I tried thinking of something to say but I couldn't. I rotated the pilum and it shrank into a toothpick, which I locked between my teeth. We sat there in silence for a long moment.
The water nymphs were playing in the water a few yards in front of us. They were all pretty and slender girls, all of them having something blue. I think one of them had blue hair. It was hard to tell in the orange glow of the camp fire. They were splashing water at each other and giggling like preschoolers. One of them saw us and pointed us out to the others . After talking among themselves they giggled and waved at us. I couldn't help but wave back. I saw Max wink at them and mimic a telephone with his hands near an ear and mouth the words 'call me' out the corner of my eye. I broke the silence with a laugh.
The nymphs waved and giggled at us a couple more times then swam away. "Why didn't you tell on me?" I asked Max when the nymphs were gone.
Max tore a clump of grass from the ground and began to fiddle with it. I didn't tell him but I thought that's what children of Hephaestus do. Or unless...
He twirled them around and round his fingers and when he pulled away he held a wristband made of grass. "Did you want me to?" he asked back when he was finished admiring his wristband.
"No, man", I said and fiddled with my toothpick. "I didn't mean it that way. I just expected you to but, you know. Would you really have done it?"
"That would be the logical thing to do", said Max with a smile, "but then there are these factors that kind of defy that logic. I trust you, man. I'm pretty sure you beat a stupid Roman up and stole his spear."
"What if I told you that wasn't it?" I asked in a whisper. If my voice wasn't so eerily serious I'm sure Max would've laughed. He just stared at me. His face looked so foreign to me without that playful on his face. In the darkness he looked he wanted to kill me right there.
"I don't get it", he said and let out an annoyed sigh. "I usually get it but I'm not getting this. What do you mean, exactly, by 'if that wasn't it'?"
"I'm saying what if that's just not it", I said. I felt scared to meet his eyes now. I knew he would figure it out sooner or later without me telling him. I didn't know how long.
Max tapped his forehead and his eyes widened. "You killed a Roman to get it?" he said in a whisper. "I thought Chiron taught us never to hurt other demigods badly. I though he taught us not to –"
"I didn't kill anyone", I cut in on him. "You know I couldn't. I'm literally incapable of even bruising anyone. Have you looked at my muscles?" I showed him by biceps which didn't tense at all when I tensed my arm. He reanimated his smile on his face.
"So you just found it?" he smiled at me. I smiled back and looked at the water. I thought I saw a nymph waving at me so I waved at her. Max followed my eyes and frowned. "You know she's not waving at you, right? She's drowning."
I didn't need to be told twice. I got my earphones out and clapped my hands with them in between. As soon as they turned into discs I jumped off the edge. I put one disc under my foot to help me slide down the side, holding the other one at an angle so that it would caught the firelight. I bent the reflected beam so it shone directly onto the person. I didn't think to look at her. I just picked her up and put her on the disc I wasn't riding and carried her onshore. Max was standing on the edge of the water by the time I got her away from the deep waters. He helped me carry her further in and lay her down. By some miracle she didn't faint but she coughed up so much water it scared me a bit. She tried sitting up but slipped on her hands and fell back again. I tried supporting her to sit up but she pushed me away. Max reached a hand out to her and she took it and sat up. Sure, take the guy's hand who just stood there while I saved you. Thanks.
"We need to get you dry", said Max. The girl tried to reply but all that came out was a hoarse cough. After trying to say something and coughing again she just nodded. That's when I first got a look at her. She was almost my height. She had black hair that went heavily down her shoulders and back and clung onto her wet camp shirt. Her face looked terrible, like she had caught a cold or flu. Her green eyes were the only bright thing about her face, but even they looked terrible from her frown. She almost looked menacing in the firelight, but she looked too frail and sick to actually be menacing.
I supported one of her arms when I realized she was trying to stand up. Max supported her on the other side. She shakily stood up. I could tell she was going to get a fever soon. She was shivering. "We need to get you to Apollo's cabin", Max and I said at the same time an laughed.
We took the long route across the camp fire. The camp fire was in the lower centre of a curved row of cabins shaped into a horseshoe. My cabin was Apollo's cabin which was seventh from the first topmost cabin. Each cabin had their own distinguishable features that made them unique. You could tell the first cabin was Zeus' cabin with all the clouds and thunderbolt patterns all over. The second one was Hera's, though I didn't really get why she needed one as she had no demigod children. The third one was obviously Poseidon's with all the seashells on the walls. The third one was Demeter's cabin which was covered in leaves and vines. The fifth was no doubt Ares' cabin with the horrible red paint job and the barbed wire on the roof. The sixth one was Max's mom's, and I thought it was one of the coolest, with a simple white paint job that made it look the most civil. The seventh one was mine, or Apollo's cabin, which was the second largest cabin there and looked like it was painted bright golden in the firelight. The next one was Artemis' cabin, with a silver paint job that seemed to glow in the dark, which had no demigods either. The ninth was Hephaestus' cabin, which looked like a small factory with smokestacks sticking out and thick brick walls. The next one was the most close-to-perfect looking cabin that I liked the least, which was Aphrodite's. The one after that was the largest cabin in camp, Hermes' cabin, with everybody still awake who were apparently having pillow fights according to their silhouettes through the windows. Cabin twelve was Mr D's cabin, which looked almost like Demeter's, but had bin bags full of coke cans and bottles outside the door. The next cabin looked the most depressing of all, being Hades', with black obsidian walls and torches by the door that burned with green fire 24/7. Cabin fourteen was Iris's cabin, which had bright painted walls and a 3-D rainbow arched over the door. The next one was Hypnos's cabin, and it made you sleepy just by looking at it, with simple mud walls and roof. The next one was probably Nemesis's cabin as it had a miniature version of her balancing scales over the door. The next one was Nike's cabin, with a massive tick sign painted on the door. The one after that was a cabin that looked like it was made of made of bronze and flowers, probably Hebe's. Cabin nineteen looked like it was a good luck charm, probably Tyche's, with lockets hanging of the roof and a four-leafed clover on the door. The last cabin that ended the horseshoe was Hecate's cabin with Ancient Greek writing scribbled all over the rough stone walls.
When I reached my cabin Max let the girl go and left to go to his cabin. Supporting her by myself was hard but I managed to get her into cabin seven. As soon as I entered everyone stared at her. She looked at me then them and let out a weak laugh. Yeah, I would too. Behold, my brothers and sisters, who are so much better-looking than me. Will Solace, the oldest, tallest and best-looking dude in the cabin, who also happened to be the cabin councillor, came up to us and asked me, "What happened?"
"Long story", I said quickly, not wanting to waste time, "She needs help. I was hoping Mike or Duke could heal her with songs."
Will nodded and placed a hand on the girl's shoulder. His palm glowed over her shirt. In a matter of seconds her clothes were dry, as if someone went over it with an invisible iron. One of the girls in the cabin came up with a towel and started to dry her off. I looked at Mike and Duke who were looking at the girl like she was the most amazing in the world. I snapped my fingers in front of their faces and they stopped gaping at her. "Where'd you score her, bro?" said Mike. He got a grin from Duke and they locked fists and laughed.
"That's for me to know and you to guess", I said. "Now, which one of you is going to heal her." I almost felt bad to ask them for the favour but they both got up and raced to her. Remember when I said I wanted the other cool powers? Vitakinesis was one of them. I didn't have the power to heal, which Mike and Duke both had, but they worked differently. In order for Mike's songs to work he needed to be bleeding, and the blood needed to drop on the one he was healing. For Duke's to work, the one he had to heal needed to be bleeding.
Mike got to her first and held a hand between him and Duke so the latter couldn't get to her. He led her to one of the girl's bunker beds. She collapsed immediately and blinked like it hurt. Mike sat at her side and solemnly began chanting something. His voice sounded so different when he sang, it almost scared me. He stopped for a second and moved a hand over her face as if to check if she was breathing. While he did so he quickly bit one of his fingers and let a single drop of blood fall onto her body. Her body absorbed it like a sponge and by the time he was finished chanting she was asleep and breathing steadily.
I just watched like a voyeur. When Will made sure she was okay I lay back and soon drifted off to sleep.
The next morning at breakfast I saw her among the Hermes kids. I almost thought she was one of Hermes' daughters but then noticed how lost she looked among the other kids. After breakfast I was free because it was time to learn Ancient Greek with Annabeth and I was terrible at learning. Also, I couldn't stop staring at Annabeth on the first day there so I got a free expulsion out of her class. Usually at this time of the day, I go back to our cabin and catch a few extra Z's or play my broken guitar. But for some reason, I felt like going to the Arts and Crafts building.
On the way there saw the girl sitting alone on a rock. I don't know why but I went over and talked to her. When she saw me coming she came to meet me. Before I could say hi, she said, "I'm sorry."
"For what?" was all I could think of saying.
"For all the trouble last night", she said then came closer and raised an arm. I thought she was going to hit me so I tried to step back but tripped on some rocks and fell. When I looked up I saw her hand reaching out for a handshake. She offered me a hand, but I got up on my own before she could reach for me. I felt bad so I said sorry.
"Liri", she said. I looked at her. "Sorry?"
"My name", she said, "My name is Liri. Well, actually, It's Liriana but hardly anyone calls me that." She reached a hand out. I took it and shook it.
"I'm Arrow", I told her. "At least that's what my name translates to from Indian."
"Cool", she said, "I mean nice to meet you. And thank you."
I looked at her. "For what?"
"For saving me last night. And I'm sorry I laughed at you. I really hope you don't mind."
"It's really alright", I said and laughed gently. "So how's the cabin treating you?"
"Not too bad", she shrugged. "I just feel like I don't fit in. I don't know who my father is, but I'm pretty sure it's not Hermes."
We had petty conversation for most of the free time that day. I felt good talking to her, like she was a friend. Mike and Duke were my half-brothers so I couldn't call them friends. Max was my best friend at camp, and he always had been ever since we got to camp. He was the person who looked happy the day I was claimed as a son of Apollo. Everyone else had laughed but Max made me feel better.
From our conversations we got to know each other a bit better. She told me she discovered she was a demigod when she accidentally drowned an Órnio, a vulture-like monster that had got into her bedroom somehow, in the bathtub. She had run away from home when her mother got scared of her killing other animals, as she probably thought she just drowned a normal sparrow or some other bird. She had been running from monsters for the last two days and got into camp through a tear in the fence of the property line. She had fallen into the water by accident when she got her foot stuck in some stray tree roots and fell in when she got it free. She told me she asked other people to help her but they just laughed saying there was no monster chasing her. Apparently it was one of the stray hell-hounds, or at least what it sounded like from her description.
Somewhere along the way she began to ask me questions, and most of the ones I didn't want to answer too. Luckily for me Max came in at the right time and we walked off past the beach talking together. He befriended Liri much quicker than I had. I felt jealous of Max for being able to make friends so easily, but I couldn't help being happy for him too. At least he was there for me when I had runaway from home. He helped me get to camp safely with the help of one of his Satyr friends. We had been friends like Castor was with Pollux. Now I had one more person I could call a friend.
A/N: Another chapter done. Sorry if it was a bit boring, I just wanted to expand on everything. I'm guessing longer chapters are propably not the best choice for me, but I'll try harder.