Chapter 26: Training
“Put your back into men!” Perseus shouted from the edge of the battlefield.
I watched amazed as the warriors moved around the field with such agility, it was hard to keep up with them.
“That’s the best you got?” Apollo smirked, clearing getting under Ares’ skin.
Ares growled and shot forward with such speed that I have never seen. I didn’t even know someone could move that fast.
It seemed like slow motion as Ares appeared in front of Apollo is a matter of seconds and shoulder checked him, causing Apollo to fly across the field and into a nearby tree.
Apollo grunted but stood up laughing. “Nice one man.”
I stood dumbfounded. Shouldn’t Apollo be hurt? Or dead?
“Royal Blood.” Perseus chuckled at my expression.
“What does that mean?” I asked.
“His strength, speed, everything is multiplied by ten.”
“But isn’t that because he’s a werewolf?”
“You’re correct. He is already faster because he’s a werewolf. But he’s also the Alpha King and he’s of Royal Blood.” Perseus explained. “So if he were to unleash his ultimate power in battle, he would be unstoppable.”
“Ultimate power?” I asked confused as I turned to face him.
“You don’t know?” Perseus asked shocked.
“I…I didn’t have the best time at my old pack.” I said awkwardly. Perseus looked like he wanted to say something, but he chose not to.
“Nice punch.” Ares wheezed as he stood up slowly. “Damn.”
Apollo smirked and kissed his arms.
“Because King Ares is of Royal Blood, he has greater power than the average wolf. But it doesn’t come easy. You have to learn how to unlock it.” Perseus continued.
“How do you know if you can unlock it?” I asked intrigued.
“You don’t.” Perseus answered. “Every wolf here goes through certain tests to determine if they are of Royal Blood. There’s no other way to tell.”
“What are the tests?” I asked.
I wonder if I have to go through those. But there’s no way I’m of Royal Blood.
Perseus went to answer, but stopped once he saw Ares coming towards us.
“My King.” Perseus bowed. “Excellent form.”
Ares rolled his eyes and chuckled. “You can tell me what you really think.”
“It was a sloppy form.” Perseus said without missing a beat.
I had to throw my hands over my mouth to keep myself from laughing out loud.
“I know it was.” Ares groaned.
“You are letting Royal Beta Apollo get under your skin.” Perseus said sternly. “You need to learn how to control that.”
“I know but-” Ares started but Perseus cut him off.
“You are a King. Learn how to control that. If you want to do great, you need to learn how to brush that off. Now suck it up and get over to the next training station and take the Queen with you. It is now time for her to start her training.”
“Yes, sir.” Ares said as he grabbed my hand and walked over to the next field.
Okay. I’m officially scared of Perseus.
“Damn.” I breathed. “He can be scary.”
“You have no idea.” Ares laughed. “When he gets into his training mode, no one wants to mess with him. But that’s nothing. You should see him when he’s on the field with a sword.”
“That bad?” I asked shocked.
“No one wants to spare with him because he wins every time.” Ares explained. “But he is a really good teacher and I’m glad that he is willing to help everyone here train. He’s definitely made us all better at fighting.”
“Now I’m nervous.” I gulped.
“Why?” Ares asked stopping and looking down at me.
“Because all of you guys have had years of practice. You had teachers. The closest thing to a weapon that I have ever held was a kitchen knife. I’m going to embarrass myself in front of everyone.” I explained looking down at the ground.
“Athena.” Ares said softly as he placed his hand under my chin and lifted my head up. “We don’t expect you to know how to do any of this stuff. Yeah, we’ve been doing this all of our lives, but everyone here knows that you haven’t. No one is going to make fun of you and if they do, then I’m kicking their ass. But no one will because they aren’t like that. Everyone in this pack would give up the shirt on their backs if someone needed it. That’s just how they are. I guarantee that if you asked for some help with training, no matter who you asked, they would say yes in a heartbeat.”
“Really?” I asked quietly.
“Yes.” Ares nodded. “No, come on. The station is learning how to shoot a gun.”
I nodded and followed him over to a stand.
I’m not used to this. My old pack would stand there and laugh at me after they knocked me down and beat me up. I never even knew people like this existed.
‘I’m loving this pack more and more every day.’ Artemis chimed.
‘You and me both.’ I agreed as I looked up at Ares.
I think I’m going to really like it here.
“Just like that.” I nodded as Athena held up the gun and put the butt of the gun under her arm. “You don’t want it resting against your shoulder because when the gun kicks back, it’s going to kick back hard and hurt your shoulder.”
“This is so weird.” She mumbled. “How can hold this and not get an arm cramp?”
I laughed and watched as she set it down. “You’re so cute. But we have a group of snipers.”
“Well good for them.” She huffed. “But guns are not my thing.”
“That’s okay. We can try something else. But just so you know, Perseus is going to hound you until you know how to at least shoot one.”
Athena groaned and picked the gun up again. “Let’s just shoot this thing so we can tell him that I know how.”
“Come on.” I chuckled as I showed her to the shooting range. “Put the gun back in the position you had it in earlier, aim through the scope, and pull the trigger when you breathe out.”
Athena nodded and rested the butt of the gun under her arm and brought her eye to the scope. I watched her take a couple of breaths and on the third breath, she pulled the trigger.
The gun kicked back slightly, but to my surprise, Athena didn’t budge.
‘Damn.’ Zeus howled. ‘Our little mate surprises me more and more every day.’
‘Calm down there.’ I joked.
But I agree with him. I wouldn’t have expected Athena do well on the very first try considering she’s never shot a gun before, let alone pick one up.
“How was that?” Athena asked as he looked away from the scope and up at me.
“Very good.” I smiled. “Let’s go see how you did.”
Athena shoved the gun into my chest and ran down the range to the target.
I chuckled and walked over to where she was standing.
“Ares!” She shouted as I neared closer. “I got a bulls-eye!”
“Did you really?” I asked shocked with wide eyes.
“Yeah!” She smiled pointing to the bullet hole in the middle of the target.
“Nicely done!” I said proudly. “Perseus. Look.”
Perseus walked closer and inspected the target.
Athena looked at him nervously as he continued to check out the hole. But he broke out in smiles and clapped, making Athena breathe a sigh of relief.
“Well done, my Queen.” Perseus nodded. “If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought you’ve been shooting all your life.”
“This is so exciting!” Athena exclaimed, jumping up and down. “What’s next?”
“I love your enthusiasm.” Perseus smiled. “Only if someone could be like you.” He continued, giving me a pointed look.
I rolled my eyes. “Next is the bow and arrow. Janus is standing next to the booth.”
“Let’s go!” Athena smiled as she ran towards Janus.
Perseus and I both laughed as we walked over to her.
“I really like her.” Perseus said suddenly. “I think she will make an amazing Queen. She’s kind, full of spirit, and very funny.”
“I agree.” I said nodding.
“No no.” Janus shook his head smiling. “Like this.”
“Oh.” Athena said embarrassed as Janus flipped the bow right side up.
“Everyone has already taken a liking to her.” Perseus pointed out. “The workers around the castle have talked about how nice she is and the ones who haven’t met her yet can’t wait to meet her. They tell me that everyone talks so highly of her.”
I smiled proudly at my beautiful mate. I can’t believe how lucky I got and how blessed I feel right now.
“Okay good.” Janus continued teaching as he took a couple of steps back. “Now just pull the string back, aim, and let go.”
Athena took a couple of breaths before releasing the string. We all watched shocked as the arrow soared through the air in a straight line and hit the target dead on.
“No way.” Perseus said quietly. “H-How?”
“The first one I could believe as beginner’s luck. But two in a row?” I said shocked.
“Did I hit it?” Athena asked. “I did!”
“How did you do that?” Janus asked. “I sucked on my first try.”
“Beginner’s luck I guess.” Athena smiled.
“Let’s try the swords.” Perseus smiled, breaking the silence.
‘Do you think she’s lying when she said that she’s never used weapons?’ Zeus asked.
‘No.’ I said. ‘I think she’s telling the truth, but something is just weird. I can’t quite put my finger on it.’
“That was really good.” I smiled as I draped my arm across her shoulders as we followed Perseus.
“Really?” She asked smiling.
I nodded. “Are you sure you’ve never used any type of weapon before?”
“I promise.” She laughed.
“I don’t know. You might be lying.” I teased.
“Maybe.” She said seriously.
“Wait, what?” I asked as I stopped walking and dropped my arm from her shoulders. She winked at me and ran ahead of Perseus. “Hey!” I yelled, chasing after her.
She let out a squeak as I picked her up and twirled us around. She laughed as I kept planting kisses around her cheek.
“Stop.” She giggled. “It tickles.”
“Put her down.” Perseus commanded. “We have work to do.”
I huffed and slowly set her down, but kept my arms around her.
‘I like this.’ Zeus purred.
“Ares.” She laughed as she tried to break free. “I don’t want Perseus to yell at me.”
“No.” I huffed and wrapped my arms around her tighter. “I’ll let you go, only if I get a kiss.”
She rolled her eyes and pecked my lips. “There.”
I gave her a pouting look.
Athena laughed and wrapped her arms around my neck, pulling me down to meet her lips. I growled into the kiss and put my hand on the back of her neck, bringing her closer.
But sadly it was cut short by Perseus blowing a whistle. “Let’s go!”
Athena pulled back and smiled at me before running over to Perseus.
“She is going to be the death of me.” I said to myself as I walked over to the sidelines.
“This is heavy.” Athena said as she tried to pick up a sword.
“Oh, you’re fine.” Perseus laughed as he rummaged through the armor. He picked up a helmet and chest piece and set them on the table in front of Athena. “For protection.”
“This is huge!” Athena yelled as the helmet covered her face. “How am I supposed to see with this thing on?”
“Oh, my bad.” Perseus chuckled. “I’m used to getting them for our warriors. Let me find a smaller one.”
Athena took the helmet off and handed it to Perseus as he offered her another one.
“Okay. This is much better.” Athena said as the helmet sat perfectly on her cute little head causing me to chuckle. Athena looked over at me and smiled before turning her attention back to Perseus.
“Here’s the matching chest plate.” He said as he helped her put it on.
“Looking good!” I called out to her with a wink.
Athena laughed and waved me off.
“Ready?” Perseus asked.
“Oh yeah.” Athena smiled.
“Now make sure your feet are shoulder width apart and the left one is ahead a little.”
“Like this?” Athena asked as she got in a stance.
“Yes.” Perseus smiled. “Now hold up your sword like this.”
Athena followed his instructions and mirrored his movements.
I continued to watch Athena followed him and tried out all the stances.
“How’s she doing?” Hecate asked as she came up next to me.
“Good.” I answered. “How’s the wolfsbane coming along?”
“As expected.” She laughed. “Some of them were nervous to touch it. Even with the gloves.”
“Well can you blame them?”
Hecate laughed. “Fair enough. But we might need to get new gloves. Possibly a little thinner. The thickness of the gloves is making it a little hard to roll the wolfsbane into a ball and tie the string. But other than that, they are doing quite well. They got the lighting and throwing down very nicely. But also there, the gloves make it a little difficult.”
“I can ask someone to look into finding new gloves. We could do a thin layer of leather.” I suggested.
“That would work.” Hecate nodded.
“That’s how you block.” Perseus said. “Shall we try it out now?”
Athena nodded, a little unsurely, but got in the defensive stance anyway.
“Oh please be careful.” I whispered.
It felt like slow motion as Perseus brought his sword down and Athena blocked it effortlessly. But what really amazed me was when Athena jerked her sword upward, causing Perseus to lose his grip and send his sword flying to his right. Athena then pivoted her body and hit Perseus with the butt of her sword in the center of his chest, knocking his sword out of his hands and making Perseus fall down on the ground as well. She then straightened out and moved her sword so it was right in front of his throat.
Everyone stopped what they were doing and stood there in shock. Perseus was too shocked to even speak.
Athena’s eyes went wide and she dropped her sword, backing up quickly. “H-How did I just do that?”
“I don’t know but that was amazing my Queen.” Perseus said amazed as he stood up and handed Athena her sword. “Do it again.”
“Athena is really kicking ass.” Janus complimented. “How does she do it?”
“I honestly have no idea.” I said truthfully.
This whole thing is so confusing.
“Well can she teach me?” Apollo laughed.
“You guys.” Hecate interrupted. “She might be of Royal Blood.”
“You think?” Apollo asked, looking at all of us.
“How else do you think she picked up on everything so quickly.”
“She might just be a fast learner.” Janus said thinking out loud.
“I don’t think so.” Hecate said crossing her arms over her chest. “Athena’s special. More special than you guys think.”
“What are you saying?” I asked.
“She’s originally part of this pack. Coming back here and spending time here might have awakened her inner power.” She explained. “Yes she might be a fast learner, but even if she was, she wouldn’t have done as well as she did. She did perfectly on the gun and bow. Now, look at how she’s swinging that sword around. Her execution is literally flawless.”
I turned back to look at Athena and Hecate was right. They way Athena held that sword and her footwork made it look like she was born with a sword in her hands. I could even see Perseus acting confused on how well Athena was working that sword.
“You might be right.” I said sternly. “I think we all know what we need to do.”
“You aren’t.” Janus said shocked.
I nodded. “I am.”
“Ares. She’s never done any of this and you want to throw her into those exercises?” Janus asked angrily. “I understand that you want to know if she is of Royal Blood but Athena isn’t strong enough yet. You have to give her time.”
“She’ll be fine.” I snapped. “Do you honestly think I would do anything to put her into jeopardy? I’m not going to throw her directly into those exercises. I’m going to give her a simpler form of them. And I am going to be right there with her.”
“I still think it’s a bad idea.” Janus commented.
“I have to agree with Janus.” Apollo agreed. “She could get seriously hurt.”
“That’s why I’m going to be doing the exercises with her. Making them seem like any other training exercise. I’m not going to have her do the full ones.” I said. “But you guys can’t deny your suspicions either.”
“I’m not.” Janus said as he gave me a side eye. “But I just think she needs to train a little more. She needs to be more ready.”
“That’s why they are going to be a little easy for her.” I said. “She’ll be okay. And if anything goes wrong, I’m going to be right there with her.”
‘You really think she has Royal Blood?’ Zeus asked.
‘I do.’ I confirmed.
‘Just be careful. I don’t want anything happening to her.’ Zeus warned. ‘And if I don’t like something, I will come out and make sure she is safe.’
‘Trust me.’ I said as I watched Athena block a swing from Perseus. ‘I would never do anything to hurt her. And if I even get the slightest feeling that something is wrong, I will stop whatever we are doing and make sure she is safe.’
I hope my feeling is correct.