Fin Fun presents a mermaid story from Mermaiden Crystal
I settled into the seat next to my father, MerKing Orion, as the council reassembled. He turned his somber gaze onto me and asked, “Where did you and the Mermaidens go during lunch?”
His long, dark hair gently waved in the water, sometimes hiding one of his eyes from my view. He had several silver strands at his temples that perfectly matched mine and Sid’s.
I averted my eyes when I responded. “Oh, we were wandering the halls. We’ve been here so much recently, but we realized we’ve never even explored the whole palace!”
Dad moved his eyes to watch the gathering council, the corners of his mouth turning up slightly. “Do be careful,” he urged. “I know you’re getting older and are becoming your own person, but your mother and I would be devastated if anything happened to you or Obsidian.”
Everyone had finally arrived and were taking their seats. MerKing Takumi and Jia slipped through the doors last. Their eyes looked tired and strained. Oh Poseidon, I hope their kingdom is safe.
Dad placed a firm hand on my back, and I shifted my focus back to him. “Don’t worry, Dad. I’ll be careful.”
He allowed himself a small smile and patted my back. “Good.”
The meeting started with one MerCouncilor announcing that each apprentice had been summoned back from their travels and would be arriving within the next 24 hours. It seemed a bit odd to me that all of them happened to be gone at the same time, but the topic changed before I could think about it more.
The council member then asked for MerKing Takumi’s report. He stood, hands clasped behind his back, and let out a sigh before speaking. “I’ve informed my wife of the current situation and sent our soldiers back to the Sea of Japan. They need the protection more than I do.”
MerKing Brock spoke up. “Nothing has happened, I presume? Everyone is currently safe?”
Takumi nodded. “Thus far, nothing has changed. However, my people are now on the lookout for any suspicious behavior. I will inform the council of additional news when it arises.”
He sat and MerKing Murdoch stood. “Now, MerCouncilor Seth, please share your story. How did Calisto escape?”
Seth came forward. “While some of our memories are fuzzy, we’ve determined that Calisto escaped three days ago. According to MerKing Delmar, this was the same day Mermaiden Serena came across the human contest to capture a mermaid. This is why we were unavailable when he tried to reach us. However, there’s information we must share prior to her escape to paint the full picture for you.”
There was a brief pause. I saw many of the councilors and royalty in the room shift in their seats and settle themselves for a long story. I even felt myself sinking deeper into my clamshell seat and folding my arms across my chest.
The MerCouncil was intrigued when the Mermaidens told us that Calisto was using five gemstones during their first battle. We asked her during our interrogation where the stones had come from, but she refused to tell us. However, we know that MerCouncilors Darek and Raine presented each of the Mermaidens with precious stones that enhanced their powers. Perhaps these gems have the same source, but we don’t have evidence to support that claim yet.
It was this knowledge and Calisto’s refusal to cooperate that led to our sending out our apprentices to inquire after the Mermaidens’ gems. We assumed that it was likely she would take their gems to replenish her loss, so we are grateful to know now that the Mermaidens’ gems are safe.
Before questioning Calisto further, we asked Prince Malik for additional information. For someone who married her, he had very little information. It seems that his memories are fuzzy after being under her spell for so long.
However, Malik was able to remember some of Calisto’s old contacts, some of which are human. We gave him leave to travel the seas to find those contacts and bring the information back to us. That’s why the Prince isn’t here with us today. We hope he will return soon, but we also recognize that it may take some time. It’s a dangerous quest, after all.
We decided to keep Calisto in the fortress until Malik returned. We then decided to question Damon, since he had easily infiltrated the MerCouncil and used his influence to aid Calisto. He’s a bright young man. Not many children performed as well as he did when the council tested children from each kingdom to select the next generation of apprentices.
My eyes had gone out of focus while listening, but hearing Seth talk about Damon brought me back. I looked to the side of the room where Damon stood between two Carribean Kingdom soldiers, shoulders slumped like before.
My heart went out to him. Sure, the relationship between Sid and my father had been strained for several years now, but they always loved each other. Damon didn’t have that. How lonely he must have felt! His strong attachment to MerCouncilor Aldric came because he was the first person to show him love and kindness.
Damon lifted his head slightly to as least acknowledge that Seth was talking about him. His face was blank, eyes staring past the council, perhaps deep in thought.
Oh, I should pay more attention! I scolded myself and tore my eyes away from Damon.
Damon had little to share during our questioning as well. We wanted to know where MerCouncilor Aldric had gone after his illness and disappearance, but Damon supposedly only knows that Calisto took him. Sadly, we have likely assumed correctly that he is no longer living. Under normal circumstances, Damon would have become the next council member, but his criminal activity led us to choose another apprentice, Ian, to fill Aldric’s place.
Seth gestured to the youngest merman in their group, who had sandy blonde hair and a vivid green tail. He turned up the corners of his mouth ever so slightly, then dropped his gaze to the floor and allowed Seth to keep speaking.
The next day, we gathered to question Damon again. Instead of meeting all the way down here, we had been using a large room close to the fortress. It allowed Damon and Calisto less time out in the open when they’d have better odds of escape.
Seth lowered his eyes for a moment as he remembered everything that had happened.
Looking back now, we should have never taken Damon from his cell while our apprentices were gone. We are vulnerable and unskilled in combat, and doing this by ourselves was costly.
As MerCouncilors Ian and Raine escorted Damon past Calisto’s cell, she cackled and cast a spell. I was down the hall, outside the meeting room and witnessed everything. A shadow passed over Damon’s face and he suddenly had the strength to break his bonds. His body grew—at least three times his normal size—and his eyes were as yellow flames. He attacked MerCouncilor Raine, and his fist sent her flying through the water until she hit the wall. Bubbles escaped her mouth as the impact emptied her lungs.
Ian swam as fast as he could toward me, but Damon caught him by the end of his tail. Damon threw him down the hall and he crashed into me and knocked me to the ground. The rest of the councilors heard the commotion and poured out of the room, stopping with mouths agape at the sight.
We didn’t know how to fight him, but we tried. We swarmed him and tried to push him back to his cell, but he wasn’t interested in us. He ignored us and turned to his mother’s cell. He broke the cell lock with brute strength and Calisto came out as smug as she could be.
We all hesitated as we were unsure what she would do next—everyone except Chancellor Darek. He demanded Calisto and Damon stop and swam toward them, hand outstretched. Without a command from Calisto, Damon hit him on the head and knocked him out. The water around him became murky as his head wound bled.
Calisto caught the rest of us in a dark vortex full of purple bubbles that spun faster and faster. I remember bumping into others as we spun. Several times, someone’s fingers caught hold of my robes or my fin for a brief moment before the whirlpool ripped them away. It didn’t take long for my vision to fade, and I passed out.
MerCouncilor Seth paused for a moment to let out a sigh. “When we awoke, we were locked up in the rooms where you found us. It’s just as much a surprise to us that Damon is still here. We had assumed he’d be with Calisto.”
I realized that my hands were covering my open mouth. It’s horrible, I thought. How did we not think something like this would happen? Why did we leave Calisto all alone with the council?
MerKing Murdoch nodded to Seth and then addressed the room. “I think I speak for the rest of the kingdoms when I express our deepest apologies. We will right the wrongs of Calisto and bring peace to the seas once again.” He then turned to Damon. “Alright, laddie, it’s your turn. Does the council speak the truth? Did you free your mother from her cell and injure the MerCouncil?”
Damon lifted his eyes to meet MerKing Murdoch’s. I was expecting hardness from Damon, but his eyes and words were soft. “MerCouncilor Seth is telling you the truth. I am an accomplice to my mother’s crimes.”