Chapter 12~Taking the First Step
“You have got to be kidding me,” she said as she looked at me with bewilderment. “Why in the gods name would you want me on a quest?”
“You said that the water thing earlier left a bunch of salt water around. Can you see it?” I asked her and she looked around for a few moments at the lake and the stream that went out to sea.
“Ya I can see it. It came from the sea and crawled up the creek before stopping over by your little game earlier. From the looks of it, it came from somewhere south, possibly Florida,” she said before turning back to me in the water. “So what?”
“The Oracle told me a being of water would show me some kind of trail. I think that is you, as you said it yourself that you can see the trail left behind,” I told her and she raised one of her eyebrows.
“I’m sure one of your little Poseidon campers can see it too,” the nymph said looking at me.
“Nope, I can’t see anything,” came a voice from behind me and we both looked back. El was walking up to the shoreline and took a step or two into the water. “Sorry for interrupting, everyone started looking for you after you ran away and I picked the lake. Anyway about the salt water, we children of Poseidon may be able to feel the difference between salt and fresh water, but I can’t see it as clearly as you. Naiads are closer to nature than demigods are, so you can see things better.”
“Of course we can,” the nymph said proudly, as if El was stroking her ego somewhat. “We naiads are more powerful than you give us credit for. Sure we play around a lot, but it is all in good fun.”
“So, will you do it?” I asked her. She lowered her head in thought for while before turning and looking back up at us.
“What’s in it for me?” she asked, but I wasn’t really sure what I could offer her in return. It was El that actually came to the rescue.
“Oh come on, you have the chance to see the world outside of your lake. Not to mention that you could show us demigods what a naiad can really do, make us see you in a different light,” El said, but the naiad seemed rather unconvinced. “Plus we will expand the lake.”
This caught the naiad’s attention right away and she turned and looked at the lake. It wasn’t a small lake, but with the way the camp had been expanding, the lake seemed to be small by comparison. It must have been hard to see everything around you change, but your home always stay the same. It was even worse when you considered that naiads could live for hundreds of years as long as their lake or river didn’t dry up.
“Alright, I’ll do it, but I want a waterfall too,” she said, but I wondered how you could put a waterfall on a lake. I’m sure the Hephaestus cabin could think of something.
“Deal,” El said and reached out her hand to shake on the deal. “I swear on the River Styx.”
There was a roar of thunder that faded after only a moment and the naiad seemed to like this promise. She reached her hand from the water and embraced El’s hand in her own. Just then, the naiad began to rise from the water and the water around her began to morph around her into regular clothes. When the water settled around her, she was wearing a green tank top with the image of a sea shell on the front. She was also wearing a pair of long jeans and some sandals on her feet. However, she still had her long brown hair with the single braid on the side of her head.
“Deal,” she said and let out a smile. El broke the handshake and began walking back toward the Rec Room of the Big House before turning around to look at us.
“Alright, I’ll go inform the other. Meet me back there when you’re ready,” El said and started running again to go inform Chiron. I looked back to the naiad and I looked as she stood atop the water right at the edge of the lake.
“Are you scared?” I asked her, as she seemed hesitant to take that first step and I wondered if she had ever set foot outside of her lake.
“Of course not!” she yelled at me and her face started to turn red before she turned her head away and started looking down at her feet. “I just don’t want to ruin my shoes on your stupid ground.”
“They’re flip flops, I don’t think you can ruin them anymore than they already are,” I told her, which she didn’t seem to take too kindly. In all honesty, there was nothing wrong with flip flops, but I never liked them as they always felt uncomfortable and when you’re on the run from monster, they aren’t great to run in.
“Keep in mind that you came to me for help, so you could stand to be a bit nicer,” she said to me and crossed her arms with a pout. I could tell we weren’t going to get anywhere like this.
“You’re right, I’m sorry for insulting your choice of footwear, it won't happen again,” I told her, but she didn’t seem to accept my apology. “Seriously I really am sorry, I just don’t like them is all.”
“You don’t like water or flip flops, what is wrong with you?” she asked in a mocking tone, but I let it slide.
“It might just be a problem I have. I’m sure there are things you don’t like to do,” I told her, and I noticed I didn’t even know her name, if she had one that is. “What is your name anyway?”
“I don’t think you could say it with that human tongue of yours, so you can just call me Angel,” she said sweetly, like it was a name fitting her in every aspect, but I was thinking of something else.
“Like the fish?” I asked, and she looked offended.
“No not like the fish!” she said and she took a step forward and made a motion like she was about to punch me, but didn’t. “Those things are kind of ugly, which I am not.”
“Look down for a second,” I told her and she looked a little unsure. When she did look however, she saw that her feet were no longer connected to the water and she was currently standing on the shore of the lake.
“How did you…” she started, seeing that I had managed to get her to conquer her fear without her even knowing.
“All it takes is one small step to get the ball rolling. Care to take a few more?” I asked her and he looked up and nodded. We then started walking back to the Big House, but every so often I would look back and see her stumble or wobble as she walked, obviously not used to the solid land. “Need any help?”
Without a word, she grabbed onto my arm and used me for balance and I got even more strange looks from some of the campers that saw the sight. I heard a few whispering about why a water nymph would be on land and I heard another wonder if she was breaking some kind of rule.
“This is so embarrassing,” Angel said as we kept walking and we eventually reached the door of the Big House. “I’m going to make you pay for this later.”
“I’m sure you will,” I said back. So far Angel had been nothing but trouble, and for a second she kind of reminded me of Aisling. Either way, my quest to the Sea of Monsters was about to begin.