To the home country of the mermaids.
But how do I get there?
Again, which is the home country of the mermaid kingdom?
Under the Sea
I know, right?
Aside from the mermaids, I'm just a human who came from another world, and I can't do anything under the sea.
I'll just drown.
How am I supposed to step into the realm of mermaids?
You look worried, don't you? But don't worry, I've made a lot of arrangements for you when I heard you were here.
Prathi's mother says with a smile.
'A special contraption to reach the home country so that the land people don't drown.
* * *
We arrived at the edge of Paradise Island.
It was a small cove.
'This is where we'll head home.'
As he said it, Queen Sheila and Prati had taken their medicine and returned to their mermaid form.
Obviously preparing to enter the sea.
'Sir, take Junior, please.'
Junior, who is probably a lung-breather-only like me, went from his mother's hand to mine.
I'm not sure if Junior, who is half mermaid, is born with an advantage in the water, but I don't think we should verify that now.
When she grows up, I'll let her find out for herself.
You're going to join me in the sea, aren't you?
"I'll have Junior! I'll do it!
Veerle wanted to hug Junior, but that's his father's job here.
Keep it together.
If something goes wrong in return, we'll rely on the power of Veerle's dragons to do the heavy lifting.
Queen Sheila sprinkled some kind of liquid on me.
And then it enveloped me in something that covered me in a tightly sealed envelope.
Is this a soap bubble?
What are we, wrapped up in a soap bubble?
It's how we get into the water. It's the latest potion we developed to keep landmen from drowning.
No, I made this.
'I got a request from Hendler to say, 'What's it for?' And I thought, "Well, it's not for my family," but it's not for my guts! Then you could at least say something! Why would you have me make this in the first place? A mermaid royal palace with many top-notch Potions masters!
You know, leaving things to little Prathi is the best way to ensure success.
When I saw the queen making a wiggly shinai, I thought, 'I'm not worthy of my age.
''Hola, mom, you're not good at pharmacy magic at all, are you? Even though you were born from me, Prathi, you've become a complete genius. It makes me want to brag, you know?
Huh...? Well, it's a necessity, but...?
And so we were in the ocean.
Oh, you can really breathe under the sea...?
Even under the sea, the soap bubbles don't break and hold air tightly around me.
By the way, three of us, Junior and Veal were inside one of the soap bubbles.
The soap bubble was sinking deeper and deeper into the ocean floor with us.
But it's a great bubble. The fact that it's going down means it's built to withstand high water pressure, right?
Oh, I didn't take the water pressure into account at all, by the way.
"Hey, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!
If you go down too deep, the water pressure will crush you and break you.
Then the water comes in, and Junior and I die of asphyxiation?
If that's the case, I'll use my dragon magic to enhance Shabon.
A dragon you can always count on at any time of the day. If he's up to it.
It's even more difficult to adjust this thing than I thought. If you pour too much magic into it, Shabong won't be able to withstand it and it'll break...?
Veerle can do it!
In the meantime, Shabon was going deeper and deeper into the water, and it was completely dark, with not even sunlight reaching us anymore.
I could sense the presence of "it" in the sea.
I could sense that it was dark and my vision was about to be blocked.
'Well, we're here.'
There was a fish on the ocean floor.
It's not just a fish. A huge fish.
So huge that just the word "huge" is not enough.
Far too big!
In front of that huge fish, even the dragonified Veerle would be a small insect in scale ratio.
''What the hell is that fish...?''
Just the mere mention of such a huge body made a fundamental fear well up from the core of my body.
It's not just the size of the fish, but also the magnificence of the ocean that makes it so awe-inspiring.
That's mermaid country.
"The fish itself is the capital of mermaid country.
I didn't understand what they were saying, but as I got closer, I eventually understood what they meant.
Prathi and Queen Sheila swam up to the giant fish with my Shabong in tow, and to my surprise, I went into its mouth.
We went inside through the giant fish's mouth and kept going, and eventually we came to a place where there was no water.
We got up there.
'Then no more Shavon is needed. Good night.
Prathi said and sprinkled some kind of magic liquid on it again, and the Shavon cracked and disappeared without a sound.
But I'm fine.
I'll say it again, there's air here. We're on the sea floor.
"It's inside that fish, isn't it? Here...?
Sir, can I have my Junior back?
Prathi, too, took on the form of an earthling again with drugs and quickly re-hugged Junior.
'This giant fish is called Jigol. It was given to the mermaid race by the sea god Poseidos.
Queen Sheila explained.
Sheila explained: "It is said that this fish was sent to them by the sea god who took pity on the mermaids who lived in the depths of the sea, hiding behind rocks and other places. He said that the mermaids would be happy to live inside the body of the giant fish, which is a living organism that does not digest what it puts in its mouth and can come and go as it pleases.
This is how the mermaids lived inside the body of the giant fish Zigol, and they even built a house and civilization there.
That's the Mermaid Kingdom...?
''Now Gigol the giant fish is the capital of the mermaid nation and the land of the mermaid nation itself. More than 80% of all mermaids live in this land.
The body of a giant fish is a mermaid city.
It's just like a fantasy setting.
"If you go through that gate, you'll be right in the territory of the mermaid kingdom. I'm sure the people of the country will welcome you with open arms, won't they?
Queen Sheila indicated that there was indeed a large gate.
It is now closed tightly, so there is no way to see what is going on beyond.
'Mum, can't we go in now?
You must wait. There will be people coming later, won't there?
Are you a latecomer?
At the same moment, there was a sound of water behind them with a zabang, and muscular men landed inside the giant fish.
It's King Nagas and Prince Arowana.
And further behind them were Puffa, Songokphong, Hakkai, Mr. Ardheg and his fellow travelers in training.
'Oh, so they were here too?
I had my husband and little Arowana pull me into another Shabbos.
But there's no trace of Shavon, and all the non-human fishermen, including Songgokphong and Hakkai, are drenched.
The soap cracked in the middle of the flight.
What took you so long? I thought you were following right behind me.
Sorry, Mother. It took me a while to get our special guest in before we left! Also, Shabong will break on the way...!
I knew it was cracked.
No, more importantly....
Who the hell are you talking about? I wondered, and at the same time the sound of water rose again with a thud.
One of the last to come ashore.
Does that mean he was the special guest in question?