“Okay, now close your eyes and count to ten,” I told Terence. He did it. “Okay, now you can open them again.”
When he did, the beach we were standing on was covered with snow.
“That is amazing! How did you do that?” he asked in wonder.
“That’s not the only thing I can do.” I used the wonder sparkles to make a toy airplane that could fly on its own. Terence watched it go and smiled.
“That’s amazing too! What was that?”
“Uh… I’m not sure, actually. The man in the moon, Manny, he told me I could do a lot more than just that, so something.”
We laughed and flopped down in the snow. Tink flew down and grabbed a handful of it and threw it in our eyes. She laughed while we grunted in pain and rubbed at our eyes.
“You should see your faces!” she said, rolling around in the snow, roaring with laughter.
I finally got all of the sand out of my eyes and I laughed a little too.
“Very funny Tink. Next time, try not to blind us,” I said with a smile.
“I wasn’t trying to blind you; I was trying to get your attention. I suppose I could have done it differently, but that way was funnier.” She pointed out into the cove and I saw two familiar heads poking out of the water. I suppose I could’ve flown, but I’d seen Jack walk on water by freezing it before, and I kind of wanted to try it.
I ran out over the water. Melody and Ariel both waved and laughed when they saw me coming.
“Is there a problem?” I asked when I finally got to them.
“You could say that,” said Melody. I sat down (On water! How cool is that?). “You see, there’s a lot going on right now. I’m sure you know about the Bubble Ball?”
I nodded. The Bubble Ball is held once every five years and was traditionally hosted by the heir of Atlantica (Making this Ariel’s third time going to the Bubble Ball, and possibly the second one she’d hosted).
“This is bigger this year. More guests, more conflicts we have to settle. My coronation could happen at any time now, so I have to show the people of the kingdom that I am worthy,” said Ariel. “I hosted one when I was twelve, but everything was done by the servants then. I’m old enough now to plan my own parties, that’s what dad says, and I trust him, so it has to be perfect this time. I need your help. You’re not fighting a war or anything, are you? It’s been a few days, so I was just wondering.”
“No, it’s just, how are we supposed to help you?” I asked. “The Bubble Ball isn’t for a few days, and we’d have to be underwater to help you. We’re not mermaids.”
“Oh, that’s all you’re worried about?” said Melody. She held up a purple bottle with a cork. It had no label and I couldn’t see what was in it. “This will turn your legs into a mermaid tail for two days. There’s one day left to prepare, and the Bubble Ball is on the second. Which means you would not only be able to help us prepare, you could actually come too.”
“Hmmm, well, how about I ask everyone.” Then I thought. “Wait, there’s no way on Earth you’re going to want the Lost Boys there, right?”
“Oh, sweet Jesus, no! Everyone else though,” said Ariel.
“But then who’s going to watch the Lost Boys? You can’t leave them alone for three seconds.”
“Figure that out later. We’ll wait.”
I ran back out onto the beach. Tink and Terence were still waiting there.
“What was that all about?” asked Tink.
“They need our help to plan the Bubble Ball.” I explained to them everything that Melody and Ariel had explained to me and they agreed to it.
Together we flew back to hideout and shared the news with everyone else. The Lost Boys got all excited until I told them Ariel didn’t want them there. We all then argued about who would stay behind and watch them.
“This is getting ridiculous. Let’s just draw names out of a hat!” said Hiccup. No one else had a better idea, so we just did that.
When Tootles, the littlest Lost Boy, pulled out Kida’s name, she turned pale.
“Redraw? Please?” she begged.
“I’m sorry Kida, but that wouldn’t be very fair, now would it?” I asked.
“Neither is leaving me alone with them!” she insisted.
In the end, we had to outrun her to the door and lock it behind us. She pounded on the door.
“Please don’t leave me alone with them!” she cried. I almost opened the door again, but then I remembered that if I did that, I would be stuck watching them.
“Everybody run!” I exclaimed. We all made a break for it so that we wouldn’t feel bad for her.
Once we were all on the beach, we sat with our feet in the water. Melody put a drop of the stuff on one of each of our feet. I was last. It didn’t hurt; it was more like getting both of your legs stuffed into a really tight sack with two floppy things on the end. My tail was a pale blue. So was Jack’s. And Wendy’s. Rapunzel got light purple. Peter’s was light green, and so was Tink’s. Terence’s was maroon. Merida’s was dark green. Hiccup’s was brown. All of the guys got to keep their normal shirts but all the girls got seashell bras. The girls were all mucho embarrassed.
“Do we get different shirts at some point?” asked Tink, crossing her arms over her chest. “This is kind of embarrassing.”
“You get used to it, I promise,” said Ariel. “C’mon!”
We all followed her. It was really slow going to get into the water, but we managed to, somehow.
“Come on, we’ve got to hurry!” exclaimed Melody.
We all swam through the ocean and all the way to the castle. It took my breath away (as much as anything can when you’re underwater). It was made entirely of gold. Each room was illuminated by a giant magic pearl. It had about twenty towers, and none of the rooms had any windows, so that the mermaids and the fish that were their pets could swim in and out at will.
“It’s beautiful,” I said in awe.
“I know,” said Melody, a smile lighting up her eyes. “You get to live here for two days too! First, we have a party to plan.”
Ariel split us up into groups and gave us command over the servants to help us when we needed it. Terence, Melody and I were all on kitchen duty. Merida and Hiccup were in charge of decorations. Tink and Ariel would take care of the guest list, place settings, and favors. Jack, Peter and Wendy would be taking care of the entertainment. Rapunzel was in charge of writing Ariel’s speech and helping out with whatever was left over when she was done. I took my two friends and about three dozen servants and made my way to the kitchen. It had about sixty ovens, thirty fridges, and twelve ice cream makers. Also five separate pantries.
“Okay, so we have to make rolls, appetizers, soups, entrees, and a bunch of little finger foods and desserts. Drinks too, lots of those. Shirley Temples seem to be big this year, so about a hundred of those. Anything you want to make, but not seafood. I trust you knew that already. To your stations!” Melody commanded. The servants rushed off and Terence and I went over to Melody.
“So, where do we start?” asked Terence.
“Well, we have,” Melody checked the guest list. “Seven hundred people coming to this. Not one of them has any food allergies, so the servants will make anything they want. We’re in charge of the table rolls, and that is literally it.”
“Just table rolls? That doesn’t sound hard,” I shrugged.
“That’s a basket of no less than a dozen rolls for each table and we have one fifty tables with fourteen guests per table. You wanna do that math or should I?” asked Melody.
“You go ahead.”
“That’s six hundred rolls. Not to mention, we have to make the breads for the meals and appetizers and soups that need them.”
“Oh. So, not easy.”
“Not even vaguely. This should take us the rest of the day and most of the entrees wont even be done cooking until tomorrow.”
“We’d better get started then.”
Somehow, we managed to make all the rolls and bread and baguettes and even a few puff pastries. It took the rest of the day, but we did it. Ariel and Tink had the final confirmations of the appearances of all seven hundred guests and were literally up to their knees in cutlery and place cards and mats. Merida and Hiccup had put out tablecloths and chair covers and were in the process of hanging smaller magical glowing pearls around the room. Rapunzel had finished the speech and had also managed to get a different centerpiece for each table. She’d also gotten a gargantuan disk of crystal and her group of servants had set it out on the dance floor, which was always a little lower than the rest of the room. It also sparkled in the light of the pearls and shone up its own rainbow lights.
“This is perfect!” said Ariel. Then she seemed to remember something. “Oh, right. There’s only one problem left to address.”
She swam over to a big set of double doors and threw them open. When they were open, we all saw six mermaids swimming around, yelling and arguing, pulling each other’s hair and throwing things.
“Who are they?” I asked.
“Meet my incredibly annoying sisters. Or rather, I think right now you’ll just be able to look at them. They’re fighting, they don’t stop. Their names are Alana, Areida, Anna, Alisha, Athena, and Alyssa.”
“Wow. Melody, you’re the only one whose name doesn’t start with an A. I mean, imagine the whole royal family being introduced,” said Jack, and he began to talk with a deep voice. “The King Alfred, Queen Annika, Princess Ariel, Princess Alana, Princess Areida, Princess Anna, Princess Alisha, Princess Athena, Princess Alyssa And Princess Melody.”
He busted out laughing, and I did too. It was kind of funny, if you thought about it. For the moment, don’t think about it. Think about it later.
“Merida’s got this. Watch this,” said Hiccup with a laugh.
“SHUT IT!!!” They all stopped where they stood, erm, floated. “It’s all yours Ariel.”
“Girls, these are my friends Jack, Vanessa, Merida, Hiccup, and Rapunzel.”
“And we care why?” asked the one who looked youngest, Alyssa.
“Because she’s Vanessa Frost,” said Melody. Every mermaid in the room let go of what they were holding and stared at me.
“That can’t be true,” said Alyssa, a blank expression on her face. “Vanessa Frost is too…stunning and amazing and spectacular and a million other wonderful things to be here.”
“Umm, what? Did you just say that?” I asked. “You’re my…fan?”
“You’re not Vanessa Frost,” insisted Alyssa. “If you were Vanessa you would be carrying a bow and a quiver of ice arrows. All badass, like that.”
“Oh, so, like this?” I used the water around me to make a bow and ice arrows.
Alyssa fainted straight off. All of the others squealed and surrounded me, asking a billion questions.
“Calm down, and wait a sec, okay?” They all nodded. I turned to Ariel. “What was the problem?”
“These girls all hate the Bubble Ball and always put up a fuss and ruin it, every year.”
“Well, I’m sure they won’t mind coming this year, as a favor to me?”
They all practically fell over themselves, promising they would come, and behave and act like they actually wanted to be there. They all swam off to go plan their outfits and hair. I laughed.
“I don’t think you’ll have to worry about them misbehaving this year,” I said with a laugh.
Everyone else laughed along with me, in true friend fashion.
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