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and she prays for the world that she comes from

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Her desire ebbed back and forth, desire rushing in and out like clockwork. Part of her wanted to remain the good little princess, the apple of her father's eye. The other part of her, one a few years before Ariel scarcely would have recognized had she seen it. Oh, things were so much simpler before she began picking up the various whatzits and wonders that littered the sand.

Her thoughts had drifted from the objects to their previous owners. How could such fantastic items be surrendered freely to the waves? If humans could make these, then what other feats could they perform?

As her trips to the surface increased, that good little girl began to slip away. She made excuses to skip performances and shows, concocted stories and excuses with an ever growing ease.

The metal rays were always a joy to sea, so smooth and shiny. Swimmers, their bodies lean and hard, fought against even the roughest of waves with a grace that would make even the hardiest merman jealous.

It was the woman that fascinated her most, the one that rode the waves atop her strange wooden board as though she owned them.

Ariel had thought of approaching her; she would have been nothing but a swimmer that wandered too far from shore. Yet something about lying to her made Ariel's throat tighten. Whoever this woman was, she deserved the truth.

And that fact was what pulled the tides of wonder and desire back. Whatever Ariel did, whatever she wanted, couldn't change what either were.

From a distance she watched, heart racing and eyes watering, dreaming of all that could not be.