Past the Ship's Graveyard, past the Canyon of Rocks, down, into the ravine filled with purple geysers that spewed noxious gas, a skeleton of a monster long forgotten sat. A pair of jaws large enough to swallow a whale gaped as if frozen in its last dying scream. Wendy stopped right in front thankful that the jaws were so large so there was plenty of room to swim between the dead, but still razor sharp, teeth.
She bit her lip as her heart and courage flutter for a moment.
"This way." Trigger and Nutsy said in unison.
Taking a nervous gulp, she entered the belly of the beast. The hallways were dark, and the two vultures led the way, and a nervous Wendy followed them. But as they went in further, she heard a moaning and howling sound as they entered the next hallway. The deeper they were in, the louder it got, as Wendy looked down and noticed something moving along the bottom. She then paled in fright as some light shined in and showed the horrifying polyps. And then suddenly, one of them shot at her, wrapping around her wrist. She struggled, trying to pull it off, until one final tug, she broke free. In fear, she swam fast to the vultures' side as they reached their final destination.
It was a room with a huge conch hung from the ceiling, along with a few shelves full of strange concoctions, a vanity mirror, and a cauldron shaped like a closed clawed hand. It was when they entered the room. "Come in. Come in, my child. We mustn't lurk in doorways." Grimhilde spoke up from the conch.
Wendy nervously came in, and she saw Grimhilde slithering her way out of the conch and landing on the floor, as she quirking, "It's rude."
An orange seashell necklace hovered around her neck.
Grimhilde strutted towards a vanity in the corner and her words brought Wendy out of her amazed stupor.
"One MIGHT question your upbringing." she chuckled, sat down examining herself in the mirror.
"Now, then." Grimhilde said, as one of her long, dark tentacles squirted some foaming hair gel from a shell-shaped bottle. "You're here because you have a thing for this human. This, er, flying boy fellow." She took off her crown and headpiece, and her red nails ran through her black hair before she placed her crown and headpiece back on her head. "Not that I blame you - he is quite a catch, isn't he?"
"Well, Neverland girl," Grimhilde said. Red lips puckered as she applied lipstick. "the solution to your problem is simple." She finished the phrase with a pop of her lips. "The only way to get what you want - is to become a human yourself."
Wendy gasped in surprise by that solution. She figured it was impossible to even become a human; she even knew her uncle wouldn't allow it with the power of the Trident. But then she looked to Grimhilde with hope in her eyes. "Can you DO that?" she asked.
Grimhilde smirked as she turned towards Wendy and said, "My dear, sweet child. That's what I do."
She then swam towards Wendy as she stated, "It's what I live for. To help unfortunate merfolk - like yourself."
She then sighed sadly as she cupped Wendy's face with one of her tentacles, causing Wendy to flinch away, "Poor souls with no one else to turn to."
She swam up, and Trigger and Nutsy snaked around their mistress, her husky voice low and almost hypnotizing.
Grimhilde: I admit that in the past I've been a nasty
They weren't kidding when they called me, well, a witch
Trigger and Nutsy laughed as they swirled around Grimhilde, who also twirled in circles.
Grimhilde: But you'll find that nowadays
I've mended all my ways
Repented, seen the light and made a switch
The two vultures circled one last time before leaving Grimhilde with a flourish as she floated back down towards the mesmerized mermaid.
Grimhilde: True? Yes
The two vultures returned to circling her again as she strutted over to the claw hand cauldron growing out of the ground.
Grimhilde: And I fortunately know a little magic
It's a talent that I always have possessed
With a wave of her arms, the claw opened, and pink steam rose up, and whatever was inside cast an eerie glow on the queen's face.
Grimhilde: And here lately, please don't laugh
She grinned and waggled a finger at the princess who was slowly swimming closer, curiosity over coming her fear.
Grimhilde: I use it on behalf
Of the miserable, lonely and depressed
Grimhilde had pulled up two mer-people made of the glowing pink steam, and Wendy was too enthralled to hear the last part she had whispered to her laughing servants.
Grimhilde: Poor unfortunate souls
This one longing to be thinner
That one wants to get the girl
And do I help them?
A snap of her fingers, and the two figures were transformed, the scrawny bow merman was now a handsome merman, and the chubby mermaid was now a slim mermaid, both were the way they wanted to be.
Grimhilde: Yes, indeed
The two embraced each other, and Grimhilde continued to strut and sing around the cauldron.
Grimhilde: Those poor unfortunate souls
Dijon, Skippy, and Piglet had secretly entered. Shaking with fear, they sneaked past the polyps.
Grimhilde: They come flocking to my cauldron
Crying, "Spells, Grimhilde please!"
And I help them?
Yes, I do
Now it's happened once or twice
Someone couldn't pay the price
And I'm afraid I had to rake 'em 'cross the coals
Her hand clenched into a fist, and the two dissolved in a tornado, scraggly little polyps in their place. Grimhilde closed her claw hand cauldron, grabbed one of the pink fluorescent curling seaweeds that hung from the ceiling, and began playing with it.
Grimhilde: Yes, I've had the odd complaint
But on the whole, I've been a saint
To those poor unfortunate souls
She loomed over the other polyps until they all began to quake and cry in fear again. Wendy was distracted by them before Grimhilde pulled the mermaid closer to her with the seaweed.
"Now, here's the deal," she said. She began pulling her over towards the cauldron, releasing the plant once her surprisingly strong hand had a hold of Wendy's arm, sharp maroon claws biting into the soft flesh. "I will make you a potion that will turn you into a human for three days."
A distracted look crossed her grimacing face as she tried to brush off a stray tentacle that had wrapped itself across her shoulder and chest.
"Got that?" Grimhilde repeated, "Three days."
They had arrived at the terrible black claw which had sealed up again, and, leaning over it, Grimhilde grabbed Wendy's chin with a tentacle as the girl had been unconsciously looking for a way out.
"Now listen, this is important." Grimhilde said, as she opened her claw hand cauldron again, and three glowing yellow suns floated out between the cracks in the claws.
"Before the sun sets on the third day, you've got to get Little Flying Eagle to fall in love with you." Grimhilde continued.
A crown followed as the suns set and a heart, pulsing and beating red floated up in the center.
"That is, he's got to kiss you." the queen continued, "Not just any kiss, the kiss of true love."
The heart pulsed, and its shining red glow over powered the gold of the crown.
Skippy, Piglet, and Dijon were swimming around the corner, keeping out of sight, and saw what was happening and heard everything. Out of the cauldron then popped a silhouette of Wendy and Peter together, but this image, Wendy had legs as Grimhilde explained, "If he does kiss you before the sun sets on the third day, you'll remain human permanently,"
Wendy smiled at this outcome, but then frowned as the silhouette changed from her and Peter together, with her back as a mermaid. She was sucked back down and Grimhilde's grinning face filled her vision.
"But if he doesn't," Grimhilde went on, "you turn back into a mermaid, and you belong to me!"
Dijon couldn't take it anymore. "No, Wendy!" he yelled. But then he, Skippy, and Piglet were quickly silenced by the two vultures, as Grimhilde once again grabbed her chin bringing her attention back to her. "Have we got a deal?" she asked.
Seeing Dijon, Skippy, and Piglet reminded her of home, and an interesting thought crossed her mind that caused her to furrow her brow. "If I become human," she said. "I'll never be with my uncle or sisters again."
Grimhilde faked her concern as she nodded, "That's right." But then she smirked and chuckled, "But, you'll have your man. Life's full of tough choices, innit?" she jeered, lying back on the claw.
At that moment, Grimhilde thought of something else. "Oh! And there is one more thing. We haven't discussed the subject of payment. You can't get something for nothing, you know."
Oh that look on her shocked little face! Hmhmhm!
Even though this queen and her magic scared her, a touch of desperation colored her voice at the thought of the chance being taken away.
Wendy tried to explain, "But I don't have any -"
"I'm not asking much. Just a token, really, a trifle." Grimhilde said, covering the London-dwelling girl's mouth with her hand, "You'll never even miss it. What I want from you is...your voice."
The way it came out, the way that red nail insisted on touching her chin again, it felt…sinister. Wendy gingerly touched her throat. "My voice?" she asked.
Grimhilde nodded. "You've got it, sweetheart. No more talking, singing, nothing!" She listed off the stipulations on her fingers and ended it with a pop of her lips.
Wendy protested, "But without my voice, how can I -"
But was cut off again by the queen, "You'll have your looks! Your pretty face! And don't underestimate the importance of body language! Ha!" Grimhilde responded in rhythm like she was singing on "body language", she started shaking her butt and began to sing again.
Grimhilde: The men up there don't like a lot of blabber
They think a girl who gossips is a bore
As she said this, she went to a cupboard and opened it.
Grimhilde: Yes, on land it's much preferred
For ladies not to say a word
And after all, dear, what is idle prattle for?
Come on, they're not all that impressed with conversation
She threw five bottles with a few ingredients into a cauldron as Wendy looked on.
Grimhilde: True gentlemen avoid it when they can
But they dote and swoon and fawn
On a lady who's withdrawn
Grimhilde then threw a tongue into the cauldron, causing more smoke.
Grimhilde: It's she who holds her tongue who gets her man
Come on, you poor unfortunate soul
Make your choice!
As Wendy looked in the smoke, Peter's face began to form. She absentmindedly gazed into it until she heard Grimhilde's voice.
Grimhilde: I'm a very busy woman
And I haven't got all day
It won't cost much
Just your voice!
And then Grimhilde's face shot through the image, scaring Wendy as she finished. She threw a little blue jellyfish right into the pit of her cauldron. It exploded into blue smoke, and I couldn't help feel a tad twinge of pity for the poor creature.
Grimhilde: You poor unfortunate soul
Grimhilde then put a hand on Wendy's shoulder and gave her a very, very long golden scroll and a quill. It is a contract that Grimhilde gives to mer-people who had to make thier deals with her, official.
Grimhilde: If you want to cross a bridge, my sweet
You've got to pay the toll
Take a gulp and take a breath
And go ahead and sign the scroll!
Wendy read the first part, which read, "I, hereby hand over to Grimhilde, one voice. Signed X._"
Grimhilde: Trigger, Nutsy, now I've got her, boys
The boss is on a roll
A stern look came onto Wendy's face as she looked up.
Wendy grabbed the pen as Dijon, Skippy, and Piglet gasped in shock.
Grimhilde: fortunate soul!
Wendy then turned her own head away while shutting her eyes and clenching her teeth as she signed "Wendy Darling" on the dotted line. When Wendy finished signing her own name, she opened her eyes and Grimhilde took the contract scroll. The deal was done! Grimhilde smiled evilly, spread her hands over her cauldron, chanting a spell, and her cauldron then started glowing blue.
Grimhilde: Beluga, Sevruga: Come winds of the Caspian Sea
As Grimhilde chanted this, a blue whirlwind appeared around her and Wendy, who looked extremely nervous.
Grimhilde: Larynxes, glossitis, et laryngitis
La voce to me!
Then two huge green phantom-like hands, symbolizing Grimhilde's hands appeared. Each was to her left and right, and Grimhilde looked towards Wendy as she stated, "Now, sing!" She looked at Wendy with an insane look in her eyes and an evil toothy grin.
Without any hesitation, the London-dwelling girl sang out, or vocalized, the tune of her song. But as she sang, a small golden sphere glowed in her throat; the small golden glowing sphere in her throat was none other than her voice. The spell was working!
"Keep singing!" Grimhilde shouted.
As Wendy did so, the hands reached out for her. As one hand reached for her, Wendy flinched a little, but still held her tone. And then, like a viper striking for a mouse and getting it, the hand shot into her mouth and ventured down Wendy's throat. And in a few seconds, it pulled out, along with Wendy's voice as it continued to hold the notes in her song. Wendy saw the golden orb that was her voice, and held her throat, knowing it was lost forever. And then the hands were reeled right into Grimhilde's shell necklace, which she insanely grinned at as she cackled like a maniac.
Then Grimhilde began to laugh wickedly as Wendy got trapped in a yellow bubble, and she began to completely change.
Dijon shook, and Skippy and Piglet closed their eyes as they watched in complete horror as Wendy was transforming from mermaid to human.
Wendy felt her fins splitting into two, her lower fish body began to disappear as it started to lose its color and match Wendy's skin tone. Her legs emerged, and her tail fins become feet. She was now wearing a sky-blue bikini bottom, but she was still wearing her light blue shell bra and blue hair ribbon.
The bubble disappeared, but now Wendy was left unable to breath underwater, and she couldn’t swim either.
Dijon, Skippy, and Piglet darted from their hiding place and went on either sides of the London-dwelling now-human girl and swam to the surface as fast as they could. Grimhilde cackled evilly as they left her lair. The group kept swimming and swimming until finally managing to get Wendy above water. Wendy took a huge breath of air upon reaching the surface. With that problem solved, everyone guided her to the nearby shore. But will they be able to help their friend, especially in this dire time, and without Wendy's voice? This was now a serious problem for them.