For actresses Jodi Benson & Sierra Boggess & their entire casts & crews, for making Ariel
one of Disney's most beloved characters in both the worlds of animation & on Broadway.
For singer Bruce Hornsby & actress-singer Miley Cyrus, both of whom share my birthday on November 23rd, albeit different years (Bruce Hornsby was born on that day in 1954; Miley Cyrus
in 1992; I was born in 1972. Even if I never meet them, they will always be my birthday buddies!).
To the loving memory of screwball comedian Buddy Hackett, who supplied the voice
of the character Scuttle in 'The Little Mermaid I & II' (Buddy Hackett had
passed away on June 30, 2003, presumably of diabetes. He was 78 years of age).
To the loving memory of John Rocco Roberto, a man who was a major force in setting up the
acclaimed 'G-Fan' magazine & G-FEST conventions with J.D. Lees, & who was a dear friend
of mine (John Rocco Roberto passed away on December 6, 2007 from cancer. He was only 45
years of age. Rest in peace, my friend: I'll never forget the good times we've shared in NYC).
And finally, to the loving memory of composer Akira Ifukube, a man whose Godzilla theme
has become as timeless as the theme to 'Jaws', along with many other Japanese tokusatsu
(special effects) movies (Akira Ifukube passed away on February 8, 2006 from multiple
organ failure. He was 91 years of age. He may be gone, but his music lives).
THE LITTLE MERMAID/GODZILLA:
A FRIEND IN NEED
2009 by Anthony Ogozalek
The Pacific Ocean:
The waves above the Earth's biggest body of water were calm & serene, with clear blue skies & a bright shining sun up above to match. Hardly anything more than a ripple disturbed its peaceful embrace surface-wise, even with the Japanese fishing boat—the Haruka-Maru—sailing atop its surface. The vessel measured one hundred yards from front to stern, with a crew of close to two hundred personnel currently on board. Massive cranes with nets attached moved constantly in a vertical-horizontal manner in catching & hauling their triumphs for shipment back to the Japan mainland. Each successful catch of fish (& other types of seafood delicacy) are put into large crates aboard the Haruka-Maru & kept fresh for the trip home, which should be really soon, according to the Captain of the vessel.
As the other crew members labor away at stowing away their latest triumph—a big school of Bass, & nets used for capturing crabs & lobsters—into the vast containers awaiting them, the Captain & his First Mate stare at both the gauges spread across the main controls in front of them & out the industrial-strength glass window that views the balmy waters of the Pacific. The Captain is a burly, well-built man at just above six feet in height in his captain's attire of dark blue jeans, black boots & white shirt. His (mostly) bald head was covered by a hat fitted for a captain, & had a nicely trimmed beard on his face. His First Mate was not as well-built as the Captain is, but he was no pushover either. He was dressed in almost the opposite to the Captain, having on blue boots, black jeans & shirt. He was a decade younger, & had a full crop of short black hair on top of his head.
Still looking out at the ocean, they start to share their thoughts with each other.
"It should be close to the time for us to head back home, Captain", said the First Mate. "We've been out here for nearly three months. I'm starting to think that the ocean is our home instead of Japan."
The Captain let out a hearty chuckle. "I understand how you feel, Wataru, believe me", he says, looking at him briefly. "But you heard what our superiors said: we're not allowed to come home until our replacement is ready to take over for us. Until then, the Pacific, along with our ship, is substituting for our living quarters. Don't worry, though: we've never been let down by them or any of the other fishing vessels before. Once they're ready to set sail, home will be all the much sweeter."
Wataru nods. "There's no place like it, as the old saying goes."
The Captain chuckles again. "How true that is, senpai. How true that is." He looks at Wataru with an eager expression on his face. "You're anxious to seeing her again, am I right?"
Wataru turns to him & smiles. "I'm not the only one who feels that way, Captain."
This time the Captain lets out a hearty guffaw. "Touche! Yes, I long for seeing the one I love very soon myself. It seems we both have a good reason for wanting to head back to Japan as soon as possible. It must be hard on them both for us to having to be out to sea for so long."
"Yes. Three months, give or take, is quite a time to be away from those we love so much."
The Captain nodded. "Yes, but lucky for us, they're very understanding women. They know that this is our job, & requires us to be away from the mainland for extended periods at a time."
"A good number of the other men feel the same way, Captain", Wataru adds. "They're just as eager to go home soon as we are, even if they hide that emotion rather well."
"You're right. They put their all into the work we do aboard this ship, & I praise them highly for it, but even I can tell they wish to be home in Japan with their loved ones. I don't blame them for feeling that way in the slightest."
Wataru stays silent for a moment before giving a response.
"Neither do I", he says softly.
Their touching conversation gets interrupted by a sudden noise—a bleep—from their radar at the main console. Instantly the Captain & Wataru turn their sights to it as the latter checks the readings.
"What is it, Wataru?", the Captain asks, becoming all business now.
The First Mate looks at the readings quickly before answering. "There's something coming at us from the west, Captain. Something big!"
The Captain inhaled as if frightened. "Any idea what it is?"
Wataru faced him briefly, shaking his head. "I can't tell yet, but it's about 500 yards away & closing in fast! And it's huge!"
The Captan's eyes go wide. He secretly feared that for being out here in the Pacific for close to three months, sooner or later they would have the unfortunate luck of running into him. He was sure that his First Mate, as well as the other crew members, would feel the same way. For all that time being aboard the Haruka-Maru, there was not one man who didn't discard the possibility of it. Worse, since theirs is a fishing vessel & not an armed one like the ones in the Japanese Self-Defense Force, they would have no chance of making it out alive if the worst should occur; all of their efforts would be for naught, & nobody would have the luxury of seeing their loved ones ever again.
All the Captain & Wataru can do is pray that he ignores the Haruka-Maru completely, but for some, that may be wishful thinking. He could sound the alarm now & get everyone to the lifeboats for safety before the inevitable happens, but being the level-headed man that he is, the Captain would rather wait & see if his presence really is what's heading toward them. He doesn't want to throw the whole crew into a mass panic if it turns out to be a false alarm. Sometimes, even in a spot like this, it's usually best to be positive in one's assumptions before acting out.
"It's now only 200 yards from us now, Captain, & it—just a moment", Wataru announced.
"What is it, Wataru?", the Captain asked anxiously. "Are we in danger of any kind? Should I sound the alarm?"
Wataru looked up at the Captain & smiled. "No need, sir. It's only a blue whale, & though it's heading our way, it'll pass us to our left at a safe distance of 75 feet. In fact, it's about to surface as it passes us! Let's see it!"
Now it's the Captain who smiles. "That would be a most glorious sight to see, Wataru! I'd love to watch it as it passes!"
Neither man had to wait: a huge splash of white erupted on the surface of the ocean as it officially breaks the calm of the water. Out from below to their left as Wataru predicted, a blue whale raises its enormous head with its baleen between its upper & lower jaws. Like the Haruka-Maru itself, it bobs up & down as it swims past the fishing vessel. Even if its movements cause it literally to 'rock the boat' & splash large chunks of water on the deck, the Captain, Wataru, & even the other crew members glare happily at the huge but beautiful creature, pointing fascinatingly at it, shouting cheers just for being witness to the largest living animal alive—larger even than any dinosaur that ever existed during the Mesozoic Era.
A creature this magnificent had to be photographed, & several of the crew took out cameras which were waterproof & began snapping shot after shot, eager to show their loved ones back home the spectacular sight now before them.
From the safety of the bridge, the Captain & Wataru look & grin from ear to ear at each other.
"Something to tell the missus back home, eh?", said the Captain, breaking out a triumphant laugh.
"Yes it is!", said Wataru. "I've never seen a live one up until now, let alone this close!"
The First Mate joins in with the Captain with a laugh of his own, taking his friend's hand & embracing in a mighty shake, happy with seeing a magnificent animal.
But they were more happy that the Haruka-Maru won't be encountering him.
Sometimes, wishful thinking was all that one needed.
As the crew of the Haruka-Maru continues to embrace the appearance of the passing blue whale, deep down in the cold, inhabited waters of the Pacific, there lives another leviathan which many in the world are aware of, but unlike the blue whale, this beast provokes a high intensity of trepidation & mass hysteria wherever it goes. Back in the year of 1954, it appeared for the first time in two places: the first was on Odo Island, a resort inhabited by peaceful but superstitious islanders, & the second was in the grand city of Tokyo, Japan, where this behemoth had wreaked unimaginable havoc & destruction where it went, destroying popular landmarks such as the Diet Building & causing the deaths & injuries of thousands. It was finally halted in its reign of terror by a brilliant but consciencely-tormented scientist who unwillingly created a device that destroys oxygen in water. He was reluctant to use it at first (for very good reason), but after witnessing the destruction the creature caused & hearing the pleas of children through song, he had agreed to do so, but with a catch: it would be the first & only time he would allow it to be used. To mark his vow, the scientist—after setting the device on the bottom of Tokyo Bay with the help of a friend & activating it—had severed the lines to his diving suit & died along with the beast. When all was said & done, both man & monster were nothing but a skeleton.
It was victory, but at a price.
But the terror of this creature was to return; twelve years after its first appearance in Japan's capital city, another of its species reappeared & began terrorizing the country anew, attacking the nation's other cities: Osaka, Kyoto, Kagoshima, & so forth. The Japanese Self-Defense Forces have done their absolute best to try & destroy the creature as they had done in 1954, but all it resulted in was the deaths of many good men & women, despite the advances of their weaponry.
Now, that aforementioned creature rests comfortably & peacefully on the ocean floor's bottom, sleeping on its belly. The thing was bipedal, sprouting four toes on each foot, with sharp claws. Its four-fingered hands also had a sharp claw ending each finger, & its skin was rugged & bumpy, like a mountain's surface, with a deep, dark hue of green, almost resembling the color of charcoal. On its back & long tail, pointed purple spines protruded in three rows, with the largest ones being from its back & the beginning of its tail. Its head & mandibles were that of a carnivorous dinosaur's, the latter being filled with large sharp teeth. When awake, it would stand at a whopping 55 meters tall & 122.5 meters long from nose to tail, if not more.
On Odo Island, followed by Japan itself, the people have called the creature 'Gojira', based on an Odo Island legend.
But for the whole world over, it was officially proclaimed 'Godzilla', & that was the name it had been stuck with by people, regardless of their mother tongue.
Fortunately for everyone, Godzilla was enjoying a relaxing slumber on the Pacific's bottom & would most likely remain that way for some time, resting completely in seclusion & solitude.
Nothing would go near him, not even the largest and/or deadliest of sea creatures.
Godzilla, with his eyes closed shut in deep sleep, doesn't even acknowledge a slight shift on the ocean floor where he lays at. A crack on the bottom starts to split with a low rumble just south of the giant saurian's position & begins to widen, the crack heading straight for him.
The King of the Monsters doesn't even bat an eye, let alone open either one, as the crack on the bottom now goes underneath him & begins to widen. Soon, it becomes wide enough to swallow him whole, & Godzilla starts to plummet down into the newly formed chasm, floating downward into what appears to be a bright yellow light almost as shiny as the sun itself on a clear day. Godzilla sinks like a stone towards this strange light, threatening to engulf him with it. In mere moments, he makes contact with this phenomenon, & a shimmering glow does indeed engulf him completely, bathing him with the eerie light.
Then, as suddenly as it began, the bright yellow light disappears from view, taking Godzilla with it, & the split on the ocean floor begins to close shut with a rumble of rock.
Godzilla remains asleep the entire time.
The Pacific Ocean:
Still in his deep slumber, Godzilla floats along beneath the waves of the water which is his home. He neither sees nor feels the light/aura of the bright yellow light that surrounded him for a brief but spectacular time before dissipating completely. Even if he had, the Monster King would not know the significance or purpose of it. All he knows right now is the things he currently has wandering in his mind from his past: the cities the humans have built he has quite constantly attacked & ruined astronomically, the attacks made on him, either by the human's machinery or by the countless other monsters he's faced & defeated, ranging from an alien with the same kind of regenerative abilities he has to a giant dragonfly that temporarily stole his ability to fire a ray of radioactive fire. As before, all things swimming in the same area as he make way in order to avoid colliding with the large saurian.
They also swim away in fear of him.
Only when a sperm whale & its mate swim past the creature's head does Godzilla finally open his eyes a crack. Instantly he senses something wrong with his surroundings, despite being in the comfort of the ocean. But Godzilla doesn't have any time to ponder his situation: unbeknownst to his right, a round amulet the size & shape of a hockey puck with a circle design of inward teeth on both sides & a rope attached to it starts to glow a luminous orange. Its shine catches Godzilla's attention, & he begins to growl in annoyance, for he does not appreciate his sleep being rudely disturbed. Before he can even think of responding in kind, the amulet erupts in a bright shine of power, engulfing the Monster King once again in light, one he is now aware of being bathed in.
It was the last thing Godzilla sees, as his vision suddenly goes dark & he falls into a deep sleep once more, hitting the ocean bottom with a thud.
A quaint fairytale village:
A bright sun towered in the sky above, bathing the village below in light & warmth, clearly reflecting the inhabitant's moods & feelings. People of all cultures walk here & there, nodding a friendly hello to everyone they pass. A young lad in blue jeans, shoes, & white t-shirt sells papers as he holds one in his hand & carries a satchel over his shoulder, announcing the events printed on his stash. A middle-aged woman sells fresh fruit at a stand on a street, not far from where the boy is selling his papers. At a tavern, several customers were getting thrown out for being there all last night, drinking themselves stupid. Most head for home, but a few decide to get acquainted with some of the early morning women they see walking toward & past them. Their rewards are a rebuke, for their efforts get them only slaps in the face & cold rejection as the ladies storm off to escape their witless charm (& overpowering stench of alcohol on their breaths & clothing!).
Defeated (again!), the men decide to call it a day & join their friends in going home.
One couldn't ask for a more typical day in this peaceful town—a beloved area with people who are quite hospitable, & are willing to lend a hand if one needed it bad enough.
It was a place anyone couldn't be more happier to be alive in, including one Prince Eric, a man who lives in the palace located at the shore. Eric was a handsome prince of a man, having a magnificent set of jet black hair on his head & the bluest of eyes on any man. Even dressed in a simple attire of blue jeans, black boots, red belt, & white shirt, he looked like every girl's dream come true. It was no wonder as to why the woman by his side fell head over heels in love with him at first sight. She was slightly shorter than Eric, wearing an outfit in three different shades of blue—the midsection being the darkest, the sleeves being the lightest, with the skirt part being in between. Blue heeled shoes covered her feet, & she had the most deliciously crop of long, lovely red hair, with a light blue bow tied in the rear. Her eyes more or less matched Eric's own, & her lips were a beautiful shade of pink. She was none other than Prince Eric's wife Ariel, a one-time mermaid princess who once lived in the undersea kingdom of Atlantica ruled by her father, King Triton, of the merpeople.
Ariel was the youngest of seven sisters whom she onced lived with in Atlantica—their names being Attina, Aquata, Andrina, Adella, Alana, & Arista. Unlike them, Ariel had always been most fascinated by the world above the ocean surface, a trait her people, let alone her father, have never shared. While Triton feared that Atlantica would be destroyed by humans should they by chance discover their location, Ariel felt differently, & that there was good in all living things, no matter where they inhabited. Her curiosity often got her into trouble with her siblings, & most notably her father, but with each discovery of another human thing, it only made her more curious than ever. More than once, she's had an adventure which involved being to the surface, coming in close contact with humans but remaining (mostly) out of sight. During her time living under the sea, quite possibly the only one who shared her curiosity & fascination with all things human was Archimedes, a merman who became an expert on the merpeople's most feared enemies. But unlike the red-haired mermaid, Archimedes had been cast out on his own because of his addiction to human things & the knowledge he possessed of them, forced to live as a hermit crab. Only Ariel had the nerve to go & see him, being a kindred spirit & all.
Then one day, she saw Prince Eric on his ship at sea during his eighteenth birthday party, & Ariel knew she had found the love of her life, human or no. After being knocked unconscious by a beam when his ship caught fire, Ariel came to his aide & pulled him safely to shore. She vanishes into the sea, but not before Eric catches a bref glimpse of her face & listens to a portion of her heavenly voice, vowing to find who it belonged to.
Sebastian, King Triton's right-hand red crustacean advisor, witnessed Ariel's flirting with the young prince & later tries to persuade her that life under the sea is better than the world on the surface. When he sings a catchy number called 'Under the Sea', Ariel's longtime friend & guppy Flounder (a yellow fish with blue stripes on his back) presents her with a statue of Prince Eric that had sunk when the rest of his ship did at her secret grotto where she kept all of her human treasures she's found over the years. Unfortunately, a slip of the tongue from Sebastian had a very furious King Triton find her hidden grotto. Upon learning her hidden treasures & the fact that Ariel had saved a human from drowning, Triton unleashed the power of his three-prong & pointed trident, unleashing bolts of lightning that destroys her treasures & the statue of Prince Eric himself. Her prize possessions wiped out, Ariel breaks down & cries, leaving Triton filled with sorrow & regret for blowing up to his youngest daughter.
Upon seeing the mermaid's predicament, the Sea Witch Ursula (a lavender-skinned hybrid of a human & octopus) invites Ariel to her lair by invitation, courtesy of Flotsam & Jetsam, twin messenger eels to Ursula. She tells Ariel that she can make her a human for three days in order for her to be with him in exchange for her voice. The only catch was this: she had to make Prince Eric fall in love with her before the sun sets on the third day. If she didn't, Ariel would belong to Ursula forever as a lowly polyp—a green fungus-like creature, smaller than even Sebastian is.
All went well for the first two days: despite being unable to speak, Ariel got invited to Eric's palace. There she met French chef Louis, kindly housemaid Carlotta, & elderly Grimsby, Prince Eric's servant & tutor since his days as a lad. On the second day, Eric & Ariel went on a boat ride through the swamp, & with Sebastian's help, the mood was created for the two young people to get acquainted with each other romantically. They would've succeeded then & there, were it not for the intervention of Flotsam & Jetsam. Realizing that had been too close a call, Ursula decided to take matters into her own hands by transforming herself into a resemblance of Ariel, place him under a spell, & have the Prince marry her instead. Her plot was foiled by seagull Scuttle, who saw through her disguise & prevented the wedding from taking place.
But Eric & Ariel weren't out of the woods just yet. Even by recovering her lost voice, Ariel was too late to have Eric kiss her before the sun set on the final day. Ursula & Ariel transformed to their true selves, with the former escaping with the latter beneath the waves. With Sebastian's help, King Triton was able to get to Ursula in time, but he could not break the deal Ariel had made with the Sea Witch three days previous, even with the power of the trident. Not wanting to see his youngest child turned into a polyp, Triton agreed to hand Ursula the trident over to her & spare Ariel her life. Triton received the polyp treatment himself, & Ursula gained possession of the power of the trident, enabling her to rule the entire seven seas & its inhabitants. In the ensuing battle that followed, Flotsam & Jetsam got evaporated accidentally by the Sea Witch herself after a misdirected bolt from the trident, due to Ariel's intervention. Furious, Ursula grew to giant-sized proportions & tried to eradicate Ariel. She was brought down for good when Eric rammed his ship into her gut with a sharp piece of broken wooden mast. With the Sea Witch defeated, all the polyps began transforming back to their original merman/mermaid selves, including King Triton as he regains his crown & trident.
Seeing just how much Ariel really loves Eric (& owing a debt of eternal gratitude to the human who brought Ursula down for good), Triton used the trident's power to turn Ariel into a human permanently, even though he will miss her greatly beneath the waves.
The rest, as they say, is history.
But it was just the beginning for both: shortly after they wed on the open sea, Eric & Ariel welcomed a new member of their family—Melody, a beautiful baby girl born with black hair & blue eyes, traits she inherited from her parents. Returning to sea on Eric's ship, they met with King Triton & the merpeople to rejoice together of Melody's birth, a child born of land and sea. Triton presents his granddaughter with a golden shell-shaped locket, reminding Melody that while she was born on land, part of her world will belong to the sea.
The celebration turned to terror when Morgana (Ursula's slimmer sibling & olive-green in color) & Undertow (a dark pink-skinned & black-striped man-eating shark) crashed the party & attempted to kidnap young Melody. Only by the quick thinking of Ariel, Eric, & King Triton was Melody spared a grisly demise: Morgana escaped with a miniature Undertow (who was made that way by the power of the trident!), but the threat of Ursula's vengeful sister still loomed. Because of the danger she & Undertow presented to her, Ariel made the heart-wrenching decision to keep her daughter's mermaid heritage a secret, & that meant not having her know about Atlantica, the merpeople, or even Triton himself. Understanding but severely heartbroken, Triton swam off for home, tossing Melody's locket into the sea & ordering Sebastian to look after her.
For the next twelve years, a wall was erected to ensure Melody's safety from Morgana but it didn't stop a curious twelve-year-old from secretly venturing out into the open sea. Collecting sea treasures from the ocean floor, Melody discovers a golden locket with her name on it (the same one King Triton was going to give her). When Ariel finds out that her daughter has entered the ocean against her & Eric's orders, she becomes none too pleased. But neither did Melody: after her twelfth birthday party had become a disaster (due to Sebastian's involvement & the kids all believing her to be a bit too weird for their tastes), Melody sets off into the ocean to find out why the gold locket she found has her name on it & what it means.
It was the perfect opportunity for Morgana & Undertow. After twelve years of seclusion in a frozen hideout, Ursula's sister has been keeping a watchful eye on Ariel & Eric's daughter (& concocting spell after spell to return Undertow to his original size, all ending in failure). With the aide of Cloak & Dagger (Morgana's two trusty manta rays who echo Ursula's Flotsam & Jetsam), Undertow locates Melody & convinces her that Morgana can help figure out the puzzle to the locket. Morgana tells Melody that her destiny resides within it, & that she belongs to the world of Atlantica, where merpeople dwell. Using a drop of magic liquid from one of Ursula's bottles, she transforms Melody into a mermaid, her legs being replaced by an oversized flipper. Melody gets overcome with joy, but Morgana informs her that the spell is only temporary, & that the only way for her to stay a mermaid is to retrieve a magic trident—King Triton's—and bring it to her. Not knowing that Triton is really her grandfather, Melody agrees to the task.
Befriending a penguin & walrus named Tip & Dash—the so-called adventurers-slash-explorers—Melody heads off to Atlantica to retrieve what was 'stolen' from Morgana.
Meanwhile, Eric & Ariel begin the search for their daughter on land & in the waters. Being magically converted into a mermaid once more by her father, Ariel travels every possible place Melody might be at, guilt-stricken for hiding her heritage for a dozen years. Finally locating her daughter (after her heist of her father's trident) & successfully finding Morgana's icy lair, it was then when Melody discovered the awful truth after willfully handing her 'friend' Morgana the trident: her heritage was kept confidential in order to be protected from the Sea Witch's vengeful sister herself! Melody couldn't believe she had been duped & double-crossed, & it was going to cost her. She got thrown into an icy prison with a fully-grown (& father) Flounder & her mother being taken hostage. Worse, the spell that Morgana cast upon Melody & had turned her into a mermaid wore off, leaving her totally underwater with no way to breathe.
With the full power of the trident in her possession, Morgana wasted no time in displaying her superiority. She returns Undertow to normal size, & forces all those with fins to bow down to her. Melody, trapped in her underwater prison with Flounder, desperately tries to break out, but it does her no good. Just when all hope seemed lost, she manages to escape when Undertow (chasing a terrified Tip & Dash) is sent through the ice which kept her captive. Being risen to the surface by Dash, she sees the horror of Morgana's reign & climbs to the top of an ice tower & confronts Morgana. After a brief but eerie struggle, Melody manages to get ahold of the trident & tosses it to its rightful owner, King Triton. Furious at Morgana for daring to threaten the life of his only grandchild, the King of the Sea entombs Ursula's sibling in a thick block of ice to the depths below, her ice palace demolished.
Having been sorry more than words can ever express, Melody had been given a choice by her grandfather: either come live as a mermaid in Atlantica, or remain with her parents on land.
Melody had a third (& better) option in mind: with the trident in her hands, she uses its power to dissolve the wall that stood for twelve years, enabling both inhabitants from the land & sea to come together in harmony.
Six months have passed since Morgana's defeat: Undertow, Cloak & Dagger had all been hauled away by the authorities of the sea, putting him with some of the ocean's most vile & notorious, Tip & Dash have been welcomed by Atlantica & made honorary members due to their bravery during the crisis, & Eric, Ariel, & Melody have enjoyed their life on land even more so now that Morgana was no longer a grave concern, not having to worry about setting foot in the water & expecting danger from Ursula's sibling.
But that didn't mean that Melody was happy all the time: six months is quite a lot of time, & for the last three, for reasons unknown, Melody has been feeling more than a little down in the dumps, even though she does enjoy being in the company of her parents.
What it is, she couldn't say.
"Mom, Dad, do we really have to do this?", she asks with a sigh.
Eric & Ariel stop in their tracks & turn to Melody.
"What do you mean, Melody?", asks Eric with a grin. "You know that Frederick always comes to visit us this time of the year. I wish it could be more often, but because of his duties to the government of London, he hasn't got a lot of time to himself. He & I go back a long way."
"Besides", Ariel chimed in, "you enjoy being with his three kids, & his wife, Isabella, has always been most fond of you. They'll all be most happy to see you again once they arrive, & at how much you've grown since last time. Don't you think so?"
"Well, yeah…of course", Melody says, slightly embarrassed. "It's just that, well…I-I guess if it'll…"
Melody couldn't go on with her sentence, but Ariel knew what she meant. She kneels down & takes her daughter's head gently in her hands.
"You miss Tip & Dash a lot, don't you?", she asks softly.
"They're not the only ones, Mom", Melody said. "It's grandpa & all the rest. I haven't seen or heard from any of them since…"
"Since Morgana was defeated? Sweetie, I miss them all as much as you do, believe me. But don't you remember? You were the one who decided to remain human & live with us, & Eric & I were most happy you made that decision."
"That's right, Melody", Eric said, lowering down on one knee. "Even though half of your world belongs to the sea, it would've been torture for your mother & I if you'd left us to live in Atlantica. We simply wouldn't have been able to bear it."
"But Dad", Melody said, "I brought down that wall so that both ofour kingdoms could live together."
"And we are, sweetie", said Ariel. "But try to understand that Atlantica is living its own life just as we are now. I know my father & everyone else there is taking great comfort in that. Won't you do the same?"
Melody looks at the faces of her parents, which are clearly full of love in all aspects, & their compassionate expressions tells all.
"I…I suppose I can", Melody said with a small smile.
The ones on Eric & Ariel, however, were anything but small.
"That's our girl!", said a proud Eric, taking his child in his arms. "I knew we raised you to be understanding!"
Ariel giggles briefly. "That she inherited from me, among other traits I'd rather not mention at the moment."
Now it was Melody's turn to giggle, her melancholy mood lifted & joins her mother.
"Okay you two fish-out-of-water", Eric interjects, letting go of his daughter. "Before we get a little too crazy, don't forget we need to pick up some supplies for a fancy dinner for which I intend to throw for Frederick & his family when they arrive."
That's when the three heard a short scream from a little girl just over half Melody's own height, followed by her saying a name.
Eric, Ariel, & Melody turn to the source & see the aforementioned girl dressed in a yellow dress & shoes looking up a tree where a small orange cat—a kitten, no doubt—has gotten itself in it with no way down.
Melody was off like a shot.
"Melody!", Eric & Ariel said, following her.
"What happened?", Melody asked the little girl as she arrived & a crowd has gathered.
"My cat Muffin", the girl said with tears in her eyes, pointing up. "I was taking a walk with my cat, when all of a sudden she just took off & went up that tree."
"How often does this happen?"
"Quite often, & calling her name doesn't do anything. Once she gets stuck up someplace, you gotta go up & bring her down."
Melody looks up at the kitten still curled up on a branch, afraid to even move except meow softly, indicating its fear. The daughter of Eric & Ariel didn't give it a second thought.
She turns to the child. "My name's Melody. What's yours?"
"Sandy", she says.
"Don't worry, Sandy. I'll bring your cat down for you", Melody said, already started climbing up the tree.
"Oh thank you, Melody!"
Seeing his daughter up the tree a good distance, Eric issues a word of caution.
"Please be careful up there, honey!", he says, as he & Ariel gather around with the rest of the onlooking crowd.
"Don't worry, Dad", Melody said, not slowing her ascend. "I always am."
Despite her promising words, Eric still can't help but to worry, a feeling shared completely by Ariel. Like the former mermaid princess, Melody was always headstrong & independent, a trait she more than shares with her mother, for Ariel had been the same during her time as a mermaid living under the sea. Whenever someone or something was in trouble, Ariel would give her all to do whatever she could to get them out, regardless of the consequences that at times came with her actions. Seeing her daughter attempt a bold rescue like this makes Ariel see a younger version of herself in Melody.
Then again, like mother like daughter.
"Don't worry, Muffin", Melody said in a soothing tone to put the animal at ease as she is now just within arm's reach of it. "I'm here to help you get down from here. All you need to do is just…"
That's when the branch she was standing on to reach Muffin abruptly snapped from her weight, & Melody began plummeting to the ground quicker than anyone can run up & catch her.
Including her parents.
"Melody!", Eric & Ariel cried as they watched helplessly as their daughter fell from a height of twenty feet. Unable to grab ahold of any branches to stop herself, Melody watches the ground rush up to meet her.
Before she knew it, she hit her head hard, & her vision became a quick flash of white before becoming all black.
She can't even hear her parents rushing towards her & calling out her name, let alone feel herself being lifted off the ground.
Melody has no idea how long she had been out for:when she awoke, she saw that she was in her bedroom at the palace. At first her vision & hearing was a blur, but slowly it started coming back into focus. As she lay beneath the covers, Melody saw nearly everyone by her side around her bed. Eric & Ariel, of course, were the first two on her left. Looking past, she saw Grimsby, then Carlotta & Chef Louis, followed by elderly Hansel, a man with a white mustache & hair who has been Melody's doctor since she was born. To his left he saw a man & woman accompanied by a trio of kids around her age. She remembers that the man dressed in white from head to toe with brown hair is Frederick, & the woman in a turquoise dress & head of auburn hair is his wife Isabella. Their three kids (two girls & a boy) she remembers as twins Marlene & Charlene, & the boy is Christian. The twins each wore black dresses & had a beautiful head of golden hair, while Christian wore very dark green pants & a shirt in a lighter shade of the same color, having a head of golden hair like the twins, but much shorter. Max, Eric's faithful white & gray haired shaggy dog since childhood, sits behind his master with as much concern as anyone else for Melody's well-being.
As she tried to sit up in bed, Hansel breaks the silence.
"How are you feeling, child?", he asks her.
"All right, I guess", said Melody, rubbing the back of her head. "How long was I out for?"
"Couple of hours."
That long?, Melody says to herself. It felt more like days than hours to me!
"Melody, child, do you remember what happened?", Grimsby asks.
Even though her head was a tad fuzzy, she does recall events leading up to her being in bed.
"The cat…Muffin!", Melody said. "Did she get out of the tree safely?"
"Don't worry, honey, she's safe", Eric assures her. "Would you believe Muffin came down from the tree all on her own & into Sandy's arms?"
"That's right. I guess seeing what happened to you back there gave her the courage to get down herself. Imagine that, huh?"
Ariel lets out a breath of a laugh, smiling. "Sometimes when animals see bravery in other living things, it gives them courage themselves. But the most important thing is that you're safe & okay."
"Yeah, you're right, Mom", Melody says, turning to Frederick. "How long have you & your family been here, Frederick?"
"Not too long after your little accident, Melody", he said. "My wife & kids were all just as worried about you as everyone else. Glad to see you're now up & about."
"Thanks. I'm just sorry this had to happen on the day of your arrival. Some princess I turned out to be, huh?"
"Nonsense, child", said Isabella. "This sort of thing can happen to anyone—even a princess at that, so you have nothing to apologize for."
"All things considered, Melody, it's really good to see you again", said Christian as the twins nod in approval.
Melody smiles. "Same here. Once a year is just not enough times for us to really get to know each other better, what with your father's position & all."
"We know what you mean, Melody", said Marlene. "But our father's position as ambassador doesn't allow him much free time like this, I'm afraid."
"True", said Charlene. "We're fortunate enough to have the opportunity to come by once a year & see all of you. Then again, our father does have four mouths to feed."
"Speaking of feeding", Chef Louis steps in, "now that young mademoiselle Melody is all right, what say I make ze perfect dinner for our guests tonight?"
"Oh yes, I almost forgot", Carlotta says. "You & your family must be starving after such a long voyage from England. Louis makes the best-tasting meat you've ever had, guaranteed."
"Meat!", Eric says suddenly, placing his hand on his head. "I almost forgot! One of the things that we were supposed to pick up today was a big slab of beef for tomorrow's feast in honor of Frederick's visit!"
"It's not your fault, Sir Eric", Grimsby says. "You had other…immediate concerns to tend to first, namely Miss Melody's well-being, which puts everything else to the side."
"You're right as usual, Grimsby. But now that my daughter's out of danger, I should work on getting what we need for tomorrow night."
"Don't worry, Dad. I can get the beef", Melody said, throwing the covers to the side & getting out of bed, still wearing her green dress she wore earlier.
"Whoa, slow down, Melody!", Ariel tells her. "Don't you think you should stay in bed until Hansel can be certain you're well enough to be up & about?"
Melody faces her mother. "But I feel fine now, Mom. Honest."
Everyone turns to Hansel. "I gave her something for her headache as soon as I arrived", he informs them. "I believe that Melody is more than okay to roam around—just so long as she doesn't attempt to rescue any more cats from trees. Deal?"
Everyone in the room chuckles softly at Hansel's request, whick is more than enough to cause Melody herself to do the same. "Fair enough, Doc. See you later, everyone", she says, running out of the room.
Eric gets to the room's entrance & shouts some things to Melody. "You know just where to get the meat, right, honey?"
"Sure I do, Dad!", she shouts back. "And I know to tell them to send you the bill just like always!"
In no time, Melody was gone from both sight & earshot. Eric stands at the doorway as Ariel approaches & puts his arm around him.
"Our daughter, so full of energy", she tells him.
"She gets it from you, I'll bet", Eric says, gently caressing her chin with his finger. "Just like all your other traits."
Eric & Ariel share a passionate kiss with each other, not caring that all eyes in the room are now on them.
The early evening was cloudless up above, & the stars were twinkling brighter than ever because of it.
Melody reaches the meat market in just under ten minutes as a happy butcher in his mid-40s & slight gray hair greets her with a grin. Setting aside his other chore of cutting up what's left of a lamb, he welcomes her with open arms.
"Melody!", he said, taking off his grease-stained butcher's bib & tossing it aside. "What a joy it is to see you're all right from your little 'accident' earlier today!"
"You know about that, Sam?", asked Melody.
Sam lets out a slight chuckle. "Why of course I do. Word travels fast in this town, you know. Besides, everyone's aware that you're Prince Eric's daughter, notwithstanding."
Melody looked defeated. "Oh. Right."
Another chuckle from Sam ensues. "So, my dear, what can I do for you this fine evening?"
"Well, a friend of my father's is making his annual visit to us with his wife & kids, & he needs a nice slab of beef for our chef to prepare for tomorrow night. Got one all ready for me to bring home?"
"For Prince Eric, anything. Just give me a moment or two, sweetie", Sam said, heading over to one of the slabs of beef hanging on a meathook. Sam removes a slab that measured three feet in length, using his mighty fine strength to get it off the hook, place it in an overgrown sack, & onto a wooden wagon that was nearly its size & stood six inches off the ground. Seeing all the meats on hooks at times sickened Melody, for she knew that meats like these are what remains of living animals, which she has quite an affinity for, like her mother Ariel does, even though she's eaten it in the past. But she also knew she couldn't deny how good it is when properly cooked, let alone stop all the hunters who necessarily bring them in to feed heir families.
Families just like hers.
It's the same with seafood: people will continue to catch & eat things from under the sea, for as long as they exist.
That would be a total nightmare for Sebastian & company.
Melody smiles at that little thought.
"As you can see, honey, it's a mighty hefty piece", Sam says, handing the handle of the wagon to Melody, "so you'll need this wagon to help you take it home to the palace, especially if you're going at this chore alone. But then, you have done this before, lots of times."
Now it's Melody who chuckles. "That I have", she says, taking the handle & taking off but not before waving her hand in farewell & gratitude. "Thanks, Sam! You know what to do with the bill!"
"I sure do!", Sam called out. "Bye, sweetie! Give my regards to your parents!"
"I'll do that! Good night, Sam!"
Despite the extra weight she had to pull, Melody was pulling the wagon without much strain.
Melody didn't head straight for home once she obtained the meat. She simply couldn't: she saw how beautiful the night looked this evening, & could not resist staying out & enjoying it like most everyone else is currently doing.
It can't hurt, she said to herself of the notion. The meat can wait to get home. Besides, I still need some fresh air to clear my head a little bit more. That fall took a lot more out of me than I first thought.
It wasn't untrue: Melody still felt a tad light-headed from her unintended fall earlier when she attempted to rescue 'Muffin' from a tree for its owner, Sandy. She wasn't too fazed from the experience in both body or spirit; she simply saw someone who needed help, & Melody was happy to assist, regardless of the danger she dove into.
Before she knew it, Melody was on the outskirts of town & wandered into the forest & then reaches the lagoon. She then realizes just how late it really is, & begins to look around to try to retrace her footsteps. It becomes a problem: she had her mind wandering on the incident & other things that she's temporarily forgotten how to get back to town, followed by home. To make the matter worse, her light-headedness returned & her ability to think was hampered at the moment.
Uhh, maybe I should've stayed in bed after all, she says to herself, placing her hand to her forehead. Someone like Grimsby or even Chef Louis could've gotten this meat instead of me.
But it was far too late for that idea now, & Melody knew it. She was caught in the lagoon with the wildlife that lived there, from the pink flamingos to whatever else has called the place home, a place Melody wished she was herself right now. If Sebastian, Flounder, Tip, Dash, or even Scuttle were here, she'd be more at ease than she is, but none of them were in sight, & she had a dreaded feeling that they won't be arriving anytime soon to help her out of her predicament.
She was all alone, & getting scared from it.
That's when she heard the splashing of water not too far away.
Turning to the sound & gasping in fear, Melody listened for any more of it, & she wasn't disappointed. Something was emerging out from the water, & judging from the volume of the splashing being heard, Melody can surmise that it was something big & quite possibly dangerous in nature, like an alligator or crocodile. If that's the case, then Melody by all means should start remembering how she got here into the lagoon & retrace her footsteps, lest she become dinner herself.
But what if it isn't a ravenous reptile? What if it's some other animal—or even a person—in trouble & in dire need of assistance? Her concern, compassion, & even curiosity overpowering her trepidation, Melody carefully heads toward the sound, pulling the wagon with her but with extra effort due to the ground being not as solid as before.
Finally, she gets within proximity of where the sound of splashing water came from. Taking silent steps, Melody slightly pushes away a stalk of tall grass to take a peek past beyond. What she sees makes her eyes go wide (more in astonishment than fear) is a sight that was unlike anything she's ever experienced in the past, inhaling in surprise. The thing was reptilian, but it wasn't either a gator or a croc. Its flesh was a very dark green in color (made to look black in the nighttime), & had pointed purple spines protruding from its back. Its elongated snout had a mouth filled with sharp teeth, & each of its four fingers & toes on its hands/feet ended with pointed claws. A long & powerful-looking tail was partly out of the water, & was doing most of the splashing now. The thing was ashore on its hands & feet, looking somewhat exhausted from a recent ordeal.
Even with the indisputable proof right before her, Melody could not believe what she was now witnessing.
It's unbelievable!, she said to herself. It's a dinosaur—a real-life dinosaur! I'd learned about them in my studies, but I never thought I'd actually see one in the flesh!
Seeing as to how the creature's stamina is quite spent & feeling remorse for it, Melody throws all caution to the wind & steps out from her hiding place & approaches it, wagon & all.
Godzilla felt as if he went another ten rounds with the giant dragonfly he once battled not too long ago, which had the power to drain the energy from its foes & use it against them. So out of it was he that he didn't even acknowledge Melody's presence occupying his space until she was halfway towards him.
Melody locks eyes with Godzilla as he looks in her direction, & the two stare at each other for several moments without a sound. It was a Mexican standoff: neither did or said a thing, each not sure of what the other will do first. But thoughts were racing through their heads; Melody was thinking whether or not this dinosaur will just up & attack her, while Godzilla was thinking just about the same thing, wanting to know if this human is aggressive or not like so many others have been to him in the past, shooting at him with tanks, beams of electricity, & missiles fired from jets & helicopters.
Amazingly, it was Melody who made the first move to break the trance they were both under. Sensing a deep need to help the beast, she continues stepping towards Godzilla with ease & makes sure she doesn't make any sudden moves that would cause him to get aroused with feral animalistic fury.
"Easy now, easy", Melody says in a calm, soothing voice. "It's all right. I'm not going to hurt you."
Leaving the wagon where it lays, she takes the sack which had the meat inside & drags it on the ground, continuing towards Godzilla. Sorry, Dad, she thought. This dinosaur needs this meat more than we do right now.
"You poor thing", Melody says. "You look as if all the life had been drained out of you. But don't worry—I got with me just the thing that'll help you get right back upon your feet. Trust me."
Godzilla hears the sincerity in Melody's tone of voice, & while he'll remain on his guard to make sure it isn't a deception or double-cross, he allows this young human girl to approach him with ease. The only thing he sees wrong with this whole scenario is that the girl seems bigger than other humans he's encountered. In fact, she seems to be standing over him with ease!
Then Godzilla realizes the reason for it—he's been shrunk!
He remembers a bright flash of light just before he slipped into unconsciousness, his energy & strength sapped from his person. Now, instead of towering over humans, he's looking at one at eye-level. But he refuses to be at the human's mercy: if she makes even the tiniest sign of a threat to him, Godzilla will roast her alive, child or no.
But so far, so good: Melody reaches into the sack & takes out the meat she purchased from Sam earlier & cradles it with both hands, feeling the weight of it on her person. She presents it to Godzilla as a token of her kindness.
"Here you go, fella", Melody says. "A fresh slab of meat all to yourself. Go ahead--it's good for you. Eat it up & you'll get your strength back."
With effort, Godzilla rises up on his own two feet, standing now at a height of only ten feet instead of his usual 55 meters. Melody looks up at Godzilla & is awed by his size, even if she doesn't know his true height. Though at a shrunken size, Melody only comes up to the Monster King's leg, almost reaching his chest.
Godzilla then senses the meat Melody holds in her two hands. Bending down & sniffing the meat, he gets quite a satisfying aura from it. With little effort, he takes the offered slab of meat in his own hands & examines it for a moment, relieving Melody of its weight.
Taking another sniff with his nostrils, Godzilla likes what he smells & takes his first bite of meat—the first thing he's ever eaten meat in a long time when he had been a regular dinosaur & not a radiation-spawned one, wheras he needs to feed on energy from nuclear power plants back home. Sharp teeth bite through meat & even bone as the saurian savors every taste he tears off.
Watching him eat it all heartily makes Melody smile cheerfully, quite proud to go help out another creature, & this time actually succeeding in doing so, whether it be a kitten stuck in a tree or a dinosaur in dire need of refreshing nourishment.
"Bon appetite, Mr. Dinosaur", Melody said happily.
Godzilla continues his consumption of his food, tearing off & chowing down on both meat & bone, savoring every last piece he takes into his toothy maw. In no time, he finishes the last of his offered meal & licks his lips clean. What's more, he feels his strength returning during & after he finishes his food, & gives a grunt of satisfaction from it.
The King of the Monsters is most impressed by this young female human. Not only wasn't she afraid to come near him & get this close, but she helps to get him on his feet & offer him a most delicious delicacy to help him regain his strength & stamina. It may not be 100%, but it's a whole lot better than it was before, after getting hit by that strange light.
Most humans, whenever they see him, either run in fear or foolishly stay & fight, therefore losing their lives in the process.
This one does neither, & the saurian is grateful to her for it, along with what she's just done for him.
Melody keeps smiling at him.
"You ate it all up. Good boy!", she exclaims. "I guess a fine serving of your natural diet was just what you needed to get you going again, huh?" She gently takes Godzilla's left hand as if to attempt a handshake, keeping her grin. "I'm very glad I could help, Mr. Dinosaur. By the way, my name is Melody. It's nice to have met you."
The gentle touch of Melody's hand on his own gives Godzilla a sense of kindness & puts him at ease, not sensing any kind of either fear or aggression in her, as all animals are capable of doing. A completely alien feeling surrounds Godzilla, something he's never felt before, or hasn't experienced it for too long a time that he's forgotten how. Having lived for so long, he can't tell which is true, but Godzilla does know that he's become fond of Melody.
Why he is, he can't contemplate. He just is, period.
His emotion of compassion quickly turns to one of rage as he bellows out angrily. Melody steps back in complete surprise, having been taken unawares of the sudden change in moods. She sees the reason for it clearly: Godzilla whips his tail out from below the surface, & Melody finds a ferocious (& undoubtedly hungry) crocodile putting the literal bite on the Monster King's tail. The great saurian slashes his appendage around swiftly & violently in desperation of getting the croc off, but the reptile's vice-like jaws hold on tight, despite Godzilla's best efforts.
Then another crocodile shows itself, & Godzilla's troubles have doubled.
Seeing its companion in danger, the second croc rushes & flings itself at the Monster King from behind. Melody yells out 'Behind you!', but her warning comes too late for Godzilla to do anything except take the brunt of the rear hit, which causes him to fall into the water facefirst. The second croc joins its mate in biting the saurian, determined to make a fine meal out of its prey. But Godzilla senses their intention, & he plans to show his new foes that he is no one's prey—even at a reduced size!
Even with his strength not completely 100%, Godzilla fights back with an animalistic fury which temporarily stuns both crocs, giving the saurian the break he needs. A left elbow to the croc on his back & side knocks him off, while a swish of his tail sends the first croc flying into its mate, thus making it release its firm grip on him. Now Godzilla turns to meet his attackers face-to-face, ready for anything they might try next. But just because you see your foe(s) in front of you & watch them like a hawk doesn't always mean you're prepared for them, & Godzilla is about to find that out—the hard way.
With speeds only natural predators can possess, both crocodiles leap at Godzilla & crash into him like an out-of-control bullet train. The force of the collision causes all three combatants to crash into the water & trash about as arms, legs, tails, & mouths of sharp teeth fight viciously for supremacy. It was an all-out wrestling match, with the combatants being descendants from the dinosaurs instead of with people & no referee to interfere.
But there is one to witness this savage debacle, which is all she could do. Melody stands at a safe distance of sixteen feet from the brawl between Godzilla & the two crocodiles, unable to take her eyes away from the fight, despite how terrible it has become. She stood just at the riverbank of the water, not sure whether to run or do something to help the dinosaur whom she met & fed a fine slab of meat to. Melody so wanted to do the latter, but seeing how voracious the battle is, she has absolutely no idea on how to do it; if even Godzilla is having great difficulty in fending off two ravenous reptiles, what could she do?
The only piece of a warning Melody got from behind her was the slight popping of a few air bubbles that broke the surface not five feet from away. The young princess jerks her head to her right, & her blood runs cold—she was staring at the eyes & upper snout of a third crocodile!
And it was looking right at her!
Melody's eyes went wider as the beastly ones stared her down.
She was frozen in her place, unable to move.
Then she did, & a good thing too: the third croc lunged itself at Melody with its toothy maw open & clamping shut with the force of a steel trap. Only her quick moves a split second before saves Melody from becoming its dinner. But the newcomer would not be denied a meal. It rises out of the water & follows Melody, chasing her wherever she went, being only one second behind & snapping its jaws in hunger. It knew about its kin tackling the big saurian & longed to join its brethren, but seeing a smaller morsel right in front of it was too good an opportunity to pass up, & longs to make it the appetizer before the main course.
Melody frantically dodges & avoids the ravenous reptile pursuing her & manages to stay one step ahead of it, but barely. She knows this beast won't give up until it has her in its mouth, & with her new 'friend' currently occupied with crocodile problems of his own, Melody's totally on her own & defenseless against her pursuer, wishing she possessed Godzilla's strength.
But there are times when wishes can't be granted, even for a princess.
Suddenly, Melody temporarily loses her footing on a patch of mud, & she falls down on the wet ground on her side. She then catches sight of her reptilian pursuer almost immediately & now crawls on the ground on her back, using her hands & feet to put more distance between them. The crocodile gains quickly on Melody, as the young princess scuttles backwards like a human crab with the jaws of death now upon her. It gets worse: the soft earth gives way underneath her, unable to support her weight any longer, & her movements are slowed by 90%. It was all that the third crocodile needed.
Melody was about to be bitten in half!
She gasps in terror.
With sledgehammer force, Godzilla bodyslams one of his attackers onto the one chasing Melody around, sparing her a terrible fate. The young princess puts more distance from the fight as one of the crocs—whom Godzilla violently shrugged off—launches itself at him as its first mate did before. But this time, Godzilla won't be taken by surprise in the same manner: he swings his massive tail like a baseball player would swing his bat for a home run hit & rams it into the reptile with enough force to shatter a rib. But even an injury as serious as that doesn't prevent the creature from resuming its assault on Godzilla, & neither does the one who used to be chasing Melody around. Coming at the Monster King from two different directions, the two crocs snap their massive maws on each of Godzilla's arms with such might that it causes the great saurian to bellow in pain & rage, renewing their savage struggle anew.
The crocodile that got slammed into the one chasing Melody now picks up where its mate left off. While dazed from the hit caused by Godzilla, it did nothing to hamper its pursuit of her & takes chase, snapping its jaws just as quickly & ferociously as its predecessor. Melody was barely able to keep ahead of her attacker before, & with herself getting drained of stamina & energy from eluding the voracious crocodiles, it's only a matter of time before she's spent & they easily snatch her & gobble her up—along with Godzilla.
What she needs is a high point to climb up to get herself out of danger of deadly mouths with sharp teeth that are capable of crushing just about anything.
She sees what could be her salvation in her hasty searching—a tree with thick branches & green vines sticking out & hanging down.
Melody doesn't hesitate; she runs for it with all her might what's left of it & with one easy leap, she grabs the lowest branch with both her hands & pulls herself up, just as the crocodile snaps shut its mandibles with a loud snap only two-thirds of a second before—any slower, & the crocodile would've had Melody hook, line, & sinker, with no escape.
Like a monkey, she climbs higher out of the reptile's reach, getting to about over twenty feet above ground. Melody knew that there's no way for the croc to jump up & get her without getting entangled in the thick vines the branches hold. But she's not taking any chances—she aims to get to the very top & stay there until the crocodiles are all defeated by Godzilla, or they grow weary & decide to leave on their own.
But at the rate they're going, it looks doubtful to Melody that either scenario is going to happen. The crocodiles are very determined to make meals out of them both.
And they're quite stubborn about it too, as they'll stop at nothing.
Case in point: Melody steps on a branch that's not quite as thick as the others, & is unable to support her weight. Under it, the branch snaps, plummeting Melody downwards. She manages to stop her fall, but now she's only just under ten feet from the ground, being caught & entangled by the vines hanging in what should've been her sanctuary.
Now it may become her death bed.
Seeing its prey at an easier (& more satisfying) height, the crocodile in pursuit leaps up right at Melody, but in its haste manages to get itself trapped in the tree's vines like Melody, being fifteen feet away. But unlike Melody, a plan hatches through its skull & starts to swing itself over to its intended prey, going a little bit of a distance.
Slowly but surely, the crocodile's own momentum gets it closer & closer to Melody with each swing, getting to about five, eight, & eleven feet closer. Each attempt at bringing it nearer to her brought the reptile's mandibles snapping shut. Melody frantically struggles to get loose of the vines which trap her, but all she succeeds in doing is making them tighter & more snug on her person. The same seems to be happening to the crocodile the more it swings nearer, but it doesn't seem too concerned with it at the moment. Nothing does—except getting food in its stomach.
Another swing or two & it's gonna get me!, Melody thought fearfully. And I still can't get free!
Another snapping of the croc's jaws results in a near hit, swinging back again. But the next attempt will most certainly get the job done, & Melody knows it as fear grips her inside.
The crocodile starts its swing towards Melody, who is terrified of the coming result.
It gets within ten feet of her, then seven…four…two…
A second after, & the crocodile begins to snap its mouth shut on the young princess as she shuts her eyes, not wanting to see a maw full of sharp teeth as the last thing she sees before going to the man upstairs.
Mom, Dad, Grandpa, everyone, I'm so sorry!, she says to herself, thinking about all those she loves dearly as her final thoughts.
But after three seconds, nothing happens, & Melody doesn't feel toothy jaws closing in on her. Daring a peek, she opens her eyes a crack before opening them all the way to still see the maw which should've already killed her in her face. The mouth remains open, & Melody can feel the warm breath of the carnivore on her, wondering why they didn't (& don't) close on her.
Melody couldn't believe it: she saw Godzilla directly below the crocodile, his left hand on the creature's throat, preventing it from closing its mouth on her. Even during his struggle with his own attackers, Godzilla saw Melody in dire trouble, being entangled & stuck in the tree's vines. As he roughly shook off the two crocs, he rushed over & grabbed Melody's foe by the throat, & now that he has it in a firm grip, Godzilla squeezes & crushes it with a sickening crunch. The animal's eyes bulge & its tongue hangs loose from its mouth as its oxygen (& life) is cut short. Then, with a mighty throw of his left arm, Godzilla hurls the dead croc at one of the two other crocodiles now heading towards him, freeing it of the vines it was caught in.
The nearest crocodile gets pummeled by the dead one that Godzilla threw, making the second one pause momentarily. Using the break, the Monster King uses his tail to break the vines imprisoning Melody with one swipe, thus freeing her as she lands softly & safely to the ground.
One crocodile was down for good, & now it was time to end this silly but fierce farce. As the third & final crocodile resumed its course towards the great saurian to avenge the fallen, Godzilla has other plans. Melody's eyes are agape once more in surprise & awe as Godzilla's rear dorsal spines & the inside of his mouth begin to light up & glow a brght yellow-orange. In the darkness of night, he looks like a reptilian lightning bug without the wings, & Melody can fel the heat the dorsal spines generate, even as she backs away.
Then, without warning, a heat ray of the same color shoots out of Godzilla's mouth & races towards the third crocodile with the ferocity of a furnace at full blast, & more. The ray hits the animal dead center in its underbelly, & the pain it receives from it causes it to call out in anguish as it feels its flesh give in to the searing heat, being pushed back several yards from its brethren.
Unable to withstand the pain, the third crocodile lands on its back in the water & succumbs to its fate while closing its eyes—for good.
The second crocodile—the one with the shattered rib—pushes its dead mate off it & comes to the surface, only to discover its other mate killed & its two-legged enemy still standing on the shore with the young girl, its mouth & dorsal spines still aglow.
Godzilla & Melody wait to see what the lone survivor will do—will it continue its assault & try to avenge its fallen, or cut its losses & swim away?
To the survivor, it was no contest.
Godzilla douses his flames & Melody breathes a heavy sigh of relief as the survivor makes the wise choice of turning tail & swimming out to sea, not wanting to end up like the first two. A shattered rib is all it wishes to receive tonight from this most unusual of adversaries.
Godzilla lets out a small roar of triumph.
Looks like he's had enough for one night, Melody said to herself, when she suddenly sees her dinosaurian savior fall back down on his hands & knees. Then again, he's not the only one!
Melody rushes over to Godzilla's side, & finds things as to the reason why he's not in such good shape.
Ouch! Those crocs bit & cut him pretty badly!, she thought, seeing bite & claw marks on Godzilla's tail, arms, legs, & chest, all swollen & red with dried blood. I better do something for him before those wounds become infected!
"Stay here", Melody tells Godzilla calmly. "I'm going to do something to treat those wounds of yours, so wait right here, okay? I won't be gone long."
She takes off before the Monster King can even grunt a response. Running to the wagon where she left the empty sack, Melody takes it & runs back to where Godzilla lays at, still on his hands & knees. During her return, Melody tears the sack into different-sized strips of cloth. But first, before going to the saurian, she goes to the water & soaks each & every piece of cloth in the drink, wanting to remove as much of the meat's grease & such off them as she can. This takes at least five minutes before heading straight for Godzilla & begins using the cloth strips to cover his wounds. Godzilla does nothing to hinder or even slow her progess as she uses every little piece of cloth to accomplish her deed. The Monster King feels grateful to Melody: this is the second time she has helped him out of kindness, & in the very same night. If offering him a refreshing slab of meat wasn't kind enough, now she helps to lick his wounds for no reason other than the goodness he senses within her.
And twice is not a coincidence.
Melody spares not even the smallest piece as she completes her treating of Godzilla's bites & cuts. When she finishes, the saurian has makeshift bandages on all his wounds with no trace of any open areas: Melody covered each wound with skill & precision. Even better, it gives Godzilla the strength to rise up & stand properly, feeling a surge of energy, knowing his wounds have been treated. It was a little strange for Godzilla: he seems to resemble more like a sick hospital patient rather than an unbeatable force.
But strange or not, he seems much better than he was minutes ago, & he has Melody—this young female human—to thank for his condition, among other things.
"Looks like my treatment did the trick", Melody says with a grin, walking up to him. "I only wish there were more I could do for you, Mr. Dinosaur, but I've already fed you all my food, & I'm fresh out of any more."
Her grin disappears in mid-sentence. And now Mom & Dad are now going to wonder where it went, not to mention where I am, she thought somberly. In the time she took to feed Godzilla & avoid becoming a meal herself, Melody lost track of time, & no doubt her parents—and everyone else—are worried sick about her right now.
But what about him?, she continued pondering. He's just been through a terrible ordeal, & will probably need more medical assistance than what he received from me out here. I know he's a dinosaur, but I can't just leave him out here on his own—not until he gets completely better. If he runs into another bunch of crocodiles or some other wild animal in his condition, he might not be so lucky a second time.
Godzilla remains still & quiet throughout Melody's thinking, looking at her with a mix of fascination & concern. He can tell that she's worried by the way she looks at him, the expression on her face saying it all.
"I know what to do", Melody said, her face brightening. "I'll take you to my home at the palace, where I can give you better treatment."
Now Godzilla does make a noise—a grunt of utter confusion.
"Don't worry", she assures him. "It'll be all right. We have the best medical equipment there which will fix you right up, good as new. It's supplied to us by my doctor who's treated me since I was little. Just follow me, Mr…."
She stops herself from saying any more.
Hmmm, I think 'Mr. Dinosaur' sounds too corny, she thought. He's going to be a better name than that, one that would suit him perfectly. But what?
Melody looks Godzilla up & down, searching for the perfect name to call him by. She has given thought of calling him by a name in reference to the heat ray that he fires from his mouth for instance, but thought better of it. Calling him something like 'Firesaur' or 'Flamedon' sounds even cornier than 'Mr. Dinosaur'.
But then she views his dorsal spines, & the rest speaks for itself.
"I've got it!", she says brightly. "From now on, I'll call you…Spiny!"
Godzilla's facial expression is unreadable, but he was startled & confused by her suggestion. Ever since he first emerged from the ocean depths, he's heard the humans call him 'Gojira!' or even 'Godzilla!' (the former he basically hears from the humans in his homeland of Japan, & the latter from other places he's visited—and ravaged).
Godzilla didn't get it, but this young female human has helped him in his time of need, & she continues to do so. If she wishes to call him Spiny, then so be it. To punctuate his approval, he gives Melody a quick nod with his head & a low but friendly growl.
Melody giggles at the attempt. "Great! 'Spiny' it is", she says. "Come along, Spiny. I'll take you home with me. We'll go through the lagoon, so that we keep out of sight of the villagers, & it's not too long a walk towards home."
The walk through the lagoon on the shoreline was already fifteen minutes in motion, with Melody leading the way & Godzilla (Spiny) following. The Monster King seems to be doing well in his stride, aside from the injuries he'd sustained in the crocodile brawl. It still stings him a little bit with every step he takes, but he feels that if Melody hadn't treated him before they started on their stroll, he would've been in more agony—more than possibly even he could handle.
And Godzilla can handle a lot.
Melody keeps her pace at a reasonable one in order for Godzilla to keep up with her, not wishing to make him go too quickly & strain himself due to his wounds. In fact, she seems to be enjoying the evening stroll with her new friend, & the great saurian more or less feels the same way she does.
"A walk through the lagoon at night with a friend", Melody said happily as pink flamingos flock around in the water & stand on one leg each. "What could be better than that?"
Suddenly, the gathered flamingos begin humming, & that puts Melody in the perfect mood to start singing a mellow & cheerful tune, with the flamingos singing chorus in some areas.
Keeping her pace & turning to face Godzilla, Melody begins her song.
Let's take an old-fashioned walk
I'm just bursting with talk
What a tale could be told, if we went for
An old-fashioned walk
Let's take a stroll thru the park
Down a lane where it's dark
And a heart that's controlled, may relax on
An old-fashioned walk
I know, for a couple who seem to be miles apart,
There's nothin' like walkin' and having a heart to heart
I know a guy who declined, couldn't make up his mind,
He was wrapped up and sold, coming home from
An old-fashioned walk
Some couples go for a buggy ride,
When they start caring a lot!
Others will bicycle side by side,
Out to some romantic spot!
Some take a ride on a bus,
But that would not do for us…
Let's take an old-fashioned walk,
I'm just bursting with talk.
What a tale could be told, if we went for
An old-fashioned walk!
Let's take a stroll thru the park,
Down a lane where it's dark…
And a heart that's controlled, may relax on
An old-fashioned walk
I know, for a couple who seem to be miles apart,
There's nothin' like walkin' and having a heart to heart.
She knows a guy who declined, couldn't make up his mind…
He was wrapped up and sold, comin' home from
An old-fashioned walk!
She knows a guy who declined, couldn't make up his mind…
He was wrapped up and sold, comin' home from
An old-fashioned walk!
Hearing Melody's melodious singing voice (for which she was named for, natch!) somehow gave Godzilla a feeling of extra strength within him. It was a soothing, satisfying feeling, about as much as the slab of meat she so willingly offered him. He's unable to smile to offer his affection for Melody, but he highly enjoys her company & is glad to have met her.
Godzilla & Melody continue their walk through the lagoon in silence.
As several palace guards watched the front entrance on the outside, Eric & Ariel waited at the bottom of the large staircase inside, hoping for any news from the guards on their daughter's return home. They stood next to each other, still wearing their daily clothing & not even bothering to put on their sleepwear, even as it nears midnight with mostly everyone else currently in bed.
Eric looks at the clock near the wall & sighs.
"It's almost midnight", he says. "Where could Melody have gone to be out this late?"
"Well, you know her, honey", Ariel says. "Something must've caught her curiosity & she went to check it out. I was the same way when I was her age, & then some. Besides, it's not the first time she's been out this late, & past her bedtime."
"Maybe not, Ariel, but I wish she'd come home & tell us if she'll be arriving late. Sometimes I worry that her curiosity will get her into trouble—preferably more than she could handle."
Ariel thought about what her husband said. There were times as King Triton's daughter when she herself came to the palace of Atlantica at a ghastly late hour, always exploring things far away from the undersea palace, usually with her two friends Flounder & Sebastian (despite the latter's constant nagging about how bad 'human t'ings' are!). At one time she was afraid to come home when she placed a shiny human bracelet on her wrist & wouldn't come off, fearing her father would scold her as usual whenever he sees her with human things, or when he's learned that she went to the surface where humans can see her, something Triton forbids with any of his people, not just Ariel.
Having Melody out way past her bedtime was no different, except for the location being moved from under the sea to on shore. And she couldn't deny that Eric has a point: as a mother for a dozen years & a half, she was worried herself for Melody being out at such a late hour.
"Try not to worry too much, Eric", she finally says. "Despite her youth, Melody's more than a little resourceful. I'm sure she'll be home soon."
"There it is, Spiny. Home sweet home", Melody said, pointing at the palace from a distance & staying well-hidden as Godzilla eyes it himself. In the past, he never really admired structures like this, as he was pretty much demolishing them to care. But now he has to admit to himself that he believes the palace to be a stunning piece of work. What he likes even more about it is that it's located right next to the vast ocean he can see behind it.
Godzilla always did like to be near the water, as it is (mostly) his natural habitat.
Already he likes the place.
"We'll just have to sneak around to the back so you can gain access to my room, Spiny", she continues. "Fortunately for us, all the palace guards are at the front, so there should be no chance of anyone seeing us—namely you, that is."
It couldn't be more true. Having Godzilla just walk in the front door of the palace was the worst thing Melody could do. Armed guards would undoubtedly surround & assault him upon first sight, & after seeing Godzilla in battle with the crocodiles back at the lagoon where she first met him, the palace guards would have no chance of winning against his awesome strength, much less the heat ray he can project from his mouth. It would be a bloodbath if that were to happen—something Melody wants to avoid at all costs.
So to help Godzilla get better, she'll have to sneak him in.
"Quietly now, Spiny. Follow me", she instructs him, making as little noise with her steps as possible. Godzilla follows suit, amazingly making similar progress as Melody herself. No doubt in his original size, his footsteps would've sounded like thunder or an earthquake—a warning of his approach. But in his shrunken stage at ten feet tall, not even mice or birds could be alerted to his presence with each step he takes.
In no time at all, Melody & Godzilla reach the rear of the palace undetected by any of the guards & stand right underneath the window that opens up to Melody's room on the second floor.
"That's where I sleep, Spiny", she tells him, pointing up. "Here's what we'll do: while you climb up to & into my window, I'll go in through the front door & head upstairs to join you. Can you manage that okay?"
Melody's answer from Godzilla is his beginning to ascend up the wall by digging his claws into the stone with a slight puncturing sound of keratin penetrating concrete.
I guess that answers that, Melody said to herself & was out of sight in just moments, going around to the front in a formal run, pretending that she came home alone.
She doesn't give any of the guards at the front door a chance to utter one syllable as she rushes past them & into the front door, where her parents were still waiting for her at the bottom of the stairwell.
"Melody!", Eric & Ariel say in unison.
"Evening, Mom! Evening, Dad!", Melody said in a rush as she runs across the main hallway & starts going up the stairs.
"Melody, honey, where have you been?", Eric asked. "Your mother & I have been worried sick about not knowing where you were!"
The young princess gets up a few steps before facing her parents. "It's late, I know", she says rapidly with a sheepish grin. "Lost track of time. Tell you about in the morning. 'Night!"
Melody continues herascend up the stairs without saying another word & before her parents could interject. In mere moments, she was out of sight, & Eric & Ariel look at each other with very estranged expressions on their faces.
"What an…odd daughter we have sometimes", Eric said, unable to contain his thought from inside his head & speaking it aloud with a smirk.
Ariel smirks as well. "I guess I can relate", she says, gently touching Eric's arm. "But she does have a point. It is late, & now that she's safely back home, we can ask her tomorrow where she's been."
"And where the meat she was supposed to bring home is", Eric said with a grin. "But you're right, Ariel. It can wait until the morning. I, for one, am in need of some well-deserved shut-eye."
Ariel giggles, taking her lover's arm. "You & me both", she says, & both Prince & Princess head up the stairs together, going straight for bed.
Chef Louis was disturbed in his sleep by a sound of slight puncturing of stone, sounding rather close. Opening his bloodshot eyes, he gets to his feet & slips then into a pair of comfortable white slippers before heading to the window.
What iz making zat awful noise at zis hour?, he wonders, opening the window & looking out of it to find the source of the disturbance. He looks to one side & sees nothing before turning to see the other side. Had he been looking out the window a second or two earlier, Louis would've seen Godzilla entering Melody's room through her own window.
But he doesn't.
Believing it to be a false alarm (& quite possibly his own imagination), Louis shrugs his shoulders in an 'oh well' pose & gets back inside, closing the window behind him.
Just as Chef Louis shuts his window, Melody opens her bedroom door & finds Godzilla in her room fully, standing just next to the balcony window that he'd entered from. The room was dark with absolutely no lights on, which is just the way Melody had wanted it.
"Good boy, Spiny", she says softly, going to the window & closing it. Then she quickly goes over to her closet & takes out her pink pajamas (a smaller version of her mother's, with white ruffles at the collar, bottom, & cuffs). Once she's properly dressed for bed, she takes out two extra pillows & twin blankets & heads over to her bed, but not before laying one of the blankets down on the floor, with the two pillows laid down at the top.
"Here you go, Spiny", she says. "A nice, comfortable place for you to rest yourself on. In the early morning, I'll head downstairs & nab a couple medical supplies that Hansel leaves for us to help treat your wounds before anyone wakes up. In no time, you'll be back on your feet."
Godzilla looks at the makeshift sleeping quarters Melody has created for her. It was neatly laid out, & to the Monster King, it looks very inviting. Plus, he is rather tired himself; the fight with the crocodiles, followed by the walk to the palace, really wore him down.
But now, thanks to Melody, he finally has the chance to relax & earn a much-needed rest, & it's certainly better than having to sleep out in the wild, where an attack can come at him at any given time.
Godzilla loathes that with a passion, especially when he's getting some shut-eye.
With an exhalation, he gets on the blanket & lays down on his side, resting his head on the two pillows. Melody then covers Godzilla with the other blanket, covering him entirely except for his head & a portion of his tail. The blankets he sleeps on & over him feels quite soothing to him.
In no time, Godzilla closes his eyes, & he falls into a deep sleep.
Melody, too, gets into her own bed, but issues a farewell to her new friend.
"Good night, Spiny", she whispers to him, gently stroking the top of his head.
That said & done, Melody goes under & sleeps just as soundly under her covers.
The remains of Morgana's Iceberg Palace:
Undertow—Morgana's faithful hench-shark—swam in exhaustion from escaping his cell at the underwater prison for renegade sea creatures like himself. He has been on the run from the authorities for a few days now, & in that time, he hadn't been given a chance to elude those in hot pursuit until hours ago when several of his 'cousins'—great-white sharks with even less love for the authorities than Undertow himself—engaged themselves in combat, forcing the guards to temporarily forget Undertow & focus on the attacking school of man-eaters, giving Undertow the break he needed for a quick getaway.
I sure hope those foolish guards are chum by now!, Undertow said to himself, clutching a string between his teeth. Attached to it is a round glowing amulet with a design of sharp teeth all pointing inward on each side, resembling the mouth of a sea lamprey, a jawless water animal that lives by sucking the blood of its victims.
Having no one on his tail for hours now, Undertow can now concentrate on his mission: to free his master Morgana, Ursula's sinister sibling.
And he has just the tool to do it, right between his teeth.
Just hope I'm not too late. Hang on, Morg! The cavalry is a-comin'!, he thought, taking an icy plunge down into the abyss of what remains of Morgana's lair. Deeper & deeper Undertow went into the frigid waters, becoming darker the further he goes. An illuminating shine of orange light from the amulet takes care of visibility for him, & he keeps a sharp fish-eye out for his master. He searches left & right for any sign of Morgana, frozen in a block of ice by King Triton from what he'd heard in the big house.
So far, all he sees is water all around him in every direction.
Come on, Morgana. You gotta be around here somewhere, Undertow thought, reaching the bottom & searching it for more than an hour, finding no trace of Ursula's sister. A couple of thoughts go through Undertow's head as he continues his search. What if Morgana broke out of her icy prison & is already plotting revenge on Triton & all of Atlantica? No, she would've instantly broken him out on her own first before attempting it. What if someone found her, thawed her, & made her their slave? Not likely: she'd butcher them without hesitation, for Morgana is no one's slave. She's the one who makes others her slaves, not vice versa. What if someone or something found her & destroyed her completely, killing her outright? Again, not likely, but not impossible either. If Ursula can be killed easily—by a human, no less—then Morgana could've suffered the same fate. Undertow knows that, while she's a real tough clam to crack, it doesn't mean that she's invincible.
No. Undertow didn't want to believe that last scenario. He couldn't believe it. Somehow, in his cartilaginous body, he knows that Morgana is still alive—frozen, but alive.
All he has to do is find her.
Then, out of the corner of his predatory eyes, Undertow sees a glint of green to his left—the same kind of green his master's skin is! Like a minnow in danger, Undertow takes off to where the glow of green resides. But when he gets there, all he sees is a deep-sea Angler Fish with its lone antennae giving off a glow. When it sees Undertow gritting his teeth in anger, the Angler swims away as if fired from a gun.
Hmph! Should've eaten the little turd!, Undertow thought grumpily, dissatisfied with the lack of progress. But a turn to the right has him seeing another tint of green, & his hopes rise again.
Heading for it, he issues out a mental warning. If this is another Angler Fish, by golly, I will gobble him up!
Luckily for those aforementioned deep-sea dwellers, it isn't, & Undertow is relieved with the utmost joy when he sees what he believes it to be: a green-skinned female encased in a block of ice with white hair, red lips & fingernails, & purple eyelids. While the top part of her is human in form, her bottom half consisted of eight tentacles, & her body was mostly black from her eight appendages to her chest.
"Morgana!", Undertow cried, happy in accomplishing his mission of finding his boss. With the amulet, he swims to her.
"Oh, Morg", he says somberly. "Just look at what that old fuddy-duddy King Triton did to ya. Don't worry, though. I've got just the thing that'll set you free by the skin of my teeth. Ha!"
Backing away three feet from where his master lay frozen, Undertow mentally commands the amulet to glow brighter & brighter until it generates a fair amount of heat which begins to make Morgana's ice tomb melt little by little. After a few minutes, Morgana's eyes begin moving from inside, & she feels her consciousness returning: flashes of her snatching Melody as an infant from her parents, turning her into a mermaid, taking the powerful trident & overpowering all who dared oppose her, all those meaningful memories came flooding back as she stirs awake in her ice prison.
Finally, her strength returns, & with the ice weaker than before, Morgana busts out & laughs wickedly, savoring her newfound freedom. The heat from the amulet dissipates but still shines its light.
"Hallelujah! Free at last & together again!", Undertow says in triumph.
"Undertow?", Morgana asks in surprise.
"The one & only! Miss me?"
Morgana grins. "You ol' tiger shark you!", she says, snuggling up to her hench-shark. "Why of course I did! What would I do without my precious Undertow by my side, hmm?" That's when Morgana notices the amulet between his teeth. Upon seeing it, she inhales deeply & her eyes go wide. "Is that what I think it is?"
"Sure is, Morg!", Undertow said as Morgana takes it from his teeth & holds it up. "That's what I used to set ya free!"
"The Lamprey Amulet!", she exclaims, placing it around her neck. "Like its namesake, it can suck up the energy of living things & store it inside for use to whoever wears it. Once more, it's a key to unlocking an ancient treasure sealed away long ago. Ursula tried for years to find this & use it. How ironic that it would now belong to me instead!"
Morgana laughs wickedly & spins in a circle in utter joy. "You know what this means, don't you, Undertow?"
"You bet I do, Morg!", the sinister shark replied. "That 'treasure' you mentioned will enable you to rule the seven seas, & then some! Why, it's been said throughout the years to be even more powerful than King Triton's own trident!"
"Precisely! Even he will bow down to me once I find & unlock this most precious gift!" The Sea Witch laughs maniacally until a thought enters her head, one that wasn't too pleasant. "Oh, I almost forgot."
"What's that?", Undertow asked, seeing the shift in moods in his master.
"Long ago, when this most precious treasure was locked away, it was buried someplace by an acient civilization with absolutely no record of where." Morgana slumps to the ocean floor in depression, despite her newfangled freedom. "If even Ursula couldn't find the treasure, let alone this amulet, then what chance do I have of finding it? Oh, the best laid plans."
Undertow knew Morgana had a point. Her sister Ursula has searched tirelessly in finding this most significant treasure to gain power, something she's always wanted to keep gaining, with little or no regard to the consequences of her ambition. Her lust for power had been one of the main reasons as to why Triton exiled the Sea Witch from the palace of Atlantica.
He, too, falls into a solemn state—but only for a moment before he perks up.
"Cheer up, Morg!", he says. "I think I know of where it might be!"
Morgana looks up to him. "Why do you say that?"
"Legend says that King Triton himself helped to put this treasure away & bury it out on the ocean floor. If anyone would know where it's hidden…"
Immediately Morgana perked up. "That's right!", she says, grinning. "He would know where it's at, of all people!" Her voice goes down a notch. "Undertow, what say we go & pay King Triton a vist to talk some…business?"
Undertow gets beside her literally face to face, grinning as wide as she is.
"We're practically there already, Morg", he says, as the two of them share an evil chuckle together.
Morgana & Undertow were back in business.
Melody was up just before anyone else was in the palace. In her tippy toes, she quietly sneaks downstairs & heads for the supply room. There, she goes straight for the cabinet where all the medical supplies are kept in. Taking things like iodine, gauze, medical tape & cream, she stuffs them all in a mini sack & heads back upstairs & into her room without waking anyone from their slumber.
She looks at Godzilla lying on the floor, still asleep, resting comfortably on the blanket & pillows she'd provided him with, & an extra blanket for which she used to kep him more cozy.
"Okay, Spiny, time for nurse Melody to take care of you", she says quietly, even giggling lowly from the joke she just made about herself being a nurse. Quickly but carefully, she removes the blanket she lay upon Godzilla & puts it aside. Then, she starts to remove the bandages she'd made from the sack carrying the meat she fed him, beginning with his right leg. Godzilla doesn't even snarl as she attempts to remove them.
But as soon as she gets off the first bandage, Melody is totally caught off-guard by what she sees. There are no signs of scratches or bruises of any kind on his leg anywhere, & Melody knows she saw them the other night as she patched him up—as if he never received them to begin with.
Unbelievable! His wound is completely healed!, Melody said to herself, astonished by the miraculous recovery her new friend.
Melody suspected that if his leg is wound-free, then that might mean that the rest of him is as well. She starts removing all the other bandages she'd tied to Godzilla one after the other as quickly as she can. As she surmised, all of the saurian's wounds were gone—from his chest to his tail.
She simply couldn't believe it!
Wow! Talk about a fast-healer!, Melody thought, unsure of what else to say, orally or silently.
What she does know is that she took & brought up all those medical supplies for naught, & now she'll need to put everything back where she got it from!
Amid her shocked stupor, Godzilla opens his eyes & stirs awake, remembering where he is & what's happened. He looks at an awake but confused Melody staring at him as if for the first time in her life, a state not dissimilar like last night when she saw him in the lagoon.
What kind of creature are you, Spiny?, Melody was finally able to say, even to herself. Like a pet dog or cat, Godzilla stretches himself to work out the kinks in his system, but does it standing on his own two feet, being careful not to knock over any furniture or damage the walls. Except for a few low grunts, Godzilla does his morning stetches in silence.
Then he turns to Melody.
"Uh…good morning, Spiny", she says, waving at him & still wondering as to how he could heal his wounds—all of them—overnight.
Then she hears a pair of voices from outside her room.
She gasped. It was her parents!
Oh no! Mom & Dad!, she panicked. If they see me with Spiny in my room…
There was no way Melody could explain to them if they did. What was she going to say, 'Oh hi, this is Spiny. We met in the lagoon late last night, I fed him the meat I was supposed to bring home, & then we were ambushed by three crocodiles who nearly killed us, & being wounded, I just had to bring him back here for treatment'?
Oh yeah, her parents would just love that!
She had to hide her new friend, & with the closet & under the bed being out of the question, Melody had only one course of action to take.
"Quick, Spiny, follow me!", she said, rushed but quietly, gesturing with her fingers. Sensing her plea, Godzilla follows her to the window as Melody opens it up. "I need to keep my parents from seeing you, for they wouldn't understand! Hide outside here until they've gone! Please?"
After a moment's pause, Godzilla steps through the window, which was just wide enough to allow him safe passage & digs his claws into the stone to one side, staying out of view should anyone decide to look through the window from within Melody's room.
"Thank you, Spiny", she says with relief. "Now just stay right there until my parents leave. I promise you it won't be too long, okay?"
With no time to hear any signs of approval from the Monster King, Melody closes the window just as Eric & Ariel open the bedroom door & step inside.
"Oh, good morning, Mom. Good morning, Dad", Melody said, walking up to them. Eric was in his usual attire of a white shirt, blue pants, & black boots. Ariel, however, was fixed in a different dress than the one she wore the other day. It was a peach skirt attached to a green top, with sleeves that are transparent & come up to her elbows. Also unlike yesterday, her crimson hair was held up in place by a small crown at the front.
"Good morning to you too, honey", Eric said nonchalantly. "Now, would you care to tell your mother & I as to why you were so late coming home last night? And what happened to the meat you were supposed to bring home?"
"Oh, that", Melody said innocently. "Uh, well, Dad, it's like this."
"I did go to pick up the meat from Sam like I said I would, but I have to admit I was still a little groggy from my fall yesterday, so I needed to get more fresh air than I expected. Then, as I was strolling along, I saw an animal that was in desperate need of nourishment, & I…well, that is, I needed to…"
Ariel placed a gentle hand on Melody's shoulder. "You fed the animal the meat to help it replenish itself, is that it?", she asked her daughter.
It wasn't entirely untrue, & Melody knew it. "I did, yes", she said softly, her voice rising up a notch. "But I just had to do it, Mom! The poor thing was starving, & I couldn't just do nothing! You understand, don't you?"
Eric & Ariel giggle softly as the former speaks. "Of course we understand, Melody. We're so glad you decided to help out that poor animal & get it back on its feet. It's exactly the kind of thing what either your mother or myself would've done, had we been in your place."
Melody mentally breathed a sigh of relief. "Well, you two have always taught me to be kind & considerate to all living things."
"That's our girl!", Eric says happily, picking up his daughter in his hands by the waist before placing her gently on her bed. "I just knew you were brought up right!"
"But then, you have a very caring father to begin with", Ariel says with adoring eyes, looking first at Melody, then at Eric.
"And a very loving mother", Eric retaliates, doing the same.
From outside the window, still perched to the side of the wall using his claws embedded in stone, Godzilla dares a peek inside to see who was talking to his new friend. He finds a man in blue, black, & white accompanied by a woman taller than Melody is, dressed in peach & green & a lovely set of red hair. They must be the 'parents' she spoke of before, & viewing the moment, it made the saurian himself think of the ones he once had when he lived a different lifetime, before he began attacking cities & fighting other creatures, presumably. He'd long since forgotten those moments, but somehow, it still lingered within him.
He kept out of sight & stayed quiet as he listens to Melody's parents singing to her in a very soothing tone similar to Melody's own.
Ariel starts it off, with Eric singing in spots.
When Johnny Jones was serenading Mary,
He sure could quote a lot of poetry,
But he'd much rather tell her,
What he learned in his feller,
When they both attended PS 33.
A, You're adorable…
B, You're so beautiful…
C, You're a cutie full of charms…
D, You're a darling…
E, You're exciting…
F, You're a feather in my arms…
G, You look good to me…
H, You're so heavenly…
I, You're the one I idolize…
J, We're like Jack & Jill…
K, You're so kissable…
L, Is the love-light in your eyes…
M, N, O, P…
We could go on all day…
Q, R, S, T…
Alphabetically speaking you're OK.
U, Make my life complete…
V, Means you're very sweet…
W, X, Y, Z…
It's fun to wander through,
The alphabet with you,
To tell… (us what?)
I mean… (Uh Huh!)
To tell you what you mean to me
(We love you alphabetically).
Listening to her parents sing really put Melody at ease, just as it always does. Whenever she feels down in the dumps, nervous, or even tense, she can always count on hearing her parents sing to her & melt it all away—even with a dinosaur that can spit fire from his mouth waiting just outside her room!
"Thanks, you two", she says, smiling.
It was only then that Eric & Ariel notice the blankets & pillows on her floor, plus the sack of medical supplies lying on her bed.
"Melody, honey, why are those on the floor?", asked Eric, pointing to the blankets & pillows.
"And what's with the medical equipment in your room, sweetheart?", Ariel adds, pointing herself. "Are you feeling okay?"
Easy, Melody. Think fast, she nervously says to herself, coming up with plausible solutions.
"Well, they seem to have a strange odor to them, & I was wondering if Carlotta can give them a thorough washing today", she says, referring to the contents on the floor. "As for all of the medical supplies, I took them up with me last night after everyone was asleep, just in case I got a relapse from my fall the other day. That was why I needed the extra fresh air. But luckily for me, it seems I didn't need them after all, except for some good old-fashioned bed rest."
"Well, I guess that does make a lot of sense", Eric says. "It's best to have them close by your side should you need them. However, next time you're not feeling well for any reason, ask either Grimsby or Carlotta to go & get it for you, no matter what time of day it is. I'm sure they'll be happy to do it."
"I'll be sure to do that, Dad. Thanks", Melody said, meaning it.
As her husband spoke, Ariel walked over to the blankets & pillows, picking up one of the former. She brought it up to her nose & took a sniff. Instantly, she was repulsed by the odor & made a face to display her feelings toward it.
Ugh! Is Carlotta washing these good enough?, Ariel says to herself. This blanket smells like something died on it! Ariel didn't bother to take a sniff of the other one, let alone the pillows; odds were they smelled just as bad.
Eric & Melody watched Ariel pick up the blankets & pillows, tossing the former over her shoulder.
"I'd better take these to Carlotta & get them cleaned out right away", Ariel said, heading for the door. "But in the meantime, Melody?"
"Yes, Mom?", she says.
"I'd like for you to get washed up & dressed right away. Frederick, Isabella, & their three kids are going to want to see the village, & they'd like you to be with them to go & show them around. They've been wondering how much of our beloved town has changed since they've been here last."
Melody nodded. "Sure. Just give me a few minutes & I'll…jump in the tub."
"Great. See you downstairs, sweetheart", Eric says, stroking her cheek with his finger before he & Ariel exit her room. Listening to them leave by putting her ear to the door, Melody waited a moment or two to make certain they were gone before heading to the window & opening it up & hoping to still see her dinosaurian friend on the side.
And he was.
"Okay, Spiny, they're gone. You can get down now", she says, stepping back several feet to allow Godzilla to step on the balcony of her room. "That was close, but I'm afraid I can't keep you here in my room. My parents got mighty suspicious when they saw the blankets & pillows you slept on. We're going to have to give you new living quarters if I'm going to allow you to remain here."
Melody looks past Godzilla at the vast blue ocean, & the answer becomes quite obvious.
"And I think I just found it", she says, pointing towards the water. "The depth of the water right next to the palace is just right for you to keep hidden, Spiny. With you safely out of sight, no one will suspect a dinosaur living in their own backyard—except for me, that is. And that's where you need to go now, Spiny. I'm going to be gone for most of the day, & I need you to stay hidden in the water until I get back. Can you do that for me? I'll make sure no one sees you as you climb down the wall, or…"
But Godzilla had another idea in his head. With a mighty leap, he jumps right off from the balcony of Melody's room & makes a dive for the inviting water below with a big splash, almost hitting the bottom sooner than he would want to. Heading off to a deeper part, Godzilla, feeling at home more in the drink that Melody's bedroom, finds a comfortable spot on the floor & decides to rest a little bit more.
"Or you can just jump right into it from here", Melody finishes her own sentence, astonished at Godzilla's 'leap of faith' from her balcony. "Yeah. That'll work, too."
Gee whiz, I hope no one from the palace saw that, she thought.
It was a stressful morning for the young princess, & the day was just getting started.
Remembering her mother's words, Melody began to get herself ready for it.
Morgana & Undertow searched for what remained of her magic spells in the ruins of her former Iceberg Palace. They searched high & low for any remnants they could obtain, & while most of it was lost when it came down after the final confrontation, there were some of which had survived intact—most notably the pink bottle containing Ursula's magic that Morgana used to convert young Melody into a temporary mermaid upon their first meeting, unbeknownst to the girl that Morgana was her enemy at the time.
They gathered it & whatever else they could from the ruins. Although they now possess the Lamprey Amulet, they'll need an ample amount of armament if they're to obtain their goal of getting their hands (& fins, tentacles, etc.) on the treasure they can unlock with the amulet. If they become successful, they'll be the most powerful beings throughout the seven seas. But if they fail, an even worse fate will be in store for them.
And failing is something neither of them intends to do, especially for what they plan to find.
That's why they'll need extra ammo & supplies to assist in their search, along with a new hideout. Luckily, Undertow managed to locate an underground lair underneath a large boulder with a wide enough mouth to enable even him safe passage in & out, with room to spare. No one would think twice about looking under a large rock that, in all appearances, is buried deep in the ocean's sandy bottom.
It was the perfect camoflauge, & better still, it was much warmer here than their old lair.
Both were hard at work in making their arsenal, sparing no time. Once they were finished, it would be only a matter of time before what they seek will be theirs.
Or, more precisely, Morgana's.
She grins wickedly at the very thought of possessing that sacred treasure.
Morgana can hardly wait.
Being the tour guide, Melody took Frederick, his wife Isabella & their three kids—Marlene, Charlene, & Christian—through the village, showing them anything & everything she could. Her guests were pleased by how the town looked, remembering most of what they had seen from their last visit, as well as seeing a couple of new additions, most of which were simply upgrades & new rooms/spaces added to places such as the fish market & merchant shops, for example. Frederick mentions to Melody that when he finally retires from his duties in London, he would move here with his family & live the rest of his life in utter peace & harmony, & this was a town where one could do exactly that.
On their way back, Melody goes again to Sam the butcher to purchase another slab of meat from the hefty man. When Sam asked what happened to the other slab, Melody told him the same thing she told her parents in the morning hours. Sam was so touched by her compassion, that he offered her the second slab for only half the price of the first, & again the palace would receive his bill.
This time, it was Frederick himself who took & carried it home, saving Melody the trouble.
That evening, guests arrived at the palace to welcome Frederick & his family back after another year. All were dressed in elegant tuxedos & dresses, their colors making the ballroom as bright as the chandeliers themselves. Long, elegant tables were covered almost to the brim with mouth-watering foods of all kinds—fruits, meats, dairy products, breads, & luscious desserts litter the table as Chef Louis prepared them with 'manifique elegance', & are brought out by kindly housemaid Carlotta. An orchestra with instruments played soothing music in the background.
In their bedroom, Eric & Ariel were putting on the finishing touches to their wardrobes. The former was in his white tux with gold buttons & shoulder pads, black pants & blue boots. The latter wore a brightly elegant yellow dress & shoes, matching her crown with sparkling diamonds on the front. A pair of seashell earrings dangle from her ears.
"So, our Melody made the fine tour guide for Frederick & company?", asked Eric.
"The best", Ariel said. "They say she took them to see just about everything the village had to offer, which is quite a lot when you think about it."
"I know. I've lived here in this village my whole life, & yet there's always something new happening to it."
"I guess that's one of the reasons why I've always been fascinated by life above the ocean surface—much to my father's dismay, that is."
Eric was a little mindful about that. "I've often wondered, Ariel: before we married, why was it your father forbade you to learn about life on land & the ways of…humans?"
Ariel sighed heavily before answering. "Back then, my father gave us explicit orders to keep away from humans & their ways because he just didn't understand them. He always feared that if humans knew about Antlantica & Mer-folks, it would prove disastrous. He just didn't want our way of life ruined. To him, the only good human was a…"
Ariel couldn't say the word to finish her sentence, but Eric knew what she meant.
A dead one, he thought, completing her oral thought.
"Ariel", Eric said, taking his wife in his arms. "That was a long time ago. Things have changed since then, for the good of both Atlantica & here."
Ariel looks at him & smiles. "You're right, Eric", she says. "Daddy has seen humans in a new light since the day you defeated Ursula & freed all the imprisoned mer-folk she transformed into polyps. That included me, & I can't thank or love you enough for it."
"Me neither", Eric finishes, placing his lips on Ariel's own & embracing his wife in a loving & compassionate kiss.
Then Grimsby—dressed in olive pants, blue socks, black shoes, & black tuxedo with olive cuffs—enters the room, embarrassing both himself & the married couple.
"Oh, I do beg your pardon, my Prince & Princess!", Grimsby said, ashamed of waltzing in abruptly. "Forgive my most sudden intrusion."
Eric & Ariel share a laugh, making the most of a really bashful situation.
"That's quite all right, Grims", Eric says. "We were just on our way downstairs anyway once we go get Melody. She should be ready by now."
"That's what I came to tell you, Master Eric", Grimsby said. "I went to go check on young Melody a short while ago, & she isn't in her room, sir."
"No need to worry, Grims. She's probably already downstairs, mingling with everyone else like the princess she is."
"Um…not exactly, young sir."
That came as a surprise to the happy couple. "You mean she isn't downstairs?", Eric asked.
Grimsby shook his head. "I've even asked around, from Carlotta to Frederick, & no one's seen so much as a glass slipper of her anywhere. Then again, sir, if I may, young Melody does have a capacity to disappear quite suddenly."
Just like me at that age, Ariel thought, knowing how often she vanishes during concerts & other dates from her life in Atlantica.
"Try not to worry too much, Grimsby", she said, smiling. "I think I know where she may have gotten off to."
Down by the shore, Melody (attired in a bright red dress) carefully called Godzilla by the name she'd given him, & the Monster King rises out of his sanctuary of the water, staying mostly beneath the waves. In her hands she holds an extra piece of meat the size of a person's head & gives it to her dinosaurian friend. Taking it in his own hands & sniffing it, Godzilla proudly bites into the offered meat & rips off a sizeable chunk, savoring the taste.
"I managed to secretly get that from the same place where I got you the other meat, Spiny. I hope you enjoy it as much as what I gave you last time", Melody said as Godzilla continues to chow down on his dinner. This is the second time he's been offered a tasty morsel of something other than his usual radioactivity from nuclear power plants back home, & just as Melody had hoped, he was enjoying it.
The only thing wrong was that he wished there was more of it, for he finished it up way too quickly. He gave a runt in both disappointment & eagerness.
"Don't worry, Spiny", she continued. "I'll somehow bring more delicious morsels out for you to enjoy, but for now…"
Then they hear Ariel calling out & turn to her, being on the steps leading to the ballroom.
"Uh oh!", Melody gasped, turning back to Godzilla. "Quick, Spiny, go back under! I'll see you later, & whatever you do, don't come out unless you hear from me, & only me! Okay?"
Letting out a low grunt, Godzilla turns around & dives under the surface, disappearing from sight, just as Ariel shows up.
"There you are, young lady", she says, strolling up to her. "I had a feeling I'd find you right out here by the shore. What have you been up to, sweetie?"
"Oh, nothing", said Melody. "Just getting a little fresh air first before saying hello to all of our guests, that's all."
It was plausible for Ariel, but she can tell it was something else.
"You miss your grandfather, don't you?", Ariel asked, placing her hand on her daughter's back. "Is that the real reason why you're out here, wishing he'd show up?"
It was half-true, & Melody had to admit it. "I wish he were here right now, Mom. It's been six months. You'd think he'd at least come by just to see how his granddaughter is."
"I know what you mean, honey. It's hard to be away from your family & loved ones for a long time, even if it's been just half a dozen months. But don't forget: during that whole business with Morgana, I wasn't allowed to see my father for twelve years, & that was in order to keep you safe from her. While I felt secure that you were, it was still torture for me not to be able to see him or even any of my sisters or friends for that amount of time."
Melody sighed. "That is torture, Mom", she says. "Family & friends are the most important things in any person or mermaid's life, & nothing shoud ever come between & compromise that."
"I couldn't agree more, sweetie. And your father & I were wrong to have kept your mermaid heritage confidential from you for a dozen years. Not a day goes by that we don't regret it."
"True, but now I know you both had a very good reason for doing so. I'm the one who…"
Ariel shook her head. "You've nothing to apologize for, Melody. Your father & I should've told you the moment you found that golden locket & spared you the danger you went through."
"Maybe, but that's in the past now, Mom. We all forgave each other, & with Morgana no longer a threat to me or anyone else, we don't have to hide anything from one another…right?"
Melody glanced quickly at the water where Godzilla was laying beneath. She wonders if she can come clean with telling her mother that a dinosaur resides here at the palace—one that she willingly brought home with her, & one that followed her home in the same manner.
Should I or shouldn't I?, she thought, wondering what her parents would say about it.
That's when Ariel changes the subject. "But enough moping around with our past errors. We have a party going on inside, & we're missing it by drowning in our sorrows out here, so let's go & enjoy it."
Melody nods. "Sure, Mom."
Hand in hand, Ariel & Melody head back towards the stairs that lead to the entrance of the palace, where they were immediately greeted by Eric—and his dog Max, who barks & jumps up & down happily.
"Whoa, down, Max!", Eric says cheerfully. Max does as he's asked & Eric takes a fine look at his daughter. "Melody! Look at you! All dressed in a lovely shade of red!"
"Thanks, Dad", she responded, a little bashful.
"Is that you, Melody?", Isabella asks, walking up to her with Frederick & their three kids. "I didn't think you could be any more beautiful, & yet you are! What a gorgeous dress!"
"It sure matches your hair, doesn't it, Ariel?", Frederick says.
The former mermaid smiles. "My daughter always did have the best taste in clothes", Ariel says, winking at Melody, who grins.
"Melody, would you care to dance with me?", Christian asks, bowing down to her in a true gentlemanly fashion. Melody looks at her parents, & then to Frederick & Isabella, each of them gesturing with their hands to urge her to go ahead with the young man's invitation.
Feeling all eyes on her, Melody gives in.
"Why not?", she says, taking Christian's hand & hitting the dance floor with several others, including Carlotta & Chef Louis, the latter of which tries a feeble attempt to get out of his dance.
"But mademoiselle", Louis insisted, "I have to prepare ze rest of ze entrees! I cannot engage in a…"
"Oh hush now, Louis!", Carlotta interrupts. "The food can look after itself for awhile—all work & no play makes Louis a dull boy, & you work far too much in the kitchen as it is! A dance or two isn't going to kill you any!"
Oh, woe iz moi!, Louis said to himself, defeated.
"Might as well join in the festivities", Eric said, taking Ariel by the hands as Frederick does the same with Isabella, followed by two guys who offered both Marlene & Charlene to dance, & so everyone was out on the dance floor, swaying to the music played by the orchestra.
Max, undaunted by being left behind, pants happily at the people dancing. He starts to walk toward them, when his keen sense of smell suddenly catches a scent which was familiar—and yet unfamiliar to him. This alien smell was unlike anything he'd ever sensed before, & becoming as curious as any cat, he puts his nose to the ground & starts to trace the source of this most unusual smell.
No one from inside the ballroom paid Max any mind to him as he exits, leaving the partyers behind him, concentrating solely on the smell which had garnered his full attention. He follows it down the stairs, into the grass, & down to the shore. Max detected that it was here that the odor is at its strongest, a place where Melody was at with her mother only moments before.
Max also caught their scents at this very spot, mixed in with the one he'd been following to its destination. A mixture of more than one scent mostly meant that something must be wrong, & obeying his instincts, Max began to growl angrily, starting at a low volume & rising quickly.
Then, looking out at the open water, he began barking fiercely. Whatever the smell was, it must still be in close proximity of the palace, for Max can detect with his keen senses a strong percentage of the unusual stench he caught from inside.
He can also detect that whatever the stench belonged to, it doesn't seem friendly to him.
Max's barking lasted a few minutes non-stop in an attempt to drive the intruder away or force it to reveal itself for him to deal with. For a kind animal, Max could be quite vicious when circumstances arise, especially when it comes to protecting his master & friend, Prince Eric. They had been together when Eric was just a teenager, through the best & worst of times. If there is something that plans to threaten his master, & Max had good reason to believe that there now is, he will do what is necessary to protect him & everyone else inside.
Finally, the surface of the water begins to bubble & churn ten feet away from where he stood.
Then, what lay underneath broke the surface & continued to rise.
What Max saw emerging made his eyes all agape & nearly bulge out from their sockets.
Then his barks of ferociousness turned to whimpers of trepidation.
The orchestra started the next song for the people to dance to (except Louis, who was very adamant of heading back to the kitchen, with Carlotta following), & the dancers were already moving to the soothing rhythm, facing their partners with deep passion & love, depending on who each was stuck with. Melody was quite comfortable with dancing with Christian, having danced with the young man in the past before the trouble with Morgana began. So are twins Charlene & Marlene, even if they're both dancing with two guys they'd never met before.
Watching their children dance made the four parents proud, eyeing them even as they dance themselves.
"Melody dances like the divine young lady that she is, Eric", Frederick says over to him.
"I could say the same of your own kids, Frederick", Eric says back. "Not to mention your wife."
"Better that me, you think?", Ariel asks slyly.
"Whatever is that supposed to mean, Ariel?"
Ariel giggles. "Lighten up, honey. It was just a joke. Where's your sense of humor tonight?"
Now it was Eric who laughs. "Don't worry, sweetheart. It's right here with me beside my sword."
Suddenly, both married couples engage in a hearty guffaw at Eric's attempt at humor, when the front door abruptly swings open & a terrified Max comes running inside, heading straight for his master. Leaping at him, Eric was knocked backwards & away from Ariel, frantically pawing at him & whimpering. Soon, everyone on the dance floor stopped their waltz to witness this strange fiasco & thinking it to be part of the evening's festivities, they begin to laugh hysterically.
Except for Eric, Ariel, & Melody.
"Quite a show your father puts on, huh?", Christian asks Melody.
"I don't think that is part of the show", she said quietly, more to herself than to him. She had a very bad feeling as to why Max is behaving like he is, & believes it's all going to blow up in her face.
"Whoa, Max, settle down, boy!", Eric says in a futile attempt to calm his pet down. "What is it? What's gotten you so spooked all of a sudden, huh?"
But Max couldn't settle down, as he continued his whimpers of fear & scrambling all over Eric.
What could scare Max like this?, Eric thought, fighting to control his frantic dog. I've never seen him this way before!
It was then that Grimsby caught a glimpse of movement at the front door where Max came running in. He turns to it, & his body becomes as stiff as a glass sculpture, his eyes go wide, & all the color from his face drains away.
He finally finds the strength to speak,& when he does, he makes his voice heard by all.
"M-Master Eric, sir! Look!", he shouted, pointing towards the door.
All the people turn to where Grimsby points to, & they, too, become frozen with fear as a deadly silence engulfs the huge room.
Uh oh!, she thought, having her premonition come true right in her own home: the people were staring at a ten-foot-tall, two-legged reptile—a dinosaur, with pointed purple dorsal spines protruding from its back & tail—standing in the doorway. Its toes & fingers had sharp claws on each, & it had a mouth full of sharp teeth.
Scared as the people were, none of them could take their eyes off the abomination that now dwarfs them, let alone move or utter one syllable.
Then Carlotta & Chef Louis re-enter the ballroom.
"Heavens to Betsy", Carlotta says with Louis by her side. "What's happened in here all of a sudden? Why'd the music stop so abruptly? What could've…"
Then their eyes were set on Godzilla, & they, too, became still as statues.
The Monster King turns to the newcomers, giving a slight grunt, giving them all the motive.
Carrying & hauling Chef Louis on her shoulders, Carlotta & her mate scream in terror as both crash through one of the ballroom's windows & continue running down the shore, heading for the water & run on its surface like two large skipping stones. When they realize they can't really do that, they each utter an 'oops!', & plunge into the water like stones.
Carlotta's & Chef Louis' screams stirred everyone else out of their catatonic state, & most make their way to the back of the ballroom, wanting to get as far away from Godzilla as possible.
Most people, but not all.
Eric stood his ground & shouted for the palace guards. Ariel, Grimsby, & Melody were all behind the young prince as guards—wearing chest armor & helmets, armed with spears—stormed in & surrounded Godzilla on all sides. Until now, the saurian remained unmoving, not bothering to chase the people. But when the guards approach & start pointing their weapons at him, then he gets into an attack formation himself, ready to fight should they make the first move.
The scenario Melody was witnessing made her heart palpitate.
Oh no!, she thought with trepidation. The guards don't know about Spiny's fire breath! If they attack him, he'll roast them all alive! It was no contest; if Godzilla can take on & triumph over a trio of ferocious crocodiles—descendants of the dinosaurs themselves—with ease even in a weakened state, then mere human beings won't stand a chance against him. And Godzilla was at full capacity in strength & stamina.
I gotta go stop this!
"Wait!", Melody shouted, rushing & pushing past her parents, heading towards the guards—and Godzilla.
"Melody!", Eric, Ariel, & Grimsby all shouted. But Melody paid them no mind: she pushed & waded herself through the guards & turned to face them, her arms spread out as far as she can stretch them, resembling a bird with its wings extended.
"Stop! He doesn't mean any harm to anyone!", she pleaded. Nobody within the room could believe what Melody was doing: she was standing right in front of a ten-foot-tall, meat-eating dinosaur, no doubt capable of tearing everyone in the room (& possibly the whole palace) asunder without a thought—and the 12-year-old princess is trying to protect him?
"Young madame, what are you doing?", Grimsby pleaded.
"Melody! Get away from that thing!", Eric demanded. "It'll kill you!"
But Melody wouldn't yield. She stood her ground & would not budge.
"No!", she said firmly. "I won't let anyone hurt him! If you want to skewer Spiny, you'll have to skewer me first! Besides, Dad, he won't kill me! I know he won't!"
"But Melody…how do you know this?", Ariel pleaded, fearing for her life like everyone else.
"Because, Mom…he's my friend!"
That put everyone in more of a state of shock. Not only does Melody foolishly get in front of a dinosaur that's carnivorous & risked getting killed & eaten by it, but now she claims that it's her friend?
This requires some explaining, & Melody's parents wasted no time in demanding one.
Grimsby, along with Frederick's help, led the guests of the evening into another room to keep them all away from Godzilla. Even Carlotta & Chef Louis (after their 'evening swim'!) have joined the others once they've made it back to shore, assured that the dinosaur that had crashed the party would not be a danger in any sense.
And Godzilla merely stood where he was, still surrounded by the palace guards but with all their weapons lowered. When Eric & Ariel needed to speak with their daughter about this most 'unusual situation', Melody made a demand of her own, & that was for none of the guards to go & attack her new friend for any reason. She assured them that as long as they don't attack him, he won't do so to them.
Reluctantly, they agreed. Eric ordered the guards to stand down with their weapons, but to keep a close watchful eye on 'Spiny'. For fifteen minutes, both the palace guards & Godzilla were still & calm, with neither side showing any aggression to the other.
Uo in her bedroom, Melody knew that the jig was up & was forced to tell her parents all that happened which led up to tonight's events. She explained that she met Spiny in the lagoon just the other night & fed him the meat she was supposed to bring home, the fight with the three crocodiles, taking him home & sleeping in her room with the blankets & pillows she lay on the floor, followed by having him stay in the water just outside the palace.
Hearing the details made Eric & Ariel feel overwhelmed with emotion, though more of deep concern than anger.
"Melody, you know better than to go into the lagoon all by yourself, let alone at night!", Eric stated. "What were you thinking, honey?"
"I told you already, Dad", Melody says. "When the light-headedness came back, I lost my sense of direction & stumbled into the lagoon by accident. I didn't mean to, though. But when I saw Spiny & how he was drained of energy, I just couldn't stand by & see him suffer. That's why I gave him the meat, so he can replenish his strength. The crocodile incident was something that neither of us could've predicted. Luckily, Spiny was grateful to me for the food I fed him, & he made sure I wouldn't get hurt by them, or worse."
"But Melody", Ariel argues, "if you hadn't wandered into the lagoon in the first place, you wouldn't have been in that kind of danger to begin with. God forbid, if you'd've been killed…"
"C'mon, Mom, how many times do I need to tell you & Dad that I'm sorry for all this?"
"Then why get yourself into this mess at all, honey?", Eric presses.
"Because I saw an animal in trouble, & I only did what I felt was right—to help it", Melody stated firmly. "Besides, aren't you two always telling me to lend a hand to anyone or anything that needs help? Doing so for Spiny was no different, dinosaur or not."
Eric & Ariel stayed quiet for a while, pondering Melody's words. Ariel herself was more moved, for she was in that kind of predicament more than once during her life as a mermaid. One example is when she found a small, quadrupedal sea animal (known & feared as the alleged 'Bad Luck Creature') injured while escaping Ursula, ignoring its less-than-appealing reputation, & took it home to nurse it back to health. Another is when she had experienced dealing with dinosaurs herself: King Triton, needing to take a vacation (mostly from Sebastian, who was driving him crazy at the time!), took his family up to the Winterland Resort near the Frozen North. Discovering a herd of dinosaurs frozen in suspended animation, Ariel took her father's trident & used its power to free them from their icy prison (after freeing a frozen Flounder first!). After a brief but brutal rampage of the resort, the dinosaurs made their way towards the Island of Prehistoria, where King Triton used the trident's power to restart the Hot Springs so the dinosaurs can live their lives as they were meant to.
Melody was right: helping Spiny out when he needed it most was no different, & helping an animal in need was just what they were discussing with her in the morning.
"Sweetie, I…", Ariel started to say until her daughter cut her off.
"And above all else, Spiny's my friend, like I said downstairs before. I know there's good in him, Mom. He only looks ferocious, & I'll admit he is at times, but there's a good side to him like all living things. Why can't you both see that?"
"Whoa, slow down, Melody", Eric says, holding up his hands in mock surrender. "You mean to say that you brung Spiny home because you wanted a pet? What's wrong with Max? You know he likes you."
"Ditto. But Dad, Max is your pet. I need to have one of my own."
Eric & Ariel look at each other & deduce the same conclusion: Melody misses her friends Tip & Dash far too much, that she's willing to bring home an animal from the wild to find a sense of companionship; while she seems to have found it in one, they could never have thought that the animal would be a dinosaur of all things.
"But Melody, honey", Ariel says soothingly. "Spiny's a dinosaur, & they just don't make good pets. Believe me, I know."
She punctuates her sentence with her toothy smile, trying to lighten Melody's melancholy mood. The young princess' mood remained unchanged; she didn't attempt to imitate her mother's grin, & it disappears from the one-time mermaid's face.
"Melody", Ariel says, taking her hand in one & placing her other on her back. "You know your father & I are proud of you for helping an animal when it was required, & I'm sure Spiny is grateful to you for it also. And as for there being goodness in all living things, I've always believed in that just as you do. Even now ,that instinct in me has not been diminished or dampered. You did what you thought was best, but now you need to do the other right thing."
Melody slowly looks up & into her mother's eyes. "And what's that, Mom?"
Ariel inhales & exhales deeply before answering. "You need to let him go, sweetie. Spiny just doesn't belong here at the palace."
Melody sagged her head into her mother's chest, & Ariel hugged her close as Eric embraced them both.
That's what I thought you meant, Mom, Melody sadly thought.
When all was said & done, Eric & Ariel put everyone at ease by mentioning that 'Spiny' was no threat to anyone, as Melody claimed before. Believing they all had been through enough for one night, the two decided to have everyone spend the night at the palace as both Grimsby & Carlotta prepared sleeping quarters, laying out extra blankets & pillows & placing them in spare rooms throughout the place. With Melody's help, Eric & Ariel escorted Godzilla out into the back of the palace, where he can stay for the night before they send him off to be free & roam around in the world. That will put everyone at ease, knowing 'Spiny' will be sleeping away from them & on the outside of the palace.
It was to be Godzilla's last time there.
Now it was morning, & everyone was outside to witness Godzilla being escorted from his resting place & led to the water. Grimsby, Carlotta, Chef Louis, Frederick, Isabella, their three kids & all the guests watched as this time only Eric & Ariel guided Godzilla to the water, with guards in a row on either side, creating a path for them. Melody was too heartbroken to help lead her new friend to the freedom of the ocean, & she viewed the scene with Grimsby & all the rest, but at a further distance.
As for Max, he watched the scene unfold from inside the palace, looking out of the broken window & being too afraid to go out so long as Godzilla is in view.
At about getting twelve feet from entering the water, Godzilla stopped in his tracks & stood there.
"What is it, Spiny? What's wrong?", Eric asked.
"It's probably a little tough for him to leave due to his attachment to Melody, that's all", said Ariel, a feeling she's all too familiar with.
Eric nodded, but he knows this task needs to be done, & continues. "It's okay, Spiny. It's all going to be fine."
He & Ariel then step to the side to allow Godzilla all access to the havens of the ocean.
"Go ahead, Spiny", Ariel says, gesturing with her hands to enter, with her husband doing the same. "We're letting you loose. Time for you to go free & wander the world. Go on."
Godzilla stared at Ariel first, then Eric, & finally the open ocean. Part of him didn't want to go & leave Melody. She was nothing but a saint to him from the day they met—feeding him the most delicious food, singing to him, attempting to treat wounds he'd received, allowing him to sleep at her home, & so forth. The two humans before him, while didn't do quite nearly as much as Melody, are no less caring & kind. He sensed that Eric could've easily ordered his troops to attack him last night, but he ordered them to stand down instead, even if he knew the outcome.
Now they're letting him go free into the world without so much as a second thought or a betrayal of any kind—a stabbing in the back, as you will.
And part of him did want to roam free. This is a world in which Godzilla was unfamiliar with (even more so than what he knows back home), & wanted to explore it.
Finally, he begins moving again & enters the water. When the water was up to his waist, he turns his head to the right in an attempt to get a glimpse of Melody & lets out a grunt…of a final farewell? Gratitude, perhaps? Or a bit of both?
Melody felt her stomach tie iself into a tight knot, & a lump in her throat began to form as she fought to hold back tears.
Godzilla resumes wading out into the water, & in no time submerges completely, swimming off for parts unknown.
Everyone breathes a sigh of relief, & starts mumbling softly to each other.
"Well, that was…interesting", Frederick said, approaching Eric with Isabella & the kids.
"Melody sure seems to have a way with animals, doesn't she?", Charlene says as her twin sister nods.
"Try to be a little more understanding, honey", Isabella said softly. "Melody just has an affinity for them, & I think it's something we all should have."
"Well, I'm sure the young lady is old enough to understand that this is for the best", Carlotta said.
"Wee", said Louis. "A dinosaur in ze palace iz, shall we say, like a fish out of water. It just isn't right."
"This coming from the guy who always prepares them as entrees!", Carlotta shot back. Chef Louis says nothing, embarrassed.
"Don't worry, folks. Melody does know that this is right, letting him go. Right, honey?", Eric says with a smile, facing her. His smile disappears suddenly when he sees Melody, her eyes filled with tears she can't hide, staring at him.
"Oh sure. I understand why you let him go", she sobs, her voice rising. "You did it because you were all anxious to get rid of him, & just because he's a dinosaur! You wanted him away from here for another good reason—because you're all afraid of him!"
Unable to contain her sadness, Melody turned & ran straight into the palace & headed for her room, crying uncontrollably all the way. Everyone outside felt terrible about seeing Melody break down crying over the loss of her new friend. She was correct, & they all knew it—they were afraid of 'Spiny', & wanted to see him off as soon as daybreak came. Somehow, they did sense a kinship between the two of them, especially when Melody put herself in harm's way in order to protect him. If Godzilla was a friend to any of them, they'd probably do the same thing.
"Spiny wasn't that bad. I…I kinda liked him, really", Christian said.
"So did I", Marlene added. "Even in a scary sort of way, he was fun."
"Try not to worry too much, you two", Ariel said. "I'll…I'll make this up to her, somehow."
"We both will, Ariel", Eric said, taking her in his arms. "We both will."
"Only thing is, how will you two intend on doing so, I wonder?", Grimsby asked.
Neither Eric nor Ariel could answer his question.
Atlantica, three days later:
In the bustling underwater metropolis, fish, sea creatures, & mer-folk alike were all gathering into the spacious concert hall, taking their seats at will. The instrument performers, consisting of flukes, octopi, swordfish, sea turtles & the like, were readying their musical objects for the day's events. Anyone who's anyone in Atlantica attends, as concerts such as this become spectacles that burn into the memories of the city's inhabitants (even if some of those memories turn out to be a little disappointing or even embarrassing, especially for a certain red crustacean!).
Right outside the city, five young fish—yellow in color with blue stripes on their bodies—were currently playing a fast, cheerful game of 'Kick the Clam' with one that was the size of an average stone, slapping it back & forth with their tails & giggling as each one urges to slap it to each other.
Their game was ceased when an older version of themselves comes swimming up to them.
It was Flounder, one of Ariel's oldest & dearest friends since his days as a guppy.
"Kids", he said.
"But, Dad", one of the young guppies—a female—explains. "You told us never to play 'Kick the Clam' within Antlantican limits. As you can see, we're outside its jurisdiction."
"Yeah!", the other guppies say in unison & nod their heads.
Flounder laughs. "Don't worry, kids. That's not why I came to you. I'm here to tell you that it's time for the concert, & your mother & I have been looking everywhere for you five!"
"Oops! We nearly forgot!", said one guppy.
"Oh wow!", another guppy said. "We get to see uncle Sebastian perform?"
"Not unless all the good seats get taken, so let's get in there!"
The young guppies cheer & take off into the direction of the concert hall, with Flounder of course leading the way. They get within the entranceway, when suddenly they see King Triton in his chariot, holding the reigns to the dolphin trio which pull it in one hand & his powerful trident in the other. Accompanying him in the chariot is a red crab with an oversized mouth & eyes, who rides on Triton's shoulder like he usually does.
Seeing the crab made the young guppies jump for joy, & they swim up to him.
"Uncle Sebastian!", they all shout joyfully.
Even though taken unawares, Sebastian embraces their welcome.
"Hello, my little guppy nieces & nephews!", Sebastian says with laughter. "Nice ta see you made it to da festivities dis glorious afternoon!"
"Aw, we wouldn't miss the chance to see you perform even if all of Atlantica was about to collapse, Uncle Sebastian!", one guppy said, making the crustacean blush redder than usual.
"Awww, ain't dat nice", he replied with a grin.
"Yeah, even if you are made a fool of sometimes", Flounder added, getting guffaws from both his kids and from Triton.
"Hmph! T'anks for dat, Flounder!", Sebastian grumbles under his breath, sulking.
"The rivalry between you two never seems to quit even now, does it?", King Triton asked with sarcasm & a grin.
"I guess even at our age, we're still children at heart, Your Highness", Flounder said. "But it is good to be here, & like the kids, I can't wait to see Sebastian work his magic on stage!"
The crustacean's grumpy mood gets lifted from his longtime friend's remark. "It won't be long before you do, Flounder", he says. "But first, we're going to have a performance by da King's daughters with a song da girls & I have been rehearsing for weeks prior to de show."
King Triton sighs to himself. All except for Ariel, he thought somberly. How I miss that sweet & lovely voice she possesses. If only she were here now.
No matter how happy he knows she is living her life with Prince Eric, Triton can never truly deny the fact that he misses his youngest daughter terribly. More so, he misses his granddaughter Melody—born a human but part of her life belongs to under the sea. The only thing he has of her is a photo of her as a baby embedded on a seashell with a flat side, a photo he keeps with him at a very close proximity. Since Morgana was defeated, he hadn't seen his granddaughter in half a dozen months, & while it wasn't as torturous to him as not being able to see her (or Ariel, for that matter) for a full dozen years, it was still too long a time.
Triton made himself a promise that shortly after this concert is finished, he will go visit his granddaughter & Ariel.
"Your highness?", Flounder says, snapping the Ruler of Atlantica out of his thoughts. "Are you all right? You seemed lost there for a moment."
"Oh, uh, it's nothing, Flounder", he assures him. "Just thinking about certain…t'ings, just like Sebastian would say, heh-heh."
Triton tried to hide his sorrow from Flounder, but the former guppy knew better. You don't have to hide from me, Your Highness, he thought. I miss Ariel & Melody just as much as yourself & everyone here does.
In spite of his suspicion, Flounder behaves like he doesn't notice.
"Well, think about the good time we're gonna have once the show gets underway", he says with more enthusiasm than he actually feels.
"Thank you, Flounder. I shall", Triton said, knowing he feels the same way he does about Ariel & Melody.
I'll just imagine they are here!, King Triton & Flounder say to themselves.
They swim to their seats without another word, orally or silently.
The concert hall was filled to capacity by the time King Triton arrived on the scene. Once he sits in his designated seat, Flounder & his kids rush off to find their own, & Sebastian bids the King farewell & heads backstage to prepare for his numbers.
When the last few patrons have found their seating, King Triton's messenger—an orange sea horse with a lavender ruffled collar around its neck—begins its announcements in a high & loud voice.
"Ladies & gentlemen, presenting as the start of this afternoon's concert, a performance as done by King Triton's daughters Attina, Arista, Alana, Adella, Aquata, & Andrina!"
A thunderous round of applause fills the area, echoing off the walls. A large curtain begins to pull apart from the center & opens to reveal a large stage filled with musical instruments & all its performers at the helms, ready to play. Some of them are inanimate, while others still are live volunteers, ranging from turtles who will act as drums & fish with teth big enough to be played like a piano. The lights in the audience dim as the ones for the stage shine brightly, & the clapping slows & dies as six young mermaids—each with different-colored tails & hairstyles—appear as two groups, one on opposite sides of the stage. The first group consists of Attina, Arista, & Alana, while the second consists of Aquatta, Adella, & Andrina. Both groups come together & keep at a distance of eight feet apart as the band starts playing, filling the hall with melodious music.
The girls begin to sing their musical number,dancing to the rhythm.
There were never such devoted sisters
Never had to have a chaperone, no sir
I'm here to keep my eye on her
Every little thing that we are wearing
When a certain gentleman arrives from Rome
She wore the dress and I stayed home
All kinds of weather, we stick together
The same in the rain or sun
Six different faces, but in tight places
We think and we act as one…Uh-Huh
Those who've seen us
Know that not a thing could come between us
Many men have tried to split us up but no one can
Lord help the mister
Who comes between me and my sister
And lord help the sister who comes between me and my man
(The girls dance several moments in fashion to the music before finishing out their song)
All kinds of weather, we stick together
The same in the rain or sun
Six different faces, but in tight places
We think and we act as one…Uh-Huh
Those who've seen us
Know that not a thing could come between us
Many men have tried to split us up but no one can
Lord help the mister
Who comes between me and my sister
And lord help the sister who comes etween me and my man
Sister don't come between me and my man
Another round of boisterous applause fills the hall as the six mermaids take a bow to their audience, blow kisses, & wave to them just before leaving the stage. The applause diminishes as the sea horse messenger makes another announcement.
"And now, presenting to you, the one, the only…Sebastian!"
An applause rears up as the aforementioned red crustacean now takes center stage, only he is accompanied by a penguin & a large, light brown walrus who stroll right beside him. The crew wave to the crowd as the penguin, Tip, & the walrus, Dash, go over the basics.
"Okay, mon", Sebastian says. "Let's do it just like we rehearsed it. And no slip-ups!"
"Hey come on, ya old crab! That sore claw you had for a week last month was not my fault!", Tip snapped, looking at Dash.
"How many times must I tell you before you believe me?", Dash protested. "I slipped! It was an accident! They happen, okay?"
Tip looks away. "Well, they wouldn't happen all that often if you'd go & take off some of that blubber you're always carrying around with you", he grumbles under his breath.
That didn't stop Dash from hearing him, though. "Excuse me, compadre, but my blubber is who I am, thank you very much!"
For once, Tip had no witty response, leaving him defeated.
"Enough, you two!", Sebastian barked, cutting off any further insults Tip & Dash had in store for each other. "Let's just get on wit dis!"
Reaching the middle of the stage, Sebastian takes a bow with Tip & Dash, then he turns to the musicians & raises his claws, all of whom are ready to cary out the crustacean's instructions.
"Okay, mon!", he says. "And a one, & a two, & a…!"
Swinging his claws downward, Sebastian faces the crowd, & the band all start playing their instruments to create a jumping, jiving, & wailing beat. Drums get beaten, trumpets get blown, & cymbals get clanging as the song gets moving, as do its three top performers with Sebastian in the main lead.
Sing, sing, sing, sing
Everybody start to sing
La de dah, ho ho ho!
Now you're singin' wit a swing
Sing, sing, sing, sing
Everybody start to sing
La de dah, ho ho ho!
Now you're singin' wit a swing
And when de music goes around
Everybody goes to town
But here's somet'ing you should know
Ho ho baby, ho ho ho!
Sing, sing, sing, sing
Everybody start to sing
La de dah, ho ho ho!
Now you're singin' wit a swing
(The fast-jiving pace music continues as Sebastian, Tip, & Dash move their bodies to the swingin' rhythm of their number, accompanied by other members from Sebastian's 'Crustacean Band', & even having certain members joining in on the dancing & singing. This happens for about two whole minutes before Sebastian & company finish singing the lyrics)
And when de music goes around
Everybody goes to town
But here's somet'ing you should know
Ho ho baby, ho ho ho!
Sing, sing, sing, sing
Everybody start to sing
La de dah, ho ho ho!
Now you're singin' wit a swing
The band finish with drum beats & loud trumpets before a round of applause erupts once more. As King Triton watches & hears from his seat above the festivities, he thinks about the time he once foolishly abandoned any & all kinds of music a long time ago when his wife, Queen Athena, was killed by humans aboard a ship during a day when they were having nothing but fun. So heartbroken was Triton when that tragedy occurred that he forbade music from Atlantica. In those days, their one-time happy place became a dreary one, giving his people strict orders & a routine they had to follow. Anyone who disobeyed his orders, let alone played music of any kind in Atlantica, were thrown into the dungeon. That included Ariel, who was imprisoned along with Flounder & several members of a band who played at a secretive place called the Catfish Club, a place which Sebastian himself was part of. Little did Triton know was that Marina Del Rey—an advisor to the king who helped keep Ariel & her sisters in line—was planning treason behind the backs of Triton's daughters & Sebastian (whom Marina really loathed & despised!). During a battle with Marina's carnivorous eels, Ariel had gotten injured, & realizing what he's done, or more precise, what he's forgotten, King Triton lifted the music ban, imprisoned Marina Del Rey & her assistant Benjamin (a big ton of light-green blubber), & peace, love, & harmony was restored to Atlantica—just the way Queen Athena would've wanted.
It was what Ariel once told him—King Triton had forgotten to have fun, & lifting the music ban all those years ago was the right choice to make. She had been right about it, & now Triton could not for the life of him picture Atlantica without music such as what he's listening to & most enjoying now.
Queen Athena would be most proud of this right now!, Triton thought, smiling wider.
The applause died as the band at Sebastian's command played a different musical rhythm similar to the previous but down a notch, though still danceable to, in a Calypso beat.
I wonder why nobody don't like me
Or is it de fact dat I'm ugly?
I wonder why nobody don't like me
Or is it de fact dat I'm ugly?
I leave my whole house and go
My children don't want me no more
Bad talk inside de house dey bring
And when I talk dey start to sing:
Mama, look a boo-boo, dey shout
Dere mudder tell dem shut up your mout'
Dat is your daddy, oh no
My daddy can't be ugly so
Shut your mout', go away
Mama, look a boo-boo dey (uh!)
Shut your mout', go away
Mama, look a boo-boo dey
I couldn't even digest me supper
Due to de children's behavior
John (Yes, pa?)- come here a moment
Bring de belt, you're much too impudent
John says it's James who started first
James tells de story in reverse
I drag my belt from off me waist
You should hear dem screamin' round de place
Mama, look a boo-boo, dey shout
Dere mudder tell dem shut up your mout'
Dat is your daddy, oh on
My daddy can't be ugly so
Shut your mout', go away
Mama, look a boo-boo dey (uh!)
Shut your mout', go away
Mama, look a boo-boo dey
(Several moments of Calypso music & dancing take place before Sebastian, Tip, & Dash resume)
So I began to question de mudder
Dese children ain't got no behavior
So I began to question de mudder
Dese children ain't got no behavior
D'ere playing wit you my wife declared
You should be proud of dem, my dear
Dese children were taught too bloomin' slack
Dat ain't no kind of joke to crack
Mama, look a boo-boo, dey shout
Dere mudder tell dem shut up your mout'
Dat is your daddy, oh no
My daddy can't be ugly so
Shut your mout', go away
Mama, look a boo-boo dey (uh!)
Shut your mout', go away
Mama, look a boo-boo dey (uh!)
Shut your mout', go away…
The joyful & frolicking event was abruptly turned to utter terror & panic as a portion of the hall was blasted by some unknown force, spraying rubble down onto the unprepared, unsuspecting crowd & performers. Everyone screams & runs in panicked confusion, all trying to find the nearest exit to safety even as King Triton orders them to do so. Amid all the confusion, Flounder's five kids were caught in the rush of those evacuating the hall & unable to move, each of them scared. Once the stampede subsided, they became more scared when they see several rocks falling straight for them. Too frightened to move despite the absence of the crowd, all they can do is watch as their young lives are about to end too quickly.
Then a shadow fell over them, & things went dark.
But it wasn't what they expected: in a speed he didn't think he had, Dash raced over to the five young guppies & shielded them from the falling debris, bouncing off his thick hide as if they were nothing more than pebbles.
"You kids okay?", he asked, looking down beneath him.
They all nodded.
"Thanks, Dash!", Flounder said, swimming over. "I owe you one!"
"Think nothing of it, Flounder", Dash said. "We Atlanticans are one big family, & we look out for each other."
"I take it back, old pal", Tip says, rushing over with Sebastian. "Keep the blubber. It comes in real handy at times like this!"
"I intend to", Dash said matter of factly.
A hideous cackling of maniacal laughter erupts & everyone looks up to see a green-skinned woman with eight black tentacles & a glowing amulet around her neck.
Everyone—most notably King Triton—knew who this female was.
"Morgana?", Triton exclaimed with disbelief.
"Hello, Triton!", she gloats. "Surprised to see me?"
Seeing (& knowing) the danger she possesses, Flounder instructs his kids to go & leave the premises wih their mother. Scared as they were, the young guppied did as they were told, & were gone in seconds.
"Wait, kids! Uncle Sebastian's gonna go wit you!", the crustacean says, scuttling after them.
"Now there's a real chicken of the sea for ya!", Tip said, placing his fins to his side. A burst of orange energy causes him to jump behind Dash in fright.
"Like you should talk!", Dash & Flounder said simultaneously to an embarrassed Tip, who grins sheepishly.
"I don't know how you escaped your icy tomb, witch, but you won't be threatening me or my people here in my home!", Triton barked angrily, raising his trident which glows a very bright yellow & points it at his foe. A beam of light shot forth from the trident & headed straight for Morgana. She retaliates by firing a beam of orange energy at the oncoming projectile, & when the two met, exploded on contact & disappeared in a shower of sparks.
"What?", Triton said in surprise.
"What's wrong, old man?", Morgana teased. "Surprised to finally see someone who now wields as much power as you do? This is only the beginning! Once I find what I'm looking for, I'll be declared ruler of the seven seas, & you can take an early retirement!"
"Never!", Triton shouted, taking off like a shot & heading right for Ursula's sibling, trident in hand & glowing. When he gets in range, Triton swings his weapon at Morgana in an attempt to decapitate her, but the Sea Witch dodges the shot with ease. Triton does so repeatedly with his weapon, only to have his enemy dodge every swing thrown at her, not once hitting his mark.
"You're getting slow & rusty in your old age, Triton!", Morgana gloated. "Maybe if you had a more slender physique & were several years younger, you would've hit me by now!"
Morgana laughed as Triton fired a couple of bolts from his trident in rapid succession, but he was no more successful in hitting Morgana than before. All it managed was get the Sea Witch a chance to mock him even more.
"Not even close, Triton! Now it's my turn!", she fumed. The amulet she wore began glowing a bright orange with powerful energy. Now that he was up close, Triton can clearly see what kind of amulet Morgana was wearing, & his heart was sick with dread.
Impossible! It can't be what I think it is!, Triton thought with fear eating at his insides. His enemy fires a beam of energy at Triton, & while he's able to block it with his trident, he still gets thrown backwards towards the wall of the hall & crashes into it with great force before hitting the floor.
"Your Highness!", Flounder, Tip, & Dash said together, rushing to the fallen Triton.
"Your Majesty!", Sebastian cried out, joining the others.
"I thought you were with my kids, Sebastian!", Flounder said.
"D'ere all safe, Flounder! I left dem wit dere mudder!", he says. "Besides, after seeing de king getting walloped, I just couldn't leave his side, mon! I am his main advisor, after all!"
"Looks like I misjudged you, Sebastian", Tip said. "You're braver than you look!"
"T'ink not'ing of it, mon. It happens."
Morgana guffaws wickedly,catching the attention of all, including the fallen King Triton.
"Turnabout is fair play, Triton!", she says, the amulet glowing bright. "You put me in a block of ice & destroyed my fortress! Now it's time to settle the score!"
At her command, the amulet launches a barrage of thick, powerful beams of energy in many directions, hitting multiple spots in Atlantica & causing massive destruction to the most humble underwater metropolis. Houses & other structures get pummeled to rubble, sending panicked mer-folks & marine inhabitants diving for cover. Triton, weakened by both the power of the amulet & the hit he sustained, can only watch helplessly as his beloved Atlantica suffers heavy destruction & damage with Flounder, Sebastian, Tip, & Dash. The worst scenario of it all was when Morgana fired a shot at the main tower of the city dead center—the same place where his daughters reside at. The impact caused the top half of it to rock & topple as if done so by a giant sea monster into ground level, smashing any structures in its path & breaking into rubble.
"No!", Triton cried as he watches the main tower fall, praying that nobody—daughters & all—were inside.
Morgana laughs wickedly again, reveling in the chaos & destruction she's caused.
That made Triton really mad.
Injured or not, the King of the Seas had to put an end to Morgana's tyranny before every square inch of Atlantica gets reduced to a pile of rubble.
"Morgana!", he bellowed, racing after Ursula's sister anew.
"Oooh, got your second wind, have you?", she mocks as a cloud of black smoke begins to surround her. "Much as I'd love an encore, I've got other pressing matters to attend! You can bet we'll be seeing each other soon, Triton!"
"No you don't, witch!", Triton barked, swimming swiftly into the smoke to cut off Morgana & prevent her from escaping him—again.
But that's exactly what she does; when King Triton passes through her cover as any natural octopus would project to escape danger, Morgana was nowhere to be seen, inside or out.
She was gone.
Atlantica was left in utter ruins, & those who weren't too badly hurt in Morgana's attack were assisting others in clearing the rubble, searching for anyone who was trapped & couldn't get to safety in time. With his trident, King Triton used its power to lift rubble that was too big to be hefted up by regular means. Even those like Flounder & Sebastian were helping to rescue others who needed it, in spite of their small size.
During the cleanup, a thought had just entered Dash's mind.
"You know, it never occurred to me until now", he said with Flounder, Sebastian, Tip, & even King Triton listening. "Morgana said she had 'other pressing matters to attend'. I kept wondering on what that meant, when it suddenly hit me: if she's freed, then there's a good chance that she'll be after…"
Then the thought hit all of them at once, & it wasn't a pleasant one.
"Melody!", the five answered in unison.
Even King Triton hadn't thought of that until just now, & he cursed himself for it. He was so intent on helping those in Atlantica that he didn't give an ounce of thought of his granddaughter who doesn't have any clue as to Morgana's roaming at large, & since she was the one who took the wall down at Eric's palace with his trident, there's nothing to keep her out from getting to her & do Heaven-knows-what to her. But with that certain amulet in Morgana's possession, he doubt the wall would've been any protection to begin with; if it can do this to even the tallest structure in Atlantica, then Eric's palace wont stand a chance, wall or no.
She has to be warned—before it's too late.
"You four!", Triton pointed with his trident at Flounder, Sebastian, Tip, & Dash. "Head over to Eric's palace as fast as you can & warn them about Morgana! Hurry!"
The quartet nodded.
"You can count on us, Your Highness!", Tip said, saluting him.
"We're on it, Your Majesty!", Sebastian says, grabbing Flounder by his tail as the four race off & away from what remains of Atlantica.
"Wish us luck, Your Highness!", Dash said.
"Watch over my kids for me, Your Majesty!", Flounder calls out to Triton, & the quartet were gone from sight in no time.
Godspeed, you four, Triton thought, praying they'd get there in time.
Alana's cry turned Triton's attention to five of his daughters, minus Arista, swimming up to him in a rush.
"Girls! Where's your sister Arista?", he asks.
"That's just it, Daddy!", Attina said. "We searched all around the area for her, & none of us can find Arista anywhere, & I mean anywhere!"
The agony in Triton's heart & soul just got worse.
Godzilla swam through the water with ease like he usually does, only now he does it with the thought of Melody heavily on his mind. A big part of him regrets having left her presence at the palace, feeling rather lonely without her. It was quite unusual for him to have any compassion for any living thing: most basically attack him out of the blue, & for the simple reason because he just happens to be there. But Melody was totally different—she braved being near & even fed him some delicious meat, twice. It was the most unselfish thing anyone has done for him, even more so than the four-legged creature with a hard shell on his back & covered with spines ever did, & to Godzilla, that's saying something because he & that creature are quite good friends to begin with.
He wonders: if his friend came here & met Melody himself, shrunk or not, would he feel the same way about her that Godzilla does, considering how kind & compassionate she is?
Possibly, but since he isn't here right now, Godzilla may never know the answer to that.
An object suddenly passes him on the far left, & Godzilla turns to see a blur of something rush by. It was at too far a distance for him to make out what it was exactly, but Godzilla got a rather bad feeling from it.
That mainly results in the intruder being more than a little hostile, & Godzilla is never one to ignore his instincts. What he doesn't know is whether or not it possesses any threat to him at all. Should he follow it & see where it leads to? Or should he let it be since it isn't heading right for him?
Godzilla narrows his eyes in suspicion.
Then, after a few moments of toggling between his decisions, he makes his choice.
Since that night when Melody had brought Godzilla home, all the guests went home with a promise of those events kept confidential from the village in order to keep the people from going into a panic, an absolute probability should word of an actual dinosaur living in town get out for any reason, something no one from the palace wanted happening.
But while the existence of 'Spiny' has been kept secret, life here at the palace didn't return to the way it always is, even though people like Carlotta & Chef Louis resumed their daily chores.
Ariel stood at the bottom of the stairwell looking up, hoping for any sign. She had put on her green & peach outfit like she did three days ago. Eric stood by her, attired in his standard white shirt, black pants, & blue boots, his hand clutching his wife's & hoping for good news.
Finally, Carlotta, Frederick, Isabella, & their three kids appear at the top of the steps & begin descending was holding a silver tray of food with a lid on it, & the somber look on her face (& everyone else's) says it all.
"She still won't come down?", Eric asks softly.
Carlotta shook her head. "She won't even answer the door, Master Eric", she replied. "I have to leave her food by the door to tempt her to eat, & she hasn't done so since 'that day'. The poor girl needs her nourishment. Poor Louis is grieving, knowing all his scrumptious meals are going to waste."
"Melody doesn't even want to go for a horse & buggy ride through the forest with any of us", Marlene says. "She's never refused before."
"We don't know what else to do, Ariel", says Charlene.
"It's like she doesn't want anything to do with us", Christian says sadly.
"You know that's not true, son", Frederick said, placing a hand upon his shoulder. "Melody loves you & your twin sisters."
"That's right", said Isabella. "She's just going through a tough phase right now of losing a dear friend. That's not something one can get over easily—even if that friend is a dinosaur."
"And like her mother & I, Melody has a strong affinity for animals, making this even more difficult for her to deal with", Eric adds. "I'd better go up & talk to her."
"Wait", Ariel says, stopping her husband. "Eric, honey, let me do it."
"Don't forget: I'm the one who told Melody she had to let Spiny go in the first place. Maybe a little heart-to-heart talk will get her out of her depression. I can't stand to have her like this any more than you or the rest. Please."
Reluctantly, Eric nodded. "Okay, Ariel. You go speak with her", he relents.
"Thank you", she softly says, kissing him on the cheek before ascending the stairs. When she gets to Melody's room, Ariel knocks gently on her door to see if she would answer. When she doesn't, Ariel opens the door slowly & sees her daughter siting upright on her bed, facing the wall in silence, her back to her mother, wearing her peach-colored outfit. Entering the room & closing the door behind her, Ariel walks up to Melody & sits down beside her, placing an arm around her.
"Melody", Ariel says.
"Mom", Melody said simply.
"Honey, why don't you come downstairs? It's been three days now. Everyone's very worried about you, & it's breaking both your father's heart & mine by keeping yourself in isolation like this."
"Mom, I don't mean to give you or anybody else all this grief, but you should understand what I'm…"
"But I do, sweetie", Ariel cut in as Melody faces her.
"How?", she asks.
"Because I went through something just like this back in Atlantica. One day, Flounder & I found a baby killer whale, whom we named Spot, separated from his group. We had taken it upon ourselves to bring it back to the palace. My father wasn't too thrilled about the idea, so I had to let Spot go, even though it hurt me deeply to. But you know what? I managed to see Spot again later in life, & he clearly remembered me. So, my point is, Melody, that just because Spiny couldn't stay here at home, it still doesn't mean you won't see him anymore."
"You think he'll remember me a time from now, Mom?", Melody asked.
Ariel smiled. "I'm positive, sweetie. It hurts, I know. But a part of you will always remain with Spiny, just as a part of him will stay with you, now & forever."
Her mother's words helped to release the sorrow of watching Godzilla go, Melody had to admit. Her dinosaurian friend did save her from three vicious (& hungry) crocodiles, wheras he simply could've just let them finish her off without a second thought.
But he didn't, & it was all because of what she did for him first that led up to their bond. If her mother can learn to let an animal go off into the world despite the mental pain it can give to a person, then there's no reason for Melody to do the same thing with Godzilla.
"I…I'll try not to let it bother me too much, Mom, since you put it that way", Melody said.
Ariel hugged her close. "That's my girl", she whispered in her ear, kissing her cheek.
The next sound they heard was a thud at their window.
Both ladies turned to it & see a seagull slammed into it, stuck on the glass.
It wasn't just any seagull—it was one Ariel & Melody knew.
"Scuttle!", they cried, racing to the window. Ariel opens it up as Scuttle drops to the floor.
"Whoa! Someone get the number of that window!", Scuttle said, getting up from the floor to find the ladies standing over him.
"Scuttle, what brings you here today?", Ariel asks with a little giggle.
"An unexpected visitation, Princess!", Scuttle said, sounding quite serious. "I was flying over yonder like I usually do, and…well, it's best if you just look down from your perch, my dear!"
Scuttle points with his wing to the balcony of Melody's room, & both ladies head over to the edge of the balcony & look down. They gasp in shock in seeing a young female mermaid with a red tail, shell bra, lips, blue eyes, & a head of blonde hair tied in a ponytail laying on the shore.
Ariel & Melody recognized her right away.
"Mom, doesn't that look a whole lot like…", Melody started as her mother finished.
What's she doing here?, Ariel thought, stepping away from the balcony & exiting the room in a rush, with Melody & Scuttle right behind her. When Eric & the others saw Ariel running down the stairs, he asked what was going on & Ariel filled them all in on the situation. Soon, they were all outside the palace to the spot where Arista was literally beached. When they reached her, the blonde-haired mermaid had bruises on her arms, body, & tail. When Frederick & his family saw Arista, none of them could believe their eyes: they were looking at an actual mermaid, a being they believed was only make-believe from fairy tales. Each of them had tons of questions to ask Eric & Ariel about it, but they know that now wasn't a good time.
Now was the time to help the beached being.
"Good heavens!", Grimsby said. "That is one of your sisters, isn't it, Princess Ariel?"
"I'm afraid so, Grimsby!", Ariel said with dread.
"Lord, what happened to the poor girl?", Carlotta asked.
"Wee! She looks as though she'd just been through a war!", Louis adds.
"We'll know soon enough once we get her awake!", Eric said.
Being the ones who were closest to Arista, Ariel & Melody start to revive the mermaid by splashing water on her face.
"Wake up, Arista! You just gotta wake up!", Melody pleaded.
"Come on, Arista! Wake up, please!", Ariel pleads as well.
Much to their relief, Arista slightly opens her eyes & groans, signaling everyone that she was still alive aside from her injuries.
"Arista! Thank the heavens you're alive!", Ariel cried. "What happened to you? How did you sustain these injuries?"
Arista answers with a strained voice. "We…we were attacked…Ariel…She came &…hit us hard in…Atlantica."
"Who, Arista? Who attacked you in our home?"
There was a slight pause before the blonde mermaid answered.
Just the very sound of the name of Ursula's sibling sent a blood-curdling chill through the crowd, most notably for Ariel & Melody. Mumbles echo through the crowd, ones of deep concern & fear. Overcoming his own, Eric calmed the rest down in order to hear more of what Ariel's sister had to say.
"Somehow…she got free…of her icy prison…& attacked Atlantica…with a most powerful amulet…She trashed our home…injuring many…many more still trapped…beneath the rubble… Father tried to…stop her, but she…disappeared. I escaped to…come here to…warn you & your daughter…of her presence."
"How can that even be, Mom?", Melody asks. "Grandpa trapped her in a thick block of ice & caused the destruction of her fortress! We all saw that!"
"I know, sweetie, but how she escaped isn't what's important right now", Ariel said. "What is vital is to be prepared for her! Knowing Morgana, she might come here & take you away from us like she nearly succeeded doing last time!"
Eric unsheathes his sword. "Don't worry, Ariel", he said firmly. "That won't happen again—not so long as I live & breathe!"
Frederick unsheathes his own weapon. "I don't know who this 'Morgana' is, my friend", he stated, "but if she dare represents a threat to Melody, then count me in for keeping her safe!"
Thank you, old friend!, Eric said to himself.
Despite the assuredness of her husband & his friend, Ariel still felt concerned. Morgana was never to be taken lightly, & there's no limit to what she'll do to accomplish her evil goals.
"Be careful, you two", Arista said. "I believe Morgana…is closer than…you might think."
"What do you mean?", Ariel asked. "Do you know where she is exactly, Arista?"
"Right here!", Arista suddenly said with renewed vigor, sitting up straight & having an evil grin on her face.
"Arista?", Ariel said, being taken totally off-guard as her 'sister' pushes her away roughly.
Then Arista grabs Melody by the arm & takes her into the water at a safe distance from the stunned crowd. Eric & company gasp in terror as Max barks like mad at the impostor.
"Melody!", they all cry out as 'Arista' laughs maniacally & starts to morph & transform in front of the horrified group. Her hair changes from blonde to white, her flesh becomes a greenish hue, & her mermaid tail splits like an upside-down banana, revealing eight black tentacles.
"Morgana!", Melody says with a gasp.
"Hello, child! Long time no see!", Morgana said, holding her hostage in her regular arms.
"That's Morgana?", a frightened Isabella asked, her three children cuddling close to her in fear.
"That's her, Isabella!", Eric said. "The witch who almost claimed my daughter's life!"
"Not this time, she won't!", Frederick said as he & Eric started advancing toward the eight-armed menace before them. "Let her go, sea creature, or we'll skewer you where you stand!"
"I don't think so, boys!", Morgana says confidently as the water to her left begins to churn white & bubble, & a large dark pink shark with black stripes suddenly surfaces & stares at the group menacingly with a grin of sharp teeth. Eric stopped in his tracks & signaled Frederick to do the same. Even Max backed down, being absolutely no match for the killer shark.
"Undertow!", he said, saying his name like it was cursed. He should've known this: where Morgana is, Undertow isn't far behind her at all. And why not? Ursula had Flotsam & Jetsam as her hench-fish, & it made sense for Morgana to have one of her own.
"Back off, pretty boys, or little miss fish-face here becomes my dinner!", Undertow says, his toothy grin remaining. "And I've been a-hunkerin' for some fresh human meat!"
The two vile villains chuckle wickedly as, yards away, Flounder, Sebastian, Tip, & Dash come to the palace just in time to witness their worst fear come true before them.
"We're too late!", Dash said. "Morgana's captured Melody!"
"What can we do?", Flounder wondered aloud.
"Dat's just it, Flounder!", Sebastian said. "What can we do?"
Despite the dire situation of having her daughter in the Sea Witch's grip, Ariel stood her ground firmly.
"What do you want with her, Morgana?", she demanded.
"I think it's quite obvious, Ariel!", Morgana said. "A little revenge, if I recall! For having to even the score for a certain plump & burly sister I once had—until somebody rammed a pointed wooden stake through her! I'm just here to collect what's owed me, that's all!"
Eric took a few steps forward, placing his sword back in its sheath.
"Morgana", he started to say, "if it's revenge you truly desire, then take it out on me. I'm the one who killed your sister with that broken mast. Just let Melody go."
"Good lord, sir!", said Grimsby.
"Eric!", Ariel said in shock.
"Are you mad?", Frederick asked in disbelief.
"You mustn't, Master Eric!", Carlotta pleaded.
Eric turned to them. "What would any of you do to save Melody in this predicament?", he asked them.
Morgana laughed. "How awfully noble for a father to sacrifice anything in order to save his child, even his own life", she says. "But I'm afraid it goes beyond that. This little twerp is to remain my hostage until I locate & find what I seek, & absolutely no one is to follow us! If they do…well, I guess I should say that the consequences will be most severe! And you get word to King Triton while you're at it!"
"How do you expect us to do that? Send the pigeon?", Grimsby asked angrily, referring to Scuttle.
"Hey! I resent that, Grandpa!", Scuttle scolded. "I'm a seagull, thank you very much!"
"Scuttle!", Ariel snapped at him, appalled that he would crack jokes at a time like this.
Scuttle remained quiet, placing his wings over his beak.
"That's your problem, old-timer!", Morgana scoffs. "Just give that message to Triton or…"
From right behind Morgana & Undertow, the water bubbles & churns white, & the two sea fiends turn to prepare for the arrival of the aforementioned Sea King, grinning with satisfaction.
"Well well, word sure travels fast in these waters, eh?", Undertow says, chuckling.
But while Morgana & Undertow believe that King Triton's arrival will change nothing, the quartet of Flounder, Sebastian, Tip, & Dash feel & believe differently.
"Here comes the King now!", Flounder says.
"Yeah!", Tip says. "He'll teach those two sea hooligans a thing or two about taking what's a big part of his life!"
"You betcha, mon!", Sebastian said. "Get ready for some fireworks!"
Ariel was filled with dread, even with her father now approaching the scene. As powerful as he is, there's no way he'll put Melody in any harm, & when he sees his granddaughter in the grip of Ursula's sinister sibling, he'll be totally at her mercy.
And there was nothing she, Eric, or anyone else can do otherwise.
"Hey, Triton!", Undertow starts to say. "You better listen & listen real good, 'cause we…"
Morgana's hench-shark cut his statement short when the alleged figure suddenly burst up from beneath the surface. Everyone—fiend & otherwise—were deathly silent at the figure who had just surfaced, staring at it with eyes agape.
"Whoa, mama!", Tip & Dash said simultaneously.
It wasn't who they expected at all!
"Hey, you're not King Tri—ungh!"
Again Undertow got cut off in mid-sentence, but this time it was by force, as a very strong & powerful left fist slammed into the side of his face & sends him crashing into Morgana. Being so stunned at the totally new arrival gave neither fiend no time to prepare for the swift, brutal attack on them, & Morgana's grip on Melody was loosened & released as the young princess was sent flying just a short distance but landing safely into the water near her parents. As she resurfaced & her parents rushed to her, Melody looked at who had just saved her, & her eyes shined bright, with a grin to match.
She was looking at a ten-foot-tall dinosaur with purple spines on its back—a familiar sight!
It was Godzilla, but to Ariel & Eric's daughter, he went by his given name.
"Spiny! You came back!", Melody said happily.
"Yow! Talk about your past comin' back to haunt you!", Scuttle said. "Where'd that come from?"
Melody turns to Scuttle. "Don't worry, Scuttle", she tells him. "Spiny's a friend of mine! If anyone can keep me safe from Morgana & her hench-shark, he can!"
Worry? Who's worrying, sweetie?, Scuttle though, still in shock at seeing a live dinosaur in his midst.
"Quickly, Melody!", Isabella said. "Get to shore before that horrid creature can grab you again!"
Melody nodded & did what she was told, & both her father & Frederick got in front of her with their weapons at the ready in case Morgana was foolish enough to try to get to her on land.
Seeing that Melody was out of danger from the ones who tried to take her hostage, Godzilla turns to face Morgana & Undertow, who were getting their bearings after being sucker-punched by the new arrival.
"So, we've got a new player in town, huh?", Morgana spat.
"It ain't gonna mater, Morg! He's about to become chum!", Undertow growled, racing full throttle towards Godzilla, his teeth glistening in the sunlight as he chomps noisily, intent on making the Monster King his next meal.
With Godzilla, that's much easier said than done: when Undertow was in range, Godzilla did a full 360 degree turn & rams his tail into the shark's face with as much force as his fist had gave him. Undertow got sent flying across the water's surface until he splashed down near a rock—the same one where Sebastian & company were residing at!
"Incoming!", Tip shouted.
"Scatter!", Flounder barked, & the quartet broke off in four different directions just before Undertow made his big splash.
Although Godzilla had (for now) disposed of Undertow, Morgana used the distraction to launch herself at the saurian a second or two afterwards, ramming into him with enough force to drive him backwards a couple of yards. Like snakes, Morgana's tentacles wrap around Godzilla's arms & legs in a crushing embrace, squeezing his appendages until they become weak enough for Morgana to tear them out of their sockets. Tough as he is, even Godzilla felt the immense pressure of her constricting limbs on his arms & legs, & he growls & thrashes angrily to shake her off.
But it was no use: try as he might, Godzilla couldn't get free of the octopus limbs that were crushing his own. The Monster King wouldn't quit, however. Bleak his situation may be, he still found a way out of his predicament. With all her appendages wrapped around his limbs, Morgana left herself wide open from the one place her tentacles failed to grasp—his mouth.
Like a striking snake himself, Godzilla reached forward & bit Morgana deeply on her left shoulder, sinking his teeth into her flesh. The Sea Witch screamed out in agony, & her pain made her release her tentacles from the saurian. Now that he was free, Godzilla took the offensive & grabbed about two or three of Morgana's appendages, lifted her in the air, & slammed her down as hard as he could, doing so repeatedly.
"You four again?", Undertow barked, following a scared Flounder, Sebastian, Tip, & Dash all over the place, with the quartet being just ahead of the big & hungry shark. "This time, I'm gonna swallow you all whole in one big gulp!"
The quartet screamed in terror, & it caught the attention of those ashore.
It was Ariel & Melody who spotted them first.
"Flounder! Sebastian!", Ariel cried in fear.
"Tip! Dash!", Melody cried for the same reason, but for her it was a little ironic: she was the one who had wished to see them after six lonesome months, & now she's seeing all four at the palace at the same time.
Too bad it was under the most unexulting circumstances.
Following the frightened quartet, Undertow was heading straight for Godzilla, still smashing Morgana up & down.
"Spiny! Watch out!", Melody shouted, pointing to the approaching Undertow. After he slams the Sea Witch again, Godzilla catches the shark in his sights chasing a fish, crab, walrus, & penguin in hot pursuit. With Morgana still in his clutch, he swings his foe with all his might at the oncoming terror with great momentum.
With nothing to stop or even slow her down, Morgana crashed violently into Undertow & became a tumble of fins & tentacles, giving Flounder & his group the chance to get more distance from their pursuer.
They're safe!, Ariel thought, breathing a sigh of relief.
Then Melody went through Eric & Frederick & went into the water.
"Melody!", they said.
"Mademoiselle! Iz not safe yet to go into ze water!", Chef Louis warned her.
"What are you doing, child?", Carlotta wondered.
"Helping our friends!", Melody said simply, entering the water & going past Godzilla to go retrieve Sebastian & Tip as the former enters her shirt pocket & the latter gets swept up in her arms. Flounder gets as close to shore as he could, while Dash actually gets to shore & gallops onto land.
"Uh, hello folks", Dash says to an amazed Frederick, Isabella, Marlene, Charlene, & Christian.
"Hi", was all they could say to him.
"Flounder", Ariel says to her lifelong friend.
"Hello, Ariel", he says back.
"Look lively, everyone!", Grimsby warns, pointing. "We're not out of this yet!"
Grimsby points to where Morgana & Undertow collided at, & both regained their balance & were upright again, with neither being too happy about getting thwarted.
Her amulet glowing bright, the Sea Witch focuses her sights on Melody with a hateful glare & every intention of frying her where she stood, scrapping the idea of taking her hostage.
"Filthy wenches!", she bellowed. "You will all pay for this treachery, starting with you!"
At her command, Morgana fired a beam of orange energy from her amulet—heading right for Melody!
"NO!", Ariel & Eric yelled, knowing there was nothing they could do to help their daughter from getting fried alive. Melody, Sebastian, & Tip watch as their inevitable end comes rushing right for them; Sebastian hides in her shirt pocket, while Tip just stares agape at his oncoming death.
With a mighty leap, Godzilla gets in front of Melody, using his own body as a living shield & protects the three of them from the oncoming projectile, just as it hits the Monster King on the back & bathes him with its intense heat. For a second, Godzilla senses a familiarity to the energy which struck him, doing no noticeable damage whatsoever. Everyone is amazed at both Godzilla's instant heroics & his incredible stamina as he remains unharmed in every way.
And thanks to him, so are Melody, Sebastian,& Tip—not a mark on any of them.
Even Morgana & Undertow were amazed (if not baffled) at the ineffectiveness of the power of the amulet doing no harm to Melody's dinosaurian shield. She surmised that the beam would have punched right through it & kill the young princess & her friends. Instead, the dinosaur didn't even flinch as it hit him, despite the beam's force pushing him several feet.
"Lousy contraption!", Undertow growled. "It can tear the stuffing out of an underwater city but it can't eliminate one stinkin' dinosaur? What gives?"
For once, Morgana couldn't say anything.
But Melody could, & she knows just what to say to her foes.
"If it's firepower you want, Morgana, we'll show you firepower!", she says defiantly, looking at Godzilla. "Let 'em have it,Spiny!"
Godzilla was way ahead of Melody. As she began her second statement to Morgana, the Monster King's rear dorsal spines began glowing a bright orange—similar to the glow of the Sea Witch's amulet—followed by the inside of his mouth. Melody was used to this sight by now, but for the others—friend & foe alike—it became another incredible show. Sebastian had mentioned earlier to 'Get ready for some fireworks', & now he & everyone else is going to get a front-row seat of them!
"Uh-oh", Morgana & Undertow said, looking worriedly at each other.
Godzilla let loose with his heat ray.
Like the amulet's power, the beam headed straight for the vile sea fiends at a fantastic speed, & Morgana & Undertow could even feel the immense heat before it reaches them. It strikes them both with amazing strength, & both fiends cry out in anguish as they get thrown back by the ray's power, engulfing them.
When Godzilla relents & ceases his heat ray, Morgana & Undertow were nowhere to be seen; all that remained was a boiling, bubbling circle which marked their last known position—it was like they were never here at all.
Seeing his two foes (& Melody's kidnappers) gone from sight, Godzilla unleashes a victory roar that echoes throughout the palace, causing a few jumps of surprise & some to cover their ears.
"Yow! Where's his 'mute' button?", Scuttle said, cleaning his ears with his wings.
"Sacre blu!", Louis said. "What amazing power zis 'Spiny' has, no?"
"Indeed he does, Louis", Carlotta agreed. "Look at how boldly he jumped in front of Melody to shield her from that awful Morgana."
"Rightfully so, Carlotta", Grimsby added. "I feared a blast like that would've finished them all off, considering what that witch did to Princess Ariel's home."
"So it's true, Flounder?", Ariel asked with dread. "Atlantica got demolished?"
Flounder made a somber face before telling her. "It is, Ariel. Morgana totally trashed the place. Your father's ordered a total seach for anyone trapped, as well as for those two."
Ariel nodded, knowing who Flounder meant by 'those two'.
"Don't worry, Ariel", Eric assures her. "I'm sure your father will help those who need it back in Atlantica. Right now, though, we need to be with our daughter."
Ariel nods again, & they witness an approaching Godzilla cradling Melody in his arms like a parent would do for his/her child, with Tip cradled in hers & Sebastian still in her pocket.
"T'ank de heavens we're still alive, mon", Sebastian said.
"Thanks to him, Sebastian", Melody says proudly. "That's twice he's rescued me."
"Twice, huh?", says Tip. "Better watch it, little lady. Me thinks maybe Spiny here's got quite the crush on ya."
"Do I detect a hint of jealousy from you, Tip?"
"Jealous? Of him? Ha! I'm one half of 'Tip & Dash—Adventurers-slash-Explorers'! What's Mr. Dinosaur here got that I don't got?"
Dash hears Tip just as Godzilla reaches shore with his 'passengers' & answers. "How about courage, awesome strength, & really bad breath? Well, that last part you pretty much share with him."
"You really know how to push the envelope—don't you?", Tip grumbled loud enough for everyone to hear, causing them to giggle as Godzilla now puts Melody & company down on the ground gently.
"Thanks, Spiny", she said as Ariel & Eric come & embrace her in a family hug. Even Max ran to her & barked happily, no longer afraid of Godzilla as he had been three days previous. The same went for all, especially after seeing the Monster King put himself in harm's way to protect Melody, saving her from an incinerating death by Morgana. It's unclear as to whether the Sea Witch & her shark accomplice just met that fate by Godzilla, but no one was anxious to go into the water to find a pair of bodies & have it confirmed.
But one thing is definite: if Morgana & Undertow are still out there, they won't have an easy time trying to get Melody again, for she now has Godzilla—King of the Monsters—to watch her back.
"It looks like you got your own knight in shining armor, sweetie—minus the armor part, that is!", Scuttle said, gliding towards her.
"He's that & more, Scuttle", Melody said, looking up at Godzilla. She takes the time to begin introducing him to everyone around him, beginning with Tip & Dash & ending with her parents.
With each introduction, they give Godzilla a formal greeting from a pleasant bow to phrases like 'Please to make your acquaintance' & 'How you doin'?'. Godzilla can sense & even feel the warmth & kindness of every individual, whether it be person or animal. True, they had been afraid of him before, as Melody suspected when they set him free three days ago, but after seeing him put his life on the line for the young princess, they can tell he's not as hostile as they thought.
Except to enemies, of course.
And once they all saw that act of bravery on his part, the saurian is viewed in a totally different light.
They don't see him as a vicious carnivore.
They see him as a friend, & Godzilla feels the same way about each & every one of them.
Maybe humans aren't so bad after all, Godzilla surmises.
It was then that Eric spoke.
"Spiny, I guess we all owe you an apology for trying to keep you & Melody separated", he says. "If it weren't for you, we might have lost her like we almost did once."
"But we owe you an even much bigger thank you", Ariel says with sincerity, taking his arm in her hands. "For saving our daughter's life—again."
"Does that mean that Spiny can stay, Mom? Dad?", Melody asked hopefully.
They looked at her thoughtfully, & Ariel was the first to speak.
"I guess until he becomes too big for the palace, sweetie", she says.
"And that he sleeps outside the place", Eric added, remembering the blankets & pillows she allowed Godzilla to sleep on.
"It's a deal!", Melody said cheerfully, a feeling shared by Frederick & Isabella's three kids.
"Neat! A real dinosaur staying at the palace!", Christian says as Marlene & Charlene giggle & nod in approval.
"Then why not throw Master Spiny a little party to honor his induction into this family?", Grimsby joked.
"Now why didn't I think of that, Grims?", Eric said, taking his friend's request seriously. "I believe we owe it to him. Great idea!"
"But Master Eric, I was just joking, sir."
"I wasn't, Grims. Spiny deserves the honor after what he did for Melody. I'd like to throw it for him tomorrow night."
"Shall we invite our other guests from last time, Eric?", asked Frederick.
"They might still be uneasy of Spiny after that night, hon", Isabella said.
"Not unless you explain the situation to them, Mom", Marlene said.
"She does have a point, Isabella", Carlotta said. "I myself were that way when I first lay eyes upon him in our home, but after today, I highly feel like he's one of us now."
"A party, huh?", Tip says excitedly. "Say, if you're gonna throw one here, then Dash & I request permission to be attended, Your Princefulness!"
Eric chuckles. "Permission granted, boys."
"Solid!", Tip & Dash say in triumph, giving each other high-fives with their fins.
"We'll count you in too, Sebastian", Melody whispers to him so as not to be seen or heard from Chef Louis. Since the day they met in his kitchen, Louis & Sebastian have been mortal foes with the chef seeking revenge (& death) to 'Ze Crab!' as Louis proclaims, especially when his kitchen became a total mess, with Louis attempting to filet the red crustacean with his cleaver.
For now, his presence will remain confidential.
"T'anks, Melody child", Sebastian whispered back, disappearing into her shirt pocket.
But one member of this group wouldn't be able to attend to tomorrow night's party, & for obvious reasons as everyone turns to Flounder.
"Oh, Flounder", Ariel started to say but the yellow-colored fish with blue stripes cut her off.
"No need to apologize, Ariel. It's quite all right. Anyway, I have a family to attend to, & don't worry too much about Atlantica. Bad as things are there now, we'll get through it. I'm sure your father's doing a great job in helping with the rescue even as we speak."
Ariel nods reluctantly. "Thanks, Flounder. Go to your family & give them my blessings."
"I will. So long, everyone!"
Ariel & the rest only had time to wave to the departing fish, for Flounder was gone in two shakes of a fish's tail as he dives underwater & swims out to sea, heading for Atlantica.
"Speaking of Atlantica", Charlene chips in, "I always thought it & mer-folks were merely a fairy tale to tell children."
"So it actually does exist?", Frederick asks.
"You betcha", Dash said matter of factly. "Tip & I have been there ourselves."
"And now we actually live there!", Tip adds proudly. "Pretty neat, huh?"
"Frederick, why don't we all head inside & we'll fill you in on all the details", Eric said to his longtime friend. "Ariel & I have quite a lot to tell you & the family."
Nodding, Frederick starts heading for the front door with everyone close behind him.
"Come on in, Spiny", Melody says, gesturing to follow with her hands. "You're gonna want to hear the details as well."
She spoke true: all the hubbub he's heard from his new frends have caught Godzilla's high interest. He's never heard of, much less seen, an actual mer-person before, & his curiosity demands he learn about Atlantica, its inhabitants, & way of life.
Being the last in line, Godzilla followed the rest into the palace—this time as a resident.
Over a hearty & fulfilling lunch, Ariel & Eric filled Frederick & his family in on the story of Atlantica & its way of life, from its history to Queen Athena's untimely 'accident' to events which lead up to the two falling blissfully in love to the birth of Melody & the adventure they had to protect her from Morgana's tyranny. Enjoying freshly prepared foods from steak, bread, & fruits, Frederick, Isabella, & their three kids listened to every word Ariel & Eric had said, & found all they heard nothing short of fascinating & amazing.
As did Godzilla himself: over a whole slab of fresh cow beef, he, too, hung on every word spoken from Ariel & Eric. He's had some experience of dealing with creatures from beneath the waves, such as a giant lobster which terrorize an island & an aquatic dinosaur that was teamed up with a robotic double of himself that trashed the city of Tokyo—and almost him. But hearing of humans that are half-fish was completely new to him, & found it a grand experience. He hopes to see an actual mer-person, as his curiosity is at its pinnacle.
Gut instinct tells Godzilla that he soon will.
"So Atlantica isn't just a fairy tale, as we all once thought", Frederick said.
"It's just as real as this palace, old friend", Eric said. "While Grimsby always kept telling me otherwise, I always believed that there was life under the sea in the form of mer-folk."
"If it really does exist, how come not many people here on the surface know about it?", asks Marlene.
"There was a very good reason to keep it secret from humans, something I've told Eric only three days ago", Ariel said. "My father, King Triton, was always fearful that should Atlantica ever be discovered by them, they would cause the city & its inhabitants much harm. So for many years, he did whatever was necessary to prevent humans from knowing of its existence."
"And that meant not having any kind of contact with the surface, right?", asked Christian.
"That's right, Christian."
"But of course, that never stopped you from wanting to know about what lay beyond the boundaries of the sea, right?", Isabella asked, toasting her glass to Ariel with a wink.
Ariel giggled. "Guilty as charged, Isabella. Yes, I was truly fascinated with life on the surface as some were about life beneath it. I have so many adventures to tell you about, & just not enough time to do it."
"Think of it this way, Ariel", Charlene says. "If you weren't curious about humans, then you would've never met Prince Eric, fell in love, & had Melody. I'd say all the risks that you took as a mermaid paid off, don't you?"
"The same with Master Eric", Grimsby adds. "Were it not for his determination to find the one who rescued him from our accident at sea for his eighteenth birthday, this family of three would not have been possible."
"And this house wouldn't be as cheerful as it is now, would it?", Carlotta asks with a glitter in her eyes.
"Amen, Carlotta", Melody said, giggling.
"Amen!", everyone said, raising their glasses in a toast before taking a sip.
"And now we have a brand new addition to our family to be thankful for", Melody went on, looking at Godzilla as the rest did the same, with Max barking happily.
But while Godzilla felt honored by the attention he's being given, his senses kick in & feels a new presence in close proximity of the palace, one he hasn't known before. Not knowing if it was friendly or hostile, the saurian gives off a low growl & looks out the window, putting all on a sense of alert.
"What's gotten into him all of a sudden?", Christian asks.
"What's wrong, Spiny?", Melody asked.
Then Max begins to bark.
"What is it, Max?", Eric asks. "Is someone outside?"
"You don't suppose that horrid witch Morgana's come back, do you?", Carlotta asked in fear. At that moment, Ariel rose from her seat & went to the window to check out what has both Max & Godzilla all riled up. When she saw the disturbance right away, her eyes went wide with recognition. It wasn't Morgana, but a mer-man with a turquoise tail, gold bracelets on his wrists, a long mane of a white beard, mustache & hair, blue eyes, & a gold crown on the top of his head. In his right hand he holds a large three-pronged fork.
It was none other than King Triton!
"Daddy!", Ariel said, running out of the room with a barking & excited Max. Eric followed her immediately, followed by Grimsby, Carlotta, Louis, & all the rest except for Godzilla, who had stayed behind for the moment. If the new presence was an enemy, he knew they wouldn't rush on out to greet it: they would've stayed inside & allow it to try & come to them. Therefore, it must be a friendly presence.
For now, he stays put.
Seeing his youngest daughter & granddaughter coming, King Triton's heart was filled with joy, knowing that Morgana hadn't taken Melody away.
"Hello, Daddy", Ariel says proudly.
"Hello, Grandpa", Melody says in the same manner.
"Greetings Ariel, Melody", Triton said.
Sebastian peeked out from Melody's pocket, looking & feeling regretful. "Forgive me, Your Majesty! We couldn't get to & warn dem in time! Morgana beat us to it, & I'm ready to be made into crab cakes for my failure, sire!"
Triton chuckles. "Easy, Sebastian. Flounder told me everything about what happened as soon as he got back home. I'm just so glad my granddaughter & Ariel are safe—along with you & your group, Sebastian."
"Oh, dat's a relief. T'ank you, sire." The crustacean gives the King of Atlantica a toothy grin which caused the girls to giggle.
"Thank you, Daddy", Ariel said, turning serious. "How's the situation back home?"
"Nobody's been killed, have they?", Melody saked desperately.
Triton inhales & lets out a sigh. "We've suffered heavy damage along with quite a number of injuries, but I'm happy to say that there have been no casualties, thanks in no small part to our quick response time."
Ariel, Melody, & Sebastian let out a sigh of relief, knowing that no deaths were involved. The same was felt by Eric & the rest, & King Triton takes notice of Frederick & his family for the first time since arriving at the palace. Looking at Ariel's father gave them a feeling of awe.
"Eric, are these humans friends of yours?", Triton asked.
"They are, Your Majesty", he says. "This is my longtime friend Frederick, his wife Isabella, & their three kids are Christian, & twins Marlene & Charlene. Don't worry, they're very good people, & Frederick even helped to protect Melody when Morgana showed herself."
"That I did, Your Highness", Frederick said, bowing in respect to Triton. "No way would I allow that abomination to swim away with your granddaughter."
"Then I am ever so grateful & in your debt, Frederick, for defending my precious Melody."
"We're honored, King Triton", Isabella said. "But the real honor & thanks goes to our new friend Spiny."
"That's right, Your Highness", Christian said with the twins nodding.
"Ah yes", Triton says with a chuckle. "Flounder did mention him to me. Do you have any idea as to where…"
"There he is, Your Majesty!", Carlotta says, pointing to the front door as Godzilla, unable to stay inside, emerges from the palace's entrance with all eyes locked on him.
"It's okay, Spiny", Melody assures him. "He's a friend—and my grandfather. Come say hi."
At Melody's urging—and his curious stage—the King of the Monsters slowly but surely approaches the King of Atlantica. As Godzilla gets closer to King Triton, Ariel, Melody, & the rest stare in wonder: does the saurian see a kinship within Triton, & vice versa? Or is this just the calm before the storm, & sense a hostility towards each other & begin battling?
No one does or says anything, not wishing to disrupt the occasion. If this does turn ugly, it will be by their choice.
They can just hope that it doesn't go bad.
Fortunately, Godzilla senses no hostility toward him from Triton, & the reverse is also true.
To punctuate a bond, Triton takes Godzilla's hand & shakes it gently, giving the Monster King all the evidence he needs to know that Triton is no foe of his.
"Thank you, Spiny", he tells him as the saurian grunts softly in greeting.
Eric & the rest look at each other with smiles, glad that the two got along instantly.
"Well, whaddya know? Friends at first sight! How glamorous!", Scuttle said.
"Even if they do make strange bedfellows!", said Tip sarcastically to Dash.
"Oh?", Dash responds back. "And you don't believe that people think a walrus & penguin who hang out together might make the same thing?"
"Your point being what, exactly?"
Eric makes a noise with his throat at Tip & Dash, telling them to 'cut it out'.
The duo—even Scuttle—stay quiet & stand at attention like obedient soldiers.
"Daddy", Ariel speaks up as Triton & Godzilla cease shaking hands. "What was that amulet which Morgana attacked us with? Have you any idea what it is?"
King Triton didn't answer her daughter right away. He does have a good idea of what that amulet is. In fact, he's seen it in the past a long time ago. It might feel right for him to simply tell her about the Lamprey Amulet & the terror it can cause—and worse.
But Triton just didn't feel right to fill her in on a most destructive weapon. He'd kept it a secret for so long, & he wishes to keep it that way, especially from his own family, whether they lived on land or under the sea.
"I…I don't know, Ariel", he says weakly before strengthening his voice. "But I can assure you that we'll find Morgana & Undertow, & put an end to their reign of terror once & for all. As we speak, numerous search parties to find her are underway. It won't be long before they're found & caught."
Like last time, Daddy?, Ariel thought bitterly. Morgana had eluded Triton & his people for a dozen years, hidden in her frozen temple, so his words don't exactly fill her with confidence—at least not with finding Morgana, let alone with capturing her. As she had suspected twelve years ago, Morgana is just like her sister Ursula, but worse. In their family, the apple doesn't fall very far from the tree at all.
"I need to head back to Atlantica now, Ariel. There are wounded that need tending to", he concludes, turning & pointing to Sebastian. "Sebastian?"
"Yes, sire?", the red crustacean says.
"You, Tip, & Dash report back to me immediately should Morgana and/or Undertow dare to show themselves here to try & kidnap Melody in any way! Understand?"
Sebastian saluted Triton. "Yes, sire!"
"We're on full alert, Your Majesty!", Dash says firmly.
"Ain't no way that crazy broad's getting her slimy mits on Melody again—not with us on duty!", Tip says with a salute.
Triton nods. "So long, Ariel, Melody", he says before turning around & heading out to sea. No one called out his name or even tried to stop him. As much as he wanted to stay & be with his daughter & granddaughter, he has a responsibility to his people in Atlantica—a duty he dares not shun for any reason.
If it was any consolation, he can be at ease knowing that Melody's new dinosaurian friend Spiny will be protecting her at all costs, & if what Flounder said about him is true, Morgana won't have a chance of getting her 'slimy mits' on her, as Tip phrased.
He wished it was more, but it would have to do.
Ariel, however, wasn't too comfortable about her father leaving, & it had nothing to do with having Sebastian, Tip, & Dash watch over her daughter. Sure, there was Spiny, but that wasn't what worried her. When she asked him if he had any idea what the amulet Morgana had was, he more or less hesitated in giving an answer. She can tell when someone is withholding something, & her father was doing exactly that.
You know more than you let us in on, Daddy, Ariel thought none too pleasantly. What is it you're trying to hide from us?
When next they meet, Ariel intends to get the whole truth from him, no matter what.
And she plans to make sure they do meet again, & soon.
Morgana's new headquarters:
Morgana yelled out.
Applying another handful of healing salve on her shoulder where Godzilla had bitten her before, the Sea Witch's cry echoes throughout their new hideout, followed by a gritting of teeth in anger. It was the sixth time she had done so, & each attempt was no better than the last.
"Oooh! Another reason why I hate dinosaurs!", she snaps. "Most notably the meat-eating ones! All those horrible sharp teeth & claws!"
"Yeah, especially ones with the ability to spit fire out of their mouths!", Undertow added freshly, resting in a customary pool of glowing liquid that rose steam to the ceiling, assumably to treat the burn wounds on parts of his body he received from Godzilla. Morgana wasn't as badly burned as Undertow, but she did receive her fair share of them.
"Oh, quit your whining, ya big guppy! My amulet did shield us from most of the damage, did it not? And at least you managed to retrieve all of our confiscated potions from Triton while I kept him distracted, otherwise you'd possibly be beyond help right now!"
I wouldn't have been the only one!, Undertow said to himself but mumbles his next thought orally. "At least I succeeded in doing something' right!"
Despite the low volume he spoke in, Morgana heard her hench-shark's comment. "What did you say just now, Undertow?", she demanded.
The hench-shark changed the subject quickly. "Aw, let's face it, Morg! We'll never kidnap the little whippersnapper now, let alone fricassee her—not with Bad-Breath-a-saurus standing over her like a personal bodyguard! And you saw how he took the brunt of the blast from the amulet back there without receiving so much as a scratch! If even that couldn't stop him, then what chance would we have?"
"And what would you have us do, Undertow? Give in to Triton & turn ourselves in like good hoodlums who know when the jig is up? Ha! I'd much rather hear Mom's prattling like, 'Why can't you be more like your sister, Ursula'? Believe you me, I don't take that kind of criticism from my family well at all, & I can clearly do without it!"
"Why don't we just throw ourselves to the dinosaur, then?"
"You know, you're not helping matters with your own criticism, you overweight…"
Morgana's mood converts from peeved to perky in the blink of an eye, & she suddenly gets an urge to laugh.
"Wait just a minute!"
"Is this a private joke, or you wanna let me inon it?", Undertow asked sarcastically, clearly not understanding his master's dilemma.
"It's simple, darling", Morgana says, swimming up to Undertow in a sly, seductive manner. "I take it you remember how that dinosaur literally threw itself in front of Melody to block the blast from my amulet? For the life of me, I couldn't understand it either until now. And then it hit me: he actually cares for that little fungus-fish, & we can use that against him!"
"Now I see what you mean, Morg!", Undertow says with glee before going glum again. "But how are we gonna do that? We won't be able to get within a hundred yards of that little brat with him around her!"
Morgana flashes Undertow a sinister smile. "Undertow, darling, whoever said we had to get near her?"
Still grinning, Morgana lays out her plan to her hench-shark.
The more Undertow heard it, the more he liked it.
And thus, he develops a sinister smile.
It was late in the evening, & just about everyone has turned in for the night. Even Carlotta & Chef Louis, who have a tendency to keep doing their chores until after midnight, have chosen to turn in before that particular hour. It's been a rather arduous & frightening day for all involved, as Melody had almost been taken from Ariel & Eric by Morgana, having escaped from her ice tomb & attacked her former home of Atlantica before heading to the palace to get their daughter. Were it not for Godzilla's timely intervention, her plan would've been carried out, & it may have been the last time Eric & Ariel would've seen Melody.
At least alive.
But thanks to the Monster King, that didn't happen, & he has been accepted by the palace & its inhabitants with open arms.
Now was time for everyone to get a most peaceful rest.
Only, peaceful is not the kind of sleep they'll be getting tonight, as numerous cats & dogs all over towm are meow-ing & barking frantically, giving no one the rest they want or need.
In their own bed, Eric & Ariel are kept awake by the boisterous sounds of felines & man's best friends, unable to catch a wink of sleep because of it. Dressed in blue & pink pajamas, they sit up in their bed & stare at the wall in confusion.
"Ugh. It's been thirty minutes now since they all started going crazy", Eric says sleepily as he, like his wife, can barely keep his eyes open. "What's gotten into them all of a sudden?"
"And when are they gonna stop?", Ariel says, yawning. "I can't even rest for a second with them going like this."
"Neither can I, Ariel. I know that cats & dogs are natural enemies & all, but isn't this a bit too much?"
Ariel shrugged her shoulders in an 'I don't know' gesture.
In the other bedrooms, the palace's other residents aren't faring any better. No matter how hard they try to ignore the blaring noise of animalistic fury, no one can block out the enormously cacophonous sounds, thus robbing them of their much-needed rest. If any of them had the strength for it, they'd get out there & yell at them to be quiet or personally find every cat & dog & put it to sleep using inhumanitary methods.
From outside the palace in the back, even Max & Godzilla themselves were having trouble getting their shut-eye, as the two share the backyard & the same space. But unless the noise ceases & desists, the only thing they'll share is a concert of living taxidermies which could last all night long.
Godzilla had no intention of letting that happen.
Taking matters into his own hands, the Monster King rises to his feet & unleashes a high & mighty roar that echoes throughout the village, lasting almost ten whole seconds—his way of saying 'SHUT UP!'.
Amazingly, it worked: as soon as Godzilla's angry roar subsided, all the cats & dogs ceased their infernal meows & barks & remained silent, giving him & Max the peace they want.
That also went for Eric, Ariel, & everyone in the palace. As soon as there was silence from outside after a minute or two, they felt confident that it would stay that way, & all laid down in their beds, finally getting their beauty sleep.
"Well, that was easy", Eric said, as he & Ariel did the same, cuddling with each other.
Only Louis, Scuttle, Sebastian, Tip, & Dash didn't go to sleep right away when the noise stopped, as Godzilla's beastial roar caused abnormalties with each of them: Scuttle's feathers & Louis' hair were all fluffy from fright, & Sebastian, Tip, & Dash were all literally white as ghosts & wide-eyed.
"Oh boy!", they all said.
Unlike the rest, their beauty sleep will have to wait just a tad longer.
The next day:
A fulfilling breakfast prepared by Chef Louis put everyone in high spirits for the day. Once dressed, people began their day by getting things ready for the evening's celebration of Godzilla's inauguration to the palace's family. It would also serve as a make-up party for Frederick & his family to atone for four nights ago when the saurian made his unexpected visit & crashed it when following a scared Max, putting a fright into (mostly) everyone else afterwards.
First of course, they'll need to convince their friends to return. It wouldn't be easy, but with a good explanation, it can be done.
That chore went to Eric, Ariel, Frederick, & Isabella: they spent the day convincing them to return to the palace for Godzilla's induction. The people were unsure they wanted to be near him again after getting such a fright out of him, but once they told them what 'Spiny' did for Melody & how he had saved her life from two very evil people (which was mostly true, though one would not call Morgana or Undertow 'people'!), they decided to agree to go, plus the fact that they seem to recall Melody having a firm bond with the dinosaur & having admitted to feeling terrible about separating them just because of what he is; if love doesn't know any bounds, then one can say the same for friendship.
After all, Eric fell in love with & married a girl who was once a mermaid who lived under the sea. Why should Melody having a dinosaur for a friend be any different from that?
Truth be told, a good number of them were anxious to see Godzilla again, especially the kids.
In the meantime, Chef Louis, Carlotta, & Grimsby were busy purchasing supplies for the evening's party, ranging from more meats to fruits to ingredients for making cakes & such & spices to give it an extra zing in flavor. It was a chore which needed doing anyway since supplies were quite low in the palace to begin with, & tonight's planned party was the perfect opportunity to gather everything.
Christian & the twins, Marlene & Charlene, finally got the chance to take Melody out for a buggy ride & enjoy the great outdoors, with Scuttle flying right beside them, & Sebastian riding again in Melody's shirt pocket, enjoying the view despite hs enclosed space. Finally, the kids get to enjoy an activity they do each year during Frederick's annual visit, with Melody in the right mood for it.
At the palace, Tip & Dash get some make-up sleep, being unable to catch much the other night after Godzilla's outburst to silence the cacophonious cats & dogs, snoring loudly.
When the sun finally set, all was ready for the celebration. Guests arrived wearing dresses & tuxedos in astonishing fashion & ravishing colors, ranging from the standard black & white to ones in red, blue, purple, & others. The orchestra played gentle music, some of which were already having a dance with a partner to. Unlike last time, no one was disturbed by Godzilla's presence, as the Monster King took in his surroundings more elegantly this time, watching the people eat good foods & dancing hand-in-hand. He seems to be savoring the joyful scenery around him, & it gave him a feeling of tranquility like he's seldomly felt before in his life, if at all. As before, the table was practically overflowing with delicious & mouth-watering foods, some of which has given Sebastian a chill up his shell: fish & shrimp entrees for a start. Even at a distance, the sight turned his stomach, & being in good company with Ariel did not make it any easier to cope with.
"Psst, Ariel", the crustacean says. "I don't t'ink placing me here wit all dis seafood is such a good idea, mon. Couldn't you have put me wit de children instead?"
Ariel giggles. "Don't worry, Sebastian. They're not all seafood", she assures him. "And Eric gave Chef Louis explicit orders not to get within fifty feet of you, so try to enjoy yourself."
"Hmph. I'd feel even better if it were a hundred feet, mon."
Oh Sebastian, Ariel thought with a smile & trotted away, her white dress shining elegantly.
Then Sebastian caught something that trult disgusted him—Tip & Dash chowing down on shrimp & slices of cooked, well-pepared fish!
"Wow, what a place, huh, Tip?", Dash said, taking another mouthful of fish. "Ariel & Eric really know how to make guests feel welcome here."
"You bet, pal! This is some shindig!", Tip agreed, eating shrimp one at a time. "Kinda reminds me of Atlantica, where Triton layed out all these delicious dishes for us to make absolute pigs of ourselves! We oughta come here more often!"
Tip & Dash punctuated that last sentence by unleashing a boisterous belch.
"Hmph! Traitors!", Sebastian mumbled under his breath, crossing his claws.
On a nearby chair, Scuttle put in his two cents. "Huh. Truer words were never spoken", he says, crossing his wings.
You're not exactly Mr. Manners yourself, Scuttle!, Sebastian thought bitterly.
Meanwhile, Eric, Grimsby, & Frederick were engaged in friendly conversation with Isabella standing by their side.
"Looks like things are going so much better than they were four nights ago, old friend", said Frederick. "What a night that was!"
"Yes, well, if all of a sudden a dinosaur was to come waltzing in through your front door from out of the blue, you'd be a bundle of nerves like there's no tomorrow, I assure you", Grimsby says, taking a puff from his pipe.
Eric laughed slightly. "I think we all were, Grims", he said. "But what really made my nerves go on edge was that it became friends with my own daughter! How can you prepare yourself for something like that?"
"Can't be any different from a former mermaid tying the knot with a prince, yes?", Ariel asks him, approaching her husband.
"Whoa, touché!", Eric surrendered, taking Ariel in his arms & embracing her in a lover's kiss.
"There's no limit to what the feeling of true love will urge a person to do, Eric", Isabella said matter of factly. "And no one would know that better than you two."
"Amen to that, Isabella", Ariel said, breaking her lip lock from Eric. "The same can be said for Melody: once she makes a friend with anyone or anything, she won't give that up so simply."
"Like mother, like daughter, right, Ariel?", Carlotta asked, stepping up to the group. "Speaking of whom, where in blazes is Melody? This whole party is in her friend Spiny's honor, & she's nowhere to be seen."
"Relax, Carlotta", Ariel tells her. "Melody's getting herself ready even as we speak. She told me she has something grand in store for Spiny tonight."
"At least Spiny's having fun tonight. Look!", Frederick says, pointing towards Godzilla. Eric & the others grin at seeing a spectacular sight: Christian, Marlene, & Charlene along with a bunch of other children were playing an unusual game of Ring Toss, with the kids trying to throw thin metal rings & get them on Godzilla's tail, giggling at their attempts at doing so. Godzilla simply stood there & allowed the kids to use him as a living carnival of sorts. He couldn't try to hide the fact that he was having a happy time with the humans who surround him, hearing the children's laughter & giving him a joy in his soul he's not experienced in Heaven knows when, if ever. His exhilarated feeling was enhanced as a few more kids stood in front of him, with a boy eight years of age tossing a plate of chocolate cream puffs with icing sprayed on top. One at a time, the boy would toss up a cream puff, & Godzilla wold snatch & gobble them up in his mouth as a dog would do for a treat given to it by its master. The taste was alien to the saurian as much as the meat before them were, but it was most gratifying to him, & the combination of chocolate, icing, & cream gave his taste buds a happy tingling.
He must confess that the humans know how to make tasty foods which satisfy!
Suddenly, Marlene misses Godzilla's tail with her ring by about an inch-&-a-half. She looks disappointed, but then the Monster King abruptly moves his tail to where Marlene's ring had been overthrown & allows it to fall onto it with a jangle of metal from all the other rings caught on his tail.
"Good catch, Spiny!", Marlene says in praise.
Godzilla grunts in gratitude when his eyes see something on the floor that walks—or in this case, crawls—up to him. The children in front break away & allow another child—a baby girl with short blonde hair in a baby blue dress—approaches the Monster King & stops just five feet from him & sits up, staring at him with a happy expression on her face. Godzilla stares down at the infant for a couple moments from a high point of view. Then he bends down with ease & grabs the child by the back of her dress & lifts her up to eye level just as gently. The infant girl neither screamed nor cried when Godzilla took & picked her up. Rather, his picking her up only seemed to enhance the child's excitement, giggling cheerfully with a wide grin & clapping her hands together. Godzilla, getting a literal close-up of the infant, studies her for a while. Two things have caught his attention. One, she was totally unafraid of him, & two, she smelled of a beautiful fragrance which filled & soothes Godzilla's nostrils, as pleasant as anything he's ever smelled previously.
A third thing which captures him: he really likes the child!
Too bad he's incapable of smiling to show his affection, as he would with Melody.
A woman in a green dress rushes up to Godzilla & holds out her hands in order to take the child from him. The saurian assumes Cheryl belongs to her, & thus gently lowers her down to her level of reach & releases Cheryl in her mother's arms when he knows she has a firm grip on her.
"Thank you", the woman says softly to Godzilla, still a little nervous being near him but grateful that he was gentle with her infant daughter to the letter. She gave him a slight smile as she calmly walks away, & little Cheryl turns to him all smiles, reaching out to him.
Godzilla did nothing to halt her, nor did he attempt to follow.
Something else caught his attention, or more precisely, his scent.
Turning to his left, the saurian can see Chef Louis enter the ballroom, rolling a cart with a clean sheet & a silver tray with a cover on top. He hums merrily as he makes his way toward the children, who begin crowding around him, anxious to see what lies beneath the tray.
"Hello, Louis", said a boy—the same one who treated Godzilla to cream puffs.
"What'cha got under there?", asked a girl. "It sure smells pretty good!"
"Can we see?", asked Charlene & Marlene.
Louis laughs a little before speaking. "Now now, children. Zis particular dish iz for our most honored guest tonight."
He points to Godzilla as he stops his cart in front of the mighty reptile.
"Bonjour, Spiny", Louis greets Godzilla, taking off his chef's hat & salutes him with it in a gracious bow. "I have made for you ze most delicious dish you ever had ze pleasure of tasting."
He takes off the cover to the platter.
What Louis reveals gets 'oohs' & 'aahs' from the children: the silver platter holds a roasted whole pig laying on a blanket of fresh lettuce & radishes surrounding it all over. The steam from it rose in the air along with the apple stuck in its mouth, & the scent of it basically overwhelmed Godzilla's nostrils. Taking the roast pig with both hands, the saurian took a big first bite into it, & ripped off a chunk on its side, eating as any carnivorous dinosaur would instead of as a creature spawned from foolish atomic bomb testings back home.
Continuing to chow down on his newest serving, Godzilla can literally taste the difference in this meat from the ones Melody had given him; the ones from Ariel & Eric's daughter were eaten raw, while this new offering had been in the oven & cooked. The mighty reptile enjoyed the servings in the past, but likes the cooked meat even more, for it brings out its true aroma that can be tasted to better satisfaction.
Chef Louis & the kids watch Godzilla finish every bite of his dinner, & before long, is long finished & consumed by the Monster King, licking his mouth with his tongue, wanting every bit of the savory flavor.
"He likes it!", Christian cried out, getting shouts of joy from the rest of the children & claps of appraisal.
"Indeed! Merci, Spiny! Merci!", Chef Louis says,again bowing down to Godzilla for enjoying every morsel of his treat in appreciation.
"Hey there, Spiny, are you gonna eat these?", said Scuttle, placing his 'hands' on the platter's handles.
"Wha…?", Louis says in shock, getting angry. "You! Get away from zat! Zem radishes are for him, not some filthy pigeon!"
Louis took a swat at Scuttle with his chef's hat, but missed entirely & the momentum of his swing spun him around a full 360 degrees over & over. When he stops, Louis' sense of direction was as dizzying as his spin, catching the cart's handle for balance. His comical act caused the children to snicker & laugh.
Why Godzilla didn't prevent Scuttle from taking the platter is anyone's guess.
"Ha ha! Better luck next time, Frenchie!", Scuttle says triumphantly, reaching the table with his prized catch to where Tip, Dash, & Sebastian are.
"You got 'em, kid!", Tip said, taking a radish in each hand & biting into one, as does Dash.
"Of course I did!", Scuttle said, taking & eating a radish for himself. "Whenever I spy with my little eye anything, I always bring it back!"
Another boisterous burp soon erupted from the walrus, penguin, & seagull.
Sebastian was not impressed.
Hmph! Maybe Chef Louis should roast dese t'ree & feed dem to Spiny!, he thought. D'ere more den pigs enough ta begin wit, mon!
But though the red crustacean may not have enjoyed the recent belching chorus, the crowd certainly did, & they show their amusement by unleashing a chorus of their own by laughing out loud hysterically.
"Now there's an idea, Eric!", Frederick jokes. "Why not hold a belching contest & see who can give out the loudest & best?"
"Most assuredly not, young man!", Grimsby pouted firmly. "It's a disgusting & repulsive act of professional mannerism! I've spent many a great hours in the past to teaching the young prince proper ones at the table!"
Eric suddenly belches himself in front of Grimsby, much to his dismay. It resulted in the group giggling until it hurt their stomachs.
"Oh, really", Grimsby pouted again.
"Relax, Grims", Eric tells him. "It's a party, & a very special one. Just this once, manners can go & take the night off."
"Isn't that what you demand at every party, Master Eric?"
Frederick, Isabella, Carlotta, & Ariel keep giggling from Grimsby's remark.
"It looks like ol' Grimsby's got you there, young prince", Carlotta teases.
"Touche again, Carlotta", Eric admits.
Grimsby clears his throat. "Pardon me, young prince, but don't you think you should get on with the main festivities of the evening?"
"Okay, Grims, keep your tux on, will ya?", Eric says, patting his longtime friend on the back before getting the crowd's attention.
"Everyone! May I have your attention, please? Tonight as I'm sure you all know is one half of a 'make-up' celebration to my dear friend Frederick & his adoring family on their annual visit here at the palace. Things of course went rather well until—well, you know."
Everyone in the room laughs for a short time before quieting down.
"But the other half of this get-together is to honor & welcome a new member of our family here:a member who has boldly & selflessly rescued my daughter Melody from terrible danger twice over in as many days. True, he did give us quite a fright when he first arrived, but when we saw what he'd done to keep my precious child safe & alive, we saw a different side to him—one which my beloved wife Ariel believes all animals possess. And hey, who am I to argue?"
Another round of laughter ensued before the young prince went on.
"And here he is in all his glory—all ten feet of it—folks, I give you…Spiny!"
A round of applause erupts from everyone in the room, including claps from Sebastian & company.
"Who be da dinosaur?", Scuttle asks.
"He be 'Da Dinosaur', mon!", Sebastian said with a laugh.
"Gee, Tip", Dash began saying. "Now that he's a member of Melody's family, does that mean he's like a big brother to us?"
"With emphasis on the 'big' part, Dash, old friend", Tip says.
The clapping subsides & Eric goes on.
"And now, by request, my daughter Melody has arranged a little number for…"
"What's wrong, honey?", Ariel asks as her husband looks around.
Erc turns to her. "Um…where is Melody? Isn't she ready yet?"
"Right here, Dad!"
All look up to the top of the balcony on the stairs, & the scene couldn't be more beautiful if it were possible. Melody was wearing a bright baby pink dress with matching slippers. Her hair is styled just like Ariel's, having a small gold crown placed on top. She begins stepping down the stairs, all eyes upon her as her beauty enchances everyone as they start to clear the room & kindly step aside, making a big space for Godzilla to easily turn 360 degrees without him hitting anyone with his tail.
It was what Melody had wanted, because the center stage was to belong to primarily both her & the Monster King. Even Godzilla himself was locking his eyes on her, being entrenched in her blissful beauty. No one said anything as Melody descended the stairs & reaches the bottom.
"Maestro, please", she says, turning to the musical orchestra & they start playing music that begins with harps & violins in a slow & enchanting rhythm.
"This is for you, Spiny", she tells Godzilla, & Melody starts to sing in the same fashion with a voice that can melt ice while dancing slowly around her new friend.
One look at love
And you may see
It weaves a web
All raveled threads
Can rend apart
For hope has a place in the lover's heart.
Hope has a place in a lover's heart.
A sigh of sighs,
The ebb and the flow
Of the ocean tides,
One breath, one word
May end or may start
A hope in a place of the lover's heart.
Hope has a place in a lover's heart.
Look to love
You may dream,
And if it should leave
Then give it wings.
But if such a love
Is meant to be;
Hope is home, and the heart is free.
Under the heavens
We journey far,
On roads of life
We're the wanderers,
So let love rise,
So let love depart,
Let hope have a place in the lover's heart.
Hope has a place in a lover's heart.
Look to love
And you may dream,
And if it should leave
Then give it wings.
But if such a love
Is meant to be;
Hope is home, and the heart is free.
(Melody gets in front of Godzilla & dances slowly before stepping closer to & looks up at him.)
Hope is home, and the heart is free.
"Welcome to our family, Spiny", Melody says sincerely to Godzilla, cuddling up to him like a child would to his/her parent. Godzilla stares down at Melody in complete sincerity: this is the second time he's heard her sing to him, & every sound that came from her mouth was nothing short of gorgeous, in body & soul. The song & the sound of her voice filled him with joy, even more than her previous one, which was saying something. Even watching her dance in a slow & adoring fashion with elegance & grace captured the saurian's heart.
And she did it all for him.
Bending his knees, Godzilla places his arms around Melody & embraces her in a hug, being careful not to use too much of his awesome strength & hurt his new friend. The heartwarming scene made everyone in the room clap with bliss, & a little more than a few tears were shed at the momentous occasion; Max marked it with happy barks, being unable to clap.
"I take it it's official then, Master Eric", Grimsby said.
"It sure is, Grims", Eric answered. "Spiny is now part of the family. Get used to it."
"I'll try my darndest to do that, young sir."
Just then, a quartet of armed guards enter the room through the front door, interrupting the festivities & joyous moment, resulting in confused murmurs from the crowd.
"Princess Melody!", one of them called out.
Melody breaks away from Godzilla, who stands to his full height & goes on alert, eyeing the guards closely.
"What is it?", Melody asks, going to the nearest guard.
"I must speak with you at once, sweetie", he says. "It's a mater of utmost urgency."
"Why? What's wrong? How urgent are we talking about?"
When Melody got too close to the guard, Max felt an uneasy feeling in his gut. He has also caught an unfamiliar scent in the room, & his instincts take over. Godzilla received the same thing as him, & both beasts—mammal & reptile—start growling & flash their teeth in anger; a scent unfamiliar to any animal usually consists of danger, & they smell it in spades.
"Max?", Eric wondered.
"Spiny?", wondered Ariel.
That's when the guard Melody was nearest to suddenly snatches her & puts a dagger to her throat!
"Melody!", Ariel shrieked.
"Mademoiselle!", Chef Louis cried out.
"Nobody move!", the guard barked as the other three pulled their own daggers & pointed them at a terrified Melody. "Everyone stay where you are!"
"Captain! What are you doing?", Eric demanded. "Let my daughter go!"
"Not a chance, Your Highness! My men & I are going outside to the shore with the child to meet an old acquaintance of hers! Anyone tries to stop us, & Melody gets sent to an early grave!"
It didn't make any sense to them. What could the Captain possibly mean by what he said of 'an old acquaintance'? There was no one else outside the palace that Melody would know of, save the people of Atlantica, or…
Then it hit them, & the answer was terrifying.
"You're taking her to Morgana, aren't you?", Sebastian says.
The Captain grinned wickedly. "You're not as dumb as you look, crab!"
"Over my dead body, you will!", Frederick barked, unsheathing his sword & taking a step or two forward but was stopped by Eric & Isabella.
"No, dear! We can't risk Melody's life!", his wife pleads with him.
He loathed to admit it, but she was right. He stood down.
But Godzilla would not yield so easily. He started taking a few steps towards the guards, an irate & loathing growl in his throat rising. Even with holding Melody hostage, the Captain & his men were deathly afraid of the Monster King, & should he charge them all of a sudden, there was little they could do to stop him, despite threatening the one he & everyone else holds dear.
That's when Godzilla sees something: the Captain's eyes were glowing a red hue, & it was the same with his men. The saurian believes that this is the unusual scent he & Max have found within the men when they came in. Ariel, Eric, & several others notice it too, & they deduce that Morgana has taken possession of them in order to kidnap Melody from right under their nose.
Finally, Godzilla charged headlong at the guards.
"Run!", the Captain ordered, & he & his men fled through the front doors with Melody in their possession & Godzilla in hot pursuit, followed immediately by Max, Eric, & Frederick, the latter two clutching their swords as the saurian took a detour & crashed right on through the wall, showering chunks of glass & concrete all over the ground. Unfortunately, it didn't do him any good; the four possessed men were still a rather good distance ahead of the rescue party.
"Mom! Dad! Spiny! Help!", Melody called out, unable to break out of the Captain's firm grip on her, despite her struggles. Then with no warning, he tosses Melody into the water as a hideous figure literally pops out from beneath the surface & catches the young princess with two black tentacles.
Eric, Frederick, Max, & even Godzilla stopped at the sight of the creature before them in the water, wearing a black satchel over one shoulder.
It was Morgana!
"Well done, boys! I can take it from here on in!", she says, laughing wickedly & waves her hand to lift the spell she had over the men, & they drop to the ground in soft thuds & groans.
Ariel, Isabella, & many others emerge from the hole in the wall Godzilla made to witness a horrible sight: Morgana with Melody in her slimy grip!
"Hello again, child!", she teases.
"Let me go, Morgana, or else…", Melody began saying before Undertow rises from beneath the surface & finishes for her.
"Or else what, mer-shrimp?", he pressed, staring at her with his toothy grin. "None of them namby-pambies here'll do a thing to get in our way, let alone stop us! That is, if they know what's good for 'em!"
"Wanna bet?", Melody said defiantly.
Morgana & Undertow look straight ahead at Godzilla, whose dorsal spines light up a fierce orange, including the inside of his mouth. Two things are certain when this happens: the first thing is excruciating pain that will seem like a lifetime, & the second is flat-out evaporation.
But this time, the diabolical duo were neither distracted nor deterred by this spectacle, & are prepared for it.
"Not so fast, monster!", Morgana said, holding Melody right in front of her & uses her as a living shield. "You wouldn't want your friend to be nothing but a charred skeleton now, would you? In fact, I'm willing to bet that there wouldn't even be any bones left of her, were she to be hit by that killer halitosis of yours! Care to take that risk?"
Ariel, Eric,& the rest watched with baited breath & unsteady nerves as Godzilla's spines & mouth lit up in preparation for shooting his fiery breath. They silently pray to themselves that the saurian will do the right thing that would not cause any harm to Melody, but that was up to him—not them.
It was Godzilla's move.
"Ha ha! Ya better put it out, pal!", Undertow taunted.
Godzilla's spines & inner mouth were still brightly lit as he ponders what to do. He thought of firing off to the side & hitting Morgana there, thus forcing her to release Melody so that she can get away. If Undertow tried to follow, he'd be hit as well, & the Monster King wouldn't hold back on his primary weapon until he was burnt cartilage.
All it would take is exact precision, and…
Spiny, please do the right thing!, Ariel pleads to herself.
"Don't do it, Spiny", Dash said in no more than a whisper.
Spiny, a fearful Melody thought, matching the look of trepidation on her face.
As angry as he was at Morgana & Undertow & despite the fact that he loathes them with a fiery passion, he won't risk Melody's safety to those two vile & despicable lifeforms.
Therefore, he douses his flames, scowling with an irate grumble.
"Well, surprise surprise!", Morgana says. "Can we actually have a brain to go with all of that brawn? I'm impressed!"
"Me too, Morg! I've always heard that dinosaurs were stupid animals!", Undertow cracked with a laugh.
"Leave her be, Morgana!", Eric spat. "She's done nothing to you!"
"Oh, but that's where you're wrong, my darling prince", the Sea Witch says. "She's done too much to me to forgive! Now, as I've mentioned the other day, this little baggage is my insurance for safe passage to my goal! You try anything to follow us…"
"What exactly is this 'goal' you speak of, Morgana?", Ariel demanded.
"To get the answer to that, Ariel, all you need to do is…ask your Daddy."
My father?, Ariel thought. What's Daddy got to do with Morgana's scheme?
Before she could press the Sea Witch further, Morgana swam out to sea with Melody in tow as Undertow followed.
"So long, wimps!", he shouted just before he went under the surface with his master & Ariel & Eric's daughter.
"Someone do something! She'll drown!", Charlene said frantically.
"I don't think so", Ariel says.
Everyone looked at her, & she started explaining.
Once submerged, Melody held her breath, getting only a portion of air as Morgana dived too quickly to get an ample amount in her lungs. She struggled like before, but her efforts were all but futile; Morgana had an even firmer grip on her than the Captain of the guards had. There was no way she was getting loose anytime soon, & her air was quickly running out of her burning lungs.
Then a sprinkle caught her eye, & Melody felt her legs actually fusing together, with her feet doing the same & transforming into a double flipper or fin.
She looks down & finds that where her legs & feet have been, has now been replaced with a peach-colored fishtail. Looking at the Sea Witch, she saw a small glass jar with pink liquid in it. It was liquid Melody remembered—Morgana used it to change her into a mermaid for a temporal time.
And a mermaid is what Melody is now!
And that meant that she could now breathe underwater, relieving her somewhat.
"You transformed me?", she asked. "Why?"
"Of course I did, dear", Morgana says. "But don't think it's out of the goodness of my own heart like last time, child! As I've told your friends upstairs, you're my guarantee of all access to a power my kind have seeked for ages! That's why I need to keep you alive until then, but I'm still not above disposing of you without a thought, so how long you get to stay alive depends upon you!"
"Meaning, pip-squeak", Undertow fills her in, "you disobey either one of our orders or try any kind of escape, you'll be sharing space in Davy Jones's locker! So from this point forward, if we say 'jump', you ask 'how high?'! Got that?"
Melody did, but she was too scared to answer Morgana's hench-shark.
All she an do is hope & pray that help will get to her soon.
It didn't take long for Ariel to explain why she believes Melody is still alive, in spite of being dragged underneath the water by their enemies. It took even less time for her to decide on what to do next, & she starts giving orders to certain friends.
"Sebastian, travel back to Atlantica with Tip & Dash & find my father!", she says. "Give him all the details of our situation, & tell him to meet us out at sea! Hurry!"
"At once, Ariel!", the crustacean says, being scooped up by Tip as he & Dash rush to the water & dive in.
"Leave it to us, Princess!", Dash assures her.
"Don't worry, fair maiden!", Tip says. "We'll be back with your father before you can say 'taicongoroga'—if you can say'taicongoroga'!"
The trio took off like shots after that, disappearing from view.
Please hurry, you guys!, Ariel pleads.
The guards Morgana placed under a spell grunt & slowly reawaken, getting up sluggishly as each feels like they've had all their energy drained by sea lampreys. Godzilla, standing completely still & staring at where he last saw Melody, takes notice of them & steps toward the Captain, not at all happy with the man.
With no effort, he grabs the startled Captain by the neck & lifts him up at eye level, his feet dangling four feet from the ground.
His face an expression of utter fear, the Captain is helpless against Godzilla's might.
"Spiny, no!", Ariel says, running up to & attempting to stop the great reptile before he does something horrible—especially in front of the children.
"Spiny, please don't!", an approaching Eric says. "Try to understand—the Captain & his men were forced to kidnap Melody against their will! What they did wasn't their fault!"
Godzilla looks at the pleading faces of Ariel & Eric, & seeing/sensing their pleas, lets go of the Captain as he plummets to the ground. Not wanting to face his wrath again, he & his men quickly scramble away from the saurian. Ariel & Eric release a sigh of relief, having been spared what would've been a gruesome sight, but Godzilla also had to release his own emotions at this time—and it isn't relief.
It was anger.
Without warning, the Monster King lets loose with a loud & boisterous primordial roar that echoes throughout the nighttime sky & surrounding area. This one lasted a good long time, & by the time he was finished, he hung his head in sorrow, hating himself for not being able to rescue his new friend from their foes like last time.
"Don't worry, Spiny", Ariel tells him, feeling the deep sorrow within him. "We're gonna find Melody, & we're gonna bring her back safely with your help. I promise."
Eric nods. "And we're gonna leave right now to do it!", he says, pure & simple as he turns to his good friend. "Frederick, have the guys prepare my ship for immediate departure! Get whoever is willing & available aboard!"
"Right away, Eric!", Frederick said, rushing off but is stopped by his wife.
"Please, hon, let me go with you!", Isabella pleads.
"I'm sorry, my love, but you need to stay here with & watch over the kids. It's bound to be very dangerous out there with that witch, & Heaven forbid if she tries to kidnap Christian, the twins, or even you. I couldn't bear to see that."
"Please, Isabella. I beg of you. Do this for me."
Reluctantly, she nods her head in agreement, but not before issuing a warning.
"Promise me you'll return home safely, for our sakes."
"Promise", Frederick said quickly & simply, before rushing off to prepare for departure.
It didn't take long for crew to be assembled in the rescue mission for Melody; about all the men from the party have volunteered to join the search without hesitation, not even bothering to remove their attire before setting off. Only Grimsby, Frederick, Eric, & Ariel have done so, having extra clothes on Eric's personal schooner. Eric, Grimsby, & Frederick all dressed back into their sea voyage attire, as Ariel wore her pink dress with its sleeveless top. She wasn't the only female to accompany this voyage: after a brief but stern argument, Carlotta joined the manhunt—or in this case, womanhunt—for Melody, saying that all available & immediate family members were to be part of the rescue operation, & Carlotta was family.
Knowing she had a good point (& because he admired her determination!), Eric agreed to allow her to go.
The same went for Chef Louis, Scuttle, & Max themselves.
All crew accounted for after one hour of getting ready to go & the schooner loaded with everything from weapons to rope & other vital supplies, the ship was ready to set sail, with Godzilla assisting in loading any & all heavy materials & leading the way.
For way over another hour, Eric's schooner sailed the ocean at top speed, with crew working the masts & other chores to keep it going that way. They couldn't spare a single second, for each one that they did was one in Morgana's favor.
Neither Eric nor Ariel would give the Sea Witch that satisfaction.
Hold tight, Melody! We're all coming for you!, Eric thought, helming the wheel. Just hang in there, honey!
"It's been way past one hour, Master Eric", Grimsby says. "Yet we've not received one clue as to where that foul Morgana might've taken young Melody. Where do we even start?"
Eric had to admit that Grimsby had a good point. Needless to say, the ocean is a big place—too big a place to find something or even someone at random.
How he was going to find his daughter in these surrounding waters, he didn't know.
"You know, Grims, that's a good question", he confessed. "Since Morgana had taken Melody beneath the surface, they could be anywhere by now. If only we had some kind of lead!"
"Actually, Grimsby", Frederick said, "it's been over two hours now. Don't forget: we spent one loading this ship, & that unfortunately gave that Sea Witch more time to elude us & making it harder to start the search!"
"What about Spiny up there?", Scuttle put in, pointing with his wing to the ship's bow. "I bet if anyone can try to locate little miss princess, he could!"
"Not if he's topside I don't think, Scuttle", Ariel says.
"I'm quite surprised he didn't take off & try to find Melody on his own", Carlotta said.
"Probably because he knows that we all want to find her, Carlotta, & wishes to stay close & do it as a group."
"He probably also knows that we're her family", Eric includes, looking at his wife, who nods in agreement.
He was right; during the time he heard Eric & Ariel sing to Melody that morning, Godzilla knew they were her parents—people who take care of their offspring until a later time in their lives. The Monster King found it somewhat ironic: in the past, Godzilla has left possibly thousands of families homeless & breaking them apart by selflessly killing members each & every time he goes on a rampage in densely populated areas and/or battling other creatures, thus causing the majority of those people loathing & vowing revenge upon him.
Now, instead of breaking a family up in a needless death, he's trying to help one to stay as a family by rescuing one of its members.
And helping Melody's family rescue her safe & sound is what Godzilla plans to do, & that means staying close to them.
If only I were a mermaid right about now, Ariel thought, wishing she could go beneath the waves & speed up the search for her daughter.
That's when a porton of the water next to the ship begins to churn & bubble, causing Max to bark.
"What's wrong, Max?", Eric wondered, leaving the wheel to look over the side.
Frederick joined him as one helmsman took the wheel to keep the ship steady, with Ariel & others also looking over the side where Max was barking at.
Eric & Frederick readied their swords, just in case it was Morgana or any one of her nasty surprises.
A being burst from beneath the surface & rose up to the ship on a vertical fountain of water which supported him.
It was King Triton, his trident in hand.
"Daddy!", Ariel briefly rejoiced, happy to see her father again despite the circumstances. The King of Atlantica's appearance received gasps, facial expressions, & murmurs of amazement to those on board who have never laid eyes upon Atlantica's ruler until now, believing him to be no more than stories as Frederick & his family once did. Even Godzilla, swimming away from the bow & heading to the side, found the King awe-inspiring as he looks up at him upon his water support.
"Hello, Ariel", Triton said, taking his daughter's hand.
"King Triton. I take it Sebastian & the others got to you & relayed what happened?", Eric surmised.
Triton turns to him. "Yes, Eric. They gave me a quick rundown on the events at the palace, & I've ordered my parties to step up the search but with extreme caution, now that the stakes have been raised."
"And that's why you need me, Daddy", Ariel said firmly. "I need to go below the surface & look for Melody on my terms! I can't do that while I'm human!"
"You wish for me to turn you back, is that it?"
Ariel nodded. "At least until my daughter is found. Please, Daddy!"
"He can actually do that?", asked one crewmember.
"Yes he can", Eric tells him, not taking his gaze off of Triton, "& it would be a rather good idea, Your Majesty. I mentioned to Ariel once before that she knows these waters, & having her on the search party under the sea might help us succeed better at finding Melody. Remember, she found her last time she disappeared, along with Morgana's ice fortress."
Triton thought for a moment. It was good strategy, & it did pay off last time when Melody went off on her own to get answers to her true heritage. By making Ariel her mermaid-self for a brief time, she located Morgana's lair & led him & everyone else to it, saving his granddaughter & all the seven seas.
He nods. "You're right. Both of you."
"Thank you, Daddy", Ariel says, turning to her husband. "Eric…"
"You don't need to say anything, Ariel", Eric cut her off, embracing her in a hug. "Do what you need to do. Get our daughter away from Morgana & bring her home safely—by whatever means necessary."
"I will. I'm going to be taking Spiny with me. You continue the search on the surface."
Eric nodded, & Ariel heads for the ship's edge.
"I'm ready, Daddy", she says, bending down slightly & jumping high & over the edge of the schooner. Triton points his trident at her & fires a yellow beam. When it hits her, Ariel's pink dress disappears in the blink of an eye, & is replaced by a lavender shell bra, & her legs & feet converts into a green tail fin. She dove into the water with an average splash, & her red hair was let down as she always had it before becoming human all those years ago.
The mermaid princess turns to see Sebastian, Tip, Dash, & Flounder all there, waiting for her.
Despite the grim moment, Ariel couldn't help but smile.
"Sebastian", she says. "You & the rest did well in getting my father. Thank you all."
They all smiled.
"Hey, we couldn't let you down, Princess", Dash said. "Not in your greatest hour of need."
"You too, Flounder?"
"Ariel, wild sea horses couldn't keep me from helping you when you need it the most", her longtime friend tells her sincerely.
"How's your family?"
"Safe & sound, I'm happy to say."
Ariel was very relieved.
"Now that the gang's all here again", Tip cut in, "what say we get this search party started?"
"We are, Tip", Triton said as he joins the group with Godzilla right behind him. "Eric & his crew will continue the search from above while we…"
"Not so fast, Daddy", Ariel cuts in, swimming up in front of him. "We need to talk first."
"Ariel, d'ere's no time to talk, mon!", Sebastian stated.
"We'll make time!", she stated firmly. "Daddy, you know something about that amulet which Morgana is in possession of, don't you?"
"What do you mean?", Triton says, feigning ignorance.
Ariel wasn't fooled. "You know what I mean. Daddy, we have no time for secrets! What we don't know can kill us, Melody, & just about every living thing above & below the seven seas! If you have any knowledge of that amulet—and I know you do—we need to know right now!"
"Your Majesty, Melody's life could very well depend on it!", Dash pressed.
Seeing no way out, Triton gave in.
"You…you're right. Keeping a deadly secret from your own flesh & blood means nothing if one is in grave danger of it. Come—I'll explain as we resume the search for Melody."
"Thank you again, Daddy", Ariel says as they swim off with Triton leading the way.
"Come on, Spiny!", Flounder calls to Godzilla, who takes the rear of the group, his senses on high alert.
As promised, King Triton started explaining the secret of the amulet & its origins.
"What you wish to know, Ariel, happened long before you or any of your sisters were ever born: it was at the time I was to be married to your mother, Queen Athena. I had journeyed over to the undersea village of Muskellina, which had once been ruled by my dear old friend Lord Danio & his wife, Queen Rasbora. My reason for being there was to ask them to be my guests of honor for our wedding. When the time had arrived, Danio & Rasbora had a most precious gift for your mother—a beautiful glowing sapphire the size of a turtle shell, & just as round. But none of us knew of its terrible secret: the sapphire was actually a casing for an ancient evil of unknown origin. Just before your mother & I tied the knot, the evil had broken out of its prison & embedded itself into Queen Rasbora. When it did, Lord Danio's beloved became an evil being with all traces of her compassion & kindness wiped clean & began to attack us savagely with powerful bolts she was able to shoot from the palms of her hands, as well as many other nasty tricks. Danio & myself fought valiantly to subdue Rasbora without hurting her, but it was far easier said than done. Her attacks were even more powerful than the power of the trident itself, even at full power. Finally, Danio's trusted shaman Borneo, an old but powerful magician, managed to drive out the evil power from Rabora's body & place it in a specially-designed chest, with the three of us using our combined might—the power of my trident, Borneo & Danio, as the lord of Muskellina was a being of great power that coursed through his body. Then, after we forced it into the chest, Borneo sealed it with an amulet he called the 'Lamprey Amulet', a trinket which can absorb an ample amount of power & allow its wearer to project it as he or she sees fit. Borneo created it also as a key to lock & unlock his mystic chest."
"That's that same kooky trinket Morgana's got, isn't it, Your Highness?", Tip asked.
"Correct, Tip. Borneo created it so that the chest couldn't be opened or locked by the amulet unless it has first absorbed an ample amount of energy, presumably as a precaution of sorts. When the evil power was sealed away, Borneo blurted out a spell which drove the energy the amulet absorbed out & eradicated it. We had won the battle, but it was at a great price. Having been taken over by the evil power for too long a time had drained Queen Rasbora of her strength, & being an old memaid like her husband, died shortly after. Lord Danio didn't fare any better: he drained all of his own strength, using the last of it to subdue the evil power into its prison, & died only days later. With no rulers to care for their needs, the mer-folk of Muskellina left their quaint town in search of new places to reside in. Some I personally took under my wing, while others were never seen or heard from again."
"Was Shaman Borneo one of them, Daddy?", Ariel asked.
"He would've been, Ariel, but he refused my invitation to come live in Atlantica."
"Did he blame you for what happened to Danio & Rasbora, sire?", Sebastian asked.
"Not at all, Sebastian. He had a duty to hide the chest & the Lamprey Amulet where no one would be able to find it & use its power. It wasn't until weeks later that I saw him again before he died, but not before letting me know that the chest & the amulet were safely hidden from those who seek its power."
"Apparently that didn't stop Morgana from finding it, huh?", Flounder said.
"She wasn't the only one who seeked the amulet & the power it can unlock, Flounder. More than once, Ursula herself & her Octopins sought the same thing, followed by the likes of the Evil Manta, & even the Emperor of Sharkania, Shaga. As to how Morgana got possession of the amulet or what kind of energy it absorbed is anyone's guess. But I do know that if she gets her tentacles on that power, she could be virtually unstoppable!"
"But according to your story, sire", Sebastian adds, "only Shaman Borneo knew of its true location. It could be dat Morgana's just going on a wild goose chase in trying to find dat chest."
"Sebastian, you'd be surprised at what kind of information passes through the sea", Triton warns him.
"I think I see what you mean, Daddy", Ariel said, pointing ahead of her.
From a distance ahead of the underwater caravan, a green moray eel with yellow eyes & a blue tie wrapped around its neck was swimming at a leisurely pace, humming a cheery tune & not paying any attention to where it was going, especially when it rams facefirst into flesh.
"Ow! Hey, why don't you look out where I'm…", it says when it sees Ariel right in front of it, her arms across her chest & looking none too pleasant. Triton stands beside her, with the rest of their group surrounding it on all sides.
"Hello, Moray. Long time no see", she says sternly.
"Ariel!", Moray says cheerfully. "My my, I haven't seen you in so many moons! So, how's the family?"
The mermaid princess puts her face to his, only an inch away.
"Gee, Moray, what a coincidence running into you here, of all places!"
Moray smiles sheepishly. "Yeah, well, life's full of 'em, sweetie."
Ariel presses her interrogation. "Tell me, Moray. You wouldn't happen to have run into a green-skinned Octopin with a hench-shark & a young mermaid with a peach-colored tail who had been accompanying her, have you?"
Moray looks around to see if anyone would help him out of the hot water he was in, sweat dripping from his forehead. All he sees are stern, angry faces abound.
"The jig is up, pal!", Tip said, pointing an accusive fin at him. "If you know who we mean, I suggest you spill it before things get real ugly for ya!"
Unable to take the stress, Moray attempts a getaway. "Gee whiz, look at the time! I think I'm late for an appointment over at the dentist's office! Well, see ya!"
His attempt at escape were hindered by Dash's blubber of a body, as Moray slams right into him & rebounds back to Ariel.
"Excuse me, but you haven't answered Ariel's question yet!", Dash says harshly.
"Last chance, Moray!", Ariel snapped. "Start talking or we'll make you talk, & believe me, we have our ways!"
"Ha! You ain't gonna make me say nothin'!", Moray says in defense. "I got rights! Even your father here can't make me spill myself to his tender mercies!"
"Oh, I'm not speaking about my father, Moray", Ariel says slyly. "I'm speaking about him!"
Moray seemed confused. "'Him'? Who him?"
Ariel & King Triton parted ways like a withdrawing curtain on either side to reveal the face of Godzilla, whom was concealed behind them the whole time. Upon seeing the great reptile, the corneas in Moray's eyes shrank like rapidly deflating balloons as Godzilla came up to the utterly petrified eel, his front lip curled up like an angry dog's, growling.
"Oh, him him!", he blurted, his sheepish smile returning in a vain attempt to get on the great reptile's good side. "Uh, hello. I, uh, don't think I've seen you around these parts before. You new in town? Heh heh!"
Eventually, Moray did spill information about Morgana. He had run into her, Undertow, & most importantly, Melody, as Ariel suspected. He told them that Morgana was looking for a chest which could only be opened by a certain amulet, & hearing gossip all over the ocean like Moray usually does (not to mention possessing an old map someone must've made after deducing on where to find it), he knew of the place it's been buried at.
In the Abyssal Plains, located 30 miles from Atlantica.
Quickly, that information was passed along to Eric & his crew aboard his schooner by Tip & Dash, & soon everyone from above & below the water set a direct course for it.
And this was only after Godzilla had beaten the daylights out of Moray!
Before departing for their destination, the slippery sales-eel was hung from a sea branch by a string of seaweed looped around his midsection. Moray's left eye was completely swollen, & his snout had a big bandage tied at the end of it. He had bruises on almost two-thirds on his body, as black-&-blue marks decorated him, & his tail was tied in a knot.
To add insult to injury, a school of Clown Barbs swim up to the bruised sales-eel & stop a few feet from him. Their leader—the largest one in the group, with a suave finstyle on the top of his head—looks Moray up & down, & begins to crack jokes.
Aw, what's the matter, Moray? Dangling at the end of your rope?", he says with a chuckle as his team join in.
"So sorry, partner", he continued. "Didn't mean to 'pull your string' the wrong way. Tell you what, pal: when you're done with whatever business you're currently 'hung up' on, why don't you just 'swing on down' to my place so we can 'hang out' together?"
The school's laughter went up a notch before the leader concludes. "Or, if you're even too busy to go & do that, you can always…drop me a line sometime!"
This time, their laughter was an uproarious guffaw, & the school of Clown Barbs suddenly swim off happy & cheerful, a total opposite to the way Moray is currently, leaving him alone with his misery.
"I gotta get me a new line o' work", Moray mumbles to himself, his mouth missing teeth.
The Abyssal Plains:
"We're here, Undertow!", Morgana triumphantly called out to her hench-shark, who was keeping a sharp predatory eye on Melody from behind the young mermaid. The trio entered a vast area with lots of sand & jagged rocks sticking up from beneath the ocean floor, some of which were more than twice as tall as the Sea Witch herself, & wider than Undertow was long. Not too far off was a very large sunken, derelict ship with two holes on its underside, covered in seaweed & long-dead barnacles that nearly engulf the entire vessel. Only a few spaces on it reveal wood, & it more resembles an underwater haunted house than a ship. Laying on the floor around the ship & scattered all over were bones of various sea life, ranging from whales to dolphins & fish; some skeletons were completely intact, while others were broken into many pieces.
Looking at the vessel, Melody deduced that it was there a long time, probably before she was even born.
And the bones laying around really gave it an eerie sight, sending a chill up her spine much more than her present 'company' ever could.
"Ha! Jackpot!", Undertow cheered. "Now, where's that treasure waitin' for us?"
"According to the map Moray gave us", Morgana stated, looking at it, "our main objective is somewhere around…there."
She points to its possible location for Undertow to see. What they were looking at was a bed of what the area basically is: sand with rocks.
Undertow wasn't impressed much, if at all.
"Say, what gives here, Morg?", he fumed. "Did Moray give us a fake map? All I see here is a final resting place for the unfortunate—ships & otherwise!"
"Oh, do keep your fins in the water, Undertow", Morgana puts him at ease. "Moray wouldn't dare try & deceive either of us! He's too much of a coward & too stupid to pull the wool over our eyes! Now come—our grand prize awaits us!"
"Right behind ya, Morg!", he says, giving Melody a not-so-gentle shove from behind. "Let's get movin', shrimp, before I get hungry!"
Silent but forcefully obedient, Melody moved forward in the direction Morgana was going.
Navigating through the numerous skeletons & rocks that lay on the ocean floor, the trio get closer to the spot where Morgana's map shows the treasure being buried at. Some were blasted away by the power of the Lamprey Amulet the Sea Witch wears around her neck, making their progress easier. Morgana was careful not to blow away any of the rocks because their appearance is the same as on the map she holds. To destroy even one would throw them off-course, & after waiting many tides & years, Morgana was not about to foul up this important mission in any way.
Ursula had done that too many times in the past trying to find what she seeks, & Morgana was nothing like her sister, & she loathed being compared to Ursula by anyone.
Thankfully, Morgana has succeeded where her sibling had failed—for the second time.
Oh, how I wish you could see your younger sister now, Ursula!, she thought greedily. I am about to claim something you & the rest of our family didn't even come close to possess—until now, that is!
Quickly looking at the map & then her current position, Morgana's eyes light up with joy.
"Here it is, Undertow!", she says, spreading her arms out to her sides joyfully. Her hench-shark peeked from behind Melody to see where they are. All he saw was moe of the same: the sandy ocean floor, bones scattered everywhere, & a giant rock bigger than all of them placed side-by-side sticking up from the ground.
Undertow was tired of the deception, aside from the fact that they were in the immediate area, & he doesn't hide his disappointment.
"This is getting' old, Morg!", he growls. "First you say it's here, lead us through a boneyard & rockpile, & now you've led us to a dead end! Either Moray is much braver & more foolish than I thought, or the one who drew that accursed map was only guessing as to its location! Or maybe it's a phony, & someone else has the real deal!"
Despite his annoying tone, Morgana had to admit that Undertow has a very good point. She deduced that Shaman Borneo probably made sure that he wasn't followed when he set off to bury the evil power that caused the deaths of Lord Danio & Queen Rasbora when it possessed the latter & the former spent his energy trying to fight it off & imprison it with Triton's help.
Shaman Borneo was no fool, she had to confess to that.
"You could be right, Undertow", she says, looking to the bright side. "But I must say that I've always considered myself a gambling woman!"
Morgana laughs & her amulet lights up at her mental command, glowing an eerie orange. A bolt of power shoots from the weapon & strikes the sand from at the base of the rock at exactly where it is detailed on the map. A crater over a foot wide all around is exposed once the dust has cleared. Several blasts from the amulet were fired & hit the spot again & again, making the crater wider & deeper. A cloud of dust obscures everyone's vision, & Morgana ceases her fire for the moment, & after it disperses, the group were staring at a crater that is now over half a dozen feet wide & almost as deep.
And then they see something else—an old chest with a circular hole embedded on the front of it.
Morgana & Undertow's faces light up with undisguised joy.
"We've found it!", they cheered, grabbing each other's hands/fins & swing in a victory dance as they laugh & giggle wickedly. Even though momentarily distracted, Melody didn't dare try to make a swin for it; she knew they'd catch up to her in an instant & carry out their threat of having her share space in Davy Jones' locker if she tried. Ironically,she couldn't leave anyway if they weren't here—the chest she's witnessing before them has intrigued her somewhat, remembering what Morgana had told her about the amulet & the power within the chest that sealed it away on their journey here to the Abyssal Plains (the same tale King Triton told Ariel & company not too long ago).
So it really does exist!, Melody thought fearfully, wishing she had the courage to swim off or even try to thwart the diabolical duo.
But more so, she wishes her grandfather were here, along with her mom & Godzilla (Spiny).
Morgana & Undertow finished their victory jig as soon as they had started it, as the latter swam back to Melody, dashing her hopes of any escape.
"So,whadda you think, shrimp? Pretty good, huh?", he says with a chuckle.
"It…it's real", was all Melody could say for the time being.
"Of course it is, darling", Morgana says suavely, approaching her gracefully. "All I've told you took place long before even your own mother was born, remember? Shaman Borneo thought he'd hidden it pretty well, but not well enough! And now that the amulet is in my possession with an ample power supply coursing within, I shall set it free & it—along with everything in the seven seas—shall belong to me!"
Morgana laughs out loud, taking it all in as she can hardly contain her happiness.
"And once that ancient power becomes mine, dearie", she continued, "there's a chance I'll allow you to live with Undertow & I—as our slave!"
"I'd much rather drown or be eaten, Morgana!", Melody said defiantly, unable to hold in her anger any longer.
"Ha!", Undertow says in her face. "You ain't got no say in the matter, mer-shrimp!"
"Relax, Undertow", Morgana calmly says. "Once the power is mine, she'll see things in a much different light than she does now. And speaking of which…"
She turns to the chest & makes her way towards it while addressing her hench-shark. "Keep an eye on her, Undertow, while I attend to business."
"Don't worry, Morg", he says. "Little miss fish-face ain't goin' anywhere!"
"Oh yes she is!"
The voice caused the trio to turn, & they see a pair of beams heading straight for them—one is a bright yellow, the other is a fiery orange.
And they were heading right for Morgana & Undertow!
Morgana barely puts up a defensive shield in time a split-second before the yellow beam strikes her. Even so, the force of it was more than powerful enough to send her coursing back & slam up against the rock towering above the now-recovered chest. Unlike his master, Undertow was more fortunate: he manages to avoid the orange beam coming for him entirely, causing him to swim away from Melody & allow her to escape before he could go after her.
Melody's face became one of joy when she saw who it was that fired those shots.
It was King Triton & Godzilla!
Triton's trident was still glowing bright, & the Monster King's mouth & rear dorsal fins were still lit up, ready to fire again should either villain dare try to go near Melody.
"Grandpa! Spiny!", she cried, swimming to them.
Both saviors were glad to see the young mermaid alive & well, including Godzilla. Before at the shore, he didn't get a clear shot at Morgana, for there was too much of her in front of the Sea Witch. Even if his heat ray hadn't touched Melody, the intense heat would've scarred her badly.
This time, however, Godzilla had a much better shot, & he took it.
He & Triton swam for her when more voices called to her.
"Don't forget us, sweetie!"
From the darkness of the water, several figures come into view—Sebastian, Flounder, Tip & Dash, & most of all, Ariel.
"Mom!", she cried again, heading towards her mother & the two embrace in a warm hug.
"Oh Mom, I was so scared!", Melody says, weeping.
"So was I, honey", Ariel says. "We all were."
"But we're here now, & you ain't got nothin' to worry about", Tip says confidently.
"Guess again, ya livin' pieces a' chum!", Undertow barks, the cavalry for Melody turning to him as he swims toward the sunken ship & whistles a swift note. "It ain't over til the fat mermaid sings! Morgana & I somehow anticipated that you'd follow us despite our strict warning not to, so we took the liberty of being prepared for such an occasion! And now…say hello to my little friends!"
Undertow grins as three shadowy figures suddenly appear into the light from around the stern of the derelict vessel. They were shark-like but they stood & swam upright as any mermaid or mer-man would. They were attired in metal armor, with two of them wearing helmets. Each of them wielded a sword in their right hands, & a shield in their left. The first one had a helmet that was jet black & resembled an upside-down bowl, while the second one had a helmet with a mold on the sides & back which resembled curled hair. The third had no helmet at all, revealing a clean-shaven head & his grin was in an impish sneer.
"Sharkanians!", Flounder & Sebastian said simultaneously, having had bitter experience with their kind in the past, none of it being pleasant.
"Awright, you two chowderheads!", the trio's leader announces. "Let's hit 'em high & hit 'em low!"
"'Cause we be fast & they be slow!", the one with the hairtop helmet said.
His reward was a slap in the back of the head by their leader, the one with the upside-down black bowl helmet.
"Shaddup, porcupine!", he snapped.
"Sorry, Moe", said 'porcupine'.
"Here's how we do this! I'll take on the flame-a-saurus! Larry, you catch & devour the four little shrimp, & Curly…the two mermaids are all yours!"
"Oooh, dames! Woo woo woo!", Curly said—the one with the impish grin & no helmet—in a child-like voice.
Like Larry, Curly was smacked in the head, but on top with Moe's sword.
"Quit hittin' me on the head!", Curly snapped, turning to Moe. "You know I ain't normal!"
"You'll never be that!", Moe quipped, his voice rising. "Get movin', ya lamebrains!"
At Moe's insistence, Larry & Curly shoot off & head for Ariel & her group.
"Here dey come, mon!", Sebastian says in a hushed panic.
"And here we go! Let's scram!", Dash says, with him, Tip, Flounder, & Sebastian all heading off in the direction of the ship. Ariel & Melody take off as well, but not before giving her father a strategy.
"We'll handle the Sharkanians, Daddy! You just make sure Morgana doesn't open that chest no matter what!"
"Come on, Spiny! Our friends need us!", Melody called to Godzilla, going with her mother before Triton could object. As Ariel, Melody, & the others head for the sunken ship, Godzilla gets faced with Moe, who boldly steps in front of him & brandishes his shield & sword in a fighting & threatening manner.
"Okay, lava-breath! Let's mambo!", Moe said in bravado.
Snarling in rage as an answer to Moe's challenge, Godzilla gladly accepts.
King Triton swam up to Morgana as quickly as he could. He had no time to debate with his daughter Ariel, & he knew it. It was bad enough that the Sea Witch kidnapped his granddaughter & actually found what she was looking for in the first place. If she succeeds in possessing that evil power Shaman Borneo buried here long ago, even Triton would be hard-pressed in finding a way to stop her.
He must never allow that to happen.
"Morgana!", Triton barked, his trident glowing & pointed at her. "You may have succeeded in finding this ancient, evil power, but I'll never let you get your slimy tentacles on it! Surrender now, & I might be lenient towards you!"
"Like you were to me last time—putting me in cold storage & wrecking my house?", she snaps back, rising off the floor with her amulet glowing. "No thanks, grandpa! I think I'll pass! As for surrendering, it's you who'll be doing so—to me!"
"Not going to happen, Morgana!"
"We'll see about that!"
In the wink of an eye, several shots from the Lamprey Amulet are launched at Triton, who manages to avoid them in the nick of time. The King of Atlantica retaliates by firing off several beams of yellow energy at the green-skinned Sea Witch. Unfortunately, Morgana is just as nimble as he is, never scoring a direct hit like he did last time, now that she can see what's coming after her more clearly.
Eyeing each other with abhorrence, King Triton & Morgana begin their struggle anew.
Ariel, Melody, & their friends enter the derelict ship through a hole in the side in an attempt to temporarily lose their Sharkanian pursuers. It will be only a matter of time before they're found again, as the Sharkanians are a ruthless bunch.
Rightfully so; Larry & Curly came crashing through the wall on both sides of the hallway & stay on their tails, giving Ariel & company scarcely any time to get their bearings. Swiftly, they race down the hall & keep ahead of the fierce duo, with Larry & Curly swinging their swords back & forth to try & sever their heads from their bodies or slice them up into bite-size pieces.
Ariel needed desperate measures to elude them, & she & her friends need them now.
"Everyone, we need to split up!", she shouted. "You four, go into two separate teams! They can't follow all of you that way!"
"You have a good point, Ariel!", Sebastian says rushedly. "Tip, you & Flounder go as one & Dash & I will go as anudder!"
"We'll split up at the end of this hall!", Melody said as they rapidly approach it. "Everyone ready?"
"Yes!", they all said together.
The two Sharkanians were practically on top of the fleeing group with their swords raised & a big grin splashed across their faces.
"NOW!", Ariel shouted, & they all went into three separate groups just before their enemy's swords came slashing down & hitting nothing but the wooden floor. Their weapons get embedded deep in the material, the impact jarring them for a time & their teeth rattle from it.
When they split, Flounder & Tip went in one direction, going upstairs to the second level & down a new hallway with numerous doors on either side. Sebastian & Dash went higher up to get farther out of sight, & Ariel & Melody only made it into the wide open space of what appears to be a grand ballroom, rotting away from years of being submerged underwater along with its many pieces of furniture.
"Oh no ya don't, toots!", Curly said, throwing a concealed dagger from within his armor & hit a beam that was holding up a good portion of the ceiling.
"Mom, watch out!", Melody yelled, pointing up. Ariel saw the ceiling come crashing down on the spot where the two mermaids were at just a second ago. At that time, Curly & Larry had both their swords free, & were already resuming pursuit.
"You hoid what Moe said, Larry!", Curly tells him. "You go after those four small fry! The two mermaid broads are mine!"
"Hmph! Lucky!", Larry said, wishing he was ordered to take care of the two mermaids & takes off for the second floor in pursuit of Flounder & Tip, whom he'd seen going upstairs.
"No use tryin' to hide, you little whippersnappers!", he barks. "I know you're up here! Come out now & I'll make it painless for ya!"
Larry carefully searches each door by forcing it open with his sword quickly to try & flush his prey out by putting fear in their hearts. After seven unsuccessful attempts, Larry gets furious.
"You're just making it worse for yourselves!", he fumed loudly. From down the hall, Tip & Flounder poke their heads out from two of numerous holes in the wall at the far end.
"Hey scuzzball! You, uh, lookin' for us?", Tip said, getting Larry's attention. The Sharkanian's blood rose to a boiling point & rushed over with his sword raised high.
"I'm gonna cut you two into so many pieces they won't even fill an oyster!", he bellowed & swung at his little foes, but they both disappear into the wall too fast for Larry to make contact with. Flounder & Tip poked their heads out again & shot insults at Larry like 'Is that a helmet, or did your brains decide to make a run for it but got stuck?' & 'How do you cope with those loser friends of yours? They don't have enough sense to keep their heads out of a killer whale!'. Each time they poke their heads out of the wall is a different insult to the Sharkanian who swings his sword but misses every time. Even when Larry turned to stabbing the holes inside when they showed themselves, he was no closer to hitting them.
"Oh, you two think you're pretty smart, don't you?", Larry growled. "Well, you're not gonna last longer than me, I guarantee you that!"
The head-poking of Flounder & Tip & missed stabbing of Larry continued, with no better success for the Sharkanian than before. Just then, Tip sees from another hole on the opposite side of their hiding place an opportunity to get their sword-wielding foe off their backs before he can decide to break down the wall itself & go after them anew.
"Keep 'em busy, Flounder. I've got an idea", Tip says, going over to the hole & sticking half-way out to face a passing electric eel. "Hey fella, come here! I got a proposition for ya!"
Before the eel could say anything, Tip pulls out two small minnows from his pouch & he waves it in front of his new friend, getting both a grin & a nod in agreement.
Flounder keeps his enemy busy still as Tip & the electric eel rejoin the fray.
"Okay, fish-face, time for the grand finale of our little dance!", Tip says. "And believe you me, it's going to be a real shocker!"
"Gotcha!", Flounder said, sticking his head out once more & shoots a final insult to Larry. "I wonder why you Sharkanians don't get any dates! Is it your breath, perhaps?"
Flounder's insult literally made Larry see & turn red, his entire face glowing a bright shade of crimson as he grits his teeth.
"You rotten little fish!", he snaps furiously. "Once I swallow you whole, you be the judge on how my breath is!"
Rearing his sword back, Larry thrusts it full force into the hole Flounder disappeared into, in hopes he was still awaiting there.
He wasn't: all Larry managed to hit was the wall on the other side & getting it stuck. Even if he hadn't, there was no way he could've prepared for what came next. The electric eel had simply touched the sword's metal, & at once turned it into a verified lightning rod—with Larry having a firm grip on it! The electricity coursed through the Sharkanian's cartilaginous body, causing him to cry out in agony & lighting up almost like the sun. Larry's pain lasts for several moments until he was spent, & the excess power caused him to be shot off like a cannonball, sending him on a sailing trip all the way down the corridor & hitting the opposite wall with a crash. Flounder & Tip look out of their hiding place to see the Sharkanian's body smoking hot, with a quick disperse of electricity now & then, moaning.
"Ah. Another plan…perfectly executed", Tip says, relishing in his success whenever he says his trademark phrase.
"Gimme some fin, brother!", Flounder said, slapping fins with Tip.
One Sharkanian stooge down, & two more to go.
Curly was even more furious than Larry.
He spent many a time swinging his sword, trying to cut down Ariel & her daughter Melody to a more manageable size, but they were far too agile & slick for him. Curly was more hefty than he realized, & that was slowing him down from doing his task that Moe assigned him to.
When this is done, I'm goin' on a diet!, he said to himself. But foist things foist!
"Hold still, ya slippery soipents!", he fumed, getting more wild with his swings at the two mermaids. He grumbles loudly, swishing his tail & arms. "I said hold still! I only wanna give youse two a haircut you'll never forget!"
"Mom, this isn't working!", Melody said. "We can't dodge him forever, & we've been going at this for several minutes, & he doesn't show any signs of getting tired!"
"You're right, sweetie!", Ariel agreed. "It's time for a more physical approach!"
Before Melody could ask, Ariel grabbed a chair & swung it at Curly when she was in his reach, hitting the burly Sharkanian. Immediately Melody got the idea, & soon she, too, was picking up furniture & sent them crashing down atop Curly's head. Over & over, Ariel & Melody struck their enemy with any & every piece of furniture they could lay their hands on, unbroken or not.
And Curly still doesn't give in, let alone slow down any!
What's this Sharkanian made of?, Ariel thought, as she & Melody back themselves into a corner. We've hit him with everything but the kitchen sink!
Suddenly realizing they were trapped between a rock & a hard place, the two mermaids now huddle together in fear as Curly, enjoying their helpless predicament, slowly but surely advances toward them. But Ariel & Melody still refused to yield; there was still some furniture left for them to hurl at their oncoming foe, & they waste no time in it.
But they had no more success at stopping him than before, & Curly laughs off their feeble attempts.
"Is that all you dames got?", he mockingly quips. "It'll soitenly take much more than measly foiniture to stop me! Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk, nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!"
Curly raises his sword to deliver the killing blow, but was stopped cold when, from above, a piano covered in seaweed plummets down on top of the helmetless Sharkanian, disappearing from sight. Ariel & Melody look up & smile when they see Sebastian & Dash—reunited with Tip & Flounder—waving down at them from the edge of a giant hole in the ceiling that leads up to another level.
"Hey, when you're right, you're right!", said Dash.
"And boy, was he right, mon!", Sebastian says, unleashing a boisterous guffaw.
Now it was two down, & one to go.
The final Sharkanian, Moe, was in heated battle against Godzilla from outside the ship. The Monster King swung his tail, scratched with his claws, & shot his heat ray, but all attempts were blocked by Moe's shield in expert precision & skill. But while Moe had some lucky shots on his dinosaurian foe with his sword, he was no closer to defeating him fully that when their tussle had started.
In fact, it seemed to make Godzilla even angrier, & Moe could sense that within him.
Defeating him with brute strength may not be the key in doing so, & taking a cue from his friend Undertow, he tries a different tactic after putting some distance between him & his foe.
"Listen up, Flame-a-saurus!", he ordered. Amazingly, Godzilla does stop his struggle to hear what his enemy has to say. "You're a pretty tough crabshell to crack, but I still got the upper hand with you! By now, my two cohorts have got your friends held captive! If ya don't surrender now, I give the order & they get to feed on them!"
"Don't count on that, Sharkanian!"
Moe turned to the sound of Ariel's voice, & his face becomes one of a deep shock. He sees Larry & Curly sprawled on the ground with their hands tied in front of them with chains, & their weapons confiscated & thrown away by the two mermaids.
"You talkin' 'bout dese guys, mon?", Sebastian asked sternly. "Dey couldn't find d'ere heads wit a map!"
Moe's face becomes one with anger & disappointment.
"You lamebrains! You imbeciles!", he shouted.
"Uh, sorry, Moe", Larry said shamefully.
"Yeah, Moe. They got the drop on us", Curly said.
"Just wait til we get home, you chowderheads!", Moe snapped. "I'll give youse guys such a 'drop' youse ain't never gonna…huh?"
At that moment, Moe's distraction was Godzilla's chance to strike & disarm his foe. With a swipe of his tail, he knocks the shield & sword out of Moe's hands & far from his reach.
Then the Monster King got into the Sharkanian's face, snarling as he did with Moray.
"Uh, nice shot there, fella", Moe said with a sheepish grin. "Tell you what—how's about we make it a best two outta three? Whaddya say? Heh heh!"
Godzilla's only answer to Moe's suggestion was a swift, brutal smack to the Sharkanian's face that sent him flying backwards & slamming into a rock, leaving a dent. His grin remained, but in a dumbfounded look & soon his teeth crack & shatter, the pieces falling like snowflakes.
Godzilla finishes off by emitting a menacing growl that stirs the three Sharkanians in utter fear, & the defeated trio get up from the ground & cry out, leaving the scene in terror & Curly going 'Woowoowoowoowoowoo!'.
Watching from the sidelines, Undertow was displeased with the turn of events.
"Hey you three! Come back here!", he shouted, his tone going down just a notch. "Huh! Talk about 'Chickens of the sea'! Fine! Who needs 'em, anyway? As mama always said, 'If ya want somethin' done right, do it yourself'!"
No sooner did Morgana's hench-shark finish speaking did he swim for Godzilla, intent on beating & taking him down once & for all. The great saurian turns to Undertow, & the two lock eyes for a few moments.
"Hey you!", he teases. "Ya may have dispatched my three cohorts, but I'm something else entirely! Try & hit me, ya refuge from the Island of Prehistoria!"
At once, Godzilla's dorsal fins & mouth light up & fires his heat ray at Undertow, but the dark pink shark evades it with ease, & the shot goes past without so much as a scratch on him. He begins taunting him again, saying insults like 'Ha! Is that all you got?', 'What's the matter? Can't ya hit one lousy shark?, & 'Come on! I know sea slugs that move faster than you!'. Each insult makes Godzilla madder than the previous & his shots get fiercer, but Undertow avoids them all, & he continues swimming around his dinosaurian enemy, teasing him with every near miss.
"That big bully-shark!", Flounder pouted. "Undertow won't be so cocky once Spiny hits him with his fire-breath!"
"But that's just it, Flounder!", Melody says. "Undertow's moving too fast for Spiny to get a direct hit on him!"
"And at the rate this is going, it'll only be a matter of time before his breath accidentally hits my father, or even one of us!", Ariel added dreadfully.
Her claims get punctuated when one of Godzilla's shots strikes the hull of the ship, as the group barely breaks away to keep from getting hit, covering their heads to protect them from the debris that showers them.
"No kidding, mon!", Sebastian cried.
"If only there was some way to slow Undertow down long enough for Spiny to get a dead lock on him!", Dash says, & Tip turns to his longtime friend with a smile.
"Dash, old pal, you just came up with the answer to our problem!", he says.
"Ya sure did, & what we need is right on this sunken vessel!"
Flounder immediately caught on. "Are you thinkin' what I think you're thinkin', Tip?", he asks with a smile of his own.
"I think so, fish-face!"
"Well, whatever it is you two are t'inkin' of, now's de time ta stop t'inkin' & start doin'!", a wondering Sebastian pleaded.
"All of you, follow Tip & me! Quickly!", Flounder ordered, heading into the ship with him & the penguin leading the charge. Ariel & Melody were the last to enter, but not before another one of Godzilla's stray hits strikes the ground just four feet to the right from where Ariel was.
"Mom!", Melody said.
"I'm okay, honey!", Ariel assures her. "Let's move!"
That was too close!, she thought. I hope Flounder & Tip really do have the solution to this problem!
Flounder & Tip led the group to where their solution rested at—the top of the ship with several other objects that were long since decayed or rusted. But what they needed was in rather great shape, considering. Ariel, Melody, Tip, & Dash helped haul it over to the side of the ship with Flounder & Sebastian in front. When they reached the edge, they saw Undertow continuing his taunting & teasing on Godzilla, still avoiding his heat ray whenever he fires it. One shot almost hit King Triton, who was still locked in mortal combat with Morgana in a duel of firepower & brute strength.
It was too close for Ariel & Melody's tastes.
"Okay, if we're going to do this, we'd better do it now, you guys!", Melody said.
"Den, on my mark!", Sebastian says, peering over the ship's edge with a claw raised. Like a bird of prey, he keeps a close, keen eye on Undertow & waits for the right time to deploy their weapon.
Then it comes, & Sebastian knows it's now or never.
"Now, mon!", he called out, rapidly lowering his claw in conjunction with his command. As one, Ariel, Melody, Tip, & Dash threw over the edge a large net with weights tied in numerous places on the sides. The net soared down in the water as easily as if it had been done so from atop a castle on land. Sebastian's calculations were on the money: the net landed on Undertow, & the added weight had indeed slowed him down a great deal.
"Hey! What gives?", the shark growled, now moving as if he were swimming in a tank of molasses. Undertow shook hard to try & get the net off him, but it was futile: it had stayed with him as if he was infested with remoras feeding off his hide.
And he had a grand idea of who threw the net on him.
"You little, irritating minnows!", he snapped. "When I get my fins on you all, I promise I'm gonna…huh?"
Undertow looked behind him to see Godzilla's fins & mouth light up again, & this time he had no defense against it, what with his speed reduced to that of the aforementioned sea slug.
"Oh, this is gonna hurt", he mumbles.
Godzilla fires his heat ray at Undertow.
With a shriek of anguish, Morgana's hench-shark speeds away from the Abyssal Plains & heads for parts unknown, his tail smoking like an oven & leaving a trail so obvious that not even the dumbest lifeform under the sea would have any trouble tracing it back to its source.
"Ha! Look at 'im go, mon!", Sebastian cracks, letting out another guffaw.
"Yeah!", Flounder agreed, calling out to the now-gone shark. "Who's the sea slug now, ya big bully?"
"Ahh! Yet another plan…perfectly executed!", Tip commented.
"I'll say! That was some scheme you concocted, Tip! Great job!", Melody praised.
"Well done, Tip!", Ariel chimed in. "You too, Flounder!"
"Ditto here, pal!", Dash adds. "I always knew there was some brains underneath that tuxedo you carry around!"
"Aw shucks! T'weren't nothin'", Tip says rather bashfully.
"Now it's down to Morgana & the King!", Flounder reminds all.
"I nearly forgot about that!", Dash said. "I hope the king is winning!"
You & me both, Dash, Sebastian said to himself.
The group gathers closer & watch the battle between Ursula's vengeful sibling & the King of Atlantica as it reaches a boiling point. The combatants are now locked in a Mexican standoff of beams fired at one another. Morgana's weapon is equally matched with King Triton's trident as they are stopped in the middle, each trying to get the advantage over the other. Right now, no quarter is given on either side.
"Ready to throw in the towel, old-timer?", Morgana shouted to her opponent.
"Not likely, Sea Witch!", Triton spat back. "I told you before, your possession of this ancient evil is not going to happen!"
"Care to make a wager on that?"
"Morgana, the only way you'll be in possession of it will be over my dead body!"
"If you insist", Morgana says in a much lower tone so her enemy wouldn't be able to hear her. She's not gaining any ground on the King of Atlantica in her current position, & she surmised it probably would be over his dead body if she is to take the power & claim it as her own.
Not that the Sea Witch has a problem with that.
Morgana always has a contingency plan up her sleeve, & this situation was no exception. A hand reaches into the pouch she wore across her shoulder & it withdraws, holding what looks like a closed seashell. She hurls it like a ball at Triton with a flick of her wrist, & it heads for her foe unnoticed to him.
But not by Ariel or anyone in her group.
"Watch out, Your Majesty!", Tip & Dash shouted simultaneously as loud as they could.
It didn't matter whether or not Triton heard their warning. The seashell reached the King in no time, & it struck the ground where he hovered with a powerful blast of yellow that sent both him & his clutched weapon sailing backwards, landing with a cloud of dust sixty feet away from Morgana—and the chest!
"Your Highness!", Flounder shouted.
"Your Majesty!", Sebastian cried.
"Daddy!", cried Ariel.
"Grandpa!", Melody cried.
Morgana laughed wickedly as Ariel, Flounder, Sebastian, & Melody all started to head for King Triton. Godzilla started advancing himself, but not for Triton.
He was heading for the Sea Witch; like the others, he stayed on the sidelines & watched the battle play itself out, but when Triton got injured & went down, he could no longer stay out of the fight. He saw that the King of Atlantica was trying to prevent Morgana from obtaining the chest sticking out of the sand near her, & now that he's failed, it was up to him to take Triton's place & succeed for him.
Morgana, on the other hand,had a feeling she'd be dealing with Godzilla once she took care of Triton (albeit temporarily), & she came just as prepared for him as he did for the King.
"That's right, monster!", she urged him, placing her hand inside her pouch again. "Come to Morgana! I've got a very special little surprise waiting in my sack of tricks just for you! Just come a little bit closer, &…gotcha!"
Getting her hand on that 'special little surprise' in her sack, Morgana flings another seashell at Godzilla the same way she did to Triton. It met the Monster King when he gets halfway to the Sea Witch & explodes in a blast of a bright crimson, only this time the blast was three times more powerful. Godzilla was flung away like someone hit him with a fist bigger than he is, & crashes into another rock sicking up from the sand, creating an even deeper dent in it than the Sharkanian Moe did.
"Spiny!", Melody cried, changing her course from her grandfather to her new friend.
Ariel decided to follow her, but issued an order to Flounder & Sebastian to attend to her father. The two mermaids approach Godzilla, who has been knocked unconscious & hits the ocean floor in a cloud of dust. What they see of the saurian is a grisly sight that makes then gasp: he was cut & bleeding in many places all over his body & lies on his stomach with his eyes closed. The girls don't even see Godzilla breathing, & a lump in their throats begin to form.
"Spiny", Melody says in a whisper, & tears begin in her eyes. Ariel places a hand upon her shoulder, & her eyes get watery as well.
From where she was, Morgana laughed loud & proud.
"A special concoction I cooked up to deal with you after receiving a piece of your flesh from our previous struggle, monster!", she explains.
"Spiny's no monster, Morgana!", Ariel spat. "You are!"
"Flattery will get you nowhere, honey! And neither will any of your heroics, so unless you wish to end up like Triton or your dinosaur friend, you'll stay smart, stay put, & stay alive!"
Morgana removes the Lamprey Amulet from her neck & approaches the chest, putting deep dread in the remaining characters.
"Morgana, please stop", Triton pleads weakly, still dazed from the hit he took as Flounder & Sebastian look on. "You don't know what it is you're doing! I beg you!"
"On the contrary, old man", Morgana says without turning to face him. "I know exactly what I'm doing! As for begging me, you'll be doing that plenty of times when I rule the seven seas!"
The situation looked hopeless; Morgana was now just moments away from achieving vast & virtually unlimited power that was sealed away many tides ago. Melody looks at Godzilla, all but beaten & broken by Ursula's sister, & at that point she remembered all the times he'd saved her from peril—first from a trio of dangerous crocodiles at the lagoon, them by Morgana herself when she reappeared. Even shortly before when Morgana was about to open the chest, he showed up & got her away from her & Undertow with her grandfather's assistance. But now, Morgana is about to achieve her goal, & King Triton, let alone Godzilla himself, was in any condition to stop her.
At that moment, seeing her grandfather & new friend in their weakened state had greatly angered Melody, pushing her fear aside & willing to do something—anything—to even things up & maybe even get a little payback.
Her scowl was deep, & her determination was unshakable.
"I'll stop her, Mom!", she said & took off like a shot.
"Melody, don't!", Ariel shouted, but it was too late. Her daughter moved too fast for even her to try & deter her progress or catch up to her. Her heart palpitating rapidly, Ariel can only pray she doesn't get in way over her head.
Morgana now has the amulet only three inches from the hole in the chest, & it begins to shine white.
Now she was only two inches…one…
The Lamprey Amulet gets snatched abruptly from her hand—by Melody!
"What?", Ursula's sister said in shock.
"I'll take that off your hands, Morgana!", Melody barked.
Morgana gritted her teeth. "Give that back to me!", she shouted at her & reached out with both her hands & tentacles, but the young mermaid was fast out of physical reach. She then went into her pouch & pulled out another explosive seashell.
"Hand it over, you little sea fungus, or I'll blow you to kingdom come!", Morgana ordered her, placing her arm back to throw her weapon.
"Fat chance, witch!", Melody firmly stated, plain & simple.
Morgana growled. "You asked for it, wench!", she spat, pitching her arm forward & throwing the homemade grenade at her. Melody gasped & dove for cover, but in her haste she let go of the Lamprey Amulet, & it hovered in the water just as the seashell grenade exploded in a bright orange blast—hitting the amulet & shattering it into a million pieces!
"NOOO! My amulet!", Morgana shrieked, realizing her error & seeing her once-prized possession get blown to oblivion. Melody was blown by the force of the blast, but luckily it was not as strong as when Triton or Godzilla were hit. She even stopped & steadied herself as Ariel came to her in assistance.
"Hey everyone, look!", Flounder said, pointing to a volley of slender, snaking orange energy that started slithering in a general direction.
They were heading for Godzilla.
The streams of orange energy approached the great reptile & struck his rear dorsal spines which seemed to absorb into the unconscious saurian, glowing brighter than they did before. As the energy was being drawn & collected into him, Godzilla suddenly opened his eyes & stood up on his own two feet, all his cuts & wounds being healed & disappearing before a startled group of undersea beings. The energy from the amulet continued to be absorbed by the Monster King until he consumed every last drop of it.
And then Godzilla started to grow.
It was an unbelievable sight for heroes & villain alike.
Godzilla was growing at an alarming rate once he took in all the energy from the Lamprey Amulet that Morgana had unwittingly blown to pieces with one of her seashell grenades. Now the Monster King understood as to why the attacks from the Sea Witch's weapon felt familiar to his own heat ray—the energy stored within it was his. It also explained as to why he had been shrunk down to a height of only ten feet previously: when he arrived here, that flash of light he briefly witnessed was that amulet Morgana wore around her neck, drained him of all but a portion of his energy, & literally brought him down to earth in a more manageable size.
But now that the amulet has been destroyed, its release gave the energy the opportunity to be returned to its rightful owner—Godzilla.
"Great Neptune!", King Triton said as he & everyone else with him sees Godzilla grow to monstrous proportions right in front of them. Each of them have reached the same conclusion of the energy stored in the Lamprey Amulet, deducing that it came from the Monster King himself & why it all went to him once the amulet got blown apart.
Ariel & Melody couldn't believe it any more than the rest: this is the same creature that had rescued the latter on more than one occasion & allowed him to stay with them—at least until he became too big to remain at the palace.
But neither mermaid could ever guess, let alone know, that their dinosaurian friend would get this big! Even the dreaded Seaclops (a one-eyed monster in a similar shape as Morgana or her sister Ursula) or Simon (a lonely sea dragon who only wanted to make friends) never got this huge!
And huge he was: when he finished growing, Godzilla was now his usual height of a mind-blowing 55 meters tall & 122 meters long from his snout to the tip of his tail, rather than the ten-foot-tall animal he was.
Good lord, he's even bigger than Ursula was!, Ariel said to herself, remembering when she took her father's trident after turning him into a polyp.
Staring at the now-gargantuan Godzilla, the group remained silent in awe (& trepidation) at the Monster King until Sebastian broke the silence.
"Spiny?", he said in a squeaky voice as both his & Flounder's jaws literally dropped to the floor, & their eyes bulged out of their sockets nearly ten times larger than usual.
"Wow! Talk about mama's boy bein' all grown up, huh, Tip?", Dash says, looking to his good friend & seeing something unusual with him. "Uh, Tip? You okay there, bud? You look white as a ghost! Speak to me, pal! Say something, anything!"
There was a good reason as to why Dash's friend was 'white as a ghost'—because he is! All the color from the penguin (what there was of him!) drained out of him, & he stood there with one of his fins pointing right at the monstrous form of Godzilla, & his eyes were in a similar fashion to those of Flounder & Sebastian.
"Homina, homina, homina, homna, homina, homina…!", was all the penguin could say in a rapid succession before falling over backwards like a tipped over statue & hitting the floor of the ship's roof.
Godzilla never felt better or more refreshed. For him, it was grand to get all his strength back & return to his original size, especially after all he's been through the last few days.
To celebrate, the Monster King unleashes a heartfelt roar, one that echoed for many miles throughout the ocean floor & caused Ariel, Melody, & the others to cover their ears.
Except for Tip: when Godzilla unleashed his roar, the penguin shot himself up at Dash, & he hugged his friend by the neck in terror so tight that it made the walrus' eyes bulge & his tongue hang loose from his mouth.
Even Morgana was in a feeling of terror that coursed through her body for what could be the first time in her life: she destroyed the only thing that would've granted her access to ultimate power in all the seven seas, & it just happened to have collected energy from a creature that was drained of it in a size of epic proportions even she would never have guessed.
Now she's lost it all, & in Godzilla's current state, she has no chance of triumphing this day.
Or does she?
The Sea Witch glances at a glow coming from the chest, & her spirits lift anew. Despite the young mermaid's interference, Morgana did manage to unlock the chest before having it snatched away by Melody. All it took, she guessed, was to give the lock the gentlest touch with the amulet & gain all access to whatever lays within. The feelings from Morgana was just the opposite of those from Triton & the rest, dreading the fact that the Sea Witch has succeeded.
"You're too late anyway, people!", Morgana shouted in triumph. "I now have possession of the power within!" Wasting no time, she starts to chant in an ancient language, & the power inside of the chest—a sinister sparkling purple—rushes forth to its summoner. Upon contact, it changes Morgana's skin color from green to that of a lavender-ish tint, & her eyes become an evil glare of red with no corneas. When absorption was finished, a dark purple emerald was embedded onto the Sea Witch's forehead.
With the evil power coursing through her, Morgana didn't look anything like her old self but rather a new version of an old foe.
She looks like…her sister Ursula!, Ariel thought dreadfully, seeing as to how uncanny the resemblance to Morgana's older sibling is.
When Morgana spoke, her voice sounds synthesized & robotic.
"At last! The power my family has seeked for many tides is finally mine!", she says, cackling.
Not if he can help it!, Melody said to herself as she shouts up at Godzilla. "Spiny! Stop her!"
Again, the saurian was thinking ahead of the young mermaid. Sensing danger, Godzilla takes a giant step forward at Morgana in an attempt to crush her under his heel. His right foot lands with a thunderous boom that shakes the ocean floor & everyone in the immediate area. Luckily for Morgana, she managed to avoid getting stepped on by the great reptile & puts some distance from him. Godzilla's dorsal spines & mouth light up brighter than ever, & he unleashes his heat ray at the small Sea Witch. Morgana again avoids the Monster King's attack, but barely. Despite having the evil power in her possession, her size & might are insignificant compared to his, & if he should score a direct hit on her by his heat ray or otherwise, all that power she has will not protect her.
She needs to take the offensive.
"By all appearances you have me outmatched, monster!", Morgana admits. "So what do you say we even the odds up?"
Grinning, the Sea Witch concentrates her power & creates a barrier of purple electricity that surrounds her. In moments, her physical form starts to grow—doing so in the same manner that Godzilla himself did when the broken Lamprey Amulet returned his energy, & another spectacle of size growth takes place. Before anyone knew it, Morgana was about Godzilla's height, & her energy barrier vanishes.
"Now, Spiny, let's see how you well you can handle someone your own size!", Morgana says to him, chuckling as she writhes her tentacles like giant snakes.
Unlike Triton & his group, Godzilla was neither unfazed nor intimidated by the Sea Witch's sudden growth. All he sees is another enemy to be fought & defeated like so many others who has dared to take him on, like the golden three-headed dragon that can spit lightning bolts from each one of its mouths, the big butterfly that had defeated him on several occasions, or even the robot double he has faced that was armed with the human's weaponry.
Morgana wasn't any different: in an unexpected & clearly bold move, Godzilla leapt at the giant Sea Witch & rammed headfirst into her before she could launch a counterstrike. The sudden impact caused them to crash onto the ocean floor with an earth-shattering rattle that was felt by all.
"Take cover! Hurry!", Triton ordered Ariel & the others, needing to get a good distance from the two battling titans as they could, in order to avoid becoming an unexpected casualty. They all retreat to the sunken ship, even as the ocean floor rumbled again. Watching Godzilla & Morgana fight fiercely gave them a feeling of helplessness.
"I guess I was too late, huh, Mom?", Melody said.
"No, sweetie. You tried your best to stop her from opening it up", Ariel assures her. "You had no way of knowing that the lock to the chest would be that sensitive for even the slightest touch to do it."
"What about you, Your Highness?", Flounder asked Triton, looking at him. "Did you knowthe lock was that sensitive?"
Everyone looked at the King of Atlantica for an answer, anxious to hear it.
He shook his head slowly.
"No", he says simply. "Believe me, I'm telling you all the absolute truth when I say that I had no knowledge of it. Shaman Borneo didn't let in on all his secrets, even to Danio & Rasbora."
Aside from the rumbling of Morgana & Godzilla, all was quiet until Melody spoke up.
"We believe you, Grandpa", she said,getting nods from everyone else.
King Triton couldn't help it but to smile.
"Thank you everyone."
"But now, where do we go from here?", Dash says, breaking the tender moment. "That Sea Witch has possession of that evil power & grown big like Spiny has! I'm not so sure even he can defeat her!"
"Isn't dere anyt'ing you can do, sire?", Sebastian asked desperately. "Perhaps de power of de trident might…"
Triton shook his head again. "That's just it, Sebastian", he said. "The only reason I was able to subdue the evil power & seal it up was because I had assistance from Lord Danio & Borneo, & now both of them are long dead. Powerful as it is, my trident alone cannot even begin to stop it!"
"But there must be something we can do, Your Majesty!", Tip said. "We can't just stand here & allow that filthy Sea Witch to do what she wants!"
"I know, Tip, believe me. But to be perfectly honest, I don't know what to do. I really don't know."
No one could believe their own ears, hearing the solemn words coming from the mouth of the King of Atlantica. But there was no time for deep sorrow: another ground shaking from the battling titans causes the sunken ship to crack intensely & even starts to break apart from the impact. Triton orders everyone to flee the ship just as it breaks apart & dissolves completely into useless lumber. Turning their attention back to the battle, they witness Morgana grabbing Godzilla by his tail with her tentacles & bodyslams him on the ocean floor, causing it to crack in areas as it did the ship.
"What's the matter, Spiny? Can't handle your own medicine?", Morgana teases, giving back to Godzilla what he'd done to her during their first fight at Eric's Palace. She laughs wickedly as she repeats the process to the Monster King, enjoying every bit of payback. But even when one of his own moves is used against him, Godzilla still knows how to counterstrike. Lighting his spines & mouth swiftly, he turns his head & faces Morgana, firing his heat ray & hitting her square in her chest. The Sea Witch hollers in pain, & the intense heat forces her to release her enemy. Now that he was free, Godzilla keeps his assault up by ramming his tail straight into Morgana's face with such force that it rattles her teeth & sends her head over tentacles in a backwards flip, & the Sea Witch hits the ocean floor with a quaking crash.
Okay, this isn't fun anymore!, Morgana said to herself, deciding to get really serious. With the power she yields, King Triton, she knew, won't be any kind of a problem; she can easily take care of him, his children, & everyone else without breaking a sweat. Godzilla, on the other hand, is a big problem in more ways than one, & the only way to get absolute rule of the seven seas was to get rid of him first.
Godzilla dives after Morgana with his spines & mouth lit up, ready to unleash another hot & searing blast of his ray. But the Sea Witch would have none of it, & when her enemy gets within reach, she grabs the Monster King by the throat with two of her tentacles & twists his head with a violent jerk, not enough to snap it but to redirect his heat ray elsewhere—in the path of Triton & his group!
"Watch out!", Ariel shouted, grabbing Melody & pulling her along. Triton & the rest had all managed to steer clear of Godzilla's misdirected shot just in time; another second late, & they all would've been roasted & incinerated alive, never knowing what hit them. The sunken ship wasn't as fortunate: it got obliterated further by Godzilla's ray, & the pieces were transformed into a dust cloud of kindling.
Recovering from their near-death experience, Ariel & Melody look up to see a ship sailing in the immediate vicinity, & their hearts pound heavily.
The reason for it was because the ship is one they know of.
"Mom", Melody said. "Isn't that…"
"Eric's ship!", Ariel finished for her daughter.
He & all those aboard don't know what transpired down here!, Ariel thought dreadfully.
They don't even know about the power Morgana now has, for there was no time to tell them of it in full detail as Triton had done with them aside from the location, & that makes it even more frightening. Worse yet, Morgana herself has seen Eric's schooner coming, & she sees it as a perfect way to even the score with the handsome prince for skewering her sister years ago all in one swift blow.
Although he's her first priority, the Sea Witch decides that the Monster King can be put on hold for the time being.
"I'll deal with you in just a bit, creature! Right now, I have an old score to settle!", she says, & Morgana throws Godzilla away like a sack of potatoes. The impact causes the saurian to see white spots before his eyes, something not many of his past foes were capable of having him do in battle.
But Morgana was no ordinary foe, & having been freed of her dinosaurian enemy, she heads up to the surface for a 'warm welcome' to Eric & his crew that will be anything but warm—that is, in the compassionate sense.
"Here I come, Eric—ready or not!", Morgana says with an evil laugh following.
Eric's schooner sails at the fastest speed it can get to out in the open ocean, all sails out & about with the winds pushing it as best they can. Eric took over the wheel shortly after his wife's departure, & has stayed by it since with Grimsby, Frederick, & his dog Max at his side as other crewmembers were busy with keeping the sails & masts they were attached to steady.
"Are we still on course, Frederick?", Eric asked his longtime friend.
"This is right over the Abyssal Plains, Eric, just as Tip & Dash said where Morgana was taking Melody to!", he explained. "I personally checked all major calculations myself to make sure!"
"Then we've finally arrived to our destination, Master Eric!", Grimsby stated. "Whatever is going on beneath these waves, I do hope Princess Ariel & company have found young Melody & have put a stop to that foul Sea Witch's plans! Plus the fact that they're all okay, sir!"
Eric nodded. "Me too, Grims. Me too."
Max barked several times in agreement, hearing the conversation.
I know the feeling, Max, Eric thought grimly. Please be okay, Ariel. And please make sure that our daughter is safe down there! I want to see you both again—soon!
A spot in the ocean about twelve feet in diameter churns & bubbles fifty feet from Eric's schooner, & to his & everyone's surprise, a large black tentacle suddenly breaks on through the surface & curled like a giant snake, followed by another.
And another. And another still.
"Good heavens!", Grimsby says in terror.
"Is that who we think it is, Eric?", Frederick asks, possibly already knowing the answer to his own question. All aboard the schooner—from the seamen to Carlotta & Chef Louis—rush out onto the deck to witness the horror that has now bestowed upon them. Like Frederick feared, what emerged from beneath the water was a nightmare Eric & several others experienced before as Morgana—a staggering 55 meters tall—burst out from below, causing a huge splash that rocks the Prince's schooner as he & everyone aboard hang on for dear life.
"Sacre bleu!", Louis cried out.
"Good lord!", Calotta cried out.
"Sea Witch ahoy!", Scuttle cried out from the appropriate 'Crow's Nest'.
"Morgana?", Eric & Frederick said in unison.
The Sea Witch unleashes a hideous guffaw & stares down at the insignificant vessel.
"Hello, Eric! How's the view from down there?", she replied, laughing more. "Just a tad over twelve years ago, you more or less shish-kebabed my sister Ursula when she became a giant! Now the tables are turned, & this is where the score gets tied at one-to-one!"
Raising a tentacle over her head, Morgana grin spreads wider & she brings down with such force that when it hits Eric's ship, it will be smashed to pieces & all aboard will drown beneath the waves.
And there's nothing the young prince or anyone aboard can do to stop her, except watch as their lives flash before them.
Ariel, Melody!, were Eric's final thoughts.
But that's only if Morgana makes contact.
A second eruption from beneath the water rocks Eric's ship again, this time with greater force than when Morgana surfaced. The eruption took place between the ship & the Sea Witch herself, & the vessel was pushed back many yards from the abrupt appearance of another huge lifeform—one of which blocks Morgana's incoming tentacle from pulverizing Eric's schooner.
"What?", she cried out angrily.
Eric & all aboard his ship couldn't believe who it was that saved them from a watery grave.
"Good heavens, Master Eric!", Grimsby said. "Is that…Spiny?"
"I…I think so, Grims!", Eric replied. "But what happened to him?"
"What, indeed!", Scuttle says, flying down from his perch. "I knew you said you'd keep him at the palace until he got too big to stay there, but isn't that just a bit much too soon? Talk about growth hormones!"
Eric & company were staring awestruck at the now fully-grown Godzilla, facing down the Sea Witch in a loatheful stare with curled lips & baring fangs. An angry growl rumbled from his throat.
"You again?", Morgana spat. "I swear, some fools don't know when to quit while they're ahead! Then again, dinosaurs really are stupid animals as Undertow once told me! No matter—I'll just take care of both you and the Prince in one fatal blow, getting two birds with one stone!"
Sure! Rub it in, why don'cha, sister?, Scuttle thought bitterly, placing his wings at his sides.
Morgana raises half of her tentacles & launch them at Godzilla with powerful whipping action. The Monster King manages to grab two of them with his hands, but the other two smacks him hard in his face. He gets slapped by the twin appendages several times that Godzilla begins seeing stars in his vision. Unless he does something, Morgana will place him into an unconscious state, & he has no doubt that she'll make sure he stays that wat for good.
As long as there's even the smallest spark of life within him, Godzilla will not allow such a scenario to take place.
When Morgana swings her next tentacle at her foe, the saurian quickly strikes with his head & snatches it in his mouth, biting down on it so hard that it causes Morgana to holler in anguish & bleed from where teeth puncture flesh. The Sea Witch pulls & tugs hard on her tentacle to pry it loose from the Monster King's maw, but the harder she tried, the more the wounds bleed & the deeper her agony becomes; Godzilla's jaws are like a giant vice, & there's no way Morgana will get her tentacle free without ripping it off from her own body.
That's when Morgana tries something new: raising two more of her tentacles, she makes the ends of then pointed & as sharp as spears. Like striking cobras, she lashes out with them & pierce Godzilla in his chest & left shoulder, tearing off a piece of his flesh from the latter. The attack had caught him off-guard, & now it was Godzilla's turn to cry out in pain & making him release all of Morgana's tentacles, withdrawing them back before he can think of hurting any more of them.
"Didn't think I could do that, did you?", Morgana quipped with a laugh. "With this power in myself, the possibilities I can come up with & achieve are practically endless! Let me give you yet another example of what I mean!"
Placing her hands to her chest with her fingers pointed forward, Morgana's nails suddenly shoot a barrage of razor-sharp pointed spears that strike Godzilla in the chest, arms, & neck, going in halfway into his flesh. The Monster King belches an even louder howl of pain in a noise that can be heard for miles around. The Sea Witch guffaws almost as loudly, enjoying the anguish she is putting her dinosaurian enemy through.
But while Morgana relishes his predicament, Godzilla abhors it, & he gets even angrier than he did before, his literal fiery temper on the rise. This creature his new friends call Morgana has hurt him more so than usual, & Godzilla feels it was time to return the favor—in spades.
He lights up his rear dorsal spines & inside of his mouth & launches his heat ray at the Sea Witch, but Morgana was more than ready for it this time. In a stunning turn of events, she creates a barrier with her two front tentacles by spinning them more rapidly than the eye could follow, & not only does she block Godzilla's heat ray with it, she deflects it. The saurian's powerful shot goes straight up into the evening sky, causing no damage to the Sea Witch whatsoever.
This actually shocked & surprised Godzilla.
"You're gonna have to do better than that, monster!", Morgana teases him. "And that trick's getting old, anyway! As for me, I've got tricks up the wazoo—like so!"
Morgana transforms her four front tentacles again, but this time as giant knives with blades sharper than razors. She slashes at Godzilla, cutting him deeply on his face, chest,& arms.
But Godzilla wasn't Morgana's only target with her newly formed weapons: two tentacles were meant to keep the Monster King busy while the other two struck behind his back to attack Eric's schooner. As the young prince & his crew scramble for cover, Morgana's tentacles strike at two of the main masts & cut them cleanly off the ship. Eric calls out to his crew to watch out for the falling masts, & one of them crashes onto the deck, breaking into giant pieces of lumber & creates a hole while the other one splashes into the sea.
Godzilla sensed the danger to Eric & his friends from behind him, & he scrambles to get the killer appendages away before they can do anything worse by scratching them with his claws as he ignores the pain of the cuts he gets in front. The great reptile realizes that Morgana can attack him & his small friends in countless ways, & the best way to put an end to this fiasco was to go & bring the fight up close to Morgana for a more hands-on method of attack.
Raging like a living tidal wave, Godzilla makes his way to Morgana, paying no mind to the sharpened tentacles that continue to slash, stab, & cut him.
"So,you wanna get personal, do you? Fine by me—bring it on!", the Sea Witch taunts him as the Monster King gets within striking distance of her neck, wanting to sink his teeth into her like he did during their first time. But wanting & getting are two very different things, & Godzilla is about to learn that lesson in a harsh way.
"Oh no you don't!", Morgana snaps, wrapping two of her tentacles around Godzilla's neck & four more around his arms. "You gave me quite the bruise there last time! No way will you be getting a second go-round at it!"
Try as he might, Godzilla could not move his head or arms in any direction. In a desperate measure, he swings his tail over to Morgana to try & smack her in her head & attempt to make her disoriented long enough to force her to release him. Unfortunately for the saurian, the Sea Witch hadn't skimped over that possibility, & when his tail came up from under the water to strike her, she snatches the tip of it with her final two tentacles. Now Godzilla was totally trapped & immobile in his Octopin enemy's grip.
Then Morgana began to squeeze with all her might.
Eric & his crew all watched helplessly as Morgana was literally squeezing the life out of Godzilla, & it would only be a heartbeat later that she would turn her attention to them.
That's when Ariel, Melody, King Triton & all the rest popped up from below the surface.
"Eric!", Ariel called out to him.
"Daddy!", Melody cried.
Eric, Max, Grimsby, Frederick, & Scuttle all looked overboard & saw the seven sea dwellers alive & well, & a smile of relief came upon Eric's face as Max barks happily.
"Ariel! Melody! You're all okay!", he exclaims with joy. "What happened down there?"
"There's no time to give the details, Your Highness!", Tip said in a serious tone. "Right now we've gotta get that power out of that Octopin broad's system!"
"I t'ink only Spiny himself has any chance of doin' dat, Tip!", Sebastian said.
Triton turns to the battling titans.
"I'm not so sure of that, Sebastian!", he says, making everyone turn to his gaze. More than a few set of eyes widen & gasps endured as they witness Godzilla getting squeezed by Morgana's tentacles, causing the Monster King to foam at the mouth & his arms going limp. On top of his situation, his eyes were starting to go in his head. If this should continue, Melody's new friend will die at the hands of that who nearly tore her family apart.
She needed to do something & quickly, a feeling felt by all.
"We've gotta do something!", Flounder said in desperation. "Spiny's dying out here!"
"But what can we do to help him?", Dash wondered. "We're insects compared to Morgana!"
Melody stared at her dinosaurian friend & thought frantically on what to do. Godzilla has helped her out of the stickiest jams since the night they met, from the attack of the trio of deadly crocodiles to Morgana herself, & all she did was feed him a fresh slab of meat which the saurian thoroughly enjoyed.
And now that the tables were turned, Melody can do no less for him.
Time to return the favor to you, Spiny!, she said to herself before looking up to her father & speaking orally. "Dad, do you have any barrels of gunpowder aboard?"
It took a moment for Eric to answer.
"Yes we do, honey!", he said. "I almost forgot we had them! What do you plan to do with…"
"Just toss them to us & we'll show you, Dad! Please!"
"Go ahead & do it, Eric. I think I know what Melody has in mind with them", Ariel tells him.
"Meaning what, exactly?", asked Dash.
Ariel turns to him, smiling. "That even the tiniest insects can produce & deliver the most painful of stings!"
"Now I see what Melody means, Ariel!", Eric says, putting two & two together. He turns to his crew. "Quickly, men! Get all the barrels of gunpowder we have on board & toss 'em over the side to them! Hurry!"
"You got it, Eric!", one crewman said, even as he rushed off to his duty. Moving like cheetahs after prey, the crewmen grabbed barrel after barrel of gunpowder & ditched them off over to a waiting Ariel & company. In no time, sixteen barrels were dumped into the ocean, all floating like giant corks.
"That's the last of them, my good prince!", said one crewman.
Eric nodded, then faced Melody. "Is there anything else you need, honey!"
"A couple of your pistols, Daddy!", she answered.
"Will these do, sweetie?", one man asks, as he & three others toss a quartet of 'Hall' Breech-Loading Flintlocks down to Ariel & Melody. The mermaids each caught two, one in each hand.
"Don't forget these!", Eric said, tossing over sixteen hooks attached to short, thick lines of rope. Melody tells Dash to gather them, which he does.
"So, what is de plan, child?", Sebastian wondered.
"We need to get these barrels over to Morgana & plant them upon her tentacles!", Melody explains. "Then they need to be set off all at once! When they explode…"
"Now I get it, Melody!", Flounder said. "But how do we get them on Morgana without her noticing us?"
"Leave that to me, Flounder!", said King Triton, pointing his trident at the barrels. Using no heat whatsoever, he fires a kind of lasso around each one to prepare them for the haul. "We'll go underneath the waves & plant then at the base of her tentacles, eight on each side of her. When the signal is given, we'll fire upon them simultaneously. Is that your plan, Melody?"
"You got it, Granadpa!", Melody said. She turns to Godzilla, who is now foaming terribly at the mouth, giving the young mermaid greater dread. "And we'd better do this now! I don't know how much longer Spiny can hold out against her!"
"Then let's get a move-on, people! Time is of the essence!", Tip pointed out, getting nods from all & went underwater without another word. As they swam, Triton carried the barrels with his trident while Ariel & Melody each handed a pistol to Tip & Dash. Melody explained to them that when she gives the signal, the four of them were to fire their weapons at the barrels as King Triton did the same on the opposite side of the Sea Witch. With the utmost stealth, Triton placed half of the barrels on the left side of Morgana for Ariel, Melody, Tip, & Dash to plant upon her as he, Flounder & Sebastian took the other half & planted them on Morgana's other side, using the ropes to tie them to the barrel's metal rims & sink the attached hooks into her flesh. Because the Sea Witch was so big, she doesn't even feel the hooks being driven into her on either side.
Morgana doesn't even see Triton & company either, as she was too busy concentrating on an incapacitated Godzilla, who continues foaming heavily from the mouth from lack of oxygen, & his eyes were almost rendered invisible as ther were nearly up in his head.
"What's wrong, monster? Nothing to say? Sea Witch got your tongue?", Morgana teases & breaks out laughing blaringly at her dinosaurian enemy's predicament.
On their side, Ariel & Melody look to each other with an unhappy & angry look before they fix their gaze at Morgana.
"Let's see you laugh this off, Morgana!", the two mermaids say in a low, menacing volume & finish their task while backing away with Tip & Dash—all with pistols in hand—to a distance of sixty feet & take aim.
"All set, Mom!", Melody says, getting nods from the 'Adventurers-slash-explorers'.
"Go ahead, Witch! Make my night!", Tip says boldly.
"We're set, Daddy! DO IT!", Ariel yells in hopes her father hears her.
But unfortunately, so does Morgana.
Luckily it didn't matter: King Triton lights up his trident & fires it at the barrels, while Ariel & her group do the same with their pistols.
The ensuing explosion created a blast that both caused Ariel & her groups to take cover beneath the waves to avoid flying debris, & to force Morgana to cry out in agony & release her crushing grip on Godzilla. When all her tentacles eased up on the pressure & withdrew, the great reptile did two things; one, he immediately took in fresh air into his lungs, & two, lit up his dorsal spines & mouth as brightly as he could get them to. The heat he generated even melted the sharp barbs of Morgana's fingernails throughout his body & dropped them into the water.
Morgana had no time to react to what came next or even put up a defense for it: Godzilla fired his heat ray at maximum capacity at the Sea Witch, who took the highly painful brunt of the blast. That made her cry out in anguish even more than the blast from the barrels of gunpowder, as Godzilla held nothing back & let loose his most potent weapon on Morgana, scorching the Sea Witch's main body & drove her back many yards from Eric's schooner.
When Godzilla finally did let up on his heat ray, Morgana was much too far away to cause the young prince any up-close physical damage. Her chest & stomach were scorched as smoke rose from the wound, & the pain was making her vision all blurry. She fought to get it cleared, & when she did, she saw a sight that horrified even her: Godzilla, after diving beneath the waves, had engaged himself in a mighty leap & launched himself airborne, & now he descends down from the sky & onto Morgana. The force of the impact nearly knocked the Sea Witch unconscious, but she fought to stay awake, even as they crashed with earth-shattering force on the ocean floor.
Morgana felt like her head was about to crack open as the ocean floor had in some areas, but she refused to give in to her dinosaurian foe. She fought the nausea away, focusing solely on bringing down & defeating Godzilla in the most horrible way possible.
"Filthy beast!", Morgana spat. "I'll gut you like a fish!"
Godzilla's answer to her threat was a nasty headbutt to her face, breaking her nose in the process with a sickening crunch of cartilage. The Monster King didn't let up on his attack: he then grabs Morgana's head in his right hand & slams it down on the floor with tremendous power that it shakes the area for miles. He does this several times, & the cracks on the floor grow with each impact, creating a fissure wide enough to engulf them both.
If that's what Godzilla has in mind for the Sea Witch, she makes sure he does not get the chance to implement his plan.
"Enough!", Morgana bellowed with such rage that her solid red eyes emit twin powerful beams & hit Godzilla square in the chest. The Monster King was caught unawares by her new method of attack, & he cries out in pain which forces him to put distance between them.
"See?", she quips. "Like I said before, I've got more tricks than even the greatest magician, & you're to be my test subject on all of them, my little guinea pig!"
Not if Godzilla can help it; the saurian notices something he'd almost forgotten. Each time the Sea Witch uses her power for some special ability/attack, the dark purple jewel encrusted on her forehead always glows. Watching from afar, King Triton, Ariel, Melody, & the rest also notice the same thing, & each come to the conclusion that if the jewel on her forehead should be cracked and/or destroyed, then there's still a chance for them.
A plan forms inside Godzilla's head, even as Morgana's hands literally become long, pointy knives & advances toward the saurian.
"I must say, you're unlike any dinosaur I've seen before!", she gloats. "Why don't we open you up & see what makes you tick inside, shall we?"
Morgana laughs as she launches another twin eye bean attack. Godzilla avoids them as he swims ahead after the Sea Witch on a direct course for her. Morgana slashes at him with her hand blades & shooting her eye beams, but she misses him entirely, not even getting the smallest nick or burn on the saurian.
Although Morgana misses, Godzilla does not: with a powerful swish of his tail, he smacks the Sea Witch in the forehead and the jewel embedded there, shattering it into a million pieces.
"NOOOO!", Morgana screamed as the evil power within her was expunged from her body through her forehead & mouth, turning her skin color to its usual green & her size diminishing to her original height.
"Yes!", Flounder & Sebastian cheer happily, slapping fins & claws with each other.
"Ha! Who said dinosaurs were stupid animals?", Tip asks sarcastically.
"I believe it was a certain pink shark with black stripes!", Dash said matter of factly.
"And look where that got him!", Tip finished with a cackle.
"It's still not over yet, I'm afraid! Look!", King Triton said sternly, pointing. The evil power which fled Morgana was still there in an amorphous purple blob, sporting two red circles for eyes & mouth with teeth. The thing looked like some kind of undersea ghost at a height of 54 meters in height, & it floated in the water like a phantom, making a hideously haunting sound like a hundred banshees growling.
"What can we do, Daddy?", Ariel asked with trepidation in her voice. "If that power were to possess any of us, we'll become as mad as Queen Rasbora was! Can't you even try to defeat it with your trident alone?"
"I did once, Ariel!", Triton explained. "I used it at full power that first time Danio, Borneo, & myself fought to seal it up! Even then, my trident wasn't enough by itself to do it! That's why it took their assistance to help me then! Now, I doubt I could even make it tickle!"
Melody looks at Godzilla, & her hopes rise.
"But I'll just bet that Spiny can do that—and more!", she says, swimming up to the Monster King before anyone can object. When she gets to what looks like his left ear, Melody begins to call out to him.
"Spiny! Listen to me! You're the only one of us who can defeat that evil thing for good! Use your fire to obliterate it before it can possess anyone here—including Morgana! Hurry!"
Godzilla was about to do what Melody suggested he try, but sensing her approach, he had wanted to see & hear her voice to know she was okay before proceeding. Giving her a low growl of approval, the Monster King's dorsal fins & mouth light up as Melody backs away to stay clear of the searing heat. Godzilla concentrates his energy on his ray, making it as hot as he possibly can like he did for Morgana.
Then he cuts loose with everything he has.
His heat ray makes scorching contact with the evil power, & the thing in its current form screeches like the aforementioned hundred banshees in a hideous chorus. The sultry heat also changes its color slowly but surely, going from purple to a brightening yellow, beginning at the stomach & spreading like a cancer.
"NO!", Morgana yells, seeing what was briefly hers getting scorched. She starts to utter a few words to summon it back into her, but gets only a few syllables out before Ariel clocks her with a well-thrown stone to her face.
"No you don't, Morgana! No way are you getting your slimy mits on that power again!", she barked at her as she & King Triton—his trident glowing & aimed at her—swims up to the Sea Witch.
"And no way will you ever threaten my granddaughter or anyone in my family again!", the King of Atlantica bellowed angrily. "Last time, I merely imprisoned you! This time, you'll get no mercy from me, Sea Witch! Your time is up, Morgana!"
Triton fires a blast from his trident at full power, but Morgana dodges the shot & starts to surround herself with a cloud of black ink—the same method she used to escape from Atlantica the other day.
"Vengeance comes at a most heavy price, Triton!", she says, the cloud almost covering her up completely. "My time may be up, but so is hers!"
She laughs as the cloud covers her totally, & they both disappear was nowhere to be seen, even as Triton fires a bolt into the cloud, hitting nothing.
"Curse her!", he fumed loudly.
But Ariel wasn't too worried about Morgana's escape; she wondered what she meant by 'so is hers'.
That's when Flounder, Sebastian, Tip, & Dash yell Melody's name.
Ariel & King Triton turned to see Melody's mermaid fin start to sparkle & transform, & their eyes went wide.
Oh no! Not here, not now!, Melody thought fearfully, feeling her fin start to split in two, & her fin becoming feet once again. The spell Morgana had placed on her to become a mermaid has worn off, & at the worst possible place & time!
Close by, Godzilla's heat ray has turned the abomination into a white-hot glare, & it's about to explode.
Ariel, Triton, Flounder, Sebastian, Tip, & Dash all rush to Melody to get her topside before the spell wears off completely, & she drowns.
Finally, unable to take the pain of Godzilla's ray any longer, the evil power explodes.
The abomination that Morgana once possessed unleashed a loud, hideous shriek that was its death throes before exploding in a bright, powerful blast that made as if the sun were lit under the sea. Ariel & her group were blinded by the light & thrown a great distance from the blast, as was Godzilla. Melody, being blocked by the blast mainly by the Monster King, was just finished going from mermaid to human again as Godzilla was pushed toward her in rapid succession.
The next (& last) thing that she saw just before her vision went pitch black was Godzilla's outstretched hand.
Ariel didn't know how long she had been out for.
What she did know (& remembered) was that she'd been underwater as a mermaid with her father, Flounder, Sebastian, Tip, & Dash in an attempt to free her daughter Melody from Morgana's clutches & prevent Ursula's sister from unleashing an ancient evil her father had helped to defeat & contain with assistance from the late Lord Danio & Shaman Borneo of Muskellina. While they managed to get Melody away from Morgana & her hench-shark Undertow, she had succeeded in gaining possession of the evil power buried in the Abyssal Plains. Even with their dinosaurian ally & friend Godzilla, dubbed 'Spiny' by Melody, the group were hard-pressed in stopping her from ruling the seven seas. Only with the combination of Ariel & Melody's cunning & the raw power from Godzilla himself were they able to drive it out of Morgana, with the Monster King delivering the coup de grace, using his high intensity heat ray.
Then she suddenly remembered her daughter Melody beginning to transform back into a human & an explosion that followed, & it all went dark.
When she opened her eyes again, she was human once more, transformed by her father from the power of the trident, & laying in Eric's arms. Tip & Dash were knocked out from the blast themselves, along with Flounder & Sebastian, & they were resting upon two separate pieces of broken mast floating on the surface; Tip & Dash on one piece, Flounder & Sebastian on the other & accompanied by Scuttle. They had all asked about Melody, desperate in getting an answer. King Triton told them all that he had summoned all available search parties to go find her, leaving not one stone unturned.
The party also included Ariel's sisters—Attina, Alana, Adella, Aquata, Andrina, & Arista, the latter of which was found unharmed under a large stone when Atlantica was attacked by the Sea Witch the other day. Everyone from Ariel's siblings to the royal Atlantican guards spent the rest of the evening hours searching thoroughly for Eric & Ariel's daughter, mostly in the immediate area where she (& even Godzilla) was last seen.
Now it was morning, & the sun shone bright in the early sky, but the mood from every living soul on & around Eric's schooner—human, mer-person, & otherwise—was anything but. They've all waited with baited breath to hear word from the search parties on the whereabouts of Melody.
So far, nothing.
Then out of the blue, all of Ariel's sisters & the royal guards from Atlantica emerge from beneath the waves, & the Captain of the guards swims up to King Triton, the expression upon his face looking not too promising.
But the Captain knew he had to say it.
"Go ahead, Captain. You can give it to me straight", Triton said in a low, somber tone.
"We've spent the last few hours searching this part of the ocean as you've ordered, sire", the Captain began to say, "but we've found absolutely no sign of your granddaughter anywhere, & according to the time lapse between that explosion you mentioned & now, I'm afraid that the chances of her still being alive are very slim to none." He hung his head in sorrow. "I'm terribly sorry, Your Highness."
The Captain's news hit everyone on both Eric's ship & in the water hard, like a punch in the gut, & tears started flowing heavily in each & every pair of eyes. Heads were hung, & several went & hugged one another for comfort, beginning with Carlotta & Chef Louis. Eric & Ariel, needless to say, were devastated & crushed most of all. Ariel buried her head deep within her husband's chest & cried the loudest, her sound muffled but still very audible as Eric held her close to him to comfort her as best he can. He felt a tight knot in his stomach that was getting much tighter by the second, & a lump in his throat was swelling. Unable to hold back any longer, Eric began to sob almost as loud as his wife is, whispering Melody's name.
Tip & Dash feel just as bad. Melody was the first true friend they had ever made six months ago after a botched rescue attempt of a mother penguin's little girl. They helped to save her from a watery grave when Morgana imprisoned her after tricking her into giving her the trident, thus becoming honorary citizens of Atlantica.
She was the best thing that ever happened to them both, & now it feels like they died instead of her.
"We were right there, Tip", Dash said solemnly. "Right there when it all happened, & yet we couldn't save her. What kind of friends are we if we can't help them?"
"Ones who shouldn't carry the phrase 'Adventurers-slash-explorers' to their names", Tip says in a melancholy tone. He & Dash can almost hear the other penguins laughing their heads off at them, basking in their failure of saving Melody, similar to when they did in their attempted rescue of the young female penguin.
Of course, if they were here & they really did that, he & Dash would literally break every bone in their bodies & cave their heads in for it.
King Triton felt like doing the same thing despite his grief, as he was mad enough to fry the first sign of Morgana and/or Undertow, should either or both of them dare to show themselves at any time. He'd been too soft on Ursula's sibling in the past, burying her in ice instead of flat-out killing her like Eric did to Ursula herself—and the young prince did that without hesitation.
When next Triton & Morgana meet, the King of Atlantica will do what he should have done six months ago—kill Morgana!
A churning circle of bubbling water thirty-six feet away catches everyone's attention & even puts them on full alert, in case the Sea Witch and/or her hench-shark have returned. Triton's weapon glows a bright yellow & he aims it at the churning circle; if it is Morgana, the trident piercing her black heart will be the last thing she gets to see.
A huge spray of water suddenly erupts & splashes onto everyone, rocking Eric's schooner & revealing the last sight any of them thought they'd see.
It was Godzilla, rising above the crowd of humans & non-humans, his right hand in a balled fist. Both the Captain of the guards & his men, along with Ariel's six older sisters were startled by the saurian's superior size, even though Triton had told them about Melody's 'dinosaur friend' when the search was underway. His gargantuan size still gave them a feeling of dread, & they backed away from the Monster King, getting behind Triton who wasn't intimidated.
In fact, seeing Godzilla again only seemed to enrage him, & wasn't the only one who shared his feelings to the great reptile.
"You!", Sebastian yelled, pointing a claw at him. "How dare you! You got a lotta nerve showin' your face here, mon!"
"I'll say you do, monster!", King Triton bellowed angrily, forgetting the mutual friendship & respect he once had with the saurian. "It's all your fault that this tragedy has bestowed us! Had you never entered my granddaughter's life to begin with, she'd still be here at this moment! But because of you, she's now drowned & lost at sea!" Triton's trident glows even brighter & he aims it at Godzilla, wanting to do the same to him as he would to Morgana; he may not be the Sea Witch by far, & his trident may not even do the job of piercing his heart & killing him, but he will do nonetheless. Triton has a lot of anger inside him currently, & he needs to unleash it before it consumes him for good.
"Goodbye & good riddance to you, you hideous…!", he starts to say before Frederick cuts him off in a rush.
"Your Majesty, wait!", he bellowed, pointing up to the Monster King.
Ariel sees something as well—the same thing Eric himself sees.
"Daddy, look! He has someone in his hand!", she says, also pointing.
Their calling out prevents Triton from firing his weapon, & the trident's yellow glow ceases & douses itself entirely. Even he can tell that Godzilla does indeed have a living being in his huge hand, especially when the saurian crouches down a little & opens it up in a gesture of offering a gift. Soon, everyone else can catch movement in his hand, & suddenly their fears & sorrow turns to wonder & hope.
Could it possibly be…?, Eric thought, praying to the heavens that the someone in Godzilla's hand is who he & the rest think it is.
From Godzilla's open palm, Melody pokes her head out between his fingers & waves to the crowd with a smile across her face.
"Oh hello, Mom, Dad, everyone!", she shouts cheerfully.
"Melody!", they all shouted with the utmost joy, replacing all of the fear & anger they had when Godzilla appeared. Everyone was now jumping up & down happily, smiling all but widely in seeing Melody alive & well, slapping hands, claws, fins, & otherwise in triumph, including Eric's dog Max, as he barks & pant his tongue with joy.
"Dear lord, it's a bloody miracle!", Grimsby said.
"Wee, it iz!", Chef Louis says. "Zere iz a God after all, no?"
"Oh yes, Louis!", Carlota cheered. "He's answered our prayers in our darkest hour!"
"Not to mention Spiny himself, Carlotta!", Frederick added. "God bless him!"
Frederick's feelings were spread throughout.
"I gotta admit, girls!", Adella says, "This 'Spiny' character gave me quite the fright when he just popped up out of nowhere, but after seeing that he just rescued Melody…"
"You got quite a fright?", Alana said jokingly. "My hair's still sticking on ends!"
"Your hair's always like that, Alana! Don't deny it!", Andrina said.
"No more than you, Andrina, so you shouldn't talk!", Aquata says, getting giggles from the others.
"But as Adella was going to say", Arista cut in, "is that just because Spiny looks like a huge & ferocious meat-eating dinosaur, it doesn't mean he always acts like that, & rescuing Melody from a watery grave is proof to that testimony."
"Most importantly, it means that we're a full-fledged family again", Attina says, turning to her young sister. "Right, Ariel?"
"Couldn't have put it better myself, Attina!", Ariel says, her smile growing wider with her husband's.
"You know, Dash", Tip begins, "me thinks we have a brand new member to our team of 'Adventurers-slash-explorers'!"
"You mean Spiny?", Dash asked.
"No, I mean the Sea Witch! Of course I mean Spiny, blubber-brain! Who else did you think I meant?"
"But isn't he a little too big to fit in?"
"Nah! He's just…large for his age, that's all! Just think—no one would dare laugh at us ever again with him watchin' over us! The mere sight of Spiny'll send them cryin' to their mamas!"
"Like we did more than a few times?"
Tip stared at Dash sternly. "Dash, old pal, because we're friends, I'm gonna pretend I didn't hear that just now!"
Dash just smiled sheepishly.
"Melody child, are you all right?", Sebastian yelled up to her.
"You're not hurt anywhere, are ya?", Flounder called out.
"Do ya need a medic, sweetie?", Scuttle cried out.
"Not at all, you guys! In fact, I've never felt better!", Melody called back, rising from her seated position. "I don't know how he did it, but Spiny here…"
Melody stopped in mid-sentence when all of a sudden everyone gasped in shock & were staring at her with eyes that were agape in that manner, confusing the young princess.
"Hey, what's wrong?", she wondered. "Why is everyone looking at me funny? And does any of you feel a draft?"
Melody suddenly looks down at herself, & immediately her facial expression matches theirs as she sees clearly why they stare at her the way they are.
She was totally naked!
Melody looks around to see where her dress went, & found it in Godzilla's palm, tattered & all torn in too many places.
She covers herself with her arms, her face an expression of total embarrassment.
"Whoa! Never mind!", she says as several began giggling at her predicament, which included Frederick, Eric, Ariel, her sisters, the Captain & his guards, Eric's crew, & even Triton himself.
Whoa, talk about the 'bare necessities' of life!, Melody thought, her face red.
Not all thought of her situation as humorous: Grimsby, Carlotta, & Chef Louis all turned their heads to stray away from the nude princess in mutual respect. Louis, however, managed to take a slight peek at her again, but his efforts were halted by Carlotta as she slammed his chef's hat down hard over his eyes & covering his face entirely, causing Louis to stumble around blindly.
"Hmph! Pervert!", Carlotta snapped.
"Really!", Grimsby harrumphed.
Down at ocean level, Tip, Dash, Flounder, & Sebastian turned their own heads away from the inappropriate condition Melody was in.
"Oh my!", said Dash.
"Whoa, look out! Adult content comin' through!", Tip added.
"I-I didn't see not'ing, sire! Honest!", Sebastian pleaded.
"M-Me neither!", Flounder joined in. "I-I'm a married fish, w-with multiple guppies of my own!"
Then Scuttle added in his two cents.
"Yeah, I didn't see Melody all butt-naked, swayin' in the cool breeze wit' all o' us starin' at her, wide-eyed an' open-mouthed &…"
The rest of Scuttle's sentence was all gibberish after Sebastian had clonked the crazy bird over the head with his claw in mid-sentence, & the seagull's eyes went googly & sank to the broken mast with a klunk, his head spinning & his tongue hanging out of his mouth.
"Birds! D'ere good for not'ing, mon!", Sebastian pouted, staring over the bird with his claws to his sides in disgust.
"Except saying the wrong things at the wrong time!", Flounder added, also unhappily.
A noise by Tip caused the two to look in his direction.
"Uh, what's that about birds now, gentlemen?", he asks, with he & Dash staring at them like they were the enemy.
"You got a problem with some of our fine-feathered friends, have ya?", Dash asked in an unfriendly manner.
Caught red-handed, the yellow fish & red crustacean grin innocently.
"Oh no, mon!", Sebastian said quickly to alleviate his guilt. "Just some birds are, dat's all! I mean, take him, for instance! Not a lick of sense—unlike you, Tip, that is!"
"Y-yeah, Tip! You're okay in our book!", Flounder stated.
The penguin & walrus eye them cautiously, then turn to each other, then back.
"Oh. I see. That's what we thought you said", Dash said, somewhat convinced.
"I guess we can forgive your insubordination—this time", Tip finished.
Flounder & Sebastian looked relieved.
Oh boy. They really rub it in!, Flounder thought.
"It's all right, Sebastian", King Triton assures him, turning to Melody. "Just hold tight, my grandchild! I'll have you down from there & into your parent's arms in no time!"
Raising his trident, King Triton shoots a gentle stream of sparkling yellow energy which circles itself around Melody & lifts her up & out of Godzilla's hand. He then guides her down to an anxiously awaiting Eric & Ariel, but not before using the trident's power to attire her in a baby blue dress & shoes, looking just as beautiful as she ever did. When she looked back at Godzilla & saw him staring at her tattered, torn-up pink dress she wore at the party in his hand, she put him at ease.
"Go ahead & keep it, Spiny!", she tells him. "Call it my gift to you!"
Godzilla takes one last look at the dress in his hand & closes it up; there was no limit to this child's generosity, & that made the Monster King feel very special. Since the day they met, he has no regrets about it in the slightest degree.
He certainly will keep it.
When she was in reach, Eric & Ariel both hugged Melody as warmly as ever.
"Melody! Thank God you're okay!", Eric said sincerely.
"We were all so afraid you wouldn't make it back this time, sweetie!", Ariel said with deep sorrow.
"I'm sorry to have worried you all, Mom, Dad", Melody said. "I thought I was a goner as much as you all did."
"You don't need to apologize for anything, honey", Eric said. "We're just glad you're still with us."
"Only…how are you still with us, Melody?", Frederick asks, perplexed. "Don't get me wrong or anything: it's great to have you back, but Triton & his people spent hours looking for you! How can it be that you haven't drowned?"
Melody pondered the same thing, & did so for a few moments before answering.
"I think Spiny here had something to do with that, Frederick", she says. "For some reason, I believe he kept me alive for all that time. I was inside his fist when I woke up, & that may have contributed as to why I'm still alive. That's the only explanation I can come up with."
What Melody said was true: during their time underwater, Godzilla snatched up the young princess up in his right hand just before she turned back into a human completely, the aura of breathable air becoming trapped in the Monster King's tight fist, leaving more than enough space from within for Melody to move around should she awaken before getting topside. Godzilla had also used some of his radiation to provide enough breathable oxygen to keep her going, even when he was rendered unconscious, & set it at a very low level to cause her no harm physically.
Until now, Godzilla had never done such a thing, but then, he's never had to before.
"Well, regardless as to how Spiny's kept you alive, young Melody", Grimsby says, "the most important thing is that you are."
"That's right, hon", Carlotta said. "He's saved your life again—for the third time, no less."
"Not just my life again, Carlotta", Melody corrected her. "He saved everyone's life from both above and below the sea by eradicating that evil power Morgana briefly had for good."
Mumbles of wonder soon echoed on & off Eric's schooner in close discussion about the horrible power which was sealed up years ago. Sebastian skitted up King Triton's arm & next to his ear on his shoulder for a more personal approach to the subject.
"She's right, sire", he tells him. "You said it yourself dat de power of de trident could not begin to subdue, let alone defeat it, even at maximum capacity. Only de power of Spiny's flame breat' had managed to do dat."
Triton sighs with a heavy heart. "You & my granddaughter are both right, Sebastian", he says with an apologetic voice & facial expression & turns to Godzilla with it. "I…I suppose I owe you an apology, Spiny." His tone goes down several notches. "And a big heartfelt 'Thank you'."
In spite of the low voice, Godzilla still heard Triton's words & lets loose with a low grunt of approval, which made the King of Atlantica smile.
"Welcome to the club!", Eric & Ariel said together, hearing Triton's words as Godzilla had done, remembering they made the same mistake of misjudging the Monster King themselves.
Their little joke began a chorus of giggles that soon erupted from aboard the schooner, the Captain & his men, Ariel's sisters, & everyone else. Even Triton joined in on the joke, seeing the irony (& humor) of it all.
Then another set of vocals joins in the laughter, only this one sounded more sinister—and all too familiar!
Out of nowhere from beneath the water, a black tentacle shoots out & wraps itself around King Triton's trident & pulls it away from him as the rest of the tentacle's owner shoots up & reveals herself.
"Morgana!", Triton fumed, getting gasps of shock & surprise from most. All at once the Captain & his men surrounded the Sea Witch with their swords lowered & pointed at her, while Eric & Ariel took Melody to safety inside the ship.
"Thought you were rid of me, Triton?", Morgana mocked, pointing the trident. "I'm like a bad penny, old man—sooner or later, I always turn up!"
Godzilla saw the Sea Witch with the weapon that belonged to Melody's grandfather, & lets out an angry growl while lighting up his rear fins & mouth. This time, he'll be sure to vaporize her once & for all like he did to the evil power she once had.
"Don't think I've forgotten about you, monster!", Morgana quips. "You're in for quite the surprise—one that's guaranteed to grab you!"
To punctuate her statement, an even larger tentacle shoots up & wraps itself around the saurian's mouth, causing him to douse his flame. Even as he struggles to get free, a second tentacle shoots out, followed by several more, & they wrap themselves tightly around Godzilla by his arms, body, & neck. Then the body the appendages are attached to surfaces to reveal a pair of eyes on a body which was bulbous in shape. As Godzilla struggles with the beast, those on Eric's ship & in the water backed away to keep their distance & avoid being crushed.
It was a monstrosity that both those from land & sea are too frighteningly familiar with.
"The Kraken!", Triton says, his sights on the huge cephalopod like everyone else.
Then Undertow surfaces, rejoining his master.
"That's right, Triton!", he bellows. "Morgana told me about what happened to your friend Spiny here, so we decided to fight fire with fire, or more aptly, size with size!"
"Besides, the cephalopod owed us a favor after we rescued it from a rockslide which would have buried it completely, & now is the time for it to pay back its debt!", Morgana adds.
"Don't think you can still get away with this, Morgana!", Triton said matter of factly. "We've beaten you before with the trident in your hands, & we'll do it again!"
"That was then, old man!", the Sea Wich said. "This time, it's endgame for you & everyone here—starting with you!"
Morgana fired the trident at Triton & hit him point blank in the chest with a bright yellow beam, which also spread to the Captain & his men, Ariel's sisters, Flounder, Sebastian, Tip, Dash, & Scuttle in a continuous stream that reached everyone in the water. They all hollered out in deep anguish, each feeling like they're being electrocuted in a lightning storm.
Watching the horror show from Eric's ship, Ariel cried out to her father & each one of their names as they all collapse into the sea, sinking like stones.
"Oh, what have I done?", Morgana said in mock sorrow. "Don't worry, princess—you get to join them!"
Morgana aims the trident at Eric's ship, even as the prince orders everyone to abandon ship before the Sea Witch can do what Eric feared she would—destroy the schooner!
She does: with a powerful beam, Morgana detonates the ship with ease, sending both debris & personell flying in all directions, splashing in the water as it rains with lifeless bodies & burnt pieces of wood.
But not all died in the blast: hanging onto a large piece of debris, Ariel & Melody grab onto it for dear life, just as Morgana & Undertow swim up to the helpless ladies.
"Battered & broken! How it suits you both!", Morgana teased, laughing wickedly.
"You haven't won yet, Morgana!", Ariel said defiantly. "Once Spiny gets free, he'll…"
"He ain't getting free, princess! You can take that to the bank!", Undertow barked, turning to the Kraken. "Okay, calamari-face! Take that refuge from Prehistoria & drag him down to the ocean floor & bury his scaly hide!"
Following the shark's orders, the Kraken pulls Godzilla below the surface, disappearing from view of the two mermaids & the diabolical duo. The Monster King fights & struggles to get himself loose, but as powerful as he was, even he was no match for the creature's awesome tentacle strength. Even his legs & tail were all but useless, & with his mouth closed shut by one of its appendages, there was no way Godzilla could use his heat ray.
Deeper & deeper they went, getting closer & closer to the crevasse Godzilla himself had created when he fought Morgana as a giant, & the inside of it began to glow.
"Spiny!", Melody cried, reaching out with an outstretched hand.
"Forget it, shrimp!", Undertow snapped. "He's got a date with Davy Jones, & speaking of which…"
"So do you!", Morgana finished, scooping up Melody with a tentacle & pulling her close before Ariel can do anything to stop her.
"Melody!", she cried.
"Say goodbye to your precious daughter, little miss princess!", Morgana said. "She's going to be sleeping with the fishes—permanently!"
Morgana & Undertow dove beneath the water, forcing Melody to close her mouth in a rush with no chance of catching a fresh breath of air before they descended. She wriggled & squirmed to free herself, but it was no use. They plan to drown her, plain & simple, & without Godzilla, her grandfather, mother, or anyone else, she dreads that this is the end.
Her thoughts were on all of her family & friends as air begins escaping from her burning & collapsing lungs.
Even so, she could hear her mother's soothing voice.
Taking a quick inhale of air in a gasp, Melody opened her eyes & sat up.
She looked around. She wasn't underwater, captured by Morgana & being submerged.
She was in bed in her room!
Accompanying her around the bed were her doctor Hansel, her parents, Grimsby, Carlotta, & everyone else including Chef Louis, Frederick, his wife Isabella & their three kids. Each of them were staring at her with geat concern & relief.
"You're finally up, child!", Carlotta says. "I was beginning to worry that you wouldn't!"
"Wee, mademoiselle", Chef Louis added. "You gave us quite ze scare when you fell from ze tree rescuing zat cat."
The cat. She was beginning to remember that incident.
"What became of that cat, Mom? Is Muffin okay?", she asks.
Ariel smiled. "She's fine, honey. Her owner, Sandy, asked about you every day to see if you were all right."
"'Every day'? How long was I out for?"
"Almost an entire week, Melody", Hansel tells her. "Even I was worried you wouldn't wake up after that fall."
Melody looked at Frederick. "How long have you & your family been here, Frederick?"
"Just a day after your accident, sweetie", he said. "We've been tending to all your needs as Hansel instructed us."
"Thank you, Frederick. I know it was hard for you & your family to come bear witness to my condition, especially since you're not here for most of the year."
"Melody", Isabella starts to say. "If we had to, we would've spent our entire vacation to see that you get nursed back to health."
"And we wouldn't hesitate to do it over again for you, if that's what it took", Christian said.
"What would we do without you, Melody?", Marlene said.
"Our lives would never be the same again, & not in a good way", Charlene added.
"You see, Melody dear? We're always watching out for your best interests, & we'll always be there for you, no matter what", Grimsby says.
"Amen to that, Grimsby", Eric says, embracing his daughter in a close, warm hug with Ariel. "Amen to that."
Max barks his approval to his master.
"Come, everyone. Let's let these three share some time together alone", Frederick says with everyone nodding & exiting the room one by one. Max was the last to leave, & the three share a few words together.
"Thanks Mom, Dad", Melody said warmly.
"Think nothing of it, Melody", Eric says. "You're our world, & no force anywhere can take that away."
"Not even if there were a hundred Morganas or Ursulas who dares attempt it", Ariel says.
"Now there's a comforting thought!", Melody said slyly & with sarcasm. Her reply conjures a guffaw from her parents, & ultimately, from Melody herself, unable to deny there being some humor in what was said.
"By the way", Eric starts saying, "it's pretty late in the evening, & Hansel wants you to get a good night's sleep in order for the medicine he injected you with to help take care of any kind of nausea."
Melody looked surprised. "I got a needle?"
"Shortly before you woke up, sweetie", Ariel said. "So go get your rest. You've got a big day ahead of you at sunrise tomorrow morning."
"Why so early?"
"That's to be a secret until then. Good night, Melody", Eric said, kissing his daughter on the forehead with Ariel doing the same afterwards before getting up & exiting her room, leaving her alone with her own thoughts.
Lying back down with her head on her pillow, Melody thought about what went on through her head while she was unconscious for nearly a week: the freeing of Morgana & Undertow, the so-called 'Lamprey Amulet' she wore around her neck that unlocked an ancient evil power that got sealed up by her grandfather & some friends of his. But the one that really took the cake was when the fin-backed dinosaur whom she called 'Spiny' entered her life, & things got more wild than she could've ever predicted—even in a dream.
What a dream that was, Melody said to herself. It felt awfully real.
She fell asleep shortly afterwards.
Morning, Eric's Palace:
Melody was up shortly after sunrise, although she was still pretty much sleepy. It could be that the medicine Hansel injected her with was making her more drowsy than usual, & that she didn't get quite enough to shake off the side effects. Or it could be that her parents want to see her up & about as soon as possible; when either or both of them get it in their minds with anything, it was next to impossible to deter them from it.
Then again, Melody gets the same way, a trait she can relate to & respect.
She gets finished dressing up for the day's upcoming event (whatever that may be), attired in her yellow dress, the one she wore when she brought down the wall with her grandfather's trident after Morgana & Undertow's defeat. Melody didn't know as to why she put it on; something in her says that she simply had to.
When she eaches the top of the stairs, Eric & Frederick were waiting at the bottom, all neatly dressed.
"Good morning, Melody", Eric greeted. "Glad to see you up & about. And you look lovely, as always."
"Thanks Dad", she says, descending the stairs as she stifles a yawn. "Now would you mind telling me why I had to be up so early?"
"For the answer to that, Melody, all you need to do is come outside", Frederick says.
When Melody reaches the bottom, Eric & his good friend escort her out of the palace & headed for the shore. Once they got there, Melody was in for a big surprise: not only did she see everyone there from her mother to Isabella & her kids, but she saw those she 'd been longing to see for half a dozen months.
King Triton had appeared, & he wasn't alone: accompanying him are Tip, Dash, Flounder, & Sebastian, each one with a smile on his face. Upon first sight of them, Melody's face lit up about as bright as the early morning sun, & she rushed over to them, calling out their names in utter joy & forgetting about her slight nausea, ignoring & thus overpowering it.
Placing her feet in the water, she first greeted Flounder & company, embracing them in a warm group hug. Eric, Ariel, & all the rest feel the warmth in themselves as they watch Melody be in one of her best moods in quite some time.
"Oh I missed you all so much!", she says.
"The feeling's more than mutual, Melody!", Flounder said.
"It's been too long since we last had some laughs, kid!", Tip said.
"Yeah. Six months is a tad too long for my tastes!", Dash put in.
"Indeed, child!", Sebastian says. "Dat, & your fadder insisted upon seeing his granddaughter for dat very same reason—and an added surprise!"
"What's that, Grandpa?", Melody asked him, breaking away from her group hug. "Oh wait! I forgot to introduce you to…"
King Triton lets out a chuckle. "Don't worry, Melody", he tells her. "Ariel & Eric have done so already, & we are all most pleased to meet such kind & considerate humans."
"You honor us with your words, King Triton", Frederick said, bowing slightly in respect with Isabella & their kids doing the same.
"I must confess, Your Highness", Isabella says, addressing Triton. "I always thought that your kind were no more than stories, most notably one cooked up by author Hans Christian Anderson."
Triton chuckles again. "Well, Isabella, we took the liberty of keeping our existence a secret for good reason, much in the same way Eric & Ariel kept Melody's mermaid heritage one."
"Sorry for the confidentiality, old friend", Eric begins to say.
"Eric, you don't have a single thing to be sorry for", Frederick assures him. "If any of my kids had a vile & vicious sea witch coming after them, I would've done no different to protect them."
"Great minds do think alike, after all", Eric said, sharing a laugh with his friend.
"In any case, I'm glad you have a different perspective about humans now, Your Majesty", a happy Christian said.
Marlene nods. "While it's true that there are bad humans, there are good ones who want to do nothing more than help in any way they can."
"To coin a phrase, Your Highness, 'One bad apple doesn't spoil the whole bunch'", Charlene commented.
"Your parents raised you three wisely", Triton said. "As for my different view on humans, I believe Eric here is to thank for that. He did something not even I was capable of doing—ridding the seas of the dreaded Ursula, thus freeing my daughter, all the mer-folks Ursula's imprisoned as polyps, & even myself. Because of his bravery, & that my daughter loves him very much, I did the honor of making Ariel human & helped to join our two worlds as one."
"But that was halted for twelve years because of Ursula's sister Morgana, I take it?", stated Frederick.
"I'm afraid that was the case, Frederick. But now that neither Octopin represents a threat to my family or any living thing above or below the sea, our worlds can happily be reunited & live as one. And on a similar note, Melody…"
"Yes, Grandpa?", she asks,wondering.
"We all came here to see if you were well enough to come to our annual carnival under the sea, an event your very own mother made extra special every time it came."
"Is it that time already, Daddy? I'd nearly forgotten!", Ariel said.
"Understandable, given the circumstances with Morgana, Ariel. But now that she's no longer a danger, it's the chance I've been waiting for in twelve years."
"A carnival under the sea? Cool!", Melody says enthusiastically.
"Yes, child!", Sebastian chips in. "D'ere's not'ing like it anywhere!"
"Hey, even Tip & I haven't been to one either, so this'll be quite the experience!", Dash says.
"And you'll get to see all of Ariel's sisters there, & they're quite anxious to see their little niece!", Flounder added.
"So whaddya say, kiddo? Are ya in?", Tip asked.
"You bet your feathers I am!", Melody says instantly, turning to her mother. "You're coming too, aren't you, Mom?"
"Of course I am, sweetie", Ariel said. "There's no way I'd miss your first time at the carnival for anything."
"Well, I guess I'll see you two later then", Eric says, walking up to his wife & child, hugging Ariel warmly. "I love you, Ariel."
"I love you too, Eric", Ariel tells him, kissing his lips for several moments, getting receptions of warmth & bliss from all.
Then Eric hugs Melody. "I love you, honey. Have a great time over there."
"Thank you, Dad. I love you too", Melody says, turning to Frederick's three kids. "Our buggy ride will have to wait until another time, guys."
"We'll wait for it for as long as we need to, Melody", Charlene says. "Go have fun with your family under the sea."
"Tell us all about it when you get back, okay?", Marlene says.
"Promise", Melody said, facing her grandfather with Ariel. "We're ready, Grandpa."
Triton nods, pointing his trident as Ariel & Melody take a leap into the water in unison. By his command, Triton's trident shoots a beam of yellow energy that transforms the ladies' legs into giant fins—Ariel a green, & Melody a peach. The top part of the latter's dress disappears with her transformation, while Ariel's attire, a white skirt with a lavender top, disappears & gets replaced by her standard lavender seashell bra. This all happens in the blink of an eye, & fascinates those who have seen it before, as well as those who haven't. Melody feels grand to be a mermaid once again, even if it's for a temporary time. Unlike Ursula's magic which Morgana used on her, the power of the trident is a more permanent solution, so she can never have to worry about the spell wearing off; she's a mermaid until Triton uses his trident on her again, which won't be soon.
"Excellent, mon!", Sebastian proclaimed. "Now dat we're all 'dressed for de occasion', let's head to de carnival!"
"Yahoo!", Tip & Dash shouted together.
"You're gonna love the carnival, Melody!", Flounder says.
"Tell me all about it, Flounder!", Melody urged.
"Let's get moving, & Flounder can tell you about it along the way", King Triton says.
That said,the group—with Triton leading—headed off away from the mainland & out into the vast ocean beyond.
Off they swam, heading into deeper & deeper waters, staying clear of anything that looks treacherous in appearance & nature. With the other's help, Triton gives examples to Melody about all the fun activities she can expect upon arriving. When Flounder & Sebastian started changing the subject & others joined in on it, Melody lost interest in their conversation but found it in other things—namely a school of sea horses that happen to be swimming by.
Intrigued by the little family of syngnathidaes, Melody follows them in a direction different from their present course. She'd missed what being a mermaid under the sea felt like, & found the moment quite tempting. It was kind of ironic in a sense: Ariel was always fascinated with the world on the surface during her teenage years, while with Melody it was the opposite, being much intrigued by the sea itself & the things living within it.
Getting a distance from her pack, Melody follows the sea horses over to a outcropping of rocks in the form of a miniature volcano. The school of sea horses swim quickly into the hole on the top & disappear from sight, even as Melody peeks inside.
But she does see something.
Reaching down into the hole, Melody finds & lifts out a most unusual rock formation in a circular manner & puts it closer to her. Feeling the material made her think that this wasn't rock at all, but the flesh of some animal—and it looked very familiar to her!
Her eyes widened with disbelief.
Impossible! It can't be what I think this is!, Melody thought, totally in shock. My meeting with that dinosaur I named Spiny, it was just a dream! All of it was! Wasn't it?
When Melody heard her mother & the others call her name, she turned around & hid the piece of flesh behind her back, hanging over the opening.
"Is there something wrong, my grandchild?", Triton asked as he & the rest caught up to her.
"Huh? Oh no, nothing's wrong, Grandpa", Melody said, letting the piece of flesh drop into the hole where it disappears into. "I was just following a bunch of sea horses to this outcrop, that's all. Fast little guys,aren't they?"
Triton comes closer to Ariel & speaks softly to her.
"She obviously doesn't know about Stormy yet, does she, Ariel?", he asks.
Ariel grins. "Daddy, there's a whole bunch of my adventures here under the sea that I have not even begun to tell Melody yet", she answered back softly.
"What'd you say, Mom?", Melody wondered.
"Oh, uh, let's get to the carnival, Melody", Ariel says. "Everyone's waiting for us over there."
"Yeah. You don't wanna miss out on all the fun, & neither do we, so let's shake a fin!", Tip encourages.
Melody nods. "You're right, Tip. Let's move it."
Again the caravan swims off in the direction of their destination, with Melody trailing. She thought about that piece of flesh she just found: what if it wasn't a dream at all? What if she really had met the dinosaur she called Spiny, with his rear purple fins & intense heat ray, fought off a group of crocodiles, met her parents & family, battled Morgana & Undertow, & got pulled down into the ocean by the Kraken beast? Should she tell her mother & everyone else about it? Or keep it to herself, & try to figure it out on her own?
Melody looks back behind her as she swims forward.
I wonder, was all she could think of to say.
The Pacific Ocean:
The bright flash of light made Godzilla open his eyes.
He found himself back on the ocean floor in the same position as when he rested down to close his eyes in the first place. He couldn't begin to wonder just how long he had been asleep for, & didn't try, as time held no real meaning to the Monster King whatsoever. He also doesn't know if what he dreamt of the last few days was real, even if it felt that way to him. What he does know is that he's slept for too long & needs to get moving again. Rising up to his full height, Godzilla lets loose with his primal roar that echoes throughout the ocean, scattering various sea life, from schools of fish to man-eating sharks & even whales.
Godzilla was about to take off for Japan when he suddenly realizes his right hand in a tight fist, as if he was holding onto something for dear life. Turning his hand so that the palm faces up at him, the saurian opens his fingers like a flower, getting a close look at what lays within.
This confused even him: it was a small pink dress that was badly torn in many places!
Even though his thoughts were foggy for the moment, Godzilla still recalls the dream he's had: being shrunk by an ancient amulet, meeting a child named Melody & her family, fighting off several adversaries, including the one called Morgana, & getting dragged to the ocean bottom by a monstrous squid/octopus before waking up to the here & now. He even recalls Melody telling him to keep her tattered dress as a souvenir, or more rather,a gift.
This kept Godzilla wondering: if it was all a dream, then how is it that this garment worn by a child rests in his hand? Could it have actually happened in some part of his mind? Did he truly do all those things he did & bring a piece of it home? Is that even possible?
He also pondered about humans, after being treated so kindly by Melody. Should he give them another chance & not judge them too harshly or too soon as he had been in the past? Will he learn to co-exist peacefully with them from this point on?
Even if he was capable of regular speech, Godzilla couldn't say.
But he does know one thing.
He'll never forget the one called 'Melody'.
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