The Little Mermaid lowers her head into the rocky shoreline waiting for Jacks response. Jack stares at the fish tell with wonder. Even in only the moon light it is beautiful. He walks up to her and in childlike curiosity touches her tail. She looks at him wondering what he is doing but she is too weak to retaliate.
"Of course this makes no difference," Jack says. "I will help you to the best of my ability."
"You're not afraid of me," the Little Mermaid asks. "Humans revile the merpeople and curse us. They break our promises, our treaties… our hearts. Why should I trust you?"
"You shouldn't," Jack admits. "I have done nothing to earn your trust, but if you give me a chance I can prove that not all of us humans are as you say. Some of us just want to help lighten the burdens of others."
"You speak differently from other humans I have met," the little mermaid says.
"I will take that as a complement." Jack responds. "So what do you need? Do I just put you back in the water?"
"I am not a beached whale," she declares. "We can survive just as well on land as in the water. I am too weak to swim the river safely."
"And you won't get far with this fish tail." Jack states.
"I can fix that," the Little Mermaid utters. "But in my human form I cannot talk. I beg you, human, please do not tell anyone I am a mermaid. There are humans that want nothing more than to hunt and kill my kind."
Thought of Richard killing her for her skull to put in his famous trophy room comes into mind. If anyone he can't tell him, but Rose is trust worthy and he cannot keep a secret from her. The scales on the Little Mermaids fish tail retract into her body as the tail becomes a human hue. The tail slowly splits down the middle forming into two legs. It doesn't take long for Jack to realize she is naked after the transformation is complete. He takes off his shirt and covers her lower half.
After he picks up and sheaths his swords he flips her over to her front and sees her bare torso. He has to help her put his shirt on because she is so weak. Luckily his shirt is long enough to cover her privet areas. He picks her up in his arms and begins to run back to camp. He didn't want to run to fast especially after she falls asleep in his arms.
He arrives at the camp an hour later and places the Little Mermaid in his bedroll. He looks over to Rose for a second before retreating to the forest line and sitting at the base of a tree. If I hadn't gone running tonight we would have come across her in the morning. Would Richard have killed her before she could explain herself? Jack falls asleep without realizing it and wakes up to Rose shaking him angrily.
"Who is that." Rose asks.
Jack looks down and sees the Little Mermaid sitting at the tree basin beside him asleep leaning on his chest.
"Oh, she is a woman I found last night on my jog," Jack says. "She looked ill so I brought her here."
"And you slept with her," Rose shouts. "She is naked with only your shirt."
"I did not sleep with her. I found her collapsed and naked by the river so I gave her my shirt. I put her to bed in my roll last night. She must have come to me while I was asleep."
The Little Mermaid wakes up and looks at Rose in fear. She grips tightly onto Jacks arm and buries her head into his chest.
"I am Holy Crusader Rose the Red Riding Hood. Who are you?" Rose asks sharply.
"She is a mute," Jack responds.
"Well I guess I can't be upset you helped someone out." Rose says. "I have some spare clothing she can wear for the time being. It is uncouth for her to be walking around in such a manner."
Jack comforts the Little Mermaid so she would not be afraid. He stands and picks her up to follow behind Rose that leads them to their supply bags. Jack could not tell last night but the Little Mermaids long and wavy hair is blue and white. Her eyes as blue as the deepest sea.
The only spare clothing Rose has is several backup suits of her red leather armor. Rose fits the little mermaid into it using her horse as a privacy curtain. While they dress Jack goes to Richard's camp to cook the fish he caught yesterday into a stew using their fire and kettle. As he Approaches the camp Richard's maidservant sees him.
"G-good morning, Jack." She says as she curtsies.
Jack nods, "good morning…uh..."
"It's Mary," she finishes. "Mary Little Lamb."
"Mary, that is a nice name. May I use a kettle to cook these?" Jack asks showing her a bag with three fish inside.
"O-of course." Mary says. "This way."
Mary is more than happy to help him prepare it the stew. As the it cooks in the pot they sit down on the ground next to the fire.
"So, Mary, how long have you worked for Sir Richard?"
"I since I was little," she says. "But recently he has taken me on as his swordswoman apprentice. He says I have a knack for it, but I fill as though he is just being nice."
"Richard… nice? I can't even imagine it." Jack says.
Mary giggles. "He has his moments."
When the fish stew finishes cooking Mary lets Jack take the kettle out of the encampment. She is unable to help him take it to Rose's camp. She has to help them pack up for the day's journey ahead. He thanks her and carries the hot kettle on a long hook.
He arrives at the camp and they all eat out of wooden bowls. The Little Mermaid needs help walking but has made a remarkable recovery. Sir Richard and is caravan comes marching up the riverbank. He stops his convoy as he approaches the eating trio.
"Having a late start this morning are we?" Richard states. "And who is this wearing your armor, Dame Rose?"
"Someone Jack saved last night," Rose says.
"I see, so she is another peasant girl." Richard remarks.
"We do not know her class, she is a mute," Rose responds.
"Anyways we are on a tight schedule so do forgive me for leaving but I am sure you can catch up." Richard says as he pulls his horses reins and starts off down the river bank.
His party continues along with him. After the group eats they pack up their supplies and wash out the kettle in the river.
"So what are we going to call her," Rose asks.
"Can you write," Jack asks the Little Mermaid.
She shakes her head no.
"Well she needs a name," Rose says.
"How about Arnurna?" Jacks asks. "It means, blue water-lily."
"How do you know that?" Rose asks.
"Well I do plan on having kids one day. It's what I want to name my daughter." Jack admits. "But it fits her perfectly because of her hair and tail… I mean just hair… that was a weird thing to say." Jack coughs. "So do you like it? I know it's not your real name."
She nods and it is official. Arnurna rides on the back of Rose's horse and Jack runs beside them as they hurry to catch up to Sir the course of the next few days Arnurna body strengthens and she could walk on her own. She is not fond of anyone with the exception of Jack. At night she chooses to sleep at his side instead of in the bedroll he gave her. During the day they are inseparable. Jack decided to keep his word and not tell Rose the truth about Arnurna being a mermaid.
Finally the time came to leave the river side and find a road. They could see in the distance a great tower. Huge birds flock about the city. As they get closer they see that the beings flying about are people with massive wings like that of a bird. Some of them are transparent and can fly through objects while others are completely tangible.
"What are those things, "Jack asks.
"Those are fairies," Rose says. "Fairies were the first beings to use magic and the first heroes of our world. They were enlightened by the Forces of Light and helped man to build kingdoms of their own. The Fairy Godmother is the title given to their Queen and she is the most powerful of the fairies."
"It seems you know your history," Richard says as he rides his horse up beside Rose. "What you say is correct up until recently the fairies personally chose all the heroes. However since Snow White betrayed the world it seems as though the Forces of Light are choosing the heroes without them. When it comes to magical power the Forces of Light is the greatest."
"I heard of the Forces of Light when Fenrir told me about the chosen heroes but what exactly are the Forces of Light?" Jack asks.
"They are referred to as both Forces of Light and Spirits of the Light. Some people think they are some ancient race of fairy," Rose replies.
"Others revere them as Gods." Sir Richard states. "One thing is for sure is that sometimes they go bad. The result of that are the creatures of darkness."
"I thought any creature other than human is a creature of darkness," Jack says.
"With the exception of animals that is true." says Rose. "All of the beings including the fairies, elves and merpeople originate from a Force of Light turning evil and manifesting a physical form. Some of these beings offspring took after the darkness while others took after their parents light side."
"The mermaid's dark opposite is the siren," Richard says. "The high elf has the dark elf and the fairy has the sprite."
They close in on the gate entering the Kingdom of Magic's border. Richards men raise the Britannia flag with a flag of the Kingdom of Magic underneath. They approach the gate and are let through immediately. The tower was still a half days journey away from the border wall. Onward they march to meet with the Wizard King the most powerful mystic human in the world.
Within Cockaigne the Kingdom of Magic's capitol everything was done with magic or sorcery. Elf and human peasants work the fields on the outskirts of the city. One person can cultivate an entire field with enchanted farming equipment that moves on its own accord. Water was collected from the air and showered wherever they wanted. Inside the city fairies flew above while all the other citizens took to the street.
The group marched proudly to the tower that lies in the center of the town. It stretches up into the sky and a golden fire spews out the top. Elves guard the entrance with nothing but staffs which is used as a median for their magic. Only Rose, Jack, and Sir Richard are allowed to enter because they are heroes. As soon as they open the door they are outside again at the top of the tower. Floating above them is a massive ball of golden fire. Despite how close they were to the blazing mass they felt no heat radiate from it. Ahead of them the Wizard King stands beside his throne.
The King wore no crown, royal garments or pendent. His clothing was that of a mystic knight; a fusion of armor, cloth and enchanted runes. Eight golden swords floated behind him like wings. He looked quite young no older than twenty. He was also human not elf, or fairy.
"Wizard King," Richard says as they all bow. "We have come from Britannia in answer to your beckoning. I am the Holy Crusader Richard and head of the Three Blind Mice Household."
"Wizard King, I am the Holy Crusader Rose and head of the Red Riding Hood Household."
"Wizard King, I am Jack servant of the Red Riding Hood House Hold."
"I thank you all for coming, but I am not the Wizard King, I am the Mystic Prince. My father, the true Wizard King has betrayed our kingdom. He was cast from his position eight years ago by myself with the help of the Fairy Godmother. I used the authority of the Wizard King to call you for aid."
"If the Wizard King has been cast out why haven't you assumed the throne," Rose asks.
"There are those who call me the Wizard King. However, the true Wizard King is and always will be the strongest human wizard. Only he can command the flame above you. If I had killed my father I would have become the true Wizard King and this great power would be at my command. However I could not bring myself to kill him. Now I fear he is behind the attack on Atlantis and making the Sea King hostile towards us. I want you to help me bring peace between the Kingdom of Magic and the Eastern Seas. If not we may lose the seas forever."