A Brief Moment of Terror
The tub was cramping her back and tail, the water was much too cold and the lack of natural current incredibly uncomfortable. Practically everything here was uncomfortable. It was a form of subtle torture, it had to be. Marcelina fidgeted for the umpteenth time in an hour, looking out the small window. It was boring as all hell in here! Not to mention she was still quite hungry. Having been captured so soon prevented her from getting a proper feeding. She needed at least 5 men to sate her, not half a neck. Marcelina would've taken dry, sticky human meat over none at all. Again, she looked to the circular window to the far left of the cabin. She could hardly see anything from this angle, but she did see clouds, sunshine, and a few birds. She would've given a lock of her hair to be in the water, seeing that view untarnished. Arturo had told her that once they made to port, he'd take her into town and get a carpenter to try and fashion a container for her.
Marcelina audibly scoffed. How he would do that was beyond her. It'd been thousands of years since a nereid had been captured. No human would hold the knowledge of how to contain one. After she was 'contained' they would promptly begin another voyage across the sea, beyond anywhere Marcelina dared to venture. The vast Atlantic was much too cold and dangerous for her to truly live in it. Occasionally she had swam at the edges of it, staying close to continental ridges where there was still warmth, but never too far from that. But now, she'd be stranded on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic, the thought made her shiver. She hoped the crew was competent enough to handle the storms and feisty waters. The last thing she wanted was to be freed only to die. Marcelina was tempted to sleep off the rest of the wait time, but decided against it. She in no way wanted to be vulnerable or caught off guard by Arturo or his men. Steeling herself, Marcelina continued to sit and wait until finally Arturo came into the cabin, a group of his strongest men following. They were all relatively young, pretty, and she could see the muscle under their clothes. Her stomach growled in hunger.
"We've reached port, creature. These men are going to carry you into town. I suggest you be calm and stay still, lest you'd like to be tipped over and left to the devices of the people." Arturo had a hard look in his eyes, threats entirely serious. Marcelina glared at him, but nodded to his orders. Tipping over didn't sound nice at all. The men came forward, surrounding the tub, and after getting secure grips, they lifted and Marcelina nearly panicked at the unsteady rise. It was terribly uneasy and awkward, being carried like this. The water sloshed under her and occasionally splashed out over the men, making their shoulders and grips slippery. The uneven heights made the tub already uneven, not to mention the natural slope and conditions of the walk from port to a carpenter. People stared in shock and awe, sometimes bumping into the group and making them shift about. A particular bump almost made them fall, and Marcelina whimpered from deep in her throat. She clung white-knuckled to the tub, almost refusing to breathe, let alone move in any way. However, they managed to best the dangers and arrived at an esteemed carpenter's establishment. The man was elderly but still had skill, speed and strength, as well as the long-lost knowledge of nereids.
Marcelina was put down again, letting her finally breathe out in relief. The men stretched and quietly agreed with her: that was a difficult trip. Arturo went to the carpenter, already familiar with him, and clapped his shoulder. "I have a treat for you, old friend! I have caught a nereid, and I need you to make her a container." The old man took one look at Marcelina and went into an excited tizzy, his wrinkled gray eyes wide with astonishment. "By God, you have! I always knew there were some left. I'll be honored to take this commission." Arturo nodded in approval and allowed the man to come up to Marcelina. Kneeling down, he proceeded to look her over in slow, detailed trails. "And she's still quite young! You know, these creatures are like jellyfish-they live forever as long as they aren't outright killed or hurt. A beautiful specimen like this shall have the most beautiful container!"
Marcelina bared her teeth at him, using anger to cover up the frankly violated and wary feeling she was getting. "How long will you need?" Arturo asked, coming to stand next to Marcelina. "Two to three days at least, with your permission." Arturo made a face at the wait, but shrugged. "Fine, three days at most. Gives me time to resupply and play a little before going back out for business." He smirked and so did the carpenter. Marcelina was firmly against being left alone with the man, but it seemed her opinion was neither valuable nor wanted. It put her off, but there was nothing she could really do. Mental manipulation required songs, and with Arturo around, it could be interpreted as maliciousness and result in her death. Arturo shook hands with the carpenter, gave Marcelina another condescending pat on her head and then left, taking any protection from this odd carpenter with him.
For the rest of the day, the carpenter was diligently working. He left Marcelina to her own in the sunlight, occasionally asking a question about her basic size, weight, and aesthetic preferences. Then he set about getting the right wood and metal parts, a glass screen, and anything else. Marcelina didn't care enough to pay attention to how he built a prison. The second day was much the same, the carpenter went out to refill the tub for her-the warm Mediterranean was a blessing compared to the chilled tub water- and caught her fish to eat. Then he set about actually building the container. Sometimes she'd watch him for a while, curiosity getting the better of her. He was technically very skilled, and heeded to all she had told him about her. For a prison, it was exquisite. Marcelina, out of a mix of boredom and curiosity, had taken to watching him and suggesting things. After all, it was in her nature to have the best for herself. Pretty baubles and sun-catching trinkets would keep her as content as her situation would allow.
It was the third day that caught her. The container was more or less done. The thing was massive- and no doubt weighed the size of a few men. The carpenter fit the glass section snugly over it, melted it to the wood, and then started the process of filling it. Marcelina watched him as alertly as ever at first, but towards the end she grew calm and dozed off to the sound of water falling. However, she was rudely awakened by the tub being tipped over with a shove. Marcelina fell over with a yelp, curling up to avoid getting her tail crushed by the edge. The carpenter left her trapped under the tub, going back to his task of filling up the container. Stuck there, Marcelina felt an odd feeling take over her body as the water dried up. In a very rare, slow process, one could transform from water to land. Though Marcelina didn't know it, the carpenter did. She could change back if she went back into the sea- from her home, at least- but that wasn't his goal. "It's a shame, I did all this work, and the product is quite pretty, but you won't be using it. Arturo is a good man, but foolish. Keeping you as a bauble is a waste of a young body. You'll do much better as a wife."
He peeked under the lip of the tub, chuckling at the scared and disgusted look in those glowing eyes of hers. "Give it half an hour, you'll be human again." Then the carpenter took his leave-maybe for lunch, she wasn't sure- and left Marcelina to endure the drastic change. The drying of her scales was incredibly uncomfortable, along with the odd, new texture of her hair down her back. Salt water made it slightly harder than she liked it. However, when the carpenter came back, he was pleased to see her as a human once he flipped the empty tub back over. Marcelina was a naked, shivering mess, unable to move spare support herself on her arms. "W-what did you do to me? What magic is this?!" She bared her now blunt teeth at him, and the carpenter laughed again. " "I did nothing but activate a natural reaction in your kind. You can't expect me to marry you as you were before? Silly woman." Smirking, he squatted and bent to help pick her up. "Let's get you standing." And then he yanked her roughly to her feet. It was terrible, the rush of vertigo she felt getting into an unnatural position, and the jelly-like feeling of her...legs? Marcelina felt like throwing up and crying. Would she be able to return to her natural state? What did he mean, marrying her?
Marcelina startled when she felt the wall touch her back. Then she began to panic as he leaned in and decided to touch her. The extremely dry skin on hers was revolting, along with the drag of chapped lips down her neck. "You're soft, and even prettier as a human than you were as a nereid." She felt water down her cheek and loathed the fact that she was crying. The carpenter either didn't notice or didn't care, one hand staying on her shoulder to steady her while the other began to trail down in light strokes of his fingers. She felt it settle on her breast and her hand acted on its own. The slap was sudden and swift, leaving a red mark on the man's face. Marcelina was disappointed that her nails' power was gone-she wanted to rip his face. She started to regret her choice though, because the carpenter grew cross and threw her to the ground. "Being stubborn, hm? I'll show you that it's not wise to anger your husband, woman." He settled between her useless legs and ignored her rising fear as he grabbed her arms together with one hand. There was a clicking sound, but not from the carpenter. He had frozen up in fear and was looking into the fiery green eyes of Arturo. His pistol was cocked and aimed clearly to the carpenter's head, ignoring the other. "Get your greedy hands off! I should shoot you right now!"
Marcelina was quick to try and drag herself away, but the carpenter had clenched on in fear. She squirmed and looked to one of the strong men Arturo had brought with him. One got the hint and reached down to pry the carpenter's hands off. Marcelina propped herself up on her forearms and began to slide away. She wasn't as heavy without her tail, it was surprisingly easy for her. Her legs, however smooth and perfect and pretty, were still useless to her, so she didn't get far. "Sergio, wrap her in your coat and carry her. The rest of you get the container." Quickly, the crew got into action. Sergio shedded his coat and carefully draped it over her, then after letting her wrap it around her front, gathered her up into his arms. It was awkward, being carried in man's arms naked. After all she had just been manipulated and thrown around like a rag doll a moment ago. However, he was carefully reserved and held her gently, not commanding anything from her.
It was easier to handle, at least. Marcelina found herself so exhausted from all of that. Three days of stress and that final act had taken too much from her. She didn't realize when she fell asleep, but the others did. Arturo let a little more wrath in his eyes, uncocking the gun and turning it around to whip the carpenter. "You're a bastard! How dare you touch what is mine?! I trusted you to do your job and do it honestly, and instead I come here to find you've tried to ruin her and steal her away!" He regarded the whimpering carpenter with a lack of pity and only hatred. "The only reason you are living is because you weren't able to ruin her. Leave this place. If I come back to find you still here, I will not hesitate to shoot you." He put away his pistol, turned heel and began to walk. The footsteps behind him were all he need to know he was being followed by his small group.