-Magic. It was pure magic.-
Six-year old Mia could not believe her eyes. Her parents had told her that the long drive would be worth it. She hadn’t believed it of course. She thought it would be like the time they went to the Zoo. They had done SO much walking- her feet had HURT, it had been loud and smelly, and the tigers, with their sharp teeth, had scared her. But THIS… this was different.
The building they walked into was cool and dark, the rock walls seemed to absorb the sounds around her. She was only half paying attention as her parents purchased tickets at the counter. Light was playing off the walls by a set of open doors to their right, and she just HAD to know why it looked blue and green. Those were her two FAVORITE colors, and she had never seen light look like that before.
When they walked through those doors, she gasped, her eyes going wide. -This was MORE than magic.- The walls were, GLASS. And on the other side of the glass was a kingdom.
Mia was swept away.
“Come Princess Mia!” the brilliant purple Seahorse Guard cried, “You mustn’t be late”
Mia swirled in the water, smiling, “Alright, alright! I’m coming! You know I never miss this.”
She laughed in delight as Turbil led her through the twisting coral halls of the palace and out into the sandy courtyard. They followed the seashell lined pathway, dodging various schools of aquatic creatures. There were orange and white striped fish telling jokes and juggling as they darted in and out of their anemones. Red and white speckled fish, with large lumps on their foreheads, trumpeting out beautiful music from golden horns. Blue fish with tiny yellow stripes on their fins swam in groups, parting quickly as large flat fish with two eyes on one side of their faces passed gracefully through them. And those were just the fish, closest to the castle in the courtyard.
Mia laughed as she twirled around, her mermaid’s tail trailing bubbles in its wake. She had lived in the ocean all of her life, but she never got tired of the rainbow of colors that greeted her every time she left the Coral Palace.
The first Seahorse Guard was joined by eleven others as they continued their journey, passing through the gates into a city. The city was just as vibrant and bright as its citizens. Coral of all different shapes and sizes made up homes and shops. There were reds, blues, greens, oranges, and purples: spiky, twisting towers, and low hanging shelves. And of course so, so many fish. The light filtering down around her changed colors as a smack of rainbow colored jellyfish floated by, their tentacles trailing behind them, reminding Mia of the ribbons of seaweed she liked to hang in her windows and doorways.
Tiny krill and shrimp darted around Mia and her guards, their nearly transparent bodies pulsing with excitement. One bumped into a Seahorse guard, causing him to give a snort.
“Hey! Watch it!” he cried.
“Oh come now, Whaven,” Mia chided, “They’re just as excited as I am. And why shouldn’t they be? Its Chorus day!”
The Seahorse gave another snort, “It’s the same every year. I don’t know why you make such a big deal about it. Every year they pass by the city, and every year it’s the same old song.”
Mia laughed, spinning again. She loved to spin! “And every year its just as beautiful!”
As they travelled through the city more sea creatures joined them, until they finally came to the drop-off. The water wasn’t filled with coral here, but the fathomless depths held just as much color and life. And… music. Beautiful, haunting music.
The great blue whales, larger than their entire city, had arrived, passing through on their migration. It was Mia’s favorite day of the year.
“Do you think she had fun? I was worried she wasn’t going to like it after the disaster at the Zoo.”
“Of course she did. Look at her. Mia’s smiling even in her sleep. I didn’t think we’d ever pry her away from the seahorse enclosure!”
As Mia’s mom turned back around in her seat, her eyes softened, the sight of her child sleeping in the car lightening her heart. “Good. We’ll have to come back next year.”