The manga is still in progress. It'd probably be best to forget it so you can be surprised when I finally finish and post
Anyways, here's a new fic I wrote to commemorate the release of Rena's first photobook
It's also inspired by a Russian fairytale that I'm linking to after the story.Kingyo
There once lived a poor girl who resided in a sea-side cottage with her mother. Due to their family being outcast from the royal family several generations ago, they were forced to live in solitude on this barren shoreline.
After several months of bad crops and little food, the girl fixed herself a fishing rod with some broken rod parts and string. Hoping that it would please her mother, she sets out to the ocean in hopes of catching the first real dinner they would have in months.
She waited patiently from dusk until dawn, yet the line bobbed peacefully along the surface without even the smallest tug. When the sun neared the horizon, the girl stood up in disappointment at the lack of even a small catch. But the second she laid her hands on the rod to retrieve it, a strong tug nearly pulled her into the waves. After digging her feet into the ground to steady herself, she pulled up with one great yank.
To her surprise, instead of a normal fish, a large red-orange goldfish laid before her feet. And though the goldfish was amazingly beautiful and grand in appearance, it laid bleeding onto the sandy soil, its fins and skin ripped from apparent attack.
The girl could not believe her luck, and grabbed the knife next to her to gut the fish and bring it home. But once she rose the knife over the belly of the goldfish, a blinding light flashed, knocking her back and making her drop the knife. When she looked back, the fish had transformed into a beautiful girl, clad in a torn reddish-orange dress. Her skin was smooth and fair, with wet black strands of hair falling across her shoulders.
“Please.” She spoke, shocking the young girl even more. “Spare my life. You have rescued me from being attacked in the ocean, and I am truly grateful. I am the daughter of the great ocean king, and I will grant you any wish you ask for in exchange for shelter until I am fully healed.”
The girl couldn’t believe her eyes. Not only did the fish turn into a human, but she also spoke and offered to grant her wishes. Surely, this was some kind of celestial miracle.
“Princess of the ocean, I ask for nothing in return. It would be an honor to be able to assist you.”
“Thank you, kind soul. What is your name?”
“Very well, Jurina. Please call me Rena.”
And so the girl carried the injured goldfish to a lake hidden deep in the forest near her cottage. As night had already fallen, she returned home to her mother after bidding her goodbye.
“Mother, you won’t believe what happened today!” She exclaimed in excitement after bursting into their cottage.
“What is it?” The visibly exhausted woman asked while sitting in a rickety chair.
“I caught the most wondrous golden fish from the ocean! She was absolutely beautiful and…” Jurina paused before filtering some of the details of the day. Her mother didn’t have to know every aspect after all. “She offered to grant my wishes if I spared her life!”
“Well what did you ask for?”
“Nothing. I couldn’t bring myself to ask for something in return from such a magnificent creature.”
“You fool! Here we’ve been starving for years and you can’t even ask for food? Return to the ocean at once and ask the goldfish for endless amounts of fresh food. I expect to see if when I wake the next morning.”
And so after her mother fell asleep, Jurina snuck out with a gas lantern and headed deep into the woods.
“Rena, are you awake?”
“Yes, what is it?” She asked after swimming to the edge of the water and turning into her human form.
“I told my mother about your power to grant any wish I ask for. Because we are poor and famished, she asked me to wish for endless amounts of fresh food.”
“Very well. It is done.”
Though the wish had already been granted, Jurina sat herself at the edge of the lake, admiring the beauty of the creature before her until the fuel in her lamp ran low.
The next morning, Jurina woke to delicious scents in the cottage. In the kitchen, her mother hungrily scarfed down as much food as she could without choking. For the rest of that day, they were both content with finally having full stomachs. However, that night, Jurina’s mother approached her before going to bed.
“Return to the goldfish tonight. This time, I want our cottage to be turned into a beautiful mansion with plenty of servants.”
“But mother, we already asked for something from her. We can’t—“
“Don’t talk back to me, young lady! How do you expect your mother to keep living in such a run-down place like this? We are part of the royal bloodline after all! Do not come back into this residence until you see to that wish.”
And so the young girl returned to the lake in the forest again that night.
“Rena, my mother asks for another wish.”
“Do you not have any wishes of your own, Jurina?”
“I do not feel it is right to ask for something back in return for saving a life, but am merely asking because my mother commands me so.”
“I see. What does she wish for?”
“For our cottage to be turned into a mansion, with plenty of servants.”
“Very well. You can expect it when the morning sun rises.”
Again, the girl sat down to accompany the goldfish, conversing until the dim gas light flickered in warning of impending darkness.
The next morning, Jurina woke up inside a lavish room that was nothing like the cottage she grew up in. Stepping out, she was greeted by a butler, who hurriedly led her to the enormous dining room. There, her mother sat at the end of a long table, surrounded by servants bringing her plates and plates of food.
“Jurina. Go back to the goldfish tonight. I wish for power to rule the country, skies, and ocean. See to it.” She ordered, before sending her daughter away with a flick of the wrist.
That night, Jurina approached the edge of the lake in hesitation. Having expected her return, Rena swam up to greet her before seeing the troubled expression on the girl’s face.
“My mother has another wish again. I will tell you about it, but I do not want you to grant it. It’s simply too unreasonable.”
“And what is it?”
“She wishes for power that will enable her to rule the country, the skies, and…the ocean as well.”
After getting nothing but silence back from Rena, the young girl reached out her hand to lightly stroke the scales on her back.
“But I could never ask for that. Even if it were the country or the sky, I would not mind as much. But to give someone so greedy the power over the ocean, over you…that would be simply preposterous.”
“Because…you are not just a magical being to me. You’re my friend as well, and I also believe that…I might have fallen for you.”
“…I can’t say that I feel differently.” She spoke before rising out of the water in human form, their lips meeting in a soft kiss over the edge of the lake.
But what neither of them noticed was the figure seething in the dark shadows of the trees.
The next day, Jurina wakes up, half-dreading the impending scolding she would get from her mother, and half-excited to meet the beautiful goldfish again. However, when she opens her eyes, she is met by the sight of their old broken down cottage, holding nothing but broken furniture and cobwebs. Even her mother was missing.
So she ran towards the lake to ask Rena what had happened.
But what she saw sent her into an even deeper spiral of confusion. In the back of a horse-drawn cart, was a large circular glass tank. And in that tank, floated the semi-conscious goldfish who looked at her with eyes filled with disappointment and hate.
Only after running to the tank did Jurina see her mother readying the horse to leave.
“Mother, what are you doing?!”
“Why, good morning, my daughter. Thanks to you, I can take this creature to the city and sell her to regain my place in the royal family. Of course, that doesn’t include you. But I’ll send you some supplies every once in a while.”
“What are you talking about?!?”
“Notice how your little fish hates you now?” Her mother whispered into her ear after tugging her over by the collar. “This is what you get for not following my orders. I told her that you were lying to her the entire time, that you don’t don't love her, and now she believes that you betrayed her. How else would I know that I need a magical tank to keep her from escaping?”
“And since she won’t grant my last wish for power, I’ll just have to trade her in to attain the power myself. Goodbye, Jurina.” She laughed before the horse began to trot away.
Filled with anger and disbelief, Jurina grabbed the largest rock she could find, and began to bash it against the glass tank. No matter what, she had to free Rena. Even if she believed that Jurina betrayed her.
Again and again, she smashed the rock into the glass even though her mother hollered for her to stop.
Again and again, until her right hand began to get bloody and torn from the constant impact of the rock and the slowly chipping shards of glass. After one final strike, a fist-sized hole broke through, creating an opening sufficient for Rena to use her powers. Immediately, she destroyed the tank with her remaining power, sending an explosion of glass out, piercing the greedy woman with thousands of sharp projectiles.
After the dust settled, Jurina looked up to find the bloody body of her mother skewered against the dead horse underneath her. And where the tank once stood, Rena laid powerless amidst mounds of glass dust.
“Rena! Are you alright?”
“I’ve used up all my power to break the tank. If I don’t return to the ocean, I might die…”
Immediately, Jurina lifted the weak body into her arms, despite her own injuries, and ran until she reached the seaside. Before releasing her back into the waves, the young girl leaned in and placed a gentle kiss on Rena’s forehead.
“Please trust me. I love you and I’ll wait for you here, everyday until you come back.”
Finally, she threw the beautiful creature back into the ocean waves, which looked darker and more violent than ever. Little did Jurina know that the ocean king had found out what happened to his daughter, and was not at all pleased by it.
After Rena returns home, both her health and her trust in Jurina’s love fully heal. However, as she is ready to go return to her love, her father stops her immediately.
“Rena, you cannot trust these humans. You’ve seen what they’ve done to you! Capture you and use you to fulfill their selfish wishes. This one is the same way. You cannot meet her.”
“But father, she’s different! She risked her life to save me!”
“Then let her be the one to prove it. She promised to wait for you everyday, correct? If she still comes to the shore on the 100th day from now, I will let you go to her.”
And so Rena patiently waited as the days slowly passed. Everyday, she would watch Jurina arrive at the seaside and wait until nightfall. But as it drew down to the last two weeks of the challenge, the ocean king grew angry at the human’s persistence. Concocting a plan to stop her, he struck up strong storms that raged on endlessly. Yet, Jurina still came everyday amidst the harsh rain and ripping winds.
Until the 97th day.
Rena waited and waited for the girl to arrive. But she didn’t.
“You see. Humans are all untrustworthy scum. Forget the girl and return your heart to the ocean.” Her father announced triumphantly before swimming away.
But she couldn’t believe those words. A strange feeling nagged inside her heart. Jurina had promised to wait for her, and believed every word of it. So she secretly snuck onto shore that night.
She made her way to the broken down cottage, and drew in a deep breath before opening the door. But when the rotten wood swung out of the way, the sight of a lifeless Jurina sprawled across the floor shattered her heart into pieces. Tears immediately formed and rolled down her cheeks as she ran to the girl’s side, holding onto the cold body. It was then that she noticed Jurina’s right hand closed tightly. It took all her strength to pry it open, but when she did, she discovered what Jurina had been holding onto with all her might: one of her golden-red scales.
Unable to bear the pain anymore, Rena looked up to spot a knife in the kitchen. The very same one Jurina held when she first pulled her up from the ocean. Taking it firmly in her hand, she kneeled down to place one last kiss on her love’s lips before plunging the knife deep into her stomach.
The russian folktale: http://www.barynya.com/tales/fish.htm
Btw, this started out as a rather happy fairytale until I started talking to Kira about it and it turned into more of a Grimm's dark fairytale