“When I was told of a mythical treasure, I must say I never imagined it would be a someone.” The captain said, her voice smooth, lips curled back in a sneer. “I imagined a cursed necklace of diamonds, perhaps a chest of gold containing a ring that would grant you your heart’s greatest desires but you… Truly not what I was expecting.”
The mermaid stared back at her in defiance, her anger at being caught clear on her face. She looked utterly helpless in the net, her tail useless, her arms tangled. Surprisingly, however, she had no fear on her face. “You have no idea what you’re messing with.” She snarled, eyes flicking around the deck. There were many pirates there but they all stood respectfully in the background despite their obvious curiosity. The only one who stood close enough to touch her, was the one who had spoken.
“You seem quite confident for being the one caught in the net.” The pirate captain drawled. “You see, I doubt you’re able to do anything right now. Perhaps because you’re not in the ocean, perhaps because you can’t until someone commands you. And, I know this my dear, because if you were able to escape, you would have done it already. I’ve had my fair share of prisoners and I can tell you, none of them have wanted to stick around to engage in polite conversation.” She continued, the smirk not leaving her face. She looked far too pleased with herself for Mira's liking.
Despite how angry it made her; the captain was right. She was bluffing. The moment she was caught, her powers were controlled by her captor. They would have to know how to control her but even if they never learned how, she would be powerless until she was released. She opened her mouth to speak, intending to defy the pirate once more but for a moment no words came out. The pirate’s smile grew wider. “You don’t know how to control me.” She finally spit out.
The captain's smirk faded somewhat, her gaze hardening in a way that made Mira regret opening her mouth. Slowly the captain drew her sword but instead of slicing into Mira's flesh, she cut the net surrounding Mira, letting her fall uselessly onto the deck.
For a moment she wasn’t able to do anything, her tail flopping uselessly as she struggled to look at least somewhat dignified. Her cheeks burned as she finally managed to sit up, leaning heavily against low wall stopping her from falling back into the water. All around her the crew laughed, including the captain.
As the captain's laughter slowed her expression hardened again, her eyes glinting with the kind of look that told Mira she had a plan. She looked a little bit like a shark. Watching her with a strange hunger that only came from those who were desperate. “No, I don’t. But I’m sure you’ll tell me, won’t you dear?” She asked, her tone laced with sickly sweet politeness.
“Never,” Mira growled, though the moment she said it, she regretted it.
The captain shrugged her shoulders, tilting her head slightly. “Are you sure?” She asked, dead serious now.
Mira wasn’t sure but she nodded all the same. She had always been told she was too brave, or too stubborn for her own good. This was one of those times.
The captain looked at her for a long moment before nodding her head decisively. “I have other ways of making you talk.” She told her. “For instance, how long can a mermaid go without the ocean? I would guess not very long. Or perhaps, you can last quite a long time without it. Either way, I don’t think it will be very pleasant. Ah well.” She shook her head now, a mildly sympathetic expression on her face as she turned to her crew. “Take her to my quarters and leave her there. Nobody sees her but me.” She ordered, walking to the bow of the ship and looking out upon the ocean.
Mira tried to struggle, intending to make this as hard as she could for everyone involved. All she succeeded in doing was hitting a member of the crew in the face with her tail and soon enough she was below deck. It smelt musty down here, not crisp and clear like she was used to. Even the darkness was strange. No light, and no ocean. Just dark walls and the captain’s things. The crew members that had brought her here simply dropped her in the middle of the floor. The humiliation of it all had made her wish for a moment that the captain knew how to control the power. If she had, she could have commanded her to form legs. She didn’t like the idea of being human, but at least then she would have been able to move. She dragged herself over to the nearest wall, using it to prop herself up as she looked around the room. It was such a small space holding only enough room for a bed and a small desk. To her dismay, there were no weapons lying about, though, she wasn’t sure what she would have done with one if she had.
For a long while, though she wasn’t sure how long exactly, she just sat there, her mind wandering. She wasn’t sure how she was going to get out of this. She closed her eyes, preferring that over seeing the walls around her.
“You are quite a pretty little thing, aren’t you?”
Mira's eyes snapped open at the sound of the captain’s voice and she was annoyed at herself for closing them in the first place. She said nothing in response to the captain.
“Why don’t we start by you telling me your name?” The captain asked. “You're going to be here for a while so this seems like the proper way to go.” She continued.
Mira stared at the captain for a long moment, having no intention of telling her, her real name.
This time the captain shot her a winning smile. “Shy? That’s alright dear. I’ll go first. I’m Adela.” She said, tone slightly mocking.
Mira said nothing for another moment weighing her options before settling on a lie. “Dalia.” She said, holding Adela's gaze for a few long moments. She couldn’t tell the captain her real name, not until she was desperate. For names are very powerful things and once Adela knew her own, she would be able to command her to do whatever she pleased. When Mira had been born it had been called a blessing. She was more powerful than any other being, she should be grateful, but power always came with a price.
The captain's eyes flicked over her for a moment before nodding. “Good. I’m sure you could find a way to be happy here. If you would just answer my question.”
Mira shook her head. “Never.” She spit out.
The days past by slowly. Adela never hurt her, but being away from the ocean was a torture within itself. Her scales had never felt this dry and they ached with it. However, she could hold on. Perhaps if she just waited a little bit longer Adela would grow bored of her. From what Mira had learned of her she didn’t seem like a patient person. Or perhaps she was someone who had learned that she didn’t have to be patient to get what she wanted.
It was what Mira thought was the fifth day though her sense of time was muddled. With the pain she was in, the lack of light, even little fresh air, she had no way of telling. She blinked hard as Adela walked into the room, holding a piece of paper. No, a page, a page that she knew. Mira's heart began to race as Adela stalked over to her, a smug look on her face. She slapped the paper into Mira's hand, waiting. It was exactly what Mira had suspected it was. Her legend. The one that had lead the humans to search for her in the first place. Someone who was smart enough could have decoded it. They could know. She looked up at Adela, her hands trembling.
Adela looked back at her, the same shark like hunger glinting in her eye now. She drew a sword, placing the tip against Mira's chest. “You know, I did wonder why you lied to me about your name. That was your first mistake. You gave me something to go off of.” She murmured, her voice strangely gentle as she pushed the sword harder.
A drop of blood formed on Mira's chest but the captain pushed no further. She had what she wanted now. Mira couldn’t hold out forever.
“Tell me now, what is your name?” Adela asked, her slender eyebrow raised in question. She spoke slowly, the way one would speak to a toddler who had misbehaved. The way that told Mira she had only a moment to answer truthfully before she had to deal with the consequences.
She should have known this moment was coming. Adela was smart, that much was clear and she was also desperate. So very obsessed with the idea of power that Mira guessed she would have stopped at nothing. “My name…” She whispered, the next words dying on her tongue. “My name is Mira.” The words came out hoarse, unable to hide her fear any longer.
Adela smiled, her teeth shining despite the darkness of the room. “Good girl. I'm sure you’ll be quite happy here, won’t you Mira?”
Mira closed her eyes, holding onto that last moment of freedom before she opened them again, the curse forcing her to answer. “Yes.” Her voice cracked but she allowed no tears to fall. This was it, this was her life. She had been stupid enough to get caught and now she would deal with the consequences. She would only be under Adela's command until the woman died, or at least until Adela released her. She suspected, however, that the woman would never do that. Human's liked their power.
She gave in after that day. There was no point in fighting anymore. She was treasured and no one let go of something, or someone that they treasured.