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Coral

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It was one thing to see the shore from a distance. It was off limits since more Walkers seem to be as curious with the ocean as the Mers are with the land. But, to swim in the coral reefs? Unthinkable. At least, for Lloyd. The shark never liked it at the reef. Sharp coral at every turn and while he was pretty agile, he wasn’t invincible. And neither was his friends. Kate could quickly shoot around the coral, moving this way and that and dodging the sharp spines. Raven… well, he was a different story.

“Yow!” The octopi let out a shout, as a spine cut his tentacle. He shook it quickly. “Why do even come up here again, Minnie?”

Kate shot him a glance from up ahead, arms folded together. “Because! Ot’s so pretty! And with the Walkers chipping away at them, who knows when this whole thing will be gone.”

Lloyd rolled his eyes, attempting to avoid the cuts. “Katie-Lady, as much as I think this is pretty… you’re tiny. You can avoid the spikes. Sharks and octopi can’t.”

Raven let out a whine. “Yeah, you guppy! Let’s go back to Atlas. It might be better than this spike trap.”

Kate let out a sigh and swam over. “Hey, listen, if you two want to be freaking scaredy catfish and go home, that’s fine by me. I’m going to the shore.”

Both men shouted “no!” before looking at each other. Raven looked at Lloyd with concern. “I mean… umm… It’s scientifically proven that going to the surface can… umm… dull your glow! And take the shine away from your scales. Yeah.”

Kate seemed unamused. “That’s not true.”

“How do you know?”

“I just… know.” She seemed oddly sure of herself. And with that, Kate flicked her tail out indignantly and swam around the corner.

Raven looked towards Lloyd worriedly, rubbing one of his tentacles nervously. Lloyd shrugged. “What could we lose?”

Raven looked incredulous. “Umm, our best friend? Kate can’t go out there alone; she’ll be picked up by one of the small walkers and never seen again! I’ve heard it happen. Last girl who went up there disappeared! We can not let that happen to Kate.”

Lloyd raised an eyebrow. “Then, we go with her. I doubt the Walkers will mess with a shark.” He puffed out his chest as he rocked back and forth, before pricking himself on the spine of a piece of coral.

The octopus looked like he was going to ink himself as he stared nervously. “Okay, okay. Fine. We’ll go.” The shark smiled before dashing off quickly through the coral. Raven rolled his eyes as a wave of love flowed over him. “And he’s always such a show-off too. How can you even love someone like that, Rave?” He tried to reason with himself, before gently grasping the coral to move over to the shore.

Lloyd did admit, it was charming. The sun could actually be seen, creating patterns in the sand below. The waves were beginning to crash a little ways away. It was odd. They were so small and yet created bubbles with each crash. And the sand was everywhere. Getting in his gills and on his skin. It didn’t feel good. But, Raven seemed to enjoy it. He was pulling it and swirling it around with his tentacles. Lloyd couldn’t help but chuckle, and then looked around. Wait, where was Kate?

“So you catfish decided to join me?” Both men shouted as the small mer let out a loud laugh at their reactions. She was behind them, her ears wiggling happily. “You freaking guppies.”

Raven pouted. “You can’t just scare us like that. We thought something happened to you, Katie!” He seemed incredibly uncomfortable now, turning a sickly green purple. Lloyd moved around him, letting his tail brush against him lovingly. Raven blew bubbles out of his nose, relaxing. “Alright, alright. We’re here. Can we go home now?”

Kate suddenly swam close, grabbing onto Raven’s nose. “No. We’re going to see some Walkers. That was the whole point of coming wasn’t it?” Raven’s eyes went wide.

Now it was Lloyd to let out a low growl. “Kate, we came here because it looked pretty. We are not hunting for Walkers. We can’t. We’re gonna get found and captured. We weren’t even supposed to be this close anyway.” He dulled noted that the waves were slowly getting lower. He felt the cold air hit his hair and he lowered himself deeper into the water. “The tide’s getting low too. Are you sure we’re gonna be okay?”

Kate rolled her eyes, unmistakably hell-bent on seeing a Walker. “Yeah, cause you’re huge you Flounder. Now shush up and watch. Sometimes they come on the sand out of the water.”
Raven sank and moved under the sand, pushing himself deeper until only his torso was seen, and crouched down. This wasn’t a good idea. It just wasn’t. Even Lloyd lowered himself to lay on his stomach. Kate was the only one interested, swimming close to the top of the tide, curiously poking her small head out from beneath the waves.