Chapter 7:

With a Love Sorceress, I’ll Drown. Wait what?

With a Love Sorceress I'll Make My Romance Last!

“Done!” Mia cried with excitement, looking over the well-tended yard with a shine in her blue eyes. “I thought this would take me all day, but it’s not even sundown. I never would have finished so quickly without your help!”

I felt embarrassment rise to my cheeks.

The embarrassment was in part from Mia’s compliment, but also in part from Madam Claire. The Love Sorceress was still watching me as a shadowy bird above, and I could almost hear her glare telling me: “I told you to ask Mia out on a date! Not do chores together!”

Before I could answer Claire’s demands, Mia walked towards me with a grin. Mia held out a hand, and I stared at it, uncertain.

“Let’s start from the beginning, Mister elf,” Mia suggested, waving her hand encouragingly, “I’m Mia Faralind.”

“I’m Jun. Jun uh...Roki.” The new last name took a moment to remember. “It’s nice to meet you, Miss Faralind. If I recall correctly, you greet each other like this?”

I tried to remember the customs from the books Claire gave me. Instead of shaking Mia’s hand, I hesitantly tapped her palm in a low high-five.

Mia chuckled, then clapped my palm back in the same motion but in a much more forceful manner.

“Like this!” she encouraged. “And please, call me Mia. We barely use family titles in the countryside. ‘Miss Faralind’ just sounds strange to me.”

Immediately I followed, “You can call me Jun, then!”

But Mia shook her head. “You’re still an elf, Mister Roki. Among the human Kingdoms, you’re considered near royalty. I wouldn’t feel right calling you by your first name.” Her eyes glanced up. “At least, not yet.”

My heart surged with hope.

Mia took off her gardening gloves, before tightening the yellow bow in her hair. “Since we finished early,” she continued, “I had an idea about our date.”

“You did?” I was eager to hear it. I wanted to learn from Mia this time, and not repeat my same mistakes.

“It’s a little unusual,” she stated with a blush, “but I was thinking about riding horses.”

“Horseback riding?” I repeated under my breath. Did Amamiya like horses back on Earth? I never took her for the outdoorsy-type.

Mia turned to me with her deep blue eyes, still a little shy. “Seahorse riding,” she clarified.

“Eh?” I blinked.

Sea horse?


My screams echoed across the deep lake, frightening the nearby fish and causing them to flee in terror. All the while, Mia’s joyous laughter was a sharp contrast to my horrified cries.

I knew Amamiya liked roller coasters back on Earth.

But I never expected that part of her to turn into kelpie riding in an alternate universe!

I’d heard of kelpies before, mostly from children’s books, but I laughed them off as one of the sillier looking fantasy creatures. Meeting them in person was an entirely different experience. Their body was covered in blue shining scales, ending in a curled tail. But their head was shaped like a horse, and had a long flowing mane to match. The frightening part, however, was that the creatures towered above me. If they hadn’t been in the water, I’m sure they could have rolled over and crushed me without even noticing I was there.

Thus, holding onto the reigns of my mystical, over-sized seahorse, I tried to push down my fright. The kelpie dove into the lake, plunging me into the waters and causing a foam of bubbles to stream from my mouth. Then, it would leap out again: arcing through the air with grace. Before I could recover, we’d hit the lake once more.

Only the sight of Mia kept me going. Every time her kelpie leapt out of the water, it looked like she was having so much fun. She would let go of the reigns for a moment to raise her hands into the air and cheer: shrieking in both surprise and glee. Her short hair was drenched, sparkles of water shining behind her as she flew through the blue sky. She’d put on a tied-up shirt and shorts for the occasion, looking the very image of summertime. If I could’ve held that picture in my mind forever, I would have.

But then I hit the water again and couldn’t see anything but the murky lake.

Madam Claire’s bird, flying alongside us, suddenly landed on Mia’s head. The invisible bird pecked at Mia’s hair, trying to get her attention.

At last, Mia felt something on her forehead and looked over.

“Mister Roki!” Mia shouted from her kelpie. “Isn’t this fun?!”

She glanced over at my kelpie, then noticed that I wasn’t there.

My kelpie was empty.

“Mister Roki?!” Mia shouted louder. She quickly looked behind her.

There I was, floating in the lake like a dead man, dizzy and about to be sick.



Drifting towards the edge of the lake, I spit water out of my mouth and clambered towards shore. My kelpie had (rather begrudgingly) nudged my body towards safety. The aquatic creatures nuzzled Mia when she swam next to them, but only seemed to scoff at me as I weakly floated past. Mia waved the kelpies off with a smile, watching them descend into the lake.

“I’m so sorry, Roki,” Mia apologized as she stepped onto the warm grass, wringing out her shirt in the evening light. “I didn’t know you couldn’t swim!”

“I didn’t either,” I mumbled, still trying to breathe. I’d been able to swim as a human, but this new body was strange to me. My limbs were too long for comfort, and they responded in a way that my brain didn’t quite comprehend.

I laid there, recovering and watching the orange clouds drift overhead. Mia sat down next to me, pulling her knees close to her chest.

After a few moments, she hid her face in her hands. “I’ve completely ruined our date, haven’t I?”

I pushed myself to a sitting position. “Mia, you haven’t ruined anything,” I assured with a grin. “In fact, I feel like I’m finally getting to know you for the first time.”

Mia peaked an eye out between her fingers.

“Look,” I continued, “I know this would be a lot more convincing if I hadn’t just nearly drowned, and I wasn’t sitting here covered in...lake muck.” I held up my arm, which was currently coated in sticky water-plants. “But I promise you, I’m having a good time.”

“Come on, how is this a good time?” Mia objected, but her tone was light. She was smiling.

A quiet fell between us, as I focused on wiping off the plants. Mia gazed over the shining lake, which was turning red in the light of the setting sun. Seeing her silhouette, part of me wanted to tell her everything: to admit that I knew her once — loved her once — in another world.

But one glance at the shadowy bird that perched by the lakeside, and I thought better of it. Madam Claire shook her read, as if reading my thoughts. This wasn’t the right time, not yet. It would put Mia under too much pressure.

“Mister Roki,” Mia suddenly spoke. “Have we...met before?”

My heart skipped a beat.

She glanced towards me. “You said you felt like you getting to know me for the first time. But that doesn’t make any sense. You are getting to know me for the first time. Right?”

I gulped down a breath. How was I supposed to explain this?

“The way you treat me,” Mia continued, “It’s like I’m talking to an old friend; like someone who’s known me for years. Your marriage didn’t do that on a whim, did you?”

I winced. Was it on a whim? Did I really know Mia, or Amamiya, at all? I still had so much I needed to learn about her, and I didn’t want to ruin that now.

“From that frightened look on your face,” Mia said with a chuckle, “I get the feeling you can’t tell me?”

I nodded silently. “I can’t say just yet, but I promise someday — someday, I’ll tell you everything.”

She let out an exaggerated sigh. “You elves have all these fairytales and secrets about you! Maybe this is simply beyond my understanding,” Mia then grinned with a playfully threatening tone, “but I’m going to keep you to that promise, Mister Roki.”

“I hope you do.”

We both held still for a moment, then ended up laughing. Neither of us could keep up the air of intimidation and suspense.

I offered Mia my hand. “Do you want me to walk you home?”

She took it with a smile. “That would be wonderful.”

During our walk around the lake, we talked about nothing of importance. We exchanged stories about kelpies and horses, and the conversation went from there. The sun set. The stars arrived in the dusty purple sky.

At some point without my notice, Claire’s shadowy familiar stopped following.