WHAT IS NEW WHAT IS NEW? THIS IS!
Hello! Welcome to the sequel of, "Of Crowns and Cookies"! It's a must that you read that story first before delving into this one. This takes a few years after the first story, and this time Percy and his friends are now in their fourth year. :) If you thought OCC was one hell of a ride, wait 'till you read this one. ;)
DISCLAIMER: I do not own PJO, HoO, Star Wars, and all other familiar references in this story. All rights belong to their respective owners.
Of Royalties and Responsibilities
Annabeth was everywhere.
Her hair was curled under his hands and her scent was right up his nose that she should have been suffocating him but she wasn't. Her own hands were travelling from his hair and to his face, then from his chest to his tie where she yanked and pulled him even closer to her. Her lips were—gods. They were pressed up against his, and even though he's had almost four years to memorize the way everything feels when she's kissing him, he was still flustered like he was fifteen years old again and learning how to be a good boyfriend for the first time.
"We can't keep doing this here," Annabeth hissed once Percy's lips were on her neck.
"You started it," he argued between kisses, smirking when she felt her hands on his hair again.
"Shut up," she murmured, biting her lip to prevent any other sound from escaping. "Percy, we're going to get caught!"
"Be quiet before—"
"Ehem." There was some throat clearing. Percy and Annabeth pulled away at once, straightening their school uniforms, even though it was obvious that one of them had the other pressed against the library shelves. Their hairs were a mess and Annabeth had a suspicious red mark on her neck. Percy's tie was hanging loosely by his collar.
"Um," Percy started. "Hi." From the corner of his eye, Annabeth glared at him, looking like she was tempted to slap his face with her palm.
"Perseus Jackson of Aspyros and Annabeth Chase of Mylita," the librarian began, looking at the teenagers dead in the eye and glaring. "This is the third time this month, and it's only the first of the semester! Off to the headmaster's office, the two of you! Now!"
Annabeth groaned, grabbing Percy's arm and not bothering to fix their appearances. All the other princes in the room were howling and snickering at Percy, "congratulating" him for another job well done. The librarian shushed them and Annabeth merely rolled her eyes, dragging her boyfriend outside.
"Chiron's going to kill us," she muttered, stomping towards the headmaster's office.
Percy managed to laugh despite his fuming girlfriend. "Hey, it's all right. It could've been worse. She could've informed our parents. What would Queen Athena think?"
All the blood drained from Annabeth's face. "Don't even joke about that."
They stopped by the office's intercom. Annabeth pressed a button and Chiron's face shimmered in front of them.
"Hi, Mr. Brunner," Percy greeted the man like they were old friends (which, technically speaking, they were). Although their headmaster had allowed them to call him "Chiron" outside of class hours, they never failed to call him by his formal name just in case anyone else was listening.
"Oh dear." Chiron squinted his eyes, probably taking in their messy appearances. "What was it this time?"
"It was Percy's fault," Annabeth sounded dangerously close to whining. Percy dramatically gasped at her.
"The librarian sent you here again?" Chiron shook his head. "All right, you can enter."
Percy pushed the doors to Chiron's office, taking in the already familiar atmosphere. Chiron was behind his huge desk talking to another student, which Percy and Annabeth both recognized as Leo Valdez of Ceprione.
Leo spoke first, wiggling his eyebrows at them. "Well, well, well. What do we have here?"
Annabeth shot him a look that she knew scared him. "What are you doing here?"
"Classified until this afternoon's meeting." Leo winked. "What about you guys? Where was it this time? Janitor's closet? Broadcasting room? Abandoned classroom? Oh, wait; let me guess! The library!" He guffawed. "I'm right, aren't I? Oh, man. You're going to give that poor librarian a heart attack!"
Percy had to hold back a fuming Annabeth. He changed the subject instead. "The meeting this afternoon's at five, right? Will you be presiding, Chiron?"
The older man shook his head. "I have a faculty meeting at the same time, so I'll have to leave that to you, Percy, if that's okay. I'm sure this brand new addition won't be too hard to handle. Hazel Levesque's an intelligent girl."
"Wow, one month into the school year and we've already got a new one," Leo said. "Who recruited her?"
"Piper did," Annabeth answered. "Her room's right across from ours at the dorm, and she's really nice. We haven't talked much, but I trust Piper's judgment."
"Is she cute?"
Percy rolled his eyes at his roommate. "I'm sure that's not the criteria we're looking for. Anyway, we introduce the new girl today. What else is on the agenda?"
"Well," Chiron mused. "Since I'm supposed to be giving the two of you punishment, I'm giving the two of you the responsibility of assigning Hazel to her post. Also, saber and blaster suspension until the next meeting."
Percy pouted at the same time Annabeth's jaw dropped. Leo snickered at his friends.
"You need to learn your lesson, Your Highnesses," Chiron continued. "Would you like me to call the kings and queens of Aspyros and Mylita instead?"
"Of course not," Annabeth answered immediately, no doubt cringing at the thought of her mother finding out she was doing un-princess-like vices, and at the library no less. "Percy and I will take care of Hazel."
Chiron nodded. "All right. Well, the three of you should be heading off to the mess hall now. You just missed twenty minutes of your lunch hour."
Leo snorted. "Percy and Annabeth certainly didn't mind wasting the time. We'll see you later, Chiron."
The three of them bid the headmaster goodbye before exiting his office. Leo immediately darted off towards the mess hall, crying out a, "Wait till Jason hears about this!" and laughing maniacally.
Annabeth turned to Percy and scowled. "Should I run after him? Make sure his head gets clobbered before he says anything?"
"I won't mind," Percy said, grinning and giving her a quick kiss before pushing her towards the direction of their friend. She smiled at him and ran after Leo.
His friends were still goofballs, all right, despite years of studying at the Olympus Academy for the Royalty, a school that was supposed to teach them prim and properness and the ways of ruling entire planets for the future.
Of course, Percy and his friends were already seniors and were on their last year now, so no one really minded how they behaved anymore. Everyone knew the impending doom of having to rule kingdoms one day, so they were practically allowed to have a bit of "fun" while they still could.
(But apparently, this "fun" didn't include kissing – making out, really - at the library. Teachers still found that scandalous.)
Olympus Academy hadn't changed much. The school still had its old castle vibe from the exterior despite the advanced technology it had. The biggest difference was that the headmistress when Percy first entered the school, Mrs. Minerva Dodds, already retired and was replaced by Percy's Geography teacher and saber mentor, Chiron Brunner.
Having Chiron as their headmaster made their little "organization" a whole lot easier to manage. Ironically enough, Percy and his friends once upon a time jokingly called their group "Chiron's Army", and now they were too fond of the name to change it. Their group had started out long ago due to an encounter with Percy's old friend Luke Castellan, and since there were threats of another army and a possible war breaking out, and since the school boards did nothing to address those threats, Chiron's Army was born. No one else was genuinely worried for the student body composed of royalties, so Percy and his friends took it upon themselves to do so.
Their biggest concern? Finding out the person inside campus who helped Luke Castellan all those years ago. Someone inside the school was part of Kronos' Army, and as long as he was inside the academy, then the princes and princesses weren't really safe.
Chiron's Army started out small, afraid that they would get caught and get suspended from the academy. Three years later and they still managed to keep themselves a secret, although they managed to expand a little bit and recruited those they think can help them with their cause.
Percy shook his head, bringing himself out of his reverie. He pushed the mess hall doors open to see a bustling cafeteria full of princes and princesses from all over Olympus' planets. He liked seeing everyone act like normal teenagers, despite the fact that everyone had huge responsibilities in the form of whole planets.
But there was laughter and bearable chaos, and, really, this was part of the reason why Percy was glad his group exists.
He finally walked to his usual table. Leo was laughing loudly while Jason was listening intently to what he was saying, grinning widely and looking like he also wanted to burst out laughing. Annabeth was hitting Leo on the head and probably kicking him under the table, too, while Piper was rolling her eyes.
Percy slid onto his seat and tried to catch up with what was going on.
"Really, Percy?" Jason turned to the Aspyros prince. "The library? Again?"
"Like you and Piper are any better," Percy retorted, earning him a smirk from Piper.
"Yeah, the biggest difference is," Piper said. "Jason and I don't get caught."
"Ugh," Annabeth groaned, turning to Percy and burying her face onto his shoulder. "Embarrassing, all of you."
Leo snorted. "Says the one who got caught for the third time on the first month of the school year."
The table budged a little as Annabeth kicked him under the table. Leo howled in pain while the rest of them laughed.
Yeah, Percy considered Olympus Academy his home, and these guys were the main reasons why.
"Whoa," Hazel Levesque muttered once Percy opened one of the doors in Chiron's office. At first there was only pitch black, but once Percy turned on the lights, a very wide two-story space was revealed. The place used to be a huge library, but since Chiron's Army needed a place for their activities, Chiron took it upon himself to clear out the place and store the old books somewhere else once he was headmaster.
The first floor of the place looked like a training area. There were boards with blaster hooks and sabers hanging off of it. There were also different shooting targets on the walls. At the center was an enclosed space for dueling. There were also several screens and machine-like things that projected holo-targets and holo-obstacles for them to practice on. (The holo-images were Annabeth's idea, and she and Leo combined efforts to learn programming and come up with the perfect training gear).
The second floor was more of an enclosed space at the sides of the room, overlooking the training area. Unlike the bottom floor, this part had lots of tables and computers. There was even a large table at the end full of tools and random metal parts.
"Welcome to base." Percy grinned at the new girl. "The others will be here any minute now. Annabeth and I were supposed to assign you to your sector, but she had some work to do at the broadcasting station, so she'll try to catch up. I assume Piper's already given you the basics?"
"Basics, yeah." Hazel nodded, eyes still scanning the room. "She told me that you guys were trying to figure out what's going on in the academy, and that you're also trying to come up with measures to at least be prepared for whatever's going to happen."
"Well… this is where the magic happens." Percy walked into the center of the room. "Any particular field you're interested in? Sabers, blasters? Do you know how to program or build things? We've got Leo Valdez on that. The physical training's under me and Jason Grace, if you know him. Annabeth and Piper are head of recruitment and the general research for everything."
Hazel looked overwhelmed. "Wow, that's a lot to take in. But, uh…"
"Don't worry," Percy chuckled reassuringly. "It takes some time to get used to. That is, if you decide not to leave the group or…"
"No, no," Hazel said quickly. "I think this is all amazing, actually. So… how do I decide where I'm going to help?"
"That's entirely up to you, Hazel. Of course, there's always—"
All the other members chose that moment to barge into the room.
Leo was the first. "WHERE IS TRAVIS?! I SWEAR I'M GOING TO—"
Piper came prancing next, snorting at the Ceprione prince. "Leo, please. We don't want to ruin our image to Hazel just yet."
Other people were filing in, but Percy and Hazel had their eyes on the prince with half of his hair on fire. "Leo, why is your hair emitting smoke?"
Travis Stoll's laugh could be heard even though he had yet to make an appearance. He came strolling in a few seconds later. "Why, I'm so glad you asked, Percy. Let's just say it involved a brand new blaster programmed with face recognition."
Leo was scowling. "And you figured it would be awesome to test it on my face."
Percy sent Hazel an apologetic smile, although he couldn't deny the fact that he liked seeing Travis like this. It turned out that the Pherena prince had the most mischievous flair to him, and for some reason his favorite victim was Leo. Percy was just glad that he bounced back almost immediately after his brother Connor Stoll's death.
"Gentlemen," Annabeth said, finally arriving and walking towards Percy's side. "Enough trouble. We've got work to do."
Leo snorted at her. "Speaking of trouble—" Annabeth glared at him. "Right. Up to the work table I go."
All the others were bustling with activity around the room. Piper was already hitting the computer upstairs with Travis and Leo. Jason and Frank Zhang were tinkering with the sabers, while Will Solace and Clarisse La Rue were by the blasters. There used to be more of them, but the others such as Annabeth's brother Malcolm and Jason's sister Thalia already graduated. They never failed to break communications, however, dropping by to say hello once in a while.
"Well, Hazel," Annabeth started. "This is us. Are you interested on a tour?"
Hazel nodded. "Yes, please."
"You go, Percy." Annabeth smirked at him. "I'll take care of her. Since we're on weapon suspension, why don't you go help Piper out?"
Percy sighed before kissing her on the cheek. "Yes, ma'am." He trudged up the steps to see Piper and Travis hunched over something. "What's up?"
"So far, we've got nothing," Piper said, sighing. "I asked the other students if their respective planets have any relations with Tartarus like you asked me to, but we agreed long ago that we shouldn't be asking too many if we don't want to get caught. So far, every planet's got someone who has been going around asking support for Tartarus' security system. His name's Midas, and he's not exactly king, but since Kronos' fall, he's been overseeing everything."
Percy's eyes widened in recognition. "I remember him, but he was in Aspyros almost two years ago. He said he had big plans for his planet."
"How do we know if he's working for Kronos?" Travis asked.
"Did you say security system?" Percy raised an eyebrow. "Isn't that Kronos guy locked up in the prison?"
Chiron had long ago told them the story about how the then King of Tartarus Kronos, by the unanimous decision by all the courts of all the other planets, was convicted of theft for exploiting what Olympus had that belonged to the people. It was a story told again and again as a reminder to all the students that, even though they're of royal blood, no one's an exemption to the law.
"Well, with what little inhabitants Tartarus has, I don't think there's better use for all the funds and help that that Midas guy is going to get," Piper answered before frowning. "Unless, of course, he's also working for Kronos. But he should know better. He gets to see that prison every time he's home. He should how horrible it is to be in there."
Percy frowned. "Are you sure that's all we've got? No other planet has any ties with Tartarus?"
"Well…" Piper trailed off, cocking her head to the side so she could look at Travis. The prince widened his eyes once he saw her look.
Travis was shaking his head frantically. "Piper, you know I can't ask him."
"We have to try, Travis," Piper insisted.
"My father refuses to talk about anything that has to do with Luke or with that army he's part of," Travis said. "If I ask about Tartarus, he'll have my butt, I swear."
But there was a reason why Percy chose Piper for any task that involved asking any of the students. He found out long ago that she was incredibly good at convincing anyone to do what she wanted. Percy wasn't sure how she did that, but maybe it had something to do with her pretty face and the pout she does all the time.
(Percy also has a theory that Jason's incredibly whipped because of that.)
"For us, Travis?" Piper asked, making Percy roll his eyes at her attempts to that face again. "We've never asked you before, but we're coming to a dead end now. Please?"
Travis stared at her for a moment before frowning.
"...fine." Travis rolled his eyes. "But this is going to take a while. Gods, how does Jason argue with you?"
Piper grinned. "He doesn't."
"Thank you, Travis," Percy said sincerely. "We know this isn't easy for you, so we owe you a lot."
"Yeah, you can start by telling me why you and Annabeth are always getting caught at the library."
Percy groaned as Piper laughed loudly.
Despite all the heavy stuff they had to deal with, somehow they always found a way to act like crazy teenagers.
Percy wouldn't trade his friends for the world.
Fourteen-year-old Luke Castellan stopped short at the hallways. Rows of guards donned in green were lined up all the way to where his father's room was situated at the end of the hall.
"What's going on?" He asked no one in particular. He didn't like the sight of all these guards; something must've gone wrong.
Suddenly he felt a sense of dread. His father wasn't supposed to be home yet. King Hermes had sent him somewhere as representative of the kingdom of Pherena; for what, Luke didn't know.
Before he could give it much thought, he started running towards the door at the end of the hall.
The blond prince stopped and turned around to see his cousin and heir to the Pherena throne, Prince Connor Stoll.
"Cousin," Luke greeted. He tried to look calm but he really couldn't keep the fright out of his voice. The older boy had an expression that Luke didn't like; Connor's eyes were wide and it looked like he was hiding something. "What's going on? Is my father home? Why are they all here?"
Connor bit his lip, probably contemplating his next words. "Your father was going on a diplomatic mission for Tartarus; that, you already know. But, uh…"
"Connor." Luke was already starting to panic. "What's happening? Father and his fleet weren't supposed to return until this Friday—"
"That's the thing, Luke," Connor said. "Their ship wasn't able to take off properly. Something happened while they were jumping into hyperspace. No one could tell what it was. Your father and all the people he was with—"
Luke didn't listen to rest of his cousin's words. He decided to run all the way to his father's room instead, blinking back tears and trying to ignore the fact that his chest was starting to hurt for a reason he wasn't sure of.
He only stopped when the door opened, and King Hermes exited with an expression too sad for a king to wear.
"Uncle—" Luke started.
The king didn't say a word. He dropped down to Luke's height and hugged his nephew… something he hasn't done since Luke was very little.
When Luke felt the king's tears on his shoulder, he started crying himself.
End of Chapter One
Oh wow oh wow oh wow this is here! I apologize for the wait that came with this chapter, although I don't have a better reason aside from school. Free life tip: choose a major you're going to love for the rest of your existence huhu. You'll have to constantly remind yourself why you're doing what you're doing. Hahahuhu
Thank you so much for reading and for reaching this far of my stories! It means a lot to me! That being said, I'm going to have to ask you guys to be patient with my updating schedule. So far, college is taking so much of my time and I don't know when the next chapter's going to be up. I'll write as much as I can, though, I promise!
Thanks again! Have a great day! -YJ