At the Beach – Part 3

This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.

“Peering at other people’s aether.”  Scylla cut another piece of fish, forking it into his mouth.  “Seems a bit of an invasion of privacy, Amon!”

She had never met anyone that could see aether. 

Then yet again, she had never quite met an Elezen like Amon.  He had been brought to the Allagan capital for his special abilities as a child.   But for all things he did boast of, he never had told her about his aether-eyes.  

She tilted her head in curiosity as she gave him a swig of the coco-drink.

“So what is it like?” 

“You make it sound like I’m a peeping-tom!” he sputtered, his ears vibrating in slight fluster. “’Tisn’t something I can turn on and off at will!”

Amon crossed his arms somewhat defensively, only to uncross them as she gave him some coco-drink. It was quite tasty.

“Somehow I knew you’d ask that,” the Elezen murmured. “If I had words to describe it, I would. But I don’t. Aether can look different for different things at different times. Like resting aether has this soft, cloudy quality around a person. But when you go to draw on aether to do something, such as cast magic, ‘tis as if ‘tis converted into something that looks very different.”

He looked down and away, at a loss.

“Aether has something like color… but not exactly color… and everyone somehow is absolutely unique in their pattern and…”

Amon then just lifted his hands and dropped them again.

“I see it. But I don’t truly understand what everything I see means. No one was ever able to find me guidance for developing it. Not even in the Tower.” 

“Well, I never heard of such a strange gift, so no doubt that anyone knew how to help you.” Scylla paused. “Even in my advanced studies in the research facility, there was no note of an Elezen with a skill as such.”

Scylla looked at her hands with a sigh.

“So Amon.. if you can see it…”  The white mage looked at the tips of her nails, and gave Amon a contemplative look.

“What does my aether look like?”

Amon tensed, having not expected that question.

But why not? Who wouldn’t want to know what their own aether looked like?

He tried very hard to school his expression into calmness, and it was not working. He could feel his gaze grow more and more intense as he peered at her, struggling to find the words to describe what his eyes showed him, but he had no explanation for.

Was he suddenly anxious? Was his heart starting to beat faster?

Why?

Was he afraid of telling her something she would be disappointed to hear? What did she want to hear?

He didn’t know. Scylla had always been a mystery to him.

He knew how to push her buttons, but didn’t know how to make her happy.

Sitting there staring into her face… into her eyes… he felt a strange heat touch the tips of his ears. Before he knew it, words slipped through his lips.

“’Tis beautiful.”  Tensing again, he quickly stammered to clarify, “The aether..!” 

“Wha….at?”

Scylla reeled back, eyes widening.  It took nearly half a minute for the woman to gain her composure, as she was left staring at him with her mouth open.   

He was really being nice to her.  As far as she knew, he wasn’t under the influence of any drugs, either.  Her expression softened as she gently tugged on his ear.

“Uh…well…”

She wiped his face, and helped him sit up on his lounge chair.  She didn’t know why, but she felt the blood rush to her cheeks, carefully hiding it while fumbling with the fork to cut up the remaining fish.  The sound of the festival parades drew near as acts of fire-breathers and sword-jugglers danced across the sands. 

She gave him a little smile as she put another bite of fish in his mouth.

“Thank you, Max-ears.”

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