High King Peter returned the following day after Lucy’s incident, and was almost overwhelmed with emotion with everything that was going on; rage at the attack on his little sister, fear of the impending threat of false accusations, worry over the situation in the north, and an immense sense of gratitude at what Nico did. However, he did not immediately grant Lucy the duties of ambassador to Archenland, but he did grant Nico passage to Narnia, though it was only the status of tourist. Nico didn’t mind one bit, he had already begun going through names in his mind, those whom he believed to be a much better choice as ambassador to Narnia. But he decided to enjoy his time in Narnia, and keep an eye out for Lucy’s attacker. Unfortunately, he wasn’t quite sure how he was going to be able to do that if the first thing Lucy wanted to do once he received permission to travel through Narnia was to show him around the country.
“Don’t you think the two of you should take a bath?” blurted Susan before Nico could reply, she and Edmund catching up to the duo out in the hall.
“What?’ he asked incredulously.
“Oh, you’re right Susan, we should. Come on, to the bath!”
“But Lucy, wait!” he exclaimed as she took off again, practically dragging him behind. He glanced around for help, but he only saw the quickly disappearing forms of Susan and Edmund.
“Oh, don’t worry, you’ll get used to it,” grinned Edmund before he and Susan walked off. Nico groaned, so much for that. His main concern for the bath was quickly dissipated when the fauns talked gaily with him, never pausing or even blinking at his scrawny form, much less worried about which deity he was the son of. Apparently Pluto, the Roman version of Hades, was a little more accepted in Narnia than in Archenland. Nico became intrigued and started to ask about the Roman deities. He found quite the willing teachers in many a faun and nymph. Even Lucy talked to him about the many deities of Narnia, though her main subject was Aslan, perhaps the one being Nico couldn’t quite get his head around, though the desire to meet the great Lion grew every time Lucy talked about him.
“What is Aslan, anyway?”
Lucy glanced at him quizzically, “What do you mean? He’s the creator of Narnia and everything in it, the great Lion!”
“But he’s not like the other deities, they all have children, but not Aslan. They even bow to him, even the king of the gods, Jupiter himself!”
“Well . . . I guess it is hard to explain. I mean, we don’t worship the deities like gods at all, we see them as more of a different species, much like fauns, nymphs, and centaurs. I guess, I guess you can say Aslan is really the only one worshipped like a god, the others are more like his messengers, the ones appointed to watch over Narnia. Apparently Narnia isn’t the only world created by Aslan, which makes him a very busy Lion.”
“I don’t know, I don’t think many Archelanders will like the idea of Zeus bowing to anybody.”
“But that’s just it. Don’t you get it?”
Nico raised an eyebrow, “Get what?”
“Your gods really aren’t gods, any more than ours. Your gods have to obey every one of your whims, while ours must obey every whim of Aslan’s, someone far wiser than anybody else, even my brother Edmund.”
“I-I still don’t get it.”
“Think of it this way, imagine a genie had the chance to choose between two masters. One was human and based all of his wishes upon his desires, whether for good or ill. The other was an immortal, both wise and just, and knows exactly what everyone needs. Who do you think the genie should choose?”
Nico bit his lip, “The wise immortal, the genie’s powers would be put to better use by his commands.”
Lucy nodded, “So who do you think your gods should listen to, the wise and just Aslan, or us selfish humans?”
Nico’s lips began to curl, “The wise and just immortal, Aslan.”
“But why hasn’t he visited Archenland?”
Lucy shrugged, “I don’t know, I can’t command him to do anything.” She began to smirk, “After all, he isn’t a tame lion.” A chuckle startled Nico, causing him to turn and notice the faun from which the chuckle came.
“You took the words right out of my mouth, your majesty,” he grinned and winked.
“Hello, Mr. Tumnus!” she rushed towards the faun and the two embraced. “Mr. Tumnus, this is Nico di Angelo, Nico, this is Mr. Tumnus.”
The faun bowed elegantly, “A pleasure to meet the Archenlander who risked his life to save our lovely queen.”
“Oh, uh, it was no problem, I’m just glad I was there when she needed help. Besides, any Archenlander would have done the same.”
“And made sure she got back home safely once they found out who she is?”
Nico winced, “Well, they might have held her captive, but nobody would have killed her, we’re too honorable for that.”
“Oh, well that’s good to know.”
“Learning sarcasm from Edmund now, are we?”
“A fine teacher, if I may say so myself.”
Nico couldn’t help it, he burst out laughing, “Go figure, he reminds me of both Leo and Percy.”
“Leo Valdez, the most annoying of the sons of Hephaestus, or Vulcan, and Percy Jackson is the son of Poseidon, or Neptune, according to you guys.”
“Ah, they are very proficient in sarcasm, huh?”
“Oh, very, the two of them and Edmund would have a field day for sarcasm.”
“Another reason why we should mend this rift between Narnia and Archenland, it sounds like we have more in common than we originally thought.”
Nico paused, “I guess you’re right about that, but there’s still a lot about Narnia that I don’t know.”
Tumnus glanced at Lucy, “Then, shall we?”
Lucy grinned, “Of course, we were heading out for that very reason when we bumped into you.”
“Then allow me to act as your guide,” stated the faun as he bowed gracefully.
“It would be a pleasure for you to grace us with your knowledge,” replied Nico with an equally graceful bow.
Tumnus straightened, grinning widely, “Now look who’s using sarcasm. Percy and Leo have taught you well.”
“Well, just Percy, I’d say, Leo wouldn’t touch me with a forty foot pole.”
Tumnus raised an eyebrow, “Now why would that be, if you don’t mind my asking?”
Nico sighed as he shifted from one foot to another, “Because I’m a son of Hades, Pluto according to you Narnians, not many Archenlanders like him.”
“Wait, you’re a son of Pluto, or Hades?” exclaimed a dark-skinned girl from the corridor.
Nico glanced at her quizzically, “Uh, yeah? And you are?”
“I’m Hazel Levasque, I’m a daughter of Pluto!”
“Y-you are?” Hazel nodded excitedly. “Then, that must mean . . .”
“We’re brother and sister!”
“I guess . . . oof!” Nico found himself engulfed in a tight squeeze.
She pulled back to bounce around in glee, “I can’t believe it, I have a brother!”
Nico cracked a grin, “And a sister.”
Nico nodded, “Yes, her name is Bianca, she joined the Archers of Artemis, or Diana, though.”
“Meaning she obeys Artemis, or Diana, and has made a vow of perpetual virginity, though she is now immortal.”
“Whoa,” breathed Hazel and Lucy.
“Queen Susan has the protection of Diana,” commented Tumnus.
“Shouldn’t she have the protection of Hera, I mean, Juno?”
“What? Oh no, Reyna has Juno’s protection because she married Peter, who has the protection of Jupiter,” replied Lucy.
“So who protects you and Edmund?”
“Well, Apollo protects me, and Minerva protects Edmund.”
Nico arched his eyebrow, “Athena protects Edmund? That’s interesting, we’ve been told you guys belittled her!”
Lucy blinked, “Belittle her, why? She is very important! She’s part of the greatest family! Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva are the highest of all of them! Where did you hear such nonsense?”
Nico shrugged, “The children of Athena talk about it all the time, you’ll have to talk to them about that.”
Hazel raised an eyebrow, “The children of Athena? As in, Minerva, right?” Nico nodded slowly. “But, Minerva has vowed perpetual virginity, just like Diana and her archers!”
Nico grinned sheepishly, “Oh, that, yeah, um, it’s kind of hard to explain. You guys know how Athena, I mean, Minerva, was born?” The three nodded.
“She jumped out of Jupiter’s head,” commented Tumnus.
“Yeah, well, apparently all of Athena’s kids do the same, they jump out of Athena’s head.” The three glanced at Nico before glancing at each other, and burst out laughing.
“That must be the most hilarious thing to see!” snorted Tumnus.
“Oh, we’re sorry, we shouldn’t be laughing, but . . .” began Lucy.
“Nope, we should be, that is just way too funny,” blurted Hazel from behind her hand.
Nico started to snicker, “Yeah, now that you mention it, that would look silly. But apparently, that’s how it was done. And, now that I think about it, it makes sense too.”
“Oh, the fact that they all pretty much look the same, blonde hair with grey eyes.”
Hazel raised her eyebrow, “Seriously? Minerva is supposed to be the wisest one as well as creative, and she doesn’t have much of an imagination?”
Nico shrugged, “Hey, I just give the facts.”
“Well, obviously you need to know more facts about Narnia, and we need to know more about Archenland. Come on!” Lucy led the way out of the castle, Tumnus and Hazel practically herding Nico out after her. The four spent the rest of the day together, learning more about each other than the countries, but at least they were off to a good start.