Chapter 19~Arming Ourselves with Chewing Gum
We walked back toward the entrance to the forge. Thankfully there weren’t any killer coconuts this time and we got inside without a hitch. Angel was still a bit sad at seeing her friend become some kind of crazy pirate working for Blackbeard. Joe on the other hand was kind of quiet, obviously thinking about something, but he didn’t seem like he was in the sharing mood. We finally got to the main room and saw Hephaestus logging off his computer.
“Oh, you’re back. Hey, that is my control disk!” he said happily as his eyes locked with the missing item. He snatched it out of Angel’s hands and seemed to teleport over to the large dragon. The head panel flew open as if it had a mind of its’ own and Hephaestus lowered the device inside. The dragon seemed to come to life as the wires connected themselves and the lights inside began to blink. “Perfect!”
The dragon raised his head and shook, much like a real dragon that just woke up. It outstretched its wings and made a loud roar, complete with a stream of fire. Hephaestus then walked over to his desk and pulled a sheet of paper from his desk. He peeled off a sticker from the page and stuck it to the dragon and pulled out a sharpie from his pocket, writing down To Olympus. The whole dragon began to shine and the image of a caduceus appeared before the entire dragon vanished.
“I can always count on Hermes for a speedy delivery. Now for Ares’ machine,” Hephaestus said. He walked over to a large chunk of metal that looked like it might have been a tank. While it did look like it had machine guns and a barrel for cannon shells to fire, the thing was painted with flames on the side and there were layers of armor on it that made it shine. However, there was so much extra stuff on it, I don’t think it could move even if Ares wanted it to.
“Can that thing even move?” I asked the god.
“Probably not. Ares said he wanted a war machine so I started with a tank. Then he shows up and starts talking about how he wants missile launchers, flame throwers, a soda dispenser, a chainsaw, and all kinds of useless things to make it cooler. Needless to say the thing is so darn heavy that it won’t work unless Athena’s dragon stands right in front of it. Oh well, off to Olympus,” Hephaestus said as he placed a similar shipping label on the machine. A similar light appeared to consume the tank, but it faded after a second with the tank still there. Just then there was another golden light and a giant forklift appeared, raising the tank up off the ground about an inch before vanishing in a golden flash.
“And what about our request?” Joe asked from behind me. Hephaestus had a confused look on his face, but it lit up as if he remembered that we had asked for something to.
“Oh right, the weapons ship without weapons. Right this way,” Hephaestus said. He walked through a doorway into an area that seemed especially designed for ship building. In the center of the room was a ship; slightly smaller than El’s, but it was a mechanical ship with a motor and everything so it was most likely fast. “As you can see, I’ve finished the ship with all kinds of gadgets. Look at this!”
He vanished in a puff of smoke and reappeared on the deck of the ship. He pressed something on a control panel and a cannon appeared from below deck.
“No offense, but isn’t that a weapon. Blackbeard will just take control of it like he did before,” Angel said as she looked at it.
“That's what you think,” Hephaestus said as he fired the cannon at an automaton on the far side of the room. The mechanical man had no time to react as he was hit hard and flew into the wall. While I expected him to be destroyed on impact, he seemed to be held against the wall by…
“Is that chewing gum?” Joe asked, obviously dumbstruck.
“Of course it is, nothing lethal without the intension of harm can’t be considered a weapon. The ship has been equipped with several gadgets with similar capabilities,” Hephaestus said as he smiled. He then exited the ship and walked over to a nearby wall and pulled a lever. A large panel on the far wall opened up and water started rushing down like a small river below the ship. The ropes holding the ship up began to lower the ship down into the water. “All aboard.”
“Thank you Hephaestus,” I said to him and he just smiled, as if all that mattered to him was that his work was appreciated and for him, building it may have been all he really wanted to just for that satisfaction. We all got onto the ship and Hephaestus waved his hand. The ropes let loose and the ship sprung forward with the flow of the river. We were pulled into a cave and for a second, I felt like Batman leaving the Batcave. However, our exit wasn’t as graceful as we were shot out of the volcano like a rocket and seemed to skip along the water a few times. I almost fell out of the boat as we hit the water, but thankfully there was a rail around the entire deck of the ship for me to grab on to. After a few moments, the boat began to slow down and we eventually came to a complete stop, except of course for the gentle feeling of the waves rocking the boat.
“So…That was exciting,” Joe said as he managed to get back on his feet.
“I hope you could use a little more,” Angel replied as she pointed off in the distance. I followed the direction her finger pointed to and saw a large sailing ship heading in our direction.
“That is Blackbeard’s ship,” I said as I looked on it with horror. That girl must have made it back to the ship, and considering she was using a row boat, Blackbeard must not have been too far away. He was now on course for us and I knew we would be better off running than fighting, as even if he couldn’t control our ship, his weapons were a lot more dangerous than ours. I ran for the helm of the ship and took hold of the wheel. “Let’s see, how do you start this thing?”
I saw something that looked like a control for the speed, as it had an image of a turtle, a rabbit, and a cheetah on it. I pushed the control up only a small bit to the rabbit, and the ship went flying forward as the twin propellers began to spin. If this was fast, I’d hate to see what the next level up was as I couldn’t believe we could be going much faster. After a while, we seemed to have escaped the evil ship and nothing seemed to appear on the radar, except a few rocks and some kind of plane I think. I slowed the boat down to the turtle setting and we pulled up into the cove of an island.
“The sun is starting to go down and we should rest here for the night,” Joe suggested and we all agreed. I found a small button on the control panel that said camouflage, so I pressed it. The ship seemed to vanish under our feet as it reflected the surrounding area. It really looked like the water and sand of the beach around us and I wondered if we would be able to find it again if we jumped ship.
“Ash, what did you press!” Angel yelled at me. I went to press the button again, but it seemed to blend into the water below us.
“Um, good question. Just give me a second,” I said as I felt around the control panel, running my fingers over some of the letters to see if I could find the right one. After about a minute of searching, I found it again and the boat returned to normal. “Looks like Hephaestus outfitted the ship with Chameleon Armor, like the kind we have at camp.”
“Ya, except it is much more advanced as it was made by the god of forges himself,” Joe commented. “I probably wouldn’t suggest pressing that button again unless we need it.”
“Agreed. Here, I’ll take care of it,” Angel said and she began to sing in a language I didn’t really understand. I also wasn’t even sure it was in English, as it sounded like a mix of some language I never heard that sound dolphins make to see underwater. As she sang, seaweed began to rise from the water and surrounded the ship. “There, now we shouldn’t have a problem finding the ship again and from the sea, no one will notice the overgrown seaweed as it kind of blends into the trees.”
“Good thinking,” I said and decided to explore the ship a little. I went below deck and checked out some of the things Hephaestus had added, including different rooms for all of us, except they were pretty small and the god had no style sense, as they were all exactly alike. Practicality over aesthetics I guess, which was more of his wife’s department. However, there was a fully stocked kitchen which we all enjoyed until we decided to turn in for the night. I said my goodnights to the other two and we entered our rooms.
That night, I had problems falling asleep. Every time I felt like I was about to fall asleep, I got this shiver up my spine as if someone were watching me. However, every time I looked around there was nothing. This went on for the better part of an hour, but it didn’t seem to be bothering the others as I could hear Joe snoring in the next cabin over. I rolled over in my bed and closed my eyes, hoping to finally fall into the land of sleep, but I got that feeling again. This time my eyes shot open and I looked directly out my window and this time, I saw something. It moved away as quickly as I saw it and I instantly jumped out of my bed and ran to the deck.
“I know you’re there, show yourself!” I half shouted, not wanting to wake up the others but still wanting whatever it was to hear me. I couldn’t hear anything except the soft sounds of the waves hitting the hull. “I know I saw something.”
I noticed that I was talking to myself by this point and decided to go back downstairs, thinking that maybe I had fallen asleep and had woken myself up with a dream. I opened the door, but before I could go down, a bubble of water surrounded me and pulled me under the surface of the water.
“You finally made it, I’ve been waiting for you,” said a watery voice from all around me.