Chapter One


"How would you know?" Melody asked as tears started to fill into her eyes. "You've never even been in it!"

She grabbed the locket and ran out of her room, crying. Through her tears, she saw that she almost ran into her father but she didn't care. Neither of them wanted to tell her the truth. She walked past Sebastian and climbed into a rowboat.

"Where are you going?" the crab asked.

"This locket means something," Melody said, "and if no one is going to tell me, I'm going to find out for myself."

Knocking Sebastian off of the boat, she started to row. About three hours out to sea, her arms started to get tired.

"HI THERE!" a voice sounded from the deep. She jumped.

"Sorry," a boy popped his head out of the water. "Didn't mean to startle you. Mom said I have to stop doing that to people."

Melody could only stare at the boy, who seemed to be only a year older than herself. The boy had dirty blond hair and green eyes.

"How can you speak underwater?" Melody asked, despite her surprise. The boy chuckled and pulled up a dark purple tail.

"I'm a mere-man," he said. "Well, mere-boy. I got sick of all the secrets going on around the castle."

"Castle?" Melody asked, coming out of her shock that mere-people were in fact real. "You're a prince?"

The boy nodded.

"Well, one of many princes and princesses," he said. "My name's Percy. I'm the youngest of my siblings. Who are you?"

"I'm Melody," Melody told the boy. "I was trying to find out what this locket meant, why it had my name on it."

She showed it to the boy.

"I don't have the answers," Percy said. "But the cave of answers is a few miles away. Why don't you try there?"

Melody smiled at him.

"You want to come along?" she asked.

"Might as well," Percy said. "Nothing better to do than to listen to my sister complain about how she'll never be as good as our mother when it comes to singing."

"My mom likes to sing," Melody said out of the blue. "She's pretty good at it too."

Percy smiled at Melody, who brushed some hair out of her eyes. He frowned though, when he saw that they were red-rimmed.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"Nothing," Melody said instantly. Percy's frown deepened, causing Melody to scowl.

"Nothing is wrong Percy," she said. "If you don't stop that, I'll leave you out here."

Percy couldn't help but chuckle at the absurdness of the threat.

"You do realize that I'm the one who knows where the cave is?" he asked. Melody blushed at the realization.

"Sorry," she said.

"Don't worry about it," Percy told her, and pulled the boat along to the cave. It was a very deep cave, with a small pool of water to permit the use by mere-people.

"Only one citizen of Atlantica has ever been here before," Percy said in amazement. "But that was years ago."

"Who?" Melody asked.

"Queen Athena," Percy said with a sad smile. "My grandmother."

"Oh," Melody said. Suddenly there was a great flash of light and a voice called out from the deep.


Melody looked at Percy in confusion.

"Watch what?" she asked.

Percy didn't answer, but stared at the wall in fear. There, on the wall, were moving images.

"It looks like a photo," Melody said. "But it's moving, like the images in my locket."

Almost as if the volume had been turned up, sound started to resonate from the walls.

An ocean. Birds are flying and porpoises are swimming happily. From the fog a ship appears crashing through the waves

Sailors: (singing)

I'll tell you a tale of the bottomless blue

And it's hey to the starboard, heave ho

Look out, lad, a mermaid be waitin' for you

In mysterious fathoms below.

"I love listening to the humans sing," Percy said after a while. "Their songs are always amusing."

Eric: Isn't this great? The salty sea air, the wind blowing in your face . . . a perfect day to be at sea!

Dad? Melody thought in shock. Whoa he's young! Where's Mom?

Grimsby: [Leaning over side.] Oh yes . . . delightful . . . .

"Poor Grimsby," Melody said with a giggle. Percy lifted an eyebrow.

"How'd you know his name?" he asked.

"He works for my father," Melody told him. "Old coot."

Percy smiled at that.

"Reminds me of my grandfather's aid," he said.

Sailor 1: A fine strong wind and a following sea. King Triton must be in a friendly-type mood.

"Who's King Triton?" Melody asked.

"My grandfather," Percy said. "Also, he's the king of the sea."


Eric: King Triton?

I guess I get my love of the sea from my dad, Melody thought with a smile.

Sailor 2: Why, ruler of the merpeople, lad. Thought every good sailor knew about him.

"They should," Percy said with a nod.

Grimsby: Merpeople! Eric, pay no attention to this nautical nonsense.

"It's not nonsense!" Melody and Percy shouted at the wall.

Sailor 2: But it ain't nonsense, it's the truth! I'm tellin' you, down in the depths o' the ocean they live. [He gestures wildly, Fish in his hand flops away and lands back in the ocean, relieved.]

"At least that fish got away," Percy said with a smile. He hated hearing about fishes getting caught by humans.

Sailors: (singing)

Heave. ho. Heave, ho.

In mysterious fathoms below.

[Fish sighs and swims away. Titles. Various fish swimming. Merpeople converge on a great undersea palace, filling concert hall inside. Fanfare ensues.]

"What's going on?" Melody asked.

"I don't know," Percy said confused.

Seahorse: Ahem . . . His royal highness, King Triton! [Triton enters dramatically to wild cheering.] And presenting the distinguished court composer, Horatio Thelonious Ignatius Crustaceous Sebastian! [Sebastian enters to mild applause.]

"Sebastian!" Melody said in shock. He knew that mermaids were real? "He knows your grandfather?"

"He must," Percy said. "Is he a friend of yours?"

"My baby sitter," Melody scowled as Percy chuckled.

Triton: I'm really looking forward to this performance, Sebastian.

Sebastian: Oh, Your Majesty, this will be the finest concert I have ever conducted. Your daughters - they will be spectacular!

"What's the performance?" Melody asked. Percy shrugged.

Triton: Yes, and especially my little Ariel.

"I didn't know Mom had another sister," Percy said in shock.

Ariel! Melody thought in shock. This is about Mom and Dad? But…why?

Sebastian: Yes, yes, she has the most beautiful voice. . . . [sotto] If only she'd show up for rehearsals once in a while. . . . [He proceeds to podium and begins to direct orchestra.]

Mom loves singing, so this can't be her, Melody thought with an internal nod.

Triton's daughters: (singing)

Ah, we are the daughters of Triton.

Great father who loves us and named us well:

Aquata, Andrina

"Mom!" Percy grinned at the sight of his mother.

"She's beautiful," Melody said with a smile.

, Arista, Atina, Adella, Allana.

And then there is the youngest in her musical debut,

Our seventh little sister, we're presenting her to you,

To sing a song Sebastian wrote, her voice is like a bell,

She's our sister, Ar-i . . .

Shell opens to reveal that Ariel is absent.

Triton: [Very angry.] Ariel!

"Uh-oh!" the two kids gulped, knowing this Ariel was in big trouble.

Cut to Ariel looking at sunken ship.

That really does look like Mom, Melody thought in shock.

Flounder: [From distance.] Ariel, wait for me . . .

Ariel: Flounder, hurry up!

Flounder: [Catching up.] You know I can't swim that fast.

Ariel: There it is. Isn't it fantastic?

"It's a wreck," Percy said blandly. "You can see those anywhere you want."

Flounder: Yeah . . . sure . . . it - it's great. Now let's get outta here.

Ariel: You're not getting cold fins now, are you?

"Poor Flounder," Melody said with a giggle.

Flounder: Who, me? No way. It's just, it, err . . . it looks - damp in there. Yeah. And I think I may be coming down with something. Yeah, I got this cough. [Flounder coughs unconvincingly]

Ariel: All right. I'm going inside. You can just stay here and - watch for sharks. [She goes inside.]

"That's mean," Melody said but she couldn't stop giggling at Flounder's misfortune.

Flounder: O.K. Yeah - you go. I'll stay and - what? Sharks! Ariel! He tries to fit through porthole. Ariel . . . I can't . . . I mean- Ariel help!

Ariel: [Laughs.] Oh, Flounder.

Flounder: [Whispering.]Ariel, do you really think there might be sharks around here? [Shark passes outside.]

Both of the kids gulped as they watched the shadow go by.

Ariel: Flounder, don't be such a guppy.

Flounder: I'm not a guppy. [Gets pulled through porthole.] This is great - I mean, I really love this. Excitement, adventure, danger lurking around every corn- YAAAAHHHHHHHH! Ariel! [He sees a skull, crashes into pillar causing cave in, and swims frantically away, knocking over Ariel.]

"He's such a guppy," Percy snorted.

Ariel: Oh, are you okay?

Flounder: Yeah sure, no problem, I'm okay . . .

Ariel: Shhh . . . [Seeing a fork.] Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Have you ever seen anything so wonderful in your entire life?

Flounder: Wow, cool! But, err, what is it?

It's a fork, Melody thought with a scoff.

Ariel: I don't know. But I bet Scuttle will. Puts fork in bag. Skark swims by outside.

Flounder: What was that? Did you hear something?

Ariel: [Distracted by pipe.] Hmm, I wonder what this one is?

Flounder: Ariel . .

Ariel: Flounder, will you relax? Nothing is going to happen.

"Famous last words," Percy and Melody said at the same time.

Flounder: [Seeing Shark looming behind him.] AAHHHH! Run! Run! We're gonna die! [Shark chases them all around. Ariel's bag is hung up. She goes back for it. Shark almost gets them. They head for porthole.] Oh No!

They crash through and go round and round. Flounder gets knocked silly but Ariel saves him and traps Shark]

"GO ARIEL!" they both cheered.

Flounder: You big bully. THBBBTTTT . . .

Shark snaps at him and he swims away.

Ariel: [Laughing.] Flounder, you really are a guppy.

Flounder: I am not.

"Yeah, you are," Percy teased. "That was good, but not really informative."

"Maybe another clip?" Melody gestured to another wall.