SECOND THOUGHTS

I wanted to try my hand again at another non-Narnia story. While I was thinking about "The Little Mermaid", the scene where Triton is worried sick about Ariel after she goes away and becomes human came to mind. I always liked that scene, despite the sadness of it, so I decided to give it a little extension, re-tell it my way.

It's a pretty tear-jerking snippet, but those of you who are familiar with the movie know how it all turns out in the end.


Characters © Disney

Story © unicorn-skydancer08

All rights reserved.


Night had descended once again upon the underwater kingdom of Atlantica. All had fallen into deep blue and violet shadow, and all was quiet and serene…or ought to have been, anyway. Rather than sleep, dreaming sweet and pleasant dreams, the merpeople of Atlantica, along with the many strange and unusual creatures of the sea, were frantically searching the ocean, far and wide, trying vainly to locate the whereabouts of Ariel; better known as Princess Ariel, the youngest and most beloved daughter of King Triton himself.

No one had seen the little redhaired mermaid since earlier that morning, and though they searched every imaginable hiding place in the sea, though they gave the search nothing short of their very best efforts, their beloved if somewhat peculiar princess was nowhere to be found.

Ariel was known for being reckless and spontaneous, always swimming off in pursuit of adventure.

What was most eccentric about her was her unexplained fascination with humans, the creatures who dwelled in the world above the sea. Humans were most famous (or infamous, rather) for their hunt of fish. With the use of their enormous ships that glided over the sea like looming undersea beasts, with their so-called nets and hooks and harpoons, they would capture and ensnare as many fish as they could find. After that, they would cut the fish into pieces, smoke them, fry them, marinate them…and, in the end, eat them.

All of this made perfect sense to the humans, but it was a most gruesome and horrific procedure in the eyes of the merpeople—as they were part fish themselves.

Yet in spite of the humans' seemingly barbaric tradition, Princess Ariel was intrigued by them, and wanted to learn everything she could about their world. In spite of King Triton's explicit orders for her to stay away from the surface, she visited the surface world quite often. Once, not so very long ago, she even saved a human from drowning when he was sailing on his ship and was hurled overboard during a terrible tempest. As if this didn't appall and outrage Triton enough, Ariel soon found herself falling head over fins in love with that very same human.

Triton would never have believed it, if Sebastian, the little sea crab who served as royal court composer (and Triton's personal ambassador), hadn't told him with his own lips.

Sebastian, who had been assigned to keep watch over Ariel when her antics began to be a bit too much and Triton grew increasingly frustrated and worried for her safety, had seen it all happen with his own eyes. But he hadn't reported the situation to the king straight away when they returned to the palace, as was his duty. Sebastian had meant to keep it all a secret; yet the secret proved to be too big and too grave to be kept hidden, and he had inadvertently blurted it all out when Triton summoned him into his private court for interrogation.

When Triton learned of his youngest daughter's dealings with their enemy, in defiance of him and all of the regulations he had so carefully established, he forced poor Sebastian to direct him to Ariel's personal grotto. And there, to further add on to the old sea king's disbelief and fury, he discovered that she kept a collection of assorted items from the human world in that very grotto…and quite a big collection, at that. And when Ariel protested that she loved the human when Triton chastised her for what she had done and went into a tirade about the cruelty and barbarity of all humans in general, that proved to be the final straw.

Triton came to the ultimate conclusion that he would have to get through to his daughter in the most serious, most drastic measure possible; and so, with the use of his powerful trident, which gave him all his power and authority over the sea, the king destroyed everything there was to destroy in Ariel's grotto.

Not one bauble or knickknack was left in one piece, and when it was all over, Triton left Ariel alone in bitter tears.

All that had happened just this morning…and Triton hadn't seen or spoken to his daughter since.

Now, in the dark and quiet of the night, as Triton anxiously paced his lonely court, waiting to hear word of Ariel's circumstances, waiting to hear if she was safe, if she was all right, the old king was beginning to harbor second thoughts. It dawned on him that he may have acted too rashly that morning, treated his daughter far too unreasonably and unjustly, and he felt a sickening stab of guilt. He and Ariel had gone through many fights over the years, some squabbles more serious than others…but this time, it looked like they may have very well crossed the line; gone off the deep end, so to speak.

It may very well be entirely his fault that his daughter was gone.

Triton paused for a time at one of the portholes of his castle, bowing his head and closing his eyes briefly in earnest.

Oh, he inwardly groaned, if anything ever happened to Ariel, if any harm had come to his poor child, he would never forgive himself. Never.

What he wouldn't give to see his sweet, precious Ariel again, to have her come back to him. He would gladly give up his throne, his entire kingdom, and everything else he had, if only to see her one last time; just so he could take her into his strong arms and embrace her, as he had used to do when she was but a small child…and tell her how much he loved her, how much she meant to him, how truly sorry he was for treating her the way he did, and plead for her forgiveness.

While Triton was immersed in these thoughts, a tiny seahorse that served as the king's messenger and bearer of news scurried up to him, to give him the latest report on their search efforts.

"Any sign of them?" Triton asked expectantly.

"No, Your Majesty." The seahorse looked and sounded just as disheartened as Triton himself felt, if not more so. "We searched everywhere. We found no trace of your daughter…or Sebastian."

As it turned out, Sebastian had mysteriously vanished himself, right along with Ariel. Wherever his daughter lurked at this time, Triton could only hope and pray that Sebastian was with her, and doing all that he could within his power to protect her from harm.

"Well, keep looking," said the king indomitably. "Leave no shell unturned, no coral unexplored. Let no one in this kingdom sleep, until she is safe at home."

Though the seahorse was obviously exhausted himself, and at the point of dropping, he merely closed his tired eyes and bowed his head in submission, and all he said was, "Yes, Sire."

Then he went quietly on his way, to pass on the king's orders to the rest.

When Triton was alone again, he sank down onto his throne in despair, which felt somehow harder and colder beneath him than before.

With his hands over his face, the sea king moaned into the void around him, "Oh, what have I done? What have I done?"