MidReal Story

Mermaid's Love Quest

Scenario: Dad, I am so sad. I turned into a black mermaid. It is said that people without love will turn into black mermaids. People with love will turn into golden mermaids. One in ten million people will turn into colorful mermaids. What kind of mermaid will you be?
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Dad, I am so sad. I turned into a black mermaid. It is said that people without love will turn into black mermaids. People with love will turn into golden mermaids. One in ten million people will turn into colorful mermaids. What kind of mermaid will you be?
Something is wrong.
I can’t breathe.
I sit bolt upright, sweat dripping off my forehead, my heart racing like a motorboat.
The bed is empty.
Lily’s bed is empty.
My sister should be sleeping beside me, her golden scales shining in the dark, but she’s not there.
Did she go diving?
I get up, but when I’m halfway to the door, she comes swimming in.
Her golden hair flows behind her, and her scales shimmer in the light streaming into our underwater grotto through the top of the cave.
Knowing I’m fine doesn’t calm my racing heart.
“Just a nightmare,” I say, trying to keep the tremor out of my voice.
Lily studies me for a moment, her big blue eyes wide and sad.
Her scales are the same beautiful gold as her hair.
They glow so brightly that they make the whole room seem warmer, more inviting.
In comparison, my dark hair and scales seem almost ugly.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
Lily asks, her voice gentle.
I shake my head and try to push the nightmare away.
With a deep, shuddering breath, I force myself to change the subject.
“Why did you go diving so early?
“I didn’t go diving.” Lily swims toward me and puts a warm hand on my arm.
“I was . She doesn’t finish her sentence, but I already guessed what happened.
I was having a nightmare and you came to check on me.”
She nods, her big eyes filled with concern.
Since we were little kids, we’ve done everything together.
We even took our first breaths at the same time.
But Lily has always been more open than me.
She’s the heart of our little family while I’m… I don’t know what I am, really.
My sister smiles sadly and strokes my arm in a soothing way only she can manage.
“I’m fine,” I say, trying not to think about the nightmare anymore.
“So why did Mom say that your true form was golden?”
Lily looks away for a moment as if pondering how much to tell me.
It feels strange and heavy between us here in our bedroom at the bottom of the sea.
But then she looks at me again and smiles gently.
It was right after I found out that you’re black.”
You’re not black!”
Mom said that I have the ability to choose what color I want my scales to be, and I chose gold.”
“I wish I could choose.” I turn away, fighting back tears.
“Don’t cry, Marina.” Lily comes up from behind and wraps her arms around me.
“You’ll find someone one day who loves you so much that your scales will turn to gold.”
I don’t answer.
She means well, but if I haven’t found anyone in the twenty years of my life, what are the chances that I’ll find someone now?
“Hey, guys!”
Coral Rainbow swims into the room, her multicolored hair flowing behind her in a beautiful stream of reds, blues, and yellows.
“It’s such a beautiful day today.
Who wants to go diving with me?”
Coral has been my friend for as long as I can remember.
She’s so full of life and energy that it’s impossible to stay sad when she’s around.
But now, even her energy seems muted.
Her yellow scales should be shining like the sun, but they’re dull and almost lifeless.
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“Hey, Coral.” Lily lets go of me.
“Hey, Marina.” She swims up to me, her eyes wide with excitement.
“I’ve never met a black mermaid before.”
She reaches out to touch my scales, but Lily puts a hand on her arm.
“She can’t change her color,” Lily says.
Coral frowns in confusion, her red eyebrows drawing together.
“No one told me about this.”
I notice that her hair is still changing color as it often does when she’s in love, but it’s lost its usual vibrancy.
Blue replaces the reds, and the yellows disappear completely, leaving only a pale blue color behind.
Red is the color of Coral’s first love, but I’m not sure what the other colors mean.
Coral doesn’t seem to know either.
“I’m sorry,” I tell her.
“It’s not your fault.” Coral shakes her head, and her hair turns red again as a new emotion flashes in her eyes.
“But I’m sure we can find a way to change it.”
I look at her in surprise.
“You know a way?”
Her hair turns a new shade, somewhere between yellow and red, as she smiles faintly.
“I don’t, but I’m sure we can figure something out.
I smile, but I’m not sure I believe her.
Girls like me don’t just change color for no reason, and if there was a way for me to do it, someone would have told me by now.
“This is too sad for such a beautiful day,” Coral says, her hair flashing back to red again as she looks at us.
“Come on, guys!
Let’s go swimming, and maybe we can figure something out.”
I look at Lily and see the hope in her eyes—hope that maybe we really can change my color and not be alone forever.
And I don’t want to disappoint her, but it also seems so impossible to me that I don’t want to give her false hope either.
I’m still not sure what to do when Lily tugs at my arm and starts swimming toward the door of our grotto.
I guess this means we’re going diving with Coral, so I follow her.
Coral leads us through a maze of underwater crevices and caves, her hair flashing its usual bright colors again now that she’s excited about something other than sorrow.
We swim in near silence, except for the sound of our tails slapping the water as we move through the water at high speeds.
But after a while, I can’t keep quiet anymore.
“Where are we going?”
I ask, and then, when no one answers, I add, “And how do you even expect to find something that will help me change color?”
“I don’t know,” Coral says, her voice full of excitement and anticipation.
“But there has to be something out there, right?
Something that will help you turn into a golden or a colorful? Something that will make you happy and in love?”
“But what if there’s not?”
Lily asks quietly.
“What if there’s nothing out here?
What if Marina is doomed to be alone forever?
What if she never finds love, and her scales stay black forever?”
“Hey,” Coral says, her voice firm and resolute as she turns to us with a bright smile.
“The only way to find out is to keep looking, right?”
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She’s right—I can’t argue with that.
Coral leads us into a vast underwater forest, where the trees are made of giant sponges and the leaves are made of the most vividly colored corals I have ever seen.
We swim through it as quickly and quietly as we can until we come to the edge of the forest and see the open sea spreading out in front of us.
And I can’t help but gasp in amazement at the colors of the sea—deep blue in some places, bright green in others, clear as glass in still others.
“It’s so beautiful,” I say, my voice full of wonder.
“You can’t imagine how beautiful it is.”
Coral smiles, her hair turning a brilliant shade of blue as she looks at me.
And then I think maybe she can imagine how beautiful it is—that maybe she’s just never stopped to consider it before.
“Come on,” she says, turning to look at the sea ahead of us.
“I bet we can find something out here to help you change color.”
Coral leads us swimming through the open sea, toward the sun, and when I look out ahead of us and see the brilliant colors of the ocean stretching out as far as my eyes can see, I realize just how lucky I am to be a mermaid.
It’s so easy for me to forget sometimes how magical and wonderful my life is—to get so caught up in my own misery that I forget that my life is full of love.
As we swim through the water, I see more and more mermaids swimming past us, their tails flashing in the water around them in every color imaginable.
Most of them stop to look at me when they pass, and when they see me, their eyes are full of pity.
But some of them stop to look at Lily too—and when they see her, their eyes are full of jealousy.
“You poor thing,” one mermaid says to me as she swims past, her hair flashing pink with love as she speaks.
“I thought I was so unlucky when I turned into a black mermaid ten years ago—but at least I’d already found love once before!”
She shoots me one last sympathetic look and then swims off, her hair flashing back to its natural color again, and I watch her go, feeling a pang of sadness when I look at her black scales and know that I would do anything not to end up like her.
But I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself again before Coral turns to me with a smile and says, “It’s okay, Marina!
We’ll find you something to help you change color, I promise!”
I’m about to tell her that I don’t think it’s possible, but then she smiles at me and her hair starts to turn bright yellow with love, and I can’t bring myself to ruin her good mood by telling her the truth.
“Thanks, Coral,” I say quietly instead, and then I turn back to the water and keep swimming, hoping that maybe this time she really will be able to help me after all.
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