Poor Unfortunate Souls: Atlantica Pt. 9

Belle and Ariel had made an attempt at the ritual after lunch the next day with some favorable results. They had painstakingly designed the ritual and had ended up creating a portal the size of a teacup. They went back to the drawing board and made corrections and revisions and then two days later they were ready to try again. Ariel was busy deciding who was going to make the jump through the portal. Belle had begged off, claiming that she was a researcher and not a fighter. Aurora and Esmerelda eagerly stepped up to volunteer and Tiana insisted on coming as well. Belle and Ariel arranged things for the ritual again and got everything ready.

It was at that point that there was a commotion from the guards at the gate. Aurora came running and reported that a raven-haired woman was approaching with a huge crowd of people. Something about the description irked Ariel and she went to the wall to see for herself. Aurora and Belle followed her with Belle being very nervous about this sudden turn of events. They climbed to the top of the wall and Ariel froze before turning to Belle.

“Go and protect the ritual site,” Ariel said. “Please stay safe. If things go wrong here, I’ll send you a signal and you should try to escape through the portal with anybody else you can grab.”

“What’s the signal?” Belle asked, turning a bit pale.

“Oh, you’ll know it,” Ariel said. “Now go. Grab Tiana and bring her with you.”

Belle ran off back toward the library and the ritual site. Aurora turned to Ariel, trusting her completely.

“What’s going on?” Aurora asked, peering down at the crowd gathering at the gates.

“That’s Ursula,” Ariel said, pointing at the dark-haired beauty in the center of the crowd. “She took that form once before. She called herself Vanessa then. It didn’t fool me then and it doesn’t fool me now.”

“How do you want to play this?” Aurora asked. There was no second-guessing, just two women who trusted each other.

“We open up the gates,” Ariel said. “I’m tired of hiding. It’s time to fight.”

“And if that means that we don’t make the portal?” Aurora asked, again without judgment.

“Then hopefully Belle and Tiana find help and bring it back here,” Ariel said. “In the meantime, we throw open the gates and go to war. Remember that all the others are just puppets.”

“So we cut the strings,” Aurora said, already heading toward the ladder to climb back down. As she went, she started to spread the word to remind people not to kill anybody. Of course, everybody already knew that but it was helpful to be reminded right before the heat of battle.

Ariel headed to stand at the gate and took a deep breath before motioning for it to be opened. She hoped she was making the right choice. As the gates creaked open, there was “Vanessa” standing front and center.

“Nobody’s fooled, Ursula,” Ariel called out and drew her sword. “It’s time we ended this. For good this time.”

Ursula laughed and somehow her deep, husky voice came out of that lithe body. “This is just a more convenient form on land, child,” she said. “I’m not caught up on appearances. I’m into power.”

“You always were,” Ariel said. “I’m here to take the power back.”

“I’m here to bring you back into the sea in chains,” Ursula said. “Then I can take both of your thrones.”

“You won’t return to the sea again,” Ariel said calmly but with great determination. “You’ll fall right here. Right now.”

Again that deep, rolling laughter. “Bring your best, child,” Ursula said softly.

At that point, chaos erupted as both sides clashed together in battle. Ursula produced a sword from somewhere and she and Ariel started to fight. Their fight was fiercer than anything going on around them. Ariel had learned a lot of fighting from Eric and Ursula was obviously just as skilled. Arrows rained down from the wall, finding their targets and shooting to maim and not kill. The whole time, Ariel and Ursula were deadlocked.

Ursula surprised Ariel by transforming her sword into Triton’s trident. Ursula swung the magical item at Ariel and hit her hard, sending her sprawling to the ground. Ursula pointed the trident at Ariel and it crackled with energy. She had the redhead dead to rights. Ariel was suddenly enveloped in smoke and she felt herself get pulled to safety by Esmerelda just as a beam of energy hit the spot where Ariel had been. Aurora leaped forward and brought her heavy sword against Ursula’s trident and sent it clattering to the ground.

Ursula let out a cry of rage and transformed into her normal form, reaching out with her tentacles. Ursula managed to grab hold of Aurora and Esmerelda and two other soldiers with her tentacles. She reached out for Ariel but Ariel barely dodged the sea witch’s grasp. Ariel dove for the trident and grabbed it, rolled to her knees, and pointed it at Ursula. There was a moment of realization on Ursula’s face before Ariel sent a beam of energy through Ursula’s torso. The sea witch went limp and bled out on the stones outside of the gate. Ursula’s army went equally as limp and fell to the ground.

Aurora went to pick Ariel up. “We have to get to the ritual site,” Ariel said. “I’m tired of this. I’m tired of waiting.”

“I agree,” Aurora said. “What should we do with Ursula?”

“Burn the body,” Ariel said and started walking back toward the castle.

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