Conquering Fear, Part 2 is the forty-first chapter of The Gift of a Best Friend. It was first published on March 12, 2017.
I like Cia. But not anymore.
Why? Because she and Annabeth came to talk to me and ask me if she can help me with my hydrophobia.
Of course, Luke thought it was a good idea. And, of course, I said no. But then Annabeth told me that I would help her if she were afraid because best friends help each other when they’re afraid. I’m mad at her for saying that, because it’s true, and it got me to do it.
So Cia, Annabeth, and I put on our bathing suits (Cia borrowed one of ours since she didn’t have her own), we grabbed a boat, and we, plus Rolo, went out onto the lake. Luke, Alabaster, and Toothless watched us from the shore. Right now, I wished I was there instead of here, on the water.
We paddled all the way to the center of the lake. Well, actually, they did. I stayed in the middle of the boat and held on to the seat the whole time.
“Ok, Jasmine,” Cia said. “Touch the water. You too, Rolo.”
I shook my head. Rolo did too.
“Just try it, please.”
I looked at Rolo.
Let’s just do it, she said. Then she’ll stop begging us.
I crept to the edge of the boat. I looked down at the water and panicked, but I slowly put my hand into it without looking at it. The water was warm. Rolo also put her paw in it.
“See?” Cia said. “That wasn’t so hard.”
I thought it was.
“Now jump in.”
My eyes widened. I took my hand out of the water and went back to the center of the boat, shaking. “No.”
I’m with you, girl, Rolo agreed.
She went over to Cia and walked around her legs, meowing in protest.
“Scardy cats,” Cia said.
“I’m not a cat,” I said. “I just don’t like water.”
“You can if you go into it,” Annabeth said.
“I’m going in,” Cia said. “You want to come, Annabeth?”
“No,” I said, and grabbed her arm. “Please don’t go.”
“It’s ok, Jasmine. Just try. It won’t hurt you.”
“Yes, it will.”
“No, it won’t. Come on.”
Annabeth looked sad. She turned to Cia. “She won’t come.”
“She’s harder than I thought,” she replied. “Let’s go in.”
She jumped into the lake.
“Don’t go, Annabeth,” I pleaded.
“It’s going to be ok, Jasmine,” she promised, then jumped into the lake too.
I was scared now. I was the only on the boat, except for Rolo, but even she seemed to be braver than me, though she was meowing in fear and anger.
How could you leave me on this boat like that? she told Cia, but I doubt that she understood her.
“Come on, Jasmine, Rolo,” Cia said. “You can do it!”
“Yeah,” Annabeth agreed, backing up her encouragement. “Jasmine, come on.”
“No,” I said. “I can’t do it.”
I’m with the girl on this, Rolo said. I like to keep my fur dry.
I don’t have any fur, but I did have skin, and I didn’t want it wet either. I was just going to stay in this boat until they either take me back to shore, or I drift to it, because I wasn’t going into that water.
“Hey,” Annabeth said, peering over the edge and putting her arm into the boat. “Do you trust me?”
“Of course I do, Annabeth,” I replied. “You saved me, and we’re best friends. Best friends always trust each other.”
“So you trust that I won’t let you drown?”
“Ok. I won’t. Will you come in with me?” She held out her hand to me. “I promise I won’t let you go.”
I thought about it for a moment.
“What about you?” Cia asked Rolo. “If I hold onto you the whole time, will you come in?”
Rolo looked at me. Let’s try it, sweetie. It can’t be so bad with our friends holding us.
She went to the edge of the boat. Cia picked her up with both of her hands and held her close to her as they slowly went into the water.
Well, I didn’t want to be left behind.
I grabbed Annabeth’s hand and slowly moved toward her. When I got to the edge, I stopped and stared at the water. It looked like a big wide open mouth trying to swallow me. But I tried not to think about that, and I did it by looking at Annabeth, her gray eyes telling me I could trust her, and I knew I could and always will.
I put my hand on the edge, lifting my leg over it. But then, suddenly, the boat flipped over. I fell into the water, letting go of Annabeth’s hand, and everything went dark.
I felt like I was in the river again, except the water was warm instead of cold, and I’m not really moving down the current because lakes don’t have currents. But being underwater and not being able to breathe was the same, and I’m freaking out, especially since I was no longer holding onto Annabeth.
It was dark, I was alone, and I was going to drown.
I splashed around, panicking, and I broke the surface. I screamed and coughed because there was water in my mouth and up my nose. Then I felt someone wrap their arms around me.
“It’s ok, Jasmine,” Annabeth said. “I’ve got you.”
I relaxed a little bit and stopped splashing, but I was still shaking and it was still dark. I wanted to ask Annabeth about it, but I couldn’t find my voice. So I pointed at it.
She understood. “The boat flipped over and on top of us.”
Ok. That made sense now.
And I could see that the water was still a bright blue. It was pretty, I guess, but I still wanted to get out of it.
“Jasmine,” Annabeth said. “Can you swim under the water and move a few inches so that we’re not under the boat anymore?”
I shook my head again.
She had to say that.
But she is my best friend, and she would do it for me (maybe in the case of spiders. And that’s a big maybe), so why can’t I do it for her?
I was about to nod my head when the boat suddenly flipped over again and landed right side up next to us. Cia was swimming next to us from the other side, still holding onto Rolo, and Luke and Alabaster were swimming toward us. Toothless was flying above us.
“Cia,” Annabeth said. “Did you lift the boat back over?”
“Umm, yes,” she replied, a little hesitant.
“Umm, I just did. Jasmine, are you still afraid of water?”
I glared at her.
Then Luke finally reached us. “Are you ok?”
I responded by wrapping my arms around him tightly.
“I guess not.”
Luke carried me back to the shore, mostly because I wouldn’t let him go. The others got the boat and swam back with us.
Emily was waiting for us. She grabbed a towel and wrapped it around me. “Poor Jasmine.”
“We should take her to the infirmary,” Luke said. “She’s shaking really bad.”
So that’s where they took me.
A daughter of Apollo checked me out and said I was fine, just in shock.
It was dinner time. Everyone went to the pavilion, but I stayed in the infirmary. Toothless stayed with me.
Annabeth didn’t want to leave, but Cia said she would stay with me because she wasn’t hungry, and Argus would watch us (literally with all his eyes), and Annabeth left to go eat, saying she’d bring me something back.
I laid back on the bed I was lying on and stared at the ceiling, thinking about what happened today. Toothless laid his head on my lap and I petted it.
He was now fully grown, about ten times the size he was when I met him. His wings are big enough that, when he hangs upside down like a bat, you can hide in them when he folds them around himself. I do that when we play hide-and-seek.
Cia sat down on the bed next to mine. Rolo laid next to her.
“I’m sorry,” Cia said, not facing me.
“For what?” I asked.
“For forcing you into the water.”
“Oh. It’s ok. It’s not your fault that the boat tipped over.
“I know, but . . . I want to help you not be afraid of water anymore.”
“I don’t know if that will ever happen again. But why do you like water so much?”
“I’ve been in it my whole life.”
“Umm . . . no. I meant near it.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
I wanted to, but I wasn’t going to force her to tell me.
“So you can talk to animals?” Cia asked.
I nodded. “Yeah.”
“Uh, I was born with an aura that lets me talk to them.”
“Cool. I wish I could talk to Rolo.”
I do too, sweetie, she agreed. Then you won’t have to keep asking me “What?” all the time.
“You said that you can talk to some animals?” I asked Cia.
“Umm, yeah,” she replied. “Sea animals.”
“I grew up around them, so I guess being near them a lot made me understand them. But Rolo’s the first animal I met that I couldn’t understand, and I know now that it’s because she’s a land animal, not a sea. And I met others like her that I can’t understand either. I hate it, just like I hate my—” She faltered.
“What?” I asked.
“No one,” she replied.
It obviously wasn’t no one, but I knew she wasn’t going to tell me.
So I just thought about the other thing she said, about hating that she couldn’t understand land animals.
I looked at Toothless. I would probably hate it too if I couldn’t understand him at all. His name would probably still be Black if he didn’t tell me that he didn’t like that name.
“Do you like animals?” Cia asked.
“Yes,” I replied. “I actually like animals more than I do people because they're not mean to me like some people are.”
“I know. But can you teach me how to understand animals?”
“Uh, I’m not sure how to teach you. I was born with that ability.”
“Can you try? I’ll try to help you with your fear of water again.”
I started shaking at the thought of it.
“I don’t want to go in the water again,” I said.
“I know,” Cia said. “But I have an idea.”
“I’ll tell you only if you promise to teach me to talk to land animals.”
I hesitated. Was it worth it? I want to hope it was, but I didn’t want to go into the water again.
Try it, Jasmine, Toothless told me. You won’t know unless you try.
When he said that, I knew he was right.
I looked at Cia and nodded. “Ok. But this is the last time you’re taking me into water.”
She nodded and smiled. “Ok.”
“So what idea do you have for me?”
“It’s a surprise. I’ll show you tomorrow. Good night.”
She stood up from the bed and ran out of the infirmary. Rolo ran after her.
Well, ok. I guess I’ll have to wait to go back into the water tomorrow. Great.
Now I’m going to have nightmares, especially about today.
Yep. I was right. Nightmares.
I was in my cabin, sleeping in my bed. Well, not anymore.
After the first nightmare, I curled up under my blankets, clutched Slushy, my stuffed wolf that Luke gave me, and kept my eyes open and waited until morning.
Some time later, Annabeth had woken up and noticed me. “Jasmine?”
I stared at her.
She understood. “Come sleep in my bed.”
I’ve been waiting for that all night.
I got out of my bed, along with Slushy, went across the room to Annabeth’s bed, and climbed under the covers.
She wrapped her arms around me, and I no longer felt afraid to go back to sleep.
And I did.
“Jasmine,” a voice whispered, calling to me.
Wake up, sweetie, another voice said. That one was Rolo, and she was rubbing her face into mine.
I opened my eyes, blinking a few times to clear the blurriness out of them.
Rolo was looking down at me. Then she moved over so that I could see Cia standing at the door, beckoning me to come out.
“What?” I asked, whispering so that I wouldn’t wake up Annabeth.
“Come on,” Cia whispered back. “I have a surprise for you.”
I liked surprises. Then I remembered that she said she would have a surprise for me today and what about. That didn’t make me want to get up and follow her. But I did.
I slowly unwrapped Annabeth’s arms from around me, then I removed the blankets from on top of me and got out of bed, leaving Slushy next to Annabeth.
Rolo jumped down from the bed and went outside. I followed her.
It was almost dawn, so the sun hadn’t risen yet. Toothless was waiting for me in front of the porch, as he usually always was. He used to sleep in the cabin with me, but ever since he’s become full-grown, he can barely fit through the door anymore, much less, my bed. So he sleeps in front of the cabin now. I even made him a comfortable bed with hay and covered it with soft plush blankets. I went to him and patted his head.
“Where’s the surprise?” I asked Cia, who was standing next to me.
“I’ll show you,” she replied. “Come on.”
She walked off toward the beach with Rolo in front of her. Toothless and I followed them.
Cia walked to the edge of the low tide, and we stopped next to her.
“Where’s the surprise?” I asked her.
“You said you like animals a lot, right?” she said.
I nodded. “Yes. Why?”
“Do you want a sea animal to help you no longer be afraid of water, or me?”
I thought about it for a moment, but my answer was obvious.
“A sea animal,” I said.
“Ok,” Cia said. “How about this sea animal?”
From the moment I stepped onto the beach, I felt the presence of another animal other than Toothless and Rolo. Now I know that it was in the water.
I looked out across the water and saw a white line appear on the surface. It moved fast toward us. As it got close, the water burst and it’s head reared out of it.
I smiled widely. “It’s so pretty.”
I knew that it was a hippocampus. I’ve read about them. This one was a horse in the front, and its back half was a silvery fish body with glistening scales and a rainbow tail fin.
“His name is Rainbow,” Cia said, walking up to him in the water and touching his nose. “And he’s going to help you with your fear of water.”
Now I wasn’t so afraid. If Rainbow was going to help me, I liked it.
“Is he your pet?” I asked.
Cia nodded. “We both grew up together as babies.”
I held my hand out to him, but he backed away from me. I was hurt by that.
If you want to touch me, he said. You have to chase me first.
“He’s right,” Cia said. “That’s how he’s going to help you.”
I was afraid again. But I think I was more mad. If I can’t go to him, I’ll make him come to me.
I activated my powers. Then Cia tackled me.
“No cheating,” she said.
I glared at her. Then I stood up and brushed the sand off of me.
Rainbow was about twenty feet into the water. I so badly wanted to touch him, but I also didn’t want to go into the water. I didn’t know what to do, especially since Cia wouldn’t let me use my powers.
I hate that I’m afraid of water, and that, because of it, it’s keeping me from touching the prettiest sea animal I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t fair.
Thinking about all of this made me cry (I’m very sensitive). Then it hit me.
I’m afraid of water because I’m allowing myself to be ever since I fell into that cold river near my house. I’ve been wanting to forget about that day for a long time. But how can I when I allowed it to make me be afraid of water? I won’t ever really forget that day until I put my fear aside. And that’s what I’m going to do, here and now.
I took a deep breath and walked into the water.
With every step I took, I could feel my fear going away and be replaced by confidence. I wasn’t going to be afraid ever again, and now I can let that day go as if it never happened.
I kept walking until I reached Rainbow. He lowered his head to me and I touched it, petting him. I smiled.
“You did it!” Cia cheered.
Rolo and Toothless did too.
“Yes,” I agreed. Then I looked at her with a mischievous smile on my face. “Now it’s time for you to get wet too. Toothless!”
Cia was confused until Toothless took flight, grabbed her, carried her a hundred feet out with her screaming, and dropped her into the water.
I laughed. Rainbow did too. I climbed on top of him and I rode him toward her.
When we reached her, I held my hand out to her. “Need a lift?”
“No,” she replied, grabbing my hand. “But you need to get more wet.”
I should’ve seen that coming, but I was confused by what she told me until she pulled me into the river with her. And for the first time in over a year since I fell into that river, I wasn’t afraid. I was happy and laughing.
Toothless, even with Rolo riding on his back, came and played with us in the water.
After a while, we spotted Annabeth, Luke, Alabaster, and Emily on the beach. Cia and I climbed onto Rainbow’s back and we swam to them.
“Luke!” I called.
As soon as we reached the shore, I climbed off of Rainbow’s back and ran to him.
“I’m not afraid of water anymore!”
“That’s my little girl,” Luke said.
When I reached him, he bent down so that I could wrap my arms around his neck and he picked me up.
“You did it!” Annabeth cheered.
“With Cia’s help, I did,” I said.
Luke put me down and I went to her.
“Thank you, Cia.”
“You don’t have to thank me,” she replied. “All I did was bring Rainbow to motivate you.”
“Yeah. But he only came because you brought him.”
We both laughed. Then we all went and played in the water for a long time.
Annabeth, Cia, Alabaster, and I rode on Rainbow together, and he was fast. He even did some flips.
When we were done playing in the water, we said goodbye to Rainbow and went to dry off.
“So are you going to teach me to talk to land animals now?” Cia asked me.
I smiled and nodded. “Yes. Come on.”
I grabbed her hand and took her to my cabin. Rolo and Toothless followed.
I put Cia on my bed and Rolo across from her.
“Ok,” I said. “I don’t know if this will work, but you have to listen to everything I tell you.”
Cia nodded. “Ok.”
“Ok. You have to connect your heart with Rolo. Not literally, but mentally.”
“Look at her and make eye-contact.”
She did that.
“Now close your eyes, both of you, and imagine that your hearts are connected.”
They did that.
“Ok. Now, Rolo, say something.”
Hello, Cia, she said.
“Did you hear what she said?” I asked.
She opened her eyes and sighed. “No. Just her meow.”
“Sorry. I don’t know if you will ever be able to understand her. But you can try.”
“Ok. Thanks, anyway.”
Seeing her sad made me sad. I had to make her happy, especially after she helped me conquer my hydrophobia.
“Hey,” I said. “Do you want to get your own weapon?”
She looked at me. “Can I?”
“Yeah. Come on.”
I grabbed her hand and we headed to the armory.
After Cia found her sword, I got mine.
We went to the arena and got Annabeth along the way. We sword fought each other for a while. Annabeth and I did first, just to show Cia, then they both did it next.
Annabeth didn’t go easy on Cia, so she knocked her down and disarmed her a lot.
I got mad at her for doing that, but she argued that nobody will ever go easy on a demigod in the real world, especially by a monster, which is true considering that happens a lot for her by the girls at our school, but I still didn’t like it. So I went easy on Cia until she got the hang of it.
After that, we played together for the rest of the day, playing tag, hide-and-seek, and freeze tag. And also racing with pegasi, and they seemed to like Cia.
Annabeth and I agreed to make her apart of our best-friend-pact. We made her a bracelet just like the one we made each other and gave it to Cia. She liked it and put it on, and we bumped our bracelets to make it official and seal the deal. Then she asked us if we could sign our names on her sword. We said yes, and we carved our initials in the middle of the blade.
We thought of using permanent ink but decided that carving would be more permanent, even though it took longer. My initials were J.S., and Annabeth put hers right below mine: A.C. Cia did ask if she could put her initials on the blades of our swords, but Annabeth said no, and since she did, so did I. Cia was ok with that.
It was getting dark. We ate dinner and went to the campfire.
I was hoping that Cia or Alabaster or both of them would be claimed then, but neither of them were. Hopefully, they would be tomorrow.
Unfortunately, we may never know.
The next morning, before breakfast, Annabeth and I went to see Cia and Alabaster at the Hermes Cabin.
But they weren’t there.
“Where are they?” I asked.
“We don’t know,” one of the daughters of Hermes, Bernadette, replied. “We woke up and both of them were gone, their beds made.”
“You didn’t hear them leave?” Annabeth asked.
She shook her head. “No. Luke went to go find them.”
“Ok,” I said. “Thanks, Bernadette.”
Annabeth and I ran out of the cabin to find Luke.
We found him and Emily, just coming out of the woods.
“Did you find them?” I asked.
Luke shook his head. “No. I have Toothless searching for them in the air, but no luck.”
“They have to be here somewhere,” Annabeth said.
I nodded in agreement.
I was worried. What could’ve happened to them? We had to find them.
“Toothless!” I called.
Camp was big, but no matter where he was, he could always hear me when I called for him.
He flew toward me and landed next to me. I climbed onto his back.
“You coming, Annabeth?” I asked.
She nodded, then climbed on and wrapped her arms around me.
We took off in the air.
We looked for hours.
I even called our for Rainbow and Rolo, but we couldn’t find any of them. They just . . . disappeared.
We had an emergency meeting at the Big House, Chiron and the few senior counselors that were here and we gathered around a Ping-Pong table. (Really?)
“We have to find them,” I said.
“Patience, Jasmine,” Chiron said. “First we need to think of what could’ve happened to them.”
“They were out during curfew,” Luke said. “Maybe the harpies found them and . . . you know.”
One of the things I don’t like about camp and would change it if I could.
“Could they have run away?” Annabeth suggested.
“Probably,” Trevor, the senior counselor for the Ares Cabin said.
“But why?” I asked.
“We don’t know, Jasmine,” Emily said. “Maybe they didn’t like camp.”
“Who wouldn’t like camp?” Annabeth asked. “It’s awesome!”
“I don’t know.”
“There could be another reason,” Chiron said. “Though I hope that’s not it.”
“What?” I asked.
“Cia and Alabaster could’ve been a trick of the Mist.”
“The Mist? But it only tricks mortals.”
“It can also trick demigods sometimes, Jasmine. Is there any trace of them left to prove that they were here?”
I wanted to say yes, but what kind of proof do I have of them? I wish I could show them my memories, but that wouldn’t really help. Even everyone else couldn’t think of any proof.
“But why would the Mist trick us like that?” I asked.
“Maybe to help you conquer your fear,” Luke suggested.
I looked at him. “What?”
“Cia helped you conquer your fear of water, right?”
“If she never came here, you’d probably still be afraid of water. Maybe that’s why they appeared was to help you.”
I didn’t like that.
I shook my head. “But why Alabaster? He didn’t really help me.”
Luke shrugged. “I don’t know.”
“Maybe they never existed, Jasmine,” Annabeth said.
I shook my head again. “No, they did. We have to go find them.”
“No! I looked and found you when you ran away.”
Annabeth knew I was right, so she shut up.
“Jasmine—” Emily tried, but I interrupted her.
“No!” I screamed and started crying. I looked at Luke desperately. “Luke?”
He kneeled down in front of me. “I’m with you on this. They probably ran away, and if they did, I think we should let them go. I’m sure you’ll see them again someday.”
I wrapped my arms around his neck.
They’re gone, and I didn’t even get to say goodbye to them.
Sorry for the late update, guys. The new season of Dragons: Race to the Edge came out and it took me a while to watch that and then do some updates on that wiki. And, mainly, work has really been keeping me busy, so from this point on, there will be random updates, basically, whenever I can.
What did you guys think about this chapter? What do you think happened to Cia and Alabaster (and Rolo)?
Please review here.