Emperor Neptune

Emperor Neptune

A Chapter by H.C.
"

Neptune's background and his meeting with Wilson

"

The late morning sun radiated over the rich blue sparkling waters of the Bikini Atoll. The coral reef towered up from the sea floor, leading up to a series of islands covered with light-colored soil, enclosing a lagoon with rich indigo waters. Sparse trees dotted the islands, followed small sprouts of grass and red and gold button mushrooms poking up through the soil. And yet, the clusters of grass and mushrooms were alive with colonies of fairies, hustling and bustling about in small groups in order to prepare for invasion.

From the outside looking in, one could see the button mushrooms alive and shimmering with all the colors of the rainbow. A massive colony of fairies hustled and bustled about, the community alive and well on a breathtaking day. The males had pointed elfish ears, rainbow hair, and they all wore bright blue and green cloaks. The females, too, had pointed ears, and rainbow hair, but they sported their pink and purple dresses and tiny ballet slippers. Both genders had yellow butterfly wings trimmed with vibrant magenta. Some fairies submerged themselves into the warm azure lagoon to report back to the communities living below, within, and outside the coral reef the things happening on the surface. One community in particular was the colony of amphibious merpeople on the northwestern half of the lagoon.

A bunch of fairies flocked down to the colony of merpeople, all of whom were attending to their small community as well. The fairies consoled a couple of passersby about the direction of the incoming invasion, and told them to spread the word. The two merpeople, one was a young merman with royal blue hair and eyes, handsome sun-tinged skin, bright blue octopus tentacles, and carrying a scroll of parchment and a quill from a seagull, the other an older merman with powder blue hair, hazel eyes, sallow skin, a royal blue shark tail, and carrying an iron sickle, agreed and split up to cover either side of the community.

The merpeople either measure in as short or somewhere in the middle in height. The sun caressed their skin lovingly, and they all exhibited pleasant, well-shaped figures. Their tails either ranged from those of fish, to sharks, to even octopus tentacles. Soft sea-kissed hair crowned their oval heads, while their eyes penetrated strong faces.

Away from the colony of merpeople was a congregation of about ten or twelve young ones who made their way to the sandbar above the colony, and away from the fairies who needn't be bothered. They meandered up the pink and white coral towards the surface, where the coral gently tapered off into a mound of warm silvery sand. To their right stood a pile of gray boulders and a palm tree. The sandbar.

Their heads emerged from the blue waters and into the warm, crisp air.

One boy paddled forward and rested his hands on the sand. He lifted himself out of the water and slithered onto the warm sand, his indigo tail glistening in the equatorial summer sun. He rested on his back, reclining on his elbows and wagged his tail like a dog. The midnight blue barracuda rudder fin separated in two and took on the shape of a pair of curvaceous feet. The bluefin tuna dorsal fins sank into the tail and the scales smoothed out into placid warm skin. The indigo washed away and lightened into a beautiful snowy color. He wished for something to cover his naked legs as they returned to their beautiful lanky curvature. He reached down and gently ran his fingers on his thighs to feel filmy fabric.

He opened his eyes and rolled over onto his stomach. He then proceeded to lift himself up onto his hands and knees, carefully and eventually climbing to his feet, standing strong and high over the sand.

His messy blue-green wavy hair glimmered in the sunlight and his violet eyes swept across the lagoon. His skin was milky and soft, with a slight kiss from the sun. He had a darling, boyish, slightly plump face and a svelte, slender body, with beautiful slightly wide hips and shoulders. His baggy filmy black bottoms slid down his hips every time he took a handful of steps.

He stood at about fifteen years of age, and the strange one of the Atoll, but yet the young merpeople either loved or hated him. He inhaled a healthy breath of warm air, bringing his lungs out of hibernation. The other merpeople did the same as him to replace their tails with straight up legs.

Hey, Neptune,” one of them said to the first merman. Neptune turned to face him, the sun shining on the right side of his body, shadow engulfing his left side, and his violet eyes twinkling with excitement.

Three seashells says you can't cartwheel all the way to the north side of the sandbar,” the merman challenged him. Neptune raised an eyebrow at the merman.

Four seashells,” he replied in a low, deliberate voice.

Five seashells,” the merman retorted.

Four seashells and one of the fairies over there.”

Four seashells and a coconut from that palm tree.” Neptune furrowed his brow at him and conceded.

You got a deal, Jupiter.”

Neptune turned to face the sandbar in front of him, the pallid scorched sand was going to hard on his hands but it was for four seashells and a coconut.

He held his hands up in the air and then touched down onto the sand. He threw his legs into the air and cartwheeled once. Neptune performed a second one, followed by a third, and a fourth.

He completely forgot about the pile of rocks next to the palm and he never expected to land in the way in which he did on top of the largest boulder.

It felt as though someone shot him in the Lumbar region of his back with a shotgun shell full of rock salt. He slid onto the sand, luckily underneath the shade of the palm. His legs fell to the earth and he landed flat on his back, which seared with a shooting pain. His stomach twisted into nauseated knots, his lungs exploded, and his gills fluttered with confusion. Neptune had never been in so much pain in his life. The kids' voices seem to fade out into an indefinite haze of white noise. He could hear Jupiter shouting and his sister Juno yelling something but it all dissipated into a loud echo inside the deepest crevices of his ears and his mind. His violet eyes rolled into the back of his head and his consciousness fell away.

The next thing he knew he was laying on the couch back at his house. His gills fluttered with osmosis, and his indigo tail had reformed over his legs. Three pillows and the arm of the couch elevated his tail. His stomach swirled with nausea and his lower back continued to throb with that sharp pain. Neptune shuddered with every pulsation up his spine. He tried to keep his eyes open and regather his bearings.

His mother Rhea, an older mermaid with gray-green hair, electric blue eyes, a snub nose, and a warm loving smile, darted out of the kitchen right at that moment. She drifted to her son and leaned over him. She gently stroked his face and kissed his forehead.

What happened?” Neptune asked in a hoarse voice, delirious, and his stomach turning every other second.

You compressed four vertebrae in the Lumbar region of your back,” she explained to him gently. “The nurse and the doctor were worried you cracked your pelvis or damaged any of your vital organs. You also have a bruise on your left hip and all of the pain you're feeling is turning your stomach and you also blacked out for five hours. Otherwise, nothing else is banged up but you're bed-ridden for the time being.”

Bedridden? But I have school, though!”

The doctor said you have to rest, honey,” she explained, “you can't do anything strenuous for at least six weeks or until your spinal column heals. They've excused you from school for that time so don't worry, baby. Here, I made you some hot kelp to make your stomach feel better. A mother knows when her child will awake from his slumber.” She leaned in a second time and kissed him gently on the cheek. She handed him a bowl of sun-dried kelp seasoned with some sea salt and cracked pepper.

Mama loves you, baby. I'll take care of you.”

Neptune sighed and then twisted his mouth into a small smile. He knew his mother could take care of him for as long as he needed, and he knew she would do the same for his sister Juno, and he knew she would starve before she let her children go to waste. He dipped his spoon into the kelp and took a bit.

He normally loved hot kelp but this initially made his stomach to shriek in agony. He continued to choke it down until he cleaned out his bowl. Neptune lay flat on his back on the couch, his stomach calmed down but the nausea persisted with the pain in his back.

Two weeks would surpass before Neptune could stand on his own.

He slid out of his bed, his back continuing to sear with that consistent pain. He ambled his way over to the bedroom door. Something out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. He turned his head to the right to see his reflection in the mirror.

His face looked a lot rounder than two weeks before. His lower belly took to a gentle but definite fullness.

I'm gaining weight, he said to himself as he examined himself in the mirror, and the gentle curve around his waistline. He thought of his mother's hearty food to help keep his strength up and yet he remained immobile for two weeks so there really was no other way for him to use that food than to let it go to his body. God, I'm going to be massive before we're done here!

His back continued to surge with that irritating discomfort. In the reflection of the mirror, he spotted something dark red in contrast with the pink carpet underneath his bed. He slowly turned around to see what resembled to a journal, one that he never broke open because he was busy with school. Neptune gingerly wandered back to his bed and carefully slid down onto his knees. He reached for the journal, trying so hard not to bend his spine too much. It began to hurt when he gripped onto the hard crimson cover and picked up the journal, about the size of an average leave of paper. He let out a tormented sigh and then collapsed onto his bed.

Neptune rolled over onto his back and gazed at the dark red cover, the silver stripe all along the edges, the black and silver curliques lining the spine of the book; inside the pages were all blank.

His slender fingers caressed over the fresh pages.

Looks like you're my best friend now,” he avowed. Neptune glanced around for a pen or a quill, something to write with. A titanium fountain pen on the bedside table caught his attention, one with a refillable cap for squid's ink and a bright red tip. He gripped onto the pen, which hugged the curvature of his hand and allowed his fingers to relax. He then touched the red inked tip onto the first page.

I'm not sure how to start this or I should write this all down, but my name is Neptune and I hurt myself trying to impress someone who hates me because I failed to listen to my better judgment and now my back really hurts and I have the incessant feeling I'm going to watch myself grow and pack on the weight. I'm such an idiot. What the hell was I thinking? I'm not sure if you would understand, however you won't judge or scold me, you'll only listen, which is good, I need someone to listen without dismissing me or putting a plate of food in front of me. I just need a place to put down my thoughts without the obsequious passive aggressive behavior of one side of everyone and away from the devil may care nonsense of the other side of people.

Sometimes people don't realize the destructiveness and the damage they're causing by taking advantage of other people and in the most backhanded ways possible, and sometimes it gets to be too much, and sometimes I feel as though I'm the only merman alive who gets it and sees through it all and thus I feel so alone as a result. No offense to either of my parents or my sister Juno, but it's all the truth. It's happened so much all throughout my childhood that it's become habitual of me to seek aloneness�"and I wonder why I often find myself in that situation. I'll make it a habit to talk to you every day, I promise. I trust you with my words.

I think I'll call you Triton.”

Neptune pulled back, his violet eyes gliding over his swirled penmanship and it was as if a dead weight had been lifted from his shoulders.

I trust you, Triton,” he said in a low voice.


Neptune opened his eyes to the watery morning light filtering through his window. Three weeks had surpassed since he found the journal and documented his path to recovery. He remained on his left side but shifted his weight slightly in the soft bed of anemone and kelp. The Lumbar region of his back had heeled completely but the rest of his back felt sore to the touch.

He glanced down to see a large plump potbelly the size of a seedless watermelon protruding out from his body. His hips had grown wider and fuller, and his skin softer and silkier with the extra weight. How much, I wonder, he asked himself.

He rolled onto his back and lay there for a second like an otter, gazing up at the ceiling and then down at his filled out waistline. Neptune sat upright and reached for the journal on his bedside table, and opened to a clean page. He picked up the pen and wrote everything that immediately came to mind.

Triton, I'm completely healed! But there's a catch: my stomach pokes out like a whale emerging from the ocean. I don't think I'm going to spout water from my belly button, though. I feel heavy, too, and my back knows it. I think breakfast is ready. I'll write more later.”

He closed the journal and set it back down on the table. He pulled himself up from his bed, only to spot his face in the reflection in the mirror, so much fuller and rounder than ever, much like the full moon. The kisses from the sun faded away, leaving his skin a placid snowy white.

Neptune swam out of his room and down the hallway to the kitchen, where his mother awaited with breakfast. She peered up at him and smiled sweetly.

There's my baby, getting so big and beautiful,” Rhea met up with him and gently gave his potbelly a loving pat. She reached up, caressed his full face, and softly kissed him on the neck.

You know, I named you Neptune after the planet,” she admitted.

He widened his violet eyes in surprise.

Really?”

Oh, yes. I knew my little boy was going to be soft and ethereal, like that big blue beauty. I knew he was going to be big and lovely.”

She drifted to him with a big bowl of plankton and a smile.

Have something to eat, my love,” she coaxed him gently, setting the bowl in front of him.

Neptune sighed through his nose. Mother knows best I suppose.

The first day back and hardly anyone at school recognized him. They would stare at him and think of him as a new student who needed help around campus, and when he insisted it was him, it was Neptune, they would look at him as if the old Neptune had just been eaten by this big white monster merman from Rongerik Atoll.

He knew this return back to school would be unpleasant at best so as a result he befriended his journal and titanium fountain pen, which he then learned to keep close to him on his belt. He returned home from school to vent to Triton, and how much he felt like an outcast because of the kids at school. By night's end, he was in bed and in tears.

No one gets it, he thought to himself. No one gets it and it's all my fault!

He peered down at his plump waist, tucked underneath the blankets, and could feel the tears burning in his eyes.

Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, why am I so stupid? I'm so ugly, so fat and ugly. I don't like this. I don't like me. In fact, I hate this. I hate myself. I hate myself!

He drifted off to a dreamless sleep and dreaded doing it all again the next day.


By week's end, he accepted that he would always be alone because of his body and his weight: he was the only one at his school, on the Atoll, who carried a considerable amount of weight. He wanted to be a writer and be a hermit for the rest of his life, it did not matter. He wanted to be all alone because they made him feel that way. The world hated him and he knew it and they knew it and everyone knew it and he could not explain it if his life depended on it. He began to swim in a position of a fish instead of a seahorse like the rest of the merpeople.

Don't look at me, stay away from me, leave me alone, I don't want to be here because you're all expecting slender Neptune to be here but guess what? He's not. He's never coming back.

He had a great deal of weight on his body but he felt cold, like the warmth of the Atoll and the surrounding waters meant nothing to him. His skin felt frigid and frozen to the touch: Rhea noticed that one day upon his return from school.

Neptune, do you feel okay? You're stone cold!” She held him closer to her to try and warm up his body. Nothing. He continued to feel cold. He continued to have the chills and sudden waves of subzero temperatures sweep over him and up his spine. His skin became smoother and softer, but also colder.

He found himself one day in one corner of his room, trying to pull his knees up to his chest but he could not: he was too large in the middle. Neptune sank onto his back and onto the floor and gazed up at the ceiling.

His past had left him. There was nothing he could do about it. His parents' help faded out and his sister Juno had her own life to deal with, not like she cared anyway. His journal only proved to be so much. He could not even make his body do what he wanted to do. Rebelled against himself. Trapped inside himself. Never felt so alone. Not a friend in the world.

He closed his eyes, trying to go to sleep, trying to make sure his heart would stop in its tracks and his gills to shutter closed and his lungs to remain in hibernation. He wanted to sleep, to sleep so deep that no one would wake him. Crying himself to sleep carried no meaning within itself anymore. Sleeping must do the trick. That would bring him out of his misery.

He needn't write a note or leave anything other than his journal and his distended body. Everyone will know somehow, just like how everyone knows what happened to that one blond haired man years ago, the one who's passing is unknown but his motives were clearer than day in the area of which he lived…

A knock on the door jolted his eyes open and sped up his heart.

Neptune!” His father Cronus.

Yes, dad?”

Can I come in?”

Neptune pushed himself up, reclining back on his elbows. He swallowed nervously, expecting the worst.

Yeah, come on in.”

Cronus opened the door and sidled into the room, furrowing his brow at his son on the floor. Like Rhea, Cronus was older, with silver hair and elder, wiser navy blue eyes, and a strong, wiry build. His tail was a dark blue barracuda tail with two dorsal fins and a near black rudder fin.

I never thought I'd ever be saying this,” Cronus said grimly, still confused as to why his son was down on the floor. Neptune braced himself for the bad news.

“ …but we're being invaded.”

Neptune tilted his head to the side. Not really what he was expecting but it was still news to him.

We are?”

Yeah. The United States government is sending an army of tiger and Great White sharks here to claim us from independent rule. Word amongst the Atoll is that they're ruthless, too. We need to prepare this house, this Atoll for invasion. So come out and help us. Also, your sister is missing.”


An hour surpassed and Cronus swam out and about, consulting with a flock of fairies and another local in the community, while Rhea and Neptune stayed back at their home, wondering about Juno.

Where do you think she could have gone?” Rhea asked, peering out the living room window.

I'm not sure,” Neptune confessed softly, sinking down into the couch cushion. He had to confess to his mother how he truly felt: his sanity would take a hit for sure if he kept quiet.

Mom,” he said suddenly. Rhea turned to face him.

There's something I have to tell you.”

She blinked and rested a hand on his shoulder.

Take your time, my love. If it's something really heavy, you don't have to tell me right at this moment. But if it's something you really have to tell me, take your time�"”

Do you ever feel as though no one on Earth seems to get it? Like no matter how much you try to explain to them, no one will listen? Do you ever feel… alone?”

He glanced up at Rhea, whose gaze penetrated deep into his violet eyes. He knew she was coming up with the right words and he knew they were not going to be pleasant.

Neptune…” she started.

A strange tingling sensation in the pit of his stomach ate away at his innermost self. He braced himself for the worst.

Neptune, honey, if you have ever felt this way, you know it's okay to talk to me or Dad about it, and if you continue to feel this way, I just want you to know that it's perfectly acceptable to feel this way. I should have known there was something terribly wrong, what with the cold sensation radiating from your skin and whatnot. But, now that I know what's happening, we can begin to heal you from within.”

The tingling fell away with his mother's kind words. He swallowed his fear down; Rhea moved her hand from his shoulder to his soft round face.

Neptune,” she said to him kindly, “Neptune, stand up straight for me, my love.”

He fetched up a heavy sigh. He straightened his spine as much as he possibly could.

Rhea gazed dreamily at him, his large body, at his deep full chest that housed his lungs so he could breathe in the air on the lagoon above, and at his protruding midsection. She smiled lovingly. She leaned her head against his right shoulder and then wrapped her arms around his upper body. She closed her eyes.

You're really beautiful, baby,” she whispered to him sweetly. “You've got a heart that's beating inside your chest, you've got lungs inside you and gills on your neck just like the rest of us, your tummy is so soft and warm... what mermaid wouldn't want to give you a hug or put her hands on your hips?”

Neptune swallowed nervously at the thought of a mermaid touching him. He turned to face her and she slid her head onto his chest to feel his soft heartbeat. Rhea continued to smile.

I made you,” she proceeded. “I made you, and made sure you were the most beautiful. When I saw that beautiful blue planet up in the sky when I was pregnant with you, I wanted my baby to be named after such beauty.”

Neptune! Rhea!”

She was cut off short by Cronus' entrance through the front door, his face riddled with concern.

What is it, sweetheart?”

The sharks will be here in about twenty minutes,” he said worriedly, “and worse, no one knows where Juno is.”

No one at all?” Rhea asked, her eyes widening in concern as she and Neptune shot upright to face him. Cronus shook his head, knitting his eyebrows together.

They're evacuating us to the northernmost side of the Atoll, too, where Neptune hurt himself. All of us, merpeople, fairies, everyone.”

Surely someone has to know of Juno's whereabouts. He had just thought of dying, but Neptune had a good hunch: where does she usually gather with her friends? Where does she go that only the young merpeople know about? Neptune then rapidly set his hand on his father's shoulder.

No, you and Mom go with the merpeople and the fairies. I'll find her. I'm positive I know where she is.”

Cronus gazed in awe at his son, who floated strong and tall above his powder blue head. That statement seemed so striking to him, and so unlike the new Neptune, who often shut himself up with his journal after school and grew increasingly self-conscious of himself. He glanced down at the sickle in his hand and thought of the one asset in Neptune's room.

Do you have the trident your grandpa Caelum gave you?”

Neptune hesitated. He recalled to when he first spotted his journal under his bed, and his trident lay there as well.

He nodded and darted down the hallway to his bedroom. Diving down to the floor to check beneath his bed, he spotted the seven foot long pale orange trident comprised entirely of whale bone. He reached out with his right hand, gripped onto the trident, and a tingling sensation erupted in his fingertips. Carefully, he lifted the trident and brought it into broad daylight. Neptune erected himself upright, trident in one hand and the other hand leading him out of the room. He then remembered his journal: if the merpeople are forced to leave Bikini, he'll need something to take with him. He wheeled around and picked up his journal, and slipped it onto his belt on his left hip. He then picked up his fountain belt, and tucked it in next to his journal. He then slithered out the room, everything he needed with him. Rhea and Cronus watched him stride down the hallway like royalty. Thus Cronus nodded in affirmation.

Okay, Neptune,” he replied, with a nervous smile. “Go find your sister. Mom and I will be waiting for you both on the northernmost end of the lagoon.”

Neptune nodded and was about to slither out the door when Cronus stopped him in his tracks.

You're a good brother,” he told him. “And you've grown into a fine young merman.”

Neptune dropped his gaze to the floor and sighed.

But in all seriousness, you've grown so much, my boy. I want you to know that your mother and I love you and Juno more than anything on this Atoll, or anything in the world for that matter.”

He inched closer to Neptune and gazed into his violet eyes.

Be brave, my boy,” he whispered. He wrapped his arms around Neptune, who then did the same for him.

Love you, too, Dad,” Neptune replied. Cronus stared up his son with a proud smile plastered on his angular face. “Go fetch your little sister.”

He gave Rhea one last embrace before taking in a heavy sigh and slithering out the front door.

The coral reef was eerily quiet. All merpeople and fairies flocked to the northernmost end of the Atoll, to await the arrival of the Shark Army, led by Lieutenant Archer Wilson, and to defend the Atoll and the lagoon. Neptune traversed about in the fish position, his belly to the sea floor and his violet eyes open for any signs of Juno. He kept the trident close to his body just in case he needed to brandish it on someone or something. He made his way to his and Juno's school, glancing around the banked coral for anything.

Now, if my intuition is right, he said to himself, she should be around here somewhere, probably studying or being with her friends.

He paddled towards the back entrance of their school, an open group of low buildings arranged in a fan on its side: three to the left, four to the right including the cafeteria and the front office. The first things he spotted were the rocks blocking the classroom doors closed and the boards nailed onto the classroom windows. A sign on the window of his English class caught his eye: CLASS CANCELLED. BIKINI IS TOAST AGAIN.

Neptune spotted that and tilted his head to the side, bewildered.

Again? Also, why “toast,” I wonder?

It baffled him for a bit but then he decided to let it go. It must have been well before his time. He dared not wonder about the possibilities, and continued onward down the open corridor.

He slithered up the open hallway between two buildings on the left side of the campus. The hallway was now entirely deserted. He turned a corner to face the quad, a massive courtyard lined with coral and sloped up about five hundred feet to the cafeteria, clear on the other side of campus. The entire quad was barren and silent. The sound of silence, the sound of being underwater with nothing around, eerily similar to the silence of space, sent chills throughout his body. No study groups here. Not even a yard duty.

Where could she be?

Neptune flicked towards the building to his left, and doubled back to where he entered the campus, towards the gate on the side. He met up with the pathway which meandered towards East Park, a vast bed of kelp where students some times met up to study or simply congregate. At night, or during a brave time of day like right now, East Park was the place where young mermen or mermaids often took their dates in order to be alone with them, away from the rest of the Atoll and their parents.

Soft laughter caught his ear. He stopped not too far from one of the entryways, a low white coral arch which dropped out to the kelp bed. He was unsure who made the laughter.

Juno?” he called out gently.

No response, but the laughter continued.

Juno? Is that you?”

He paddled slowly towards the arch, and the laughter drew closer. He could tell one was male, one female. He neared the arch even more, recognizing the female's laughter within seconds.

Oh, I know!” the male voice chided. Juno with a merman?

Neptune peeked around the corner, and spotted his kid sister on the kelp bed right against the wall. She held hands with and had her tail entertwined with the tail of a merman.

Juno?”

She turned around to face him, her eyes wide with surprise as he lumbered out from around the corner.

Neptune!” she adjusted her pink seashell bra. She gazed up at her older brother with falsely innocuous blue eyes. Juno was short compared to Neptune's towering height; she also had tanned skin, a slender body, a feminine heart-shaped face, baby blue eyes inherited from their mother, and had a long sheet of seafoam hair flowing down from the crown of her head to her hips. She had a pink barracuda tail with fuchsia fins.

What are you doing here?” she asked him, startled.

Where have you been? I've been looking all over for you.”

She blinked, her mouth hanging wide open like a fool. Neptune fetched up an impatient sigh.

The Sharks are coming,” he informed her, “come on, Mom and Dad are waiting for us.”

I'm a little busy here,” she replied with a slight snide to her voice.

There's no time,” he insisted. He pointed his gaze to the merman she entwined herself with: a scrawny young lad with greasy black hair streaked with scarlet and orange, and piercing black eyes. The same scrawny lad who, after not seeing him for some time because he was involved in Neptune's Lumbar injury, unleashed a wave of unpleasant childhood feelings within Neptune's mind and heart. The same scrawny lad who had a reputation of cruelty towards anything soft, plump, and cuddly, that included Neptune and also mermaids.

Oh,” Neptune frowned, “hi, Jupiter.”

Hey, Neptune,” Jupiter greeted him flatly, flashing his eyes to Neptune's full midsection, and snickering mischievously. “I see you're doing well. Or at least eating a little too well.”

Hey, at least it means I'm actually eating,” Neptune jeered saucily, resting a hand on his lower belly.

I can see you're still a mama's boy, too,” Jupiter continued in his condescending tone.

Psssh, I know you are, but what am I?”

Morbidly obese dork.”

I know you are, but what am I?”

Morbidly obese dork.”

Neptune rolled his eyes and clasped onto his trident in annoyance.

Get away from my kid sister, you snot-nosed little punk,” he pointed his tines of the trident at Jupiter's head. He sneered and snickered.

Ooh, big fat Neptune's got a trident to save his little sister from the younger kid who likes to pick on him and dared him to do something which got him hurt and then got him fat,” Jupiter taunted, “what're you gonna do, poke my eye out with that thing?”

Neptune, put that down!” Juno exclaimed.

Just get up,” Neptune reached down and grasped his sister's arm, pulling her away from Jupiter. Their tails swirled apart as Neptune yanked her away. Jupiter lunged towards Neptune, but he held up his trident to stop the bully in his place.

You're lucky I didn't punch you in your fat gut.”

I'm going to make you eat plankton out of my belly button if you don't shut up. Besides, you owe me four seashells and a coconut.”

Neptune!” Juno cried. Neptune flicked his head over to his sister, who continued to display that innocuous look in her blue eyes. Do something, Juno, he thought ferociously, anything.

Jupiter, back off, babe.” Her date let out an exasperated sigh and rolled his black eyes.

Neptune had a bone to pick with her.

Why are you hanging out with him? One of the stooges who bullied me all through elementary school when I was a little dweeb and continues to do so?”

Because...” Juno started, searching for the right words.

Because?”

Because...” she repeated.

She glanced at her brother, and then at Jupiter. Without even thinking, she darted away from the two boys, through the opening of which Neptune came from, and vanished into the blue waters.

Juno!” he shouted after her.

Juno! Come back my lady!” Jupiter called. Neptune had had enough of him.

SIT your five-dollar hammerhead tail down before I summon a red tide to bury you alive,” he snapped in a powerful voice, pointing his trident at Jupiter's head. Jupiter stared at him with widened nervous eyes and sank back down onto the kelp bed. Neptune towered above him, his belly distended as far as he could to exert his power over him.

Don't move, or I will eat you,” Neptune threatened, pointing a finger at Jupiter's left eye.

He wheeled around and torpedoed out of East Park to chase his sister down. She sped around the corner of the coral wall, and he followed. She paddled faster and faster, zipping past their house and Jupiter's house: Neptune followed in closing pursuit, despite his extra weight dragging him down. She weaved in and out of people's yards, until she spotted the wide-open ocean outside of the atoll. Juno could see the Shark Army slowly approaching the Atoll. Luckily for Neptune, she stopped in her tracks before she could double back to the northern edge of the Atoll: a stitch surged up in his right side, and he winced in agony.

She circled around to face her disgruntled brother.

Juno!” he screeched breathlessly.

What!” she replied dumbly.

You never told me why you were hanging with Jupiter!” he was out of breath, but he couldn't help but yell. He lowered the head of the trident down to his knees to confront his sister.

I love him, Neptune!” she blurted out. “I love him so much. He is so amazing, Neptune. He is so young and so masculine… he is the love of my life! He and I are going to get married this summer, and there is nothing you, or Mom and Dad are going to do about it! The three of you can eat our bubble babies!”

Neptune could not believe what he was hearing. If his baby sister fell in love with bull shark or one of the incoming Shark Soldiers above, he'd be more than fine with it. In fact, he would embrace it. But there was nothing good he could see with Jupiter. He spent six weeks in bed because of Jupiter. He gained so much and lost so much color in his skin because of him. He had no idea if Jupiter coerced Juno to join him, or if it was Juno's choice all on her own, but the fact remained, and their fate as brother and sister was sealed. Juno was with that scrawny little hellion who got a kick out of browbeating others, and bullied Neptune forever because he was different from everyone else. Juno was in a relationship with the merman who contributed to his insecurities more than anyone on Bikini Atoll.

You...” Neptune sputtered. Juno sent him so deep into disbelief, that his mind blurred into a million different thoughts and he could scarcely find the right and proper words to say to her. He could feel the disappointment welling up inside of him like a volcano.

You disloyal, harebrained, harlot-made idiot,” he snapped in a soft but disenchanted tone.

Neptune!”

You�"you�"you�"you IDIOT!”

Who are you calling an idiot? You're the one who doesn't like the way he looks. You fat-bellied fatfaced fatback, did some of that fat go to your head when you got that belly from spending all that time in the house?”

Oh, so taunting my weight is going to make you feel better about yourself, you snot-nosed little twerp? Okay, let me make something very clear to you. You. Are. Pathetic. I don't care if you're my sister or not, you don't ever make fun of someone's body, whether it's me or someone else, and you don't ever associate yourself with someone who does that to someone else. I mean, jeez, my love handles mean more to me now than you because of that. Mom and Dad'll have a piece of this...”

Hey, fatso, leave my girlfriend alone!” Neptune whirled around to see Jupiter hurdling towards him with a bundle of kelp wound up in his hands and aimed for his neck. Jupiter was going to strangle him.

Neptune grasped onto the trident for dear life, and lunged to the left, to the ocean, in the direction of the Shark Army. He had to think quickly or he had two other alternatives: either be eaten alive by one of the sharks or choked by his sister's cruel boyfriend.

On the surface, Lieutenant Archer Wilson knelt down on a metal disc being carried by three tiger sharks. He pushed a blue button, and a pink hologram of President Pinkie Borland the size of a coffee mug appeared from a slit in the disc.

Wilson!” President Borland snapped, her voice clouded by the hologram transmission: she sounded as if she stood a mile away with a megaphone.

Yes?”

Anyone who tries to stop you and the sharks, shoot an arrow into their face.”

Wilson swallowed nervously and nodded in affirmation. She pushed a button and her hologram dissipated. Wilson climbed to his feet and stepped towards the tiger shark to the front of the disc. He backflipped and landed on the shark's back. The shark pointed his nose at the Atoll, where all the merpeople, now transfigured to walk on the topsoil, and the fairies huddled together in apprehension and preparation for battle. The other sharks had already formed up into a massive triangle, dozens of them, facing the Atoll and the communities of merpeople and fairies. Wilson unsheathed an arrow and propped it onto the string of the bow. He pulled the string back and aimed at Cronus, who stood at the front of the crowd of merpeople, his sickle down by his side.

People of Bikini,” Wilson announced in a full but trembling voice, “do not try to defy us. We are here by President Borland's orders to invade you. If you abide by us and do not fight us, we will not hurt you. If you refuse, we will be forced to destroy you and take you captive�"”

He never finished because Neptune interrupted him by flying up in front of him from the sea beneath Wilson's boots. The sudden blur of green, white, and indigo caught him off-guard. Neptune arched his back away from Wilson, and fell in reverse into the water. The merpeople gasped in unison. Rhea grasped her husband in awe as he dove back into the sea, the water swirling around his ears.

Neptune's gills reopened as he regathered his bearings. He eyed the Shark Army overhead, dozens of tiger and Great White sharks, all aligned in a perfect arrowhead pointing at the Atoll. Something caught his eye: Jupiter barreling towards him with the bundle of kelp aimed for his neck. Neptune rocketed up blindly towards the shore.

He burst free from the water and landed on his back on the pale sand. The trident rested on his plump body. He gazed on at Archer Wilson, who initially had his arrow aimed at Cronus, dropped his bow down temporarily to see what happened. Neptune lowered the trident out of the way for Wilson to get a better view of him. He picked up Wilson's nervous examination. Neptune watched him swallow his fear, and his proceeding to point his arrow at Neptune's lower belly.

You've got some meat on those bones, don't you?” Wilson murmured under his breath.

Neptune slowly furrowed his brow and could feel the disappointment morph into rage.

First his bratty sister's malfeasant boyfriend forces him to break his back, leaving him bed-ridden for six weeks to gain so much weight. Then she betrayed his trust and his confidence, and took advantage of his body. Then her insensitive boyfriend threatened to strangle him with a bundle of kelp. Now here he lay on the sand, staring at a warlord in the face. Neptune gripped onto his trident and waved his tail. His legs appeared, clothed in filmy black bottoms. He clambered to his feet with his head bowed in fury. He wanted to burn all of these sharks in a sea of fire and then tear his sister and her boyfriend to shreds. Wilson spotted the white-hot flames in Neptune's dark eyes and wondered if fighting these people was even worth it.

I HAVE HAD IT!” Neptune yelled in a voice so loud the coral of the atoll shook.

He pointed the tines of his trident at the surface of the water. Somewhere in the sane part of his mind, he was unsure as to why he did that, but he proceeded anyways. Something caught on with the trident, as if the tines and the water surface were magnets. He stuck the trident between his legs and then clasped the backs of his hands together as if he was going to pry double doors open. The force of the trident combined with his primal rage made the waters of the sea quiver.

Wilson retreated his head back from his bow and arrow to observe what was happening.

The muscles in Neptune's arms and shoulders contracted like never before. He aligned his spine perfectly and pushed his midsection outward as far as he possibly could. His heart raced and his blood surged through his veins so much, it grew hot. His rage channeled into the water. The plankton down below glanced up at the furious Neptune and scurried away in terror.

Within seconds, the water began to part into two halves. Neptune groaned with the separation the water. A massive split soon formed, revealing dry sea bed to the merpeople and the sharks. The split migrated its way to Wilson and the commander shark, who dropped to the dry sea floor when the water flooded out from underneath him. Wilson faceplanted onto the sand, his bow and arrow landing right next to him.

Neptune had his arms held out like a cross and inhaled. He realized what he just done and stood in disbelief. He gaped down at the disoriented Wilson and the tiger shark, and reached for the trident between his legs. He stood there, his heart thundering in his chest, his lungs heaving, and the blood in his veins cooling down. The merpeople behind him were silent and perfectly still.

Emperor,” a voice behind Neptune blurted out. He turned around to see an elder mermaid with pearl white hair approaching him with her hands pressed together as if saying a prayer. The merpeople gaped at him in reverence.

Emperor?” he raised an eyebrow.

Yes,” the mermaid replied. “You parted the sea with Caelum's trident. You are the new Emperor of Bikini.”

She snapped her fingers and four fairies fluttered over with a crown of coral and shark teeth comprised take the rough shape of the largest luxury sealiner in the world. The fairies delicately placed the crown on top of his messy hair. He pointed his eyes at the front of the crown and could see a small black trident-shaped glyph carved on the frontal tine of the crown. One by one, the merpeople dropped to their knees in his honor as soon as the fairies placed the crown on his head.

To his left, Rhea wept tears of joy and Cronus beamed triumphantly.

Wilson pushed himself up off the sand and gazed up at the newly crowned plump emperor. He had failed the mission to invade Bikini, but he could not resist in feeling awestruck over this young kid.

Poseidon,” Wilson blurted out in a voice so spooked the plankton in the walls of water had shivers running down their exoskeletons. His voice echoed off the walls, and Neptune turned to face him, his coral crown shining strong and high in the midday sun. He towered over the dried up pathway, his trident lined up with his spine. Wilson was in awe of his heavy body, and wondered how on Earth a kid this young and plump could part the sea in such a way, unless he was Poseidon. Neptune reached up and cocked his crown slightly to the side so Wilson could see the trident insignia better.

My name,” he announced in a full voice, “is Neptune.”

Wilson's hologram monitor crackled and Pinkie Borland's face gleamed up with her pink hologram.

Wilson! Did you sack Binkinini yet?”

He scrambled to face her hologram. Wilson blinked and gaped at her in befuddlement.

No, I�"I�"I�"I�"I�"I�"I�"I�"I couldn't,” he stammered.

Why not?” she demanded, widening her eyes.

Because�"this kid�"this chubby kid�"Pinkie, he parted the sea!”

I don't care if a sinkhole opened up and swallowed the entire Atoll, sack his fat bottom and have him exiled to Pluto!”

Wilson furrowed his brow and scowled at her.

I will do no such thing,” he spoke in a cold voice.

What!” she barked. “Wilson, don't be obtuse. If you refuse, I strip you of your title and banish you with him! Now get him!”

Go ahead and discharge me,” he continued flatly, “I will not hurt a kid.”

She pulled back from the hologram screen.

Then I have no choice,” she confided softly. “You're fired and under arrest. Sharks, take him and said merman to the rocket site.”

A tiger shark meandered to the shore line and poked his head out of the water to stare up at Neptune.

Emperor,” he informed him. Neptune turned around and raised his eyebrows.

Yes?”

You're under arrest for thwarting an army. Say farewell to your people and then come with me.”

Neptune whirled around to face the merpeople and his parents. Rhea, who wept tears of joy, now wept tears of anguish.

Neptune... my baby...” she started tearfully.

Mom... Mama...” She sidled up to him and embraced her son, squeezing his full waist one last time.

...my sweet baby, the love of my life... you saved us and you were crowned for it. But now I have to let you go.”

She set her hand on his soft, round face. He could see tears running down from her eyes.

I know you'll be fine, though,” she whispered. She peered at his body and gave him a loving pat. “Because you have your mama's love with you. Always. I love you, Neptune. I love you.”

I love you, too, mama,” he replied softly. He stooped down so she could kiss him one last time. He then faced his father.

Dad…” Cronus smiled proudly and nodded his head.

Son,” he started with a break in his voice.

My buddy.” He opened his arms to embrace him.

Come here, buddy. I'm so proud of you.” Neptune hugged his father one last time. Cronus gazed on behind him to see Archer Wilson being taken onto a tugboat, which would take both him and Neptune to a rocket site, which would launch them out to Pluto.

I'm going to say this right now,” Cronus advised him, “that lieutenant is a good man.”

He let Neptune go and examined his body.

Also... do not underestimate the power of your middle region.”

Neptune dropped his eyes down to his paunch, so big and full, what he at one point hated but began to feel a fancy for. He gave himself a pat as a result.

Never,” he promised. Cronus patted his shoulder and continued to beam with tears in his eyes.

Get going, buddy,” he told him, “they're waiting for you. By the way, don't worry about your sister. We'll get her.”

Thank you, Dad.” Neptune wheeled around and began to walk down the dried pathway he created.

He approached the tiger sharks, the Shark Army, all of whom were waiting for him in the dual sea walls to board the tugboat in the waters above. He spotted a rope ladder leading up to the boat. He stuck his trident in one of his belt loops, then gripped onto one step and began to climb up. His heavy weight pulled down on the ladder, making the boat slightly tilt to the right.

Archer Wilson skidded to his right on the port side of the boat, and held onto the rail to keep his balance. Neptune climbed onto the tugboat on his hands and knees, and then stood to his feet. He could see Rhea and Cronus huddled together, closest to the shoreline out of any of the merpeople. As the boat began to pull away from the Bikini Atoll, he waved at the crowd of merpeople standing at the Atoll, who all waved at him in return.

Rhea blew him a kiss. He caught her kiss and lovingly placed it on his right cheek. He bowed his head and strode up the starboard to the front of the boat, where Wilson was headed himself. They met each other at the front bow of the boat. Neptune stood slightly taller than Wilson, but carried an extra forty pounds.

Wilson could sense his power.

You're a hero,” was the first thing that slipped from his mouth.

So are you,” Neptune retorted, blinking.

Wilson grinned nervously and realized he was dealing with a good egg. He shot out his hand for Neptune to shake.

I'm Lieutenant, no longer Lieutenant Archer Wilson,” he greeted warmly, “but I just go by Wilson.”

I'm Emperor Neptune,” he replied, shaking his hand with a firm but gentle grip, “but I just go by Neptune.”



© 2016 H.C.


Author's Note

H.C.
Now I get merfolk have been kind of written to death in sci fi/fantasy but Neptune's one of my beloveds, though. Any feedback is welcome (but be nice about it, though)

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Added on May 1, 2016
Last Updated on May 1, 2016
Tags: emperor neptune, bikini atoll, stardust dolls, character sketch, mermen, merpeople, science fiction, fantasy


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H.C.
H.C.

Safe Haven Away from the Nonsense



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Artist, Renaissance person, and student (both academically and lifelong). I love writing because it fills in where my visuals leave off, and there are just some things that are better written than sho.. more..

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