Fin Fun presents a mermaid story from Mermaiden Crystal and Mermaiden Serena
It had been two months since I parted ways with the Mermaidens and returned home.
The table next to me held a mountain of newly-formed ice daggers. Sid sauntered a ways off, then turned to face me.
“Crys, can you even hit me from there? I don’t remember your aim being very good—”
I flung a dagger in his direction, soaring right above his head, causing him to shout and duck. “What was that about my aim?” I called.
Sid watched in amazement as the dagger clanked and bounced across the stone floor. His words started slow and gradually became more confident. “I said that you’re lucky you have good aim, but I’m still too fast for you!”
“Uh huh, sure,” I mumbled, grinning, and then called, “Let’s see just how fast you are!”
In rapid succession, I hurled ice daggers at Sid. He dodged, sunk, and threw his body around to avoid each one and pointed his palms at them to melt them with his fire power. While he was busy with that, I crafted thick walls of ice underneath and behind him, eventually closing him in on all sides. He quickly started melting through it, so I swam toward him and forged another dagger in my hand.
He emerged from the ice just as I lunged at him, dagger first. He yelled and grabbed my wrist, using his power at the same time. I shrieked and yanked my arm back.
Sid knelt next to me as I sunk to the floor. “I’m sorry, Crys, I didn’t mean to burn you! You caught me by surprise and I reacted before I could think.” He tenderly took my hand so he could look at my wrist. There were five distinct, red lines where each of his fingers were. I gasped when he touched it. “Sorry. We’ll get you all wrapped up. At least the water is cold here, so it shouldn’t swell too bad.”
“One of the only perks of being in the Arctic Ocean, huh?” I let out a small laugh to lighten the mood.
Sid swam me over to where we kept a first aid kit and started applying an ointment to the burn. His lips twitched with a smile. “Travelling with Snowflake and her orca pod has taken me all over the world to beautiful and fantastic places, but it doesn’t beat the feeling of being home.”
“Really? I was afraid you’d never come back,” I said as he finished tying off the bandage.
He chuckled. “At the time, I didn’t want to. You know how Dad and I are. But coming back made me realize that I like having a merfamily more than an orca one.”
I nudged him. “Don’t let Snowflake here you say that! You’ll break her heart!”
“That wouldn’t be the first…” he mumbled, but he quickly changed the subject. “But anyway, Crys, your power has changed a lot since I left. Is it your gems from the MerCouncil?”
Sid sat and stared at me as my eyes wandered around the complex architecture of our frozen palace. “I think so. Remember when all I did was create ice sculptures? I made one—oh, I wish you could’ve seen it—of a polar bear cub reuniting with her family, and it was beautiful.”
He smiled and wrapped an arm around my shoulder. “I bet it was.”
“But now I feel like I don’t see that beauty anymore. I’ve seen so much evil now that it’s tainted how I view things. I can’t stop thinking about Calisto and how I have to stop her. I don’t think I’ll be able to rest until I do.”
“At least there’s the other Mermaidens. You aren’t doing this alone, you know.”
“I know, but some of them are natural fighters. Mariana, Brynn, and even Waverlee are so tough, and Jia is so brave, and—”
Sid faced me and grabbed my shoulders. “I also remember that it was you who caught Noodles in a block of ice, took care of the bewitched guards in the Mariana Trench, and created the ice weapons the Mermaidens used to defeat Noodles and Calisto. You’ve become so strong, sis!”
I smiled and finally looked him in the eyes. “Thanks, Sid.”
He let go of me and started swimming back to our training area. “Maybe if I train harder, I’ll be as strong as you!”
I gasped and swam after him. “Wait a minute! I’ve only gotten stronger because of the gems from the MerCouncil. Let me give you a few.”
Sid waved me away. “Those were a gift, Crystal. I can’t take those! They weren’t meant for me.”
I quickly pulled three gleaming sapphires from my satchel and held them out to Sid in cupped hands. “Sid, please take them. If you’re going to fight with us, we need your strength.”
“Where would I put them?” he asked. “I’m not going to wear a bedazzled flower in my hair like you.”
I laughed. “What if I made you a belt? And you could keep them in a pocket!”
“I don’t know. I don’t want to take your gems from you.”
I started chasing Sid around the room, the water filled with our laughter. “I have plenty, Sid. Take them!”
Finally, he gave in. “Alright, alright!”
That evening, we sat at a work bench while I pieced together Sid’s new belt. It was navy blue and had several pouches to hold different items. I carefully sewed each piece together while Sid and Pepper watched.
“It’s going to look so good on you!” I exclaimed. “I bet Waverlee will love your sense of style. Just give me the credit, will you?” I sneakily glanced over to him to see if he’d blush, but his reaction was the opposite. He looked away, head down, and nervously flipped his black fluke back and forth.
“About that…” He looked at me with pleading eyes. “Can you help me, Crys? I think I royally messed up.”
I stopped sewing and gave him my full attention. “What do you mean? What happened?”
He sighed and blew bubbles at the ceiling. Pepper swam up, trying to catch them before they popped. He told me about their disagreement back in the Sea of Japan, finishing with, “And then she just swam away! Just because I don’t know what I want in the future doesn’t mean that I don’t know what I want now!”
I had started stitching a pocket onto the belt while I listened, but I stopped to look Sid in his icy blue eyes. “And what do you want right now, Sid?”
His response got caught in his throat, and his cheeks flushed. Clearing his throat, he muttered, “Um, is it warm in here?”
I elbowed him playfully. “We’re in the Arctic, so no, it’s not warm in here. Out with it! What do you want?”
“I…I want to get to know Waverlee better. She’s spunky and playful, and she has goals, unlike some of the other mermaids I’ve talked to. She seems pretty determined to be queen of the Pacific Kingdom, but—”
“But what? I thought you didn’t want to be king here.”
Sid’s words burst out like water from a broken dam. “I don’t know if I want to be king at all! And if things keep going well with Waverlee… I don’t know. We’re too young to be thinking about that anyway. I just want to have fun in the moment, and I think Waverlee’s expecting too much from me right now.”
I pulled Sid into a hug. “It’s okay to not have every detail of your future planned out.” I then let go and continued, “Waverlee likes to have fun too, you know.”
“I know, but—”
“But,” I interrupted, “Waverlee also has insecurities and worries that you don’t know about, and I won’t tell you what they are. I know that she cares a lot about you, and you should apologize.”
“What did I do wrong though?”
I sighed, “I wouldn’t say that you did anything wrong, but maybe she interpreted something you said differently than you intended. I would apologize for the misunderstanding. I don’t think she’s blameless either, but I think if you talk to her, you’ll understand her more.”
Sid playfully slapped my shoulder. “You sound pretty grown up for someone that’s only 17.”
I shrugged him off. “Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I wish you and Waverlee didn’t like each other. I feel like I just got you back, and I don’t want to share you with anyone. You’re my twin; you know me better than anyone else.”
Sid crept closer and got into my face. “Someone sounds a little jellyfish.” He poked and prodded at me until my frown turned into a smile.
I aimed my sewing needle at his nose. “Do you want your belt or not?”
He laughed. “You know I like to poke fun.”
“I know. I’m still jealous though.”
Sid picked me up and spun me around, causing me to drop the belt and needle. “Don’t worry, Crys! Nothing will ever come between the two of us. You’ll always be my closest friend.”
“Alright, I believe you,” I laughed, pushing him away to go pick up the belt again. I held it up to him. “What do you think? Do you like it?”
He grinned and put it around his waist.
“Oh wait!” I grabbed the three sapphires I’d offered him and put them in the smallest pouch. “How does it feel?”
I watched excitement bubble up inside him. “It feels great! But the real question is…” His words trailed off and his grin turned into a devious smile. He gazed at his hands, then aimed his palms behind him and took off like a torpedo. Intense heat erupted from his hands into millions of tiny bubbles that trailed behind him. Pepper tried to follow him, but the bubbles only forced him further behind Sid.
Sid let his momentum carry him back to me. Still grinning and slightly out of breath, he urged, “Hey, trap me in ice again like you did earlier today.”
“Alright,” I said, backing up and holding my hands out. Thick walls of ice encased Sid.
“Ready?” his muffled voice called out to me.
The ice box exploded. Each wall shot away from him, but melted within seconds to avoid harming me or Pepper. Still, Pepper jumped behind me and peered over my shoulder.
Sid hovered, grinning at his hands. “You didn’t tell me how good those gems make you feel!”
I shrugged. “You didn’t ask. Aren’t you glad you have them now?”
His eyes pierced me like one of my ice daggers. “I think I’m ready for Calisto.”
“Good,” a voice boomed from the opposite side of the room. We whirled around to see Father in the archway. “Prince Malik has returned to the MerCouncil and requested our immediate presence.”
The next morning, all of the Mermaidens, MerKings, and MerCouncil members sat together with Prince Malik.
Like MerKing Caspian, Prince Malik appeared to have transformed since the last time I saw him. His scraggly, long hair seemed fuller, shining in the light, and his once gaunt and angled face had color on his cheeks.
“Mermaidens,” he greeted us with a soft smile and nodded in acknowledgment to the others in the room. “As I promised, I’m here with information to help you defeat my wife, specifically with the electric weapons she has. She—”
The door cracked, and Seth’s apprentice popped his head through the doorway. “MerCouncil, Damon would like to join the meeting. He wants to assist the Mermaidens as well.”
Malik’s eyes widened, and the muscles in his shoulders dropped slightly. He looked to the council members with apprehension and waited for their response.
Without hesitation, Seth answered, “Of course. Let him in.”
With his eyes to the ground, Damon entered the room. I briefly saw father and son’s eyes meet, and their faces said it all. It was a combination of despair, shame, and embarrassment, though I believe there was love in Malik’s gaze too.
“Thank you for joining us,” Malik said softly, his smile forming thin lines around his eyes. “Now, Mermaidens, back to my travels. I’ll admit that my memory is fuzzy from Calisto’s many spells, but my tail took me to a beach in the Mediterranean Sea, where I met a group of humans Calisto has associated with for decades.”
“These humans manufactured her electric weapons, and in return, she gave them secrets and power to overcome their enemies. I’ll admit, they weren’t too happy to see me without her as I wanted a lot of information without anything to give. I… lied to them about what I had to offer, actually, and narrowly escaped with my life.”
“Oh my!” Crystal exclaimed.
Malik bowed his head toward her and replied, “But I escaped, didn’t I? I promised Your Highnesses that I’d help you defeat Calisto, and here I am. Now, here’s the secret to disarm her—”
The meeting left me feeling the most hopeful I’d ever felt about the whole Calisto situation. We were so close to ending it! The thought of returning to a peaceful home and seeing Leon again made my heart skip.
But don’t get too far ahead of yourself. We haven’t defeated her yet, I reminded myself.
“Well, I don’t know about you lasses,” Brynn started, “but I’m feeling much more confident about facing Calisto now.”
“Me too!” Zoey exclaimed, and the rest of us quickly agreed.
Destiny added, “And this time, we don’t have to destroy any gems first!”
“We’ve got our own to help us too,” Crystal stated.
Jia looked into her satchel as if reminding herself where she placed hers, and she immediately started digging through it frantically.
“Jia, what’s wrong?” Mariana asked.
Her eyes met ours with terror. “I made sure I had my gems with me when Father and I left, but I can’t find them. I might have misplaced them.”
I rifled through my bag as well, dread spreading through my chest. “I… I can’t find mine either.”
Everyone else grew more distraught as they looked for theirs. No one knew where their gems had gone.
“What happened?” Mariana demanded, looking past all of us and into a hallway. Before we could answer, she dove through the door, quickly unsheathing her knife. “Okay. No one’s spying on us,” she stated before coming back. “But something’s fishy. We all had our gems when we got here, but now they’re gone? We’ll need to investigate because I know we’ve all grown a lot, but I don’t want to face Calisto without them.
We all fervently agreed.
The realization dawned on me, and I quickly turned to Jia. “Do you remember when Chancellor Darek and MerCouncilor Raine told us?”
She bit her lip. “Which part?”
I hushed my voice to say, “The part where Calisto has eyes here. And the part where she said I may have to disguise myself around here.”
The rest of the Mermaidens’ mouths dropped open.
“Sorry, we forgot to tell you.” Jia smiled shyly. “It was right before we left for the Sea of Japan when Calisto attacked.”
“That’s brilliant!” Waverlee exclaimed. “Let me send out some waves to see if they’re still in the castle.”
We all watched as the water ripped through the room and split down the hallway to the different areas of the palace.
None of us moved for several minutes, watching for the slightest disturbance in the water. Finally, the wave came back, and we all watched Waverlee’s surprisingly calm expression.
“They’re here! In the west wing of the palace, on the third floor, through the second door on the left.”
Relieved, we all encircled Waverlee in a group hug.
“Alright,” Brynn said, “Serena, we’ll go all the way there with you. We’ll play games and have fun so no one suspects us and distract anyone nearby so you can get into the room.”
“Good idea,” I laughed nervously. “I’m kind of scared, actually.”
Everyone turned the group hug onto me. “You can do it!” Crystal encouraged. “You’re so good at camouflaging!”
“Okay, let’s do it now before I lose my courage.” I stiffened up, and the girls let me go.
Starting with my fluke and working up to my hair, I enveloped my body in a swirling rainbow until the hues blended to match my surroundings. I kept to the wall as the others adopted loud and boisterous demeanors as they swam down the hall.
Amid the giggles, Zoey turned to Sid. “Hey, remember when we all tackled you out here?” she laughed.
He smirked. “Oh, you mean that time when you didn’t give me a fair chance? I won’t be forgetting anytime soon, Your Highness. Not until I get you back!”
He nudged her elbow and swam closer to Crystal. I thought Waverlee would be close to him, but she wasn’t. In fact, her face flashed pursed lips and glaring eyes before she quickly donned a wide smile and laughed and Brynn’s joke.
Finally, we came to the large hallway that housed the room we were looking for. The water was empty and somewhat cold. Brynn motioned for everyone to stand in front of the door, and she swam a ways away.
“Ready for a game of skittles, mates?” She grinned big as a large ball of light filled her palms.
“Oh, boy,” Jia whispered to Destiny while laughing nervously.
Brynn hurled the glowing ball at the group, and Mariana, who was the centermost pin at the front, braced herself for the impact. As the ball rolled into Mariana’s fluke, it exploded into millions of shards that lit the hallway up brighter than I had seen the sun above the surface. Everyone flew in different directions, giggling as they drifted to the floor.
Brynn threw up her arms in victory and let out a fierce battle cry.
While the light was still bright, the door opened. I swiftly tucked myself into the room without touching the merman in the doorway. I slid along the wall until I had a clear view of everything.
Five MerCouncilors huddled together on the far side of the room, and the sixth growled at the loud merfolks in the hall. “Your Highnesses, please move your seahorseplay to another part of the palace. Some of us have other duties to attend to.”
They were quick to apologize, and the councilor closed the door.
Seth and Ian were the two councilors I knew the names of. Another was the ancient woman that told us previously about Calisto’s picky eating. The other two had rarely spoken up during our meeting.
The one that returned to the door had heavy eyebrows and a dark beard. The other was another old woman with plaited silver hair and sagging eyes.
“Do you think they’ve found us out?” the latter asked the first.
Seth interjected, “Impossible. They don’t have any clues to trace back to us.”
The other woman said, “But what if Darek or Raine said something?”
A chill ran down my spine, and I focused on keeping my breathing low and steady.
Ian rested a hand on her arm. “They know they’ll meet the same end as Aldric if they breathe a word to anyone.”
“Ian is right,” Seth stated. “Besides, none of us is a match for Lady Calisto, so our story was merely a half-truth. You needn’t worry.”
“And what of the gems?” the one with the large eyebrows asked.
My nails were digging into the wall, and I had to remind myself to relax. As I let out a breath, a few bubbles came out. Oh no.
Seth saw the bubbles. He quickly arose, and the others watched him intently. Slower than a sea slug, I inched away as he came close. His nose was maybe half a meter from mine, and he rubbed a hand down the wall.
After a moment, he shrugged and turned away. “It must’ve been my imagination. Forgive me.”
They all nodded as he returned to his seat.
Seth continued. “The Mermaidens will certainly be on the hunt for their gems when they discover that they’re missing, but the ruckus in the hall shows that they’re too busy being kids to notice. If the tide’s in our favor, they won’t notice until they come face to face with Lady Calisto.”
“Because I’m the youngest,” Ian added, “I should be the one to take the gems to her. I can swim swiftly for long periods of time and get them to her faster than anyone else.”
They nodded again.
“It’s settled then,” Seth said, placing a hand on Ian’s shoulder. “Ian will leave at midnight with the gems while the others are asleep. By the time the Mermaidens awake, they’ll be in Lady Calisto’s hands. Ian, keep the gems in here and lock the door behind you when we leave. Keep the key on your person at all times. I doubt any of those kids will come meddling around here again, but this is just to be safe.”
They each bowed to each other and murmured, “For Lady Calisto and her vision,” before getting up and leaving the room.
I waited an achingly long time—I’m not sure how many minutes passed—before I released my magic and slid to the floor. I was cold and clammy, and my breaths were fast and heavy.
The council is behind this… The council is working with Calisto. I can’t believe it. They’ve been on her side this whole time!
I whispered to myself to gather my thoughts. “So I’ll take the gems, return them to their owners, and tell Chancellor Darek and MerCouncilor Raine! We have to stop this!”
I hurriedly shoved the pouch with all our gems into my bag. Thankfully, the door didn’t lock from the inside, and I disguised myself as I peeked down the hall. Empty, thank Poseidon.
I barreled down the hallway and through the palace, colors flying off of me as my disguise wore off. After a few minutes, I ran right into Destiny, knocking her back into Waverlee, and they both fell to the ground.
Their eyes were wide as they looked at my face, no doubt seeing panic written all over it. The others in our group rushed over.
Before they could say anything, I breathlessly commanded, “To Darek and Raine. Now.”
They flanked my sides as we tore down the halls again, causing a few assistants to dive out of the way. I’d normally feel bad, but this was crazy. I thought I was scared facing Calisto, but knowing she had this powerful force backing her was even scarier. The MerWorld as I knew it would crumble if we didn’t end this right now.
Jia waved the guards aside as we approached Darek and Raine’s room. I shoved my way through the door to see MerCouncilor Seth and MerKing Murdoch before Darek’s bed. The water was tense, but our loud intrusion caught them off guard.
MerKing Murdoch spoke up first. “Lasses, what are you—”
I interrupted by pointing an accusing finger at MerCouncilor Seth. “Your Majesty, the MerCouncil has committed the highest degree of treason by serving the sea witch, Calisto.”