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The Little Mermaid pt 2 - "Silence" teaser

Hi everyone! Read on for the first 2 chapters of "Silence" the second book of my "Little Mermaid" trilogy. I'm still working on wrapping it up, and it has an editing slot booked on April 27th, so it'll be out shortly after that. Hope you enjoy the first few chapters here! (Of course, all copyrights belong to Nikki Dean, don't replicate, share or repost this in any way. Thanks!)

Chapter 1


Celeste pulled herself onto the secluded rock, thankful to have found one so close to shore. She was just around a bend in the cove and could hear the distant chatter of fishermen getting ready for their day.

It was early, too early for any but the fishermen to be up. Indeed the dawn had just begun creeping up over the horizon, but Celeste had no trouble seeing. She was thankful for the darkness, for now, and took out the vial that Ridley had given her. Popping the cork out, she couldn’t help but recoil, gagging from the stench that wafted up from the tiny bottle.

“This had better work, or I’m going to kill that witch, one way or another,” Celeste murmured to herself as she fought back another retch. She held the bottle as far away as she could and took several deep breaths, then pinched her nose shut with her other hand and drank.

It was awful. Truly disgusting, the thick fluid clung to her tongue and throat as though refusing to be consumed so easily. Celeste squeezed her eyes closed and clamped her jaw, willing it to go down before she scooped seawater into her mouth, trying to rinse the taste out. Her stomach instantly rebelled and she sucked in a breath as it cramped, accidentally getting a little water in as well.

It burned. Celeste lurched forward as she coughed, trying her best to expel the water from her lungs. “By the stars, the water hasn’t ever hurt me before! What fresh hell is this?” she demanded with a glare at the now-empty vial. Her back spasmed at that moment, adding to her agony, and she couldn’t help but drop the little glass bottle. It bounced across the rocks, then rolled into the water.

She cursed, then bit her lips to keep from screaming as pain rippled up and down the length of her spine, going lower each time. Arching against the rock, she couldn’t do anything but hold on while she was ripped in two.

Her scales fell out in patches, leaving tender new skin in their wake. The curve at the very tip of her tail fin split and the rip continued all the way up to her hips, very nearly drawing that scream out against her will.

She writhed while her bones seemed to rearrange themselves, straightening and strengthening to form her new legs.

Finally, Celeste relaxed against the rock, gasping for breath. It must be over, she thought, unable to move for a moment. Too bad I’m going to die here, instead of using these things.

She nearly laughed at the irony, then grit her teeth together and sat up. The rock was rougher than she’d realized, scraping her new, tender flesh as she moved. She tried to pull her tail, no legs, up beneath her and grimaced in frustration when they didn’t move.

How do these stupid, inadequate things work, anyway? Sam made it look so very easy. Glaring at them, she flexed the back of her hips, as she would to pull her tail behind her. Nothing happened. Well, let’s start from the bottom up, then. What are those things, tiny fingers? What could humans possibly use them for?

She nearly asked the question aloud, then remembered the terms of her arrangement. Have I truly lost my Voice? And is it just that, or can I even speak normally? she wondered. Opening her mouth, she tried to call for Lahni. Lahni would know what these useless little finger-things were called.

Nothing but silence came from her lips. Well, I suppose that answers that, then. I can’t speak at all. That clever bitch made it sound like I would only lose my magical siren Voice, not my actual ability to speak.

She attempted several more sounds, including a groan when she somehow managed to shift her knee, scraping it against the rock. Not a sound emerged from her, almost as though she were a ghost. It was not a little disconcerting. I should have waited to find Sam before I drank the potion, but how? If he was injured in the attack that sank his boat, or if he rescued Lahni, then he most likely won’t come back to the ocean any time soon. No, I had no choice but to do it now and hope that I can figure out these silly legs quickly enough to find him on my own. The humans make it look easy enough, and if those barbarians can manage it, I should be able to as well. I’ll start at the bottom, with these little things. Surely they must move, right?

The digits in question wiggled as she thought about twitching the very tip of her fins. She reached down and grabbed them, pulling them backwards when they refused to do anything else.

She let go and they popped back into place, then wiggled again. She found that she could only curl them downward, toward the bottom of her foot, but not back towards her. I suppose they only go one direction. They must be tiny leg-fingers then. But what in the seven seas are the for? I can’t imagine that humans could pick anything up with them. How strange.

Celeste inspected the wide, flat things the tiny fingers were attached to. Feet, I think these are called feet. The humans stand on them. She poked the top of them, then wiggled again. The feet gained feeling everywhere that she touched, as though forming a connection with the rest of her that hadn’t been there before.

Silent laughter bubbled up past her lips as she poked the bottoms of her feet, then scratched at them. They’re so sensitive and ticklish! But the humans walk on these, so how are they not laughing all day long? Perhaps that’s why they wear coverings over them. I wonder if the legs are ticklish too.

She ran her hands from her feet to her knees, and higher. Nothing else elicited the silent giggles quite like her feet, but she felt tingling of another sort when she touched the place where her thighs touched, just below their junction. The center of her legs was self-explanatory, as her mermaid privates in the same place, but not so prominently displayed.

I need something to cover myself. Why didn’t I think about this before I drank the potion? There are dozens of ships in the bottom of the ocean with chests full of coins, cloth, weapons and other things that the humans value enough to send across the seas to trade. Why didn’t I think about bringing some of it with me to help with my search? She shook her head in disgust as she thought about how poorly she’d prepared for this misadventure. I was too anxious to get here to think about what came next. I’m an idiot.

Thoroughly annoyed with herself, she decided that the best thing she could do was try to figure out how her new legs worked, and proceed from there. It was highly unlikely that Sam would come along at just the right moment to find her and help her, so it was up to her to make certain that she found him. And heavens help him if he captured Lahni against her will. I may need to be able to fight before these thirty days are done. And that will require moving these blasted legs.

Glaring at the offending things, she concentrated on flexing and relaxing each of the new muscles until she could bend and straighten her legs at will. They only seemed to bend at certain places and in one direction, unlike her supple tail, which was annoying. They’re like long arms, but on the bottom, I suppose. I’ll just have to consider them as such, instead of thinking of them as a tail. They already have tiny fingers, so I suppose the humans might even consider them as such, too. I’ll have to ask Sam what those are called, and why they have them.

Gradually she gathered the courage to stand, wobbling through the gentle surf as she made her way to the dry sand. The tide would be coming in soon, so she knew that she would have to hurry. It took several long minutes and quite a bit of splashing as she fell, but she eventually made her way out of the water and looked back, triumphant, at the ocean from which she came.

The breeze caressed her wet skin, causing her to shiver. It was much warmer with the sun shining upon her, but the cool air reminded her just how ill-prepared she was for her journey. Glancing down, she was caught off guard by the sheer display of her intimate parts, which she had never revealed to anyone before, but were now in clear view for all to see.

Apparently humans are indecent, disgusting creatures that have to rely on other coverings to keep their modesty intact, she thought in annoyance. Sam always wore clothes when he came out in his boat, as did the sailors that we saw on the disappearing ship. Surely such coverings must be commonplace, for everyone to have them. Where can I acquire some, and what do I do in the meantime? And what will they think of my armor and seashells?

A discarded net and bit of sail caught her eye, and she tugged them both out of the sand, for once grateful that the wretched land-dwellers left their trash lying everywhere. Wrapping the sail around her hips first, she tied the edges into a knot and then wrapped the net over them, tying that as well. The bottom of the chainmail shirt nearly reached the edge of her makeshift skirt, leaving her new legs entirely bare. The rest of her skin, save what the shells covered, was also very visible beneath her chainmail shirt.

Oh well, this is as good as it’s going to get. I can’t make clothes appear out of thin air, but I really feel like Ridley should have warned me about this. Perhaps that’s why she looked so smug about our deal. She knew that I would be completely on display after I transformed. This calls for payback when I get home.

She took several unsteady steps to practice, grateful that the coast was abandoned here. She knew that the docks were a short swim away, but had no idea how long it would take her to walk to them. Her legs wobbling beneath her, Celeste attempted to stand on first one, then the other. They bent beneath her weight, unused to being her sole supports instead of allowing the water to cushion her.

Finally, she closed her eyes and touched her belly button, steadying herself. I can swim faster than any other mermaid in Morwen, and have dared to explore the deepest caverns. I race alongside whales, dolphins and fish every day of my life. Walking on the sand is nothing to me, and there is no reason at all that I shouldn’t be able to do it. I am strong. My tail is strong, and it’s not gone, merely traded for legs at the moment. Like I have two tails, and can use them however I like.

The idea of having two tails, one for each leg, stuck with her and she imagined how she would use them underwater, albeit only in one direction. The muscles clenched and relaxed as though she really was swimming again. She took a step forward.

It was perfect.

She didn’t waver or lose her balance as she concentrated on the feeling of the warm sand squishing up beneath her toes. She wiggled them, feeling how her weight shifted each time they moved.

Ah, so that’s it. They’re for balance against the soft ground. That makes sense, I suppose. Her eyes still closed, she took several more steps, gaining confidence with every one. She let out a slow breath and lifted herself onto the balls of her feet, gaining several inches in height. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but could be tiring if she did it too often, so she lowered herself to her heels again.

She took several more steps, grinning with delight when she didn’t falter in the slightest. Let’s try something a little faster, then. Increasing her speed took a slight moment of adjustment, but it wasn’t bad. She lifted her knees higher and began to run, impressed in spite of herself at how the ground seemed to race by beneath her feet. She looked down to admire it and went flying, landing on her face in the sand.

Damn it! I think I leaned forward too much, forgetting there was no water to catch me. At least I learned my lesson in the sand, and not the rocks. Determined to become as adept as the humans before she ventured into their midst, Celeste tried again. And again.

Finally, she sank to her bottom on the sand, slightly out of breath but relieved that mastering her new legs hadn’t been too terrible of a chore. She’d had a brief moment of fear that she wouldn’t be able to do it, and would be stuck on the beach like some sort of fish, helpless save for flopping around. And given that she couldn’t breath underwater, or barely even swim in this state, that would be a very bad start to her search for her sister.

Lahni. I’ve been playing in the sand while she’s missing, possibly drying out as we speak. Who knows what these wretched humans have done to her. Her determination thus rekindled, she turned and walked confidently toward the docks.

Chapter 2


It didn’t take long before Celeste’s body nearly burned beneath the weight of the stares that it drew. Silence fell over ships as she walked by, only to be filled with enthusiastic chatter as the sailors and fishermen couldn’t help but talk about the scantily clad beauty walking in their midst so early in the morning.

I’m decently clothed, she reassured herself. True, I haven’t any scales to cover my bottom half, but the important bits are covered, and most mermaids don’t even wear a shirt over their shells. Some don’t even wear shells at all. I’m sure that human females dress much the same way. Indeed, it’s too hot beneath the sun not to.

She quickly glanced around to see what the women were wearing, then stopped. Where are they? Everyone I see is male. Did they torture and kill so many of their own women that there are only a few left? Then I will call attention to myself no matter what I wear! She would have groaned at the realization if she could.

Indeed, it seemed that her suspicions were correct the longer she walked among the docks. The sailors grew bolder as she went, whistling and calling out to her, trying to gain her attention. Finally, someone grabbed her arm and pulled her into a small tent that had been set up among many on the beach.

She bared her teeth as the fat little man pulled her off balance, making her stumble. He laughed and grabbed her arms to steady her, squeezing her shoulders when she stood upright. He stared at her, an expectant look upon his face.

Does he think I’m going to thank him for helping to catch me? I never would have lost my balance if it weren’t for him, so he can dismiss that notion. She crossed her arms over her chest and waited for him to say why he had pulled her inside.

His eyes followed her movement and lit up as her arms pressed her shells closer together. He waddled over to a table that contained piles of rough, thick string, and long, flat things with rounded points on one end, and a chunk carved out of the other. A hole had been cut from the middle of the pointed end and more string was wrapped around a stick inside it. She picked one up, rubbing her finger along the rough string. I’ve seen this type of string before.

“It’s called a netting needle, and you use it to repair holes in fishing nets.”

She lifted here eyebrow at him, surprised that this fat little man in his hot, smelly tent actually did something useful.

“Not familiar with mending nets, are you girl? I suppose you wouldn’t be, with a body like yours.” He retrieved a coin from his pouch, then lifted it in front of her and asked, “I suppose you’ve got other talents, don’t you?”

I’ve seen hundred of coins in the shipwrecks, but none that color. Most of the ones below are gold, or silver, and quite a bit larger. This one is just dull. Her eyes narrowed and she easily switched her grip on the netting needle as his gaze fell to her breasts. He licked his lips and held out the coin.

While he wasn’t formidable in any way, Celeste knew the look of a predator when she saw it. She nearly laughed as he took a deep breath, puffing out his already-rotund chest.

“I’ve got more where this came from, if you’re even half as good as you look,” he declared. “But you’ll have to work for it girl, I won’t be giving it away for free.”

Celeste took a step back, lifting the flimsy piece of carved wood in her hand, as he stepped toward her. He scowled.

“What are you planning to do with that? I told you I’d pay you, so you best not be thinking of robbing me. The rest of me money is put away, all safe and tight. You’ll not get your hands on it unless you earn it, like I said.”

What exactly does he expect me to do to earn it? she wondered. He doesn’t look as though he’d be a fair employer, but I need some way to get more clothes, and perhaps a pair of those things covering his feet. They look useful. Her own feet were already too sensitive and she was aware of every prickle and burr hidden in the patchy grass that grew this far from the ocean. She’d seen more grass behind the tent, and didn’t relish the thought of walking upon it without some sort of protection.

Celeste lowered her makeshift weapon, willing to give him a chance as she took the coin that he was waving in her face. His eyes lit up and he grinned, the expression taking on a malevolent twist as he surveyed her body like he would have looked upon a feast at the palace.

She immediately shook her head from side to side, indicating that she wasn’t willing to do that sort of work as she tried to give his coin back. He ignored the action and grabbed her wrist to tug her farther into the tent.

Perhaps humans say no a different way. I’ll have to find some way to ask Sam, but in the meantime, this disgusting slug needs to learn some manners. A quick wrench of her arm was enough to dislodge it from his grasp, and she had the blunt netting needle at his throat by the time he turned to glare in protest.

“What do you think you’re doing? I’m willing to pay you a fair rate for a little tupple, and this is how you thank me?! I’ll call the guards on you, see if I don’t!” He grabbed her again, then screamed in outraged pain as she twisted his hand backward, forcing the fingers to bend in an unnatural direction.

He fell before her, trying to keep his fingers from breaking. Celeste let go as she lifted one leg, pressing her foot against his cheek to shove his face into the soft sand below them, thwarting his attempts to look up her makeshift skirt.

“You there!” A deep voice rang out from behind her. “What’s going on in here?”

Celeste looked up in surprise. Another man stood in the tent’s entry, this one much taller and yet smaller around the middle than the first. He wore armor, a chainmail shirt not dissimilar to hers over a softer fabric shirt, and bracers covered his forearms. Soft leather pants protected his legs while still giving him plenty of room to move, and a sizeable blade hung from the belt around his waist.

Thank the currents, a soldier. Someone I can finally understand, even if he can’t understand me just yet.

They stared at each other for a moment, her trying to think of some way to convey that she was a soldier as well, and he in mute surprise.

The fat man sputtered beneath her bare foot, pulling both of their attention. I really do need better clothes for this sort of thing. Like the soldier’s perhaps. I wonder if he would trade his foot coverings for this coin.

She held it up before her, then pointed at the newcomer’s feet. Supple leather covered them to his knees, and she could see the criss-crossed lacings that held them up. His jaw fell open and he made an add noise of surprise.

“I asked what’s going on in here,” he repeated, though less confidently this time. His eyes traveled from the top of her head down to the bottom of her feet, one of which she still used to keep her assailant at bay. “Are you all right?”

Celeste shifted, allowing him to answer the soldier as he got to his feet and dusted himself off. He snatched the coin out of her hand.

“I most certainly am not! She’s trying to rob me!”

The soldier’s startled gaze flew back to Celeste’s and while she didn’t know what the fat man’s words meant, she knew what it meant when the soldier’s hand dropped to the hilt of his sword.

She bared her teeth in a silent hiss, too late remembering that they were sharper than the average human’s. Thankfully, neither man seemed to notice, leaving her to wonder if Ridley’s spell had changed that, as well.

“What’s your name, girl?” the soldier demanded. “Why are you in here?”

Celeste, she said silently. No sound came out, but she moved her lips anyway, willing the soldier to understand her dilema.

“You can’t speak?” he guessed with furrowed brows.

She shook her head no again, hoping that he understood the gesture.

“Ah. A mute whore, so you never have to listen to her. How convenient. Well, you’re not supposed to have her here, no matter what you’re into, Barrie.”

The unfamiliar name implied that the soldier was no longer speaking to her. Celeste bristled, unused to being dismissed so easily. “It doesn’t look like she’s robbing you to me. She gave the money back easily enough, and it looked as though you were enjoying her foot in your face.”

The corner of his mouth quirked upward as he glanced at the bulge in the front of Barrie’s pants. “Whatever was going on, you know you’re not supposed to have whores down here. Can’t have them getting on the boats.”

Do they still throw their women overboard, then? Humans are such vile creatures.

“Come along, I’ll take you back to the row, where you belong,” the soldier said as he placed one hand at the small of her back to lead her from the tent. He frowned as though just realizing that she wore chainmail. “Where’d you get this?”

She shrugged, unsure of what else to do.

“Right. You couldn’t tell me even if you wanted to. I bet several of the boys had a good time with you and gave you this as payment, didn’t they?”

She shook her head once, then stopped. If that’s what he wants to believe and doesn’t ask any more questions, then what does it matter? He said he’s going to take me somewhere. As long as it’s not into custody, then that’s fine. I can always make my way back to the sea, and perhaps there will be more clothes where we’re going. I can’t very well get myself out of this without showing him that i can fight, at any rate, so I may as well go along. Perhaps I’ll see Sam if I’m very lucky, and it’s a small colony of humans.

“No? That’s not what happened? Then how did you get a guard’s haubergeon?” He reached forward and lifted one edge between his fingertips. “It is much lighter than any I’ve seen, though. Almost like it was made by a different smith.”

The guard gave her another speculative look. “You’re not from around here, are you?”

Celeste shook her head no, dreading his next question.

“What does it matter where she’s from?” the fat man interrupted. “She tried to rob me, and you’re not doing anything about it! I expect to see her arrested!”

“I’m sure you would, Barrie. Unfortunately for you, I don’t think I will. I’ll take her home, though.” He put his hand to her back again and gently pushed her along, ignoring Barrie’s protests.

“All right then, follow me and don’t cause any problems. I don’t know where you’re from, but I know where you belong.”

She bristled at the assumptions he was making about her, even if she wasn’t particularly clear on what exactly they were. How else would he assume to know where she belonged, if he nothing at all about her. What if he somehow knows that I’m a mermaid?

She bristled, but followed him, alert and looking for something she could use as a weapon if need be. The netting needle had to be left behind, as she knew that stealing was wrong in any culture and she had neither the means to pay for it, nor any place to store it.

The soldier led her up over the grass and toward another flat surface, this one much farther from the beach. It looked as though a thousand little stones had been lain out, side by side, end to end and cut a swath through the surrounding landscape, presumably to create a walkway of sorts.

Her new feet did not like the stones and as soon as she stepped on one, she shook her head at the barbaric stupidity of humans. Why lay out all of these little stones if you cannot even walk upon them? They’re sharp in some places, and plain uncomfortable in others. He seems to have no trouble, though. I really need to find something to wear on my feet.

One particularly sharp corner sent her leaping back onto the patchy grass that grew along side of the path with a glare of grudging respect.

“Well?” the soldier demanded, looking back at her in irritation. “What is it now?”

Celeste remained on the soft loam and gritted her teeth. She motioned for him to continue, following him from the softest areas for as long as she could. Too soon even the smallest tufts ran out, and she slowed them down trying to find the path between the largest pavers.

He grumbled at her, but seemed to understand her situation. Indeed, he watched with vivid interest as she stepped daintily from flat spot to flat spot, sometimes tilting his lips up in a smile when she had to skip, and sometimes glancing at her with a more pointed interest when she had to stretch out, taking large steps between landing spots. It was frustrating and humiliating, but her feet were as tender as new skin. She could only hope that they formed callouses soon enough.

“I admit, you’ve got some nice legs on you.” The soldier nodded appreciatively as he watched her, waiting for her to catch up. Celeste started, then glanced at him from the corner of her eye. I know that look. He’s as bad as the fat man, staring at me like he wants to take a bite out of me. Sef gave me that look once, just before I wiped it off of his face. But this soldier is the second man to say something about my legs, oddly enough. Do humans enjoy looking at them?

For a moment a fear shot through her. Or is something wrong with them? Did Ridley’s disgusting potion form them correctly, or are mine different in some way? They seem to work sufficiently, but that doesn’t mean anything. Flounder fish are perfectly healthy, but have both of their eyes on top of their head, instead of either side like other fish. Am I similar? Are these barbaric creatures going to try to capture me anyway, just as they would if they knew about my tail? She couldn’t help a small shudder that ran through her at the thought.

“What was that for? Are ye cold? I imagine even on such a warm day, with you in your all-togethers, you’re probably catching quite the draft, aren’t you?” He licked his lips as if they’d gone dry and pointed to a building just down the path. It had several women in and around it, all them enticing men passing by like so many sirens calling sailors to their deaths.

Only these had no songs to sing, no reefs upon which to ruin wooden ships. These women wore more layers of clothing than she did, and still managed to look as if they wore less. It was the casual way they were held on, as though the cloth was draped at the last minute and had been skillfully arranged to look as if it would all fall at any moment. For a price, it seemed it would.

Celeste suddenly realized where he had been leading her. She saw more coins being handed between people on the streets around them, and shook her head at her own stupidity. He thinks that I’m for sale. The fat man did too. Is this why I didn’t see any women earlier? They’re all being used in the markets? Some mermaids sell pleasure at home, but without many males, it’s not always very profitable.

She jumped and hissed as a man yelled behind them, hawking his wares to the general population. He held a sizzling piece of meat that had been skewered upon a stick, which he exchanged for two coins. One fell from his pocket as he hurriedly shoved them in, rolling to her bare feet.

She bent and picked it up. It was shinier than the others that she’d seen, brighter even that those in the chests under the sea. They’ve been down there a long time, so it’s little wonder that they’ve been dulled by the algae and such growing on them. I never bothered to pick any up and clean them, for why would I? But this one is almost pretty..

She looked up for the meat-stick man, but he was gone, shouting his way through the growing crowd. The soldier watched her with interest, and she held the coin out to him, assuming that since it was valuable and she hadn’t earned it, she wouldn’t be able to keep it.

He closed his fingers over hers, pressing it back into her palm. “I’d say you’ve earned it just by tolerating Barrie’s company, although I can’t imagine why anyone as lovely as you would agree to anything with the likes of him.”

She rolled her eyes. I didn’t, she wanted to say. He grabbed me, and is lucky I didn’t break every bone in his arm for doing so.

He laughed. “I didn’t think so. You were just walking by, then? On your way back from another job?”

If that’s what he wants to think, then let him. Celeste looked down at the coin in her hand, studying the waves that were imprinted onto one side. She flipped it over, then froze in shock.

He was depicted upon the other side. Or it would have been him if he’d aged another twenty years or so. How could this possibly be Sam? Do humans all look that much alike?

She cast a furtive glance at her companion, studying his face. It had the same basic shape, but his nose was wider, and his eyes smaller. No, they don’t look so very similar. And none of the rest of them look enough like this to be mistaken for them, either. Perhaps this person knows where Sam is, or is related to him.

The soldier caught her second side-long glance, and a warm smile spread across his face. “You want more, eh? That could be arranged.”

She lifted an eyebrow, then stiffened as he draped his arm across her back, resting his bare palm on her opposite hip to lead her into an alley beside the building, sectioned off by curtains. The human whores they passed gave them looks of surprise, calling out that he couldn’t take her there unless she was one of theirs.

Which she wasn’t, but he didn’t know that.

They stopped in an empty little section of the alley, concealed for a few moments by curtains that hung between them and the busy street. Celeste thrust his hand from her bare skin and rubbed it, trying to dispel the trapped feeling that his arm gave her. It was one thing to embrace another mermaid in the water, where she could swim away in any direction she chose, not that she’d really ever done it. But to be held so close on land, where her feet were firmly planted on the ground and his unwelcome touch herded her along like a child, was intolerable. It was enough to drive her closer to violence. She barely held it in check since she had seen most of the men surrounding them handle their women in similar fashions, and she didn’t want to stand out too much.


“You have to stay here, near the brothels, or you’ll be arrested by the guards,” he murmured in her ear as he pressed against her. “We wouldn’t want that, but if any of them ever bother you, just send them my way. My name’s Paul.”

His lips brushed against her jaw as he spoke and she balled her hands into fists, already aching to strike. He has no permission to touch me, whether he thinks I’m for sale or not!

“I’ll take care of you, don’t worry. And in return, you’ll take care of me too, right? One service for another?”

Now he’s trying to outright bribe me?! Ha! Celeste grinned. Being polite had gotten her nowhere at all. Now it was time to work off all the pent-up stress that had been plaguing her since she’d woken up, much less drank that vile potion and got her new legs.

She bounced on them a little, testing them out once more. Her shoulder bumped Paul’s mouth, and he leaned back a little with a frown.

“Hey now, what’s this? Why are you jumping?” He glanced down at her breasts and seemed to lose his train of thought as his hand went between his legs, cupping something roughly.

If my delicate bits are so very exposed down there, his likely are as well.

He reached for her shells, murmuring something about how to take them off. The words were barely out of his mouth before she brought one knee up, hard, between his legs.

To her surprise, his armor seemed to be missing there, and she felt little resistance as her knee continued on its upward arc. He dangled off its edge momentarily, and she would have laughed aloud if she could.

His eyes bugged out of his head at the sudden agony, and his mouth gaped open, then closed, then opened again as he tried to catch his breath. He failed. The sudden strike of her palm against his nose finished the job and he slumped back, falling flat onto the strange, pebbly ground.

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