Twisted from The Little Mermaid
“So, here’s the deal, tentacles,” Ariel addressed Ursula with casual abandon. “I need you to do a favour for me.”
She was in Ursula’s lair for the first time since the contract had been signed to give away her voice, and her tail had since transformed into a venomous green. She assumed it was due to the sudden … disruption of the contract, but she wasn’t certain, and quite frankly, hadn’t dwelled on it. Ariel tossed her hair over her shoulder, jostling her skull necklace and revealing the snake tattoo on her neck.
“H-how did you get down here?! And that voice, how did you get it back—” Ursula was shocked for the first time in her life, and stammered.
“Oh, don’t you worry about that,” Ariel giggled menacingly. “I just got my Flounders to do it for me. Didn’t I?”
Flounders grinned, revealing a new set of sharpened teeth. He had grown in size and his fins were sharpened into points. His scales had also undertaken a change; they were now deep purple and black. Ariel dug into a small black seashell purse, then withdrew and threw the remnants of the contract like confetti over Ursula’s lair. She shook with anger.
“Now, let’s talk business.”
“And why would I do any business for free?” Ursula questioned, raising one dark eyebrow.
Her voice was barely under control; in truth, she was seething.
“Oh, I don’t know, maybe because King Triton, my father, will come over and completely destroy you and all your possessions if you don’t?” She smiled sweetly.
Ursula gulped, then attempted to redeem herself to Ariel.
“My dear, you may have become even more cunning and disastrous than I could have ever possibly hoped—”
“Zip it. I don’t have time for your compliments,” Ariel countered. “First, I need you to raise me an army of men from the depths of the sea, and then, I want you to rally these men, and send them to coup d’état my husband’s palace.”
“Why are you doing this, child? Are you not happy with your Prince? Is he not everything you ever wanted?”
“Would I be asking you for your assistance to take Eric’s kingdom from him if I was?”
“Good point,” Ursula commented drily.
“All right, then. I’ll expect the men to arrive at the castle by dawn tomorrow. The gate will be open for them. Oh yeah, and Ursula?”
“What is it, child?”
“If you’re late, I’ll kill you.”
She set to work immediately after Ariel left, collecting fish brains and seasnail eyeballs, and all manner of things repulsive. This was her chance to rise further than the sea. Her chance to reap more unfortunate souls and claim their nutrition! She licked her lips, and began chanting a spell, calling on Caspian of the Sea. Yes, it was true that Ariel would get a kingdom. But she, she would gain something far more precious …
Now on land, Ariel trekked up to the castle in which she and Eric lived. She wore a bomber jacket, black vest, and leather leggings, and, kicking off her boots by the door, ordered a servant to clean them. She left him to it, and searched for Eric until finally, catching him in the great library, sauntered up to him and draped herself around him like a cobra. He was wearing his royal cape as always, and a vest sticky with sweat. Eric was sitting at a table so she wasn’t sure if he was even wearing any trousers. Sometimes, he neglected clothing at all.
“Hey, baby,” she purred, leaning forward and kissing his furry cheek.
Prince Eric’s raven-black hair had grown out of control since their “happy” marriage, covering the entire lower half of his face. He looked and smelled like a black bear. It was rather grotesque, and Ariel felt disgusted even touching him, but
she had a job to do. She peeked at what he had before him, and stopped. It was a map of the entire continent! Figurines were placed on it throughout, appearing battle hardened and weary.
“Hey, honey,” his voice scratched.
Ariel shuddered. He was such a mess.
“What are you looking at?”
“Oh, I was just thinking about taking over the neighbouring country next week. They have resources I want.”
“But we have half the number of men they do, and their kingdom is on a hilltop!”
“Hush, now, Ariel, my love. It will all be fine,” he unconvincingly reassured her. “After all, the power of God is on our side! And I have you!” He turned and gave Ariel a massive, slobbery kiss, and some food from his beard stuck on her chin.
She pulled away abruptly, startling him. Ariel knew she had to change her tactics, and in order to prevent a war on two fronts, she already had the perfect concoction.
“As much as I love our romancing, Eric, I was going to say your idea of dominating other countries is truly wise, and so, I was wondering …” She used her innocent eyes on Eric, and he fell for it completely, softening under her gaze.
“Anything for you, sweet pea.”
“I think we should host a massive feast tonight in order to celebrate your plans and announce them!” She gushed it out, wanting to appear doting and loving.
It was easy to pretend; she had been doing so for about a year. Eric, on the other hand, was pleasantly surprised at Ariel’s attitude. She had been avoiding him for a while now, and he thought she was beginning to lose feelings for him. Now, he saw her in an even purer light than before: She made him so happy.
“That’s a wonderful idea! Thomas!” Eric called over his page boy. “Announce that there is to be a feast tonight, and that all men and women are to be in the banquet hall at sunset!”
“B-but Sir, sunset is in only about an hour …”
“I DON’T CARE!” Eric slammed his fist down on the table, causing a figurine to go flying.
“Just go,” Ariel told Thomas mock sympathetically, and he scampered away like a terrified little mouse.
When he left, she turned on Eric. “What was that all about?! The boy didn’t do anything wrong!”
“You are wrong if you question a ruler. Besides, they are just pawns on my quest for ultimate power over the continent!”
Ariel sighed, then left Eric to his ramblings. She could find amusement somewhere else, but it would not be here with him.
Later, in the banquet hall, Ariel chose an appropriate moment, then rose to her feet. All the other subjects also rose, and then stared expectantly at her. Eric stayed seated, stuffing his face with more food and, no doubt, getting half of it caught in his beard.
“Be seated, loyal subjects,” she commanded.
“Now,” she began, “as rulers, we would both like to thank you all for joining us, brave men and busy women.”
The subjects applauded.
“To show our appreciation for everything you do for us, we would like to present 50 caskets of wine! All of you, drink until you’re sick! Tonight, we celebrate our future victory against the North!”
Ariel clapped her hands twice, and dozens of straining servants hauled in 50 caskets of wine for all 100 close members of the court. Everyone applauded her, loved her. She reveled in the brief attention she’d received even after she sat down, and smiled to herself. By tomorrow, they would all still be asleep when her new men invaded, and the kingdom would be hers. Maybe she’d even get to kill a few of the men she disliked!
At dawn, Ariel tiptoed out of her shared bed with Eric, got dressed, went down to the barracks, and equipped herself with a sharp sword. She knew how to use it: Eric had taught her himself in order to keep her safe. If only he knew. She then went and slowly tugged on a heavy chain by the castle entrance, which raised the portcullis and opened the castle up to intrusion. She waited for about 10 minutes, and just when she began giving up hope and considering slitting everyone’s throats herself, a roar erupted from the docks.
A kraken burst forth from the water, its tentacles grabbing nearby fishermen and depositing them, flailing, into the sea. It then lurched onto the land, using its suckers to grip firmly and drag its body up through the town. The sound of it was like sandpaper rubbing on itself, strained and terrible. The voice of death. Ariel relished it, encouraging the kraken, until finally, it heaved one last time, and collapsed near the castle. Then, it turned on its side and gaped its maw wide, exposing hundreds of deformed fish men.
They climbed carefully out of the kraken, avoiding its sharp teeth, and assembled in front of Ariel, bowing on their knees, eyes facing the floor submissively.
“Rise, my men!” She called to them, and they obeyed.
A commander stepped out of their ranks. He was half-hammerhead shark, half-man. His dark aura was pleasing. It resonated with Ariel’s.
“What would you have us do, my lady?”
He bowed extremely low once more, openly displaying his dedication and allegiance. Ariel decided she liked him.
“Go inside the castle, and kill every single guard or resistive force you can find. I’ll deal with Eric,” she coldly asserted. “Nobody is to touch him. Capiche?”
“As you wish, my lady,” he appeased, then began giving instructions to his men and splitting them into ranks.
“Oh, yes, and there’s something I forgot to mention,” she lightly added as he turned to her for the last time. “All the men are hung over and completely defenseless!”
“We will dispose of them and make you our rightful queen.”
“Perfect,” she whispered gleefully, as her army marched forth past the portcullis and into the castle.
Before she could follow them, the kraken coughed and churned. She spun to face it, as it spat out a final member.
“What are you doing here?!” She hissed at her.
Her six tentacles were gone, and instead, a fine pair of legs carried her over to Ariel. It couldn’t be denied that apart from the purple hue of her skin, she was a nice-looking specimen. She waved nonchalantly at the thin air around her.
“Oh, dear. You shouldn’t worry about why I’m here; I just want to fetch a few unfortunate souls for my potions!”
“Hmmm.” Ariel murmured as she appraised Ursula, then announced, “All right. As long as you don’t get in the way of my men or my throne, take what you wish. And try not to sell contracts like a dodgy salesman. It’s just plain tacky.”
Ursula narrowed her eyes in indignation, but by that time Ariel was already running into the castle, for the sounds of battle had already begun ricocheting off the walls of the courtyard. Ursula could be seen there later, reaping souls left and right like the hand of death. Ariel sought out Eric, to find he had disappeared from their bedchamber. She then went to the library: not there. Last, Ariel checked the armoury. She found him there, holding his head in his hands and groaning. He felt her approach and glanced up, at which point happiness spread across his face.
“Yes, that’s me,” she responded wearily.
“I was so worried about you! Look, I’ve been thinking about invading the North since this fighting broke out, and I don’t think I’m quite ready for that. I also realized I’d rather be with you than shorten my life and potentially die fighting—”
“So you’re a coward?” Ariel snorted with contempt. “You’re so pathetic.”
“W-what? Ariel, what do you mean?”
He fell to his knees in front of her, attempting to find something soft to grasp onto. Yet, his hands only caught air. Ariel did not wear dresses, nor was she the type to comfort weak men. She kicked him away.
“I said. You. Are. Pathetic!” She enunciated each word venomously, brandishing her sword. “Get up.”
“No! I won’t fight you! I know I’ve been a bad king, and a bad husband, but let me make it up to you!”
He stayed on his knees, as Ariel raised her sword, targeting his corrupt heart.
“A bad king? You are no king to me. You forgot about justice and sought only power: losing sight of everything around you, polluting my oceans with your oils and most of all, neglecting your duty as a husband!”
Eric cowered away from Ariel, fearful of her unpredictability for the first time. And he was right to be afraid, for after her speech she plunged her sword true into his heart, and left him dying on the floor, struggling and choking on his own blood. His death was painful and slow.
Two months later, the bodies had all been cleared up and disposed of, and the kingdom had become rightful property of Ariel. The hammerhead commander was her new right-hand man, and Ursula had disappeared back into the sea, in greedy excitement of all the souls she had harvested from dying men.
Ariel leaned back in the king’s chair, with her beautiful crown resting perfectly on her head. She surveyed the feast hall below her with satisfaction. As usual, the neighbouring cities’ kings had been sending her gifts and trinkets, attempting to win her heart.
“Oh well. It’s better than bodies, right?” she asked hammerhead.
“Yes. These won’t stain the flooring.”
“That’s what I thought, too.”