Fin Fun presents a mermaid story from Mermaiden Serena
Damon’s interrogation was long and exhausting, and the MerCouncil was disappointed that Damon didn’t have more information on Calisto. He didn’t know anything about the map, what it represented or what Calisto’s plans were. MerCouncilor Seth asked question after question, trying to rephrase the same ones for more specific answers. His voice gradually dropped lower as it went on, an obvious sign of frustration. Damon’s answers became tired as he repeatedly told Seth that he didn’t know or wasn’t sure.
Finally, my father put an end to it. “MerCouncilor Seth, it’s obvious that Damon isn’t giving us any helpful information. This is a waste of our time. I’d much rather spend my energy protecting my kingdom from the landfolk that want to capture one of us.” He then turned to MerKing Takumi. “And I’m sure our friends in the Sea of Japan would like to protect themselves as well.”
Seth stopped and faced the oceans’ royalty, who were all nodding in agreement. “Very well. The council is dismissed and Your Highnesses may make your preparations to leave in the morning.”
Everyone swam their separate ways, but I spotted Jia asking where MerCouncilors Darek and Raine were resting. I caught up to her and lightly grabbed her hand. “Do you mind if I come with you? I was so scared before, but I want to see them now that they’re doing better.”
Jia’s amethyst eyes lit up. “Of course, Serena! They’ll be glad to have some visitors!”
Two guards barred the entrance to the room Darek and Raine occupied, but they swam aside as soon as they saw Jia approaching. With a slight bow, they acknowledged us. “Mermaidens.”
I turned back to smile at them before entering the room.
The two seniormost MerCouncil members lay in beds next to each other. Darek was awake and turned his head toward us. “Mermaidens Jia and Serena.” He started to smile but immediately winced.
Jia swam quickly to his side and offered a small smile. “No need to expend more energy than you have,” she gently scolded him and started examining his head wound.
Coming closer, I smiled at him. “I’m glad to see that you’re awake, Chancellor Darek.”
His long white beard twitched with his mouth as the corners turned up again to chuckle. “I wish I could say the same, Your Highness.”
“You’re lucky,” Jia stated, applying more salve to his head. “Had we come any later, I don’t know if you’d be as well as you are.”
Darek’s smile faded. “And I have you to thank for that, Jia. It seems that your gems truly have enhanced your already extraordinary healing abilities.”
“You’re welcome, Chancellor.” Jia’s smile turned sad as her eyes dropped to the floor.
I made eye contact with Darek, then turned to Jia. “You may not believe it, Jia, but you really are a master! Your power is incredible!”
Jia returned my gaze, too humble to respond. “I should check on MerCouncilor Raine,” she mumbled and swam over to her.
While Jia examined Raine, Darek turned to me. “What about you, Mermaiden Serena? What aspects of your power have you discovered since receiving the gems?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “Nothing too much, Chancellor Darek. I mostly see myself as an artist, so there isn’t much my power can do when fighting Calisto.”
“That’s not what I was asking, child. Your power holds more value than being able to fight. Show me what you’ve discovered.”
I knew he was right, but I couldn’t help but feel inadequate to help capture Calisto again. The other Mermaidens had useful powers when fighting, and I was just the artist. I had to use Crystal’s ice daggers to attack Noodles the last time, and I only had basic training from Amani to use a spear. My ability was pretty useless compared to the others.
But there was the time when I—
“Right! Take a look at this, Chancellor.”
Darek pushed his body up to a sitting position on his bed as a rainbow of colors swirled from my fingertips. I started at the tips of his fluke and worked up his tail so that it matched the colors of the blankets beneath him.
To the Chancellor, it must have looked as if his tail was disappearing before his eyes! He gasped and clutched the blankets. “Serena, this is spectacular! I’ve only seen such camouflage from Damon’s cuttlefish, Noodles.”
I grinned at his praise. “This is what I did when we freed the Mariana Kingdom from Calisto’s grasp. It helped us sneak around the palace without alerting the bewitched guards.”
Chancellor Darek loosened his grip on the blankets when I waved a hand to dissipate the color from his tail. “Splendid! You truly have a gift, Mermaiden Serena. Never doubt it again.”
“I—t-thank you, Chancellor.”
I dropped my eyes to the floor and closed my hands into fists. See, Serena, you’re not useless, I told myself. I have something to offer. We would have never destroyed Calisto’s gems had I not been there, and I’m a necessary part of taking her down next time.
A dry voice interrupted my internal pep talk. “You’ll need that gift for more than Calisto, Mermaiden.”
Surprised, Chancellor Darek and I turned to look at MerCouncilor Raine’s bed. Jia was applying a salve to Raine’s arm, and Raine had turned her head to us, icy blue eyes glittering.
“You’re awake!” I exclaimed.
“Yes, child, but do not worry about my health. I’m only grateful I survived to help you further.” She tried to sit up, but Jia stopped her.
“You don’t have the strength for that! You need to rest!”
Raine shrugged off Jia’s helping hands, eyes glued to mine. “Serena, you may find a need to disguise yourself in this palace at times.”
I immediately thought back to us sneaking around to speak with Damon and tensed up. Breaking Raine’s stare so she couldn’t see my guilt, I looked to Jia. Her small lips frowned slightly as she watched Raine’s face with an analytical gaze. She inherited that look from her father.
I looked back to Raine. “What do you mean?”
Chancellor Darek cleared his throat, causing each of us to turn to him. “She means that Calisto’s eyes are still here in the form of—”
The door burst open, bringing into view MerCouncilors Seth, Ian, and the older woman who spoke in the council previously.
“Mermaidens, come quick!” Seth urged. “Calisto has attacked the Sea of Japan.”
I gasped, mouth open like a fish, and immediately turned to Jia. Though we had known this was a possibility, it felt unreal. Even Jia looked shocked. Chancellor Darek and MerCouncilor Raine shared a knowing glance and remained still in their beds.
Then, Jia tightened her jaw and straightened her back. “In a moment, MerCouncilors. I’ll finish caring for MerCouncilor Raine, and then I’ll be right out.”
Seth’s eyes darted from Darek to Raine and finally settled back on Jia. “Very well, Your Highness, but please work quickly.”
He bowed himself out of the door to leave us alone, and Jia finished rubbing the salve onto Raine’s arm.
“Mermaidens,” Darek whispered, causing each of us to look at him. His aged face was wary and alert. “If you can, please leave some of your soldiers here to guard us. We’re not safe here.”
I frowned and turned to Jia. Her father had already sent their soldiers back home to protect their kingdom, and my kingdom needed as many soldiers as possible to protect us from the human contest. I felt torn, but Jia nodded at me.
“Of course,” I replied. “I’ll arrange for some soldiers to keep you safe.”
Raine reached out and grabbed my hand with both of hers. There was a subtle warmth in her skin, but her hands felt thin and fragile. “Keep yourselves safe, Mermaidens. We’ll be waiting for your return.”
I grasped her hands and nodded. “You can count on us!”