Fin Fun presents a mermaid story from Mermaiden Brynn, Mermaiden Jia, and Mermaiden Mariana
The whole lot, Mermaidens, MerKings, MerCouncil assistants, and other mers I didn’t know, had gathered in the MerCouncil room, royalty and assistants sitting at the table and others in the balcony seats above. It also seemed that MerCouncilors Seth and Ian were going to get a verbal lashing as they sat, surrounded by guards against the wall. Father stood and addressed the room.
“I welcome each of you to this meeting, despite the circumstances. With traitorous actions from the MerCouncil, the MerKings have decided to appoint a new council comprising two mers from each kingdom. Each mer has endured a rigorous interview process and background check, so with the utmost confidence, we present each member to you.”
He sat, and I rubbed his arm, whispering, “Well said, da’.”
MerKing Takumi arose. “Former MerCouncilors Seth and Ian, please come forward.” They moved forward until they reached the end of the table. “Each MerKing commends Seth and Ian for their bravery in the face of evil and their protection of Chancellor Darek and MerCouncilor Raine.”
Oh, right. After we left the Mediterranean Sea and came back to the palace, we learned that Seth and Ian had acted as double agents in their work with Calisto. They kept Darek and Raine safe while the others wanted to finish Calisto’s job, convincing them to save them for Calisto’s wrath and focus on other tasks. That’s why they left the gems in a locked room for us to rescue. But by that point, the rest of the council was starting to suspect them, which is why Calisto still got her hands on one of each gem.
“Chancellor Darek and MerCouncilor Raine are retiring from their positions but would like to train the next members of the council. So without further ado, Seth, the eight kingdoms of the sea appoint you Chancellor.”
Claps echoed around the room, but MerKing Takumi continued. “Ian, we appoint you MerCouncilor.”
He appointed each new council member with rounds of applause. After the thirteenth member’s appointment, a wizened merman with long, white curls from my home sea, we waited to see who the final member would be.
“Finally, for his dedication to the MerWorld, strength in difficult circumstances, and adoration and following of the late MerCouncilor Aldric, Damon of the Mariana Trench, we appoint you MerCouncilor.”
What? Damon didn’t tell us beforehand, so we stared at each other in amazement before hopping out of our seats and clapping louder than anyone else in attendance. Dad gave me a wee nudge, and before I knew it, we were surrounding Damon.
“Congrats, lad,” I called above the noise and slapped him on the back.
“Thank you,” he smiled.
A deep voice boomed above the applause. MerKing Orion announced, “The former council’s trial will be held next week. However, today is a day of celebration, so we invite you all to join us for a ball at sunset.”
The noise only grew louder in response. Waverlee’s pink tail fought through the crowd and gathered the Mermaidens together. “Let’s go get ready! I can do everyone’s makeup!” She squealed.
I laughed. “Alright, lass, but not anything that’s going to clash with my hair!”
We swam to the ballroom together full of giggles. I playfully elbowed Mariana’s arm. “So… are you going to dance with Amani tonight?”
She groaned in mock annoyance. “You all keep trying to make this splash happen. Just because we get along doesn’t mean I like him!”
Everyone giggled. “I don’t know,” Destiny joked, “Maybe you should dance with him tonight and see what happens!”
She waved us off as we approached the doors to the hall. Waverlee made us stop and turned her adoring eyes onto all of us. “We haven’t had fun like this in a while, so let loose, ladies!” She swam in a spiral and left us all in the dust.
Zoey chuckled and looked over at me as we were the last to enter the ballroom. “How much do you wanna bet she dances with Sid all night?”
I laughed, but then my eyes locked onto Finn. I had no idea he’d be here! Our eyes met, and he waved. I broke eye contact with him and replied to Zoey, “Maybe you’re just hoping you have someone to dance with all night!” With a daring smile back at her, I beelined it to Finn.
“Finn, I didn’t know you’d be here!” I beamed widely and threw my arms around him in a quick hug.
“MerKing Murdoch invited me while you were out saving the MerWorld,” he responded, then quickly added, “You’re wearing the starfish I made for you! I told you I wouldn’t forget.”
“And neither will I! Your face when the starfish smacked you between the eyes is burned into my memory forever!”
We had made our way over to the food table, and he handed me a seaweed cake. “Forever, huh?” he teased. “I hope we’ll laugh about it for the rest of our lives.”
Confused, I said, “Well, yeah. You’re my best friend!”
He had drifted closer to me. “Maybe something more one day too,” he said softly and leaned down to kiss the top of my head.
I felt my face turning as red as my hair, so I continued to munch on my cake and desperately tried to think of something to change the subject.
“Hey, look at that!” I exclaimed after I swallowed my last bite, grabbing Finn’s hand. “Zoey’s dancing with Aiden after all.” Her light brown hair drifted around her as they waltzed in slow circles along to the live orchestra with reed pipes and kelp string instruments.
Finn positioned himself in front of me, bowed, and offered his hand. “May I have this dance, Brynn?”
I placed my hand in his. “Of course, Finn.”
As we spun around the dance floor, we laughed every time our tails hit each other. “Sorry, I’m not a good dancer.”
Finn laughed, “Maybe not, but I always have an adventure and a good laugh with you!”
We waltzed around the room so we could greet all the other Mermaidens and their dance partners.
Waverlee and Sid seemed locked in a serious conversation—Sid was apologizing for something—so we moved on pretty quick.
Zoey was covered in bandages while her burns healed, but I could still see that she was bright red as she danced with Aiden. We playfully bumped into them, and she seemed grateful to talk to us for a moment.
Serena and Leon were making googly eyes at each other, but when I teased her in passing, she flicked a splotch of yellow onto my tail and laughed.
Crystal was dancing with a merman I’d never seen before, but she was actually talking more than normal, and he was listening intently.
Mariana was dancing with Amani, and when I gave her a look, she rolled her eyes at me.
“Live a little, will ya!” I hollered as we danced away.
Destiny was dancing with a mer I didn’t recognize, but when the song ended, she made a request of the orchestra and started singing along for everyone.
Jia and Damon were dancing together, somewhat awkwardly I admit, when Destiny’s song started. I gave her a wide smile and a big thumbs up as we passed, and she hurriedly returned her gaze to Damon.
“You and the other Mermaidens are pretty close,” Finn observed.
“Oh, you know, saving the world really does that to you,” I laughed.
“I hope we can all get together one day so I can get to know them.”
“That would be a blast! That’s a brilliant idea, Finn!”
“Brynn,” Finn stopped dancing and grabbed both of my hands.
I glanced over and, thankfully, saw my father in a deep conversation with MerKing Francisco.
“I’ve liked you for a long time, so after we return to the Celtic Sea, can I take you on a date?” His hands were shaky, but his voice was strong. I thought my chest would explode.
“Of course! I… I like you too, Finn.”
His smile quickly grew, and he drew me into a hug. As I started to pull back, I barely had time to think before Finn’s face was right in front of mine and he kissed me.
In shock, I floated for a moment. Behind me, I could hear Waverlee whooping and calling out my name. Face red and beaming ear to ear, I grabbed Finn’s hand and turned to wave back.
Destiny sang a truly lovely song, though to be honest, I didn’t hear all of it. I was surprised when Damon asked me to dance, but talking to him was easier than I thought.
“So did you always know that you had a power?” I asked.
His deep blue eyes met mine for a moment before they flitted around the room to observe his surroundings. “No. As a child, I remember throwing tantrums and my parents getting really mad. Looking back now, I think that’s why they distanced themselves from me. My emotions were always strong and difficult to control, so they stayed away to keep themselves unaffected by me. However, the neglect only made my emotions stronger and angrier.”
“I see. I’m sorry you went through that.” I gave him a caring smile.
“Don’t be. When I came to the council and met Aldric, I’m sure I was a difficult child, but he taught me patience and love. For years, I actually felt normal. And perhaps Aldric became attached to me because he felt how deeply I cared for him.”
His body stiffened as he thought of his mentor, but he relaxed after a minute.
“Well, Damon, what you did back there—when we were fighting Calisto—was incredible. I didn’t think that such a power could do that.”
“Under normal circumstances, I don’t think I could have. But with Mariana’s pearl, I was not only able to push my emotions onto others, but I could pull other’s deep-rooted emotions out. But look at what you did! You took those emotions and flashbacks and displayed them in the gem’s shards.”
My eyes widened. “Oh, that wasn’t me! I only used my power to calm her and stop the spasms.”
“Then who…” Damon’s voice drifted off as his eyes met mine, and we slowed our dance to a stop.
I returned his thoughtful gaze. “Perhaps it was Calisto?”
“Maybe she wanted to show us her past so we could see why she did what she did.”
“Her past… It’s just as your father, Prince Malik, told us. The secret to defeating her was her past. I didn’t know what that meant at first, but I assumed we’d have to interrogate her. In reality, you were the secret, Damon. You’re the only one who could have defeated her.”
Destiny’s song ended, and we moved off the dance floor. “Do you miss her?” I asked.
He shrugged. “I can’t miss what I never had, Mermaiden Jia. But I’m sad about what our relationship could have been. I may never have a proper mother, but—” his eyes crossed the room to his father who was conversing with MerKing Caspian, “—I finally have the chance to make amends with my father.”
I put my hand on his shoulder. “You’re going to make a great MerCouncilor, Damon.”
As I dropped my hand, he caught it in his. “Thank you. With all my heart, thank you.”
The ball drew to a close, and the other Mermaidens, Sid, Damon, and I swam the halls together.
“So,” Zoey started, “We all leave for home in the morning. What’re all of your plans?”
Serena was the first to speak. “I’ve missed out on so much school that I’ll probably spend a year catching up!”
“Same,” Waverlee groaned.
“Okay, yeah,” Zoey waved her hand, “We’ve all got studying to do besides Mariana and Damon. What else though?”
“I’ll go back to guiding ships,” Brynn stated.
“I’m going to work on my ice sculpture gallery!” exclaimed Crystal. “I form my art from my memories, and I have so many great memories with you all that I can easily fill an entire art exhibit!”
“There’s a rumored treasure in the Caribbean Sea, and Frank and I really want to find it,” Destiny smiled.
“I’m surprised he let you come here alone!” said Zoey.
“Well, I didn’t give him a choice,” Destiny laughed.
I went next. “My garden has been depleted due to healing everyone’s injuries, so I’m going to cultivate it and research new ways to treat the mers in my kingdom.”
Next was Serena. “Like Crystal, I want to paint our adventures so I can always remember them.”
“I’m going to return home for now,” Sid said, looking down. “I’m not sure what’s in the future, so I think I need to reflect and make goals.” I watched his eyes flit over toward Waverlee really quick.
Waverlee didn’t seem to notice. “Well, I don’t know about you guys, but I intend to reach out to the landfolk in my kingdom! That was our original assignment from the MerCouncil, and I’m going to make it happen!”
“That’s great, Waverlee!” I smiled.
Serena laughed. “After the fiasco in my kingdom, I think I’m going to wait a bit longer.”
We all nodded in agreement.
“Let us know how it goes!” Zoey said. “As for me, I think I’m going to create a special animal task force that keeps an eye on the ocean and reports back to me. After all the crazy things that have happened, I think we need a better system of learning what happens in our waters.”
“I like that idea!” Brynn nodded.
Damon smiled. “I’ll be here, doing what I can to make the MerWorld a better place.”
We all smiled back in response, and Zoey softly elbowed him with her bandaged arm. “Welcome to the crew, Damon. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we’ll stay in touch. Who knows when we’ll have to save the world again!”
I giggled. “Yes, let’s all keep in touch. We’ve been together so much that I’m afraid my palace is going to feel empty without everyone.”
“Alright, how about we meet up on the first of every month? Then we can report on our work on a regular basis,” Brynn suggested.
We all agreed and joined in a group hug. “I’m going to miss you all!”
After everything that had happened those years ago, we couldn’t stand not seeing each other, so we took things a step further than our fathers. Instead of communicating through one mirror, we filled our respective rooms with nine mirrors in a semicircle. It made it so we could all see each other at the same time.
Crystal floated regally, her long silver hair drifting in the current and icy blue eyes full of kindness and understanding.
Zoey was laughing boisterously, hardly staying in the frame. It appeared that Aiden was tossing Cooper, who was lazily chewing a mouth full of seaweed and seeming not to care, through the water.
Destiny was so excited to see everyone that she was practically dancing around. I think I saw Frank smile for the first time too.
Waverlee and Sid sat together, sneaking glances at each other and grinning.
“Sid, what are you doing there?” Crystal asked, giving a quick wink that I almost missed.
Sid blushed. “Just visiting.” The rest of the girls laughed and teased, which caused Waverlee to turn almost as pink as her tail!
Akiko was swimming circles around Jia, occasionally rubbing against her cheek. She had started wearing more makeup, and we each complimented her on her purple lipstick.
Serena and Leon were close together, hands clasped and smiles soft. She was absentmindedly painting miniature pictures in the water while Leon swirled them into mini kaleidoscopes.
Damon was also there representing the MerCouncil. His arms were crossed and cool eyes watching everyone chat, but I saw him fight back his own laughter on several occasions.
Brynn and Finn hovered together, playfully elbowing each other periodically. “What a good-looking bunch of lasses and lads!” Brynn exclaimed. “Are we ready to get started?”
We all started to nod until Waverlee blurted, “Are we not going to talk about the fact that Amani is with Mariana?”
This time it was my turn to blush. Amani swooped in and smiled wide at them. “The Mariana Kingdom needed soldiers, and I accepted the offer to be the head of Mermaiden Mariana’s royal guard.”
“More like royal splash, if you know what I’m saying,” Zoey prodded, looking over at Destiny, who giggled in response.
I lightly pushed Amani off to the side and changed the subject. “ANYWAY, ladies, don’t we have some business to discuss?”
It took a few seconds for the giggles to disperse, but Serena quickly straightened. “Yes, actually. There’s been some activity in the Indian Ocean that needs investigating. From the information the Sea of Japan, Coral Sea, and Mediterranean Sea have gathered, it’s possible that there’s a hidden kingdom there. Who should we send to find out?”
It was silent for a moment, and we all looked at each other. As soon as I saw the light in Brynn’s eyes flash, I knew what she was going to say.
Destiny gasped, but there was a trill in her voice when she asked, “You’re not suggesting—”
We were all nodding along by the time Brynn declared, “Let’s do it ourselves!”
It had been a long time since we’d all been together to go on an adventure. We discussed when and where to meet, and it was clear that we wouldn’t be accomplishing much else in this meeting. Everyone was wriggling and sneaking excited glances at each other.
I laughed. “Believe me, I’m just as excited as you are! But there’s one more item to address. It hasn’t been long since we tracked down the humans making fake mermaid tails so landfolk can pretend to be like us. Have you all sent your letters to Fin Fun?”
Waverlee, the first to spot these tails what seemed like ages ago, was the first to respond. “Yes! I’m so excited to start talking to the landfolk. Actually, I think I’ve already got a stack of letters from young humans wanting to know what mer-life is like!”
Everyone else nodded, and Crystal shyly added, “I didn’t think anyone would want to know about mers in the Arctic, but I’ve even gotten letters back. So far, I think the landfolk are really supportive and want to live in peace together.”
Serena was next, letting go of Leon’s hand so she could talk with her hands. “Once the contest to catch a mermaid in my home sea calmed down, I’ve also seen people wearing fake mermaid tails. I think everything is going swimmingly!”
“We’ve got a wide world to explore, mates,” Zoey stated with a wide grin. “Not only are we learning more about landfolk from themselves, but the ocean is so big! I can’t wait to meet more of the mers in the world!”
Everyone let out exclamations of agreement. “The MerCouncil has been impressed with the results thus far, and we are grateful to each of you for taking your ambassador duties so seriously,” said Damon with a small smile. Everyone was cheering, laughing, and starting excited conversations amongst themselves.
My eyes darted over to Amani, who gave me a thumbs up. I grinned and looked back at my friends. “That’s great news, everyone! Now, let’s get out there and show the world what the Mermaidens can do!”