Seulgi and Joohyun walked towards the Big House after parting ways with Tzuyu and Mina to meet up with Seungwan, Sooyoung and Yeri to inform them of the latest developments. The tension between the two of them was building, but it didn’t look like they were going to have any free time to sit down and talk with each other, especially now that they knew what they needed to do. All Seulgi could hope was that they’d get the chance before things went to hell.
Or before Nyx killed them all. They were still clueless about the goddess’ ultimate plan but whatever she was scheming up, it couldn’t be good.
As they walked up the steps to the giant cabin in the middle of camp, another squad of armored warriors rushed out the front doors and past them, clearly in a hurry to get somewhere. Seulgi hoped they weren’t going to fight another wave of those shadow creatures already.
Judging from the voices streaming down the hall and leading into the living room, she wasn’t the only one worried.
“- no, I am not letting you guys just walk out of here to find another Labyrinth entrance, you heard the latest warning. Those shadowy bastards are getting stronger, plus you guys look like you haven’t rested properly in days. Sooyoung’s practically an inch away from going feral after raging so much –“
“Nayeon, we don’t have a choice! We need a little divine intervention and if the gods aren’t answering us we need to find the one goddess who we know for sure is still within reach.” Seulgi recognized Seungwan’s voice as she talked to the leader of the Ares cabin.
“Babe, she’s right,” said a voice that could only be Jeongyeon’s. “I know you don’t want them to get hurt but –“
“Little late for that, Jeong, if what Seungwan told us is true. Joohyun’s already died once!”
Joohyun rolled her eyes and flung open the doors to the living room, startling everyone inside. Seulgi saw all the head counselors (minus Solar of course) together with Seungwan, Sooyoung and Yeri discussing – no, arguing – about their plan of operation.
“I didn’t stay dead though, did I Nabongs?” Joohyun said. Nayeon scoffed at her, refusing to look her in the eyes. “We’ll take our chances, things literally cannot get any worse, we’ve already lost Solar!”
A ripple of agreement went through the gathered counselors.
“Wait, we’re actually going back to the Labyrinth?” Seungwan asked, and Joohyun nodded, sitting down to relay the information they’d discovered.
Ten minutes later and the interim head of the Apollo cabin, a girl named Siyeon, was the first to speak up. “…Nyx, huh?”
“Yup,” Joohyun said.
“Damn, we’re fifty shades of ed if that’s true,” the girl replied simply, sitting back and playing absentmindedly with the silver ring on her finger. Joohyun shot her an annoyed look, clearly disliking her casual swearing, but Seulgi liked her already, her personality reminded her a lot of Yeri. “So. What can we do to help?”
“Get us back to the Labyrinth,” Seulgi jumped in. “We know that’s where she’s hiding, it’s only a matter of finding the exact location.”
“Not so fast,” Nayeon interrupted. “Finding an entrance is one thing, but how do you expect to navigate it? I don’t see any of you with Ariadne’s string.”
There was a soft bark at Sooyoung’s feet and a black-furred head popped into view. The daughter of Ares smiled, patting Procyon’s head affectionately. “We’ve got the second part covered.”
“Your plan is to find Persephone with a Labrador?” Jeongyeon said in disbelief.
“His name is Procyon and he has feelings,” Sooyoung looked offended.
“He’s an infallible hound,” Joohyun explained. “He can track anything as long as we have the scent.”
Nayeon huffed, “Fine. That still leaves the first problem. The Labyrinth has a metric crap ton of hidden entrances and exits.”
Seulgi had to agree with her. The closest entrance to their current location was back in Manhattan and she had the feeling that those shadowy creatures wouldn’t let them get very far outside the camp’s boundaries. “By any chance has anyone seen a small glowing blue delta symbol?”
The head of the Aphrodite cabin, a girl named Sana, raised her hand. “Blue delta, you said? That’s easy, there’s one by Zeus’ Fist, I saw it when we were playing capture the flag.”
Stepping back into the Labyrinth honestly didn’t feel as scary as it did the first time. Her eyes almost immediately adjusted to the darkness as they all took out their flashlights and began trekking down the long hallway.
The head counselors had all banded together and cut into their remaining supplies to restock them for the trip. The five of you are literally walking into the lion’s den, let us play our part by helping to keep you safe, Tzuyu had said. Their backpacks were full of travel rations and emergency ambrosia courtesy of Siyeon and the Apollo cabin. The Hephaestus cabin had pitched in and fitted Procyon with a lightweight armored vest to protect him from potential monster attacks. Yeri’s siblings had given her a tiny jeweled tortoise as a good luck charm and even Nayeon had relented and allowed them all access to the Ares cabin’s sacred weapons vault. They were armed to the teeth with fresh weapons and armor, and much better prepared for any fights that may come their way.
Still, even with all the supplies in the world it didn’t erase the fact that the five of them were running on fumes. If given the choice, Seulgi would have rather stayed at camp for a few days to recuperate but on the current timeline that just didn’t fit. A couple of days could be the difference between life and death for them all.
Honestly, what Seulgi wouldn’t give for a nice warm bed to sleep in, without having to worry about keeping an eye out for monsters. She couldn’t even remember the last time she’d gotten a full night’s sleep.
Evidently, someone agreed with her.
“Wow, you guys look like ,” a voice said from somewhere above them. “Perfect time for a nap, don’t you think?”
“Jesus, we’ve been down here less than thirty minutes, how many of you are there?” Joohyun grumbled as a smoky figure floated down to the ground and coalesced into the form of a young man in his twenties wearing a pair of comfy sweatpants and a band t-shirt. A pair of wings jutted out from the side of his head. If he wasn’t radiating that signature divine aura that Seulgi was used to feeling in the presence of gods, she would have thought he was a simple college kid who had overslept after a late night out. Even his hair was sleep-tousled. As if he noticed Seulgi’s staring he looked down at his body and realized what he was wearing. He snapped his fingers and a set of matching black silk pajamas enveloped his swirling gray body.
“That’s it?” he asked, looking slightly offended. “That’s all the reaction I get? No ‘O great Lord Hypnos, I bow down before your mighty will? Come on, I even had a really cool entrance!”
Sooyoung snorted, “Been there, talked with your twin brother already. He was more menacing.”
The wings on Hypnos’ head drooped slightly. “Mother always did like him better…”
Seulgi raised her hand tentatively, “Wait, you’re Hypnos? God of sleep?”
“In the flesh,” he replied, conjuring a wisp of gray smoke and manipulating it into a single poppy flower, which he handed to Seulgi with a sly smile. “So to speak. And you must be the savior my mother’s been all up in arms about.”
“Get away from her,” Joohyun growled, stepping in between god and girl. She plucked the poppy flower out of Seulgi’s hands and let it fall to the floor. The daughter of Apollo didn’t have time to analyze Joohyun’s possessive move, but wow, did she like it when the daughter of Hades acted like that. Wow, I really need to get these feelings sorted soon… “What do you want from us?”
Hypnos stepped back. “Contrary to what you may believe, I’m here to help.”
“Bull,” Sooyoung muttered, clearing to disguise her words. Seulgi didn’t think it was a smart decision to antagonize a god but neither Sooyoung nor Joohyun seemed to be at all intimidated by him.
Actually, now that she thought about it, she really didn’t see him as very threatening either. He completely lacked the menacing aura she’d felt when they encountered Thanatos.
“You know despite popular belief I do have my own agency,” Hypnos said unconvincingly. “I am a god after all and it is my sworn duty to look after mankind while they sleep.”
“Yeah, like we should believe anything coming from one of Nyx’s sons,” Joohyun challenged. “If you’re here to try and kill us, you’re not doing a very good job. Even the Keres were more menacing.”
“Don’t with me,” Hypnos warned, his relaxed expression morphing into one of anger. “Do not mistake my relaxed attitude for weakness. I may not address mankind in the same pompous way as most of the other gods, but it would take me less than an instant to kill all five of you.”
The air started to ripple around him and Seulgi felt something brush against her forehead – a feather-light touch that reminded her of her mother back in Seoul, kissing her good night. Her whole body felt suffused in warmth, and she wanted nothing more than to curl up in her blankets and forget about this whole demigod business.
Hypnos’ eyes pulled her in, a black hole of nothingness that promised to take all of her pain and worry away.
An angry roar broke through the dreariness, dragging Seulgi out of whatever hypnosis she had been put under. Her head felt stuffy, as though she had just woken up from a very unsatisfying nap. Next to her, Sooyoung looked absolutely pissed, her eyes red pinpricks of rage as she lunged for Hypnos. He jerked back, looking impressed with the daughter of Ares.
Yeri, Seungwan and Joohyun straightened up, rubbing the sleep from their eyes. With Sooyoung’s help they had successfully fought off Hypnos, but Seulgi knew that the god was only flexing the tiniest portion of his power. If he had wanted to kill them they would have been dead.
“Hmm…not bad, the five of you might actually make it out of this alive,” Hypnos said, observing the five girls in front of him, a thoughtful expression on