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A Touch of Chaos: Part 3 – Chapter 40


Persephone stood with Hecate on her left and Hermes on her right. Farther down, Aphrodite and Hephaestus were flanked by Athena and Ares, both wielding their spears and shields. Then there was Artemis, who had been entrusted to use the golden arrows during battle and heal those who had been wounded.

Directly behind them were the most experienced soldiers among their Faithful army. They had large shields that they locked in place to create a barrier so they could advance on the Impious army opposite them.

Leading the Impious were Kai, Damian, Machaon, and an additional demigod Persephone had not seen before.

“The one on the right is new,” said Artemis, her eyes narrowing.

“His name is Perseus,” said Dionysus. “And he is mine.”

“Damn,” said Hermes. “You picked the hot one.”

Persephone and Hecate both looked at the god.

“What?” he asked. “I’m just being honest.”

“That’s your half brother, isn’t it?” Persephone asked.

“Your point?”

“I don’t know. I think it’s kind of weird that you think your brother is hot.”

Half,” said Hermes. “And why is it weird? It isn’t like I want to fuck him.”

A strained silence followed Hermes’s words.

“Why do I get the feeling that none of you believe me?”

“Because we don’t,” said Hecate.

“I bet you’ve fucked your brother,” said Ares.

“You wish, Ares!”

If Hades were here, he would have started this battle just to shut them up, Persephone thought.

She eyed the wall that surrounded Theseus’s fortress. It was tall and tiered, and hundreds of archers stood ready with their bows, armor gleaming in the firelight.

“The gates are still closed,” Persephone said.

“Give him time,” said Hecate.

She would because she had no choice, but Persephone worried. She had hated Hades’s plan from the moment he had suggested it. It felt like allowing him to return to the labyrinth, and with the horror of Cronos’s reality still plaguing her, all she feared was that he would not return this time.

“So many mortals,” Persephone said quietly.

So many souls, she thought.

“All willing to die for a demigod who has no control over their afterlife,” said Hecate.

“Already considering how you will punish them?” Persephone asked, looking at Hecate.

“Aren’t you?” Hecate returned.

“I don’t see why we have to wait until they are dead,” said Persephone.

In the next second, the ground between them opened, and Cerberus climbed from the depths of the Underworld. He was fearsome to behold, his eyes red and glowing with rage, teeth bared, his deep and guttural growls echoing in the quiet.

It was the first time Persephone saw movement from the Impious, the first time she sensed fear.

“I knew I trained you well,” said Hecate with a smug smile that Persephone returned.

She placed a hand on Cerberus’s side. As she did, there was the distinct sound of a bowstring loosening. She caught sight of an arrow whizzing toward Cerberus, but it was cut down by Artemis, whose own white arrow shattered it into pieces. Briefly, Persephone met the goddess’s gaze, offering a nod of thanks before she stepped beyond their lines.

“How dare you try to hurt my dog,” she said as power gathered in her hands. The ground trembled beneath her and opened, splitting the ranks of the Impious. Some were swallowed by the earth while others managed to race away. As they broke formation, the mortals began to yell and raced toward them, weapons in hand, and a volley of arrows came down on them.

Persephone summoned her magic, and vines grew up the sides of the walls, knocking rows of soldiers from their places.

The demigods vanished, and Persephone barked an order.

“Cerberus, snack!”

Her three-headed monster gave a low growl, his massive paws clawing at the earth, sending it flying in all directionsas he charged at the enemy army.

Then the demigods were before them, and all around, the sound of weapons clashing was thunderous. It shook Persephone to her core, but soon her attention was directed to the demigod before her—a woman she did not recognize, but her eyes were Poseidon’s.

She cut her blade toward Persephone with an angry cry, but Persephone blocked the blow with a thicket of thorns and then blasted her with shadow magic. She staggered back and blasted her again.

Then Persephone felt a shock of pain at her back, and she arched against it, gasping. When it released her, she whirled to find no one.

She waited, her magic creating a barrier, knowing another attack would come. Within moments, she felt the disturbance and whirled, a series of black spikes bursting from her palm. They hit her target, who, as she had suspected, was invisible and wearing Hades’s helm.

She called to her magic and turned the earth beneath his feet into mud. As he went to attack, he slipped and fell, and before he could react again, Hermes appeared and drove the sharp end of his caduceus into his back. Persephone pulled the helm from the demigod’s head.

It was Damian, the son of Thetis, and he was dead.

“One down,” said Hermes.

Persephone handed him the helm.

“Get this to Dionysus,” said Persephone.

“You got it, Your Majesty,” he said, scooping up the helm and vanishing in a blur of golden light.

As adrenaline coursed from her system, Persephone remembered that she was injured. She felt like she was drowning, as if her lungs were full of blood. She pressed a hand to her chest, and it came away bloody.

She turned toward the sky, searching for Artemis, but she only managed to catch sight of Ares’s brutal attack on Macheon before she felt the approach of another. As she turned, Kai raced toward her. The earth gave way beneath his feet, but he didn’t stumble, navigating the ground with ease, weapon raised. Persephone staggered back, but she was not quick enough, the edge of his sword cutting into her chest, though she could barely feel the pain, too distracted by her wet breathing.

Then she watched through blurry vision as Kai lifted his blade, preparing to deliver the killing blow when he was stopped by two sharp prongs exploding through the front of his body—the tips of Hades’s bident.

The demigod fell to his knees and then on his face.

“Hades,” Persephone said, but her words were slurred. She knew the Hydra’s poisonous venom was racing through her veins.

“Artemis!” Hades’s command sounded far away, but she could feel the vibration of it in her chest. “Now!”

Something sharp pierced her chest, and then a blissful warmth spread, and suddenly she could breathe again. When her vision cleared and she could see Hades’s face she threw her arms around his neck.


“Are you well, darling?” he asked as he held her tight.

“I am now,” she said.

He helped her to her feet just as the ground began to tremble.

“What is that?” Persephone asked. She looked at Hades and then at Hecate, who appeared beside her. It was different from before when New Athens shook during the funeral games. It wasn’t one continuous vibration. Instead, it was an interrupted shudder that reminded her of…footsteps.

Then Persephone saw it—a creature she only knew from history, a son of Gaia, a serpent-like monster. He walked on all fours, his body like that of a reptile, armored with scales and a long, lethal tail, but it was his head that terrified her the most. It was made up of hundreds of snakes. He was huge, and she knew that if he rose onto his back legs, his head would brush the stars.

“Typhon,” Hecate whispered.

A terrible cry escaped from the creature, though it sounded unlike anything Persephone had ever heard, a high-pitched roar with a strange hiss. As it bellowed, poisonous venom rained down on the land and their army, melting them where they stood.

Those who were not hit by the venom were crushed beneath his feet and thrown with a swipe of his great tail.

“Cerberus!” Hades said, his voice a command, and the monster launched himself at the giant, the teeth of all three heads sinking into different parts of the creature—his hind leg, his back, and his neck. Typhon bellowed, and the snakes that made up his head hissed violently, spewing more venom. Cerberus yelped as the spray stung him, burning him to the bone.

“Cerberus!” Persephone cried as he retreated and came near so she could lay her healing hands upon him. The wounds from the venom healed, but Typhon had turned his attention to them, his many serpent heads shrieking.

But then there was a flash of light as Hermes ran past, swinging his caduceus, decapitating several of the snake’s heads. Hephaestus did the same with his whip, and then Aphrodite with her sword. Athena lodged her spear into the creature, striking Typhon’s back repeatedly.

Persephone summoned vines from the ground and Hades his shadows. They wrapped around the monster’s legs and waist. Typhon roared as he buckled beneath their pull. With him restrained, he was suddenly surrounded, both by gods and mortals, stabbing him in every part of his body.

“Well, this,” Hermes said, jabbing his blade into the creature’s belly, “was far easier than when Zeus did it!”

Typhon roared. Hades’s shadows quivered and Persephone’s vines snapped as the monster managed to rise to his feet.

“Why did you have to open your fucking mouth?” Aphrodite snapped at Hermes over Typhon’s bellow of anger. He took a great step, and the ground shook and split. Hundreds of mortals were crushed or drowned as huge drops of his blood fell to the ground.

“Hear me out,” said Hermes. “We trip him and try that again.”

“It didn’t work the first time, Hermes. Why would it work a second?” Persephone pointed out

“You can’t argue that he isn’t weaker now,” said Artemis.

It was true and evident by how much blood covered the giant’s scaly body. If they failed to kill him, it was likely the Hydra venom would, but it was impossible to say how long that would take in a body so large. By then, he might destroy the entire world.

“Now might be a really great time to use those balls you have been going on about, Hecate,” Hermes said.

But they all knew it was a dangerous option. They did not know what Zeus’s organ would create—worse, how much more destruction it might cause.

Before Hecate could consider it, Hephaestus appeared in the sky and shot molten spears into Typhon from his palm. The giant staggered but did not fall. Again he screamed, but this time, something shot out of the dark wreathed in fire.

Prometheus, Persephone realized as he slammed into Typhon with such force, he went straight through the monster.

The giant groaned and swayed on his feet before falling to the ground again. His impact was so great, the earth buckled beneath him, moving like waves beneath the gods’ feet. While the gods were able to rise into the air and avoid falling, it sent both armies to the ground.

Prometheus hovered in the air, dripping with the giant’s blood.

“Fuck yes!” Hermes shouted.

But the victory was short-lived as Cronos appeared behind the Titan God of Fire, taking his head between his hands and twisting it free. Prometheus’s body fell from the sky, landing like a fiery meteor.

“Fucking Fates,” said Hades.

It had all happened so fast. Persephone shook with fury and terror as she watched Cronos toss the Titan’s head to the side as if it were nothing.

Beside her, Hecate vanished and appeared to surround Cronos in her triple form, black fire in her hands that she released on the god in a flaming stream. Cronos vanished, but then so did Hecate. When they appeared again, they slammed into each other, and the sound was like thunder. As much as Persephone wanted to look away—to focus on the war raging around her—she couldn’t tear her eyes from the sky.

She watched in horror as Cronos snatched Hecate and slammed her over his knee. She seemed to break in half.

Persephone did not recognize the sound that came out of her mouth. She wailed. She thought she would be sick, and then she was. She bent over and vomited.

“No, no, no!”

Each word was uttered louder and louder until she was screaming at the top of her lungs.

She fell to her knees, her arms spread wide.

Instead of power flowing from her, it flowed to her.

It coursed through her blood, feeling like lightning in her veins, gathering in her hands, and as the power came to her, the world around her changed. The horror that Cronos had painted disintegrated, and suddenly the god was standing before her, his horrible face contorted into a scowl.

He reared back, his scythe in hand, and aimed for Persephone’s head.

She screamed, her hands coming together, and in them she held Cronos’s power. Her body vibrated with it, a power she’d never experienced before, and with it, she wove a world for the Titan that was filled with his greatest fears.

As she did, she used her own power to call to the earth. From it, roots sprouted, and they wrapped around the God of Time until he was completely consumed within the trunk of a tree, its branches reaching toward the sky before blooming in a waterfall of pink blossoms.

It was magnificent.

When it was done, Persephone felt as though all the life had been drained from her body.

She swayed and Hades’s arms came around her. She knew it was safe to rest.

“You did it, darling,” he said. “It is done.”


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