Over the next week Harmony spent as much of the day as she could with Calista. Every morning she’d appear after breakfast, leave before lunch to return two hours later, then bid Calista a good evening right before the 18:00 dinner. She mostly spoke of the changes that would come to Calista’s body, none of which were starting to becoming apparent–
Though that was also changing.
The start of their second week together saw Calista being fitted into an artificial mermaid tail based upon body measurements taken in the week before leaving Jacksonville. While the tail was much like the one she put into storage back in Florida, this one was far more detailed and far more sturdy–which meant it cost a lot more than hers. Once she wiggled into it on the bungalow patio, it felt almost like a part of her own body.
Izzy used the winch installed two days earlier to lower Calista into the sea entrance, letting her acclimate herself to the warm lagoon water. She knew the purpose of this test: she was to go free swimming with Harmony, venturing out as far as a half mile into the lagoon and staying underwater as much as possible. Calista was told the night before that this phase of her training would accelerate her transition as the nanoids in her body would begin adjusting it to life underwater.
While Harmony steadied her, Izzy helped Calista get into a re-breather unit that would give her as much as six hours of air underwater–and by holding her breath Calista could stretch that to nearly eight. Once she was certain the unit was in place on her back she nodded and smiled.
Harmony said little during the operation but spoke up loudly when Izzy handed a pair of goggles to Calista. “She won’t need those.”
Calista turned to the mermaid, concern in her voice. “I can’t go out in salt water without goggles. Not only won’t I be able to see, but my eyes will end up burning.”
Harmony rested a hand on Calista’s arm. “Trust me, okay?” She gave a thumbs-up to Izzy. Lower her the rest of the way.”
Calista closed her eyes the moment the water reached her nose and kept them closed until she felt the lift Harmony tapping her shoulder. When she didn’t open them after the third tap she heard a distorted voice yell “Open them” as she was struck across the back of her head.
Against her better judgement Calista opened her eyes, but rather than experience blurry vision and burning eyes, the passageway to the lagoon stood out clearly with no discomfort at all. Harmony swam in front and motioned to surface, which Calista did with a strong tail kick. Once above the surface she removed her mouthpiece. “Why can I see?”
“All mermaids have a transparent eyelid that slides into place the moment your eyes sense the slightest bit of water.” Harmony brushed her hair out of her face. “It’s likely been in place for a few days.”
“I haven’t noticed it when I shower.”
“And do you open your eyes when you’re looking straight into the stream?” Calista said nothing. “It’s one of those things you’d never pick up on unless–”
“Unless I was underwater.”
Izzy stood looking down at the two. “Everything okay?”
“No problems here.” Calista looked up and smiled. “Just getting used to a few things.”
“And now that you’re used to them–” With a couple of powerful flaps of her tail, Harmony rocketed backwards towards the open lagoon. “It’s time we got to work.”