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The Night of the Walking Siren

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In the distance, the pirate ship was now just a burning eyesore on the water, any bodies floating around it had long washed away, been devoured, or sunken deep below the surface and out of sight.

Weiss had built a smaller blaze on the beach, one fueled by driftwood and fallen leaves rather than alcohol, gunpowder, and wood soaked in the blood of innocents and scoundrels both. It was a challenge to keep it going without straying too far from Ruby and risking her being attacked by wild animals or suddenly succumbing to her injuries but somehow, Weiss managed.

It was night when Ruby finally came to, groggy, groaning, and pale, but alive. "Weiss...?" she whispered.

Weiss jumped, her siren tail sweeping aside sand as she hurried over to Ruby’s side. "I'm here," she said as she unconsciously reached out to touch Ruby’s cheek.

"Are you alright?" Ruby whispered, a faint smile on her lips.

Weiss groaned and rolled her eyes. "Do you really think you should be the one asking that question right now?"

Ruby chuckled. "I'll take that as a yes," she said as she reached up and put her hand over Weiss'.

For a few moments, they sat in comfortable silence, just quietly looking at each other, feeling the warmth radiating from Ruby's body and the slightly slimy, cold, but not unpleasant texture of Weiss' skin.

Then, Ruby's expression turned serious, she asked, "What happened to the lamp?"

"I've got it," Weiss said as she picked it up, something noisily sloshed about inside it.

"Is it full of seawater?" Ruby asked.

"I figure for all the trouble that djinn put us through I'd get us some payback," Weiss said as she tilted it over and let it drain for a while. "Here, I think it’s dry enough,” she said as she handed it over to Ruby.

Ruby nodded before she rubbed the side with her hands. Instead of the hiss of smoke, there was a burbling sound, as if a pot of water just about to start steaming. Instead of a puff of smoke, the djinn appeared in a tiny rain cloud.

Her hair and clothes were soaking wet and sticking to her skin, her expression was flat as she spat out a stream of seawater.

"We've saved you from the pirates," Weiss said, pointing to the wreck in the distance, now a new permanent feature on the coast. "Now grant us our wish."

The djinn looked at the ship, narrowed her eyes at Weiss, then groaned. "Ugh. And here I was hoping you two would have drowned or burned to death along with them..."

"Wish," Ruby snapped, uncharacteristically angry and scowling. "Now."

"Fine!" the djinn said as she threw her arms up. "What do you want?"

"I want legs," Weiss said. "Land-walking legs that will let me join Ruby here on the ground so we aren't confined to places where there's enough water or I'm forced to travel in a barrel full of water."

"Preferably something that's also just as effective in combat and durable like her tail is!" Ruby added.

“You want legs?" the djinn said. "Then you've GOT legs."

She snapped her fingers, trails of smoke spewed out from them then started circling Weiss' tail, from the tips of her fins to where it transitioned to her humanoid half. She gasped and cried out in pain as her tail began to glow, Ruby tensed up and looked around for a weapon.

They relaxed as the smoke disappeared, Weiss' lower half stopped glowing, and the of them examined her new legs...

"Are these a dragonoid's legs?!" Weiss yelled.

"Holy crap!" Ruby said, impressed. "Look at those talons and that muscle, it looks like you could rip apart a shark just by scratching it!"

"You've got your legs, now I'm out of here!" the djinn said as she disappeared back into her lamp, the metal began to glow.

"Hey, wait!" Weiss said as she reached out to her—only to end up grasping nothing but empty air and Ruby's hands, the djinn was gone. She groaned then used almost every swear she knew in both the common tongue and the siren's language.

A few minutes later, after Weiss had run out of curses and calmed down some, Ruby carefully said, "At least you've got legs now...?"

"Legs that will get us in trouble in every town and port from here till the edge of the Forsaken Lands!" Weiss cried, lifting one large, clawed, scaled, and muscular reptilian leg. "Now people will mistake me for an entirely different dangerous monster species with a long, storied history of destroying towns and eating people!"

"Well, I mean they're still land-walking legs and it's not like we don't end up wanted in plenty of places already?" Ruby asked, shrugging.

Weiss sighed as she put her leg down, sand exploded around it. "Leave it to you to see the bright side in everything by failing to see everything else..."

Ruby winced then smiled. "Want to practice walking? I've always wanted to know what it's like to take a stroll on the beach while holding your hand..." she said as she offered hers.

Weiss grumbled as she took it. "We stay as far apart as possible, alright? I don't want to risk chopping off your toes if I step on you with these..."

Together, they slowly got up and Weiss took her first few uneasy steps on land. Several times, she almost fell, Ruby had to hold and support her with both hands and all her strength.

“How do you feel?" Ruby said as she held Weiss' hand, Weiss struggled to stand up on her two new legs without wobbling.

“Strange," Weiss muttered. "I think it'll be a long while before I get the hang of these..."

“We'll find some way to manage like we always do," Ruby said. "At least I know one thing for sure, though."

“And what is that?” Weiss asked.

“I’m definitely taller than you,” Ruby said, smiling.

Weiss groaned and shook her head. "You're lucky I don't know how to strike with these legs yet..." she said, turning her face away so Ruby wouldn't see her smile.