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Amor Marino

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They were stuck in the sand, known as The Strand it didn’t seemed to be much in the place, all seven of the team was walking around the empty place in search for something to help the Salty Stallion get out of the sand. The fact that a sunken ship was also there didn’t helped the situation either. 

Eleven looked around, unsure if they could actually find something useful in such a desertic place. Jade came close to him to see if they could find something together, four eyes saw better than two anyway. 

“This mist is really strange, it almost doesn’t seem natural” Jade said looking around, it seemed like if they entered into another dimension. 

The Luminary nodded and looked back at the ocean, he wasn’t exactly sure what he could find but something inside him told him to stare at it. 

Suddenly, they both heard a small moan, weak and very easy to confuse with anything else. Both of them looked at each other confused, thinking the other had talked but it was clear that none of them mentioned a word “Did you heard that as well?” Asked Jade, her partner nodded. 

The same moan was heard again, it sounded like if someone was waking up and was in pain. 

Jade turned to her left “Over there!” She pointed to where she was sure the voice came from, without losing time, she ran to that direction followed by Eleven. 

Both of them exclaimed surprised when they saw the owner of weak voice, clearly was someone in trouble. It was a young man resting in the shore with his face to one side, half of his body was inside the water and on his back could be seen a sword sheath, although this one was empty. Said sword was a few meters from him, it was a simple sword with a simple design. 

The boy had a peculiar teal hair, a bit messy thanks to some kind of golden tiara on his head that looked to end in some fins, a deep blue gem shone in the center of it. His body was covered by a darker teal tunic and a white shirt that covered his arms, both of them held still thanks to a belt. 

“He seems to be hurt” Eleven muttered to Jade, who nodded worriedly. 

The boy heard the voices near him and slowly got up from the sand, with his eyes still closed he moved his head like if he could see around. 

“Is someone there?” He asked with a challenging voice, when he heard the crunching sand near him, he tensed up “W-who’s there? Answer me!” 

Jade put her hands up in a surrender manner, though it was useless since the boy hadn’t opened his eyes “Calm down, we are just two people who want to help you” She said in a calming manner. 

The young man got into a defensive position “People! You mean humans?” He said as he began to wallow into the sand instinctively, he looked to be in pain as he moved. It was in those movements when Eleven and Jade could see that the boy wasn’t an ordinary castaway. 

The boy was thin, but it didn’t seemed to have troubles of hunger, in fact, some muscles could be seen even when he wore his tunic, however, during his frenetic movement they noticed that half of his lower body he had a long fish tail of the same color of his hair that moved frenetically thanks to his uncertainty. 

“It’s a mermaid?!” Jade exclaimed loud enough for the others to hear. 

The boy stopped moving and even in his situation he frowned “That’s the common name for my species, but due my gender you may call me a merman” Said a bit annoyed, forgetting for a moment that he was losing control just a few seconds ago. 

“Guys, what is going...oh by Yggdrassil!” Sylvando exclaimed as he got a big surprise, everyone else joined in and also gasped at the discovery. 

Eleven tried to get closer to the merman who seemed to go back into his defensive pose “It’s ok, we won’t harm you. You are hurt, are you?” He asked gently. 

The boy seemed to feel serenity by hearing the soft and comforting voice, still without leaving his guard, he stopped moving “Don’t get closer” He warned. 

“Don’t be afraid, I can help you. You can trust me” The soft voice of Eleven seemed to reach to him once he was close, the merman allowed the human to get close and tried his best to not attack blindly “I’ll use a healing spell, don’t move” He whispered. 

The boy shivered a bit and nodded. 

“Woah, and I thought this place was boring and empty” Said Erik, who seemed surprised by the situation. 

Slowly, the others got closer to see the merman a bit better. 

“And to think the mermaids were creatures of legends” Rab said, a bit excited for such discovery. 

“We always try not be seen, but I can’t see” The young merman said a bit ashamed. 

Serena looked with sympathy and spoke softly “Oh, that’s terrible. How do you swim without being able to see?” 

The merman shook his head as a negative “It isn’t of birth, I always was able to see, but...a few days ago I was investigating near the forbidden town. I heard some monsters had attacked some of my folk so I went to check, but” He stopped as he lowered his head on shame “One of those humans of the town saw me, I don’t know what he did or how he did it, I only saw that he saw to a disk and there was a blinding light” He gave a sigh of frustration “Since then, I can’t open my eyes. The monsters I tried to stop attacked me shortly after. I have a good sense of orientation, but it’s a bit complicated in open sea, somehow, I ended up here. I really don’t have exact notion of time, but I’d say I’m here for two nights” 

“The forbidden town?” Veronica asked curiously “Do you know how to get there?” 

The boy nodded to the direction where the voice came from “That’s how my people calls it, the humans call it Lonalulu”

Rab got close and looked worriedly at the boy while he placed a hand over the closed eyes of the merman “This is bad, I don’t sense trail of your vision capacity” He said as he got up and rubbed his white mustache “I’m pretty sure that the artifact the human used was cursed” 

“Maybe we can go to Lonalulu and convince the person who casted the curse to take it away” Serena suggested with hope. 

The merman shook his head “The humans of Lonalulu are all terrible, I really doubt they agree to such thing. I’m pretty sure the human that cursed me was that one named Kai” He said with disdain. 

The group looked at each other, before Jade talked “You know the human that cursed you?” 

He hesitated for a moment before answering “Well, not exactly. You see, the story is that some years ago, a mermaid fell in love with a human named Kai. He swore eternal love to her, but it turned out that the human was only a selfish creature that only used the feelings of that mermaid for his own interests and ended up breaking the heart of that mermaid” 

“That’s horrible” Said Serena putting a hand on her chest. 

The sea creature nodded “It is, that’s why I know that Kai is the responsible of such curse, it’s obvious that he’s only thinking in his own interests and harm my species” 

“We can at least try to get your vision back, don’t worry, your wounds weren’t that severe so you only need rest” Eleven said giving him some space, he looked at him better and couldn’t help but smile while a small, almost invisible blush was on his cheeks, the merman was actually very attractive. 

“That’s right, just leave it to us!” Erik said determined “We’ll go to Lonalulu and get your vision back” 

“If, we can actually get out of the sand” Jade said, reminding everyone the reason of why they were there in the first place. 

The merman listened and said “Guide me to your ship, maybe I can help you” He said decided. 

It was only matter of minutes, the sand that trapped the Salty Stallion was removed and the ship was freed from the sand trap, the boy wasn’t lying when he said he had a good orientation sense. 

“Incredible! Even without your sight you took the Stallion out of the sand!” Exclaimed Sylvando excited “You’re amazing, darling!” 

The boy blushed a bit for the compliment “Thank you, please you have my trust, I’ll wait here” As he said that, he sit in the shore while his tail rested inside the water. 

“Don’t you worry, young merman. We’ll come back as soon as we have news” Rab assured. 

“Solo” The merman said a bit ashamed as he blushed, the group gave some confusion noises, so he added “That’s my name, Solo” 

The Luminary smiled tenderly, even though Solo was unable to see it. He placed a hand on his shoulder “It’s a pleasure to meet you Solo, I am Eleven”  

The merman only blushed even more, he couldn’t see the boy but something in his voice that captivate him, Solo only nodded as a response. 

The rest of the group nodded now that they knew their next destination, they got into the Salty Stallion and headed to the west. 

 


 

During the trip, Sylvando talked about Lonalulu being a paradise of pearls and fishing, thing that had the girls excited for it. However, once they got there, their disappointment was obvious when they saw the town almost empty and quiet, the little habitants didn’t had a good face either. 

“Oh my, what is happening here? This doesn’t seem normal” Sylvando said, more worried for the sad faces than anything else. 

“Let’s investigate the place, maybe we can find that Kai guy who casted the curse on Solo” Suggested veronica, the others nodded and split up. 

The search was a bit useless, twenty minutes later they didn’t find anyone in the town named Kai. They only get to know that their mother was still in there who got in the church to tell a story that was now a tradition of Lonalulu. When they got near the church, they could see an old lady with a small cart as some kids got near to hear the story. The group decided not to interrupt and waited until she finished. 

The old lady started to tell a tale about a legendary fisher that was surprised by a terrible storm, he was abducted by a mermaid who stole his soul in exchange for saving his life of drowning, she told the kids that the mermaids were the most evil creatures known in the history, all of them of beautiful appearance but with the darkest hearts. 

“Mermaids are fearsome and treacherous creatures, this fisher couldn’t free himself of the curse of that mermaid, his mind was corrupted to the point he ruined his life forever” The old lady finished the story. 

Eleven couldn’t help but frown, Solo didn’t seem to have a wicked heart, he would have never helped them to get out of the sand if he was evil. Something here seemed suspicious. 

“What a story to tell the kids” Whispered Veronica sarcastically to Eleven as all the children ran away scared for their recent fear to mermaids. 

“Oh, Aloha friends. Is there anything I can do for you?” Said the old lady to them, right after he scared all the other children away. 

“Hello, we were looking for someone special. Some people in the town told us that maybe you can help us find someone named Kai” Said Serena with her usual soft tone. 

“Oh, you must be looking for my son Kainui, I guess you must be his friends. But I am afraid it’s not a good time right now” Said the lady, although the story she just told, she looked like a sweet and kind woman “You see, all the men of the town went to fight a giant squid that had been terrorizing our ships and messing with our business. If you want them to come back quickly, maybe you can go and help them” 

The group looked at each other just after the lady took her stuff and went to put it in the church. Veronica put her hands on her hips “Well, that’s incredible. Is it a good idea to waste time with this? We have to find an orb, after all” 

“We can’t leave poor Solo to his own luck; he’s counting on us” Argued Serena worried. 

Rab nodded “That’s right, also he’s a merman. If someone know about the giant pearl in the bottom of the sea it’s him”

Eleven nodded decided “It is true; besides we have to help him. Solo needs his sight to swim, leaving him like that would be condemn him to die” 

The group agreed and they got into the ship again to go more to the west, they followed the instructions of Kai’s mother to confront the giant squid. 

They spotted a couple of ships in the distance. Sylvando thought the best would be to get closer as all of them seemed to be screaming and pointing up desperately. The crew wasn’t sure what they meant until Erik looked up and he exclaimed. Suddenly a ship barely missed the Salty Stallion, everyone in the ship fell to the floor for the violent waves of the ocean. 

“Was that a ship?” Eleven asked as he got up, rubbing his head for the hit. 

To his answer, a giant figure came out of the ocean and a pair of yellowish tentacles wrapped around the ship. They all exclaimed at the sight of a giant Tentacular in front of them, it made an angry noise as it seemed ready to attack them. 

“Well, the lady certainly wasn’t joking when she said it was giant” Erik said as he also got up and got ready for the fight. 

The battle with the Tentacular was very dangerous, for a moment Sylvando thought his beautiful ship would end up in the bottom of the sea, but thanks to the coordinated attacks of the group they managed that the Tentacular didn’t damage the ship and exterminated the monster. The fishermen celebrated the victory and thanked the heroes for the help. After that, they all set sail to Lonalulu again. 

 


 

It was night time now, everyone was celebrating a huge party, or luau as the townspeople call it, for the victory over the giant squid. 

Eleven on his part wasn’t in a mood to celebrate yet, they still needed to find the source of Solo’s curse and that Kai was their only clue. The poor merman had days without seeing, hurt and scared that other humans or monsters would hurt him. His thoughts got covered by the figure of the young merman, his body seemed strong and attractive even though it was covered by that teal tunic. He started to think what his eye color were, maybe he had red eyes, or yellow, maybe even blue. Eleven didn’t had preference, but the fact that he could imagine a pair of beautiful eyes looking at him grateful made his heart beat harder. 

The blush was on his cheeks again, but now more intense, he was somewhat confused now. He had only met Solo for a few minutes, but also felt something intense bloom inside him the more he thought on the handsome merman. 

“You ok?” The voice of Erik forced him to come back to reality, so sudden that he gave a small jump for the surprise. His friend looked at him confused but ended up smiling “Don’t be over here alone, let’s celebrate a little” 

Eleven gave a heavy sigh “I can’t stop thinking about him” He said, when he turned to Erik, he found a confused face, so he added “In Solo, he’s still in The Strand waiting for our return, we shouldn’t celebrate yet” 

Erik knew how dedicated his friend was in his job of being the Luminary, being the hero had become something routinely for him and the group. Erik didn’t mind to help his best friend in everything he could, but since they left The Strand with the blinded merman, Eleven had become a bit more distant. 

“Come on buddy, stressing yourself won’t help. I’m sure we can find Kai in this party to know more about the curse” The cyan haired man said placing a hand on the young hero. 

Eleven looked at him and nodded. Both of them decided to go back to the party where lots of fishermen were around tired or drunk for so many drinks. They both asked around for Kai, although many of them didn’t have anything useful to say, they found Kai’s mother near the Inn. 

“Oh, you are the friends of my Kainui” Said the old lady with a smile “Are you still looking dor him? He’s in the pier repairing one of the boats. I’m sure you’ll find him there” She kindly said and she kept strolling around. 

Eleven and Erik looked at each other and they decided to go for the rest of the group to continue searching for the origin of Solo’s curse. Once they all went to the pier, they found the man they were looking for, Kai was a young man with brown skin and he was wearing a straw hat that covered most of his face, even when it was nighttime. They found him hammering the mast of a small boat when they decided to talk. 

When they asked Kai about the source of a curse, he said he had no idea what they were talking about. They began to tell a bit more a detailed version of the story of the mermaid curse. He said that the man of the tale was none other than his grandfather, Kainoa. It was said that he obsessed over a mermaid to the point he tried to abandon everything so he could be with a mermaid. It was clear that Kai was sick of dumb tales of his grandfather and the mermaids. 

“When everyone in the town knew that my tutu- my grandfather was possessed by the mermaids, the mayor of the town banished him to Saikiki, they burned his boat and was not allowed to have another for the rest of his days” Kai tried to explain a bit better the story.

The story seemed to have more sense now, and why the version of Solo and Lonalulu were so different. Both parts blame each other for a tragedy in the town. 

“It was then, when from the sea came an object that seemed like a gift by Yggdrassil herself. A mirror that repelled mermaids” He said as he pointed to a round mirror, high in a post looking at the ocean “Since then, the mermaids haven’t got near to Lonalulu and the ones that dare to come closer, never return” 

Rab nodded, understanding now “I see, so that mirror can be the source of the curse” 

Kainui looked confused “Curse? What do you mean? That mirror has been our protection from the mermaids that try to stole our souls” 

“Let’s say, that we found one of those creatures and he seemed affected by that mirror, it seems like it sealed his eyes and now he can’t see” Jade just said, she thought it would be better to be honest, she also liked Solo and wanted to help him as soon as possible. 

The young fisherman looked very surprised, it was always said that mermaids were horrible creatures that never let go their preys, but this group of people now claimed to know one and they didn’t seemed possessed, he put a hand on his chin, thinking deeply “You say that the mirror can be cursed? How is that possible?” 

“Maybe it would be a good idea to inspect it closely” Serena suggested. 

“That mirror is an old relic of the town, I don’t think If it’s a good idea to take it out of it” Kai mentioned, but then lowered his head “Although, if it’s cursed, I don’t think it’s a good idea that it’s there either” 

The group nodded to each other and thanks to a ladder, Kai took the mirror carefully in his hands to show it to the group of heroes. Serena gasped as she backed away. 

“It’s horrible! The energy, it’s so dark!” She said horrified. 

“You mean it’s true it is cursed? But how?” Kai asked speechless. 

“Hahaha, that’s thanks to me”  

Everyone looked around for the intrusive voice. Soon and without a warning the mirror started to shine with a black and purple energy. This time the fisherman couldn’t help but throw it to the floor, but before it hit the pier and to everyone’s surprise, it began to float before it could break in pieces. 

The energy started to have a shape of a Mermaniac, it was big and had dark purple scales and a deep blue belly color. It seemed to irradiate a big dark energy at the same time it showed his sharp teeth“After all these years, someone found my hiding place, that’s impressive”  

“So, you’re the one who’s been harming all those sea creatures!” Erik accused the monster as he held his dagger. 

“Hahaha, that’s right, all those pathetic mermaids are useless creatures that don’t deserve live in the vast ocean”  

“Hey, you listen! Who do you think you are to decide such thing!” Veronica pointed at him accusatively, then put her hands on her hips “If a creature is grotesque and doesn’t deserve to live here is you!” 

“You insolent fool! I’ll take care of you before that pathetic merman that I stole his sight! GRRROAH!!”  

The battle with the monster was hard, the Mermaniac had a lot of strength that seemed equally strong to the Tentacular they fought that same evening. All that power came from the stolen magic from other marine creatures. 

“Grr, I’m sick of you! I’ll take all your magic and I’ll become  invincible !”  

Eleven frowned and charged his sword before he jumped to the monster “You won’t get away with Solo’s sight!” He exclaimed as he slashed the beast. 

The Mermaniac gave a roar of pain for Eleven’s blow, he tried to hit hard the brunet, but a fireball hit him into one side. Veronica held her staff up and she changed to a defensive position for a possible attack. 

The monster got distracted and tried to attack now Veronica, but thanks to that distraction, Erik and Eleven used a pep power to give a huge final blow to the sea monster. This one roared as he was defeated. 

“Impossible! How a bunch of insignificant humans could defeat me? GRRROOOAAHH!!”  

The monster disappeared in a black energy, as he disintegrated some of the stolen magic dispersed around and it seemed to be back to their respective owners. However, in the mirror they could see it was glowing of a deep purple color. 

Kai walked in and picked up the round mirror “All this time we thought this mirror was protecting us, but it turned out that only hurt innocent creatures” He said, feeling a bit guilty. He turned to see the group and saw the intense determination of the brunet, the fisherman smiled and offered the mirror to him “Please, take it” 

Eleven nodded and gently took the mirror. He inspected it and he noticed that it didn’t have any kind of reflection, instead just the deep purple energy was on it, he smiled “This must be Solo’s sight” He looked excitedly to his friends and they all nodded. The turned again to Kai “Thank you so much Kainui. Please believe me when I tell you that Solo is not a terrible creature, he is in fact marvelous” 

Kai looked at him and smiled “Of course, take it as a thanks for what you did earlier, and also for getting rid of such monster. I guess the story of my tutu, my grandfather with a mermaid wasn’t that he was cursed or his soul was stolen, now I can clearly see, that he was in fact in love” He said that looking at Eleven, who seemed confused for a moment “Don’t worry about it, I’ll speak with the mayor about the mirror” He assured with a smile. 

The smile on Eleven’s face was of gratitude and relief. He placed the mirror inside his bag and looked back at his group, his expression was beamed and the rest did the same. 

“I’m also very excited for helping Solo” Jade started with a big smile “But maybe we should rest for tonight, fighting those monsters left me exhausted” She said with a tired yawn. She was right, all day they have been confronting strong monsters and they deserved a good night sleep.

That night, the group could celebrate in peace after a very productive day. Tomorrow they’ll go back with Solo to give him back his sight and find the orb that will help them go to Yggsrassil. 

Chapter Text

Eleven kept silent most of the trip back to The Strand where the merman waited for their return. Standing in the prow of the Salty Stallion and looking onwards to see their destination, keeping his expression serene and decided the whole time. 

One hand was placed on his bag where the mirror was, he felt a bit nervous to have it so close for different reasons. First, he didn’t want to lose his own sight in case the mirror still had that ability, and secondly, that mirror was the object that return Solo’s sight and then Eleven would be able to see the merman’s eyes. 

On one side he felt ridiculous, the only other person he felt something similar was Gema, though that was a very long time ago when they both were children. The Luminary smiled for the memory of both of them even trying to be more than friends once, but neither of them had the courage to take the first step and hold hands in the first place. However, this feeling at the same time it was different of how he felt with Gema, he could even say it was more intense. 

In the rudder, Sylvando hummed a song happily as he navigated his ship, giving Dave a break for his always hard work on navigating them safely through the ocean every time they needed it. Most of all, the artist felt the need to do it after almost losing his beautiful ship against that Tentacular yesterday. 

“Oh, it’s so adorable. Don’t you think darlings?” The artist asked to Veronica and Erik who were close. Erik was sitting in the floor while he polished his dagger when he looked at his friend. 

“What is it?” Asked the thief with a confused expression. 

“Oh darling, isn’t it obvious? I’m talking about our dear hero” Sylvando said excitedly “Our dear Luminary has fallen for cupid’s enchantment” 

Erik raised an eyebrow confused “An enchantment? I thought all that stuff of mermaids stealing souls and enchant people was false” 

Veronica placed her palm on her forehead “He doesn’t mean that, you dumb” She said a bit frustrated “What Sylvando means is that Eleven is in love, empty head” 

Erik left his knife to the side and looked very surprised “In love? With who? Wait, don’t tell me it’s one of you?” His answer was a hit in the head by the staff of the smaller mage “Hey! Why did you do that?” 

“You really are so dense!” Veronica said frustrated now. 

Sylvando looked and smiled tenderly at the figure of Eleven standing on the prow “It’s very obvious dearie. Eleven is in love with that handsome merman we are helping, since we left them behind our dear Luminary seems way more determined than other times” 

Erik took a few seconds to understand everything, then gasped even more surprised “Wait, what? How is that obvious? We just met him yesterday!” 

The artist placed a hand on his cheek and looked a bit worriedly at the thief “Oh Erik, I think you need to know more about love, my boy. Sometimes it just happens” He tried to say simply. 

“I always thought things such as love at first sight were only things of romantic novels” Erik said as he put back his dagger once again. 

“Oh, but Erik darling! I can assure you it truly exists!” Sylvando said with a huge smile, bigger than other times. 

Erik looked at Eleven, he kept looking onwards, like if his concentration was keeping the ship in movement “Now that you mention it, you’re right, he’s been acting differently since we met Solo”

Veronica shook her head “Of course, you idiot. Love makes you act different” 

The thief arched a brow and looked skeptically at her “And how do you know so much about love, Veronica?” 

For a brief moment, the smaller mage had her cheeks pink, however the cyan haired boy never noticed because she hit him with the staff again “I just know it, idiot!” With that being said, she walked away to find her twin. 

Erik rubbed his head and complained “What is wrong with her? Sometimes I wonder what happens in her head” 

Sylvando gave a small chuckle “Maybe you should ask yourself what happens in her heart” He muttered, too low for Erik to hear. 

 


 

When they finally arrived The Strand, the first thing they noticed was a small melody. A voice sang softly and calmly, it was actually beautiful, the voice of the boy was a soft touch to the feelings. Eleven couldn’t help but close his eyes for a moment to enjoy the melody. 

... Oh,  my dear  
Close your eyes,  
And stay next to my heart  
You’re my happiness  
I love you…”  

Once they got closer they saw it was coming from Solo, his voice made justice to the tale of his species having beautiful singing voices. However, the beautiful voice of the merman stopped abruptly when he heard the sand crunching behind him. He turned around for only instinct, revealing that he still had his eyes closed. 

“Who’s there!?” He asked a bit tense, he placed a hand on the sword of his back, now that he was healed he was able to at least try to protect himself “Answer!” 

The Luminary smiled “It’s us, don’t worry” He said, immediately the merman relaxed and without knowing it, he returned the smile. 

“I am glad you are back; I can assume you have news?” Solo asked as he moved to face them directly. 

“Yes, in fact, we spotted the source of your curse” Erik said with a smile. 

Solo seemed very surprised “That’s true? You can break the curse?” 

Rab got closer slowly so he wouldn’t startle the sea creature “That’s right, can I have the mirror?” He asked the last thing to Eleven, who took it out of his bag and placed it in his hands “Right, now listen here, boy. You haven’t seen light for days, so don’t try to force your sight or you can hurt yourself. And don’t move until I say so” He instructed, Solo only nodded and tried his best to be still. The former king of Dundrasil began to mutter a spell at the same time that he positioned the mirror in front of the merman’s face. 

The rest of the group could see how that deep purple energy abandoned the mirror and concentrated in his closed eyes. After a few seconds, Rab got up and nodded with a big smile “All right, it’s done. You should be able to see now” 

Solo looked really nervous, he swallowed before he slowly began to try. His body finally obeyed the order and his eyelids began to open and after days, he finally could see light. A pair of tanzanite eyes were revealed at the same time they regain focus after a whole minute. Then, a wide smile appeared in his face. 

“It worked! I can see again!” Solo exclaimed happily as he looked at his own hands, he then tried looking around. His eyes focused in the humans that had saved him “Thank you very much! I am very grateful!” He said with a huge smile and suddenly he jumped into the water again, but before the group could even think that he had ran away, he came out of the water with a big jump and landed ceremoniously in a near rock. He dusted off the sand off his tunic first, then adjusted the tiara on his head and the small slime pendant on his left ear. He smiled when everything was on its place. 

The merman then looked at the humans and nodded “I guess it’s the right time for a proper introduction” He said and then crossed an arm on his hips as he leaned down like if he was making a reverence “I am Prince Solo, son of Queen Marina, the queen of the sea. It’s an honor to meet my saviors” He once again got up with a big smile. 

The group looked speechless at the revelation, they haven’t just met and saved a merman, but he was also the prince of the whole species! That was definitely something new. After seeing his introduction, everyone in the group decided to do the same each. 

“So, you are Eleven. I want to thank you for healing my wounds yesterday” Solo said with a big smile “If there is anything I can do to repay you, just ask for it” He said sincerely. 

The group looked at each other and nodded. Veronica took a step “Actually, there is something…” She said, and Solo listened closely “Do you know something about a giant pearl in the bottom of the sea?” 

Solo tilted his head a bit “A pearl? There are a lot of pearls in the ocean, is that what you wish? Pearls?” 

“Not exactly any pearl, the one we are looking for is giant and it’s of a peculiar color” Jade tried to explain. 

Solo placed a hand on his chin as he thought about it “I see, and I think I know what are you talking about. I do have an emerald pearl in my kingdom, it’s a relic that have been part of an important tradition in the royal family” He said blushing a bit, then he smiled softly “But don’t worry, I’m sure Mother won’t have objections if I give it to you after what you’ve done for me” 

The prince made another jump and dive into the ocean, soon after half of his body was out in the surface “Please follow me, I’ll guide you to my kingdom” He said and he swam to where the Salty Stallion was so they could follow him.

Soon after, everyone was on board and the ship took sail following the merman. At first they were worried they could hurt Solo if they were going too fast and hit him with the ship, but he turned out to be extremely fast, to the point he sometimes even had time to swim close and to the side before going way back ahead to keep showing them the path. They went to the east, near the port of the old and destroyed kingdom of Dristandam. 

While they were guided, Eleven watched from the prow with a huge smile the figure of the sea creature swimming freely in the sea. Erik got close to him, knowing now how his best friend felt, he decided to just be sure. 

“It’s so pretty, isn’t it?” Erik suddenly asked, The Luminary nodded without even thinking at first, then turned a bit surprised to him with a blush on his cheeks. He placed a hand on the hero’s shoulders “Hey, I think it’s fine, maybe you should tell him”

Eleven looked down, feeling a bit ashamed “I don’t know Erik, I mean, I barely even know him a whole day. But…” He stopped to turn back to see the merman still swimming skillfully in front of the ship “I feel something very deep for him” He said low, but Erik managed to hear him. 

“Well, you can at least try, El” Erik said as he shrugged “Who knows, maybe when we finish with Mordegon, anything could happen” He offered a trustful smile, which was returned. 

The Luminary nodded “You’re right…” He said, thinking that could be a very good option, after banishing the darkness from Erdrea, he could at least try it. 

The thief crossed his arms and looked at the merman “I just hope we don’t have the same luck with royal relics” 

Eleven chuckled at that, they had a lot of troubles to get the Rainbough, and all that trouble was because Gallopolis Sultan decided to sell such an important thing for a dumb horse race. After all the troubles they had to help Prince Faris to get it, it turned out to be a total waste of time. 

A few minutes later of travel, Solo stopped in a specific point of where some rocks formed some kind of circle, good thing the rocks weren’t too close and they could manage the ship in the middle without any problems and the prince talked to them from the water.

“Please wait here! I’ll be back very soon!” After saying that, the merman dove into the deep ocean and disappeared from sight instantly. 

Everyone didn’t even had time to relax when the prince came out of the water with a huge jump and landed in the ship. He was holding a small and delicate looking harp, it was different from the one Serena had, this one had an ornamentation of what it seemed to be ocean waves of pink color, the harp was made of silver and the strings were bright golden. Solo offered it to Eleven with a big smile. 

“This is the Lorelei Harp, with it you can visit Nautica without any breathing problems” The merman prince nodded as the Luminary took it from his hands “When you touch the melody, it’ll unleash a magic spell for all the non-sea creatures that allow them to be underwater” He explained simply.

Eleven inspected the harp before he looked back at Solo and nodded, both boys looked at each other eyes for some moments. The merman seemed to be out of a trance when he looked away to hide a blush. 

“Uhm, I’ll see you all below” As soon as he said that, he jumped again into the water.

Everyone else came closer to see the beautiful instrument. Serena was fascinated with it “It’s so majestic. Do you mind if I play it, Eleven?” She asked kindly.

The brunet looked at her, he felt the harp was a direct gift from the Solo, but also it was impossible to say no to Serena, so he only nodded and gave the instrument to the blonde girl. She inspected it and softly touched the strings, closing her eyes at the soft and sweet notes it made. 

“Wow, it truly is a wonderful instrument” She said excited, something inside her guided her to play the right notes. The music it came out was a soft and comforting melody that made everyone feel at home for a brief moment. Suddenly the whole ship was surrounded by a magic bubble and to the surprise and quick panic, the ship began to sunk into the ocean.  

Eleven seemed to be in a bit of a panic as his body was being covered in water, but soon they all realized that the ship wasn’t damaged, it just looked like if it was navigating inside the ocean, and all of them could breathe in the ocean like a fish. Eleven gave a long sigh of relief at this. 

“This is amazing” Jade said as she looked up, the sunrays in the surface began to look distant now.  

“It really is a wonderful instrument” Serena said kindly as she gave the harp back to Eleven and he put it on his bag. 

When they finally reached the bottom, they decided to get out of it and explore the place. The first thing they saw was a mermaid who seemed to be waiting for them. She had a brown skin and a dark blue hair, her tail was light green and seemed to shine with the light. 

“Greetings, travelers. Please don’t worry about your ship, I’ll take care of it for you” She offered with a smile. 

The group nodded and began to walk to what it seemed to be a tunnel and at the end of it, they finally could see it. A wonderful underwater city made of coral and reef, buildings in the shape of oysters and sea shells were the main attractive of the place. Everyone was so impressed that they barely missed the mermaids around, although most of the people looked from far away from them, looking with curiosity and caution from a safe distance.

“It’s beautiful” Veronica said as she looked around. 

“Indeed it is, that harp really has quite the power, it barely feels different from earth” Erik said as he moved his hands around to check that the gravity was barely reduced. 

“Well, I now can say I have seen the paradise” Rab said with a smile as he saw beautiful mermaids in the distance. 

“Welcome to Nautica” A voice took their attention, it was a mermaid of white skin and a pink tail, her hair was brown and short “The queen is waiting for you in the throne room” She then turned to point to the biggest building in the shape of a shell “That one is the castle, please be careful” She said. 

“Thank you so much, miss” Rab said and looked back at the rest “Well, let’s go for that orb” 

Everyone began to walk to the castle, in their way they noticed almost all the mermaids swam away as they walked, and not only mermaids were there, but also some fish men as well. Some were scared, others seemed defiant. Especially one that seemed to be the guard of the castle. 

“Humans, the queen is waiting for you inside” She said a bit derogatory, she had a brown skin and white short hair, her bright green tail moved softly as she held a long trident in her hand “Know this, although you’re special guests, I won’t hesitate if you try something foolish” She said, showing her trident at them, then pushed the doors inside. 

Everyone nodded, they had nothing to fear because their intentions weren’t bad. When they got inside, they saw several mermaids who offered them to take them to the throne room. This one was above their heads, but thanks to the spell of the Harp of Lorelei, they couldn’t swim like a sea creature. They all took them by the hands and soon enough they were left in front of a big, pink, purple and golden throne was. Sitting on it was a mermaid, bigger than any of the others they have seen so far. She had a beautiful silver tail which was covered by magenta robes, she wore a white cape and the cloth covering her chest floated around for the water, on top of her blonde hair, it was a blue tiara. On one hand she was holding a long staff with a big pearl on top of it. 

At her left, there was a fishman of purple scales standing, and at her right was Solo with a smile. She opened her deep tanzanite eyes and smiled at them. 

“Greetings, and I welcome you, Prince of Dundrasil” Spoke the mermaid with a serene but firm voice “I am Queen Marina, queen of the seas” She said with a kind smile and looked at her son “What you have done to my prince Solo is something admirable, you have my deepest thanks, Luminary” 

Everyone seemed surprised by that, even Solo was surprised for the reveal of Eleven’s identity. The merman looked at his mother very surprised and he only got a serene smile in return. 

“Prince of Dundrasil?” Solo asked confused, then suddenly he realized it “M-Mother, you’re saying that Eleven is the legendary hero?” He asked incredulous, his eyes returned to the boy and blushed a bit “I-I had no idea you are the Luminary, I apologize for all the troubles I have caused you” 

The young man dressed in purple smiled “Don’t worry, we are happy to help. But how did you know I was the Luminary?”  

Queen Marina gave a giggle at their reactions “I have the ability to see what happens in the world, with some limitations of course. I have seen your actions, young hero, and I know what you are looking for” She then looked at the young merman “My prince…the relic, please” 

Solo nodded and he swim up, they noticed that on top of them were two doors and the prince went into the smaller one. Soon enough, he came back with a big green orb on his hands that seemed to shine by its own. The group noticed that Solo’s cheeks were very red when he offered the orb to Eleven. 

“This is our royal relic, please accept it from me” He said, a bit nervously the moment Eleven took it gently from his hands. 

The Luminary smiled “Thank you very much, I promise to return it when we finish our mission” He said as he stared at the beautiful object, they were one step closer to Yggdrassil. 

“This is the Emerald Orb, a treasure that have been passed by generations in the royal family, but due the situation and your mission to save the world from the darkness, you can use it for your benefits” Queen Marina said, then looked at her nervous son and smiled sweetly “It’s also used as an engagement symbol to marry the royal heir to the throne” 

There was a moment of silence, all the humans got very surprised that they took a step back. Eleven was static in his place at the same time his cheeks were burning red. Solo turned completely ashamed to the queen. 

“M-Mother! They didn’t need to know that!” He complained embarrassed, he looked away trying to avoid the looks of his new friends. 

The queen made a giggle as she covered her mouth “Calm down my prince, there’s nothing wrong with your saviors to know some of our traditions” She said calmly. 

Solo gave a soft sigh “I guess not…” He muttered, he looked at Eleven, only to find the human in a state of pure shock. He cleared his throat “Please, use it wisely” 

“It’s been a pleasure” Rab was the first one to came out of the surprise “If you don’t mind, we have to leave to continue our mission” 

Queen Marina nodded and she called the mermaids to take them off there “Good luck in your travels. Remember, all the paths cross over and return to the World Tree. I’ll pray for your victory” 

The team bowed at the queen and they were taken down. Solo looked at them until they got out of the castle, then turned to his mother like if asking her something silently. She only nodded and giggled when she saw the prince swim out of the castle quickly. 

 


 

Eleven and his friends reached the Salty Stallion without any problems, the mermaid that was looking for the ship nodded at them with a smile. But before she could talk, they heard another voice. 

“Wait!” The voice of Prince Solo took their attention, he looked at the mermaid “I’ll take care of them, thanks for your service” The mermaid bowed and swim away, once she was gone the merman offered a smile “Please, don’t forget to visit us again. I always thought all humans were horrible, but thanks to you I now know that good humans exist” 

“Oh, it’s nothing” Veronica said proudly “It’s part of the hero’s business” 

“You were the one who suggested to abandon him” Erik muttered sarcastically, only to get hit by the staff “Hey, that hurt” He complained, but Veronica shushed him. 

Sylvando nodded with a smile “I’m glad we could help you, my boy. It would have been horrible if we haven’t found you in time”

Solo nodded, he truly was very grateful “That’s correct, please if you need anything, know that you can come to Nautica. One day I’ll return the favor” 

“That’s very kind of you, thank you very much” Rab said nodding. 

Eleven and Solo looked at each other again, and they felt that everything around stopped existing. They didn’t even notice when the rest of the group was gone to the ship and they were alone. The prince of the seas looked down and sighed. 

“Listen, Eleven. About what Mother said about the orb, please I wouldn’t want you to think bad of me for giving you a marriage relic” Solo said ashamed. 

Eleven smiled softly “Don’t worry, I promise to give it back when we are done. We will use the orbs to get to Yggdrassil” 

“I have heard stories of Yggdrassil, but I have only seen her from a very good distance” The prince said as he remembered the story that all leaves were a life. 

“Maybe I can tell you how it is when I get there” The Luminary offered kindly. 

Solo looked at him and he just nodded “That would be nice, I will be waiting for you then” He said blushing a bit. 

After a few moments of them staring at the other, Solo looked away and cleared his throat “Well, I guess you have to go now. You have to go to the World Tree and you won’t if you stay here in the ocean” He then looked back at Eleven “Good luck in your journey” 

The brunet nodded “Thank you Solo, I’ll see you soon” 

With that, he turned to go back into the Salty Stallion and the music of the Harp of Lorelei was heard, Solo just stared as the ship began to go up to the surface “Please, be safe” He muttered when he finally lost the sight of the ship and began so swim back to the castle “My human...” 

The prince decided to go back to his royal duties, there was nothing else to do but to wait for the hero’s return, maybe when he does…he could actually ask Eleven the actual meaning of the orb. 

Chapter Text

This is definitely bad, no, worse than that, it’s horrible! The catastrophe had fallen in all Erdrea and nobody was safe from the atrocities the Lord of Shadows had planned for that world filled with peace and prosperity. The bottom of the sea itself shook when the World Tree collapsed from her sacred place in the sky to the vile and corrupted ground beneath it. 

It’s only been a few hours since his mother had that vision from the Wisdom Pearl, a very dreadful new to have one morning in his opinion. 

Solo was swimming but his expression wasn’t happy at all, he moved his tail as fast as he could to cross the sea quickly, the impact didn’t just affect the surface, the sea also was affected in a way he had never seen nor wished he was experiencing now. 

Some of his people were in open seas when the fall happened, the number of monsters suddenly have increased suddenly due the dark energy covering the world and his folk now were in danger. As a prince, it was his responsibility his subjects were safe. 

“Damn it!” He exclaimed as he had to do a sudden turn to dodge a surprise attack that could hit his head by some random monsters “Get out of my way!” He yelled annoyed, quickly taking his sword and charged to them. 

The monsters tried to attack all at once, but Solo made quick and precise movements with his weapon and some of them fell defeated. He took a guarding position and managed to block an attack before he slashed again and the monsters disappeared in a black and purplish energy. He didn’t wasted time and continued his path once again. 

“Eleven, my friends...please be safe” He muttered worried as he dodged another pack of monsters near and finally managed to get to open sea. He hoped that his human friends were in better conditions right now. 

It was only matter of minutes when the merman could reach the north, his fins quickly felt the change of temperature on his scales due the cold weather, however that only motivated him to keep going. Just as he expected, five mermaids, four fish men and six fishes were surrounded by a group of monsters who seemed ready to attack. Three Mermaniacs, two Diethon and a Seaslime.

“Stop right there, despicable creatures!” The prince yelled to get their attention, and it worked because all six monsters turned to him. Solo didn’t seem intimidated by the number as he unsheathed his sword at the time, they all charged at him blindly “Idiots...” He muttered as he slashed quickly at the monsters, they all flinched for the attacks.  

The Prince expected he had finished with them with one blow like it usually happened and tried for another round of attacks to the Mermaniacs and they all dissipated, the Diethon managed to bite his left arm. The prince let out a moan of pain and slashed the serpent which made him let go, he didn’t wasted time for a second attack and the sea snake died afterwards “What is going on? I usually I don’t have troubles with these weaklings” He muttered annoyed as he turned to the rest of the monsters, a Diethon and the Seaslime. 

The serpent tried to bite furiously the already injured arm of the merman prince but the bite was stopped by the sword and pushed away. Solo aimed for the head and with a critical hit, the Diethon died in only one blow. The Seaslime widened its eyes before it swam away, he knew it didn’t have a chance by itself against the merman. Solo sighed and sheathed his sword once again and looked at his people seriously “Is everyone all right?” 

“We are now thanks to you, majesty” Said a fish man with a smile. 

“You’re the strongest in all the seas” Added a mermaid happily. The other mermaids nodded excited. 

Solo didn’t change his expression “Don’t thank me yet, go back to Nautica, no exceptions. I’ll go to check if there is someone else around” 

The group nodded and quickly swam away back to the safety of their kingdom. The prince gave a sigh and rubbed his arm where he got the bite from the monster, it was a good thing the damage wasn’t that bad and he could keep going without any problems, he might ask Michelle for a good healing season, she was the best healer in all Nautica after all. 

He decided to not waste more time and began to swim around, searching for any of his subjects. After a few minutes he decided to investigate more to the east just to be sure no one was too exposed. 

He found nothing else besides some stupid and weak monsters around, he just decided to dispose them for the sake of feeling safer around. He was about to go back to Nautica when he suddenly spotted something unusual, something big was sinking to the bottom of the ocean, at first he thought it was some cargo from an unfortunate ship, but when he got closer he widened his eyes, his heart pounded his chest so hard it hurt, hands and tail trembled when he recognized what it was, or better said, who it was. 

“E-Eleven?!” He exclaimed, and his own voice took him out from the shock “ELEVEN!” He screamed as he reached for him. He took him in his arms and noticed he was drowning “Damn it!” Without even thinking twice, he invaded his bag and pray to any god that the Lorelei Harp was still there. 

At least he had luck in that, he quickly played the melody and the magic surrounded Eleven, allowing him to breath water. He put away the harp back in the bag and pressed him against his chest. 

“Oh, please... please, hold on” Solo said and began to swim with his incredible speed back to Nautica as fast as he could, evading monsters that tried to stop them in their tracks, he even didn’t care when some of them managed to hit him in their rushed escape, his mind was only focused in the human in his arms. Wishing it wasn’t too late. 

 


 

“Darkness fall in Erdrea like a storm, hard times are coming near, and only fear and desperation is what greet our world” 

The voice of Queen Marina made an echo in her room, although she was only in company of the prince right now. As the queen took her hand off the giant pearl, Solo only stared at it with the hope to find any clue of his other friends. The last thing he knew about them is that they all went to see Yggdrassil, but if she fell it couldn’t be a good sign for any of them...considering the state of the Luminary when he found it. 

“Mother, can we look again somewhere else?” Solo never doubted of his mother’s power, but the situation only managed to make him nervous each day. It’s been already a month and still not a single new “I’m sure they can help him or something...” 

Queen Marina looked at him very seriously “I understand your concern, my prince. But even the Wisdom Pearl has its limitations” She said as she let go the object and looked up to the clear on top of her room “The only thing we can do now is heal him from his wounds, but it’ll depend on him to come back” 

Solo tightened his fist for the impotence, he felt frustrated. The only humans he was friends with are missing in a destroyed world and one of them is in the verge of death, he couldn’t bear the thought of Eleven not waking up again, it made his heart ache terribly. 

“Right now,” She continued, taking the prince out of his thoughts “We can’t do more than prepare ourselves of what could happen. I have seen so much destruction, hordes of monsters lurking in both earth and sea” 

The queen began to swim to the exit, being followed by her son “They never had stood a chance against Nautica, and they won’t now, Mother” He assured determined, but the queen looked very worried. 

Queen Marina sit in her throne and looked at the prince in front of her “I don’t doubt of your abilities, my prince. But the situation is very different now that Mordegon had taken control of the world. Monsters have become more ruthless than they were before. They have obtained a strange power from the Lord of Shadows that have made them stronger” 

Solo held his chin thoughtful “That explains why they have been harder to get rid lately” He then looked at his mother “What about your barrier? Do you think it can protect us?” 

She nodded “That’s correct, my prince. However, that protection can’t be forever, for it requires a lot of my energy to keep it constantly. I will do everything in myself to give the Luminary time to recover from the darkness claws” She said as she looked at him seriously and pointed at him with her staff “But as for you. It is time for you to make a journey, it’s time for you to obtain Zenithia” 

The merman prince widened his eyes at that, he had only heard about the sacred sword in a story on his childhood by his old sword teacher. The legends said that the weapon held a power that only the Sword of Light herself could surpass, and just a very few numbers of chosen ones in the history of their species have been able to held her in their hands. In fact, last time she was seen was in the Heroes Era, when Erdwin himself wield it before obtaining the legendary Sword of Light. 

“I know it can be difficult, my prince” The voice of Queen Marina took him from his surprise “But we can’t afford to hesitate now that our world can end” She gave a soft smile “I do believe you will be able to possess the sacred sword” 

Solo looked at her and nodded, feeling determined “I understand the situation, Mother. Don’t worry, I’ll be worthy of Zenithia and I’ll make you proud” He said with a nod, then he bowed before he began to swim to the exit. 

The queen saw him go and she gave a small sigh, letting out a bit of her worry in the process “I already am very proud of you, my son. Please be careful” 

Once outside, the prince went to the lowest part of the realm where a sunken ship was, they have adapted the ship as a tribunal. In his youth, he spent some time around there, not because he was interested in sea laws, but he liked to explore the ship and played around it all the time that he was brave pirate with his sword. He even once got in troubles for destroying accidentally an internal part of the ship. He never saw his mother so angered at him. 

He smiled at the memories, but the ship wasn’t his destination, but a house inside a small cave, it was probably the most hidden house of the kingdom, but it was the perfect place to keep the Luminary hidden for any possible threat. 

When he entered the room, he saw three mermaids coming out of the house, one was young looking one with long blonde hair and white skin, her purple tail shined in the light and light blue eyes, Karla. The other was an older lady mermaid that had long black hair and her tail had yellowish scales with her dark brown eyes, Jaretzi. And the last one was a mermaid with soft pink hair, as well as her tail and light blue eyes shone beautifully, Michelle. The three mermaids are the best healers known in all Nautica, and were given the task to restore the Luminary’s health since he got there. They all bowed at him before they swam away, Solo only nodded for the reverence and got inside. 

“Good evening” The prince spoke to the owner of the house, a young-looking mermaid with white skin, short dark brown hair and shiny green scales on her tail, Lillie. She turned to see the prince and she seemed a bit intimidated by his presence. When Solo had a serious expression, it looked like he was mad, and that intimidated most of others “Has he woken up?” He simply asked. 

“O-Oh, well, not yet, majesty” Lillie said shyly, her house was the most hidden for a reason, she was really shy. But since the Luminary was on her house, many others visited her often. 

Solo gave a sigh and nodded “I see, would you mind if I come inside?” He asked politely, the mermaid shook her head at the time the prince got inside the room and shut the door behind him. 

He got closer to the bed where the human was resting, his neutral expression as it slept didn’t calmed Solo completely. Solo could even dare to say that he looked in pain sometimes, he wasn’t sure if it was for that horrid scar in his chest they found out when he first came in, or it was some kind of nightmare, although the latter seemed to be the most common one lately. 

The prince took a deep breath as he stared at the sleeping hero and spoke gently “Hello Eleven” He said, he wasn’t sure if the human could hear him, but he felt better doing it “Listen, I don’t know what happened in Yggdrassil, but you have to keep fighting, don’t give up. Do it for Erdrea, for your friends... for me” He hesitated for long seconds before he gently picked his hand on his own, he was barely warm, closing his eyes he continued “I will also fight, not just for my people and my mother, but also for you” He opened his eyes and stared at his sleeping face, eyes shining with determination “I promise you, I’ll be worthy of Zenithia and I will protect you, whatever it costs me” 

There was silence, Solo stared with the childish hope that Eleven would wake up for his words and will smile at him. He could feel his heart bumping at the anxiety, but there was no response from the human. He gave a soft sigh and stayed there for a few minutes more, not wanting to let go. 

“Please wake up soon” The prince whispered when he felt it was time to go, he swam to the exit and looked one last time at the sleeping figure of Eleven, before leaving the room and close the door behind him. He looked at Lillie and nodded as a thanks “Please, if anything happens, tell us” With that, he got out of the home of the mermaid. 

 


 

“It’s only temporal, right?” Solo asked his mother as his eyes focused in the small figure of a blueish fish resting in a bed, his closed eyes revealed that he slept deeply. 

“Of course, my prince” Queen Marina said with a small giggle at the expression of the merman when she casted the spell. Everything came out perfectly and they had successfully changed the shape of the Luminary from a human, to a fish “His condition hasn’t gotten better these months. With a smaller and, if you let me add, simpler body of a fish, his wounds will be easier to heal” 

“Just wanted to be sure” He said with a soft blush on his cheeks. 

The queen decided to leave the room and she smiled at the mermaid “It’s done, you have my thanks for your hospitality, Lillie” She said kindly “With some luck, the Luminary will recover soon” 

“It’s a pleasure to me to serve, majesty” Lillie said with a bow and a big smile on her face, she felt very proud of playing an important role to save the hero. She was concerned for the Luminary herself after the first month of no results, Lillie also wanted to see the human recovered soon. 

Solo stayed a bit more in the room after his mother left, he was actually very consternated. Living between fishes was something very normal in Nautica, but transforming a human into a fish was truly very strange, not to mention he wasn’t sure how to feel for his security, fishes were still food after all. 

The prince shook his head for thinking such banality, he gently placed a hand on top of the sleeping fish “I’ll see you later, Eleven” He whispered before he decided to leave, he knew the healer trio was just waiting for him to leave so he didn’t wanted to be an interruption. He nodded as a thanks to all the females as he swam to the throne room where his mother already was. 

“...thank you, Kaele”  

The queen finished telling something to her royal butler, the purplish fish man who nodded and walked away from the throne and jumped off the platform. Solo only watched him go and turned to the queen, but didn’t say a word. 

Queen Marina softened her expression and spoke kindly “It’s good to see you again, my prince. Please tell me. How is the test going?” She tried to be subtle, the queen didn’t need the Wisdom Pearl to know the result, the fact that her heir had avoided the subject since he came out a day ago it was more than obvious. 

Solo looked away, trying to hide the shame he felt of himself “I’m still on it, Mother” He simply said, then gave a sigh “I only have to pass the last test to claim Zenithia” He said without looking at her. 

The queen closed her eyes “I see, I have to apologize to you, my prince. I didn’t want to rush you to...” 

“No!” He abruptly interrupted her, he realized what he did and looked down “I apologize for that, Mother. I can do it, I just need to try again” Solo was gone for two months to search for the sacred sword of the seas, but much to his frustration he came back with empty hands. Both physically and mentally exhausted, he came back home to rest, but that turned out it wasn’t the best option, he felt more stressed now “In fact, I feel better now, I’ll leave in the morning” He said before he bowed and started to swim to his room. 

He already knew the path to the sacred temple, so he would be back in less than a day to where Zenithia was. All he had to do was to keep trying, there was something in the sword that made him feel like he was made to wield her. 

Before he could reach the door of his private chamber, he heard the voice of his mother behind him “I understand how you feel, my prince. But if you don’t free from your fear, you won’t be able to wield Zenithia” 

Solo stopped his tracks and turned to see her “Fear? I don’t fear the power of Zenithia, I am strong and skilled enough to hold her, I just need to dominate her power to claim her” 

Queen Marina looked at him gently and she put a hand on his head, softly rubbing it. Solo blushed a bit for the affection, it was something his mother did a lot when he was a merchild “I don’t mean that kind of fear, my prince. I mean your fear for the Luminary, your fear for him is what it’s stopping you” 

Solo looked away “I can’t help it, Mother. I...” He took a deep sigh “I have feelings for him” 

The hand on his head moved to his chin and she gently lifted his gaze “It’s fine to fight for those you love and worry for them. But if you let that fear cloud your judgement, all your skill in weapons will be useless if you can’t control your emotions” She then let him go “Think before you act, my prince” She offered a motherly smile “And sometimes a good rest can help a lot too” She said and finally let him go. 

Solo watched her go back to the throne since Kaele was coming back from whatever she had asked him to do. He opened the doors of his private chambers and once inside he sit in his huge bed. He took off his belt and his clothes, taking off his prince tiara and the small slime pendant to later laid in the bed, he tried to sleep but he found himself looking at the ceiling of the cave the whole time. 

Memories of the tests came back, he recieved the approval of the guardian of the temple and could decipher a maze full of riddles and traps, but when he tried the last test, everything crumbled. All he had to do was hold Zenithia and dominate her. But every time he wields her, a dreadful feeling overcame his senses, he couldn’t even see the adversary he had to defeat in the test because as soon as he held the sword, he felt an overwhelming sensation that made him lose all his strength. 

His mind always was assaulted by the image of Eleven in that bed, the horrid vision of him never waking up while he inevitably aged for the course of time tortured him. Sometimes it changed, sometimes it was a monster that took advantage of his weak state and murdered him while he was helpless. He lost the count of how many times he tried the test, but it didn’t matter what he did, what he told to himself, he was just unable to hold Zenithia for long enough to pass the test. 

“Fear...” He muttered as he closed his eyes “All this time I have been feeling nothing but fear” 

He now understood what the visions meant. Is that why Zenithia didn’t let him hold her? Was he actually that weak? But how was he supposed to get rid of it if the only human he had feelings for was at the verge of death itself? He thought for quite a while, until the lights from the surface didn’t reached his chamber anymore. He closed his eyes tiredly and decided to sleep, tomorrow he’ll go back to the sacred temple to try the test again and needed to rest all he could. 

 


 

“Trust in the power of the Luminary”  

A voice made an echo inside his head, taking him out of his rest “W-who...?” Solo muttered as he opened his eyes slowly, only to find himself floating in a white place with nothing in sight “Where...am I?” 

The prince blinked to regain focus but he couldn’t see anything around, his body seemed to be floating, but he didn’t feel like water, nor air even. Looking at himself, he noticed that his clothes were missing, the last thing he remembered was he went to sleep, was he still dreaming? Solo tried to move his tail, but was unsure if he was moving at all. He tried to look around again when he finally spotted something, someone at the distance. Without many options, he decided to swim to the figure, and he realized he in fact was moving in that blank space. 

“The light of the Luminary is the key”  

Again, that voice was heard, he could tell it was from a female but couldn’t recognize who it belonged. After what it seemed a very long time, the figure at the distance seemed to be a human, for her complexion he could tell it was a female, though she was giving him her back. 

Once he was close enough, he stopped right behind her and inspected her for a brief instant, she had a hair of the same color of his, but hers was big and it didn’t seemed to have any control, her clothes were tight and barely covered important parts of her body, just an orange cloth covering one leg and an arm. He knew that some human females wore provocative clothes for the males, but he couldn’t help but think this girl just looked ridiculous. 

“Excuse me, who are you?” Solo asked politely even though he was very confused, not just for the place but for also her clothes “Huh, human? May I request you to...?” 

Before Solo could finish his question, he lost his words when she turned around. The girl didn’t just had a very weird clothing, she also had on her head a very similar tiara he used, the same shape and gem, he was unsure if the fins were covered by the massive hair or if they were just nonexistent, she also had a very similar slime pendant in the same ear he used it, and she had the same tanzanite eyes he himself had, it was like watching himself in an opposite mirror. He put a hand on his own head instinctively to see if his own tiara was there, but he then remembered he took it off when he fell asleep. But what had him surprised was what she had in one hand. 

The female human was wielding Zenithia. 

His body tensed up and he couldn’t help but exclaim “Human?! What are you doing with Zenithia!?” 

The girl looked at her hand like if she had no idea what she was holding “Oh, I see. It’s funny you see me like this” She said calmly. 

Solo closed his hands in fists “Stop the games! That sword is sacred! It shouldn’t be wielded by simple humans!” 

The female held a hand up to stop him “Don’t worry, young prince. This sword isn’t what it looks like, and I’m not who I look like. Although I highly doubt you know this appearance” She said, Solo only stared at her “I see, give me a moment” 

She raised her hand above her head and she touched gently the top of her head, in a poof she suddenly looked like someone else. A young boy with brown hair and eyes and a red bandana on his head, he was wearing a yellowish coat and a blue shirt “Is this one better?” Said the young man with a smile “Or maybe...” She once again touched her head and changed again, now she was another human he knew too well. 

The figure of Eleven was standing in front of him with a big smile, but that image only made his heart hurt. 

“You don’t like this one either?” The figure of Eleven said before he did the same and finally transformed into another female, a woman with deep blue hair, a magenta dress with a purple cape, her soft blue eyes looked at him patiently “I suppose this one is the best” 

“W-what the hell are you?” Solo asked speechless. 

The woman giggled “Wow, I didn’t expect those manners from a prince” She said, not really offended, in fact she looked amused “Many in your world know me as The Oracle” 

Solo opened his mouth to make questions, but the woman once again held her hand up for him to stop. 

“I know you have many questions, young prince. But answering them won’t take us anywhere, also I’m afraid we have little time” She said, now changing her expression for a serious one “I see you’re someone close to the hero of the legend. But it also saddens me to see that you also doubt of his power and capacity” 

The prince looked offended for that “What? That I don’t trust in Eleven! That’s false, he’s the one who will finish with that wretched Mordegon!” 

“And still, you fear for him. You don’t have enough trust on him that he can recover” The Oracle said seriously, which made Solo flinch “That lack of trust is what keeps holding you down, young prince. You have to free yourself of your doubts and start to trust in the Luminary” 

Solo wasn’t sure what to say, he thought it was normal to be worried for the human he had feelings for. But, was that fear an actual lack of trust on Eleven’s capacity? That feeling of protecting him have become stronger that morning when his mother turned him into a fish. The prince didn't even knew what to think anymore.

“If you aim to wield a power to protect others, you have to trust in them” The Oracle then gently placed her fingers on the prince’s forehead. 

Images of him protecting his kingdom were shown and how he helped those who needed help in a crucial time. The times he protected his folk of sea monsters or even bad humans who tried to capture them. When he had helped in even smallest things, like putting the lanterns in the cavern that lead to Nautica. The images changed to his subjects thanking him and claiming for him as a hero, clapping and celebrating his efforts. 

“Trust in them just like they trust in you” The woman said as the images finished showing, the merman blinked when he found himself in that white space again in front of that blue haired female “Do you understand it now, little prince?” 

Solo focused his sight on her and nodded, he now understood everything. These months he has been obsessed in only his own interests, his concern was only on Eleven and his pessimism of just thinking in the bad things that could happen to the human, that he had forgotten the true reason of why he wanted to have Zenithia in the first place. Protect his people, his subjects, his home...his family. 

The woman could see something in his eyes that made her smile satisfied “That’s a relief, we don’t dispose of much time. Do not forget it, prince of the seas, the Luminary is the hope of the world...but we have to do our part to help him as well” She said at the moment she started to fade away.  

“W-wait!” Solo tried to reach for her but it was way too late, she was gone, he could only hear her voice one last time before he started to disappear. 

“While the Luminary lives, there is hope. Trust in him”  

Solo woke up startled in his royal chambers, he was breathing heavily like if he woke up from a nightmare. Truth was that it didn’t felt like if he had abandoned one, he looked around and saw that everything was in place. 

"When will I stop having all these weird visions and dreams?" He groaned as he rubbed a bit his head like if that was going to take away the images off his memory. He got off the bed and looked himself in a mirror, nothing had changed, but he still felt different "But..." He stared at his clothes for long seconds "Dream or not, I know what to do now"

He picked up his clothes on again, his white shirt first then his teal tunic covered his exposed chest and kept them in place with his belt, putting his royal tiara on his head and his slime pendant on his ear once again looked at the mirror one last time and nodded to himself. He turned to finally swim to the exit. He maybe slept just a few hours, but he felt good and determined, he was ready.  

It was time to go for Zenithia. 

Chapter Text

“Yaaaah!” A war cry was heard in depths at the same time a long sword with three sharp points sliced in two several ruthless sea monsters from a single slash. The beautiful sword had an ornamentation of an emerald dragon in the handle, in the left side it was the hade and in the shape of the mouth it had a shiny sapphire, while in the right it had the shape of wings. 

Solo looked proudly at the sacred sword for a moment and he looked back to the rest of the monsters, being consumed and blinded by the power of the Lord of the Shadows, they didn’t hesitate to charge at him. The young prince moved very fast and all his movements were precise and in a blink of an eye, Zenithia slashed the two monsters while it let out some kind of sparks that hurt their weak spot. When the enemies dissipated in the blackish energy, the rest of them swam away. 

“Cowards…” He muttered glaring as they go away, he inspected again his surroundings just to be sure, but it seemed it was another successful day protecting his kingdom. He wasn’t too far from his city, he was close to a place the humans called “Puerto Valor”, but he wasn’t too interested on trying to socialize with the humans, but packs of monsters seemed to be gathering around the human cities specially, many of them were brainless creatures so it started to worry him why they have decided to start doing this now. Giving a sigh to let his worry go momentarily, he returned to Nautica once again, wondering about the possibilities won’t take him anywhere. 

Until Eleven wakes up and get rid of that wretched of Mordegon, he will continue fighting and protecting the seas. 

It’s been two months since he claimed the sacred sword of the seas, Zenithia. It was all thanks to his mother’s words and The Oracle’s advice. The sacred sword was nothing that Solo have seen or felt in his life, it irradiated a unique energy that certainly did justice to all the legends about the weapon, all the monsters didn’t have an opportunity thanks to his skills and her power. The enemies kept away from his city at a safe distance and the ones who dared to cross it, they ended up dead or fleeing away. 

Once finally returning, he saw some mermaids and fish men going around as they did their daily activities, everyone who saw him bowed at him and waved at him happily. He was used to this, but really didn’t basked in all the attention too much, just gave a slight nod as a thanks as he swam by, still, he felt satisfied that his subjects they seemed to be calm despite the situation in the surface, at least he has managed to keep them safe and that let him breath normally. When he finally reached the throne room, he found his mother who seemed lost in her thoughts, and more worried than usual. 

“Mother” Solo spoke gently, taking her out of her trance “The monsters were eliminated” He said as he got closer “Has he woken up yet?” 

Queen Marina let out a sigh and shook her head “Not yet, but I have to confess that turning him into a fish was the best decision, he has progressed in his health in these two months than when he was a human” She said trying to sound calm 

The prince gave a sigh of relief “Well, as long as nobody think on give him a bite, I have no objections” He said sincerely, then looked seriously to the queen “I know that’s not what it’s bothering you, Mother. Did you saw something?” 

The mermaid couldn’t help but smile “Nothing slips you away, my prince” She said and got up from the throne to look at her royal chamber “I believe it will be the best if you see it yourself” She said and both of them swam to the room. 

When both of them were in front of the Wisdom Pearl, the merman placed a hand on it and the visions started. The surface was a desolate place, a lot of humans and innocent creatures suffered for how their lives have been destroyed. The images changed to the bottom of the sea, monsters surrounded almost everything, but what surprised the prince was a colossal monster, he looked almost as big as the palace even. An aquatic dragon swam around while it attacked any unfortunate soul who traveled in water or had the misfortune to encounter it, the reddish energy surrounding it couldn’t mean good news either. Just then, the Wisdom Pearl stopped showing the images. 

“What was that thing?” Solo asked surprised, he had never seen a creature that big. 

“I have heard his name from the Lord of Shadows himself, he was called Alizarin. And he seems to be very dangerous and strong” Queen Marina said worriedly, looking at her son “I’m afraid it’s only matter of time that thing come to Nautica” 

Solo nodded, determination filling his eyes “That thing won’t have a chance against Zenithia. She will help me to save the seas” 

The queen shook her head “My prince, if the Lord of Shadows have spoken to him it means he’s not a simple big sized monster. I’m sure he’s one of his generals” 

The merman looked at her and lowered his gaze as he thought deeply “Yes, that is the most logical guess, but we can’t let it come here either. If they find out the Luminary is here, they’ll destroy everything” 

Queen Marina nodded and she gave a sigh “I know, my prince. If that thing comes near Nautica, I’ll use my barrier” 

Solo stared at her and then nodded, once she created the barrier, nothing could enter nor exit, unless the queen stopped casting the spell “I understand the situation, Mother. I’ll try to keep the monsters away from a safe distance, I’ll start with the gathering of more supplies for that moment” 

The mermaid nodded “Yes, please…be careful my prince” 

Solo smiled and bowed at her “Don’t worry Mother, I promise don’t do anything reckless” He assured her and turned to get out of the room. 

Queen Marina knew better that her prince would never do anything foolish, but she still had a very bad feeling inside her heart. 

Solo went to Lillie’s house as he usually did, when he got there, he found the mermaid reading a book. He gave a small smile “Good evening, Lillie. Is it ok if I visit the Luminary right now?” He asked. 

“Good day, majesty. Of course, Jaretzi, Michelle and Karla just finished with their healing” Lillie said as she bowed. The daily visits have started to help the mermaid with her shy problems, in these last months, her behavior turned more welcoming. 

The prince nodded and went inside, he found the blue fish sleeping deeply in the bed and he got closer, he gently placed a hand on top of him when he was at his side “Hello, Eleven. I hope the girls are treating you well” He said with a small chuckle, though it faded away when he saw no response from the hero “How I wish you could wake up, there are so many things I want to tell you…there are so many others who need you” He lowered his head as he blushed “I do need you” He let out a sigh so he won’t start feeling bad again, and to hold back some tears of frustration “Please…I don’t know if you can hear me, but please, come back to me” He whispered gently. 

There was no response, no movement, nothing, and Solo couldn’t help but feel his heart hurt “I trust you, Eleven. I know you can make it” He whispered full of hope, if he had to end with all the monsters of the sea by himself to help him recover, he’ll do it without thinking it twice. 

“I’ll see you tomorrow” Solo whispered as he turned to get out of the room, leaving the sleeping fish alone once again. 

 


 

“Help!” A feminine voice screamed. 

Three mermaids hugged each other at the same time they were surrounded by a group of ruthless monsters, their eyes shone red and they seemed to enjoy the situation of the girls. One of the monsters, a Diethon, charged at them fast like a barracuda at them. The mermaids closed their eyes tightly in fear for they won’t survive this one. 

However, the serpent monster could never finish the attack, because it screamed in pain before it dissipated in a black energy. When the energy dissolved, it revealed the prince as he held Zenithia offensively. The other monsters roared at this and charged to him, but they all got the same result. 

“Are you all right?” Solo asked to the mermaids, who seemed relieved and nodded “Go back to Nautica, it’s not safe to be here” He ordered as he sheathed the sword in his back. 

The girls nodded and two of them swam away, one of them stayed a little longer “Majesty, Michelle went more to the south to search for medicinal sea weed and she hasn’t returned. Please, I beg you to save her” She said worriedly, holding her hands in her chest before she turned and went back to the city. 

Solo nodded and started to swim in direction to the south “This is bad, really bad” He growled as he moved his tail as fast as he could. They have only started with the supply gathering a month ago, but these last week the number of sea monsters have increased immeasurably, he barely could keep up the track of them. They were easy to defeat, but the number were too big that had forced him to lose territory slowly. 

Soon he could see at the distance a pack of monsters surrounding something, he instantly knew it was what he was looking for. He unsheathed Zenithia and charged at them, he slashed two monsters who died in the instant he cut them. The rest of the monsters focused in him as he stopped in front of the mermaid. 

“Majesty!” Michelle exclaimed in relief, soon gasping when the rest of the monsters were still around her. 

“Don’t worry about them, go back to Nautica!” He said as he kept distracting the sea enemies “Get out of here and don’t look back!” Solo ordered to her, she nodded and began to swim away while the prince protected her from the monsters who tried to follow her.  

Some of the monsters swam away, while only two of them were stupid enough to attack, but they didn’t have a different result. When he finished, he gave a small sigh of relief when he saw no more enemies around and sheathed the sword back again. 

Or so he thought, suddenly the reef behind him started to shake, he thought it was an earthquake until what he thought it was rock started to get up and gave the form of  of a colossal creature.  

“W-what is...” The prince muttered widening his eyes and he managed to back away slightly to see two red eyes glowing looking at him directly.  

“Well, well, well…but if it isn’t a little merman, alone and hopeless” A booming voice mocked, it was so strong that Solo almost had an instant headache. The prince recognized the figure from the vision his mother showed him a month ago. A lot of other monsters came out behind the monster and swam around him while they seemed to laugh at the situation. It was then that the merman realized he was surrounded. 

“It can’t be!” He muttered looking around, monsters everywhere “Damn it, it was a trap!” 

“Hahaha, of course it was, you stupid and naïve merman” The monster mocked once again.

Solo growled  ‘So, this is that thing that have been causing trouble around, he looks bigger than in the vision’  He thought as he looked at the massive dragon before him, he glared at the creature “So, you’re the uninvited outsider of our seas!” 

The dragon roared in laughter and Solo covered his ears “You insolent little merman, know that I am Alizarin, Lord of the Seas and member of the Spectral Sentinels” 

Solo grabbed his sword and took a defensive pose as he glowered at the monster “That’s funny, as far as I know you’re more an intruder” He didn’t like that he had self-proclaimed a title that didn’t belonged to him, the prince watched him got close and he instinctively flinched. 

“Is that so? We’ll see about that, you pest” The aquatic dragon took a deep breath and he let out a reddish haze that covered Solo an his surroundings, he covered his mouth trying to not breath it, the red haze didn’t dissappeared and it made impossible for the prince to not breath for so long “I’m going to teach you a lesson for messing with my master’s plans” 

Solo coughed before he growled “What are you talking about?” 

“Did you really thought I wouldn’t notice what you have done to the army of my master?” 

The prince glared at him “The ocean doesn’t belong to him…” He said defiant “And you don’t belong to it either” 

Alizarin let out a booming laugh that made Solo flinch again “All Erdrea belong to the Lord of Shadows, and I’ll make sure to claim the ocean in his name” 

The prince closed his eyes for a brief moment “Zenithia, please concede me your power” He whispered before he opened his eyes again with even more determination than before. The sacred sword seemed to shine with light and he changed from defensive to offensive. 

Alizarin gave another laugh at this and roared “ATTACK!” 

The monsters charged at the merman prince without even thinking it twice who held the sword up, in a swift movement he turned around himself and slashed around him, the sword let out a light energy that cut in half the monsters that touched, vanishing in the instant they had contact with the light. His incredible speed was a huge advantage, it allowed him to avoid attacks and finish with the enemy before they had a chance to defend themselves. 

He moved around, up and down avoiding and attacking as fast as he could. Alizarin glared at the boy when his army was being decimated. “You damn merman, I’ll take care of you myself!” 

He roared in fury, which made Solo turn his attention to the dragon once again. He held Zenithia and try to block the attack, but the strength of the blow was too big that pushed him away, he managed to swim quickly before he hit the reef of the bottom. He noticed that the demon was very big, but that made his movements slow and clumsy, so he decided to use his unnatural speed for his advantage. 

He swam quickly against Alizarin and did a sharp turn at the time he avoided the dragon’s claw to quickly move towards his head and charged the strongest attack he could manage. 

“TAKE THIS! YAAH!!” 

Solo used all his strength in his attack, that he couldn’t help a shocked face when the sword had zero effect on his enemy. The dragon was glowing red and it looked like if he had absorbed the energy of the attack of Zenithia. Alizarin smiled mockingly. “That tickled” 

“I-Impossible!” Solo exclaimed in disbelief. 

Alizarin’s body glowed with more intensity, a red aura covered his body completely. “Stupid little merman, your insignificant sword has nothing against the power of my master” 

After he said that, the dragon unleashed a strong reddish energy that hit Solo hard for how exposed he was left and pushed him away. The prince let out a scream of pain after a close attack, he began to breath heavily as he felt unable to move, his body was paralyzed in the spot, all he could do was glare at the colossal monster who smiled wickedly.  

Solo moaned in pain when a Mermaniac tackled him, only to be greeted with a heavy hit from a Sail Serpent from its tail, finally he was stopped by an icy spell from a Sea Slime, he opened one eye for the pain and the paralyzing effect. The merman felt the hits harder than ever, he now understood what that red haze was for. Alizarin gave a vicious laugh and he attacked as well, Solo could only watch the giant claws coming at him. 

The prince hit the reef hard and he let out a breathless gasp, his wounded body trembled as he saw the huge dragon along with all the monster surrounding him. He opened an eye and noticed some blood coming from his head and tried to grab Zenithia again. At that the Spectral Sentinel laughed hard “Haha, how pathetic! Don’t worry, I’ll make sure it’ll hurt you!” 

Alizarin roared as he tightened his fist as he charged his attack, Solo tried desperately to get out of the reef or grab Zenithia before the blow “I-I have... to keep fighting” He whispered while trying with all his might to grab the sword again, his eyes turned to see the enemy and he could only watch the giant fist coming directly at him. 

A scream was heard. 

 


 

The inhabitants of Nautica became to show their worry when they realized the prince of their realm haven’t returned since he saved the mermaids in the open sea when they seek for supplies. Queen Marina seemed to be specially worried, wishing with all her heart her prince was safe, she usually didn’t worry too much for him because he was very capable of taking care of himself, but recently the monsters have become more aggressive and she feared for her heir. 

“Kaele, are you sure they checked the surroundings?” The mermaid queen asked for the tenth time to the purplish fish man at her side. 

“We did check around; however, we didn’t get too far because the number of monsters were very big” The royal butler said a bit nervously. 

The bigger mermaid looked very worried and was about to say an order when suddenly she heard screams outside. A mermaid that guard the entrance came in hurriedly, Tara held her trident as she was swimming quickly to the throne and she looked a bit scared.  

“Your majesty! It’s horrible! You have to see this!” Tara exclaimed. Both mermaid and fish man went out of the palace to see what the commotion was. 

The heart of the mermaid bumped so hard that her chest began to hurt, eyes widening in surprise when she recognized instantly the colossal figure at the distance of a dragon, all of this gave her a very bad feeling. All inhabitants started to panic, they hugged each other or just screamed as they saw such creature. 

Alizarin gave a laugh when he heard the screams in the mermaid kingdom, beside him was Sail Serpent who had a cruel smile as he showed his teeth “We’re gonna attack now, ssssire?” 

The aquatic dragon smiled wickedly. “No, not yet. First, we’ll give them a warning of what happens when you defy the Lord of Shadows” When he said that, he held up his fist. Only the teal head of the prince could be seen as the rest of his body was held by the huge dragon hand. Solo had an expression of pain but he was unable to make a sound, he coughed a bit letting out some red liquid from his mouth when Alizarin tightened the hold “And what could it be better than seeing the fall of their beloved prince” 

The huge demon held up his arm, and while the mermaid kingdom thought it was an attack, he threw with all his strength the poor merman who impacted violently against the sand of the bottom, it even made a hole. 

Queen Marina looked with horror when the sand that was formed thanks to the impact had finally dissipated, she could see the familiar figure of her merman prince inside there, badly wounded and unmoving. The queen quickly swam to his side and her heart broke when she saw the state of her son. 

Injuries covered all over his body, his tunic was ripped almost completely allowing to show some cuts, from the top of his head t could be seen some blood coming from it, his tiara was damaged and now it seemed to be hurting more than helping. His pendant had no longer the little slime on it, probably it got broken for the impact when he collided with the sand, from his mouth it also could be seen some of the red vital liquid. He was unconscious and he seemed to be barely breathing. 

“Oh, I almost forgot” Alizarin said mockingly as he held the sacred sword the prince had. “Here’s his toothpick” 

With his fingers, he threw Zenithia towards them, the sword landed near the prince, which startled the queen a little. Queen Marina turned to glower at the monster at the distance, but before she could do something imprudent, Alizarin gave a loud laugh and swam away. The queen knew this was far from over. 

She was taken out of her shock when the horrified screams of her subjects were more evident, they all began to scream for their lives, saying that it was the end and they would die soon. The prince was the symbol of protection of the whole kingdom, and seeing him in that state only caused them to be terrified. 

Even though her heart ached terribly, the queen took a firm posture and spoke loudly “My loyal subjects, listen to me!” She said loud, and everyone stopped as soon as she started “What just happened is nothing else but a warning, from this instant, nobody will abandon Nautica until I say so!” Everyone nodded at the order, even when they didn’t seem calmer “Keep in mind that it’s your panic what they are looking for, we don’t have to give them the pleasure! Seek for refuge and ration the supplies wisely” 

They didn’t need a second option before all of them went back to their homes to be safe. The queen picked up carefully the badly wounded body of Solo and she turned to the three healers who still were there “You three continue with the healing of the Luminary. He’s the only one who can save us now” She then looked at her son “I’ll take care of the prince” 

The three mermaids looked at each other, they bowed and quickly went to Lillie’s house so they could continue with their job. 

Meanwhile the queen took her son to his royal chambers, ignoring the pained faces of the guards, she closed the door with her tail and she gently put the prince into his bed, she looked at him and carefully took off his tiara and she inspected it, it was twisted. She remembered the first time she fixed it. 

-    “ I don’t want another! I like this one! And now I can’t use it anymore” The small merchild sniffled at the sight of his tiara being twisted by accident “Without it, I don’t feel like the prince anymore” He covered his hands as he wept.    -  

The queen placed a hand on the tiara and she used a bit of her magic and fixed it almost instantly, then looked back at her dying son and her eyes were clouded by tears “Oh, my prince… my little Solo” Her voice was filled with pain and sadness, gently her hand moved the hair from his forehead and she leaned to kiss him “I’m so sorry, I should have prevented this...” She whispered full of regret. 

The mermaid bared her teeth and gripped her staff tightly, like if she had remembered something that was long forgotten came back suddenly. She looked up at the ceiling of the cave and let the tears fell from her eyes, what she was about to do was total madness, but her choice was made “It’s fine, my prince. I won’t let you down...” 

Queen Marina wiped out the new tears forming in her eyes and she looked at her staff, a bright energy started to glow in the pearl and her free hand was placed on his chest. She gave a moan of pain and the magic began to surround the body of Solo, she flinched only slightly when she felt a huge pain inside her as she kept doing the spell, but the dread of losing her son was way more painful. Her son was very strong that even with all that damage, he was still alive, even if it was just barely. 

Using her magic and body to absorb injuries was an unforgiving spell, very powerful and effective, but the collateral damage caused in the caster was brutal. The mermaid queen knew she needed her energy and strength to create a strong barrier, one that will protect her kingdom from the attacks of the Lord of Shadows minions. 

“A queen must do the best for her kingdom” Queen Marina whispered as she opened her eyes, allowing the tears fell from her eyes, a weak smile appeared in her face “But a mother must do anything for her son” 

As she continued to canalize the spell, the mermaid closed her eyes, and with a soft but broken voice, she started to sing a lullaby. 

“Oh, my little one,  
Worry not in your dream world,  
I’ll stay with you 
And protect you from nightmares 
Oh, my dear,  
Close your eyes,  
And stay next to my heart 
You’re my happiness. 
I love you,  
My sweet boy 

Chapter Text

 

“He’s waking up…” A soft, female whisper was heard. 

“Are you sure? It looks like he’s having another nightmare” Another voice said, a male, but the first voice shushed him. 

Blue… 

The first thing Eleven could recognize the moment he started to open his eyes was the color blue everywhere assaulting his unfocused vision. He had never gotten dizzy of a color so fast, but his blurry vision didn’t allow him to see something else. 

It took him some minutes, at least five minutes so he was finally waking up completely and for his focus to return. In front of him were some sea creatures, such as eels, fishes and a shark, as soon as they noticed that they were being stared, they quickly left the room swimming away. Eleven felt confused and strange, his own body didn’t feel to be the same. 

Looking around, he noticed that he was in a strange underwater room, a wardrobe with a mirror on it was the nearest thing. He stared at it and his surprise was big when he saw a small, chubby, bluish fish on it. Eleven blinked twice just in case he was dreaming, but after staring at the mirror for quite a while he came to the conclusion it wasn’t a dream. 

Curiously, he was wearing his belt, in all honesty it wasn’t what he expected to be the only thing to wear. He tried to look inside the bag and noticed he had lost some items, thankfully not all of them and some of the last equipment was still inside, but something important was missing, all the orbs. He sighed when none of the spherical objects were inside, they were so important and some of them have been gifts as a thanks for his actions. 

Eleven looked around and decided to try to at least move, he never learned to swim and certainly had no idea how to be a fish either. He tried to wiggle his fins to move, but his body only rolled on himself without moving anywhere. Rolling his eyes, he frenetically moved his tail towards the exit, but he ended up doing small circles. 

“Being a fish is a lot harder than it looks like” He muttered to himself a bit frustrated when all his efforts had no results. 

“Mr. Luminary! Mr. Luminary!” A rushed voice came from the door, a fish man came in, his scales were lavender and he made small, excited jumps “You’re finally awake, blessed be  Lord Kanon!” He gave a big smile  “Please, if it isn’t much trouble and if you feel better, our Majesty would be happy to see you recovered” With that being said he quickly walked out of the room, without giving the opportunity to the hero to talk. 

“Oh, this is just so good, it is perfect…” Eleven said sarcastically to himself. When he was a child, he never had the courage to learn to swim, there was something in the water that made him nervous for some reason. He’d rather spent the afternoon fishing with his grandfather or playing in the grass with Gema and Aruna all day “All right, maybe if I move like this…” He muttered as he moved one side to another his tail, he smiled when he saw he was moving forward “I think I’m doing it” He started to move faster but soon realized he had no control of direction “No, no, no!” He desperately tried to move his front fins when he noticed he was going directly to the wall, moving all his body, he only did a barrel roll before his face met the wall. 

He gave a soft moan, more of frustration than pain “Well, at least Veronica isn’t here to make fun of this…” He sighed, rubbing what he could reach on his face with one of his short front fins. 

With another attempt of moving his frontal fins, he tried to move to the exit, he managed to move but he was now seeing the room upside down. He was about to try to turn to the exit when suddenly the door opened abruptly, it was by sheer luck that the door didn’t crushed his small body in the act. However, he had no time to complain for the imprudent act when he saw who it was. 

“Eleven? Where are you?” The merman prince asked as he looked one side to another, his voice was filled with extreme worry “Kaele said he had woken up… Oh no! Where is he? I swear if Russel had bite him…” He said, thinking the shark had eated him already. 

Eleven saw how the prince lose his head quickly, certainly it wasn’t a reaction he expected. As he was unable to move correctly, he decided to just speak “Solo?” 

The soft voice took his attention instantly and turned to see the small blue, chubby fish was upside down while the Luminary mark was seen in his light grey belly. The prince didn’t seem too surprised to see him as a fish but instead saw a smile of relief, and without a warning the prince swam to him and took him in his arms. 

“You’re awake!” Solo said with an indescribable excitement at the same time he smiled widely “For a moment I thought you wouldn’t come back” He sighed as he confessed it. Then he realized what he was doing and he let go the small fish as he blushed deeply “Oh, I apologize for that…” He said ashamed as he decided to give him space “Please, you have to forgive my excitement, you worried us a lot” 

Eleven was also blushing, though it was hard to notice due his current state, he kind of wished he could have returned the hug. Then he could see him better, he actually looked a bit different, his eyes showed something that Eleven couldn’t tell what it was. It could have been pain, but it also could be worry. He noticed that he was only missing one thing, his slime pendant. 

Solo noticed that he was looking at him directly and he feared he have been too obvious with his feelings “Is something wrong?” 

Eleven reacted and he shook his body as a negative “Oh no, it’s just... you don’t have your pendant anymore” He said, trying to not sound too intrusive. 

The prince gave a soft sigh of relief when he knew that was it “Oh, well I lost it a few months ago. To be honest, I do actually feel weird without it” He said with a nervous chuckle. 

“Ah I see...” Eleven looked at him and an idea came to him, he checked again his bag. Solo looked curiously as the fish took out a small pendant almost identical to the one he used to wore, however this one isn’t blue, but instead is metallic silver “Maybe it isn’t exactly the same, but I thought maybe you can have it if you want” He offered as he blushed slightly. 

The merman stared at the pendant speechless, he hesitated for a brief instant before taking it from his fin “Wow, it’s actually very similar to the one I had, and to be honest it’s very pretty. Are you sure you want to give it to me?” He asked looking at the pendant closely and gave a soft smile. 

The small fish smiled brightly “Yes, of course. I actually never even used it... but it’ll look way better on you” He said sincerely. 

Solo picked the pendant and put it in his left ear, he looked at himself in the reflection, the pendant was almost exactly the same and he actually liked the color better “It’s very pretty, thanks so much!” He said with a big smile. 

Both boys smiled and stared at each other’s eyes for what it seemed to be hours; truth was that they were only a few seconds. This time Eleven was the one who came out of the trance and shook a bit his body in an attempt to only move his head, taking away those silly thoughts he was starting to have again “Solo, can you tell me how did I get here? “What happened?” He asked confused now, the prince looked at him “And how I’m a fish?” 

Solo gave a small sigh “You’re a fish thanks to Mother’s magic. I have to add it was also her idea. A lot of things have passed while you were unconscious” He stopped and looked down, a small glint of pain came across his features “Many months have passed since Yggdrassil fell after all” He said, not really wanting to say it’s been already ten months since that day. 

The mention of the World Tree hit Eleven like a lightning strike, painful memories returned of when the Lord of Shadows ambushed him and his friends in the very heart of Yggdrassil. Instinctively he placed a fin near his light greyish belly like if it hurt. The pain he felt when Mordegon’s claws pierced his chest to rip away the Luminary’s power was an agony he couldn’t even begin to describe. If it wasn’t for his fish form, he’d felt the scar that was left behind. 

Solo noticed his distress and decided not ask for details and spoke softly “Still, no matter how much time have passed. I am happy you are awake, and to be honest; it’s everything that matters now” He looked at him and gave a gentle smile “Eleven, I know you just woke up, but the best will be to visit the throne room as soon as possible” 

The prince turned to the door and looked back at him “Please follow me” He said as he swam out of the room. However, he came back after a few seconds of realizing that the small fish wasn’t at his side. Peeking his head inside, he found Eleven in the same spot upside down “Is something wrong? Are you still hurt?” 

Eleven gave a sigh, his features easily told he was ashamed “No, I feel fine, but…” He stopped as he moved his fins, only to do a barrel roll and go back to be upside down “I don’t know how to swim” He said blushing. 

Solo stared at him for a few seconds and he couldn’t help a small hearty chuckle, which made Eleven blush even more “Oh, you could have told me earlier. It’s actually pretty simple” He got closer to him and hesitated “Uhm, may I...?” He asked a bit ashamed. 

For a moment Eleven had no idea what he was talking about, but soon he realized it and he gave a very slight nod. The merman gently placed his hands at his sides and gently rolled him so he would be in the right position “All right, to move onwards, move your tail like this” He said as he gently moved his whole body, instructing him how to do the movement as he explained, both boys blushed at this. They looked at each other at all moments while doing this “Move your fins like this to control the direction, if you want to go up just move them from up to down, and vice versa to go down” He said, explaining patiently each movement. When he finished and then let him go, he said “Try it now” 

Eleven nodded, he replicated every move as he was instructed to do slowly. It took him a few tries but he finally managed to swim without moving around himself or crashing against the wall. He gave a sigh of relief and smiled at the prince “Thanks so much, Solo” 

Solo smiled kindly “You’re welcome, you’d be a very good merman yourself” He chuckled, then turned to the exit “Now, please follow me. Mother will explain everything better than I could” 

Once said this, both of them swam out of the room and went directly to the palace. 

 


 

“...that’s a relief, please, proceed with the previously planned” They heard the voice of Queen Marina to Kaele. He nodded, bowed and then got off the platform to go to the city. She noticed both boys in front of her and smiled “Oh, I am so glad to see you awake, Luminary” 

Eleven nodded as a thanks, he had no idea what was happening but something inside him made him feel suspicious. Queen Marina looked different from the last time he saw her, she didn’t have that serene expression in her face, in fact, he could say she looked exhausted and sad, though he couldn’t confirm it because her relief was genuine. 

“You may be wondering what happened and why you’re in Nautica” The queen looked at her son “My prince found you in the sea and brought you here, where we took care of your health” She explained briefly. 

The fish turned to see the merman surprised, he smiled and nodded as a thanks, which was returned by the prince. 

“Now that you’re back in your senses, I suppose you have a lot of questions. Which I’d be happy to answer” The mermaid queen said and got up from her throne. Her movements were slow, like if she feared to collapse at any moment. Suddenly there was a rumble, it looked like an earthquake, the queen made a pained moan and without wasting a second she made the pearl of her staff shine brightly. Ignoring the worried faces of the boys, she turned to her royal chambers “Come with me, Luminary. I’ll show you what happened in the world” 

Solo looked at Eleven and nodded assuring him “Go ahead, Eleven. I’ll see you later” 

The little blue fish started to swim to the room the queen just went, it was a big cave made of rocks and coral. In the middle of the room was an oyster where a huge pearl shined on it. 

“This is the Wisdom Pearl; thanks to this relic I can see what happen in the surface by using water as a link. I’ll use a raining spell so we can see clearly what happened in the world. Go ahead, touch it” 

Eleven nodded to her words and gently placed a fin in the pearl. The spell took them to the surface and now it looked like if him and the queen were swimming in the sky. His eyes widened at the sight of the dead tree trunk of Yggdrassil, not a single leaf remained on her. The sky was red and black clouds covered most of it. 

“Mordegon have molded Erdrea to his whims, a lot of lives have been lost, and the little survivors try to prosper in a broken world” 

Eleven saw how a little girl asked for help, she weakly begged for help as she entered a church. The small fish felt his heart broken when the little girl found nothing else but corpses inside as she broke in the floor crying. He instinctively tried to help her, hug her, comfort her, but he was nothing else but an illusion. 

Suddenly a hand helped the little girl and it carried her, Eleven widened his eyes when he saw the back of the man “A hero have raised from the ashes for a second time, giving the humans a reason to keep going and fighting” The voice of Queen Marina said. Eleven didn’t even needed to see his face to know that figure. 

The spell faded away and both were back in the queen’s chambers once again. The small fish felt dismayed and some guilt burned inside him. All of this happened for him, he wasn’t strong enough to even touch Jasper, he wasn’t in alert when he ambushed them. 

The Luminary was the key to defeat the shadows, but thanks to his weakness he did nothing else but give that power to the same darkness he was supposed to repel. He condemned all Erdrea, all his friends, he didn’t even want to think what have been of them after seeing how Yggdrassil ended. 

The mermaid noticed the distress in his eyes, she actually expected this reaction and spoke softly “Things may have turned complicated, but never is too late to do the right thing. Even if everything seems to be lost, there is always a glint of hope in all of us” 

Eleven listened to her words but the guilt he felt was consuming his soul, all of this was his fault. His thoughts however, were interrupted when the queen gave another pained moan, another rumble was visible and she did the exact same thing with her staff. After a few seconds, she looked at the hero and smiled weakly. 

“Please Luminary, come to the central plaza of Nautica. I’ll be waiting for you there” The mermaid said as she swam to the exit, leaving him alone. 

The young boy closed his eyes tightly, swallowing up some of the guilt he was feeling, there was no use to think about it now. When he swam out of the chambers, he noticed Solo wasn’t there anymore, he probably was also outside. 

When he reached the central plaza, he noticed that all inhabitants of Nautica were gathered in what it seemed a reunion, the queen and the prince were above them with a serious expression. When he was close enough, the queen nodded to the merman and he took a deep breath. 

“Inhabitants of Nautica, listen!” He spoke clear and strong, Eleven was actually surprised, his posture was worthy of a king “The ocean have fallen victim of the shadows, but have hope because the Luminary has once again come back to us! He will be the one who banish the darkness that plague our waters!” Solo then grabbed Zenithia and he pointed up, the sword shone against the light coming from the surface “Remember! The Luminary is our savior but in order for him to save us, we need to have faith in him! The legendary hero will banish the darkness from our world and a new era of peace will start!” 

At his words, everyone clapped and exclaimed overjoyed, all of them claimed for the Luminary and cheered on him full of hope. Eleven saw this and he couldn’t help but feel touched, he literally felt like a failure a few minutes ago, he understood what the royal merman and mermaid were trying to do for him and he greatly appreciated it. If Mordegon was still out there making everyone miserable while he wasted time regretting what he didn’t did, then they were all doomed for real this time. 

He swam at them and offered a grateful smile “Thank you so much, I will make sure Mordegon pay for what he has done” He said determined. After what they have done to him, he felt he couldn’t disappoint them now. 

Although Queen Marina looked in a deplorable state, she nodded as she gave a big smile “The light inside you is the salvation of Erdrea. Remember that, not even Erdwin was alone in times of adversity” 

“You have all our support, Eleven” Solo assured as he gave a nod and a smile. 

However, the moment was interrupted when the bottom of the sea shook once again, now the crowd stopped cheering to scream of fear. It was just then that Eleven looked up and his eyes widened at the sight of a huge aquatic dragon hitting some kind of barrier. The queen gave another pained moan and she repeated the process of the other times, the barrier that seemed to be breaking up, it restored again, but it seemed weaker than the last time. The Luminary now saw what she has been doing all this time. 

“This is unfortunate, I had many more things to tell you, but I am afraid our paths have to part sooner than expected” Queen Marina said and looked at the prince “Are you ready to perform the spell??” 

Solo nodded, he had been training his magic these three months while inside the protective barrier and felt more than ready. With a movement of his hands, ocean currents came from the bottom and crossed around the ocean, far away from the monsters that tried to invade the kingdom, he seemed satisfied with the spell. 

Queen Marina looked proud at her son before turning to the Luminary “These currents will take you to a safe place, right now you’re not in condition to fight due the spell. But don’t worry, once you’re taken out of the water you’ll go back to your original form” 

“A safe place? But what about you?” Eleven asked as he looked at them with true worry and fear in his eyes. 

“Don’t worry for us, they don’t know you’re here and it’s best it stays that way” Solo assured him, he gently grabbed his fin with his hand and looked sincerely “You’re too important to end here, you have a world to save” 

Eleven shook his head, growing desperate “S-Solo no, I can’t leave you just like that! There must be something...” 

Solo suddenly pulled the small fish to his chest and gave him a gentle hug that made the Luminary stop his sentence “Don’t worry about us. We’ll catch up in another time, Eleven, I promise” His pained smile said too many things for words, the embrace was too short for both of them, the barrier was breaking on each hit “Eleven, live, you’re the hope of all of us, don’t look back, but don’t forget us either...” With that, he pushed the fish into the current and the water dragged him away. 

“No! Solo!” Eleven exclaimed, he tried with all his might to swim back to them, but he could only watch the sad smile from the prince as he was being dragged away. 

The prince watched until he was totally gone, closing his eyes, and with the same pained expression he muttered “Goodbye, my human, no matter what happen here, I love you”  

Queen Marina put a hand on his shoulder and he looked at her, she had a sympathetic smile to him, which made him smile slightly as well. Giving a deep sigh to concentrate on the situation at hand, he turned to the inhabitants that were starting to panic “Everyone! Go to your hidings and don’t leave under any circumstance!” With a movement of his hand, he pointed to the castle “Now!” 

 


 

The monsters gathered in big numbers when the barrier was destroyed, the only ones outside were the royal guards to at least try to protect their home. 

Queen Marina fell exhausted against the rock of the bottom, she gave a pained sigh as she felt too weak to even try to escape. Soon enough she felt her arm being around smaller shoulders, she opened her eyes weakly to see the prince holding her and dragging her back to the castle quickly before the monsters could catch them. 

“Mother, please hold on! I’ll take you to your chambers” Solo said as he managed to put her safe, avoiding skillfully all the monsters that tried to get in their way. 

When they entered the Queen’s private chamber, he carried the queen to her bed but she instead of sitting in the bed, she just sit in the floor.  

Queen Marina gave another sigh and she looked weakly at the prince “I’m so sorry my prince, but I can’t make another barrier” She closed her eyes and tried to relax “I’m afraid I can’t be useful at the moment...” 

“Don’t say that, if it wasn’t for me...” Solo said looking away, he still was ashamed for what happened three months ago. 

On his mind came the idea that if it wasn’t for him, his mother would be in perfect shape and there was no way Alizarin could have broken the barrier too soon. A hand on his cheek distracted him from his self-guilt and found a soft smile from the mermaid 

“My dear prince, there hasn’t been a day that I regret my decision” She said lovingly and tried to rest against the foot bed. 

“You should rest in your bed” Solo suggested worriedly. 

The queen managed a weak chuckle “It doesn’t matter if I’m in bed or in the floor right now, my prince” She said and gave a tired sigh. Then they could hear the dragon’s booming laugh in the distance. 

“That wretched of Alizarin! Showing off a power he doesn’t possess on his own!” Solo growled frustrated. 

The mermaid queen looked at him and she had an idea “That’s it!!” 

Solo turned to her and looked confused “What is it??” 

“Listen, Solo. I can’t create another barrier, but there’s one thing I can do to help. Maybe you can’t finish Alizarin with it, but you can at least repel him” She said, moving her hand to his chest. 

The merman looked at her trying to process what he just heard, but when he saw a bright golden light coming from her hand, he took her hand quickly “W-wait! You’re not thinking in...” But before he finished, his mother nodded “There must be another way, you can’t give me your magic just like that!” 

Queen Marina shook her head “Now it’s not the time to hesitate, my prince. I am too weak to create spells, but not you. Take my magic and repel the darkness from your kingdom” The energy on her hand became brighter and soon it covered the merman entirely,  

“Are you sure about it?? You won’t have your magic back after this” Solo warned her, unsure if he should accept it. 

Queen Marina nodded “I absolutely am, I’m sure you’ll give it a good use, my prince” She then gave a weak smile and placed her hand on his chest again “Solo, I just want you to know, that I am very proud of you, my son” She concentrated and the light, the magic of the queen was being passed to the young merman, who had an incredulous look in all his face. When the last bit of magic was transferred, she rested against the bed completely exhausted. 

Solo was static when he felt all the magic from the queen now belonged to him. All that power that Solo could have obtained from years of training, embraced and accepted him instantly. He lifted his hand and concentrated on it, soon he saw magic surround his palm “This is amazing” His sight returned to the now sleeping form of the queen. 

Now that she couldn't have objections, he gently picked her and let her rest in the bed “Thank you so much, Mother. I promise I won’t fail you” He whispered before he turned away and exited the room. His mother was safe in her chambers as long as he repelled the monsters. 

With a fulminant determination, he swam fast to the outside, taking care of monsters that dared to be in his way, slashing them with one single move. But neither of these weaklings were his objective, but the one that had caused all of this, he went directly to the massive monster on the top of the highest reef observing everything, the monster seemed to be enjoying the destruction of Nautica, the prince glared at him while he took Zenithia from his back. 

“ALIZARIN!” He screamed loud enough to get his attention, he stopped right in front of the dragon as he glowered darkly. 

The Spectral Sentinel turned and looked at him to give a roaring laugh “Well, well, but if it isn’t the little stupid merman! And here I thought you died after the beating I gave you. It seems you didn’t have enough, do you?” He mocked, but the merman didn’t even react to his words, he only tightened the grip on the sword “Whatever, it’ll be a pleasure to crush that little body of yours again!” 

Solo took an offensive position before he suddenly charged “I want to see you try, coward!” He screamed.  

Alizarin laughed before he moved his hand and tried to hit hard the body of the merman, but the prince swam quickly out of the way before the fist of the dragon could even touch him. Even if he hadn’t fought monsters these last three months, his agility and skill haven’t changed in the slightest, in fact he seemed to have polished his concentration when he practiced his spells. 

“You damn slippery eel!” The monster cursed when he saw none of his attacks had effect, when he managed to have contact against the merman and thought he got him. He only found out that the boy had blocked the attack with his sword, and even managed to stop the attack. The sacred sword glowed with more intensity as it was surrounded thanks to the new and powerful magic and with a push, the fist of Alizarin was thrown back and took two steps back. Seeing himself cornered, he started to glow red and prepared to unleash his dark energy. 

Solo noticed what he intended to do and recognized the attack instantly, it was the same that left him paralyzed the first time he confronted Alizarin, the prince took a defensive position and saw the dark energy being unleashed, he concentrated his energy and saw the reddish energy go directly at him and with a quick movement of his sword, he repelled the energy before it could even touch him. 

“Imposible!” He roared furiously and tried to attack again, the prince moved quickly and avoided the two hits that were directed at him and swam to the head. He charged an attack at the time Zenithia glowed brightly and with a war cry, the sword impacted Alizarin’s head.  

The dragon roared of surprise and pain when he felt the hit, but not the slash, the dragon flinched several steps as he instinctively tried to get away from the merman “What is this nonsense!? The power of my master is incomparable! His protection is absolute!” 

Before his enemy could hit him of how close he was, Solo quickly moved out of the way and gave another hit into the back of the dragon who roared in pain. He went back to face Alizarin and kept his serious and concentrated expression “Maybe it’s true that I can’t kill you, but you can’t kill me either. Accept it, Alizarin, your ‘master’ is just a bluff” He said at the time he had a defensive position again  

“You insolent little merman! Nobody disrespects Lord Mordegon’s name!” Alizarin roared in fury trying for another attack. He opened his mouth wide and a ball of red energy began to form on it. Solo opened his eyes at such thing, he never saw that before, at the distance he was right now he would be unable to dodge it “Eat this!” 

Solo saw the attack ball, held Zenithia up and he then slashed it. The red ball was sliced in two and it separated before it could even touch the merman. Being cut in half made the energy concentrated to lose the consistency and the energy dissipated afterwards. 

Alizarin saw this and he couldn’t help but feel a shiver in all his body, he flinched slightly as he saw the cold eyes of the merman glaring at the dragon “H-how? How is it possible...?” He muttered. 

Solo didn’t changed his expression, his glare was cold and intimidating “All that power you claim to have, it’s nothing but a proof of how pathetic you actually are” The prince pointed at Alizarin who flinched another step “Your power is limited because your so called ‘Master’ gave you that fraction of power, you can’t even control it on your own” 

“You little bastard...” Alizarin cursed as he moved away from him slightly again, wondering how he figured it out. When Solo got closer, he instinctively moved away growling defensively “You’ll regret all of this” 

The merman gave a low, humorless chuckle “That’s what you say, but unlike you, I don’t have that same problem” When he said that, the sword began to shine again with light and he charged at the dragon. He tried to protect himself against the blow, Solo moved quick and swung his sword upwards his arms, the impact made Alizarin to lose his defensive posture and was exposed to another attack. 

“It can’t be! How such a diminutive merman can have such strength?” Alizarin whispered before he felt another hit in all his face, the sword didn’t cut but the hit was painful enough for him to lose his balance. His back fell against the rock, shaking all the ground beneath him and placed a hand on his face for the hit, then glared at the small merman who pointed his sword to him. 

“Now listen here bastard, you are no match for my magic. You can get out of my kingdom taking all those useless pests with you, or you and me will have an eternal battle until the pathetic energy of your master drains out so I can finally annihilate you” The prince said and the sword shone bright again thanks to the powerful magic flowing on it. 

There was silence, both enemies stared at each other for long seconds, the tension was so evident that all the monsters had stopped to stare at their leader who seemed to be losin to the smaller merman.  

The dragon then gave a very intimidating roar, however, Solo didn’t even blink at that, his determination kept him immovable “This isn’t over, you insolent, little prince. I’ll come back, and when I do, I’ll offer my master your bones from my teeth” 

The threat of Alizarin was empty for Solo, who just looked defiant “Get out of my kingdom” 

Alizarin moved away and roared “RETREAT!” Before he began to swim away. 

All the monsters that were invading Nautica at first were confused, but when they saw the Spectral Sentinel swam away, they all followed immediately and abandoned the aquatic city. Once they were out of his sight, Solo could breathe deeply and relax, he looked around at his city, some of the buildings were damaged and only a few have been destroyed, but it wasn’t nothing unfixable. He saw that his folk was coming out of their hidings once they saw no more danger. 

The prince smiled in relief when he saw them safe, they all began to claim him as a hero, he blushed a bit for such words. He didn’t consider himself a hero, that title was reserved for his human, all he did was to confront the enemy, and thanks to his mother’s magic, he had managed to repel it, otherwise he probably would have the same result as before. He remembered it in that moment, his mother was still in her chambers, he hurried to the palace while the inhabitants of Nautica celebrated the victory. 

 


 

The guards told everyone how their prince saved them in the most heroic way, how he bravely confronted the huge dragon and make him flee like a scared lizard. Solo tried to not pay too much attention, as he felt that he only did his royal duty to protect his subjects. 

He went directly to the queen’s royal chambers, he wished for her be part of the celebration as well, after nothing but months of constant fight and worry since Yggdrassil fall, they finally have good news and something to celebrate have occurred in all this time. 

The prince opened the doors of the chambers quickly that he didn’t bothered in closing them, although that didn’t bother him because the doors closed by themselves once he was inside. He looked into the bed with the hope to find her awake. 

“Mother!” Solo called as he got close to the bed and he saw she still had her eyes closed, he sighed in relief when he realized the monsters haven’t reached her “Mother, it worked! Alizarin was repelled, all thanks to your magic!” He said with a big smile “I have to confess, I wasn’t sure if that thing was going to accept my offer and we’ll actually would start to fight for days and nights” He said with a sigh “But the coward swam away with all the monsters, we’re now safe!” 

Solo saw no reaction and gently took one of her hands and could only feel the coldness of her body. In that moment his eyes widened and reality hit him really hard, he looked at the hand of the queen, then her serene sleeping face. The eyes of the prince were filled with pain and sadness before he closed them tightly “Mother...” His voice became weak “You were so imprudent to save me from my first encounter with that bastard, if you hadn’t done that, your energies wouldn’t been so limited” 

His hand abandoned hers to softly touch her golden hair, then softly touched her cheek like she did before giving him her magic “Thanks for everything, Mother. I love you” He whispered with a broken voice, and in a sudden movement, grabbed the body of the mermaid to hug her with a strength he didn’t even knew he had. 

Solo buried his face in the shoulder of the queen without being able to hold the tears anymore, he cried on the sleeping figure of his mother who wouldn’t wake up again.