• Night set in and it was time for questions. Ayn was the first to ask because he was the leader and also Non’s childhood friend. They were on the deck, staring at the forecastle. That’s where Non was at, he was checking up on Maruru who hasn’t woken yet. Strange, he hasn’t worried about her this much before.
    “S-should we just go in?” Fen asks doubtfully. It doesn’t take fifty minutes to check up on a sleeping person and Non was gone for thirty.
    Rey, Keller, and Roe trade glances with each other then focus their attention towards the forecastle door. Ayn hasn’t moved a muscle as he waited, arms crossed.

    Non sat at the edge of the bed that Maruru laid on. He was wearing a plain white t-shirt and dark shin high pants—new clothes. When the others were waiting for him to come out, Non took the opportunity to sneak out through the back window. He had his Aier and went for a quick flight to town, stole the clothes from a clothesline, and then flew back to the ship.
    Non dropped his forehead onto his palm, thinking. He was trying to remember way back into his past, when he was really young, when he hadn’t met Ayn, when he was still with his mother. There was book they read together at night.
    Non couldn’t distinguish what the book was called or what everything in its contents were about. All he knows was the dialog ‘Belle, beautiful love of mine’. It was spoken by a man in the story who was a peasant. The man said that to a woman he loved. They were inside a cave, a place where there was a hole at the rooftop. They always met there because that was the only place the woman would show up in.
    Non head jolts up, his eyes widened a bit. “The cave where it all began! A place where the moon rests in the arms of Belle as she waits in nature’s pond” Non balls his hands and punched the bed frame. “But what is that suppose to mean? The cave…moon…pond…water…that’s where she waits…” he scratch’s his chin “Waits…waits inside a pond—oh, a pond! She’s waiting inside water. So she’s a mermaid?” he shakes his head. Even though he doesn’t remember all about the story, he knows she wasn’t a mermaid. She was something else…something like Maruru. That’s right. That’s also why Non said the quote. Maruru had breathed water and glowed gold, not to mention the strange sound she made—or maybe it was a different language? “Whatever it was, she’s just like the girl in the story—”
    The door to the forecastle suddenly opens with a bang as it hits the wall. Ayn, Rey, Roe, Keller, and Fen came tumbling in. They were all leaning in on the door, listening to Non talk to himself. And now they’re caught red-handed.
    “Yo” Ayn laughs nervously. Even he got impatient waiting for Non to come out.
    Non sighs. The reason he was so quite and distant with the others was because he needed time to himself to think about the story and Maruru. Even though they were eavesdropping on him, they only heard the little, un-detailed stuff.
    “Right…” Roe gets up. “Since we’re all here…Non!” he points. “What do you know about Maruru?!”
    Non blinks and sighs again. “Maruru is different from a human. She’s…she’s like a mermaid but without the tail”
    “What!?” they all shout at once.
    “I knew she wasn’t human to begin with” Keller comments.
    “…sorry, but that’s all I know. You guys already heard me talking about the cave”
    They trade uncertain glances.
    “But…you know, I’d like to know about everything Maruru is” Non says. “That’s why I wanted to go to the town at the coast”
    “For what?” Rey asks. “Aren’t they still flooded?”
    “Okay…” Keller dusts herself off. “What do you want to do there anyway? What are you going to do, exactly?”
    Non grins. “I’m going to visit some people at the hospital”
    “What are you—oh no” Rey shakes his head. “You’re going to visit those people that kidnapped Maruru?! You can’t do that!”
    Non considers it for a moment. “Nah, I think I can” then he dashes for the back window and takes off onto his Aier.

    to be continued