So I was regretting this chapter for a number of reasons.
1: this arc was going a bit longer then I had hoped. Even going from the last chapter, I realized that in order to fit everything I wanted out of his arc that I had a lot to set up, explanation and character exploration that I would have to dish out. This was getting long. The rough script was getting was about 14k words before I decided to cut the first third of it off and make a chapter out of it.
2: I wanted to finish this arc this chapter. Red Bundle is focused on Marco and Hekapoo and this Jackie arc was suppose to just set up some lore to be used for future chapters, and set up some concepts I thought would be cool. I know that not everyone would want to spend too much time on this cause it's not what they originally signed up for. I actually considered before I started this arc in making this storyline it's own fic. It would've been red bundle, this optional story and then a sequel that continued red bundle. I decided against this cause I felt that some details found in this arc was too important to the story line I had planned. ADude, when I posted this on AO3, suggested doing maybe a side chapter to focus on what Marco and Minnie are doing and maybe I'll do that. I do have something I could do with Tom. Kind of realized I forgot about him in this story. He was mentioned in chapter one and then never again.
3: I was ultimately disappointed in Star season 4. I don't think I'm the only one. It seems like the creativity and motivation of star vs fic writers have taken a huge hit. Honestly there were a lot more stories I wanted to write that i'm probably not going to do now. They were mostly one shots and short chapter fics, but I'm not sure if I would consider it worth it anymore.
However I have gotten to invested in this particular adventure to quit or half ass it. I'm going to continue write until I get a tvtropes page, -err- I mean until this story is done.
So besides all that I went back and reread some of chapters, mostly fixed some spelling and some grammar. I did fix one or two continuity errors. The carriages of Atlantis for one were originally written as pulled by sea horses and the more I wrote the more I started to imagine them as basically underwater cars.
Also I think I changed a character's name from Harold to Sebastian and no one called me out on it. That's fixed now.
The carriage bobbed as it reached the surface only a couple steps from the vault on top of the mountain. It was pushed by the waves and heavy rain but it remained relatively in place. The side hatch slid open with a hiss, unheard in the minor storm.
Hekapoo reached her leg out. She aimed to step over the ocean onto the stairs. It didn't work out for her. She plunged down and when her feet were finally on solid ground it still left her dress soaked and heavy. She didn't dare to burn it dry despite the temptation.
Janna was behind her. She looked at the steps then at the ocean and finally at Hekapoo. She knew that it was pointless to try so she leap right in and quickly swam the small distance.
She stepped out of the water and looked ahead at the large door forged from an indeterminable metal. "What is this?"
"Somewhere we really shouldn't be." Hekapoo said quietly. It was the first time all day that Janna had heard her speak seriously.
Janna laughed. The kind of laugh that was completely in her chest. She bragged. "No problem I'm always somewhere I shouldn't be."
"You know I'm trying not to cause a diplomatic incident between Atlantis and Mewni." Hekapoo said like an exhausted parent, which ya she was, even if the girl in front of her wasn't her spawn.
"What? You're saying we should go?" Janna asked. It was only to be polite. The answer didn't matter to her.
Hekapoo took a step up. "I'm saying not to get caught."
Earlier that day the commissioner had found the girl's room. She knew it was the girl's room cause said girl was standing next to the door. Her back pushed against the wall as her finger tapped a quick rhythm.
Hekapoo took position on the wall onl the other side of the door. "sup kid."
"what, you're checking up on me?" Janna asked, but her eyes ignored the women, instead they slowly wander on the opposite ends of the hall.
"Got bored with the partying. This was more interesting?" Hekapoo couldn't really convince herself of that reasoning. The pathway was dead. Any party was downstairs.
"Huh." Janna hummed. She peered upwards. "Usually I'm on the other side of this. Snooping is my thing. I feel like Diaz right now."
The hat wearing girl didn't look that great to begin with, but she seemed suddenly ill at the revelation.
"You look about ready for a Marco sized freak out." Hekapoo joked before adopted her 'consulting face' "Talk didn't go well?"
"Talk didn't go at all." Janna corrected. "Jackie's not here. Guess I'm stuck till she gets back. Not like she'll abandon me. She's my ride."
"I can help with that." Hekapoo offered. "Wanna learn some magic kid?"
The door snapped open. Even with the door stop the slam rang through the hotel. Hekapoo stood there, one shoe in the air.
She stepped in, Janna not far behind her and the two girls ignored any cracks that Hekapoo might've created with the breach. Neither cared that Janna had a key.
"Hope you don't have anything illegal in here." Hekapoo took the moment to check out the suite. It didn't look too different then her own. She joked, "As a commissioner I'd have to arrest you."
"You tried to get me to drink underage."
"This where the deed was done?" Hekapoo didn't have the time for such logic. Janna was annoyed at the reference to the previous night. She crossed her arms, but the entity explained, "Need the princess's essence."
"Where else?" Janna shrugged at what she believed was the dumbest question.
The red haired women smiled devilishly as her eyes darted to various surfaces in the room.
"Nevermind." Janna brought an arm up in 'stop' motion. "I realized how stupid that question was the moment it left my mouth. You're gonna teach me the spell or what?"
"Okay." Hekapoo found amusement in the gruff. "Come here."
She pressed down on the other girl's shoulder, compelling her to nod her head to the side. Then came a barrage of hiss and whispers. The combination only briefly pausing to let the human girl nod to indicate that she understood.
Janna straightened back up when Hekapoo was done reciting to her. She stepped forward so that her knees were caressing the side of the mattress.
The girl opened her mouth and magic flew out.
Not magic as in the energy but the words she chanting could only be described as magic. The spell left her tongue and seemed to wrap physically around the bed.
The sheets rose and as they did they took shape. They made the cookie cutter silhouette of a girl that was very familiar to Janna.
The sheets slipped off like they would for anyone who lifted themselves off of a bed, but even though the shape was so perfect that Janna could be convinced that a person were underneath them, there was no one. There was only a cloud. A cloud that center had strains of fallen hair and loose skin that naturally fell off of anyone with time. It was probably the only evidence left that Jackie had once laid there and it was just floating in front of her in mostly imaginary form.
"Okay" The other one in the room had an academic tone, like she was trying to calculate in her head a grade to assign Janna. "Now grab it."
Janna reached. Her left pointer approached where she was sure that a hand was. She stopped when she felt a heat on the edge of the finger. She had to push out a deep breath that she didn't realize was trapped in her chest. She quickly swung her right arm so she could grasp the form with both hands.
There was something solid there for just a second, but then it all broke down like a balloon popping from too much pressure.
Janna kept her hands there, like maybe it was just a skip in reality and the spell hadn't completely broke in front of her leaving only the mundane bed. "Did I say something wrong?"
"No. Your pronunciation was good. Perfect actually." Hekapoo could've even have said 'textbook' if that particular spell had existed in a textbook somewhere.
"Then what gives?"
"Forget about for now." Hekapoo looked like she wanted to say something, but she shook her head instead. She stepped forward and gently shoved Janna out of the way so she could inherit her place. "I'll handle it."
Without breathing a spell much like Janna had, Hekapoo lifted one arm. The energy formed once more.
This lead to the two in front of the vault door in the middle of rough waters. This lead to a very unhappy Hekapoo.
"I was afraid of this. Trail stops here." Or at the very least the trail continued on the other end of the door.
"What, you can't just like push or something?" Janna asked.
"There's next to no way even I could get in there." Hekapoo shook her head. Her atlantian trivia was rusty, admittedly, but she wouldn't forget how important the vault was. "I can't make any portals around here and whoever made that gate, made it to last. Getting in there would require an explosion big enough to level the entire length of the kingdom."
It was either a sign of frustration or rebellion that made Janna push forward anyway. She slapped the door and it budged.
The gate made a rumbling sound, like a bag of bones.
"What did you do now?" Hekapoo bursted out. She stomped inside to the now open bank.
Janna stated the obvious. "Opened it?"
"No one is suppose to be able to open this unless you're-" The commissioner saw something inside of the bank. Her bluster fell immediately. "Oh. Wait. False alarm. Wasn't you."
"I know?" Janna might've went for the blind push, but that was it. She didn't actually think had the strength to force such a massive structure to open. She started to walk forward, but Hekapoo wasn't following. Janna ended up tracing a radius around the other girl who eyes were firmly on the walls just behind where the vault door guarded.
There were runes there. Emphasis on 'were'. There was a circle of ancient writing that went up from one wall to the ceiling and came back around but it just stopped at one point. There was a giant indent in the wall, like someone punched a hole into it. No it was too smooth. It was more like it cracked and then melted.
Hekapoo knew that the door was nearly indestructible, but the same couldn't be sad about the interior apparently.
"We gotta go." Janna refused to allow the distraction to continue. She trended further in. Hekappo nodded and followed but that didn't really matter to Janna. She was continuing on no matter what.
Janna eventually found Jackid and her heart sank to her stomach. Jackie was unresponsive. She was laying down in a large room taken mostly by a large cracked statue. Half of her buried in a trove of gold as the sea started to seep in from the outside. She held the girl and brought her to her lap. There was a wetness around the back of her neck. Janna palm was covered in red. She rubbed her fingers together. Her hand was sticky.
Janna scoped her hand back under the girl's back. "Jackie you have to wake up." She choked something down her throat either a curse of a prayer as she shook the girl's arm. "Jackie."
Hekapoo had been standing not too far away. She had just been standing there. Her stare laser focus on the statue in the room. The way it was sculpted, it looked like some combination of a snail and octopus if either one had spikes on the soft parts of their body. It's tentacles all pointed in front of it, at a small opening where something looked like it was pulled out.
She was snapped out of her examinations by Janna's distress.
"Quit it." Her voice was stern. She bent down joining her current partner in crime next to the unresponsive girl. She had to pry her out of Janna grip but panic or no panic, Hekapoo was stronger. She examined the wound. Most of the blood at the base of her neck was dry. The gash looked like it had been large, but it also looked like it had been superficial. Strange for the location of such a wound. The only grim looking thing was a long lump that was there. Traumatized skin leading to an ugly scar? That could've been it.
Hekapoo circled the abnormality with her pointer finger before stabbing her nail in the dead center of it. She wasn't trying to pick at it, she just wanted to test the softness of it. It wasn't soft at all. It felt like stone or metal and as she tapped it the dried blood freckled away from it like ash from a blaze. What was left was a sea blue shard.
The finger left the crystal and pressed down at the side of her neck.
"Fast," Hekapoo checked her pulse. "Way too fast."
It beat her not having a pulse at all.
"Come on. My dress is getting wet." Hekapoo pinched down on the hem of her dress, wringing out a bit of water. The vault was starting to float, which probably wasn't unusual for an atlantian safehouse, even one built on the surface. "Let's head back to the rental."
"Is she going to be okay?" Janna asked.
Hekapoo just heaped the princess back fully on Janna's legs. She stood. "I said 'let's go'"
She was determined to escape with or without her self assigned charges.
Janna, to be fair, wasn't far behind. She scooped the blonde up and followed closely.
Jackie woke up, much like she woke up the previous morning. She was in a hotel room. She was alone underneath the covers. Maybe her brother had killed her and now she was in some sort of time loop.
No, there wasn't so much noise last time. She noticed the bleeping first. It was a piercing noise. When she dug through her memory it reminded Jackie of several machines she saw whenever she visited her dad at the hospital.
At the feet of her bed were a whole bunch of machines and like the ones at the hospital she couldn't tell what they did. The difference were that these looked more arcanic or maybe she could just describe them as strange.
The second thing that Jackie heard was snoring. When she turned on her side she saw Janna. She was slumped sideways on a chair. Her back was bent far enough that she had one arm laying on the mattress.
Jackie looked down at her friend's hand and place one hand over her's.
"Hello." Jackie peeped.
Janna's response was to let out a roar of a snort.
Jackie watched her sleeping friend breath for a moment. Then without any influence Jackie reeled her hand back. A frown started to form.
She looked like she wanted to say something.
The door smashed open. Hekapoo came in with a bucket of ice. Without looking at the girl in the bed, she took a sharp turn to the bathroom. There was a crashing sound and when she walked out the bucket was empty.
Her eye caught Jackie's.
"Oh the sleeper has awoken. Guess there was no need to fill up the bathtub." Hekapoo opened the suite door and chucked the container down the hall. She wandered over to the bedside. "I couldn't be found with a corpse. I did not want to be in the middle of a diplomatic incident right now. Really not good timing."
"Who are you?" Jackie half sat up. It was a slow process.
"The woman who saved your skin."
"Hekapoo." The named announced "I'm someone your friend and one night stand dragged to help in when you went missing."
Jackie took another look at the equipment at the foot of her bed. It had new meaning. "Kind of hoping that was a paranoia induced dream."
"Nope." Cheered Hekapoo. She stood with almost none of the carefulness one would expect. "You nearly bit it."
"I got stabbed with a trident." Jackie subconsciously reached for the back of neck. She stopped before touching it. There was something there.
Hekapoo reached for something from underneath the girl's bed. It was a long black sheet. Hekapoo lit something, that Jackie couldn't see, behind it.
It was an x-ray of some kind.
In it Jackie saw the back of her head, her neck and her spine. She saw what was in her and how far it went. It was long and sharp but even straightening her back and nodding her head, she didn't feel any pain. Not from the point at least.
"Explains what this was." Hekapoo's chin leaned over the image. She pointed at it. "That trident, when it went through you hit bone and snapped."
Hekapoo clenched her hand like she was physically cracking something. "Thing acted like a plug, stopping the bleeding."
"That so?" Jackie asked.
Hekapoo made a 'psh' with her mouth before laughing."I dunno. I can't think of any other reason the physical damage didn't end you." She dropped the sheet and started to scratch behind her ear. "Magically: there was a whole barrage of things running through your system. I can only imagine that there were so many effects that your body couldn't figure out which one it wanted to do you in. I stepped in, and-" Hekapoo paused as she figured out the exact way she wanted to explain it. "I didn't exactly clear it out, exactly, but I helped it all run its course. You seem to be safe now."
She couldn't say she did a perfect job, but Jackie was alive. Hekapoo figured that was better than most could do in her situation.
There wasn't a lot Jackie could say. She almost died. That was a heavy feeling. She could only try to express it. It didn't seem like enough but she began with "Thank you."
"Yaya." Hekapoo was either unimpressed or uninterested in her gratitude. "Now if I'm being honest. I did a lot but none of it should've been as effective as it turned out to be. I was telling your friend to stay calm the whole time cause her freaking out was distracting me, but I'm pretty sure you shouldn't be y'know alive." She wasn't joking and honestly she was not prepared to dig deeper into the mystery of the miracle. "Just if you start to feel weird, don't keep it to yourself or you might kneel over. Got it?"
Jackie opened her mouth to utter another thanks, but she thought better of it, "Got it."
"Good." Hekapoo felt tension leave her body. "Now-"
She twisted herself to the chair where Janna was laying like a sack of potatoes and kicked it over.
To Janna's credit, while Jackie whined as she tumbled onto the floor like a drowning fish, Janna only looked surprised.
"Whats up." Janna's neck swung from Hekapoo to Jackie back to Hekapoo.
"Morning" Hekapoo greeted.
"She kicked your chair from under you." Jackie explained.
The commissioner only shrugged. "It was time for her to get up."
Janna rubbed her side underneath her clothes as she started to get up. "Man, she makes me feel like Diaz."
Maybe it was a sign that she should apologize to Marco when they made it back home.
Ya, no. It wasn't going to happen. The thought of it made bile gurgle to the back of her throat.
"Come on." Jackie was able to beat Janna to her feet. She just craned her feet over, dragging the blanket along with them. She offered a hand. "Let me help."
"You sure you should be up?" Janna asked but she took Jackie's hand anyway. Soon their other hands joined in and Jackie lifted Janna with a firemen's grip.
"No" Jackie admitted, "but we don't have time for me to sit out. Jacob and the queen tried to kill me."
Janna blinked. She stood there for a moment like she was trying to calculate what she should do with the information. It was expected considering where she was and who she was spending time with, but expecting it and hearing confirmation was two different things. "Ya? Didn't really like those guys to begin with.".
Hekapoo on the other hand must've got a sudden headache as she pitched tightly on her temples. Being in the center of an assassination plot was not something she had planned, yet alone a royal assassination plot.
"Of course this happens during my break. Okay everyone to the rental." Hekapoo said, referring to her rental vehicle. She opened the door and then paused.
Hekapoo stabbed a finger into the air and let a flame pop out. She drew a quick circle with the digit and where the fire trailed behind it part of the blaze flared up all at once and the very next moment it died, leaving a silk scarf in its wake. It was a matching yellow to Hekapoo's dress, even having the same orange line at one end.
She wrapped it loose around Jackie's head and face. "Keep that on. If you are a princess, the guards will know your face and until they dig deeper into that vault they should think you're dead."
Jackie and Janna gained the impression of Atlantis as a big city as soon as they arrived so it was appropriate that it had a parking garage much like a big city. It looked like one from the outside at least.
They weren't allowed in even with Hekapoo standing on her toes to stare and flare her nose at the guard. "What the hell do you mean I can't go out for a drive?"
The guard for her part didn't flinch. Probably used to what she saw as entitled tourist.
"We are sorry for the inconvenience m'am," she said not looking at all sorry, "but for security reasons we cannot allow guest to the nation to set out. If one would like to see the coronation then one can take the appropriate shuttle as directed by the list."
Jackie tilted her head.
The guard managing some amount of energy lifted her spear to the direction of a small plastic sign strung up on the wall.
She had barely touched it before said sign was sent crashing down by gravity.
The guard sighed either because that wasn't the first time it happened or she just couldn't be bothered by anything that particular day. She bent over to pick it and then immediately dropped it.
It wasn't easy. she was still holding a spear so she only had one hand to do it. She had to dig her nails right under it, and squeeze her thumb against it so it wouldn't slip through her grip. She got it up well enough, even if it was a bit crooked.
"The list." The guard repeated. It wasn't as if her presenting it formally provided any new information. It just told them that the coronation was today, no one can drive for security reasons, and this ban will last for a twenty-four hour window.
Hekapoo groaned before casually addressing the two girls with little to no regard for the guard. "You two don't wanna wait like a day before fleeing the country for your lives, right?"
The guard opened one eye wide and gave the group a once over. She stopped at Jackie who was trying hard to shrink back. "Do I know you?"
"No." Jackie exclaimed as convincingly as she could while desperately tightening the scarf on her face. This was moments before she yanked her friends' hands, dragging them as she fled.
"Hey wait." The words believe left the knight's mouth before any energy she had shriveled up and died. "Whatever."
They probably made it halfway across the land friendly part of town before Jackie let her friend's go. Jackie was good afterwards, but Janna, while not a stranger to having a quick escape, wasn't as athletic. She had to push against her knees to keep herself propped up.
"So that-" Janna took a deep breath to finish her sentence "-was a bust."
Jackie turned to Hekapoo who didn't look a bit tired, though she was probably annoyed being manhandled by someone she met that very day. "Anything we can do?"
"Not with your friend here." Hekapoo pointed at Janna.
"What?" Janna stood straight.
"Princess here is a atlantian." Hekapoo motioned to the blonde before gesturing to herself, "and I don't really do that drowning thing that some mortals do. You're the only one really stopping us from going anywhere."
"Can't you just magic up a solution here." Janna said as if it was that easy.
"Haha, funny." Hekapoo mocked laughed. "The foundation is built so I or anyone else can't make portals. From what I can tell the only thing we can do is sit back for a day and hope we don't get caught. Hope you've gotten attached to that sash, unless you can pull something out of your ass."
That is when Jackie felt something tugging on her shoulder.
It probably wasn't the most elegant thing, the fact that her first instinct was to make a 180 degree turn and swung wildly at whoever, but Jackie had been having a very stressful week.
The stranger jumped back. It was lucky, considering that punch looked like it carried enough force to knock their mug clean off their face.
"Oh sorry, sorry." The voice was young and familiar to Jackie. The stranger covered her face. She dodged the first hit, but obviously wasn't confident she could evade another as her arms guarded her face.
Jackie had another fist in the air when she realized that it wasn't just the voice that was familiar. She've seen that purple hair and dark skin just the day before.
Not feeling a blow, the girl peeked through her forearms. Then seeing Jackie frozen she relaxed.
"Hi," she apologized without saying an apology. "Hello new friend."
"Sorry," It was hard to tell if Jackie was talking about the attempted assault or because she couldn't recall her name.
"Tanya." The girl filled in the blank. "From Auntie Nelli's. That my gran's shop, restaurant. She's a bit too old to be called 'aunt', but I don't get to choose the name."
As it turned out her ability to babble was not at all hinder when she was actually required to breath.
"So I remembered you from y'know yesterday." Tanya continued. The meeting must've meant a lot to her, but for Jackie the memory got lost between learning that her family lied to her and said family trying to murder her in cold blood. "You sort of ran out and I don't know what grandma and all her friends did to make you upset but I am so so sorry about them, but hey you paid so we technically still owe you a meal if you want to stop by the store again."
She squeaked as she finished her proposition.
'Tanya' was actually sharing a bit intensely at Jackie. It was like standing in a spot light. The fugitive princess realized something as she reached out for the sash that her face was wrapped in. She asked, "How did you know I was me?"
"Oh well." Tanya fumbled. It felt like she clearly had an answer in reach, but she didn't want to say it. She shrunk before answering ,"You kind of have gorgeous eyes."
Jackie blinked. She didn't really have a follow up to that. Tanya for her part started to sweat as green eyes seem to silently dig into her. Luckily someone stepped in, literally.
Janna, silent until now, moved in front of her friend. "Hey sup."
"Oh, hello there." Tanya greeted. A few emotions flashed on her face before but she seemed dedicated to give this person new to her undivided attention. "Are you two gal pals? Compadres? Sisters from different misters?"
She probably would've went on if Jackie hadn't piped up. "Ya, we're friends." Jackie tugged on her scarf, getting a better look at the girl, while giving a better look of her own face. "Did you mean what you said about my eyes?"
Tanya face tinted red. She given the impression that she was a talker but no words came to her at that moment.
"Hey sorry." Janna said, not actually sorry. "whatever your name."
"-but we're sort of in a pitch and it's gonna be a busy day."
"Oh really?" Hekapoo mused. She crossed her arms, but she looked like she wanted to laugh. "You got a carriage under your hat? Cause you can't get home without a carriage." Unless they could find a way home, they were relaxing for the day.
"Then we'll find a carriage." Janna said sternly.
"Um. I have a carriage" Tanya raised her hand and then immediately flinched when the girls' attention went back to her. "And the papers to ride them during the coronation. Or rather grandma Nelli has those. We can borrow those. Do whatever you want. Even go on a joy ride. Can we go on a joy ride?"
She started low energy but started to bounce at the idea of spending time with girls her own age for once.
Hekapoo looked at Janna.
Janna looked at Hekapoo.
Hekapoo looked at Jackie.
Janna looked at Jackie.
Jackie nodded. "It's worth a shot."
Tanya's grandma was found not too far away, packing the carriage that was presumably their way out. She was all smiles.
"Of course you can borrow my carriage." She assured them before stuffing some folded up table clothes into the back of the carriage. "We just have to do one little thing first."
Tanya threw her head back in a groan "Granny Nelli."
"Work first," Grandma scolded, "play later."
Jackie averted a family spat. "What do you need?
Nelli smiled at the eager young person. "Well today is the coronation."
"We are aware." Janna remarked.
The woman continued. "And me and my tiny Tanya are going to be serving lunch all by ourselves." She seemed to grow wary like she was trying to make herself seem more tired then she actually was.
"Yes and about a hundred other booths." Tanya whined. Looks like the coronation bought in just about every restaurant in the kingdom. A fact that the girl didn't like. "No way we're even catch a glimpse of the prince."
"You're going to be serving lunch at the vault?" Jackie asked.
"At the castle." Grandma Nelli corrected. "The celebration moves over to the vault later. We don't have to move anything when we switch locations so I don't see why you can't borrow the carriage after the lunch if you are careful." She leaned in, putting a lot of stress on 'careful.' "Are you listening, Tanya?"
Tanya bouncing excitedly, barely regarded her grandma's words. "Ya, careful, right."
"and we just have to do is help with the lunch crowd?" Jackie considered.
Janna warned, "Jackie" like the girl didn't see the obvious hole in the plan.
"We can do that."
Tanya squealed. She looked like she wanted to hug someone. She resisted and clapped her hands as her bouncing went into overdrive. "Oh this is going to be so much fun."
There was a loud rolling cough. Everyone looked over at Janna. There was another one soon after, just in case no one got the message the first time around.
"Oh I see you dear." Nelli's face lit up. Janna had to disagree cause she wasn't exactly the one who's attention she was trying to get.
"You don't have to worry about a thing. Where did i put that?" The older woman dug into the truck, moving aside a few items. "Aha. I knew it was still here."
It was a brass colored suit. It had a few red buttons and knobs but it was mostly the same uniform brown-gold color. It was full body, which made sense considering what Janna thought the suit was made for. The only opening was the face, covered in something transparent. Janna didn't know what it was. Besides that the only thing that really stood out was an ornament that stuck out the head part. It looked like a shoe shaped magnet.
"I used to have a worker who was a land lover." Nelli explained. "She used to have to wear this old thing eight hours straight."
A look was shot over at her granddaughter as she handed the suit over to Janna. "You remember that Tanya? Oh my grand baby had the biggest crush."
"Grandma, that was forever ago." Tanya hissed. Her voice was small as she added, "I was like eight."
"Come now, you can put it on in the carriage." Said the girl's temporary boss for the next few hours. She shut down the truck and leaped over to the driver side of the carriage. "I'll keep it drained for you."
Tanya got in the back and Janna hesitated but followed her anyway. Jackie didn't get the chance before a chalk white hand grabbed her shoulder.
"Y'know." Hekapoo started. "It would be a real shame if I brought you from the brink only for you to die again a couple hours later."
The blonde sighed. It wasn't as if she didn't know the risk. They were essentially going straight to the enemy. She already escaped death once and was just pressing her luck.
"This whole place makes me itch." Jackie knew her justification sounded weak, but it was the truth. "I want out. We just have to sit in a booth for a couple of hours. There's no way we run into them."
She shrugged. As an afterthought Jackie added, "Besides, the castle is the last place they would look for me."
"They already think you're dead, remember?" Hekapoo had to hush her yell so that the granddaughter grandmother pair wouldn't hear her plight. She didn't think she had to remind Jackie that anywhere but where they dumped her was the last place they would look. "That's probably the best smokescreen you can get."
The entity stepped back. She had to make sure the other girl knew what was at stake. "Listen I've been trying to keep you out of the ground for a friend, but I'm kind of a big deal. I can't get caught in the middle of a scandal in a foreign country. I'm sticking around in case that shard in your skull acts up," the back of Jackie's skull itch just from Hekapoo pointing at the shard's general direction. "If we get discovered both you and your friend are on your own. I can't protect you."
"I wasn't asking for that." Jackie stated.
Tanya leaned over from the backseat. She pulled gently on both her grandmother's and Hekapoo's chair. She apologized to the commissioner, "Sorry we don't have another suit."
"Don't need one." Hekapoo shrugged. "Oxygen is for the weak, right?"
The purple hair mermaid sat back and smiled, "Right."
She then remembered that one of the girls on her side definitely did need oxygen. Tanya spilled words at Janna who just got her suit over her shoulders. "Not that I'm saying that anyone in here is weak. In fact everyone here is really cool. Cool as a cucumber. Cool beans."
The girl tried to play it as smoothly as possible. A movement that died as she continued to ramble. "Other fruits and veggies. Does it seem like I can't stop talking?" Her breathing grew irregular. "Cause it feels like I can't stop talking."
There was a spasm down her spine. It took probably longer then it should've for Tanya to realize that she wasn't seizuring out. A hand was rubbing her upper back.
"Breath girl." Jackie instructed.
"Ya, I can totally do that." Tanya relaxed and even tried to smile. "Even if I don't do that in dry land too often.
Jackie's hand continued to rub Tanya's upper back slowly.
"That feels nice." Tanya let out a long breath. She laughed like it tickled but she was calming down. "Like really nice."
Janna avoided whatever was going on next to her. She had no choice but to look outside even if there wasn't much to look at. The normally light ocean was dark, far darker then the time of day it should've been. The water seemed rough out there.
This didn't escape Hekapoo's notice.
"The water currents are starting to get intense." Hekapoo made conversation with the elderly woman driving. "You sure you're going to alright swimming to the vault after this?"
She got a laugh out of her. "Don't worry about a single thing. When I was a little girl I used to be able to swim miles through tsunamis to and from school. This I can handle."
The set up was basically a small green four wall tent a half mile away from the castle itself. In Jackie's opinion they could be further away, but it was still far enough.
Tanya slipped below one side, letting the flap drop behind her head as she brought in a huge crate. She pushed it down, kicking up some sand.
"Okay." She said telepathically. "I think this is going to work out fine. We get this done and we can fool around."
Jackie floated next to a table with a knife in one hand and some squishy tentacle in the other. She held it down to a plate. "I feel a bit bad letting your gram do all the leg work."
There was a table out front. Nelli was the face getting orders and serving food. She didn't really stand out jammed between the long lines of other booths.
"ooo, legwork. That's a really cute land pun." It was strange seeing someone laugh so loud without actually moving their face. "It's cause your friends use their legs so much."
Hekapoo was mixing something in a pan. It was simmering over a volcano looking heater. Jackie didn't recognize the ingredients but Hekapoo seem to. Telepathy was a simple enough trick for the commissioner. "Don't act too guilty kid."
It was safer for them to be cooped away then risk bumming into Jacob or worse the queen. They gave an excuse to Tanya and her grandmother. They basically implied that they weren't use to swimming around so much, especially this deep in the sea. It wasn't untrue considering Jackie lived on Earth most her life and Janna and Hekapoo had neither gill or fin.
Janna floated by Hekapoo. She was basically tossing what Jackie could only assume were spices at dishes. Janna mouth was moving, anyone could see her face in the suit she had to wear, but there was a delay. She would say something and then the ornament on her helmet would glow and transmit what she said. "If you're going to feel bad about anything then maybe feel bad that you're working in a kitchen and you can't cook."
"You guys are cooking." Jackie knew better than to defend herself. She pointed a knife at the wooden slab in front of her. There was some vegetable that looked like a cross between a cucumber and a potato. "I'm just cutting."
"and how is that going?"
"Good." Jackie said as she slowly separated another uneven lump from the pocumto.
Tanya was quick on her feet, a weird expression to use considering no feet, but it meant she was able to slip from crates to Jackie in no time flat. "You need any help?"
"I wouldn't want to bother you." Jackie said, but her eyes didn't leave the veggie that was currently causing her distress.
Tanya chuckled. "You could never bother me."
"Okay," Jackie nodded slowly like she was thinking it over, but she held the knife loosely and offered her arm to the young chief. "Could you show me how?"
"Of course." Tanya nodded and she proceeded like a good teacher would. She swerved behind the blonde and reached over her back so she could hold both arms. "Now move your hands like this."
Janna threw a handful of spice onto a plate, and than another and than another. She had an eye on the two girls as she reached for yet another pile of flavor.
Hekapoo noticed and before Janna could throw another pitch she threw a smug smile. "Gotta love the teen love drama."
"Guess you wouldn't know anything about that," Janna snared, "'mom.'"
Hekapoo eyes widened for a fraction of a second, but she just rolled her eyes at the teen. She went back to attending the stove with a comment.
"You're good at this." Jackie couldn't help but notice that her cuts were no longer coming out as chucks but as slices. "Then again I did hear a sparkling recommendation for you to open your own place."
"You remember that?" Tanya smiled. She had expected that the old man at her store to be a quickly forgotten memory. His passing comments couldn't have been important to the other girl. "Pssh, ol Barry just saying that. He's been spoiling me since I was a kid."
Tanya guided Jackie's hand down on a few more cuts. "Not that I couldn't open up my own shop. I'd probably be able to make it a hit too." With a final slice the pocumber was as separated as it would ever be. "I know what the people of Atlantis want."
Nelli poked her head though the tent and Tanya was grateful that she was just separating herself from the altantian royalty. She just had to move a bit quicker. The woman scanned the makeshift kitchen and smiled. "How you girls doing?"
"A ok, grandma Nelli." Tanya looked like she had just swam a marathon. Jackie didn't know that it was possible for someone's voice to crack telepathically.
"Got a few more orders for you." Nelli didn't have to swim in. Tanya went to get the receipts from her. "They're going hard on the eel. We might have to get the extra out of the carriage."
"I'll handle it." Janna volunteered. "Thomas. Help me out."
The grandmother-granddaughter duo took it in stride as they should've but Jackie actually paused. It felt enough like a skip in reality that she pulled another veggie out of the crate and nearly slice right though before the order reached her brain. After that she had to trail awkwardly behind her friend before she got the crate out of the vehicle by herself, making Jackie look like an ass.
The truck was actually opened by Janna. Jackie had thought that maybe the girl was using the eel as an excuse to skip out of the temporary arrangement, but no, Janna was working.
She didn't take out the crate though. She just sighed before spinning in pace. Her rear pressed against the carriage's. She was effectively sitting with her feet dangling down. "Jackie. Whats up?"
"Y'know," Jackie joked, "doing the whole fugitive from the law thing."
"I don't mean that."
Jackie met a flat expression, she had to bring one of her own. "What do you mean Jan?"
"You know, I'm good at cutting things up too." She looked uncomfortable. Jackie wondered how anyone at school would react to the sigh of Janna of all people being awkward. "I think I'm imagining it but it almost seems like you're being-"
"Being?" Jackie helped.
"You're just off." Janna shrugged. She cranked her neck to one side. "I dunno. Like you only met this girl yesterday and I know you're friendly. Even though that's not my style, it's something I thought is really cool about you but this is a bit extreme."
The girl in the diving suit straightened her neck back up. She had to say it out straight. "I didn't even think you liked girls."
"Who said I didn't like girls?" Jackie pressed. "I'm pretty sure we disproved that two days ago."
Janna blinked. She hadn't forgotten, obviously. It was just that she felt bad about it, but on the other hand Jackie apparently saw the entire thing in a different light then she had. Either way she just sat there letting her mind calculate it all.
"Maybe I just like hearing good things about me." Jackie confessed. "Maybe I like the support. Like I know that I'm good looking and anyone would be willing to tell me that, but I really think I need that in the middle of all this."
"Why didn't you stay Janna?" Jackie didn't shout, but Janna was sure she would've if they weren't in such a crowded place. "You said you would stay by me but I woke up alone and everything just went south after that. I don't blame you for my birth family being crazy. It's just-"
It was a long moment before Jackie spoke again. It was easy to assume she was just going to trail off, but she continued. "It was suppose to be you and me against the world, but then it was just me."
Janna wanted to do something, say anything but her thoughts were swirling around. She opened her mouth.
"Oh shoot." There was a thought on the other side of the tent. Tanya overpowered the bustle of the crowds.
A look was exchange and the two girls swam back, forgetting the parcel they came for to begin with. Back in the tent Hekapoo was the only one still working. They could see Tanya and Nelli had their noses out, spying on something in the distance. They didn't feel it was rude to join them.
"Shoot shoot shoot. Granny, do you see who's coming this way?" Tanya said as if her grandmother was taking in the same sight she had been. "Is he coming this way?" Tanya second guessed. "Oh he is definitely coming this way. This is not a drill. A real MVP is going to eat our food."
The giddy girl swam up and over the gang and went back to the thick of it. She left her grandmother to gently stare at the sight. Jacob was here. That wasn't a surprise, it was his coronation, but he was making his way to the tent.
He greeted each booth. With a trident in one hand, the prince reached for a few samples with the other. The caterers reached to give him samples in turn. It wasn't exactly a small crowd around him. He didn't rest at any one group though and it seemed his round would find him at the girls' particular tent sooner rather than later.
"Well I wouldn't believe it if I didn't see it with my own eyes." Nelli said, her arm still slightly lifting the tent.
She didn't pay attention to the other girl's there.
"Jackie." Janna nudged the girl. "You're gonna have to duck."
"I can see that." Jackie took a second to close her eyes. The trident in Jacob's hand looked familiar. The tip of it was broken. She muttered, "Guess Tanya was wrong about the prince not getting too close."
Jackie had an idea of where she could go. She started to move but she realized she was the only one. "You're not going to hide too?"
Janna gestured to herself. "Let's bank on him not recognizing me in this get up or maybe he'll just think all us earth people look the same. We shouldn't put our eggs in one basket."
Janna gave a few quick side glances. "Just tell them I had to go to the bathroom."
The banquet was outside, so the castle should be empty. That was the logic Jackie went by. She could sneak in and maybe duck under some diner room table or whatever and she should be good for a half hour.
That is maybe why she wasn't taking the potential danger that seriously. Her sneaking around the castle was akin to a leisurely stroll or the underwater equivalent to a stroll. She felt relaxed. For a moment she was alone with nothing but her own thoughts.
Well her own thoughts and someone else's.
She had heard that voice before. Jackie looked in front of her and back behind her. There was no one else in the hall. She doubted that anyone was in the castle at all. It's why she chose it as a hiding spot after all.
"Great, here we go again." Jackie thought quietly. She tried to send a message to the voice, but she didn't know where to send her mediations to. She didn't even know if the stranger was anywhere her mind could reach. "I don't know who you are, but I'm still mad at you. You nearly got me killed."
"And you're choosing to remain cryptic."
Jackie stopped swimming too. She was waiting for the other shoe to drop, but nothing came. She felt almost cheated that there wasn't a little bit of excitement.
"Well thanks." Jackie said curtly. "At least you haven't led me to my death this time around."
There was a screech. Jackie flipped around just in time to see a door finish opening. There was the kneejerk reaction to flee; to hide but it was far too late for that. She was already seen. She knew that and queen knew that she knew that.
Her mother floated there. There was an undone necklace around her neck, but as the queen straightened herself, she finished clasping it. A bubble escaped her mouth as she breathed out deeply.
There were sparks around her arms. Jackie had no doubt about it this time.
The queen paused. Jackie paused also. She hadn't realized that she was then one who spoke at first, but once she had said it, she knew she had to back it up. "We're not in the middle of a busy market or on a rock in the middle of nowhere. You step towards me and I'll let out a psychic shriek that everyone will hear."
The queen glared. The sparks grew violent. There was a certainty that she would try it anyway. She was royalty and this was her castle. What difference would it make if she screamed. The queen could call her an intruder and that would be it. Her actions would be seen as justifiable.
Lucky for her the queen blinked first.
The sparks died.
"You are just no fun."
For fun I'm going to put some fanfic prompts here. Basically just listing some stories that I'm probably won't have time to write or just don't feel up to:
1: Marco's and Star's daughter comes from the future to prevent some great evil from taking over Earth and Mewni. In reality she came back to hit on a teenage Tom.
2. At the end of Star Vs the magical high commission reincarnate like Meteora. Raise by Janna's parents and later Janna herself, the teenage troublemaker 'Helen' has a conversation with the school counselor, Marco Diaz.
3. Instead of becoming Star's squire, Marco becomes Hekapoo's.
4. Instead of becoming Kelly's smooch buddy, Marco becomes Janna's.
5. Star continues to wander inside her wand. She eventually realizes that she failed in finding the thing that doesn't belong and has been replaced.
6. A persona crossover. Marco finds himself in the velvet room. Instead of the normal arcana, he has four social links to the minor arcana. Eventually it's realized that this is because he was never suppose to have the wild card and the power gets transfer to the rightful owner Star.
7. An AU. The Butterfly family has been hiding a secret. The true power of the wand is an ancient monster sealed inside. In order to keep the monster trapped each Queen has to transform their first love into a monster.