Luc and Keona stared down at the bottom of the well. Glimmers of water shone back up at them, illuminated by  the glow of Keona’s tail hanging down into the well.

“Well that’s ironic,” she sat down heavily, a disbelieving grin on her face. “What can I say, bougie? You were always some kind of magic,” Luc smiled, almost proudly.

“What do you think caused that?” she tilted her head, confused.

“Water in a well?” Royan peered in.

“A dry well. A well the town had to abandon. And shove people in it to die,” Luc’s eyes flashed red. A trait that visibly projected his annoyance or hostility. Royan shrugged uncomfortably. “An underground spring bursting, perhaps? That would explain the bits of greenery,” he gestured to the tufts of grass and little flowers growing around the well.

“Why only here though? What about the rest of the area?” Keona’s emerald eyes scoured the surrounding areas. Bone-dry sand and ancient remnants of tree-like sculptures that were once probably as green as the little weeds of the well eons ago met her gaze. Even the town seemed as dry as the ground it stood on. Didn’t they know a source of fresh water was so close to them? Couldn’t they smell it?

“Can’t really tell without a geoscanner, but my best guess is that this particular well fed off on a different stream than the town,” Royan followed her sight.

Keona drummed her fingers on the edge of the well. She wondered. Reaching up, she released the clasps that held the traveler’s cloak around her and shook out her hair and ears.

“W-what are you doing?” Luc straightened. “Checking something,” she grinned and pulled him into a kiss before jumping down into the well.

“Wha-? Keona! Ugh. Hold this!” Luc stripped off his coat, shoes and gun belt, tossing the latter to Royan and following Keona down.

“O-kay, I’ll just… wait. Here,” Royan turned and leaned against the well, feeling a little left out.

Keona landed with less of a splash than she anticipated at the bottom of the well. Despite the crystal clear water, her paw-feet touched the bottom of the pool, stirring up loose sand. The water came up to her thighs, cool and a relief. She dipped her head into it, taking a gulp. It was unusually sweet, and absolutely refreshing to the taste. Beautiful soft moss covered the walls and ceilings of the cave. Keona almost couldn’t believe that this was once her prison, the place she wanted to end her life. Keona ran her hand up the wall, remembering each scream, each tear, each breath she released.

Luc landed behind her with a light splash and an awed exclamation. “I wonder. Is there any treasure down here?” he repeated himself. “Ah, I was right,” he softly breathed in at the sight of her. Keona smiled back.

Shaking some water off her hair, Keona’s wolf-ears sparked and alighted, illuminating the cave. She glanced further into the cave, a memory coming back to haunt her. Luc pulled her hand away from her wrist and held it tight. Unconsciously, she had rubbed at the invisible scars left by the shackles used to keep her down here.

Eyes wide, she shook her hand free from Luc and cupped some water. She brought it to his mouth, grinning.

Chuckling, Luc sipped at the water. His eyes went wide at the taste and a surprised hum rang in his throat. “I know right?” Keona grin widened. “You really are magic,” he kissed her fingers.

Taking his hand, Keona ventured deeper into the cave. Every step brought back a memory, but every swirl of water around her waist comforted her. It wasn’t long before they reached the cavern she was looking for.

“Right where we left ’em,” she smiled, stroking a pair of rusty chains tucked away into a low nook in the wall. Luc stood at the mouth of the cave, and sucked in his cheek. The girl he had found cowering in the corner right over there, jumping at his guns to kill herself; now stood in the exact same place, a wholly different person.

“What?” she noticed his lingering look. He shook his head and smiled. “We were very different people the last time we were in here,” he sighed. Keona smiled and stood up, knocking her head on the low ceiling. “OW! A lot smaller too,” she winced, prompting a guffaw from Luc. Wading out of the small grotto, she drew herself into Luc’s outstretched arms and touched his forehead with hers.

“I say, strange creature, would you like to follow me to the stars?” Luc whispered.

“Only dead can walk among stars,” she whispered back.

“Then I am Death. I’ll take you away from here, far away. Tread the stars with me, and fear nothing anymore,” he cradled her close.

“Stupid star-man. You’re bringing a monster to the heavens,” Keona looked up into his purple-red iridescent eyes.

“Well, it’s been a while since the heavens saw a real monster. Let’s bring them some fun, shall we?” a naughty, fanged smile crossed his face.

The fire on the tips of Keona’s wolf ears dimmed to a low candle light as Luc gave her an eskimo kiss and then a real one, slow and deep. Her hands crept up his collar to his short teal hair and rubbed his pointed ears. The well-water glimmered around them, casting wavering lights and shadows.

A tickling of water down her ear caused Keona to yelp and squirm away. Luc laughed and rubbed the rest of the water in his hand all over his own face.

“Come, we got a ship to fix and a town to scare,” her eyebrows raised.

“I thought we were keeping it low?” he clicked his teeth.

She drew her lips back to reveal fanged teeth, much like his vampiric ones; sharing his grin.


Writer’s note: Sorry this one’s two days late. I guess I’m more tired than I think 😦

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