"PUT DOWN THE TRIDENT!"
"QUIT THROWING LIGHTNING BOLTS!"
"LET'S START A WAR!"
"I'M SO PRETTY!"
Artemis sighed. She was so tired of this meeting. The gathering, which had now been going on for well over four hours, had consisted only of a bunch of rubbish. Constant bickering and arguing. So far the only progress that the Olympians had made had been angering each other further than when they first began the meeting, if that was even possible.
Out of the corner of her eye, Artemis saw Apollo yawning. She was glad someone else was bothered by the efficiency rate. She turned to look at her brother, trying to communicate with him silently. Due either to their sibling senses or their twin powers, he immediately caught her eye, and he grinned at her. The yawn her brother was engaged in morphed into a disturbing, open-mouthed grimace that made Artemis laugh, drawing the attention of the goddesses on either side of her. In return to Athena and Aphrodite's questioning stares, she gave them a glare that she always fixed on a monster she was about to kill. The intimidation method worked, as always, because both of the goddesses turned away quickly.
Satisfied with her menacing glare, Artemis glanced back at Apollo across from her. He had moved on to picking his nose, much to her disgust. He seemed to be quite absorbed in it too; that is, until she gave him a hard stare that caused him to blush and wipe away whatever he'd found inside his nose on his toga. Artemis noted that he had worn the toga today, as he always did when he was trying to be professional for an Olympian council meeting. He caught her scrutinizing his attire, and he managed to flash her a cocky grin with that carefree attitude that Artemis once again envied.
It wasn't fair that he could be so aloof when she had to be "the responsible one." From day one when they were born, Artemis had been pegged that label by all because she was born first. True, she enjoyed being the more mature of the twins, but it certainly wouldn't hurt him to try to act like an adult every few eons or so, would it?
Although, Apollo wouldn't be the same goofy brother that she loved now if he had to be the mature one. His annoying, selfish ways were somehow endearing. Maybe it was because, as his sister, Artemis was required to love him unconditionally, no matter what. But she still liked him better like this, she decided.
Finally achieving eye contact with her twin, Artemis mouthed a message to him. Are you okay? Apollo nodded, giving her a small smile, but she was doubtful. He was looking much more subdued and thoughtful, perhaps even depressed, today than usual. True, Olympian meetings were always enough to dampen everyone's spirits, but Apollo was frequently one of the chipper ones that encouraged positive discussions during the gathering. Today though, he seemed distant, like he was pondering something that required a lot of effort to think about it. So that meant his thoughts were either centered around girls (like Daphne), as usual, or a more pressing matter at the moment: Percy Jackson.
Swallowing, Artemis raised an eyebrow to show her disbelief that he was alright, and her brother grinned wider and waved away her concerns. He then mouthed something to her, and she had no trouble understanding what he was saying. Ask him now. For good measure, he pointed to the menacing giant at the end of the room who was bellowing about nonsense like normal. Artemis gulped again and turned to face the scary god.
He was by far the scariest thing in the room right now. His hair seemed to stand up on its own, as it did when he was angry (which was often), or when he was constipated (which was also often.) His eyes blazed with fire, a sure sign that he was furious and was likely about to kill anyone who intervened with him. In his balled fists she spied his trusty lightning bolt, which was easily one of the most powerful weapons of all time. He was Lord Zeus, King of the Gods.
He was also her dad. Yay.
Although he always seemed to be in a bad mood, he was in an exceptionally foul mood right now. He looked irritated, a look that Artemis did not enjoy. She stared at her brother incredulously, mouthing Are you crazy? Not now! Unfortunately, Apollo was so dimwitted that he seemed to take her words to mean Are you lazy? Hot cow! Once she had repeated and clarified her message for him, her brother gave her an odd gaze. He seemed to ask with his eyes, Why? What's the problem? When she only stared at him, he finally understood. Oh. Well, why do you care what happens to the son of Poseidon so much? He's just a demigod. Artemis shook her head. Percy Jackson wasn't just a demigod. He was the Savior of Olympus, one of Hera's chosen heroes of Olympus, and easily the most powerful demigod in centuries.
And right now he was in Tartarus.
It was all the buzz in the modern Greek and Roman worlds right now. Both Camp Half-Blood and Camp Jupiter were frantic, not knowing what to do if one of their most valuable campers disappeared for good, which appeared it would be. Percy Jackson was well known for being an extremely talented swordsman, as well as a true master of his demigod powers. All over the country there was talk of sending out search parties, hiring professional demigod-locators, and even calling the cops and reporting a kidnapping incident. In fact, that very matter was the topic of discussion for this particular Olympian meeting: what to do about Percy Jackson.
That brought Apollo's question to the forefront of Artemis's mind once again. Why did she care about Percy Jackson this much? Like her brother said, he was only a demigod. And she'd met plenty of those in her extensively lengthy lifetime. Heracles, Jason, Perseus (the first one), Achilles, Odysseus... They'd all been major heart throbs too.
WAIT- Did she just call Percy Jackson a heart throb? Ew, no. She meant from an objective point of view, of course. She was the maiden goddess. The virgin goddess. She wasn't supposed to find men attractive; that was the whole point. She'd made that mistake once before with Orion, and that hadn't ended well at all. No, she would never fall for a guy again. But... she could admit if someone was good-looking, right? That didn't mean she liked him. There was a huge difference, after all, between liking someone and being able to tell whether or not they were cute.
So, why did she care about him? She knew the answer. Respect, she mouthed to her brother directly across the hall from her. He gave a nod like he understood, but motioned with his hand as though he wanted to know why she respected him, what he'd done to earn her respect. It was well known by all that it was very hard for Artemis to like, no, respect any men, so he was likely very curious to know what had occurred to allow Percy Jackson to make the cut.
Rather than exhaust herself and her brother by trying to mouthe the whole story to him, Artemis decided it would just be easier to tell it to him mentally, which probably would have been easier to do from the start. Whether it was just a regular power of the gods or a special twin/sibling connection or both, Artemis and Apollo could communicate telepathically, which came in handy at times when they were very bored, like now for instance. Artemis tapped her head with her index finger to indicate that she would talk to him in his brain, since he sometimes freaked out and forgot they could talk to each other that way if she didn't warn him in advance.
Well, she began, it all started about three years ago, when I first met Percy Jackson...
My Hunters howled wildly as they raced through the woods.
At the sight of the manticore and the cornered demigods up ahead, they sped up their sprinting and reached the group in no time. My Hunters immediately began to attack the monster with an onslaught of arrows. I stayed in the back of the group, sweeping my eyes across the group of children before me: 6 demigods. Wait, no. 5 demigods and a satyr.
I saw two siblings, a girl and a boy who looked as though they might be related on both sides of their parents. Both had dark hair and dark eyes, and they stood next to each other, so huddled that it was obvious they were very close. The older sister wore a dark floppy hat and the younger brother looked very similar, although less closed-off and more innocent.
There was a wispy-haired satyr that I did not recognize, although that wasn't unusual, who stood by two girl demigods, both of which I recognized. Thalia Grace, daughter of Zeus, was somewhat of a legend, not only being a child of the Big Three, but also being turned into a tree.
She paused momentarily. Sound familiar, dear brother? she said sweetly.
Ugh, he groaned. No need to remind me of Daphne. That was hard enough without all of your teasing. Now get back to the story. This is actually kind of interesting.
Gee, glad my life is so entertaining, she said sarcastically. Anyway, the daughter of Zeus seemed to be quite courageous, and a fierce fighter, but a bit too defiant. The girl beside her was Annabeth Chase. The blonde-haired brainiac was a daughter of Athena, who is well-known for her love of architecture and her hopes of one day rebuilding Olympus as she sees fit. I had tried to recruit both of them to my group of hunters many times, but had been denied each time. I had often wondered why, but all my questions were answered once I saw the fifth and final demigod in the group.
My first thought: stunning sea green eyes unlike any I'd ever seen before. Following thought: mop of jet black hair that was a naturally windswept look. He looked to be about 14 years old. He was fairly muscular. And he was stunning. I knew of only one demigod that fit that description: Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon. Although I'd never met him or seen him before, I'd heard way too many women talk about him for me to not know him when I saw him. Everyone seemed to obsess about him: goddesses, nymphs, demigods, and even some of my Hunters, although I pretend not to overhear for their sake. I don't have the heart nowadays to kick out any of my Hunters for how they feel, so long as they don't consider leaving the Hunt for a guy.
Fair enough, her brother said cockily, checking himself out simultaneously with a hand mirror.
Back to the story, dear brother. With some embarrassment, I realized I had been staring at the son of Poseidon, and I forced myself to turn my attention back to the situation at hand. Before they could truly begin the fight, Zoe Nightshade stepped forward and spoke without taking her gaze off of the beast.
"Permission to kill my lady?"
"This is not fair!" the manticore complained. He was an ugly fellow, I decided, with different eye colors: one brown, one blue. "Direct interference! It is against the Ancient Laws!"
"Not so," I said breezily, stepping forward. I noted out of the corner of my eye, with some satisfaction, that the son of Poseidon had been surprised by my beauty. "The hunting of all wild beasts is within my sphere. And you, foul creature, are a wild beast. Zoe," I said, turning back to my lieutenant, "permission granted."
Chaos ensued after that. The manticore lunging at the son of Poseidon. The daughter of Athena defending him. The Hunters shooting at the manticore. The manticore kidnapping the the daughter of Athena. The shock in the air was so palpable that I felt it needed to be a moment of tense silence, but instead what followed was the popping sound of gunfire.
I was still so upset by Annabeth's capture, although I tried not to show it, that I was surprised I stated simply, "Mortals are not allowed to witness my hunt." With a simple thrust of my hand, the aircraft magically disassembled into a flock of ravens.
Your favorite bird, Apollo noted with pleasure.
Right you are, dear brother. After that, there was a bit of a clash between Zoe Nightshade and Thalia Grace, which was to be expected. I suspect that they despise each other so much because each is deeply in love with the son of Poseidon, although I would never mention it to either of them. Zoe then gave me the status report that I already knew. What had only moments ago been five demigods and a satyr was now four demigods and a satyr.
"Some of Chiron's campers, I see" I said. I was trying to stay very diplomatic, although the loss of such a young maiden upset me greatly. The son of Poseidon also seemed very bothered.
"Annabeth!" he cried, panicked. "You have to let us save her!" The way he said her name bothered me, more than it should have. Were they a couple? It seemed likely.
"I'm sorry, Percy Jackson," I said. "but your friend is beyond help." I don't know why I said that then. I knew that she wasn't too far gone for help. In fact, I knew where the manticore had taken her. But I wanted him to give up on her for some reason, to forget and move on. I think I may have been...jealous.
Her story was stopped short by outrageous laughter from her brother across the room. You? Jealous? he asked incredulously. Wow, that's really something. You must have had it bad for this guy.
No I didn't, Artemis protested. I just acted in a rare moment of immaturity. I have nothing but great respect for him now. Anyway, even when he tried to get up, I made my Hunters hold him down, and I said, "You are in no condition to be hurling yourself off cliffs." I thought then that that would be the end of it, and I would get the last word as a goddess. But the son of Poseidon surprised me yet again.
"Let me go! Who do you think you are?" he demanded. I was so shocked and surprised. Nobody had ever spoken to me like that and lived to see another day. But I believe that I was so head-over-heels that I stopped Zoe Nightshade from hurting him and gave some sort of excuse to protect him from her.
"No," I told her. "I sense no disrespect, Zoe. He is simply distraught. He does not understand. I am Artemis," I said, turning to face the boy. "Goddess of the Hunt."
Apollo laughed uproariously, drawing more looks of confusion from nearby gods. I bet the look of astonishment on his face was priceless! he guffawed, earning a tentative smile from Artemis. It had been quite funny actually.
She was about to describe the exact reaction to her brother when she was interrupted by a ringing bell in the hall. All of the Twelve Olympians stood and ceased talking. With a wave of his hand, Zeus ordered the other eleven Olympians to be seated.
"It has been brought to my attention by a certain goddess of wisdom," he said pointedly, looking at a stoic Athena to Artemis's right, "that we need to actually decide what to do about this son of Poseidon. Um...what's his name again?"
"Peter Johnson!" Dionysus called placidly from the corner, which earned a scowl from Poseidon.
"Don't be a fool. His name is Percy Jackson," he said proudly. Artemis clapped silently from her seat. Dionysus's name mix-ups could be entertaining and amusing when the matter wasn't too serious. Like this was.
"WELL?!" barked Zeus, causing most of the Olympians to cringe. "Does anybody have any ideas about what to do?"
"Lord Zeus!" Artemis cried, rising from her seat. Apollo gave her a small thumbs-up of encouragement, and her confidence boosted ever-so slightly. "I propose that we go on a full-scale search for this demigod. Code Red. Send out dozens of search parties from both the Roman and Greek demigod camps. Alert every major and minor god of his absence and tell them to be on the look-out. Hunt down any monster that may know anything about how to get him out. Go to the Doors of Death and try to send him a message. Ask Lord Hades if he has any news of his whereabouts. This demigod is far too important to ignore. He has saved the world dozens of times over, and we need him to do so again. He could be the key to defeating Gaea. He has saved us, the gods, more times than I can count, and has never once complained about the enormous burden cast upon his small shoulders, strong as they are. We can not give up on him, just as he has never given up on us."
She took a deep breath and tried to calm the nerves that were making her heart race. "There is a rumor going around that I love Percy Jackson. I now want to put that rumor to rest by saying this: I do not love him. There may have been a time where I was attracted to him, but not anymore. I have only the deepest respect for him that I can give to a person. He has earned my trust and my respect, a feat which is not easy for most men. So I just want to end this by saying that it is time for us to live up to our duty as the gods and protectors of demigods. We need to help the son of Poseidon, or else I fear that we will be no better than the monsters that reside in Tartarus where he is confined now."
Zeus, surprisingly, was the one who began the spattered clapping, which quickly morphed into an ear-deafening applause in the Olympian council hall.