As promised, the second half of the first chapter of my new novella, The Mermaid, is below.
(It is still up for a 0.99 PRE-ORDER, in case you missed it.)
A few more tidbits from the creation of The Mermaid:
In the original fairy tale Ariel is forced to put oysters on her tail because she’s royalty. It is apparently very painful. I decided to make them an integral part of my story. I decided to add to it and chose an Abalone pearl to grow inside of it (see picture). Rare and worth more than some of the kingdoms represented at the Academy. Only royal merpeople produce them and they are supposed to go to their children. Because it’s fantasy, I decided to make Ri’s pearls an orange color.
Also in the original, Ariel’s grandmother adorns her head with a wreath of white lillys and pearls. In my story, the first time Ri does her hair on land, she uses pearl hair pins.
Continued from last week…Click here for the first half!
One of the king’s eyebrows rose as his gaze traveled to Ri’s fin. “Interesting choice in oysters.”
She had attached eight oysters to the end of her fin, four on each side. It was tradition that the royal family wear them, and Ri had spent hours picking these out. They would, in time, produce unique and valuable pearls that would go to her children when she died. She rose and flapped her tail. “Do you like them?”
“They’re a bit showy.”
“Daddy,” Ri said before he could get going, “I’m the princess. Aren’t I allowed to be a little showy?”
Triton’s eyes traveled to her torso. “And you’d better be wearing more than that when you transform.”
The form-fitting—and even, Ri had to admit, slightly revealing—top had been her latest purchase from the market. It fit her perfectly. The blue-green color matched her eyes and complemented her hair. It clashed a little with her orange and green tail, but once she had legs, no one on land would know.
“It rolls down into a dress,” she said.
“And a jacket?”
Ri was surprised her father knew what a jacket was. It wasn’t like they ever needed them in the ocean. “Of course.”
Technically she was telling the truth. She had a jacket, just not one she was going to put on after she transformed.
The look on her father’s face told her he knew as much, but she smiled and swam toward him. “Oh Daddy, I’m so excited.” She turned on her big eyes and her best expression of wonder. “You know I’ve wanted to go to the Academy since I was Gail’s age.” Ri reached out, and her father sighed and took her hands. Ri bent down and kissed his ring. “I promise to make you proud.”
“All my girls make me proud.”
Gail, who had gone to Grandmother, squealed. Triton gave her another wink, then turned back to Ri. “Remember, you’re a princess of the merpeople. My daughter. Your duty is to bring honor to our name, learn everything you can, make friends, and do not make me come up there for any reason.”
“Of course!” Ri said.
“And don’t forget: two of your sisters are already there. Do not be afraid to ask them for help.”
Ri waved her hand. “I won’t need any help from them.”
The deep vibration of a horn thrummed in the water.
A thrill ran from the tip of Ri’s tail up through the top of her head. Her insides churned, but her smile grew wider. “It’s time.”
“My baby, going off to school,” Triton said.
“Please don’t cry, Dad,” Ri said. “You promised.”
When her father—the king—spoke, his voice caught in his throat. “Your mother would be so proud.”
Ri had to keep from rolling her eyes. She moved forward and embraced her father. His strong arms wrapped around her, and for a moment panic pushed at her calm. He’d always been there, just a short swim away. And now she wouldn’t see him for many moon cycles.
But she couldn’t show weakness. If she did, he might change his mind and keep her under the sea for another year.
She pulled away, shooting a grin at Kalel. “Take care of him while I’m gone.”
“We’ll do our best. Shiari said to wish you luck. She’s struggling.”
“That’s what happens when you two go at it all the time.” Ri winked.
Kalel had the decency to blush, but then he grinned. “Good luck.”
“You too. Send me a message when Gail has a little sister.”
“With our family’s luck? It’s a girl for sure.” Ri gave her grandmother one last hug, showered Gail with a flurry of kisses, then turned her attention upward.
A dark shadow had moved right over them.
“Are you ready?” Grandmother asked.
“I’m ready.” Ri squared her shoulders and rose.
“Bye!” Gail said.
“I love you, Ariel,” Triton said. “Remember who you are.”
“I love you, too,” Ri said over her shoulder, and without another look back, she rose to the water’s surface.
Guys, this is such a great story! I can’t wait for you all to read the whole thing!