As she gazed at him, she realized that it was the first time she’d ever paid him any real attention. Looking at his features was a bit of a shock.
“Your hair is…almost blue.”
Luka raised his eyebrow, “mine and my twins’ alike. What, have you not noticed?”
She shook her head, wondering what else she’d missed. To not notice something so odd, she must’ve been running blind for quite a while. But then again, somehow, she’d been unconsciously avoiding blue. Perhaps that was the reason. There was just too much of it, she determined.
“So about the foothills…” Luka pressed on. “Will you come?”
“Fine,” Artemis scowled. “The last time I tried to keep you waiting, you practically dragged us through the forest.”
Luka folded his arms and leaned into the nearest palm, gazing at her incredulously, “it wasn’t healthy for all of you to stay out there like that. In fact, half of you looked like lobsters.”
“Oh, really now?” Artemis frowned, looking down at her arms. They seemed the same color, albeit just a bit darker.
“Well, not you,” said Luka.
Artemis huffed and started back the way they’d come, “just shut up.”
“As you command, your majesty,” he sighed, following after her. “But I’ll have to talk if we’re heading out together.”
“We won’t be alone,” Artemis spoke pointedly.
They were back to the camp soon enough, where a few more had woken.
“Well, isn’t this a downer,” one of them spoke, looking to Luka as he arrived. “I guess we trampled the ground enough it created a basin. I don’t think the sun’ll dry it up today alone. Not to mention that the lean-to city isn’t going to stand up to very many more of these.”
Another boy’s voice popped up, “we should fix that.”
“Thank you, peanut gallery,” Artemis grumbled, pocketing her hands. “I think we should find a more convenient location altogether. Like…near the beach.”
Luka amended for her, “Or where we won’t get flooded. Or somewhere that it might be easier to set up shelter. Somewhere that we can still stretch ourselves out. Would you like to come and look for someplace with us, Oliver?”
The boy, Oliver, nodded absently. Artemis realized that he was the boy from the night before, the one she’d slept next to in the tent. Unconsciously, she was thanking his warmth, as it had been enough to keep her sleeping throughout the storm. He appeared to be the strong type as well, perhaps he was a team sports player, but the scratches along his soft-lined face gave an awkward appearance. The scratches, however, looked fresh, and would probably mend with time. Whenever that happened, Artemis was convinced he’d look quite nice.
“When are you leaving?” Oliver asked, bending over one of the tents to replace a snapped branch.
“Whenever we can get a camp babysitter,” Artemis spoke. “There’s no way I’m going to be parading around out there after dusk.”
Oliver nodded, “good call.” He then turned to the other boy in the clearing, speaking softly, “tell them were we’ve gone. We’ll be back as soon as we can.”
The boy acknowledged him. Oliver picked up a dirty-looking backpack and slung it over his shoulder. Luka had a bag as well. Artemis scowled as she felt somewhat left out; none of her things had been found along the shoreline.
“Let’s go, Artemis,” Oliver spoke, putting a hand on her back and wheeling her for the tree line. “Before the sun decides to leave us again.”
The three of them left without another word.