He could feel his powerful arm muscles expand and contract as he propelled himself through the vast ocean as his scaly, strong tail guided his every motion.
He could feel the warm, salty water give way to his practiced strokes as he swam proudly beside his newly found birth mother.
She was more beautiful than he had ever imagined. Crystal blue eyes shined with only a love a mother could have for her child as a brilliant white, pointy smile flashed at him.
He smiled back, keeping pace with her fast glide. She had promised to tell him everything. All that he needed to know about his newly found traits, all of his newly found power. All of a newly found place in which she called home- this ocean. And she had promised to bring him home to his family, his merfamily.
But, the thought ran through his head unchecked, I already have a family on land…
His parents' faces ran through his mind. No matter what Whit and Sharon Griffin would always be his mom and dad. They were the only parents he had had for the past thirteen years…
You can always have two families, Cody told himself sternly. You'll see them next school year like promised. Sam would love to hear about merlife, and Jess about all of the sea…
He kept swimming. He swam past abundant of marine life; pink, purple, green, blue, orange, and yellow plant like creatures stationary on the sea floor. Schools of fish drove past him, running streaks of silver, gold and shimmering colors of the rainbow.
He had dreamed of this. He had wanted to see this for so long, the desire only getting stronger and stronger until it became almost unbearable the thirteenth year…
And now he was living it. Cody was free.
My son, we have arrived.
Cody startled as he heard the high and light melodious voice sing in his head. Facing his mother, he saw her piercing blue eyes looking into his own sea green. It had been her voice; it was the first time he had ever heard her speak. And her lips hadn't move, he realized. Somehow under the water, they could speak mind to mind.
He wondered if it was a merpeople thing, like the swimming strength and the built in body electricity current was. He had so much to learn, so much to see, do, touch.
It was almost overwhelming.
I am ready Mom, Cody sent his thoughts back to her, wondering if it would work.
It must have, because she smiled reassuringly at him and gave an encouraging wave towards herself with her hand. Heeding her direction, Cody swam up to her side, facing the wall of tall sea grass in front of them. He idly following its swaying to the current's motion as his mother reached out and parted the grass. A gentle grin still on her face as she took her other hand and pointed down past the forest of green before them. Curious, Cody's gaze followed her hand.
And what he saw took his breath away.
It was a city below the sea. Buildings of coral. Homes of caves. Dwellings of wreckage from the surface. A castle of grey and pale green sea marble. Sturdy and solid walls of stone surrounding it all. But it was nothing compared to the teeming life that flowed through the place.
Merpeople young and old, male and female, families and individuals, swam around going about their lives. Trading pearls for shells or lobster for crab. Playing with energetic dolphins and gently petting fish all kinds. Young care-free children swam about chasing each other in their merry games as the white haired elders watched diligently on the sidelines, perhaps occasionally making conversation with one another. Couples holding hands as they gazed into each others' eyes, a clear conversation in which only they could partake in. Fathers and mothers calming hyper or sad children in their arms.
Cody swam into the crowd, trying to take it all in. Quickly joined by his mother, he swam through the crowds, only to notice something had changed just as he did so.
The young and the old, the male and the female, their eyes turned towards him as though they couldn't believe the sight in front of them. Cody tensed, surprised by the sudden attention in which the community now gave solely to him.
Mother! He turned to the mermaid who had guided him here, the mermaid whom he now knew loved him before he even remembered she existed. Why…? Who…?
Keep going. She ordered gently. You have nothing to be nervous about. His mother swelled with pride as she placed a soft hand on his shoulder and steered him past the awe struck people. I am not the only one who has waited for you, love.
They were now only a couple of yards away from the majestic castle. Cody looked up to its high beautiful towers and life like statues of sea creatures. Windows everywhere, revealing the busy castle life of the deep. And in the middle tower that overlooked the entire city, he could have sworn he saw a pale face framed by long, glossy hair before a pale hand quickly pulled across the strand of shell curtains.
Thinking to ask his mother about, Cody turned towards her, only to find a young merman approach them both, his long brown hair swept up in a ponytail and his serious brown gaze studying him. Light silver armor covered his broad chest, a sword and shield held in each rough hand. Taking his eyes off of Cody, the unknown merman addressed his mother.
"Queen Meridel, welcome back home. And is this…?"
"Yes," she replied, giving her now shocked son a light squeeze on the shoulder. "Aquarius, yes my son has returned."
Cody didn't know quite how to react as the merman bowed low, his gaze shining with a quiet awe and hope.
"Welcome home, Prince Alkandor."