“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.
As my last bit of essence became one with the sea around me, I felt power reaching out from the golden net, almost like it knew someone was escaping. It rippled, and in that ripple, a pulse of magic was sent out, disrupting my transition. I lost my sense of self, and the tenuous binding that held the parts of my being together shattered.
Why Rome? Why did I head to Rome, and why didn’t I return? The question was vexing me, and I turned from the figures haunting me as I tried to suss it out. I don’t think they liked it too much that I wasn’t paying attention to them, and the figures started to circle me, chanting that I wasn’t worthy, I wasn’t good enough, I was barely a goddess.
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.
I just hoped sooner rather than later. I had to admit that his kiss, even if it was on the cheek, got me a little hot under the collar that I wasn’t wearing. I flung myself back into the pool and rested there, floating on the surface like foam on the sea. “I hope you find me again sometime soon, Dionysos,” I whispered as I watched the sunset.
With all the voices surrounding me and the burning fever of the madness threatening me at all times, I could not help what came next. I leaned close, kissed her tenderly on her right cheek and whispered, “That is why I have a special place in my heart for you, you know that.”
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.
I would switch from bright and bubbly, to calm and docile, to violent and stormy. We called it Maelstrom, and the mortals took it as the name of a sea storm. Most of the gods I’d met didn’t know how that felt, to be containing such a force at all times. Feeling her build until she broke and took everything with her.
“No, I am,” I coughed gently, “technically single for the first time in, oh gods…30,000 thousand years? Something like that. I don’t even know what year it is right now. So no, I am going to enjoy myself, the massive bed, and have all the room to move and sleep where I want.”
My grandfather’s eyes crackle with life for the first time since I entered the office, then they narrow. “You’re not suggesting you’re planning to break her out, are you? I’m still dealing with the fallout from the last prison break.”
When I exited the portal, the devastation surprised me. Sure, Poseidon had warned me about it, but to witness the lingering carnage? I felt tears well up, and I had to wipe them away. It would be no good, going before the King of the Gods crying.