The second Arturo dismissed Marcelina, she ran to her cabin. Throwing her boots to the farthest corner of the room, she undid every button and string possible to make it easier for her to discard her clothes later. Then she took a thin blanket to wear for modesty. Marcelina opened the door to go look for Emilio but found him waiting just outside the door. Seeing her in a blanket like that was a serious test in self-restraint, but he got through it with a smile. "So eager to be rid of this body, Marcelina? Though were I one of you, I'm sure I would be just as eager."
He offered his hand and Marcelina took it with a small blush. She felt exposed despite still wearing her clothes and a blanket. With all the grace and confidence he could muster, Emilio suddenly scooped Marcelina into his arms bridal-style and walked them to the deck. He chuckled softly at her gasp of surprise and the way she clung to his shirt. Climbing up, he brought her close and dropped off the boat. Instead of Marcelina changing into her true state straightaway, as he hoped, Marcelina began to panic, thrashing in the water and becoming entangled in the blanket. Emilio couldn't swim them both to the surface with her flailing, which made her all the more nervous. She felt her chest start to burn at the lack of air. Emilio was able to get his bearings enough to push her out of the water.
Air came to Marcelina in a rush of gasping, sputtering, and coughing. Still uselessly flailing, a very real whine of fear bubbled out of her throat. It was like the sea was rejecting her in this state, trying to purge her out of it. A moment later, Emilio burst from the water, spitting out salt water and taking in large gulps of air. His arm wrapped securely around her waist and his other hand managed to successfully discard the blanket. "I'm so sorry, Marcelina. I thought you would change once we hit the water." His apology practically flew over her head, she was too busy panicking. Emilio shook her a bit, then grabbed her cheeks to get her to look at him. "We're fine Marcelina. I can keep us afloat, but you must stop flailing. Just relax."
He kept up his firm but gentle coaxing until Marcelina actually listened and stopped squirming. She clung to him for dear life, not at all relaxed, but at least clear-headed. "I'm sorry for this mess, Marcelina. I misjudged the workings of your magic," he apologized. They were still in the water, hidden between ships, but it did nothing for her calm. "We need to go further south, to the rocky beaches." She was getting cold and the threat of sinking like a rock loomed over her head. Emilio nodded and obediently swam them to the docks. The movement scared Marcelina at first, unable to copy the motions, but she picked it up soon enough. Her movements were jerky and unsure compared to Emilio's but it got them to the docks.
Emilio got to the nearest pier and helped her climb up onto it, following after and rolling onto his back to rest a moment. Marcelina did the same, panting and pushing her wet hair from her face. Her top was wide open, just barely keeping her breasts from view. However, the water made the material cling and leave little to the imagination anyway. A few minutes of quiet stillness passed before Marcelina sat up and loosely re-tied her top. "Emilio, we can't stay here." Already the voices of a crowd were encroaching, so Emilio quickly got up and scooped her up in his arms again for modesty's sake. He walked briskly to the beaches, which weren't terribly far, but still a long walk. By the time they'd reached their goal, it was a few hours past noon.
Marcelina found a surge of energy once she saw the shore and the vast expanse of water. A natural instinct to become one with the water sent her squirming out of Emilio's arms and running towards one of the larger rocks overlooking the water. The closer she got the happier she felt, the more alive. It spread through every fiber of her being, making her giggle, then laugh in euphoria. Emilio was close behind, smiling at her. Marcelina came to the edge of the rock, getting her balance before throwing off her clothes and tucking them away. Then she simply stepped off and fell. Marcelina knew she was home the minute her feet touched the water. Her body was awash with warm tingles, the joining of her legs into one beautiful, strong tail with scales of the deepest blue and purest white. In mere minutes, Marcelina resurfaced from the waters the happiest she'd been ever since her capture. Her smile was a full-fledged grin.
Marcelina didn't think she could miss the taste of salt more than she had. Emilio watched from the edge, admiring the true beauty of Marcelina's happiness. Even from afar, he could feel her peace and her excitement. He let her frolic by herself for a while, sitting down and letting his legs dangle in the air. "Emilio, aren't you coming in? You'll have to sooner or later!", she called, bobbing with the waves. With a nod, Emilio stood and stripped of his clothing as she had done, then jumped. The fall wasn't terribly high, around 15 feet or so, and the only discomfort was the slap of the sea on his feet and the brief rush of saltwater up his nose. Marcelina acted quickly, gathering Emilio in her arms and planting a deep but chaste kiss on his lips. Emilio didn't even have time to register it as a kiss before she pulled away. He was overcome with the urge to breathe and he gulped in water with a gasp.
Oddly, he felt and tasted the salt water enter him, but his lungs inhaled only air. Emilio opened his eyes--he was unaware of closing them--but the water didn't sting. Marcelina smiled at him, playfully tapping his nose. "It's unbecoming to gape like that as if you're a fish." Realization kicked in and Emilio was feeling all over his body for any changes. He put a hand to his throat to feel very thin slits, three on each side, where the water escaped with each breath. A glance down his body revealed small patches of golden scales along his hips, legs, and feet. "To you and me, you look only marginally different, but to fish and any of my kind we happen to pass, you are no more human than they are." Marcelina laughed at the awe-stricken look on his face. "Come on, we'll go to my cave at the great cliffs." Marcelina took his hand in hers, leading him with all the natural grace of a magical being.
Her tail moved in undulations that looked impossible to replicate for a human. It had as much power as a fleet of humans moving in perfect sync. Emilio couldn't help but stare at it, a glittering span of sapphire and sleek silk. It took a moment for Emilio to try and swim with her instead of being pulled along. It surprised him how much easier it was to swim with the magical enhancements. The current barely bothered him, and while he would never fully catch up with Marcelina, there was less tension in his arm. The movement of water felt almost like the summer breeze on land: warm, easy, relaxing. Emilio was never more excited in his life.