This chapter ended up quite short, which is unfortunate, and I plan to expand on it when I get around to revising.
"Grandmother?" Dylana called from the entrance to the sea witch's grotto. The grotto was hidden behind the palace, amid the wreck of a sunken ship. It was a beautiful place, filled with various exotic seaweeds, corals, and deep sea flowers. They were in full bloom presently, and danced in the gentle current, their petals brilliant shades of pink and blues. "Grandmother?" she called again as she slowly entered the grotto. In the center of the hidden grotto rose what could be compared to a great tree on the mortal lands, but this was a strange sort of deep-sea flower. Instead of bark, its 'trunk' was made of thick, tough plant stalk and instead of leaves, it had brilliantly bloom white flowers. Light filtered in through holes in the wreckage, casting soft shadows.
"I am here," her grandmother's voice replied from deep within the recesses of the ship. Dylana couldn't see her from where she was, so she swam without fear into the darkness. It took little time for her eyes to adjust to the change in lighting, and she saw her grandmother resting on her bed of pink flora.
"Grandmother? Are you well?" Dylana asked, "it is far past time to be up."
"I am just tired," her grandmother replied briskly. Dylana was appeased with the short answer, so deep into her own thoughts as she had been.
"I have a... problem," Dylana explained slowly, unsure how to phrase herself. She feared the retribution of what had transpired above the ocean and of her lies to her father.
"What is wrong? You look distressed," her grandmother commented as she sat up slowly. She seemed pained by the movement and Dylana frowned.
"Are you certain you are well?" Dylana asked.
"Yes," the sea witch assured her again. She then asked a second time: "What is wrong?"
"I have... lied to father," Dylana admitted.
"Why did you do this?"
"Something... bad happened on the surface." Her grandmother seemed intrigued by this and perked up.
"Go on," she encouraged.
"I was... caught in a fishing net," Dylana explained.
"Ah, but you freed yourself. Do you worry your father will be upset that you traveled too close to mortals?" she asked, not realizing the real problem.
"No, I didn't," Dylana replied dully. Her grandmother looked confused and concerned in the same instant.
"Then how are you here?" the sea witch rose and swam closer to Dylana, a dark look crossing her face.
"A mortal saved me," Dylana admitted after a long silence.
"So, a mortal saw you," the sea witch stated.
"Yes." Dylana was confused when her grandmother suddenly laughed, a raspy sound. "What is funny?" she asked.
"You worry too much," her grandmother replied. "I will not tell your father, worry not, dear one," she insisted upon seeing Dylana's horrified gaze.
"Why not?" Dylana asked. "I broke the one rule!" she exclaimed.
"Do you think you are the first to do so?" her grandmother asked calmly.
"Why am I wrong?"
"Mortals have been seeing us for centuries — how do you think their legends of sirens occurred?" her grandmother asked with another raspy laugh.
"Were you ever seen?" Dylana asked.
"Of course!" the sea witch exclaimed. "Do you really think I would have such tales of the mortal realms without approaching a little too close from time to time?" Dylana was shocked into silence. "Drop that forlorn look in your eyes and return to the palace; your secret is safe with me," her grandmother said, ushering her out of the grotto quickly. "I will see you at dinner."
YOU ARE READING
"Many have withered away by desiring that which they cannot have; do not let that become your fate," was the sea witch's warning. Young, impulsive, and desperate to breathe the air above the ocean, Princess Dylana will do almost anything to earn...