Hello my lovely fanfiction readers. Welcome to the SEQUEL of Roman. So if you have not read Roman, none of this will make sense. Cheers. (I just saw Thor: The Dark World, it was amazing BTW, so I'm currently British for the next few days)
Disclaimer: I do not own the Percy Jackson series.
Jolly good, lads. (Or is that Irish? Chaps? Mates?... No. No. That's Australian... I'll get it eventually...)
One thing was definite.
He was no longer Roman.
On the second day in the forest, a stray rabbit wondered into their camp, and Jason drove a sword through it.
If it had been four months prior, Piper would've taken the sword from the rabbit and stabbed Jason, but as the poor creature squealed out in pain, Piper's mouth started watering as she could smell it's flesh roasting over a warming fire. She was starving; it had been nearly three days since she'd last eaten. The Romans refused to feed her in prison, but she was still lasting better than Jason.
He was in a near panic. After never having to scramble for food or water his entire royal life, he wasn't quite sure what to do. It was true he had been bred for times of war and hardship, but he never actually had to face them. He was terrified of freezing in the night or dying of hunger; Piper was too, she was just better at hiding it than he was. She had never heard him complain of it, but from the look plastering his face, she knew he was moments from cracking. It wouldn't be long before he decided to eat her.
So, yes, she was thankful for the rabbit. Forget about being a vegetarian.
And she most certainly did forget after tearing into the wood-smoked flesh of the animal. Just as she was about to take another piece, she remembered her miserable walk to Rome and the pain of hunger she had experienced on her journey; all because she had been too foolish not to save a bit of the squirrel she had miraculously managed to kill.
She had tried to stop him from eating anymore, but neither could resist for more than a few minutes; Jason, for more than a few seconds. He promptly told her he didn't give a damn, and then tore off the rabbit's left leg, sinking his teeth into it's meat. Piper gave in too a few minutes later, promising herself they'd find more, but even then she knew that was a lie. It had been another two days since then, and food had evaded them.
Piper promised herself she'd wait until he woke up to rub it in that she'd told him so.
He awoke to find her not paying the slightest bit of attention.
She was whittling with a small torn off tree limb, about six inches long and an inch wide. There were a few other carved twigs, each shaven of it's bark and crafted to a point. With Katropis in her hand, she appeared to be hallowing it out, very attentive to each detail of it. With he cleared his throat to let her know he was awake, she became flustered and shoved her work behind her back.
Piper cleared her throat. "It's nothing. Just an old hobby; it relieves a bit of tension for me."
And he didn't question her further, waving it off as another one of her silly little habits. He rolled onto his back, covering his eyes with the back of his hands to block the morning sun. After a few moments, he stood and walked over to their pile of firewood—if there was anything they had an abundance of in this hell of a forest, it was firewood. He picked up a few logs and threw them into the dead fire pit.
He reached to grasp the two stones they'd been using to ignite the flames, and began scratching them against each other to create sparks. He could feel Piper's eyes on him as he did this, and when the logs caught fire, she voiced his accusation.
"What are you doing?"
"Making a fire." He answered, plain and simple.
"I'm going to find food, and we need a fire to cook it."
Piper looked at him, doubtingly, "you actually think you can not only find, but kill an animal?"
He put his hands on his hips, half-cockily, half-defensively. "I've done it before; you watched me do it a few days ago."
"I watched you stab an unsuspecting rabbit, that had luckily stumbled into our camp. That, Jason, was luck."
"That, Piper, was skill."
"Please." She said, walking past him to stomp out the small flame. "What skill?"
Jason looked at her in a mix of shock and anger. "You—you just put out my fire."
She raised an eyebrow at him. "You called that a fire?"
"Well, then, if you're so intelligent, how are we going to cook the food without a fire?" He asked, crossing him arms, much to sassily for a grown man.
Piper pulled her cloak from the forest floor, and tugged it over her head. "We aren't. We are going to go into town and eat like civilized people."
"How? We're fugitives."
"Honestly, Jason. Do you really think your father would let people know that his only son and heir has not only betrayed him, but evaded the mighty soldiers of Rome, taking Public Enemy Number One with him?"
Jason blinked. "No. No he wouldn't."
"Even so, we don't have any money."
"Money?" Piper rolled her eyes. "I can get you money."
With a sway in her walk, and her hood lowered, Piper strutted her way through the town square.
She drew the eyes of both men and women, for a number of reasons, both hormone-driven, and jealousy-driven. When she spotted a man who was reasonably well groomed with a pouch a denarii jiggling from his belt, she made a beeline towards him. With Jason's head lowered and shadowed by the darkness of an alley about twenty feet away to avoid attention from anyone, this one was all Piper.
She batted her eyes, and tapped the man on his shoulder with a seductive smile on her lips. He turned to her, and Piper nearly cringed. Of all the men she had to choose, she had selected one who was cross-eyed as a bat, thin-lipped, cursed with an extremely large nose with the beard from hell. He looked non-proportionate in every way possible; Piper could hear Jason stifling his laughs despite their distance and the noise of a busy town square.
Piper swallowed the vomit that she hadn't realized ventured into her mouth, and forced a smile. "Hi."
He ran a rough hand down her arm, causing the vomit Piper had successfully forced back down to come right back up. "How can I help you?"
She light a fire in her eyes to make the effect endearing, "I was hoping that a kind handsome man like yourself would have some money for a lost girl to use to get back to her family."
"Well." He chuckled, his hand going towards his pouch. "I might." Piper smiled, but it left as soon as it had come. "But, everything comes at a price."
He slithered an arm around her waist, drawing her in closer; Piper placed her palms against her chest, pushing away from him. His grin was suddenly gone, and wordlessly, Piper walked away; the man huffed, slightly disappointed, and left in the opposite direction. As Piper walked past Jason down the alley, she held up a hand against him, silencing his mockery.
"Not one word."
He chuckled. "Oh, I had more than one."
Piper gritted her teeth. "Don't test me."
He let out another chuckle, raising his hands in defense. "Whatever. Do you mind loaning me your cloak, so we don't get mobbed?"
"Because I have a plan of my own."
Piper drew in a heavy breath, removing the cloak, and handing it to him. He winced as he drew it around his shoulders; Piper had nearly forgotten about his wound. His tunic was still drench with blood, despite Piper finding a river that they'd washed they'd both bathed and washed their clothing in.
"Are you all right?" She asked, reaching out a hand, but not daring to touch him.
"I'm fine." He grunted, pulling the hood around his face. "Follow my lead."
Piper stifled a laugh as she trailed him. The cloak was way to small for him; barely ending around his knees. It was tight around his shoulders, and the green fabric didn't exactly compliment the rugged image he constantly tried to portray. She noticed his eyes catch on a red coin pouch secured to a man's waistline by nothing more than a knotted string. Jason tapped against his leg, nodding towards him; Piper cleared her throat to show she understood.
Making a loop around the square, Jason casually bumped the man's shoulder, muttering an apology, though all the man did was scold him loudly. As Jason continued to walk, he snatched the pouch from the man and palmed in to Piper, who tied it around her own waistband, claiming it as her own.
Both continued walking as if it had never happened.
They ate in silence.
Piper stared at him as he picked at his cheese, and aimlessly stuck his thumbnail into his apple, carving a drawing of lines into it. In the almost week they had unwillingly spent together, Piper still knew near to nothing about him. She cursed herself for not analyzing him sooner; she knew Jason, the backstabbing prince who dueled her in the arena, but she didn't know Jason, the man who saved her life.
She watched his body movements, committing his habits to her memory. He sat on the edge of his old wooden chair, ready to bolt the moment anything went wrong. He may have been eating his cheese, but his grip on his apple was tight, yet loose, as if he was ready to chunk it at someone if he couldn't get to his sword in time.
"What should we do?"
He looked up at her. "What?"
"We can't keep this up?"
"We just can't keep living like this, especially with people still getting killed in the Colosseum. I have friends in there Jason, I can't just leave them there to die."
"Well then, what do you suggest we do?"
Piper said the only thing that came to mind. "We end it."
"We end the Colosseum. We free everybody, and we put a stop to Jupiter's tyranny over them."
"Look, Jason, I know Jupiter's your father and stopping the Colosseum might shake his rule, and possibly threaten his life, but—wait." Piper paused, realizing what he had said. "What?"
It was late that night as Piper and Jason snuck near the bushes where Piper had hidden what felt like so long ago.
She swore colorfully beneath her breath; she hadn't been expecting ground patrol. She could only assume it was Jupiter being paranoid that there could be someone else like her, who could escape in the middle of the night. If she had been in the neutral zone with Jason, she would've socked him square in the nose; it was his fault the Romans even knew she'd gotten out.
"How are we getting in?" He whispered to her.
Piper shrugged. "I dunno." She ran to another set of bushes closer to the Colosseum. He perked up, almost voicing a questioning 'what?', but he followed her, nonetheless.
"What do you mean you don't know?" He said, slightly agitated that she would drag him out there, risking both their lives, without a plan.
"I don't" Piper ran to the next shrub.
He trailed her. "What does that mean?"
"I don't know how I can make it any clearer." She ran towards the open layout of the Colosseum, hiding behind a pillar.
He ran after her. "How could you not know? We're about to risk our lives for your friends here and I'd think you'd have a—"
"Look." Piper cut him off. "I got in and out of here once and nobody knew until you ratted me out." She wasn't sure, because it was quite dark, but she thought she saw him bow his head in regret. "Now if you want a plan: be quiet and let me think of one." She peered around the pillar, looking at the guards.
"Well hurry up and—"
"Well, what is—"
Before Jason could finish his sentence, Piper shoved him from the pillar and into a passing guard. It knocked them both down, but each having been trained in a Roman battle school, they were quick on their wits and on their feet. The guard shook his head, as if clearing the fuzziness from impact as he squinted into the darkness, trying to make out the form that had just plowed through him.
The guard rubbed his eyes in disbelief. "Prince Jason?"
"Uh." Jason said, lamely. "No?"
The guard raised his sword. "You traitor!"
Jason drew his own sword, but held it warily. "Now just a minute..."
There were clearly two options here: flight or fight. Jason opened his mouth and drew in a breath to speak, then bolted. The guard let out a battle cry. "For Rome!" This caught the attention of the other ground patrol guards, and they too took off after Jason, wanting a piece of the excitement. In the span of thirty seconds, she had managed to clear an entire field of guards. She grinned and nodded to herself, satisfied with her work as she heard Jason's shouts fading away as he lead them far from Piper.
She crept along the shadows, in case a few lingering guards had bothered to be smart enough to stay and do their jobs. But none were that smart. Piper came to the entrance, and drew her woodwork that Jason had question her of that morning. She had been waiting for an opportunity to test it. It was a simple cylinder, designed for speed, strength, and distance. She grasped the red coin pouch she and Jason had stolen from the man in the town square, to ensure that it was still there.
She drew one of the thin sticks she had carved earlier from the pouch and placed it in the cylinder, keeping another in her hand. She was careful not to touch the stained end, for that'd would pretty much ruin her entire plan. With a heave, she pushed the stone topping off it's mount, listening to the door guards climb up the ladder and out into the yard to see what had repositioned their makeshift entrance.
Neither took notice of Piper as drew the barrel to her lips and blew, sinking one of her homemade darts into the neck of one guard. She quickly reloaded as the other guard turned his sword on her, blowing it into his chest. Both sunk towards the ground, allowing what Piper hoped to be sleep overtake them.
She smiled at the surprise that her blow darts had actually worked; honestly, she half-expected them not to. She jumped down into the prison she had called home for so many months, taking out guards as she ran down the halls. When she was positive each guard was unconscious, she disbanded a set of keys from a guard's waistband, and unlocked Leo's cell first.
He was asleep against all three mats—his, Piper's, and Beckondorf's. She noticed a sword cut against his cheek, but she felt lucky that was all he had received. She placed a hand softly against his shoulder, a shook him until he awoke. He blinked at her, as if unbelieving what he saw.
"Leo, it's me."
"Piper?" He rubbed his eyes.
"Yeah, it's me, Leo. Come on, we don't have much time."
"Didn't you die?" Piper could tell he was still half-asleep.
"Yeah, but I didn't like the underworld, so I came back."
"You can do that?"
Piper rolled her eyes, shoving the set of keys at him. "Start unlocking everybody's cell; we're getting out of here."
Leo yawned, but stood, saluting her. Now Piper wasn't sure if he was drunk or not. He stumbled out of the cell, and began unlocking the prisoner's, waking them up and telling them about the escape. Piper ran towards the exit, drawing her dagger as she went; she had kind of just abandoned Jason to about a dozen guards.
But as soon as she was above ground, she slammed into him at full speed. Piper groaned in pain, as did he, but both soon recovered at the sound of the prisoner's cries of joy; Piper just hoped no one heard them. Instead of explaining what he'd done to escape, he just knelt down at the guards.
"What'd you do to them?"
She held out the dart and the firing barrel, "it's what I was working on this morning. I found Nightshade berries while I was looking for firewood a few days ago. I kind of hoped we'd set the prisoners free, and this was my plan; I didn't know about the field guards, but you were there to take care of that."
He glared at her, but it was short lived. He picked up a hand of a guard, and released it, allowing it to fall back down. "Are they, you know, dead?"
Piper shook her head. "No. I don't think so. Nightshade berry juices aren't deadly when they're dry, I think." She wouldn't dare check for a pulse. "They should just be out for an hour or two."
There was a cry of happiness coming from the catacombs as the prisoners, lead by Leo, walked freely for the first time in ages. Everyone was laughing, and Piper didn't have the heart to shush them, but Jason did. Everyone, with the exception of Piper, stared at him, angrily as if they were planning to kill him already.
"Piper?" Leo asked through gritted teeth.
"What's he doing here?" Leo said, as if he couldn't bare to even speak his name.
"Woah. Woah." Piper held up her hands, as if warding off the prisoners. "It's okay, everybody. He saved me, so in a way, he saved you people. He's a good person, and nothing like the emperor. He'll lead us to freedom."
That seemed good enough for Leo. "Well, if you trust him, I trust him." Leo smiled before leading the prisoners in a quiet huzzah. "Um." He said, turning back to Piper. "Now what?"
"Well, you're free to choose." Piper spoke, loud enough for everyone to hear her, but still quietly. "You can leave here and now and never come back; you can try to find and repair your old life. Or," Piper smiled, "you can join me and we can live freely!" The crowd cheered, but quieted at Piper's signal.
"You didn't kill any did you?" Piper asked in a small voice, as they led the pack of prisoners who had chosen to stay back to their camp.
Jason's eyebrows scrunched, confused. "No. Why?"
"Idle curiosity." Piper shrugged off his question, not admitting to him, she was still against killing.
There was almost a riot at two in the morning that night.
Word had gotten around that there was no food, limited water, and little shelter. Everyone was whispering amongst themselves, as if they were all forming alliances to take each other down. Piper could tell fights were about to begin over resources, and she climbed onto the old stump, with Leo on her left and Jason on her right.
"Everybody!" She shouted, but no one heard her, either that or they didn't care. "Hey—guys, come on—" In one last attempt, Piper screamed at the top of her lungs. "Quiet!"
Everybody went silent, and listened to her.
She took a deep breath. "Now I know that there's been some talk about what we're going to do for food, for water, for shelter, for everything. And I will answer honestly: I don't know yet, but none of you do either and fighting is not going to give us the solution. I know you're scared and I am too, but we can make it through this.
"None of you have any reason to trust me—I lied to each and every one of you. But I protected you, and that's what I'm going to do now. I'm your best bet at the moment, and I will do my best to fix this for all of us. We won't get captured! We'll run away and start our own Rome, where everyone lives in peace! Are you with me?!"
A rising cheer came up from the crowd, as Piper stepped down from the stump. Leo patted her on the back, and Jason gave an approving nod (which was probably the nicest thing he'd done for her in the past few days). Piper smiled to herself; in this world of 'what ifs' and 'I don't knows', one thing was certain.
All these people, they were no longer Roman.
So? How's that for an opening chapter. A little over 3,700 words. Not bad. Not bad. I want to thank each and every one of you for a 456 review success on Roman! Let's see if we can beat that with this one! Happy Thanksgiving!
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