ATTENTION: This is not an entry for the contest! This is another story I have been working on recently, and I just want to see what I can fix or add to make it better! If you find any mistakes or anything I should change, please leave a comment about it.
When I was younger, I grew up hearing people tell stories about dangerous Sea Nymphs, terrifying Sea Serpents, and mysterious Merfolk. I believe every single one of them, because I am one of them. My name is Lena, and I am a mermaid.
To most humans, when you pass me on the street, I look just like you. But if you look closely, you can see a faint shimmer on my arms and face. Merfolk had been hunted down for sport since the medieval era. Our numbers were slowly depleting until my great grandfather Cyruis, discovered a special shell that gave whoever held it the ability to walk on land.
It was discovered that if you had a piece of the shell, you could go on land without needing the entire thing. So, when a merman or mermaid reached the age of sixteen, they were given a piece of the shell on a special chain, so they could explore the Human world with the others. With mermaids disguised as humans, we soon became a legend. But that was before the shell disappeared.
Chpt. 1 Getting Ready
It was my sixteenth birthday, I had been looking through my clothes, trying to find a suitable skirt for my tail. Today, I was going to receive my piece of shell, and walk on land for the first time. My mom had sat me down on the plankton stool in front of my bedroom mirror. “It’s a special day.” She happily announced, as she took time weaving a strand of pearls in my hair. “Are you excited?”
I pushed a strand of my hair out of my face, “Are you kidding? I’m filled with so much energy that I feel like I could swim through all of the sea caves in under five minutes!” I exclaimed, waving my hands in the air to emphasize it. My mother smiled brightly, then her face slowly changed to a grim expression.
“Let’s just hope the sea nymphs stay in their territory today.” she muttered.
“If they attack this time, we’ll be prepared.”
The sea nymphs were our greatest enemies. They were banished centuries ago when their leader, Queen Sarquia, tried to steal the shell and destroy all Merfolk. Every year, they would attack our land, and try to steal it. The first time they attacked, there were so many of them that we were easily outnumbered. They would have managed to get away with the shell if they had not kept it out in the open.
The room where the shell is kept is closely watched over by a pair of Orca Whales named Opal and Pearl. The sea nymphs had forgotten about them, and had been making their escape, when Pearl spotted them and let out an alarm call. The nymphs tried to swim away but were caught instantly. Before she left, Sarquia promised that someday she would return, and all of us would pay the price for that day. That was the day my best friend Araila went missing.
“Done!” Mother exclaimed, swimming back to admire her work. “You look flawless.”
I swiveled around in the chair, so I was facing the mirror and gasped in awe. My hair was decorated with shells and pearls. There was a line of pearls on the back that were woven into the shape of a clam shell, along with others on the side of my head in the shape of bubbles. I looked stunning.
“How did you-” I started to ask, but she stopped me.
“Time to go!” She exclaimed, pulling me through the door, with one arm.
That was the day my life changed forever.
Chpt. 2 Missing
Mom and I sat in the hall waiting patiently for our turn to go in. Even though I knew we were only waiting for a few minutes, it felt like hours. Finally, the doors were opened, and one of the guards entered the waiting room.
“Is Lena present?” he asked, his eyes scanning the room. I swam up to him eagerly. “Here!” I responded, waving my hand in the air. He must have been used to eager merfolk coming because without another word, he motioned for me and my mom to follow him.
We followed him past the doors, and into a large hallway big enough to fit an entire humpback whale. The walls were lined with coral, and the floor was covered in clam shells. At the end of the hall, there was a set of large doors made from sea stone.
When we reached the door, the guard stopped and pressed his hand against the door. He stood there for a while, then motioned for us to do the same. When I touched the door, I felt a pulse of energy that felt strong enough to knock a human off their feet.
Suddenly, the door gleamed a shade of gold, and the doors swung open. My jaw dropped in awe. We entered a large room covered from the floor to the ceiling in glittering jewels. In the very center of the room, the giant shell was sitting on the top of a golden pedestal, lined with diamonds.
As we swam closer to the shell, I saw a pair of dark figures swimming towards us. Instantly, I recognized them as Opal and Pearl. They had come to watch my shell ceremony.
“Are you ready?” My mom asked, her hand softly squeezing mine.
To tell the truth, I was a little nervous, but I didn’t want my mom to think I wasn’t ready.
Waiting patiently, the guard motioned for me to come closer to the shell. When I was close enough, he started giving me directions.
“When the shell glows, place your hand on it. When you hear a slight hum, take your hand off, then a piece of shell should appear. Got it?” he asked, raising his eyebrows. I nodded.
After about 5 seconds, the shell began to glow a bright shade of yellow. Quickly, I placed the palm of my hand on the giant clam shell. After a few minutes, I heard a faint humming sound. Slowly, I removed my hand from the shell.
Instantly, I felt a tingling sensation in my arm, and a pearl necklace appeared in my hand, with a tiny piece of shell on it. As I inspected it, I realized my piece of shell was shaped like a seahorse.
“It’s shaped like a seahorse.” I said to my mom, turning it over in my hand.
“That’s the merfolk symbol of persistence. It shows that you are very persistent with your goals.”
Several hours later, my mother and I were celebrating, when we heard a loud, shrill, wail. Suddenly, my mother’s face turned as hard as stone. If my mother had that expression on her face, it wasn’t a good sign.
“What was that?” I exclaimed glancing around.
I soon had an answer.
“THE SHELL HAS BEEN STOLEN!” a voice roared from outside.
Apparently, the sea nymphs learned from their last attack.
Chpt. 3 Into New Territory
“Come on.” Mom said, motioning for me to follow her out the door.
“Where are we going?”
“The King has called a meeting, about the events that happened yesterday.”
It had been a day since the shell was stolen, and nothing had been released about it. Now I could finally know what happened that night.
Anxiously, I swam faster than I ever had in my life. My mother could barely keep up with me. When she finally caught up with me, she was panting and out of breath.
“What are you, a dolphin?” She jokingly asked, leaning over.
“Sorry, I just want to know what’s going on.”
When we finally reached the crowded coral reef area, I grew concerned.
Usually, the King was escorted by Opal and Pearl. This time, however, he was only escorted by Pearl. Where is Opal? I thought, trying to think things through. Is she okay? Finally, when the rest of the crowd grew silent, the King began to speak.
“My loyal subjects, let it be known that on this day, I speak to you not as your king, but as a friend.” he continued, “Yesterday afternoon, we were viciously attacked by the sea nymphs. They stole our precious shell, and severely injured an orca named Opal.” My eyes widened. “Now, do not lose hope. I will speak with the council, and come up with a plan eventually. But for now, all we can do is hope.” He waved his hand in the air, dismissing us.
“Well, let’s go home.” My mother sighed and started swimming away. I didn’t follow her.
“Mom, I can’t.” I swam towards her and placed my hand on her shoulder. “I have to do something about this. I can find the shell and bring it back. What if the council can’t come up with a plan that will work?”
“Well...” she stumbled, trying to find words.
“You told me years ago, to do what I think is right. Well, I think this is.” I pleaded, hoping she would understand. Eventually, after a long discussion, she relented. Because we didn’t know how long I’d be gone, my mom packed my favorite sea sponge bag full of everything I would probably need.
An hour later, I swam across the border of the kingdom, and set off on my journey.
Chpt. 4 Deep Water
About an hour after leaving the kingdom, I grew tired, and decided to take a break. It was at this moment that I - being unfamiliar with most sea life - thought it would be a great idea to take it in a sunken shipwreck. Oh, how wrong I was!
You see, I grew up in an area where all the sea creatures were friendly. I had never encountered any vicious or dangerous sea life. So, whenever I saw a sea creature, I always assumed it wouldn’t attack me.
I had just sat down on a large, gray rock, when I heard a strange sound, I was unfamiliar with. I - being the curious teenager I was - decided to go investigate. What I found would shock me.
I was swimming towards the sound when I stopped to listen carefully. It was at this moment that I realized the sound was getting louder extremely fast. Whatever was making the noise was swimming straight towards me!
Patiently, I waited for it to come so I could introduce myself. The instant it came into view, I realized my mistake. My mother used to teach me about dangerous creatures, and this creature had the exact description of a shark!
Quickly, I turned around and swam faster than I did on my way to the meeting. I swam through the maze of debris from the ship and glanced over my shoulder. The shark had somehow managed to stay behind me and was even closer than before!
As the shark continued to chase me, I suddenly got an idea.
“Come and get me!” I exclaimed, swimming in circles.
Taunting the shark had made it angry, just like I planned. The shark followed me through one of the broken windows of the shipwreck, and straight into a ditch.
Once I was sure the shark was far enough away, I grabbed an old, thick, net with weights on the end. Then, I swam to the top of the ditch, and waited. Sure enough, five seconds later the shark dashed straight towards me.
Right before the shark could reach me, I dropped the net onto it, trapping it. I knew it would only be a matter of time before the shark would break loose, so I left in a hurry.
With the shark distracted by the net, I was able to make a clean escape to safety.
Chpt. 5 The Enemy of My Enemy
About ten days had passed since my shark encounter, and so far, I had made almost no progress. I had, unfortunately, lost all my food through a small hole in my bag, torn by the shark. I was hungry and getting desperate.
Thoughts started coming into my mind. Maybe you should go back home, they said. There’s no use in trying, give up. Go home!
It was at this moment, that I realized I had left behind everything I knew when I had left home. The thoughts of home made me miss it. I wanted to go back, but in my heart, I knew I couldn’t. People were counting on me, and I wasn’t going to let them down.
I had been swimming for hours and was exhausted. I finally decided to find somewhere to rest, when I saw a very promising little coral reef just a few feet away from a rock ledge. Instantly, I started towards it.
I was just passing under the ledge, when I felt something prick my shoulder. Glancing back over my shoulder, I saw a strange little shell, sticking in my shoulder.
Suddenly, I felt very dizzy. The world around me seemed to be spinning in circles. I saw the shadow of a woman approaching me, then I blacked out.
“What if she’s a mermaid spy?”
“Relax! I’ll speak with her when she wakes up.”
I woke up in an unfamiliar, stone, room. It seemed to have been designed for prisoners. The two tiny windows in the room had bars of coral on them. There was a small sea sponge bed on the floor, and a large, covered, door that appeared to be taken from an old shipwreck.
The voices outside continued for a bit, then stopped abruptly. As the metal door started to open, I prepared myself to ambush my captors. But before I could even spring at them, I was stopped abruptly.
I was approached by a stunning sea nymph. She had ginger hair and blazing green eyes. She was wearing a beautiful, golden, dress, decorated with pearls, and small strands of seaweed. Her tail gleamed silver in the little light from the room.
“Who are you, and what are you doing here?” the mysterious sea nymph asked, squinting at me with a curious look in her eyes.
“My name is Lana.” I stated, trying to look brave. “One of your fellow sea nymphs, stole our precious shell, and I am here to get it back.” I said, trying to mimic her gaze.
“Well, I hate to break it to you, but we don’t have your stupid shell. No sea nymph has left our territory in months.” She stated in a very serious tone. She looked me up and down, as if trying to make an important decision.
“I’m Reila, by the way.”
The nymph smiled, extending her hand out for me to shake. I stared at it, debating. “I’m not going to bite.” She exclaimed, shooting me a teasing look. I took her hand, and awkwardly we shook hands. Suddenly, a blue haired, boy, sea nymph entered the cell, and leaned forward to whisper in Reila’s ear.
“Come on, were going to a meeting.” She announced taking me by the arm.
“Are we going to see Queen Sarquia?” I asked, hoping the answer was no. Luckily, it was.
“The Queen died years ago.” Reila explained, nodding to the guards as we left the prison. “After realizing how cruel she was, we got rid of the whole royalty thing, and are now run by a small, appointed council. Now we are all free to make our own decisions.” We entered a huge, crowded, plaza, covered from top to bottom in smooth stone. As we passed through the crowd, I felt their stares all around me.
“Why is everyone staring at me like that?” I whispered to Reila, who smiled.
“They haven’t seen a mermaid around here in years. They are hopeful that this will end the tension between our people. You’re giving them hope. Now come on, the meeting is just through these doors.”
Suddenly, I remembered the strange little shell that I had been shot with. “Just curious, what was that shell thing you hit me with before I fell unconscious?” I casually asked her, before we reached the doors.
“Oh, that was one of my special tranquilizer shells. Don’t worry, they’re completely harmless.” she said, giving me a reassuring smile. Then, we pushed open the giant doors of the meeting room and swam inside. Immediately, we were greeted by angry voices.
“The merfolk have accused us of stealing their shell! We need to act now, or there will be another war!” an older woman with gray hair exclaimed, shaking a wrinkly fist in the air. The others all nodded in agreement, completely oblivious to us. Reila cleared her throat to get their attention.
“This is Lena, the mermaid you wanted to see.” She explained, motioning towards me with her hands. Their powerful gaze automatically turned to me.
“Lena, we think you and I might have a common enemy here. Whoever stole your precious shell, has been stealing from us left and right. We haven’t gotten a good look at them, but we have seen them with the shell. Do you think you can help us solve our problem?” One of the old men asked, turning to me.
“I’ll see what I can do.”
“Good, now you can leave.”
Gratefully, I followed Reila out of the building, and into a small apartment next door. “You and I can share my apartment until you leave. It comes with a stone balcony, and two seaweed beds!” She exclaimed, grinning from ear to ear.
It was halfway through the night, and I couldn’t sleep. I had to find that shell. But where was it, and who took it? I glanced around the room and wrote a note to Reila telling her what I was going to do. If I was going to catch the thief before they used the shell, I’d have to leave.
I had just finished packing my bag, when I heard a faint hum. The shell! I thought. It must be near here! I glanced out the window, just in time to see a shadowy, hooded, figure swim up to the border, and stop. You’re not getting away this time! Using all the energy I could, I charged at the thief, and knocked them to the ground. I grasped their hood in my hands, and pulled it off. I stared at the thief in shock.
It was Araila!
That's all I've come up with for now. I will post more when I have time.