Ariel was surprised at herself for killing James. Memories of the shark he had so mercilessly destroyed flashed through her mind often, and she found herself wondering if she were no better. As she stood in front of a mirror in her wedding dress the girl behind her twisted and turned her hair, but she didn't notice. She watched herself warily.
It had been easy. So easy that she was able to do it twice without hesitation. That part of herself was frightening, and she often debated its source.
The door behind her opened, and a small child walked in. Brynn stood proudly holding her basket of rose petals, dresses in a fluffy white gown. Her hair was curled with flowers woven in carefully. Ariel turned and spread her arms wide. The little girl ran to her and threw her arms around her waist.
With her nose buried in Brynn's curly hair she remembered another feeling; that cold dread that had settled into her stomach when James revealed his hostage. The tears that had slid down the child's cheeks when the knife was pressed to her throat burned into her memory. Her own tear was fresh on her cheek from the thought and she quickly swept it away. It was not a day for sadness.
Leaning back Ariel looked into Brynn's beaming face and smiled. "Ready?"
Her brown hair bounced as she nodded excitedly, "After today you will be our princess!"
After receiving an affectionate wink Brynn tugged on her hand excitedly until they were in place at the back of the church. The little girl walked out before her and as she left Ariel came to a conclusion within herself.
As her tiny feet moved her ahead Ariel smiled, praying that she would have a daughter just like her one day. Somehow she knew that the strength that drove the blade in her hand hadn't come from a dark place inside her. James killed for the power and thrill of it. Ariel had been driven by the desire to protect Brynn, and anyone else who might come into harm's way because of him.
If anyone noticed he was missing or cared to find him again from Atlantica she didn't know about it. Thoughts of her old home slowly melted away. She only thought fondly of the wonders she had witnessed her entire life, and refused to remember the things that had driven her from the only home she had ever known.
As she walked down the aisle, Eric beamed at her from his spot at the front. Though the entire kingdom was present, neither Ariel nor the Prince took any notice of them. They spoke their vows, each with tears in their eyes, and kissed passionately for the world to see.
When the time came, and Ariel's own stomach was round with new life she walked around in utter bliss. Eric laid a hand on her belly and sighed, knowing he would do anything for the two people next to him. Ariel also knew that she would give up anything for those she loved, and had already.