The men reluctantly set down their weapons; Nestor’s men stepped forward to take them.
“Are all the merchildren released?” Al asked
“Good. Slash the nets!”
Al glared at the captain. “May you learn proper respect for a prince, as well as the sea god!”
Nestor’s men, Heph, and Lem followed Al back into the Macedonian craft. Though no one manned the oars in either boat, the two drifted apart. As Nestor’s crew began rowing, a great wave arose, crashing into the other boat. The foreign vessel broke as if it were a twig in a child’s hands. As the men swam toward Al’s ship, pleading for mercy, another mighty wave arose. After it washed over the men, none resurfaced. The water surrounding Al’s boat remained still.
In the ensuing calm, Nestor called to the rowers to stop.
Al looked around and saw that the water before them seethed and foamed, hardly a stone’s throw from the boat.
“What can this be?” Lem asked in a low voice. Al didn’t answer, praying to the gods that Poseidon didn’t hold them responsible for the mistreatment of his creatures.
A glistening golden trident suddenly emerged from the water.
My gratitude, brave prince. The message entered Al’s thoughts as clearly as though spoken aloud. Al started, caught off guard by the presence touching his mind. He knelt. His companions looked on him strangely, but he took no notice.
Yes, young prince. My subjects would thank you for your timely rescue, in their own environment. You will spend the reminder of the day with them; your boat will travel safely in your absence. Ares wishes to interview you at the close of that time.
“What does he want of me?”
His business is his own. I pledge you will return to your countrymen unharmed. Explain to your captain.