Pain swelled up in my head, but only one thought overwhelmed me: Annabeth was gone. She’d been kidnapped and I was still unconscious for I don’t know how long, but I knew that I had to save my bride. Guilt immediately flooded me; I should have protected her. I had returned Zeus’ lightning bolt with monsters always following close behind, and I couldn’t defend my wife? That’s unacceptable. One thing I knew for sure; unless she was mad, Annabeth was nothing like a monster.
I squinted against the light invading my darkness and finally opened my eyes. I saw Thalia, Mom, and Chiron looming over me. “How long was I out?” I asked, pushing myself up, thinking they’d know what my next question would be.
“About two hours.” Thalia responded, cringing. I bit my tongue as pain flooded me, but I fought against it so I was able to sit up.
“Where’s Annabeth?” But I knew the answer to this question, like the last one, wouldn’t be good. I noticed that I was still on the floor in the room where the reception had begun, but never finished.
“She’s been taken. I’m sorry, Percy.” My mom whispered. I stood, ignoring the strength it took.
“I have to find her. Do you know who took her?” I sneered evilly.
“Luke. We don’t know which direction he went, but –“Chiron was cut off when a shimmer appeared across the room. I ran up to it, seeing Luke holding Annabeth in a tight grip by her wrists. Her gray eyes looked frightened, and a gag was around her mouth.
“Missing your bride, Percy?” He asked. Annabeth whipped her stray hair out of her eyes and tried to say something, but the gag blocked her.
“Give her back!” I hissed, wishing I could jump through the Iris message and pumble Luke myself.
“I can’t do that. She belongs to me now.” Luke tugged her against his body.
I shook my head. “She’s my bride.” I snapped angrily.
“From what I can see, it doesn’t look like she’s too happy.” Luke noticed as he played with her hair.
“She would be happy if you didn’t take her like you did. Give her back to me.” I normally wouldn’t beg this way, knowing there was nothing I could give Luke for Annabeth. Annabeth was what he wanted. I’d just married Annabeth, and I wasn’t going to lose her like this if I could help it, or not at all.
“Annabeth likes it here, don’t you, Annabeth?” He stroked her cheek as the gag fell from the mouth.
“No! Percy!” She begged, tears brimming only slightly in her eyes. Luke smacked her with a force so hard, she fell backward, whimpering. Her face flushed, and I knew that she was too proud to cry in front of anyone, even her husband.
“Annabeth! Luke, I swear, I’ll kill you! You escaped once, still harboring Kronos’ evil, but I will kill you.” This was a promise I was willing to keep. Luke laughed at Annabeth’s pain and dissolved the message before I could say anything else. “Where do you think they are?” I asked Chiron without turning back to him.
“We’ll find her, I swear.” Chiron promised me, clapping me on the back. I bit my lip to avoid saying anything to show that my voice was breaking, and sighed.
Chiron insisted that I try and relax for a little bit, while the reception area would be cleaned and they searched. I went back to my cabin, not bothering to change clothes as my head hit the pillow. I hated feeling so helpless, but if I didn’t know where she was, how was I supposed to help? Annabeth, my poor Annabeth, I will find you. I thought this as my eyes slid closed.
When I entered the dream, I saw Annabeth lying on the floor. Her wedding dress was stained with mud and blood, as was her beautiful, frightened face.
The knife in my heart twisted. I wanted to call out to her, but my voice wouldn’t work. I looked around, seeing she was in a cell with cold, hard floors.
The door opened and Luke stepped inside. “Annabeth, did you miss me?” He asked, kissing her cheek.
She pushed him away. “No, I didn’t.” She hissed. I knew she was fighting the urge to slam into him.
“You should have.” Luke responded, tilting her face up to his. He pressed his lips down to hers. My dream self was fuming. It was a sickening scene, honestly.
When I looked again, I saw that she had recoiled and slapped him. Good job, Annabeth, I thought.
“I’m married. Happily married.” Annabeth reminded him.
“Not for long. You and I will wed soon enough.” He tried to kiss her again, but she turned away in disgust.
“I love Percy.” She snarled, wiping a tear from her eye when Luke wasn’t looking.
“Wouldn’t he have tried to save you if he cared even the slightest bit about you?” Luke snapped, drying another tear. She whirled her head around at him.
“He doesn’t know where I am!” She hissed, standing, though she only fell right back into Luke’s arms.
“Good. The drug is working perfectly.” He drugged her? Now he’s really dead.
“Get away from me!” She snarled, but her strength was gone, and her limbs were useless. I wanted to help, to call out to her, but the only thing I could do was watch in disgust as Luke wrapped his arm around her waist.
“Annabeth, you were blind. I loved you before he did. Why him?” Luke began to play with Annabeth’s hair and laughed when she tried to escape.
From what Annabeth had told me, Luke had never really told her he loved her, but apparently, that was a lie. She had had a crush on him, but…I don’t think she ever really loved him. Otherwise, she would have told me.
“He’s a good person, unlike you!” She snapped, and raised her fist. I could only watch with joy as Annabeth’s fist connected with his nose.
I laughed even though the sound was silent and watched Annabeth smirk. Luke scrambled to his feet, holding his bleeding nose and stared at Annabeth. “Worthless girl! Its either you marry me, or you watch Percy die. Your choice.” Luke slammed the door on his way out.
Annabeth sat shocked, her head falling into her hands as tears streaked down her face. “Percy, help me! We’re in a castle in Transylvania! Please!” Annabeth begged. Her image began to get farther and farther away, and I knew I was waking up. The last look I saw on her face was one of sheer horror. She began to sob as the light faded.
I bolted upward, a layer of sweat covering my forehead as I ran out of my cabin. I wondered why the heck Transylvania, but I’d have to ask Chiron. Maybe he’d know. I found Chiron next to the area that had been destroyed and ran up to him. “I know where she is!” I told him about my dream, asking why Transylvania anyway.
“It’s Transylvania because Luke has the creatures that are kind of like vampires working for him. That’s where they get their powers.” Chiron explained. I nodded and sighed.
“How are we supposed to get to Transylvania? I will not let Luke force her into marriage.” I snarled.
“We’ll get the next possible flight there.” Chiron promised, patting my back. I nodded, biting my lip, but then saw Grover step forward in his tux, though now it was torn and burned.
“I’ll go with you. I don’t want to see Annabeth hurt either.” Grover said.
We looked at him, shocked. Grover wasn’t exactly the first one to volunteer for a quest; that was Annabeth job. Just thinking of her name mad me sad. I hated that she was gone, but I would find her.
“Are you sure, Grover?” Chiron asked. Grover nodded. “Get packed, both of you. Mrs. Jackson, can you please give them a ride to the airport? I’ll check the times.” Mom smiled and nodded as I ran back to my cabin, throwing everything I would need into my backpack. Such things included my bag of ambrosia, a canteen of nectar and a map to Dracula’s castle. I didn’t bother to change out of my tux; that would have taken too long.
I took the cap off Riptide to make sure it worked. I hadn’t used Riptide in five years, so I wanted to make sure it worked. The sword popped out easily, as though I had only used it yesterday. I stuck the cap back on and put it in my pocket, wishing I’d had remembered I had it earlier today.
I sat in the front seat of my mom’s car, looking down at our plane tickets. The flight left in an hour and the airport was twenty minutes away. “We’re here.” Mom’s voice snapped me out of my thoughts as she looked at me. “You’ll bring her back. I know you will.” She hugged me as Grover and I got out of the car. Tears welled up in her eyes as she drove away.
As we waited, I heard the murmurs about how Grover and I were the only ones wearing tuxes. However, I wasn’t focused on them right now. The only thoughts that consumed me were my poor bride being forced to marry someone else. I could actually hear her ring that I’d taken so long to pick out clatter to the floor. I sighed as our plane was called for boarding. Grover and I burst to our feet, going as quickly as possible, seeing the stares from the flight attendants as we got the seats closest to the door.
I remained restless in my seat, but that was only because of my ADHD and the fact that I knew I had to save her. I didn’t know what was going on with them now, but I was too anxious to sleep to try and figure it out. Though I didn’t want to, the flight was very long, so my eyes closed and my head fell back.
What I saw in front of my dream self was the worst thing I ever thought I’d see. Annabeth was on her knees, crying out in pain as the whip came down on her. Luke drew the whip back again, and I knew I would definitely be killing him when I saw him. I knew Annabeth wouldn’t protest after hurting her this way.
“Do you regret disobeying me now?” Luke screamed as he threw the whip to the ground and grabbed her shoulders, throwing her on her back as the blood stained her dress. She was too proud to cry, so she bit her lip and didn’t answer as Luke grabbed her again. “Answer me!” He screamed in her face. I saw Annabeth cringe; either the pain was getting to her or he had really bad breath. “You worthless girl! Answer me!” To avoid another beating, Annabeth cringed, swallowing back her pride and nodded. “Good. I’m sorry my betrothed, but this is necessary.” I didn’t see what was so necessary about it, but I would probably be too busy beating the crud out of Luke to ask. I was going to make sure his death was as slow and painful as possible.
“I won’t disobey again, but please, don’t-” Annabeth was cut off when Luke’s lips crushed hers. She didn’t bother to fight him off because she was probably sure that he would whip her again, or maybe the drug was still working. He backed off, seeing the tears that brimmed in her eyes, and kissed her cheek once before standing and leaving.
“Percy…” She sobbed this out like she knew I was there, or on my way. “Help me.” She begged. My heart went out to her, and I only wished this plane flight would be a whole lot quicker.
“I’m coming, Annabeth.” I wanted to scream, but my voice was inaudible. I promised her with my heart and soul that I would never again let her out of my sight as the light faded away.
“Percy? Perce? Percy!” A voice yelled in my ear.
“Ah!” I exclaimed, stumbling out of what I had just seen to see Grover above me.
“Come on. We just landed.” We jumped to our feet, running past the baggage claim and hailed a cab.
“Dracula’s castle please.” I knew that this place was a tourist attraction, and that it would be dead right now. I looked at the map, feeling even more anxious to slit Luke’s throat with every passing second.
The ride seemed to take forever, but suddenly, we were in front of the castle. We leapt out of the cab and jumped to the front door, trying to open it but it was locked. I cursed in Greek, bringing out Riptide to slash the handle and kicked the door open. Classical music played down the hall, and I recognized it immediately; the wedding march.
Grover followed behind me as I ran forward. The music got louder and louder until I heard it right next to me. I pushed the door open, seeing Annabeth and Luke standing before the priest. “Annabeth!” I yelled. She turned, and threw her bouquet down.
“Percy!” She threw her arms around my neck and cried into my shoulder as my arms wrapped around her waist. “I’m here. It’s okay. It’s okay. ” I whispered.
“Thank God.” She told me as I pulled back to see her tear stained face. Suddenly, Luke was laughing behind us.
“Oh, Percy, Percy, Percy.” He stepped forward, noticing that I was still in my tux. “You wanted to look down when you died, am I right?” Luke sneered.
“No, but I know what you did to her.” I noticed the whip scars on her back when I looked down.
“Do you? Well, it’s too late.” Luke snapped his fingers, and suddenly, we were surrounded by bout ten or twenty Vrykolakas, which were just Greek vampires. I pushed Annabeth behind me as she pulled her knife from the sleeve of her dress. Her gray eyes became deadly, and it was just another thing that I loved about her. With a weapon, she was unstoppable.
Luke came toward me and nodded to his minions who snarled and closed in a circle around us. Annabeth shielded herself and stabbed one as her teeth gnashed together like thunder. I smiled to myself and watched another Vrykolakas turn to dust as Riptide went through it. Suddenly, Annabeth screamed and slumped against me.
I turned to see that Annabeth had gotten bit by a Vrykolakas and she was on the floor with a bleeding wrist. I knelt next to her body, and grabbed her hand as a thin layer of sweat covered her forehead. She was… “Annabeth, don’t leave me!” I begged her. Luke called off his minions and laughed.
Grover pulled the ambrosia and nectar from my backpack as I put her head in my lap. I gave her a little bit of each healing food and looked down to her eyes, seeing tears sparkle inside them. I wiped the tears away with my thumb and smiled down at her.
“Help me up?” She asked, laughing slightly and smiling.
“Always.” I offered her my hand and pulled her up as Luke laughed.
“What’s wrong, Luke? You’re not man enough to fight me yourself?” I taunted him. He raised Backbiter and took hesitant steps toward me as we walked around in circles. Grover and Annabeth stood on the sidelines, watching, though Annabeth was protesting every second.
“You know this is kidnapping.” I informed him as I parried his blow.
“Does it make you upset?” He threw another blow, which I dodged easily.
“After what you did, I have every right to be upset. You whipped her, hurt her, you kissed her.” It took all my strength not to rip his head off, but looking back on it, I wish I had.
“I thought the only thing I would get when I kidnapped Annabeth was a bride, but I’m getting so much more. I get the joy of watching you die, painfully.” That was the last straw. I tackled Luke, pinning him to the ground as I wrestled Backbiter out of his hand. I tried to maintain a hold on Riptide, but it was kind of hard when I had to throw him to the ground and keep him there. I tried to get him to be less of a fight by slamming his head against the floor.
“Go ahead, Percy. I’m sure Annabeth will hate you for the rest of your life if you kill me.” He looked toward Annabeth as he spoke. I fought the urge to look back at Annabeth; if I did, I’d probably get stabbed.
“After what you did, I don’t know how she could care.” I hissed, slowly waiting for Annabeth to jump in and say something.
She didn’t say a word.
“Kill me. We’ll see how much she hates you after that.” Luke taunted. I was dying to stab him now, but I needed to know.
“Annabeth, will you hate me if I get rid of this problem forever?” I asked without turning to her. She didn’t answer. I fought not to look back at her and see if there was any sort of answer in her eyes, but I didn’t take my eyes off Luke for fear of our safety.
“I know what he did was wrong, but I know that he wouldn’t do any of this on his own.”
I couldn’t stop myself this time. I had to whirl around and look at her. Luke took the advantage to kick me away from him.
I landed on my back, pain flooding my head as it cracked against the tile. I bit my tongue to hold back the scream and kicked Luke in the stomach. He flew across the room, bashing his head against the wall so hard it bled. I took the advantage and stood above him with the sword ready.
“Percy, don’t!” Annabeth begged. I stared back at her.
“After what he did to you, you want him alive?” The sword was hovering just above his heart.
“They weren’t his actions. Kronos’ evil is still controlling him. He would never hurt me on his own.” Annabeth’s voice trembled as though she wasn’t so sure.
“Well he’s hurting you now. How do you know he won’t try and kill us?” I snapped at her.
“I know Luke. He wouldn’t do this on his own. Let him live.” She begged, tears clouding her eyes. I was used to my girlfriend crying, and then it hurt, but when it was my wife, I couldn’t take it any longer. I dropped the sword to my side and put the cap back on as I slipped it in my pocket.
I grabbed Annabeth’s arm and we ran, hailing another cab back to the airport. I remained silent the whole ride and left Annabeth sob tears of gratitude into my jacket. I never knew Annabeth could cry at all, let alone this much. I held her while she cried. The gratitude tears were gone; these tears were of something worse. Pain maybe, or sadness alone, or maybe a mix. I didn’t know, but I held her, not bothering to stop her from crying as we boarded the plane.
She cried the whole plane ride too, and I was surprised that Grover had fallen asleep with all this crying. I think a faucet must have gone off in her head, because she kept on crying and crying. I held her, ignoring the stares that seemed to be glued to her. When the plane touched the ground, I let everyone get off the plane first before Annabeth finally stopped crying. She took her head off my shoulder and stood.
We hailed another cab back to camp, and when we finally got back, we saw that everyone who’d attended the wedding was still there. Annabeth and I walked through a sea of happy faces and smiles as Annabeth stood behind my mom’s car. All the women that attended the wedding gathered around the back of the car and waited for Annabeth to toss the bouquet. When she did, it landed in my mom’s lap. She laughed, but accepted it, and grabbed my arm to pull me aside.
“I’m very happy for you. I think you made the right choice. I know I never gave you a wedding gift, so…” I waved a hand in the air to cut her off.
“You didn’t have to. You’ve given me so much already. You raised me, for Poseidon’s sake.” Mom gave me a laugh.
“I want to. Turn around.” I turned to see a cherry red convertible.
“Thanks, Mom.” I gave her another smile and a hug.
“It was nothing. Have a good time on your honeymoon.” She smiled and hugged Annabeth as she climbed in after me. Argus, our camp security guard, drove in the front seat, and made sure to make the reservations for our hotel somewhere with plenty of people so we wouldn’t attract monsters.
“Thank you, Percy.” Annabeth whispered.
“What for?” I asked.
“You protected me when I really needed it. I’m sorry about Luke.” She whispered the name so Argus wouldn’t hear; thank the Gods that he had a body full of eyes, not ears.
“I would do it again. It’s not your fault. Annabeth, are you happy?” I asked.
“With you, I can’t help but be happy.” She smiled at me and looked into my eyes, showing a look of gratitude and love.
“I love you, Annabeth.” I whispered.
“I love you, Percy.” She smiled again and kissed my cheek. It’s official; my life was perfect….but it didn’t stay that way for long.