A powerful blast from Vanessa's necklace sent their most feared foe crashing near them.
"Come to whisk away your youngest, Sea king?" Aku sneered, "Your efforts are in vain, the union is legally binding here and within your realm."
This didn't stop Triton nor his other daughters from holding up their tridents in warning.
"Don't come any closer!" Ariel snapped.
"Is that any way to treat your consort, and after all the lies he's told you for years?"
"Lies? What lies-?" Triton demanded. A quick meaningful glance from Sebastian permitted Ashi to give Jack a chance to end things once and for all.
"You told her the world above was foul, and what was it instead?"
Ariel bit her lip in remembrance. "Wondrous. Beautiful beyond compare."
"However, I'm more than willing to ignore this little transgression of yours. Think of what the future will hold for you, my precious one. Especially if you gave Aku powerful offspring to challenge the remaining realms left in the universe, where his evil cannot breach their protective barriers."
"I think I'm gonna be sick." Andrina grimaced, sharing the others' disgust.
"Not if I beat you to it." Flounder retorted, making a face.
"I have a future, and he's coming to seal your doom!" Ariel taunted with a defiant lift of her chin.
"Huh!?" Aku blinked in surprise.
The demon turned just in time to see the Samurai lunging down at him, sword in hand, and Aku desperately began to plot.
"If I can't have her, no one will!" He roared then emitted a low-frequency shriek creating a few white rings directly over the little mermaid. Just then Jack decapitated Aku, and causing him to burn away into nothing.
For a moment, the white rings hovered above Ariel's head and became a solid white circle of light. "What is… this?"
It all happened so quickly; from the circle, the white rings flowed down around the ex-mermaid, surrounding and keeping her in place. Her loved ones from both land and sea shouting her name in distress.
"Ariel!" Flounder and Sebastian hollered.
"ARIEL!" Jack gasped, rushing to her side, but the force of the winds coming from the flashing white rings kept him and several of his friends back.
"Ariel!" Ashi screamed in horror, seeing her mother figure being enveloped into the portal.
"ARIEL!" Vanessa cried out, reaching out her hand a ball of purple energy shot out. It struck Ariel, but instead of pain, the redhead felt something wrap around her waist. "TAKE MY BAG OF GIFTS, AND LOOK FOR YOUR IN-LAWS!" shouted the Dark Spectre Queen.
"My in laws -?" Ariel gasped even as she reached for Ashi and Jack's hands. But they were gone, as she was sucked downwards into the time portal, and it closed. All that remained was the echo of her frantic cries.
Leaving Jack, Ashi, Triton, Vanessa, Flounder, Sebastian, Scuttle and Ariel's sisters to stand around in devastation.
"She's gone! She's gone!" Triton cried out in horror, his hand falling on the empty spot just moments where his youngest daughter once stood. His other six daughters floated over, looking just as upset.
"Where did she go!?" Sebastian gasped, his pincers on his cheeks.
"Not where...When." Jack said saddened.
For Ariel, it was as though she were trapped in a shrieking maelstrom of flashing light, her body and limbs contorting nightmarishly. Except it sucked her straight through the funnel-like middle instead of round and round the edges. Finally the rushing force stopped, and the little ex-mermaid stumbled from the tunnel of light onto the ground. As she sat up, she found herself in a barren landscape.
"Jack? Ashi? Daddy? Sisters!?" Ariel called out, trying stand, then audibly whimpered at the horrid sensation as though she were stepping on knives.
She looked left and right, nothing looked familiar and there was no sign of her loved ones. "Where am I?!" she wailed.
For a moment, tears sprung to her eyes, then she took a deep breath to calm down. First thing's first, she had to find out where was. Next, she heard sounds a few yards away, Ariel got up and starting walking towards where it was coming from. Though at a slower pace due to the pain in her feet, straight through a forest of burnt trees and scorched plains.
The closer she got, the more nervous she felt. She placed her hand on what she thought was a tree, but when she looked up, she'd gasped before swiftly covering her mouth in fright. It was a totem with the visage of the Shogun of Sorrow. What's more, the entire area was riddled with monolithic idols of Aku.
Ariel held one of her wrists nervously and was startled upon feeling something in her hair. She reached up and found her silver hair-pin, the very same one given to her by the Dark Spectre Queen.
"I...did she give this back, but why?" she wondered. Then she suddenly remembered what Vanessa had called out before the mermaid was pulled through the portal: Look for your in-laws.
She gasped softly in understanding. Of course, it was a time portal that flung her into the past – Jack's past! Ariel was literally in Jack's country, which means she'd have to find Jack's parents. Thankfully, her clothes had changed from the dark wedding dress back to the simple powder blue kimono; it would be much easier to move in and would inspire a bit more confidence. She'd still have to be careful: that meant Aku was still alive in this era. A single redhead among the natives of this land would stand out, the demon's underlings would know at a glance that she's a foreigner – she cannot afford to be captured. Both Jack's family and his kingdom needed her help, make no doubt that she was going to give it to them.
As she steadily walked up a rocky hill, Ariel looked out onto what seemed to be a mix of a mining field and a slave camp. To her left, she could see enormous dirt pits and long cart rails leading in and out, while to her right, was an gaping mine cavern built to resemble the monstrous face of the shapeshifter. That's when she spotted what she was looking for: Humans.
Thousands of enslaved humans in rags forced to work under the sharp eyes of the demonic minions that served Aku. The red suited specters– these must be the slave drivers- with pitch black flesh where human skin would be, cracked their whips viciously into the air. Several of the weaker or sickly looking humans slip and fall. The awful things shout at the enslaved and roughly man-handle those who have fallen. This must be what had become of Jack's people, just like he said!
Spineless, savage, harpooning fish-eaters… King Triton's past words came back to her.
No, she looked around as she stealthily sneaks down, darting from place to place. To her father they might've once seemed to be barbarians before he came around, but there was nothing remotely savage about them. In fact, she was more than sure the sea king would've winced with inevitable sympathy if he saw what these land dwellers have been reduced to. Pale and downtrodden as they dug, lifted more tributes and carried heavy loads of geodes on their backs – even young children and the elderly folk were forced to work!
And why? Because of Aku! Who was truly the savage one? Who was the one incapable of feeling?
The little mermaid's heart trembled in sympathy for the poor unfortunate souls, and her heart jumped when she saw one figure suffer the worst. He was an old man, being forced to turn a giant drill. Except it seemed that the hardships have aged this man prematurely, for his body was still muscled and trim, yet thin from malnourishment.
One of the guards then cracked his whip. "Break!" it shouted in a gruff, growling voice.
And the man collapsed to the ground on his knees.
A young girl saw his plight, and grabbed a bucket of water from a nearby well, then hurried to his side. "Here is water for you, my Emperor..." She raised the bowl for him to sip the water. Only for a whip to snap against the bowl, causing it to fly out of their hands.
A shadow guard all done in blue, in contrast to the red suits, stood over them imperiously.
"None for him, by orders of Aku!" The specter told her, closing its talon into a fist for emphasis.
"But Sir, he will die without water, and won't be able to continue work!" The girl pleaded.
"So!? There's more slaves where he came from and the Master actually WANTS him to die," The overseer sneered at them, its green eyes narrowing. "Now away with you!" The specter cracked its whip at the girl, sending her running away in tears.
Ariel had seen enough. With stern determination, she pulled out her hairpin and it transformed in a flash, already it began to glow neon purple, the harmonic melody with the hum of power roaring in her ear as she took aim.
"And as for you..." The Blue-suited specter turned to the poor old man, raising the whip, prepared to strike him again. "BACK TO WORK, EVEN IF IT KILLS YOU!"
Before it can deal the blow, a bolt of purple energy shoots from the woods and strikes the foul thing in the chest. It shrieked in agony, as its body caught on fire, and everyone stopped what they were doing to watch in shock as it burned to ash.
"What…!?" Another Specter shouted in alarm.
But it was too late as Ariel charged from her the hiding spot and blasted out the bolts of energy from her trident, obliterating three more. Even as they lunged for her, she countered remembering her training with the feral mermaids of white cap bay. Within seconds, the guards fell prey to the blasts, till there was not a single one left.
"People! Take heart, your time of freedom is at hand. The one known as the Emperor's son, the Samurai with the blade to destroy Aku has returned!" Ariel shouted, her voice echoing across the camp. "I have come back from the future where he and one other, we have triumphantly vanquished Aku in that time, and he will do so once again! You will suffer under the monster's oblique shadow no more!"
"My son..." The old man choked in dryness and emotion.
Stunned, Ariel turned and ran over, falling to her knees to help him up, and relieve the pain on her feet. "Sir, could it be...are you?"
"I am...or WAS the Emperor of this land." He said morosely. "But Aku changed that...I waited...so long, for my little boy. My son..."
"He's a man now...a great warrior, kind, strong, fierce, brave and wise." Ariel told him, cupping his cheek warmly. "But first...I must tend to all of you...so you can be ready when he shows up."
"But if you were with him..." The Emperor licked his lips struggling to speak. "Why..."
"Save your energy, Emperor. You need to recover, and as for your son...he was flung into the future by Aku's hand. But we became separated." Ariel gently explained.
The Emperor and the other humans who gathered around them look confused. But Ariel then lifted her silver trident - she had a theory and it was time to put it into practice now that she had her trident once more.
She pointed it up into the skies, a bolt of energy shot up, hit the clouds, and it began to rain. It rains fresh life-giving water. The people of Jack's home cheered, holding out bowls, cupped hands, or opening their mouths to drink. But the water raining down was glowing bright blue, because it was enchanted water, and every person it touched was healed of all the whip marks, bruises, aches and pains they'd suffered under the slavery. Magically, all their chains melted, their shackles, and their clothes returned to what they once wore. The place was filled with their shouts of surprise and delight.
Ariel and the girl from earlier, helped the Emperor drink as much of the water as he could swallow. And instantly, the man was restored to his former glory, his body, clothes and even his mind was refreshed.
"Truly, you are a goddess sent to aid us." The Emperor gasped in awe.
"No...I am but a mermaid given legs to walk on land to stand by the warrior she loves." Ariel giggled as her trident became a hairpin once more, placing it in her hair. "Fortunately, I have been blessed with a powerful magical artifact by an old friend of my mothers."
Everyone gathered around her were shocked upon hearing she was a mermaid –Ningyo in their native tongue - and even more by hearing she was in love with their prince and her recent display of magic.
The rain created by Ariel's trident did more than heal Jack's nation, it slowly began to revitalize the soil and the flora until the restorative clouds began to spread across the globe. The storm clouds that rained on the camp, expanded and grew and began to go over the entire Earth, raining down on anyone touched by Aku's evil grasp, and magically restoring them back to their original self – no doubt the Dark Spectre Queen must've had this in mind when she returned the trident to the little mermaid. Furthermore, any minion of Aku's suffered burning pain as they perished under the enchanted rain. The only one safe was Aku in his tower, but that was soon to change.
Back in the encampment... "What is in that bag on your hip?" The Emperor asked.
Ariel looked down to where the Emperor pointed and saw the violet satin bag with a stylish 'V' on it. "Oh, this must've been what the Dark Spectre Queen gave me before I got sucked into the time portal. The V stands for her name, Vanessa."
She pulled it open and a golden scroll flew out, and unrolled itself to show a message written on it. "Ariel, as I write this in the future, you are seeing this in the past. Know that I will try to send Jack and Ashi there as soon as possible. For us it will be six months, but for you maybe only three days.
In the bag you shall find various gifts to help you restore the world, and at least guard yourself. For Aku will still be present, and though he will not know you in this time, I'm certain the fiend will try to claim you still."
The words written on the scroll made Ariel shudder with revulsion, and the Emperor looked at her in concern. "What is it?"
"I...I'm reading this and it tells me the bag has magical gifts to help protect me. For you see, in the future from where I emerged, although I fell in love with your son...unbelievable as this'll sound…" She paled with what she said next, "Another being had fallen in love with me too… The Terrible Aku."
Her grim words caused the young girl and Emperor to jump up in alarm.
"The beast desires you?!" Emperor gasped, visibly shock. "Were you able to keep out of his grasp?"
"Just barely, but I unfortunately got married to him...in a way," Ariel said despondently, holding up her right hand to stare at her wrist, remembering the ceremonial rope that had bound her hand to Aku's. "I would've been bonded to him forever, but your son slew him, so that should negate the marriage." The little mermaid's words drew some relief from the Emperor and Ariel herself. But the scroll flashed brightly, catching their attention as they turned to it. More words were being written on the scroll.
"Beware, even though your marriage was negated, the bond is still in effect because Aku is alive in that time you're in. I'm afraid that although he can't re-marry you, or take control of you, the fact you aided in his death means you betrayed the binding. So, with each step you take, not only will you feel the pain from before, but every step away from Aku will cause a cut on the soles of your feet, and make you bleed." The redhead maiden read out loud.
"WHAT!?" Ariel exclaimed as she sprung to her feet. "Ahh!" The mermaid turned human cried out in pain, and the Emperor dove to catch her in his arms before she fell.
"Child, are you alright!?" The emperor cried out in alarm.
"Oh, my Emperor, look!" The young woman pointed to Ariel's feet.
They all looked down in dismay as a long, straight cut formed across the bottom of the sole of her left foot. Blood trickled from it briefly, before it faded away as if there'd never been a cut.
"Oh no, it's true." Ariel wailed in grief. "And now, I have to wait for Jack to return and slay Aku, or this will continue."
"Jack?" The Emperor asked, puzzled.
"That is the name your son chose when he arrived in the future, forsaking his own until he could fulfill his goal." Ariel explained her eyes downcast.
"My son...such a simple name. Yet I feel it resonate with great courage and nobleness, as well as a blazing love from yourself." The Emperor stated in awe. "What of your name, daughter of the ocean?"
"Ariel..." The Emperor said in awe, and the young girl sigh in admiration. "Please. I could not forgive myself if you fell into the clutches of that monster, you must hide yourself until my son has returned."
"I can't..." Ariel stated. "We still must find your wife, I gave up so much to be with him again, and I can stand being away from him for a little longer. I waited 50 years in the Ocean, before I gave up my voice to get legs."
The girl and Emperor blinked.
"Then how is it that you are able speak now?" The Girl inquired.
"When Jack and I kissed...after being reunited for a while, I guess it must've fulfilled some clause in the deal. And I regained it a day or so later. But before then I had a magical necklace, which created golden words for others to read to understand me when I wanted to tell them something."
"And all that for my son. I couldn't be prouder of him to have found such a devoted creature to love and be loved by," The Emperor said helping to steady her. "Please, lean on me. You're going to do so much, and have accomplished some already. Let me do what little I can to help you."
Ariel smiled softly and nodded, taking a tentative step, leaning on the Emperor for support. It was sharp, sharper than any step she took before and she left bloody footprints that vanished in eerie manner. But it seemed all the humans she'd helped free from Aku's mines were now dedicated to aiding, and looking after their beautiful savior. Soon horses were found, and Ariel rode with the Emperor returning to Jack's home in the valley - magically restored thanks to the enchanted rain, and regroup with others to decide on the next course of action.
Jack's nation was overjoyed to see their Emperor, they were all surprised and confused by the turn of events, but happy none the less. When the Emperor presented Ariel as the one responsible for the defeat of Aku's minions, and his possible future daughter-in-law, (which made Ariel blush) the people cheered full of hope, though were cautioned that Aku was still alive, and would surely seek out retribution for the undoing of his work.
Still they were all safe and happy for now, and the little ex-mermaid was presented with a room of her own in the renewed palace.
"I would be honored if you would wear 'anything' that pleases you," He showed her several maids holding many items. "Gowns, jewels, gloves, and of course, shoes." The Emperor stated with a wry smile. "Though, I should hope you've become familiar with them by now."
"It's...been a trial." Ariel admitted with a small blush, extending her foot. "I usually go bare foot and have been lucky, so far. Also, I would hate to get them bloody..."
The Emperor nodded with a grim expression. "True...true...but your comfort means more to me. And I can easily have the shoes washed or replaced. It's the least I can do." He took her hand in his gently. "Please, consider this your home, and I will love and cherish you like you were my own daughter."
Ariel's eyes filled with tears, and she embraced the kindly Emperor, who returned the embrace with a warm smile.
While the survivors were hiding out/biding their time in the abandoned palace, they listened to the little mermaid tell them her story. Of her trusting fascination with the surface world, of the fateful day her father discovered her hidden grotto then destroyed the collection and how, in her impulsive haste sought out to prove the sea king's distrust of humans wrong only to unknowingly swim right into a terrible trap.
"It was awful, I was tricked by Aku into drinking a potion which turned me human for a year except I regained my fin when doused in water. He had planned this as a scheme to get me as far from the Ocean and from my Father as possible." Ariel told them. "Then through some act of the fates, I met your son. We went on many adventures, and I got to see so much of the world above." she smiled in remembrance. "But at some point, Aku lured me away, in the form of a woman, and though Jack managed to rescue me – the creature warned me about the outcome if I failed to reach the sea on the final day. With the fortnight almost over, a bounty hunter and other minions of Aku prevented me from reaching the water in time. That was when the sun set on the last day of the year, I turned back into a mermaid again, and promptly captured by Aku. He used me to get the trident from my father, the only weapon beside your son's sword which could severely injure him."
"But surely he didn't succeed?" The Emperor asked worried.
Many of her listeners shared the same expressions of concern.
"Oh, he didn't. My family and I were reunited, and Aku was driven from Atlantica," Ariel look saddened. "But it took fifty years before I saw him again, as Jack wasn't aging, and my kind live for three hundred years."
"Perhaps it was a result of his traveling through time." The Emperor stated.
"I hope not, or else I might not age either." Ariel said glumly. The Emperor reached over to pat the girl on the shoulder comfortingly.
The two were seated at the traditional tea table, sipping warm tea with the others.
"I'm certain that after destroying Aku, twice, you can overcome any other problem." The Emperor assured her.
"I hope so, I can only pray that the Dark Spectre Queen is alive now. I mean, we've known her to be ancient. But even I'm unsure HOW old she might be." Ariel said.
The Emperor nodded and took a sip from his tea cup. "In regards to loved ones, I wished to discuss my wife. You said the Dark Spectre Queen's bag held magical gifts?"
"Might it hold something to help me find her?" The Emperor asked. "I worry about her, yet have no clue to her whereabouts or how to contact her by now."
Ariel looked thoughtful, and pulled up her bag, she opened it and purple light shined out. She reached in and pulled out a map of Earth, and a jade arrowhead. "Huh..." Ariel looked at the map of the world, and held up the jade arrowhead in the palm of her hand.
"There's writing on the back." The Emperor points out.
Intrigued, Ariel turned the map over and saw words scrawled on it: 'If you seek to find a person, place, or thing. Hold the arrowhead over the map, say the words, and the arrow will point the way.'
The mermaid then read the other words silently, and turned the map over. The emperor gestured over the servants to help clear the table. Once it was clear, the map was spread out and Ariel held the arrowhead over it. "Whisper softly, let it out. Find Samurai Jack's Mother, point her out!"
She then yelped when the arrowhead shot out of her hand and began to slide across the map, and then it stopped at a spot between India and China. It spun rapidly, and then fell to the side, and when Ariel picked it up a green glowing ring was circled over a certain mountain range.
"Oh, this is odd. It just pointed us to this mountain in Tibet." Ariel said in confusion. She was glad she'd paid attention to those geography lessons when she was younger.
"Wait...I know that mountain range." The Emperor exclaimed. "There is a monastery, I had met my wife in the village nearby. She could have gone there for safety."
"That's her sanctuary for the moment." Ariel mused, "We can't summon her here just yet, not with Aku still at large." The last thing she wanted was for Jack to lose his mother as she lost hers.
The ex-mermaid rummaged through the bag once more. "Perhaps there's something else we can use to send word out to her about what has happened...Hm, I wonder what this is for?" She'd pulled out a necklace - a gold nautilus shell with a large pearl fit in the opening on the side.
"I assume there are no instructions for this artifact?" The Emperor asked in concern.
"No, it doesn't seem so...Vanessa only had enough chance to give me the bag." Ariel sighed as she put the necklace on. She started to rub it with a forlorn look on her face. "I just wish I could talk to my family back home, and learn something of what to do."
When her fingers stroked over the shimmering pearl, a purple beam shot out of it towards the wall on the opposite side of the room, causing the maids standing there to run away, screaming in alarm. And when the beam struck the wall, it rippled like water and the throne room of the palace in Atlantica was revealed, in it were Ariel's father, sisters, Flounder, Sebastian and the Dark Spectre Queen.
"Jumping Jellyfish!" Sebastian had turned and yelped in alarm at seeing Ariel and the Emperor.
The redhead gasped. "Sebastian? Daddy? Sisters? Flounder? Vanessa?"
"Ariel?!" They all cried.
Vanessa was the only one who didn't look surprised. "Ah, good! You found the necklace after all!"
The Emperor watches mystified. "You know them?"
"My family, these are them!" Ariel said, her voice full of emotion.
Despite being separated by the time barrier, the merfamily and underwater friends was elated to see her safe and sound. They explained that after she'd vanished through the time portal, Jack and Vanessa correctly speculated that she must've been sent to the past where Jack's kingdom is located. Although the spell would take six months to complete, everyone from the surface world wanted to help their liberator, so the Dark Spectre Queen made a list of what would be needed and helping them restore what Aku nearly destroyed.
"Jack and Ashi have set off for the more elusive ones. We have search parties from here and all over the Earth scouring for the necessary ingredients to create the time portal so that they can reach you. I'm just about to join in the search for one of them myself." explained the Sea king.
"Can you ever forgive me? I've caused you such terrible worry, thinking only of myself, not you, not my sisters, not this place the only place I've ever truly called my home." Ariel said dolefully.
Triton gently silenced his daughter, "Nevertheless, I'm proud of you, Ariel. Your mother would have been, too. Somehow, in the blink of an eye, long before these past fifty years, when my back was turned, you grew up."
"There is still good left in many who live on the surface, Daddy. I know. I've seen it."
"Even when I couldn't. You love Jack very much, don't you?"
Ariel nods wistfully.
"Then there's only problem left: how much I'm going to miss you."
"Daddy!" Ariel smiled happily.
"Just remember, when you hear the surf roar at night, and feel the tingle of salt in the air, it's only your father checking in on his little daughter."
"Oh, let me introduce you all to someone important: Everyone, this is Jack's father."
The Emperor, who had been watching the exchanges silently in understanding approached, the two rulers bowed respectfully to one another in greeting before conversing with all that had transcurred. Then Vanessa was presented and she informed Ariel of what had been done so that none of Jack's friends nor she would forget them and vice versa, in addition so that Ashi wouldn't vanish in the past. "Took me at least three months of convincing to the Council of Immortals, but they relented under one or two conditions, you'll soon see. In the meantime, look in the bag, you'll find there a few little ingredients that should keep Aku's forces away while you're there. Follow the instructions from the scroll, make sure you spread it around the edges of the palace and safe-houses. Trust me, you two, a few ground glass snowdrops, moonstones and unicorn hair go a long way..."
"I do hope your wife is safe, even without the barrier to protect her," Triton said sympathetically to the Emperor. "I know if my Athena were still alive I'd be worried sick."
"My wife is a formidable and cunning woman," The Emperor said proudly. "It's why I fell in love with her after our parents arranged our marriage."
"Oh...you don't have an arranged bride for Jack, do you?" Triton asked in concern, causing Ariel to gasp in alarm.
"Sincerely, no, we never got a chance. However..." The Emperor looks at Ariel with a proud smile. "If my son wishes to marry a valiant princess he brought from the future, I wouldn't say no, and neither would my wife."
"Oh, what a relief. I thought I would have to send a curse back -" Vanessa sighed in relief. "I MEAN, take care Ariel, use that stuff wisely, there's plenty more in the bag and I'll tell Jack you called. BYE!"
Vanessa disappeared in flash of light, as the mersisters all giggled in amusement.
Soon afterwards, the Emperor had everyone else gathered in the courtyard.
"Gather round. Gather round, everyone." Ariel indicated, "We have a plan to keep this area safe from Aku and his forces for the time being."
Quickly she and the Emperor relayed the instructions the Dark Spectre Queen had given them .Ariel spread out the ingredients for the survivors that agreed to the task.
"So volunteers, grab what you can and arm yourselves. Let us make haste! We must begin immediately!" The Emperor ordered. "It best to do this while there's still daylight... be careful!"
With that everyone began to scatter a generous amount of the magic powder all around the outskirts of the town, and various farms, as the people would need to grow vegetables for food.
Ariel was set on walking to make sure everyone had enough dust, but the Emperor insisted she remain seated on horseback to ride, so as not to put strain on her feet. The Emperor led the white stallion, and as they secured the town, various buildings and farms, the Emperor showed the Little Mermaid all the areas his son, wife and others had explored. He showed the place where his son had his first riding lesson with his mother, the Cherry Tree where he and his wife fell in love, the various locations his son played in and so forth. It was so moving for Ariel to see the childhood home of her beloved, she only wishes she could've shown Jack and Ashi her own home personally.
But it would at least give her sisters and them to get to know each other, and bond a little.
"It's still a little odd meeting you like this, Emperor." Ariel said.
"Indeed. But the ways of Fate are strange, and so were the circumstances. But please, you may call me father if you wish, Ariel." The Emperor stated in warm tone.
"I...well, if I may...could I refer to you by your name?" Ariel asked unsure.
"That is most perfectly fine." The Emperor said with a smile. "You may call me Chiaki." The Emperor laughed. "I know it's not really a name one would think becoming of an Emperor, it means '1000 times cheerful.' Yet I've always been a happy, kind, smiling man, I learned early on to be strict, stern and fair when I must be."
Ariel smiled and nods. "It's a name I think best suits you," Ariel stated her opinion. "And you're a really good man, if the fact I know your son so well tells me anything about you."
The Emperor, Chiaki, smiled proudly. "I believe I did a fine good job with that boy, though I can't take all the credit. He had extraordinary teachers."
"But he still had his father, and his example." Ariel said in with a soft smile.
A few hours before sunset, the task was done. They all watched in awe as a clear yet iridescent force-field was formed around where the ingredients had been spread. The people and their animals could pass through it easily whilst keeping the dark forces out. With its completion the people cheered.
That evening, the Emperor had a chance to speak with his Empress; she too had been touched by Ariel's enchanted rain and restored to his former self. Knowing she would be rightfully wary, he revealed something known only to them. Jack's mother was stunned, yet nevertheless relieved to see her husband alive and well, more so that her son would return home triumphant.
Ariel introduced herself with a bow. "My Lady."
"My, my, you are a truly a vision, child. I've not seen hair like yours since the Vikings came to make that pact with my husband." Jack's mother exclaimed.
"Hair like the flames of the sun itself. Our son has his father's good taste in beautiful women," Emperor Chiaki exclaimed with a teasing grin. "Wouldn't you say, wife?"
"Ignore him, dear. He's a boastful mess, I fear your healing rain has restored his ego as well." Jack's mother said teasingly.
Emperor Chiaki clutched his heart in mock hurt, causing Jack's mother and Ariel to giggle.
"Well, you must tell me all about yourself. But that can wait till later," Jack's mother said. "No doubt you'll be here for a long while, maybe forever if my son has his way."
She gave Ariel an impish wink, making the mermaid blush.
"But I'd like to hear about his journey, and how he did for himself in the future." Jack's mother said with a heavy sigh. "It's been too long since I last saw my child. And my heart aches for him terribly."
"You'll see him again very soon," Ariel gently reassured her, "The Dark Spectre Queen said he and another dear friend of ours would be arriving in three days. This is only the first one."
"I await anxiously until then." replied the Empress wistfully.
They conversed long after sunset that was when they bid her a farewell, knowing they eventually see each other again.
That evening, Ariel retired to her room after bidding the Emperor a good night. From there, she could hear several of the lands' natural fauna returning to the restored valley. Smiling, she sank into the bed-sheets of her bed and looked at the ceiling contemplatively. One whole day and she already helped make a difference here in Jack's home. She turned over and began to nod off, hopefully tonight she'll dream of her loved ones, tomorrow was another day full of promise.
Meanwhile, miles from the valley, the dark fortress thundered with Aku's wrath and frustration. The mysterious storm clouds had caused troublesome interference, as a result he was unable to see what was happening outside his lair. Now it was dawn, and the enigmatic rains had just started to dissipate.
"Finally, perhaps now I can see just WHERE this infernal rain came from," Aku muttered as he opened his viewing mirror. "Oh, what now!?" Aku shouted as the view of the mirror was static and fuzz. "Work, curse you, WORK!" Aku's eyes glowed and he zapped the mirror, energizing it.
It took a bit of power, but Aku was finally able to see an image. It was still foggy and fuzzy, but it showed a red haired maiden, asleep in a bed.
He couldn't help staring. He'd felt it again; that mysterious force from the other day, except it was coming from her.
"I feel as though I know her...somehow... and yet I do not. So strange, but how could she be able to resist my power, and blind my all seeing eye?"
He watched her a little more even as she awoke and went about the restored city, mingling with the locals. Yet her bearing wasn't that of a common human, no. Her legs, her movements were much too fluid and graceful.
Then he heard her sing; he'd traveled far and wide on this world, yet nothing he heard could ever hope to compare to such a voice, and found himself ferociously yearning to hear this mysterious nymph sing once more. He knew he had to possess her and no one else.
"Come to me, my followers!" Aku waved his clawed hands, summoning a large mass of his armored soldiers, many that had scythe like arms.
"Go! And find this young maiden, I have narrowed her location to be the old palace of the fool Emperor who defied me once before. Bring her back to me before three days pass, or it will end badly for you." He said pointing to them with eyes narrowed to emphasize his seriousness.
"We hear, and obey." The soldier bowed.
Immediately they set off for the palace of the Emperor, and Aku was resentful that he couldn't watch her capture, as the mirror gave out. And he had no more power to spare to keep her in view. But someone else was watching, a pair of pretty and familiar maidens, one in silver, and the other in gold. The two girls watched from behind some burnt trees, and as they both eyed the army of shadow warriors, their eyes started to glow purple. And elsewhere, two purple orbs showing the army, slowly merged into one single orb. And a pair of large, deformed, black, scaly clawed hands appeared, hovering over and around the large crystal ball.
"Yesssss… Hurry on to the palace, minions. We wouldn't want to disappoint your lord and master, would you?" The hands owner spoke in mocking tone. "HA! Lord and Master, heh, BAH! He's not going to be lord and Master for long," The figure rubbed her hand over the crystal ball. "No, I sense something, and it has to do with this lovely, young mermaid. I sense my own magic saturated around her being."
The figure stepped out of the shadows to reveal its Vanessa, decked in a sparkling purple dress, which the train of pooled at her feet like a puddle. "I have a feeling with you, he's going to bite off more than he can chew." She walks a step or two off, before turning to her crystal ball.
The two handmaidens hear her as clearly as if she was there, and Mira stumbles to the ground in shock, causing Keller to roll her eyes as she picked her up.
"Hurry on ahead to the Palace, inform the Little Mermaid of her incoming guests and keep a close eye on this pretty little princess."
The two Handmaidens cross their arm across their chest and bow their heads, before both disappear in a swirl of gold and silver light.
"She may be the Herald to Aku's undoing!" Vanessa cheered as she laced her fingers together, the shadows engulfing her till only her purple glowing eyes were showing.
Back in the protected palace, Ariel had thoroughly bandaged her feet so the darker side-effects wouldn't effect what she would be wearing- no need to alarm anyone else about her condition until Aku is slain. On a more practical view, she opted for a pair of wooden sandals.
Afterwards, with the Emperor in a conference with several courtiers, she had gone exploring the valley, sightseeing and meeting with the people of the land. Since her second to third day in the city, she learned cultural activities, told the denizens stories of her home in Atlantica, and sang to the tunes from the village musicians. Little did she know they were about to receive unusually helpful visitors.
The little mermaid was in such a festive mood, she even opted to dance for everyone, and her moves were light as a bubble. Everyone clapped in joy at her display of supreme grace, and Ariel shut her eyes to ignore the pain and enjoy the movement, so she didn't notice the two girls who joined her in the dancing. But she did when her legs finally gave out, and she nearly fell to the ground. But was caught in the arms of the two maidens, to everyone's relief.
"Are you alright?" The one girl asked.
"Yes, I'm..." Ariel turned to speak to them, and was amazed. "Mira? Keller!?"
The two handmaidens' eyes widened slightly, but then they gave her a small smile.
"Our Queen was right," Keller said with a cool expression. "You are something special, but how is it that you know, of us?"
"I-I know you, not now...but from the future." Ariel answered, and everyone else watching was surprised when she started talking familiarly to the girls.
A couple of the villagers stepped closer, in order to listen in and see what was going on.
"I was sent back to the past by the Shogun of Sorrow, we had killed Aku in the future. But he sent me back in time as a last act hoping to separate me from my love, the Emperor's son." Ariel explained
"Well, it didn't work out so well, did it?" Mira giggled. "He wound up sending you straight back to the Emperor himself."
Mira and Keller helped Ariel over to a stool, which was brought over by a villager, and the redhead was seated. Both handmaidens looked down and were startled to see her feet wrapped up in red cloth, which was slowly staining red with blood.
"It seems it might have had to do with our Queen's powers." Keller leaned down to examine Ariel's feet. "You were a mermaid before, yes?"
The little ex-mermaid nodded.
"I had made a deal with The Dark Spectre Queen for legs," Ariel rubbed her stiff legs with a painful look. "But this pain and the bleeding is a side effect of my being forced to be 'bound' in marriage to Aku."
Mira and Keller jumped. Keller standing to her feet, and touching the side of her head as her eyes glowed purple. "Yes, our Mistress agrees..."
Ariel looks confused.
"She sees and hears through us, and can communicate with us. But she is why we are here."
Mira stepped forward. "It is a good thing this village is guarded by a barrier," She said with a giddy expression. "For Aku has sent an army here, just to retrieve you!"
All the villagers gasped and cried out in fear and worry, and Ariel tried to jump up, except Keller forced her to sit back down.
"But...how could he know? And why? He doesn't know me in this time!" she exclaimed.
"Regardless, it seems your arriving here and stirring things up have alerted him to your presence." Keller stated in stoic tone. "And he obviously wants to know WHY he's intrigued by you and how these barriers are up."
"He's gonna be furious." Mira giggled in amusement. "Oh, I can't wait to see his reaction."
"Focus, Mira." Keller scolded. "What is your name, since you know ours?"
"Well, Ariel, if you wish everyone to be safe. I suggest getting everyone who's outside the village's barrier limits back inside." Keller forewarned.
"Because Aku's minions will be here within two hours," Mira laughed. "And I don't think you want them outside when they do arrive."
In spite of the pain in her legs, the mermaid quickly but calmly ushered the people back through the protective barrier. One of them was gracious enough to let her ride back to the palace and inform the Emperor of the army's imminent arrival.
Although the magical force field would effectively keep the fiendish army out this time, that didn't stop every available warrior or volunteer, nor The Emperor from arming themselves.
Once more throughout the city, the loud clanging of warning bells resounded.
Knowing a fight was inevitable, Ariel changed into something more suitable, then fetched her hairpin trident and the nautilus shell necklace just in case she may have to verbally confront whatever's coming.
With the two hours gone by, the humans, the two mysterious women and ex-mermaid waited while the other survivors were sent to the safe houses. The air felt terribly tense. Her ears were cautiously pricked up for that horribly familiar deep droning sound whenever that vile demon was near.
Then they heard the dreadful raspy whispers – and they were coming from beyond the magical barrier.
Ariel instinctively pulled out her weapon. She saw the vicious group of demonic minions running towards them. She felt as though she were back in the ocean – with sharks in a feeding frenzy coming after her and her friends.
Four or five charged, only to either slam against the magical force field, which flashed arctic blue with several symbols, or be vanquished in wisps of oily smoke.
Looking up into their eyes, Ariel saw spite. Cold malevolence. Even as her heart threatened to escape the rib-cage, she readied her trident. "Are you sure you wish to tempt fate? Those horrid slave drivers weren't so lucky!"
"You are the one our Master wishes to see," One of the soldiers stepped forward, its eyes glowing red. "And you are also responsible for the crime of freeing these slaves?"
"These people are free, they were before, and never should've been enslaved!" Ariel cried out in outrage, waving her trident menacingly.
"This land belongs to Aku, you do as well, Sorceress." The creature echoed in agitation.
"I belong to no one, let alone that foul fiend!" Ariel answered back derisively.
"Also, she's not a sorceress." Mira chimed in.
"Only one given gifts by one, and quite favored it seems." Keller chimed in.
"And who might YOU two be?" The Soldier remarked.
"We serve the Luminous!" Mira declared proudly.
"The Lustrous." Keller chimed in.
"The Dark Spectre Queen of the Ocean!" Mira and Keller said in sync.
Immediately, they both pulled out a dagger, and aimed it at the army. Then to everyone's shock, beams of light shot from the daggers, blasting a clear path through the army to the other end. Everyone who was watching, Emperor to Ariel, were very stunned. But glad to see the destruction of a good part of the army.
"What?" Mira asked with a smile. "You didn't think you were the ONLY one gifted by her Dark Majesty?"
"We have our talents, and little presents from her too." Keller smirked.
"So she IS here in this time." Ariel whispered awestruck, then said aloud to the remaining demonic minions, "We're prepared to fight you if need be, though I do believe there is a faster way to settle this without bloodshed of any kind." She pulled out the nautilus necklace, without losing her grip on the trident.
The Emperor looked to her with fatherly concern, "Surely you don't intend to surrender yourself?"
"Not if it means leaving you and everyone else here unprotected without my trident." Ariel replied softly, "We need more time, and I know just how to stall them all."
She glanced at the sky, the sun hovered over the horizon. Vanessa had informed her early that morning via message of Jack and Ashi's arrival before the sunset hour. 'Before the sun sets on the third day…'
Mira and Keller watched fretfully, they hoped the mermaid knew what she was doing.
Ariel, in turn, just hopes her little diversion works, she never thought she'd use this to talk to the one creature she feared above all. With a gulp, she whispered the words, a purple beam shot at the wall of the barrier, catching the shadow soldiers by surprise. What magic was this? The beam had rippled like water, showing the interior of the pit of hate and its monstrous dweller, who'd momentarily started then smirked at the red-haired vision that stood glaring right at him.
"With what reason have you to send your ruffians with the intention of dragging me back to your lair?" Ariel demanded coolly, the trident glowing purple with her scorn.
Aku gave the mermaid a long hard look, especially considering he could now get a clear view of her, unobstructed. He took in her lithe figure, her lovely face, blood red hair, and deep, blue, bewitching eyes. She was fair; most of the human women were, but this foreign maiden was more so than any of the others he'd ever seen.
"Perhaps, I simply wanted to meet the powerful being who dared to free my slaves, and create a maelstrom of rain that eliminated all of my forces outside of my lair." Aku said with a leer. "And you are most beautiful, my dear."
Ariel grit her teeth. "And YOU are as repulsive as ever."
Aku blinked. "I do not recall us meeting before." He said in slight confusion.
His eyes suddenly looked behind Ariel, and he saw two familiar looking women.
"GAAAAAAAWR! WHAT ARE THOSE TWO DOING HERE!?" Aku bellowed in rage. He pointed at Mira and Keller, who smirked at his anger. "DO NOT TELL ME YOU WORK FOR THE DARK SPECTRE QUEEN!?"
Ariel giggled a little at his disgruntled reaction. "Not exactly. Just a mermaid out of water so to speak, one she'd given legs to walk on the surface world. Or as the people of this land call my kind - what's the word? Oh, Ningyo."
"A mermaid?" Aku questioned. "And yet you say you're not serving the Sorceress? You have her gifts..."
"I have 'her gifts' because she gave them to me, before I was sent back in time by YOUR spell. Before YOU sent me to here, so you really only have YOURSELF to blame, literally."
Behind her, the Emperor and the human army exchanged astonished glances. So that's how Ariel ended up here in the first place.
"Yet I sense an otherworldly force radiating from your very being, one beyond my comprehension, why?"
The mermaid held tightly to the trident even as she held the wrist which had been bound during the dark ceremony.
"That's irrelevant, I am here now and I will not allow anyone of Jack's family, or people to be harmed. Moreover I will ensure the safety of all the other cities out there too!" Ariel declared, lifting her trident upward to let it hum with its musical melody, as it glowed purple.
"Very well spoken, Child."
Everyone looked as a twister of purple energy swirled in front of Ariel, before revealing the Dark Spectre Queen of the Ocean. She wore a long flowing sea-foam green dress, a necklace of gold and amber, as well as a star-fish and pearls in her hair.
"It would seem you hold my gifts, but since I do not recall giving them to you," Vanessa stepped forward to finger the prongs of the glowing trident with her black scaly fingers. "You must indeed be from the future, tell me how am I?"
"In good health, milady." Ariel responded, "Continuously standing strong, even in a terrible future ruled by Aku's hand. It was thanks to your aiding many others that kept him from entirely conquering the Earth."
Vanessa smiles indulgently, "And I expected no less."
"Regardless, I believe I was speaking to her." Aku said disdainfully to Vanessa before turning a covetous gaze to Ariel.
"Since when has YOUR opinion mattered?" Vanessa scoffed with a detesting glare at Aku.
"It doesn't matter WHY I radiate an unearthly aura," Ariel said determined. "What DOES matter, is that you can't get to us and your end will soon be here."
The demon glowered momentarily hissing an insult towards the sorceress before addressing Ariel one more time, "You think you've outwitted me, however you cannot hide behind your little shield forever. All this can end, merchild. If you agree to turn yourself to me, you can end this suffering."
Ariel quickly looked at the horizon. The sun was just a few minutes from setting on the distance.
The Emperor stepped forwards in Ariel's defense. "What's more, since when has surrendering to you EVER ended suffering? It seems to me demon, it is YOU who is suffering, and we are the ones who are in a position of power."
Ariel scowled at Aku, "I've already experienced enough from the future to know that you can never be trusted. So here is my answer and the Emperor's: You either leave this world be or face the consequences."
The Emperor folded his arms firmly, standing by Ariel's decision. Behind them, Vanessa nodded once as if saying 'So there!'
"HOW DARE YOU!?" Aku bellowed with rage. His eyes glowed with bright energy, and he shot his eye beams through the image and at Ariel.
Ariel threw up her arms in alarm, but Mira flung herself in front of the mermaid, transforming into her mirror form at the last second. The eye beams bounced off her reflective surface, and shot right back at Aku. And a resounding explosion was heard/seen, as the beams struck his own eyes. The connection was cut, and everyone was no longer seeing Aku. But all eyes and able bodies went towards Ariel and Mira, in terrified concern.
"Little Daughter!" The Emperor cried out in alarm.
"I'm alright!" Ariel had been knocked backwards with one knee and her other hand braced on the ground. She stood up straight and readied her trident.
Relieved, the Emperor, Vanessa, her handmaidens and the human army prepared for one last fight.
Back in the dark fortress the evil being was fuming. How dare she refuse!
"Destroy them and bring the mermaid to me!" He roared to his viewing mirror knowing his minions could hear him wherever they were.
"It was bad enough when the Samurai around, at least he is gone!"
And suddenly, a purple twister of swirling energy flew into the lair, and Aku yelled in alarm. And the twister deposited two figures, one dressed in a sea-foam green kimono with pearls stitched on, and an all too familiar figure in a white GI.
"AKU!" shouted Jack.
"Huh, you're back already!?"
"Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" Jack yelled, he flew through the air and proceeded to slice Aku down the middle.
The shapeshifter screamed in pain, and while half of him burned up into nothing, the other half tried to crawl away.
"Jack, look!" The woman, Ashi, shouted in warning.
Jack turned and leaps to the slithering puddle of ooze. "It ends, Aku! NOW AND FOREVER!" Jack shouted.
He drove the sword down into the black goo that was once Aku, and it explodes into a ball of fire. Leaving the last bit of Aku to be no more.
"I've done it. He's gone." Jack sighed in relief.
And then, the lair started to shake and tremble, crumbling into pieces.
At the same time, the specters suddenly stopped in their tracks shrieking in agony, smoking as though they're burning.
Perplexed, their opponents stared. What was causing it?
Then the foul things twisted, twitched and contorted, the bodies turning to solid stone before disintegrating to dust. One by one the vile army fell.
Cautiously, Mira, Keller and several warriors touched the remains with their weapons. "They're dead? That could only mean…"
Ariel gasped then embraced the Emperor with a cheer. "He's done it! Jack must've vanquished Aku!"
With the knowledge, Ariel felt as though a great weight had been lifted from her heart. He was gone, he can't hurt her or anyone else anymore.
"So, the son of the Emperor has returned and dealt with that fiend." Vanessa chuckled with glee. "OH, I'M JUST SO HAPPY!"
She cheered, throwing her scaly hands up, she snapped her fingers and immediately, in a flash of purple light, Jack and Ashi appeared in front of her.
"I believe these two are friends, right?" Vanessa asked.
"Jack, Ashi!" Ariel turned from hugging the Emperor.
"Ariel!" Jack exclaimed in overjoyed surprise.
He ran to Ariel and swept her up in an embrace before Ashi was pulled in to join in a group hug between the three of them.
Ariel then gently pulled away for Jack to greet his father.
"Father..." Jack bowed, only for the Emperor to pull Jack into a tight hug.
"My son, you've made me prouder then I could ever be...you've slain Aku not once, but twice in your life and liberated us all." The Emperor was beaming with tears of joy.
"But...I was not there to free you personally, how did you come to be free?" Jack asked in confusion.
"You have a most remarkable lady, my son." The Emperor chuckled as he gestured to Ariel. "She appeared, slew Aku's minions, healed our wounds, and helped us rebuild our home."
"It was my pleasure," Ariel smiled. "I almost didn't know where I was until I remembered Vanessa's - well the one from the future- her words. I knew - and wanted to help both your family and your nation somehow, someway. I never could've managed if she hadn't returned the trident to restore what Aku almost destroyed. And she was able to bring you both here as she promised."
"All the monsters in the world couldn't keep us away." Ashi beamed.
"Charmed." Vanessa nods sunnily then looks to Jack. "Now that our common worse foe has been done away with for good, I believe it's high time for a proper family reunion, would you agree?"
The Tibetan temple was quiet that early morning as the various monks began the morning rituals, such as lighting the incense. But one figure stood out among, as it was a female; The wife of the Emperor. As she knelt to pray at the altar, a voice spoke up.
The Empress turned and gasped in shock and amazement to see her son, fully grown, wearing a white gi. Behind him stood The Emperor, Ashi, Ariel, Vanessa, Mira, Keller and several soldiers of the royal army.
"My son! My husband!" She cried out with joy.
Parents and son held each other tearfully, not caring that they were being watched. At long last, Jack was reunited with his family after so many trials and tribulations. Behind them, Ariel and Ashi smile wistfully. Vanessa sniffled before pulling out a handkerchief, "Eh, something in my eye."
Then the Empress looked to Ariel and Ashi, extending a hand to them. The mermaid took it gently, the younger woman with hesitation, only to be caught by surprise as they're pulled into the embrace.
"I know how much you girls mean to my son, I've already met Ariel in a way," The Empress pulls back to smile at Ashi. "And Ariel's had nothing but good things to say about you, it's obvious you're like a daughter to her, so consider me your grandmother, as well."
Ashi becomes emotional, as she's not had a real family for so long. And now, in such a short while, she's gained almost an entire new one.
"I will...Grandmother." Ashi said nodding her head respectfully.
The Empress brushes off the formality, and kisses Ashi sweetly on the forehead.
"Mother, Father, if you will give your blessings. I would like to adopt Ashi as my daughter," Jack turns to Ariel. "And Ariel..."
Ariel pulls back from the Empress, as Jack takes her hand in his own, and gazes into her eyes with such intense passion.
"Will you do me the honor, and bring me immense joy by marrying me?" Jack asked.
"Oh Jack, it's all I've dreamed and hoped for the last fifty years," Ariel said with tears in her eyes. "Yes! Yes, I will marry you."
Ashi covers her mouth to stifle her joy, and Jack's mother turns to bury her face in her husband's clothed shirt, sobbing with happiness.
The wedding took place in the spring when the cherry blossoms were blooming. All of the countries and nations that had aide with Jack's training were invited to the heartwarming event. They all wanted to know who were these mysterious young women the Prince had brought back from his quest.
Ariel was decked in a lovely kimono, green as the sea, but with all the fishes etched on it. And a crown of amber and pearls was set into her hair. All was soon ready, with Ashi as maid of honor, and Vanessa, with her handmaidens, attending as bridesmaids. Ariel was slowly being led down the aisle by Jack's mother, everyone watched, even Ariel's friends and family via the shell necklace. And it was all so beautiful, and truly a magical moment.
Thus, it was a shock when Vanessa let out a scream of agony, and fell to the floor in pain.
Everyone gasped and cried out.
Ariel, Ashi, Mira, Keller and Jack's mother knelt by her side in concern. Jack quickly rushed over, kneeling at the Dark Spectre queen's side.
"Vanessa, what is wrong!?" Jack asked in concern.
"I...ahhh! I...do...not...gah...know!" She sobbed in pain, her fists so tightly clenched the green blood of hers oozed through her fingers. And then, the blood began to turn into normal looking blood, and a strange blue glow swept over her body, as cracks seemed to appear. Like a mirror, hit with a hammer, Vanessa's body seemed to shatter. But in truth her body was still there, but utterly changed from before.
Her hair, once black as midnight, was now glittering, golden, and it was thin and flowing. Like the water pouring down a waterfall. Her skin was smooth and yellow, unblemished without a single black scale, fin, or pale patch to disturb it's beauty. She was thinner, more willowy, but much taller than before. And from the hem of her dress poked out two pretty white feet, replacing the seagull ones she had before.
Vanessa, for it surely was her and no one else, clutched a hand to her chest to gasp in some hair, catching a lock of her golden hair to her heart when doing so.
Her handmaidens gasped softly in understanding. With Aku gone, the Dark Spectre Queen was no longer tainted by his evil.
"Ah..." Vanessa looked at her hands in shock, and touched her face in shock.
"Vanessa...is...is that you?" Ashi asked in concern.
"Mira!" Vanessa called out frantically.
"Yes, My Lady." Mira said turning into a mirror.
Vanessa grabbed the frame of the mirror, and stared at her face in amazement, she stared into her own, sea-green emerald eyes in awe. "I don't believe it." She runs her fingers through her silken strands with a jubilant smile. "It's me, the real me!"
Jack and Ariel look at each other in confusion.
"You...you mean, this is how you really looked?" Jack's eyes lit up in remembering. "Wait...didn't you say how Aku tainted you?"
Vanessa spun around, her smile dropped, but still looking much more cheerful than ever. "Yes, much like how he tainted you when he had that cold, and the lizard monks barely saved you," Vanessa explained. "I...was not so fortunate." She looks out of the side of her eye, at her reflection in the mirror. "I could keep it under control with the Sampo, but I was incapable of purging the toxin of Aku's evil from my body, mind and soul."
Ashi stepped forward with a look of realization. "But...he's gone now, past and future. Which means..."
"Oh, I am free of his presence forever!" Vanessa cheered, Mira turning back into her human form as Vanessa hugged her two handmaidens. And then she turned, and wrapped her arms around Jack and Ariel, kissing them on the cheek in joy. "You two have my everlasting gratitude, you've done far more for me then you can ever imagine." Vanessa whispered with tears of happiness running down her cheeks. "Ariel, your mother saved my life, or will in the future. But now, because of you, Jack and Ashi. My life can truly be enjoyed, and I can be happy!"
Jack and Ashi were surprised but glad nonetheless. Jack was momentarily speechless yet smiled with reassurance.
"You're welcome," Ashi said to her.
"But enough about me," Vanessa then pulls back and says aloud, "Sorry for the delay everyone, I'm fine. Now on with the wedding ceremony -" she placed a motherly hand on Jack and Ariel's shoulders, "These two are getting married!"
And there in the view of all their dearest friends and family the valiant Samurai and his little Mermaid were married.
It was still a little sad for the trio to say goodbye to many of those that resided in the future. Of course there was still Vanessa's gift even if it wasn't the same.
Ashi and Ariel will never forget the world they came from. But they were both more than ready to start a new life here in the distant past- Jack's world, which has now become theirs too.
Yes, it was all vastly different than what they know, but the two women adjusted in nearly no time at all. Soon afterwards, the three had spoken to scribes each relating their stories together and separately, then the tapestries describing them were made, a testament to the extraordinary event that brought two worlds together. Something that will be shared by their children and many generations to come.
AN: Sorry for the delay everyone but here it is. Just a reminder any obvious questions are done by PM NOT reviews.