Chapter 24

It wasn’t a long journey on the back of the Pegasus. They finally arrived in Olympus and Olympus and Athena led them to the throne room. Hunter saw Kyle standing near Demeter. Hunter and Will ran over and hugged him.
“Careful! Careful!” He said, with a smile on his face. “It was a pretty deep gash in my leg, but I’m tough.” Kyle was standing with the use of a cane. It looked like a branch yanked off of a tree and it had vines wrapped around it all the way up that seemed to be moving all the time. “So is…Is he..y’know?” Hunter nodded.
“Yeah. He’s dead.” He had just finished talking when Marina ran over and jumped onto Hunter almost knocking him over.
“I thought…I was worried that…Oh thank gods.” She tightened her grip around Hunter’s neck.
“Marina…I…I can’t breathe.” She broke off the hug and nodded to Hunter then turned to Will and did the same thing. Hunter laughed and turned to Kyle.
“So what’s up with you and uh…” Hunter gestured toward Marina. Kyle simply winked and then nodded his head. Hunter started laughing again. He looked over and saw Will still being strangled by Marina. He was giving Hunter a look that screamed, ‘HELP ME!’ Hunter nodded. “Marina, maybe you should show me around. I was trying to find Artemis.” Hunter lied he knew exactly where she was. Marina let go of Will and then sighed.
“Follow me.” She grabbed Kyle’s hand and then motioned for Hunter to follow her. Hunter looked over at Will who was staring at Poseidon.
“Hey, Will.” Will turned to look at Hunter. “Good luck.” He finally walked over and hugged Will.
“Thanks, man.” Will turned and walked over to his father. Hunter finally followed Marina over to Artemis. When Hunter got there his face sank. Marina saw Hunter’s expression.
“Hey Kyle, I want you to meet my dad!” Marina got Kyle’s hand in a vice grip and dragged him over to Hephaestus, Kyle trying to pry away the whole time. Hunter turned to Artemis.
“Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you let me know that the only thing that I completely trusted was the spirit of Orion trapped in a wolf’s body?” Hunter asked. He was holding back tears.
“Hunter, I knew that the time would come where it would be revealed to you. The other gods weren’t particularly happy when I placed his spirit in that wolf. If I had told you - well you know how word gets around. He just would have been killed. I kept the secret from you for so long and every time I saw you playing with him or taking care of him it pained me. I wanted to tell you, so bad. I am truly sorry, Hunter.” Artemis hugged Hunter.
“If you don’t mind me asking…why me?” He asked the goddess.
“When my Hunter’s brought your mother into the camp, and I saw that she was pregnant, I was furious. I had been promised this girl to be a Hunter and she was taken from me. So I offered her the same decision I offered your grandmother. I would get the baby girl to raise into a Hunter. So when you ended up being a boy, I was dumbfounded. I had no idea what to do. But as you grew and started training, I saw something I hadn’t seen in a long time. There was a…glow about you. I knew that you had a good heart and an unrelenting spirit. So I promised you to be a Hunter and I left you in Orion’s care.” Artemis studied the floor. She looked ashamed by what she said. “I couldn’t take care of you with the other Hunters I had to send you to Camp Half-Blood. I knew you would be safe there.”
“To be honest, ma’am, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I don’t know what I would be without living this life.” He walked up to the goddess and hugged her. Even though she didn’t appear much older than he was, Hunter still felt like she was his mother.
“No more of this sadness, okay? The party is about to start.” The gods of Olympus were throwing a party in honor of the questers that returned safely. Hunter had been mingling among the guests and the hosts, when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned and saw Alex a little worse for wear.
“Hey, Hunter! Glad to see you safe!” She hugged him around the neck. “How was your quest?” Hunter laughed.
“Well, to sum up, I rode in a flying chariot, watched a smelly guy get electrocuted, killed the Manticore, rode a centaur, went to the Underworld, defeated a god, fought some giants, and then defeated another god. All before 10. How about you?” Alex’s eyes widened at the summary.
“I…wow! Well, we retrieved an instrument created by my mother. Oh and we fought a scorpion!” Alex turned when her name was called from somewhere. “That’s Phoebe. I’ll see you around!” She said.
“Sure thing! Oh and Alex. Thanks for the lesson. REALLY.” Alex smiled and then walked away. The party lasted for several hours, but after a few Hunter found Will, Kyle, and Marina slumped down against a wall, exhausted. “All partied out, guys?” The three of them nodded. Hunter sat down next to Marina. The four of them sat there watching a party held in their honor. “Let’s go back to Camp.” Hunter said, looking down the row. The three of them nodded again and then stood up. The four of them pushed their way through the crowd and found their way to the Pegasus stables. They all chose an animal and took off toward camp. In a few minutes, Hunter could see the lights from the cabins approaching in the distance. He sighed. “It’s so good to be home.”