Disclaimer: I don't own Sailor Moon.
'blah' means thoughts
Author's Note: I am using the North American version of the characters so Zoicite is female.
It was a beautiful day. The sky was clear, the sun was shining, and the ocean was calm. A mermaid with a pink tail broke the surface with such force that it propelled her forward a few feet. She was swimming so fast she was just a blue of coppery-blonde and pink. She slowed down as she reached the nearby region. She climbed up onto a nearby rock, which allowed her tail to stay in the water. She fixed her green seashell bra and straightened her coppery-blonde hair.
“Lady Zoicite, a ship approached from the west,” a dolphin informed her.
“Thank you, my friend.” The dolphin dove back under the water. She turned to the west. “Show time.”
As soon as the ship was in sight, she started to sing. It was a single syllable, but it went up the scale. (AN: think Ariel when she gave her voice to Ursula). The ship started to drift in her general direction, but she continued to sing. She kept on singing until the ship crashed onto the rocks, and the sailors were either thrown from the ship by the impact or dove off the sinking ship. A sadistic smile crossed her face before she dove into the sea to enjoy her second favorite past time: watching people drown. It didn't matter to her whether people saw her or not because they were doomed anyway. She had sunk many ships and caused the deaths of many sailors since she discovered the hypnotic property of her voice. She had decided to revive the lifestyle of a siren, luring sailors to their deaths, and found out she loved it.
She swam around near the sailors when it happened. She saw the most handsome human she had ever seen. She would even go as far as to say that no merman could complete with this beauty. Zoicite broke out of her reverie. 'I can't let him drown. Guys with this caliber of beauty are rare.' Spurred by the feeling of being love-struck, she swam over to him, grabbed him under the arms, and hauled him to the shore. During the rescue, she noticed the guy's eyes open and lock onto her face before he passed out.
She dragged him onto the shore, making sure her tail was still partially in the water. She brushed a lock of his silvery-white hair out of his face. She remembered his eye color was an ice blue, which made him even more handsome. He groaned, and she dove back into the water. She pulled herself onto a rock that hid her tail from view. He slowly sat up and looked around, eyes locking onto her face for a second time. “It's you.” He stood up. “You're the one who saved me. Who are you?”
“My name is Zoicite.”
“Zoicite, that's a pretty name. Where do you live?” Zoicite didn't answer that question, but instead looked out at the sea. She looked back at him. “Across the sea, all right. Can I see you again?”
“If you'd like to.”
“I would very much like to.”
“What's your name?”
She nodded and turned so she could dive back into the sea, using the sun as a blinder. Unfortunately, Malachite saw her pink tail. 'She's a mermaid. I got rescued by a mermaid.'
The silvery-white haired man turned to see who called his name. “Nephlite.”
Nephlite wrapped an arm around Malachite's shoulders. “I heard your ship went down. I'm glad you're safe.” When Malachite turned to look back at the sea, Nephlite asked, “You are okay, aren't you?”
“Yes. I just met a beautiful girl; long coppery-blonde hair and her eyes were a beautiful shade of green.” Malachite closed his eyes briefly. 'I'm not telling anyone she's a mermaid.'
“Well, let's go, my lord. Queen Beryl wants to see us.”
Malachite cuffed Nephlite on the arm. “Don't call me that.”
They started walking away. “Well, it is your title.”
Unbeknowst to the two men, they had an observer. She had heard their conversation. 'So, I fell in love with nobility. I definitely want to see him again.'
Just then, Zoicite felt a hand tug on her fins. She ducked below the surface to come face-to-face with her brother, who didn't look too happy.
“What's wrong, brother dear?”
“You know why I'm mad! You sunk another ship! You know how I feel about your siren lifestyle!” Jedite exclaimed.
“Loosen up, Jedite. Not all the sailors died. Besides, I saved one today.”
“You saved one?” he repeated, shocked.
“Well, he's not really a sailor, but I didn't know that when I saved him.” She smiled at her brother. “He's handsome. Lord Malachite.” She sighed. “I think I'm in love.”
%%% ON LAND
Lords Malachite and Nephlite bowed before Queen Beryl. Malachite and Nephlite were in charge of neighboring towns, and Queen Beryl ruled over all the towns. She intended to have the heads of towns wed to strengthen her kingdom.
“Lord Nephlite, your marriage to Princess Lita is in two weeks. Make sure you look your best.”
“Yes, your majesty.”
Beryl shifted her gaze over to Malachite. “Now, Lord Malachite, I heard your ship had sunk. I am relieved to see that you are unharmed.”
“Thank you, your majesty. I have recently met a girl from across the sea.”
“I see. What is her name?”
“I do not recognize that name. What kingdom is she from?”
“I do not know.”
“Is she royalty?”
“I do not know.”
“I will not have you marry some commoner! You will marry Princess Mina by the end of summer! Dismissed!”
Nephlite and Malachite bowed and left, heading in two different directions. Nephlite went to visit Lita, and Malachite went to the shore where he met Zoicite. As he walked along the water's edge, he thought about having to marry this princess. 'It's true she's pretty, kind, and of royal blood, but I don't love her.'
A flopping sound brought him out of his reverie. He saw a small black fish with green stripes flopping around on the sand. He stooped down, scooped up the fish, and released it in the shallow water. “There you go, little one.” Malachite sighed. Noticing the little fish stayed, he said, “I don't suppose you know a mermaid named Zoicite.”
The fish swam off, and Malachite sighed again. 'I don't know if I'll ever actually see her again.'
%%% IN THE SEA
Zoicite was leaving Raye's temple. Jedite worked there, and Zoicite loved to bother him while he worked. She loved to do things that annoyed her brother. She sighed and started swimming in horizontal spirals. A little dot streaking towards her caused her to cease her spiraling.
“Lady Zoicite! Lady Zoicite!” The little dot turned out to be a black fish with green stripes swimming very fast towards her.
Zoicite caught the little fish with her hands. “Calm down, little friend. What has you in such a frenzy?”
“A human asked if I knew a mermaid named Zoicite.”
“A human? What did he look like?”
“Ice blue eyes and silvery-white hair.”
“Malachite!” A smile lit up her face. “Can you take me to him?”
Zoicite released the fish and followed him to the shore. On her way there, she thought, 'Malachite saw my tail and doesn't care!'
The little fish swam up to the shallow water and splashed to get Malachite's attention. “Oh, you're back, little one.”
Zoicite swam right up beside the fish and said coyly, “You asked for me, Malachite?”
The lord smiled. “Zoicite. I thought I wouldn't be able to see you.”
“I told you if you wanted to see me again, you could.”
“But I didn't have any way to contact you.”
“You found a way though.”
Malachite paused for a second before smiling again. “Yes. Yes, I did.”
“You can ask any ocean animal to find me, and I'll be there any time of day.” She smiled before adding slyly, “My lord.”
“How did you know?”
“I heard your friend with the long brown hair call you that.”
%%% IN THE SEA, RAYE'S TEMPLE
“Jedite, go ahead and take a short break,” Raye called out.
“Thank you, Miss Raye.” Jedite swam out of the temple and decided to take a leisurely swim. It wasn't long after he left the temple that he spotted his sister's tail. She was the only mermaid that had a pink tail. 'What is she doing” Hypnotizing sailors to walk into the sea and drown? Why is she lying in the shallows? She usually finds a rock to sit on.' He swam up beside her and started berating her. “What do you think you're doing, Zoicite? Hypno-”
Jedite stopped mid-word. He just noticed that the man was sitting and not hypnotized. On the contrary, he was very aware of his surroundings.
Malachite was enjoying his chat with Zoicite, but he wanted to ask a very serious question. Just as he was about to ask, a blonde merman with a red tail appeared next to Zoicite. He started berating her for something, but apparently stopped when he saw Malachite. The young lord's eyes flicked between Zoicite and the new-comer. 'They might be siblings.'
Malachite turned to Zoicite. “Who is this?”
“This is my older brother, Jedite.” She turned towards her brother. “This is Lord Malachite.”
“I'm glad the pleasantries are over. I have a problem I need your help with.” Seeing he had the siblings' attention, he continued. “There's this princess I'm supposed to marry.” Hearing this announcement, Zoicite looked crestfallen. Malachite noticed this and quickly added, “But I don't love her. I want to let her down gently, but I'm not sure how to do it.”
“Why don't you just tell her?” Zoicite suggested.
“She might think I'm playing hard to get.”
“You could show up to a function with another girl,” Jedite suggested.
“I only want to be with the one I love.” Malachite looked right at the mermaid when he said the last three words. “However, the next function is a wedding on dry land, so is there any way for a mermaid to become a human, not permanently, but for a little while?”
Zoicite looked at her brother. “You could ask Raye, right?”
Jedite paled. “Oh no! I was only supposed to take a short break!”
He dove back under the water and quickly swam back to work. Zoicite giggled. “Raye won't be too mad.”
“She's a priestess.”
“Your world isn't that different than mine.”
“So, who's getting married?”
“Nephlite. He's the friend with the long brown hair. It's in two weeks and it's in the early afternoon.”
“So, hopefully, I'll see you then.”
“Farewell, my love.”
Zoicite dove under the water, and Malachite stood up and walked back to the castle.
%%% IN THE SEA
“I'm so sorry, Miss Raye. I was caught up with my sister's issues.” Jedite bowed to the purple-finned priestess.
“Say no more. You're forgiven,” Raye said. “What's new with Zoicite?”
“Well, she's fallen in love,” Jedite began.
Raye clapped her hands in delight. “That's wonderful!”
“With a human,” the blonde finished.
“Oh. Well, it's not against our laws.”
“I was wondering, Miss Raye. Is there any way for her to become human, but only temporarily?”
“Yes. As a priestess, I have knowledge of the secret of the merpeople. I will trust you to tell Zoicite, but no one else. Merpeople can choose to become human at any time and for any amount of time.”
“That's incredible. What should she do about clothes?”
“Have her suitor pick some up.”
Zoicite was lying in a field of pink flowers, daydreaming of Malachite. She absentmindedly picked one of those flowers and put it in her hair over her right ear.
Suddenly, blonde hair and cobalt blue eyes entered her field of vision. “There you are.”
“Jedite!” She glared at her brother.
“I thought you would be happy to see me. However, seeing as you're not, I'll just take the solution to your problem and leave.” Jedite turned and started to slowly swim away.
Zoicite's hand shot out and grabbed hold of one of his fins. “What was that? You found a solution?”
“Yes, and it's very simple.”
“Don't keep me in suspense! What is it?”
“First, you have to promise not to tell anyone except Malachite.”
“Of course I promise.”
“There is nothing special you have to do to be human. You just think about being human. There is no time limit, but you'll have to have Lord Malachite pick up some clothes for you.”
“If you weren't my brother, I'd kiss you!” Zoicite took off, leaving a slightly stunned and horrified Jedite in her wake.
%%% ON LAND
Malachite was riding his chestnut mustang when a pretty blonde riding sidesaddle on a white mare rode up next to him.
“Lord Malachite, I presume?” the blonde asked.
“You presume correctly, Princess Mina.”
“Queen Beryl didn't exaggerate on how handsome you are,” Mina flattered.
“Flattery will get you nowhere, Princess. Is there a specific reason for this impromptu meeting?”
Mina giggled. “I just thought we should get to know each other, since we are to marry.”
“Just because Queen Beryl said it doesn't mean it will happen,” Malachite said coldly, riding away, leaving a confused Mina in his wake.
After putting his horse away, Malachite stormed over to the shore. 'How presumptuous she is! We will never marry; not if I have anything to say about it.'
Zoicite swam up to and broke the surface of the water near the shore where she and Malachite talk. She pulled herself up herself up onto one of the nearby rocks and scanned the beach for any sign of her love. She saw him pacing on the beach, an angry look on his face. Seeing no one else nearby, she dove off the rock and swam up to the shore. “Hello, Malachite.”
Hearing her voice caused the angry look to melt off his face. He smiled when he laid eyes on her. “Hello, my love.”
“I have good news. My brother found a solution to our problem. All I have to do to be human is think about being human. There isn't a time limit, but you'll have to pick up some clothes for me.”
“Well, that's good news.”
“You seemed angry before I arrived. What happened?”
“Princess Mina paid me an unexpected visit. She didn't take the hint when I told her that just because Queen Beryl said it doesn't make it true.”
“You said that would happen.”
“Yes. At least we have a plan in place. Speaking of, I will go buy a dress for you.”
“When's the wedding again?”
“In two weeks in the early afternoon.”
“If you drop by in the morning, I can get used to having legs.”
“I'll do my best, my love.”
Zoicite smiled and nodded.
Malachite was flipping through racks of dresses. He had already decided that Zoicite would look good in green, because it would match her eyes. He pulled one off the rack and held it up. He shook his head, put it back, flipped through the rack some more, pulled another one off the rack, and held it up.
“I don't think that is your size,” a voice came from behind the dress.
Malachite lowered the dress and saw Princess Lita standing there, a small smile on her lips. “Very amusing, Princess.”
She giggled. “I think the blue would look better on her.”
“I'm certain green would be more becoming.”
“Green may look nice, but Mina prefers blue.”
Malachite opened his mouth to correct the princess, but was cut off by another shop patron.
“Hey, Lita. Aren't these the shoes you were looking for?”
Lita looked over and squealed. “Oh, Nephlite! You're right! Those are the ones!”
Once Lita's back was to them, Nephlite motioned to Malachite to take the dress and go. Malachite mouthed thank you, paid for the dress, and left.
%%% TWO WEEKS LATER, MORNING, SHORE
Malachite showed up with the dress, a little anxious to spend time with Zoicite. He didn't have long to wait. Zoicite appeared after a couple of minutes. She pulled herself onto a large rock near the shore, thought about having legs, and her tail were replaced by legs. She peered over the rock and said, “I'm ready for the dress.”
Malachite walked over, adverted his eyes, and handed over the dress. She put it on and said, “You can look now.”
He opened his eyes and thought that he made the right decision getting the green dress. He held out his hands. “Give me your hands so we can get you on your feet.”
Zoicite placed her hands into Malachite's larger ones and was hauled to her feet. Surprisingly, the mermaid turned human was quite adept at walking. Malachite helped her slip on the simple flat shoes he had also bought for her.
Malachite gave her a brief tour of his township. About halfway through the tour, Malachite and Zoicite met up with Nephlite.
“So, Malachite, is this the young lady you mentioned the day your ship sank?” Nephlite asked.
“Yes, this is Zoicite.”
“It's a pleasure,” Nephlite said.
“So, this is the groom?” Zoicite looked around. “Where is the bride?”
“Yeah. Have you seen Lita today?” Malachite joked.
“You know I'm not allowed to see her on her wedding day,” Nephlite retorted.
“I thought you might buck tradition and try to see her. Even though, she'd kick you out of the room if you had attempted it,” teased Malachite.
Zoicite giggled. Nephlite turned to their female companion. “So, Zoicite, where do you live?”
“I'm from across the sea,” Zoicite replied, remembering how Malachite had phrased a similar response.
Noting a tenseness in the situation, Malachite said, “Nephlite, shouldn't you be getting ready for the ceremony?”
Nephlite looked at his watch and confirmed Malachite's observation. “You're right. I will see you there.”
Nephlite took his leave, and the two lovers were alone again. Malachite completed the brief tour of his town. The tour ended in the park, where the wedding was to be taking place.
There were pink cherry blossom petals falling, and seeing Zoicite surrounded by the falling petals made Malachite love her even more. Zoicite reached out and caught one of the petals in her hands. “This looks like my favorite flower.”
Malachite looked like he was preparing to say something, but then the other wedding guests started arriving, so Malachite didn't say anything and simply led Zoicite to a seat.
During the ceremony, Malachite noticed that Queen Beryl kept glaring at him. He knew she would approach him after the wedding and insist he marry Princess Mina.
The wedding and reception went off without a hitch, even though Mina tried to get Malachite to dance with her. He was dancing with Zoicite for the entire reception.
After the wedding and reception was over, Queen Beryl made her way over to Malachite. Ignoring the coppery-blonde at his side, the queen addressed the lord. “Lord Malachite, you have been discourteous to your intended.”
“As I have no intended, your accusation is false.”
“Princess Mina is your intended, and unless you marry her in two weeks’ time, you will be guilty of treason!” The Queen left the park, heading back to the palace.
Malachite escorted Zoicite back to the beach.
“I should go back soon,” Zoicite mentioned.
“Can I come with you?”
“I love you, Zoicite. I realize that, and I have no desire to marry another. I know asking you to forsake your life in the sea for me is unfair, so joining you seems to be the appropriate choice.”
“But you would be leaving your friends and your life.”
“The only friend I have is Nephlite, and after I am charged with treason, my life won't be worth much. I would rather live my life with the mermaid I love than live without you.”
“I love you too, Malachite, but I don't know of a way for you to follow me. However, if you give me time, I should be able to find a solution.”
%%% A LITTLE LATER
Zoicite was laying in a field of pink flowers, trying to think of a solution to Malachite's problem. There had to be an answer, but it evaded her. She decided to lie there and relax. Maybe the answer would come to her.
Raye decided to take a leisurely swim after her shift at her family's temple. She was taking in the scenery, when something caught her eye. It looked like a tail-less mermaid, but a closer look at the hair color told the purple finned priestess that it was just Zoicite, whose tail was the same color as the flowers. The other mermaid seemed to be in deep thought, so Raye swam over and called out, “Zoicite!”
Hearing her name brought the mermaid out of her reverie. The coppery-blonde looked at who called her name and saw a purple finned, raven-haired mermaid with a red seashell bra. “Hello, Raye.”
“How did your date go?”
Zoicite blushed slightly and explained to her friend about the tour, the wedding, and Malachite's question. “So, how can a human become a merman permanently?”
“Well, Grandpa can make a potion that will last for two days, which should be just long enough to retrieve the Golden Pearl and bring it back so I can make the transformation permanent.”
“Can't I retrieve the Pearl?”
“No, only a merman can touch it, but only a mermaid priestess can use it.”
“Oh. How long will it take your grandpa to make the potion?”
“He'll have it ready tonight, but Malachite can't drink it before morning's light. He will have to bring the Pearl back before sunset on the second day or the magic won't work.”
“Okay. I have to tell him.” Zoicite took off at such a high speed that it caused a bunch of the pink petals to float up around Raye. 'I hope he's on the beach.'
Zoicite pulled herself onto what she considered her favorite rock as it was the one she was on when she first spoke with Malachite. She scanned the beach for her love's distinctive star-kissed hair, but he wasn't there. She did, however, see his friend, Lord Nephlite, but he didn't know she was a mermaid, and the dress Malachite bought her wasn't nearby. 'Well, if Malachite is going to become a merman, then Nephlite is going to have to find out.' Zoicite decided to call out to Malachite's friend. “Nephlite!”
The brunette turned to face the sea. He was surprised to see the coppery-blonde perched on a rock. “Zoicite?”
“Could you tell Malachite to come here as soon as he can? Please, it's urgent.”
Curious as to why she was asking him instead of searching for Malachite, he asked, “Why do I need to deliver the message when you are perfectly capable of doing so yourself?”
“Because I am not perfectly capable of doing it myself,” Zoicite retorted before spinning herself around, which brought her tail into Nephlite's field of vision. Her pink tail flipped and flopped. “I'm a mermaid.”
Nephlite looked at the mermaid with slightly widened eyes. He thought about all the times she was mentioned and the one time he met her. There was nothing that stood out as strange or unusual, so this was a bit surprising to him. He watched as Zoicite pushed herself off the rock and into the water. She then swam up to the beach, keeping her tail in the shallows.
“I must say this is a bit of a surprise,” Nephlite said, still studying her. “Although, now that I know, it suits you.”
“Will you deliver my message to Malachite?”
“Yes, I will. Right now.”
“Before you go, where's Lita? Being newlyweds, I would think that you two would be inseparable.”
“Lita owns and operates her own bakery. She absolutely loves it, so she works there everyday open to close.”
Malachite was confused. Why did Zoicite reveal herself to Nephlite? What was so important that he had to come immediately to the beach? Would she still be there? He didn't dare to hope that she had already found a way to allow him to follow her.
He arrived at the beach and looked around, seeing no one. “Zoicite?”
Squinting, he looked between the rocks and saw Zoicite and, he assumed, another mermaid; a raven-haired one.
Zoicite had had every intention of climbing back on her rock and wait for Malachite, but wen Raye called her, she slipped back into the water. The two mermaids met between some rocks.
“Grandpa finished the potion already, and I volunteered to bring it to you for a couple of reasons. First, I want to meet the guy who stole your heart, and second, I wanted your permission to date Jedite.”
“What? Why do you want my permission to date my older brother?”
“It just feels like the right thing to do.”
All of a sudden, the two mermaids heard someone call out, “Zoicite!”
Both mermaids turned their heads towards the shore. Looking between the rocks, Zoicite could see Malachite standing on the beach. Zoicite, followed by Raye, dove under the water and swam up to the beach. Both mermaids lied in the shallows with their tails still in the water. The darkening sky didn't lessen the visibility of either the mermaids or Malachite.
“Hello, Malachite. I'm so glad you were able to come.”
“Zoicite, what was so important that I had to come immediately, and why did you reveal yourself to Nephlite?”
“Well, if you are to become a merman permanently, your best friend should know.”
“Did you actually find a way?”
“Yes. Courtesy of Raye,” Zoicite said, gesturing to the other mermaid lying beside her in the shallows.
Raye took that as her cue to tell Malachite what had to happen. “I have a potion that will turn you into a merman for two days, which will give you enough time to retrieve the Golden Pearl and bring it back so I can make the transformation permanent. The Pearl can only be touched by a merman, and only a mermaid priestess can use it. You cannot drink the potion before morning's light, and you have to bring the Pearl back before sunset of the second day, or the magic won't work.”
%%% AN HOUR LATER
Malachite was lying on his bed, attempting to get some sleep but failing horribly. He had alerted a servant to wake him before morning's light. He told them he had a meeting in one of the townships at the other end of the kingdom. He was well prepared to meet Zoicite at the beach if only he could get some sleep, but he was excited. He couldn't wait to take the potion, but fortunately, he thought this feeling might overcome his control, so he persuaded the coppery-blonde to hold onto the potion for him until they met again. Thinking about their next meeting, Malachite wondered what the trek to the Pearl would be like. Would it be long and boring or would it be filled with adventure? Maybe somewhere in between? Just then, a strange thought struck him. What color tail would he have? He'd only seen one merman, and he had a red tail, while the two mermaids he had seen had pink and purple. Would he have a tail from the warm end of the color spectrum or would he have one of the cool colors? Thinking about the next day wasn't going to bring it any faster. If only he could get some sleep...
A few hours later found the young lord pacing on the beach. He did actually get a few hours of sleep, but his mind wouldn't stay idle any longer. He was too excited to be with Zoicite finally, but he didn't like leaving loose ends. He added an addition to his will that upon his death Nephlite and Lita would gain control over his township. This addition prevented Queen Beryl from giving his township to anyone else, especially Princess Mina. He truthfully didn't have anything against the blonde princess; he just didn't like being forced into doing something, and the princess just happened to be involved in the latest scheme.
Off in the distance, he caught sight of pink and coppery-blonde. A smile crossed his face as the leaping mermaid came closer. It didn't take long for Zoicite to swim up to the beach and lie in the shallows. The mermaid set the potion bottle on the beach. “As you need to be naked when you take the potion, I will be waiting on the rock over there.” Zoicite pointed at her favorite rock. “once you're done with the transformation, call my name.”
Malachite watched as she swam over to the rock and pulled herself up onto the rock, making sure her back was facing him. The young lord quickly stripped off his clothes and looked for a nearby place to put the clothes. They couldn't be left out in the open, because that would ruin his plans. He couldn't take them with him, because they would hinder the trek to the Pearl. After a minute of looking, he found a space between two rocks, which wasn't easy to spot. He folded his clothes and hid them in this hidden location. He settled himself into the shallows, suppressing a slight shiver as the cold ocean water made contact with his skin. He kept his extended legs in the water as he reached for the potion bottle. He removed the cork and drank the slate blue potion before putting the cork back in the bottle.
For a second, Malachite thought it didn't work. In the next second, he gritted his teeth in an attempt to keep quiet. The bones in his feet and legs felt like they were melting, which caused him to clench his jaw to prevent any noise from escaping. He squeezed his eyes closed, so he didn't see the rest of his transformation; however, it didn't stop him from feeling the immense pain that accompanied the fusion of his legs. His new tail was an ice blue color, and a pair of fins at the end of his tail were ice blue in color as well but transparent at the same time. When the pain subsided, he unclenched his jaw and opened his eyes. He looked down at his new body. His bare torso melted seamlessly into his ice blue tail tipped with ice blue translucent fins, which was lying in the shallows. He smiled, turned to face the rock upon which his mermaid was perched, and called out her name. “Zoicite!”
Upon hearing her name, Zoicite looked over. The potion worked! She slid off the rock and swam over to the newly turned merman. Changing into a merman made him even more handsome in her opinion. She held out her hands. “Give me your hands. Let's get you used to your tail.”
It didn't take long at all for Malachite to acclimate to having a tail. He just had to learn that a little bit of power goes a long way. As they started their trek for the Pearl, he experimented with how much power he put into his tail muscles and how much speed and distance he got from each instance.
Zoicite watched as her lover swam fast and then slow. He even tried swimming in horizontal spirals. A ghost of a grin appeared on her face as she joined Malachite in doing the horizontal spirals, laughing all the while. Hearing his companion laughing, Malachite joined in.
After a few minutes of laughing, Malachite stopped and asked, “Is the trek to the Pearl treacherous?”
“Only slightly. The only treacherous part is the undersea volcanoes. To pass them, we just have to time it right.” The mermaid ceased spiraling, her companion following suit. “But that comes later. What we have to contend with now is this.” Zoicite gestured to a forest of kelp. “We should hold hands, so neither of us will get lost.”
The two merfolk linked hands and entered the kelp forest with Zoicite taking a subtle lead. Malachite had no problem letting the coppery-blonde lead seeing as it was her world.
'As soon as we get the Pearl, it'll be your world too,' he reminded himself.
After many twists and turns, they could see the end of the forest. Malachite was surprised at how uneventful the trek was so far, but, upon further reflection, found he liked spending time in the kelp forest holding hands with Zoicite. Much to Malachite’s delight, Zoicite continued to hold his hand, even when they were out of the kelp forest.
Suddenly, she stopped short. “Now comes the undersea volcanoes. They're actually more like geysers, spouting hot water at random intervals, so we have to be careful.”
They paused before every geyser and waited for the eruption before proceeding, holding hands all the while. This pattern continued for several hours with a couple of close calls. One close call was one of Zoicite's translucent pink fins was almost scalded when it hadn't cleared the geyser in time. Luckily, she had pulled it clear just in the nick of time. The second close call was when a geyser erupted a second time right when they were about to cross over.
However, now they were passed all of the obstacles, and the path to the Pearl was clear. The Golden Pearl was on a pedestal set inside a rock face which had cracked. The crevice wasn't very wide at all. In fact, it barely seemed wide enough to extract the Pearl.
Remembering Raye's words, Zoicite stayed put, and Malachite swam forward. He reached out and, surprisingly, easily extracted the Pearl. He carried it back to the waiting mermaid.
“I have the Pearl.”
Zoicite smiled. “Let's get back!” The two merfolk carefully crossed the vast field of geysers. Even though it was dangerous, Malachite never lost his grip on the Pearl. They finally reached the edge of the kelp forest. The coppery-blonde grasped a piece of kelp and gave it a sharp yank. The seaweed came loose and was handed to the merman. Use this to make a pouch to carry the Pearl in. We don't want to lose it in this kelp forest, especially if we aren't alone.”
“What are you talking about? We didn't encounter anyone or anything when we ventured through the kelp forest last time.”
“I haven't seen it with my own eyes, but rumor has it that a giant squid lives in this kelp forest, and it can be aggressive.”
Malachite had finished constructing the pouch and slipped the Pearl inside. He placed the strap over his neck, putting his right arm through the gap as well. “Let's hope we don't run into it if the rumors are true.”
The couple linked hands and cautiously entered the kelp forest. At first, the journey mirrored their first trip through, but then movement caught the mermaid's eye, and, with a burst of speed, she pulled her companion out of the way of one of the squid's tentacles. The tentacle grabbed a bunch of kelp and effortlessly ripped it out of the ground. The two merfolk saw one of its menacing eyes. The squid was close enough that the snapping of its beak was easily heard in the silence of the forest. The creature emerged from a dense collection of kelp with a speed that was almost unbelievable due to its size. The tentacles lashed out at the duo time and time again, but the last time, Zoicite and Malachite lost hold of the other's hand, the coppery-blonde landing on the hard, sandy sea floor. Fortunately for her, she wasn't stunned by the fall, because the squid was relentless in its pursuit of the trespassers in what it perceived as its domain.
Its single-minded pursuit allowed the merfolk to outsmart it. They didn't want to harm the creature in any way, just slow it down so they could escape. They came up with the plan, when they noticed the squid alternated which one of them it went after, it lashed a tentacle at Zoicite, and when it missed, it lashed a different tentacle at Malachite. When that tentacle invariably missed, it turned its attention back to Zoicite. So, they devised a plan where the one the squid wasn't after would tie a tentacle up with kelp. They knew the squid would get loose easily, but they were able to speed swim out of the kelp forest. Since they were out of its domain, the squid lost interest in the merfolk, after it freed its tentacles.
Once they were a fair distance from the kelp forest (and the squid), they slowed down and took a breather since they had the time. Neither one spoke as their heart rates returned to normal. Thirty minutes later, they were slowly swimming in the direction of Raye's temple, Zoicite in the lead. Raye's temple wasn't far from the beach where Malachite first met Zoicite. As they neared the temple, Zoicite saw her brother hug Raye before continuing with his duties around the temple. Zoicite swam right up to the raven-haired priestess, grabbing her around the waist.
The purple-finned mermaid was surprised at being grabbed from behind, but surprise turned into glee when Raye saw who had grabbed her. “Zoicite! You're back all ready!”
“And we have the Pearl” The pink-finned mermaid gestured to her companion.
Malachite swam forward, fishing the Pearl out of the seaweed pouch, which was discarded once the Pearl was removed.
Raye's violet eyes widened slightly at the sight of the Pearl. It was big enough to have to be held with both hands, but not overly large (AN: think kickball size). The mermaid priestess turned her eyes to look at the merman holding said Pearl. “Are you ready?”
The star-kissed haired merman nodded. “Yes.”
Raye held her hands in front of the Pearl without touching it. She closed her eyes and began chanting.
The Pearl started softly glowing with a golden glow, which spread to the merman holding it. The glow emanating from it was too bright to look at. Zoicite and Malachite shut their eyes and looked away. When the glow subsided, everyone opened their eyes. The Pearl was gone.
“Where did the Pearl go?” Zoicite asked.
Raye smiled. “Once used, the Pearl is magically transported back to its pedestal.”
“Does that mean it worked?” Malachite asked hopefully.
“Yes. You are permanently a merman now,” Raye confirmed.
Filed with happiness and joy, Zoicite wrapped her arms around Malachite and gave him a loving kiss.
Nephlite and Lita held hands while they took a mid-afternoon stroll on the beach along the water's edge. Nephlite's mind wasn't on the beautiful princess by his side, but on his best friend who had been missing for a few days. In another week, he would be legally declared dead. It bothered Nephlite that Malachite would just disappear. It just didn't seem like him at all. He was shocked out of his reverie by someone calling his name.
The brunette lord turned to his right and spotted the coppery-blonde mermaid perched on the same rock he first saw her on. “Zoicite, hi. I haven't seen Malachite in five days, so I won't be able to get him for you.”
The mermaid giggled. “There's no need to worry. I know where Malachite is.”
“Where is he?”
To his surprise, Malachite burst out of the water and swam up to the shallows, his ice blue tail easily seen. Zoicite slipped off the rock and joined her boyfriend in the shallows. “Hi, Nephlite.”
Nephlite stooped down to talk to the newly turned merman. “So, this is what happened.”
“I had to come up with a foolproof plan to prevent being forced to marry Princess Mina without being charged with treason. This was the only way to do all that and be with the one I love.”
Lita stared in awe at the two merfolk. She always thought they were a myth, but there was the proof that they were real, lying in the shallows.
Malachite noticed Lita still in shock. “Hello, Princess Lita.”
Hearing her title shook Lita out of her shock. “Hello, Lord Malachite.”
Zoicite touched his arm. “We should be going.”
Malachite nodded. “If you need to talk to either of us, just ask any sea creature, and we'll be there.”
The two merfolk turned around in the shallows before swimming off. As Nephlite and Lita watched them swim off, the brunette lord thought, 'I'm glad Malachite found love. He's finally happy.'