The water was cool compared to the heat of the sun, and as soon as she broke through the top of the water, her body began to close off around her legs automatically, her organs switching to optimal usage for underwater––her metamorphosis complete with less than a thought.
In a rare moment, Aleksandra felt anxiety rise in her chest, everything in her screaming to the need to heal this strange man. She didn't get even a mile deep before she called for Rianna. The best Healer her people had ever seen, Rianna would know what to do for the fisherman. A call came back to meet her, resounding through the underwater terrain, two were coming to meet her. She should have known Rianna would not come alone. Shemane swam steadily ahead and to the far right of the Healer, making certain there was no trap to be sprung on them.
"Come. Now," Aleksandra commanded. Her tone brokered no argument, and her position and authority refused to allow one either.
The other women knew there were times for them to be friends, and times for them to be subjects. In this moment, they were needed handmaidens for the Queen––one used for protection, and the other for healing. They followed her steadily and without hesitation, not even Shemane paused in her course behind her Queen.
Building speed, Aleksandra determined to do something she hadn't done since she was a child. If she thought there were any way the fisherman or any other human would see, she would have refused. However, in this moment, the end justified the means.
Powerful strokes of her melded legs and core had Alexandra speeding toward the bottom of the ship, a slight trajectory change, and she rocketed out of the water like a whale breeching. As soon as she began to free-fall toward the deck of the boat, her body began to re-shape, her legs free of the confines of her other form, and she landed hard, but solidly on the well-built ship. Less than a second after her, Shemane and Rianna landed each slightly behind her.
"Rianna, I don't want to take the chance of not getting his healing correct. His brain has been without oxygen for too long," Aleksandra said, as she knelt carefully down at the head of the fisherman. She sat as she had before, moving the net to cradle his head once again in her lap.
"Is he yours?" Shemane asked immediately, moving to her Queen's side.
"I don't know, I don't think so," Aleksandra answered her.
"Then who is he to you that we would do this?" Shemane asked again while Rianna immediately went to work repositioning the man's body.
"He saved Zitna," Aleksandra answered.
"A fisherman, here, saved Zitna? How did that come about?" Shemane asked, her brow raised in curiosity.
"Zitna was caught in his net, and he dove into the water to set her free. He cut all of his netting, and made certain she was loosed, but he didn't make it to the surface in time." Aleksandra turned from the questioning Shemane to the furrowed brow of Rianna. "I took the water from his lungs, but I could do nothing more without complete certainty."
Rianna simply nodded as she ran her hands inches from the man's still form.
"I have opened the blood vessels and increased circulation. I've done all I can to restore activity to the areas of his brain which needed it. He will sleep for a while. I can come back to check on him intermediately, but already I am in pain, Your Majesty. I cannot remain. It is not my time," the pain was evident in Rianna's voice. Aleksandra knew she had already repaid the fisherman and then some. She could not ask any of her people to tend to this man, not for the devastation it could cause.
"Of course, Rianna. I do not expect such. You have done more than enough."
"What of you, Your Majesty?" Shemane asked.
The pain of her General was not nearly so evident as was the pain of her Healer, but Aleksandra knew every little nuance of Shemane's demeanor and facial expressions, and she was fighting the pull of the sea harder than one would fight off a bull shark. Since the time of The Curse, for an Atlantean to be topside during any time which was not in the two weeks of her seventh year, unbearable pain was visited upon them. It began with sharp webs of tine-type pricks as though grabbing hold to an electric eel, then a dull ache would set into their bones. With each passing moment, the pain would become more crippling until it nearly drove a woman insane. Jumping into the depths of their precious home was the only way to counteract the unbearable harm the horrific curse put them through.
"I will not ask any more of either of you today. We are in my weeks, and I am in no pain; besides, I am probably safer here, with this unmarked human, than I would be in our city with the recent attacks." Aleksandra explained.
"I cannot argue with your logic; the Sirens would love to capture you if at all possible. Up here, at least, they should not be able to find you. Will you call for your mate?" Shemane asked.
"I don't know," Aleksandra said, and the truth was, she didn't know.
The only certainty she knew of was in her responsibility to bring this man to full life. After that, fate could have him, but she would not lose this man as a result of saving one of her citizens. He'd shown more caring than any human she'd watched in the last two hundred years. Oh, she'd seen men show signs of character, but nothing even close to this. Whether it was his intention or not, he had willingly given his life for the life of Zitna.
"Are you certain about staying topside, Your Majesty?" Shemane asked concern lacing her voice.
"Yes, for the time being at least. I'll make sure he is fine, and then I'll be back. If you need me, you only have to call, and I'll be there. We've been doing things a particular way for long enough now for everyone to be fully aware of their duties. I will come home as soon as time permits. I will not exceed his healing. Do not worry so much, ladies."
"Yes, Your Majesty," Rianna said as she stood up, looking down at the human. "You'll want to monitor him. I believe I've fixed the majority of things, yet...it's tricky with humans. And his body temperature isn't regulated the same as ours. You'll need to get him dry, and keep him warm, but do not let him get hot to the touch. If that happens, call me. Quickly." Rianna's words, like the woman, were solid and straight to the point.
Her deep auburn hair glinted several different coppery shades in the dying sunlight, she was smaller than most of the other women in Atlantis, but the ability and authority she carried with her, more than made up for her shorter stature.
Rianna nodded one short nod, and dove into the waters below.
"Would you like me to help you with any of this, Aleksandra?" Shemane asked.
When the two were alone, they immediately restored their friendship above all else.
"No, Shemane, thank you though. It would not due for the city to be without both of us."
Shemane took the step forward and knelt down beside Aleksandra, and embraced her heartily. "If you can, call for him, don't let this opportunity go, my Queen. We look to you, we all do, if you can find your mate, then the rest of us will believe we still can as well. You speak about being the hope of Atlantis, don't forget you are our inspiration as well," Shemane said, pouring every bit of love and hope and sisterly longing into the gesture. It was a lot for Shemane, and Aleksandra had to pull herself back from tears at the sincerity.
Aleksandra could only nod her head solemnly, then without another word, Shemane dove off the boat and into the water behind Rianna.
Aleksandra looked around. Suddenly she found herself alone, on a boat...with a human man.