A/N: Okay, so it seems I'm always apologizing for not updating quicker but here goes. I am sorry! Anyways, this chapter is definitely interesting. A lot of you guessed that Eli was calling in my favourite character in all of PJO: Nico DiAngelo. And to that I say: was it really that obvious?
I needed to find a place that was quiet and closed off to call in my favour and Richard wasn't making it any easier. As soon as we had entered Mt. Justice, I discovered that he was an aggressive worrier. Consistently pacing and angrily kicking furniture. I could tell it killed him that he couldn't do anything to help the situation. I moved to walk towards the room when I sensed him shoot towards me. I was already partially spun around when I felt his hand grip my lower arm roughly. He held me in place with his hands moving to my upper arms and I let him. His mask was firmly in place, but I could still see his eyes drowning in too many negative emotions. My heart cracked a little to see my boy like this, but at the same time my jealousy for this girl resurfaced. Just leave her. Let him forget. Do anything but you don't need to save this bitch! You don't have to be everyone's hero. I was very scarcely visited by this petty voice. I thought I was over her a long time ago. Being around Phthonos must have pulled her back to the surface. I shook her off, disgusted. I don't have to like Ries, but even with my suspicious feelings and jealousies towards her, she's only human. And I am a demigod. And what took her was a part of my world. So I need to do my job as a demigod hero and save her. Not to mention that Richard would never forgive me if I let her slip through my fingertips.
"Where are you going?" he asked me, his voice strong spare the slight crack at the end. I pondered whether I should be straight with him and say that he would scare Nico off so I had to find a quiet place. Olympus knows that boy isn't sociable spending so much time with the dead. But if I did that he might blow up at me. But then again, he might be coherent enough to understand that he wasn't very suited for the task. But one look at his eyes and the truth spilled out anyways. "Look, the guy I'm about to call doesn't scare easily at all, but you are going to make him uncomfortable by getting up in his face. Or, Olympus-forbid, you'll get him angry. I have to do this on my own." I placed my hand over his; trying to comfort him despite the bruises he was giving me. His grip slackened as distress coloured his face. He let go of my arms and my gaze, shaking me off in the process. He ran a hand through his hair, looking somewhere below my left before sinking down to the floor. I kneeled before him on the floor but he didn't even glance my way. He stared straight ahead, eyes glassy. It actually took me a moment to notice he was on the brink of tears. He opened his mouth and closed it shortly after. He did the same thing again, this time his chin trembling. Once more he opened his mouth, this time words coming out. The exact same time as his tears. "What am I supposed to do?" He whispered, voice cracking and tears streaming down his face. He looked at me for the first time since he broke down. "I don't know what to do."
I shook my head and tapped his cheek so he turned his face towards me. "You know I'm gonna get Ries back, right?" I assured him with all the sincerity I could muster. I heard the warrior in me start to cuss me out for making a promise like that. But he just sighed in frustration and pushed my hands away so he could hide his face in his own.
"It's not just that." His muffled voice called to me from behind his hands. "I don't know what I'm supposed to do anymore. This whole thing has fucked me up so hard and I have no idea how things work anymore."
I paused. How are you supposed to respond to something like that? I pushed myself to my feet. "Get up." I ordered. He hesitated for only a moment, glancing up at me; but soon after, quickly followed instruction. I grabbed his shoulders, spinning him around and pushing him towards the Zeta tubes. "Hey! What are you-?"
"You're going to the Batcave, and you're going to find everything you can about Phthonos and Ries. Tell me how she would react to something like this, if she's trained in any way. Tell me where he would take her, how we can kill him." I gave him one final push towards the opening, but he stepped in it with his own freewill. "I'll come join you when I'm done with my call." I felt nervous letting him walk on his own, but he was a big boy. He smirked, nodding.
"Yes ma'am." He said before the computerized, female voice called out his I.D and sent him somewhere. I still had no idea how this thing worked. Once I was alone in this echo-y place, I spun on my heel and went to gather my Iris Message supplies. Let's see if Nico can tell me where Phthonos Shadow Traveled to.
-One Hour Later-
I was fumbling around the internet forever. Nothing of relevance seemed to pop out at me. Everything about Ries, I already knew. Camp Half-Blood had sent over a textbook on Greek Mythology that held a lot different information than what was online. I guess humans really didn't know anything about this.
I scrolled through a list of Children of Nyx. It was hard to believe that any of these ghastly creatures could be related to me. A cold shiver went up my spine as I thought about the mystery of my missing siblings. My finger relaxed as I thought, accidently clicking the mouse twice. My attention cracked to the screen to see what I had clicked on. It was the page of a goddess. Eris, goddess of chaos. She was a child of Nyx. I realized that I had accidently highlighted her name along with half the paragraph. But it was her name that threw me off.
A sickening feeling churned in my stomach as I opened up a program that rearranges words on a different screen. My fingers were shaking as I typed in the desired word. Hesitantly, I clicked decode. My stomach dropped to the floor as I focused on the fifth result.
It happened all so suddenly. Files that I had pulled up began to delete. "NO!" I panicked, desperately trying to save them, copy them, move them do anything but they were deleting too fast. The lights flickered off, leaving only the glow of the screen lighting the room. I watched the last file delete in dead silence.
Suddenly, the clicking of high heels could be heard, echoing through the vast silence. I spun around to see a glowing form of a woman. And suddenly, the light died down, and left in front of me was something I never suspected.
"Hello little brother." Eris greeted me.
Nothing. Nico was a dead end. He could literally not tell me a damn thing about Phthonos or Ries. Frustrated, I flopped down on the couch with a sigh. There wasn't really a sense in waiting around, so I got up, moving to the Zeta tubes to check if Richard found anything.
Darkness. The Batcave was almost completely dark, save for the faint glow of the computer screens. A terrible feeling overwhelmed me as I stepped farther into the emptiness. I immediately drew my weapon, the sound of metal ringing through the silent air. I sneaked my way towards the computer screens, praying desperately to every god I could think of that my boy was safely there, typing away. But as I drew closer, I couldn't see him standing in front of the monitors. No, I couldn't see him anywhere. But what was on the monitors called to be noticed. I obliged.
Two words. Two terrifying names stared back at me. It looked to be some kind of software that must decode or unscramble words or phrases. And that terrified me further. The first name read, "Eris." But it was the highlighted result that really sent a chill and clicked the pieces together.
Eris unscrambled read as Ries. But that explained so much and begged for further questions all at once. I heard my dagger clatter to the floor, but it seemed so far away. "Ries is Eris." I whispered to myself. And then I jumped. Because for the first time in my life, someone had managed to sneak up behind me and laugh.
"Well it's about time you got here, darling." A familiar voice filled me with dread as she cooed. I spun around. It was Ries, and she looked as normal as ever. Except now there was this cruel amusement in her eyes, like she would kill a puppy for fun. I watched as this girl, who so resembled every child of Nyx I ever knew, morph into an actual child of Nyx. Eris, goddess of chaos, towered over me.
"Now we can really get things moving."
And that's when everything went black.
Oh. My. Goodness.