***CONTENT WARNING FOR: BLOOD/GORE/LANGUAGE***
Selena was filled with both shock and pride as she asked; "Where did you learn that?! I haven't taught you grappling yet!"
Iris smirked; "I was barely over five feet tall in my old world. Plus, I didn't have the best home life, so I kinda had to learn how to defend myself."
A pang shot through Selena's heart and back as she slowly sat up, then swam off of the rock. As she looked at her Queen, Selena realized that she knew very little about her human family. She'd made it a point to avoid the subject, or change it whenever it came up.
As the senators made their way over, Selena stowed her thoughts for now. Senator Arlong looked as though he was going to explode..
His face Actually purple this time, Arlong began to scream; "There is no Way that you could've beaten her! Not if the High Acolyte was Actually using her full fifty percent!"
Both Iris and Selena sighed. Iris had learned that being a political figure in the Undine Kingdom was passed down through families, and not elected by those they supposedly represented. This was a major issue to Iris, and one she planned to fix, but she needed to know her people first..
"Are you freakin' serious right now? Did you Not see the fighting? The whirlpools? The state of My Dress?! You think I won that Easily?!"
Arlong shrunk back at the Queen's harsh tone, but only for a second. Fury flashed in his eyes as his breathing turned ragged. Right as he was about to speak, Levi swam forward and cut him off.
"Be careful of what you say, Mr. Arlong. The Scales of Themis is no child's plaything, or to be taken lightly. You agreed to the terms, and the scale upholds them. If they had plotted or tried to fake their fight, they'd both be dead right now."
Levi narrowed his eyes at Mr. Arlong; "And if you try to argue, or complain about the outcome: the scales will kill you.."
Fury and fear warring within him, Arlong managed to get out; "It's Senator Arlong, not Mister!"
Selena scoffed with a devilish grin; "Did you forget the terms if you lost? I'll remind you: Senator Arlong, you are hereby stripped of your title as a Senator of the Undine Kingdom. Effective Immediately.."
Arlong turned ghostly pale, then back to an indiscernible shade of red as his temper flared, and his sanity cracked. He bellowed about conspiracy, and called them all cheating con artists. Right after he hollered about his refusal to leave the Council, he stopped talking..
His eyes bulged from their sockets like a cartoon character as he began to cough and sputter blood. It had instantly spread out in the water, making everyone swim back as he began to make a gargling sound.
Arlong's face contorted with excruciating pain as he began to convulse. Blood seemed to seep out from his very pores as it turned the water around him dark with a crimson fog. His blood began to coil and spin around him as he let out a cringe-worthy scream.
It spun faster and tighter until it went up above them; revealing the almost mummified corpse of former-senator Arlong. The long, rope-like vortex of blood moved through the water on it's own accord. Straight over to the guard holding the Scale of Themis.
He cried out in horror before releasing the scales, and swimming away, but they didn't drop. Instead, they floated in the water, like the guard was still holding it while the blood was absorbed through the giant gem on the top of it. Once it was all pulled in, the Scales of Themis gingerly floated down until it touched the sand, then fell over with an unceremonious thud.
One of the senators had actually puked upon seeing his carcass slowly sinking to the ocean floor. Iris had to turn away, the sight was so gruesome.
Selena stared at him without pity; "He brought his own fate upon himself, the fool.."
Levi looked up at the eleven remaining senators; "Would anyone else like to challenge the ruling?"
Every senator gathered shook their head in the negative vehemently. No one was going to question the Queen's capabilities or competence for a while. They were still senators, after all..
Levi smiled and nodded at them; "Good, then all of these ridiculous subjects can be dropped.."
"Not exactly.." Senator Cassius started; "There is still the matter of the Queen's unmated state."
Aside from former-senator Arlong, Senator Cassius was the first one of them to actually speak directly to her; "The Council will never feel secure until you have at least secured your mate. The Fate's Spindle rarely shines it's destined glow-"
"Considering that ALL kingdoms were meant to be included within the Pooling Ceremonies, it doesn't surprise me. My ancestors most likely missed their destined mates due to the former Council's greed."
The Queen's words were sharp, and caused most of the senators to look away when she'd turned her gaze upon them. None could meet her eyes except for Senators Cassius and Gravi.
Ishmael Gravi swam over to his Queen, and bowed before speaking; "I understand your lack of trust in us, and it is well deserved after Arlong.. But you must understand that we only want what is best for the kingdom-"
"See? That! Right there! That's why I can't trust you people-Aquarians, whatever! From everything I've read and been taught: the Undines are meant to be responsible for ALL of the kingdom's welfares, not just your own! The fact that they want to go to war should make you want to assess WHY, not automatically want to fight!"
Another senator called out; "So what are we to do?! Ignore a threat? And open one?!"
Iris narrowed her eyes at the Undine; "Do you automatically go to arguing and hitting a child when they talk back to you? Or do you explain the situation?"
The senators looked confused by her logic, so Iris explained; "Every holy text I've read says that we are meant to be the protectors of the Aquarians, not the Undines. MY power is meant to help Everyone, not just the ones you deem 'worthy enough'. Which means the ones willing to line your pockets.."
"I've had quite the hectic last month, and I am sick and tired of everyone telling me what I should be doing. I am the fucking Queen! And from here on out, everybody is going to start friggin' acting like it!"
Collecting herself, Iris added; "Now I am going into the city. I haven't seen hardly anything but my walls and courtyard since I've been here-better, since I've been better.. If someone attempts to stop me, I warn you now: I will make sashimi outta whoever tries!"
Levi snorted while trying not to laugh, and thankfully went unnoticed. He'd never seen Iris so self-assured before, and imagined that this was her natural state of mind. The shock of who she was now had completely worn off, and Serenity was shining as Queen Iris.
Selena was both happy and worried about her friend. The Queen Iris that everyone knew was never this bold and commanding before. They were still trying to keep her true non-Undine identity a secret, and using words that they were unfamiliar with would lead to questions if she did it too often.
'We'll have to have a little discussion about proper language again. Especially since she told me what it means..'
The majority of the senators didn't notice the odd words. They were too busy shifting around as they floated in place. Actually intimidated by their Queen for the first time in a long time..
Only a handful of times in her life, had Queen Iris let her true feelings be known. It was both startling, and a tad reassuring that their Queen had a spine to match her powers.. At least to a select few. But more than half the senators seemed irritated that Iris was finally putting her Royal foot down.
The Council had more or less been running the kingdom since Queen Iris' mother had died. The few reports she'd seen all said the same thing: her people were suffering.
Iris didn't know if she could help, but she wanted to see if she could. She also wanted to see the state of things for herself..
"I am leaving to be among our people. I wish to see the state my kingdom is in firsthand, so I can determine whom amongst you is actually worth keeping around.."
Several senators jolted in place, all asking what she'd meant. Iris looked at them like the idiots they were before informing them of another little bit of history..
"Oh, didn't you know, Senators? Your positions were never meant to be permanent. The people were supposed to decide who represented them or not, at least that's how I read it. There was a law made a few eons ago permanently instilling the Council as the Queen's advisers, but your seats were never meant to be guaranteed."
One of the senators that had sided with Arlong protested; "There's no way that's true! It has always been a family's legacy!"
Iris flashed a cocky grin; "Are you calling Your Queen a liar, senator? Because those are some serious accusations.. with Serious consequences.."