I had decided to risk it. Anything was better than just sitting there on the water doing nothing, were my thoughts.
Securing my arms under the girl’s body, I brought her closer to my chest so she was resting on my lap. Cringing, I took deep breaths to prepare myself before lifting both of us up in one swift movement, surprise washing over me afterwards when feeling how light the girl actually was.
She weighs less than a catfish!
Turning away from the water, I gently laid her on the sand, far away from the hard pebbles. Moving quickly, I took off my shirt, hiding it underneath a nearby shrub, and returned to the motionless body, picking her up once more, this time with much less effort, before heading to the cove’s waters.
I padded along the seabed, with rocks digging into my feet, until the water reached my waist and the girl’s body was no longer supported by my arms alone. A cluster of smooth dry rocks in the middle of the cove was my destination; I was planning on laying her there, far from the shore and surrounded by sea water, so that I could be more at ease when I swam to the reef.
My focus, though, was lost completely when the feeling of warm hairless skin was replaced by rough scales scratching the palm's of my hands. Alarmed, I instinctively withdrew my arms, letting go of the girl in the process.
As the girl's body sunk, my breath hitched.
A … A mermaid!
I started in disbelief, at the place where the girl’s legs had disappeared and a long slender tail had taken its place, purple scales glistening under the sunlight, flashing at me like a beacon.
"This… how can this …?" I heard my voice crack, words dying in my mouth.
Finding my bearings, I frowned and inched towards the newly discovered mermaid, raising my hands to nudge her further out into the cove, while being careful not to touch her tail.
Water lapped at my neck but still I didn't dive, choosing instead to watch the girl as she regained consciousness.
Eyelids shot open to reveal those same purple iris as before. The fact that I was seeing them for a second time, and underwater even, did not diminish the feeling of awe in the least.They looked straight at me, and I could almost follow the stream of thoughts that flashed through them, though I didn't need to.
With a flick of her tail she impelled herself upwards, her head breaking the water's surface to float next to mine, soaked locks of hair weighing down on her shoulders. A sudden fatigue washed through me and immediately I lunged my arms forward in the water to hold her before she sunk again.
"You shouldn't move too much, you're still very tired." I spoke softly, not trusting my voice to go higher.
Hazy eyes turned to mine, frowning afterwards, as if trying make out my face. She didn't push me away or made any rash movements towards me, but I already knew she wouldn't.
"You're a merman."
Okay, that I wasn't expecting. I had considered it a possibility, after I found out she was a mermaid, but had discarded it because I couldn't see how she could've known. She had said it with conviction though, and there was conviction in her mind, even if it was still a little hazy, so there was no use denying it.
"Yes... And you are too," Her tail fin brushed against my legs, not hard and sharp, like most tail fins were, but soft and flared, like a skirt. It was a weird feeling that made me shiver, but I couldn't back off if I was to hold her up, so I tried to hide it by resuming the conversation. "What's your name? And I ask yours first because you're the one who suddenly appeared and fainted in front of me." I explained in a effort to lighten the mood.
It didn't seem to work though. The girl didn't answer and her thoughts confirmed the reason; distrust, uncertainty and doubt hovered about in both our minds like a heavy fog.
Heaving a sigh, I let go of her and pulled her by the hand towards darker waters. At that point, I had to dive in with her, the water pressing in on me like cold hands, forcing me to shut my human eyes, which weren't really built to see underwater. But I would soon fix that.
Feeling her eyes on me, I transformed. My legs closed shut as the skin melded together, a tingling sensation, as well some dose of pain and discomfort, spreading throughout my body as ebony scales covered my lower limbs and fins broke out from the darkening flesh. Every part of my body that was changing burned as if on fire.
Then, just as soon as it had begun, it stopped. The burning sensation went away, replaced by a cold but not unpleasant feeling, and I breathed in water, feeling like a human would after a breath of fresh air.