Posts Tagged ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’

Poor Unfortunate Souls: China Pt. 5

August 22, 2020

Mulan sat at the table sipping a cup of tea. She had made the tea herself, not willing to flag down a soldier or other refugee during such a tense time to make the tea. She had been taught to make tea by her mother and she really needed a cup to calm her nerves. Seated around the table were the foreigners. Mulan had called a meeting with them because she trusted members of the Emperor’s army but these people were mysteries that Mulan would need to solve before she could effectively lead what may be the only resistance left in China. The fort was out of the way but this monstrous army would eventually find it.

Anna was sitting directly to Mulan’s right with her hands folded neatly and trying to look professional. Aladdin was sitting to her left, relaxed and slumped back in his chair a bit. Rapunzel leaned heavily on the table, obviously exhausted from working hard in the medical tent. Merida sat on a windowsill nearby, looking half at the room and half out the window. Mulan could not really catch her eye because the redhead was wearing a hood to keep the sun out of her eyes and presumably to hide her shocking red hair. Merida had also declined a cup of tea when the others had accepted. Mulan was not offended but curious.

“Thank you for meeting with me,” Mulan said. “I am Fa Mulan, agent of the Emperor and formerly of the Chinese army. The soldiers here have chosen me as their leader temporarily.”

“Temporarily?” Aladdin asked. “Until what happens?”

“My husband is General Li Shang,” Mulan said. “I am much more comfortable with him leading.”

Merida snorted. “A woman can lead just as well as a man,” she said. “Sometimes better.”

“I agree,” Aladdin said without explaining further.

“I agree with you,” Mulan said. “but having my husband lead is a matter of logic rather than tradition. He has much more experience leading and I am much better when I have time to myself to think.”

“Of course, too much time alone can be bad for you,” Anna said pointedly, glancing over at Merida. Merida either did not hear the comment or chose to ignore it.

Mulan took a sip of tea for serenity. “Why don’t you tell me again who you all are and what you are doing here at the fort.” She gestured to Anna who seemed most excited to speak.

“My name is Anna,” she said. “I come from Arendelle. My parents were the King Agnarr and Queen Iduna of Arendelle but they died on a trip to solve the mystery of the source of my sister Elsa’s magical ice powers. My sister Elsa became Queen of Arendelle and she accidentally froze our kingdom. I had to go on an adventure with my current fiance and a snowman to stop a wicked prince who happened to be my fiance at the time. My sister and I reconnected and then she unfroze Arendelle. After that we journeyed to the Enchanted Forest and the not-so-mythical Ahtohallan to solve the mystery of the Enchanted Forest and our parents. After that, Elsa made me Queen of Arendelle.” Anna looked around and then tensed. “Sorry, sometimes I talk a lot when I’m nervous.”

“That’s alright,” Mulan said. “What are you doing around the fort?”

“I’ve just been making myself available,” Anna said. “I had been learning to cook back in Arendelle so I have been helping in the mess tent a lot. I don’t have a lot of experience in battle but I’m ready to help however I can.”

Mulan nodded and gestured to Aladdin.

“My name is Aladdin, I am a Prince of Agrabah,” he said. “I have been using my friend Carpet to search for surivors and supplies. I know what it feels like to be chased and to be hungry.”

Mulan nodded and gestured to Rapunzel who sat up and rubbed her eyes.

“My name is Rapunzel and I am from the same world as Anna although we first met here,” she said. “I am a Princess of Corona although I spent a long time lost in the woods so I am new to the whole royal thing. I used to be able to heal magically but when I lost that ability, I tried to learn as much as I could about other magics and natural healing. My, um, godmother’s journals taught me a lot about herbalism. I have been trying to heal the sick and wounded.”

“How is that going?” Mulan asked.

“It’s going well,” Rapunzel said. “The forces here are almost back to full fighting force.”

“And my husband?” Mulan asked with as much patience and calm as she could conjure.

“Your husband will recover soon,” Rapunzel said. “However, his wound was really bad. Oh by the way, I am pretty good in a fight.”

Mulan nodded and breathed a sigh of relief.

Without prompting, Merida climbed down from the windowsill and pulled her hood down. “My name is Merida of DunBroch and I suppose I’m a Princess too,” she said. “I’ve been up on that tower shooting innae thing that moves. It’s my job to alert everybody when they finally find us.”

“I feel that you have been up there too long on your own,” Mulan said. “When do you sleep?”

“I sleep in bits here and there,” Merida said. “I make it through.”

“I’ll take a turn above,” Mulan said. “You consult with Rapunzel and get some rest and at least one proper meal.”

“Nobody’s a better shot than me,” Merida said. “I can’t take a break for too long.”

“Trust me, I am a pretty good shot myself,” Mulan said. “I’ll call you if there is an emergency. Get some rest. That’s an order.”

“I don’t do well with orders,” Merida said. “but I suppose I’m a guest here. Fine. I’ll play along.”

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Hawaii Pt. 5

August 15, 2020

Thankfully, Maui did not climb onto the golf cart for the return trip. His enormous weight would have probably caused the cart to drag on the ground. As it was, Adam could feel the cart sag when he sat down. Instead, Maui transformed into a hawk and flew high above the cart as it traveled the paths back toward the ramshackle houses where they had come from. It was the closest thing that the three of them had to a home at present. They were lost in this foreign land of Hawaii and confused by all of the modern trappings. Moana seemed to be adapting but Adam felt as lost as Maui looked when he thought nobody was looking.

Moana had grabbed up one of the snakes and had handed it to a startled Adam. He had the thing in a death grip as they drove back to town. He never really dealt with snakes even when his father used to take him hunting. There were certainly snakes in France but he had really only seen snakes in pictures in books. Suddenly having one in his hands was an absolutely mind-blowing revelation. He had long considered himself brave but he could feel his heart beating hard and fast as he stared at the snake. It was even weirder to think that the struggling snake was actually a transformed human being. He wondered who they had been. He also wondered if he was more scared now that he had something or somebody to lose.

“Are you even listening?” Moana asked and Adam looked up surprised. Moana was smirking at him but she had some concern in her eyes. Adam tried to smile but knew that it did not come off as genuine.

“What?” Adam asked. He blinked up at Moana and got the sun in his eyes. The snake squirmed a little but Adam kept hold.

“You haven’t heard a single thing I said on the whole way back,” Moana said. “We’re back, by the way.” Adam looked around and saw that the golf cart had stopped and they were back to where he had woken up that morning.

“Alright,” she said as Maui landed and transformed back to his demigod form. “Let’s get that to the lab so that you can let go of that thing.”

“You’re fine, aren’t you Adam?” Maui asked with a smirk. “A brave guy like you.”

“I’m fine,” Adam said. “I’m not used to snakes is all.” They climbed out of the golf cart and started walking. He was not entirely sure that he was fine. He had nearly drowned the day before, had woken up in a brand new world, his curse seemed to be somewhat back, and Belle was nowhere to be seen. He was stable but barely. He wondered how much of that Moana could see and how much Maui cared enough to notice.

“There are a ton of snakes back at the islands,” Maui said. “I once fought a snake that was twenty feet long.” He flexed his amazing biceps and Adam could swear that his tattoos actually moved. Tattoos were also something he had only seen in books.

“I’m sure,” Adam said. “I guess that’s a reminder that things could be worse.”

“No,” Maui said with a laugh. “It was awesome.” He rested his giant hook on his shoulder.

“Maui,” Moana said with an exasperated sigh. “Stop teasing people. What have I said about bullying? What has Te Fiti said about bullying? What about bragging? Hasn’t bragging gotten you in trouble?”

“Alright, alright,” Maui said. “Go on down to that ‘lab’. I don’t like those guys, I’ll stay up here and keep watch.”

Moana reached down and pulled up a trapdoor in the ground, the dust cascading to the ground. “Are you ready?” she asked with a bit of a teasing smile.

“Should I be worried about what’s down there?” Adam asked.

“If anything goes wrong, you can just go beast mode,” Moana said. “but seriously Jumba and Pleakley are harmless. They’re aliens so they’re very weird but they are harmless.”

“What’s an alien?” Adam asked.

“Something from another world,” Moana said.

“Like us?” Adam asked.

“Yes but completely different,” Moana said. “You’ll see.”

Poor Unfortunate Souls: China Pt. 4

July 25, 2020

The Imperial Palace had burned halfway to the ground and little gray creatures were scrambling all over the place trying to put things back together. A lone figure stood on the roof looking out over the land. She was gaunt yet imperious and green eyes shone brightly set in her grayish-green face with blood-red lipstick. Her black cloak had purple accents and her headdress had curious-looking horns. She carried an ornate gold staff with a yellowish crystal. The staff had been recently reconstructed and the fractures had been filled in with silver. The enchantments were even stronger than they had been before. The woman was brooding as she glared over the countryside.

“Mistress Maleficent,” a deep, gravelly voice suddenly sounded beside her. She turned and saw one of her minions, carrying a spear and wearing a spiked helmet. The thing looked timid yet puffed up its chest to try to appear brave. “The rebuilding process is going smoothly.”

“It’s Empress Maleficent now,” Maleficent said. “Is that all that you came here to tell me? Go back down and get back to work.”

“There was a question of the dragons, your imperialness,” the creature asked. “They are all over but they don’t really look like you do in all of your magnificence.”

“Yes, yes,” Maleficent with a sigh. “They have different ones here. Tear them all down, replace them with images of me.”

“Um,” the minion hesitated. “in your dragon form or your most beautiful and splendid um fairy form?”

“Do I have to tell you everything?” Maleficent said, practically spitting the words at this lowly creature. “Put both up. This country is now mine. Remind the people of this.”

“Yes Empress,” the minion said, groveling and bowing. “May you reign forever. I will go make sure that your orders are law.”

“And make sure that any military or any so-called heroes are eliminated,” Maleficent said. “String them up as an example to the rest. I will not have a repeat of earlier events.”

“You mean with Aurora and Phillip?” the minion asked.

Green flame erupted around them in a perfect circle. “Do not utter those names again or I will roast you where you stand,” Maleficent said. “Spread the word. I will rule this new world.”

“Yes, your wonderfulness!” the minion managed to stammer. He ran away as soon as the fire receded and started yelling out orders for rebuilding.

Maleficent smiled to herself. It was good to inspire such fear again. Now all she had to do was continue to conquer this land. She would not leave herself open to the same vulnerabilities this time. She had meticulously worked a spell to banish all magical creatures besides herself and her minions from the land. She sensed very little magic left in the land that was not her particular brand of darkness and fire. She could devastate any army with her dragon form with the support of her magic and her idiot minions. They may have been stupid but they were good muscle and loyal. This time, no other fairies would meddle in her affairs or dull her curses.

She still did not know how she had gotten to this place. She remembered the stabbing pain of Phillip’s sword in her chest. She remembered her own green flame erupting everywhere around her as she thrashed and tried to tear the prince apart. She remembered the ground falling away under her and then blackness. When she opened her eyes she was floating in the void, her shattered scepter floated in front of her. She was confused. Was she still alive or had she returned to life? Was this something else entirely?

As these thoughts had been rushing through her mind, she heard a voice from the darkness. It presented her with an old oil lamp made of some blackened metal. She could sense a great, dark power inside of it. There was some horrible curse on it. Some creature was trapped inside of it or had been trapped inside of it. The voice told her to consume it. She tried to argue but the voice was insistent. The lamp would restore all of her power and add to it as well. The allure of more power was enticing. She transformed into a dragon and easily swallowed the lamp whole. She could feel it burning inside of her and she grew stronger. Wounds closed, her staff reformed itself and she felt like she could swallow the world at that moment.

She was briefly introduced to two other women, vastly inferior to her but powerful in their own right. One was underwater and an octopus monstrosity and the other was a bony looking witch. She sensed they shared her ambitions for their own worlds. A door opened and the voice called on her to conquer. She had. However, now that the flurry of violence and destruction had abated, she was left to wonder who her benefactor had been. Was there a grander plan? Maleficent did not like feeling like a pawn but first things first, China would burn.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: China Pt. 3

July 18, 2020

Mulan was a little surprised when Yao hugged her when she entered the hastily assembled war room of the fort. The usually grumpy Yao pushed away after only a moment but was still grinning from ear to ear. Mulan found herself smiling even though Shang was still down in the medical tent. Mulan, Shang, Yao, Chien-Po, and Ling had been through a lot of adventures together. It made Mulan’s heartache and worry about Khan and Mushu who were still missing in action. Still, it was good to be in a stable environment with a friend in front of her although they were not always exactly friendly.

“Mulan!” Yao croaked out in his somewhat raspy voice. “I am so glad to see you. I was worried about a lot of our friends and the Emperor’s forces. I made it here with some of our soldiers but I am out of my element in command.”

“You seem to have done pretty well,” Mulan said. “The soldiers looked orderly and the fort is running smoothly and is fortified.”

“Do you know where Shang is?” Yao asked. “He could take over. He could even counterattack through this chaos.”

Mulan took a deep breath. “My husband is in the medical tent,” she said. “He is injured and unconscious but I am hopeful that he will recover.”

“I’m sorry,” Yao said. “I have great respect for General Shang.”

“We all do,” Mulan said. “Is that white healer really any good?” She instinctively looked over her shoulder back toward the medical tent. Her husband had been in pretty bad shape but she had thought him dead before and had been glad to have been wrong. Shang was a fighter and she had to count on that.

“Yes,” Yao said. “I wouldn’t have put her in charge there if she wasn’t. Rapunzel has magic when it comes to healing and she’s so damned perky it’s hard to beat her optimism. It kind of gives me the creeps. We rescued these foreigners and they have come in useful. They all claim to be royalty so it made sense to let them make themselves comfortable. In return, they have helped us operate more smoothly without trying to take over. Believe me, I tried with that Aladdin.”

“He seems capable but I’m not sure if we can trust them that far,” Mulan said. “As far as we know this is the last major holdout after the attack on the Imperial City.”

“Then you should take over, Mulan,” Yao said. “You’d be a much better leader.”

“I’m not even officially in the military,” Mulan said. “I don’t know if that’s proper.”

“You’re an advisor to the Emperor!” Yao said.

“I turned that post down. Remember?” Mulan asked. “I’ve helped out in an unofficial capacity but I don’t really have the skills to lead here.”

“Who cares?” Yao said. “You’re a hero of China. They’ll accept you. Your country needs you Mulan and I know you have always stepped forward.”

“That’s hardly fair,” Mulan said. “I’ll do what it can but I’m not sure if that isn’t too far.”

“It’ll work,” Yao said. “You’ll be better at it than I am.”

“Fine. If the soldiers agree then I will lead until Shang can take over,” Mulan said. “He is much better in command and I am much better at doing my own thing. It’s how we work.”

“It’s a deal,” Yao said excitedly. “I’m sure you won’t have to shoulder the burden for long. Shang will be up on his feet quick. Where should we start boss?”

Mulan sighed. “I guess I should meet with these foreigners and get the lay of the land,” she said. “I have to admit to being very curious. How many are there?”

“Only four so far,” Yao said. “Rapunzel is a healer and spends most of her time in the medical tent although she’s handy elsewhere. Anna is a really hard worker and apparently really well-read and is always there with a helping hand. Aladdin is an accomplished fighter and he and his carpet have been going on scouting missions to bring back more survivors.”

“What about the one up in the tower?” Mulan asked. “The one whose speech I can barely understand.”

“Merida is a wild woman but is a crack shot with a bow,” Yao said. “She’s better than anybody I saw in the military and that includes you, Mulan.” He caught a look in her eye. “But not by that much.”

“She needs to learn more manners,” Mulan said. “but it is good to have an accomplished warrior keeping a wary eye on anybody who approaches.”

Poor Unfortunate Souls: China Pt. 2

July 11, 2020

The carpet approached a large fortress far outside the outskirts of the Imperial City. Aladdin was determined and Mulan just held tight to Shang, trying to keep him still and stable on the fluttering fabric. It was at this point that an arrow whizzed past them, managing to nick Aladdin’s ear making him wince in pain. It was a good thing he was not the one actually controlling the carpet. The carpet slowed down and approached the guard tower where the arrow had come from. A young woman with striking, frizzy red hair and shockingly white skin came out of hiding carrying a massive longbow. She had a fierce look in her eyes as she leveled the bow toward them and drew back an arrow halfway and held it.

“Halt and declare yerself,” the woman said. “I cannae let you pass.” She had a thick accent and the posture of a warrior of some renown. Mulan sensed that the woman was used to people watching her, something Mulan was just starting to get used to.

Aladdin slowly maneuvered between the woman and his passengers. “Stand down Merrida,” he said. “You know me. It’s Aladdin. We just saw each other a little while ago.”

“Oh. Yer back from scouting too quick,” Merrida said, squinting a bit at Aladdin. “Can you blame me for getting a wee bit twitchy?”

“I guess not,” Aladdin said. “I’d probably be angrier if you had actually aimed for me.”

“Nae,” Merrida said coldly. “You wouldna feel a thing. You’d be dead.” Then she smiled and shrugged.

Aladdin smirked. “Tough talk,” he said. “I came back early because I spotted these two. One of them is injured.”

“Who do ye got there?” Merrida asked and Carpet rotated slowly to reveal Mulan and Shang.

“My name is Mulan,” she said. “This is Shang. He’s bleeding out. Please let us go.”

“If yer good with Aladdin here then yer good with me,” Merrida said. “Go on to the healers and give my best.” She relaxed her draw on the bow, un-nocked her arrow, and slipped back inside the tower without another word.

As soon as she was gone, Carpet floated over the fort’s walls and down toward a small building toward the rear. As they descended, there was shouting from below. Another white girl came rushing out of the building. She had light brown hair that was cut very short in a style that Mulan kind of wished she could adopt. The girl had big, beautiful eyes full of optimism even in grim surroundings.

“Get the injured inside and on a table!” the girl called out. “We need to stop the bleeding immediately. Bring bandages and herbs.” She clapped her hands and everybody started running around. Mulan and Aladdin helped carry Shang inside but then the short white girl pushed both of them back outside. Mulan fumed and was about to head back inside when Aladdin caught her by the arm. She almost took a swing at him but backed off.

“He’s in good hands with Rapunzel,” Aladdin said. “You’d do best keeping out of her way. I need to scrub the blood out of Carpet before I do anything else.”

“Who put you people in charge?” Mulan asked. She was still on edge and she was tired of having to trust absolute strangers in the midst of danger.

“We’re not in charge,” a young woman said, walking toward Mulan and Aladdin. She swept her hood back and Mulan could see that she was also white and had a long braid with a single shock of white hair running through it. Mulan had seen more white people on this day than she had seen during her entire life to date. Something very strange was going on even beyond the destruction of the palace and a strange gray army swarming over everything. “My name is Anna. We’re just trying to help out since the soldiers took us in. If you’re looking for who is in charge, that would be Lieutenant Yao.”

“My name is Fa Mulan,” she said. “Yao’s here? I know him. Where is he?”

“I can take you to him,” Anna said. “I’m sure he’d be glad to see a friend. We’ve been trying to help but this land is very foreign to us. It’s weird.”

Mulan shrugged. “It’s all I’ve ever known,” she said. “Lead me to Yao so we can start getting to the bottom of things.”

Poor Unfortunate Souls: China Pt. 1

July 4, 2020

Mulan wrapped a cloth around Shang’s wound and felt his forehead. He was fading in and out of consciousness and he did not look bad. She needed a cool damp rag but she had very little since they had barely gotten away from the Imperial City with their lives. Those things had been terrifying and seemed to come out of nowhere and then part of the palace had exploded into green flame. Mulan and Shang had been able to flee with many soldiers into the countryside but they had been separated from everyone in the madness. Things were not looking good when suddenly she heard a voice from above her.

“You look like you could use some help,” a young man said. Mulan looked up and saw a man dressed in slightly torn clothing standing on what seemed to be a rug floating in the air. He had kind eyes and a reassuring smile.

“Those things came out of nowhere,” Mulan said. “They overtook the city and destroyed the palace. They can’t be far behind us.” Her eyes were wild and she tried to calm down as best as she could. She took deep breaths.

The man and the carpet floated upwards a short distance and he scanned the horizon. He floated back down. “I can’t see them but you’re probably right. We need to get out of here. I was only scouting

“He got hit with a spear,” Mulan said. “It went all the way through. He needs medical attention quickly.”

The carpet lowered to the ground and the man leaned down to look at Shang. “You’re right. It doesn’t look good,” the young man said. “There’s a fort near here where we can get him help. Carpet can take us.”

Mulan looked dubiously at the flying carpet. “Are you sure?” she asked. “Is it safe?”

“Yeah,” the man said. “Do you trust me?” Something about his eyes made Mulan want to say yes but trust should not come so easily.

“I don’t even know you,” Mulan said. “I could hardly trust you.” She wanted to, but her head was spinning and she was equally likely to lash out as she was to accept a favor.

“Let me put it this way,” the man said. “Do you really have any better options right now?” Mulan had seen that the man wore a curved sword but she had a feeling she could outfight him if she had to even in her exhausted state.

“No,” Mulan admitted. “I’m willing to let you prove yourself. Thank you for your help.” She ran her hand along the fabric of the carpet and it responded as if it was a big friendly dog. “This is magic, right?” She only had a little bit of experience with magic but Mushu was nowhere in sight lately. Her guardian had disappeared and she was worried about the little guy.

“His name is Carpet from the Cave of Wonders,” the man said. “My name is Aladdin, by the way.” He offered her his hand. Mulan had never heard of such a cave but it sounded like a place that would have a flying carpet in it. The man looked foreign and Aladdin was definitely not a Chinese name but she and Shang were in a tight spot. She would have to trust him and hope for the best. She took his hand and shook it.

“My name is Fa Mulan,” Mulan said. “This is General Li Shang. Please help us.” Cards were on the table and it was either sink or swim now. She clutched her sword tightly.

“Of course,” Aladdin said. “I’m at your service.” He reached down and helped Mulan get Shang onto Carpet as gently as possible. Mulan knelt down and Carpet took to the air. She was amazed to see that Aladdin was able to stay standing, keeping a wide stance.

They flew over the countryside, shooting through the air as fast as Carpet dared. The ride was surprisingly smooth but all the same, Mulan held onto Shang. She was so worried about him and the blood that was slowly soaking the bandage on his shoulder. She could barely process what had happened. With transport taken care of, she almost passed out from the stress and exhaustion. She hoped that Shang could hang on. Her husband was dear to her.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Hawaii Pt. 4

June 27, 2020

Yzma was currently sitting on a makeshift throne, bored out of her mind. She pointed her newly acquired wand at a young woman in a cage. The woman shivered in fear and Yzma perked up a bit, savoring the fear. Her grin widened. The first thing she had done upon getting her hands on the wand was to remove the requirement to recite nonsense magical words. ‘Bippity Boppity Boo’ indeed. She directed her will at the young girl through the wand and watched her turn into a llama. She turned the girl into a rabbit, then a snake, then an eagle, and then back into a llama. She turned everything into a llama, it was probably an unhealthy fixation brought on by trauma but she could not be sure.

“This is so much easier than handling all of those potions!” Yzma said. “I do miss Kronk but he was holding me back. My new friends are so much more supportive.”

“Your new friends?” a voice asked. “Who are your new friends?”

Yzma turned to where Flynn Rider was chained to the wall. He had tried to escape several times to varying degrees of success but Yzma had always thwarted him. It cut through the boredom somewhat. She was glad that the young man had appeared out of thin air close to her hidden stronghold.

“Silence!” Yzma yelled. “Nobody asked you to speak!”

She realized that she just had to always have a big dumb man around to talk at. Chaining him to the wall kept him from actively interfering in her plans. Of course, she had failed to actually develop a clear plan yet but no matter.

“I have two new friends,” Yzma said. “The octopus and the dragon.”

“What is it with you and animals?” Flynn asked. “It’s some sort of obession with you.”

“It’s the magic I know best!” Yzma said. “This time it will help me rule. I will be Empress this time for sure.”

“So you turn a lot of people into animals,” Flynn said. “then this somehow results in you ruling the world. Did I get that right?” This was the most absurd experience of his life and that said a lot since he had previously battled an evil witch to help a princess with amazingly long hair. He had somehow befriended a horse throughout all of this. Also, he was still pretty sure he had actually died. This experience was even stranger.

Yzma grunted and glared at the captive thief. “You remind me of Kuzco a little bit,” she said. “This is not a good thing. I hate Kuzco. I have not completely assembled the parts to my genius plan.” She stewed in the moment of that thought. It had been much easier when she was more throne-adjacent. There were far fewer steps to success.

“When do you see that happening?” Flynn asked. “I’m just curious.” If he was going to be imprisoned, he might as well have fun at his captor’s expense.

“Eventually,” Yzma grumbled. She was not really enjoying this interrogation but it beat silence by a slim margin.

“You’re not even turning people into dangerous animals,” Flynn said.

“I filled a field full of snakes!” Yzma said. “Green ones so you can’t see them when you’re out walking and not paying attention!”

“Were they poisonous snakes?” Flynn asked with a smirk.

“No,” Yzma admitted softly. “You might have a point, though. I could get a little more dangerous.”

Flynn frowned, almost feeling like he had somehow outwitted himself. “Or not,” he said. “You could just keep doing what you’re doing.”

“Nonsense,” Yzma said. She pointed the wand at the llama in the cage and it quickly transformed into a jaguar. The jaguar snarled and clawed at the cage bars. “Much better. I’ll be Empress yet.”

“This is not good,” Flynn said and struggled to reach the pin in his hand to pick his locks.

“And to think,” Yzma said. “This was all your idea. You may prove useful yet.”

Flynn continued to struggle in vain. Yzma waved her wand and every tool that Flynn could have used to free himself floated across the room. The chains holding him tightened and Yzma let out a loud cackle.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Atlantica Pt. 4

June 20, 2020

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.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Hawaii Pt. 3

May 30, 2020

Adam followed Moana to a curious carriage that was open on the sides and it was somewhat low to the ground. There were no horses attached to it and there was no seat up top from which to guide horses if they were there. Adam looked curiously at Moana and she shrugged.

“I didn’t get it at first either,” Moana said. “Get in. You’ll see.” She climbed into the carriage and Adam climbed onto the seat next to her. There was a small circle in front of Moana and she reached down to turn a key. The carriage started to vibrate and make a rhythmic noise. His eyes went wide and he looked at Moana who was smiling and calm. He reluctantly calmed down slowly. Moana pressed her foot down on some lever and the carriage lurched into motion. Adam gripped whatever he could reach with some anxiousness.

“It’s called a golf cart,” Moana yelled over the noise.

“What’s golf?” Adam shouted, a little confused but talking made him feel less anxious about the ride.

“I have no idea,” Moana shouted. “It works really great at getting us around the island. Although, there are faster vehicles for emergencies.”

“Faster?” Adam asked with some alarm. “Faster than this?”

“You get used to it,” Moana said. “Besides, my boat would go this fast with the wind in my favor and the sea on my side.”

“I never really liked water that much,” Adam said. “My home is between the mountains and the forest.”

“Without the sea?” Moana asked. “I would die.” She seemed serious about that. She suddenly stomped her foot down and the cart lurched to a stop. Adam nearly cried out but managed to keep hold of his courage. Moana pointed out at the valley in front of them. “Look!”

Adam followed her gesture and tried to make sense of what he was seeing. The green valley seemed to be moving but the plants were not moving with the slight breeze. In fact, there was no sense in the movement. Then Adam saw what she was pointing at. It was countless snakes writhing. There were far too many snakes. They were like nothing like Adam had never seen in France. Their scales were a vivid green.

“Snakes!” was the only thing Adam could get out at first.

Moana nodded. “They’re not venomous,” she said. “I’m told that they aren’t native to this island. They weren’t here yesterday.”

“How did so many get here so suddenly?” Adam asked.

“My partner was investigating that,” Moana said. “I was supposed to meet him here and I wanted to introduce you.”

As if on cue, one of the snakes slithered out of the whole group of them with purpose. Adam stepped back but Moana stood her ground. She rolled her eyes and stomped at the snake. In a flash, the snake was gone and a large man was standing in its place. He was massive with long, frizzy hair and he was covered in tattoos and he was carrying a massive hook that looked like it was made from the bone of a giant creature and it had symbols carved into it. Adam suddenly felt himself transform into the Beast and he let out a growl.

“Neat trick,” the man said calmly. “Who is this new guy?”

“His name is Adam,” Moana said. “He, uh, does that.” She exchanged a look with Beast and he took a deep breath and returned to human form. It was getting easier to do each time. “Prince Adam, this is Maui who I guess I’m more or less stuck with forever.

“You love it,” Maui said with a grin. “You’re a prince, huh? Did I mention that I’m a demigod?”

“Not a very good one,” Moana said as she punched Maui in the bicep.

“It’s nice to meet you,” Adam said. “I guess we’re lucky to have you on our side.”

“You’re lucky I didn’t lay you out just now,” Maui said. “You’re welcome.”

“Thanks?” Adam said.

“Don’t worry, Adam,” Moana said. “I would have protected you.”

“I can take care of myself,” Adam said defensively but he had now realized that he was among rare and impressive individuals. He would have to see what they could do.

“So what’s with the snakes already, Maui?” Moana asked, getting a little impatient.

“I transformed into one of them to see if I could chat with them,” Maui said. “They all used to be human. They’re very confused.”

“How did they all get turned into snakes?” Adam asked. “Was it some witch’s curse?” His face darkened as he thought of his own run-in with the witch. He understood now that he had deserved punishment but still thought that the punishment was not in proportion to his crimes.

“I mean mostly,” Maui said. “Some bony witch named Yzma turned them all into snakes. She has some wand.”

“The name’s not familiar to me,” Adam said.

“I’ve never heard the name either,” Moana said. “but at least we know who might be our enemy. Although, it may be more complicated than that.”

“Yeah,” Maui said. “I guess it’s not always the obvious answer.”

“It bears further investigation,” Adam said with a grave nod.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Atlantica Pt. 3

May 23, 2020

Aurora and Belle turned a corner and Aurora pushed open some double doors. “This is the Library,” she said. “Are you sure you don’t want to get some rest first?” Aurora knew that at some point, Belle’s journey from her world would eventually hit her and hard. Still, she knew that everyone had to deal with the transition in their own way.

Belle walked forward without seeming to hear Aurora at all. Her eyes were wide and her smile made them shine bright. Here was something that Belle understood. Back in her hometown she practically lived in the library. Then, in Beast’s castle, when she saw the library she had finally seemed to find her footing. She felt some of her anxiety and tiredness melt off of her like snow on a steep roof. She was so focused on the books that she did not even register that there was a young man sitting at a large table with many books in front of them. Aurora gave Belle some time before she spoke again.

“Belle, I would like to introduce you to part of our team for uh, what did you call it?” She asked of a tall thin man with spectacles and short but floppy hair.

“Research,” Milo said without looking up from his book and scribblings and then looked up and realized that the princesses were standing there.

“Right! Research!” Aurora said. “This is our ‘research’ team. Belle, may I introduce to you to Mister Milo Thatch. Mr. Thatch, I would introduce to you, Princess Belle.”

“Just Belle is fine,” Belle said. “I’m barely a princess. I promise.”

“You can call me Milo,” he said. “It’s nice to meet you. I’m actually technically a king, so there’s that.”

Belle made another mental note at that. The number of members of royalty from many different worlds was climbing quickly. Ariel, Aurora, Tiana, Milo, and herself made five which seemed to be a lot. She wondered again if royalty itself was part of the magic or if that was a faulty theory.

“Really?” Aurora asked, startled. “I had no idea. I’m sorry, Milo.”

“I don’t really like to advertise it,” Milo said. “Especially with Queen Kida elsewhere.”

“We all seem to be separated from our loved ones,” Aurora said.

“At least we’re lost together,” Belle said. “I can’t imagine being washed up on strange shore and I was all alone.”

Aurora and Milo enthusiastically agreed. A much older man came walking out of the stacks, with a comically bushy mustache and a funny-looking helmet. He was also looking a little lost but optimistic. Belle guessed at a glance that his lost expression may have nothing to do with their situation. He had the look of an academic. Belle knew that she had worn this expression many times back in her village.

“Oh I’m sorry,” the man said. “I was a bit lost in the stacks. Reminds me of my years in university.”

“Belle, this is Professor Porter,” Aurora said. “Professor Porter, this is Belle.”

“A professor!” Belle said. “I always wanted to go to university but my father couldn’t afford it.”

“Well,” Professor Porter said. “We could use another set of learned eyes.”

“That was my idea,” Aurora said. “As soon as Belle started talking about how much she loved reading. Maybe she could join you?”

“Like the professor said, I think that’s a great idea,” Milo said. “We’d be glad to have you.” He pulled up a chair to the table for her. She sat down gratefully.

“Thank you,” Belle said. “My head is spinning and I have to do something. I feel better with a book in my hand.” She reached out to clutch one to her chest.

“Well, we have plenty of those, my dear,” Professor Porter said. “We have many soldiers here but few scholars. We’ll figure this out yet!”

“There is one more member of the research team,” Aurora said. “but Queen Ariel is finally getting some sleep. You’ll meet her in the morning if you can drag yourself out of bed in time.”

“I’ll try,” Belle said. “Honestly I might sleep for a week.”

“It’s a lot,” Aurora said nodding. “I have to go check in with patrol but I’ll have Tiana or one of her workers show you to your room when they bring your food. You should rest, library or no.”

“I’m starting to agree with you,” Belle said with a yawn. “I suppose the problem won’t go away tonight.”


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