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Submitted on 11/26/2020

Categories: Adventure Fantasy Fiction

It was embarrasing enough that Eve was one of the very few mer people that could not go onto land. This unfortunate trait of hers meant that while her classmates were off exploring the nations above the ocean she was stuck looking at the same scenery day in and day out. Whilst her siblings came home from these excursions with various human artefacts and stories of up above, all she did all day was embrace the fact that she was confined to her watery world for life.

Of course, to only add to her embarrasment, her family's business had to be somewhat land based. For 8 generations, her father's side of the family had been running a snorkelling tour of the underwater volcanoes that were abundant in the region they lived in. Humans and mer people had successfully lived in co-existence for centuries now, a co existence Eve didn't get to experience thanks to her lungs inability to deal with the atmosphere. Whilst her younger siblings had already begun their contribution to the family business, as the eldest, Eve couldn't even join in thanks to her defect.

Although her family were incredibly kind to her about it, Eve saw the disappointment in her father's eyes everytime he looked at her, no matter how hard he tried to hide it. As the eldest out of 5 children, it was her role to take over the family business when her parents retired...a role that was going to skip her and go to her well meaning but slightly scatter brained brother instead. 

So whilst her siblings were meeting happy holidayers and showing them around the incredible environment in which she had grown up in, Eve spent her time doing the family's accounts and keeping their home in order whilst her mother socialised with the people up above. There was no use being the manager of a snorkelling business if she couldn't even meet the customers or join in on their adventures. 

It was just another typical morning in paradise, chasing the pastel vibrant colours of the dawn's vibrant rays Eve swan through the cool water of the approaching day. The peaceful serenity of the morning was her favourite part of the day, no one looked at her in frustration or pity...there wasn't anything to long for, her disability wasn't rubbed in her face. In the morning it was just her and the water, she was at one with nature and she could simply be in the moment...a moment she cherished for the rest of the day.

In fact, if it wasn't for this quiet time she had to herself everytime morning, she would probably have either a emotional breakdown or lose her temper at someone daily. As the sky above her brightened, turning the navy water a murky turquoise she found herself heading back towards her home. In the next hour, her family would be waking for the morning and preparing for the first snorkelling tour of the day. Whilst they were doing this she normally stayed away, she had done all the finances and paperwork the night before and she refused to put up with yet another morning of their pitying stares and awkward avoidance of certain conversational topics.

She didn't know why they tiptoed around her, she had never made a big deal out of her disability. In fact, it was easier to just embrace the fact that she was different and could not contribute to her family the way she wanted to rather than to avoid the fact like the plague and watch as her family members treated her like a breakable bauble.

As she drifted amongst the morning tide, her peaceful serenity was interrupted by a black speck in the distance, a speck that seemed to be growing larger by the second. As she made her way past the rocky coral outcrop marking the beginning of the continental shelf, the speck she had been watching came into detail in the form of a human scuba diver. She had heard about the concept of scuba diving, but only snorkelling was allowed in the Mer peoples territory. Of course, she wasn't really aloud to leave the confines of the Mer territory thanks to her medical condition...and she hadn't...not really. 

Technically neither the scuba diver or Eve herself were breaking any rules as the coral outcrop marked the edge of Mer territory and the local government's territory. The scuba diver couldn't enter Mer territory with his equipment and Eve couldn't cross over the continental shelf...but they could always interact in this small strop of no mans land.

Watching the figure curiously, Eve found herself instinctally hiding behind her mane of violet coloured hair as her limited social skills and general shyness of the human race kicked in. Thanks to her disability, she rarely...if ever interacted with humans. The snorkellers had to stay on the surface of the water and the odd free diver or swimmer that ventured out into the choppy waters couldn't hold their breath for long enough for them to actually have a decent social interaction. 

As she mulled over her thoughts, she did not realise that the diver had swum towards her until he was in front of her, his brilliant green eyes bright even through the thick goggles he was wearing. His attempt at smiling through his breathing mask had her giggling as he shook his head in mock frustration waved at her. Despite his gear, she could tell he was young...at least for a human anyway. He seemed to be in his 20's, old enough to adventure on his own yet young enough to be curious about the world around him.

Impulsivly, she reached forward to run her slightly shaking hands through his coal coloured hair. She had never been up close to a human before, especially one with hair that dark. The Mer people had a very similar upper body appearence to humans, the only difference being the colouring of their eyes,hair and of course the additional marine features including their tails, gills and fins.

Her people had hair in all the colours of the rainbow...especially in the more vivid colours such as in pinks and purple shades...such as her own. To see hair similar to her own in such a dark colour had her interest piquing for some strange reason...it didn't seem like a particularly interesting subject but to see something so mundane, something so human...it fascinated her. In the underwater world she had grown up in, everything was so bright...so vivid and colourful. In fact, she probably took this scenery for granted, her siblings and parents had often spoken about the dullness of the lands above their watery home.

" The occupants of a region reflect their environment...and let's just say humans are as dull as their surroundings. You could say they are grounded...cause they live on the ground...do you get it?"

Flashing back to what her younger brother's joke he had made about the humans several days earlier, Eve found herself rolling her eyes at his comments as she waved shyly back at the curious human. She didn't know if it was because of her lack of exposure to the humans or the lack of the time spent with them...but she found them fascinating, even the parts that made them so mundane.

As she openly studied the man, just as he was studying her she found her mood brightening considerably. She may be dull in the Mer people's eyes...in her family's eyes but this man clearly found her interesting...she may be a loner amongst her own people's but somehow a human found her fascinating...a human that had most definetly seen other Mer people in all their glitz and glam but still found her interesting.

Perhaps there was hope for her to experience the world afterall.

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