Nico regretted ever becoming king. He should have let Hazel rule; he should have been a queen consort, married off to some brat barely out of their teens. He should have been making babies, not ruling the kingdom.
But nobody ever cares what he thinks.
So there he stood at the dais, addressing the crowd of barely royal Alphas, all trying to marry into the crown, to become ruler of a kingdom.
If they had payed attention, they would have realized that they were there for the sole purpose of breeding. Whoever Nico decided to marry would have little to no say in the politics of Asphodel. They would not be considered even a half ruler.
As he began the speech that had been prepared for him, he finally noticed how thick the stench of pure filth was. How long had it been since these foreigners last bathed. It nearly made him gag; the fact that most of the neighbouring kingdoms did not practice frequent bathing disgusted him. And they all wonder why the plague ravaged their lands so harshly.
Dragging himself out of his thoughts, he continued with his speech, "I am so greatly pleased with how many of you, fine, Alphas could attend my Gala. As you all know, I am looking for mate, somebody to rule by my side until our child takes our place. Tonight, we shall all meet, make acquaintances, and perhaps begin courting." Nico smiled out at the crowd, trying to hide how truly uncomfortable he was.
He stepped down off of the dais, careful not to step on the hem of his extravagant ball gown. Before he knew it, a short sickly looking grease-ball slid up to him. The pale young man bowed deeply. Nico forced a polite smile as the man straightened. He had stringy blond hair, and creepy light blue eyes. "Octavian Augustus, my beautiful little emerald," he purred, grabbing Nico's hand roughly and kissing his knuckles.
Laughing nervously, Nico pulled away from Octavian. "I hate to sound rude, Siour Octavian, but I have promised my first dance to my Father. I promise I will come back and chat with you in a few moments, but for now; please enjoy yourself and mingle with the other guests tonight."
Octavian looked vaguely insulted that he was just brushed off. He puffed up his chest and sauntered over to a clump of smaller Alphas. Nico wrinkled his nose, when said mingle, he meant make friends. Not assert your dominance over the small.
Hades rested his hand on his son's shoulder, smiling slightly. "Stay away from that one," he murmured as he took Nico's hands. He began leading Nico along to a traditional folk song, one of Nico's favourites.
"You don't have to tell me twice," Nico laughed softly. "Who exactly is he?"
"Somebody out for your crown. He was sent from across The Aching Sea, Anuriea caught wind of his plans while listening in at the docks," His Father explained quietly so that the pairs dancing around them wouldn't be able to listen in. Not that he really needed to, the clattering of shoes on the marble floors was loud enough.
Nico nodded, "Is there anybody that I should keep an eye out for? Like higher nobles from our dear neighbours?"
Hades sighed, "Quite a few, they'll be very easy to pick out, however. They all have capes, except for the Knights. The Knights will be wearing their swords, along with a blue sash. The Knights sort of have this thing where they don't approach Omegas with being introduced by a third party, or if the Omega themselves approaches them," he took a breath, "Also, Prince Perseus is here."
Nico groaned, dropping his forehead onto his Father's chest. "Why would you invite him?"
"I'm trying to rebuild the bridge you burnt, Nico. I know, he hurt you. But he was not invited as a possible mate. He was invited as his kingdom's state official."
Sighing softly, he lifted his head, "Alright, I'll speak with him soon."
His Father smiled, "Good, I know it's hard to ignore past relations, but it is always worth trying if it's for the kingdom. Remember that, Niccolo."
"I will, Papa."
Once the song had ended Nico was pulled into a tight embrace from Hades, before going to personally greet the guests. Considering Percy had been invited for political reasons, Nico guessed that all the women and Omegas were also here on business. After all, his father always made Nico's parties political events too.
Squaring his shoulders and feigning his confidence, Nico made his way over to where a Knight from Olympus was speaking with Frank, the Knight-Captain of Asphodel. He smiled politely at the Knight and greeted Frank with a kiss on each cheek. After all, Frank is Hazel's beau.
Frank grinned, gesturing to the Knight he had been conversing with, "This, is Sir Jason Grace, King Jupiter's youngest."
Nico's eyes widened, "You're Thalia's little brother! I've heard so much about you from her, but she never told me you were a Knight."
Jason looked embarrassed, quickly bowing lightly to Nico, "A pleasure to meet you, Your Highness."
"Please, call me Nico,"
Frank watched the two talk for a moment before excusing himself to go sweep the area.
"So, do you know Frank, or did the two of you just meet?" The Omega asked.
"We trained together for several years as teenagers, I haven't seen much of him since he came here. I'm glad he's doing so well." Jason told him, the tiny little scar on his lip crinkling as he smiled.
Eventually Jason held out his hand to take Nico's, then leaned down to press a soft little kiss to his bare ring finger. "I'm sure everyone else is anxious to speak with you themselves, I shouldn't keep you any longer."
Nico nodded before parting with the handsome Alpha. He looked around, spotting a few familiar faces among the groups and pairs dancing. Leo Valdez was dancing around with the two nearly identical Stoll brothers. Hazel was greeting a group of reporters, probably telling the how awkward Nico was around handsome Alphas, going by the way she was laughing. Frank was reporting to Father calmly.
And Percy. Percy was walking straight at him.
He took a deep breath and put on a smile for show. Percy returned it.
"How've you been, Nico?" He asked softly, a melancholy look gracing his features.
Nico licked his lips, "I've been good. Really good."
He nodded, his eyes sweeping over Nico's body, "You look great, healthy. I, I want to try and put what happened between the, the two of us behind us; I want to focus on the future of our kingdoms, as allies."
The Omega bit his lip gently, thinking about what Percy had said. "I will put what you did behind me. But that does not mean I forgive you, I am just thinking about what's best for my people."
Nico watched Percy's tongue dart out to wet his lips, before he nodded.
"Of course," he said softly, "anyway, you should get back to the festivities, I believe your father had wanted to speak to me about something."
Nico watched Percy walk away, his cape blooming out around him so elegantly. Even within the halls of the Grande Palace, he was truly a sight to behold. A part of Nico wished that he had stayed with Percy. He knew that he had to let go of his feelings. He just couldn't.
He was shaken out of his thoughts by a very tall woman, with a very muscular build wearing the traditional garb of the southern province's Warriors Guild, bowing deeply to him.
"My King," she began, "My name is Hylla. I've come on behalf of the Warriors Guild. I wish to ask that you may consider some of our women for your armies, and your personal guard. I would also like to extend the Guild's services directly to you should you ever require them, within our lands, or outside of them."
"I appreciate your generous offer, Lady Hylla, and will keep it in mind for the next time I'm in need of a concentrated force such as the Warriors. I would also like to say that if any Warriors wish to join the royal guard, they may speak with Knight-Captain Zhang, although there is no guarantee that they will make it into the guard, but they will be considered." Nico told her, trying not to stare at the scar across her forehead.
She smiled at Nico, bowing and saying that she was going to go speak with Knight-Captain Zhang herself. Nico nodded before parting ways with the elegant yet intimidating woman.
He resumed making his way around the ball room, chatting with all the guests, dancing with those who offered, and speaking with the women and Omegas there to do bussiness. All around him people laughed and danced joyously, it made Nico quite happy to see everyone around smiling and enjoying themselves, even if he wasn't.
It was well past midnight when he really began taking interest in the Alphas around him, many of the ones he believed he'd like to see again ended up being Knights, and higher ups from across the seas. Although, there was a few who were just barely noble that he had taken an interest in, like an older man from Olympus who had saved the King's life and been granted land in return. He began making his way around to those he wanted to see again, telling them to go speak with Hazel before they left the party.
Then he remembered he still hadn't spoken with Octavian yet. And if he spoke honestly, he really didn't want to.
He spotted the scrawny Alpha across the room, and started to walk over. He really needed a good reason not to. But the only piece of information he had about Octavian, was that he was only in this for the power. Just like many others at the Gala.
Octavian turned around, immediately spotting Nico and quickly walking over to him.
"You took so long my dear Queen, I thought you had forgotten about me," Octavian drawled, grabbing Nico's hand once again, and starting to kiss up his wrist.
Nico pulled his arm away carefully, "I'm the King, not the Queen."
Octavian laughed right in his face, "But an Omega can't be the King, Omegas are far too emotional to rule."
"I hope you know, that whoever I marry, will have little to no say in the political choices of Asphodel. I am the King, and who ever I marry, will just be my consort. My breeder." Nico angrily stated, crossing his arms and holding his head up high.
The look on the little misogynist's face was glorious. It made Nico's heart sing with pure joy.
And then he went ballistic.
"What the hell is wrong with you, you disgusting whore!? I hope you die from the plague and that you and your whole kingdom burn!" He continued to scream in Nico's face as guards rushed over to make sure Nico wasn't in danger.
The minstrels stopped playing, and all the guests stopped talking and dancing, opting to watch the scene unfold instead.
The guards dragged Octavian out of the ballroom and presumably to a holding cell for threats against the King and public disturbance. Very nice.
Nico sighed before going up onto the dais to address the crowd, "Ladies and gentleman, I must apologize for Siour Augustus' interruption of our festivities. I did not mean to anger him so greatly by telling him that I am, in fact, the King, and not the Queen. I do hope that there will be no such more interruptions." Nico stepped down again once the minstrels began playing once again, and rejoined the party.
He made his way over to where the royal blacksmith stood. Hephaestus was native to the southern provinces, and had a son. Which happened to be Leo Valdez.
He smiled at Hephaestus as he approached, "It's good to see you again, Hephaestus. I trust you made it here comfortably?"
The blacksmith was a gruff man, with a mechanical leg made by Leo, and a large scruffy beard. He could be rude at times, but when you got to know him, he was kind and funny.
"I did, thank you for the carriage. Has the shipment of armour arrived to you yet?"
"It has, Leo and I inspected it this morning. You have outdone yourself once again, I'm sure Knight-Captain is going to be as pleased as I was when he gets them out to the men." Nico told the man.
After about another hour of socializing, Nico decided he was done being around other people. He needed a bath, and some rest.