July 7th, 2025
“She’s late,” a young man moaned as he leaned against a pole underneath a clock that sat in the middle of a bustling city square.
The man kept an eye on the passing crowds as he searched for the girl he was waiting for. He looked to be about seventeen or eighteen years old, fair-skinned, and even though it was mid-summer, he was wearing a black leather jacket over a plain white t-shirt. The blue jeans he wore were held up by a brown belt with a silver buckle, and on his feet were plain, laceless brown boots. Spiky black hair covered his head, and his eyes were hidden behind a pair of sunglasses. His name, as odd as it was, was Draycos.
The city square Draycos was standing in was Atlantis City, a floating city built on the ocean surface about a hundred miles or so off the coast of the south-eastern United States. This site was chosen because the ruins believed to be the real Atlantis were discovered about a decade ago on the ocean floor beneath the current city. It started as a small, off-shore float where archaeologists and scientists of all kinds could rest in between dives exploring the ocean ruins, but so much of the world was captivated by the idea of living on the ocean above Atlantis that the Atlantis City Construction Project was started by the US government eight years ago. The terms set for this was that construction of the city would be funded by donations, but not even the US government was expecting the overwhelming response it received. People from all over the world contributed, and in just eight years, Atlantis City had become a sprawling metropolis covering several square miles of the ocean’s surface.
Atlantis City had everything a major modern city could need. Transportation to and from the city was limited to cars, which could travel over the bridges that were constructed when the city was first being developed, or by the ocean floor subway known as the Atlantis Rail Line. The Atlantis Rail Line had become a favorite way to travel as the passengers on board could look out at the ocean floor as they rode the subway for the hour and a half ride. Boats were another means of transportation to and from the city. Most of the people living here were American, with more people of other nationalities beginning to move in.
Draycos himself had made it to live in this lively new city by sheer luck; he had applied for a lottery that gave two scholarships for the college in the city. It included all the college fees, an apartment room, and almost everything else excluding food and other daily necessities. The only requirements were to have high enough grades on his high school finals, but he had graduated from high school a few years prior to this, so all he had to do was submit his old grades. Draycos had not even bothered to watched the lottery drawing when it was televised and had no idea that his name had been drawn. He was not aware that he won until he received a letter in the mail a few days later saying he won. The apartment was only about a quarter of a mile from the campus, so he saved money by walking to and from campus. His income was steady as he worked part-time on the construction of the city. Draycos was capable of lifting and carrying small, solid steel I-beams on his own, much to the shock of his co-workers and employer as it normally took two well-muscled men to accomplish such a feat. Draycos’ employer demanded that he should continue working for him and gave Draycos a healthy pay raise to his weekly income. As a result, Draycos was living well and had no fear of his monthly bank statement. He had just finished his second year of college and was in the middle of summer break before his third year started.
He was currently waiting for a close friend of his to show up, as they had planned to spend most of the day together a few months ago. After a few more minutes of waiting, Draycos was debating on whether he should get onto one of the sky rails so he could get a bird’s-eye view when a female voice rang out. “Sorry I’m late!”
Draycos turned his head in the direction where the voice came from and spotted a hand sticking out above the crowds, waving at him. A few seconds later, a fair-skinned girl that looked to be the same age as Draycos pulled herself out of the throng of ongoing people. The most striking aspect about her appearance was her waist-length hair; it was black like Draycos’, but unlike his it had a brilliant sheen to it, giving it a glossy look that seemed to shine when it was in the sunlight. Like Draycos’ own outfit, she was wearing a white blouse with some embroidery on it and a black skirt that almost touched the ground, paired with a set of black high heels that were the same shade as her eyes. A small black purse hung at her side. When the girl got close enough to Draycos, one could see they almost stood at the same height, with the girl's pale blue eyes looking up at Draycos' face.
“Let me guess; you had a tough time getting away from your father,” Draycos guessed, not even bothering to greet her as the girl stopped in front of him.
She let out an affirmative sigh and hung her head. “You got that right. He kept pestering me about why I was going to be out all day by myself; I think he might be onto me about seeing someone. I don’t know how much longer it’ll be before he finds out about you.”
“What’s there to worry about?” Draycos commented, tilting his head to the side in confusion. “And what do you mean by, ‘seeing someone’? It’s not like we’re on a date or anything. We’re just friends hanging out for the day; I doubt he’d rip into me too much about that if he found out about me.”
When Draycos said it wasn’t a date, the girl nearly fell over, but immediately corrected her posture. “I don’t think you understand how protective and possessive my father is, Draycos. If I’d got so much as a scratch, he’d probably have a heart attack. And if he found out I was with you and got a good look at your face, there’s no way he’d let me continue being around you.”
“Oh? I didn’t realize that my face was that evil looking. Are you suggesting something, Iris?” Draycos took off his sunglasses and looked hard at Iris. His eyes were extremely odd; the sclerae were black instead of white, and his irises were bright yellow. A small scar sat on his right eyelid, just shy of being over his eyeball. Draycos had once looked at the mirror like this and managed to intimidate himself. But Iris just smiled when she saw his eyes.
“No, no, I wasn’t implying anything at all! I honestly think those black eyes of yours are amazingly cool. But people tend to judge a book by its cover, and my father is definitely one of them.”
“Honestly, your dad sounds like a real piece of work,” Draycos sighed. “Are all parents like that? I don’t have any, so I wouldn’t know.”
“Oh, come off it!” Iris snapped. She threw a playful punch at Draycos, who sidestepped the blow and avoided it. Iris lost her balance but managed to stop herself from falling. She straightened up before turning around to face Draycos again. “He wasn’t always like this. It wasn’t until I was six and my mom passed away that he started acting like this.”
“Still, it’s surprising that your father even has the time to spend on this nonsense, considering Mr. Jewelson is the mayor of this city.”
Iris’ father, Morrison Jewelson, is a middle-aged man who was the one that came up with the Atlantis City Funding Project eight years ago and oversaw the whole thing. That eventually led to him being the mayor of the growing metropolis, which was a very busy job as one can imagine. His only child, Iris, became the center of his life twelve years ago after his wife and Iris’s mother passed away due to a heart disease she contracted. Morrison dotted on his daughter ever since, and Iris found this to be very suffocating for her life. After they moved here three years ago when he got promoted to Atlantis City mayor and became engrossed in his duties, Iris found the time to sneak off and have a little bit of fun between school and her curfew. It was during one of these adventures of hers that the two of them met, roughly about a month after Draycos came to Atlantis City, almost two years ago.