The barrier was closed. She knew that, but that knowledge did not stop her from reaching out to the Isle, feeling the burn of the fae magic keeping her from her family… her crew. The captain goes with the ship. Well… a good captain. A good captain who still has a ship.
Uma’s ship is kept from her. Her crew is kept from her. She sees her crew, looking back at her. She nods and watches as Harry steps forward, hok across his chest. He will be the captain… until she is back.
They ride with the tide.
Uma struggles. But that’s something she’s always done, and she’s never backed down before.
Uma struggles with the weather: it changes. Yes, most days it is warm and full of sun (the first time she experienced sunlight, she laid in the sun for hours. There, she met a stray white cat. She named her Empress.) She struggles with how fresh everything is. The air, the soil, the food, the clothes. The fresh food makes her ill, with her body not used to it. She eats food in smaller portions, gaining strength and mass.
She goes to the library, (full of books and free to the public! Free internet access as well!) and reads how to make sandy soil healthy, and goes to the barrier, telling Harry and crew what steps to take. She then reads into the darker parts of the web, with Auradon citizens speak and theorize about why King Ben brought only four (later five) Villain Kids to Auradon. They show the small beam that came out of the Isle, breaking the barrier. And how, not days later, Auradon had a new genius in its midst. Theories about the hidden cameras on the Isle, so The Council could keep an eye on the villains, and stop any uprising before it takes place. And once a Villain, or Villian Kid, did something that could be exploited by the other Villains, something that could give the Villains freedom, the child was taken. And for the child to feel comfortable, safe and wanted, the child’s friends would be given freedom too.
It never occurred to Uma that King Ben could have had an alternative reason for bringing the VKs over, but she supposed it made sense. To an extent. She heard more kids were being liberated. Like Zevon, Freddie, and CJ. Though, it seems, that Zevon has been sent back to the Isle. She had told Harry to add him to the crew, but keep an eye on him.
(“He’s power hungry and will try to manipulate you. Keep your head cool.” Uma instructs, no, leads.
Harry nodded, eyes serious and dark.
“Gil!” Uma barked.
“Aye, Captain!” He said, running forward and saluting Uma.
“If Zevon gets too out of pocket… let Harry loose.”
He nods. “Yes, Shrimpy.”
Uma grimaces, which is enough for the rest of the crew to smack Gil on the head.
“Dumbass,” Desiree mutters. She looks at Uma and asks, as she always has, “You’ll be back, right Cap?”
And Uma nods, before raising her fist and declaring, “We ride with the tide!”
With her crew cheering at her back, she swims back to shore.)
She looked further into the theories, with people saying that the hole was made, after an interview with Carlos (a “friendly” classmate, who considers themself a true journalist.) the interviewer learned Carlos was trying to make a universal remote, so he and the rest of Mal’s group could watch more channels. Carlos even told them how the remote was made.
The instructions cost a pretty penny, but Uma (finally) had a wealthy man in her pockets, and she wasn’t too worried about the cost herself. Building the remote was hard, but she kept at it and had access to better material than Carlos did.
With her next visit to her crew, they were telling her how they had actually grown food, and the children not on Evie’s list had run away, but a few crew members made sure they had a place to stay, and food to eat. Harry seethed, as he was not trusted to help and feed the children.
Uma smiles, dark and unsettling, pressing her hand to the barrier, ignoring the scent of burning flesh.
“Don’t fret, Harry. Soon, you’ll all be free, and Harry, you can cause as much bloodshed as I wish.”
He smiles, and bows low, thanking her.
“Hey, uh, Uma!” Gil says, stepping forward. “Hey.”
Uma feels her smile soften. “Yes, Gil?
“Yeah… so… we were just curious, not doubting you or anything, but you know, it has been a few months and…”
“And you want to know when you’ll be free.” Uma finishes, her voice flat and face blank.
Gil gulps and fidgets uncomfortably. “Yeah.”
“I haven’t forgotten you, Gil. None of you were forgotten.”She looks at her crew and feels power going through her veins. A power similar to her magic, but is different in every way. “And soon. I will be back, with a gadget that will open the barrier, and we will have freedom. Keep an eye on the children, but keep this between us. No one else can know of this. We do not know who is watching, and we don’t know who is reporting to who. We cannot bring anyone who is loyal to, or hell, is even thinking fondly of Auradon. That would be foolish and detrimental to our plan”
“So we are still destroying it?” An excited voice Desiree calls out.
“We’re going to do something better,” Uma grins, delighted in her imaginings. “We’re gonna rule it.”
(After the Cotillion)
True Love’s Kiss.
She should have expected that. She should have planned for that.
She should have added something to the spell, that a kiss of True Love would cause the recipient to die a horrid death. To choke on salt water. She grins. Or, just for Mal, to burst into awful green flames, that encased the whole yacht and the demons on it.
Uma laughed, a wobbly hysterical laugh, bursting out of the ocean to get home.
She was so… stupid. She could have killed the king. He was right there! In the water, when she was a literal sea goddess! But what would that have done, except lead to the complete destruction of everything she loved?
Oh sure, the king would have been dead, but the former king was still there, and even if she managed to kill him too, that wicked man had so many people who were blindly loyal to him that they’d get up arms and destroy the Isle, taking everyone she loved with it. No, it was best she had stopped. It was best she had not continued to fight.
“You almost had them!” her crew crowed, having gained sight of her.
“Yeah, you totally almost won!” Gil screamed, hopping up and down excitedly.
“Welcome back, Captain,” Harry said, bowing and tipping his hat.
Uma grinned, hard and full of teeth. “Can’t say I’m glad to be back, but I am glad to be with you lot again.” She tilted her head to the side and sucked her teeth. “We have to recoup and come up with a new plan.”
This time, her grin was less bitter, and she swam forward, ready to start anew when she stopped and screamed. Chilling her crew to the core.
“Uma!” they shouted, running towards their captain before Gil yelled out, “Stop!”
They all froze, and Harry looked at Gil, eyes flashing wildly. “What did you just say?”
Gil looked Harry in the eyes and repeated himself. “I-I said stop, Harry. We can’t help her.”
“He’s right, Harry.” Uma gasped out. “The damn barrier is still up. I can’t get it.”
The harbor was silent, as the weight of what she said settled deep into their bones.
“…Will you be back?” Desiree asked, quiet and without her usual wild energy.
“Of course!” Uma scoffed out. “I’ll never leave any of you behind. Until then, Harry, you are the captain. Gil, first mate. Everyone else, heed their orders but keep them in line. Keep our ship in top shape. I swear it, I will be back.” She looked them in the eyes. Harry, Gil, Desiree, Bonny, Jonas, Gonzo, and everyone else. She raised her fist, and they raised theirs. “WE RIDE WITH THE TIDE!”
The swim to the mainland was long and tiresome. New to magic as she was, her energy was rapidly fading. Once on land, she knew she would have to use more, to avoid immediate capture, probable torture, and an even more likely painful death. She finally landed and dragged herself up and onto the harsh land.
Bedraggled and sopping wet, she felt herself shrink and her human legs returned. She walked up the steep hill, and barely managed to pull herself up to the steel bars, her hands slipping from water and perspiration.
Rolling over the bar, she laid on the smooth dark ground, trying to gain her breath. She looked up to the moon and began to imagine someone else she could be.
She remembered the way her mother spoke about the mermaid, who broke her end of the deal.
“Red hair, so damn red! Red like blood, my blood lies in the hands of that red headed bitch!”
“That damned blue-eyed demon! If she had just kept her end of the deal, I wouldn’t be stuck in this hellhole with a worthless child like you!”
Red hair and blue eyes…