AN: Hey guys I'm sooooooooooooo sorry I haven't been updating and that this is short, but I swear I'm alive! I haven't had a lot of inspiration for this story and to be honest I'm really not sure where I'm going with it other than the final battle. (which I DO know what I'm doing for). So any inspiration, ideas, or pointers are more than welcome! Love you guys, so sorry about the wait!

We swim together to the ice where we had left Conor and Elvira. My brother is sitting far away from her, probably sulking. I sigh heavily and Faro slips his hand into mine, squeezing it gently. You're not alone, Sapphire. You will never be alone in Ingo. I promise.

I know that. Somehow, whenever he touches me, I feel strong. Brave. Like I can do anything with a single twist of my new tail. My tail… A glance down shows me delicate skin has completely smoothed over my legs, but just underneath, the skin forms a web of stronger, durable, yet pliable, skin. It's like the cleft that separated my legs is a wound that my Mer blood is naturally healing. Not only that, but my toes have also 'healed' into one thick… I don't even know what. But I know that I have dark blotches of bluish purple spotting my skin, like bruises that only seem to be getting larger. Yes, they're tender, painful even if you press on them, but nothing like my scars.

I have to say, I would have thought swimming with a tail would take a while to get used to; that it would feel so much different than swimming with legs. But it's not really. I don't know how to explain it, but it's as natural as breathing. I drop Faro's hand as we approach our siblings.

"Morning Con. 'Morning Elvira," I greet them. Con still looks upset, but it's more like tired irritation, which I guess is some form of improvement. I wonder if Elvira has talked to him.

"Where have you been?" Conor sighs, looking defeated.

He has no right to be. "With Faro," I answer nonchalantly, brushing his shoulder as I pass. Since when does he care so much anyways? He's never minded me with Faro before. I get that all this is…madness, but-

"You slept with him didn't you?" It's more of a sad question than an accusation. Can't say it doesn't feel like one though.

And anyways, so what if we did? "Yes, Con, we happened to fall asleep next to each other. Is that crime?"

"That's not what I meant," he mutters, knowing it doesn't really apply anymore since I just told him what happened.

"Then what did you mean, Conor? Do I look old enough for that kind of thing to you? So, no, to answer your question, I didn't sleep sleep with him! I don't even know how Mer would do that!"

"Why don't you stick around and mind out?" he says under his breath. I turn to shoot a death glare at him and open my mouth to tell him exactly-

"Would both of you kindly SHUT IT?" Elvira screams. "Good Atka, I know siblings fight, but how does this accomplish anything?"

"It doesn- hey wait did you say Atka, Elvira?"

"Sure," she answers me, brushing her cloud of floating hair behind her. "The Atka is a Northern spirit. It decides when it's time for each Mer to cross worlds. Though I have learned that some are tricky and there have been stories of Mer lead to premature death, following their Atka… I'm sorry; I'm rambling aren't I? It's just something about the North. It's so entirely…enchanting. Magical, maybe."

Faro shakes his head. "Sister, have you ever met your Atka?"

Elvira laughs lightly. "No, of course not! No Mer has ever met their Atka and lived to tell about it. Their presence is felt as a magnetic pull in the water, in the sea living with us. Some say they live in Limina freely and talk the dying Mer into coming with them into a new world."

Faro and I look at each other and he reaches to grip my hand tightly. Elvira notices the tense atmosphere flowing between us like electricity. "Something wrong?"

I can't answer her. No Mer had ever seen it and lived. I saw it! I saw her, I did! Does that mean I'm going to die? The Atka wanted me to see her, so I would know her when it was time. Time for what? Time to die? I cling to Faro, burying my face in his chest. I can't lose him. I just can't. I don't want to live in any world without Faro.

Hey, his voice crept into my mind. You're not entirely Mer. You were able to venture into the Deep where full blooded Mer died. Who's to say that seeing the Atka isn't another advantage of not having pure blood? Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere Sapphire. I'll never leave you. I promise. Where you go I will follow.

Faro…. Don't promise that. If I die, I don't want you to follow me. I want you to move forward, to keep living. That's what you can do for me. Ingo could never be the same without you in it. You deserve so much better than this. Better than me-

Sapphire, stop. You're not a burden. You never have been, and never could be to me, even if you tried. I don't think you understand. I love you. I don't WANT to live without you. I can't even try.

You just have to, for me. Promise me you will.

You're not going to die, Sapphy.

You don't know that.

I'm not going to let you! I know I let you down once, but I swear-

Just promise me, Faro. Please?

Fine. I promise IF anything happens to you (which it won't), that I'll TRY to continue living, at least physically because emotionally my heart will always belong with you. But I also promise to defend you with the last drop of my blood. I'm here, Sapphire. "I promise."