Chapter 2 The Kappas
The throne chamber of Atlantis rested within a massive polyp at the ocean's floor and Mizu was alone inside. She twirled her crown in her tentacles impatiently. She waited until five beautiful women swam down the hole above her. The women were curvy, without clothing, and did not seem to care about the immense pressure of the waters around them. Mizu stood, knowing very well who they were, and greeted them with a respectful bow.
“Welcome, Tokei. I assume you had no issues with my guards? Let me get right to it. Tsuron escaped with the help of your long-lost brother, Burha. He swam in and captured him right before my eyes. However, the message was sent and Tsuron has helped in some way. A short time ago, a ship was eaten by your rock-fish containing over a hundred human sailors. They have since been brought here and we have awaited your decision. I doubt Tsuron will venture out into the waters near here again, but at least our kappas will be fed.”
The tallest of the women standing front and center frowned at Mizu as her hair swayed lazily with the water. She shook her head and finally spoke, but it was with the deep voice of a man. “I worried you would not be up to the task, Mizu. You have failed me. I thought you were someone I could rely on but now its seems I may not. You are lucky he was foolish enough to send us humans, because I would be feeding you and your half-bred filth living down here to the kappas right about now. However don't think that you are getting off so easily. I want you to find my brother Burha and bring him to justice. I will handle the feeding.”
Tokei and his four most-trusted sirens swam deeper into the hollow sea anemone looming over the city of Atlantis until they were at ocean floor level. There, Tokei unlocked a trap door with a key tied to his luscious hair. The trap door led into a cave where dozens of scaly, monkey-like creatures swam idly about. These were the Kappas and each Kappa had a plate upon his head that must always be kept wet or filled, or else they would die. These monkeys were the source of almost all magic in the Syren realms and Tokei coveted them beyond anything else in the known worlds. Any water touching the plate on a Kappa's head was transformed into a mystical essence that could be used for a multitude of magics. They were highly sought after but here remained the only captive Kappas in the world. Others still frolicked in the swamps and forest on land, but to feed them was the hard part. They fed on the blood of humans, thus making them a hard pet to keep, to say the least. However, Tokei cared little for this minor setback and harnessed their power whenever he could. The Kappas understood Tokei but listened quietly as he promised them food.
“My dear friends. Your master has finally found you something to eat. I know you must all be weak with hunger and that is why I'm letting you go. In the church of Gaia, there are humans waiting to be fed to you. Go forth, and when you are done there, I oblige you to return to land and eat till your stomachs are content. I want these humans bled dry, because that seems to be the only way to draw out my traitorous brother from hiding.”
The Kappas spun in the water in excitement and began to pour out the ceiling's door past the voluptuous women. All but one made it out, who was stopped at the door. Tokei held him by the arm, which he then ripped off and waved the severed limb in the face of the last Kappa.
“You! If you want your arm back, then will you stay by my side at all times. I need you here so I can keep track of the rest of the kappas. Stay close, or I will rip your other arm off and you don't want that, do you?” Knowing full well that his arm could be reattached, the sullen Kappa followed Tokei as they left.
Captain Kuniyoshi woke up in the dark belly of a fish, and heard the agonizing screams of grown men surround him. Someone was tugging at his sleeve and he looked down at one of his ship mates coughing up blood.
“What happened, captain? Its so dark. Save me please!”
The captain held the young man's hand and wept after noticing the boy's lower half was missing. Kuniyoshi got up, woozy with a concussion, and after his eyes adjusted to the dark, he looked around at was left of his ship and crew. The enormous ship he commanded now laid in pieces all around him. He called for his crew but barely anyone still stood. He managed to free dozens more from the wreckage with the help of a few of his sailors, but still more than half of his crew was unaccounted for or dead. He felt lost and dismayed, but then, a beautiful woman appeared in his mind. Her voice soothed him in this otherwise desperate situation
“Do not fret Kuniyoshi. I am terribly sorry about your lost crew members, but many survivors remain and that is quite fortunate. My name is Aleera and I am your only saving grace down here. Soon, the mouth of this Rock-fish will open and you will have a choice. You and your men are invited to live down here with me or you may choose to stay here and be digested alive. I beseech you, come to me and I will make everything better...”
The captain gritted his teeth as he walked around with his sword drawn, silencing any poor souls past saving. A man missing his leg and crying welcomed the cold steel that Kuniyoshi pierced his heart with. After the mouth of the fish opened, he took one last look back at his annihilated ship, and shed a single tear. They walked out into a tall stone building warily and noticed pews lined the floors. They also noticed the glassless windows lining the walls showed endless, dark waters being held back on all sides. The water stopped right at the window and they could make out the dark shadows of fish swimming by beyond. However, the gravitational anomaly holding the water back barely interested the sailors, because a line of several beautiful women stood in front of them, giggling and swaying to an imaginary tune. Every woman in front of the sailors was nude and sopping wet, so it did not take long for the sailors to rush up to them with eyes wide and tongues out. Kuniyoshi was the only one who stood back and felt something ominous about these women.
The men were getting comfortable and each had a woman in his arms, but the captain sat in the back row of seats and waited. He was the only one who noticed a new woman slowly float down out of the waters above them and through the open ceiling. Her hair flowed brilliantly in a wind that wasn't there and she spoke in a jarring, man's voice.
“Welcome, humans! I am Tokei, Ruler of The All. I see you are already well-acclimated here in the Church of Gaia, and I hope you enjoy yourselves as long as you can, for your time here will be cut short soon enough. Although, you shouldn't be worried. You will now serve a greater purpose than ever achievable on land. See, the magic you see holding the flow of waters back from entering this building is the same magic that allows these sirens take the form most suitable for you. It is this magic that you will feed and breathe new life into, with your blood.”
Tokei said all this with a smile and when he finished, a multitude of Kappas burst out through the water outside the windows into the church. These scaly monkeys leaped with webbed hands at the sailors, who sat there still hypnotized by the beautiful sirens. Almost every sailor barely looked up as they were gutted and drained of their blood by the Kappas. Kuniyoshi watched in horror and drew his sword, waving it fiercely at the creatures all around him hacking an arm off here and there. The Kappas flinched back from him and picked up their arms, attaching them back on with unknown magic. His fight was futile, but the captain swung the sword around with all his might nevertheless. Sailors screamed and fought but the Kappas were quick and worked in tandem with the sirens to overpower them. The captain caught glimpses of his long-time crew members being held down and having their blood drunk from behind. Kuniyoshi was horrified at how these vile creatures worked and noticed them getting stronger with each sailor they killed. Backed into a corner and bleeding, Kuniyoshi felt despair overwhelm him.
“You shall not have my blood!”
With that, the captain quickly swung his sword to face the other way, and with both hands on the hilt, he pierced his belly with it and twisted. He dropped to his knees and the crowd of Kappas around him dissipated. The last thing he saw was a gorgeous woman floating over and smiling.