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“I’m not sure it’s a good idea for you to go, tonight,” Freya warned as they finished work on the day of the next full moon. “After what you did last month, there’s no telling how the Glemorans may respond.”
“They don’t know what I did,” Aria pointed out. “Besides, I’m lucky to have it fall on a Saturday like this. I can stay the whole time.”
“You’re bound to fall asleep,” Freya argued. “If you’re tired and they attack you…”
“I’ll have you there to protect me.” Aria offered her a smile. “Don’t worry so much.”
“Don’t make me worry,” Freya retorted.
“At any rate, the best chance we have of getting clues is to stay close to them. If the twins hid the necklace, they might go back to check on it. If somebody else stole it, we might be able to figure that out.”
“Then I could go and you stay here.”
“Not a chance,” Aria replied. “Two heads are better than one, right?”
So it was that Aria and Freya headed down to the beach that afternoon, where the merfolk and sirens had already gathered. The nymphs had rented out the beach to make sure they wouldn’t be disturbed.
“None of them ever seem to leave the beach,” Aria commented. “Aren’t they curious about the human world?”
“Of course, but it’s dangerous to them. What if they get lost and don’t make it back in time? What if they are attacked by humans? The unknown is terrifying, after all.”
“It seems a shame for them to come to land and not really take part in the human world.”
“They do not understand the human world and are often afraid of things unfamiliar to them. Humans are not so different in that aspect, I believe.”
“I can’t argue with that,” Aria said with a sigh. “Well, perhaps I will be able to show some of them that humans are not so bad.”
“First, you have to convince them you’re not a thief.”
Aria frowned. “That’s true.”
She saw the twins walking towards her and was tempted to run away, but she watched Alizarin being dragged behind them and couldn’t resist the temptation to check on him. She stood her ground as they walked closer.
“Where is my necklace?” Alexander demanded.
Aria resisted the urge to roll her eyes. “If I knew that, I would have already returned it and settled the issue.”
“Stop lying,” Alyssa commanded. “We know you took it. Give it back.”
“Do you really need to keep up this act?” Aria wondered. “Nobody is around to hear.” She glanced behind them at Alizarin. “Well, nobody whose opinion you value. Hello, Rin. How are you?”
“You don’t talk to him,” Alyssa said. “Give us back the necklace, now.”
Aria stared at them for a minute. “Have you lost your minds? I don’t even know what this necklace looks like!”
Alyssa reached for a rope around her neck and revealed a pendant in the shape of a fin, which glowed, softly. “It looks like this. Where is it?”
“I don’t have it.”
“Don’t lie to us!”
“I’m not lying,” Aria assured her. “However, it is good to know what the necklace looks like. It should make my search for it easier.”
“You’d better find it quickly,” Alexander warned. “You will not be happy with the consequences I you do not.”
Aria frowned and glanced again at Alizarin, but he didn’t meet her gaze.
“Tell us where you hid it and we can begin our search there,” Freya suggested.
Alyssa glared at her. “Is an Oceanid truly taking the side of a human?”
“When merfolk behave badly, I feel responsible,” Freya explained. “Especially, when they are accosting my friend while we are trying to enjoy ourselves. Now, if you don’t mind…” She grabbed Aria’s hand and dragged her away from the group, not stopping until they had significant distance between themselves.
Aria looked back at the pair, thoughtfully. “That was a little odd, wasn’t it?”
“Why would they bother with such an act? They haven’t been doing stuff like that, before. Do you think something has changed?”
Freya paused to consider that. “We’ve been assuming they hid the necklace, correct?”