II – The Other Half
Proserpina–who had been following her two remaining prey she had taken down at least eight since last night–grew increasingly perplexed when the specific life sources Thanatos was specifically tasked to take for the meantime led her closer to what sounded like the midst of a battlefield, one that was echoing with roars and curses that would have made Dionysus proud.
When the young goddess finally came upon the open field, though choosing not to physically emerge from the shadows just yet to observe–
She tilted her head to the side, long plaited dark hair dangling over one shoulder aimlessly, her equally dark eyes staring curiously as she beheld the men that moved and fought like the spawns of Ares but are... actually playing some sort of violent sport?
The cold breath of storm-bringing Notos whipped along the muddy field, creating a faint, white mist while lightning flashed above them and large raindrops struck the ground, mirroring the intensity of the still on-going game that had her suppressing a shudder at the sheer violence happening in front of her.
Oh Hades, what on earth had Proserpina stumbled upon now–a training camp of soldiers? Spawns of Ares?
There are only three demigods left in this world (excluding her, she no longer counted–) that were… permitted to live after the Righteous Purge years ago: Nicholas Cayden, son of Athena. Rei Kashima, son of Hypnos.
‘Let's not go there.’
Proserpina forced herself to focus back on the game instead, gripping her sword's handle as she quietly tried to stamp down the sudden surge of fury and compose herself.
As she appraised the players and the spectators to distract herself, Proserpina easily recognized that the souls of the players are werewolves while on the sidelines, various nymphs ranging from aurai to Bacchic nymphs who are all visibly trembling with excitement and barely hidden lust as they watched and cheered, most likely seeing the spectacle as no more than a mud-wrestling match between strong men instead of an actual fight.
Proserpina resisted the urge to roll her eyes as the nymphs laughed and wolf-whistled, screeching cheers of encouragement, already annoyed by their crude behavior–and I just got here not even a minute ago.
Thanatos, sensing her irritation, murmured:
Sighing, she slowly unsheathed the blade as she finally stepped out of the shadows, completely unbothered by the rain soaking her clothes and hair as she locked eyes on her prey, mingling amongst the nymphs, clapping and cheering: an empousa.
This empousa, like the rest of its sisters that Proserpina had slain, looked like an attractive female but with flaming red hair and with one brass leg and the other one a donkey leg. There is no need for them to be dealt with personally… however; these fools had been reported by the hunters of Artemis stalking the monster-mercenaries to feed on and while Proserpina would normally not be allowed to intervene in the mortals' affairs even if she was inclined to do so since her younger brother was a mercenary tasked to take down monsters as well.
Fortunately for her–and unfortunately for them, William's demigod friend, Nicholas, had specifically requested for her assistance to dispose these empousai before they killed more of the other mercenaries which is the most likely the only reason why Hades had allowed her to be here in the first place.
She was responsible for their safety, after all.
Proserpina had so wanted to bring William with her–for old time's sake–but the hunters of Artemis had been strongly against the idea since the natural prey of empousai are young men.
She nearly flinched at the impact from that one, when one of the tallest players suddenly leapt and tackled–(was that even allowed?) his opponent, sending them both crashing to the ground–but she reminded herself that she shouldn’t be surprised. Werewolves are known to be savage beings, after all.
Still, she found herself staring, completely transfixed, as the brown-haired werewolf dug the other's face to the dirt, her gaze on his smirk.
No matter how much Proserpina was joked and teased to be an ‘asexual plant’ courtesy of William, she was still capable of acknowledging attractive beings especially when she sees one… and that particular werewolf does have a pleasant face in a roguish, boyish kind of way that somehow made her think of Eros in the height of his work, especially during June weddings. Or around his beloved Psyche–whichever works.
And as the players continued to duke it all out like rambunctious children left unattended on a playground, she couldn't help but appreciate the raw power in that particular werewolf’s towering frame, his speed and agility was astounding, even to her–and she is a goddess.
He had a Mediterranean complexion which now had some mud and dirt plastered across his muscular, bare chest and shoulders, there was also a shadow of a beard over his face which had some blood and dirt splattered like paint on his cheeks too.
Still, despite the mess, she still found him to be boyishly attractive, liberated in ways that she’ll never be.
Never mind her distance from him, she can practically sense anger–no matter how restrained–radiating from his very being, his vivid brown eyes the color of dark chocolates as he glared down at the other werewolf who's nose he had flattened to the muddy ground.
As though sensing the fight about to go down, the game was immediately put into pause, some of the other players breaking the two up and began to surround and draw them back from the other before they decided to actually duke it out… although one of the werewolves was grinning and cheering too loudly at the commotion while the other looked seemingly exasperated as he stood by and watched with arms crossed, as though their friend had been picking fights every minute.
Probably, she decided.
Proserpina did not interact with their kind much (there was no need to) but the hunters of Artemis despite serving the same goddess, considered the werewolves to be savage beasts with little control over their innate ferocity, especially on the night of a full moon where they can turn into their wolf form or being in the presence of their mate.
Seeing them up close though, she was inclined to agree... they seemed to revel in the heat of a battle. No better than Ares, really. Loud and brutish still, she found herself completely amused by that particular one’s antics, allowing herself several more moments to watch.
She wanted to see what he will do.
“You are going to pay for that, Nyx!”
‘…What are you doing?’
Proserpina reluctantly dragged her gaze away from the werewolves and surveyed the nymphs still cheering on the sidelines, immediately focusing on the empousa once more–her eyes narrowed–who was staring intently at her wolf.
Pointedly ignoring death's soft laughter ringing inside her head, Proserpina forced herself to focus back on the mission at hand, which is dispatching the empousa... who was still mingling amongst the nymph spectators, arrogantly assuming that it was safe and well-hidden in this crowd on plain sight.
Proserpina absentmindedly twirled the sword and savored the comforting weight that was the god of death sealed within her weapon, the shadows around her feet pulsing and writhing in glee and anticipation for the thrill of a kill.
. . .
“And then my soul saw you and it kind of went,
‘Oh, there you are. I've been looking for you’.”
. . .
Alastor had been prepared to trade blows with Tony there and then–in his defense, the fucker was so asking for it, anyway–but in the most bewildering, awaited moment in his life, Alastor's already sharp senses suddenly turned to new heights he never thought possible.
Taken aback, he sucked in a deep breath, confused and momentarily frightened of the all-too encompassing sensations that assaulted him, threatening to drown him in it.
Suddenly, he distinguished a new, exquisite scent from ahead–past the coppery smell of blood and sweat where he was smacked right in the middle of it, petrichor, flowers, dirt and blades of grass–the onslaught of nature’s intensified scent overwhelmed him, temporarily bearing down on him and yet, for some reason... time itself felt like it was slowing down.
But somehow, in some way, Alastor knew…
This is him meeting his other half.
He deduced his mate was not amongst the players on the field but had been close enough which is why he had sensed their presence, had detected their heavenly scent in the first place... such an unforgettable scent that reminded him of something sweet, a pleasant combination of vanilla and honey–and home.
Alastor didn't know what his mate looked like, what was their name, or if they are a werewolf, human, nymph... yet he'd been waiting for so long–his entire life–for this person to show up.
His head snapped around immediately to the direction where the enchanting scent was coming from, trying to find and finally see his–
A tall, slender woman with black hair in a left-sided braid, dressed in all black stood all alone off to the side of the field, appearing more like a shadowy silhouette than an actual person in the midst of the misty rain.
Oh, sweet Artemis...
Alastor did not mean to gape at her like a fish out of water. Seriously, can you blame him? Just look at her–because he had planned to open his mouth to call out to her, get her attention, get her to look at him, do something, say something, he wanted to say her name, she’s–
Yes, embarrassingly enough, at the first sight of his mate, his jaw just went slack, his brain short-circuiting because oh, oh my gods.
His mate was so near and yet so far like, a mile or so away from where he was, standing tall and completely apart from the nymphs and the players, but he can still see her clearly through the rain, could make out every stunning feature that she had to offer.
She had a soft, delicate face… one that he’d love to wake up to every single day, pouting rosy lips and wide eyes that was the color of the purest obsidian framed by slender brows and thick eyelashes. In one gloved hand, she was holding on to a sword with a black handle, her gaze–intense, unblinking–locked on to the direction of the nymphs. His mate looked like an artist’s painting: a fucking masterpiece brought to life.
…and Alastor almost wanted to scream OH MY GODS, YES, YOU! I love you already! Praise Artemis, my mate looked so cool and don’t even get me started with her scent–
But the next thing he knew, the side of his face was suddenly flattened on the field, vision rudely robbed off of his mate and he dimly registered his right shoulder popping at the sudden impact, his jaw stinging faintly from where Tony had struck him.
Alastor growled then, not with pain but with frustration, swiping the other alpha's legs with a swift kick, causing the other to fall down on his ass and that’s it fucker, you’re going to Hades.
At the murderous look on his face, Sean and Harry ran to Alastor at once before he could do just that, some from the opposing team trying to drag the two alphas away from each other before things started to get really violent.
“Fuck, Al, that's enough!” Sean yelled.
“Quit it, Tony!”
Alastor struggled to get on his knees, coughing and taking in large gulps of air, not daring to take his eyes off of his mate again, an irrational fear of her disappearing bubbling up for some reason.
Completely unaware of her spectator, she twirled her sword, slowly–treating it more a plaything than a weapon–causing the polished blade to glint ominously amidst the rain. Suddenly, in a ghostly yet precise movement, his mate, right before his very eyes, blended into the shadows and all but disappeared from where she stood.
What the hell?
Alastor gawked, eyes wildly darting around the area for his mate, her scent lingering teasingly until he found her.
This time, she was noticeably closer to the nymphs, startling some of them when she seemed to pop right out into existence but she paid the commotion she just caused no heed, her gaze on a fire nymph–no, Alastor immediately corrected himself, it was an empousa–and his mate was poised, moving with a stance that he belatedly realized she was aiming to kill.
His mate never blinked, never tore her eyes off of the empousa who was staring right back at her like a deer in the headlights as she faded again into the shadows, causing the nymphs to let out a collective shriek.
Not a second after, a black apparition suddenly swept through the nymphs into a wide arc, her sword slicing neatly through the empousa's waist, severing no one else but the monster into two.
A shadowy specter, his mate was.
“Amazing…” Alastor breathed out.
The empousa didn't even saw it coming.
But when his mate reappeared where the empousa was last seen standing alive, she seemed unimpressed with the result, looking the slightest bit dismayed as she poked lightly at the still corpse with the tip of her sword.
Stunned… and very much still in awe, Alastor watched his mate push some of her hair off of her strikingly pale face before casually weaving her way through the frightened nymphs–who all wisely steered clear away from her path, all looking like they wanted to flee but were too terrified to make sudden movements–but his mate was composed, confident and acted like she had every right to be there.
Once she reached the edge of the field where a river was located, his mate lazily raised one gloved hand in a beckoning motion without looking behind her; the corpse floating in the air before it was suddenly chucked into the water like a missile which the alligators immediately pounced their teeth in, the water instantly sullied with blood.
While his mate did not bothered to look at anyone, her gaze staring off somewhere to the distance as she sheathed her sword then sauntered back to the direction she'd come from.
But when she realized all attention was now on her, she immediately slowed into a halt and turned to address the closest nymphs… that was, ironically enough, a group of naiads who lived on the same river, looking like they were going to cry at the desecration of their home, their very own life source.
“I apologize for the disruption,” his mate told them and oh gods, even her voice sounds so good… but one of the naiads suddenly fainted on the spot, causing her to stare blankly at the fallen nymph while the others fussed.
Somehow, Alastor could relate to that.
He almost wanted to swoon too–
Then, he realized that he really couldn't breathe… no, for real. Alastor suddenly wheezed, hacking and coughing loudly.
Sean tried to pat Alastor’s back to get him to breathe properly. When that one did not work, Harry shoved Sean away from Alastor and began punching on his back, screaming at him to SNAP OUT OF IT–!
Desperate, Alastor tried to reach out a shaking hand towards his mate, black spots dancing around the corner of his vision.
Don't leave. DON’T LEAVE ME!
As though hearing his thoughts, his mate suddenly turned and appeared to be looking right back at him, never mind their distance, her obsidian eyes holding his for what seemed to be an eternity.
She frowned and faded into the shadows.
III–Proserpina ALASTOR NYX: Finally, Harry aimed a kick to his back but Alastor, as though already sensing it, suddenly dodged out of the way, causing Harry to trip on his own two feet, gracelessly flailing his arms about as he fell face-first to the muddy ground with a high-pitched, indignant shriek. “What the hell's wrong with you?” Harry demanded, spitting out filth. “I could ask you the same thing,” Sean retorted, helping Alastor stand up, “...youdidtry to kick our own alpha.” Between labored breaths, Alastor clumsily got on his own two feet and embarrassingly, with Sean's help, his legs trembling a bit as he ignored anything and everyone around him but the one simple fact that he just found his m
IV – Touch Me Not PROSERPINA: The corpse of the beheaded empousa fell straight to the ground with a sinister thud, limbs splayed in awkward angles like a macabre piece of artwork, its head rolling to the side a second after, some of its blood splattering around the grass which was quickly being washed by the rain. A beat after, Proserpina manifested to the ground in a low crouch, right next to her kill, ignoring the blood on her shoes. ‘Someone's watching.’ She slowly turned to look over her shoulder, eyes narrowed–right into the direction where she last sensed him.
V–Would it be a sin? ALASTOR NYX: “I believe I've earned the right to be in your company–as well a kiss from you,” Alastor declared triumphantly, the more-or-less dumbfounded expressionWinterswas wearing making him grin. He had a feeling that his mate wasn't someone so easily shocked–especially being a goddess of the underworld–which was a bonus. There was just something soendearingwith the way those obsidian eyes widened at him–shocked, concerned,impressed,flattered–her gaze darting from him, his wound, then at her discarded dagger rapidly, looking like she was asking for her weapon to magically return to her. Oh, but she just lookedsofreaking&
VI – The Consequence(s) ALASTOR NYX: Despite the sudden heat–such an infernal heat it was–he couldn't register it at all over the cold, suffocating presence that was the god of death now making itself known from her blade, washing over him, sucking him in like a black hole. “…Was itthatbad that you wanted to kill me?” Alastor finally dared to ask, distantly surprised that his voice came out calm at the possible face of death. “I told you tolet me go,” his mate answered instead, her voice clipped with restrained anger, eyes of black illuminated so prettily against the flames. “Then how aboutyoulet me go, sweetheart?” Alastor pointed out, tilting his head backwards. A
VII – Scarred “I'm a patient man. I could play this game for all of eternity, my love,” the King of Vampires reminded her, his voice deceptively gentle it was so condescending as he easily bent her in half, leaning over just far enough to drag his sharp teeth across her already bruised skin, almost teasingly, “...however, I will not stand for such disrespect–especially from you.” Her breath caught somewhere between her lungs and her throat as her skin prickled under the scrutiny of his fanged mouth for the nth time. “Well?” (She didn't want this. She didn't want this. She didn't want any of this–) Somewhere far away, a quiet voice answered for her:
VIII –Stalking 101 HARRISON SILVERS: “Harrison, we're leaving!” Alastor suddenly hissed as he rudely dragged Harry away from the lovely flower nymph he was smooching for the past five minutes out of nowhere. Harry groaned out loud. Seriously, can't they leave a guy alone to have somefun?! “Don't call me that andyou just got here!” Harry complained but allowed Alastor to drag him with the back of his shirt away from the pretty blossom who looked just as miffed as he felt. Harry didn't bother to fight or try to free himself from the grip though. …Such a waste of effort. Alastor grunted but decided not to grace that with a comment as they reached Sean who stared at the two of them
IX – Of Half-bloods and half-answers ALASTOR NYX: It was kind of a surreal moment for Alastor, being in a hotel room with two of his closest and oldest friends having a video call (of all things) with a demigod turned monster-hunter–who should have been dead ten years ago–at least an hour after the mysterious mercenary's short call. The demigod who called himself ‘Nick’ looked like a regular mortal man at first glance. If one would have spotted the demigod somewhere in a crowd, they would have initially thought of him as one of those young college professors–or a lawyer with his well-put demeanor or maybe it was just the glasses that made him look like a classy nerd in Alastor’s opinion. Nick just had that smart, calculating look in his unnervingly bright, silv
X – The Patron Goddess (es) WILLIAM VEIL William quickly tore his gaze away from the irritating, too-bright screen of his laptop, the words practically swimming in his mind's eye like a school of tuna as he turned his head to look away with a tired groan; he had been at it with this report since afternoon... and that was when he noticed his sister flinching somewhat randomly again for what seemed to be the nth time. Come to think of it, she had been like this all day long since she appeared on his room last night out of nowhere. A younger him would have definitely jumped and scream in fright at the sight of his older sistercreepingout of the shadows like some sort of ghostly apparition from a cheap slasher-horror film but now… William, still half-asleep at that time ju