Part Two

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Wiping away the rare bead of sweat on his face, Nico sheathed his weapon and went on until he reached the large crates.

Behind them was a small and quiet piazza. Directly under the single lamp post at the other end stood a girl and a boy, their physical features clear in the yellow light.

The girl had blonde hair with red highlights and striking blue eyes. She wore a red tank top and a black sleeveless jacket with simple jeans.

She held the boy's hand tightly, laughing at something he said in a manner that the Aphrodite girls would not have approved of. She had a mischievous glint in her eyes and a sly smile that strongly reminded Nico of the kids from Hermes cabin. She looked his age, about fifteen.

Her boyfriend was smiling down at her, but there was something dark that Nico sensed about him. Well, besides the fact that he was wearing all black. His attire was a lot like Nico's pick of wardrobe, a leather jacket and dark jeans and shirt, fitted with black combat boots. His clothes resembled Nico's, but that's where the similarities ended.

He was tall and muscular, and had the build of a basketball player. He placed his coffee bean hand on the girl's shoulder and Nico noticed a ring or two glinting on his fingers.

He edged around one of the recycling crates to get nearer. Something about the boy felt very much familiar.

Nico realized he radiated death, emitting it to his surrounding in a subtle way that only a child of the Underworld would notice.

"Don't be ridiculous," the girl said, slapping the boy playfully. "They can all do with some divine words. They're all full of beans."

Nico noticed her British accent, but it hardly bothered him.

"You push too far," the boy noted cheerfully.

"Shut up, young man," she scolded him with equal cheerfulness. "You and jackal head are still my initiates."

Nico found her words strange. Alright, by what she was saying, she was her boyfriend's teacher. Sure, neat. She wanted to teach someone divine words, which Nico did not know a thing of.

The girl gripped the boy's shirt, smiling like the Stoll brothers before they ran a prank. "Come on, Death boy."

The boy groaned something about the name and Nico realized with a blow that the girl had addressed her boyfriend with Nico's common nickname. He crouched down and trod forward, and his boot stomped down on a fallen bottle from the crate, which made a loud cracking sound.

The girl and boy turned their heads to the crates, surprised from the sudden sound. Nico cursed under his breath in ancient Greek and sat down as quietly as he could against the giant crate. He hoped the shadows would cause him to be near invisible as they always did, but somehow he knew that the boy would sense his presence, just as Nico had sensed his.

The girl walked towards Nico's crate, but from where she held her gaze, he could tell she didn't know exactly where he was.

Thank the gods, Nico thought, breathing silently.

"Did you hear that?" She asked her boyfriend, which was a ridiculously obvious question. "Something's there."

The boy stood behind her protectively, looking right at Nico's head.

Nico didn't like being called a something and the boy's look made him feel uneasy. He tried his best not to meet his eyes.

The girl attempted to grab something in the air in front of her, and closed her fist around an invisible handle. A moment later she pulled a five foot tall staff out of thin air and held it up threateningly.

Nico curled up in the shadows. He had no desire to be discovered by a crazy girl with a magic staff.

The boy placed his hand on her shoulder. "Let me deal with this."

Uh oh, Nico thought.

His girlfriend looked slightly offended, but she stepped aside. The boy stood fifteen feet away from Nico when his form flickered momentarily. The guy in the other form wore the same clothes, but his skin was fairer and his eyes were a different shade of brown, his hair dark and disheveled. Nico's eyes widened and his sight became a little fuzzy. He looked almost exactly like him. The girl did not notice the change of forms and if she did, she didn't seem as bombshelled by it at all.

Back in basketball player form, the boy's hand started to glow with a grayish light. He raised one arm in front of him and the shadow Nico was hiding in brightened and became a not-so-dark-shadow.

Nico wasn't invisible anymore.

With no warning, he rose to his feet, quickly unsheathed his Stygian sword and held it out.

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