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Neptune City, Kingdom of Atlantis

Approximately 75 miles NorthWest of the island of Tenerife (At the Ocean's floor)

Saturday,  June 7, 2014

2:14 PM


It had been a couple days after Giang and her graduating class had ended their tenure at Claremont.  In honor of such an event Thaelia had seen fit to throw a graduation party of sorts for her, now former, roommate.  It wasn't the first lavish celebration for a Claremont graduation that Atlantis had thrown.  Thetis' own party a few years ago being a fresh memory amongst the royal guards.  Whom found themselves in competition with her 'norse suitor' for the king's entertainment.


The undersea kingdom's environment limited the number of the pair's academic peers which could easily attend significantly.  At least without taking steps to try and make the sea more hospitable for most.  However, the triton Wave-Eye and the half water elemental Temperance found themselves welcome additions to the walls of the Sea King's Northernmost palace.  The seafaring heroes were led to a large circular room in the walls of the palace where they were instructed they could rest while preparations commenced on the celebration.  Various pieces of furniture and Atlantean cuisine were prepared so as to make their stay more comfortable.


The room, like other Atlantean structures, was kept well lit by glowing fungal infested rock.  Atlanteans did not necessarily need the illumination of course.  However, the lighting system had a secondary purpose of providing an artificial catalyst for photosynthesis.  Brightly colored coral lined much of the architecture which otherwise was reminiscent of Ancient Rome.  With most buildings favoring a circular design.

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Clanging and ringing in his ornate bronze dress armor, Nochehuatl, the Talocan triton Wave-Eye, stood ill at ease in the sumptuous room. The fishman was a soldier bre-well, not soldier bred, but certainly brought up to favor attending to honored guests rather than being an honored guest. Plucking an immaculately-cooked shrimp from a platter with his iron-hard claws, he regarded it dubiously with one enormous eye, his held tilted to better perform this survey.


Finding nothing amiss with the morsel, he opened a red mouth gaping with white fangs and sliced the thing to pieces with them. Tossing the bits down his throat with a rough black tongue, the triton glanced out a gap in the wall at the shimmering domes of Atlantis, trying to focus on why he was here. 'They want guests from outside,' he mulled, watching a distant figure in a sparkling robe 'as much to prove they have them as to acknowledge our efforts. The split between the sea-dwellers and land-dwellers grows with each passing century, and...and...' the figure vanished behind a far-off tower flaming with light, and Wave-Eye sighed regretfully '...and I can only guess what will come of that'. Then he shook himself, a fire burning in his eyes 'Enough self-pity! The Poseidon-daughter is a fine girl, honorable. This is to celebrate her comrade's promotion. No dwelling on what was!'


Turning on an armored heel, he asked Temperance politely, his grinding voice like a muddy rockslide "Ladyship, what think you of the local water-spirits? I've rarely had time to meet them, and must confess I've never seen such creatures as you described on the way here." Making a noise like a typewriter as he drummed his fingers on the windowsill, he added lightly "And I could easily be mistaken, but one of the young nobles seemed...very glad to make your acquaintance. Could have sworn he stopped to watch you go..but, ah, my poor eyes," he gestured to one staring black orb "they dim with age. Who can say what they see?"

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Temperance was somewhat familiar with Atlantis - in the same way that someone who visited Manhattan for the first time could be described as "somewhat familiar with New York State." The last time she was down here, she'd been trying to get some insight into why aspects of the Leviathan, one of the greater spiritual entities representing all water on Earth, had decided to attack the coast of Freedom City. She'd ended up rooting out a Deep One cell and fighting spirits of the darkest depths. She hadn't exactly had time to sightsee.

But now... as she looked out for the occasional glimpse into the depths, she saw elementals flit by in the surf. Some took on familiar shapes - ray, sharks, octopi, distinguished from actual animal spirits in that they were more impressions on the water than actual beings. Others were whispering currents or ambulatory bubbles. But others still were nigh invisible, shadows and sensations of pressure, only registering in the part of the brain that notices you're being tracked.

"They don't tend to incorporate often," she said to Wave-Eye. "Though perhaps I could get one to do so on the way back. I understand the deeper cousins will sometimes put on a show if they know they're getting company from topside." She cast her eyes around the gather. "As for the noble... it's good to know you have the right kind of eyes on you." In all honesty, she felt somewhat out of place - while her father often described spirit politics as a cross between a royal ball and a fistfight, she had a lot more experience with the latter than the former. "Still, it's a pleasure to get a greater view of Atlantis. Best to contextualize it as a nation and not as 'that place down there.'"

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Thaelia was wearing a formal purple dress.  Above sea level this would have meant frills and length for the girl whom was no stranger to shopping.  In her home environment it was an entirely different matter.  Tightness was priority one, Buoyancy and other factors would otherwise send the tail end of a loose dress upwards towards her chest or face.  The fact remained that to keep the dress form fitting it often required a bit of practice for ease of mobility.  Especially due to the scaled armored additions meant to keep the attire both fashionable and regal.  Essentially it was the underwater version of walking in heels.  She would have prefered a swimsuit like outfit, but as a royal host appearances were important.  Something the demigoddess found herself absolutely loathing at times.


"If you all would like a tour proper of the city grounds to familiarize yourself with 'this place down there', I am sure such a request is most amenable."  Thaelia called out.  Catching the last bit of the pair's exchange.  Taking the time to reach for a handfull of a grey slug like creature from a bowl.  Eating the slugs without glancing at the delicacy.


As someone more interested in the romantic entanglements of others than her own.  The Atlantean demigodess also clasped her hands together afterwards.  Leaning in ever so forward.  "If you would like to see if one would like to engage in a courtship.  I can engage in the guise of subterfuge and inquire further if this noble's interest."  Thaelia was a girl of many talents.  Subtlety was not one of them.  If she were to try and figure out anything information wise, it likely would be anything but quietly done.

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"I... may consider it," said Temperance, trying to play coy. It had been some time since she'd played the field. She'd tried to keep things going with Sharl for a while after he left Claremont to return to Tronik, but there was only so long such a thing could be played out. Eventually, she found an e-mail in her inbox saying, "It's not you, it's my physical state," and realized that the blush of first love was over. But she'd moved on - she was just about to graduate herself, and there were things she needed to focus on. Still, it couldn't hurt to have a little fun.

She smiled to Thaelia. "In the meantime, I would be happy to have a tour of the city, mainly so that I stop referring to it as 'that place down there.' I'm a bit curious of the customs of Neptune, and the local fauna... both corporeal and ephemeral."

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Wave-Eye bowed, his cuirass creaking "I would deem it an honor to be shown the wonders of Atlantis. I have come once before, but on...business. And it has been an age and an age since any of my kind were allowed free steering within your walls."


The reason for that was because of the once-many Sea Kings, who had used tritons as soldiers in their endless war for control of the world ocean. Atlantis' fall had been seen as a golden opportunity, something that quickly turned out to be anything but that thanks to the Atlanteans' still-potent magic and surviving machinery. But nobody needed to be reminded of that, and the Daughter of Earthquakes least of all. Besides, Nochehualt reminded himself dourly, he hadn't even been part of that futile war. He couldn't very well climb to a moral high ground on the corpses of other's victims.


That worked best with his own.


Leaving the matter of Temperance's possible romance aside, Wave-Eye gestured to the skyline "The hands and minds of your people are never idle, it seems. Might we see the newest parts of the city first?"

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Giang Trang had been happy to accept Thaelia's invitation to join her in Neptune City for a celebration of her graduation from Claremont Academy, the Asian teen had only wished that her roommate had kept the event to something less lavish and smaller in scale. Of course, she should have known that was a vain hope where her now former roommate was concerned.

But regardless of whether this was quite the event she would have wanted or not, Giang was not about to let Thaelia's efforts seem unappreciated. So she serenely made her way about the room, chatting with several of the Atlanteans present, her proficiency in their language greatly improved over the last year thanks to Thaelia.

The Asian teen had to admit that party provided a good chance for her to forget for awhile some of her concerns about leaving the relative safety of Claremont and go out to where it could be easier for her father or his rivals to find her.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thaelia swam away from the group momentarily.  Whispering something into the ears of one of the guards.  He slammed his vibrating spear on the floor three times.  Each producing a hum that travelled through the water much easier than a thud would have.  "Hear ye, hear ye.  Princess Thaelia wishes for it to be known the guest of honor are now leaving the reception area."  The Atlanteans in the room parted so as to give the quartet a straight path out of the circular room. Not that it really mattered as they could swim around to reach said door without issue previously.

"Your Atlantean has really improved Giang. Thy tongue carves speech of a dialect most natural."  Thaelia complimented upon rejoining the group. The princess was accompanied by two guards. "Normally, we would explore the city unencumbered by such shackles. Yet for such a grand event, the guards would like to make sure none would dare use the festivities to perform such a fiendish acts such as attempting to assassinate a royal and her guests. Their worries are foolhardy. The Daughter of the Seas fears none."
The same repeated hum could be heard as the guard felt enough time had passed.  "You may resume the procession." The various Atlanteans resumed their conversations. The open path still laid before them.

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Giang felt a slight tinge of embarrassment at the announcement of the group's intention of taking a tour of Neptune City, but did her best to not let it show, understanding the formalities that were involved.  As the group swam out of the reception, she gave her roommate for the last year and a half a warm smile at the mention of how well she was doing with her Atlantean. 


"I had a very good teacher."  The Asian teen replied.  "Although I likely had something of an advantage, being raised bi-lingual from a very young age."

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Temperance felt slightly weird as an "honored guest" of Atlantis - she'd only been here once, after all, and there hadn't exactly been an imperial procession that time. For all that she dealt with water, she was still a girl of the surface - hell, her father's business mostly kept him at the coastline. Wave-Eye regularly swam in these depths, Tsunami knew Glamazon well, and Glamazon herself... well, this whole shindig was her doing, and odds were very good that she did own the place on some level. She was a stranger in a strange land...

...which gave her all the more reason to get out there and see the sights. Maybe, after the end of the night, she'd feel like she owned the place, too.

"Perhaps I should take a few lessons in the tongue as well," she said. "You never know when it might aid matters."

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Snorting like a horse, Nochehuatl fell in stroke with the others, powerful arms swinging loosely at his sides and every swing of his pointed tail ringing softly with naked metal.

To the Daughter of Earthquakes he said drily "Truly, it would be a strange thing if we had not such an escort. No less than a stain on the royal heart to leave guests unguarded. You lads," he added with a jovial gurgle and something like a human smile directed at the brawny Atlanteans in their wake are a welcome sight to frail elders and green children such as us." Turning away with a grinding chuckle, the scarred triton passed most of the swim silently absorbed in watching the people and buildings around them, trying to imagine the evolution that led to their current form.

Listening to the conversation between the other three, the triton commented Learning the Atlantis tongue is a rarity. Few teach it above water. And though it is married to Europa's tongues like smoke to fire, it is like nothing that now lives." Despite his divine gift to understand and speak all languages, Wave-Eye still heard the syllables and intonations in the original speech. Their meaning was simply more open to him.

"For my part, Mistress of Hippocampi, I hope we may see the great Atlantean towers of learning, and the buried depths of Neptune City. Such things were old and great when I was young, and it would give me pleasure to see them again."

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The quartet and their guards easily made it out of the castle without issue.  Various vendor stalls were set up in the streets.  With the wares varying from weaponry to mystical texts and potions.  There were four large sentry tower just barely on the outskirts of the city.  Acting as a pre-emptive warning to invaders.  Building were outfitted with various genetically modified plant life.  Serving various functions.  Much like the  lighting in the case of the fungal infested rock, some did nothing more than provide a variety of pleasant scent, others served as a water filtration system keeping the environment clean.  The magical modification was the equivalent of the undersea society's advanced science.  And it was out in full force.  


Structurally the buildings seemed to take inspiration from both ancient Greek and Roman architecture.  The two most commonly used materials seemed to be a stone like material.  Coupled with a gold like metal.  Although those with a keen eye would be aware that the material was slightly less reflective than actual gold, or even Atlantis' more famous metal Orichalcum.


Curiously not every one of the the citizens that the group passed appeared like the Atlanteans as they knew them to be.  Some were blue skinned humanoids.  Others appearing akin to human and sea creature hybrids.  There were even two that clearly looked as if they were merpeople.  On early inspection it seemed as if Neptune City was no stranger to a wide variety of the fantastical.


Eventually Thaelia would lead the group to their first stop on the tour.  The design was familiar to those whom had ever come across a roman amphitheatre.  It was a disproportionately long and large oval shaped venue with raised seating.  Clearly used to overlook an event.  The scratched on Atlantean symbols on the side of some nearby pillar indicating that it was supposed to house sporting events.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Giang swam along after Thaelia as the Atlantean began to lead the group through Neptune City. Although the Asian teen had spent time in Atlantis itself and a few other smaller Atlantean cities, she still could not help but marvel at the beauty and wonders of this new undersea city she was visiting for the first time.

She was particularly surprised by the numbers of non-Atlantean beings they passed as they made their way towards the first stop in the tour. None of the other Atlantean cities she had visited had been so diverse in its apparent population.

As they stopped outside the elongated oval shaped amphitheater, Giang gave a small smile as she looked back at her friend. "So, what is this first stop? It greatly resembles the type of venue the Romans used for chariot racing."

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Thaelia nodded.  "Thy words ring true.  With a comparison most apt.  Here sits the "  She spread her arms out in broad view while presenting the amphitheatre like stadium.  "Competitors gather to prove their prowess against one another in contests of might and honor.  Be it chariot races or glorious combat, any who wishes to test their mettle need only enter.  Occasionally a prize may held at the bereft of the competitors.  There are no public wagers to be made."


Thaelia then swam back and forth with one hand on the side of her head.  Pensively considering a matter with a deal of effort.  Concentrating on recalling what event if any was being held inside at the moment.  "On this day, I believe there are races to be held."  Thaelia shrugged afterwards.  Not entirely confident in her assertion as to the event.  Upon a close look one could tell that it was easy to walk in and out of the entrance to the amphitheatre.  


A lack of tickets being sold, or betting lines, made it a matter of just wanting to go see the competitions as they unfolded.

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  • 2 weeks later...


His fan-like hair swirled as Nochehuatl turned his monstrous head to inspect the arena below. Massive black eyes squinting down seemed to contract into his head. As the water above the circuit cleared a little, and the passing swarms of fish and other visitors grew thinner he caught sight of what lay below. At first, the modern fashions and materials filled his heart with a vague sense of renewed gloom, as it appeared that even that old and beloved sport had changed beyond recall. Then, as the sextet drifted closer, he caught sight of some very key and telling details that sent a wave of nostalgia through his heart.

The well-postured charioteers, though their gear was much heavier and of a different make than he remembered, had the same high helmets with the many-colored plumes waving above them. Their narrow platforms had the identical brassy waves curling at the prow, and the bent-necked hippocampi straining at the same stiff harnesses had the same fiery air and snorting impatience!

For Wave-Eye, who for many long eons had seen only ghosts and faint echoes of the past, it was like hearing a beloved voice again that you'd given up all hope for.

"Like old times, Daughter of Earthquakes! Reminds me of the contest between my brother Water-Fang and Krios the Brave. Never seen a crowd laugh so hard in my life." the triton rasped delightedly, the scarred red scales around his mouth bending fantastically to show off his array of glistening fangs "I am glad we came here, if my kind young escorts would permit me to go look for some old comrades, I should be much obliged. I think I see a familiar gashed set of fins and surly eyes in the stands."

Edited by Arichamus
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Glamazon nodded in affirmation.  "Thy are a guest of Atlantis.  Feel free to move about at thine leisure.  Many of the patrons come from diverse journeys.  Much like the dimensional folds above the sea, its depths also serve as entrances to other worlds and adventures.  Mother ocean is vast, but not so vast as to keep compatriots separated forever."  It was the first time she had seen the Triton quite so excited.  His fangs glistening quite openly brought a smile to her face.  The guards might've reacted a bit more cautiously, had not her body language indicated she was ready to tell them off at a moment's notice if they so much as interrupted her tour.


She looked between the other two.  Pleased that the first stop had been of value to one of her friends.  "In exchange, we shall have him spin us the tale of his brother's contest."  An enthusiastic smile donning  her face afterwards.  If there was anything Thaelia loved, it was a good story.

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"Heh! Water-Fang never dared ride the sea horses again, not 'til the very end of his days! I'm sure the kick in th-ah, but that is a story best told in full. After this, I shall tell you its entirety. Thank you for the hospitality, Scion of Waterspouts. Lady Tsunami, Lady Temperance, I hope to rejoin you soon."

Wit those words and an aquatic bow, dragon-tipped tail circling him briefly, Wave-Eye swept downwards into the stands, hunting for that too-faintly caught face and scar.

Passing a statue of Poseidon gracing the central span, the Aztec triton paused, wondering at the sight. The Lord of Earthquakes looked...young. In his prime, hoisting the Earthshaker Trident above his head, smiling with a pride and confidence that had yet to settle into cold jadedness and arrogance, his beard not yet become that vast, matted net, and with a forehead not yet creased with dreadful anger. With a flash of sudden understanding, Nochehuatl realized why the Atlanteans honored Poseidon, after all he had done and become.

'They remember what he was like, when he and Zeus and Hades fought the Titans to make Earth safe for the weaker races. Their priests and his children still see what he was in him, and seek to bring it out' As a son of Tlaloc and Chalchiuhtlicue, his human father not even a shadow on his memory, Nochehuatl had borne the souls of children, their blood filling the sacrificial pools, into the blessed paradise of the fertile Tlalocan. The Teotl was something remote, something alien to his half-human mind that set the makers of the suns far beyond mere like or dislike. No matter what, when his mother spoke through the rolling waves or his father called from the stormy skies, he had had to turn and listen. But these gods were almost like...elder brothers to the Atlantean mortals. Disorderly but helpful relatives. Valued as much for their personality as their rule over nature. The Teotl were, at their most human, still very much divine.

Shaking his head vigorously, Wave-Eye turned back to his search, vanishing into the growing crowd and exchanging greetings and smiles with more faces than he had in decades. It was odd, at first, and the first few nods and terse words were awkward and forced, but as he went deeper and deeper into the swelling mass of jostling life, Nochehuatl began, for the first time in many long centuries, to relax. Here, at least, he was just another face in the crowd.

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"We will see you later, Wave-Eye," said Temperance, glad that the triton was finding some sort of connection in the depths of Atlantis. She herself was taken by all that she was seeing, often to the point that it felt had to maintain balance. The architecture of the city was amazing. She hadn't exactly had opportunity to travel to the Mediterranean herself, but she'd seen quite a few photos of the ancient ruins over the course of her schooling. To see such architecture perfectly preserved, ornate rather than weathered, and maybe even updated for the ages... it took her breath away. Well, if she needed to breathe down here, it would have.

"I'd love to take in the races," she said. "It would be interesting to see some of the local sport..."

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Giang gave a small nod as Thaelia confirmed that the arena was indeed used for races, as well as other sporting events.  She was not at all surprised to hear that the arena also hosted bouts of combat, her year and a half rooming with Thaelia had certainly taught her that martial skills and testing those skills was of great import to Atlanteans. 


She smiled slightly as Wave-Eye became quite animated at the sight of the arena and the crowds gathered for the day's races and mentioned going to greet old comrades that he had spotted in the crowds.  "Indeed, enjoy yourself Wave Eye."  The Asian teen replied.


When Temperance mentioned taking in the races, Giang gave a small nod.  "I do not believe we are in any hurry.  We can certainly stay for awhile ourselves."

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"The races it is."  Thaelia responded reaching out to excitedly hook her arms in her friend's arms.  Pushing forward the Atlantean princess would lead them all inside.  The layout wasn't too different from a sport's stadium.  The difference being that there seemed to be no tickets sold at reception.  One need only seat themselves.  However, Thaelia broke away from the reception to whisper something into the attendant's ear.  Moving back after getting a curt nod.  As such Thaelia returned, leading them about with knowledge of the layout.  Eventually the trio came to a set of stairs that would descend beneath the stadium.


What Thaelia had failed to mention was that the route she would then lead them to would exit out at the racer preparatory area.  There were circular openings that looked out into the stands above.  It was like the scene in a gladiator movie.  The oval like stadium had six pillars forming a barrier that maintained the rope that decided the hexagonal layout of the track.


An ancient Atlantean artifact acted as a holoprojector of sorts.  Floating some fifty feet over the floor of the stadium.  Displaying the action for those of further distance from the competition.  There were food vendors cooking on what appeared to be heated stones.  With a gummy snack also being passed around as popular confection.  It was an odd mix of modern with a more historic taste.  The stadium seats were packed.  With a special house seat in the highest section for what could only be assumed Atlantean royals and their VIP which currently had only a young blonde woman.


Thaelia turned to Giang and Temperance.  "So, who wants the reigns?"  She parted her hands to point out a golden cart with two of the hippocampi attached.  The preparatory room was filled with similar carts.  But few as ornate as the one Thaelia had pointed to.  The men and women in the room were all wearing armor and armed with weaponry.  Some looked scarred.  But without exception all looked heavily muscled.

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Eliza smiled as she took in the sights. It was interesting to see one of those rundown colosseums from the history books, all painted and polished and upgraded with the finest of modern technology. Well, modern Atlantean technology, which meant fewer Jumbotrons and more things that looked like they came out of Star Wars. But still. She smiled as it looked like she was being led to the box seats. Well, this oughta be a good time. Getting to experience the finest of Atlantean sport from the VIP section...

Then she realized what Thaelia meant when she talked about the reins. Oh. Piloting an ice sled was one thing, especially when you were the only force really acting on the ice (well, aside from gravity). Trying to control a horde of surging horse-fish...

"Not sure I'd be the best pilot, but I'd be happy to ride sidecar."

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Giang really should not have been surprised by how Thaelia chose to interpret her and Temperance's comments about wanting to watch the races, after all, Thaelia was always about proving herself and finding new challenges.  But in this case her friend managed to catch her off guard.


The Asian teen glanced at the reins a brief moment, as Temperance declined the opportunity to pilot the chariot.  With a slight inward sigh, Giang reached up to take the reins.  "Very well.  Although I cannot promise that we will fare well against the rest of the field."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thaelia clasped her palms together.  Bubbles floating up after her palms made contact.  "Most excellent.  Then I too shall take the position of starboard guard."  The Atlantean demigoddess replied and led them onto the chariot.  Taking her side only after she was assured that Eliza would board her own.  Of course she would be better served taking the reins having actual riding experience.  But, Thaelia felt she was imparting her friends with some sort of great honor by taking control of the chariot.
"The rules are simple.  Racers are free to try and attack one another and their chariot's.  However, attacking the steed directly is not allowed.  Seven laps to complete a race." The demigoddess then sat there for a moment considering if there was anything else she was missing.  "Gods!  I almost forgot, there are also hidden traps and obstacles on the track."

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"Of course there are." Giang replied as Thaelia quickly added that the track had hidden traps and obstacles on it, to make sure the race was even more difficult than it otherwise would be with other riders able to attack them and their chariot during the race.

The Asian teen surrounded herself with her watery forcefield, to help protect her from any such attacks, as she guided the chariot toward the starting position for the race. As she did so, Giang tried to get as best a feel for how the giant seahorse pulling the chariot reacted and how difficult it might be to control.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yeah, this was definitely going to put the Indy 500 to shame. Eliza had expected an interesting voyage to the heart of Atlantis, but she hadn't exactly been counting on underwater Mario Kart. Still... she didn't exactly object to it.

"Well, at least you gave a girl a warning," she said. She drew into her water skin and pulled out its contacts, winding the coils of water around her in a shimmering curtain. With a thought, they solidified around her into thin, flexible armor, much like chain mail made of tempered snow flakes. It was soon followed by an array of ice pellets, ready to go for thwarting those who'd try to knock them from the chariot - or for taking out axles. It depended what mood she was in. "Let's have some fun."

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