Swiftie. In love with every word of Ed Sheeran's songs. 🐾
District 4 🌊 Daughter of Apollo ☀️ Italian 🇮🇹
Someday I hope I'm going to be a writer. But happy, most of all, and travel the world 📝🌎
Art history challenge: 7 sculptures/other media (7/7): Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss (1787-1793) by Antonio Canova (1 November 1757 – 13 October 1822)
Psyche is a princess so beautiful that the goddess Venus becomes jealous. In revenge, she instructs her son Cupid to make her fall in love with a hideous monster; but instead he falls in love with her himself. He becomes her unseen husband, visiting her only at night. Psyche disobeys his orders not to attempt to look at him, and in doing so she loses him. In her search for him she undertakes a series of cruel and difficult tasks set by Venus in the hope of winning him back. Cupid can eventually no longer bear to witness her suffering or to be apart from her and pleads their cause to the gods. Psyche becomes an immortal and the lovers are married in heaven.
Reyna never imagined herself, lounging on a dock with her feet dipped in the cool waters of an enemy’s camp. The adrenaline from the battle with Gaea had left her body hours ago but her senses were still humming. Her signature golden armor was removed, leaving her only in a simple purple tank top. Her right shoulder was wrapped extensively. A panther-like monster charged through the ranks of Romans, sinking its teeth into her shoulders, piercing through her armor before she drove her dagger into its neck. Reyna idly reached up, touching the wound. It still ached but she refused ambrosia. The infirmary was crowded with both Roman and Greek casualties who need it more.
They’ve won though. The Greek and Roman forces joined together and defeated Gaea and her enormous force of monsters and titans. In the distance, Reyna could hear the celebrating demigods. She could make out Dakota’s distinct laugh, clearly intoxicated from a ridiculous amount of kool-aid. Reyna turned her head at the sudden explosion, noticing the shower of sparks from the nearby shore.
“Did you ever think Romans and Greeks would actually tolerate each other?” Reyna asked Aurum who was curled up beside her. The dog opened its ruby eyes, blinking sleepily at her but leaned into her soft touch. Argentum was accompanying Frank since he was now the second praetor. Reyna leaned back on her arms, facing the ocean as she ran through the list of things she needed to do once they returned to New Rome. Swear Frank into office. Rebuild Senate and other damaged buildings. Bury the dead… Reyna bit her lip, nearly drawing blood.
The sound of wood creaking snapped Reyna out of her thoughts. The battle-harden girl reached for her golden dagger, slipping it out of its sheath. Aurum’s ears twitched at the sudden noise. It snarled at the intruder, red eyes gleaming dangerously even from its lax position. The wood creaked loudly when the intruder paused, hearing Aurum’s menacing growl.
“Don’t you two ever relax?” Reyna looked away from the water at the sound of his voice. He looked good for a guy with a bandage wrapped around his forehead. It pushed his messy blond hair out of his face, accenting his subtly attractive features. He wore a casual pair of cargo shorts with a tight orange Camp Half-Blood t-shirt. A pair of playful gray eyes smiled at Reyna as he nodded towards Aurum. “Do you mind calling off your guard? I had enough excitement for one day.” Malcolm pointed to his head wound with an easy smile.
“Aurum…” Reyna ordered the dog in Latin. The metal canine lowered its head but still eyed the Greek boy wearily. He thanked her before walking up beside her. Reyna noticed his walk was a little slower with a slight limp. What drew her eyes were the worn-out collapsible chess set in his hands as he sat down beside her. “Why aren’t you celebrating with everyone?”
“Why aren’t you?” Malcolm retaliated easily, stretching his long legs in front of him. He turned to look at her and held her gaze. Reyna only knew a handful of people who would actually hold her gaze. Bobby once admitted how her eyes were intimating and seemed to look through people. There was just something with Malcolm’s gaze that reminded Reyna of Jason’s despite the different shades.
“I don’t do celebrations.” Reyna said, losing her staring contest with the son of Athena. Her fingers reached for the loose note beside her. It was the official roster of Romans who volunteered to invade Camp Half-Blood. There were solid black lines striking through half of the names. They were the deceased. A bile aftertaste settled in Reyna’s mouth and she sucked in a sharp breath. She knew the bright boy noticed her involuntary reactions. “I…”
“I know,” two simple words from a strange boy oddly comforted Reyna. She studied his profile as he looked at the horizon. There was a thoughtful far off expression. His jaw was clenched tightly like he was frustrated. The celebrating sounds seemed to fade in the background. Reyna could only hear the sounds of their breaths and the waves beating against the docks. He knew as well that celebrations were only a temporary way to distract everyone from the harsh reality. People were dead. People they ate with, trained with, and laughed with were no longer around. Maybe it’s because they were children of war, of strategy and tactics, they couldn’t lose themselves in the celebrations.
“War sucks.” Malcolm added. Reyna let out a bitter laugh at how ridiculous, childish and true his words were. She couldn’t stop laughing. It was a type of laugh that sounded more sad than happy, a heart wrenching sob. It was like everything in the last eight months finally hit her. Her walls couldn’t hold back the flood of emotions. Everything from Jason’s disappearance to Scipio’s death to the death of her friends hit the strong girl at that moment. Reyna sniffled after a few seconds, wrapping her arms around herself as she tried to gather her thoughts. She glared at Malcolm as she hiccupped like it was his fault for her tears. Malcolm smiled shyly at her, offering a tissue. “Would it be inappropriate to say you look cute when you’re crying?”
“Yes!” Reyna laughed, grabbing the tissue as she furiously wiped her tears. She hated him for making her laugh. “I told you flatter will get you nowhere.” Malcolm flashed a charming smile. He made her feel funny, like she was allowed to laugh, smile and be just Reyna with him. Like Jason, her subconscious pointed out.
“You said that when you were invading us. This,” Malcolm gestured between them like there could be something, “is completely different situation. I might get somewhere.” His confidence was absurd and endearing. It’s been a while since someone spoke to her like this, so easy and causal. Reyna shook her head, biting back a smile. He grinned before opening his chess set, slowly setting up the pieces. “I bet I can make you smile.”
“I’m not taking that bet.” Reyna started, secretly thinking he could as well. His smiles were contagious, a bit like Percy’s. Maybe it’s a Greek quality. She watched idly as he expertly set up the pieces, noticing how they weren’t traditional chess piece. The knights, bishops and rooks were crafted to mimic the appearance of various gods and goddesses while the pawns were satyrs. “Aren’t you tired of losing?”
“To you? Nope.” Malcolm replied easily, setting up the last piece. “And also, who says I’m going to lose this time? You can’t distract me with your womanly charm.” Reyna laughed a real laugh as she covered her mouth and shook her head. “Ah, I knew I could make you laugh.”
“Shut up. That doesn’t mean you’re going to win.” Reyna replied, pulling her legs out of the cool water. She sat criss-cross and rubbed her hands together, eagerly looking forward to the challenge. “You’ll only win if I let you.”
“Oh, confident, Ms. Roman?” Malcolm teased with a playful gleam in his gray eyes. “How about a bet?”
“Ok, you’ve caught my interest.” Reyna said, noticing how Malcolm deliberately set the black pieces on her side. She smiled; surprised he remembered that little comment during their first meeting in Central park.
“I thought I always had your interest.” Malcolm winked as Reyna rolled her dark eyes. “Ok, now if you win – “
“Me?” Reyna questioned, arching her eyebrow.
“Darn, thought you wouldn’t notice. Fine, in the unlikely event that I win, you have to stay in Half-Blood for at least a week.” Reyna’s smile fell as she processed his words. She looked down at her hands as they nervously twisted together. Half-Blood was slowly growing on her but Reyna wasn’t sure she could handle seeing Jason every day. Ever since he started dating Piper, it was like the Jason she knew wasn’t there. Her Jason wouldn’t ignore the Romans and her without a good reason. But then again, this Jason wasn’t hers.
“I… I can’t.” Reyna whispered, shaking her head.
“Yes, you can.” Malcolm replied stubbornly. Malcolm’s gaze was unwavering as he looked at her. His smile slipped into a serious expression. “You’ve given so much for your people. You’re allowed to care for yourself once in a while. New Rome survived a week without their Queen. One more won’t hurt. You’re tired. I can see it in your eyes. You’ve forgotten what it’s like to have fun, to laugh until your guts hurts and tears are leaking out of your eyes. You deserve a break.”
“Jason…” His name slipped out of her mouth unconsciously.
“You don’t have to spend time with him. There are other campers. Annabeth, Percy, Will, Katie, me…” Malcolm’s lips quirked up into a tiny encouraging smile. “I can be very distracting.”
Reyna allowed his words to sink in as Malcolm looked down, playing with a pawn. His mouth continued running, apologizing for being really forward and assuming things. He was running his fingers through his blond hair, messing with the bandage. She was surprised someone she just met seemed to care so much about her well-being. It was also frightening how much he knew and understood her. Another Jason-like quality, Reyna mentally blocked that thought. The young man in front of her wasn’t Jason and she didn’t want him to be.
“And if I win?” Reyna asked, focusing on his gray eyes to remind her who was in front of her. This is Malcolm, Son of Athena, Greek tactician.
“I’ll go to New Rome.” Reyna’s mouth opened just a bit as he smiled at her shock expression. First-class idiot. She added to her mental titles for the Greek boy in front of her. “I’ll find a little house, attend college, work in a grocery store or something, and bug you until you decided to toss me out.” He noticed her confused expression. The teasing gleam from Malcolm’s gray eyes faded. “I’m serious, Reyna. I love Camp Half-Blood but I can’t spend the rest of my life here. New Rome sounds like a good safe place to restart in.” Malcolm moved is pawn in a classic opening move. Reyna’s mind immediately formed ten different countermoves. She looked back up at him and his confident expression.
“You’re insane, Malcolm.” Reyna told him as she moved her pawn, accepting his conditions. The blond boy laughed and winked at her.
“You could always just let me win.”
“Hey Lacy, did you hear? The scary Roman general girl with the purple cape is staying here.”
“What? No way, where? Why?
“Percy said she could bunk with him since she’s friends with Annabeth and him. I heard that Malcolm ‘convinced’ her.”
“Gods, Piper isn’t going to be happy.”
“Will, do you think they’re a couple?”
“Hmm… Malcolm and Reyna? Who knows?”
“What? You hang out with them all the time.”
“That doesn’t mean I know Styx. You Aphrodite kids.”
“Gods, you’re useless, Will. Katie, have you seen Malcolm?”
“I think he’s taking Reyna to the strawberry fields.”
“Ooh how romantic. Last bonfire, I saw them sharing a blanket.”
“I believe that. I usually see them at the docks around sunset. Gah, are you spreading rumors, Lacy?”
“Just figuring out my odds for the betting pool. Travis has ten drachmas saying they’ll be official at the end of the week. Wanna join? Will? Katie?”
“Put me down for ten as well.”
“I heard Malcolm’s planning on giving Reyna a chess piece from is personal set. He doesn’t even let me touch it.” Even in the crowded dining pavilion, Jason could hear the Reyna-Malcolm gossip. Gossip about the two has been buzzing around the camp during her stay. Frank and Hazel led the remaining Romans home to New Rome after the celebrations and ceremonies. Chiron mentioned Reyna was here for diplomatic reasons but that didn’t stop the whispers. Jason wasn’t sure how he felt about the gossip. It doesn’t concern him directly but he knew he didn’t like it. Maybe it’s his naturally protectiveness. Most likely it’s because he knew Reyna wouldn’t tolerate gossip in general. She used to glare at anyone in Camp Jupiter who spoke about them.
“Aw, Malcolm is such a sweetie. She’s so lucky.” The girl behind Jason cooed as he scraped a bit of is eggs into the bonfire. The fire sparked, pleased with his offering. Jason unknowingly dragged his feet, lingering to catch just a bit more of their conversation. “I heard he was going to move to New Rome.” Jason felt his stomach drop, at the sound of his old home or the idea of Malcolm moving, he wasn’t sure.
“No, Malcolm wouldn’t do that. It’s too early. He’s not that irresponsible.” For some reason, it felt like the girls were talking about Jason and his choices. He did leave home suddenly, decided to stay with the Greeks and Piper after a short amount of time without anyone from his old life to consult him. Am I irresponsible or selfish? I want to stay in Half-Blood because Piper’s here. I want this. Right? Jason allowed those thoughts to swirl in his head as he walked to Cabin One’s table. He paused, noticing Annabeth sitting there with her simple breakfast with a thick tome. Piper sat across from her, re-braiding one of her braids.
“Morning?” Jason started, not sure why Annabeth was sitting with him. It was usually Piper and sometimes Leo who ate with him.
“Cabin Three’s table is going to be crowded today. I want to finish this before.” Annabeth stated without looking up from her book, casually flipping the page. Jason scratched the back of his head, trading shrugs with Piper before sitting beside his girlfriend. Piper stole a strawberry from his plate, popping it into her mouth. “I still can’t believe Reyna’s leaving today.” Annabeth sounded sad like she didn’t want her to leave. The two girls have grown close, bonding over shared experiences and stories.
“Yeah, the whole camp is buzzing about it.” Jason commented, remembering the conversation by the bonfire. He noticed across the room Reyna’s signature black hair and single braid. She was carrying a bowl of fruit and cradling an open scrapbook in her hands that Katie and a few other campers made for her. There was a soft smile tugging at her lips as she flipped through the pages, nearly running into a wandering forest nymph. Malcolm, who was walking beside her, quickly caught the bowl and the forest nymph.
“Well she did make a few friends.” Piper commented as she watched the interaction between Malcolm, Reyna and the nymph. Reyna quickly apologized to the nymph as she hugged the scrapbook to her chest. Malcolm laughed beside her as he held the short forest fairy. The son of Athena lightly tugged Reyna’s braid when the spirit disappeared, pulling the Roman girl’s attention towards him. Jason noticed Reyna’s warm smile as she playfully smacked his hand and sat down with her breakfast. Malcolm sat also, stretching his legs out as he leaned his back against the table, continuing their conversation with practice ease. “Some more than others.”
“When did they grow close?” Jason asked, unable to hide the irritated tone in his words.
“I thought you didn’t care.” Piper said quickly, unconsciously seeping charmspeak within her words.
“I don’t care about Reyna.” Jason replied immediately and robotically. Annabeth tensed up like she could feel the magic in her friend’s words. Jason noticed it as well but it was always easier to accept the charmspeak than fight it. The blonde girl looked up with piercing daggers in her sharp gray eyes.
“Piper…”Annabeth warned, shutting her book with a satisfying thump. Piper looked guilt before standing up.
“I’m going to check on Leo. He probably locked himself in Bunker Nine again. See ya.” Piper said, kissing Jason’s cheek before leaving. The spell her charmspeak dissipated, leaving Jason with a fuzzy head. Jason took few deep breaths, trying to clear his thoughts. He could feel Annabeth’s wise eyes studying him like he was one of the Athena Cabin’s experiments.
“What?” Jason grumbled, running his fingers through his hair before looking up at her.
“You’ve noticed that time.” Annabeth pointed out. Jason nodded his head, awkwardly shuffling his feet underneath the table. He felt like Lupa was looking at him with her steely gaze, disappointed by his actions because she knew he could do better. Piper’s charmspeak has been slipping a lot. Jason noticed near the beginning of the week whenever Reyna waved or greeted him. This whole week, Jason felt like his head has been a fuzzy mess. “And you still allowed it?”
“It’s not like I can fight it, Annabeth.” Jason snapped back, not sure who he was frustrated with. Piper? Reyna? Malcolm? Myself? Annabeth’s eyes narrowed with a disapproving glare.
“No, you’re not trying.” Jason grinded his teeth together but he couldn’t argue with her. It was slightly true. With Piper’s charmspeak, it was always easier to fall into her familiar magic. It was certain unlike Jason’s feelings and thoughts. Annabeth frowned at him, gathering her thoughts before speaking. “Jason, when was the last time you had a real conversation with Reyna? Not a ‘hi, how are you?’ sort of interaction but a serious heartfelt conversation. New Rome? Before Juno switched Percy and you?” Jason cringed at her sharp words because she was right. He felt like dirt as Annabeth laid out his relationship or lack of with Reyna. The daughter of Athena’s eyes softens when she noticed Jason’s guilt expression. “She misses you, Jason.”
“It looks like she found a good replacement.” Jason remarked bitterly, nodding towards Malcolm. The boy stole a grape from Reyna’s place and held it up to her mouth. Jason braced himself for Reyna to eat the berry out of his fingers but Reyna did the opposite. The Roman girl pushed the berry into Malcolm’s mouth, nearly chocking the surprised boy. Percy and Reyna started laughing as Malcolm coughed and quickly chew the grape.
“You boys are idiots.” Annabeth started with fire in her words. “You think we can replace you so easily. Well, newsflash, we can’t. Boys actually leave deeper scars than swords.” There was a faraway expression in Annabeth’s eyes like she was saying those words to someone else instead of Jason. There was probably someone in her life, someone who left deep scars on her heart. Jason wanted to reach out and comfort her but she quickly pulled out of her memories and stood up. “Jason, at least have the common decency to say goodbye, a proper one, not charmspeak. She deserves that much.”
Jason sighed deeply as Annabeth walked to Percy’s battle. She ruffled her brother’s golden air, kissed Percy on the cheek and gave Reyna a tight long hug before sitting beside her. The girls spoke to each other, ignoring their male company. Percy rolled his sea-green eyes and tried to start a conversation with Malcolm. The other boy wasn’t listening, just smiling stupidly as he watched Reyna and Annabeth chat. His gray eyes were completely enticed by the Roman girl.
Jason looked over at Reyna, noting how flush her face was from laughing too much. She looked like the girl he remembered pre-praetorship, pre-Charleston, pre-Gaea. Her dark eyes were sparkling as she spoke. There were no bags from sleepless stressful nights. Her braid was loose with a few stray strands tickling her cheek and slender neck, framing her beautiful face. Somehow sensing his gaze, Reyna looked over at him. Jason noticed the sliver of pain in her dark eyes but she still somehow smiled at him, like she’s saying ‘I’m ok.’
She deserves that much. Annabeth’s words echoed in his head as he tried to return her smile and whispered. “She deserves more.”