The Mermaid That's Sweetest

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25] A Lesson in Control

25] A Lesson in Control

My hand hovers over the river water and I pull on all my enraged, unstable feelings, which is what I used so far, every time to control the water. I had been practicing all week, all day light hours. I feel the power roar through me and I tell the water to still.

Still.

Calm.

I watch the current change… Rough. Rougher.

No. No. Still.

I get frustrated and I close my eyes. I breathe, I try to focus my anger into a straight line of power. Bubbles, surging gusts of hot water, crash up all around me. I’m in a cauldron of water that is almost boiling with fury.

No! That’s the exact opposite of what I needed to happen right now. Come on, Water’s Will, don’t humiliate me in front of Eros again. The bastard didn’t deserve to watch me fail.

Still, stay bloody still, stay bloody calm, stop moving, stop – argh!

I panic, I had to prove it soon or I’d be humiliated forever, my eyes squish tighter together and I pull on every thread I can find. Left, right, from the bottom, maybe a balance of smooth running currents at the river bottom was the illusion of stillness on top, maybe… maybe it was just a trick that Eros used to trap me? Was that it?

Maybe I was being an idiot trying to do what he just asked, he was deceiving me, just a damn trick.

I open my eyes when the water is just a Rough choppy mess. I gasp and gawk at nothing.

Eros is gone and I look around the raging river waters, only to feel his hot breath on the back of my neck.

“Relax, half-wit,” he murmurs it and I spin so fast, my tail thwacks rudely into his in my spin and whirl to face him. I kick back.

Eros dances around me as I turn, but he whirls to face me at every manoeuvre, swimming around me, his tail rubs mine in all the delicate places between fin and scale. He’s mocking me!

I try to keep the humiliation out of my expression as I trail him with my gaze.

He was designed to hunt my kind down, he was more cunning and sharp in his turns. I couldn’t get away.

“I reject your advances,” I hiss, “Leave me be!”

“But you were showing me your greatest gifts over the Water’s Rouge?” Eros sing songs, kicking back a little, almost starting a song, but he stops and simply waits for my answer.

So, he was being patient. That wasn’t good a sign.

“I’m… listen, I don’t need to prove anything to you,” I state, “What do you want?”

“Your attention,” Eros’ responding hiss is on the edge of a snarl, but truthful, “Before you make a mistake you regret, half-wit. Regret is a useless thing, isn’t it?” he is really trying hard to make me admit to regretting something, that’s for sure.

“Eros,” I pause, thinking of how to end this, “This discussion is over, I don’t want to have to fight you, just to injure you after I healed you. Okay? Just go.”

“Would you like to see the wound you healed?” Eros nods down, choosing to mostly ignore my sentiments, “There’s a warrior’s scar discolouring my scales from the spear wound. Your blue silk robe changed a portion of my tail to a blue tint while it healed and mimicked the surrounds, like a chameleon.”

He sounds far, far too innocent and jovial.

But blue scales? That was something interesting. I glance down and quickly up again. I can’t see it from the surface. I sink for a second to glance and I do see a patch of blue.

When I reach the surface, Eros is slowly swimming backwards towards the inland pool.

“See the water?” Eros calls out, “Follow me, Lily.”

I look around… the water is calmer, not still, but it’s no longer a choppy barrage with my mind focused on his blue scales. A distraction. Another cheap trick. Great, he’s trying to impress me.

I roll my eyes as Eros expects me to follow and I swim toward him slowly, but I keep my distance.

Eros flips his tail near the surface at the middle of the pool, staying at the water line, floating while staring up at the sky.

“…like this…” he quietly speaks and I can’t hear properly, I can only read his mouth from so far away, so I kick my tail and get closer, as Eros continues, “…the sky… the clouds… what shapes do you see? I see a rock pool, with boulders and… a Darv…”

I pause, and my chest blooms with our last encounter.

Eros really did have a round about way of saying thank you.

Without looking at the sky, I speak my version, “I see an empty castle,” that was my question… where was his Clan? I hadn’t seen them running around the Ezili Castle for the entire week.

Eros straightens to face me, but he’s so calm, it’s eerie. He was a rough, violent frenzy. He was not so… cool headed like this, ever.

“Do you enjoy power?” Eros drawls, raising a brow.

I nod, but I don’t say yes.

“It suits you,” Eros’ third wayward attempt to be nice, a round about compliment. I say nothing, and I consider leaving. I wasn’t ready yet, I was still learning. I didn’t want this conversation to elevate to new levels of tension. I could already feel the heat coming from his eyes, which weren’t leaving my form, “…Lily…”

“What?” I ask, too gently.

“Look at the water,” he flicks his tail up, and it creates a ripple effect through very still, calm waters.

“Oh – did I do that?” I gasp, looking around, grinning, “All I have to do is…” I seal my lips.

“Focus on something so entirely, that you block out all other threads,” Eros finishes for me in a happy but snarly reply, sinking again until the water reaches his nose, hovering under his eyes.

Focus so entirely… hmmm… like an Erebos gaze. Designed to lure you in.

Like now.

What the hell was I doing? In a pool, isolated, slowly swimming closer to an Erebos in tiny little movements from my fins contracting, pulling apart and swatting me forward like a stupid seahorse.

I kick back violently to distract myself and the waters quickly start moving once more.

Eros pokes his head out of the water and slowly tilts his head, uncontrollably licking over a fang in the process.

I turn and bolt, like a frightened squid, but I don’t care.

Eros had been luring me in slowly. However, I refused to give in to our bond yet.

I swim half way down the river, stopping to look over my shoulder.

Eros is at the edge of the pool, leaning his bulging shoulders and biceps over a steep river bank, ripping the flesh out of an eel that’s struggling wildly in his hand. He watches me all the while, throwing it’s half shredded body into the forest.

Killing little animals for fun. Yet another round about message. This one more a threat.

I turn and keep bolting.

Eros had changed tactic, to some kind of slow dance, with silent, secret promises.

I wasn’t sure I liked this side of him any better, it seemed a whole lot more dangerous than before.

Because now? I had no idea if he wanted to lure me in for mating, or something worse.

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