The Lost Days – Nico di Angelo
Written by Shannon Harrington
“Get away!” I screamed and ran into the forest, after yelling at him. The one who caused my sisters’ death. I hate him! I hate Percy Jackson! He promised me, and he broke it! Now my sister is dead! Proceeding to run through the dense forestry ignoring the branches that would scrap across my skin. Leaving me with red irritated cuts, and a few welts from the occasional ‘smack’. That would be given, as I pushed through. Trying to get away, hoping he wouldn’t follow me.
‘He’s going to pay!’ Ignoring the burning in my legs and lungs for a bit longer, before I stopped to lean against the rough bark of a tree. To catch my breath, my fists clenching at the thoughts and memories of seeing Bianca. At the fields of Asphodel, her judgment coming. ‘I’ll make Percy pay. He promised I knew I shouldn’t have trusted him.’ Scowling as my thoughts unfolded and glaring, at the rustling of bushes to my left. A rabbit that soon scurried off in fear, at the sight of my glare.
‘So they’re following me.?’ Scowling deeper I pushed myself off the tree and trekked forward, reaching and leaving through the gates of Camp Half-Blood.
Whoever they are their sure persistent, but the person that emerged out the foliage of the tree’s leaves and bushes. Only caused my mood to sour, as the name burned and felt like acid on my tongue.
“Percy.” I spat glaring at him, the tension that started to form thickening. As he flinched from my harsh tone.
Reaching a hand out he started to speak. “Nico, don’t do this. You know I didn’t mean for your sister to-”
“But it did. It did happen! Bianca’s dead because you couldn’t protect her! It’s your fault! It’s your entire fault! I knew I shouldn’t have trusted you!” My voice raised with each word, as did my growing anger and hate for him.
‘Couldn’t he just leave me alone?’ Turning to start up a run again, to get away from him. From this place. These people. The monsters. Everything. But a hand shot out and grabbed my arm, before I could get into motion.
“Please, Nico. I only-”
“SHUT UP! I HATE YOU, LET ME GO!” Squeezing my eyes hut and shoving him away, as the ground shook and rumbled. Only helped me to get Percy off guard, so I could run for it. Ran I did, my anger making my blood boil a thousand degrees hotter. Made me see red around everything I could see in my line of sight, the shadows from the few trees. That happened to be outside the camp’s area, swirling, and stretching, while coming to format my feet and in front of me. As it seemed to get darker, and I grew even more exhausted to the brink of passing out. I came to a stop against a stone wall, rays of sunlight from the now setting sun shining in my eyes. Making me squint and hold up my left hand to block some of the rays. Spreading apart my fingers as I sighed and my legs grew weak, soon to weak to support me. I slumped to my knees to see of in the distance, a chipped eroded old gray stones that have been made to form a barricade of sorts. The design reminded me of a wave, the wall was straight and at the same height all the way through its horizontal distance having squares, made from the same type of stone. Creating a pattern that vaguely resembles waves, the way it stays flat, only to have a square of the same stone on the side of it.
‘What now?’ Before I could turn or voice anything, at the vocals that might have called out to me. I fainted, letting my fatigue come over me.
I groaned, awakening to the feel of a thin yet warm blanket, sheets that still allowed me to feel the hardness of the floor. With a damp cloth on my forehead, while the sound of footsteps, and the ‘swish’ that only fabric makes, when moved. I opened my eyes only to shut them once again, and slowly reopen them. So the light of the sun, that still shone brightly through a thin sheet. That was hung up, to cover a small gap like crevice, that if your small enough. You can slip through it.
“So you’re finally awake. That’s good. I was starting to think you’d never wake up.” My attention soon turned to the calm and timid voice. That belonged to a small petite girl around eight or so, from my guess at her child like features. Big round blue eyes and slightly round and chubby face, as she reached over to grab the cloth from my forehead.
“Who are you? Where am I? How’d I get here?” I asked her watching as she dipped the rag in a wooden bucket, and wrung it out only to sit it on the rim of the bucket.
“I’m Mai, you’re in a small village in China. I don’t know how you got to this village, but I took you into this room.” I moved to sit up as the girl tucked a strand of brown hair behind her ear, the light that came through the sheet shined on her pale skin. Making her seem a bit more colored if that makes any sense. “You are?”
“Nico. Nico di Angelo…” I stated my name to her s I faced the sheet, covering the exit from this small cave like place. Leaning against the wall as I stood up, dizziness quickly arising causing me to close my eyes. “Why’d you bring me here?”
“I found leaning against the wall outside our village, then when I called out to you. You passed out. So I brought you here.” Mai explained as she reached to pick up the bucket and walked towards the ‘door’ if you can call it one, I followed. Wanting to see exactly where I am, in China, besides a small probably rural and poor village area.
‘That explains the voice that yelled ‘hey’ at me.’ “How long was I out?”
“Two maybe three weeks. I honestly lost track but it should be around that time…” I nearly froze and gawked in disbelief but I managed not to, not wanting to make a fool of myself.
‘Two to three WEEKS? Was I really out THAT long?’ Furrowing my brow and following Mai to behind what I see to be a big thick square of stone. Made to be some sort of possible room for something, minus the fact it doesn’t have a door. Seeing that what I guessed about the village was true, it was pretty poor, and people we’re farming small crops in the distance.
“Do you have anywhere to stay? Any family?” Her question brought me out of my thoughts, as the word ‘family’ brought a frown to my face.
‘I did. But she’s dead now…’ I shook my head ‘no’, not sure if what I would say would come out non hostile. But I doubted it, so I opted out talking that response.
“What about you? Do you have any family?” Asking her the same thing I saw he shake her head sadly, instantly making me feel bad. I shouldn’t have asked her that, I should know how painful it is to answer something like that…
“Used too… But their all gone now… So the other kind villagers help take care of me every now and then.” Giving a sad smile she refilled the bucket in a stream we came too, and started to walk back towards the place she cared for me in.
‘I wonder how long, she’s been alone… At least I had Bianca when I was around her age…’ Following Mai once again, I couldn’t help but blush in embarrassment when my stomach growled. Mai stopped and turned to look at me before blinking owlishly at me, then giggled.
“You haven’t eaten in a while, huh?” Smiling she looked at me waiting for an obvious answer, but wanted to hear me say admit it at least.
“No…” I admitted blushing more, as she grinned more.
“Let’s go find something, then~”
“Nico! What ARE those things?!” I turned my head to see what’s called a Hellhound through the forest, towards us.
“Mai.. Run.” Facing her as she pulled her hands out the stream from trying to catch fish, with me like I’ve learned to do recently. But I didn’t move, yet.
“But what about you!?” She panicked standing up and tugging me to my feet and away as well, as they got closer. Realizing she wasn’t going to leave without me, and she couldn’t go as fast as I could since she was smaller. I put her on my back to carry her piggy back style as I raced to the small village.
‘If anything they’ve smelled my father’s blood in my veins, and are after me… Hopefully, that means Mai or the villagers that have come to be nice to me won’t get hurt.’
“Their getting closer!” I felt her cling to me harder, as realization hit me and I sped up as fast as I could.
‘Mist blocks mortals from seeing, the true form of the monsters. So how can she see them!? Is she.. Is she part Demigod too? Or can she just have the ability to see through the mist?’
Turning my head to the side to see a terrified look on her face, as I went to ask her something. “Mai! Is there any place where if I were to take us, we’d have a chance of being safe? And the villagers won’t get hurt?!” Getting a nod as she pointed ahead so I had to strain my eyes and squint to see she was pointing at the Great Wall, vocalizing herself.
“..If she can reach the wall there’s a city that’s on the other side and they have people who could help..!” Hearing that I turned sharply to the left attempting to go around the village and through the slight shrubs and trees, making a forest like area. It’s not like I can fight the hounds anyway, I don’t have a sword! I also can’t outrun them for long I’m already starting to feel a bit of weariness, and the hounds seem fine.
“Mai, I’m going to stop soon but you have to keep going! I’ll keep them busy so you can reach that city, I’ll meet up with you afterwards. Okay?” She was about to object but heard one of the hounds howl and flinched nodding. I was able to make it past the village but I tired out soon afterwards, my foot got stuck on a root and I fell forward. Mai herself flying forwards off my back, and was about to come back.
“GO!” I yelled at her as I managed to get up and break off a decent sized branch to use as temporary weapon, as I heard her footsteps scurry away and the Hellhounds made it circling me. In all there were about four, and I managed to swing and knocked back one as it lunged.
“Be careful!!” I heard her voice call back, getting clawed on the back of my right calf, as a reflex I turned a clubbed it on the head. Gaining a whimper from it then a snarl as the others followed suit and attacked me, soon I went to swing again. But one of the hounds caught it in its mouth, and snapped it in half followed by it pouncing and biting at me.
“Get OFF, ME!!!” I screamed as I felt claws rake across my torso and the warm feeling of blood dripping out the claw marks I can only assume did a bit of damage, and will continue to do so until I get rid of these hounds and tend to it. Then one of the hounds was swatted off me, and into the tree a transparent blur zipping past after it, as one by one. The others were knocked off as well. This time by a shadow as it pierced through it, while pinning it to a tree in one swift movement. Until all five were off me, three were killed by the transparent figures I saw. That I realized were the souls of the dead, as I saw the shadows of a tree receded to normal from the corner of my eyes.
‘What just happened..?’ My attention snapped back to the three ghosts that slowly advanced towards me as I put a hand over the claw marks still oozing blood, as I took step back. As the all three of the souls started to turn into wisps of a very light white transparent smoke, and swirled together forming a picture of a man with curly black well-trimmed hair. And a matching curly black beard and mustache connecting with visible strands of grey showing, in his hair.
“Nico di Angelo, Son of Hades. I have come for you with an offer, if you will accept?” The wisps that were once three souls of the deceased were transmitting and carrying the voice of a man I didn’t even know. But, I knew he was someone not to trifle with he had power over souls, and anything dead like myself, my sister, and father.
“Who are you? What is this offer, you’re asking of me?” Still weary of this I took another step back, and tried to make my voice sound as stern and calm and possible.
“I am King Minos, The Ghost King. I have been watching you for quite a bit as of recently, and I am interested in your capabilities. So I would like to train you, to use your powers properly, it would be harder to master them on your own. Than the chances of gaining control quicker, with me. What’s you answer, Son of Hades? Will you allow me to train you?” I saw him lean back and put his chin on his knuckles, staring intently at me as I bowed respectfully. He is the king of ghosts after all; best not to anger someone with that title, as I thought it over.
‘I do seem to have trouble with control and summoning my powers.. I created that fissure in the ground at Camp Half-Blood, and then somehow traveled from there to China, and I also called skeleton soldiers that just vanished afterwards along with the shadows of a few trees…’
With that in mind I stood up straight and accepted, “Yes. I would like you to train me, King Minos.” After making quick eye contact with him, a visible smirk made its way to his face as he nodded satisfied with my answer.
“Very, well. I will train you Nico di Angelo.”
I had finished with training today, and tried once again to call my sister’s soul. But as always I was unable to do it, for a reason I don’t know that frustrated me immensely. “What am I doing, wrong?” Crossing my arms I went through all I normally go through, when I try to summon Bianca.
‘Am I forgetting to do something?’
“Have you not managed to call your sister forth, once again, child?” King Minos asked as I walked into the main room that’s considered his throne room, I was on my way to the room I was granted to stay in during training. But to get there I have to pass through here, and I guess my frustration and anger towards the exact thing he asked and I failed at. Was showing on my face again like always. That’s really the only thing that manages to get to me, is when I fail at trying to call my sister. But I’ve learned no matter how obvious the answer to the questions towards me are I must answer them.
“Yes, King Minos…” Scowling after admitting it and he let his amusement in it show through his eyes. As he kept his face bare of emotion.
“I have a proposition for you, young Nico.” At this he had my full attention, it’s not often he says something like this. In fact it’s very rare, I slightly raised my eyebrow in curiosity.
“A proposition? What kind, of proposition, Minos?” I realized I had failed to call him ‘King’ like he demands making his eyes and face glint in anger for a moment, before becoming blank once more.
“A fair one, actually. One I think you will be very eager to take. A soul for a soul. Your father is very frustrated you see, someone had cheated death. They are still currently living as well, I’m sure if you barter with him. I’m fairly sure he will trade you his daughter’s ghost, for the soul of the man he wants dead.” King Minos slightly grinned at the end, making me a bit suspicious.
‘What’s in it for him? What does he want? What does he get out of this?’ Furrowing my brows I quickly bowed respectfully to him, and voiced my thoughts. “No disrespect, King. But what do you get out this?”
He chuckled but didn’t more than that, “The man that cheated your father of his life, a man I’m not too fond of either. I gain what Lord Hades gains. The man’s death. That is what I get out of it, now hurry along. You have a father-son deal to take care of.” I was then waved off, the small smile of amusement never faltering as I obeyed and left quickly to see my father. “I can tell you, the man is currently residing in the Labyrinth! That should be one less irritating thing, for him to explain!” As those words left King Minos’ mouth I made it out the room, and continued on my way.
‘Maybe now I’ll get to see you again, Bianca.. My sister.’
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