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An Undertow of Sand (Percy Jackson and the Cthulhu Mythos)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Shujin, Jul 28, 2021.

  1. Shujin

    Shujin Know what you're doing yet?

    Jul 27, 2021
    Likes Received:
    Thanks for the compliment! Although I'm sure there are other just as good stories out there, it's finding them that's the issue.
  2. ArcanaVitae

    ArcanaVitae Know what you're doing yet?

    Aug 12, 2021
    Likes Received:
    Looks like some people are trying to win the Darwin Award with the reason Percy punched a nereid was her bitching about his mom and Epona straight up called his mom a Betrayer and a whore. They are really lucky Percy has developed a semblance of self control and now has morals.
  3. Lucidum

    Lucidum Verifiably Bored

    Jul 14, 2019
    Likes Received:
    I mean, better get their hits in while they can. Though I'm not sure you can really call beating on the Progeny of Fate a good idea, but when have the Gods ever been smart about things?

    Edit: Oh, also Fate's a bitch. Imagine training your Son to beat a bitch for insulting you in the future.
    CrossyCross, NounNoun, Ku4kin and 5 others like this.
  4. Aaron_04

    Aaron_04 Making the rounds.

    Apr 7, 2022
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    I see Luke has accepted the madness, now he is just having fun with the ride.
    Also I think Epona is going to regret several of her recent life choices really soon.
    Thanks for the chapter! :D
  5. Silver W. King

    Silver W. King King of Adventures

    Feb 19, 2013
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    I don't know why, but this line gets me. :D

    It's like someone that's been in school for years, always saying "this stuff is stupid, I'm never gonna use it", but now it's like "I'm learning things I can use, and I'm gonna enjoy fucking up so many things".
    Radtank, NounNoun, Shujin and 5 others like this.
  6. Shujin

    Shujin Know what you're doing yet?

    Jul 27, 2021
    Likes Received:
    To be fair, it's not like the Young gods know about the Morrigan's connection to the Elder gods. Hermes and Athena didn't know either.
    NounNoun, Ku4kin, liquid_oni and 5 others like this.
  7. Oxymoron

    Oxymoron Too lazy to do more

    Feb 5, 2019
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    Quite literally the only reason I go to the sfw side of qq is this right here
    NounNoun, Shujin, ArcanaVitae and 2 others like this.
  8. Shujin

    Shujin Know what you're doing yet?

    Jul 27, 2021
    Likes Received:
    Actually, I just remembered something. I believe it was your first comment on this story that you were surprised I had Percy crushing on Artemis because it seemed to vanilla for the story. How has that played out for you btw? I'm curious what you thought of how it developed.
    NounNoun and ArcanaVitae like this.
  9. RollingFire

    RollingFire Getting out there.

    Nov 27, 2019
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    Very satisfied. This is one of the most unique stories I've ever read. The character interactions as well as the hints of what's to come make me excited for every chapter you put out. You've clearly put work into this and I love reaping the benefits.

    And to be fair, any other story with a crush or pairing with Artemis sends alarm bell in my head, cause there are hundreds of stories that attempt that pairing and catastrophically fail at it almost every time. But your version of Artemis very thorough. You've had her change throughout the story, and one of the moments that really let me know that this wasn't like any other PJ fanfic I've read, is when you had her transformed into a rabbit and the subsequent knowledge that she's supposed to die in that form.

    This is a very special story that I can't wait to finish.
    ArcanaVitae and Ku4kin like this.
  10. Shujin

    Shujin Know what you're doing yet?

    Jul 27, 2021
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    What if I tell you Pertemis isn't the intended pairing at all? :)
    ArcanaVitae likes this.
  11. RollingFire

    RollingFire Getting out there.

    Nov 27, 2019
    Likes Received:
    I mean....

    I know? Or I understood that if it wasn't the direction the story seemed to be going anyway. You also told me it wasn't going to be I believe. Previously not just now.

    This is also why I do not comment. I don't convey my thoughts very well.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2022
  12. ArcanaVitae

    ArcanaVitae Know what you're doing yet?

    Aug 12, 2021
    Likes Received:
    Author has said a Luke x Artemis is more likely then a Pertemis, I really like the dynamics they have now as weird friends that really shouldn't be friends but somehow are.
    GuestLurker likes this.
  13. Shujin

    Shujin Know what you're doing yet?

    Jul 27, 2021
    Likes Received:
    No worries! Misunderstandings happen on the internet, no harm no foul. There are still some commenters on ff that think it's still Pertemis because as you said, Artemis has changed during the story.
    RollingFire likes this.
  14. Aaron_04

    Aaron_04 Making the rounds.

    Apr 7, 2022
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    D: B-but, this was the only story that coul actually pull it off. How could you bretray me like this?!
    (jk, already knew)
    TyricGaias, Shujin and GuestLurker like this.
  15. Shujin

    Shujin Know what you're doing yet?

    Jul 27, 2021
    Likes Received:
    God, I hope no one is reading the story actually hoping its Pertemis, because that's going to end up extremely awkward. I feel like I've made it a bit obvious where it's going.
  16. Mandoanon

    Mandoanon Know what you're doing yet?

    Jan 14, 2022
    Likes Received:
    You're right. Its obvious he's going to fuck his mom and go full greek kek
    Radtank, NounNoun and RollingFire like this.
  17. DeathShade

    DeathShade Best Father in Hallownest

    Apr 3, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Pertemis was never gonna happen because Artemis doesn’t have enough tentacles. I mean Diana has some, but nowhere near enough.
  18. Shujin

    Shujin Know what you're doing yet?

    Jul 27, 2021
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    Percy is an Eye man.
    ArcanaVitae and TyricGaias like this.
  19. DeathShade

    DeathShade Best Father in Hallownest

    Apr 3, 2016
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    Based off of how he kind of liked the view of his old Grandfather munching away on reality, I’d say he is an Eldritch man overall.

    Eyes just seem to be the most obvious Eldritch trait in otherwise normal human looking characters you’ve been using so far. Window to the soul and all that.
    ArcanaVitae, Radtank and NounNoun like this.
  20. Shujin

    Shujin Know what you're doing yet?

    Jul 27, 2021
    Likes Received:
    He did like Hiraya's wings and generally thinks the elf is pretty!
    ArcanaVitae likes this.
  21. Threadmarks: I Play To My Best Card

    Shujin Know what you're doing yet?

    Jul 27, 2021
    Likes Received:
    An Undertow of Sand
    A PJO Fanfiction

    When Mom said the whole Roman situation made things awkward for her, I think she was understating it.

    Because over two thousand years later, it was the reason I was standing across from a Celtic war goddess of the cavalry in a dueling circle on top of a random hill in Arizona feeling sick to my stomach. I would be fighting for the right to keep my arms because of Mom’s awkward fuck up. I was standing beneath a pitch black Night sky with the thunderclouds of Ouranos the Sky Father’s’ prison because Mom fucked that one up too and now I had to deal with her problems. While already dealing with Artemis’ problems.

    So, yeah.

    Shoutout to all the twelve year olds whose lives aren’t a complete mess right now.

    I should stop believing in coincidences, but I didn’t want to think about my mother training me for this fight. She expected me to rely on my Hunger anyway.

    That said nothing good about my chances.

    Spears are long.

    I know you just thought something along the lines of ‘no shit’ but hear me out.

    I trained with a sword.

    My Armor Class (D&D thing, don’t think about it too hard) was in the dumpster. Epona towered over me by over a foot at nearly six feet tall. The reach advantage was real on top of the speed advantage, because god. And the strength advantage because god. And the endurance advantage because god and she’s lived a long ass time with that spear.

    Because god.

    However this went, it was going to go fast. I had to end it quickly. It didn’t help that my stomach was starting to cramp up and I was sweating bullets like I had the god flu again. My best bet would be if Epona underestimated me just long enough for me to figure something out. Asking Mom for a little help got me cautious confidence, encouragement and giddy excitement all wrapped up in the feeling of someone waving a pom pom around in my head.

    Fate was cheerleading.

    I love my mother to pieces, but Jesus Christ of Nazareth and all his tiny baby hands and feet!

    This was not the time!

    “You’re brave, boy,” Epona said, some grudging note in her voice as she took a stance. “Foolish, but brave.”

    Ain’t that the truth.

    You know what deja vu feels like, right?

    Now, I knew what it looked like as Epona lunged. My memory layered an image of my mother starting our training spars the same way she always did. The same forward foot placement. The same turn of the torso before everything just blurred. I’ve seen it hundreds of times. My chest burned the phantom sting of the slice scoring my ribcage.

    But Mom hasn’t gotten me with that one in a while.

    I stepped into it with Damocles leading the way. The strike deflected off the bone blade as I slid it down the shaft. Epona whipped the spear away to save her fingers, stepping back and I followed. The spear has reach and wasn’t good at slashing. The only way to fight was to stay close.

    That had its risks too.

    I leaned my head back as she reversed her strike, lashing out with the end. A god’s strength behind a blunt weapon was just as dangerous as a bladed one. I could feel the air split as the dark wood passed my nose and then it was my turn.


    Damocles bounced off Epona’s silver arm guard as she spun away. A frown was on her lips. “So you do have some skill.”

    “I’m not all talk,” I protested. I swallowed the excess saliva in my mouth. I hoped I didn’t throw up. My head was pounding. “Just eighty percent.”

    Epona wasn’t trying to kill me.

    That had to change.

    “You know, this really isn’t necessary,” I began, circling Epona at the same speed she was circling me.

    There was an art to making people mad. You can’t be too obvious about it, because then they’d know you were trolling them. The last thing I wanted was for Epona to wonder why I was trying to make this harder on myself.

    “You know you could have just let us go.”

    “No,” Epona said grimly. Her eyebrows were sharply drawn together. “I can’t.”

    “Because you don’t like my mother,” I said as casually as I could manage.

    “Because I despise your mother,” she hissed at me, grip on her spear tightening for a split second before she relaxed again.

    Couldn’t have that.

    “I always wondered what had happened there,” I said, shifting my stance in the tiniest, smallest way. “I mean, I knew the Celts fought, but then where’d everybody go?” The goddess’ lips thinned. “They can’t all be Roman, right? What’d you do, surrender or maybe defect - “

    The goddess’ eyes flashed as she hissed, “Mind your tongue, mortal.”

    That hit a nerve.

    Dad always told me that if I find out what hurts someone, I wasn’t supposed to dig into it. To make the scar bleed. It wasn’t a nice thing to do. Just like he told me not to make decisions while angry.

    (I think he knows I got mean when I’m angry)

    (Maybe he knows how mean)

    I didn’t listen to him until Mom left.

    “Mom always said it was awkward.”

    “Awkward,” Epona repeated in a dull tone of voice, coming to a stop. Her mismatched eyes held a barely restrained fury. Just a little more… “Our destruction was awkward?”

    “Awkward,” I confirmed. “And annoying, but I’m not sure if she meant the aftermath or you - “

    My neck screamed.

    My bone blade came up and the impact made it ring, nearly tearing the hilt right out of my hands.


    Epona was a blur of motion. It was like trying to respond to a threat in the dark, when you couldn’t rely on your eyes and just had to go by sound and movement and the alarms blaring in your gut telling you that if you didn’t move, you’d die. Every hit I blocked was painful, but I didn’t have the time to prepare for deflections.

    My neck suddenly went ominously quiet and I faltered. A hit glanced across my stomach and I leapt back as far as I could. Epona’s two colored eyes were calculating. I glanced down. My jacket was unscathed.


    “Ah,” she said. “I was not imagining it. The amulet. The coat. The bag. The sword. The glasses.” Her lips curled up into a sneer as her eyes glinted maliciously. Epona did have a temper. The problem was, it looked like her anger burned really, really cold, not hot. “What do those let you see?”

    “How things, people, gods die,” I threatened.

    Epona blinked slowly.

    “You see the omens?” she muttered and maybe it was in Gaulish or maybe it was some other proto-Celtic language, but it came through clearly. “Omens,” she repeated angrily. A prickle shot across my neck as she examined me. I was starting to think saying anything had been a mistake. “I see. You are not a foster,” she marveled. “You are favored, because you are hers.”

    She disappeared.

    Damocles chimed, pulling at my arm and the sudden certainty that I was going to die right the fuck now made me put everything I had into it. People say that sometimes you see your life flash before your eyes and I never understood what that meant until I saw the tip of the goddess’ spear scream by my temple, just barely knocked off course by my blade. Damocles was enchanted to watch my blindspots. If I hadn’t turned, it would have caught me right in the back of my head.

    Spears are poking weapons, not slashing. She had to pull back from the miss to strike again, but she was fast. The time that bought me was in fractions of seconds. The air whistled over my head as I ducked the second thrust. Damocles pulled me into blocking a strike from the shaft from above as I twisted away. I was a lot shorter than her. I fell right into that size where she had to compensate to actually aim for me a little.

    Normally, that would mean nothing. Because war goddess.

    But Luke had been right.

    Epona was used to fighting on a horse. The important part when riding was your torso movements, your shoulders, your waist, your head.

    She was outside of her Domain.

    She had no idea how much the shifting of her feet and legs gave away.

    There was a ringing silence from my power, but it didn’t matter. I knew what was coming before her knee even came up. Her sheer speed meant I was almost slammed in the chin anyway. I stepped into the next attack again. I felt the air move as I laid a hand on the flat of Damocles’ blade to help control the angle, slicing out at the exposed leg.

    My vision exploded in white stars and I felt myself get launched into the air.

    I hit the ground hard.

    I’m not bleeding, I’m not bleeding, I’m not bleeding, I chanted in my mind. I swallowed back bile as I kept my face turned from everyone as long as I could. I heal fast. I’m not bleeding.

    I met Luke’s eyes. He looked pale, straining against the twisted limbs of the Warped holding him back. He searched my face, worried. Then he nodded with a small smile. I turned to look at Epona and watched the smug triumph melt off her face as her eyes searched me.

    “What - how hard is your head?” She asked incredulously. Luke huffed.

    (“Hard,” he muttered.)

    I reached up to feel it.

    A bump was rapidly forming on my forehead, but the skin was unbroken.

    “I hit you,” I protested, feeling my stomach lurch. Was I going to make it? I felt hot and cold at the same time and my blood felt like it was congealing in my veins. “I know I did.”

    Epona laughed, harsh and cold.

    “You did!” She said brightly and then all color, all vibrancy, all life leeched from her like water running down a smooth surface.

    She was a god. What we see is always a mask. I watched Mystery Kid duck his head as the Warped around us bowed in their saddles. I realized why Epona’s handicap had been so generous, more of a challenge of wit than a true drawback. I thought it was just because she was that confident. I wasn’t wrong. I had just forgotten exactly who and what she was. Epona was the Gallic goddess of the Cavalry and Equines, the Fertility of Spring and the Great Mare of…

    “But the dead,” the goddess rasped. “Don’t bleed.”

    Chalky pale skin crawling with black veins, sunken cheeks, brittle pale hair and decay. Her nose and ears were a sharp contrast of blackened flesh like her face was a patchwork quilt. Her lips shriveled to look like worms. Her teeth shone through the hole rotted away in her left cheek as she smiled. Her natural eye was now a shining topaz gemstone, like Mom’s black diamond, with the rolling fields and endless plains reflecting infinitely within.

    She’d been playing with me this entire time. The duel had been rigged from the start.

    “Be still,” she said, pointing her spear at me. “And you will only lose an arm. Stand to fight and you will lose much more.”

    How could I refuse an invitation like that?

    I stood up.

    “It was to first blood,” I reminded her.

    Epona’s rictus grin and my neck screeching was the only warning I had.

    Blocking the first strike broke both of my arms. I felt them give almost in unison from the force of stopping the spear from burying right through the bridge of my nose. The felt, more than heard, the shockwave. Left arm complete break, I thought deliriously. That was going to be annoying. The second attack tore Damocles right out of my hands.

    I threw myself into a corkscrew spin at her, dodging the third by the skin of my teeth. Literally. The spear whistled past my mouth as my head turned. I had to get close. She even smelled like death.That dry, earthy, somber smell you can find around a freshly buried corpse. I dug into my jacket with my right hand. Ignoring the grinding pain of that arm was easier than ignoring the blinding pain of my left as I deflected her swipe with my already broken left arm.

    I could feel the bone completely shatter.

    She shouldn’t have stopped, but her dual toned eyes burned as she hissed into my face, “Any last words?”

    “Yeah,” I croaked as I brought out of my pocket…

    My disposable camera.

    “Say cheese!”

    Knife, I thought as I pressed the button to take a picture and the familiar cold weight fell into my left hand. My grip was weak, but I held on. Godly eyes like mine couldn’t be blinded.

    But Epona only had one of those.

    Her natural eye changed with her form, but the blue one didn’t. The dead don’t bleed, but Epona’s blue eye was a replacement. Just like Nuada’s silver hand, those were never as good as the original.

    In the overwhelming darkness of the Night, the camera flash shone like a star had descended. The goddess recoiled. I saw the blue eye’s pupil spasm, shrinking and I lashed out with my broken left arm right into her newly blind spot. And maybe she could have stopped me anyway, or reacted in time, but she was turned slightly away, off balance. She hadn’t reset her stance from the last strike properly, used to having to direct her horse to prepare for the next.

    As Luke would say, ‘Footwork, gods damn it!’

    Don’t trust the friendly face he puts on so he doesn’t scare little kids during baby’s first sword fight. The advanced battle class was hell on earth.

    The pitch black blade of my brother’s dagger raked right across Epona’s blue eye.

    A dark thrill welled up in my chest as I watched the flesh of the eye part in slow motion, weeping silver.

    First Blood.

    I win.

    Epona underestimated me, but maybe I could have killed her.

    The explosion caught everyone completely off guard. We all went flying back, horses crying out in fear as this eerie howling rose up as everything drowned in a ghastly green light, like a geyser had just erupted from the ground but instead of water, it was spewing tormented souls.

    “Look away!” Mystery Boy shouted. “Don’t look!”

    My eye! Epona screamed and it sounded like a stampede of horses with steel on their breath and blood on their hooves. The spectral light reared up. I could see what looked like the flashing of a skeletal horse’s hooves. I will make you pay for it with your own!

    I saw the blur of auburn leap in front of me.

    “You will do no such thing!” Artemis thundered as loud as her little body would let her. “He won the duel!”

    I wanted to admire the rabbit’s suicidal dumb ass bravery, but I suddenly felt like I was about to die.

    At first I thought it was something Epona was doing to me as punishment for winning, but it felt like all of the god flu symptoms I was already suffering had just turned up to eleven. Something was happening. The cramp in my stomach suddenly turned agonizing. The saliva pooling endlessly in my mouth was now overflowing as my entire body shivered. I was going to throw up now and there was nothing I could do about it. I could feel Epona’s presence thundering through every cell in my body. I felt sick from head to toe. I almost didn’t notice my broken arms because it felt like something inside my stomach was trying to break out. When I finally threw up, instead of the potato chips and Kit Kat bars, what came out was a lot like the suspicious week old chunky salsa at Taco Bell.

    It tasted like blood.

    I kept retching, pieces falling out of my mouth like I downed a whole barrel of the stuff and even worse, the steaming pile on the ground seemed to be moving and growing bigger independently.

    That just made me throw up more.

    “What - “ I heard Artemis start. “Luke, get away from him! She’s coming!”

    There was a lot of shouting and movement, but I couldn’t concentrate on any of it. My stomach burned, twisting in on itself. I was vaguely aware the vomit pile was taller than I was and getting bigger, but I was just too focused on getting

    all of it


    With one last heave, I spat out a wriggling piece of something and then fell over onto my side. The rest was a blur of me feeling too icky and in pain to move, Luke hauling me over his back, Reclaim flashing as horses screamed, or maybe something or someone else was screaming.

    There was a loud crackthoom!

    Everything lit up like I took another picture and the stink of ozone tickled my nostrils. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Mystery Boy jump off his pony, flipping a shimmering magical gold coin into the air just like I saw Epona turn away from us, distracted.

    Jason, back! The Great Mare neighed at him.

    He’s not her foster, my ass, was my last coherent thought for a while. I felt like I was floating. My limbs detaching, my ears turned inside out and my stomach was empty. Reality faded away. There was just the pounding of hooves, Luke’s constant stream of soft noise like he was talking me down from something, Artemis’ warm little body tucking herself against my side.

    Mom’s vicious approval sinking deep into my bones.

    When I woke up, I was on the bed in a dingy motel room and nowhere near that hill.

    I still felt like I had been run over.


    I tried to sit up, but forgot both my arms were broken.

    “Argh!” I collapsed back, feeling the grinding pain shoot straight from my forearms to my spine. I lay there, panting for a bit before I registered that on the ratty chair near the bed, Artemis was sleeping on her back, paws in the air, mouth open snoring.

    I want my camera back.

    The door opened and Luke walked in with a paper bag of what smelled like fast food. He closed the door, put the bag on the tiny desk and then saw me looking at him.

    “Styx!” He jumped, then clutched at his chest. His right arm was wrapped in gauze. “I’m going to have a heart attack before I’m twenty.”

    “Let’s not,” I rasped. My throat was sore from all the vomiting.

    Luke sighed. “How are you feeling? The truth - “ he said quickly when I opened my mouth. “Be honest this time.”

    “Awful,” I said quietly. “Both arms are broken, left arm was shattered, right arm partial. I can use my right - “


    “I feel like I have a fever - “

    “You do,” Luke confirmed.

    “Nauseous, ankle sprained - “

    “Broken,” Luke said. “I took off your shoes,” he said pointing. I looked and my right foot and lower shin in my black sock was almost twice the size of my other one.

    “Oh,” I said. I thought it was just my big toe. “Um, headache, stomach hurts a lot, back hurts a lot, left leg is a little numb still?”

    Luke stared at me silently. I couldn’t tell what he was thinking.

    “I won’t lie to you,” Luke began solemnly. “Right now? I hate your mother.”

    “What - “

    He held up a hand and started ticking off his fingers. “I asked you how you felt and you gave me a damage report.”

    …what was I supposed to say?

    Your pain tolerance is unreal and you told me she hurt you as training. She left when you weren’t good enough, she makes you do dangerous things for no reason - “

    “She has - “

    “You are twelve!” Luke raised his voice. “You think I haven’t put it together what it means that all this shit exists in the world, but I lived on the street as a petty pickpocket? And hadn’t seen much of it?”

    I no longer knew where he was going with this. Where was this even coming from?

    “There are a few times when I thought I saw something that didn’t belong, but every time something happened to steer me away from it and my father is the god of Travelers and Thieves. Do you get it?”

    I didn’t.

    “He wasn’t allowed to, but he still tried to protect me, because that’s what parents are supposed to do! You know everything you do, you’re on this Quest because your mother doesn’t.”

    “That’s not true!” I tried to yell, but something was in my throat, making me cough it out instead.

    “Celtic raised?” Luke said mockingly. “You do what you have to? When your mother is actually raising you?”

    “You don’t understand,” I coughed. I didn’t want to tell him about her chains. I know I said I wasn’t interested in hiding things from Luke anymore, but that had nothing to do with him. Just me. “I can give up on this Quest if I wanted to. She told me I can just go home.”

    Luke’s face could have been carved from stone. “And the Bolt? The war?”

    I winced.

    “Everyone dies eventually,” I murmured, but my heart wasn’t in it. Mom didn’t care about dust. It was just something that was occasionally swept away. “I chose to stay,” I insisted. “I know the risks and what’s at stake. I want to help Camp too.”

    “You’re a good person, Percy. And an idiot.” Luke sighed and said quietly, “That makes this all worse.”

    Was he still talking about my mother?

    Luke sighed again. “Do you want the good news or the bad news first?”

    “Good news,” I said. I was glad to be done with that conversation.

    “Good news, when we left, the Reserve was occupied with the Bear,” Luke said grimly. “The blood you threw up…”


    Artemis said not to swallow any of it. I dimly remembered blood burning on my tongue, but not much else. I thought I spat it out.

    Luke glanced at the sleeping rabbit. “You shouldn’t have been able to do that, but you did, so you didn’t get…”

    Artemis said it was just like her, to warn her prey that she was coming, knowing there was nothing they could do about it. Rhea had said as desecrated as they were, the Hunters still remembered how to hunt.

    Our van from the convoy that escaped Kallisto exploded into blood.

    “She body hops,” I said. “I thought you said that was good news?”

    “I stole a horse so we’re just past the border to California,” Luke replied. “We’re safe for now, but that’s the end of the good news.”


    “And the bad news?”

    “I’m down to one cube of ambrosia,” Luke said. “I got a map and Compton is right by Los Angeles.” Right by the Door to the Underworld. “It’s our only lead, we’ve got seven days left, so we better come up with a plan for what happens if it’s not there.”

    I don’t have one.

    “Okay,” I said quietly.

    I looked around the room as I thought. The dingy motel room was just as bad as I thought it was. The carpet was an ugly puke yellow color with threadbare curtains and old furniture. The entire place smelled like cigarette smoke and looked like it too with the stains on the wall and ceiling where a tiny fan stubbornly spun away. The bathroom looked tiny. It really looked like a place you were meant to stay in for a few hours napping and a shower, tops. The mattress was lumpy, but at least the sheets seemed clean.

    Artemis snorted in her sleep, waking up as Luke pulled out the chicken sandwiches. She yawned and then shrunk into herself, embarrassed as a small paper plate of hay was placed on the desk for her. As he unwrapped the sandwich for me I asked,

    “What happened to your arm?”

    Luke grimaced. “You bit me.”

    I did?

    “Sorry,” I apologized automatically. It was wrapped from wrist to just above his elbow like he got burned by hot water. “I didn’t mean to.”

    He nodded. “I know. And your bag is booby trapped.”


    “I borrowed your debit card,” Luke clarified. “There’s no one around to pickpocket from. And stealing from ATMs is annoying. It tried to bite me too until I explained what I needed it for. ”

    “Yeah, it’s…special.” Now that I thought about it, I probably should have warned him about the defenses my backpack had against thieves.

    “And one last thing,” Luke pointed at me with a potato wedge.

    I expected him to congratulate me. Now that we were out of danger (finally), he could shower all the praise he wanted on me for that fucking awesome duel I just won. After all the bitching I had to sit through from him about my defensiveness, there was nothing else he could say but ‘you’re pretty awesome, Percy.’ Or maybe ‘that was some fancy swording you did there.’ Ooh, or maybe ‘I was wrong about your defense, Percy.’

    “You have eyes on your bones,” Luke said.

    I stared at him.

    “You have eyes on your bones,” he repeated, as if I hadn’t heard him the first time. “Your left forearm had broken through the skin by the time we got here and there were eyes.”

    “Uh,” I said intelligently. “They’re small?”

    “On your bones.”

    “I don’t see out of them, if that’s what you’re getting at,” I said, but then I remembered that time on Luke’s bike running from Kallisto. Where I couldn’t blink or move, but could somehow still see in the direction I wasn’t facing. “They’re out of the way and not, like, on my face? That’d be weird.”

    “Ye-es,” Luke said slowly. “That - that’s what would be the weird part.”

    I knew he would get it.

    Luke turned to Artemis.

    “I understand now,” he said too calmly. “There is nothing wrong with him or any of this. You just have to uninstall logic and your understanding of reality.”

    Artemis flicked her ears. “I have a feeling I will be reminding you that you said that.”

    Now it was her turn to get a food item jabbed in her direction, a sandwich.

    Don’t,” Luke said.

    I wasn’t sure what his problem was, but the sandwich smelled delicious. I wasn’t too sure about eating it at first. I still felt pretty sick to my stomach. Luke pulled up a chair and dangled the sandwich in front of my face, refusing to let me feed myself. He was completely immune to my glare. The indignity was real, but after the first bite I just scarfed it down. Anticipating it, Luke gave me a second sandwich and then cautiously propped me up against the shot headboard of the bed by the nightstand so I could sip at the soda.

    “I’m not an invalid,” I pouted.

    “Yes, you are,” Luke said sternly. “So, ideas,” he continued as he ate his potato wedges.

    “...maybe we can get other gods involved?” I volunteered after a long moment. “We know who has the Bolt, so if we get help to maybe ambush him - “

    “The Night,” Artemis said simply.

    “Right,” I said thickly, shrinking back. I was mad at myself for forgetting. Not only was everyone really busy, but my friends needed help too.

    “And I do not think it would be a good idea,” Artemis continued quietly. “Everyone I can think of falls into three categories. They would refuse to help because of my father. Refuse because of me or cannot be spared.”

    Luke whistled. “You never ran out of arrows to shoot into your foot, did you?”

    The rabbit’s ears flattened in a bunny frown. “I have also been thinking. There are elements of Khione’s information that do not align.”

    I felt my stomach sink. “You think she lied?”

    “No,” Artemis shook her head. The rush of relief I felt made me feel breathless. “Her support of you seems genuine. It is simply that…” The rabbit paused to think over what she wanted to say. “My father’s son is short-sighted, arrogant, cruel and impatient.” Artemis didn’t want to or honestly didn’t think of Ares as her brother. “But he is not suicidal.”

    Luke blinked. “What do you mean?”

    “A war on Olympus between the Sky and Sea - maybe a few thousand years ago I could see him do this, but now we are stagnant.” Artemis said. “We are tied to Western Civilization, for better or worse. Losses cannot be easily regained now, how much worse would it be if we crippled it with a silly war?”

    I didn’t think about it, but she was right. The whole reason Artemis voted to torture Hades was because dead people might be still giving him Names while the rest of them had to let mortals believe they didn’t exist. I bet Ares voted the same way for the same reason. So knowing that, why would he do this?

    “But he did do it,” Luke said.

    “And the winds only heard of him hiding the weapon,” Artemis pointed out. “The god of War does not make a habit of talking to himself.”

    Maybe the god of War lost his marbles.

    Luke’s eyebrows flew up. “...and he wouldn’t tell his minions his plans either, right? Someone else is in on it.”

    “Do you think maybe Kronos?” I asked. I wouldn’t put it past a guy who ate his kids, but that conversation was going to be awkward. Mostly because shouting into your freezer, regardless of the subject, was going to be awkward. “Our Prophecy has his card. You think he recruited some gods?”

    Luke was tense. “Maybe? But he’s in the Pit - no wait.”

    “My freezer now,” I said.

    Luke palmed his face.

    “I think it was someone the winds could not overhear because they control the winds,” Artemis said. “I think it was someone who could use the Master Bolt just as well, if not better than Father could. Someone the god of War has always taken marching orders from. This is only my suspicion but…”

    Artemis’ voice was soft.

    “...I do not think we should be using the goddess of Love’s Name anymore.”

    Well, shit.

    I don’t know how much of it was Artemis’ bias from Aphrodite being on the winning side of history while Artemis lost her mother, got hit with lightning and her brother was booted down to mortal. Aphrodite fought to keep Zeus on the throne then. Would she really try to take over now?

    I wanted to tell Artemis that she was being just like Chiron when he accused Hades of wanting the Bolt for no real reason, but this did make a lot of sense. A lot can change in a few thousand years.

    “We probably can keep using it,” I said. “If I suddenly stop saying Names, wouldn’t that just be more suspicious?”

    Artemis paced a little. “I…suppose?”

    Really?” Luke asked, skeptical. Annabeth was that way too. What was with these demigods dissing on Aphrodite? “You think Love wants the war?”

    Artemis turned to him.

    “The Sky Father is still alive,” she said.

    “Uh huh.” Luke pointed upwards. “I can see him.”

    “He also suffered a somatic death because she nearly subsumed him.”

    I think ‘somatic’ means he’s brain dead now.

    It was close, but no cigar.

    Aphrodite Shattered.

    The Voice of Heaven used to be a big deal in the Greek world with his False Prophecy thing. You asked him a question about how something would go down and if you acted on his advice, it would come true. Real prophecies always come true. No matter what.

    That was my problem.

    You could almost call False Prophecies self-fulfilling in a way. Zeus asked how to keep his throne and then turned around and ate his wife. Mom told me Kronos asked the big guy a question about his people’s future and then he went and ate his children.

    Apparently, The Voice of Heaven, Ouranos, was the god of Terrible Dietary Advice.

    I’m glad Aphrodite tried to eat him.


    Luke’s mouth fell open.

    ‘She’s from another pantheon, remember?” I said. “Silena inherited from a war Name and she’s got lots of them.”

    “Had,” Artemis murmured, then she sighed. “Then again, Athena successfully hid the possession of her Kingly Name, so I can no longer be sure of that, can I? The Roman Name stood for Victory too.”

    She means Venus.

    “The Roman Name lost,” I said. I think Aphrodite was already Broken by that point too.

    “Exactly,” Artemis replied.

    “So then we do need help,” I said. “But we should end the Night first to get it.”

    “...how?” Luke asked.

    “I can ask?”

    Artemis’ ears went straight up in alarm. “You can ask?”

    “The Night is my great-aunt, aunt, first cousin, sister and sister-in-law. Depending on what myth you read, but related. Closely.” I told her the same thing I told Quintus. “I’m friends with her son Hypnos and I have met her before, it’ll be fine.”

    “Fine?” Artemis’ voice rose into almost a screech. “You cannot just call her Name down - “

    “I’m not going to do that,” I interrupted her. “Do you think I’m a moron?”

    “What are we talking about?” Luke cut in.

    “Artemis thinks I’m going to run around California calling on the Night’s Names,” I explained. There are so many ways that could go bad, especially near the Door to the Underworld, it wasn’t even funny. “While I was actually taught by my mother the right way to get someone’s attention.”

    Artemis went still. “...you were taught.”

    “Why is that still a surprise?” I asked, exasperated.

    The rabbit sighed. “I really do not know.”

    “Look, the entire reason this happened is that my mom and her pissed each other off, but Mom told me she apologized - “ And that had better meant now rather than whenever she got around to it - “so there might be appeasement involved.”

    Artemis cringed.

    “It will be fine,” I said. “The Night isn’t trying to screw us all over, she’s probably not even aware of it. I can talk to her.”

    Luke looked between us both with his God, Why expression. He then clapped his hands to his cheeks and dragged them down. “...we’re actually going to petition a protogenoi.” He squashed a cookie into his mouth. “Any minute now this is going to wrap back around to sanity.”

    “You said - “ Artemis started.

    “I said don’t remind me what I said!”

    The rabbit honked softly at him.

    “It will be fine,” I repeated. I was trying to will them into believing it, because then maybe I would believe it myself. The Night was just like my mother. Just because she didn’t want to hurt anyone, didn’t mean that was the way things turned out. All she wanted was her children and descendants safe back home and it would have broken Ethan and Clovis’ minds.

    “Will it?” Artemis said. “The Mist was the last time we made such a petition.”

    “You said the gods needed the Mist,” I pointed out.

    “Because it protects us as much as it protects mortals.” Artemis explained. “Attention was easy to get before. Too easy. With attention came activity and with activity came the others.”

    “The others?” Luke looked like he really didn’t want to be the one asking.

    The rabbit let out a humorless laugh. “I believe Perseus called them aliens. Like Selene. Who might not be dead,” she finished quietly.

    There was a huge pale bloody moon in the sky outside the motel window.

    The aliens. The ones that came after the Earth was won after the Star-spawn rebellion. Pontus. Selene. Apophis. Nidhogg and others. I remembered Kronos’ question about what was so important about this little planet out of the entire cosmos. Didn’t that apply to the aliens too? Why did Pontus or Selene know to come here?

    “The last time someone interfered, it was the Hindus and it nearly broke our reality,” Artemis said. “There are still cracks. We had to petition someone.

    “My step-dad.” Uncle? Cousin?? Mom’s Baby Daddy???


    “And in Time’s usual fashion,” the rabbit said, sounding tired. “We got exactly what we asked for and nothing that we wanted.”

    That sounds about right.

    Because the same thing happened to my fucking mother. Really, if the Young Gods could figure that out about Chronos, Mom had no excuse whatsoever. Erebus and Aether were just what she asked for and neither had what she needed. Darkness too little, Aether too much.

    My birth was some kind of fucked up Goldilocks scheme.

    “It has grown too deeply into our reality by now,” Artemis said with a small shrug. “But we would not get rid of it, even though we want to.”

    And then they dug a deep hole and threw all their knowledge of the Elder Gods into it, hoping beyond hope that if they forgot about it, that It would then forget them.

    It wouldn’t.

    Because They were still here.

    “Well, it’s not going to be like that,” I said. “It won’t. We don’t want her to do anything, we want her to stop.”

    Artemis looked at me with solemn silver eyes.

    “I hope you are right.”

    “And if he is, we then - what?” Luke asked. “Wrangle up a few gods and storm his temple to put him on trial based on our word alone?”

    Well, when he put it that way…

    I got nothing.

    Luke looked up at the ceiling, sighing. “...there’s nothing I can remember from the Prophecy that is a clue either, is there?”

    The Proph -

    All the air in my lungs left me in a wheeze as I just remembered something. I flung my hand out for my backpack and tore through it, ignoring the pain from my broken arms as I searched for that aluminum tin of Mythomagic cards.


    “Hold on,” I said as I brought it out. I opened up the tin and saw the black and silver decorated card backs of my deck. I reached out to flip the first card, knowing exactly what I wanted to see.I laid the card on the bed beside me face up.

    Chiron, the Trainer of Heroes.

    I stared at the card. Luke dumped the bunny on the bed before looking too.

    “I kept pulling his card when we were with the monsters. The Roman,” I said, hushed. Epona, the Gallic goddess of the Cavalry and Equines, the Fertility of Spring and the Great Mare of the Dead. “And the Reserve were kids.”

    “Not all of them,” Artemis said softly. “But yes. Trainer of Heroes.”

    “What is - why is that a thing?” Luke asked as he watched me lay out the thirteen cards of our Quest Prophecy. The one I gave as the Oracle of Chthon. “Why do that to anyone?”

    “I did not - “ The rabbit pulled back. “We did not do it to them. We have been trying to break it. It is a violent, painful, but temporary transformation and it is a generational curse.”

    “Blood curse?” I asked. Those were Mom’s specialty. “So descendants of descendants also get cursed and so on?”

    Artemis nodded, “A great deal of Camp Jupiter are legacies because of - “

    Luke held up a hand. “Wait, wait, wait, of Camp Jupiter? You mean you can be a child of a demigod and still have powers!?”

    Artemis and I both stared at him.

    Then we glanced at each other.

    “Yes?” I tried.

    That wasn’t obvious?

    Luke palmed his face for the second time. “ - gods fucking have genes,” he muttered.

    Huh. Guess that’s solved!

    Luke waved her on. “How’d you get cursed?

    “The Gauls,” Artemis said simply.

    “Oh yeah,” I said. “Your fuck up ruins your kid’s life forever? Celts love that.”

    “We are now aware,” Artemis said in a voice as dry as the Sahara. “There is no true distinction between godly children and not. The more divinity a child has, the greater the risk. Demigods get stronger with age. The best we have been able to do is give some of them the chance to escape it as they get older..”

    “I’m guessing they're being monitored,” I said.

    “Closely,” the rabbit nodded. “Demigods reaching the Camp are inspected for tainted blood by the Wolf Goddess. If she thinks they can retain their minds upon transformation, they are directed to the Horse Goddess. If she suspects they cannot…”

    The rabbit cringed, not wanting to say it out loud.

    I didn’t want her to say it either.

    I felt like that would make it more real.

    Luke grimaced. “Is it going to - to take that blond kid?” He sounded pained. “Is that why he was with the Reserve too?”

    “That blond boy,” Artemis growled. “Appears to be a son of my father.” The rabbit puttered around the bed, running in a small circle like she was trying to pace and work off angry energy at the same time. “I - “ she panted. “I would know that lightning anywhere.”

    Luke closed his eyes.

    “His name’s Jason,” he said softly. “Jason Grace.”


    As in Thalia Grace?

    The rabbit recoiled.

    Luke’s lips curled up into a bitter smile. “Now you know.”

    “I don’t think he’s tainted,” I volunteered. “Ep - “ Crap. I think this is the first time in my life I’ve actually stopped myself from saying a Young God Name. And I won the duel. “The Horse Goddess is raising him and everything. He had a divine gift from her. That coin.”

    I didn’t see what it did, but I’m guessing the coin was a weapon of some kind. Considering who she is, it’s a spear. Or a javelin.

    “Favoritism,” Luke sneered.

    Is it?” Artemis scoffed. “If he’s with the Reserve, then he is safely out of sight.”

    I was starting to feel really bad for Myster - Jason. His sister was a tree, his foster mom was a jerk, his birth mother was MIA and his dad was an asshole.

    “It’s still more than most of us get,” Luke said quietly and Artemis deflated.

    “That is true.”

    There was an awkward silence.

    Luke shuffled in place. “Well, we’re not going anywhere for a while. Percy needs to heal - “

    “I have ambrosia - “

    “You need to heal,” Luke commanded. “For gods’ sake, your left leg is numb because you broke your back today. You could have been paralyzed for life.”

    “Heal fast,” I muttered.

    “Shut up,” Luke snarled.

    I shut up and stuffed one of his cold potato wedges into my mouth.

    My Camp Counselor sighed as he leaned forward in his seat. He pointed at the cards I had laid out. “I think we can safely assume this one - “ He tugged Boreas, God of the North Wind out of its place. “Was for Khione.”

    I moved to sit up closer, but the look he shot me thoroughly convinced me otherwise.

    “The Master Bolt,” Artemis murmured and gently tugged Zeus’ Lightning Bolt out of place too with her teeth.

    “The three of us.” Hermes, God of Thieves. The Oracle of Trophonius. Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt. Luke then frowned. “Reclaim is a harpe sword,” he said slowly, hovering over that item card. A Harpe Sword. It added a raw 500 attack power to a unit. “You think I’ll have to fight for the Bolt?”

    “God of War,” Artemis reminded him.

    “I could take him,” Luke muttered, but he put the card back.

    “This one…” Artemis gently picked up the card in her teeth and moved it. “Might be for me as well…”

    Moros, God of Doom.

    “What’d I tell you about being a quitter?” I asked.

    She sighed.

    Luke looked over the cards critically. “You know…” he began slowly. “There aren’t a lot of cards left and they are all too vague.”

    “I know,” I said miserably.

    “Unless…” Luke swallowed thickly as he reached out and slid three cards back into place. “Unless these don’t really mean us, but are part of the Prophecy.”

    I stared at the line up, feeling sick.

    I knew then, as I looked at the circle of the thirteen Mythomagic cards of my Prophecy, that Luke was right. All Mom had to say about Luke’s role in the Quest was ‘you needed a thief.’ She didn’t care who.

    “There’s going to be something else, or maybe multiple things we’re going to have to steal first,” I said.

    Hermes, God of Thieves.

    “Your cards,” Luke said. “You were getting warnings about the god at Sea. It told you about the Horse Goddess. Oracles don’t go on Quests.” Luke shook his head, overwhelmed. “Maybe you need to lead us to our destination? Is our Prophecy even done?”

    I don’t know.

    The Oracle of Trophonius.

    “Centaur blood,” Luke murmured. He tugged the item card Vial of Centaur Blood out of place. It was part of the item set used to counter control decks, poisoning enemy units if your unit was captured.

    “I think it’s a reference to both Chiron and Heracles,” he said. “Heracles killed the centaur Nessus with arrows tipped with hydra blood and that’s the same way Chiron died the first time. He had to give up his mortality because hydra venom hurt too much.”

    “From goddess to mortal rabbit,” I said.

    “Right,” Luke nodded. “And Nessus tricked Heracles wife, so poisoned centaur blood killed Heracles too, but he ascended instead.”

    “...is it both then?” I ventured. “Or is it either or?”

    “We’re trying to get her a Name,” Luke said. “I think this is saying it will work.”

    Artemis stared down at her own card.

    Goddess of the Hunt.

    “Thank you,” she whispered.

    I cornered Luke in the bathroom later.

    Well, I say cornered, but in all honesty we were there treating our wounds. Luke cleaned and re-wrapped his arm. It looked like he had stuck it up to the elbow in a giant lamprey’s mouth and then pulled it out. He washed the blood off in the sink. We checked on my left arm to make sure it was healing okay. Healing fast doesn’t mean shit if you heal wrong.

    Luke glanced up as the bone moved under his fingers. Then he shook his head, “Hate your pain tolerance,” he muttered as he kept nudging all the slivers he felt back into place. “I really want to take you to a hospital, but that x-ray is going to be crazy.”

    “Yeah,” I said. “Mist doesn’t hide it well.”

    Dad found that out from experience.

    “Did you really think it was both?” I said very quietly as he checked my sprained wrist and then motioned for me to give him my broken foot. “The centaur blood. Or were you just saying that to make her feel better?”

    Luke glanced at me. He looked troubled, like I asked him something he’d been asking himself.

    “...I don’t know.”

    I put one of my plans in motion when we went to bed.

    Well, my only plan.

    I had other plans, but they were more like half plans.

    Quarter plans.

    First, I hung around while Luke peppered Artemis with questions under the hulking form of Diana. I wasn’t going to tell them I was about to do something very stupid, because then they might stop me from doing the stupid thing.

    ‘The Reserve is what makes Camp Jupiter no better, isn’t it?’ Luke asked.

    Artemis was sitting in a small rabbit loaf by his shadowy Dream form. “They do not know it can happen to them,” she said quietly. “It was a guarded secret by the Pontifex Maximus, but there has not been one for over a century.”

    ‘You kept the fact they were cursed a secret?’

    “Because of what happened when they did know,” she replied. “I told you, it is not a good idea to rear children to believe in the Roman ideals you yourself do not hold. They assumed - no, they expected the sacrifice they made for Rome to be honored.

    Luke flitted around her as a dark spiny hummingbird. ‘They rebelled.’

    “Yes,” Artemis said softly. “They did and who do you think fought them on our behalf?”

    Luke was quiet for a long time.

    ‘Camp Half-Blood.’

    She curled up into a little ball.

    “History could not be changed, but it could be rewritten. We were no longer the enemy. Well,” the bunny huffed. “Not all of us. Athena was the architect of the deception and she volunteered to be the one at fault. The Romans blame her for fighting the Greeks of Camp Half-Blood, the curse is a state secret and we train them not to ask questions. Never question the gods. No answers, only commands.”

    I asked Apollo once how they kept the secret of the pantheons.

    His guilty face had said it all.

    “We took away their culture. We took away their history. We took away their freedom. Would you call that better?” The rabbit asked.

    ‘Ktêma empsuchon.’ Luke said.

    It was the same phrase he used when Khione told him demigods didn’t qualify for hospitality laws.

    It meant slave.

    “Some of us tried to change things for the better,” Artemis said. “It was not enough. Athena was one of them.”

    ‘She volunteered to be the scapegoat, tried to help Camp Jupiter, but doesn’t give a damn about her own children.’ Luke raised a blob that was his hand. Then he raised the other one and juggled them in the air like he was weighing scales. ‘I don’t get her at all.’

    “There is a trick to it,” Artemis huffed. “What is wiser? To win the fight or to avoid it altogether?”

    ‘Avoid,’ Luke said.

    “Athena is a war goddess,” Artemis replied. “And in war, wisdom is how best to spend the lives you have as currency.”


    I’m never telling Annabeth that.

    Luke rocked back.


    “Wisdom for its own sake was her mother,” Artemis murmured. “Would that she were still alive…”

    I checked to make sure Diana wasn’t watching me and sought out the Crossroads.

    I regretted it immediately.

    You may not know this, but being force fed someone else’s vision felt like going on the worst acid trip in anyone’s life.

    I felt like I had been sliced into pieces thin enough to see through. I was simultaneously strewn haphazardly among the stars and stuffed into each and every molecule of oxygen on Earth. My vision broke into fourteen sections as I watched what looked a lot like an adult Artemis with short red hair wearing an actual suit with a long military looking coat and cravat catch up to the taller Athena in a really old style dress with a poofy skirt.

    When was this, the American Revolution?

    ‘What are you thinking?” Artemis (?) hissed at her older half-sister as she pulled her along with her through golden hallways decorated with Greek mosaics. “You cannot do this.”

    “I can,” Athena (?) said evenly. “And I will. The Doors of Death as a battleground between the Camps, is the start of a race to the bottom. If I am the only one who sees that demigods scrambling for a means to not die so they can fight us -

    “You’re not the only one!” Artemis hissed. “I know. I know, but the vote -

    “Is the most hare-brained, short-sighted waste of time of the past decade,” Athena snarled. “That won’t end the war, it will start one on Olympus.”

    Artemis recoiled.

    Why should the demigods trust we will keep our word when we haven’t?” Athena said coldly. “Why should the minor gods? That is what started this mess, if you recall.”

    “We should be able to end it!” Artemis' frustrated shout echoed.

    Athena looked at her pityingly. “The time for overtures is long gone. We will simply have to do better the second time.”

    Artemis dropped Athena’s arm like it had burned her.

    “The second time?”

    “I am aware of what our father is like,” Athena waved the question off. “Have you never wondered exactly how many times we could use Camp Half-Blood as an attack dog before the mutt breaks?” she asked idly.

    Artemis looked incredulous. “I think you are the only one that thinks like that.”

    “Hmm,” Athena said primly, didn’t explain anything, just started walking again. Artemis hesitated, but then caught up again,

    “They aren’t mutts.”

    “As you say.”

    “If you do this, Father still won’t let that statue - “

    Athena turned her head. The expression on her face was blank, but I saw Artemis bite her lip and look down at the ground.

    “Do your duty,” Athena said coldly. “And I will do mine. Alone.”

    Artemis straighted. “And what is my duty?”

    They walked in silence for at least five minutes as I watched, passing other eternally youthful beings in everything from Greek chitons, Roman togas to Victorian reenactments with powdered wigs, a few walked around looking like they were in Imperial Russia, but most were in the same style of clothing Artemis and Athena were wearing. When the crowd in Olympus’ grand halls thinned, Athena murmured,

    “The Etruscan Messenger has outstayed his welcome, if you would Diana?”

    Artemis tilted her head curiously and the silver of her eyes vanished into that hungry void without a hint of resistance. A satisfied little smile was on her face.


    A jumbled mess of images pulled me away. I saw that vision from the time when the Oracle of Delphi attacked me again, but it had changed. The warring animals were still there, the three eyed goat and the monstrous bat. The world was waking up with every clash, bursting open with screaming vents of steam as the sea formed a massive whirlpool leading down into the depths where I saw ancient ruins start to rise. I looked to my left and saw the boy with the sea green eyes there. He was older than before, fifteen or sixteen, looking on in horror.

    ‘There is safety in repetition’ my mother’s voice said as the stars in the sky danced in patterns as skyscrapers fell to the deafening cheer of delirious crowds murdering each other with a smile -

    I pulled back with a gasp.

    The dainty yellow flowers of Delos bloomed around me.

    “And so you return,” Hecate said and she was standing beside me, looking out over the pale Crossroads just like I was. It looked like a branching river, just replace the water with stardust. It kind of hurt my head a little to think that every glowing mote in the Crossroads was a choice.

    The goddess of the Dark Moon looked just like she did last time with twisting silver designs on her dress and a black dog at her feet. Her pole cat was taking a nap around her neck and her twin torches were held up high.

    “I - yeah,” I said, curling into myself. “I’m sorry, your grace.”

    “Are you really?” She asked calmly and I cringed.

    I was now.

    “I, uh - I just wanted to ask you something?”

    “I know.” She inclined her head towards me and then turned to walk away. “I am afraid I must decline.”

    “Do you need anything stolen?” I blurted out to her back.

    Hecate stopped.

    “Do I need…” She said, but this time there was this whisper underneath her voice, repeating her words in a language I couldn’t make out, but the sound of it felt like ice water was being poured into my bones. My lizard hindbrain started wailing like air raid sirens. “...something stolen.”

    “We’ve got a thief,” I whispered. Quests were when mortals were allowed to break the rules. The Ancient Laws didn’t apply to us. “We can pay for it. Please.”

    Hecate turned back around. Her free hand came up to pull down her hood. I vaguely noticed some of her black hair was pulled up.

    Looking her in the eyes stung.

    Thankfully, she didn’t look at me for long.

    “...I will meet you in the meadows, in the sunlight of new construction,” she said as she turned away again. “You will not be late.”


    “Uh, wait- “

    I woke up.

    The motel fan creaked almost soundlessly above me. There were words in my head that weren’t mine. They were staticky, cutting in and out like I wasn’t supposed to hear it.

    Wisdom’s daug - - lks alone,
    -Mark of - - rns thro - - Rome
    Twins - - - angel –
    — – —- -key —

    Then it was silent.

    I didn’t know whether or not to feel worried or triumphant as I laid there. Hecate hadn’t said no. I smiled to myself as I realized something else.

    I really was an Oracle.

    I didn’t win much of anything in that duel.


    Epona was going to spend the rest of her long life knowing she lost an eye to a demigod of The Morrigan.

    AN: IVLIVS is the gold coin that belonged to Jason Grace and it is never said who gave it to him. When flipped, if it was heads, then it became an Imperial Gold gladius. If tails, it was a seven foot long javelin. Jason was well trained in the use of both, but seemed to favor the spear. The name IVLIVS is Latin for Yulius. The sword side had the image of Julius Caesar as a reference to the minted aureus coin. The spear side was an ax, the symbol of Caesar's victory over Gaul. It was destroyed in canon in battle against the giant Enkelados on Mount Diablo, exploding with enough force to melt sand into glass, but Jason was mostly unharmed.
  22. DeathShade

    DeathShade Best Father in Hallownest

    Apr 3, 2016
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    Gotta say, those moments when the old timeline creeps in are some of my favourite, because it makes it all the more intriguing to me that the original timeline 'happened' and this world was created/derived from that by Ananke.

    Like, if Percy ever realises what went on and so on, I would love to read his thought process and feelings on Sally Jackson. Is she his 'original' mother who he was 'stolen' from? Does she not matter to him at all because he doesn't feel like he and Percy Jackson are in any way the same even if he is created from Percy Jackson. If this ever comes to a head, I will be reading with rapt attention.
  23. NounNoun

    NounNoun Gather, Purify, Condense, Repeat

    Jul 26, 2022
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    I mean, I personally think it would be the second one, because percy (stele) has no connection to or care about sally, and has his own mother who raised and loves him, so he would probably go "huh. neat. you look like me, except your eyes arent as cool. hey annabeth how do you do btw your mom used to be king of olympus lol"
  24. Mandoanon

    Mandoanon Know what you're doing yet?

    Jan 14, 2022
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    I'm kind of surprised eating the bear wasn't the solution. Unless he needs to metaphysically mean to take a bite.
    NounNoun likes this.
  25. Shujin

    Shujin Know what you're doing yet?

    Jul 27, 2021
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    I haven't been bringing the canon timeline in the first book for no reason.
    It was his mother's solution to his bear problem, but Nyx curbed his appetite and he hadn't eaten Aura as planned by this point either. His Hunger wasn't strong enough, so he threw it up.
    Radtank, ArcanaVitae and NounNoun like this.
  26. Aaron_04

    Aaron_04 Making the rounds.

    Apr 7, 2022
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    Wait a moment, i've just conected a few things: hulking wolf bear thing that apears in a explosion of blood from inside people and holds something thightly against her chest.
    Is Kallisto vicar amelia?
    Also love the story shujin and, was that percy seeing the rising of R'lye?
    NounNoun likes this.
  27. Mandoanon

    Mandoanon Know what you're doing yet?

    Jan 14, 2022
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    So he was supposed to eat the bear and not the giant squid. Gotcha. You'd think mom would have been genre savy enough to know that tentacles are much more appetizing.
    NounNoun likes this.
  28. Radtank

    Radtank That one guy, doing that one thing.

    Apr 6, 2020
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    I figured Pertemis wasn't the pairing when she returned to Rabbit... but I am sad about it, there are so many Pertemis stories, and yet, I've never read a single good one.
    Too edgy, cringy or some combination of the two.

    Cuz of how well you write, I figure you'll handle the romance just as good.
    Which is great!
    But also sad, for me.
  29. Shujin

    Shujin Know what you're doing yet?

    Jul 27, 2021
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    Yuppers, she is and yes, he was.
    You've never had a bear steak before?
    Aww, well hopefully you're okay with the intended pairings for the story :)
    ArcanaVitae and Radtank like this.
  30. Aaron_04

    Aaron_04 Making the rounds.

    Apr 7, 2022
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    Man, poor percy jackson, he is about to takr a good chunck of SAN damage. And he will have to seriously reconsider his live choices uf he ended up that way but that is nothing new for him

    I have total trust in your desitions. Honestly while I miss the actually well done pertemis that never existed, having luke, percy and artemis as absolute dork best friends is marvelous.
    Shujin, Radtank and NounNoun like this.