The sun outside the cabin window is high in the sky the next morning. I'm still in bed. It's Saturday; there are no classes, so I intend to hide under the covers all day and cry about Pierce and feel sorry for myself. One minute I'm furious with him for lying to me. The next I'm wondering if maybe he had a good reason. I want there to be a good reason, I really, really do. I was awful to him because I was so mad. But I can't stop thinking that I should've given him a chance to explain.

Outside the window, I think I see a flash of pale skin and dark hair running through the redwoods, but it must be my mind playing tricks with me. Pierce has been expelled.

I remember after the picnic when he was talking in his sleep. He said, "Don't go. I'm sorry." I knew then he was hiding something, but didn't want to make a big deal about it. Then I think about the feeling of waking in his arms, and the kiss that followed, and I'm undone. I'm doing some really impressive whimpering when the covers are ripped off of me. It's cold! I try to grab them, but Pickles has tossed them on to the floor.

"Pickles! Give those back!"

"You are not staying in bed all day long and feeling sorry for yourself. Come on. Get up."

"Go away." I cover my face with the pillow. She tries to wrench that away as well. As if a fairy godmother could wrestle a pillow from a mermaid! I pull really hard and I hear a thump.


I sit up so fast, my head spins. Pickles is on the floor, legs in the air.

"I always forget how strong you are."

I hop out of bed to help her, muscles aching from my dealings with the Great White Seagulls yesterday; at least the scratches are healed. I reach down to help her up. "I'm sorry Pickles. Oh, no, your hands are so clammy."

"It's okay." She sneezes.

Hades harmonicas. I get a good look at her. Pickles looks terrible. Her red hair is as bushy as Thunder's. Her skin is so pale I can see faint outlines of the veins beneath. Her blue dress is on backward. Her nose is as red as coral. Here I am feeling sorry for myself while my best friend is clearly very sick. I am a terrible mermaid.

"Pickles, what's wrong?"

"The fairy flu, remember? It's getting worse."

I lead her over to my bed and sit her down. I get my blankets and wrap them around her shoulders. "Do you want some tea?"

"No thanks. I've already had six cups today. Lily-Bella made them."

Lily-Bella is taking care of Pickles when it should've been me.

"Why is it so quiet? Where is everyone?"

"Outside. Cupid has a surprise."

"Really? Well if Cupid says he has a surprise, it's bound to be weird. Every single thing that god does is a surprise."

Pickles gives me a weak smile.

"Yeah. He says you should get dressed quickly."

"I need to talk to my dad."

"I heard at breakfast that your dad and the headmaster are off at an important meeting all day. They'll be back tonight."

"Oh, no."

"What is it?"

"Pickles, we learned some terrible things last night on the yacht. Sharkweather is the one dumping toxins in the bay, but he is being blackmailed by someone."


"I couldn't see him, and I didn't recognize his voice. I overheard him threatening Sharkweather. He said he wants more merfolk enrolled in the school for some reason, but Sharkweather said there were spies at the school and that the merfolk royal family is getting involved. Then the mystery man suggested he could use me, but Sharkweather told him that my father had arranged for a bodyguard. That's how I found out Pierce was only spending time with me because my dad hired him."

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