As the Sphinx came closer, Maya closed her eyes in fright.
“Your answer is correct. I will help you retrieve the olives now.”
Relieved at the Sphinx’s assurance, Maya opened her eyes eagerly.
Maya looked at the three perfectly shaped olives in her hands as the Sphinx departed. She thought despairingly of the long trudge back to Hari when she was suddenly struck with an idea. The Symantak could bend time and space to her will. Why should she endure the return journey?
She held the gem in her hands and closed her eyes to concentrate. Within seconds, she was back to the Naiad’s grotto. The Naiad seemed none too pleased to see her.
“Oh, so you have come back.”
Maya looked all around for Hari.
“Where is my friend?”
“He is hereabouts. Did you get the olives?”
Maya opened her fist to show her the olives.
Hari suddenly appeared by the Naiad’s side. Something was clearly wrong with him. His eyes were too glassy, as he seemed to gaze into distance.
“What happened to him?”
“Oh, nothing serious that can’t be remedied. Let’s call it an unfortunate side effect of mortal boys spending too much time with a Naiad.”
“You beast! Why didn’t you warn us then?”
“Tut, tut. You really mustn’t believe everything you see and hear. Didn’t you mommy warn you to be careful of strangers, little girl?”
A furious Maya calmed herself at the sight of the helpless Hari.
Gritting her teeth, she asked – “How do I make him normal again?”
“Oh, it’s not difficult. But I need a payment before I can tell you that.”
Maya was enraged.
“You ogre! You are responsible for this. Now fix it!”
“Do you want your friend or not? If not, I can happily keep him for an eternity.”
Maya glowered before saying – “Fine, what do you want?”
“One of those nice olives you have. Hand it over.”But, but…. I need them..”
“You need one for yourself to guide you on your path to Zeus, one for curing this dear boy here. Hand over the other one now!”
Maya reluctantly handed over an olive.
“Now, listen carefully. You need to mix powdered unicorn horn in water and make the boy drink that. Once he revives a bit, make hit eat the other olive. That should make him as he was.”
“But where do I go and get powdered unicorn horn?”
“You are annoying me with your questions. Eat your olive. That will show you your destiny and the means to achieve it! Now shoo. Be gone!”
Maya was left once again looking at a befuddled Hari.
“WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING?”