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Treasure in Trident City
PEARL SWAMP CURLED THE TIP of her gold tail to make a bow. Then she flipped it out quickly to make a circle. It was hard to do while seated, but just for fun, she began practicing her Tail Flippers dance. Her school, Trident Academy, had a dance and gymnastics group called the Tail Flippers. Pearl was so proud that she’d made the team this year!
“Pearl!” her third-grade teacher, Mrs. Karp, snapped. “Are you paying attention?”
Pearl sat up straight and stared innocently at her teacher. “Of course! I always pay attention to you, Mrs. Karp.” Of course, that wasn’t exactly true. Pearl did try to pay attention, but sometimes school was just too boring! She longed for something exciting to happen.
“As I was saying, class,” Mrs. Karp continued, “today we will start a storytelling project.”
A merboy named Rocky Ridge groaned loud enough for the whole class to hear. Pearl felt like groaning too. Mrs. Karp was always coming up with new tasks for them, some very dull!
Mrs. Karp frowned at Rocky. “The project will include two assignments. For the first assignment, each of you will choose a story to study. Then you will practice telling it to your family or in front of a mirror. You will share your story with the class tomorrow.”
Kiki Coral raised her hand. “What’s a mirror?”
“Don’t you have a mirror?” Pearl asked in surprise. Even though Kiki was from far-off waters, Pearl couldn’t believe she didn’t know what a mirror was!
Kiki shook her head. Most of the other third graders shrugged, so Shelly Siren explained, “It’s a piece of glass that you look in to see yourself. What you see is called a reflection. A lot of humans have them.”
Pearl sniffed, tossing her long blond hair behind her shoulders. Shelly was such a know-it-all. Just because she lived with her grandfather in an apartment above the People Museum, she thought she was an expert on all human things. “My family has ten of them,” Pearl bragged.
“No one has ten mirrors in their shell,” Rocky scoffed.
Pearl lifted her pointy nose up in the water. “Well, we do! If you don’t believe me, you can come over and see for yourself!”
Rocky made a face. “A giant octopus couldn’t drag me to your shell.”
“That’s quite enough,” Mrs. Karp said sharply. “If you don’t have a mirror, you may practice with a friend.”
A mergirl named Echo Reef raised her hand and asked, “What’s the second part of the storytelling project?”
Mrs. Karp peered over her glasses and smiled at Echo. “Thank you for asking. The second assignment will be to make up your own story and tell it to the class.”
“That’s more like it.” Rocky grinned, sitting back in his sponge seat. “I’m good at making up stories.”
Pearl knew that was true. Rocky was always making up tales, and they were usually great big fat lies. But even Pearl had to admit she liked the idea of being in front of the class and telling a story she made up. She could say almost anything! Plus, Pearl loved it when everyone looked at her. It made her feel so special.
Mrs. Karp thumped her white tail on her desk to get everyone’s attention. “It’s time to head to the library to choose the stories for your first assignment.” The merkids floated down the hall. Pearl wasn’t eager to find a story among all the rock and seaweed books, but she did love looking at the beautiful domed library ceiling. It was made of glistening mother-of-pearl, and its fancy chandeliers sparkled with glowing jellyfish. If the whole school was as pretty as the library, Pearl was sure she would like studying more.
Pearl and her friend Wanda Slug sat down at a rock table that was piled high with stories written on pieces of seaweed. “What kind of story do you want to find?” Wanda asked. “I’d love one about a princess!”
Pearl scrunched her nose. “A princess would be all right, I guess,” she said. “But only if it’s really exciting.”
Just then there was a loud yelp across the room. “No wavy way!” Rocky yelled. “Look what I found!”