Riku approached Morgen’s reef den. A school of yellowtail parrotfish swam around the structure. He spotted Morgen looking over a part of bleached coral. She had a concerned look on her face as he approached.
Her hand moved a wayward tendril of hair out of her face, and noticed Riku approaching. She waved at him and met him halfway. She sensed concern on his face. “Is everything okay?”
Riku was suddenly nervous. He was overthinking what he needed to say. “Yes, um, would you accompany a team, including me, to Terra? I need your assistance with our current issue.” He waved a hand towards the ocean water. His tail, usually bold, faded a bit, betraying his confidence.
Morgen looked around. She really didn’t know how to respond. He hadn’t been around the past few weeks, and now he turns up asking for him to go to a place she never has gone. “How can we go to Terra?” she looked down at her fin. She knew Terrans had legs; she had seen them before, but it had been a few years. “And, why do you need me?”
Riku flipped his tail back and forth. “Morgen,” he started, then he paused. “Sometimes I don’t know what to say to you.” He looks past her, then he looked back, then down to his fin, and then finally back up. “I just know I need you by my side through this. You’re extremely intelligent and will help me to weed through the details.”
Morgen blushed at the compliments, but also was concerned, “I need to attend to my reef. Do you see the bleached coral?”
He floated over to the reef. “This is why I need your help. The Terrans are polluting our world and I need to make them aware of the situation and address it.”
Morgen looked down. She knew she could help him and was willing to go, but she was still confused. “But, how can we go to Terra?”
Riku’s eyes lit up. “I have someone who will help. She is very powerful in a realm which you have not been exposed. I’ll introduce you to her before we leave.”
“And, when is that?”
“At first light.”
Morgen’s eyes widened. “In the morn’? So soon?” She became panicked. “But, I have so much here to take care of.”
Riku placed a hand on her shoulder. “It’s okay. I’ve arranged for someone to take care of the reef while we are gone. Promise.”
Morgen knew she wouldn’t refuse the Yarl, but she was a little rattled. “Let me get my head dress, and we can go.”
They headed out to the Seamount. Riku tried to reconnect with Morgen; he knew his preoccupation with his work sometimes made her think she didn’t matter. “Do you remember, when we were young, going to the Terran beach? Remember breathing the surface air instead of the water?”
Morgen played back that time in her mind. It was night. Riku taught her how to exhale all the liquid in her lungs, spitting it out through her mouth like a fountain. That first breath was intoxicating. The moon above shown in the night sky along with the stars. Riku had kissed her that night, under those stars. “Of course, I remember.”
“Well, we’ll have to breathe air again when we go to Terra. It may not be exactly like last time, but,” he turned to Morgen, “I hope it will be even more magical once we get the work done.”
Morgen’s coral portions of her tail turned deeper in color, almost like a blush, as they arrived and entered Seamount.