Chapter 2: Mel: New Mermaid
Her first few breaths of water were… interesting to say the least. It was definitely different from air, heavier as though she were trying to breathe in heavy humidity. But at the same time the water somehow felt comfortable in her lungs, and it persisted the longer she breathed it.
Seeing through the water, then, presented her with visual quality she hadn’t even dreamt of. There was no blurriness to be seen, only crystal clear images.
“This… is the Atlantic Ocean.” The dolphin Mel had followed said.
“If you don’t mind me asking, um… sir, I guess,” Mel began, “what is your name?”
“Call me Titus,” the dolphin replied, “that’s probably the closest equivalent you have to my name.”
“Pleasure to meet you Titus,” Mel said, “I’m Melanie Marie Taylor, Mel for short.”
“You probably wish to know why it is, that you were brought here today, yes?” Titus asked.
Mel nodded at him.
“Well,” he began, “the story of your transformation and that pearl you found actually begins many centuries ago. There actually WERE always mermaids who existed in this world, and as you can guess, they HAVE always strived to help sailors, should they have needed it. You know of the Golden Pirate Age, yes?”
“Mildly, yeah,” she said. “Why?”
“During that era, two rulers had joined forces, side-by-side,” Titus answered. “Aquaria, and Lunaria. Aquaria has always strived to support the naval forces and sailors of the world, whereas Lunaria has always sided more with the Pirates. Regardless, it was a peaceful time of co-existence, with the two feeling the balance of the ocean, and it brought great prosperity to both the land and sea. But sadly… it was not to last.”
“Did something happen?” asked Mel, to which Titus nodded.
“...The Golden Pirate Age ended, with the fall of Port Royal, a major Pirate haven.” Titus said. “Ever since then, the British Empire rose, with their Royal Navy unrivaled throughout the world, only to be succeeded by the American Navy Branch afterwards. Aquaria had completely supported this, as she felt that the seas would be kept orderly, and free of crime. Lunaria… didn’t.”
“So they had different ideologies? But then, what ultimately occurred?” Mel asked.
“Lunaria, enraged by her older sister’s apparent betrayal of the dream of the free Atlantic Ocean, swore her revenge, and has waged war on Aquaria.” Titus answered. “Ever since then, there had been two sides of the same coin: should the Atlantic Ocean be under international law, or should it be free from international law? Lunaria wants humanity, and Aquaria’s forces alike, to pay. So, Lunaria is a force that must be stopped.”
“Wait a sec, I never agreed to become enlisted in all this,” Mel said sharply, “becoming a mermaid is one thing, getting wrapped up in an underwater war is another.”
“...Lunaria hasn’t acted up lately,” Titus said, getting Mel’s attention. “She has been silent, not acting upon her vengeance plans as of late. There is time to ease into your powers first.”
“Well at least I get that much,” she said.
“Aquaria never wants a new mermaid to rush into the job,” Titus explained. “She knows these things take time to get used to.”
“You mean powers beside the breathing underwater and talking to dolphins?” Mel asked incredulously, feeling she had taken in quite a bit of mysticism for a normal day.
“The whole package, yes,” Titus answered, before pointing his snout above. “...It’s that marine biologist again.”
“Wait, who?” Mel inquired.
“Go check and see,” Titus answered. “This will be a good time for you to test your powers.”
“Uhh ok,” she consented, and swam up toward the surface.
It was on a rowboat, with what looked to be a blonde sailor with a blonde beard, and a lab coat, rowing the boat backwards, with a fish net on said boat. “Yo-ho, yo-ho, And a bottle of rum! Catching a mermaid, will bring the peers numb!”
Mel stopped just short of two feet below the water’s surface, staring up at the boat wondering what to do.
The marine biologist drank some rum, before putting the rum down gently… and then hamming out: “THEY CALLED ME MAD!! INSANE!! WROUGHT UPON LIKE A BASKET CASE, WITH MY EX-WIFE SWEPT UP BY THAT BRAZILIAN STUD!! WELL, WHO’S LAUGHING NOW, JUDY?!? I WILL FIND THE MERMAID, AND WHEN I DO, I WILL GO PLACES!!!” He then sat back down, completely content. “But enough on that… I should at least catch sea bass to experiment with, to bring home to Jodi.”
Mel couldn’t help but feel bad for the marine biologist. “...I almost want to actually show my face to the guy… but then I think he might overreact, and go nutso.”
“This is Dr. Chobaski.” Titus explained, “Very knowledgeable scientist of the local aquatic wildlife, but due to his eccentric fascination with mermaids, he’s always been approached with a metaphorical 5-foot pole.”
“Surprisingly, I can sympathize with him,” Mel replied, “I’m no stranger to being shunned for a mermaid obsession, among other things.” She then looked up. “...Screw it: I’m going to do the dumb thing.”
“As you wish, Mel.” Titus replied.
So Mel reached the surface, looking over at the boat, with Dr. Chobaski on it. “...Uh, hi.”
Dr. Chobaski turned around, and saw Mel. “...I’m sorry, who are you…?”
Mel only smiled at him, before flashing her blue tail at him and diving back under the water.
“...Did… I just see… what I thought I had seen…?” Dr. Chobaski wiped his eyes, and then pinched himself. “Ow.” He was conscious. “...THEY’RE REAL!!!! I KNEW IT!!!!”
Mel was swimming towards the coast. “...I know he’ll likely be a funny obstacle later on… but that felt GOOD…”
Titus soon appeared at Mel’s side. “I presume you are done for the day?”
“Yeah, I gotta find a way to get my legs back and get home before I’m missed,” said Mel.
“Fortunately, that part won’t prove to be too difficult.” Titus explained. “All that you have to do, is plant yourself on the shallow coast, or land, and press upon the pearl on your necklace. You will change back.”
“Oh, thanks Titus,” Mel said as they neared the shore, “are… you going to be here tomorrow?”
“Of course, Mel,” Titus answered.
“Awesome! I’ll see you then, and we can work more on this mermaid business!” Mel said, before plopping on the beach coast, and pressing on the pearl.
A blinding light flashed around her, and once it had faded she once again felt the sensation of having lower limbs.
“...Well how about that,” Mel said, standing up on the ground.
“Mel! We’re making dinner!” Mel’s father called.
“Coming!” Mel called back before grabbing her bag and hurrying home, Titus watching her go.
‘Hopefully this will end well,’ he thought.