The Dragon Daughter by Isabella Hunter

This story was previously published in The Book of Dragons by Grimbold, September 2017.

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Hoori watched the lead ship crest a large wave and become air born. They still hadn’t sighted Ryujin, but with the sea this tumultuous he had to be close. Dark clouds reduced how far they could see across the ocean’s surface, and when he looked out, he could only count ten ships even though there were over twenty in the fleet. The ship rocked violently as a wave crashed into its side, spraying sea water into his face. The air was thick with the smells of the ocean: salt and fish.

His boat was occupied by other sailors, some he knew and some who had travelled from far off cities to help take down the dragon. There were also soldiers on the ship, but they were staying below deck for now. They didn’t know how to sail, so it was Hoori’s job along with the other sailors to get them to their quarry.

For a second he thought he saw the long serpentine body of Ryujin between the waves, but as quickly as it had appeared it disappeared under the surface. A long bellow rang out across the sea, breaking through the shouts of sailors and the roaring wind. It was here. The lead ship had located him.

There was a silence as everyone stopped, realising what this meant. Then they set to work. Hoori’s ship was the closest to the lead, and another ship had changed course heading towards them. The men worked the ropes and sails, picking up the wind to get into position.

Under the water’s surface he saw it. The sea was an inky black, but Ryujin was a brilliant blue, the colour of the sea on a peaceful day. He was not peaceful though. Ruler of the tide, he caused storms and would attack any boat that he didn’t like the look of.

Now they were his target. The dragon broke the surface between Hoori’s boat and the other fleet ship. His fins flared and a loud roar echoed across the water. Hoori could see the treasure of the sea on Ryujin’s forehead like a third eye. “Quickly, he’s here! Get the harpoons!” Hoori shouted across the din.

Hoori moved over to the mounted harpoon launchers and aimed. He pulled the trigger and a spear flew through the air, lodging into the dragon’s body. Ryujin let out a howl and turned towards the other fleet ship that was still moving into range.

The boat listed as the dragon swam away from them. The harpoons were designed for taking down whales, not something as powerful as this. Hoori slipped down the deck as the boat was pulled towards the sea. The other sailors were also struggling, holding onto the launchers or ropes.

They just needed to hold on a little longer. Hoori’s fingers burnt as he held on to the rope of the harpoon that was still embedded in the dragon. Once the other ship landed a harpoon, he would recoil again. He looked over towards the other boat and saw them firing towards Ryujin. However, each spear fell harmlessly into the water. Hoori could see the fear as the men frantically reeled the harpoons back in.

Before they could reload, the dragon reared up and began to wrap itself around the other boat.

“We need to cut the rope or he’ll take us down with them!” Hoori shouted. “Knife! Get me a knife!”

One man who was gripping onto the mast unhooked his sheathed dagger and slid it down the ship. Hoori reached for it but the dagger slipped between his fingers, but just before it fell into the water he managed to clutch onto the ties of the sheath. He yanked the blade out and cut through the rope. The ship righted itself, sloshing water onto the deck and throwing Hoori onto his back.

Hoori grabbed the ropes for the sails and turned them so the ship moved towards Ryujin. The dragon’s long body was wrapped around the other boat and slowly getting tighter. With one last rotation, Ryujin crushed the deck of the boat. Many sailors had already jumped ship, but the rolling waves weren’t any safer.

The other boats had caught up and made a semicircle around the sea dragon. Each one began to fire, and harpoons rained down on Ryujin.

“We have to load new harpoons,” Hoori called to the other sailors. A young lad opened a chest and picked out a long spear, lofting it to Hoori.

He loaded it into the launcher and fired it at Ryujin. Two more harpoons flew towards the dragon from the boat. Only one landed in his scales, but all the boats had managed to tether him now. This time when he tried to pull away, the boats stayed still except for the rocking of the ocean.

A second horn bellowed across the sea, signalling them to return to port. Hoori and the men got to work turning the ship and sailing home with their mark. It was slow work against the wind and waves. Ryujin had risen up out of the water, pulling against the harpoons.

The boats continued to pull at the dragon’s body, drawing it through the sea. It unhinged its mouth and water began to swirl in front of its gaping jaw, creating an ever-growing orb.

“Get down!” Hoori cried, hitting the deck. With a deafening cry it unleashed a torrent of water that obliterated the ships closest to itself. Splinters of wood rained down into the ocean, and he could hear the screams of sailors and samurai caught by the blast.

Ryujin had destroyed three boats but still didn’t have sufficient strength to pull against the fleet. The dragon collapsed back into the sea, causing a wave that rocked the boat. The wind changed, and the dragon stopped resisting. Its energy had been spent, and the ships pulled it into the harbour.

Large metal walls separated the city from the raging ocean. Each wave spun a turbine that powered the capitol. Here the sound of the waves was drowned out by the grinding of gears, and the smell of the ocean gave way to that of smoke and iron. They moved into the confines of the port, and as Ryujin passed through the gate there was a metallic clang as it closed shut, trapping them inside.

Footsteps came from below deck and the samurai appeared, holding rifles. Two carried up a large cannon and started locking it into place. One of the men shoved Hoori back. “You’ve done your job,” he said. “Now let us finish it.”

Hoori nodded and moved out of the way. The men were heavily armoured and rattled as they got into position. An older man raised his hand and then swiftly lowered it. “Fire!” he bellowed at the top of his lungs.

The air filled with the sound of gunfire. Sharp and sudden, echoing around the harbour. The smell of smoke and gunpowder filled Hoori’s nostrils. He found himself sweating.

Ryujin thrashed in the water as bullets struck his body from every side. There was the boom of cannons, and the large metal balls smashed into the dragon. A final one crashed into Ryujin’s jaw, and he fell into the water and stopped moving. Blood slowly spread from the dragon’s body, turning the water black.

Silence fell over both the sailors and the samurai. No one moved or spoke. Everyone waited to see if Ryujin was finally dead. Then the general on Hoori’s ship raised his hand. “Ryujin, Ruler of the Sea, has been slain. Collect the treasure of the ocean,” he ordered.

***

Otohime gazed into her mirror, searching across the seas for her father. The ocean had calmed over the past day and her father hadn’t returned yet. He had left in his true dragon form, making him a large, undefeatable foe. She, on the other hand, was only half transformed. She didn’t have legs; instead a long tail was there. Her top half more resembled a human’s, except with claws and covered in scales.

The water in the dragon palace was warm and blew gently through her fins. The whole building was in an uproar as they tried to find Ryujin.

Someone tentatively knocked on the door to her dowsing room. “Come in,” Otohime called. The door creaked open and a young maid entered, her eyes lowered. She was in the same form as Otohime, that of a half dragon. The girl had long diaphanous fins that flowed from her head and down her back. She had two small horns on her head compared to Otohime’s, which were fully formed like a stag’s. Using her long tail, the maid swam towards Otohime’s scrying board.

“We have had reports come in from the scouts that your father was captured by the humans,” she said.

“How was he captured? A group of humans could never manage that,” Otohime hissed.

The girl shrank away from her, saying, “A large fleet harpooned him and dragged him inside the walls. We don’t know what happened after that.”

Otohime dragged her nails across the lacquered table, small bits of wood chipping under her claws. “Has no one been able to get inside the walls to find him?” she hissed.

“No, my lady. Attempts have been made, but all in vain.”

She pushed herself up. Otohime was much taller than the other girl. The anger built up and she could feel her fins spreading out like a lionfish. “So, you’re telling me you’ve all failed.”

“I’m sorry. We are trying everything we can.”

“I will go retrieve him myself, if everyone else is incapable. We need to bring back the treasure of the ocean.”

***

The dragon palace was on the seabed far offshore from the city wall. Otohime was in her half-dragon form, allowing her to navigate the water without drawing much attention. She had packed a satchel of essentials, including a dagger and some fish, before setting off. She had already lost so much time before she received news of her father. She had to bring him back and retrieve the treasure of the ocean from the humans.

The water grew darker and was filled with dirt that had been disturbed by trawling fishing nets. She saw one pass by her with thousands of squirming and desperate fish already caught in it. She dodged out the way before her tail could get trapped in it.

Looking up at the large metal walls of the city, Otohime couldn’t see a way to pass them. There were large spinning turbines under the water which would mangle her body or trap her fins. She surfaced and saw that the wall carried on up way above the sea level. They were completely smooth. She had no chance of climbing up them.

She dove below the water again. There had to be a way for her to enter the city safely. Another ship passed her by, spewing more sand in its wake. They must need a lot of food for the people to have so many fishing boats. Otohime swam back towards the net, then into its mouth, letting herself fall onto the other fish.

Otohime smiled to herself. She would just walk in like any other human. More fish filled the net, and as the water grew darker the net was eventually pulled up onto the deck. Still covered by the fish, she transformed into her human form. Her horns shrank back into her head and the scales peeled off her body. She was left naked except for the long black hair that covered her face.

The net was emptied out onto the deck. She slid out on top of the fish, feeling them slap and flip against her. She lay still. The air was cold, and she heard someone walk over to the catch. “Hoori, get over here!” they shouted. “There’s a woman in the net!”

Another set of footsteps approached. The two men pushed the fish out of the way until they could both kneel next to her. She felt warm fingers softly touch her neck. “She’s cold, but I can feel a faint pulse,” the new man said. “Go fetch some blankets from below deck.”

The other sailor scurried off. Otohime opened her eyes slowly, making sure to hit him with her most vulnerable and beseeching look. “Where am I?” she asked, slightly pursing her lips.

“You’re on my fishing boat,” he said. “You came up in the net.” The other man came rushing back and offered a blanket, which Hoori wrapped around Otohime. “Can you check the catch today, then take us back into the harbour?” he asked the young sailor.

“No problem, Captain. Leave it to me.”

Hoori lifted her up off the deck and carried her into the cabin. He lay her down on one of the small beds. “Why were you in the ocean? You’re not a mermaid, are you?”

Otohime knew of these women. Ama, they were called. They were divers who collected shellfish off the seabed. With her naked body, she did look the part. “Yes, I am,” she said. “I think my cord got cut and I got washed into your net.”

“You’re lucky we caught you. You could have died if you’d stayed in the ocean much longer.”

The other sailor came into the room holding her satchel. “I found this in with the fish. Is it yours, miss?” he asked.

“Ah! Thank you. Yes, that is mine. I’m glad I didn’t lose it.” He brought it over and placed it on the small bedside table. He smiled shyly before running back up the stairs.

Otohime pulled the blanket around her tighter. “When I was pulled away by the tide, I was sure I would be killed by the dragon,” she said with a shiver.

Hoori smiled at her. “You don’t need to worry about that anymore. Ryujin has been killed,” he said triumphantly.

She had suspected as much. She feigned joyous surprise and asked, “But how?”

“A fleet of ships harpooned it and brought it inside the walls to finish it off. The sea will be a much safer place from now on.”

“And what of the treasure of the ocean? Did Ryujin have that as well?”

“I think it is being held in the city at the moment. Apparently, there is a princess due to succeed Ryujin.”

“Is she a dragon as well?”

“Some say she is. Others say—”

The younger sailor’s voice called down the stairs: “Just coming to the gate now, Captain. I’ll need your help anchoring her.”

Hoori nodded and got up. “Will you be okay down here?”

“I think I can walk. If it’s okay, I’d like the see the city as we sail in.”

He thought about it for a second, before extending his hand to help her up. They walked above deck and he directed her to a small bench. Hoori set to work with the other man to direct the ship. The gate blocked all sight of the city from the outside, stretching between two great cliffs, all protecting the bay within. On the deck she could hear the whirring of the turbines, but it was cut off by a loud groaning as the gates opened outwards to receive them.

The first thing she saw was the great hall upon the highest peak of the city. That was where the President lived, and most likely where the treasure was being kept. The rest of the city seemed to climb up the cliffs. It was all made of either stone or metal, in various shades of grey and orange. Smoke dirtied the air, and under that she could smell decay.

“I will take you to my house and we can get you some clothes, okay? Then we can look at trying to get you home again,” he called back to her.

She nodded and watched as he secured the ship to one of the bollards. He placed the gangway down and beckoned for her to cross first. The ship rocked gently, and it made the wooden plank move up and down. She put her foot down and shakily walked down onto the dock.

Hoori and the other sailor followed after her, not batting an eyelid at the unstable walkway. They embraced each other and agreed when they would meet the next day.

A drizzle started to patter down onto the cobbled streets as they made their way up the alleys. It wasn’t long before they were being pelted with rain and the roads had small streams of dirty water washing down towards the bay. The small blanket was soaked through and clung to Otohime’s skin.

The streets darkened and lamps began to flicker to life, except with no flames. “What are they?” Otohime asked.

“They’re just streetlamps,” he said. “We power them with electricity generated from the sea.”

She stared into the flat light, waiting for it to flicker like a normal flame would, but it stayed steady. “You can create light with this electricity, but can it do anything else?” she asked.

They turned again and Hoori opened the door on a small house. “It’s been used to speed up our manufacturing process,” he said. “Soon this city will be the largest exporter of metal in the entire country.”

Otohime walked into the building. It was made of metal, but on the inside it had light wood panelling and a coral-coloured futon in the centre of the room. He had art hung on the walls depicting forests and mountains of brilliant greens and blues.

Hoori struck a match and lit an incense stick, letting the trails of smoke rise to the ceiling. Otohime took a deep breath and let the strong smell of chrysanthemums fill her lungs. The smog of the city hadn’t managed to permeate Hoori’s house.

She took a seat on the soft futon while Hoori rummaged through the wardrobe. He pulled out a komon with a thin obi and handed it to her. “This was my mother’s,” he said softly. “I didn’t want to get rid of it. But I thought you could wear it to cover yourself.”

She nodded and Hoori walked out the door. Otohime unwrapped the blanket and placed it on the wooden floor before putting the komon over her shoulders. The obi was basic, but it worked well enough to close the komon. It felt good to be out of the wet fabric and in fresh clothing. “I’m dressed now,” she called. “You can come back in.”

Hoori opened the door again and started brewing tea. He had a small apparatus that he placed the kettle on that began to glow. The water quickly boiled; he poured it into the teapot and set out two cups on the table.

“What is that thing?” Otohime asked.

“It’s an electric teppan,” he said. “I can use it to cook or just heat up water.” He flicked the lever and the small griddle started to cool.

Otohime poured a cup of tea for herself and took a sip. “My father is quite an important man in my village,” she told Hoori. “If you could get me into the presidential district, I should be able to find someone who will take me home.”

Hoori cradled his cup in his hands. “I’ll see what I can do. We will set off after we finish our tea.”

***

They had walked through the spiralling streets up towards the presidential district. Night had fallen, but she couldn’t see a single star in the sky. Instead, florescent lights shone down garishly on the wet floor and the metallic buildings.

Up here the buildings were polished like the steel of a blade. The air smelt fresher, but when she looked down towards the harbour, Otohime could see the smog swirl through the streets. They came to a set of stairs that marked the border between the labourers and the rulers.

Two guards dressed in the traditional dou stood at the gate. They had their naginata crossed over each other. As Hoori and Otohime approached, the samurai glared down at them. “What do you want?” the shorter one demanded.

“My guest here has a friend she must meet in this district,” Hoori told him.

The taller one gave a short laugh. “And does she have a pass?” he asked.

Otohime saw Hoori’s jaw tighten and his lips thin. He pulled a small wooden token from inside his clothes and held it at their eye level. “I have a pass. I earned this during the battle against Ryujin. Do not give her any more trouble.”

The guards scowled and murmured to each other. Reluctantly they pulled back their naginata. As soon as Hoori and Otohime were past, there was the scrape of the two blades crossing again behind them.

The walls of the buildings were all painted in rich colours. It was a rainbow up here compared to the lower levels. The smell of cooked meat hung in the air as dinner was being prepared in the nearby houses. There was a warmth here, away from the bay, from the fire pits that marked each street corner.

“Where would we find your friend?” Hoori asked.

“I won’t need you from now on,” Otohime said. “I can find him on my own. Please, head back to your home.”

The man lingered behind her. “Be careful,” he said. “It is still a dangerous city.” He turned and left her alone in the street.

The President’s court shone like a beacon above the other buildings. She could feel the pull of the ocean, but it was leading her towards the main complex. That was where the treasure must be. She could feel it now.

Another set of stone stairs led up to polished red walls. Two guards stood watch with rifles resting against their shoulders. They eyed her suspiciously as she loitered under a glowing streetlight. One of them shifted his gun slightly, placing a finger upon the trigger.

It took less than a heartbeat for her body to change to her true dragon form. From her head, two horns sprouted, and scales suddenly covered her skin. The komon was shredded as she grew in size and her tail lashed free.

The two guards raised their guns to fire. She was already moving, with jaws wide. In one swift movement, she had them. Metal screeched, bones crunched, and the men cried out. The copper of blood filled her mouth; they struggled briefly and then she let their limp bodies drop.

Otohime roared defiantly as she made her way into the complex. An alarm began to clang from a tower on the far side where another guard was beating a gong. Gun shots echoed in the courtyard and a volley of fire ripped into her side. She hissed, flinching in pain. She slithered through a set of double doors that led into the main household, knocking more guards aside as her tail swung out.

She wound her way down the corridor to the left and bashed through a paper partition wall. It led into a large audience room which looked out onto an ornamental garden. She crashed over a koi pond as footsteps clattered on the wooden floor behind her.

Otohime could feel it pulling her forward. She took hold of the roof tiles and pulled herself up. From here she could see the entire complex; straight ahead was a large temple. She scrambled onto the slates and towards the shrine.

An altar stood in the centre of the temple. Her father’s body was laid around it, and upon the stone top sat the sparkling gem. The treasure of the sea. She moved down at once to Ryujin and touched her nose to his. She expected his breath to brush her face, but it didn’t come.

She raised her head and looked into the precious stone as it swirled an entire ocean inside it. Otohime reached out with her claws and closed them around the orb. She felt its power ripple through her.

“So, this is the dragon’s daughter? I must say I am disappointed.” A young man had walked out into the courtyard. He was wearing full formal attire, including a dark haori depicting a raging ocean. Two men stood to either side of him with large shoulder-mounted cannons loaded with thick, metal bolts.

“I’m not here to impress you, murderer,” she hissed. “I am here to take back what is rightfully mine.”

“The power to control the ocean cannot be only for wild beasts to possess,” he sneered. “You dragons already have water magic. You have no real need of this bauble.”

“The sea belongs to the dragons,” she roared. “It belongs to me!” She reared up with the gem and began to summon a blast of water.

The President raised his hand. “Your time is over, snake. Humans rule the world now.” He clicked his fingers.

Bullets hit her, piercing deeply. Hot blood trickled down her scales as her bellow of pain echoed over the city. A group of samurai rushed towards her with naginata raised. They drove them at her underbelly. Some skittered off but a few found ways between her scales.

The two guards of the President lit their cannons and the bolts were launched at her. One flew over her head. The other landed in her shoulder. She dropped the orb to the ground, and it rolled down the shrine’s stairs. She tried to reach after it but recoiled as a second barrage of shots peppered her body.

Otohime writhed, knocking guards away with her forelimbs. Bolts plunged deep into her sides. She reared up and began to draw a water pulse. Droplets formed in the air and flowed towards her, creating a ball of swirling liquid. Warriors ran for cover.

She let the pressure build until it almost overpowered her. Then she released it, to hurl men against the walls. As some of the guards struggled back up, she hauled her protesting body back onto the roof. She had precious little strength left with which to fight them.  And there was still the gate blocking her path back to her sea palace. She had to find a way out before they could finish her.

The guards’ cries fell away behind her, but occasionally she heard the scream or whimper of city folk that saw her. She still had naginata stuck under her scales, and each movement drove them deeper into her flesh. She got to the dark murky water and stopped to pull them out. As she removed them, blood ran down her stomach, staining her pearly scales. Otohime slid into the water and dove deep under its surface, where she wouldn’t be visible. She moved close to the gate but saw there was no way to squeeze through the turbines spinning with the tidal pull.

Breaking the water’s surface, she looked up the wall. It was massive, far higher than her body was long. She wouldn’t be able to get over it easily, especially in her injured condition. The glow of lights also suggested that guards were stationed on the top.

She had to find another way out of the harbour. All around her were bobbing, anchored boats. Her eyes settled on Hoori’s ship. She began to swim towards it, but saw men on the pier, shining lights down at the water.

“She’s a dragon!” the President shouted. “How did you lose her? Keep searching until you find her!”

She ducked down and swam below the surface towards Hoori’s boat. She stayed out of sight while they searched the vessels. Only the larger ones that she could fit into while as a dragon were searched. Once they were satisfied she wasn’t on the land, they began to send a few men out on small ships to search the deeper water.

The men worked long into the night, but they slowed down as the hours crept on. The lights from the boats became less frequent, and the men on land stopped searching. She broke the surface again and saw the slumped sleeping heads of the guards rising and falling in time to the tide.

Otohime shifted back into her human form and swam over to a rope hanging from Hoori’s boat. It was coarse and burned against her hands as she pulled herself up the side of the ship. She tried to be quiet, but her wounds stung from the salty water and each pull made more blood run down her naked body.

She hit the deck with a wet slap and left a red stain on the wood when she rose to her knees. Her body was starting to go numb and each movement felt like she was wading through muck. She dragged herself into the bedroom and up onto the bed as the darkness encroached on her vision.

***

Voices broke through the fog of sleep and Otohime heard footsteps on the deck. She pulled herself off the bed but saw the blood that had seeped into the quilt. She flipped the covers over, but it had soaked through to the other side.

The voices grew louder. The other sailor from yesterday said, “It looks like the fish made a real mess on the deck.”

Otohime looked around the room for somewhere to hide. The room was sparsely furnished, with just the bed and a desk. She lay flat on the wooden boards and slid under the bed. She disturbed dust as she wriggled further in. It got up her nose and each breath tickled her.

“It does seem like that,” Hoori said. He had walked all the way up to the door to the room and stopped. “How about you head home for today while I get this cleaned up?”

“It won’t take long if we both—”

“It’s fine. I would rather not waste your time. If I get it done early, I will come get you, okay?”

“Alright then. I’ll see you later, okay?” the younger sailor said before walking off the deck.

Hoori must have waited to watch him leave, because he didn’t move for a long time. Then the door handle turned slowly, and he crept into the room. “Who’s in here?” he called out to the dark room.

He walked in slowly and a light cast shadows across the room. Otohime could see his shoes as he came towards the bed. He shifted the quilt above her and moved away from the bed.

Otohime came silently out from under the bed. He had walked over to the desk, where her satchel still lay with her knife in it. As he went to place the lantern down on the desk, she reached past him and snatched the knife from the bag.

His eyes widened as she pressed the blade up to his throat. “Take me to the ocean,” she growled.

“You’re his daughter,” he said. “You’re the one they are looking for.”

“They’re looking for a dragon, not me. Now get this boat moving so they open up the gates and I can get home.”

Hoori reached up and grabbed her arm, pushing the blade away. “And what will you do then?” he asked. “You didn’t get what you came for.”

Otohime tried to push back against him, but she was too weak and wounded. “I’ll bring an army and tear the walls down and take my father’s body and the treasure back.”

His grip tightened until the knife dropped from her hand. “Then they will assemble a fleet to hunt you down, as they did your father.”

The ship began to rock violently, pushed by waves. “I wouldn’t let them!” she screamed. “I control the sea. I will take everything from them, and batter all those who dare venture upon the water.” The ship felt like it was moments from capsizing.

“Then take everything. Starve them until they realise they need you, but starting a war that will see countless numbers die on both sides cannot be the answer.” He let go of her hand and took a step back. “Now, what are you going to do?”

She turned away from him and picked up the knife again. She ran her finger over the edge slowly. “All right. There is wisdom in what you say. Take me to the ocean and I will show them who the true ruler of the sea is.”

Hoori smiled at her. He ran up onto the deck to prepare them for cast off.

***

Hoori had told her to stay below deck until he signalled for her to come up. The sea was calm, like just before a storm rolls in. Otohime tried to gather her thoughts. The ship’s progress slowed.

The door opened and Hoori beckoned her up. “Are you ready?” he asked as she ascended the stairs towards him. The ship had halted just outside the gates, stopping them from closing again. From here Otohime could see many soldiers were still searching along the docks and on the moored boats.

An alarm sounded above them, and two men indicated that they needed to move the boat out of the way so that the gates could be sealed.

“I am as ready as I will ever be.” She took a deep breath and let her body shift. She coiled herself around Hoori, as there wasn’t enough room on the deck for her. Her tail fell into the sea and she held onto the mast with her claws.

The alarm changed, proclaiming the threat to the city. Otohime roared and sent waves crashing into the dock. Every person in the harbour turned in her direction. Many backed towards the safety of the city. Some lifted their guns and started firing, but their bullets fell short.

With them all watching, she began to pull the water away from the city. It came slowly at first, but then in a faster and faster rush. The boats dropped down until they sat on wet sand. She kept pulling it back, raising Hoori’s boat on the giant swell.

Now empty, the turbines slowly ground to a stop with a long groan. The electrical buzz of the generators died away. The sea below her was ready to burst, to wash the whole city away, but she held it back.

“Return my father and the ocean’s treasure to me and I will do you no harm,” she said to the city. “However, if it is not returned to the sea, I will take away the very foundation of your homes.” She found the President in the crowd and locked gazes with him. Bracing herself, she carefully let the water return. It rushed into the harbour and splashed up the wall of the pier, spraying sea foam over the city.

The boats were violently rocked and nearly swamped, but the waves gradually reduced in size. She let herself change back into the form of a woman, and was left kneeling on the wet, slippery deck. Hoori lifted her to her feet, “You did it!”

“I showed them my power,” she said. “And no one had to die this time. Will you bring my father and the treasure to me?”

“Of course, but where will I find you?”



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Copyright Isabella Hunter 2017

Isabella Hunter is a graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University and had her debut story published in 2017 in The Book of Dragons alongside fantasy author A J Dalton. Her work has been published by the likes of Grimbold, Tell-Tale Press, Iron Faerie, and CultureCult. Her genres of choice is fantasy and horror with fairy tale elements especially taking influence from Asian mythology and folklore.

Isabella is a repeat author with Tell-Tale Press. Her work is also available in the Fantasy Library and the Horror Library.

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