In this scene, you will see what Martina had to do to recover her powers. She had been told that the scales of a weird fish could make her eyes healthy again.
Also in this scene, you will find a talking fish. It’s Tattoo! Do you remember the betta fish that Martina bought at the Market? Well, Martina had put him in a clear, bouncing ball filled with water so that Tattoo could be with her all the time. It made me sad to have to take away Tattoo’s funny and entertaining speech ability in the final version, but it was a necessary loss to raise the maturity level of the story.
Princess Martina opened the diary to the first blank page. She was still processing all the information Master Fabrizio had shared with her. “Show me the fish!” she said to the magic book as she neared the pier.
Enzo spotted the long back hair of Martina. He walked toward the princess. “Martina!” called Enzo.
Martina raised her gaze from the diary. "Enzo! What a nice surprise to see you here!” She could not resist the urge to put her arms around his neck.
“The pleasure is mine,” responded Enzo, returning a bear hug that crushed Martina’s ribs. He did not want to let go. But his expression quickly turned dreary. He bit his lip in worry and looked down to the floor until the tough words came from his mouth. “I’m coming to say good-bye.”
Martina was lost. “What do you mean? You just got here.”
“I must find a new place to live,” said Enzo, lowering his usual enthusiastic voice. “Our Kingdom is a disaster! A total one.”
Enzo started telling Martina about all the destruction at Brightalia. Martina listened with great sadness as they waddled along the pier. Tattoo came rolling and jumped onto Martina’s shoulders.
“Villagers at Enna Valley are starving. Innocent people are in prisons. New farmers have no idea what to do with their lands. The claimed territory is burning into flames. Soldiers are dying on our Lusha border—” Enzo went on with his long list. He described each of the injustices that the people living in the kingdom were experiencing. “Brightalia is heading toward bankruptcy, and I had no choice but to leave.” He sat on a bench and covered his face with his hands.
Getting the story from Enzo, who had actually lived the agony, was devastating for the princess. Martina’s heart was broken into pieces. She was deeply saddened for her people, and she felt an even more profound pain for her brother Drago. It was shattering to see what Drago had become and the suffering he was causing to Brightalia by imposing this arbitrary doctrine. Even Enzo had to leave Brightalia due to the ruling of her brother.
Catching her breath, Martina offered an invitation. “For you, there will always be room on this island. The sand village welcomes Mr. Enzo Latte with open arms.”
“Are you sure I can stay here?” asked Enzo with blurry eyes.
“Of course! That’s what friends are for!”
“Thank you, Your Highness!” Enzo bowed to the princess with a hand on his chest.
“Hello! Here is your other friend,” said Tattoo who had impatiently waited to be noticed.
“Wow, Tattoo! You really know how to enjoy yourself. Fish life is not bad at all,” Enzo managed to show a wan smile.
“Tattoo wished a big ball and he—” Martina started.
“And I am rockin’ cool in my new mansion,” interrupted the betta fish with one of his unique answers. The princess had replaced his old container with a larger one, which had a removable lid that allowed the fish to go in and out by himself when he was in the water.
All of a sudden, Martina dropped her magic journal. It hit a corner of a bench and soared over the princess. “My diary!” she screamed, stretching out her arm but missing the book. “It’s hot. Super hot!”
The book almost got to the water. But Enzo sprinted a long way to the edge of the pier, and with a side jump, he reached out between two pillars catching the journal in the air. “What happened?” But he answered his own question. “Oh! My doughnuts! I can cook a steak on this thing.” He plunked the magic book on the bench, shaking his burning hand.
The drawing of the rare fish has appeared.
Martina stared at the picture with round eyes. “How am I going to find this monster?”
This time it was Enzo who had winged to Jupiter with a blank mind. “Why is your weird book so hot? And why do you want a guivrefish? Are you trading Tattoo for this aggressive specimen?” He scratched his lank hair, clueless.
“Ja, ja … Ja, ja …” Tattoo faked a loud laugh. “Find a better joke next time.”
“Do you know this fish?” asked Martina, pointing at the drawing.
“Yeap!” said Enzo. A look of confused remained in his face.
“Okay! Many things have happened, but I do not have the time to explain right now.” The princess sighed deeply and continued, “ I have lost my powers and the scales of the … What is its name again?
“Guuuiiivreeefish,” slowly repeated Enzo.
“The scales of the guivrefish can cure my eyes.” Martina started hurtling toward the village. “I must go to find the fish. I’ll see you later!” said Martina, almost shouting for Enzo to hear.
“You’ll never catch that fish by yourself. Its venomous spines will sting you in no time.” This one was a scream that traveled straight to Martina’s ear.
Martina nailed her feet in place and turned back.
“This dragon-head fish is very dangerous. It has an abnormally high number of poisonous spines on its back. When frightened, it uses the spines in defense,” explained Enzo, walking toward Martina. A single sting will inflict a painful wound. The poison will intoxicate your blood in seconds.
Martina flopped to the sand. “I’m tired of this venom. It’s everywhere. I’ll never cure my eyes.” She wondered how Dr. Brizio expected her to get the aggressive fish. “Brightalia will be in ruins. The dark forces are winning.”
Enzo grabbed Martina by the shoulders. “Look at my suffering and multiply it by every single Brightalian. Don’t let us down Martina. Our Kingdom needs you.” He was dead serious this time.
Martina never imagined getting those words from Enzo. They melted her heart. He was right. Martina had to do whatever it took to regain her powers and help her people. “How can I get the fish?”
“I will catch it for you.”
Tattoo bubbled inside his ball. “That’s my fisher!”
“But you said it’s dangerous.” Sure, Martina wanted Enzo’s expert help, but at the same time, she did not want her best friend to put his life in jeopardy.
“I don’t care. If it will help you recover your powers, I’ll do it! That’s what friends are for,” ended Enzo, repeating Martina’s words.
“Great!” It was now Martina who crushed Enzo’s chest with a big hug.
Enzo smiled, letting his arms wrap around the princess. Martina got some butterflies in her tummy.
“You must act fast. Remember? Like right now,” said Tattoo, rolling back and forth between the couple’s feet.
“Yes!” they both chanted at the same time.
“I need a net, some gloves, a sharp knife, and several fishing arrows,” requested Enzo. “Ah! And clear containers.”
“I know a shop where we can get all that.” Martina strode along the shore and into the village followed by Enzo and preceded by Tattoo. “Where are the guivrefishes?”
Enzo jogged to catch up to Martina. “It’s not too far. You can almost see it from here. It’s on the other side of the bridge, the narrow path along the cliff where the coastline is very rugged. The massive rocks are covered with moss, and the dragon-head fish hide among the boulders, waiting to attack their small prey.”
“Is it safe to go there?” Martina held the door of the shop open.
Enzo shook his head sideways. “Nope! The water is very rough, but you know me. I’m not afraid of the sea.”
The trio entered the fishing store. It had dissected animals hanging on the back wall. “This place is scary,” commented Tattoo, trembling.
Martina and Enzo gathered what they needed and headed outside again. “Be careful!” said Martina with heavy eyes.
“Don’t worry. I’ll be back soon.”
Martina waddled away to her house, but every now and then, she would turn back an eye at Enzo. As he got closer to the bridge, the princess saw how Enzo disappeared into the distance, carrying the big bag of supplies on his shoulder.
Martina prepared the rest of the spell in a big pot while waiting for the scales. She practiced the words from the diary:
“Guardian of healing, vanish my pain,
Force of the right, channel the light,
Power of earth, summon the magic,
Scales of the seas, bring it to me.”
It did not take more than three hours for Enzo to come back. He was bathed in seaweed and shirtless. “Mission accomplished!” he announced, pressing on a tourniquet on his right arm. The bloody piece of fabric seemed to be what was left of his shirt.
Martina watched him, her mouth agape at the swollen arm. “Did the fish sting you? Let me help you.” She brought a chair for Enzo and rushed to get her first aid basket.
“Ouch!” screamed Enzo when Martina uncovered the long wound. “I was cast up by the gigantic waves, and my arm got stuck below a jumble of rocks.”
Martina finished bandaging Enzo’s arm, and the two friends quickly got to work on the spell. Enzo carefully removed the guivrefish from the container and with a sharp knife, peeled the skin of the poisonous fish. With a pair of tongs, Martina gingerly added the scales to the cauldron. After stirring for ten minutes, the smoke turned white and the shape of an eagle became visible. The white bird glided over the princess extending its broad, steamy wings, then drifted out the window.
Martina cast a cheerful glance at the figure of vapor. “The spell is ready,” she said with great anxiety. Her eyes revealed some fear. She hoped the formula would work properly. She did not want to end up as a monster or any weird creature.
Enzo flicked his eyes back and forth, from the burning pot to Martina and back.
Tattoo bounced to the kitchen counter, then to Enzo’s shoulder. The orphan children stood behind Enzo.
The princess picked up a cup and immersed it into the hot liquid with care. White steam surrounded her hand and the tall mug. She sighed heavily as she got ready to chant the magic words.
"Power of earth, summon the magic,
Scales of the seas, bring it to me."
Martina rippled her wand around the cup. It was the moment to taste the spell. She took one quick sip and then two more in a row. The spell was sour but drinkable. She felt as if electricity traveled along all the veins in her body. She remained still, but her eyes suddenly projected a powerful beam of violet light that converted all the cookware into sand figures. The strong force launched her backward, crashing into a wall. Her silhouette got stamped on the sandy wall, and the princess ended on the floor with a loud bang. She hit her head against a doorknob, the last bump that she was not expecting.
Enzo hurried next to the princess. “Are you okay?”