"Hello! My name is Lavahana, I'm an experiment!"
I look back down at her, and shake my head. She sighs, and I can see her shoulders droop.
She pauses, then says, "Hey! My name is Lavahana, and I'm a mermaid! I'm an experiment."
I flick my wings a bit at her and I can feel my eyes bulging a bit. Before I can stop
myself, I can hear the words shooting out. "Don't mention that you're an experiment,
you'll just draw negative attention to yourself. And don't be so peppy, it's annoying and
overly friendly. Try it again."
She rests her head on her arms. It's almost night and her skin is nearly pitch-black, so I
can't see her face, or if she's even listening. Her eyes are so small and are constantly
squinting, so it's always hard to tell if her eyes are open or not. And, by extension, if
she's awake or not. Many rants have fallen on deaf ears. She flips her tail and looks up
at me... I assume. She mutters, "Well, alright..."
"Hello, my name is Lavahana." She stares at me, waiting for me to respond. I take my own
sweet time. I like to get back at her for various things like this. I prefer it to the
crude confrontation. Crude. Ugh, that's a word to use when around her. She straightens up
a bit in the water. I've learned to not look below her neck. Mermaids. Absolutely no
decency. At least she hasn't tried to hug me yet. If the Weh Leb knew that she hugged me,
frequently, then I would be in trouble. No relationships with the experiment. And getting
crushed against a naked chest counts as a relationship, in their book. Yet, she still
refuses to listen when I tell her that hugs are out of bounds.
"Well," I say, clearing my throat a little. "It'll do. Hello, my name is Vognas, I work
for the Weh Leb. How do you do?"
All shred of self respect blows up, as can be expected. She starts chattering away, "I'm
doing just fine, well, actually, not that fine. You see, I'm a little bit bothered because
I can't get out of this pool. It's because I'm an experiment. Oh, right, I'm not supposed
to say that. Let me try again. I'm doing just fine, but I don't like being in this pool. I
sometimes talk to myself so I don't feel so lonely."
I chitter before she can keep going. Wave my wing at her a bit. I can see her slowly droop
out of the corner of my eye. She says, her voice so smooth and sad that I can feel my
feathers rise, "Oh... what did I do wrong this time?"
If I have to explain it... Personally, I would label this as a failed experiment if anyone
else was in charge. But I know what I'm doing, unlike the vast majority of people. "You're
being too friendly. Keep it formal and calm, and don't talk too much. You'll scare away
everyone you meet."
"I thought I'd scare them away anyway, being a mermaid," she says. I curl my lip and
snort. Well, that's true. Nevertheless, she tries again, "Hello, my name is Lavahana. I'm
doing well, yourself?"
Her voice had switched from her high-and-low style normal for mermaids (though hers was
admittedly more pathetic and bouncy) to her crisp, business-like one. I nod, and beat my
wings to drop from the tree branch above her pool. "Very good. We'll keep going over this
tomorrow, as I've already been with you for three hours."
And her bouncy voice is back. "Aw! I do wish you didn't have to go. Well, before you go,
give me a hug, please?"
I regret dropping from the branch and being within her reach. Ugh.
(I DID ANOTHER YAY)