A/N: THANK YOU! For reading and favoring my story! I love all of you! You’re the best! J I got one review for the last chapter! Yay! This story as I’m writing more and more, is going to be a novella I think, so don’t despair I’m not quite done yet. There’s still some fun yet to go.
Stepping from the hot, steaming bath water, Lia lead Annabeth to her quarters. She made Annabeth stand in the middle of the room, her hair dripping down her bare back, and body still damp from the bath. The princess’s nurse took no hesitation to stare at her; she ran into the dressing room and pulled a corset from the manikin. She slid the black corset up over her head, Annabeth sucked in, as the painful grip of it tightened around her. Lia had chosen a silvery dress for Annabeth’s rehearsal wedding. The chemise was a dull grey, but only illuminated her dress more.
When Annabeth was dressed, Lia made her sit in front of her mirror on a plush stool. Lia wrapped hot cloths around the princess’s head to dry her hair. As she unwove them, damp strands of blond fell down in clumps around Annabeth’s face. Her fierce grey eyes stared at her from the mirror, flashing with anxiety. She could feel how clammy her hands were; she clasped them together and tried to sit still. Lia brushed through the fair haired girl’s hair, yanking through every tangle. Annabeth’s winced at her harsh brushstrokes,
“Please Lia.” Lia only smiled lightly at her. She gathered her hair and piled it on top of her head. Annabeth stared down at the chipped wood of her aged dresser. She had had it since she was a child, it had stayed with her even in her anger when she had thrown things at, and when she used to stand on top of it acting like she was Queen of Greece.
“Princess, are you going to look at yourself or not?” She slowly raised her eyes to the mirror, and a reflection of a woman looked back at her. Annabeth was a simple, but pretty girl. But this reflection that stared back at her was a woman. She had breasts and cheekbones, her eyes ever fierce and sly were intensified. Her pale skin flickered with a creamy color, and her dress cut low enough to see the tops of her bosom. Shocked by her appearance, Annabeth looked up to her hair. It was luxuriously piled on her head like a tower, but her curls made it softer and more surreal.
“I-I’m beautiful.” She blinked hoping to see herself, but only got the same image looking back at her.
“You always are my Annabeth, now come you don’t want to keep your father waiting.” She took Annabeth’s hand and raised her to her feet, the princess walked to the door before turning back to Lia.
“Thank you my dear Lia.” An overwhelming urge came over Annabeth to run to Lia like she always had when she was child. Lia walked over to Annabeth and kissed her cheek,
“Take courage my little warrior princess.” She touched away a small tear that ran down her cheek, and pushed her out the door. Annabeth walked along the grand atrium of the palace. It was one of Annabeth’s favorite parts of her home, the atrium was a long hall filled with portraits of past queens on one side and kings on the others. Annabeth’s mother though was oddly absent from the others, but Annabeth’s father hung there. His face was strong and mischievous; he looked so young and happy in the painting. Each brushstroke was delicate and long. One could easily tell the artist had a gifted hand.
The rest of the atrium had flowing red carpet that was made of velvet and fine silk. The marble ceiling was draped over her like an arch. Dimming sunlight streamed through the high arched windows. They were opened and a sweet summer breeze flew through the window. It smelled like the sea and olives.
King Aeron sat in his throne and a young man, with a crown, knelt before him. Annabeth stepped to the side where Josaiah stood. Her father’s closest companion studied his gleaming, silver sword. “My lord.” Annabeth dipped into a curtsey. The knight inclined his head to her,
“Your father speaks to King Danus, your future husband my lady.” He gestured to the young man. From what Annabeth could see of him he was tall and dark. His hair was dark and curly like black water. His skin was pale and strange tattoos ran up his arms. They were black and appeared to be a language Annabeth did not know. His black cape twined around his feet like a living thing. The gold he used was very rare, and a single gold earring pierced his fine earlobe. Annabeth realized with a sudden jolt that this was not the King Danus she remembered, but a younger and more attractive version of him. His name hadn’t been Danus, it had been something else… She couldn’t grasp it.
Aeron held out his ring for the younger king to kiss. King Danus knelt and spoke softly to Annabeth’s father; Aeron nodded and looked to Annabeth in the corner. She gave him a look of despise and hatred, he looked away with sorrow. “Nico, this is your fiancée, Princess Annabeth.” He turned and Annabeth gasped. His eyes… They were deep and fathomless; everything was so dark that barely his pupil could be seen. He smiled at the princess; his lips were full and lovely. Annabeth could see he was handsome but something cold and dark sent a shiver up her spine.
“M-My lord,” She curtsied to him, he lifted a hand to her, and she took it. “King Aeron said your name was Danus.” He nodded,
“My grandfather was Danus, as for I, I am Nico Danus. But you may address me as Nico.” His eyes were so dark and black, they held Annabeth’s with a gaze of superiority. She wanted to shrink from it, so much power and royalty he held, and all she could do was cringe at his look. He lifted a hand to her cheek, she winced, but he only delicately ran his fingertips across it.
“As you wish my lord, Nico.” He smiled and walked down the steps of the throne to the archway.
“Till to tonight, princess.” He smirked and strode out of the room. Annabeth could feel a dark electric touch from where he had touched her. She stared after him and felt her heart pound and wham against her chest. She excused herself and ran out of the room. Once Princess Annabeth had come out of the room, she collapsed outside the throne room, her back up against the wall. It felt nice to have the marble walls supporting her shaking body. She took deep breaths, for when she had seen the prince’s shoulder she had seen the mark she had been most afraid to see. It was the mark of Hades.
Perseus kneeled before his uncle at his throne. His uncle regarded him with cautious eyes; his uncle was not particularly fond of Perseus. “Yes Perseus?” Perseus rose to face his mother and uncle,
“My lord and my dearest Mother, I have received news of our victory in Megara! We have won yet another battle my uncle!” King Ly’s face lit up with the news, he lifted Perseus’s mother by the hand and twirled her.
“This victory calls for celebration, Athens will fall now! They will surely fall! Ha! My nephew that is grand news! The greatest ally of Athens had fallen. We are victors!” Perseus smiled at his uncle’s joy. Megara had been a strong seafaring city like Athens and Argos, but it had been taken down through the vicious battle on the Creticum Mare. Now pushed to its knees in mercy, Megara had offered help in defeating Argos’s rival. Megara knew the strengths and weaknesses of Athens. “Oh my nephew I will gladly call you my son.” Perseus stopped smiling at them and furrowed his brow.
“What did you say, Uncle?” Ly looked at Perseus with kindness and understanding.
“You are my son Perseus, I have raised you like my own, and therefore I now declare you are.” Perseus forced a smile at his uncle. He didn’t want to be Ly’s son; he wanted to be his father’s. He bowed to his uncle and mother.
“I must attend to my studies for the university; I’ll be in my study if one of you calls upon me.” He turned on his heel and in five long strides was gone. He breathed in; Ly was not a father to him. Ly had been cruel to him as a child, beaten him with his own scepter, and now he called him his son. Perseus did not know what to think of it. His mind clattered helplessly empty as servants and knights rushed through the palace rejoicing, but the prince made his way past them in a daze.
He reached his study and opened the door with a hard pull. He slammed it behind him and fell into his chair. “Oh Father, what am I to do?” He sighed exasperated, and picked up a book from the table. It was on Socrates. He didn’t want to learn about the way of Socrates or the way of Aristotle, he was tired of it. All of it. His old hound, Bascal hopped over to him. He stuffed his snout under the prince’s calloused hand. Perseus cracked a smile. “I wonder why I have no kingdom yet, Bascal. My uncle says I am of age to rule, but I suppose he is waiting till Mother…” Perseus trailed off. A light of hope went out inside of him and all that was left was weariness. Bascal let out a whine and licked his master’s hand. Perseus gave him a dry smile, “Look at you Bascal, you an old greybeard and have as much energy as a young stallion. But look twice at me and see an old man, who is barely sixteen.”
Charles burst through the doors, “Perseus!” He laughed and punched his friend in the arm. “I’m back from the battle!” Perseus knew that Charles had left two days ago in battle, but had not known he had been general. Perseus rose and hugged his friend, his arm wrapped around his neck jovially.
“Charles my dear friend, why you didn’t tell me you were the war hero!” Perseus laughed and shoved his brother away. Charles smiled crookedly, his teeth were crooked and one overlapped on the side, but his face was handsome and fine.
“I was going to my sweet prince, but it slipped my mind.” Perseus pulled his sword on him,
“Of course it did, Charlie.” He laughed and the two boys fought with their swords pulled on each other. Knocking over a stoke for the fire as they did. Papers fluttered to the ground at their fast movements. Charles, as the boys fought, told Perseus about the battle.
When the men arrived at Megara it had been near night fall, the men had ambushed the small city. Raiding pantries and homes, ransacking stables, stealing dresses and jewelry. The king declared war between Argos and Megara at midnight that same night, the men moved to the battlefields north of the palace. Once there, Megara fought strongly but one could tell they were nothing without Athens. Athene herself came onto the battlefield when Athens fought, but she seemed strangely absent from the grounds. As the battle war on, Sir Crinos had fallen from a blade in his back. Charles had seen Crinos and taken the captain’s place in the battle. Charles fought diligently and hard, and when he had saved the troops by morning, Megara had only the smart and cowardice left within it.
“That’s amazing my friend.” Charles smiled; he commended himself, and shook his head joyfully.
“I’m just being humorous Percy.” He laughed and grazed Perseus’s arm lightly. Blood dripped from the wound like red silk. Perseus laughed at his friend,
“You bastard!” Then realized what he had said, Charles had fallen back a step. His joyfulness not fully gone, but his spirit had been hurt. “I’m sorry Charles, I had not meant that.” Charles gave a small smile,
“I know Perseus, you’re already forgiven.” Perseus dropped his silver foil, and stretched out his hand to Charles.
“I’m sorry lad, I’m one too, and you forget that. Or maybe not anymore… Ly told me I’m his fostered son. But I don’t want to be, or maybe I do Charles. I want my father’s blood within me, not Ly’s.” But Charles had stopped listening and was looking out the window. Perseus saw where he was looking, in the distance the night lit up like a firework. A festival was going on down in the city.
“Perseus, we could leave for Athens. No one will notice our disappearance now.” Charles declared grabbing up his sword and slipping it into his sheath. Perseus rolled his eyes,
“You will be the death of me Charles.”
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