach them.
"Please, Aunt Hestia," Artemis begged, tears threatening to burst out of her eyes. "I can't marry a man. I can't do it. I won't stand for this. Please, don't make me do this." Artemis's whole life had been centered on the principle of being away from men, and the thought of being forced to marry one was unbearable to her.
Hestia looked at her distressed niece with a heavy heart. "I'm so sorry, Artemis," she said softly. "I wish there was another way, but I'm afraid there isn't. I've seen the future, and if we don't take this action now, it will mean the end of the world. I know it's hard to understand, but sometimes we have to do things we don't want to in order to ensure peace. I hope that one day you can find it in your heart to forgive me."
"No..." Athena whispered a weak protest, but her plea went unheard, just like her sister's had. The two goddesses were forced to watch as the council voted for the treaty, their hearts heavy with grief and disappointment.
Finally, Hera spoke up again, her voice calm and measured as she addressed the council. "I understand that this proposal may seem harsh, but I believe it is the best solution we have. If we do not take drastic action now, the world will suffer even more at the hands of these gods. I propose that we put it to a vote. All in favor of the peace treaty, please raise your hand."
"I don't think this is a good idea Hera," Apollo spoke up, trying to be the voice of reason in the chaos that had erupted. "Forcing them to marry against their will is not a solution, it's just creating more problems. You should find a different way to end this feud."
"I agree with Apollo," Demeter added, "This is wrong… It is shameful to impose our will on them. But at the same time, I do see that there is no other way, I can feel the life draining out of this Earth… It has to stop." With this, the goddess of harvest slowly raised her hand in support.
"I understand your concerns, but I assure you that this is the only way," Hera promised, her voice laced with determination. "We have tried everything else, and nothing has worked. This is the only solution that will truly guarantee peace between Zeus and Poseidon. Trust me, I have thought this through. Their children are the only things they care more about than their egos…"
The council fell into a tense silence as they all weighed their options. It was clear that they were at a crossroads and that whatever decision they made would have significant consequences. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, Hades spoke up.
"I agree with Hera," he said firmly. "This may not be the ideal solution, but it is the only one that will truly bring an end to this conflict. I vote in favor of the peace treaty."
One by one, the other gods followed suit, each offering their support for the plan. In the end, eight hands had risen in support, and the peace treaty was officially passed.
Eight deities supported the motion: Hera, Hestia, Demeter, Hades, Hermes, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Ares, and surprisingly even Dionysus.
Zeus looked at his sons with betrayal in his eyes but the god of war just shook his head and answered, "Sorry father, but this is no war... this is just madness." Zeus's gaze shifted to Dionysus who shrugged and said, "You are destroying my grape fields."
In the end, the only people who voted against the proposal were Zeus, Poseidon, Apollo, and of course, the two maiden goddesses the treaty affected the most.
Artemis and Athena looked at each other with sad eyes, both understanding the weight of the decision that had been imposed upon them.
The three other deities who supported them looked in horror as the vote was firmly placed against their favor, they had lost, and they had lost spectacularly, there was no going against this decision now, it had been set in stone.
Hera smiled brightly and silently celebrating her success she declared: "The vote has passed... Aphrodite, I believe you have a wedding to prepare."
The goddess of love nodded, her cheeks pink with excitement as she excitedly replied, "Yes, of course! I can't wait to start planning this beautiful union! It will be the most lavish and elegant wedding the world has ever seen!"
"Do me a favor and remain silent Aphrodite, or I promise you will regret crossing me…" Artemis warned, her voice trembling with fury. She looked ready to launch at the love goddess and end her life.
"Calm down, sister," Apollo said, trying to restrain his angry sibling, "Let me talk to them," he was not just going to stand there and let his sister be forced to marry someone against her wishes.
The sun god looked at the gods and tried to reason with them, "Obviously this cannot be my sister; as much as I hate to say this, at least Athena falls in love with males... The only thing holding her back is her oath, but my sister... she hates men and the entire world knows that, you cannot force her to do something that goes against her very nature, I don't care what the council decides I will not let you do this."
Demeter shook her head at his outburst and looking at Zeus she said, "It has to be the father's decision Apollo... he must be the one to make the choice."
Said God slammed his fist in fury and a loud thunderclap went off above them, "I am not making them marry anyone!" He roared.
But Hera was having none of that as she leveled her husband under a withering glare and in an icy tone she said, "The council has voted Husband, even the King isn't above the law."
"Well fine then! If you are so hell-bent on this decision then it would be my daughter Thalia who marries his son! Leave Artemis and Athena out of this Hera! They are sworn maidens! You can't do this to them." he cried.
Hera shook her head and said, "I'm sorry, Zeus, but you brought this upon yourself. You can't go around destroying half the world and expect no consequences. You need to be taught a lesson for your sins. That's why it has to be one of your favorite daughters – so that you truly suffer. Maybe then you'll understand the pain those poor humans go through when you and Poseidon decide their lives are insignificant compared to your own egos."
While it was true that Hera was internally gleeful on getting the chance of punishing both her husband and the results of his infidelity, she did care about the world too, she genuinely wanted to do some good and the fact that she would be praised for saving the world was just an added bonus.
The mighty Zeus slumped on his throne and sighed in defeat as he finally admitted that there was nothing he could do, the council had voted.
"But this isn't fair!" Poseidon protested; his outrage clear in his voice. "You can't expect me to force Triton to marry this man's daughter against my wishes." Everyone knew that the sea god loved his children more than anything, and he would do whatever it took to protect them.
Hera huffed in annoyance and said, "Oh, please. As if Triton would ever turn down the chance to marry either of them. And who said anything about Triton being the one to marry his daughter, anyway? Who are you trying to deceive, Poseidon? Everyone knows who your real favorite son is."
Poseidon's rage boiled over, his trident shaking in his hand as he slammed it against the floor of the hall. "You. Will. Leave. Percy. out of this!" he bellowed, his voice echoing through the palace. The very ground seemed to tremble with the force of his anger, a testament to the depth of his fury.
But Hera merely smirked in reply, ignoring the sea god's threats. She knew she had already won, and there was nothing either Zeus or Poseidon could do to change the situation. She had played her cards perfectly and now she could sit back and watch the rest of the show unfold.
The two daughters of Zeus looked at their father imploringly, realizing that their fates were now in his hands. But the sky god himself was feeling just as despairing as they were. He looked broken as he was forced to make the most difficult decision of his life, feeling miserable as he saw the looks of pleading in his daughters' eyes. But he was powerless to do anything other than choose one and condemn the other.
Finally, the King of Gods sighed in defeat and looked at Athena. "I'm sorry, child," he said, his eyes downcast as he was too ashamed of his helplessness to meet her gaze. "Apollo is right. At least you don't hate men..."
Athena looked at her father with a mixture of shock and betrayal on her face, while Artemis gasped in relief at being let off the hook – or so she thought. Suddenly, Athena's eyes blazed with determination as an idea occurred to her.
"No," she said firmly, her voice echoing through the hall. "I refuse to be forced into a marriage against my will."
Zeus looked at his daughter in confusion. "I'm sorry, child," he said, his voice laced with sorrow. "I understand your feelings, but the council has made its decision. There is nothing I can do."
But Athena was not about to give up so easily. "Do you remember that promise you made me several centuries ago, Father?" she asked, her voice dripping with determination. "I will not be held to this marriage. I invoke that promise now."
Zeus's eyes widened in surprise as he, too, remembered the promise he had made to his daughter so long ago. His expression turned to one of concern as he realized the implications of that promise in the current situation. Would he be forced to break his word and betray his beloved daughter, or would he find a way to honor his promise and save Athena from a loveless marriage? The fate of the goddess hung in the balance, and the weight of his decision rested heavily on the shoulders of the mighty King of Gods.
"Yes, Father, you swore upon the Styx that you would fulfill one request of mine as long as it was within your power to do so. Well, this is my wish: I don't want to marry anyone, and I'm holding you to your word!" Athena grinned maniacally, triumphant at her genius idea that may have saved her from being forcibly married off to a repulsive sea creature. It was no secret that she hated Poseidon with a passion, and his children were no exception.
"NO! NO! YOU CAN'T DO THIS TO ME!" Artemis jumped out of her throne only to be restrained by Apollo yet again, the sun god was trying his best to calm her down but it was becoming increasingly more difficult with every passing minute...
"I'm so sorry, my dear daughter," Zeus said as he turned towards the goddess of the moon, his voice laced with despair. "But I am bound by my own words..." He surrendered a crushed voice, a single tear leaking from his eye. Zeus did not blame Athena for this, she was well within his rights to defend herself, it was he who had failed Artemis that day...
After nearly an hour of shouting and protesting, Apollo was finally able to calm his distressed sister down. He had tried his best to get the council to reverse their decision, but nobody listened to his pleas. On the outside, he was acting tough and collected to support his sister, but on the inside, he felt just as broken as she did. He felt helpless to do anything to help her.
The other gods on the council looked at the twins with sympathy, their hearts heavy as they were forced to participate in the twins' torment. They didn't want to do this to Artemis, but they saw no other way to save the world from its doom.
Finally, when the moon goddess had calmed down enough, Hera turned to Poseidon, who was sulking on his throne and said, "Go ahead then, Poseidon. Summon your son now." The sea god's face twisted in anger and resentment as he was forced to carry out the council's decision. The tension in the room was palpable as everyone waited to see how this would play out.
The sea god looked up from his seat and said, "Obviously it has to be Triton. He's a god, and Percy is only a demigod. I can't do this to him, not after everything he has gone through." His voice was laced with pain and guilt as if the mere thought of causing his demigod son more suffering was unbearable to him. "You have no idea how much he's suffered for our sake," he added, his eyes downcast.
"NO!" Artemis growled, "I will not have this, I will marry not Triton, never!"
"Daughter please, try to understand—" Zeus began but he was cut off by his daughter.
"No... It won't be Triton," Artemis declared, her voice unwavering. "He's no better than the rest of them. If I have to marry a son of Poseidon, then it will be Perseus. In my eyes, he's the only one who deserves any respect. He's an honorable man, the only man I truly respect. So, if I have to marry someone, it will be him." She made her decision clear to everyone, her voice filled with conviction.
"Are you certain daugh—" the sky god began but was interrupted once again.
"YES, FATHER! Can't you understand? That man took the sky for me! In her last moments, the greatest hunter I've ever had called him her friend. He's proven himself to be an honorable person every chance he's had. So if you must condemn me to this HELL, at least make it bearable!" Artemis cried out desperately, her frustration and exhaustion clear in her voice. "I'm tired of you questioning my decision all the time. The least you could do for me after getting me into this mess is allow me to choose my own groom. But even that, you're making it harder for me." She glared at her father, her anger and resentment palpable.
Hera, who had been sitting silently all along, suddenly stood up and said, "I also remember saying that it HAS to be your dearest son, Poseidon, and Triton is not that. Besides, Artemis is right. Who better to marry her than perhaps the most honorable and loyal person alive? To guarantee peace in the future, we must make sure the marriage is successful, and Percy appears to be the perfect candidate for marrying Artemis. His unwavering commitment to what is right and his deep sense of loyalty make him the ideal choice. He would never betray Artemis for anyone else – it goes against his very nature to do that." The queen of the gods looked at Artemis with a kind expression, her words filled with understanding and concern that Artemis had never seen before.
And that was when Apollo decided to step in. The truth was that he didn't know what to do anymore. There was no way he could turn the council's decision now. All he could do was make this easier for Artemis. Exasperated by his lack of options, the god groaned in frustration and ran his hands through his hair before finally speaking up.
"Yes... even I would feel better if it's Percy marrying my sister rather than Triton. He's perhaps the only man I would ever allow near her. And no, this is not up for debate. You either agree to her demands or accept my resignation from this council. I will fight every god present in this room if I have to, and I will not hold back. I'll unleash all of my power, but I will not let you do this to my sister." The god declared solemnly, his voice laced with determination and a hint of danger.
Artemis looked at him with surprise and fondness. Even in her fragile condition, she still felt immensely proud of her brother. She was deeply affected by his unwavering and endless support and moved by his words, she subconsciously leaned even closer to him as the god continued to hold her in place.
Hermes who had been sitting quietly until now, looked around thoughtfully before saying, "I agree with them, Percy is a great guy... Look at what he did for my Luke, he allowed my son to have an honorable end even though he betrayed them... If that's how loyal he is to his friends then I am sure he would be a perfect husband for Artemis."
"I don't give a damn about what any of you think! There's no way I'm letting Percy marry a man-hater! My son deserves better than this; he deserves a chance to fall in love and live his life on his own terms! AND THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE! How dare you try to force him into this hellish fate, especially after everything he has already sacrificed for this Council!" Poseidon roared in anger as he saw the other gods trying to rope his son into this trap. His son had already given up so much for the greater good – his childhood, his freedom, and even his own happiness. And now, they wanted to take even more from him? It was too much for the sea god to bear.
His eyes blazed with fury as he stood up to protect his son from this unfair and degrading fate. His body vibrated with outrage as he slammed his trident onto the floor, causing the entire hall to shake with the force of his rage. "I will not allow this to happen! Not after everything my son has already given up! Not under my watch!" he vowed, his voice echoing through the hall.
Hera shook her head and said, "It is not your place to question the council's decision, brother. It has to be your favorite son, I thought I had made it abundantly clear. You know the ancient laws. If you go against the council's decision, you will be removed from Olympus. And it wouldn't just be you who faces the consequences – your son would also suffer. Tell me, Poseidon, how will you protect your son if you aren't even an Olympian anymore?"
The queen of the gods glared at Poseidon, her eyes filled with contempt and challenge. She was not afraid to use his son as leverage to get what she wanted. She was determined to see this marriage through, no matter what the cost.
Poseidon's face contorted in anger and pain as he realized the extent of Hera's threat. He knew she was not bluffing – she had every intention of making him pay if he dared to defy the council. He had always known that his love for Percy would be his weakness, but he had never thought it would be used against him in such a cruel and heartless way.
The sea god felt helpless, knowing that he had no choice but to comply. He had always promised to protect Percy, but he had never imagined that he would have to sacrifice his son's happiness and dignity to do so. He sighed in defeat and nodded; his eyes downcast.
But the sea god couldn't back down without one last push. "Favourite? What is this silly title you keep using all the time, Hera? I have no favorites! And even if I had, you would have no way of proving that Triton isn't my favored son. After all, he is my firstborn and the heir to Atlantis. Why do you keep bringing Percy into this?" Poseidon countered, trying to defend his younger son.
While Poseidon loved both his sons immensely, he was a lot more protective of Percy than he was of Triton. This was probably because his younger son was a mortal who had had hundreds, if not thousands, of near-death experiences, while his older son was an immortal god who had been born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
Percy had proven himself to be the best among the best through all the struggles he had overcome in his difficult life. The sea god was terrified of losing him to this so-called treaty, which was why he was behaving so defensively all of a sudden.
"Do not delude yourself into thinking that I need any proof to see this through brother, but if you are so intent on proving otherwise, then, by all means, go ahead, swear an oath, swear it on the Styx that Percy Jackson isn't your favorite son!" Hera challenged.
"B-But... um..." Poseidon stumbled, he couldn't do that... he couldn't promise that Percy wasn't his favorite son... because it would be a lie...
"I thought so, what did you think brother? Did you really expect to get out of this so easily? Your crimes are beyond severe and your punishment must match it." Hera spat angrily, she hated it when her husband and Poseidon acted like they were so much better than everyone else and like the normal rules did not apply to them, she had become fed up with their massively inflated egos and this was why she was so hell-bent on putting them in their places...
"But he is innocent! Punish me, not him! Please Hera, I beg of you... these are my crimes! He doesn't deserve this punishment"
"This is your punishment Poseidon... you brought this upon him." The goddess said in an unforgiving tone.
"But you said it has to be an OLYMPIAN! He isn't even a god, sister! Leave him out of this – hasn't he lost enough already?" Poseidon pleaded desperately, such was his love for his sons that he was even ready to abandon his pride and beg like a mere mortal to save Percy.
"Do not twist my words, Poseidon. I only mentioned an Olympian daughter of my husband. Besides that, even if he isn't an Olympian yet, I'm pretty sure he would become one eventually. After all, he has saved the world twice already, has he not? I think he is far more deserving of being in this council than my husband's drunk bastard over there." Hera hissed in anger as Dionysus fell off his throne at the harsh insult.
But before the sea God could reply, Aphrodite shot up from her throne and cried, "But it cannot be Percy Hera! A perfect male like him should not be condemned to a loveless marriage! This is a mockery of my domain."
"It has to be Percy, OR I WILL KILL THE OTHER ONE MYSELF!" Artemis exploded in bitterness. Triton was no better than any other conceited and materialistic man on Earth. The few times she had encountered the immortal son of Poseidon, she had always been disgusted by his boastful nature. In contrast, Percy was the complete opposite – loyal, humble, kind, and everything that Triton was not.
"You Dare—" Poseidon snarled in anger but abruptly shut up when Hestia got up from her throne beside him and smacked him on the face.
The sea god gaped at his elder sister in horror as his eyes moistened from the blow.
The rest of the council inhaled in terror while Zeus sniggered at the unshed tears in his enemy's eyes, the mighty Poseidon... one who had shrugged off direct hits from the master bolt was brought to tears on being whacked by his big sister.
Hestia glared at the sea god and said, "Just Listen. To. The. Maiden."
Poseidon backed away from his sister and fell back on his throne, "Hermes... go bring Percy." he whispered in a hollow tone.
-End of Chapter-
A/N: This is a remastered version of the original chapter.
Chapters 1-14 will receive a similar update, all updated chapters will have the above message in their author's note.