As they weaved through carts and crowds, Everett realized this would be his first real battle. He didn’t know what to do. So he decided to follow Rae’s lead. She always seemed so confident and sure of herself, and as much as Everett wanted to feel like that too, he felt it best to follow right then. When they got to the scene of the small battle between Sayer and the dracaenae, Everett froze in fear.

“Theo you’re fine, just pull out your sword, you brought it right?” Rae asked grabbing his shoulders. When Everett nodded in response, she continued. “Okay well this is the perfect time to use your emotional powers. You’re glowing gray, that’s fear, so that means you can run reeeally fast. Use that to your advantage.” When Everett still hesitated, Rae stood on her tiptoes and gave him a quick kiss. “Go, Mood Ring.”

With a new boost of confidence, but the same overwhelming sense of fear, Everett unsheathed his Elysian Steel sword, and sped into battle. It wasn’t the most epic of battles to a spectator, it really only lasted a few seconds. He sped over to the dracaenae and made a quick thrust to her abdomen as Koa taught him. Maddened by the sudden pain in her side, the dracaenae whipped to face him, but Everett was already gone. Controlling his super speed, he ran around to her other side and stabbed upwards driving the sword into her heart. The dracaenae transformed into dust and blew away.

Thrilled by his victory, and by the adrenaline still coursing through his veins, he turned to Rae to see if she was proud of him, but before he could, he was shoved to the ground.

“What the Hades, Glow Worm!”

→ ←

Rae had seen it coming but decided to let it happen as Sayer tackled Everett to the ground. The way Everett had handled himself with the dracanae was impressive. Her awe was still fresh at the sight of his flexing muscles and incredible speed. She was going to have to start watching him train more often because it sure was fun. When she saw Sayer rise up to lunge for Everett, she knew she wouldn’t be able to stop it in time. If anything, Rae predicted Everett could handle himself just fine against Sayer without his back up singers.

Everett threw off the other boy, stumbling to his feet with a look of shock on his features. “Uh, I was just trying to help? Am I not allowed to save your life?” he asked incredulously, his eyebrows going up.

Sayer only grunted, obviously upset about having needed saving, and lunged again. Only this time, Rae let the ground beneath his feet become slick with ice. He slid into the momentum, grabbing onto Everett’s middle to keep from falling over. The boys grappled until Everett got an arm around Sayer’s neck and shoulders, throwing him to the side like a rag doll.

Rae whooped excitedly. “Now let’s get out of here and get some food before the stands close and we have to be back on the bus.”

Everett smiled at her pride for him before bending to pick up his sword. “Anything you want.”

While his back was turned, Rae saw Sayer start to rise again. “Oh, give it a rest, Sayer,” she said, sending a barrage of ice and snow at his chest. “You suck at saying thank you.” Then she hooked her arm in the crook of Everett’s elbow and pulled him along to a stand she had been eyeing earlier.

“You seem relatively okay with there being a monster at a carnival,” Everett noted as she was practically skipping back to the bus with a candy apple in hand.

“We’re demigods, so we’re like magnets for monsters and trouble. You get used to it after a few field trips or excursions off campus. Tonight was good practice for you.”

He shook his head disbelievingly. “I can’t believe someone could get used to this.”

“Don’t worry. You’re plenty capable on your own but I’ll always be here too if you need me.”

Everett smiled at that and took her hand in his as they boarded the bus. “You’re fingers are sticky,” he complained, but she noticed he didn’t let go of her hand.

Once in their seats, Rae observed Sayer as he sat alone in a front seat instead of his customary back seat den with all his friends and victims around him.

Feeling full, content, and happy, Rae leaned her head on Everett’s shoulder. He tucked an arm around her shoulders, drawing her close as the bus left the lot.