The first time Jiang Cheng touches the land, was the last time he did with the ocean. He was just a young 33 years old merboy, swimming with his friends when he was trapped in a net. He struggled, trying to free himself from the suffocated place. It was his fault. The elders always warn them about going to the surface, but he did exactly the opposite of that. He struggled even more and before he knew it, he was greeted by a strong wind on his face. He heard cheering that soon stopped, then there were a loud gasps. “WE CAUGHT A MERMAID!” someone said.
They pulls the net into the boat and immediately take a hold of Jiang Cheng’s face. “Wait. It’s a boy. What a shame, but still beautiful” The man chuckled and move Jiang Cheng’s face to the left and right. “He’s quite young, let’s free him.” he man said. He was about to continue talking when Jiang Cheng started to cry, he was scared. Beautiful and shiny little pearls started to flow down from his eyes. The man’s eyes widen and looked at his colleagues. Something sparked in their eyes and one of them said “Let’s keep him with us. He can make us rich! Imagine! We can just do nothing and still get money!” the man looked at the boy who’s crying with a sad face, there’s no way he can win this argument. So the man nods his head and with that they sail away from the ocean to the land.
Jiang Cheng who is now 127 or 25 in human age, centuries ago, the fisherman bought him into this city in the middle of somewhere, he has no idea how to get to the ocean. He never once leave the city, in fear of his old masters, even though they had died long ago.
Three years ago an Aquarium was open in the city and it quickly became Jiang Cheng’s favourite place. That place reminds him of his home, the ocean. He come there so often to the point where the owner, Lan Xichen, knew him. Jiang Cheng is so grateful, because Jiang Cheng has no security number or ID he cannot work any where. But with the help of Lan Xichen, who allows him to work at the aquarium, he can at least got a decent place to live and a food to eat.
There he meets his co-worker/friends. Apparently they all are childhood friends. There are 4 people around his age, Nie Huaisang, Jin Zixuan, Wen Ning and Lan Wangji. There are people who’s older than him too. Nie Mingjue, Meng Yao and Wen Qing. There are two people who reminds him of his own sister and his best friend, they never tell anyone their full name, but just A-Yan and A-Ying. But he’s not very sure as his memory of his family has fade away and the last time he saw his sister and best friend was when he was 33 years old or 6 years human age.
Jiang Cheng’s job was simple, he was on ticketing line, he was first offered to work with the fishes and somewhere near the water, but refused in fear of them finding out about his true form. He always wanted to swim inside of the tank with all the fishes but never got the chance to, but today is different! for the first time in 18 months working there. Jiang Cheng finally receive the key to the aquarium. So today, he come to work much earlier than the actual, 2 hours earlier.
He was so excited to swim, he was skipping on the way to work. Once he arrived, he open the front gate and turn on only the lights for the main tank. He then looks around nervously. After double checking that no one is there, he quickly went to the main big tank and took a deep breath, smiling, he really misses his home. After a minute of enjoying the moment just looking in. He quickly went to the top of the tank and he jumps excitedly. Again he looks around before he strip off his clothes and sit on the edge of the pool.
Once his legs touches the salty water, it glows and slowly turn into a beautiful purple with a mix of silver around it as it changes into a fish tail. At the end of the tail, form a really beautiful and majestic transparent a fan like tail. It was so shiny and beautiful that the fishes who was swimming stoped for awhile and slowly coming closer to him, as if like they know the prince of the ocean was there with them. As the fishes gather around him, going around his tail, he slowly lower himself into the water. His skin colour becomes paler and there are scales forming on his elbows and some on his chest. His Hair magically grows longer to waist length and turn into a light purple shade.
That’s when the first pearl in 73 years finally drop. He for the first time in 94 years, he finally can swim around freely. It’s been so long that he has forgotten how it feels to swim in the sea water. Then, a quite big stingray swim closer to him and pushes him away from the edge, as in encouraging him to swim even further and deeper into the tank. So Jiang Cheng finally take a deep breath and dive under. As he was swimming the fishes surround him, making a breathtaking view. It was like they are dancing under the water. Jiang Cheng let himself lose for the first time he’s been on the land.
After swimming for quite a long time, Jiang Cheng finally stop and get to the surface before getting out from the pool. He move quite far from the edge and took out his towels, he brings 3 just in case he’s too wet. He dabs his tails with the towel. Finally, after it feels like forever, his tail is gone and was replaced by his legs. he then put on his clothes and went to work like nothing has happen.
Jiang Cheng keeps on doing this, days turn weeks and weeks turn months. It’s been 3 months when his friends, especially boss, Lan Xichen, started to wonder what is he doing. They always saw the cctv, which was installed only on the outside of the aquarium, that Jiang Cheng always come super early every time he has to open the aquarium. So the workers decided to gather outside of the aquarium an hour after Jiang Cheng usually arrives. Once all of the are there, Nie Mingjue, the bodyguard uses the key to open the front door and went inside.
Inside, everything was dark except for the main tank. They looked at each other in confusion. “Maybe Jiang Cheng went to see the fishes?” Wen Qing voice out her thought, even though it comes out as a question instead. That actually snap everyone. On Jiang Cheng first visit there, he went straight up to the main tank and stay there until the aquarium about to close. So without any other thoughts they all went into the main tank.
But to their surprise, Jiang Cheng was nowhere to be found. Instead the view of the main tank was strangely weird. Ah! It’s because the tank looks almost empty. the fishes wasn’t there like they usually do. They all step closer to the glass, when suddenly Wen Ning gasps and point at something far from inside the tank. Everybody looks to where Wen Ning pointed and they all let out a gasp of surprise and back away from the glass. As if it was planned, A merman swim into their view, surrounding him were the fishes. He was laughing and twirling around. His hair was long and purple, his tail was glowing from the lighting under the water. He doesn’t looks like he notice their presents.
To their surprise, when the merman finally turn around. instead of seeing a stranger, they saw their A-Cheng instead. He looks so beautiful that all of them just froze and amazed by the view. While for Jiang Cheng, once he finally notice their present, his purple eyes widen and immediately swam away.
The others who finally snap out of their shock, immediately run to the top of the tank. They look down to search or the merman. But instead they saw the sharks in the tank was swimming on the surface, as if trying to protect the merman from them.
Nie Huaisang, one of Jiang Cheng’s close friend finally open his mouth and scream “A-Cheng! I know you’re in there! Come out!” but there’s no answer. But judging from how the shark slowly started to disappear, they know that Jiang Cheng can hear them. Again, Huaisang scream “It’s Okay A-Cheng! We won’t hurt you! You are our friend! Trust us alright?” But to their disappointment, Jiang Cheng did not appeared.
They waited for a couple more minutes before they decided to give Jiang Cheng more time for himself. So, they decided walk away to give their A-Cheng some space. But before they could do that. They heard splashes that makes them look back to the tank. There, Jiang Cheng’s purple shiny eyes are staring back at them before Jiang Cheng eventually swim closer to them.
Meng Yao, who’s standing the closest to the tank, kneel down and reach out to pat Jiang Cheng’s head, just how they always do every time they see him. At first, Jiang Cheng’s first instinct was to back away. He was scared, but seeing Meng Yao’s expression, he slowly come closer again and let Meng Yao touches his head and cares his hair.
Suddenly he heard a voice calling his name, not just his name, a name he haven’t heard for almost 100 years. “A-A-Yin? it’s really is you...” he looks to the back and saw A-Yan who’s crying, pink shiny pearls were falling from her eyes. “W-What?” he was so confused and at the same time shocked. “A-Yin.. It’s us.. A-Jie and A-Xian” Jiang Cheng gasps and quickly rise up from the water and sit on the edge “A-Jie? A-Xian?? H-How? What?”
A-Yan or Yanli and A-Ying or Wuxian, finally walked closer to Jiang Cheng and sit beside him, not caring about getting wet. Once they sit down, both of them started to glow, Yanli’s legs turn into a pink with a little bit of soft purple glittery fish tail, her hair changes colour to a really light pink and grow even longer until at least reach her knees. While Wuxian’s legs turn black with a hint of maroon red on them, his hair grow to almost the same length as Jiang Cheng. His hair is still black, just a hint of red highlights on it.
“A-Yin, when you went missing, we are all upset. At first, we had no clue on what happen. Until a baby whale come to us and tell us what happen. A-Die and A-Niang was furious, they almost went to land by themselves. But after some talking, we decided that me and A-Xian should go instead, because they need to look for the kingdom. We tried looking everywhere A-Yin, the minute we know you were taken, we immediately went to look for you. I’m sorry it took so long A-Yin.”
“A-Jie.. It’s not your fault.. either it is A-Xian’s fault.. I was the one who broke the rule and swim on the surface. I’m sorry A-Jie, A-Xian.. that I troubled you.” Again, pearls dropped from his eyes. “No no no A-Yin.. It’s not your fault..” Wuxian said while cupping Jiang Cheng’s face into his hands. “We missed you so much. We eventually found the people who took you.. But the time we got there.. We were too late, they said that one of the guys escaped with you.”
“Y-Yes.. Mister Rouhan helped me escape. He felt sorry for not doing anything when they took me away..” Jiang Cheng said, crying again. This time, Wuxian leans in and kisses both of his eyelids. “It’s okay now A-Yin.. We are all here for you.. Right Jie?” Skinship is very normal under the sea. Jiang Cheng has been missing all of these. He was too scared to let people touch him, but it all change after working in the aquarium because his friends help him to get over his fears.
“A-Yin... have you been swimming here alone all of this time?” Yanli asked. “Yes A-Jie.. i really missed the ocean.. I... I thought that if i swim here, no one will notice.. I’m sorry A-Jie, A-Xian.. I cannot keep it anymore... Now, people know our secret.. T-They will try to hurt us..” Jiang Cheng said, looking down. “NO WE WON’T!” Mo Xuanyu yelled and then he blushes and repeat his words, this time quieter “I mean we won’t! A-Cheng, you are our friends! there’s no way we will hurt you! In fact, we will try our best to protect you! right?” he said and everyone around them nods his head.
“We still have at least an hour before we open, if you guys want to swim and bonded go on. Me and the others will do the job for you guys.” Lan Xichen said before he usher the others out and once everyone is gone, the trio dip into the tank and started to swim around, happy that they got the chance to play around like used to. After awhile, Lan Xichen knocked on the glass gently, he made a gesture where he tap on his watch, signaling that it’s almost opening time. The three quickly went up and dry themself and quickly went to change to their uniform.
Not long after they found out, Lan Xichen decided to make some changes. First, the mer trio were in charge of cleaning to glass from the inside of every tank once every two weeks. Second, they were also in charge to feed the shark as they are the only ones who can tame the sharks. Finally, twice a week, every Tuesday and Thursday, the aquarium will be closed, special for the mer trio to swim around. They also took this time for the human to swim with them. This, goes on for at least a year and 4 months.
Today, is the last operating day of the aquarium. Why? The team decided that they will move to another city near the ocean. The idea was brought up by Meng Yao who was 4 months ago watches the mer trio swimming around the tank and he noticed that with from their tails to head, they’re about 2 meters tall, and when swimming their tail keeps on knocking the glass, coral and sometimes the fishes around them. Beside moving to another city, they first decided to let the sea creatures in their aquarium free. They also sell the place to a married couple, Zhuo Cheng and Hai Kuan.
After everything is done they all get into the vans, there are 3 vans and 2 trucks in total, with Lan Xichen, Nie Mingjue, Wen Ning, Wen Qing and Jin Zixuan driving. It was 4 days in total with driving the stops they are making. Everyone are happy and treated this as a vacation. They took pictures, camping, bond fire and the best part is when they started to talk about their childhood. Their favourite is when the mer trio started to talk about their life under the sea, it sounds so beautiful, amazing and peaceful sometimes funny.
When they finally arrived at the city, they immediately drive to the big house they bought together just right by the beach. The first time the mer trio saw the ocean again, they broke down and hug each other. “Jie.. A-Xian.. We are finally home.. We are going home.” Wuxian let out a smile, he kisses Yanli’s forehead and then Jiang Cheng’s lips. After finding out about each other, both Yanli and Wuxian started to catch up with Jiang Cheng, and Wuxian uses that time to get close Jiang Cheng like how it used to be when they were young. Within the 6th month of getting to know each other more, Jiang Cheng fall in love, and it took him at least another 6 months to confess to Wuxian.
The trio stare at the ocean for a little bit longer before finally they went back to help their friends unpacking their stuffs. They decided that they will stay with their friends for a day before going into the ocean, because it takes a long time before they can come back to their friends. They are not so sure where they are right now and it might take months or even years for them search for their kingdom.
That night was a really fun night, they dance, eat, drinks, play games, sing and they did everything they could do to make the night fun. But finally, the morning comes, it was a really tearful farewell, no eyes were dry, all of them are in tears. With their last good bye, the trio hugs everyone and stop in front of Xichen, their ex-boss and friend, each gives him a bag full of pearls, stating that they are so grateful of Xichen and his sacrifices, like giving 2 days off very week just for the trio to swim and closing down the aquarium just to move to a different city and starting new life. At first, Xichen was shocked and he refused the pearls, but the trio keeps on insisting and at the end Xichen accept everything and hugs each of them tightly before wishing them a safe journey.
It’s been 3 years since the trio went away. 3 years and they haven’t come back and no sign of them coming back anytime soon. This last 3 years, Lan Xichen open up a new business, a culinary one. Everyone works with him except for Wen Ning and Nie Mingjue, who works at the gym as a personal trainer not so far from their house. Jin Zixuan, out of everyone, looks at the ocean, waiting for his love one to come back. He’s wearing a pink pearl bracelet, made specially for him from the one he miss the most.
It was 7 months later, around 7AM, Zixuan who was daydreaming while facing the ocean snap out of his dream when he heard a familiar voice calling his name. He immediately looks up and gasps as he saw who it was on the beach sitting down on the sand. He runs outside so fast that he stumbled down the stairs, but he ignores all the pain and keep running. Once he arrived there he took Yanli, who’s still in her mermaid form, straight into his arms and started to spin. He stop and kisses Yanli before he heard someone clearing their throat, he looks back and smile sheepishly at his friends.
Everyone except Lan Xichen and Lan Wangji was still asleep when they heard the sound of something heavy fell down. They immediately went to the source of the sound and found Zixuan who limped running towards the ocean, they looked at each other for a second before they ran outside to follow Zixuan. Outside, they were greeted by the sight of Zixuan kissing Yanli, Wangji then cleared his throat to warn them that they are here too. Wen Ning and Huaisang immediately run into the direction of Wuxian and Jiang Cheng.
The first thing Huaisang noticed was that both of their tails changes, Wuxian’s tail no longer black and red, but there are bunch of purple lines on his tail, while Jiang Cheng’s tail is darker than it used to be and there’s also some red lines on his tail. For Wen Ning, the first thing he noticed were the 2 merbabies in Jiang Cheng’s arms and another 2 in Wuxian’s, they were crying as it’s the first time they breath the air and feel the wind.
WuXian explains to them that the kingdom is not so far away from the beach, it’s actually only 45 minutes of swimming, but it took them so long because there are parties and feasts for the come back of the princes and princess and that their parents wanted Wuxian and Jiang Cheng to get marry as soon as possible, and after their wedding, Jiang Cheng was already expecting quadruplets, so they decided to postpone the visit until the kids were big enough.
Wen Ning was shocked that Jiang Cheng, first can get pregnant and second have so many babies at once, while Huaisang was confused about the tails. It’s Jiang Cheng’s time to explain that it’s not a new thing for a male to be carry merbabies and that usually merpeople can carry at least 8 merbabies everytime they are expecting, it depends on what species of fish they are. For the tail, once a mermaid/merman got married to another, their tails adapted to the colour of their significant others.
Once finally dried up, the merpeople went inside the house. Inside, Yanli clap her hands and a guy come inside the house bringing a box of treasure like golds, diamonds, pearls and silver. “Thank you Yibo. Guys, this is a thank you gives from our parents. Mine and Jiang Cheng’s parents give the golds and silvers while Wuxian’s parents give the pearls and diamonds , you better take it because our mother did not take no for an answer” Yanli explain about the treasure before they catch up with the stuffs they missed, from Huaisang and Meng Yao getting together to Xichen and Mingjue planning on adopting.
In the end, everyone’s happy. Yanli and Zixuan’s wedding ceremony was held on the land with both parents attending. Yanli decided to stay on the land with Zixuan but she went to her kingdom every now and then. For WuXian and Jiang Cheng, both of them are the kings of the sea, their 4 babies are 2 years old, but they are still as big as a new born babies that swim better than a 5 years old human kid. Now, Jiang Cheng is expecting again, when he first found out about that he screamed at Wuxian and refused to sleep with him for months because the babies are just ready to swim but that bastard knocked him up again.
Huaisang and Meng Yao are getting married in 3 months, it was a winter theme wedding, everyone is excited but a bit annoyed because Huaisang keeps on screaming and fainting every time he heard the word wedding. Mingjue and Xichen finally adopt 2 kids last year, it wasn’t planned at all, because a month after they bring home their baby girl home, the system called and said that the older sister of the girl they adopt was back in the system and keep asking about her younger sister. Once they heard about that, they decided to adopt the older sister too. Now, they are bless with two daughters, a 5 years old and a 9 years old girls.