I am so confused. My heart is being pulled one way, then the other and I have no idea what to think. My only consolation is Salila, she is the best friend I could ever ask for and I’m always glad when she is near. But I shall start from the beginning.
I panicked as soon as I heard the Acqua Guerroeri announce the principe’s arrival. Prince Kaden, from Atlantica, swam into utter chaos that my octopus, Neppi, had caused. (For any of you wondering, Neppi’s name is pronounced with a short e and an i with an e sound. Forgive my knowledge of English, I’m not quite sure what this type of i is called, long or short?)
Prince Kaden swam slowly into the room, most likely expecting my court bowing to him and I regally meeting him, with several advisers in the room. What he did not expect, however, was entering a room with knocked over decorations, several mermen fighting amongst themselves, an ink cloud just beginning to disperse, and an octopus hiding guilty behind a display, along with my brother, Willy, giggling himself silly. I caught a glimpse of myself in the gilded mirror that was now broken, and I was disheveled and had ink all over my face, with a torn gown. I quickly wiped the ink off my face and spoke to the octopus that was quickly camouflaging itself to the pinky coral color of the wall, Neppi.
“Neppi! Get here right this instant or no more water apples for the rest of the year,” I said harshly, and Neppi begrudgingly swam over to me and wound herself around me, trying to comfort me. To the Prince I curtsied slightly and apologized. “Prince Kaden, I am very sorry for having this chaos greet you from your long journey from Atlantica. I assure you, it will not happen again and I hope this will not discourage you from your stay, though I would understand if it does.”
At this, he laughed. I was bewildered at this, but giggled despite myself and the servants bowing to us quickly swam away, relieved. “It is alright Your Grace, please don’t blame the octopus. A friend has one as well, so I am quite partial to them.”
Neppi promptly unwound herself from me and rubbed her head against him, turning back to her normal teal color with happiness. I merely smiled and excused myself to get dressed properly. After changing and having Amara do my hair into an elaborate braid with a starfish headpiece, I swam down to talk to my parents. I was unsure what to think of Kaden, after all he was my friend’s brother and it was really weird knowing I would marry him someday, especially hearing about how he was ‘such a goby’ and ‘a complete dumbwrasse’ from Brisella. Glowing lava lamps and japweed curtains adorned the palace from head to tail, celebrating the arrival of Prince Kaden and Miromara’s ally, Emperor Gadhi and Empress Aarahi of Matali. Prince Jasvir and my best friend Princess Salila were also visiting with their parents, but I hadn’t seen them yet. I passed a servant carrying a huge plate of water apples and Neppi reached for one, but one firm look from me and she put it right back.
“I am not looking forward to telling mom and dad about what happened Neppi,” I tell her worriedly. “They are going to be furious!” Neppi turned a bright blue from worry and wound herself more tightly around me, she was tuned into my emotions and changed colors based on how I felt.
Instead of arriving to my mother’s wrath, I was greeted by a merl screeching “MIRA!” at the top of her lungs.
“SALILA!” I shrieked back, despite being in the middle of court and supposed to be acting like a proper principessa. My best friend from Matali had arrived and was swimming at the pace of one of my mother’s hippokamps toward me, for you humans that are confused, she was swimming pretty darn fast.
“Merl! It’s been wayyyy too long,” Salila greeted me when she had reached me. She grabbed me in for a hug.
I snorted, “We saw each other three weeks ago. At the Council of the Six Waters? Remember?”
“Well…” she stalled, trying to come up with an excuse that was sure to make me smile, “A lot could have happened since then. You could have died or something! You could have been dead right now! You sure you aren’t dead?” She finally let me go from her huge whale hug.
“I wasn’t,” I grumbled. She still looked the same, with her long dark hair and dark skin glimmering with the mother of pearl dust she loved to wear. Her pink scales were shimmering and her pectoral fins were fanning out in excitement.
“Come on,” Salila urged, “Let’s go escape like we used to! And explore the sea outside.”
Unlike Salila, I didn’t really like too much adventure, but I agreed because it would be nice to get out for a while and forget my problems. “One … two … three!” We cried out and flicked our tails, propelling ourselves out the open door and into the open sea.
“Can you believe it? We’re free from our advisors, our parents, and our court! We can do anything we want!” Salila shouted with happiness, but I gave her a silencing glare, reminding her that someone could hear us and besides, the guard would probably be chasing us.
Around us, florescent moon jellies floated, looking quite beautiful in the dark sea, though we were careful to avoid their tentacles. Their stings, though not lethal or too dangerous, could still be painful. A few manta rays were swimming around, flapping their huge ‘wings’. The moonlight glowed bright upon colorful patches of coral and fronds of sea weed. Guppies and clown fish were swimming in and out of the anemones, looking like colorful darts zipping through the ever darkening water. The sea in the evening truly was beautiful. Neppi had followed me outside, snacking on little minnows everywhere she swam.
My best friend giggled beside me, “Neppi is as greedy and mischievous as ever, I see!”
I groaned, batting away a pesky clown fish while I spoke, “How is Oompa? Your sea turtle?” Salila’s eyes immediately dulled at my question, and I regretted asking her. Oompa was an older sea turtle and his time was growing shorter by the minute, sea turtles were always slow but Oompa was especially slow with his old age.
“Not well I’m afraid, the doctor said it may be months, or even weeks before his…” she gulped and continued, “time is over.” A single tear streaked it’s way down her cheek, which I knew was rare since she usually hated to cry in public. In fact, I was pretty sure this was the first time I had seen her cry. Salila is always optimistic and her upbeat attitude helps everyone around her smile. Knowing that acknowledging the tear would only make her more upset, I put my arm around her and hugged her as we kept swimming through the ocean, farther and farther from the palace.
Not much happened after that, only that we were discovered by Jaz, Salila’s brother. He smiled at me when I passed him, that made my tail fins curl. The only thing that could dampen by happiness was Salila, ironically, who warned me, “Be careful Mira, my brother never cares about the hearts he breaks.” But then later, Prince Kaden’s smile made me feel something too, I’m not sure what but it was different than what Jaz made me feel.
It’s getting late now and I have to prepare for my test tomorrow on Atlantis.
Until I get a chance,