“Ariel!” Flounder called in a hushed whisper, only he sounded like the sound escaping from a boiling kettle.
“Wait up.” He tried again, stopping to catch his breath.
“Oh, c’mon, Flounder! We’re going to miss them!” She had stopped swimming, but every part of her was thrumming with barely concealed energy.
“Maybe that isn’t such a bad thing.” He said between breaths.
Ariel narrowed her eyes at him, and he let out a nervous laugh.
“Just kidding.” He wasn’t.
“Really, Ariel, I need to catch my breath. We’ve been swimming for a long time now.” He realized he was whining, but, he was also beyond caring. Her hobby is probably going to be the death of him, and he really didn’t want to die just yet.
“Oh, come on! You’re a fish. Stop sounding like I’m making you run a relay on dry land.” She said, rolling her eyes as she fixed her glorious red mane.
“Stop being a pussy, let’s go!”
“I never act like them, they eat fish for breakfast!” Flounder retorted, indignation rolling off him in waves.
She was never going to get used to his ability to miss innuendos and sarcasm.
Finally, “Just let’s go. We’ll swim slower. I don’t want Sebastian attempting to stop us again today.”
They swam side by side for a while in complete silence with the fish lost in thought, and his mermaid best friend playing with her hair.
Flounder finally broke the silence, unsurprisingly. “You promised your father you’ll not swim this far yesterday.”
“Yeah, but I crossed my fingers behind me, so it doesn’t count.” She intoned automatically. Sighing, Flounder finally gave up on trying to stop her.
“ARIEL” a voice boomed from a little distance behind them, and they both winced as they realized who it was.
“Oh, Neptune.” Flounder said miserably.
“Don’t you dare swim another step forward, both of you!”
Slowly, they turned around to face the very angry and unsmiling face of Sebastian.
“Hey, Sebastian. We were just going out for a leisurely swim. You know, exploring the kingdom.” Ariel said nervously while Flounder visibly trembled by her side.
“Drop the act, Ariel. I know all about your ‘exploration’”. He intoned dryly, using his claws to make air quotations.
“Well, that cat is out of the bag. I’m going, Sebastian.”
Flounder shot her a dirty look for using yet another cat reference.
Dios mio, this child will be the death of us. Sebastian thought grimly. How can she not see what she’s doing is wrong?
He tried another approach. “Don’t you feel any bit remorseful, Ariel? He was going to attempt to persuade her out of her horridness.
“Remorseful? Sebastian, no! You know I’m just using my gifts. I love to sing! Why should I hide such a gift? Ariel asked, swimming around in circles, her voice taking a sing-song like manner.
“Your gift brought down an airplane.” He retorted.
“Well, it’s hardly my fault they were flying too close!”
“And the man that drowned two days ago?”
“He insisted he could breathe under water!”
“You know that’s not true, stop being deliberately obtuse.”
Both Ariel and Flounder gasped at that. Sebastian hardly ever told her off like that.
“Listen to me, child. You are killing people. That’s not right. You call it a gift, but if it hurts people, you might want to return it to the gift store.”
“No. Who are you to tell me what’s right or wrong? Who is anybody?”
“Ariel…” Flounder cautioned from her side, but it was too late. When she gets like this, nobody could stand in her way. As it is, her eyes had started doing that thing where it looks like someone was burning a fire behind them.
“Ariel…” Sebastian tried again.
“No. I’m going up there to do what makes me happy, and it clearly makes them happy otherwise they’ll not come to me.”
“It hypnotizes them, it’s not the same thing. They don’t know what they are doing.” He said sadly, thinking about how someone would see her and think they found a precious gem, but, really, she’s just an explosion waiting to happen.
“Take your big words and tell it to someone that understands or cares.” She said, bristling with anger. Why can’t they all just let her do what comes naturally to her?
“Let’s go, Flounder. You have to watch my tail.”
“Sorry.” Flounder said apologetically as he went after his best friend.
“Merde.” Sebastian said to no one in particular. In the distance, he could hear Ariel’s sonorous voice singing a song he’d taught her.
Under the sea…. Under the sea…
He sighed deeply again. Yet another unfortunate man, or woman will drown in their water again. In no time, this particular place will be branded as cursed. He thought about the red-haired mermaid and said, “Cursed indeed.”
Turning around, he thought about how he’ll tell his king that he couldn’t stop his teenage daughter.
“Ten piedad de todos nosotros.” He said in a way of prayer as the first human voice drifted down towards him.
Image Credit: Screenrant.com