Iris stuck her tongue out at Levi for correcting her. She knew the real name of Hercules, he was just more commonly known as the Roman-Greek version in her old world. After correcting so many people in school herself when a movie had gotten popular, she'd finally given up.
Realizing how long they'd been talking, Selena got up and ordered some bubble bites be brought to the Queen's chambers. After acknowledging her request, the guard took off, and Selena returned to the table. Iris had a contemplative expression when she'd sat back down, but several minutes passed by before she spoke.
"If the planet is so huge, then how can the Aquarians run low on resources?"
"There's only a few places on the planet were things can grow. Otherwise the waters are too deep. The few masses that exist, other than the one we're on, are all relatively small. So not much can be grown," Levi replied with a shrug.
Iris nodded her acknowledgment of the fact, then added; "Why would Poseidon design the world that way?! To be so vast and so limited at the same time?!"
Levi chuckled at the indignant expression Iris had before replying; "I assume to make them work and live together, but I suppose that didn't work.. They still broke off into their own kingdoms, and argue every chance they get."
Iris scoffed as she put her elbow up on the table, and leaned her head against her hand; "It takes two flints to make a fire."
"What was that?" Levi asked.
Iris sat up, realizing that they probably had no clue what fire was; "It's a quote from my world. A human named Louisa May Alcott that wrote one of the best books ever said it once. It's my favorite quote about teamwork."
Selena quirked an eyebrow; "But what is flint? And fire? I've never heard these terms before."
Iris smiled knowingly as she explained what she could about fire. When Selena wasn't comprehending the technical explanation, Levi told her a short story about Prometheus. The tale sparked a thought, but she waited for Selena to come back with the bubble bites before Iris shared it.
"You said that Poseidon made this world after the war, when mankind's era started, right?"
After Levi nodded in the positive, Iris continued; "In my world, mankind's era was way later. Zeus and the others were there for a long time before they became irrelevant. Why does it sound like you guys came here right after the war finished? According to human history, most like Persephone, Dionysus, and Ares weren't born until much later. Then there were demigods like Heracles and Perseus that were half-human: where are they?"
Levi grinned broadly at Iris' knowledge base before he replied; "Those whose natural or preferred habitats that aren't in water, live at Olympus. There are some water nymphs and the like that prefer dry land, but most Aquarians live here."
Curious, Iris pressed him; "Is Olympus another planet? Is it near here or something?"
Levi chuckled again; "More like a different plain.. I'd explain it, but I doubt you'd be able to understand it."
Iris was going to say something snarky in retort, but decided against it. Levi was most likely right.
They sat and talked a bit further on the subject of the planet itself. According to Levi, the amount of fish and sea life on the planet was ten times that of Earth's. Considering that humans had only explored about five percent her world's oceans, Iris couldn't fathom what the Aquarian World was hiding in it's depths...
As the three conversed, the discussion turned back to the Draconian War. Selena had studied it extensively, so she did quite a bit of the talking.
The ancient texts said that after several calamities, the Aquarian Kingdoms started to fight over the remaining resources. The way Selena had told it, the Sirens tried to claim the land that the Undines are on now.. They claimed it was sacred land to them, but there were no records of it ever belonging to anyone other than the Undines.
She also explained that this prompted the other races to claim the same thing, and challenged the Undines. The Merfolk were allied with them at the time in exchange for food, so they joined in the battle.
"The Gorgons fought along side the Sirens for two main reasons: one, the Siren Queen had been mated to a Gorgon prince. The second reason was simply because they loved to fight."
Selena ate a few bubble bites, then continued; "The Selkies involved themselves in that war, but haven't participated in any since. Their species was nearly wiped out during the Draconian, so I think that's why."
"So they're like your guys' version of Switzerland.. Cool, but then why did two of them try to eat me?" Iris asked as she ate a few bites too.
Selena sighed heavily; "I'm afraid we're heading for similar problems as to what started the conflict.."
"Food shortages?! Why? How?!" Iris inquired as she stared at a bubble bite in her hand.
Selena looked to Levi with apprehension; "Should I?"
Levi nodded in the affirmative; "She needs to know.."
Turning back to an exasperated Iris, Selena broke the news; "When the original Iris did the ritual, the currents stopped functioning properly. It awoke a group of creatures that have been sleeping for a very long time, and now they've taken over the second largest shelf in our world."
"There's one other problem.. The Hydra is nearing the end of it's sleep cycle, too. The last time it awoke, it took the Undines working with the Merfolk And the Gorgons to push it back. I don't see that kind of cooperation happening again anytime soon."
Iris scoffed as she rubbed her temples with her fingertips; "Of course! Because what's an underwater adventure without a few legendary monsters thrown in?! ...Why does this crazy crap keep happening?!"
As Iris lamented her current existence, Selena and Levi shared a worried glance between them. They hadn't gotten to the worst part yet...
Clearing his throat to catch the Queen's attention, Levi spoke in a sympathetic manner; "Iris, there's a reason that all of this is happening.."
"Selena and I think that this is meant to happen.. Because of you. We think, we think that the monsters are part of your Labors."
"WHAT?! Do I LOOK like I can take down monsters?! You know Heracles! Call him! I hear Perseus is good in a pinch! Make one of them deal with the monsters! It's in their job descriptions! ...Screw this! I'm out!"
Iris stood up from her chair, then swam out into her courtyard, leaving a very worried Levi and Selena behind. They had gotten used to her walking off whenever she got too frustrated. Apparently she'd learned to do it to avoid confrontations, but wouldn't elaborate further.
Each got the distinct feeling it was a touchy subject for her, so neither pressed it.. But this was not a fight she could walk away from. The lives of all of the Aquarians were riding on her shoulders.
They understood how unfair the situation was. It was the reason they offered her so much help. That, and that they both genuinely liked this new Iris. Levi didn't directly know the old one, but knew of her from watching the mortals.
The new Iris was funny and frank, something Levi hadn't experienced from a mortal. He'd known A few charismatic ones, but Iris had a quality about her that was more sincere than anyone else he'd ever met.. That was Levi's reason.
Selena loved the old Iris, and she was becoming quite fond of the new one. Serenity could never replace her Little Flower, but the human had a good essence, and a good heart.
Alone in her grief, Iris had extended a sympathetic hand. Even though she was dealing with her own unimaginable situation, Iris still cared when she saw another hurting. She was a bit childish, but an intelligent, and genuinely kind-hearted person.. That was Selena's reason.
The two shared a knowing glance, then continued to eat the bubble bites as they waited for the Queen to return..
Iris was swimming back and forth in her courtyard furiously. Trying to burn away the anxious feeling in her stomach, and talking to herself.
"Sea monsters, really?! I'm not a freakin' demigod! I'm not special! Why the Hell is this happening to me?! Why didn't it happen to someone who can actually SAVE these people?! Like Matt?! I don't want them to die because of me like he did! I don't want Anyone to die!"
If she wasn't in water, anyone looking would see tears streaming down her cheeks. It wasn't out of any kind of concern for herself that had Iris crying. She was scared of failing the Aquarians...
Out of nowhere, a deep, booming voice filled the courtyard; "Those tears are why you were chosen, Serenity. Now dry them, and hear me.."
Iris whirled around, trying to find the source of the voice, but saw no one. A strange sense of calm battled her fear.. Like her body knew not to fear the voice, even if her mind didn't.
In a shaky voice, Iris stated; "You know, only creeps hide away like this! Who are you?!"
A light chuckle that sounded like thunder to her rebounded within the courtyard as the voice answered; "Do not fear me, Aquarian Candidate. I am Father to the Aquarians, and the one who has made it possible for you to come here: Poseidon.."