The Trident. The King. The Deception.
The Trident is a three-pronged spear, said to be forged from the Earth’s solid inner core. It is composed of the deadliest, most powerful elements combined with a mysterious, unknown component of the waters deep under the Mariana Trench, the source of which had always been undisclosed.
Through the Trident, the King of Aquosvegna holds dominion over all waters as well as all the creatures of it. It heeds and grants his every wish and command. The powers of the Trident are such that he can control, influence and subdue every single drop of liquid and every organism included in his domain.
But when the echo of Atlantica’s Queen goes missing—a dolphin—a series of events lead to a shocking discovery: the Trident they all knew is not what it is.
And so is the King who wields it.
AQUOSVEGNA: THE TRIDENT OF POWER is Book 1 of AQUOSVEGNA: THE WATER KINGDOM Trilogy.
SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SOUTH ATLANTIC OCEAN
His third eye, centered at the back of his shaved head, saw it first.
Very slowly, he turned, careful not to stir the waters too much with his great weight. Up front, he can see it more clearly now, swimming a few feet away from him.
The Master was right. His prey had swum away from the entourage to explore the surroundings, leaving its owner who remained inside her carriage, beautiful and regal, her servants obeying her every command.
The little one was playing hide and seek with the tiny fishes, savoring the time it spent away from under its mistress’ watchful eyes. Bursts of freedom, relished and appreciated.
Freedom. How he longed for freedom.
His arm stretched forward, his hand holding the iron cage over the little one.
It didn’t notice him, as he expected. Abruptly, he dropped the cage, capturing the dolphin. Before it can squeal for help, it disappeared in a flash, along with the cage.
It meant the Master had seized it with the use of magic.
He opened his mouth wide and sucked. All marine life—the tiny fishes, the seaweeds, even the coral reefs—surrounding the place where the dolphin disappeared were sucked into his humongous mouth like a vacuum. He swallowed them, feeling himself full—and nauseated by the act.
But he cannot do anything about it.
Afterward, he waited, standing still, breathing evenly.
His orders were to stay for some time, to kill anyone who happened to witness what he did.
He scanned the area before him thoroughly. His third eye did the same at the back.
After almost an hour, relieved that he didn’t have to add more blood in his hands, he executed the final phase of his task.
He opened his mouth again. From it, particles spurted out, drifting, floating into the water—replacing all he previously swallowed.
Grimacing, he pulled at the stem tendril looped around his neck. Its tiny thorns burrowed under his skin in retaliation. It was thin like a yarn, but flexible, elastic. Despite his enormous strength, he cannot take it off.
It was his prison collar, enchanted by the Master.
But really, it wasn’t needed. Even without it, he would do as the Master had commanded.
To save his sister.
He couldn’t wait for this to be over.
He can feel the top of his bald head, the only part of his body protruding above water, being scalded by the noon sun. The rest of his weathered face was immersed underwater, his huge, downward pointed ears flapping softly with the current, his wide nose covered by a leaf which made it possible for him to breathe under the sea—another enchantment.
He was riddled with enchantments—a necessary evil, considering his gigantic size. His herculean body, thickly covered with gray fur down to this bare, gigantic feet, were enchanted to blend into its surroundings by altering the color of his copper-toned skin, matching the background, much like a chameleon.
How easy it was to rip the leaf off his nose and let death claim him. But he had to think of Malka. He had to make sure she will live.
Then and only then will he welcome death.
This time, hopefully, permanently.
He had been here since sunrise. He had waited patiently for the little one to arrive, his sturdy, thick legs planted firmly on the ocean floor, his breathing even and without sound.
For weeks now, the Aquaean entourage had been trooping to this place, the deepest part of the ocean, gathering the perfect black pearls inside small oysters nested in deep orange corals—treasures of the sea coveted by humans and Aquaeans alike. The Master told him the group usually arrived when the sun’s shadow was at its shortest, at the hottest time of the day, when humans almost never dared venture into the seas.
The perfect time to ignite a fire.
With a heavy heart, he tapped his prison collar once, a signal for his Master.
In an instant, he vanished, leaving no trace of himself.
* * *
They were in neither land nor water. Only darkness.
The Master floated in the shadows, heavily cloaked by multiple layers of thick, black sea moss.
“Well done, Valko.” He stared down at the top of the giant’s head.
“I did what you commanded, Master,” Valko said, his head bowed low, docile. “Release my sister now.”
Unseen behind the cloak, the Master’s nose flared. How dared this creature tell him what to do? If it weren’t for him, he wouldn’t be breathing right now. If it weren’t for him, he would still be ashes scattered inside the volcano’s dry crater, imprisoned for eternity.
He mentally shook his head. His wound, buried underneath his flesh, will not heal properly if he exerted himself.
He decided to humor the cheeky bastard.
“As you wish, Valko.” He flicked his hand. Behind the creature, a cage suddenly appeared. Inside, a female version of the creature was crouched. Aside from its thicker lips and slightly longer lashes, they looked perfectly the same.
“Brother!” The female immediately stood up and gripped the bars, her face breaking into a relieved grin.
“Malka,” Valko gently cupped his hand over her cheek. “You will be free from here. Master has promised.”
The Master clenched his fist under his cloak. Truly, Valko was tempting his patience. Better end it right here, right now.
He raised his hand and flicked it. The cage vanished, and Malka made to step toward her brother. Before she can do it, however, she uttered a sharp cry. Valko’s eyes widened as a stem tendril appeared and looped around her neck, its thorns clamping on her flesh.
“Master!” He roared in anguish. “You promised you’ll free her!”
“Free from her cage, yes. I didn’t say she’ll be free of me,” the Master drawled. “Or you, as well. I have yet a need for both of you.”
Furious, Valko took a step, his giant palms ready to attack. But the tendril around his neck tightened, and the veins in his neck bulged dangerously near to bursting. Slowly, hs lips were slowly turning blue, his lungs devoid of air. And yet, he didn’t give a voice to his pain and rage. His bloodshot eyes did. They were blazing fireballs raring to leap and torch.
Malka cried as she fell down on her knees. “Master, please! Please, have mercy! We will do anything you want! Please release my brother!”
The Master smirked. “Be grateful for your sister, Valko. I never can resist a female’s tears.” He flicked his hand again.
The tendril loosened around Valko’s neck. The giant coughed violently, taking in precious air. Malka rushed to him and hugged him, still weeping.
“Know your place, both of you,” the Master snarled. “You are mere creations, and I am your Creator.”
With a whoosh, a wall of water arose where the Master was standing. It swallowed him up before collapsing into a heap of air.
When the siblings lifted their heads from each other’s embrace, the Master was gone.