Raising Undersea Hell
“Pick up, damn it.” Vasil muttered under his breath as he strode quickly through the city. He made sure not to show himself off to be too agitated, or else he would attract the attention of unnecessary people. But he was really wound up tight. He listened to the dial tone of his phone for barely a second before impatiently glancing at the screen to make sure it was still calling before putting it back to his ear again.
After three rings, she finally picked up.
“Vesna, do you have a minute?”
“For you? Maybe. Do you have any manners?”
Vasil paused for a second to make sure he had the patience in him to deal with this. If not, he’d be better off hanging up right then. After confirming that he’d be able to tolerate his sister in his current state, he placed the phone back on his ear.
“Hello, Vesna. How are you doing?”
“Not great, but not bad either. I’m just debating the validity of the phrase ‘I am well’ Amelia. Some people insist that it’s proper grammar, but shouldn’t you use an adjective there? It’s weird for someone to be ‘being’ better than in another case. In poetry, I guess it’s possible. But in everyday conversation? No way—what, you want to say hi? Sure, go ahead.”
There was a short pause before Vasil heard a muffled greeting through his phone, followed by girlish laughter.
“Amelia’s such a nice girl, but she has the weirdest preconceived ideas. She doesn’t consider people to be animals, you know?”
“Vesna, I need you to give me the location of every demigod in the city.”
“But I still have a dozen complaints about the English language. Add an ‘s’ to laughter and you get a weirdly pronounced word.”
Vasil heard an audible sigh from the other end of the call.
“One of these days, you’re going to call me just to talk, like siblings should. Someday, but I guess not someday soon.”
Vasil listened carefully to the locations Vesna gave him, committing them to his short term memory. Only one was out at sea currently, which was what he really needed to know. Luna hadn’t been able to find any allies in the city.
“Thanks Vesna. I’ll call you back soon.”
Vasil hung up and turned his gaze to the person who’d quietly been waiting for him to finish his call. He was staring off into the distance, toward the ocean where hopefully people were being cleared out. Notably, Vesna had not said that any demigod was nearby or heading toward him, even as Vasil stared right at this man.
“Who are you?”
“You already know my name, so I can only assume you really mean to ask ‘what’ I am. I could answer you, but let’s be honest with each other: Does it really matter?”
…No. No it did no. It was very clear to Vasil that this man was an ally, at least in this instance. He didn’t need to be a demigod to be trustworthy. Rather, it was easier for Vasil to trust someone who didn’t possess these unnatural powers that he couldn’t even understand.
“You didn’t go see your grandparents after it stopped raining.”
A statement. He already knew.
“I called them.” Vasil looked away from Uzumel’s as if he were unwilling to say it to the priest’s face. “They were fine. Relieved, even.”
“So I noticed. They were quite happy when I told them you were alive and well.”
“You didn’t tell them what I am.”
“You’re their grandson. They already knew what they needed to.”
“Uzumel, do you have some free time?”
“What do you have in mind?”
“Something has to be done. Luna…Luna has the right idea, but she’s going about it all wrong. She’s going to disturb the lives of hundreds of people for no good reason for her own selfish reasons.”
“Perhaps. But is that really something we need to interfere with? By living, people disturb each other, regardless of intention. It’s a simple fact of life. Why should we ruin her life just to help some strangers?”
“Because she’s doing it wrong.
Something has to be done. And I can’t sit back and hope someone else does it
for me. It’s better to just do it myself. But if I can avoid doing it alone, I
Better to get someone who’s already involved to help him. Not someone who clearly wants to live a normal life. Not someone close to him who’s already living their own life. Not even a stranger who’s already going to do something on their own. If he wanted help, he needed help from someone he already knew that was capable and willing.
“Hm. Then let’s make an alliance?”
“It’s simple.” Uzumel’s characteristic smile was absent. He’s brown eyes met with Vasil’s, unwavering and calm, yet still uncertain and curious. He wasn’t going to trust Vasil without question, but he was willing to take the first, tentative step. That settled it. This man was definitely a human. “I won’t do anything for you. But I will help you. If you want to stop that girl, then try. If you believe you can succeed, then please do. But if you fail, the only remaining option will be much more gruesome. In the event that you do fail, I’ll find a way to protect the daily lives of everyone here. Except for one.”
A promise that was almost a threat. With that, Uzumel’s identity was unmistakable. And yet Vasil couldn’t help but smile.
“I can agree to that.”
“Then I wish you luck, Vasil Kumonov.”
Uzumel waved a hand in farewell, turning his back to Vasil and heading off. Vasil took a deep breath and turned his eyes back toward the distant ocean. Vasil knew the basic idea of what Luna was aiming for, but the details escaped him. How would she execute her plan? How could she manage to create what she wanted with her limited life as a human being?
The answer came in just a few minutes.
The entire ground trembled as if an earthquake were passing through the city, an occurrence thoroughly foreign to the state of Florida. It reached Vasil’s very core, but he managed to ignore it completely. He narrowed his eyes and focused on what he saw in the distance.
Florida’s continental shelf was thinner than normal, turning into deep sea at a steep drop. The distance was perceivable with human eyes. Even from where Vasil stood, he could see that something was rising out of the ocean just beyond that steep drop, like a mass of earth freeing itself from Earth’s gravity. The sound of rushing water reached Vasil along with a salty gale that nearly pushed him off his feet, but he didn’t take his gaze off of the rising landmass. With the surface exposed, Vasil noticed that it was covered by a thin film similar to a bubble. It reflected the light to make it difficult to see what was beneath it, but Vasil could make out some structures, almost like a city.
“Wazzat? The dude with the evil eyes? Sup man, long time no see me burning to death!”
“Oh god no…”
Alicia Mirasaki’s past few days had been busy, filled with activity from all parts of her lifestyle, both her professional job and her ‘hobby’. She’d flown down to south Florida to work, helping out with preparations for a Japanese cultural festival that would be held for a weekend at one of the few Japanese museum and gardens in the area that allowed for a very interactive experience where one could immerse oneself in a truly Japanese-esque environment. It was the kind of thing she really liked. But when a few people she was supposed to meet got stuck in their airport, she felt that it was up to her to help them along with—as her traveling partner and close friend mentioned—anyone else she saw fit to help. She did just that, naturally. William ran off to go find their associates to make sure they were safe while Alicia went straight to the heart of the problem: the base of the burning sky.
Everyone had been cleared from the area already by the time Alicia reached that spot. She was sure that the center beneath the flaming sky would be where the most people would have gotten hit by whatever the large scale spell did, but clearly someone had done something about that. She didn’t have to look very far to find out who. She culprit was standing right in the middle of a roundabout. Problem was, she wasn’t sure which one it was. Two people were standing there—a handsome man with impressive physique grinning like a madman and a tall figure sheathed in a flamboyant outfit and helmet that was reminiscent of a baron or some similar western concept.
Both turned to greet her the moment she arrived.
“Woot! Now it’s a party! Well, technically a crowd. Any of you got friends you want to invite? That’ll make it a really party.”
“…Amaterasu’s demigoddess, here of all places. Today is an unlucky day for both of you.”
That was enough for Alicia. The covered one was definitely one of the infamous Twelve Apostles. It was well-known that they took down even the most powerful demigods with incredible wit and knowledge to go along with their advanced biblical magic. He was probably the one who’d made the spell over their heads inert and cleared the area of bystanders.
Which left the other one as the dangerous demigod who needed to be taken down before he could do anymore damage.
“Whatever magic or ceremony you’re using, stop it. You can’t just put people’s lives in danger just because you don’t want to be smart about reviving your god.”
“Hm?” The handsome man raised an eyebrow at Alicia, briefly confused. “Oh, you’re talking to me. Well. This is weird. Give me a second to think of a retort…Alright. Okay. So, um, fuck you. I do what I want. And, uh, yeah. No.”
Wonderful. One of those types.
“I don’t have anything against you, Apostle.” Alicia changed tactics and addressed the covered man instead. “Frankly, I think we fight for the same cause, more or less. I don’t want idiots like this guy to revive their gods, even by some fluke. So how about we end the threat quickly by working together?”
“Oh yeah, now I feel really pumped up. Thanks for including me, guys!”
Both Alicia and the Apostle ignored that.
“Heathens receive no quarter. There is no room to bend for heretical demons like yourself. You may say your goal is noble, but your very existence is not.”
That was the response she’d expected. Alicia reluctantly reached for the baseball bat bag slung across her back.
“I really don’t want to fight you.”
“Well,” The Apostle raised a gloved hand and displayed the metal fingertips that resembled claws. “You can imagine that I don’t feel the same, heathen.”
And so the three way battle began.
Much later, Alicia sighed heavily as she broke away from reminiscing.
“William, I think I screwed up.”
William turned his attention away from watching the policemen at working, ushering people in any direction except for toward the beach. It was a chaotic, moving so many people at once, but it was a good thing they started when they did. The entire ground was shaking, coming from the direction of the ocean. They couldn’t see much thanks to the buildings in the way, but there was no doubt that it was something beyond modern logic. William was tempted question Alicia’s disconnect from the dire situation, but something about the expression on her face changed his mind.
She honestly looked worried.
“Alicia, I don’t think you’ve ever failed at anything in your life. You’re too headstrong for that.”
“I let a psychopath loose and that Apostle is still hunting him down. I call that a fail. There will only be more conflict like what happened before at this rate.”
“The demigod was immortal, wasn’t he? And insane. You couldn’t stop him physically or talk him down. And didn’t we agree that the Apostles were our allies? Though only when they’re a good hundred miles away from us, at the very least.”
Alicia shook her head back and forth, unconvinced. William grimaced.
“Frankly, I expected you to have rushed off already. That conflict you were talking about is probably going on in the ocean right now. If you’re worried about not being able to solve it like last time; don’t. Just stopping it is fine. Even if you can’t find a way to prevent problems in the future, stopping them short in the present is good enough. That’s what you’ve always done before, isn’t it?”
And it’s how you saved me.
William’s mouth hung open for a second as he struggled with himself to say those last words. In the end, he just shut his mouth and let it end there. He didn’t need to go further, so he wouldn’t.
Alicia was already smiling. She was forcing it, but it would have to do.
“We have to make sure all the people are safe first, then. We’re not the only ones who want to help the people out, so we’ll leave it to the others until we’re sure no one else is in danger.”
Alicia strode off to find a way to sneak around the blockade unseen. William took a deep breath and let it out slowly, steeling himself. Once he was sure he was ready for whatever excitement lay ahead, he followed after Alicia’s back, just like normal.