Angelique Maeng: Apollo's Lyre

Chapter XVII

XVII

NICO

Why did he have to slip right after he told Will that he was just fine? If it wasn't bad enough that he'd probably just freaked out Will so much, he knew that Will couldn't pull him up, let alone hold on for too long.

He tried to think. What could he do? Nothing. There was nothing that he could do; Nico would die from falling. There was Lillyan and her flying shoes, but Nico doubted that those over-dramatic shoes would want to help a son of Hades. Those shoes hated him.

He could have made the ground below rise up and act as a platform, but neither Alex nor Nico had the strength or willpower to do that, and Reyna wasn't there either to give him strength to do so.

If only Jason were there, then he'd be saved. As much as he hated it when the son of Jupiter picked him up and took him on a joyride, what he wouldn't have given for Jason to grab him and put him back safely on ground. That would be nice, being back on the ground where he belonged. Of course he didn't mean fall from however many miles he was. That would be bad.

"Gods damn it all!" Nico grumbled. "Thornbrush!"

"Yeah, Di Angelo?"

"By any chance, do your shoes still hate me?" Nico asked.

"Yup, unfortunately," Lillyan said.

"What?" Angelique questioned.

"My shoes have a mind of their own- they like me, because my dad gave them to me just for me," Lillyan explained.

"And for some reason–!" Nico slipped a little bit, but Will caught him. "–they don't like me all that much," He paused. "Actually, not at all."

"Don't take it personal, they don't like my bratty half-siblings either," Lillyan said, waving her hand at him.

"Oh, so they hate everyone but you?" Nico said. "Good to know."

"Can we stop making conversation and think of a way to get him up?" Will screamed, his voice cracking.

If only they had the time to even think of a plan. Maybe they could Iris message Jason and he could maybe get there quick enough…

Well, speak of the son of Jupiter. He was hovering underneath him, glasses crooked, ready to catch him. Now he'd just have to get Will to drop him… Which probably won't happen, and Will would have thought he was crazy.

"Hey, Will," Nico began. It was worth a shot.

"No," He said bluntly, still freaked out.

"I didn't even get to say anything!"

"Whatever it is, absolutely not," Will said firmly.

"How do you know the answer if you don't know what I'm about to say?"

"Fine, what?"

"You're going to have to let me go-!"

"No! I will not let you go, are you crazy?"

Nico sighed. "Jason!" He shouted at the top of his lungs. "Tell him you'll catch me!"

"Don't worry, Will!" Jason shouted. "I'll get closer, if it makes you feel better!"

"Jason?!"

"Why is he here?" Lillyan shouted, looking over the cliff.

"Shut up, Thornbrush!" Nico shouted.

"Here," Jason said as he ascended upward towards Nico. "How about I just grab him here and everything'll be good, okay?"

"Wait until a brick hits your head, Grace," Lillyan said.

"Thornbrush!"

"Why didn't you just do that in the first place?" Will said, ignoring Nico and Lillyan.

"I didn't think you knew I was here," Jason said as he grabbed Nico by his pits. He lifted him up above the cliff, hovering over.

"Jason," Nico said as calmly as he could. A dark aura started to form around them. "Put. Me. Down. NOW!"

"Alright, Alright," Jason said, dropping him. Nico landed on his feet. "Still don't like me touching you?"

"I still don't like you carrying me," Nico said as he dusted off his pants. He turned around to see Jason Grace in a black shirt with white letters saying "NICO DI ANGELO PROTECTION SQUAD". Nico sighed loudly. "You're still wearing that?"

"Of course I am!" Jason said. "I'm a founding member!"

"Why is that even a thing anyway?" Lillyan asked, crossing her arms.

"Long story," Jason said.

"Maybe later," Angelique said. "We need to find the Lyre, now."

"Hey, Grace," Nico began. "You mind going with Lil down there to get it while we play the Delphic hymns?"

"Yeah, sure," Jason said.

"I'll play the hymns," Will said, taking out the pan flute from his backpack. He seemed annoyed.

Jason and Lillyan flew down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. They awaited any signs of the Lyre down there, if it was there. They honestly didn't know what they were looking for. Hopefully it was obvious. The sun was setting. They had a day until they absolutely had to get to Mount Olympus. It wasn't a lot of time, but Nico hoped he had enough strength to get them all to Olympus.

The Delphic Hymns were longer than Tartarus itself, and for there to be two of them? No way would Nico be able to get through them both. They didn't have time for that.

They resulted in walking the length of the Grand Canyon. And it just so happens the Delphic Hymns weren't as long as he thought. Will had started to repeat them as they ran across, Jason and Lillyan following down below.

"Why isn't it working?" Camlo asked, out of breath.

"I don't know, you'd at least think we would have seen something by now," Nico said.

"How many times did you play it?" Angelique asked Will.

"It had to be around several dozen, if not fifty," He said. "Where could it be?"

"It has to be here," Camlo said. "The Muses told us it would be here."

They all thought. They had to be missing something. They played the Delphic Hymns, they played it up and down the Grand Canyon, up until it got dark. There was no use. What were they going to do now?

"We don't have time anymore," Alex said. "We need to find the Lyre now, or else there's going to be war."

"I got an idea," Angelique said. "Will, give me the pan flute."

"Why?" He asked.

"Just do it!" Angelique said firmly, holding her hand out. Will handed her the pan flute.

"What are you planning?" Nico asked.

"It's weird, but I memorized the fingerings while Will played," Angelique said. "I think it's only going to work if I do it."

"That makes sense," Nico said, now thinking about it. "I mean, it is her quest."

"Right!" Camlo said, pointing to Nico. "Since Will wasn't chosen for the quest, it has to be Angelique!"

"Alright, let's try it," Nico said.

Angelique started playing the flute. The Delphic Hymns were still really long, but nothing happened while she played. She didn't give up. Nico witnessed her continuing to play, waiting until at least the end of the Hymns.

When she ended the songs, from the distance, a beam of light shot up in the side of the cliff. It curved in the side of it like a slide.

"Jason! Lillyan!" Nico shouted. "Over there!" He pointed to the light. He could barely see them nod and fly over to it.

The light stopped when they got there. It took them a while, but they came back with a glowing Lyre in their hands.

"We're almost there," Lillyan said. "We can still make it."

"Shadow travel?" Alex suggested.

"Actually, I have a question," Angelique said. "How did you know we'd be here and how did you know Nico was in trouble?"

"I had a casual demigod dream, you know, the usual," Jason said. "I went with my gut and decided not to take that chance of losing a friend."

"How touching," Nico said, sarcastically.

"It's also against the Nico Di Angelo Protection Squad's policy!" Jason added. Nico face-palmed. "Reyna probably would have, you know, killed me if I didn't."

"What?" Angelique asked.

"She's the president of the Nico Di Angelo Protection Squad," Jason explained.

"Then what are you?"

"I'm the vice president."

"Then what's Hazel?" Nico asked, a little confused. He honestly thought she was the vice president of the Nico Di Angelo Protection Squad.

"She's the treasurer."

"Who's secretary?" Will asked.

"Percy Jackson."

"Really?" Nico said.

"Yep," Jason said bluntly.

"Can we stop talking about that stupid Squad thing?" Lillyan shouted. "We need to go! Like, NOW?!"

"Shadow travel?" Alex suggested again.

"Do we have a choice?" Camlo asked.

"I don't think so," Angelique said.

"Then what are we waiting for?" Lillyan asked.

"Let's do it," Nico said, linking hands with Will and Alex. "See you later, Grace," Nico said as the rest of the gang linked hands along with the Lyre. They traveled into the darkness, headed towards the Empire State Building.

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