ONE - SERVANTS

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Servants. They're all servants, and will never be anything more than servants. They're the best servants anyone can ask for—because their loyalty is guaranteed. And your voice is all that they can listen to, your voice is law, and nobody can contradict it.

Charmspeak—what a wonderful thing! It makes your voice important. It makes your voice heard. And your voice will never be drowned out by another sound ever again; your voice is loud.

"Keep watch on the prisoners," you tell one, pointing to them. They hurriedly nod, and scurry off to do your bidding.

"And you," you point to another servant on the ground, "feed them."

"Give the rest water," you tell the last servant. "But don't give any to the son of the sea god. No water for him."

They're all so small, on the ground. You sit high with your head up on your golden throne. And you smile. Because you've managed to trick them all. And they're all imprisoned in the very place they called home—hah! What a farce, it is, the word 'home'.

Their voices were too small for you anyways. The children of those minor gods, the children no one cared about, the lost, the unclaimed, they are your servants. Now they have a use, they're not just wasting oxygen.

A pure waste of oxygen was that Jason. You loved him. You offered to make him your king. He should have been your king. But he declined, he went to that prison with the others. And so everyday he gets the least food and the most torment.

"Stop this, Piper," he had said. "I'm your friend. I don't want this to happen to you. Come back, before it's too late."

"No," you had insisted. "I will have a throne. I will be the queen."

The son of Hephaestus had been forced to make the throne. Your throne.

"What are you willing to do, Piper, to get a throne?" Leo had asked.

"Anything," you replied.

"Okay, then," he submitted. "You'll get your throne. You'll be the queen. But the rest of them live," he tried to negotiate.

And you had smiled shrewdly. "I don't plan on killing them," you had told him. "Their fates will be worse than death."

Thoughtfully, you stroke the arm of your throne. Then you think of Jason, of him, he who had betrayed you to be with his friends. Your face contorts into a sneer, and you point at one of the many servants in the rows of slaves who have aligned themselves in a bow facing your throne.

None of them can look you in the eye—they are too weak. And those who could look you in the eye, the strong, the ones with the powerful parents, were all taken to the prisons to rot, because they are all more powerful than you know. You stay with what you know.

"You," you keep pointing at the servant, whose head is still down in reverence, in submission. "Go bring tormentors for the son of Jupiter."

He squeaks, nodding, and hurries off for torture specialists. The torture specialists arrive, empty-handed, waiting for you to order them how to best get under his skin.

"Water," you order. "He will not like water. He is the son of Jupiter."

They bow and leave.

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You walk through the dingy prison, stone walls a murky gray and forlorn faces watching you everywhere. But there is only one person that you are here to see. She was too intelligent. She would have wormed her way out of the prison if she was in a standard cell.

You open the door to her cell with the key, then walk in and close the door again. You see her, blonde hair matted and a little bit dirty, gray eyes dimmed. She sits, chained to the bed.

Her cell is all white. The bed is white and the walls are white and everything is white—like one of those cells from the movies where the insane are locked in white rooms.

She sees you, regards you with those gray eyes sparkling with intelligence.

When she speaks, her tone is emotionless, her face devoid of any expression.

"Hello, Piper." her voice is cold and emotionless and hard and hostile all at the same time.

You nod in recognition. "Annabeth."

"You know, one day I will get out," she says casually, "One day you'll go down, Piper, one day you won't be queen."

You take no notice of her words (or pretend to at least; the sincerity of her tone is unnerving) because you know that she's trying to bring you down with words.

"Will I?"

She smiles, a bright, big, insane smile, "Of course."

You chuckle humorlessly. "You used to be wise, but now you're just delusional."

"So, tell me, are the screams from the other room delusional? The walls are soundproof but I can hear them all the same. Tell me, are the gurgles, the chokes, of that water torture you're using on Jason delusional? Tell me, Piper, is the pain and suffering of the other demigods' sleep delusional? If so, then yes, I am delusional, Piper. But I am not wrong—I am the daughter of Athena. You insult my intelligence, but I know, Piper. I am wise, Piper."

And with that, you know what you have not yet confirmed.

"That is all the answer I need. Thank you for your help, Annabeth."

She only smiles at you, that maddening, insane smile, like she knew what you were thinking all along.

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Needless to say, you aren't very surprised when some servants come up to you, shivering, and tell you that there has been a mass breakout from the prisons.

All you do is say, "Let it be," and they retreat. You don't need to be angry because you know who orchestrated it.

Annabeth Chase.

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