Chapter 15~On the Rocks
“You dare bind me!” Lightning yelled as she sent another wave of lightning toward the ship. However, it was clearly weaker than before and it seemed to be directed. The flying ship had several lightning rods that seemed to extend out around it and they absorbed the lightning. Just then, three small cannons appeared on the bottom of the ship and seemed to lock onto Lightning.
“Move!” I yelled up to her, but she didn’t seem to be listening. All three cannons fired a stream of something I didn’t recognize and when it hit Lightning, there was a cloud of blue steam and smoke. I thought he fired some kind of explosive at her, but once the smoke cleared I saw I was completely wrong.
“She’s frozen,” Angel said as she looked up. Lightning looked more like an ice sculptor floating in the air. Through the clearness of the ice, I saw the rings that had confined her start blinking a green light and then started pulling her up toward the ship. Some bay doors in the bottom opened up and I saw another containment unit waiting for Lightning, who was swiftly encased and he doors closed.
The storm completely cleared after this and the flying ship began to lower itself down. I watched as the Collector looked over the side of his ship at our own small vessel and he grabbed a megaphone from out of my view. He flipped a switch and patted his palm on one end, checking to make sure it was on.
“Ahoy Ashton Faith,” the older man said. He looked about the same since the last time I saw him, with his salt and pepper hair and slightly wrinkled face. His business suit had changed to a light blue color, instead of the navy blue he had on last time at the Grand Canyon. The only thing that seemed exactly the same was his strange tinted glasses. “I must thank you again for weakening another one of these Elementals. You are truly proving to be a valuable asset.”
“I’m not one of your employees,” I half shouted, half told him with my sword still in my hand.
“Well you should be my young lad; my offer still stands by the way,” he said as he straightened his suit.
“And my answer will remain the same,” I said back, still trying to keep my cool. “You have no idea the forces you are trying to control.”
“Do you?” he said, motioning to my sword. “You control the elements just as I do.”
“You’re wrong; I was given this power as a gift. You take it by force,” I yelled at him, finally becoming angry.
“In my profession, most things must be taken by force. I wasn’t given everything I have today by simply asking for it. I do hope you change your mind and I hope to see you soon,” he said before turning around and walking out of my sight. “Palinurus, onward to the Bermuda Triangle! We have more pieces to add to my collection.”
“Wait!” I called, but it was too late. The turbines that kept his ship in the air quickly began to accelerate and the salt water of the ocean was blown in my face. Our ship began to rock because of the wind and the Collector was soon too high for any of us to do anything. Just then the three cannons moved and all three fired at once. I thought he was aiming for the boat until, but soon realized he was freezing the water all around our ship, locking us in ice.
“What the heck was that?!”El yelled as she looked over the side of the ship. “This isn’t normal ice, otherwise how did trap that lightning thing so easily.”
“He is using the power of the Elementals against each other. He captured Ice last winter after me and a few others weakened it. He swooped in and finished it off,” I explained. “Any chance we can escape from this ice?”
“Not a problem, watch this,” El said as she walked up to the helm and pulled a lever. I heard something shifting toward the stern of the ship and I ran up to look over the rail. The wooden boards the ship was made from seemed to be retracting in the front and a large wedge shaped blade of Celestial Bronze came forward. It reminded me of the cow movers on old fashioned trains. Just then the sail came down as the ship once again came to life with El on board. “Alright everyone, hang on as this is going to get bumpy.”
She wasn’t lying, because as soon as the ship moved forward it collided with the ice and everyone shifted forward. The ice seemed to break up a bit, but we weren’t moving at all.
“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of this. Someone take Joe down to the bunks. I don’t want him passed out on my deck,” she said. Angel walked over to the helm and held it in place while El walked up to the front of the ship and took out her spear, which she had named SpEAr. I thought it seemed a little redundant, but whatever. She jumped off the front of the ship and landed on the ice, slipping only for a moment. She then jabbed the tip of her spear into the ice and the entire ice sheet began to crack. El quickly jumped on board and Angel held the ship straight, which was now smoothly knocking chunks of ice left and right of the ship. I only watched for a minute before bringing Joe below deck. As I propped him on his bunk, he woke up and groaned as he rubbed his head.
“What happened?” he asked when he noticed I was next to him.
“From the looks of it, Lightning used you as a battery and threw you away when you were empty,” I told him and he shot me a kind of annoyed look.
“You could have broken the news a bit better,” Joe said.
“Sorry; how do you feel?” I asked. He lifted his left hand and snapped it, producing a few sparks and I took this as a good sign. He didn’t seem as optimistic. “What’s up?”
“That is all I can generate right now. That little girl really took a lot out of me,” Joe said with a small laugh, but I could tell he was more annoyed than anything else. “Don’t worry, it isn’t like I’ll never recharge or anything. I just need to rest a bit and I still have my wind powers.”
“If you say so,” I said, but he sounded more like he was trying to convince himself more than me. He leaned back in his bunk and closed his eyes, so I headed back onto the deck. As I looked around, I saw that the ice was long gone by now and we were cutting through the water once again. El was once again steering the ship and Angel was looking at the trident.
“That is pretty cool looking,” I said, trying to make small talk to pass the time. “Who knew that Poseidon would give you such a powerful weapon.”
“How do you know it is from Poseidon?” she asked, looking it over. I thought it was pretty obvious considering it was a trident that came from the sea, but there was another clue.
“It says it right here,” I said pointing to a small inscription on the base of the shaft. “Look, Made in Atlantis.”
“I knew that,” she said, but obviously didn’t. “But Poseidon is the god of the sea, why would he care about a lake nymph?”
“From what I understand, Poseidon looks out for all water creatures, that includes you. Plus, I thought it was awesome how you controlled that storm,” I encouraged her, but I thought it was pretty awesome. I wasn’t sure if a naiad could blush, she was doing it right now.
“I was pretty awesome, wasn’t I,” she boasted.
“I’ll have to agree with that,” El said.
“Hey, what’s that?” I asked as I noticed a smaller trident symbol at the spot where the three prongs met and poked it. The trident began to shrink into itself until it was nothing more than a small trident shaped hairpin.
“That is so awesome!” Angel called as she placed it in her brown hair right under the sea shell that held together her short braid.
We kept sailing for several more hours and Angel kept pressing the trident hairpin over and over again. I had lost track of where we were until El announced that we were off the coast of Florida.
“Alright, all hands on deck,” El yelled as she started ringing a bell that echoed around the ship. Joe came walking out on deck and let out a load yawn.
“What’s up El?” Joe asked as he looked at the shore line.
“We are just outside the Sea of Monsters,” El explained. “Maybe another fifteen or twenty minutes and we will be inside of it. I had heard about the entrance to the sea from a few other campers that talked about how the camp got the Golden Fleece. If the Ares cabin was too be believed, one of their cabin leaders went by herself and defeated the cyclops Polyphemus with her own hands. The rest of the camp however told a slightly different story, one that was much more believable.
“I don’t see the whirlpool or anything,” I called as I looked forward. I expected to see Charybdis and Scylla’s islands somewhere, but all I saw was a narrow passage of water with a few rocks around.
“That is because we are going a different way. I’m not going to risk a crew of living beings when I know that at least one of us will be killed. Not to mention that this ship is so small that Scylla could just eat the entire ship. Nope, we’re going somewhere else,” El said, still looking ahead.
“Which way is that?” I asked, but the channel kind of answered the question for me. Two of the rocks that were visibly sticking out of the water moved on their own and smashed together, before returning to the place they had been before. As I looked closer, several more groups were crashing together and I kind of wished we had risked the whirlpools and being eaten.
“The Clashing Rocks of course,” El said as she went full speed ahead.
“Do you have a plan for getting past them or are we just going to wing it?” Angel asked from her spot on the deck. She took her trident out, but I wasn’t sure if it would be able to do anything without a storm overhead.
“Of course I have a plan. Joe, call up some wind and we’ll speed right through it,” El said, and all three on board let out a sigh.
“Ok El, I may not be the best tactician, but that is a bad plan,” Joe argued.
“Well I wasn’t done obviously,” El said, but we could all tell she was lying as she kept looking around for some kind of inspiration. That inspiration came when her eyes looked on my pocket. “Ash, I saw you control rock and stone during the Capture the Flag match. You think you can control those rocks by slowing them down or something?”
“I can try, but I’m not sure if I can control so many moving rocks at once,” I said.
“You don’t need to stop them all, just stop them long enough for us to get us past them,” El encouraged. “Joe will be speeding us along so you don’t even need to hold them back for long.”
“Will that work,” Angel asked.
“Don’t know, never tried it before,” El answered, her face completely serious.
“Alright, let’s get this crazy plan going,” Joe said as he headed toward the back of the ship behind the ship’s sail. I followed his lead and headed for my spot in the front of the ship. I pulled my sword from my pocket and it started to glow with a green light. I held it in front of me and focused on the first two stones. I could feel them pull at each other and slammed together.
“Joe, now!” El yelled and Joe called the wind to blow from behind us, pushing the ship forward. The first set of rocks seemed harmless as they slowly went back to their places. The second set had collided a moment before, but weren’t moving back fast enough for our ship to fit through. I channeled the power of my sword toward the rocks and I felt them begin to move faster. However, these rocks felt incredible heavy and I wondered how much of them was under the water. We managed to get past at full speed and just barely skimmed the rocks. The third set didn’t seem to be in the way and I saved my energy. However, just as we got about half way past, they came flying together and it was El that pushed the ship forward with a sudden surge of water.
“Pay attention, we can’t make any mistakes in here!” she yelled and I renewed my focus. The problem was that the sudden wave had pushed us forward and I wondered how in control we were. The fourth set of rocks were just about to slam together and I imagined myself holding them apart. It wasn’t easy as it felt like I was trying to keep two cars from crashing into each other. As soon as we passed them, I mentally let go and the rocks slammed together and the sound echoed through the canyon. The fifth one let us through with no problem and there was a somewhat large gap to the next set. As I looked at the last two sets, I noticed that they were so close together that the entire ship wouldn’t pass through them, meaning I’d have to hold four rocks at once. The ship also seemed to be rocking strangely and in jagged patterns.
“Joe, a little less wind please,” El said, and I could tell she was having a hard time fighting the rudder in the rapid waters. Unfortunately, all four sets of stones retracted at the same time.
“No, if we slow down now the ship will be cut into three different pieces, two if we’re lucky,” I said as I began to focus on the four stones.
“Can you hold them all back?” Angel asked as she watched the sweat drip down my face. While I had only held back a few sets of rocks, they were a lot heavier then they appeared and it was harder than it looked, most likely because these rocks had magic of their own controlling them.
“I’m not sure, but I can try,” I said. I felt the rocks closing in on us and I pushed back, but I was tired and I fell to my knees in pain as if the rocks were crushing me. “I can’t hold them back!”
“You better!” Joe yelled from the back of the ship.
“I can't do this,” I strained as for a second I lost my grip on the rocks and almost passed out.
“Yes you can,” Angel said as she rested her hand on my shoulder. The instant her hand touched me, I felt this strange feeling in the pit of my stomach. It wasn’t the pain of using too much power at once, but a good feeling. All at once my pain faded and my body became enveloped in blue fire which mixed with the green light my sword was giving off.
“I can do this,” I said, repeating Angel. I mentally grabbed the rocks and stopped them only a few inches away from the side of the ship. However, I felt like I could do more and started pushing them back until they literally went flying back in the water into the cliff, shattering into multiple pieces. The SS Orca went sailing safely out of the channel and wound ourselves in open ocean.
“You did it!” Angel said as she hugged me, before shooting back and straightening her shirt. “I mean good job and all.”
“Alright everyone, I think we will be safe for now,” El said and I felt the wind die down. El spun the wheel a little bit and we seemed to be sailing a lot smoother. “By the way, what was with the fire? You didn’t burn a whole in my ship or anything, right?”
“No, it is a different kind of flame,” I told her, which out loud sounded a bit weird. “They’re the flames of belief. They tend to react when someone has a strong belief, including myself or others. Angel really believed that I could do it so I guess my powers kind of took over.”
“That is so cool! So if I believe hard enough that you could lift a school bus, you could?” El asked.
“It doesn’t really work like that,” I told her, which made her frown. “I have to believe it also to a certain extent and it isn’t like I can bend the laws of reality or anything. I mean only a child of Heracles could lift a bus.”
“What a shame, that would have been awesome,” El said, but dropped the subject after a few moments.
“Good job back there,” Joe said, patting me on the shoulder. He had a genuine smile on his face and seemed to be a bit at ease, most likely because we had survived the day.
“Hey everyone, another ship is heading our way,” Angel said, pointing to a much larger sailing ship about half a mile away. Unlike our ship, it had three large masts and I could see some panels in the side that looked like cannon ports.
“You think they’re friendly?” I asked, looking at the somewhat intimidating ship.
“They have a white flag. Ships have been getting lost in this place for centuries so they could just be lost at sea,” El suggested. “Let’s go check it out.”
We sailed closer to the ship and I saw a few people running around the deck. A few people started pulling down the white flag, which set off a warning flag in my head. I watched as a new flag began to rise and caught the wind, showing a skull and crossbones.
“Pirates!” Angel yelled and El began quickly turning the wheel, hopefully away from here.