[Links to previous parts will be posted in the comments]
"Hey, Scarlett? Remember when we had swimming lessons back in 5th grade," Elio said idly as they headed for the Sapphire Ocean, where the Waterwing crystal was supposedly buried. Scarlett glared. "Worst few weeks of my life." "It sure was weird," Annalie agreed. "Getting my beautiful wings wet and all."
"I don't know how Waterwings do it," Scarlett added, shaking her head. "Their wings are specially designed for swimming underwater," Lynn said knowledgeably. "They also have gills so they can breathe." "But does that mean they can't come back up for air?" Scarlett asked, confused.
"I suppose you could say Waterwings are built a bit like the mermaids from old fairtales," Lynn shrugged. "Only without the tail, of course. Like mermaids, Waterwings have gills to breathe underwater. But they also have a complex lung system that allows them to breathe air on land." "Know-it-all," Scarlett nudged her playfully.
"We should be arriving soon," Clover said, consulting the map. "I think we already have," Annalie said. Clover looked up. They had reached the White Sands of Sapphire, where the Sapphire Ocean lay, sparkling in the sunset. "Look!" Clover pointed. "A group of Waterwings." Elio whistled. "No one said they were hot."
He started jogging toward him. "Elio, wait!" Annalie called. "Leave him to flirt," Lynn said dryly. "Let's go find that crystal." The headed toward the azure sea. "This is the bluest thing I've ever seen," Clover said in awe. "I once went on vacation here," Annalie said. "We went surfing and went for a ride on the tourist boat."
"That's exactly what we need," Lynn said. "A boat." "But we can fly," Scarlett pointed out. "Why don't we just do that?" She pointed to a group of Waterwings soaring above the water to prove her point. Lynn thought for a moment. Then she shrugged. "Well done, Scarlett. You've just outsmarted me," she said sarcastically. Scarlett grinned.
They took flight, eyes scanning for the crystal. Meanwhile... "So, what's your name?" Elio grinned. He was talking to a slim Waterwing with eyes the color of the Sapphire Ocean and blonde hair down to her waist. "I'm Lucia," she replied, batting her eyelashes.
"Elio," said Elio, slipping his hand round the Waterwing's waist. "It's unusual for a Flamewing to mix with a Waterwing," Lucia said. "I take unusual as a compliment," Elio grinned. Lucia giggled and pulled him closer. "Come," she whispered in his ear, her sweet smelling breath wafting up his nostrils.
"I want to show you something." She grabbed his hand and pulled him along the beach. "Where are you taking me?" Elio asked, stumbling to keep up. The Waterwing was fast and elegant on her feet. Lucia glanced over her shoulder and laughed, pulling Elio along faster.
Finally they reached a dark, murky cove. "The Treasure Trove, they call it," Lucia whispered, her voice echoing off the walls. "Only a Waterwing born from the sacred families of her Goddess, Izumi, can find it." "Whoa," Elio breathed, gazing round. The cove was so dark and gloomy, yet he could've sworn he saw glittering gems in the walls.
"Do you know why they call it the Treasure Trove?" Lucia turned to him, her aquamarine eyes glinting with mischief. Elio vaguely registered himself shaking his head. He was lost in Lucia's seductive beauty. The Waterwing leaned in closer. "Because it's where the Waterwing crystal is hidden." Elio stared at her with wide eyes.
"Dive down, Elio," she told him, leading the Flamewing to the edge of the water. "Dive down and get the crystal." She pointed and Elio noticed a bright blue light deep down below. He turned to Lucia. Her eyes told him "Do it." And so he dived.
Elio had always been a strong swimmer, but never good at holding his breath. He had almost reached the crystal. "Almost there," he told himself silently. "Do it for Lucia." He grabbed the crystal and swam back up, gasping for air. Lucia smiled at him and gently plucked the crystal from his hand. Then she planted a kiss on his lips.
Elio smiled to himself and kissed her back. Suddenly, Lucia was on top of him and he was pushed underwater. Her hands closed around his throat, trapping him underwater. Her sweet smile turned into something more menacing. She dug her nails into Elio's neck, drawing blood.
Elio's eyes bulged and he puffed out his cheeks. He scrabbled at Lucia's hands, trying to prise her off him, but her grip was too strong. Elio felt the life being suck from him. Everything slowly blurred away. "At least I'm being drowned by a beautiful girl," he thought weakly, "and not some ugly mutt."
Just as everything went black, he heard Lucia let out a raged scream and he felt her hands being lifted off his neck. Then he was hauled out the water.
"Do you think he's alive?" asked a voice that sounded awfully like Annalie. "I don't know, he was under for quite a while," said another, Lynn-like voice. "He better be!" snarled a fierce sounding voice, much like Scarlett's. "That's nice," Elio thought hazily. "All my friends have joined me in Heaven."
But he was not in Heaven. His eyelids slowly fluttered open. Elio gasped and coughed, spewing out water. "Charming," Lynn rolled her eyes. Elio looked around. Annalie, Scarlett and Lynn were bent over him, while Clover was in the corner, securing Lucia with some vines.
"You okay?" Annalie asked gently. Elio nodded and put on a brave face, desperate not to lose what little dignity he had left. "How'd you find me?" he croaked out. "Scarlett sensed you," Lynn said. "I think we both have some sort of connection because of our power," said Scarlett.
"If that's true, then that means I'll be the first one to arrive when you're cooking breakfast," Elio joked. "Guys, look," Clover said suddenly. "The Waterwing has the crystal." Scarlett stared at Elio. "So you found it?" He nodded proudly.
"Well, that wasn't so hard," Lynn said, rolling her eyes. Annalie glared at her. "Elio almost drowned!" "Hey, chill out," Lynn said. "I was being sarcastic." "Let's go find the Airwing crystal now," Clover said. "Wait, you can't leave me here!" Lucia called, struggling to free herself from the vines.
"That's what happens when you mess with us," Lynn smirked. Elio blew a kiss in Lucia's direction and left with the others. "Are you sure you're alright?" Annalie asked worriedly, noticing how pale Elio was. "I'm fine," he waved her off. But the truth was, he was more badly shaken than anyone could imagine. There was no way he'd be going near water anytime soon.
TO BE CONTINUED...
If you're reading this, type 'Waterwing' into the comments. I want to see how many people read to the end. Hope you enjoyed!
Peace out - Luanna