I Outrun A Tree:
Being “admitted” to Camp Half-Blood, I spent the next few days getting accustomed. Even though I wasn’t a half-blood, I still needed to sleep, and somewhere to do so. Mr D. decided I wasn’t going to be staying in the Big House, probably because he didn’t want me anywhere near him, which suited me just fine. So I was given a spot in the Hermes cabin, since undetermined half-bloods (demigods whose parent is unknown) usually stayed there until they were claimed and moved to other cabins, in keeping with the fact Hermes was the god of travellers. Of course, I was going to end up like the kids whose parent was Hermes, and stay there for the duration of my stay. I quickly learned that children of Hermes were inclined to thievery, which made me glad I had only my clothes. When it was time to eat, at breakfast, lunch, tea, other big meals, we all went to the eating area. The eating area was just a big white open-air pavilion lined with Greek pillars, with the tables for each cabin surrounding a central brazier of fire, and a very large gash in the stone leading up to it, which was rather unsettling, because it was obvious it wasn’t supposed to be there. I sat at the Hermes table. I learned quickly enough that each meal, an offering to the gods was made by scraping a portion of our meals into the fire. I didn’t even question it, I just did. Surprisingly, the smell from the burning food was pleasant, and not malodourous. The food was at least decent; junk food, snacks, and goblets that’d fill with whatever you asked for and as much as you wanted, even me. And during the day, I didn’t have to do much at all, since I probably wouldn’t survive some of the training regimes they had going. I was essentially free to do what I wanted.
And I was miserable.
I felt alone in the camp. Even the Hermes campers eyed me like I was some outcast. Mortals don’t belong in Camp Half-Blood. And here I am stuck here. I avoided people, fearing they’d do something, especially Ares campers (they were real bullies, but they weren’t cowards). I spent most of my time either alone in my cabin, or sitting out by the stream. There were only two things that made my situation bearable; Mr D left a day after I was out of hospital, and the two people in the whole area of Long Island who I could call friends, and they weren’t even human. They were Aria and Lily.
I was down by the creek, as I usually was in the middle of the day. It’d been five days since I got here, and I’d found myself quite popular with the naiads. Lily introduced them to me, and apparently they were quite intrigued with me. I’ll admit, it did make me feel a little better, because being popular with girls aside, they treated me kindly, if a little teasingly at times. My popularity was mostly from their fascination with the odd Dream Time story I told them, Aboriginal tales explaining the origin and creation of their world. Even though I knew that was all false now, the naiads were quite interested. It seemed the tale of the Rainbow Snake was most popular, along with the tale of how dolphins got their blowholes.
“Ooh, ooh, Blake!” Lily chattered. “Tell everyone about that creature, what was it, the Bunyan!”
“Bunyip,” I corrected. I scratched my chin, recalling the information about the mythical (and I do mean it) monster. It made sense why they’d be interested. “Well, the Bunyip is an aquatic monster, supposedly. I can’t give a description really, because there’s no single agreed upon description, and no trait of their appearance they all share. Just that it lives in water, rivers mostly, and might’ve had supernatural abilities.”
The naiads chattered amongst themselves excitedly.
“You wouldn’t happen to know what it really is?” I asked, thinking it was some ancient Greek monster. My answer was a collective of shrugs.
“Nope. Probably doesn’t exist,” a naiad said.
“Yeah. Probably,” I muttered. For a water spirit to say a monster doesn’t is… I don’t know how to explain it really. It just made me feel bad.
“Blake?” a voice called out. I turned around, and saw Aria walking towards me, her green chiton (as the wood nymph had explained to me) rippling in a breeze I swear wasn’t there before I looked at her. Another thing that unsettled me; inexplicable things happened, and everyone took it as normal. There was a chorus of groans, and the group of naiads dispersed, knowing Aria was here to take me elsewhere.
“See you tomorrow Blake!” Lily chirped, before joining her kin underwater.
“Come on, you know what time it is,” Aria reminded.
“Yeah, I know,” I muttered. Aria had taken it upon herself to give me lessons on various Greek lore so I wasn’t left completely bewildered in this world of myth and monsters. At times I wondered if I had, in fact, been warped to an alternate reality where all these legends were real. But I had no evidence to suggest so, because everything else in the world seemed exactly as it was before my unceremonious arrival. I got to my feet and followed Aria. She smelled of Spring flowers in full bloom.
Aria’s “classroom” was little more than a fallen log on the outskirts of the forest, out of the way of camp activities. I sat on the log, and Aria sat next to me. Every time, I tried to suppress a blush, and every time I’d fail, Aria stifling a little giggle.
“Now then, I think you need to learn about the Oath of the ‘Big Three’,” she explained. I knew who the “Big Three” were – Zeus, Hades and Poseidon – but it was the first time I’d ever heard about this oath.
“Oath?” I asked. She nodded, and leaned back, looking into the sky, what she usually did when she taught me things.
“It was an oath to have no more half-blood children. You see, half-bloods of the Big Three are powerful. More so than children of other gods. Sometimes too powerful. They could be too dangerous to the world of mortals and Olympus,” she explained. Had I known what she was going to say next, I would’ve told her to stop. “That’s sort of what World War Two was about. Children of Zeus and Poseidon got into a fight with Hades, and well, with them causing too much change to human history, the pact was formed so they had no more demigod children. That make sense?”
I clenched my fists, and gritted my teeth.
“Yeah. It makes sense,” I murmured darkly. Aria looked at me inquisitively.
“A big fight between the children of the Big Three. A fight that cost fifty million lives,” I growled, and got to my feet. I had always held a fascination with military history and the machines and technology employed in wars. It’s one of the reasons why I liked FPS games so much. But I had a deep respect for war, and the horrors, atrocities and bloodshed that came of it. Learning that the biggest, most brutal war in human history, one my two grandfathers personally fought in, one losing his life, was caused by a fight between squabbling children of gods hit a sore point. Especially to call it just, “a big fight”. To me, it was far more. I began to walk away.
“Where are you going?” Aria asked.
“To clear my head,” I muttered. I expected her to tell me the lesson wasn’t over, but she kept quiet. I think she knew I was upset, and made no attempt to follow me. It was the shortest lesson of my life.
I fumed over to where I normally sat when upset, by the stream. No naiads came to say hello this time. They just went about weaving baskets underwater. I sat on the grass with my head buried in my knees. I muttered to myself about gods toying with humans, about normal “mortals” never achieving anything and about all the sadistic monsters out there just coming back over and over (since I learned monsters never truly die, they just get banished to Hades and reform possibly a lifetime later), and the only people that can do anything about it could have super powers. I sulked for at least ten minutes before I heard the sound of footsteps behind me and inaudible chatter between three people. I recognised one as Chiron, and it sounded like there was a boy and a girl with him.
“Blake?” Chiron announced.
“Yes?” I muttered in response, not raising my head from my knees. I heard him sigh, and tap his horse foot against the grass a few times. I don’t know if it was awkwardness, anxiety or the equivalent of a teacher tapping their desk when they were mildly annoyed with students.
“Could you please hop up?” he asked gently, though it still sounded a little assertive. I grumbled and stood up, facing the centaur and the two campers that flanked him, a boy and a girl as I had guessed, about my age, perhaps a little younger. The first thing I noticed about them was the fact they looked like they’d been in a firefight. The boy’s clothing was singed, and parts of his skin were blackened by soot and smoke. The girl’s clothing and her skin was dirty and grimy, like she’d trekked from Brisbane to Toowoomba, cross country. Beyond that, they looked like regular enough teenagers, but I could tell they were half-bloods. They seemed to glance at Chiron like they deferred to him, but he wasn’t giving them any information it would seem. The boy had deep sea green eyes and black hair. His complexion seemed slightly tanned, though it was hard to tell with his messy appearance. The girl had blonde hair, dirtied and frizzled from her journey from wherever to wherever. She had a similarly mild tan. But what struck me the most about her were her eyes; they were stormy grey. No, it wasn’t like she was blind, they weren’t clouded over like blind people. They were a clear storm cloud grey colour, and they looked like they were scrutinising every pore of my body like she was searching for a weakness. But what was most odd about both of them was a seemingly matching grey streak in both their hair. I had a good feeling they were connected somehow.
“Blake, this is Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase,” Chiron introduced. “Percy, Annabeth, this is Blake…” He faltered, trying to remember my last name.
“Kalkadunga,” I helpfully finished.
“Ahem, yes. Anyhow, I’ve asked these two to help you with a bit of training,” Chiron explained. I looked at them sceptically, but I didn’t question Chiron. I didn’t want to do physical activity, but I didn’t think I’d get a choice. Besides, I was still moody from the whole WW2 thing. I wasn’t wanting to argue.
“Fine,” I grumbled. Chiron nodded, and turned to trot back to the camp proper, leaving me with Annabeth and Percy.
“You’re a mortal?” Annabeth asked with a hint of surprise.
“Yeah,” I answered. I still didn’t like being called a mortal. “And you’re not.”
“Not entirely, at least,” Percy piped up. “She’s a daughter of Athena. She’s pretty smart.”
Oh great. Someone who was both tough and smart. I guessed nerds who were children of Athena weren’t subject to torment from your average bully.
“And you?” I said, turning to Percy.
“I’m a son of Poseidon,” he answered. Then I remembered Aria mentioning him the other day when I was still in hospital. And it also reminded me of the “Pact” Aria told me about. My mood darkened again.
“Hmph. Can’t even keep an oath,” I murmured grumpily. His eyes widened in indignation.
“What did you just say?” he asked with agitation. Before things could escalate, Annabeth cleared her throat.
“Blake, it’s best you come with us. If anything, we’ll find you some exercise to do,” she informed.
“Oh boy, sounds fun,” I remarked sarcastically. She simply rolled her eyes, and turned around, gesturing me to follow. I did so, and Percy fumed behind me.
There was not a single thing they could think of for me to participate in. The climbing wall? I didn’t find the idea of climbing any vertical surface particularly pleasant, let alone one that spewed lava. Arts and crafts? I couldn’t even lift the hammer with one hand, and Beckendorf did not trust me at the forge. Archery? Holding my arms out straight was difficult enough, I didn’t think I’d be able to let fly an arrow without scoring some poor bystander in the head. Wrestling? I saw Clarrisse turning campers into pretzels on the mat. I didn’t need any further information than that. The list of activities I could safely do shrank rapidly, until both Percy and Annabeth could no longer guide me around like some lost child. They had important business that suddenly popped up, so I was left in the care of a bunch of wood nymphs. So I could practice running. I felt indignant, but of all the other activities, this was the most benign. And the safest. I lined up behind a line drawn in the dirt with a bunch of other nymphs. And I was left in a trail of dust. They tried to comfort me by saying they had centuries practice running from lovesick gods, but it didn’t change the fact I had several more races left to be humiliated in. By the third, I was exhausted. A nymph cried “GO!”, and I ran as fast as I could. My lungs burned and my legs ached. I didn’t even know why I was still doing this. I wanted to just lie down and let it be over. The dryads gave me a head start this time, but sure enough they overtook me. I watched them race past, and humiliate me again. Then… I don’t know what exactly happened. I felt this strange, light feeling fill my body, like I was topped up with gas. There was a faint whooshing of air past my ears, and one moment I was staring at the backs of speeding dryads, and the next, I was far ahead of them, like I’d just suddenly blasted out of a cannon and my acceleration cut out… at least, it mostly did. I discovered I still had plenty of momentum. I was swept off my feet, and my still considerable acceleration carried me forward… right off the bank of the creek, and straight into the drink with a splash. Fortunately, it was shallower than the section I fell into when I arrived, and I was far less disorientated. I sat upright, chest-deep in water. I looked around me, and back at the creek bank, where my dryad racing competitors gathered and stared at me incredulously. Suddenly, a naiad’s head popped out of the water in front of me.
“I didn’t know mortals could fly,” she said with slight awe. I coughed, spitting out a mouthful of water.
“We c-can’t,” I sputtered. I looked back at the wood nymphs on land. “What happened?”
“Well,” one began, searching for the right words, “you were behind us, and then you were in front of us.”
That didn’t exactly answer my question. I wondered if a god had just played a nasty joke on me. I shook my head, and heaved myself out of the water. If my body was on fire from exhaustion before, it wasn’t now. The little drenching had shocked my whole body cold, and I shivered. My teeth chattered loudly, like a distant jackhammer. A nymph took my hand and helped me up the bank, making sure I didn’t topple over. A dryad turned up with a towel, and draped it over me. I quivered and held the towel tightly around me. Suddenly, I heard the sound of cantering hooves approaching, and saw Chiron approaching me with an unreadable expression. He stopped in front of me, and seemingly sized me up. Before he could speak, I asked him a question that was banging around the sides of my skull.
“What just happened?” I asked. His expression turned concerned, and that did little to ease my shaking nerves.
“I don’t know. I’ve never seen a mortal do that,” he said. I pit formed in my stomach. “I’ve never seen a mortal do that.” What was that supposed to mean? Why did it happen to me? Did it mean… something bad? I cringed at the thought. I’d pretty much decided that if something strange happened to me here, it’d be a very bad sign. I felt really scared. Chiron shook his head, as if dismissing something only he was privy to.
“Come with me,” he ordered, then looked at the nymph supporting me. “Carry him, and then leave us.” The nymph remained silent, but nodded her head. Chiron began trotting away, and the nymph helped me hobble behind. I was worried. I had a feeling my little super-sprint was the sign of something terrible. I didn’t know what it meant, and the fact Chiron didn’t know either and was worried did nothing to reassure me. Although, inwardly, a part of me smiled despite all my concern; I’d won the race.
I stood alone on top of Half-Blood Hill with Chiron and Peleus, by the Pine Tree which was known as Thalia’s Tree (after the daughter of Zeus who died there and was turned into a pine by Zeus, who had since risen from the grave two years ago), the Golden Fleece, the magical relic that now provided power to the tree and thus the barrier that kept monsters and mortals out and me in, hung from a low branch. Coiled lazily around the tree’s trunk was Peleus, the tree’s guardian dragon. I don’t know how I managed to miss a large, coppery dragon when I made my fantastic crash into the barrier atop this hill when I arrived. Or how I didn’t end up roasted by Peleus seeing as I was a strange mortal madly charging towards him from the inside of the barrier. The dragon snoozed, blowing small wisps of steam from his nostrils. He didn’t look particularly threatening, but I didn’t want to provoke him to find out. As I looked at the dragon, I sneezed. I was still wet from my swim, and I still had the towel tightly wrapped around me. Being on top of a hill and wet isn’t exactly comfortable, but my capacity for complaint had diminished after being dumped into a camp full of monsters and demigods which until a few days ago was directed by a god who’d turn me into a dolphin if I did complain. Chiron cleared his throat to get my attention.
“Well, child. How are you feeling?” he asked. He tried to look calm, but the concern was still clear in his expression. That’s the one thing I liked so far about Chiron in the several days I’d known him. He’d always try to reassure you, even if he didn’t always succeed. He was sympathetic.
“Cold sir,” I answered with a slight quiver in my voice. He nodded.
“Nothing noticeable.” He nodded again, seemingly in relief. His expression then turned serious.
“What was it like? How did it feel when it happened?” I shifted on my feet nervously.
“I… I don’t know. I just felt like I was really light and full of air for a moment. I heard wind rushing past my ears and everything went blurry. And then I was over ten metres from where I was,” I explained, trying to remember what happened. I didn’t know what it was, it was all fuzzy.
“You dashed from behind leading dryads and crossed the finishing line in an instant. It was almost too fast to see,” Chiron said. I pit formed in my gut. Having it happen to me was one thing, but being told what I’d done from another perspective brought a whole new level of unease.
“I slowed down suddenly… but I still had a lot of momentum. Not as much, but enough to launch me…” I trailed off, piecing together the bits of information.
“It seemed that way,” Chiron mused, looking off into the distance thoughtfully. “I am sorry, but there are no answers I can give you.”
“Could it’ve been a god playing a trick on me?” I asked. It was a question that weighed heavy on my mind. I mean, I’d been teleported into a camp full of godly children and mythical beings, and I’d been flung into a lake. Certainly seemed like divine pranking to me.
“Possibly,” Chiron murmured, though he looked unconvinced. “I certainly know mortals shouldn’t be running as fast as the wind. If a god was involved, it would seem they cursed your legs or something.”
“You don’t think a god did it, don’t you?” I said knowingly. He sighed, and looked at me with sympathetic but uncertain eyes.
“I don’t see why a god would suddenly decide to toy with you. Such habits died out over the years. Still, it shouldn’t be dismissed.”
“Right…” I muttered. I shivered again, but Chiron placed his hand on my shoulder.
“I’m sorry you’re stuck here. I would have defended you, but Dionysus’ blood was up. I didn’t want to risk making things worse for you.”
“It’s alright. You at least tried, and I know what you mean. Mr D. terrifies me. Everyone does.”
“Do not blame him too much. He is just tense, and these are stressful times, considering…”
“Considering what?” I looked up at him inquisitively. The Centaur frowned, and held his tongue like it was something he shouldn’t have let slip.
“It’s nothing, child. Old Dionysus was just frustrated. He didn’t want to be even more stressed.”
“But why keep me here? Wouldn’t keeping a mortal prisoner here be more of a bother than just wiping my memory? If he’s the god of madness, then wouldn’t amnesia be a simple thing to do?” I didn’t like the idea of having my memory erased, but the phrase “ignorance is bliss” seemed very appealing to me right then.
Chiron turned away looking antsy, like there was some little detail he wasn’t telling me.
“I hear you got angry with Percy Jackson,” he said, steering the subject away from something he wasn’t willing to discuss. I didn’t press the issue; my mood darkened again as soon as I was reminded of that little incident.
“Yes,” I admitted dourly. I wasn’t really angry with this Percy guy. It wasn’t his fault he was the child that broke the oath of one of the ‘Big Three’. I guess though I didn’t like the whole idea of WWII being caused by quarrelling demigods.
“It was something about the oath his father broke.”
“Aria told me about the pact the ‘Big Three’ made after World War Two.”
“And you dislike him because he was born from a broken oath?”
“No, no. I don’t actually have anything against him, personally, I was just… my temper was up.”
“So then what is it?”
I sighed, and it seemed where I couldn’t pursue information he didn’t divulge, he would not let up without details.
“I… don’t like the truth being the war was caused by a dispute between demigods. All I’ve been taught about the causes of the War are false. And I don’t like how you people refer to fifty million lives lost as a ‘big fight’. Mortal lives may be insignificant to you immortals, and to the mortal half-bloods sadly, but they mean far more to me.” I only noticed after I stopped talking that my fists were clenched tightly. Chiron sighed again.
“So that’s what is,” he mulled. He then clasped both my shoulders and crouched down so his face was level with mine. “I have been training heroes for thousands of years. I have seen many die, many never return, and many broken from their hardships. The one thing I have learned is that the heroes whose feats do not immortalise them in history are often just as strong, just as brave as those like Hercules and Perseus. They did not always seek glory or fame, but sought to protect humanity, and they contented themselves with that. I’ve trained many half-bloods who never became heroes. Some even died in World War Two, quite a few little more than rank and file soldiers. In the world we live hidden from humanity, a hero can possess great power, but in the real world, in a human war, they’re not all that different from the rest of us.”
I remained silent. He had a point. I’d heard of a few famous figures in history who were half-bloods, and that made me feel a little insignificant, that only children of gods could be famous people who actually did something worthy of acclaim. Not some popstar, not some TV celebrity, but someone who would be remembered long after they have passed. But I never fought of the notion that some demigods out there did nothing to have their name remembered, because they did other things. Not every demigod in war was a great commander, or a master fighter. In wars of the recent centuries, how many half-bloods had died to a mortal sniper, or to a landmine, or an exploding bomb? There were nearly a hundred half-bloods in the camp, so how many more who knew who they were still fought as mere soldiers, and died unknown. I was surprised actually, that Chiron had made me think about it. But a part of me still felt begrudged; no one had yet told me of a famous figure who wasn’t a half-blood. There were plenty more names, sure, but I didn’t feel like asking about their parentage.
“I can see you’re thinking this over, Blake. I don’t expect you to understand immediately. But I will tell you this; I have never thought of the wars of human history as just “big fights”. Not all had a demigod or demigods behind them. Now then, I think you should go to your cabin. Get some rest,” Chiron suggested, before letting me go and trotting off, leaving just me and a dozing dragon. I thought about what he said. They’re not all that different from the rest of us. Yeah, perhaps. Perhaps.
I walked over to the Cabin area, still wrapped in my towel, and quickly found the Hermes cabin. Off all the twelve cabins, it was the most normal in appearance, looking much like an old beachside getaway, with emphasis on the old; the paint peeled, and the colour was faded. That wasn’t what I minded about it though. It was the smell. The Demeter cabin always smelled fragrant like wildflowers, the Dionysus cabin always smelled of berries and the Aphrodite always smelled nice, just nice, nothing specific, just nice. As for the Hermes cabin? It didn’t have an unusual smell related to the god of Messengers, Merchants, Medicine Men and Thieves. It just stank like dirty socks, sweaty people and rotten food someone forgot they’d stashed. Like you’d expect of a cabin with around twenty people living in it. The only cabins that smelled worse were the Hephaestus cabin, which always smelled of smoke and burning metal, and the Ares cabin, which I didn’t want to think about what made it smell so bad. I opened the door, and fortunately it was empty. It was only early-afternoon, so of course everybody was still out doing things. I stepped over the mess covered floor, and made my way to the sleeping bag lying on the ground that was my designated space. The bunks were all taken, so there wasn’t exactly a choice in the matter. I didn’t get much sleep, a combination of sharing with twenty other people, and my own anxiety. I laid down on it, letting out a sigh. I’d since ditched the towel, which now hung haphazardly on clothesline I’d passed on the way.
“What am I doing here?” I muttered to myself. I relaxed quite quickly; Chiron was right, I did need rest. I was about to doze off when I heard two people talking outside the cabin.
“Come on, you’re pulling my leg!” a boy dismissed.
“No joke, there’s been rumours that Luke’s planning on invading the camp!” a girl insisted. I perked up at that. Invade?
“How? There’s no way he’d get a strike force past the barrier.”
“There was that monster snooping around the edges of the barrier. Perhaps it was looking for a weakness?”
“If it finds one, we’re in trouble. We don’t have the numbers to stop an invasion. We’ll be killed for sure!”
That made me sit upright. Killed? I didn’t like the sound of that.
“The barrier is fine, there aren’t any weaknesses. Nothing gets through unless we want it to.”
“But still… Kronos. He’s getting stronger. It’ll only be a matter of time before we’re forced into a fight.”
Before they could talk further, someone else arrived.
“You might want to keep it down. The mortal is inside,” the newcomer said, another guy. I noticed how he put emphasis on “mortal”, as though I was something to be cautious of. I frowned, and lied back down. But this time, I didn’t get a chance to have a mid-afternoon nap. My mind was alarmed by the notions of invasion and getting killed. Unable to rest, I dwelled on that, and everything else I’d heard that day and that had happened to me. And it scared me.
The sun was dipping below the treetops when a conch horn sounded, signalling that it was time for dinner. I got myself off my sleeping bag, and began making my way over to the dining pavilion like everyone else. As I walked, I took note of how everyone seemed to keep some distance around me. Normally, I wouldn’t pay it any mind, since I’d grown used to it in schools, but here, knowing who these people were, I felt like everyone thought being near me was bad for their health. It made me feel isolated. I had no friends here, no allies. Except perhaps Aria, Lily and the naiads. I spotted Aria strolling up to the pavilion, and I decided to duck behind to walk alongside her.
“Hey,” I greeted timidly.
“Good evening Blake,” she answered kindly.
“Listen, I’m sorry about how I acted earlier today.”
“No, it’s quite alright. I didn’t know it was such a touchy subject to you.”
I was gladdened by her understanding of my situation. It made me feel a little less of a stranger. But I’ll admit, the topic was still touchy, so I decided to not bring it up in the future, and ignore it if someone else did. Then, I noticed another camper walking a bit behind me. It was Percy.
“Excuse me,” I said. Aria smiled and beckoned for me to take my leave politely. I pulled back until I was alongside Percy. He noticed me, and frowned.
“What?” he asked agitatedly.
“Sorry,” I answered. He stopped, and eyed me curiously. He’d since cleaned up, and now he wore the typical orange Camp Half-Blood T-shirt.
“Sorry, for what I said earlier. I was… upset. I never meant to be rude to you.”
We both stood silently for a moment, Percy’s expression unchanged. I was worried he was still sore with me and would swat my apology aside. But I was given relief when his expression softened.
“Don’t sweat it, man,” he said, a small grin forming from his mouth. He extended his arm, and I accepted it. We shook hands.
“Don’t mention it. I bet you’re having a worse time than when I first arrived here.” His mood improved, and I felt a bit more relaxed. I could hold grudges easily, but only if the person gave me reason. He didn’t.
“You have no idea, mate.” He chuckled, and let go of my hand.
“I bet. But hey, if you ever need help, just find me. I’m pretty good at helping people out.” He then paused, and looked out the corner of his eyes thoughtfully. “Although, that has a tendency to get us both into more trouble.”
I laughed, and it felt so good too. Given my situation, I didn’t think I’d ever have humour again.
“Yeah, I doubt that’d happen for me though,” I joked. He smiled, and gestured towards the eating pavilion.
“Come, let’s go eat. After today, I’m starving,” he suggested. I nodded, and followed him up the steps to the dining area. We had to part ways, since sitting at other tables was against camp rules, but I felt relaxed anyway. Knowing there was someone who’d look out for me was greatly reassuring. Besides, it felt good to have a human friend in this camp. Well, mostly human. You know what I mean.