Chapter 14

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"I don't see the point you're trying to make," Jeffery said, looking on at the witch who was presently pacing about the cave with a book in hand. She didn't give Jeffery's words any attention. She just continued to pace about while flipping the book with a worn-out red cover as she cursed under her breath.

"If you look at it from this point of view, I won't be able to get you the lax pearls now. You've ruined your own plan," Jeffery continued, brushing aside the fact that his first sentence had been ignored.

"I'm failing to see how all this adds up—"

"Shut up!" the witch finally replied firmly as she shut the brown paged book. Her actions caused the small birds that had taken refuge in the cave's ceiling to fly out of the cave due to the frightening echo.

Jeffery opened his mouth to speak but the witch beat him to it.

"I'll tell you how it adds up," she muttered, walking up to Jeffery's bound figure. "There are more coves apart from Afibia and its neighbors who have reefs of lax pearls just begging to be harvested. I'll take you to one of them and you'll do your part and maybe, just maybe I'll send you back to Afibia when I'm a safe distance away from the shoreline."

Jeffery looked on, watching as the witch turned and walked away from him without uttering another word.

His mind then wandered to Aquas—to Afibia. He desperately wanted to know what was going on.

*

"You shouldn't have let her take him," Aquas said in frustration as the whole council looked on at him with worried expressions. He had narrated the true story to them and they were all deciding on what to do.

"Sacred spirits," Encaca muttered under her breath as she shook her head in regret. When she'd called Jeffery onto the stage she'd thought the reason why when she tried to read into him and everything was blurry was because he had a clutter of thoughts or a memory that was weighing him down. It was only after Aquas narrated the true story that she realized it was a neatly done and disguised mind block. She was angered at the fact that someone could deceive her like that- especially by a mere mortal witch who was probably self-taught.

"It's my fault, I shouldn't have let my anger take over me. We're meant to analyze and judge cases fairly, how could I have dismissed his part of the story without hearing it?" Marsha said, running a hand through her brown waist-length hair as her facial features expressed worry.

"It was sudden, it's not your fault," the elder said. He hadn't paid much attention to what happened. He usually allowed the younger merfolk to deal with sudden and fast-paced situations like that one. He was far too old for things like that and was waiting patiently for when his ancestors to call him to the afterlife.

"What are we going to do?" Marsha asked looking from Aquas to Encaca, and then to the other members of the council.

"Nothing," Filli said, earning confused stares from the council members. "They're no longer in our cove so they're no longer our business."

"Sometimes I question why you were picked to join the council, you have no drop of compassion in your blood," the purple-haired merwoman said with obvious disgust written in her tone. She turned away from Filli soon after, directing her next words to the other council members. "We have to help them in any way we can."

"Agreed," Encaca said making all the council members turn to her. She left the side of the council table to meet Aquas who was standing before it.

"Is there anyone we can ask for help from above without putting the cove in danger?" Encaca asked, looking into Aquas' green eyes. His thoughts quickly moved to the two men Jeffery had talked to him about. He knew their names but had no idea of what they looked like or where they might be.

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