Chapter 83

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Eli woke up some time in the late afternoon and it was a good thing too since according to Kendra, there was an old mermaid outside threatening to sink the ship if she didn't get to see Eli. Hailie had been eating her second bowl of pudding when Kendra dragged a half-asleep Eli into the dining hall. Kendra seemed to be dragging him around a lot. She looked as if she was ready to drop him, whether from his weight or the fact that he kept poking her in the side and sticking his finger into her ear, Hailie couldn't tell. They were both valid reasons to let him fall.

"Eli, I swear if you touch me one more time I will drop you and leave you here even if that means the ship gets sunk," Kendra said.

His face lit up when he saw Hailie. "Hailie, you should come too. Nana said she was friends with your father."

"His friend?

"Yes, but they were friends long before you were born, before he was even Governor. Wait," he looked at Kendra, "how did you know she was threatening to sink the ship. You can't speak the language."

"She was making her intentions very clear. The old man beside her even poked the boat with that pointy stick of his."

Zigzag was snickering in the corner. No one paid him any attention.

"We should go up quickly then before they really do sink the ship," Hailie said. She followed behind Eli and Kendra, who were moving so slow that she ended up just pushing past them and going up by herself.

"Over there," Kendra said pointing to the right.

Hailie peered over the railing. She'd only been expecting to see two mermaids but there were seven of them, and one more floating a little distance away. Hailie covered her eyes and turned away.

"What is the problem?" Eli asked, coming next to her.

"They are all naked," she said.

He chuckled. "Clothes are useless underwater and only slow you down." He leaned over the rail. "Nana, why were you threatening Kendra?" he asked.

The oldest mermaid nodded her head. "I take it she understood."

Eli glanced at Kendra. "Kendra said you were making things obvious."

"How are you?" she asked.

"You look awful," the youngest looking mermaid said. She was the only one with fiery red hair.

"Who cares how he is? I came to see Gerald's daughter. She's the reason we helped in the first place," the old merman said. His right eye was cloudy and a scar ran down from his forehead, over his eye and stopped at the centre of his cheek.

"Thank you for helping Eli rescue me," Hailie said.

"Hailie, remove your hand so I can introduce you to them," Eli said. She had been peeking through her fingers. He pulled her hand down and pointed to the mermaids each in turn. "That's Garan, Nana, Fizza, Zixin, Ru, Amir, Kaja and the one way over there is Akello. She's the leader but kind of moody." Akello glared at him.

"Nice to meet you," Hailie said, trying not to look at them too much. She looked at the sea instead. "Thank you again for your assistance."

"I can see the resemblance," Nana said.

"Yes. She looks just like him," Garan said.

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