Boro’s guide turns out to have a claim lain on the spot right at the sapphire streams bend. A bright pink and black plaid blanket is strewn across the ground, small white crystals woven through out it. A basket sets beside it; flowers peeking out from around the woven handle.
There’s no one there.
MeaZea frowns. “I thought you said this is where she would be?”
“It is, it is. No worries at all, my pretty little mermaid! Just have a seat and Elkah will be here in no time at all,” assures Boro, with a grin that shows off his very sharp fangs.
The fire dragon does just that – drops right down on the blanket and lets the tip of his tail dip into the water. It ripples around the spade tip, liquid and solid at all at one. Water and gemstone and something in between, something wonderful that catches and holds MeaZea’s attention.
“You can go for a swim,” laughs Boro. “I know that it doesn’t look like regular water but, so long as the sun is up, it’s perfectly fine to get in.”
“Oh, that would be wonderful!” says MeaZea, as WooFZee kneels down beside the stream. She slips into the water with a bright smile, letting it wash over her. Beneath the surface, everything is shining. It’s like no other body of water that the mermaid has ever been in before, gleaming and glinting over her scales.
When she surfaces a few moments later, there is a new set of eyes watching her. Elkah, thinks MeaZea, she must be Elkah.
The centaur stands proud and tall, full lips twisted up in amusement. Where her top half`is that of a huntress, lean and beautiful, her lower half is that of a deer. Flowers with petals of garnet and topaz have been twined into her fire-brand hair and wrapped around the bow strapped to her back.
“Are you enjoying the stream?” asks Elkah, softly.
“I am,” responds MeaZea. She reaches out and offers Elkah her hand. “You must be Elkah. Boro said that you could help us.”
After a small pause, Elkah shakes MeaZea’s hand. Her gaze shifts to the fire dragon, lips twisting down ever so slightly. “I’m sure that he did. Tell me, is he asking something of you in exchange for showing you my camp?”
Before MeaZea can answer, Boro lurches to his feet. “Now, now! It’s only fair, Elkah. These kind travelers need a guide out to the ember caverns. They want to visit the hot springs. You’re going to charge them a fair amount. Isn’t it only right if I do the same?”
Elkah unhooks the bow from her back and rests one end of it on the ground, propping her forearm on the other. “Get off my blanket, Boro, and away from my customers. The deals they make with you aren’t my concern. I’m not going out of my way for you.”
“I wouldn’t ask it, darling,” says Boro, giving the deer-centaur a winning smile. Then he’s lumbering off into the crowd with a shouted, “don’t forget my feathers!”
Katelynn E Koontz – Author