Serenity's eyes bulged from her skull. She couldn't believe what was happening to her; she must be dreaming. A hard pinch on her arm let her know that she wasn't. It was all real.
"Does this mean I died in my world to be here? Because the way I left doesn't make me feel like I have something to go back to.."
The woman looked down with a sad expression; "I-I don't know. The ritual doesn't say anything about you returning, just how to summon you here.. Like I said before: our Queen gave up her essence for you to be here.. I don't think she exists in our reality anymore.."
The sadness that covered the beautiful woman's face sent a pang throughout Serenity's heart. She had just lost everything she knew; right down to how to move around properly. However, the trauma didn't take away her ability to empathize with the woman. The Queen seemed to mean a lot to her.
'Wait.. Does that mean..?!'
Serenity snapped her head up to lock eyes with the woman; "If I'm in the Queen's body, does that mean that I'm.. I'm.."
The woman flashed her a small smile; "You are now the Queen. As well as our High Priestess."
Serenity's mind felt like it was going to explode. The trauma of dying combined with Everything else overwhelmed her all at once. She passed out cold; slightly floating in the water with her long, bobbing, crystal blue hair that matched her eyes and fin.
The woman looked at the obvious young-one inhabiting her dear friend's body. The Queen was in her mid-two-hundreds, so she was still very young. Most Undines tended to live between a thousand, and twelve-hundred cycles. She hoped that her friend's physical age would help mature the being within it.
'I wonder what it is, or where it came from.. Was it always female? I hope it has had some kind of formal training in etiquette. The Council must not find out about this yet.. Not until this, this being proves itself capable of handling it's task.. Gods help us if the Arlong family hears about this. They'll kill us both and hand the Empire over to that Merman..'
A good twenty minutes passed before Serenity woke up. She was disoriented at first, but the events came crashing down on her memory like the wave through the skylights did; rushing and violent in their nature. Serenity openly balled after that. Her death and new form were already terrible enough, but the last memory from her former life flashed before her eyes: her first and last kiss with Matthew.
Finally telling him her real feelings and gaining her first kiss had been both wonderful, and terrible. That fate could grant her that one thing before she died made her both furious and grateful to the mysterious force. She simply prayed that whatever had killed and sent her to this water world had at least spared him. He'd tried so hard to save them, Matthew didn't deserve to die..
'Die.. That's right.. Michael, Layla, Tyler, Maria, those nice old people; were they all dead? Or had they survived? Tyler looked pretty bad, and we didn't see where the twins got tossed to. Oh, please god: let them all be ok! Please let them live! You sent me here! It's the least you could do!'
As Serenity's grief slowly turned to anger, she swore to herself that she would get home some day. Even if she had no body to go back to, at least she would be in her world again. This was clearly Not her world.. Probably not even her universe.
Realizing she had no idea about..anything; Serenity fought back her sniffles, looked to the beautiful woman that had been comforting her, and asked; "Where am I? What is this place-world? You said I'm the Undine's Queen, but.. What exactly is an Undine?"
The woman had an utterly shocked expression on her face as she answered; "Umm, well.. You knew what a mermaid was, correct? Well an Undine is like a mermaid or merman, but we're actually considered Water Elementals because we control water, and the currents of our world.. More specifically, you do on that last bit.. But don't worry, I will teach you everything you'll need to know. Like I said, you're not just the Queen, but the High Priestess of the Graeae."
Serenity's face didn't lose any of it's confusion; "What's a Graeae?"
The woman sighed deeply before she asked; "Where exactly is it you come from?"
Serenity thought a minute about how best to explain her world before diving into it; "Well, my world is a lot different from here.. My natural body doesn't have a fin, I have-had, legs. Do you know what those are?"
Nodding, the woman answered; "I'm called Selena, and yes, I know what legs are. It's what the Selkies use to walk in the Dry."
Serenity's confused expression intensified; "What are Selkies? What's 'the Dry'? Sounds weird.."
Selena wanted to giggle at the look that the girl had made while saying the name, but reframed; "The Selkies are a race of Aquarians that resemble seals until they go into the Dry. Some ancient cultures called it Lane."
Serenity flashed a small smile; "Do you mean land?"
Chuckling at her goof, Selena agreed, then gave a general overview of the other Aquarian kingdoms; "The Selkies are neutral because if all else fails, they can hide away their skins, and stay in the Dry until it's safe again. The Gorgons are simple-minded brutes that simply love to fight.. Which is funny when you consider how weak their tails are."
"The Sirens are the ones who love to start conflicts. They profit from wars and skirmishes between the Aquarian Kingdoms. The previous Queen and I both believed that they're the perpetrators behind the current conflict as well," as Selena finished, she got up and grabbed them each a strange mouth-sized, pink colored, jelly-like ball that was sitting on a tray on the nightstand.
When she handed it to Serenity, she eyed the orb suspiciously, which made Selena giggle to herself. She sniffed at it, then started poking at it with her finger. Watching it ripple like jelly, a small smile touched her lips. Selena chuckled again at the girl's innocent nature before explaining.
"You pop it into your mouth, then you pop it in your mouth. It's what we drink here. It's sweet, so I think you'll like it. You looked thirsty."
Serenity stared at Selena hesitantly; "Is all your food like this, or will I have to eat fish on occasion?"
"Well, yes. For Royal feasts we still do traditional meals, but most use the bubble bites as their nutrient source. It's easier and hassle free. Are you hungry? I can have some food ones brought up?" Selena's voice had a caring, motherly tone to it as she offered.
Serenity nodded in the positive, prompting Selena to head towards the biggest door. She told some guards that were standing outside that the Queen was beginning to feel better, and was requesting sustenance. One nodded, then disappeared from sight while the other asked if they needed anything else; like the doctor.
Smoothly deflecting, Selena suggested waiting until the Queen had eaten before notifying the doctor. The guard agreed, not wanting to argue with the High Acolyte. She held the second highest position after the Queen, and ran the majority of the more trivial governmental aspects. Plus he knew first hand that Priestess Selena's reputation for being fiercely loyal to the Queen was one-hundred percent accurate.
Once the guard returned to his position, Selena closed the door and went back to Serenity's bedside. She watched how gracefully she moved; like a model going down the runway. The way she moved was completely different from what she had imagined.
Instead of Selena moving her tail fin like a dolphin(horizontally in an up and down motion), she had made a half loop and turned it vertical. It swayed back and forth with rapid fluidity. She almost looked like a walking human woman in a dress as she technically swam. If Serenity hadn't seen Selena's fin, or that fact that she didn't actually touch the ground as she moved; she'd swear the woman was human.
'Wait, I'm not technically human anymore either.. Whoa, that's a weird thought.. I have a different face! What do I look like?! No, no, no, stay calm.. Think of it like a video game.. Yeah, that's a good idea! This is just like being a character in a game.. Don't freak out the nice Mer-Undine lady by being a spaz.'
Serenity quietly put her hand up to her face and began to feel around. When she started to mess with the bridge of her nose, Selena chuckled at her and asked if she'd like a mirror. With flushed cheeks, Serenity nodded sheepishly in the positive. Selena chuckled again before gracefully swimming over to a beautiful vanity that looked like it had been carved from a giant pearl. She reached into a small drawer, and pulled out a hand mirror that matched the vanity.
Handing it to her, Serenity's jaw dropped when she saw her reflection. Her eye color had stayed the same, but everything else about her had changed. Her hair and the scales on her fin matched her eyes almost perfectly. Even her face was shaped differently. Staring at the stranger in her own reflection, Serenity truly began to realize just how different her life was about to become..