Author's Note: Welcome to my first multi-chapter fic. Took a while to get this together, what with story-plotting and such, but here it is. Please review if you have the time, and if the characters are even a little OOC please let me know. Now, bon reading!
Disclaimer: I don't own Percy Jackson. All my fanfic writings are non-profit. Tis all for fun.
Rise of the Forgotten.
Chapter 1: Taxi Service
The day Nico di Angelo got his first quest began much like any other.
He had been doing a tour of the West Coast of America, using his shadow-travel ability to check out the film studios of Hollywood (he'd always been into movies), and had chosen to spend the night in an abandoned back lot. There was quite a few props lying around, and he managed to find himself a bed.
Now, you might wonder why he didn't just stay in a motel. It wasn't like he didn't have any money, being the son of the god of wealth and all.
No, Nico slept like this because he found it a lot more interesting than booking into a boring old motel. And as a son of the Big Three, he was hooked on keeping his life interesting, mainly because it distracted him from the sense of lacking he felt, the sense of emptiness.
So that's how Nico found himself on an extremely battered old prop bed, being awoken by a Scythian Dracaena poking him in the ribs with a sword.
"Urghh," he groaned, sitting up and rubbing his eyes. He paused to survey the creature that had disturbed him. The snake-woman standing by his bed was of the standard armour-clad, Typhon-ugly, sword-toting variety. She was also holding his sword, which he had, rather thoughtlessly, dropped on the ground next to the bed the night before.
"What do you want?" he snapped. If there was one thing he hated, it was fighting monsters just after waking up.
"You have the sssssmell of death upon you," the creature hissed, "You will make a fine meal."
Nico rolled his eyes. "Yeah, well, sorry to disturb your breakfast plans," he said drily, glancing around. Luckily, he, the monster, and, more importantly, his sword, were in shadow. "But I don't fancy being made into a son of Hades sandwich special," he finished, now slipping off the bed.
"Your protesstss are futile," said the creature dramatically, "You are unarmed, and without Sssstygian iron on your perssson, you cannot shadow-travel away. You are mine!"
Nico yawned. "Yeah, yeah," he said, working out his plan, "Whatever. But before you kill me painfully, let me ask you, why did you wake me up?"
The snake-woman paused, looking slightly puzzled, before answering. "I wished to see the fear on your face before I strip the flesh from your bones, filthy godling!"
Nico grinned. The Hecate children back at camp had taught him a basic monster repelling spell in return for him giving them some Stygian crystals for their potions. The spell protected him while he slept, and made any approaching monster have an inexplicable urge to see the fear on his face as they killed him, thus causing them to wake him up.
The Dracaena raised her sword and Nico's. "Now, sssspawn of Hadessss," she declared, "Prepare to meet thy father one more time!"
She lunged at Nico's head in a double overhead strike. Nico ducked, avoiding head-loss. Then, before the monster could strike again, he snapped his fingers. His sword, still clutched in his opponent's claw, turned to pure shadow, which flowed out of the monster's hand and into Nico's. The Dracaena stumbled back in shock, watching the shadow re-form into Nico's sword
"That's not possssible," she hissed in astonishment, "You would need steel from the Styx to control the shadows."
Nico reached into the pocket of his jeans, and withdrew a sparkling Stygian crystal, hanging on a small chain.
"I'm the King of Ghosts," Nico replied seriously, "I'm always prepared."
With that, he jabbed his sword under the monster's guard and stabbed through her armour like it was paper, plunging the strip of Stygian steel deep into the creature's chest.
The dracaena cried out in pain, collapsing as she withered away.
"Beware, di Angelo," she croaked, "The ancient mother will rise. You will be destroyed."
And with that cheery farewell, the snake-woman dissipated into nothingness, banished to the Underworld.
Nico bent down to pick up his sword, considering the monster's words.
"Ancient mother…" he muttered thoughtfully, brushing the yellow monster dust off his blade. "What does that mean?"
He shrugged to himself. "Probably nothing," he decided, as he sheathed his sword. "Monsters. They're always looking for a leader."
He turned around to gather his few belongings, and nearly jumped out of his skin.
Floating above the bed was an image of Chiron. As Nico looked closer he realised it was an Iris-message.
"Chiron!" Nico exclaimed, "You startled me!"
The centaur chuckled. "Yes, I see that," he said, "And what were you muttering about just now?"
Nico proceeded to explain what had happened.
"Interesting," murmured Chiron.
"You don't think it's Gaia, do you?" asked Nico worriedly. The Giant War had ended a while back, but it seemed unlikely that Gaia would be waking again so soon.
"No, I don't think so," replied Chiron slowly, "But still, we must pay heed to this."
Nico shrugged, already moving on. "Yeah. Whatever. Anyway, why are you IM-ing me? There isn't any new war starting up, I hope?"
Chiron came out of his reverie. "Ah, no, Nico," he said, "I'm contacting you because a… matter has arisen, and you are the only one I know who can help."
Nico's curiosity was piqued at this. "Okay, I'm listening." he said.
Chiron sighed. "You probably won't like this, but I need you to pick up a potential half-blood and bring them to camp."
Nico frowned. He'd picked up half-bloods on occasion before, but usually only when he was at camp already. "How come Percy or Annabeth can't do it?" he asked, slightly grumpily.
"Well, you see," Chiron paused, searching for the right word, "There's something different about this half-blood."
Nico snorted. "Yeah, tell me something I don't know. All half-bloods are different. Chiron, so you'll have to give me a bit more to work with."
Chiron sighed again. "This half-blood has a very indistinct scent, however his aura, from what the satyr assigned to him can tell, is very strong."
Nico was starting to get it. "And since I can see auras, you want me to pick him up and do some magic aura-reading so you can find out more."
Chiron nodded. "Exactly."
Nico groaned. "You sure the satyr wasn't just getting his wires crossed or something? I mean, satyrs' aura-reading ability is pretty meagre at best."
"No, I am quite sure," replied Chiron, "There is definitely something unusual about this child, even for a demigod."
"Alright, then, I'll do it," Nico said reluctantly, "Where do I have to go?"
Chiron glanced at a clipboard, and replied, "He is at Boone High School in New York. You will meet the satyr looking after the boy at the school, at 1:30 this afternoon."
Nico nodded. "'Kay, and what's the kid's name and age?"
"His name is Cyrus Wright and he is thirteen."
"Huh. So right on the claiming age, then?"
"Yes. In fact, he should have been claimed by now," said Chiron.
Nico sat down on the bed heavily. "I always get the hard ones, don't I?"
Chiron smiled. "I'll leave you to it," he said, the rainbow message fading. "Best of luck." And with that he was gone.
Nico scowled to himself. "Yeah," he muttered, gathering his sword and backpack, "Never good when he says that."
And so the son of Hades plunged into the shadows, enjoying the cold sensation of rushing through the darkness.
Nico emerged from a shadowy corner in an alleyway adjacent to his charge's school. He glanced at his battered watch. It was only 11:30, so he opted to go get some breakfast, and have a walk around the area.
The next couple of hours were pretty uneventful, and he arrived early to the meeting place. After what seemed like forever, a nervous-looking kid wearing the typical satyr disguise approached him.
"Nico di Angelo?" asked the satyr, who was somewhat shorter than Nico, and was chewing on a stick of celery.
Nico rolled his eyes. "No, I'm James Dean," he replied sarcastically, "Obviously I'm Nico."
The satyr nodded. "I'm Bob. Now, I believe Chiron has -"
"Hold up a sec," broke in Nico.
Bob the satyr paused. "What?" he asked, slightly irritated.
Nico laughed. "It's just…a satyr named Bob?"
The satyr in question scowled. "If I had a drachma for every time someone said that… Not all satyrs have to have names beginning with "G," you know."
Nico nodded, still smirking slightly. "Alright," he said, "Anyway, you're right, Chiron filled me in this morning."
Bob adjusted his baseball cap, making sure his small horns were covered. "Yes, but what Chiron probably didn't tell you is that there is a monster here, getting ready to attack Cyrus."
Nico frowned. "But Chiron said the kid's scent isn't strong, unless…" Nico paled slightly, realising how this little pick-up job was about to get a lot more complicated.
Bob went on mercilessly. "You see, the monster that's here is a high-level creature of the Underworld, one of the few monsters than can sense auras."
"A Fury." breathed Nico.
Bob nodded silently, looking grim.
Nico groaned loudly, earning himself a couple of funny looks from passers-by.
"It's probably Alecto, too," he muttered, half to Bob and half to himself. "First I get woken up by a Scythian Dracaena; now I have to sneak a half-blood out from under the hooked beak of one of my father's most ruthless minions."
"Sorry? What was that about a Dracaena?" asked Bob, puzzled.
Nico ignored him, hopping off the wall where he'd been perched and starting to pace up and down.
"And once I've done that, I'll have to do some aura-reading," he grumbled, "Which will more than likely drain me severely, and then I'll have to shadow-travel the kid to camp, and you!" he abruptly turned to Bob "You'll want a lift, too, won't you?"
"Um, yeah, but N-Nico," Bob stammered.
Nico ploughed on. "Yeah! And I'm not a friggin' taxi service, ya know! And then I'll be exhausted and the kid will be asking loads of questions and -"
"Nico, listen -"
"No, you listen," snapped the now extremely irate son of Hades. "And then I'll have to give the little dope the "demigod talk," and then I'll have -"
"NICO!" shouted Bob desperately.
Nico finally paused in his rant. "What?"
Bob shook his head in agitation. "Chiron rented a car for you, 'cause he knew you'd be tired from shadow-travelling. And he said you don't have to do the aura-reading until you get to camp."
"Oh," said Nico, feeling slightly silly for ranting so much, "Well, why didn't he tell me that!" he exclaimed.
Bob shrugged. "I dunno, maybe he was trying to save time on the IM, to save drachma."
"Ah," muttered Nico, "Should have thought of that."
"Anyway," said Bob, breaking an awkward silence, "Let's get this done."
Nico sighed. "Yeah," he muttered, following Bob into the school, "Let's."
The two teenagers approached the entrance to the cafeteria quietly. The plan was to get in, get Cyrus, and get out as quickly as possible. Of course, both of them knew it wouldn't be anywhere near that simple.
This was amply demonstrated when, as they reached the entrance, a figure appeared from the shadows and pulled them back by the scruff of the neck.
"What is this?" hissed the dark figure, "Sneaking out of lunch, are we?"
Nico sighed grimly, before speaking. "Listen, Alecto, I know it's you," he said, fingers drumming on the handle of his sword.
The Fury stepped forward into the light. She was indeed disguised as a teacher, and was wearing a dark pinstripe suit, slip-on shoes, and her best scowl.
"Mr. di Angelo?" she muttered irritatedly.
Nico rolled his eyes. "What is it with people asking me my name when they already know," he muttered to himself, before going on in a more authoritative voice. "Yeah, it's me, and I'm here to pick up this demigod, so you can just keep out of it, and I won't have to send you on the express route back to Hades."
The Fury hissed again. "But Nico, how are you so sure that it is a demigod?"
Nico frowned. "What are you talking about?"
The vengeful spirit cackled. "Ah, you don't even know! Well, let me tell you. This child -"
Just then, the bell rang, interrupting Alecto.
"It doesn't matter," Nico said brusquely, "Stand down, or I will make you."
The Fury said nothing, but began to revert to her true form, sprouting wings, hands turning to scaly claws.
Nico shrugged. "Alright, then," he declared, drawing his sword, "If that's how you want it!"
He was about to attack, when he heard a cry behind him of "Bob!"
Nico over his shoulder. Standing a few steps behind him was a boy a couple years younger than Nico. He had brown hair, and striking blue eyes. He was holding three or four books under his arms, and was staring at the scene before him with astonishment.
"Cyrus!" exclaimed Bob.
Nico started. So this was the guy he'd been sent to pick up. He didn't seem much, and at first glance Nico would peg him as a Demeter kid, though when he looked closer he noticed that the boy's eyes were startlingly clear, and he appeared to be seeing what was actually going on in front of him, rather than the Mist-obscured version.
Nico turned back to the monster, who was now in her true form. He heard Cyrus ask Bob what was going on. The son of Hades decided he didn't need questions being asked just now, so he turned around and snapped his fingers in an attempt to manipulate the Mist.
"Everything is normal here," he said sharply, "Just stay there."
Cyrus stared at him blankly. "Um, no," he said slowly, talking to Nico as if he was a lunatic, which probably wasn't completely untrue. "There's a crazy bat thing just there, and you're holding a weird black sword."
Nico frowned. The Mist trick should has worked. Even if Cyrus was a demigod, his ability to see through the Mist could only be low-level at this stage.
"Now listen here-" Nico started to say, however he was cut off by Alecto.
"Enough of this nonsense!" screeched the Fury, flapping her wings and making towards Cyrus, who just stood there, staring blankly.
"Get out of the way!" roared Nico, and luckily Cyrus obliged, diving to one side.
Nico leapt into the path of Alecto. She swerved to avoid him, but he swung his sword upwards, striking her in mid-air.
She froze, as the son of death sliced her across the chest with his blade. Yellow threads spread out across her body from the cut. She fell to the ground with a screech of pain.
Nico took a step towards her. "Why is my father interested in this demigod?" he demanded, raising his sword for another strike. "Tell me!"
The Fury shook her head and laughed again. "You have no idea. I cannot tell you, but you will know before long."
Nico shouted in frustration, and brought his sword down, stabbing Alecto deeply. This blow was too much for her, and she exploded into a shower of dust, her laughter still echoing through the hall.
Chapter Two will probably be up within the next ten days, at the most. Don't forget to review!