Annabelle was a beautiful, kind girl, who loved adventures. Whether climbing a tree, running down a hill or riding an ocean wave, she lived for adventure. This particular adventure began while Annabelle was on holiday with her family at the seaside.

  Every year the family would take a trip down to this part of the country to spend a weekend at the beach. Over the years Annabelle had developed a love swimming, of being in the water.

  As she arrived at the water that year she noticed that it seemed strangely dull in colour. Though she didn't pay too much attention to this as she threw off her heavy outer clothing and ran into the water. As she went swimming out for the fourth or fifth time, a massive wave caught her by surprise and sent her plummeting down into the water.

  For a few seconds Annabelle was spinning around in the water with no idea which way was up. But as she came to her sense she realized she could hear voices underwater. Without realising that she hadn't taken a breath for a lot longer than was normal, and certainly without really thinking about it, she began to swim towards the voices. Before long she saw shapes in the water, and she got nearer it became more obvious what she was seeing.

  Dolphins!

  None of the dolphins paid her any attention however, so she was able to swim up quite close. As she swam in closer, she saw a baby dolphin looking (If it's possible to tell with a dolphin's face) quite sad.

  “Hello your majesty,” the dolphin said to her.

  “Hello...Dolphin..? I...Majesty? I'm not a majesty,” Annabelle replied.

  “Oh, sorry.  It's just that my mother always told me that the silky red hair and the green eyes are marks of the royal family. Anyway, my name is Splash, not Dolphin. What's yours?”

  “Annabelle,” she told him. 

  Annabelle didn't spend much time worrying about any of this. She had always been at her most comfortable having adventures and was perfectly happy to believe in talking dolphins and breathing underwater.

  Although as she was with a dolphin, who was definitely an expert on the sea, she decided that asking a few questions couldn't hurt.

  “So, where are we? How come I can breathe underwater and why are you so unhappy?” She asked with curiosity.

“Well,” said Splash.  “To answer your first question, you're in the kingdom of Seatopia. Home of the Mer-people. As to your second question…” Splash said as he gave her a funny look. “It's because like all Mer-people, you just can.”

  “Wait. I'm obviously no mermaid, they have tails right?”

  “They, and you, do. Take a look.” Splash said to her.

  “Oh!” For the first time in a long time, Annabelle was unsure of how to respond. She looked down at where her legs always were only to see a beautiful turquoise tail.

  “Now. To answer your last question, I am unhappy because the colours have been taken from the sea. And we have been trapped in these dull waters now for two months. The Hydra. He took the Rainbow Sceptre and used it to steal the colours of the sea. When I first saw you I had hoped you might have come to help.” Splash said sadly.

  “But of course I'll help. I don't know what I can do, but I'll do anything I can.” Annabelle said excitedly. This was shaping up to be an adventure the likes of which she would never forget.

So Splash led Annabelle on their way to the capital of the kingdom of Seatopia.

 

On the way Annabelle was treated to a whole new world of beautiful sights. Animals, plants, even the rocks were nice to look at. Everything was exciting. Except that everything seemed to be lacking brightness. Exactly like Splash had said, it was like the colours had been sucked out of every living thing.

  “Ooh. What's that?” Whispered Annabelle, as she saw the most incredible creature she could ever have imagined come out of an underwater cave. It looked like what Annabelle had always imagined a sea horse should look like. Half horse, but with a long, powerful fish tail as the bottom half.

  “It's the Hippocamp,” whispered Splash. “One of the four guardians of the Sea. He guards everything from Seatopia to the great Maelstrom. Annabelle noticed that the Hippocamp was glowing. Kind of like he as a spell on him, she thought.

Annabelle was sure she had seen one before.

The Hippocamp came towards her and Splash.  

  “You are wanting to get past?” He asked in a low voice.

  “Yes,” Annabelle replied without hesitation.

  “You will have to answer this riddle first,” Said the Hippocamp.

He began humming quietly as if to himself, then finally spoke in a deeper, more menacing voice.

  “There were thirteen crows in a farmer’s field. The farmer shot one of them. How many would be left?” Splash and Annabelle thought for a long time. Discounting the obvious answer, as they felt there must be more to it. Suddenly Annabelle jumped.

  “I have it,” she exclaimed.  “The answer is zero. Because all the birds would have been so scared they would have flown away.”

  “Correct.” The Hippocamp smiled at her.

  As he said that, Annabelle noticed that a change of heat seemed to come over him. What seemed like a dark spell over him had disappeared. Annabelle had a warm feeling that she had just helped free this majestic creature from one of the Hydra's spells. The Hippocamp was very grateful and told them that should they ever need help they just had to call.

  Then the Hippocamp gave Annabelle a special shell.

  “If ever you have need of aid, blow into the shell and I will come,” the Hippocamp told her

  “Thank you,” Said Annabelle.

 

  Annbelle and Splash set off on their journey to the capital. Finally, after a long swim, they arrived. The turrets of the palace rose so high they came almost to the top of the water. But instead of a beautiful colourful palace, it was all grey, black and dull.

  As they entered the palace grounds they heard a loud thumping noise, and saw a huge shadow form on the wall near them.  Splash directed Annabelle quickly into the cupboard whilst the creature went past.  After everything was quiet, they took their chance and swam down the stairs into the dungeon where they found a very surprised queen. As they explained why they were there and what they were doing, the queen looked knowingly at Annabelle.

  “When the time comes,” she said. “You make sure you blow that horn. It won't just be the

Hippocamp who hears it and comes to your aid.”

  “Thank you your majesty,” Annabelle said as she bowed to her.

  Annabelle and Splash set off to look for the Hydra's den. As they approached the area where the queen had said it would be, Annabelle began to panic. In all her excitement of the adventure she hadn't considered how she would actually fight the Hydra. Splash looked at her strangely when she asked him.

  “Why can't you just use your magic?” He asked.

  “What do you mean? I don't have any magic,” Annabelle cried.

  As soon as she had said this, she heard a growling noise, followed by a dark voice.

  “You came to fight me, to claim back the colours, and you don't have magic?” The Hydra appeared at the entrance of the cave.

  He was massive.

  He had three heads and huge body. Each head appeared to have a mind of its own and they were all gnashing their teeth hungrily at Annabelle. Knowing that they didn't have any magic, the Hydra wasn't scared of them. Splash suddenly shouted at her.  “The shell! Use the shell!”

  Annabelle put the shell to her lips and blew as hard as she could.

  To begin with nothing happened, and Annabelle began to get worried. But slowly and gradually, a sound so deep she could feel it in her bones began to reverberate around her. She heard the calm voice of the Hippocamp behind her. “Fear not child of the sea. We are with you.”

Annabelle turned to see all manner of sea creatures swimming behind her and splash. Fish, turtles, starfish, octopus, a couple of large whales, even some hungry looking sharks.

  “You can do this child,” said the Hippocamp. “It's inside you.”

  Suddenly the Hydra screamed and started to swim towards her at an alarming rate.

  Annabelle began to feel a pressure building up inside her. As it built she began to see what life would be like under the sea if she allowed the Hydra to win. All these sea creatures who had come to help her would be taken. The beautiful underwater city of Seatopia would be destroyed, and the colours would never return to the sea.

  “THE...COLOURS...ARE...NOT...YOURS” she shouted with all her might. As she did, she could feel power pouring from all around her, from all the living things that had come to help her, and back out of her, smashing into the Hydra.

 

***

 

  Annabelle awoke on the beach with the water lapping at her feet. She stood up, looked around her and sighed. Had it all been a dream? It had felt so real. As she turned away from the water she heard a voice behind her.

  “Child of the sea.”

  Annabelle turned to look. There, bobbing at the water’s edge, was the Hippocamp.

  “Today you have saved our world. There are still many things for you to learn about yourself and this world, should you choose to. But for now know this, your Majesty: You will always have friends under the sea.”

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