He jumps into the water, and I laugh, removing my shirt before jumping in after him. The water helps push me along, and I catch up to Kai in a heartbeat. I wink at him before shooting forward, and I can almost hear him yell the word ass towards me. Maybe…maybe I haven’t ruined everything.
I watch him go, wishing I could be as easily freed. My mind is trapped with thoughts of Nerites, and I need to cut him loose so I don’t hurt those that I care about. I already hurt Kai. I can’t feel what he feels for me, and I knew that before I touched him. I close my eyes and stretch my arms out to find the ship. It’s bow is currently crashing into waves a few kilometers ahead of me.
Laughing, I untie us from the dock. “The wind is always in my favor. The Anemoi are old friends. We are going to want to head southeast to the Dodecanese Islands. There should be one covered in mist. Only the eye of a god can spot it.”
I know this is it. The moment. He’s giving me one last chance. One chance to tell him what he needs to hear, the words he deserves. The feeling grows inside me, but the words refuse to tumble from my lips. If I don’t say anything, he’ll leave. He’ll be done with me. He’s not a man to give second chances.
The key is a shade of deep-sea blue. An A is etched in the top, surrounded by seaweed. But it’s the things that are invisible to the mortal eye that make me want to snatch it from his palm. Golden runes, spells of old, even older than me, are etched into it, visible only to a God of the Sea.
I have never been a good man to her. I should have been there for her more, but there were things I needed to do that took me centuries to figure out. The guilt gnaws at me. I only hope she can forgive me for my absence. Even if she cannot forgive, at least I can apologize.
Frowning, I try to rub the strange sensation out of my chest as I get up from my bed. The cracks in the walls are still there from when I lost control, but something is out of place. I tilt my head, noticing a folded note on my desk. Picking it up with a shaky hand, I scan over the words.
“The only thing I can control is myself,” I whisper once more. My words continue on, bouncing around me and pinging off the cave walls. The words come quicker, rolling over each other. Sound travels faster and more efficiently through water, and here in the depths, an echo can last a lifetime.
All this lurked down here? How could I not know? I’m the ruler of the deep, and I’m dumbstruck by the creatures before me. I have felt their lives pass through the trident, but I could never see them, they were not immortal. Even the Trident has limits.
A shimmer of unease settles in my stomach. Triton loves Atlantis, and it loves him. He must have tried to take control when Trix left and failed. Atlantis knows it’s rulers. The throne will only recognize Trix or I, without us, the Jewel of Atlantis withers. Triton was forced to watch as the home he loved fell into disrepair. Atlantis isn’t like Olympus or the Underworld. It’s alive.
Sighing heavily, I tighten my grip on the staff and lift the prongs into the air. Spinning the Trident, I slam the points into the ground of my bedroom. In the same motion, I drop to one knee and press my forehead to the side of the golden artifact. I reach out to the sea monster’s soul, and the glow descends into the earth, slipping through the prongs and sending the creature to its next destination.
My feet catch up to me, and I step onto the stone walkway. I have always preferred walking rather than swimming on castle grounds. Something about swimming through one’s home almost made it seem like work.
The three-pointed prongs shine, the sea immediately responding to the presence of the trident. My hand tightens around the shaft, and my crown appears on my head. The circle of golden coral, decorated with silver shells from all parts of the oceans, heralds me as the ruler of the deep. Obnoxious thing.