Nico bounced slightly as he sat on the white queen-sized bed, fiddling with his hands and counting in his head. Two hours. Two hours Bianca had been gone. He was becoming agitated, he wasn’t supposed to leave the room until she came back. Alecto, the lawyer who had pulled them aside, asked Bianca if they could have a “small talk.” Two hours didn’t seem small to Nico. He rolled the skull ring Bianca gave him in his pocket, sighing.
Nico’s attention span wasn’t the longest, he had to do at least something to keep him entertained. Practically running out of the room, he dove into the elevator, scaring its occupants. He ran down corridors and through crowds of people. Bianca was nowhere to be seen. Nico only had one other option.
Standing in front of the big doors, he hesitantly grabbed the handle and pulled.
“Oh! Mr. di Angelo. Leaving so soon?” A peppy worker asked, resulting in an unsettling feeling in Nico's stomach.
Nico nodded quickly, opening the door hastily, and almost stepped outside. He heard the worker once more.
“Don't forget to visit!” They said, a mysterious glint in their eye, “The world can move on without you.” With a wistful smile, they shut the door, leaving Nico with questions.
A cool breeze hit Nico's face as he walked out. Advanced-looking cars zoomed past, a few people gliding on what looks like light-up skateboard-dumbbell hybrids. The city seemed much brighter than Nico last saw it. Which was weird, considering he only stayed in the hotel for about five and a half days.
Nico walked around, wary of strangers on the sidewalk. He didn’t want to stray far from the hotel, but then a distant voice hissed.
“A demigod?” The voice snarled. Nico spun around, trying to look for the owner of the sinister voice. “Ahh, a cute one too. Don’t worry, I’ll make your death a bit less painful.”
Nico’s heart stopped, fear crept on him as he started running. He got five yards in before a winged creature with frightening sharp teeth swooped down in front of him. His whole body went cold as the monster looked at him face to face with their milky white eyes.
“Empousa.” Nico shakily whispered as he realized why the monster looked so familiar. As he made his conclusion, the creature swung their claws at him. He lurched out of the way.
Eyes widening as he noticed what he did, he started running, high off adrenaline. He ran and ran, vision becoming unfocused as he panicked.
Slowing down, he realized he had reached a dark dead end.
“Leaving so soon, are we?” The empousa sneered. Nico’s breath hitched as he backed into a corner. “Don’t worry,” the empousa said, as Nico wished for an escape “ It'll only hurt for a while.” She raised her claws. Nico forced his back into the wall as much as he could. She struck, but Nico was swallowed by the darkness.
Nico had stopped counting the minutes he was in the room for. He had no sense of time while in that disturbingly quiet and dark place. His thoughts had stopped coming up with ways to get out.
The room was cold, shivers ran through him as he moved around, his face feeling as if it was being pulled off. The dark wasn't a very fun place to be, especially after have a traumatic event happen to you.
Nico moved around in the seemingly gravity-less darkness. The feeling of fierce wind pushed him back, He didn't know if he was actually moving or not, so he attempted to do what he thought was a backflip. Feeling no impact anywhere, Nico furrowed his eyebrows in confusion.
Is this where people go when they die? He questioned in his head. Hugging his aviator jacket around himself, he put his hands out, and tried reaching for a surface. Spinning around, his right hand felt warmth around it. Pushing into it, his whole body tumbled out of a shadow into a corner of an unfamiliar building.
Nico looked around to see emotionless people sitting in rows of rows of chairs. The atmosphere was very glum as he went to the front desk, where a tired man sat in a loose black hooded cloak.
“Excuse me, mister,” Nico looked at his nameplate, “Charon, sir?”
“Yes—” He said in a bored tone before looking at Nico, “By the gods.” He said with wide eyes and a shocked voice. “Why, why didn't you say anything sooner, Your Majesty?” He said in a panicked voice as he got up and ushered Nico into an elevator.
“What do you mean?” He asked as he stepped into the elevator.
“Your Majesty, we would've liked to prepare everything for your arrival beforehand.” Charon says, sighing as he pressed a button.
The elevator chimed, signaling that they reached their desired floor. Nico walked into the warm place, the rivers bubbling and swishing.
“Woah, there are rivers?” He asked, in awe. Charon pursed his lips and nodded again.
Charon led him into a small boat, Nico slowly got in. Once he was snug in the boat, Charon grabbed his oar and directed him to a destination Nico didn't know.
“This is just like in Mythomagic!” Nico said excitedly, “Mister Charon, did you know your name is just like Charon from Greek Mythology? Like in the Underworld Expansion pack! So cool!” He smiled at Charon, who looked pleased at the praise.
They halted to a stop at a gate guarded by a big dog-like creature with three heads. Frightened a bit by the creature, Nico tried to hide behind Charon, but then the dog laid down as though they wanted to be pet.
Nico hesitantly approached the dog. Charon wasn't stopping him, so maybe the dog was no threat? He extended his hand to one of the somewhat familiar creature’s heads and softly pet it, resulting in the creature’s tail wagging.
“Cerberus.” He gasped, astonished. “It's a Cerberus,” the Italian turned to Charon, “How did you get a Cerberus?” Charon watched in amusement as the boy kept asking questions.
Charon started walking past the gate, bickering the boy to follow. Nico followed as they went inside a throne room, reanimated skeletons and corpses walking about.
“Remain hidden,” Charon whispered to the dark haired boy, “I don't want to cause a ruckus.” Nico silently agreed as he hid in Charon's black cloak.
Nico's head bumped into Charon's back as Charon suddenly stopped walking. Nico peeked from outside the cloak to see Charon opening large doors that lead to a throne room. Nico heard voices from inside.
“Persephone, listen, I know you're mother is crazy, but this is beyond mad!” A male voice shouted.
“Honey, please, I am also suffering, you know. The cereal isn't even the least bit tasty.” A female voice said.
Charon stepped into the humongous room, Nico hidden in the back of his cloak.
“Lord Hades, I believe I have something you may want to see.” Charon announced to the two voices. The voices stopped their bickering, going silent at Charon's announcement. Charon nudged Nico, signaling him to step out.
Nico slowly removed himself from the cloak, going into the view of a very tall man and woman. The tall man breathed in sharply as the woman's eyes widened.
“He looks like Maria.” She whispered to the man. The man tensed and gave her a look, which made her gasp and look at Nico.
“I thought you said there was only one?” She quietly told the man.
“One that Alecto took. But I guess there's only one now, considering…” A deaf silence overtook them, their faces solemn. Nico spoke up again.
“Alecto?” He said to the tall figures, who looked back at him. “Like, as in the lawyer? The one who took Bianca?” Their eyes widened at him.
“Who are you?” The woman asked.
“I'm Nico di Angelo!” He said, and then his face lit up as he recognized why they seemed familiar. “You look like Hades and Persephone. Truly a good couple to be similar to.”
The couple laughed before realizing what Nico had said.
“Di Angelo?” The woman asked. Nico nodded, and the man coughed
“I thought you said Maria's kids were safe at the Lotus!” She hissed at the man. “I don't want what happened to Maria and that girl to happen to her—her son!”
“I didn't know either, it seems Alecto forgot about the other one.” The man spoke gravely.
“Terrible things are happening to Maria,” she sighed, “Even after death.” The woman stepped down and walked towards Nico. “Maria was truly a wonderful woman.” She bent down to Nico. “Hello there, I'm Persephone.”
“Woah, just like in Mythomagic…” He said. The man rose an eyebrow at him.
“Did no one tell him?” He said, looking at Charon.
The man sighed. “Great.” He walked to Nico. “Welcome to the Underworld, Nico. I am Hades, god of the Underworld. You are my son, meaning you are a demigod; half god, half mortal. I believe your Mythomagic knowledge might benefit you in this case.” Nico beamed at this.
“Mythomagic is real!” He yelled, jumping up and down in excitement, “Do you really have four thousand attack power?” He looked up at Hades, who looked confused at the question.
Persephone smirked at her husband. “Five thousand if he attacks first.” Nico's grin grew wider at Hades.
“You're so cool.” Nico whispered, awestruck. Hades was taken back by the compliment. “Wait,” Nico began, “A bit before, did you say I was your son?”
Hades sighed, “Yes, you are my son.”
“Does that mean I can prove ghosts are real?” Nico asked, eyes brightening. Hades furrowed his eyebrows at the question.
“I don't recommend using your powers near mortals.” The tall man stated. “Using them near mortals will raise questions and havoc.” Nico pouted and deflated at Hades’ statement, but then bounced back in joy.
“I have powers ?” He exclaimed, trying to fly like Superman. Persephone looked amused, while Hades sighed for the umpteenth time.
“You do have powers.” Hades started making his way to the doors Nico and Charon came out of. “I believe I will make an appointment with someone to help you train and learn your powers.” He then opened the doors, stepped outside, and before closing the door, quietly said, “I want you to protect yourself when we can't.” He then shut the doors closed, leaving Persephone, Charon, and Nico in the room.
Persephone looked to the doors, then Nico, and smiled. “Charon,” she addressed, “Bring Nico to one of the empty rooms.”
Charon nodded, going to the rooms, Nico in tow.
Charon and Nico stayed in the shadows, hidden from the sight of the servants scattered across the Underworld. They passed by rivers and fire, Charon reprimanding Nico every twenty seconds because he tried to touch them.
“It’s just water!” Nico had protested.
“Yeah, water that can suck your soul.” Charon snarked.
Afterwards, they had finally reached Nico’s room. In which Nico had promptly ran inside and praised everything inside. Charon stayed in the doorway, interested in what Nico had to say to the furniture.
“You should sleep, Young Master.” Charon advised. Nico had stopped his bouncing on the bed to flop onto it and pout. Charon sighed. “Just because you found out you’re half god does not mean you suddenly deem sleep unnecessary.” Nico just groaned at him. “Go to sleep,” Charon told Nico, “I need to get back to my post, I cannot watch you try to touch fire the whole time.”
“M’kay…” Nico mumbled into the sheets, already tired. Charon gave a silent chuckle before closing the door, Nico almost asleep.
When Nico dreamed, it was always strange. This time, was not an exception.
“Hello, Son of Hades.” A voice crept in. “I will grant you a gift I won’t be able to give back.” Footsteps echoed around the empty space. “I believe it will be quite... interesting , from now on.” A chuckle emanated from the darkness. “Have fun.” It whispered.
Then the scene changed, Nico was standing in front of terrifying looking monsters, but he grabbed onto glowing, wispy, and colorful strings that were tied to his hands, and pulled hard. The strings became taut, and he ran around the creatures, wrapping them up in the strings. The monsters were pulled into each other, faces twisted with confusion. He then yanked, hard. They turned to dust, strings becoming loose.
The colors of the strings melted into another scene, with cabins and kids running around. A white centaur and then a long table. People flooded the room, sitting down in their chairs.
“The prophecy has changed.” The centaur said. A boy with black hair and green eyes spoke up.
“But...that’s not supposed to happen, right?” He said, looking confused.
“Obviously, Seaweed Brain,” A blonde girl spoke up, “The prophecy is tied with fate, fate can’t be changed.”
The dark-skinned girl with kaleidoscope eyes hummed. “We were in the progress of finishing the prophecy, weren’t we?” She bit her lip, “We got six of the seven, now we need another one?”
“Yeah,” A Latino boy interjected, “Prophecy of the Eight doesn’t flow as well as Prophecy of the Seven does.” A collective groan echoed across the room.
“Not to mention the situation in the Prophecy has totally changed,” A blond boy with a scarred lip states, “Weren’t we supposed to fight Gaea?” The centaur hesitantly nodded.
“It seems that might still be the case, the words could be...modified in a way.” The white centaur slowly spoke.
“Who do you think the two missing people of the Prophecy are, Chiron?” The large Asian boy questioned.
“It is not for certain who they are, especially since we found half of you in a camp most people here didn't know about.” The centaur, Chiron, said.
There's a prophecy? Nico's said in his mind. There are camps? A centaur? Are they also from Mythomagic? I don't remember a card called “Seaweed Brain”. He doesn't look much like Seaweed, or a brain. If his brain is made of seaweed, how does it work? His mind rambled on and on.
“Should we plan a quest to find them?” The blonde girl spoke up again. Nico's attention snapped back to the scene in front of him.
“It’s up to you,” Chiron declared, “Fate is fate, either way, you will meet them somehow.”
“How would we plan the quest? Should we call for the Hunters of Artemis?” The black haired boy asked.
“No, Percy,” The blonde girl narrowed her eyes, and then frowned, “Remember what happened to Bianca and Zoe?”
Bianca? Nico inquired. It can't be the same one, the chances of that are too low. He doubted, but then realized. But these people do look seem like they are related to Greek Mythology, and I am too. Bianca is...was...my sibling. Is she dead? Gods, please no. Nico’s eyes were filling up with tears. Doubt was increasing on him in hopes of her being alive.
The boy, Percy, sucked in a breath. “I, I know. They're, they're dead.” Nico fell to his knees, taking in shaky breaths. Curling in on himself, he silently cried. “Bianca, she, she gave me this...Mytho-magick-y thing. She said to give it to her brother.” The little Italian’s eyes widened at that. He sat up, tears still wet and hair still tousled.
“Bianca?” He said hoarsely. The short boy slowly got up and drifted towards Percy.
“Oh, Percy…” the blonde girl said sympathetically. “You had nothing to do with her death.”
“But it feels like I did.” Percy stated, choked up. “What if I meet her brother, and he's waiting for her. What do I say? He'll blame me!”
I don't blame you.
“How will he react?”
I did, sorrow. Lots and lots of sorrow. It might not go away, but you weren't the one who caused it.
“Percy, don't blame yourself.” The girl with kaleidoscope eyes crooned.
Within her kaleidoscope eyes, the scene changed, expanding and cover the previous one.
There were three woman, knitting a gigantic sock. The scene closed in on itself, until it focus on one black string that had gotten loose on the sock and had made its way out. The scene had followed the string as it fell, leaving the rest of the thoroughly knit strings behind. Nico's view closed in on the string until the darkness of it overtook and the location had changed once more.
A girl with golden eyes stood still in a field. The look in her eyes was dull, as was the people around her. None of their eyes showed any sign of happiness or sorrow. They were bleak and uninterested. Nico approached the girl, who had a weirdly familiar aura.
“Hello there Miss.” he said. She looked older than him, about thirteen. That's only three years difference. He stared in his mind.
“You remind me of someone, my sister.” He frowned, clutching his aviator jacket. “I wish she was here.” He sat on his knees. “I don't think I can handle all of this ” Gesturing to everything. “She probably wouldn't know either, but at least she would be at my side.” His voice shook, crumbling and becoming unsteady.
“But now she's gone, and I wasn't by her side.” He let the dam break, and his tears flowed. Sitting there, on his knees, crying his eyes out to a girl who is expressionless.
When he looked up once more, he was those golden eyes looking down at him.
Nico awoke with a gasp. Heaving and sitting upright, he got out of bed and dashed outside. Ignoring the gasps and shouts he got from the reanimated servants, he ran to the throne room.
Yanking the door open, he saw Hades and Persephone, and between them there was a red string. A red string? Nico's eyes follow the string to the left of it, seeing that the string had tied itself to Hades’ ring finger. There were many strings tied to his other fingers, different colors for each finger. It was even on his left hand, the colored strings were tied and strewn across. He looked to Persephone, who had the same thing.
Looking down at his own fingers, he saw the same. There weren't as many as Hades’, but he touched one, specifically, the blue one tied to his thumb.
A flash of memories went through his mind. The girl with golden eyes, looking down at him. Him crying to her, talking to her. Her expressionless face as he expressed all his pain.
He gasped, drawing the attention of Persephone and Hades.
“Nico?” Persephone spoke, “What are you doing here?”
“This strings.” He gasped out again.
“What strings?” Hades questioned.
There were so many strings as he looked around. He touched all of them, memories flashing through his mind.
If the strings are connected to each person in the memories I see, maybe I can find the Chiron and Percy! He concluded in his head.
Touching each and every string, he found no Percy or Chiron. But how come I have the golden eyed girl's string? What does blue even mean? He thought, frowning.
“Nico, why are you trying to pinch the air?” Hades asked, drawing the attention back to them.
“Air? What do you mean? Do you not see the strings?” Nico stated, confused.
“What strings?” Hades rose an eyebrow.
“The strings! See, there are pink, yellow, black, blue, red, and green strings attached to specific fingers!” He blurted out. “Like how there are so many blue strings tied to your thumb. They're really think though. How come your red string is so thick? It's like they all have varying widenesses.”
Persephone widened her eyes in realization. “Nico, did someone talk to you in your dream?” Nico nodded hastily. “Hm, I'll bring you to the library, we need to do some researching.” She walked out of the room, muttering “Demigods are so hard to understand.”
“Don't mind Persephone,” Hades dismissed, “She really likes that library.” The green string on his ring finger pulsed lightly with green. Green means fondness, huh. Nico stated. What do the others mean then?
“Anyway,” Hades announced, “We need to start your training. Sword and your powers.” Nico beamed with excitement. “And maybe also with your...string powers. But before we do your string powers, we need to learn how they work and what they mean. For now, go do whatever, I'll tell the servants not to spread word about you to the outside. Come back in five hours, Persephone will meet you at the library. And don't lose your new skeleton babysitter.”
Nico nodded and went outside, a skeleton servant trailing slowly behind.