We arrived in Ceder early yesterday morning. Mel covered for me as I made a speedy exit alone towards Jas's port. When I reached it, he was awaiting me. "My ship is leaving this evening," he said, "So can I stay with you and your family?" He seemed so desperate to escape the ship. I asked him if we could go swimming, instead of answering the question. He told me he had no swimsuit., so we went wading, although he seemed stressed. I told him to remove his ring, and he would never go back to the ship again. To my infinite surprise he refused. I said, "Watch me, and believe what you see. Then take off your ring, for it does what mine does." I waded out a bit farther, then slipped off my ring, and returned to being mer. My purple tail is strong, and it held me up from the seabed.
His eyes bulged. He stared at his ring, then the one already on its seaweed-coral chain around my neck. Slowly, ever slowly, he slid off the ring. He dropped into the sea, his tail a shimmering blue. He could not use it like I used mine. He stared at the beautiful tail emerging from his body, then jammed his ring back on, and sprinted away. I looked at the destination
chart in port before I left. Good. His next port coincided with my next town. I will see him again, whatever HE thinks!