As my skin hit the water I felt it melt in to my normal form. It had been so long, for a moment only relief washed over me. But then I glanced around, and realised I could not see Lyra. It hurt me that she would leave, but I knew that an arguement with Zahkon would not man much in the grand scheme of things, because they were still bound together. I floated round, feeling the flickering flashes of sunlight cut by the movement of the sea warm me. I was drifting, thinking of the journey so far, and how I did not expect to be in the sea again so soon. As I twisted through the water, I saw the ship above me. Someone was standing on the edge of the ship, up on the railing. I swam upwards, and my head broke through the water, transforming in to skin once more. Destran's blue eyes stared down at me. I beckoned to him, suggesting he joined me. He shook his head.

"Destran, the water is beautiful... come, swim."

Once more he shook his head, and simply watched. I raised an eyebrow and sank beneath the surface once more, and saw him watching as I swam around, although he now had to watch more closely to keep my outline visible.

I stayed like that for a little while longe, then returned to the ship. As I stood on the deck, Jack danced up to me.

"9927 bottles of rum on the wall, 9927 bottles of rum!" He sang, before attempting to pull me in to the dance. I shook him off and went to the far end of the ship. In the last few days it had become my habit to sit on the long beam that stretched at the forefront of the boat, leaning over the water. I sat here again now, one leg dangling in mid-air and the other bent towards my body. From here, everything lay before me, and I knew that we were only a few days from my homeland. I heard footsteps behind me but did not turn, letting whoever was there join me.

"We should continue you know." It was Brena's voice that shocked me. "If Lyra has gone back to the corals, we should try to get there as soon as possible." I nodded. My thoughts as I had swam had led me to the same conclusion. Brena laid her hand comfortingly on my shoulder for a moment, and then I heard her footsteps retreating. Minutes later, I heard the anchor rise, and the sails flap out. We began our trip once more.

As the waves split at the prow of the boat, I allowed my thoughts to wander in to meaninglessness. To my right the sun was setting in the waves, and bright colours splashed over the dark purple sky, and the darkness of the waves.

We travelled three more days before Destran ordered the anchor lowered. For most of the trip I had sat unaccompanied on my beam, and no one had bothered me. I knew that Zahkon kept to his room, and Jack had reached three digits in his song. I also knew that Destran turned his worried eyes upon me whenever he believed no-one was watching. Sometimes I caught his gaze, and he shifted his eyes slightly, so that it seemed he was merely watching the way ahead.

As the ship lay silent on the waves, I slipped sorely from my perch and went to join the crew on deck. Destran was speaking.

"We shall swim to shore from here, and walk to the beach under nightfall. Then Yara must lead us to he nursery caves." His eyes met mine and I nodded, aware that the sievere would not take kindly to this but also willing to perform the task for the sake of Destran's quest. My eyes wandered to Jack who was dancing around, though obviously listening. I wished we could leave him here, because I did not wish to take him in to the caves. He had no dignity, no respect, and I did not want him causing havoc in our most peaceful place.

"Last one to shore is a Darma dropping!" Jack suddenly yelled, and dove overboard. Destran rolled his eyes, and went to the edge of the ship, throwing off his jacket as he did so. Zahkon was staring unwillingly down at the water.

"For Lyra Zahkon." Brena whispered, before jumping herself. I gave Zahkon a look also, meant to convey that Brena was right, before giving Destran a wink and dropping from the ship. As I hit the water and lost my skin, I sawth two remaining figures jump in to the water.

We swam to shore, and I watched as Destran struck powerfully at the waves with his arms, a smile on my face. I remembered teaching him to swim when we were little. Then I turned my gaze on Zahkon, who was struggling but being pulled along by Brena. Then I turned my eyes on Jack who was ahead. A sudden childish urge swept over me, and I sped swiftly through the water till I was ahead of him. I turned gave him a triumphant look, and then swam to shore, standing on the sand waiting for the others, and prepared to jump in if anyone was struggling.

The End

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