I know what you're thinking: where's Percy Jackson? I can't blame you, I'd be asking the same question. Percy is way better at this writing stuff. Yet, here I am. Why did I agree to do this? Well, I was asked (ahem, pleaded), to record my adventure by Chiron. Even though I have dyslexia. Yeah...
Who am I? I am Nico di Angelo, the son of Hades. Yes, I know. Underworld. While I may be creepy, I'm not evil. I promise.
This is a story of something… very… un-Hades-like, to be honest. A very un-Hades-like quest, that is. Well... maybe. You'll see what I mean.
Well. I guess I can't beat around the bush anymore.
This whole nonsense began with, as with many other demigods' quests, a dream.
I was standing in a quiet street. The road was covered in a layer of cracked snow. Small houses, faintly lit by the rising sun, sat behind white fences. Lawns were covered in melting snow. It seemed to be early morning. A pleasant morning.
Then, beneath a lamp post, in a pile of snow, I saw something horrible.
A dead body.
I woke up with alarm, almost banging my head on my bedhead. I was sitting in my cabin (lucky number 13) at Camp Half-Blood, the training grounds (and one of the only safe places) for demigods like me. I climbed out of my bed, almost shivering from the icy weather. While I had basically covered my bed in blankets, the cold still managed to get through. I hate winter. And it's not just because of the weather, it's because it's that time of the year when... certain family members are around.
I stood up, hugging myself. Despite how stupid-cold it was outside, I felt an urge to shadow-travel to that… body. I had to see if it was real. I couldn't just let a potentially dead body sit there, could I?
I got up, slipping on a winter jacket (my boyfriend would yell at me if I went outside without it) and shadow-travelled to the street I saw in my dream. The real place was pretty much identical to my dream; the snow was there and everything. Unfortunately, so was the body.
I ran towards it, ignoring the fatigue shadow-travel gave me. I could rest later.
There was indeed a body in the snow. I walked over to it. Thankfully, they weren't dead, but they weren't in a healthy state either.
I kneeled down to pull the body out of the snow. It belonged to a young girl wearing clothing that could only be described as a 'plain Jane' style: grey t-shirt, dark grey jeans, grey scarf. But when I almost dropped her when I saw her face.
Her skin was milky-white, without a single blemish, freckle, or birthmark. Her cheeks were rounded, but puffy with a slight blush. Her chin was perfectly sculpted. Her hair reached up to her neck. It was a light brown with blonde streaks at the tips. I had never seen anyone so, well, beautiful. (Don't kill me, Aphrodite, Aphrodite's cabin, Will.) It was like I was staring at Barbie's long lost sister. I kid you not, I was intimidated by her beauty. I wanted to leave her there, in case I ruined her hair or scratched her perfect skin.
Now, I assure you, I am gay and I do have a boyfriend. But her beauty was like a trance. My homosexuality may have saved me in the end, as well as the fact that this girl was like ten and it was pretty weird to perv on a kid. Oh, and she was dying. Did I mention that? I shook my head, and held her body. I focused on shadow-travelling back to Camp. I ended up in the infirmary, which was open, luckily enough. Probably because Will is an early riser. My boyfriend was there, talking to a young kid.
"Just try not to run too much for the next few days, and you'll be fine," Will told the kid, patting them on the shoulder. He nodded at them as they left. He looked up and smiled at me. "Hey Nico, what's…" He trailed off when he saw the kid in my arms. His eyes widened. I almost felt jealous. I wish he'd look at me like that.
"Found her in the snow," I explained. "She needs help. Urgently."
"She's…" Will was staring at her like she was a goddess. I can't blame him, I was doing the same thing five minutes beforehand. "I…"
"Will, she's dying." I said, getting my boyfriend out of his trance.
"R-right," Will cleared his throat. "Put her o-over here." He stood over a medical bed. I put the girl on the bed, and Will put his hand on her forehead (nervously, I must add). He frowned and pulled out some Ambrosia and Nectar.
"We'll need fresh clothes," he said. "And blankets. It's on you, di Angelo."
I gave him a nod and went off to retrieve those things. Will has often said we make a pretty good team, and even joked about us going into the medical business together: him as the main doctor, me as the assistant. I've learnt a few things about healing from him (as well as plenty of lectures about my mental and physical health), but that does not necessarily mean I want to become a doctor. I might fail to save a patient, and then they'd find me in the Underworld and never leave me alone. Summoning spirits would be a nightmare.
But I digress. Working with my boyfriend… well, I can't say I hate the idea…
Anyway, I got the clothes (a camp t-shirt and jeans) and the blankets. I brought them to Will, and he immediately put the blankets on the girl. He gently removed her old clothes and slipped the new ones on. (It didn't get weird or pervy, I promise.)
"Maybe I should call Hestia here," I said. "Or, at least, bring this girl to her fire."
Will looked thoughtful. "Only if we need to. I don't want to disturb a goddess."
"Don't worry, Hestia's pretty easy-going," I said. "And much nicer than other gods. She won't mind." Hestia is my personal favourite Olympian (sorry Dad). She's really nice, and was one of the only people who wouldn't flinch when I was around or act as if I had some contagious disease. She's almost like… a friend. An Aunt and a friend. And she enjoys talking to me too. I was, after all, one of the only few who had talked to her in a long time...
"Then go! Get her." Will said. I nodded and ran off to find the goddess, who was sitting by the hearth as usual, tending to the flames. I told her about the scenario. Just like I expected, she was willing to help. She and I stood before the girl.
"I have not seen such beauty in millenia..." Hestia commented, quietly. She paused. She almost seemed… sad. Like she was thinking about something. Then she provided a warm flame for the girl.
"She will wake soon," Hestia said, looking at us. "And when she does… well, do take good care of her."
"Of course, my lady." Will bowed. I simply smiled at Hestia. Unlike other gods and goddesses, you don't have to call her 'Lady Hestia' or anything like that. She doesn't mind. Hestia smiled back at me. It looked like she was about to say something else for a moment, but then simply left. I had a feeling she wasn't telling us something, but I decided not to press.
"Well," Will turned to me. "She's looking better already." He made a face. "How did you find her, anyway? It's not like you to be up at this time of the morning."
"... I had a dream," I said. "I saw her lying in the end of the street, in some snow."
Will looked thoughtful. "Hmm… I think the Fates intervened somewhere…" He looked at me, serious. "Just a hunch, but she might be part of something big."
"Wonderful," I groaned sarcastically. "As if we haven't had enough of prophecies."
Will smiled at me reassuringly. "Nothing the Ghost King can't handle, right?"
"Sure." I said, not with a lot of confidence. I stared at the girl for a bit, curiously. Will squeezed my hand and kissed me on the cheek.
"Come on," he said. "Let's go get some breakfast."
Sometimes I think I have the best boyfriend in the world.