Chapter 1: Fallen
This is Roclime Sea - a hidden yet beautiful place for weirdos like us to live. Humans never get to discover our coordinates on their map, as our place is absurd for them unless they have strong beliefs in us. My name is Stacey Gems. I am a mermaid, a princess. Roclime Sea is my home and I cherish it very much.
Turquoise is my favourite colour and Roclime Sea has it. The rocks formed here are shiny, smooth and round. Hence, this makes them comfortable for me to rest on. Sometimes, I will roam all by myself at those rocks and perch on one of them, looking up to the sky with my passionate eyes.
Every day, every evening, when the sky starts to turn red and orange and pink, I love to sit on my favourite rock, where I had carved my name on it, claiming that it’s mine. My old friend, which is a flying rabbit, named Carrots will come and accompany me. It is my companion and messenger. Through some sort of our weird language, we are able to communicate and get ourselves updated with the latest news happening everywhere.
It’s been so peaceful since the War of Seas.
My parents had died while saving us. Us, means my siblings and I. I am the youngest among them all and always get the most amount of love from the family, especially from my mother. But now, she’s already long gone. I will never get to hear her lullaby before sleep ever again. Her voice was the sweetest because it heals our broken hearts once we are sad.
“You have your mother’s voice, Stacey.” However, this is what my grandmother told me when I sang my mother’s lullaby at the funeral. Until now, I still remember every word, every stanza, and every lyric of this song. Thinking of my mother makes me feel sorrow. Soon, I open my mouth, looking at the sky, and begin to sing.
It is not a longing song as there are just simple words with understandable meanings carrying behind. As a result, we can get to know the main significance of the song when we are small. Time flies, finally, I have turned 18, turning into an adult mermaid. But still, deep in my heart, I have a wish which will never be granted.
I wish to fly. Like Carrots, like the seagulls. I know this is a pretty childish yet immature wish for an 18-year-old, but the urge in me to shoot for freedom is blazing like fire. “How’s your flying, Carrots?” I ask after finishing my song as Carrots perches on my shoulder. Grinning, I reach out my hand and stroke his snowy white fur. Yes, I always see Carrots as a friend instead of an object or a random animal, so I’ll use ‘his’ as to indicate him.
The flying rabbit blinks at me with his big red eyes and tilts its head. In the meantime, I look straight into the eyes and prepare to experience a daydream fly through its thoughts. It must be amazing flying beneath the fluffy clouds while greeting other flying creatures. Excitement burbles in my stomach and I can’t wait to see where Carrots had been today.
When I’ve fully possessed myself with Carrots’ flying experience for today, I can experience another feels of flying virtually with the power.
Apparently, he’d flown out of Roclime Sea today and met his friends, the other flying rabbits. They were silvery grey, pitch black and sandy brown. Oh, there were three of them. In fact, they were so adorable. They usually went out and search for food together in the woods. Nevertheless, hunters roam the woods as well, indicating that they must be careful all the time.
Not long after, the scene changes to when Carrots was flying alone and upwards into the clouds until a huge castle stood in front. It is built in golden and white textures, showing its majestic appearance as somewhere royal and high class. Without any fear, Carrots dashed through the clouds and stopped by the walls. While waiting for someone’s arrival, it sniffles with his pink nose.
Although there were guards standing in a line, Carrots was still welcomed to be there as no one ever shooed it away from that very place. The guards stood with their heads up, their dark chocolate wings stretched widely on their backs. I lick my lips while seeing this as their wings remind me about the hot chocolate I used to drink from the human’s town.
Speaking of human’s town, I remember hiding my flowery fishtail away and replace it with elegant human legs in order to take a step into this realm. I did it because of my elder sister, Sally. She wanted to meet people who live in town for merchandise on her medicines with secret recipe.
My sister is a great pharmacist. She often creates her own unique medicine which cures rare diseases like frozen scales, demon pox, blood disorders and many more. Indeed, her medicines receive official recommendations from doctors and specialists all around the world, making her business even more successful in the human world and I am proud of her.
Now back to Carrots’ flight. As the sun began to set, the guards will change their human’s form into falcons’, shrinking their sizes and becoming unnoticeable during the night falls. “Wow!” I wonder whether or not they can feel tired, since they had been standing for the whole day. At the same time, I feel lucky for myself having the greatest opportunity to lie down and sleep.
As Carrots was about to return here, someone called him. The voice was masculine, yet it sounded about my age. Carrots turned and saw a boy with curly black hair waved at him from a distance. Soon, he spread his big wings to catch up with the animal.
I’m so excited because I’m so eager to see the boy’s face. However, unfortunately for me, all the scenes disappear and I am back to reality. The sky has turned blue and started to cake with constellations. In fact, it is time for Carrots to head home.
“Bye, Carrots.” I smile sweetly at his cute face before planting a feathery kiss on his forehead. In return, Carrots licks my cheek before he flies away. A gust of wind blows when his wings flap.
During the night time, the Roclime Sea breeze is cold as ice, whereas the sea is warm. I dive into the ocean, aiming to swim underwater. My tail begins to glow in faint white and purple as I swim deeper, lighting up my path along the way.
Soon, I’ve arrived. This is where I live with my siblings, the Rainbow Corals. Indeed, this place is truly colourful and this becomes one of the reason for me to smile whenever I’ve reached home. A school of mackerels swim pass me as I dive deeper into the giant coral reefs.
“Stacey! Stacey!” Someone calls me from a distance. I bet it is Kyle, my big brother. He is the second child among us. Eventually, I turn towards the sound source and our gazes meet. His holds the colour of emerald, the colour of the meadow. “There’s someone you ought to see.” He sounds excited yet a little bit mysterious because he’s not telling me who it is. When I’m still baffling about the ‘someone’ he’s been talking about, Kyle has already grabbed my wrist and there we swim towards Sally’s room. I can tell by observing the direction we’re heading.
“What’s in a hurry, Kyle? Slow down.” His tail is bigger and stronger than mine, hence, he swims faster. Meanwhile, it is hard for me as a little sister to catch up, even with my fastest speed. Not long after, I’m already panting hard with tiny bubbles sneaking out of my parted mouth until I decide to squeeze my hand out from his grasp.
Surprised, Kyle turns to me as our distance parts. But a warm smile replaces his previous expression in less than three seconds. “I’m sorry, Stacey,” he apologises while raking his finger throughout his grey hair. “I’m just too excited.” Swinging his tail, he redirect his position towards me and holds my wrist again. This time, he is controlling his force not to hurt me by accident. “Come on. Let’s walk there.”
Then, our tails turn into legs. Kyle wears nothing on top, showing his six packs but he is wearing long pants like an underwater Aladdin. As for me, I can transform my tail into a silky purple-white dress. Both of us land on the seabed, feeling the soft sand slithering under our toes. “Feeling better, little sister?” He asks with a light smile.
Returning his gesture, I nod. “Thanks to you, Prince Kyle.”
Kyle leads out a chuckle which echoes through the corals, seeking other creature’s attention. “So what’s the thing that I ought to be interested?” I ask suspiciously as Kyle replies me with his mischievous smirk.
So this is going to be a surprise for me, but I still can’t stop rolling my eyes.
There is a huge gate standing alone at the entrance. As if it can sense our presence, it opens with base sweeping the neighbouring sand, forming a brief ear-soothing music. However, a low bubbly growl covers the music and this makes my nerve jumps.
A large eel-like tail moves away as a result of the opening gate. And as we steps into the front yard, the sea monster comes into our view. Do not worry, she is the guard dog of Rainbow Corals. She means no harm. “Oh, I forgot to feed Nibby today. I think you should discover this yourself. I’ll be back later. Just head towards Sally’s hideout, okay?”
“Okay, hope she won’t bite you,” I said sarcastically before speeding up my pace from the front yard and into the building. To swim faster, I reveal my tail again until I finally enter the said place. Caverns and underwater caves are surrounding me as I let myself float in the middle of the hall.
The hall has no ground. Darkness covers the bottom part and I don’t think I have the courage to explore any further. I always imagine that it is a place which leads you towards your biggest nightmares. Even though this is my darkest imagination during my first four years of life, I still embrace the belief until now.
Sally’s room is located at the third layer of the corals. Dim orange light colours her room and splashes some of its remnants outside. That’s strange, I’d never seen her room glow like this before.
Curiosity grows even stronger in me when my tail dances again. Finally, I stop by the entrance while hearing a muffled… scream?
Waking up in a start, I find myself lying here, a room-but-not-a-room which is underwater.
How the hell do I end up here?
As this isn’t where I belong, I’ve expected myself to gasp for oxygen or suffocate to death next. But I don’t. In fact, what freaks me out is the huge air bubble which covers my body like a transparent cocoon and also… my empty back.
My wings! My wings are gone!
I try to calm down by breathing in and out as deep as I can. But all of these are new for me and eventually, I scream in horror, “Argh..!!” Despite the injuries covering all over my torso, my heart hurts the most. My memory starts to flash everything back that happened to me before I’ve fainted.
I remember chit chatting with my twin brother, Kenjax and my messenger, Carrots. But, something went wrong after Carrots departure from the castle. There were dark clouds approaching us and a group ofjaculi charging at us. Hisses and screeches were clear as crystal, posing obvious threat.
Jaculi are like serpents among the dragons from Egypt. Although they are small for dragon size, they are poisonous and venomous. Nevertheless, it is rare for them to hunt in such a group because jaculi are solitudes.
I froze on the spot when seeing such infrequent scene. My heart raced a thousand miles per hour but my feet and wings were unable to move due to the overwhelmingfear. Every noise around me was silenced until someone called my name and pulled me away from the attack.
“My dear Kendrix, why don’t you fly?!” His voice snapped me out of my hesitation to flee before I finally flap my wings as forceful as I can. “Father will be joining us later. He wants us to leave as soon and as far as possible,” shouted Kenjax in order to make his voice audible through screeches of the invading creatures.
Soon, both of us jumped from the tower and into the clouds, wings fully unfolded. Kenjax’s ivory while mine cream. Yes, my wings have a little shade of yellow painted on every tip of the feather. Although they are not as beautiful as my brother’s, I love them very much. It is because they give me the freedom I don’t really deserve.
Suddenly, something scaly landed on my back. In a reflex, I swept my hands over and grabbed it by the neck. Such a parasite. It was one of the winged serpents. A jaculus. Ababy jaculus! Jaculus babies have the deadliest poison on earth and I undervalued it when looking into its adorable eyes.
Those eyes are the tricks!
“Throw it away Kendrix!” But it was too late.
The jaculus had already struck at my neck and sank its fangs deep into my flesh without giving me time to prepare. I mourned loudly in pain as my ability to steer myself vanished. Everything in front of me condensed and turned mirk. “Kendrix!” My brother’s voice sounded blurry as I succumbed into the pull of gravity. At the same time, I could feel my wings burning into nothing. Through my poor vision, I could see Kenjax trying his best to catch me. Tosave me. I reached out my hands for him, hoping he could grab them. But as my body made contact with the sea water, everything turned dark as I was totally pulled away from consciousness.
To be very honest, this place is really strange as it is full of weird creatures, well, weirder than the creatures I’ve seen in my hometown, Zyton. Their long and sharp teeth scares me a lot. However, they are harmless, much to my surprise.
“I have to get out of here. What if this is where my enemies live? I will be dead by then, after being tortured at least...” I murmur while trying to hop down from the bed. As I am about to reach the open entrance, a lady with flower tying up her mint-coloured hair appears in front of me. Pretty is the first word that comes to my mind when I see her.
The lady wears a long silky dress, which is a mixture of dark and light blue with a little white spots decorated on it. “Feeling better?” she asks with concern. “I’ve brought-” But before she can even finish her words, I push her hard and she nearly stumble on the ground. The content in the bowl she hugs spills a little due to my rude action. All I want to do now is to escape.
I dart towards the main entrance of her winding room. The large opening seems to glow in my eyes as if it is urging me to hurry. However, I’m stuck because of the bubble surrounded me is too big to pass through the small cavern hole. Shuddering, I turn to my back in fear as the lady approaches me with a shy smile. Now with a clearer vision, the dress is no longer a dress but a tail.
“What do you want? Get away from me!” I back away and try my very best to squeeze through the entrance. But the bubble wouldn’t budge.
“I found you at the backyard, boy. You were injured badly and I am trying to heal you, for god’s sake!” Oh no, she sounds angry and a little... frustrated. “That air bubble costs me most of my savings and I think you should be the first one to know that,” she admits matter-of-factly in order to make me change my mind. Leaning against the bubble, I reach up to touch the wall. Bouncy and rubbery like a balloon. No wonder it won’t burst despite how vigorous my action is. The fact that makes this bubble unique is – it provides oxygen to the covered living thing. “Now sit down and let me check on you, young man!”
I jump a little upon her outrage. An angry woman is always the scariest creature in the world I must say. Obediently, I return to where I was awakened and lie down on the ‘bed’, which looks more like a tree bark because of its rough surface. After settling down, the lady starts to check the bandages around my body and she changes them skilfully without causing any pain.
Oh well, I’m wrong.
There I flinch upon the stinging pain coming from the scratches and burns, leading out my groan. Soon, she touches my neck where the poison lands begins to burn like Hell, causing me to scream helplessly. “Poor boy,” was all she sighs when everything turns quiet in a slow pace.
Back to Stacey
Everything turns quiet in an odd way. Shrugging, I enter Sally’s place without knocking as no one will hear me either even if I do. “Sally?” I call, changing my tail to my legs again before walking my way into the mini living room. Soon, another entrance without a door catches my view.
Someone is lying on Sally’s tree bark bed. His body is shaking badly and there is something purplish burning by his neck. A poisoned bite. Upon hearing my footsteps, Sally turns to face me, revealing her bitter smile waving her hand to welcome me in. “Come in, Stace.”
Obediently, I do as she says. The figure lying on the bed is obviously, a boy who is about my age or a year older. Somehow, he looks kind of familiar. His curly and black hair reminds me of the angel boy I saw through Carrots’ memories.
What is he doing here? What happened to him? Embracing these questions which won’t meet their answers, I gasp upon his handsome face which is still gorgeous even when he is frowning in his sleep.
“Looks familiar to you?” Sally asks as if she can read through my mind. Involuntarily, I nod as a response. The boy writhes in utter discomfort as his forehead sparkles with beads of cold sweat. I reach out my hand to touch his cheek through the bubble in which it doesn’t pop like the one we used last time. That is when I realise how generous my sister is by spending a lot of her money on this.
“Help... me...” the boy pleads weakly with his heavy, unsteady breath. His eye lashes batting on his cheeks when he stirs on the bed. As I’m about to retreat and leave the rest for my sister, his eyelids flap open without warning and hence, he scares both of us nonetheless.
Unlike his hair, they are brown. But slowly, they are changing into dark red. His muscular hand grabs hold onto my wrist and pulls me towards him in a force which I would fail to fight through. Out of panic, I scream my sister’s name with the highest pitch I can manage before losing my balance.
And there I splosh into the air bubble which is supposed to preserve him.