Chapter 7: Gifts and Wisdom
A bright light suddenly appeared into view. Once it became clear, the light was actually daylight coming in from the window behind the curtains. A pair of blue eyes which belonged to SpongeBob blinked a few times before adjusting to the light. He held his head and looked around to see he was in a small beautiful well-kept room he had never seen before.
SpongeBob then sat up and noticed he was lying in a comfortable bed with soft white sheets, and then noticed he was wearing only his underwear and his body was no longer swollen or pink, but he had a small bandage on his chest from where he got stung.
“Top ‘o the mornin’, SpongeBob.” Mr. Krabs greeted as he walked to SpongeBob’s bedside. “Glad to see you’re finally awake.”
“Hi, Mr. Krabs.” SpongeBob greeted with a weak smile as he held his head. “Where are we?”
“So you don’t remember, eh?” Mr. Krabs noticed with a smile. “Well, I’m not surprised after nearly being poisoned to death by a toxic jellyfish. You had us all worried about you, lad. But don’t worry. You’re in Mertopia and you’re safe now.”
“Mertopia?” SpongeBob questioned until he smiled. “Oh, that’s right. I think it’s all starting to come back to me now.” But then he got a confused look again. “Who was it that brought me here again?”
“Her name’s Clarice.” Mr. Krabs answered. “She’s the head mermaid of this place. Lucky for us, she ain’t charging us a room bill and hospital fee.”
As he listened, SpongeBob’s eyes widen in shock and he asked, “The spatula! What happened to it after I passed out?”
“Take it easy, lad.” Mr. Krabs calmly explained as he laid SpongeBob back into bed. “It’s right there on the nightstand. Once you get your strength back, we’ll continue on the journey. But for now, just try and relax. Nurses said that it’ll take a while for you to get back to your old self after surviving that poison. But just take a little nap while you’re here, okay?” He began to leave the room, but before exiting, he looked back at SpongeBob, “Once you wake up, get dressed and we’ll meet you outside.”
“Okay,” SpongeBob replied with a smile as he lay back down. “Thanks, Mr. Krabs.”
It wasn’t long till SpongeBob fell right back to sleep and continued to rest after waking up from a horrifying experience he thought he wouldn’t live to tell about. Two hours later, he woke up and got dressed in his square pants, shoes, uniform hat, and pocketed the golden spatula.
He then went outside and gasped in amazement at the structure of Mertopia city he could see from the second floor outside hallway he was standing on. The sun shining down on the city made it look like gold, and the lake below sparkled among the grass and flowers.
As SpongeBob admired the scenery with his sparkling eyes, he turned and saw Patrick and Squidward standing up ahead and the two noticed him.
SpongeBob grew a big smile on his face by just seeing his two best friends, and Patrick grew the same expression.
“PATRICK…” SpongeBob shouted in happiness as he started running toward them with his arms held out in what would most likely be slow-motion.
“SPONGEBOB…” Patrick shouted in the same manner as he started ‘slowly’ running toward his best friend.
Soon the two reached each other and embraced warmly as they laughed blissfully with Patrick twirling SpongeBob around in his arms. Squidward just rolled his eyes at this…but of course, the sponge would never forget about him.
He broke away from Patrick and held out his arms as he slow-mowed his way to the octopus in sheer happiness, “SQUIDWARD…”
“NOOOO…” Squidward shouted as he tried to back away, but the sponge quickly wrapped his arms around him and hugged him tightly while Squidward just stood there stiffly.
When SpongeBob finally eased off, he stood there contently next to his two friends. “Oh guys…you don’t know how happy I am to see you’re okay.” He said with a warm smile.
“We could say the same thing.” Patrick said as he put an arm around him. “We thought you were a goner.”
“And I suppose if it hadn’t been for you, I probably would’ve been the one suffering from poisoned bloating.” Squidward awkwardly admitted to SpongeBob. “So I can’t believe I’m saying this, but SpongeBob…I owe you big time.”
SpongeBob laughed and gave Squidward a light friendly punch. “Don’t worry about it, Squidward. I’m sure you’d do the same for me.”
A couple minutes later, SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward were walking around the courtyard, doing a little sight-seeing.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Mertopia before.” SpongeBob mentioned to his friends.
“I wouldn’t expect that.” Squidward replied cynically. “This is a sacred place where only mermaids live, and where Mernish is the prime language.”
“Here’s the picture I took of you with the Black Toxicity Jellyfish.” Patrick explained as he showed SpongeBob the photo he had taken the other day. “See?”
SpongeBob stared at the photo of him screaming in pain as the large black jellyfish stung him in the chest with its poisonous stingers. “Wow…” SpongeBob said in amazement. “I LOOK GREAT! Wait’ll the guys at Jelly-Con see this!”
“Well, there you boys are.” The mermaid, Clarice, said as she approached the three. “I am relieved to see you are feeling better, SpongeBob.”
“I should be thanking you, Clarice.” SpongeBob said with a warm smile. “If it hadn’t been for you, I wouldn’t be here right now.”
“Think nothing of it, SpongeBob.” Clarice replied with a warm smile as she held his face and kissed him on the head while the sponge giggled sweetly with a blush. “I am glad to help any friend of Patrick’s.”
But then Squidward asked, “By the way, how do you even know this pink idiot anyway?”
“Why, we’re pen-pals.” Clarice answered excitedly.
“What?” SpongeBob and Squidward asked in surprise- with Squidward being the most shocked of the two.
“That’s right, fellas.” Patrick said as he suddenly pulled a black pen out of his pocket. “I get one of these from her about once every month.”
Clarice was holding a black pen also as she smiled gleefully. “And he sends the most wonderful pens with red ink. And he has even sent ones that write in different colored gel. I can show them to you later.”
Patrick laughed his usual dim-witted laugh, and then turned to Squidward and SpongeBob, who were both equally baffled by the unusual explanation of his and Clarice’s long-distance friendship.
“Yeah. You should get pen-pals yourselves.” He suggested. “They’re a lot of fun.”
Then Clarice spoke to Patrick in Mernish again, “Conata go zeh nartonen ten a morica.”
Neither SpongeBob nor Squidward could understand and the two glance at each other in confusion. But Patrick simply replied back in the same language, “Oki, na shal vew zu dar.”
After this, Clarice left and Patrick turned to the two and said, “Clarice said that she wants to meet us in the garden in an hour. We have to let Mr. Krabs know too.”
“Wow, Patrick,” SpongeBob said in an amazed tone. “You never told me you can speak Mernish.”
“Nah,” Patrick said as he shook his head. “I only speak English…and French.”
To this, Squidward and SpongeBob get even more confused looks than before.
An hour later after meeting up with Mr. Krabs and informing him of the meeting with the mermaids, they went to the beautiful garden filled with many different colored undersea flowers and a lovely fountain. Clarice and her fellow mermaid residents joined them, but also with them was an elderly mermaid with white hair tied in a bun, closed eyes, a cross expression, and wearing a white tunic.
“This is my grandmother.” Clarice introduced as she pointed to the elderly mermaid. “And our city’s elder.”
“Well, nice to meet you, Granny Elder.” SpongeBob greeted with a cheerful tone and wave.
“She does speak good ‘ol fashion English, right?” Mr. Krabs asked nervously. “You know, so we can all understand perfectly clear?”
“You there!” the elder shouted in a haggish tone as she pointed at SpongeBob. “Little yellow creature!”
SpongeBob yelped in fright and pointed to himself. “Who? Me?”
“You have an evil object in your possession.”
SpongeBob tried to smile as he replied, “If you’re talking about the golden spatula with Hoagie’s spirit inside, I wouldn’t say he’s-”
But he was interrupted when the elder shouted, “Release the object!” she pointed to a garden table standing on a grassy spot a couple feet to their right. “Over there.”
Without hesitation, SpongeBob reluctantly walked over to the table and pulled the spatula out of his pocket, placing it on the table. He then walked back to the group with a sad look on his face.
But Mr. Krabs complained, “Now wait second here. We need that spatula with us.”
“Specnosa!” The elder shouted in Mernish as she held her hand up.
“She wants you to be silent.” Patrick translated.
“Don’t need to be fluent in the language to understand that.” Mr. Krabs muttered bitterly.
“My granddaughter tells me that you four are journeying to the frozen tundra of the Arctic to dispose of that cursed object in the volcano.”
SpongeBob was the first to speak up, “Yes, Ma’am. We have come all the way from Bikini Bottom to free fellow fry cook, Hoagie Grindulas, from his imprisonment in the spatula. We have come so far and wish to continue this journey until the very end.”
The elder approached SpongeBob and stared down at him with her cross expression. “You are certain of this?”
“Oh yes,” SpongeBob answered with a cheerful nod and smile. “As much as it hurts me to do it, I have to. Hoagie is not really as evil as everyone seems to think. He’s still a wonderful fry cook, who’s just suffering from his mistake, and I can’t let that go on.” Then he locked his hands together and pleaded, “So please let us go on. I promised Hoagie we would do this, and I always try to keep my promises.”
Mr. Krabs, Squidward, and Patrick anxiously watched after SpongeBob made his little speech. The elder just stared down at him before replying, “Clearly you are blinded by your naivety.”
SpongeBob nodded blissfully and answered, “Oh, well, thank you! It has to be one of my strong points.”
“I know that tool is cursed because it just reeks of paranormal activity and evil.” The elder explained as she looked at the shining spatula sitting on the table. “But…if you insist, then please allow us to help you prepare for your journey.”
At this, SpongeBob, Patrick, Mr. Krabs, and Squidward all smiled and laughed in joy.
Later on, the mermaids all gave the group their travel bags and many new supplies for their journey. They were all now wearing small green cloaks with mermaid tail broaches that were supposed to keep them warm. SpongeBob twirled around in his to show it off.
“Wow, not only do they look good, but they’re comfortable too.” SpongeBob stated, snuggling up in his cloak.
“Well, I guess they will have to do.” Squidward said, after putting on his small cloak.
Mr. Krabs was shining his cash register with a piece of white cloth. “This polishin’ oil really does work wonders for you, Cashie.”
“Thanks for all the food, Clarice.” Patrick said with his small fridge on his back.
“My pleasure.” Clarice replied with a giggle.
The elder then picked up the spatula from the table and gave it back to SpongeBob. “Remember, child, don’t let the evil in this tool consume you.” She told him. “Always remember where your true loyalties lie and don’t let the evil fill your heart with false vanity and voracity.”
SpongeBob then remembered Mr. Krabs telling him of the spatulas power to curse those who hold it for too long with greed and obsession over what they hold dear. But SpongeBob simply replied, “Those are big V words. But don’t you worry, Ma’am. Hoagie and I share the same love of krabby patties. He would never take that from me and twist it in ways unimaginable. But thanks for your concern.”
The elder then spat in frustration and turned away. “That’s all I have to give you. From here, go to the high mountains and cross the Middle Caves to the other side of the land.”
“In that case, thanks for everything, ladies.” Mr. Krabs said with a wave and smile. “We’ll head there right now.”
When the four were about to leave, Clarice shouted, “Not so fast!” they stopped and turned back to the mermaid. “I must warn you first of the danger you head for in those mountain caves. Inside lives a horrible beast known as Kobra.”
“Kobra?!” SpongeBob and Patrick both questioned in shock.
“Kobra?” Mr. Krabs questioned also, but didn’t seem as shocked as his employees. “You’re really warning us about him?”
“A long agile body, sharp pointed fangs, and a long slippery tongue.” Clarice described. “When you go into the cave, please be sure to avoid contact with him at all cost.”
“Yeesh,” SpongeBob said, looking nervous by this. “Sounds dangerous.”
“We’ll keep that in mind.” Mr. Krabs replied, not looking in the least a bit startled. “Let’s get going, boys.” Then he began to walk away with the others following him. The crab then muttered to himself, “Obviously, they’ve never actually been through the caves.”
“Bye!” SpongeBob waved to the mermaids with a smile.
The mermaids all giggled as they waved goodbye to their guests as they leave to continue their journey.
Patrick turned back to Clarice and waved as he said in Mernish, “Na shal denifto go giddie zu zeh opotiman pen imeditoo na arrito dwellsa hall ka addove- alto noco na maatus zeh spaltinoo.” (I’ll be sure to send you the finest pen once I get home from my adventure- and after I use the bathroom.)
“Na antinito go gevining many hal zu.” (I look forward to receiving more from you.) Clarice said also with a grateful smile and wave.
As they left, SpongeBob watched everything and commented to Squidward, “Patrick really knows how to speak French, doesn’t he?”
Squidward frowned dully as he added, “Naivety really is one of your strong points.”