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Most of you know the terrible tale of Princess Ariel and her even more wretched husband, Prince Eric. Most also know that I, Ursula, was framed as the villain, the terrible bad girl. But I can guarantee that none of you know how I came to be Ursula, the awful sea witch. The framed and forgotten. This is the true story of me, but not Ursula, of Ruby the Princess of Norway.
I guess I must describe to you my past as Ruby. The beautiful princess destined to be great. Honestly though it’s a tragic tale of mistrust and deception. I was an only child and lived in a gigantic castle. My mother had died when I was little and all I had left was a very busy dad who never paid me any attention. I was desperate for any way to get noticed when I was little. I would cause trouble with the ground keepers, or the cooks, or even the duke. I would always get caught but it was fun at the time.
When I was sixteen I was supposed to be wed to another from any kingdom surrounding Norway, but of course I couldn’t find one. My lush golden blonde hair and my ice blue eyes would attract the looks from any guy, but it was always my personality that drove them away. I was headstrong, independent, and I didn’t like to be controlled. In many ways I was like the sea. The sea; my only relief. It seemed to be the only place I could go to get away. My only sanctuary.
But one day, my only safe haven would become my home.
I was strolling along the beach waiting for a message of which I already knew the answer to; The Prince of Denmark had turn down my proposal. Another one down, and I was running out of options. I would have to change something fast. I took a deep breath of the salty air. I glanced around me to make sure no one was watching. I pulled up the bottom of my dress and stepped my feet in the shallow water.
In our kingdom the sea was forbidden. The only people allowed to be in it or travel on it were the captains. They said the sea was dangerous and unpredictable. It caused storms that sunk ships, hurricanes that damaged kingdoms, and of course dangerous creatures lurked in the depths. All of that was true but I couldn’t understand how something so beautiful could be so bad. So of course, being a rebellious child, I did the one thing that was completely forbidden; I went to the sea.
Heaven. That was the sea in one word. The sea was always my refresher. I kicked at the waves that lapsed onto the shore. Then something unexpected happened. When the last wave crashed onto the shore, it dragged my feet out from underneath of me and out to sea. My head slipped under the water and instinctively I held my breath. The water dragged me further and further down into the sea. The pressure should have killed me but I didn’t seem to feel it.
Finally, when I couldn’t hold my breath anymore I let it out, ready to face death. I deserved it. I couldn’t find a husband, and there was no way I would ever make my father proud. But I didn’t drown. Water didn’t fill up my lungs. I could breathe. Completely shocked I looked around me. I was in a large hall and just ahead of me was a throne room. It was an underwater castle and I was headed towards the king.
My eyes spread wide with realization. The story of a lost underwater paradise was true. Coral and rock made up the walls and all sorts of colorful plants made up the decorations. The throne, which was in the center of the room, was a large clam shell carefully balanced upon a rock. Atlantica. I had heard stories of the lost underwater world, but I never believed that it might actually be real. Now I was standing in the heart of it. This was the first thing I noticed.
The next thing I noticed was who was on the throne. I expected to see someone who looked like my father, gray hair, worry lines, and years of battles engraved into his skin, this is not at all who I saw. Who I saw was a boy about my age, he had brown hair that just reached his shoulders, sea blue eyes, and a tail. A merman. His tail was dark blue and shimmered in the light that the castle threw off. Being a merman and all they didn’t wear shirts, so of course I noticed this too. He was muscular to say the least but it wasn’t over powering; more of a natural look.
When he saw me enter the throne room he sat straight up and attempted to look important. I could relate to that. I would always try and make myself look more powerful when others entered my kingdom, so I didn’t see this as a threat. A small smile played at the corners of his mouth, but he tried to contain it as if he was trying to look professional. He was just a kid. No different than me and he was having to lead a whole kingdom. That was something I could never do. When the current finally dropped me off at the foot of his throne I did what came naturally and curtsied.
I didn’t make eye contact, I didn’t move an inch. My time as a princess had finally come to good use. I knew my place. After a few moments he spoke.
“Rise,” his voice was literally my favorite sound.
It sounded like the waves that crashed on the shore. It was powerful but gentle at the same time. It could lead when need be but also knew when to be caring. My heart and stomach did a simultaneous loop as I cautiously rose. Slowly I raised my head up to meet his eye level, but then I noticed that my body was also being raised up to his. Probably his doing. Soon I became face to face with him. I didn’t speak; instead I look straight into his eyes.
“You’re probably wondering what you’re doing here,” he said, it was definitely not a question so I didn’t respond.
Obviously he could tell that I was scared so he smiled gently, “Don’t worry I’m not going to hurt you. My name is King Triton, but you can just call me Triton. Formalities are not my top priority with humans. Especially one that is royalty themselves.”
I took and deep breath and risked speaking, “As you wish,” I said and curtsied again, “You’re right I would like to know what I doing down here.”
“We will get to that in a moment but first your name.”
I hesitated, “Ruby. Princess Ruby of Norway,” I replied with yet another curtsy.
“You have a beautiful name.”
“Now I guess to the matter at hand. Ruby I brought you here because you intrigue me. You are a wild card, unpredictable, that’s hard to find in a mermaid down here.”
“I guess I take that as a compliment.”
“With all due respect you still haven’t answered my question sir.”
“I know,” he said with a smile. My heart flipped for reasons I didn’t understand at the time.
“Well sir I would like that question answered,” I said slightly clipped.
“Ruby, I am of marrying age and I need a bride. Someone who knows what it’s like to take charge, who understands sacrifice, and who understands pain. Ruby I want you to be my bride.”
I was stunned to say the least. I had just met this guy and now he was asking me to marry him. I wasn’t a mermaid, and I knew nothing about his kingdom until today.
“I’m sorry what?” was all that I managed.
“You’re different, you understand that. You’re a lot like the sea, like me. I control the sea and it does get a bad reputation, but so do you. You’re rejected by all and known as trouble, you and I are not so different. I need someone that understands me. You do. You’re beautiful and no one notices. I notice. The way your golden blonde hair shimmers, the way your eyes gleam when you’re excited. I know.”
“I know nothing about you,” but even as I said it I realized I knew more about him than I thought. I understood that rebellious look in his eyes, the way he acted proper but he really wasn’t, I understood when his tail flipped nervously that he wanted to be anywhere else but here. I knew him all too well.
He smiled, “Even you know that’s not true. I will give you time to think about it. We could even spend some time together. You wouldn’t have to worry about pleasing your dad or conforming to another kingdoms customs. You could do whatever you pleased. I would have to turn you into a mermaid of course, but that’s a blessing. You love the sea Ruby, just join it.”
The more he talked the more I wanted it. I wanted to be free. I didn’t want to see another disappointed look on my father’s face as another kingdom turned me down. I didn’t want to be in another kingdom either. I certainly didn’t want to be controlled. I looked around the castle. All this could be mine. I could be free.
“I don’t need time to think,” I said hastily.
“So you have an answer?”
“I don’t like to be restrained,” I warned him.
“The sea doesn’t like to be restrained,” he said agreeably. “It likes to be free and independent.”
I thought about all of it for a moment. Perhaps I made my judgment too soon but I wanted freedom. Plus it definitely couldn’t be bad to marry Triton.
“I will be your bride,” I said simply.
A huge grin spread acrossed his face, “Then first things first. We must make you a mermaid. Follow me,” he said as he grabs a trident next to his throne and leads me away.
We swam across the whole kingdom. I noticed shops and vendors; it wasn’t so different from the world above. I could definitely live here. Finally we reached the gates to his kingdom. It was a wide open area with nothing around for miles. It looked slightly dead. The coral wasn’t quite as bright, the plants didn’t have the typical shine and burst of color. I wasn’t scared but I was definitely nervous.
“This is good,” he said stopping.
“Good for what?” I asked.
“Good to do a little magic,” he said with a sly smile.
I take a deep breath, “I’m ready.”
“As I hoped you would be,” he said and pointed the trident at me.
A blast of a golden light shot out towards me. When it reached my body it engulfed me. I could feel my body changing. I looked down and where my legs were was a tail, a tail just like his. It was a brilliant green and it shimmered just like his. Then something went wrong. Pain shot through my whole body. Instead of one tail it now it split into eight. Eight long black arms. Octopus arms. When the light faded I knew it had gone horribly wrong. I wasn’t a mermaid.
“What happened,” I shrieked at him. My voice didn’t sound like mine. It was slightly deeper and sounded aged.
“I don’t know,” he stuttered. He looked just as shocked if not more.
“Change me back!” I yelled at him.
He shook his head sadly, “I can’t.”
“I can’t change you back. What’s done cannot be undone,” he said with a tear sliding down his face.
“There’s more isn’t there?” I asked him.
He waved his hand and a mirror appeared in front of me. Where my long golden hair had been was now replaced with old short gray hair. My blue eyes had been changed black. My once slender body was now much larger. My skin was a terrible shade of gray and long black octopus arms extend from my waist down. I was a sea witch. A small tear slid down my face. I was no longer young and beautiful, I was old and ragged.
“I’m so sorry,” Triton croaked.
I was furious. He hadn’t made me a queen he had made me a witch, something that was frowned upon in any kingdom. There was no way I could go home or continue on with the engagement. Somewhere deep down I knew it wasn’t his fault but I didn’t care. I wanted him to pay for what he did to me.
“You bewitched me!” I cried.
“I didn’t mean to! It was an accident,” he pleaded.
“You have turned me into a disgrace. I can’t go home and there is no way I’m going back with you like this. You’re going to pay for this! If you can’t change me back I’ll find a way to make you pay,” I promised.
“You can’t let this change you,” he said.
“You did this to me. You changed me. They’re going to see me as a witch. Fine. I’ll be a sea witch,” I said and turned away from him.
“Ruby wait,” he cried.
I made my decision right there. He would pay for what he did, accident or not. I could feel my heart grow cold and hardened. I wouldn’t let this pass.
“There is no Ruby left,” I whispered.
“What?” he asked confused.
“There is no Ruby. Only Ursula,” I shouted back.
“It doesn’t have to be like this,” he pleaded.
“Oh it does. Just remember that you did this to me.”
I left. I didn’t look at his face again; I knew it would be too painful. I swam until I found an abandoned cave. It would soon become my home, but it would take time. Time was something I had plenty of. Day in and day out I plotted my revenge on the man that turned me into a sea witch. I knew my time would come, and it did. King Triton got married and had plenty of girls. One was just like me, wild, independent, and completely uncontrollable. I knew she would be his downfall. Just like me, she would dream of something that she couldn’t have, and she would be cursed. The girl was Ariel, she was his weakness, and she was supposed to bring about his downfall.
Of course that’s not what happened. The sneaky girl managed to outsmart me and brought me down. I missed my one chance to have my revenge on the one person who caused me so much pain. Sure some might say I was greedy and jealous, but I am the victim. I don’t believe it was an accident that Triton turned me into a sea witch, if there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that nothing happens by accident. Some force greater than him was working against us that day. I was meant to be Ursula. I was meant to challenge his daughter.
It all worked out in the end I suppose. Ariel learned many lessons and even got her happy ending. Triton still has his precious trident and kingdom. I also got my ending, although it wasn’t so happy. Ruby would be happy though. Her memory died along with Ursula but it’s a reminder in my mind all the time. I was constantly split between Ruby and Ursula. They were both so different. Ruby was gently and Ursula was a sea witch. I had to constantly fight between the two. Obviously Ursula won out because all I had to do was look at my body. We both got peace in the end though. I never had to chose between the two or have an inner battle ever again. I finally was free.