…Now you’re ready…
The words echoed in my mind as I made my way back to Revli. Amawa-na was waiting for me outside the door, arms wrapped around her stomach as if she wasn’t feeling well. I shut it behind us once we made our way inside, Tamir-in’s things surrounding us. She didn’t want to leave the house until we were actually married, as though she’d hurt his feelings, even though the idiot was dead and gone. But that was okay. She wouldn’t be wanting him for much longer. Not after what would happen next.
“Amawa-na,” I told her, her eyes snapping up to me. They didn’t light up like they always did for Tamir. They didn’t even glisten as she offered a half smile and a soft, “Yes?” my way. I grimaced. What was coming for her would make this so much easier.
“Come with me.”
“Where do you go?” she asked, studying me.
“We’re going to—”
“No,” she said, shaking her head. “I don’t mean ‘where are we going’, I mean where do you go all day? You’ve been disappearing for hours for a long time now. Where do you go?”
I sucked on my cheeks for a moment, forcing myself to suppress a glare. Her knowing wasn’t in the plan. She didn’t have to know, and I didn’t want her to. It would save her so much hurt… and I believe, in hindsight, it would have.
But if she did, could she be helpful?
“What?” she asked, noticing I was scrutinizing her with my eyes.
I exhaled heavily. “Come with me.”
“You didn’t answer my question.”
I held in a groan. “Come with me and your question will be answered. Alright?”
She hesitated, but nodded and followed me outside. I took her hand and tugged her through the woods, weaving our way down to the shore, no words passing between us. The sand greeted us like someone it’s missed, clinging to us for dear life. My feet touched the water and she let out a gasp. “What are you doing?”
The fear in her eyes was enough to make me question myself. What was I doing? And why was I doing this? Why was my quest more important than the girl I thought I loved? And why did I agree to this quest in the first place? Could this really have been my destiny?
A chill washed over me, goose bumps trailing my arms as I began to glow. Amawa-na backed away, her eyes wide and full of fear. She attempted to let go of my hand, but I couldn’t let her. She had to go through this with me. That’s what lovers do... why didn’t she want to do it with me?
“What’s happened to you?” She whispered.
Sadness and hurt settled into my bones as my grip on her loosened, but I didn’t let go.
This is how it must be, Damain-sai, I heard, the woman’s voice echoing in my mind. She was somewhere, watching me. She would kill me if I didn’t carry through with my quest. If you must have her, you must carry through.
I became frustrated, anger replacing the sadness and the fear of what I’d most likely become, the animal stirring inside me. It’s as if there was a wall built between those feelings, glowing bright and blinding me from anything else inside. A wall guarded by the beast.
And so I pulled her into the water, deeper than I’d ever gone before.
“You have to join me,” I told Amawa-na, kneeling down beside her as she gulped in the air and wiped the water from her face. “Because I can’t do this without you.”
“Do what?” She shouts, her eyes swarming with emotions as she tried to get up. “Leave me alone, Damian!”
Her body began to glow bright green just as mine did moments ago.
“What did you do to me?”
I felt my heart break inside me as I gripped her shoulders, tears filled with fear falling down her face. But… it was for the quest.
“Breathe,” I whispered to her.
I dunk her in the water.
She struggled beneath my grip as bubbles exploded from her nose and mouth. I almost couldn’t watch as she changed bit by bit, her glowing taking over. It didn’t take long for her to suck in the water surrounding her, her pupils shrinking and her body beginning to regulate the water flowing in and out of her like a fish. Her eyes locked onto mine as I hovered above her. She stood up, her eyes huge and her lips trembling.
She slapped me.
“I deserved that,” I exhaled, turning my attention back to her, unease clenching my stomach.
“What did you do to me?”
“I didn’t do anything,” I explained quickly. “You were chosen by the sea. You have powers that only work when touching water.”
She stared at her hands for a moment, taking it all in. For a moment, I believed she was excited and wanted to assist me on my quest... until she glanced up with tears in her eyes and asked to go home.
My face fell. She didn’t want to help me. I could see it in every fiber of her being. She wanted nothing to do with me. She was afraid. And it twisted my stomach up, but I had to do what I had to do, and the animal inside wouldn’t let me do anything else. I’d let it take over, but Amawa-na…
“Amawa-na,” I whispered, taking her hands in mine. She nearly tugged away. “Please, come with me. I’m begging you. I need you.”
The reflection of my green light shivered over her eyes, and a moment later, she nodded. “Okay... but you have one chance, Damian-sai,” she warned, holding up one finger.
I smiled with unease, helping her stand as I ran a hand over her legs, revealing the green scales hiding beneath her skin. “One chance is all I’ll need.”
“Where are we going?” she asks as we make our way deeper into the water, learning how to use her tail.
I find myself smiling guilely, pushing away the guilt I felt for manipulating the one I loved.
“To visit my brother.”