ELINA WAS CONFUSED.
In all of her years of life, she had never applied that word to any situation, but now it seems she would. She stood in front of of the king, arms clutched behind her back with a straight face. It was not this that confused her, as she had been called to the court multiple times to settle intelligence disputes and such. Many believed she had the blessing of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and strategy- and the King Metiochus used that to his advantage. It was a miracle he still had his kingdom seeing it was a tiny little country with a weak military. It was Elina's doing that kept him out of stupid and un-winnable wars, as Metiochus was very fond of marching to battle.
"Elina, my dear," he boomed, his voice carrying over the room. He stood up from his seat dramatically, before sitting back down. "I have something very special to tell you." His eyes gleamed, and Elina felt fear and dread creep up her neck. Already, she felt hot and sticky, and to add her nervous tension was like dumping a pail of water on her. She was looking very wet.
"My lord, if it's another war declaration..." She trailed off, her head lifting up. The king laughed heartily, slamming his golden staff down.
"Ah, I wish." He glanced over to a servant boy standing a few feet away from his huge throne, and flicked his beard. "Tellis, how long has it been since I've declared war?"
"Four days my lord, but we decided not to yesterday," the boy replied tentatively, and Elina fought the urge to sigh with relief. In her time of not visiting the Palace, the king had not foolishly declared war on an unbeatable nation. She began to unconsciously tap her foot impatiently, which was hidden due to the long gown she wore. (Courtesy of her mother who always bought her a new chiton every time she visited the palace. It was annoying, really.)
"Too long!" he announced. "Let's declare war on-"
"No!" Elina interrupted, eyes wide. There was a collective breath of relief as the servants's heart beat returned to normal. Before Elina, the country had lost many men due to Metiochus's unusual and destructive hobby. The King narrowed his eyes at Elina, and she quickly backtracked. "I mean, what a waste it would be. To use your precious time to beat and take over a country." She closed her eyes and prayed to Athena, that her life would be pardoned. Still what many considered young, she had much life to live and much to learn.
"I suppose," the King muttered deflated. Tellis, the servant boy, gave Elina a small smile before scurrying off to tally another safe day without war. "But I called you here for other news,"
Elina frowned, trying to think of what could possibly be something so important. "Alright, my lord," she added hastily, almost forgetting the formality. "what is this task you need me to do?"
"Well, for once- I am not declaring war, the kingdom of Tripadeas is. And it seems that we do not have the money, or the army to fight back." The King sighed dejectedly. "Much to be my disappointment."
"You want me to be an ambassador, sign a peace treaty?" Elina finished for him, excitement pitting in her stomach. Oh how she had always wished to be sent on a quest, to become as great as Odysseys who had traveled long before her and created a fancy name for himself. His adventures were told through out the kingdoms, and Elina wanted her name to go down in history as well.
"Uh yes." The King became surprised, he blinked- as if realizing his war declaration was probably a bad idea compared to a peace treaty. "That's exactly what I was thinking."
"When shall I begin? Will I have any men? Or any-" the king silenced her.
"You will be not leading the quest." Elina felt herself go numb with rage. How dare they! Only she was fit to lead any quest, she easily was the smartest and wittiest of them all- nobody else could match her. "Alkaios will, and you will set sail two days from now." From behind him, stepped out a tall, muscular, young man- whom Elina recognized immediately. Alkaios was a ladies man, along with being extremely strong- he was very charming. A useful asset to the quest, but not that Elina would admit that. He and her shared a mutual hatred for each other. With windswept dark hair and eyes the color of gold, he was haughty and arrogant- two qualities Elina could not stand. While Alkaios, on the other hand, thought Elina was a pesky little brat who was too smart of her own good.
"I don't th-" She was silenced once again as King Metiochus spoke again.
"Elina, you are smart and have the blessing of Athena. " He paused. "But you lack strength and are defenseless in the monster infested world. Perhaps you would lead the quest if I could send warriors with you, but many are wounded and in no shape to fight."
She hurrumphed and fumed while Alkaios sent her a bright smile. She glowered at him before turning to the king, an idea forming. No way would Alkaios be smart enough to handle the trip, he would break and turn the leadership to her- after all only the two of them would go on the trip. "As you wish." She smiled before haughtily walking out of the palace, smile in place.
A quest? She was ready.