WILL IV

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It would have been a stereotype to assume children of Apollo disliked the dark. Just because their father was the god of the sun it didn't mean they were afraid or anything (although the younger kids were). On the other hand, Will Solace felt like a bug in the inky blackness that stretched out before them. The maze just wasn't void of light, it was suffocating.

Cecil pulled a flashlight out of his backpack and handed it to Will, who turned it on gratefully. Moments later everyone was holding a flashlight and scouring the surroundings for enemies hidden in the darkness.

"So this is the labyrinth?" Will questioned as they deemed the area to be free of monsters. "It's terribly dark in here."

"There should be light somewhere if we keep going," Nico said from a few feet behind the healer. It was then he remembered Nico had been here before. "I don't see Pasiphaë living in eternal darkness. When I talked to Hazel about her, she said the titan was very flashy and self-centered. No one would be able to admire her in this blackness. Still," he mused, "when she attempted to rebuild the entire maze using her powers of illusion she only managed to bring back part of it. This part of it, at least I think, is somewhere I don't remember being."

Will nodded in understanding. "I still can't believe the maze is back though. I thought when Daedalus died the maze died with him."

"It did, but you have to remember that while he built the labyrinth Pasiphaë had just as much to do with it as he did. She used her magic, filling it with monsters and other horrors to give it the dangerous reputation it currently has. She and Daedalus were partners once after all. They ended up at odds though, and because of that she wasn't credited for helping create the maze, which is why she now hates inventors with a passion. However, with part of the maze fully functional thanks to the power she received as a follower of Gaea and with Daedalus no longer around, she must be at least somewhat pleased."

"Except for the fact your sister trapped her in her own creation," Lou Ellen said. She had heard about how Hazel and her mother, Hecate, fought against the titan of magic and won, so the daughter of Hades was an idol to her now.

Nico shrugged, but no one really noticed in the dark. "True, but now her illusion is real. This is a good thing too though, for without it getting to Greece would be even harder."

"So what do we do now?" Cecil voiced as he continued to make sure nothing was near them. With only four flashlights and a vast, basically endless maze he really wanted to get somewhere where they could see their surroundings.

"We need to find the way to get to the ancient caverns where Python is keeping the Oracle of Delphi, and my dad, under wraps. Literally."

"Leo said when he talked to your father on Delos, his birthplace, that he never actually mentioned where the ancient caverns of Delphi are," Nico cut in. "We can only assume that they are somewhere in Greece, but that is not specific enough. And to be completely honest I have no idea how to navigate us to Greece though the maze. If Hazel were here..."

"No," Will said. "The quest didn't call for her. We can do it with the four of us, Nico, you have to believe that."

He rolled his dark brown, practically black eyes after hearing his words. For some reason the son of Apollo found his eyes quite dazzling despite barely being able to make them out in the level of darkness they were surrounded in. Or maybe it was because the darkness surrounding them that made Nico's almost as dark eyes stand out.

"I have an idea!" Lou Ellen suddenly shouted. When her voice carried down the dark hall, she winced before continuing at a lower volume. "Daedalus may be dead, but you're the Ghost King, Nico. Just summon him here and ask him to escort us to Greece through the labyrinth. He should know the way, right? Maybe he'll even know where Apollo is."

The son of Hades gave a subtle nod. From the look on his face Will wondered if Nico was worried. He seemed hesitant to follow Lou Ellen's advice, but with a deep breath he dropped down on one knee and closed his eyes. Words poured out of his mouth faster that Will could catch before finally placing his hand on the ground before him. The rest of the demigods in the room gasped when a spectral figure suddenly flew up from the floor.

Although the figure was transparent, it was easy to tell it was an old man. On the side of his neck was the tattoo of some sort of bird. His hands were gnarled, eyes sunken slightly, and face full of wrinkles. He wore old tattered clothes, but from the wisdom in his gaze Will knew he was not to be taken lightly.

"Master Nico," the man spoke formally. The curiosity in his tone was noticeable though.

"Daedalus."

"Why have you summoned me?" It was then the ghost noticed his surroundings. His eyes widened, his jaw dropping a moment later. "This— this is the labyrinth! But how? It was destroyed when you released my soul!"

"Pasiphaë managed to bring part of the labyrinth back to the surface, but that's not exactly why I called you here. You see, my friends and I are on a quest to save Apollo and the Oracle of Delphi from Python. I was going to ask if you could offer us some insight to where they would most likely be. They are somewhere in Greece, that we know, so even if you don't know the specifics I would like you to lead us there regardless. You know your way around, I presume?"

The old man bobbed his head. "Of course I do! I'm afraid I do not know where they would be exactly, other than one of the many islands of Greece, but I can do as much as lead you to the entrance nearest by. There should be one in Greece if I remember correctly."

"Good," Nico said. "Start leading then, if you would. We don't know how much time Apollo has."

Was it Will's imagination or did Daedalus just scowl?

"Before we go," the man said kindly, "would you introduce your friends so I know who I'm assisting? It pays to help demigods in the Underworld. Makes for good stories."

Nico quirked an eyebrow but complied. "The brown-haired boy is Cecil, child of Hermes. The girl is Hecate's daughter, Lou Ellen. The guy with a mop of blond hair is Will Solace, son of Apollo. It's his quest you're really helping with, not mine. I'm just here for back up."

"Ah, I see." Daedalus turned to Will, something flashing in his old eyes that he couldn't place. "I will do my best to aid you on this quest, Will Solace. But be warned that the maze is a dangerous place. Pasiphaë and her monsters are lurking somewhere. She will not be pleased to see me, much less demigods, in her maze."

Before Will could say anything word, the man cracked a smile and turned around. "Let's be on our way, children. We have much ground to cover."

True to his word, they did cover a lot of ground. The passages never seemed to end. Every now and then they would pass through a room lit by torches, finding only bones or broken objects that no longer had purpose. Lucky for them the past few hours of walking brought no dangers, since the passages were all black as night. This made Will uneasy though. They were in the labyrinth for Apollo's sake! There were four demigods, one being a child of the big three, traveling together. How could a monster not have scented them by now?

It seemed the others were thinking the same thing. They continued to scour the halls with their flashlights, eyes darting around for any sign of monsters. Besides a few tracks that seemed to be all over the place though there were none.

However, as if the fates had been listening to Will's thoughts, the ground they walked on began shaking. The four demigods and the ghost froze where they stood (or floated), listening as the noise grew louder, closer.

"We should run," Cecil said.

"Yeah," Will agreed. "Run!"

Just as they took off though, a loud roar echoed throughout the passage they were currently in. The four of them didn't look back to see what was closing in on them, their flashlights' ranges nowhere good enough to illuminate whatever monster was on their tail. They needed to find a lit room fast so they could see what they were up against.

"Hurry," Daedalus said as his form floated ahead of the teenagers. "This way!"

They followed without a word, the sound of thundering of hooves becoming apparent as whatever tracking them drew closer.

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