A storm wracked sky. The rumble of thunder.
The smell of salt water. A boat that struggled to return to land.
The solid wooden deck rolled and disappeared.
Only enough time for one, short scream before she hit the water.
The sea swallowed her, pulled her down from the surface. The light began to fade as the storm clouds darkened above.
Fear and pain as her lungs demanded air. She knew it would be the end if she gave in, but her insides were burning. Losing her vision to the darkness of the deep abyss below her. She couldn’t hold it, she needed to breath. She was just about to almost-
Arms wrapped around her. The water rushed by as she was pulled back to the surface. She looked for a face but all she could see was the light of the surface.
Below the abyss reached up to grab her. Caught in the twilight between the light and the dark she nearly reached the surface when the abyss grabbed her ankles and then-
“RARITY! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!” Sweetie Belle’s shout filled Rarity’s ears, her eyes snapped open just in time to see her little sister hit her mattress and spring back into the air only to lose balance and come crashing back down toward her, “Ah! Look ou-!”
Rarity’s magic burst into action, surrounding her younger sister and immediately arresting her free fall-with Sweetie Belle’s head barely a few inches from Rarity’s own. She narrowed her eyes at Sweetie Belle, who smiled sheepishly back at her.
“Sweetie Belle! How many times have I told you not to: One, come into my room. Two, jump on my bed while I am still in it?” Rarity magically nudged her sister so that she floated to a standing position beside her bed.
“You looked like you were having a bad dream, she was just trying to wake you up.” Scootaloo said before she cringed when Rarity’s face, shocked and alarmed written all over it, snapped in her direction. Rarity noticed that not only Scootaloo but also Sweetie Belle’s other friend, Apple Bloom were both, now looking very worried by Rarity’s piercing gaze, standing just in the doorway to Rarity’s room. She resisted a shudder at the mention of her dream and a part of her was glad that she had been awoken before its conclusion but
“Ugh! Sweetie Belle take your friends downstairs this instant.” Rarity was mortified that Sweetie Belle had brought somewhat-strangers into her own bedroom but more so that they had seen her pre-morning routine. When all three fillies had scampered downstairs, of course forgetting to shut the door behind them, Rarity wondered what had made them more frightened. The dozen or so mane curling rods in her mane or the very expensive and very green facial mud mask smeared over her face? She tried and failed to huff as a well cultured lady should but instead growled and ground her teeth before taking the covers in her hands and throwing them aside.
Her hooves tapped across the wooden floor of her room as she became a whirlwind of motion. She knew one could not rush perfection, but she had also become very good at completing her morning routine over the years. First, she went to her bathroom and removed her mask, took a shower, carefully dried her mane, removed the curlers from her lush purple mane, brushed her teeth, reviewed the state of her wardrobe, carefully selected three separate sets of clothing to wear before choosing one, went over to her makeup stand, applied her makeup, and finally opened the window. The smell of the sea and the cry of seagulls filled her room. She looked out across Ponyville with its ‘quaint’ buildings and streets and as always, her eyes were drawn to the Everfree Sea. Its blue waters looked so inviting, which had been one of the main draws for many ponies from across Equestria, such as her family over the years. She knew however that while the sea may look calm and almost beautiful, it could turn on you in a moment and try to take everything from you. Shaking her head, she turned away from the window and looked at herself in the mirror one last time.
“Aren’t you looking delightful today, my dear?” she said to herself in the mirror with a coy wink at her reflection. Her mane as always was a perfect array of curls that hung across her shoulders and down her back to her waistline. To match the sky outside she had chosen a bright blue top. Around her waist a designer belt secured her black pants to her hips. The perfect outfit for a day of relaxing outside in the warm weather, were it to rain and get her wet her ensemble would be ruined. Fortunately, the weather pegasi had announced the day would be dry and there were no storm clouds sighted out on the sea.
Her dream came once again unbidden to mind and it sent a shiver through her despite how warm it was outside. When she was only eight years old her mother and father had taken her to Ponyville. They had rented a boat and sailed out to sea, she had loved it at first. Marveling at the rocky atolls that dotted the coast, watching the fish as they swam under their boat and getting a glimpse of a whole another world beneath the water. Then without warning the weather had turned for the worse, a storm swept their boat across the water as her parents struggled to sail the boat back to shore.
She let out a long sigh and pushed those thoughts aside. She needed to deal with her Sweetie Belle and her friends before she left for the day. She trotted downstairs to find her living room a complete disaster area, at least what she considered one to be. There was popcorn everywhere, blankets and pillows strewn throughout her living room. Her fainting couch had been turned on its side and stacked with cushions into a crude fort. Worst of all Sweetie Belle and her friends had at some point used all her graphite, colored pencils that she used for sketching her designs to create a crude banner that read in four-foot letters “CMC 4 EVER”.
“Sweetie Belle, darling…” she said and turned toward her younger sister and her friends even as they were in the process of rolling up their banner and heading slowly toward the door.
Sweetie Belle winced, “Uuuh…”
“Why yes, I do believe you are correct. You and your friends will be cleaning up your mess from your slumber party BEFORE you three leave MY house.” Rarity interrupted her sister and her friends’ protests by using her magic to open her closet door and float out a vacuum, a broom, and a mop.
“But Raaarity we were going to bring our banner to the clubhouse then go look for the mermare…!” Sweetie Belle wailed, throwing herself at her sister’s mercy. On this day, the first day Rarity had time to herself between her dress orders in two weeks, she found that she could be quite merciless.
“Ah, ah, ah. You will clean this mess up first.” Rarity shook her head and with her magic thrust a broom into her sister’s hands. Her nose crinkled as she continued, “Further, I don’t want you chasing after the merma-I mean this silly local superstition!”
“Hey now, she does exist! I’ve seen her and so has Scootaloo!” Apple Bloom stepped forward bravely, for which she was awarded with the mop being thrust into her hands.
“Honest! We have! The whole town- “Scootaloo was interrupted by the vacuum cleaner being turned on and the noise of the clunking machine drowning out her words.
“I’m sorry, I can’t hear a word you are saying. I’ll leave all this to you three. When I get back this room better be spotless, no scratch that. I want it to look fabulous!” Rarity giggled to herself and waved goodbye to the three fillies. Slipping out the door even as they groaned loudly in protest. “Tootaloo!”
“THAT will teach those fillies that actions have consequences, and of course how to properly use a mop.” Rarity said to herself and strolled away from her home and budding boutique. She admired the quaint charm of Ponyville as she went, the thatched roofs and traditional earth pony siding, the apple and seashell motifs that dotted every other house or building here and there. It was nothing like the concrete skyscrapers of Manehattan or the regals villas of Canterlot which was precisely why many ponies including herself had been drawn to Ponyville. Back in Manehattan the turf wars between designers and fashionistas made it hard for a pony to start her own brand, but here in Ponyville it was fertile ground to build her business up. That Ponyville itself did also attract ponies from across Equestria was also in her favor as it meant that she had to the chance to still meet vacationing nobles from Canterlot or even divas like Sapphire Shores.
Up ahead a newly opened storefront had caught her eye and immediately had made her suppress an eyeroll.
“You are getting a long here rather well, Rarity. Only a month and you can already tell the outsiders from the locals with but a glance.” She murmured to herself as she walked closer to the storefront, “Granted, with how garish this is it stands out horribly.”
Mermares. The shop under her scrutiny had mermares not only plastered everywhere but seemed to be the main selling point for it. She spotted mermare decorated beach towels, mermare bathrobes, mermare figurines, mermare bathing suits, cheap kelp sold as ‘mermare hair’, little chocolates advertised as ‘mermare pearls’, and the list went on and on. It was all so dreadfully kitsch! Cheaply made souvenirs sold at outrageous prices to the tourist ponies that came to Ponyville. It hurt to look at it all.
She had been told very matter-of-fact by Applejack that no local would be caught “tarred n’ feathered” with the things sold by the ponies that came into Ponyville to make a bit. Apparently, they all respected ‘the Mermare’ too much. Rarity did have to give the townsponies credit for having dignity when it came to their silly legend.
“Well, hello miss! Don’t you- “
“-look like a pony who needs something- “
“-to remember your vacation in Ponyville”
Rarity cursed inside her head as two tall, nearly identical looking stallion unicorns (one had a moustache) wearing matching striped blue and white shirts and matching bowties emerged from the storefront and all but pounced on her.
“Flim and Flam’s Ponyville Memorabilia-erium is open for business,” said Flam, or Rarity considered perhaps it was Flim? She wasn’t quite sure which was which, but it was the one without the mustache that had spoken last.
“How…charming?” Rarity supplied after some effort, giving both brothers a weak smile. She needed to disengage and get the hoof away before they tried to-
“Why don’t you come on into our store?” said No-Mustache, “Only for today we are having a special sale to commemorate our grand opening!”
She had to mentally stamp down on the part of her soul that jumped for joy at the word “sale”. She was certain they had their so called ‘today only’ sale every single day. It was a trap her shopping instincts screamed, that was how they hooked you in.
“No, no, no thank you. I am actually just on my way to Sugarcube Corner and I- “
“Come now, you don’t want to miss the sale. You know what brother?” said Mustache to No-Mustache.
“What is it brother?” No-Mustache replied melodramatically, as if he did not know.
“Don’t we have a lovely shawl that would match this mare’s eyes just perfectly?”
“Why I do believe we do! I’ll go get it right now!” No-Mustache trotted back into the store before Rarity could stop him.
“I REALLY must be going now. I’ll be ever so late.” She tried to side step around Mustache, but he mimed her steps so that he was still in front of her blocking her path and smiling.
“My brother will be back any moment. In the mean time feast your eyes on- “
“No, thank you. As I said I really must- “
“-these lovely figurines. Hoof painted right here in Ponyville. Each one is different and very collectible.”
Mustache used his magic to levitate one of the clay mermare from a shelf. It was a vaguely female figure part pony and part fish colored in bright pastels. The mermare was balancing on a beach ball and smiling with large vacant eyes. It looked nothing like a real mermare. The proportions were too exaggerated, and she knew nopony on land or sea would be caught with clam shells stuck to their-
“Here we are! One very exquisite shawl for the special mare! Not only is it easy to clean but it’s water proof!” No-Mustache announced as he returned with a wrapped piece of cloth levitating in his magical aura. Rarity caught the gag in her throat though she could not completely muffle the noise. The shawl had little, crude mermares stitched into practically every inch of the fabric heeding none of the rules of spacing or design she lived her livelihood, no her PASSION by!
“And all for just the special price of fifty bits!” Mustache beamed at her.
“Fifty bits? For that?!” Rarity practically screeched the words, “That fabric could have been something beautiful and wonderous but instead you destroyed it with-with- “
Her words were drowned out quite literally by a cascade of water from the sky that fell on both salespony brothers. One moment they were dry and smiling and the next they were completely soaked from hoof to horn. Rarity’s eyes saw that from the shawl some of the color of the fabric was draining away with the water on the ground. From the sky a hippogriff landed on the ground between Rarity and the Flim Flam brothers. The hippogriff had a cyan colored mane and a wildly chromatic mane and tail.
“Looks like somepony needed Equestria’s fastest flyer and swimmer to get them out of trouble” the hippogriff said and smirked at her, “That would be me – Rainbow Dash.”
“Oh, my I’m saved from a fate worse than death” Rarity deadpanned and rolled her eyes back at Rainbow Dash, though she could feel a smile tug at the corner of her lips. It served the Flim Flam brothers right for mutilating an innocent swath of fabric as they had.
“You-you-you- “Mustache and No-Mustache stuttered together, “You’ll pay for that! Pay for this!”
“Oh, but darlings I thought you said it was completely water proof?” Rarity smiled sweetly as both brothers immediately shut their collective mouths shut. Around them ponies were starting to gather around the spectacle.
“What we meant was- “Mustache began to say, but Rarity stopped him from speaking any further by wrapping the shawl in her magic and holding it out for all to see.
“The dyes on this fabric are quite literally dripping from it after just a little spray of water.” Rarity used her magic to wring out the shawl, multi-colored droplets splashing the street and sidewalk around them, “I dare say if a pony was wearing this then they would have quite the stain running from head to flank.”
A crowd was already starting to form, out of the corner of her eyes she could see ponies whispering and pointing at the shawl and the other merchandise on display. The previously talkative brothers were absolutely mute with the panic written on their faces as they looked at the crowd.
Rarity however was not without mercy. She took the shawl and draped it around the necks of both Flim Flam brothers, she turned and walked away as she spoke, “If you are looking for good quality fabric I would suggest going to Patch Quilt’s shop, her fabric is also cheap enough that I am sure you will be able to lower your prices.”
“Oh, oh yes. Of course.” No-Mustache smiled weakly, elbowing his brother into smiling as well as they turned more toward the crowd than her.
“Yes, fillies and gentlecolts. We will have to-to” Mustache grabbed for the words.
“Restock!” No-Mustache supplied, backing slowly toward their storefront.
“That is absolutely the word, thank you brother, restock! Per the young mare’s- “
“Lady!” Rarity said over her shoulder, Rainbow Dash screeched with laughter as she turned from the Flim Flam brothers and followed her.
“Lady! Yes, as the lady says! Until then the Memorabilia-erium will, uh…take a short break!” Mustache finished with a bow and retreated with his brother back quickly into their store. Their magic lifted their merchandise displayed outside and shakily crammed it all inside before shutting the door behind them and flipping a small sign from ‘Open’ to ‘Closed’.
“Aaahaha! That was great!” Rainbow Dash screeched again, her wings flapping at her sides as she did. She took a claw and held it up to her beak, “You really had those two running with their tails between their legs!”
“Perhaps not as dramatic as a shower of rainwater but if I do say so the results speak for themselves.” Rarity smiled, her head held high. “Thank you for that by the way. You saved me from becoming very…crass with those two.”
“Eh, I’m awesome like that. Busting scam artists like that had practically become a hobby since I moved to Ponyville.” Rainbow Dash cracked her knuckles, her feathered chest puffing out with unmistakable pride.
“Quite. I can’t believe anypony would buy any of those…things they were selling! It goes against all the rules of fashion, not to mention they obviously have no clue what a mermare looks like.” Rarity sighed but then flinched when Rainbow Dash turned on her and grabbed her by both shoulders.
“Aha! So, you have seen the mermare! Don’t believe it is a local legend anymore like you’ve been going on and on and on and on about since you moved here!” Rainbow Dash smiled triumphantly, which quickly soured when Rarity shook her head before she continued to walk.
“I didn’t say I believe in the Legend of the Mermare.”
“What? Then how in wide-wide Equestria would you know what a mermare looks like?” Rainbow Dash asked confused, rather than walk she lazily flapped her wings into motion and glided through the air next to Rarity.
“Paintings.” Rarity replied, and before Rainbow Dash could ask her obvious next question she answered it, “Paintings at the Royal Gallery of Manehattan. Ones done centuries ago by Ahoof and Manebrandt. I never said Mermares don’t exist, the Battle of Mount Aris proved that- “
“Aww yea it did! That battle was SO INTENSE!” Rainbow Dash screeched again, launching herself into the air she proceeded to dive bomb the ground around Rarity as they walked throwing out the occasional kick and punch.
“When the Storm King- “Rarity began but was cut off by Rainbow Dash.
“When the Storm King and his goons came stomping to Hippogriffia. We were like ‘Get Lost’ and he was like ‘No Way’ so we were all kick and punch, kick and punch.” Rainbow Dash spoke with obvious excitement her kicking and punching accompanied by Rainbow Dash speaking out loud sound effects. “Ka-pow! Bam! Punch! I must have knocked down like a hundred of his guards, but they just kept coming!”
“So, Queen Novo- “Rarity tried to finish.
“Queen Novo was like ‘Fly my subjects!’ then she used the Pearl of Transformation to turn us into seaponies.” From her chest Rainbow Dash took out a glowing, rainbow colored shard of pearl. She squeezed it and immediately in a flash of light where a two-legged hippogriff stood was now a one finned seapony with the same coloration as Rainbow Dash. “So, we swam down into Seaquestria but then the Storm King cheated and started sending down his army in these metal suits that let them breath under water, ugh and super hard to hit.”
“That’s where the merponies come in, right?” Rarity had given up and let Rainbow Dash take control of the conversation. Another flash of light saw Rainbow Dash restored to being a hippogriff and fly right back into the air.
“Yea! There were hundreds of them! They just appeared and started doing their sea magic stuff and singing! Their singing was super creepy but super nice at the same time. Twilight though was at the center of it all singing the loudest! Anyway, all their singing magic like summoned a huge whirlpool that sucked up the Storm King and like spat him into Tartarus or something! It was SO AWESOME!” Rainbow Dash landed back on the ground and stamped her claws.
They both arrived outside of Sugarcube Corner, Rarity walked up the steps to the front door first but paused at the entrance.
“It also revealed that the merponies had in fact not gone extinct as most ponies in Equestria thought. They are just extremely isolated. Hearing about the mysterious and beguiling merponies, especially their ‘mermare heroine’, would then lead to a mermare craze here in Equestria. For the last two years all anypony hears of mermare sightings leading to hordes of ponies descending on seaside towns looking for merpony villages and buying very tacky souvenirs even though everyone of those sightings is absolutely fake…”
She pushed the door open and trotted into Sugarcube Corner, pleased to see that there was no line to the front counter. There was a particularly delicious looking indigo frosted cupcake that she had, had her eye on since yesterday at lunch. Rainbow Dash stormed through the door behind her, everyone of her feathers standing on edge.
“Wow, wow, wow. Are you saying you think everycreature in Ponyville is lying about Twilight the Mermare of Ponyville?!?”
“Oh, no! I’m sorry Rarity! I didn’t mean to lie to you at all!” Pinkie Pie popped up from behind the counter, a crushed look on her face even as she reached over and squeezed Rarity’s hands. She looked like she was holding back a deluge of tears, “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it! I don’t even know what I lied about!”
“She is saying Twilight is a lie, Pinkie.” Rainbow Dash said with one of her claws over her face.
“Oh! Wait! What? Huh? Hmm. Is this a trick question? I mean I’ve seen Twilight, but if she is a lie then how could I see her…” Pinkie Pie’s face scrunched up in concentration, Rarity could almost see the loops and zigzags that her friend’s brain was trying to take to get an answer.
“Pinkie, it is not that I don’t believe you or Rainbow have seen this ‘Twilight’ but that what you saw is not in fact a mermare here in Ponyville. Somepony’s idea of an elaborate illusion to draw in the tourists from Manehattan. Ah, Pinkie darling if you don’t mind…?” Rarity pointed toward the indigo cupcake that she had been looking forward to.
“Oh, sure Rarity!” Pinkie Pie smiled her usually blinding smile and retrieved the cupcake for Rarity, as she handed it over the pink pony gasped loudly, “Wait a minute! Why don’t YOU just go down and see Twilight, yourself?”
“Yea! What makes your eyes so special compared to ours?” Rainbow Dash demanded.
“What would I do? Go out to the beach, look out into the water and see a ‘mysterious’ fin in the distance and assume that it’s a mermare? Believe me, I have been through this already. I…fell…into the water when I was a young filly and thought I was rescued by a mermare, when it was actually a dolphin the entire time.”
She hoped neither of her friends noticed her pause or the sudden shiver running down her arms. Pinkie Pie didn’t seem to notice anything but for a moment Rainbow Dash raised an eyebrow at her. She did not like to remember any detail of that sailing accident, it was the reason why she refused to go out into deep water at all.
“No, not like that I mean, like really, REALLY meet Twilight.” Rainbow Dash turned to Pinkie Pie, “Do you have that book you were saving for Twilight?”
“Ohmygosh you’re right, Dashie! Be right back!” Pinkie rushed away from the counter, a pink blur on land. Rarity counted five seconds before Pinkie Pie returned with a book in her hands, “Here it is! Its called ‘The Queen and her Bodyguard’ by Monochromatic. I think you’ll like this one toooo!”
She looked at the book after Pinkie handed it over to her. On the cover were two unicorn mares, one a rather well dressed in the garb of a queen and the other looked rather dashing with her armor and the scars crossing her noble face.
“Its about these two unicorns who are each other’s special some ponies but they have to keep their love a secret-ooops! “ Pinkie clapped her hands over her mouth before she opened them again, “Spoilers.”
“A book? What am I supposed to do with this?” Rarity looked between her two friends, confused and slightly worried about their grips on reality.
“Just go down to Shellback Beach, there is a little pier there only the locals use from time to time. We’ll make it a bet. If you don’t see a mermare we’ll admit you are right, if not you have to admit you were wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong!” Rainbow Dash grinned, her eyes full of challenge which actually made Rarity pause. Since knowing Rainbow Dash she knew the hippogriff only made bets when she was extremely confident about winning them. For a moment a seed of doubt entered Rarity’s mind, but she quickly dashed it down, there was no way there was going to be a mermare. It was all a trick after all.
“Very well, I will agree to your terms. However, neither you nor Pinkie are to let anypony know about the bet and I will only admit I am wrong-as unlikely as it is-once. Agreed?”
“Meh, that’s fair.” Rainbow Dash was still smiling when she kicked herself into the air and toward the door, “Just say ‘hi’ to Twilight for me!”
That had been an hour ago. Finding her way to the secluded Shellback Beach was not a strenuous endeavor, even if Pinkie Pie’s directions relied on such instructions as ‘walking ten steps past the cute bunny ornament but not the blue one’ and so forth. There was no other pony or creature around when she walked onto the beach and the single wooden pier that Rainbow Dash had described. She felt rather at peace as she walked to the pier’s edge, book in hand. It was high tide now and yet looking out into the water she could see the shell pocked sea floor, none of the icy darkness of the oceanic deep.
“I did want to relax today, what better way than this?” she said as she relaxed onto a lone beach chair that sat at the very end of the pier, “I just may have to thank Rainbow Dash for recommending such a comfy spot to spend my afternoon.”
Once she had settled down she spent a few minutes simply looking out into the sea, watching the clouds overhead and the waves as they rose and fell as far as her eye could see. From here she could even see some of the island atolls that dotted this section of the coastline, some were abandoned of any civilized life while others she heard had become the site of mansions for upper class ponies. Many of the former simply could not be reached because of the hazardous rocks and coral reefs. She briefly entertained the thought that if the merponies were real than maybe they lived around one of those islands?
“Silly Rarity is silly.” She snorted and giggled as she shook her head. She turned to the book that Pinkie Pie had given her and picked it up from the pier where she had laid it down. When she brought the book up to open it she heard a large splash which had made her look up-but there was nothing there. She chided herself again and opened the book and then began to read. She rather liked Queen Platinum and could not help but smile at her infatuation with her bodyguard, likewise her bodyguard’s loyalty and constant putting up with the former’s antics made Rarity giggle page after page.
Just as she was getting to the part in the book featuring Queen Platinum going to a masquerade in disguise in order to be close to her bodyguard without the eyes of the court on her Rarity heard another splash, this time it was much closer. She glanced up from her book and saw nothing, so she turned back to reading. There was another splash again this time much closer than the last one, but she ignored it, she thought it was probably a fish catching flies. The wind shifted and immediately she was hit by an intense smell, it took her a moment to register that it smelt like a large amount of salt. She was on the sea water, so it was not usual for her to smell it a little bit especially if seaweed washed ashore and dried out, but this new smell was more powerful than what was normal.
She heard a splashing sound again, only this time it was right below her on the edge of the pier and was accompanied by the sound of dripping water that put Rarity in the mind of somepony getting out of a bath or maybe a pool. Then she heard a very, very, VERY distinct purring sound followed by an almost musical trilling sound not below her but very close to her. Her grip on her book tightened, she slowly sucked in her breath as her heart hammered inside of her chest.
“Rr-rainbow Dash! I-if this is your idea of a joke I’ll…” Rarity never one for patience slammed her book down on her knees and looked up. Her expectations, or perhaps more her FEAR of seeing the smirking face of the hippogriff were dashed forever and infinity plus one by the beautiful purple eyes on the mulberry furred face that was framed by dripping wet pink, blue and lighter purple hair. If that was not shocking enough for Rarity so was the rest of her unexpected visitor. Rarity’s knack for detail was kicking into action and she couldn’t stop it even if she wanted to.
Sitting on top of her mane was a horn not unlike a unicorn’s but to either side an alien set of finned, spikey ears. The rest of the upper half of Rarity’s visitor was furred very much like a pony though she couldn’t help but notice the almost-pony in front of her was very much the pinnacle of a swimmer’s body, not hiding from Rarity’s eyes the well-toned muscle that rippled under mentioned mulberry fur from broad shoulders to long, large biceps which she used to hold herself ‘standing’ on the edge of the pier. As if that was not enough to make Rarity start to feel dizzy the fact that past would have been around the hips or lower back for a regular pony the fur gave way to magnificently brilliant scales echoing the lighter and darker shades of the visitor’s mane. Large dark fins flapped on the dorsal and stomach sides of what Rarity saw could only be a very large tail. A moment later her suspicion was confirmed as the tail end, by the large dark blue flippers, of what Rarity had to admit was a MERMARE splashed in and out of the water. That detail made Rarity’s jaw drop as she calculated the size of the MERMARE and had to estimate she had to be around ten-feet in length, most of it the MERMARE’s tail.
“Real! You're real! Really, really real!” Rarity said, her mouth dry as she slowly came to grips with her new world view that the appearance of this MERMARE certainly helped.
“Ah..! Ah...ah…!” the Mermare replied with the same sing-song trilling sound as before. Listening to it sparked something within Rarity, it wasn’t the same as say a spark of electricity but something else more dear and important to her. It felt more like the spark of inspiration when she thought of a new dress design or completed sewing something she had never made before.
It was heavenly.
The Mermare was also, Rarity’s sense of detail noted, not paying attention to Rarity in the slightest.
She followed the Mermare’s startling gaze and realized she only had eyes for the book that Rarity held still clutched in her hands. She felt a kernel of disappointment and embarrassment at herself, this was a nigh-mythical mermare. What interest could she possibly have in Rarity?
“Do you…want the book?” Rarity asked slowly, she started to rise from the beach chair but did not account for how wet and slick the Mermare had made the pier’s wooden boards. She slipped and shrieked as she did so, she tried to right herself on the beach chair, but she caught it awkwardly and only managed in pushing it away and off the side of the pier. The book too went flying from her hands but more fortunately she managed to capture it in her magic and keep it floating in the air as her bottom struck the floor of the pier. She winced in pain and knowing that the combination of the old pier and the sea water would leave a terribly embarrassing smudge on the seat of her pants.
She looked up at the Mermare again, a blush of embarrassment crept up her face and she hoped desperately she had not scared the Mermare away. She was terrified on a whole new and unfamiliar level when she realized her mistake had done the opposite, NOW the Mermare was no longer focusing on the book but entirely on Rarity. The Mermare’s stare was intense to say the least, looking at her with what she noted was curiosity and delight sent shivers through Rarity-also for the same reasons. She could feel her blush spreading farther as the Mermare shifted her position on the pier bending forward over Rarity which caused the smell of salt to intensify and a new shower of droplets to fall over Rarity.
The Mermare smiled.
Her teeth were razor sharp and pointed. Rarity wondered if Mermares were closer related to sharks rather than fish.
“He~ Heee~” the Mermare said again, her throat making sounds as she seemed to try to speak. The Mermare thrashed her tail making several trilling, purring, singing sounds as she seemed to try to remember the right words, “Hellllllllloooooooo.”
“Hello?” Rarity ventured, she smiled as the Mermare excitedly bobbed her head and repeated her words.
“Heeello. Helllloo! Hellllo! Hello!” the Mermare said again and again.
“Yes, hello. It is nice, oh very nice, to meet you- “Rarity began when the Mermare interrupted her.
“Helllllooo p-p-pretty lad-d-d-dy!” the Mermare chirped triumphantly and her smile widened.
“Oh my,” Rarity gulped, her blush raging unshackled across her face. Her magic shorted out and she dropped the book to the dock. This seemed to catch the Mermare’s attention again. She let go of the pier and slipped into the water. Rarity’s heart seemed to stop in her chest, had she chased the Mermare away? She jumped to her feet and looked down into the water after the mermare.
She forced herself to remember to breath as she watched the Mermare swim through the shallow water around the pier. With her fins flapping the Mermare looked like she was flying, only underwater and Rarity truly got an appreciation for her size as she looped around the dock, looking up from underwater toward the spot where the book had dropped. The Mermare surfaced and pulled herself back onto the dock near the book, her own horn glowed with magic which picked up the book. She looked at the pages of the book, flipping them one by one.
The book however was upside down.
“Can you…can you read?” Rarity asked and backed up when the Mermare’s piercing gaze shot back onto her.
“R-read? Read! B-b-book! Read?” the Mermare sang again several enchanting notes before she used her magic to push the book into Rarity’s arms, “Read? Read to-to Twiiiiiliiiiiight?”
Twilight. That was the name that Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie had used before, hadn’t they? Was this the same mermare that had banished the Storm King with her magic? Rarity tried to imagine it but failed, this mermare just seemed too...too…adorable by the way she eagerly looked to Rarity and waited for her to read the book. She pushed those thoughts aside and looked toward the sun as it traveled across the sky.
“I suppose we still have a few more hours of sunlight. I could read a few chapters to you…” Rarity said. Twilight must have understood because she gave another series of singing notes and let go of the pier to dive down and flip back up into the air before she settled on hanging onto the pier again. “I’ll…take that as a thank you, and you are welcome, darling.”
She smiled as she sat down on the edge of the pier and opened the book back to the first page.
“Queen Platinum was quite used to receiving visitors every so often. Lords, Ladies, Dukes and Duchesses would constantly travel lengthy distances to have the honor of meeting with the Queen of the Unicorns…”