After thirty minutes of swimming Penny began to feel the fear that her mother told her she would feel. It was simple: she was an eleven-year-old mermaid swimming into the ocean for the first time in her life, and every minute she continued forward, she headed further and deeper into the sea.
One could look at it scary situation, but Leigh pulled her daughter to push on and in time she would find yourself surrounded by the wonder of a new world.
Part of what scared her was the feeling of weight upon her body as well is the dimness around her. The weight she understood: at that point her journey she was probably more than a hundred feet below the surface, which meant the water pressure was building. She was told not to worry as mermaids could handle pressures at depths far greater than this. And in time she would see it as nothing more than an inconvenience, rather than an issue.
What puzzled Penny the most was that even a hundred feet below the surface of the ocean she could still see things. Though she was still in what was known as the sunlight zone, everything had taken on a sort of murky, twilight appearance, which reminded Penny of walking around her neighborhood well after the sun had set with nightfall approaching.
But everything she was seeing was with her own eyes, and some of the things she had read indicated that this depth she should be able to see much at all. And yet, she could. It was due to her mermaid eyes finally kicking in and allowing her to see the ocean the way she should see.
And her mother said that her that her eyesight would only get better as she went deeper.
After sinking another hundred feet she saw why. The entire ocean around her had started becoming luminous, and Penny felt as if she were swimming through waving curtains of light. It finally struck her what was happening: at this depth almost no sunlight was getting through and her eyes were finally picking up on some form of natural bio-luminescence. Everything around her was bathed in shades of greens, blues, and pale yellows, and after allowing a few seconds for eyes to adjust even further, she realized she could see almost as far now as she might’ve been able to on land.
Embolden by the realization that she would never be completely in the dark, and he increased her speed slightly and pushed on toward deeper waters.
Her senses told her that she’d been swimming for almost an hour and half—just as her mother told her she should—when she noticed something swimming in from her left side, maybe a hundred feet away. At first she thought it might be a shark, but five seconds of observing it’s motion told her she was seeing another mermaid, and she was coming closer. Rather than swim towards the approaching mermaid, Penny held her position and waited for her to come and investigate.
The mermaid came to within about ten feet and stopped. Though she didn’t appear much longer than Penny, the length of her blond hair, the curve of her hips, and the fullness of her breast said she was definitely older. She carried a long, white object in her hands: Penny had no idea what it was, but the way it was held indicated it was some kind of weapon.
The mermaid looked Penny up and down for a few seconds before speaking in The Language. “Who are you?”
Penny consider drawing in a breath before she realized there was nowhere to draw into her lungs. She cleared her throat and began the statement she’d been practicing for a few days. “My name is Little Bubbles of the Northern River Forest. I am the daughter of Crimson Mane of Raging Sea Foam, and I am seeking the Great Sheltered Pod of the Cape.”
The mermaid relax the weapon in her hand and begin twirling a six strand of her long blonde hair around her right index finger. “You’re the daughter of Crimson Mane of Raging Sea Foam?”
“I am.” Penny tugged on the straps of the nylon carryall on her back. “I have pictures of my mother to show, in case anyone needs proof.” She smiled. “I had them sealed in plastic so nothing will happen to them.”
The other mermaid seem to consider Penny’s words for about ten seconds before she lowered her weapon to one side. She swam forward until she was only a couple of feet away. “I am Singing Nymph the Bringer of Death.” She flashed a bright smile. “I’m your cousin.”
Penny’s eyes went wide with surprise. “Really?”
Singing Nymph nodded. “Yes. My mother is my aunt. Whom, I should point out, I’ve never met.”
“Well…” Penny shrugged. “Until this moment I’ve never met my mermaid cousin.”
Singing Nymph flicked her tail so that she was close enough to Penny to give her a hug. “You’ve met her now.” She pushed back until she was once more a couple of feet away. “Why have you come, Little Bubbles?”
Penny chuckled softly, realizing she was going to spend the next seven years hearing a completely new name for herself. “I’ve only recently discovered I am a mermaid and I’ve come to live with the pod for a few years. I want to learn the ways of our culture.”
Singing Nymph broader self alongside her cousin and held out her right hand. “Then come with me, Little Bubbles. The best way for you to starting learning of our culture is introduce you to our grandmothers and the rest of the pod.”
“Sounds good to me.” She took Singing Nymph’s hand and allowed her to lead as she breathed a sigh of relief.
Penny found her other family and was about to begin the next seven years of her new life.