THREE WEEKS LATER
This dream wasn’t nearly as clear as some of the others she’d had. All she could see was the blurry outline of a group of girls, the image was so murky that she couldn’t even tell how many of them there were. One moment she saw four, then five, seven and nine.
In fact, the only clear thing she saw were the symbols etched above three of their heads: a golden sun, a black skull and a red boar. The symbols above the heads of the other girls were blurry, as if the dream itself was telling Seulgi that she wasn’t allowed to see that far into the future. Confused by this, Seulgi stared at the black skull symbol, briefly wondering if this dream was meant to warn her that Joohyun would become the center of whatever fresh hell came for them next. Before her defeat, Nyx had promised that this war was only just beginning. Seulgi could only hope that wasn’t the case.
A wave of ominous purple light began creeping towards the girl with the skull symbol above her head. Seulgi reached out to her with an outstretched hand, to try and warn her of the incoming danger but like all her other dreams she was simply a witness, unable to change or influence her surroundings. The last thing Seulgi heard before the dream faded was that familiar raspy gasp that never failed to send shivers down her spine.
Oh little Light, this fight is far from over.
Seulgi bolted upright in bed, Nyx’s whisper still in the back of her mind. It took a moment for her to calm herself and to remind herself of her surroundings. I’m back at camp, I’m safe, Nyx is gone…she repeated that mantra several times under her breath until she felt Joohyun move under the covers.
She looked over at her girlfriend’s sleeping form and felt herself calming down even more. Ever since they’d returned to camp Seulgi had found herself plagued with nightmares about Nyx, and the only thing that seemed to keep the dreams at bay was sleeping next to Joohyun. There was probably some tether-related reason for it but she didn’t want to look too deeply into it. What mattered was that being next to the daughter of Hades did wonders for her.
“…Seul?” Joohyun’s voice was husky with sleep as she rolled over and saw Seulgi sitting upright in bed. She reached out to hold onto one of Seulgi’s hands. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m good, go back to sleep,” Seulgi whispered, pressing a soft kiss to Joohyun’s knuckles to ease the older girls’ worries.
“You say that all the time,” Joohyun snorted, sitting up in bed and stretching like a cat. The two of them had started sleeping in Joohyun’s cabin most nights, which Seulgi enjoyed. Not that it wasn’t great sleeping in the Apollo cabin with her siblings, but after having been an only child for most of her life she greatly preferred the peace and quiet the Hades cabin brought her.
As soon as they’d returned to camp the counselors all banded together to throw a massive party in the Apollo cabin to celebrate the return of the once missing campers. The only reason they’d managed to get away with it was because Solar, Hobi, Jihyo and Somi were still recovering in the infirmary after their ordeal.
The party had lasted for the better part of three days and Seulgi still thought the cabin smelled too much like the fruity drinks the Dionysus kids had brought. Her siblings were incredible, but by the gods were they loud.
“This is only the beginning, Hyun.” Seulgi said worriedly. They’d barely managed to down Nyx and the goddess was only at a fraction of her true power. She shuddered to think of what a completely powered-up and corporeal Nyx would be like.
“I know. But we’ll get through it together.”
Seulgi smiled in the darkness, comforted by Joohyun’s words. She was right, as usual. Their fight was just beginning but for right now? In this moment? All that mattered was that they were together.
The daughter of Hades chuckled softly, rubbing circles on Seulgi’s lower back before laying back down in bed. “Always. Hopefully the world can keep its together for at least a few weeks though, I’m still exhausted. Now shut up and go back to sleep, we have combat practice in a few hours.”
As Seulgi drew closer and closer to the Big House the following morning she could sense an incredibly powerful aura coming from within. She knew by now that something that powerful could only belong to one thing: a god. And looking over at the worried gaze on Joohyun’s face she knew the older girl had felt it too.
The five of them pushed open the doors to the Big House and greeted some of the cats that called the place home before walking into the parlor.
Hades, God of the Underworld stood in the middle of the room, clearly waiting for them. He looked a lot better than the last time they’d met, leading Seulgi to believe that whatever hold Nyx had on the god had faded with her defeat.
“Joohyun.” Hades spoke first.
“Dad.” Things still seemed to be a little awkward between Hades and his daughter but in light of the recent battle it seemed that Joohyun was willing to work past her problems with her father. At least for the moment.
“I wanted to talk with you before the others get here.” Next to Joohyun, Seulgi saw Seungwan mouth ‘others?’ to Sooyoung and Yeri.
“Is this about the shard?” Joohyun asked, summoning her axe and holding the broken weapon carefully in her hands.
“Yes and no,” Hades replied, reaching out to take his daughter’s weapon. She reluctantly loosened her grasp and let him take it. Seulgi could still see the glint of the shard lying in the axe’s handle, wondering how such a tiny fragment was able to stave off Nyx’s power. “We are all in agreement that you should keep it, for now.”
“Is that wise?” Joohyun said skeptically.
“Nyx will return, make no mistake. But for now she has been defeated. My siblings and I will be keeping watch over the other shards and we think that this piece will be safer in close proximity to the Dawnbreaker.”
He waved his hands over the broken weapon and Seulgi watched in amazement as Hades effortlessly repaired the axe handle. The only sign that it had ever been broken was a vein of white Stygian Iron that had been etched in the metal over where the shard was located. Hades handed the weapon back to Joohyun.
With that done, the atmosphere quickly turned awkward again.
“How is she?” Joohyun broke the silence.
“Persephone is recovering well,” Hades responded, moving to sit down on the couch and petting one of the cats that was perched on the armrest. Seulgi almost laughed at the ridiculousness of it, the literal god of the Underworld, sitting on a squashed old sofa and trailing his fingers down the back of a grumpy old tabby cat. “I shudder to think of the state she would have been in had you five not found her before Nyx completed her scrying ritual. Now, before the rest of my siblings get here, there’s something I need to do first.”
He beckoned Yeri forward with one hand, gesturing to the baseball cap she still wore on her head.
“As much as I know you’re loath to part with it Miss Kim, I do need to ask for my hat back. It is rather important to me.”
Yeri pouted for a second and Seulgi knew that she would miss being able to turn invisible at the drop of a hat. Actually, now that she thought about it, Yeri was already a personification of chaos, the last thing she needed was the ability to go invisible.
Still, the daughter of Hermes nodded sadly and took off the baseball cap to hand it back to Hades. As it transferred from Yeri’s hands to Hades’, the cap shimmered and changed from a baseball cap to a mighty Greek battle helmet adorned with precious metals. Yeri froze.
“Wait, you’re telling me you lent me your actual Helm of Darkness?”
Hades smiled for the first time and Seulgi immediately noticed how much he resembled his daughter. “I figured you would be able to make the most out of it. Still, as a token of my appreciation I’d like for you to have this.”
He waved his fingers and a silver chain necklace wound itself around Yeri’s neck. A silver skull pendant hung from the chain. “This is a much less potent version of my helm but should you figure out how to activate it, it will allow you to turn invisible for a brief period of time.”
Yeri’s eyes glittered as she held the pendant in her hand and Seulgi swore she could see the gears beginning to turn in the blonde’s head. “Whoa.”
Hades turned to Seulgi. “As for you, little Dawnbreaker. You’ve not only kept my daughter safe but managed to defeat Nyx before she could get her hands on the first scepter shard.<