“We’re not done yet,” I mutter as I remember Lamia’s reference to Amphitrite being ‘cool’.
I listen carefully to find the mersong again. Still soft, still distant – still frozen, I realise as an iceberg begins moving closer, the one that seemed controlled by Lamia, but now floats free. I strike the deck with my trident, but the ice will not break. It’s cursed or bewitched or something. I can still hear the song.
I open my lips, repeating the melody to the darkened sky in a summoning. A Mer killing ground is the last place any of my folk want to be – but they will come. For their King and their Queen they will come; and for their Pearl.
Dozens of Merfolk appear all around. I can see they don’t like this place. The water is far too cold and they shiver before my eyes.
I know, I know, children. Thank you for answering my call.
“Begin,” I murmur.
One by one, they open their golden lips and sing, breath crystallising as they weave a tale of lost love and wondrous jewels. Pirate ships on long journeys to sunny shores and distant lands. They sing the sunny shore part several times and who can blame them? Just as the sea temperature becomes too much for them, cracks appear in the ice mountain.
The giant berg shards and splinters, great flakes of hardened ice sliding into the waters without melting. One of my Mer screams, dodging aside only just in time. Striking the deck three times, I sing with them. They cannot remain here much longer; they will freeze in place. This water is far too cold for their sensitive anatomy.
The ice continues to splinter in huge chunks until an almighty crack makes me duck, thinking my brother might have found me but no, no, it is the last of the outer sea ice. There in the centre is the inner block, frozen solid. Clear as glass and unsullied by grime, the remaining cube bobs gently on the rapidly-calming waters.
“Oh!” squeals one of the mermaids, hiding her eyes in the shoulder of the young merman beside her, and then they all do the same.
I stare at what frightens her. My Gods!
It’s Her. Amphitrite, frozen entirely in a block of the clearest arctic ice. She is as lovely as ever – but she needs help. And not from me. Not this time.
I duck as a lightning bolt narrowly misses my temple.
Brother! That is NOT funny.
Just trying to help.
Too dangerous, Zeus. You might hit the Mer. Or me. Leave this to me.
I hear Amph’s heartbeat clear as a bell – and it’s slowing. Slowing rapidly down until soon it will cease to beat at all. Looking up at the sky for help, I barely smile as Selene shines serenely down and there is no sign of dawn. This cannot happen; it cannot happen. I think of the Pearl, awaiting me back at the OA building, counting on me and all of us, and I send a desperate message skywards.
“Apollo?” I call. “Nephew, I need the sun.”
I lift my trident and send a thunderclap. “TURN ON THE SUN!”
I pause. Can the kid still do it? Can he still bring light and heat on command?
I hope so. Lives depend on it. At first, nothing…silence and darkness. Eros shivers beside me on the deck. Then, a beam of light appears in the East. Eurus breezes past my ear.
“I found him, My lord. The sun is yours.”
“Thank you,” I whisper, watching in wonder as Apollo rides into view, his golden chariot scudding none-too-smoothly across Nyx’s dark splendour.
“Are you sure you can drive that thing?” I call.
I’m not sure (cause the sun is in my eyes a little), but I think he gives me a filthy look.
“I’m not even supposed to be here, Uncle. Morning is still three hours away. I hope you know what you’re doing.”
“Not a clue,” I mutter.
“What’s that?” Eros asks sharply.
“I said, ‘Of course I do,’” I answer them both, trying to look it.
Artemis clears away the moon and stars as fast as she can.
“What the -,” she looks down, shrugs and keeps working.
We all watch as Apollo directs his magnificent bounty of light and heat toward the cursed ice, my Mer gradually thawing a little as the Arctic Sea warms slowly up.
(Yes…umm, global warming is a little bit me. Sorry about that.)
In a matter of half an hour or so, the ice is melted and there she is; Amphitrite, my lost – my greatest – love. I gather her into my immortal arms. She is still very, very cold. Rubbing her skin, I hold her tightly to my chest, feeling her heartbeat against my own. Feeling it warm, pick up a little, and her flesh pinks up as I press my lips to her face, her brow, her softer-than-water lips. And then, in a moment, I feel her breathe. The air moves in and out of her body, her beautiful breasts rise once, twice…and then her breathing regulates. Her eyes open.
I look down at her. I smile, leaning in to kiss her properly.
A moment later, I am spinning across the ship’s deck as a mighty tail-slap leaves a great red stinging welt across my face.
Thwack! Thwack! Thwack!
Amphitrite, the love of my life, slaps me soundly across the face with her Mertail.
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