The Mermaid That's Sweetest

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22] A Ruined Seven

22] A Ruined Seven

This Ruin below Ezili Castle becomes my sanctuary. I explore deeper into the cavern and there are hollowed out rooms that are set up as shrines. Seven rooms in total, which matched the seven Coral Mermaids carved into the ceiling. The first room held bones of sharks which lay in the alcoves, one for their teeth, one for ribs, one for their fins. Another room held remnants of petrified lighting. The middle room was my favourite. There was a shiny black alter, curved round, at the height of my hips. Within the concave platform were robust sharp teeth… bigger and longer than a shark… and half were threaded through a broken necklace. Orca teeth. They are the biggest dolphins, the kindest and smartest. They were known to be as deadly as they were friendly. Orca was a fancy word hiding their infamous nicknames; assassin whales or killer whales. I had already decided this was my room; I felt a connection to it unlike any other place I had been.

The last four rooms held water, scriptures etched into the walls, old broken glass jars full of strange trinkets, and a room full of… well… it sung of death, pain and power. It was empty, aside from the last wall showing seven swords, fossilised into the black stone.

So, I knew all these ruins represented a place of power… strange sacred power… not for the Clans on Belle Island… not for Erebos… but I felt home here. I wanted to know who else felt the same way. I wanted to know why it was under the Ezili castle? Why no one had spoken of it? Why even Eros didn’t know anything about it…? He called it ruins. He wasn’t interested in it. Unless he was lying. I wouldn’t doubt it for a second.

After all; the most powerful fact remained. He had not returned.

I had half expected Eros to face me with his small team of Erebos. The last ones. For attempted revenge because I killed Irsa. However, they had done no such thing.

I sit on top of the meeting table carved from stone, repairing the Orca tooth necklace.

The night was thick with a dense fog when I finish tying the ends together.

As I lace it around my neck and pull my darkest green hair through the middle, inner peace vibrates through me. A feeling of… definitely home.

But then I feel the cavern shake.

I look up. The water is moving violently. I see glinting needles of polished spears flying through the air, while the water is rising and falling – some people are already screaming above the water line.

The bloody battle Eros had spoken about.

It was here.

I watch as the waters thrash about under Eros’ command and the echo of the violence is loud enough of a distraction for my mind to put some seemingly pointless pieces of thoughts together.

There were some girls that wouldn’t be in that battle; namely the Darvs from the orphanage.

The very girls – Halina, Roanne and Zandy were three of them – who were caught up in the hospital because they tried to kill an Erebos... my mate.

I look at the rock pool.

Erebos scales.

Dried, crushed… the antidote to Erebos venom. I had saved Halina’s life.

I don’t know why everything is matching, but I need to swim to the Darvs; now.

While the battle is brewing and the violence is distracting – I needed to go back to the orphanage.

I needed to bring those Darvs here. I needed to show them this place.

****

I have managed to swim through the waters confidently, making my way undetected back to the beach out front the orphanage. I slowly walk my way to the lanterns lighting the hut that housed the girls I grew up with.

Besides the baby black scaled Mermaids that had been dropped off at the Orphanage; Seven of us had grown up at the same or similar age. A perfect number of us for a perfect coincidence. Halina, Roanne, Zandy, Rivea, Vanora, Darya… and me.

I prepare my speech as I walk through the sand, wondering if they’ll hate me. Wondering if they’ll believe I am only the whore of an Erebos.

There was only one way to do this – and I had no other friends or family to turn to.

I had no choice but to try this crazy idea out.

I suck in a breath, I walk up to the open arch way and I stand clearly in the open for each girl to see. They are sitting on their beds, chatting about the battle… until they see me standing naked with the Orca teeth adorning my neck.

Absolute silence falls over the hut and each Darv.

“Please, you have to listen to me –” I start off begging.

Halina jumps to her feet and lunges for me. I freeze, only momentarily shocked until I realise she isn’t attacking me. She is wrapping me in a hug and bursting out into tears. The rest follow, calling out my name – Lily –as they jump up and collide with me.

It’s an unexpected positive ruckus. I had not been attuned to positive attention for so long, I assumed they’d hate me by now.

But they welcome me, and they speak to me and they listen.

I sit on a bed, they feed me sweets and listen to my whole story thus far. They eagerly lap up the details of the Ezili Castle, Erebos’ Clan of Twenty… now Nineteen… his… curious cock… which I had to share to get their opinions… they made funny jokes about me needing to chop it off. I managed to laugh about that, and then I eventually speak of the Ruins below the Ezili Castle.

“…you think this place is safe to visit while a war is going on...?” Halina asks me while leaning into my side. We’ve all somehow piled onto one single bed to hear my story.

“I can’t be certain, but I left out one fact – today I found out I can control the Rough… so I can protect us while we take a look,” I explain.

“Really?” Zandy and Roanne look intrigued at the end of the bed, “How is that possible?”

“No idea,” I shrug my shoulders, “But you’ll all understand if you set foot in that place. I can’t describe it… you just have to feel it to understand what I mean. You just have to trust me. Are you okay swimming at night?”

Pssh, of course,” Darya speaks quietly after being silent most of this time, “Rivea and Vanora often sneak out to flirt with pirate mortals across the sea at night, out into forbidden sea territory…” Darya whispers this, causing both Rivea and Vanora to gasp with betrayal.

“Why would you tell?” Rivea snaps, “That was our secret!”

“Clearly we can’t have any more secrets with this news Lily has now shared. We must share secret knowledge to understand who we are. I have a secret too,” Darya murmurs, “I killed an Erebos once, accidentally.”

“How? You’re so timid, no offense, Darya…” Roanne scoffs.

“He challenged me to a singing competition. I sung a curse, it actually worked,” Darya smirks with her confession.

“Are there any other secrets?” Vanora asks, looking guilty for flirting with mortal pirates, “Halina?”

“Oh, no, the most exciting thing that happened to me was surviving an Erebos attack… with the help of Lily getting that scale for me,” Halina smiles at me and I smile back.

“Well,” Roanne pipes up, “I do have a secret. But… I can’t say. None of you will believe me.”

“Oh, I think we will, unless you say something as ridiculous as you can talk to turtles or something like that…” Halina sighs, “Spit it out, girl!”

Roanne blushes.

“What is it?” I ask, along with the other curious girls, we wait for her answer.

“…I can… I can talk to sharks…” Roanne purses her lips.

“Oh,” Halina widens her eyes, “Seriously?”

“Seriously,” Roanne nods slowly, “I never wanted anyone telling the Overseers… they don’t like strange things they themselves don’t understand… but they are all dead now, so…”

“That makes sense,” Zandy comforts Roanne with a hand on her knee, “Don’t worry. You’re not alone. I can talk to dolphins!”

“You girls have to prove this to us one day,” Halina suggests, laughing, “Please. However… that’s not all of us. Roanne can talk to sharks, Zandy to dolphins, Rivea and Vanora flirt with pirates and Darya killed an Erebos by singing a curse. I nearly killed one too… but failed… now… Lily, what about you? Besides your latest adventures with your evil mate?” Halina and the girls turn to me and I gulp, paling.

“I… um… that girl… I’m not sure if you remember her from 10 years ago. Ery, my best friend. I believe I summoned that whirlpool accidentally. With my power. But it wasn’t an accident, it was my fault. Not that I wanted her to die… but I created it… so it is technically my fault.”

The Darvs fall silent.

We exchange looks, but they don’t judge me.

We’ve opened up to one another about secrets we were always too afraid to share. Lest the Clans punish us even more for being Darvs. Unique creatures.

“Let us all swim,” Darya pipes up, jumping to her feet, her silver eyes shine with adventure, “To the Ruins. Together.”

The girls nod and they turn to me as I fiddle with my Orca teeth, holding the largest one in my palm… I feel it’s comforting robust length and I nod too, “I’ll lead. And if any Erebos or Clan Mermaid or Merka try to intercept us… I’ll stop them before they get close enough to even recognise who we are or what we’re doing. You girls need to see this place. I think it’ll change your lives.”

So, we leave back to the Ruins below the Ezili Castle.

And indeed, it would change everything.

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