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The Heart of the Sea A Genderswapped Little Mermaid Retelling by Chesney Infalt

Read Online The Heart of the Sea A Genderswapped Little Mermaid Retelling by Chesney Infalt Young Adult Book

Overview: "What price is too high when it comes to saving the one you love?"
Childhood friends, mer prince Caspian and human princess Sabine have been in love for years, but when tragedy strikes, the Kingdoms of Above and Below are separated, and not even their connection can heal the breach between their worlds.

Years later, something is stirring in the deep, and when Sabine's life is threatened, Caspian makes a dangerous deal with a sea witch in an attempt to protect her.

But nothing is simple—Caspian and Sabine find themselves in the middle of an ancient curse, and will have to risk far more than their lives for the chance of being together...


Read Online The Heart of the Sea A Genderswapped Little Mermaid Retelling by Chesney Infalt Book Chapter One Free. Find Hear Best Young Adult Books And Novel For Reading And Download.
The Heart of the Sea A Genderswapped Little Mermaid Retelling by Chesney Infalt

Read Online The Heart of the Sea A Genderswapped Little Mermaid Retelling by Chesney Infalt Book Chapter One

Sabine
It will work this time, I tell myself as I scramble down the sandy hills to the beach shore. It has to. I clutch a metal disc in one hand, somehow managing to keep a grip on them even as the sand shifts under my feet and I slide partway down.

The water is calm, the sun high in the sky, making the water shimmer vibrant greens and blues. Any other time, I would have brought my paints to try to capture the serenity of the scene, but not today.

No one is around, so I go to the cave entrance to quickly change out of my dress and into my brother’s trousers and baggy shirt. I tie the backs of both so they’re not as loose, securing them with ribbons my handmaiden Alma uses for my hair. I’d prefer clothes tailored for me, but the ones I did have were shredded in the Condemned attack… and Father and Mother insist that I not wear men’s clothing. Unsuitable for a princess. If I only do what is suitable for a princess, I might die of boredom.

I leave my dress and shoes in a neat pile on the shelf before I pick up the metal disc and step into the water. The disc is smooth and as wide as a book, so it’s easily held with one arm while I use the other to help me dive under. Sticking your head under is always the most intense in my opinion, waking up all your nerves with the cold. Feet are much easier. But the further you walk out, the more anticipation builds, so I try to go as quickly as possible, diving under as soon as I have just enough room to swim.

The world around me goes silent, making me realize just how many little sounds the surface has to offer. I enjoy the silence and the way the water lazily plays with my braid and clothes as if to welcome me back into this wonderful world.

The disc is heavier underwater, so I regrip it and swim, thankful to my grandmother for teaching me when I was young. I know the way by heart, could go with my eyes closed. I won’t though: the first rule of the sea is to respect it and everything living within it. Keep your eyes open and be ready to avoid territorial creatures. Especially merfolk.

But there is one of the merfolk I would trust with my life.

Deeper I go. Little fish skitter by in schools of bright colors. I smile and keep on task, arriving at a cliff just before the drop-off. A series of connected poles with various size discs await me, just as shiny as the one in my hands.

“Things of magic do not rust,” my grandmother used to tell me. “The only thing that can taint magic is a greedy soul.” I’m still not sure what that means, but Mormor’s words always felt like they carried significance, so I hold them close.

My lungs begin to ache as I fit the disc to the final pole. It takes a moment to get it on just right. Then suddenly it feels like Mormor is there watching, waiting to see if I remember.

I pick up the metal rods resting at the base of the instrument, thin yet weighty. I let the melody play in my mind as I recall Mormor playing it, her movements fluid and strong. But that is a memory from five years ago, and the pattern is lost to me, a jumble of blurred motions. The first tap is experimental—tap, I suppose, isn’t the right word. It takes more force than I expected to hit the disc hard enough to emit more than a soft sound. And the sound needs to carry far.

I drop the rods and kick to the surface. Once my burning lungs are partially sated, I dive back under. This time I don’t think, I just latch onto the feeling of Mormor, of the sea, of the merfolk… of Caspian… and I play. At first, the sounds echo as just noise, like foreign words with no one to translate them, awkward and halted and strange. I start again, and again, chasing the melody in my head.

Movement beside me grabs my attention; I brace myself, not sure if it worked or if I attracted something else entirely.

It is just my brother Oliver, floating beside me shirtless and shoeless. Of course he knew to find me here. Mormor taught all of us grandchildren how to call the merfolk, although Oliver is busy with things like being married to care about our duties to the merfolk, and Sanne was too young at the time to remember much.

But I care, and I remember. So much more than I probably should.

He points toward the surface; I shake my head. Once more, I try to coax the song from the instrument.

Help me, Mormor.

This time, the notes ripple through the water, making their own current toward the Kingdom Below. Invisible pathways, but I can feel them. The song alights my soul, promising me that it worked, that the message will be carried. I will see him again.

They could send someone else. But I hope they don’t. And I hope that the merfolk are still out there, that they have not been taken over by the Condemned. Hope is what I have left, my last resort. If I can have this one thing, I will learn to be content, will learn to live the life my parents chose for me, the life Oliver has grown to love. It is an empty promise I tell myself to justify sneaking away from the palace.

I set the rods down at the base of the instrument. My chest burns to draw in breath, but still I wait, my eyes on the distant darkness. The notes are subtle vibrations now, barely there.

I’m here. Come find me. Not all have forgotten.

My lungs seize. Oliver grabs my arm and propels us upward, his grip unyielding despite how much I yank and twist. He drags me onto dry sand, and I cough up the bit of water I’d unintentionally inhaled. I’m still coughing when I push onto my feet and try to get back into the sea.

But Oliver has me before my toe can even touch the edge.

“Let go! I had it this time! They’re coming!”

“You almost drowned, Sabine.” Oliver turns me around and grips my shoulders so he can look me in the face. “We can wait for them here.” He sits and pats the cave floor beside him.

With that, the fight goes out of me, and I sink down next to my brother. Silently, we wait, our gazes locked on the water. Reprimands are not Oliver’s way. He doesn’t tell me how silly he thinks I’m being or remind me that I promised our parents I would focus on choosing a suitor. Instead, he sits with me as the sun sinks lower in the sky.

All the while, I run my thumb over the bracelet that never leaves my wrist, no matter how much it bothers my mother. An old, fraying thing, its colors are fading despite how vivid the memories attached to it are and the strength of the magic that still thrums through it. Caspian called it a dream bracelet when he gave it to me all those years ago.

Caspian…

Hundreds of years of humans and merfolk living in harmony, and all that we have left of them now are my dream bracelet and the underwater instrument I reconstructed.

And the scars that twist the flesh of my throat and right leg. At least, our mother would count that since the Condemned started out as merfolk.

I do not.

Oliver stands and pulls on his shirt and shoes. “I have a surprise for you, if you’re interested,” he offers. “Call it an early birthday present.”

There is a gentle kindness to Oliver’s blue eyes that is present in every expression he makes. I don’t know if it’s the shape of them or the pale hue. Perhaps both.

I stand and don’t bother to wipe the sand off. Oliver already has my things in his arms. He knows that if I don’t have to wear the dress, I won’t, so he refrains from offering. We walk out of the cave and away from the instrument after one last glance over my shoulder.

“I’m sorry they didn’t come.”

I don’t reply. At least not aloud. I’m sorry too, Mormor. I thought they’d come.

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