Anna waited, focusing her eyes on the curve of the tunnel.
The bluish light from the jellyfish lanterns flicked and danced on the walls as the tiny creatures inside floated about their container, casting an uneven light. From time to time, Anna thought she caught a glimpse of a shadow creeping along the wall, but it would disappear after a brief moment.
Teak continued to whistle. From the corner of her eye, Anna could see the tendrils of steam had crept up to her ankles. She knew that the teakettler was doing his best, but wished with all her heart that he could hurry it up.
Aside from Teak's whistle, and Anna's pounding heart, the corridors were quiet. After the last screech from the mermaids, they had gone silent.
A shadow moved across the wall again, This time it didn't disappear. It grew.
Anna dropped into one of the defensive stances that Shireen had shown her. Holding the tip of the spear towards the approaching shadows, she bent her knees and placed one foot far ahead of the other and angled her body to reduce, as Shireen put it, the size of the target.
"Here they come, " She whispered to herself.
She could hear them now. A rustling and the faint clank of metal on metal. They were armoured.
Anna had heard stories of mermaids when she was a child. The description had pretty much always been the same; the upper body of a human, and tail of a fish. However, one detail would differ from story to story, and that was their demeanour.
In some stories the mermaids were helpful to sailors, rescuing them from shipwrecks or guiding them through dangerous waters. In other stories, they would lure humans into the water and drag them down to the bottom of the ocean to drown.
These were not the friendly mermaids.
The shadows morphed from a blob into a more defined shape. Anna felt a little relief when she noticed that there appeared to be only one figure approaching.
They must have split up to look for us.
She glanced down again, the steam was up to her knees now. Her confidence rose, if there was only one she could do this! She could hold the monster at bay!
As the figure rounded the corner, Anna's brief moment of confidence fluttered away.
In all the stories that Anna had ever heard about mermaids, none of them described how huge they were.