It was no small appreciation that the bird’s outside of the always sunny campus of Disney University sang every morning in perfect, unified harmony as if part of a pre-meditated chorus that broke out into an epic crescendo of obnoxiously joyous proportion. The upbeat, operatic faunae always included, but was not limited to, verse, chorus, more verse, climactic bridge and… you guessed it… epic crescendoing finale. Every. Morning. Never failing. But then again… what else could be expected from the fairy tale sovereign that was the DU, The University of Magic, set in the Down Under in a notable location, with one of the most pristine campuses to ever belong to a university or organization otherwise, and housing dozens of prince and princesses and company…
Esmeralda buried her face in her pillow. She wasn’t ready for songs or the bright light of morning that came cascading in through gorgeous and dramatically ordained double-clasped windows. To which, she’d pulled tightly closed the night before hoping to drown out-
Esmeralda took each side of her pillow and wrapped it around her head and both ears, squashing her thick and full, dark hair.
She sent a groan into the mattress, “Uuuugh!” Still groggy from sudden consciousness.
“Giselle, for the love of Mickey! Can’t we have one morning-?!” Anna could be heard screaming across the courtyard.
Giselle kept singing.
The way the massive courtyard was set up was that each princess had her own suite, and each suite had windows that faced out to the courtyard. So no matter what, they were always facing each other. If they wanted, they could all hang out their own windows and talk to each other, or in many cases, scream across the space to the princesses on the other side.
Tiana was on the corner to the left where Esmeralda was.
Esmeralda heard her windows swing open,
“Seriously girl, every morning DOES NOT have to be an opening number.. Some of us need our beauty sleep! Think about Aurora!”
“GO KISS A FROG, TIANA!” Came a voice on the other side.
Tiana’s voice growled deeper than a Serabi growl, “GO CHOKE ON SAND, JASMINE!”
Another window swung open,
“Why are we all screaming??”
“The fairest of them all has awakened everybody!”
“That’s not necessary!” Snow White said from her window to Esmeralda’s right.
“When’d you get your voice back, Ariel?!”
Esmeralda heard windows swing shut in a huff.
Esmeralda lifted her pillow enough to see the sun was fully setting in the room, embellishing every golden detail of the Royal Suite with its prismatic glow.
Technically speaking, Aurora would not be bothered or disturbed of her beauty sleep because Aurora was not on campus today, or anywhere near Disney University. The very room that Esmeralda was sleeping in, la Royal Suite, actually belonged to Princess Aurora and was placed in the highest center tower of the north side of the Princess Courtyard. It was disgustingly immaculate, and held no restraint in it’s munificence. It was a wonder that it was even being used at all, however sinful that may be. Even now, the sun cast aura and shadows around the suite that made it all seem ever more mystical.
The truth is that Aurora hardly ever spent time at Disney University, let alone in her Royal Suite, and it was only by a small favor and certain recent events that she had granted Esmeralda access to it while she was away.
Esmeralda’s mind drifted to places where her skin clutched skin and a purple dress that wasn’t hers, begging someone not to go, her heart already broken in shards but reaching out madly for the love that was so close and still so far. She pulled herself out of those memories before the emptiness left in that person’s wake consumed her again.
There was a rapping at the door.
Strong and proud.
It happened again.
“Go away!” Esmeralda groaned, her voice raspy with sleep.
She covered her head again.
Djali’s head came underneath the sheets, he nudged at her, stubborn as a goat. She sighed in defeat. Without saying anything further, she got up and half-drifted, half-trudged over to the door of the suite, which was solid white-painted oak, glossed over with polish that made it shine like glass. It was trimmed with gold, (real of course), with a tiara at the top that a ruby, an emerald, and a sapphire lined in a row at the tip. Occasionally, they’d all mysteriously turn all blue, or all green, and then in a blink turn all red, and then back again, like nothing’d happened.
She opened the door in no hurry, as if to prevent the inevitable interruption. Nakoma’s head peek-a-boo-ed around the door first.
“Good morning, Sleeping Beauty,” She said with a sly grin.
“We should call her Highness now that she has the Royal Suite,” Pocahontas’s perfect eyebrow was arched all the way up in friendly mockery as she pushed at the door, “Maybe we should come back?” She eyed Esmeralda’s face. Sensitivity was not her strongest attribute.
“Forget it. The royal staircase is only a ‘once-a day’ kind of fitness endeavor for me. Her High Depression will have to suck it up and let us in.” Nakoma huffed.
Esmeralda gagged, “I don’t think there’s room for the three of us.”
“Four of us.”
The door swung all the way open and in barged Pocahontas and Nakoma, of the Powhatan Indian Tribe, fish out of water in the Royal Luxury Suite.
Pocahontas had grabbed Esmeralda’s hand and pulled her in, “No wonder you haven’t been seen in days.” She grinned in amusement and plopped down on the bed.“Look at this!” She ogled the gemstones that were all emerald, now.
Esmeralda pushed herself down next to Pocahontas, sighing loud. It wasn’t all true. The Royal Suite was more of an isolation scheme than it was a lavish getaway for Esmeralda.
…Holy Hades, Es. I never would have thought you’d be the diamond and tiaras kind of gal. What happened to that gypsy girl that I knew too well?
Esmeralda pushed the thought of Greek princess out of her mind. She’d spent too much time over the last few nights thinking about her. And crying over her. And sobbing. And hiding away, miserably. She was more grateful to Pocahontas for the interruption than she’d ever let on.
“Tell me this isn’t why you woke me up.” Esmeralda said.
“No,” Pocahontas started,
“As if anyone can sleep past the morning chorus,” Nakoma said under her breath.
“We’re here to rescue you… from your…” She looked around again, eyes wide and bright, “Lonely tower.”
“Ah,” Esmeralda laid on the sarcasm heavily, “A couple of heroes.”
“-Saviors,” Nakoma said.
“-As far as you’re concerned,” Pocahontas poked Esmeralda’s side, giving her a guilt-inducing glare, “If you stay up here, you’re bound to be miserable. Get up! Come out with us!”
“What did you have in mind?”
“Anything that doesn’t involve feeling sorry for yourself.”
Esmeralda groaned. She knew that wasn’t the whole plan that the Powhatan Princess had in mind. It couldn’t be.
“Seriously,” Nakoma said then,”It’s getting sad.”
Djali bleated in agreement.
“You too, huh?”
Twas a losing battle.
Esmeralda sighed and went over to the gargantuan of a vanity that was all white marble with gold trim cut into flowers and vines. Atop it was a briar rose, carved elegantly in gold, it’s center jewel suddenly turned from an emerald to a ruby.
Nakoma’s face appeared in the mirror beside Esmeralda, “And here I was using my reflection in the river every morning.”
“I bet this room costs more than everything we own in our village.”
“You wouldn’t have it any other way,” Esmeralda said to Pocahontas.
“I’d have it so money was spent on things that mattered… to everyone. Or just mattered.” Pocahontas got up from the bed, as if she were suddenly uncomfortable.
“Aurora doesn’t like it anymore than we do.”
Pocahontas’s face appeared on the other side of Esmeralda and Nakoma in the vanity, “Did she say that?” Again there was friendly jest in her voice and a small arch of suspicion to her impeccable eyebrow.
“She didn’t have to,” Esmeralda assured herself as much as them, “Why do you think she never comes to DU except on conference or town meetings?”
“Princess drama?” Nakoma drawled.
Then Esmeralda almost smacked herself in regret.
“You forgot about the town meeting tonight, didn’t you?” Nakoma eyed Esmeralda.
Pocahontas had walked away from the vanity, rolling her eyes. She sat back down on the Ultra-King-sized bed fit for a Queen, hanging her bare feet just off of it. She stroked Djali behind his ears, “She could use the influence she has. Her and Phillip own half of Disney’s assets now.”
Esmeralda ran a hand through her hair and then rested it under her chin. Pocahontas suddenly got up again. She came towards Esmeralda as if part of a slow dance and leaned down too close to her, face to face. She was so close that Esmeralda could smell Pocahontas’s unique fragrance of wild and earth. She could see closely, her flawless bronze skin, and her perfect lips sent Esmeralda reaching for the memory of the two of them together on a tree branch, high off the ground from where anyone could see.
“You’re going to help us.” This was a command. A demand from the Native Princess. There was no saying no.
“With what, exactly?” Esmeralda said, carefully. She wanted to laugh at how predictable Pocahontas could be. At the same time, she could feel Nakoma’s eyes at the back of her, too.
“Convincing the royalty to support our cause.”
“Like I’m a princess whisperer or something?”
Nakoma snorted so loud Djali took a step back, startled.
“…You’re in the Royal Suite, in the vanity of Princess Aurora, and you’re going to tell me you DON’T have a way with the royals?”
Then, Pocahontas came very close, putting her lips to Esmeralda’s ear, to where Nakoma’s eyes were now burning a hole straight through the back of them, “I happen to know you have an uniquely special touch to making friends with princesses… if I remember…”
Tree branches hidden behind willow leaves, and brightly colored autumn winds in dark hair surged down Esmeralda’s spine, leaving chills in her body.
If she hadn’t caved yet, she’d have done it then.
Then again, what choice would she ever have in those stubborn, dark, and wild eyes?
“What did you have in mind?”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Nakoma had pulled out an agenda set with dates and times on a planner with a list of names that filled up a full paged scroll, front and back.
“You made this??”
“No, Anna wrote it, with Jiminy’s help. I think.”
“The Ice Queen’s sister helped you make this?” An agenda to convince the Royalty how to spend their money?
“Who knew that girl had a thing for agendas?” Nakoma said, deadpanned.
“Why would she be helping us?” Esmeralda asked, confused.
There wasn’t even a soul alive outside of her sister, Anna, that could convince the Ice Queen to come down from her frozen tower.
Nakoma’s expression was lame, “I think she sees us as the anti-Princess movement here on campus.”
“I can’t say I blame either of them with the way they’ve been treated,” Pocahontas stated.
“She could probably use a friend,” Esmeralda said with her heart.
“…Girl has a lot of time on her hands,” Nakoma finished.
“Well, she’s got a friend in me,” Pocahontas said, snatching the agenda from Nakoma and pointing emphatically at the drawn diagrams, “There’s everything from when the Royal couples take their lunch breaks to the places they’ll be at each time of the hour.”
“That would definitely be Jiminy’s soirée,” Esmeralda affirmed, looking at the page, meticulously calculated, “You remember his course on Disney Heroines and the importance of time management?”
“I’m so glad they took that off the curriculum…”
“And yet here you are with an agenda.”
A familiar chirp rang from down the hall.
The three girls watched as a golf-ball sized bug hopped in their direction, bouncing off a jutting red thumb tack on a bulletin board.
Esmeralda stuck her hand in front of her with her palm facing in and her index finger out to which Jiminy landed deftly.
“Speak of the cricket,” Esmeralda said, smiling at the bug in a suit and top hat perched on her index finger.
He pointed a pin-sized umbrella at her, “You missed my last class, Esmeralda, and all the classes of last week. We discussed Acts of Heroism and why to stay above petty grievances.”
His tone was jaunty, but accusing.
“I took the week off.”
“And the week before, I suppose too?”
Esmeralda did nothing but scowl down at the bug.
“She’s been sulking,” Pocahontas said, teasing.
“I’ve been sleeping…”
“Now, now,” Jiminy said, “We all need our time to ponder our inner complexities-“
“But it also means that we have to get back on our feet, and start over again.”
“I’m sure that’s coming.”
“At least we got her out of bed this morning,” Pocahontas chimed.
“That’s what friends are for. Reminding you who you are in hard times,” Jiminy said, “Remember my course on Disney Princesses and the Efficiency of Sticking Together?”
“What?” Esmeralda asked, confused. She didn’t remember any course like that.
“Of course you don’t remember, I never had a course on it. You princesses are awful at it sometimes. Lately I’ve been wondering if there is any chance for recovery among you princesses at all.”
Nakoma made a noise as if she were both agreeing and offended at once.
“That’s why we should try to fix things,” Pocahontas said, as hopeful as ever.
Esmeralda found herself smirking, “That goes against the course you taught… what was it? How to be a Disney Royal and always having something to believe in?” Esmeralda winked.
Jiminy beamed, “Now that’s more like it!”
“If you ask me, Disney needs a new voice,” The cricket continued, “An underdog that no one is going to see coming.”
Jiminy winked at Esmeralda, then.
“We appreciate your help,” Pocahontas added.
“It’s no trouble at all. My next class is going to communicate why every Hero or Heroine needs a bug or an animal companion.”
“Or several,” Pocahontas mused.
“You three run along now,” the wise old cricket sang, “If you head down the North sector of campus you can interrupt Jasmine, Ariel, and Snow before they head outside. They always spend the mornings in the Courtyard before the early classes!”
The three of them watched as Jiminy hopped off of his perch on Esmeralda’s index finger and bounced away. Like a gymnast.
They all glanced at one another, holding a somewhat awkward silence.
Esmeralda said it first, “Jasmine hates us.”
All three of them hesitated, even Pocahontas.
Nakoma finally said, “I’m sure she doesn’t…”
Esmeralda sighed in frustration. She ruffled her voluminous hair and leaned against the wall. “She hates me,” she said. Her voice was raspier than usual.
It was true. Jasmine tended to hate anybody who threatened her or her social status. She hated every new princess who came on campus. Ever since Aurora has taken to confiding in Esmeralda over any other princess in Disney University, Jasmine had taken an especially nasty approach to Esmeralda. She had started spreading the worst gossip about her.
ONCE A GYPSY. ALWAYS A SLUT.
Still vividly carved out a piece of memory from Esmeralda’s mind. It’d been all over the door and rugs in her old dorm, graffitied. It was another reason why Aurora had given her the Royal Suite… It was the most secure dorm on campus, three times enchanted.
Even before Elsa’s, who had a castle about a mile off campus. It shot torpedo-sized icicles and was protected by animated snow golems that swung scythes made of ice at anyone who approached without consent. (Everyone.) Peter Pan and the Lost Boys made a game out of getting past Elsa’s magical defenses. Although they’d bragged about doing it once out of all the times they’d tried, no one’d actually seen it happen. Even Wendy had refused to vouch for them.
“There has to be something we can do,” Pocahontas insisted.
“We can appeal to her social status,” Nakoma suggested, “Ever since Elsa came and took a huge portion of shares, all of the royals have been insecure.”
“Jasmine is a little more than insecure, wouldn’t you say?” Esmeralda said sarcastically.
“That has to work!” Pocahontas said excitedly, “We convince her that she’s protecting her status quo, and she’ll have to be convinced to help us. She’s too insecure not to! And then we won’t have to negotiate with Snow White, or Cinderella-“
“-They always do what Jasmine tells them!”
“Cinderella, for sure. Snow White at least has a few brain cells on her own…” Nakoma rolled her eyes, “Cinderella is dumb as stone.”
Pocahontas opened her mouth to criticize Nakoma, but then closed it, shrugging.
Esmeralda considered it. The only person Jasmine hated more than her was Elsa, for different reasons altogether, and ever since she’d been on her crusade of social ‘procurity’ she didn’t care for the Powhatan Princess or her sidekick, considering them both beneath her for hanging around Esmeralda.
“Yeah, the only problem with that plan is that Jasmine will never even stand in our presence long enough to hear us out,” Esmeralda said, dully. “Unless…” She pressed a finger to her chin as a lightbulb went on, “Aha! Why didn’t I think of that before?!”
“What??” Pocahontas and Nakoma said together.
“There is somebody that Jasmine doesn’t ever try things with…” Esmeralda became elated, “I think if I could talk to her I could convince her to try and convince Jasmine to vote our way.”
“Wait, are you talking about-“ Nakoma started as Pocahontas gave Esmeralda an all-too-knowing look that made Esmeralda turn away, bashful.
Nervous butterflies started to form in Esmeralda’s stomach as they moved quick down the corridor. They barely made a sound as they dashed forward since all three of them preferred to be barefoot.
It was just as they rounded a corner to where the corridor led to the stairs that took them past the Courtyard and up to the Library that Esmeralda stopped in her tracks, nearly crashing into the exact princess she’d been looking for.
“Belle!” Esmeralda said, suddenly face to face with the brunette. Her nerves went haywire.
“Esmeralda,” Belle looked just as surprised.
“What are you doing down here?” Esmeralda asked before she could stop herself.
Belle’s dorm was on the other side of campus, in a corner tower shaped like a rose. She only ever came down to the Courtyard for a mid-afternoon stroll. The rest of her time she spent in DU’s Library. Esmeralda knew her schedule, well.
Belle spoke easily, emanating the gentle confidence that only Belle could show, “Jiminy asked me down to help him with something before his class today.”
“Jiminy Cricket,” Nakoma said.
“What does he have you doing?” Esmeralda said, falling victim to enchanting and compassionate eyes.
Pocahontas nudged her.
“Helping him prepare for his new course, I think. I was in the library earlier doing some research… Something about talking animals vs non-verbal animals and how it affects the structure around Disney.”
“What structure?” Nakoma and Esmeralda said in unison. Esmeralda flushed.
Belle laughed softly, “The societal structure, I suppose. Although lately it seems to be more of a lack of one.”
Esmeralda gave an awkward laugh, and immediately lost wind when Pocahontas elbowed her again.
Belle turned serious, “Um… have you… heard from her at all?”
“From-“ Esmeralda recovered, “Oh… no.” She turned her head down, shaking, “No, I haven’t.”
She couldn’t express to Belle how much she wasn’t ready to bring it up, but she knew if anyone held a genuine concern for Meg, it would be Belle. The three of them had been intimately connected at one point. Something Esmeralda, even now, couldn’t seem to forget.
Belle got the message and changed the topic of conversation, unable to hide a disparaging look from her eye as she lightened the tone, “What are you three up to on a day like this? It’s beautiful out… Naturally,” she quipped.
“Just hangin’ out!” Nakoma blasted, and keeled over when Pocahontas elbowed her ribs.
“I’m helping Pocahontas with her agenda for the town meeting tonight, and so is Nakoma. She’s making a proposal for the budget expenses.”
“Really?” Belle mused, smiling slightly, “What did you all have in mind?”
Pocahontas was unable to contain herself. “We’re trying to put the money towards improving communities that are under acknowledged, and less on material things. Helping the communities that could use Disney’s resources, and to the people in them who need help.”
“Broaden our reach, you mean?”
“Refocusing it. On things that matter.”
Belle looked skeptical. Then she nodded, kindly,“I can see your point.”
“Have you heard from Beast at all?” Esmeralda changed the topic.
“I always hear from him,” Belle said, sullen, “I haven’t seen him since Christmas.”
She rolled her eyes. Part of the reason she had become so close with Esmeralda, and with Megara as well, was because Beast was always away on missions for Disney. He was one of Disney’s top operatives and worked with Disney’s ‘A-Team’ in their military branch. Which meant Belle rarely ever saw her counterpart.
“It’s fine. We are working with it. I think that the two of us have started working harder because we keep hoping things will change around here. I think Disney needs change. It’s always the same people, and the same troubles that you hear about. It’s becoming dull, if you ask me.”
“That’s why we’re trying to make this proposal. It’s not just for the sake of everyone we can help, which would be a huge benefit in itself, but also because of the way that we can change by including more in our reach. Think of all the things we could learn from people and new cultures.”
Belle looked convinced, “You guy’s might really have something here…”
“Yes,” Pocahontas swelled, her chest popping out a little higher, “Help us, please. The others will listen to you.”
“Well…sure. I could say something. Although, you seem like you know what you’re talking about. You’ll be able to convince most of them if you say something like you just did to me. Beast and I are not the only ones who are tired.”
“Jasmine?” Nakoma said.
“Oh…” Belle trailed off. She understood. She knew very well the trouble Jasmine had put Esmeralda through, being as she has been friends with Jasmine longer than anyone else. Not best friends, but maybe that was why Jasmine had had it out for Esmeralda the way she had, because Esmeralda and Belle had gotten very close, very fast.
“Yeah…” Esmeralda looked down.
Belle put her hand on Esmeralda’s wrist and squeezed it, assuringly “I’ll talk to her.”
“It’s only because I know she won’t get… the way she does… with you,” she said quickly.
Belle squeezed her wrist harder, “I’ll talk to her.”
She would. Esmeralda gratefully nodded and saw the gentle, firm resolution that could only be present in Belle’s eyes. She was very grateful.
“Ehem-“ Nakoma cleared her throat.
“I’ll see you guys around… tonight,” Belle said with one final look at Esmeralda and started off down the hall again.
Pocahontas looking like she had a grin that meant she was absolutely smitten with herself.
Belle stopped and looked back at Esmeralda, “..Yes?”
“I hope you and Adam can see each other soon,” Esmeralda said.
“Thank you,” Belle said sincerely, and walked off.
A quietude befell them as Belle walked out of sight.
“Well, that was awkward,” Nakoma broke the silence.
“She has the hotts for you still,” Pocahontas teased.
“Obviously.” Nakoma rolled her eyes.
“Stop.” Esmeralda turned around, starting towards the courtyard
“Oh, ‘No worries, I’ll talk to her,” Pocahontas put her hand on Es the way Belle had.
“OH, COME ON-“
“We are sluts. Every one of us.” Nakoma said.
Esmeralda took offense, “I AM NOT-“
Esmeralda stopped short. She had to catch her breath in her throat.
Lord Mickey, no…
Just then Jasmine, Ariel, and Cinderella had rounded the corner and almost walked into the three of them, Pocahontas pulled Nakoma and Es back before they collided into the trio.
“Oh great,” Jasmine screeched, her voice was laden with disdain, “…This campus isn’t big enough.”
“Hey!” Nakoma started, “What did we do to you?”
“It has nothing to do with what you could have done to me. It’s the company you keep, Nakoma.”
“Jasmine,” Esmeralda interjected, annoyed.
“OH, PLEASE,” Jasmine threw up her hand, “Don’t come at me after you convinced Aurora to side with your pity-party. The rest of us have troubles, too, you know.”
“I’m not trying to cause trouble.”
“Really? Want to tell me why Aurora favors you, now? Sleeping in her Royal Suite? All of a sudden, you’re Queen of Campus, or at least you think you are.”
“Please!” Esmeralda lost her patience, “I don’t care about material bullshit or any business outside of my own. You can have her Suite if it means that much to you. I don’t want it.”
“No one else is allowed in it!”
“It’s not like she’s here to know the difference!”
“Why does it matter to you so much, anyway?”
Jasmine took a long aggravated breath and gave Esmeralda a death glare, “It matters because the rest of us have dedicated more time and money than someone who barely involves herself in Disney affairs. Let alone has no funds whatsoever to add to donations, or supplies, or anything.”
She wasn’t completely wrong and Esmeralda knew that.. Her cheeks went hot with embarrassment. She was taken by how true it was, “I-“
“She has a lot to offer,” Pocahontas said suddenly, “Aurora trusts Esmeralda because she doesn’t get involved in everyone’s affairs. She’s probably the only one who can keep a secret around here.”
“Well, that’s not exactly true, is it?” Jasmine’s voice got particularly nasty, “Everyone is talking about Megara’s disappearance. We all know who caused it.”
“Now THAT is NONE of your business-” Esmeralda’s irritation peaked.
“Princesses talk, Es, that’s what they do. Megara has too many acquaintances for her disappearance to go on without being noticed.” Jasmine’s eyes narrowed to viper slits, “I even heard from a certain bird that she was talking to Hades again… Now what could have possibly happened to make the Greek goddess go running back to her ex-boss? You have to be pretty messed up to look for consolation in the Lord of the Underworld-“
“We all know it’s true. You’re nothing but a gypsy, through and through.”
“Shut up, Jasmine,” Jasmine fell silent all of a sudden. All of them stared shocked at Ariel, who had Jasmine in a deadlocked glare.
Ariel had known Megara very well. Arguably, she was the first to get close to Megara when Megara had first joined the rank of princesses way back when. Since Megara was technically dating her cousin, they had seen each other here and there. Jasmine had had something to say then, too, making claims that Meg wasn’t a real princess because it wasn’t her official title. Meg wasn’t having any of that. She started to refer to herself as the “Greek Goddess” on campus with Hercules avidly backing her, and within a week, no one heard anything from Jasmine about the subject. Ariel had become all but obsessed with Meg in the meantime. When Megara eventually broke it off with Herc some time later, Ariel followed Meg around religiously. Eric and her had even taken a break, leading Eric to spend time in the big city away from campus at Disney HQ, while Meg let Ariel reluctantly join her at the hip. Always keeping her emotionally, an arm’s length away. Meg built a reputation quickly for being a bit of a princess player, and Ariel, never lost feelings for Meg. At least, not yet.
Jasmine could have said a thousand things in that moment and her glare was so swollen, she looked like she had just caught Jafar sleeping with Aladdin.
She kept her mouth shut, however, since Ariel looked ready to kill.
Jasmine exasperated, “Ugh! Come on!” She shouted to Cinderella. Cinderella stared blankly at all of them, a far-off look in her eye before following Jasmine as she stomped off without another word.
Ariel hung back, sizing Esmeralda then, “You haven’t… heard from her… have you?” She asked cautiously.
Esmeralda shook her head, cooling herself after Jasmine’s backlash.
“I-I haven’t….” She breathed. “ I am sorry.”
Ariel searched Esmeralda, then, “Okay, well…if you hear from her, just… tell her it would be nice to know she’s okay.”
Ariel concluded that was all she was going to get.
“ …I’ll see you around,” She said, as she turned on her heel and walked away from them.
“Jasmine’s a righteous witch! Seriously, what did you do to her?” Nakoma seized.
That was better left unsaid.
Esmeralda shrugged it off.
“Why would Jasmine say Megara was talking to Hades again?” Pocahontas asked, genuinely concerned.
“She can’t be…” Esmeralda took another deep breath. She better not be.
“Was she bluffing?” Nakoma asked.
“No… even Jasmine isn’t so bold to make something like that up…” Esmeralda thought out loud. God, Jasmine really was a bitch.
“I need to talk to Quasi,” Esmeralda said, thoughts of the Greek princess suddenly filling her thoughts again.
“Wait,” Pocahontas grabbed Esmeralda’s arm. Esmeralda looked up, “Can you help us, please?” Esmeralda rarely heard Pocahontas ask for help, she was always too proud, too capable. “Help us with the meeting tonight, and I promise we will help you find Megara.”
Nakoma’s eyes gave an Oh, will I? expression…
“I will.” Pocahontas was firm and proud, but her eyes pleaded, secretly. Esmeralda answered her eyes before she spoke. Okay…
Pocahontas’s lightened. Thank you.
Esmeralda took over the agenda from Nakoma’s hands.
She glanced over it. The detail was impeccable.
“Let’s see…” She said, rubbing her chin, “Disney’s Royal Couples… from the top… We have… Tiana and Naveen… The Beast and Belle… Rapunzel and Flynn Rider… Peter Pan and Wendy…. Eric and Ariel… Aladdin and Jasmine… Cinderella and Charming… Snow White…. Captain Shang and Commander Fa Mulan…. Colonel Merida and…” Esmeralda clicked her tongue, “…last and… definitely least likely to agree with us…”
The three of them looked down at Elsa’s name.
“…The Ice Queen.”
They all sighed.
Nakoma said, “At least we know Beast and Belle will side with us.”
“And Repunzel, Flynn, Tiana… Peter and Wendy…. I don’t doubt that we can talk all of them into supporting our cause,” Esmeralda said, nodding her head in assurance.
“You really think Belle can convince Jasmine to vote for the poor savages and the gypsy in the Royal Suite? She seemed even more hostile than usual…somehow.” Nakoma asked.
“Belle has never let me down,” Esmeralda said, meaning it.
Nakoma rolled her eyes.
“What about Shang and Commander Mulan?” Nakoma side-tracked, “I never see them on campus…ever.”
“It’s true,” Pocahontas told them, “Captain Shang and the Commander haven’t been to a town meeting in ages. They always have Colonel Merida speak for them at the night of the meetings.”
Esmeralda nodded, “Except that Belle mentioned that the A-Team hasn’t been back here since Christmas. Which means Belle has to be speaking for all of them then.”
That meant Hercules and Megara, too, since Meg was M.I.A. and Hercules was also part of Disney’s A-Team. Megara normally cast her vote for the two of them during town meetings. That put the three girls at a significant advantage already with Belle agreeing to vote with them.
“Repunzel and Flynn, though,” Nakoma said, tucking a knuckle under her chin in an inquisitive manner, “I actually heard that they gave their vote away.”
Pocahontas nodded, “They did.”
“To who?” Nakoma asked.
“Peter Pan and Wendy,” Esmeralda said, and then, “It is strange. I wonder why they’d give their vote away… and to Peter and Wendy…”
“Maybe they thought that Peter Pan and Wendy of all couples would be the least biased. The only person who can convince Peter Pan to do anything outside of what he feels is Wendy.”
“Sounds familiar…” Nakoma said, side-grinning at Pocahontas.
Pocahontas blushed and pushed at Nakoma.
“We should go and see them,” Pocahontas said, “Story-time with Peter Pan and the Lost Boys is starting soon. They do it every morning…”
“That shit is hilarious.”
Pocahontas started down the hall.
“What about Giselle?” Esmeralda asked, suddenly.
Nakoma looked at her for a moment as if she had no idea how to answer or what the question was.
“I think she’s kind of just there…” Nakoma said after a beat.
“Oh…” Esmeralda’s gaze dropped to the floor.
They shrugged at each other.
“Come on!” Pocahontas yelled, already ten feet ahead of them.
The two of them followed after the Native Princess without another word.