Chapter 8~Between a Rock and a Hard Place
It didn’t take us long to get to the border and there was already a welcoming party when we got there. From the looks of it, several of the Ares cabin, true to form, had run straight up the middle in hopes of simply destroying anyone in their path and taking the flag…It didn’t work. Despite the fact that there were only a handful of Nike cabin members, they were the children of the goddess of victory and would do almost anything to win, as long as it didn’t involve cheating or underhanded tricks. That is where the Hermes cabin came in. As the Nike and Hebe cabins managed to hold off the Ares campers, they didn’t last long once the Hermes cabin rushed in.
“Alright guys, toss them,” the leader of the Hermes cabin said and several campers tossed small orbs into the battle.
“What are those?” one of the Ares campers asked just as it released some kind of weird gas. I watched the bluish cloud get bigger until I could barely see anyone.
“Don’t worry, I got this,” Joseph said and he pointed his spear forward. I could feel the wind blow at my back and the cloud seemed to blow back toward the Hermes campers.
“Retreat, retreat!” I heard someone yell, but it was too late as they were completely covered in the weird gas. I looked down at the campers that were fighting on the border and tried to figure out what was going on.
“What is wrong with them?” I asked Joseph as he too looked on in confusion.
“I think they’re itching?” Joseph said, and he was right. Campers on both sides were rolling on the ground itching themselves. The Hermes campers that had tossed the prank bombs in the first place were also itching once the cloud dispersed. In one fail swoop, most of the Ares and Hermes cabin had been taken out.
“Do you think they had a strategy?” I asked Joseph.
“If the Ares cabin was leading the attack, I would have to say no,” Joseph said, but we went on guard when more campers started showing up and only Joseph and I were able to defend it.
“This doesn’t look good. Any support from Apollo?” I said more to myself than anyone else, but I knew it was too much to hope for as I looked at the cliff face. When I looked over, I saw undead soldiers storming the cliff face. I saw an arrow fly into one of their eyes, but it didn’t seem to bother him in the least.
A group of three demigods came up to the creek try and pick us off, making a clear path for anyone else waiting to charge for the flag. A girl and boy ran ahead of the big guy in the middle and made a swift motion with their arms once they reached the creek. As a result, the water in the creek rose until it formed a giant wave. I was kind of surprised there was enough water in the creek to even do that.
“Children of Poseidon,” Joseph said as he grasped his spear a bit harder. “I’ll hold them off, you take care of the big guy.”
Joseph ran off to face the two children of Poseidon. They made another motion and the wave moved forward. Joseph made a downward slash with his spear and a visible blade of wind moved forward and cut the wave in half. As a result, the pair pulled out swords and engaged in combat with Joseph. I on the other hand had to fight the big guy, Thresh.
“I see you’ve returned with my sword,” Thresh said and that kind of irritated me. The sword chose me and for him to claim it was his hit a nerve.
“The way I remember it, my sword blasted you half way across camp when you tried to even hold it,” I spat back, but making an Ares camper angry, especially the head of the Ares cabin, may not have been the best idea.
“You’re going to pay for that comment,” Thresh said and he charged me, stepping over the creek and past his fellow campers who were still itching on the ground. “This is going to be fun.”
He charged forward and pulled out his sword, which seemed comically large. It would have been funny if it wasn’t coming right at me. I jumped to the side and the sword made a crater in the ground the size of my head. Thresh lifted it from the ground with incredible ease and came at me once again. After seeing that display of power, I was more open to the idea of running away than I was facing him down.
“Fear, doubt, abandonment; these things will lead you to ruin,” said a voice in my head and I tried to brush it off, but the voice seemed familiar somehow. It was also distracting me from the thing currently trying to ruin me. I lifted up my sword to block his strike and the force of the impact sent a shock wave into my body and I almost lost the grip on my sword. I fell to my knees and landed hard on the ground.
“You better stay down there,” Thresh said as he lumbered over to me, swinging his large sword onto his shoulder and preparing to land the finishing blow. As he raised his sword over his head and I raised my sword up to defend myself, placing my other hand on the flat of my sword to help absorb the blow, as futile as it may have been. A moment later I felt his sword hit mine, but there was little to no force behind it. “What the heck is this?”
I opened my eyes and saw that my sword was glowing a faint green color. At the same time, I saw that my arms had been wrapped in a thin layer of rock that moved over my armor, which must have braced the impact. Then, more sheets of rock sprung from the ground and surrounded my body, creating a second layer of armor. I stood up and was surprised by the lightness of the new armor which surrounded me, considering it was made of solid rock. I also felt stronger, like my strikes were somehow stronger because of the rock.
“Alright, let’s go,” I said and Thresh took on a fighting position. I moved forward as my sword was now glowing a bright shade of green as I drew power from it. The sphere of power that Earth had given me was now being used to protect me, as the earth was the greatest defense you could hope for. I slammed my sword into his and there was a shockwave from the collision, forcing Thresh back.
“This doesn’t change anything. I will still crush you and take that sword for myself. If anything, I want it more now than I did before,” Thresh said and back up getting ready for another strike. One thing about his sword was that it was so big he could only swing it down over his head or swing it from side to side, making it easy to tell where he would strike from. All I had to do was back up and let him attack. He swung down at me and I let his sword roll off the end of mine into the ground. He swung from the side and I would jump back out of his range. This went on until I could tell he was slowing down.
“Tired?” I asked him and he took in a few short breaths.
“I will crush you!” he shouted back at me. He picked his sword off the ground and went running right at me, pointing his sword straight ahead of him like he was a knight jousting on horseback, but he didn’t have a horse.
“You just keep believing that,” I told him and I slammed my sword into the head of his sword, propelling it into the ground. As a result, the jousting sword was now more like a pole vault, sending him flying into the air. He crashed right on his back and as far as I could tell he was knocked out.
Just then the rock armor fell from my body into lumps on the ground. I felt somewhat proud of what had happened, but it was quickly replaced by exhaustion as the full force I had used to beat Thresh seemed to hit me. I would have thought about taking a nap, but then I remembered something important.
“Joseph!” I said out loud and I turned to see where he was. He was currently being wrapped up in a pair of tentacles that reminded me of a squid’s or octopus’ tentacles, fitting for children of the sea god. They stood in the creek calling more water toward them.
“No, stay back!” he yelled back at me just as the wrapped around his shoulders, encasing him in water from his shoulders down.
“This isn’t the time to be proud!” I yelled back as I took a few steps forward, but he turned his head toward me and smiled, which caught me off guard.
“I’m not being proud, I’m being strategic,” he said as a bit of lightning flickered in his eyes. Just then, his hair seemed to stand on end and a current of electricity shot through the water all the way back to the demigods in the creek. Before they could react, their hair stood up like they had just been shocked and a moment later they passed out in the water.
“Are they going to be ok?” I asked him as I ran up to the creek to check.
“Ya, it was a low electrical shock. Wasn’t sure if I could even pull it off after all that wind manipulation,” he said and he was right. They seemed ok and the water was healing their wounds. “Ash, look out!”
I looked up and noticed that even with the two children of Poseidon out cold, the water was becoming more violent. It rose up until it took the crude figure of a woman.
“I have found you!” it said, but I wasn’t really happy about it.