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Chapter 3

Slowly Ariel was able to see the corruption and inevitable hatred that surrounded her new stepmothers. They were pure evil. Every chance they had to manipulate and torment Ariel, they would take it at full force. Once, Fiona had broken a glass cup and she was able to persuade both Master and Ariel’s mother that all fault was on poor Ariel.

“If it wasn’t for her persistent childish mannerisms, I wouldn’t have dropped my glass,” she said.

Indeed, Ariel was unusually playful today because she decided to finally smile despite the three other wives constantly bullying her and teasing her by insulting her social status. She was merely just a pawn in their hands. But today, was a new day she thought, perhaps she can make them like her. She was wrong. While trying to make conversation with Fiona in the kitchen, she ended up causing Fiona to drop her glass from laughter. Ariel had performed a small dance that Mike had taught her when she was in Taichung. He had always danced that particular dance whenever she felt sad, so she decided to do so for Fiona.

Unluckily her face had forced a small smile while looking at this adorably silly girl, which inevitably led to her trying to hide it from her. This small intricate move ended in disaster as Fiona accidentally wanted to stop Ariel’s dancing by slapping her arm but as Ariel continued to dance, Fiona missed her and ended up slapping a small glass cup from the counter.

Just as Master came, Fiona regained her composure and screamed at Ariel “why are you so clumsy, dancing like a crazed maniac! You could have hurt yourself if that cup came near you!”

Fiona hid the fact that she was about to strike a child and ended up manipulating the situation to make herself seem more motherly and caring to Ariel than intended. Master decided to punish her by keeping her in her room without dinner. She hated her room. Even though it was decorated with lace and white flowers to display a more childlike appearance, it lacked any imagination.

It was a room more suited for a spoiled brat rather than a practical child filled with dreams and hopes. In her room, which she shared with her mother, she would only sleep and dream about her adventures with Mike. Oh how she would remember the times when she was running around town with Mike speaking to the residents about their journeys to the South pacific and how the prince and princess will return to tell them all about their adventures as soon as they have saved the world once again. She loved those moments that were clearly embedded in her dreams. She never wanted to leave.

She had one friend; the kitchen maid who always played with her when she was bored. Katrina was her name and she was about a good 40 years older than Ariel, but had almost the same spirit as the 5 year old. She would be the mother to Ariel during this time because her real mother would be off with Master and the other wives outside in the city as display.

Her mother was basically there as a “trophy wife” who Master had won. She meant nothing to him but in another viewpoint, she was important. She had value when it came to his social status, but if he could throw her away, he would. Therefore whenever she would come home, Ariel would see her crying and was unable to comfort her. What could Ariel do really? She was unable to understand what her mother was going through. So, when Katrina came into her life, she was able to be happy again.

However, she would never be able to take Mike’s place in her heart. She wasn’t fast or brave at all. She was not a good adversary for Mike. When they did play together, Ariel had a hint of sadness in her eyes, because none of the other maids would play with her. They would call her dirty and pathetic as well. Katrina was able to understand because she too was born into a broken family. But Ariel will never know of it. They would just continue to play forever and ever.

“So what do you want to play today, Ariel?” Katrina said in a very happy tone. “I want to play prince and princess!!!” said a very happy Ariel.

She hadn’t felt like a princess the whole time she was there, so to pretend and use her imagination made her happy.

“OK, OK…I guess I would have to be the prince huh?” said a wary Katrina.

“No, you can be my maid like you are now. My prince is back in Taichung so we can’t play with him today. But we can play with you today. HAHA!!” said Ariel.

She was once again unusually happy and optimistic for some reason. Maybe this little girl had much more to offer to this family than first expected, thought Katrina.

“Lets play outside, the princess has to save the world again!” said Ariel. Prince huh, thought Katrina.

She wondered if she should pry but she was pretty sure she shouldn’t involve her emotions with this young girl. As they entered the backyard, they saw the wives sitting on patio furniture, fanning themselves under a tree and Master, still stern faced, had his hand next to his head to protect his head from the heat. Suddenly Ariel see’s a small cat in the tree and decides to rescue the cat.

“OOO, princess Ariel is coming to save you Kitty!!” Ariel said as she rushed to the tree climbing the branches one at a time.

“NO Ariel…” said Katrina but it was too late. She had climbed all the way to the top and dropped the cat on top of Jenna’s lap and threw her hands up in victory.

“BWAAAAAAA!!” screamed a scared Jenna.

The wives all stood up from their chairs and tried to take the deathly terrified cat off of Jenna’s face. Ariel, climbing down the tree, took the cat and rushed over to Katrina.

“Look at what you pesky child did to me! How can you let such a loose child here? Master…I am usually a calm and dutiful wife,” said a calm Jenna, “but this little twerp needs to have some disciplinary action enforced fast, or else, I will have to do it myself!!!”

The last bit of it, she screamed. Ariel, still hiding in back of Katrina, decided to stay quiet. Master looked at Ariel and called her to come apologize to Jenna.

“Uh, Master, clearly Ariel was just trying to rescue a cat. Jenna just unfortunately happens to hate animals so let Jenna handle her own issues. Ariel is not to blame for trying to help a poor defenseless critter. Jenna just happened to have been in the cross fires,” Katrina explained.

Ariel as well as the wives we’re shocked. How can she defend this girl?

“Jenna, learn to compose yourself in a ladylike manner in the future,” said the stern master.

“But…but…OH!!!!!!” screamed an infuriated Jenna. Katrina had protected Ariel, and in return Ariel had learned to trust her with all her heart.

But soon, Ariel learned that trust means nothing when the only one who she can truly go to for comfort is herself. Lately she has been waking up to her crying mother’s screams. Her mother would often come back to their room late at night crying for some reason. Ariel would try to comfort her but nothing worked. It was as if a spell had been put on her mother which made her cry continuously every night. How Ariel wished she could just brush her mother’s tears aside and say everything will be Ok tomorrow. But it will never happen, will it?

 

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