Lillian and Emmett

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I never understood my father’s strong disapproval of humans, but I grew fascinated with them the day of my grand recital. I am Princess Lillian of Aquatica, and even though I wasn’t banned from swimming to the water’s surface, I made sure to not go there for fear of being grounded by my father, King Adonis. My father was glad that I wasn’t much of a handful as I grew up after my mother died, and he let me go wherever I wanted in the kingdom, including the library and auditorium, where I took weekly singing lessons from Atticus the crab. My recital was the day after my 18th birthday, and everyone’s happy mood changed to terror as a thunderstorm started above the water, and it soon became a race to hide somewhere safe.
While all the other merfolk were seeking shelter (which I don’t understand their fear of a storm that wasn’t near our kingdom), I was distracted when I saw something fall into the water. After catching the object from falling any further, I gasped at the fact that I was seeing my first human, who looked like a merman with legs. Using my quick thinking skills, I carried the stranger to the shore to save him, even though I’ve never been out of the water in my life. When we reached a beach area above the water, I ignored the fact that the storm was over as I reclined the man onto the sand before checking his breathing, which I smiled at before running my fingers through his chocolate-brown hair.
As my hand coursed down to his cheek, I marveled at how soft and warm it felt before feeling infatuated by him, although I had never seen him in my life. As scared as I was about the possibility of getting caught, and much as I wanted to head home before he opened his eyes, my curiosity won over my fear as I gazed at him. While I sang a lullaby-type song that I learned for the recital, complete with a promise to love him, I gasped when his eyes opened before he reached out his hand. While finishing the song, I pressed his hand on my cheek before letting go and swimming away, where I climbed onto a rock further from the shore and watched a massive black creature running to the man before licking his face.
“Oh, come on, Fritz.” I heard the man chuckle to the dog before it backed away as another gentleman – who looked like a well-dressed servant – approached, after which the servant helped the man get up and walk to a nearby castle. After hearing the man telling his servant about me, mentioning my voice and the fact that he only saw my face, I promised to find a way to join him in the future before heading underwater and hurrying home, somehow making it to my room without getting caught by either my father or Atticus. After cleaning some of the sand off of my body, I brushed my hair with my fingers and climbed into bed, where I happily fell asleep with dreams of the man.
After I cleaned the auditorium the next morning after the previous night’s commotion, I was so smitten with the man that I wandered off with daydreams about a possible future with him, but I was so busy being in my fantasy-land that I didn’t notice an impending shark. The moment I saw the creature slowly approaching me, I swam away at my fastest speed until I found a cave in the distance, not knowing that I had reached the lair of Giancarlo the sea wizard, who was known for being both sweet and evil. When I reached the cave, I shivered when I heard Giancarlo calling for me to enter, but I mustered up lots of my courage before going inside.
“Ah, Lillian! It’s been years since I last heard about you!” Giancarlo chuckled as I entered his room in the cave, to which I shyly blushed. When he asked me why I came to visit him, I told him about the shark chasing me before he interrupted, “I think that’s not the only reason, Lillian! There’s a twinkle in your eyes that most young women have, and your smile’s the widest I’ve ever seen it!” Knowing full well that my uncle was hinting at my infatuation with the man, I nodded and told him about saving the man during the storm and singing to him, after which I asked if there was a way for me to see him again.
With a smirk and a gleam in his eye, Giancarlo opened a book on his desk to a page with what he said was a spell that gave me a three-day lease on human legs. He then said I would remain a human if the man and I kissed before sunset on the third day, but I had to give him my voice as barter. If I was unsuccessful in my act of love, I would remain a mermaid forever and be a servant of Giancarlo’s forever. After learning that my voice would return whether or not we kissed, I wondered how my father would react to me being with a human, but I was relieved when Giancarlo told me that dad would be happy when he sees me with the man I loved.
After Giancarlo handed me a contract, I read it carefully and signed it before handing it to him, after which he asked me to sing for him. As I was reaching my highest notes, I saw a purple light fly out of my mouth and land in a small box on the desk, which automatically closed. Feeling my body changing, I fled as Giancarlo wished me luck before reaching a sunken ship, where I grabbed the sail and wrapped it around myself before swimming out of the water. After breathing my first breath of human air, I crawled onto the shore and found a rock to rest my head upon before reclining on the sand, where I closed my eyes before taking a nap.
My nap didn’t last as long as I hoped it would, because I was soon rudely awakened by something barking before licking my face, making my eyes burst open before gasping at the sight of the same creature that licked the man’s face after I rescued him. Even though I was terrified at the quadruped suddenly being so close, I was so fascinated by its luscious black fur that I reached out my hand to feel it, after which I smiled – it was what I could do to not giggle – as it licked my face again. The dog was letting me pet his tummy when I looked up and gasped at the sight of a man quickly approaching us, and it didn’t take me very long to recognize the stranger: it was the man that I saved after my recital.
“Are you alright, Miss?” the man asked as he carefully pulled me onto my feet, after which I nervously nodded and tried to take my first steps as a human, which I knew would gain steadiness over time. Walking on new legs was easier said than done, but the man apologized for making me weak, which he playfully blamed on his charms around women. While I was wondering if my infatuation with him was in vain when he mentioned female reactions to him, I hid my expression when he said that I looked familiar, after which he asked if I could speak. Being honest about my situation, I shook my head before he chuckled, “I bet it’s because you’re so nervous, but I’m sure we’ll figure something out.” With his arm gently enfolding me, the man smiled as he led me and the dog to the castle.
The castle staff treated me with lots of respect and care, and it was there that I learned the man’s name: Prince Emmett. I was amazed at how fast time seemed to fly with my voice being gone, but I guess my silence was a way for Emmett to get to know me through sign language, which I learned from watching the interpreters from performances back home. The only phrase I was unable to do was “I was the one who saved you,” or something along those lines, and it drove me up a wall. The afternoon after being found on the beach, a maidservant and I had just finished going through a wardrobe when I found a piece of paper, on which I wrote down my reason for my muteness before hiding it in a bag that she gave me. Relieved at my backstory being kept a secret, I smiled as Emmett came up to me and asked if I wanted to go on a tour around the town.
Thrilled to be spending time anywhere with the man that I loved, I nodded before following Emmett outside of the castle, where he took me on a carriage ride around a nearby wooded area. When we arrived in the kingdom’s marketplace, we had just found a spot where people were dancing near a small band when Emmett asked if I wanted to dance with him, to which I nodded before he helped me out of the carriage. Despite my worries about how good my dancing would be with human legs, especially when dancing is such an easy thing to do with a tail, I soon found myself enjoying the experience! While we were dancing, I couldn’t help but find myself lost in his twinkling aquamarine eyes, and his smile grew as I reached up to feel his hair. When Emmett remarked that the way I touched his hair was the same way the woman did when he was saved, I shrugged and smiled before we finished dancing.
After dinner that evening, Emmett took me for a sunset stroll at the beach-area, where he told me about the woman with a lovely voice who rescued him. When he said that he was frustrated at his unsuccessful search for her, he could probably notice that I was itching to tell him about the woman, but I couldn’t get myself to tell the truth. Seeing a tear form in my eye, Emmett stopped walking and turned to face me before touching my cheek, causing me to sigh as he pulled my face closer to his. Just as I realized that we were about to kiss, we were interrupted by a rainstorm starting over our heads, causing us to back away before running to the castle, with me internally upset at my spell staying unbroken.
The next day started like all the others, but when I realized that it was my last day as a human if Emmett didn’t kiss me, I tried to hide the sense of gloom with a smile. I could tell that the maidservant was noticing my mood, so after I saw her whisper something to Emmett after lunch, I grinned when he asked if I wanted to spend the day on the beach. Wondering if it was a way to repay me after our previous time there was ruined by the storm, I nodded before he took me there before we spent several hours playing and relaxing together. When we saw that there were a few rowboats tied to a pole at a nearby dock, Emmett asked if we could go for a ride together, to which I smiled and excitedly nodded before we took it to a lagoon.
By the time that we stopped near the lagoon, the sun was down and the nighttime sky was giving off a romantic atmosphere. After Emmett set the oars down and took my hands, he asked if I had anything that I wanted to tell him before the night was over. Even though my mind was racing with thoughts about whether or not he had given up on his search for the woman who saved his life and decided to love me instead, I used the romantic atmosphere as an excuse to take his face with my hands and pull him closer to me, and we were just about to kiss when the boat capsized due to some underwater disturbance. As the two of us were trying to stay afloat, I felt a hand grab my foot before I was pulled down, and I knew right away that my lease on my human legs was up.
“Well, Lillian! Looks like I caught you at the right time!” Giancarlo cackled as I felt my legs change back to a mermaid tail, where I sighed with relief at finally being able to talk. When I remembered the clause in the contract where I would become a slave to Giancarlo if I hadn’t kissed Emmett, I was asking Giancarlo what I could do for him when my father approached us. Although he set his anger aside for enough time to hug me, dad’s rage returned when Giancarlo told him about my adventure as a human. While the two of them were having a heated discussion, I used that moment to swim to the beach, which is where I found Emmet putting the oars on the front of the boat like a ship’s bow with tape.
Glad to see him saving me, I was just about to head back underwater when I saw Giancarlo emerging and growing in size. Even though I was terrified at Giancarlo’s changing, I dove underwater when he spotted Emmett’s boat and started taunting him. Wanting to be a hero, I started singing the same song that I sang to Emmett when I saved his life. I don’t know what Emmett’s reaction to the singing was, but Giancarlo was distracted enough to have Emmett ram the makeshift bow into his backside, causing him to shriek before turning into seafoam, much to the surprise of everyone both above and underwater.
While everyone in the kingdom was celebrating my victory, I couldn’t wait to check on Emmett, and my chance finally came after what seemed like a long time later. Not wanting to say anything when I reached the same rock as before, I saw Emmett reclining on the sand and sighed at how exhausted he must have felt after the fight against Giancarlo. Remembering the piece of paper, I went back underwater and rewrote the note, complete with a bit thanking him for the awesome adventure we had together. I then swam to the shore and left the note next to Emmett’s head before heading back home, where I found my father by my bedroom door.
Even though I was scared to ask him for forgiveness, I was opening my mouth when he threw his arms around me, causing me to gasp in shock. Hearing my gasp must have tickled him, because he chuckled and accepted my apology before saying that since he could tell how much I loved Emmett, he had something to show me. With a mile-wide smile on his face, he spun his scepter and pointed it at my tail, changing it into a pair of legs. After giving him a thank-you hug and telling him that I’ll miss him, I turned around and swam to the rock, where I couldn’t wait to see Emmett’s reaction to me having both legs and a voice. After seeing that he was reading my note, I waited a bit before getting his attention.
“Emmett!” I gasped with glee as I saw him sitting on the beach, to which he looked up and gasped as I leaped off the rock and ran to the shore. After picking me up and spinning me around when I reached him, Emmett set me down before we had our first kiss, where it felt wonderful to finally kiss after two failed attempts. As soon as we pulled away, Emmett took my hand and ran with me to his castle, where we immediately made plans for our wedding.

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