The group made their way back to camp, not wanting to risk exploring the island until they had some counter-measures in case of another female Selkie. Fang greeted them as they approached, hovering to Twila’s shoulder.
“How embarrassing,” Axra said. “I can’t believe I let myself get charmed like that.”
“I’m so sorry, Bon,” Lysara cried, her arms were wrapped tightly around Bonnie. “You’re the only one I love but I…”
“Don’t worry,” Bonnie said. “It was out of your control.”
“It’s just fortunate that you three were immune,” Twila said. “Otherwise who knows what might have happened.”
“That’s true enough,” Axra said. “Way to go, Lilly!”
“I… I think I was only… you know, not affected because of…” Lilly reached up and touched the bandage that covered her eyes. “Because I… can’t be attracted to someone just based on their voice.”
“I’ve only ever found one person attractive,” Bonnie admitted.
“Really?” Lysara asked. “Wow, I’m so lucky!”
“The important thing is that we avoid it happening again,” Velvet muttered. “Don’t wanna have to fight you three again.”
“If Axra, Lysara and I all fill our ears with something that’ll block the sound then we should be able to avoid getting thralled,” Twila said. “I could also do a sound blocking spell, but this way isn’t vulnerable to counter-spells or anything like that.”
“Do you have everything you need to make something like that?” Bonnie asked.
“Of course,” Twila said. “It’s all in my bag, but first let’s treat that burn.”
“No rush,” Velvet said. “Doesn’t even hurt.”
“That’s because it’s a really bad burn,” Twila stated. “If we don’t get it treated quickly then things are not going to go well. In fact, we should get you to a cleric after we’re done with our mission. Assuming the war between the Gods and Titans has ended and we can find one.”
“It’s cool,” Velvet muttered. “I already washed it.”
“Gonna need to do considerably more than that,” Twila said.
Velvet sat down obediently while she treated the injury as best she could.
“I… I’m so sorry,” Lilly muttered. “If… if it wasn’t for me… because of me…” She trailed off, weeping quietly.
Axra sat beside her, putting a gentle arm around Lilly. “It’s not your fault. Everyone who came here chose to be here. You, Bonnie, Velvet, Lysara, Twila and me all chose to come here and search for the staff.”
“B… but if I… If Gail hadn’t fallen for me. Then none of this would be happening,” Lilly whispered. “F… for my sake Bonnie’s arm… Velvet’s back… it’s all my fault.”
“Pull yourself together!” Bonnie declared. “I didn’t come here for you. I didn’t get my arm hurt because of you. I came here because I wanted an adventure. My arm was injured because I decided to go off on my own and I was careless when investigating the route. Because of you I don’t have to do this on my own and I have strong comrades who can support me and fight by my side.”
“I came to find treasure so I can retire young,” Velvet added. “Course, I would’ve wandered around in the labyrinth until I starved since I couldn’t have gotten down here without magic.”
“See?” Axra asked. “Everyone chose to come here for their own reasons. So don’t blame yourself. We’ll get the staff and we’ll return to the surface where all three of you will be fixed up good as new.”
“Axra… everyone… thank you,” Lilly muttered.
“I’ve done all I can,” Twila said. “I had to graft an artificial skin over the wounded area to keep his back protected, but it should hold until we can get him proper help.”
“Do we go back to searching the island for a way into the temple?” Axra asked.
“No,” Twila said. “I’ve got a better idea.”
“You’ve thought of a way to extend the waterfolk transformation spell?” Bonnie asked.
“No,” Twila answered. “But there is an easier spell that should last long enough for us to get through the temple.”
“You don’t have to show off how amazing you are,” Axra said. “Just tell us.”
“It’s simple,” Twila said. “I’ll give the four of us gills. We won’t be able to maneuver as well, but we should still be able to get into the temple and get out if we’re careful.”
“Four?” Axra asked.
“Well, we can’t take Velvet,” Twila said. “Gods only know what the water would do to his graft. We can’t take Lilly either. Her bandage would come right off. They’ll have to stay back here and guard the camp.”
“I… it’s fine,” Lilly said. “I… I don’t need the bandage.”
“Yes, you do,” Twila said. “It’s protecting your eyes from further damage.”
“Th… then I don’t need eyes!” Lilly yelled. “L… let them be damaged.”
“We can’t leave her behind,” Axra said.
“Axra… you too?” Twila asked. “This is her vision we’re talking about.”
“I know,” Axra said. “I don’t want her to go blind either, but I also know Lilly. She’s shy, but unexpectedly stubborn when it comes to stuff like this. If we leave her behind now she’ll always resent it. The three of us are going to be together for a long time after this and we don’t need that hanging over us.” She and Twila gazed into each other’s eyes for a moment.
“I understand,” Twila said. “I’ll find a way to make a bandage that’ll be fine even underwater. Then the five of us can go.”