Black Pearl

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Knocked Unconscious by Sea Urchin

Everyone watched in horror as Maria lied there on the floor of the dining room. Her body was tightly curled up with her legs brought to her chest. Sweat drenched her shirt and she screamed in agony. But Phoebe couldn’t ignore the worst thing of all, her legs had fused together. They had started changing from the feet first. Her two feet had fused together into a wide aqua blue fin that spanked the floor. Scales began crawling up her ankles. It was a disturbing sight.

“How...how Maria?” Ally shouted for answers. “What’s happening to you?” Ally rushed to her side and examined her legs. It was slowly returning to its original form: a tail. Seeing this, everyone but Ally was still at lost for words. Phoebe was baffled. All of this happened with five minutes since Maria showed them a blue scale on her foot. Now, Maria was curling up in pain while Ally was trying to coax out answers.

“C-Cassandra.” Maria said and gasped which ended with a cough. It sounded like she was choking. “She must’ve gone to the sea-witch.”

“What sea-witch?” Garai asked.

“I...I made a deal with a sea-witch long ago.” Maria confessed. “I wanted to get out of the sea so badly.”

“What’s a sea witch?” Xi Shi looked to the girls for an explanation but received none.

“That was stupid of you.” Garai said with still a worried look on her face.

Maria gagged and her hands rushed to grasp her throat. “Water!” She said in a raspy voice. “C-Can’t breathe!”

“We’ve got to toss her in the beach! Freddy, Garai, Victoria, take hold of her tail! I’ll get her arms!” But before they could proceed, Alima stopped them.

“No! What if the beach water speeds up the tail growth process? Doesn’t Maria want her legs?”

“Of course she does!” Ally said and continued to take her arms. Garai, Freddy, and Victoria took her tail. “”But she can’t breathe air! Let’s go!” They all headed outside and when they got to the docks, they tossed Maria into the beach. Her body hit the water with a loud splash. They waited a while for Maria to resurface. Maria’s head poked out of the water. Her wet brown hair lied flat on her head and around her face.

“My legs are gone.” Maria said sadly. Her floppy blue tail rose out of the water and she sighed. “I don’t think I can go on with you with the mission.”

“We’ll get them back!” Ally enclosed her hand upon itself with fierce determination. She looked to Alima and she nodded back surely.

“It’s about time we pay a visit to the sea witch shall we?”

Xi Shi stepped forward and waved her hands in an ‘x’ motion. “Listen, I want to help too but no one here has explained to me what is this ‘sea witch’ you all are speaking off.”

Alima shrugged and said, “In all honesty, I’ve never encountered a sea witch. But they can’t be that bad, right?”

Maria scratched her head with uncertainty. “Speaking on terms of physical strength, they’re not so strong. But they do know some freaky spells.”

“But we can do this,” Ally said and looked over to her companions. “Maria, can you lead us to her?” Maria nodded. “Great. So only question that lies is who’s coming?”

Alima stepped forward. “I am.”

Victoria did the same. “Count me in.”

For the first time since they’ve gotten here at the Caribbean’s, Garai’s gloominess was replaced by eagerness. “Same here.”

Xi Shi sighed and said, “I’m kind of dead anyway.”

Phoebe raised her hand and said, “I’m going.”

The only person who didn’t step forward was Freddy and he didn’t look so happy about it. He pouted and said, “It’s not fair. I’m the only human here.”

“Sorry Freddy,” Maria gave him an apologetic look and said, “But on the bright side, at least you can breathe air. I’m stuck with gills.” She swept her hair away from the side of her neck to show them the flaps of her gills. Freddy backed away with an expression of repulsion.

“That’s gross.” They were just like the gills he saw on everyday fish except the gills on Maria were a lot bigger and was flesh-toned. How did he not notice them before? But still, he really wanted to join his friends to visit the sea-witch. He wanted to see if real sea-witches were octopuses from the waist down.

Ally patted him on the back and said, “You should sit this one out. We’ll be back in no time.” She paused and winced slightly. “Please stay away from the beaches. We can’t risk Cassandra or any other mermaids drowning you again.”

Freddy began sulking his way to the beach house and did not look back meanwhile his fishy friends dived right into the beach to visit the sea-witch.

As they all swam into the depths of the sea, Victoria saw that it was the same-old same-old. There were brightly colored schools of tropical fish that swam past them, brilliantly boasting their display of colors and patterns. Mountains of coral occasionally snagged their tails. And as of right now, they had came across a party of realistic statues that collected on the beds of the sea floor.

“Whoa.” Victoria said and pointed at the statues. “How did those things get there?” The statues were so incredibly realistic that the human faces they wore conveyed different expressions and they all looked so unique as that there were no two statues that looked the same. One woman statue was pregnant and was petting her abdomen. The man statue next to her was scrawny and shirtless and wore a dreamy expression. His eyes were distant and far.Victoria guessed it was because he was so tired of staring off into the deep blue sea all day.

“I’ve seen those before!” Ally said and awed in wonder. “I saw it on the internet. There was some British artist that created these statues and decided to display them in the middle of the Caribbean sea.”

Phoebe rubbed her chin as she observed the statues from a distance. “Humans are strange creatures, aren’t they?”

But Maria was the only one who didn’t seem to care. She shaded her eyes with her hand and scanned far off into the distance. “Forget the statues,” she mumbled. “We’re half-way there. The sea-witch lives in a kelp forest not far from here. It should be north of these statues and past the giant sea urchin and past the sharks.”

“Sharks?” Xi Shi shrieked. “I don’t do sharks.” She said and wildly shook her head.

“What’s wrong?” Victoria jabbed and retorted, “There were no sharks back in China?”

Xi Shi muttered a Chinese curse and said with a stiff jaw, “It wasn’t common.”

Alima looked at them both weirdly and said, “What’s so wrong about sharks? They’re practically my sisters!”

“Enough!” Maria snapped, which grabbed everyone’s attention. “As I’d told Ally, the sea-witch and I are old amigas. I’ve visited her plenty times before. I bet the sharks will still recognize me.”

Garai put a hand on Maria’s shoulder and said with great care, “Hey, are you feeling okay?”

Maria hid her face and said, “Si, of course. I-I’m just a bit nervous visiting her since it’s been forever, you get me?” In truth, Maria’s heart was thumping hard. She’d never thought she’d see her old amiga again. Maria remembered that the second she got her legs, she left the island immediately and never looked back. And now here she was again.

“You’ll be okay,” Garai said with a gentle smile. “We’ve got your back. Don’t we, girls?” She looked back at her companions and they all nodded slowly. Maria amazed and the other girls were too. Ever since Old Man Rufaro’s death, Garai had became extra quiet and spoke when necessary. It was kind of painful just to watch Garai be that way but everyone had agreed to let her be and grieve.

“Garai…” Maria said. An idea clicked in her brain and she snapped her fingers. “I’ll tell you what, Garai. After I get my legs back, we’re going to take you somewhere fun and throw you a party!”

“Yes!” Ally clapped. Victoria seemed happy about it too. That was another thing Maria noticed after Garai had changed. Victoria was a lot more nicer to Garai and a bit more protective of her too. Back in the beach house, it was Victoria that cooked up some food for Garai. She guessed they’d finally tidied things up. It all made Maria’s heart warm.

“But right after we get your legs back.” Alima said and paused. “I’ve never thought I would ever say that.”

They all had a laughed. After they stopped, they swam more until they reached their next checkpoint, the giant sea urchin.

Phoebe craned her head up and said, “You know, Maria, when you mentioned that it would be giant, you really meant giant.” The giant sea urchin was more than giant. It was so huge that even at the bottom of the Caribbean’s sea floor, its spines looked like it was heading straight towards the surface. The sea anemone was a dark hue of blue and its spines were as thick as Phoebe’s forearm.

“This is good,” Maria said. “We just need to break off a few of the sea urchin’s spines for protection. Just in case the sharks don’t recognize me.”

Phoebe extended her arm to reach for a spine that was a centimeter from poking her nose but as soon as she got a good grip on the spine, her head felt fuzzy. Phoebe’s eyes glowed a bright pink and her vision played. In her vision, she saw the spines dislodging themselves from the sea urchin and spring free. It was only a matter of time__

Alima screamed. Phoebe turned around and saw that lodged in Alima’s shoulder was a blue spine. “Look. Out.” Alima said weakly. But it was too late. Phoebe felt a sharp pain and the pressure of the spine knocked her forward. Phoebe had been impaled in the back. Within less than a minute, the rest of her friends were shot with flying spines and they sank to the sandbed, even Xi Shi who was partly dead. That only meant one thing, these spines came from a spell.

Slowly, they all drifted into unconsciousness.

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