Hi, everybody! I just want to let you know that this story was created with the help of my amazing sister, so some of the credit of the characters and their future development goes to her! Anywho, hope you enjoy the story!

"Cassidy, I can't believe it." She stared at her long-lost sister in utter disbelief. It had been so long, but she was real, she was real and really there. One of her sisters was there.

"I'll leave, your highnesses, and let you reunite." a castle maid said meekly, and slipped away through the water.

"Have you really hired such awful servants while I was gone? I mean, she'll leave? Of course she'll leave, she doesn't need to announce it to the whole merkingdom." Cassidy scoffed and rolled her eyes, a captivating shade of crystal blue.

"Sorry, Cassidy. I guess you can help us restaff."

"Wait, us? Who else is here?" her pale face lit up, and searched her sister's for an answer.

"It's me and Dad. And Tina." She thought of her tall and fluffy cotton-candy pink pet penguin and grinned, but saw Cassidy's face, and could only smile weakly.

"Oh."

There was a silence between the two princesses.

As Cassidy glided through the water inside the castle, she sighed in

awe.

"It's just as beautiful as I remember," she gazed at the huge pillars surrounding her, and memories of all sorts and kinds flooded her mind. She smiled, then froze, as if shocked or stuck.

"Ah-em, it's uh— smaller here, than I remember, though. Is it just that I'm so much taller, or have you done something to it, Maddie?" She accused, thrusting her petite hands on her jutting hips.

"No, I haven't 'done anything' Cassidy, you're just not a seewie anymore." Maddie let out a long huff of air and slumped against a pillar. She put a hand to her forehead and began to massage her temples and scalp, which housed her long, red hair with two symmetrical pale green highlights, hoping to Poseidon that time would stop, or that she could change it and exchange Cassidy for one of her other sisters.

But as soon as that thought entered her mind, she regretted it. It opened the floodgates of times long past, shared and spent with her family, before it all broke apart….

"So, Maddie, are you going to come out from behind that post, or are you just going to hide from me forever, huh? Are you upset that now that I'm here, you've been pushed back to next in line for Shellica's throne? I'm going to be queen of this wonderful merkingdom someday not-so-far-away, and I'm going to need a grand tour to refamiliarize myself with everything! Complete, with descriptions of famous battles, people, and events, so if I were you— which I'm ever so grateful that I'm not— I would stop this silly game of hide-and-seek, and take me to my room so I can get settled." Cassidy crossed her slender arms and moved her periwinkle tail back and forth, waiting.

"Okay, Cassidy, I'll take you to your room right now." Maddie exhaled heavily, and grabbed her older sister by the arm past the royal throne room, and up many cases of stairs to a blue coral door, and pushed Cassidy inside.

"There," she said, taking a key from the table by the door and locking it, ignoring Cassidy's muffled screams. That was most likely best, because Cassidy was spewing a few words that were…. strong, to say the least.

"And I'll get Petey and keep him occupied for an hour before your tour, because I know he's out in the streets now with a handheld mirror ogling himself and trying to attract everyone's attention."

Maddie floated through the streets of town near the castle, humming to herself. All of the merfolk were carrying out their daily lives: she saw a couple sharing a seaweed salad outside of a restaurant, a mother and her young daughter splashing out of a jewelry shop covered from head to tail in pearls, and a remarkably short and plump merman zipping past on a seasalt-cycle.

As the bike became smaller and moments passed, Maddie realized that she hadn't seen a tail attached to him. And, she saw, she was at the heart of the town, and Petey had been nowhere in sight. Unless…

Maddie began bolting through the water, aided by the warm current of bubbles the seasalt-cycle had left behind. She knew she would never be able to reach Petey, but she had to try before he did something thoughtless and inconsiderate. Maddie imagined Petey speeding through an entire building and knocking it down, without a care in the world.

Suddenly, she was broke out of her thoughts by something large and hard, almost like a wall. She opened her eyes, and saw an emerald green seahorse before her, with white reins and a rider grasping them, who did not look happy.

"Who do you think you are?" she yelled. "Princess Cassidy?"

"Well, actually, I'm another one, you know, Madeline? You'd know if you kept up with the news."

"Don't insult me! You could've killed Ripples! I'm filing a complaint with the king for having such an ignorant daughter!" She raced off, muttering to herself about how the kingdom used to be a place where creatures felt safe, and not as if they could be pommeled at any moment by royalty themselves.

Maddie glanced around herself to see that the merpeople nearby had all resumed their activities after the mermaid's outburst, and she was unnoticed. So, since their owner had abandoned them, she swung her lime green tail up and onto Ripples. Then she grabbed the reins and rushed after Petey.

A short while later, Maddie pulled Ripples to a stop in the castle coral-courtyard, where Petey was sitting on the top of a statue of her great-grandfather. The stolen bike was lying on the ground, deserted like a child's toy that they had gotten bored with— which, in a way, Maddie thought, was the case.

She put her hands on her hips and stared at the black and white penguin accusingly.

"Petey, who did you steal that seasalt-cycle from?"

There was no response.

"Tell me."

"Tell me, Petey Peterson Peters the Third!"

He cooed haughtily, revealing the information.

"Okay. Now you're gonna get down from there, and give Duncan Currmont his bike back." She said.

Petey began to languidly inch his way down the bust.

"Hurry up- after you do this you can go on a tour of the kingdom with Cassidy."

Petey bounced down to Maddie, and fell into pace with her.

"I'm so sorry, Duncan, it won't happen again." Maddie apologized, elbowing Petey's white underbelly from behind.

"Who took it?" he asked. "I only saw that they were a penguin, I didn't get to see who it was. Do they work at the castle?"

Petey squawked in offense.

"It was Petey. Yeah, Cassidy's back." Maddie sighed.

"Wow, Cassidy? I haven't seen her since the eighth grade! Is she still— still just as pretty as she was?" Duncan looked wistfully up at the castle in the distance.

"Uh-huh, and I bet she'd love to call you up sometime. She always did."

"So, if Cassidy's back, why don't you look happy?" he questioned upon seeing the still miserable expression on Maddie's face.

"Well, you know Cassidy— she's not exactly a ball of cuddles." Maddie laughed.

"Yeah. More like tentacles." Maddie and Duncan laughed.

"Well, I'll see you at school on Monday, Duncan. Hey, wait, isn't there a finball game then?"

"Yeah. I've been working the team hard to win this one, but I think we can coralcream those Oceantineans no problem!" He exclaimed.

"Me too. Bye, Duncan."

"Bye, Maddie."

Maddie swam leisurely with Petey back to the castle.

"See, that wasn't so bad, was it?" Maddie asked Petey. He narrowed his turquoise eyes.

She huffed. "I get it, I get it, you're unimpressed. But you have to do these things if you want to get anywhere in life."

He cooed nasally.

"That's right, I forgot. You're Petey, and you're the princess's penguin, you can strut through life doing whatever you want. Oh, here's Cassidy's room." Maddie took the key to her sister's chamber and unlocked the door, which Cassidy was still pounding on.

Cassidy tumbled out onto the floor. Maddie stifled a laugh at the sight. Her dignified sister, queen one day, falling out of a room and landing on her stomach.

Petey stared at Cassidy for a moment, and then glared at Maddie. He advanced on her as Cassidy rose and adjusted her pale crown, regaining her composure.

"Ow!" Maddie screamed. The pain of Petey's kick had come so suddenly. "Petey! I didn't make her fall!"

"Well, Maddie, when you stop being such a seewie and grow up some— actually more than some, grow up much— take Petey and me on the tour. We'll be waiting in the foyer, you can come down and start when you're ready. Come on, Petey." Cassidy flipped her curly cyan ponytail and sauntered down the stairs, Petey by her side. As they left, Petey shot Maddie a look with an intent no short of death. Maddie stuck her tongue out back at him.

Wait, don't do that, that's immature. That's just what she wants you to do, Maddie chastised herself, and swam as slowly as she could down the stairs.

"Madeline, are you coming?" Maddie heard Cassidy call up to her. She rolled her brown eyes. This was going to be a long weekend.