Guardians of the Crystal Kingdom
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1 Guardians of the Crystal Kingdom
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Guardians of the Crystal Kingdom
Author :lavidalunasanggre
© Webnovel

1 Guardians of the Crystal Kingdom

Part 1

Chapter 1

River Enchantress

Sitting in a shimmering-huge-scalloped shell at the bottom of the sea, an ancient-one-eyed-red-haired-mermaid Naruha spun her tail while squealing the origin of a lightning spear to her school of anchovies.

"In the beginning of times before the Dili-Ingun-Natos roamed the earth, the Omniscient Eye hovered around Mount Zhenai in the swirling ball of fire. Being the creator of the Underfireworld and WonderWorlds, the blazing Eye spoke of tongues no living beings could understand except the dragons, the Dimunes and me. The Eye summoned the dragons to bow down before him. The dragons lowered their heads, wings locked and tails wiggled."

"I bequeath you the gift of immortality," the Eye said in a loud-booming voice. The holy ground shook as he spoke. Black—and—gray clouds slathered the skies. Thunder rumbled and flashes of lightning tore the sky. "Accept this gift with a happy heart."

Naruha proceeded. "Out from the Eye, the fiery lightning rods came out, floated to the direction of the dragons king and queen, and perched on their heads, and the rods turned into crowns flashing with bolts of lightning. And lo, the dragons king and queen had shapeshifted into human-like forms. The king and queen whose exquisite beauty were beyond compare—far more beautiful than the movie stars or even the angels in heaven—were dressed in cerise cloaks. Their fair-skinned hands glistened like diamonds, and their thick raven hair waltzed with the wind. Their auras were regal, and their smiles, devilishly alluring—enough to enchant an innocent soul into a painful death."

The anchovies widened their eyes with amazement. Naruha flung her tail, grinning. "With high spirits, they slashed their palms, and the cardinal blood that dripped from them had been offered to the altar of the Great Eye—the Great One. Flames from the Eye rained down and consumed the blood as the king and queen gyrated their bodies in a snake dance led by the star dancer, the serpent, a gigantic winged-snake, to the beats of a hundred owls' hoots. Balls of fire that appeared and hung like chandeliers in the sky lit up the night. Flammagenitus shrouded them, but they vanished in misty smoke when the serpent blew acidic liquids."

"Wow!" The anchovies chorused. "How about the Dimunes, are they real?" The tiniest of them asked.

Naruha's lips twitched. "Little beings called Dimunes with glowing purple skin and wings, disfigured faces, eyes that looked like tennis balls, with razor-sharp tails and who grew into five feet inches tall knelt and bowed down before the Eye and sang a hymn of praises.

Santi, Santa and Santo bowed. "Holy, holy is the Great One. Holy is thy name. Worthy to receive honor and praise and power." And the hundred Dimunes said, "Amen." They taunted, "Worthy are the lambs which were slain, for they would receive nothing but disgrace, mockery and misery."


Afterward, they slaughtered, roasted and bolted down the six hundred and sixty-nine lambs. And the Dimune's immortal friends … the ravens … they crammed down the grilled lambs' eyes in the sangria sticks. Two of the powerful ravens feasted on sixty-six percent of the eyes while three of the greatest Dimunes devoured sixty percent of the meat."

"Savory," Rowling-the-raven croaked. "I want more." She drooled.

"Succulent, damn it," King-the-raven cursed, his saliva driveled. He and Rowling even played Roshambo, a rock-paper-scissors game using each right foot to get the last pair of the corpse's eyes. Rowling won.

"Yummy, curse, curse, curse it," Santi screeched. He even nipped the necks of other Dimunes who were lower in ranks than him. His three horns on his head and his six wings—two on his back, two on his feet and two on his arms made him a Seraphzim, the leader among the Dimunes and the right hand of the Great Eye.

"Toothsome, curse, curse, curse it," Santo squeaked. He nudged the shoulders of other Dimunes. He was next to Santi in rank—he had three horns on his head and four wings—two on his back and two on his feet, and the Dimunes called him a Quartzim.

"Luscious, curse, curse, curse it," Santa squawked. Just like Santo, he was a Quartzim. Among the three, Santa was the friendliest. He shared the meat with his brothers. The Dimunes were born with the mating of the Great Eye and a virgin sea-nymph, Maria Lavo.

"Oh, I see." The anchovy with a large snout said. "So the legend is true, they're real. I'm scared."

"You must be. Their favorite meal are the tiny creatures like … you." Naruha joked.

"Oh, I'm dead." And he acted as if he was dead when his brothers yelled "play dead" at him.

She scintillated a saccharine smile at her dear anchovies. "While the king and queen ate modestly from a long, black glass table, a hundred Dimunes gobbled up the roasted meat like hungry beasts—in a few seconds, the lambs were nothing but bones—alternately they were slurping the lambs' fresh blood from a vermilion goblet. The Dimunes' mouths watered as they licked the bones, squawking merrily as they swore at the heavenly food. All night long, the Dimunes, the king and queen danced, sang and leaped with merry hearts in gratefulness for the immortality the Great Eye had given them."

"Whoa!" The anchovies said. "The Dimunes are certified beasts." One of them with the second to the largest snout said.

"Before the dawn struck, a spectacle of fireworks with green, red and purple lights shaped in the images of dragons, unicorns, goats, flowers, fish, fairies, mermaids, merfairies and the little children made their jaws drop. Even I couldn't contain my astonishment—my eye seemed to pop out. And then the Great Eye ... the Omnipotent Lucivzebub said."

"And what did the Great Eye say?" The anchovy with the largest snout said while its dear brother and sister anchovies' snouts trembled with horror upon hearing the Dark King's name. "And please, Great Naruha, don't mention his name anymore, it makes my fins quiver."

"I will." Naruha's eyelashes twirled. "Being the distinguished guest to the sacred bestowal, I forbid you, Naruha, to reveal the secret or else you'd be cursed. For whoever could defeat the dragons would possess the crowns to be wielded as the most powerful weapon ever known to exhume the dark forces. If that happens, they shall be obliterated from the face of the WonderWorlds. I don't want that to happen," the Eye thundered. "Do you understand?"

"Cunning," the tiny anchovy said. "I presume you said yes, Great Naruha."

"I nodded and plucked a scale on my tail and blew it to the Eye as a symbol to keep my promise." Naruha cleared her throat. "And the Great Eye spoke an unspeakable horror."

"And what's that?" They chorused.

The Great Eye said. "If you dare to disobey me, I'll burn you alive in my lake of fire."

"Oh, a certified evil!" The tiniest anchovy said on Naruha's revelation, its snout quavered.

Naruha grinned at the tiniest and caressed its head. "He is."

Since time immemorial, Naruha shuddered on the thought of getting barbecued alive, but gifted with incomparable knowledge, she gaped through a vision that a half-Dili-Ingun-Nato and a half-merfairy could do it.

"Only he could defeat the dragons. Only he could summon the powers of the lightning spear." Naruha mumbled.

For a thousand years, she'd waited for him. And the time had finally come. He'd come to fulfill his destiny.

"How about the Mesha?"The tinier anchovy asked, eyes effervesced. "I mean 'The One', the savior … is he coming?"

"He's coming, my dear." Naruha's pearl covering her left eye glittered. Her hair hanging down her ankles glistened, and her angular and sunken face glimmered. "He's coming in a few days."

***

Trevor Rockefeller had a recurring nightmare in which he slashed a flaming-gigantic- female creature with a blazing spear and scuffled to fight against the dragons and the dark forces of the maleficent Spirit Witch Queen.

However, his bad dream turned into a beautiful vision when a woman of striking beauty and with golden wings and black tail appeared before him—chortling, nearing, and planting on him a long, sweet kiss. Every time he got carried away with her, she evanesced leaving him speechless with some sparkling specks of dust.

Naughty girl. I'll bite your lip if I get a chance.

Sitting in the back seat of the car, Trevor awoke with a beaming smile while his friends chuckled at his seemingly-inspired expression. They were heading to his Grandma's town, and the sun nearly kissed goodbye to the horizons when they arrived. The gentle breeze, the hooting of the owls and the twittering of the ravens welcomed them.

Trevor instructed Brad, his college nerdy friend to pull the car to a stop near the Victorian-inspired house. The woman in her early sixties stood outside it and waved her hand to a group of teenagers who'd just gotten off the car.

"Grandma Delphina, I'm here!" Trevor said whose grins flashed upon seeing the aged woman while running.

"Trevor is that you, dear honey dear?" Mrs. Delphina asked. Trevor nodded. "You've grown to a fine, young, handsome man. I barely recognize you if not to your dimples. I miss you so much, my grandson." Her Persian blue eyes glinted in the thick, square eyeglasses, her plaid blouse and skirt couldn't overshadow her commanding presence, and her gray hair in a tight bun—always styled this way then and now—held the saying true that the woman's hair was her crowning glory.

"I miss you too, Grandma." Trevor hugged her. Yes, his Grandma was right. His piercing-aquamarine eyes with an aquiline nose sculpted in an oval face stunned the city girls, and his lean yet muscular build made him a hot boy-next-door like Shawn Mendes. He kissed his Grandma's right cheek—and then introduced his friends as Karla, Nathaniel and Brad.

After exchanging pleasantries, they sauntered inside and sat bolt upright on the wooden chairs. They cheerfully gourmandized the lasagna, bacon strips and clubhouse sandwiches laid on a table. Their stomachs lurched for more, and their thirsts quenched when they slurped a glass of cucumber juice with pineapple chunks and apple tidbits.

"Grandma, is the mysterious bridge still passable?" Trevor asked.

"Ssshh, don't mention it, dear honey dear. It's nearly evening. The she-creature might hear you," Mrs. Delphina whispered.

"How did you know it's she, not he?" Creepy Granny.

"I just know it."

"Why do you keep on calling she-creature? Doesn't she have a name until now?"

Mrs. Delphina had noticed her grandson's attitude, being inquisitive, just like when he was still a little boy. She didn't answer him, but she smiled at him as her way of response. She was about to rise when a great splash from the river situated a few meters away from her house resounded.

Trevor heard it too, his forehead scrunched with shock, and his friends' upper eyelids cowered. A plash was followed by another one. The lights went out. The dining room suddenly lit up by a brilliant lightning flash, thunder raged and rattled the windowpanes, and the rain started to fall hard.

Brad clung to Nathaniel's arms as shivers ran down their spines. However, Trevor remained unfazed.

***

The chickens in Mrs. Delphina's backyard cackled telling their guests to rise from the bed. Trevor stretched his arms as he yawned. His friends did too.

"Boys, come on down, breakfast time," Mrs. Delphina said as she prepared the food while the slender, round face and shouldered-length-hair-brunette Karla assisted her. Everything seemed normal as the boys after washing their faces and swishing their mouths with Dr. Harold Katz's chlorine dioxide ambled to the wooden dining table.

"Did you remember anything last night, boys?" Karla asked briskly.

The boys shook their heads.

"Why what happened, Kar?" Trevor asked.

"Oh, nothing to be serious about." Karla looked at Mrs. Delphina. She mouthed, "The incantation worked."

Mrs. Delphina smiled still wondering why Karla wasn't affected by her spell, only the boys were. There must be something special in this lady. She thought.

"Grandma, can we go to the river later?" Trevor asked.

"No, dear honey dear."

"Please Grandma, please!" The boys pleaded with puppy eyes. They stood, surrounded the old woman and didn't stop from begging until she gave in to their plea.

"All right, you win. You can go there, but promise me one thing, dear honey dear."

"Anything Grandma," the boys chorused.

"Just say it Grandma, and we will do," Trevor assured her.

"Promise me that when you cross the bridge, you'll have a sign of the cross or you'll never cross the bridge for the rest of your life."

The boys nodded, but their eyes and smiles foretold of an adventure. As soon as they emptied their plates, they hurried outside the house, nudged each other's shoulders and scuttled to the bridge. They forgot to kiss Mrs. Delphina on her cheeks. Karla preferred to stay with the woman. As soon as they reached the bridge, only Trevor did a sign of the cross.

The serenity of the river which sparkled like crystals as the sun hit its surface calmed their restless spirits.

They stopped at the center.

"Wow, truly beautiful!" Nathaniel said, eyes shimmered."Perfect for my proposal!" The other fine, young men chortled while listening to him.

"I doubt, your girlfriend doesn't like romantic stuff like this one. Right, dude Trevor?" Brad asked.

"I agree." Holy cow.

"Okay, you win guys, but for now let's have a groupie," Nathaniel suggested. They'd pictured themselves as the panoramic view of the river became their background. They wandered with cheerful hearts to the other side of the bridge going to the sturdy oak trees where they'd lean and take some more pictures.

While the boys vegged under a tree, Trevor couldn't get off his mind the beauty of the river. His sub-conscious mind told him to go back. When his friends carved their names on a tree, he left gingerly. As he was nearing the bridge, he heard someone sing.

"What a sweet voice," Trevor complimented.

The voice became louder as Trevor positioned at the center. Suddenly, a gentle swash piqued his interest making his brows creased. A figure of a gorgeous woman with a round face, deep-seated-emerald-green eyes and with a long, black, shiny hair loomed on the water.

Slutty fox. She's yummy.

The woman drew close to him. Trevor dropped his mouth open as he saw no legs on the woman but a tail. His scary bone quailed a little bit.

"Fear not Trevor, for I am a friend," the woman in her sexy voice said.

"How did you know my name?" His eyebrow furrowed.

"Oh, you've forgotten me. Perhaps your Granny did some incantations. That woman!" She flipped her tail making some bubbles and ripples on the surface. And the two Great Horned owls named Kim-and-Chloe-the-Owldashians fluttered above her. They rolled their eyes on Trevor.

"What do you mean?" Trevor's lips curled in confusion. He could sense danger in her voice. His inner god readied for his Karate moves.

"I'm your childhood friend. I'm Olivia, enchantress of the river. We used to swim in this river when we were still kids."

"What? I'm sorry miss, but I didn't remember you. I think I need to go." You're freak.

"You can't go," Olivia spoke with authority.

"Excuse me?" Trevor raised his voice. Demanding asshole.

"I said you can't go," Olivia gnarled and pitched her tail. She created a vortex while Trevor remained motionless seeing the water move at the wish of the she-creature. Out from a black whirlpool emerged a huge water snake and assaulted him, its body besieged his. It lifted him in the air while she guffawed for an old friend suffered for being uncooperative.

Nonplussed of what Olivia did to him, Trevor snarled at her. "Let me go!" Bastard fish!

"In your dreams."

"Release him!" growled the voice of a woman from a distance, her eyes ablaze with rage at Olivia but with concern for Trevor. "Or else—"

"Or else what? Turn my tail just like yours?" Olivia cachinnated.

The voice came nearer, and Trevor caught another she-creature just like Olivia, but her tail was different. It was black, black as a blood diamond.

Heavenly delight. She's yummier than the demanding freak.

The black-tailed she-creature fashioned a whirlpool too through tail flinging, and out from there surfaced a giant eagle made of water, and it flew to Trevor's direction. It attacked the huge snake, but the latter fought harder.

Trevor gasped for he couldn't believe his eyes it happened before him. It seemed he was watching some fighting scenes in a movie. He was falling from the sky because the snake slackened its grip on him. An eagle glided fast, and it caught and brought him to a safer place. The eagle wheeled back, and the snake smote it with its tail. The eagle groaned. They charged at each other until the huge snake fell to the surface of the water.

"Enough of this!" blustered the black-tailed woman.

"Okay," Olivia smirked, her tone agreeable. "I wish I could win a Golden Globe Lifetime Achievement Award for following you."

"Stay away from him," she ordered.

"I will, but these guys coming, they're none of your business." Olivia lobbed her tail again and formed a whirlpool. Out from it bobbed up the octopus's tentacles and ensnared Nathaniel and Brad who were both caught in surprise. They screamed for help, but the black-tailed woman just glared at them. The two boys struggled for their lives, but their efforts seemed in vain for an octopus's beak pierced, ripped and broke them into smithereens. The acetabulum and the infundibulum of an octopus squelched with delights for the incomparable nutrients they could get from the torn bodies.

Trevor watched them with pity. He gawked at the black-tailed woman with misted eyes, but she turned her face away, submerged her body into the water, and with a spin of her tail the eagle and she dissipated.

He gave the evil she-creature a stern look, and before he could speak she disappeared too. He fell down to his knees and wailed.

What explanation must I have for their parents? That a freak creature smashed their sons? It would only mean two things, either way, I was crazy or an accomplice to the crime.

He wiped his tears with his blue shirt right sleeve.

The wicked she-creature's laughter reverberated through the river while Trevor's heart sang a song of lamentation.

Still facing the river, Trevor stood with feigned bravery.

Bastard fish! You must pay for this, freak.

Chapter 2

The Black-tailed She-creature

Rain poured down with madness, and thunder roared like a king of the jungle. The ravens shrieked, and the owls tu-whit tu-whooed as they flitted and perched on the branches of an oak tree. Mother Nature had sympathized with Trevor for his loss.

Trevor smacked his palm against his forehead in disbelief that his friends were gone in the river. The idea of losing them didn't sink in him yet. Their value for him was priceless, above rubies and diamonds.

"I'll avenge your death, brothers. I promise that." His nostrils smoked.

His heart sank, and his feet didn't lead him going home. The bright glare of lightning lightened his way. As he kept on prowling, a small house snagged his attention, and he neared it. He knocked, and the villager opened the door for him.

"What happened to you, young man?" a gray-haired old man asked.

"An evil she-creature killed my friends," Trevor replied, sniffling. "I'd be killed too if not to a kind mermaid."

The old man's face wrinkled with puzzlement. "Thank God, you're safe. I bet you must be hungry now. Get inside and eat."

Trevor didn't move.

"I'm Uncle Sammy. Just call me Uncle Sam. I'm a good man. Trust me. You're safe here." The old man smiled. His authenticity convinced Trevor to get in.

Uncle Sammy prepared dinner for Trevor. Trevor guzzled a palatable fried chicken and the bread rolls. After eating, Uncle Sam led him to a room.

After gargling with saltwater, he bade farewell to Uncle Sammy who took good care of him. He likened him to Grandpa Joe, a character in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that every little boy wished to have for a grandfather. Thanks to his dad who introduced Mr. Joe to him in a couch while melting popcorn in his mouth.

Before he left, Uncle Sammy had given him a pen and advised him to use it during an emergency. His lips wound upward for the pen was not different from the other writing pens he used in college. He put it in his pocket anyway.

Trevor tramped to his Grandma's house, determined to ask her questions about his past and the she-creatures in the river. It didn't take him long to reach the house. As he was approaching, his Grandma waited for him at the door and without a word embraced him.

"Thank God, you're alive, dear honey dear!" Mrs. Delphina sobbed.

Trevor felt comfort in her embrace. His tears streamed down his cheeks. They seemed to have the minds of their own—they flowed without warning. His eyes had full of questions in which only his Grandma could answer, only she could shed light.

"Let's get inside. You need some food and rest."

Trevor heaved a deep sigh. "Yeah, you're right. I need that Grandma, but there's far more important than that. I need answers. Who am I? Who are those freak she-creatures in the river? Why did they know me?"

"My dear honey dear, you rest first, and I'll tell you everything later."

"No, Grandma! Please tell me now. Please!" His voice cracked, face sulked and gave her a sniff of disapproval.

Mrs. Delphina snuffled in defeat. She whirled around and got something from a cabinet. In her hand, she held a small bottle with multi-colored liquid in it. "Drink this potion, and everything shall be revealed to you in seconds."

"What's that Grandma? Another potion of oblivion? If I drink that, I might only forget what happened yesterday like what you did to me when I was a child as told by the wicked she-creature."

"Don't be stubborn, dear. Trust me, this time."

With hesitation, Trevor grabbed the bottle of potion and drank it. As soon as the potion entered into his bloodstream, memories of the past began to flashback like scenes in a movie—his childhood memories with the two she-creatures as they merrily swam in the river, their water games, their talks and laughter as they settled on the rock near the riverside. He called a she-creature with a golden tail as Olivia and a black-tailed one as Katy. He couldn't believe he and the she-creatures were childhood friends—not even the moment his Grandma let him drink a potion of oblivion.

"Why did you do that, Grandma?" Trevor scowled. "Why?"

How could my grandmother take away my childhood memories? She was like a thief in the night, like Aladdin who stole the magic lamp from the cave of wonders. Unforgivable deed beyond comprehension. But who was I anyway to judge her? Maybe she'd her reasons.

"I did it for your own sake. I did it to protect you. If I didn't do it, you wouldn't be standing now before me. Believe me, dear honey dear," Mrs. Delphina explained matter-of-factly. "Please forgive me, dear honey dear."

"I believe in you, Grandma, but this time, I'll make my own decision, my destiny. I'm of legal age now. I'll seek vengeance for my friends' death," he said with bitterness and conviction in his voice.

"Listen to me Trevor, vengeance is not ours, it's God's. I'm sorry for the loss of your friends, but the incident didn't happen if they only followed my advice, doing the sign of the cross before crossing the bridge."

Trevor stared at his Grandma with anguish in his heart. He spun around and strode outside the house. He would've treaded to the river when his grandmother followed him.

"If you're already decided about your plan, I think you need this." Mrs. Delphina handed him a shell of nautilus. Trevor arched his eyebrows as if asking her on what he'd do with the shell. "Call her by creating a sound through the shell."

Trevor nodded as a way of expressing his gratitude to her. "You're forgiven, Granny, even if you didn't ask for it."

He marched to the river bridge with the shell on his right hand and forgot to have a sign of the cross when crossing the bridge. As soon as he reached the center of the bridge, he sounded the shell. He waited and prepared himself for the things he might see on the river, but there was nothing peculiar about it. He would've thrown the shell into the river when a great dabble from it reverberated. He eagle-eyed on the water, and it was moving. He readied himself. He remembered the words of Uncle Sam about a pen. There was nothing wrong if he tried using it. He got the pen out from his pocket, and it became a spear. He startled and held it with all his might.

Out from the water, a beautiful woman with a black tail bedazzled him. Trevor stood immobile, and his jaw dropped as he gazed on her. She got sapphire-blue eyes ready to mesmerize any guy, had rosy cheeks that would put Snow White to shame, had red lips that would make Red Riding Hood's cloak vintage, her long, black, shiny hair covered her breasts, and her face resembled an angel—sweet and innocent it could erase all the pains of a wounded heart, a wounded warrior to be precise and could melt the coldness of his heart.

Holy fish. Femme fatale. I'm getting swoony, Oprah Winfrey. I really am.

"Trevor!" Katy said as she flicked her tail that made Trevor bring back his senses.

"I'm sorry" I was ju-s-s-s-t …" Trevor stuttered. Her beauty fascinated him. Holy Moly. She takes my breath away. I'm drowning. Help!

Well, it's okay dude to blink or else your eyelashes might get paralyzed. His inner god teased him.

"Put your spear down," she commanded.

"Okay, I will." Trevor dropped his spear down, and it returned into a pen. He then took it and put it again in his pocket. He also laid the shell of nautilus, and it created a piece of soothing music. He rubbed his chin on the weird things happen before him. He looked at her, and she did the same. Their eyes met. A golden silence dominated for a while as if they were lovers and accorded by Mother Nature a silence fit for the lovebirds which hadn't seen each other for eternity.

Katy bit her lip as she shifted away from his gaze.

"Hmmm, thank you for saving my life," Trevor broke the silence. He cocked his head and bit his lower lip too. She bit her lip, and I bit mine. Meeting of the minds or mating of our lips? Holy lips.

"You're welcome," Katy smiled. "I couldn't afford to see you hurt at Olivia's foolishness. You're my childhood friend, remember?"

"Thanks again. You haven't changed all along. I mean … your attitude. You're still kind, just like the old times."

Damn it! You're still beautiful, Kate.

Katy grinned while flicking her hair back over her shoulder. "I believe your Grandma brought back your memories with you," she said trying to change the topic, breaking the awkwardness that enveloped between them.

"Yeah, you're right, she did. I miss you, Katy. I really do." Trevor's inner god shouted "whoa"—at long last, the words he held from the inner core of his heart escaped from his holy lips.

Katy's inner siren somersaulted. She kept on blushing, and it seemed her candy-red-apple blood rush into her cheeks.

Trevor noticed it. "I mean, I miss our childhood days." He flirted. I got you, babe.

Katy flashed a sweet smile. "Do you want to experience an adventure now just like before when we were kids?"

Trevor said, "Yes, I want."

Katy flung her tail and designed a whirlpool. Out from it sprung up a water horse.

"Jump," she instructed.

Without a word, Trevor jumped into the water horse, and he rode on it.

Flabbergasted, he batted his eyelashes for he could never believe he rode again on a horse made of water.

Katy sank her body in the crystal-clear water and with a flip of her tail, she plunged. Her figure surfaced, and her tail glistened. She popped out her head and yelled at him.

"Let's race, Trevor. Let's see who'll reach first to the Great Rock!"

"Okay, let the race begin!" He shouted back at her.

The Great Rock nestled at the middle of the Riverlandia, the ten-kilometer-long river with whom the people in the village feared for because they thought it got lives every year—its accomplice was the bridge.

Katy swam as fast as she could through twisting her tail while Trevor floundered with his horse which hurtled on the water surface, but eventually, he got used to it. As the race went on, several creatures like the thumb-size merfairies, the dancing smilaxes, a school of flying fish and the parrots spurred on them. Laughter and yells filled the river.

Katy won the race.

"Just like the old times, boss. You lose," the water horse spoke.

"I know." Trevor chortled while trying to caress the horse's head. "Thanks for the great ride, brother."

"You're welcome, boss. Your servant Liam is always ready to serve you," the horse said. He called him, boss, while Trevor called him brother. A bond of undeniable friendship between them rekindled like the old times. He couldn't forget Trevor's terrified look the first time the young man rode on him during his childhood days.

"Thanks, Liam, my brother," Trevor grinned at him, and his eyes fixed on Katy. "Congratulations, as always you win."

"Thank you. I know someday you'll beat me."

"You think of that? I doubt," he said as he settled on the Great Rock.

The water horse ceased when Katy spun her tail. "I bet," she said with a big smile and wallowed beside him. She shared with him her fun-filled adventures on the depths of the river and in the Crystal Kingdom while he told her about his city life. They chuckled at each other's' stories. He winked at her while she scintillated her sugary smile at him.

"Come, I'll show you the wonders of the river."

"Okay, let the adventure begin."

Katy tossed her tail and shaped a magical bubble—a bubble that won't puff up even if a tornado or a tsunami would strike it. It floated and went to Trevor's direction and surrounded his head.

For the first time, after ten long years, they held each other's hands as they went to the bottom of the river. Trevor squeezed Katy's hand gingerly.

Along the way, a talking-pink dolphin, the smiling frogs and the playful shrimps greeted them. One of the frogs gave Trevor a high five. Colorful weeds, fruit-bearing plants and rock formations like mountain ranges in the uplands wonderstruck him.

Trevor thanked Katy for giving him another opportunity to see the splendid beauty of life underneath the river. A plant with colorful and shining fruits on it made his eyes twinkle.

"Are they edible?" Or are you, too, babe? Saintly snake.

"Yes, they are," Katy answered. "You want some?"

"Yeah, sure." I want you too.

Katy picked one and handed it to him. He wolfed down the fruit, savoring every bit of it, and he felt something strange happening on his body.

"Whoa! So your favorite creature is a turtle, huh?" Katy chortled of what she was seeing. "Nice one."

"What? What happened to me?" I'll kiss you if you make fun of me. I'll swear it, babe.

"You've just transfigured into a turtle. This green fruit enables anybody to reveal his favorite sea or river creature.

Holy crap. "Oh, no! How can I go back to myself?"

Katy picked another fruit and put it on the turtle's mouth.

"Take a bite."

Trevor nibbled on the fruit, and in a single moment, he returned to his true self.

"What kind of plant is that, Kate?"

Katy flustered. He called her on the nickname she longed to hear from him.

"Hello, Kate? What's wrong? You're staring at me blankly."

I got you, babe, for the second time. You have a crush on me, am I right? Don't deny it, baby.

"Oh, nothing." Katy had brought back her senses. "Sorry, what's the question again?"

"I said, what's that plant?" Trevor narrowed his eyes. His dimples bewitched Katy. See? You're distracted by my good looks … by my charm, I guess. I tell you, Ms. Winfrey, this merfairy lady has feelings for me. Want to bet?

"Oh, the Halamanderia, a plant of revelation." Katy pursed her lips. Tens of Mickey Mouse ran on her chest that she hardly breathed because his presence shivered her body with swoons. She fought gallantly in a battle and killed a hundred ferocious beasts, but what weapon must she have with his charm? How could she fight it? How could she withstand his hotness?

Trevor was hotter than lava. His hotness and dimples melted her like chocolate candy.

"Curious."

"Each fruit has a different way of revealing something. The one you eat a while ago was the fruit of true self. The green fruit revealed your favorite sea creature. See that one in purple?"

Trevor bobbed his head. His intent look tickled Katy's inner siren.

"That fruit enables you to copy the likeness or image of others."

"Great! Can I have one?" Trevor asked. Katy grinned. He would've picked one when he heard the gushing of the water, foretelling someone was coming.

"Just stay at my back. No matter what happens, never distance from me," Katy said. Trevor agreed. "I'll never allow anybody to hurt you … over my dead wings and tail."

"Is that how you love me, Kate? Fight for me to death?" Trevor winked at her, for the second time. Stunned by his words, Katy blushed and rolled her eyes on him. Her inner siren did a single cartwheel.

"How dare you, Katy, pick the fruits without my permission!" A voice sputtered.

Holy dragon. She blows flames. Lucifer has no rage to a cheated-snobbish lady. I could sense venom in her voice. Trevor said to himself.

Katy recognized the voice. A snobbish, standoffish and selfish merfairy—pretty with her long, blond hair, forest-green eyes, Greek nose and well-trimmed-raising eyebrows always ready for interrogation owned it. "I'm sorry Princess Merfara if I didn't seek your—"

"Apology not accepted." The princess muzzled Katy with a wave of her hand, her tiara and golden top dress covering her upper body illuminated, and her voice became thunderous. "You know I planted that a hundred years ago, and I've taken good care of that since then."

"Again, Your Highness, my apology," Katy said in a condescending tone.

"You know I don't accept an apology without a … gift."

Without saying any word, Katy removed her bangle and handed it to her.

The princess' eyes glimmered with excitement. "Oh, the bangle of possibilities." Delighted, she put it on her wrist and said. "How lovely it is! It perfectly suits me." She would've left when she noticed someone behind Katy. "Well, well, well. Who is he?"

"Your Highness, he's a friend," Katy replied.

"A friend? How dare you violate the law of the Crystal Kingdom! You can never befriend a mortal, especially a guy. You're a member of the Council of thirteen. You know that. This is disgusting! This is punishable by death."

Katy did not cringe on the princess' words. She remained sobered up as she tried to outsmart her. "Your Highness, with all due respect to you, you once befriended a mortal guy and had a special relationship with him. What's his name again?"

Holy fox. Nice tactics, babe. Outsmart her. Feeling virgin, princess?

Before the princess could say a word, Trevor came out from Katy's back and held her hand. Flashes of current electrified their inner beings. Their eyes smiled—for they both knew what they felt—sexual chemistry combusted. They'd have looked at each other longer when they realized they'd a situation to deal with.

"Bastard! It's not true. You're making up a story to outwit me."

"Oh, really? As far as I know, the princess doesn't tell a lie. If she does, she loses her right to the throne."

"Bastard! Well if you report me with evidence and found guilty, I'll lose my throne. However, if I report you to the Council of Thirteen and found guilty, you'll lose your life. And you'll never see your friends ever again. How about that?" Princess Merfara scoffed.

"Yes, by telling a lie you'll only lose a throne, but if found guilty you had a mortal lover once in your life, you'll be sentenced to death too."

Checkmate. You're in the labyrinth. Hard to escape, princess?

That's Kate, that's my girl. I tell you, Oprah, my girl is quick on her feet like you.

"Clever!"

Katy snickered. She found the princess' waterloo with her smart argument. "Well, let's have an agreement. Let's make this a secret."

"I agree."

"Now, Your Highness, may I have my bangle back?"

"Only if you defeat me in Quebeech. The law states a gift can only be returned to the giver if the receiver loses in a game."

Cunning cat. You have no match for my girl. Bring it on, dragon.

"Well, then, Your Highness, I accept the challenge.

"Great! Well, let's proceed to the arena." Princess Merfara put her index finger on her forehead, and she apparated to the Crystal Kingdom.

Katy beamed at Trevor while he gave her a nonchalant shrug. Katy purred an incantation. "Minima." And poor Trevor turned into a miniature. "I'm sorry if I did this to you, but I have no choice. You'll be back to a life-size in a few moments."

As soon as she put him in her necklace's non-transparent-bottled pendant, she put her index finger on her forehead, and she teleported to the Crystal Kingdom too. She came into sight in the hallway of the arena. She murmured again, and her wings grew on her back. She received smiles from her kin, and she knew those malicious smiles. They seemed to warn her to do her best on her duel with the princess.

She arrived in time the host opened his mouth, and she levitated, wheeled round and wafted high to the host's left side. Princess Merfara snubbed her.

"Everyone, your attention, please. Today, we're going to witness a once in a lifetime duel between Princess Merfara and an Elite," the host with a flamboyant personality of a drag queen said. Resounding applause echoed through the arena. "The duel is all about Quebeech. As we all know Queebech—every merfairy's most favorite sport—is a game of catching the elusive, golden bees. And whoever catches the tiny bee earns twenty-five points, the tinier gives her fifty points, and the tiniest declares her a winner for it corresponds to a hundred points."

Katy heard the deafening screams of her kind. Majority cheered on the princess, but those cheers didn't flatten Katy's confidence and her desire to win the competition. She was determined to get the bangle back. It was far more important than any other jewelry in a kingdom. It didn't only possess a magical power but also had sentimental value for her.

"Let the duel begin. When you hear me say, go. That's the time you start catching. On my count, I release the bees from the bottle. One, two, three … go!" The bees started to fly fast as the two contenders winged trying to snag them.

Katy glided to the direction of the tiny firefly while the princess followed the tiniest.

The princess is determined to finish the game, Katy surmised.

However, the tiniest was so elusive. As soon as the princess attempted to snatch it, it mounted up very fast, until a tinier firefly past her. She followed it passing through the floating obstacles. The insect nestled on a floating ball while she veered. The insect moved its eyes from the right to the left, trying to be alert so the princess couldn't capture it. However, it buzzed loudly when the princess seized it off guard.

"Fifty points for the princess," the host announced.

Katy didn't persevere chasing the tiny bee. Instead, the tiniest caught her interest. She flapped her wings as fast as she could to clasp it, but it turned around in a lightning speed hopping and hiding from one leaf to another. She whispered, "Please, tiniest bee, don't make it hard for me to catch you. I need to win this game for the sake of my Mom's heirloom." As she whispered it, a gust of wind messed her hair, and the tiniest golden bee smiled and stopped flying and went back to her direction. Flashes of grin and surprise plastered on her face when the bee came nearer to her, and she prepared for clutching it.

Unbeknown to Katy, the princess had been observing the whole scenario and been waiting for the bee to come closer to her. Before Katy grasped it, the princess hit her hard, and she plummeted on the ground. The princess sneered on her and enmeshed the insect, but it stung her hand. Her hand throbbed that she loosened her grip on it, and it moved away from her. It then went downward to Katy's direction and settled on her hand.

The whole merfairies had their eyes bulged in surprise as the insect submitted voluntarily to the Elite.

"Katy wins!" The host announced. The whole audience, except of course to the die-hard allies of the princess, clapped their hands."Congratulations, Elite."

Katy was teary-eyed. She thanked the tiniest bee and kissed it. The insect winked at her before it wheeled to the host's direction and went inside the transparent bottle. The audience started to fly aloft elsewhere. Some were chit-chatting of what had happened while others bowled over on Katy's triumph and left the arena, puzzling.

"I think you need to give something back to me," Katy said to the princess.

"Congratulations, Katy! You made it." Princess Merfara fumbled and returned the bangle to Katy while her face crinkled of the bee's sting. "Your secret is safe with me. You may go now in peace."

"Thank you, Your Highness." Katy put the bangle on her wrist and pointed her index finger on her forehead, and she beamed up back to the haven of Halamanderia. Her face radiated with happiness seeing her mother's heirloom back on her wrist again.

She released Trevor from the bottled pendant and babbled an incantation. The Dili-Ingun-Nato came back to his true size.

"Whoa! It seemed I had a nice time over here," Trevor said.

"Really? What made you think so?"

"I feel I'm in a place somewhere. I can't explain it, but the place … oh, it's beautiful!" Just like you, babe.

Katy simpered for she brought him to Nirvana, a paradise for the good beings, but his experience was an illusion. All he could see and feel there was pure bliss. "I think we need to go back."

***

The crickets were chirping when Trevor and Katy went back to the Great Rock. The moon luminesced on Katy's back—stardust sparkled on it, and Katy's face wrinkled in slight pain, and the golden wings grew on it.

"Wow!" Trevor said. His eyes gleamed.

"Now you know my secret." Katy glanced over her shoulder and touched her wings.

"I couldn't believe this, you're not only a mermaid, but you also have wings," he said in surprise. "How do I call you?" You're one heavenly freak I can't resist.

"I and my kin are called merfairies, half-mermaids, half-fairies. Ordinary mermaids live in the sea while we inhabit in the Crystal Kingdom, where the sea and the forest meet."

"Okay. So, you'll only have wings when there's moonlight?"

"Well, not precisely. There's another way."

"What's that way?"

"You're inquisitive."

"Does it bother you?"

Katy shook her head. "I can't tell you now maybe some other time."

"Okay, well since you have your wings, then, I guess, it calls for another adventure. This time, up in the sky."

"Oh, no, not this time, I'm a little bit tired," Katy kvetched, but Trevor was persuasive. "Okay, you win."

Trevor rode on her back, and they soared on the air and landed on the treetops. The flickering fireflies' lights gave them warmth. Not long enough, he snuggled on her back and slept there until dawn.

"Trevor, wake up!" Katy said while Trevor slept like a baby. "Trevor, wake up." This time she shook him, and he awoke.

"What? I'm still sleepy." Trevor wiped his eyes and stretched his arms.

"We need to go back to the river. The howl of the wind told me of an omen."

"An omen? What's an omen?"

"Omen means a premonition that something bad might happen this early morning," Katy explained. "Let's go, settle in."

They winged their way over the river, and by the time Katy tumbled her body on the water her wings passed out from Trevor's sight. Katy propelled her tail and generated a whirlpool. Out from it, a water horse erupted. Without further delay, Trevor climbed on Liam's back. Katy spattered around like a sailfish while the horse sprinted on the water surface. When they were about to reach the bridge, they saw Olivia with her devilish smiles.

Judging on her grins, she planned something evil this early morning, Katy suspected.

When Olivia watched on them, her heart blubbered—she snorted at Trevor who was enjoying Katy's company. She cast her tail, and the water dragon with five heads came out and assailed them.

Katy also hurled her tail and produced a whirlpool. Out from it arose a giant man with five hands, each hand carried a sword and approached the enemy. The battle began. Trevor buoyed up the giant man. The giant man struck hard against the water dragon until its heads were cut off one by one.

Enraged, Olivia flipped her tail again—structuring a black whirlpool—then, a group of black horses came and hemmed Trevor in.

Trevor was unprepared for Olivia's attack that he forgot to use the pen. Although Liam was a strong water horse, he couldn't manage to fight the six horses. Katy jolted when several horses also came to kick her. As she parried the horses' assails, her attention was divided—of saving Trevor and of fighting her enemies.

"You have no match for me, twin sister." Olivia vaunted upon seeing them wrestled for their lives. "You'll be beaten up to death." She boffed.

Alas! An idea came to Katy. She distanced from the enemies and struck her tail and made three gigantic-purpled whirlpools, and they blockaded the horses—the horses shied away, but the whirlpools smashed them. They also assaulted the enemies of Liam, and they were dissolved too—thereby, saving Trevor. However, one horse managed to escape, back to Olivia's dominion.

"Please stop this, Olive," Katy begged.

"Don't. You. Ever. Call. Me. By. That. Name." Olivia pooh-poohed. "I'm not your sister anymore. Traitor!"

"It's not yet too late, Olive. I know that you succumb to darkness, but please turn on the light, and you'll find your way back home."

"No, I won't." Olivia's pride rose skyward.

A sound of an approaching motorbike resonated across the bridge. A man on his early fifties drove it with a woman in her early twenties sat behind him. A wicked smile seared on Olivia's face. She lofted her tail against the water and structured a huge, dark wall that encumbered Katy from interfering. She looked at her allied horse, her eyes burning with fire and commanded the creature to assault the passersby. The horse galloped on the water surface and kicked the tire, so the motorbike with riders on it fell off the bridge, and the horse drowned them to their doom.

The villagers whooped for help as they saw a lady and a driver fell off, but they'd never seen Trevor and the she-creatures fight on the river. An incantation of invisibility took place by the time the she-creatures tipped over their tails.

Olivia sniggered like her debut party with cotillion had been set with success while Katy's face could be interpreted that hers was an epic fail. She might've lost in her battle with Katy, but she killed the people whom Katy wanted to protect.

It broke her heart for sure, she viewed. Suddenly, the owls and the ravens flitted, squashing with cheerful grins for their princess.

Katy's and Trevor's hearts bled. Katy wanted to help them, but it was late to do so. Olivia's black whirlpool engulfed them, and her demonic laughter echoed through the Riverlandia, and the people heard it.

The owls and the ravens gave their horrifying screeches. Rowling-and-King-the-ravens and Kim-and-Chloe-the-Owldashians led the fleet.

No incantation in Riverlandia was made to prevent someone from hearing the sounds of happiness or lamentation in the river. However, Olivia lifted the incantation of invisibility, and the villagers saw her golden tail.

The villagers quavered in horror and darted as fast as they could away from the river while Olivia's owls and ravens flittered overhead, trying to scare them off.

"Monster, run for our lives!" The villagers screamed. "Run!"

Olivia's boisterous laughter filled the atmosphere—her inner flibbertigibbet flouted—while the villagers scampered and fell down shuddering. Morbid thoughts filled their minds as they stammered, "F-f-freak Monster! Freak!"

The river rose and covered the bridge. The clouds darkened like black holes. The wind's growls whooshed like a gray wolf's—goose-bumping and petrifying. People locked up themselves in their houses while Trevor rubbed his temple with concern.

How many lives would Olivia take out of her jealousy? Will she stop if I dump Katy and choose her? Trevor asked himself.

Chapter 3

Declaration of Love

"How's he?" Katy asked Mrs. Delphina.

"He's sleeping soundly, Dear Elite," the old woman replied.

"Just call me, Katy."

"I can't. It's disrespect."

"I'm giving you permission."

"You're really a nice merfairy, dear honey dear. No wonder you gain the respect of the Council of Thirteen. Your Great Mother would've been very proud of you if she were still alive."

"Thank you. I know she will. Everything I do is for her … to glorify her name." Katy said with a slight pain in her heart as she remembered her mother. How couldn't she honor the creature who gave up her life for the sake of her survival? "Oracle?"

"Yes?"

"When are you coming back to us?"

"When the right time comes … "

"When will that be?"

"When I feel I've forgiven myself."

"Does it still haunt you until now? The Crystal Kingdom had already forgiven you. I surmise you've paid your mistake for living so long here. Every merfairy longs for your presence back from an exile."

"Thank you for that, but you know I'm already happy living here with the mortals … I mean the Dili-Ingun-Natos. I consider my stay here as a refuge rather than an exile, a blessing rather than a curse."

"But you're not a Dili-Ingun-Nato, Oracle. You're the Great Oracle whose incomparable knowledge and fortune-telling is needed by our kingdom."

Mrs. Delphina's heart saddened with Katy's words. Yes, she was right. Every merfairy bowed before her. She counseled the wayward and confused kin of her. She also missed her class—teaching the young merfairies on how to teleport and use their minds in controlling the objects and animals. A small grin spread on her face as she recollected how the teenage merfairy ladies went red, a few giggled when it was revealed to them on her fortune telling class who they'd spend an eternity with. Her Divination about crystal ball, tarot card and green tea leaf reading, palmistry and guide spirit summoning was the most popular and favorite subject of the students.

"Oracle, are you okay?"

"I am."

"I'm sorry if I made you—"

"No, dear honey dear. You don't need to apologize. I just remember my life back in the kingdom. I can't help but miss it, but I'm completely okay here in the mortal world."

Tears welled in the corner of the Oracle's eyes. Katy knew how the Oracle had longed to be in the kingdom again, but the woman had already begun to love the Dili-Ingun-Natos' world. She came nearer to her, gave her a power hug and caressed her back.

"Thank you for the comfort."

"You're most welcome, Oracle."

"Oracle?" The manly voice asked.

Katy turned around. She licked her lower lip on Trevor who came out from his room, shirtless—his six-pack abdomen and well-chiseled chest, all painted genetically with hazel brown made Katy's inner siren exclaim, "Magnifico. Pièce de rèsistance."

Trevor blinked a couple of times for he wanted to make sure what he was seeing was right: Katy stood with no tail but legs.

"You call my Grandma as an Oracle?" Trevor's forehead crinkled, and his eyes shimmered with curiosity. "And you come here to the house with legs and no tail? I'm totally confused." You're puzzling me, babe. Please explain.

Katy never wondered on his statement for she came on her pink blouse and sky blue skirt. Her fair legs caught Trevor's naughty eyes. She didn't answer him. She gave the old woman that "why-didn't-you-tell-him look."

"I haven't told him yet, Katy."

Trevor drew close. "So you're the Oracle, Granny? What's that?"

"Grandson, I surmise it's about time you'll know everything. Sit beside me here, and I explain it to you. I'm not a mortal as you think I am. I'm a merfairy just like Katy. I was cursed by an ancient prince. He removed my wings and changed my tail into legs. Back in the kingdom, everybody calls me the Great Oracle. I foretell the coming of events. I teach Divination at the Sarvard Academy of Merfairies. Every one of them loves me," Mrs. Delphina confided.

"Wow! I can't believe this! My Granny is a merfairy.Holy wow!" Trevor's lips jerked in awe. His Grandma kept on smiling at him, and he went on. "If you're a merfairy, so that means I'm not an ordinary mortal?" His Grandma and his beloved Katy nodded.

Secretive Granny.James Bond's female version. But I must say no smoke can be held longer in the hands, Grandma, it will make its way out. I'm laughing out loud, but I still love you, Granny. Love you to the moon and back.

"You're half-Dili-Ingun-Nato, half-merfairy," Katy replied. "That's the reason why you saw me and Olivia even if we fling our tails of invisibility. Ordinary Dili-Ingun-Natos can't see us unless we lift the invisibility."

"Dili-Ingun-Natos? You mean mortals?"

"Aha," Katy said.

"Based on your actions, you're happy you're no ordinary mortal. I thought you wouldn't like it, dear honey dear," Mrs. Delphina interrupted.

"Of course I do. I do like it, Grandma." Trevor kissed her Grandma on both cheeks. He tilted his head. "You, beautiful lady. You also need some explaining." He moved his head as if telling let's get outside and have some talk.

Stop biting your lip or I'll bite it, babe … as well as your tongue. Candy mouth!

"Aren't you going to eat your breakfast?" Katy asked, but she received no answer from him. Trevor picked a few slices of bread, grabbed her hand and headed their way outside the house. They sat under the pine tree.

"Well, go ahead Kate. You may explain now." Trevor's sweet and manly voice tickled her womanhood. Be sure I'm satisfied with your explanation, babe, or else I'll bite your ear.

"Well, I'm here because of this bangle. This thing on my wrist my late Mom gave me has given me the power to have legs. This is called the bangle of possibilities. It has unlimited powers." Katy looked at the green scenery before her rather than looking at him. She might not resist the way he looked at her.

"Wow! How did you that? You simply look at it and then—"

"Of course not, I have to whisper an incantation."

"Oh, I see." Trevor smiled. "Wait a minute, I saw you give that to the princess. Did she give it back to you as if nothing happened?

"Yes, after I'd defeated her in a competition."

I know right. The princess has no match with my girl. She deserved it. Loser! "And why didn't I witness it?"

"Oh, it's a long story."

"Did it happen when I was in that beautiful place?

"Absolutely."

"Oh, this world is full of magic. I thought magic exists in movies, but now it's happening to me."

"Yes, magic is non-existent to the non-believers. However, it does for those who believe."

"Yes, magic is like love. You don't believe it unless you feel it."

Yeah and I'm feeling it right now. I love you, babe, the first moment I laid my eyes on you. Tell me, am I in the gravity hill? Tell me, I implore. 'Cause no matter what I do I'm pulled by you. Does gravity pull you toward me too? Holy Newton.

Trevor worshipped Katy. There were many girls in the city, but nobody made his heart do a back jump dive the way she did with him. He knew he felt something special for her. It was love—it was a magical, eternal and pure love.

Truly, her beauty was incomparable. He'd pretty girlfriends, but no one could equal her looks. It was rare. It was like a diamond which made every man loved to see it on a girl. Indeed, her sheer-astounding beauty was an eternal fire. "Hey, beautiful, why aren't you looking at me?"

"I'm looking at you," Katy lied. Every time Trevor called her beautiful, she giggled inside—her inner siren did a few jumping jacks—but she controlled it by pressing her lips. She didn't want to be obvious she eternally, purely and devotedly in love with him.

"No, you didn't," Trevor insisted while he put his one finger on her side to tickle her.

Don't make white lies babe or else I'll impregnate you. Joke! Tell me how?

Katy's inner siren betrayed her again. She could feel her do synchronized swimming along with other sirens. "Oh, stop that Trevor."

Trevor continued giggling Katy while he was chuckling. She also tickled him back, and he wriggled too, feeling ticklish. She stood and walked a few inches away from him, but he followed her and resumed tickling her. She ran away, and he chased her. Swoons and chuckles filled the air as he tried to run after her. He caught her when she was hiding in an oak tree. He cupped her face. His body's temperature started to shoot up as he touched her skin. The wind blew softly while the American avocets were warbling on the branches of the trees.

"Kate?"

"Yes?"

"I have something to tell you." I'm dying to say it to you.

"And what's that?"

"I hope you understand me, but I think … I like you." Trevor's words echoed with sincerity. He observed her on how she'd react to his declaration of likeness towards her.

Katy's inner siren sashayed with banners on her both hands. She couldn't believe the man she longed to be with for eternity and the man who made her tail jiggle excitedly since the day they met at the river liked her.

"Kate … do you like me too?"

Katy pouted while Trevor cleared those hairs that covered Katy's face. His abrupt proximity sent Katy's oh-so-damned-gorgeous-glorious-body to swooning.

"I think … I don't like you."

Her words were like a bomb to him. He took a few steps back—his heart ruptured with frustration. He believed the feelings were mutual based on a merfairy's body language. He was mistaken. He became breathless for a second. It seemed the blood vessels of his heart exploded, and he coughed with vermilion blood and smeared his hot, luscious, firm body with it.

He likened his frustration to broken glass. Picking up the shattered pieces would make it bleed even more. So he distanced further from her, turned his back and sighed in disappointment.

"Trevor listen—" Katy coped with his pace. Trevor cut her off.

"No it's okay, you don't need to reciprocate what I feel for you. I want you to know whatever you said to me doesn't—"

You're crushing my heart, babe. Damn it! Maybe this is my karma for making the city girls cry. Poor Trevor!

Katy moved toward him and kissed him. Their lips moved as if they'd been lovers for a long time. Her action surprised him.

"I don't only like you … because I love you." She put her index finger to his lips as soon as her lips departed from his. She embraced him, assuring him that his likeness to her had been reciprocated a long time ago. Only if he knew how she'd waited for this special moment to come. Trevor had captured her heart with his mighty weapon—his charm—that no shield had been created to prevent herself from not falling for him.

"I love you too, Kate. You make me the happiest guy who has ever lived now."

Can we kiss again, babe? Wait a minute. I keep on calling her, babe—she's not a pig after all. Saintly pig! Is it right to call her, fishheart, a shortened word for my sweetheart fairy fish?

"I love you, Rockefeller. I love you, and I'll always do."

"Did you hear that?" Trevor asked the avocets as if they'd answer him. "Kate loves me!" He screamed and lifted her as they slowly circled. "I love you. I love you so much, fishheart."

Trevor kissed her passionately while the leaves started to fall like confetti. And his inner god roared tapping his chest for the woman he loved adored him back.

Chapter 4

Lovebirds

Trevor was ecstatic.

"I love you, Kate," Trevor whispered as he hugged her from behind. "Until now, I couldn't believe we're officially together. I've wanted this since childhood." He kissed her nape, her neck and cheek.

Katy swooned over. They stood at the bridge, facing the calm river.

"I love you too, Rockefeller. I also long this day to happen. The first time I saw you, I know right from my heart you're the man I'd spend the rest of my life with," Katy said.

"I'm happy you said that." He playfully ruffled Katy's hair with his right hand. "And I'm blessed you've come to my life."

"And so am I." She reclined her head on Trevor's chest. It was serenity and pure bliss. It was Nirvana in the Fantasy land, heaven on earth.

"You're one special girl … I mean a merfairy lady to me. I don't know what to do without you." He kissed her hair. "You're the most important person in my life. If there's the greatest event ever happened to me that was the time you came into my life."

Katy's heart paraglided.

"I won't go anywhere. I'm always here for you," Katy said as she turned to him. She caressed his face and cupped his cheek. "I love you to the stars and back."

"I love you too to the stars and back." Trevor made a heart sign near his left chest and gave his killer smile. He knew that by so doing it would make his beloved Katy shiver with a thousand electric currents of giggles. In plain language, it would make her love him more.

"Oh, don't look at me like that."

"Why not, my Kate?"

"'Cause it makes me—"

"You fall in love with me more?" Trevor chortled. "I know you're swooning now."

"Am I?"

"Yes."

"Are you sure?"

"A hundred percent sure."

"Cocky."

"Yes, cocky, but you love me." Trevor gestured a pretty boy sign right below his jawline.

"Okay. I know you're handsome. You're the most handsome guy I'd ever known."

"Really?"

"Yeah."

"So if I'm the most handsome guy, can you kiss my face … yes, my face … all over my face?" Trevor cocked his head and gave her an oh-common-do-it look.

"Right here?" Kate bit her lower lip.

"Yes, right here, right now." Trevor lowered his eyes.
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Katy looked around. When she saw no one, she kissed Trevor's divided chin, spiraling her kisses to his lips, to his right cheek, to his forehead, to his left cheek, trailing back her kisses to his lips and to his nose while her hand ran through his dark, straight, brown hair.

Trevor smiled nearly reaching his ears, and he rubbed his nose against Katy's.

Katy tittered. "I wish we could stay like this forever," she said in between the rubbing of their noses.

"Of course, we could. As long as we have each other, no one can separate us," Trevor assured her as his hands snaked her waist again. "Can I ask you a question?"

"Go ahead, my love."

"Why do you always mention my last name when you tell me you love me?"

"Because I like it. I love saying it. I love you, Rockefeller." She pinched his nose.

"Okay." He tee-heed.

"And I have one question too."

"Shoot."

"I know this question is silly but what animal best describes you?"

"A wolf."

"A wolf? I thought a turtle." She chortled."

"Silly girl." Trevor rolled his eyes.

But why did he look sexy and masculine even if he did eye-rolling? Where was justice on that? Katy thought.

"Oh, okay. I'm in love with a wolf, then." Katy chuckled. "May I know why?"

"'Cause I'm fierce and territorial. Whatever is mine is mine, and I'll do everything to protect the people I love even if it costs my life." He gave her his genuine smile. "How about you?"

"A tigress."

Trevor chortled. "Wow. Please state your reason."

"I'm a tigress because I'm sweet to my kin and to the people I love the most, but I'm courageous to fight for them to death."

"We're a match."

"Yes, a perfect imperfect match. But I only have one hesitation."

"What's that?'

"My sister. She's crazy in love with you. Her will-say-anything-to-get-what-she-wants ways bother me."

"Oh, common, don't be affected by her. I'll never like her … never."

"I know, but I can't do away the thought my twin sister will do everything to get you."

"I know, but she can't have me … 'cause you have me now and forever."

Katy sighed.

"What was that for?" Trevor asked.

"I'm worried a bit about our situation. Now that we're lovers, Olivia's rage against me shall rise as high as the sky," Katy replied.

"We can fight her together. That's what lovers supposedly do."

"Yeah, but do you—" Kate wasn't able to finish her sentence as something soft and sweet touched her lips. Trevor planted on her tender kisses. His lips moved with assurance, and she couldn't help but answer back. Their lips interlocked, and Kate couldn't suppress the moans escaping from her lips when Trevor slipped his tongue inside her mouth. He explored her inside cheeks and drew his tongue against hers. Bolts of sensational currents electrified Kate's inner core, and before she knew it, she wrapped her arms around his neck while Trevor's throbbing manhood pressed against her belly.

They'd have done it longer when they heard a plash from the water. Katy's defense system kicked in and prepared for a possible attack. In her peripheral vision, she knew who it was. When she wheeled, she caught Olivia burning a tiger shark's smile, but Olivia had gone before she could turn into a merfairy.

"Who was it, Kate?" Trevor asked, his face crumpled with care.

"My twin sister," Katy answered.

"Olivia?"

"Yes, the wicked Olivia."

"Kate, please tell me. How wicked is Olivia?"

"Very wicked. She's willing to sell her spirit to the Queen and King of Darkness and slaughter anybody to get what she wants."

Chapter 5

Olivia's True Love

When the Merfairy Queen banished Olivia from the Crystal Kingdom at a young age—a beautiful realm, far more beautiful than any other castle, palace or mansion dwelt by the king and queen in the Dili-Ingun-Natos' world and erected proudly at the sea with some glistening green mangroves swayed around it; its towering height and futuristic architectural designs made anybody awed, and it glittered even if the sun rays didn't hit it, the glass door, ceiling and walls gleamed with gold and diamonds, and at the center of the hallway a golden statue of a fairy man in which height was similar to the Statue of Liberty in USA highlighted its splendor—she'd no choice but to seek refuge from a Spirit Witch Queen and showed allegiance to her.

She'd been used to staying in her queen's cave watching Hollywood films in her magic mirror—her list of favorites included The Devil Wears Prada, Titanic and The Nun—until she found the Riverlandia and the bridge perfect for a rendezvous with the mortals.

"My loneliness over my kin had diminished every time I watched people come to and from the bridge. Their happy talks, the kids' laughter and the women's gossips entertained me. Yes, I hum or sing sweetly to attract men and kids, but I don't have the intention to kill them. However, the Queen of Darkness mind-controlled me to get lives of the passersby in exchange for the powers she'd given me," Olivia said to her lone horse. "I can't do anything about it even if I am hesitant sometimes." The creature wobbled its tail telling her it understood her predicament.

Olivia couldn't forget her one great true love. She knew the first time she laid her eyes on Trevor, he was the one for her.

"How could I ever forget his dimples and kissable red lips? How couldn't I recall how happy I was with him? He meant the whole WonderWorld for me. When I gazed on him again in the bridge, I came nearer to him, excited to see him because I hadn't seen him since we were kids. Destiny separated us. My excitement got deeper when I caught his well-chiseled face carved with a set of piercing eyes, his prominent features sent me bolts of sensational currents electrifying my inner being," she continued.

"However, when I showed up to him, he was frightened. He didn't even remember everything about me so I was furious. My rage flared up when I saw him with Katy, having a good time with each other. My envious tail wiggled, wriggled and writhed. Yes, I was jealous of her. Who wouldn't anyway? Wouldn't you be if you catch your man with another lady? Oh, Katy, the name whom I loathed—my great competitor—the lady who stole my one true love."

And as those words were coming into her mouth, the owls settled each on her left and right shoulders, and they caressed her back through their wings.

"Oh, you're here my dear," the woman's voice brought her back from daydreaming.

The water horse disappeared. And the owls flew away and rested on the stalagmites. Their eyes blinked with dread upon hearing the Witch's voice. "Your Majesty, I'm glad you show up." Olivia curtsied.

"Of course I want to congratulate you for always doing a great job." The Witch Queen showed before her in spirit form. "Those lives of mortals you took are fuel to live me more. They make my powers go stronger. And as a reward, I'm sharing it with you."

"Thank you, Your Majesty." Olivia bowed, and even if she'd seen the ugliest egg shell white face of the Spirit Witch Queen with blazing emerald-green eyes, crooked, pointed nose and long, sharp fingernails a few times, still, her lower eyelids would blench.

"Take more lives so I can have my flesh back. When that happens, you and I will rule the Crystal Kingdom and the Riverlandia."

"I will, Your Majesty."

The Spirit Witch Queen beamed with huge smiles on the obedience of her servant. "Take this as my gift to you." She opened her mouth, and the green fumes came out, surrounding Olivia's body. Olivia's eyes turned into dark green, and she squirmed. "I've bestowed you the strength of a thousand snakes and enabled you to transform into one of them."

"Thank you, Your Majesty. I'll never fail you." She vowed, and her Spirit Witch Queen faded. As she stood, she felt her strength had been magnified, and she wanted to try it with her immortal enemy.

"Let's see if you have a match with me, Katy. I'll tear your body into pieces and make it as food for the snakes." Olivia went out of the cave and aviated to the river. "Oh, this is an advantage of being a merfairy. I can fly and swim whichever I like." She came closer to the bridge, and her envious eyes effulged seeing the men and women in uniform. She opened her mouth, ready to release a hundred snakes when the people offered flowers to the river and called her.

"Enchantress of the river, allow us to offer these flowers to your realm. May these appease you and the soul of our beloved co-teacher."

The beautiful white flowers drifted on her river. Olivia's heart sang in bliss. The Dili-Ingun-Natos' gesture moved her. It had been a long time she received a bouquet from a person whom she truly loved. Now, the people had given her the things she liked most. She submersed her body into the water, and her wings melted away. She picked the flowers, smelled them and put them on her chest. She looked like an innocent kid, playfully touching and sniffing the flowers.

"I accept your peace offering. I'll spare your lives and the lives of your co-teachers." She pitched her tail, and multi-colors emanated from the surface of the water and went skyward.

"Look, everybody, a rainbow. The Enchantress accepts our offering. Yeheeey!"

Even though the amused villagers couldn't hear her say because she wouldn't allow them to do so, she still spoke to them. "That's the sign, that I'll keep my promise. I'll never take the lives of the teachers, never again."

The people smiled watching at the rainbow, and they left the river bridge with happy hearts.

Olivia tarried longer in the river. She sang sweetly and hummed lovely while holding the flowers the Dili-Ingun-Natos had given her. Even the smilaxes danced to her tune. The hummingbirds warbled, the ravens chirruped and tens of flying fish kept on throwing their bodies on the water. And her beloved owls poked each other's wings, their bodies gyrated.

Her joyous expression slowly turned stony when she glared at Katy and Trevor hold their hands as they glided towards the bridge. She foundered cautiously nearing them without creating noise on the water. And to her dismay, she heard the term of endearment the two had calledeach other, and the declaration of love they'd manifested through hugging and kissing. Her jealous inner demon made her eyes glistered with fury.

From the water surface, she lifted herself up. The wings grew on her back, and she hurled quickly through the air to the direction of the lovers.

"Hello, Trevor!" Olivia greeted with an exasperated look.

Katy and Trevor gaped at Olivia's presence. They both readied themselves for her assail.

"I don't come here to fight. I just want to talk to you, Trevor."

"There's nothing to talk about us." Trevor fulminated. "There was never between us." You slutty freak.

Olivia winced. "Please, I beg you. Haven't you remembered the good memories we shared underneath the Riverlandia when we were still kids?"

"I tried to forget them." Bullfish! (bullshit fish)

"Really? But I saw in your eyes back then you were happy with me. Long before I introduced you to my twin sister, Katy." Her voice was shaking. "From the day I met you, and we bonded together, I know for myself you're the one I want to spend with for eternity." Tears began to form. She pressed her lips to fight back the tears from falling.

Trevor smirked while Katy remained speechless. Olivia came close to them and grabbed Trevor's hand.

"Listen to the beats of my heart. It's your name it utters."

"Shut up! I'll never love you because of what you did to Katy when we were still kids," Trevor inveighed. Fuckfish! (fucking fish)

"I did it for you." Her tears rolled down on her cheeks. She could no longer hold them.

"Huh, you did it for me? Shut up! You did it because you're selfish and envious. You connive with your snobbish friend to switch the color of Kate's golden tail with yours … with your black tail." Bullfuckfish! (bullshit fucking fish)

Olivia sniveled. "What did you see in her that I don't have? I'm more beautiful than her. I was born smart, sexy and lovely while Katy, she was just born ... like our Mother."

Katy leaned forward and slapped Olivia's face. "Belittle me if you must, but never insult the being behind our existence. You won't be as who you are now without our dear Mother. Ungrateful!"

Olivia's face tightened, her teeth gritted. "No one ever slapped me and lived to tell the story."

"Then, you're lying. I'm the living being who'll twist your insane belief and break your chain of pride and arrogance."

"You said you're more beautiful?" Trevor asked. "You might be more beautiful than Kate, but you have an evil heart. And that makes you the ugliest creature I'd ever seen in my entire life." Bullfuckfish demanding freak.

"Please come back to me. Promise, I'll change … for you." Olivia pleaded, her wings and tails had shrouded the clouds of bitterness and self-pity.

Trevor shoved her. "Huh, change? Can you bring back the lives of the people you killed? Can you bring back the life of the teacher? You didn't only kill her, but you also killed her future and the chance of the pupils to receive brilliant teaching from a brilliant mind. You're a murderer, a homewrecker and destroyer of a bright future. Can you bring back their lives? Answer me!" He thundered, his angry tone crushed her heart. You're insane, freak.

Olivia grimaced. "I can't."

"See? You easily say you can't, just like you easily took their lives."

"I'm sorry Trevor, but I love you. Please, love me too."

"In your dreams!"

"Break my heart, Trevor, I wouldn't mind it. But, please, give me an hour to show my love for you, and I promise you won't regret it." Olivia bellowed, her tears flowed like waterfalls.

"I'll break your heart a billion times. It's not mine anyway. My heart belongs to Kate alone, and hers is mine." Slutfish! (slutty fish)

"That's enough, Trevor! You're crushing not only her heart but also her spirit," Katy interrupted.

Olivia bawled upon hearing Trevor's words. She could no longer bear the pain tormenting her heart. His words, like a sharp dagger, tore her heart and inner being apart. She pealed, and the bridge shook. Lightning slashed the sky as she flapped her wings. Dark smoke circled her body as she readied to unleash her disdain.

Meanwhile, Katy transformed into a merfairy and held Trevor's hand. She prepared for the wrath of a broken heart.

Olivia vociferated. "Deny me if you can. Hate me if you will, but my love for you shall burn forever like an eternal flame. Someday, you'll be mine! I'll do everything in my power to make you my lifetime partner. But for now, this is for you, twin sister." She opened her mouth and released a tiny venomous winged-snake which grew larger and larger into a one-meter long as it wafted to Katy and tried to bite her. However, Trevor covered her up, and the snake bit him.

Open-mouthed that her poisonous snake had bitten her true love, Olivia ignored him.

"If only you'd love me, I'd be more than willing to disobey the Spirit Witch Queen, my Queen of Darkness. I'd seek help from the Goddess Neptuna to beat her. I'll eschew evil in all its shapes. But my efforts are in vain because you choose to love my twin sister."

And Olivia flew away.

Her dark-green-wicked-eyes started to change colors, ready to spot helpless victims in the coming days.

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