We Meet the Hunters of Artemis is the twenty-first chapter of The Gift of a Best Friend. It was first published on September 2, 2016.
I felt really sad for Luke.
Just like me, his parents don’t care about him. But I do, and he knows that.
A few days have past since we met Luke’s parents and he’s still mad, but he’s right to be. The monsters came back and chased us, but Luke wasn’t going to run anymore.
“You want a piece of me?” he said to them. “Come and get me.”
The monsters were in front of us, and there were a lot of them. Luke stood in front of them with his sword in his hand.
“Luke, what are you doing?” Thalia asked.
“I’m showing these monsters who’s boss,” he replied.
“Are you kidding? They’ll kill you!”
“Not if I kill them first.”
“No, Luke. It’s too dangerous.”
“Let him,” I said, then I unsheathed my knife. “We can help.”
“No. It’s suicide.”
“I don’t want to fight either,” Jasmine said.
“Well, it’s two to two,” Luke said. “And since it’s a tie, I say we fight.”
“No,” Thalia argued. “Luke, you need to stop being like this.”
Toothless made a loud noise to get our attention. There were a lot more monsters now, and they had us surrounded.
“Oh, great,” Thalia said.
“If we fought them before, there wouldn’t be this many now,” Luke said.
“Oh, so you’re blaming me for this.”
“Well, you’re the one that didn’t want to fight them.”
“And you’re the one that does!”
“Luke, Thalia,” Jasmine said.
The monsters were now coming closer, and they looked mean.
“Now we have to fight,” Thalia said.
“Finally,” Luke said.
We readied our weapons and stayed in a circle together.
The monsters got closer and closer to us. We were about to strike when, suddenly, we heard a horn that seemed to come from all around us. None of us moved, not even the monsters. Then it happened.
Something shot out of the woods and hit a monster a few feet away from us, turning it to dust. Lying in that dust was a silver arrow. Then more came out of the woods, hitting every monster until they were all gone.
I was afraid that we were going to be hit next, but no more arrows came out of the woods. Instead, about a dozen girls appeared, most of them about Thalia’s age, and they all had bows.
“Thanks for taking all the fun,” Luke grumbled.
“Luke,” Thalia said, glaring at him. She turned back to the girls. “I’m sorry about my friend. He’s not himself right now. Thank you for saving us.”
“Who are you guys?” Jasmine asked. “Or, girls.”
One girl stepped forward. She had some kind of silver tiara on her head.
She looked at us. “Three half-bloods, a mortal girl and her pet dragon, my lady.”
“Yes,” another girl said. She had brown hair and silvery yellow eyes. “I see.”
“Who are you people?” Luke asked.
The girl with the silver tiara stepped toward him.
“No, Zoë,” the silver yellow eyed girl said. “I sense no disrespect. He is simply being erratic and does not.”
“I don’t understand what?” Luke asked.
The girl looked at him. “I am Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt. And this is my most faithful lieutenant, Zoë Nightshade.”
“Yeah. We really need more gods.”
“Luke,” Thalia said. “Stop it.”
“Thee better get thy boyfriend under control before I do,” Zoë said.
Thalia turned red. “He’s not my boyfriend.”
“I see,” Artemis said. “Zoë, we will rest here for a few hours. Raise the tents.”
“Yes, my lady,” she replied.
“And you three young ladies,” Artemis pointed at Thalia, Jasmine, and me. “Come with me. I would like to speak with you.”
“What about Luke?” Thalia asked.
“He’ll stay here, watched by my Hunters.”
We looked at him.
“I’ll be fine,” Luke said. “You three go.”
Jasmine had Toothless stay with Luke, then she, Thalia, and I went with Artemis.
The Hunters set up their tents really quickly.
Artemis led us into one of them, and Zoë followed. The tent was warm and comfortable with a fire burning in the middle of it. It was like sitting in a living room with the fire place burning. But there were animal furs hanging on the walls.
I thought Jasmine would freak out when she saw them, but there was an alive, weird-looking deer in the tent, and Jasmine quickly went to it. The deer liked her and she liked it too.
We all sat down on the tent floor around the fire.
“Umm, I thought gods were supposed to be older,” I said.
“Gods can appear in any way they like,” Artemis replied. “And this is what I prefer. This is the average age of my Hunters, and all young maidens for whom I am patron, before they go astray.”
“Go astray?” Thalia asked.
“Grow up. Become smitten with boys. Become silly, preoccupied, insecure. Forget themselves.”
“What’s so wrong about that?” Jasmine asked.
“Everything,” Zoë replied.
Jasmine looked like she wanted to be mad for what she told her, but she looked more confused.
“Poor girl,” Artemis said. “So young. So confused. But I can help you from becoming that way, all three of you, if you join the hunt.”
“Join the hunt?” I asked.
“Yes. You can join me and my Hunters on my adventures. All you have to do is swear your loyalty to me. Once you do, I will give you my blessing and make you immortal.”
“Immortal?” Thalia asked.
“Yes. You will never grow up. Never be old. You can fall in battle, but it’s unlikely that you will. So will the three of you like to join the Hunt?”
I thought about it. Stay seven-years-old and fight with a bow next to a goddess forever? It sounded better than running away from monsters all the time.
“It does sound tempting,” Thalia said.
I nodded. “Yeah.”
“I don’t know,” Jasmine said. “What about my family? Will I never see them again?”
“You can see them from time to time,” Artemis assured her.
“What about Luke?” Thalia asked.
“Oh, certainly not. He is a boy, and you have to also make an oath to foreswear romantic love forever. To never grow up, never get married. To be an eternal maiden.”
“Never . . . fall in love?” Jasmine asked.
“But that’s wrong.”
“That’s my oath. Break it, and you will no longer be a huntress, nor immortal.”
I thought about that.
I looked at the knife Luke gave me. We made a deal to be a family. I wanted to join the Hunters, but I didn’t want to leave Luke. Thalia seemed to feel the same way.
“I’m not going to leave Luke,” she said. “And if joining the Hunt means I have to, then no. I’m staying with him.”
“Very well,” Artemis said. She turned toward me and Jasmine. “What about you two?”
“No,” Jasmine replied. “Love isn’t a bad thing, and neither are boys. And I don’t need your blessing to be immortal, because I already am an Immortal. My grandma is a hundred and twelve years old.”
“I want to,” I said. “But I won’t leave Luke either.”
“As you wish,” Artemis said. “But if either of you change your mind, take this brochure.”
She handed one to each of us.
“I’ll never change my mind,” Thalia said.
“You’re being stupid,” Zoë said. “You’re going to regret thy choice.”
“Oh, really? And why is that?”
“That boy is going to let you down someday.”
Thalia got mad. “No he won’t! Luke will never let me down. Never.”
“We’ll see about that.”
“Yes, we will.” Thalia threw her brochure in the fire. “Let’s go girls.”
She left the tent.
Jasmine also threw her brochure into the fire, then petted the deer one last time. “Come on, Annabeth.”
I looked at the brochure in my hand. I don’t know why, I decided to keep it and put it in my pocket.
“I wish you luck on your journey,” Artemis said.
Then Jasmine and I left the tent.
“What happened?” Luke asked us when we reached him and Toothless a little far into the woods from the Hunters campsite.
Thalia told him everything, still sounding mad about it.
When she was done, Luke turned a little red. “You guys didn’t join them because of me?”
“We didn’t want to leave you or Toothless,” Jasmine said.
Toothless jumped onto her shoulder and licked her face.
“Yeah,” I agreed.
Luke smiled. “Thank you, guys. Really. It means a lot to me that you stayed for me.”
“Hey, we’re a family, right?” Thalia said. “Families stick together.”
“Yeah,” Jasmine agreed, then she gave him a hug. “And they don’t leave each other behind. I love you, Luke.”
He hugged her back. “I love you too. All of you.”
We had a big group hug.
“Let’s go now,” Thalia said. “The sooner we’re away from the Hunters, the better.”
And so we left. But not before Thalia and Zoë gave each other one last glare from a distance.
After a while, we were walking around when we heard something to our right.
Luke unsheathed his sword. “Wait here.”
“Luke—” Thalia started to say, but he interrupted her.
“I’ll be right back.”
He crept toward the bushes that were shaking. He was about to attack when something jumped out of them.
It was a boy. He looked about Thalia’s age with curly brown hair and brown eyes. He freaked out a little bit when he saw Luke holding his sword toward him.
“Who are you?” Luke asked him.
“I’m Grover Underwood,” he replied. “I’m here to bring you to Camp Half-Blood.”
It is so difficult to write these kind of events that happened but you have no idea how they happened or how they ended so you have to make it up. I don't want to skip it since it really happened, nor do I want to make up the whole thing, so sometimes I just give up and get it over with, which some of these chapters will be like. There will be better ones, though, I promise.
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