Chapter 8 - Pertemis: A Wolf’s Tale

Third person Point of View

They both fell into unconscious on the wet and mossy floor in that dark cavern.

As time passed, for the Fates to know who would be the one to be awakened, and the dead. Artemis slowly opened her eyes.

She felt as if her bones had been cracked, her head had hit a rock that she started to see stars dancing around. Slowly, little by little, everything came flooding back to her. Artemis stared down at the lifeless body of who supposed to be her half-brother. Lucky, his features still remained the same or else she would be now sitting on a pancake Perseus.

His eyes were closed. A line of dried red blood ran down from the edge of his mouth. The situation and position of her on him seemed unacceptable, but she didn't mind that for now. All she cared now was his survival.

Her hands shook as she gently set her palm on his chest, feeling no beat, she began to panic. What would Leo do when she came back with a dead Perseus? She knew she didn't physical kill him, but she was the cause of his death. Not only that, would Leo ever forgive her. Artemis didn't want her mother to say 'I never want to see you again.'

Then she heard something. It was gentle and quite, but with her sharp ears, of course she would've heard it better than human. Slowly she leaned closer to his nose and turn her ear on it. To her delight and surprise, the sensation of hot and weak air made her shiver from him.

She leaned back and grinned. Perseus was still alive, which mean she wouldn't get into any trouble at home. But soon she realised that he was dying. She had to do something quick.

"Perseus, open your eyes Perseus!" She slapped his cheek, shook his head to get his eyes open. Again and again, it still shut close.

She started to look around, trying to find some herbs that could help. The cave was pretty dark by now. The sun hadn't gone down yet, but the gems had already stopped glowing and the lake didn't glitter any longer. It seemed so quite and spooky.

She anxiously got off his side and walked around the cave. There must be something to make nectar or ambrosia in here. She knew that was gods food and only grow on Olympus, but this island was considered not to be normal also.

She tried to catch the smell, but nothing seemed to catch her attention. Then, when she glanced at the water source of the stream, a strange purple herd like moss flourished between the cracks. It looked just like ambrosia and immediately Artemis rushed to it. She picked as much as she could and ran back to where Perseus was laying.

As she was running, a grin appeared on her face. She was so delightful and something suddenly crashed down and she came to a stop.

The creature she had fought in the lake somehow had crawled up the surface. It was sniffing at Perseus shoes and Artemis just had time to shoved the herds in her pocket and summoned the bow. The hellhound sensed danger as it bared its fangs and growled at her. It leaned backwards, ready to attack.

Artemis gave it a stern look as she pulled the string. It might've defeated her under that water, but now, she would send it to Tartarus in any moment.

Right when the fight was about to explode, a sudden groan came out and froze everything. She stared back at Perseus and surprisingly the creature glanced at him in happiness. It surprised her even more when hellhound came nudging at his side and licked his hand.

It then looked up to her with that red eyes as telling her to do something. Artemis didn't understand when did she come to cooperate with beasts, but she did listen to it anyway.

She moved closer, got on her knee at Perseus side. She took out the herd in her pocket and stared at it in her palm. It wasn't ambrosia until another ingredient was added and she went on to work with it immediately. She took out the dagger and cut her finger slightly, enough to drop blood. Artemis then mixed the Ichor and the strange herd she had found, now it was ambrosia.

She didn't know why she knew this. It just suddenly popped up inside her head. Perhaps from many time coming to Apollo place had taught her quite a bit of knowledge.

Artemis crouched lower and force Perseus to open his mouth by pressing her finger on his cheeks. She poor the mixture in, waiting for him to wake. But the moment she tried, Perseus just couldn't swallow it down.

Of course he wouldn't, he was unconscious, what was I thinking? Artemis kicked herself. The monster looked at her expectedly, it nudged at her arm.

"I know, I know. I'm trying to save him ok!" She sighed.

She stared at Perseus. Something seeing him in this stage had made her heart quench a bit. It wasn't about getting into trouble, but something more personal. She didn't know what it was, but surely she felt it. And with each beat of her heart, it grew stronger.

Perseus's breathing had turned to be so weak now that she barely noticed it. She had to do something soon or he would die.

In desperation, with the remain mixture Artemis put them in her mouth and clashed her lips against his. This moment their lips contacted, electricity shocked her brain that activated thousand of fireworks in her stomach as it churned. His lips felt soft and sweet, or perhaps it was from the ambrosia. Her ever

first kiss didn't feel that bad for her consideration. The feeling was so strange and yet pleasurable at the same time that she nearly swallowed the ambrosia in her mouth. Realising her initial purpose, she forced his mouth to open again while her lips were still on him. She started open her mouth as well and let the mixture to fall down his throat. He actually resisted so she had to use her tongue to push it down.

Artemis had never been in this situation before and it was so embarrassing that her neck steamed. About another minute or so when she was assured all the mixture was delivered in his body, she slowly moved away from him. A line of saliva connected her and his lips finally cut and Artemis was free from the strangest experience of her entire immortal life.

Artemis threw herself on the ground, staring at the space in amusement and disorientation. She didn't know her oath was alternatively and physically broken. Not forcefully nor accidentally, she had allowed it to happen.

She slapped herself again and the image of the kiss bounced back. She swept her face, rubbing her eyes hoping it was just a dream, yet, it really happened.

To the worth of her sacrifice, a groan came out from Perseus made her shoulders dropped. Suddenly she didn't care about the broken oath or any other relative matters, his matter was more important.

"Perseus! Hey answer me you idiot!" She shook him until his eyes started blinking. He grinned at her.

"Hey Arty!" He said.

The word struck her like a lightning bolt that her anger erupted.

"Hey Arty?" She snapped and punched him. "I went to all that trouble and you got me to worried sick. Now I just receive 'hey Arty' "

"" he frowned. "How about nice to see you again?"

Artemis face palmed as she stood up and shrugged. "You know what!? Screw you and all this! I've had enough of your jokes ok! I'm being all serious here and you just keep messing around."

He tried to sit up and once he was on his feet, the knees gave up as he fell backwards. With Artemis's quick reflection, she spun around him and he fell right into her arms. She slowly lower herself and he laid back on the ground, his back leaned against her chest.

"careful with that" she said gently. "You just came back from a fatal injury you know? I don't want to go through all the trouble again to save you."

"Sorry" he smiled up at her. "I just wanted to say thank you for saving me"

Artemis actually, for the first time smiled at his word. Usually this rarely happened for her to a male. Yet Perseus made it at ease. She couldn't understand how could he do such impossible thing and how many more rules of her would be broken by him.

Then realisation hit her. The kiss and everything. If Perseus didn't bring her here, this wouldn't have happened. Then again, why did he even save an immortal anyway. He just threw his life away for nothing.

She hit him hard on the chest. "Never again doing those impulsive and heroic moves Perseus! You just threw your life away for nothing!"

"But mother told me to protect you" he argued. "And I did!"

"The fall could've killed you idiot" she yelled. "I'm a god, I can't die from that fall!"

"But you could've been hurt right?" He asked in that soft voice and stared deep into her eyes.

Artemis was uttered in word. She was shocked from his question. So he did really care about her after all. To prevent her from hurting, he ready to threw away his life. Does man like this really exist? Yet there was one lying between her arms. She didn't make anymore eye contact with him, but instead playing with the button of his shirt that she felt so normal.

"Hey" Artemis suddenly spoke.

Percy was still staring at her and made her blushed a bit.

"I'm sorry..." She continued, muttering. "About what I said earlier"

There was it, all those hard words had finally came out from her after three thousand years. To a male that she met only few hours. To a male that irritated her most and to a male that cared about her more than his life. She felt so released, a loads had been taken off from her shoulder. She didn't know few words could effect a person that greatly.

Perseus just smiled, his eyes were twinkling. A smile also spread across her face as well when their antagonisms just washed away. The cave, suddenly lit up again. It was dark outside, and Artemis had really lost track at the time.

At the carven, the purple flowers lit up like the chandeliers as if their yellow pistils was being blessed by magic itself. The sweet and warm air came again as the sound of water flowing into the lake returned. It started to shimmer again, reflecting the light of gems on the wall and the flowers above.

Suddenly, the hellhound barked as it jumped around, trying to reach the light.

"Hey girl!" Perseus grinned as he opened his arms. The creature ran at him immediately as both of us was covered in its grey fur. It tried to lick him, but Artemis had to stop or its enormous tongue would get her too.

"Stop!" She screamed and strangely the beast obeyed. It sat down and stared at her with its tongue dropped out, occasionally barked.

Percy sat up and put his arm around the dog's leg.

"Oh I forgot to introduce you to my pet" he said. "This is Mrs O'Leary!"

Artemis stiffed a laugh. "You named your dog Mrs. How ridiculous is that!"

"Well I like the name and besides," he shrugged. "We are the only ones know her existence anyway."

"How did you manage to find this huge dog anyway" Artemis said. "Stole from Hades?"

"Fact is she came to me" he said. "I didn't come to find her."

Normally, hellhounds were dangerous creatures. But this seemed to be able to cooperate with others were rare. Or perhaps, something about Perseus drew its attention that he had control over it. Artemis didn't want to make him feel sad, so she didn't say it. But it was possible that his wolf power had some link to hellhound. 'Dog to dog' for instant.

"You should be careful with it" Artemis warned him, still vigilant about the monster. "Hellhounds are independent beasts. They would attack anyone who dares to take their food. It nearly snapped my head off"

"Oh don't worry" he waved it off. "She probably mistook you as enemy when she saw me angry and hurt. She thought you were attacking me so she did that to defend me that's all. I've lived with her long enough to know her."

"Right Mrs O'Leary?" He turned to the dog as it jumped and barked and lunged at him for petting. "Who's my good girl? Who's the big good girl?" Perseus started playing with his pet and Artemis just

smiled at the view.

Guess it wasn't that bad to have a pet. Besides being isolated in an island, you would eventually accept every friend you meet.

Artemis laid back down and stared at the ceiling. Never in her life she felt this relaxing. This cave made her feel stronger, more connected to herself more than ever. Her loads and concerns were picked off her shoulders. She was able to cool her nerves just by staying in here.

She heard a sound of water slashing like a big boulder had dropped into the lake. She didn't bother to check since she knew that wasn't any boulder. Artemis turned to her side as Perseus laid down to join her.

"Back then you said you didn't want me to erase the image of Artemis you knew." She started a conversation. "Have we ever met before?"

Perseus stared at the ceiling and took a breath.

"I'm not allowed to leave this place Artemis." He said. "I just secretly stole glances whenever you visited this island. At the time I dwelled in here to hide. Until you left the island, I would eventually return home. To the world I don't exist."

She felt sympathetic for him. He had suffered more than anyone she knew. Perhaps the fates had gone too far. She wanted to say sorry about his father. But Leto had pulled her asides and told her not to talk anything about it. He was too young when that happened so normally, he wouldn't remember any of that. Only when the moon is high and full, the past nightmare would come and turned him. She felt a bit unfair for him. She always considered about the treatment and fairness between Apollo and her. In fact he got all the favour while she was blamed for bullying. Now came the third of her blood and she was in no position to compare nor complain to anyone.

"You exist to me" She said, looking at him.

Perseus turned his head as their eyes contacted sideway. This was the first time Artemis could actually hold eye contact with him directly. She was lost in that sea green eyes, like the waves moved calmly onto the shore. Like the ocean churned with riches and beauties.

He smiled, acknowledging my words as his eyes twinkled. Artemis felt good to make him happy. Some how her anger and hatred towards him had turned.

"I was right to build this place after all" he muttered.

"What do you mean?" She frowned.

"Don't you notice it Artemis?" He said. "This place was designed for you. Don't you feel stronger and refreshed in here? It connects more into your nature that directly into the roots. I built it for you...well before was hoping one day you could see it"

Artemis's heart felt warm just from it. No wonder that pleasant feeling she received wave after wave ever since she entered this cave. When her heart felt fake and dull with concerns and sadness and anger, it lost its beauty. But once she was better, the cave just transformed itself. This was the biggest and best gift anyone had ever made for her. Perseus all though knew that he would never have a chance to talk to her would put all the trouble and effort to create such a place just for her.

"Thank you for your kindness Mr Hardhead." Artemis made a playful and sarcastic smile.

"Your welcome Lady Growler." He responded with the same attitude. It was great to have someone really cared for you and she knew he was just not that bad as she thought he would be.

They laid there for another who knows time until Artemis decided to get in.

"Well I guess we should start going back"

Artemis suggested. "We have already late for dinner. Mum would be angry at us by now."

"Yeh great idea" Perseus agreed. "My stomach has been grumbling for awhile"

"Catch me up to the house then" Artemis said as she started to ready for another run. "Who gets home first will get more of the food!"

"Hey that's not fair" he protested. "You know that I can't walk for long. How can I be sure when I come to the run, I would be laying dead on the ground?"

"So how about walking under the stars then?" Artemis sneered. "Free support with no benefit.

Percy grinned and with that they left the cave, leaving the tale that was written in the air within it.