The four Islanders all exclaimed excitedly at the sight of the beach and wasted no time in following suit after Katsuke and Etain.
Eolin helped Joshua pull on his trunks over his underwear, before doing the same for himself. Both boys shed their shirts and trousers and hurried after Katsuke. Bandit also stripped down to his garments and pulled on a thick bodysuit. Glimbo remained fully clothed on the shore sitting on a short grassy ledge over the water to casually dip his feet in while soaking up the radiant afternoon sun. Sariah ducked behind some trees to change into a two-piece swimsuit, draping a couple of large blankets over the branches for privacy.
As she stored her pinafore, shift dress, and sash in her pack, she saw Jurou climbing onto the cliff to keep a lookout perch. She sighed to herself. "Oh, I hope he'll come down and swim eventually. I'm sure he will find that it's perfectly safe here." She shed her undergarments, slipped on her swimsuit, and pulled down the blankets, rushing enthusiastically into the water.
Eolin cried out as Katsuke playfully dunked him into the water facefirst. He spluttered and wriggled himself out of the fiery red fox's grip, laughing like a little child, genuinely happy and energetic. Bandit barely had a second to protest before Katsuke straight dunked him as well. Joshua scooped up water in his paws and splashed both Etain and Katsuke in small bursts of waves in "retaliation" for dunking his cousin and best friend.
"Githin Ginien!" Bandit shouted his Island's battle cry, grabbed Joshua from behind, and hoisted him into the air. He leaped backward and flopped into the water, bringing the ecstatic Joshua down with him. They surfaced immediately and began to wade into the deeper parts of the beach, treading water up to their shoulders.
Eolin came up behind Sariah and affectionately put his paws on her shoulders. She reached up and wrapped her arms around his neck, leaning into him and stroking his cheek affectionately.
"Will you swim with us, sweetheart?" Eolin asked, his massages gentle and soothing.
Sariah nodded and raised her head to kiss Eolin on his other cheek. "Mmm...Yes, I will, dear cousin, don't worry." She looked up at Jurou on the cliffside, still unmoved on his perch. "I'm worried about Rouki, though," she admitted sympathetically. "I don't want him to miss out on the fun. I pray that he'll come to share in it, too." She sighed contently and closed her eyes, relaxing her aching muscles in her cousin's loving touch.
Eolin kissed her back and nodded in understanding. "I'm worried about him, too, Sari. Be patient. He'll come around when he feels ready." He lowered his voice to a small tender whisper and cuddled Sariah close. "You've been doing so much walking, running, climbing up and jumping through trees over the past few days, my lady. You're exhausted. You deserve a long sweet break now."
After another minute, he finished his therapeutic treatment of Sariah's weary muscles and let her go. She turned to face him and laid her paws on his chest, giggling merrily and playfully pecking him on the nose. Eolin suddenly crouched down in the water and cupped some in his paws to trickle it down Sariah's legs.
"Eek! Eolin!" Sariah recoiled with a playful giggle.
"Come on, sweetie!" Eolin laughed heartily and stood back up to beckon her into the water. "What are you waiting for? Let's swim together!"
Sariah smirked in amusement and shrugged nonchalantly. "All right. You asked for it!" She tackled Eolin martial artist-style into the shallow water. Getting to her feet first, she helped him to his and turned to leave the water. Finding the base of the cliff where Jurou was, she climbed all the way up with ease, then found and sat beside him.
"Hello, you handsome ferret," she greeted Jurou with a tender smile, dripping from head to toe in her soaked two-piece water-wear. "I'm surprised you're not coming into the water with us." She adjusted her suit and placed a gentle paw on Jurou's tunic. "Is everything well with you, darling brother? Do you want to talk about it?"
Eolin smoothed out his short wavy brown-white hair and walked up to Etain, his svelte hickory-brown and pure white body drenched to the skin but glistening in the glowing sunlight. He smiled at the arctic vixen with the hint of a teasing smirk, and placed his paws on his hips, puffing out his chest a bit. "Still think I'm a pretty dekka boy, Etain?"