Story Treasury

The Ocean Quest


Finally, here it is………

Me and Sara had gone on a holiday to the beach. We had a rather super time what from building sand castles to swimming and meeting mermaids. “Mermaids” I hear you exclaim.  “Yes, Mermaids” I calmly reply. If you really want to know then please read on, but if you dare betray me by telling this to anyone else, you will face consequences. Anyway, here is how it all happened…….

One special thing is that I own a little island not too far from the coast in the beach we visit every year. It is completely mine and a very pretty little island with trees and space for games. One could see it when the tide was out. So one day, we really wanted to go there for a picnic when the sea was calm and the tide was out. After lots of pleading with our moms, Sara and me were finally allowed to go. So me and Sara were absolutely delighted to have a day to ourselves.

SO the very next day we rowed to the island.I must admit it was tiring work!! The sun was bright and both of us were tired from rowing so we decided to have a little nap. Then because both of us were hot we decided to have a swim in the shallow waters. Next, something really curious happened. When both me and Sara were splashing about and having a race, we saw a pretty young woman sitting on a rock, crying her heart out.I gaped at her, not because she was alone sitting  on a rock and nor because she was crying.The thing that was strange was that she was waving her legs about……….. but only they weren’t exactly legs…….Where her legs should have been, there were bright emareld green scales shortening into a tail. It was a mermaid!!!

I really couldn’t believe my eyes. I looked around and saw that Sara had a similar reaction to mine.When I was finished gaping I started to wonder why she was sobbing? Oookay….This was weird, because I think I’m hallucinating and seeing crying mermaids. That was not something I saw often.  I swam over to the rock she was sitting on. Her beautiful jet black hair was spread around her and she had her hands over her eyes. “What’s wrong??” Sara asked who by this time had also swam over. The mermaid looked at us curiously. “Are you humans???”

“Duh, of course I am, what do I look like?? An octopus or what?” I replied as if that should be perfectly obvious, which it was. The main question was what was she? I opened my mouth to say that but just then her face broke into a smile “Yes, that’s it!!!” she exclaimed. “What’s it?” I asked curiously. “Oh, you see I have an invisibility cloak. Whenever I wear it I can turn invisible. But today when I wanted to use it I found it torn.” And the mermaid then produced a cloak. I reached out to touch it and then shivered. The invisibility cloak felt as smooth as glass and felt like a thin surface of cold water but solid.It was hard to explain. “Well” the mermaid continued “ My name is Hylla. I’m the daughter of the ocean queen. Do you think that you could fix this cloak for me?? If you do then you need to find Odella In the sea serpent’s lair, because she’s about the only one in the entire ocean who can fix this cloak. SO will you??” Hylla looked at us hopefully. Sara opened her mouth to speak (probably to say no) but I immediately broke through her. “Of course we’ll fix your cloak for you. Just tell us how to find the dragon’s lair. “

“Oh, that’s easy! It’s in a dark cave just behind the coral reef and Coral Academy for young mermaids.” But then Sara said “ But I thought this was above ground – not in the sea. How can we swim for so long without breathing anyway? For a moment I was disappointed.

“Oh, I almost forgot…” Hylla dug inside her emerald tail which turned out to be full of different pockets everywhere. Finally she came back up and produced two opaque white pearls about the size of a walnut, but flatter. As Hylla looks at Sara and my blank face she obliged to explain. “These beads are special, because when you wear them you can transform into a mermaid and when you take it off you will go back to your original form. First of all, I don’t get one thing. “How are we supposed to “wear” these pearls??” I asked. Just as if right on cue the two pearls transformed into two identical and beautiful bracelets with the pearls still encrusted right in the middle. I was impressed with both the magic and the bracelets. How come mermaids got to do magic???

I grinned at Sara and she grinned back. Her eyes mirrored my excitement.The thought of turning into the mermaid was certainly exciting. Hylla caught sight of our grinning faces and grimaced. “I forgot just one tiny detail, there’s a catch” Does there always have to be a catch for something that good I thought to myself! “

 “As soon as you wear these bracelets, as time passes slowly the pearl will start turning blue. It is like a timer of how long you can stay a mermaid. When the pearl is all blue the timer is over and you will stay a mermaid forever”

I gulped. Suddenly the thought of transforming into a mermaid seemed to have lost its novelty. For your whole lives….. the words echoed in my head. I debated whether or not to go on this quest or not. Although that was still assuming that I wasn’t entirely sure that I was dreaming. The quest had seemed dangerous and it wasn’t just a game. It was real. I had to face a serpent, a witch and the prospect of staying a mermaid forever. But then, it wasn’t anyone who met a mermaid on their visit to the beach. “ I’ll do it” I said in a determined voice. This was probably a once in a lifetime opportunity…. And I intended to make the most of it.

Hylla handed us the bracelets. Then without a word she jumped off the rock she was sitting on into the deep blue ocean. We were silent as we watched the place where Hylla had jumped and now stretched into ripples spreading along the glasslike water.The silence was getting too uncomfortable as both of us ran through our thoughts.Finally Sara broke the silence.

“To start we have to go to the sea serpent’s lair, right?” she asked

“Uh-huh, though I’m not so sure that I actually like the sound of that place!” I replied, smiling.

“Okay, here’s the plan.We’ll go into the water and stay there as long as we can without breathing.We’ll only use the necklace when we really need it to breath or any other emergency.”

“Yep, let’s get started then.” I looked at Sara and we both silently counted to three. I took a huge gulp of air and dived into the dark and sinister world below us.

Right from the start Sara’s plan backfired. The water was icy cold and all I could see was green. For a moment I couldn’t tell where the direction of up was. The water was dense and it took me all of my strength to move. I could make out the faint outline of Sara. I swam downward but the current was againstus and my gulp of air was rapidly finishing. I panicked. I was getting weaker and knew I was going to drown. Only one thought remained in my head “The pearl.”Sara was frantically gesturing at me shaking her head vigorously.Without thinking I wore the bracelet.

Immediately I felt a tingling sensation all over my body. I felt my legs joining up and becoming scaly.I could feel gills forming on my skin.It was painful. It was like my whole body was on fire.I wanted to scream but instead I only gasped.Before I knew  it I was a mermaid.Now to describe this all has taken a lot of time but it really only took a few seconds.I twirled around to see my body. I was still wearing my T shirt but where my legs should have been, there was a tail a breathtaking colour of aquamarine blue. But there were other changes too.My vision had become clearer, and I could breathe. The water was no longer icy cold and dense but a warm temperature and I felt like water was my homeland. I gave swimming a try and moved so fast that I alarmed myself.I had found a jet of newfound energy. But then I suddenly remembered Sara.When I looked around I saw her. She had also worn the bracelet and transformed. She was pretty much the same but her tail had turned a shade of shocking pink.

“Pink” I muttered, rolling my eyes. My voice came out good and clear in the water and pretty much the same.

“I see that transforming into a mermaid has not changed you much, then” Sara joked.

“Okay, fine…But we’ve got a deadline…remember. Where is the dragon’s lair again?”

“In a big cave past some weeds behind the Coral Academy”

I looked at the bracelet and saw that already a small fraction of the pearl had turned blue. We swam at the top of our lives and before we knew it we were behind the Coral Academy. But it looks like I had underestimated the couple of weeds. For one thing, it was their size: they were twice my length and even thicker than an oak tree. They were dark and moved about in the current. I went up close and touched the weed. Immediately my hand stuck to the weed “What the-“ But I didn’t finish my sentence as I failed to yank my hand free from the weed. We were wasting time and our bracelets had turned a bit bluer. After many attempts of Sara and me pulling we FINALLY managed to yank my hand free. Sara and me looked at each other determinedly and then swan in the thick forest of weeds.

It was easy once you got inside, but you had to be careful that you didn’t touch the weeds at any costs. The giants of a weed also made my job harder by moving with the current. But finally we made it. Breathing a sigh of relief I gave Sara a High-Five.

After crossing the weeds we could see a giant cave with an easy opening. It was black and nothing could be seen of what’s inside. At a meaningful glance from Sara we both started going inside the cave. Even as a mermaid the temperature dropped about ten degrees in there. I shivered. It was dark and we clung on the walls of the cave to lead us onward. I could only just make out Sara’s outline in the darkness. I didn’t  feel like going but I remembered my bracelet which must have turned more and more blue by the minute. With a sigh I fumbled my way onward. Finally we came into a circular room with huge snoring noises coming from it. My first thought Dark .I knew the snoring noises were from the serpent immediately. What a bit of luck. I decided to sneak past the sea serpent with Sara so that he need not to be awakened. Just when we were almost at the door, the whole cave lighted. My eyes hurt from the brightness from after the dark cave. For a moment I could not see what was happening.  Then I saw a big yellow eye the size of a football. I heard a huge roar. My heart sank. The serpent was awake.He was as big as a house with spiked going down his tail with were most likely poisonous .He was thrashing about vigorously and obviously displeased from being disturbed from his nap. I dodged his blow and tried to reach the way past the serpent dragon. “Duck” Sara shrieked. I ducked and momentarily lost my balance. As I scrambled up the dragon thrashed its tail at me.

I fell as my shoulder seemed to be on fire. A blinding pain shot up through my body. I couldn’t think. My vision blurred and I felt weak.  “Sara” I called and it took me the last of my energy to call her. “Sing” I said softly and winced with the effort. The last thing I really needed was singing but I suddenly remembered the legend that only music can truly put a dragon to sleep. At once the room was filled with a rich sound. It was Sara, and she was singing. Boy, to think that I had forgotten how well that girl could sing. Her singing was so beautiful that I myself wanted to listen more and more. The sea serpent lost its balance and crashed on the ocean floor, once again going back to sleep. Its snores were so huge they sounded like earthquakes.

A wave of relief washed over both of us. Sara put some ointment on my hurt shoulder that stop the constant sensation that my body was on fire. I felt better already.

“Where did you get that ointment from???” I demanded

Sara shrugged. “I always keep first aid when we go somewhere. But never did I know that I would ever need it to heal people from dragons” We both laughed.

“I guess we go ahead in there” I pointed the opening at the end of the circular cave in which the sleeping serpent was guarding. “Well, let’s go on then” I sighed.

Just then Sara shrieked “Look at our pearls, they are mostly blue” I looked at my bracelet and sure enough three quarters had gone blue. My heart sunk. We had forty five minutes at most. There was no way we could go to Odella and resurface back in time. I didn’t want to be a mermaid forever. We swam like we had never swum before. Through the endless cave which seemed like a labyrinth. But suddenly we came to a halt. The tunnel in front of us was dimly lit. I gasped.But the thing that amazed us was that the whole tunnel was piled with treasures. Theere was a huge pyramid of gold coins and stacks of treasures chests. I saw ancient books and vases that looked like they might be a thousand years old. I swam slowly and cautiously when Sara said

“Hurry up dumbo unless you want to be a mermaid forever.”

That brought me back to my senses. We swam until I caught sight of a book piled on top of a treasure chest. I had this feeling in my heart that it would tell me what I need .It’s cover was beautiful. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from it. If I had wanted anything that badly, it was that book.I reached out, no one was looking, I had to get that book for myself at any cost. Sara was frantically pulling me back trying to stop me. Finally in frustration she shouted “No, don’t touch that book.It might be cursed” The magic that held me in awe of that book broke. I bit my lip. During this quest I had learned that anything was possible. If anyone had told me they had met a mermaid and fought a dragon a day ago I would have just laughed. Now I would think twice.

We moved on until Sara caught sight of a necklace. I have to admit it was kind of pretty but Sara already had her heart set on it . Before I knew it she was already on her way to grab it.

 “Sara, no!” I shouted. I grabbed her. She was fighting against my grasps.

“Let-go-off-me” she said through gritted teeth. Sara was fighting harder and I was almost about to let go. I was frantic. Nothing was going to stop her and my grip on her loosened

“Sara, please, remember what you told me.It’s cursed.Our pearls are all blue and we have fifteen minutes at most.”

 Suddenly she went limp. “I’m sorry, I just wanted that necklace so badly” she said shakily.

I nodded. “I know, I was going through the same thing a few minutes ago.”

“Let’s go now. We better not waste any more time.” And with that we both dived at the ancient door at the end of the tunnel. As soon as I was inside, I spluttered “Whoa”

There was a room with was magnificently furnished and brilliantly lit. There were tables and tables filled with strange looking magical objects and ocean trinkets. At the corner of the room there was a mermaid facing the other side of the wall performing incantations. She had an emerald tail and golden hair that came up till her waist. I nervously cleared my throat “Excuse me, are you Odella” The mermaid whirled around. She was prettier that I had imagined. “So you are finally here, I see that you have passes all of my tests. For what do I owe you the effort?”

Sara spoke up “Hylla sent us to fix her invisibility cloak.Could you please fix iit quickly because I’m afraid that we have a timer.’’ While Sara spoke there was a sinking feeling nn my stomach. I had glanced at my pearls and only a tiny section of them had remained white and we had five minutes at most. In that time we would never be able to resurface, let alone fix Hylla’s cloak. I choked back my tears hoping Sara or Odella didn’t notice. I was now a mermaid forever.

Being a mermaid isn’t bad, you can still enjoy  I tried to console myself again and again. But a picture of my friends and family would creep up in my mind in place. Suddenly Odella smiled.

“ I see your cousin here seems very agitated with her pearl. Let me see what can make you feel better. How about that I give you both a wish??”

“Remove the timer from our pearls” we both chorused at once.

“ Oh very well!!” Odella sighed. She clicked her fingers and our pearls became white again. “There is no timer on these pearls now. Whenever you will wear these you can transform into a mermaid but as soon as you take it off you can turn back into a human form.”

I had never been so relieved before. Then she turned towards the cloak and said some incantations. She moved her arms and tail in a kind of symbolic dance which mesmerized me.  When she was done the cloak glowed and it was fixed again. Then she turned to us and said…

 “ I think you kid deserve a reward for coming this far. Many mermaids and mermen try to pass my challenges. But they fail. But you girls have passed……hmm…I wonder why.It was in your fate to meet me.” With that she gave me and Sara a beautiful pouch each with oceanic pictured all over it. It was heavy. Seeing my sorely tempted face to open it Odella laughed. “No, no….you cant open them here.Only open them once you get home. Oh, and yes here is the invisibility cloak. “Goodbye Odella. We were honored to have met you” I said.

“No it is I who is honoured to have met you. Goodbye and goodnight” She clapped her hands and I knew no more because the next thing I knew I was fast asleep.

I was only awakened by the gulls screaming and the bright sunlight burning my eyes. I rubbed my eyes thinking what a nice dream I had. In my hands was the pouch and the invisibility cloak. “So it wasn’t a dream” I whispered. Sara hads already woken up and was walking around the island.I stood up and placed the invisiblty cloak gingerly on the rock Hylla had visited us on.Then exchanging a glance with Sara which only meant too clearly “Lets do it” we eagerly opened our pouches. Out fell the very book that I had wanted. I looked towards Sara and saw that shge had also gotten the very locket she would have given her life for.

I sighed happily and thought about the wonderful times ahead of us. “We will meet again” I said softly to the crystal blue sea stretching for miles ahead of us.

 The End

 

 

 

 

 

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