Annabeth cried as she sat at her father's bedside, her blonde hair was glowing in the candlelit room. Her father coughed up a mouth full of blood and his eyes rolled into the back of his head.
"Father?" Annabeth whispered.
Her father didn't respond.
"Father? Father!" The seventeen-year-old girl buried her head into her hands and sobbed. Her father had always told her that it was important to be strong.
She couldn't afford to show weakness to anyone. But Annabeth thought that this was an exception.
Frederick Chase passed away painfully, that much she knew. The look on his face before and right after blood spilled from his mouth was enough to let Annabeth know.
She wiped her eyes with the skirt of her dress and looked at the lifeless face of her father. Now, Annabeth had no real family left in this world.
A bejeweled hand gripped Annabeth's shoulder and she flinched. She glanced behind her and saw her stepmother looking at her, not with comfort and warmth, but with disappointment and anger.
Two boys, not much younger than Annabeth herself, stood behind her stepmother. Annabeth looked into the boys' eyes, searching for any sign of kindness. She needed any she could find.
But the boys glanced at one another and then back at her, unfazed.
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