ArielRoxAnne Fox / Science Fiction / Romance & Love
By Roxanne Fox
Copyright 2017 Roxanne Fox
Cover photo by Linzee777 retrieved from deviantart.com.
I would like to thank my beta readers Rachael Taylor and Nikki Amaya. They have been generous in reading this first and helping me with minor errors. Without them the story would not be as polished or easy to read. Thank you all so much, your help is more than appreciated … and I know all the other fans appreciate your hard work too. Thank you!
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 ~ The Mage
Chapter 2 ~ The First Time
Chapter 3 ~ The Potion
Chapter 4 ~ Poseidon’s Return
Chapter 5 ~ New family
Toshi’s eyes darted around the room looking for the woman he had spoken to the previous day. He had no idea what the person looked like, he only knew his contact was a magic user of some sort, and though they had communicated on the phone a few times, they had never met. One thing Toshi was sure of, she probably would not have a hooked nose and a black cat, and she most likely wasn’t called a witch. He had only met one other magic user a few months previous but she said she was a vampire. When he and the vampire had met, her world was very new to him; the world of magic, vampires, werewolves and … and mermaids. As he stood in the Miami Starbucks that morning, the world of the supernatural wasn’t any less mysterious to him.
“Mr. Matsushima.” His eyes followed the sound of the woman’s voice until they landed on an average looking lady waving at him. Once they made eye contact he waved back. She motioned him over and then looked down at her phone.
Toshi made his way around patrons of the crowded establishment to her and noticed she definitely did not look like a Halloween witch, or any witch for that matter. She looked pretty normal sipping something blended and topped with whipped cream while wearing fitted jeans, a sheer blouse over a lilac cami, and flip flops. In fact, the only thing impressive about her might have been her thick brunette hair, the heavy braid of which swayed just above her belt line as she cursed her phone.
The curse wasn’t some kind of show of magic, more a show of frustration through expletives. Sculpted brows drew together—her attention still on her phone—as Toshi sat down and he noticed she was playing Candy Crush. “Damn game. I refuse to pay money on it. The trick is to not play for a while, then come back and the level is easier to beat.”
Toshi was unsure how to reply so he put his hand out in a greeting. “Hi, I am Toshio Matsushima. We spoke—”
The woman waved his hand off and he sat as she began to reply. “Yeah, yeah. I know all about you, Toshio Matsushima. Matsushima is what you were known as in grade school back in Japan but your friends here know you as Toshi. They’ve been helping you study the manatee, but you came across something more than you had bargained for.”
Her lips pulled in a sideways smile and Toshi’s heart jumped. She knew so much.
“Of course, Greg, Alan, and Renee at the university don’t know anything about that discovery, now do they?”
Any words were lost to him, all he could do was try to breathe over the pulling at his chest. Maybe doing business with a magic user was a bad idea—trying to deal with Weres had proven hazardous—but he didn’t know of any other way to get what he wanted. No, to get what he needed.
She saw his eyes fall and knew that look in humans. His obvious nervousness made her laugh, which of course made him jump. “Don’t be so scared, Toshi. I had to do a little background checking to be sure I wasn’t dealing with a psycho, you know.”
Toshi nodded. “Yes, of course. You just surprised me is all. Everything about this has been surprising.”
She leaned in, her mossy-green eyes flashing as though what she was about to say would be serious. “You will soon find out, in our world we learn things sooner or later and a human knowing about our world is something we need to know about.”
He nodded and swallowed once, his throat feeling dry all of the sudden. A barista came by and set something which appeared to be berry flavored and refreshing next to him before giving him a smile and walking away. He almost called to tell him he hadn’t ordered anything, when his contact interrupted him.
“I thought you might need something to drink. Dealing with this kind of thing can be hard for humans.”
He sat back and took the drink, sipping it and feeling shades better as he swallowed. “Is this magic? I mean, does he use magic like you?” He was quiet, so as not to draw attention with such odd questions, but she laughed.
She had known since the mid twentieth century humans tended to ignore weird conversations and as she started talking people soon turned back to whatever it was they were doing and ignored the two of them before her outburst of laughter had distracted the other patrons.
“He is no mage and that is not magic, unless you consider delicious, refreshing drinks magic.” She giggled a little more. “I’m Elizabeta, by the way.”
The vampire he had met said her partner’s name was Elizabeta. He had to assume she was the same Elizabeta who worked with Serenity, the vampire, for some place called the SIA, the Supernatural Intelligence Agency. The agency’s connection to the government was probably why Elizabeta was able to find information on him.
“So, Toshi, from speaking with you, and what Serenity has told me, I have to assume you are in this for keeps. I mean, there is no turning back, you know.”
Elizabeta’s moss eyes were serious but Toshi’s dark, chestnut eyes were just as serious. “I have no doubt what I want … what we want.”
She nodded. “I have to be clear. Once this is taken, it’s a done deal. There is no going back. The change is permanent and if her love is not true like you said—”
“It is. There is no doubt in my mind.”
Elizabeta smiled, but it was strained. She knew of how love could seem real, she had seen so many others think they found love when really it was deceit from some fae, and Ariel was almost a kind of fae. She saw the pleading in Toshi’s eyes and knew at least his love was real. Elizabeta of all people knew what real love was.
“I know Ariel,” Toshi said. “Her love is as pure as mine.”
Elizabeta drew in a deep breath. The hot Miami air seemed almost as frigid as the winds of her long lost fjords. She let out that imaginary, cool air and met Toshi’s gaze. “Though it is hard to find; true, honest love does exist. Just remember…” She started to speak again as she retrieved a small bottle from her purse. “Once this is swallowed the change is permanent regardless if the love the two of you feel is true or not, there is no going back for either one of you. You both must drink this as the full moon sets. It is the only way.”
Toshi nodded and took the small, glass bottle. Shaky fingers ran through his black hair as he peered at the swirling, green liquid contained in the vile in his other hand. He couldn’t believe such a small thing could hold his entire future.
Slender fingers grazed his as he held the tiny bottle and he looked up to see Elizabeta standing, her purse strap over her shoulder and drink in hand. “Good luck, Toshi. For some reason I believe you when you say you two truly love each other the way you say you do. It is the only reason I decided to help you.” She gave his hand a quick squeeze as he thanked her. “Goodbye, and take care,” she said as she left, pulling her phone from her handbag while exiting the door.
Elizabeta started to punch Serenity’s number to tell her she was done and on her way back to the SIA. As the sun hit her shoulders she almost wished she could stay a bit longer, but the job was finished. What Toshi didn’t know was that Ariel promised to contact Serenity as soon as they were done with the potion. She stopped short of hitting call and glanced to the sky. The sun hung low just dipping behind the high-rises.
The full moon was that evening and they would be taking the potion. Toshi thought it would work, as humans always do, and Elizabeta found it easier to keep some of the gruesome details out when it came to humans. Serenity didn’t think it necessary to tell the mermaid either, though her intentions were less emotional, as was the norm with her. Serenity only wanted her data, which was why Ariel was to call with the results.
Sighing, Elizabeta glanced once more through the window at Toshi as he sat looking at the potion. A smile was plastered across his lips. Elizabeta was the best mage there was, and with Serenity’s help they were a force to be reckoned with. But, turning a human into a mermaid was new even to them. She bit her lip and slipped her shades on as she stepped away from the Starbucks and headed toward the factory which housed the portal she needed. She hit the call button at last.
If that potion didn’t work, there was a good chance it could kill Toshi. Not just him, but his sea-bound love as well.
“Did you give it to him?” Serenity’s voice was as bland as usual.
“Well, I guess we will see if they are alive tomorrow. Maybe we should hide out and watch.”
Elizabeta started explaining all the ways that would be wrong as she rounded the corner, away from the coffee shop.
Toshi hadn’t even noticed the mage leave, he was too happy about the potion sitting in his pocket. He drank half of the drink Elizabeta had bought, out of courtesy, and trashed the rest. The whole time his right hand stayed clasped around the bottle in his pocket.
Leaving the Starbucks, he couldn’t help but think over and again on how that night was the full moon. It would be the night everything changed.