Meanwhile, Everwraith had plans of her own....
Rae was trapped on board the airship orphanage, wandering with Jennifer and Brown at her side.
"So, this whole place is an orphanage?" She asked. Jennifer nodded.
"Yes. It's rather magnificent isn't it?"
"I'll say." Rae alowed her eyes to wander between the wooden hallways. Brown began to bark and rush forward.
"What's happening?" Rae asked.
"He's sensed something!" Jennifer exclaimed, before rushing to follow her dear companion. Rae felt a wave of worry sweep through her but she reassured herself. Jennifer had beaten who knows how many monsters before Rae had been transported to the Rose Garden Orphanage. Nevertheless, the mer-witch followed close behind the 'unlucky girl' just to insure that no unnecessary harm would come to her. She found Jennifer standing in front of a tatty wooden door with the words, 'Mermaid's Room' scrawled across it. Though Jennifer was taller than her, Rae could see that she lacked courage, but no matter, she more than made up for it with her determination. The blonde girl slowly eased the door open and cautiously stepped over the threshold, folled by Brown and Rae. For his safety, Jennifer commanded Brown to wait in the corner where he would be safe from harm, should anything happen. She then turned toward the white bed on the other side of the room and carefully began to approach it. Rae followed behind her. There was a long rope leading to a series of pulleys attached to the person who lay hidden beneath the covers, suddenly, the door slammed shut and the pulleys began to pull the rope. The creature that rose from that bed was so horrifying that Jennifer began to scream. Rae was terror stricken. If she had tried to scream, she was sure no sound would have escaped her lips. The 'Mermaid' was a young girl who looked to be sixteen, her chest was covered with surgical scars, her nails were long and unkempt, her arms were covered in slashes and her ribs protruded from under her pale skin. Her eyes were missing, leaving only black holes. Her legs were bound by a long rope giving the illusion of a mermaid's tail. Jennifer uneasily drew a knife.
"W...who is that?" Rae finally managed to barely whisper.
"C...Clara." Jennifer replied, shakily. The mermaid creature lashed it's arm out and made contact with Rae's face. She heard the Everwraith laughing at her, as she saw a horrific slideshow before her eyes. Clara was a sweet, caring but very timid girl that served as a make-shift nurse for the orphanage. But she had a terrible secret that made Rae want to scream. Both in rage and pity. Finally she opened her mouth and let out the scream that had been trapped there all this time.
"Noooo!!!" She cried out, her voice shrill and ear-splitting. Her body surrounded with a teal light. Her magic was in effect. In a flash, she found herself in the orphanage sick room, face to face with Clara. The frightened princess stared at her in bewilderment. Rae reached out her hand towards the girl.
"Come with me, little mermaid." She said. "He won't hurt you anymore." Clara uneasily reached out and took Rae's offered hand. The same light surrounded them and the two girls found themselves on a rock in the middle of the ocean.
"Jump." Rae said. "Come on." Clara held fast to Rae's hand and did as she was told. Not caring if she died, death would be a great mercy. But no sooner had they been swallowed by the waves, then the warm teal light bathed them once again in it's glow. Rae looked at Clara. Her eyes were shut in terror.
"Open your eyes." Rae said. Clara obliged and gasped in awe. The beauty of the undersea world was all around them. Shoals of colourful fish swam in all directions around them. Undersea plants in vivid colours seemed to welcome them to their watery realm. Clara turned to Rae, who's hand she still held, and couldn't believe her eyes. The girl's legs were gone. Instead she sported a pink mermaid's tail.
"You are a..." Clara began, but clamped her free hand over her mouth. She could breath.
"I'm not the only one." Rae motioned for Clara to look down. The girl did and was speechless with delight. Her legs were gone. Beneath her skirt was a peach coloured mermaid tail.
"You're a mermaid now, Clara." Rae said. "Just like me. You're free forever."
Clara gasped with joy. "How can I ever repay you?!" She exclaimed.
"Help us fight." Rae said. "Join the organisation I'm working for to save the world. On land you can walk. I'll teach you how to use water magic and I'll protect you just like I protected...her...long ago." Clara threw her arms around the mermaid.
"Yes!" She cried. "I will. I'll do anything for you!"
Back at headquaters. Heatblazer 2 was patiently awaiting the return of his partner. He heard the lock click open.
"Finally." He said. "Do you know how long I've been...who is that?" He asked, pointing to the strawberry blonde girl standing beside Rae. She had on a white baggy pirate shirt and black pants with brown boots.
"She's my cousin." Rae said quickly. She wasn't eager to give Clara's humiliating backstory. "She's going to help us. Her name is Clara." Thad scrutinised the young girl's appearance then nodded. "Oh well. The more the merrier. Welcome aboard, Clara." He shook the girl's hand. Rae smiled. She had done a good deed for someone who really needed it and that was all that really mattered. To be continued...