NPU: Battle of the Labyrinth

Chapter 9

Sorry everyone for the late update, Part of it was procrastination and the other was that I got held up thinking I got a second job at walmart….and didn't because they wanted more experienced people to work the Automotive department. And I am not bummed about it because that place is a fucking disorganized mess. On the plus side, I put in a few app around here and for Menard's I get an interview call AN HOUR AFTER I APPLIED. Got an interview from Arby's too and it went pretty well, got the person to laugh so that is always good….unless that only applied to cops. Damnit Fluffy. Anyway, I also have an interview set up for Friday with a company called Cintas…the rug place since I am always seeing them change out rugs from curtain companies. Should be interesting.

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It was a couple of hours after Percy left to go clean those god awful stables with man eating horses. Naruto decided that he would take a nap while he wait since he couldn't convince Geryon to release him from the seal. However, he could actually get out any time he want due to the man getting a cheap knock off of the real seal. Said seal shorted out a few minutes after it was put on.

Which was just sad.

Still, Naruto knew he could put his plan into action without much trouble. When the blond woke up, he felt that Percy's presence was getting closer, thinking that he was done. Naruto smirked. He had heard about the Geryon before and knew you couldn't kill the monster in the conventional way. He had three hearts, so they need to take him out altogether.

Thankfully, before he fell asleep, he had told Nico his plan and had him take an odd charm off his belt, saying it was his new weapon. However, there was a small problem. While he was asleep, it was obvious that he and the other had been tied up like rodeo animals. Gags and all.

"Let them go!" Percy yelled, sounding like he was out of breath. "I cleaned the stables!"

Geryon turned. He wore an apron on each chest, with one word on each, so together they spelled out: KISS—THE—CHEF. "Did you, now? How'd you manage it?"

Percy growled but told him anyway. "I am a son of Poseidon, I just didn't know I could rip the old water from the land since water used to be there. Plus, would the weapon Naruto gave me, it went a lot easier. It was like a conductor or something!"

"Hmm…Very ingenious. It would've been better if you'd poisoned that pesky naiad, but no matter." Geryon replied, sounding happy.

"Let my friends go," Percy said. "We had a deal."

"Ah, I've been thinking about that. The problem is, if I let them go, I don't get paid."

"You promised!"

Tch, I should have known Geryon would go back on his word. Unless it is Tyson and his harpy girlfriend, you shouldn't trust a monster. Naruto thought while using what father taught him in wind manipulation. Silently, he cut not only his ropes, but the others.

Geryon made a tsk-tsk noise. "But did you make me swear on the River Styx? No you didn't. So it's not binding. When you're conducting business, sonny, you should always get a binding oath."

Percy drew his original and new swords. Orthus growled. One head leaned down next to Grover's ear and bared its fangs.

"Eurytion," Geryon said, "the boy is starting to annoy me. Kill him."

Eurytion studied Percy for a single second and then shocked everyone, it even made Naruto pause. "Kill him yourself."

Geryon raised his eyebrows. "Excuse me?"

"You heard me," Eurytion grumbled. "You keep sending me out to do your dirty work. You pick fights for no good reason, and I'm getting tired of dying for you. You want to fight the kid, do it yourself."

It was very….unlike a child of Ares to say.

Geryon threw down his spatula. "You dare defy me? I should fire you right now!"

"And who'd take care of your cattle? Orthus, heel." The dog immediately stopped growling at Grover and came to sit by the cowherd's feet.

"Fine!" Geryon snarled. "I'll deal with you later, after the boy is dead!" He picked up two carving knives and threw them at Percy. The Son of Poseidon deflected one with riptide. The other impaled itself in the picnic table an inch from Eurytion's hand.

A ninja or knife thrower you are not. Naruto thought as he observed the scene. Eurytion looking at the blond for a second and then snorted, but did nothing.

Percy went on the attack. Geryon parried the boy's first strike with a pair of red-hot tongs and lunged at his face with a barbecue fork. Percy got inside his next thrust and stabbed him right through the middle chest.

"Aghhh!" He crumpled to his knees. Percy waited for him to disintegrate, the way monsters usually do. But instead he just grimaced and started to stand up. The wound in his chef's apron started to heal. Just like Naruto predicted. You had to take out all three hearts. Even if one was down, it was slowly heal. Very slowly.

So, he need to act now before anyone got hurt. "Now." He said simply as Geryon tipped over the barbecue, and coals spilled everywhere. Thankfully, no one was hurt but still, the monster needed to die.

So, Naruto and Nico jumped at Geryon's unprotected back and sunk their blades into his other two chests, destroying his hearts.

"What? But that seal should have done its job!" Geryon croaked out painfully.

"It did, for a few minutes. Word of advice, never by cheap knockoffs.

"Damn ninja." Geryon said, he face turning a sickly shade of green. He then collapsed to his knees and began crumbling into sand, until all that was left were three cooking aprons and an oversized pair of cowboy boots.

XXX

"Yay for Percy, Naruto, and Nico!" Tyson cheered.

"Can we tie up this cowherd now?" Nico asked.

"Yeah!" Grover agreed. "And that dog almost killed me!"

"True, but he saw me free and untying you guys and didn't do anything." Naruto commented, making the others stop short.

"So how long will it take for Geryon to re-form." Percy asked, seeing that Eurytion wasn't bothering to move an inch.

Eurytion shrugged. "Hundred years? He's not one of those fast re-formers, thank the gods. You've done me a favor."

"You said you'd died for him before," I remembered. "How?"

"I've worked for that creep for thousands of years. Started as a regular half-blood, but I chose immortality when my dad offered it. Worst mistake I ever made. Now I'm stuck here at this ranch. I can't leave. I can't quit. I just tend the cows and fight Geryon's fights. We're kinda tied together."

"You know, with him gone for the time being, you could take over this place." Naruto suggested, getting Percy to nod.

Eurytion narrowed his eyes. "How?"

"Be nice to the animals. Take care of them. Stop selling them for food. And stop dealing with the Titans." Percy offered.

Eurytion thought about that. "That'd be all right."

"Plus, get the animals on your side, and they'll help you. Once Geryon gets back, maybe he'll be working for you this time." Naruto replied with a smirk.

Eurytion grinned back at that. "Now, that I could live with."

"You won't try to stop us leaving?" Percy asked.

"Shoot, no. You made my life better with your actions and words."

Annabeth rubbed her bruised wrists. She was still looking at Eurytion suspiciously. "Your boss said somebody paid for our safe passage. Who?"

The cowherd shrugged. "Maybe he was just saying that to fool you."

"What about the Titans?" Percy asked. "Did you Iris-message them about Nico yet?"

"Nope. Geryon was waiting until after the barbecue. They don't know about him."

"Hey, Nico, you wanna stay here and be safe, or do you wanna come with us." Naruto asked, making Percy freak out a bit.

"I would suggest you stay here since you now know that Bianca IS still alive." Annabeth replied. "Plus, if the Titan's finbd out about you, they will either try and recruit you or kill you thanks to your brother."

"I still need proof of that." Nico replied, not taking just their word for it.

"Then let's contact Bianca using the method you used to try and contact her spirit." Naruto replied with the sky seeming to get darker.

"I've tried," Nico said miserably. "She won't answer."

"Well, the method is a quick way for children of Hades to contact one another, but since you were with that ass Minos, I am guessing she didn't want to answer with him there was well. Now that he is not here to bug you, let's try it again." Naruto explained, gettinga skeptic look from Nico before the boy shrugged.

"Plus, she has been seening me Iris Messages about what you are doing, same for Naruto but through Morpheus' Dream Realm." Percy stated.

"That is very odd." Nico replied, his way of thinking being swayed by their words to that fact that she really is alive!

Percy nodded and turned to Eurytion and said, "We're going to need a pit, like a grave. And food and drinks."

Annabeth wasn't so sure about this idea, but if it got Nico back on their side, then that was fine with her. She just hoped nothing bad happened. After hearing and reading stories about this ritual, she was a bit fearfull, but with her big brother in Naruto, maybe this could work out!

She hoped.

Eurytion scratched his beard. "There's a hole dug out back for a septic tank. We could use that. Cyclops boy, fetch my ice chest from the kitchen. I hope the dead like root beer."

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By the time they had everything ready, it was starting to get dark out. They managed to do the summoning/Hades Children Phone call in a twenty-foot-long pit in front of the septic tank. The tank was bright yellow, with a smiley face and red wordspainted on the side: HAPPY FLUSH DISPOSAL CO. It didn't quite go with the mood of summoning the 'dead' and Naruto thought it was hilarious.

The moon was full. Silver clouds drifted across the sky.

"Minos should be here by now," Nico said, frowning. "It's full dark."

"Maybe my presence scared him off." Naruto replied hopefully.

Nico poured root beer and tossed barbecue into the pit, then began chanting in Ancient Greek. Immediately the bugs in the woods stopped chirping. In Percy's pocket, the Stygian ice dog whistle started to grow colder, freezing against the side of his leg. Naruto even saw that his breath was visible.

"Make him stop," Tyson whispered outloud.

Naruto put a reassuring hand on the Cyclops' shoulder and said, "Just bare through it buddy. You have your powers from Posiedon and we have ours, nothing bad will happen to you. I promise."

Tyson smiled weakly at that, somewhat reassured by his blond friend, but he was still scared. After all, unless you are a child of Hades, this ritual would look pretty dark.

The night air felt cold and menacing. Before Naruto could say anything more, the first spirits appeared. Sulfurous mist seeped out of the ground. Shadows thickened into human forms. One blue shade drifted to the edge of the pit and knelt to drink.

"Stop him!" Nico said, momentarily breaking his chant. "Only Bianca may drink!"

Naruto made Fear materialize in his hand and the spirit froze before backing off, not wanting to anger a child of Hades. Or so they thought. One ghost in particular took the offering and materialized in front of them.

He had solidified into the shape of a bearded man in white robes. A circlet of gold wreathed his head, and even in death his eyes were alive with malice. Eyes that Naruto hated from his dreams.

"Minos!" Nico said. "What are you doing?"

"My apologies, master," the ghost said, though he didn't sound very sorry. "The sacrifice smelled so good, I couldn't resist." He examined his own hands and smiled. "It is good to see myself again. Almost in solid form—"

"You are disrupting the ritual!" Nico protested. "Get—"

The spirits of the dead began shimmering dangerously bright, and Nico had to take up the chant again to keep them at bay.

"Yes, quite right, master," Minos said with amusement. "You keep chanting. I've only come to protect you from these liars who would deceive you."

"What do you want Minos." Naruto growled out.

Minos regarded Naruto for a minute with a dark smile before turning to Percy, ignoring the blond for the moment. The look he gave Percy was like someone looking at a cockroach.

"Percy Jackson…my, my. The sons of Poseidon haven't improved over the centuries, have they?"

Percy looked like he was ready to punch the ghost, much like Naruto was for being ignored. However, they knew the act would be futile. "We're looking for Bianca di Angelo," Percy said through gritted teeth. "Get lost."

"Oh am so scared." The ghost mocked. "You beat my Minotaur with your bare hands but you needed Lord Naruto's help to do it. Feh, weak kid. And you for you young lord." Minos replied with a mocking smirk directed at Naruto. "You shouldn't help people too much, or you will end up like poor and foolish Ircarus, HA! What was that saying? Don't fly too close to the sun or you will get burned?"

"What do you want?" Naruto growled.

"Just to say that your efforts on this quest are futile. Daedalus will not help you." Minos replied.

The other spirits stirred in agitation. Annabeth drew her knife and helped Percy keep them away from the pit. Grover got so nervous he clung to Tyson's shoulder. However, while they truly wanted to get in the pit, Naruto's glare with his Fear sword was enough to keep them at bay.

"Daedalus cares nothing for you, half-bloods," Minos warned. "You can't trust him. He is old beyond counting, and crafty. He is bitter from the guilt of murder and is cursed by the gods."

"The guilt of murder?" Percy asked. "Who did he kill?"

"Do not changed the subject!" the ghost growled. "You are hindering Nico. You try to persuade him to give up on his goal. I would make him a lord!"

"A false promise from a ghost. You may have been a king in life, but now you are like everyone else." Naruto taunted with a smirk, making the ghost glare at him for the truth in his words.

"Enough Minos, leave us." Nico demanded, if this ritual worked, he would be trusting Naruto more than the ghost of Minos.

The ghost sneered. "Master, these are your enemies. You must not listen to them, even your brother! Let me protect you. I will turn their minds to madness, as I did the others."

"The others?" Annabeth gasped. "You mean Chris Rodriguez? That was you?"

"The maze is my property," the ghost said, "not Daedalus's! Those who intrude deserve madness."

"Be gone, Minos!" Nico demanded. "I want to see my sister!"

The ghost bit back his rage. "As you wish, master. But I warn you. You cannot trust these heroes."

With that, he faded into mist.

Some other brave spirits tried to move forward, but Naruto summoned Destruction as well and that stopped them cold in fear.

"Ok sister, I know your there, time to show your face." Naruto said out loud before Nico could say anything.

"Any time now," Grover muttered as Nico chanted faster and the spirit became restless.

Then a silvery light flickered in the trees—a spirit that seemed brighter and stronger than the others. It came closer, and something told them to let it pass. It knelt to drink at the pit. When it arose, it was the ghostly form of Bianca di Angelo.

"Ugh, this method is so weird and old, but I guess it is better than cell phones at the moment." Bianca stated with a shiver. "And I doubt that they would work here in the Underworld."

Nico stopped his chanting when he say his sister. He looked like he was ready to cry. However the other spirits took this opportunity to try and get at the pit but Bianca just waved her hands and they all scattered.

Bianca turned back to the others and smiled. "Hey guys."

"Hey yourself." Naruto replied with a smirk. "How's the Underworld."

"Dark and gloomy." Bianca deadpanned. "But your Mom and Persphone do make it brighter. Your mom is pretty cool and she makes Hades a likable guy, so no complaints other than our new sister. She is a little crazy."

"Yeah, I have to agree with that. You training in our powers yet?"

"Oh yeah!" Bianca replied happily. "It is not ninja training, but it is something I can handle."

Throughout all of this, the others were just standing around nervously and a little dumbstruck that Naruto was chatting up what looked to be the ghost of Bianca. "Bianca!" Nico stumbled forward like he was just coming out of a daze.

She turned toward her brother. Her expression was sad, as if she'd been dreading this moment. "Hello, Nico. You've gotten so tall."

"Why didn't you answer me sooner?" he cried. "I've been trying for months!"

"I was hoping you would give up."

"Give up?" He sounded heartbroken. "How can you say that? I'm trying to save you!"

"Dummy! I am not dead and I knew what you were planning to do." Bianca said as she wrapped her arms around her brother. The strange thing was though, her ghostly form didn't pass through him. The side effect of still being alive and using this method to contact another child of Hades.

When the boy felt the warm from the girl's projection, tears fell down his eyes. Not in sadness, but in happiness but it proved his brother was right.

"Nico, please listen to me. I know you are still angry, but you must let it go. That is our fatal flaw as children of Hades and it is dangerous. Please promise me you will let it go."

"I…I don't know if I can" Nico replied, a little scared. After all, the anger had been fueling him for so long and Minos and capitalized on that so much. He also felt anger at the fact that she been helping Naruto and Percy watch him.

"Nico, I know why you are really angry and it is not directed at Naruto or Percy. It is at me. You were scared that I might change my mind and join the hunters after you saw me getting lessons from Zoe. Then your anger got the best of you when they told you want happened to me, but you didn't let them finish. Please forgive me for not contact you."

Nico fell on his butt and sigh. "I can try, but I really want so see you."

"I know you do, but we are safer where we are the moment. Dad's training me and you have a fair amount of it as well, but we are no much for Kronos like our ninja big brother."

"True. Kronos will find you and twist your anger to his needs." Annabeth supplied.

"I really don't care about him." Nico replied.

Bianca looked distracted for a moment and said, "Tartarus grows restless and it could attract Kronos to the two of us. I have to cut the connection quickly little brother. Promise me you will stay where you are, you are safe there."

"Fine, but if I see an opportunity to get to you, I am taking it." Nico replied with determination.

"I guess that is the best I can hope for." Bianca with an exasperated smile. "I have to go now. I love you both and good luck." Her form shivered and the ghosts disappeared, leaving them alone with a pit, a Happy Flush septic tank, and a cold full moon.

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Ok, to me that is how it should have gone. I hope you enjoyed it and the other reason it took so long for me to write this is because I didn't know HOW I wanted this to really go. Still, I think I did a good job.

Now I have to go and do the next chapter of Neglect since I have a good surprise for all of you and it made it harder to write this. Also, Bring Down the Sky with NeonZangetsu. Soooooo stuck!

Review please!