In Which Son Seungwan Saves The Day

I fall, you and I collide
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The minute Seulgi stepped past the door and into the Labyrinth proper she could sense the sheer amount of ancient magic around her. It was everywhere—the walls, the floor, even the air positively thrummed with a current of magical energy. It unnerved her, and some primal instinct in her body told her that even demigods weren’t supposed to be in a place like this for long. It also didn’t help that she was walking completely blind.

She waited for her eyes to adjust to the inky blackness but they never did, so she was stuck feeling along the walls and tapping the floor with her feet to make sure she didn’t do something stupid like trip and fall. Seulgi reached out blindly with her hands in front of her body, stifling the squeak of surprise when she brushed someone else’s shoulder. And judging from the lack of swear words, mean comments or thinly veiled rude jokes it was probably Seungwan.

“Seungwan, is that you?”

“Yeah, it’s me. You know usually this would be the time I say something like ‘Wow, look at this place’ but I can’t see .”

“Would you two shut up?” Sooyoung hissed. “The last thing we need is to attract monsters.” She tapped her spear twice on the floor and the entire weapon lit up with a bright orange glow, lighting up the darkness around them.

Now that the hallway around them was visible, Seungwan took the opportunity to finish her earlier statement. “Wow, look at this place.”

“This is the vaunted Labyrinth?” Yeri asked, looking around. “It looks more like the inside of a sewer tunnel.”

There was a loud rumble underneath their feet, as if the Labyrinth itself resented Yeri’s remark.

“Please don’t antagonize the potentially sentient magical maze, Yeri,” Joohyun said.

Yeri quickly murmured an apology and kept any further remarks about their surroundings to herself.

“We need to find Procyon,” Joohyun continued. “We can’t afford to lose our only lead in this place.”

Almost as if he heard his name being called, there was a soft bark and Procyon came trotting out of the darkness ahead, sky-blue leash in his mouth. He looked up at Sooyoung with an almost apologetic look on his face and sat at her feet, tail nervously wagging back and forth.

“There you are!” Sooyoung gently pried the leash from the dog’s jaws, giving him a pat on the head. “Don’t you ever run away from us again.”

Procyon whined and Seulgi got the impression that he understood every word that came out of the daughter of Ares’ mouth.

Now that their little group was whole again the five of them set off down the hall with Sooyoung and Procyon at the lead.

It quickly became obvious that this place was a nightmare of long confusing passageways and doors. The Labyrinth seemed to respond to each and every move they made. Seulgi soon lost count of the turns they had taken, and it didn’t help that every so often the entire tunnel seemed to shimmer and take on a completely different form.  One moment they were traipsing through a sewer tunnel and the next they found themselves tripping over the uneven stoneworks of what appeared to be a medieval dungeon corridor.

“Ugh this place is a nightmare,” Seungwan said scowling in disgust when the tunnel shimmered again and she found herself stepping in a large patch of mud. “I don’t suppose there’s any way to start over again, is there?”

The moment the words left they heard an ominous rumble and Joohyun sighed. “I really wish you hadn’t said that.”

Sure enough, when Seulgi turned around the path behind them had disappeared. Message received. There was no backtracking allowed.

“.”

XXX

Some hours later, as Procyon led the girls down yet another tunnel, Seulgi found herself wondering why exactly she insisted on following Joohyun on this quest.

All the twists and turns they had taken were starting to make her dizzy, and even with a supernatural tracking hound on their side she felt as though they were walking around in circles.

“Isn’t Daedalus supposed to test us?” she asked Joohyun as Procyon took yet another abrupt turn, leading them down a stone tunnel. “Right now all he’s testing is my patience.”

And maybe it was the flickering of the lightbulbs in the tunnel but Seulgi swore Joohyun had just smiled at her joke.

“Ask and you shall receive,” was the answer she got. Joohyun had stopped before the next door, holding everyone back. “The room ahead looks different from all the others we’ve been in.”

Sooyoung poked her head into the room. “Are you sure? It kind of looks like one we passed by like two hours ago…”

Joohyun narrowed her eyes. “Can’t you guys feel it? The magic is more concentrated up ahead.”

Seulgi focused on feeling the magic around her and sure enough, she felt a spike of magic in the direction of the room in front of them. How had she not noticed it before?

“I can’t feel anything,” Seungwan said dryly. “Except regret for agreeing to follow Seulgi on this quest.”

Seulgi rolled her eyes in Seungwan’s direction. They both knew that Seungwan had agreed to come with Seulgi of her own accord.

Joohyun readied herself. “Alright let’s keep moving. Just be on the lookout.”

XXX

Seulgi was the last of their group to pass the door’s threshold, and as soon as she did, the tunnel behind them disappeared again.

“That’s ominous,” Seungwan’s statement echoed everyone else’s feelings. The Labyrinth shuddered underneath them and water began to seep in through the cracks in the floor. “Great. I didn’t bring any extra socks.”

“I think that’s the least of our problems,” Seulgi stared at the water. Was it just her own imagination or was the water getting…?

“The water’s rising,” Yeri said, a note of panic in her voice.

“Damn it,” Joohyun swore, “We need to get out of here. Now.”

“There’s the door!” Seungwan yelled. Of course because they were in a demented hellish maze the door was completely sealed shut. “Damn it!”

“There has to be some way to open it,” Yeri said, looking around. “Look! On the walls!”

The youngest member of their party pointed at the runes lining the walls. Sure enough, some of them appeared to match the runes carved into the sealed door. “It’s a puzzle!”

“A timed puzzle,” Sooyoung added, as the water continued to rise past their ankles. “I’m guessing if we don’t find the right order in time we drown.”

“Oh now that’s a comforting thought,” Seulgi muttered. She was never good at puzzle games. There always seemed to be some kind of trick and she could never understand the hidden rules in time.

Joohyun darted to the sealed door and examined the runes. “These symbols look familiar…”

Seungwan joined her, peering at the markings. She snapped her fingers, a grin on her face. “These are the symbols we use to represent the gods at camp. See? That’s the one that appeared above Yeri’s head when she arrived and that one is the one on the Ares flag.”

“Okay but in which order do we press them in?” Joohyun pressed the symbol for Zeus and the stone behind the symbol glowed red briefly.

“That wasn’t right,” Yeri said, the water now up to her knees. Procyon seemed to be oblivious to the impending flood and was busy having fun splashing in the water like the retriever he was. “The water’s rising faster now.”

Joohyun swore. “So order matters. We can’t afford to make a wrong decision here.”

They stood in silence for a precious few seconds as the water continued to rise.

“Daedalus was the son of Athena, right?” Yeri asked. “They’re known for their love of puzzles and architecture. He would have put a clue somewhere.”

Seulgi wracked her brains for a possible solution but she was coming up empty. She simply didn’t know enough about the world of demigods to make an informed opinion. Yeri on the other hand had been studying with Joohyun and Sooyoung for months back at the academy in Seoul.

But she had taken an architecture class at one of her old schools. The school board had cut funding to traditional art classes and replaced them with architecture classes in the hopes of inspiring more young students to study the profession. Seulgi had hated it but there were a few things she still remembered after having vocabulary drilled into her head day after day.

“Maybe look for a cornerstone?” she suggested. “Most architects leave a mark or something like it, its like an artist signing their work.”

“Here!” Sooyoung called, grabbing everyone’s attention. The water had almost completely covered the cornerstone but Seulgi could see thin spidery letters had been carved into the rock. “It’s in Ancient Greek.”

“Pop quiz time Seulgi,” Joohyun grabbed Seulgi’s hand and walked her over to the cornerstone. If their current situation wasn’t so dire Seulgi probably would have freaked out a little. “What does it say?”

The water was now at waist level and continuing to rise.

“The titan Kronos swallowed his children whole, fearing for his throne

Until Rhea birthed Zeus and instead handed him a stone

Zeus came of age, his hatred for his father burned

His siblings he needed to save, In which order were they returned?”

“I KNOW THIS ONE!” Yeri yelled, clapping her hands with glee. Despite the situation everyone couldn’t help but smile at the proud look on their youngest’s face. “Joohyun-unnie made me study this chapter like a week before we got to camp! Kronos was afraid of the power his children might one day have so whenever Rhea gave birth he swallowed them whole, except for Zeus because his mother saved him and instead handed Kronos a stone to swallow. In order to rescue his siblings he gave Kronos something to make him throw up. The riddle is asking in which order did Zeus rescue his siblings?”

“So what’s the order?” Joohyun asked.

“The order he swallowed them in was Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades and Poseidon,” Yeri recited. “He upchucked them in reverse order!”

“We need the rune for Poseidon!” Joohyun yelled. The water was still climbing and had reached her shoulders.

“Got it!” Seungwan called, slapping the rune with a three-pronged trident. This time the symbol glowed green. “Where’s Hades?”

“Over here!” Seulgi said, pressing the rune with Joohyun’s signature skull symbol. “Hera’s next.”

“Found it,” Sooyoung said, pressing a peacock rune. The water had almost overwhelmed them. “Demeter’s symbol is a stalk of wheat.”

“Here,” Joohyun pressed the correct rune. “Last is Hestia. Hers should be a hearth.”

Yeri had to dive underwater to press the final rune. As soon as she did the stone stoor rumbled and began to slide open, draining the tunnel and depositing five very wet and very exhausted demigods and one carefree Labrador retriever into the next room.

Seulgi lay sprawled on the stone floor of this new room, trying in vain to catch her breath. This place is way too dangerous, she thought.

Apparently Yeri seemed to echo her statement. “This place .”

XXX 

The five of them looked like a group of half-drowned rats. And Seulgi definitely felt like she was half-dead. She was completely soaked from head to toe,

“Sooyoung, get a fire started, we’re camping here for the night,” Joohyun ordered, taking in everyone’s haggard looking appearances.

The daughter of Ares nodded and began pulling supplies out of her backpack. “You know it’s a good thing those torches are made of Greek Fire cause…”

The fire-starting kit she had pulled out had been completely ruined by their recent activities.

“I kind of figured,” Joohyun sighed, approaching Yeri and dutifully checking over her like a concerned mother. It was rather heartwarming, Seulgi thought, watching as Joohyun made sure their youngest hadn’t gotten injured. She all but forced Yeri to sit and rest when the daughter of Hermes tried to get up and help Sooyoung with starting the fire.

“At least this room looks safe for now,” Seulgi commented, looking around. The Labyrinth had spit them out in a big open cavern. The sconces that lined the walls burned with a magical green fire and old broken mosaics hung between them, depicting various scenes from Greek mythology.

“I dunno, this feels like a save point before we have to face a big boss or something,” Yeri looked uneasy. They watched as Sooyoung carefully built a small fire pit, tossing the wet remains of the fire-starting kit in the center and grabbing one of the green torches.

“What’s she doing?” Seulgi asked.

“Greek fire isn’t like normal fire,” Yeri supplied, pointing to Sooyoung. “You have to be super careful because anything it touches bursts into flames”. Sooyoung gently tilted the torch downwards and with a whoosh of green light flames spread across the still damp firewood. “Even wet things.”

Seulgi sat back, impressed while Sooyoung rifled through everyone’s bags and pulled out their wet bedrolls, putting them as close to the fire as she could to dry them out without setting them aflame.  

Dinner that night was simple. She and

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Drachesoul
It's my birthday this week and I finally felt inspired enough to write a bit. Being featured is the best present an author could ask for. Enjoy, I still don't have a concrete update schedule :D
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