He had promised he would wait.
And so he waited.
And waited, and waited, and waited.
He would idly swim along the shoreline, hoping to see her shape on the horizon, swimming towards him. When he got tired, he would retreat to the rocky beach. Before he would sleep, before the sun dipped below the horizon he would light lanterns, hoping she would see them. They were set all over the rocks, covering as much distance as he could possibly manage.
Years past, and he began to age. It became more and more difficult to continue swimming every day. But he had promised. So he called upon the sea witch.
She came. And she made him a deal, one that he had warily accepted. She gave him a seashell that he tied around his neck. He became young again. And he would remain that way until he found his love. In return, he became a servant of the sea witch, for her to call upon whenever she needed him.
So he continued to search the shoreline, search the horizon, his hope never wavering. The years passed and he was slowly claimed as one of the sea’s own. The sea witch would return occasionally, requesting that he do odd tasks for her. He always complied. He had no choice.
One day, the sea witch came with news. Against all odds, she had found his love. Upon hearing this, his heart soared. But- she said- she would only reunite them for a steep price. Eternal servitude and nothing less, but they would be together.
Barely even considering the offer, he accepted. The sea witch took the shell she had given him all those years ago in her hands, and it glowed briefly. She smiled at him, and disappeared into the depths of the ocean.
That evening, as the sun was just hovering near the horizon, the sky a mix of pinks and oranges and purples, he saw her. Just a pair of horns at first, swimming in his direction. He swam to intercept her.
As he held her in his arms, he felt the seashell that she had tied around her neck, just like his. He realized now the gravity of his agreement. They no longer had their freedom. But they had one another, and that was all that mattered.
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