After another bout of coughing and sputtering, her lips were released. Then Ripple flipped her index finger, and the two of them, surrounded by the obedient vines, dropped. They hit the water with a giant cannonball splash. Luckily for Eaglette, the vines protected her belly on the way down, preventing her from doing a painful belly flop.
Once the lapping water rose above Eaglette’s head, she had another great concern. She was underwater, and she knew it would be dangerous to stay that way for long. She fought to hold her breath, but a tickle in her throat made her want to cough again, and inhale deeply. She resisted, but it was torturous.
Ripple watched her, the water giving her a fuzzy ethereal sheen. She smiled suddenly and giggled. Eaglette wasn’t sure what was so funny, but with her lungs burning from holding her breath, she didn’t appreciate any kind of humor.
“Let the air out, my captive intruder. I have given you the ability to breathe underwater.” Ripple’s voice was clear even under the water.
Eaglette couldn’t stand the pressure building in her lungs any longer. She let out her breath in a gag. Water rushed in, filling her nose and mouth, and for a brief terrifying moment, she worried that Ripple had lied, and this was her final breath. True to her word, however, the guardian kept her promise. The first shuddering mouthful of water went down into her lungs just like air. She breathed, just like normal, except that she was now, quite surprisingly, breathing water.
“The effects will only last a day or two, but that gives me plenty of time to torture you… I mean receive payment for the last two fish.” Ripple was smug. “Don’t worry, you can still go topside, and breath air, just not until I’m finished with you.”
“How has this happened?” Eaglette questioned. Her own voice sounding stronger and clearer than she would have expected.
“Magic, silly,” replied Ripple. “I am a powerful gate guardian, so don’t you forget it. You are at my mercy, and you would do well to remember that fact. Now stop struggling, I want payment for my second fish.”
Eaglette was not even aware that she had been struggling, but once again the vines had grown tight around her limbs, pulling painfully. She took a deep breath, if that’s what you could call it underwater, and relaxed her aching muscles. As before, the vines eased when she stopped struggling, letting circulation flow back into her extremities.
Ripple lifted off the vines, swimming gracefully in the water which surrounded her. If Eaglette thought the guardian was beautiful above the water, she was absolutely stunned by the grace and beauty she took on in her natural element.
That wonder was diminished slightly when Ripple swam around to the hunter’s nether regions and started poking at her butt cheeks.