It was hard for Akira and the rest of the group to walk around due to being surrounded by water.
The pressure that Akira thought he would feel from being so deep underwater was nowhere to be found and the city had an odd sense of gravity that weighed their bodies down allowing them to at least walk in a somewhat normal way.
The speed of the mermaids who were born and grew up swimming in the ocean caused them to lag behind as they tried to keep up.
While they were half walking half swimming through the smooth stone-paved streets of Nepttis, they attracted many gazes from the citizens who were taking care of their daily errands.
Passing by so many mermaids Akira noticed that their clothing sense was rather odd. The males were either bare-chested or wore armor, while the females wore special large(and small) clams to cover their chest.
Mileena and Maya were both looking at everything and everyone they saw with wide eyes of amazement.
“Look! It’s a Kappa!” said Mileena as they passed a group of partially bald green-skinned humanoid turtles that were the size of children.
“So that’s what a Kappa is. I though a Kappa was a gray-skinned smug face,” said Varbu.
“What are you talking about? Did you read something about them before?” asked Akira.
“Never mind,” said Varbu.
“Hey hurry up. You can sightsee later, right now we need to go see the queen before she goes to sleep,” said Chatterbox.
The large underwater city was a mess of a maze that was not really built to any one standard.
While they traveled through the streets they saw many different demon races and several odd sea creatures as well.
Several minutes later they reached the gates of the large underwater stone castle that was shining even brighter than the city walls.
“Chatterbox who are those land folk behind you?” asked a mermaid guard near the gate.
“Important guest that the Queen will want to meet.”
“That’s news to me. I didn’t hear about any guest coming to the city today.”
“We’re in a hurry I would like to take them to see the Queen before she goes to sleep,” said Chatterbox.
“Wait here, I’ll send someone to see if she will see you.”
It didn’t take long for them to get a reply. They were ushered past the gates and into the castle to a small room inside.
“Please make yourself presentable before we go to see the queen,” said Chatterbox before leaving the room.
Looking around Akira saw that this was a changing room with a few mirrors and other amenities to help guests get ready for a meeting with the queen.
At the far end of the room, there were several green seaweed curtains blocking the view of the small changing rooms.
Akira was the only one that walked into one of them and began changing into more formal clothing.
“Not much I can do,” muttered Varbu.
Like Varbu, Mileena and Maya didn’t have any formal clothing for such an event, so they went to the mirrors and focused on trying to smooth out their frazzled fur that the water was messing with.
Akira exited the small changing room now wearing the blue formal clothing he had received from Jezebel, along with the cape he normally wore.
Maya was still messing with Mileena’s hair trying to make it look presentable.
Akira thought it was nice that the sisters were now reunited and were able to do something like this.
“Wow! Who did you rob to get such nice clothes? Are those the clothes you use to woo all the ladies?” asked Maya while looking at Akira’s reflection in the mirror.
“I received them from a friend a while ago,” answered Akira ignoring her last question.
“Better be careful or he’ll get snatched up,” said Maya looking at Mileena.
Before the red-faced Mileena could respond the door to the room opened.
“The queen is ready and waiting for you I suggest we don’t make her wait too long,” said Chatterbox.
As they were walking down a hallway Akira remembered something and quietly whispered to the others next to him.
“Hey whatever you do don’t call them fish people.”
“Duh, that’s common sense,” said Maya.
“Why are you telling us this? Don’t tell me you called them that and thought we would make the same mistake?” asked Varbu.
“N…no I just thought that you might not know,” lied Akira not fooling anyone.
They stopped outside two large glowing golden sandstone doors that had several fascinating carvings on it.
The two guards guarding the door slammed the butt of their stone spears on the ground a few times the door to the room was slowly opened from the inside by another two palace guards.
The throne room was like any other Akira had seen but due to the glowing walls and the fact that the place was under water, it made everything look so enchanting.
As they approached the throne they were able to see the queen clearly.
She was slouching on the throne with her tail resting on one of the armrests and her head held up by one of her fists. Her green hair moved around as if there was a small breeze playing with it.
Akira guessed that the queen’s age was somewhere in the late thirties but she still looked extremely beautiful.
‘Maybe it has to do with never having dry skin,’ though Akira.
They stopped in front of the throne several paces away.
“Are these the land folk you wanted me to meet?” asked the Queen lazily.
“Yes, your majesty!” said chatterbox bowing to the Queen.
“Who are they and why have you brought them to me?”
“Introduce yourselves,” said Chatterbox motioning for Akira and the others to step forward.
“My name is Akira.” “I am Varbu.” “Mileena.” “I’m Maya.” The four quickly introduced themselves.
“While we were patrolling the waters above the city we noticed a large commotion happening and found these four who lost their ship and fainted from fighting off the numerous sea monsters. I was only going to help them back to the nearby land but then I saw that ring on his hand and decided that you would most likely want to meet them,” said chatterbox pointing to a ring on Akira’s hand.
“Oh? What is it?” asked the Queen unable to see the ring clearly from her throne.
“A dwarven ring of friendship.”
“Ah! This is wonderful! You did a good job,” said the queen who immediately sat up straight upon hearing chatterbox’s words.
“Ahem, My name is Queen Adrea Octoperssy. I know it may sound like a weird name but I was named by my mother after one of our ancestors from long ago.”
“It is a nice name your majesty,” said Akira trying to be polite.
“Thank you. You know, now that I look at you four of you I have to say that you make for an odd group.”
“We get told that a lot,” said Mileena.
“I’m sure there is a long story behind it all but that can wait for now. Now that I know you can be trusted I would like to ask you for your help,” said Queen Octoperssy
“I’m sorry but I’m not all that certain what we can do to help you as we are not familiar with the underwater world,” said Akira.
“No need to worry you seem like capable enough warriors and most importantly you have two legs.”
“I guess we could try helping you as long as it is not too hard since we also have a mission we are trying to complete.”
“And what is that?”
“I am looking for the werewolf clans and Varbu is coming along to try and gain an alliance between the orcs and werewolves,” said Akira.
“Oh, I see, you’re a werewolf. You’re in luck, I happen to know where they live, but~ I’ll only tell you after you help me take care of a few problems,” said the Queen with a sly smile.
“If you really do know where they are then spending a few days to help you should be no problem. What do you need us to do?”
“First let me give you some information to help you understand the current situation down here since you probably don’t know much of anything to do with our underwater world. Nepttis is the main city and capital of the east while Naurin is the main city and capital of the west ruled by my sister Pelagia. During the last great war, we lost many soldiers fighting the Demigods while trying to help defend the villages of the Kappa and other allies that lived near land. Due to this and the fact that the ocean is so big, we have been unable to patrol a large portion of it which has allowed our enemies to grow in strength.”
“You majesty if I may ask who is the enemy?” asked Akira.
“Sharkmen, Fishmen, Lobstermen, all those types. If it were only them we could handle it but those damn Sirens are bossing them around. They have been growing bolder and have been causing me many headaches with all the trouble they are causing. I just got back from cleaning up a mess that they created.
Although they are the mermaid’s mortal enemies, they are not the only thing we have to worry about. There is something that may be even more worrisome and that is that there are several dungeons that we have been unable to get to with the increased workload. I fear some of them are close to an overflow. There are just too many things that need to be done.”
“You have a lot on your shoulders. What is it that you need us to do?” asked Akira.
“Is it possible for you to travel along with some of our warriors and help clear some of the dungeons that are near our cities? They will cause massive problems for us if they are not cleared,” asked Queen Octopurssy.
“We should be able to help but since we are still not used to moving underwater I hope you will allow us a few days to get accustomed to fighting underwater,” said Akira.
“But of course I have no problem with that as I would not want to send you to the dungeons unable to fight that would defeat the purpose of asking for your help. Ah! If I remember correctly the palace library has a book or two that was written many years ago by a master swordsman from one of the long forgotten land kingdoms detailing his method of fighting underwater it should be helpful to you.”
“Thank you for understanding,” said Akira.
“Chatterbox, take them to the library to find the book and after you finish there make sure to see them to the guest rooms. You can go now I am tired and need to sleep,” said Queen Octoperssy.
“Yes Your Majesty,” said Chatterbox bowing before leading the four guest out of the throne room and towards the library.
When they entered the library they were stunned to see row upon row of books. Near the doors of the library were several tables used for writing and reading.
At one of the tables was a grumpy looking princess Cora. It looked like she had been caught and brought back to continue her lessons.
She was more than happy for the interruption and swam over to the group.
“Princess, stop playing and get back over here and finish the math problems,” said the old scholarly mermaid with a long white beard and small glasses on the tip of his nose.
“Don’t wanna,” said the rebellious young princess.
“Sorry to interrupt you Profus but the queen has sent us here to look for a book written by … Swardmon I think that was his name. You know the master swordsman from Swordia. Can you help me find it?” asked Chatterbox.
Profus looked towards Chatterbox and at the others standing behind him. He was shocked to see that they were not mermaid or anyone for a demon race he had seen in over 10 years. They looked to be special guests of the queen.
“Sigh… It can’t be helped if the Queen gave the order,” said Profus standing up, “come with me.”
“You four can stay here and make sure the princess doesn’t run off,” said Chatterbox before leaving with Profus to find the book that they needed.
“Thanks for saving me from having to do my homework,” said Cora with a big smile on her face.
“I know how you feel. I used to hate having to do anything related to math,” said Akira remembering when he was young and would skip math class with Rodger.
“I know right! I feel the same way,” said Cora agreeing with Akira.
Cora turned to watch her tutor and Chatterbox disappear behind the bookcases before turning back to the four guests.
She unexpectedly swam up to Akira and gave him a hug.
“Big brother thanks for helping me escape,” said Cora before darting around Akira and past the other three before they could do anything.
“Wait!” they shouted and tried to catch her but she was already far away. She shot out of the library and disappeared down the hallway.
“Well, I guess she really hates math,” said Akira while scratching his head not sure what to do.