Lucy came through and got an audience for Nico with Peter the following morning after breakfast. Peter suggested a ride through the country to get away from some pesky nuisances and busy-bodies. It wasn’t until they were far away from the castle that Peter explained.
“Did Lu tell you about Octavian?”
“Uh, you mean that crazy-looking blond with the stuffed animals?”
Peter grinned, “Perfect description, though I’d say he doesn’t look crazy, he kinda is.”
“Um, OK, what about him? Sorry, I haven’t exactly seen him.”
“That’s alright, and that’s because he doesn’t want to see you. He hates Archenlanders.”
Nico winced, now he understood, “Oh, that’s why you wanted this ride.”
Peter nodded as he reigned in his horse near a brook, “Exactly, Octavian doesn’t want me to consider negotiations with the Archenlanders, he’d rather we go to war and kill them all off!” Nico gasped as a thought raced through his mind, could Octavian be the perpetrator? “What is it?” Nico bit his lip, should he tell him?
“Um, I-I’m shocked to think that there’s still someone who wants this war to continue!” he blurted.
Peter eyed him, “Wait, do you think that Octavian would be the one who tried to kill Lucy?”
“Uh . . .”
“Well I can inform you that it wasn’t, we were in council that night! We were getting some things out of the way before getting home.”
“B-but he could have had someone else do it!”
Peter shook his head, “I highly doubt it. Are you sure it wasn’t an Archenlander?”
“I-I don’t know, it was hard to tell, I was more worried about saving your sister than going after him.”
Peter relaxed a bit, “I know, and I thank you for that. Perhaps if we work together, we can still find that creep and send him to the dungeons before he can harm anyone else.” Nico sighed and nodded, he had to agree with that, though he had been so sure the perpetrator was Narnian. “How about you show me the place where it happened? Perhaps we may find a clue.”
Nico instantly brightened, “Of course! But, well, no one’s been there for weeks, any clues could have disappeared.”
“Not necessarily, the horse could have stomped something into the ground, or a piece of cloth got snagged on a branch. Shall we at least give it a try?”
“Absolutely.” With Nico leading the way, the two raced off towards the border. Within a couple of hours, they had dismounted and began scouring the ground for clues. After about an hour of searching, they each had found something. Peter had found a button near where Lucy had been tossed into the sea, Nico had found the hoofprints of the horse going into Archenland, and coming right back into Narnia. As he peered closer at the hoofprints of their own horses, he noticed something else, the hoofprints of the perpetrator were deeper, which could mean that its rider was heavier. Octavian was by no means any heavier than Nico was, but his bodyguard on the other hand, who seemed to obey Octavian’s word without question, was a totally different matter. Now, if they could just tie the bodyguard to the scene, they had a case. Nico straightened up at Peter’s call as the king walked towards his position. Peter had just handed Nico the button when the two heard the stampede of horses approaching, from both directions.
“Nico! Where have you been? And what are you doing with the King of Narnia?” blurted the first girl on the scene, Percy Jackson himself right behind her. Nico didn’t get a chance to reply as the worst possible person rushed in.
“Your majesty, there you are! And what is this? Your sister’s savior has lured you into a trap?” sneered Octavian as soldiers came to a stop behind him.
“What? What are you talking about?” Nico glanced between Peter and Octavian as if to say, “he’s definitely our guy”. But Peter didn’t get the message as all Tartarus seemed to break loose.
“Kill the Narnian King!”
“Kill the Archenlander Captain!”
“No!” screamed Nico, but he seemed to be tossed to the side. He quickly scrambled up and shouted, “Percy, Peter, you have to stop them!” But his voice was lost in the chaos. The battle didn’t last for very long, thankfully, both sides apparently didn’t want to fight near a cliff, and were kind of showing to the other side that they were getting tired of fighting each other. Whether or not the other side caught the hint is unsure, but Nico certainly did and tried to make them stop fighting, only to get caught in the fray, first protecting Peter from the Archenlanders, then protecting Percy from the Narnians. Back and forth, back and forth he went, trying to convince each person he fought to help him end this stupid feud. It looked like he was seeing progress until a cry went out and chilled him to the bone. He glanced at the owner of the cry, his only sister lay on the ground, an arrow imbedded in her heart. A guttural cry of rage and anguish burst from his mouth, a cry so loud that the whole battle stopped to watch him rush to Bianca.
“No! Bianca! Don’t go! Bianca!” She opened her eyes and smiled at him, mouthing the words “I love you,” before closing her eyes one final time. Nico’s heart felt like it was being yanked out of his chest as he sensed her spirit leaving for their father’s realm. He cradled her lifeless body and let loose a tormented cry so loud that the earth seemed to shake with it. He didn’t know how long he knelt there, sobbing, but when he glanced up, both armies had retreated. He slowly and reluctantly set about burying her, and when he had finished, cried himself to sleep by her grave. When he finally came to, a mound of golden fur was watching him with sorrow in his eyes.
“A-Aslan?” sniffed Nico.
The lion nodded, “It is I, Nico.”
“W-why couldn’t you save her?”
“It was her time. Do not fear, you will see her again.”
“B-but . . .”
Aslan shook his head, “I’m afraid there is no time for grief, it must be put aside for another time. Right now war is brewing brewing between Archenland and Narnia, and I need your help to stop them.”
“Because this is a job for someone who has great strength, plenty of courage, and knows both lands rather well. I do not say it will be easy, but much good will come from it.” Nico wiped the tears from his eyes and glanced at his sister’s grave. “The time will come when you can fully grieve for your sister, but it must be put aside for now, until peace has been brought to Archenland and Narnia.”
Nico glanced at the lion, “Alright, tell me what to do.”