But Iole had made it her mission to try to get the cook to go completely vegetarian. At first the cook paid no attention to her because she was small and fragile; not even a maiden yet, still just a girl. But when Iole continued to show up at the galley entrance, he threatened to roast her instead of the goat.
“I’ve been roasted by the best,” she said. “Your little fire doesn’t scare me.”
The cook, whose long nose gave him a somewhat rodentlike appearance, screwed up his face and chased her out into the passageway. But she kept coming back. Finally, partly out of respect for the fact that she was a paying passenger but mostly because she reminded him of his daughter back in Greece, he allowed her to sit in the corner and try to convince him exactly why he should spare the animals. She’d done a good job for the first three days, and together they created some wonderful things with chickpeas and lentils. But just this morning, Iole had awoken to the smell of . . . goat smoke. After racing down the passageway, she had stood teary eyed at the galley entrance. The cook looked up at her in the doorway. At first he tried to bluff and joke his way out from under her gaze, but then he became angry.
“It’s my job, Iole!” he said.
Iole said nothing in return. Finally, the cook just broke down and cried.
“I’m sorry, honey. But I’m running out of ideas and after battling the storm yesterday, the crew wants meat!”
When Pandy and Alcie came into the galley, they found Iole and the cook sitting at the table. He was staring off into space, twitching slightly, and she was writing her mother’s rice recipes on sheets of papyrus, every so often patting his trembling hand.
“Iole, you need to see this,” Pandy said.
“What?” asked Iole.
“Come on. It’s a surprise,” said Pandy.
“Figs! She won’t tell me either,” said Alcie.
The three girls left the cook, and Pandy led the way toward the stairs.
“I don’t want to go back up there!” Iole said. “In fact, after that storm, I intend to remain below deck for the rest of the voyage, thanks very much.”
“Just trust me, okay?” said Pandy, forcing Iole ahead of her up the stairs and onto the deck.