(Link to Part 5)
Something pulled me into the water and I flailed in panic.
"Be still!" a voice whispered. My head remained above water so I wasn't being pulled down by this -- naiad? "Do not draw their attention!"
I thought that wise when I heard the wolves moving closer. I found Edmond in the water as well, treading like a dog. He didn't look happy. Then I turned my head a little caught a glimpse of someone with long green hair and blue skin. She bent her mouth close to my ear, her breath cool enough to make me shiver, though being in the water had eased a lot of aches and pains.
"Take a deep breath," she said softly.
"I will take care of him as well." She reached out and snagged the cat by the scruff of the neck.
"I hate this," Edmond grumbled. "But do what she says."
So I did. One breath and then one deeper breath that set my head pounding.
She let go of me for a moment and reached out to touch my lips with long, blue fingers. She touched Edmond's as well. The wolves were far closer when she took hold of my arm and pulled me beneath the pond's surface.
Edmond dived under the water with us, looking like an odd, mutant otter. Cats aren't made for underwater swimming, though, and he was clearly having problems. I reached out with my wounded arm, ignoring the spike of pain, and pulled him over to nestle close to me. His claws caught on my shirt -- and some skin -- but I saw relief in his face . . . until he looked above us.
A shadow passed overhead.
I looked to see the distorted, drooling face of a huge wolf staring into the pond. His gigantic paw splattered at the water and I feared he would leap in. The naiad must have thought the same. She began to pull me farther downward into the water.
I didn't want to go. Panic at the thought of drowning nearly overcame the fear of being torn apart by the wolf --
And then I realized I didn't feel the need to breathe. Well. I stopped fighting and she pulled us towards the bottom, swimming past frogs, fish, and a couple startled turtles. The wolf followed along the edge of the pond which wasn't a large enough stand of water that we could get away from him. I saw him howl once, and even heard the echo of the sound reverberating through the water. All the smaller creatures darted for cover behind whatever growth or rocks they could find.
I wanted to do the same. The naiad began to look bothered. I wondered how long we could stay under water. I thought I might be starting to feel uncomfortable and Edmond had begun shivering.
We went farther along the bottom of the pond. I tried to take the experience in. After all, it wasn't often that a person got a chance like this. Though maybe this sort of thing was more common here in Elsewhere. Edmond had said something about hating it, after all. This wasn't his first time.
Yes, I was starting to feel uncomfortable. I looked at the naiad with worry, but she shook her head, green hair floating around as though in a wind. Then she patted my arm and let go.
She darted upwards and I almost panicked, thinking we were abandoned. However, we could swim to the surface even though that wasn't a safe place. So I held where we were, anchoring one foot around a rock. Edmond snuggled closer and looked up at me, worry in his eyes.
I watched the naiad. She had reached the surface and I saw her push upward as though she could rest her arms on the water surface. Then one hand raised and flash of light hit the wolf. I felt the tingle all the way where we were.
The wolf yelped and ran away. I couldn't tell if he had gone far though. Our protector swam back down, caught my arm and quickly moved on towards the opposite end of the pond.
We finally moved to the surface and came up amid cat tails and water lilies. I could hear something running away. The wolf was gone, at least for the moment.
"I am not a fish," Edmond mumbled.
"Nor are you wolf food, cat," the naiad replied. "Take that into account."
"My apologies," he said, and sounded sincere.
"Thank you," I managed. I gasped, but I think that came from the panic of never having learned to swim. "I didn't care to be wolf food, either."
"Polite human," she said and laughed with a sound that somehow reminded me of spring rains. She nodded to the boulders beside us. "Up the stones and you'll find a clearing the other side."
I carefully pushed Edmond up to the mossy stone. He scrambled up, looked frantically around, and then disappeared over the other side. I tried to follow, but my arm wouldn't hold me at all. The naiad gave me a boost and I scrambled up much like Edmond had. When I looked back, she had disappeared.
"Thank you," I said again, though softly. I could still hear wolves, but they weren't near.
I climbed over and down into a grassy field, settling with my back to the warm stone. Edmond was shaking water from his ears.
"Well that went better than I hoped," the cat said. "She didn't kill us."
"There is always the next thing," I said. My head pounded and my arm bled. Whatever came after us now, I knew I wouldn't be able to fight it off.
Then I heard the sound of a motorcycle. I was looking for a road when I noticed Edmond staring at the sky. I looked up and saw a motorcycle flying towards us.
"Well, that's either help or --" Edmond looked back at me, worried.
I wasn't even surprised.
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