Poor Unfortunate Souls: Atlantica Pt. 4

The palace under the sea had changed recently. It had grown darker and strange new, toxic plants had started to sprout up everywhere. Fissures had opened up all over that flooded the area with hotter, sulfurous water which helped the plants grow. There were a lot fewer citizens in the kingdom. Many of the fish and other creatures had fled, getting as much distance as possible from the gathering darkness under the waves. The merpeople who were left drifted about rather listlessly as if their very will had been drained from them. Periodically, teams of them would swim to the surface where they would sprout legs for some evil purpose.

In a little cage in the throne room was a crab who still had life in his eyes but not much. As Ursula, the Sea Witch swam close to the cage, Sebastian the crab trembled. He could not escape and he knew that Ursula kept him prisoner to spite the King and Ariel. His eyes briefly flicked toward Triton’s trident leaning against the throne and knew that with it, Ursula would not be opposed.

“Sad little crab,” Ursula said in a mocking tone before chuckling. “You could go free in an instant.”

Sebastian looked defiantly through the bars. “There is a catch,” he said. “You always have a catch.”

Ursula shrugged. “I admit that I almost strictly believe in the concept of quid pro quo,” Ursula said. “Tit for tat, little crab. I love to make a deal.” She grinned, knowing that the crab knew well the deal that the witch had given Princess Ariel and the trouble that had followed. He also knew something of the other ‘poor unfortunate souls’ that had fallen for Ursula’s tricks.

“Whatever you want, you are not getting it,” Sebastian said. “Do what you will.”

“Oh Sebastian,” Ursula said and the sound of his name made the crab shiver. “All I want is for you to spill all of Triton’s secrets.”

“I know nothing,” Sebastian said. “I am simply the palace composer.”

“Nonsense,” Ursula said. “You’re selling yourself short. I know that you have been an adviser to the King and a close confidant with Princess Ariel.”

“I know no secrets, witch,” Sebastian said. “Leave me alone.”

“Maybe I should do to you what I did to Triton and his other daughters,” Ursula said, bringing her smirking face very close to the cage.

Sebastian’s eyes went wide. “W-what did you do to them?” he asked with the tiniest bit of a stutter.

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Ursula said and laughed. “You’ll find out soon enough. For now, I should introduce you to my new friend.”

Ursula swam over to the throne and took hold of a strange jar with a writhing shadow within it. Sebastian looked on with both fear and curiosity. The shadow was new to him.

“Have I told you yet how I won this time?” Ursula asked. “I finally beat Triton and it is because of my new friend here. I was gifted this shadowy fellow by a visitor to this world. The visitor said they had found it in the far off land of ‘New Orleans’ wherever that is. It lets me expand my magic so deliciously. With my magic, the shadow, and the trident, I am unbeatable. It is only a matter of time before the surface world is mine. They will kneel before me or they will drown.”

“You’re evil,” Sebastian said. “Ariel will stop you.” He was loyal to his core to the King and he had grown to love Triton’s daughters, and especially Ariel as if they were his own family.

“She can try,” Ursula said with another laugh. “I have allies from beyond and I have sent her beloved to another realm. She’s all but done.”

“That girl never gives up,” Sebastian said. “She beat you once. She will beat you again.”

Ursula shrugged. “Enough talk,” she said. “You bore me, little crab. I will let you play with my shadow and then we’ll see how much you’ll sing for me.”

Ursula slowly unscrewed the jar and the shadow slithered out as if it were her own black ink. It circled the cage as Sebastian struggled with the bars fruitlessly. Its approach was maddeningly slow and Sebastian could see that it was inevitable. He tried to brace himself as it drew closer.

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