"I don't want you to go."
Aerielle gazed into the fire between them. Her chin resting on her broadsword's hilt. The flames crackled and popped. She dare not look at him for it would be her undoing.
"You know I must," she whispered.
He stirred and she allowed herself a brief glance at her prince, Eric, who had been at her side this entire time. Who had fought fiercely back to back with her. Who loved her like no one ever had. His beautiful face glowed in the light. His pale blue eyes pleading with her.
He took in a deep breath. "I know, " he said gruffly, "I don't have to like it."
They had been through so much already it was hard to believe the time was finally here. She didn't know when she would ever see him again, if ever. But her people needed her now. It was the only reason she stayed in the first place. To learn how to fight on land, as well as in the sea.
Aerielle's father, King Triton, was not well. She would be the one to hold the trident. To send the intruders to their doom. They would never see her coming when she left the water and fought on land.
She stood and reached out her hand to Eric.
Together they walked to the water's edge. She took off her armored pants and sat down, allowing the water to wash over her legs until they transformed into a glimmering tail. Eric knelt down and helped her with her armor over her tail. It was heavy but she was used to it now, having practiced for years swimming with it.
She checked her bag for her weapons and Flounder's armor. She was ready. Then she looked up at Eric. God, his face was beautiful but she saw beyond his beauty now. She saw his raw emotions; the depth of his soul; the crinkles forming in the corners of his eyes; the worried frown and furrowed black brows.
"It's time," she murmured.
He kissed her hard then nodded and stood. The tide rushed over her tail as if it was pulling her back into the sea. She drifted in until she was fully emerged.
"Stay alive!" he shouted.
"I love you, Eric." And with that she dove.