“Didn’t you plan on this?” he snarled, yanking his fin away from her when she reached out to him, her eyes showing the torment she was feeling. A moan bubbled out of her throat.
“I don’t… I don’t know what you mean… Please, Ambrose, whatever you did to me”—her voice cracked and she gasped for breath—“make it stop.”
His mouth lifted into a sneer, even as his chest began to thump with sorrow. He could sense the pounding of her heart, and didn’t know whether to attribute it to the fact that she was possibly lying to him, or just going through the agonizing transformation.
Her eyes reddened and she lifted a hand to her cheeks, as if searching for tears.
She choked on a sob and covered her face. “It hurts. Take it away…”
If she really were with the gods, she would not be feeling this. They contained the powers to heal at will, and it took an enormous amount of damage to make them feel pain like she was.
Ambrose crept forward, reaching out a hand, eyes narrowed. Mari had shown real concern for him in the cave, had stayed when Ceto had appeared, and had helped him to the water. It might all be an act—she could have easily taken Ceto if the goddess had spotted her, if Mari really were of the gods—but he sensed that Mari was true at heart, more than any person he had met before.
She grasped his hand, breathing a sigh of relief before her body seized up, her shoulders bunching behind her and as a heart-wrenching whimper burst from her throat.