Chapter 31: Having Friends Is Dangerous For The Ghost King

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Prophecy:

There will be six at the beginning and at the end.

One will be enemy and one will be friend.

A choice be made; heart or mind.

The lover's ears be deaf and eyes be blind.

Misleading will he try to thee.

For much is the Pit God's unease.

For an ancient god will pave.

A looming final path: destroy or save.

Chapter:

When Percy blinked away the spots over his vision, the older demigod gaped at the sight before him.

Cupid stood in front of the seven, his towering form shielding them from their foe. A sharp arrow was knocked at the pit god's heart, the strings of the bow brought back into a full arch. Frightfully blood-red eyes were narrowed at Tartarus, daring for the ancient one to make a move.

"L.O.L." Tartarus giggled, which sounded funny with his deep, creepy cold voice. "I totes just can't believe this! Zeus brought you?"

Unlike the headache-ridden Percy, the god of love seemed unfazed by the change in Tartarus's behavior. I came on my own accord. Cupid replied, his voice cool.

Tartarus stared at him in shock, mimicking the look on Nico's face. 'Why is he here?' Nico thought, confused to why Cupid was here. Is he going to save them?

"Do you have a death wish, weakling?" The ancient god's eyes were filled with laughter as he looked at the love god, undermining him.

The love god ignored his words. Lifting his head to meet the pit god's eyes, Cupid bluntly stated something that hit the pit god straight to the core. You are slipping, Tartarus. Your inability to accept love has brought you to ruins.

"What is the meaning of this?" Tartarus demanded, looking suddenly angry yet uneasy. If he could sweat, Nico bet that his forehead would be glistening with precipitation. "I am the most powerful god of all time! I am not ruined!"

Is that so? Cupid asked calmly. Then he delivered another blow. If that were to be true, then why are you here on your ex-lover's domain?

Nico watched the encounter with wariness, for this reminded him of his encounter with the love god two years ago. The way Tartarus seemed struggle to answer and wanted to remain left in the dark reminded the son of Hades of someone he wished it didn't: himself.

Tartarus's face purpled in rage. "You accuse me of pining after her?!" He screeched, making everyone cower away in fear. Even Cupid flinched at the god's anger.

And then Katie's big mouth opened for the millionth time, surprising Nico with his heart jolting with a mixture fear for her life and irritation for her stupidity."Well you did say I remind you of your wif-"

Clarisse's big hand slapped over her mouth. "Shut it punk!" She hissed, glaring at the daughter of Demeter. "You're going to get us all killed!"

It was too late.

"You little, annoying, self-centered bratty teenager!" Tartarus seethed, determinedly walking over to Katie with murder in his eyes. He lifted his hand in the air, planning to hit the girl.

But before Katie could cover her face, a black iron blade halted the god's strides, the sword humming with darkness. The ghost king pushed the shocked Katie behind him, glaring at the pit god. Percy watched with awe as he stood up to the most powerful being of all time, making his emotions a mixed brew of everything. "No one hurts my friends." Nico said with fury laced into his voice. Even though he could understand how Tartarus felt, this son of Hades wasn't going to let his new friend die.

"Friends?" Tartarus scoffed. "You are a son of Hades! You have no friends."

"You're wrong!" Katie and Percy yelled at the same time, which made everyone look at them.

"Oh really? Prove it!" Tartarus challenged.

Percy and Katie looked at each other, silently communicating with their facial expressions.

'What should we do?' Katie asked. 'We can't let him get killed!'

'I dunno. What do you think we should do?' Percy asked back.

They stared at each other as their thoughts evened out, their minds clicking as they both realized that there was only one thing they could possibly do to help him: they had to fight the most impossible battle the demigods had ever faced.

'Together?' Percy asked.

'Together.' Katie agreed.

Stepped forward in sync, the son of Poseidon uncapped his pen and the daughter of Demeter’s staff glowed to life. Riptide shone brightly as the light hit it once again, making the blade look like it was on fire. The staff pulsed green, sucking up energy in the room. Facing the pit god, Percy yelled what his heart was screaming. "That's right Tartarus! I am proud to be his friend!"

Nico felt tears well up in his eyes. This journey had given him not just one friend, but two. But he felt a stab of annoyance as he realized that they wanted to challenge Tartarus to a fight that would most likely end in their lovely deaths. "What are you doing?! Stay back you morons!" He snapped.

"Are you kidding me?!" Katie said, looking at Nico with disbelief. Then she smiled devilishly. "Since when did my friends all the fun without me?"

"Ready?" Percy asked them, gripping his sword tightly. Nico's heart clenched with fear. 'Not him. Not Percy.' His mind thought helplessly.

"CHARGE!!!!" Katie cried with vigor, her staff dramatically up in the air as she called for battle. Tartarus watched her approach with a mixture of amusement and irritation on his eyes, the red dots glowing brighter. Nico felt dread weigh down his heart as she ran up to the ancient pit god. He couldn't lose her either.

But before the daughter could hand over her life on a silver platter, she was stopped by an invisible force, making her bounce away from her foe.

"What the Hades!" Katie cursed as she flew back into the group. Breathing heavily, she ran up the barrier and pounded her fists against it. "Open up! I'm not finished with you Tartarus!" She cried.

Nor am I, daughter of Demeter.Cupid stood on the other side of the barrier, looking at the seven.

Nico, who had been conflicted throughout this whole encounter, walked forward to be right in front of the love god, the barrier being the only thing standing between them. He had so many questions to ask, but so little time. "Why are you doing this?"

Cupid smirked, but his eyes looked more serious than ever before. Love has every reason, and no reason. It fights for nothing and for everything. But most of all, love is the most powerful force in the world. Not many can fight the constant battle that love brings. Most are too weak to accept the power of love. But you, Nico Di Angelo, you have finally accepted it with all your being.

Nico stared at him in shock. What was he saying?

Cupid looked him in the eyes, black meeting blood-red. The boy that stood in front of me three years ago wouldn't have been able to do what you've done. He would've ran as fast as he could away from the battlefield of love. But you are now a soldier, Nico Di Angelo.

'What the heck is that supposed to mean?!' Nico thought with confusion swirling through his head.

You will understand in time, little soldier. Cupid stated.

And with that, before Nico could protest at the new nickname, the room was once again flooded with a brilliant, harsh light.

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