Elyrian Memories

3 years have gone by since our heroine Princess Katherine Renard, her childhood friend Prince Matthew Lowell, along with other nobles, took part of the Revolutionary War.

Now, they have to overcome an issue that will divide them. Matthew, afraid of Sienna being hurt, he sends her to the neighboring kingdom called Elyria. In there she will find a "second chance" and find out more about this legacy that she carries in her veins.

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7. ~The Emerald~

Suktar tried getting rid of the rubble that was pressing against her body; a few other beings were forming around her, helping her to stand up. They all bowed before her and she said:

“What took you so long to get here? Quick, remove the rubble; I’ll go back to Zathe-sama.” Suktar replied, angrily.

Then Uther appears before Suktar and releases her from the rubble: He gives her a grin. She lets go off his hold and looks at him coldly.

”Haha. You assured Zathe-sama that you’ll be the one who will defeat that threat, and I’ve gotta tell you…you haven’t even hurt a fly right now.” Uther  made fun of Suktar.
”Shut up! That girl was hindering my process. I was intending to get to the boy, he had the gems.” Suktar replied angrily.
“He had them, why didn’t you aim directly to him, instead of the girl.” Uther asked.
“That was the plan. But apparently the girl survived the stink bomb. She was still weak but she tried to protect that boy with the gems. She finally fainted and I tried to take her as a hostage.” Suktar replied.
“So? What’s the point? You still could have gotten the gems from the boy.” Uther remarked.
”There was something in her eyes that I didn’t like. She was a threat.” Suktar replied with eyes filled of contempt.
”Hmmm…if that’s the case, you should inform Zathe-sama. We should take care from her but at the same, not forgetting about the boy, too. Come, let’s go. By the way, there is someone you might like to see.” Uther replied.

Suktar and Uther teleported back to Zathe.

                                        
                                                               ~Main story~

Sienna and the rest walked towards their next objective, the Lake of Wishes. Anyway, they were on their way  to get out of the forest, when suddenly a girl that was running toward their distance, bumped with Dastan. She apologized and then she sees him. She screamed with joy and hugged Dastan.

“DASTAN!!” A voice resonated in the forest.
“Gyaa! Chrissie!?” Dastan said, shocked.
“Of course it’s me, silly. It’s been too long since I haven’t seen you.” Chrissie replied, cheerfully.

Everyone was staring at them, with astonishment. Arian tried not to laugh out loud. Dastan looked at them. Serine asks.

”Dastan? Who is she?” Damon asked.
”Oh, guys, meet Chrissie. Chrissie these are Weiss, Leon, Serine, Damon, you already know Arian, and Sienna.” Dastan said, scratching his head.
”Oh, where are my manners! My name’s Chrissie. Nice to meet you.” Chrissie greeted.
”Nice to meet you, too.” Serine replied.
”Chrissie, what are you doing here, anyway? It’s too dangerous for you to be here.” Dastan warned her.
“I just came here to support you.” Chrissie replied.
“With what? You cannot use a weapon, you’re just a dancer.” Dastan protested.
“You’re wrong, I can help, I can use a bow and practiced just before you left the village” Chrissie argued.
“Chrissie go back to the village, you might get hurt.” Dastan replied.
“But I just came here to help you.” Chrissie replied.
“No. Chrissie, go back.” Dastan said, coldly.

Sienna watched Chrissie and saw her eyes full of determination and said:

“Give her a chance, she can help. The more the merrier.” Sienna smiled.
“Okay, fine. But don’t say I didn’t warned you!” Dastan admonished.

So, Chrissie incorporated in their small group and continued their way to the Lake of Wishes. Dastan wasn’t too enthusiastic with the idea because he knew Chrissie; she bugs everyone, mainly him. She’s all like very lovey-dovey with him and that really suffocates him. Serine and Sienna never minded her. The rest was always laughing at the scenes he and Chrissie displayed so often. Anyway, they stopped to rest because they just passed through mountains. Everyone went for hunting and gathering some water, berries, herbs and wood, except Dastan, Arian and Chrissie.

Dastan was still reeling on a wound that hadn’t healed from last battle and Arian was just looking at the map.
Chrissie sat beside Arian and began talking.

“Arian? What are you doing?” Chrissie asked.
“Looking at map and strategies; what about you?” Arian replied
“Just talking to you and wondering about Sienna. What’s up with her?” Chrissie wondered.
“Oh, she’s is an ally’s representative. Our ally couldn’t come because she was in a middle of something.” Arian explained.
“But what’s so good about Sienna? All I see is all of you drooling over her.” Chrissie said.
“We don’t drool over her, Chrissie. Well, I don’t know about Weiss.” Arian rectified.
“Oh well… I simply don’t like her.” Chrissie said, bluntly.
“Don’t act like that. You don’t know when she will help you from a problem.” Arian warned.
“I doubt that will happen with my sniper skills.” Chrissie said, overconfident.
“Okay, I am just saying.” Arian replied.

She left Arian’s side and sat beside Dastan. She was glad that she had time to be with him, alone. She is Dastan’s childhood friend and she somehow wanted to see him because his parents wouldn’t tell her about his whereabouts so she took off all by herself and tried to ask around if she could get some info about him, but it was hopeless. No one had seen him around wherever she went, but now that she had found him, she felt at ease.

“Hey, Dastan? How are you?” Chrissie asked.
“Oh, Chrissie, I thought you left with the rest of the group. I am fine, it’s a wound that I received on our previous mission” Dastan answered.
“Oh my, it looks awful. How did you get this?” Chrissie asked.
“We were ambushed by the enemy and Sienna was taken as hostage. But then, something weird happened when she was to about to die. She began talking to the enemy with a strange dialect that none of us had heard of. Anyhow, she got loose from the enemy’s hold and began fighting skillfully. Leon warned me that I shouldn’t get involved, but still I did and got hurt and when she saw me, she yelled and  I managed to land a blow to the enemy and that was enough to crumble down the building. I lost consciousness and I was carried by Arian, escaping from the building. According to Arian, Sienna had a bottle of elixir to use it on me, even though she had to drink it herself, but she gave to me anyways. She was crying heavily. Oh well, I really thank her for saving my life…I was an idiot putting myself in danger.” Dastan replied.

Hmph, I thought so. Sienna is nothing but a nuisance to this group and she hurt Dastan, I won’t forgive her.” Chrissie thought.
“Hmmm…I see…well, it’s her fault getting herself in danger!” Chrissie yelled, infuriated.
“Chrissie…” Dastan whispered.

The rest arrived and heard her screaming, Sienna glanced at Chrissie and she was already angry at her and said:

“It’s your fault that Dastan has that wound! Fix it! Now!” Chrissie demanded.
“Chrissie, please calm down. What’s wrong with you?” Dastan asked, alarmed.
“Everything revolves on her, what’s so good about her that I don’t have!” Chrissie replied.

Chrissie stormed out of the camp and fled.

“Now, what’s up with her?” Weiss asked
“She is acting weird.” Dastan said
“Women… I don’t get them.” Damon said
“Don’t you guys get it, or do I need to say it? She is envious of Sienna” Serine replied.
“Why? I haven’t done anything to make her go mad or something.” Sienna said.
“Perhaps it’s the fact that everyone drools over you.” Serine said, somewhat disappointed.
“What?” The guys yelled.
“That’s not even legit!” Leon yelled.

Everyone looks at Leon and he replies somewhat flustered:

“I don’t drool over my sister, you perverts! Weiss does that.” Leon said.
”She’s your sister?” Arian replied. Weiss snickered.
“What do you mean she’s my sister? Of course she is! You haven’t noticed, even our similarities?” Leon said, shocked.
“What! I don’t drool over her; I don’t even like her in that way! You know who does that the most? Arian.” Weiss defended himself.
“What? What are you talking about?” Arian yells.
“You keep praising her at whatever she does!” Weiss replies.
“That’s not true, I hardly praise her and I only talk to her for strategies! And, Damon, don’t lie, you were quite straightforward when you saved her from a crumbling of rocks.” Arian said.
“What? I only saved her once, I barely know her anyway.” Damon said, coolly.

Serine was laughing out loud while Sienna was getting a little flustered about it. Then she told Serine:

“Hey, I’ll go look for Chrissie. She may hate me now but we should talk.” Sienna said.
“Okay, I’ll fill you in with the details later. Be careful.” Serine said.

Sienna left and the guys were still quarreling. Serine sat down nearby while they were fighting.

“Oh, shut the hell up Damon, you liked her touch when you caught her! You didn’t want to let her go of your hold” Dastan laughed.
“Oh please, Dastan! I can obviously see that you were jealous! You wanted to be with her the most! And even when you were on the ground and hugged her for saving you, you didn’t want to let her go of your hold, either.” Damon said, mockingly.
“Wh-what!” Dastan stammered.

Everyone froze and saw Dastan, blushing.

“Wh-what are you talking about! I don’t…” Dastan stammered.

“You like her!?” everyone exclaimed, somewhat surprised.  

Everyone looked at Dastan with their mouths wide open.

“Oh ho ho, confession time…” Serine said.
“I don’t, I don’t like her in that way…” Dastan blushed even more.
Thank God that both Sienna and Chrissie aren’t here, if they were this would have taken a serious but yet, interesting turn of events.” Serine thought.
“Huh, where’s Sienna? She heard all of this?” Dastan asked, worriedly.
“Probably she ran away when she heard you liked her!” Weiss laughed
“Weiss! No, she left before you guys bugged Dastan. She went after Chrissie.” Serine explained.

Probably Sienna went after Chrissie to leave this place and avoid this quarrel, she was beginning to feel awkward and plus she was blushing.” Serine empathized.

Sienna had walked for a long time and hasn’t found a trace of Chrissie. She wandered on and on and saw her sitting on a log, crying. Sienna felt bad for this but the problem is that she didn’t do anything wrong to make her feel that way. She was nervous, but she sat on the log and tried talking to her:

“Hey, may I sit here?” Sienna asked.

Chrissie saw her but ignored her, Sienna was nervous but she kept talking.

“Why are you feeling this way?” Sienna kept asking.
“Isn’t it obvious?” Chrissie replied.
“No, and I won’t know unless you tell me.” Sienna said.
“It’s the fact that you get all the attention of everyone without even trying.” Chrissie said.
“That’s what’s bothering you?” Sienna asked.
“Yes, Dastan is nice with you and that makes me jealous. He has never given his life for me or anything, while he did that for you.” Chrissie said, sobbing.
“I see…but you shouldn’t be mad at me, don’t try to compare yourself with others, you’ll end up changing your personality and at the end you won’t know who you really are. Let’s go back, I bet everyone is already worried about you.” Sienna said
“Okay.” Chrissie followed.
“So, no more comparing yourself with other people?” Sienna asked.
“Yes.” Chrissie affirmed.
“There we go.” Sienna smiled.

Sienna and Chrissie went back to the camp and saw everything was quiet. The boys were eating, were unusually quiet and Serine was only watching them from a distance, she couldn’t help but laugh. Sienna and Chrissie joined Serine and asked:

“Serine? What happened? They are unusually quiet.” Chrissie asked.
“Oh, well…let’s say that one of them said too much.” Serine chuckled.
“Just, how much?” Sienna asked.
“So much that you just want the earth to suck you up.” Serine giggled.
“Hahaha…I see.” Sienna laughed.
“So, Chrissie, since we are alone, why don’t you tell us about Dastan?” Serine asked
“What do you want me to tell you?” Chrissie asked.
“Anything, like when you guys lived in your village.” Sienna said.
“No! Better yet, how you guys met!” Serine added.

Chrissie smiled warmly.

“Okay. It all started when we were like 10 years old. I remember that my mom asked me to get some flowers and some berries for the neighbor, because his son was in bad shape. So I went on to look for them and then I saw this kid of my age trying to practice swordsmanship with a stick. He looked very determined, a perseverant kid. He seemed in awful shape, though, he was coughing and when he made a slash, I saw him fall on the floor. I ran towards him and tried to see if he was okay. He was terribly sick. I tried to drag him all the way to the village and report it. When I reported it, the neighbor, cried out loud that it was her son! I was surprised so then his mom took him and I gave her the berries and some flowers. I carefully saw how his mom could do all the elixirs and potions, it was awesome. Anyway, I was near him and I watched him. He turned and thanked me for bringing him to his house, I smiled.”

“Aw! That’s so cute!” Sienna said.
“Yeah…” Chrissie blushed.
“So anything romantic happened when you guys were at the village?” Serine asked.

The guy’s perked their ears and looked at Dastan, he only ignored them, but still they heard.

“Nope, we are only friends, I only act as you guys have seen just because I like bugging Dastan.” Chrissie smiled
“Oh okay, that’s good.” Serine said.
“Anyway, we need to pack our stuff tonight. We are going to the Lake of Wishes.” Sienna added.
“Yes!” Weiss yelled.
“Arian, please lend me the map, Dastan, can you come with me?” Sienna requested.
“Uhhh, okay.” Dastan followed.

“Do you like Chrissie?” Sienna asked.
“Why do you ask?” Dastan asked.
“You aren’t sensitive with her.” Sienna said.
“What?” Dastan was confused.
“She feels jealousy when I am around you. Try to be more united with her.” Sienna adviced Dastan.
“Why makes you say that?” Dastan asked.
“I talked with her when she ran away. She feels like she doesn’t get everybody’s attention, your attention specifically. I am worried about her safety. Please protect her, no matter what.” Sienna requested.
“Okay, I will” Dastan said.
“Very well then, let’s go pack our stuff and sleep.”
Then next day, they resumed their journey to the Lake of Wishes and passed through forests.
“Oh God, this is the 100th time I pass through a forest, If I ever see another one, I’ll burn it down!” Weiss said, angrily.
“Calm down, we are almost through the forest and you will see something awesome.” Arian said.

As soon as Arian pronounced those words they saw the The Lake of Wishes. The lake shined beautifully with the sun reflecting its rays upon it; it was a breathless sight. Arian looked for the guardian of the lake and tried to negotiate their pass to the other side. When Arian found it, it was a magnificent winged-like beast, it looked fierce so that was a problem; they wouldn’t cross the lake so easily.

“Yup, it’ll be 64000 gold to pass, 8000 per person.” The guardian replied.
“WHAT! That’s ridiculous! Why do you ask for so much to go to the other side?” Leon said.
“Hey, it is hard to get the other side, the lake itself is tricky.” The guardian explained.
“But we have to go through it!” Weiss protested.
“Okay, fine, if you answer this question, I’ll give you the right to pass.” The guardian agreed.
“Okay…” Arian said.
“Here it goes…What was the name of this lake? You can investigate around the lake.” The guardian said.
“At least, give us a hint.” Dastan asked.
“Okay…look around and you’ll find the answer; it’s before your eyes…” The guardian said.

After several hours of trying to figure out this riddle, Dastan and the rest just sat down and sighed. It was impossible to know what was the name of the lake.

“Look around and you’ll find the answer; it’s before your eyes. What was that supposed to mean?”  Dastan wondered.
“He wants us to think, since we aren’t going to give those 64000 gold.” Weiss said.
“Hmm…the name of the lake is around here. This means this will take time.” Serine said.
“Do we need to separate in groups?” Damon asked.
“That would be good. Let’s separate in pairs. We can cover more of this place by pairs.” Sienna said.
“Okay! I’ll do the groups!” Weiss announced.
“Wait!” Serine and Sienna yelled.

Both girls talked with Weiss and agreed to do this pairing.

“Very well, then. Damon with Serine; Chrissie with Dastan; Leon with Sienna; Arian with me.” Weiss said.

And so, they separated in groups and tried to find hints of the lake, its general facts but no obvious clues in identifying the name.

“Oh, what should we do? We don’t know the name of the lake. Our journey will be delayed for this?” Leon said
“Okay, we need to stay near the lake.” Arian decided
“We are going to camp near the lake?” Chrissie asked.
“So? Why not? Besides something might show up if we stay.” Arian replied.
“Okay, we are going to stay.” Weiss answered.

Dastan and the rest decided to stay for clues on the lake and as it began to get dark, they quickly began to set up their camp. Sienna decided to sit near the lake, Leon and Weiss joined her. Dastan sneaked behind them.

“Hey, why are doing here, all by yourself, sis?” Leon asked.
“Oh I was just sitting here, trying to think about the name of the lake and all of the things I saw to make conjectures.” Sienna answered.
“Your strategist mind never fails to show up, huh?” Weiss replied.
“I suppose that’s the case.” Sienna said.
“I was more worried about something else happening to you.” Leon said.
“Oh, nothing wrong is happening. Thanks for your concern.” Sienna apologized.

And suddenly they began hearing a whispering voice say:

“ThenameofthelakeisrelatedtotheLightMaidens…” It whispered.
“What?” Sienna asked.
“What is it, Sienna?” Weiss asked.
“Didn’t you hear it?” Sienna replied.
“No…” Leon assured.
“Thenameofthelakeisrelatedtomeandmysisters.” It whispered again.

Then Sylsere and Medea appeared before them. Behind the bushes, Dastan was hiding and saw this light surround Sienna. Dastan saw two spirits before them, he continued to spy them.

“Sylsere, Medea! What are doing here?” Sienna asked, startled by her appearance.
“Well, can’t I visit you sometime?” Sylsere asked.
“Well, at least not here! Can’t you see that you will be exposed? I am trying very hard to avoid any speculations about how I can endure in battle and many other things to them.” Sienna replied, flustered.
“Don’t worry, you are safe here. We are the only ones here…” Medea assured.
“Why are you giving me this hint?” Sienna asked.
“Well, I don’t want you to get too worked out.” Sylsere said.
“But what do you mean the Light maidens? Sienna inquired.
“Just trust me. The name of the lake is Gwenaëlle.” Medea replied.
“I see…” Sienna said.
“Tell this to that guardian and say that Medea said it to you, he will understand.” Sylsere advised.
“Okay. Thank you, Sylsere and Medea.” Sienna thanked, gratefully.

Dastan hurried arrived at the camp. Sylsere left. Leon, Weiss and Sienna went back to the camp. They saw Serine and Chrissie cooking and watching the bonfire, Arian was resting, watching the starry sky, Damon was watching the fire burn the logs and Dastan was cleaning his sword.

“Guys, guess what?” Leon asked.
“What is it, Leon?” Damon asked.
“We found the name of the lake.” Weiss answered.
“The name of the lake is Gwenaëlle.” Sienna whispered.
“What is the name of the lake?” Arian asked.
“Really?” Dastan asked.
“What? How did you know?” Chrissie asked.
“It will sound crazy, but I heard it being whispered.” Sienna admitted.
“And creepy.” Serine added.
Gwenaëlle, huh?” Weiss asked.
“But that strange voice said that I should add that I was told about it.” Sienna added.
“Hmmm…we will do that, then. If it will let us go through the lake, then we shouldn’t miss this chance.” Damon replied
“Let’s rest for today. Tomorrow will be a long day.” Arian said.

The next day, the group decided to go back to where the guardian was and guessed the answer, the guardian was shocked, no one had guessed the name except for a group of people who had crossed this place…

“So? Will you let us through?” Arian asked.
“Just tell me from who did you guess this name?” The guardian requested.
“Oh, this name was whispered to me and that voice told me to tell you that it was Medea who told me this.” Sienna said.
“Medea, King Adrien’s wife?” the guardian asked, shocked.
“What?” Everyone yelled.
Everyone but Leon and Weiss yelled. They only looked at Sienna. These people mustn’t get involved in this. If anyone knew that Medea who is related to Sylsere, which is Sienna’s ancestor; this situation would get more precarious. Zathe would know and the objective would not only be the gems but the power of one of the Light Sisters. Then Weiss and Leon remembered their objective:
                              
                                                              ~Flashback~

“Weiss, are you sure you are going to go and support Sienna?” Matthew asked.
“Of course, besides I owe her my life, helping her on the mission you assigned her would be something I’d gladly do so.” Weiss replied.
“Matthew, I want to assist my sister…” Leon came in and asked.
“You too? Why the sudden change of heart?” Matthew wondered.
“I know I’m leaving you guys understaffed but I just feel she’ll need me.” Leon pleaded.
“Okay. Protect her from harm and also help her not to reveal the fact that she is a Light Maiden’s descendant; things will become more complicated as you keep trying to retrieve all the gems, she’s still unstable from Dastan’s death, she will need your support.” Matthew explained.
“Okay, Matthew. Don’t let your girl get harmed too.” Weiss teased.
“I hope Katherine understands about your departure.” Matthew said.
“She will, just have to look for more people to cover our spots.” Leon said.
“Very well, take care and reach Elyria safely.” Matthew sent them off.
                               
                                                         ~End of Flashback~


“This is impossible! The only one who told me this name was the King of Elyria’s Wife.” The guardian said once more.
“I already told you. I was whispered to it.” Sienna said once more.
“Do you happen to descend from her line, lass?” The guardian asked.

Weiss and Leon eyes widened! Sienna gasped. She has to say yes to go through it or say no and this guardian will not let them pass even if they get the 64000 gold. Sienna was beginning to get nervous at their reaction. Leon walked to her and touched her shoulder. She felt him saying:

“They have to know. Keeping it a secret will not make things any brighter.”

Sienna sighed. The others were stupefied to know such revelation.

“Well, you see…I am related to Medea’s line but actually my ancestor is Sylsere, one of her sisters.” Sienna said apologetically.
”Oh, the ‘Brightest Dancing Blade’.” The guardian reasoned.
“Yes.” Sienna replied.
“I will let you pass…if you fight me.” The guardian said.
“Hey, we had a deal. You were going to let us go through the gate if we guessed the name of the lake.” Arian protested.
“I have to prove your credibility. And I am not going to fight you. I am going to fight her.” The guardian fiercely replied.
“What! That’s outrageous!” Leon said.
“Oh, you seem to share her blood. You, too, will fight against me.” The guardian said.
“Sienna, leave this to me. I will take him.” Leon said.
“No, Leon…we have to do this, together.” Sienna said.
“Very well, when you are ready, I’ll be ready.” Leon readied his sword.

The rest only saw their fighting stance. They looked fierce. Chrissie saw how Sienna fought against the guardian. It looked like she was dancing with the blade also Leon tried to join that waltz and danced together around the guardian. In the end, the three ended up very tired, Sienna and Leon landed their last blow on the guardian, only to fall on the floor, drained, later.

“Great battle…this is a battle I haven’t experienced for so long. I’ll let you pass. You have proved what you claim to be. Also I have something for you, Sienna.” The guardian said.

The guardian showed her a keepsake of her earliest ancestor, Sylsere.

“What is this? How…” Sienna wondered.
“Many years ago, the people who guessed the name of the lake were your ancestor and her sisters, including the first king’s wife, but they told me that if a young woman came along with her brother and a group of people, they would guess the name of the lake for she will hold the name of the lake and I was told to let you pass if you fought with me. You beat me with your brother. You and your companions are the only hope for this land. Please free it from the slavery that is bound to.” The guardian said.
“We will.” Sienna said.
“Also, if you get into trouble, call me whenever you want.” The guardian said.
“Thank you.” Leon thanked.
“Go on. I won’t delay your trip” The guardian replied.

They went through the gate that was leading them to the lake. The rest couldn’t believe the fact that Sienna and Leon had to do with one of the earliest rulers of Elyria and it was no coincidence that she came to this land and free it. Was probably Sienna a part of the royalty and will plan to stay here? Chrissie and Serine kept staring at Leon and Sienna. Weiss tried talking to them.

“You never fail to capture everyone’s attention, do you?” Weiss replied.
“I am sorry; I feel this is my fault. I should have told them since I met them.” Sienna said.
“And endanger their safety? You did the right thing, sis. Don’t pressure yourself.” Leon comforted her.
“But anyway I was going to do it eventually, didn’t I?” Sienna said.
“Now we have to watch our steps. I feel you are exposed. If the guardian could acknowledge the fact that you are of noble line, then the enemy is suspecting that the late king and queen of Elyria have a heir or a relative and what you just revealed, you are considered potential rulers of the continent.” Weiss advised.
“But the thing is that we are from different lines.” Sienna said.

Dastan and Arian saw each other. Sienna or Leon might be potential rulers for this land, therefore the reason why Matthew had sent Sienna here and why Leon wasn’t restrained from coming and assist his sister, was somewhat clear. Arian tried talking to them and Dastan tried to listen. 

“Sienna, that revelation…” Arian replied.
“I am sorry about that. I wasn’t expecting you to know that, in fact, I wanted to keep it a secret.” Sienna apologized.
“But being from Medea’s line…” Arian asked.
“No, Leon and I are from Sylsere’s line…and Medea, something happened to her. She disappeared without a trace along with her sisters.” Sienna explained.
“So? But yet, you could…” Dastan replied.
“Yes, I know Medea, and all her sisters lived here before they moved to Afaeld, but that doesn’t guarantees me that I am part of Elyria’s royal line. If Matthew knew that, I shouldn’t have come, he should have sent Kate…” Sienna hinted.
“Kate? She’s from Medea’s line?” Dastan asked.
“Well, yes, but I am telling you, the ‘Four Light Maidens’ have nothing to do with this.” Leon said.
“Dastan, Leon’s right. You should know that Medea disappeared and Adrien was in such depression that another woman who looked just like her, tried to ease his soul.” Sienna replied.
“So, your ancestors…” Dastan asked.
“Yes, they only helped, but Medea didn’t get to be with Adrien; or at least that’s what I’ve researched.” Sienna said, gravely.
“You know what? Let’s just forget this ever happened. We have to be more careful now.” Leon replied.

So, then Sienna tried to avoid any talk about her line. Dastan and the rest began wondering all of the secrets that Siennahad. When they reached the middle point of the bridge they heard something moving below them. The splashing sound stopped.

“Freeze! Don’t move!” Arian yelled.

The rest stood still and continuously heard the splashing sound of the water. Dastan slowly began moving and saw around the place suddenly the bridge broke in half making Sienna and Chrissie fall in the water.

“Help!!” Chrissie yelled.

Dastan turned and saw her being dragged into the lake. What was going on?

“Dastan! Save Chrissie!” Arian yelled.
“Dastan! Don’t get too near the water.” Leon yelled

Dastan was paralyzed; he didn’t know what to do. Sienna saw him paralyzed so she threw herself and swam on the lake trying to bring Chrissie back on the bridge. But Sienna felt something drag her inside the water. She was in danger. Dastan was staring at them.

“DASTAN! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? SAVE CHRISSIE!” Sienna yelled as she was dragged inside the lake.
“Sienna!!” Dastan yelled.
“I’ll be fine! I can get out of this!” Sienna assured.

The whole bridge broke and made the rest fall on the lake, they tried to fight against the current, desperately. Dastan tried to grasp Chrissie’s hand, which he did and both tried to get to the bridge; Arian was coming along with Weiss. Damon was pulling Serine to the bridge, they both barely made it. Sienna and Leon were swimming but Leon didn’t want to let her go so he made her hold onto him and tried to get out. Evenn so, they didn’t make it; they were swallowed by this strange creature that was just below them.

“AHH!” Sienna and Leon yelled.
“LEON!” Weiss yelled
“SIENNA!” Dastan yelled

Then everything stopped, the waters stilled. Dastan yelled their names just in hope to hear them but it was futile.

“Sienna, Leon…” Serine whispered.
“What now? Shall we go and talk with the guardian?” Chrissie asked.
“Why, only to mock us and say ‘I told you so’?” Weiss said.
“Drat. I should have saved Sienna too, she was near me.” Dastan regretted.
“Don’t worry. I don’t think Sienna and Leon will give in easily.” Arian guaranteed.
“Well…but we must try to save Sienna and Leon. They’ll need our support.” Serine said.
“Let’s go back and ask the guardian, he’ll explain what this lake hides.” Weiss said.

Sienna and Leon were dragged inside the lake and lost reconnaissance. When Sienna regained consciousness, she looked around everywhere she was inside the lake. She was swimming but apparently she wasn’t drowning. She saw Leon drifting beside her and tried to wake him. He woke and he noticed the surroundings. He tried to articulate words to Sienna but apparently they could talk.

“Sienna, are you ok?” Leon asked.
“Yes, I am ok. How about you?” Sienna answered.
“I’m good. This is weird. What is going on? We can breathe underwater.” Leon wondered.
“Maybe Sylsere is behind this.” Sienna reasoned.

Then the spirit of Sylsere was before them and said:

“Oh, I’m not behind this. This is the magic of the lake.” Syslere replied.
“What?” Sienna and Leon yelled.
“Yes, what you heard; and apparently I sense something in the bottom of the lake.” Sylsere replied.
“Do you think it’s the…” Leon asked.
“The Emerald? That’s most likely the case.” Sylsere said.
“Wait. We should try to go back to the surface and try to gather with the rest. They must be sick worried about us.” Sienna said.
“Let’s go, then.” Leon said.

Meanwhile, the others were on their way to talk to the guardian. They reached the place and tried talking with him.

“They got dragged inside the lake?” The guardian asked.
“Well, yeah, and they seemed like they weren’t trying to go back to the surface.” Serine said.
“One thing I am sure, they didn’t die. The magic in the lake allows them to breathe underwater.” The guardian confirmed.
“What!” everyone gasped in astonishment.
“Yes, that’s why I’m the guardian; I keep people from crossing the lake and risking their lives.” The guardian replied.
“What can we do? Sienna and Leon are still trapped there.” Damon said.
“Well… you guys should get inside and try to solve this mystery for yourselves. I am sorry I can’t help you with this.” The guardian said.
“Well… thank you for sharing this. We have to go inside the lake. I hope everyone knows how to swim.” Arian said.
“Let’s go Dastan.” Weiss said.

They all tried to go back to the lake and saw two individuals from afar, those were Sienna and Leon. Leon was pulling Sienna up on the bridge and tried to breathe, Sienna seemed to be drained. Everyone began running towards them and tried to help them. Dastan ran towards Sienna and saw her. She weakly smiled at him and went unconscious. Dastan lifted her with his arms and said:

“Let’s go. We resume our journey when everyone’s fully healed. Today was very weird. I agree and I suppose everyone does so too.” Dastan replied.

The rest began walking into a safe spot and settled nearby the lake. Sienna woke up again and saw Dastan beside her; he was cleaning the wound he received when he tried to protect Sienna, it seemed that it opened a bit when the bridge broke.

“Oh, You woke up. We were worried about you. Leon told us that you tried to get out of the lake and ended up exhausted.” Dastan said.
“Yes. We have to go back.” Sienna said, moaning.
“What? You just got out of it. You want to go back?” Dastan asked.
“Sylsere…she sensed something at the bottom of the lake.” Sienna replied.
“What are the odds that it was the Emerald?” Dastan asked.
“I somehow saw that something was shining at the bottom. We need to go there as soon as possible.” Sienna requested.
“You aren’t going anywhere right now. You are obviously tired from all the swimming you made. You need to rest. Really, Sienna, you make me worried.” Dastan replied, blushing a shade of pink.

Sienna blushed uncontrollably and faced Dastan. He grinned and patted her shoulder.

“What? I am trying to help you on this.” Sienna said, blushing.
“But you know that you shouldn’t push yourself too hard. You can rely on us.” Dastan said worriedly.
“Please don’t say I should loosen myself a bit. I am pushing myself because that’s what drives me to go on; and I don’t want you to carry my burden.” Sienna pleaded.
“Sienna…” Dastan said.
“I know you are worried about me, but I just want to…” Sienna was cut off.
“I know Sienna. I won’t mention it ever again. I am sorry.” Dastan apologized.
“Don’t be. I can see your worry.” Sienna replied.
“Just rest, Sienna. Ever since I saw you unconscious in the first battle we fought together with Arian, you made me want to protect you, and I will, even if my life costs me.” Dastan declared.

Then an awkward silence began filling in the ambience. Dastan and Sienna were blushing madly. He only looked at her and she was staring at him. She felt speechless.

“Dastan…” Sienna sighed.
“I am sorry; I just said what I wanted to say.” Dastan apologized.

She only rose to her feet; Dastan did so too, Sienna tried to balance herself towards him but felt too weak to do so, Dastan held her with his arms and she leaned over him and hugged him. She was struggling to keep herself standing. She was very exhausted from all the swimming she had done to get out of the lake. Dastan tried to hold her as close as he could. Dastan was blushing madly too and was a little reluctant to hug her back. Sienna held his arm and that arm hugged a part of Sienna. He was a little ashamed but he felt a little warm inside, he only wished to have the strength to hug her completely. Next time when the occasion arises, he will. Sienna felt like the wall that she had formed ever since he died had shattered and she felt secure around this Dastan, which was a little odd, they have never shown proximity until recently. What was going on? They looked at each other, blushing and both tried getting closer and closer…but both moved away. Sienna was holding tightly to Dastan’s arms and only placed her head on his chest. He only looked at her, and used his arms to embrace her. Then he let her go. Sienna was blushing a lot.

“D-Dastan, th-thank you. Let’s rest.” Sienna stammered.
“Oh yes, wait, I’ll help you lie down.” Dastan said.
“That’s okay, Dastan. I can lie down by myself. Don’t worry. I can do this.” Sienna smiled.
“Rest well, then.” Dastan replied.

Next morning they resumed their journey back to the lake. Sienna and Serine joined Dastan, Serine, Weiss, Leon and Damon and Arian. Chrissie wanting to tease Sienna a little she said:

“Sienna, did you like Dastan?” Chrissie asked.

Arian coughed and cleared his throat. Sienna gasped and blushed a lot that she was afraid that everyone saw her like that so she hid her face. Dastan just widened his eyes and saw Sienna.

“Sienna? Do you like me?” Dastan asked, nervously.
“Not you silly, the Dastan that she met at Afaeld.” Chrissie replied.

Sienna didn’t answer. Serine and Dastan looked at her.

“You did?” Arian asked.

Sienna remained quiet. She ran away from them, leaving them behind. Chrissie regretted saying that. She didn’t know that he was really special for her. Dastan yelled her name and ran after her. Arian tried to stop Dastan but he couldn’t. Dastan caught her, which caused both to fall down. When he saw Sienna, she had tears on her eyes. He just asked her:

“You did?” Dastan asked.
“I don’t wish to talk about that right now.” Sienna said, on the verge of tears.

Dastan gasped. He saw her stand up and continued walking. Arian and Serine caught up with him and just heard Dastan whisper her name.

“I think I shouldn’t have asked her that.” Chrissie replied regretfully.
“Maybe the Dastan that Sienna met at Afaeld, has a special connection with her.” Arian reasoned.
“You shouldn’t have made her think about Dastan.” Weiss said.
“Weiss? Do you know what really happened to that Dastan that she so fondly talks about?” Dastan asked.

Weiss sighs. “This happened 3 years ago and Sienna hasn’t recovered at all from this event.”

Dastan was Sienna’s best friend. It was actually like their fate to meet each other. He and Matthew were walking around, exploring and covering the army from behind, just in case an enemy showed up. Suddenly, they heard some noise and a girl asking for help. That was Sienna. She somehow ended hanging on a tree branch. When they saw her, they told her to get off the branch but she was too stubborn to do it. She didn’t trust them at first but when he said ‘Trust me’ She let go off the branch and fell. Dastan threw his sword on the ground and threw himself to catch her. He caught her. When he saw her, he noticed that she was a foreigner.” Weiss clarified.
“A foreigner? Isn’t she from Afaeld?” Serine asked.
“She is from Afaeld; An Iselian to be exact. The thing is that Sienna never lived in Iselia in general, because if she never lived in Afaeld, would Leon have been with her? Dastan actually knew Leon and Sienna since they were toddlers. Leon even said that the day that the Iselian Massacre occurred, the castle in where he and Sienna’s parents lived in, it was on fire. He saw his parents being slaughtered because they wouldn’t give any info about Katherine, who at that time was being persecuted. He didn’t see Sienna around, so he assumed that she died with them.” Weiss explained

“An Iselian by birth, she’s a Jerendarian now.” Leon replied
“Don’t you live with her?” Serine asked.
“No, I don’t live with her anymore, I had immigrated to Raleigh, and I have my own estate in there.”

“As I was saying, Dastan saw her. Matthew says that she was blushing and apologizing. Dastan was staring to blush, mainly because he caught her, bridal style and he knew that Matthew wasn’t going to stop bothering him about the fact that he saved a girl. When he tried to make Sienna stand up by herself, she jumped back onto his body. She was in pain. Matthew and Dastan got outside the woods and everyone who was waiting for them saw Dastan carrying a strange girl on his arms.” So he replied:

“This is the cause why we heard a strange noise. Matthew, I’ll take care of her.” Dastan replied.

“Everyone was astonished. I couldn’t tell at that time if he recognized Sienna exactly at that moment saving her. Sienna apparently had erased her memories; we even found out that she went by the name of Sienna. She didn’t remember anything about Afaeld and her past, until she was told by Dastan that he was a childhood friend of hers. She didn’t remember everything right away but her memories were slowly coming by. Well, she and Dastan eventually became friends and later, they became more than friends…” Weiss replied.

“You mean…” Damon asked.
“Both fell in love for each other.” Weiss said.
“Aww…that’s romantic!” Serine and Chrissie said in unison.
Dastan even proposed Sienna for marriage.” Weiss explained.
“WHAT!” Everyone yelled.
“…And she said yes.” Weiss replied.
“Wait. If that guy married Sienna, he would become a Lord? She has told us that she is noble.” Arian said.
“No…Sienna would have become the Queen of Jerendarien. Dastan was in fact, a fallen prince of that nation.” Leon added.
“WHAT!!!” Everyone yelled, more so Dastan.
“I know, I know. You might be thinking I’m making this up but I’m not. All of this that I’m saying is true. Now the grimmest part of this tale is that the day when we were going to free Afaeld. Dastan saw that Sienna was in danger. He moved her from the enemy’s target, making him to receive the blow. He eventually died. He is now buried at Sienna’s estate.” Weiss lamented.
“Oh my…I didn’t know about this.” Chrissie said.
“Sienna’s wounds haven’t healed in these 3 long years.” Leon said.

Sienna began thinking to herself about what Chrissie just said. Did she love Dastan? Of course, he was a kind person, he never disappointed her. No, she didn’t love him. She STILL loves him.

Chrissie saw her from a distance and tried to get near her. She apologized.

“No need to apologize, you didn’t know how important he is for me.” Sienna forgave.
“No, really. I regret it. Also, you got explaining! I peeked on you and Dastan last night and saw that you hugged Dastan. What is that?” Chrissie teased.
“I was just apologizing and saying my thanks to him.” Sienna answered coolly.
“I don’t think so.” Serine joined, giggling.
“Serine!” Sienna yelled.
“Okay, I’ll stop, but you explain that.” Serine said.

Sienna went back to the group and they continued walking toward the lake. When they reached the lake, Leon explained that you could enter the lake and still breathe inside it with no impediment at all. Inside it, he said that he and Sienna had sensed something below them, like some sort of energy emanating a faint light at the bottom of the lake, it wasn’t that deep but somehow getting out of it was very exhausting, like if the lake didn’t want them to get out.

“Now, what?” Serine asked.

Dastan threw himself in it and said:

“Start swimming.” Dastan replied.
“We don’t have any choice.” Damon said, following Dastan.
“But, but…” Serine whined.
“Come on, Serine.” Weiss said, pushing her into the lake.
“Whoa! What was that for?” Serine exclaimed, falling into the water.
“Just, start swimming.” Weiss replied.
“Fine” Serine said.

They began swimming and reaching the depths of the lake, suddenly, they noticed a creature swim at high speed towards them; they were disoriented and didn’t know what to do. Sienna was taken hostage by this creature that none of them could identify. The creature also tried to leave them unconscious in order to leave as quickly as possible. The sound that resonated inside these waters was the implored scream of Dastan yelling ‘Sienna’ as she was taken away. Then, he saw that this creature had expulsed a strange ink that surrounded them and it was doing an effect on them; they were left unconscious in the water.

After for some time, Sienna gained consciousness and saw herself in this room, being adorned with gold, silver and other precious jewels she had never seen or heard of. She saw that her clothes she had on were put aside and had this beautiful nightgown on her. When she was about to get up, she began floating, then realized she was still underwater. She tried to remember what happened earlier. Yes, she was abducted by some strange creature and somehow ended up in this beautiful palace. Then she saw someone approach; it was what it seemed to be the young owner of the palace. He had a fishtail, to which Sienna presumed he was a merman, he was quite good-looking and hopelessly shy to her.

“Um…excuse me. Where am I?” Sienna inquired.
“I-, you…you are in my father’s castle.” The shy prince replied.
“I see. Who brought me here?” Sienna kept asking.
“I ordered to bring you here.” The prince admitted.
“Huh? Why, why did you ordered that?” Sienna asked.
“I saw you unconscious in my domains and I thought that you were very beautiful and I…wanted you to be here.” He began blushing.
“Oh, why, thank you. But I can’t stay here with you.” Sienna said.
“Why not?” the prince implored.

Then Sienna remembered. Where are Dastan and the rest?

“Wait. Where are my companions?” Sienna asked nervously.
“What? Oh, them? They are in their respective rooms, resting.” The prince answered.
“What did you do to them?” She asked, now a little angry.
“My father wanted to have a talk with you.” The prince admitted.
“Just as I thought.” Sienna said, irritated.
“Please don’t go.” The prince pleaded.
“I have to go and check on them…” Sienna said hurriedly.
Sienna left the room, swimming. She found it weird to leave a room swimming but she did. She swam around the place trying to find the rest. She found them in their respective rooms, just like the prince had said. She saw that Leon was about to wake and so she went to his bed and tried to soothe him with the pain he felt. She noticed that the prince was by the door. So she glared at that prince and asked

“What did you do to him?” Sienna said, now fumed.
“What? I did nothing.” The prince answered.
“Sienna, I am okay. I feel a little sore. Where are we?” Leon said.
“We are underwater.” Sienna answered.
“What? We fell unconscious; you were kidnapped…are you okay?” Leon asked.
“Yes I am okay.” Leon confirmed.
“Leon, we need to leave.” Sienna said.
“Please… don’t leave.” The troubled prince exclaimed.
“Let’s look for the rest.” Leon followed.

Sienna and Leon swam outside the room only to see the rest getting out of the rooms and realizing where they are. They reunited and saw the prince, Dastan was about to hit him but was stopped by Weiss. Arian asked where they were. The prince explained what happened.

“…And that’s how you guys got here, so it wasn’t partly my fault.” The prince explained.
“You prick! Just because you rule this place doesn’t gives you permission to kidnap anyone that crosses the lake.” Dastan yelled.
“Well in fact, I do.” The prince admitted.
“What?” Dastan asked.
“It’s for keeping anyone to get hurt of what lies ahead; then we deliver the kidnapped people back on the shore.” The prince explained.
“At least what you have is a good intention. But wait…you attacked us.” Serine reasoned.
“No, we didn’t.” The prince replied.
“Okay, fine.” Serine said.
“Don’t go, my father wants to talk with who’s in charge of your group” The prince told them.
“Arian, you should go.” Dastan said.
“Oh no, you are coming too, Dastan.” Arian replied.
“Why me?” Dastan asked.
“Because besides me, you are the leader of this group.” Arian said.
“Okay, don’t flatter me; shut it. Everyone will come.” Dastan decided.
“But my father only wants one of you.” The prince excused himself.
“If you want your father to talk with the leader, I’d rather go with my companions rather than being alone.” Arian snapped rather menacingly.
“Okay, fine. Follow me.” The prince said.

Everyone followed the prince and encountered themselves with the merman king and saw their surroundings. They saw themselves, spellbound, with the majestic room they entered in. The merman king looked at Sienna and saw his son. He greeted them and turned to Sienna and said:

“No wonder my son has laid his eyes on you.” The king replied.
“Um, excuse me?” Sienna asked.
“Father. I didn’t introduce myself, my name’s Prince Nizel.” The prince excused himself.
“My son was right, you have an outstanding beauty.” The king assured.
“Oh, why, thank you, but I am clearly not interested in your son and I am getting the feeling that you didn’t summon us to talk about some simple engagement. You have a greater purpose.” Sienna said, coldly.
“Very bold. I like that from a daughter-in-law.” The king said, amused.
“Very well, then. What is it that you want from us?” Arian asked.
“The gem in this place is the Emerald. This gem was protected by our ancestors since aeons. Ever since you crossed that bridge, the gem began to glow, a glow that only may mean one thing. You have the sacred belt. Don’t tell me you don’t have it. In this same instant, the gem is shining brightly and somehow your companion’s middle section of the body is glowing, meaning you have it.” The king reasoned.
“What do you want from it?” Dastan asked.
“If the legend says true, you must be put into trials. You have battle our fiercest warriors and maybe you can prove me you deserve the gem.”
“Okay, we accept your challenge.” Dastan accepted the challenge.
“Ready your weapons.” The Merman king proclaimed.
“Wait! Let me talk with him…alone.” Sienna refuted.

Sienna had pulled Dastan away from them and talked to him.

“Uh, Dastan, I think you shouldn’t have accepted the challenge.” Sienna warned.
“Why?” Dastan asked.
“Why? Don’t you see that we are underwater? We are disadvantaged; we don’t have a fishtail that permits us to swim as swiftly as they do, and we don’t have the necessary weapons to withstand the gravity of water. The only weapons that will work are the ones forged by them.” Sienna said.
“So, what should we do?” Dastan asked.
“Maybe there’s someone whom they have as a slave, he or she may know how to use them.” Sienna responded.
“Wait…slaves?” Dastan asked, concerned.
“Do you think I’m going to believe that blatant lie? ‘It’s for keeping anyone to get hurt of what lies ahead; then we deliver the kidnapped people back on the shore.’ What a lie!” Sienna scoffed.
“What? I am not following.” Dastan responded.
“Dastan, don’t’ you get it?” Sienna asked.
“Obviously, not. No.” Dastan answered.
“Dastan, why do you think the guardian has been there all his life to guard this bridge? He is there to prevent more casualties. Who knows what they do here, and we don’t know who’s next, is it us? No one knows.” Sienna explained.
“So, what do we do?” Dastan asked.
“I’ll try to convince the king to come to an agreement.” Sienna said.

Sienna and Dastan joined them once again and Sienna proposed something to the king.

“I want to make an agreement with you.” Siennacommanded.
“Go ahead.” The king accepted.
“Please supply us with the armor and weapons needed. We’ll tell you when we are ready. Also, we need someone…someone you might have.” Siennahinted.
“What are you insinuating?” The king asked.
“You know what I am talking about.” Siennasaid, coldly.
“I don’t hold slaves here! Although, there are some people living in the old city, go there and see if there is someone you need. Guards, lead them to the old city.” The king ordered.
“Thank you.” Siennathanked.

The group was amazed at the fierceness Sienna had shown in front of the merman monarch; they didn’t know from where she had gotten that from.

“Sienna. That was amazing!” Chrissie exclaimed.
“Thank you.” Siennathanked.

As they were taken to the old city, Dastan noticed the strange atmosphere they were entering in and saw what the king had said was true. This place had an old city and had people living in here; only God knows how many years. Weiss requested everyone to look separately Serine tried to see around and found a girl of her age. She appeared to be human; she had no fish tail. Serine noticed her holding a very beautiful necklace. The girl embarrassed, hid from her.

“Hey, what’s your name?” Serine asked.
“Narisa.” the girl replied, hiding from Serine.
“Hey, don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you.” Serine assured.
“Really? How can I trust you?” Narisa asked.
“We can get you out of here.” Serine answered.
“How?” Narisa wondered.
“Do you happen to know how to use weapons forged by the mermen?” Serine inquired.
“I do.” Narisa replied.
“Wait here.” Serine requested.

Serine yelled to get everyone and see if this girl could help them with the trial. Siennaand the girl stared at each other and Siennafinally smiled.

“We’ll take her.” Siennareplied.

They opened the rusty cage and got her out of there. Weiss explained the apparently frail girl about the situation they were in and asked for her help. She gladly accepted to help them because she was hoping to get out of this hideous place, but somehow couldn’t help but think that this is what she has ever known. This was her home, but how come she can’t remember anything about her earliest memories…
They left the old city and rested inside the palace. Siennatried to practice her skills with magic. She knew she was an adept for it but rarely used this magic invested by her mother’s bloodline, only under extreme circumstances. Arian, Serine, Dastan and Weiss tried to ready their weapons and tried to assess their chances of survival in the battle considering they are underwater.
Damon was resting over some corals that were about near the palace. He thought about the many things that had happened through this short time he had spent with this people, peculiar people. Dastan always arguing with Serine, Siennaalways watching them quarrel and sometimes get embarrassed with what Serine says. Weiss always cleaning his sword with a piece of cloth; Chrissie is always dancing for her own sake, Arian trying to see what their next step is. What is it that makes them keep going through life even though they have lost so much? Dastan had to leave his parents house to pursue the gems, leaving Arian as his guardian. Weiss had let himself show his scars from past battles when he was a knight in one of the kingdoms he comes from; Serine had lost her family in the forest when she was a little girl and ever since that event, she had lived alone; and last but not least, there was Leon and Sienna, they had lost everything in the war that swept through their continent 3 years ago. He seemed puzzled. Sienna was walking by and saw him.

“Damon, what’s wrong? You seem troubled.” Siennaasked.
“Well it’s just that I can’t understand how you guys can keep up with your life.” Damon admitted.
”Well, it isn’t easy.” Siennasaid.
“What do you mean? You all seem happy and unaffected with your past traumas.” Damon said.
“Well…not everything is how it seems. We all grieve those things and people we have lost on our way. We just try to remain strong for the sake of others.” Siennaexplained.
“How do you do that?” Damon asked.
“We just have to keep going. Life goes on. We just have keep going and maintain what we have left. You have noticed that all of us have something to grieve. We have to think of others that suffer our same fate or worse; keep fighting for those who haven’t lost anything to prevent misery.” Siennasaid.
“I see…I feel like I can’t do it. I have lost my family and my case is much similar to Serine, she can do it, but why can’t I?” Damon wondered.
“Damon, this process doesn’t take 5 minutes; this takes time. You just have to find your solace in this situation.” Sienna justified.
“I don’t know what to do.” Damon admitted.
“Don’t worry, Damon. I will be beside you, no, everyone will be beside you when you do.” Sienna promised.
“Thank you, Sienna. Damon said.

Arian and the rest, valiantly marched towards the king’s chambers and he courteously addressed him.

“We are ready for the trials. And there will be no exceptions.” Arian said.
“Well…if you fight this one creature, then we can give you the Emerald. I will give you more time. You need to get used with the water. You aren’t fast enough to face the odds of being in a different environment, am I right?” The king replied.
“Yes, you are.” Dastan agreed.
“Also, I request an audience with two of your companions.” The king demanded.
“But I’m not leaving them alone…” Arian protested.
“You have to, I command it” The king snapped.
“Okay fine…who would they be?” Arian asked.
“The beautiful lady over there and the young man who holds the sacred belt.” The king confirmed.
“Sienna and Dastan?” Arian replied.
“Now, now, leave.” The king requested.

Sienna and Dastan were left alone with the king and his son. They were obviously nervous against this king whom they haven’t figured out yet.

“You are two people who keep this group united, isn’t it?” The king asked.
“Not only us, we all as a group remain united by one sole cause.” Dastan replied.
“I see… how is the outer world? How has it changed?” The king asked.
“Why do you ask?” Siennainquired.
“Well, I once lived in land.” The king admitted.
“What?” Sienna and Dastan exclaimed.
“What explains the fish tail?” Dastan asked, somewhat confused.
“Well…as many other travelers I was dragged into this lake and tried to struggle to get out, but I couldn’t do so because the creature that had brought you in here had held me captive.” The king told them.
“But how did you become king?” Dastan asked, intrigued.
“I was just another traveler just like you. I was taken hostage and I tried to get free from this creature that still to this days roams about the lake, wanting to eat its prey. You were lucky we got you.” The king warned.
“So…what was that display of fierceness over there?” Sienna asked.
“It’s just an image. I tried to build an empire in here, along with the other mermen and mermaids that live here.” The king said.
“But that still doesn’t explains the fish tail…” Dastan said
“Dastan!” Sienna whispered and hitting him in his back.
“What?” Dastan asked.
“I was cursed by the dark ruler Zathe. Now I have to deal with this tail, but I can’t complain. It’s easier to swim these waters.” The king admitted.
“Father…why didn’t you tell me this?” Prince Nizel asked.
“I thought I didn’t need to.” The king said.
“So, this trial…” Sienna wondered.
“I was told by the mermen elders that I should give away the Emerald when one of the travelers comes with a sacred belt. I would know when I see it. In fact, I was going to give it to you easily, but I would like you to help me with the creature. Many of my men went missing, guarding the waters even my beloved daughter…and each day gets harder to protect this place. The creature is getting hungrier by the minute.” The king said, sternly.
“So, pretty much we came here to exterminate a creature that is preying on you?” Sienna reasoned.
“Yes. Please don’t get mad at us…we didn’t know a way to address you…” The king apologized.
“Don’t worry about it. We will do it.” Dastan replied, with dignity.
“Dastan…” Sienna said.
“Sienna, we are struggling with the same problem here, lack of peace in this land. We need to make this peace spread equally in all places.” Dastan said.
“Okay. We have a deal.” The king said.
“Don’t consider this a deal.” Dastan replied.
“Take the Emerald, then. You don’t need to prove me anything. You and your company are worthy of being called heroes.” The king said.
“Thank you, merman king.” Sienna thanked.
“Call me Sadaron; you can leave now.” The king replied.

Sienna and Dastan left the king’s chambers. The rest were waiting for the news. Sienna and Dastan briefed them with what the king had said.

“Hmm…turns out the king was a good person after all. We mistook him for an evil man.” Weiss said.
“So, we need to defeat the creature that attacked us earlier, right?” Serine replied.
“Yes. But he’ll give us more time.” Sienna said.
Then Serine notices that Nizel was coming by. He seemed somewhat nervous.
“Oh, Prince Nizel. What brings you here?” Serine asked.
“I was wondering if you could take me with you to fight that creature.” Prince Nizel requested.
“What? Why?” Serine asked.
“I just want to prove something to my father. I want to be strong enough to be able to rule this lake when he decides to leave his throne.” Prince Nizel explained.
“Prince Nizel…” Arian said.
“You may.” Dastan said.
“Really? I can’t thank you enough.” Prince said, with gratitude
Sienna smiled at Nizel. He was explaining how they could fight the creature and its weak points. Dastan stared at her and turned his gaze to help Damon, he was carrying the weapons King Sadaron lent them. Nizel tried to teach them all how to use them.
“Okay, then. I will teach you how to use these weapons.” Prince Nizel stated.
“Why? They seem to be easy to use.” Chrissie said.
“These weapons aren’t your conventional weapons you use on land. These are powered by your soul.” Prince Nizel explained.
“Oh! How does that work?” Serine eagerly asked.
“Just focus on something you want to do.” Prince Nizel said.
“As in focusing on a certain point and make the weapon unleash its own power.” Dastan reasoned.
“Yes, exactly.” Prince Nizel affirmed.
“Try it right now.” Arian said.

Dastan tried to focus on a sole point and thought about protecting his family, friends and lastly, Sienna. He didn’t know why but he felt he needed to protect her. Then the weapon powered itself.
“Perfect. It’s amazing you just mastered the weapon. It took me 3 months to master it.” Prince Nizel said, surprised.
“it was nothing, you just need to feel something, strongly. Something that you really want.” Dastan explained.

Sienna and the rest tried to master the weapons and mastered them in a week.

“Okay, we know how to use the weapons. Now what do we do?” Damon asked.
“Now the next thing you should know is how to swim swiftly without a fish tail.” Prince Nizel replied.
“How we will do that?” Serine asked.
“Narisa will teach you.” Prince nizel replied.
“Okay…here it goes.” Narisa replied.

Narisa was indeed speedy swimmer without using a tail. She told them to follow her to the old city. She conduced them right into some ruins that were used as training grounds. It was sad to see such ruins.

“The creature had destroyed this city years ago and it caused so much pain and grief; my father tried to make an effort to restore the city, it was too much for him, he remembered the many lives that had been lost to the creature, even my sister’s life had to be taken away; he ordered to build a new city elsewhere and to create a better security system.” Prince Nizel replied as they were swimming through the ruins

When they arrived, Narisa gave them each a necklace, she told them to hide it very well, so that when the creature attacks fiercely, the necklace wouldn’t break away. Then she began:

“Okay, there is no exercise known on how to
swim swiftly, only it takes, practice and time; and I mean years. So, I’ve been developing this kind of magic to those who can’t swim as fast as a merman can. Try to swim right now. See that tower over there, try to unleash the power of this necklace, by focusing on your legs strength.”
“Okay.”

They all tried to swim but it was hard to do so, they could move around easily. They were at it for hours until…

“Narisa, isn’t there any other possible way we can swim, easily.” Serine asked.
“No, I’m actually giving you the easiest way to learn how to swim, so to speak.” Narisa replied.
“Okay, let’s try our best.” Sienna said.

Sienna tried focusing on what it was like to swim, she remembered when she was taught by Dastan how to swim. She couldn’t use her legs too much because then she would get tired and the cuts on her legs were unbearable, but yet, she tried her best to be able to swim. That memory was really happy, she was beside him and even though he isn’t here anymore, she still felt his presence nearby. Then she feels that the necklace was beginning to emanate a light. She began to swim swiftly among the deep blue waters.

“Whoa! That was fast. How did you do it?” Arian asked.
“I just thought about the time when I couldn’t use my legs to swim and a happy memory.” Sienna smiled.
“Everyone try to use those memories to impulse yourselves.” Narisa said.

Everyone did so and after a few tries during a week they could swim as swiftly as a merman. The group went back to the throne room and saw that the king was talking with what seemed a soldier and saw that the king was horrified with the news that the merman was telling him. The soldier dismissed and the Merman king had a grim face. He saw them and so they announced that they would go and defeat the creature.
The group left the place and roamed about the vast lake, but still kept themselves alert, they didn’t know what would happen.

“Dastan, I see no signs of the creature…” Damon said.
“I know that, but still let’s keep ourselves alert.” Dastan replied.
They continued swimming in the lake until they heard something moving. It was the creature!

“Guys! Watch out!” Leon yelled.

They all began attacking the creature with their weapons and finally made it but they saw something peculiar about this creature. It was shape shifting. The rest began to ready their weapons for they feared what could happen next. Surprisingly, the foul creature began taking the shape of a young lady. Weiss swam over to the young lady.

“Guys, I have a feeling that this girl is from the city.” Weiss mentioned.
“…Indeed she is… Guys. She’s my sister.” Prince Nizel said.
“What?” Everyone yelled.
“All these years I thought that she died in that attack. She is fine. Thank you, thank you.” Prince Nizel said as he was breaking into tears.
Let’s go back then.” Dastan said.

The rest went back and greeted by the whole mermen and mermaids shouting jubilees. The King Sadaron and Prince Nizel were about to greet them, but saw with them a girl. It was his daughter, Soan, the one who went missing that same day when the city was attacked.

“When we were fighting against the creature we saw that it shape shifted and we have her here. The creature was your daughter all along.” Arian answered.
“How, how did she become that foul creature?” King Sadaron said.
“We don’t know.” Sienna said.
“It doesn’t matter, we have her back.” King Sadaron said, about to break down to tears.
“How can we repay you?” Prince Nizel asked, in behalf of his father.
“It doesn’t matter. We gotta go, though.” Dastan said.
“Okay, Godspeed.” King Sadaron said.

The group left the city and swam with all their might to the surface of the lake and tried to get some fresh air, they had been for many hours inside the lake. When they finally rested a little they set up a camp not too far from the lake and rested some more in there. They had the fourth gem, the Emerald.

“We made it, we have the Emerald.” Dastan said.
“Now, where is the next destination?” Damon asked.
“How can you ask that when we are all tired from swimming?” Chrissie whined.
“Well, it doesn’t hurt to ask.” Damon said.
“To answer your question, our next destination is in the country of Weseth. That’s all you need to know, when we fully recover, I will fill you in later.” Arian said, moaning from the pain in his legs.
“Okay, Arian.” Sienna replied.
“Hey Sienna, I want to talk to you with Serine about something.” Chrissie replied.

The three girls got away from the boys and sat near a tree and lit up a fire.

“Explain what happened when you were alone, talking by a bonfire the night before we entered the lake?” Serine asked
Sienna blushed at the question made by Serine. She flashbacked the scene when she was with Dastan.

“N-Nothing happened, w-why do you ask?” Sienna replied, nervously
“Obviously something happened!” Chrissie teased
“Nothing happened, really.” Sienna said.
“You blushed at my question, Sienna. Something is definitely going on with you and Dastan.” Serine replied.
“Nothing is happening. I only tried to get up, but I couldn’t because I was exhausted by swimming back to the surface.” Sienna replied.
“What about the hug that you had with Dastan?” Chrissie asked.
“I was about to fall down, so he held me with his arms.” Sienna said.
“Do you want to experience that again?” Chrissie teased.
“No! What are you guys accusing me of?” Sienna asked.
“Of nothing, we thought that you locked lips that night.” Chrissie and Serine said in unison.
“WHAT!?” Sienna yelled, already blushing at their reasoning.
“So it did happen something!” Serine said.
“It’s not what you guys think.” Sienna said.
“Sienna, we saw what you guys did.” Serine replied.
“What?” Sienna yelled.
“You were about to kiss!” Chrissie said, excited
“And what happened to you, I thought you were going to kill me if you saw me with him.” Sienna replied.
“No, it’s not like that. I like him as a friend and I tease him.” Chrissie replied.
“Don’t change the subject!” Serine replied.
“just answer this, do you like him back?” Chrissie replied.
“I-I…I don’t know.” Sienna said.
“Ugh, Sienna…” Chrissie replied
“Just say it. You like him.” Serine insisted.
“I don’t know, I feel a little embarrassed but, it’s not that much. I am confused.” Sienna said.
“Well, if you like him, we will support you.” Chrissie replied with a smile.
“You really would?” Sienna asked.
“Yes. Why not?” Serine said.
“Okay.” Sienna replied.
“Now, tell us how it was!” Serine asked, excited.
“Well, it went like this. You know I was sleeping. When I woke up, I saw Dastan by my side. He asked me how I was and I said tired. Well, I mentioned him about the Emerald and then I told him that we had to go to the lake as soon as possible but he said no. He didn’t allow me to go anywhere, because he cared about me.”
“Aww! That’s so cute of him.”
“Yeah, well then, he said that any burden that I had, he could support me and you guys would do so, but I admitted that I push myself so that I couldn’t lose my focus. Then he said the cutest thing any guy could tell me and I quote ‘Just rest, Sienna. Ever since I saw you unconscious in the first battle we fought together with Arian, you made me want to protect you, and I will, even if my life costs me.’” Sienna replied, blushing.
“Aww!” Serine and Chrissie cried in unison.
“And that’s when awkward began to ensue. We were both blushing, he concluded that was the thing he wanted to tell me, then I tried to get up to hug him, but I had forgotten that I was still reeling from all that swimming and he held me. We looked at each other and then got closer and closer…” Sienna said.
“Yes?” Both girls replied
“We both could feel the lips centimeters from each other…” Sienna replied.
“YES!” Serine and Chrissie cried. They were eager to know what happened next.
“But nothing happened, we moved away.” Sienna said calmly.
“WHY?” Serine and Chrissie yelled.
“Because we were nervous, he hugged even more tightly; I looked at him and smiled, then we went back to sleep.”
“Oh, so that’s what happened.” Serine said.
“It doesn’t matter, you sort of like Dastan and he kind of feels the same, too. Just say yes if he asks you out, please?” Chrissie asked.
“Why?” Sienna wondered.
“That’s because, he told me if he finds someone that makes him happy, he would fight for her and would love her.” Chrissie replied.
“Really?” Sienna asked.
“Yes.” Serine replied.
“Okay, so what should I do?”Sienna replied.
“Just let him find out on his own.” Chrissie answered.
“Okay.” Sienna agreed.
“Let’s go back and sleep. I’m drained.” Serine said.

The girls went back and soon fell asleep. The boys did so too and enjoyed a good night’s sleep. The next morning they all woke up and continued their journey toward the country of Weseth. They walked for days and shifting turns during the night. Even Serine and Chrissie insisted that Dastan and Sienna to do everything together. Dastan and Sienna were enjoying themselves and shared a lot. When the group was near the country’s border, Arian said:

“Okay, now I’m going to explain how we will travel here. Given the situation that the enemy might know of Sienna and Leon’s existence and potentiality of being rulers of Elyria, we must separate.” Arian said.


                                            “What!?” they all yelled.

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