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Total Eclipse

Chapter Text

 

Even over the sea, Ririka could smell the blood on her. When she breathed in, it filled her with familiar hunger that haunted her dreams. Except now it disgusted her, leaving a horrible taste in her mouth, because she knew where it came from.

“Is it done?” She asked. She stood on a rocky shore, staring over the sea, her back to her sister.

“You know it is,” Kirari said. Although Kirari was angry, her voice still kept its seductive edge, that alluring texture she could never completely erase. “No thanks to you.”

Ririka glanced back over her shoulder at Kirari. Even in the dull light of the moon, Kirari’s platinum hair glistened, and her fair skin seemed to glow. Fresh from eating, she looked even more beautiful than she had a few hours before.

A few droplets of blood splattered Ririka’s clothes, but Kirari had mostly been spared from it, except for her right hand. It was stained crimson up to her elbow.

Ririka’s stomach rolled with both hunger and disgust, and she turned away again.

“Ririka.” Kirari sighed and walked over to her. “You know it had to be done.”

Ririka didn’t say anything for a moment. She just listened to the way the ocean sang to her, the water calling for her.

“I know,” Ririka said finally, hoping her words didn’t betray her true feelings. “But the timing is awful. We should’ve waited.”

“I couldn’t wait anymore,” Kirari insisted, and Ririka wasn’t sure if that was true or not. But kirari had made a decision, and Kirari always got what she wanted.

“We don’t have much time.” Ririka gestured to the moon, nearly full above them, then looked over at Kirari.

“I know. But I already told you, I’ve had my eye on someone.” Kirari smirk widely at her, showing her devouring expression and her razor-sharp teeth. “And it won’t be long before she’s ours.”

Chapter Text

 

In a not so far away from the shore, a certain rebellious blonde let out a painful groan as she tries to start her car’s engine.

“Dumbass shit!” She curses out loud.

For the twentieth times, her not-so-young  car still lets out a grumpy noises hinting that it won’t be starting anytime soon. She’d worked her ass off to pay for this car.

“Curse that old creep! The car’s dead!” The blonde kicks the wheel with her foot. Upset was an understatement. She was furious!

Just then, a certain dark-haired pops her head over the fence. She sighed before walking over to the blonde. It isn’t the first time the angry blonde has made a ruckus.

She peaks over the blonde’s shoulder and hummed.

“G-Gah!” The blonde jumped, “Igara- shit !”

Sayaka was Mary’s next door neighbor. They live in an isolated connected town house, far from other houses. Their location was nothing short of crappy. Surrounded by trees and pavement. But, it was perfect between the distance of their university and the beach.

The town Hyakkaou was a peaceful, small and a secluded town located along the shore of the Pacific Ocean. Not many people lives there, though during summer times, the town was flooded with tourists. Hyakkaou was known for its beauty of Mother Nature after all.

Mary had moved in right away after graduating from high school and Sayaka soon after. The two hated each other at first but soon, realized they were both bookworms and both got a large amount of portions of many scholarships.

Although they were the same in many aspects, Sayaka was more introverted and seems to keep most things to herself while Mary was the party animal. The blonde almost hosted a party every other weekends.

Mary was particularly popular in university and most students admire her. She was training to become a professional swimmer after all. Sayaka was annoyed at the blonde’s ruckus during the first year of their university’s times. However, this summer felt different. The blonde was more focused than ever on her training that she rarely invites her friends over. And in replacement of that, Mary would rather spent her time swimming at the bay. To say the least, Sayaka was proud of her decision.

“Apologies,” she nervously chuckled, “I was just a bit worried by all the commotion is all.”

“This old damn car won’t start is what the commotion is about.” The blonde groaned, “after all the investment I’ve put into this shit, this is a piece of junk!.”

“My friend can help you with that.” Sayaka offered, “she’s majoring in engineer after all.”

“You have friends?” Mary teases. At least she could get some fun out of this painful situation.

“She’s been my friends since middle school.” She retorted, getting annoyed now.

“You mean Iki- shit- ma?” Mary mocked.

Midari Ikishima. A girl who Mary couldn’t stand. Apparently she’s studying in mechanical engineer. But from the looks of it, the girl barely study. All she does it spend most of her time at the shooting range if she wasn’t at the library.

The dark haired girl nodded and sighed painfully. “I don’t understand where all these nicknames are coming from.”

“I don’t understand why she’s even working at the library. I mean that’s the last place I’d expect of her to pick as a summer job.”

“She’s actually really smart.” Sayaka answered plainly.

“Oh, I bet.” Mary rolled her eyes.

“Where were you going anyway?”

“Just to the bay,” she smirked, “you should come.” A very smart indirect way of Mary to ask Sayaka to hopefully drive her.

“You spent all day at the pool, and you still want to swim all night?” Sayaka frowned. “How does that work?”

“It’s different.” She shrugged, “swimming at the pool, it’s all laps and time. It’s work. Out in the bay, it’s just floating and splashing around.”

The dark-haired girl sighed painfully before she pulled her keys out of her pocket and swung them around her finger. She rolled her eyes when the blonde started to grinned heavily in front of her.

“Come on.” Sayaka walked over to her car and opened her door. “Hop in.”

“If you insist.” Mary giddily skipped over and hop right in.

Mary didn’t like imposing on people, but she didn’t want to pass up a chance at swimming. A car ride around with Sayaka wouldn’t hurt, either. Usually she only got to spend time with her neighbour over weekends, and It’s not like they’re close or anything. But over the months, Mary had come to love her company. Sayaka was wise beyond her years and the blonde finds it extremely enigmatic. Though she’ll never admit that in a million years.

“Don’t you get sick of being wet?” Sayaka asked when they got closer to the shore.

“Nope. That’s like asking you, Don’t you ever get sick of breathing air?”

Sayaka scoffed, “whatever.”

The beach was mostly deserted, other than a few teenagers having a bonfire, Mary directed Sayaka to drive a little farther. She parked on a dirt road as close to the water as she could.

When Sayaka cut the lights on her car, they were submerged in darkness. The only light came from the moon above them, and from some lights pollution off by the town.

“Is this really where you swim?” Sayaka asked.

“Yeah. It’s the best place to do it.” She grinned and got out of the car.

“But it’s all rocky.” Sayaka also got out of the car and scanned the mossy stones that covered the ground. “It seems dangerous.”

“That’s the point.” Mary smirked, giving Sayaka a wink, “nobody else would swim here.”

Mary slipped off her sundress, revealing the bathing suit she wore underneath. She pulled down the ribbons on her twin tails and shook her hair loose. She kicked off her flip-flop and tossed them in the car, along with her dress.

“Aren’t you going swimming?” Mary asked.

“I’m good. I’ll wait in the car until you’re done.”

“C’mon, Miss perfectionist, you drove me all the way here, you can’t just wait in the car.”

“I think I’m okay.” Sayaka stretched her arms, “it’s getting late anyways.”

“Sayaka, come on.” Mary insisted, “stop being such a loser for once.”

Sayaka rolled her eyes, “I don’t have swimming suit.”

“So? Just wear your undergarments.”

She thought about protesting further, but Mary had a point. Besides, swimming would be better than waiting.

“Fine, but I better not cut my feet on any rocks,” Sayaka said as she slipped off her shirt and pants.

“I promise to keep you safe and sound.” She crossed her hand over her heart to prove it, which only gaining a scoffed from Sayaka.

Mary went first, stepping delicately onto the rocks, from one smooth rock to the next until she reached the water.

“There are a few sharp stones when you step in the water.” She warned her.

“Thanks for the heads-up,” she mumbled and moved with as much caution as she could. Unlike Mary, Sayaka wasn’t as flexible or fitted as she tried following her path, which Mary made look so easy, proved to be rather treacherous, and she stumbled several times.

Once she made it in the water, Mary smiled proudly at her as she wades out deeper into the bay.

Sayaka was frowning, so in order to encourage her friend to have fun, Mary decided to challenge her. “I’ll race you to the rock over there.”

“What rock?”

“That one.” She pointed to a giant gray spike of rock that stuck out of the water a few yards from where they swam.

“You’ll beat me to it.” She said.

“I’ll give you a head start,” Mary offered.

“How much?”

“Um...five seconds.”

“Alright...” Sayaka seemed to weigh this. “I guess maybe I could—“ instead of finishing her thought, she dove into the water, swimming fast.

“I’m already giving you a head start!” Mary called after her, laughing. “You don’t need to cheat!”

Sayaka swam as furiously as she could, but it wasn’t long before Mary was flying past her. Mary was unstoppable in the water, and Sayaka had honestly never seen anything faster than her.

“I won!” Mary declared when she reached the rock.

“As if there was any doubt.” Sayaka swam up next to her and hung on to the rock to support herself.

“Maybe if you come swimming with me more often, you might just win.” Mary chuckled, just then, a light exploded in the cove behind her, distracting her.

The small cove was at the mouth of the bay, just before it met the ocean, about a quarter mile from where Mary and Sayaka floated.

Sayaka followed her gaze. A moment later, laughter sounded over the water. A fire flared inside the cove, the light flickering across the three dancing figures that fanned it. From this far away, it was difficult to get a clear view of what they were doing, but it was obvious who they were by the way they moved. Everyone in town in town knew of them, even if nobody really seemed to know them personally.

“It’s those girls,” Sayaka said softly.

The three girls were dancing with elegance and grace. Even their shadow, looming on the rock walls around them, seemed sensual in their movements.

“What are they doing here?” Sayaka asked.

“I don’t know.” Mary shrugged, continuing to stare at them, unabashed. “They’ve been coming out here more and more. They seem to like hanging out in that cove. I don’t know what they’re doing in town.”

“Me neither.” She looked over her shoulder to watch them again. “I’ve seen them at the cafe across from the library. They always order milk shakes. Didn’t there used to be four of them?”

“Yeah, I think so.” Mary squinted, trying to be sure she was counting right, “last time I saw them out here, there were four. But now there’s only three.”

“I wondered where the other one went.”

Mary and Sayaka were too far away to understand them clearly, but they were talking and laughing, their voices floating over the bay. One of the girls began singing— her voice as clear as crystal, and so sweet it almost hurt to hear. The melody pulled at Mary’s heart.

Sayaka was in the same boat, but instead of just watching them like Mary did, she found herself moving away from the rock, floating slowly toward them, but Mary barely noticed. Her focus was on the girls. Or, more accurately, on the one girl who wasn’t singing.

Kirari. Mary was sure of it, just by the way Kirari moved away from the two girls. Her perfectly braided hair hung down beside her ears. She walked with startling grace and purpose, her eyes straight ahead.

From this distance in the dark, Kirari shouldn’t have noticed her, but Mary could feel her eyes boring straight through her, sending chills down her spine.

“Sayaka,” Mary said in a voice that barely sounded like her own, “I think we should go.”

“What?” Sayaka replied dazedly, and that’s when Mary realized how far she’d swim away from her.

“Sayaka!” Mary now nearly shouting, “we need to get back. It’s late.”

“R-Right.” Sayaka shook her head, clearing it, and then swam back towards the shore.

Mary followed her carefully behind making sure Sayaka was escorted safely to shore.

Kirari, Ririka, Yumeko and Sumika had been in town since the weather started warming up, and people assumed they were the first tourists of the season. But nobody really knew who exactly who they were or what they were doing here.

All Mary knew was that she hated it when they came out here. It disrupted her night swims. She didn’t feel comfortable being in the water, not when they were out in the cove, dancing and singing and doing whatever it was they did.

Chapter Text

 

Mary found herself having a hard time sleeping that night. She couldn’t stop thinking about the way Kirari’s cold eyes piercing through hers as if that gaze has a purpose. It left a weird feeling inside of her. Twisting and turning around her bed did not help. Mary sighed loudly and painfully sitting herself up on her bed.

Peering through the curtains, she could see the light from Sayaka’s bedroom. She grabbed her phone from her bedside table, meaning to text her, but changed her mind.

Sayaka wasn’t the kind of friend Mary would talk about feelings with. She’s not like Itsuki or Ryota who Mary would pour her feelings out to. Sayaka was, simply put, Mary’s neighbour. Their only interaction was nothing short of just a few exchanges of words, waves and hellos, they’d never gone over to each other’s houses before, let alone stayed up late together.

Mary groaned and decided to open the lamp. She grabbed the blue nail polish so she could touch up her toenails. However, she gave up after one foot and curled up in bed. Within moments of her hitting the pillow, she was out.

By the time Mary woke up in the morning, her room was already filled with bright lights. A quiet noise of the rain pitter patter on the window. Being the late sleeper as she is, she never bothered checking the time to let it control her day. Though it’s summer and most students like Sayaka had a summer job, Mary’s only priority this summer was to swim as much as she could. She didn’t need to get a job. Just the scholarship for school and gifts from her friends, had her whole summer already all covered up with no worries.

Just then a knock came at the door. Mary lazily opened the door with much stubbornness.

“I made some takoyaki this morning,” Sayaka said, holding a plate full of takoyaki in-front of Mary. While being mindful of how early she had bothered Mary, usually she would just share her food with Midari but however, this morning, she felt like seeing Mary. “I cooked up the whole dozen, so you can have some.”

Mary raised her eyebrow, “Thanks,” she yawned as she took the plate. She was surprised by Sayaka. Usually she was the one who initiated their conversation. Let alone show up at the front door. Though they had become closer ever since this summer started, they weren’t friends to say the least. They were simply acquaintances. “Do you wanna come in?"

Sayaka smiled, “Thanks but I gotta get to the Library. I just thought I’d drop by and I don’t know say hi?” She laughed a little. She really hope Mary didn’t think she was a freak for that last statement.

“Why so early?” Mary leaned back on the door frame, “I thought the library opens at nine.”

“It does. But there’s some issues and I’m the one who opens the library today and I like to be punctual since it’s just me and Midari this morning.”

“Nerd.” Mary lopsided smirked at her playfully.

Sayaka rolled her eyes, “Whatever.” She stepped away from the door, “Anyways I’ll see you around.” She smiled.

Mary nodded, “Yes you will.”

Mary closed the door and smiled to herself. “Yes you will.” She whispered, placing a takoyaki inside of her mouth.

--

Since it’s raining, the library where Sayaka worked was a little busier than normal. Her best friend Midari called dibs on putting classy books and rearranging shelves, leaving Sayaka to help the library patrons to check out.

They had an automated system, so people could check out books without involving the clerks or the librarian, but some people never got the hang of it. Several other people had questions about late fees or reserving books, and a nice old lady needed help finding “that one book with the fish, or a whale, and a girl who falls in love.”

Near lunchtime the rain had let up, and so had what little rush the library had seen.

“Well, I’m glad that’s over.” Midari said, sighing out loud.

“If people didn’t come here, you would be out of a job.” Sayaka pointed out.

“Eh, I don’t really need a job. My parents are loaded.” Midari grinned, “I just wanted to spend the summer with you, my most beloved best friend in the whole wide world!” She expanded her arms out to hug Sayaka.

Sayaka groans, but let’s Midari hug her anyway. Part of her was glad that Midari was working with her. Her friend barely care about anything but Sayaka was one thing Midari made sure she prioritize.

“There they go again.” Midari said, letting go of Sayaka.

“There who go?” Sayaka asked as she followed Midari’s gazes towards the window.

Them!” Midari nodded.

Since the rain had stopped, the streets were once again flooded with tourists, but Sayaka saw exactly who Midari was talking about.

Kirari, Ririka and Yumeko strutted down the sidewalk. Kirari led the way. Sayaka had always thought her neighbour, Mary was the most beautiful girl in Hyakkaou. But ever since Kirari and her friends had come to town, that wasn’t even close to being true.

Kirari winked at Ryota Suzui as she walked past him, and he had to grab a bench to steady himself. He was the same age as Sayaka and goes to the same university. Though like Mary, they had barely talk or communicated. But Sayaka had seen him around campus following Mary around like a lap dog.

“Oh, that’s not nice at all.” Midari laughed as she Watched Ryota hang on to the bench. “They nearly gave him a heart attack.”

Sayaka frowned as she watches him collecting himself. Straightening up, Ryota awkwardly nodded his head and walked away.

“Didn’t there used to be four of them?” Midari asked.

“I think so.”

Privately, just like Mary, Sayaka felt a small sense of relief at knowing there was one fewer. She’d never thought of herself as prejudiced against anyone, even pretty girls, yet she couldn’t help feeling that this town and everyone in it would be better if Kirari and her friends left.

“I wonder what they’re doing here.” Midari said as the girls walked into the diner across from the library.

“Same thing as everyone else is doing here.” Sayaka tried to sound unfazed by their presence. “It’s summer vacation.”

“But they’re like movie stars or something.” Midari turned back to face Sayaka now that Kirari, Yumeko, and Ririka had disappeared inside the diner.

“Even movie stars need a vacation.” Sayaka grabbed her purse from underneath the desk. “I’m going to buy us lunches. I’ll be back in a little bit.”

”Take your time.” Midari said, taking out a revolver in her bag, licking it seductively, “I’ll be safe alone.” She laughed.

Sayaka sighed, “sometimes I wonder how we’re friends.”

“We’re friends because you love me!” Midari yelled out to her friend as Sayaka started walking away.

Sayaka hurried over to her car, hoping there wasn’t much traffic.  She’d just hopped in the car and started it when she glanced up. Kirari, Yumeko, and Ririka were sitting in a booth by the window at the diner.

The other two girls were sipping their drinks, behaving like normal customers, but Kirari stared out the glass, her cerulean eyes locked on Sayaka. Her full lips turned up in a smile. A guy might have found that seductive, and even Sayaka had found it quite alluring, but still, part of her found it strangely menacing.

She put the car in drive and sped off so quickly she nearly clipped another driver, and that was very unlike her. As she drove down the street towards her house, Sayaka once again thought about how much better it would be if Kirari would just leave.

 

Chapter Text

 

After she finished eating breakfast, Mary hurried about her Saturday morning routine. She cleaned out the fridge, throwing away old leftovers, before starting the dishwasher and taking out the garbage.

These days, she finished her chores a lot quicker than usual. Without throwing a party every Friday night, Mary actually didn’t have to do much cleaning.

Mary had training at the pool that day and the rain she’d predicted earlier that morning was coming down, a heavy garden shower. Knowing her car wouldn’t start up, she called Itsuki to drive her instead.

~

Mary leaned against the edge of the pool and took off her goggles. Her couch stood over her, and she could already tell by his expression that she’d beat her time.

“I did it right?” Mary asked, grinning at him.

“You did it,” Coach said.

“I knew it!” She grabbed the edge of the pool and pulled herself up and out of the water. “ I could feel it.”

“You did great.” Coach nodded. “Now just imagine how great you’d do if you didn’t waste your energy on those nightly swims.”

Mary groaned and took off her swim cap, letting her hair fall free. She looked around the empty pool. Nobody else on the swim team practiced during the summer, but then again, nobody trained as hard as she did.

They’ve recently spoke a lot about making it into the Olympics. Both Mary and the coach had their focus set on that. Even though Mary would be ready years away, she was determined to be in top form by the time they came around. Coach took her to every meet he could, and she won almost every time.

“It’s not wasted energy.” Mary stared down at the water that dipped around her feet. “It’s something fun I do. I need to relax.”

“You do,” Coach agreed, crossing his arms, holding the clipboard to him. “But you don’t need to be swimming at night.”

“You wouldn’t even know I was swimming if Itsuki didn’t narc on me,” Mary muttered.

“Your friend is worried about you,” Coach said gently. “And I am, too. It’s not about training. The bay is dangerous at night. Another boy went missing just the other week.”

“I know.” Mary sighed.

She’d already heard it a dozen times from itsuki. A nineteen-year-old boy had been staying at a beach house with his parents. He went out to meet some friends for a bonfire, and he never came back.

That story in itself didn’t sound that bad, but Itsuki was quick to remind Mary of the two other boys who had gone missing in the last couple of months. They left one night, and simply didn’t come home.

Oftentimes, Mary would just scoffed at Itsuki explaining that maybe those guys just wanted to get out of town. They were old enough anyways. Hell, if Hyakkaou University wasn’t as competitive and prestigious school, Mary would’ve left town a long time ago.

“Just be careful,” Coach told her, “it’s not worth throwing all this away for some stupid mistake.”

“I know,” Mary said, this time with more convinction. After all the hard work and sacrifice, she wasn’t about to let any of this slip away from her.

“Okay,” Coach said. “But Mary, that was a great time today. You should be proud.”

“Thanks. I’ll do even better tomorrow.”

“Don’t push yourself too hard,” Coach said, smiling at her.

“All right.” She smiled back and pointed to the locker room behind her. “I’m gonna hit the showers now.”

“Try to do something fun tonight that doesn’t involve water, Okay? It’ll be good for you.”

“Yes, sir.” Mary saluted him as she walked backward to the lockers, and he laughed.

She showered quickly, mostly just rinsing the chorine from her hair. All the time in the water should’ve left her with crazy dry skin, but she used baby oil every time she dried off. It was the only thing prevented her from turning into an alligator.

Mary rolled her eyes, thinking about her coach’s words. Did the coach really want her to become that party animal again? Mary shivers at the thought. The thought of always ending up passing out in the middle of the night in her own house. Good thing she had Ryota who always seemed to be the sober one and making sure no harm was done to Mary.

The rain had come back, pouring down twice as hard as it had earlier. Mary flipped the hood up over her head, regretting to informed Itsuki that she might need a ride home too, when a horn honked behind her.

“Do you need a lift?” Sayaka asked, rolling down the car window.

Mary hesitate before she spoke, “are you sure?”

“Just hop in!” Sayaka smiled, tilting her head for Mary to come in.

Mary thought about it for a second before running over and hopping in Sayaka’s car. She tossed her gym bag in the backseat and buckled up.

“I just got off work, and I saw you standing  so I thought I’d see if you needed a ride,” Sayaka said as she pulled away from the gymnasium.

“Thanks.” Mary turned the vents so the heat would blow directly on her. “The rain gets pretty cold.”

“How was practice today?”

“Good.” Mary shrugged. “I beat my best time.”

“Really?” Sayaka sounded genuinely excited and smiled over her. “That’s amazing! Congratulations!”

“Thank you.” She smiled, leaning back in the seat. She side glanced over at Sayaka after a comfortable moment of silent. “Hey, are you doing anything tonight?”

“Not that I could think of.” Sayaka said, looking over at her, “Why?”

“Oh, Um...” Mary blinked, “nothing.”

“What? Are you gonna ask me out on a date?” Sayaka teases, grinning.

“What!” Mary eyes widened, her cheek redden, “No!”

Sayaka laughed, “I’m just teasing. I know you have all these hot men and women lining up for you.”

Mary rolled her eyes, “whatever.” She mumbled.

She didn’t like being viewed as an object. Those men and women Sayaka mentioned only fancied her because she was a star on the swimming team and they’d do anything for her attention. But that was it. They didn’t know the real her and they never will.

“There are only three,” Sayaka said, pulling Mary from her thoughts.

“What?” Mary looked over to see Kirari, Ririka, and Yumeko walking down the street.

Sayaka stared at the three girls through the windshield. It was pouring rain, but they didn’t have any jackets on and didn’t seem to mind. If it had been anybody else, she would’ve offered them a ride, but she purposely sped up as she drove past them.

“There’s only three.” Mary turned to Sayaka. “What happened to the fourth one?”

“I don’t know.” Sayaka shook her head. “Maybe she’s sick.”

“Nah, I don’t think so.” Mary rested her head on the seat and leaned back. “What was her name?”

“Sumika, I think,” Sayaka said. She’s heard their names from Midari, who’d heard them from the diner, who usually was pretty accurate when it came to town gossip.

“Sumika,” Mary repeated. “What a stupid name.”

“I’m sure plenty of people think our names are stupid,” Sayaka pointed out.

“I’m just saying,” Mary turned around the watch the diminishing figures of the three girls. “Do you think they killed her?”

“Don’t say things like that,” Sayaka said, although the idea had actually crossed her mind. “That’s how rumours get started.”

“I’m not spreading a rumour.” Mary rolled her eyes. “I’m asking you what you think.”

“Of course I don’t think they killed her.” Sayaka hoped she sounded more convinced than she felt. “She’d probably sick or went back home or something. I’m sure everything is fine.”

“But there is something off with those girls,” Mary said reflectively, more to herself than to Sayaka. “There’s something not quiet right.”

“They’re just pretty girls. That’s all.”

“But nobody knows where they came from,” Mary insisted.

“It’s a tourist season. Nobody knows where anybody’s from.” Sayaka rounded a corner and turned to her friend, meaning to admonish her feeding the gossip.

“Watch out!” Mary screamed, and Sayaka slammed on the breaks just in time to stop herself from driving over Kirari and Ririka.

For a minute neither Sayaka nor Mary said anything, not that Sayaka could hear anything over the pounding of her own heart: Kirari and Ririka stoood directly in front of the Sable, staring through the windshield at them.

When Yumeko knocked on the window next to Mary; they yelped in surprised. Mary glanced back at Sayaka, as if unsure what to do.

“Roll down the window,” Sayaka said hurriedly, and Mary complied. She leaned forward and forced a smile at Yumeko. “Sorry about that. We didn’t see you there.”

“It’s no problem.” Yumeko smiled broadly, oblivious to the rain pouring down her dark hair. “We were just looking for directions.”

“Directions?” Sayaka asked.

“Yeah, we got a little lost, and we wanted to go back to the bay.” Yumeko leaned her slender arms on the car and looks down at Mary. “You know how to down to the bay, don’t you? We always see you there.”

“Uh, yeah.” Mary pointed straight ahead of them. “Just go three blocks down, then make a right onto Seaside Avenue. That’ll take you right there.”

“Thanks.” Yumeko smiled. “Will you be down at the bay tonight?”

“No,” Mary gulped, somehow looking at Yumeko made her want to get closer to her so she look ahead, her eyes land on the other two. Kirari was staring right at her smiling, but Ririka faced away, almost looking like she didn’t want to be standing under the rain. And Mary could agree with that. “it’s no fun to swim in all this rain.”

“Why not? The water’s still wet.” Yumeko giggled at her own joke, but Mary didn’t say anything. “Oh, well. I’m sure we’ll be seeing you around Anyway. We’ll keep an eye out for you.”

She winked at Mary, then straightened up and stepped back from the car. Mary rolled up the window, but Kirari and Ririka were slow to move out from in front of the car. For a moment Sayaka was afraid that she’d have to throw her car in reverse to get away from them.

When they finally stepped out of the way, Sayaka offered them a small wave, but Mary stayed rigid in her seat, refusing to acknowledge the girls.

“That was bizarre,” Sayaka said as they drove away and her heart began to slow.

“And creepy,” Mary added. When Sayaka didn’t say anything, Mary glanced over at her. “Oh, come on. You have to admit that was creepy. Why else wouldn’t you have offered them a ride home?”

Sayaka gripped the steering wheel and floundered for an excuse. “They seemed to enjoy the water.”

“Whatever.” Mary rolled her eyes. “They came out of nowhere. You saw that! They were behind us, and then suddenly they were in front of us. They’re like.... supernatural.”

“They took a shortcut,” Sayaka argued lamely as she pulled into their driveway.

“Sayaka,” Mary groaned. “Can you stop being logical for a second and admit that those girls give you the creeps?”

“There’s nothing to admit,” Sayaka lied. She turned off the engine and changed the subject. “Are you ever gonna fix your car? It’s a bit dangerous walking alone these days.”

“Ryota will come and fix it tomorrow. When it’s not raining.” Mary grabbed her gym bag from the backseat. She hopped out of the car and walk towards her door. “Anyways, thanks for today... I appreciate it.”

Sayaka nodded, “of course. Just let me know if you need a ride next time. I’d be happy to give you a ride.”

Mary smiled, maybe Sayaka wasn’t such a bad person after all. “Thanks. I will.”

“Goodnight Mary.” Sayaka called over to her and Mary waved back. Before Mary unlocked her keys Sayaka called her back again, “before when you asked if I’m doing anything tonight,” Sayaka breathed, “I’m not. If you want to come over or something, just call me. Not tonight though, I’m tired. Maybe t-tomorrow?” She stammered.

Mary only smiled, “sure.” She said softly before entering her empty house.

Chapter Text

 

“Hurry up Ryota.” Mary groaned, pacing back and fourth around the car impatiently. “How long will this take?”

Ryota had been trying to fix Mary’s car since the sun was just starting to rise. Somehow, Mary always seems to convince him to do favors for her. Not that Ryota minded. Even when he didn’t get anything in returned. He was still willing to help others. He didn’t have Many friends personally and being seen with Mary was good enough for him.

“Sorry Mary, but this is an all-day project,” Ryota said with his head under the hood of the car. Black— presumably oil or other car fluids— smudged his arms and stained his old work shirt.

Mary scowled, “what if I take it to the auto repair?”

“Still,” Ryota pulled his head out from under the hood and gestured to the bright sun shining overhead. “It’ll still take them all day. This car is beat up. Why’d you buy it anyway?”

Mary’s face turned bright, “I- ... it’s none of your business.” She snickered, shaking her head. She didn’t want people from her school thinking low of her, (even if those people was Ryota), “anyways I have training at the pool today and I really don’t want to deal with Itsuki.”

“You can take my car if you want.” Ryota offered, “I’m sure I’ll be done with your car this evening.”

“Really?” Mary suppressed a smile, “jeez, thanks.”

After throwing his key over to Mary, Ryota pulled himself back under the hood of the car. Mary sighed as she entered her house to get her things and her gym bag. Before hopping in Ryota’s car, Mary made sure to informed Ryota to make himself at home and that he could eat and drink whatever he wanted in the fridge. She then hopped into Ryota’s car and hit the road.

Along the way, she stumbled across Sayaka and Midari who were walking along the sidewalk, Mary would have completely ignore them but Sayaka had caught her.

“Hey, Mary!” Sayaka smiled at her waving.

“Hey,” Mary smiled back, slowing the car down a bit.

“Aren’t you that Saotome girl?” Midari called out, “Yuriko wouldn’t shut up about you. You really should join the student council.”

Mary cringed a bit, she didn’t have good experiences with any of the council members. Especially Yuriko, who is currently the president.

“No thanks, I’m good staying in the swimming club.”

“You’d do so much better if you were on the council. Your loser teammates doesn’t deserve someone as talented as you.” Midari laughed hysterically, earning a serious glare from Sayaka.

“What the hell did you just say bitch?” Mary clenched on the wheel tightly, she didn’t like people talking bad about her teammates, especially from a member of the student council.

Sayaka grabbed Midari’s arm before she could retort. “Um— anyways, Sorry to bother you Mary, I just wanted to say hi.” A beat of sweat rolled down her face, when she realized both Mary and Midari were staring each other down. If looks could kill, Sayaka would find herself standing between two coffins. “Don’t mind Midari, she’s just really Hungry.” She gulped knowing her excuse was totally lame.

“Right...” Mary muttered, nodding at Sayaka as she dragged Midari towards one of the restaurant. Mary faces the road once again. Just when she thought she could warm up to Sayaka, her annoying friend has to ruin it all.

By the time Mary got to the gymnasium, it was already noon and a part of her was nervous her coach would scold her for arriving late. She doubt it though. Being the number one swimmer on the team, her coach obviously favored her.

The gymnasium Mary trained in was connected to a small library( but not as big as the one Sayaka works at) and a couple coffee shops inside. Particularly, the gym had a small Starbucks coffee shop and the blonde always get her favourite drinks there before her training. Just because Mary was late, doesn’t mean she’ll miss her drink.

Mary rushed over to the cash register and ordered her drink hastily. There were no people lining up today which made sense since it was so sunny outside and everyone would rather be out on the beach rather than staying inside. Mary made a metal note to go down the bay later on in the afternoon.

Carrying her vanilla bean Frappuccino on one hand, and the other her gym bag, Mary hastily dragged her feet against the tiles towards the direction of the pool.

Turning around the corner, her eyes trained hard on the floor, what happens next, happened faster than her mind could comprehend.

“Ummf..”

Mary eyes widened, realizing she just collided harshly into someone. With both of them losing their balance, Mary quickly recognized that the person she had bumped into was one of those girls. Those really pretty and creepy girls. However, it was the one that Mary found the weirdest out of the three. Before she could even say anything or balances herself,

Both girls landed roughly on the floor. Mary’s face redden when she straddled Ririka due to the fall. Ririka’s face was just as red as Mary’s. If possible, even redder. Her eyes widened, as if she had just witnessed seeing a ghost. She winches beneath Mary. Their faces were only inches away from each other. Mary’s golden eyes were locked on Ririka’s cerulean ones. Mary had never been this close to any of those girls and for a moment, Mary felt like Ririka was staring right into her soul.

Their moment didn’t last long but between the two of them, it felt like the world had stopped. It felt like they were in their own little world, with neither of them breaking away their gazes. Ririka was mesmerizing and Mary was so lost in her beauty to even have it in her to look away.

“Mary?”

Mary eyes widened, upon realizing just what situation she had gotten herself into. She rushed getting off Ririka and turned towards the voice.

Itsuki tilted her head in confusion, “Mary, Is she okay?” Gesturing towards Ririka.

That’s when Mary realized she had spilled her drink all over Ririka. Some of them even spilled on Mary’s leg but she hasn’t noticed. (Even if the drink was as cold as Ice) She yelped in surprise, looking down at her legs. When Itsuki turned around to grab some paper towels from one of the coffee shop’s counter, and Mary’s attention was on Itsuki, Ririka disappeared. Mary hadn’t noticed until she looked back and saw nothing but her spilled Frappuccino on the tiles.

Weird.”

Mary subconsciously whispered to herself and scratched the back of her head. She glanced around, trying to spot any platinum hair in the crowd. She saw none. A few people were walking around the lobby, some of them out of the library, and some of them towards the pool—

Crap!

Mary practically ran towards the pool, ignoring Itsuki calling after her, and bumping onto some people along the way. Mary didn’t care. She has never been late for training before and she wasn’t about to get on her coach’s bad side.

“There you are,” Coach greeted her, when Mary ran towards him, already in her bathing suits, swimming cap and goggles.

“Sorry coach, there were some...”Mary brows furrowed trying to find an excuse. “...distractions along the way,” she panted lightly. But it wasn’t an excuse, first, it was Ryota and then Sayaka and her lil pal, and then.. Mary shook her head. She didn’t think she was ready to relive that encounter just yet.

The Coach just smiled, “it’s understandable. It’s summer after all.” He nodded in understanding, “let’s starts with some laps.” He ordered as Mary got into the pool.

The rest of the training went great. Mary did managed to beat her time once again and Itsuki was there on the bleachers to cheer her on. Mary never liked being the center of the attention but beating her time was those rare moments where she felt proud and wouldn’t mind sharing it with her friend.

~

“Itsuki, I’m on a tight diet, I can’t eat this chocolate mousse,” Mary groaned, pushing the dessert over to Itsuki.

They’re currently at the diner across from the library where Sayaka works at. After training, Itsuki begged Mary to stop by the diner for some spaghetti and meatballs. As much as Mary had complained, Itsuki chooses to ignore the blonde and dragged her into the diner anyway.

“Oh please, it’s just a couple calories. It won’t make a difference to your body.” She rolled her eyes.

Mary stared at her, “anyways, why’re we even here? Isn’t this too of a peasant restaurant for you? You usually hate coming here.”

“I wanted to see if...” Itsuki leaned in closer, almost whispering, “If those girls would come by. They usually come here don’t they?”

Mary rolled her eyes, it’s always about those girls. Mary had stumbled across them everyday since the summer had started and it had only gotten worse. “I wouldn’t know.” She shrugged, taking a sip into the straw of the banana milkshake she ordered.

“You bumped into one earlier today, didn’t you?” Itsuki said, with a shit-eating grin. 

“Yeah, and it was creepy as hell.” Mary narrowed her eyes towards the shorter girl, in case that weird little head of hers got any wrong ideas.

“If I hadn’t interrupted, I swear you two were about to kiss!” She giggled.

Mary’s face flushed, “shut up itsuki!” She hissed, “it wasn’t like that at all.” She blinked, “It was weird. She’s like so...perfect. Like her skin is flawless. Like she’s not normal, like...” Mary rambled and on with furrowed brows, “If I had to choose one word, it would be supernatural. She’s definitely not normal. None of them are.”

Mary couldn’t explained the encounter. The way Ririka was staring into her eyes, she felt naked. She felt drawn into those big bright blue eyes. Ririka’s eyes were like the sea on a hot sunny day, where the sun was just about to set and a touch of spark glistened upon the surface of the sea. Mary’s favourite view by far. If Itsuki hadn’t interrupted, Mary couldn’t begin to explain what could have happened. She felt like drowning and if Ririka would let her, She’d happily sink into those ocean eyes.

“Sounds like you just developed a little crush, Sao~to~me,” Itsuki laughed. “Careful, you might just catch feelings.”

Shut up! I would never.” Mary shook her head in disbelief,  “I think they’re creepy and if I see them again, it’ll be too soon.”

~

By the time Mary got home, Ryota was no where to be found. His tools and equipments were all packed up. Mary walks around the car to see if the kid has actually fixed her car. Mary got into the driver’s seat and start the engine. To her surprise, the car actually started.

Mary grinned walking into the house. There lay Ryota on the couch flipping over the T.V channels.

“Thanks Ryota.” Mary said, throwing his keys at him.

“It’s no problem,” he sat up, scratching the back of his neck. “Anyways, I better get going. It’s getting pretty late.”

Mary nodded in understanding. Ryota was a good guy. He’s always been there for Mary and Mary does the same in returned.  Though she had only met Ryota since last fall, she had became to really trust him. They weren’t as close, but close enough for Mary to call him a friend.

“Here,” Mary walked over to him and handed him a hundred dollar bill, “for your hard work.”

Ryota immediately refused, and shoved the bill back into Mary’s hand, “I couldn’t possibly take that from you. You’re my friend. Friends help each others out.”

“Listen Ryota,” Mary sighed, “I know you’re not like Itsuki who was raised with a silver plate in front of her, so just cut the crap and accept this.” Mary forcefully placed the bill in his hand, “besides I’m not a freeloader.”

“I know you’re not,” Ryota admitted. “But I do this for you because I want to. You’re one of the few friends I have in this town and I’m happy doing things for the people I care about.”

Mary’s cheeks burned bright, “don’t get all sappy on me.” She scolded, earning a chuckle from the boy. “Just take the bill or else I won’t have you do me favors anymore.”

Ryota sighed in defeat before accepting the money. Mary didn’t like feeling like she’s in debt with anyone. To gain something, you have to gave something was her life motto after all.

After Ryota left, and closing the door behind him, Mary sank into the couch. It had been a long day. Training really did drained most of her energy. She glanced over at the window and saw that the sun was setting. Though Mary preferred swimming when the sun goes completely down, and the moon starts to shine, she was starting to get skeptical about the missing people in town.

She grab her keys and headed towards her car. She might as well starts swimming a little bit earlier from now on for the sake of her sanity.

The trip to the bay seemed to go more quickly than normal. Ryota really did his magic with the engine. The car ride was smooth and fast too. Mary made a few turn rounding the corner of the beach. Instead of going into her usual route and swimming at the spot with the cypress trees like she usually did, Mary decided to park her car towards the docks.

Technically, people weren’t supposed to swim there, since it was dangerous, with all the boats, but she didn’t plan to actually swim there. After parking her car, she would dive in and swim out where it was safer. Nobody was really out this late to catch her anyway.

After parking her car nearest to the dock,  she stripped down her bathing suit, she threw her jean shorts, tank top, and flip-flops in the backseat of the car.

She ran to the end of the dock and dove in. The evening air was still warm but had a chill to it, and the water was warm, Mary preferred swimming in cold water like at midnight, but she didn’t mind. It didn’t really mattered what the temperature was or what the water was like. Mary never felt more at home when she was in the water.

She spent as much time swimming as she could, but as the night progressed, and the sky got a little darker, Mary knew she had to head back in before they locked the gate of the docks.

The ladder at the end of the dock was missing a few rungs, so she struggled to pull herself up. She was just about to hoist herself over the end of the dock when somebody stuck a hand in her face. The nails were long and manicured, painted in perfect blue, and the skin smelled of coconuts.

With salty water dripping down her face, Mary looked up to see Kirari standing right in front of her, her hand outstretched towards Mary.

“Need a hand?” Kirari asked, smiling in a way that reminded Mary of a hungry animal.

 

Chapter Text

 

Kirari was the closest to Mary, but Yumeko was right behind her. It didn’t go unnoticed to Mary that Ririka, who was usually with them, wasn’t there. Mary had never been this near to Kirari before, and her beauty was even more intimidating up close. Just like Ririka, Kirari was flawless. She looked like an air-brushed model on the cover of Vogue.

“Did you need help?” Kirari asked more clearly, as if she thought Mary were deaf since she hadn’t done anything except gape at her.

“No, I’m fine.” Mary shook her head.

“Suit yourself.” Kirari shrugged and moved back so Mary could climb up.

Mary had hoped for something more graceful since she’d declined help, but with the top rung in the ladder missing, all she managed was a flop onto the dock. Mary was acutely aware she probably looked like a fish flapping about, and she got to her feet as quickly as she could.

“We’ve seen you swimming out there a lot,” Kirari said.

Mary had heard her speak before, and it still surprised her how Kirari sounded. Her voice was that sexy baby talk that usually drive Mary nuts, but something silky underneath it made Kirari’s words strangely beautiful and enticing.

In fact, just hearing Kirari talk washed away some of the negative feelings Mary had about the three girls. They still freaked her out, but her fear had lessened.

“I truly apologized.” Kirari smiled at her, revealing bright white teeth that seemed abnormally sharp. “You probably have no idea who we are. I’m Kirari and this is one of my friends, Yumeko.”

“Hi.” Yumeko waved her fingers at Mary. Her silky black hair glistening even in the dark, and her eyes were burning in the colour of crimson.

Mary wondered where the other one went. Usually they were like the three inseparable trios. The three musketeers, strolling through town, catching everyone’s attention.

“And you’re Mary, right?” Kirari asked when Mary didn’t say anything.

“I am.” Mary nodded.

“We’ve seen you around, and we like your style,” Kirari went on.

“Thanks?” Mary questioned, uncertain what to make of that. Mary couldn’t help but blurred out, “Where’s the other one?” 

Kirari raised an eyebrow, “you mean Ririka?”

“Ririka is our other friend.” Yumeko clarified as if it wasn’t obvious.

“Yeah, where is she?” Mary asked, she was afraid to admit it to herself but she was curious that there’s one lessened once again.

“Oh, she told us she was feeling a bit tired and she locked herself in her room ever since this afternoon.” Kirari explained, her eyes locked on Mary’s.

“Oh, I, um, see.” Mary’s cheeks slightly reddened, she scratched her cheek nervously to distract herself from thinking about her encountered earlier with Ririka. 

“Why?” Kirari asked, her brows creasing in confusion.

“Oh, well, you guys are always together so it makes people wonder when there’s one fewer.” Mary honestly admitted.

Yumeko giggled, “seems like everyone in this town is gawking at us.”

“Yeah..” can you blamed them? Mary wanted to say but caught her breath. She honestly didn’t want to continue this little interaction they had any more than she needed to.

She wrapped her arms around herself, feeling naked around the girls. Mary knew she was pretty, and sometimes when she was dolled up she thought she was downright hot. But standing next to Kirari and Yumeko, she felt clumsy and unattractive.

Water dripped off her body and onto the wooden planks beneath her feet, and all she could think about was running towards her car, and getting putting her clothes back on.

“Anyways, we love going swimming out in the ocean at night,” Kirari said. “There’s something truly exhilarating about it.”

“It’s amazing, ” Yumeko chimes in, sounding a little too enthusiastic about it. Kirari shot Yumeko a look, and Yumeko only giggled in response.

“Um... yeah.” Even though Mary agreed with them, she was afraid to admit it. It felt like Kirari was setting some sort of trap she didn’t understand.

“We’d love it if you joined us for a swim,” Kirari said, smiling wider.

“I... I don’t think so. Sorry.” Mary couldn’t really think of an excuse to give them, but there was no way she would accept an invitation to join them doing anything.

“How about a night swim, then?” Kirari asked. “We were thinking of taking a dive right now. Weren’t we?”

“I’ve got my bikini under my dress,” Yumeko said and gestured to the slinky sundress she wore.

“Well, I just got out,” Mary said. “And I’m about to head back.”

She pointed to her car, and then, seeing her chance to escape, walked over to it. Mary had expected them to give up once she turned them down, but apparently that was wishful thinking. Kirari followed her down the dock.

“I know you love to swim, and I’d really love it if you joined us,” Kirari said. “If today doesn’t work, then let me know when you can.”

“I don’t know.” Mary walked a little faster towards her car, she could sense Kirari’s steps were also pacing up behind her. “I’ve got a lot of training to do.”

“You can’t train all the time,” Kirari said. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

“I play,” Mary insisted.

Finally managing to finally get to her car, Mary quickly unlock her car. Her urge to get dressed had gone away though. All she wanted to do was hop in her car, and drive far away from Kirari and her hungry smile.

“You really need to go swimming with us,” Kirari’s voice was like silk, but it was clearly a command. Her eyes were identical to the ones Mary had stumbled upon earlier, but Kirari’s was dark. Unlike Ririka’s which was bright and warm, Kirari’s were like a stormy night ready to drown anyone staring into her without asking. Her dark eyes locked on Mary’s, burning with an intensity that took her breath away.

A honk from behind them momentarily broke Kirari’s concentration, but the distraction was long enough for Mary to catch her breath and look away.

Mary took that as a chance to escape and she hopped into her car. Without even sparing a glance towards the girls, she hastily slammed on the accelerator and headed home.

“She refused you,” Yumeko smiled maliciously at Kirari, walking up beside her.

“No one has ever refused me,” Kirari said icily. Her facial expression was emotionless. “How interesting.”

 

~

 

The garbage can smelled like a dead animal. Mary wrinkled her nose and tried to avoid gagging as she tossed the bag in the can behind her house. She had just throw out her trash just a day ago, and yet, here she is, throwing out yet again another trash.

Waving her hand in front of her face, she stepped away. Mary breathes in the fresh night air as deeply as she could.

Her encounter with those girls earlier made her feel astonished. She had silently wished that she wouldn’t have to talk to any of them this summer and that they would just leave by the end of the month. From the way Kirari looked at her, almost made her feel like she was the last piece of meat on a plate. But Mary wasn’t a meat and she wasn’t special. She was just a normal collage girl trying her best to make it into the Olympics. There was nothing special about her. Mary hadn’t done anything!

Mary glanced over at the neighbors’ house. Lately she found herself glancing over at it more and more, as if subconsciously looking for Sayaka. This time she was in luck. In the glow from her backyard light, she saw Sayaka sprawled out on her lawn, staring up at the sky.

“What are you doing?” Mary asked, walking into Sayaka’s backyard without waiting to be invited.

“Looking at constellations,” Sayaka said, but Mary had already known the answer before she’d asked. For as long as she’d known her, Sayaka was the type to get lost in her thoughts quiet frequently.

“Mind if I join you?”

“Oh, no, Of course not.” Sayaka quickly scooted over, making room for her on the blanket.

“Thanks.”

As soon as Mary sat down, she followed Sayaka’s gaze looking up at the stars. A comfortable silent soon fall upon them, but neither of them minded. Mary have always had loud friends around her so it was nice when she is accompanied by someone quiet.

“So... I’m sorry for today again.” Sayaka broke the silent, shifting herself a bit on the blanket. “Midari can be a really forward person.”

“Yeah, no shit.” Mary huffed sarcastically, turning to face her, then her expressions softened when Sayaka look at her with those apologetics eyes, “but— I don’t take shit from people like her and I guess I wasn’t exactly the nicest either.. so that’s that.”

“I see,” Sayaka smiled, returning her attention towards to stars again, “she’s not that bad though, once you warm up to her.”

“I doubt me and her will ever be friends.” Mary retorted, “not that I care. I don’t need a lot of friends.”

“I get it,” Sayaka smiled, “sometimes, being alone is better than being with people.”

Mary smiled playfully, “oh? Am I being an inconvenience for intruding your alone time?”

What?!” Sayaka’s eyes widened, quickly turning her head towards Mary, “no! If anything, I wanted you to come over.”

“So you do want to be friends.” Mary smirked.

Sayaka nodded shyly, “is that okay?”

Mary sighed, laying herself down on the blanket with her arms over her head, “sure I guess, why not.”

A few minutes passed and neither one of them wanted to break the silent. Mary focuses on the stars above and the more she looks at it, the more she feel like she could touch them. It felt dangerous for some reason. She wondered if Sayaka felt the same too.

“Hey Sayaka.” Mary finally spoke up, closing her eyes. “Does those weird girls ever talk to you?”

“Hmm?” Sayaka looks down at her with furrow eyebrows, “you mean those pretty girls?”

Mary let out a small chuckled, “yeah, those pretty girls.”

“No, aside from the time we bumped into them on that rainy day, I don’t recall it happening again.” Sayaka shook her head.

“Yeah?” Mary hummed, “well, they kind of approached me today. Asking me if I could go swimming with them. It was totally weird so I ran home.” Mary laughed to herself, but Sayaka knew her voice was off. “And then this morning, I collided into one. I spilled my drinks all over her and then she just disappeared. Like out of no where. They’re really weird.”

“You spilled drinks on her?” Sayaka asked in a surprised tone. “Did you apologized?”

Mary raised an eyebrow, “why would I apologized? She came out of no where.”

“Still,” Sayaka shrugged, “it couldn’t be nice getting drinks all over you.”

“Well, she left before I could even apologized anyway,” Mary huffed. “I swear, they give me bad vibes.”

A cold breeze brushed through them. Even though it was summer, nights could get pretty cold up in the pacific coast.

“You know, you give me bad vibes when I first moved in too.” Sayaka chuckled lightly, tucking a piece of her hair behind her ear. “You would throw a party every weekend, and it would drive me insane.”

“Yeah,” Mary sighed, “I was a bad bitch. But you don’t have to worry about that anymore.” She stare up at the stars for a bit. “I’ve changed.”

“What made you change?” Sayaka blurted out faster than she could hold it in. She quickly covered her mouth with her hands making Mary letting out a laugh.

“Someone told me if I stayed immature like that, I’d never make it into the Olympics.” Mary told her.

“Who?”

Mary didn’t answer her. Instead, she sits up and stood up on her feet. She gently dusted herself off a few times before looking down at Sayaka. “It’s no one important. She doesn’t even live in this town anymore. Anyways, it’s getting late. Goodnight Sayaka.”

Before Sayaka could wish her a goodnight, Mary already walked into her house, closing the door behind her. Immature was the last word Sayaka could describe Mary. Whoever Mary was talking about must really hit the blonde’s nerve when she told her that. For as long as Sayaka known Mary, the blonde had never listen to anyone and absolutely wouldn’t change for anyone. So whoever that made Mary stopped with the partying must really be important. Sayaka sighed, shaking her head. It wasn’t her place to think about Mary like that. It wasn’t even her place to think about Mary to begin with.

Sayaka sat alone for a minute looking up at the sky. The moon was half full and it reminded her of a toenail. Suddenly Sayaka felt a chill just then rushing through her. She had the strangest feeling that she was being watched and she couldn’t shake it. Sayaka reacted Instinctively by going inside of her house and locking the door.

Her house was warm and smelled the like pizza she had cooked earlier, thanks to Midari’s homemade sauce. But despite the cozy atmosphere, Sayaka couldn’t help herself. She peered through the peephole in the door and scanned the street around them, but saw nothing. It took about fifteen minutes for her to settle into being home, and she still couldn’t convince herself that she wasn’t being watched.

 

Chapter Text

 

A thousand years ago

 

“Come now, weary traveller, I’ll lead you through the waves. Worry not, poor voyager, for my voice is the way.”

A young sailor, completely hypnotized by the song fixed his eyes on Kirari. His eyes clearly clouded but his action spoke differently.

“Are you still amused by this?” Ririka asked, faced away from her sister.

“I am.” Kirari smiled, shooting her sister a glance. “And so should you. All of you.”

The other girls stood on the deck of the sailboat. Faced away from Kirari and towards the horizon. The tide pulled the moon. Exactly like how they pulled the lost ones with their songs.

“I’ll be leaving.” Ririka said, diving into the water without a second glance.

A few moments later, Kirari heard fainting footsteps slightly tapping on the floor board quickly followed by two more splashed.

“Huh. I find it fascinating how they’re refusing to enjoy this gift.” She laughed, tugging the young sailor by his collar. She roughly pushed him down on the frames hovering over him while ripping off his shirt.

“Now then,” her piercing eyes lingered over his body. Her voice as seductive as ever. She ran her fingertips over his torso. “You have such lust in your eyes my darling. Whatever may I do to fulfill you?”

 

~

 

Current day

 

Mary grumbled walking out of the change room. For the last three days, she had spent most of her time training at the pool. Not that she minded. Her timing was only getting better.

But still, she longs for those night swims. The only reason she avoided the bay was because of those girls. They made her feel uncomfortable to the point where she even avoided the beach.

The only bright side to this whole torturing was that Mary was able to train in peace and get praised by her coach.

With a wet towel around her neck, Mary sipped into the straw, tasting the refreshment of the watermelon juice she had just bought from one of the coffee shop in the recreation center. Mary casually gravitate towards the small library across from the pool.

She sloppily entered the library. As she walks in, sudden change of atmosphere rushed through her. The library was a ghost town. Aside from the clerk sitting behind the desk, Mary couldn’t see anyone inside the building. Though it makes perfectly sense. It was super sunny outside and not to mention, this library was a lot smaller then the one Sayaka works at. Which was a only couple blocks away. It was only logical that if someone would go to that library instead of this small and crowded one.

She decided to walk through the aisles of books towards the table area. She ran her fingertips from book to book on the bookshelf as she heavily dragged her feet closer to the tables. She didn’t know why she made her way towards the tables since it’s in the far back of the building but something definitely pulled her towards that direction.

That’s when she noticed a familiar figure sitting at an empty table silently reading a book. Mary freezes her step before leaving the aisles and into the view.

Sitting ever so perfectly, in the posture a normal person wouldn’t be, (back straightened up, legs crossed, hands politely on the table holding the book,)was one of those girls. Ririka to be exact. Mary knew because Kirari always had her hair braided.

Long platinum hair flown down her back, her perfectly manicure fingers flipping over the page, almost seductively to Mary. It was a sight she wouldn’t forget. Ririka was absolutely downright gorgeous.

Panicked, Mary hastily turned her back against the bookshelf. Mary surveyed the area and saw no one. For some reason, she felt the need to turn around and glance at Ririka once more time. What the hell was she doing? Was she a stalker now?

You can come out.”

Mary’s body immediately froze. Her eyes widened. Was she referring to her? thats impossible. Ririka shouldn’t have seen her. There was at least three aisles of bookshelf between them. Mary shook her head. She slowly turns around and peeped between the books. She covered her mouth and let out a gasp when Ririka’s cold eyes were staring right back at her.

She sighed in defeat when she realized she was caught like a deer in the headlights. Mary had no other choice but to face Ririka. She walked towards the tables and decided to lean against the last bookshelf with her arms crossed.

With a scowled face, Mary asked. “How did you know I was there?”

Without a response, Ririka continued reading the book. Mary saw how her eyes flickered through lines by lines. The girl sits so politely, flipping through the pages with her perfectly manicured fingers.

Mary didn’t like this one bit. Who does Ririka thinks she is acting like she’s better than her. She clenched her fist and walked towards the table with anger.

A glimps of blue eyes looked up at the blonde when her book was suddenly snatched.

“Why are you here?” Mary demanded, staring down at the girl, slamming the book on the table. “You shouldn’t be here. You should be out there! with your friends attracting unnecessary attentions—“

That’s when Ririka abruptly stood up causing Mary to flinched. “I’m sorry. I’ll leave.”

That was the most Mary had ever heard Ririka speak, and realized there was something wrong with her voice. Ririka’s had a rasp to it, like a husky whisper. It wasn’t unattractive, but it wasn’t quiet right.

It had a tone to it that was the opposite of Yumeko’s and Kirari’s. If Yumeko’s and Kirari’s voices were like honey, Ririka’s was like jagged teeth. It was prickly and somewhat frightening.

“No, wait!” Mary, subconsciously grabbed Ririka’s arm, stopping her before she walked away. Her body react on its own, surprising Mary. “Y-You don’t have to leave. You have every right to be here as I am.”

Ririka stood silently frozen, as if she didn’t know what to do. She fidget a bit before sitting back down on her chair with her hands folded neatly on the table.

Mary observed her and couldn’t stop staring at her. Ririka’s complexion was perfect. Her face was smooth and bright just like a porcelain doll. The more Mary looks at her, the more she wanted to touch her, to feel her. And god, Mary had never seen anything as perfect as Ririka’s exposed collarbone and cleavage. They were pale and creamy. She wanted nothing more than to sink her teeth into them. Alas, she forced herself to turn away.

She wasn’t being a creep was she?

Considering how everyone was looking at them like she just did, Mary felt less perverted. Since no one knows who these girls were, as much as she hates the idea, she might as well get to know them. Well one of them.

She wouldn’t dare dream of getting to know Kirari or Yumeko. Their auras were completely different compared to Ririka. Mary couldn’t quiet put a finger on it.

She took a seat across from Ririka and her eyes landed on the book Ririka was reading earlier. “So.. you like to read about Greek history?” She raised an eyebrow.

Ririka nodded and said nothing as Mary started invading her privacy and flipping through the pages. “Hmm.. oracles, scriptures, Athens...The Odyssey?”

She glanced over at the platinum girl who was staring straight down blankly on the table looking bored. Mary creases her brows together. She felt like a total idiot.

“So I’m guessing you’re into history?” Mary asked, but the girl yet again shows no signs of answering.

Talking to Ririka was like talking to a an animal. Mary shook her head. No. Animals actually response. Ririka doesn’t. Talking to Ririka was like talking to a wall!

One thing for a certain was that she definitely was different from Kirari and Yumeko. At least personality wise. The other two girls would be more than eager if Mary were to give them the slightest attention.

“You don’t talk much do you?” Mary asked again, however she sounded more like she’s talking to herself. “I’ve seen around. You’re always looking so...distant.” She glanced over at her but the girl was still unfazed. It was no use.

Mary stood up, she sighed. “Well, great talk. I’m.. gonna go Ririka.” She turned her head to walk away.

“You know my name?” A quiet voice said, causing Mary to turn her head around.

Ririka’s beautiful ocean eyes locked into her golden ones. Mary gulped and nodded. She made a mental note not to look like a teenage boy who’s hormones are all over the place.

“Everyone in town knows your name.” She scoffed. “I mean, you guys are like... weirdos.”

Mary tilted her head a little. Focusing on the window behind Ririka. She didn’t know if what she had just said was offensive or not.

“I see.” Ririka replied dryly. “I’m sorry again if I’m invading your privacy. This... this is the only place where I know my friends wouldn’t find me.” She admitted.

“You’re hiding from your friends?” Mary asked curiously, looking down on Ririka. “Why?”

That was weird. Usually the three girls were always together and Mary was sure they liked it that way.

Ririka looked away, “I just needed space.”

“Space?” Mary raised an eyebrow.

“We’re always together and when you live long enough...” Ririka paused and Mary could hear the longing in her voice.

Silence fell upon them once again. But this time, Mary wasn’t uncomfortable. Instead, she felt a sense of comfort in a way. Mary wondered why Ririka wanted to be alone. But most importantly how she managed to hide from those other two. Mary herself was having trouble. As if reading Mary’s mind, Ririka added,

“Kirari hates chlorine and Yumeko hates crowded space like this. I’ve recently found this place but I know you don’t...exactly like us.”

“It’s not that I don’t like you,” Mary shrugged. “It’s just you guys are everywhere. And it’s kind of... suspicious”

For a moment, they both remained silent again. Mary found herself staring at Ririka who was staring out the window. She looked distant again and Mary can’t help but felt a pang inside of her.

“Y-You know, you’re different.” Mary broke the silent. But she was at loss for words when Ririka turned around and faces her again.

“How so?”

“I....” Mary sighed, “never mind.” this time turning away from Ririka. She bites her lips with hesitation.  “A—Anyways I wanted to apologize for spilling drinks on you a few days ago. You...disappeared before I could say anything.”

“It’s okay. It was also my fault for not looking where I was going.” She nodded.

Mary grinned, quickly turning her head towards Ririka, “maybe we should grab a drink sometimes. You own me.” She told her, wanting to break the tension.

Was she being a creep? Oh god, now a Ririka is going to think she’s a pervert.

“I’ll consider that.” Ririka told her. “But don’t push your luck.”

Were they flirting? Mary wanted to keep going, wanting to tell her that the coffee shop was just a few steps away, wanting to grab her hand and pulled her out the library.  But she didn’t want to go down that road. She didn’t want to be like the rest of the town who were in love with these girls.

“Of course,” Mary smiled playfully. “I guess I’ll be going now.” She stood up and turned away. She didn’t have any other reasons to stay and Ririka didn’t put in any effort to stop her.

Small part of Mary wondered why she was distraught as she walk away. She halted when she frantically remembered something.

“Hey, wait.” She scowled with confidence. Her hands on her hips. “You never answered. How did you know I was behind the bookshelf?”

Ririka looked up with the book in her hand  and Mary realized she was back to reading. Blue eyes stared at her for a moment and Mary caught herself having trouble catching her breath. But Ririka glanced away, eyes back into her book as she points up at something behind Mary.

Mary looked to where she was pointing. A furious blush arises from her face when she realized there was a convex security mirror.

“I’m gonna die now.” Mary muttered to herself, quickly turning away. She grabbed her face in embarrassment and squeezed it as she started walking away, too shameful to even look back at Ririka. Still, her head slowly turns on its own. And in a glimps, she saw Ririka smiled but her eyes was locked in the book.

That was the first time she saw Ririka smiling. Mary’s lips parted and her eyes glimmers. She felt her heart stopped beating. Ririka was captivating. And not like the beauty of Kirari’s or Yumeko’s. Ririka’s beauty was different. Mary felt her stomach tighten. It felt weird but at the same time, it felt right? What the hell was this feeling?

She walked out the door biting her lower lips trying her hardest not to smile.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Hyakkaou had been founded by Jefferson Erasmus in northwestern Vancouver on June 4, 1821, so every fourth of June the town held a celebration in his honor.

Most of the stores in town closed for it, as they would for any other major holiday. It had become nothing more than a big picnic with a few rides and concessions, but everybody turned out, both the townies and the tourists alike.

Naturally, Mary came with a group of her closest friends which of course includes Itsuki and Ryota. They’d found themselves a table but soon got bored of sitting and decided to separate themselves.

Mary was busy playing a beanbag toss next to a picnic table when a person she despises the most had interrupted her.

“What’s going on with Kaede and your friend?” Midari asked, tugging her arm around Mary’s neck.

“Bitch!” Mary snarled. “Get off me.” She lifted her head to see Itsuki and Kaede holding hands as they walked down the midway.

“Don’t change the subject.” Midari groaned, pulling her arm off Mary.

“I don’t know.” Mary scowled, pushing the taller girl away, “and I don’t care.”

“Hey guys.” Sayaka ran up to them panting. “Midari, I told you to wait for me. Why’d you ran off?”

“I got bored of looking at those ridiculous books you were so into.” She told her, rolling her eyes.

“They were not boring!” Sayaka’s brows furrowed. “And by the way, I saw Kaede and Itsuki holding hands?”

Kaede was Sayaka’s childhood friend. They were close in grades school but their friendship has started falling out after Kaede was sent to a military school for his senior year. Regardless, Sayaka still treats him like a brother and vice versa.

“You don’t know?” Midari raised an eyebrow in amusement.

“No. Kaede hadn’t talk to me since he came back a week ago. And he was never the type to talk about his feelings with me. I doubt he’d tell me about his love life.” Sayaka sighed.

“Itsuki talked a lot and I guess she had probably told me along the lines but damn,” Mary shakes her head and chuckled. “That woman talks so much I don’t listen to her half the time.”

“Let me get this straight. Your best friend,” Midari points her finger at Mary, “and your best friend,” she points at Sayaka, “are dating and you don’t know what’s going on?”

“Nope.” // “Not a clue.” They both said in unison and laughed.

“Unbelievable.” Midari blinked. “I’m surrounded by idiots.”

“Thanks. What are you guys playing?” Sayaka decided to change the subject.

The trios started throwing beanbags into the goal. Midari was a disaster waiting to happen. She missed every toss. It had got to the point where she even complained to the owner that the game was rigged. Sayaka was such a pro at it and got the beanbag into the goal every time. Mary almost felt nervous competing against her.

“This game is boring, and I’m starving.” Mary had a beanbag in her hand, she gave it half-assed toss to the side. “I’m gonna get some cheese curds.”

“Can we come with?” Midari asked, but it sounded like a statement since she was already walking beside Mary.

Mary shot a cold glare at Sayaka who hesitantly mouthed her an ‘I’m sorry.’

“Yeah, whatever.” Mary grumbled, sliding her hands inside her pockets.

Midari walked through the park, pushing people if they were in her way. Sayaka and Mary followed more slowly behind her, making small talks and laughing at the people with weird costumes and face painting.

They weaved their way through the picnic, and it didn’t take them long to find an table with familiar faces. Itsuki, Kaede, and Ryota.

“So when are you gonna make an honest woman out of Samuragi and win her a prize?” Midari boldly asked Kaede as the three took their seat across the other three.

“Well...” Kaede fixed his glasses up, pushing it upward with his index and middle fingers. “If it isn’t Ikishima.”

“I told him not to win me a prize,” Itsuki cut in, trying to break the tension between the two knowing well that they didn’t have the best relationship. But more importantly she was just rescuing him from embarrassment. “I’m a modern girl. I can win my own prizes.”

Kaede has been trying to win her stuffed animals for an hour and failed miserably at every game. Itsuki knows he has as much pride as Mary when it comes to getting what he wants.

“You’d probably stand a better chance since you’re the man in the relationship,” Midari said, popping a cheese curd in her mouth. “Kaede looks like he throws like a girl.”

Ryota chuckled at that, as if he stood any chance of throwing better than Kaede.

“Like you can talk Midari,” Sayaka said, taking a spoonful of Midari’s cheese curd and putting it in her mouth. “I saw the way you tossed a beanbag, Kaede could probably kick your butt.”

Itsuki gave her a grateful smile for coming to Kaede’s aid. Sayaka noticed that she’d put her hand on his leg, giving it a reassuring squeeze.

Midari rolled her eyes. “Anyways how is the picnic treating you guys? It’s boring to me to be honest.”

“Good,” Ryota said. “Except I should’ve worn more sunscreen.” His pale skin seemed to reflect the light, and some sweats were rolling down his head.

“Do you live in a dungeon, Ryota?” Midari asked. “I’m only asking because you’re skinny and pale, it looks like your parents might keep you chained in a basement.”

“No.” Ryota scowled, “I’m not that skinny. Look at Mary!”

“Shut up, You idiot.” Mary groaned, scrolling through her phone. The conversation was boring and the sun was starting to really get to her.

“It’s true though. With all that training and dieting, you really need to let loose sometimes.” He sighed.

Mary perked up from her phone. “And this is why nobody likes you Ryota.”

“Be nice, Mary,” Itsuki interjected, “Ryota’s right. You take dieting to the next level.”

Mary rolled her eyes and turned her attention back towards her phone. “Whatever man. I hate you both.”

Since the park was filled with pretty much everybody in town, it had been buzzing with the sounds of talking and music. But somewhat abruptly, the area around the picnic tables seemed to grow quieter, as if everyone were speaking in hushed tones and whispers.

Sayaka looked around to see what had happened and instantly saw the reason for the silence. The crowd had parted, making way for Kirari, Yumeko, and Ririka, who were heading straight for Sayaka and Mary.

Kirari wore a dress so low-cut her chest was all but popping out. Sayaka felt her face heating up just by that view. When she stopped at the end of the picnic table, she put her hands on her hood and smiled down at them.

“How are you guys doing?” She asked, surveying the table.

“Great,” Ryota said eagerly, oblivious to the tension that hang over them. “I’m, uh, I’m having a great time. You guys look great. I mean, you look like you’re having a great time.”

“Why, thank you.” Kirari looked at him, licking her lips hungrily as she smiled.

“You’re not so bad yourself.” Yumeko added.

She reached over and brushed her hands into his hair. Ryota’s cheek redden and chuckled while he scratches the back of his head awkwardly.

“Is there something you want?” Mary asked, impatiently. She looked at Kirari, than at Ririka, who was a couple steps behind the other two girls. Again, Ririka was staring at the distance, looking like she didn’t want to be involved in any of her friends shenanigans. Mary frowned at that. But soon, her eyes returned back to Kirari.

Why was she starting to care so much? These girls were trouble and Mary felt herself being lured right into their trap.

Sayaka noticed that when Kirari’s dark cerulean eyes latched onto Mary’s, her friend lifted her chin higher, as if defying her in some way. Then Sayaka saw something that made her blood run cold—Kirari’s eyes changed, shifting from dark cerulean to an odd golden colour, reminding Sayaka of a bird.

Her weird bird eyes stayed locked on Mary, but Mary’s expression didn’t change, as if she didn’t notice the startling shift in Kirari’s eyes.

As suddenly as they changed, Kirari’s eyes went back to their normal soulless colour. Sayaka blinked and glanced around, but nobody else seemed to notice the change. They all just stared at Kirari as if mesmerized, and Sayaka wondered if it’d just been her imagination.

“Nope.” Kirari raied one of her shoulders, managing a seductive shrug. “I just wanted to stop and say hi. We don’t know many people here in town yet, and we’re always looking to make new friends.”

Ririka didn’t look like she wanted to make new friends though. Aside from standing a few steps behind the others, she twirled her long platinum hair around her finger, and wouldn’t look at anyone at the table.

“You already have friends,” Sayaka said to Kirari and nodded to Yumeko and Ririka.

“You can always have more, though, right?” Kirari asked, and Yumeko winked at Ryota, making him all flustered now. “And we could definitely use a friend like Mary.”

Sayaka was about to ask Kirari what she meant by that, wondering what on earth they could possibly want with her temperamental and loud friend, but Midari cut her off.

“Wait,” Midari said through a mouthful of cheese curds. “Didn’t there used to be a fourth one?” She gulped down her food and stared up at them. “What did you guys do with her? Did you eat her? And then throw her up afterward, because obviously, you guys are bulimic.”

Kirari shot her a glare so fierce it actually made Midari cringe. She lowered her eyes and pulled her cheese curds closer to her, as if she thought that Kirari might steal them from her.

“So have you guys been on the rides yet?” Sayaka asked, in an attempt to keep Kirari from slaughtering Midari. After that look, Sayaka thought it would be better if she kept her conversation banal instead of confronting Kirari about her interest in Mary.

Kirari’s icy expression instantly melted, and her saccharine smile returned. Sayaka noticed that Kirari’s teeth were unusually sharp. In fact, if Sayaka didn’t know better, she’d say that her incisors had actually grown and gotten more pointed than they had been a few seconds ago.

“No, we just got here,” Kirari explained in her silky baby talk. “We haven’t had a chance to check anything out yet.”

As she spoke, some of the unease Sayaka had been feeling when she noticed the smile vanished. Midari even seemed to relax a bit and braved looking up at Kirari again.

“I’d really love to win a teddy bear.” Yumeko said, her voice going singsong as she spoke.

Both Kaede and Ryota looked at her, and Ryota’s mouth fell open, like he was in awe.

Sayaka had her arms on the table in front of her, and she leaned forward. She couldn’t explain it, But she found herself hanging on her every word, as if Yumeko were the most fascinating person she’d ever heard. Even the people around them seemed to move in closer, crowding around to get closer to Yumeko.

“What do you think?” Yumeko tilted her head and looked down at Ryota. “Could you win me a teddy bear?”

“Yeah!” Ryota shouted In excitement and got to his feet so quickly he nearly fell over the bench. “I mean, yes. I’d love to win you a bear.”

“Yay!” Yumeko smiled and looped her arm through his.

People parted for them again as Yumeko and Ryota walked through the crowd towards the midway. Ririka stole a glance over at the table and caught Mary looking at her. She quickly turned her head and followed Yumeko and Ryota, but Kirari stayed behind, smiling down at the table. Kaede stared after Yumeko, watching untill she disappeared in the crowd, and Itsuki would’ve noticed, if she hadn’t been busy doing the same thing.

“Well, I’ll leave you to enjoy the rest of the afternoon,” Kirari said. It sounded as if Kirari were speaking to everyone at the table, but she was only looking at Mary. “I’ll see you around.”

“Have a fun time,” Kaede mumbled, his words coming out a little dazed. Kirari laughed, then turned and walked away.

“That was weird,” Sayaka said once Kirari had left.

She shook her head, clearing away this fog she didn’t understand. It almost felt as if she’d been dreaming, like Kirari had never even really been there.

“I do think they killed her.” Midari narrowed her eyes and nodded to herself. “There’s just something about those girls I don’t trust.”

”Yeah? So what if they did?” Mary snickered. “You’re way too invested in them.”

”still...” Midari eyes sparkled with intensity.  “The one in dark hair. Yumeko. She looks like a goddess. Honestly I wouldn’t mind her controlling me, to rule over me, to rule over all that I am,” her mouth drooled with saliva, “If someone were to kill me, it has to be Yumeko!”

”Careful what you wish for Ikishima,” Kaede spoke up, taking his glasses off and gesturing it towards the sun for a moment. He winches and placed his glasses back on his face. He shot her a fierce glare, “You might just get your wish.”

 

Chapter Text

 

The Founder’s Day Picnic took place in the park in the center of town. A couple rides were set up, like the Tilt-A-Whirl and the Zipper. The midway cut through the center, lined with the usual carnival games. Picnic tables and blankets were spread out over the rest of the area, broken up by a few food and drink stands.

A few hours went by as the sun soared through the sky and in a different position now. Even when there’s not a single clouds  in the sky and giving full warmth to the people in town, it didn’t help the fact that the encounter earlier has left a cold shiver down Mary’s spine.

Itsuki and Kaede had left, excusing themselves to have the rest of the day all to themselves.

So that left Mary alone with Sayaka and Midari. They all sat in silent while staring at the people in the distance. Midari would occasionally call out to random people and wave at them randomly. However, she soon gave up and decided to rest her chin on the table.

“Well, this is boring.” Midari groaned, “and I’m hungry.”

Ignoring her friend’s complaints, Sayaka instead turn towards Mary with a worried look in her eyes. “Mary, how are you feeling? You’ve been really quiet.”

Mary immediately was taken aback. She wasn’t being obvious was she? Does Sayaka picked up on the fact that those girls had left her all hot and bothered?

“I’m fine,” she sighed, “anyway, Ikishima is right. We should get some food. There’s less people now so the queue won’t be that long.”

Sayaka nodded slowly, “you’re right.” She stood up and the three of them walk down the midways.

Mary slides her hands in her pockets and kept her head low. She followed more slowly behind the other two, glancing back over her shoulder to see if she could catch a glimpse of Ryota and Yumeko together. She scoffed silently. If Ryota wasn’t such a simp, and be easily lured, he would be the one getting food for Mary right now.

Thinking about Ryota makes her sick. Mary couldn’t believe he’d just go with those girls without a second thought. Sure, they’re pretty and captivating. The lust in Ryota’s eyes were obvious. But still, Mary felt a little betrayed by his action. She thought they were friends and Ryota literally just ditched her like that? Unforgivable.

Mary was so busy looking for them that she wasn’t paying attention to where she was going, and she bumped right into someone, knocking an ice-cream cone out of her hand and smashing it all over her shirt.

“Oh, shit, I’m so sorry,” Mary said hurriedly, trying to wipe the strawberry ice cream off her shirt.

“You really do hate me, don’t you?” Ririka asked, and Mary realized with dismay that she was the one she’d covered in ice cream. “I mean, destroying someone’s ice-cream cone? That’s vicious.”

Mary’s cheeks reddened. “I didn’t see you there. Honestly.”

She wiped at her shirt more frantically, as if she could prevent it from staining if she rubbed hard enough. It didn’t help that Ririka was wearing a cotton white shirt and shorts. They looked comfortable and loosely. It was very much unlike her. Usually, Mary would see her wearing clothing that were much more revealing, like what Kirari was wearing earlier.

“Oh, now I see your plan, and it’s far more devious than I thought.” Ririka said with cool, “you were looking for an excuse to grope me.”

“W-What the hell?” Mary instantly stopped touching her and took a step back. “I was not!”

“Good. Because you need to buy me dinner first.”

“I was only...” she gestured to Ririka’s shirt and sighed painfully. “I am sorry.”

“I’m covered in strawberries. Why don’t you apologize while we go get some napkins?” Ririka suggested.

Mary perked her head up. She didn’t expect Ririka to continue talking to her. She’d expect her to walk off as soon as they bumped into each other, like the last time. Mary was already intrigued with the idea of getting to know Ririka and when Ririka offered the interaction on a silver platter, how could she say no?

Mary went with her over to a concession stand, where she grabbed a stack of napkins. Taking a handful from Ririka, she walked to a drinking fountain, and Ririka followed her.

“I am sorry,” Mary repeated. Damn, she was never the one to apologize but for some reason, these words kept coming out of her mouth on their own. She wet her napkins under the fountain as she wiped at Ririka’s shirt.

“I didn’t actually mean for you to keep apologizing, I know it was an accident.”

“I know, but...” she shook her head. “This happened twice! I kept ruining your clothes.”

That’s true. You are a manace and must be stopped.”

“I know you’re teasing, but really, I’m sorry.” Mary told her sincerely.

“We’re even, you know?” Ririka poked her head with her index, causing Mary to slightly flinch and shuts one eye.

“Even?” She raised a brow.

Ririka nodded. “The other day, you told me that I own you a drink. Now you own me an ice cream. So, in my speculation, I’ll be the judge of this and call it even.”

Was Ririka Joking? If she was, then she has a horrible sense of humour. Mary suppressed her laugh and instead, she decided to play along.

“Oh really?” Mary grinned. “How about, you buy me a drink right now, and I’ll buy you another ice cream? I think we could call that even.”

Ririka thought about that for a moment and stare at Mary with a straight face. The blonde stood there awkwardly and didn’t exactly know what to do.

Man, how much weirder can they get?

“Fine. I accept.” Ririka finally spoke up, “that’s a reasonable compromise.”

“Heh,” Mary chuckled awkwardly, scratching the back of her head. “Well, what are we waiting for?”

They walked over to the ice cream stand, and Ririka ordered another strawberry ice cream cone. However, when they’re half way from the lemonade stand, Ririka suddenly stopped and look around nervously. Mary tilted her head and followed her gazes but found nothing out of the ordinary, so she looks at Ririka with a questionable expression.

“What’s wrong?”

“I... uhhh....” Ririka sighed, “I actually don’t have any money on me.”

“Really?” She raised her eyebrow, “then how’d you buy your ice cream?”

“Um, w-well,” Ririka stammered, and Mary could tell she was having trouble coming up with an excuse. “Kirari actually bought it for me.”

“Huh,” Mary looked at her suspiciously, not fully convinced. “Well, I guess you’d have to share your ice cream then.”

“S-Share?” Ririka looked at her dubiously. Her cheeks tinted with red, and Mary realized she actually finds it really cute.

The blonde grinned at her, and her golden eyes had a gleam to them. “Well, you can’t buy me a drink so, to make it even, it’s only logical that you share your ice cream with me. Unless....” She then lean forward a little more, making Ririka stepped back a little. “You’d like to see me again for that drink later. A raincheck perhaps?”

“I, uh...” Ririka fumbled for a reason not to.

“I see how it is.” Mary stepped back and her eyes flashed with something that might’ve been hurt, but she lowered them before Ririka could be sure. Her smile disappeared , though, and she shoved her hands in her pockets.

“No, no, it’s not that I don’t want to,” Ririka said quickly and Mary was surprised to find the urgency in her voice. “It’s... unusual.”

“Is it?” Mary stretched her hand out and gestures for the ice cream, which Ririka hesitantly complied. Mary didn’t even look at the ice cream to see which side Ririka had licked it from. Instead, she kept her eyes locked on the other girl and with one quick motion, she licked up a chuck of the strawberry ice cream, happily chugging it down her throat. “See? It’s not so bad.”

“I—“ the platinum haired girl’s cheeks turned awfully red, but her face was still straight. She didn’t look embarrassed or shy, but rather confused, “I guess so...”

“Hey, don’t be so weird about it.” Mary rolled her eyes and smirked. She found it quiet pleasant that she was able to leave Ririka somewhat speechless. She handed the ice cream back to Ririka. “ Now we can call it even.”

“R-Right.” Ririka nodded.

Mary soon realized that Ririka’s cold exterior were beginning to fall. From the cold and confident facade she showed to everyone, to a more timid persona now. It was fascinating to the blonde. Maybe she was beginning to break down some of Ririka’s wall. Mary quickly shook her head  to erase that idea out of her head. No way was she going to be any part of any of those girls lives. And that includes Ririka.

This was just a simple mission. operation getting-to-know Ririka.

“So, you wanna play a game?” Mary asked Ririka as they slowly walked down the midway. She gestures the ring toss next to them. “I could win you a goldfish.”

“I wouldn’t know where to put them.” Ririka quickly said, grabbing a napkin on a nearby concession. That’s when Mary realized that Ririka had finished eating the rest of the ice cream cone. She smirked and turned around. She knew she could get Ririka to lighten up. Why was she being so weird about it earlier?

“You put them in a tank, you know, as pets.” Mary suggested as they walk some more.

“They don’t do anything though.” She retorted.

“I— , well—,” Mary tried coming up with a relevant suggestion but to her disappointment, she couldn’t come up with anything. “You’re right, but they’re cute to look at.”

Ririka walked up close to her again. Their hands brushed against each other, and Mary felt her face heating up. She glare sideway over at Ririka and it seems like that didn’t even bother the girl so Mary turn her head away in embarrassment.

Why the hell way she starting to be weird about this now?

“S-So goldfish are out,” Mary finally said, after catching her breath, “what about teddy bears?”

“What would I do with teddy bears?” Ririka asked her with furrowed brows.

“I don’t know, sleep with it?” Mary was at a loss. It seems like Ririka didn’t want anything and Mary couldn’t do anything to impress her.

“Teddy bears are hard. My pillows are soft.”

“Okay. Then what do you want? I’ll win you anything you want.” She asked her, looking around at the limited carnival games.

“You don’t have to win me anything.” She told her politely.

“I want to.” Mary assure her. “Take it as an apology for ruining your shirt. So what do you want?”

“What I want?” Ririka repeated, and for the first time Mary could witness that Ririka’s eyes were empty. A void. The looks in her eyes tells Mary there was nothing her heart desire. “I don’t want anything.”

“Come on!” Mary tried encouraging her, “there must be something that caught your eyes.”

But to Mary’s defeat, Ririka only bites her inner lips and stayed silent.  Mary sighed and they both continue walking farther down the midway.

Mary gave up once they’ve reached the end of the game section and made their way to another midway with clothings, books and other materials stands.It was there when Ririka stopped walking and stare at one of the shop on the side. It was a jewelry shop. One necklace had definitely caught her eyes and Mary couldn’t help but felt eager to find out.

“Did you want anything?” Mary glared at her.

With Ririka’s lack of response, Mary opted to follow her eyes instead and found just what Ririka was looking at. It was a necklace of a white smiling theatrical mask.

Weird. But intriguing.

“Do you want that?” Mary pointed at the necklace, side eyeing the taller girl. She rolled her eyes when Ririka stayed silent. Reaching her hands out and taking out the necklace, she hold it in front of Ririka. “Do you want this?”

“I—“

Finally. An audible response.

“I don’t know.”

Indecisive. But good enough of an answer for Mary to believe Ririka did actually wanted it.

Mary scoffed and gestured for her to turn around. Ririka easily complied. Sliding over Ririka’s hair on one side of her shoulder, Mary’s fingers could feel just how soft her silver hair was. “Such soft hair.” Mary mumbled, quiet enough that not even Ririka could hear. All Mary wanted to do was touch her hair. She shook her head from that thought and told Ririka to hold her hair up so she could put the necklace on her.

As soon as Ririka turns around, the necklace looks perfect on her porcelain collarbone. Mary made a mental note not to stare too long.

“You’re getting this.” She smiled, handing some cash to the owner.

“But I—“ Ririka lightly touched the mask with care. “I don’t—“

“Don’t worry,” Mary interjected. She seems to read Ririka’s mind, “This is a gift. You don’t own me anything. And besides, it cost way lesser then the clothes I ruined.” She pointed at her shirt with a tint of strawberry smudges on it.

“I— ,” Ririka seems to be at loss of words. She finally sighed and deflated. “Thank you. Mary right?”

“Uh-huh.” Mary nodded with a gulp, cheeks turning pink. What the hell was that? How come her name coming out of Ririka’s mouth sounds so heavenly? Oh man oh man, now she wanted to hear it more.

“Thank you Mary.” Ririka repeated, giving Mary a slight smile.

Mary’s eyes widened, her cheeks flustered and she just wanted to disappear. Why was Ririka looking so adorable smiling at her like that? Before Mary’s train of thoughts goes any father, she abruptly slapped Ririka arms. Not too hard but firm enough to leave it painful for a few seconds.

“I-Idiot!” She stammered, biting her cheeks to make her blush go away. “Don’t look at me like that!”

Ririka only giggled in returned, making Mary more and more on the verge of hyperventilating. It was the first time she actually heard Ririka laughing. Let alone smiling so sweetly at her. Mary didn’t know how to handle this. It had been a while since she had felt these weird tingly feelings inside her stomach. Now, with Ririka looking at her like that, part of her didn’t want Ririka’s eyes to ever look away.

“How Interesting,” the raven haired girl stated, walking up next to the braided haired girl. They were currently in the shades, under some peaches trees, away from the crowd of people. “Ririka and a mortal.”

Our mortal.” Kirari corrected, her cold voice full of menace, causing Yumeko to abruptly turned her head to her with widened eyes.

“You mean...” she trailed off while her mind was still processing just what was going on.

Kirari just nodded without breaking her eye contact with the sight of those two.

“Ahh, I see.” Yumeko returned to her free spirited persona, “It seems Ririka is a step ahead of us, huh?” She smiled glaring at her sideways.

Just then, Ryota walked up close beside Yumeko, holding a huge teddy bear underneath his arm.

“Oh, Thank you for this, Ryota. You are such a gentleman.” Yumeko smiled, clapping her hands together.

Such a shame,” Kirari sighed, giving Yumeko a smirk.

They shared a knowing glare until Yumeko spoke up. “Should we invite Ririka before we head out?”

“There’s no need,” Kirari shook her head. Her braids dangling in the air. “You know how she gets.”

“Right.” Yumeko agreed looping her arm around Ryota’s. She give him a light kiss on the cheek. “You are such a fine boy. Surely, you deserve a proper date. Wouldn’t you agree?”

Ryota blushed heavily and lean closer to Yumeko as if she was the only thing that mattered in the world. Yumeko started dragging Ryota away while Kirari stayed behind and observed the two newly formed friendship.

“What are you planning?” She muttered, crossing her arms and leaning against the tree. Her index finger lightly tap onto her arm. Her eyes were dark and narrowed, “Sister.”

 

Chapter Text

 

“What are you smiling about?” Midari hissed into Mary’s ear as she sneaks up on the blonde. She twirled her tongue on the shell of her ear before the blonde abruptly move away.

“What the fuck?” Mary scowled, angrily turning her head around to find Midari and Sayaka standing behind her.

“We kinda lost you back there.” Sayaka interjected with a deflated sigh. “Midari kept dragging me around so I didn’t have a chance to find you.”

“Where were you, by the way?” Midari narrowed her eyes on Mary’s, unfazed by her comments. “You just disappeared.”

“I, uh, ran into someone I know.” Mary evaded the question and turned her attention to the bicyclists who was performing tricks in front of a crowd. “How was you guys day?”

“Eh, Could’ve been better.” Midari tilted her head and made her way beside Mary. “Sayaka was such a scaredy-cat when we were on the roller coaster.”

“Was not!” The shorter girl retorted, “one ride was okay, but ten times Midari?!”

“Oh relax, ten was the least.” Midari rolled her eyes, just then, her phone rings and she picked it up. With a couple subtle of yes and no, she slides her phone back into her pocket. “Yeah, so I gotta go, I have a date.”

“Date?” Sayaka raised a brow, “with who?”

“Yuriko of course,” Midari grinned confidently, “who else?”

“Weren’t you just obsessed with Yumeko? you were dragging me around all day trying to spy on her.” Sayaka told her with a tired tone, “and by the way, I did not appreciate that.”

“Whatever,” Midari rolled her eyes and started waking away, “oh and by the way, Ryota is dumb for not making a move on Yumeko all day. Poor boy did nothing but fidget beside the goddess. Who would’ve thought.”

They could hear Midari’s hysterical laugh faded through the sea of people. Sayaka sighed, turning her attention to Mary who already turned her attention back to the cyclist show.

“The sun is going down,” Sayaka offered a small talk, she was still not used to a casual talk with the blonde. She glanced at Mary who looks up at the sky and hummed.

The sky was partially covered with faded clouds. Golden oranges and crimson spreads throughout the horizon.

“I guess you’re right, should we head back?” Mary turns to her with a small smile, then a playful smirk immediately formed on her lips. “Or do you also have a date?”

“W-What?” Sayaka shook her head furiously, her face turned bright red, “No, no dates!”

“Well why not?” Mary asked, and hoped she didn’t sound too eager, “you’re a pretty girl, I’m sure you’d get anyone you want.”

“That’s not the point,” Sayaka blushed, hastily turning her head around leading the way, “are you coming or not?” She mumbled loud enough for the blonde to hear.

“Seriously, you’re one of the most prettiest girl in this town Sayaka,” Mary chuckled, “anyone would be lucky to be dating you.”

Sayaka blush intensified and shook her head with dismay. Mary Saotome was complimenting her. The school’s most popular and hottest girl was complimenting her.

“I doubt that,” Sayaka said quietly, wanting to change the subjects. “Anyways, I’ve recently noticed that you haven’t been swimming at the bay anymore. Have you finally decided to quit that?” She smile glancing at the blonde.

“Oh...that,” the blonde stoped walking and looked over at the shore. “I’ve been avoiding those girls. Mainly Kirari.”

“Oh yeah? Kirari...” Sayaka blinked then she frowned. “By the way, have you seen how her eyes shifted earlier? When she was staring you down?”

“Eyes shifted?”  Mary glance at her with confusion. She ran a hand through her hair and shook her head, then started walking again. She hasn’t noticed anything out of the ordinary other than the fact that kirari was ridiculously hot and seduces all kinds of people where ever she goes.

Sayaka hummed, she was fully aware that during Kirari’s encounter, everyone around the table seemed to be hypnotized in a way. Even she was partially dozing off, still, a part of her was still sober enough to observed what really was going on. Either way, there’s one irrefutable fact. Kirari... eyes definitely shifted into something entirely different. Something Sayaka couldn’t even begin to describe. She was sure of that. “You haven’t noticed have you..” she hummed, eyes scrutinized directly on pavement ahead.

Mary looks at her with a confused look, “No? Not that I was aware of, why? Did you see anything?”

Sayaka sighed, deciding to drop the matter. It was ridiculous how much those girls were invading her thoughts ever since they came into town. “Maybe I was just seeing things,” she told her, “anyways I think it’s a good idea for you to avoid them.”

For a brief moment, Mary had begun to think that maybe Sayaka has gotten too much sun for the day. As logical as her neighbor was, Sayaka was never the one to claim such a surreal fact.

Before Mary could say anything to contradict Sayaka’s advise, Sayaka beat her to it.

“Looks like it’s going to rain tomorrow.” She added, glaring at the sunset.

Mary let out a light laugh, following Sayaka’s gaze. “What makes you think that? It’s pretty hot today.”

“You can tell by the clouds.” With her index finger, Sayaka points directly at the sunset. “See those builds up clouds that are low and dark? And also that lightly halo around the sun?  It means rain is on the way.”

“Huh. So they really can be predicted. I always thought that weather forecast aren’t reliable.” Mary stared out at the sea. The more she gazes at it, the more she wants to be in it. She misses those nights swim and each nights had only become more and more torturous.

Mary could witness many people already headed down the beach and some into their boats, leftovers from earlier celebration. She could spot some people setting up a huge beach party. Part of her wanted to join them and get drunk, however, a bigger part of her just wanted to go home from a tiring day.

Sayaka chuckled lightly, “Well I don’t know about weather forecast, but the types of clouds can tell you a lot about the weather.”

Mary sighed, “I always forgot how much of a nerd you are.”

Ignoring Mary’s playful insult, Sayaka kept her eyes locked on the sun. “Although not significantly, the moon does effect the weather in a way it affected the ocean tides.” She disconnects her gaze and stared back on the street ahead. “Somehow I have a feeling something bad is going to happen before this full moon.”

Mary paused for a moment. Just what the hell was Sayaka talking about? It really wasn’t like Sayaka to speak this way, so irrational and irrelevant. She turned her head to the opposite direction of the sun and could see a faded toenail moon.

“Maybe someone might turn into a warewolf.” Mary elbowed Sayaka playful, stifling a laugh.

Sayaka hummed and faces Mary in all seriousness, “possibilities are endless.”

~

As if Sayaka’s clouds prediction was surprisingly precise, it rained like hell the next morning.

Mary wondered just what the town would have done had the founder day be just a day later. It was such a sunny day yesterday that there was no way anyone would have thought the exact opposite would occur the next.

Mary had arrived at the pool early in the morning before the rain had fallen. She was aware that the sky was getting cloudier and gloomier but the thought of rain was the back of her mind. She had completely forgotten about Sayaka’s genius prediction, not that she’d seriously considered if it was true or not.

Mary glare out the window from the change room and could see how aggressive the wind had become. To prove a point without her opening the window and checking it out herself, the wind had harshly knocked down a stop sign and dragged it along the street.

“Great.” She grumbled, “just great.”

She walked out the empty change room and glance over at the library’s door. There was only a couple of people at the recreation center and even the small shops were all closed. Mary’s coach hadn’t bother coming in either after countlessly apologizing to Mary for not informing her that the training would be cancelled that morning. Still, Mary trained alone and the best part about it was that she had the whole pool all to herself.

Instinctively, her body move on its own and before she knows it, she was already inside the library. Her first concern was finding out if Ririka was also there. She did, in fact, asked if Mary would be at the pool yesterday if Mary had recalled correctly.

Will you be at the pool tomorrow?”

Ririka asked softly, a beat of sweat rolled down her forehead. Mary could only guess that it was from all those rides and activities they had been doing that afternoon.

“I might, or might not,” Mary sipped into the straw of her banana milkshakes. She briefly Glanced at the platinum girl before a shit-eating grin tugged on her lips. “Why? Can’t get enough of me?”

I...I don’t know,” Ririka also took a sip of her strawberry milkshakes. Though her tone was in all seriousness, the light blush on her face says otherwise.

“Will you be at the library?” Mary asked, instead of answering Ririka’s question.

Ririka nodded and slowly tilted her head upward to view the sky. Mary watches how her brows slightly furrowed and her lips twitched.

“It’s getting late. I should get going now,” she spoke so quietly, if Mary hadn’t listen so closely, she wouldn’t have heard. “Thank you for today...I had fun.”

Mary gulped, staring at the girl in front of her, she knew she was blushing, she just knew it. “Y-Yeah, same.”

Before Mary could say more, Ririka had already left. Disappearing between the food stands and out of Mary’s view.

Mary tilted her head sideways, lightly scratching her cheek. Thinking about Ririka now, was getting a little dangerous. It wasn’t the hatred for those girls for always coming up to her, or for invading her alone time at the bay anymore. It was far beyond the hatred.

Everytime Ririka came into her thoughts, Mary’s heart only does weird things now. Seeing that slightly smile, the gentle eyes, how Ririka calls her name, all those negative thoughts Mary used to have disappeared. Instead, she felt something she never thought she’d have in a long time.

Warmth.

Walking towards the tables at the back of the library, Mary hesitated. Did she considered them friends now? Or maybe a better word for that was acquaintance.

To her disappointment, nobody was at the tables. It was dead as the pool. Mary let out a sigh, not in a disappointment way, but rather in a relief way. The nervousness still lingers at the thought of seeing Ririka again.

Mary took a seat at the same table Ririka has sat the last time. She waited for a few minutes until she got bored. The thought sitting alone like a loser did cross her mind. If Ririka happens to walk in and find Mary already waiting for her, would that make her look like a creep?

Maybe even desperate?

That’s the last thing Mary wanted anyone to think about her that way.

She shook her head and decided to leave. Glancing at the book shelf, an odd book caught her eyes just then. It was located in the history area. Greek mythology section to be precise.

She saunter over and ran her fingers from books to books until her fingers landed on the odd book. The jacket of the book was made out of a different material. Almost like a papyrus and the textures was rough and bumpy.

Mary carefully tilted the book and pulled it out. Her eyes scrutinizing the book before her. It looks as ordinarily as any other book and that fact alone left any interest Mary may have had earlier. Mary carelessly flipped through the pages and as she predicted, it was the usual boring history stuff.

She curses under her breath and begins to question why she was here again for the fifth time, not that she was counting. With a few grumbling and mumbling coming out of her mouth, Mary’s shoulders deflated. Her inner thoughts were so loud she wasn’t aware of the light footsteps of Ririka making her way behind her. Her heart almost jumps out of her chest when Ririka’s soft voice is suddenly so close to her ear.

“Quiet an interesting book, isn’t it?”

The chill in the tone alone sent shivers down Mary’s spine and hair standing up on the back of her neck. She aggressively shuts the book as if she’s been caught reading something scandalous. She knew who was behind her, the familiar scent entirely gave it away.

Mary spins her head around to find those alluring eyes she had begun to really be fond of staring back at her ever so gently.

A beat of sweat rolled down her forehead. Ririka was simply way too close. Their faces were only a mere inches away. Ririka giggled and apologized with a smile on her face. She stepped back so the blonde could finally breathe.

“Well, uh, the cover,” Mary who couldn’t take her gaze off Ririka stammered, then quickly shoved the book back into the bookshelf behind her. “The cover is definitely interesting. Though I don’t know about the book itself.”

“Hmm,” Ririka averted her eyes from Mary and instead reaching for a book behind her. Mary was acutely aware that Ririka was leaning closer, closing the distance between them. “Ah, here it is,” she whispered, picking out a book.

As Ririka open the book to scan the pages, she didn’t make an effort of moving away or stepping away. And there Mary stood, frozen, her eyes scrutinizing every features of Ririka’s flawless face. The way Ririka gently blinks every now and then, the way her brows would furrowed, then relaxed, it was utterly mesmerizing.

Mary clears her throat just then, causing Ririka to look up at her. As if seeing the implications, Ririka apologized again and stepped away, this time, ambling towards one of the tables.

“I, uhm,”  She went to grab the milkshake that was standing on top of a table and hold it in front of Mary who was following her from behind. “I got this for you at the diner from a couple blocks away. I didn’t know which flavor you wanted so I just ordered their special.”

“Vanilla special.” Mary smiled, accepting the gift from Ririka. “It’s perfect. Thank you.”

“It’s the least I could do,” Ririka returned the smile, “after hurting your wallet so badly yesterday.”

Mary rolled her eyes playfully and took a seat on one of the chair. Ririka sat across from her and begin opening up the book she had just picked out.

Mary took a sip of her drinks and a curious thought entered her mind. “Anyways, you didn’t answer me the last time I asked, but why’re you so interested in history about Greek history?”

Ririka tilted her head up and look into Mary’s molten eyes. She gently tuck a strand of her hair behind her ear, “Ah, well,” a small smile tug on her lips, “were you expecting me to be interested in romance novel instead?”

Mary’s cheek redden, “h-huh? I didn’t mean it like that.” She grumbled, looking away.

“I’m merely joking,” Ririka lightly chuckled and stood up from her seat, only to walk around the table and sat on the chair beside Mary’s. “I can’t say I’m interested in the whole aspect of Greek history or even mythology per se,” she told her in a soft tone, and pointed at a particular sculpture of what looks like a Greek goddess. “I’m only interested in her.”

As usual, Mary had no idea who the hell that was. All she knew was that ancient gods and goddesses were all made up. What she noticed more than anything was how badly raspy Ririka’s voice had become. It was lower and hoarser than the day she first heard Ririka speaking. Though Ririka voice was still attractive, and soft, Mary couldn’t hide the fact that it sounded like her throat was beyond dry, as if Ririka is suffering a cold.

“Who is she?”

Mary glance at her, surprised to find out that all the emotion Ririka had earlier had disappeared. The smile was gone. She was expressionless and not even hint of emotion lingers through her face. Mary accidentally glance down at Ririka’s other hand which was under the table to find that she was clenching her palm into a fist so tight that Mary was sure if it was a little tighter, her nails would bleed out.

“Demeter.”

Ririka’s eyes were narrow and dark. The tone in her voice alone terrified Mary. It was as if Ririka wasn’t aware that Mary was there at all. The emotionless expression she had was the one Mary would never forget till kingdom come.

 

Chapter Text

 

“Demeter?” Mary asked curiously, the proof evidently displayed in her golden eyes. Why was Ririka so worked up on a person from long ago? let alone a mythological creature no less.

“Demeter.” Ririka repeated, her expression unfazed.

Mary frowned, looking down at the page before her. Her eyes scanned a few sentences until something stood out to her. “So... she’s the goddess of harvest.”

“Correct.” Ririka nodded, her eyes went stoic for a moment averting on the sculpture on the page.

“Huh.” Mary looked over at her, “what’s so interesting about her? I had the impression that Zeus was the popular one.”

“Zeus is an idiot.” Ririka countered,

It shouldn’t be a joke, but the serious tone in Ririka’s voice made Mary burst out laughing just then.

Ririka tugged a smile on her lips. Mary seen this before and she swore that Ririka’s smile is the sweetest smile she has ever seen in a person.

She wants more of that. She wants more of Ririka.

Mary’s laugh died down, “You really are into these people aren’t you? You know, they’re not real right?” Mary asked playfully.

Ririka glanced at her nervously, “Do you think I’m weird for that?”

“Well,” Mary grinned, a ridiculous grin tugs on her lips, “to a certain extent, yes. But hey, we all have our guilty pleasures. Though, I don’t believe myth are real... I mean for all we know, some drunkard might as well made the whole thing up and started gaslighting other drunkards and so on.”

As awfully blunt as that sounds, It was true to a certain extent. Mary didn’t believe in any supernatural growing up. Not Santa, not Easter bunny and definitely not the tooth fairies. When she was just six years old, her mother tried placing a five dollar bill under Mary’s pillow after her teeth had come out, only for Mary to open her eyes to tell her mother to just stop at that point.

Believing in something she couldn’t see was something Mary had set her mind not to think about too much. The only thing she believed in was becoming a great swimmer and making it into the Olympics.

“Right.” Ririka smile faded, her eyes returned to the book, “I believe, ah,” she hesitated for a moment, before speaking again. “this might sound weird and beyond the certain extent... but, I believe Demeter is somewhere in North America.”

Mary’s expression immediately changes to bewilderment. She had inhaled but somehow forgotten to exhale. The air in her lungs started building up.

Had Ririka not been listening her theory on myth?

She looked at Ririka, trying to decipher her expression, only to find it impenetrable, as always. Was Ririka being for real? Mary admit she had encounter a few delusional people in her fair share of life but Ririka didn’t exactly fit in that category. Ririka is a normal person just like Mary.... or at least that’s what Mary assumed she was. She shouldn’t be lumped into those categories of crazy people with mentality issues.

“I’m kidding.” Ririka giggled, interrupting Mary’s train of thought, and ultimately allowing her to exhale the air she had trapped . “You should’ve seen your face.”

Mary’s bites her lips, trying not to blush from Ririka’s heavenly laugh. “Fuck you.” She huffed, crossing her arm. “I can’t believe I fell for that.”

“Well,” Ririka hummed, “I’m half kidding then.”

Mary rolled her eyes. She knew Ririka had a weird sense of humor since the beginning, hence she decided to drop the matter.

“So what exactly are you looking for?” Mary asked, raising a curious brow.

“Hmm?” Ririka glance at her, “what do you mean?”

“Well...I noticed when you read a book, you don’t really read everything. You scan the pages as if you’re looking for something specific.”  Mary explained, “so I could only guess that you’re interested in a particular article or perhaps a certain piece of information?”

For a moment, Ririka sat frozen on her seat, staring into Mary’s eyes in bewilderment. Mary felt a little anxious whenever Ririka is acting this way, acting so secretive. Acting so distant, as if her heart is a deep ocean full of secrets.

“I have to say, you’re very observant,” Ririka murmured softly, looking away.  “but truth be told, you’re very much correct.”

“What exactly are you looking for?” Mary asked, averting her eyes back on the book.

“A scroll,” Ririka shrugged, “Demeter’s scroll.”

“A scroll?” Mary looked over at Ririka while flipping a couple pages, “what kind of scroll?”

Mary heard Ririka let out a weak laugh, “I doubt it’s in this book. It’s an ancient scroll. One that I couldn’t even begin to describe.”

“Oi! Just tell me!” Mary hissed, scanning the pages, “I wanna help.”

“But I thought you don’t believe in myth.” Ririka raised an eyebrow, “and anyways, nobody believed I could find that scroll. Sometimes I begin to doubt that it isn’t even real.”

Just those simple words left a pang in Mary’s stomach. Ririka could be fooling her around for all she knows, but the look in her eyes tells Mary that Ririka actually believes in the things she’s talking about.

“Even if I don’t believe in myth,” Mary smiled,nudging her elbow at Ririka’s arm, “you do...so I’ll help. At least I’ll try to.”

Mary saw Ririka being stuck in the motion for a moment. For a whole minute, she feared Ririka would repulsed and walk away thinking this is a none sense idea. Even Mary for a brief minute thought that this was by far the most ridiculous thing she has ever thought she’d be doing.

I mean, looking for a scroll? Of an Ancient Greek goddess that might or might not even exist all together? Would they be wasting their time just for the sake of this hobbie?

But Ririka’s blue eyes gazes into her’s and gave her a small smile and a nod. Mary stared in awe for a moment until she averted her eyes back onto the book.

They stayed like that for a little while. Eyes scanning as Mary flips the book pages to pages. When they reached the last page, Mary gently closed the book with a sigh.

Looking over the bookshelves, Mary gave Ririka a knowing smirk and gesture her to grab some more books and Ririka did just that.

Placing a stack of books on the table, Mary was first to grab a book and started reading through the pages.

Ririka does the same.

For the next few hours, they stayed like that. Silently going over books to books. The storm outside has been dying down, though there were still those lightly sound of thunder and lightning in the distance every now and then.

“It’s half past four.”

A soft voice invaded Mary’s concentration and her golden eyes glanced over at the clock from the wall. “Already?!” Mary gasped.

Ririka nodded, laughing lowly at the frown in Mary’s face.

It shouldn’t be as intriguing as Mary had first thought it would be. Looking for something so unattainable, and yet, their small talk here and there was all worth it.

Ririka’s subtle nods and her determination was the main reason Mary had found the most interesting about her. Whether that scroll actually exists or not, it didn’t matter. What matters was that she was actually spending time with the most intriguing person in town she knew most people would kill for.

“The library closes in thirty minutes.” Ririka gently closed her book and placed it on a stack with the rest of the books.

“I’ll help you with that.” Mary offered, grabbing half of the stack and walking towards the bookshelf. She placed  them back to where they belonged and look over at the window.

The rain had stopped and the sky started clearing up. The rays of sunlight shines through the clouds along with a beautiful rainbow appearing on the corner of the window but Mary couldn’t see the whole display.

“I’m sorry.” Ririka said quietly, coming up next to Mary and placing the books away. “We’ve been here for at least five hours and I didn’t ask if you had somewhere else to be.”

“And why would you?” Mary disregarded her apology playfully, “I mean, it was pouring like hell. If anything having a company is better than staying in alone. Which was what I was going to do anyway. There’s no way I was driving in that disaster.”

“That’s good.” Ririka let out a relief sigh, “I didn’t want you to feel like a hostage.”

“I’m actually starting to find mythology pretty interesting.” She smiled at her, “…surprisedly.”

“Honestly I was only looking for the scroll,” Ririka waved a hand, “I couldn’t care less about those other creatures.”

Mary chuckled at that, “yeah, it was pretty cute how you were so focused. I couldn’t decide if I should feel bad or laugh at you.”

Her laughing died down when she felt Ririka staring at her with widened eyes. She stared back at her in confusion for a moment then it hit her.

She was flirting with Ririka!

And it wasn’t even an indirect implication. It was directly out there. Like a bold heading font of a British royal article. Words from her heart escaping through her mouth with incredibly little attentiveness.

A blush slowly raised on her cheeks, she awkwardly scratched her cheek with her index finger while locking her eyes with Ririka’s. Her blue crystalline eyes reminds Mary of the sea. A dead clam sea….just before a horrible storm.

Mary’s eyes widened. This was getting dangerous. The ocean is dangerous. 

 “Uh, I-I think I better go,” Mary turned her head around and quickly walk back to the table grabbing her now empty drink with a Shaky hand.

“Will you come here again tomorrow?” Ririka cleared her throat and also made her way back to the table.

“Do you want me to?” Mary turned to her, her cheeks were still reddened. She nervously glanced to the side, “Because I don’t wanna impose-“

“You’re not.” Ririka eyes softened with a smile, and Mary almost saw a glimpse of shyness in that expression. “…I mean you’re not imposing. You’re really an open-minded person and I like that.”

A ray of light creeps into the gloomy library and hits Ririka’s skin. If Mary thought Ririka was beautiful before, she was about to get hit by a bus pretty hard because Ririka’s skin started to glow. It’s radiant and glistening. Mary’s eye were frozen until Ririka’s stepped out of the light with a frown.

“Something wrong?”

She’s beautiful, Mary shook her head with a smile tugging on her lips. “Everything‘s fine.” She waved at her before going out, “I’ll see you tomorrow, Ririka!”

And she did.

The next day after her training, she rushed into the library and as she expected, Ririka sat delicately on their table already reading a book.

Well, apparently looking for a scroll to be precise.

As they were looking through books, Mary started asking Ririka about the scroll. Ririka had answered her vaguely yesterday but it didn’t satisfied Mary. If Ririka truly feel comfortable with Mary’s help, she was bound to tell Mary at least the slightest information on it.

“What colour was the scroll?”
“Is it rolled or flat?”
“Is there words written on it?” 
“Does it look soft or hard?”

Mary sighed when all of Ririka’s answers were as vague as ever. She wondered if Ririka actually seen it before, but considering how old the scroll or the Greek history are, Mary doubt the girl sitting beside her had encounter any scroll in her life. Whether be an ancient scroll or a normal modern looking scroll. The only explanation Ririka told her was that the scroll was important to Demeter and it holds a very powerful message.

“Don’t you think we have a better chance of finding that message on Google?” Mary asked bluntly.

“No.” Ririka shook her head, “the scroll hasn’t… shouldn’t be seen by anyone except for Demeter. We just need a little information on that scroll.” Ririka placed a finger on her chin, furrowing her brows, “she somehow made this a lot harder than I thought.”

“You don’t say.” Mary smirked, “From what I’ve read, Isn’t she supposed to be a people loving person?”

“She was.” Ririka nodded, “though that all changed when her daughter was abducted.”

“By Hades?” Mary suggested, maybe a little too fast for her liking.

“Sounds like someone’s knowledge had been increasing.” Ririka teased, “I never pegged you to remember these people.”

Mary cheeks pinkend, and turned her face away in embarrassment, “I- well after all these books, I was bound to remember a detail or two.”

“Mhm.” Ririka hummed, “but you’re right. Hades abducted her daughter and that’s when the scroll came into existence.”

“That was never mentioned in these books though.” Mary countered, “I mean I get that they’re all vague and made up but didn’t she just went into depression?”

“Well, she did get into depression. That part is awfully true.” Ririka’s expression turned into a void, “of course, not before she got her sweet revenge.”

“Revenge?” Mary flipped a few pages trying to find what Ririka was talking about.

“It’s not in any of these books, Mary.” Ririka sighed, and for a moment Mary felt a goosebumps just by hearing her name. 

“Then what makes you think that?” Mary gulped quietly.

“Well, because…” Ririka eyes widened a little and it didn’t go unnoticed by Mary. She hastily shook her head and let out a dry chuckled. “Just a thoughtful guess.”

“Tell me why that doesn’t convince me that you’re hiding something.” Mary grumbled, blowing out her bangs from her forehead.

Ririka laughed , “C’mon, let’s get another drink.” She offered instead.

“Fine.” Mary stood up lazily. “You’re paying.”

The next day, Mary started expending her questions about Ririka.

“Is Kirari your twin sister?”
“Are you guys a tourist?”
”Where do you stay?”
“Is Yumeko your relative?”
”How long will you stay for?”
“Where are your parents?”

As vaguely as Ririka’s responds were, Mary had learned that Kirari is in fact, Ririka’s twin sister. Their identical looks alone gave it all away. Mary noticed little things but never the big things. Ririka explained that they like to travel together and they were old enough to do it without their parents. Ririka wouldn’t talk about Yumeko or how long they’d stay for but Mary didn’t need to know. It was enough for her.

Ririka was so closed up that sometimes when she’d explained things or talk a bit too long, she’d freeze up and just stayed silent until Mary started rambling on and on again.

The third day, Mary started wondering if Ririka was up for something fun other than staying in the library.

“Have you been on the Ferry?” 
Have you been to the island?” 
“Have you tried the strawberry funnel cake Frappuccino?” 
“Have you gone sailing yet?”

The more Mary knows about Ririka, the more she found her utterly unique. With each passing day, she found Ririka open up to her more and more. Ririka would even got her a smoothie ready by the time Mary arrived at the library. On the contrary, Mary would do the exact same thing and sometimes, they’d end up with four full drinks on the table and would laugh it off.

Mary found herself thinking about Ririka while laying in bed at the comfort of her home. She couldn’t wait until she sees Ririka again. Couldn’t wait until she was by her side looking for that stupid scroll. It was getting harder and harder for Mary to stop thinking about Ririka. Her mind was playing a very dirty trick on her and part of Mary didn’t mind at all.

Ririka at one point, asked Mary about her life. Just a simple “do you like it here?” Ended up with the blonde rambling on and on about her life starting from when she found her love for the ocean at a very young age. Her parents however, hated the sea and the rural side of this town. There weren’t a lot of businesses and not a lot of people. Even though her parents moved away in the city, Mary stayed with her grandparents until she turned eighteen and that’s when they also moved to the city leaving Mary all alone.

“It’s not that I’m attached to this place or anything,” Mary grumbled, leaning tiredly on the table. “I’d be more than happy to move anywhere as long as it’s by the seaside you know?”

“I know.” Ririka admitted quietly, “the feeling of attachment is overrated.”

Mary didn’t understand what she meant. She didn’t asked either. Instead, she started turning the pages on the book just like they always do when spending time in the library.

“Hey, are you hungry?”

It was five in the evening when Mary asked Ririka that. It was also the time when the library was about to close.

“I’m not really hungry.” Ririka admitted, putting the stack of books away, one by one.

“But we haven’t ate in like three hours.” Mary groaned, “I get really hungry after training you know?”

“You do?” Ririka raised a curious eyebrow, “but you’re always in the library until they close and you never mention this.”

“I don’t normally starve myself, but I’ve been forgetting…”Mary mumbled, a blush appearing on her cheeks, “these recent days, I’ve just jumped in the library and didn’t eat until like I get home.”

Ririka looked at her with a concern look and Mary wished she never brought that up. She regretted ever wanting to push Ririka out of her comfort zone if it means she was going to gave Mary that look.

“Never mind.” Mary laughed it off, and she hated how even she could hear the sadness touch to that laugh.

When the hell has she started being like this? Getting butt hurt by a simple rejection. Unbelievable. Maybe Itsuki was right. Mary was more sentimental than what she showed people with her tough looks.

“I’m gonna go now!” She said with a cheery voice and waved goodbye at Ririka while quickly turning around with a frown.

The sun was setting again and the rays hits Mary’s face like it was a laser. It burned. She touched her cheek and scratching it gently.

It hurts.

“Wait!”

Mary heard a voice behind her, she refused to look back and walked a little faster. Why would someone like Ririka ever join Mary for a dinner in public. The library alone was more than enough. Ririka shouldn’t lumped herself with someone like her.

“Mary!”

The voice was louder and more closer. So Mary turned around. Ririka was just a few feet from her. As impossible as that sounds, Mary didn’t care. She was too tired to figure that out.

“I don’t mind grabbing something to eat.” Ririka said softly and pointed to a restruant nearby. And Mary Almost laughed at the way Ririka just picked a random diner.

“It’s fine,” Mary shook her head. “You’re not that hungry so-“

“But I could be your company. You’ve been mine in the library so…” she countered with those determination in her eyes.

Again, Mary shook her head, “it’s fine. I don’t want our friendship to be transactional or based on owning each other. I want it to be clean and without any strings attached. So.. goodbye now.” She smiled gently at her and turn her head around to walk away again.

She couldn’t walk far before she felt a firm grip wrapped delicately around her wrist, ultimately turning her around.

“Got it.” Ririka smirked and tugged Mary into a restaurant across the street. “No strings attached.”

 

Chapter Text

 

Five hundred years ago

Are you amused by this?”

“Yes, very much so.”

“You haven’t changed a bit.”

“Changed or not, I’m the one who’s hand is inside of your chest,” Kirari’s eyes glimmered, her body hovered over the woman beneath her. “Tereno.”

Tereno clenched her razors sharp teeth tightly. “It’s been more than a millennium of us surviving together and this is how you want to end it?” She tightened her grips around the wrist of the woman above her.

Tereno glanced menacingly up at her. Her eyes glow of amber and her pupils constricted. Her voice sounded sharp and bitter but Kirari could barely hear her. The thunder growled behind them. The heavy rain showed no signs of slackening off. It wasn’t sprinkling. It was pouring like hell.

Ririka stood silently behind them, facing away from the two. She watched as the waves roared in the distance. The hunger and the voices inside of her head seems to distract her from the current situation. She  tried glancing at the moon once again, though the rain and clouds blurred most of her vision, she knew which phases the moon exactly was; a waxing crescent.

She heard a screech from behind her and she didn’t have to turn around to know just what had happened.

“It’s done.”

Kirari stood up, making her way towards the water. Without even a glance, Ririka knew Kirari’s arm was drenched with blood. Her stomach churned thinking about it.

“That was our first kill. Our kinds.” Ririka said calmly. Her eyes still focused on those dangerous waves. A rouge wave being one of them. Loud and dangerous.

“Don’t worry. I’ve already found a replacement.” Kirari grinned, droplets of blood running down her mouth and splashed into the ocean mixing with the raindrops. “They call her Yumeko.”

 

Current days

 

“Where might you be heading off to?”

Kirari’s airy voice flowed through the marbling walls of the massive kitchen. Ririka stopped just before reaching the front door. She turns around to see Kirari’s back, elbows bending on the white marbling countertop, facing away from her.

“Why does it matter?”

Ririka response surprisedly comes off more defensive than she would have liked. She raised a curious brow when her sister was a little slower to retorts. A little unusual for Kirari, who often has a speedy process of a mind.

“Oh god…” Ririka growled, “please don’t tell me you’re doing this in the kitchen.”

Kirari tilted her head sideways just enough for Ririka to witness a wide smirk on her face. “Thank you Aoi. You may wait for me in the living room.”

A charming young man stood up from below the countertop with a lustful grin on his face. He was wearing a grey jogger pants with a silver button up shirt that was half-buttoned. He licked his lips and wipes his mouth with his arm. His eyes wandered off to Ririka for a single moment, but it was enough for him to give her a flirtatious wink before he make his way into the the living room, disappearing from the view.

“I can’t believe you just did that…” Ririka muttered, annoyed look evidently on her face. “And In the kitchen, of all places.”

“Why not?” Kirari finally turned around, straighten up her posture with a sly smirk on her face, “nobody uses the kitchen anyways. I mean, aside for the bar of course.”

“He just winked at me.” Ririka scoffed, “and I thought you had him on a leash.”

“He did, didn’t he?” Kirari chuckled, “well, as annoying as he can be, he’s pretty useful at the moment. I mean isn’t this magnificently luxurious beach house just so captivating?”

Kirari turned her head to take in the massive house. The house was made of modern wood and glass and the beach displaying outside was calling for them.

“I hope you know that when you’re not around, he’d gawked on Yumeko as if you’ve never existed.” Ririka pointed out instead.

Kirari sighed, “all men are the same Ririka.”

“We’re not staying long.” Ririka countered.

“You might be right.” Kirari nodded, “after all, I’ve already found a replacement. Though it appears to be a little trickier than I had anticipated.”

Ririka walked towards her and gestures for a bottle of alcohol behind the countertop. She took a seat on one of the five stools and took out a basic wine glass from the rack that was placed neatly on the countertop.

“Who might that be?” Ririka asked, “maybe I can help.”

Kirari laughed lowly. “There’s no need for that. Besides, you might advise against it.”

“Why would I?” She frowned, “why would I go against something that needs to be done before the full moon?”

Kirari looks into her identical eyes for a moment and then let’s put a blissful sigh. “Don’t worry about it.”

Whenever Kirari is being secretive about something, it always struck a nerve to Ririka. She hated it. But over the long periods of years, she has gotten used to this treatment from Kirari.

“Fine.” Ririka said, “where’s Yumeko anyway?”

“Maybe out for a swim.” Kirari turned around to look at the many bottles of alcohol behind the counter. “Or maybe grabbing a bite? Something you should be doing as well.”

“I can wait.” Ririka shrugged.

Kirari sighed, “well, thats all up to you…but you’re only torturing yourself.” She reminded her.

“Whatever.” Ririka mumbled, “I’m not that hungry.”

“Your voice is a lot huskier too.” Kirari added, “have you not noticed that?”

“Does it matter?” Ririka frowned, “it’s pointless anyway.”

“Even though you’re my twin, I just don’t get you sometimes.” Kirari sigh with exasperation, “Oh well…what would you like me to make you?” Kirari said with a seductive edge in the tone of her voice, ultimately making Ririka cringed with disgust.

“Just white wine is fine.” She answered unfazed.

Kirari looked back and stared at her for a moment until she get out a painful sigh, turning around again to find the white wine bottle. “How mundane of you.”

Pouring the wine into Ririka’s cup in a painfully slow pace, Kirari smirked. “You know, I never pegged you to be into mortals. Or any types In that category really. I mean considering what happened about four centuries ago? Or five?”

Ririka shot her a glare. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You know, the blonde.” Kirari smiled gesturing a hand, “this tall, twin tails, most times in a foul mood..” observing Ririka’s realization expression, Kirari giggled. “There it is.”

“It’s not what you think.” Ririka took a sip of the wine. “And I hardly know her.”

“But you’ve been trying to get to know her.” Kirari countered. “Don’t think we haven’t noticed how you’ve been acting lately.”

Ririka turned her head to the side, glancing at the marbling floor. “She’s just…”

“Pretty?” Kirari suggested with a knowing voice.

“Yeah.” Ririka said without thinking. Once she realized her eyes widened. “No! I mean no, not that!”

“Well what is it then?” Kirari snickered, pouring herself a glass of red wine.

“You wouldn’t get it.” She told her.

Kirari raised a brow, “and why wouldn’t I get it—“

“Good afternoon!” Yumeko beamed, interrupting the sister’s interesting talk. Her hair was still wet, and its glistening as she walks into the kitchen. Her Bikini, on the other hand however, was had dried up. “The swim was amazing. You’re missing out Ririka.”

“I doubt that,” Ririka mumbled, taking a sip of her wine.

“Good afternoon to you, Yumeko,” Kirari chuckled lightly, “love the bikini by the way. It really brings out the color of your eyes.”

“Right?” Yumeko giggled, “though I’m running out of the special looking ones.”

Ririka turns her head to take a look at Yumeko’s bikini. She was wearing a sexy white bikini set with blood red flaming patterns. Ririka was impressed at how hot Yumeko was. Her cleavage was probably the main thing that attracts most people.

“Didn’t you get like ten pairs last week?” Ririka frowned, they always go

Shopping for bikini they’d only wear once and Ririka didn’t like that. She was more of a recycle-reuse-reduced person.

“Oh, come on now,” Kirari interjected, “the more the merrier.”

“I’m glad you think that way too!” Yumeko grinned, clapping her hands merrily. “I know! How about a shopping spree?”

“Perfect!” Kirari agreed, before Ririka could object. “Let’s all go shopping.”

Ririka shot her sister a stern look, before drinking the rest of her wine. “I apologized but I cannot join you guys today.” She told them as she stood up.

“Why?” Yumeko question In confusion, “we don’t have anything else planned today.”

“Exactly,” Kirari laughed, “what will you be doing thats much more entertaining than shopping?”

Ririka thought about it for a moment. If Kirari or Yumeko were to find out she had been hanging out with a mortal, she’d never hear the end of it. And on top of that, they’d definitely start bothering Mary which Ririka hoped that wouldn’t happened.

Mary had slowly grown onto Ririka without even trying. No spell, no tricks. Just simply being a friend. Being someone who Ririka was able to talk to. With no strings attached.

“Nevermind,” Ririka mumbled, “although I wouldn’t say shopping is entertaining.

“Then we can just chill at the beach. I miss tanning.” Kirari smiled, “now then… Aoi why don’t you get the car ready!” She called from the kitchen.

“You got it!” Aoi replied happily, running out the door and starting the cars engine.

“It’s really hot today,” Yumeko added, pouring herself a glass of water, then chugging it down with haste.

“No alcohol?” Kirari teased, “I never pegged you to be the water girl.”

Yumeko giggled, “I may have a bit too much of alcohol in my blood streams right now. My skin tends to get dry pretty fast.” She raised her hand to show the twins, “see the crackling? It’s been getting worse.”

“Interesting.” Kirari hummed, “it might be because you were a replacement or perhaps the reason for that could be because of the missing fish.”

“Well, I’m looking forward until it’s over.” Yumeko sighed, chugging down another glass of water.

“Why can’t we just stay in and enjoy watching tv?” Ririka raised a brow, “Yumeko shouldn’t be put in the sun for too long anyway and I vote to stay in.”

“Don’t be a dolly dull, Ririka.” Kirari faked a pout, “Yumeko’s fine, and the beach is lively today.”

“I’ll be fine Ririka,” Yumeko smiled sweetly at her, and grabbed her stuff. “Come on let’s go!”

They heard a car honking from outside, along with a giddy laugh, “C’mon girls! What are we waiting for?”

Coming!” Yumeko sang, and Aoi immediately stopped the honking and came back into the house.

Go back in the car.” Kirari shot a cold glare at Aoi, who quickly nodded his head and ran out the door. She turned toward Yumeko and walked up to her. Kirari tilted Yumeko’s chin up to look directly into her eyes and with a cold and menaced voice, she said, “I suggest you don’t sing to him. He is my victim after all.”

“Of course.” Yumeko smiled affectionally, unaffected by Kirari’s threat.

“We should go.” Ririka sighed, tired of watching the display. “You guys are a whole different breed. Fighting over a man? Please.”

“We weren’t fighting.” Kirari pointed out.

“Yeah, yeah.” Ririka walked out with another heavy sigh, “whatever you say.”

The beach.

It was hot, so the whole shore was crowded, both with tourists and the locals. Still, they stood out. The three girls and Aoi stroll along the beach earning glances from the crowd as they move along.

All the girls wore bikinis, showing off their ample assets. Men and some women even were gawking at them, each time they walked passed them. But none of them spare any of them a glance.

Aoi was too busy trailing after Kirari like a lost puppy and his blue eyes wouldn’t stop drooling over Kirari’s body.

They only stop walking when Kirari abruptly stopped in dead her track.

“Interesting.” She hummed, looking directly forward.

The others followed her gaze.

It seems like Mary and Sayaka had also came down the beach to relax. Mary lay on a beach towel on her belly, while Sayaka was sitting propped on her elbows.

“Oh my!” Yumeko pointed at the two, “isn’t that—“

“Mary.” Ririka whispered, but it was loud enough for Kirari and Yumeko to hear. They shared a knowing glance before Kirari started walking towards them.

“You’re blocking the light,” Mary said without looking up. Kirari stood in front of her, casting a shadow across her back.

“Good afternoon, may we join you?” Kirari smirked, staring down at them.

That’s when Mary abruptly turned around and lifted her head to glare at her. Sayaka also sat up, like she was ready to attack whatever that was coming for her.

“What the hell do you want?” Mary asked with anger.

Ririka winches a bit from Mary’s sudden aggressiveness and cautiously glance at her sister, silently pleading to leave them alone. She knew Mary was different when she’s alone with her, she has witnessed that first hand. But she also understands that Mary didn’t like Kirari or Yumeko. Lm top of that, the people crowding around them only made things worse.

Instead of answering Mary’s question or fulfilling Ririka’s command, Kirari instead, proceeded on laying her towel on the sand, right next to Mary.

“What are you doing?” Mary scowled, looking up at Kirari.

“What do you think I’m doing?” Kirari raised an eyebrow, “I’m going to lay down.

Yumeko also started laying her towel next to Kirari, while Ririka stood awkwardly there. She glance down at Mary and somehow caught those golden eyes staring back at her.

Mary’s face shows nothing but rage, and yet her eyes were soft. Ririka observed how her expression flipped a little as movement from her lips slightly tilted upward. Almost into a smile? Mary looked relieved at least to see her.

Ririka remain stoic but was happy internally. She was responsible for this.

Ririka, are you going join us or what?” Kirari looked at her with a puzzled expression.

Ririka wanted to lay next to Mary and the only thing keeping that from happening was Yumeko and Kirari, who were already laying on their back peacefully. Mary and Sayaka were still sitting, with an uncomfortable look on their faces. Ririka could only guess that it was because of many people who were starting to crowd them, looming over Kirari, Yumeko and Ririka, staring at them with lust in their eyes.

She lays her towel next to yumeko and sat down. She looks at Aoi who was sitting on the sand with arms around his knees staring out at the ocean. Ririka followed his gazes.

It was a good day for people who were into surfing or kiteboarding. Ririka heard Yumeko chugging down her water bottle and a concern rose on her face. Yumeko only give her a smile and went back to laying down. Ririka’s icy blue eyes turns sideways, catching Mary’s golden gaze. Ririka give her a look that says “I’m sorry.” And it seems to do the trick because Mary’s anger seems cool down.

“Tch- “ Mary tsked, staring down at Kirari and Yumeko who were more than making themselves comfortable. “I’m thirsty. I’m gonna get a drink.”

“Do you want me to come with you?” Sayaka offered, and Ririka could tell in her tone that she wouldn’t want to be left alone.

Mary shook her head, “I don’t trust these people with my belongings. You stay here, I’ll be quick. Do you want anything from the concession?”

“No I’m good with my water bottle.” Sayaka said quietly as Mary stood up, dusting sand off herself, and trying to make them fall on Kirari’s back. It didn’t really work because the wind was blowing in Sayaka’s direction instead.

“Mary!” Sayaka hissed. “You got sand falling on me!”

Ririka glanced at the display in amusement. The days of spending time with Mary really helped her understand the blonde’s behaviour. When Mary tried to accomplish something and failed, her reactions were probably one of Ririka’s favourite things about Mary.

“Oh, sorry!” Mary whispered, stepping out of her towel, and before she left to get her drink, she shot a knowing glance towards Ririka.

Ririka frowned as Mary left the scene. Was that an implication of something? Was she angry at her? She turned around to see that Mary had completely vanished behind the public washrooms and she wasn’t at the concession either. Did Mary want Ririka to follow her?

Ririka stood up and decided to find Mary.

“Where are you going?” Kirari tilted her head sideways, winching from the sunlight.

“Um… washrooms.” Ririka told her, already walking away before Kirari could say more.

“Are you going to tell her?” Yumeko mumbled in her towel, refusing to turn to face the sun.

“I intend to.” Kirari said, though her voice sounded a little uncertain. “Though it seems the situation has turned drastically into something else entirely, I supposed. It may be unwise to tell Ririka after all.”

“I see.” Yumeko muttered. “Well, whatever you decide, I’m sure Ririka will understand.”

Kirari raised her head and Propped her elbow to raise herself up. She caught a glimpse of the girl a towel between from her who was staring at her strangely.

“What’s your name, honey?” Kirari questioned, and the way she speaks was different than how she had just spoke to Yumeko.

“Sayaka.”

Kirari smiled, “Sayaka, could you be a dear and put up the beach umbrella for us?”

“Oh, Um.” Sayaka nervously looks around, “we didn’t bring one, sorry.”

“That’s no problem.” Kirari chuckled, “ just steal one.”

Sayaka stare at her for a few moments and Kirari already went back to laying her face down on the towel, knowing Sayaka would do exactly what she was told.

“I’m sorry but you’ll have to do that yourself.” Came Sayaka replied a moment later.

Kirari opened her eyes to give her a stern look, but Sayaka was already taking out her book and was absorbing herself into it.

Kirari turned her head around to look at Yumeko, who already was sitting up and looking down at Kirari. Yumeko shrugged, and gave Kirari a confused look.

Kirari turned her head around again to observe Sayaka. Her brows furrowed as she tried scrutinizing Sayaka. She couldn’t understand how anyone would refuse her commands.

Just who is this girl?

 

Chapter Text

 

Mary puffed her chest up as she stood silently behind a tree with her arms crossed. She was there for one reason only.

To wait for one person.

She couldn’t stand the sight of Kirari any longer and Ririka being with them had her blood boiling. Mary knew she couldn’t blame her. They were way closer to each other and they seems to live in a world where Mary doesn’t belong.

“…Mary?”

Mary heard a raspy voice calling out her name from nearby and she knew exactly who it was from.

She stepped out behind the tree and showed herself. She gave Ririka a cold glare, one that the taller girl has never seen before—which got her a bit worried. She didn’t like it one bit. 

Mary grabbed onto her wrist and gently dragged her into the trees, far from the rest of the civilian.

“Why weren’t you at the library today?” She asked with a stern look, letting go of her wrist when they were far enough.

“Library?” Ririka tilted her head giving her a puzzled look, “but you told me you don’t go to the pool on the weekends.”

Right. Mary did told her that…

Mary’s cheeks reddened in realization and she immediately backed up, glancing away to hide her blush.

How did Ririka remember such a small and insignificant detail? 

“T-That doesn’t mean I won’t go to the library.” She muttered. “J-Just because there’s no training.”

“Why else would you want to be at the library then?” Ririka frowned not understanding where Mary was coming from, “there’s no reason for you to.”

Mary’s face burned bright red. Ririka was right. There was no reason for Mary to. Was there?

“Well, I thought you’d be there.” Mary grumbled, “aren’t you always there?”

“Not really.” Ririka paused for a little bit, “I tend to switch Library every week.”

“Why didn’t you tell me this information?” Mary’s brows scrunched up in confusion and she raised her voice, “I thought, we’re friends.”

Unbeknownst to Ririka, Mary may, or may not have today special planned out for the two.

“Don’t tell me…” Ririka blinked, “you went to the library for me?”

Its always been for you, Mary wanted to say but refrained from doing so. “I…I thought we could hang out.”

Ririka blinked. “Hang… out?”

“Yeah, you know?” Mary rubbed the back of her neck shyly, “just me and you. Minus all those people on the beach.”

“Mary, I—“ Ririka hesitated, and Mary was all too familiar with this.

Ririka was about to reject her. She knew it was coming. The hesitation, the frown in her eyebrows, the frozen in her eyes. Mary had learned to read her expression like a book.

Mary never initiated something in her life. It’s always been the other party trying to initiated something with her. Standing in the middle of the forest, both in their bikinis, with the shades of the tree’s branches, it felt cold all of a sudden.

Ririka stepped towards Mary and when Ririka looked at her like that, Mary wanted to die. She wished she never had initiated anything. She wished she never acknowledged her in the first place. She wished those library days never existed.

But instead, Ririka went to grab her hand,

“Mary.” She said softly, looking into Mary’s fierce eyes with gentleness, “are we friends?”

Letting out a breath she didn’t know she was holding, Mary lightly squeezed her hand.

“I came out here separating you from the rest.” She glanced sideways trying to save herself from embarrassment, “doesn’t that tell you something?”

Ririka nodded, “so we are.”

“Of—Of course you idiot!”  Mary wrapped her arms around her own body. The air had became colder and it had sent a shiver down her spine but she was contradicting weather to stay with Ririka or go back where it’s warm. Mary sighed, “We-We should—“

“Hey ladies!”

Aoi came out behind the trees and wrapped an arm around Ririka. “We’re heading back. Kirari asked me to come and get you.”

Mary frowned feeling a bit agitated. She had no right to be mad at whoever was touching Ririka but she couldn’t help it. 

“Go ahead without me.” Ririka told him backing away.

“That’s no fun.” He pressed, leaning forward, “c’mon, we’re going for a swim later.”

When he leaned closer to her face and his lips almost touching her cheek, Mary abruptly cleared her throat.

Ririka brushed herself away from Aoi’s arm and took a step back. “I’m going to hang out with Mary. Go back.” She told him with all seriousness.

Mary could almost pick up something in the tone of her voice. It was the way she said it. The husky in her voice faded and it’s almost like she was singing. It definitely had an effect on the boy because he listens and left.

“Should we go back?” Ririka offered sensing how Mary was now shivering.

Mary nodded slowly and they stepped into the sun.

“That’s better.” Ririka hummed, “the sun is lovely today.”

“Was….that your boyfriend?” Mary asked, glancing out at the ocean instead of Ririka.

“Who? Aoi?” Ririka raised an eyebrow.

“Yeah, whoever that was.” Mary couldn’t denied the bitterness in her voice. But she couldn’t help it. She knew how guys look at Ririka and she shouldn’t be surprised. So why was she feeling all threatened now?

“Oh…No. he is Kirari’s…” Ririka started rambling but paused.

“Ririka,” Mary turned her face to look at her, “um..are you dating anyone?”

That certainly was a loaded question.

Ririka eyes widened and then her lips formed a small smile, “I-I’m not.” She was never good with her feelings.

Mary was baffled as she kept staring at her. On one hand, she was surprised to feel relieved, but on another hand she wondered if Ririka had high expectations when it comes to her significant other.

“Why? Can’t find somebody to live up to your expectations?” She teased grinning at her.

Ririka’s face turned pink, “Well, I just haven’t found someone I genuinely liked…I guess.”

“Well then, What’s your type?” Mary curiously asked.

“My…type?” Ririka frowned, “what do you mean?”

“Like, what do you look for in someone.” Mary explained, “or what’s your preference?”

“I…I guess…” Ririka mumbled, but turns to face Mary, raising a brow. “Why are you asking me?”

Now it was Mary’s cheeks to turn pink, “I-I just wanted to know,” she said quickly, “c’mon tell me!”

“Ok then,” Ririka smiled, “I guess it’d be someone who will respect me…”

Mary nodded. Check. She  had been really respectful to Ririka ever since they started talking,

Minus those times when she regretfully lumped Ririka with Kirari and Yumeko. She made a mental note to never disrespect Ririka again.

For now…

“Someone who is honest with me.”

Check. Mary was sure she has never lied to Ririka. She hate liars after all.

“Someone who is loyal to me…”

Double check. Mary is super loyal to people she cares about. Platonically or not.

“Someone who will love and want me for who I am…”

Check. Mary loved Ririka’s personalities and her quiet demeanour and of course… her looks was a big plus bonus…But! Mary didn’t care about that.

“…and of course, they have to be kinda cute for my taste.” Ririka giggled at that last part.

Crap. Mary knew she was hot… but was she cute?? Oh shit oh shit!

Mary nervously chuckled as a beat of sweat rolled down her forehead.

“So…what’s your type—“ Ririka questioned.

“Oh look!” Mary interrupted, she was not ready to talk about her type with Ririka. “It’s a beach bar, come on let’s go!” She grabbed Ririka’s hand and jogged over to small beach bar.

“Mary!” A handsome young man wearing a Hawaiian shirt where all his buttons were undone, showing his fine abs winked at them. “… and a cutie I see. It’s on the house for you two.”

It was a guy that goes to the same school as Mary. He’s been hitting on Mary for quite a while now but everytime he made a move, Mary had always rejected him.

“Hey,” Mary sighed, leaning on the bamboo countertop. “I’ll get mojito thanks.”

“I’ll have the same as Mary.” Ririka told him politely.

“Coming right up!” He grinned, and started to work on their drinks.

Mary was still in her head thinking about if she was cute enough for Ririka or not. The problem was, she sees Ririka as a friend. So why was she so worked up about?

Her brows furrowed as she stared down at the countertop and she didn’t even noticed a pervy man who decided to take a seat beside her.

Her train of thought immediately shattered once she heard a loud slap. She turned to the noise and saw Ririka standing up from her stool slapping the man’s arm away.

“Please don’t touch my friend.” Ririka told the man with a protective look. Her brows were furrowed a little which almost looked like she was being possessive.

“C’mon babe, let me buy you a drink.” He pressed.

“No, thank you.” Ririka countered, “ leave.”

With Ririka’s last word, the man stood up obediently and left. Mary on her part, almost stood up to leave with him. It was something about how Ririka said it that makes her body moves on it own. She couldn’t quiet describe it.

“I think he’s drunk.” Mary whispered in Ririka’s ear, trying to ease the her tension.

“I don’t think so.” Ririka relaxed a bit. Strangely, a part of her didn’t like how he looked at Mary. “He was checking you out.”

“Have you seen the people who were checking you out?” Mary reminded, “I mean everywhere you go, everybody basically drools over you.”

Before Ririka could even replied, the bartender handed them their drinks.

“Hey Riri, so I was bored the other day…” Mary mindlessly started rambling while sipping on her drink, unbeknownst to her, Ririka had stopped listening after her name.

It was hot.

The sun was burning their skin. Shining through their eyes but the wind seems to be their equilibrium. The perfect mixture of heat and cool. Surrounded by spring grass, the girls were laying on the grass admiring the clouds.

“Persephone, please don’t stray too far.”

Demeter called out to her daughter, sitting on a fancy couch with a wine glass in her hand. A few maids were by her side tending to her every needs.

“Yes mother.” Persephone replied walking to the end of the cliff once she spot a beautiful golden yellow daffodil.

“Persephone!” Demeter called out again, this time a little louder.

“I’m coming, mother.” Her daughter came running back towards the other girls. “Riri! this…. This is for you.” She hesitantly hold the flower in front of Ririka.

“F-For me?” Ririka questioned her with those frowning brows.

“Yes. I thought it was pretty and..” Persephone’s face burned bright red. “..and I thought of you. So will you accept it?”

“I look exactly like Ririka and you didn’t think of me?” Kirari intervened, smirking at the flustered Persephone.

“What about me?” Sumika joined giggling at the display. “Am I not pretty enough?”

“Honestly I couldn’t care less about that flower.” Tereno sighed laying back down on the grass.

“Well Ririka? Aren’t you going to accept the gift?” Kirari encouraged, nudging her closer to the girl holding the flower.

“Thank you Sephone.” Ririka accepted the gift and give it a sniff. “It’s really pretty.”

“I’m not picking favourite, I swear!” Persephone laughed, holding her hands up in defence. “For some reason I found the flower and thought of Riri.”

“I don’t get it,” kirari went to grab the flower from Ririka’s hand, which she reluctantly lets go of. “This flower is bright and has more personalities than both Ririka and Tereno combined. What makes you think of My sister?”

They heard Tereno grunting in the background but they ignored her.

“I guess it was a calling. As if the flower has spoken to me.” Persephone shrugged. “I don’t exactly know how to explain it but I thoughtit’ll make Riri happy.”

And it did. After that day, Ririka has been taking care of the single daffodil until it sadly withers away. The yellow paddles fell one by one until there was no more.

Mary’s golden hair flew Infront of Ririka’s face as her hand wave in front of her.

“Ririka?” Mary gently shakes her shoulder with a worried expression.

“Sorry,” Ririka flashed her startled look, “were you saying something?”

“Yeah, but you kind of zone out..” Mary became alart, eyes furrowing, “are you alright?”

“I haven’t heard that in a while.” She admitted.

“Heard what?” She raised an eyebrow.

“Riri.”

“Oh! I’m sorry!” Mary cheeks reddened, “it slipped out of my—“

“It’s fine,” Ririka smiled, “I liked it.

“I—…. Okay.” Mary still stared at her. “You had me worried. You were frozen for a while.”

Ririka shoulders deflated. She nervously look around as more people were making their way to the bar now. Precisely because she was there. She was used to the crowd but she was never fond of it. If it were up to her, she’d gladly make them all disappear.

“Can we take a walk?” She suggested.

“We can.” Mary agreed already getting up from the stool.

“I’m sorry but what were you saying earlier.. b-before I zoned out?” Ririka was first to spoke when the two started walking along the beach.

“Oh, that. I know you said internet isn’t reliable as opposed to books but,” Mary blinked a few times, “I looked up Demeter and it mention something about a secret library. I assumed the scroll might be there, I mean, if it exists at all of course.”

“Secret library?” Ririka furrowed her brows, curiosity fueled her mind, “Are you sure it’s about Demeter?”

“Positive.” Mary nodded, “the publisher actually deceased a couple years ago but all his works are pretty accurate. He was a professor of anthropology. He’s been travelling along the Mediterranean Sea, searching for Ancient history. He mention something briefly about a secret library located somewhere along that sea, though I’m not sure where exactly.”

“Can you show me?” Ririka turned to her in all seriousness.

“Sure, do you have a phone?” the blonde smiled. “I’ll text you the site.”

“Is this your way of getting my number?” Ririka playfully replied, nudging Mary’s shoulder.

“Maybe.” Mary grinned shrugging her shoulders. “Maybe not.”

“I told you, you’ll have to buy me dinner first.” Ririka sighed walking at a faster pace away from the blonde.

“H-Hey wait!” Mary followed after her, “was that dinner the other day not enough?”

“That was my treat Mary, remember?” She reminded her.

“Then how about now? Let’s grab something to eat.” Mary whined.

Ririka stopped walking and placed her hands on Mary’s shoulders. “Eager doesn’t suit you.” She gently shakes the shoulders.

“Then why can’t you gave me your number?” Mary lips turned into a pout, “we’re friends…”

“Do you want to know a secret?” Ririka whispered seductively as Mary nervously nodded.

Even when Ririka looks at her the way she always does, Mary could tell there’s a different implication and a strange aura between them. She was definitely not ready for whatever that Ririka was about to tell her.

She leaned towards Mary’s ear. “I…actually don’t have a phone.”

Mary’s face fell. She was so worked out for that?

“Gah! Ririka!” Mary hissed, stepping back. “What kind of person doesn’t own a phone ? And You don’t have to be so weird about it.” She grumbled.

Ririka giggled, “well, you asked.”

Mary frowned, Ririka was clearly playing with her feelings. She let out a grunt and stumbled her feet back towards the others.

“Mary!” Ririka chuckled running after her. “So rain check on that dinner?”

“No dinner.” Mary grumbled, “and no information.”

“Whaaat? Come on Mary.” Ririka pleaded, grabbing Mary’s hand from behind. “Please?”

Mary looked into those doe eyes and she felt her heart clenching. She certainly wasn’t expecting that physical contact.

“Fine.” She sighed, trying not to let the happiness show in her voice, “c’mon I’ll get my bags and we can go to my house for my laptop.”

“Y-Your house?” Ririka said slowly.

“Yeah, let’s go.” Mary squeezed her hand and dragged her back to where Sayaka was—wishing what the boy said was true that Kirari and Yumeko were leaving.

“M-Mary!” Ririka tugged her hand back, Mary was a lot rougher than she thought. “Be gentle.”

“Oh, sorry,” Mary loosened her grips and surveyed the area until she spot Sayaka sitting alone.

“We’re heading back now.” Mary told Sayaka once she got to her. The blonde started packing her towel and belongings in her bags. She scoffed when she noticed all of Ririka’s belongings were already gone.

“Already?” Sayaka glanced up at them.

“Yeah, we’re going to my house to do some research—“

Mary felt Ririka’s hand squeezing hers a little tighter. The gentleness of her hand was enough for the blonde to stop talking. Mary could tell Sayaka was looking at Ririka with suspicion and she really couldn’t blame her. 

Mary turned to look at Ririka, to her surprised, Ririka was already looking at her. The blonde’s face couldn’t stop turning red. Ririka and her stupidly cute face. 

Mary… holding hands with one of those suspicious girls? She’ll definitely have to explain it to Sayaka later.

“Oh… you guys go ahead. I’ll stay here for a bit longer.” Sayaka nodded staring at the two as they walk away from her.

Her eyes furrowed looking at them. When did they became friends? Sayaka would assume they’re already close considering how they’re holding each other’s hands.

She had a bad feeling for whatever was coming. The way Mary was looking at Ririka, Sayaka has never seen her look at anyone that way before. One Mary has never given to anybody, not even any of her ex’s— one Sayaka learned very quickly she hated.

Chapter Text

 

“Sayaka!!”

Sayaka tilted her head up from her book to find her crazy friend sprinting towards her in a rocket speed with sand flying behind her all the while disregarding other people’s complaints.

“Midari?” Sayaka raised a brow, “What’s up?”

“Your parents… give me a sec,” Midari panted, bending her shoulders and placed her hands on her knees. “Your parents are here, they’re down at the dock and they seems to attract quiet a few reporters.”

The shorter woman eyes widened and then her expression turned into a frown . “But they shouldn’t be here ‘til the end of the month.”

“Well they’re here and with a grand opening too.” Midari straighten up and took a deep breath. “C’mon I told them I’d come and get you.”

“Why were you at the dock though?”Sayaka asked her instead, she knew the dock was the one place in town where Midari seems to avoid at all cost. Like a plague. Though she never told Sayaka the reason why, sayaka could only guess it was due to past traumatic events.

Ten years ago, her friend had the happiest and liveliest childhood. Unlike Sayaka, Midari’s parents were always around and they’d always have families time.

Though, all that changed one day when they were out on a cruise. Their ship had sunk and with it, drowning both of Midari’s parents.

Once help arrived, only Midari was left floating on a single lifebuoy ring.

Ever since then, Midari has never opened up to that experience. Not to the police. Not to her relatives. And not even to Sayaka.

“I saw Yumeko and Kirari.” Midari said as she helped Sayaka quickly packing her belongings in her bag, “I followed them around but then before I could go any further, I saw your parents with a crowd of people and I had to come and get you.”

“First of all, stop. You’re being a creep. Last thing I want is another creeper around me.” Sayaka said in all seriousness, “Second of all, it’s only the middle of June. They shouldn’t even be here.”

Midari shrugged. “Well, they’re here.” She grabbed Sayaka’s bag and threw it behind her shoulder as she gestured for her to speed up.

Rushing down the dock, Sayaka almost felt a sickening feeling. It’s not that the dock was a place she hated but it felt more like an abandonment place for her.

Ever since Sayaka was a little girl, the dock was the last place she stood before waving goodbye to her parents. They were both marine biologic researchers and often times, would have to leave Sayaka behind for important businesses trips.

Despite her uneasy feelings for her parents occupation, Sayaka ironically was also majoring in that same faculty.

“Mom?” Sayaka brows furrowed looking at a tall purple haired woman, then her eyes shifted to a tall black haired man. “Dad? What are you both doing here?”

“Sayaka dear.” Her mother smiled, walking towards her as Sayaka mirrored, meeting her in the middle.

“Mr.Igarashi!! When is the next discovery on those gigantic jelly fishes?” One reporter chimed.

“I heard they’re at least fifteen feet long!” Another reporter intervened.

Sayaka heard her dad laughing and she glared over at him only for him to turn around and staring out at the bay. Her father always loved the attention even if it is these insignificant reporters.

“Midari.” Sayaka shot her friend a knowing look.

“Right, right.” Midari nodded and shot her hands up in the air. “C’mon gentlemen, time to go. This is a private family reunion.” She backed those reporters up until they were off the dock.

Sayaka nodded to Midari in appreciation and turned her head back. “What are you two doing here?” She sighed and stepped towards the edge of the dock. She stared out at the vast ocean with a tight feeling in her chest. “I thought we promised to meet at the end of the month. You know? On my birthday?”

“I know honey.” Her mother said softly. “We tried our best but your father and I—“

“Will be too busy with your new underwater research program?” Sayaka harshly interjected.

Her mother’s cheery face turned into a more worried one as she looked over at her husband’s back silently pleading for help only to get none. “I want you to understand how important this project means—“

“It has always been important mom.” Sayaka sighed sadly. “It’s always been and always will. I’m happy for you both honestly…but I was just hoping I’d get a normal family dinner for my twentieth birthday. That’s all.”

Her father finally turn around and gradually walk up to them. “Now, now sweetheart, don’t be so down.” He let out an airy chuckled, “your mother and I are deeply sorry for the inconvenience. However…” he stepped aside and placed a hand on a particular boat. “We bought you an early gift.”

Sayaka looked at the boat. An all too familiar fancy white cabin cruiser.

“This is…” the rest of Sayaka’s words were stuck in her throat.

It seems all her anger towards her parents a minute ago seemed to fade just by the sight of this boat.

“The boat you wanted.” Her mother smiled and placed a hand on Sayaka’s shoulder.

“Since you’ll be starting your research on your own now, we thought it’s time you get your own boat.” Her father added.

“I…” Sayaka was speechless. “I don’t know what to say.”

Her dad laughed. “Say thank you and that you’ll forgive us.”

“Thank you.” Sayaka rolled her eyes and pouted.

“Don’t be like that sweetheart.” Her dad laughed some more and pulled her into a hug, “why don’t we go in and see if you like it?”

Sometimes Sayaka had to admit that being an easy child was an understatement for her. Growing up, her parents were barely around but unlike other children, Sayaka doesn’t need to be told why.

She knew exactly why her parents were always away. Sayaka never hold grudges against them because she understood how hard working her parents were. Instead of despising them like a child normally would, Sayaka looks up to them.

Still, some part of her longs for some family qualities time. But she knew that was impossible considering how busy her parents were. The one thing that kept her sane from being alone was that she understood her parents love for her.

They may not show it by affections or time, but they show it by gifting her. Everytime, they’d visit her, they always come with baring gifts.

It was their way of showing her their love. Sayaka understood that.

“I’d like that.” Sayaka hummed and hugged him back.

~

“Yeah…so this is me.” Mary scratched the back of her neck nervously as they stood in front of her house.

The house never looked so old and crappy until now. Showing someone where you live and them barging in is a totally different situation in each end of a spectrum.

“Sorry, it’s a bit messy…” she mention as she closed the door behind them. “I usually tidy things up on Saturday but today was too beautiful not to spend it at the beach.”

“I understand,” Ririka looked around cautiously. “And don’t worry about it.”

Mary smiled, walking towards the fridge. “Before we start on our scavenger hunt or whatever, do you want water? I have lemonade too.” Mary offered searching through the fridge.

Ririka stepped away from the door a bit. She wasn’t used to going into someone’s invited house. She was more familiar with barging in and stealing someone’s property.

She learned pretty early in life that a house is a safe place for mortals and any immortal should be lucky if a mortal were to ever invited them in.

But the thing is, Mary didn’t know who exactly Ririka was. Her past, her history, they laid here way before Mary had born and the possibilities of them staying here long after Mary is gone was endless.

Would Mary feel the same if she knew who Ririka is? What Ririka had done? Where she has been? Would she have been this nice to her? Would she still want to be friends with her?

Kirari had told her constantly that mortals were just tools and necessities  for the immortals and shouldn’t be considered more than that.

“It’s fine. I’m okay.” She answered quietly.

Mary looked up at her and sighed. “Don’t be so nervous, everybody’s been in my house.” She chuckled, “it’s more like a lobby than an actual house.”

So she wasn’t the only person that has been in Mary’s house. Of course she’s not . Why would she ever think that she was special?

Ririka smiled and shook her head. Why was she getting all these weird thoughts all of a sudden? Mary was her mortal friend. She has plenty of those in the past. Mortal comes and go. They’re fragile being and rely solely on their emotions.

“C’mon, you seems eager to be looking into that boring history stuff.” Mary laughed, leading them up stairs to her room.

Mary opened to door to her room and all of a sudden, nervousness flushed through her body. It wasn’t a bad nervous, but this was the first time she’d had invited anyone in her room.

Her room was her special place. Her safe place. A place where she could be herself. Every pieces of items screams Mary. She hadn’t let anyone in and every time she hosted a party or someone comes over, she made sure to always lock her room.

Mary glanced around quickly to make sure she didn’t have anything embarrassing out in the open. Her dirty bathing suit was crumpled up on the floor and her bed was unmade. Aside from a few clothing laying on the floor, there wasn’t anything too bad. Maybe a poster of Michael Phelps on her wall, but Ririka couldn’t really fault her for that.

Ririka had been standing at the door way, glancing around the room. It was much more personal than any room she has ever stepped foot in. Maybe it was because she actually is interested in the owner or it could be because Mary’s walls were filled with pictures of her and her friends. For crying out loud, Mary was really going for the vsco girl vibes.

Ririka hadn’t seen any pictures with Mary’s parents and she remembered how Mary mention that they had a rocky relationship. Ririka really couldn’t judge Mary for that. Her own parents—who died long ago, had abandoned her and Kirari when they were just toddlers.

Ririka stepped in a little more. Mary’s bed had a big white stuffed bear on it taking up half of her bed. Cute…. Ririka smiled. There’s a few clicking and flickering sounds coming from the desk and she could see Mary was cleaning up the desk to make room for them and then taking out her laptop.

She had been standing next to Mary’s bed and there was a picture on her bedside table that caught her eyes right away. It wasn’t like any of those pictures on the wall. She picked up the picture frame and traces her finger on the glass. It was a selfie picture. Mary and another girl with dark blue hair. They seems close— close enough to have her hands and lips on Mary’s cheek.

“Alright, here—“

As soon as Mary spoke, Ririka turned to face her and her eyes widened as if it was wrong for her to be looking at the picture; as if invading Mary’s privacy. She tried to set the picture back on the nightstand, but she wasn’t paying attention, and it fell to the floor.

“Sorry.” She scrambled to pick it up, and Mary laughed.

“It’s okay.” She told her, waving her hand.

“No, I’m sorry.” She looked back at her, giving her a sheepish smile. “I’m so clumsy. You make me…”

“What?” Mary smiled, stepping closer to her bed, and Ririka eyes stayed on her.

“I don’t know.” She let out a soft laugh and shook her head. “Never mind. Is that the website?” Changing the subject, she pointed at the laptop of a history page Mary had got going.

“Yeah…” Mary nodded and furrowed her brows in confusion as Ririka walked past her towards the desk. She side glance the picture Ririka had just placed back on the nightstand table and her eyes widened.

She gulped, staring at the picture. It was normal really. Two friends being affectionate. What Ririka didn’t know was that, that was Mary’s ex. She had kept the picture just because she and Tsuzura had parted ways a couple years ago with mutual understanding. She liked looking at the picture. It reminded her of the simpler times.

But then, Tsuzura wanted to study aboard and Mary wanted to stay. They had broken up but they’d always talk everyday. Initially, the first few months, they’d always make time for each other. Talking about each other’s days and teasing each other if they’d met someone new. Though the daily phone calls turned into weekly and pretty soon into monthly. Ultimately, Mary hadn’t heard from her in more than five months and that’s when she stopped counting. She was sure Tsuzura had forgotten about her.

Part of her wasn’t bitter about it somehow. If anything, she’d be happy if Tsuzura had move on to someone new. That’s how unproblematic and mature Mary thought she was. Still, now she desperately wished she had burned the picture now that she has taken an interest in Ririka.

It was a simple picture with no feelings attached. But was that was Ririka was thinking?

“Can I sit?”

Ririka’s calm voice seemed to brought Mary’s mind back down to reality.

“Yeah, of course.” Mary encouraged, gesturing her hand, stepping towards the desk.

“Professor Demetrius Erasmus…” Ririka mumbled, eyes gliding across the screen. “Head of anthropology at Oxford University.” She hummed as her eyes scan across the screen and hand gliding the page down. “…he’s actually an archeologist too.”

Mary stood beside her, glancing down at the screen. The topic was pretty much boring to her. She still didn’t know why Ririka was so interested in it.

Ririka and Greek goddesses…. Mary smiled to herself. If goddesses actually exist, then Mary would bet Ririka was one of them. With her flawless skin, her dreamy eyes, and her rare platinum hair, Ririka was already a goddess living among the humans.

She placed a hand on the back of the chair and her hand lightly brushed against Ririka’s hair. Mary blushed and bites her lower lip. Her hair was incredibly soft, it almost felt criminal touching it.

Ahh, here it is. The library.” Ririka spoke up, “…unfortunately, he never found it. He made several trips into the desert and there was always rogue travellers who tried to stop him….not to mention the security was pretty tight back then. It was impossible for him to travel by camels.”

Mary looked down at her and took a deep breath. She made a mental note to be careful around Ririka. Who knows what kind of embarrassing shenanigans she might end up pulling now that Ririka has made her heart feeling all weird and fuzzy. She slowly leaned over Ririka and clicked onto something on the screen.

“It says he took these trips fifty years ago right? That means things must’ve been more strict than they are now. I hardly believe anyone is interested in these old buildings anymore.” Mary spoke, and she hadn’t realized how close her face was with Ririka. “Oh look, they have the location of that secret building.” Mary clicked on the popup site, “…I guess it’s downloading.”

Mary turned her head and her nose was inches away from Ririka’s cheek. Red blushes started spreading throughout her face. She was having a hard time breathing for a few seconds and she felt her heart bounced up to her throat. Ririka’s scent was intoxicating. She smells like the sea and yet, mixed with many different kinds of majestic fragrances.

There was no denying it that she always felt the electricity whenever she is close to Ririka. The only difference is, that the voltages seems to be getting stronger and stronger as each day passes by.

Ririka eyes were trained on the laptops screen, oblivious of what situation Mary was in. She was getting rather impatient at the slow circling download. Mary’s stalling was enough of a silence for her to turn around.

“Mary, this is really—“ Ririka turns her face and her nose slightly brushed against Mary’s. “…slow.”

Mary, as always was first to react. Her flustered face intensified as her eyes widened. She was never this close to Ririka and for a moment she actually forgotten how to breathe. She felt her chest tightened, as if the butterflies in her stomach were dying to escape. Nevertheless, she moved her head back and watched as Ririka’s fierce gaze locked onto hers.

Their eyes lingered onto each other’s for a moment which felt like an eternity. Mary never gazed into anyone eyes that looked so powerful, and yet so fragile like Ririka’s.

Eyes so powerful and fearless that Mary was sure they could potentially hurt her in the future. But at the same time, they were soft and Mary was almost afraid of staring at it any longer. Fearing that it might be too delicate and could melt due to Mary’s burning own.

Ririka made no effort of Moving away which encourages Mary to lean back towards her. Her mind kept repeating to turn around and back to business but her body had other plans. Her head moves forwards on its own, refusing to listen to any logical reasons.

Despite all of Mary’s internal conflicts, she noticed Ririka was also leaning forward trying to meet her in the middle. When they were inches apart, Mary saw how Ririka closes her eyes and she felt her body doing the same.

But,

Before anything could happen, Mary accidentally placed a hand on Ririka’s thigh making the taller girl shivering and winches her eyes. She abruptly backed up and when Mary slide her hand up a little, Ririka let out a soft whimpering moan. Staring at Ririka, Mary could admit that was the cutest moan she has ever heard. Though the mood was completely ruined, it turned Mary on even more.

Ririka’s thighs were sensitive…. Mary smirked, she’d have to remember that for future references. 

Realizing how lewd her thoughts were, Mary blushed furiously and shook her head.

“Sorry,” Ririka turned her head and looked down in embarrassment. “That was so embarrassing…” she mumbled clenching her fist tightly. That method she had used for the past centuries. The only method she knows that could calm her down. It was a sense of emotional support. The tighter the grip, the better it felt.

“Don’t be.” Mary smiled, placing a hand on Ririka’s cheek and turning her head to look at her. “I didn’t think your thighs were that sensitive. I gotta say, i find it pretty hot.”

“Mary!” Ririka blushed. “Don’t be lewd!”

“Me? Lewd?” Mary grinned, faking a gasp, “if I remembered correctly you’re the one who—“

Ding

The downloading has completed as they both turns their head towards the screen. Mary was silently disappointed. She was really going to bring in her A game with the flirting.

“Err, right.” Mary frowned trying not to sound too disappointing, “The location..”

The screen showed a deserted place with nothing but hills and hills of sand dunes.

“Are you sure it’s there?” Ririka asked in amusement. “It doesn’t look like there’s anything there.”

“Im not sure,” Mary shrugged, “but if such a thing exists then I’m sure it had to be there. Demetrius was an honorable man and all of his work were realistic with evidence. People missed out on this specific part about the library just because Demetrius never lived long to find it.”

“It looks like the Sahara desert,” Ririka frowned, “is there an ocean closed by?”

Mary scanned the screen vaguely. She wasn’t sure if they were just wasting time looking for non existent things. But Demetrius Erasmus was real and he was a well respected person. If the scroll even exists then it had to be there. Mary had come too far to just drop this whole thing and not see it to it’s end.

She glanced over at Ririka and she saw how determined the other girl was. Her eyes glistened with hope. It was a sight Mary wanted to get used to.

Mary let out a soft sigh and stood up.

“Mary?” Ririka looked up at her in confusing.

“I figured it out Ririka.” The blonde smiled down at her and walk over to her drawer to pulled out a map. “The scroll, the myth, the unbelievable. It must be your family legacy isn’t it?”

“What do you mean?” Her brows furrowed.

“Well, call it a quest. Sometimes people’s ancestors leave a quest for them to see it through. Yours is to find the scroll isn’t it?” She placed a map on the table and pulled out a ruler and a pen.

Ririka shrugged, “I wouldn’t call it that.”

Mary laughed and rolled her eyes. “Come on, give me the coordinates of that location.” She calculated the latitude and the longitude and put multiple xs on the map as she uses the ruler to connect the dots.

Ririka followed her movements and on her part, she appreciated how Mary was as determined as her about finding the scroll. Even though Mary has no idea what the scroll meant to Ririka, she was still so willing to help her and Ririka finds it so rare.

A mortal helping an immortal.

But Mary didn’t know that and Ririka was starting to have this feeling tugged inside of her.

Guilt.

 A feeling she knew was coming from the very beginning. From the first conversation she ever had with Mary. She knew very well that, that very first interaction would lead to many more. Of course, she was good at avoiding those conflicts but now more than ever, she just wanted to tell Mary who she really is. 

Still, the less Mary knows, the safer she’ll be. The wisest choice would be to avoid Mary all together. Kirari is already suspicious of Ririka for this development. However, Ririka couldn’t deny the fact the fact that Mary was way too alluring and there was simply no way Ririka could ever ignore her. 

Mary is the epitome of the sun.

And nobody could ignored the sun.

“Ririka?” Mary poked her arm with a grin on her face, “I know this is boring but this was your hobby.”

“Sorry,” Ririka blushed. “What were you saying?”

“Look,” Mary tapped the pen on the map. “The exact location.”

Ririka eyes widened with fear. The location was in the middle of a desert and no where near any ocean. Mary seems to caught her reaction.

“There doesn’t seems to be any ocean nearby.” Mary frowned, “although… the closest ocean is around ninety miles… that’s not too bad for a desert Ririka.”

Ririka closed her eyes for a moment and just sighed. Mary watched the way she lean back and tilted her chin up to stretch her neck from side to side.

In Mary’s eyes, Ririka looks the same as she always does. But something was missing. The hope and determination she had a few minutes ago had disappeared.

“Why do you like the ocean?” Ririka asked softly, turning her head to face Mary.

“Huh?” Mary was taken back a little by the sudden change of subject. She glanced down at the map and stared at the red dot she had placed from the location of the library. “Um… well, I always loved swimming and there’s other stuff.. but it’s— I don’t know, I guess,” she stared into Ririka’s eyes. “…I just really like the sea.”

“I see,” Ririka smiled, “You’re good at finding and understanding the things that are around you. You chose to stay by the sea because you loved it even at a young age. It’s precious to you. I think it’s amazing you know exactly what you want.”

“I guess.” The blonde laughed nervously, “do you like the ocean?”

Mary watched how that question has taken Ririka by a surprises her silver brows raised up a bit but then her lips begins to tug a smile. “As far as a could remember, I’ve always been by the ocean. I’ve never really gone too far in land.”

“What! So you’ve never been to Saskatchewan, or like Kansas?” Mary was baffled. Not that she was one to be surprised. she never likes travelling to begin with. “What about Italy?”

Ririka shook her head. “On the outer side of Italy, yes. But not too far in land. Though, I like Europe very much. The sea is everywhere and it’s much more…” she tried to find the right word, “….easier.”

They fell into a comfortable silence then. The clock on Mary’s wall was ticking as the two seems to be staring at each other at this point.

Ririka awkwardly shifted around her seat and turns her head to look around Mary’s room. “Do you like living alone?”

“I do.” She admitted, giving Ririka a small smile, “I never felt alone though. I guess it’s because I had friends who never made me feel alone.”

“It must be nice.” She hummed turning her head towards the window.

“I’ve never seen you alone,” Mary countered. “Aside from the library, I’ve never seen you alone.”

“True..,” Ririka’s voice faded, “I’ve never been alone or rather never had the time to myself.”

“So you’re never lonely then.” Mary gave her a weak smile. “You have Kirari and Yumeko. They always seems to have your back.”

Ririka shook her head. “Even so, I still feel Lonely most of the time. It’s like I don’t belong with them.”

Mary didn’t know exactly what Ririka and her friends relationship were or but from the outside circle, they seems pretty tight.

“Well, you’re my friend now.” Mary assured her, “that means as long as you’re with me, I won’t make you feel lonely.”

Mary’s words seems to caught Ririka’s attention because her eyes landed on Mary’s and they stare at each other for a moment.

Ririka smiled then sighed. “You really are a kind person Mary.”

Mary smiled back. “We’re gonna find that scroll. I don’t know much about it but it seems important to you. I’ve come this far with you, I’m not gonna stop half way.”

Ririka’s smile turned into a frown. “What do you mean?”

Mary’s smile turned into a passionate beam. She was grinning from ear to ear and her eyes were shinning with a gleam. An expression Ririka has never been able to witnesses from someone. All the people in her past are full of dark and vengeful. No one has shine as bright as Mary. Her chest tightened and she felt her frown slowly turning into a smile. She couldn’t take her eyes off Mary and in her defence, she was dumbfounded by Mary’s abruptly action.


“Ririka,” Mary raised her hand up and gave her a thumbs up. “We’re going to find that library.”


 

Chapter Text

 

Yumeko had been talking for a while, but Kirari hadn’t been listening. She leaned her elbows on the rails of the balcony and stared out at the sea.

She saw how Ririka left early at dawn but opted not to hold her back. For as long as she could remember, Ririka had been trying to find the ancient scroll that could potentially turn them back into mortals and back to living in their regularly lives again.

Kirari remembered how for a few centuries, when they were newly sirens, both Ririka and Tereno would spent all their times searching for that scroll. Kirari found it odd how they thought this was a curse when to her, this was rather a blessing.

A siren is beautiful and could have whatever they desire. Isn’t that what everybody dreamed of? To be able to attain any unattainable?

“Right so I was like old man, Im sorry but I can’t rub these sunscreen on the back of your crusty skin, ” Yumeko was saying when Kirari started turning back in. “It’s not like I’m those normal little girls walking around the beach showing off my bikini, you know?”

“No, it’s not.” Kirari replied absently.

Yumeko smiled and glanced over at her. “You haven’t listened to a word I’ve been saying, have you, Kirari?”

“You’re not like those normal little girls.” Kirari forced a thin smile at her.

Yumeko only responded by humming. “Is something on your mind?” She suddenly asked.

“What makes you think that?” Kirari now had a smug on her face.

“You’ve been staring into space ever since Ririka left this morning.” Yumeko countered, “are you worried about her?”

“Worried?” She raised a brow, “Ririka is a big girl, she can handle herself.”

“You know what I meant.” Yumeko shrugged, it was always a challenge when trying to have a serious conversation with Kirari as the blue eyed woman never likes talking about her feelings.

Kirari just stared at the waves infront of them for a moment. A long silence soon fell upon them. Kirari closed her eyes and inhaled the smell of the ocean. The scent of the sea, mixed with both salt and fresh air exactly how she liked it. The morning summer breezes flew through her hair and she leaned into it.

“That scroll is only a pipe dream, you know?” She told Yumeko in a low tone.

Ahh Yumeko smiled, so that was what on Kirari’s mind.

“I don’t think that’s what Ririka believes.” Yumeko shook her head, “she might just find it one of these days.”

“Yumeko…” After another long silence, Kirari turned her head towards her. “Do you think this is a curse?”

Yumeko eyes widened a bit as she was taken aback but then her expression soon relaxed and her signature smile returned. “I honestly can’t tell.”

Yumeko closed her eyes and take in the morning breeze. Although she’s younger by many centuries, the scent of the sea was something she had became very familiar to. Kirari had mention to her that Yumeko was the wildest one of them all and Yumeko had taken those words to heart ever since.

“Kirari,” Yumeko turned to face her, “I’ve never asked but…why did you choose me?”

“Well Yumeko….”Kirari took a deep breath revealing a smug face, “I did it purely for survival.”

“Hmm,” Yumeko smiled as if she’d already known the answer, “I thought so.”

~

Golden eyes glanced from side to side. On her right, was the pilot steering the wheel, singing an old country song and on her left was the tail of the plane which carries more loaded than the weight limits. From goats and chickens to loads of non perishable foods. Mary closed her eyes and let out a low sigh.

What had she got herself into?

She opened her eyes to meet concerning blue eyes staring back at her. Immediately, Mary’s lips tugged up into a small smile.

That’s right, they were on their way to find that secret library. Mary frowned, could it really be a secret library if it’s out there already? For everyone and anyone with the slightest interest in non-discovered buildings?

Mary tilted her head slightly as she stared out at the window of the plane behind Ririka’s head. They were in the middle of the Sahara with nothing but desert.

She knew she could’ve taken a more classier plane for Ririka but no pilots was willing to cross the Sahara with the amount of budget Mary was offering.

The turbulence was awful. Every once in a while, the whole plane would shake and those animals would scream. On top of that, it was hot as hell. Who knew a simple trip would be this exhausting.

Mary’s eyes turned back to her friend. She was starting to get worried how Ririka hasn’t said a single word ever since getting on the plane. Not that Mary could blame her. The animals smelled like shit and the old plane smelled like nothing but rusty oil.

“Hey, you okay?” Mary raised her voice due to the loud noises coming from the plane’s engine.

She noticed how Ririka was clutching onto the GPS of the location. “I don’t know,” she told her honestly, “I’ve never been so high up. This is really far from the ocean.”

Mary couldn’t decipher why Ririka kept mentioning ocean as if she needed to be close by the ocean like it’s her lifeline. She wanted to ask but looking at her all uncomfortable, Mary couldn’t help but grew more concern.

Without any hesitation, Mary took her hands in comfort. “It’ll be okay, we’re just gonna find that library, and with luck, find that scroll and get out of here.”

“You really like the simple approach, don’t you?” Ririka smiled, accepting Mary’s hands.

“Well, what else can we do?—“ Mary’s words were interrupted when Ririka abruptly stood up.

“We’re here.” She told her, making her way to the plane’s door.

“Hey, can you land this thing?” Mary turned to the pilot.

“There’s no runway, it’s nothing but desert!” He made an effort of turning his head to Mary.

“Mary, we need to land now.” Ririka told her.

Mary felt a sweat rolling down the side of her face. “Uh- right, Can you give us parachutes then?”

“What kind of question is that?” The pilot laughed, “I’ve never owned any parachutes.”

Mary’s eyes widened, “Well, you’re the pilot so I’d expect—“

“A pilot you found off Craigslist. I crossed from west to the east of the Sahara. I never said anything about stopping.” He told her.

Ririka opened the door anyway, “Mary, we have to jump, otherwise we’ll miss it.”

Jump? Was she hearing that right?

Mary’s mind immediately went into her deep thinking mode. Once they land, (if they were to land in once piece after jumping) they’d be stranded. Alone in the middle of nowhere. Mary tried not to doubt but the chances of that library really exists was extremely low. On top of that, the sun is a burning ball of fire. They wouldn’t last an hour out there. Their only chance of survival was the library and putting faith in that little hope was something Mary wasn’t sure she was capable of doing.  At least anymore now that it has become a reality.

She felt her hand being grabbed.

But Ririka….Ririka had faith and those eyes silently screamed to Mary that she trusted her. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if she had Ririka by her side.

Mary huffed and turned to the pilot. “Sir, can you go lower?”

“Sorry I can’t go lower than this.” The pilot explained, “I could land you in the east runway and you can take the camels and come back.”

“That’ll take too much time,” Ririka countered, “we’re already here. Just a few feet down.”

“Riri— you don’t understand.” Mary grabbed her arm, protectively pulling her back from the edge, “we can’t jump! Thats… that’s suicide!”

“We’ll be fine.” Ririka reassured her, staring down at the sand dunes.

“The sand looks soft, but it’s not!” Mary tried to explain in exasperation, “it’s really hard and again, it’s suicide!”

“Mary, we’ll be fine.” Ririka frowned, though she’d never been this far in land, the sand looks awfully soft so what is Mary scared of? “Time is ticking. We’ll have to walk back if you take any longer.”

“No! Ririka please listen.” Mary tugged her arm closer to her, “We…We can’t jump. We’ll land and—“

Before Mary could keep chickening, Ririka jump down and Mary stared down in horror.

“Oh my fucking….” The rest of Mary’s words got stuck in her throat.

“You better go after your girlfriend, or you’ll be lost.” The pilot grinned while making an effort to throw Mary a bottle of water. “You’ll need that.”

Mary frowned, “she’s not my—“ without a warning, her foot tripped and she fell through the sky, “GIRLFRIENDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD!”

Mary landed harshly onto the sand and rolled down the hill. She came to a stop with her face planted into the sand.

Ririka came rushing towards Mary with a worried expression. Mary was right, that was more painful than she had anticipated.

“Mary!” She kneeled down and helped Mary up, “are you dead?”

Mary blew the sand off her face with the smallest effort, “I wish.” She groaned, making Ririka giggled.

Mary stood up and stretched her arms, being the athletic that she is, she checked all over her body to see if she had broken any bones, fortunately, other than the ache on her back, she was fine. To her surprised, She stared at Ririka’s back. The woman was showing no signs of pain from the fall as she lead the two of them to the location.

It was hot. Hotter than Mary had anticipated. It was sultry and scorching. Mary felt sweat everywhere on her body. In her mind, she wished for a cold bath over and over. She wondered if Ririka was feeling the same as her because Ririka didn’t sweat at all. She looked clam and collected. Her only frustration was on the gps on her hand.

Mary already felt envious of that. Some people could take the heat better than others.

However, as they walk from hills to hills, Mary noticed how Ririka’s paced had slowed down drastically. As if she was experiencing heat stress. She was starting to sweat uncontrollable. Her bangs sticks to her forehead like glue.

“Hey, you ok?” Mary speed up her pace to walk beside her.

“It’s really hot.” Ririka told her truthfully.

Mary let out a soft laugh, “you think?.”

“We’re almost there though.” Ririka’s voice started to fade and Mary could barely hear the quiet tone.

“Hey, I think we should stop and rest for a bit.” Mary offered, and that’s when Ririka suddenly collapsed in her arms. “Woah, hey, Are you alright?” Mary asked panicky.

Ririka was really sweating her ass off. Her head started to burn as if she was having a fever. This was not good. The last thing Mary needed was to carry someone through this dreadful place. She could barely carry herself for crying out loud.

Mary helped Ririka drink some of the cold water but to her surprised, Ririka slapped the water bottle in her hand as it flew into the sand.

“Great.” Mary said in astonishment, “that was literally the only water bottle we have…”

What Mary noticed next had her mouth opened and her eyes widened. Ririka started coughing out blood.

“Not good, Not good!” Mary rubbed her back and helped Ririka up as they stood. “This is the fucking location! Where the hell is the fucking library!”

She grabbed the GPS from Ririka’s hand and it clearly stated that the location was exactly where they’re standing. Mary knew this was a myth and none of this existed.

The worst part was giving Ririka hope. Hope of ever finding the scroll in the first place when she knew it didn’t exist. Doubts and anxieties started clouding her mind. This was her fault they were in this mess. Ririka could seriously die out here and Mary could do nothing about it.

“Ririka, Please hang on.” Mary told her, placing the back of her hand on Ririka’s forehead to check her temperature. She hissed and pulled her hand as fast as she could as if it had burnt her.

Mary looked around. They’re really stranded in the middle of nowhere. She tilted her head up the sky. Not a single cloud was up there and the worst part was, it’s in the middle of the day. Meaning it was the hottest time of the day.

“Where the hell are you people who were in Demetrius way!! Show yourself!” Mary yelled out. And she noticed how her aggressiveness made Ririka winched even when her eyes were closed. “Sorry…” Mary whispered, she couldn’t help but admired how soft Ririka looked.

Mary’s eyes travelled from her closed eyes to her perky nose and then to her plumb lips. She remembered how they almost kissed just the other day and she wondered if it wasn’t from the interruption, would their lips had actually collided into each other?

Mary’s cheeks redden just thinking about that moment and she found herself smiling. The moment however, ended as fast as it goes because Mary wasn’t about to forget the fact that they were still in the middle of a desert.

“Mary…” Ririka weakly opened her eyes and Mary could see tears started forming.

“No…please don’t cry,” Mary cupped her cheek, “we’ll be fine. We’ll get through this.”

Ririka slowly nodded and leaned into Mary.

She lifted Ririka’s arm over her shoulder as her other arm looped around Ririka’s waist. Even if they’re lost and even if the bullshit of a GPS didn’t help, at least they’ll get somewhere. Mary groaned, “what a pain in the as— AHHHHHH!”

She screamed as they fell into the sand. Mary gripped onto Ririka’s waist as they quickly slide down of what looks like an underground canyon. When they came to an end, the first thing Mary did was check if her friend was alright. She dusted the sand off herself and helped Ririka up.

At that point Ririka fell unconscious and Mary couldn’t help but trembled. But this wasn’t the time to be weak. She needed to stay strong for Ririka. Mary slapped herself to stop herself from trembling.

Surprisedly, it did help.

Mary observed the underground canyon. Sand was falling from the ceiling and little to no lights was available. The more she walk around, she realized they fell into an ancient ruin. The building was old and completely buried.

How the hell were they going to get out now?

As they wandered some more, Mary spotted a door which made her curiosity ran wild. Lifting Ririka up in a bridle style, she rushed to the door. To Mary’s surprised, Ririka was super light. Maybe it was just because Mary was an athlete and workout on daily basis and that was why Ririka felt light, but either way, Mary wasn’t complaining.

Once reaching the door, Mary took a moment to catch her breath. The door looked old and heavy and just before Mary could reach the door handle, It opens.

Mary was shocked to find a very petite girl showing up at the door. She was wearing a black suit as if she were a butler.

“Good day.” She spoke up, “if I may ask, what brought you here?”

“Can you please help my friend?” Mary said hurriedly, gesturing Ririka to her, “she’s dehydrated and she’s unconscious.”

The girl stared up at them for a moment until she moved aside as bowed her head politely. “This way please.” She gestured her hand inside the building.

Mary knew she shouldn’t be trusting strangers but what other choices does she have?

Either being stranded or actually accepting someone’s hospitality for a chance to get out.

Using all her might, she hold onto Ririka a bit tighter as she entered the massive hall of the unknown building. The outside may look like an old and forgotten place, but the the inside was a whole different story. It was as it Mary was walking in the hall of a castle. And the air conditioner. It felt like heaven.

“Is this the library?” She asked the girl.

“Part of it, yes.” The girl replied.

“So, um… who are you?” Mary nervously asked, she hasn’t even introduced herself and she had a feeling like it was rude to imposed.

The girl immediately stopped and turn around to face her. “I apologized.” She laughed, “you can call me Runa.”

“Runa.” Mary repeated, giving her a smile. “I’m Mary.”

“I am pleased to meet you, Mary.” She glanced at Ririka, “long journey?”

Mary nodded and they started walking again. “So, do you like live here?” Mary broke the silence.

“I do.” She answered.

“How old are you?” Mary asked curiously, Runa looked a lot younger than her and does she even know she’s under the middle of the desert?

“You know, it’s rude to ask a lady for her age.” Runa smiled vigorously.

“Oh,” Mary stiffened, the uncomfortableness was an understatement at this point. “…okay. I’m sorry.”

Once they’re reached the end of the hall, Runa stopped to open another door. The room inside was much more fancier. With comfortable couches for them to rest.

“Hey, is there water?” Mary asked her, looking at Ririka who leaned on her, “I’m worried for her.”

Runa stared at Ririka for a moment and hummed. “I don’t think water is what she need.”

“What does that mean?” Mary raised a brow.

“Please wait here and make yourself comfortable.” Runa stated and left the room.

Mary looked around. A sweat rolled down her cheek. They were fucked.

She gently placed Ririka down on the couch, tugging her hair behind her ear. “Hey, you okay?”

Ririka eyes were closed and her face looked as if she was fading away. Guilt started to eat Mary more and more.

“This is my fault,” she whispered to her, “I should never have given you hope. Hope of finding a nonexistent scroll. We wouldn’t be in this situation if it wasn’t for me.” She felt tears started forming in her eyes as her grips around Ririka’s shoulders became tighter. She let out a soft laugh as she stared down at Ririka. She shouldn’t look so peaceful but here she is. “How are you so fucking beautiful, you idiot.”

A light footsteps approached them and it was Runa again.

“Only your friend can enter beyond this point.” Runa told her looking at Ririka.

Mary frowned, “why?” She finds it hard to understand why she couldn’t go in with Ririka. She’d be damn if she left Ririka alone with a weird looking stranger. “I’m going with her. She’s unconscious and helpless, what are you going to do to her?”

“We’re going to help your friend.” Runa simply explained.

“We?” Mary stood up, clenching her teeth, “who else is here?”

“We need to take your friend in or she’ll suffer.” Runa walked over to Ririka and helped her up.

“Please don’t touch her.” Mary nudged Runa’s hand away.

Just then, Ririka started coughing up more blood. Mary panicked and held on to her.

“She needs to come with us now.” Runa told her.

“Why can’t I come with her?” Mary yelled at Runa.

“It’s a conversation you wouldn’t understand yet.” Runa rang a bell and out comes two men being the same uniform as Runa. They helped up Ririka and carried her in another room.

Mary followed after them until Runa stopped her just before she enter the room.

“You’re a protector.” Runa claimed, “I like that. Don’t worry, they won’t do anything to your friend.”

Ignoring Runa’s statement, Mary faced the closed door. “How long?”

“I wouldn’t know.” Runa shrugged, “it’s rare to see your kinds and our kinds travelling together like this.”

“What does that mean?” Mary asked, “better yet, what is this place and how are you living here?”

“That’s for me to know and for you to never find out.” Runa smirked, nudging onto Mary’s shoulder.

Mary couldn’t tell if she was acting or if her serious facade fell because earlier, she was all a butler style stoic and now she’s all friendly and goofy.

Mary made her way back into the couch and sink herself in the comfy fabric. It was an old building, no doubt about that. However, everything looked clean with little to no dust. It was strange. Mary was aware that they’re currently under those sand, but how is this possible?

She glanced over at Runa who sat herself on a table and took out her phone. Mary didn’t want to bother the girl anymore than she needed to.

Right now, the important thing is if Ririka was alright. Mary made a mental note to gave them thirty minutes before she forced herself in that room. Runa didn’t need to know this plan, not that she was a threat to Mary in any way. If it comes down to it, Mary was positive she’ll outsmart Runa in any ways.

~

Blue eyes sparkled as the curtain of her eye-laid opened. The first thing Ririka noticed was the huge chandelier hanging on top of her. The second was how comfy the bed felt. She turned her head to the side and noticed she was in a completely foreign room.

The last thing she remembered was walking in the stranded desert with Mary.

Her eyes widened when the realization hit her. She frantically shot up and scanned the area. A bed in the middle of huge book shelves circling her.

Panicky, she removed the blanket and got on her feet. A dizziness filled her head as she stumbled on her feet on the floor. An all too familiar voice entered the room, behind the book shelf.

“Always so skeptical, aren’t you?”

An airy laugh came out the bookshelf. A woman with dark brown straight hair with a center-parted style leaned onto the shelf with her arms crossed. Her tanned skinned made her sparkling green eyes glowed. A woman who Ririka thought she’d never seen again. A woman who Ririka once hold dear to her heart.

Ririka eyes widened and a single teardrop fell from her eye. She stood frozen, unable to move or decipher just what was happening.

“Riri…” she said softly, slowly stepping towards Ririka. She moved her hand and placed it on Ririka’s cheek, caressing it ever so tenderly, wiping away that single tear.

Ririka softy gasped from the touch as her own hand reached up to cover the hand with her own. Her hand was as soft as Ririka had remembered and she leaned into it.

Ririka let out a sniffle as she looked into the other woman’s eyes. Her lips tug into a smile as she opened her mouth and whispered,

“Persephone.”

Persephone softened her eyes with a sad smile as she leaned in closer, ghosting  a kiss against Ririka lips. Ririka was far too baffled and dumbfounded to be able to even move and so Persephone leaned in and clashed their lips together, mumbling an “I missed you,” on her lips.

 

Chapter Text

 

As soon as their lips touched, Ririka’s eyes widened. Surprised by the sudden action, she was unable to move or processed just what was happening as her hand fell down on her side.

The kiss lasted for about ten seconds and it was Persephone who ended up detaching their lips. Although it was only the edge of their lips linking, Ririka couldn’t feel a thing. She was completely numbed.

As Persephone opened her eyes, Ririka could tell she was simultaneously confused and worried. The hand on Ririka’s cheek fell and turned into a fist as Persephone brings it up to her mouth to clear her throat.

She stepped back and turned her head around as she made her way to a table nearby, leaving the astonished Ririka a minute to herself.

It was only then that Ririka’s mind had begun to return. She raised her hand to feel her lips as she glanced over at the other woman’s back.

Taking a deep breath in, she strangely smelled the scent of the sea. Ririka was fully aware where they’re currently are. However, if Persephone, a goddess, exists here, then Ririka shouldn’t be surprised if there’s an ocean beneath of them.

“How…” Ririka began, aware of how the hoarseness in her voice had sounded ten times worse. “…How are you here?”

“You mean in the middle of the Sahara?” Persephone asked, back still turned from Ririka as she stacked up some books and papers on the table.

“No…” Ririka took a step forward, finally feeling all the nerves coming back to her again. “How are you here?” She asked again, this time a little louder and clearer.

“I escaped.” She answered, hands still roaming through the messy table. “ ‘bout five centuries ago. I managed to save a couple soul along with me and we found this place. It wasn’t burried back then but time have changed.”

Ririka stood next to her, looking at her but she could tell Persephone was avoiding her eyes. “…and your mother?”

“Not here. I doubt she’s still alive.” Persephone raised a shoulder, “I tried looking for her as soon as I had escaped but….” She sighed and shook her head. “It’s been more than two millennia and i couldn’t blame her for giving up.”

“So you knew what happened?” Ririka muttered, starring at her, silently pleading for eye contact. “What she did?” 

Taking another long and sorrowful sigh, Persephone grabbed onto the edge of the table and gradually letting herself sank in a seat, hands resting neatly on her lap. “I was always allowed to leave the underworld occasionally to visit her. She told me what happened.” She finally looked up with sad eyes, “I’m sorry that happened.” 

Ririka shook her head. “Don’t apologize. If anyone were to apologize, it’s me.”

“It’s not you.” Persephone let out a soft scoff and frowned. “If it’s anyone, it’s Kirari.”

“But it was my responsibility to look after you.” Ririka argued, “if I had been more cautious, none of this would have happened to you…” she sadly looked away, “…nor me, Kirari and the rest.”

Persephone stared up at her for a moment until she let out a soft sigh and gave her a smile. “How about we let bygones be bygones, Hmm?”

“I’d like that.” Ririka slowly nodded. “Anyways, I’m here for—.”

“The scroll?” She interrupted, “I’m sorry Riri, but it’s not here.”

“But Demeter has it.” Ririka frowned, “contact her.” She pressed.

“I can’t.” Persephone told her bluntly, shaking her head, “Ri, I haven’t been in contact with her for over a thousand year.”

“But, how is that possible?” Ririka took a seat beside her, “she’s an immortal just like you and I. I’m sure she’s here—“

“She disappeared.” She looked away again, “I was still in the underworld when she disappeared. It was a normal day when the time came for me to visit her but that day, I couldn’t find her on our meeting spot. Then the next, and so on.”

“She disappeared?” Ririka whispered, “but she couldn’t—“

“Not everyone can wait a whole year just for a five minutes talk.” She let out an airy laugh, “let alone, years and years and years of just those five minutes.”

“No..” Ririka brows furrowed, “I know Demeter and I know she would do anything for those five minutes. She couldn’t just leave—“

“But she did.” She interjected, “look Riri, not every immortals wants to be an immortal. Sooner or later, they’ll crack and take their own life.”

“So you think she…” Ririka let her words trailed.

“Either she obliterated herself, or she took away her memories of me.” She silently hummed, “you know what the mortals say, sometimes it’s better to let go than to hold on to what’s hurting you.”

“I don’t believe that.” Ririka urgently grabbed her hand, “I know your mother and her love for you was unconditional.”

“Her love for me was long ago.” She turned her head to look at Ririka, “honestly I don’t blame her for giving up.”

“She wouldn’t do that.” Ririka mumbled, “giving up on you or stopped loving you. You were everything to her.”

“But she did.” Persephone smiled, “and it’s fine. I’ve been here for five centuries, free from Hades and no signs of my mother.”

Ririka lowered her gaze. “I’m sorry.” She gently told her, eyes widened when she felt a hand on her chin lifting her head up.

“It’s not your fault.” Persephone whispered, leaning towards Ririka. “ you know what the funny thing is?” She chuckled a bit, “All the years I’ve been underground, After forgetting all the mortals and the traditional of the world outside, I could never forget about you.”

Ririka found herself feeling numbed again. She felt lost in those green glowing eyes and it was suddenly getting harder to resist the goddesses she once cared so much about.

“I want things to be back the way they were.” Persephone whispered, leaning closer to her and that’s when Ririka abruptly stood up.

“I can’t.” She looked down at her. “This…this is a mistake and this is impossible.”

“But this is real.” Persephone also stood up, “you found me, just like I knew you would.”

“I didn’t…” she suddenly remembered Mary and her heart started racing. “I…had a helper.”

“From the mortal?” Persephone raised a brow. “She’s outside.”

“You’ve met her?” Ririka asked curiously.

“No,” She shook her head, “Runa— one of my helpers had informed me about that.”

“She helped me find this place and I really should get back.” Ririka told her.

“Why such in a hurry? we just found each other.” Persephone stepped closer, and her eyes seemed to shift. Green turning into bright yellow, “stay.”

Ririka stared at her for a moment until she shook her head and looked away. “Your power doesn’t work on me.”

“It used to.” Persephone smirked, “it’s been too long Riri, we should make up for it.”

“Your right, it’s been too long.” Ririka agreed, turning her head back to Persephone. “But things have changed.”

“But things doesn’t have to change.” She whispered.

Ririka deflated, “I don’t know.”

”Are you in love?” She asked again, this time with curiosity.

”I don’t know.” Ririka repeated, lowering her gaze.

“My power only work on those who didn’t have anyone in their heart.” Persephone mumbled, looking at Ririka, “you have someone in yours.”

”I…” Ririka voice faded, unsure of what to say.

”I was never in your heart.” She frowned, her voice almost sounded reminiscent, “that’s why my power used to work on you. I could control you.”

”You didn’t control me.” Ririka smiled a bit, “I let you.”

“That’s why you didn’t fight harder for me.” Persephone stared at her, “I wasn’t worth the risk.”

“That’s not fair.” Ririka mumbled with frustration. “You said let bygones be bygones.”

“So why can’t we start over?” She leaned into her, placing a hand on her cheek, “please…I missed you.”

“I…” Ririka shook her head, trying to lean away from her. “I can’t.”

“Stay,” Persephone pleaded, looming over Ririka, “I know you want to.”

It ended as quickly as it happened. In a flash. Persephone tilted Ririka’s chin with her index finger, planting a soft peck on her lips.

“Let me in! I need to see if Ririka is ok!”

They heard someone rudely barging in. Ririka was the first to face the intrusion. It was Mary with an angry face, along with Runa behind her, who seemed to have a little difficulty taming Mary.

Mary was quick to calculate the situation, stood blatantly at the door. Arms coming up to a crossed posture, Ririka could see the slight hurt in her golden eyes.

Runa, who felt like she got stuck in a hurricane awkwardly stepped backward and out the door, closing it as gently as possible.

“Mary.” Ririka stepped towards her, cheeks  all red due to the fact that Mary had just witnessed something embarrassing that had just happened. She missed Persephone’a widened eyes.

“The daffodil.” Persephone muttered, and it didn’t go unnoticed by Ririka. She tilted her head side ways to glance at Persephone but the woman didn’t show any emotion other than lowering her head on the floor.

Mary sighed and decided to make her way towards them. She forced a smile when she finally reached Ririka.

“Mary…” Ririka cleared her throat, turning around to gesture the other woman, “this is… Um…”

“Phoebe.” Persephone interjected, wearing her usually smile again.

Mary raised a brow, how would Ririka know someone out of nowhere? “R-Right. How do you two, Um…”

Noticing how Ririka was having difficulty coming up with an explanation, Persephone stepped forward and decided to explain. “We were friends along time ago.”

Were, so this means this woman is no longer in Ririka’s life.

“How are you, um, how are you here?” Mary asked curiously, “you do know we’re literally buried underneath the sand, right?”

Persephone nodded and let out a light chuckle, “this is my home. You’re more than welcome to stay if you want.”

“Right.” Mary said not feeling up for a casual conversation, she turned to face Ririka. “Have you found what you’re looking for?”

“It’s not here.” Ririka shook her head. “We better get back.”

“Take the helicopter back.” Persephone offered, “there’s no signal up there or anyone around really.”

“Are you sure?” Ririka turned to her, “I don’t want to bother—“

“It’s on me.” Persephone cuts her off and gave her a smile. “I’m just glad I’m able to see you again.”

Just then, anther girl opened the door and stepped in. She was the same height as Runa but she was much more polite.

“I’m Inaho. I’ve already prepped your ride!” She saluted, “this way please.”

Mary stepped towards the door and her steps came into a halt when Ririka wasn’t following her. She raised a confused brow.

“You go ahead.” Ririka nodded, “I want to have a word with Per— Phoebe.”

Mary bites her lips and hesitantly nodded, making her way out the door with Inaho.

“Well, Riri.” Persephone sighed, grabbing her hand. “It’s good seeing you again.”

“What did you mean by ‘daffodil’ when you saw Mary?” Ririka suddenly changed the subject.

It took Persephone aback a little and she responded with a condescending smile. “She reminded me of that day. When I picked youthe flower.”

Ririka raised a brow, she was clearly confused.

Persephone chuckled a bit. “It meant that she is your destiny.” She sounded a bit melancholic.

“What do you mean?” Ririka muttered.

“Listen,” she sighed, “I know what the scroll says and I know it sounds impossible but I want to believe that fate exists.”

“You mean…”

“Initially, when I saw you, I wanted to do anything I can to make you stay with me. I was willing to do everything I could. But seeing her,” she let out a sigh, “I was meant to give her to you, Riri. That means I have to let you go.”

“Sephony…” Ririka whispered, eyes forming with tears.

“I love you.” Persephone stepped closer to her and cupped her cheeks, “but you’re starting to love her, don’t you?”

“It’s not fair.” Ririka lower her gazed. “I want you to be happy—“

“I am.” She reassured, then smirked, “believe it or not, I’m happy here. You know who came to stop by once in a while?”

“Who?” Ririka raised a brow.

Persephone stepped on her tiptoe and leaned close to Ririka’s ear. “Hermes.” She seductively whispered.

Ririka’s eyes widened, “but didn’t you hate him?”

“I did.” Persephone giggled, “but even in the underworld, he would be nice to me. He’s the one who helped me escaped.”

“I’m glad Hermes have changed to your liking, though I still hate him.” Ririka grimaced, “he was obsessed with you.”

“Is that a jealousy face Riri?” Persephone teased, “I’d still choose you over him any day, you know that right?”

Ririka rolled her eyes and pulled Persephone into a tight embrace. Persephone reciprocated by pulling her in by the waist and hanging onto her tightly. It was almost as if they feared they’d never see each other again.

“I’m sorry you couldn’t find the scroll here.” Persephone mumbled into her neck.

Ririka shook her head, “ironically, finding you here is better than finding that scroll.” She laughed a little as they broke apart.

Persephone went over to the table to pick up a necklace. “Here, it’s my mother.” She explained, handing the necklace to Ririka, “I haven’t look much into it, but I hope it’ll lead you to her. And even if it doesn’t, it’s something you could remember me by.” She gave her a sad smile, “who knows how many centuries until we see each other again.”

“Thank you.” Ririka mumbled, as Persephone gesture her to the door. “May we meet again.”

“May we meet again.” Persephone whispered, as a tear ran down her cheek.

As soon as Persephone help putting the necklace on her neck, they made their way to the helicopter. Mary was already inside, along with Inaho and Ririka gave Persephone a very last goodbye hug.

“You’re always so sensitive.” Persephone joked, when seeing a frown on Ririka’s face.

“I just didn’t think I’d see you again, that’s all.” She retorted.

“I’m a goddess, Riri, you can’t get rid of me that easily.” She laughed.

“Right.” Ririka sighed, “I should go.”

Persephone nodded and before Ririka could walk away, she pulled her back and into her arms one last time.

“Protect her. Don’t let go of her.” Persephone whispered, “she will be your light, the sun that guides you. She’s your daffodil.”

 

Chapter Text

 

The helicopter lifted off with an awful silence between the two fellow troopers. Part of the reason was because both Mary and Ririka had a long day and both were completely worn out. However, the main reason Mary haven’t open her mouth was because Ririka looked like she wasn’t in the mood for a conversation.

The scenery from the helicopter window turn from sandy desert into deep blue ocean. It was an incredible sight and it would’ve been even romantic if the two weren’t being so awkward.

Stealing another glance towards Ririka, Mary could tell the silver haired woman was upset and she had a pretty good idea why too.

Mary had witnessed how the woman earlier had kissed Ririka and she observed the way she looked at Ririka. What Mary couldn’t understand was how the two were connected. The chances of them knowing each other was zero to none. Regardless, who ever that woman was, she seemed pretty close with Ririka.

She looked at Ririka the way that Mary would. Or it might just be her imagination. If Mary wasn’t wrong, she could tell the woman really cared about Ririka.

That thought alone left a pang in her stomach. She didn’t like it. Mary was never the one to get jealous or envious of anyone but this time, she couldn’t help it.

Mary remembered how insecure she felt when she was in the room with them. They looked like goddesses while she looked like a complete nobody. She always felt pretty, but strangely, just like whenever Kirari and Yumeko were around, Mary suddenly felt invisible.

It was strange how she never felt that way around Ririka. Everything was natural around her. She never felt small or insignificant. She felt seen and important.

Leaning back into the seat, Mary let out a low audible sigh. Ririka, of course, noticed this.

She turned her head towards Mary and hesitantly open her mouth only to close it. She could tell Mary was clearly distressed about something.

It couldn’t be about what she saw earlier, could it?

Mary felt the intensive stare coming from the person beside her and she instinctively let out another sigh.

“I—“

“I…”

They said simultaneously, eyes locked into each other. While Ririka’s eyes widened a bit, Mary lower her gaze and ultimately turned her head back to the floor..

“You go first.” Ririka offered, there’s a touch of concern in her voice.

“Right…” Mary’s voice trailed, “I was just wondering if you’re fine. Because back in the desert, you were coughing up blood and you were like burning up.”

“I’m fine.” Ritual responded, her voice so low Mary could barely hear from the headset.

The blonde let out a low chuckle, “I guess whatever she did helped.”

“How about you?” Ririka asked instead, ignoring Mary’s statement, “are you fine?”

Mary didn’t answer, instead, she leaned back into the seat and sigh. “I just want to go home. I’m rather tired.”

“We’re almost there.” Ririka told her, gazing at the blonde. “But Mary,” she paused, biting her lips, “Is something on your mind?”

Mary stared at the back of Inaho’s head for a while. For someone as small as her, how could she fly a whole helicopter?

Mary sighed lowly. “I’m wondering…” she started, “….Is she…”

She never finished her sentence. She felt small and insignificant just thinking about the whole day. From letting Ririka get on a crappy plane to her almost dying in the desert. And of course,

Ririka seemed to pick up on the implications. “She’s a friend of mine.” She finished.

“Friends…” Mary mumbled, trying not to sound bitter, “you kissed your friends?” Mary tried to playfully state, her eyes wasn’t looking at Ririka.

Ririka was was taken aback.she backed up a little and her shoulders rises. She’s never seen this side of Mary before. Usually the blonde would be talking arrogantly and Ririka preferred it that way. She learned to hate this side of Mary. This isn’t like her at all.

“Never mind.” Mary sighed, deflating back into her seat. “I’m gonna take a nap until we get there.”

Ririka watched as the blonde closed her eyes. Her palm turned into a fist. The urge of wanting to tell Mary everything suddenly becomes clear but the fear of pushing her blonde friend away also lingers. She turned her head towards the window as guilt creeped up on her.

Caring for a mortal was dangerous. They’re fragile and won’t last long. They’ll only hurt the immortal who became attached to them.

But it was rather something else that Ririka was more concerned about. It was part of the scroll of why a siren should never care for a mortal. It had haunted Ririka for as long as she could remember; hence why she badly wanted to find the scroll and destroy the curse.

But you’re starting to love her, don’t you?

Persephone’a words ring in the back of Ririka’s mind. Is she really starting to have feelings for Mary? She couldn’t deny the feelings Mary gave her. Even when knowing Mary for a short period of time, it felt longer.

She’s your destiny.

But even if she did,

A mortal cannot fall in love with a siren.

Simply put, It was impossible. Ririka knew. But there’s something about Mary that draws Ririka in. The thought of loving Mary had been sizzling in her mind for quite some times now. It was dangerous.

Like a tea kettle, when you let something simmers for too long, eventually it’ll boil over.

The scenery from the vast ocean turned into the land with mountains and civilians.

~

“Please stand by,” Inaho said, causing Mary to abruptly sat up with a drool falling from her mouth to her chin, “allow me to land this flight.”

Wiping her chin with the back of her hand, golden eyes exhaustingly observed out the window. Surely she knew exactly where they were. Her university. Aside from the school’s personal helipad, Mary knew Inaho cannot land this huge ass helicopter anywhere else.

Not only is Hyakkaou a small town, it’s also crowded with people and buildings. Most citizens stick to the lower mainland and if they were to land outside of town, they’d have to walk back a couple miles.

And Mary didn’t like that option very much.

When the helicopter landed, Mary waited on the side looking out the football field as Ririka decided to have a few words with Inaho before she leave.

She felt the helicopter being lifted as her hair flew in every direction possible. Never once did she look or thank Inaho knowing she’ll never see that person again anyway.

“Should we go?” Ririka asked and Mary could hear her footsteps heading towards her.

“Yeah,” she agreed, walking towards a ladder that leads to the ground, “this way.”

Descending down to the ground was easy. Mary knew this. The hundred times of sneaking away from classes to enjoy just a bit of fresh air always was a thrill to her.

Ririka, on the other hand, wasn’t much a fan of heights. She closed her eyes, gripping tightly onto the rails. Mary, on her part, couldn’t do much other than giving her words of encouragements. Any other times, she would’ve been flustered at the fact that Ririka’s ass was right on top of her face but this wasn’t those times.

As soon as her feet hit the ground, she let out a loud sigh. Then another, and another. Each times was louder than the last. Hinting that she’s frustrated and she wanted the whole town to know.

And because of this, Ririka knew Mary was upset at her.

“I’m going home.” Mary told her when her feet finally landed on the ground, “see you later.”

Ririka nervously nodded, “yeah.” She said quietly.

Mary lower her gaze for a moment, staring at Ririka’s shoes. Mary could tell they were new sneakers but because of the sand, it got some dirt left on it. Then finally looking up into her eyes and Ririka could tell something was off about that look. She scratched the back of her head and with a huff, she turned around and started walking home.

“Mary,” Ririka followed, “are you sure you’re okay?”

The blonde didn’t stop, nor answer her friend. She kept walking, this time a little faster knowing Ririka was following her.

“Mary, wait!” Ririka pleaded, they were walking up the hill of the small road that would eventually leads to Mary’s house. The sun was no longer visible but the sky still had some light. The visible orange was evidence across the horizon.

Other than Kirari, Ririka has never once begged someone’s for their attention. Especially since being a siren. People came to her willingly, offering their everything to her. She was aware she never once sang to Mary but still, the siren’s effects should’ve been there.

“Mary,” Ririka grabbed Mary’s hand, turning her around, “stop. Please.”

As soon as she turned around, for the first time, Mary finally felt taller than Ririka. Figuratively and literally.

“I’m fine,” she sighed, head turning towards the ocean, “It’s been a long day and I just want to go home.”

“I understand.” Ririka nodded, “but clearly something is bothering you.

Being a good observer as always, Ririka saw how Mary’s brows started frowning. But Mary quickly flatted her expression and turn her gazes back to Ririka.

“I’m fine,” she said again, this time much more calmer. “I’m just glad everything worked out.”

“You don’t sound fine.” Ririka’s brows furrowed, “tell me, is it me?”

Mary let out an airy chuckle, “no it’s not you, dummy.” She turned around and started walking again, “it’s me.”

“Why is it you?” Ririka again, followed as persistent as ever.

“Don’t worry about it.” Mary was also being persistent, “just go home.”

Don’t let go of her

“You said we’re friends.” Ririka grabbed onto Mary’s hand once again, “And I don’t want you to be upset. So tell me. This isn’t like you.”

Mary was surprised and tired at the same time. “Let me go, Ririka. I’m tired.”

“Look at me and tell me what’s wrong then.” Ririka commanded as they stood in silent. Only the rust of the wind and the waves from the ocean could be heard.

And maybe that was the last straw in Mary’s patients. Because the next thing that happened was one that happened faster than a blink of an eye.

“Alright,” Mary turned her head, “you wanna know what’s wrong?” She was tired from the long day and maybe Ririka should see her true self this time. “This whole day was fucked up ok?!” She yelled, “we almost died in the fucking desert, we could’ve gotten heat stroke you understand?!! I saw you coughed up fucking blood! Do you know how fucking scared I was? You fucking couldn’t!!” Hot tears forming up in her eyes, “and we would’ve died if we never found the fucking building that shouldn’t even exists!! How the fuck!” She harshly grabbed Ririka’s shoulders, shaking it, “How the fuck did those people act like they knew we were coming??” She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself down, “How the fuck do you know her?!”

Ririka stared at her with shocked eyes for a moment. Clearly Mary was hurt.

“I told you,” Ririka’s raised a brow, “she’s a fr—“

“—She’s not a fucking—“

“—But she is!” Ririka finished herself before Mary could butt in. “She is a friend. She was there because she had escaped her kidnapper. Anywhere else, he would’ve find her.”

It wasn’t a total lie but at least it was half the truth. If Mary was upset at herself over this, then Ririka had to make sure she was just in it as well.

“And It’s not fucked up.” She gently grabbed one of Mary’s hand and placed it down, holding it steadily. “Today, I mean. It’s not your fault. I knew the risk. I don’t regret spending this day with you at all.” She sighed, turning her head towards the sea, “if I could go back in time, I’d do the exact same thing all over again.”

“But you could’ve died.” Mary raised her voice, a tear fell from her eye.

Ririka looked into her molted eyes, though they look like melting magma at the moment. “But I didn’t.” She move her other hand to wipe the blonde’s tear away, “thanks to you.”

Letting go of her grip on Ririka’s shoulder, and pulling her hand away from Ririka’s grasp, Mary turned her head sideways. She never liked anybody seeing her so vulnerable.

“I don’t understand,” she muttered, “why me?”

That took Ririka by a surprise, “what do you mean?”

“Nothing.” Mary sighed as she started walking up the hill again.

“Mary.” Ririka called out. “What do you mean?”

“Why me?” Mary flicked her tongue, pacing up her speed, she could hear Ririka was also catching up to her. “there’s plenty of other people you could pick.”

“I’m not sure I understand—“

“Why me, Ririka?” Mary turned to face her, a few seagulls flew over their heads. “I’m nothing special. You could be friends with anyone. And not to mention, ‘Phoebe’” Mary air quoted with her hands, “I’m no where near her or your league. I don’t want to feel small every time I’m near your friends anymore.” She rubbed her forehead with frustration, “let’s just part ways from now on okay?”

“I can’t do that.” Ririka frowned, taking the final step upward on top of the hill.

“And why not?” Mary looked up at her with confusion.

Ririka sighed and look over at the vast ocean. A single gust of wind blew through their locks and she could almost hear the faintest whisper of it. “You know why.” She mumbled.

Mary’s face flattened. “What do you—“

“Why did you think I went to that small library everyday?” Ririka mumbled, “can you possibly tell me that I actually believe the scroll would be there?”

Mary’s brows creases as she stood beside Ririka.

“Why did you think I agreed to go to this trip knowing I can’t stand desert.” She continued, eyes fixated on the waves. “Why did you think I was able to say goodbye to my friend after not seeing her for the longest?”

Mary stood in silent, though she now she looked much defenseless.

“I did it because I know you’d be there.” Ririka finally turned her gaze back to the blonde. “Believe it or not, I really enjoy your presence. In a way…. It made me feel alive.”

“Ririka.” Mary managed to mumbled out her name.

“If you’re upset because you think it’s your fault this whole day was fucked, it’s not.” She told her, observing how Mary turned her head away. “Or is it because of something else?”

“She…” Mary lowered her gaze, “…looked at you the way that I would.”

It was a vulnerable statement on Mary’s part. However, Ririka couldn’t quite understand what it meant. “Everyone looked at me the way you do.”

Mary bites her lips. “This is stupid. Never mind.” She started walking again.

“Mary, wait.” Ririka followed once again.

“No, Ririka.” Mary’s chest tightened, “I need to go home!” She yelled.

Her heart dropped when she realized Ririka was no longer following her after hearing a soft audible of her saying “okay.”

Mary turned around to see Ririka standing a couple feet behind her staring out at the sea. She didn’t want to hurt Ririka. This was about her and her confused feelings. She never meant to throw her anger on the one person who was worried about her.

So Mary marched back. Stopped a feet in front of her platinum haired friend. She let out a sigh and shifted her legs uncomfortably. If Ririka noticed, she was doing very well at ignoring the blonde. Mary couldn’t tell if Ririka was genuinely upset or just straight up done with her at this point.

Mary was aware she could be very stubborn but in her defense, she had a very frustrated day.

“I’m sorry. I…” Mary mumbled, “I didn’t..” she frowned when Ririka wasn’t acknowledging her, she rolled her eyes and looked up at the sky.

It was already getting dark and Mary briefly remembered she has training tomorrow. She didn’t want to leave them in a fight like this. Though she wouldn’t call this a fight. Still, she knows when she gets home, in the comfort of her warm bed, she knows she’ll regret if she didn’t make things right with Ririka.

At least she can be honest and tell her why she’s upset. Mary looked back at Ririka and she could see her mascara has wormed out a bit. Was her eyelashes silver? That thought made Mary blushed.

“Ririka,” Mary muttered, “I didn’t like the way she was looking at you, okay?”

Mary’s heart almost stopped when Ririka finally turned her head to look at her with those big ocean eyes. Her beautifully silver hair flown down her back and her blue eyes had a dash of tears in them.

Mary gritted her teeth, “and I didn’t like it when she kissed you.”

She saw how Ririka’s eyes widened with a faint blush forming on her cheeks.

“And the worst part about that is…” Mary lowered her gaze, “I know I’ll never be able to compare to her.”

“You’ll never be able to compare to her.” Ririka repeated coldly and Mary felt like a knife is being stabbed in her heart. But Ririka stepped towards her until they’re inches apart. She moved her hand to lift Mary’s chin up. The blonde was clearly about to cry again. Ririka’s expression soften at that. She leaned in closer and her voice almost came to a whisper Mary could barely hear.

“Just like how she’ll never be able to compare to you.”

Mary could hear the beat of her heart getting louder when she realized their faces were only inches apart. The hand in her chin was warm and Mary was afraid Ririka could actually feel her heart beat at the moment.

But she didn’t move back or brushed the hand off. Instead, her body started moving forward on its own. Her hand found Ririka’s cheek, and she realized this was the first time she had touched Ririka’s face. They were softer than anything Mary had ever touched.

Mary couldn’t tell if she was imagining things because Ririka closed her eyes and she was also leaning in, towards her lips.

Mary looked down at those plump lips. Those same lips that had kissed another.

But Mary couldn’t care about the other woman anymore. Ririka was the one that’s in front of her. At this very moment, Ririka was the only one that mattered.

So Mary leaned in towards her lips. Another moment and she was going to have those lips.

Mary smiled as she leaned in…

“Mary!!!”

Only to be interrupted by an annoying voice she was unfortunately very familiar with. Mary instinctively stepped a couple steps away from Ririka. Her face flustered as she faced the intruder.

“Mary!!” Itsuki, who was about a mile away running towards her, waving her arm high in the air, “I’ve been looking for you!”

Mary rolled her eyes, and decided to take this opportunity to tell Ririka she wasn’t upset anymore.

“Ririka—“ Mary turned her head to find Ririka already walking away, about fix feet, seemingly down the hill. Mary eyes widened as she ran towards her. “Ririka wait-“

Mary grabbed her hand like Ririka did to hers earlier. When Ririka turn her head, Mary said the only thing that pops into her mind. “We’re good, right?”

Ririka paused, a small smile grew on her face. “I think so.”

“I gotta run to my friend before she gets here.” Mary shrugged, “I don’t want her nosiness all up in my business.”

Ririka’s smile slowly faltered as she moved a strand of her hair and tucked it behind her ear. “ Your business?” She emphasized the ‘your’ so get her point across. 

Mary’s cheeks colored in many different shades of red, and she boldly shook her head. “O-Ours.” She blushed harder, liking the sound of that. “I mean our business.”

Ririka grinned and her other hand moved to grab Mary’s. Folding Mary’s hand like a sandwich. “I like that.” She mumbled, giving the hand a squeeze.

The sudden contact gave Mary an undeniable confident as she raised one of Ririka’s hands and brought her knuckles on her lips.  Heat spread across her face when she realized her uncontrollable action. And does every part of Ririka’s body felt this soft?

Mary lifted her head to find Ririka with a similar flustered face, Mary knew hers is probably redder, “s-sorry-“

Before Mary could drop her hand, Ririka took the initiative and brought Mary’s hand towards her own lips. Mirroring what Mary just did, she pressed her lips on Mary’s knuckles.

“Mary!!”

They heard footsteps approaching them getting louder, and Ririka drop Mary’s hand.

They both stared, adoring each other like thirteen years old for a moment until Ririka bashfully spoke up. “You should go.” She chuckled a bit.

“R-Right!” Mary blushed, “I’ll see you later?” She slowly walked backward grinning, until Ririka confirmed with a nod.

Mary finally turned her head around and ran up to Itsuki, who was out of breath.

Ririka couldn’t see or hear much due to the sky drastically darkening. As she walked down the hill, she could Practically hear Itsuki’s yelling something along the lines of, “where were you today? And why are you covered in sand?” She could also hear Mary’s groans in the background.

A smile tugged up her lips as she raised her hands to feel the knuckles that Mary’s lips had pressed against. 

Mary’s grin was as warm as the sun. Just as Persephone had stated.

”I think I may have landed myself on someone incredible. Someone special.”

Ririka’s smile never faded as she walk toward the beach and stepped into the Sea.

Finally,

Her thirst had stopped.

~~

The wind howled. The ocean roared.

Mary was struggling to fall asleep.

She had been twisting and turning around her bed for the past couple hours. She’d try listening to soft music and opening her window to feel the wind, but nothing helped. Her mind was occupied with Ririka.

She buried her face in the pillow and groaned.

Now that she thought about it, ever since Ririka and her friends had arrived in town, Mary couldn’t stop thinking about them. But now her feelings for Ririka had aggressively grew into something else entirely and Mary wasn’t sure how she felt about that.

Turning her head around, she raised her hand up in the air and stared up at her knuckles. The thought of Ririka kissing her hand kept replaying over and over. Though the surrounding was dim, she remembered how Ririka had looked just then, almost vulnerable in front of Mary. How her pretty eyes filled with concern and her lips kept quivering when Mary walked away from her. It was also the first time she had seen Ririka showing frustration. How her eyes were fuming with rage, if Mary wasn’t completely losing her mind, she would’ve been able to savor that moment.

She turn her hand and stared at her palm. The palm that had caressed Ririka’s flawless cheek. She remembered how with just another shortest of a movement and she would’ve claimed Ririka’s alluring lips.

That thought made Mary blushed, so she clenched her fist and slammed her hand on her bed.

The thought of being in a relationship with Ririka finally came to her mind, and immediately Mary sat up to stop herself from going there.

She turned her phone on to find that it was 3:08 AM. She sighed, making her way over to the window and stared up at the moon. It was almost full. She looked down at the noise in her dumpster and she knew immediately that the idiot raccoon had been digging up her trashes once again.

She turned her gaze back towards the moon, it looked magical in a way Mary had never seen before. But in her defense, Mary was never the one to stay up this late deep in thought about someone who made her heart filled with joy over and over.

“Ririka…” Mary whispered quietly, not to anyone, and not even to herself. Her mouth moved on its own as if talking to the moon.

“I think I’m in love with you.”

 

 

Chapter Text

“Achoo!” Ririka sneezed, rubbing her nose as soon as her head emerged from the water.

Weird. It’s been a while since she last sneezed. 

was someone thinking about her?

Looking up at the moon, she was aware how awfully late it was. She had lost track of time ever since she stepped into the sea. Time never really did matter though. For as long as she could remember, being one with the sea has never been enough.

Regardless, this’ll do for now. She couldn’t deny the aching in her throat though. She knew she couldn’t avoid that situation any longer. It was getting harder and harder to resist the urge. But the thought of that sent a disgusting churn right in her stomach.

Earlier, she could feel the beat of Mary’s heart in the palm of her hand. She could feel the blood in Mary’s vessels rushing in and out. It was tempting and inviting. If Mary’s friend hadn’t been there when she did, Ririka was afraid of the possibilities that might have occurred.

But she was in control. She always had been. And always will be.

I didn’t like it when she kissed you

Mary’s words kept replaying in her mind.

“You didn’t like it when she kissed me…” Ririka whispered with a small smile. Then her smile faltered.

Being close to Mary made Ririka’s head spins. The siren part of her wanted nothing more than to pounce on the blonde. To give into her desires and fulfilled those physical touch that screamed out from within her.

Mary was the first person who Ririka ever had to hold those intuition back. It was definitely getting harder to behave around Mary now that they had became something else. But it was all worth it. Seeing Mary smile was what made Ririka happy. 

For a long time, Ririka was sure she would never find someone she genuinely like. whether meeting Mary was a destiny or not, Mary definitely did something to Ririka’s heart and she couldn’t wait to see where this goes.

She swam up to shore and sat on the beach for a moment. Taking in the breeze and the wind. This was her favorite time of the day after all. The quietness, the stillness. Being one with the sea and the land. Nothing else matters.

Everything seemed just right.

Until…

It didn’t.

Upon hearing the footsteps approaching her, Ririka watched as her tail shifted back into her legs.

She grabbed her panties that she had neatly tucked underneath her bra and slipped it on. Her shorts, however, was long gone into the sea.

“Ririka,” Kirari’s airy voice flowing through the wind, “welcome back.”

Ririka turned to face Kirari and Yumeko who looked like those hungry predators approaching their prey.

Though it was dark, the moonlight glistened on Kirari’s and Yumeko’s skin. Blue and red orbs glowing with intensity towards Ririka.

“Can’t you just leave me alone for one second?” Ririka groaned, walking past them and towards the beach house.

“I’m afraid not.” Kirari’s cold and vicious voice made Ririka’s skin crawled.

Turning around, she saw how those two were towering her, almost as if ready to devour her. Kirari’s gazes were as cold as ice and even Yumeko’s was serious. It wasn’t like Yumeko to be cold at all. The raven haired siren always wore a smile on her face and if Ririka were to be honest, this whole seriousness made her blood runs cold.

“We need to talk.” Kirari told her with little to no care in her voice.

“So talk.” Ririka glared back at her, “I’m listening.”

Kirari hummed with a smug on her face. “Where were you today?”

“What?” Ririka chuckled, “where I go is none of your concerns?”

“Don’t be so hostile, Ririka.” Kirari sighed, walking towards the beach, and dipping her feet into the water, “it was merely a simple question.”

Yumeko giggled just then, somehow causing Ririka to let out a breath of relief. Yumeko was back to her usual, optimistic self. “We missed you, Ririka. We’re starting to feel like you’re ignoring us.”

Missed? Ririka wanted to throw up. For as long as she could remember, they hadn’t gone a day without each other. She understood that Yumeko was a clingy person by heart but Kirari had taken Yumeko under her wings so Ririka found it hard to believe that her sister alone wasn’t enough for Yumeko.

“If I could, I would.” Ririka scoffed. “Regardless, I went on a hunt. But from the sound of it, you’ve already figured that out.”

“Indeed.” Kirari hummed, staring at her feet. Scales started to form on her feet. “So, where were you? We couldn’t…feel you.”

Ririka rolled her eyes. “The Sahara—“

“-the Sahara…” Kirari butted in, turning around to and walking towards the others. “Only a brainless fool would go to the Sahara.”

“Ouch?” Ririka cringed, slightly offended by her sister’s comment. “If anyone is brainless, it’s you.”

“You have certainly become bold, I’ll give you that.” Kirari’s eyes widened a bit in amusement. “But that doesn’t matter.” She sighed, “who did you go with?”

“Why does that matter?” Ririka’s brows tightened, “why does it matter what I do? You do whatever you want all the time and never once did I questioned you.”

“My,” Kirari chuckled, causing Yumeko to giggle, “someone’s a bit defensive, wouldn’t you agree?”

Yumeko nodded, “Ririka, we’re just looking out for you.”

Ririka glanced from Kirari to Yumeko. It was obvious they weren’t going to drop this conversation. “Must we do this?” She scowled, “I went with Mary, okay?”

“Intriguing.” Kirari smirked, then her eyes traveled down to Ririka’s neck, finding the necklace underneath her shirt.

Kirari walked over to her sister and ran her fingers down the necklace. Ririka winched at the touch. “Did she gave this to you?” She asked in a way that sounded almost menacing.

Ririka nodded. “I wanted it and she was kind enough to buy it for me.”

“You wanted it, huh?” Kirari hummed, locking her eyes on the object. The moment didn’t last more than five seconds but to Ririka, it felt longer than that. It was as if Kirari couldn’t believe Ririka wanted a piece of something so insignificant and dull. “Ririka, do you know the reason why we came here this summer?”

“We always travel.” She sighed, tired of the conversation. She knew Kirari would approach her one of these days about Mary but tonight? Ririka was in such a good mood earlier and Kirari might as well just ruined it.

“People in this town are quite interesting, don’t you think?” Kirari mused, “we need to talk about the new replacement though.” She looked up at the moon, “it’s nearly time.”

Both Yumeko and Ririka followed her gaze. It was indeed almost full moon.

“Alright, where is she?” Ririka asked, taking a step towards her sister.

“What do you mean?” Kirari raised a brow.

“I figured, you would’ve find someone already since you’re so optimistic about these situations.”

“Oh, I have. Since summer had started.”The younger twin chuckled, “however….” She slowly paced around them, “….there has been an inconvenience….a problem.”

“How so?” Ririka’s clenched her fist, it was always frustrating when Kirari is beating around the bush.

“Ririka….” Kirari narrowed her gaze onto her twin, “I’m going to turn her. I just felt the need to tell you before I go ahead with the plan, considering…everything.”

“Tell me?” Ririka frowned, “turn…who…?” Her voice lowered, full of hesitation.

“Who else?” Kirari laughed, and when Ririka’s eyes filled with realization, she sighed in enthusiasm. “Thats right. I’m going to turn Mary into one of us.”

“Isn’t that exciting?” Yumeko chimed in, “she’s gorgeous!”

“No…” Ririka eyes widened, her breathing had slowed down drastically. “…no..”

“I’m not asking you.” Kirari turned to stare at the sea, observing the waves, “I’m telling you.”

“No…” Ririka inhaled, it seems like no other words could come out of her mouth.

”Ririka,” Kirari’s voice lowered, “are you contradicting me?”

Ririka suddenly paused and bit her lips. Was she going against Kirari for a mortal she had just met not too long ago?

But this wasn’t any mortal. This was Mary. The person who had become a very important person to Ririka.

Regardless, Kirari’s sudden changed of tone went by as quickly as it came.

“From how close the two of you are, I’d say she’d fit right in.” Another chuckle came out of Kirari’s mouth and Ririka wanted to throw up just then.

This sick feeling she held in was getting immensely harder to hold back.

“Kirari, no.” Ririka shook her head, “I don’t want Mary to get involved-“

“-she’s already involved.” Kirari interjected, “it’s a little late for that. If she knows about the scroll, she’s already a suspect.”

“She doesn’t know about the scroll!” Ririka cried out, “she doesn’t know anything.”

“Oh?” Kirari raised a brow, “then why did she go with you.”

“She was trying to help me.” Ririka’s brows furrowed, “She thinks the scroll is some type of a family legacy I’m trying to find.”

“Interesting.” Kirari hummed, “but that’s besides the point. I’ve had my eyes on Mary before you even know her.”

”You will not touch her.” Ririka demanded, brows tightening. 

“Why are you so possessive of her?” Kirari raised a brow, “she’s just a mortal. A pawn.”

”She’s not just a mortal.” Ririka told her, “she’s special.”

”Oh I know she is.” Kirari chuckled, “why did you think I decided on this town?”

That was the moment when Ririka realized it was Kirari’s plan all along. She let Ririka get close to Mary as a source of familiarity. If Mary was comfortable around Ririka then Kirari wouldn’t have to babysit her like she did with Yumeko.

Ririka and Mary’s friendship was planned all along right in the palm of Kirari’s hand and all these times, Ririka had absolutely no idea.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Ririka marched towards her sister, grabbing her shoulders he pulling her closer, “why didn’t you tell me you’ve picked her from the beginning?”

“What? So you wouldn’t become friends with her? So you would stay away from her? Like how you stayed away from Yumeko?”

Not a lot of things surprised Kirari. But Ririka speaking up was new to Kirari. Especially for a mortal. Mortals were nothing to Kirari. Ririka had obeyed Kirari all her life, so why is this mortal any different?

Part of Kirari was a bit jealous her sister cared so much for her new friend. Ririka never cared about anyone or anything as far as Kirari could remembered.

So what exactly changed?

“Exactly.” Ririka nodded, “I would’ve done whatever you asked of me.” She lowered her gaze, “it’s too late now. You will not touch Mary.”

“Why are you so possessive of Mary?” Kirari scoffed, brushing herself off her sister’s grip, “you barely know her.”

“I know enough.” Ririka told her, “I know Mary has a great future and I won’t let you destroy that.”

“Mary could have a better future with us.” Yumeko butted in, arms snaking their way around Ririka’s shoulders, “she’ll have eternal beauty, gets whatever she desires, and of course, she’ll be able to swim at the depth only someone like her could ever imagine.”

Ririka harshly pushed Yumeko off. Clenching her teeth, her eyes fell on Yumeko’s thumb. A silver ring particularly. The ring Yumeko never once took it off for as long as Ririka could remember. “You’ve been wearing that ring ever since you’ve turned.” She glare at her, “tell me, what was the reason behind it.”

“I’ve told you before.” Yumeko brows furrowed, “it was given to me by someone special.”

“And how come you’ve never thrown it away? It’s been what? Five centuries?”Ririka asked, “it’s because that ring is the only thing that makes you feel like a decent human, isn’t it?”

“Ririka, enough.” Kirari growled, “you’re fighting a war you can’t win.”

Ririka’s attack however, only made Yumeko smiled. “Ririka’s right. This ring was given to me by my fiancé. He gave it to me before he died—“

“-Before you took his life.” Ririka corrected, “tell me, do you have no remorse for the lives you’ve destroyed?”

“Sure,” Yumeko told her. “There’s guilt. But it’s been way too long that I had almost forgotten about this ring.” She gently traced her fingers with the silver metal.

“What a load of crap.” Ririka hissed, “I saw you staring at it everyday, as if reliving that moment with him. He didn’t deserve to be with someone like you. Someone who lack remorse.”

“I’m afraid you’re wrong.” Yumeko smiled, “I’ve made him happy….up until the very last breath.”

“Bullshit.” Ririka scoffed, “if you had not been in his life, he would’ve been happier. Have a family of his own.” She breathed in, “We’re monsters!”

Immediately, Yumeko’s teeth shifted into razors sharp blade. They were showing in mere sight. Ririka reacted the same, showing off her sharp teeth and making a growl sound. Red orbs glowed in the dark, ready to devour Ririka. Yumeko’s nails grew, and Ririka watched as they sharpened. Indeed they were intimidating each other for dominance.

Ririka knew it would be easy to take down Yumeko. She was a lot more experienced than the younger siren. Without a warning, Ririka’s fingers were wrapped around Yumeko’s neck in an instant, suffocating her. Squeezing her tighter and tighter.

Yumeko squeaked in fear. Her teeth immediately retreated, turning back to normal as she sharply inhaled in pain.

“Enough!” Kirari hissed, taking a step between the two, and breaking them apart. “this isn’t the time for this.”

Yumeko held her neck as she deeply breathed in and out. She looked at Ririka and immediately, regretted it. Burning blue looked at her with death inside of them. She lowered her head submissively and took a step back.

“Whatever, just don’t lay a hand on Mary.” Ririka turned around, about to head towards the house.

But Kirari stopped her. “I’m afraid we can’t do that. Mary is our only option whether you like it or not.”

Ririka spins her head around and for a moment, Kirari saw how her eyes shifted to bright yellow. “Getting angry now, aren’t we?” She grinned. “Look at the bright side, Ririka. You’ll have Mary forever. Quite literally.”

Have Mary?” Ririka raised a brow, have Mary?? she despised how Kirari had said it. The last thing she wanted was seeing Mary as an object.

Kirari had trained her mind for centuries to think of mortals as objects. Nothing more, nothing less.

But Ririka didn’t.

To her, mortals were just like any other living creatures. They have feelings and their heart beats just like anything else.

“I wouldn’t know what kind of relationship you have with her,” Kirari shrugged, “but turning her into an immortal would only open up more opportunity you could have with her.”

Kirari and her one narrowed mind. Always thinking about herself before anyone else. Ririka shouldn’t be surprised by this anymore.

But this was her twin, her little sister. Kirari used to be so bubbly and bright.

This curse really did turned her into a monster.

“You don’t even know if she’ll pass.” Ririka countered, “if anything happens to Mary, I swear-“

“-She’ll pass.” Kirari told her calmly, “she’ll definitely pass.”

“Lay a hand on Mary, Kirari.” Ririka stepped closer to her sister, their face inches away, emotion filled with raged. “You’ll regret it.”

“Don’t be so childish, Ririka.” Kirari rolled her eyes, but there’s a slight fear lingering in her voice. She took a step back and turned away from her sister. Her gaze lower down to their feet. Kirari knew very well that as much as she can put Ririka in her place, Ririka was just as capable of doing the same. “There’s another option, I supposed.”

Red and blue eyes turned intently over to her.

She sighed and walk towards the water. She untied her black ribbon and let her braided hair fall. They were wavy but they glistened.

“I’ll look for another replacement. In the meantime, however, you will not communicate with Mary whatsoever.” Kirari voice was stern and menace. “I’m sure I’ll find another interesting girl in another town.” She then turn around and placed her index finger right on top of Ririka’s chest, pressing it into her flesh. “Talk to her and it ends there.”

With that, Kirari marched towards the water and with a sound of splash, she disappeared.

Left alone with Yumeko, Ririka marched back into the house and she could hear Yumeko following her. “Don’t.” She growled, loud enough for Yumeko to abruptly stopped her action.

Yumeko knew she was strong, but she also knew compared to the twins, she was the weak one physically. So she stood still. Outside, looking up at the moon. It was indeed beautiful. But beauty won’t last.

Unless you’re a siren.

Yumeko stared down at her ring. She remembered how the sirens had approached her that one fateful night. Years ago. They asked if she wanted to join their circle. Back then, Yumeko couldn’t think of anything better than this. So she accepted.

Why was she suddenly thinking of that night?

Did she regret her decision?

No. She has never regretted anything in her life.

Turning into a siren and stuck being a human was two sides of the same coin.

The man Yumeko once loved had constantly seeks comfort from other women. He was far from loyal but Yumeko was in too deep to even run from that situation. Her family, her status, her reputation were all weighing on that broken relationship.

Her sister was no help. Yumeko felt trapped. The night she accepted the siren’s offer was the night he proposed to her.

However, it was also the same night she decided to take his life.

It was a perfect ending to an awful love story.

Yumeko’s hands shook as she stumbled to sit on a bench.

Was Ririka right? About them being monsters?

“The cost of being a siren verses the life of a siren.” Yumeko mumbled, closing her eyes to feel the breeze. “It was indeed two sides of the same coin.”

Staring at her palm, she could relive all the lives she had taken. Some innocent and some guilty.

Maybe Ririka was right,

Maybe Yumeko really had no remorse.

She had destroyed everyone in her circle after all; her sister, her parents, her fiancé’s family.

They all lay with blood underneath of Yumeko’s feet.

And never once did she shed a tear.

Maybe monster was an understatement term after all.

~

As soon as Ririka slammed the door closed, she was faced with a boy whose eyes were widened as if he was a deer caught in the headlights.

Aoi had a few take out bags laying on the table and his food was in front of him. From the looks of it, he had just started eating.

Ririka’s anger immediately died down from the sight. She loosened her fist and relaxed her facial muscles. 

“What are you doing?” Ririka asked, stepping towards the table.

“I, um…” his eyes nervously looked down on his food, before he tried getting up. “T-Take out.”

“No, don’t leave.” Ririka told him, this time a little softer. As Aoi sat back down, Ririka slipped out a chair and sank into it. “Take out at 4 am?”

Aoi slowly nodded. “I get super hungry whenever Kirari leave me.”

He sounded genuinely sincere. There wasn’t any sarcasm or cockiness in his voice like the usual. Observing him even more, Ririka finally noticed he wasn’t wearing any shirt and the only clothing he had on was his black sweatpants.

He was just Kirari’s toy. Somehow, Ririka’s heart dropped thinking about it. 

“I see.” Ririka mumbled, straightened her posture. “Do you mind if I watch you?”

He shook his head while taking a bite of the burger. “I don’t mind. Do you want some?” He grabbed another take out bag and took out another burger for Ririka.

Ririka shook her head and placed a hand in front of the food. “I’m fine. Thank you.”

He looked at her confused then nodded, and continued eating the burger.

Ririka watched as the boy eats his meal. He swallowed fast. As if he’d been starving. She wondered when was the last time he had eaten.

Whenever he’s in Kirari’s presence, he’s nothing like this. He looked free, happy and full. But then again, Kirari and Yumeko did sang to him. He was under their spell. It was a dangerous place for anyone to be in. 

Ririka wondered what would happened if she sing to Mary. But that ridiculous thought goes away as fast as it came. Her friendship with Mary should never be mixed with this curse.

Their friendship was real. Pure. No spell, no voodoos shit.

“Can I ask you something?” Ririka broke the silence, seeing as the boy gives her a nod, she continued. “What are you feeling right now?”

“What do you mean?” He swallowed, taking a glass of water and chugged it down his throat.

“In front of me.” She looked at him, “what do you feel?”

“Oh, that.” He muttered, Ririka could see how his eyes nervously looked around as if afraid of something. And Ririka knew exactly what or who he was looking for. His eyes were carrying a burden. Didn’t he know that Ririka had been carrying a burden as well?

“Don’t worry.” Ririka assured him, “there’s only you and I.”

“I feel normal around you.” His eyes narrowed down his empty plate. “I feel like you’re a real person.”

“And with them?” Ririka asked curiously. She knew how they act but she never asked a mortal how they feel.

“With them…” his eyes were still trained on the plate but his mouth was tugging up a smile. “I feel like I’m in a dream. As if they were hologram. Every time I’m around them, especially Kirari, it felt heavenly. All my pain, negativity, hunger, thirst, they all disappeared. It felt…good.”

“But?” Ririka pressed.

“But…” his eyes finally met Ririka’s. “…but as soon as Kirari leave me, all those feelings came back at once. As if I’ve been hit with a train. I would be naked in bed or anywhere else and I couldn’t remember what I did. All I know, is I feel relieved whenever Kirari or Yumeko are around.” He lowered his gaze, “don’t get me wrong, I’m lucky I get to be Kirari’s. Anybody would be lucky to be in my place.” He mumbled, “but…it feels as if I’m being restricted. I can’t remember who my family or friends are.”

After listening to Aoi’s vent, Ririka took a deep breath and stood up. She turned her head to glanced at him sideways. “It’s because she ordered you to forget about them.”

She didn’t listen or look at see what Aoi’s reaction was. Step by step, she marched forward and up the stairs to her room.

Mary’s life and future depends on her even if unbeknownst to Mary herself. She won’t let Kirari gets away with whatever she wanted anymore. 

But could she really avoid Mary? If the blonde is the only thing that keeps coming back to her mind. The thought of leaving town did cross her mind. However, she’d rather watch Mary from the distance if she’s able than not at all.

Ririka bit her lips. The thought of fighting with Kirari also simultaneously crossed her mind. She knew she couldn’t fight Kirari on her own. It would end in a disaster.

The fact that she’s even thinking about fighting Kirari surprised her. Kirari was her blood. The one person Ririka was certain she couldn’t live without. But even so, fighting against Kirari was like fighting against herself. She knew it was a war she couldn’t win. But maybe it was worth a fight. For Mary’s sake. Kirari will not get what she wanted this time. At least she has given her an option. 

An option that simultaneously gave Ririka hope and distress.

An option that could ultimately ruin Ririka’s chance to a start of something that could be good.

 

Chapter Text

Morning came within a blink of an eye. That was so unasked for.

Mary groaned, turning over to plant faced herself into her big fluffy pillow. The room wasn’t as bright as any other day, this could only mean that it was cloudy outside.

She could hear the rain pitter-pattered on the windows. That sound alone already annoyed Mary. That was not a good sign to start the day.

She had barely slept. She couldn’t even remember when she ended up crawling into her bed. Talking to the moon could only helped so much in the end.

Thinking about the silvery moon, reminded Mary again of the same reason she couldn’t sleep.

Big doe eyes, light fluffy cheeks, long glistening hair, and of course, those perfect captivating plumb lips.

Gosh, those inviting lips…

Heat soon started spreading across her cheeks and she let out a loud groan. Her voice muffled into the pillow. Aware that she was acting like a child, Mary threw her pillow across the room and sat up. Just thinking about Ririka made her ears burning and Mary just wanted to shout to the world and let her feelings out.

She let out a long yawn and walked over the window. She was right. It was lightly, raining outside. Drizzle. She looked up at the clouded sky and shivers slightly when the cold wind rushed towards her. The wind was strong and the clouds moved rapidly. It was as if clearing out the sky for a beautiful day.

Mary looked towards the beach. now that she thought about it, it had been a week since she last did her night swims. She missed it terribly. However, she’d rather suffer than have Kirari approaching her again. 

The garbage bin suddenly rolled over, making a loud crash and it wasn’t because of the wind. Rolling her eyes, Mary glanced down to observed at least five seagulls down in the dumpster eating and messing up her trash.

“Oh for crying out loud!” She yelled, throwing down a nearest object she could reach at the birds. They jumped and flew away, but came back five seconds later as if nothing had happened.

Mary scowled, maybe she should call Ryota to clean up her trashes. He did say he’d do anything for Mary. That thought slightly made Mary feel batter.

A quiet but firm knocking came from the front door, more of a patience knock than an actual normal knock. Mary glanced at the digital clock on her nightstand. 8:30am. She wasn’t expecting anyone, so she stood hoping it was the newspaper boy and the knock would go away. But the knocking came again, and this time a little louder.

Mary walked down the stairs and grumbled at whoever was at the door that she was coming.

“What are you doing here?” She raised a brow when it was her neighbor who was at her door steps.

“Um, Hi,” Sayaka gave her a small wave before clearing her throat. “Im sorry to bother you so early in the morning…”

Mary stood there staring blankly at her, waiting for her to finish saying whatever it is that she was trying to say but unfortunately, it never came. “Hi..” she responded, “I mean, I’m already up so what’s up?”

“Have you had breakfast yet?” Sayaka asked her, not minding Mary’s attitude. She was slowly getting used to the blonde’s demeanor.

“No, not yet.” She shook her head, “I was just about to make something.”

“I made some wonton soup!” She smiled, “and before you reject, I know you’re pretty strict with your diet but the recipe is pretty healthy.”

Mary wasn’t used to this side of Sayaka. The cheerful and also too optimistic side. She was almost as bad as Itsuki. “Ok, what’s all this about?” She told her strictly, not wanting to bear around the bush.

“What do you-“

“What do you what, Igarashi?” She crossed her arms, leaning her sides on the door.

“Um..” Sayaka winched a bit from the sudden coldness then she lightly chuckled with a sweat rolling down her face. “I thought we were on first name basis.”

Mary took a moment observing her neighbor. Her eyes scanning her from head to toe as if she was checking her out. She noticed how the longer she took, Sayaka was desperately avoiding eye contact.  “We are, Sa-ya-ka.” Her lips tug up into a smile, and she noticed how Sayaka’s face was turning red.  Rolling her eyes, she let the rest of the door slide wide open. “Come in.”

“Do you want something to drink?” She asked, walking toward the kitchen. “I could make some coffee.”

“Coffee would be great.”

Sayaka followed her into the kitchen. Mary hummed and grabbed two mugs from the cupboard and placed them on the countertop.

“So.” Mary looked back at Sayaka who already took a seat down at the kitchen table. “You never did tell me why you’re here. Not that I’m complaining but you’re in your wetsuit?”

Sayaka, who seemed to realized just what she was wearing quickly glanced down at herself and her blushed intensified. Her wet suit was rolled down to her waist revealing a sky blue bikini top. “A-About that,” she stammered, “I wanted to ask a favor.”

“I thought so.” Sighed Mary as she lean against the counter. “What is it?”

“Can you at least allow me to get the wonton soup?” She offered, though Mary’s voice had an irritated touch, her golden eyes were soft and it told Sayaka that she wasn’t mad but instead, she was listening.

“If it’s not too much trouble.” She mumbled, lowering her gaze. She did not want to look like she wanted the soup but her stomach was silently growling and she knew there’s nothing edible in the fridge. Once she looked up, Sayaka was already rushing out and back within minutes.

“Get a bowl and a spoon.” Sayaka told her placing down the pot on the table. “Careful it’s a little hot.”

Mary nodded and did as ordered. Taking a seat across from Sayaka, she picked up the spoon and scooped up a dumpling from the soup. “Mm,” she smiled, obviously enjoying the meal, “this is really delicious.”

“Thanks,” Sayaka’s heart melt, Mary’s compliments always had an effect on her somehow. “I’m glad you liked it.”

“Uh huh,” Mary slurped on her soup, “so what’s the favor you wanted to ask me?”

~

Sayaka made a few quick glances over at Mary all the while keeping her eyes trained ahead.

“Jeez, you wanted me to show you the ropes this early?” Mary yawned as she stared ahead. “Not that I know anything about handling a boat.”

“You won’t need to do any handling.” Sayaka assured her, “this would be my first time trying out the boat so I’m a bit uncomfortable doing it alone.”

“Oh yeah?” She glanced at her, “what about your lil friend?”

Sayaka sighed, “Midari and the ocean aren’t exactly in a good term.”

“What is she?” Mary let out an airy laugh, “An aquaphobia?”

“Something like that.” She mumbled, turning right onto the dock’s avenue. “Anyway, all you need to do is accompany me.”

“You make it sound like it’s a job.” Mary grunted, eyes scanning furiously around the block.

Sayaka has noticed every since stepping into the car, Mary’s aura has a touch of anxiety looming around her. The blonde wouldn’t stop fidgeting in her seat and her eyes seemed to scan the street like a hawk. Sayaka also hasn’t failed to noticed how tired the blonde was looking. The bags under her eyes were clearly showing even after applying all that foundation.

“Have you slept last night?” Sayaka asked, she indeed wanted to know out of curiosity’s sake.

Sayaka hasn’t always been a fan of social media but with what Itsuki has posted last night, she was curious if what was said about the blonde was true.

“I did,” Mary muttered, “not that well though.”

“So…” Sayaka hesitantly glanced at her, debating whether she should ask or not. “What’s the deal with you and Ririka?”

She saw the blonde’s reaction. Mary’s eyes from the street abruptly averted to her and her eyes were widened and pink blushes spreads throughout her cheeks. She couldn’t seemed to let any words out as her fidgeting stopped. But then Mary’s attitude immediately shifted to her usual behavior.

“What are you talking about?” She huffed, eyes back on the road to hide her embarrassment. “There’s no deal.”

Sayaka glanced back on the road in amusement. “I saw Itsuki’s social media. She said something about how she saw you and Ririka late last night on a date-“

“On a what?!” Mary raised her voice, through she couldn’t hide her blush. She felt her ears burning and instinctively fished into her pockets for her phone. “Crap! I forgot my phone!” She hissed, “That idiot!”

Sayaka only raised a brow, “so it’s true then?”

“What?!” She turned to look at her but immediately looked away and hid her face with her side of the window. “No, of course not!”

“Then why were you with her?” She asked. “Itsuki even took a shot of you two holding hands together. Though it was a bit blurry.”

“I’m gonna kill Itsuki.” Mary groaned, “she had no rights.”

“So.” Sayaka knew she should stop the interrogation at that point but she was simply a curious cat. “What were you doing with her?”

“What is this?” Mary grunted still hiding her face, though Sayaka could see the tip of her ears turning red, “twenty one question?”

“No.” She muttered, “I’m just rather intrigued but also concerned at the same time.”

“Concerned?” This timed the blonde finally faced her, “what do you mean?”

“Well,” she started, “if I remembered correctly, just a couple weeks ago, you precisely told me that they’re weird and they gave you the creeps.” She paused for a moment, biting her lips. “And now you’re holding hands.”

Mary’s cheeks redden once again, and she turned her face. “We’ve just…” her voice trailed, she didn’t exactly have the right answer for Sayaka. Things between her and Ririka just.. happened. “We’ve gotten close that’s all.”

close.

Sayaka lowered her gaze a bit. Suddenly, she got this weird feeling in her stomach as if a snake was squeezing her. It was obvious from her perspective that Mary has developed an infatuation with Ririka. 
 
But Mary was just a friend. She shouldn’t be caring about who Mary wanted to get close with. Sayaka shook her head from that obnoxious thought and narrowed her eyes back on the road.

“Do you know where she came from? Or what she’s doing here this summer?” Asked Sayaka, sensing that Mary was obviously uncomfortable.

“Does that matter?” Mary grunted, “I don’t know.”

“Do you know her family?” Sayaka pressed. “Where do they stay?”

“Kirari is her twin.” Mary mumbled.

“Aside from the obvious,” Sayaka chuckled, “what’s their surname?”

“I don’t know. We don’t talk about those stuff.” Mary rolled her eyes, small part of her still found Ririka a bit strange and off but the feeling the silver haired woman did to her heart was something Mary wasn’t able to control. Mary took a deep breath. Sayaka probably figured that out. 

“Then what do you talk about?”

“Greek history.”

“Greek history?” Sayaka raised a brow, “since when are you interested in history?”

“I’m not.” Mary admitted, “I was just helping Ririka with the scroll.”

“Scroll?” Sayaka asked, not really thinking deep into it.

“Yeah,” Mary slide her hands into her sweatpants pocket, “since when is this convo about me?”

She wasn’t sure if she should tell Sayaka about the trip yesterday. Any normal person wouldn’t believe her story. Falling into the sand, Mary and Ririka should be dead, not ending up finding a magical building with a beautiful girl.

But then she remembered that kiss again. The jealousy feeling rolling in her stomach. Mary grimaced and recoiled into the seat some more.

“I’m sorry.” Sayaka said sincerely, “I was just looking out for you. I’m trying to be logical but there’s something about those girls I don’t trust.”

“And you said I was being dramatic when I told you that a couple weeks ago.” She scoffed.

“Things have escalated though,” Sayaka trailed, as she turned into a different street, she caught a glimpse of Kirari and Yumeko entering a salon. “…there they are.”

Mary followed her gaze, catching a glimpse of Yumeko and Kirari. “Why isn’t Ririka with them?”

“Who knows.” Sayaka shrugged, driving the car down the dock. “You mention supernatural a while ago.” Her eyes trained on the road, “I have a feeling you’re right about that.”

“What do you mean?” Mary looked at her, “you say you’re logical but sometimes you say these weird things that doesn’t add up.”

“Nothing adds up.” Sayaka frowned, “yesterday another person went missing.”

“It’s a small town-“

“People just don’t disappear, Mary.” Sayaka was clearly in her deep thought, “how many of those people that had disappeared actually came back?”

“Well it’s only been a month, and it’s summer,” Mary told her, but even her voice sounded unsure. “Everyone probably just wants to get out and go on a vacation.”

“This place is already a vacation.” Sayaka argued, “everyone literally came here for vacation. There’s mountains, lakes and a beautiful ocean. You can literally do anything here. Who would want to spend anywhere else?”

“Honestly, I would.” Mary mumbled, causing Sayaka to rolled her eyes. “Anyway, why does supernatural fits into your point?”

“All I’m saying is, ever since summer has started, everything felt strange.” Sayaka explained, “not this many people have disappeared in a short amount of time. And the kicker is, no one has been able to contact them.”

Mary glanced down her knees and really thought about what Sayaka was saying. She did noticed people were missing, it’s all over the street, but she never paid attention to them. They were people she didn’t know, so she simply didn’t care. “You have a point.” She muttered.

“”I think…” Sayaka started nervously glancing at the blonde, she wasn’t sure if she should make this big accusation knowing how close Mary had gotten with Ririka. “I think those girls has something to do with it.”

“What?” Mary abruptly faced her with slightly widened eyes, “no way,” she shook her head.

Mary knew as much of a menace these girls seemed to pull off, they were not capable to making anyone disappeared. They look threatening and dangerous at times but at the end, they’re just young ladies who seemed to have everything.

“Think about it Mary,” Sayaka countered, “when does those people started disappearing? And who exactly are those girls? We’ve never seen them with their parents and they paid with cash.”

“You know their payments method?” Mary raised a brow.

“Well, yes.” Sayaka’s cheeks reddened from embarrassment. “I’m not a stalker or anything.”

Mary stayed silent, biting her lips. She really did not want to jump to a conclusion and think about Ririka in a bad way.

“It’s the way people gawked at them too.” Sayaka said, “have you not noticed that? I mean yeah they’re pretty but normal people still have decency you know, even with their lovers, none of them looked away.” She looked at Mary who had her eyes trained forward refusing to face Sayaka. “You look at them that way too.” She told her.

Mary closed her eyes when she realized Sayaka had been right about everything. “I know.” She mumbled, recoiling herself.

“It’s like they cast some sort of spell or maybe it’s a witchcraft.” She furrowed her brows, “I can’t put it into words and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since the festival.”

“You mention something about Kirari’s eyes shifting?” Mary glanced at her and Sayaka nodded, “how come you’re not affected- I mean you said everyone else was dazed and confused and I swear I don’t remember her eyes changing or anything. But how were you the only one that noticed?”

“I don’t know.” Sayaka shrugged, “but I noticed the way everyone looked at Kirari and Yumeko were different than the way they looked at Ririka.”

“What do you mean?” Mary raised a brow, she honestly did not want to hear the answer to that. She felt a pang in her stomach knowing other people were looking at Ririka the way she did.

Sayaka eyebrows tightened. “People looked at Kirari and Yumeko like they’re a love sick puppy. If they passed by, they all turned their heads until they’re gone. However, people looked at Ririka a little different. They looked at her like she’s a model, or like on stage. They’re simply captivated by her beauty, but it’s like they’re able to control themselves.” She paused, “…don’t get me wrong, they’re all incredibly beautiful and out of this world but Ririka is different. Im good at reading people and I can genuinely tell that she is kind.” She glanced at Mary and gave her a small smile, “She even looked at you the way you would look at her.”

Mary felt her face heating up at her friend’s statement. Her heart was slightly flattered but at the same time, now that she thought about it, should she really trust Ririka when she’s part of Kirari’s and Yumeko’s squad? They were bad news and Mary knew that, but was it really worth giving her heart to someone she barely knows?

Though Sayaka was basically spitting out conspiracy theories, it’s not like those thoughts hadn’t crossed Mary’s mind. The fact that Ririka had always showed up at the library with no transportation, or the fact that she never carried a wallet or own a smart phone screamed a lot of red flags.

Heck, Mary even noticed during the trip to the Sahara, Ririka hadn’t bring anything. No passport and no wallet. But at that time, Mary wasn’t complaining. She did tell Ririka that it would be her treat but it just suspicious how Ririka would just relied on her blindly like that. They were friends but they weren’t that close.

Mary shook her head. She shouldn’t be thinking about Ririka this way. This was questions that she knew she shouldn’t assumed. It was the questions only Ririka could answer.

“I’m not crazy,” Sayaka interrupted Mary’s thoughts, “This situation is driving me crazy.”

“You seemed to think about this a lot,” Mary let out a small laugh, “opposed to someone who didn’t believe in supernatural a couple weeks ago.”

“Things changed,” Sayaka eyes laid ahead as she entered the parking lot, “I know what I saw.”

“Kirari’s eyes?” Mary raised a curious brow, “I swear I didn’t see it.”

“But I did,” Sayaka came to a stop and slides the transmission gear into parking mode. “I’m sure of it.”

For a moment, neither of them said a word. Sayaka’s brows were tightening as if they were still thinking while Mary stared out the dock, scanning the area to release some tension, but really, her eyes were looking to see if she could spot a certain someone.

She knew Sayaka wanted her to stay away from them and she was. She was avoiding Kirari and Yumeko as if they were a plague but Ririka. Ririka was different. If she asked Ririka these questions, she was sure the woman would answer her. Considering they almost kissed just the other day.

Mary shook her head, she shouldn’t be thinking about that right now. To avoid her frustration, she opened the door and hopped out and decided to stretched. That car ride was intense and it was not what she expected at all.

It was bright, but still a very cloudy day. Through Mary’s eyes, she could see the waves lapping at the shore, sending quiet a breeze towards her body. She closed her eyes and leaned into the warm bathing sun.

When she realized she had threw her sunglasses in the back of the car seat, Mary bent down and noticed her friend was still deep in thoughts gripping tightly onto the steering wheel.

“Sayaka,” Mary sighed, “don’t think too much about it, right? Now will you show me your boat or what?” She grinned, trying to lighten up the mood, “you know I have training in the afternoon.”

“You’re right.” Sayaka sighed as she got out the car and head to the trunk to grab her equipments. She pulled out two duffel bags and gently slammed the trunk.

“Ready?” She smiled, grabbing the bags.

Mary nodded happily with sunglasses already placed on her face. “Let me help you with that.” She grabbed one of The bags in Sayaka’s hand.

“T-Thanks.” Sayaka said with a blush, “you took the heavier one.”

“W-What!” Mary eyes widened, her free hand trying to grab Sayaka’s bag, “gimme that one then!”

“Nope!” Sayaka smirked evilly, and with an airy laugh, she started walking down the dock. “finders keepers, losers weepers.”

“H-Hey!” Mary called out, “that’s mean! Wait up!”

“You better catch up, Saotome.” She chuckled, tilting her head back to see the blonde way behind struggling with the bag, “and here I thought you’re the strong one.” She laughed some more when she heard Mary yelling at her how it wasn’t fair.

 

Chapter Text

 

“You have got to be kidding me.” Mary dropped the duffel bag and her jaw dropped three stories down, “…this is your boat?”

“Yeah?” Sayaka tried to sound unbothered, “what of it?”

“When you told me you got a boat, I didn’t think it would be a cruiser!” Mary basically had a starstruck in her voice.

“Don’t act surprised.” Sayaka rolled her eyes, “your friend owns a yacht.”

“Itsuki?” Mary raised a brow, “well her family is super rich so it’s only normal for her to-“ Mary paused, eyes widened a little, “don’t tell me you’re-“ before Mary could finish her accusations, Sayaka managed to beat her to it.

“My parents are well off.” Sayaka admitted, but didn’t let her tone sounded too prideful, “I’m just not a materialistic person, that’s all.”

It took Mary a moment to figure out her neighbor, who is living off an old crappy house, is as rich as her spoiled brat friend.

“Stop drooling.” Sayaka brought her out of her thoughts, throwing the bags inside, “are you coming or what?”

“Yeah, yeah..I’m coming.” Mary grumbled as she stepped in, was she the only poor person who only have rich friends? “Jeez, give me a break.”

The boat was as fancy as it looked. Sayaka gave Mary a little tour around the boat, and to her surprise, the blonde had stopped listening half way.

“So I take it you’re not that excited about the boat?” Sayaka raised a brow, sitting on the comfy seat next to Mary.

“The boat doesn’t excite me, Sayaka.” Mary sighed, “Itsuki’s parents go on a cruise all the time and she’d invite me to some of them. The boats they own were way bigger than this and way more fancier.”

“Then why were you so shock to see this boat?”

Mary chuckled and took a glanced at her friend. “You surprised me that’s all.”

“How so?”

“You live in a crappy house, own a crappy car, and you’re telling me your as rich as Itsuki?” Mary couldn’t deny how intriguing it was for Sayaka to act so…normal, “I should’ve known,” she sighed when she remembered an information Sayaka had told her at the festival, which Mary barely found interest in. “I forgot you’re best friends with Kaede. The most stuck up guy in town.”

Sayaka shrugged and nodded. “We’re not that close anymore. We grew up together in the part of town where Itsuki lives. My parents work a lot so I grew up mainly with a maid. I wanted to move out of that mansion since I was little.” Sayaka explained, “It’s cold and too quiet. Once I was able to move out, my parents gave me the blessing of living next to you.”

Mary hummed, thinking about Sayaka’s situation. Honestly, she sympathized Sayaka. Even if she lives in a mansion, if the house is cold and empty, she’d move out too.

“You know,” Mary stood up, looking over the other boats, “you and I aren’t that different,”  she smiled down at Sayaka, “you and I are achievers. We like to follow our hearts.”

“I know.” Sayaka agreed, a small smile tug on her lips, “we aren’t so different now, are we?”

~

“Mary, drop the anchor.” Sayaka said, turning off the boat engine. “I think this should be good.”

They took about half an hour strolling around the sea until they found a coral reef that satisfied both of them. It was the perfect place for Sayaka to research some marine life.

Pulling the zipper up on her wet suit, Sayaka grabbed the snorkel equipment and an underwater camara. It had been a while since she took a dive. The water has been warming up for quiet a while but from school work duties to work at the library, Sayaka’s summer has been quiet uneventful.

The last time she went for a swim was that night with Mary. Though she love swimming, she was not a daredevil like Mary and would rather avoid unnecessary casualties like swimming dangerously at night.

Speaking of Mary, Sayaka turned her head to ask what the blonde would be doing while she took a dive. She was aware mary was in her sweatpants and a crop top. Surely she wouldn’t be joining her, would she?

Sayaka eyes immediately widened. In front of her, the blonde slipped down her sweatpants and took off her shirt in a treacherous slow motion, in a way that almost had Sayaka short circuited.

Sayaka knew this, and she’ll tell everyone that needed to hear that Mary’s figure was simply perfect. All her muscles and tone fits perfectly in every aspect of her body. Not that Sayaka would dare cross that line of thinking about her friend in a lewd kind of way.

“What are you staring at?” Mary smirked, obviously enjoying the attention her friend was giving her, “like what you see?”

Sayaka’s eyes lingered on Mary’s abs and immediately traveled up to her golden eyes, “shut up!” She chuckled, “I didn’t think you’d have your bikini on.”

“Having a bikini ready for summer is crucial, Sayaka.” Mary sighed, “when I noticed you had your wet suit on, I knew you were going in the water,” she smiled, “so i decided to put a bikini on just in case.”

“You’re always at the top of the game, aren’t you.” Sayaka rolled her eyes, “let me get my flippers then we can—“

Splash

“Hey!” Sayaka cried out, wiping the water off her face. Mary had already dived down and as soon as her head emerged from the water, Sayaka saw her sticking out her tongue with a playful wink.

“Come on!” Mary called out, waving her hand, “the water’s great!”

It was indeed great, Mary had missed swimming in the vast sea water. Though it wasn’t as thrilling as her night swim, this was simply much better than the chlorine water at the pool.

Sayaka quickly slipped the flippers on and gently slide herself down into the water unlike her friend who impulsively jumped out without a warning. She placed the snorkel on her face and tightened the camara wrist strap before looking up to see that Mary was already way ahead.

“I can’t believe you took two hours staring at a coral.” Mary sank down on the fancy seat, looking up at the sky as Sayaka tried to park the boat. “Nerd can’t even begin to describe you.”

They had spent a couple hours together in the water. Majority of the time, Mary was swimming freely, floating on her back and staring up at the sky. Sayaka learned she loved looking at Mary when she was in her most peaceful state and even secretly took a few pictures of the blonde.

Unbeknownst to Sayaka, the blonde was aware of the obvious stare. She didn’t mind it or thought about it too much. She was used to being stared at on a daily basis. She was a champion swimmer after all. On top of that, she acknowledged that Sayaka was an observant person and nobody could blame her for finding this whole side of the blonde intriguing.

Her eyes laid on a cloud. White fluffy snowy looking one. It looked a lot like Ririka’s hair. It had really taken a toll on her. Though she tried distracting herself, she couldn’t stop thinking about her.She needed to talk to Ririka or else she knows she’s going to go crazy.

When she decided to join back with  Sayaka, she realized her friend was already on the boat. The heavy metal in the duffel bags turned out to be big microscopic equipment which Sayaka happily showed Mary.

If Mary were to be honest, Sayaka’s work was incredibly intriguing. She had always loved the sea creatures but Sayaka just turned this little attraction into a whole new vibe.

Sayaka would occasionally ask Mary to bring in a coral and test the water while the blonde was still in the water. When Sayaka told Mary that it had already been a few hours, and that they should head back, Mary wasn’t surprised. The time always went by fast whenever she’s in the water. Sea or pool. It made no difference.

“Instead of running your mouth,” Sayaka’s brows tightened, trying to focus on her parking rather than hearing Mary’s nagging, “can you grab the rope and tie the boat on the dock?”

Mary let out painful sigh before jumping out the boat with the rope. Sayaka was obviously having difficulty parking the boat so Mary helped her out by pulling the rope.

“Thanks.” Sayaka gave her a smile, obviously tired from diving under the water earlier, “I’m exhausted.”

“I bet.” Mary laughed, tying the rope to a cleat. “Are we bringing the equipments back?”

“No,” Sayaka stepped out of the cabin, “I’ll just lock them in the cabin.”

Before Mary could answer, a calm voice washed over behind her, sending her a chill down her spine.

“Hi, Mary.”

“G-Gah!” Mary jumped, immediately turning her head to see the intrusion.

It was Kirari who stood behind Mary, chuckling at the scene. Yumeko stood behind her smiling and way farther back, she could see Ririka sitting on a bench, staring out in a different direction.

“What do you want?” Mary asked, crossing her arms. She was not happy to see Kirari.

“You sound a bit…agitated.” Kirari grinned, “we saw you guys and we thought we’d come and say hi.”

“We don’t even know each other,” Mary snorted, “no need to say hi.”

Yumeko jumped in and suddenly pulling Mary into a hug, “she’s tough, I like that.” She laughed.

“Hey!” Mary tried to brush her off with a burning heat on her face. She was always awkward with sudden affection. “Get off me.”

“But you like this don’t you?” Yumeko hummed, Sayaka was watching them this whole time and could tell how Yumeko’s words were pulling Mary.

Mary blushed and bashfully looked away.

“I think it’s time to go now.” Sayaka claimed, jumping off the boat. However, she failed to notice the slippery spot she had stepped on, causing her to slipped out the boat. Her mind started  to feel fuzzy and she was sure she’s going to fall. The possibilities of having her head cracked open on the dock was evidently  high. She saw the back of the blonde’s head and shut eyes, screaming, “Mary!”

Before she knew it, she fell right into someone’s arms. They felt mighty and powerful, in a way Sayaka wished she had fallen onto the dock instead. Her eyes open as fast as they closed. However, it wasn’t those bright and golden eyes that had caught her. It was a total opposite of gold.

Kirari looked down at Sayaka with a frown, and for the first time, the shorter woman noticed Kirari was wearing a different expression other than her usual smile and her boredom face.

“Uh, sorry,” Sayaka blushed, realizing how close they were, she weaseled her way out of Kirari’s embrace. “Thanks…for catching me.”

Sayaka’s cheeks reddened, uncomfortably glancing over at Mary for comfort, but saw none. The blonde was busy talking to Yumeko about who knows what. But that didn’t matter. The only thing in Sayaka’s mind was how in the world was Kirari able to caught her. If she had remembered correctly, she was at least six feet away from the others. Either Kirari has a super speed or any other super power, there was simply no way she could’ve have caught Sayaka.

“Perfect fine.” Kirari’s said, amusement in her voice. She stared down at Sayaka, trying to understand what the woman was thinking about.

In normal circumstances, any typical  person would be flattered and draped all over her if she were to show them this much affection or attention.

Something was definitely different with this person. The way she was able to resist Kirari was something the siren hadn’t experienced in a long, long time.

Intriguing.

Kirari smiled, allowing herself to stepped aside, giving Sayaka some personal space.

“Mary, let’s go.” Sayaka looked at Mary but it seems the blonde was somewhere else while conversing with Yumeko. Really they were just talking about the weather but the odd behavior in Mary had Sayaka feeling concern for her friend.

When the blonde didn’t answer, Sayaka opted to grab her wrist and pulled her along. With each steps away from the two women, Sayaka noticed Mary became aware of what was going on.

“Hey, slow down would you?” Mary grunted,  coming to sense that a moment ago, she was lost in Yumeko’s gaze.

As they walk farther back to the shore, Mary spot Ririka still sitting on the bench longing at the distance. A smile grew on the blonde’s lips and she started walking a little faster to reach her.

Meanwhile, Sayaka could hear the other two women following them. She could tell they weren’t ready to let them go as they speed up their pace.

Mary couldn’t contain her smile as she reach Ririka. “Riri-“

Before she could approach her, Ririka suddenly stood up and without a glance towards the blonde, she walked away. Mary paused and stood there dumbfounded. Ririka’s aura was cold and uninviting just like how she was before Mary had got to know her.

“Trouble in paradise?” Kirari giggled, stepping towards the two friends, clearly noticing how distressed Mary’s expression had become, “Ririka has always been like that. Distant and cold.”

“What do you want?” Mary glared at her, her hands slightly shaking from her sides.

“Nothing really,” Kirari hummed, “though I wouldn’t mind if you come join us for a swim. It’s a beautiful day, is it not?”

“Right!” Yumeko gleamed, “we haven’t seen you in more than a week, is something wrong?”

Sayaka side glanced over at Mary and could tell her friend was actually thinking about going for a swim with them. Looking forward, all she saw in Kirari’s and Yumeko’s face were the expression of a predator. “Actually,” she broke their conversation while checking her phone, “We’ve just swam and Mary had training in less than an hour.”

“Oh…” Yumeko gave Mary a pout, “that’s too bad.”

“Maybe you could come down for a night swim.” Kirari suggested, “for old times sake.”

“Old times sake?” Mary glanced at her, “I don’t remember ever swimming with you.”

“You don’t,” Kirari smiled, and Sayaka nibbles on her lips sensing that danger coming off the braided hair woman again. “But I do.”

“How?” Mary asked eagerly.

“Mary,” Sayaka nudged her elbow onto her friend’s arm, “I think we should go-“

“No,” Mary interjected, still staring menacingly at Kirari, “I want to know. I never swam with you.”

Mary was starting to get fed up with all the secrecy. What does these people want with her. She still couldn’t understand Ririka’s motivation. The answer she gave Mary yesterday was so…blend.

You know why. No, Mary didn’t know why. The only thing she could have guessed was that Ririka had somewhat felt the same as her and which was why they were hanging out. But why the hell was she suddenly so cold and couldn’t even greet her just now?

“If you want to know,” Kirari smiled, “just come and swim with us.”

“Alright then—“ Mary started but all eyes were on Sayaka when she managed to intervene with the conversation again.

“Im sorry but Mary won’t be able to swim today— or tonight.” She ushered, this time roughly tugging the blonde back towards her car and hoping Mary would just complied.

“H-Hey,” Mary whined, “you’re walking too fast.”

“Just come on,” Sayaka pulled her as she paced up her steps. “I’ll drive you to the pool.”

“Alright, Alright,” Mary complied, “I still need to grab my stuff at the house jeez.”

Sayaka nodded and slipped into the diver seat. Mary quickly followed suit.

“What was that about?” Mary frowned, putting her seatbelt on.

But Sayaka could barely hear. Her eyes were locked with Kirari’s. Those blue eyes looked dangerous. Like the raging thunder before a terrible strom. Kirari and Yumeko were still standing at the dock but they were staring right at her. No expression, no emotion. However, Sayaka swore she saw a slight smirk in Yumeko’s face but she quickly reflexes back to her normal face.

That was the moment Sayaka knew for a certain.

Things were about to change and not in a good way.

~

Mary took in a breath of fresh air. The petrichor in effects. The earthy smell, the breeze, the delicious smell of bakery, the wind carried it all.

She had just got out the building after waiting for Ririka in the library for an hour after her training and was now about to head home. Sayaka had dropped her off so now she was left with no car or transportation to take home.

Mary groaned, walking down the street. She took her phone out to check that it was 3:30 pm.

Her talk with Sayaka earlier was such a pain in the ass. Those girls making those people disappear? Impossible! Last she remembered, Sayaka was a logical woman. There’s no way she could just spat these ridiculous thoughts out.

And then the interaction with Yumeko. Yumeko had never touch her before but when she did today, it almost felt unreal. It made Mary craved her touch in a way that made her stomach growl in disgust.

It was almost the same feeling she had whenever she touched Ririka’s hand. The butterflies her stomach coming alive. But Yumeko’s touches were different. Mary remembered she couldn’t control her thoughts or body at all. Mary was certain that had Sayaka not pulled her away when she did, she would be more then willing to allow Yumeko to do as she pleases. The lust were uncontrollable and impossible to resist.

Just who are these people?

Mary wished and hoped Ririka had never lied to her. She already has enough trust issues as it is. Mary needed someone honest and someone who she could trust. She did remember how Ririka told her what she wanted was an honest person. Mary just hoped that what Ririka wanted wasn’t just a one sided need.

Was Ririka avoiding her?

Did Ririka realized that the woman at the Sahara was way better than Mary?

Obviously she was way prettier than Mary. Even a blind person could see that.

Mary’s lips curved downward. Her head began to hurt. This jealousy tugged at her heart.

What does Ririka want?

Because Mary obviously knew what she wanted. She wanted Ririka.

Rubbing her forehead in frustration, she noticed a familiar figure ahead.

A glimpse of silver flashing through the corner of the street. Mary halted before she began racing around the corner.

I’m front of her, was the back of Ririka’s body walking away with a young man. Mary had seen him before in campus, though she couldn’t remember his name. He was tall and handsome. One of the popular guys in school. He was talking loudly and seemed to be enjoying Ririka’s presence.

I mean who wouldn’t. Mary sure would enjoy that too!

But Instead of confronting Ririka, Mary stood in silent. She watched as the two turned the corner and disappeared from her view.

So that was what Ririka was doing, while Mary sat for an hour waiting for her at the library.

”Ririka…” Mary heard herself mumbling, “what the hell?”

She allowed her heart to break in silence. 

She knew this was bound to happen. Ririka would be bored of her and move on to the next. Ririka was only going to break her heart. But where was the respect in that? Couldn’t she at least talk to Mary like a normal person? Ririka was tearing them apart before they could even start.

Ririka was bound to destroy Mary since the beginning. Mary just hadn’t realized she would be this cruel.

 

Chapter Text

In a dim lighted room, she sat staring at her reflection from across the window. It was already dark outside and no one was around anymore. Ririka showed no expression as she carefully studied each part of her face. She was aware of how lifeless she looked.

Easily Persuading the librarian to leave her be, she sat on the same table she and Mary used to share. The building was particularly quiet and Ririka shouldn’t be here. But there was simply no where else she’d rather be at the moment.

Folding her hands neatly on the table, her eyes lowered as she let out a sigh. Ignoring Mary was a lot harder than she thought. The frown she caught Mary made hurts her heart. A smile looked prettier on Mary and Ririka knew she was responsible for the disappearance of that expression.

She wasn’t a jealous woman. In fact, Ririka has never been jealous of anything. Because simply put, nothing has ever belonged to her. However, these new feelings had been bugging her mind quiet a lot. She was aware of how childish this certain thought was, but earlier, when Yumeko was getting all touchy with Mary, Ririka wanted nothing more than to rip Yumeko’s head off.

Make no mistake. Ririka truly  care about Yumeko. She saw her as a sister and after all the things they’ve been through, Yumeko was basically a part of the family Ririka never had.

But just like Kirari, Yumeko was extremely impulsive and dangerous. The two factors Ririka had disagreements on. For as long as she could remember, ever since Yumeko has turned into a siren, she has repeatedly abused her power and in a majority of the occasions, Ririka would be the one cleaning up her mess since Kirari couldn’t care less.

However, she never did take those events seriously. She never cared. But now Yumeko was laying a hand on something that Ririka actually care about and she didn’t know how to control this new emotion.

Self control had always come easy for her. Though this time, situation was different. She knew her friendship with Mary had sink if it hadn’t sunk already.

Then again, this was Kirari’s proposal. Everything always goes the way Kirari wanted. Part of Ririka felt rebellious and wondered if Kirari would actually fight her. Ririka had never tried contradicting any of Kirari’s decisions and she actually wondered if Kirari saw this new development as a threat.

This whole avoiding Mary was based on fear. The fear of losing Mary and the fear of putting Mary in danger. This wasn’t about her anymore. Mary’s life line was in her hands.

Feeling the exhaustion, she closed her eyes and lean her head back.

She turned her head and focused on the mythology aisle of the bookshelf. In the back of her mind, she could recall how Mary would grab a bunch of random books and roughly placing them down in front of Ririka. The memory played and Ririka saw herself chuckling back then, finding it amusing how Mary would be so invested in something she didn’t believe, something that would not benefit from and to someone she had barely known. But now Ririka only felt sadness.

Was this really the end for them?

The little bond the two of them had formed?

Then in the corner of her eyes, she spotted a unique book. It was hanging out and wasn’t tucked in like the rest. She has seen it before, it was the book that had recently caught Mary’s eyes. With the crusty book jacket which sculpted, supposedly to look like little waves, Ririka already knew it would be all about Poseidon. Hence she never once took an interest in it.

Nevertheless, she went to grab the book. Might as well use the time in this book rather than staring at herself. She flipped a page, then another page but nothing stood out. She yawned going over the great Poseidon. Ririka had learned in that book alone that most mortals favor Poseidon over all other God and Goddesses. That fact alone made her snort. She was about to shut the book at how ridiculous it was when in the middle of the book, lay a thin piece of paper. It was flipped backward with Ririka’s name written in the middle.

She paused for a minute before hesitantly flipping the page. It was a small note and from the handwriting, she knew who it was even if the writer didn’t mention themselves.

[Hey,

I don’t know if you’ll see this note but if you do, I have a small competition tomorrow. I really hope you can make it, it would mean a lot to me if you could come.

I don’t know what’s going on with you but I’m worried about you. I miss you and Please talk to me.

stadium pool, 9:00am]

Ririka read over the note a couple times before she crumbled it in her hand. She wanted nothing more than this friendship but at the moment, it seemed impossible.

That night, Ririka kept debating whether to go or not. She knew Kirari would never step foot closer than a radius from the smell of chlorine. Not that Kirari was keeping a tab on her. If anything, Kirari was being her usual self, acting like she didn’t care what Ririka does.

It was a good thing the competition started early. Ririka knows right about now, both Kirari and Yumeko were partying hard and wont be up until tomorrow noon.

She really hoped Kirari has already found another girl rather than wait for Ririka to make a mistake.

Before she knew it, morning came and Ririka found herself standing in front of the building Mary has stated.

As soon as she entered the stadium, a strong rush of chlorine swiped through her nostrils. She could hear people shouting and loudly talking among themselves. Many eyes were also on her and Ririka wasn’t a fan of environment like this. She made her way inside the pool arena and Many spectators were already on the bleachers, holding up large signs, cheering on the swimmers. Ririka swore she saw a sigh with Mary’s name written in bold letters with a heart beside it. In the pool, Ririka took a glance and they were all guys in the pool. She could only assumed that the women’s race was next. She glanced up at the clock on from wall and It seemed she was right on time.

From the side of the pool, there were small concessions stand. Some students were selling hot dogs and cotton candy.

Ririka awkwardly found a space in one of the three bleachers and sat quietly at the end on the second row. Her eyes scanned the pool area but she couldn’t find the person she was looking for.

Usually Mary would be the easiest to spot with her bright and golden hair but apparently all swimmers were wearing a swimming cap so it was hard to tell.

She observed the women competitors sitting along the first bench. Some were stretching, some were talking to their coaches and Friends. But then there was one woman which Ririka would guess was Mary.

She was sitting alone and had her air pods in her ears. With her mouth opening and closing, Ririka could tell she was doing some sort of breathing technique. The sight made Ririka smile. Mary was always so focused on the things she wants— so unlike Ririka.

What she wanted was to avoid Mary, but here she is. Jeopardizing Mary’s own safety.

She kept staring at Mary until she noticed a guy was approaching her. He was still wet from his earlier race, and without a warning, he sneaked behind Mary and wrapped his arms around Mary causing her to jump up in surprise.

From the side line, Ririka could tell they were close, possibly classmates. He took off his cap and brushed his hands though his hair. He had dark hair and was style with short cut fringe framed by longer side bangs.  He was obviously a cunning man, using this opportunity to shake his wet hair onto Mary.

The light giggling from Mary took Ririka  quiet by a surprise. Though the crowd was loud; Ririka could hear Mary clearly. There was this weird feeling again. She felt the familiar ball of heat well up in her chest, ranging inside of her rib cage. This was the second time witnessing how someone laying their hands on Mary causes Ririka to feel this way. She didn’t exactly know what it meant but before she could try to figure it out, the interphone activated:

Next up, is the women’s 100-meter freestyle.”

Ririka watched as five women, including Mary walked up to their diving boards. She had actually never seen Mary swam before. All those times she waited for Mary in the library, she never once considered watching Mary train. Kirari had mention how magnificent of a swimmer Mary was and Ririka couldn’t wait to see.

She inched forward to the edge of the seat and clenched her fists in front of her. Mary seemed to spot her because just before she placed her goggles on, she sent Ririka a direct smirk, sending quiet a chill down Ririka’s neck.

The whistle blew and the swimmers dived into the pool. Mary was definitely the fastest and strongest swimmer. Ririka could’ve enjoyed it way more if the crowd wasn’t so loud. When the swimmers came back around and we’re about to reach the finish line, the whole crowd stood up and cheered even louder.

Ririka immediately hopped off the bleachers and stood straight up. As soon as she noticed some eyes were beginning to gawk at her again, she decided now would be a good idea to leave. She made her way towards the exit door but decided to stay until the end of the race. It’s the least she could do for Mary.

As the winner touched the end of the pool, the crowd cheered louder than they had before. There were shouting and hard whistling as the announcer turned on the mic.

The winner of women’s 100-meters freestyle is Mary Saotome for Hyakkaou University.”

Ririka smiled, looking at Mary who quickly took off her goggles, but before the blonde could find her, she turned her head and walked out the building.

At least Mary knew she was there for her, even if it’s indirectly.

~

Ririka made her way through the sea of people. The music was loud and the bright lights were hurting her eyes. She just needed to get out of this crowded place and it wasn’t helping that strangers were trying to feel her up with every chances they get.

“Where are you going?” Kirari stepped in front of her out of nowhere.

“I’m going to take a breather. I’m feeling sick in here.” Ririka grunted, “why are we even here?”

“It’s a party.” Kirari stated bluntly, as if Ririka was asking the dumbest question ever. “You need to loosen up.”

“I am loosen up.” Ririka shrugged, cringing at the sight in front of her, “what is your lap dog doing?”

In the middle of the dance floor, the crowd made way for Aoi, who was currently seeking attention. As the crowd cheered for him, he took his shirt off and was having a dance off with another guy. 

“He’s having fun.” Kirari smirked at the scene in front of her, and Ririka was disgusted from the hungry look Kirari was giving Aoi.

“Can we leave?” Ririka asked her sister desperately, “it’s late and we’ve been here for hours.”

Kirari took a glance at her, then her eyes went back on Aoi. “The party only stops when we say so.” She let out an airy laugh, “look around, more and more people are coming. The party has only just begun.”

“Ugh,” Ririka nibbled on her lips, “must you always be so difficult?”

“Stop being childish, Ririka.” Kirari rolled her eyes, obviously not in the mood for her sister’s antics, “wasn’t it you who wanted us to go out instead of swimming?”

Ririka did not answer. It was a rhetorical question and she knows it.

“Something about taking your mind off a certain blonde?” Kirari hummed, though Ririka’s face remains expressionless, she could clearly see her sister’s ears burning red. “Enjoy yourself for fuck’s sake.” She laughed, her eyes went back on the dance floor.

Ririka stood silently. Kirari was obviously not hearing her out and what’s worse, in the corner of her eyes, she saw Yumeko also dancing with another guy. She was pulling his collar sexily and was dragging him away from the dance floor.

When a random college guy came up to the twins and managed to place his hand on Ririka’s waist, pulling her into his arms, that was it for Ririka. She took the initiative and stormed out of the random house but not before hearing Kirari’s hysterical laugh.

“Ririka!” Ririka heard Kirari calling her,”come back here and have fun!”

Ririka shook her head and her body feeling the night chill running through her skin. She had a tight sparkling blue bodycon dress, which revealed all her curves and thighs in all the right place.

She cursed herself for not bringing a jacket, but in her defense, she didn’t think they would party for this long. She knew for a fact that it was well over midnight.

Of course, she could easily ask someone to drive her back to the beach house they were staying in but before she knew it, her body had other plans. Her legs were moving in it’s own, strolling down the beach farther and farther away from the party. It was dark and the only light that lead the way was the moon.

When she was far enough, and could no longer hear anything but the waves lapping onto one another, she took a deep breath and continued walking.

She wasn’t aware how long she had been walking until she realized she was far from where she started. The beach was way calmer in this side part of town and occasionally, there were the local docks standing in each miles; mainly used for fishing or to secure a boat.

Ririka decided to walk onto one of the docks and sat on the edge, hanging her feet down. Her feet barely touched the water but the waves were reaching out to her, as if trying to pull her in.

The cool hair made her relaxed. Her eyes averted up on the moon. It was nearly full and it looked cold and dry. She wondered if the moon had been lonely without the sun.

She let out an airily laugh. Of course the moon was never alone. The only reason Ririka could see it was because of the sun. Though they were apart and could never collide, the sun still managed to send its light so the world could see just how beautiful the moon is.

“The sun and the moon…” Ririka whispered to herself, “…I wonder if they’ll coexist one day.”

She let out a blissful sigh, that was a ridiculous thought. She bought a hand up to her chest and placed it right on top of her heart. For some reason she felt a yearning; a pang. 

She was letting Mary slipping away though her fingers. Then again, she was letting these thoughts get to her. Thoughts of protecting Mary. Thoughts of having Mary’s life in her hand, when  in reality, Mary wasn’t even hers. Mary wasn’t her responsibility and definitely didn’t belong to her.

“Souls do not have calendars or clocks, nor do they understand the notion of time or distance.” She mumbled, remembering a poem from long ago. A bright familiar face flashed out in her mind, this was definitely, a lot worst than she thought.

You and I are so unlike…

From the distance, she could tell the moon was pulling the tides. As much as she ignored Mary today, the blonde’s aura was still grabbing her by the hand and pulling her in. Like the ocean pulling the sand, Ririka’s mind was clouded with Mary.

I wonder,

she thought as she stared at the moon, her eyes were glistening from the reflection of the ocean. The humming of the waves roared into her eyes,

Could it be possible if our souls fall—

Ririka abruptly shuts her eyes. Squeezing it tightly until all she could see is darkness. She shouldn’t be thinking about the blonde at all. Let alone like that. Mary deserves a normal, happy life-

“Ririka?”

Chapter Text

 

Mary!

Ririka’s eyes shot wide opened. She jumped up from the dock as if it was made of lava.

Her eyes frantically scanned the area, searching to see if anyone’s around—mainly Kirari or Yumeko— before they landed on the golden orbs.

Even in the dark, Mary’s eyes were glowing. They were filled with confusion and concerns. If Ririka had a choice, she would tell Mary everything right here and then. However, she knew it would have made everything worse than better.

She never technically lied, but she also never told the truth. There was a thin line between those two facts and as long as Ririka was on the line, she figured she’d be fine.

“Are you, avoiding me?”

Mary’s soft voice broke Ririka out of her thought. She looked so vulnerable standing there and Ririka wasn’t sure if she could take it anymore. She took a step forward, ready to approach Mary, then a sudden thought crashed—There’s a clear reason why she shouldn’t approach Mary.

“You shouldn’t be here,” Ririka said coldly.

Mary clenched her jaws, as if trying to find a way to break Ririka’s wall again. This wasn’t the first time Ririka had been cold to her and it was making Mary more and more frustrated.

“Why are you avoiding me?” Mary pressed, “I thought we were fine.”

“We are.” Ririka told her, glancing to the side, desperately trying to look straight into Mary’s eyes, “you should leave.”

Not satisfied with the answer she was receiving, Mary stepped forward, “I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what’s wrong with you.” She shook her head, her eyebrows tightened, “you don’t get to do this—“

“Then I’ll leave,” Ririka interrupted her before she felt anymore guilt bubbling up her chest.

Mary was baffled at how cold Ririka had become. The woman she has gotten to know wasn’t like this. This wasn’t the same person she thought she fell in love with.

She suddenly remember the conversation she had with Sayaka. How the three girls were different than all of the other tourists. How they might infiltrate into the mess of the missing people that had unexpectedly disappeared.

But looking at the woman who had become so close to her, it’s hard to believe Ririka could allegedly be apart of a crime. But knowing Ririka who impulsively jumped out of a plane, anything could be possible.

It thrilled Mary in a way, but simultaneously terrified her to an extreme.

As Ririka came closer and closer, Mary noticed her eyes were still lowered on the dock, trying to avoid looking at her as best as she could. Ririka’s silvery hair flew right pass Mary as she walked by with haste. Mary briefly caught the intoxicating scent of hers and she knew she wasn’t going to let her go without an explanation.

Not when they had already become this close.

“Ririka, wait!” Mary turned her head to see Ririka was already off the dock. Her eyes widened as she ran after her. “Ririka!”

But Ririka didn’t stop. Instead, Mary noticed that she was only walking faster. Obviously she didn’t want to talk to the blonde, however, this didn’t set right with Mary. She couldn’t leave without a reason. Ririka was acting childish and Mary wanted to know why!

Not that she knew Ririka— hell they’ve know each other just a couple weeks ago— but she knew enough to know that this wasn’t like Ririka. Ririka wasn’t the type to ignore a person without a reason.

So Mary didn’t back down. She speed up her pace, yelling after Ririka, “please talk to me. You’re confusing!” Mary panted, she didn’t care if anyone was on the shore hearing her at this point. “You’re cold and condescending. One minute you said that we were fine. You said that I shouldn’t leave. Then the next minute, you’re totally ignoring me, telling me to leave. You make no sense— tch—“ she hissed, lifting a leg up the ground, while the other one still managed to hop following Ririka. It didn’t help that she decided to come out in sandals. The rocks were getting sharper and it had cut her feet and she knew she was bleeding by the pain she felt.

Even nature was against her!

“Ririka!” Mary called out again, lifting her head, she could still see Ririka’s silhouette but her figure was getting farther and farther away. Mary lifted her hand, trying to reach for her, unfortunately Ririka was slipping right through her fingers.

“No, come back…” Mary muttered, clenching her fist. Why was Ririka being like this? Why was she being the coldest bitch Mary had ever seen right now?

But then again, come to think of it, it was Mary who had initiated majority of their time spent together. Mary was the one who told them they were friends, it was Mary who offered to help Ririka look for the scroll, and it was Mary who suggested the idea of going on that trip to find the scroll.

Ririka was never the one who had taken the initiative.

Did she even ever wanted to be close to Mary?

“Ririka!” Mary yelled, shocked by the realization that maybe the connection between them was all in her head, her feet immediately stopped. “Why did you kiss my hand?!”

Mary stared at Ririka’s silhouette. She saw how the other woman paused her footsteps. But she wasn’t done yet.

“I can’t stop thinking about you,” the blonde told her loud enough, “you made me feel crazy. Why do you have to make me feel this way? Did I ever mean anything to you?!”

Ririka abruptly turned her head around. Her eyes landed right into Mary’s. Golden eyes filled with passionate and hurt. The heart she didn’t know existed had suddenly started to hurt. She could no longer take it anymore.

Fuck Kirari.

Silver hair flew behind her as she marched back towards Mary.

“Come with me,” Ririka said calmly once she reached Mary, grabbing her by the hand. Turning her head around, her eyes had shifted into the color of yellow and she took the time to observe the shore, carefully scanning to see if anyone was out there.

Nobody was.

Once she could confirmed they were alone, she tugged Mary by the hand and lead her down the shore, somewhere farther and more secluded. They walked for a while until they reached the very rocky side of the beach. There were big and rough rocks on the shore where Ririka knew it would be safe to talk to Mary.

Stepping onto the rocks, Ririka let go of Mary’s hand and took a seat. She felt a shiver from the cold air and the smell of blood on Mary’s feet did not help the situation.

Mary stood there and watch Ririka looking out at the distance. The frustration from earlier seemed to disappear and come to think of it, she was now starting to get embarrassed by her action. Never in her life had she chased someone like this before—let alone confessing her heart out.

She awkwardly lifted her chin up at the sky. The moon was hiding behind the clouds but Mary could see the halo effect. With her head still looking up, she glanced down at Ririka.

“Well, the moon’s pretty tonight,” she decided to break the silent, then realized she was an idiot because the moon was still behind the clouds. She sighed, feeling her face heating up as she sat down on a rock beside Ririka.

“Listen,” Mary turned her head to the taller woman, she swallowed, “about earlier—“

“—when I was younger,” Ririka interrupted suddenly, “my mother would lock Kirari and I in our shared room all day. We weren’t allowed to go outside or talk to anyone else. And at night, she would bring different men in the house. I remember holding onto Kirari during those horrible times,” her lips tug into a small smile, one that looked distant and sad. “Kirari used to be so scared of noises. So I would hold her all night until she fell asleep. We had a small tinted window and I would often look out. Past the window and beyond the sky, the sun was so far away from me… but still, it was so bright. Shining down on me. It made me all warm… I loved it.”

Mary never took her gaze off her. Instead, she patiently listened. The fact that Ririka has chosen to tell her this showed that she has somewhat trusted her. Ririka’s eyes were dark as she talk. It was obviously a past she didn’t want to open up. She had never talked about herself much and Mary wanted her to know that she’s here and she’s listening.

“But one day, she told us she was going out, that she’ll be quick and she’ll be back,” Ririka took in a deep breath and gently closed her eyes. “So we waited and waited… but she never came back.” Then she opened her eyes again and Mary could see she was clenching her fits, “that was the last time we had ever seen or heard from her….we were four.”

“Ririka…” Mary said softly, “you don’t have to—“

“You know what the funny thing is?” Ririka scoffed, interrupting Mary before she let herself recoiled completely, “I trusted and loved her. Even if she treated us like shit, I never thought she would ever abandon us!” She let out a sarcastic laugh, “what kind of a mother left their four years old alone locked in a house?”

Mary wanted nothing more than to comfort her at that moment, but somehow her hands seemed to froze. There was a lot of information to take in. She knew Ririka was mysterious but never in a million years had she thought Ririka’s childhood was this dark.

“I never cared or trusted anyone after that ever again.” Ririka muttered, breaking the silence as she sniffing a little, looking up at the stars. “And I was fine like that. Cold and distant. I was stable and I felt secure.”

So was that why Ririka was so cold? Because she had abandoned issues as a child. 

“Is that why you’ve been avoiding me?”Mary asked softly,

Ririka nodded slowly. “I just…” she shook her head and wrapped her arms around herself. She looked so far away as if she was alone, talking to herself. “…you said I was different. In our first conversation. You said…I was different.”

Mary listened closely. If she was being honest, Ririka was definitely different compared to any person she had ever met. She could be timid and shy but then she could completely switched up and become all confident and cold. It’s almost like Ririka couldn’t make up her mind of which personalities she really wanted to show the world. That’s one of the things Mary find so intriguing about her.

But at the time, she only meant that Ririka was different compared to Kirari or Yumeko. Her eyes focused forward as Ririka went on.

“That’s when the ocean inside of me started churning. The waves getting bigger and I realized, I felt like I was a ship caught in the middle of a stormy sea,” Ririka inhaled sharply, “I didn’t understand it. I was shaken, desperate…trying to take control of the wheel and move forward… but still, I couldn’t. But, something I never thought I would ever feel again happened.” Gentle blue eyes slowly turned and met with Mary’s, “I begin to care about you.”

Mary’s eyes widened at the confession. She wanted to hear that from Ririka for days now. Her eyes filled with delight at the realization that they were feeling the same. “Ririka… I care about you too.”

She finally had the courage to reach out and placed her hand on Ririka’s hand when the other woman brushed her hand away before Mary could even take it.

“You don’t,” Ririka shook her head, but give Mary a gentle smile. A smile that showed Mary her appreciation, but also along with so much doubts. “You don’t care about me…you can’t.”

The blonde was taken aback and frown, “How could you say that?”

Ririka inhaled and straighten her poster, “I’m pretty.”

Mary gave her an ok? look, as if it was obvious. She knew Ririka wasn’t self obsessed or too over her head but the way she says that made Mary wondered if she didn’t want to be pretty.

“I’m pretty so you think you care about me,” Ririka explained, “but…you don’t.”

“I do!” Mary scowled, “I care about you!”

“There’s a difference between lust and genuine feelings,” Ririka smiled, “My look, my scent, my…voice, everything about me invites you in. I appreciate your honesty but—“

“I do! I care about you.” Mary argued, “Kirari looks exactly like you and Yumeko too,” she lightly blushed remembering the recent contact, “they’re pretty and I don’t give a shit about them. It doesn’t matter if you’re pretty or ugly. You’re really important to me. The fact that I genuinely care about you won’t change.”

Ririka just stared at her from a moment, a pink dust appearing on her cheeks, shocked by the words she was hearing. Never had she heard any mortals talking like that behind Kirari’s or Yumeko’s back, to exclaiming their feelings towards her like that.

Talking about feelings, Ririka bit her lips and stared out at the sea.

“I’m…not a jealous woman,” Ririka spoke up after the silence, “but ever since we’ve gotten closer, I begin to feel things. Things Someone like me shouldn’t be feeling.” She lowered her gaze, “I had a weird twist in my stomach today when I saw you hugging that guy at the pool. I think it was jealousy.”

“At the pool?” Mary paused recalling just what had happened at the pool. Then a quick picture came to mind when she remembered one of her teammates Rin Obami jumping on her. She smiled, finding it amusing how bitter Ririka actually sounded when mentioning that. “You have nothing to be jealous of. That was Rin. He’s a close friend of mine and he’s…already dating someone.” She sweetly smiled when Ririka looked back at her, “if anyone should be jealous, it’s me. You legitimately kissed someone in front of me.”

“I told you, Mary, she’s just a friend,” Ririka frowned.

“I know—I know,” Mary sighed, “it’s just—“

“And I never told I lie.” Ririka tightened her brows, looking as sincere as she could.

Mary only chuckled, “I’m playing with you.”

Ririka hummed and her mind fired up. If coming back to reality. She had to remind herself why she was here risking a talk with Mary. She needed to end whatever this was going on between them for the sake of Mary’s safety.

“About what you said the other day…about us parting ways,” Ririka finally spoke up, “I think it’s best if we go our separate ways now.”

Mary felt a crack in her heart. Even after everything they’ve been through, after all the things they’ve talk about, Ririka… was still not letting her in…

“Is..that what you what?” Mary asked lowly, turning her head to gaze down at some mossy looking stones. She didn’t want to sound like a sad bitch; She kind of have her pride and dignity. But if she was being honest, part of her wouldn’t mind losing her pride if Ririka would just stop running away.

But then again,..

Why was she fighting a battle meant for two?

Why was she always the one initiating things?

Will she always be the one that chase Ririka?

Ririka felt a pang in those words. This wasn’t her choice but it was the situation she had to take control of. This whole time, Kirari had been in the back of her mind, reminding her of their little deal. The fact that she had already broken it was proof that Mary was already in danger. She glanced at Mary and bit the inside of her cheeks, “No… it’s not what I want.”

Mary looked up at her, those hopeful eyes never loses its shine and the more she looked at them, the more guilt she started feeling.

“But I think it’s best if you and I…” Ririka mumbled, breathing out the last words out, “don’t see each other anymore.”

“That’s bullshit.” Mary muttered, “that makes no sense—“

“—Mary, I’m not who you think I am. I’m not a good person. I—“ Ririka abruptly interrupted, turning her head to look out the sea, Mary could tell she was debating whether to say the next part and with a frown, she muttered out, “I…hurt people before.”

“I don’t care,” Mary said, looking straight into her eyes when Ririka turned around.

“You don’t care that I hurt people?” Ririka raised a brow in confusion.

“No, you idiot,” Mary sighed, “I’m sure you have reasons for that— but I don’t care that you find it so hard to believe that someone could genuinely care about you..because I do. You can’t just assume that I don’t. I won’t let you.”

Mary hesitantly reached out and grabbed her hand and this time, Ririka let her. They were just as soft as the other time when Mary had hold it. And they were cold. Colder than usual.

But Mary’s hand was the opposite hers. They were warm, and Ririka felt this warm bubbly bubbling inside of her. However, she found it hard accept Mary’s warmth. If only Mary knew all the terrible things Ririka had done in the past…she wouldn’t be sitting here, comforting her.

“If you were smart, you’d stay away from me,” Ririka mumbled.

“Ririka…” Mary squeezed her hand a little tighter, “I can see that you are nothing like how you show the world. Distant and cold-hearted. From the short amount of times that I spent with you, you’re nothing like that. That’s not you. It’s a mask. To keep people away, isn’t it?” She asked gently.

“Mary, you don’t know…” Ririka shook her head, her lips turned upside down. “You wouldn’t understand.”

“You’re right. I don’t,” Mary answered honestly, softly rubbing her thumb on the back of Ririka’s hand. “You are mysterious and peculiar. There are more things I don’t know about you than I do. And that’s okay.  I’m fine with that. I just hope one day, you’ll be ready to tell me all of it because believe it or not,” she awkward rubbed the back of her neck with her other hand, “I’d love to know more about you.” Mary paused, as if trying to find the right words,” “I really want you in my life.”

“Believe me, you don’t,” Ririka frowned.

Mary did the same. “And why is that?”

“Because there are some things about me that would thrill you but…” Ririka paused, choosing her words wisely, “…there are also some that would terrify you. I need you to understand that.”

Ririka turned her head away when Mary didn’t respond. She didn’t expect Mary to sweep her off her feet and tell her she didn’t care. She knew the outcome. Any mortals would be scared if someone were to tell them that.

At least she didn’t straight up tell Mary that she’s an immortal siren who is more than two thousand years old and has killed more people than she could count.

She turned her head back to Mary when she felt her hand being pulled. Mary placed Ririka’s hand right onto her chest, above her heart.

“I already knew you were terrifying.” Mary told her with confidence, “but I’m not afraid of you,” she told her softly smiling at Ririka, “Did you know that the very first time you say my name? At the Founder’s day. I felt so…delighted. Even though your voice is ragged and sounded like a dying cat,” she chuckled, causing Ririka to also let out a small laughs, “I knew I never wanted to stop hearing it.”

“My voice doesn’t always sound this bad, you know?” Ririka shrugged, smiling.

Mary lovingly raised Ririka’s hand and placed it onto her cheek. Ririka could feel just how hot Mary’s face was.

“I don’t mind if it did,” Mary murmured, closing her eyes and leaning into her palm.

Her words were sincere and Ririka felt comfortable sitting here with her. After all the cold treatments she had given Mary, the blonde still proved that Ririka was someone she saw—someone important to her. Ririka wasn’t someone she was lusting over. Ririka was someone she had genuinely cared about.

“Mary…” Ririka hesitantly mumbled.

“Hmm?” Mary’s golden eyes looked up, sparkling with admiration. One that had taken Ririka’s breath away so many times; one that could literally take anyone’s breath away.

Her bright eyes soon filled with concern. The worried expression made her look older, more like the woman she would someday become, and Ririka’s heart ached when she realized that she would probably never see that.

Mary’s eyes conveyed so much warmth and kindness and Ririka wanted to let her know that she’d never do anything to hurt her.

But there was an uneasy feeling that still lingered inside of her. Though she kind of know the answer already by the expression on Mary’s face,….

Ririka wasn’t sure if Mary saw her as a heartfelt friend or something more. 

“…I need to know,” she stared deeply into those molten eyes. “Do you like me?”

“Do I like you?” Her worried changed bemused relief, and she smiled crookedly at her. “Come on, I think you know the answer to that.”

“Mary, I’m serious. I need to know.”

“Yeah.” Her cheeks reddened, she leaned into Ririka’s palm to hide her face. “I obviously like you. A lot, actually.” I’m even willing to say that I love you. Mary wanted to say but had to hold herself back.

“Why?” Her voice cracked when she asked that, and she almost wished she hadn’t said anything. Her other hand raised, gently rubbing around her throat. To Mary, Ririka looked exactly like she always does—calm and collected— but to Ririka, the pain in her throat was killing her and It was taking everything in her to remain impartial.

Mary’s admission had made her stomach swirl with butterflies and her heart soar, but then both her heart and her stomach clenched with fear. The same fear she always had ever since she turned into a siren. The fear that always lingered and never seemed to disappear.

She wasn’t certain that Mary would know why she liked her.

If she was under the spell of the siren, she’d only know that she lusted after her, with no discernible reason for it. And ultimately, everything they have built would have been for noting.

And she’d have no choice but to wipe off Mary’s memories of them ever being together.

“Why?” Mary chuckled at that. “What do you mean, why?”

“It’s important to me,” Ririka insisted, and something in her expression convinced Mary how grave this was.

“Well, Because.” She shrugged, finding it hard to find the words. “You’re so…pretty.” Ririka’s heart dropped at that, but Mary went on, “And you’re horrible at making jokes. You’re sweet and you’re kind. And impossibly driven. You make my heart flutters at the smallest things—like that one time it took you an hour and a half to order a sandwich and that wrinkle you’d get above your eyebrow when you look at me like I’m an idiot for asking you all these dumb questions about who the obvious Greek goddesses are. I’ve never met anybody as strange as you. You…You are way, way too cool for me, and that’s coming from me. And the fact that you let me hold your hand, even when we’re in public.”

“You like me for me?” Ririka asked, staring at her.

“Yeah, of course. Why else would I like you?” Mary asked, a small frown appeared on her face, “did I say something wrong? You’re staring at me like I did.”

Ririka shook her head, cheeks reddened; overwhelming at the fact that for the first time someone wasn’t just accepting her because of her siren effects, but for who she was. She sniffed, feeling tears freely flowing down her cheeks.

“No, you said everything just right.” She smiled at her, tears swimming in her eyes.

She had even forgotten the last time she had cried. It must have been centuries…

Mary could hear Ririka’s soft crying; it brought her back to reality. She had never seen Ririka cry but her eyes were beautiful. Under the moonlight, glistening on top of the sea—

“Why are you crying?” She asked with concern. She was worried Ririka would end up running away from her again for being too forward.

Ririka smiled as she let out another sniff. “Because of the sun.”

Mary instinctively glanced up at the sky, trying to look for the sun for some reason. If she could, she would definitely beat the crap out of that stupid sun for making Ririka cry.

But Ririka’s gazed was rather locked on Mary, never moving away, “And because of you.” She smiled softly when Mary lowered her gaze and landed on her. “…Because you’re the sun.”

Those words sent a tingle right down her spine. Mary’s cheeks felt like it was burning, hard.

That was the single most romantic thing anyone had ever said to her. Though Ririka probably didn’t mean it in a romantic way, Mary couldn’t even care less. It was romantic to her and nobody could tell her otherwise.

She let go of Ririka’s hand and cupped her face in her hands instead. If Mary thought Ririka’s hand was soft, she had another thing coming for her because Ririka’s face was a hundred times softer. Mary felt like dying right there. She could feel her face heating up as she took in a breath. She nervously brushed away Ririka’s tears with her thumbs as she gazed into those alluring eyes. She whispered, “Riri, you’re eyes…They look so blue and your tears are shining like little waves. They’re so pretty. They’re like the sea.”

“Mary…” A sad smile tugged onto Ririka’s face, forcing a few more tears to fall from the corner of her eyes.

“I always love the sea.” Mary said softly as they gravitate towards each other. Mary didn’t need to pull Ririka’s face or push herself forward. Nature did that for them.

Their lips gently collided against each other. And for a moment, they lingered there, anticipating just what was happening. It felt as if time had stopped, and then Mary was kissing her, tasting the strawberry flavor lipgloss Ririka had used. It felt heavenly and perfect. Their lips perfectly molded into eachother.

The kiss was sweet and gentle, and it tasted sincere. More than that, Mary felt the sudden urge to want more. She needed more.

Though Mary was popular and had kissed quiet a few people in her life, none of them had compared to this. Ririka was extremely intoxicating and she wanted to savor ever moment of this. She hastily let go of her hands from Ririka’s face and opted to wrapped them around her neck, wanting as much physical contact as possible. Mary wasted no time in slipping her tongue in Ririka’s mouth. She wanted to taste the siren, the one she had been wanting for a while now, ever since the first day she saw her alone at the library.

Ririka’s beauty, honesty, kindness—Mary wanted them all.

Ririka felt warmth and a high soaring feeling inside of her as Mary’s hot tongue invaded her mouth. She loved the way it felt, Mary’s mouth was hungry and eager on hers. She instinctively slide her arms around Mary’s waist, and like all other mortals, Mary didn’t appear strong—though when she crushed herself to her like this, she could feel the firm tone of her muscles under the fabric of her shirt.

Ririka had missed physical moments with another. She couldn’t remember the last time she found herself being embraced by another person. Unlike Kirari and Yumeko, Ririka refused to use her charm on anyone, not that she needed to. Anyone within a 50-foot radius would gawk at her with lust and salacity in their eyes.

For the first few minutes, Ririka let Mary lead, allowing her to explore her. She stayed calm, gentle, restrained and careful. But something changed. The eagerness took over, and Mary buried her fingers in Ririka’s hair, pressing herself even closer to her.

When things shifted, when Mary began kissing her with an insistence that was almost forceful, Ririka grew alarmed.

She couldn’t tell if it was the siren effect, or if it was the hunger inside of her; Maybe both.

She almost pushed Mary back so she could suggest they slow down, but it was as if Mary had awakened something inside of her, a hunger that was over due. A hunger that was desperately trying to escape from within her for months.

Without disconnecting their lips, Ririka pulled herself up and placed herself right onto Mary’s lap, wrapping her arms around her neck and still kissing her. Mary didn’t seemed to mind, her hands roamed over Ririka’s body, at first over her clothes, but then sliding underneath her tight dress and everywhere Mary’s flesh touched hers, the same sensation she’d felt when Mary had touched her thigh a while ago rippled over her.

Their kisses were getting more frantic, like Mary thought she’d die if she didn’t have her. Ririka felt the same, ravenous for Mary in the most primal way. She wanted her, needed her, couldn’t wait to devour her. It surged through her like a fire, and in the most darkest part of her mind she realized what she wanted to do with Mary had nothing to do with passion.

“Ow!” Mary winched and stopped kissing her. A string of saliva escaping their once connected lips.

“What?” Ririka asked, still breathing heavily and moved her head back from her. Ririka removed her arms around Mary’s neck and placed them on her shoulders.

Mary grasped for air and her eyes were clearer now, no longer fogged with passion. Her hands had been under Ririka’s dress, gripping her thighs, but she let go of one of them and touched her lips. It came back with a drop of blood on her fingertip.

“You…bit me?” Mary said with uncertainty.

“I bit you?” Ririka backed up, still straddling Mary.

As she ran her tongue over her teeth, they suddenly felt sharper to her. Her incisors were so pointed, she nearly pricked her own tongue on them.

Suddenly, a panic ran through her. How could she let this happen! How could she forget just how hungry she was! How could she forget she was a—

“Hey, it’s okay.” Mary rubbed her legs, trying to comfort her. “It was an accident, and I’m fine.” She averted her gaze, and mumbled, “I’ve been wanting to kiss you for a while now.”

Ririka blushed at the bold statement. If she was being honest, Mary was a great kisser. But her  stomach suddenly growled, audibly rumbling. Ririka put her hand over it, as if that would silence it.

Mary laughed, “I heard that.”

Ririka shook her head. She knew there was a chance this would happened. If she wasn’t as restrained or careful, she could have definitely hurt Mary. It wouldn’t be just a blood drop in her lips, but a bloody body instead.

The guilt, the culpability, the reminder— rushed through her mind.

“It’s really late,” Ririka suddenly said, looking for an excuse to end their encounter. She climbed off of Mary and sat on another rock.

“Yeah, you’re right.” Mary straighten her back and shook her head, as if clearing it of something.

Neither of them said anything for a minute. They both just stared at the ocean, admiring how beautiful it was.

“Listen, I’m…I’m sorry,” Mary said, breaking their silence.

“What for?”

“I didn’t mean to caught up with you… and…and…” she stumbled over her words, cheeks reddened like a tomato. “Make out like that—I mean I do mean it, I just— I mean it was nice. But…” she sighed. “ I didn’t want to rush you or pressure you…”

“I know.” Ririka nodded. She smiled at her, hoping her smile didn’t look as pained as it felt. “But you definitely didn’t pressure me into anything.”

“Okay. Good.” She stood up and touched her lips again, checking for blood, then looked back at Ririka. “I guess…I’ll see you when I can.”

”yeah.” She nodded.

If she was being honest, Mary wasn’t sure when she’ll see Ririka again. She couldn’t quiet put a label on their relationship yet. On top of that, Ririka didn’t have a phone. The only times they’d see each other was either at the beach or at the library. So she added, “will I see you tomorrow?”

”That’s a little needy,” Ririka blushed.

”H-Hey!” Mary’s face burned bright, “I miss having you around.”

”I do too,” Ririka said softly, “how about I surprise you?”

Mary smiled and nodded. “I can’t wait!”

They took a moment smiling at each other like idiots until a cold wind blew over them. Ririka shivered from the effects and immediately purred.

“Do you, need me to walk back with you?” Mary offered, worried tone in her voice. Ririka was only in her dress and Mary would know how many drunk ass people were hanging out on the beach.

“No, I’ll be fine.” Ririka told her, “thank you though.”

“I am really glad we’re okay.” Mary paused, “we’re okay right?”

“We are.” Ririka smiled, “I’m sorry about avoiding you like that.”

“It’s fine,” Mary sighed, “just…don’t do it again okay?”

Ririka blushed and nodded bashfully. Mary paused, thinking for a second, then bent down and kissed Ririka on her cheek. It was a little long for a kiss in the cheek, but it was still over too quickly. Then Mary was gone.

Of all the kisses Ririka had ever shared with someone, that one before Mary left was Ririka’s favourite. It may have been the most chaste, but it was also the one that felt the most genuine.

Her hand reached up to ran her fingers over her teeth, but this time, her teeth were normal. She needed to be more careful; that was dangerous. Mary could have been hurt and that’s the last thing Ririka wanted.

As she stood up, she heard a noise within the trees behind the rocks. It was the crunch of the leaves, as if something was behind those trees. Ririka’s eyes shifted into the night mode but couldn’t see anything. Whatever it was behind those trees was long gone.

Ririka shrugged, she didn’t waste more time to go into the trees to investigate. For all she knew it could have been any animals. Deers, rabbits, foxes, squirrels and even sea turtles.

She removed her dress and her panties as she stepped into the ocean and dive down into the sea.

 

Chapter Text

 

The library was slow today, thanks to the pristine weather. The sun shone brightly in the sky, and it was warm without being overly so. It was the kind of day that would make Sayaka kill to be out on the bat, and even Midari would’ve been happy to join her.

But here she was, absently leafing through Lois Lowry’s The giver.

She’d read it before, but that was a couple years ago, so she wanted to refresh herself with the text. It was part of their summer reading program for middle schoolers, and in Mondays Sayaka met with the ten or so kids in the book club to talk about their weekly reading.

“Did you know that the principal of the high school has had Britney Spear’s biography out for the past six weeks?” Midari asked, clicking on the computer next to Sayaka.

“Nope, I didn’t know that,” Sayaka replied.

Since it was slow, Midari was going through the computer to search for people who had overdue books, then calling to remind them. Midari had actually volunteered to do it. Even though she hated interacting with people, she loved calling to tell them that they’d done something wrong.

“That seems weird, doesn’t it?” Midari peered at Sayaka from behind a pair of black horn-rimmed glasses. Not that she needed corrective lenses—she just thought they’d look funny to try them on. 

“I don’t know. I heard it’s a really good book.”

“It’s like I always say—you can tell a lot about a person by the books they check out.”

“You just like to snoop on people,” Sayaka corrected her.

“You say that like it’s a bad thing. It’s always good to know what your neighbors are up to. Just ask Poland about that after World War Two.”

“There’s never a good reason to invade somebody’s—“

“Whoa, Sayaka, isn’t that the kid you know?” Midari interrupted her and pointed to the computer screen.

“Lots of people I know check out books,” Sayaka said without looking up from the Lois Lowry book. “It’s not all that surprising.”

“No, no, I got bored with that so I was just checking out the Hyakkaou Daily time’s website to leave angry, anonymous comments on the op-ed piece. But I found this instead.” Midari turned the screen so it faced Sayaka more.

Sayaka looked up to see the headline “Local Boy Missing.” Below it was a picture of Shinnouji. A classmate of Sayaka who is rather obese.

“He’s missing?” Sayaka asked and scooted her chair closer to Midari’s.

In smaller letters the subhead read “Seventh Boy Missing in Two Months.” The article went on the give a few basic facts about Shinnouji— that he was an honor-roll student and took an important role in the school when it came to publicity.

The rest of the story told was little they knew about what had happened. Shinnouji had gone out with a group of friends to a concert on Monday, then went home for supper. He seemed normal, and he left after he ate, telling his parents he was meeting a friend, and he’s never returned.

His parents were at a loss as to where he might be. The police had just started their investigation, but they didn’t seem to know any more than they did about the other missing boys. Since Shinnouji was nineteen, the police would have ordinarily waited longer to start searching, but with the recent rash of disappearance, the cops were taking this latest one seriously.

The reporter drew parallels between Shinnouji’s disappearance and those other six boys. They were all in their late teenage years. They all left to meet some friends. None of them ever came home.

The article went on to mention two other teenage girls who had gone missing from nearby coastal towns. All the boys were from Hyakkaou, but the girls were from two different towns more than a half hour away.

“Do you think they’re going to question us?” Midari asked.

“Why? We didn’t have anything to do with that.”

“Because we go to the same school,” Midari pointed to computer screen, as if to elaborate. “I saw him two days ago when Yuriko invited me for a student council meeting.“

Sayaka thought it over. “I don’t know. Maybe they will, but the paper said the police just started the investigation. They’ll probably talk to Yumemi or Yuriko, but I don’t know if they’re going to talk to every person who goes to our school.”

“That’s freaky, right?” Midari asked. “We just saw him, and now he’s dead.”

“He’s not dead. He’s missing,” Sayaka corrected her. “He might still be alive.”

“I doubt it. They’re saying it’s a serial killer.”

“They who?” Sayaka asked, leaning back in her chair. “The Daily Time didn’t say anything about it.”

“I know.” Midari shrugged, “They’ everybody. The people in town.”

“Well, the people in town don’t know everything.” Sayaka scooted her chair back to her spot at the desk, away from Midari and the horrible news story about Shinnouji. “I’m sure he’ll turn up all right.”

Midari scoffed. “I highly doubt that. Nobody’s found any of these boys. I’m telling you there’s some serial killer on the loose picking off—“

“Midari!” Sayaka snapped, cutting off her train of thought. “Shinnouji is Yumemi’s friend. He has parents and a life. let’s hope for their sake that he’s okay. And we’ll leave it at that.”

“Okay.” Midari turned the computer screen back toward herself and inched her chair away from Sayaka. “I didn’t know it was such a touchy subject.”

“It’s not touchy.” Sayaka let out a deep breath and softened her tone. “I just think we should be respectful in times of tragedy.”

“Sorry.” Midari was quiet for a moment. “I should probably get back to looking up fines anyway. I have lots of phone calls to make.”

Sayaka tried to go back to reading the book, but she hadn’t really been into it anyway. Her mind wandered back to Shinnouji. She haven’t told anyone, and not even Midari, but, she remembered Shinnouji had asked her out at the back of the school the very first month of her freshman year in university. He was nice, but she’d never felt anything for him, not anything more than friendship, so she politely rejected him. They’d shared a few awkward, strained moments together—being the two smartest students— and now he might never come home.

Though she didn’t want to admit it, Sayaka knew that Midari was probably right.

Shinnouji wasn’t coming home alive.

“I need a break,” Sayaka said suddenly and stood up.

“What?” Midari looked up at her from behind her ridiculous eyewear.

“I think I’ll just go across the street and grab a coke or something. But I need to just…” Sayaka shook her head. She didn’t know what she needed exactly, but she wanted to stop thinking about Shinnouji.

“So you’re gonna leave me here alone?” Midari asked raising a brow.

Sayaka glanced around the empty library. “I think you can handle it. Besides,” Sayaka said as she pushed back her chair, “I haven’t been to Piper’s in a while. You can cover for me for like thirty minutes.”

Thirty minutes?” Midari called after Sayaka as she walked out the door.

Just stepping out in the sun helped alleviate some of her unease. It was too beautiful of a day to imagine anything bad happening. She tried to shake off her discomfort as she went across the street to Piper’s Diner.

The diner was run-down and dingy, so it managed to keep away a lot of tourists, who hung around the beach. It didn’t have an over-the-top seafaring theme like most of the places by the bay, aside from one painting over the bar. It was a huge picture of a mermaid sitting on an open clamshell, holding a big pearl.

A few booths lined the large front window, and stools covered in cracked red vinyl ran along the counter. Piper had a few pieces of pie displayed in a glass case, but she only served two kinds—strawberry and blueberry. The tiles on the floor were supposed to be red and white, but the white was more of a beige now.

It was usually only the locals who went there. That was what was so weird about Kirari and her friends coming to Piper’s. They frequented it so often, they’d nearly become regulars, and they weren’t even from Hyakkaou.

At the thought of Kirari, Sayaka immediately scanned around the diner. The last thing she needed was to run into them.

The conversation she had with Mary had been on Sayaka’s mind none stop. The girls were so strange and the more Sayaka thought about them, the more she felt like she was going delusional. Did these girls really had something to do with the missing people? With Shinnouji? An innocent boy who always put others before himself? An innocent boy who would cause a traffic just to let a family of ducks crosses the street?

Sayaka shook her head, she shouldn’t be thinking about Shinnouji as if he was already dead.

And as soon as she looked around, it was was as if Lady Luck had decided pack her suitcase and to go on a vacation because her eyes landed right onto Kirari’s.  She was alone however, and was sitting at a small table by herself eating a cup of clam chowder when Sayaka walked in.

Sayaka immediately froze, quickly wanting to disappear as soon as possible. She turned her head around to leave but then heard her name called behind of her.

“Sayaka,” Kirari called when she saw her, an evidently smile grew on her face.

Sayaka quickly realized that she’d never had an actual conversation with Kirari. She was always with Mary whenever they’d approached. Though they were in a restaurant and pretty much in a public place, the thought of sitting at the same table, having a conversation with this mysteriously gorgeous woman suddenly gave Sayaka this uneasy feeling building up inside of her.

Sayaka took a deep breath, she knew very well she couldn’t avoid her so she walked over to her. “What are you doing here?”

“Thinking,” replied Kirari amusingly. “And eating of course. The clam chowder in this restaurant can’t be beat.”

“I didn’t know you ate here.” Sayaka said, looking down at a half empty bowl. The clam chowder indeed looked good. In fact, it was one of Sayaka’s favorite dish on the menu.

“And why not?” Kirari asked, finding it amusing how Sayaka didn’t even say hi to her.

“I just thought this place is a little out dated for you,” Sayaka pointed, using her head to gesture around the diner.

“There are many things you don’t know about me, Sayaka. I happened to enjoy a rather mundane restaurant.” She smiled, then gestures to the empty seat across from her. “Care to join me?”

Sayaka chewed her lip, debating whether or not she should. “I shouldn’t…”

“Please?” Kirari asked again, her eyes looked as sinister as ever.

And for some reason that she couldn’t understand, Sayaka had a hard time declining her offer. “…I guess.”

“So what brings you here?” Kirari asked.

“Lunch,” Sayaka said, and Kirari laughed at the obvious. “Actually, I work across the street at the library. I’m on a break now.”

“You come here a lot, then?” Kirari finished her soup, so she pushed the bowl to the side and leaned forward, resting her elbows on the table.

“Not really, no.” She shook her head. “My coworker Midari hates being left alone at the library, so I usually eat my lunch there.”

“I see,” Kirari hummed, but she looked ready to opened her mouth when a young waiter came over to take Sayaka’s order. He was a guy Sayaka had seen around campus but couldn’t remember what his name was. All she knew was that he was in the basketball team.

“How was the soup?” He asked, picking up Kirari’s bowl.

“Great as always,” Kirari smirked, and Sayaka noticed that flirtatious sound in her voice again, “give my compliments to Piper and the chefs.”

“Will do,” he winked, and for a moment, Sayaka almost felt like she was third wheeling them. He then turned to Sayaka, “and what can I get for you?”

“Just a coke,” Sayaka said.

“One Coke, coming right up!”

“You can order more than a Coke if you want,” Kirari told Sayaka once the waiter had left to fill the order. “I’ll leave it on my tab.”

“I’m not that hungry.” In truth, her stomach was still twisted from thinking about Shinnouji. It had calm down some since she’d gotten here, and somehow along the lines of Kirari’s beauty, but her appetite hadn’t returned.

“Are you sure?” Kirari asked again. “You’re not one of those girls that won’t eat in front of a crush she’s trying to impress are you?”

Sayaka laughed at Kirari’s presumption. “First of all, I’m not trying to impress you. And second, I’m definitely not one of those girls. I’m just not hungry.”

“Here you go,” the young waiter came back, setting the glass on the table. He then glanced over at Kirari, “Piper said you’re a sweetheart and to come back soon.”

Kirari smiled at him. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

He nodded, “All right, let me know if you two need anything else,” he touched Kirari’s arm gently before he left and gave her another lustful smile.

“What was that about?” Sayaka gave her a loop sided smile.

“What do you mean?” Kirari said amusingly.

Sayaka rolled her eyes and sighed. “Do you flirt with every person you meet?”

“I wasn’t aware that I was flirting with you,” Kirari shrugged.

“Oh really?” Sayaka raised a brow, “offering to pay for someone you don’t even know meal is a total first base at courting someone.”

“Well,” Kirari giggled, “I thought I was being nice.”

The way Kirari giggled somehow made Sayaka’s heart swelled. She couldn’t understand why—she’d heard thousands of people giggling just like this—but it’s the way her eyes were slightly closed and how her hand raised up just enough to cover her mouth. Either way, Sayaka found it difficult to look away.

Kirari was simply captivating. There’s no doubt about that.

Sayaka willed herself to take a sip of her coke and cleared her throat. She suddenly remembered something, “You said you were thinking earlier? What were you thinking about?”

“A decision.” Kirari inhaled, her smile remained as she locked gaze with Sayaka. “A scary one.”

“Sounds like a tough call,” Sayaka said, wondering what kind of decision the woman in front of her may be having. Really. To Sayaka, all Kirari does shop all day, attracting unnecessary crowd and chill at the beach.

“Quite,” Kirari said, carefully observing Sayaka, “though I’ve already decided. I will simply use a coin.”

“You’re gonna make your scary decision by flipping a coin?” She raised a brow.

“Yes.” Kirari hummed, “I’ve been thinking about it for five minutes now and I think flipping a coin is the right option.”

“You’re going to gamble on a decision?” Sayaka bit her lips, “you aren’t even going to think about it?”

“Yeah..” Kirari chuckled and sighed, “didn’t wanna over do it. I’m too pretty to be overthinking.”

Sayaka had absolutely no idea what Kirari had decided on but from the sound of it, Kirari’s ‘scary’ decision isn’t that scary.

Then a small thought in the back of her mind suddenly flashed throughout her brain—what if Kirari is making a decision to make another boy disappear again?

Her beliefs on Kirari being responsible for those missing boys was still very strong and sitting here together with her almost made Sayaka felt sick.

“You’re quite peculiar you know?” Kirari spoke, breaking Sayaka’s dark thought, “you always seemed to be in your thoughts. People like you are very interesting, I like it.”

“Oh, Uh—Um…” Sayaka stuttered, clearing her throat and simultaneously debating whether what Kirari said was an insult or a compliment. “Thanks?”

Sayaka,” Kirari sang softly, leaning forward, looking into her eyes, “order a meal.”

Immediately, Sayaka felt a tingle flashing through her body. It’s the way Kirari voice sounded. Somehow, just like the day at the picnic, Sayaka found it hard to look away, it felt as if Kirari had somehow put a spell on her. She froze for a minute, unable to move so she stared into Kirari’s eyes. For the past weeks, she thought about her eyes shifting a lot. A lot more than she should’ve to the point where she thought she might be delusional. If she was being honest, she was kind of embarrassed for thinking about something so taboo and impossible. She was always a rational being but somehow Kirari had dragged her into a world where she was willing to believe in supernatural.

Despite Sayaka’s internal conflicts, instead of changing into something phenomenal, Kirari’s eyes remain stoic. They didn’t shift into anything Sayaka thought it might, instead, they looked calm and relax. Just looking at it somehow gave Sayaka a peace of mind. Her eyes were so blue and dark. They remind Sayaka of a cool winter morning with a lull in the wind. And suddenly, the negative feelings she initially had for Kirari lessened….

But that didn’t mean it was gone.

Kirari was someone Sayaka didn’t believe she’d ever soften up to. It was written all over her face, the way Kirari looked at Sayaka— it was the same way the drunken guys at the parties would look at her— as an object. As something she could toy with— like a prize at the carnival.

A possession.

“I’m not hungry,” Sayaka shook her head. She was aware how ridiculous her thoughts were becoming. Overthinking would only stress her out. Kirari and her friends were unnecessary stress Sayaka didn’t need right now. She glanced up at the clock on her wall, “I better head back.”

Kirari just sat, she didn’t say anything nor gesture a bye. And if Sayaka wasn’t in such a hurry to get away from Kirari, she would’ve witnessed the shock in Kirari’s eyes.

“Bye,” Sayaka awkwardly said, then she suddenly realized she had forgotten to bring her bag with her wallet in it. “Crap.”

“What’s wrong?” Kirari asked, unbeknownst to Sayaka, she had just sang to Sayaka, hoping her speculation were wrong. Hoping the other day at the beach, Sayaka had somehow misheard her. Though Sayaka never reacted, she talk to Kirari just like she would talk to anyone. The curiosity in Kirari’s mind had been soaring high throughout he conversation.

This has never happened before. In normal circumstances, Sayaka should’ve been following Kirari’s commend and lusted over her. But she didn’t— No one in history was immune to the siren effects. Just Sayaka being able to resist the voice thrills Kirari in a way nothing else had in centuries.

“I…forgot my wallet,” Sayaka shrugged.

“Don’t worry, about it. I’ll pay,” Kirari told her, fascinating by Sayaka’s restrictions.

“No,” Sayaka shook her head, “I can’t let you do that.”

“Why not?” Kirari raised a brow, “it’s only one fifty cents.”

“Still, you don’t know me,” Sayaka debated, “and I don’t know you.”

“It’s a pocket change, Sayaka.” Kirari reminded, “really it’s nothing.”

“But…” Sayaka bit her lip. If it was any other person, literally anybody else, Sayaka wouldn’t mind at all. But this was Kirari—the person Sayaka didn’t trust, the person who seemed to be full of secrets.

Kirari let out a painfully sighed, “if it bothers you so much, I’ll let you pay for it some other time.”

The last thing Sayaka needed was having to owe Kirari something.

“What if we don’t ever eat together again?” Sayak asked, eyeing her skeptically.

“Then we don’t.” Kirari shrugged, hiding the excitement under her throat, “but I think we will.”

“See!” Sayaka pointed at her, “you’re doing it again, you’re flirting.”

“I guess I can’t help it,” Kirari reached out and gently took Sayaka’s hand, eyeing her cautiously. “I’ll admit…you’re very intriguing.”

“O-Okay!”  Sayaka stuttered in surprise, she wasn’t expecting Kirari to do that , so she quickly moved her hand away as if her hand was burnt. “Thank you! for the Coke.”

“No problem,” Kirari said, watching her closely as she got up.

Despite the questionable aura around them, Sayaka couldn’t tell whether Kirari was being genuinely nice to her or something else. She couldn’t deny the fact that the feeling of uncertainty frustrated her. The one thing she absolutely was certain about was that Kirari was a determine person. The look in her eyes tells it all. It was clear she wanted something—either from Mary or Sayaka even. Or worst, the town. 

“And…I’ll see you around….I guess.” She politely bow and gave her a small smile. 

Kirari nodded and gave her a small wave. As Sayaka was walking out the door, she saw Yumeko entering the diner. And as always, she looked very much divine. The way she walk and the way she move. She looked like a goddess taking very breath of Sayaka’s away. She side glanced at Sayaka as she walked past her. Yumeko’s eyes were burning red. They had the same effects as Kirari’s but something about them were different. They gave Sayaka a goosebumps just looking into them. If Kirari’s eyes made Sayaka felt clam and tranquil, Yumeko’s were the complete opposite. A quick smirk tugged onto Yumeko’s face, fast enough for Sayaka to have caught it but they disappeared as fast as it happened before she went over to Kirari’s table. Sayaka willed herself not to look back before she heard the young waiter asking Yumeko if she wanted any pie. Sayaka shook her head, trying to ignore that, and went back across the street to the library. Somehow she realized it was very hard for her not to glance back over her shoulder at Them. Especially Kirari.

 

Chapter Text

 

Mary crossed her arms on the edge of the pool as her coach was speaking. He was going on and on about the upcoming competitions and her top competitors but Mary wasn’t listening.

Ever since the kiss last night, Mary hadn’t been able to stop thinking about Ririka.

She had finally kissed her!

The kiss was magical and incredible. Mary subconsciously touched her lips with her fingers and felt her face heating up. She remembered Ririka’s hot breath on her face after their lips had parted and how adorable she looked. Her face was flushed with deep shades of red. And the way she looked at her shyly through her white eyelashes afterward—it was all Mary could think about. She also remembered the way she’d grabbed Ririka’s thighs and even her ass. Sending chills to every fibers of Ririka’s being, how Ririka’s legs were slightly shaking and how with every firm grips, Ririka would pull her in even tighter. Every part of Ririka was beyond soft and enticing.

And now that Mary had gotten a taste of that, she wanted more of it.

“Mary!”

The blonde looked up at her coach and sink into the pool a bit when she suddenly realized that she hadn’t been listening to him at all.

“Are you even listening to me?” The coach asked.

“Yeah, of course!” Mary nervously laughed.

“Right…” the coach eyed her skeptically, “give me another 10 lengths.”

Mary sighed, lowering herself and allowing the cool water to engulfed her. Inhaling deeply, she ducked her head beneath the surface of the pool and pushed away from the edge in one swift motion.

Training was Mary’s form of concentration. It always was. Every since she was just a little kid. Nobody taught Mary how to swim. If she remembered correctly, it was one evening when she was on the dock alone, looking up at the sunset. Mary had slipped and fell. She never felt so scared and even when moving both of her arms and legs, Mary found herself drowning.

The warmth of the sea, the coolness within, the vast ocean. They welcomed Mary. That day was the first time Mary knew the true meaning of love. Even with nobody else around, strangely, Mary felt calm. It was as if she was one with the sea. And ever since that day, Mary had found the love for sea and had been swimming since then.

After a quick flash and turn, her hand came back to touch the edge of the pool. Mary emerged from the pool fast enough to see her coach stopping the timer.

“I should be harder on you,” he grinned as he looked at the timer. “But it seemed like you beat your time again. Good job.”

“Thanks.” Mary smirked, pulling herself up from the pool and grabbing her towel from the bench.

“Hey,” her coach called her before she walked into the change room, “could you stop by my office for a few minutes?”

“Sure.” Mary nodded and they made their way into the coach’s office.

His office was a little messy. There was stacks of messy papers on his table and a couple of jerseys hanging on the wall.

What Mary didn’t expect to see was Itsuki sitting on of the visitors chair in his office.

“What are you doing here?” Mary frowned and flipped her towel over her shoulder.

She had been avoiding Itsuki ever since the younger girl had leaked the photo without her permission. Not that Mary had a problem with the Picture but at least Itsuki should have asked her about it.

Mary didn’t appreciate getting spammed by her classmates and teammates about Ririka as if they’re the new hot couple in town.

Itsuki gulped and handed her a piece of paper.

“What’s that?” Mary asked absentminded, she didn’t want to be in the office any longer than she needed to.

“Just take it!” Itsuki groaned and crossed her arms.

Mary sighed and took the paper. She read through the printed out email and was immediately baffled.

“You…you got me a cooperate mentor?”

“Almost,” Itsuki shrugged with an airy laugh, “you just need to impress him when he comes to see you train.”

“But how would the head of an international swim league company even hear about me?”

“I went to his office and told him.” Itsuki grinned.

“And he’s interested?”

Itsuki nodded, “I told him where you’re headed and that you’re going to be a female world champion and that this is his chance to get in—“

“Wow!” Mary chuckled, “no way, do you know about this?” She eyed the coach.

“I may have,” the coach grinned.

“How come you didn’t say anything about it?” Mary’s brows furrowed.

“Itsuki may have prevented me from spoiling her surprise,” he shrugged.

“Is this your way of redeeming yourself?” She raised a curious look towards Itsuki.

“Of course not,” she shook her head, “do you know how hard it is to talk to one of these international mentors? This one just happens to come by my father’s company and I took the chance.”

“Thank you,” Mary leaned in and gave her a hug then pulled herself back, “but this doesn’t mean I forgive you.”

“Ugh, you’re so complicated,” Itsuki frowned, “but you’re welcome.”

“Are you okay with this?” Mary faced the coach, “I know you want to take me to the top.”

The coach smiled and shook his head, “I’m only a district school coach Mary. You are only swimming for the school right now. There’s only so much I can do. My connections are limited,” he shrugged, “But out there, you will be able to swim for regional, and possibly make it to national or even international. This is a good opportunity to take rather than wait for a company to come watch and scoted you. They’ll love you. I am the one who scouted you after all. I’d love for you to stay but a mentor is what you need.”

Mary smiled despite herself, having an international mentor is huge. They have connections from outside the continent and could really be a game changer.

“So, I got you into tomorrow session,” Itsuki interjected. “Even if I have to drag him—“

“Tomorrow?” Mary stepped back, “I’m not ready.”

“Yes you are,” the coach stepped in, “we’ve trained for this moment.”

“What if I let him down?” Mary said worriedly.

“You won’t!” Itsuki chimed, “I’ve seen you Mary. You’re amazing.”

“Don’t worry Mary,” the coach said calmly, “just do what you do and he’ll be blown away.”

Mary gaze into his confident eyes for a moment until she spoke up, “are you sure?”

“I promise,” the couch reassured, “you’re ready.”

“Thanks coach,” Mary smiled, pulling him into a hug.

She stared at the email for a while longer, and her lips tugged up into a smile.

“Remember Mary, you need to have total focus,” the coach said after breaking the hug, “push it to the absolute limit, understood?”

“Understood.” Mary repeated, then mumbled, “you act like I’m not focused.”

“Well Itsuki may have told me about some things that might have clouded your focus,” the coach laughed.

“Itsuki!” Mary glared at her friend who was preparing to run away. Mary was just about to run after her when the coach firmly placed a hand on her shoulder.

“Remember Mary,” he told her. “Focus.”

~

Sayaka patiently waited at the lights to cross the street. The bright sun was shining down on her and if Kirari’s voice didn’t ring inside of her head nonstop, she would’ve found today being a beautiful day.

She glanced down at her hand, the hand Kirari had touched. She still felt the feeling of Kirari’s hand lingering on top of her skin.  For someone who’s eyes could freeze Sayaka’s soul, her hand somehow gave Sayaka warmth she didn’t know she needed.

Though she didn’t want to admit it, talking to Kirari somehow lifted the weight Sayaka had been carrying since the news of Shinnouji.

She could vividly hear the laughters and chattering beyond the town towards the beach. The breeze from the ocean flew over her and she could smell the salt in the air.

If the library was still empty by the time she gets back, she’d definitely close up early and drag Midari down the beach.

Just as the lights turned green with a display of a walking man and Sayaka was about to take a step, she heard someone calling her from a few feet away.

“Sayaka!”

She looked around to find a young man waving his arm high up in the air at her.

“Ibara?” Sayaka raised a brow.

He was getting out of his black Maserati and Sayaka could tell he had been gaining muscles. He looked ripped. He was wearing a white polo shirt which was tugged into a black pants. He wore multiple rings and had a golden chain hanging down his neck.

A typical LA looking stud.

“How have you been?” He said grinning as he walked towards her.

“I’ve been good,” She smiled back, “but what are you doing back in town?”

Unlike most of the people Sayaka grew up with, Ibara wasn’t one of them. They met in New Jersey during a family business conference where their families introduced them together. Being the youngest two in the meeting room, they escaped and went to six flags instead.

After a while, the Obami family moved into town and immediately dominate the town hierarchy . If Sayaka thought Itsuki or her were rich, the Obami were way above them. They were the richest family in town and live up the hill in a gated suburban community.

“It’s my parents twentieth anniversary,” he told her, “I couldn’t really escape this one.”

“You really can’t.” Sayaka laughed, knowing how strict the obami’s parents were.

“Yeah,” Ibara shrugged, than a smirk tugged up on his face. “Hey, how about we get a drink? It’s been too long. You own me one remember?”

“It’s been eight months, Ibara,” Sayaka corrected, glancing across the street to the library. She really hoped Midari was hanging in there.

“You counted?” He sent her a flirty look, “so you did miss me.”

“In your dream,” she snickered, then a poster of Shinnouji taped to the side of the light caught her eyes. “Hey, your dad is in the police department isn’t he?”

“Yeah, he’s the captain of the police department.” He raised a brow, “why?”

“I wondered if you know a thing or two about Shinnouji.”

“The kid that disappeared a couple days ago?“ he asked, “yeah my dad may have mention him at our family dinner.”

“Do you know more?” Sayaka pressed, “about the other missing people?”

“I may have,” He smiled, “though the information the police have are limited. They gave out as much as they know.”

Sayaka quickly looked around, a number of people walking by repeatedly. It didn’t feel right to talk about such topic in the middle of a side walk.

“Hey,” she tugged his arm, “how about that drink?”

If Ibara knows something Sayaka doesn’t, she was bound to find out.

“Great!” He grinned, letting her drag him along the street. “Hey be gentle with me would ya?”

“Oh, shush!” She grinned back and let go of him and pointed at a bar nearby. “How about that bar over there?”

“Great!” He smirked, “you know I wouldn’t mind if we hold hand—you know in case we get lost.”

“Haha, very funny.” Sayaka rolled her eyes, “we won’t get lost like we did in six flags, don’t worry.”

He gave her a pout with a sad face and sighed.

“Finee,” Sayaka sighed, grabbing his hand, “for old time sakes.“

He immediately went back to his usual self with a big grin on his face. Sayaka shook her head at the action as they walked down the street.

She accidentally glanced across the street into Piper’s diner and saw Yumeko laughing with the waiter. From the looks of it, he was trying to feed Yumeko some pie. Sayaka eyes trailed to the opposite side of Yumeko and saw Kirari looking straight at her.

Kirari wasn’t smiling or smirking. Her expression was impartial and unfazed. She looked as if she was about to murder someone. If looks could kill, Sayaka would bet she wouldn’t be alive to be looking into those eyes.

Sayaka hastily turned her head and dragged Ibara down the street a little faster. She desperately wanted to get away from Kirari’s cold gazes. Even when she’s down a couple block from Piper’s diner, she could still feel Kirari’s gaze following behind her.

~

“You know it’s funny you ask the info about Shinnouji,” Ibara told her, sipping into a bottle of beer.

“Hmm? Why’s that?” Sayaka raised a brow, hands cupping the glass of margarita.

They sat at a booth near the back of the bar where it was a little more quieter and secluded.

“Well, as you may have noticed we’ve had a spike in missing persons over the last few weeks.” He said leaning back into the comfort of the booth.

“Do you have any theories?” Sayaka asked, “serial killer? Kidnapping?”

Ibara shook his head and took another sip of his drinks. “Not that I was aware of. Serial killers have patterns and kidnappers have motive.” He scratched the back of his head and sighed, “but what’s odd is that there’s nothing to connect these disappearances.”

“Except the fact that they’re all nineteen and lives in Hyakkaou.” Sayaka concluded quietly, which almost sounded like she was  talking to herself. “And they’re all boys-wait…” she looked up at Ibara, “what about the two missing girls?”

“The girls are from a different town,” Ibara explained, “so the police aren’t too worried about those cases right now.”

“Why not?” Sayaka brows furrowed, “for all we know, they might be connected.”

“I doubt it,” Ibara sighed, “those girls were claimed as runaways.”

“Are they though?” She raised a brow.

“You know what?” He took out his phone, “you need to see this.”

He quickly swiped through his phone and leaned towards Sayaka. “I was at my dad’s office yesterday and a mother of one of the missing girls came by and said some things. I recorded some but here, I’ll show you.”

Sayaka leaned In as Ibara pressed play on the video.

“My daughter disappeared three days ago. We had a fight and she ran off. She said she’d better off with her new group of friends… I know the police says  this is a runaway and there’s nothing they can do but I know my daughter. I know she would’ve called me. I know there’s something wrong—“

The video was cut off abruptly and Sayaka could only assumed that Ibara was caught and was told to stop recording.

“Do you think it’s a runaways?” Sayaka asked curiously. “And what does she mean by her new groups of friends?”

“I have no idea,” Ibara let out an airy sigh, “this town just amazes me more and more every time I came to visit.”

“Shout it louder,” Sayaka rolled her eyes, “but if we’re being honest, the girls that disappeared were super pretty.”

“I agree,” Ibara grinned, “it almost sounded like a kidnapping case but….” He shook his head, “we can’t make that statement yet.”

“And none of the bodies of these disappearance are found,” Sayaka pointed out, “not a single one.”

“No, not yet.” Ibara  muttered, then he glanced up at Sayaka, “ the police aren’t making this public yet,” he leaned in and spoke in a more quiet tone, “but I heard they’re gonna speak up and tell the town to be more careful or something. Like don’t walk alone at night or you know.”

“Are there going to be more police watching the town?” Sayaka creased her brow, part of her was relieved that the police were starting to take this more seriously but a bigger part of her was terrified that this was happening in her own town.

Sayaka was never the one to be scared but somehow, the news of these teenagers disappearance terrified her. For all she knows, someone she knows or is close to her might disappear again. Or worse, it could be herself!

“Possibly,” he nodded, “but runaways aren’t news, they’re cliches. I’m sure everything is going to be okay.”

“I just want to know one thing though,” Sayaka muttered, looking out at the side of the window and out the street, “where are they?”

 

Chapter Text

 

Part of her penance was keeping an eye on Kirari and Yumeko. It actually wasn’t specifically dictated as part of her punishment, but it helped ease Ririka’s guilt of breaking the deal and putting Mary in so much danger.

Based on how the two said girls were acting though, Ririka was starting to regret  her decision very much. That morning, Kirari and Yumeko were acting like they always do. They didn’t mention anything about the night before or even question where Ririka went.

After they had breakfast, they’d do what they always do. Go for a swim. Being in the ocean took up most of their morning and with how normal they were acting, Ririka allowed herself to cool down a bit.

However, all through the night and up until now, she couldn’t deny the fact that her hunger had taken a toll on her. Each breath, each blink, each heartbeat she took, she felt more and more deranged.

On top of that, she hadn’t been able to stop throwing up blood. It was as if her body had started to break down and her organs had completely given up on her. She knew her voice sounded like a dying cow at this point.

She had been swimming and singing all morning to ease up the effects of her symptoms. They usually work to make her hunger disappeared but unfortunately, even the typical sirens abilities did not help her case.

“Eat,” Kirari commanded after they had came back from their morning swim. “Stop torturing yourself.”

“Kirari’s right,” Yumeko jumped in, walking behind the sink and pouring herself a glass of water from the tap, then making her way towards the table. “You’ve gone without eating for more than a year, that should be illegal if I may say so myself.”

“Whatever.” Ririka mumbled. In truth, she knew it was time. She had been holding this off for as long as she could.

But the feeling was strange. Her last couple of fasting had last at least three years. This time, it had only been around a year and she was already losing herself. She was certain it had to do with the hunger she felt when kissing Mary last night. For sure, the hunger had awakened prematurely. She wasn’t surprised though. Sirens were physical creatures and Ririka knew very well that the physical contact she had with the blonde was something she had craved for.

Centuries of typical useless men trying to get in her pants had done more damage than good according to her. She had given up that lifestyle since they had invited Yumeko to joined them. So In short, Ririka had closed up and refused to get intimate with anyone for at least five centuries.

When she felt another growl in her stomach, she rushed towards the sink and managed to cough up more blood. This time, however, Ririka threw up a chunk of blood clot into the drain.

She needed to eat, and fast.

Tilting her head to the side, she looked up at the sky. This was the worst time to be in a starvation situation. The full moon is just around the corner and she doubt Kirari had found a new girl. Her main priority right now was to keep Mary safe and to prevent Kirari from going anywhere near the blonde. But with the hunger looming inside of her, she was having a hard time debating whether which decisions is actually safer for the blonde.

“Well, I’m off.” Kirari stood up, making her way out the door.

“Oh, where?!” Yumeko chimed in, “can I come?”

“To lunch,” Kirari gave her a simple smile, “and…don’t you have to cool off a bit?” She glanced down at Yumeko’s body, which looked like her skin had been burnt red and partially peeled off.

“Right…” Yumeko winched and shrugged. “I guess I’ll catch up later.”

Kirari nodded at her then glanced over at Ririka. “Are you coming?”

The last thing Ririka wanted was to be around people at the moment. She knew there’s a high possibilities of her throwing up and she would very much like to avoid that.

On top of that, her voice had become so bad that she could barely talk. It hurts to talk too. Every time she spoke, her voice came out so rough and hoarse.

“I’m staying in,” she muttered, locking her eyes in the sink to avoiding Kirari’s icy growing gaze.

“I see.” Kirari said and she lingered for a moment until she finally left.

After Kirari left, Ririka made her way towards the table where Yumeko was sitting. She took a seat across from her and stared at Yumeko’s arms. The burnt has already disappeared and her skin was healing itself in front of Ririka eyes.

“Fascinating isn’t it?” Yumeko smiled, looking at Ririka.

“Certainly is.” Ririka nodded, “it’s amazing how fast you’re healing.”

“You can heal just as fast, you know?” She hummed, “if you—“

“I know,” Ririka mumbled, “I’ll take care of it tonight.”

Yumeko’s red eyes suddenly widened with anticipation. “How thrilling! Can I join?”

Same old Yumeko. She never change.

Ririka sighed and shook her head. “I think you’ve had enough.”

“Heaven no!” Yumeko giggled, “I could never have enough!”

A frown appeared on Ririka’s face and before she could retort, Aoi entered the kitchen.

His hair was all messy and he looked like he had the worst hangover. He yawned, a tired look loomed across his eyes but as soon as they landed on Yumeko and Ririka, a hazily grin tugged upon his lips.

“Where’s Kirari?” He asked, looking around the room as if he was a puppy looking for his master.

“She went out for lunch,” Yumeko told him, taking another sip of her water.

A panic immediately flashed across his face. “I-I should follow her.”

“There’s no need,” Ririka’s calm voice somehow rushed through the frantic boy. “If she have wanted you to come along, she would’ve woke you up.”

“That’s right,” Yumeko agreed, “I think you should go and take a rest. You’ve party all night!”

Ririka glanced cautiously in front of her at Yumeko. She remembered last night fairly well. As soon as she came up to shore, she was met with the three of them holding a bonfire in front of the house on the beach.

Ririka could tell Kirari and Aoi were clearly drunk and were fooling around the fire with marshmallows on the sticks but somehow, Yumeko was a bit strange. Of course, every now and then, she’d join the two and laugh at the most randomness things but it didn’t go unnoticed to Ririka that Yumeko was giving her an unreadable look.

“Yeah,” Aoi smiled, rubbing the back of his head, “I guess I’ll head back then.”

The two watched as the boy walked upstairs to his and Kirari’s shared room.

It’s amazing how mortals can take instructions. They could even be compared to animals at times. Because like all animals, human have instincts. Revenge, denial, greed, fear and safety being some of them. Mortals first instinct to every single situation is survival and that means being able to depend on someone or something. It doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, mortals needs the assurance that they’ll be able to survive another day.

“Isn’t it lovely?” Yumeko broke the silence, “being in love?”

Ririka glanced at her for a moment. Yumeko’s eyes were burning and they grew brighter the more Ririka stared at her. She would’ve sworn she saw hunger in those red orbs but she decided to shrug. “I don’t know.”

“Hmm,” Yumeko hummed at that the obvious fake respond. “I see.”

Ririka rolled her eyes and glanced to the side. She could already feel another growl in her stomach coming up.

Why the hell was Yumeko being so weird? It’s almost as if….

Yumeko stood up with her empty glass and walked over to the sink. “You know,” she smiled, turning on the tap, “you have a great taste.”

She couldn’t have been the one behind those trees… could she?

Thought her heart was racing and she could a panic coming, Ririka remain calm and slowly glanced up at her. “What do you mean?”

Yumeko just smiled and chugged a glass of water down her throat. When she’s done, she let out a blissful sigh and a playful giggle. “I can hear your heart beat getting louder all the way from here.”

But Ririka was dead serious. She gave Yumeko a cold stare which had Yumeko immediately fallen into submission.

“Well,” she carefully placed the glass down, “to cut to the chase, I saw you making out with that cute blonde last night….You broke the deal.”

As soon as those words left Yumeko’s mouth, Ririka immediately stood up. Something inside of her instantly snapped. Her eyes suddenly glowed. Oceanic blue turning into bright burning color. Her teeth sharpen and so does her nails. Veins popped out of her face And before Yumeko could even continue to speak, Ririka was immediately by her side, grabbing her by the throat, lifting her up and throwing her across the room onto the dining table.

Yumeko winched in pain and try getting up, but in one motion, Ririka was already on top of her, getting on all four and hovering over her body. Her hand immediately encircled Yumeko’s throat, squeezing it hard, pinning her down.

From her position, she could feel Yumeko’s pulsation though her hand and feel every beat of her heart. Ririka knew Yumeko was aware that she could very well ended her life right then. But Yumeko’s pulse wasn’t racing. They were normal… too normal… Her red eyes showed no fear, but instead, they look rather amused.

Right then, Ririka knew she had taken Yumeko’s bait. Whatever her plan was, Ririka fell right into it. Yumeko has successfully provoked her. She knew the timing was wrong for Ririka to kill her and all this was just to get a reaction out of the siren.

“Though it’s very tempting,” A chuckle below her pulled Ririka out of her thoughts. Yumeko smiled and moved her neck to get out of Ririka’s strong grip. “…I won’t tell Kirari.”

Ririka slowly released her grip. Yumeko’s words had calmed her down significantly but she stayed hovering over her. Yumeko was like a serpent. She was hard to trust. Even after five centuries of knowing Yumeko, Ririka still didn’t trust her. Yumeko was someone who betrayed her own words. Throughout the centuries, Yumeko had tricked and fooled more people than Ririka could have counted.

She slowly got off Yumeko and sat on the edge of the table, letting her legs hang down. “So what do you want?” She asked carefully, because obviously, people always wants something in return.

Her eyes shifted back to normal form and so does the rest of her body.

“Nothing,” Yumeko smiled, getting up and sitting beside her. “I just wanted to see how much she means to you and now I know.”

“Why doesn’t it matter?” She said staring out at the open window. The ocean was calling her and the hunger was getting harder and harder to shield.

“Because,” Yumeko followed her gaze and looked out the window. “In the times that I’ve known you, you’ve never been interested in anyone….Not like this.”

“I could say the same to you,” Ririka said softly making Yumeko let out a light chuckle.

“But I’m following the scroll,” she hummed, “a siren can never fall in love, isn’t it?” She glanced at Ririka, “Or is it the other way around? A mortal can never love a siren?”

“I know what the scroll says,” Ririka told her, “but I feel different when I’m around her.”

“Are you planning on telling her?” Yumeko asked softly, “…about us?”

“No.” Ririka sighed, “the less she knows the better.”

Yumeko kept her gaze out the window. “So …you’re planning to break her heart.”

“No.” She said in all seriousness and hoped her voice didn’t betrayed her. “That’s not how I see it.”

If Ririka was being honest, that’s all she ever think about sometimes. Telling Mary exactly who she was. She wondered many times if Mary would have accepted her nonetheless or would Mary be completely disgusted with her.

Revealing herself to a friend is something completely different than revealing herself  to someone she have romantic feelings towards.

The feeling of Mary not wanting anything to do with her was a lot more painful to think about than the guilt of hiding her secret.

But truth be told, she knew their relationship can never go farther than what they have now.

They were just too different.

An immortal and a human.

Ririka had to always keep in mind (no matter how much she hated it) that once summer was over, so should the existence of Mary Saotome.

But Yumeko does have a point. She might as well be breaking Mary’s heart if at the end, she planned on leaving Mary. However, the feeling of Mary liking her for her was something that never happened to her or any of the sirens. She was aware that she’s leading Mary on but somehow, Ririka couldn’t stop the growing feeling of genuinely loving someone and being loved in return.

Mary was just like a tide, always pulling Ririka towards her since the beginning.

“So she’s special.” Yumeko commented, “she isn’t just a random fish in the sea.”

“She’s not. She’s one in a million.” Ririka spoke so softly that Yumeko wondered if Ririka was talking to herself. “That’s why she can never be apart of us.”

Yumeko was quiet, seemingly lost in the moment. She didn’t smile or look at Ririka. Her gaze was far in the distant and for a second Ririka was worried Yumeko might be up to something funny but the siren just  swiftly hopped off the table and walked towards the door. Ririka eyes followed her figure and as she was about to leave, she turned back and her lips tugged up into a smile.

“I really don’t know if this mortal is lucky or doomed. But either way, she’ll have to eventually face the consequences for your feelings. I’d rather see this situation unraveled itself. So i can promise you that I won’t tell Kirari.”

Then the smile turned into a wicked smirk, “after all, you do remember what happened to the prince and princess of Ireland, don’t you?”

 

Five hundred years ago

(A year after Yumeko turned into a siren)

(A year after Kirari killed Tereno)

 

“Eliminate them all.”

Kirari’s stone cold voice made Yumeko’s skin crawled. Though there was the excitement flaring up inside of her, a small part of her wished it hadn’t been her job.

“The others won’t like this,” Yumeko smirked mischievously, “Sumika has already left this evening.”

“Sumika does what she’s told because she fears Ririka,” Kirari calmly inquired, “and Ririka is in no position to argue given the fact that this entire thing is her fault.”

Music was playing in the background while high class men and women were seemingly having their boring typical conversation. A classic band was playing on stage, contain of four men who were on a violin, bass, saxophone and harp with a woman on the centre of the stage singing.

Kirari and Yumeko were both in their fancy dresses just like everyone else. And just like in olden days, they had their hair pulled up in a messy bun, curling it with a finishing touch of a pin at the back to finish it.

“Marvellous!!” Yumeko beamed with a bright smile, then let out a light chuckle. “But are you sure you want me to take care of this alone? Ririka already thinks I’m an unstoppable psychotic maniac.”

“I would rather not get my hands dirty tonight,”replied Kirari, “and Ririka’s opinion does not matter. You can be a psychotic but you are my masterpiece.”

“I see,” Yumeko hummed. “So I suppose you want me to eliminate them all?”

Kirari nodded and Yumeko raised a concern but curious brow, “even…”

“No,” Kirari glanced up at the top of the stairs where princess Yumi Totobami stood. “I’ll take care of her.”

“Very well.” Yumeko’s eyes darkened and her lips tugged into a smile showing her razors teeth. “Just leave this to me.”

Ririka let out a soft sigh and watched her breath ghosting into the cold November air. The ground below her made a cracking sound as she stepped onto a thin layer of ice.

Though she never fancied the colder weather and preferred the warmth, she suppose there was some good reasons why they decided to settle on the northern side of Europe.

One of the reasons being that Yumeko was still a newborn. Though it had already been a year, Yumeko was nevertheless as reckless as ever. She was impulsive and uncontrollable; the complete opposite of Tereno.

Despite the teaching, lesson and warning the sirens had informed her about how crucial to keep themselves hidden, Yumeko paid no mind.

Perhaps this little issue wouldn’t be a problem had it been a thousand year ago when immortal had practically ruled the world.

However, during the years around 1021, problems between the three biggest immortals; Zeus, Poseidon and Hades had been insinuated causing the beginning of the extinction of the immortals.

As mortals began to overthrown the immortals, they had also begun to hunt for them forcing the immortals to go into hiding.

Catching an immortal was like catching a star. Great rewards were given. Hence most immortals either seeks refuges on Mount Olympus or hid amongst the mortals.

Even though the sirens were immortals, because they weren’t goddesses and were cursed, they weren’t welcomed on Mount Olympus.

Ririka paused and looked up at the dark, cloudy sky. The fogs had begun to rolled and she could barely see more than ten steps of what was ahead of her.

The chill in the air, and the soft moaning of the horses far away slightly calms her down somehow. In the back of her mind, she could still smell the salt and hear the waves of the sea overlapping onto each other.

The second reason was that this country was an island covered by the sea. With not too many civilians, it was perfect for the sirens to fit in with the dukes and duchess.

But it had been more than a year of staying in Ireland and Ririka knew it was time to leave. Some people had begun to noticed and grew suspicious. Yumeko had been impulsively and carelessly killing people on a daily basis from left to right. What was worse about that was that she made no efforts on hiding her traces. The rest of the sirens, mainly Ririka and Sumika would be the ones that would have to clean up her messes seeing as Kirari couldn’t care less.

Even so, there was also another reason of why Ririka had been waiting and procrastinating on leaving.

She made friends.

For the past sixth months, Ririka had become close to the princess of Ireland, Yumi. They had become so close that Ririka grew to partially trusted her, even to the point of revealing her identity. And happily, Yumi promised Ririka she would keep her secret.

Be that as it may, Ririka also grew extremely close to Yumi’s twin brother, Kou Totobami, the prince of Ireland.

Ririka had never anticipated becoming friends with a mortal.  But with Yumeko’s daily antics, Ririka found herself within the castle of Ireland more and more. Being one of the prettiest woman in the country, obviously the king and queen had welcomed her with open arms. In fact, the king had even encouraged Ririka to be betrothed to the prince.

Kou was a handsome young man. With messy blonde hair and emerald eyes, he looked exactly like the male version of his sister. The twins were bright and cheerful, bringing a lot of lights into Ririka’s dark life.

There was no question that Kou was infatuated by Ririka’s beauty.  Every time Ririka came into the castle, he’d always welcomed her with a bouquet of 100 roses, and each time, Ririka had to remind herself that it was purely her beauty that had caught the prince’s attention, and not her.

Knowing fully well that she’ll leave them soon, Ririka allowed herself to indulge herself with their warmth and accepted the prince’s proposal.

Hence, she was on her way to the twins birthdays ball. Kou had promised Ririka he’d announce to everyone that he has been spoken for. Of course, Ririka was a bit unsure if she liked that idea since she knew she wouldn’t be going through with it. But being the bride of a gorgeous prince had somehow made her feel tingly with butterflies in her stomach. It had been the same feeling she gotten when Persephone had given her the daffodil. And for once, she made an excuse and allowed herself to accept his proposal.

Because in truth, when the time comes and they had to leave, she could just enchant the whole country and make them believe that the sirens had never existed.

When she reached the footsteps of the castle, an odd feeling rushed through her. There was no noises or chattering. There was no one around. Usually the servant would wait for their masters in their carriages outside of the castle. However, only the horses were left unattended and that smell—

That disgusting and all too familiar scent— 

“You were going to betray my sister?” Kirari hissed, squeezing Yumi’s throat from behind, “give me one good reason why I shouldn’t kill you right now.”

Yumi whimpered and cried in pain. Gripping tightly onto Kirari’s wrist, she knew this was a battle she couldn’t win. In panic, she looked around the ball room. Dead and bloody bodies lays across the dance floor, including her mother and father; the king and queen of the country.

“Well?” Kirari pushed, impatiently squeezing the princess’s throat tighter. “I’ll give you five seconds. Five…four…” each seconds, she squeezed harder, “three…two—“

“T-Tereno!” Yumi breathed out.

The name immediately made Kirari’s blood ran cold and she released her grip.

“She’s my ancestor.” Yumi explained, smudging her neck, “About two years ago, she showed up and told me who she was. She often came to visit me but stopped a year ago. I believe she passed.” She glanced up at Kirari, “you killed her.”

“Nonsense!” Kirari acted offended, although still dumbfounded by the information. No wonder Tereno had always disappeared behind their backs. “Why would you assume I’m the one who killed her?”

“Perhaps you four are too beautiful and incredibly exquisite to be true.” Yumi continued, “I had my suspicions since I first laid eyes on you. When the town people started to go missing, I knew it had to be your doing.”

“Is that so?” Amused Kirari, “then why let Ririka become so close to you and your dear brother no less?”

Ririka is not like you!” She yelled, “You two in this room are the only murderers and responsible for everything that happened in this town!”

“You wound me.” Kirari let out a sigh and walked around the princess, “I’m rather hurt by your accusations. But you’re certainly intriguing. Tereno being your ancestor only fired up my mind. However…” she paused and looked her dead in the eye, “I’ll have to kill you.” Kirari laughed, “but you already know that—“

“Get away from my sister!” The prince suddenly appeared out of nowhere and charged towards Kirari with his sword.

“No!” Yumi yelled out, “Get out Kou!”

But before anything could even happened, Yumeko was right behind the prince in one swift motion. The fight ended as fast as it started. Yumeko’s yanked her arm against his head and immediately decapitated him. His head flew across the floor before his body could even collapsed.

“Forgive me, your majesty.” Yumeko smiled, “you shouldn’t be in the way.”

Yumi’s eyes widened with insufferable pain. Her legs could no longer hold themselves up and she collapsed on her knees. Blood was all over the floor and the castle smelled like death.

“Bloody hell.”

A dark voice came across the room. The two sirens looked towards the voice, which Ririka immediately emerged from.

“Trust me Ririka, do not fret.” Kirari spoke up before her sister could could rage according to her up growing frown, “desperate times calls for desperate measure.”

“Pardon me!” Ririka cracked her neck and breathed heavily as she made her way towards her sister. “What have you done Kirari!”

“Saving you a headache, dear sister,” Kirari replied calmly.

“Indeed,” Yumeko agreed, licking her lips. Her dress and hair was ruined with blood stained and yet, she still smiled like nothing had happened.

Ririka glanced down at the princess and immediately bent down to hold her by the shoulders. “Yumi,” she whispered, “are you alright?”

The princess, however was still traumatized by everything. She was shaking and unable to move to all. Ririka immediately pulled her into an embrace and gently rubbed her back.

Oh please,Ririka. This hussy was going to announce your identity to everyone!” Kirari groaned, “I did what I must.”

“Stop talking.” Ririka sent a cold glare at her sister, “you’ve done enough.”

“It is not my fault, nor Yumeko’s, that you cannot differentiate between an illusion and reality.” Kirari huffed, “you knew a mortal can never truly love, nor have genuine feelings towards us, and yet, you let yourself drowned in the comfort of their grace.”

“You’re still an imbecile, Kirari.” Ririka countered, then turned her attention back towards her friend. Her expression softened, “Yumi…this was not my intention to hurt you, nor your family and friends. I truly am sorry—“

Before Ririka could even finished saying what she desperately needed to say, Yumi had interrupted her.

“Kill me.” She said softly, looking Ririka dead in the eyes. There were tears flowing down her rosey cheeks from her bright and sparkling emerald. “I can no longer live with the knowledge of my people laying dead in front of me.” Then her eyes slowly averted from the ground to Ririka’s, “my brother…” she choked out and glanced over at her headless brother laying a few feet away, “my brother…”

“I cannot kill you, Yumi.” Ririka shook her head, a tear fell from her eye, “I should have been here sooner—“

“This was always bound to happen though,” the princess looked deeply into Ririka’s eyes, “is it not?”

Guilt and sadness filled Ririka’s heart. This was never her intention. She simply wanted to feel the warmth this kingdom had offered her and then leave in peace.

Why must Kirari done this?

“I do not blamed you for any of this,” Yumi’s soft voice lead Ririka back to reality. Her hand gently cupped Ririka’s cheek and wiped away that single tear. “But I do need you to end my suffering.”

“I’m afraid I must disappoint you,” Ririka answered. There was no way she would kill someone precious to her.

You have…” Yumi told her, glancing at her brother one last time before picking up a dagger laying randomly on the floor and immediately stabbing herself right into her heart. Her eyes fixed into Ririka’s widened ones as she breathed out her last words.

“…in more ways than one.”

And with that, Yumi’s body collapsed into Ririka’s arms and the siren stayed frozen for a moment until finally she layed the body on the floor along with everyone else.

“Well then,” Kirari spoke up, “I think we’ve done a good job, Yumeko.”

“We certainly did!” Yumeko cheered as she clapped her hands, “however, I senses townies are heading up this way.”

Kirari smiled and nodded. “So do I. You and I should go ahead and deal with this.” She started walking towards the main door and pointed at Ririka, “Ririka you stay here—“

Yumeko eagerly nodded and was about to walk out when Ririka’s dark and angry voice stopped the two of them in their tracks.

“You’re going with her?!” She growled at Yumeko, then glared at Kirari. She pulled herself together and accepted what had just happened rather quickly. “So the two people responsible for destroying this whole kingdom when there’s clearly better solutions, thus putting us in this bloody mess are now about to go and deal with the consequences. That’s just marvellous.” She let out an airy laugh and looked down on the two, “I mean, what could possibly go wrong?”

“Ririka—“ Kirari wanted to defend her action but was interrupted by her sister once again.

“You two stay here.” Ririka ordered firmly, “clean this mess up. I’ll deal with the townies.”

She stood and gazed up into the chandelier from above. Taking a step forward, she sighed and from her side profile, Kirari had witnessed how much this damage had taken a toll on her sister. Ririka looked burnt out, as if all hope inside of her were lost. She had to admit a part of her felt utterly guilty for her impulsiveness. However, she couldn’t convince herself to believe any other counter would have resolved in a different solution.

Once a mortal becomes your enemy, there was no turning back.

“Burn this castle down for all I care.” Ririka spoke up, and lowered her gaze down to her former prince. She whispered, “there is no rose without a thorn after all.”

And with that, she rushed out in one swift motion and was out of the castle.

~

consequences?

“Tch- what does she know?” Ririka frowned and shook her head as she emerged to the surface.

She spent the whole day swimming and yet, she still didn’t feel complete.

Making her way into the beach house, she noticed the the others were comfortably already in the living room watching a show. She made her way into her room and quickly change her clothes before returning to the living room once again.

“I’m seeing the doctor tonight,” she announced, immediately earning the attention of the other two sirens.

“As you should.” Kirari nodded in all seriousness before adding, “have a safe trip.”

“Thank you.” Ririka replied and walked towards the door. Before she could head out, she turned around one last time to gave a message to Kirari. “My dismissal means nothing. I hope you do not go anywhere near Mary, nor do anything reckless.”

Her eyes darken and they looked into Kirari’s with power and domination.

“After all, she means everything to me.”

 

Chapter Text

 

Mary stared down at the glass of apple juice she had just poured. It was barely pass nine but under the dim lighted kitchen, she suddenly felt exhausted. She has had quite the day. After training, Itsuki had suggested they should hang out. Even when Mary refused, Itsuki still managed to drag her around town. They’d go into different stores and restaurants, that by the time Mary finally had enough, the sun had gone down completely.

It’s not that she didn’t appreciate Itsuki’s company or is annoyed by her. It’s the fact that hanging out with Itsuki was always tiring, taking a large chuck of energy out of her. However, she was glad she hadn’t walked out on her and decided to hang out with her.

Itsuki was a wise decision to take Mary’s mind off a certain someone. The girl talks so much and takes up so much of Mary’s stamina that there was almost no room to long for Ririka. All through the day, Ririka had stayed in the back of Mary’s mind. Never leaving and never intruding.

It was driving Mary nuts. Ririka had told her that she’d surprise her and she had accepted that, thinking that she’d just pop up during the day to say hi or something. Mary was never one to be needy but it’s been a whole day! Why can’t she see Ririka whenever she wants? They’re closer than friends aren’t they?

Under normal circumstances, whenever Mary misses someone, she’d just pull out her phone and gave them a text. But Ririka was no normal person. She was private. The ultimate private of a person. She had no phone, no contact information, and her friends were just as weird.

Itsuki was sitting on the couch watching some sort of celebrity show Mary had no interest in. For the past hours, Itsuki had been on the phone trying to reach her boyfriend. From Mary’s observation, they got into some sort of fights. If Mary had to guess, it all ruled down to Kaede not returning her calls or texts fast enough. This was typical; Itsuki demanding attention. But what would Itsuki knows about lack of attention? It had been a whole day and she hadn’t seen or heard from Ririka!

By the time Itsuki had given up, it was already late and she had decided to stay over night.

And being the soft person that she was, Mary couldn’t decline the hospitality for a heartbroken friend.

Sometimes, Mary wondered why she stayed friends with a spoil rich brat like itsuki. But in honesty, Itsuki had helped her through a lot in the past which Mary had genuinely appreciated. She rarely considered anyone her friend but Itsuki was the one person she knew would always be by her side, even as annoying as she was.

Mary plopped down next to her and released a long sigh. “This is a horrible show. Switch the channel.”

“What no!” Itsuki glared at her, grabbing the remote before Mary could take it. “This is a trend!“

“I’d rather eat shit then keep up with these celebrities.” Mary groaned, “I mean who the hell cares who is dating who?”

“Damn,” Itsuki leaned back and snickered. “Who made you this grumpy?”

Mary rubbed her temple, trying to ease the throbbing pain in her head as she seemed to sank into the sofa. “Ririka.”

“Ririka? Geez…” Itsuki looked at her with astonishment. “What did she do to piss you off?”

“No, it’s not like that. She didn’t do anything.” Mary mumbled, crossing her arms and letting out a light sigh, “none of this is her fault.”

“Then, what happened?” Itsuki placed the remote down, all her attention seemed to be on Mary now.

“We um…” Mary’s voice mellowed down as she glanced away, “we kind of kissed the other night-“

“You what!” Itsuki interrupted, eyes wide opened as if hearing something unbelievable. “You kissed Ririka!?”

Mary rubbed her head, feeling a headache coming her way from Itsuki’s scream. “Well, yeah—“

“You hit a jackpot! I mean you kissed the most beautiful person in town!” Itsuki screeched, “why the hell are you so down?”

“That’s the issue,” Mary mumbled, sinking into the sofa. “I haven’t heard from her since.”

Itsuki stared at her for a moment in disbelief. “What, you think she’s out hooking up with someone else?”

Mary cringed from Itsuki’s crazy assumption. “Ririka isn’t that type of person.” She told her with confident and hoped the crack in her voice didn’t betrayed her.

“Don’t you have like her number or something?” Itsuki asked, “you two hang out a lot these past weeks.”

“Ririka doesn’t have a phone,” Mary explained, staring at the TV screen. “Those meet ups are what we talked about the day before or by coincidence.”

“That’s odd.” Itsuki responded, “what era does she live in having by no phones?”

“Tell me about it,” Mary grunted. “This whole situation is stressing me out.”

Itsuki shrugged, thinking about Her boyfriend who was currently ignoring her. “You know, I’ve actually never seen you so stressed out about someone before, I mean, other than Tsuzura.”

That was true. Mary had never cared or put in efforts thinking this much about someone else before. Tsuzura was the only other person who had invaded Mary’s mind like this. She was a shy girl who Mary felt the need to protect all the time during middle and high school.

“Sometimes I miss Tsuzura,” Mary mumbled, closing her eyes. “I haven’t heard from her in months.”

Itsuki snickered. “Did I hear that correct? Mary Saotome missing someone?”

“Oh shut up. I just wanted to know if she’s still alive thats all.” Mary grumbled, “and Ririka too. For all I know, she could be dead or gone missing like one of those missing people!”

“Geez,” Itsuki grinned, finding Mary’s misery amusing. It was rare when Mary show this side of her and Itsuki would always use the opportunity thrown at her. “You really are a love sick puppy aren’t you? And a cute one too!”

Mary gave her one menacing glare which immediately shut down the lights in Itsuki’s eyes. Before Itsuki could spoke another word, they heard the sound of a motorcycle rolling up the driveway and soon three gentle knocks came at the door.

“Ugh, it’s probably someone from school coming to grab me for a party.” Mary groaned glancing back at the TV, “could you get the door and tell them to go away?”

“Fine,” Itsuki sighed as she stood up and heads towards the door.

Upon opening up the door, Itsuki immediately felt her face heating up. To her surprise, what was on the other side of the door was far from some college students.

“I’m sorry for the disturbance, but is Mary home?” Ririka asked politely, and Itsuki could tell she was in some sort of a rush.

“Y-Yeah, she’s on the couch,” Itsuki replied slowly, her eyes never moving away from Ririka. “Should I go and get her?”

“Yes,” answered Ririka. “I’d appreciate that.”

Itsuki nodded and begun to turn and walk away but stopped and turn back to Ririka. “Sorry for my rudeness,” she giggled, “please come in, it’s kind of cold outside.”

“Don’t apologize,” Ririka smiled at her, stepping inside the house, “but thanks, I’ll be quick.”

Itsuki smiled back then suddenly stepped closer to Ririka. “I just need to inform you on one thing though,” she muttered, “Mary’s sort of in a bad mood, so be gentle with her.”

“Bad mood?” Ririka got confused, “did something happened?”

“Well, because she hadn’t heard from you and she thinks you’re ignoring her,” snickered Itsuki. “She misses you.”

“I see,” Ririka nodded, her confusion turned into a blank emotion making it difficult for itsuki to read her.

“Right…” Itsuki mumbled before leaving into the living room where Mary was. A small groan escaped her mouth because her plan to tease Ririka had totally failed. The blonde was laying on the couch continuously switching the channels. Seemed like none of the show had somehow satisfied her.

“Who was it?” Mary asked nonchalantly.

“Ririka.” Itsuki replied blatantly with a smirk on her face. “She’s…waiting for you.”

It’s amazing how someone’s mood could change with just a simple word. Mary’s expression from sour immediately turned relaxed and almost too happy to hear Ririka being mention. It surprises Itsuki to the extreme.

She stood up within seconds and walked towards the door. “Ririka.”

Mary almost felt short circuit from how incredibly hot Ririka was looking in front of her.

She had her hair in high ponytail and wore a black leather jacket over a dark plaid shirt with a black tank top underneath. She wore a tight black leather pants and finishing the look with a black Chelsea boot.

Ririka was really going for the dark vibes out here.

Other than bikinis and dresses, Mary had never seen Ririka in other types of outfits. If she was being honest, Ririka was hot in all types of clothing.

Golden eyes shamelessly checked out Ririka’s whole body from head to toe. Her eyes travelled back to Ririka’s lips. They looked so plump and full. Mary could still remember how they tasted in the back of her mind. Her cheeks immediately reddened the longer she stared at those lips.

But before her thoughts could become wild and uncontrollable, Ririka’s voice brought her back to reality.

“Surprise?” Ririka giggling nervously, relieved that Mary seemed genuinely happy and not the opposite. She was preparing for the worst at what itsuki had told her. “It’s good to see you again,”

“I could say the same thing,” She mumbled, still stunned that Ririka was at her door. “But why’re you here so late?”

“I apologized,” Ririka shrugged, “but I needed to see you.”

“Well, I’m glad you’re here because I needed to see you too,” regardless of Mary’s sour mood earlier, she still smiled and could feel itsuki eyes looming behind her back. “Oh um…by the way, this is my friend itsuki. She’s staying over tonight.”

“Hi!” Itsuki grinned, “It’s nice to finally be able to talk to the woman Mary is dating!”

Mary’s eyes immediately widened in shock and embarrassment. “Itsuki!” She hissed, trying to cover her friend’s mouth, “we’re not-“

“I’m not sure if I’m the one Mary is dating,” Ririka teased, a small blush formed on her cheeks as the other two abruptly turned to look at her. “Mary would have to ask me out first, wouldn’t she?”

“I—“ Mary stuttered and she impulsively let go of Itsuki. “I—“

Ririka watched with fascination as a blush spread up Mary’s chest and neck, then across her face.

“I’m only teasing,” Ririka giggled, and somehow her laugh had immediately made the two friends dumbfounded which she immediately realized and cleared her throat.  She looked at Mary and tugged her arm gently pulling her closer to her. “Can we have a word?” She asked softly, “in private?”

“Of course,” Mary nodded, turning to itsuki, “we’re gonna go to my room so stay down here.”

“Your wish is my command,” Itsuki winked and laughed as she walked off. “I’ll be in the living room.”

Mary frown at her friend’s behaviour but turn to Ririka and gestures her upstairs to her room. As soon as Mary closed the door behind them, Ririka politely scanned the room. Mary hadn’t rearranged anything. The room looked exactly like it was the last time Ririka had visited.

Except…the picture frame Mary had on her nightstand was removed.

“Sorry about that,” Mary scratched her cheek, “she has like no filter.”

The blonde shifted uncomfortably with each legs. She almost couldn’t believe that Ririka was in her room. Suddenly it felt as if she was over thinking for the whole day over nothing!

“It’s okay.” Said Ririka as she turned to face her.

“Um…Right.” Mary stepped closer to her, giving her a sheepish smile. “you’re really pretty.”

Ririka eyes widened and she blushed. “Thanks.” She muttered before taking a seat on Mary’s bed.

Suddenly Mary couldn’t look away. Mary quickly shook her head and stepped towards the window. There stood the black motorcycle parked on her driveway. “I didn’t know you ride a motorcycle.”

“I do, sometimes.” She responded absent minded.

Mary gulped and sat down next to her, still staring at her, but something about her stare had shifted from flattering to unnerving. There was something too intense in her gaze. And Ririka tucked her hair behind her ear and looked away from her.

“I’m sorry I didn’t show up earlier today,” she said.

“It’s okay,” Mary replied quickly, then shook her head, as if that were not what he meant to say. “I wasn’t…” she looked away from her, but only for a moment, and then his eyes were locked on her again. “Where were you?”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” She shook her head.

“I’d believe anything you said,” Mary replied, and the sincerity in her voice made Ririka look at her.

“Mary…” Ririka’s voice trailed and there was a concern look in her eyes.

“Can you stay with me tonight?” Mary quickly breathed out.

Ririka gently grabbed her hand, “i can’t. I need to leave tonight,” she told her, “for a day or two. And I want you to come with me.”

“Leave?” Mary raised a brow but the dazzling in her eyes were still there. “Where?”

“California.” Answered Ririka.

“Yeah, of course I’ll go with you,” the blonde quickly respond and as soon as her words left her mouth, Ririka quickly stood, tugging Mary up with her.

“Good,” she smiled, “we leave now.”

“What?” Mary abruptly shook her head as if she was in a dream. As the fogginess in her mind slowly faded, she furrowed her brow in confusion. “Wait, Ririka.”

“What is it?” Ririka turned to face her.

“I can’t go with you,” Mary told her, “not tonight.”

“Why not?” She asked dubiously and glanced towards the window.

“I sort of remember that I have an important meeting tomorrow with my coach.”

Ririka furrowed her brows, and slowly asked, “can it wait?”

Mary shook her head. “I’m afraid not.”

Ririka bit her lower lip and let go of Mary’s hand.

“Can California wait until after tomorrow?” Mary asked quietly, which Ririka shook her head to and decided to sit back on the bed.

Mary slowly approached the woman and sat next to her. The bed made a creaky sound as she inched closer to her. Mary reached down and placed her hand on Ririka’s and she spoke softly, “You know if I hadn’t already give coach my words, I’d go with you right?”

Ririka slowly nodded and her eyes lowered on the rug below Mary’s bed. It was a soft fluffy grey rug. She watched as the material somewhat engulfing her feet and she wished she had taken off her shoes to feel the softness of the rug. Ririka could feel the quietness of stomach growling getting louder with each stroke Mary’s thumb was tracing on her hand.

Leaving Mary would be dangerous.

But staying with Mary would be more dangerous. Very soon, she wouldn’t be able to control her actions and the animal in her would fully take control over the humanity in her. The survival instinct will immediately take effects and attack any indications of life itself.

“Ririka?” Mary mumbled and carefully lifted Ririka’s chin with her index finger. The blue eyes she had come to love was now filled with tears and almost looked frozen. She could tell Ririka was in some sort of a dilemma. If Mary was to be honest, she would go all over the world if Ririka wouldn’t look at her like this.

However, she knew by going with Ririka, she would disappoint her coach, who had believed in her from the beginning and herself. Mary worked hard to be a swimmer. She wanted to make a name for herself and to built a life she would be proud of. This meeting with the mentor would be a huge milestone in her career and she couldn’t risk it all by going on couple of days vacation with Ririka.

“I understand,” Ririka finally spoke up after some time. “You had your priorities and I respect that.”

“Ririka, I want to go with you, I do,” Mary pressed, “but—“

“I know, Mary.” Ririka smiled at her, “you don’t have to explain.”

Mary nodded and gave her a weak smile.

“But I have to leave now.” Ririka quickly said, clearing her throat.

Mary stared at her for a moment until she family look away into the distance with a pout on her face. Ririka watched as her brows furrowed and there was a longing in her expression that made Ririka’s heart clenched.

Ririka couldn’t help slowly slipped closer to her and lean towards her pressing a gentle kiss on Mary’s cheek.

The blonde immediately turn to face her. Her eyes widened and she could feel her face heating up.

“Ririka…” Mary blushed and looked away, “what was that for?”

“I want to remind you that my feelings are mutual towards you.” Ririka smiled, “I want you to know that I wasn’t avoiding you today.”

Mary’s smile grew wider and wider until she was smiling from cheek to cheek.

“Ririka,” she leaned in to her, pressing her lips over hers.

At first, Ririka was stunned, the thought of biting and hurting Mary still have played on her mind. But as Mary was leaning more and more into her, she found it hard to resist, so she leaned into her, returning the kiss with as much fervor.

Soon after a moment, just like the previous night, eagerness took over and Ririka found herself tangling her fingers in Mary’s hair, pressing them closer together.

As her mind started to cloud, and as Mary started kissing her with much more aggression, she felt the heat under her stomach spreading over her, making her skin flutter, like when her legs transformed into a tail.

Ririka wrapped her arms around Mary’s neck, pulling her down with her on the bed.

The siren wanted to come out and there was something strangely fascinating about holding it back. Ririka was in control, not the monster, and as Mary kissed her neck, she stayed firmly on the line between siren and human.

It wasn’t until Mary’s hands began lifting her tank top free from her Jeans, running her hands along the smooth skin of her stomach until she moved her hands up Ririka’s stomach and ran her thumbs along the underside of her breasts that Ririka silenced the siren lust within her. Mary was entering a dangerous territory and if she didn’t stop her now, she doubt she could hold the monster back. Her skin stopped fluttering, the heat inside of her went cold, and Ririka sat up, gently pushing Mary off her.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Mary said, still breathing heavy and moved back from her. “Did I go too far?”

“No,” she gave her a small smile and straighten out her shirt. “I was just surprise. What was that for?”

“I want to remind you of what was waiting for you when you get back,” Mary smirked, and brushed her bangs out of her forehead.

“Sorry, I got a little carried away.”

She smiled at her, before getting closer and quickly brushing her lips over Mary’s. “Don’t apologize for that.”

Mary looked taken aback, lips parted before a smile grew on her face. “I really wish you’d stay longer.”

“There is nothing more that I want than that.” Ririka slipped her hand in Mary’s and stood up. She quickly glance over the window and sighed. “But I need to leave now.”

Mary nodded and stood next to her. “Be careful on your journey.” She firmly hold her hand, lightly squeezing it.

“I will,” Ririka smiled and lead Mary down the stairs.

Upon coming down the stairs, they witnessed that Itsuki was still on the couch watching the show. As soon as she saw they walking down, a smirked raise up her face. “Took you long enough to join me again,” she winked.

“Oh, shut up.” Mary scowled.

“Mary,” Ririk turned to face her before reaching the door, “before I leave, I need you to promise me something.”

Mary nodded, “anything.”

“I want you to stay inside as much as possible.” Ririka told her, fully knowing her request was nothing but a mere statement, “don’t leave your house tonight and don’t go out on your own.”

“I won’t be going out tonight,” Mary frowned, “but what do you mean don’t go out alone?”

“I can’t tell you now,” Ririka urged, “but please, just trust me.”

Part of her wanted to put a spell on Mary badly. Controlling her to stay in the house until Ririka gets back. But she wasn’t Kirari or Yumeko and she’ll never be the type of siren that uses her power for selfish reasons.

She knew she couldn’t trust Kirari but small part of her believed Kirari knows where to not the cross the line. And on top of that, Mary was more than capable of taking care of herself.

“Itsuki,” Ririka called out to the younger girl, “can you do me a favour and stay with Mary until I get back?”

“I can do that,” Itsuki’s eyes were locked to her and Mary almost couldn’t believe how easy it was for Ririka to order her friend like that.

“Thank you,” Ririka smiled and turned to Mary. “I will be back before you know it.”

“I’ll be waiting for you,” Mary told her, releasing Ririka’s hand.

“Mary…” Ririka couldn’t resist turning around and taking Mary’s chin in her hand and kissing her full on the lips, sucking every ounce of air from her lungs.

When they parted, Mary’s cheeks were flushed even more and her eyes glossed over an impish grin on her lips.

Mary instinctively touched her lips and smiled, causing Ririka to cough and smiled back. However, just before Ririka walked away, Mary witnessed the longing look it her eyes. It was as if her eyes were frozen, as if she was having a difficult time leaving Mary. But her eyes went back to normal soon after.

Mary didn’t have it in her heart to think much of it or if there are meaning behind those expressions. So Ririka quickly walked out and closed the door behind her. Mary heard the motorcycle engine starting up and soon, it faded into the road.

“I miss her already,” Mary sighed and sat on the couch.

Itsuki rolled her eyes and snickered, “you lucky bitch. How do you get all these hot chicks after you?”

“Shut up,” Mary groaned as she changes the channel. “Hot but also really…weird.”

“Tell me about it,” giggled Itsuki. “I’m gonna make us popcorn then we’re gonna watch a movie marathon.”

“I don’t mind,” Mary sighed as she laid on the couch happily.

Two hours passed in the blink of an eye when Mary’s phone started ringing.

Mary frowned as she blindly reached for her phone.

“A public phone?” Mary frowned and answer it. “Hello?”

“Mary?”

The voice on the other end sounded a lot like Ririka, but Mary couldn’t remember giving her, her number.

“Ririka?”

Yes,” Mary heard Ririka replying, “I’m at a gas station and wanted to see how you’re doing.”

“I’m doing fine,” Mary sat up, “are you almost there?”

Yeah-“ she got cut off a bit “-I’m just waiting for my gas to fill.”

Mary released a relief sigh, then to her dismay, she heard something groaning in pain through the phone.

“Ririka?” Mary asked, “what was that noise?”

Oh, just some bikers gang.” She sounded calmer than she should, “they were trying to gang up on me but I handled them.”

“I—“ Mary found herself dumbfounded at the situation Ririka was telling her. “I’m glad, really, but please be careful, travelling alone like that.”

I am, Mary,” she heard Ririka coughed, “you don’t have to worry.”

“How did you get my number?” Mary asked, “I mean, I don’t mind, just you calling me makes me so happy enough to cry.”

She heard Ririka being quiet for a moment before hearing a voice cracked, “I memorized your phone number. When we were at the library, you let me use your phone and well It’s kind of stuck in my head.”

Mary felt her heart flutters and she clenched onto her shirt over her heart. She still didn’t know what they were exactly, but she knew she wanted to cherish and enjoy these feelings.

Mary?” She heard Ririka spoke up after Mary had gone silence.

“Yeah, I’m here.”

I have to leave now,” She heard Ririka shifting and her voice faded, “I will check up on you later, is that ok?”

“That’s-that’s more than ok,” Mary stuttered, “I’ll be waiting.”

She heard Ririka hummed and some more groan in the background. Then Ririka hung up the phone.

Mary hung up her end of the line and held her phone between her hand. Her lips tugged up into a smile and her face was flustered.

That was the first time Ririka had ever called her. She almost couldn’t care what it was for. Just hearing her voice made Mary smile from cheek to cheek.

“Jeez,” Itsuki’s voice brought Mary back down to earth. “You smiling like that is actually creeping me out.”

Mary rolled her eyes and sigh blissfully as she laid back down on the couch. Whatever itsuki say, she could care less. Ririka was the only thing that she care about.

“Oh shit!” She exclaimed, “Kaede is at Yumemi’s party.”

“Now?” Mary asked lazily, looking at her phone. “What the fuck? It’s almost midnight.”

“He’s drunk,” Itsuki furrowed her brows, “I gotta go get him.”

“He can take care of himself,” Mary scowled, “why is he even at a party anyway? I thought you said that he hates parties!”

“He does,” Itsuki signed, putting a jacket on. “He drinks whenever we fight.”

“Are you actually going to get him?” Mary question as she stood up.

“Of course,” Itsuki looked for her purse, “who knows what those horny girls at the party are up to. You need to come with me.”

“Me?” Mary scoffed, “I’m not going to go to a party at midnight just to get your useless boyfriend. Like I said, he can take care of himself.”

“Ugh,” Itsuki groaned, “please, Mary. My driver is off duty. Just drop me off at Yumemi’s then if you don’t wanna stay.”

“But I promised Ririka—“

“Your girlfriend is being over protective,” Itsuki sighed, “and since when do you stay inside? You usually went out to swim anyway.”

“She isn’t my girlfriend…” Mary quietly mumbled and deflated.

“She might as well be,” Itsuki smirked, “now come on, I promised her I’d stay with you until she gets back and I really don’t want to get on her bad side.”

“She doesn’t have a bad side,” Mary frowned and a memory of Ririka being cold to her quickly flashed in her mind and she sighed. “But I still think it’s a bad idea to go out. Just text Yumemi and tell her to lock Kaede in a room or something.”

“Are you kidding me?” She scoffed, “she flirts with him all the time. What makes you think I trust her?”

“I don’t know itsuki,” Mary shrugged and for the first time since itsuki had known her, the blonde was thinking twice about going out. “It’s something I promised Ririka and I would like to keep it.”

“Please Mary,” Itsuki opened the door and a sudden gush of wind blew into the house, in a way that almost made Mary shivered. “I’ll be waiting by your car.”

Mary stood frozen for a minute before ultimately allowing herself to move forward. She didn’t know why Ririka had told her to stay and maybe itsuki was right. Maybe Ririka was just being over protective. But why all of a sudden now? She never told Mary to be careful before.

Was there a deeper meaning behind her warning?

Mary shook her head to clear her mind. As she reached out to grab the door handle, she gasped and moved her hand immediately as if the door handle had burned her. She frowned and decided to reach out once more hoping that it was just her illusions. And it seemed like it was because nothing happened this time.

Itsuki had already been waiting by the car, eyes locked on her phone.

Mary groaned and unlock her car. “You own me.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Itsuki rolled her eyes, “come in, Yumemi’s house is right down the beach. I bet she’s hosting some type of beach party.”

“I’m just dropping you off,” Mary frowned, “you can figure out a way how to get home on your own.”

“I’m sure there are people I know at the party,” Itsuki sighed, “and you can’t leave, I promised your girlfriend I wouldn’t leave you alone.”

“If you really wanted to keep her promise, you wouldn’t be forcing me to go out like this,” mumbled Mary as she starts the engine.

“Look, here’s the plan,” Itsuki placed her phone down, the bumps on the drive way made her winched a little, “we’re gonna get Kaede, then go to my house and you’re gonna stay there for the night.”

“No way!” Mary scoffed,” you act like I don’t have a home.”

Itsuki signed and looked out the view ahead. “I’m just gonna stop talking since you’re like arguing with me over every single thing I’m saying.”

The night was quiet and so was the street. It seemed as if nobody was around. Mary started to wonder if Yumemi was actually hosting a party after all. Usually, when there is a party, people were all over the street and the beach, but somehow, everywhere Mary looked, nobody was around.

“Are you sure Yumemi is having a party?” Mary muttered, “where is everyone?”

“That’s because you’re a couple miles away, dummy,” Itsuki rolled her eyes.

Mary was taken aback a little and she shook her head again. The fogginess in her mind started to appear again. She found herself having a hard time thinking straight.

At one point, Mary swore she heard someone singing a lullaby. “Did you hear that?”

“Hear what?” Itsuki mumbled, oblivious of Mary’s internal conflicts.

Mary slightly shook her head. It was probably just her imagination or maybe she was just tired. It was already midnight after all.

When they were much closer to Yumemi’s house, they could hear the loud music blasting off in the distance. This time, Mary was relieved to find people all over the street and the beach. People were laughing and drinking everywhere.

“All right,” Itsuki unbuckled her seatbelt, “let’s just park here. I don’t think there’s any parking space any closer. We’ll just have to walk for a couple minutes.”

“Fine,” Mary groaned, “I’m so tired of your ass today.”

“At least I have one,” Itsuki snickered and before Mary could yell at her, she quickly got out and closed the door.

When Mary got out, Itsuki was already a few feet down the road and Mary had to run to catch up to her. “Slow down would you?“

“My drunk boyfriend is in there somewhere passing out,” Itsuki complained, “I don’t want to slow down.”

Come now, weary traveller, I’ll lead you through the waves. Worry not, poor voyager, for my voice is the way.”

Mary halted and grabbed Itsuki’s arm. “Did you hear that?”

“Hear what?” Itsuki looked at Mary as if she was insane.

“Someone’s singing.” Mary replied dumbfounded as she stared out towards the ocean.

“All I hear is the annoying music Yumemi had put on,” Itsuki scowled, “I mean the type of songs she made the DJ plays every time at her party is still questionable to me.”

“No,” Mary shook her head and pointed out into the sea, “it came from over there.”

Itsuki looked where Mary had pointed and frowned. “Are you okay? Nobody’s out there.”

Mary.”

Mary’s eyes widened and she felt a chill running down her spine. “It’s…calling my name.”

Itsuki looked her with with confusion. “Look, I don’t think your feeling well. Come, let’s just get Kaede and leave.”

Mary stood frozen a moment until finally nodded and followed itsuki. The younger girl was walking ahead of Mary and didn’t noticed that the blonde had stopped following her.

Mary couldn’t explain how, but somehow, the voice was leading her towards the shore. Her legs moved on it’s own at that point. The sudden urge to swim in the sea was harder to resist than ever. Mary had missed swimming out there so much but she knew something was wrong. Something bad was going to come out of this.

With little to no effort, she slipped out of her hoodie and shorts and stepped into the ocean.

Mary.”

The voice was calling her and Mary showed no signs of stopping herself from floating into the sea.

 

Chapter Text

 

Mary.” Her name floated through the air, like a song. At first she thought she was hearing things, maybe the sound of somebody’s stereo on the beach mixing with the crashing of the waves. But then she heard it again, only louder this time.

Mary.” Someone was singing her name again.

Trending water, she looked around for the source of the voice, but it was pretty easy to spot. Mary had been letting the current take her, and she hadn’t realized how close she’d gotten to the cove. It was only about twenty feet from her, and it flowed from a fire burning in its centre.

Even though she hadn’t paying much attention when she was swimming out here, she was sure the fire hadn’t been lit a few moments ago. And Kirari and Yumeko definitely hadn’t been out there.

Mary had seen enough of them lately, and if she had any inkling that they’d be here, she wouldn’t have come out this far and risked running into them.

But were they the ones who were singing to her?

Kirari and as twirling around, dancing in a slow graceful music that only she could hear and Yumeko stood at the edge of the shore, so close that the water was splashing  up in her feet.

Yumeko was the one calling her name, but she wasn’t just saying it. She sang it in a way that Mary had never heard anyone sing before. It was beauty and magic. It sounded like how Ririka’s kisses felt, only better.

Mary,” Yumeko sang again. “Come now, weary traveller, I’ll lead you through the waves. Worry not, poor voyager, for my voice is the way.”

Mary stayed transfixed in the water, completely hypnotized by Yumeko’s sing. It was as if Yumeko had somehow put a spell on her, and any unease Mary had felt about the two of them melted away. All she could feel was the beauty and the warmth of her lyric, crystal and clear running through her.

“Mary,” Kirari called out. Her sultry voice wasn’t nearly as sweet as Yumeko, but there was something enticing about it just the same. She stopped dancing and stood next to Yumeko. “Why don’t you join us? We’re having so much fun up here. You’d love it.”

“Okay,” Mary heard herself saying.

Somewhere way back in her mind warning Bells went off, but they were all obliterated when Yumeko started singing again. When Mary swam towards the two girls, the fear was entirely blocked out. Joining them didn’t even feel like a choice. Her body moved towards them, seemingly on its own.

When she reached the shore, Yumeko held out her hand and helped her into the land, into the cove. The only way into the cove was through the bay. It had no connections or opening to the land, yet somehow both Yumeko and Kirari were perfectly dry.

“Here.” Kirari had been dancing with a shawl around her, made of some kind of gauzy gold substance, and she wrapped it over Mary’s shoulders. “To keep you warm.”

“I’m not cold,” Mary said, and that was true enough.

The night was warm to begin with, and the fire inside the cove made it warmer still.

“It feels better with it on, though, doesn’t it?” Yumeko asked, her voice a soft purring in Mary’s ear.

Yumeko put her arm around her, and something about the touch made the hair on the back of Mary’s neck stand up. Instinctively Mary pulled away from her, but then Yumeko began singing again, and Mary melted beneath her arm.

“Come join us.” Kirari kept her eyes on Mary and stepped backward towards the fire.

“Are you guys having a party?” Mary asked.

Mary didn’t move, so Yumeko took her hand and pulled her over to the fire. She led her over a large rock next to the fire and pushed her gently, so Mary could sit down.

“We’re having a celebration.” Yumeko laughed and knelt down next to Mary.

“What are you celebrating?” Mary asked, looking over at Kirari. She stood on the other side of the fire, across from Mary, and smiled down at her.

“A feast,” Kirari answered, and Yumeko laughed in a way that reminded Mary of how a crow cackled.

“A feast?” Mary looked around the cove but saw no signs of any food. “Of what?”

“Don’t worry about it,” Yumeko instructed her.

“You’ll have plenty of time to eat later,” Kirari said with a sly smile.

Mary frowned. “I’m not hungry,” she said, causing the girls to erupt in laughter.

“You’re a truly beautiful girl,” Yumeko commented once she’d stopped laughing. She leaned in closer to her, resting her hand on Mary’s leg, and stared up at her. “You know that, right?”

“I guess.” Mary pulled the shawl more tightly around her, relieved to have it covering her. She didn’t know how to take Yumeko’s compliment, but it left her feeling both flattered and disturbed.

Her guards were still up and the way Yumeko was being towards her somewhat made her feel utterly uncomfortable. With the way Yumeko was touching her, It almost felt as if she was cheating on Ririka.

A picture of Ririka briefly flashed into her mind, but quickly faded when Kirari started speaking again.

“You’re a big fish in a small pond, aren’t you?” Kirari paced on the other side of the fire, keeping her eyes on Mary.

“How do you mean?” Mary asked.

“You’re gorgeous, smart, ambitious, fearless Kirari explained. “And this is just a seaside attraction. A small town that would dry up if it weren’t for loud tourists wreaking havoc on it every summer.”

“It’s nice in the off-season.” Mary defense of Hyakkaou sounded made even to her own ears. In truth, she wasn’t that much fond of Hyakkaou either, but that didn’t mean Kirari had the rights to talk shit about her hometown.

“I doubt that.” Kirari smirked. “But even if it is, you’re still more than this bay will ever be. I’ve seen you out in the water. You swim with strength and grace and unbridled determination.”

“Thank you,” Mary said. “I’ve been training a lot. I’m going to the Olympics.”

“The Olympics are nothing compared to what you can do,” Kirari scoffed. “You have a natural aptitude that is almost impossible to come by. And believe me, I know. We’ve searched.”

That struck Mary as off, alarming so. To calm her, Yumeko began singing again. It was a little more than humming this time, but it was enough to keep Mary sitting in the rock. Her concerns remained, though, even if she didn’t run away.

“Why did you invite me out here?” Mary asked. “And why’d you want me to swim with you so badly all the time?”

“I just told you,” Kirari said. “You are something rare and special.”

“But…” Mary furrowed her brow, knowing there was something off about this that she couldn’t pinpoint. “You’re way hotter than I am. You’re more of everything you said I was. What do you need me for?”

“Don’t be silly.” Kirari waved her hand, “and don’t worry about any of that.”

“Don’t worry about anything,” Yumeko added, and as soon as she’d said it, Mary felt her worries slipping away, as if she’d never even had them.

“We wanted you to come here and have fun.” Kirari smiled. “We wanted to get to know each other.”

“What did you want to know?” Mary asked.

“Everything!” Kirari spread her arms widely. “Tell us everything!”

“Everything?” Mary looked at Yumeko uncertainly.

“Yeah, like what are you doing with that brat you hang around with?” Yumeko furrowed her brow, “she’s way beneath you.”

“Brat?” Mary bristled when she realized that Yumeko meant Itsuki. “Itsuki is a really good friend.”

“When you look like us, every person is a good friend.” Yumeko countered and smile, “you realized it doesn’t mean anything. You’re better off with us.”

“Why don’t we talk about this another day?” Kirari interjected. “They’re too much drama for tonight. Yumeko, why don’t you lighten the mood?”

“Oh, right.” Yumeko reached down the front of her dress and pulled out a small copper flask. “Let’s have a drink.”

“Sorry, I don’t drink things I don’t know what’s in it.”

“Ririka told me you weren’t afraid of anything,” Kirari said, provoking her. “And now you’re scared of a little drink?”

“Ririka?” Mary snapped and suddenly, the fogginess in her eyes were clear. “What am I doing here?”

Before Mary could stand up, Yumeko began singing again, this time, she wrapped her arms around Mary from behind, her chill breath ghost along Mary’s neck.

Mary,” Yumeko said, her voice a song again. She held out the flask, but Mary hesitated to take it. “Drink.”

Then Mary didn’t have a choice. She couldn’t even think about another option. Her move moved automaticallyc taking the flask from Yumeko, unscrewing the top, and putting it to her lips. It all happened the same way that she took a breath. Motions without thought or reason or control.

The liquid was thick, and it tasted bigger and salty on her tongue. It burned going down her throat, almost as badly as the time she ate too much wasabi. When she swallowedc she nearly gagged. It felt too heavy and hot to get down, but she forced it.

“That’s horrible!” Mary coughed and wiped her mouth. “What was that?”

“My special cocktail,” Kirari said with a smile.

“What is it?” Mary asked, her words already coming out in a slur.

The cove suddenly pitched to the side, and Mary grabbed on to Yumeko to keep from falling over. Everything swayed around her. She heard Kirari talking, but her voice sounded like it was coming from underwater.

“That’s not…” Mary struggled to talk. “What did you do?”

“You’ll be all right,” Yumeko said. She got up and tried to put her arm around Mary, maybe meaning to comfort her, but Mary pushed her off.

She stood up and nearly tipped forward into the fire, but Kirari caught her. Mary tried to fight her off, but she didn’t have the strength anymore. All her energy had left her body, and she couldn’t keep her eyes open. The world was fading to black around her.

I need you to promise me something

The last of her consciousness came back when she remembered Ririka’s warning.

Don’t leave your house tonight and don’t go out on your own

Was this was she meant, when she told Mary not to leave the house?

Please, just trust me.

A single tear falling from Mary’s right eye as she was on the verge of passing out.

Just who are these girls?

“You’ll thank me for this later,” Kirari was saying in her ear, and that was the last thing Mary heard.

~

“Are you certain this was a good idea?” Yumeko asked, staring into the sea.

The sea was roaring and the waves were getting bigger as they watched from the bay. Although the water was warm from below, the surface was freezing.

Kirari took a moment to look up at the moon, and she sighed. “There was no other option.”

“She won’t be happy about it.” Yumeko glanced over at Kirari, but somehow, the amusement in her voice was clearly evident.

“I know,” Kirari said, glancing back at Yumeko, but her expression was much more serious. “But she broke our deal first, after all. You of all people should know this.”

“Whether she broke the deal or not, I don’t think that’s the issue here.” Yumeko hummed, turning around and glancing back towards the shore. “You didn’t bother looking for any other girls, did you?”

“You know me so well,” Kirari chuckled and looked away. “As always.”

“Mary was the one you had your mind set on and nothing was going to change your mind,” Yumeko said, but it was more of her talking to hersel. “Ririka may broke the deal but I am certain your broke her trust.”

Kirari stayed silent for a bit and Yumeko didn’t have it in her heart to face her.

A strong wind blew through them but they remained stoic.

It reminded Yumeko of the night Kirari had made her drink from the flask.

The only difference was that the sirens were her saviours, and showed up at the perfect time when Yumeko wanted to escape her life.

Mary, on the other hand did not need saviours. She was fine on her own. She did not need an escape.

The night was chill and some what in the back of her mind, Kirari couldn’t believe this actually happened. Though she had no doubt if she had succeeded, she knew her bond with her sister will never be the same.

To touched the one thing her sister specifically told her not to touch.

But what else could she do?

It was either Mary or death.

“Do you think she’ll make it?” Yumeko softly spoke up after quite some times.

“Of course, she will.” Kirari scoffed, “I’ve searched far and wide to be able to find someone like her. And believe me, she’ll make it. I’m sure of it.”

Yumeko kept her eyes locked on the shore. “For Ririka’s sakes, I hope you’re right.”

 

Chapter Text

 

“Sayaka!”

Sayaka rubbed her eyes and rolled over to sit up on her bed. The loud banging on her front door had woken her up way earlier than she would have liked.

She walked down, and opened the door to see a frantic Itsuki and Midari barging inside of her house.

“Have you seen Mary?” Itsuki asked as she grabbed Sayaka by her arms, shaking her frantically.

“What?” Sayaka rubbed her eyes some more,  “what are you talking about! What time is it?”

“We went to Yumemi’s party last night, and Midari offered to drive me back and We came home and I was so tired I fell asleep and when I woke up, I remembered Mary and I tried calling her, but I can’t reach her,” itsuki explain, “her car is still out there, but she isn’t there.”

“Did you check her house?” Sayaka asked, slowly becoming alert.

“No, Sayaka, I thought I’d check your house first,” Itsuki snapped.

“Sorry, Itsuki, I just woke up.” Sayaka took a seat on the couch, which Itsuki and Midari both followed after her. “She probably went out swimming last night. Yumemi’s house is so close to the shore and all. She probably just lost track of time.”

“Until five in the morning?” Itsuki asked, the worry in her voice unmistakable.

Sayaka didn’t understand why Itsuki was yelling at her, especially over Mary. They had become closer this summer, but they weren’t that close and it had been a couple days since she last hang out with Mary.

“She’s fine,” Sayaka said, hoping to ease Itsuki’s fears. “I’m sure she’s just got sidetracked. You know Mary.”

“Yes, I do, and that’s why I’m worried.”

“Don’t. Mary’s fine.” Sayaka ran her hand through her sleep-disheveled hair and tried to calm Itsuki.

“She’s missing!” Itsuki cried out.

“She’s not missing,” Sayaka insisted. “She probably just stayed out too late. It’s not a big deal.”

“It is a big deal,” Itsuki countered, “last night she was acting strange.”

“Strange?” Sayaka furrowed her brow, “strange, how?”

“She said she heard someone singing to her,” Itsuki panicked, “and I was told not leave her alone!”

Sayaka’s glanced from the crying Itsuki to Midari who shrugged.

“I-I shouldn’t have left her house,” Itsuki’s lips tremble as tears rolled down her face. “I shouldn’t have forced Mary to go out. Now she’s missing!”

“Calm down, itsuki.” Sayaka told her, “she’s not missing. Maybe she saw someone at the party and decided to leave with them.”

“That’s impossible!” She cried, “Mary didn’t even want to be there in the first place.”

Then a thought suddenly struck Sayaka and she froze.

“Wait,” she said, “what do you mean you were told not to leave her?”

“Ririka,” Itsuki sniffed, “she came by last night and told Mary to not leave and she told me to stay with her.”

“Why did she come by?” Sayaka rasied a brow.

“They’re in love so obviously she came by,” Itsuki furrowed her brows, and looked at Sayaka as if that was obvious, “but she told Mary she needed to go to California—“

“Wait,” Sayaka interjected, “what about the other girls, did they stopped by as well?”

“What are you talking about?”

“Yumeko, duh.” Midari smirked.

“No,” Itsuki mumbled, “it was only Ririka that came by. Mary was on the phone with her and she left alone.”

“Left to California…” Sayaka asked, “…alone?”

“Yeah,” Itsuki sobbed some more, “she left on a motorcycle, she was so hot, if I didn’t have a boyfriend already I would’ve—“

“Ok, okay,” Sayaka stopped her, “let’s focus on the big picture.” She creased her brows, “if Ririka left alone, then Kirari and Yumeko are still here. Why do I have the hunch that they’re the reason Mary isn’t home.”

“What, you think they kidnapped Mary?” Itsuki eyes widened, “no! Mary is too young to die!”

“Midari, go and make Itsuki a juice.” She looked at her friend, “try ginger, celery and carrots.”

Midari nodded and went into the kitchen.

“If Mary is really missing, we need to retrace her footsteps,” sayaka told itsuki. “We need to go to Yumemi’s house.”

The silence in the car was overwhelming, but as the other two sat on the back of the car seats, Sayaka let her own panic set in. She didn’t want Itsuki to worry unnecessarily, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t scared herself. It wasn’t like Mary to stay out past midnight. Mary liked to push through her rules, but she rarely broke them.

And Sayaka had noticed. The never ending nights of Mary arriving back late at night after swimming at the bay, the loud and aggressive parties she used to host, the days where the blonde would passed out from drinking all night— that wasn’t Mary anymore.

Sayaka seen them all. All of Mary’s phases. 

Not that she was a stalker or anything but she knew Mary had barely swam out at night anymore or stayed out all night.

The news Itsuki had brought it was something Sayaka wished didn’t happened. Truth be told, she had been prepared. Preparing for the time when one of her friends would disappear.

But she didn’t think it would be Mary of all People.

Though she always had the suspicion. Kirari and her friends had taken a liking to Mary and Sayaka knew the blonde had somewhat of a relationship with Ririka.

How could she be such a fool and let Mary drown like this?

What if Mary had disappeared like Shinnoji?

What if Mary is—

No!

Sayaka shook her head and stayed focus towards the road.

Mary was fine.

She has to be fine.

She has to.

Once they arrived at Yumemi’s house, they could see garbages and empty bottles laying outside the street and on the beach. They noticed some people were still passing out on the porch and in the trunk of some trucks.

As soon as Sayaka saw Mary’s car, still parked exactly where Itsuki told her where it would be; her heart dropped. Mary was still out in that water, as she had been for the past four or five hours.

“There’s no one on the beach!” Itsuki panicked.

“Of course there isn’t,” Midari pointed out, “it’s five in the morning, what did you expect?”

Sayaka glanced towards the beach then at Yumemi’s house.

“I think we should ask if Yumemi saw Mary last night.”

“I doubt she was aware of anything last night,” Itsuki grumbled, “she was totally drunk by the time I came to get Kaede.”

“Oh yeah,” Sayaka remembered, “Why is Midari with you and not Kaede?”

She frowned, “He’s still on the couch, passed out.”

“What a useless man,” Midari scoffed, causing Itsuki to shoot her a cold glare.

As much as Sayaka knew Kaede was a good man and treats every women with respects, he could also be very stubborn which was a red flag to a lot of women, so she was happy itsuki cared about her friend like this.

“All right,” Sayaka said when they reached Yumemi’s house, “which door is the front door anyway? There’s so many doors.”

“Any of them would work fine,” Midari told her, “but I doubt she’s up yet.”

“How would you know?” Sayaka raised a brow.

“Well,” Midari grinned, “let’s just say she and I had some fun last night.”

Sayaka’s brows furrowed, “wait, aren’t you dating Yuriko?”

“Oh yeah,” Midari sighed, “I kind of forgot to tell you, Yuriko broke up with me a couple days ago.”

“Why?”

“Could you ladies focus please,” Itsuki frowned, “we have a crises over here!”

“Right.” Sayaka nodded before pacing up her speed towards Yumemi’s door.

“Yumemi!” Itsuki shouted and ran around the other door of her house. “Yumemi!” She ran around for another door but it was still locked. “Yumemi!”

“Itsuki?” Yumemi called. She looked down from the balcony and rubbed her eyes.

“Open the door please,” Itsuki told her, gesturing for the front door.

From inside the house, they saw Yumemi coming down the stairs, unbuttoning up a pair of button up shirt she had just put on.

“What are y’all doing here?” Yumemi asked when she opened the door.

“Is Mary here? Have you seen her?” Itsuki asked, but by the confused expression on Yumemi’s face, they already knew the answer.

“No.” She shook her head, and her brow furrowed. “Why would she be here?”

“She didn’t come home last night. And…” Itsuki pointed at Mary’s parked car a block from Yumemi’s house. “Her car is still here, and she has an important meeting with a swimming mentor in two hours. Mary never misses training.” A shudder ran over her body, and her stomach lurched. “Something’s wrong.”

Yumemi glanced behind Itsuki over at Sayaka and Midari and with the way they seemed so concern, she could conclude that what Itsuki said wasn’t some kind of a joke.

“I’ll help you find her,” Yumemi said. “Let me go grab my jeans and shoes.”

“No.” Itsuki shook her head aggressively. “We don’t have time to wait.“

“You’re obviously crazy with worry.” She gestured to her as she stood trembling outside her door. “You need as many people if you want to search for your friend. More eyes are better.”

Itsuki thought about arguing with her, telling her that they didn’t need her if she didn’t know where Mary was, but she just nodded. The urge to panic was all but taking over, and it was hard for her to keep from sobbing. She did need some more less frantic people to help her.

She felt a gently hand squeezing her arm and turn around. Sayaka gave her a small smile of support which she appreciated very much.

As much as Sayaka tried to stayed calm, she has to agree with Itsuki. The longer they’re wasting time, Mary could be in more danger.

That thought made her upset.

Yumemi went inside her house and came back up a minute later. A minute that felt like hours to Sayaka. Hours she spent staring out at the dark sea around them, wondering if Mary’s body was floating out in it somewhere.

“Okay,” Yumemi said as he pulled on a pair of jeans and shoes. “Where do you guys want to look?”

“Itsuki, when was the last time you saw a Mary?” Sayaka asked, walking down the driveway.

“Right there,” she pointed a couple feet away from the car, they saw her her hand was shaking, “she was acting really weird. She said someone was calling her name and, and she kept asking me if I hear anything and I didn’t! I’m such an idiot! I was only trying to get to Kaede!” She sniffled and her voice started to crack, “stupid Kaede! He doesn’t deserve me!”

“Ok, Itsuki.” Sayaka placed a firm hand on her shoulder, “try to calm down. Let’s set out personal issues on the side for now and focus on finding Mary.”

Itsuki nodded as they reached the last place she had saw Mary.

“This was the last place,” she stated, stopping her footsteps.

“Okay, which direction do you think she went?” Sayaka question? “Do you think she went back to her car or down the beach? Or even inside Yumemi’s house?”

Yumemi shivered at the question, and the others couldn’t tell if it was the cold air in the morning, or the idea of looking for a essentially missing person. “Not gonna lie,” she said, “this whole thing is creeping me out.”

“I think she went down that way,” Itsuki ignored Yumemi’s irrelevant statement and pointed towards the beach, the exact direction where Mary hard pointed towards.

“To the beach?” Midari raised a brow, “at midnight? What kind of a psychopath swims at night?”

“I think we need to check the shore.” Itsuki swallowed hard, realizing what she was suggesting. “She may have washed up…”

“Let’s head down that way, then.” Sayaka nodded and lead the way.

The sand was a little moist and cold as they strolled down the beach. Sayaka had to admit, her whole life of living in this town, she had never once came to the beach this early. It felt rather satisfying and rejuvenating.

“Did you guys try calling people she’s closed with?” Yumemi suggested and they walked farther down, “how about the people she swims with everyday? Or her coach? Or what about that boy who always followed her? Ryota?”

“I made a group chat with the school earlier but I doubt anyone saw her. And if I call her coach, she’d kill me. And Ryota didn’t pick up.” Itsuki frowned, “seriously, everyone is so useless!”

“Calm down, kid.” Midari muttered, and looked forward, “hey, isn’t that clothes.”

“It’s Mary’s!” Itsuki ran towards the clothes and shoes that laid on the sand. “She must’ve took them off last night.”

“Cool,” Midari smirked, “now we get to see a naked body.”

“Midari!” Sayaka hissed, “please, let’s not get carried away.”

“Okay, okay,” Midari waved her off, “Jeez, can’t make any joke around here.”

“So…” Yumemi spoke up, “is she still out on the water?”

“I don’t know.” Sayaka shook her head and shrugged. “I have no idea what she could’ve been doing out all night in the water.”

“Well, I do have ideas.” Itsuki sniffles and rubbed her forehead. “The only things I can think of aren’t pretty, though. She has no good reason to be out here. Mary would only stay if something bad happened or if somebody hurt her.”

“Itsuki,” Yumemi touched her arm, causing Itsuki to look up at her. “We’ll find her, okay? Just think about places she would go if everything was all right. What does Mary do out here? Where does she go?”

“I don’t know!” Itsuki cried out, exasperated and terrified. She looked away from her and out at the bay, trying to think. “She loves coming out here to swim at night. She likes to go out past those rocks over there.”

She pointed to some huge rocks on the other side of the bay. Itsuki and Mary has had a few races to those rocks, with Mary always coming out the winner.

“She likes the other side of the bay more?” Yumemi asked.

“Kind of,” Itsuki admitted. “Tourists and boats don’t go out there because of all the rocks, and she likes how deserted it is.”

“So if she was going to take a break, it would be over there.” Yumemi finished her statement.

“Yes!” Sayaka interjected excitedly, realizing what that meant. “When she drives, she parks over there, by the cypress trees. I came with her once, a while ago and that was exactly where we parked!”

It would be faster to drive over there than to walk, so Sayaka ran back out to her car, with the others close behind. To get around the bay, Sayaka drive as fast as she could, which meant running a few stop signs and cutting across the grass.

Once she got to the beach, she was grateful she had wore sneakers. The shore was covered in sharp rocks, and it would’ve been nearly impossible to navigate barefoot. Or at least it would’ve been for her. Sayaka knew the rocks would not have intimidated Mary.

The last time she came with Mary, the blonde walked through those rocks as if she was stepping on clouds.

She made it out to the edge of the shore, past the trees, so she could have a clear view of the coastline all the way down to the cove. Midari came up behind her and pointed to a blob of black a ways down.

“What’s that?” She asked, but Sayaka didn’t wait to answer.

She went so fast she tripped on the rocks a few times and fell once, tearing open her knee. Midari followed her as quickly as she could, but she moved at a more cautious pace. Itsuki and Yumemi were a little behind them, but they were running as fast as they could.

When she was close enough that she could tell for sure, Sayaka started calling out Mary’s name. She could see it was her neighbour, lying in her back and tangled in something that resembled a gold fishing net.

But Mary didn’t respond.

“Mary!” Sayaka heard Itsuki screaming when she reached them and collapsed next to her, ignoring the rocks stinging her skin. “Mary, wake up!”

“Is she alive?” Yumemi asked, standing beside Midari and staring down at Mary.

It really didn’t look good. Mary’s skin was drained of colour, so she looked almost blue. Bruises and scratches covered her arms and blood had dried on her temple. Her lips were chapped and dry, and seaweed entangled her hair.

“I…” Sayaka muttered out in bewilderment and her body collapsed back on her butt as her eyes stayed locked in Mary’s pale and stillness body.

“Mary!” Itsuki cried out and pulled Mary into her arms, “you have to be okay! You have to!”

But Mary didn’t react at all. There was no signs of her breathing or any signs of life. She looked so frozen and cold.

Sayaka went to the funeral once in her life. 

She looked down at the deceased once in her life.

And the body Itsuki was holding onto, looked exactly like that.

 

Chapter Text

 

“So…” Midari awkwardly look around, it was still a little dark, but there was already signs of the sun rising at the horizon of the sea. “Should we call the police or sum?”

“Um… yeah.” Yumemi agreed as her shaky hand slipped inside of her pockets to fish out her phone, though she looked like she was having a hard time moving her hand.

Sayaka was still on the ground staring at Mary’s lifeless body.

The more she stared, the more she wanted to throw up, and all of a sudden, millions of memories she had with Mary flashed through her mind.

Sayaka felt like her lungs had been squeezed and it was getting hard for her to breathe as time passed and Mary was still unconscious in Itsuki’s arms.

Was this really the end? Was this how people feel when someone they’re close to died in front of them?

She glanced up at Itsuki. The younger woman was sobbing and her tears fell on Mary’s frozen face. Though the more she looked at itsuki, it looked as if there was no more tears left for her to cry. She could only imagined what Itsuki was feeling.

To lose a best friend.

Then she glanced up at Midari, and to her surprised, Midari was already looking down at her, and her expression looked so soft, as if she could tell what Sayaka was thinking about.

And then, even though Sayaka didn’t really think she would, Mary groaned and turned her head to the side.

“Mary.” Itsuki eyes widened and with her shaky hand, she brushed back the bangs from Mary’s forehead, and her eyes open.

“Itsuki?” Mary asked, her voice coming out in a croak.

All the girls abruptly look towards her. Yumemi slipped her phone back inside her pockets and stepped towards, towering Sayaka and Itsuki.

“Oh, thank God.” Itsuki let out a deep breath, and relieved tears filled her eyes. “What happened to you?”

“I don’t know.”

Wincing as she moved, Mary tried to stand, but the rocks were too uneven. When she started to stumbled, Sayaka put her arm underneath her legs and scooped her up. Mary looked at her with weak eyes, but didn’t say anything. Sayaka knew if Mary was not in this kind of state, she would never let anyone carry her like this. So she shifted and tried to hang in to her for support, but her arms were too tangled up in the mesh wrapped around her.

But what surprised Sayaka the most was how light Mary was. Obviously she had never carried Mary before but considering they’re about the same height and same size, she’d believe Mary to be a lot heavier then she actually was.

“Let’s get her back to the car,” Itsuki suggested, and Sayaka nodded.

Once the realization that Mary was alive had settled in, Sayaka wanted to sob and scream at her. Not that she was in any position to do so, but somehow, she felt like yelling at Mary for not caring how dangerous the ocean gets at night. But Mary still seemed so weak and out of it that she didn’t want to interrogate her.

Sayaka had parked as close as she could get, which meant that she’d parked in the unruly beach grass lining the shore. She briefly glanced down at Mary and saw the blonde was looking up at her.

She looked so exhausted. Sayaka just wanted to hug her tight and tell her everything was going to be alright.

She gently set Mary down on her feet once they got to the car, and she manages to stand up on her own. The mesh was pretty tangled around her, and all the girls intervened to help her get it off.

“What is this?” Midari asked. “Did you get caught in a fishermen’s net? Is that what happened to you?”

“This isn’t a net.” Sayaka shook her head. Once there’s gotten Mary free from it, she ran it through her hands, admiring the strange texture of it. “At least not any net I’ve ever seen.”

“No, it’s not a net.” Mary out her hand in the car to steady herself and leaned against it. “It’s a shawl or something.”

“It does look pretty, though.” Yumemi said, rubbing her hands through it, “less pretty now but still.”

“A shawl?” Itsuki asked, “where did you get a shawl, we didn’t bring any last night.”

Mary grimaced, hesitating before she reluctantly admitted, “Kirari.”

“Kirari?” Sayaka was nearly shrieking. “What the hell were you doing with Kirari?”

“Woah,” Midari held her friend back, surprising that a name could riled up Sayaka this much. “Calm down.”

“You really should stay away from those girls,” Yumemi said solemnly, “They are…there’s something off about them.”

Yumemi saw them around town, and as popular as Yumemi was, whenever Kirari and her friends were around, it’s like all the guys forgot about her.

“Believe me, I know,” Mary muttered.

“So what were you doing with them?” Itsuki asked. “What did you do last night?”

“Can we talk about this later, please?” Mary begged. “My head is pounding. My body hurts all over. And I’m so thirsty, it’s unbelievable.”

“Do you need to go to the hospital?” Itsuki asked.

Mary shook her head. “No, I just need to go home.”

“If you’re fine, then you’re going to tell me what’s going on.” Itsuki crossed her arms over her chest like a little kid.

“I was out swimming last night, and…” Mary trailed off and stared at the sun rising over the bay, as if trying to remember exactly what had happened last night. “I went out to the cove, and Kirari and Yumeko were…partying out there.”

“They were partying?” Itsuki asked, and now she was totally gobsmacked. “You partied with those girls last night?”

“Yeah,” Mary answered uncertainly and rubbed her neck, “I mean, yes. I think.”

“You think?” Itsuki shook her head.

“Yeah, they invited me to join them, and I just had one drink. But it must’ve been really strong. It was only one drink, I swear.”

“You drank?” Itsuki eyes widened. “Mary! If your coach finds out, you can get kicked out! And you have training in an hour, which you clearly can’t handle today. What were you thinking?”

“I wasn’t!” Mary yelled. “I honestly don’t know what I was thinking! I have no idea how any of it happened last night. I remember having one drink, and then I woke up on the rocks. I don’t know what happened, and I’m sorry.”

“My driver should be here in a few minutes to pick us up,” Itsuki told her, baffled that Mary had put herself in so much danger and didn’t even consider her career.

“I really am sorry,” Mary repeated, “I really messed up, didn’t I?”

“Maybe we can reschedule that meeting,” Itsuki told her, typing into her phone, “right now, the important thing is that you’re okay.”

Beep beep!

They looked over to see Itsuki’s driver Parking right beside them.

“We should go,” Itsuki said.

“Okay,” Mary turned to Sayaka, Midari and Yumemi and mumbled, “thanks for…helping.”

“No problem,” They said.

Mary smiled and tried to open the car door, but she almost fell over, so Sayaka went over and held it open for her.

“Get some rest and drink plenty of fluids. Hangover are the worst, I’m sure you can remember,” Sayaka smiled. “I’ll make sure to drop by later to check up on you.”

“You sound like my mom.” Mary muttered, smiling thinly at her and climbed into the car. Once she was safely inside, Sayaka shut the door and turned her attention back to Itsuki.

“I’m sorry for dragging you guys into picking up my drunk ass friend,” Itsuki frowned, “I mean, I appreciated it, but I’m sorry for bothering you.”

“Don’t worry about it, Itsuki,” Yumemi told her, “at least she’s okay now. Had we waited longer, She might be in more danger.”

“She’s right,” Midari grinned, “I owe you anyway.”

“I appreciate you guys,” Itsuki smiled and turned to Sayaka. “And I’m sorry for waking you up.”

“It’s no bother,” Sayaka assured her, “and I would’ve hate myself if something serious had happened to Mary and I wasn’t aware of. So in a way, I should be thanking you for informing me what had happened.”

“I didn’t know you care so much,” Itsuki raised a brow in confusion.

“I-I do!” Sayaka cheeks reddened. “Mary is a friend and is important to me, so obviously I would care, of course I do—“

“Stop, babe.” Midari placed a firm hand in her shoulder, “stop stuttering. You’ll only look guilty.”

“Guilty of what?” Sayaka questioned, “There is nothing I’m guilty of.”

“Of course,” Midari sighed and started walking back with Yumemi.

“Text us if anything comes up!” Yumemi waved back before looping her arm around Midari’s.

“Midari!” Sayaka yelled at her but they were already heading back towards Yumemi’s house. “That girl!”

“A-Anyway,” Itsuki coughed, and glanced down at Mary in the car. “I should go. Mary looked really tired.”

“Yeah.” Sayaka smiled, looking down at Mary who had her forehead resting against the glass and took a step back from the car. “Make sure she gets lots of rest okay? I’m just glad she’s okay.”

“I know, I know,” Itsuki grumbled, “this is my responsibility anyway, this was my fault.”

“It’s not your fault,” Sayaka reassured her, “things happens and I’m sure Mary wouldn’t blame you for it.”

“Yeah, but Ririka will.” She sighed.

Sayaka stood there for a moment, not really knowing how to respond to that. If she was being honest, Ririka looked like a really kind person, but Sayaka had never interacted with her. She had only talked to Kirari so she sort of lumped both Yumeko and Ririka with Kirari.

“Yeah…” Sayaka trailed, and heard Mary groaning in the car, saving her from the conversation. “You should get home.”

“Right, of course.” Itsuki smiled and Sayaka gave her a small wave and backed away. “Thanks again.”

Once she got in the car, and the driver started driving, Itsuki looked over at her friend.

Mary had never looked so weak and fragile. She looked so helpless. Itsuki really couldn’t blame her for ending up drunk with Kirari, but ending up unconscious on the shore, alone? Where were those girls? Shouldn’t they be taking care of Mary?

Many questions ran through her head but with the way Mary was groaning and hissing in pain, she figured Mary wouldn’t want to talk right now so she decided to let it go. If Mary was sick, she didn’t need Itsuki yelling at her. So for now Itsuki would just take care of her.

When they got to Mary’s home, the blonde went into the kitchen and got herself a glass of cold water from the tap. She proceeded to drink glass after glass, gulping it down so fast the water spilled down her chin.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Itsuki asked, watching her with uncertainty. “I can take you to the hospital right now.”

“No, I’m just hungover and have some bruises. I’ll be fine.” Mary nodded and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. “I’m just really thirsty. But I’m better now.” She set the glass down in the sink and forced a smile at Itsuki.

“Maybe you should get some X-rays,” Itsuki insisted. “Those bruises might be worse than they look. And I don’t even know how you got them.”

“I’m fine,” Mary told her. “Just really tired.”

“Sit down, then. You need to get cleaned up.”

Mary pulled out a chair from the kitchen table and eased herself into it. Itsuki went into the bathroom and got a wet washcloth, antiseptic, and Band-Aids. When she came back, she knelt on the floor in front of Mary, inspecting her cuts and scrapes.

None of them looked too deep, which was the only good part. When Itsuki washed off a gash from her thigh, Mary winched. Itsuki gave her an apologetic look and dabbed more carefully at it.

“I was worried, you know,” Itsuki mumbled. “I thought I lost you.”

She was expecting Mary to tease her about being a chicken, but Mary didn’t respond at all. The room was quiet.

“You don’t remember how you got any of these?” Itsuki looked up at Mary, searching her expression for any clues about what had happened.

“No.”

“So you don’t know if the girls did this to you?” Itsuki asked, and Mary shook her head. “Kirari could’ve beat you up, then? And even if they didn’t, they left you to die in the bag, and you don’t even know why?”

“No.”

Itsuki carefully put a bandage over Mary’s cut and sighed. “Maybe we should call the police on those girls.”

“And tell them what? I accidentally drank too much and don’t remember what happened?” She asked wearily.

“Well…” Itsuki shrugged. “I don’t know. I feel like I should do something.”

“You’re doing enough,” Mary tried to reassure her. “And right now I just need to get some sleep.”

“Don’t you want to shower first?” Itsuki asked as Mary stood.

“After I wake up.”

Mary gripped the table for support and slowly rose to her feet. Her hair was sticky from salt and dirt, and as Mary walked past her, Itsuki plucked a bit of seaweed from the tangles of her hair.

Mary managed to get up the stairs, but Itsuki followed close behind, in case she slipped. Mary changed quickly out of her bathing suit into clean underwear and a T-shirt, then collapsed into her bed.

“Oh yeah,” Mary tiredly spoke up before she fell asleep, “I don’t wanna be an inconvenience for you, so if you have something to do today that you need to attend, I’ll be fine on my own.”

“Don’t even worry about that,” Itsuki waved her hands off at her, “you’re my best friend.”

Mary frowned.

“But,” Itsuki quickly continued. “If I do have anything that comes, up I’ll be sure to notify you.”

“Okay,” Mary said as she closed her eyes.

Once Mary was tucked in safe and sound, Itsuki’s went downstairs to make phone calls. She kept Mary’s bedroom doors open, keeping an ear out for Mary, and she spoke softly on the phone also as not to disturb her.

First, she had to call the coach and tell her that Mary had been sick and wouldn’t be able to come in. Then she called the mentor explaining, and coming up with excuses to why Mary couldn’t make it. Those two phone calls were the most nerve wracking to her.

The rest of the phone calls went more quickly. She told Sayaka and the people in the group chat she made that Mary was okay, then she called Kaede and told him that she was fine and she’ll be back soon, and she called Ryota too, thinking that maybe he was worried as well, but to her dismay, Ryota didn’t pick up.

Itsuki wondered if Ryota went out of town or went back to visit his parents. But she didn’t think about it too much, as she went back upstairs.

Itsuki sat down on the floor in the hallway, right outside Mary’s room. From there she could see Mary sleeping. She had her back to Itsuki, and the thin sheet covering her rise and fell with each breath.

With the situation Mary had gotten herself last night, Itsuki wrapped her arms around her knees and the den breaks as Tears rolled down her cheeks and she silently sobbed her heart out.

~

Mary woke up late in the afternoon, a little bit before five, after her fever finally broke, and her thoughts were a bit clearer. Her dreams had been bizarre and excruciating vividly, but the instant she woke up, she forgot them all. All she knew was that they left her feeling gross and terrified.

The worst part was that she didn’t even know why she’d done it.

She couldn’t remember anything at all after she’d drunk from the flask. It was all black until the morning, when Itsuki and the others had found her on the shore.

But even before that, before she’d had anything to drink, her memories felt strange and fuzzy.

Mary remembered going to the cove. In her mind, she could see what she’d done, but it was like watching a show about someone else. All the movements and actions—it was her Body doing them, but it wasn’t her.

Going to the cove and hanging out with Kirari—those weren’t her decisions. Mary would never drink from complete strangers, let alone do it because girls like Yumeko pressured her to. She remembered doing it, but it wasn’t her.

She would never do that.

But she had. Or how else would she have ended up washed up on the beach, hungover?

Getting drunk didn’t completely explain the night, though. Things were messed up before she drank from the flask and Mary had never seen any liquor being like that. It had the consistency of honey, but tasted nothing like that.

Maybe it wasn’t alcohol, but it was definitely something it could’ve been laced with a drug or poison. Or maybe even a potion. Mary wouldn’t be surprised at all of Kirari turned out to be a witch.

In any event, they had slipped her something. Mary would probably never know exactly what it was, but it didn’t really matter. They had given her something and she had no idea why.

Worse still, she didn’t know what they’d done to her after that. All the scratches were probably from being thrown around in the ocean. After she’s passed out, they must have just tossed her in the bay.

Or had they? If she had been unconscious when she went in the water, wouldn’t she have drowned? Or been swept out to the sea? How did she end up on the shore with only a few scrapes and bruises?

Why wasn’t she dead?

“Crap.” Itsuki sighed and walked into Mary’s room, pulling her from her thoughts. “My dad just called me. It’s urgent and I need to be there.”

Mary slowly sat up in bed. Her body already felt much better than it had that morning. All the aches had gone away and even the redness and swelling had gone down around her cuts and bruises. Other than being sticky and dirty, she didn’t feel half bad.

“Will you be all right, alone for a while?” Itsuki asked.

“Yeah.” Mary nodded. “I’m fine. I think I’ll probably take a shower. You go do what you need to do. I don’t want to inconvenience you any more than I already have.”

“I told you,” Itsuki frowned, “you’re not an inconvenience. You’re my family, so of course I’ll be here for you.”

“I’ll be fine.” Mary gave her a weak smile, an appreciation she rarely gave to itsuki.

“All right,” Itsuki bit her lip and seemed hesitant to leave. “Call me if you need me, got that?”

“Yeah, yeah.” Mary rolled her eyes.

“I mean that, okay?” She insisted.

“Yes, itsuki.” Mary sighed, “stop being so worry.”

“Okay,” Itsuki nodded, “I’m gonna go now.”

After Itsuki left, Mary felt relief wash over her. Having Itsuki look out for her like that only worsened her guilt, it made her feel weak and dependent and Mary didn’t like that.

But more than that, Mary wanted a chance to clear her head and try to sort things out herself. It was hard to think when Itsuki kept checking on her and interrogating her about what had happened.

Mary knew that Itsuki meant well, but sometimes, her little friend would be too protective of her and felt the need to be this intensely involved, which Mary really did not want.

She thought about taking a bath now, but her skin felt too dirty. It would only take a few seconds before she was swimming in a tub of mud. A shower would be better.

Before she got in the shower, she stripped down to her underwear. In front of the mirror, she turned this way and that so she could see all the wounds on her skin.

A large bruise stretched out from the small of her back all the way up to her shoulder. Ladies. It was a dark purple Color with green around the edge, and Mary touched it tentatively. It was sore, for sure, but it did t hurt nearly as badly as she thought it would.

In any event, a hot shower ought to make it feel better, so she finished inspecting herself and hopped in. As soon as the warm water streamed over her, she felt even better, almost invigorated.

Then this weird sensation came over her. It reminded her of the way it felt when she had butterflies in her stomach, like when Ririka kissed her, but it was on her skin.

The feeling travelled down her leg, from her thigh to the tips of her toes. She brushed her hand over her leg, following the oath of the strange sensation, and she felt her skin ripple underneath her fingers.

She yelped and looked down. She half expected to see something clinging to her leg, like seaweed or maybe even a leech, but there was nothing. Just her skin, looking as ordinary as ever.

In fact, it was a little too normal. The bruises on her skin had faded and the cuts were almost healed. Mary cranes her neck, trying to see her back, but she couldn’t.

Her hair was rinsed, and she’d already gone over her skin with a bath sponge, so she decided to end the shower. She had planned to scrub harder, but something weird was going on, and she’d prefer to deal with it when she had clothes on.

When she hung the sponge on the faucet so it could dry, the same way she always did after a shower, she noticed something sticking to it. She picked it out of the sponge and held it up in the light, inspecting it.

It was some kind of large iridescent gold scale, too big to belong to the usual fish she saw in the bay. It had to come from something huge, at least the size of Mary herself. But it was a Color I like any she’d ever seen on a fish. Admittedly, tropical fish came in all sorts of dazzling Colors. But the bay was too far north to get the really pretty fish.

“Mary?”

She heard a voice out side of her bathroom door which sounded a lot like Sayaka, interrupting her examination of the mysterious scale.

“Sayaka?” Mary asked in surprise, she grabbed a towel and wrapped it around herself before opening the door.

“Sorry,” Sayaka gave her an apologetic look, “I came to check up on you. I hope I didn’t rush you in the shower or anything.”

“Oh, no you didn’t,” Mary shook her head, “I was done, anyway.”

“Okay,” Sayaka smiled, “I brought you some soups, I hope you’re hungry. Itsuki told me you hadn’t eaten anything all day.”

“That itsuki!” Mary grumbled, then smiled back at Sayaka. “Thanks. Um let me just get dressed first, and then I’ll come down in a bit.”

“Okay,” Sayaka nodded and quickly went downstairs.

Mary stepped into her bedroom and got dressed hurriedly. Sayaka’s surprise visit nearly made her forget about the bruise on her back, but she remembered after she’d gotten dressed.

Mary rushed back into the bathroom and turned her back to the mirror, and lifted up her shirt. When she looked over her shoulder, her jaw dropped.

The massive bruise was nearly gone. It was only a blotch in the centre of her back, and the Color had even faded from a deep eggplant to a soft gray.

“This cannot be possible.” Mary gaped at the reflection.

“Did you say something?” Sayaka called from downstairs.

“Oh, no.” She dropped her shirt, “it’s nothing!”

Hurriedly, she ran her fingers through her hair to comb it out. Even her hair didn’t seem as tangled as it usually was. All the salt water and chlorine were harsh on her hair, but it felt silkier than it had in years.

Then she remembered something. The scale. She looked down at the countertop and surely, there laid the bright looking scale. But if Mary had found one, surely, some more of them could have fallen while taking the shower.

So Mary got in the tub and looked into the drain. There were some seaweed and hair that were sticking inside so Mary proceed to pull them out. Then Mary noticed something glinting in the light.

Carefully, she picked it out of the tangles, and when she saw what it was, she dropped the whole wet mass. It was another once of those weird iridescent scale she’d found in her bath sponge.

Mary sat in the tub, staring down at the big scale in the palm of her hand.

Something strange was definitely going on with her. Ever since she’d got drunk from the flask, something had felt… off.

Not that it was all bad stuff. In fact, Mary couldn’t actually think of anything bad about the changes at all.

She thought about Ririka a lot, though. She was embarrassed to admit it, but even when she was sleeping, she could feel Ririka’s embraces and her touch. She had this hunger inside of her that almost made her ache for Ririka. She get that it had only been a night that she left but something about her absences made it almost too unbearable to handle.

It felt also as if she was touch starve for someone. It didn’t have to be Ririka, specifically, but Mary felt the need to attach or hold on to someone .

She also realizes that her body healed crazy fast. All her bruises and cuts were almost gone and it hadn’t even been twenty-four hours yet.

She ran her fingers down her thighs and the same thing happened to her skin again. That odd sensation that felt like butterflies running from her thighs down to her toes. It felt so sensitive to a cellular level, but it was actually a pleasurable feeling, so she didn’t mind it.

So if it was all good, what was she worried about?

Except… it wasn’t all good and she knows it.

She didn’t have time to  worry about it though. Sayaka was waiting for her downstairs and it would be rude to keep her waiting.

“Hey,” Mary said as she came downstairs. Sayaka was on a chair waiting for her at the kitchen table.

“Hey,” Sayaka responded, turning around to face Mary. “Wow. Did you do something in the bathroom?”

“Um…why?” Mary froze halfway. “What do you mean?”

For some reason that Mary couldn’t understand, her body wanted to go over to Sayaka and embraces her tightly, in a way that only lovers does. But she quickly brush that thought away before it got any farther. 

“You look…good,” Sayaka said, for lack of a better word and blushed at her own wording.

Mary glanced down, looking herself over, but she knew what Sayaka meant. She’d already noticed it earlier. Her skin was smoother, and it almost appeared to be glowing. She’d gone beyond her usual scope of pretty into something almost supernatural.

“I think it’s this new moisturizer I’ve been using.” Mary shrugged, trying to play it off.

“Really?” Sayaka asked.

“No, actually”—Mary sighed and rubbed her forehead—“I want to talk to you about that.”

“About moisturizer?” Sayaka raised an eyebrow.

“No, not moisturizer.” She went over and sat on a chair across from Sayaka. “I can’t talk about these things to Itsuki because I know she wouldn’t understand it but I think you might.”

She didn’t know why she found it so hard to tell Sayaka about what was happening to her, without sounding like a crazy person. But in truth, telling sayaka would be the most logical approach to finding…help.

She already knew Sayaka had suspicions about Kirari so rationally, Sayaka would be the only one in town who would believe if something unbelievable had happened to her.

“What’s wrong?” Sayaka asked as gently pushed the bowl of soup closer to Mary.

“I don’t know how to explain it,” Mary said, “but…there’s something wrong with me.”

“This is about the other night, right?” Sayaka asked. “When you went out with Kirari and Yumeko?”

“Yeah, kinda.” Mary furrowed her brows, and glanced down at Sayaka’s lips. Her lips looks so full and plumb— the darkest part of her wanted to kiss it so bad. Why was she thinking like this all of a sudden? She had never thought about any of her friends this way other than Ririka so why now? “I’ve been having…weird thoughts.”

“It’s perfectly normal to get washed up wasted on the shore, Mary.” Sayaka assured her, although her voice sounded more of a lie, “it’s not uncommon and it doesn’t mean something is wrong with—“

“No, Sayaka, it’s not about me getting washed up.” Mary sighed in frustration. “There is actually something wrong with me. Like on a cellular level.”

Sayaka stared at her for a moment and blinked. “Are you sick? You don’t look sick.”

“No, I feel fine. Better than fine, actually.”

“Then I don’t understand.”

“I know you don’t.” Mary shook her head and stared down at her lap. “But something is wrong…very wrong.”

“Like what?” Sayaka asked softly, “Mary, you need to give me details.”

“The drink.” Mary said nonchalantly, “there’s something weird in that drink.”

“The drink Kirari had given you?”

Mary nodded. “Yeah, that one. There’s something wrong in that drink.”

A loud knocking came from the door, more of a demanding pound than an actual knock. Sayaka glanced over at the front door, hesitant to leave her conversation with Mary. Maybe it was one of Mary’s friend who was worried about her, and the knocking was only getting more insistent.

“I’ll get it,” Sayaka told Mary as she got up. “I’ll be right back, finish the soup. I’ll send whoever it is away, and we can talk.”

“Okay,” Mary nodded and started eating the soup.

As soon as Sayaka left, strolling towards the living room, and shouting at whoever was at the door to keep their pants on, Mary nibbled on the soup, and stared at it, trying to think of how to phrase it to Sayaka that she might be transforming into some kind of monster.

“What are you doing here?” Sayaka snapped downstairs, and Mary listened more closely.

“It’s good to see you again,” came a reply, and the sultry baby-talk was unmistakable. “We’re here to talk to Mary.”

Kirari was at her front door.

 

Chapter Text

 

Mary sat straight up, her heart pounding erratically in her chest. Part of her was afraid, the same way Kirari had always made her feel. But the rest of her felt strangely excited.

The sound of Kirari’s voice drew her in, in a way that it hadn’t before, almost as if it were calling to her.

“You can’t see her,” Sayaka said.

“We just want to talk to her,” Kirari said sweetly.

“Only for a minute,” Yumeko chimed in, in her usually sing-song way.

“No,” Sayaka said, but her voice had less conviction than it had a moment ago. “You’re not her friends, and you can’t talk to her anymore.”

Mary got out of the chair and walked towards the door. From her vantage point, she could see them at the front door. It was only Kirari and Yumeko standing outside, with Sayaka firmly blocking their path.

Looking at Kirari and Yumeko just then, Mary realized she’d begun to look like them. Not exactly like them since Kirari and Yumeko looked distinctly different. But there was a certain quality to them, a preternatural splendour. Their flawless tanned skin seemed to glow, as if they were illuminated by their own beauty.

“Hi, Mary,” Kirari said. Her eyes rested on Mary in a come-hither way that she couldn’t deny.

“Mary, please go upstairs.” Sayaka glanced back at her. “I’m sending them away.”

“No, don’t,” Mary said quickly, but her words were so quiet, she was surprised anyone heard them.

“Mary, go back inside,” Sayaka told her, “please.”

“You can’t tell her what she wants.” Kirari said with just a trace of venom in her voice. “You have no idea what she wants.”

“Right now I don’t care what she wants. Get out of here.”

“Sayaka, stop.” Mary said and stepped between Sayaka and Kirari. “I need to talk to them.”

“You are not talking to them.”

If what Mary said earlier was true, if these girls were the reason Mary had been washed up alone on the shore, why on earth would Mary want to get involved with them? Sayaka couldn’t put any logic into Mary’s decision.

“I do,” Mary insisted. She swallowed hard and looked again at Kirari and Yumeko.

They had done something to her. As certain as she was standing there, she knew that they were responsible for whatever was happening to her. That meant they knew how to fix it, or at least how to deal with it. Mary had to talk with them to find out.

Sayaka tried to shut the door, but Kirari’s arm shot out in a flash and pushed the door back open. Kirari smiled at Sayaka, the menacing smile that revealed too many teeth.

Just then, a loud roar came from the sky. It sounded awfully loud and frightening, almost like the screeching mixture of so many types of birds. Then a loud thud noises came afterward. It was big, whatever that was, because when it hit the ground, both Mary and sayaka could feel the vibration under their feet.

As they all looked over at the noise, Kirari eyes stayed on Mary. A smile tugged up her lips and that expression never vanished.

“Looks like somebody wants to join the party,” She said.

“Indeed,” Yumeko smiled back.

Their expression were a lot calmer than Mary’s and Sayaka’s, and Mary wanted to know why. “What the hell are you—“

Before she could even ask anything, they heard footsteps coming fast towards them.

“Mary!”

It was Ririka… and she looked…awful, yet so exquisite.

Even in the lowly dim light, Mary could see there were scratches all over her face, neck and her arms. She even had some scratches on her legs below the summer dress she had on that bounced just above her knees.

“Ririka?” Mary gasped out.

“Mary.”

Approaching Mary, Ririka eyes were locked on the blonde as if the others didn’t exist at all. Immediately, after reaching Mary her hands cupped Mary’s cheeks, gently turning it from side to side, closely examining her face. Mary could see the same concern look she had on her the day before she left. Then Ririka’s hands lowers and grasped onto Mary’s arms. Her movements made Mary felt as if she had been injured and a first aid attendant was trying to see if she had been wounded.

Then Ririka kneeled down a bit, her hands were lowering down to Mary’s thighs at this point. As soon as she touched Mary’s bare thighs, the blonde immediately stiffened, grabbing Ririka’s hands and stopping her from any farther interrogation.

“Ririka,” Mary bit her lip and looked down at her with confusion, a little nervous at the position they were in. But more importantly, it was the feeling of being touched down there.

Her legs. They felt alive and relishing. But that’s not all there was to it. Even the tips of Ririka’s fingers sent chills down Mary’s legs. It felt exactly like in the shower when the water ran down her thighs but so much more. She felt strangely arouse at the feeling; in a way that felt intimate and personal.

Mary couldn’t understand it. The feeling was new and fresh. But Mary’s legs had been touched her whole life; by the water, her friends and a few past flings. However, her legs had never felt this bizarre.

But then again, she knew Kirari and Yumeko had something to do with it.

Ririka stood up and give Mary a vulnerable look, a look that took Mary’s breathe away—not in a way that gives her butterflies inside of her stomach, but in a way that felt like a knife was stabbing her heart.

“What’s going on?” Mary asked hesitantly, slipping her hands into Ririka’s.

“We were just about to tell you that, Mary.” Kirari spoke up for Ririka, causing the older own to let out a low growl.

For a moment, Mary was a little afraid for herself, feeling like being stuck between the twins.

She already had a hunch that something was wrong with her, she knows Kirari had done something to her, that fact was obvious and from Ririka’s actions, whatever Kirari had done, it was evidently connected to Ririka.

For the first time, Ririka fiercely turned around to face Kirari and Yumeko. Mary couldn’t see her expression, but from the harsh and cold her voice had sounded, she knew if looks could kill, Both Kirari and Yumeko would not survive whatever this is. “We need to have a talk.”

“Of course,” Kirari said nonchalantly, though her expression was impartial, her body languages says otherwise.

Kirari’s hands were by her sides, and even in the dark, Mary could see they were slightly shaking.

But Mary wasn’t having it. If anyone should be having ‘the talk’, it would be with her. Because clearly, she’s in the middle of whatever this is.

“Wait,” Mary grabbed Ririka’s hands before they slipped away. “We need to talk.”

“I know, Mary.” Ririka told her softly, “but I need to have a word with them first.”

Although her voice was gentle towards Mary, Vengeance and retribution was all Mary could see in Ririka’s eyes. Her eyes were frozen and cold, there’s a rim of dark circle underneath her eyes and but somehow, through all those flaws, Mary saw they glistened and sparked all the same.

“No.” Mary firmed squeezed her hands before ultimately losing her. Ririka was showing aggressiveness and she feared for whatever she was going to do to Kirari and Yumeko; not that Mary was complaining. But she knew Ririka and this wasn’t her. “Talk to me first.”

Ririka gaze into her eyes. Her brown pupils were still warm and gentle, though slightly frightened now. Ririka’s heart drop at that and gave Mary a subtle nod.

Before Ririka could take Mary away, the blonde felt another hand firmly on her arm, nudging her back.

Sayaka furrowed her brows. “Mary.”

Mary looked back at her friend. Sayaka had nothing to do with this, and she shouldn’t be involved. Considering how these three were acting towards each others’ Mary knew whatever they’re up to, it wasn’t safe for somebody like Sayaka.

“Sayaka, i have to go—“

Sayaka pulled her back, “I won’t let you go alone.”

“Persistent,” Kirari chuckled on the side.

Mary ignored Kirari and took Sayaka’s hand, pulling it away from her arm. “This is between me and them. It’ll be better if you don’t get involved.”

Sayaka shook her head. “I’m already involved.”

“You know, Mary have a gift of ordering people to do what she wants,” Yumeko interjected with a grin on her face, “and you’ll obey like a good little kitten that you are.”

“Me?” Mary frowned, “what do you-“

“Actually,” Kirari coughed, interrupting Mary, “she can’t.”

“Why not?” Yumeko raised a brow, curiosity filled her crimson eyes.

Kirari glanced over at Yumeko then at Ririka. They shared a moment of quietness and stillness; almost as if they were having a silent conversation only they could understand.

“What the hell are you talking about?” Mary asked, breaking away their little moment.

Yumeko smiled, “Seems like your friend is quite special.”

Sayaka felt incredibly uncomfortable at the statement. It reminded her of the other day at the diner where Kirari told her that she was fascinating and last thing Sayaka needed was to be in the girls’ radar.

Mary raised a brow. “What are you—“

“Let’s go.” Ririka interrupted, tugging Mary’s hand. “We need to go, it’s getting late.”

Mary looked into Ririka’s eyes. They looked impatient as if she wanted to get away immediately.

“You’re right,” Kirari agreed, backing up the doorway and turning towards Aoi’s car they had used to get here.

“Mary,” Sayaka said again, more helplessly this time. “Please come inside.”

“Sayaka,” Mary gave her a pleading look, “they know what happened to me. I need to go.”

Sayaka gazes into her eyes for a moment, relaxing that Mary has already made up her mind. “Then let me come with you.”

“I’m sorry,” Mary shook her head and stepped towards her a little, placing her hand on Sayaka’s shoulder. “I’ll tell you all about it later. Don’t worry.” She waited a beat before adding, “Thanks for looking out for me.”

Then Mary was gone. The last thing sayaka saw was her getting into the car with the three strangers and disappeared down the road.

Kirari sat in the driver’s seat and Yumeko was by her side in the front.

Ririka and Mary sat in the back but what was strange to Mary was how awfully quiet Ririka was. Mary knew Ririka was quiet by nature but being in the car with the other two was awfully intimidating.

Kirari and Yumeko were also strangely quiet. If Mary had known it would be this awkward, she’d stay with Sayaka.

They didn’t hold hand or anything. To Mary’s disappointment, Ririka gave her plenty of spaces between them. It almost as if the taller girl had forgotten that Mary was sitting right beside her.

Mary knew Ririka’s mind was somewhere far away since they got into the car. Her eyes were locked on the side window the entire time.

She pulled her gaze away, and her eyes met Kirari’s in the rear view mirror.

“What are you?“ Mary asked.

“Not yet,” Kirari smiled. “Wait until we get to the bay. Then we’ll show you exactly what we are.”

~

Mary had always wondered how Kirari, Yumeko, and Ririka got to the cove, and was eager to find out. Kirari drove the car around the bag and headed to the coast on the other side.

Once she parked in a gravel lot behind a patch of cypress trees, all the girls got out of the car.

Mary noticed that they left their shoes in the car, and she awkwardly did the same.

Nobody said much of anything as they walked on the beaten path through the trees. The moon was nearly full, shunning above them, but other than that there was no light

Mary’s heart continued racing, and she wasn’t completely sure she’d done the right thing by going with them. Part of her knew this was dangerous, especially after what had happened the last time she was with them.

But Still. Mary looked at the person beside her.

Ririka.

Ririka was here this time.

And part of her felt safe because of that fact alone.

Even if Ririka decided to act all cold and distant again, Mary had a feeling that if Kirari and Yumeko wanted to kill her, she would already be dead. They were the only ones who knew what was happening to her, and she had to risk going with them to find out what it was.

“Wait,” Ririka stopped, causing the others to face her. “I need to have a word with Mary first. You two go ahead.”

Mary stared dumbfounded at Ririka. She wasn’t giving anyones eye contact and instead, her gazes were firmly on the ground.

“Very well.” Kirari said calmly, “we’ll wait for you at the top.”

“Top?” Mary raised a brow, “top of wha-“

Before she could even ask anything, the two girls had disappeared into the woods.

“Ririka?” Mary turned to face her, “what’s going on?”

But Ririka said nothing. She still wasn’t able to face Mary and it was getting on the blonde nerve.

The blonde watched as Ririka slowly started walking towards the same direction as Yumeko and Kirari without a single word.

Under this dark forest, Mary shouldn’t be able to see anything at all. The moon was hidden by the clouds of trees above them but to her surprised she could see. Not clearly as day, but she was able to see Ririka in front of her, how her hair shines like no other. The bruises on her body earlier had almost faded and as Mary’s eyes lowered, she could tell Ririka was wearing the necklace Mary had bought for her at the festival a few weeks ago.

“Mary.”

Ririka then suddenly stopped and turn to face her. Mary gulped as she stepped closer to her.

The forest was dead quiet. The only sounds were the weaves in the distance and the occasional owls that were patrolling the area. Ririka stared at Mary for a moment before continuing. “Something has happened to you.”

“I figured that much out,” Mary grumbled and looked away.

It was shocking how good Ririka’s voice sounded. It was always good, but it was rather sultry and raspy before. However, now her voice sounded silky, a lot like Kirari’s. Mary had noticed this earlier when Ririka first arrived. Every word she had spoken, it touched Mary’s heart in ways she couldn’t explain.

But then Ririka stepped closer and placed a hand on Mary’s cheek. “I’m so sorry, Mary.”

The blonde had no other option but to turn her gaze to Ririka. The girl in front of her had soft features on her face and Mary realized that all of her bruises had disappeared now.

“What happened to me?” She finally asked and her eyes lowered down to Ririka’s lips.

Ririka let go of her hand and the blonde winched at the coldness it had left on her cheek.

“Remember the other day when I told you I wasn’t who you think I am?” Ririka looked away and sighed. “How I’m not a good person and that I have hurt people?”

If Mary were to be honest, she had thought about that a lot. But she had never thought about it any deeper than Ririka being overly exaggerated because she didn’t want to get close to anyone, hence, that was her way of building a defensive wall between her and other people.

“Well, I…” Ririka turned to face Mary again when she wasn’t receiving any response. “I hurt you.”

“Hurt me?” Mary frowned, “but you haven’t done anything wrong. Kirari and Yumeko were the ones who left me on the fucking shore alone.”

“That’s not-“ Ririka shook her head. “There’s more to it than that.”

They were having a serious conversation and it was at the wrong time and place but Mary couldn’t keep her eyes off Ririka’s lips. In a way, they were calling out to her, luring her closer and with every words that escaped Ririka’s mouth, Mary just wanted to lean in closer and closer.

The feeling was similar when she had woken up and saw Sayaka at the dining table. But this feeling was much stronger. Maybe it was because Mary only saw Sayaka as a friend and it was absolutely wrong of her to think about them that way.

But this was Ririka. The girl Mary had fallen in love with. And with Mary’s knowledge, Ririka had her feelings were mutual too. As much as Ririka came off as a confusing and odd at times, Mary couldn’t find any reasons why she needed to hold back.

“I shouldn’t have left. I shouldn’t—“ Ririka shook her head in frustration, but Mary didn’t know why. “If I had known Kirari would scheme something like this, I….”

Mary stared at her. Ririka was grabbing her dress in her fist above her stomach and trying to pulll it away. There was pain in her expression and it left Mary with all the more confusion.

“What are you talking about?” Mary frowned, “What scheme?”

“This shouldn’t have happen to you, Mary.” Ririka let a heavy breath out. “None of this should have happened. This is all my—“

The pain in her eyes, the crack in her voice, not to mention the urges inside of Mary, the blonde couldn’t let her finish whatever she was going to say.

“Ririka,” Mary placed her hands on her shoulders, gently shaking Ririka. “What happened to me?”

“I don’t know how to prepare you for this,” Ririka bit her lip, as she stared into Mary’s eyes. “Something unbelievable had happened to you.”

They were glowing in the dark and they were bright. But Ririka doubt Mary was aware of that. This whole change has made Mary 10x prettier and just looking at Mary, made Ririka’s voice hitched.

“You look really pretty,” Ririka added shyly.

Mary’s eyes widened at that and started blushing at that. And although she knew she was good looking, Ririka had never called her pretty before.

“I— um..,” Mary stuttered, part of her felt prideful that a beautiful girl like Ririka had just complimented her, even though she shouldn’t be surprised. She already knew they had mutual feelings for each other, but just hearing it out loud gives butterflies in Mary’s stomach.

On top of that, Ririka looked extremely alluring. More captivating than she was before. Her skin was glowing and her eyes spark. Everything about her was inviting Mary in.

And Mary wanted— no she needed to kiss her right then.

Just as Ririka was about to speak again, Mary uncontrollably threw her arms around her. Mary felt cold from the night, but when Ririka arms wrapped around her back, they felt hot against her skin. 

Mary couldn’t helped but hold Ririka tight to her and kissed her more fiercely than she’d ever kissed her before. There was this panicked insistence to it, and Mary couldn’t

Help but understand why, like Ririka couldn’t kiss her deeply enough, and Mary loved it. She puts her hands on her neck, pulling Ririka closer to her.

Eventually they had to stop so they could breathe, but Mary still held Ririk close to her. She rested her forehead against hers, her eyes closed as she breathed Ririka in.

“I missed you,” Mary murmured, and kissed her on the mouth again, more gently this time.

“I missed you too,” Ririka replied, wanting to sob. She’d been so certain that Kirari wouldn’t dare touched Mary and now her objective of affection is in deep trouble.

Kirari would definitely pay for this but still at what price? Mary had already turned into one of them, turning into something Ririka herself had despised.

And Mary. Ririka had absolutely no other options but to tell her the whole truth. Her plan of leaving Mary in peace after the summer is nothing but a distance dream now.

What would Mary think of her now? Would they even have this relationship after the unravel?

At that thought, Ririka returned to kissing Mary frantically. In the back of her mind she didn’t want this to end. Once they met up with Kirari and Yumeko, nothing between them would stayed the same again.

Ririka wouldn’t just be a girl in town for the summer, or a girl who wants to find her family’s scroll.

To Mary, Ririka would become a whole new perceptive. One that Mary would find unimaginable and to Ririka, that’s utterly overwhelming.

So if this was the last time Mary would see her as a normal person, she had to make them count.

Ririka’s hands moved down, pressing against the back of Mary’s ass and her tongue had deepened the kiss. And as they continued, Mary’s hand raised up on their own, encircling Ririka’s neck.

She didn’t understand why but she had this urge feeling of biting Ririka’s neck, and squeezing it until Ririka can no longer breathe. She could hear the heartbeat through her pulse point and the sweat that started forming on the back of her neck.

Mary’s stomach growl involuntary and it left her all confused, because she had just ate! Her thoughts immediately flashed back to Sayaka and without another second, she broke the kiss and leaned her forehead against Ririka.

She needed to find out what happened to her.

“Ririka,” Mary breathed out, face still flushed from their make out session. “I think we should go.”

Ririka gently smiled at her and nodded despite her disappointment.

Mary reached out and grabbed Ririka’s hand and gave her a gentle smile. Ririka in return squeezed Mary’s hand for assurance. The quiet walk through the trail took about five minutes when Ririka suddenly stopped at a rather steep rocky incline.

It took Mary a minute to realize that they were at the back of the cove in the bay.

Before Mary could ask Ririka if there’s a hidden entrance for them to get into the cove without getting wet, she found Yumeko looking down at them from the top of the incline.

“We’re up here!” She waved at them.

“You expect me to go up that?” Mary asked, staring at the sheer climb. She couldn’t see anywhere to grip or put her hands, and she’d never been much for climbing anyway.

“You can do it,” Yumeko assured her.

“I don’t really think I can.” Mary shook her head.

“You’d be surprised what you can do now.” Yumeko said with a smile.

Mary tuned to Ririka for reassurance and was met with a frown on her face.

“Ririka?” Mary muttered as she stepped closer to her.

Ririka looked at her and gave her a slight smile but Mary knew it was a forced expression.

Ririka then looked up at Yumeko and Mary took that as a sign to start climbing, but before she could, Ririka grabbed her hand.

“Mary,” she said softly. “I’m sorry for saying this again, but want you to prepare yourself for anything.”

“What do you mean?” Mary asked, “you mean this climb? I mean I’m not a climber but—“

“I just mean that,” she took a deep breath, interrupting Mary, “I hope nothing between us changes, that’s all.”

“Is this about what happened to me?” Mary asked, this time more softly and serious.

She was aware something had happened but the way Ririka was acting, was it worse than what it seemed?

Ririka slowly nodded. “You’ll find out what I- what we are. And I want you to know that I’m still the same person as I am now. Nothing should change that.”

Though her mind was filled with confusion, Mary nodded. “Nothing will change between us.” She assured her because Ririka looked like she needed reassurance. Mary really hoped her voice didn’t betrayed her.

Ririka looked at her for another moment until she gestured for Mary to climb.

“I’ll be right behind you,” she told her.

It was a little reassurance for Mary to know that Ririka would be right behind her in case she fell, but to her surprise, it came easy for her. It wasn’t that she was a better climber exactly, but she was faster, stronger, and more deft. She still slipped a few times, thanking Ririka each time she’d caught her, but she recovered easily.

When she reached the top, Kirari was standing at the edge in front of the bay, so the mouth of the cove was below her. This high up, the wind was stronger, whipping through the girls’ hair. A fall from that height, even into water, would be dangerous, and that was assuming she missed the rocks.

“What are we doing up here?” Mary asked and walked closer to Kirari.

“I wanted to show you what we are,” Kirari said.

“What are you?”

“The same thing as you.” Kirari faced her, smiling.

Mary swallowed hard. “And what’s that?”

“You’ll see.” Kirari said, and with that, she reached out and pushed Mary over the edge.

Mary tumbled down, screaming and flailing her arms.

When she hit the surface of the water, it felt the same as hitting the ground. It smashed into her back, knocking the wind out of her. She went under the water, and her arm bashed hard against a rock. Blood flowed out from it, and salt stung her wound.

Mary thrashed toward the surface, trying to swim through the pain overwhelming her body. But the fall had made her disoriented, and it was too dark for her to really tell up from down. She didn’t know where to swim, and her lungs burned for oxygen.

But even as she struggled, she felt a change over her. It was the one she felt in the shower, only this was more intense. It consumed her legs, fluttering down her skin.

The pain in her arm started to fade, replaced with a tingling sensation not that different from the one she felt going through her lower extremities.

Her body felt good, better than ever, actually, and she would’ve enjoyed it if she hadn’t been drowning. Whatever was happening to her had distracted her, and now she needed to gasp for breath. Her body did it involuntarily, and she expected her lungs to fill with water… but instead, when she took a breath, she breathed in air.

She could breathe underwater.

Mary blinked. She could even see underwater. Her vision was even clearer than when she was on land.

Then she saw the burst of water as Yumeko dove into the cove in front of her. Her body was surrounded h white bubbles for a moment. When they cleared, Yumeko swam in front of her, her black hair floating around her so perfectly.

She smiled at her, and Mary saw that Yumeko no longer had legs. She had a long tail, like that of a fish. Her torso was still human, with her chest covered in a brightly Colored bikini.

Mary looked down at herself and realized that she had the same fish’s tail, but unlike Yumeko’s which was covered in iridescent black scales, Mary’s was covered in gold scales. Her shorts were ripped and split down the middle from where her legs had converged, and the fabric sat around her waist like a belt.

It was then that Mary screamed, and Yumeko only laughed.

~

“Why?” Ririka growled at her sister as soon as Yumeko jumped down in the water.

“Why what?” Kirari shrugged, looking out at the sea.

“You know why.” She said seriously.

“I told you, we needed a replacement before full moon.”

“You could have pick another person,” Ririka grind her teeth, “any other person would do.”

“It’s not as easy as you think,” Kirari tuned to her, “you think anyone can just become a siren? It takes guts.”

“I told you before, didn’t I?” Ririka breathed, “to stay away from Mary.”

“You’re the one who couldn’t stay away from her,” Kirari talked back, “I’m not the one who had broken the deal.”

“Yumeko told you?” Ririka hissed and turned her head away.

“Oh, please, Ririka.” Kirari let out an airy laugh, “anybody even with a single brain cell could tell how flustered you were that night. Only one person could make you feel that way.”

“What gives you the right?” Ririka mumbled and her eyes darken. “Mary’s life is ruined now.”

“Ruined?” Kirari scoffed, “I just made her life ten times better!”

Ten times better?” Ririka asked, her eyes blazing. “You ruined her life! She had a family, a career, a good thing going for her and she’ll lose it all!”

“Ririka, clam down.” Kirari said, sensing that her sister was growing with anger. “We had no other choices.”

“You had choices!” Ririka roared and ran towards Kirari. “You choose wrong! You did this! You ruined Mary’s life, and possibly my relationship with her!”

“No, Ririka. I didn’t ruin—“ Kirari tried to argue with her, but Ririka wrapped her hand around Kirari’s throat and slammed her back into a tree trunk. “Riri—“

“You destroyed the only thing I came to care about,” Ririka growled. “And now, I’m going to destroy you.”

Kirari’s eyes were wide, and she pulled at Ririka’s hand. By then Ririka had already started her transformation. Her legs were shifting underneath her dress, and she grew taller.

Ririka’s eyes were flaring and didn’t look like she had any emotion at all. At that moment, her eyes were only filled with anger and revenge; no mortality in them. 

“Ririka,” Kirari breathed out. “Get over it.”

In the back of her mind, she knew she could turn the table and be as powerful as Ririka. But it was the way her sister was glaring at her that made her submit to her. A dark part of her was intrigued by the way a mortal was able cause Ririka to act this way. Kirari wanted to see how far Ririka would go for an insignificant human like Mary. Ririka was always a logical person and rarely let her emotion speaks for herself, so this little outburst definitely caught Kirari’s interest.

Ririka’s nails digged into Kirari’s neck and she was showing no signs of stopping. Her nails digged deeper and deeper and It was when she reached in, ripping through Kirari’s flesh and gripped onto Kirari’s heart with her other hand that Ririka’s eyes were finally awake. She stared into her sister’s eyes and her hand shook.

“I…” Ririka eyes widened and she released Kirari’s heart and stared at her bloody hand. Her form had started changing back to normal and she took a step back.

Kirari stood up and ignored her bloody chest. “I really had no other choices.” She said again, as she stepped towards the edge. “It has to be Mary. She’s one of us now, whether you like it or not.”

Ririka looked up at the moon, it was nearly full. They had time. But Kirari just had to rush. Her heart dropped at the thought of destroying yet another innocent life.

Kirari turned her head slightly and sighed. “And I didn’t ruined your relationship. If Mary truly cared about you, this new information shouldn’t be able to come between you two.”

Then she jumped off, joining Yumeko and Mary into the water.

 

Chapter Text

 

“I’m a mermaid?” Mary asked once she’d surfaced.

She could probably talk underwater, but she thought the night air might clear her head in case it was all some sort of drug-induced hallucination. After all, this wouldn’t have been the first time Kirari had slipped her something.

“Not exactly,” Kirari said, pushing her braided silvery hair from her face. She and Ririka had dived in the water right before Mary had surfaced, so all four of them were floating in the bay. “We’re sirens.”

“What’s the difference?” Mary asked.

“Well, for starters, mermaids don’t exist, and we do.” Kirari smiled, and Mary could see the recently formed bruises on her throat and some scratches on her face.

Yumeko giggled and dove back underwater, presumably swimming off.

“I’ll explain it all to you later,” Ririka said, swimming up beside Mary. She placed her hand on Mary’s shoulder as a sign of reassurance and gave her a gentle half smile. “For now, why don’t you take your new body out for a swim? We’ll have plenty of time to talk when you’re done.”

“I…” Mary wanted to know what she was, needed to know, really.

But she could feel her tail below her, swishing through the water. It felt powerful and fast, and it was almost itching to swim.

At least she knew part of the truth now. She knew what they were, and they weren’t going anywhere. Without saying anything more, Mary dove under the water.

It was better than anything she’d ever imagined. She moved faster than she ever thought possible. She darted around the ocean floor and chased fish simply because she could. Outrunning a shark would be a cinch, and she almost hoped she found one so she could try.

It was the most amazing, exhilarating feeling she’d ever had. Her skin felt alive in ways she’d never known possible. Every move, every tremble, every changes in the current rippled through her.

She swam as close to the bottom as she could get, then she raced up to the surface and leape, flipping through the air like a dolphin.

“Easy, there,” Kirari called. “We don’t need to draw attention to ourselves.”

Kirari sat in the rocky shore of the cove. She’d pulled her tail out so it lay bent on the ground. Right in front of Mary’s eyes, the scales rippled, shifting from iridescent silver to the fair tan of Kirari’s skin. It split into two legs, and Kirari stood up. She was completely nude from the waist down, and Mary quickly averted her eyes.

For a brief second, her face suddenly felt hot when she wondered if Ririka looked exactly like that.

“Don’t be shy.” Kirari laughed.

She walked away and dug around in a bag that sat by one of the cove walls. From the corner of her eye, Mary saw Kirari pull on a pair of panties and a sundress.

“We have clothes in here for you, too,” Yumeko said as she pulled herself out of the water. “You don’t need to worry.”

“Mary?” Ririka swam over to Mary when she saw the blonde was just floating there, uncomfortable with the situation. “Are you coming?”

“Yeah,” Mary looked down and could see Ririka’s silvery tail underwater. “Wow, your tail is really pretty.”

Ririka’s tail was the same colour as Kirari’s so Mary could only assume that the colour of their tails had some sort of relations to the colour of their hair pigments.

Ririka gave her a small smile. “I think I like yours more.”

“Thanks,” Mary blushed and looked away. “Actually, can you go first? I’ll follow after you.”

Ririka stared at her for a moment, her face filled with concerns. “Okay. Take as much time as you need. I’ll see you in a little bit.”

Mary nodded and looked down at her tail. Even in the dark sea, they looked bright. She took a deep breath taking all of this new metamorphosis in. It was overwhelming indeed. It almost felt like a dream, but Mary knew it was real.

She turned her head and could see that all three of the girls were already dressed and swam over and pulled herself out. She scooted backward up onto the shore, so the rocks scraped her fins. She pulled her tail out, and it flopped on land for a few seconds before the familiar flutter ran through them.

As her tail began to transform back into human legs, she ran her hands over it. She could actually feel the scales shifting beneath her fingertips.

“That’s incredible,” Mary breathed, staring in awe at her skin. “How is this possible?”

“It’s the salt water,” Yumeko answered, and threw a sundress at her.

Mary caught it and stood up. She half expected her legs to collapsed back into a tail beneath her, but they stood strong. Hurriedly, she pulled the dress over her head, putting it in over her tank top, and kicking off her torn up shorts.

“Well, it’s not just the salt,” Kirari corrected her. “You can add salt to freshwater, but it won’t really work. It’s the sea. You may feel hints of it in ordinary water, but you won’t transform unless you’re in the ocean.“

“But…what if I hadn’t transformed?” Mary asked. “I would’ve died if I hadn’t turned into a siren.”

“I wouldn’t have let that happened,” Ririka blushed as she crouched down in the centre of the cove and began building a fire.

“Of course, it hurts when you do a back-flip into the ocean.” Yumeko giggled. “You’re supposed to dive, silly.”

“I didn’t know that, since you pushed me.” Mary glared at Kirari. “Why didn’t you just tell me what was going on?”

“That would spoil all the fun.” Kirari winked at her, as if she were referring to a private joke instead of Mary’s near death.

The fire Ririka had been working on suddenly roared into life, filling the dark cove with warm light. Kirari sat close to the flames, stretching out her long legs and leaning back on her arms. Yumeko sat next to her while Ririka had somehow disappeared out of nowhere.

“You did this to me,” Mary said, but she wasn’t accusatory. She wasn’t sure what exactly they had done to her, so she couldn’t tell if it was a gift or a curse. So far, it felt a lot like a gift, but she still didn’t trust Kirari. “You turned me into this siren or whatever. Why?”

“Well, that’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it?” Kirari smiled.

“Why don’t you have a seat?” Yumeko patted the ground next to her. “It’s a rather long story.”

Mary stayed where she was, standing by the mouth of the. cove. The waves from the bay lapped against the shore, and  the engines of boats hummed in the distance. She glanced out at the night, already longing to get back into the ocean.

The last time she'd been out here, Kirari had nearly killed her, and it was only a few minutes ago that Kirari had pushed her off the top of a cliff. It was hard to juxtapose that with the knowledge that they had given her the most wonderful, exhilarating experience of her life.

Swimming with the siren had been by far the most glorious feeling she’d ever experienced. Even as she stood there, arms crossed over her chest and seawater dripping off her skin, she wanted to get back in the water.

It took all Mary’s energy to force herself to stay on the shore, to hear what they had to tell her. But she couldn’t bring resell to step in closer to move farther away from the water that seemed to sing to her.

“Suit yourself.” Yumeko shrugged when Mary refused to move.

“It is actually quite a long story,” Kirari said. “It goes back to when the world was young, when gods and goddesses still lived freely among the mortals.”

“Gods and goddesses?” Mary raised an eyebrow.

“Yeah,” Ririka stepped into the cove once again and stood beside Mary. She looked nervous as she held her hand out which the blonde grabbed and lead her towards the fire pit. “The gods often lived here on earth, sometimes helping the humans with their lives or merely watching their joys and sorrows for their own amusement,” she explained as they sat down around the fire.

“Achelous was one such god.” Kirari went on, “he ruled over all the freshwater, nourishing all life on Earth. Gods were the rock stars of their times, and they often had many lovers. Achelous was involved with many of the muses.”

“Muses?” Mary asked.

“Yes, muses,” Kirari explained patiently. “They are the daughters of Zeus, born to inspire and enthrall the mortals.”

“So, what does that mean?” Mary moved her neck towards Kirari, “what does being a muse entail?”

“Have you heard of Horace’s Odes?” Kirari asked, and Mary shook her head.

“I’m not in Honors English, but I have heard of Homer’s Odyssey.”

The Odyssey,” Ririka scoffed beside Mary. “Homer is an idiot.”

“Ignore her. She’s just bitter because she was completely omitted from The Odyssey,” Kirari waved her off. “Back to your question, a muse helped Horace write some of his prose. She didn’t write it herself, exactly, but she gave him the inspiration and motivation for his work.”

“I think I get it,” Mary’s brow remained furrowed, though, as if she didn’t completely understand it.

“A muse’s job isn’t important anyway,” Kirari said, deciding to move on. “Achelous had a love affair with the muse of song, and together they had two daughters. Twins. Ririka and I. He then became involved with the muse of dance, and they had a daughter, Tereno. But we didn’t meet Tereno until a couple years later on in life.”

“Wait,” Mary’s mind froze for a bit as she turned back and fourth from them, “you guys?”

Kirari and Ririka nodded while Yumeko remain smiling.

“Then,” Mary frowned, “who’s Tereno?” Her eyes light up, and her face almost got twisted, “wait— you guys—how old are you guys?”

“Mary,” Ririka grabbed her hand. “Calm down.”

“We’re older than you might think.” Kirari chuckled cynically as she continued. “Now let me continue. Despite the fact that our father was a god, Ririka, Tereno and I were the bastard offspring of his affairs with servants, so we grew up without anything.”

“Wait, Muses were servants?” Mary asked. “But their father was Zeus. Wasn’t he the most powerful god or whatever? Shouldn’t they be queens?”

Ririka glanced at Mary with adoration. It was only a couple weeks ago when Mary have learned all about the Greek history. Despite the sarcastic jokes about how delusional people were for thinking the gods and goddesses exists, Ririka could tell Mary was a fast learner for actually remembering who Zeus was.

“You would think that, but no.” Kirari shook her head. “Muses were created to serve men. Yes, they were beautiful and brilliant, talented beyond all measure. They were revered and worshipped by those they inspired, but in the end, they spent their days working for starving artists and poets. They lived a bohemian lifestyle, feeding into men’s desires. When the poets had finished their sonnets, the artists their paintings, the muses were cast aside and forgotten.”

“They were glorified prostitutes,” Ririka summed up.

“Exactly,” Kirari agreed. “Archelous all but disavowed his daughters, and their mothers were busy servicing men. So growing up, Ririka, Tereno and I were forced to fend for ourselves.”

“I tried to take care of them,” Ririka interjected. She gave Kirari a hard look, the light from the fire dancing and casting shadows over her lovely features making her appear almost demonic. “But Kirari was never satisfied.”

“One cannot be satisfied living on the streets.” Kirari turned her attention from Mary to Ririka, meeting her gaze evenly. “Ririka did the best she could, but starvation isn’t good enough.”

“We weren’t starving!” Ririka snapped, causing Mary to flinched a little. “We had work! We could’ve made a life for ourselves.”

“Work.” Kirari rolled her eyes. “We were servants!”

Both Yumeko and Mary watched the exchange between Kirari and Ririka with fascination. The two girls stared each other down across the fire, and for a moment neither of them said anything. The tension in the air was so thick, Mary was too afraid to break the silence.

“That was a very long time ago.” Yumeko said quietly. She stayed close to Kirari and gazed up at her, almost adoringly.

“Yes, it was,” Kirari agreed, finally pulling her death stare from Ririka and looking back at Mary. “We were starving in the streets. Even Ririka knew it. That’s why she went to her father, begging him to find them work.”

“What about your mom?” Mary asked, and suddenly regretted it when she remembered Ririka telling her how their mother had abandoned them.

“Tch-“ Kirari flickered her tongue at the question. “I wouldn’t call that bitch, a mom. She abandoned us when we were just kids and ran off to serve some men and never came back.”

“But we don’t know that for sure,” Ririka mumbled quietly, her gaze fixed on the fire pit.

“We don’t need to,” Kirari scoffed, “she was a horrible mother, and you know it. They’re all the same. Desperate for men. The only thing good about those muses was that we inherited many gifts from them, including their beauty and talent for song and dance. We were old enough then when we had started getting the attention of men.”

“I thought honest work would be the best way to get out of life,” Ririka said, joining the conversation in a much more reasonable tone. The anger had gone from her voice, and she was simply telling the same tale as Kirari. “Kirari, on the other hand, thought marriage was the way to escape.“

“It was a different time then,” Kirari explained. “Women didn’t have the choices and the rights they have now. Getting a man to take care of you was the only way out.”

“We were only fourteen back then, but Kirari was still a romantic and a dreamer. She believed if she fell in love, a prince would sweep her off her feet.” Ririka’s face twisted as she glare at Kirari.

“I was young and stupid,” Kirari scoffed, then shook her head quickly. “The job Archelous found for us was working as handmaidens for Persephone. A handmaiden is just a servant, helping to dress and clean up for a spoiled brat.”

“Oh, she was not a spoiled brat,” Ririka chastised her.

“She was, too,” Kirari insisted. “She was horrible, constantly entertaining suitors, and Ririka and I should’ve had handmaidens of our own. It was an abomination, and Persephone never cared. She just ordered us around like she was married to Zeus.”

“She cared,” Ririka spoke up, “you just never took the time to noticed. She wasn’t the best at conveying her feelings so others didn’t understand her.”

“Of course you’d noticed,” Kirari hissed, “weren’t you in a relationship with her?”

“No, I wasn’t.” Ririka argued, a blush formed on her cheeks.

“She always gave you gifts and weird love poems,” Kirari smirked, glancing over at Mary for a quick moment. “She even wanted to share her bed with you.”

“Which, I refused.” Ririka said quickly and frowned. She didn’t dare to look at the girl sitting beside her. It was enough that Mary had found out they were so old and unbelievable creatures, but Mary didn’t need to know what kind of affairs Ririka had in her early days.

“Tell them about Sumika,” Yumeko suggested, reminding Mary of a small child who asked to be read the same story every night even though she knew all the words.

“Sumika was working as a handmaidens for Persephone when Ririka, Tereno and I started,” Kirari said, and Yumeko smiled at her. “Sumika wasn’t related to them, but we loved her like she was. And Sumika had the most beautiful singing voice. It truly was the loveliest sound anyone had ever heard. As a servant, Sumika actually did very little work. She spent most of her days singing for Persephone, but nobody minded because her singing was so enchanting. It made everything seem better.”

“But it wasn’t all work,” Kirari went on. “All four of us were only teenagers and needed to have fun. As often as we could, we would escape from our servitude and go out to the ocean to swim and sing.”

“It was Sumika’s songs that commanded an audience,” Ririka said. “She and I would sit perched in the trees on the shore, singing in perfect harmony, while Tereno and Kirari would swim.”

“But it wasn’t just swimming,” Kirari clarified. “It was entrancing, underwater dancing. We put on a show just as much as Ririka and Sumika did.”

“They did, and travelers would come and see it,” Ririka agreed. “They even attracted the attention of gods like Poseidon.”

“Poseidon was the god of the ocean,” Kirari    Explained. “In my naïveté, I thought I could entice him with my swimming, and he would fall in love with me and take me away. And maybe he did fall in love with me.” Kirari brushed the sand away from her legs and stared into the fire. “Many men and a few gods have fallen for me over the years. But in the end, it doesn’t matter. It wasn’t enough.”

“Persephone was engaged to be wed,” Ririka said, taking back to the story. “She had much to do, but instead of helping her, all four of us went out to the ocean to swim and sing. Poseidon had invited us out, and Kirari was certain that this would be the day he would ask her to marry him. If she could just impress him enough.”

“Like I said, I was young and stupid.” Kirari added.

“I knew we shouldn’t leave Persephone,” Ririka continued, “but Kirari persuaded me into going with her.”

“You were just planning to stay with Persephone alone,” Kirari scoffed, “if I remembered correctly, your heart was breaking at the news of her marriage. Didn’t you like bawl your heart out?”

“Kirari!” Ririka scowled, “I-I didn’t bawl. I was just disappointed that she didn’t get to choose who she wanted to marry.”

“Because you wanted to be the only one in her heart.” Kirari teased, then she let out a long sigh.

“This has nothing to do with what I wanted,” Ririka frowned, “I just wanted her to be happy, and I knew she wasn’t…that’s all.

Mary looked at Ririka and Kirari back and fourth. From the outside, it looked like they were just a group of friends, holding a normal bonfire. But Mary had just found out that these girls were extraordinary.

They weren’t normal. They were far, far from that!

But…who the fuck was Persephone? And why did Kirari kept hinting that she and Ririka were a thing. Mary was already aware that the gods and goddesses were ancients, so the thought of being jealous for the bygones was just ridiculous. But Ririka was also ancient, and yet, Mary was sitting right beside her.

Mary recoiled and made a mental note to ask Ririka later about who the fuck was the woman who wanted to share a bed with her.

“Anyway, back to the story, Unfortunately that also happened to be the day when someone decided to abduct Persephone,” Kirari said. “We were supposed to watch over her, but we weren’t even close to hear her screams.”

“Her mother, Demeter, was a goddess, and she was furious,” Ririka said. “She told Achelous of his daughters’ failure to protect Persephone. But since Achelous was more powerful than Demeter, she had to ask for his permission before she could inflict a punishment on Kirari, Tereno and I.”

“I knew our father wouldn’t protect us, as he hadn’t cared about us our entire life, so I went to Poseidon, begging him to intervene,” Kirari said, “I pleaded with him, offering him every part of myself unconditionally if he would only help my sisters and I.”

There was a long pause during which nobody said anything. Mary had leaned forward, her hand was still holding Ririka’s but the other girl’s hand was still, unmoved.

“But he didn’t,” Kirari said, so quietly, Mary could barely hear her over the lapping of waves. “Nobody saved us. We only had each other to rely on, the way we always had, the way we always would.”

“Demeter cursed us to the life we had chosen instead of protecting her daughter,” Ririka explained. “She made us immortal, so we would have to live with our folly everyday without end. The things we loved would become the things we despised.”

“What things?” Mary asked.

“We had been too busy flirting, swimming, and singing when Persephone was kidnapped,” Ririka said. “So that’s what we were cursed to become.”

“She made us part bird, with a voice so hypnotic no men could deny,” Kirari said. “Men would be completely enraptured by it and have to follow it.”

“But Demeter also made us part fish, so we could never be far from the water. When our suitors came for us, following the sound of our voices, their ships would crash into the shore and they would die.”

“That, of course, isn’t the worst part of the curse.” Ririka explained with a wry smile. She turned to look at Mary and stared into her golden eyes. “Everyone would fall in love with our voice, our lovely appearance, but no one would ever get past that. They’d never really know us for who we actually are, never really love us. It would be impossible for any of us to ever really fall in love and be genuinely loved in return.”

 

Chapter Text

 

Kirari and Ririka were silent for a time, letting Mary absorb it all.

“Wait a minute,” Mary finally looked up to them after some time. “You said there was four of you. Tereno and Sumika. Where are they?” She then curiously looked over at Yumeko. “And isn’t your name, Yumeko? Where do you fit in this story?”

“Yumeko is a replacement for Tereno, who died many, many years ago.” Kirari explained.

“Wait. Yumeko replaced one of you?” Mary asked. “Why do you have replacements? And where’s Sumika?”

“It’s part of Demeter’s curse,” Ririka answered. “We chose each other over her daughter, then we must always be with our friends and sisters. There must always be four of us, together. We can never leave or be apart for more than a few weeks at a time.”

“If one of us leave, she will die, and we have to replace her.” Kirari explained, “we only have until the current moon is full to fill her role.”

“I’m Sumika’s replacement.” Mary swallowed hard as the realization struck her. “What if I don’t want to be?”

At that question, Ririka immediately slipped her hand out of Mary’s hand and grabbed a handful of sand, squeezing it in her palm tightly.

But the blonde was way too overwhelmed to noticed Ririka’s distress.

“You have no choices you’re already a siren. If you try to leave instead of joining us, you will die, and we will simply replace you.” Kirari answered.

“How?” Mary asked. “How did I turn? That flask?”

“Yes. It was a… mixture of a few things,” Kirari chose her words carefully.

“A mixture of what?” Mary asked.

Kirari shook her head. “It’s nothing to concern yourself with now. You wouldn’t even understand what they were. In time, it’ll all be explained to you.”

“Why?” Mary asked, a new tremor to her voice. “Why me? Why did you want me to join?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Kirari asked. “You’re beautiful, you love the water, and you’re fearless. Sumika was too afraid, and we needed someone different.”

“She wasn’t afraid,” Ririka countered, turning towards her sister, “She was considerate.”

“It doesn’t matter what she was,” Kirari said sharply. “She’s gone, and we have Mary now.”

“So…you expect me to just join you, leave everything I’ve ever known, and spend my life singing and swimming?” Mary asked.

“That doesn’t sound so terrible, does it?” Kirari asked.

“It really is wonderful,” Yumeko chimed in. “Once you get used to it. It’s a million times better than anything a mortal life could give you.”

“But what if I…” Mary trailed off and lowered her eyes, thinking of Itsuki, her family, Sayaka. She lifted her head, meeting Kirari’s eyes. “I don’t want this.”

“Then you will die,” Kirari said. She shrugged as if she couldn’t care less, but her voice was hard and her eyes burned. “If that’s what you wish, then so be it.”

“Kirari.” Yumeko sighed and gave Mary a softer smile. “It’s a lot to take in, I know, and you don’t have to decide today. Once you have some time to think, you’ll realize that this is the best thing that could have ever happened to you.”

“But it’s a curse,” Mary said. “Demeter turned you into sirens to punish you.”

“Did it really feel like a punishment?” Kirari asked slyly. “When you were out in the water, wasn’t that the best you’ve ever felt?”

“Yeah, but…”

“Demeter was an idiot, and she failed.” Abruptly, Kirari stood up. “She thought she was giving a penalty, but she set us free. Now her daughter is long since dead, Demeter’s all but forgotten, and here we are—as beautiful and powerful as ever, thriving under her ‘curse.’

Ririka purse her lips and looked away. For Persephone’s safety, it’s better if she didn’t tell Kirari that Persephone was alive and well.

“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ve made my point,” Kirari said. “Join us or don’t. Live or die. It’s up to you, and frankly, I don’t care which.”

“Kirari!” Ririka snapped, her sister didn’t need to be so harsh on someone who had just found out her world is turning upside down. “A word with me, please?”

Kirari rolled her eyes and followed her sister at the back of the cove. She get it that Ririka had a massive soft spot for this mortal but she was disgusted of how weak and indecisive humans are.

They reminded her of what she used to be. Begging for the gods and goddesses mercy.

“What?” She said once they’re far enough.

“Could you please be nicer to Mary?” Ririka hissed as she grabbed her sister’s arm, dragging her a bit farther.

“Nice?” Kirari chuckled a little. “I’ve been nothing but nice to her.”

“You’ve been impatient, irritated, testy, and edgy with her.” Ririk explained, “you’re acting too demanding and tough. She just found out that she has become an immortal for crying out loud.”

Kirari snorted and turned her head. “Because she’s already thinking of dropping out, without even giving the sirens’ life a chance. Mortals are idiots, just like they were thousands years ago. Nothing changes.”

“You were a mortal!” Ririka clarified and shook her head. “Remember where you came from.”

“I left that past a long time ago,” Kirari turned to her sister. “I am no longer weak and desperate. No longer needing permission or approval. I am free.” She walked towards the water and dipped her feet in. “Mary could be free too.”

Ririka stood and remain quiet for a moment. Her memories returned to the olden days. When they found out that Demeter was going to punish them, Kirari was the one who was shredding blood and sweat in order to help them. Over the years, Kirari had build up so many layers of walls that Ririka wondered if the little precious girl who was begging for Poseidon’s help was still in there somewhere.

“She needs time.” She finally said.

“Time is running,” Kirari countered and walked back into the cove. “We need to leave this town soon. And I won’t wait until Mary is ready.”

“Maybe you should,” Ririka countered, glaring at her sister’s back.

Kirari’s feet halted and turned back to her sister. “Pardon me?”

“Maybe you should wait until she’s ready,” Ririka explained. “After all, you’re the one who ruined her life.”

“I didn’t ruin anyone’s life,” Kirari repeated, it seemed like they’re been going in circles with this conversation. “Stop saying that I ruined her life. You, nor Mary knows what it feels to have a life ‘ruin’”

“Of course,” Ririka scoffed. “It always comes back to him.”

Kirari immediately charged at Ririka, pining her against the rock. “Don’t you dare bring him up.”

Ririka pushed Kirari’s arms away and counterattack her sister, reversed slamming her against the rock.

“Then I think you know very well not to mess with one’s belongings.” With her sharp nails she scratched acrossed Kirari’s face causing blood to roll down her from her face to her neck. “Especially the things that belongs to me.”

~

Yumeko went over to Mary and placed a hand on her arm.

“I know it’s a lot to take in,” she reassured her. “But if I could get used to it, I know you would too.”

“How…” Mary looked at her, still believing this was a dream. “How long ago did you turn?”

Yumeko shrugged. “Honestly I don’t remember. But if I had to take a good guess, probably around five centuries ago.”

“And you just… left your families and friends?” Mary asked with hesitation, because that fact scared her more than turning into a siren itself.

“Yeah,” Yumeko nodded, her eyes softened. “Mentally I was a lot younger than the original sirens when they approached me. But even so, time was a lot different than now. I came from a wealthy family and had a fiancé of my own.”

“How do you leave all that?” Mary raised a brow, “you had people you loved.”

“Not exactly,” Yumeko corrected. “My family was a typical rich family. They expected a lot from me…including the marriage with my fiancé.”

“But you love—“

“I thought I loved him, because that’s how life works back then. Rich young women were expected to marry into other rich young men’s household.” Yumeko’s smile flattered, “but I never wanted that life. I wanted to be free.”

“You had an arrange marriage?” Mary asked.

Yumeko shook her head. “Not exactly. I was seeking him willingly. He was a handsome young man. And I loved that life. We were young and in love. At least that’s what I used to believe love was. But then my older sister decided to ditch her responsibility of marrying someone our parents had chosen for her.”

Yumeko stopped for a moment and ran her feet against the sand took a soft sigh.

“My sister ran away. Then my family got into loads of debt and forced me and my boyfriend to get married so together, we could unite our wealth. We were only nineteen, and he was a good man. He accepted.”

Mary furrowed her brows. “You loved him. So why did you leave—“

Yumeko signed and shook her head furiously, stopping Mary from her question. “I found out later that he was a huge womanizer. He slept with other women throughout our relationship. It was a huge embarrassment back in the days, for someone with a powerful name as him. I felt ashamed and was trapped. I couldn’t leave him because my family was counting on our marriage, and also because I was already labeled as a marked woman. No other man would want someone who has already been touched.”

She got quiet for a moment, and Mary patiently waited for her. Mary didn’t dare open her mouth or change the atmosphere, too afraid that Yumeko would do something crazy.

“I left…” She finally said quietly. “What else was there for me, right?”

Mary slowly nodded at the question. She could understand why Yumeko left to start a whole new and completely different life.

However, her situation was a whole different story. She loved the life she had. She had friends who loved her, a swimming career that was thriving, and she was making a name for herself; what she always wanted.

But Still. No way in her mind could she forget about Ririka. Ririka had also became part of her happiness.

It felt as if she was trapped between keeping her old life, or start a new one with Ririka.

Could she really leave all that behind for a life of extraordinary adventures?

If she was being honest, she didn’t mind having a long, long life with Ririka. Not that Mary was a sap, but she could already picture them years into the future. In truth, no one has ever made Mary felt the way Ririka had. And Mary knew for sure that it had nothing to do with the sirens’ charm.

The thought of immortality certainly scared her, but also intrigued her to beyond measures.

Mary was about to open her mouth when Yumeko decided to throw her arms, pulling Mary’s body against her. Yumeko was warm and soft. Her scent smell intoxicated and Mary couldn’t get enough of it. She smells just like Ririka and Mary wondered if it was a sirens trait.

“You and I are quite alike,” Yumeko mumbled, and Mary could hear her heartbeat pounding inside of her chest. “I know it’s a lot. Believe me, I know. But if you ever need someone to talk to, I’m always here. I don’t have a choice, do I?” She giggled and for whatever reasons that Mary couldn’t comprehend, for comfort perhaps, she instinctively snakes her arms around Yumeko’s waist, squeezing her tighter. “We’ll get though this together.”

Mary frowned and stared out at the sea. Hugging Yumeko felt good. She needed it. She always knew Yumeko was approachable, much more welcoming than Ririka was. Mary knew Yumeko was a friendly person, even in the beginning. So it was inevitable that the knowledge of them being in a similar situation was strangely comforting.

“I think I should go,” Mary muttered once she broke away from Yumeko. “It’s really late.”

“Go see your friends and family,” Yumeko told her. “Put your life in order. Say goodbye to the things you need to say goodbye to. Then come join us. You’ll never regret it.”

Mary wanted to wait for Kirari since she hadn’t answer all her questions yet, but Mary had enough to think about.

She knew Kirari and Ririka had told the truth, but she didn’t necessarily believe it was the whole truth. Their little tale was extremely extraordinary and unbelievable, but when Mary looked down at her legs, she had no choice but to believe it. It was a hard pill to swallow for sure.

However, They’d definitely left something out, and they hadn’t told her what became of Sumika, just that Mary was needed to replace her.

The curse of the siren that Demeter had supposedly bestowed upon them—it didn’t make any sense. Nothing she’d done to them sounded that bad. They were granted immortality, eternal beauty, and they could swim and breathe as a fish whenever they wanted.

That sounds like a dream come true for Mary.

She went to the mouth of the cove and sat down at the water’s edge, her legs in the water up to her knees. Her skin fluttered, tingling as scales sprang intermittently from her flesh. Her toes spread out, becoming sheer fins that glided through the water.

Her body wasn’t submerged enough in the bay, so she didn’t completely transform. Her legs remained legs, only with a few scales, but her feet were more flippers than feet.

Mary swung her legs back and fourth, relishing the way the cold water felt running over her scales and flippers.

She closed her eyes, breathing in deeply, and her heart swelled with the pure joy of the moment.

But as amazing as this felt, as unbelievable and impossibly perfect as it all seemed, would it still be worth it? Giving up everything she knew and loved?

With her eyes still closed, Mary slid into the water, still wearing the dress the sirens had given her. She didn’t try swimming at all—she just allowed herself to sink, floating down toward the bottom of the bay.

Mary felt her legs changing, her appendages fusing to form a single tail. It wasn’t until she could breathe in the water that she opened her eyes, staring out at the darkness around her.

Just before she hit the bottom, she flipped her tail and began swimming toward the shore. Since she didn’t seem to have much of a choice right now, she decided to take Yumeko’s advice. She’d go home and figure things out from there.

“Mary!”

Mary froze and looked around. Her vision had become immaculately clear. She could see so many groups of fish, the reefs, the sand from the bottom of the ocean and even a few humpback whales from a few miles away. It felt as if she had super vision.

“Mary!” Ririka swam towards her. She sounded exactly the same as on land. But under the water, the volume of her voice sounded a lot louder.

Mary hesitantly open her mouth to speak. She didn’t want to let water into her throat, but she felt ridiculous thinking about that when she’s practically breathing underwater.

“Ririka.”

She realized she could hear the vibration of her own voice echoing towards Ririka.

“Mary.” Ririka finally reached her.

Mary had never seen Ririka underneath the water but she looked exactly like a goddess. Her silver hair floated behind her and every now and then, when the light from the lighthouse flashed towards them, her skins radiant in the perfect tone Mary had never seen before.

Mary looked starstruck for a moment until she willed herself to look away, enjoying the view of the vast ocean instead.

“You’re right,” she spoke up and let out an airy laugh. “Nothing could have prepared me for this.”

Ririka nodded, as she awkwardly floated beside Mary. In honesty, she really didn’t know what Mary was thinking. She observed the blonde from earlier and as Ririka’s expected, as much as it looked as if Mary was fascinating by what she had learned, she didn’t sound she would give up her life as a normal person at all. She had already asked Kirari questions of indecisive.

The best scenario she could come up with was that Mary would accept this reality and try to live as a siren, which was what Ririka hoped for. But the worst scenario would be that Mary refusing this new transition, going against Kirari which would lead to disasters.

“Were you ever going to tell me?” Mary asked, turning to her.

“Would you have believe me?” Ririka countered and Mary froze for a moment  and she slowly shook her head.

”so you were going to leave me then.” Mary concluded and looked away.

“Yes.” Ririka said truthfully. There’s no reason to lie to Mary now anyway.

Mary’s heart suddenly dropped at the confirmation. She really thought they had a good thing going on and that things were moving forward but she realized she was probably no more than just a summer fling to Ririka.

But she’s not a human anymore. Technically she’s one of them now. Whatever they are. Was this was Ririka meant when she said that she hoped nothing between them would change?

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you,” Ririka continued after seeing Mary’s frown. “I know you trusted me. I wanted to tell you,” Ririka bit her lip and her eyes started to tear up, not that Mary would noticed underwater. “But every time I tried, blood rushes to my head and I-I couldn’t.”

“I think I understand,” Mary hummed. “I can’t even begin to describe this myself.”

Ririka nodded slowly and cautiously moved closer to the blonde. “You’re not mad?”

Mary took a deep breath at that question and sighed. She turned to Ririka and closed her eyes in weariness, then she opened them and let out a bitter laugh. “I don’t know how I feel right now. I’m overwhelmed with so many emotions that I don’t even know what to do right now.”

“It’s a lot,” Ririka admitted and bit her lip. “But we can—“

“Hey,” Mary interrupted, “by the way, who’s Persephone?”

Ririka’s eyes widened, “W-What?”

“You know,” Mary scratched her cheek and looked away. “The person Kirari mention. It seems like she’s important to you.”

“Erm,” Ririka blushed and inhaled. “She was—is.”

“Is?” Mary raised a brow and bit the inside of his cheek. “So she’s still….”

“You’ve actually met her before,” Ririka said before Mary could jump to conclusion.

“I did?” Mary asked, now confused as ever. “When did I meet a goddess?”

“At the Sahara,” She answered. “The woman that helped us get back on the helicopter.”

“Phoebe?”

Ririka nodded. “It would be complicated and difficult if I had told you her true identity so she went with Phoebe.”

“Wait,” Mary frowned. “She’s the daughter of D-De—D”

“Demeter.” Ririka mumbled.

Mary’s eyes widened. “So then, we can just bring her back to her mother then she can just break the curse!”

“You would think that,” Ririka frowned, “but it isn’t that easy.”

“And why not?” Mary whined.

“Well, for starters, we don’t know where Demeter is located. The gods and goddesses were shapeshifters, so over the years, they made themselves look like humans to blend in. But for all we know, Demeter might be dead.” Ririka explained, “Persephone had escaped from Hades, he’s the one who kidnapped her, and had been under the Sahara for at least five centuries and never once did Demeter come and find her.”

“That is complicated,” Mary breathed out. “So if Persephone were to go and look for her mother, there’s a chance Hades could capture her again?”

Ririka nodded. “Hades was obsessed with Persephone’s beauty and even when he had her for thousands of years, his feelings for her never changed.”

Mary took in the information for a moment and remain silent. She could remember clearly of that day. When Ririka had kissed

Persephone. She suddenly felt a pang in her stomach just thinking about that scene. She looked up at Ririka and hesitantly, she asked, “Have your feelings for her changed?”

“I…” Ririka halted and looked down at the sea floor. “I…don’t know.”

Mary frowned at that. Did Ririka still have feelings for Persephone?

“You kissed her the other day,” Mary mumbled.

And suddenly Ririka’s cheeks reddened from Mary’s confrontation. She remembered that day well and how Persephone’s lips had tasted. But as much as she liked Persephone, the goddess was more a reminiscent then an actual person to Ririka. And as much as she liked kissing her, the feelings of butterflies in her stomach only happens when she’s kissing Mary.

“Well technically I…” Ririka wanted to argue that it was the other way around but then she sighed. “Like I said, she’s just a long time friend.”

“Feelings don’t fade easily,” Mary reminded.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve lost each other,” Ririka’s brows furrowed. “And besides there were others after her.”

“Oh? Does that mean you have more lovers?” Mary grimaced and she internally punches herself because of course, of course Ririka would have others lovers. If Ririka was as old as those histories in the books, there must certainly be many lovers up until now.

“I wouldn’t call them lovers,” Ririka said, and her eyes filled with concerns. “They’re more like hook ups.”

Mary frowned. She didn’t want to think about Ririka being with anybody else at the moment. It was already hard to believe that Ririka still had connections to a goddess as glamorous as Persephone, but to also have others lovers? It was too much information for one day.

Then Mary remembered something Kirari had said back in the cove. “Why did Kirari say that Persephone is dead?”

Ririka sighed and moved in front of Mary, staring at the distance. “It’s a long story but Kirari and Persephone weren’t in the best of terms. Especially the days leading to her captivity. I’d rather keep Persephone’s location hidden from Kirari. I’m worried my sister might do something crazy and went for Persephone.”

“Ririka.” Mary called her back, there’s the gentleness in her voice. If Ririka went out of her ways to keep Persephone safe, does that mean she still have feelings for her? “Do you still…”

Ririka turned around to face Mary and shook her head “If you’re going to ask if I still have feelings for Persephone, then I can assure you that my heart has moved on.”

Mary stared at her blankly and almost flinched when Ririka took her hand in hers.

“I’m interested in someone else now,” she smiled at Mary, in a way that immediately lighten up the blonde’s mood.

Mary’s checks slowly reddened, but her eyes was still in awe, “who?”

“I think you know,” Ririka blushed and lower her eyes onto Mary’s lips. She gently brushed her thumb against Mary’s knuckles and pulled her towards her.

Mary’s cheeks reddened and she found herself smiling. Though her thoughts were all over the place and her brain was contradicting whether it was a good idea to lean on Ririka or not, Mary was too overloaded to care.

She allowed herself to get pulled by Ririka and into her arms. Mary knew if she was normal and they were underwater this deep, especially at night like this, they would already freeze to death. However, she felt warm, and against Ririka’s body, she felt even more pleasant.

Ririka smiled and tilted up Mary’s chin with her index finger. They both lean in and as their lips were about to touch, they heard the sound of dolphins swimming up to them, and ultimately breaking them apart.

Mary’s smile widened at the view. Four dolphins were swimming around her, and nudging her to swim with them. Mary couldn’t help but ran her hand over their back, all excitingly.

Ririka giggled at the reaction Mary was having. “They want you to swim with them, Mary.”

“Swim?” Mary eyes widened and she pointed her herself as Ririka nodded. One of the dolphin squeaked and nudged on Mary’s back, hoping she’d swim. “All right, all right, I’ll swim,” Mary laughed and before she swam off, she quickly grabbed Ririka’s hand, pulling her along with her. “You’re coming with me!”

“Okay,” Ririka laughed as they started to dive deeper into the ocean. They were sandwiched by two dolphins on either sides and when they were under deep enough, they flipped their tails and raced up to the surface, leaping through the waves and flipping through the air.

They did that for a while and Mary realized she hadn’t been tired at all. If she had a choice, she knew she could do this all night and never get exhausted.

The dolphins, on the other hand seemed to be the opposite. Although they were still full of energy, Mary could tell they were worn down a bit. The dolphins stopped swimming at one point and one of them came up to Mary and rubbed their pectoral fins against her.

“He likes you,” Ririka giggled, as the dolphins kept squeaking together and then swam off.

Mary rolled her eyes, grinning as she swam closer to Ririka, pulling her closer to her. “Too bad. I like someone else.”

Ririka bashfully blushed and willed herself to look away. Mary smirked and sweetly grabbed her chin, stealing a quick kiss from her.

“M-Mary!” Ririka playfully slapped the blonde’s arm causing her to giggle at the action.

“I can’t help it,” Mary laughed, “you’re just so cute.”

Ririka grinned and she couldn’t help but lean forward, clashing her lips against the blonde again. Mary smiled into the kiss and wrapped her arms around Ririka’s neck, pulling her in. Ririka was more than happy to reciprocate. In fact, her hands behind Mary’s back eagerly slide down until she felt the scale on Mary’s tail.

Mary suddenly yelped at the action and backed away from Ririka. The feelings of someone physically touching her tail instead of just salt water felt so different. It’s the same feeling as when Ririka had touched her legs earlier but more. This felt like Ririka was touching her while she’s naked.

Mary coughed at her lewd thoughts and hoped Ririka couldn’t hear how fast her heart was beating.

Ririka only smiled in return. It’s almost like she knew what Mary was feeling . “It’s getting late.”

“Yeah.” Mary sighed as she stared at the shore. “I think I should go home and take Yumeko’s advice.”

Ririka raised an eyebrow. “Yumeko’s advice?”

“Yeah, she and I are both replacements so I guess in a way we’re almost alike,” Mary explained. “She told me to figure out my life and go from there.” 

“Mary,” Ririka frowned, “what did Yumeko tell you?”

“She told me that she left her family when you guys turned her into a siren,” Mary said and a slight frown tugged up her lip. “She told me to do the same. Say goodbye to my life and start a new one.”

“That’s what she told you?” Ririka asked in astonishment. Did Yumeko lied to Mary on purpose, leaving the fact that she obliterated everyone from her past?

It didn’t sit right with Ririka. How could Yumeko lied to Mary like that. They shouldn’t be keeping their past hidden from each other.

Mary nodded and something about Ririka’s expression was off. “Is something wrong?”

“Oh, no.” Ririka lied. Mary has had a day and new information would just make things worse so she decided to stay out of Yumeko’s business. Whether Yumeko lied for Mary’s sake or lied to hide the fact that she’s a monster, it has nothing to do with Ririka.

As long as it didn’t hurt Mary, Ririka would stay far from Yumeko’s businesses.

Besides, Yumeko wouldn’t be the one who would guide Mary into this new life she’s about to enter.

It would be Ririka who will be there for Mary. And Ririka alone.

 

Chapter Text

 

Sayaka, come look! Your father has caught  a huge rainbow trout.” Sayaka heard her mother yelling outside the cabin of her boat. Her face lit up giddily as she placed her book down and quickly went out to the boat deck.

“Sayaka,” her mother smiled warmly, reaching her hand out to her daughter. “You really need to stop planting your face in a book, sweetie. This is a vacation!”

“Relax, darling. Give our girl a break,” her father grinned as he walked towards them, holding a huge fish in his hands. “Look sweetheart, your favourite fish.”

“Wow,” Sayaka’s eyes sparkled as the view of the fish got closer. She was amazed at how many colours a single fish can have. There was some blue, green and yellowing coating the fish’s skin with a huge line of pink stripe running from its gills and all the way down it’s back, dominating all other colours. “It’s beautiful.”

“Right?” Her father agreed nodding his head towards the fish. “It’s about time we have lunch. Why don’t we get the grill out.”

Sayaka nodded eagerly. “Are we going to grill this fish?”

“You bet we will!” Her father smiled proudly. “This will be the best fish you’ll ever taste!”

“That’s a little over exaggerating.” She snorted and turned to see her mother chuckling on the side.

“Your father is right,” her mother laughed. “Last week, he caught a fresh saury and it tasted beyond anything in this world!”

“That’s the power of fish in season,” her father grinned, making his way inside the cabin. Her mother follow him, disappearing from Sayaka’s view.

Sayaka sighed as she stood alone, admiring the vast sea. It was a beautiful day, the sun shining above, and not a single cloud was in the sky. She made her way towards the edge of the boat and slipped her feet into the water. The cooling sensation sent shivers down her spine. It was days like this that she held close to her heart. Just her parents and her, having fun, not caring about time in the world.

Then a rush of wave travel through the water. Something was in the water. Before sayaka could pull her feet up, she saw two hands gripping onto her ankle. Her heart raced as she tugged her legs.

The said person from under the water emerged from the surface with loud thunder in the background.

It was Kirari.

Smiling at her with bloody razors teeth.

Sayaka bolted up with a huge gasp. She was covered in a cold sweat, and she out a hand to her heart. Darkness surrounds her and she quickly realized she was on Mary’s couch. She never ended up going home last night.

Was she just dreaming about Kirari?

Frantically turning her head around, she noticed a pair of glowing eyes looking right back at her.

Eyes widened and she sucked in a sharp breath. 

“Sayaka, calm down.” She heard someone from the other end of the couch saying to her.

She slowly opened her eyes and her pupils adjust themselves to see Mary looking at her with a concern expression.

After a moment of calming her heart and breathing down, she slipped her feet in the floor, leaning her head back on the couch.

“Are you okay?” Mary asked cautiously.

“Yeah,” she answered nervously. “Just a nightmare.”

“Must have been one heck of a nightmare, eh?” The blonde teased. “Never seen you so worked up before.”

“Oh shut up!” Sayaka gave her a pout, then she glanced to the side. “It was an…unexpected dream that’s all.”

Mary raised a brow at Sayaka’s discomfort. “Do you want to talk about it?”

Sayaka took a moment to herself before sighing, and turning to face Mary. “How about we let my dream be a dream, and we talk about where you went last night?”

“Oh, that.” She scratched her neck and her arms over her head, relaxing herself a bit. “They took me to the cove and we had a little bonfire.”

“What did they want to talk to you about?”

“They told me why they left me washed up on the beach,” Mary shrugged, and stood from the couch, and making her way to the kitchen. “Man, I’m so thirsty. Want something to drink?”

It was when Mary turned the lights on that Sayaka had forgotten what time it was. She quickly look for her phone and check to see that it was 5:00 am. No wonder it was still dark out. The sun wouldn’t come up for another hour or so.

“Uh, coffe would be nice,” Sayaka respond to her as the blonde herself fill her glass from the tab water. “But…what time did you get back?”

“I don’t know, but probably couple hours ago,” she answered with uncertainty. “I saw you on the couch and I tried to wake you up but you were deep in sleep and I guess I fell asleep because the next thing I know, you were breathing hard and before I could wake you up, you jolted up, almost giving me a heart attack.”

“Sorry about that,” Sayaka frowned, while Mary giggled. She felt a little embarrassed that she fell asleep on someone’s couch without their permission. “And sorry about sleeping on your couch. I didn’t even ask if you’re okay with that.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Mary waved her off as she started the coffee machine. “I trust you with my home.”

Sayaka let out a relief breath and she, herself stood up and walked towards the kitchen, sitting herself on one of the stool, hands on the island counter.

They share a peaceful quiet moment until the coffe was finished and Mary placed the cup of coffee in front of her.

“Thanks,” Sayaka smiled as she grabbed the cup, smelling the caffeine.

“No problem,” Mary smiled back, and turned to open the fridge. “There should be some cream in here. Though I doubt it. There’s barely anything in here.”

“Don’t worry about that,” Sayaka told her, while taking a sip. “I don’t put cream in my coffee.”

“No kidding?” Mary turned her head and raised a brow. “…but it’s all bitter and sad.”

“It’s natural coffee,” Sayaka rolled her eyes playfully. “And besides, I find that adding sugars or cream just so extra. And unhealthy.”

“Extra?” Mary let out an airy laugh, “I honestly can’t drink coffee without cream. But you’re in luck because we don’t even have cream or anything really. I didn’t have a chance to go to the grocery store this week.”

“And why not?” She asked.

“Well I’ve just been super busy lately and just eating out more,” she shrugged, “besides I don’t really know how to cook other than spaghetti, so…”

“You know, if you want, you can always come by my house and eat dinner with me.” Sayaka offered. “I live alone but I always end up making food for two.”

“Is that your way of asking me on a date?” Mary smirked, “because if it is, it’s pretty smooth.”

Sayaka cheeks flushed. “I didn’t mean it to come out that way—“

“I’m just kidding,” Mary laughed. “But thank you for the offer. You never know, I might just show up at your house one day and eat all your food.”

“I wouldn’t mind that,” Sayaka said almost too quickly, realizing how forwarded she was, her cheeks reddened even more.

“Gee, Sayaka,” Mary laughed again. “I didn’t know you could be so straightforward.”

“I…” Sayaka sighed and her shoulders deflated. “I said what I said.”

Mary smiled and chugged down the rest of her water.

“So…” Sayaka spoke up again, trying to continue their conversation from earlier. “Why did they left you washed up on the shore the other day?”

“Oh…”

She saw that discomfort look again. Mary was obviously uncomfortable about this topic and Sayaka wanted to know why. Her legs shifted and she fiddle with her hands. Her golden eyes were looking everywhere but Sayaka’s.

“Um…it’s a long story,” she finally laughed it out which made Sayaka raised a suspicious brow.

“I have time.”

“Well,” Mary furrowed her brows, as if trying to remember her night. But it was obvious to sayaka that Mary was trying to come up with a lie to cover for those girls. “They were trying to do an experiment.”

“An experiment?”

“Uh-huh," Mary nodded uncomfortably.

“An experiment of what?” Sayaka asked, almost too harshly, as if she was upset. “An experiment to see if you would be alive or not while laying in the shore alone like that?”

“Well, now that you say it like that, “Mary gulped. “That sounded bad.”

“Because it is,” Sayaka said deadpanned. “Tell me the truth, Mary.”

“That is the truth,” Mary said placing her cup back on the rack.

“You’re a horrible liar, you know that?” Sayaka rolled her eyes and her eyes grew worry. “You can trust me.”

“I do trust you,” Mary admitted. “But this is something between me and them. I can’t get you involved.”

“I’m already involved, Mary.” Sayaka sighed, “stop pushing me away.”

“Im not pushing you away,” she told her. “It’s just better if you don’t know. They’re unbelievable.”

“Unbelievable? Unbelievable how?” She pressed.

“They are-“ Mary snapped but soon her voice faltered. “Don’t worry about it.”

She let out a painful sigh. “Mary. I’m already involved whether you want me to or not. I know they’re strange and unbelievable, but I said before, I don’t trust them. So why are you still trying to cover for them. Leaving you injured on the shore should’ve prove how reckless and dangerous they are. You of all people should know this.”

“I know,” Mary lowered her gaze. “But I can’t ignore them. Not anymore.”

“Why not?” Sayaka was aware of how agitated her voice had become, but somehow she didn’t care anymore.

“Because…” Mary hesitated, biting her lip. “I can’t tell you, I’m sorry.”

Sayaka just stared at her in disbelief for a moment. She understood that Mary wasn’t obligated to tell her every aspect of her life, but there’s just something about those girls she didn’t trust. So why does Mary seem to trust them?

“It’s okay, I guess,” she sighed, walking towards the sink and washing her cup. “Just…can you promise me you won’t just run off with them alone again?”

“I can’t,” Mary replied almost too shameful.

“I don’t understand,” she whipped her head. “They left you to die, and you’re acting like that’s the most normal thing ever.”

Mary took a moment to register what she said before speaking. “There’s just somethings you won’t understand or believe even and it’s just better if I don’t tell you…for your protection.” She  mumbled the last part out.

“I don’t need protection.” Sayaka quickly dismissed, “tell me who they are and what they want from you.”

“I can’t,” Mary said again. “Maybe when the time comes, maybe I’ll tell you everything.”

“When?”

Mary shrugged, and there’s a lingering sadness in her eyes, a longing in her expressions.

“I think I should go home now,” Sayaka turned her head and walked towards the door. “Thank you for the coffee.”

“Sayaka,” Mary called her back, causing Sayaka to turn to her. “Don’t go.”

“If you’re not going to tell me what they want, there’s nothing to talk about.”

“Actually,” Mary nervously scratched the back of her neck. “I want you to meet Ririka.”

“Ririka?” Sayaka asked surprisingly, “I already met her.”

“No, like…” Mary but her lip with hesitation, “sit down and talk…”

“Why?” She frowned, “I’ve already sat down and have lunch with Kirari a couple days ago. I didn’t like it one bit. She was super strange and flirty.”

“You had lunch with Kirari?” Mary raised a brow, “why?“

“It wasn’t on purpose,” She shrugged, “I went into piper’s and she was there alone and she called me over and she bought me a coke.”

“Sounds like a date,” Mary smirked, causing Sayaka to cringe in disgust.

“It wasn’t a date!” She scowled, “Kirari is the last person I'd be interested in, and that has nothing to do with why you want me to meet Ririka. They’re twins, and all of them are tight, what makes you think Ririka is any different from Kirari.”

“Trust me, Sayaka,” Mary sighed, stepping towards her. “I know you don’t like Kirari-I don’t like her either! But Ririka is nothing like Kirari.”

Sayaka bit her lip and contemplate. Mary seems to trust Ririka a lot. She wondered if they’re together, but she didn’t want to ask. She had never actually talk to Ririka. But the aura both Kirari and Yumeko had was something so dark to Sayaka that she wondered if it’s actually worth getting to know Ririka at all.

“I know, it’s kind of random and weird,” Mary continued. “You don’t really know them, but you asked what those girls want from me and I honestly can’t tell you…not right now at least. And I know this is going to sound cheesy but,” Mary blushed, “you and Ririka had become very important to me this summer. I grew so close to both of you and I trust both of you equally, so I want you guys to…I don’t know, get to know each other. Or at least understand each other.”

Sayaka soften at Mary’s words. Maybe Ririka was different after all.

“I’ll think about it,” she smiled and she couldn’t help but step closer to Mary, pulling her into a tight hug. “And thank you for opening up to me. It means a lot.”

“Y-Yeah,” Mary awkwardly pat her back. “I hope you’re not mad at me.”

“Mad at Mary Saotome?” Sayaka let out a playful scoff, breaking the hug. “I wouldn’t dare.”

“You better not!” Mary grinned, and Sayaka  saw that she finally look relieved. “Thanks for caring, Sayaka.”

“Of course,” Sayaka blushed and for a moment she stood, admiring Mary’s beauty. “I should go.”

“Yea,” Mary nodded and Sayaka turned quickly to leave before she linger any longer.

~

Midari lives in an old boathouse, at the end of the canal and have her very own space. Her place was surrounded by trees and she had her own garage where she has a couple of cars inside. Midari lives a little bit farther from the rest of civilization but she preferred it this way. She’s always been alone and she wasn’t complaining when she found this place a while back.

Sayaka called out to her friend by the front door, but no one answered. Midari had texted her this morning to stop by so they could hang out but somehow, the place sounded dead and quiet. Sayaka made her way around the patio and sat on one of the large sofas. Midari had at least three large sofas on her patio since she’s always inviting people over and hosting parties.

“Midari!” She called again after not hearing anything back.

“In the garage!” She could barely hear Midari’s voice. Alas, she stood and make her way towards the garage. When Sayaka got there, she saw Midari’s Cadillac CTS-V up in the air and herself underneath it.

“What are you doing?” Sayaka asked when she saw that Midari was obviously busy.

“Can you hand me the breaker bar from that red toolbox over there?” She grunted from below.

Sayaka sighed as she walked towards the tool’s station. She checked inside and scrunched her nose. “I don’t see it. You’re missing a lot from your socket set, by the way.”

Midari groaned and sayaka heard she dropped some type of wrench on the ground.

“I thought we were going to hang out?” Sayaka said impatiently, changing the subject to why she as here in the first place. Midari was always planning things last minutes and wasting time on her cars again.

“I know, I know,” Midari pulled herself out of under the car. “You were taking so long to get here so I decided to fix some issues.”

“Well I’m here,” Sayaka looked at Midari’s outfit. She was wearing a black mechanic’s jumper from her bottoms, letting the top straps fall beside her legs and with a black bra on. “You look hot, and I got you a Costco hotdog.”

“Well aren’t you the sweetest.” Midari grinned grabbing the hotdog and shoving it in her mouth. "And yeah, I know I'm hot. you want some of this?" she said flexing her arms.

"Ugh, you're so gross!" Sayaka snickered and rolled her eyes as Midari laughed at her. she made her way to the side, finding a stool nearby and help herself on it. "So do you want to tell me why you wanted to hang out today?"

“Yeah, I was thinking of doing some shopping today.” Midari followed her, scanning her tool’s station.

“Shopping?” She raised a curious brow, “you hate shopping.”

“Not that kind of shopping!” Midari groaned, and threw the plastic from the hotdog in the garbage can. “Tool shopping.”

Sayaka glanced at her toolbox. “Don’t you have enough of those? It’s like all over the place. And I’m pretty sure you left some at my place.”

“No, I need a new socket set.” Midari groaned. “Ryota asked to burrow a bunch of my deep sockets a couple weeks ago and some of my wrench.”

“Why don’t you call him, I think he should be done with it by now.”

“I tried,” she shrugged. “But the dude haven’t picked any of my calls up.”

“That’s weird,” Sayaka frowned. “Suzui isn’t the type to ignore a call. He usually calls back whenever he can.”

“Whatever,” Midari shrugged and slides her hands into her pockets. “I called him like ten times already.”

“Maybe he’s just ignoring you,” Sayaka snickered, causing her friend to roll her eyes and slips her hand inside her bag to grab her phone. “Maybe I should gave him a call instead.”

“No need,” Midari brushed her off. “Maybe he went to visit his family back home or something. I don’t want to bother him. Besides I needed to go shop for more tools anyway.”

“If you insist,” she said standing up and making their way around the garage.

“So, how’s Saotome?” Midari asked when they made it inside her house.

“She’s great, actually.” Sayaka told her, helping herself looking through Midari’s fridge.

“Great?” Midari raised a disbelief brow. “She nearly died just the other day. I mean you’ve seen the bruise on her back, right?”

“I know,” Sayaka took out a coconut water and took sipped. “But she’s fine. It also seemed like all her bruises had disappeared. I guess she’s a fast healer.”

“Well, good for her then,” she grabbed her wallet and tucked it inside her pocket. She frowned when she saw Sayaka lowering her gaze on the floor. “You okay?”

“Yeah,” she mumbled, holding ghtly onto the can of coconut water. “It’s just Mary wouldn’t tell me what those girls want from her.”

“Why would she?” Midari asked, and her face soften when she saw that Sayaka was actually hurt from her harsh response. “I just mean that you aren’t that close with her.”

“I know that,” she frown deeper. “But They just left her washed up on shore and she’s hanging out with them like nothing happened.”

“Maybe they’re offering her something she can’t refuse,” Midari winked. “I mean those girls are hot. I don’t blame Saotome for wanting to spend time with them.”

“Still…” Sayaka fiddle with her hands. “Mary wants me to meet Ririka.”

Midari eyes widened and she grinned hard. “She wants you to meet her girlfriend?”

“I don’t know if they’re dating.” Sayaka explained, “but I’ve seen them around a lot. And last night…they seemed close.”

“What? You jealous now?” Midari teased and stuck her tongue out at her.

“No!” Sayaka growled, “I’m not!”

“Yeah, well, you should ask Mary if I could meet Yumeko since she’s friends with them. Gosh, she’s so hot, I’d easily let her step on me.”

“And what happened to Yumemi?” Sayaka raised a brow.

“Nothing happened to Yumemi,” Midari shrugged. “It was just casual sex. Nothing serious.”

“Of course,” she scoffed back, “nothing is serious for you these days. No wonder Yuriko left you.”

“Hey, don’t lump by personal business with yours,” Midari glared at her.

“Right, right,” Sayaka sighed, walking out of the house. “Because yours is so much easier than mine.”

~~

Mary dived into the pool and swam across the other side. She quickly flipped and dove back to where she started.

“Seventeen seconds…” her coach looked down at her with disbelief on his face. “That’s…almost impossible.”

Mary shrugged. Though her legs didn’t turn into tails, her swimming had grown incredibly fast, and she knew it wasn’t just her skills. There was this strange feeling while she was underwater. It felt as if she was being pushed in a way, it felt the same when she was in the ocean, when her tails flapped through the waves.

“I was going to scold you for being careless and swam at the bay at night, but…” he furrowed his brow, as if calculating whether Mary’s sick day was actually good or bad. “I can’t really say anything. These score speaks for themselves, and your turns are amazing.”

“Thanks, coach.” Mary replied as she slipped out of her pool and sat on the edge.

“So, about that meeting…” her coach squat down next to her.

“I don’t think I’m ready for that yet,” Mary Finished his sentence. “I know you were counting on me and I’m sorry, but I don’t feel like myself right now.”

“Mary….” The coach placed a hand on her shoulder. “You swam ten times faster than you’ve ever done today. I don’t know how that is possible but I have nothing to say but proud of you. And don’t worry about that meeting, I can always keep training you if you allow me. However, I also do know that any mentors or sponsors of higher ups would be more than happy to have you on their team.”

Mary smiled and nodded. Her dream of becoming a professional swimmer was just a step away, but still, it felt so far. Her turning into a siren wasn’t part of the plan. It had emotionally and psychologically drain her mentally.

“Good work today,” her coach stood up and smile down at her. “I have another class to tend to so I’ll leave you to it. See you next set.”

“Yeah, coach,” Mary nodded. “See you next set.”

She watched as the coach walked away, blowing his whistle to get another swimmer’s attention, she didn’t even noticed someone was creeping up on her until she felt water splashing her face.

“Wow, you really are sick.” Rin giggled, looking up at Mary.

“You asshole!” Mary laughed and kicked her feet to splash him with water.

“I can’t deny it, I’m impressed,” his laughed died down and he propped up and sat next to Mary. “Seventeen seconds? What are you, a sea otter?”

Mary rolled her eyes and playfully pushed him away. “I’m as surprised as you are.”

“Come on,” he chuckled and stood up, lending out his hand for Mary to take. “We should grab a smoothie.”

~~

“I never noticed how blend and bitter the green tea frap actually is,” Rin said, sipping  into the staw once more.

They were headed towards the beach after training and putting their stuff in their cars. It was a sunny day and Mary didn’t want to go to just yet.

Mary pulled a loose shirt over her blue bikini top and kept her bikini bottoms out. The skin color really brought out her skin tone and even Rin could tell. He was only wearing his beach shorts and his short sleeve button up shirt was wrapped around his neck.

“You look different,” Rin finally spoke up as they made their way more into the beach, where more and more people were hanging out or just laying on their towels. “Good different.”

“Different how?” Mary asked, even though she already knew what he meant. She knew she looked more attractive and alluring. However, she hadn’t used any of her sirens charms nor sing yet, so she hoped it hadn’t affect anyone with who she had become.

“Your skin is just so radiant,” Rin chuckled, grabbing Mary’s wrist and lifting it up to the sun. “Look at that, it almost looks like plastic.”

“Hey, knock it off!” Mary swapped her hand away, causing him to giggle more. “My skin is normal.”

“Sorry,” he sighed as they walked some more. “Hey, have I told you about my brother’s new discovery?”

“Your brother’s in town?” Mary asked curiously. “Isn’t he a detective in some kind of fancy city? Why is he in town?”

“Well, you heard of those missing people, right?” He asked rhetorically, “well he’s working on those cases.”

Missing people.

Of course Mary had heard of those missing people, but she never actually care to think about them. She just thought that they’re either out of town or run away. But now that she really thought about it,

Could the sirens had anything to do with that? 

She doubt it. Those girls were just pretty girls who happens to be ancient creatures. No way they could be hurting people. They might be able to lure people but they'd never hurt anyone. Ririka looked like she can't even hurt a fly.

"i've hurt people before" Mary remembered Ririka was saying a week ago. She can't possibly mean physically right? she probably meant hurting people's feelings. Mary puffed her cheeks and shrugged. she didn't dwell on it too much at these thoughts. The sirens were harmless. All they do is sing and dance and used their charms to get whatever they want for as long as they lived. They didn't tell Mary anything about hurting people last night anyway.

“Did he find anything interesting? Mary asked.

“They found three girls washed up on shore a week ago, dead.” Rin shrugged, “I was actually relieved that you made it out alive.”

“What are you talking about?” Mary raised a brow.

“Itsuki told me you got washed up on shore when you didn’t come to training.”

“Itsuki did what!” Mary furrowed her brows, her voice sounded upset. She didn’t want anyone else to know what had happened.

“It’s not her fault,” Rin practically whimpered into submission as if Mary had said the most hurtful thing to him. “I kind of forced her to spill it. I was worried when coach told me you got sick because that was so unlike you.”

“You have no rights trying to figure out what happened to me,” Mary scowled, “and for the record, I didn’t get washed up on shore. I was drunk and passed out on the beach!”

She realized she may have lied. But people finding out what she had become would just make big mess and she’d end up becoming a scientific experiment, and Mary didn’t like the sound of that one bit.

“Sorry,” Rin said apologetically, but her eyes looked daze. Mary had seen this look before. It’s the same look Aoi had whenever he’s around the sirens.

“Whatever,” Mary brushed her off and looked at the distance. “I wanna walk alone from here on.”

“But I thought we were going to hang out,” he pouted.

“Not anymore,” Mary told him. “You kinda ruined the vibe.”

“But…”

“No buts,” Mary ended the conversation and proceed to walk ahead. Alone. However, the light footsteps behind her tells her Rin hadn’t get the message. Mary turned and saw Rin behind of her and she groaned. “I said I want to be alone.”

“But…” Rin lingered for another moment, until he got real close to her invading her privacy.

“R…Rin?” Mary’s cheeks flushed at how close Rin was. His face was right above hers. What he did next was what made Mary had enough. He circled his arm and placed his hand on her hip. Mary jerked away immediately, causing Rin to back away a bit.

There was this longing expression in his eyes that Mary couldn’t decipher. Rin had never acted like this towards her. Yeah, he might be touchy in nature, but he wasn’t clingy. They had been friends in a while and she knew how popular Rin was. He would never follow her so helplessly like this.

“Rin, leave!” She demanded and to her surprise, there was a shift in Rin’s expression. His face light up and his eyes looked clearer and he turned and walked away without a single word. Mary frowned at just what had happened. She was sure to ask Rin the next time she saw him at the pool.

As she kept walking, she saw one of the sirens. Yumeko was standing by the beach bar flirting with two other guys. They were talking and laughing but Yumeko had made eye contact with Mary between their conversation that Mary felt like she was eavesdropping and the option of walking away felt lame, so she decided to walk over to her.

Besides, she still had so much questions about last night. On top of that, Yumeko did tell her that she would be there for her if she needed anything and getting answers was what Mary needed.

Mary had to push through the people on the beach to get to her, although she realized that she didn’t have to push that hard. People actually started parting for her, the way they always seemed to for the Kirari and her friends.

People were already starting to treat her like one of the sirens, like she belonged with them.

“Hey, Mary!” Yumeko smiled and waved at her once she was close enough.

“Hey.” Mary respond, with a half smile. The two guys seemed to be checking her out but once Yumeko started speaking again, their attention went back to her.

“Lovely day, isn’t it?” She giggled, grabbing her cocktail from the bar and drinking it down. “This is Harry and Jack.”

Mary just smiled at the guys. She’d never seen them before and it was likely she’d never see then again. Yumeko would just get bored of them and move on to new guys. In a way, Mary felt bad about all the siren’s victims. They didn’t have a choice but to fall for the charms of the sirens. When they’re all used up, the sirens would just leave them. 

Just like Ririka was going to leave her…

Now that she thought about it, she was a lot like these guys. If she had never turned into a siren, Ririka was just going to leave her without ever telling her. Mary didn’t like to think about that fact. 

“Can we talk?” Mary asked, looking at Yumeko.

“Of course,” Yumeko said with that seductive edge, then turns to the other two. “Boys, leave us.” The two guys lingered for a bit until they finally walked away. After they left, Yumeko gestured for Mary to take a seat on one of the stool. “Was that your boyfriend?”

“What?” Mary snapped her head at her, causing Yumeko to laugh. “No, of course not!”

“Why not?” Yumeko raised a brow, “he’s actually quite a catch.”

Mary knitted her brows because Rin was definitely not her type. “He’s just a friend.”

“I see he’s already affected by your beauty,” Yumeko told her, waving the bartender over. “Two margaritas please.”

“What do you mean, affected by my beauty?” Mary asked, “I didn’t sing to him or flirt or anything.” 

“When you’re a siren, you immediately attract the crowd whether you want to or not.” Yumeko smiled at the bartender when he placed their drinks in front of them. “They naturally gravitate towards you.”

“Is there a way to avoid that?” Mary asked hastily. The last thing she needed was people all over her.

“There are some ways…painful ways.” Yumeko hummed, as if she was thinking. “But honestly, I don’t remember them. I never wanted to avoid the crowds. You should ask Kirari or Ririka.”

At the mention of her name, Mary frowned. Ririka was always a siren. Mary wondered if her charm was part of the reason she was so attracted to Ririka. But thinking back, getting to know Ririka felt so natural. Unlike her strange encounters with Yumeko, and Kirari where she’d feel like her body wasn’t her own at all.

But now she had become exactly like them.

Mary contemplate whether to talk this out with Yumeko or Ririka. Ririka would understand her, but Yumeko would be more logical to her. And besides Yumeko had gone down this same road as her.

And on top of that, Mary wasn’t sure if she want to give up being a siren. She knew what the sirens had told her last night was only the things that lays on the surface. But her siren abilities made her swim incredibly fast and she had never felt so free like that. She wondered if she could actually have the best of both worlds.

“I’ve been thinking,” Mary started, with deep thoughts in her mind. “What if I don’t leave town? What if I stay as a siren and still have a life here?”

“Kirari would never allow that,” Yumeko said seriously.

“Why not?” Mary asked.

“You do remember the tail from last night right? There should always be four. We can’t separate from each other.”

“That’s the thing,” Mary bit her lip. “What if you guys stay here?”

“We can’t,” Yumeko shook her head. “Believe me, we tried. In Greece. Two months was the longest we stayed in one place.”

“Why?”

“People started to ask questions and grow suspicious of us.” Yumeko nodded at the distance where a couple of police men strolling along the beach. “They found the bodies of those dead girls who got washed up on shore. Now they’re basically everywhere.”

“But you have nothing to do with those girls." Mary frowned, "they were probably drunk and ended up drowning. its not uncommon around here."

Yumeko laughed nervously and averted her eyes. "That's true. I find people around here are so reckless."

"Tell me about it," Mary scoffed, thinking back to last year when she did all those reckless and dangerous stunt with her friends. she was glad she was no longer that party girl anymore. that was such an embarrassing phase in her life, now that she thought about it.

"Well, as reckless as they are, you on the other hand is a different story. They are weak," Yumeko said as she took a sip of her drink, giving Mary a wink over her glass. “But you made it.”

“I could have died!” Mary hissed, “you were going to leave me dead in shore, weren’t you?”

Yumeko nodded, amused by Mary's sudden aggressiveness. “Yes, but if it makes you any better, we always knew you’d make it. I mean look at you,” she leaned closer, and raised her hand to tuck a lock of Mary’s hair behind her ear, “you’re beautiful. With or without the power of a siren.”

With those words, Mary couldn’t help but blush. But before she could slap Yumeko’s hand away, someone else came in between them, grabbing Yumeko’s wrist and tugging it away from Mary.

They both look up to see Ririka. Her lips looked slightly pouting, but her expression were neutral. Cold. She glared down at Yumeko as if looks could kill. The aura was intense and Mary felt like there’s two huge waves hovering over her, and she was caught in between.

 

Chapter Text

 

“Um, Ririka,” Mary spoke up after an uncomfortable silent. “I was just asking Yumeko some questions.”

“Yes,” Yumeko agreed, breaking that tense tension from Ririka, and facing Mary. “And I was just telling Mary how beautiful she is.”

Mary gulped her chest suddenly tightened.

Ririka made a quiet sound, as if she was scoffing internally but didn’t make it too noticeable for anyone to noticed. However, Mary definitely noticed the devious smile painting on Yumeko’s lips.

Mary glanced between both girls and the tension was getting awkward for her. “Uh, do you want to join us?” She asked, “I was actually discussing something to her about last night—“

“Can you come with me?” Ririka interrupt her, her eyes shifted to Yumeko when the raven haired girl opened her mouth to speak. “Alone, please.”

“Yeah, sure,” Mary nodded, standing up, she faced Yumeko. “Um, I’ll see you later?”

Yumeko smirked. “You definitely will.”

“Right…” Mary contemplate on what to say next. She didn’t want to have this strange feeling with Yumeko, knowing that they’ll be spending a lot of time together in the future. But before she could even blur another word, Ririka started walking away. Mary turned her head and gave Yumeko a smile. “I gotta go.”

Yumeko nodded and her smile never left her face. “I’ll see you later.”

Mary thought she was fast, but Ririka walked even faster. Trying to see Ririka among the crowd was a challenge, especially when people were either gawking at her, or making their way towards her.

“Ririka!” Mary called out to her, “just hold on a second!”

Was Ririka mad at her? Mary didn’t understand where this sudden energy was coming from. Last she remembered, they were fine. Was it something she said? Or was it something she’s done?

Or could it be Yumeko? Ririka couldn’t be mad at what Yumeko had just done, would she?

The only thing Yumeko did was calling her beautiful, and Mary knew she was beautiful, especially now that she’s a siren. The whole beach can be the witness of that.

Mary shook her head, speeding up her pace. She sounded a lot like a narcissistic thinking that way about herself. There’s no way Ririka could be upset at what had happened. A weird part of her was actually fond of the idea of getting that reaction from Ririka. However, if it meant chasing after her like this, Mary wanted nothing to do with it.

Just as she saw Ririka’s silvery hair flowing a couple steps ahead of her again, there was this strange sound it her ear. It sounded like flowing sand; rippling of skins. She paused for a second, trying to decipher just what she’s hearing. Her head voluntary gravitate towards the ocean and Mary couldn’t understand why.

~

Ririka looked back to see Mary standing, frozen in the middle of the crowd, looking at the sea. She frowned and started waking back to Mary.

She felt a bit childish for running off that like, but she couldn’t help it.

Why was Yumeko looking at Mary like that?

The blonde flinched when Ririka placed a hand on her shoulder with a worried look on her face. “Mary? Are you okay?”

Mary shook her head as if shaking off her thoughts. “Yeah, im fine,” she knitted her brows and stared back out to the sea. There was a longing expression in her eyes that Ririka couldn’t tell, but she soon faced Ririka again. “By the way, why the hell were you acting so strange? Why were you running away from me?”

“Oh,” Ririka shrugged and looked away with a blush. “Yumeko just knows how to get to me. It’s infuriating.”

Mary raised a brow, “what do you mean, Yumeko?”

Ririka sighed and turned her head back to her. “She was touching your hair and stuff when you’re…” mine she didn’t dare finish her sentence.

The thought of Mary being hers crossed her mind many times. But each time she thinks about it, her chest tightened and she would have hard times breathing. Mary was beautiful, Yumeko wasn’t wrong about that. Mary had always been beautiful, even before she became a siren. She has caught too many eyes and even Ririka’s; which was extremely rare. The silvered haired siren had never once took a second glance from anyone before. Not until she met Mary this summer.

But the thought of being with Mary was always brushed away. Mary was a mortal and she’s an immortal. However, the situation has changed. They were both immortals now and Ririka’s plan of leaving Mary was thrown out of the window. 

Could they actually have a chance now?

“I’m what?” Mary smirked, as if she could read Ririka’s mind. “Could it be that you’re…jealous?”

Ririka’s face flushed and had a pout on her face. She wanted to admit to Mary that, yes, she was in fact jealous, but looking around the beach, people were starting to crowd them and Ririka felt like they were extremely invading her privacy. “Actually, can we go to the harbour? I need to talk to you about something.”

”Of course,” Mary just smiled and lead them down to the harbour. 

When they made it to the harbour, Ririka was relieved it was a lot less crowded then at the beach. They walked to the end of a dock and sat silently, staring down at their feet which was underwater turning into scales.

“I still can’t believe this,” Mary breathed out looking fascinating at their feet moving in water.

“Honestly, same.” Ririka agreed, “I’m like over two thousand years and the transformation still left me feeling tingly.”

“I can’t imagine…” Mary took a moment to herself then whispered out, “I’m immortal.”

Ririka hummed and felt a little worried about what Mary’s thoughts were about all of this. “Which begs the question. What were you and Yumeko talking about earlier?”

“Oh, I was talking to her about why everyone was staring at me,” Mary explained nonchalantly. “It’s kinda freaking me out.”

“And what did she say?”

“She said I can’t avoid that,” she shrugged. “Something about being painful if I wanted to avoid it.”

“You shouldn’t listen to her,” Ririka explained.

“Why not?” Mary asked intrigued at the statement. “Aren’t you all the same-I mean aren’t the siren effects the same?”

“It is,” she nodded and knitted her brows. “But Yumeko’s ways of dealing with it is the action of an impulsive and reckless person. Very much the same as Kirari.”

“Impulsive?” Mary could actually see that in Yumeko and Kirari. She could really see that. “Then what makes you different from them?”

“I was done with the reckless act a long time ago,” Ririka explained. “Mortals attraction to us means nothing to me anymore. I don’t live to please others anymore. I don’t use my beauty to get my ways anymore. Whatever i do, I do them as humanely as possible if I have to.”

Mary stared at her gently for a moment. This was the Ririka she had fallen in love with. The girl who stole her heart without even trying. The girl who passed out in the middle of the dessert for trying to find something that was important to her. The girl who understood her.

“I don’t want you to go to Yumeko for advice anymore,” Ririka added, staring blankly at Mary. “If you have questions, come to me.”

Mary couldn’t help but smile at that affirmation. “Is that your way of wanting me to yourself?”

“Mary,” Ririka blushed but frowned. “I’m serious.”

“Fine, fine,” Mary grumbled. “I’ll come to you.”

“Thank you,” Ririka gave her a small smile and stared back out the sea.

The sat for a bit in a comfortable silent. The sea was calm today, so there weren’t a lot of activities in the ocean. On top of that, the coldness of the sea sent shivers down her spine. It was a beautiful day, though, and Mary felt relaxed.

Not that she was surprised, she had always felt that way around Ririka. The siren beside her had this calm energy that Mary needed to compromise with her hot headed energy.

Side eyeing Ririka, Mary could see herself getting used to this. Being by her side, enjoying each other’s company, being there for each other. The comfortable silence. The transparency and the intense feelings of this friendship. Mary didn’t think she ever felt this way with another person before.

Friendship

Where they only friends?

Does friends look at each other like this?

To her surprise, Mary was actually feeling disappointed that she could only call Ririka her friend.

“Remember at the festival when we first talk to each other?” Mary reminisce, and Ririka responded by humming. “You said something that i haven’t been able to stop thinking about.”

Ririka turned to her. “What do you mean?”

“You said something along the line of if I wanted to grope you, I’d need to buy you dinner first,” Mary explained, smiling at the memory.

“I said that?” Ririka laughed, and gazed into Mary’s eyes. “Why are you thinking about that? Are you suddenly wanting to buy me dinner so you could finally grope me?”

Mary eyes widened. As much time as they spent together, she still wasn’t used to this playful side of Ririka. She definitely can’t say she wasn’t enjoying it though.

Ririka,” Mary whined, “that’s not what I meant, and you know it.”

“I know,” Ririka giggled some more. “And I hope you know that I was only teasing you, you know?”

“I know you were teasing me,” Mary frowned. “But now that I think about it, considering how ancient you are, you probably think dinner is the first step in courting someone, don’t you?”

Ririka couldn’t help but blushed. Mary was right, of course. As much as she kept up with the trend of the new era, she always admired the old fashion ways of wooing someone.

Looking at Mary, she could tell the blonde was suddenly nervous about something. Ririka eyes filled with concerns. Was Mary thinking she’s lame and boring for thinking that way?

She could see Mary was fidgeting with her hands and her feet in the water was shaking around. She wanted to ask what was wrong but couldn’t bring herself to do it.

“Ririka?”

There was a knot in Ririka’s heart as Mary spoke her name. “Yes?”

“Um,” her nervousness increased as she uncomfortably rubbed the back of her neck. “I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while now, and I think I’m ready to ask you.”

Ririka nodded and listens. It must have took a lot out of Mary to feel this nervous about whatever she was going to ask.

“I..” Mary nibbled on her lip, contemplating, as if deciding not to go through with it.

“Mary,” Ririka said softly, placing her hand onto Mary’s lovingly. “You can tell me anything.”

“I…” Mary blushed from the contact and warmth Ririka had given her.

For a second, she wanted to give up and drop it. But Ririka was in front of her, looking at her so adorably, and how can anyone turn their back on that cute face of hers?

Definitely not Mary.

The swimmer shuts her eyes tight and breathed out the words she’s been dying to ask Ririka. “Can I take you out to dinner?”

Ririka blinked. Her mind short circuited, taking what Mary had just said in shock.

“Would you like to go on a date with me?” Mary rephrase her words when Ririka was looking at her with bewilderment.

Oh no, why is she looking at me like that. Did I screw up? I definitely did!

“Y-You- don’t have to answer it right now,” Mary stuttered, eyes widened, and she shook her head. “I-I was just, I don’t know, we’ve been getting along really well, and I really enjoyed your company, and yes, I know we’ve only known each other just this month, but we’ve already been through a life or death journey. I just- everything happens so fast, and you’re pretty, and beautiful and kind, and just an amazing person overall and I just became a siren like you, and I realized we’re going to be stuck with each other for a long time, and I’d usually find that as an uncomfortable situation but I don’t! Somehow, I feel relieved? Like happy? That I’d get to spend a lot more time with you because honestly, you’ve been a siren since forever, and forever is a long, long time, but I honestly wouldn’t mind that if I’m being by your side. Every time we’re together, it never seems enough for me and-“

“Yes.”

“Yes?” Mary gulped, looking a bit more optimistic, and less stressed.

“Yes,” Ririka smiled, and Mary could of sworn there was tears in her eyes.

“Yes…as in-“

Yes!” Ririka exclaimed as she threw her arms around Mary’s neck, falling on top of her. She impulsively crashed their lips together in a passionate kiss and Mary moaned into the kiss as her hands instinctively placed themselves on Ririka’s hip, pulling her in closer.

That went on for a while until Ririka broke the contact and her eyes gazed down sweetly at Mary. She was one panting hard but as her breath calmly came down from the high, she breathed out, “I’d love to go on a date with you.”

Mary couldn’t help but felt tears forming on her eyes. She couldn’t understand why she felt this happy and excited to do on a date with someone. It was just a date, she’d go on plenty of dates before, so why was she so worked up for this one?

“I’ll pick you up at eight?” She sniffed and rubbed her eyes. Then she laughed at her own question, “or you pick me up instead? I honestly don’t even know where you guys live.”

“I’ll pick you up,” Ririka smiled and placed a gently kiss on her temple. “It’s a date.”

Mary smiled with sheer happiness in her heart as she held Ririka tightly in her arms.

I haven’t felt this way with Tsuzura.

I haven’t felt this way about anyone before.

~

Ririka ran the lipstick through her lips and plucked her lips as she finishes up her final touch.

Hearing footsteps from the hallways, she glared at her sister through the mirror as Kirari stopped and leaned on the doorway, arms came to a cross.

“She’s quite a catch, isn’t she?” Kirari hummed, a smug on her face.

Ririka ignored her, and focused on putting her makeup away. She didn’t went all out. She wanted to feel natural and real, just like the way Mary made her feel.

“I’m guessing Mary has taken this whole transition well?” Kirari continued, “I mean if you’re going on a date with her then it seem everything worked out?”

Ririka rolled her eyes, and walked out the door, harshly brushing her shoulder against her sister’s.

Mary had made her giddy and happy this whole afternoon after they left the beach. Ririka was busy roaming through the closets all evening trying to figure out just what to wear. She had never felt this nervous about a date her entire life, she couldn’t help but feel excited about what Mary might be planning. And it might sound a bit cheesy and  even selfish, but she hope Mary would finally ask her to be her girlfriend tonight. After all, they have been kissing and basically acting like couples already. Ririka just needed that reassurance title to finally have Mary for her own, and to be able to call Mary hers. This was meant to be a good night, she didn’t need Kirari to ruined it.

“Come on,” Kirari rolled her eyes at her sister. “How long are you going to stay mad at me?”

As Ririka puts her shoes on, and was about to head out the door, Kirari reached her arm across the door and blocked her way. “You know we had no other choice.”

Ririka angrily shoved her sister’s arm off and looked straight in her eyes. Her teeth clenched and her nose flared. “It’s taken every fiber of my being not to rip your heart out and destroy it. And this time, I’m actually going to destroy you. So please, don’t test my patients, don’t talk to me like everything is fine, like you don’t just ruined Mary’s life, like I’m just going to let this go easily, because I won’t.”

And with that, she walked out and hopped into a Lamborghini SC20 and drove directly to Mary’s house.

~

“Itsuki, can you stop calling me?” Mary groaned into her phone. “You’ve been texting and calling and I keep telling you, I’m fine.”

“I find that hard to believe,” Itsuki sighed, there’s frustration in her voice. “You were dying just the other day!”

“I know, and I was,” Mary bit her lip, she felt horrible for hiding and keeping secrets from her closest friend, but there’s not an absolute thing in the world that could explain what had happened to her. She doubt even Itsuki would believe it if she tells her. “But something happened to be and I somehow miraculously recovered.”

Mary could hear another sigh coming out of Itsuki’s mouth. “I heard you did amazing on your timing today. If Rin hadn’t confirmed that with me, I wouldn’t have believed it.”

“Practice makes perfect,” Mary said, glancing at the time. It was already 7:35 PM and Ririka should be here soon.

Rin also told me you looked incredible,” Mary could tell itsuki was smirking. “The way he talks about you, I wouldn’t put it pass him of developing a crush on you.”

Mary rolled her eyes. “Well he might have to put that thought on hold because I have a date tonight.”

You whaaaaaat?!” Itsuki squeaked. “Why didn’t you tell me! Who is it?”

“Did I ever tell you how annoying you get when excited?” Mary couldn’t help but smile because as much as she put the thought of being on a date with Ririka on the back of her mind, she was going on a date with Ririka!!!

Mary, you have to tell me who!” Itsuki demanded on the other side, and Mary could hear some muffle sound, as if Itsuki just rose from her bed.

Mary sighed. “Ririka.”

You mean that hot chick you went out with a couple weeks ago?”

“We never went out-I mean not that way,” Mary stuttered. “I mean we were more of friends. But I don’t know anymore, things kind of shifted.”

You have to tell me the details!” Itsuki voice sounded so excited. “I mean, I told you all the details when me and Kaede first started seeing each other.”

Mary groaned. “That was a horrible time. You wouldn’t shut up about him.”

Well now, I don’t want you to shut up about Ririka!”

Mary thought about that for a minute before responding. “I don’t know itsuki. I don’t even know if she wants to date me.”

Why wouldn’t she want to date you?” Itsuki scoffed. “The whole town wants you. I mean, if I didn’t have Kaede, we would probably be dating now.”

“Did you just-“ Mary cringed at Itsuki’s statement. Why did she sound so confident? “I’m gonna throw up.”

Rude!” Itsuki groaned. “But I’m serious! I’ve only met her once but she seems to really care about you. I don’t think you should hold yourself back.”

You think so?” Mary mumbled, biting her thumbnail.

“I know so!” Itsuki encouraged. “And once you guys are together, we can finally have a double date!”

“I’m gonna stop you right there before that little head of yours get any more weird ideas.” Mary sighed, “I gotta get ready now.”

It’s not weird!” Itsuki whine, then laughed. “Good luck on your date! Make sure you two end up in bed together!”

“Oh my god.” Mary rolled her eyes and quickly ending the call, but not before  hearing Itsuki’s unconditional laugh.

The nerve of that girl!

Mary took a deep breath as she look at herself in her bathrooms mirror. She decided to put on red lipstick and go with the flow type of makeup. Putting her hair on a bun and with a few fancy pins in it. Like Ririka, Mary was a nervous wreck, if not more. Originally, she wanted to put on a casual summer dress but she had already wore that anyway, so she decided on her secret weapon.

The black split thigh ruched velvet cami dress. It was definitely a teasing dress, and left little to no imagination, but a very tempted dress. Mary knew Ririka had never seen her like this and she definitely wanted to impress Ririka; it was clearly showing. She just hope Ririka liked it.

She was so busy planning their dinner date that she had completely forgotten about her outfit of the night. But somehow, deep in her mind, Mary knew Ririka would be more impressed with her effort on the date rather than what she was wearing.

When she heard the doorbell rings, her heart dropped. She thought she was ready but Ririka was five minutes early! She wasn’t prepared for this. She didn’t have time to collect herself and control her breathing.

Looking at herself once more, she rolled her eyes. She knew she was being dramatic. Ririka would never judge her or walk away even if this was a bad date. They’re stuck with each other either way.

With a sigh, she walked downstream and went to open the door. The sight in front of her immediately made her drool and took her breath away.

Ririka also had her hair in a fancy bun, and she was wearing a red strap maxi long sleeveless dress. It hugged her cleavage perfecting and her thighs were a teasing mess. If Mary thought her dress was tempting, Ririka definitely beat her to it.

Mary felt relieved that this date seem as important to Ririka as her. Her eyes trailed down to Ririka’s neck, she was wearing the very necklace Mary had bought for at when they first met. Mary was aware that she was gawking at this point, but somehow, she couldn’t turn away.

“Are you going to keep staring at me or are you actually going to take me out?” Ririka asked, she was just as lustful as Mary but was better at hiding it. Mary was very attractive indeed.

“Sorry,” Mary shyly said looking away. “Its just, I’ve never seen dressed like this before.”

“Likewise,” Ririka smiled, and quickly added,” but don’t stop staring. I like it when you look at me like that.”

“You do?” Mary grinned, her confidence seems to come back. “But everyone stares at you all the time. Don’t you get annoyed?”

“Of course i do,” Ririka sighed. “But I only want you to look at me.”

“Possessive, I see.” The blonde smirked and her eyes darken.

Ririka blushed and coughed, looking at everywhere but Mary’s eyes. “So…what did you plan for us tonight?”

“Oh, right.” Mary chuckled nervously, allowing herself to step out of her house. She was about to speak again when she saw Ririka’s ride. “Is that a fucking Lamborghini?”

“Yeah,” Ririka responded nonchalantly. “Saw it in the garage and decided to take it for a ride. What do you think?”

“Who’s garage?” Mary raised a suspicious brow.

“Aoi.”

Mary’s heart sank immediately at that affirmation. “You live with him?”

“Well not exactly,” the siren explained, trying to find the right words to not make her date more uncomfortable. “We all live together, with him.”

“Hmm,” Mary contemplated for a second before snaking her arm around Ririka’s waist and stared at the car. “Somehow, that didn’t make it sound any better.”

Ririka blushed and playfully rolled her eyes, swinging Mary the car’s key in front of her. “You want to take it for a drive, don’t you.”

“Thought you never asked.” Mary smirked and grabbed the key.

“So where are we going?” Ririka asked once seated on the passenger seat.

“Why don’t you leave that to me,” Mary grinned, hastily placing a kiss on her cheek and closes her door before walking around to her side of the car. “You’ll love it.”

“I know I will,” Ririka smiled at her when Mary started driving. “Honestly,  I love every moment I spent with you.”

“Even the time you choked out blood and passed out in the desert?” Mary teased, glancing over at the siren whose face was starting to turn pink.

Mary had to admit; the passenger seat had never looked this good.

“Yes,” she breathed out and look towards the road. “Now that I thought about it, I’ve never got to thank you for that journey. You were probably freaking out, weren’t you?”

“You have no idea,” Mary laughed. “I mean, we jumped out of the plane, you passed out in my arms, we had no food, no water, in the middle of freaking no where. What did you expect?”

“Well you’ve handled that very well,” Ririka laughed with her. “I honestly wouldn’t be know how to handle that situation.”

“Passing out was actually a way to handle it,” Mary joked.

“Mary!” Ririka playfully pushes her shoulder. “Leave me alone.”

Mary laughed at her reaction and narrowed her eyes on the street. “Now that I think about it, does your passing out has something to do with the desert?”

Ririka nodded, but realized Mary was looking at the road so she confirmed it instead. “Yes. We can’t stray too far from the ocean. It’s part of the curse.”

“Wait-“ Mary said immediately, as if realization hit her. “The scroll. Was that the curse?”

“Bingo,” Ririka said.

“And you were trying to find out Demeter’s location this whole time?”

“Yeah,” Ririka answered. “Now it’s important more than ever, considering you’re part of the equation now.”

“Me?” Mary raised a brow. “What do you mean?“

Ririka looked away in pain. “None of this should have happened to you. My weakness has caused you pain. Being a siren isn’t all rainbows and unicorns.” She look at Mary when she felt a hand comforting her own.

“This isn’t your fault,” Mary told her. “We will find the scroll together and get through this together.”

“You say that like it’s the easiest thing to do,” Ririka softly chuckled. “I’ve searched far and wide for centuries, Mary.”

“Well now you have me,” she gave her a loop sided grin. “We will find it, one way or another.”

Ririka smiled and hold onto Mary’s hand. In a way, Mary’s words had comforted her more than it should. Part of her wanted to give up finding that scroll for so long but now, her reasons are far more prominent than ever.

When they were driving in the far out of town and into a more secluded area, Mary stopped near the beach. The sun had set and the sky was slowly turning dark, though light was still available for them to see. She looked over at Ririka and laughed when the older girl had a frown on her face.

It was just a normal looking beach. Ririka was expecting a restaurant when Mary said dinner but they were in the middle of no where.

“Do you trust me?” Mary said, and smiled when the girl beside her nodded in confusion. “Close your eyes.”

Ririka closed her eyes and darken consumed her vision. She could hear Mary’s door opening and feet walking towards her door. Mary opened up the passengers door for her and held her by the waist.

“Keep your eyes closed,” Mary said softly, when Ririka was on her feet. “I’m going to take your heels off since it’s all sand from here, okay?”

Ririka nodded and let Mary take her heels off. Once that’s done, she lead Ririka into the beach, and with each steps, Ririka felt more at ease feeling the sand between her toes.

She was practically home.

The sound of the waves nearby, the sound of small animals roaming in the forest behind them, the cool summer wind brushing though her skin, it felt perfect.

Once they were walking for a while, Mary stopped, still holding onto Ririka’s hand. “Okay, now you can open your eyes.”

Ririka nodded and her eyelids fluttered open. Her eyes widened when she realized Mary had organized them a date on the beach.

“Wow…” words of astonishment left her mouth.

There was a small table with two chairs in front of each other. Their table was already set up. Two plates and utensils across from each other with a grill in the middle and a champagne bottle in a bucket of ice. Roses petals were practically everywhere, on the table, and on the sand. Mary had laid flameless flickering candles and lightbulbs on the sand, all around the table.

Ririk couldn’t help but smile at Mary’s effort. Nobody has ever done something like this for her before.

“D-Do you like it?” Mary asked, glancing at her.

“I love it,” Ririka smiled brighter at Mary’s nervousness, giving her hand a firm squeeze. “I didn’t know you were a hopeless romantic.”

“I-I’m not!” Mary blushed. “I’ve never done something like this before, but somehow, I wanted to do it for you.”

“This looks lovely,” Ririka hummed, “can’t say somebody has done this for me before either.

“Well, they better not.” Mary huffed, “otherwise I don’t think I could compete with your other admirers.”

“I don’t have any other admirers, so you don’t have to worry about that.”

“Liar,” Mary scowled. “This whole town admirers you.”

Ririka smile deepened. “Well in that case, your attention is all I want.”

Mary gulped and look away quickly. She didn’t want Ririka seeing her blush, especially so early on their date. “C-Come on! Dinner isn’t gonna wait.”

Ririka giggled and Mary dragged her to their table. After pulling out a chair for Ririka, Mary walked over to her side of the table.

“Um, so I didn’t really know what you’d like so I thought we could have a Korean bbq date,” Mary grinned opening a cooler on the ground and taking out some meat, sauces and lettuces. “I got many different varieties of meats we could try. There’s short ribs, flank steak, pork belly, and some bulgogi.”

“Sounds fancy,” Ririka smiled, looking down at the dish. “Did you get all the stuff here yourself?”

“No,” Mary responded. “A friend of mine owes me and I thought why not cash in the favour! His family owns a Korean restaurant and he offered all of this from their store, and he even helped me brought of this stuff here.”

“Are you sure you didn’t use your sirens’ charms?” She eyed her playfully.

“Nooo,” Mary sighed. “I wouldn’t dream of coercing someone.”

“I’m not surprised. It’s not very hard to follow your orders.”

“Don’t flatter me, Riri.” Mary blushed and grabbed the champagne pouring it in each of their glasses. “To…”

“To the beginning of our new chapter together.” Ririka finished her sentence.

“You make everything sounds so corny,” Mary laughed and clicked their glasses together before taking a sip.

“I meant what I said,” Ririka told her, smiling. “You mean a lot to me and I care about you. And about what you said at the dock earlier, I feel the same way. I knew we’ve only known each other for such a short time but somehow, you make me feel alive again.”

Mary blushed and shyly looked away. “No one’s ever said something this romantic to me.”

“I just want to be honest with you,” Ririka bashfully blushed at her own confession.

Mary coughed and placed her hands on the utensils on the table. “Well, if I have to be honest, I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little hungry.”

“Let’s eat,” Ririka smiled and watched as Mary started the ignition of the grill and placing the meats on the rack.

The two shared some funny and weird stories while eating. Ririka told some stories of their earlier days of being a siren and how every thing was so different back then. Now that Mary practically was one of them, she couldn’t hold back any secrets from her. Whatever Mary wanted to know, Ririka obligate.

While some stories were all laughs, Ririka made it to the point where it gets dark. Her expression would change and Mary could tell the shifted energy in her. The older siren started talking about how the sirens used to be. They’d offer up their body to any one and in exchanged, they’d get whatever they wished for.   

Because of this exchange, the gods and goddesses often took advantage of them. Ririka always thought this wasn’t the way to live, to proceed on with life, but Kirari would always go against her, saying their bodies were the only valuable kit they have. Their beauty was their only survivor tool to fit in. They were always overlooked because of their beauty and no one has gone beyond that fine line.

Tears were rolling down her eyes as she explained how the longer she lived, the more numb she started to feel. “I wanted to take my life so many times,” Ririka sniffed and tried to wipe away her tears. “But in doing so, I would also be taking away three other lives.”

Mary looked at her with sad expression. She never knew how much of a burden Ririka had been carrying.

“And even though I knew Kirari could easily replaced me, I never could,” She wiped some more tears. “I was always too scared.”

With more uncontrollable tears running down her face, Mary couldn’t help but got out of her chair and kneeled down beside Ririka, pulling her into a tight embrace.

“I was so scared, Mary.” She sobbed in Mary’s neck. “I don’t know why I couldn’t do it when that’s the only thing I wanted.”

“Because you wanted to live,” Mary told her softly. She lets go of Ririka and gave her a gently smile when she saw how shocked the older girl looked. “But that way of thinking is no way to live. Your body, your beauty, and even your talent is temporary, even for a siren.” She placed her hand just above Ririka’s heart, “what truly matters is what’s inside of your heart. You don’t have to be scared anymore, I’m here. I see through your surface, Ririka. I see your heart.”

“Mary…” Ririka exhaled, her heart was tumbling loudly and she hoped Mary couldn’t hear. Mary’s expression was pure and real. No words that came out of her mouth were sugarcoated.

Mary gave her a reassuring smile then looked at the table and see that they both had finished their dinner. “I think dinner’s over.”

Ririka laughed softly and nodded. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make this night so depressing.”

“Don’t apologize for that,” Mary waved her hand. “I’m just glad you trust me enough to tell me all that.”

“I trust you with my all,” Ririka reached for her hands and sighed looking around the lit candles and lightbulbs around them. “Aside from my depressing story at the end, I had a really fun time tonight.”

“So did I,” Mary said smiling lovingly up at her. “I’ve always felt happy when I’m with you.”

“Me too,” Ririka bashfully looked away, causing Mary to raised on her feet.

The blonde stretched her arms out, her skin glistening under the moonlight. She looked concern about something but Ririka couldn’t tell with the way Mary was nervously scratching her cheek.

Ririka stood up and took a step towards Mary. “Should we call this a night?”

“Actually,” Mary turned to her, looking deep into her eyes. For a moment, Ririka was almost too weak to hold onto that strong gaze. “I wanted to do something before we call it a night.”

“Okay,” Ririka said with uncertainty, but a small smile formed on her face. “What do you want to do?”

Mary glanced down, and like earlier on the dock, she seemed to want to run away from this conversation, but was fighting a battle within herself.

“Mary,” Ririka’s voice brought Mary back and the blonde. “It’s only me.”

Don’t hold yourself back!”

Mary could hear Itsuki’s voice ringing in her ears as she gaze into deep blue eyes.

“Ririka,” Mary inhaled, smiling at the girl she had fallen in love with. “I’ve said this before and I’m going to keep saying it. You are beautiful, and kind, and mischievous at times, and I love every moment I spent with you. You make me so happy in these past few weeks and I know where I’ll be; Right by your side. I know this might not mean much to you, but I want to make us an item. I want you, Ririka. I want to officially be with you, because I don’t think I can handle looking at you and always having to resist not being able to hug or kiss or show my affection to you anytime that I want.” Mary reached down for Ririka’s hands and looked into Ririka’s gentle eyes.

“Mary…” Ririka said almost breathlessly. Her heart pound with every words Mary was saying.

Mary took a deep breath and squeezed Ririka’s hands. “Ririka, will you do the honour of being my girlfriend?”

“Yes,” Ririka inhaled sharply, almost too quickly and this time, as much as she wants to pounce on Mary and captured those plums lips she loved so much like earlier, she calmly wrapped her arms around Mary’s neck and leaned her forehead towards hers. “Of course, yes! I’ll be your girlfriend.”

“I really like you,” Mary mumbled softly, placing her hands on Ririka’s hips.

“I really like you too,” Ririka responded with a smile. “To be honest, I was hoping you’d ask me that.”

“Really?” Mary leaned her head back slightly.

Ririka nodded with a smile.

“You know you could’ve asked me instead,” Mary grumbled, glancing away in embarrassment. “And I would’ve said yes.”

Ririka shrugged as she moved one of her hand down to trace her thumb on Mary’s lips. “I could, but I guess I’m just old fashioned. As surprising as this might sounds, I’ve never really asked someone out, and you did such a good job I don’t think anyone in their right mind would ever reject you.”

“Honestly, this was the first time I’m asking someone out,” Mary smiled and chewed her cheeks. “It’s usually the other way around, but I couldn’t wait for you anymore. I just want you. I-“

Before Mary could finish, Ririka leaned in, connecting their lips and kissing the swimmer deeply and possessively forcing a hiss from the blonde as she tugs the older siren’s hips against her body.

Mary smiled against her lips, “impatient, now are we?”

Ririka groaned, “you kept saying that you want me, but you have no idea how much I want you.”

Mary felt something ignited inside of her and her breath hitched before pulling her in for another rough kiss. A hot tongue slipped into her mouth briefly and Ririka moaned and pulled her closer. Mary sucked Ririka’s bottom lip before pulling apart and going in for another taste.

Mary’s hands wandered, caressing every inches of the skin on Ririka’s back, pulling her closer. Ririka shivered at the touch and the attention Mary was giving her.

“Mary…” Ririka broke the kiss and took a moment to gaze into her new girlfriend’s face but Mary wasn’t having any of it.

The sexual frustration was real. Mary leaned forward brushing her lips with kisses along Ririka’s jawline and tugs gently on Ririka’s earlobes forcing a groan from Ririka as she whispered, “I want you, Riri.”

Grinning, Ririka squeezed Mary more into herself, and craning her neck so the blonde would have more access. There was no denying how much this side of Mary had turned her on. The lower part of her body was basically throbbing with each touch Mary’s lips had placed on her.

Mary couldn’t help but add another fuel to their already heated moment, raising her knee between Ririka’s legs and feeling the heat between them. Mary slowly rubs her knee with Ririka’s core and Ririka allows the pleasure of sensation for a moment until Mary started pulling her dress up.

“Mary,” Ririka moaned into Mary’s ear, without stopping her grinding. The pleasure Mary had given her was almost impossible to pause, however, although they were tucked away in a more private corner of the beach, they were still technically on a public setting and anyone could still hear them. But her mind was clouded and filled with desires, enjoying both the sensation of Mary’s knee and lips roaming into her skin.

Mary bit against the other girl’s skin gently and Ririka whimpered, “Mary…”

“Riri, I want you, now.” Soothing the spot with her tongue, Mary leaned back, looking into Ririka’s eyes for permission.

Ririka gazed into those molten eyes, they looked lustful like every other eyes Ririka had ever laid hers on, but when she look deeper, she saw the true meaning of desires and longing.

She nodded with half lidded eyes and Mary gave her a gently smile before she continued down and kneeling in front of her, tugging her dress up and sliding her underwear down in one smooth movement.

Ririka shouldn’t feel embarrassed at having her core exposed. After all, every time she got out of the sea, her private part was exposed, not only to Kirari and Yumeko, but to so many others before Mary. However, having Mary touching her like this felt so intimate. But her thoughts were all brushed away when feeling wetness growing between Mary’s hands, Ririka bites her lip as Mary’s hands trace the inside of her legs, moving back to her hipbones.

Groaning, Ririka involuntarily pushes her hips out, and Mary smiled at her breathless voice, “Mary, please. I need you.”

Mary kissed Ririka’s abdomen lovingly before giving her a smirk, and immediately placing her mouth over Ririka’s core, lapping up the wetness. Lost in the sensation and the taste, Mary barely feels Ririka’s hands at the back of her head, tightening her own grip on Ririka’s lap and trying to pull her closer.

Shifting her attention to Ririka’s clit, Mary sucks the pulsating bud into her mouth and Ririka leaned back against the table, biting her lip as she muttered, “Fuckkkkk.”

Wiping away the wetness on her chin with her fingers, Mary look up at Ririka again, and after receiving another nods, she continue to slides two fingers inside Ririka’s center with ease, pumping quickly and curling them against the other girl’s front wall. Within a few seconds, she feels Ririka’s walls fluttering against her hand as the other girl orgasms, sending a flood out against her palm and chin. Mary grinned lapping up as much of it as possible while continuing her movements and trapping Ririka against the table with her mouth. Before the older girl can push her away, Mary added a third finger, continuing to pump. Ririka leaned forward, breathing harshly as Mary dragged another orgasm from her.

After the aftershocks fade, Mary senses her girlfriend’s shaking legs and wipes the cum from her chin and mouth, pulling herself up and holding Ririka in her arms. Cradling her against her body, she feels the older girl bury her face into her chest.

Mary kissed her temple, “You okay?”

Ririka hummed, smiling without a response other than snuggling closer.

Chuckling softly, Mary placed another kiss on Ririka’s nose, “Please tell me I did at least a decent job. It’s been awhile since I went down on someone.”

Nuzzling into Mary’s chest, Ririka mumbled, “I don’t think I’ve ever came that fast before.”

A proud smirked formed on the blonde’s lips, and she grinned at her girlfriend, “For real?”

Ririka nodded. “I know, shocking right? I guess it’s because no one has ever made me feel the way you do. I mean, I shivered just by looking at you.”

Mary’s cheeks reddened. “Do you always talk this bold after sex?”

“Maybe,” Ririka blushed and look up at Mary. “You’ll have to figure that out.”

The blonde grinned widely before quickly leaning in for a kiss but Ririka’s hand raised up to stop her.

“As much as I’m enjoying this, I don’t think I can hold myself back if you put your lips on me again.”

Mary smirked, pulling her closer and whispered, “then don’t.”

Ririka groaned at Mary’s words, and ran her lips across Mary’s jawline. “As much as I would like that, I’d much prefer doing it in the privacy of a room. I mean, what if an old pervert was watching us?”

Mary laughed and glanced around. This part of the beach was far from the main beach. Outside was covered by sharp rocks and twigs. Mary wouldn’t have come here if she didn’t know about this secret spot. “You’re right. I wouldn’t want any pervert looking at my girlfriend.”

Ririka hummed and hold onto Mary as she continues kissing her neck.

“Come on, let’s head back to my place before I lose control again,” Mary blushed, “you’re very irresistible.”

“So are you,” she sank her teeth into Mary’s neck causing her to hiss.

“That’s gonna leave a mark,” Mary pointed out.

“So what?” Ririka smirked in response, “You’re mine now.”

Mary face flushed and she short circuited for a moment before quickly kneeling down to pull up Ririka’s panties back up and dragging her towards the car.

“What about these stuff on the beach?” Ririka laughed as Mary pulled her, “you know it’s very bad to leave trashes on the beach. What if animals comes and eats it?”

“I’ll call my friend to come and clean up the mess,” Mary groaned, placing Ririka on the passenger seat and quickly getting into the driver seat. “I’m gonna have to deal with you first.”

Ririka stared at her with widened eyes before her lips forming into a smirk.

“Lead the way.”

 

Chapter Text

 

Kirari is too stubborn and Ririka is too frail.”

Kirari woke up to the voice of her mother in the room across from her. She was awoke for quiet a while. It was the type of nights where she’d repeatedly woke up due to the weather being too warm. She’d hear muffle in the other room but couldn’t make sense of what her mother and one of her fling was talking about until her voice got louder.

“I can’t send them to serve any poets or artists yet, due to them being too young.”

Kirari stared at the door that was open ajar, then glanced down at her sister who was still fast asleep. Ririka looked peaceful and safe. Kirari wanted to keep it that way, wanted to keep Ririka from hearing the horrific things that came out of her mother’s mouth.

“I’m tired of looking after them. My life has gone down the drain after since I had them. Achelous wants nothing to do with me, and I’m not getting any younger.”

“You’re still young and beautiful,” Kirari heard a man soft voice coming from the same room as her mother. “And your voice is still as enchanting as ever.”

“What will happen when I can no longer use my beauty and voice?” Her mother voice sounded irritated and panicky. “What will happen if I can no longer inspires men?”

There was a pause. Kirari slowly lay back down and slides the blanket over her body. She turned her body and face her sister. She wished she could be a deep sleeper like Ririka; sleeping like there’s not a care in the world.

“Come with me.”

Kirari eyes widened just before she started closing them.

“Pardon me?” Her mother question. The sound in her voice sounded more optimistic than anything Kirari has ever heard.

“Come with me.” The man repeated. “I can take care of you. We’ll start a new life together.”

“You won’t cast me aside?”

“Why do you think I keep coming back to you?” The man half heartily chuckled. “I can never cast you aside, nor ever get tired of your songs.”

Kirari sat up once again. Her heart was racing. The thought of sleep was thrown out the door.

She heard her mother hummed before asking the very same question Kirari had wondered from the start. “And my children?”

“They’re old enough to be in the care of the other muses,” the man assured her. “I’m sure they can fend for themselves. Besides…” Kirari heard their bed squeaked and her eyes narrowed on the door. “I want you all to myself.”

The rest of that night, all Kirari could hear was the all too familiar sound coming from her mother’s room. The different men she would bring, the different nights it would happen, they all sounded the same coming out of that room.

Kirari covered her ears and went under the covers.

That was what she remembered when her mother was around. That was all she remembered of her. Those sleepless nights, and lonely conversation her mother would have with different men. Until one day, she finally left with one of them, leaving her and Ririka behind.

Kirari stared at the ceiling. She had took a nap after her little activity, but once again, she was wide awake. She hadn’t been able to sleep peacefully in a very long time, she had even forgotten the last time she had a good sleep. Although physically, she never looked tired, mentally she was exhausted.

Not that this little problem can’t be fix.

She just needed to feed more often.

She needed to leave this town. People are getting suspicious and Kirari was too tired to handle the police at the moment.

She got out of the bed and grabbed a silky robe laying on the floor. Just as soon as she took a step, Aoi sat up in bed, ready to follow her.

“Stay.”

She commanded without turning back to him. She heard him whimpering behind of her but she couldn’t care less. She walked towards the balcony and closed her eyes at the feeling of the cold breeze and the soothing smell of the salt in the air.

Mary Saotome.

“Just what is Mary doing to you?” Kirari mumbled underneath her breath as she look up at the moon. It looked like a toenail and it seems so far away.

She hoped Ririka had fun with Mary. She should. Ririka deserve that.

But…

“How far will you go for this mortal?”

As much as the stress was of finding a mortal who could fit the role of a siren, Kirari knew Mary wouldn’t be able to live like them.

Her personality was too strong and Kirari doubt she’d do anything she say.

If Mary can’t accept the terms and conditions of being a siren,

She has to go.

~

Ririka stared at the ceiling that looked normal than any ceilings she’d never seem. No fancy chandelier, no strange design of sculptures hanging down on her. Just a normal circular lamp that was useful as any other fancy lamps.

Her eyes travels to the wall and then the windows. The curtains was slightly parted making the sunlight seeping through the open space and into the room. It felt nice. Warm and cozy.

She couldn’t help the smile that formed on her lips, remembering this was Mary’s room. Her room looked nothing like the rooms Ririka was used to. There were pictures and personal belongings, on the desk, on the floor, and even on the windowsill.

Not a single thing in this room screams perfection.

It felt intimate, and personal.

Ririka had never truly known what it felt like to have a home, or to be at home. All the moving, the scattering, the running, the temporarily and thrill of being a siren had never given her a chance to sit and thought of a place to call home.

But it was this moment, and time that she finally figured out what it meant to be home.  Home wasn’t a place, but a feeling, being with someone that made her smile without even trying.

Butterflies filled her stomach when she felt protective arms encircled around her waist. Mary was still sleeping, and Ririka had never seen her look so beautiful and in peace.

In all the years, and centuries of living, Ririka had never felt content until now. She had punished herself from love for the longest and refusing to let anyone sees past her siren of a shell. Demeter’s cursed stated that fact solidly, but somehow, Mary was the one who was ever able to break down her wall and captured her stoic heart.

The memories of last night made her blush. Mary was her girlfriend now. She was her lover now.

Ririka planted her face into her pillow and squeak happily. Quickly, she glanced at Mary and felt a relief washing over her that she hadn’t woken Mary up.

This was what Ririka had been yarning for such a long time.

A connection. A true bond with somebody.

Mary stirred in her sleep, her arms slowly loosened and a pout grew on Ririka’s face, missing the feeling of those arms already.

Gazing lovingly at the sleeping girl in front of her, her cheeks pickend as Mary’s eyelids slowly fluttered open. Those fiery, and determined golden orbs she admired so much was shining before her.

Mary really is her sun.

Mary’s eyebrows knitted together, at the sight of her newly girlfriend’s flushed face. “Is something on my face?”

“No,” Ririka smiled and hid her face, muffling something into the pillow.

“What’s that?” Mary smiled, raising her hand to tucked in a piece of Ririka’s hair behind her ear. “I couldn’t hear you.”

Looking up over the pillow, Ririka sighed and turned her body fully so she could see Mary. “I said why do you look so cute waking up.”

Taken by surprised, Mary couldn’t help but blush. “It’s too early to flatter me, you idiot!”

“Did I get a point for that, though?” She teased, and the blonde started coughing.

“Stop,” Mary whined, redness took over her face, “you’re gonna make me blush.”

“You already are,” Ririka smirked, quickly planting a kiss on Mary’s nose.

Mary sighed, smiling at her new girlfriend. “I could get used to this.”

“I know, me too,” she responded, “I don’t think I’ve ever woken up next to somebody before.”

Mary raised a brow and smirked. “What’s that supposed to mean? You just left in the middle of the night after you had your fun?”

“Something like that,” Ririka muttered, and she laid down staring at the ceiling. “It just never felt right to wake up with someone when there’s nothing to talk about.”

“Well you’re gonna get used to this,” Mary smiled wickedly as she launches into Ririka, pulling her into her and planting kisses all over her face. “Because you’re gonna wake up next to me everyday now.”

Everyday now

Everyday now..

The last words of Mary’s replays in Ririka’s mind. Ririka giggled at this affectionate side of Mary. She could definitely get used to this.

“But, I think it’s time to get up now,” Mary sighed, pulling the covers off of the pair. “We need breakfast, and a good long shower.” She sat up, pulling Ririka up with her and snickered, before adding, “we smell horrible.”

Ririka took this time to take in the room and smirked at the thought of last night. “You’re right, you stink.”

“Hey!” Mary pouted, with an embarrassed blush forming on her face, “it’s your fault.”

“Did I tell you how cute you are when you pout?” Ririka reply with a gentle smile.

“N-no,” Mary blushed some more. She wasn’t used to these loving attention and she didn’t think she could handle anymore compliments from Ririka. “And don’t start telling me that! I can’t handle it.”

“Well, you are.” Ririka leaned in and give her a passionate kiss, only breaking away when she felt Mary beginning to fight for air. “Cute.”

“Idiot,” Mary grumbled and playfully pushed Ririka away. However, before she could flirt some more, she accidentally glanced at the clock. “Crap! Crap crap crap!” Her eyes widened. “I’m late! I have training today!”

Ririka smirked sitting up beside her. “You still need to take a shower. Look at your hair.”

“R-Right!” Mary’s face flushed as she looked away from Ririka. Considering how messy Ririka’s hair was, Mary knew hers was probably just as messy, maybe even worse. “I’ll go take my shower and you can leave.”

“Are you not going to let your girlfriend join you?” She raised a brow, showing a small pout and Mary wanted to cry at that expression.

“Ririkaaaa,” Mary whined getting out of bed. “I need to take a quick shower, and you being there will definitely defeat that purpose.”

Ririka frowned, “Who says we’re going to do anything other than take the shower?”

Mary blush deepened and she turned away from embarrassment. She literally had no comment. “C-Come on them!”

Ririka smirked as she follow Mary, watching how the blonde was limping in front of her.

“Do you need help walking, dear?” Ririka caught up to her and looped her arm with Mary. “You look like you’re struggling.”

“And who’s fault is that!” Mary barked.

Ririka smiled glancing at the blonde. Mary was loud and fiery; the complete opposite of herself. Mary was nothing like the people Ririka had been with before. The feeling was new and refreshing.

Mary was the type to attract the crowds with her chest held high while Ririka prefer to stay a couple steps back from Kirari and Yumeko. Mary was the type to express what she feels and confidently so…

Whereas Ririka had never been able to voice her feelings out. Those rare times she’d go against Kirari, she ultimately felt small and weak.

Kirari wanted to leave town as soon as Mary puts her shit together and figure it out, but Ririka already knew Mary will stay.

If Mary decided to stay, and Kirari wanted to leave,

What would be left of Ririka?

~

Around noon was the time most people would come out to the beach. Bodies crowded the sand and food trucks invaded the roads.

“What are you staring so intently at?” Yumeko asked without looking up and flipping a page of a magazine.

They were sitting on the stool of the beach bar. Although the bar was busy and the queue was long, no one dare bothering the two sirens. Their auras and energy screams to not be bothered

“Nothing,” Kirari replied taking another sip of her cocktail.

Yumeko sighed flipping another page. “Uhuh, sure.”

“Do you think that girl is related to Cosmo?” She placed the glass down, sounding like her mind was far away.

This time Yumeko finally glance up to see what Kirari was staring at. From a couple blocks away, sitting on one of the beaches table, was Ririka, Mary and Sayaka. They seemed to be having a lively conversation from Yumeko’s point of view.

Mary was saying something that made Ririka and Sayaka both smiling and giggling helplessly.

“Which girl?” Yumeko asked and caught Kirari glaring at her like that was the most stupidest question ever.

“Sayaka, obviously.”

She shrugged nonchalantly. “From what I remembered, Cosmo was a guy you and Ririka were fighting over before I had even become a siren, correct?”

That made Kirari scoffed. “Don’t be ridiculous. Cosmo was a guy that was related to Odysseus.”

“I still don’t follow,” Yumeko shrugged, half minded the conversation with Kirari and went back to looking at her magazine. Yumeko had always been obsessed with fashion but these days, fashion icon had just became more and more ridiculous.

A particular model caught her eyes; she was on stage wearing a see through shirt that clearly showed her nipples.

Yumeko raised her brow,

Was this a new trend?

She wondered if she should start walking around with a see through shirt—

“Odysseus was a guy, known as some warrior that came up with a smart solution to resist our songs,” Kirari spoke up, interjecting Yumeko from her thoughts. “Though that was a long time ago, we later found out that he had an affair with the muse of poems and had a son before he even made it back home to his family. Of course, like all other men, he left his child to be raised by the muses.”

Yumeko hummed, “Okay, but that was a long time ago. It’s one in a million chances that somehow, Sayaka is a part of that family tree.” She glanced at Sayaka, but somehow, her gaze slides over to Mary. The blonde was blushing with a scowl on her face now at something Ririka had said. “And even if she is, Odysseus wasn’t some type of God. He was a normal human. He wasn’t immune to the sirens songs. He had people tying him up so he could resist—“

“Cosmo could resist,” Kirari interrupted. “Without being tied up, he could resist. He’s the only man who was ever able to withstand the action of us. Through he didn’t have as high as a stamina and much impossibly weaker than Sayaka, he was still impressive.”

“I still don’t understand,” Yumeko shrugged. “He could resist. Not totally immune. I’ve met a lot of men who tried to resist before I devoured them, but they all ended up failing. Demeter’s curse clearly stated that ‘no men’ would ever get past our voices.”

“Not entirely true,” she explained. “Demeter was more direct about cursing us so no men could genuinely fall in love with us, a way for us to be miserable. But to resist our voice was another thing that was vague.”

“So you think Sayaka is special because she could resist?” Yumeko raised a brow. She had never talked to Sayaka but she bet she could definitely put Sayaka in her place. However, Kirari has, and Yumeko knew better to trust Kirari’s judgements.

“Precisely,” hummed Kirari, as she twirl the cocktail in her hand. “Do you think she’s mated to someone?”

“Pardon me?” Yumeko raised a confused brow at the sudden turn of the conversation.

“I’ve forgotten what this generation called it these days,” she narrowed her eyes on Sayaka. “I haven’t had the time to keep up with time.”

Yumeko smiled at her poor excuse. “Well, to be completely honest with you, I’m pretty sure they don’t use the term ‘mate’ anymore.”

Kirari groaned and rolled her eyes. “Whatever.”

“If you wanted to know, just go over there and ask.” 

“Fine,” hummed Kirari, standing up “I need to know who she is. I failed to know who Cosmo was.”

Yumeko’s eyes followed Kirari as the siren stepped out of her stool and towards the beach. “What happened to him?”

“I killed him.”

~

“Are you really going to eat that?” Mary gagged and scrunched her face at the raw varieties of seafood pallet Sayaka had ordered from a food truck standing beside the beach. Sayaka sat across from her, while Ririka sat right beside her. “I mean, come on! the octopus is still moving.”

“I like raw seafood,” Sayaka countered, sliding the sauce towards herself. “Raw abalone is my fav.”

Yuck!” Mary sticks her tongue out with disgust while Ririka was quietly chuckling at the interaction. “I mean who eats raw stuff like this?”

“You do,” Ririka teased, shyly glancing over at Mary. “Last night, to be precise.”

Sayaka immediately choked on the baby squid that was already in her mouth and coughed it out while grabbing the glass of water.

Mary’s face blush deep and her lips pressed hard together, trying not to explode from Ririka’s answer.

“I-I…” Sayaka cough continued, her hand raising up to pat on her chest. “I definitely was not ready for that.”

“Sorry,” Ririka blushed and tucked a piece of her hair behind her ear. “I thought it was funny. I hope you’re not too uncomfortable, Sayaka.”

“No-No, you don’t have to apologize,”Sayaka said quickly. “It’s something Mary definitely would also say.”

“Hey!” Mary scowled. “I don’t say stuff like that!”

“Yes you do!” Sayaka chuckled, her eyes immediately glanced over at Ririka when she heard her laughing. “So it safe to say that you guys are together?”

Mary’s face remain flushed and glanced over at Ririka to save her.

A small part of Sayaka already knew the answer to that, and somehow it hurts to know Mary was off the market. But she realized Mary was right. Ririka was nothing like Kirari. Her demeanour was the opposite of Kirari’s. Nothing about Ririka felt like a threat and Sayaka couldn’t find any red flag or strange feelings towards the siren.

No wonder Mary choose her. Ririka was close to perfect as anyone could get. Even Sayaka could fall for her—

“Yes,” the siren answered softly, bringing Sayaka back, and although she couldn’t see, she could tell Ririka’s hand had moved over to grab Mary’s from under the table by the look of gentleness on her face.

“We are,” Mary nervously rubbed her cheek, then glanced over at Sayaka. “I wanted you two to meet so I could tell you.”

“We actually just got together last night, so I guess you’re the first person to know,” Ririka told her bashfully. Mary wanted her to meet Sayaka and she was more than happy to comply. Other than Itsuki, Ririka hadn't met any of Mary's other mortal friends, and she tell Mary wanted to let her in. Perhaps one day, Mary might even bring her to her family diner to meet her parents. “Not that anyone in my life is important for me to tell.”

“Not even Kirari?” Sayaka blurted out without thinking.

“No,” Ririka smiled. “Not even Kirari.”

“How?” Sayaka raised a brow. “I always see you guys together, walking around town like you own it.”

Mary sighed, finally her red face died down a bit. “Trust me, Sayaka. I asked the same thing when I first spoke to her.” A smile tugged up her face as she looked at her girlfriend. “But Ririka likes to keep to herself.”

Ririka gave her a small smile before turning to Sayaka. “She’s right. I’m sorry if we look intimidating strolling town like that. But if I’m being honest, all of us have no idea what the fuck we’re doing.”

That made Sayaka laughed a bit. “Somehow I can’t picture Kirari as someone who has no idea what she’s doing. I mean Yumeko is scary, but Kirari was just incredibly on a whole other level. She was singing to me the other day at the restaurant.”

Mary and Ririka both tensed up at the information. “She what?” They both said in unison.

“Yeah,” Sayaka rubbed the side of her neck, while taking a whole bite of the abalone. “She sounded like she was singing, but somehow it sounded like a demand. I don’t really know how to explain it, but I thought it was super unusual.”

“You didn’t do what she asked?” Mary question, her grip on Ririka’s hand tightened.

“No,” Sayaka said nonchalantly.

“Why?” Ririka asked, she was as eager to know as Mary.

Sayaka raised a brow and chugged on the glass of water, taking the napkins to wipe her mouth. “Because why would I order a meal if i wasn’t hungry?”

Ririka hummed as she stare intently at Sayaka.

That’s right.

She did hear Kirari had mention that Sayaka was immune to the sirens song.

But how was this possible?

“What is your last name?” Ririka suddenly question.

“W-What?” Sayaka was surprised.

“I-I mean,” Ririka squirm in her seat, trying to figure out an excuse to make.

“Igarashi,” Mary said plainly, not bothering to know why her girlfriend wanted to know, but she trust her enough. “Sayaka Igarashi.”

“Why do you wanna know my last name?” Sayaka asked curiously, not that she was skeptical of her. If Mary trust her, then Sayaka wouldn’t doubt her judgement. “Is that your way of picking a girl up?”

“What the hell!” Mary scowled. “Ririka is mine, back off.”

Sayaka giggled and Ririka release a sigh of relief.

“I was just curious,” Ririka finally said and quickly turning back to her girlfriend with a smirk. “I didn’t know you were this possessive.”

“I am not!” Mary blushed and mumbled, “Only when it comes to you…”

“Well, I’m flattered,” Ririka replied giving her a quick kiss on the cheek and glanced down at Sayaka’s food. “Do you mind if I have some too?”

“Go for it!” Sayaka grinned. “Most of my friends tend to stay away from fresh food.”

Ririka smiled and grabbed a chopsticks. “You can’t be afraid to mix it up sometimes,”

“Right?” Sayaka agreed. “This is way healthier than some fast food.”

“I can’t believe you’re eating a moving flesh,” Mary grumbled, looking at her girlfriend chewing the live octopus. No doubt Ririka would eat something like this considering she’s technically a fish all her life.

Sayaka smiled. “I’ve gotta to say, I have you pegged wrong.”

“I think everyone does,” Ririka glanced at Mary and the blonde suddenly swallowed a lump of air. “But I think it’s fair since Kirari, Yumeko and I tend to attract the crowds.”

Sayaka nodded and flagged over the waiter to bring her more water. “You guys are the talk of town ever since you’ve arrived so mysteriously. It’s as if you’re somehow part of a supernatural club.”

“You can say that again,” Mary chuckled, nudging Ririka on her shoulder.

Sayaka raised a brow and thank the waiter for refilling her water. “By the way, I forgot to ask, but what happened to your other friend. She disappeared a week after you all arrived. Sumika, I believed was her name?”

At that, Mary’s smile flattered. Now that Sayaka mentioned it, she hadn’t even had time to sit down and think about what truly had happened to her. She remembered Kirari mentioning that Mary had replaced Sumika, but what had actually happened to her? From Kirari’s explanation, now that Mary was a siren, that must mean that Sumika had died. And a big part of Mary wished that the sirens didn’t kill her by force, but instead, Sumika choosing to leave on her own terms.

But still, that fact alone was a lot to considered. If Mary decided not to go with the sirens, then there’s definitely a chance that they’ll leave her out to die alone, and find someone new to replace her.

Would Ririka really leave her behind?

To die?

To perish?

Like she did with Sumika?

Mary shuts her eyes for a moment. It wasn’t that she hadn’t had the time to sit and talk about her concerns with Ririka, but more like she was avoiding the topic. She wanted to spent as much time being happy as humanly as possible with her friends and Ririka as long as she could before facing the reality. Because the truth was that Mary was a siren, and she must start following their terms now.

She looked at Sayaka who was sipping on the glass of water waiting for a respond and then at Ririka.

“Sumika is—“

Before Ririka could even answer, a dark shadow loomed over them causing them to look up.

Kirari stood behind Mary and Ririka, facing Sayaka. Yumeko was right behind her.

Sayaka almost felt intimated by the four beauties in front of her. Wanting to act casual, she took another sip of the water.

Ririka frowned, staring up at her sister. “Kirari what are you—“

“Sayaka,” Kirari smiled down at her, leaning forward a little between Mary and Ririka.

“Do you want to mate with me?”