Chapter 7: Intricacies and Justice
Megami was starting to regret agreeing to be a member of the Justice League. Don't get her wrong; she loved being a superhero since it allowed her to help more people and to use her abilities in public but there were some things that she didn't like. Firstly, Superman gave her some rules about not using excessive force against criminals and they still had varying opinions about how much force was excessive. For example, he was in the opinion that a kunai to the back of the leg or the ass was too much while she said that, unless it permanently maimed or killed them, it wasn't excessive. With her to heal the wounds she caused, she was in the opinion that there was very little chance for her to pass her own definition of excesive force. Secondly, John was starting to get on her nerves with his inflexible attitude. True, the man had a bit of a sense of humor and had honor and reliability oozing out of his pores but it was rarely shown in a positive light because of that prickly military persona of his and the concrete pole shoved up his backside. Then, there was the fact that most of their adventures meant a great deal of property damage and she, in good conscience, couldn't leave it that way so she had to use her favorite jutsu rather often to repair the damage since part of it was her fault. This time, she had to repair the streets that were torn up and the sewer system. Finally, she had wanted to 'speak' with Arthur's would-be assassin herself but Batman took him away before she could do so. It made her pout; she wanted to 'speak' with Mister Floyd Lawton, aka Deadshot, because of his intended target and his disrespect towards herself and Diana. Of course, there would be less speaking and more screaming on the assassin's part.
Oh... And then there's the fact that Arthur had knocked Green Lantern out and was probably already in Atlantis where there was likely more than a handful of traitors trying to kill him, to take over the city and, most likely, to wage war against the surface world. That definitely put her in a bad mood. "Reckless, impatient, stubborn idiot," she mumbled.
"I hope you realize that you are also describing yourself," J'onn stated. Because of his monotone and solid orange eyes, no one knew that he was highly amused despite the situation. She glared at him. The kunoichi was taking out her anger on the burning van by ripping out the door and slamming the flames out with it. Sure, she might have been able to do it with a simple D-rank water jutsu but she had to vent somehow and putting out a fire/destroying an asshole's ride was a great way to vent.
"First, I can't die even if I wanted to so I'm allowed to be reckless and idiotic at times. It also keeps me from being bored and you really don't want to see me when I'm truly bored. Also, I know how to be patient if the situation calls for it. I make sure no one but my targets are directly hurt, traumatized or affected by whatever incident I cause even if I'm hyped up on sugar, caffeine or alcohol or high. Lastly, my stubbornness has kept me mostly sane over the centuries so I see it as one of my most beneficial qualities! What's his freaking excuse?!" Megami slammed the door onto the side of the upturned van one last time, making it stick up like some crude imitation of a tombstone for the now unsalvageable and rather flat van.
Deadshot was extremely glad that Megami wasn't the one who dealt with him. It was rumored that she had Superman's strength, Flash's speed, Batman's intelligence, skills anyone would be jealous of and a violence streak wider than the Grand Canyon is long. He could verify part of the rumor, especially that last aspect of her personality, and it scared him. She was not just a superhero or protector; Megami was a soldier. It was the reason why he didn't try to run when the police took him away. Deadshot knew that Megami would be the one to catch him and make sure he wouldn't be doing any running for a good long time.
With Deadshot in the care of the police, Megami could move on to more important matters. "Who's up for a little field trip? It might not be the most hospitable place at the moment but Atlantis still has the best view of the sea and I have my ways of getting around without being harassed by the angry locals." The gathered heroes knew that they could choose to go or to stay. They didn't even need to think about their answer.
She then pulled out a pair of earrings identical to the ones Mera wore from her pouch for the second time today while her other hand was searching for her cellphone. "Mera, the Justice League has arrested the man who's trying to kill Arthur but the real threat is much closer to you than you realize. Trust no one and keep Junior with you at all times. My teammates and I are heading to Atlantis and making our way to my family's private chambers. Please stay safe." It was a shame that she had yet to make seals that allowed Mera to talk back to her when she contacted the queen in this manner. It would save her time on gathering information but she never intended the earrings to be used in this manner. She had first made them when she was informing Mera about her progress when she was searching for Arthur all those years ago. Superman found and freed him before she did though and they had never used them since.
With one conversation done, she moved to her phone. Her call went straight to voicemail but that was fine. "Aniue, I know it's late but our friends are going on a trip to the sea and I just have to go. I'll call when I need a hand, all right?" Similar calls went to 'Aneue' and 'Sofu'.
"Will they be able to understand where we're going?" Diana asked. To her, the messages sounded incredibly ordinary. She knew that she was calling her family though she had no idea what to make of the things she called them by.
"I would never address Ren, Tsuyu or Wanyūdō so formally if this were a simply late night trip to the beach. The intricacies of the Japanese language are something we can discuss at a later date. Furthermore, the only place that concerns us when it comes to the sea at this point in time is Atlantis."
Batman said that he would monitor what he could from the Batcave while the League boarded the Javelin and Lantern set a course straight for Atlantis. Megami made Lantern leave the Javelin miles away from Atlantis. "We need to get in undetected so we'll have to go on foot... so to speak." She even forbade Green Lantern from using his ring in case the distinctive glow was picked up by the patrols. Megami swam ahead of them, looking for any sign of patrols, traps or defensive measures that were sure to be activated after the attack on Aquaman outside the World Assembly Building. She knew the palace had TV reception and internet connection despite the depth; she helped set them up after telling Arthur that knowing what goes on in the surface world would help in protecting Atlantis from oil spills, avoiding ships that carried weapons and the like. Arthur would have told Orm and the generals about going to the surface to make an alliance so they would have seen the news and known about the attack on Arthur. They were the most likely people who would be heading the coup.
Just as she suspected, there were patrols nearly everywhere and it was only luck that they were able to get this close to the city without being spotted. 'Hmm... How to get in?' The weapons defending the city were motion-sensitive and would fire at anyone whose movements were not recognized as the local marine life or part of the patrol movements. Her movements were never programmed into the system as she either used Hiraishin or rode inside Wanyūdō when she wanted to visit. While she could use Hiraishin at this point with nothing more serious than a bit of vertigo on her friends' part , she would have to depend on Mera's report on what was going on in Atlantis. While Mera was the queen, there are some things that a king won't tell his wife in case it was too sensitive to discuss outside of a war room and even stupid people wouldn't speak about coup attempts before a queen. She needed information from someone taking part in the coup.
The kunoichi refused to have her team hurt just to gather information. But whatever she needed to know had a high chance of being time sensitive and creeping around the ridiculously large and open palace did not sit well with her. Thankfully, Megami had a way to do both at the same time. She made two clones for her friends. "My clones can get you into the palace... Hiraishin is basically an instant teleportation jutsu so you might want to close your eyes or you'll be having a really bad case of vertigo. Mera will meet you as soon as you get inside and fill you in. Meanwhile, I'm going to get a bit of information from another source."
J'onn had a feeling that Megami was going to do something similar to what she did when they fought the Imperium. It was worrying that Megami insisted on putting others before herself just because she was immortal. Her injuries healed at an incredibly fast rate but that doesn't mean she doesn't feel the pain from them. He understood that the kunoichi merely wanted to protect her teammates with her abilities but it didn't sit well with him that Megami often got hurt and more severely than the rest of the League. She was just so... herself that it was irritating and worrying. Out of respect, he didn't read her mind. "What are you going to do?"
She transformed into Green Lantern and placed a plastic replica of the Green Lantern Corps ring on her finger before answering. "The Atlanteans know that GL doesn't trust them... I'm going to the submarine to get their attention. Hopefully, they won't suspect a thing and whoever's in charge of this coup has a big mouth and an even bigger ego." Lantern gave her a look of annoyance but agreed that it was the best way for her to meet whoever was now in charge.
"Don't take unnecessary risks," Batman ordered through the communicators.
"Have I ever done anything unnecessarily?" three voices asked in unison. Her teammates all said yes to that question. Despite the cool water, Megami felt her face warm up at the very true statement. Seeing a pout on Lantern's face was amusing and very weird for the League members present.
"I'll see you in a bit then." The clones twined their arms around the other heroes. They disappeared almost immediately. Megami, disguised as John, cracked her neck. She placed a seal on herself to keep her transformation active for when she was captured just in case. Megami enveloped herself in chakra, making sure that it was the same color as the Green Lantern's energy.
She waited until one of her clones dispersed and gave her the memories of the League with Mera before she headed out. She did the bare minimum to keep out of sight since, while she wanted someone to notice her but wasn't going to make it too easy for the Atlanteans. Within minutes, she was at the Defiant. So far, no one had spotted her. It irked her that the drills she made them do were all for naught; after all, she was glowing green and they still didn't see her!
She inspected the exterior of the Defiant before entering the room where the plutonium was kept. Like GL said, it was gone and she hit herself for forgetting to place security seals on the damn thing. She went to inspect the rest of the weapons onboard but found that they had also been taken. Her eye twitched in irritation. Whoever was behind this conspiracy was a dead man. "Time to meet the natives," she said in the former Marine's voice.
Megami made the green chakra glow more brightly before she swam out. She studied the single patrol unit that was guarding the submarine. She took a deep breath and squared her shoulders. The shift from impulsive and playful kunoichi to battle-hardened Marine was instantaneous. Her brow creased to mimic John's angry face to a T. The Marine swam out and was immediately attacked by the patrols. She fisted her hand and aimed at one of the sea scooters. Megami yelled in anger the same way John would when he was truly mad at something as she sliced through another scooter. She quickly swam up to one of the soldiers and punched him as hard as a normal human was capable of. That punch was enough to give him a bad nosebleed.
Megami belatedly remembered that, for humans, punching an Atlantean was the same as punching a concrete wall. She sent some of her chakra to her fist and manipulated it enough to cause the bones to snap. She grimaced as she discreetly broke her own hand and kept her chakra from healing the damage. It was excessive but necessary to make it seem like the real Lantern was the one fighting. The Marine put some distance between her and the soldiers and fired a thin beam of green chakra at them, making sure it looked like it came from the ring. The beam just barely missed one of the soldiers and made a rock formation topple.
There must have been backup hidden nearby because a battleship came from behind a mountain and started shooting at her. Megami twisted and dodged the shots; it was child's play for her and the chakra around her kept the debris the fight was kicking up from hurting her. It seemed that her natural abilities to avoid long distance attacks irritated her attackers and they let loose the depth charges. The Marine knew then and there that it was time to play possum, as much as she really didn't want to.
The cover the explosion gave her was the excuse she needed to dissipate the chakra around her. She made sure to make it look like she was knocked out so that the Atlanteans would bring her aboard and to their leader for interrogation. 'I just hope whoever is now in charge is taking prisoners or else people would think that GL's sleeping with the fishes... I can not believe I just thought that...' If she weren't pretending to be unconscious, she would have hit herself for the stupid pun.
Even with her eyes closed, she could tell that someone was approaching her. She felt herself be dragged away. She was soon on the battleship and a scrambler headband Tsuyu conceptualized years ago was forced on her head. She fought to keep from grimacing at the annoyingly high-pitched beeping that assaulted her ears. It didn't help that her communicator was giving out static that annoyed her just as much. 'We need information. We need information. We need information.' She repeated that mantra over and over to keep from ripping her restraints and the stupid headpiece. She used her chakra to plug up her ears. "Is there something wrong with the scrambler?" she heard someone ask. "The lights that show it's activated are blinking erratically."
'Damnit!' She released her chakra and surrendered to listening to the thing for god knows how long.
"It seems to be working fine now. It might be his weapon. Take that ring of his and give it to Lord Orm later; he'll be nothing more than a regular surface-dweller without it." Her hands were unshackled and the fake ring was taken. Afterwards, the soldiers didn't bother to restrain her hands again as the enemy was supposed to be unconscious and unarmed. When this was over, she really had to retrain the soldiers on standard operating proceures when dealing with prisoners. Megami was left to think.
'I knew it. If Worm thinks I'm going to let him get away with this, he's got another thing coming!' If she weren't supposed to be an unconscious Green Lantern, she would get up and smack the soldier for underestimating their opponent. Even if they didn't restrain her hands, Megami knew she couldn't do anything. Not yet, at least. There would be time for that when she dealt with Orm and the other traitors.
Soon, she was before Orm and forced awake. "So you're one of Kazumi's new teammates," he said smugly. "I didn't expect such a powerful being to ally herself with someone as weak as you." Megami groaned deeply and acted as if the scrambler was causing more harm than it actually was. "Then again, she is known for doing the most foolish of things. She could have conquered the world a thousand times over on her own and yet she chooses to restrain her awesome power and to aid worthless surface scum like yourself," he spat.
Megami grit her teeth and did her best to look like she was glaring while suffering through the mother of all migraines. "Where's... the plutonium?" She panted hard as if saying three words took the breath out of her. She wanted nothing more than to rip Orm's face off right now.
Orm smacked her with the butt of the trident. "Scum should not speak to their betters." The regent of Atlantis stepped on her broken hand while she was down and used the trident to fire magic at her. With her pain tolerance, it barely even registered. However, Megami made it look like John was stubbornly keeping himself from screaming as she worried about what to do if the seal were to break. She worked with many magic users over the years and magic and fūinjutsu supported each other when they were used in tandem. However, she and her friends had never gotten around to experimenting on what would happen if they were used against each other. Luckily, her seal held. Orm left quickly but the soldiers escorting her to the execution chamber took their sweet time. Being manhandled by people she helped train in front of nearly the entire city was not her idea of a good time. She let her chakra flow freely again as her hand set itself.
Megami was able to slip a seal on Brak at least. Of all the generals, he was the one who was the most likely to know exactly what Orm was up to. They had the same ideals and the same ambitions. She knew that they were the two most irritated by her and her family's presence in Atlantis despite the help they had given the city. They also wanted to take what they believed was theirs: control over Atlantis and the termination of the surface world. It wasn't just a possibility that Brak would go against Arthur for Orm; it was a certainty.
She was shackled to the wall of the execution chamber when she received information from her last clone. She threw her head back hard, destroying the annoying beeping headband from hell. The shackles broke with just the slightest tug from a very angry kunoichi and the guards were unconscious. All that happened in less than ten seconds. Megami immediately canceled the jutsu and made her way to meet her friends, all the while muttering about how she would punish the soldiers involved with the uprising. As for Orm, she had something special planned for him, one that would make him pay for everything he's done.
She didn't get much useful information from Mera. She was too worried about Junior and her husband to have anything she didn't already know. Brak might have revealed the plan to use the Doomsday Thermal Reactor to submerge most of the planet but that was the only useful bit of information she got from him. He didn't know where Aquaman or the baby were, what the power source for the reactor would be (though Megami knew what Orm was going to use), how he expected to get the rest of Atlantis' support for killing all the surface-dwellers, what Orm was going to do with the rest of the Defiant's weapons or how he was even going to live through her wrath. Even the most xenophobic Atlantean wouldn't go against her wishes to have a semi-decent relationship with the surface world.
She met them in her private room. She didn't care about the décor she ruined on her way here; things were replaceable in the way peace, stability and lives weren't. Mera was teary-eyed despite holding back her emotions. Diana was trying to comfort the queen while John was guarding the door. The last clone had refused to let them out of the room because they could be attacked by soldiers loyal to Orm so they used their other abilities. Superman looked like he had just finished using his X-ray vision to search for Aquaman while J'onn tried his telepathy to search for a thought about the king or the missing baby. He had orders to take note of whoever supported the usurper. "Any luck?" she asked.
"Aquaman and the baby aren't in the palace or on the grounds. Orm must have them somewhere outside the city."
They waited for J'onn to finish his own scan. "It appears that Orm has not told anyone of where they are. The only relevant information I could find was Orm leaving the city not long after he ordered the execution and returned in time to accompany a general and his men to the North Pole."
"Th-that is where Atlantis' last resort is kept," Mera said. "It is was designed centuries ago to melt the polar ice in case there was a threat from the surface world great enough that called for such drastic measures. When it became obvious that Atlantis would be safe despite the powerful beings on the surface world, Arthur had the power source destroyed."
"And Germ is planning on using the plutonium to power the reactor. The bastard took the other weapons too and I bet he's planning to use them either to intimidate the citizens into obeying him or to kill the few humans who would survive the flood. Before this day is over, I'm nailing his ass to a wall! Literally if I can manage it! J'onn, try to scan the area outside the city! Worm might be an asshole but he's a relatively smart asshole!"
"We have to warn the people!" Diana exclaimed. "The coastal regions on the surface will be in danger from the rising tides! The Atlanteans might not believe the Justice League but they would listen to you and Mera!"
"And Aquaman. He and his son just entered the city and are making their way to the palace! He needs medical attention!" J'onn cried.
Megami quickly did her favorite justsu and had one clone inform the healers about Aquaman while others used Hiraishin to get to the coasts to protect then. She released a gravity seal and ran fast enough to bring Arthur to her chambers before anyone could react to the shallow crater releasing the seal created. "Arthur!" Said ruler had his left arm was slung over Megami's shoulders while he held his precious son in his other arm.
"Mera, Diana, take care of Junior! GL, head to the infirmary directly across from this hall and see how the preparations are going! Supes, I need your cape!" Everyone went into action. Lantern was nothing more than a green streak of light while Wonder Woman and Mera took the baby. Superman practically ripped his cape off. He gasped when he saw the red blanket that was already dark with the king's blood. "We have to slow the bleeding more or lightheadedness would be the least of Arthur's worries!"
"Less talking, more wrapping!"
Soon, the true ruler of Atlantis was being treated. Junior was snuggling into his mother's arms while Mera stood by his side. "Why aren't you healing Aquaman with your jutsu?" Diana asked Megami.
She didn't say anything for a long time. "How many times have I used jutsu on your internal organs, J'onn?"
"I... do not believe you have. You healed some burns I received from the Imperium but that was all."
"What about you, Superman?"
"There was that time at the space station and when I was shot by one of the Imperium walkers..."
The kunoichi shook her head. "The jutsu I used at the station was not designed to alter your body in any way so it was safe for me to use. When you were shot, I used a genjutsu that relied on physical contact and made you believe that the pain was taken away. The pain was still there; you just didn't feel it. You also didn't receive any actual injuries during both incidents. And when I 'healed' Kilowag's wrist, it was more on speeding up his metabolism so his wrist essentially healed by itself. Hawkgirl's bruised ribs from our first fight with the Manhunters were treated the same way. My chakra more on wrapped around the injured part of their bodies and aged them until they healed naturally. (1) A healing jutsu, on the other hand, directs chakra into the damaged part of the body and alters the body until it's in the healthiest state the user knows."
"When I absorbed the essence of my world, every bit of knowledge about and in it was basically downloaded into my brain. For example, my chakra immediately recognizes what the healthy state of an organism that existed in my world is, allowing me to heal it perfectly. Most animals, some demons and altered humans, for example, are safe for me to heal because they also existed in my world. However, there are some beings that too risky for me to heal because I don't have intimate knowledge of their internal workings and I don't know how their bodies will react to my chakra... In other words, the only ones can safely be healed by my chakra in the Justice League are my family, Flash, Batman and you, Lantern. I suppose what I'm saying is that if I were to heal Aquaman without knowing his body inside and out for something as serious as internal injuries or a crudely amputated hand, there's always a chance that I'd either kill him painfully... or, since Atlanteans and humans are vaguely related here, turn him human."
"So he took his own hand despite knowing that you can't heal him... I told you he was a madman," Lantern said dryly.
Megami didn't bother to turn to the Marine though it didn't stop her from voicing her displeasure. "What's so insane about it? I've done it many times before I came to this world and am continuing to do so. Soldiers throughout history, worlds and dimensions have fought and died in battle to protect what they hold dear. Even you risked dying to save the planet from the Imperium... A hand is hardly the highest price someone could pay." John looked at the ground, knowing that Megami had a point. He'll patch things up with Aquaman when this was over.
Arthur glared at the man. Orm had not only tried to destroy the stability of their city but also tried to kill his son. They might share the same blood from their father but, to Aquaman, Orm was not his brother. Yet, the man dared to call him that and beg for help. He reclaimed his trident and was about to let the traitor fall when something his long-time friend and teacher had said long ago came to mind.
"There are worse things than death, little princes," she said absentmindedly after yet another sparring match where they had tried and failed to defeat her. Orm had said that it was lucky that Ayame (one of Kazumi's old names) was not trying to kill them. "A king has to make incredibly difficult decisions both for his kingdom and for himself. Those decisions might be simple from time to time but they are almost never easy."
Perhaps it was time to practice what he had been taught. He looked up and saw Megami calmly observing while she was standing on the wall. "It's your decision, Arthur. Taisho will do what you ask as your executioner but you are the judge and Atlantis is the jury. Though I think it's safe to say that those loyal to the true king of Atlantis will find him guilty."
"Make sure he doesn't go anywhere. After the battle outside is over, I'd like the Doomsday Thermal Reactor and its plans destroyed and the submarine and all that was taken from it to be back where they belong." The clone immediately detached herself from the wall and grabbed Orm by the shoulders. With barely a blink, she flipped back up to the wall and encased the traitor in ice she made with her own chakra. Afterwards, she disappeared in a puff of smoke.
It was roughly a week after the incident in the Arctic Circle. After the battle, Orm, General Brak and his men were tried in front of the entire city. Kazumi didn't take part as a witness as she was to be the executioner. With J'onn's help, they were able to determine who were loyal to the crown yet forced to obey Brak and Orm and who betrayed Atlantis of their own free will. Sadly, less than a handful were only acting under orders. The guilty were stripped of their rank, worldly belongings and freedom. They were given seals that would not allow them to leave the boundaries of their prison without experiencing pain beyond their wildest imaginations. Brak was also to serve as the royal family's servant for the rest of his life with no hope for freedom. Should he displease his masters, they had the right to punish him as they saw fit without killing him. He had taken his own life not two days after his sentence was given. As for Orm, he was exiled, never able to return to his home. And Kazumi made sure of it in the cruelest way imaginable.
Kazumi was by Arthur's side as they left Orm behind. He was stuck on a sandbar. He was given a rowboat and enough food and water until he reached land. After that, he was on his own. "Was I too harsh?"
"No. Orm prided himself for being an Atlantean, a being that is evolutionarily superior to regular humans because of their natural environment. Take that away and he is nothing, as he should be. He knows very little of the surface and should do no harm ever again. I think it's fitting to turn him into one of the weak humans he despised and make him live on the surface. Besides, in the Golden Age of Piracy, a few days worth of food and water were all that he would be given other than a loaded gun. The fact that we gave him a boat means that he would be able to live and to make it to land in a few days; he should be grateful. Don't forget what I've taught you: those who break the rules are trash, but those who abandon their comrades are worse than trash." She started walking away but it wasn't in the direction of Atlantis or Metropolis. She needed time to think about what had happened to the boy she helped raise and train.
The League was troubled by this side of their teammate but knew that it had to be done. Orm would have kept attacking Aquaman until he was either victorious or dead. Superman watched as Kazumi walked on water. He gave Batman and Lantern a glance and saw that they were not objecting to this punishment. They, J'onn and Diana participated as witnesses at the trial and saw how much influence Kazumi had in Atlantis. As Megami, she was intimidating only when she wanted to be or when she was angry. But as the King's Executioner in her blood red robe, Kazumi was a very different person. She was an official, a professional. She placated the angry mob that wanted Orm's blood and told them that she would ensure that the traitor would not be able to return. People thought Aquaman was giving Orm a lighter sentence because they were half-brothers until it was revealed to the populace exactly what the king had in mind.
Clark had to wonder if letting him die was the lesser of two evils. While there were times when he disliked his powers because they set him apart from everyone else and always made him incredibly worried about hurting someone, the Kryptonian knew that they were a part of him as much as his arms and legs were. "Is this the right thing?"
"Orm is not ours to judge, Superman," Batman replied. "And it is not our place to judge another civilization's justice system. Would you rather Kazumi killed him or have him imprisoned so that he could one day be able to get revenge if he ever escaped?" Superman knew that Kazumi would kill if she had to but the kunoichi hated it as much as he did.
"Hate to say it but Aquaman did the right thing. If Orm was executed, people who think the way Orm does would see him as a martyr and rise up against Aquaman but if he stayed in Atlantis, Orm would eventually be able to regain allies and tear it down from the inside out. This way, Kazumi made it clear that she wouldn't let anyone get away with doing something like this again."
Diana watched as Arthur observed his brother getting the boat ready. "My mother would approve... She once said that Man's World was lawless and unjust. To see justice being served would ease her fears if she ever chooses to allow my sisters to leave Themyscira."
J'onn observed the three below. "Justice is a complex concept. It is not merely black and white. To us, this might not be moral but it is legal in Atlantis and, for the Atlanteans and Kazumi, this is justice."
(1) Healing aliens and beings that didn't exist in the Hidden Continents = time manipulation.