Chapter 11

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"What exactly happened?" Aquas asked. He and Jeffrey were laying on one of the rocks on the outskirts of the cove. He had a million and one questions to ask Jeffrey, but he decided it was nest to start with the most generic.

"I'm not sure how to explain it. A witch gave me this fin," Jeffrey muttered as they both gazed down at his bright blue tail. It was then Aquas noticed the off dark blue on the left side. It was probably a representation of the injury he'd sustained on his human leg.

"Why?" Aquas asked, not really knowing what else to say to that.

Jeffrey sighed as he sat on the rock. He was deciding whether it was wise to tell Aquas about the witch and what she wanted him to do.

"She wanted lax pearls. She asked me to steal them for her." Jeffrey immediately saw a change in Aquas' expression when he uttered those words. The smile the smaller merman had been wearing had fallen and the hands he'd wrapped across his chest had moved to grip each other tightly.

"You were going to steal from us, or do you still plan to?" Aquas finally asked as his brows knitted into a frown that spelled both confusion and hurt.

It didn't only hurt that stealing was probably Jeffrey's intention for coming there was to steal. It also hurt that his motive for coming there was in no way related to simply just seeing the merman that had saved his life. Aquas wasn't so sure why his assumptions hurt so much. Maybe because he himself had been longing to see the human all this time.

"No, that was never my intention!" Jeffrey stuttered, looking down at the laying merman. How was he going to explain that he had no intention of hurting Aquas' people?

"I had no idea of her intentions when she sent me here, but she soon started bothering me in my dreams. Well, they feel like dreams..." Jeffrey trailed before uttering a low sigh.

"Is that why you haven't been sleeping?" Aquas asked, looking up at the blonde haired merman. Jeffrey's expression looked somewhere between frustrated and tired. It was a frequent one on him. Aquas had been a little worried about it, but he'd decided a while ago that it wasn't in his place to bring it up.

"Yes," the merman muttered, running a hand through his hair as he looked out into the ocean scenery.

Aquas sat up then, running a hand through Jeffrey's hair in a gesture of empathy. Jeffrey smiled weakly at him as he let the merman run his hand through his hair. The gesture was comforting and worked wonders in regards to calming Jeffrey down.

"What now?" Aquas asked, breaking the comfortable silence they'd fallen into. Aquas watched the merman sigh as he rubbed his chest with a loosely folded fist.

"I really don't know. Her threats have ranged from making me regret my refusal to comply with taking away the tail," Jeffrey muttered, making Aquas glance down at said tail.

The statement made a little sense to him. But Aquas wondered if that meant Jeffrey wanted to keep the tail and stay underwater with his cove.

"Do you want to keep the tail?" Aquas asked, voicing his thoughts. Jeffrey thought about that. Did he want to keep the tail? He wanted to clear up some things on the surface, but he wasn't sure what he really wanted after that. He'd enjoyed his stay on Afiba maybe a little too much.

He was pulled out of his thoughts when he felt Aquas' hand leave his hair to settle over his hand on the rock. He turned to give the smaller merman a confused look, wondering what had triggered the gesture.

"Whatever you want and decide to do, I'm sure our own magic-user can help. According to the shopa, Encaca is getting closer," Aquas muttered, earning a nod from Jeffrey.

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