“You really want to do this?”
Seibrum glanced back at Fue-chan, who was gazing at him with a skeptical expression. He chuckled slightly, “Of course I do. There’s always hope, ne?”
She frowned slightly, “As long as we’re alive.”
“And that,” he winked, touching her nose with his index finger, “is just what I’m trying to achieve.”
With that, he held out his hand for her. With a sigh, she took it, and the background of the main room faded into the dark beauty of Jackiland. As soon as they were there, he let go of her hand and began off.
Hurrying to catch up with him, she breathlessly pursued, “But, Seibrum, it’s so incredibly risky!! Only, like, 2 out of 900 actually get immortality! That’s /not/ a good percentage!”
He glanced at her, “I’m not doing anything tonight, Fue-chan. I’m just checking everything out. Besides,” he gazed back ahead of him, his expression serious, “I want Ketsu by my side when I do anything.”
Fue-chan watched him with a worried expression, but turned back to watch where she was walking, silent once more.
The elf broke out of his revere, glancing down at her as they hurried along the dark woods, “So. What’s on your mind?”
Fue-chan blinked, glancing at him, “Huh?”
He grinned knowingly, “All night, you’ve had this...look in your eyes. Like, something you’ve been thinking about lately is weighing heavily on you.”
She gazed in front of her with troubled eyes, “Just...stuff.”
“Stuff, hmm? I take it, it’s love stuff.”
She didn’t reply.
“Ah, but I thought you had paradise, child,” he smiled softly, “together and happy with your man.”
Fue-chan frowned slightly, “I tend to doubt love can ever stay paradise for too long.”
“The cynical one once more?”
She glanced sharply at him, “No! No, I just...” she glanced down nervously, still hurrying along to keep up with his long strides, “love’s never been complete paradise for me. I’ve nothing else to know.”
“Hmmm... Is it about Jerome?”
He cocked a grin, “Do tell, kiddo. What’s going on?”
But they had reached a dark lake surrounded by colorful flowers, the insects flying silently and gracefully around the mirror surface. Fue-chan forced a smile, gazing at it, “And here we are.”
Seibrum gazed at her a moment longer before nodded and kneeling by the water’s edge, motioning for her to also. She carefully knelt down, and he murmured to her, “How do you call them?”
She cocked an eyebrow, “How should I know? They just...pop up when they feel like it, as far as I know...”
“Hmmm...that may present a problem,” the elf frowned, staring down into the now black water, “is there anyway we could get their attention?”
“Yeah, just bring Jerome here,” Fue-chan commented, her tone slightly annoyed and sarcastic.
“Uh...never mind....”
Seibrum gazed down into it more, his brow furrowed, raking his brain for something to be able to do, when he suddenly realized he wasn’t staring at his own face in the starry reflection. His emerald eyes widening, he stumbled back as face emerged from the water, pale skinned and dark eyed. She slowly pulled her upper torso out of the water to sit forward on the land, her raven hair long in front of her ears and short in the back and sides, falling a little over her eyes. She gazed at the two silently with dark, intense eyes, taking in everything around her.
Fue-chan stared, wide-eyed, “You...you’re different from the one last time!”
The mermaid gazed at her boredly, “Well, yes, we tend to differ in appearance since we’re different people.”
Fue-chan blinked, then frowned, wondering, ‘are all female mermaids such bitches?’
Seibrum stared at the mermaid, also large eyed, but leaned forward a little, “You’re a mermaid, aren’t you, miss?”
The raven haired mermaid turned to gaze to Seibrum, and her disposition immediately changed. Her dark eyes sparked adoringly, as she pulled herself further out of the water to sit on the land’s end, revealing a beautiful tail, irredescent and glass-like, like many strips of cut diamond. She smiled at the elf, winking slightly, “I’ll be whatever you want me to be, cutie.”
Seibrum blinked, realizing he was being hit on, then frowned embarrassedly, clearing his throat, “Nice to meet you, Miss....?”
“Just call me Cephiria,” the mermaid laughed a little, a beautiful tinkly sound, now stretching out her hand for him to kiss, displaying her topless chest.
Seibrum’s eyes flickered slightly to the area in shock,then quickly up to her hand, taking it embarrassedly and kissing it softly. Silently, he hoped the night’s mask would cover his blush, murmuring, “I’m Seibrum, Miss.”
Fue-chan, watching all this amusedly, quite acquainted with the situation, smiled cheerfully, “Hi, I’m Fue-chan!”
Cephiria glanced at her, cocking an annoyed eyebrow, “Ah. Nice to know,” with that, she quickly turned back to Seibrum, smiling flirtatiously, “So, what are you doing in this area, darlin’?”
Fue-chan sighed silently, settling down for another boring night of being ignored by slutty mermaids, while Seibrum cleared his throat again, “Actually, I came to ask your assistance.”
Cephiria’s eyes lit up, “Oh, whatever it is, just name it!”
The elf frowned harder, “Well, miss, you see...it’s not that easy. I’m...searching for eternal life.”
The mermaid’s eyes flicked confusedly, then she seemed to get it, “Oh....So. You’re on the quest for mermaid’s flesh.”
Seibrum bit his lip, trying his best to word it as not to offend her, “Well, yes. Mainly, I was wondering a little bit more about it.”
Cephiria gazed down, “What’s to know? You kill a mermaid, eat her flesh, and you get eternal life.”
Fue-chan cut in, “But it’s not so easy, right? There are many different possibilities than eternal life, aren’t there?”
“Well, of course...” Cephiria glanced at the girl, “our flesh is like poison.”
“If you don’t mind, miss, what are the different possibilities?”
“The first is death. Because our flesh is poison, it kills many right on the spot. The other is turning into a horrible, blood-thirsty monster. And there’s also turning into a monster-your species hybrid.”
Seibrum looked miserable, to be frank. Gazing down at his hands, he realized this wasn’t going to happen. And again, he’d have to search for another way.
Cephiria watched him closely, then softened her tone, “Hey, hon, cheer up. What do you need eternal life for anyway?”
“Love,” he answered simply.
Cephiria looked slightly disgusted, but smiled, pulling herself along the shore to Seibrum, raising her arms to drape herself along him, “You could just stay with me. The rest of our lives. Who needs love when you can have happiness the rest of your days in the sea with a mermaid, hmm?” she smiled suggestively, running a finger down his cheek slowly, her face very close to his.
Alarmedly, he gently released himself from her grasp, scooting back, “Love isn’t like that, Miss....”
She looked half disappointed, half annoyed, but shrugged a little grudgingly, “There are ways to tell if you’ll die or not.”
Seibrum’s eyes lit up hugely, “There are?? How??”
The mermaid gazed down at her nails, examining them, “Oh, our elder. They’re usually pretty good at that.”
“Great!! Can you get her??”
Cephiria gazed at him a moment longer with an unreadable expression before saying, “Come back tomorrow at the same time.”
With that, she scooted back to the water and pushed herself in, disappearing immediately.


Seibrum came back the next time, wanting to have gone alone, but Fue-chan insisted on going. Hugging onto his arm worriedly as they walked through the dark woods once more, she glanced at him, “Seibrum...this is so stupid. Let’s just go back, ne?”
Seibrum sighed a little, “It’s not stupid. It’s important...to me. And I have to find out. At least find out.”
“It IS stupid!” she insisted stubbornly, “you’re endangering your life!”
“I haven’t made any decisions!” he softened his tone, “ I just...I have to check it out. I owe that much to myself.”
She scowled a little, staring ahead of her, “I’m still mad at you.”
“Then why are you hanging off me?”
She blinked, glancing up to see him grinning, and was about to retort smart-assedly, but sunk a little, “Because...I miss you.”
He smiled warmly at her, “I miss you too, Fue-chan. But it’s not like when I leave I’m never coming back.”
“I know...” Fue-chan searched the darkness slightly, “I just...you’re one of my best friends. My big brother when Aza’s not around.”
The elf chuckled, “Your protector from Zei. I know.”
The reached the lake once more and Fue-chan sighed, letting him go, “Well, go to it.”
Seibrum nodded at her briefly, sitting down at the edge of the lake once again. He sat silently, focused and prepared, his dark eyes intense in the light of the moon. Fue-chan stood back a ways, leaning against a tree and watching him with a troubled expression.
Seibrum.....Seibrum.... the wind rushed around him, forming words in his head, murmuring to him.
Seibrum.... find us....
Child of Amortus Seibrum.....
Child of Fersaria... Seibrum... take us.... we will..
Your destiny.... you shall.....live....
destined to live..... see us....take us...have us......
Seibrum.....take us... listen.. child of elves...
take us with you.... Seibrum...
take me with you.... listen....you shall hear.....
Can you? your fate...Seibrum......

Letting out a startled, choked cry, he felt his eyes close, the tears slipping from them, not even sure why. He was....these voice....who were they...? He vaguely heard Fue-chan cry out a warning to him before he felt wet hands on his arms. His eyes snapping open, he met the gaze of Cephiria’s dark eyes, before he was pulled with incredible force into the water by her and the wind that had been in his head. He felt the water close around him, warm from the day’s sun, but dark as darkness could ever be. He still felt Cephiria’s hands on his arms, and choked a moment in the water. Suddenly, he could see her face, moving closer towards his and very suddenly pressing her own mouth against his. Panickedly, he pushed her away, his eyes confused and resisting. And immediately, he heard a voice in his head, her tinkly voice, “Moron. Do you want to drown?”
And he understood. She was giving him air. He watched her, her impish face a moment more for nodding an okay, struggling to hold his breath as it was. Nodding back, she closed the difference between them, covering his mouth with her own. He took in the air she gave him, his lungs stinging from the lack of it, and barely noticed them swimming further down to in the water. Thinking back to her, he asked confusedly, “Where are you taking me?”
“Ah, so you’re a telepath. I’m taking you down to the elder.”
“She won’t come up?”
“HE won’t, no.”
Seibrum blinked a little, under the water. So it’s a he. That’s rather unusual. He briefly wondered if he would be able to breath down where the elder was, or whether he would have to be lip-locked with Cephiria the entire time they talked.
The farther they went down into the water, the darker and the colder it became. Seibrum could only see Cephiria’s face against his and nothing else around them. He could feel things around him: seaweed, different animals, various things, but it was unnerving not to be able to see them.
But out of the corner of his eye, he saw a glimmer of light. He tried to turn to see more of it, but his position with Cephiria didn’t allow it. They were swimming closer and closer to it however, and finally, the reached what appeared to be a ball of light. Seibrum stared at it as much as he could, wondering how there could possibly a ball of light energy under the water. Cephiria didn’t bother saying anything to him, but swam towards it till she reached out and touched it. Instantly, a huge flash of light enveloped them, and the next Seibrum saw when he opened his eye was more water. But this was different. Cephiria was no longer supplying him air, but rather was next to him, hanging off his arm in the fashion Fue-chan had, but he found he could breath. It felt like air around him, like oxygen, but it was still water. He tried to open his mouth to speak, but all the came out was bubbles and mumblings.
Cephiria smiled softly next to him, saying in his head, “We’re still under water, so you can’t talk. Just communicate through minds.”
And very suddenly, he heard a soft voice in his head, the voice of a man, gentle and soothing, “Come, my boy, and let these old eyes see you.”
Seibrum looked around for the source of the voice, and shockedly let his gaze fall upon an old merman, hidden away in the corner of the room. He has long, light green hair, wavy and thinning, his face aged and wrinkled. His tail was a dark, simple teal, but long and beautiful with intricate scale patterns and beaded fins. He gazed at Seibrum with the saddest, oldest eyes the elf had ever seen, the darkest brown and so...deep.
Slowly, Seibrum stepped closer to the old merman at his request, swallowing largely and suddenly unsure of what to say.
The merman smiled warmly at him, “Ah, I’m honored with the presence of an elf,” he bowed his head, “what brings you to the water, elf child?”
Seibrum, staring at him, felt such warmth and comfort from this old man, like being a young child again, being wrapped up in a warm blanket on a cold, rainy day, being held by the one you love, eating your favorite food, playing in the leaves on a clear autumn day. Unable to take all the emotions, he sank to his knees before the elder, dropping his gaze. This man...he felt so holy, Seibrum could barely look upon him, “Chief elder, Sir, I come in the quest for eternal life.
The elder looked upon him, “Please do not bow to me, child.”
Seibrum looked to him sadly, “I feel I cannot do anything to help it.”
The merman’s eyes smiled, “You’re a very noble boy. Please, tell me your story.”
Seibrum tried to sigh and found he couldn’t except in his mind, “I am in love with an immortal. I swore to search for immortality so we could be together forever, and not put them thru the pain of death once more.”
“A noble boy you are indeed,” the chief decreed, “ and you come seeking the mermaid’s flesh?”
Seibrum felt like the scum the earth, “Hai, Chief elder, Sir.”
“And you know the possible outcomes?”
“Hai, Chief elder, Sir.”

The merman gazed at him sadly, “You know how this could turn out. I hate to see such a lad throw his life away.”
Seibrum jerked his head up to him, “I was told, Sir, that you could detect my fate of taking in the mermaid’s flesh.”
The elder glanced at Cephiria, who merely bowed her head. He turned his gaze back to Seibrum, “I can, yes. It will be painful for you, my boy.”
The elf gazed at him pleadingly, “Just as long as you can tell me.”
With a soft sigh in his head, the merman nodded, “Of course. Take the pain well then, my boy.”
In an instant, the elder was in front of Seibrum and gave no warning before thrusting his hand and arm through Seibrum’s chest. Blood shot out from the wound, separating from the water and forming different formations in it. Seibrum could feel it, feel it as a hole ripped through his skin, through his chest, insides, the excruciating pain of being stabbed through. He let out a trembling cry of pain, his body falling limp against the old man’s, wincing and gasping in sheer pain as the old man reached farther into him. He felt his consciousness waver, fading, yet he could still feel the pain clearly. He sobbed it hurt so bad, so awfully, coughing up blood into the dark waters, attempting to remain conscious. It hurts so bad....so bad....
“Think of your loved one...”
He heard the elder’s voice, very distantly, very weakly in his head, and tried with all his might to think of Ketsu, to take his mind off the pain. Ketsu’s hair, Ketsu’s eyes, Ketsu’s smile, Ketsu’s body...the way he holds me, the way he frowns, his kisses, his moans, his touch, his scent, his laugh....the pain barged through once again, and he cried out sharply, tearfully. Make it stop....please....
“Ketsu....think of Ketsu, boy!”
Sobbing, he pictured his lover in his head, struggled to remember scenes, memories they already had together. The way Ketsu had held him tonight...kissed his temple...Seibrum let out another sob of pain as the merman dug deeper. It hurts....it hurts so badly....Ketsu’s grin, the way he grins when he gets perverted...his face when he’s annoyed with me....another shout of pain. Ketsu’s short little laugh...the way he knows I’m ticklish and always uses it...
And suddenly, it all receded. The pain faded like volume going down on a radio, and his consciousness came back, slowly, but clearly. Cephiria was beside him, her arms around his back comfortingly, her pretty face worried, but knowing. And the elder..he now was a few feet back from the elf, staring at him. Seibrum quickly glanced down at his chest. There was a large hole in his shirt, but his skin was repaired, flawless. Only a whisp of a scar remained.
“Amazing...” the old merman murmured in his head, staring wide eyed at Seibrum, “simply amazing...”
Seibrum found his voice weakly in his head, choking out, “What is it?”
The merman continued to stare, his old eyes large, “You...you are destined to live. You are destined to live forever.”
The elf stared at him. Could he....was he speaking the truth?? He would live forever??
“If you eat the mermaid’s flesh, you will not become a monster, or it’s hybrid... That is certain.”
“And what of dying?”
Seibrum asked desperately.
“You will not die....” the elder spoke quietly, “however.”
He stared at Seibrum seriously, “There is always the chance. Your chance has been dropped to 3%.”
“3% chance of dying?”

The merman nodded, “Your soul is destined to live. Only the 3% could end you.”
Seibrum could hardly believe what he was hearing. He could...he could do it! He could take in the mermaid’s flesh and survive! And...and be with Ketsu forever! He didn’t think he’d ever felt so happy in his life.
“But there’s the still the problem of supplying a little of our flesh for him,” Cephiria added wryly, suspicion high in her voice. Seibrum felt his heart sink, and was back to scum. They’d never forgive him...
“I will give him Thyurea.”
Cephiria jerked her head up to the elder, “Chief, no! You couldn’t!”
“I can, and I will. A chance like this is not be passed up.”
the elder said firmly.
Seibrum gazed between them, “Thyurea?”
The merman glanced at Seibrum sadly, “My late wife. She died a year ago, and that is all. Her remains should be used in a chance like this, not lying in a tomb.”
Seibrum stared at him. His...wife? He wanted him to take his late wife? The feelings all came back to him, the love for the elder, and he felt tears well up in his eyes, overwhelmed, “Chief....”
“I’ll not be argued with,” the chief confirmed, “Thyurea lived her life to help the pure hearted. She’d be touched to be able to help them even in her death.”
Seibrum’s lower lip quivered slightly, his voice in his head the faintest whisper, “Thank you....so much...”
The elder’s eyes smiled warmly at him, glowing, “You’re welcome, my elf child. You are ever so welcome.”
“I....I need to repay you,” Seibrum choked out, “anything I can. Please, please name it.”
The chief seemed to laugh, a rich sound, “I will keep that in mind. For now, do not keep the priestess waiting much longer.”
Seibrum cocked an eyebrow, thinking, “Priestess...?”
“The small one with dark hair. She’s frightened and cold.”
Seibrum immediately understood, “Oh, Fue-chan!” worriedly, he cursed himself for leaving her alone so long. Taking a large breath in his mind, he gazed at the chief, wanting to say so much, and not finding any words to fit.
The merman smiled at him, “Don’t say anything, not to me. Come whenever you need her, and I will grant you Thyurea.”
Seibrum took his advice, not saying anything and simply tried to express all the things he was feeling into his expression, before turning to Cephiria.
“Would you take me back, please?”
The mermaid pouted cutely, “You’re not staying with me then?”
He smiled warmly, “And then what would the point of all this be?”
With a loud sigh, she nodded, taking his arm and beginning to lead him out. Seibrum turned once more to glance at the chief, feeling all the feelings once more before the flash of light hit again, and he left the elder’s chamber.