Deep within the East Forest of Oceania. A day before the wedding.
One day left. My back was aching, my eyelids were drooping, and I had officially silenced my entire guard with fear of my sudden temper flares. Not really the picture of a happy soon to be bride but I 'wasn't' a happy soon to be bride. Well…the happy part anyway….unfortunately….
"Milady, we will be arriving in a few hours" A brave soul spoke up, eyes fluttering everywhere but at my general direction.
The rushed three-day trip was finally coming to an end. I think I've actually made a record here.
"We can cut the time shorter if we head off now and take the route father mapped out, the sooner we get there, the better." Yes. We can finally get a real bed. One that doesn't go 'bump'.
It actually wasn't easy leaving Athens, home of the intelligent and prosperous. That place might have the title of the only democratic land of all Olympia (the country I live in) but Athena ran it like an ant farm. If she didn't get her way…uh…I don't think that's actually happened yet.
Most of her idea's were actually beneficial for the country, you'd have to dig deeper from the facial outrageous-ness that it usually was and think. That was why at such a young age, I had gotten pretty far.
My dad was a tactician for the militia air force and I was a really…like…really really mature child. Long story short, dad brought me to work one day unfortunately, Athena had come barging in with guns a blaze and called for a meeting that day. I had made sense of what she was talking about and actually had a few inputs for their more outrageous idea's. It was the calmest and according to my dad 'cutest' meeting in Athena's entire rule.
Not that I am complaining or anything, Athena's awesome. She took me in and mentored me, actually, till three days ago, I, along with most of the population of Athens thought that I was being trained by her to take over for when she'd step down or if nobody voted me into office then I'd help out the next president.
Oh how wrong we all were.
Now I was being sent out to Oceania as Oceania, having a new king and new rule, was not ready for war of any kind just having had finished with the latest one with the death of their old ruler. They had, strangely enough, offered up their Kings hand in marriage.
At first, everyone had all thought Athena would finally be marrying since she had agreed to the terms and all. Imagine my surprise when she came knocking down my door at five in the morning to get me prepared for marriage.
Short of running away to another country like a fugitive of the law, and or killing myself, I saw no escape. If I had refused, I'd have been the ungrateful brat who turned down a life of Peace just because she didn't want to get married.
City-state of Oceania. A day before the wedding
My eyes flew wide open. Oceania. FINALLY.
Watching from the carriage's tiny window, I could see the sea. So was the land of the man I was marrying. How annoying. Would it always smell like fish here? The view was marvelous, don't get me wrong but moist air wasn't really the best place to be keeping any of my books.
"Take off the roof" I ordered grumpily, the carriage skidded a bit, the driver I can only assume, was surprised at my sudden order before my two guards had decided to follow orders after assuring themselves that we weren't going to skid off and join the fishes.
The stale hot air in the carriage disappeared as the cheers of the people we could finally see, overrode us as the scenery changed from the ocean to a beautiful city.
These people were wild with joy, flower petals were being drizzled down softly, bouquets were being pushed into my arms as the carriage slowed down so we wouldn't trample on anybody's kid. Whistles and cheers resounded through the city as every citizen tried to get a glimpse.
I can thoroughly say I was embarrassed with my appearance but waved awkwardly anyway before I got my bearings together and decided to model up to what an Athenian citizen should be like and wave like how I thought Athena would if she were in my place.
They cheered even louder. Gee Gemini, these people really knew how to make a girl feel special.
"Welcome to Oceania, my lady Annabeth" A high official greeted, bowing low as he escorted me off the carriage.
I smiled politely "I certainly do feel welcomed"
"King Perseus is still off at the northern woods dealing with a few rowdy bandits, he sends his apologies at not being here to welcome you milady but that if you should ever need anything then what is his is yours"
I kept my smile despite the disappointing news. I was actually hoping I'd get to meet him from the get go and set some ground rules.
"A bed would be nice, the journey was rough for me and my guards"
He nodded after he had straightened out "Of course milady, I shall show you to your quarters and your men shall be well taken care of"
"Thank you" YES! A BED! WHOO! Disappointment made room for curiosity as I watched his reaction to my thank you.
First he was shocked, as if not having heard the words before a large kelp eating grin took away all suspicion of any other emotion and he bowed once more
"You're very welcome milady"
The palace itself was intimidating and large from afar, the interior architecture was sublime. High ceilings in every spacious room, color schemes that complemented each and every furniture, large windows that refused to let the interior ever suffer from heat with the constant sea breeze and the use of corals and sea shells to strengthen the structure was-
"Here we are milady"
I was actually pretty psyched now that I had seen the castle, everything seemed architecturally brilliant that I had not expected at all for my room to be so…messy.
"Are you sure this is my room? It seems someone already lives here" I was still polite to a T though my patience was growing thin.
"Oh yes milady, you are King Persues' fiancée, engaged couples are allowed to share a room"
Jeez, these people had he strangest customs ever known to Olympia. Who on earth married on the beach? Showered newly weds with sand and ocean water rather than rice and flower petals?
Here I was. Getting married. By now word would have gotten out in Athens and father would have revolted against the democratic government or so I'd like to believe.
Speaking of governments, apparently King Perseus had only arrived a few hours ago. I haven't seen nor ever met the guy and now I finally would. During our wedding. The fates must really hate me.
Looking up, my eyes took in the sight of the man (oh yeah, MAN ) way up the isle. Messy hair, ruggedly handsome features, eyes the color of the sea and a few bruises (probably from the bandit problem) this was the man I would be spending the rest of my life with.
Come on, you're THE Annabeth Chase, prodigy of Athena the great president of Athens, you can do this!
When I had finally reached him, he had the audacity to grin sheepishly.
"You're really pretty" Were the first words out of his mouth. Awww, that would have been totally creepy if we had met in any other circumstances.
I grinned and replied "Well, you aren't that bad yourself your highness" we then began walking up to this really creepy looking altar.
I didn't see his reaction as I was too busy gathering up my dress so I wouldn't fall backwards due to the tiny stairs but his next words sounded like he was embarrassed.
"Please call me Percy, I am still kinda new to this whole…your highness thing"
I nodded, holding my tongue from giving him the backlash of the century, that wouldn't be good for my image, scolding the King during our first meeting.
Then the ceremony started. The maids had drilled in the basics of what passed off as a wedding ceremony here.
Holding hands. Sprinkling of sand. Dipping hands in a bowl of 'sacred' sea water. And if this were some normal citizen's wedding then there'd be a slapping each other…lightly of course…with fish, the fish supposedly had meaning here. Thankfully, if you were royal, you didn't need to slap each other with fish.
The wedding itself was a blur of activities that needed to be completed, like a relay race only with one team and a thousand judgmental eyes trained on you.
Oh jeez. Who was I kidding. This was my wedding and I didn't know a single person here. Not my husband. Not a single friend. I was allowed to be sad. It was the least I could keep of my freedom, no?
As tears slowly began to trickle down my cheeks, the audience cooed. They probably thought I was happy to be here. My husband, who was probably alerted by the crowd's sounds glanced worriedly at me. Keeping up appearances, I smiled. It was probably the saddest smile I had ever mustered.
His worried look increased at that but the audience was lapping it up like a love story. Oh well. At least he wasn't that much of an idiot. I can work with that.
When the wedding had finished and we had been ushered into a carriage that was apparently headed straight to the palace, I was still brushing off some sand discreetly, outright ignoring my husband who was seated right across from me as tears streamed down my face.
"I am sorry" He mumbled, surprising me by taking me in his arms, my face now against his chest. "This must be so hard for you. I am sorry"
The tears came quicker now, I had to gasp for air as the sobbing started. He continued to hold me, making soothing circles on my back with his hand. Three fourths into the trip, and I had willed it all to stop.
It was unfair of me to do this to him. He was just a king protecting his country and here I was acting like someone who actually had a love life prior to this.
"My name is Annabeth, Annabeth Chase" I declared. I already knew his name, I wasn't so sure of any other topic we could begin with.
He grinned easily, "Well Annabeth, I hope you like chocolate, 'cause that's the flavor I picked for the wedding cake.
Manners. Another thing I could teach him.
I decided I could at least help him lift off the burdensome mood.
"As long as there isn't any seafood in that cake I'll love it" I joked truthfully.
His grin widened. Jeez, he was such an easy to please person.
The reception. Banquet Hall.
More flowers petals. Huh. I almost feel sorry for the gardener that had to go to all the trouble to grow such soft petals. Then again, maybe they just had them ordered.
"Introducing, the newlyweds. King Perseus and Lady Annabeth!"
Percy frowned at the introduction as we went down the isle together. He helped me into my seat and just as I thought he'd take the seat next to me, he began to walk away. I unconsciously tugged him back.
Surprised, he actually took his seat.
"Do you need anything?" He asked, a smile gracing his face.
"Uh, no. I am sorry" Lame, Annabeth. LAAAAAME. You don't just stop the King for no apparent reason just because you didn't want to be left alone.
"I am just going to have a word with the announcer. He should have used your new title as Queen"
I perked up. It always made me feel better being right at something.
"Oh. No need, there was no coronation so nobody should be calling me queen"
He frowned at that. "Really? Huh. Thanks"
I shrugged "You're my husband now. It's my job to help you"
He grinned at that. "For once, the council actually made a good decision"
Two familiar faces glided to our high table.
"Thalia!" I exclaimed, standing up and leaning over the table to hug her.
She laughed, hugging me back and glaring at Percy at the same time.
"I am here too!" Jason exclaimed, Percy standing up to greet him as well.
As the two men began talking, Thalia hopped across the table swiftly and motioned for a servant to bring a seat for her and Jason.
The two of us sat down and began talking.
"—Athens is a mess! Your dad is going haywire, nothings getting done and President Athena cant get anything done when nobody else knows where most of the important documents are. If you ask me, she deserves it."
Ah yes, I did miss Thalia's wild opinions.
"Hey Thlia, you still talking?" Percy interjected before Thalia or I could say anything else. Her glare returned ten fold and like her shield, it scared the daylights out of whoever received it.
"Shattap seaweed brain! You better take care of her or I'll skewer you alive!" She threatened.
"Now, now Thalia. Be nice, it's a wedding party, not a prelude to a massacre" I scolded lightly, oh zeus. I hope they weren't at the wedding to see me cry.
"Speaking of weddings…." Another voice popped up, this time from behind us.
The four of us craned our necks for a peek, I smiled, another familiar face.
"Grover! Where you been man?" Percy greeted, standing up and doing some strange and awkward man hug/handshake
"Patrolling, making sure my best friends wedding gets done without any hitch" He replied frankly, a servant bringing up another chair for Grover.
"Oh! And this must be your wi-Lady Annabeth? OHOHO, The fates have blessed Oceania. Daaaaang, Congratulations on your marriage milady"
I smiled at the acknowledgement as Percy looked at me warily as if I'd emotionally combust, I'd have to correct him.
"You two know each other?" Percy asked, Jason and Thalia giving their own questioning glances
"Lady Annabeth was President Athena's personal proxy for anything she couldn't go to but was important, her opinions in Athens was highly sought after. You can't pass by Athens and not encounter Lady Annabeth's name" Grover proudly spoke, stealing some food from Percys plate.
"He got knocked out on Athens borders, I was assigned to clear his name and purpose" I cleared up, offering Thalia some fruit, which she gratefully took from.
Percy and Jason laughed at the real story.
"It's amazing, you guys run in the same circle, same friend but both of you haven't met till today" Jason exclaimed after his laughter his died down, causing me and Percy to exchange glances
It was silly really, but the almighty king had a froth mustache on his face, I laughed, Thalia joining me as she noticed, Percy turned a questioning look over to Grover and Jason beside him, earning another raucous laughter from our friends. As his wife, I thought it would be my job to save him from his stupid-ness.
I picked up a piece of napkin and dabbed it at his frothstashe and quickly cleaning his face up. He blushed, I guess he finally figured out why we were laughing at his expense.
It was actually sort of nice. An imperfect king. I could have done so much worst.
2 months pass
Oh if Athena could see me now. She would WEEP, my days consisted of nothing but walking around and being BORED. Idle hands do the devils work. Oh gods, everyone tells me to rest but I can't help but go stir crazy, in Athens I was up at all crazy hours attending to whatever Athena needed and now I just seemed so LOST without all the work.
I'd wake up, eat a small breakfast with friends, then I'd go back to the room and wake Percy up then join him for another portion of breakfast, then I'd just get lost in the castle till dinner. You'd think 2 months of repetition would have killed me already.
"Ah! Grover! There you are!" I exclaimed, finally, a familiar face.
Grover broke from his post, an eyebrow raised at my joy at seeing him. "I didn't know you were looking for me Lady Annabeth" He replied, curtly bowing just in case there were any prying eyes.
I blatantly ignored his words "I need your help. I need something to do before I go crazy doing nothing. Work. Any sort of work" Way to not come on like a desperate weirdo Annabeth. Kudos for you.
He grinned at my misfortunate. Cocky bastard.
"Knew you'd crack sometime, come on, let's go tell Percy"
He began walking and I good naturedly followed.
"Why Percy?" I asked curiously, wasn't he sitting on some high chair dictating people about war?
"Its policy, all job assignments come straight from the king and or his chosen proxy, that way he knows whose working where"
Smart. Tiresome, but smart.
"Is the policy effective?"
"It's only been three months but no ones gone cuckoo corrupt, 'course, he didn't choose the people on the council"
I was about to ask about the council but we had already arrived at Percy's study
"This is where the King does deskwork, he's usually here the entire day unless the council approves his appeals to go out and do some soldier work"
Huh, I'd have to have a word with these council people, seemed they didn't understand what a monarchy was.
"Grover, I can hear you, you know. Come on in!" Percy yelled from behind the door.
Grover opened the door and let me in first before himself.
The room was a total mess. Clutter everywhere, stacks of paper where a beautiful mosaic on the floor should have been. Blotches of ink covering some of the draperies which were closed against the glaring sun and stacks of unwashed dishes littered tables.
"Ah! A-annabeth, what brings you here?" He stuttered, standing up and trying to clear up his desk.
Grover chocked back a laugh.
"I need a job, something to do rather than just walk through the halls"
"Oh….uh…wait, let me get back to you on that, I'd have to look for the red papers"
The three of us glanced at all the colorful paper in the room. He flushed at his sentence, probably thinking of all the paper looking he'd have to do.
Without a word, I began shuffling through the papers, glancing and reading some and just color coding the others, I didn't even wait for their reactions, by the time I had looked to Grover to ask him to bring a filing cabinet, he had begun color coding with me, Percy had gone back to his original work, a determined look on his face.
I shouldn't be so hard on the poor soul, he had just started being a King, he probably had no previous experience with paperwork since most Princes were like Jason, running around and looking for trouble.
"Grover, ask the maids to get a filing cabinet in here, then to help out color coding these. We should also get a few scribes here. Stamp makers as well if you can find them. Then we'll find Percy's current assistant and kick him out."
I glanced to Percy, silently taking account his reaction to my words, a large grin forming on his face, I smiled back.
"Sounds like a plan" Percy commented, Grover jumping to work, anything other than paperwork.