It took them longer than Mellany had wanted, but at least Rose was now walking. Mellany had to massage Rose’s sore legs and feet, coach her in being confident in actually moving her legs and feet seperately, and finally onto walking. Rose stumbled and tripped a lot at first, but she got the hang of it. She no longer looked like a baby deer attempting to stand.
The two of them made there way up the stairs. Rose huffed the more stairs they climbed.
“Humans do this all the time?”
“How can you?!”
Mellany rolled her eyes. “You’ll get used to it.”
Rose whimpered as they entered the next floor up. Mellany paused to listen down the corridor, but noticed the giant window of water again.
“Just how far up does this castle go?”
“I don’t know…” said Rose. She leaned against the wall. “Can we stop here?”
“No, we need to go get that little creep,” replied Mellany. She yanked Rose by the hand. “Come on.”
Mellany and Rose continued going up several more floors. Rose increasingly slowed down, prompting Mellany to tug her along. Rose whimpered and yawned every couple of steps.
They entered another floor. Mellany took a look down the hall, noticing a subtle difference in the way the light filled the room. She let go of Rose’s hand and walked down towards the giant window and the strange entrance way. Rose collapsed against a nearby wall.
Mellany jumped with glee. She whipped back around towards Rose. “Rose, we must be close! There’s no water out there!”
Rose swung her head towards Mellany, her eyes half closed. “Oh…that’s…great…” She slowly slid down to the ground.
“Are you okay?”
Rose weakly lifted up her hand has she slumped over. “Yeah…yeah…I’m fine…just…zzz”
“Oh no! Come on!” Mellany rushed back over to Rose. She began shaking her. “We’re almost there! Wake up! Come on, Rose, wake up!”
Rose didn’t respond. She just continued sleeping.
Daltoneo raised his wand high in the grand finale, watching as the glowing pool glowed even brighter. Sparks began to dance about in the air like lightning. “And now your soul SHALL BE MINE!”
He cackled as the dancing sparks exploded into an array of colours and the pool glowed once more before everything faded. He promptly grabbed a glass bottle and shoved it out over the pool and waited.
There was nothing but complete silence.
He waited a moment longer before shattering the glass bottle in his hands. He chucked the remaining pieces onto the stone floor and stomped his way over to his desk. He slammed his onto his table. He leaned forward and carefully peered over his book.
“I didn’t do anything wrong…I DIDN’T do anything wrong!” He whipped around angrily. “THEN WHY IS NOTHING HAPPENING!”
He quickly shoved his wand in the air. “SPIRITS, come to me, your master needs you for a DEED!”
Dark purple light shot out in multiple directions and in front of Daltoneo appeared shadowy entities. The stared at him with glowing eyes. Their wispy tails flowed behind them.
“Yes master?” one of them asked.
Daltoneo stomped on the ground. “Tell me what’s down there! NOW!”
“Yes, master,” replied the same spirit. The rest of the nodded in agreement, just before they all turned around and dove into the water below.
Daltoneo began to pace around, periodically stopping to either stomp or tap is foot. He kept grumbly and mumblng about how he didn’t do anything wrong. Perhaps the spell he had been given was wrong? No, he had cross-referenced it, including to others who had successfully performed the spell. There was no way HE could be this incompetitent! Someone else was at fault, clearly, but who?
Daltoneo whipped around, seeing his group of spirits. He clasped his hands together and waltz over to them. “Ah, yes, what did you find?”
“Yes, nothing. There was nothing down there but water.”
“Nothing…” Daltoneo repeated. He grasped his forehead. “Nothing!”
He threw back his head and began laughing, occassionally saying the word “nothing” in between his laughs.
The spirits exchanged looks. They watched as their master manically laughed.
He turned to his spirits. His face dropped into scowl. His eyes shrunk.
Daltoneo violently cut his wand diagolonially through the air. “GOOD FOR NOTHING, INSOLENT FOOLS!”
A red & black bar smacked into the spirits. They yelped and dissipitated in an instant.
Mellany had stopped pacing around as soon as she saw the lights grow brighter and sparks dancing around. She ran over to the sleeping Rose as soon as they faded. “Rose, rose, I think we need to get out of here. NOW.”
Rose stirred. “Now…? But I’m…sleepy…few…more minutes…”
Mellany balled her fist. I know I wanted to fight, but if what he was doing is dangerous, then it might just be better to get out.
She turned her head towards the window, watching as shadow figures darted downward. She grabbed her head.
Please don’t tell me those were demons!
She began to pace around once again. First I meet a mermaid, then I meet a wizard, then the mermaid gets turned into a human by the wizard, and now there might be demons?! I don’t have any time to process this!
Mellany headed towards the stairs heading back down. She took one glance back to Rose, bit her lip, and started heading down the staircase. I can’t…I can’t deal with this #$&*.
Guilt slowly rose up from her feet, up her legs, and into her stomach. It slithered its way from her stomach to her heart, and up her neck and into her head. She stopped midway down the steps, spreading her arms and legs wide so they fllled the width of the stairwell.
I am not okay. I. am. not. okay. I am not okay with the fact mermaids, wizards, and demons exist. I am not okay with the mermaid being asleep, the wizard summoning demons, and that I was trying to go fight him with nothing but my fist.
She lowered her head.
Am I okay with leaving someone behind, though?
She balled her fist.
“NO!” she exclaimed.
She turned on her heel and ran back up the stairs. As soon as she reached the top, she turned the corner and into the corridor, where Rose was still sleeping. She knelt down beside her.
She could hear footsteps coming down from the stairwell heading upward. Each step was accompanying by a quiet laugh and incoherent mumblings.
She began shaking Rose away. “Wake up,! Wake up! We REALLY have to go now!”
Rose rolled her head over to Mellany. “Huuuh…?”
Rose then jolted awake.
Mellany whipped her head around.
Daltoneo gave them a sinsiter, toothy grin.
Mellany stood up, reading her fist. Daltoneo lifted his head and stood tall, placing his fists on his hips.
“What’d you want, creep? Leave us alone!”
Daltoneo laughed. “‘Creep’? ME? That isn’t very nice. My name is DALTONEO!” He pointed his finger at her. “Call me the right name!”
Mellany let out a laugh. “THAT’S your name?”
Daltoneo’s brow furrowed. “I already told you that earlier.”
“I don’t remember that,” said Mellany, smirking. She glanced behind her at Rose. “Do you, Rose?”
Rose put her finger to her liip and looked up into the air. “Uuuumm…maybe?” She shrugged. “I don’t remember.”
Rose and Mellany exchanged smiles. “That’s a silly name though, right?” asked Rose.
“Yeah. Who names their kid ‘Daltoneo’?”
Daltoneo thrust his wand forward, clearly angry. “SILENCE! How dare you insult me good name!” He turned to Rose. “And what about her, hmmm? Who names a mermaid after a flower?!” He switched to Mellany. “And YOU! Your name is! …is…”
The silence that filled the room was awkward.
Mellany raised an eyebrow. “You know our names?” she asked, finally breaking the silence.
Daltoneo shifted, looking extremely smug. “I have been watching you two from the shadows when you met!”
Rose and Mellany nodded.
Another awkward silence.
Mellany fixed her stance, which had become looser during the course of chatting. “What did you want us for?”
Daltoneo winked, brushing his wand underneath his chin. He then lifted his wand up into the air and placed a hand on his hip. “For your SOULS!”
Mellany scoffed. “Why would you do that?!”
Daltoneo shrugged. “I don’t know.”
Mellany was dumbfounded. Rose was confused.
Mellany extended her hand out to him. “You’re…collecting souls for no reason?”
“No! There is a reason…” Daltoneo bit his lip. “I…I just don’t know it yet!”
Rose giggled. “I get why’d you take Mellany, but why me? I’m a mermaid!”
Daltoneo flashed his teeth to Rose. “I know. That’s why I turned you into a human!”
Rose took a look down at her human legs again. She gently touched where the fins behind her ears would have been. And then she began screech-crying. Daltoneo cackled. Mellany cringed.
Mellany scoffed. “You did that on purpose!”
Daltoneo flashed her a smirk as Mellany covered her ears from Rose’s shrieks. “Did what on purpose?”
“HUMAN! HUMAN! He made me human! I’m going to be stuck with these ugly legs FOREVER! How am I supposed to go hooooome like this?!”
Rose’s cries became louder.
Daltoneo’s smirk slowly wiped from his face. He brought his hands up to his ears and covered them. “Can she shut up?”
“It’s your fault, creep,” accused Mellany, raising her voice over Rose.
“I can’t heeeeeear you.”
Mellany nodded her head towards Rose. “But can you hear her?”
Daltoneo looked at Rose. The former mermaid’s face was blotched red. Tears bubbled incessantly from her eyes. Snot was beginning to drizzle out from her nose and down her face.
“AAAAAH, shut up already! You’re gonna get my floor dirty!” snapped Dlatoneo. “All this because I turned you human!”
Rose didn’t stop.
Mellany thought for a moment before looking at Daltoneo. “Hey, creep?”
“Get her to shut up!”
“…wouldn’t her soul still be a mermaid, even if you made her into a human?”
“AAAAAAAAARGH, JUST SHUT UP!” screamed Daltoneo. He lifted up his hand holding his wand. It glowed a faint blue colour and shapeshifted into an iron double-edged sword. He dashed towards Rose, who turned up the volume of her shrieks in response.
Mellany quickly moved, kicking Daltoneo’s hand holding the sword out of the way. Daltoneo turned and hit the wall instead of Rose. Rose gasped, seeing Daltoneo just a short distance away from her.
Mellany quickly hopped directly in front of Rose, fixing her fighting stance. “If you’re gonna fight, fight me.”
“Heh, what are you, a knight in shining armour?”
The intense glares between Mellany and Daltoneo nearly lit up the room with lightning. Mellany tightened up her stance, as Daltoneo readied his sword.
Rose’s face slowly started to dry up as she watched two small human-like figures with wings come into focus on Mellany’s shoulder. One of the creatures grabbed Mellany’s necklace and gently shook it.
Mellany could hear a quiet jingle in her left ear. She grabbed the pendant to fix its positioning.
Rose pulled herself up off the floor, using the wall for support. She rubbed her eyes with the back of her hand. “Mellany, the necklace!”
“Huh?” Mellany looked over her shoulder at Rose.
Daltoneo laughed, leaping forward. “Thanks, mermaid!”
Rose covered her mouth as Daltoneo slashed at Mellany. Mellany tumbled backwards, falling at Rose’s feet.
Daltoneo then went in for another swing. Rose jumped out of the way and Mellany rolled to the side.
Rose stumbled across the room, while Mellany somersaulted backwards and got back up on her feet. Daltoneo reletentlessly slashed at her, finally backing her into the corner at the end of the corridor, between the water entrance way and the wall.
Daltoneo crept forward, flashing his teeth.
Mellany glanced around. Her face paled – there was no way she was escaping. Even if she could duck, Daltoneo could easily slash at her again.
She clasped her necklace and closed her eyes. I don’t want to die!
At that moment, words pushed through her throat and out her mouth, in a language she had never heard before. She wasn’t even sure it was real, not that she had much time to think about it – Daltoneo was coming to her in slow-mo and there was a bright glow coming from a short distance below her, filling up her vision. She closed her eyes as the light seemed to cover her.
The light faded and her hands felt heavy. She opened her eyes and saw that in her hands was now a staff topped with a 7-pointed star in the same colours as her necklace. Although there was no more light, Mellany could feel power puslating through her fingertips, into the body, and back out into the staff.
Her eyes looked up and time seemed to move forward again. In an instant, she positioned the staff diagonal across her body. Daltoneo’s sword clashed with its center and bounced off.
Daltoneo was horrified.
Rose cheered. “I KNEW the fairies wouldn’t fail you!”
Daltoneo gritted his teeth, slashing forward once more.
“I don’t know any fairies,” replied Mellany, clashing Daltoneo’s sword with her staff. The force pushed the wizard backwards, enough for Mellany to move out of the way.
Daltoneo and Mellany began to dance around the room, their sword and staff respectively clanking and crashing with each other.
Mellany could feel something she could only describe as a stream of electricity work its way up through her fingertips and up to her lips and her brain. As she continued knocking away Daltoneo’s sword slashes, she could see in her mind a powerful blast coming from the top of the staff.
Daltoneo pulled back his arm to slash once more.
Mellany shifted her staff’s position and out from the star, just like her vision, came a powerful blast of light.
How…? Mellany furrowed her brow.
Daltoneo’s eyes widened as the light hit him in the stomach. His body slammed into the ground.
Mellany slammed her staff’s head into Daltoneo’s stomach. Words in the unknown language began to pour from her mouth once more. Her staff glowed a bright red light.
Daltoneo coughed up blood. HIs eyes were filled with fear as he stared into Mellany’s.
“What are you?”
Mellany furrowed her brow. “I’m human.”
Daltoneo shook his head as his body disintergrated into nothing. “No, you’re not.”
He completely disappeared before Mellany could say anything back.
Mellany stared at the place Daltoneo once had been. Rose stared at Mellany.
“Mellany, that was AMAZING!” exclaimed Rose. Mellany stood up as Rose dashed over. The former mermaid wrapped her arms around her and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
‘No, you’re not…’
Rose continued to smile at Mellany, despite Mellany was lost in thought.
Rose smile grew bigger. She looked at Mellany with glittering eyes. “Can you turn me back into a human now?”
Mellany snapped out of her daze. She briefly looked at her staff and back to Rose. She scratched the back of her head. “Yeah…I…I guess. But…I don’t know how.”
Mellany heard faint bells once more rush past both of her ears and up the stairs. Rose’s head turned in timing with the fading chimes. “I think they want us to follow them!”
Rose began running up the stairs. “Come on!”
Mellany hesitantly followed Rose.