Chapter 5: An Odd "Friend"
I woke up and immediately felt like passing out again because the aching pain in my side was almost too much for me to handle. My head rose slightly, my eyes opened a fraction, but my eyelids fell down after a few seconds along with my whole head. Realising I had stirred, I realised someone was shaking against me, trying to rouse me. It looked like it was my friends’ turn to try and wake me up. I let out a low groan to let them know I was conscious.
“Matt, you awake?” I heard the voice of Rebecca ask. I shifted a little in response, but it still hurt to move too much. I groaned again.
“Becca, I think he’s hurt,” the voice of Elizabeth said with concern.
Thank you, Captain Obvious, I thought. I could still taste blood in my mouth, even though it didn’t seem to be flowing from the cut any more.
“Well we can’t really do anything. We’re kinda tied up, if you remember,” Rebecca reminded her, and I felt the post shake as they both struggled against their bonds.
I raised my head and leaned it back against the post, then let out a moan that I hope they discerned as “Help.”
Thankfully, Elizabeth understood, and yelled outside to whoever might be listening, “Your prisoner is dying here! Do you really want something to kill your worst enemy before you can do it yourself?!” I hated to admit it, but I knew that the demi-titans wanted to kill me themselves. After embarrassing them last summer, they probably wanted nothing more than to give me an excruciatingly painful and public death.
Somebody walked in at Elizabeth’s pleas. I couldn’t make him out clearly, so I didn’t know if it was Christian Pike coming back to beat my friends up too.
“And who would you be?” Rebecca asked coolly and suspiciously.
“I am Brett Ravens, son of Prometheus. I am here to make sure he doesn’t die,” the newcomer said carefully. I didn’t trust any farther than I could throw him in my current state (which was not at all), but I did need medical attention, so I didn’t resist when he poured a drink down my throat. It was delicious, tasting like cheesecake, my favourite food. I recognized it as nectar, the drink of the gods. I could feel the pain melting from my body thanks to the godly drink’s healing properties. The minor wound in my mouth stopped bleeding, and when I probed the area with my tongue, the cut had closed and it was just a little raw. My vision cleared so that I could make out the dull surroundings of the tent with pristine eyesight. My torso was still a little stiff, but it seemed as good as new for the most part. I could now see that my doctor in clear detail too. He was about medium height with a muscular build. His shoulder length jet-black hair was tied back in a ponytail out of his battle scarred face. I could barely make out his grey eyes looking down on me with an expression of something that I couldn’t quite make out. Contempt? Amusement? Pity?
“Thanks,” I said gratefully, even if he was an enemy.
“It’s nothing,” he replied. He got up from kneeling beside me, but hesitated before leaving. “Is it true you’re looking for my dad?” he asked hopefully. I glanced side ways at my quest-mates, who only shrugged.
“Yeah, that’s where we were headed,” I told him. “But we didn’t know where we were going. We have no clue as to where he is,” I said honestly. Brett looked down at the ground. That probably wasn’t exactly what he wanted to hear.
“Oh,” he said quietly. He stood on the spot and shuffled from foot to foot awkwardly. After a few moments of silence, he looked back at us. “I’ll be back later to check up on you,” he said, and abruptly left the tent.
“Glad to have you back Airhead,” Rebecca grumbled, and she continued her struggle against the rope bonds.
“I tried that a lot while you guys were out cold, thank you very much. It’s not going to work,” I said impatiently.
“I’m actually making some progress,” Elizabeth interjected. “It’s easier to undo the knots than to break them,” she said as she shifted around, slowly undoing her bonds with her hands. I looked at her, and then tried her advice, trying to use my fingers and what mobility my hands had to try and undo my own knots.
We went at this for what seemed like hours, until it got dark out, but fires were being lit by the demi-titans outside to cook food and such. I was getting tired, and my fingers were beginning to fumble on the rope.
“Do you think we can sleep?” I ask Elizabeth warily. Rebecca was still trying to lash about in frustration, but she was tiring fast.
“Maybe. I think they’ll want to execute us publically, not in our sleep,” she said, and I could feel Rebecca slump down out of exhaustion.
“What a way to start off your questing career, huh?” I asked her after a moment of awkward silence.
“I’m a daughter of Athena. I need to be prepared for anything,” she reminded me, but after another moment of silence, she added, “It doesn’t stop me from being scared though.” I could feel her fingers continuing to work away at the knots, but they slipped and her hands came into contact with mine, and I instinctively took hold of them. Elizabeth stopped moving and I felt an odd feeling inside: butterflies inside my stomach. A feeling I only usually got when I was alone with Alyssa. We sat their together for a few minutes in silence, our hands still clasped together. We stayed like that for a little while, are heads leaned together, but we broke apart when Brett Ravens entered the tent again.
“I don’t have much time,” he said to us, which I didn’t really understand.
“Time for what?” I asked suspiciously. The son of Prometheus glanced at the entrance nervously.
“I believe what you’re doing is right, but I can’t do anything about it. I saw Nathan when you escaped in the summer. I don’t want to get torn apart,” he explained, still looking outside to his fellow campers. “I need you to find my dad.”
“That’s kinda hard when we’re tied up like this,” Elizabeth said sarcastically.
“I know that,” Brett rolled his eyes. “Look, you need to find a way to get out of this yourself, and I can help you with getting your dog, but that’s as much as I can do,” he said impatiently.
“Well how do we get out of here?” Rebecca asked, suddenly awake without us knowing. I jumped when I heard her voice, but tried to look unaffected to Brett. I couldn’t let him see weakness, even if it was an involuntary jump of surprise.
“You need to figure that out yourself. All I can tell you is that your equipment is in the main tent, in a shoebox by the door. I can let your dog free to make a distraction, but you have to do the rest,” he told us, and without another word, he left us alone again.
“Elizabeth, any ideas?” I asked, racking my own brain for a plan.
“I’m almost finished with these knots,” she replied. “I might be able to get out and let you guys go.”
“We probably don’t have time. Rebecca, how about you?” I asked, but the tent remained silent. “Rebecca, you okay?” I asked, getting a little worried as she remained still. I turned to look at her, just to make sure she was still alive, but I found her fully conscious, but her open grey eyes were staring off into the floor like it was a very intriguing piece of art.
“We have to get out of here,” Elizabeth reminded me, and just the two of us went on at the knots behind our backs. Before long, we heard a raucous being raised outside, which was followed by a lot of barking and growling.
“Well, there’s our distraction,” I grumbled, my fingers slipping.
“We don’t have time. I don’t think I can do these knots before they get Comet under control,” Elizabeth said, and she kicked the ground in frustration. I gave up on my knots and looked around the near-bare tent for a solution. The only things in there were a chair and a kerosene lamp, its flame still flickering away dangerously close to the tent’s side. If that thing caught fire, I would think a lot of people would be in trouble.
Hmm, I thought. That might actually work.
“How well can you fight with your hands tied behind your back?” I asked Elizabeth with a smirk.
“Kicking to death? I might be able to do something. Why?” she asked suspiciously.
“Im gonna get them to carry us out of here,” I said, now full out grinning.
I stared at the kerosene lamp, trying to concentrate on a way to knock it over. The idea came to me from an old capture-the-flag game, when before I knew I was a son of Zeus; I had made some bushes rustle as a distraction. I didn’t know how I did it then, but I had since found out that I could manipulate the winds. It was more an involuntary action, because when I tried it on purpose, I couldn’t do it, or I would create a giant gust of uncontrolled wind. Nevertheless, it was our only hope now. I mustered all of my ADHD limited concentration on creating a small burst of wind to knock the lamp over, where the fire would hopefully send the whole tent ablaze. I felt a rush of fast moving air whiz past my face, and I could feel the fabric of the tent rustling in the wind I had caused. I could feel beads of sweat forming on my face from the effort of creating a controlled breeze. The power was growing more uncontrolled, but I forced it down with all of my willpower and forced it in the direction of the flickering lamp, and after a few buffets of wind, it finally teetered over onto its side, and was pushed into the side of the tent. The struggle to stop the wind was more than I expected, and it took the last of my concentration to make it die down. I slumped over in exhaustion, surprised at the effort of it all. I felt light headed and woozy, but I figured that would pass. I watched the fluttering flame hopefully, straining my ears to hear the progress of our distraction outside.
“Do you think the material is even flammable?” Elizabeth asked, a little worried that my plan wouldn’t work.
“It’ll work,” I reassured her and myself at the same time. We all watched intently as the flame licked the sides of the tent, but no fire caught. Thankfully, there was still a lot going on outside, meaning our window for escape wasn’t quite closed.
“Come on, come on, come on,” I said impatiently under my breath. I stretched my leg out as far as possible to try and kick the lamp further against the wall. “WORK!” I yelled insistently at the fire, and surprisingly, the licking flame from the lamp suddenly jumped up and ignited the tent material, like it had obeyed my commands.