When Your Chin is Raised Gently, But You Don't Fall in Love
Chiharu saw Maki run over to the food stalls, before making her own way to the merpeople store. Her heart soared just thinking about the coral accessories.
The pretty trinkets were lined on a tablecloth over the counter. The seller was a merperson. She looked like anyone else at a glance, but her ears looked more like fins as they opened and closed. Gills went down from her ears all the way to her shoulders. The lips were thin and the mouth wide. The eyes were small. Luscious hair went all the way down to her back. She stood on two legs, but her fingers and toes were webbed, and she had tough skin that protected her from the sun. In other words, she was incredibly beautiful.
Many customers were seeing merpeople for the first time, just like Chiharu, and they all looked on in wonderment at the sight.
"Hello, cute girl. Have a look at these accessories."
Chiharu broke out of her trance and looked down at the table.
"Give me all of it."
And she almost said it too. That was how beautiful they were. But she wouldn't say it. The scales had a large variety of colors, and they were thin and clear, like they were made of glass. There were earrings made of layers of scales that trilled when you shook them. A necklace made of a light pink coral that had been polished. One hour wasn't enough to look at everything, Chiharu thought. Then a shadow fell over her.
Hm? She raised her head. The clerk who had been there a moment ago was nowhere to be found. Instead, a beautiful, youthful merman was standing next to her. Chiharu looked dumbly at him, making a note of how the men were also beautiful.
Then his hand stretched out, and he slowly raised her chin towards him.
"Beloved child of God, let me see your face."
Chiharu froze. Something moved at the corner of her vision. It was his hair. It moved. It was wiggling.
The young merman's hair moved to push up Chiharu's bangs. His eyebrows narrowed.
"Why must you cover such beautiful obsidian eyes? And also the mark of God's love. Why is it sealed?"
"Huh? Uh, because, um…"
It was because she didn't want to lose 1,000,000 gil by accident. But that wasn't easily explained. She frantically searched for something to say.
"I understand. The human world is hard to live in. Now, come. What is your name?"
Oh, damn it. She had said it. He repeated the name gently, then suddenly picked her up.
"Huh, wait, what?"
"Can you swim? It is no matter, a boat has been prepared for you. I will teach you to swim eventually."
"What, no, what?"
"Now, let us go to our country together. Do not worry, there are land people there too. You can remove the seal there, and live freely."
He immediately began to walk towards the sea. And in that direction, were an alarming number of merpeople.
"Oh, beloved child."
"Come with us."
What to do! What to do! Then a voice rang.
"Hey, wait! What are you doing!"
The young man scowled and said:
"You came with someone else? Hm? A boy. No. Another beloved child?"
Chiharu nodded frantically.
"Let me down. We have to visit the three other territories."
"Why must you? You can just live in the sea."
"No-no-no. I am human. And we are in the middle of traveling."
Actually, they only just started to travel two hours ago.