That night when Fenella glided home, she tried to slip in, unnoticed, behind the family.
“Stop, Fenella,” her mother ordered.
Fenella froze. “Yes, Mum?” She knew she’d be chastised for leaving without notice. She thought Maesie would have covered for her better than this…she had been caught.
“I don’t want you leaving without someone knowing. What if something were to happen to you? What if we wouldn’t have a clue where to find you? We can’t save you from a shark or human attack unless we know where you are.”
“I wasn’t in any danger. I stayed against the sho–”
“You are no longer allowed to visit the boy. Giving him the ears to hear seals speak was dangerous enough, but to sneak away for a visit in person? It’s unheard of. He will reveal your identity, and before we realize, our family will be captured and sold, exploited for all the country to see. You would endanger your own clan, Fenella?” Moire was livid, and it scared Fenella.
“Y-Yes, Mum.” She watched her mother dive back into the water with enviable grace for her last border inspection of the evening. Elders of the clan would take turns swimming the border of their territory to be warned of intruders or to be sure everyone in the clan was ready to come onto the outcropping for the night.
Maesie bounced over to her, head hung low. “I tried to convince her that you wanted one more swim through the currents before the end of the night. I didn’t think she would find out you’d gone to your human again.”
“Nay, Maesie. You did your best. Thank you.” Fenella made her way to the warm rocks and thought about her next move. Her goal would be the same: be practiced enough in magic to turn human again, but because she could no longer visit her friend, she’d try her best to communicate with him from the water, and learn as much as she could from the elders. They could teach her more about her abilities. Before she could fall asleep, Fenella found her aunt, and asked, “Will you help me with my magic, Aunt Annag?” The old selkie grunted in approval, not even opening her eyes from her slumber.