Chapter 18

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Chapter 18:

Erikka's P.o.v.

"The Underworld? Why?" I asked, my head swiveling around to stare at the dark walls. Nico shrugged and walked a round the small clearing of rock.

A ghost of a smile graced his face as he said, "Just 'cuz." I watched as he moved quietly in the shadows, awed that he could be so graceful when I was nothing but a klutz.

"Now what, Fluffy Ball of Death?" I asked, enjoying the nickname I'd thought of. His light smile turned quickly to a glare. "What?"

Nico lifted his fingers to his lips and let out a shrill whistle. "Don't ever call me that. Understood?" I pursed my lips. Obviously he hadn't liked it as much as I did.

"I don't think that's a good idea. It suits you too well." He glared at my comment, his face turning red. The darkening of his cheeks drew out a laugh from me. Somehow he'd managed to make me forget about what was happening on the surface, and focus only on the now. I didn't care how he'd done it, only that it stayed like that for a while.

Suddenly, the cave like walls began to shake. Something continually slammed into the floor, coming ever closer. "Nico?" I said, my voice shaking slightly.

At the sight of my worried face, Nico laughed and stepped back into the shadows. Whether he was gone, or a super good ninja, I wasn't sure; all I knew was that something large was coming toward me, and Nico had vanished. Similar to a dog, a monster with red eyes came bounding around the corner. My mouth opened to scream, but a hand clamped down over it before I could.

I went to bite it, but was stopped again: this time by a voice. "Chill. She's cool." A sigh of relief and anger went through my body at the sound of Nico's voice. As soon as he let go of me, I spun around and went off on him.

"Nico whatever-your-middle-name-is di' Angelo! Don't you ever do that again!" The monster dog sat where it was while watching me scream at him and shake my fist. "Don't disappear into the shadows and make me think you're leaving me with some threat to handle by myself! Do you hear me? I will kill you and your fluffiness if you ever do that again, understood?" I smacked him in his fabulous hair before crossing my arms and taking a deep breath. "Now," I said, "what do you have to say for yourself?" Nico just looked at me.

And then the little twat started laughing.

Mirth filled his eyes as he laughed a warmer laugh than I'd ever heard come from him. "Y-your face!" He said while gasping for air. "It was priceless!" The overwhelming urge to smack him across his face suddenly struck me, but I suppressed it and tapped my foot instead. Wiping tears from his eyes, he walked up to the monster and scratched her neck. "This is Mrs. O' Leary. She's a hellhound."

Something in the back of my mind clicked. 'I'm gonna go help Nico feed Mrs. O' Leary.' Leo had said that when I ran into him at lunch on my first official day at camp. "How is she here? I thought she was at camp. Leo mentioned it when I ran into him." I said, glancing warily at the monster.

A smile covered the face of Mr. Fluffy Ball of Death. "So you memorize the things he says to you, huh? I'm with Anna on this one. I ship Rikkeo." My mouth dropped open and I glared at him.

"What the actual fudgery, Nico? We are never going to be together. Ever. Just answer the question." My cheeks were red, but I ignored it as he chuckled to himself.

Taking a deep breath, he swung up onto the dog. "Come on up. I'll explain on the way." He held out a pale, calloused hand. Taking it, I swing up onto her back and wrapped my arm around his waist.

"Fluff Ball, if I die, you die. Capíshe?" He laughed and the sound vibrated through him. For someone so cold towards people, he was awfully warm.

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