Chapter 7: I Humiliate Nathan (Again)
We waited with bated breath while the fire consumed the tent around us. So far, no demi-titans were coming to get us. Heat was starting to bathe us, but it felt like a nice, warm hose down to me, but Elizabeth and Rebecca were squirming uncomfortably and retching from the smoke that was being produced. I didn’t figure it would be much longer before the demi-titans realised that the tent their prisoners were being held in was burning down, with their most hated enemies inside.
“How long will it be?” Rebecca choked out the words, perspiration running down her face.
“I don’t know. Comet shouldn’t be keeping that much of their attention,” I said, surprisingly clearly despite the heat and smoke. Despite my apparent strange heat resistance, I did notice that it was getting increasingly hotter as the tent burned away. The flames moved from the one wall to the other sides, and eventually, the wooden post we were tied to was set alight.
“HELP US!” Rebecca called out, but she went into a coughing fit right after, the smoke getting to us.
“Elizabeth, any luck with the knots ourselves?” I asked her out of a rising desperation.
“I can’t get a good grasp on the rope, my hands are sweaty,” she wheezed. Together, we slumped against each other, perspiration running down all of our faces from the intense heat.
“Fire!” I heard someone finally call from outside, just as I could feel the flames from the burning pole behind us licking at my own flesh and hair. Three campers rushed into the burning ‘prison’ and began to work on the restraining knots. Finally, they broke us free of the wooden rod, but still had us three tied together, so it was really awkward to run. I was situated so that I was running backwards while the other two were running sideways while coughing and wheezing to clear the smoke from their lungs.
“Ready?” I whispered as loudly as I could without being heard by the demi-titans escorting us. My companions each gave me an almost imperceptible nod in reply, and I indicated with my fingers a count down. Three, two, one…
We all lashed out as much as we could while being tied together with our arms tied down at our sides. Our legs kicked frantically at our escorts, and they fell in complete and utter surprise. Fortunately, there weren’t really any more free demi-titans to deal with us between dousing the blazing tent and herding our vicious guard dog.
“Come on, this way!” I exclaimed, shuffling towards the biggest tent at the base of the hill we camped out on the previous night. I hoped that this was the main tent Brett had mentioned, because we probably didn’t have time to search all of the half-dozen tents in the compound without getting seen. We rushed inside of the large makeshift headquarters to find it blissfully empty. Several laptops stood around a table in the middle of the room, and chairs circled the table, but that was the extent of the furniture, with the exception of the promised shoe box in the corner of the tent, surrounded by our backpacks. It wasn’t right next to the opening as he said, but I could forgive Brett for that part. We stumbled over ourselves trying to retrieve our supplies, forgetting we were still tied together. We all sighed in unison, and carefully shuffled to the corner, where Rebecca was the one to open the box and retrieve her dagger.
“I got this,” she said confidently as she started to file away at our rope bonds. In no time at all, the rope tying us together fell to the ground, and after doing herself, Rebecca cut me and Elizabeth free of the restraints on our wrists. Rubbing the red areas where the rope had held us, we gathered the rest of our weapons and supplies, gearing up for the escape. I slipped on my bracelet, and then flipped the stone tablet on it to release my shield, Guardian. The strange design made of Celestial Bronze and other metals shone in the dim light of the candles on the central table. I strapped my dagger and my sword to my belt, and then drew the silver Roman gladius after slipping my ring with my spear onto the middle finger of my left finger, ready for battle. Elizabeth held her own bronze sword in her hand, and Rebecca had her dagger in a ready fighting stance. I spun my sword around, working my sore wrists, and then I readied myself for an upcoming battle.
“Where are the prisoners?!” someone outside shrieked in fury. I barely recognized the voice of Nathan Frost because it was so high pitched from anger. I held out my arm to stop my friends from advancing, and I listened to the argument brewing outside.
“They attacked us, sir. We brought them out of the burning tent, and they took us out and made a run for it. We don’t know where he went!” explained a camper. I could hear metal clang against metal as Nathan presumably tried to stab someone, but his blade bounced harmlessly off of the metal armour that the poor chap was wearing. The whole scene seemed rather familiar. I realised that Nathan probably had tamper-tantrums a lot, as I had heard him freak out at least three times now. I heard him rampaging through the compound, things tumbling and falling.
“Are their supplies still in the main tent?” Nathan asked suddenly, anger straining through a forced calm voice.
“Kyle! Henry! Come with me!” somebody shouted, and I heard marching footsteps getting louder as they approached the main tent. I scrambled back and indicated for Elizabeth and Rebecca to follow me as I ran to the back of the tent and sliced it open with my sword. We clambered out just as I peaked through and saw the demi-titans poke their heads in. They looked in the corner where our stuff was previously, and panic flashed across their faces. Then one of them noticed the slash in the back of the tent, but I ducked away before they could notice me.
We stealthily moved through the bushes behind the tents, following the sounds of the quieter, but still present barking of our dog. We poked our heads around our tent when we heard the loudest barking. Our dog was very easily occupying at least five demi-titans, baring his teeth and snapping at anybody who came near him. It made me wonder how they captured him in the first place. I tried to get his attention by snapping my fingers, and then quietly whistling so as not to alert the guards trying to fend off Comet. Finally, after several times being ignored, I wasn’t thinking and I gave off my best New York cab whistle, one that could’ve been heard throughout the whole camp or a New York City block. I heard the thundering of boots on the ground as demi-titans rushed to the source of the commotion.
“Good job Anderson,” I muttered to myself. I just gave away our position to a small army. On the bright side, it got Comet’s attention. The giant golden retriever snapped one last time at the soldiers trying to control him, and then bounded over to where we stood.
“Good boy!” Elizabeth exclaimed, scratching his ears in gratitude. Comet lay down on the ground, indicating that he wanted us to climb on. Elizabeth clambered up first, then Rebecca, but before I could climb up after them, I felt something sharp come to rest on the back of my neck.
“Oh, so close!” mocked Nathan Frost, finally calm with the delight of having me at his sword tip. “You almost got away again. It must burn you to be so close to escape!”
“Really Nathan?” I asked, slowly turning and moving his sword point away. “Do you really think you have me?”
“I’m not the one with a sword at his head and surrounded by a troop of highly trained soldiers, now am I?” Nathan pointed out with a smirk, which I returned.
“I say we get a proper fight,” I suggested. “One on one, no back up. Just you and me.”
“So you want to try to die with a shred of honour? Very well. I will grant a dead man’s last wish,” Nathan said, backing away while holding his sword in a ready stance. I twirled my own around in my hand and brandished my shield.
“After this is over, get out of here immediately, with or without me,” I instructed my companions. They tried to protest, but I didn’t have time as Nathan leaped towards me, sword coming down in an arc. I instinctively raised my shield in defence, and Nathan’s sword bounced off harmlessly. I came out from hiding and swung my sword at him, and he parried properly. His anger and hatred for me made his fighting technique wild. It was also a different fighting style then what I was used to fighting against in my training at Camp Half-Blood.
“You don’t fight like a Greek,” I commented between blows.
“Glad you noticed,” he said, and our blades crossed in a deadlock. “We have a special way of doing things at our camp. It is both Greek and Roman,” he explained, and then we twisted our swords and jabbed at me. I deflected the jab with my shield, and then caught my blade on his and twisted: a trick Percy taught me in my first weeks at camp. Nathan’s sword clattered to the ground, and he looked down the blade of my sword as I held it right between his cold, sea-green eyes.
“Checkmate,” I said with a smirk, and then rolled aside and jumped backwards, clambering up behind Rebecca on Comet.
“Go boy, go!” Elizabeth said into the dog’s ear, and he took off into the woods, the angry and humiliated face of Nathan Frost stared at our retreating form.
Chapter 7: We Get Lost