“Why are they looking for me?” Godson asked as he followed Numa through the forest. “What do they want with me?”
“The next toy should be coming up soon,” Numa said, eyes on the map as she walked. “We’ve been on land…”
“Numa!” Godson shouted. “Are you listening?”
“…so now we should be going on….water!” She stopped and pointed ahead as they arrived at the shore of a lake.
Godson stared ahead at the surface of the water. There were large black rocks lined up in a perfect line straight across the lake within jumping distance of each other. But they didn’t look sturdy enough to jump off of and Godson would’ve felt much more comfortable crossing the lake in a boat. As a matter of fact, he would’ve felt more comfortable not crossing the lake at all.
“I don’t think this is a good idea,” he told Numa.
“Sure it is!” Numa disagreed. “The blue light is there!” She pointed and Godson saw the ray of light shooting up from the last rock on the opposite end of the lake.
But he shook his head. “I really don’t think this is a good idea.”
It was too late. She was already hopping on the rocks and had already made it to the third one when she looked back and said, “Come on!”
Godson looked over his shoulder, hoping for something to convince him to stay behind. But then he turned back and hopped after Numa. They made it to the last rock before the light and Numa turned and faced him.
“See?” she said. “We made it.”
Godson was struggling to keep his balance on the rocks and was holding his hands out to his sides like a trapeze artist. “Are you sure these are rocks? They feel funny.”
“Of course they’re rocks, silly,” Numa said. She snatched the shield off his back and handed it to him. “Bang it one time and find out.”
Godson looked at the shield then at the rock underneath him. He sighed, then lifted the shield above his head. Later, Godson would think that it would have been a much better idea to tap the rock lightly, in case it wasn’t actually a rock. But he was still a child and didn’t always think these sorts of things through. So instead of a light tap, he banged the shield against the rock with all his might. And immediately, the rock began to rise out of the water, lifting Godson into the air. And he immediately discovered that these were not rocks at all. These were alligators.
“NUMA!” he screamed, watching the alligators’ heads pop out of the water.
“Be careful,” Numa said beneath him. “He looks really mad at you.”
Godson was about to shout something back at her, but the alligator underneath him twisted its body, sending him spinning off and plunging into the water. Godson dropped under the surface and immediately panicked. He didn’t know how to swim. Neither could he hold his breath that long.
“Numa!” he shouted. And in that instant, he discovered something unexpected. He could breathe underwater. How was this possible? He looked down at his chest and to his surprise, the breastplate was glowing. It was helping him breathe underwater!
“Numa, I can breathe!” he shouted. But so could the alligators. And they all dove under the surface and swam after him. He shrieked, turned, and kicked his way through the water, desperately trying to escape them. He didn’t know how to swim, but fear has a way of teaching a person things very quickly. And very quickly, Godson was swimming straight to the bottom of the lake, with the alligators snapping their jaws close behind him. He didn’t even notice that the blue light was shooting from the lake floor. Or that he was heading straight for it. Or even that Numa had out swam him and was already at the bottom. It wasn’t until he swam right into her that he noticed her holding a helmet in her hands.
“I found it!” she said.
“You can breathe underwater too?!” Godson shouted. Before he even had time to be fully shocked at her ability, she slammed the helmet onto his head then spun him around to face the incoming alligators and they stopped instantly. All of them gently landed on the floor and watched him calmly, like dogs waiting for their orders.
“What are they doing?” Godson whispered to Numa behind him.
“Waiting,” Numa whispered back. “Say something.”
“Ummm,” Godson looked back at the alligators nervously. “Shoo. Go away.”
And instantly, the alligators turned and swam away.
Godson floated there with his jaw hanging open in stunned disbelief. And it remained open even as Numa grabbed him by his collar and swam him back to the surface.
“How did I do that?” Godson asked when they were on the shore.
“I guess the helmet makes you talk to animals,” Numa replied, wringing out the puffs in her hair. Then she moved to her dress and wrung it out at the ends.
“You guess? So you didn’t know that it would help us get away?”
Numa shook her head. “Nope.”
Godson’s smile vanished. “Then why were you so excited about getting it?”
“Because your father is good. And everything he gives us is good.”
He blinked, trying to wrap his head around that answer. Then something else hit him. “And why didn’t you tell me you can breathe underwater?”
“You never asked,” Numa shrugged.
“What else can you do?”
“Turn invisible,” she replied. And with a wink, she vanished.
Godson’s jaw dropped again. At this rate, she was on track to dislocate his entire mouth. She reappeared a second later and winked again. “You can turn invisible?! You could have…you could have…why didn’t you do that this whole time?!”
“Because then you wouldn’t have any fun, Godson,” she said. Then she tapped his nose and skipped away.