Chapter Three: Arrival of Seira
The six little mermaids swam as fast as they could out of the wrecked throne room, their mothers staring in shock at them, and then swimming after them. "Wait!" cried Coco. "Where are you going?"
"Stop right there, girls!" shouted Hannon.
Lina sped up and managed to grab hold of her daughter, Ame. "Stop, Ame! It's dangerous!"
But Ame squirmed free of her mom's grasp and managed to catch up with the others. "Wait for me, you guys!"
"Keep up pace with me, we can't let our mom's catch us!" Shinju knew the palace better than any of the first generation of Mermaid Princesses, other than her mom of course, because she lived there. The little mermaids stayed close to Shinju, and she led them out faster than their mothers could follow them. They wound up in a large, empty under-water cavern with an opening far up at the top that lead to the surface. Here, they would find safety and solitude.
"Why are we running…sorry, let me rephrase that. Why are we swimming away from our moms? And weren't we going to find your dad?" asked Nami, Noel's daughter.
"That's jut going to have to wait. And we're fleeing because," Shinju panted. "Those aren't our moms…or at least one of them isn't."
The other mermaids gaped at her. "What do you mean they're not our moms?" asked Mizu. "They looked exactly like them. They even had the same voices."
"Didn't you notice something strange about them?" replied Shinju.
"No…not really…" said Ame.
"They were all wearing their pendants!"
"What's so strange about that?" retorted Hitode.
"Simple, really. Umi's mom gave her pendant to her, right?"
"Right," answered Umi.
"She was still wearing her yellow pendant. Even though you're wearing it right now!"
Umi squealed a little with fright. "What are we going to do?"
"We're going to go back out and question them, that's what!"
"But wait, you guys, what if only Umi's mom is the imposter?" said Hitode. "We'd probably all get in really big trouble. And what if Umi's mom isn't really an imposter at all?"
"Do you trust me?"
"Then on the count of five, we attack. You got me?"
"Yeah, but…" started Nami.
"Five!" cried Shinju.
"Wait, aren't we rushing this a bit?" asked Mizu.
"Hold on a sec!" pleaded Hitode.
"Get ready guys," breathed Ame.
"Stay calm, everyone…" said Umi quietly.
"One! Go!" And with that, the six little mermaid princesses swam out from their hiding place, and right into the fray of the five older mermaid princesses. The little ones pulled their mothers out of the way, singling out Coco. They hadn't resorted to violence just yet. "What did you do with the real Coco?" pleaded Shinju.
"What are you talking about?" asked Coco.
"Don't play dumb! You're wearing your pendant! When we all know perfectly well that you gave your pendant to Umi!"
"I did no such thing!" and then Coco turned to Umi. She saw the pendant, and fear spread across her entire face. "Where did you get that?"
"Mama, you gave it to me…" Umi practically whispered; her eyes filled with frightened tears.
"Umi, I want you to open it, do you understand me? Please, open it!"
"Yes, mama…" and then Umi proceeded to open the locket. When she did, she discovered that it was not a yellow pearl that was inside of it, but a black one. The room was filled with a terrible shrieking.
When Coco saw what was inside, she called out, "Close it!" but it was too late, and the spell had already come into effect. The six pendants that were in the room, other than the one around Umi's neck, started to glow white. Then the black pearl shattered into thousands of fragments, and the other pendants stopped glowing.
"What just happened?" asked Mizu.
Shinju opened her pendant to find that her pearl was gone. "Mama's pearl is gone!" she shrieked at the top of her lungs.
The older mermaids opened their pendants, only to stare in horror at what they were seeing – or rather, what they weren't seeing. All of the pearls had vanished.
An evil cackling laugh then filled the hall. "Ha-ha-ha! You fools fell for it! You really thought that your own mothers were the imposters?" Then a mermaid who looked exactly like Coco swam through the hole in the ceiling.
"She must have been the one who gave me the pendant!" said Umi.
"Oh, poor babies. Now you have no way to defend yourself!" The imposter put on a devilish grin. "Too bad, so sad! I suppose I'll just get rid of you the easy way then!" The imposter raised her arms up, and as she laughed, she started to change her form. When she had finally finished the transformation, Shinju noticed that it was one of the two shark-ladies from before.
"It's you!" cried Shinju.
"Oh, so you remember me from this morning, eh? I kind of like you, kid. It's too bad that I've got to dispose of you!" and then she started to build up a ball of energy. Just as she was about to blast it at the eleven mermaids, a voice rang out.
"Stop right there, you monster!" It was Seira, come to the rescue. "Orange Pearl Voice!" she cried. In moments, she changed into her songstress form.
"How come your pearl did not vanish along with the others?!" shrieked the shark-lady.
"Oh, were you planning on getting rid of all of us at once? I'm sorry! I guess your spell was out of range! Now, for hurting my friends prepare to feel my wrath!" Seira reached up into the air, and her microphone materialized in her hand. "Nanairo no kaze ni fukarete!" she sang furiously.
"No, not again!" cried the shark-lady.
"Tooi misaki wo mezashiteta! Yoake mae kikoeta melody! Sore wa totemo natsukashii uta!"
The villainess could bear it no longer, and she let her energy ball dissipate as she swam back out to where she had come from. "Don't think you've seen the last of me! I'll be back!"
"Such classic bad-guy lines. Can't you come up with something a little more creative?" Seira called to her as she watched her swim away.