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Part of Your World

Liz Braswell

Top 10 Best Quotes

“You've become a queen, a woman with a complicated personality. You have hidden depths and a wisdom and intelligence that all went unnoticed before by an idiot prince whose heart couldn't listen to anything his ears couldn't hear." Ariel felt a little giddy. "I control storms and the heart of a prince. I like that." If she were in the sea she would have been swooning, thrashing her tail and spinning in circles until she was dizzy.”

“There is always magic. Even if you can't see it.”

“A wave formed, swelling around Ariel's body. It lifted her up higher and higher- or maybe she herself was growing: it was hard to tell. She held the trident aloft. Storm clouds raced to her from all directions like a lost school of cichlid babies flicking to their father's mouth for protection. Lightning coursed through the sky and danced between the trident's tines. Ariel sang a song of rage. Notes rose and fell discordantly, her voice screeching at times like a banshee from the far north. She sang, and the wind sang with her. It whipped her hair out of its braids and pulled tresses into tentacles that billowed around her head. She sang of the unfairness of Eric's fate and her own, of her father's torture as a polyp, even of Scuttle's mortal life, slowly but visibly slipping away. Mostly she sang about Ursula. She sang about everyone whose lives had been touched and destroyed by evil like coral being killed and bleached, like dead spots in the ocean from algae blooms, like scale rot. She sang about what she would do to anyone who threatened those she loved and protected. And then, with her final note, she made a quick thrust as if to throw the trident toward the boats in the bay, pulling it back at the last moment. A clap louder than thunder echoed across the ocean. A wave even larger than the one she rode roared up from the depths of the open sea. It smashed through and around her, leaving her hair and body white with foam. She grinned fiercely at the power of the moment. The tsunami continued on, making straight for Tirulia. But... despite her rage... underneath it all the queen was still Ariel. Her momentary urge to destroy everything came and went like a single flash of summer lightning.”

“The nautilus shell was exquisite, brown and white and perfectly striped. The math that lay like a dazzling creation spell over all who lived in the sea showed clearly in the spiral, each cell as great as the sum of the two previous sections. Everything in the ocean was a thing of beauty and numbers, even in death. Mermaids could live for a long time, but their bodies became foam that dissipated into nothing when they died. The poor little mollusk who lived in this shell had a very short life, but his shell could last for centuries. Ariel sighed and brushed her fingers over it, feeling strangely melancholy despite the triumph she literally held in her hands. Years of being mute could be swept away in a second. Years of frustration, years of silent crying, years of anger. And then what? If she destroyed it, what would it change?”

“She sang. Wordless hymns of the sea: immediate, extemporized passages about waves and sunlight and tides and the constant, beautiful pressure of water on everything. The glory of seaweed slowly swaying, the delicious feeling that foretold a storm in the Dry World and turbulence below. The music came out of her without pause, driven by years of observing, seeing, listening, enjoying, experiencing the world and unable to express it. The wonder and sadness of being alive. The joy of being a mermaid; the pain of being the only one like herself- the only mermaid who had been mortal, temporarily, and then lost everything.”

“She was beautiful. Before, she had been pretty and gorgeous, lively and smiley, all red hair and perfect skin and quick movements. Now her eyes were deeper. He could fall into her face forever and happily drown there, pulled into her depths. There were worlds in her mind that were only just forming before.”

“Mermaid queens didn't often have a reason to move quickly. There were no wars to direct, no assassination attempts to evade, no crowds of clamoring admirers to avoid among the merfolk. In fact, slowness and calm were expected of royalty. So Ariel found herself thoroughly enjoying the exercise as she beat her tail against the water- even as it winded her a little. She missed dashing through shipwrecks with Flounder, fleeing sharks, trying to scoot back home before curfew. She loved the feel of her powerful muscles, the way the current cut around her when she twisted her shoulders to go faster. She hadn't been this far up in years and gulped as the pressure of the deep faded. She clicked her ears, readying them for the change of environment. Colors faded and transformed around her from the dark, heady slate of the ocean bottom to the soothing azure of the middle depths and finally lightening to the electric, magical periwinkle that heralded the burst into daylight. She hadn't planned to break through the surface triumphantly. She wouldn't give it that power. Her plan was to take it slow and rise like a whale. Casually, unperturbed, like Ooh, here I am. But somehow her tail kicked in twice as hard the last few feet, and she exploded into the warm sunlit air like she had been drowning. She gulped again and tasted the breeze- dry in her mouth; salt and pine and far-distant fires and a thousand alien scents.”

“And everywhere, just as there were animals on land, were the animals of the sea. The tiniest fish made the largest schools- herring, anchovies, and baby mackerel sparkling and cavorting in the light like a million diamonds. They twirled into whirlpools and flowed over the sandy floor like one large, unlikely animal. Slightly larger fish came in a rainbow, red and yellow and blue and orange and purple and green and particolored like clowns: dragonets and blennies and gobies and combers. Hake, shad, char, whiting, cod, flounder, and mullet made the solid middle class. The biggest loners, groupers and oarfish and dogfish and the major sharks and tuna that all grew to a large, ripe old age did so because they had figured out how to avoid human boats, nets, lines, and bait. The black-eyed predators were well aware they were top of the food chain only down deep, and somewhere beyond the surface there were things even more hungry and frightening than they. Rounding out the population were the famous un-fish of the ocean: the octopus, flexing and swirling the ends of her tentacles; delicate jellyfish like fairies; lobsters and sea stars; urchins and nudibranchs... the funny, caterpillar-like creatures that flowed over the ocean floor wearing all kinds of colors and appendages. All of these creatures woke, slept, played, swam about, and lived their whole lives under the sea, unconcerned with what went on above them. But there were other animals in this land, strange ones, who spoke both sky and sea. Seals and dolphins and turtles and the rare fin whale would come down to hunt or talk for a bit and then vanish to that strange membrane that separated the ocean from everything else. Of course they were loved- but perhaps not quite entirely trusted.”

“A beautiful, swirled brown and white shell like the one Ursula used to wear, but larger. A whelk, not a nautilus. Vareet picked it up in wonder, turning it over in her hands, admiring its gleam in the moonlight. On a whim she put it to her ear. Her eyes widened. In the depths of the shell, she could hear what must have been the echo of distant waves... and also the song of a mermaid.”

“... such a mess of wants and desires.”

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Book Keywords:

breach, fish, singing-with-your-heart, sea-creatures, little-girl, mess, song-of-the-ocean, feminine-beauty, voice, trident, desire, immortality, storm, tsunami, ariel-and-eric, vareet, whelk, rush, ariel, power, marine-life, prince-eric, queen-of-the-sea, life, under-the-sea, nautilus, shell, facial-beauty, freedom, little-mermaid, swimming, singing-voice, beautiful-voice, wants, rage

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