Much to the delight of the three frogs, the fisherman
keeled over. A single drop fell from the small hole in
his forehead and landed in the water; through the mystic
well, his beloved felt his pain. Her face appeared on the
surface for a flickering instant and the fisherman saw
her heart break as neatly as an icicle snapping off a roof.
He felt water leaking down his face, though he never
wept. The shell he had made for his heart fell apart like
shattered glass and he collapsed. At the very instant that
his dark mask melted away like ice held over a fire, his
lips touched the mystic water, a kiss for the vision of his
beloved, a vision which rippled at once into his own
reflection, midnight water flowing upwards, coalescing,
melting ice in reverse.
When he pulled away, the dark mask was forged
anew, hard as ice though never frozen, strong as iron.
The three frogs jumped off the tower.
The Spirit of the Sea had been right all along—the
fisherman could not change anything. There is hope, his
beloved had told him not so long ago. It was a lie.