Hey guys, Qwerty616120 here! This is the new story PepsiCola541 and I are writing together- enjoy!
Disclaimer: Rick Riordan doesn't write fanfics, so he didn't write this… *sniff*
The throne room doors were thrust open with brute force and a child's strangled cry, and the suddenness of it all made the queen look up from her lap, her bored expression on her face now mingled with slight worry and sternness. She looked up and saw a little boy running towards her, stumbling over his feet.
"What is it, Prince Malcolm?" she asked her small son. He was only six, and his long blonde locks fell into his grey, watery eyes. He rubbed the tears away, kneeling down at his mother's feet.
"I-I… I was going to play with Annab-beth… but… she's not there!" He rushed, exploding in a fit of tears at the end of his statement. Athena stood abruptly from her throne, her brows furrowed and her mouth slightly agape. Prince Malcolm scooted backward so he wouldn't get hit from her force, sprawling out on the marble floor and bawling.
The captain of the guards, one who Athena trusted the most, stepped through the open doors. "Your highness," he started with a short bow before continuing, "What the young prince has told you is, unfortunately, the truth… I've had my men search the entire castle, all of the rooms and corridors… nothing." He raised his hands helplessly and they fell limp at his side. One of the reasons that Athena trusted Captain Brunner so much was that he had so much heart. It was almost impossible to distrust eyes so emotional.
She couldn't bare the pain pooled in his eyes, the pain that she wouldn't let herself feel, so she glanced away quickly. Looking at the marble floor, she said, "Sound the alarms. Search the entire village."
The captain, to her surprise, shook his head sadly. "I'm sorry, my queen… but that might not help. We already know what happened to her." Athena looked up, shocked, but before she could utter a word, Captain Brunner silenced her with a thrust of his hand. In it held a small, slightly crumpled note. She snatched it from him hurriedly, her eyes skimming the page.
"Dear your most grat and honerabel hiness, We has takin yous dauter for rasom. Once yous pay the price, we wil giv yous prencess bak. Leaf the monie by the sickamore tree on olive street on fryday."
Athena, trying not to grimace at the misspellings of the kidnappers, turned back to Captain Brunner. "Send your guards to ambush this sycamore tree on Olive Street. Maybe we can-"
Brunner held up a hand. "I already have, your majesty… but-"
"Under no circumstances," Athena quipped curtly, "will you or any of your guards leave the ransom money at the tree. After that thief stole what was left of the tax money… we can't afford to lose any more."
The captain looked as if he wanted to argue, but he relented and nodded, bowing and backing out of the room.
Once all the guards had emptied out of the room, Queen Athena picked up her eldest son, sat on the cold floor, and finally allowed herself to cry with him, their mingled sobs echoing against the hollowed walls.
"What do you mean, she's been kidnapped?!"
"Lord Hermes, please, calm yourself," Athena stressed, a hand resting on her temple.
"How can I calm myself when my soon-to-be daughter in law has been kidnapped?!" He shouted. "I cannot believe this! And you won't pay the ransom money! I knew you were stubborn, Athena, but this… this is madness!"
"You would be smart to close that big mouth of yours, Hermes." Athena said, a dangerous tone to her voice. "You as well as I know that the Athenasia has no more money after the attack on our vaults. And Princess Annabeth is hardly going to be your daughter in law soon, as she's only three years old-"
"But she is still betrothed to my son! And if you're still having problems with that attack's aftermath, there's an easy solution- get the villagers to supply it! It's that easy! Just raise the taxes-"
"What money do they have, Hermes? The answer is none. They've given all they have to try and help the soldiers. It was the exact wrong time for the princess to be taken, since we're in the middle of a war."
"Like I said, Athena…" the lord leaned close to Athena's ear, and she tried not to shudder. "If you are trying one of your crafty tricks… there will be consequences. I am a member of your royal court… but I am not one to make enemies with, remember that. I am not necessarily on your side."
"You are a fool, Hermes," Athena seethed. "As long as I know that your loyalty lies not with me, you are an enemy of mine. I suggest you get out of my kingdom, and take Luke with you. You do not deserve the title you give yourself."
Lord Hermes's mouth hung open. "You cannot banish me, Queen Athena. Must I remind you what will happen to your beloved kingdom if you try anything against me…" he smiled wickedly at her as he walked to the exit. "I trust you will find your daughter, Athena, and soon…."
As the doors closed with a resounding sound of finality, Athena's mouth formed a thin line. She pressed her emotions to the back of her head, thinking, Words can be the worst weapons in a battle of the minds. Shield yourself, Athena…
She hadn't wanted her young daughter to be betrothed to Hermes's son, but what was she to do? He had ties to the very kingdom that she was at war with. It was still surprising to her that a small kingdom like Magycan had so much power… It was probably the wizardry at hand, an unfair advantage.
She was also shocked to find that she was a little relieved to find that her daughter had been taken away. Of course, she didn't like that her daughter was in danger… but, at three, Annabeth had a more complicated life than Athena herself could have ever imagined at that age.
Annabeth, being betrothed to two different suitors, would undoubtedly have a very complicated life.
It had only been around eighty days ago that Athena had issued a decree of betrothal to the neighboring king of Pacificantis, as a symbol of peace to both of the kingdoms. She hadn't known that only a few weeks later Lord Hermes, a mischievous, conspiring sort, would threaten her if she didn't allow her daughter to marry his son, Duke Luke (which Athena admittedly remembered with a snort).
What was she to do? Her messenger hadn't even arrived back from delivering the decree to Pacificantis, as it took forever to travel there and back. Unintentionally, Athena had woven a web that trapped her own daughter as a struggling fly, desperate to escape from which she did not understand.
"From her Royal Highness, Queen Annabeth of Athenasia:
A royal declaration of betrothal from her daughter, Princess Annabeth…" King Poseidon turned his head away uninterestedly, not wanting to hear the long list of names that would undoubtedly follow the princess's name.
The Athenasian guard stood before the very king of Pacificantis, reading out the message written by Athena herself, a timid shudder to his voice. The lad isn't very strong, is he? thought King Poseidon, and he chuckled to himself.
"She does know my son is only three, doesn't she?" said the king.
"Ye-yes, sire," stammered the guard. Poseidon noticed that the poor young fellow looked quite dirty and very tired.
"How long have you been traveling, lad?"
"A dozen weeks, Your Highness," he admitted, bowing.
"Why don't you get some rest, fellow," Poseidon said with a generous smile, telling a guard at his side to show him to the guest quarters.
Little did he know the trouble that broiled in Athenasia.
Reviews are loved! –PepCo and Qwerty