A ring of golden light appears by the water with Alma kneeling in its center, the Pearl still hovering gently just above her cupped hands. Exhausted, confused as to where she is suddenly finding herself, the goddess tilts forward and falls, her hands reaching out and touching the ground before her to break her fall. As Alma’s eyes begin to close, she sees the Pearl float toward the pool and come to a halt just above the water, its warm, soft light pulsating and spreading in waves throughout the grotto, its cleansing song washing over everything. Free of taint and binding, the Siren’s Pearl seems to celebrate its safe return home.
A light touch against her leg captures her attention. Reaching a hand to the source of the pressure, she feels something round, small enough to hold in her hand. Bringing it closer to her eyes, each movement difficult and almost painful in her weakened state, she recognizes the little glass orb through the growing haze that threatens to rob her of sight. A mana ball.
Without a second thought, she breaks the mystic seal and consumes the godpower with hunger, feeling it bring new life into her with its pure energy. The hangover will come eventually, but the godpower in the ball is enough to lift the veil from her eyes and thoughts.
Sorry for consuming your mana, Gwydion, she muses. But I really needed that.
After a moment’s rest, Alma manages to get back on her feet. Finding the room surprisingly empty of both Gwydion and Nevieve, she approaches the pool, feeling the Pearl’s influence washing over her still. A tentative touch to the water lets her know that the cleansing has worked. The bite is gone, the draining influence erased, the strange scent eliminated. The water is clean and pure again. And...strange.
Looking carefully into the pool, Alma gazes at the shadows that stretch and cover the bottom. Slowly, she begins to make out shapes. An arm, a foot, a tail, a head, a leg… another head.
“OH, damn it!” Alma curses. “He’s in the pool!”
Diving in, her thoughts allowing no further concerns, the goddess reaches the embraced, kissing couple and pries Gwydion from the unconscious Oracle’s unresisting arms. Swimming with difficulty, as the unconscious god provides only dead weight exponentially increased by his wet clothes and boots, Alma resurfaces and brings him back to dry land.
“Great, wet again!” the goddess mutters as she struggles with the burden that is Gwydion. “And all because Mr. ‘Call me Dion’ couldn’t help but kiss the mermaid.”
Pulling him out of the water, his feet dragging in the fine sand at the edge of the pool, the goddess props him against a stalagmite, kneels by his side and proceeds to check the handsome god for signs of life.