By Kaylin Frost
“Hey!” Jason Grace called out. Nico Di Angelo looked over his shoulder and smiled. “Jason!” He called out, raising his hand. The son of Jupiter jogged over.
“How’s it hanging?” Nico called out. No response. “Hey you!” A voice behind him called out. Nico turned around to see Piper McLean, daughter of Aphrodite, waving. “Hey Piper!” Nico said with a smile, but something seemed off.
Nico turned around to face Jason. “So, do you guys⎯” Jason’s body merged with Nico’s before exiting, causing Nico to stop midway. What was that? Nico only felt that while he was down in the Fields of Asphodel, when the spirits would walk through him.
But Jason was very much alive, and so was Piper. Maybe an illusion played by Hecate Cabin. But it didn’t seem like it, since the life forces felt so strong. The Hecate Cabin must be getting stronger then.
The son of Hades shuddered at the thought and headed towards Apollo Cabin, where his boyfriend, Will Solace, should be. Nico felt like shadow traveling to the cabin, scare some campers, but last time he did that, Nico fell on his face from the ceiling.
He walked over and was about to place his hand on the door knob when a voice inside stopped him. “I can’t find him anywhere, Kayla. I’m worried. What if he’s hurt?” It was Will Solace talking to his sister, Kayla Knowles, but not to be confused with the daughter of Ares, Kayla Fowells.
“I’m sure he’s going to be fine. He does this all the time,” Kayla responded softly. Nico could hear Will sigh. He sounded so down, so upset. “No one has seen him since, well, the campfire.” Nico’s face turned a shade of pink.
After the nightly sing along side around a campfire, Will wrapped his arms around Nico and gave him a kiss. Nico found it funny, how he will accept physical touch, like hugs and high fives, from only Will. Well, Jason was an exception. Sometimes.
It occurred to Nico that the two Apollo kids could have been talking about him. He was Hades’ son after all, he could disappear any time he wanted to. But I actually slept in my cabin? Nico thought to himself as he turned the knob.
His hand went through the door, and he stumbled in. “Agh!” Nico landed on his butt in front of Will. “Sorry, I just kind of⎯” Nico’s voice failed to complete the sentence. Will didn’t even flinch, he just looked sad.
“I have to find Nico.” Will mumbled. He went right through Nico and opened the door and headed down the steps. Kayla sighed and grabbed her sword off the wall and headed out the door, holding the handle on the door as she went out, causing the door to close.
“What the Hades?” Nico exclaimed, standing up. Was this a prank? Anger flooded his body, the air around him turning cold.
He brushed off the dirt and stormed out of Cabin 7, passing through the door. “William Andrew Solace! Get back here!” Nico yelled, grabbing his Stygian Iron sword and pointing it at the sun God’s son.
“Will!” He tried to turn Will around, but his hand went through him. He stumbled back, shocked. “Annabeth!” Will called out. Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena, jogged over, smiling. Her smile faded when she saw Will’s face.
“I can’t find Nico. Have you seen him?” he asked, but Annabeth just shook her head. “I haven’t seen him since dinner yesterday. Maybe he’s with Mrs. O’Larey?” The friendly Hellhound, Mrs. O’leary, was one of Nico’s favorite living beings.
“Percy’s trying to teach her how to roll over, again.”
“Yeah I’m worried he’ll get squashed.”
“That idiot.” Annabeth mumbled, but a smile was on her face.
Nico looked at Will in horor. “I’m right here! Will!” he tried to cup Will’s face, but his hands passed right through him, again. “No, no,” he mumbled. He shadow traveled to his father’s realm, the Underworld.
“Hades!” He yelled. He marched up to the throne room, where Hades, god of the Underworld, sat next to Persephone, goddess of Spring. The god didn’t even flinch.
“Hello!” He waved his hand in front of his face and smacked him, but his hand went through. Not even a flinch. “Father!” he cried, but it was like Nico could only hear his own voice.
Behind him, laughter broke out. a pale blue glow seemed to come behind him. “My, my, my, look who we have here.” the voice spoke, and a chill went down Nico’s back. He recognized that voice. Back in 2008, Nico Di Angelo had joined King Minos, a ghost who had once been King of Crete, killed by the daughters of King Cocalus, who, plus Daedalus, poured boiling water over him as he was taking a bath.
He hated Daedalus for it, as it was practically his fault. He tricked the girls. He wanted revenge on the old man, who managed to survive in the Labyrinth for over 2000 years. Nico had helped the ghost, but only if Minos could revive his sister, Bianca Di Angelo.
A soul for a soul. King Minos promised. The only soul he wanted to bring back was his own. The King of Crete was going to trick Nico into doing so, but Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon, had convinced him otherwise.
“King Minos,” Nico turned around, facing the ghost. “what is it?” he held his sword out in front of him, pointing at the ghost’s chest. The ghost scowled, the sight of Stygian Iron made him step back. “Do you know why you’re here?” The room seemed to spin as it faded into complete darkness.
“You want revenge,” Nico stepped closer. “Ah, ah, ah. I would stay back. Do you remember what I told you, 8 years ago?” Minos raised a hand and angered spirits swarmed around Nico.
“That you’re an idiot?” He responded and Minos stepped forward. “Fool! I said that I was the Ghost King, but then you⎯”
“Send you back to Tartarus? Yes, I did, now what are you doing here?” Nico demanded. “And you are not the Ghost King, Minos. I am.” He repeated, but the King of Crete laughed bitterly.
“Then why didn’t your own father notice you? Or perhaps your little boyfriend, Will Solace.” The room was in pitch darkness, but the room felt as if it became darker and colder. Nico’s voice failed him again, the anger boiling in his heart.
“What did you do?” He questioned, trying to keep his hand steady, trying to not drop his sword. “I didn’t do anything. You were just too weak to continue your job.” My job? Nico thought.
“So I took over for you. If I didn’t, well, you would have gone soft,” He smiled, but nothing was warm about it. “Reckless. Mushy. Weak.” With each word, Minos took a step towards Nico, using the tip of his finger to lower the sword.
Soon he was standing an inch away from Nico’s face. “You don’t understand, Nico Di Angelo. You can’t be the King of Ghosts if you’re alive.” He said alive like it was a horrible insult. “And you, sir, are alive. I’m not.”
Nico yelled and brought his sword up, expecting it to absorb Minos’ soul, but it just went through him. “You see, Di Angelo, I’m the real Ghost King,” Nico started backing up, but Minos followed.
“I made you just like me. Now, you can live forever! Well, maybe not live…”
“Sei un rompiscatole!”
“Lo so.” Nico was shocked. I guess spending nearly a year with me taught him a thing or two… Nico thought to himself. “Go back to Tartarus, Minos!” Nico called out.
“But don’t you see, Nico, you’re not the King of Ghosts any more! I can finally get back to getting revenge on those other demigods, while you sit here in Daddy’s palace. Breathing will never be a problem for you any more.” Nico’s eyes turned wide as he realized what happened. Minos had killed Nico in his sleep. A soul for a soul. Minos smiled and pushed Nico down an hole full of spirits hungry for any hint of living.
The spirits grabbed Nico’s clothing, his sword. “No! I am the Ghost King! Fall back!” Nico cried, swatting at the hands grabbing at him. Tears stung his eyes. Minos hovered above the hole, which turned into a tunnel to Tarturus. As Nico fell down, down, down, he could hear King Minos chuckled.
“Oh you silly child, I’m the Ghost King now.”