A/N: I'm alive! Still living in the boonies (with slightly more reliable internet connection), still teaching tiny humans who test my patience and bring me joy in equal measure, still writing when I have a spare minute (pretty much never tbh), and currently drowsy after a day of stuffing my face with the fam. But hey, it snowed briefly this morning and then quit and melted, so at least I don't have to deal with Inconvenience Powder.

Happy Turkey Day to my American readers! I'm off to binge watch Disney movies now 3

As always, I'm posting without a proofreader or a beta - any mistakes are mine! I have a Mac and I'm kind of an idiot with it still, so I had to copy-paste this chapter. If there are any folks interested in being a Beta for me, PM me!

I also have to fess up and say that I got the idea of the Aegis being a police-type force from Jupiter Ascending, even though the word itself means "the protection, backing, or support of a particular person or organization" (in this case, Poseidon and his laws, and was the first word that came up when I googled words related to protection). I also feel the need to mention that it's a historical reference to a shield in legends concerning Zeus and Athena.

Disclaimer: I only own my OCs and parts of this little world I'm building! And to those who recognized the Harry Potter references, bless you! Billius ftw. This chapter also has a reference to Aquaman (though it's subtle-ish), and some throwing fast and loose with healing powers of Demigods.

Chapter Nineteen
Triton's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, VERY Bad Day

Triton was having a wonderful day, a day he would dare to even refer to as fabulous, purely for the fact that he'd been excused from the day in and day out boredom of royal life in favor of a good old fashioned party.

Granted, it was less like the Greece of old and contained a lot more clothing — thank Poseidon, the Roman era had been particularly, well, bare — but it was a party nonetheless. A loud, rambunctious party with a lot of great food, fun people, enjoyable dancing, and only slight overprotectiveness of his always-faithful and nearly lifelong bodyguard, Sennek, and the contingent of guards that went with him.

Sennek who was currently scowling at him from the edge of the crowd because he'd asked a particularly pretty Atlantean woman, a seamstress's daughter by the quality of her dress, to dance with him. He made sure to flash the surly Atlantean a bright and cheerful grin every time they spun by him and by the sixth pass, Sennek looked about ready to rip his head off and feed it to the sharks.

Really, after more than ten centuries, Sennek should have known better than to assume the no-dancing-or-else threat would actually work. He was a son of Poseidon. Stubbornness was hard-wired into his DNA.

The girl, Cora, was the youngest daughter of an affluent merchant father and seamstress mother from Keonis (also known as Keon), the current stronghold of the Merfolk. She was beautiful. She also hadn't uttered a word since he had asked for a dance and her wide eyes were stuck on his face like she could not quite believe who she was dancing with.

Triton smiled winningly and dipped her just low enough to be enticing but not indecent, tipping her back up with a wink that made her entire face flush with color. It was adorable, really.

Which was of course, predictably, when everything went to Hades in a hand-basket.

It was the screaming that alerted him first, high-pitched and keening, followed by shouting a sharp spike of alarm from every sea creature in the vicinity.

His guards were on him in a moment as the panic caught on, screaming civilians surging up the street towards them.

Triton had a very, very bad feeling about this.

Ignoring his sense of self-preservation and the furious snarling of his guards (Sennek loved him, he'd get over it), he pushed through the crowd. It quickly became obvious that using human feet wasn't an option so he focused his energy, felt the familiar burning tingle from the top of his head to the tips of his toes as they molded themselves into his merman form.

With the aid of his tails, he surged upwards and stared down at the roiling mass of panic and fury. He could spot some Guards amongst the masses, irritably but still gently swatting panicking fish out of his path as he descended on what he assumed was the epicenter of the current panic. The tight circle of guards with weapons drawn was a rather glaring clue to the fact.

"What in the name of Poseidon is going on?" he shouted to the nearest Guard, who reared backwards in alarm and brandished a spear at him. He recognized him as an Ichthyocentaur named Gar - one of the Ichthyocentaurs assigned to Percy's personal Guard.

His heart sank further.

"Prince Perseus has been attacked, my lord," Gar shouted back, furious eyes scanning the sea. He was stationed with his back to the center of a circle of guards, and to Triton's horror, there was a crumpled form in the center of said circle. Off to the side, a merman was trussed up tightly and gagged with a furious Ichthyocentaur standing on his neck. He would deal with that later.

Triton shoved his way through their unresisting line and found himself on human knees once again, reaching down with shaking fingers.

Percy was as pale as a sheet, a wickedly long dagger sticking out of his side. From the looks of things, it had missed his heart by inches. He went to reach for it and startled when a hand reached out to slap his wrist hard enough to sting. There were unfamiliar symbols carved into the handle that looked like it may have been carved from a whale bone. Judging by the length of the handle, the knife was long indeed.

"Leave it," the Guard, a female Atlantean named Anath, barked sharply. "The blade is long and the wound deep. We have no idea of knowing what the blade has struck and run the risk of him bleeding out, even with his healing. I have not the skill."

"Send for a surgeon, then," Triton snarled back. "We are too exposed here, Anath."

The alarm bells started ringing, three long tolls followed by one short one - the code for an attack on the royal family. It would summon his father (and at least four ranks of guards, plus every Aegis in the vicinity) from the palace.

"The Atlantean sector is closest," Anath told him. "There is a gifted surgeon who dwells there."

She left it unsaid that taking Percy out of water could make it worse. Keeping the blade in ran the risk of potential poison. Ripping it out could sever a major artery and ran the risk of Percy bleeding out faster than his body could heal the wound, half-God or not. No matter which way they chose, there was no easy way to win.

"That is as good a place as any, and by Hades, more secure," Triton grunted, motioning for two of the other Guards to help him lift his brother. One of them steadied the blade in Percy's side while Triton carefully scooped him up, ignoring the way his body's body flopped around limply in his arms.

Percy's head lolled against his chest and Triton finally noticed that his brother was completely submerged. His dark hair drifted around his ghostly pale face. All his life Percy had hardly ever sat still, even in sleep.

The stillness made his blood run cold.

"Lead the way," he ordered Anath, who was only too happy to do just that. Percy's guards combined with his own squad leaving a solid wall of armor and weapons around them as protection.

For now, it would have to be enough.

Triton leaned his head down to press a fierce kiss to Percy's over-heated brow. "You are not allowed to die," he told him thickly. "Hang on, Percy. Hang on."


An hour later, Triton was leaning against the wall to stay out of the way, watching with a jaw clenched tightly as the healers tended to his severely wounded little brother. They had yet to remove the knife and were speaking quickly in medical jargon he only halfway understood. An Aegis agent had entered briefly enough to get the details before flat-out running from the room, likely to personally summon his Marshal, a grouchy Atlantean called Orryn.

Percy was on his back in the corner bed furthest from the doorways and in the position easiest to defend. Four guards made themselves scarce but still close enough to defend them if necessary. Every guard in the city had come running and they'd left twenty stationed around the Infirmary while the others were sent out to calm the crowds and help to restore order.

The door to the infirmary flew open and banged against the wall. Triton jumped and half-drew his sword on reflex. The guards inside the room flinched and moved into protective stances before they recognized the form of their king standing in the doorway with an expression banked in fury.

"Why is he not healing?" Poseidon demanded, anger darkening his tone. Amphitrite was behind him, small hand grasping him above his elbow and expression a mixture of anger and fear.

The healer - a steadfast, unruffled Atlantean called Erek - hardly glanced up from the potion he was painstakingly stirring on the table beside the prince's hospital bed. His two nurses were not quite so unruffled and physically shook in the face of their king's legendary temper.

"He was healing, sire, and that was the problem," the healer said evenly. "We suspect the blade was poisoned and that the poison is still trapped in his flesh. We will have to force his wound to remain open while we clean it and then submerge him in water. It is closing around the blade, but slowly. It is a testament to his strength that he is still breathing."

Amphitrite saw Poseidon's jaw tighten at the report and reached out to squeeze his forearm reassuringly. Above them, the surface world roiled with the force of his anger and helplessness.

"Will he recover?" she asked quietly, fighting back her own tears at the sight of their son, still so young and innocent, pasty white and stretched out on the bed. He was bare to the waist with a bandage wound tightly around his side to stem the bleeding.

"He should make a full recovery, majesty, as soon as we discover the type of poison," the healer told her seriously. "I summoned the Aegis, who immediately sent agents to the surface world to determine if the poison comes from there."

"And if it does?" Poseidon snarled, eyebrows drawn down sharply. He had no control on the surface world.

"They have been tasked with determining the poison and its antidote. My surface agents are already searching," a deep voice said behind them.

Poseidon and Amphitrite turned sharply at the voice. They knew it had to be someone they trusted or their guards never would have let him pass.

"Orryn," the king said, surprised. The Atlantean was standing just within the doorway with a deep frown. He had his arms crossed behind his back as he took three steps into the room, aware of the guards but ignoring them. His expression often rested in extremely displeased, but his current expression was much more troubled. There was a deep furrow between his brows and his blond hair was mussed as though he had ran his hands through it in agitation.

Orryn was the Marshal Commander of the Aegis, the underwater police force of sorts who upheld Poseidon's laws. The Aegis Headquarters were in the underwater city of Praeta, a good four hours travel - meaning he was already in Atlantis when the incident happened.

That, or Hades had lent him a pearl. That was unlikely, however, so Poseidon assumed he had likely come for the celebration and been waylaid by the assassination attempt on Percy.

"My agent summoned me soon after the incident," Orryn responded shortly, clearly distracted. He was not looking at his monarchs; in fact, his gaze was centered on the small form of the prince in the corner, specifically on the stark-white bandages wrapped around his chest and arm.

Much went unsaid in that simple statement. The Aegis were underwater police, of sorts - but they did not exist purely between the waves. Poseidon had long ago approved such measures, as Orryn assured him it was all in the name of preserving and protecting their realm from the detection of humans. Not all humans were easily distracted by the Mist, after all.

The Atlanteans did not operate like other undersea races, given their ability to breathe and function outside of the ocean provided they had a steady intake of and easy access to water. There were multiple agents living on the surface gathering intelligence about human damage to their world as well as sabotaging and doing all other numbers of activities. The Sea God was fairly certain the surface agents included assassins but had no need to know directly and thus had never asked. They operated in his realm and obeyed and upheld his laws but the surface was not his domain and thus not his problem.

"And if they fail?" the god of the sea challenged darkly.

"The would-be assassin is as good as dead," the Atlantean Marshal said matter-of-factly. "Everyone standing in this room knows this. Everyone in the city knows this. By now the word will have spread and the undersea world will be screaming for his blood. My lord," he said seriously, taking another large step towards his king and meeting Poseidon's gaze squarely, "I ask that you hold off your judgment until my agents have had a chance to interrogate the attacker. We must know the source of this attempt. The attacker knows far more than he should, which tells me that he did not act alone."

"It will not be my judgment," Poseidon admitted. "I handed the task over to Amphimrocos as I am highly biased in this situation." He glanced at his wife and offered her a weak half-smile. "My wife can be persuasive when she wishes to be."

Amphitrite smiled back. "Only when necessary," she murmured, inclining her head to Orryn as she moved to her son's bedside. Percy was unconscious, his complexion colorless. There were deep circles under his eyes and sweat made his hair stick to his head.

He looked so young and fragile that she had to swallow hard to fight back tears. She reached out a shaking hand to brush her fingers over his damp brow. A small frown appeared on her face and she looked around for a cloth, finding one on the small table beside the bed along with a cloth.

"May I wipe his brow?" she asked the Atlantean woman tending his bandage on the other side of the bed.

"Of course, majesty," the healer said in a soft voice.

Amphitrite did just so, using a strong twist to get most of the water from the cloth, leaving it just cool and damp enough to wipe away the sweat and soothe the heat on his brow. She gently swept the cloth across his forehead and down the bridge of his nose, over his cheeks and the point of his chin.

Percy didn't twitch at all, a testament to how deeply unconscious he was. The boy was always moving, always twitching his finger or tapping his foot or bouncing his leg. To see him like this, so pale and lifeless, caused a sick feeling to form in her chest.

"Oh, my baby," she whispered, biting her lip to hold back the tears. She could not afford to break down in front of her subjects, even an Atlantean healer. Despite that, she bent to press a tender kiss to his blazing forehead, alarmed at the heat she found there.

"The fever is normal," the healer murmured, finishing up the dressing and sealing it shut once again. Amphitrite very pointedly did not look at the angry red wound, even though she knew tendrils of poison would be seeping away from it, causing the young prince's raging fever and the slight gasp every few breaths. She reached out to place a tentative hand on the queen's wrist, dark eyes serious as she said, "He is strong, Majesty. Have hope."

"Thank you," Amphitrite murmured, offering her a small smile. She stepped back slightly and looked around for a chair. It was always odd to have legs, having always preferred fins, though in this case legs had become necessary. She pulled the nearest chair to her son's bedside and sat in it, keeping her back straight out of habit.

The cloth repetitively wiped across her son's pale skin. She was left wishing he would wake up and look at her to offer a witty joke or a sweet smile. Instead he simply lay there, pale and listless.

Poseidon and Orryn were quietly talking towards the front of the infirmary, which had been blocked off. She could hear the dull roar of the concerned townspeople outside and mused that having Percy housed here limited the possibility for attack, as only an Atlantean could venture between air and water. It also served to keep them from being swarmed by concerned citizens, who she could vaguely sense camping out right on the edge of the air-water barrier.

"You are so loved," she told her son softly, swiping a thumb across his pale cheek.


Bill still felt nauseous at the idea that someone had stabbed Percy – Percy! – in the middle of a crowd during a festival meant to celebrate life and the harvest, to bolster the people before the life-sucking currents of winter were upon them. He hadn't seen it happen himself, but he'd seen the chaos that it caused, the shouting, the panicked people running through the streets while the guards and soldiers struggled to push through the crowd and the sea life roiled about like an angry mob.

He stuck close to his father, knowing that the large merman's bulk and his status as a general (not to mention his shiny gold armor) got people's attention and they often moved right out of his way. It was entirely possible his father was so focused on getting to the king and the prince that he had no idea he was being followed so he kept quiet.

Percy was his best friend. He had to know that he was alright.

They were headed towards the air-sea barrier that kept the Atlanteans isolated from the rest of Atlantis, something the merpeople occasionally griped about but most of them felt more along the lines of, "They're a different species, of course they're going to be strange, just like those humans on the surface world".

People were everywhere, clogging the streets and the open water around the buildings. It felt like half the population of the sea was squeezed around the bubble that kept the Atlanteans in dry water, many of them present to offer silent support and act as a vigil towards their prince.

Nobody knew if he was okay or not. All they knew was that he'd been stabbed, the merman who had done it had been caught, and that Percy's guards had immediately whisked him off to the infirmary of the Atlanteans, the closest healers.

Rumor was the prince had been bleeding, too, which should have been impossible. Even the sharks had agreed, though – they had tasted blood in the water and knew it had come from a Demigod. Something about its taste being vaguely godlike, but muted in a way that said the blood had not belonged to a full god.

If Percy was bleeding, it had to have been bad. He never bruised, not even when Triton caught him with powerful blows in the training ring. Percy had once told him that it only stung for a moment and then started to heal because of his vicinity to water. Usually all he had to do was concentrate to submerge a hand or a foot for it to heal him near-instantly.

Someone called out, "General on scene!" and the groups of merpeople, Atlanteans, and all number of creatures in-between immediately cleared the way for Naphos. He was rather famous, after all.

At the edge of the air-water barrier, they were forced to stop. Without Poseidon there to make sure water remained wrapped around them, or to lend them temporary legs, this would be as far as they could go. There were soldiers everywhere in the streets, Atlanteans by the looks of them. Other soldiers were present, keeping the crowd away from the air-water barrier as well as away from the scene of the crime. As soon as they noticed Naphos standing there they saluted in unison, an action Naphos returned and then frowned at the pair of guards moving towards him.

"Report," Naphos demanded, his deep voice carrying through the crowd that had gone suddenly silent save for occasional murmuring between the persons present. The crowd would no doubt hang on their every word, nosy and curious to know what was happening.

An Atlantean soldier dressed in the armor of a Palace Guard stepped right up to the barrier and waved him forward as other guards appeared to press the crowd back and create a semi-circle of empty space, allowing for as much privacy as they could.

The soldier stepped through the barrier so that he could talk to Naphos, standing as close as he dared to prevent his voice from carrying. Bill squeezed closer to his father, desperate to hear any news on his friend but being sure not to touch his father as he was pretty sure he had no idea Bill was right behind him.

"The prince lives," the soldier said in an even voice, meeting Naphos' eyes squarely despite how much the large merman intimidated the majority of the undersea world due to his size and fierce-looking frown. It took Bill a moment to place him as Emet, one of the Atlantean guards assigned to Percy's protection detail.

Bill almost cried at those words, shoulders slumping in relief because if Percy was alive, that meant he would be okay. Probably. He sent a brief prayer to Poseidon begging for him to make this all okay, to fix it and bring his friend back to him.

"How bad?" Naphos grunted, crossing his arms with the frown still on his face.

"Bad," Emet said quietly, staring at the stones beneath his boots as his shoulders slumped. "We kept the blade in, fearing it may have severed an artery. The blade was poisoned."

"Surface, sea, or other?"

"They do not know," the soldier admitted, shifting slightly from foot to foot. "For now he is alive and stable. Marshal Stormbrace has sent soldiers to the surface seeking possible poisons based on his symptoms."

"I see," the general grunted. "You are in his guard?"

"Yes, sir."

"Make sure the prince is guarded at all times."

"There are eight guards posted along the exterior of the building, twelve posted along the hallways, two outside the infirmary and six inside the infirmary, General. They are not taking any chances with his life. Not again."

"Your captain?"

"She is in the prince's infirmary with the King and Lord Orryn, sir."

Naphos grunted. "Send someone to ask Lord Poseidon to either give me legs or wrap me in water to allow me to see the crime scene."

"Yes, sir," the soldier said, snapping off a smart salute, spinning on his heel and jogging back through the sea-air barrier, heading for the infirmary.

Naphos waited patiently, mulling over the recent events. Who had cause to see the prince killed? Killing Percy hurt Poseidon and could be revenge against him, but this seemed half-planned and sloppy. Oceanus and anyone allied to the Titans would be likely suspects, though this did not reek of their style. Espionage was too subtle, too cloak and dagger, more something that would be attempted by Hades than a Titan. Titans were flashier and would not hesitate to rub people's faces in their success if it happened. He just had a feeling that this was not the work of a Titan or one of their followers; this was something else.

Something closer to home; something from someone they all knew.

There was a traitor in the House of Poseidon, and Naphos meant to find out who it was.

Bill floated silently behind his father and waited. After a long silence, he said, "Father? May I go with you?"

Naphos jerked slightly at the sound of his son's voice and turned partway around to find the boy floating there, hands clenched into fists and expression one of intense worry.

He should have known the boy would follow him; he'd been so focused on getting to the scene of the crime that he hadn't even considered checking to see if anyone was following him.

Inwardly he cursed himself for being sloppy.

Naphos briefly entertained telling his eldest offspring no, but knew Bill well enough to know that doing so would only lead to him finding some crafty way to disobey. Better to just let the boy tag along.

"When we are given the signal, hold on to me and the water will stretch to cover you as well," he told his boy gruffly. "As soon as Poseidon sees you, he will no doubt encase you in water separately."

"I am frightened, Father," he admitted quietly and in a voice that cracked twice, all but pressing up against his father's side. Warriors were supposed to be brave but right then he needed his father and the reassurance he provided. Their very own prince had been nearly killed right underneath the noses of over half a dozen guards. It had quite thoroughly shattered any illusion of safety.

"Perseus is a strong boy," Naphos told his offspring in that same gruff tone, though he did somewhat reluctantly settle an arm around his child's shoulders. Showing affection for his children made them out to be targets of his enemies, but to deprive them of it would only teach them to hate him. In this case, he could take the potential danger if it meant keeping their strong relationship alive. "And his father will ensure that he does not die."

"What if he does die, Father?" Bill said, the whispered words shaking as he delivered them, hardly daring to think them but terrified of the answer.

"If he does die, it will be a dark time in Atlantis," the general told his son quietly and with complete sincerity. Their king would likely not be able to handle the loss and the entirety of the surface world would be put through the wringer. Things in Atlantis would not be any better, however, and he suspected their realm might very well descend into darkness from the strength of their king's despair.

Bill's eyes stung with tears and he sniffled, turning his head into his father's side. "I do not want him to die," he admitted. "I love him like a brother."

In a gentle tone, the general said, "I have no doubt he loves you in return, Billius." He glanced up to see Emet appear in the entrance to the infirmary. He lifted a hand and waved them forward, his expression just as serious as it had been before. With a sigh, Naphos squeezed his son tighter into his side and said, "Now, stick close to me."

The boy obeyed, remaining all but glued to his father's side as they moved through the part of Atlantis he had never visited. It did not take long for merpeople to suffocate when removed from water and they had it drilled into their heads from birth to avoid the dry sections of the city. Every few years there was a child who disobeyed and did it anyways, leading to a period of death and grief amongst their people.

When they entered the room, Poseidon was the first to notice them. He waved his hand in what Bill assumed was a universal gesture of, "welcome, the water is now around you so you don't die", but he couldn't be sure. Just because he was friends with Percy didn't mean he got to see Poseidon all that often.

"Wait in the hallway," his father ordered, gruffly.

Bill snuck a quick look in the corner, spotting his queen wiping a cloth along Percy's brow. He looked just long enough to confirm his friend was unnaturally pale and wrapped in bandages but that his chest was moving up and down, albeit unsteadily.

"But father - " he protested, weakly.

"Out," his father suggested, jutting his chin towards the doorway.

Sighing heavily but sensing the air of the adults need to have a conversation you may return momentarily when we are finished, he edged back out of the doorway and into the hall.

There was a blond Atlantean boy sitting against the opposite wall that he hadn't noticed before. He was dressed in finery, like Bill, and looked somehow bored out of his skull and deeply worried at the same time.

"Hello," he offered as he floated over and looked down at the boy. He looked vaguely familiar, his facial structure striking a cord though Bill didn't know why.

"Hello," the boy responded, dryly. His eyes were uncommonly green in his tanned face. "I assume you were also dragged along by your father?"

"I asked to come," Bill corrected. "Percy is my friend."

"Oh," the boy frowned, biting his lip. "I am sorry he got stabbed."

"So am I," Bill huffed, crossing his arms.

"You came in with General Naphos, did you not?"

"He is my father, yes," Bill confirmed with a nod. "Who did you come with?"

"My father," the boy told him, nodding towards the doorway.

Bill turned and looked, really looked, and his jaw nearly dropped but he stopped it just in time. The Marshal Commander of the Aegis, Orryn Stormbrace, was speaking quietly with his father and Poseidon.

"Oh," he said, faintly, turning to look at the boy he now realized was Arryn Stormbrace, widely believed to be the greatest warrior in ten Atlantean generations even at the age of ten.

"Oh," Arryn agreed with a faint smile, giving the other boy a minute to mull it over. "It is an honor to meet the son of Naphos. My father speaks very highly of him. You are Billius, I assume?"

"Bill, please," he muttered, wincing. "Pleased to meet you, Arryn Stormbrace." He smiled then, quick and sharp. "Would you care to eavesdrop?"

Arryn's grin was wide and bright as he eyed the guards on either side of the wide doorway who did not seem to be paying attention to their conversation though both boys knew perfectly well they had heard every word. Neither looked at the boys; in fact, the one on the right - an Atlanean from Triton's detail, a sarcastic fellow called Sennek - shifted two large steps away from the edge.

Just enough room for a boy to squeeze in.

Bill and Arryn exchanged a look and Arryn scrambled to his feet, nearly tearing his fine coat in the process. They split and moved to the spaces the Guards had provided them.

Sennek offered Bill a faint smile without making direct eye contact.

"Thank you," he whispered to the guard, pressing his cheek to the cold marble and straining his ears to hear.

Inside, the adults were in the center of the Infirmary in deep conversation.

" - to see if there was poison loaded in the blade," Orryn was saying in his customary deep voice.

"Removing it could cause further damage," Healer Erek pointed out, flatly. "The water is only doing so much. I am unsure if this is the greatest course of action."

"If we paired with ichor, could it make a difference?" Poseidon's familiar voice broke in tensely.

"Perhaps, my king," Erek allowed.

Even to the two boys, he sounded unconvinced.

Bill glanced across the opening to Arryn, who was listening just as intensely with a deep frown. The guard beside him was leaning over the top of the boy slightly, clearly listening as well while looking straight ahead.

"We must assume all options," Orryn said, stiffly.

"I advise against his next suggestion," Naphos said gruffly with a knowing undertone.

"My king, I suggest sending someone to the Underworld to summon your brother. This could be something from his realm, and if so, he may be the only one who knows how to treat it," Orryn said point-blank.

There was a tense silence.

"I will see to it," Poseidon said after the silence had stretched nearly a full minute. In a louder voice, he called out, "Boys."

Arryn and Bill jumped guiltily. Beside him, Bill was pretty sure Sennek was laughing silently at both of them for being caught out by a God.

In hindsight, of course Poseidon would have noticed. They inched into the doorway to find the adults staring at them, unimpressed.

"You will swear on the Styx to mention this conversation to no one," their king said flatly.

The boys stumbled over the oath, but they gave it willingly.

Poseidon nodded. "You may visit him, now," he said, nodding towards Percy. "Gentlemen, I thank you for your loyalty and for your service. I will return after speaking with my brother."

He vanished in a cloud of bubbles and the boys swallowed, hard.

"Come on," Bill said, taking Arryn by the elbow. "I have a friend I would very much like you to meet. I have a feeling the three of us will be close friends."

E/N: Those of you who are DC Superhero freaks (like meeeee) may have noticed the reference in Orryn. All of the Aquaman jokes, guys.

Squeezed in some world building and aside from baby!Percy (who still did things, mostly cute things, but still things), this is the first chapter where he doesn't do anything. Unless laying on a bed unconscious and dying counts.

In other news, THE CONSPIRACY THICKENS….. WHO IS THE TRAITOR? Orryn is gonna find out and I'll tell ya, it's not going to be pretty. That dude is scary, ngl. Naphos is also cranky and will frown everyone into submission, probably.

Hope you enjoyed! Much love and hugs to all of you 3