“Well Frank, take a good look at it,” I sighed as I studied the lines of silver and navy in my Caribbean Blue tail. “I don’t know if my new powers will let this come back again.”
Frank looked up briefly from the scarlet gem he had clasped in his claws. His back was to the water where the sun was just barely beginning to stretch its rays above the ocean, illuminating him from behind. I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing when I realized that I could see the shape of his body inside his little red shell.
After glancing at my blue tail for a moment, he went back to scrutinizing his jewel. “I am crying tears of sadness,” he said in a monotone voice. I laughed and poked him in the leg, making him fumble with his ruby and then shoot me an extremely peeved look.
“Oh come on, Frank. I know inside that hard exterior of yours, you have a soft inside!” I grinned mischievously. “Look I can see it right now,” I pointed at his shell and he looked down, noticing the lighting for the first time.
“Eeeeek!” Frank threw himself off the tall rock he’d been perched on and dragged himself away with a wounded expression. I grabbed my stomach and my shoulders shook while I waited for him to get out of earshot and then I let out a bellow of laughter.
All of the sudden the tips of my fin started to tingle. I wiped tears of laughter from my cheeks and watched, still smiling, as a roll of orange color swept up my tail. I tipped my head back and grinned at the rising sun with my eyes closed, content that this was going to be a fabulous day. When the tingling sensation subsided, I glanced down at my orange tail and then did a double take. “Eeek!” I squealed, sounding very much like Frank had only a minute before, and tried to scramble away–forgetting that I was still attached to the strange tail in front of me. “Oof!” I fell backwards on the sand and hit my head soundly, enough to stop me from trying again.
Groaning, I rubbed my head with both hands, trying to make sense of what had happened without sitting up to look at the tail again. From my left I heard an evil cackling that could only be coming from Frank. I rolled my head to the side and glared at him while he clambered over the lumpy sand to me. “Frank! Stop laughing and just get over here. Tell me what my tail looks like.”
Frank chuckled again, while I gave him a boost up onto my stomach and down onto my tail. “So you do not like the laughing, either, do you not? Well ze crab does not also!”
I sighed and rolled my eyes. “I’m sorry for laughing at you, Frank. Now tell me what’s the matter with my tail!”
Frank heaved an even bigger and more dramatic sigh and mumbled something to himself. “Well,” said the crab, “it is still orange, you will be happy to know. There are some gold scales in here too, a nice touch I must say. All in all I believe it is still your tail, mademoiselle, just a different design. Thank Poseidon! Your old one was so out of style,” Frank muttered as he slipped down off of my fin.
I slowly sat up and peeked between my fingers at my new tail. It really is beautiful, I thought, gently moving my muscles from side to side to watch the scales sparkle. Frank’s right, it is my tail. Just with a few “improvements”. Hesitantly a smile began to creep over my face. MerCouncilor Raine had mentioned we might experience changes because of the powerful pearls we were given. How fintastic is this?! I thought. I began to scoot off the beach and farther into the water to test out my new tail. I cringed as Frank’s voice rang out.
“Where are you going, mademoiselle? You remember what you promised ze crab? You promised to—“
“To go treasure hunting, I remember.” I groaned and waited for Frank to catch up. He smirked up at me and tapped my finger with one claw.
“You were trying to fool ze crab, were you not? You were trying to swim away!”
I pretended to look offended as I picked him up and stuck him in my long brown curls. “From you, Frank? Never.” Then I laughed, flipped into the salty Caribbean water, and began to sing.
Frank and I explored all day, mostly finding small treasures along our way. I noticed, though, as I zipped through the warm pristine water, that it was easier to find things than it had been before. Now, it’s like I can see in my mind the place where I’m going to find things before I actually get there. I fingered the orange pearls that I had tied into the ends of my hair, the gifts from the MerCouncil. I guess this is another of their enhancements to my power.
The fourth time we stopped to pick up a tiny chain of gold from a lost bracelet, Frank heaved a dramatic sigh.
“What is this? This is not treasure! These are scraps. Ze crab wants jewels! Ze crab wants gold! Ze crab wants riches!”
“Relax Frank,” I laughed, eyeing the fuming crab. “We’ll find your riches soon enough. I’m just getting warmed up!”
Frank scurried up my arm and on top of my head, studying the horizon for our next destination. He was silent for a moment. Then he shrieked and began jumping up and down.
“There! There! Ze crab wants to go there!”
“Alright, alright!” I grabbed him and rubbed my head where he had been bouncing. Those little legs are sharp! My gaze followed to where his claw was pointing, a tiny island in the distance, one that I wasn’t familiar with. Well, finally something interesting! I mused.
“Okay Frank, you win. Let’s go explore!” And just like that, we were off again. The swim took longer than I thought it would, but it was beautiful out there. Everything seemed untouched; the reefs were vibrant and teeming with life! I passed a Giant Manta Ray on my way over and I brushed two fingers across its wings as I spiraled over it. Pink and white starfish detached themselves as I sailed by, trying to catch onto my tail and hitch a ride somewhere new. While Frank leaped and twirled on my head, I sang as freely as if I was as carefree as a dolphin!
When we finally arrived at the island, the image in my head of where we were going became clearer. I saw a little cove, tucked away on an obscure side of the place. Inside the walls of rock was a tiny beach and sitting directly on it was a chest of something, I couldn’t quite figure it out yet. How strange, I thought. Shouldn’t it be buried or something? At least a little harder to get to.
“Why do you pause, your highness? Onward to gold!” Frank leaned forward off of my head, one claw pointed forward and one claw grasping a few curls to keep himself from falling off. I laughed and forgot about my worries. I’m sure someone just had to leave it behind to lighten their boatload. Lots of pirates bite off more than they can chew when it comes to treasure!
We swam along the coast of the small island until we found the cove. The water here was a little murkier, like it had been disturbed recently and the sand was just starting to settle. I popped my head out of the water as we neared the beach. Everything seemed so quiet.
“This place feels funny, Frank, don’t you think?” We neared the beach and I felt the sand beneath my tail as we crept up toward the treasure chest, just sitting there half way open.
“Mademoiselle, the treasure is just there. Let us take some and then we—“
“Get them!” A roar sounded from above us, on top of the rock walls surrounding most of the cove. Ladders and ropes dropped from every direction and men with long blades and handheld metal poppers came flying down! Frank stopped in shock, just a few paces out of my reach. My heart was in my throat as I lunged for him, grabbed his little claw along with a lot of sand, and yanked him with me as I plunged into the dark water, swimming faster than I ever have before toward the small entrance to the cove. All of the sudden I realized why the water appeared so shadowy as my eyes traveled up to find a gigantic black ship that was blocking my escape to freedom. My insides froze as one word surfaced in my mind.