If Nico was going to lose another sister, he was going to go insane. Not that he wasn't already insane from that trip to Tartarus. What Alex just pulled was pushing it. Nico told her that using too much underworld magic would wear her out so much that she, if severe enough, would get herself killed, but did she listen? No! Will just had to run out of arrows and go on a rampage because Nico get's grazed once and, apparently in his boyfriend's book, it's an all out war.
Will must get it from his dad.
Okay, maybe that wasn't the best thing to think about, especially out loud, but it was a good thing he wasn't thinking out loud, or else his boyfriend's dad would have probably cursed him with the plague or something. To be fair, Nico and Will were getting chased by the Manticore which Nico totally called. Wait, why was he mentally feeling satisfaction in that?
Nico was carrying Alex on his back, being that she had passed out not too long after they had shadow traveled to wherever they were. Nico might have seen a sign that said "HILL CITY" somewhere while they were running, but he wasn't quite sure. He'd have to check later when they weren't being chased by the same monster that tried to abduct him eleven years ago. It also didn't help his mood that the same year he was almost abducted by the Manticore, he lost his actual sister. Did he mention that if he lost another sister he'd go insane?
"You've gone against this thing, how are we going to kill it?" Will asked.
"I encountered it, I never fought it!" Nico protested. "Besides, I was, like, ten and still loved that stupid Mythomagic game–!" As he finished his sentence, the Manticore shot one of it's spikes past Nico's head.
"So it's stupid to be into Mythomagic, but it's the coolest thing ever to be into pirates?" Will teased.
"Shut up!" Nico shouted as they turned down an empty street.
"We need to find a place to hide, at least," Will said, putting humor aside. "You know we can't keep running."
"I know, Solace!" Nico said, irritated.
Nico thought for a moment, which was hard, since he and Will were still running from the Manticore. He was too hot on their tail, and it was almost impossible to shake him off. There had to be a way.
Underworld magic wasn't going to help, at least not to Nico's knowledge. The Manticore would just crush all his skeletal soldiers, same with zombies. He could create a fissure, but that would have to take an extreme amount of effort that Nico just didn't have. All that was left was Will's Photokinesis and… His sonic whistle!
"Will!" Nico shouted.
"What?" Will answered.
"Do that sonic whistle thing again!"
"Just do it, please?"
"Oh, come on, I said please!"
"Why would I want to– Oh," Will said, now understanding why.
Nico covered his ears while still managing to keep Alex on his back. He could faintly hear Will's whistle through his hands. Suddenly, he felt something graze his right shoulder. When it stopped, he uncovered his ears. They kept running, the Manticore now stunned with his lion paws– hands– whatever they were on his sensitive lion ears… At least he assumed they were lion ears.
"Good thinking, Nico!" Will said.
"Yeah, well, I wouldn't have been much help besides that," Nico said. He saw a sign that had the numbers 283 on it pointing to their left down a road. "Turn here," Nico said, now running down it.
They traveled down 283. In all honesty, he didn't know how long the road really was. At least they could slow down for a minute. If Nico remembered correctly, they had reached the edge of Hill City. When Alex woke up, Nico would have to ask where that was. She seemed to know a lot about where things were on a map without actually looking at a map.
"How far are we going?" Will asked, on his left. He glanced at the older wound on Nico's left shoulder. "I still need to treat that– the poison could start taking effect…" Will paused. "Actually, I'm surprised it hasn't acted up yet."
"Whatever you say, doc," Nico said.
They continued until they found trees on their right. They went into the cover of the them, fearing they might find themselves running away from the Manticore again, once it snapped out of being stunned. They kept walking until they reached a small body of water. Seemed like a good place to camp out for a while until Alex woke up.
Well, that was until the poison actually kicked in. He could feel burning spreading from his right shoulder to the rest of his body. His shoulder started to turn black from the poison running through his veins. His left arm began to throb in pain, and his muscles began twitching violently. As he looked at it, he saw it turning green and his blood still flowing. He struggled out of his shirt, and saw his skin was an interesting web of green and black. By now, he couldn't even feel his right arm, but his left arm felt like it was burning and freezing at the same time. He fell over from dizziness, feeling both poisons taking effect.
"You got shot by it and you didn't tell me?" Will screamed.
"Don't worry, Manticore poison isn't lethal… But dracanae poison is," Nico said before he yelled in agony. "Gods dammit, this hurts like Tartarus!" He hissed as he curled up in pain, because Nico would know what Tartarus felt like. He's been there.
Will quickly went to Nico's side. He laid him down on his back, Nico unable to protest from the extreme pain that he was feeling. His eyesight blurred, that was if he opened his eyes. He was in so much pain. He tried to focus on Will's face, even if it was only for a second. As he did, Nico saw the intense worry in his expression.
Nico could barely feel anything as Will treated him, cutting open the wounds to let out the poison, then pouring what he guessed was Nectar into it. Will patched him up and set Nico's head in his lap.
Slowly, he could feel the Nectar working, Will playing with Nico's overgrown, messy, black hair.
"You're the best doctor boyfriend, you know that?" Nico said quietly, a little loopy.
"You're an idiot," Will said with a shaky voice.
"If you live through this, I'm going to kill you," Will said.
"You can't," Nico said. "You love me too much."
"Fine, but you can expect one hell of a tan."
"More like a sunburn."
"That's the point, idiot."
"Shut up, I'm poisoned."
"You probably wouldn't be in such bad shape if you had just told me earlier!"
"I'm stupid, remember?"
Will paused. "You're lucky you're cute, you know that?"
"Am I, really?" Nico asked with a weak smile. "I thought you just felt bad for me."
"You know I love you, Nico," Will said.
"I love you, too, Will," Nico said. He saw a smile on Will's worried face. "Stop crying, sunshine, I'm not going to die."
"I'm not crying," Will said. "I just have something in my eye," He rubbed Nico's cheek, then kissed his forehead. "With great power…"
"...Comes a great need to take a nap," Nico finished. "That's a good idea," He said before passing out from exhaustion.
When he fell into dream land, Apollo was standing in front of him with crossed arms and a glare.
Well, shit. His boyfriend's dad was angry at him.
"Whatever you think I did, I didn't do it," Nico said bluntly. "Except if you're mad that I worried your son, then yeah, yeah I did do that."
"You're an idiot," Apollo said.
"Will and I already established that, like, two seconds ago," Nico said.
"Silence, you ungrateful son of Hades!" Apollo hissed.
"Well, then what are you mad about?" Nico asked curiously.
"You are jeopardizing my daughter's mission!"
"I am warning you," Apollo said firmly. "Get her out of the Lotus Casino or I will smite you!"
He woke up startled.
"What's the matter?" Will asked, stroking Nico's hair.
"You're dad just threatened me," Nico answered.
"For what?" Will asked frantically.
"Apparently I'm jeopardizing Maeng's mission," Nico said. "He's literally blaming me for not getting them out."
"Huh," Will began. "By the way, you're cured."
"You know, my Vitakinesis?" Will said. "I sang one of my dad's hymns and I healed you."
"You've been out for three hours," Will said seriously. "We just have to wait for Alex to wake up," Will paused. "You're not going to make her shadow travel again, right? You're not that stupid, right?"
"Of course not!" Nico exclaimed. "She's not traveling again, she's been through more of it in one week than I have in one month."
"What–No!" Will shouted. "Out of the question! Doctor's orders!"
"She is not going to put that kind of strain on herself again! I forbid it!" Nico said. "Apollo already blames me, so I should be doing this, even if it means going alone!"
"You know," Nico heard Alex's voice say, "I've been awake for a good thirty minutes."
"Alex!" Nico exclaimed, a little confused.
"I'm going to shadow travel again– with the both of you," She said firmly as she sat up. "I'm the child of ghosts, remember? I have to, and you guys have to get me home safely."
"You're going to kill yourself!" Nico said.
"It's better than allowing a war between two gods!" Alex protested. "So are we going or not?" Alex asked.
Nico sighed in annoyance. She was persistent, he had to give her that.
"Alright, fine," Nico caved. "Where are we going then?"