The rest of the group found themselves launched from the train at a different point on the journey, and began wandering around, looking frantically for the two missing members of their party. It took them a few hours, but they finally found someone in the desolate landscape.
"Susan, Peter . . . wait, is everybody here?" Everybody shook their heads. "OK, but you don't have to speak all at once."
"Apparently Nico was the last one through," began Reyna, but her voice began to shake. Peter rubbed her shoulder and whispered in her ear.
Percy continued, "Pretty much, we're all the ones who made it through the portal. Except, we got separated from Nico and Lucy. We've been looking for them for the past few hours."
Jack's eyes widened, "You were separated from them?"
"Please tell us you've found them," stated Hazel, indicating the two shadows hiding behind the trees. Jack winced and sighed before waving the shadows out of their hiding place. A male and a female did step out from behind the trees, but they were much too old to be Lucy and Nico. On top of that, the girl's hair was way too long. "What . . . who?"
"Everybody, this is Rapunzel and her thief friend, Flynn Rider."
"Hey! There was no need to tell them that, I'm not going to steal anything from them, except maybe a weapon to defend myself with," blurted Flynn.
"Wait, shouldn't Rapunzel be in a tower?" asked Edmund.
"And doesn't she get saved by a prince?" asked Hazel. The three flinched.
"Uh, yeah, about that . . . apparently I saved the second Rapunzel."
"There were two?" The three nodded.
"And you saved one?"
"Yeah, um, I had to pretend to be the bad guy in order to save these two."
"Yeah, I almost thought you were until you freed us and told us to hurry so we could find your friends," blurted Flynn. "Don't ever scare me like that again."
Jack grinned mischievously, "If you don't keep quiet, I just might." Rapunzel snickered as Flynn crossed his arms and huffed.
"Enough, please, Nico and Lucy are far more important. We have to find them."
"Yes, but you need to hear what I have to say, maybe there's a way." The group glanced at each other.
Peter seemed to speak for everyone, "Alright, but make it quick, every second counts."
"No kidding, but you've got to promise me not to start running around like crazy when I've told you what we've found out. It could make things worse for Nico and Lucy." They each slowly promised. What did Jack find out? Jack sighed, "OK, first things first. Apparently the bad guy here looks remarkably like me, I mean, we could almost be twins. That old witch kept calling me 'School Master' and 'Rafal, insisting on that she had no clue where these two came from, though she had already gotten her ending."
"Wh-what?" muttered Leo. Jack shot him a glare before continuing.
"I merely her told that I knew about it as others had been popping up, but they had already been killed, and that I was trying to find one couple so I could figure out what was going on. Well, she let me take them, and promised to help me however she could. I told her I'd keep that in mind and would be sure to do so if I needed her help, but that she was not to breath a word of this to anyone, not even when she and I are alone, until I've asked her to help with this mystery alone."
"O-OK, mind explaining why this is so important to finding Nico and Lucy?" quipped Edmund.
Jack groaned, "Yeah, if you'd stop interrupting me. As I was saying, we were almost out of there when the witch started babbling on about how wonderful I am for giving all the villains a second chance at their happy ending, blah blah . . ."
"All the villains?" began Percy.
"Get a second chance at their happy ending?" finished Annabeth.
Jack nodded grimly, no longer concerned with being interrupted, "There's something else, she let out that some League of Thirteen were meeting to try and find a way to bring some Agatha and Tedros back to the woods to destroy me and bring back all the happy endings that she and other villains have worked so hard to destroy, or, in her words, obtain for themselves. Though, I don't see how killing Rapunzel and her boyfriend's supposed to make her happy."
"So, in other words, you want to find this League of Thirteen and this Agatha and Tedros and have them find Nico and Lucy?" asked Jason
"Well, it is our best bet, they would know the layout of the land better than we do."
"He's got a point there," remarked Eustace.
"But . . ."
"But would you rather spend valuable time searching for them in a land you know nothing about, hoping to come across them, only that you spent so much time wandering around that by the time you find them, you've found nothing but their bones?" They were taken back by Jack's outburst.
"Jack, what aren't you telling us?" asked Susan with worry.
Jack's voice broke, "I was just trying to protect him from Pitch and, and I-I just sent him to someone just as bad, if not worse."
"Jack, tell us, now," commanded Peter, his voice stern.
"Don't you get it yet? All the old villains are getting a second chance to rewrite their stories, what do you think it means? They were dead, weren't they?" Eyes began to widen as understanding dawned.
"Rafal r-raised the dead," muttered Will, his face paling with dread.
"Exactly, and if he finds out that Nico can too . . ."
"H-he'll kill him," gasped Hazel.
"Because there's nothing but good guys left for Nico to control," finished Jack.
"I just hope Pitch didn't follow us through the portal," muttered Leo. Jack's eyes widened, he apparently hadn't thought of that.
Jason nodded at everyone, "Alright, you heard the fellow, let's go find this League of Thirteen, they may be our only chance of finding Nico and Lucy, and getting out of here in one piece. And let's do this quickly, before anything does happen to the two of them."
"But let's not stop looking for Nico and Lucy, we might end up finding them without the help of this League," pointed out Edmund. They nodded, and continued on their search, not knowing that Nico and Lucy were as safe as they could be, for the time being, their escape practically walking right up to the gates.