The woman told me of my biological father, Carn, and of my older brother, Newt. He was the youngest before me, born twenty years before I took my first breath. He ruled over the Unwea Clan then, beneath the waves and out of the way of civilization, letting our father’s vision rot away. The former king wanted to rule over everything. He wanted the One-Hundreds to rise up and show the Normals what they’d done to us.
That vision had been passed down to me.
We made our way toward the Unwea’s hideout, a large, torn-down building made of stone with a thriving city stretching every which way beneath the sea floor. She prepped me for this, this infiltration, and I was able to learn every piece of my father’s city and memorize them. It was a part of my training, just as killing Drea-de was.
We slipped easily through the front door and into the stairwells past the walls. A barrier kept all the Normals out, the ones without powers, so anyone with them can glide right into the clan’s city without trouble. If I were King, it wouldn’t be so. Everyone would have to go through me, for there was no power on this Earth that was stronger than mine. Not even my older brother’s. He must’ve been so naïve to have such a bad loophole in his barrier. And why would he hide his people when we easily outnumbered most of the clans? Did he not understand the message he was sending to everyone he ruled over? He was weak. Obedience to a corrupt government shows weakness in its rule.
Amawa-na kept her mouth shut as I tugged her and her clumsy swimming feet through the sluggish crowds of One-Hundreds, every one of them glowing freely and happily. But how happy could they be in hiding? They’d been forced into masking their powers for generations. My generation would be the first to not shy away—because of me.
I gritted my teeth as I moved quicker through the people, strange looks darting my way. I wasn’t being inconspicuous, but it didn’t matter. These people would soon have a life-changing opportunity—and if they didn’t agree, they wouldn’t have a life to witness the lost opportunity.
The castle appeared before my eyes and my glow grew brighter as my pulse quickened. This was it. The first step of my quest. The first leap of the rest of my life. This would define me and my rule.
This would make or break me.
I halted, thrusting my hand before me as it formed a ball of moving green light that finally crashed into the doors, throwing them open. Guards came rushing to see what was the matter, but we were already past the threshold. A spear jabbed toward me and stuck me in the side. I twisted my tail around and turned the attacking merman guard into seafoam. He cried out as his insides shifted first, and then his skin. A chuckle bubbled out from behind my sternum and past my teeth as I turned to look at the group charging toward me, the animal inside coming alive. I slowly lifted my hand upward and a shifting green wall blocked their way beneath the arch they were about to burst past. Amawa-na gasped and gaped at me in confusion, not understanding my motives.
“What are you doing, Damian-sai?” she breathed, still having trouble forming words beneath the waves.
“It’s my birthright,” is all I said before pulling her down the hall once again. “And he’s squandering what was once our father’s legacy.”
I slammed through the obsidian double doors with a ball of energy, crystals fragmenting off and drifting into the water as I could have sworn the temperature dropped several degrees. Unwea was near an underwater volcano, one that hadn’t erupted in hundreds of years, and yet they found enough of the rock it created to build the underground city with it. Made me wonder how many people, if any, died building it.
I saw my brother for the first time, but I recognized him. We looked so similar.
He laid eyes upon me, shocked and angry, his face looking haggard and worn, almost leathery to the looks of it. Blonde hair floated about his broad shoulders like clouds and his piercing blue eyes dug into mine with brute force. His outer strength was not enough to mask the inner weakness I’d discovered. How could mercy and hiding create any influence in the world surrounding him? Why would he ever acknowledge those lesser offers?
“Newt,” I said, holding back my masochistic grin. “It’s nice to finally meet you.”
I pulled Amawa-na around from behind me and let go, approaching the tall, upward slope to his platform. Two golden chairs rested upon it; one occupied while the other collected dust. They would soon belong to me and my Queen.
“Who are you?” Newt asked, pushing himself off the chair and treading just before it. I drifted closer, the green glow dancing wildly across my skin.
A swell of energy bursted from my chest and through my arm, and I aimed the ball directly at my brother. It hit him in his shoulder and he was tossed to the side, the water parting for him to drift away from his throne even the slightest. Even it seemed like it didn’t want anything to do with him.
His eyes focused on mine, sending a tingling chill down my spine as a wave of dark green light exploded from his chest and tossed me across the large room. I inhaled, pushed my arms out, and closed my fingers, the water stopping my momentum. A smile tugged at the corners of my mouth as I watched my brother shift upright and tread the water around him. A band of light wrapped around his throat like a hand as I squeezed my fingers tightly. The light dug into the gills placed on the back of his neck and blood seeped out into the liquid that would soon crush his corpse. He began to choke.
“You wouldn’t remember me, so I forgive you, brother,” I hissed, narrowing my eyes at him as I neared.
His eyes grew wide at my statement, and his hands lifted to the light illuminating against his skin, trying to rip it off.
“Don’t struggle, Newt,” I said, my hand controlling his water intake curling close to his face as a threat. “I’m doing everyone a favor.”
His hand connected with my stomach and I bent over, gasping for breath as I lost my grip on his gills. He caught me by the back of my neck as the blow changed my momentum and sent me drifting backward. My face hit the ground with a rough thunk and I heard Newt speaking the next moment as I struggle to breathe, Amawa-na’s face pale.
“You weren’t supposed to turn out like this, Damain,” he said, sadness and disappointment lacing his words together. “You were supposed to be different than our brothers, our father—”
I twisted around, knocking his hand away and making him lose his balance. I snuck in a punch as he plummeted to the floor. A ball of light hovered just before my fingertips, threatening my brother’s life as I shook. I had to do this.
“Damian, you don’t want to do this.”
Something trembled inside me and the light wavered. I drifted back a pace, the ball disappearing. Suddenly, it was as if he was right.
My head whipped around to Amawa-na, who tread just before the door, her hands over her mouth in shock. The fear in her eyes wasn’t because of the situation, I realized as my heart palpitated in my chest. What was I doing?
“Why are you here, brother?” Newt asked, his voice soft.
I took a deep breath, switching my gaze to him. Did I really want to kill him?
A flash of purple.
“Your eyes...” he whispered, almost to himself.
“To claim what is rightfully mine,” I stated as I lifted my hand, all pity absent.
“You are being controlled—you—”
His sentence was cut short with a scream as his body disappeared from view, turning into foam as it rose to the ceiling. His crown drifted to the floor, and I swam over to it, taking it gingerly in my hands. I didn’t understand what this was inside me, this feeling I couldn’t ignore but the monster inside tried to hide. He said I was being controlled…?
Good, my little pet… You did it all on your own.
“What did you do...?” Amawa-na whispered, her dark irises filled with terror.
“I took back my family’s throne.” My tail moved slightly, my body slowly thrusting forward toward her as her eyes grew wider, my heart pounding like the rays of a thousand suns on the earth. “And if you’d like to share it with me, you must prove you are worthy of it.”
She exhaled, clearly shocked as she began to finally take everything in.
“And what if I don’t want to be a part of your world, Damian-sai?” she breathed, her voice wavering with hysterics. “What if I don’t like what you just did, and I want nothing to do with it in the future?”
My pupils narrowed, a shiver of green wavering over my eyes.
Her eyes reflected my powers.
Water whooshed out of her body as she fell beneath my trance.