The Blue Lagoon
“You know,” Victoria said and turned to her friends. A rebellious smile crept on her face. “You girls are all right.”
After about a half-day of swimming, the girls and Naia (who was still bounded against her will), stopped by a local mer-bar for some drinks. It would be the final drink they would all be sharing with each other before competing for the prize. Their feelings were as mixed as their cocktails.
They were at The Blue Lagoon which was hidden somewhere in the Atlantic roughs. From the outside, it wasn’t much to look at. There was no decoration, the previously white limestone walls were all infested with slimy green algae, and the fluorescent sign of The Blue Lagoon was half-heartedly blinking. The -oon in Lagoon was no longer flashing. Victoria had a hard time believing when one of the locals told her that the bar used to be the hottest spot in Atlantic Ocean.
When the girls went inside, the conditions didn’t get any better. There were barely any customers besides some mermen drunks in the corner playing what Maria thought to be pool. Except instead of regular pool balls, clear balls containing live guppies were used instead—each guppy marked with a number.
“Back at’cha,” Maria replied. “It was a pleasure working with all of you.” Garai and Xi Shi and Phoebe nodded shyly.
“I just wish everyone was here,” Victoria said and sighed. She stared out from the window behind their booth to the vast empty blue that lurked outside. “Freddy, Ally, Katie, Alima...they all should be here.”
“But they’re not.” Garai added. Her face darkened a bit and she paused to sip from her glass. She ordered the Beach Bombshell, a drink that was surprisingly tangy yet sweet and brightly pink in color, garnished with a blue tentacle.
“They have their reasons.” Xi Shi said and continued to prick her finger on her tiny umbrella garnish. The toothpick simply punctured the delicate skin of her pale fingertip. No blood oozed from the wound. “That’s why we’re still here, correct?”
“The prize,” they all said in unison.
There was an uncomfortable pause as they each turned away from each other to enjoy their drinks. Victoria again was the one to break the silence.
“I wanted to be powerful and immortal,” she said and stirred her drink with her straw, watching the bubbles foam and pop and remerge. “Mother always wanted that.” Victoria blushed slightly and said, “I was the runt of the family.”
Garai looked away from her drink to ask, “Why wanted? Do still want it?”
“I don’t know anymore,” Victoria tilted her head to the side with her hand to support it.
“I, too, sought glory.” Phoebe said and leaned back on the booth’s seat. She shut her eyes, pretending the world around her would dissolve into nothing. “But it was for my people’s respect. I was a clueless ruler.” She sighed and took a swig, finishing the remains of her drink with her eyes still closed, and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. “I don’t think I want it now.”
Garai turned to Xi Shi. Without opening her mouth to speak a word, Xi Shi knew what she was about to ask.
Xi Shi replied, “I still want to die. I was born and raised human. I already lived. Magic is cruel.”
“But there’s so much to live for,” Garai said. She realized she sounded like she was almost begging Xi Shi to reconsider. “There’s people to meet, exciting adventures, new discoveries—doesn’t that interest you?”
“I’m already dead, have you not forgotten?” And with her sharp fingernail of her pinkie finger, she slowly sliced the open palm of her left hand downward. They all watched as the wall of skin separated into two. There was no blood on her sliced flesh. Their stomachs twisted with each passing second.
When Garai couldn’t take it anymore, she shouted, “STOP! JUST STOP!”
Xi Shi listened and put an end to her gruesome show. The skin melded together and healed, leaving behind no scar. And in no time, her palm was just like before.
“You certainly proved your point,” Phoebe said. Her breaths were shaky and so was the rest of her body. The atmosphere were darkened once again so Phoebe tried to lighten things up. Trying to sound as optimistic as possible, she asked, “How about you, Maria? What was your wish?”
“I already got everything I wanted.” Maria patted her thighs and smiled. “I don’t think any sea-witch is going to mess with me anytime soon.” She then nudged Garai with her elbow and said, “And you?”
Garai gazed up at the bar’s ceiling and pondered about Rufaro. Right then her heart felt heavy and dreary like it was carrying so much weight it couldn’t breathe. She missed him. That was true. But it was then after he died that Garai realized that the girls were right. He was old and human. It was his time. Plus, even if the queen did provide a way to resurrect him, she knew from the bottom of her heart that Rufaro would not want that.
“Garai? Are you alright?” Phoebe asked with a worried look on her face.
“Yeah.” Garai said and downed the rest of her drink. “I’m alright. And you know what? I’m better than alright. And do you know why?” Her voice loudened with excitement and she took one final glance at the ceiling above her. “Rufaro is at peace. And if he is happy, I am happy. So to answer your question Maria, there’s nothing I can wish for.”
The girls cheered and they patted Garai on the back. Those who had not yet finished their drinks jugged every last drop. After the cheering, they settled down and all turned to Xi Shi.
“Congratulations Xi Shi. It’s you who will get your prize.” Maria said with a bitter-sweet grin. “We’ll think of you every time when a yacht is flooded.”
“Thanks.” Xi Shi said. “I’ll finally be able to join my ancestors.”
Victoria’s eyes went to the empty glasses and back to the faces of her friends. “Alright, enough of this warm mush. We should deliver the princess back home.”
“Yes,” Phoebe said scratched her blonde hair. “But where is she?”
“She’s outside,” Victoria said, nodding towards the exit door. “Frozen in an ice block, my specialty.”
“Great. Next stop, the Atlantic castle.”
Maria left three sand-dollars at the booth and they left.