Kingdom of Salt & Sirens Boxed Set
Balanced Scales by Laura Greenwood:
“What happens at the end of your version of the story?”
I shrugged. “Much the same as in your version, I guess. She falls in love with the Prince, he with her, they get married and live happily ever after.”
Erickson’s face fell. “That’s not the same as our version,” he responded. “Ours is a lot more sinister. She loses her chance to marry the Prince. When her sisters find out, they barter for a dagger. The mermaid could return to the sea if she stabbed the Prince through the heart with it.”
I shuddered. “That’s horrible. Did she do it?” If she had, then maybe it would explain why humans seemed to be so against the mer.
“No. She turned into sea foam and disappeared into the air. Some versions say she’s taken pity on by some sylphs and became one of them.”
“Sylphs?” I’d never heard of them and had no idea what he meant. They certainly weren’t part of the stories I’d been told as a child.
“I don’t know how to explain them. They’re made of air and hang around in the atmosphere.”
“And what do they do to her?”
“I’m not sure. In our version of the story, mermaids don’t have souls. When they die they turn to sea foam and just cease to exist.”
I laughed lightly as we turned down another street. “I can assure you, that’s not what it’s like.”
“I guessed. You can’t have a soul stolen if you didn’t have one to begin with.”
“Which do you think is the true version of the story?” My words came out barely above a whisper. Part of me didn’t want to ask at all. Especially if it would mean he said he thought his version was the right one. If that was true, then how had my people gotten souls to begin with…
“Neither. I think it’s nothing more than a story. Each side will tell it the way that puts their own people in the best light. Just like with every other legend like that.”
“I suppose…” Though I didn’t like to think of the mermaid I’d heard so much about as nothing more than fiction. She’d been an inspiration to so many young mer who wanted adventure. Not so much on land, but out in the open sea.
“You never know, maybe one day they’ll be telling our story like they do hers,” he said jovially.
From The Little Monster by Jennifer Ellision:
“Wait!” The little human lurched forward, a single hand outstretched, the other anchored firmly to the ship’s railing. It swallowed as the little monster raised a brow to her. The hand fell lamely back to her side.
“I… don’t even know your name.”
“What are you called?”
“I don’t understand.” What was she called? She was a predator, a hunter, a Mordgris, a…
“I am a monster,” she said simply.
“You’re all monsters,” the human breathed. “But you’re not quite like the rest. How am I to call you and you alone?”
A thrill spiked through the little monster. Why hadn’t she thought of this before? She deserved her own name. She was the best of her kind. There was nothing in the sea that could best her except, perhaps, the sea itself. And that made choosing a name simple.
“You may call me Mara,” she said.
“Mara,” the human repeated slowly. “Mara… for the sea?”
Another thrill surged within her as she nodded, knowing the word belonged only to her. The little human had understood the meaning instantly. In a way that prey was not meant to understand its hunter.
“I am Amista,” she said, lifting her full lower scales to cross the bottoms of her fins and bob on deck. “And it has been a pleasure to meet you, Mara.”
Mara dove back into the cool embrace of the sea, feeling Amista’s eyes on her back as she swam away.
The little monster had become Mara.
The little human had become Amista.