***CONTENT WARNING: LANGUAGE***
It didn't take long for Iris and Selena to pick out new clothes. Iris chose a beautiful white himation-style dress that was similar to the one she was wearing earlier, except that this one had blue coloring along the hem that matched Iris' hair and fin.
Selena picked a similar one, but it was a solid purple that nearly matched her natural shade. Happy with their finds, the two left the shop..
Many Undines were still gathered outside the shop, but the mayor was nowhere to be seen. As they exited, those gathered began to call out and shout at the two. Most were praises, but a few comments riled Selena.
'Tyrant' and 'despot' were shouted from the middle of the crowds, so Selena couldn't pinpoint who's tail fin to kick. Iris brushed them off because she knew in her mind that it wasn't really them responsible for the state of things.. Until she saw a few mothers shielding their children from her..
Swimming up and above everyone so they could hear her, Iris looked over her people. She glanced over a worried Selena for a second, then spoke to everyone gathered:
"I have been sick for a long time, but I see what is wrong, and I plan on correcting it myself!"
"I know many of you distrust me right now, and that's okay. I would feel the same way if I were you.. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't give me the chance to prove my words!"
"Give me time, that is all I ask! I know that seems like a lot, but.. Mayor Ugo will tell you that I have already started cleaning house. Let me finish what I have started! Let me be the Queen that you Deserve!"
The crowds cheered so loud that even if there were any antagonists left, their voices were overshadowed by the supportive majority. The rumors of Senator Arlong's death had just started to spread. The few that had heard about it found themselves surrounded by those trying to get as many details as possible.
After Iris bid her people farewell, they headed out of the city through the kelp forest. The path to the palace was hard to find if you didn't know where to look, so Selena took the lead. As they neared the path, they saw several fragments and pieces of various carts scattered along the ground.
"How did we not notice these before?" Selena asked out loud with shock in her tone.
"That's because they weren't there to notice when we came through here earlier.. Look; the scuffle marks here are fresh," Iris pointed to abnormal indentations and waves in the sand just a few feet from the wreckage.
Selena was surprised by the Queen's perception, and her own lack there of. She knew how to recognize marks like that, but she was distracted by being in a rush to get back to the palace.
'Levi should be back by now with news on Marlo, and I need to know what happened. There's too many things going on for me to have to worry about a loose cannon like him on top of it all..'
After they discussed the marks a moment, Selena identified the cuts on the wood as being made by a Gorgon blade. They modeled many of their weapons off of their own natural ones. Even going as far as using old bones of their relatives.
When Iris grimaced at the notion, Selena informed her; "It may be distasteful to you, but to them it's a way to honor their ancestors, as well as a way to carry their lineage's strength and courage into battle with them. It's a sacred part of their culture."
Iris nodded even though she didn't get it. 'Then again, humans keep their deceased loved ones in boxes on their mantles, or turn their ashes into jewelry.. Guess humans are just as weird.'
By the time they'd reached the palace it was dark. They were discussing the creation of a permanent patrol schedule for around the city when they had arrived at the gate. The guards greeted them as they entered, surprised that it had been just the two of them the entire day.
When the doors to Iris' quarters came into view, they realized that someone was swimming around in front of them. As they came closer, they saw that it was Senator Gravi; pacing nervously.
When he noticed their approach, the senator swam over. He looked around to make sure that no one was within earshot, then he greeted his friend and Queen...
"Good evening Selena, Your Majesty..Or, should I call you Serenity in private?"
Iris' jaw dropped as Selena moved closer to smack him hard and say; "Do you have bubbles for brains?! Don't speak of that out here!"
Iris glared at her supposed friend; "There had Better be a damn good reason a fucking Senator knows my real name, Selena.."
Ignoring Iris' tone for the moment, Selena said; "Not out here. Let's go inside first.."
As she opened the door, Iris turned to the Undine man with a scrupulous glare and asked; "Senator Gravi, correct?"
The senator smiled pleasantly at his new Queen; "Call me Ishmael, please."
Iris looked over at Senator Gravi with a smirk and asked; "So Ishmael: how do you feel about white whales?"
As Selena closed the door behind them, Iris locked eyes with the senator; "Nevermind.. Ok, Ishmael, what's going on? Why do you know my real name?"
"Yes, I'd like to know as well," was all Levi said as a contemptuous expression overtook his features.
He was sitting on the widow's ledge, staring up at the deep waters in contemplation when they'd entered the room. Selena had immediately asked what had happened to Marlo, and looked crestfallen when he said that he lost him after he'd swam through a bunch of livestock.
'So he will be a problem later. I'll have to try and hunt him down myself..'
Turning back to the senator, Levi asked; "So what are you to Selena?"
Looking over at the window calmly, the senator nodded at Levi respectfully; "It's quite simple: Selena and I are lovers.."
While Iris and Levi's jaws dropped, Selena smacked her friend even harder than before; "Don't joke about things like that! It's not funny! I'm not even your 'type', Ish."
Iris' mouth snapped shut, but Levi didn't catch Selena's meaning. He growled low instinctively as he asked; "And what does that mean?"
Selena looked away so Levi wouldn't see the smirk on her face as the senator bluntly stated; "It means prefer men.."
"O-Oh. Forgive me, I thought-"
"I know what you thought," the senator leaned to his side with a contemplative expression; "The question is how did it make you feel when you thought what you did?"
"...What?" Levi asked with utter confusion on his face.
Selena snapped at him; "What kind of a fool taunts a God?! Sit down and shut up, Ish!"
"What kind of a God spends all of his time with mortals? It's a crazy world these days," Ishmael stated with a cheeky grin.
Selena sighed deeply; "Can we have a Serious discussion now, please? Why are you even here?"
Senator Gravi's appearance shifted; "Actually that is a serious matter.. Apparently, the people are growing restless, and there's been rumors of revolt circling in the city- What? Why are you smiling?!"
Selena and Iris looked at each other, then shared a small chuckle before they told Ishmael about their day. When they came to the part about Iris 'cleaning house', the senator let out a nervous laugh.
"That's a bold move; letting your enemies know that you're coming for them," Ish commented.
"Stupid is what it was, but it did get the people calm enough to disperse. It seems Serenity has a knack for public speaking."
Iris was taken aback by Selena using her real name; "I think that's the first time that you've ever called me that."
Selena shrugged nervously; "Honestly, it's still hard to.. I still see my Little Flower when I look at you, but I can also see how different you two are."
"You could think of her like Iris' long lost twin if her appearance bothers you so much," Ish suggested.
Selena sighed; "It doesn't work like that, but I'll consider it."
Seeing a break in their bantering, Iris asked; "So...How do you know what my real name is?"
Ish pointed to Selena; "She did it."
"Traitor," Selena quipped.
"Okay! Why did you tell him?!" Iris snapped at them.
"Because I needed his advice. I've known Ishmael since I was a child, and I trust him. He would never tell your secrets-"
"How could you possibly know that?! He's a politician!" Iris bellowed.
Senator Gravi smiled softly; "And she knows my secrets, too."
Iris scoffed; "Like what?"
"...You really aren't fazed by the fact that I prefer men?"
Iris quirked an eyebrow; "Should I be? It's pretty common in my world."
Senator Gravi smiled sadly; "That sounds lovely, but it's not like that here. I could never be open about whom I really love here.. So you see, the axe you hold above my head is just as big as mine, if not sharper. If the Council found out, I would lose more than my seat..."
Iris sighed; "I'm sorry you have to deal with that. It's not right."
Ishmael looked up to Selena with a wide smile; "Oh, I like her!"
Turning back to Iris; "Thank you for saying that.."
The four talked for a couple hours until Selena was literally yawning. Iris was exhausted too, but she'd been waiting for everyone to leave..