Chapter 24~Unexpected Guest
Circe looked like a completely different person. Unlike the older woman locked in a cage, she was now beautiful with long flowing hair, tan skin, and a slender frame. It really was an amazing transformation and I wondered if every small pond on this island could reverse a person’s age as this one did. I was so amazed that I barely noticed that time had started moving again.
“Come on Ash, hurry up,” Joe said as he turned around to face me. His eyes became huge as he saw the sorceress in the pool of water. He instantly pointed his spear at her and charged. I saw what would happen if he attacked, as she had promised not to harm anyone that didn’t harm her. I lunged forward and managed to deflect his spear away from her.
“Ash, get out of the way!” Joe called as he went in for another attack. I was trying everything I could just to keep him from hitting her, but he was like a tornado, constantly spinning around and attacking from many different angles.
“Hold on, listen to me,” I told him as I deflected another strike, all the while I heard Circe laughing in the background.
“Go on, let him attack me,” Circe joked as she watched us fight, while Angel was still holding that girl.
“Ash, you are under some kind of spell. Snap out of it!” Joe called as he went in for another strike. He thought I was under a spell?
“No I’m not. Just calm down!” I told him, trying my best to block him again. He swung his spear downward and I placed my sword above my head to block it. What I didn’t notice was that his other hand was pointing right at me and a gust of wind erupted from his hand, knocking me to the ground.
“Circe, I don’t know what you told him but you’re going down,” Joe said as he charged toward her. She just had that cocky smile on her face just waiting for the moment when she could transform him into a pig or something. I didn’t have much time left so I got to me feet and slammed my sword into the ground. The rock beneath my feet reacted to my sword and they rose up around Joe’s feet, locking him in place a few inches out of reach of Circe. He swung the spear at her, but was out of range and lost his balance, falling backward with his feet still locked in place.
“Ok, now listen. I talked to her and she promised on the Styx that she wouldn’t harm anyone that doesn’t harm her, which includes animal transformations. She is going to help us return you to normal,” I said in a calm voice.
“I don’t trust her,” Joe said with a scowl.
“I know, but she is the only one right now that can help us,” I told him. He looked angry, but I didn’t think he would attack her now at least. The rock slowly retracted from his feet and he got to his feet, brushing himself off.
“Alright,” he said before turning to Circe. “But no funny business!”
“I wouldn’t dream of it,” she said playfully, looking right back at him.
“Guys, she is coming to,” Angel said and I saw the girl start moving.
“Oh aren’t you the most adorable thing,” Circe said running over to Angel. Circe placed her hands on Angel’s face and examined her. “Your skin has the most beautiful blue tone to it. I bet one of our seaweed hair treatments would do wonders for you.”
“Um…thanks, I guess,” Angel said when some movement in her lap reminded her of what she was focusing on. “Right! Sayu are you ok?”
“Angel? Is that you?” the girl said as she opened her eyes. They didn’t have that weird reddish glow they had the first time we met her. She also seemed a lot less…filled with rage I guess you could say. “Where am I?”
“You’re at C.C.'s Spa and Resort my dear girl,” Circe said in a kind tone. Sayuri sat up and began to feel her arms and checked her face, most likely for animal hair. As she was checking herself, Angel let out a big smile and gave her friend a huge hug.
“Angel, how did you get here?! Wait, what am I doing here?! What is going on?!” Sayuri screamed at the top of her lungs.
“Well, me and these two idiots came down here to find some orb or sphere or something. I’m helping them because they are going to make my lake bigger. We found you earlier, but you attacked us and appeared to be working for Blackbeard and escaped. Then we found you here, and that’s about it. You got all that?” Angel said. “What’s the last thing you remember?”
“Um…my ship was attacked by Blackbeard and his crew took us on his ship and then…nothing,” she said as she tried to focus. “Ya, I got nothing.”
“So you wouldn’t know if he has any other prisoners on the island?” Joe asked, looking at all the girls from the spa still trapped in their various prisons.
“Nope, just my girls here,” Circe said and snapped her fingers. The snap echoed around the entire room and every lock seemed to open at the same time. “Alright everyone, get cleaned up because Blackbeard will eventually be back and we will have a surprise all ready for him.”
“Aren’t you going to help us first?” I asked her, while it wasn’t part of the oath I figured she would as a courtesy for me freeing her in the first place.
“Yes, yes, of course,” Circe said waving her hand as if brushing us off. “Right this way.”
The other girls in the room began to wash themselves in the various ponds in the room and it was like they were never trapped. Wounds healed and color returned to their faces. Circe on the other hand started walking us down another hallway. She went into tour guide mode and pointed out all the different attractions of the island. Problem was it kind of fell flat as all the things she pointed out seemed to be damaged or destroyed by the pirates. She would normally end each part of her tour with “That area is under renovations.”
“And here we are in the fountain room,” she said, pointing to a door that said Employee’s Only. Inside the door, it looked like the only part of the island that hadn’t changed with the times. It was a large stone cavern with a fountain right in the middle. Water flooded into a small lake right below it and the water flowed into various drains all around.
“As you can see, water from the fountain flows into our water system. That way all that work on this island will remain young forever while those that visit will feel younger,” she said before looking at Joe. “Unless someone was to be completely submerged in the source of the fountain here, then it could be permanent if not reversed quickly. There was also this one time when someone snuck in here and jumped in. We found them crawling around in the hallways some time later; he was the most adorable baby.”
At this Joe made a gulping sound, possibly a bit thankful that he was at least in his teens and not a drooling baby.
“And how do I get back to my regular age?” Joe asked, obviously wanting to be back in his own body.
“Oh right, well in a very small pool over there we have a Fountain of Aging, but no one ever uses it,” she said pointing to a small fountain in the corner that looked like a kiddy pool in comparison to the lake the Fountain of Youth generated. “I mean who would want to get older? Plus, there is always a chance that a person could age into dust.”
This lead to another gulp by Joe.
“But that rarely ever happens…rarely,” Circe said. “No time like the present, right this way!”
“I’m afraid I can’t let you do that,” Came a voice from the direction of the fountains. A woman decked out in Greek armor walked out of the fountain holding a spear. The water seemed to react to her as a set of stairs made of water appeared before her and she exited the fountain. She looked to be in her early twenties, with long brown hair and a lean frame. The only thing that worried me was those red eyes that seemed be looking directly into me. Joe then walked in front of me and took a hard look at the girl.
“El, is that you?” Joe said and my eyes took in all her features. It was without a doubt Eleanor Clatter, just a bit younger and in her prime.