The Mermaid and The Beast
Chapter 3- Memories
"Are you sure you want to do this?"
"It's her only chance. If she stays here, everyone will notice immediately she's different and she'll be killed. All I can do for her is to leave her in a place where she will be seen as normal."
"But you won't be able to be with her. In her upbringing, they'll probably tell her about us, and she'll hate our race. You won't be able to hold her when she cries, or be there for her when she needs you. Are you willing to sacrifice that?"
"… It's… it's the best for her. I can't keep her… She'll be better with the merfolk…"
Spark rubbed her eyes as she let out a yawn, rising from the algae, when she noticed something; she was covered with a blanket, but she had seen none when she entered… It was probably a courtesy of Jake, again making her wonder why he was so kind to her. Spark made sure Jake was not there and silently took her father's note out of her armor, reading to herself. She always read the note wherever she felt alone, it made her feel as if her father was right next to her, comforting her.
Spark quickly tucked the note back into her armor when she heard her door being opened, and quickly swam into the corner or her cell when one of the guards of her cell swam into her cell, closing the door shut behind him. He was giving her a lustful grin, and licked his teeth in anticipation.
"What do you want?" Spark spoke firmly, but her resolve crumbled as the Sharkanian swam closer to her
"Well, since Jakey didn't give us the chance to meet you before, I thought it would be better to introduce myself personally," the Sharkanian guard examined the mermaid's figure slowly, "But how about you take off that armor? I bet you must be hot from all of that metal over your beautiful body."
Spark's eyes widened in horror as she realized what were the Sharkanian's intentions; she swam back, but felt the wooden wall of her cell against her back.
"Stay away from me!" she cried, but she guard put a hand over her mouth and pulled her close.
"Shh, be quiet now, darling," he licked his lips and narrowed his eyes maliciously, "I just want to feel you… You will enjoy it… I've always wondered how it felt like to make it to a mermaid. The females of our race are not as beautiful as female merfolk, believe me."
The Sharkanian placed his lips on the mermaid's, in a soft way and started to open and inspect them. Spark couldn't move, she was terrified of what was happening; she could only close her eyes. The Sharkanian closed them as well, enjoying that sensation. He felt his heart beating with force and his shark instincts demanding him to go on, to never stop. Tired of the lips, he softly introduced his tongue into the mermaid's palate, starting to inspect it. Spark had a sweet ice cream flavor, a luxury Sharkanians didn't have.
Spark felt her kisser's tongue in her mouth, inspecting every corner while leaving a strong sensation of fish and blood. The guard started to play with her exposed waist and belly, caressing them softly; he felt the softness of her pale skin. He had lost his mind, he no longer thought, the only thing he wished was to make this sexy mermaid his.,, he could not hold it any longer, his body burned in lust.
Spark felt a shadow covering her, she couldn't help watching what was going on; it was the Sharkanian's tailfin, which wrapped around her, creating a small jail she could not escape from. She now felt the pression in her neck, the Sharkanian slowly lowered his inspection and slowly but decidedly started slipping her off from her body, exposing her chest
Spark could only freeze in place as a tear rolled down her cheek…
Spark felt a wash of relief when her captor was violently pulled away from her, but she was still in shock from what almost happened and didn't mind seeing what happened; she allowed her body to sink to the wooden floor. Everything around her became a blur, she felt empty, as if her very heart stopped beating, and she no longer cared about anything. She pulled her tailfin and wrapped her arms around it; if she were human, she would be hugging her knees.
Jake pushed his fellow guard against the wall of Spark's cell, his pupils shrunk until they were almost invisible, and he bared his teeth menacingly, making him look like a monster, the monster every creature in the sea considered his race to be.
"DO NOT DARE TO TOUCH HER, HOOKBAIT!" he screamed at the top of his lungs
The Sharkanian named Hookbait got up and gave Jake an angry snarl, "Why do you care what I do with that mermaid? Does she mean something to you?!"
"THAT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!"
The two Sharkanians engaged in a fight; they were both using mostly their teeth, not bothering to throw a punch or tail kick. Jake dug his teeth into Hookbait's shoulder, who gritted his in pain and countered by whipping Jake with his tail; Jake was sent against the wall, but he was determined to protect Spark, and immediately lunged at Hookbait.
The two would have kept fighting if the rest of the guard hadn't arrived to separate them; however, when two Sharkanians fight, it is very difficult to break them off. It took two guards for Jake and Hookbait to be separated. Instinctively, the guards covered the struggling Sharkanians' mouths to prevent them from biting someone else. Both Jake and Hookbait let out muffled curses as they struggled violently, wanting to break free and continue their fight.
"WHAT'S GOING ON?!"
Everyone remained silent when they heard that voice; even Jake and Hookbait stopped their struggling and froze in place, watching as their Emperor swam into the dungeons with an angry look, failing to give him the mandatory bow.
While he didn't like interfering in the royal guard's issues, Shaga hated when they took their quarreling too far, and the sound of their fighting reached his chambers, often giving him a migraine. He examined the two responsible guards, who by then had been released and were struck with horror. He liked that, they knew who was in charge.
"Seriously, you two," snapped Shaga as he rubbed his temples, "Can't I take a single nap without you starting a fight? I've heard you have your personal conflicts, but this is ridiculous!"
Jake was the first to react and gave his Emperor a the respectful bow, "With all due respect, your Highness, Hookbait started the fight. He tried to force himself on the prisoner,"
Hookbait trembled when Shaga set his eyes on him and hissed, crossing his arms, "What do you have to say in your defense, Hookbait?"
Hookbait looked down in fake remorse, but genuine fear, "Nothing, your Highness."
Shaga glanced at the cell, and spotted the apparently traumatized mermaid on lying against the wall, hugging her tailfin. He had never liked the subject of… sexual acts done by force, not even for the mermaids. After a few seconds, the Sharkanian Emperor turned towards Jake.
"You, make sure she's fine. The rest, bring Hookbait for his punishment,"
Jake nodded and instantly swam into the cell, ignoring Hookbait's protests as he was dragged out of the prison block and taken away. He swam next to Spark, and realized she had entered a trance-like state to escape from her fright.
"Spark?" he called out, "Are you alright?"
When Spark heard Jake's voice and felt his hand upon her shoulder, that was it; she couldn't help it. She abruptly wrapped her arms around the Sharkanian's neck and sobbed into his armor's chest plate, not caring if he thought she was crazy.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you!" she sobbed uncontrollably, not minding to contain any tears, "If you hadn't arrived in time, he would have… he would have…"
The mere thought sent the mermaid into uncontrollable weeping; Jake was astonished for a few seconds before wrapping his arms around Spark and holding her close, caressing her hair gingerly.
"Sh-sh-sh, it's alright," he spoke softly, "I'm here, so don't worry."
Spark snuggled deeply into the Sharkanian's embrace, feeling safe in his arms for a reason she could not explain. But she did not care right then, all she cared about was to forget about what almost happened. She was glad Bluetail was not there to watch…
"Alright, on one hand, Spark could actually be dead by now, if I go there I could be killed for no reason at all," Bluetail thought, swimming around the entrance to the palace, "On the other hand, she could be still alive, locked up in a dungeon, and being tortured by the Sharkanians. There's no way I'll leave her there, she's the only friend I have! I have to rescue her, or at least die trying."
For the past half-hour, he had been conflicting the rational and emotional sides of himself, and the emotional side was winning. He would sneak into Sharkania and rescue his best friend, even if it cost his life. What kind of friend would he be if he left her to rot in the enemy's dungeons, or worse?
However, the swordfish knew he needed help; as reckless as he could be, not even he would dare of putting a fin in Sharkania unprepared. But he knew there were few-to-no fish that would risk their lives like that for someone they didn't know at all… but he knew of a mermaid who could give him some advice. He knew she loved Spark as much as he did.
Immediately, the swordfish swam in the direction of Saltwater Orphanarium.
Jake stared a Spark and didn't take his eyes off her for one second. It took him two hours to calm her down, and put her to bed for a while. Every now and then, she would still let out sobs, but they only lasted for a few seconds. He refused to leave her side, no matter how much the other guards insisted that he needed to rest; none of them understood why Jake was so attached to that mermaid he just met over a day ago.
"Spark…" he whispered, "Can I ask you something?"
"Sure, if it doesn't touch personal subjects, I have no problem…"
"What were you doing in the camp? You know it's very foolish to attempt infiltrating in a Sharkanian military camp, don't you? The only reason they didn't kill you was because you are a mermaid."
This caught Spark's interest, "You don't harm mermaids?"
Jake shook his head, "No, that's cruel, even for us. Mermaids are much more delicate than mermen, they wouldn't last a second in the torture chamber. And you haven't answered my question."
"Well, I…" Spark thought for a moment, "I guess you have already noticed, but I'm the first mermaid to have joined the Atlantica army… well, I'm not exactly in the army, I'm a guard, like you, but I think it's pretty boring. No offense," the mermaid blushed.
Jake chuckled, "Don't worry; actually, I think it can be boring sometimes, especially in times of peace."
"Anyway, that day, Bluetail and I had been assigned to infiltrate that camp because Commander Narcissus believed you were planning to attack Atlantica, and that's how all of this started.
The mention of the supposed 'attack' caught the Sharkanian's attention.
"What are you talking about? We have a peace treaty, we have no reason to attack you!""
Spark sat up, alarmed, "Wait… Then what was that camp doing there?"
Jake shrugged, "Well, I don't think setting up a camp in your own territory is against the rules, is it? As for your question, Emperor Shaga sent us to find new sources of food; winter is coming, and we are running low on fish."
"Then…" Spark looked down in confusion, "Why did Commander Narcissus send us there?"
"I have one more question. How did you convince your… parents to let you join the army?"
Jake noticed Spark became rather stiff when he asked that, and he knew why…
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean…"
"It's okay…" Spark replied, regaining her composure, "I don't have, I was abandoned when I was a baby. The worst of all, I didn't know who my parents were, and I always felt… different."
Spark didn't notice, but Jake looked away and closed his eyes shut, as if attempting to contain tears. When she looked up at him, he was looking down, having managed to calm down a bit, but she still noticed he was upset for some reason she couldn't explain.
"Jake, are you alright?" she inquired, and the Sharkanian quickly regained his composure
"It's okay, I'm fine," he replied, looking away, "I'm just having a headache, that's all."
"Can I ask you something?"
"How did you get that scar?"
"This?" Jake gloomily caressed the scar across his left eye, "It's a long story."
"Care you tell me? I mean, we don't have anything to do right now." Spark insisted, making Jake roll his eyes and smile slightly.
"Alright, but I suggest you accommodate yourself," Jake sat down, placing his spear aside, "See… a few years ago, when I had just joined the guard, I had gone out for a ride since I wasn't needed. I've always loved riding Jessop in the sunken ships graveyard-"
"Jessop? Is that the name of your shark?" Spark inquired
Jake nodded, "That's right. He's stubborn, but docile. Anyway, that day, when I was passing by, I saw a mermaid, the most beautiful I had ever seen. I was going to pass by, but I noticed an Octopian was attacking her. Most of my race would have left her to be killed or worse, but I didn't; I couldn't. I fought with the Octopian, but even though I managed to drive him off, he had injured my eye."
"Did the mermaid heal you?"
The Sharkanian nodded, a smile spearing in his lips, "Yes, she did. I fell in love with her from that moment."
"And what happened to her?"
Jake's smile vanished and he looked away, "I'd rather not touch that subject, it's… painful for me," he whispered, trying to contain tears.
Spark nodded, understanding, "I see…" the mermaid let out a yawn, and rested on her bed, "I bet she would have loved you back… You're not like the rest of Sharkanians…"
Saying this, Spark fell asleep deeply. Jake sighed sadly, but smiled as he covered Spark with her blanket, and sat down next to her, caressing her hair gingerly.
"My dear little Spark…" he thought somberly as a tear rolled down his cheek, "If only you knew…"