“I swear that I’ve seen him before,” Aquas rambled to his friend Ramie as they lay side by side on the rocks on the outskirts of the cove’s territory.
Ramie sighed in annoyance. He’d been hearing the same sentence from Aquas on repeat since they got there. He turned his head to the side to take a look at his brown-haired friend before giving his waist a well-deserved pinch.
“Ouch!” Aquas yelped before stumbling over and onto the seafloor. A low laugh escaped Ramie’s lips as he watched in amusement as a clearly annoyed Aquas sat up on the seafloor to direct a glare at him.
“What was that for?” Aquas asked as he got up to take his position back on the rock.
“Rambling,” Ramie answered plainly as he turned his gaze upwards to observe the school of colorful fish passing by.
Aquas sighed, looking up at the fish like his friend. “But I do remember seeing him before,” he muttered under his breath, earning a frustrated sigh from Ramie.
Really!” Aquas said in defense, turning his head to look straight at his friend. Ramie turned towards Aquas’ way only to grace Aquas with an eye-roll before looking away.
“Well, you last remember him being a human,” Ramie pointed out.
“It might have been my mind playing tricks on me. I can’t think of one possible way someone could be both man and mere. I probably bumped into him in the marketplace or somewhere else,” Aquas tried to reason.
“There’s magic,” Ramie muttered in a low tone, making his friend give him a curious look.
“What do you mean?” Aquas asked as his brows knitted into a frown. Was Ramie trying to say that his human used magic to get here? Was that even possible? Did humans even use magic?
Ramie sat upon the rock, casting a gaze at Aquas’ lying figure. “I thought it was all in your head once, but some strange happened a while ago that changed my mind.”
“What happened?” Aquas asked soon after, pressing Ramie for an explanation. It seemed Ramie knew something he didn’t.
“You know those strange items gatherers pick up from human wreckage?” Ramie asked, earning a hum of confirmation from Aquas.
“Well he visited my dwelling the other day with Yanus and called the items I was working with by name...” Ramie trailed as Aquas’ frown only deepened.
“That’s not the only thing. Have you noticed his odd behavior? There are some things he does that are definitely not merlike,” Ramie pointed out, earning a nod from Aquas. That much was true, but was it enough proof to link him to the human world?
“I think you should ask him about this personally, seeing he’s claimed to have lost his memory to the cove council. He just might tell you the truth if you confront him personally,” Ramie advised.
Aquas sat up on the rock with a sigh, fiddling with the shark tooth necklace he had on.
“I guess you’re right. I should ask, considering he might never bring it up otherwise,” Aquas agreed, looking over at his friend. Ramie gave him a weak smile before laying back on the rock with a yawn.
“We came here to relax, didn’t we? I think that’s what we should be doing,” Ramie said, earning a smile from Aquas.
“I guess we should,” Aquas agreed, laying back on the rock to join his friend as a comfortable silence came upon them.
“There’s still no sign of him sir,” Ethan said, earning a frown from the captain. He was a tall pot-bellied man with a sun-damaged face and thick brows.
“We have to leave soon, there’s really nothing I can do,” the captain said firmly as he folded his arms across his chest. Jeffrey had kept the cargo from getting shipped for almost two weeks. They had to get the goods across the ocean within a fortnight, and they were already late at this rate.
’We still have one week I believe,” Ethan tried to reason as he stared at the captain’s thickly bearded face. The man was in his fifties and had never in his life as a captain lost a man to sea. Jeffrey’s disappearance was unsettling to him. He wanted to find the young man too but was torn between the situation at hand and the work he was supposed to do.
“And I advise you to use that one week wisely,” the captain said before walking past Ethan without another word. Ethan sighed, looked down at the wine-stained deck floor.
“Where in the seven seas are you Jeff?”
He muttered to himself before sighing again and walking off to find John who was probably by the bay. The bay was a part of a ship where cargo was usually stored in preparation for a journey.
At getting to the bay, Ethan looked in through the entrance to search for his friend. He beckoned at him when their eyes met, making John raise a brow in question but head over to the entrance anyway.
John was soon standing face to face with Ethan by the entrance. He pulled out a raggy cloth that had been stuffed into the side of his pants to wipe the sweat off his face. His hair was sticking to his forehead and his naked chest was heaving and glittering with sweat from the activity of moving and arranging cargo.
“What?” he asked, looking up at Ethan. Ethan made a loud clicking sound by slapping his tongue against his teeth before leaning against the entrance as well.
“I think we might have to ask about the witch,” Ethan muttered, making John frown deeply.
“We still have a week. Plus, I don’t understand how someone pretending to have powers is going to help us find Jeffrey,” John said, earning a sigh from Ethan.
“I guess you’re right, but I think it’s worth looking into,” Ethan said, biting the inside of his cheek as he ran a hand across his chin. John ran a hand through his hair, wondering why Ethan was being so insistent.
“I guess you’re right,” John muttered. “We can check around for her in a few days, probably during the evening,” John suggested, earning a weak smile from Ethan.
“Trust me, it’s for the best mate,” Ethan said, giving John’s shoulder a clap of encouragement.
“I have a million reasons why we shouldn’t go, but if it’s for Jeffrey...” John trailed as Ethan took away his hand. “Besides, can’t the lad stay out of trouble? First, he gets thrown overboard after a storm and now this? He should’ve stayed back home with his nose hidden between his books.”
Ethan laughed at that, seeing reason in John’s words. Jeffrey was a smart young man you didn’t seem to fit into the position of a ship crew member very well. Most of the crewmen hadn’t taken a liking to him because he never talked, and when he did he rambled on about books and politics even if no one was showing interest.
Ethan and John had somehow ended up befriending the man when they’ve been assigned the same tasks. They saw through his ‘I am well read’ surface and found a man that was most definitely not the snob most of the crewmen had written him of to be.
“I should be going, I haven’t slept in ages,” Ethan said before bidding his friend goodbye then heading to the lower deck to his cabin.
It was settled then. They would visit whoever this witch was and hope their visit wouldn’t turn out to be a complete waste of time.
Time was definitely running out, and they weren’t still sure of their crewmate was dead or alive. Crew members had already started calling dibs on Jeffrey’s property and it worried both Ethan and Jeffrey. They had to find him and fast.