Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon. If you don’t like Michelle/Amara pairing or prefer the Japanese names, please leave now. I am more comfortable with the North American names, that’s all.
Chapter One- A Chance Meeting
It was going to be an interesting evening, of that the mermaid was sure. She floated beneath the surface of the water, watching the skies darken with the evening sky and grow darker still as storm clouds rolled in. Lightning flashed within and between the clouds while thunder rumbled moments after the flashes. The waves began to grow in size and number until the surface was a mass of wild waves.
She smiled at the scene as she lay upon a long flat rock to enjoy the show, her aqua-colored hair floated up behind her. “Oh Great Neptune, spirit of the sea, thank you for this wonderful storm,” she said softly. The spirit of the sea, Neptune, was honored by merpeople, but this mermaid had been born with a special connection to Neptune and could actually call upon it if a storm was truly needed. Indeed, if a disaster struck her kingdom, she could ask for strong currents to clear away the debris, for example. However, that connection was not needed this night for this was a natural storm that Neptune had conjured up itself.
The mermaid started to feel drowsy from the comforting, yet scary sound of the storm and was about to fall asleep when a piercing scream from surface reached her ears, despite the roaring winds. A splash sounded nearby and the mermaid rose and spun in the direction of the sound to see the figure of a human sinking through the water, clearly unconscious. She hesitated as she watched the figure. It wasn’t forbidden to have contact with humans, but it was very dangerous nonetheless. But, this human is unconscious and if I don’t do something, he or she will die. Her decision made, she swam forward, grabbed the human, reached the surface, and proceeded to pull the human toward shore while the storm continued to rage.
The mermaid panted as she pulled the human onto land, just as dawn was breaking and the storm having already abated. Once she had accomplished this, she lied there, staring at the prone figure. This human was most unusual: She was a young woman yet she wore her hair in a short, pageboy or pixie style and she wore clothes that were more for a man yet they fit her figure perfectly. How could a woman get man clothes to fit her like this?
A soft moan drew her from her musings. The human was waking. She leaned over to look down at the human’s face; eyes as blue as the sea fluttered open and focused on her. “Who…are you?” she asked weakly.
“My name’s Michelle. I rescued you.”
The woman smiled back and her eyes started to droop. “Thank you,” she said softly. “I’m Princess… Amara.” She sighed softly and lapsed back in unconsciousness.
Michelle put her fingers on Amara’s wrist and felt a strong and steady pulse: She was alive, just passed out. She gazed again at the peaceful face and felt her heart beat faster. She’s so beautiful. Is this love at first sight? If it is, then I’m in love. But, there’s no way a human could be in love with a mermaid or merman. Michelle sighed sadly; she was in love but knew that it would be unrequited. She crawled back into the water and dived down once she was deep enough, before swimming for home.
“Michelle!” a voice called as she approached the royal palace, her home.
The aqua-haired mermaid turned to her older sister, Trista, swimming toward her with a look of irritation on her face. “Trista, what’s up?”
“It’s all these mermen that pursue me in hopes of marrying me. I have no interest in any of them. They have nothing that could hold my interest.”
“And what would hold your interest?”
Trista closed her ruby-colored eyes and tapped her lips with a finger before saying, “I think they would have to have something special about them, like magic, for example.”
“But only sea witches possess magic. You’re setting a rather high standard.”
Trista opened her eyes and shrugged. “So, I’m picky. I can’t help how I am.”
“Well, I hope someone will be special enough to win your heart.”
“Speaking of special, what about you, little sister?”
“Wh-what do you mean?” Michelle stammered.
“Well, all this talk of someone special made me think that you found someone.”
“I think I have, but it is too soon to say for certain. I mean, we just met.”
“Okay. You will let me know when you’re certain, right? Oh, drat. Here comes another merman. See you later, Michelle.” Trista turned on her dark green tail and sped away, the merman following her calling, “Princess Trista, please wait!”
Michelle shook her head slightly before heading to her room to think about the unusual human princess she had just met: Princess Amara. A princess; that would explain the clothing she was wearing. Royalty could order custom items and it would be provided for them. She knew this personally; she had occasionally requested certain objects she liked and the servants or the kingdom’s subjects would search for them and present them to the palace.
She turned her mind back to Amara. Her haircut and clothes suggested that she didn’t act like a normal princess and that was okay with her. She didn’t act like a normal princess, either; she liked things like pearls and wearing beautiful flowers and behaving in a ladylike fashion but she disliked the people bowing to her and addressing her with her title. She would rather be treated as a normal mermaid.
Which reminds me, I didn’t introduce myself with my title. Oh, well. It’s not like we’re going to meet again and I don’t really care for my title unlike my sister.
Chapter Two- Confession of Love
Amara stood at the cliff’s edge, thinking about her rescuer, Michelle. Both had managed to give their names before the tomboy princess passed out. Once she had fully recovered from her near drowning experience, she scoured the kingdom to find Michelle, since she managed to see her face before losing consciousness, but to no avail. She wanted to thank the girl for saving her life and possibly get to know her before eventually confessing that she had fallen in love with her the first time she saw her.
Which brought her to the cliff thinking, Perhaps she lives in a kingdom across the sea. I’ll look at some maps and eliminate kingdoms I’ve already visited. That will narrow my…wait. Is that Michelle!? Amara stared at the aqua-haired girl bobbing among the waves. She was about to yell out Michelle’s name when the swimmer dived down, a green tail and fins visible before they too, vanished.
Amara’s mouth was still open, but instead of Michelle’s name, a gasp came out. Her eyes widened and her mind reeled at what she saw. Michelle, her rescuer, was a mermaid! The search parameters had gotten easier and harder: Easier as the area was simply the ocean and harder as she couldn’t look underwater at least not for very long.
It took Amara a couple of days to acquire a small boat so that she could begin her search. She decided to start from where she had seen Michelle and work her way outward from there. She wasn’t sure how she would search; perhaps hold her breath before ducking her head under the water and look around quickly? That could work, but she would need to stay at sea for a while in order to find the mermaid. Luckily, she had brought supplies with her that would last her at least a week maybe two, if she rationed.
A rumble caught her attention and she watched in amazement as the sky darkened with a storm that she swore hadn’t been spotted earlier. It looked as if the system just materialized out of thin air. Within moments, the waves began to swell and were slapping against the side of the boat. I guess I better head in and try again tomorrow. She grabbed the wheel and prepared to head back to port when a large wave swelled directly under the boat, sending the princess toward the mast which she immediately grabbed as another large wave lifted up her boat and brought it back down into the water.
Michelle darted through the water, heading for open waters. She was in the mood for a significant storm, not unlike the one she saw a few days ago. But she wanted a truly frightening one that would rage only on the surface. She was soon far from the kingdom and was in a fairly deserted spot; very few creatures lived in this spot but there was an abundance of plant life and rocks that one could lie on comfortably.
It was this spot that Michelle floated in as she clasped her hands and closed her eyes. “Great Neptune, I call upon you for a request. Please conjure up a truly frightening storm on the surface. Surpass the one that occurred a few days ago.” She remained in this position to find out if Neptune would grant her request. A rumble of thunder from above told her that the storm she desired was rolling in. She looked up to see that the sky above had darkened considerably and lightning caused it to light up briefly to be accompanied by booms of thunder. She brought her gaze a little lower to see the huge waves thrashing on the surface like wild seahorses. She smiled as she leaned back on some rocks to enjoy the show.
The waves tossed the boat back and forth with Amara clutching the mast as hard as she could. She sensed a calm in the waves and managed to make her way to the steering wheel before the boat started to get tossed again.
“Michelle!” she called out, but her voice was lost in the roar of the ocean. She yanked the wheel in hope of turning the boat around and heading back to port. Instead the boat crashed into some rocks, causing a hole in the hull. The boat slowly started to sink and Amara immediately dived underwater, holding her breath before going under, and started swimming away from her sinking boat.
She was soon clear of the area, but she needed to surface. She broke the surface, but the storm was still raging; she managed to take in a lungful before the waves crashed over her.
Amara floated underwater, realizing that she had a problem. The surface was a raging storm while beneath it, everything was calm. But she couldn’t hold her breath in order to swim underwater for very long.
“Amara!” a voice cried out.
The blonde turned to see the mermaid swimming toward her. “Amara, you need to get to the surface!”
I have no way to tell her the problem, but to show her, she thought. Amara headed up to the stormy surface and took in a lungful before being pushed down again. She tried one more time before Michelle saw the problem.
She swam up to the princess and kissed her on the lips. A stream of bubbles traveled from her lips to Amara’s before she pulled back. “I have given you The Breath of Life,” she explained. “You can breathe underwater until you surface.”
Amara cautiously let out her breath and discovered that Michelle was right: She could breathe underwater now. “Thank you,” she said.
“I’m guessing you saw me earlier seeing as you aren’t surprised that I’m a mermaid.”
“You’re right. I wanted to find you after you saved me and I was on the cliff when I saw you swimming. I came out here today to talk to you. I just didn’t expect a storm to come up.”
Michelle gave a sheepish smile as the pair started swimming for shore. “I’m afraid that was my fault. I have a connection with Neptune, the spirit of the sea. He can whip up a storm at my request and can vary the strength to my liking.”
Amara gaped at her. “Are you saying you asked for today’s storm?”
“And the one you saved me from?”
“Now, that one was a natural storm. So, you wanted to talk to me?”
“Yeah. I wanted to thank you for saving my life and ever since the rescue, I couldn’t stop thinking about you. I think it’s safe to say that I’m in love with you.”
“A-Amara! You don’t know me and I don’t know you! You can’t be in love with me!”
“Why not? I can’t think of anything or anyone else but you. That’s a clear sign of love.”
“But I’m a mermaid and you’re a human. There can’t be love between us.”
“There must be a way.”
“There isn’t! I can’t become a human and the sea can’t turn you into a mermaid; it can only conjure storms.”
Hours later, the storm had passed and the pair had reached the shallows where they said goodbye before Amara surfaced and crawled onto land. She laid there on the dry sand, thinking about her conversation with Michelle. She was in love with the mermaid, there was no denying it. Michelle loves her too; she could tell from the despondent tone in Michelle’s protests.
She may not be able to become human, but perhaps there’s a way for me to become a mermaid. Getting to her feet, she headed for home to change clothes before heading into the kingdom to look for a sorcerer or magician.
Meanwhile, Michelle lay in a bed of luscious sea flowers, her fins floating up in the water, her arms folded under her head, and her eyes focused upward. Her thoughts were on Amara and she felt a twinge of shame. She had lied to the princess; she had said there was no way for either one of them to become a human or a mermaid.
Actually, it was a half-lie. She couldn’t become human, that was true. There was a way for Amara to become a mermaid- by asking a sea witch to change her. The thing was these sea witches had a habit of either striking bargains or demanding a high price for their services. Some of those prices involved claiming their client’s voice permanently, cutting off their hair, or even a period of servitude. There was no way she would allow Amara to go to such an extreme.
No, it is better that we love each other as we are. There’s no law saying a human and a mermaid can’t love one another. I can give her The Breath of Life so she can visit and I can swim to a secluded beach where we can talk and have dates. That would be enough for me and I hope that will be enough for Amara. Michelle sighed softly before closing her eyes and drifting off to sleep.
Chapter Three- The Quest
Amara walked into the marketplace that was the center of her kingdom. She had talked to several people asking if they knew a magician or sorcerer they would recommend. They had directed her to the marketplace and told her to look for a red and white striped tent that was the home of a sorcerer named Rubeus. She found the tent she sought in almost no time and quickly entered to see a young man with red hair and eyes standing behind a round table.
“I am honored by your presence, princess,” Sorcerer Rubeus said with a bow.
Amara sat across the round table from him and he followed suite. “You came highly recommended by townspeople I’ve talked to.”
“Indeed? How may I be of service, Princess Amara?”
“I require a spell or potion.”
“I would be happy to provide you with either, but I need to know what effect you desire.”
“I want to become a mermaid.”
“Oh?” Rubeus rose and headed to a shelf, shuffling through filled bottles. “For how long?”
“That depends on what you have.”
“Well, I have one that lasts a week, but the drinker would die after changing back. Another one lasts a month, but death results while still a mermaid.”
“Is there one where the drinker doesn’t die?”
“There is. It must be taken the first night of the full moon, and then be a mermaid for that night and then the next two days and nights. It wears off at dawn after the third night.”
That sounded good to Amara, but nevertheless asked, “Is there a permanent way?”
Rubeus turned away from his potions, one bottle in his hand and a shocked expression on his face. “Permanent?” he repeated. “Why would one want to be a mermaid permanently?”
“No reason,” Amara replied smoothly. “I’m just asking out of curiosity.”
“Ah, I see. I don’t have a way but I have heard of the legendary Mirror of Neptune. The legend goes that the spirit of the sea, Neptune, had a physical form long ago. He created a magical mirror that could create storms above and below the waves, had the power to change humans into sea creatures, and possibly vice versa. Neptune hid the mirror before losing his body and told only merpeople its location.”
“I see. An interesting story. Of course, such a mirror doesn’t exist.”
Amara reached into a pocket and produced a handful of coins that she put on the table. “I’ll take the full moon potion. Since tonight is the first full moon, it’s perfect.”
Rubeus pushed the bottle across the table and gathered up the money. “A pleasure doing business with you, princess.”
“You’re welcome.” Amara took the bottle and left, eager to use it that night. She intended to use the limited time to find the mirror so she could stay a mermaid.
Surely, Michelle knows where the mirror is, seeing as she is connected to Neptune. I’ll need to send a letter to Princess Mina telling her that my kingdom is now in her hands for I have found my destiny. I’ll write the letter right away and send it off soon after that.
Rubeus smirked once Amara had left his tent. His plan was working; a plan he started concocting the moment Amara asked about a permanent spell or potion. He knew the mirror was real and that only merpeople knew its location. He desired the mirror for the power it possessed; power that he would use to fulfill his greatest wish. Since the princess seems to have fallen for a mermaid or merman, she will naturally want to seek out the mirror in order to remain a mermaid. However, she will have to surface and get to land before the potion wears off and that is where I will be waiting and hopefully the mirror will be there for me to snatch it. &&&&
Michelle sighed softly as she reclined on a rock, a light breeze ruffling her hair and tickling the back of her neck. She closed her eyes before tilting her head up at the moon. She loved the light of the full moon and how the surface looked under that same light.
She lowered her head after a little time and opened her eyes to see Amara approaching another similar rock. She slipped into the water and swam over to the rock, not appearing until Amara was seated upon it.
“Amara, it’s nice to see you again. What brings you out here?”
“I met a sorcerer today and he sold me a potion.” She held up a bottle of white liquid. “If taken on the first full moon, the drinker becomes a mermaid until dawn after the third full moon.”
“Just three nights and two days?” Michelle’s disappointment was evident.
“The sorcerer also spoke of an object called The Mirror of Neptune,” Amara continued, watching Michelle’s face. The mermaid’s face lit up. “Yes, the mirror does exist and if we find it, you could stay a mermaid!”
“Yes, that would be great! So, let’s do this.” She uncorked the bottle and held it up to the moon as if toasting it before bringing it to her lips and draining it in one gulp. Her legs began to glow white before her pants vanished as her limbs began to merge together. They combined together to form a blue tail and her feet formed light blue fins. Her shirt faded away and pair of gold seashells appeared as a type of bra.
“Oh, Amara, you look beautiful,” Michelle sighed. She took one of Amara’s hands. “Come on. I want to teach you to swim, mermaid-style.”
Amara grinned as she allowed her lover to pull her into the water.
It didn’t take Amara long to learn how to use her tail to swim and she found that she could swim faster than Michelle which was a surprise considering Michelle had been born a mermaid. Only when she had mastered every move did her attention return to the mirror. “So, Michelle, any idea where the mirror is?”
“I’ve heard rumors and tales that its location is that way.” Michelle pointed to the east. “However, the way is dangerous and not many merpeople are willing to brave it to retrieve the mirror.”
“Well, I’m willing to risk it,” Amara stated. “This is for our love after all.”
“You’re right, Amara. Well, let’s get started. We only have three nights and two days to find it. I need to tell my sister that I’m leaving to go on an adventure, first.” Michelle started swimming with Amara right behind her.
“You have a sister?” she asked.
“Yes. An older sister named Trista. She’s usually swimming around, avoiding mermen who wish to marry her.”
Amara giggled slightly. “I feel sorry for her.”
Suddenly, a dark green blur shot past them and both of them whirled around to stare after it. Michelle gasped and sped after the blur, calling at the top of her voice, “Trista, wait up!”
The blur came to a halt to reveal itself to be a mermaid with a dark green tail and black hair with green highlights. Ruby red eyes crinkled up as she smiled at the mermaids who approached her. “Sorry, Michelle. I was avoiding another suitor.”
“That’s all right. Trista, I want to you to meet Amara. She’s the special someone I met a few days ago.”
Trista held out a hand. “It’s nice to meet you, Amara. My sister’s lucky to find someone like you.”
Amara took the proffered hand. “Nice to meet you, too.”
“Trista,” Michelle said as the other two released their hands. “Amara and I are setting out on an adventure tonight and we’ll probably be gone for the next two days and nights. Could you tell Father?”
“Of course. I look forward to hearing about your adventure when you get back, but please be careful.”
“We will. Goodbye,” Michelle waved as Trista swam home before turning eastward and setting off with Amara behind her.
Amara wondered what dangers awaited them as they headed east. Would the mirror be hidden in some deep cave where many obstacles and possibly a vicious sea creature barred their way to it? If that’s the case, this quest could not only be dangerous, it could also be exciting.
Chapter Four- The First Obstacle
It was almost dawn when the pair reached a deep cave and inside this cave were countless geysers issuing blasts of hot water at random and it wasn’t a straight line of them. Some pointed up, some pointed down, and there were even some that were on the ceiling but pointed down diagonally. It, in short, looked like a crazy maze of hot water with no clear path through them. Amara gaped at them for a moment and then looked at Michelle. “Do we have to go through there to reach the mirror?”
“Well, yes and no. We do have to get through this, but there are obstacles between this cave and the mirror.”
Amara stared at the geysers again. “We’ll never get through. The blasts are too random.”
“Actually, they’re not. There’s a pattern to the blasts. We just have to time them and go when they stop.”
“Will they all stop at once?”
“No. They stop one at a time or two or more at a time. We just have to swim past a stopped one and wait for the next one to blast before passing it. The only thing is that some will blast longer or shorter than others and we have to move fast to succeed.”
At that moment, the geyser in front of them went off. “There’s the first one,” Michelle said. “Let’s go.”
Amara followed behind her, staying close to insure she didn’t get burned but staying back enough that she didn’t swim past Michelle whenever she stopped. She felt another reason why merpeople didn’t swim through the field: It was awfully hot and of course it made sense what with hot water shooting off all around them. Michelle stopped and Amara came to a halt right beside her. There were four geysers all grouped together. There were two on the bottom that pointed diagonally at the space above them and there were two on the ceiling also pointing diagonally at the same space the bottom ones were aiming at. The only way past them was through the space between the pairs.
“This one will be difficult,” Michelle noted. “I’ve heard stories of others who ventured this way. They failed to time it right and were incinerated. There was nothing left of them after the water stopped shooting.”
Amara swallowed hard. If they failed, then there would be nothing left of them, either. “Well, then we’ll just have to watch them carefully,” she stated.
Michelle nodded and the two mermaids floated there, waiting for the geysers to shoot so that they could count how long the blasts were. Finally two went off, one on top and one at the bottom and opposite of each other. Nonetheless, Amara silently counted until they went off again. “Sixteen,” she announced. The other two went off at that exact moment and Michelle started counting until they went off again. “Ten,” she said. Then, all four went off and then after a count of five, the first pair went off again.
“Interesting,” Amara marveled. “We will definitely need to time it just right.”
They waited until the cycle started again and then as soon as the first two stopped, Michelle and Amara sped through the gap and were just clearing it when the second set went off and Amara felt the water lightly brush her fins, yet it felt like it gushed over it. She yelped in pain and Michelle turned, grabbed her arm, and yanked her the rest of the way through the field. Once they were safe, Michelle had Amara sit on a rock so that she could examine Amara’s injury. There were light burns on the fins and the hissing from Amara’s mouth was enough to tell her that it was painful.
Michelle looked around and saw a plant nearby that she knew had a substance capable of cooling the burns, but the marks would remain until they naturally faded away. She grabbed a blade of the plant, broke it off, and squeezed until the thick substance dripped out. She rubbed it on the burns and the hissing sounds from Amara stopped and changed to a relieved sigh. She smiled at the blonde. “The burn marks will fade eventually, but at least it doesn’t hurt anymore.”
“You’re right, it doesn’t hurt now. I never imagined that hot water would hurt that badly, especially underwater.”
“Well, now you know and it’s something you’ll have to keep in mind since you’ll be living in the ocean once we got that mirror.”
“We’ve only got two days and nights to find it, so let’s get moving,” Amara rose from the rock and started swimming off with Michelle right behind her.
“Hey, Amara. You might want to let me lead since I know where we need to go.”
Chapter Five- Seaweed and Red Eyes
“Hey, Michelle. How did you know what to put on my burns back there?”
“My teacher taught my sister and me about plants and sea life in a series of lessons. He pointed out which ones to avoid and which ones could heal in case we found ourselves far from home and couldn’t access the medical kit.”
“That’s what I call planning ahead. It’s also useful information.”
“Doesn’t your teacher teach you that sort of thing?”
“No, actually. It’s felt that a princess shouldn’t concern herself with such things.”
Michelle was surprised by this revelation. In her kingdom, it was felt that every merperson should be familiar with just about every plant he or she may encounter in life and her father made sure that everyone received that information. Michelle paid attention in those lessons and had taken notes, but she wasn’t sure if she would ever need to use the information- until now.
Michelle spent the rest of the day, pointing out different plants, explaining them, and whether they were beneficial or dangerous. Amara paid strict attention, knowing that she would need this information once she was permanent mermaid. There was no doubt in her mind that they would acquire the mirror and that they would be together forever. The two of them stopped for the night after agreeing that they would resume their quest at dawn’s first light since they would only have one day and night left to reach the mirror.
A forest of tall seaweed stretched before them. Some of the weed was so long that it drooped down to form a type of canopy above. Amara looked to see Michelle staring at the expense nervously. It looked harmless to Amara so why did Michelle look so worried? “Michelle, everything okay?”
Michelle shook her head slightly. “I’ve heard stories about this forest. They say it is dangerous and that extreme caution is called for as well as keeping your guard up at all times. It is also said no one should venture into this place alone. I think even fish avoid this place for I see nothing swimming through it.”
“I’ll be aware of everything around me,” Amara promised. “Let’s go.”
As they glided through the tall seaweed forest, Amara felt tense and hyper-aware of her surroundings, but as they went deeper into the forest, she soon felt at ease and looked up to see sunlight streaming down through the water and some of it filtered through the seaweed above her. The overall effect was beautiful and the princess imagined her new underwater life where she would spend time admiring all the beautiful scenery when a tug on her tail caused her to come back to reality. She looked down and couldn’t believe her eyes: A piece of seaweed had wrapped itself around her tail and was pulling her down while more were wrapping themselves around her tail too as well as her arms and body. “Michelle!” she cried in alarm as she struggled to break free. Her tail thrashed wildly and her arms strained to break loose but all that happened was the seaweed squeezed tighter.
“Amara, stop struggling. This seaweed gets tighter the more their victim fights. This is why many sea creatures do not come here. Their instinct is to fight and thus, they end up crushed to death. You’ve got to calm down.”
Amara immediately stopped fighting and the moment she stopped, the seaweed ceased its increasing pressure. The current pressure was still there and Amara fought her impulse to break free. “Okay. Now, how am I going to get loose if I can’t fight my way out?”
“That is why it is also important to have a companion when one wants to swim through the seaweed forest. You see the trick is to…to…well, ask them politely to let go or to tickle them.”
“Excuse me? Ask them or tickle them?”
Michelle nodded. “That’s right. So, excuse me seaweed. Could you please let go of my friend?”
Amara watched in amazement as the seaweed unwound itself from her and sank back down to the seafloor. “Thank you,” Michelle said as she grabbed Amara’s hand and guided her out of the forest.
Rubeus strolled along the shoreline, lost in thought about Amara and whether she was close to finding the mirror. Perhaps, once he had possession of the mirror, he would grant Amara’s wish and change her into a permanent mermaid as thanks for bringing the magical item he needed; an item that would have incredible power that he could use as he wished.
Yes, that mirror has amazing power that I have only dreamed of and soon my dreams will be reality. He turned his eyes to the water and suddenly blinked several times. A pair of ruby red eyes were peering at him from the water. A length of green hair floated on the surface of the water. The eyes and hair were there for only an instant before their owner dipped back under the waves.
Was that a mermaid looking at me? If so, why?
Trista let out a sigh of relief as she looked around. There were no mermen in sight and nothing but empty sea around her. She relaxed and let her eyes drift upward as she reflected on her relentless suitors and the conversation she had with her sister. She was certain that Michelle had fallen for that Amara even though the green-tailed mermaid wasn’t.
If only it was that easy for me, she mused. Her eyes roved over the water’s surface above her and then focused on the sky and land above the surface. Suddenly, her eyes widened at the sight of a human on the sandy ground. He’s gorgeous. His eyes and hair are as red as some sea plants I’ve seen. At least, I think they are. I need a clearer look and I don’t think he’ll believe he saw a mermaid.
Trista slowly approached the surface and carefully rose so that only her head from the eyes up were above the water with some of her hair floating on top of the water. There, she floated and observed the man strolling along the shoreline. He seemed deep in thought and the features she had glimpsed before were just as she had thought before. The man suddenly looked at the water and it seemed as if he was locking eyes with her. She saw him blink several times before she quickly dipped back underwater. Her heart pounded and her breath came in fast and hard. He saw me! It may have only been for an instant, but he saw me!
Trista closed her eyes and took a deep breath before slowly letting it out. Calm down, Trista. Even if he did see you, he’s a human and humans can’t breathe underwater. You’re safe.
Chapter Six- Success
The currents that had been gentle throughout their journey had become a little bit stronger and seemed to be coming from behind them. Amara was finding herself being propelled a little faster than before and slowed the movement of her tail so that she was moving at the steady pace she had been going. She looked at Michelle, who had looked back at her. “Why did the currents getting stronger?” she asked.
“It’s a normal part of the ocean. Some currents are stronger or faster than others. But these currents seem stronger than most. It might mean that a chasm is nearby and if there is, then the resting place of the mirror might be close.”
Amara hoped that was true. The sun was setting and they only had one night to retrieve the mirror before the potion wore off and she became human again. She knew that even if they didn’t get the mirror this night, Michelle could just give her The Breath of Life and they could continue their quest. She was torn out of her thoughts by the sound of howling. She frowned as she focused on the sound; it was unlikely that a sea creature made that sound. She heard the howling again and came to the conclusion that it had to be currents and water rushing over and into a chasm and a deep one at that.
The mermaids rounded a bend and there, some distance away, was an old shipwreck that was situated dangerously close to the opening of a chasm. The ship creaked slightly and tilted in the direction of the chasm slightly. The strong currents threatened to send the ship over the edge and Michelle just knew that the mirror had to be there. The stories that had been passed down through the years spoke of a shipwreck near a bottomless chasm as the hiding place that Neptune had chosen for his mirror. The stories just never said how close to the edge the ship would be, possibly because the chasm wasn’t that big when Neptune hid the mirror. Either way, this was their final obstacle to obtaining the mirror.
Amara said, “Is that it?”
Michelle nodded. “It is as the stories described.”
“Then, let’s go.” Amara started forward and suddenly she came to a stop. She looked back to see that Michelle had grabbed her fins and was pulling on them. “Michelle, what-?” she began.
“Shark!” Michelle exclaimed.
Amara looked back at the ship to see the distinctive shape of a shark circling the ship. She darted back to Michelle’s side and they floated there watching the shark as it circled the ship as well as swim inside and come back outside.
“We’ll need to time it just right so we can get in without it noticing us,” Michelle said.
“But, won’t it smell us? I mean, sharks have a strong sense of smell,” Amara pointed out.
“You’re right, but if we’re quick, we should be able to find the mirror and get out before it realizes we’re there.”
Amara doubted they could find the mirror before the shark sensed them, but she didn’t want to waste time arguing with Michelle. So, she simply nodded and waited for Michelle to give the word. The shark swam inside the ship and Michelle said, “Now.” The girls darted forward and managed to slip inside the ship through a hole just before the shark reappeared outside the ship.
“Perhaps, we should split up to find the mirror,” Amara said softly. “That way, we can get out of here faster.”
Michelle nodded. “I agree. You search this part and I’ll go down below. Let’s meet right here once we’ve finished and we’ll search the rest of the wreck together.”
Amara agreed and the pair split up to begin the search. Michelle descended to the floor below and began looking in every nook and cranny before moving on to the next section of the floor. Her search was punctuated by the creaking of wood and the howling from the chasm which only served to make her nervous and sent her heart pounding. She was afraid of meeting up with the shark and she pushed that concern to the back of her mind as she continued her search. She had searched half of her floor when she spied something shining at the far end where holes in the wood allowed light from the full moon to spill into the ship. The light seemed to be bouncing off something. She squinted slightly and slowly the shape of a hand mirror was visible. She gasped softly. It’s the mirror! It just has to be!
Suddenly, a large shape came through a hole to her right- it was the shark! It took a snap at her and the near miss sent Michelle into motion. She swam toward the far end of the ship toward the mirror as fast as she could. She had to get there, she just had to! The shark was close on Michelle’s tail, her fins mere inches from its sharp-toothed mouth. She flicked her tail harder and she shot like a bullet toward the object in front of her and grabbed it before shooting upward, to meet back up with Amara. The shark, unable to make such a sudden and sharp turn, plowed right into the rotted wood in front of it. The ship lurched to one side and the creaking of wood sounded all around them. The creaking ceased just as the shark managed to wheel around and head upward to find the prey that had momentarily escaped him. When he emerged from the opening he swam through, his sense of smell as well as his eyes told him that there were two sources of food instead of one. He swam toward them and they took off with him in pursuit.
“What the hell kind of shark is that?” Amara demanded as they swam.
“It’s an Oceanic Whitetip Shark,” Michelle answered from behind her. “They’re usually found around shipwrecks. This one must have made this ship its home and perceives us as intruders as well as prey.”
“Swell,” Amara grated. “Will it keep following if we leave the wreck?”
“Possibly. It’ll be hungry after expending so much energy chasing us. If we can outsmart it, we’ll be able to get away.”
“Wait…I think I’ve got an idea. I’ll distract it and get it to chase me while you get out.”
“Amara, I can’t let you do that!”
“And why not? I can swim faster than you and I already said I had an idea. I know how to outsmart it and make my escape.”
Michelle sighed. “All right, Amara. You win. Go for it.”
Amara arced upward and swam over the shark, grabbing and tugging on its dorsal fin as she passed. “Hey, you big bully! Come and get me!” She tore away from the scene as fast as her fins would go while the shark turned around and took off after her and Michelle stared after them.
“Please, be careful, Amara,” she whispered as she turned to look for a way out of the ship.
Amara knew exactly what she was doing as she led the shark to the upper decks of the ship and then over the side once she had reached the top deck. She circled the ship a couple of times, glancing back once to insure that the shark was still following her: It was. She put on a burst of speed and headed straight for the ring that connected the anchor chain to the rest of the ship. She was small enough to slip through it, but the shark’s nose would get stuck in the ring, at least as long as it was intent on pursuing her and wouldn’t think of going around the ring.
She reached the ring and floated inside it, waiting for the shark to make a beeline for her. She watched as it got closer and closer, its pit-less eyes focused on her intently. She was almost nose to nose with it when she backed out of the ring and the shark’s nose went through the ring and got stuck. The shark shook its head to remove the ring, but it was no use; its nose was wedged in too tight. Amara smirked in satisfaction until she saw the ship tilting to one side with an ominous creaking of wood. The ship was falling into the chasm; the water’s strong currents were going to push it over the edge! Michelle! Amara thought as she swam back into the ship to find her love.
“Michelle! Michelle, where are you?” Amara shouted.
“Amara, over here!”
Amara turned around there was Michelle floating by the stairs the led to the top deck. She swam toward her and they clasped hands for a moment before Amara said, “The ship’s falling! We’ve got to get out of here!” The pair swam up the stairs and tore through the water to put as much distance between themselves and the ship. Once they had done so, they stopped.
Amara and Michelle panted as they turned to watch the sunken ship fall into the bottomless chasm. Once it was completely gone, they both looked down at the object in Michelle’s hand. It looked like an ordinary hand mirror, but inscribed on the back of the frame was the mark of Neptune.
“We did it,” Amara said in soft amazement. Then she grinned and exclaimed, “We did it! I’ll be able to stay a mermaid!” She seized Michelle and kissed her, the fins of her tail stroking Michelle’s tail.
Once Amara pulled back, Michelle blushed as she said, “We better head to the surface. It’s almost dawn and the potion will wear off.”
The blonde nodded and as they headed hand in hand, Amara’s thoughts were in a whirl. Once the potion wore off and she was human again, Michelle would invoke the mirror’s magic to make her a permanent mermaid. She wasn’t worried about her kingdom; it was a small part of a vast empire ruled by Princess Serenity and Prince Darien. Plus, she left the land in the hands of Princess Mina who would rule them with the same kindness that dominated her own domain.
Rubeus paced the length of shore that his magic had told him was where Amara would use to become human again. He was dwelling on the eyes he had seen yesterday, peering at him from the sea. He found them captivating for no reason that he could discern. He shook his head to drive the image from his mind. He was here for one reason and one alone: To seize the Mirror of Neptune. The power of the mirror was what he was after, it was all he wanted.
Or do I? The image of those eyes flashed through his mind again. I can’t stop thinking about those eyes. It’s as if the owner of those eyes knew what I was after and was judging me. I want that mirror and I will get it to fulfill my dream. Yet, I feel as if what I’m doing is not the right way to achieve my dream. Do I really want to go through with my plan? Rubeus’s thoughts were still torn when he saw the water’s surface starting to ripple. Someone was coming! He quickly stepped behind the rock face to await Amara’s arrival, while firmly telling himself to follow his plan.
Chapter Seven- The Royal Sisters
Amara swam to the shallows before pulling herself to the shoreline and then dry land as the sun peeked over the horizon. Her tail and fins split into legs and feet before her pants returned. Her seashell bra faded as her shirt returned.
Michelle smiled from the water, the mirror held to her chest. She looked forward to invoking the mirror the change Amara into a mermaid for good. The blonde princess remained seated as Michelle held out the mirror, the glass facing her.
“Mirror of Neptune, please hear me,” Michelle said. The glass sparked and then shimmered with magic, a sign that it was ready to be used. She smiled at the response, but before she could voice her request, a beam of light pulled the mirror from her grasp and into the hand of red-haired man who stepped out from behind a rock face behind Amara.
“The Mirror of Neptune! At last!” Rubeus exclaimed.
“Rubeus, what are you doing here?” Amara demanded, struggling to her feet.
“I was waiting for you two. I suspected you had fallen for a mermaid when you spoke of being one and asking for a permanent way. I knew if I spoke of the mirror, you would want to find it. I intend to use the mirror to rule the world!”
“Impossible,” Michelle stated. “The mirror cannot help one rule the world.”
“That’s where you’re wrong, mermaid. First, I will convince the king of the sea to make me the king. Then, I’ll use the mirror to flood the world and change every life on this planet into sea creatures. Everyone will bow to me.”
“No! You can’t!” Michelle exclaimed.
“You can’t stop me. You can’t come on land.”
“She can’t, but I am already on land,” Amara told him. She advanced on him, who quickly backed up. He held out the mirror and pointed it at her. “You need legs to catch me,” he said.
A beam shot out of the mirror toward Amara who stepped aside as the beam grazed her leg. Amara suddenly gasped and fell forward onto the sand. She looked back and saw that she had a tail instead of legs! She had become a mermaid again!
“Amara!” Michelle exclaimed.
Rubeus conjured a net around Amara and levitated her tail into the water with the rest of the net secured to a rock. “Listen, mermaid. You will go to the king and tell him that unless he declares me king, I will use the mirror to create a storm that will wipe out his people and his kingdom.”
“My father will never agree to this,” Michelle said angrily.
“Your father?” Amara gasped.
Rubeus smirked. “Surely the king will listen to his daughter.”
“I’ll try,” she replied. She dipped under the water. She had no intention of going to her father. She had to rescue Amara and get the mirror back. She clasped her hands together and closed her eyes. “Great Neptune, help me. A human has your mirror and intends to use it to rule a world of water. I ask for a storm just strong enough to blow the mirror out of his hand and return it to the ocean.”
She opened her eyes and looked up to see the sun grow lighter and lighter until it disappeared. The storm clouds had rolled in. While Rubeus was occupied with holding onto the mirror, she would free Amara.
Amara pulled on the net, but it wouldn’t budge. Must be magical, she thought. She swished her tail through the water. Her tail; she was a mermaid again and this time it would be for good. But it won’t be good if Rubeus rules a planet completely covered in water and all humans becoming merpeople. I’ve got to get out of here and get that mirror, somehow.
Rubeus watched in satisfaction as Amara struggled in her net. He wasn’t concerned if she escaped. Soon the whole world would be one big ocean and he would be king.
A low rumble got Rubeus to look up. A mass of storm clouds were rolling in and the winds were increasing in intensity. Amara gaped in astonishment at the sudden storm when the bottom of the net gave way beneath her. She fell through into the water and saw Michelle with a jagged shell in her hand which she dropped before embracing Amara.
The blonde mermaid looked up before turning to Michelle. “You asked for this storm, right?”
“Yeah. I asked for a storm with powerful winds to get the mirror and give me a cover to free you.”
“What if Rubeus manages to recover it if he does lose his grip on it?”
“Well, first it will land in the ocean and second, I believe Neptune will forgive me if I destroy it.”
“If it’s destroyed, will I be human again?”
Michelle shook her head. “Any magic the mirror’s used stays in effect even if it’s damaged or destroyed.”
A sudden cry from above was heard despite the galling winds. The splash of something hitting the water sounded nearby and both saw the mirror sinking through the water not too far away. Michelle swam over to it, grabbed it, and headed for the surface, where the storm had abated, with Amara right behind her. Why is she going to the surface? I thought she was going to destroy the mirror.
Michelle surfaced to see a fuming Rubeus. She held up the mirror. “Your plan to rule the world ends here,” she told him before swinging her arm and smashing the item against a nearby rock. The sight of the item being destroyed brought satisfaction to Michelle, but her satisfaction turned to confused astonishment as a light blue light stream shot into the sky before descending and entering her body. She gasped at the feeling and collapsed into Amara’s arms.
“Michelle! Michelle, please wake up!” Amara begged.
The green-tailed mermaid’s eyes fluttered open and she groaned slightly. “I…think I’m okay.”
“What was that light?”
“I know,” spoke Rubeus.
Both mermaids turned to see the human standing there with a light blue glow around his body and a smug grin on his face. “That light was the power of the mirror. I’m guessing the power was too much for one being to have, so the stream split into two. One went into you, princess. The other went into me.” The glow faded, but his grin was still in place.
“In that case,” Amara said. “You still can’t carry out your plan because Michelle can just cancel it out. Both of you have the same powers.”
“Perhaps. But does Michelle know how to use that power? I have training as a sorcerer that helps me control the power. I could create a storm that could affect both above and below the waves. Would Michelle be able to dissipate both?”
Amara bit her lip, not sure what to say. If training was necessary to use and control the power, then Rubeus had the advantage. He would still be able to carry out his plans and succeed until Michelle learned to control and use her half of the power to defeat him.
“Rubeus, you wish to rule, correct?” Michelle asked softly.
“Of course I do.”
“What exactly do you wish to rule?”
Rubeus’s eyes narrowed in suspicion. “What are you getting at?”
“I have an older sister who is heir to the throne, but has no one to marry. If you were to wed her, then you would be king when my father is ready to give up the throne.”
Rubeus stared at Michelle in shock. “You would let me marry your sister? After I revealed what I planned to do?”
“Surely, being a beloved ruler of the Seven Seas sounds a lot better than being considered a power-mad ruler of a water planet.”
“I would someday rule the Seven Seas? That does sound…enticing. But, would she consent to marry me? Surely, there are others that interest her?”
“There are others that interested in her, but they do not interest her. You being a sorcerer is a quality that none of the others have that would interest my sister, Trista. The fact that you have half of the mirror’s power would absolutely interest her.”
“She would want to marry someone with magic and I alone fill the requirement.” He smiled and nodded. “Well spoken, princess. I will present myself to your sister and hopefully win her heart.” He waded into the water and stopped when he was waist-high. He closed his eyes and concentrated on his new power to change him into a merman. He sensed his legs merging together and his feet turning into fins. His clothes faded away and he knew that the transformation was complete. He opened his eyes and nodded to Michelle. “I am ready to meet… What was her name again?”
“Trista. Princess Trista. Come, both of you.” Michelle dived down and the other two followed.
Amara followed Michelle with Rubeus behind them, learning how to move his tail, which was the same shade as his hair. “Michelle,” Amara said, swimming up beside her. “Do you think him marrying Trista is going to make him give up on total world domination?”
“I’m not absolutely certain, but I know that Trista would certainly marry a sorcerer, especially one who wields power almost equal to Neptune’s. Plus, I sense that deep down he’s actually a good person who wishes to rule but was going about it the wrong way.”
“Speaking of your sister, why didn’t you tell me you were a princess, especially since I said I was one?”
“I don’t really care much for my title. I would rather be considered a regular mermaid.”
“Well, you certainly act like one, but that’s one of things I love about you.”
Michelle smile and was about to reply when a merman swam up to the trio. “Princess Michelle, have you see your sister?” the merman asked.
“No, I’m afraid I haven’t,” Michelle answered. “But if I find her, I’ll let her know you’re looking for her.”
The suitor smiled. “Thanks, princess,” he said before swimming away.
Michelle rolled her eyes. “Great. Apparently, I’ve become my sister’s secretary while I was away.”
Amara giggled. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you have.”
Rubeus stared in the direction the merman had gone. So, it was true that Trista was being pursued by others, but she wasn’t interested in them because they weren’t special enough to her? That made her sound picky however, that meant that he wouldn’t have any competition in winning her hand in marriage. He continued to follow the two mermaids as they approached the royal palace that gleamed ivory that was intertwined with red and pink coral.
They swam up to ivory double doors that each had a peach seashell on their surfaces and a guard on either side of the doors. The guards nodded at Michelle as they drew closer and without a word, the guards pushed open the doors. Michelle gestured for the other two to precede her through the doors and as they did so, she said, “Have either one of you seen my sister?”
“I have, princess,” one guard replied. “I last saw her head for her chambers. Shall I send for her?”
“No need. I’ll go up and see her. Thank you.” Michelle swam in and the guards pulled the doors closed behind her. She smiled at her guests. “Trista’s in her room. This is perfect.” She seized Rubeus’s hand and pulled him up to the next floor with Amara right behind them.
“Michelle,” Rubeus called. “How am I to interest your sister?”
“Just be yourself.”
Right. Be myself, he thought. Only I can’t truly be myself because not that long ago I was set on ruling a planet of water and forcing her father to move aside to declare me king. I suppose I could prove I have magic by conjuring a bouquet of sea flowers. It’s a corny and cheesy trick, but women find it romantic. I hope Trista is one of those women.
Michelle knocked on a door and heard Trista’s voice call, “Enter.” She pushed open the door, being careful to conceal Rubeus behind her. Trista was lying in bed on her stomach with an open book in front of her. She sat up when she saw Michelle and smiled at her. “So, you’re back from your trip. Was it fun?”
“If you consider dodging geysers, living seaweed, and a shark fun.”
“I’d rather do that than dodge mermen.”
Michelle chuckled slightly before saying, “Trista, I want you to meet someone.” She moved aside to reveal the redhead behind her. “This is Rubeus. Rubeus, this is my sister Princess Trista.”
Rubeus moved a hand in a circle and a bouquet of flowers materialized in his hand before he swam forward and held them out to her. “It is a pleasure and honor to meet you, princess.”
Trista took the bouquet automatically before it dawned on her that he had created them out of nowhere. She blinked a few times before looking at him and saying, “You’re a sorcerer?”
Rubeus flashed what he hoped was a charming smile. “I am.” He looked her full in the face and felt a sense of deja vu come over him. Trista’s eyes and hair were very familiar; they were the same ones that had been peering at him yesterday!
Trista was likewise staring at him with a look of recognition on her face. Even though he was bare-chested and sported a red tail, he had the same hair and eyes that she had found captivating. I fell for his looks and it turns out he’s a sorcerer and turned himself into a merman to possibly look for me.
Michelle looked back and forth between the two of them. “Have you two met somehow?” she asked.
“Yes. I saw a pair of eyes looking at me from the water yesterday,” Rubeus answered. “I soon found that I couldn’t stop thinking about them afterwards.”
“I saw him at the shore while I was underwater,” Trista added. “I loved his looks and wanted to know if they were just as lovely above the water.”
Michelle smiled. “Well then. This works out nicely then, doesn’t it?”
Rubeus bowed to Trista and remained in this position as he said, “Princess Trista, will you marry me?”
Trista bit her lip. She had spent most of her time avoiding mermen and had never considered the possibility that one of them would get a chance to ask for her hand. Now, she was faced with the situation and she didn’t know what to say: Yes or no? If she said yes, she would be expected to wed soon and the prospect scared her slightly. If she said no, she risked driving Rubeus away, possibly back to land and out of her life forever, leaving her with avoiding mermen possibly for the rest of her life.
Rubeus anxiously awaited Trista’s response. Why is she hesitating? Am I not the very merman she desired to marry? Is it possible that she never expected to find herself in this situation? Perhaps I should reword my question or maybe make a suggestion?
Before he could open his mouth, Trista smiled at him. “I’m flattered by your proposal, but the thing is we hardly know each other. How about this? We spend time getting to know each other and when I feel I’ve gotten to know you enough, then we will wed. Do you agree?”
Rubeus smiled back. “Yes, princess. That sounds perfect.”
“You can just call me Trista. After all, if we marry, it would be ridiculous to call one another by titles.”
Rubeus nodded. “Very well, Trista.”
Chapter Eight- Truths Exposed
Rubeus learned much about Trista over the next few days and he found himself loving her more with each thing he learned. She seemed to be almost the exact opposite of Michelle; for example, while both girls loved to wear pearls and flowers, Trista loved to wear the crown of a princess while Michelle did not. Trista was also a good teacher to him, showing him more advanced swimming techniques as well as the different plants and sea life they encountered on their many swims together. They didn’t avoid any mermen that thought about approaching Trista. They still came up to her, but didn’t stay long once Trista introduced Rubeus, calling him her “intended.”
“Why tell them I’m your intended?” he asked when she made this introduction for the third time.
“I hope that they tell others about it and hopefully, they’ll stop trying to win my interest. I know I’m technically lying, but they’ve been chasing me for years. I guess they kept pursuing me hoping that I had changed my mind about them.”
“They’ve been chasing you for years?”
“That’s right. So, Rubeus. I’ve told you a lot about myself, but you haven’t told me about you. You’re a sorcerer, right? How did that come about?”
Rubeus cleared his throat. “You’re right. I haven’t spoken about myself, I should remedy that. I was born into a magical family. My mother knew about potions and showed me how to make them while my father was more about spells and taught me to perform them.”
“So, you were born to perform magic. That’s interesting.”
“I suppose so.” He looked around. “You know, some of the plants you’ve shown me, I might be able to make new potions or provide them in a liquid form for their remedies.”
“Remedies in a liquid form? I see. Merpeople would be able to store them in their homes instead of swimming out to look for them. That’s a great idea.”
Rubeus smiled at Trista’s praise. She continued to ask questions about his life and he answered them while purposely avoiding mentioning his world domination plan. The more he thought about the plan, the more he was ashamed that he had even thought about it in the first place. If he had overthrown the king, he probably would have enslaved or even killed the two princesses and Amara. He grew sick to his stomach when he envisioned himself killing Trista. He was grateful that Michelle proposed him marrying Trista instead of ruling a water world. If she hadn’t, he wouldn’t have met the most wonderful mermaid in the world.
“Michelle, may I speak with you?”
“Certainly, but please be quick. I’m going to be introducing Amara to my father.”
“I want to say thank you for introducing me to your sister. I’ve never been happier in my life.”
“Whoa. Sounds like you’ve fallen hard for her.”
“I have. Thank you again.”
“You’re welcome.” Michelle smiled as Rubeus swam out of the room.
“He’s changed,” Amara commented.
“Yes, he’s not the same power-crazed man he was a few days ago. I think Trista’s responsible for that.”
“Not just Trista, but you as well. You were willing to give him a second chance and it paid off.”
“Yes, it did. For both of them. I’ve never seen Trista this happy in years and Rubeus is happier with Trista than without her.”
“I know just how he feels. I’m happier with you than without you.”
Michelle giggled slightly before kissing Amara. “So am I. Now, why don’t we go see Father?”
Amara followed Michelle out, feeling confident and a little nervous at the same time. She was confident in meeting royalty; she had done it dozens of times before. This meeting, however, was different because he was the father of the mermaid she loved. She hoped he approved and that he didn’t ask any awkward questions.
Rubeus swam out into open waters, far away from any merpeople or sea animals. He was intending to practice his new water powers and didn’t want to be somewhere where someone could get hurt should his powers get out of control. I should start small. That’s one of the important thing about magic. You have to start small before working up to something big. Now, what should I start with? Ah, I think I got it.
He held out an arm, wiggled his fingers, and a stream of bubbles issued forth. He smiled as he wiggled his fingers again and the bubbles formed into a gently swirling vortex. He waved a hand and the bubbles floated away into the water. He flexed his hands for a moment before moving them in a gentle swirling motion and a miniature whirlpool the length of his pinkie appeared. He swirled faster and the whirlpool grew to the size of his fist and faster still the whirlpool was soon as long as his arm. He kept the swirling motion at that speed and admired his effort; it was an impressive feat and knew that he was adept at controlling the power of Neptune as he knew he could.
I definitely would have been able to create a storm to pressure the king to move aside for me. I wonder, though. If I had tried to do so, would I have lost control in my greed to be king? It is true that emotions such as greed, hatred, and malice can cause one’s spell to grow too powerful for the sorcerer or magician to control and utter devastation can occur. I know that Michelle can ask Neptune for a storm and it makes it happen. Perhaps, I could try that out sometime; not big one maybe just a small squall.
He dissipated the whirlpool before hearing movement. He turned to see Trista emerging from behind some seaweed and approaching him with an expression of awe on her face. “Rubeus, I had no idea you could perform spells like that. It’s like something Neptune itself could create.”
Rubeus grinned at the comment. “Actually, it is Neptune’s power. You see, Michelle wanted to find the legendary Mirror of Neptune so that Amara, a human princess, could stay a mermaid after I gave her a potion to make her one temporarily. What they didn’t know was that I wanted the mirror so I could flood the planet, change humans into merpeople, and convince your father to make me king or I would destroy the kingdom. It was Michelle who asked Neptune to take the mirror from me. She destroyed the mirror but its power remained and it went into Michelle and me and it was your sister who-,”
“You WHAT!?” screeched Trista bringing Rubeus’s explanation to a halt. “You had planned to usurp my father and flood the world!?”
“I…I did.” Rubeus paled when he realized what he had just said. “But, not now. Trista, please let me say-,”
“Silence! You will address me as Princess Trista. We’re through. There will be no marriage and I wish to never see you again!” Trista turned and angrily swam off toward the palace.
Rubeus dropped to the floor and stared after Trista, shocked at her reaction and disgusted at himself for boasting about his power. I still love her, but she doesn’t love me. There’s no reason for me to stay in the ocean. I’ll head back to the beach, change back to a human, and resume my career as the kingdom’s top sorcerer. He rose and started swimming for the surface.
“Father, I would like you to meet Amara. She is the one I intend to spend the rest of my life with. Amara, this is my father, King Diamond.”
Amara bowed at the waist. “It is an honor to make your acquaintance, Your Majesty.”
Diamond smiled at the mermaid. “Likewise, Amara. My daughter has good taste. I’d like to say she got it from me, but I must give the credit to my dear departed wife.”
At that point, the double doors of the Throne Room opened and Trista swam in and grabbed Michelle’s arm. “We need to talk sister. Please excuse us, Father.” Trista swam out of the room with Michelle in tow, leaving an awkward silence in their wake.
Diamond and Amara stared at one another, before the king said, “So, Amara. Tell me about yourself.”
“Trista, what is going on?” Michelle demanded as she was dragged through the water.
The dark-haired mermaid came to a stop and turned around. “Michelle, did you know Rubeus was planning to use The Mirror of Neptune to usurp our father and turn this whole planet into one big ocean?”
Michelle gaped at her. “How…?”
Trista gave a bitter laugh. “Rubeus let it all slip out. He said the Amara was actually a human princess who fell in love with you and he gave her a potion to make her a temporary mermaid. He told her about the mirror, knowing she would spend her time here to acquire it in order to be with you. He went on to say that when you asked Neptune to snatch the mirror from him, you destroyed it to stop his plan and that the power of the mirror went into him and you. Well, Michelle? What do you have to say?”
Michelle took a deep breath. “It’s all true. The adventure Amara and I went on was to find the mirror so Amara could stay a mermaid. Neither one of us knew of Rubeus’s plan nor what would happen if the mirror was destroyed. I only wanted to stop him from succeeding.
“Let me point out that he’s been a merman for a few days now. If he still wanted to carry out his plan, he would have already done so. Since he hasn’t, this proves that my suspicions of him actually being a good person were correct. I believe he’s a good person and that he truly does love you.”
Trista stared at the seafloor with a thoughtful expression. Michelle believed he was a good person even when he revealed his plan to her and Amara. I see her point about him not carrying out his plan. He could have overthrown Father and I would probably be either an ordinary mermaid, a slave, or dead. Yet, I’m still a princess and nothing has changed except that I loved Rubeus and now he’s out of my life.
“Michelle,” Trista said, her voice shaking. “What have I done? I still love him and I said that I never wish to see him again.”
Michelle wrapped her arms around Trista. “It’ll be all right. I’ll find him and bring him back.”
“But, we don’t know where he went.”
“I think I do.”
“Michelle! Trista!” Both mermaids turned to see Amara swimming toward them. “Geez, Michelle, you didn’t tell me your father was going to interrogate me the moment we were alone.”
“I didn’t intend to leave you alone with him. What did he say?”
“Honestly, all he did was ask for me to tell him about myself.”
“What did you say?”
“I said I was just your average mermaid.” Amara looked around before saying, “Hey, where’s Rubeus?”
“He and I had a fight and I said I never want to see him again, except that I do want to see him.”
“I’m going to look for him,” Michelle said. “You two stay here. I’ll be back.” Michelle swam off.
Trista smiled at Amara. “Rubeus let it slip that you were actually a human princess. Please, tell me how human princesses differ from mermaid ones.”
Rubeus surfaced and swam over to the exact spot where he had traded his legs for a tail. He pulled himself onto the sand until he was sitting on land with only his fins and a third of his tail still in the water. He clenched his fists for a moment before opening them and placing his hands on his tail. I call upon my power to split my tail into legs…tail to legs…tail to legs.
He had closed his eyes while focusing on his request and he kept them closed. He reasoned that if his power worked, his hands would feel the change from scales to skin. He remained in this position for several minutes before opening his eyes and removing his hands. His red tail was still there. His eyes narrowed before waving his hands up and down his tail and thinking, Neptune, spirit of the sea, please change my tail into legs. He waited for another several minutes and still nothing happened.
He swished the part of his tail still in the water as he wondered why he hadn’t become human again. He had been very firm and confident in what he wanted and had even asked Neptune to change him, so what went wrong? It wasn’t difficult when I changed into a merman or when I was practicing with the whirlpool, so why can’t I change back to human? Is it possible that Neptune’s power is stronger than I believed? If so, then I’m stuck as a merman.
The redhead looked at the shallows. “Oh, hello Michelle.”
“Rubeus, what are you doing here?”
“Trying to become human again, but apparently the power of Neptune is stronger than I had thought. No matter how I word my intent, my tail won’t change to legs.”
“Of course, it won’t. Merpeople cannot change into humans. That includes humans who become mermaids or mermen.
“I’m guessing you were trying to change because of your fight with Trista, am I right?”
Rubeus paled slightly. “She told you, didn’t she?”
“She did. I’m not mad that you told her that I have half of the mirror’s power and I explained how you no longer seek to rule a world of water and that you are really a good person who loves her.”
“I do love her. After spending a few days getting to know her, I found that I truly love her. But, I doubt she loves me; not after what I let slip out.”
“Oh, I don’t know about that. Come back into the water and let’s go see her.”
“Michelle, no. I don’t think I can.”
“Yes, you can. As your princess, I order you to follow me and see my sister.”
Rubeus smiled slightly. “You’re right. You are my princess and I’ll go with you.” He slid himself back into the water and the pair dipped below the water once they were out of the shallows. “I must say, Michelle, your order sounded very royal back there.”
Michelle grimaced. “I know. I still can’t believe I said that.”
Rubeus followed Michelle, not sure that going to see Trista was a good idea. No doubt she was still very angry with him and she did state that she didn’t want to see him again, so why was Michelle insisting on seeing her? It’s possible that Trista didn’t tell her about not wishing to see him. If that was the case, Michelle would be in for a surprise.
Michelle returned to the spot where Trista and Amara were waiting. Both seemed to be having an animated discussion with one another and hadn’t noticed her return, so she decided to announce it. “I’m back and look who I found.”
Both girls looked up and smiled when they saw Rubeus behind Michelle, who was looking down and avoiding their eyes. He couldn’t bear looking at Trista who no doubt had anger and disgust in her eyes and he was waiting to hear her demand that he get out of her sight. Once he heard that, he would tell Michelle that he was right about her feelings toward him before swimming away. Where he would go and what he would do with his life, he wasn’t sure, but he would eventually think of something.
“Rubeus, please look at me,” Trista said gently.
He complied before giving a bow. “Princess Trista.”
“Don’t call me princess. Just Trista will do.”
He straightened and looked at her. “But, you insisted I address you with your title.”
“I did. But Michelle explained everything. She said that you gave up your plan and that you truly love me during the few days we spent together. She also added that you’re really a good person and that if you still wanted to carry out your plan, you would have already done so.”
“That’s true. But after telling you about my past, I thought back on the plan and I felt shame that I even considered it in the first place. I don’t blame you for being angry with me. I would have reacted the same way if I were in your place. I am so sorry about what I had intended to do.”
Trista leaned over and took both of Rubeus’s hands in her own. “You’re forgiven. Now, Rubeus, will you marry me?”
Rubeus blinked in surprise. “What?”
“I did say that when I feel that I know you well enough, we would wed. You still love me and I love you. So, shall we wed?”
Rubeus’s eyes lit up and a matching smile came to his face. “Yes, Trista. I will marry you.”
“Excellent. Let’s go tell my father.”
“Trista, can Michelle and I come with you? I think I need to be honest with your father.”
“What do you mean, Amara?” Trista asked.
“Well, I told him I was an average mermaid and now I don’t feel right about that. I want him to know I was human and a princess too.”
“Very well. Come on, let’s go.”
As the quartet headed back to the palace, Michelle and Amara lagged behind. “Amara, do you think it’s a good idea to tell Father everything? About you, the mirror, and Rubeus? I mean, what if Father decides to imprison Rubeus for attempted treason?”
Amara bit her lip. “I hadn’t thought of that. But, I want him to know I was a human princess.”
“I think I have an idea. Leave it to me.”
They caught up with Trista and Rubeus just as the elder mermaid pushed open the Throne Room doors and swam up to the throne. Diamond smiled at the group. “Well, this quite a surprise. Now, what can I do for you?”
Amara swam forward. “Your Majesty, I have a confession to make. I’m not an average mermaid. I was, in fact, a human princess. I caught a glimpse of your daughter and fell in love.”
Diamond was taken aback. “A human princess? But how did you become a mermaid?”
“I sought the aid of a sea witch,” Michelle spoke up. “I was fortunate to find a kindly one and she provided me with a potion to give Amara a tail during the nights of the full moon and the days in between. I remembered the legend of The Mirror of Neptune and the two of us journeyed to find it. As you can see, we found it and used it to keep Amara a mermaid.”
“Oh, I see. Where is the mirror now?”
“It got caught in an undertow on our way back and before I could grab it, it smashed against a rock.”
“That’s awful. A wonderful treasure like that would have earned a spot in the royal treasury. Amara, I must say I’m a little disappointed that you lied to me earlier, but I am pleased that you chose to speak the truth.”
Amara bowed. “Thank you, Your Majesty.” She swam back to allow Trista and Rubeus to come forward.
“Father,” Trista said. “I would like you to meet Rubeus…my future husband.”
“Trista, that’s wonderful! Young merman, how did you catch my daughter’s interest? She’s a rather picky princess.”
“So, I‘ve heard, Your Majesty. I come from a far off ocean and my parents were both practiced in the ways of magic. I don’t know how my father came to possess magic, as we all know that only sea witches have magic. I have both the skills of making potions and performing spells. Trista saw me performing a spell a few days ago and was immediately impressed.”
Diamond was intrigued. A merman who could do magic? “You are a very special merman, Rubeus. It is no wonder that you caught Trista’s attention. My daughter, the wedding will be held in a week’s time. I will have a declaration drawn up and announced within two days.”
“Oh, thank you Father!” Trista exclaimed, swimming up and hugging him. Diamond laughed at her enthusiasm.
“All right, Trista. Go off with her fiancé to plan the details and take your sister and her intended with you.”
“Yes, Father.” Trista looped her arm through Rubeus’s and swam off side by side with Michelle and Amara behind them. She led the three of them up to her room and closed the door behind them.
“Michelle, Rubeus. Those were great stories you came up with. But why didn’t you tell the whole truth?”
“I was afraid that if I spoke the truth about Rubeus, that Father would imprison him. So, I came up with the story of the kindly sea witch.”
“I too sensed that speaking the truth of my origins would not be wise. I chose to present myself as a merman from far away. I kept the truth about my parents so as to explain my own magical abilities.”
“It will certainly cover up the fact that you have Neptune’s power.”
“Half of the power, but yes the story will cover it.”
“My subjects, it is with great joy that I announce that my daughter, your princess, Trista, has found the merman who will become her husband,” Diamond announced two days later from a balcony that overlooked the front gates of the palace where the entire kingdom had gathered. The crowd roared its cheers and applauded until the king raised his hands to call for silence.
“It is now my pleasure to present Trista’s fiancé. Rubeus, please come forward and greet the kingdom.” Diamond gestured for him to swim forward and he did so.
The crowd cheered again and Rubeus slowly raised a hand and waved to the merpeople below. He could hardly believe the number of merpeople below him and the fact that he would one day be their king who would see to their safety was a little intimidating. Trista caught sight of the expression on his face and she took his hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. He returned the gesture and his face relaxed into a pleasant and winning smile that he directed to the crowd.
Trista glanced back at Michelle and winked at her before facing forward again. Michelle and Amara grinned at each other. It seemed the kingship that Rubeus dreamed of was not matching the reality and he was uncertain that he could handle the position. But, a squeeze from Trista seemed to have calmed his nerves and he most likely realized that he would not be ruling alone.
Michelle listened to her father as he outlined the couple’s wishes for their wedding day which would happen in just a few short days. She liked some of the decisions Trista and Rubeus had made; others not so much. She began to think about some wedding decisions she would like to make and naturally she would share them with Amara. She knew she would have to wait for her turn to be married, but in the meantime she would get to know her beloved as well as Amara getting to know her. One day, we will be getting married and Father will also announce it and our wishes to the kingdom.