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V is for Venus

by on February 1, 2014

Previously, on the Catrina Chronicles, our heroine had been transformed from a theremin back into her proper human self. Now, on the beach of Kumquat City, the Atlantean fleet and Susan both gone, she must decide what she should do next….

“Gee,” Catrina said flatly. “I wonder what I should do next.”

“We could keep trying the transmogrification spell!” Katrina suggested hopefully.

Catrina shot her a death glare. “I’m quite sick of being transmogrified, thank you. What I’d most like is a year or so of peace and quiet, so I can do nice warm motherly things with my twins. Can I at least have that?”

Ermingard hadn’t said anything for a while, but at this point she raised her hand. “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but…” then she considered. “Actually I don’t, really.  My family motto is Splat is coming. We’re practically professionals at bearing bad news.”

“Is it something I absolutely need to know right this minute?” Catrina asked.

“Not exactly…”

“Then you can tell me later. Right this moment, I am going to find the clone I apparently married.” She headed off back into the city.

Katrina wasn’t sure what she should do. She had played the villain role in the story, so that meant she should try to stop Catrina. On the other hand, she’d also helped out her heroic namesake on several occasions. It was most perplexing. “Like, now what?” she wailed.

She expected Ermingard to say something reassuring, or at least make some sort of sad observation, but Ermingard had gone off to join the search party for the Luke clone. Katrina drew her Sporksaber in frustration, hoping at least some sort of duel would present itself. The sun was setting by then, and in the dim light of twilight drawing over the beach, the glow of the green Sporksaber played over her face.

“Oh, yeah, description, finally!” Katrina said. “Cause dialogue sucks, yo. I thought this whole story was gonna be like, dialogue. Yay description!”

Then, all at once, she heard a noise. A sort of horrible gurgling coming from the water. Another green light, pale and sickly, lit up the waves.  The gurgling grew louder. Something was moving down there.

Now, a sensible person would have immediately retreated to a safe distance, rallied their friends to help, and only then proceeded in a cautious investigation of the horror in the water. Katrina, however, immediately decided to find out what it was all by herself. She marched recklessly forward into the waves splashing against the beach, flinching only just once as the water dampened her skirt. “Okay then, you creepy monster thing! Come on! I’m ready for you!”

She wasn’t. A mountain reared up from the waves before her. Huge, towering, massively green and sticky, mighty tentacles lashing from its indescribable bulk of a head, it let out a sound such as Katrina had never heard. Her mouth fell open in slack-jawed horror. Cthulhu had returned. And it wanted a snack.

***

Meanwhile, Catrina and Ermingard were leading search parties through the streets of Kumquat City, but to no avail. Luke wasn’t to be found anywhere, nor the rest of his Atlantean fleet either. Catrina, tired out from the day’s battles and exertions, paused for a rest in a convenient alleyway. She leaned back against the wall and slid to the ground, closing her eyes. Just once, what she wanted to do was have a nice long nap. She hadn’t had a good nap in forever.

Above her, the sun had quite set by now, and the stars had come out in a blaze of twinkling lights. One light remained steady; Catrina wasn’t too keen on the sciences anymore than she was keen on languages, but she had taken one or two classes in Astronomy. She recognized the steady light just over the horizon. “Ah, Venus,” she said. “Lovely.”  It seemed ironic that the planet associated with the ancient god of love should be in her view just then. “I don’t suppose you could render any help here?”

She hadn’t expected anything to actually happen. But then, she really should have, given all her experiences thus far. At any rate, there was a sudden golden burst of light, and Venus herself stepped into the alleyway. She was followed by a torrent of water that soaked everything in the alley, including Catrina. “My apologies,” the Roman goddess said grandly, “The lands swim on my world, and whenever I travel anywhere, the waters follow.”

The trouble was, she said this in Latin, as the last time she had visited Earth, everyone had spoken Latin. Catrina was notoriously bad on languages; she had flunked clean out of Beginning Quenya, for instance, and she only knew one or two words in Latin that people occasionally used for magic spells. She was, naturally, upset that a random person had appeared out of nowhere and splashed her with water. Then she paused. It wasn’t salt water. It was, oddly, quite sweet. “You’re….” she ventured, “not from around here, are you?”

“Quid dicam vobis?” Venus asked. She didn’t know English very much either. Then her eyes fell on Mlrning, the Shovel of Thor. This was really unfortunate. The Roman gods had a sort of running feud with the Norse deities on Asgard. Odin and Zeus hadn’t spoken to each other for three months; even Aphrodite and Freya, who had always been on friendly terms, now only made death glares at each other. Venus saw the ancient runes on the Shovel, and immediately leaped to the wrong conclusion. Catrina had somehow summoned her to that spot to whack her over the head with it. She flew into a towering rage. “You vile Norse betrayer! Viking scum!”

“I’m not certain what you’re saying,” Catrina said. “But you seem upset. Perhaps if you just calmed down a bit and maybe we could try and understand each other…”

Venus hadn’t paid much attention to what Catrina was saying; she was working herself into a full-fledged divine wrathful monologue full of imprecations. “Supprime tuum stultiloquium, ructatrix!” she finished off in a flurry of angry golden light.

Now, it was true that Catrina didn’t know very much Latin. She didn’t recognize the first part of that sentence, in which Venus had told her, literally, to suppress her fool-speak.  But aside from the odd incantation, she had also heard one or two other Latin words around the castle. Ructatrix was one of them. It meant “She Who Belches.”

That,” said Catrina, “is positively the last straw.”  She raised the Shovel of Thor. “Leave. Now.”

A sword flashed in Venus’s hand. “I am Venus!” she said. “You dare threaten me with so puny a shovel-”

But it had been a long time since she had actually encountered Mlrning, and she had forgotten what it could do. There was a thunderclap and a burst of wintry power, and an ice-blast knocked Venus back on her heels. She came down hard, smack on a small glass object. It shattered beneath her. There was yet another flash, and a sudden swirling rush, and suddenly the sky above Kumquat City was filled with Atlantean ships crewed by dazed Atlantean soldiers. Luke, their ostensible leader, found himself suddenly in the alleyway only two feet from Catrina.

“Oh, good, I’ve found you!” Catrina said. “We need to talk.”

“Aren’t we mortal enemies?” Luke asked. “I am the Emperor of Atlantis. I should be demanding your surrender.”

“About that….” Catrina said, trying to find the words to tell him that he was actually a clone of the real Luke, who had never left Atlantis in the first place. She noticed that he was going for his magical wand, so she casually knocked him unconscious with Mlrning so she could have time to think. Relationships were so complicated sometimes.

“Ow….” said Venus, lying on the ground, a very uncomfortable feeling in her Venutian bottom.

“You keep quiet,” Catrina said.

This has been another exciting episode of the Catrina Chronicles. For previous episodes, go here. For other stories I’ve written, some of which involve Catrina, go here. Thanks for reading!

 

 

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2 Comments
  1. So many questions left to pique curiosity…like what happens with Katrina and Cthulhu and Catrina and the Luke clone 🙂

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