(here is chapter 1 , if you haven’t read it yet.)
‘‘Eh?’‘ MC questions, making the employee and the mermaids laugh. ‘‘You didn’t think we’d feed them fish food, now did you?’‘ The employee asks and MC’s cheeks heat up in embarassment. ‘‘No, of course not…’‘ They mumble, eyes averted. ‘‘Well then, let’s cook!’‘
MC and the staff member walk through a hallway that goes directly through the tank. When they look up, they can see the mermaids swimming along with them. This way, you can see what their tails look like too. They seem to be similar to the design of their ears. They all wear something like a skirt or a wrap of fabric around their waist. Their destination is a locked door that says ‘Staff only’. They go in. Inside is a rather strange dining room, with floor seats and a kotatsu table. The floor is a tatami. The room is rather snug. On the other side of the large room, there’s a round area with water, where a couple figures emerge and climb out, shaking off the water. ‘’Hi again.’’ Asra says, ‘sitting’ on the tatami. ‘’C’mon, MC, to the kitchen.’’ The employee says, dragging them with him. ‘’So this is why being able to cook was a requirement in the job application..’’ They say, starting to cook. ‘’Now, of course i or some other employees will help you with cooking. We don’t expect you to do it all by yourself but other activities such as fixing parts in the tank or doing some cleaning up and trimming to the plants will be done by you alone.’’ He says, stirring up some scrambled eggs. MC nods and focuses on making the food.
When the food is done, MC and the other employee bring it to the dining room. Everyone’s already seated, talking to one another. There’s scrambled eggs, cooked eggs, boiled eggs, toast, croissants, salad with rice, various fruits, and some buns, as well as breakfast cereal and more. There’s drinks too, of course. Coffee, fruit juice, milk, etc. ‘’Aah, this looks great! Do you cook often, MC?’’ Portia asks, sipping a glass of orange juice. ‘’Not that often, but my mother taught me.’’ They answer with a smile, hands folded behind their back. The other employee gets a buzzer on their device and sighs. ‘’I’ve gotta go, they need me. I assume you’ll be fine here for a while? I’ll be back later to show you the other tasks.’’ He says and walks out of the dining room, leaving MC with the mermaids. ‘’Heey, come join us. There’s room at our table.’’ Lucio says, slapping the floor. MC notices that he’s got one prosthetic arm. ‘’I wouldn’t want to impose…’’ They reply. ‘’T’is no imposition! We would like to get to know you better. After all, we’re gonna see eachother often now.’’ Asra replies, the others agree. ‘’Alright.. if you say so.’’ They say, sitting down next to Nadia.
-pov changes here-
‘‘So, MC. ever worked at a place like this before?’‘ Nadia asks you, you shake your head. ‘‘No. I haven’t, and certainly not at one with mermaids.’‘ You say with an awkward chuckle, Nadia nods knowingly. ‘‘Well, we hope you’ll like it here. The place gets really crowded when the doors open, but that’s not bad. We’re treated well here, and we don’t mind the guests. Well, most of us don’t.’‘ Julian says, looking over at Muriel. He visibly tenses. ‘‘I-I don’t mind it…! I just.. I’m just shy..! You know that…’‘ He quietly answers, making Portia chuckle. ‘‘We know. My brother’s just being a dumbass again.’‘ She says, patting his shoulder. ‘‘Hey!’‘ Julian remarks, pushing her shoulder teasingly. ‘So they’re siblings… No wonder they looked so similar.’ You think, looking at the table. ‘‘Don’t mind those two, they always bicker. Classic sibling behaviour.’‘ Asra says, a smirk on his face.
‘‘Aren’t you ever bored here?’‘ You ask them, they turn to look at you. ‘‘Nah, not really. We have plenty of activities, if it’s racing or interacting with guests, even other fish. There’s more to do than you’d think. Every sunday morning, when the aquarium is closed, we get to relax and do what we’d like. We are allowed outside during that time, to feel the sun on our face. So don’t worry about it.’‘ Lucio answers with a yawn, stretching out. ‘‘We also do shows from time to time, with dolphins and other sea creatures. It’s gained a lot of attention from the guests, and it’s one of the main reasons why this place is so popular.’‘ Portia says, nibbling on a piece of toast. ‘‘Er, but.. how do you actually communicate with the guests?’‘ You ask. ‘‘There are microphones attached to the tank in which we live, we can talk to the people through them.’‘ Asra explains. You nod and smile. Conversation flows easily, everyone is very thoughtful and do their best to make you feel comfortable.
The employee comes back after a while. ‘‘Ah, okay. You’ve finished eating. MC, i need your help. The filter in their tank is clogged, and we’re low on staff at the moment.’‘ He says, you get up and nod. ‘‘Okay. What do i do?’‘ You ask.