(NOTICE: This story has some scenes that may be too frightening for preschoolers. Use your own discretion.)
Everyone in Atlantica was shocked and worried, when the news spread of Triton's illness. Thousands of Merfolk waited outside the palace for any word from the family, of the King's health. Inside, the Princesses were all gathered around their father's bed, as the family's doctor examined the pale merman. No one looked more striken than Ariel. She stared, tensely, from her father to Doctor Cuttlefish; all-the-while holding onto her father's hand, tightly.
The doctor took off his tube-worm stethoscope and shook his head. "There's nothing more I can do", he said solomenly. "The sickness will just have to work itself out. Your father's going to have to fight it."
Ariel squeezed her father's finger. "Please fight it Daddy!", she whispered desperately.
The King smiled, weakly, up at his little girl. "I'm not going to leave you,.." he whispered.
Doctor Cuttlefish puts some arms around the girls, "Come on now. Let him get some rest." He looked at Ariel; tears glistened in her eyes. "Come on, Child. Let your Daddy get some sleep." He gently urged her away; she didn't want to let go of Triton's finger.
Outside the King's door, the doctor tried to calm the Princesses, "It will take time. He will be weak for several more days; he won't want to, but you must get him to eat. Give him seaweed soup and make him eat it."
The girls nodded. Aquata, the eldest, took the squid's arm. "Thank you, Doctor Cuttlefish. You've been so much help to us these past few days."
"I'll be by tomorrow, to see how he's doing", added the doctor. Aquata showed him out.
Ariel swam out to meet Flounder and Sebastian. She wiped her eyes and sniffed. "Daddy's still sick", she answered, despondently.
"But he's not worse?", asked the crab.
"No. He's still fighting it", answered the girl.
Sebastian smiled and patted the girl's shoulder. "Den he'll pull through! Nothing has ever beaten de King! Don't you worry now, Child."
Ariel smiled, with wet eyes. "Daddy's strong."
From outside, they could hear the crowd murmering; then the strong voice of Aquata rising over them all, "It's all right. The King is resting now. He'll be in bed a few more days, but there's no reason to fear. You can go home now."
From out of the crowd, a voice answered: old and shrill and mocking, "No reason to fear?! Heh! Heh! You don't know what you're talking about, little girl!"
The crowd was suddenly silent; Ariel wiped her eyes and looked outside. In the midst of the Merpeople was an old shriveled stranger. His head was bald; his nose was long and hooked, and his eyes were black, under bushy white eyebrows. It was he who had spoken. The merman raised a boney hand and pointed to the east. "There is the reason to fear! It knows, little girl! It knows!"
The crowd began to whisper, fearfully. Aquata raised her hands to calm them. "There's nothing to fear!", she cried, but Ariel heard something in her voice that chilled the little mermaid: Aquata was afraid!
"Go home and rest easy! The King will be back on his flukes by the week's end!"
"That will be too late", whispered the old man; then he disappeared into the crowd.
Ariel looked down at Sebastian. "What did the old man mean, Sebastian?" What's he talking about?"
Sebastian's eyes shifted away; uneasily. "It's nothing, Child. He's trying to scare us with ghosts."
Ariel's eyes darted from Sebastian, to across the court to Aquata. "You,...know something. Something you don't want to tell me."
Flounder gulped. "I don't want to know."
Sebastian shook his claws. "Dere's nothing to worry about. Just forget about it, Child."
Ariel swam back to her room, and sat down on her bed. She felt dizzy with confusion and worry. Her father was very sick; Aquata and Sebastian were afraid of something, and Ariel felt totally powerless to do anything to help. In her thoughts, she could see only her father; pale and weak; while the shrill voice of the stranger cried out "That will be too late!" What did he mean? What knew? And what did it know? Ariel rubbed her head, and let her worries drain from her. Nothing else mattered, right now, except getting her father better! The confusion left in a flood; Ariel knew where she belonged. She swam to her father's hallway, took a clamshell chair, and sat down outside his bedroom. She could hear his quiet breathing from inside; the slow steady sound calmed the girl as nothing else could.
Triton slept several hours. Ariel could hear him starting to stir, as Aquata came swimming up. "How's he doing?", she asked, quietly.
Ariel stood up and stretched. "He got some sleep. I'm going to fix him some soup."
Aquata nodded. "I'll watch him."
Ariel brought back some seaweed soup, and took it to the King. Triton looked up at it and grimaced. "Oh no. I can't eat a thing," he whispered.
"Oh yes, you can eat a thing," answered Ariel, "You're gonna eat this soup!"
Triton groaned. "Really, Dear. I can't keep anything down. Thank you, anyway."
Ariel sat down next to him. "Daddy,.. Do you remember when I had the chickenfish-pox? I felt really horrible and I didn't want to eat, and you know what you did?"
The King didn't seem to hear her.
Ariel propped her father's head up with a pillow. She took a spoonful of soup and put it against his lips. "Here's the little fishie, come home to his nest. Let me in! Let me in!" Ariel gently wiggled the spoon against his lips.
Triton's eyes went to his daughter's grinning face. He smiled and opened his mouth, as she gave him a spoonful. "Now; that wasn't so bad,...Was it? Now here comes another fishie,..."
When Triton had finished his soup, Ariel kissed his cheek and let him doze off again. She went back outside into the hallway, to Aquata. "He ate his soup."
Aquata smiled. "That's good news. Why don't you go get something to eat, too. You look tired."
Ariel nodded. "I feel better, now. I'm going to the kitchen; I'll be back in a little while." As Ariel was leaving, she looked back at her sister. "Aquata; What's coming from the east?"
Aquata turned pale. "You shouldn't think about such things," answered her sister.
"Why won't you tell me? Not knowing just makes it worse!"
"I'm the ruler until Father gets better", answered Aquata. "You let me do the worrying."
Ariel ate a little bit; then she swam off to find Sebastian,...and get some answers. Flounder joined her, as she swam to the crab's shell house. The little fish looked as worried as the girl, "Whatever it is; it's gonna be scary! I'll tell you that!", he moaned.
Sebastian sighed, when the girl asked him about the stranger. "I,...don't really know the truth. Just rumors."
Ariel bit her lip and rose up; resolutely. "Then, I'm gonna find that man, and ask him!"
Ariel swam off; with Flounder trailing, fearfully, behind her.
"Dat girl!", grumbled Sebastian, and he paddled to catch up to them.
After asking for directions, the three friends swam out to the outer-most edge of the city. One small dwelling stood at the deadend of a coral swimway; beyond it was only ocean.
Ariel went up to the door and knocked. It was a long time before the old man answered the door. His eyes were cast downward, and darted about; as if trying to avoid her eyes. His contenance now looked broken, as he mumbled, "Well,...I guess you're here to arrest me. Proud kingdom it is: knocking down an old man. I'm coming,..."
"We're not here to arrest you", soothed the girl. "I just,...wanted to talk to you. "
The old merman hesitated; as if puzzled. "Yeah. Sure. Come on in."
Ariel swam inside; with Flounder and Sebastian following. The merman offered them a seat, and then he sat down across from them; rather hopelessly; as if he didn't expect to feel joy again.
"My name's Ariel", offered the girl, "and this is Flounder and Sebastian."
The old man's eyes still would not look at anything but the floor. "Wrasse. The name's Wrasse", he offered at last.
"Do you live here all by yourself?", asked the concerned girl. She noticed that the room was sparsely furnished, and very untidy; as if nothing had been moved for years. A solitary window looked out past the city.
"Yeah. Just me. Look; What is it you want?" The man's eyes looked up at them now, and Ariel could see that they were not evil or hateful, afterall. Under those menacing bushy eyebrows, they looked tired and sad.
"I,...heard what you said today at the palace", stammered the girl.
Wrasse seemed not to hear the girl. His eyes wandered to the floor.
Sebastian cleared his throat. "There have been rumors in de city. A terrible danger coming to Atlantica."
Wrasse seemed to wince, but didn't say anything. His eyes darted briefly to the window; then he turned back to the crab. "So? Why ask me?"
"Well,...from what you said today", offered the girl.
Wrasse smiled. "You want to know what I know." The old man chuckled. "Okay. It won't do you any good, but I'll tell." The way that he said this made Ariel shiver. Wrasse got up and swam to the window. He stood there, silently looking out into the blue emptiness. He seemed lost in thought. Flounder nudged the crab in order to get him to say something. Then Wrasse spoke again.
"I've lived here all my life. I grew up here. I was a boy here." The man turned away from the window and swam back to them. "I was five years old when it came. Triton was a teenager." Wrasse suddenly took the girl by the arm and brought her to the window. Ariel stared, fearfully, at him.
The old merman smiled slyly, as he looked at the mermaid. "Look out there! You know what's out there?"
Ariel shook her head. Sebastian paddled to the window and looked out. "A bunch of nothing, it looks like to me", answered the crab.
"Many things. Things we've never seen before; thing that come only once in a lifetime. Some things we wish did not exist." Wrasse's voice was cold now, and Ariel felt fear as she looked out into the empty sea.
"It will come from that direction. It will come, as it came when I was a boy."
"What will come?", whispered the girl.
Wrasse left the window; with Sebastian following behind. Ariel seemed frozen in place, as she stared out into the hypnotizing blue. A blue that got darker and darker, as the ocean fell into the cold depths.
"Have you ever heard of the Kraken?", asked the merman, quietly.
"De Kraken? It's a story we tell de kids to make dem mind", answered the crab.
Flounder shivered. "The,...Kraken?"
Ariel came out of her trance and looked over at Wrasse. "The Kraken,...isn't real,...is it?"
"You have heard of it", said the merman, with a cold smile. "It's a story to keep the young ones in the nest, at night. Don't go out, or the Kraken will get you!" Wrasse chuckled.
"So you're telling us dat this Kraken is a real thing? Dis is what is coming? Come on, Mon! We aren't children here!"
"I,...am!", stuttered Flounder, fearfully.
"Ask Triton. He will tell you otherwise," said Wrasse, in a quiet voice. "It was his father who stopped it last time. Who will stop it now?"
Ariel hugged herself, with anxiety, "Daddy's sick."
At first, Sebastian was at a loss for words. Flounder looked nervously from his friends to Wrasse.
"Well, I suppose,...if dis ting is real,..."started Sebastian, "I guess Aquata will have to stop it."
Ariel looked, with shock, at the crab.
The old merman's smile disappeared. "That is my point. Aquata will have to stop it. I remember Triton's father. He was built like Triton. Strong. A sea-mountain of a merman. He barely had the strength to fight off the Kraken." Wrasse turned away from them, and returned to the window to look out. "It will be coming soon. There are legends. Ancient legends about when it could not be fought off. It took the women and the children. Enough to satisfy it's hunger. The kingdom survived."
The room fell silent. Ariel shuddered, tensely. Flounder seemed frozen with fear.
"I only wish that I had not lived to see it." Wrasse turned back to them, and Ariel saw the pain in his face. "Go tell Aquata. She might try to abandon Atlantica. The Kraken will find us anyway; however far we run."
Flounder looked terrified, but Ariel raised her head. "I,..I won't give up hope. This,..thing can be fought. It's not gonna hurt Atlantica; I won't let it!"
When Ariel returned to the palace, she swam straight to her father's bedroom. Andrina was watching over him now; giving Aquata a chance to rest. Ariel looked at her older sister, with concern on her face. "Has Daddy woke up yet?"
Andrina shook her head.
The little mermaid swam into the room, and sat down next to her father. Some of his color was back; Ariel took this with restrained joy. He was going to get better! She would stay right here, by his side, until he was well again!
That evening, Aquata returned to her father's room, and told Andrina that she would stay with him that night. Andrina nodded, "I think Ariel wants to stay too."
Aquata found her little sister sitting in a shell-chair, near to the bed. Triton was asleep. "You can go now, Ariel. I'll watch him tonight."
"I'm staying too", answered the girl. From the way she said this, Aquata knew that there was no room for argument. She sighed, and took some covers over to the girl. "You'll need these, then."
Ariel snuggled up in the covers. She looked up at her sister. "Do you think it will come? The Kraken; I mean?"
Aquata turned pale. "Who told you that?"
Ariel looked to the bedroom's open window. "I found out for myself. What are you going to do?"
Aquata sat down heavily. "You let me worry about that."
Ariel drew the covers around herself, and yawned. Before sleep took her, her last sight was of her sleeping father, and her sister; sitting next to him with her head bowed.
When Ariel woke, the next morning, she didn't know where she was. She was in,...a shell carriage! How did she get there? All of her sisters, except Aquata, were beside her; they were already awake. "What's,...what's going on?", she asked with sleepy eyes.
"We're leaving Atlantica!", blurted Arista. "It's Aquata's orders! Why in the sea would she do such a nutty thing?!"
"It's the Kraken," answered Alana, quietly.
Arista snorted, "The Kraken! The Kraken! What a bunch of nonsense! Leaving home cause of a nursery tale!"
Ariel quickly woke up, with shock. "Leaving Atlantica!? We can't do that! Where's Daddy?!"
"Aquata's staying with him", answered Adella. "Everyone's leaving except her, and Father. Do you think the Kraken is really coming? It's scary to think about!"
Ariel turned suddenly, and looked out of the carriage window; Captain Turbot was driving, and she could see lot's of merfolk all around them; carrying some of their belongs and all swimming together. Ariel swam out of the carriage, and two merguards immediately stopped her. "I've got to get back to Daddy!", she cried.
Turbot sighed. "Sorry Princess. But I'm under orders from Aquata. You've got to come with us."
"But Daddy needs me!", cried Ariel, desperately.
The guards gently took her arms and forced her back into the carriage. "Let me go!", cried the girl, but it was useless. The girl sat back down in the carriage, with a desperate look on her face. She wouldn't leave her father and her sister to face that thing by themselves! An idea suddenly came to her, and she turned to her sisters. "We've got to help Daddy!"
Arista shrugged. "Turbot won't let us."
"I have an idea", answered Ariel. "But it means you won't be able to come with us, Adella."
Adella nodded, "I'm,...kinda scared of going, anyway."
Ariel smiled. "Okay; this is what we'll do: Adella; you swim out the left door. Swim as fast and hard as you can! While the guards are chasing you, we'll sneak out the other door!"
Arista grinned. "Sounds good, Ariel! Let's do it!"
That morning, Sebastian heard the shocking news: Atlantica was being evacuated immediately. Wrasse's words came back to haunt him" "The Kraken will find us, anyway; however far we run." He paddeled urgently towards the palace.
Aquata barely glanced at the crab, as he entered the throne room. She looked as if she hadn't slept all night.
"Aquata!,..." Sebastian stopped. What could he say? He had no answer to their peril; nothing to offer. "Aquata,...Is there anything I can do?"
The young woman smiled warmly at the crab. "No, Sebastian. Thank you. Go tell Flounder and his family, if they haven't already heard. You're free to go anywhere you wish. The Merfolk are going north, under Turbot's command. Just don't go east."
"What about you?"
"I'm staying here, of course."
Sebastian wrung his claws with agitation; then fled the room.
Sebastian found Flounder's family already gone. Flounder floated outside his home, as if waiting for the crab.
"You heard too, huh?", asked Sebastian.
Flounder nodded, "Yeah. I guess we both thought the same thing. They took Ariel away, this morning. I just don't know what we can do to help Aquata and the King."
Sebastian rubbed his chin. "I know one ting we can do. We can go see what we're facing. We can go east."
When they reached the eastern section of the city, they found it was empty of any life. Not even a snail was left to face the unknown which was said to be coming. As Sebastian and Flounder passed the last house, they heard a chuckle.
"Going the wrong way, aren't you?", asked Wrasse, with an empty look in his eyes.
The crab swam up to him. "You should go. At least there's hope then", urged Sebastian.
Wrasse shook his head. "No hope is left. We can run or we can stay, but the result will be the same. At least, it's quieter here; I won't have to listen to the screaming."
Flounder shuddered. Wrasse was joined at his door by a solitary dolphin. The merman smiled down at it and petted his head. "A friend who turned-up today. I think he lost his family to,..it. He won't leave me now."
Sebastian turned away, and Flounder reluctantly followed. Wrasse watched them as they faced the deep. "Don't go that way. You don't want to see it", spoke the man, gently.
"I thought you didn't care", returned the crab, and he turned his back on the man. They left him there on his porch.
Flounder noticed the water was getting colder, as they swam down the dropping slope. It was deathly still and quiet; they saw no living thing other than sea-plants. Even the bright corals abandoned the silt-covered floor, as the sunlight lost it's power at this depth. Sebastian shivered. "I've been to nicer places", he grumbled.
The slope of the floor increased, until the friends felt like they were crawling down a hole in the sea. The water became twilight-blue, and so cold that Flounder felt himself growing sluggish and sleepy. Finally, they came to the end of light; as a drop as black as ink opened before them. Sebastian looked down into it. "Dis has to be the awfullest place in de ocean."
Flounder felt his tongue was frozen. He tried to swallow, and heard a low dull thump which had to be his heart.
"What's dat?", whispered the crab.
"What?", spoke the fish, at last.
"Don't you hear it? It's like a beating."
Flounder heard it now; the sound didn't come from him, but from the darkness ahead of them. It was a heart-beat.
Without saying a word, the two friends inched backwards, as the weird thumping grew louder. Into the darkness grew a pale white-green luminousness, which seemed to move back and forth. They watched it with terrified fascination; it was long, and seemed to be groping along with purpose.
Sebastian spoke, "Back." Flounder pulled his eyes away from the moving thing and looked at the crab. Sebastian grabbed his tail, and the fish knew what to do then. He swam back towards the light, as the dull thumping filled his ears. Sebastian was looking back, and saw more of the moving things in the darkness.
"Tenticles,..." he whispered.
Flounder started to look back, "What?"
"No. Don't look back", urged the crab. "You just swim!"
They were huge ropes of leathery rubber; covered with coarse hair and lined with rows of suckers. They were tenticles, but unlike anything the crab had ever seen before. The living ropes moved like sea-snakes; each sucker contracted as they touched the floor; a needle-sharp spine inside each sucker piercing the silt. Sebastian saw three, then five of the crawling things: they were huge; large enough to wrap around a whale or a sailing ship. Most terrifying to Sebastian was the lack of a body; he couldn't see anything in the darkness that they were attached to. Suddenly, he froze. He saw a shadow behind the crawling tenticles and knew that this was the horror that was after the merfolk. He didn't want to look, but he forced himself. The shadow was crawling into the twilight now. They could hear the thumping of it's giant heart and the slimy squishing of the groping tenticles; now terribly clear.
Sebastian looked up and up. There was a vague shape to the monster; tenticles radiated from either end of a vaguely longish body. Three enourmous appendages; segmented like a worm and ending in blunt, worn hooks, helped drag the ponderous bulk of the creature. Then Sebastian saw it's head, and he turned away, in horror.
"Swim faster, Flounder", he breathed. Flounder glanced back, and gasped with fright. It was as big as a mountain; tenticles were everywhere. Some were stalk-like; jointed, and ending in sharp hooks. Flounder could only look at the head: Out of the trunk of the body rose a segmented, worm-like neck. The head was long and crooked; the hooked mouth opened and closed sideways; with razor-sharp teeth lining each jaw. A single round eye looked out of the head; turning this way and that, as it searched for prey. Water pulsed out of a blow-hole at the top of it's head.
"It's gaining on us, Flounder. You've got to swim", urged Sebastian.
The little fish finally pulled his eyes away from the crawling horror, and looked at his friend. Memories of their friendship replaced the cloud od horror, and Flounder swam with renewed haste.
The mountain grew, and Sebastian turned pale when he saw the huge eye look down and see them. Immediately, the Kraken's jaws opened and shut with excitement; rattling like bones knocking together.
"What's that sound?", asked Flounder; trembling.
"You don't want to know! Just swim!", answered the crab.
The whole bulk of the thing quivered, as the jaws frothed with anticipation. It's prey could not escape now; they were too slow. The hairy tenticles wormed towards them; moving with horrible speed and purpose.
Flounder began to gasp. "I can't swim no more,..."
The crab let go of his fin. "Go on", urged Sebastian.
Flounder shuddered, "Not without you", and grabbed Sebastian's claw in his mouth. Closing his eyes, he started swimming again; waiting for the horrible suckers to reach them. Sebastian looked back and up. The grisly creature seemed right over them now; the jaws were clattering and the eye was looking down at them with ravenous delight.
"How did I let you get me into dis,.." Suddenly, Sebastian felt a jerk, and found himself moving very fast; a grey shadow was touching him. Looking up, he saw that Flounder's fin was held in the mouth of a dolphin. Flounder was still holding him, and all three were moving swiftly away from the darkness.
Flounder opened his eyes in amazement, and barely remembered not to open his mouth to gasp, as he saw their rescuer. It was the dolphin which Wrasse had taken in. The swift animal was swimming for all it was worth, as the towering Kraken tried to comprehend this turn of events.
Sebastian's sigh of relief shook his whole body. "Oh, Mon! Am I glad to see you, fella!"
A terrible shreek boomed out of the monster, as it saw it's helpless meal eluding it. Slavering with fury, they could hear the slimy scraping of it's body as it followed them.
"It ain't gonna stop at Atlantica, but maybe that'll slow it down a bit", gasped Sebastian. They were pulling away, but not by enough to suit the crab. The water turned warmer and brighter; the two friends knew that they had been rescued from death itself. The ghostly barreness was finally replaced with colorful plants and corals, as a familar structure rose up ahead.
The dolphin took them to Wrasse's house; the old man was still there.
"You sent him after us?", asked Sebastian, as they swam up.
Wrasse nodded. "I figured, if you two were that brave to face the thing, you didn't deserve to die down there."
"Tank you for the help, but let's not celebrate yet! Dat ting is right on our fins!"
Wrasse crossed his arms and looked across the street. "I'm not leaving if she's not."
They turned to see Aquata; all alone. She held the trident in both hands, as it glowed softly. Her face was turned towards the deep; from which a faint beating could now be heard.
Sebastian shook his head in his claw. "Dat silly girl is gonna get us all killed." He turned to Flounder. "I don't suppose you want to leave, either?"
"Not without you and Aquata", answered the fish. His voice was trembling, but resolute.
The crab smiled. "Okay, Flounder."
The first place Ariel went, when she got back, was to her father's room. Triton was sitting up in the bed; his face had more color than the girl had seen, in days. Ariel swam up to him and kissed him on the cheek. "And how's my favorite Daddy doing?", she asked.
Triton smiled. "I'm feeling a lot better. Thanks to you and Aquata."
Ariel felt of his forehead. "Have you eaten yet?"
"Aquata brought me some kelp soup, just a little while ago. She told me that she'd get you in here, if I didn't eat it, so,..."
Triton's face turned puzzled. "By-the-way, Dear. I haven't seen Sebastian or any of my advisors lately; you wouldn't happen to know where they've gotten off to, would you?"
Ariel stammered, "Well,...I think Aquata sent them off,...on an errand." The girl suddenly heard a horrible roar in the distant. She started at the sound, but because of it's faintness, Triton hadn't heard it. Ariel's thoughts quickly jumped to her sister. She bent over and kissed her father's cheek. "I'll be back in a little while to check on you again."
The girl swam out into the hallway, where her other sisters were waiting. Arista shivered, "What was that horrible noise?" Ariel drew herself up and tried to find courage, "It's time to help Aquata."
Aquata felt the currents of water flowing through her hair. She wasn't tired or worried now; just alert. The pounding in the depths grew in intensity, and a deathly-white bulk began to take shape ahead. Slowly, it rose in height; arms twisting and snaking as it advanced upon the city of it's prey. Aquata felt suddenly helpless. This monstrosity was older than her; older than her father and grandfather and back into the very beginning of her people. How could she stop such age-old horror?
She could hear the sliding of it's body, now; the pressure-waves, as it's bulk jerked forward. A tall stalk rose out of the quivering bulk, and the young merwoman shuddered to see the head, as it twisted back and forth; searching. The enourmous round eye saw the city now, and the jaws began to clatter. Onward it came, and Aquata swallowed her fear at the size of it.
"Daddy. You've got to give me strength." The trident suddenly burst with light. Aquata studied the eager, towering horror, as it approached; trying to judge where to strike it first. One more spasm forward, and the head rose over the city; now was the time!
Golden fire burst from the trident and hit the Kraken full-on in the head. The beast didn't scream, but recoiled and stared down at the glowing shape, with angrily-snapping jaws. Aquata stiffened and let go another blast; raking across the Kraken's body. The jaws hissed, and four suckered tenticles rose up, menacingly, to crush the lightening. Aquata breathed heavily and blazed away at the twisting head with all her strength. The monster loomed up, and she saw, to her horror, that she could not stop it. The jaws were snapping down to her.
Hands suddenly grabbed onto the trident, and a fresh blast ripped out; forcing the head back again. Aquata turned to see Ariel holding on. Before she could speak, Arista and Andrina swam up and grabbed hold; then Alana and Attina.
Ariel grinned at her oldest sister, "We couldn't let you have all the fun!" They looked up and let go a terrific blast which sent the creature back a step. The trident glowed like a sun, and the next blast was answered with a bellow of pain from the monster. It's jaws clattered and frothed with fury, as the Kraken trembled in confusion. White-hot bolts scortched into the quivering bulk; the head tossed back and forth as it screamed.
Slowly, it backed away. Sebastian and Flounder were shouting with joy, but they were drowned-out by the searing cracks from the trident, and the monster's bellows. The Kraken moved as fast as it could, away from the pain; heaving it's huge bulk down, back into the black depths from which it had come.
The girls gave it a last bolt of fire, then dropped the trident and hugged each other with joy. Aquata's eyes were full of grateful tears, as her sisters shouted with triumph. Sebastian, Flounder, and Wrasse swam over to join the celebration.
Sebastian laughed, joyfully, "I knew it! You'd better not mess with Triton's daughters!Oh Mon! Dat sorry ting won't stop running til next week!"
Aquata smiled, joyfully. "Thank you! Thank all of you!"
Before the week was gone, King Triton was indeed up on his fins again. The first official act, after regaining his strength, was to visit a certain merman on the edge of the city. While Ariel, Sebastian, and Flounder looked on, the King presented Wrasse with a "Starfish of Honor award," for saving the lives of Sebastian and Flounder.
Ariel tried to keep from crying, when she saw the old man smile; with tears of happiness in his eyes. The dolphin, who had now become his companion, seemed to understand what was going on: he squeaked excitedly and rubbed against his friend. The old man turned to the girl; his voice trembling with emotion, "I'm,...glad I lived."