Great! I'm Half-Fish!

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Chapter 19

Sean and Zacklani were sitting outside the building that held Ocknian’s corpse when Rakcigion’s group returned. Zacklani glanced at their approaching forms but then turned his attention back to the necklace they’d taken from Chantinal’s house which he was passing between his claws.

“Where are the others?” Gethain demanded when they swam up.

“They went after a merman who didn’t come back from hunting this morning,” Zacklani said. “He was known to have been acting strangely aggressively as of late.”

“I see.” Gethain focused on the necklace that Zacklani held. “And what is that.”

“This we found in said merman’s house,” Zacklani replied. He held it out to Gethain who took it and frowned.

“You found it like this?”

“Yes,” Sean spoke up.

The other four mermen glanced at each other and then Gethain gave a stiff nod. “We wait for the others to come back. I believe we all have information to share.”

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“So,” said Rakcigion sitting down next to Sean while they waited for the others to arrive, “how was your first day?”

“Interesting,” Sean said. “And long.” He paused. “Did mom know I was going to be exposed to corpses while I’m here?”

“Probably not,” Rakcigion admitted. “Don’t tell her.”

Sean snorted. “Good luck with that. So how was your…tracking?”

“Interesting,” Rakcigion replied. “Interesting enough that we had to call in Gethain.”

“He’s a better tracker?”

“No. But he does have a helpful skill I wanted to tap.”

“Huh,” Sean said. “That’s strangely evasive.”

“I will tell you,” Rakcigion assured him. “But it’s going to take some time. I’d rather have the lesson when we do have time.”

“When do you think they’ll be back?”

“It might be awhile,” Rakcigion replied. “Tracking someone in the ocean isn’t quite as easy as land. Nothing is ever still here and we don’t leave tracks in the water.”

“Oh,” Sean paused. “I didn’t think of that.”

“No reason why you should.”

“So….” Sean paused. “I don’t mean to be rude or something but I’m starving.”

“Oh right,” said Rakcigion. “Sorry, we have unhealthy habits. We never eat when we’re supposed to and it’s worse when we have something to work on.”

“So, what do we eat?” Sean asked attentively though he was pretty sure he knew.

“You do actually like sushi, right?”

“I was so hoping you weren’t going to say that,” Sean mumbled.

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Apparently hunting grounds weren’t the only place to go for fish. Which made sense obviously because it was the ocean. So, Sean and his dad just drifted off just past the community which was actually called Itait, and waited for fish to drift past. They were closer to the surface because apparently the fish was more plentiful there in this area.

“Communities like this often are set up where there is fish in abundance,” Rakcigion told him. “This one is set up next to quite a few areas that fish live and breed in. We call those hunting grounds. But fish generally live in the area so you can go out and get a quick snack if you want.”

“That’s really strange for me to wrap my head around,” Sean told him.

Rakcigion shrugged. “We don’t have shops selling chocolate.”

“What a pity,” Sean murmured and was rewarded by his father’s brilliant smile. Then his eyes narrowed at something and he was darting forward. The poor fish, a salmon if Sean had to guess, didn’t have a chance. It was snapped up by mer claws and those claws quickly sank into it, killing it.

“Here,” Rakcigion said handing him the dead, bleeding fish. “You’re of an age to hunt for yourself but parents are supposed to catch your first fish for you.”

“Uh, thanks?” Sean said. Rakcigion snorted and then darted after another fish. He caught it, threw it to Sean and then went for another. The fish curved around Rakcigion shot back towards Sean and yelled:

“Please don’t let him kill me! I don’t want to die!”

Sean screamed, dropped the fish he was holding and flapped ungainly in the water trying to get away.

“Please stop him!” the fish pleaded. “I have family!” Rakcigion, who had stopped just behind the fish, snorted.

“It talks!!!!” Sean yelled at him.

“Some of them do,” his father replied, seeming unfazed.

“The fish talks!” Sean shrieked as if by raising the volume of his shouts he could somehow convince his father that there was something very wrong with this situation.

“Don’t let him kill me!” the fish kept saying like a broken record. Sean stared at it in horror. He turned his horrified look on his father.

“Like I said, some of them do.”

“And you’re just okay with that!?”

“It’s not weird to me,” Rakcigion shrugged.

“It said it had a family!” Sean shouted pointing to the fish which instantly began to declaim it had a family, over and over again.

“All animals do,” Rakcigion pointed out.

“All animals don’t talk!” Sean hissed. “How do these talk? Why do they?”

“We don’t know honestly,” Rakcigion replied. “They just turn up from time to time. Maybe just the natural artae.”

“The natural what?”

“That long lesson I was going to and still am going to tell you about later,” Rakcigion told him. “Look are you going to kill the thing?”

“What!” Sean shrieked. “I’m not going to kill it! It talks!”

“I pretty sure chickens talk in their own chicken way,” Rakcigion said, “You don’t mind eating them.”

“They don’t speak English. Come to think of it, how the hell can this thing even speak English?”

“I met some that spoke Portuguese once,” Rakcigion said.

“Did you eat them?!” Sean demanded.

“Um…yeah?”

“Why?!”

“They’re fish Sean,” Rakcigion said looking honestly confused.

“They’re talking fish! Ariel didn’t eat Flounder!”

“What do you think she ate?” Rakcigion said sounding amused.

Sean paused. “Not the point!” he said after a moment. “Oh my gosh!” he said to the increasingly frantic fish, “Just go! He’s not going to kill you and neither am I!” The fish fled. Rakcigion looked after it regretfully.

Sean pointed to the two salmon that Rakcigion had caught earlier and that were now lying on the sand far below them. “Did those talk too!?”

“Probably,” Rakcigion said. Sean slumped. Rakcigion sighed. He swam down, rooted around the plant life in the area and came back up with something. He handed a long green strip to Sean.

“What is it?” Sean asked taking it.

“Seaweed,” Rakcigion said. “Edible to humans and mers alike. Congratulations. You’re a vegetarian.”

Sean paused, thought about it and then sighed and took a bite of his seaweed. “I can live with that.”

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