That night, Angelique had a nightmare.
They had arrived at the Grand Canyon, Hellhounds at their backs and a cliff in front of them. It was either fight or flight– which they couldn't exactly fly. They chose fight.
Nico held his stygian iron sword in his hand, slashing wherever he could at the Hellhounds, each one he hit turning into monster dust. Will had nothing to fend for himself, so Nico kept in front of him to protect him. Alex had borrowed Lillyan's short sword and did what she could. Camlo had Loveless, doing the same as Nico; Lillyan threw her daggers and Angelique used her bow.
The dream shifted after they defeated them. They were taking a breather, until Nico slipped and fell off the cliff.
Angelique ran to the edge and looked over to see Nico falling to his death, too tired to shadow travel his way out of his problem.
She shifted to the bottom of the Canyon where she witnessed Nico hitting the ground, blood flowing from his cranium. She tried to scream, but nothing came out.
Then she woke up in a cold sweat.
At the crack of dawn, the group of demigods packed up their things, extinguished the fire, and linked hands, ready to shadow travel to the Grand Canyon. Angelique could see that Will was nervous. Nico kept glancing at him with a worried look.
"Are we ready to do this?" Nico asked. "Because shadow travel can be scary."
"Any more scary than you are?" Camlo asked quietly. Him and his big mouth.
"What was that, Loveridge?" Nico said through gritted teeth.
"Nothing," Camlo said quickly.
Nico squeezed Will's hand. "It's going to be okay," He said. "You think you can do this, Alex?"
"I'm ready," Alex said, hesitantly adding, "I think."
"Alright, hang on and don't let go," Nico said as he shut his eyes, everyone else doing the same.
The first thing Angelique noticed was the instant drop of temperature in the air. The second thing… Well, she didn't want to know what Alex was experiencing, but it must have been terrifying because Angelique could feel Alex's hand shaking in hers. Angelique felt like darkness was invading her mind, making her feel scared, as if something were going to consume her into a nightmare. She dared not open her eyes.
When she opened them, they were a few yards short of the edge of the Canyon. She felt nervous. What if her dream was trying to warn her? If she was right…
Well, one half came true. She heard the familiar howls of the Hellhounds, and, when she turned her head, she saw a sea of black dogs charging at them.
It was just like her dream. The Hellhounds at their backs and the Grand Canyon in front of them. She didn't like it.
"What do we do?!" Alex screeched.
"We fight," Nico said, drawing his stygian iron sword.
Camlo twisted his ring and Loveless appeared. "Well, this looks familiar."
Lillyan grabbed one of her daggers and handed her short sword to Alex. "Here, might as well help."
Every minute, the scenario turned more and more like her dream. She just hoped Nico didn't meet the same fate that her dream ended. She had to stop it, she just had to. There had to have been a reason she got that dream…
She flicked her wrist and her bow appeared. She grabbed an arrow from her quiver and nocked it onto her bow. The Hounds got closer and closer; in seconds they would be in mortal combat with Hellhounds, and it wasn't going to end well.
Nico stabbed his sword into the ground, opening a fissure and letting out an army of skeletons. From that act alone, he looked so tired, but he stood on his own two feet, ready to fight. He stood in front of Will, just as he did in her dream. When the Hounds finally reached them, Chaos reigned.
Angelique shot her arrows at every Hound that came after her. Not many went after Alex, more going after Nico and Will. It seemed weird and she'd have to ask about that later, but for now, they had to fight and survive.
The skeletal army that Nico had summoned were a valuable asset to the fight. They fended off more Hellhounds than she could any day. It was crazy awesome that Nico could do that. Alex probably could, too, but she probably had to get the hang of it first.
Of course Angelique's luck had to run out at some point; she hadn't seen that Hellhound coming after her from her right side as she was shooting another from her left. It pounced her and snapped its jaws at her face, drool getting everywhere. She kept it from biting her head off by using her bow and hooking it on the monster dog's neck.
"Gods, your breath stinks!" Angelique muttered.
"Angelique!" She heard Camlo shout. She looked to her left to see Camlo with his sword. He slashed at the Hellhound and it turned to dust.
"Thanks!" Angelique said, quickly getting up and nocking another arrow.
The Hellhounds kept coming. She kept shooting her arrows, until she ran out. She started to hate having to wait two minutes for them to reappear in her quiver. While she did, however, she used her bow as a club and smacked the monster dog's faces with it. It seemed to work well. When they returned to her quiver, she continued to shoot again until they ran out. It cycled between hitting them with her bow and shooting them with her arrows. It was tiring.
She supposed everyone else was, too. Especially Nico. Not only did he transport all six demigods to the Grand Canyon, he had summoned an army of powerful skeleton soldiers and still managed to kill several dozen Hellhounds to defend Will who had nothing to defend himself with. It was kind of romantic, but she didn't think Will thought that way. He actually seemed kind of worried.
It seemed like he had enough of Nico protecting him, because she looked over and saw Will throwing what seemed to her like a light bomb into the mob of Hellhounds. When it hit them, it made a loud explosion which blew several dozen of them into dust particles.
"Nice one, Will!" Lillyan praised as she threw another one of her daggers. "Maia!" She shouted and her dagger came back to her hand. She had taken out two Hellhounds with that one blow– one toward a target and when it came flying back to her.
The battle seemed to take forever. They could be bringing the Lyre back to Apollo by now. If they didn't find that Lyre by the end of today, they would be cutting it close, if they even made it in time.
Occasionally, Angelique would hear the sound of Will's light bombs from her left. She'd have to ask him to teach her how to do that. After all, she was a daughter of Apollo. Instead, she settled for shooting her arrows and smacking the hounds with her bow.
Alex opened fissures underneath the monster dogs, letting a couple down into the Underworld. It was a neat trick, but Alex probably couldn't hold up for much longer if she kept doing it. She seemed tired as it was.
"Alex, hold off from using Underworld magic, okay?" Nico shouted over the barking. "You can't use it all the time; that kind of strain will get you killed!"
"You're such a hypocrite, Nico!" Will said.
"You're telling her not to use a lot of Underworld magic when you use so much of it that you start to disappear!" Will said, slightly irritated.
"I practice what I preach!" Nico said. He paused. "Sometimes."
"Yeah, sometimes," Will muttered throwing another light bomb.
"This isn't the time, lover boys!" Lillyan shouted, throwing another one of her daggers. "Kill the Hellhounds; then you can bicker to your heart's content– Maia!" Her dagger came back to her. She threw it again.
"I get that we're all a little–!" Camlo hacked at a Hellhound's head. "–Agitated at the moment, but I think it's in our best interest–!" He stabbed another one. "–To work together!"
Will threw another light bomb. Angelique kept glancing at him as she kept her cycle of shooting and whacking. She was worried for him. She didn't think that he had the same dream that she did, Angelique almost didn't want to mention it, but she knew if he had he'd be freaking out by now, if not earlier. She decided against telling them and hoped for the best.
There were still several hundreds of Hellhounds, now dwindling faster with Will's light bombs. Nico and the others seemed exhausted, as did Angelique. She didn't know how much longer they would last. It seemed like forever until the Hellhounds had dropped to just a couple dozen. Easy, right? Now all Angelique had to think about was Nico's impending death and how to prevent it.
It didn't come easy. She thought of getting close to Nico, just enough so that she could grab his arm before falling. That seemed like an easy enough plan; it was simple and subtle. Nico wouldn't have to die and Will wouldn't be freaking out. The problem was, Angelique didn't know if she was strong enough. Will, Camlo or Lillyan might be, though, but then there was the part where how she was going to tell them without freaking them out or letting Will find out? Thinking was hard, and her brain started to hurt.
Then the moment came when the Hellhounds were all killed. Everyone had been left exhausted and Nico that much closer to falling off the cliff. Angelique would have to think quickly. There was no way that she would let her half-brother's boyfriend get killed on her quest.
"Is everyone alright?" Will asked.
"I'm good," Lillyan said giving a thumbs up.
"Yeah," Camlo said, out of breath. "I think I'm good, too."
"I–I'm fine," Alex managed to get out through panicked breaths.
"Still here," Nico assured, grabbing Will's right shoulder. "See? Nothing went wrong."
Will crossed his arms and turned his head away from Nico. "Way too close of a call, Di Angelo," He said, pouting.
"Will, come on," Nico said. "I'm fine, maybe a bit fatigued, but fine," He was getting dangerously close to the edge, they all were, but Angelique was more concerned about Nico. She started to see rocks slip down the side of the Canyon. She started to panic.
"Will!" She shouted just seconds before Nico began to slip off the side.
With Will alerted, he turned his head just in time to grab Nico's wrist, dangling him over the side of the Grand Canyon.
"NICO!" He screamed. He laid on his belly, using both hands to keep his boyfriend from slipping out of his grasp and to his death. His face told Angelique that he was scared, afraid that he might lose another person he cared about.
The rest of gang gathered around, Camlo eager to help if he could, Lillyan slightly worried but barely showed it, and Alex who seemed to be just as frightened as Will.
Nico had been saved for now, but how long would Will be able to hold him up? That was the question that rang through Angelique's head as Nico continued to hang miles above ground.