The Kingdom

The Kingdom – Chapter Sixteen

This is a work of fiction and is not to be sold in any way shape or form. It is simply for my amusement and the challenge of writing these characters in a strange and dangerous world. All the characters are owned by Disney and I do not claim ownership of any of them. Please let me know what you think in the comments below! Without further ado, welcome to The Kingdom.)

If you have not read the previous chapters, HEAD HERE!

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Chapter Sixteen

Ariel

The dark cloud rolled over the land around her as Ariel ran towards the high gates of the Kingdom. She’d had a peaceful trek down the cliffside, but all of that had changed when she’d heard the warning trumpets and seen the dark cloud approaching. She could see the massive set of doors closing in front of her and given the space left to reach them, she realized that she was not going to make it in time.

“Wait!” She cried! “Don’t close the doors!” Within moments, they would seal. She reached for two arrows from the quiver on her back and spun them in her hands. The doors sealed with a heavy thud before her. As she reached them, she lunged into the air and stabbed the arrows forward, lodging them into the wood of the gate.

Behind her, the cloud was pushing forward, ready to overtake her. She had to be fast; use all the training she’d been given by Robin. She quickly pulled one arrow out and then pulled up with her other arm, jabbing the arrow higher than before. She repeated this action with her other hand, and then back to the first. Higher and higher she climbed. She wondered if this blackness had reached her province yet or if the Kingdom was the first to be attacked. No. There was not time for that sort of thinking. She had to focus on the here and now. She continued upwards as fast as possible. Wind howled behind her. The cloud was almost upon her. At the top of the gate, she flipped over it and stabbed an arrow into the wood of the other side. She grabbed the single arrow and held on tight as the black cloud exploded over the gate above her.

The blackness consumed everything. Ariel looked all around her to find a faster way down. To her right was a long rope which led to the ground below. She leapt to it and used the wall with her feet as she zipped down towards the cobblestone street. Within seconds she hit the ground. Chaos had spread through the street. People were running in every direction screaming and crying as they tried to gather what belongings they had in order to head further into the city, where they hoped they’d find safety.

Ariel ran to a young man who appeared to be guiding people. “What’s going on here?” She asked.

“The darkness has come!” Shouted the man. “Queen Minnie warned of this. The dark ages are here. You should get to safety ma’am.”

“I’m good here,” she said, showing him the bow and arrows on her back. “How can I help?”

The man nodded to her. “Help get these people further into the city. At least there we’ll have the help of the city guard. They’ve all but abandoned us for the palace. Filthy dogs, all of them.”

“Get everyone to the center of the city,” she repeated. “Got it.”

Behind her, there were screams of terror as several alligators wearing red capes came running around the corner, attacking everyone in site with long swords and crossbows. Ariel pulled the bow from her back and, in the same motion, knocked an arrow on it and then shot towards the alligators. Robin had trained her well. Her arrow found its target and an alligator dropped to the ground. The others scrambled for cover.

From around the same corner, a horse walking on two legs appeared. He wore a black cloak and had hands like a human but with only four fingers per hand. A dark glare filled his eyes as he pulled a sword from his back and stared at Ariel. His gaze was chilling to the bone. Dark smoke rolled off of his body.

She pulled an arrow from her quiver and shot at the horse. He gave a quick swing of his sword and deflected the arrow. She shot another. Again, he deflected it. She lowered the bow to look at him. He smiled and then lunged at her. She was fast though. She dodged to the side and then took off at a sprint. She cut around a corner and looked back to see the horse right behind her. Apparently, he didn’t like being opposed.

She crashed through a window, shattering glass all around her, and then took off through a house which had already been abandoned. She ran at full speed and then burst out the front door. Even more people and animals were running around the street now. Terror was taking hold as alligators attacked anyone foolish enough to stand around.

A crash behind her reminded her that she was being pursued. She turned around, trying to find a good way out. A sword broke through the wall next to her. She was out of time. She headed down the street, ducking around humans and animals alike. Ahead of her was a tall watchtower overlooking the harbor. It was a dead end, but as her eyes darted around her at the houses and people, it was the only way to lead the horse away from the civilians who were trying to escape.

She threw her shoulder into the door, knocking it off its hinges. Inside, there were ropes and barrels lying dust-covered around a long central set of wooden stairs which led towards the top of the tower. She turned to see the horse coming for her and made for the stairs.

The horse burst through the door and chased after her. Further and further up she went. The horse swung his sword, narrowly missing her and digging it into the wood of the banister instead.

SLAM! Suddenly the whole tower shook and Ariel had to grab at a torch on the wall to not lose her footing. Outside a small window, she could just barely see a large black dragon which had crashed into the streets below. Overhead, a large green dragon was descending on the city. The black dragon gave a might flap of its wings and took off into the sky towards the green dragon.

Ariel didn’t have time to watch though. She continued her ascension until at long last she released a hatch over head and entered the top of the watchtower.

For a moment, it was easy to forget there was a giant horse hellbent on killing her coming up the stairs. The sight was spellbinding. The black cloud crept from the harbor over the city around them and the city stretched for miles. In the distance, the palace towered over everything glittering like a pillar of hope amongst the madness.

The hatch from the stairs burst open and the horse emerged, laughing maniacally. “End of the line, girly. The world we have planned has no room for vigilantes. And I, Horace Horsecaller, am not one to stop the dawning of a new day. Your kind cannot be allowed to survive the storm.”

“The first time I met a horse, I tried to talk to it,” said Ariel. “But my Prince told me that I was silly for doing so. After all, horses have incredibly small brains.”

“Why you little-” yelled Horace, jumping for her.

A blast of fire slammed into the tower, knocking them both to the floor. The fire quickly enveloped the tower around them. There was no escape now. She had to jump and hope she hit the water below. But in case she didn’t, she knew that this city would need all the help it could get.

As the horse lifted himself off the floor, she pulled an arrow from her quiver and placed the tip into the green fire near her. It lit instantly. She stood and gave the horse one last look before leaping from the tower. He grabbed for her, but was seconds too late.

The air whipped through her red hair as she spun around and aimed the flaming arrow upwards. Robin had said to shoot an arrow of flame into the sky and he would be there. Now, not many hours after their parting, it was time for him to make good on his promise. She pulled back and let go, sending the arrow high into the sky over the harbor. The water was below her and at least she knew the sea well. She’d be fine and more importantly, help for the Kingdom was on the way.

Suddenly, a burst of magic hit her. She let out a scream as it twisted inside of her, spiraling around in her stomach. As she fell, she watched her legs twist together, her pants falling from them as green scales grew from her skin. Within seconds, there was a long green tail with a fin where her legs had been. Ariel was a mermaid once more.

She hit the icy water and as everything went dark around her, the cold realization of what had just occurred sunk in. She was no longer where the people were. She could no longer see them dancing. She was no longer a part of their world.

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