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As he laid down, he closed his eyes only slightly, back leaned against the bed. He let out a soft, relieved huff, glad to have been able to both survive and come here on his own. He felt shuffling right next to his head, and soon a nice, comforting scent entered his nose. It was - no doubt - caused by some of the rocks and anemones the mermaid had with her. It wasn't a popular healing method merfolk usually use, but he was still familiar with its effects. Slowly, it began to feel like he had no cares at all. Like he was aimlessly floating away, lulled by the sounds of the water.

But although it was a comfortable feeling, it didn't last too long. Soon Matt heard what the mermaid beside him had to say as she settled on the bed, tucking him in safe and sound. He wished that were the case.
So, not only was this mermaid familiar with land men, she even went so far as to say she had human friends. It didn't seem like she was too different from Shiro in that case, and he began to understand why she offered to help. Perhaps there are nice land men out there who aren't out to hurt them.

"For years, huh?" He asked drowsily, but still trying to focus. "You seem like very good friends. I just hope Shiro's friend is as nice as your friend is.." his voice trailed off sadly, only slightly listening to the names the merman said. Adam, he knew. Matt was his name. Perhaps this Keith - if he even caught the name correctly - was the human? He could barely know, because soon his eyes began to droop on their own. "Thank you. For offering to help and all." A smile was directed to the mermaid, who was the last person he saw before he began to lose consciousness.
In all honesty, the adrenaline that still filled Matt had him rushing towards grabbing Shiro so they wouldn't waste much time as well as help Allura regain her energy, but his spontaneity had reminded him of the ache he felt in his stomach. He gave a short grunt as he gently placed him back, softly propping down his arm.

"Yeah.. I actually think I need to get some sleep," he gave a small smile, swimming back to his bed and laying himself down, holding his stomach. Before he actually went to sleep, though, he wanted to ask one last thing before he fell asleep.

"Have you ever been close to a land man?"
Matt listened to her suggestion, and although she was right about it being an absolutely mad, he realized it might be better for Shiro to be up there with his friend. Not just for them to see each other again, but to also help Allura help him properly. And heal Matt too. There was no other choice but to do this. Everyone would benefit.

Though he expected Shiro being quite tough to carry, he and Allura would mutually depend on one another.

So, with that thought in mind he studied her expression a bit, as if expecting her to back out of her idea, but he could tell she was serious. Matt was as well. With some pain, he stood, injured tail weakly flitting underneath him as he nodded firmly at her. With newfound determination, he slowly and gently slung Shiro's left shoulder around his own, trying to support him.

"Okay, I'm ready. It'll be best for all of us if we took him to the human," he said lowly. "Come on, let's go. Lead the way." He wondered how they would find this human on their own. Would Shiro wake up throughout their trip and tell them the way, or will the currents of fate make them stumble upon the land man? Only time would tell, Matt supposed.
Matt watched with a small frown as the merman spoke drowsily. He realized he probably wasn't completely focused on what Matt was saying but at the moment the merman thought nothing of it. He was just happy to see that he was getting some rest after what happened. The merman only fought one opponent, but Shiro had to fight many as he survived through the arena. It was a pretty tough day for both of them.

His eyes snapped up to the mermaid once again, wanting to thank her, before he found that her eyes were already on Matt. She was going to ask him something, no doubt. He listened to her words, and from just her voice he could tell she was feeling quite drained. Shiro was obviously a lot to handle, and she didn't seem to be used to this tense atmosphere. No wonder he didn't see her before when he last came here.

Nobody would love being around here either, Matt thought. He couldn't really blame her. But he felt like she wasn't completely done, with the still concerned expression lingering on her face. "Alright, thank you so much for your help," he said in the short silence that was between them, before he heard her speak again. Of course she would ask about the land man.

"Yes, according to him. I never even met the guy before, but he seems to mean a lot to Shiro." His voice was low as well, as even the small shells surrounding them had eyes. "Why do you ask?" He perked up a little.
Although he was still a lot suspicious of land folk, from the way the other merman spoke about the land man, Matt began to doubt what he knew about them. He never got in contact with one up close, but he always saw what they left behind. Some parts of the water turned pitch black because of the liquids their large vessels left, some small turtles were stuck in strange bags called - by way of rumors - plastic until they would stop breathing and die. It was a lot painful to bear, to even think of, but maybe.. just maybe, just like there are other evil mermen like Zarkon, there could be good land folk who aren't as bad as the rest.

Matt was still thinking about. Shiro believed it, and the chestnut-haired merman couldn't bear making him doubt his trust in the man. If he trusted him, then maybe he was meant to be trusted. He just hoped the merman knew what he was doing sometimes. He didn't want him to hold yet another burden on his shoulders because he didn't want to hurt others.

He opened his mouth to speak, but for a second his eyes flitted over to study Allura. Yes, in all honesty it was hard not to stare, but that wasn't why Matt looked at her for a moment. She looked concerned, more concerned than one would be taking care of injuries. Maybe she was paying attention to what they were saying after all. It made sense that she would, yet Matt didn't tread any further. He laid back as well, thinking a bit. Katie and her parents didn't deserve to think he died out there. They deserved to know he was still breathing.

But that was his own problem. Under the sea.
A human was still under less danger than merfolk were, right? They could always just up and leave the beach, yet merfolk couldn't.

"But when it comes to Katie, we're both mer. We're talking about someone else, someone different. You can't just leave him like that without a word. Even if he's.. foreign, a friend is still a friend. Zarkon wouldn't hurt a land man too, would he?"
As her eyes fell onto the man moving towards her, she hoped the earth would swallow her whole. Although the situation was completely out of her hand and the force of the wind trampled her inside the shack without her being able to control it no matter what she tried, the embarrassment couldn't seep away from her mind the second it set in. She cleared her throat a little upon being asked the question, instinctively brushing off snow off golden hair. She had no idea if she was alright, but she didn't feel like she was.

With the hand extended to her, though, she felt relief that at least just looking at this man wouldn't constantly remind her of the show she performed seconds ago. She gratefully took it, legs cold and unable to support her without at least a hand helping her up. Her hold was tight as she got to her feet with a grunt, trying not to look him in the eye at least until she gathered her composure. And she did, in a minute, after she brushed herself off, regaining her composure and letting his hand go.

"Yes. No. I don't really know," her face was pale from the outside, but splotches of red were gathered round her cheeks where the blood was no doubt trying to return. She was almost going to freeze out there, and although the shack wasn't as warm as her home was, it was better than turning into an icicle. She wrapped her cape tighter around herself in an attempt to warm up. "Forgive me for, uh, letting myself in in such a unique manner. I must have frightened you." She mustered a breathy, slightly nervous laugh.

She couldn't help the way her eyes trailed over the place, studying it. Cushions, books, worn out walls and floors. It made her feel slightly relieved to have more in the way of warmth and comfort at her house, even if it was nowhere as elegant and pristine as the royal palace was on the inside. She looked back at the man again. He looked harmless enough, and as she's just seen, someone capable of common decency, but her issues of trust always kept her pocketknife close by in mind.

"Would I be a burden if I were to stay here? Just until the blizzard clears? My house is pretty far."
With some trouble, Matt sat up a little as he got surrounded by mermen and mermaids who brought the healer whatever she would need to look after them, and sighed a little out of relief. As stubborn as he sometimes was, he couldn't deny that he needed some serious help.

As he looked back at Shiro once he started speaking, he expected to hear that he found a new ship to explore, was collecting shells, the usual mundane tasks merfolk set off on when bored or when they simply have nothing else to do. But when he heard the words 'land' and 'man' right next to each other, his jaw almost dropped.

"Shiro, are you serious!" He couldn't keep in his surprise with the matter no matter how hard he tried, but at least he didn't grab anyone's unwanted attention, but if Allura didn't focus on what they were saying, she would definitely hear bits and pieces now. "We do not speak to la--wait, you even know his name?" He asked, still shocked by the matter, but he brushed it off.

"He's a land man. How dangerous can the sea be when he could be miles away from it and still function properly? He'll be fine, but they're still dangerous. Land men have always done horrible things to the ocean. You sure you still even trust him?"
Vaylla always had horrible luck in life.

That soon became certain to her upon living through various days of jobs falling into shambles, or clients deciding against hiring her at the last minute. Not only that, but with the way her morning began, she had a gut feeling a problem would resurface. Anything to feed her newfound cynicism. The client seemed innocent enough, and although the task wasn't the most demanding she'd ever gotten upon first inspection - she was asked to search for a cat lost in the icy abandoned forests of the kingdom - it ended up being so much harder than she thought. In fact, she wouldn't have even taken the simple quest if it weren't for the completely unfitting reward she was promised afterwards. An entire sum of a hundred coins. It could help her buy a week's meal and even some extra clothing.

So, comforted by that thought, she simply took her time. The client asked her to call the cat by a very specific name - Petunia - and hold a certain tiny squeaky toy nobody, not even a cat, would enjoy. But as embarrassing as the quest would seem, the peasant didn't really have a various array of choices to choose from, and with such an attractive reward it was hard to say no. Armed with a precious pocket knife that she was gifted by her brother, she had it sheathed on a leather belt around her waist right next to a small pouch of 5 coins. She made sure to grab her blue cape in the process in case the weather got colder than it already was. Then, she set off.

"Petunia!" She called once she first saw the icy trees signifying her entrance to the silent forest, pretending to thoroughly care about the cat as she called its name though she was sure she couldn't give a damn. Walking about through the snow, she was sure the poor thing wouldn't even be able to stay around for long alone in such a weather, but nevertheless, she kept going. Occasionally, she would squeeze the small toy, wondering if it would actually grab the feline's attention. But nothing changed. At all. She never heard a meow, a purr or even a cry. Utter, deafening silence.

Hours took hours and her legs were already tired from walking around too much. The trees almost looked the same if not for small details so she thought she knew her way out, and - believing time was on her side - she laid on the snow by a tree, leaning her back against the cold wood. She could barely sleep the night before with the owl by her window, and scaring owls off with a rake meant for gardening wasn't something one would enjoy. So she promised herself. Just a few minutes of a nap in the cold. She had a cape to warm her up, she wouldn't doze off completely.

But she was soon proved wrong. And time was definitely not on her side.

"Dammit, dammit!" She yelled out in frustration, after being woken up in a rush of feeling cold air hit her face sharply. She was soon on her feet, cat and money forgotten. She never liked blizzards. Sure, she tolerated them in better circumstances, but whenever any blizzard took place she would be in the comfort of her own home. Never before did she try to experience walking through one, and supporting herself was so much harder than she expected. She could feel the hood hit the back of her head with every violent gust of wind and she covered her face a bit as she walked through, hoping none of the snow would burn her eyes. She had to get home.

But amidst the ever white atmosphere, she couldn't see anything. Nothing felt familiar at all, but at least the trees seemed to be clearing up. She was leaving the forest at last, but she knew the walk back to her house was still a long and tedious one. She would have to find a shelter, just until the blizzard cleared, and she would get back home and ignore the client who gave her the task as much as she could. Fortunately, she did spot a small, run down shack through the snow, and she could even recall the way that lamppost perched. She was in the capital city! But not as close as she would like to her home.

The shack seemed to be open for business. At least, she was slightly able to make that out by reading the violently strewn about sign that was left hanging atop the shack. Surely she would be able to get inside easily then, slip in until it clears and then leave. Wrong. Holding on to the door, she pushed open the door with all her might, violently cursing under her breath as she tried and tried. Until it opened with a flash, catching her completely off guard.

"Ah!" She yelped out, the gust of wind blowing her forcefully inside the shack, the door loudly slamming behind her as she fell to the ground, landing flat on her chest with a quiet groan. Panting heavily, she felt the slight but still striking difference in temperatures, and her nose felt like it would fall off. Sniffling a bit, she blinked and wiped some snow off of her clothing, face and hair, weakly sitting up where she fell on the floor until she snapped her eyes up, like a deer stuck in headlights. What a way to make a first impression.
Matt easily grinned through the pain he was feeling at that moment and shrugged, hand coming up to touch the cuts on his stomach. They burned once more, and he groaned out in a fleeting second, swimming a little closer to the bed next to the other merman and sitting down, slowly lifting up his worn out tail onto the bed, realizing a part of it was torn off by his opponent. At least he still remained in one piece throughout the entire thing.

He glanced over at the other merman. "Yeah, yeah I'm fine! But I guess I should stop being stubborn and actually get myself checked out.." He mumbled, turning his head to the mermaid as she directed her attention to him. He took a moment to study her. Elegant, poised, as healer as a healer should be. Her voice was calm but still had the power to shoot through walls and the sternest of hearts. He wondered where she came from, and was thoroughly curious to know about her as she wasn't there the last time he needed to be taken care of.

"I guess, yeah. Everything burns," he laughed weakly, before turning to look at Shiro once more. He supposed he had no other choice but to take this opportunity to settle down and heal himself. After all, there was nothing else to do. "Don't fight her, Shiro. I think it's time for us both to take a breath and heal ourselves.. speaking of," he began, trying to distract the other merman from any anxiety he could still be feeling. "Where have you been the past few days? I thought I'd see you around, but you went off the radar. I almost thought something happened."


closer - n u a g e s



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