Part Five

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Nico sheathed his sword.

"My name's Nico, and I'm the son of Hades," he talked mainly to the girl. "I rule over ghosts and shadows and all creatures of the Underworld, my father's domain."

The girl raised her eyebrows. "You mean the Hades? The original Greek god?"

"Well, of course-"

"Gods of Egypt," she said, wide-eyed. "You, like, know Percy and Annabeth? Do you go to the demon-god camp?

"Demi-god camp," Nico growled, but he was surprised to hear the familiar names. "Yeah, I do. How do you know them?"

"We beat Setne and retrieved the crown of Ptolemy with their help!" She spoke rapidly. "Oh gods, I never bloody thought I'd meet another Greek hero."

"Your thoughts disappoint you," Nico noted.

"Sadie Kane," she said. "Magician in the House of Life. Follow the path of Isis. Emm-hm. Born in LA, Raised in London."

"I can tell," Nico said.

She made an irritated face, but it quickly turned in to guilt. "Uh, sorry about causing an explosion at your feet." She winced. "That crash must've hurt."

Glad she noticed that, Nico thought.

"I'm fine," he assured her and straightened his back. He regretted it immediately. It flared up again, as though someone had poured oil over a dying flame burning on his backbone. The cracks in the ground seemed on the verge of reopening.

Sadie placed her hand forth for Nico to take, but Nico shook his head. Looking a bit let-down, she withdrew it. She reached in to her jacket pocket.

"Drink this," she said, holding out a small, ceramic bottle. "It's a potion."

Nico stood still and stared at the vial.

Sadie rolled her eyes. "Would it help if I told you that Annabeth drank this potion?"

"No," Nico said, meaning it. He still had a sort of rivalry with Annabeth, but the worst of it he knew was long gone.

Despite that, he took the ceramic vial from her hand and drained it to the last drop. Instantly he felt better. The potion reminded him of Italian apple juice, his youth drink. It wasn't his favorite, but it was good enough. Nico felt rather stupid forgetting to bring with him a block or two of ambrosia.

Sadie gave Walt a small sideways look, but he urged her to turn away through his expression. Nico had a strange feeling they were hiding something.

"Anyhow," Walt cleared her throat. "What brings you to Manhattan?"

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