The Persian army was drawing close to Thermopylae. Far too close for Mama Greece's liking. While she had been quite confident in her and her children's fighting abilities, she was beginning to wonder if retreat would be such a bad option with these forces facing them. But it wasn't really her decision to make—her children tended not to be particularly loyal to her, after all—so she called a meeting with them.

"...and that's my opinion of things," she finished, nodding at the others. "What do you think?"

The first to respond, Corinth, leaned back against a stone. "I don't think this is the best situation, either. I say we fall back on the Peloponnese, defend the Isthmus."

Argos and Megalopolis, two of Corinth's fellow Peloponnesians, agreed. But, of course, the poleis didn't have a great tendency to agree unanimously. Locris and Phocia both objected loudly and simultaneously enough it was difficult to discern every point of their argument. Corinth and Argos proceeded to counter with their own logic, Megalopolis contributing a word or two amongst the noisy chaos.

Mama Greece, beginning to get a headache and remembering why she didn't often get more than two of her children together, was about to attempt to stop the argument when another polis stepped in.

"Everyone, quiet!" boomed a voice loud enough to overshadow the bickering. The other poleis ceased throttling each other and quieted down at the sound.

Looking over his siblings, Sparta cleared his throat to make absolutely sure he had their attention before continuing. "We stay where we are." Seeing Corinth about to object, he continued, "I understand your concerns. Since you're not all as amazingly strong and well-trained as me—" Argos rolled his eyes—"we probably don't have adequate numbers to handle this threat. We'll also send out a call for reinforcements to the rest of the states in the confederacy."

There was silence for a moment, and Sparta pulled his gaze across the rest of the Grecians. "Any objections?"

A few shook their heads, and Mama Greece responded with a cheerful, "No, sir."

"Good." Sparta looked over his shoulder at the guard wall. "I'll get back to my men, then."

As Mama Greece arranged to send someone for reinforcements, Sparta joined his countrymen on the wall. He considered stripping for exercise like several of them already had, but he realised he could soon be putting his life on the line. And that called for only one thing.

Perfect hair.

Of course, Sparta's hair was always in a state of near-perfection, as he would sometimes have to inform the other poleis—though, to be fair, each of them did quite a bit of bragging—but this was a special occasion. If he were going to go down fighting Persians—which was completely impossible, of course, with his strength—he would have to look his absolute best doing it. Especially as far as his hair went. He quite liked his hair.

Pulling out his copper hand-mirror and his high-quality comb, he began to carefully, carefully groom himself. He was going to look absolutely perfect for this. Not that he didn't already, of course...

Not so perfect was his perception of the outside. For at that very moment, Persia himself had crept close on horseback to study the troops. While he did manage to take note of the number of troops—which wasn't entirely accurate, as the wall blocked his view—he didn't set back off for his camp just yet.

Instead, he stared at the figure preening obsessively. He matched Sparta's description and certainly seemed strong enough—though obviously not strong enough to take on Persia—but... what was he doing? Was he really so oblivious he thought nothing was more pressing than the look of his hair? Certainly he was wholly unprepared for this attack. How absurd! The great Sparta, the finest kingdom in Greece, with the bravest men, worrying over his hair when a great battle was so near!

Still astonished, Persia shook his head and goaded his horse onward. He would return to camp and tell Xerxes of this.

But it must be said his hair wouldn't look nearly as flawless as Sparta's.