Princess Coco rose from her black canopy bed. She stretched and yawned, then swam over to her dresser. She picked up a powder puff and carefully puffed the pink powder onto her pale skin. Then she carefully applied dark red lipstick, midnight blue eye shadow, lavender-scented perfume and brushed her long, luscious hair with her coral comb.

She sighed happily as she looked in the mirror. What's more satisfying then looking into a mirror and having a gorgeous mermaid look back at you?

A yellow mermaid came in, an issue of the Tokyo Times in her hand.

"My lady, your requested issue of the Tokyo Times is here," she said.

"Oh, thank you!" said Princess Coco with glee. She snatched the issue and plopped down onto her bed. She loved to read of the fabulous fantasy tales, articles on make-up and perfume, and funny comics (especially ones about Garfield!)

As the yellow mermaid exited, there was a peculiar story that caught the Princess's eye.

It was a story about a girl who was dressed in bows and dresses and treated like a doll. She got tired of it and lived in the wild, and enjoyed a wonderful life living in the jungles of the Amazon as "The Jungle Girl".

Princess Coco was amazed by this story. She read it about seven times, talked to the other mermaids around her and couldn't stop thinking about it all day.

At dinner, Princess Coco and her friends, Sara and Luchia, were feasting to their hearts' content. A seventy foot long table was filled with plates of sea treats, meat, chicken, pasta, and all the other foods you could ask for!

The two were having a discussion about some annoying krill in the palace.

"I heard the exterminator has caught half of them, but I have no idea what to do with them now!" said Sara. "I have them locked up in a cage in the throne room, but I can't keep them there forever!"

"Why not take them to South Pacific?" said Princess Coco. "The whales can eat them there..."

The Two were glaring at her with surprised looks on their faces. Luchia's gingerbread cookie fell out of her hand in shock.

"What on earth are you talking about?" said Sara.

"I... I'm sorry, Sara," said Princess Coco. "I just read this really great story in the Tokyo Times today and-"

"THE TOKYO TIMES?" screamed Sara, slamming her fists against the table. "HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU, NEVER BRING UP THAT NONSENSE AT THE TABLE! KEEP YOUR LITTLE CRAZY FANTASIES TO YOURSELF IN YOUR CRAZY UNKEMPT PLACE OF CORRAL AND FISH YOU CALL A GARDEN!"

Princess Coco's eyes filled with tears. She swam out of the palace, crying her heart out. Sara slapped her forehead, angry that she let herself loose her temper at her again. Luchia, being the shy mermaid that she is, just kept eating her mashed potatoes, hoping her friend would return and they would forget all about what just happened.

Princess Coco swam into her private garden, the place she always went to cry. She plopped down onto the stone bench and began to cry into her hands. Why couldn't Sara just accept her big imagination?

She lay down on the bench and watched the sea. It always made her feel better. The swirls reminded her of a story she once read in the Tokyo Times about a rabbit who would dance across the sea, but it eventually drowned...

"Click! Click!"

Princess Coco looked down. Her pink dolphin, Sakura, swam next to her, the issue of the Tokyo Times she was reading before in her mouth.

"Thank you, Sakura," said Princess Coco and she took the Tokyo Times from her mouth and began to read the stories she missed earlier. One caught her eye.

It was a series about a pack of wolves in the wild who constantly fought.

"I didn't know wolves lived in packs in the wild!" she said to Sakura.

That night, Princess Coco lay wide awake in her black canopy bed. That story just kept running over and over in her head. For some reason, she craved to do something absolutely crazy and wild, just to get the taste of freedom.

And she did.

She got up from her bed and removed her jewelry. Then she ran her hands through her hair wildly. When she looked into the mirror, she looked like a blonde, yellow colored mermaid with crazy, messy hair. Nobody would know it was her.

She walked over to the balcony and swam away from the edge.

She started to swim North. She looked back at the huge, beautiful stone palace, then looked at the deep, dark scary sea.

"Just once," she said. "Just for one night. Just to get the taste of freedom."

She swam deeper into the sea, happiness and the feeling of freedom beginning to rush through her blood.

Once she was deep in the ocean, she climbed onto a small cliff, opened her mouth wide, and began to sing to the shining full moon like it said in that story she read. An unusual yet amazing feeling filled her as her singing voice echoed through the dark depths. This was the feeling of freedom, and she wanted more of it.

She climbed down from the cliff and swam to a crater. Down in it was a red fish, humming happily.

Princess Coco licked her lips, then let out a loud battle cry. The fish spun around, screamed, then began to dart away.

Princess Coco began to swim after it. She was ten times faster than the poor creature, but she let it go ahead, just for the fun of it.

Soon the fish stopped to catch his breath. Princess Coco stopped too, and decided to end the race.

"You're safe..." she growled. "For NOW." Then she slowly slipped into the seaweed, the red fish quivering with fear before it swam off, screaming.

"That was so fun!" laughed Princess Coco. "I like being wild!"

Princess Coco spent the rest of the night letting her wild side loose. She chased other lost fish, small eels, and for some reason, even her tail. She climbed other cliffs and let out long songs, each one longer than the last. She even started jumping from cliff to cliff, laughing wildly as she did it. The feeling of freedom overwhelmed her.

Princess Coco was chasing a dolphin, when she heard a strange voice as she was passing a huge cave.

"Stop right there!" the voice said.

Princess Coco skidded to a stop. An electric eel crawled out of the cave and took a good look at her.

"You look wild," said the eel. "Determined, a great stamina, and willing to get down and dirty. We could use someone like you in the pack."

The eel crawled back into the cave.

Princess Coco darted through the sea towards home. That one experience with that other Lupe spooked her right out of the sea.

Princess Coco soon returned to the balcony. Using her long, yellow tail, she pushed herself up the walls, hopped back into her room and crawled under the covers of her black canopy bed.

"That was the best night of my life," she whispered to herself before falling asleep.

The next morning, Princess Coco was extremely tired from having such a long night of singing and chasing. She threw on a shawlf and trudged downstairs, not caring for makeup. When she got downstairs, the Sara and Luchia immediately stopped chatting and stared at her with surprised looks.

"Honey, why in the hell is your hair so tangled?" asked Luchia.

"I don't know." Princess Coco lazily yawned.

"You march upstairs right now and don't come back until you look like a proper princess!" said Luchia, pointing towards the staircase.

Princess Coco groaned, then trudged back to her room.

"If I lived in the wild, my hair could be as messy and as tangled as I wanted it to be," she moaned to herself before taking her coral comb and beginning to brush.

She brushed for two hours, struggling to keep in the screams of pain. Why was it so hard to get out knots? She wouldn't have to deal with this in the wild.

Finally, after two more hours, her hair was silky, and her face was covered with makeup.

She trudged down to the Dining Hall, her stomach half empty. When she got there, so were the seats and most of the plates.

All that was left was half of a chocolate pancake. She sighed, gobbled it up, and then walked to the throne room to see what her friends were doing.

When she got there, Sara was sound asleep in the Royal Throne, while Luchia was busy staring at some krill trapped in a sturdy krill cage. She swam up to her.

"Are these the krill you were talking about?" she whispered.

"Yes," whispered Luchia. "Sara and I are afraid that the only way left to get rid of them is to scare them away!"

Princess Coco knew just what to do. She grabbed the lock and ripped it off. The door swung open, and the krill swam free.

"Coco!" yelled Luchia, not caring that Sara was now awake. "Look what you've done!"

Princess Coco didn't answer. She just opened her mouth wide, her teeth shining, and let out a loud...

"ROAR!"

The krill fled the palace, screaming.

Princess Coco was proud, but Luchia was passed out, and Sara's eyes looked like they were going to pop out of her head!

"...Go to your room," she said.

"But why?" said Coco. "I scared all the krill away!"

"GO TO YOUR ROOM, NOW!" she roared.

Princess Coco trudged to her room, mumbling to herself like a young irritable puffer-fish.

She slammed the door behind and flopped onto her bed where Sakura was sleeping. She pouted for a few minutes, then took out an old issue of the Tokyo Times and began to read it.

When night fell, Dr. Gaitou came in.

"What are YOU doing here?" growled Princess Coco, not looking up from her copy of the Tokyo Times.

"Sara asked me to come over and give you a quick exam," said Dr .Gaitou. "Now put that copy of the Tokyo Times down so we can get started. The sooner we begin, the sooner we'll finish."

Princess Angel Eyes put down the issue of the Tokyo Times.

The doctor pulled out a flashlight and looked at her eyes, ears and throat. Then he took out a candy cane notepad and a blue mechanical pencil.

"Tell me, Coco, why did you roar at all those krill?" he asked.

"Because they needed to be scared out," she answered.

"But you're a princess. Princesses don't roar."

"They do if they want to."

"But why would you want to?"

"Because I wanted to scare the krill out for my friends!" This doctor was getting under her skin now.

He slapped his candy cane notepad closed and announced, "I know just what's going on here."

"Oh, you DO?" she replied in a sarcastic tone.

"Yes, I do," he replied. "It's a common problem. You're just lost in your own little fantasy world. Just avoid all fantasy and fiction, and you will soon return to your normal self."

He picked up the issue of the Tokyo Times.

"Not reading the Tokyo Times will help," he said. Then he began to leave.

"GIVE THAT BACK!" she screamed, trying to snatch it from him. "I'M NOT DONE READING IT!"

He quickly closed the door. Click! She was locked in her room.

Emotions swirled inside her. Anger and sadness built up inside. She knew what she had to do, and this time, she knew it was the right thing to do.

She removed her shawl, messed up her hair again, then swam over to the balcony.

"Goodbye, Luchia, Sara, Sakura, and everyone else," she said to herself. "It's time for freedom."

She took a huge leap off the balcony. Her messy blonde hair shone in the moonlight. She landed safely in a pile of seaweed. She leaped up and began to swim through the sea.

"I'm free!" she cheered.

She crashed into something and fell to the ground. When she got up, she saw she had bumped into an electric eel!

"Watch where you're going!" he growled. Three more eels were behind him.

"Hey!" said the one eel. "That's the mermaid from yesterday I told you about!" She swam up to Princess Coco. "My name is Aykeru, the yellow one is Chamnako, that one is Susie, and the other one is Soul. How would you like to join our pack?"

"Yes, yes!' said Coco, overwhelmed with joy. "My name is... erm... Julia."

"Come on, Julia," said Susie. "There are some fish swimming on the other side of the canyon!"

They all began to dash off through the coral. The feeling of freedom filled Coco again, and she knew that now she was going to have it forever.

And that was only the beginning.