-1Chapter 2-

Melody sat still upon the boulder listening to the soft waves crashing against the shore. Everything around her had fallen in a state of pure silence. Yet the sound of the water merging with the land echoed in her ears. She always could hear the ocean, even if she was miles away. It guided her, like a light, life and love. A deep forgotten memory tried to break free. She once remembered playing in the ocean waves with her beloved friends, Tip and Dash. The two oddball sea creatures were so different, yet they made the perfect team. How she missed them, it must had been several years now, since she last saw them..swimming beside her. Together, they defeated a evil creature named, Morgana. How could she forget that? A shiver went through her like a bolt of lightning. Secrets buried from long ago. Secrets she longed to share, and not to her beloved parents. Will she ever be able to share something so special? So hidden, and so enchanting? Only, time kept her secret.

A faint cry caught her attention, it was for help! But where? Her eyes scanned the ocean, nothing. Surely the cry had come from somewhere? She jumped off the rock, listening..to the sea. It remained silent, not answering her.

"Someone needs my help!" she cried out to the waves. "Answer me!"

She stood there quietly, listening.

"Help me! Please!" came the faint cry again, only this time it sounded much weaker.

Someone was in trouble. She glanced around if to notice someone close by, maybe her father, or perhaps, Daniel. Finding no other, she realized she was alone. Alone to help that poor soul.

"Where are you?" she called out to the waves. "Please answer me!"

A faint cry of pain replied her, "Here.. I'm over here.. By the rocks.."

Her heart pounded, the rocks were a dangerous area along the shore. Certainly only a mad person would swim close by that dangerous place. Melody began to run towards to the beckoning call. Someone needed her help, and if it not come soon, that person would meet their fate.

"Help." came another very weak calling.

Melody scanned around the rocks, looking..searching..and finally spotting the small head floating in the water. Without a moment's delay, she jumped into the warm sea, rapidly swimming with each stroke she took. Nearing closer towards the person, she reached out and pulled the woman back towards the shore. "I got you, do not be afraid." she said to the woman, who's eyes were now closed and face pure white.

They were safe, back on the land. Away from the danger. Melody slowly pulled the woman on the shore. It was then she realized that this was no woman, but a mermaid! Why would a mermaid be so close by to the land? she wondered. King Triton always forbade the merfolk to stay clear of the land creatures.

Melody studied the mermaid, she had long blond hair and her tail resembled the white coral reefs. She looked about her age, or was she older? A movement caught her eye. The mermaid had begun to awaken.

The mermaid's eyes fluttered open, which appeared as dark like black smoke, she softly uttered, "Thank you..dear child. You saved me from my demise."

"I am only glad that I was here to help you." answered Melody, her voice curious as ever. "Are you all right? Do you need me to go and get someone to help.."

"No!" the mermaid's voice cut sharp. "I mean, no thank you. I am fine, only need a few minutes rest and then I have to be on my quest."

"Quest?" asked the now intrigued Melody.

The mermaid sat up, and faked a dizzy spell. "Oh.. I will never finish my quest..the poor Princess..I have to..I failed."

"Princess? Failed? Please let me help you."

"Nonsense, child. You already helped me. I cannot burden you with my troubles. I have failed my mission and I will now be banished. I already broke a sea law. No human may see us Merpeople."

Melody gave her an reassuring smile, "Do not worry for that sea law. No human has seen you."

The mermaid stared at her dumbstruck, "But you.."

"Let's just say the merpeople and I are bonded together."

"You are Princess Ariel's daughter!" the mermaid exposed. "You are one of us!"

Melody stared at the dark pearl eyes, "How..how did you know that?"

"I know..I know a lot of things. My mission has not failed! I found you."

"Found me?"

The mermaid smiled at the young Princess, "I searched years to find you. Swimming from port to port, looking, seeking..and never finding..until now. Hurry, you must follow me.. It is the only way to save her!"

Melody held her breath, "Follow you? Where? Save who?"

"To the Kingdom of Avalonia of course!"

"Avalonia! But that is a old sea myth..Avalonia does not exist."

The mermaid smiled, "Says the young Princess of Atlantica. Avalonia does exist! Only, if you know how to find it. There is a hidden secret behind those coral walls with your secret! Your past."

Melody shook her head, "This doesn't make sense..what secret?"

"The secret long forgotten, years ago, before you were not even born. Hidden from you. Never mentioned, vanished and buried. Lost to the sea. I cannot tell you anymore, but you must go to Avalonia."

"But how? I do not have fins and surely I cannot take the ship.."

Magically, the mermaid revealed a small bottle, "This is my last one, please be careful. It will allow you to transform to your other self. And when the time is right, you will transform back into a human."

Taking the bottle slowly from the mysterious mermaid, Melody explained, "But surely, my Grandfather can transform me into my other self."

"Do you think that your Grandfather or Mother will allow you to go on this journey. They hid the secret! Never told you. They will never allow you to go. Please, your highness. She needs your help."

Melody nodded, she knew both her parents and Grandfather would never allow her to journey to Avalonia. Under the sea, or above it. With a heavy heart she said, "I understand. When do we go?"

The mermaid gave a cunning smile. "Now. But first, you must fetch the Northern scrolls. They are the key to find Avalonia." She then gave a weak gesture, "Hurry child..I feel weaker by every passing minute."

Nodding, Melody dashed towards the castle.

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A soft fuzzy touch with something small and wet awoke Daniel. With a sleepy gaze, he stared at the face of the furry creature in front of him. "Max, you old fellow. Got anything better to do then wake up guests in the middle of the night?" A soft bark was the reply. "Sure, be like that. Just like Sultan. Play the innocent card!"

A sound from the right caught his attention. Turning his head away from the warm fire, he caught a glimpse of a silhouette in the room. "Someone is in here!" he thought. Slowly standing up from the chair, he walked towards the dark figure. With a swift move, he tackled the intruder.

A high pitched cry echoed in his ears. "Let go of me!" as it struggled against him.

"Not if you tell me who you are and what you are doing in here!" he growled, still pinning the small figure on the floor. A lock of dark hair met his eyes. "Melody?"

The figure stopped struggling to escape his grasp, "Daniel?"

"Is that you?"

"Yes, can you get off of me. Please?" her voice sounded desperate.

Nodding, he stood up and helped her to her own feet. "What on earth you are doing in here at this hour? And why are you all wet?"

Melody smirked in the darkness, "I was about ask you the same thing. But let me guess, another book. Right?"

He smiled, she knew him like a book, "Yes, was reading a chapter on Mermaids. Very fascinating." Did her face just turn white? He grew worried. She still had not answered his second question. Why were clothes damp?

"Melody, are you alright?" he asked concerned. "You look pale."

She held her breath for several seconds before she answered him, "Yes. I'm fine. Please excuse me, I must go." she turned and started walking towards the door, with something in her hand. "Daniel, please forgive me." she whispered by the door and was gone.

"Melody! Where are you going?" he called out, but his words only floated in the silence.

He turned, staring at the Northern wall. What was she doing there at this time of night. Searching, but what? Striding towards the wall, he gazed upon the maps on the upper shelves. By his quick eye, one of the maps was missing, but which one? But before he could identify the unknown parchment, a scream full of agony echoed in the night.

"MELODY!" his mind screamed. Wasting no time, he ran out towards the balcony. He saw two figures in the water, but they were too far from his sight to recognize them. "Melody!" he called out to the sea. With one blink, the figures were gone. "No!"

Without a moment to think, he jumped off the balcony and unto the soft sand below. A moan escaped his throat from the pain. He will worry about that later, he had to save her first! His leg hurt, probably from the second story jump. But he pushed the pain aside, limping towards the shore. He came close to the rocks, calling out her name. But only the sea greeted him. A parchment fluttered near the boulder and picked the article up. He found the map, but no Melody.

"Melody!" he called once more, running into the waters, splashing around. Where was she? His mind asked. He desperately looked everywhere. She was gone, vanished. Taken by the sea.

"I must find her!" Daniel said while running at full speed towards his ship. He ran up the plank in three swift moves, and dashed into the Captain's room.

"Wake up!" he commanded to the sleepy sailor. "Henry, please get up! We must set sail this instant!"

The Captain jumped up immediately, "Your Highness, what is wrong? Where are we heading?"

Daniel looked into his friend's eyes, "I do not have an answer to either of those questions. Not at this moment, anyway. But we must set sail now!"

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The non stop barking echoed in the hallways, several servants opened their doors. "Max! Hush!" called out Grimsby. "I let you out two hours ago, you cannot possibly.."

"What is going on here?" came the dominant voice of Eric.

Grimsby watched his old charge come walking towards him, followed by Ariel.

"I do not know, Sir. Max is acting peculiar. He will not stop barking."

Eric looked at the old dog, even though the dog had lost most of its hearing and barely walked anymore, Max would never send off a false alarm.

"Something is wrong." he stated, "Max is telling us something is not right."

Ariel took a deep breath, "Melody!"

Eric turned towards her, "I am sure Melody is fine. Ariel, check on her to be certain. I'll check on Daniel." He ran towards the guests chambers, only to find his worst fear. Empty.

"Ariel!" he yelled. "Daniel's gone!"

Turning, he watched his wife run towards him, with pure panic in her blue eyes, "Eric! She is not there!"

Embracing her, he gently whispered, "Do not worry, we will find them. I promise. Even if I have to search the seven seas myself. I will bring them home."

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"Which way now?" Melody asked in the dark waters. She looked down at her peach colored shells and deep rose colored tail. She was swimming! She was breathing the water! She was a mermaid! She never felt so free, so part of a world, so connected and bonded.

Melody glimpsed next to her, the other mermaid had disappeared.

"Where are you?" she called out in the darkness, but no answer greeted her. Was this another trap? How could she be so foolish. She was no longer twelve. How could someone trick her again! She was mad at herself and mad at the mermaid. Turning around, she began to swim back. She could already listen to the lecture from her parents and more importantly, listen to the lecture from her Grandfather. But, she stopped short, floating in the sea. "Which way?"

She looked left and then right, which was the way back to Atlantica? And her home? Melody closed her eyes, she was lost. And no-one knew where her location. Or for that matter, no-one knew she was missing.

Touching her necklace, she sighed, "I am so sorry, Mother."

A voice caught her by surprise, "Now, why the sad face? Little Mermaid?"

Her eyes stared at the creature in front of her. "Oh, I am sorry. I did not see you there."

"That is all right, barely anyone notices me, until I talk to them."

"Forgive me for staring, I rarely come to these parts. But what exactly are you?" she asked.

The creature swam closer, making Melody swim backwards, "Do not worry. I will not harm you child. They call me the Sea Fairy. Certainly, a mermaid like yourself, has heard of us."

Melody stared in awe towards the creature in front of her. The Sea Fairy, had one long tale, just like a mermaids, only longer and her fins resembled a butterfly. A necklace around her neck dangled with different color pearls, each one shiner than the other. In the middle of the necklace, a large black pearl gleamed from the moonlight's ray. Could this creature be a friend or foe? But she had no choice. She needed help.

"I am heading towards the Kingdom of Avalonia." she bravely stated. "I had a companion with me, but somehow we became separated. Can you please show me the way?"

The Sea Fairy swam around the little mermaid, "But of course. For you to find Avalonia, you must travel six days North and then one day South. Only then you will unmask the hidden gates of the Kingdom. The Kingdom lies close to the Emerald Isle, the humans call it, Ireland."

"Thank you." She turned to continue towards the Kingdom of Avalonia.

"One moment!" came the voice again. "If you are planning to swim all the way to Avalonia, you will never make it from the dangers and the Irish Moss. Please, use one of my companions for your journey."

Melody's eyes became huge when a new creature emerged from the darkness. She had never seen such a wondrous sea animal before. She had heard of her mother befriending one when she was a child, but never in her wildest dreams would she ride one. The black seahorse came to her like an old friend. With her hands, she stroked the creatures' head. "She is beautiful."

"Her name is Daemon. And she will take you anywhere you wish." said Sea Fairy.

"But I cannot take her from you. You already helped me on my journey."

The creature shook her head, "It is my life to help those who need it. Someday, I know you will return my favor. Until then, please take Daemon with you."

Melody patted once more the magnificent creature and sat on its back. "I cannot thank you enough, Sea Fairy."

"One more thing, Princess. When you find the doors to the Kingdom, you must speak these words correctly, 'doras oscailte'. "

Melody repeated the words. And with a final approval by the Sea Fairy, she and Daemon headed towards the North.

The Sea Fairy watched the little mermaid swim farther and farther away, until she could no longer see her. With a malevolence laugh, she changed back to herself. Merella, the new Sea Witch of the Seven Seas.

"Hurry, Melody. Find her, and when you do. I will be there to destroy both of you."

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He watched in horror at the sight in front of him. Melody! Run, stay away from the creature. But it was too late, as the Beast in front of the young Princess snarled and with one swift move attacked her. "NO!!" his mind screamed, "This cannot be happening..no.." The Beast snarled once again and looked directly into his eyes. A purple cape covered the limp figure of the Princess.

The monster moved close to him, his breath touching lightly his skin. "You were late! Too late! She is gone! You can never have her back." the creature said. "Now.. It is your turn.. Your turn for the curse.." And with that the monster became ready to pounce on him.

Daniel's body shot up from the bed and his breathing escalated in a faster state. He closed his eyes and swallowed hard, "Another nightmare. It was just another nightmare."

He stood up from the bed, opened the door and headed towards the deck. Not even hungry, he did not bother to enter the dinning hall. The wind greeted his strong features. Glancing towards the open sea, he hoped and prayed that she was alive. He would find her, he vowed his soul to that. He would find her and bring her home.

"Melody. Where are you?" he asked to the sea. There was no reply.

He opened the map once more, he had studied it countless hours during the first three days. Now, the dawn of the fourth made him uneasy. She was heading North. But where? And why? Millions of questions floated in his head, and he had no answers to any of them.

Another thought pinched his mind, Sea creatures, mermaids..could all this be connected? The book had described the various species of Mermaids. And to his new knowledge there was only one northern area where they could be found, Ireland and Scotland. Daniel was almost positive that Melody was heading towards that way. But why? Before another question entered his mind, he heard a cry from above.

Glancing towards the bright blue sky, a white bird glided towards him. He ducked, as the flying creature crashed on the deck. "Arrrk!"

He stared down at the poor tired animal. Realizing that the sea gull had flown for several days with no rest.

"How did they find me?" he asked bewildered.

Taking a step forward, he bend down and took the parchment that was being tightly held by the bird. Opening it up, his face became white,

Daniel,

I only pray that this letter comes to you. We only received word about your disappearances and right now we all are extremely worried. This better not be another of your wild practical jokes. Like last years charade. Remember? You had Melody kidnapped and hidden in the caverns with a ransom note from the deadly pirate. 'You will not see your daughter again unless you leave at the caverns entrance one thousand books.' Now, tell me..how did we know that was you? What kind of pirate would ask for books instead of gold and jewels? An insane one I gather. AND if this is truly one of your famous ideas, believe me..both of you will receive the most longest lecture in the world. Several weeks worth I think. I only pray that Melody is safe and so are you. We are both on the way to the Castle, with a little help from a sea creature support. I am writing to you from a sea chariot that is being pulled by two and may I say, very large two blue whales. We will reach the Kingdom by nightfall. Both Eric and Ariel are anxious for any new developments. Please, Daniel..come home safe. Bring Melody home safe with you. I love you.

Mother.

PS, Grandfather Maurice gives his love and support. But is telling this second, if he sees you..there will be several new bumps on your head from his cane. He is doing quite well..only if he now can stop all of that talk--oh oh! I better leave it at that, your dear grandfather just set fire to the chariot with one of his new inventions!

Daniel reread the letter once more. They thought all this was a joke! His joke! Did she just say they were on a sea chariot, pulled by two whales? Taking the parchment and flipping it over he hastily wrote,

Mother,

This is no joke. Somehow Melody disappeared during the night three nights ago. I found a parchment on the shore, that showed the North sea. I am heading towards Ireland. Please inform Melody's parents that I will do everything in my power to return her safe and sound. Trust me mother when I say, I wish this was one of my ideas, but it is not. I will send word immediately when I find her. I love you both.

Daniel.

Tying the letter back on the seagull, Daniel asked the poor exhausted bird to bring the letter back to the Palace and into his mother's hands. With an "Arrrk!" the bird, spread its wings and headed towards the south.

He looked once more to the wild sea, "I will I find you."