The Atlas Pin is the thirty-third chapter of Zak Saturday's Immortal Love Life. It was first published on February 2, 2016.
Mom was trying to help Fiskerton with his Lemurian heritage by meditating and Sarah, Zack, and I were doing it with him.
“Find yourself, Fiskerton,” Mom told him. “You’re a Lemurian, a Kur Guardian. Some part of you knows how to find Kur. We’re going to unlock that part. Now, follow me. Oooom.”
He tried it, but laughed.
I slapped his arm. “Just try it, ok? Ooooom.”
He tried it, but it didn’t go so well. He ended up setting the room we were in on fire a little bit and Sarah and Zack were the only ones who laughed about it. Mom put out the fire from the fountain that was in there.
“Ok, ok, so it’ll take time,” I said. “But I know you can do this, Fisk. One more try?”
Fisk tried again, but we had to stop when the room suddenly began to shake. We headed to the control room where the rest of our families were.
“Earthquake?” Mom asked.
Dad nodded. “Just trying to pick what with the epicenter. Whoa.”
“Holy shit,” Raylee exclaimed.
On the screen was a three-dimensional globe, and there were spots all over it, marking the places where an earthquake just happened.
“The whole planet shook?” I asked.
“At once?” Doyle asked. “How is that possible?”
“I . . . don’t know,” Dad said, sounding baffled.
We heard a sound come from the ceiling. We looked up and noticed a king cobra fall into the room, landing a few feet away from us.
“Saturdays,” it greeted.
Now, I’m used to hearing animals speak because Shillow and the cheetahs can, but there’s a reason for that. How this snake was talking? I didn’t know how.
But I did recognize its voice.
“Wait. That voice,” I said. “That’s—”
“The serpent lady we fought in Shangri-La,” Doyle finished. “We knew that she controlled snakes, but that’s just kinda freaky.”
“You have no idea the extent of my power,” she said. “The jolt the world just felt was from my merrily striking the Atlas Pin.”
I didn’t know what that was, but my parents seemed to know.
“If you do not do as I say, I will tear the pin completely out,” the serpent lady continued.
“That’s insane,” Dad said. “You’d destroy the planet.”
“V.V. Argost stole a relic prized by my race. The coward fled to the skies before I could recover it. But you, you have fought him before, so now you will get my prize back or I pull the Atlas Pin.”
“Mom? Dad?” I said. “I feel like I should be scared, but I have no idea why.”
“According to legend, Ancient Greek and Atlantian scientists spotted a flaw in the earth’s surface,” Mom explained. “A gap where two tectonic plates meet underwater. Left unchecked, the gap would generate earthquakes so massive, continents would literally be ripped apart.”
“As a solution, the scientists drove a rock wedged into the gap,” Dad added. “A pin, to hold the earth in place, like the Titan Atlas.”
“This one rock keeps the whole planet together,” Mom continued. “If she’s found it, we’ll have to do what she says.”
“What, so we’re just going to surrender to snake lady based on some ancient legend?” Doyle asked in disbelief.
“Or, you can base it on this,” the snake lady said.
Our house began to shake again, much larger than the last one, and everything in the room was tearing to pieces. Raylee had to summon a force field around us to keep all the stuff that was breaking from falling on us.
“Wait. We don’t even know what this relic is,” I said.
“Actually, I think I do,” Doyle said. “She used it on Fisk when Argost had him kidnapped. It’s suppose to glow when you bring it near Kur.”
“Argost must be using this relic to track down Kur,” Dad said. “Which means we’ve got bad news on two fronts.”
“We should split up,” Mom suggested.
“Agreed. I’ll take Doyle, Fisk, Zon, and Raylee to track down Argost and get the relic.”
“Zak, Komodo, Sarah, and Zack, you’re with me. We’re gonna find and neutralize the Atlas Pin before this serpent woman or anyone else gets a chance to use it. Any questions?”
“Does nobody care that there’s a king cobra running around our house?” I asked.
“Uh, no, because the whole planet is in jeopardy along with your house,” Sarah said, a little harsh.
Then Komodo came into the room and I noticed the tip of the cobra’s tail in his mouth before he swallowed it.
“Never mind,” I said.
I forgot reptiles tend to eat their own kind sometimes.
“Well, this isn’t the first time I’ve dealt with an idiot doing something suicidal that’ll kill a lot of people along with himself,” Raylee said. “But I’ve never heard of a pin named after Atlas until now. But, I guess it does make sense since it holds the ground together and he holds up the sky.”
“You know Greek mythology?” Mom asked her.
“A little bit. I don’t know that much, but I do know that.”
“Then let’s go,” Dad said.
And off we went with our two groups.
Mom, Komodo, Sarah, Zack, and I put on wet suits, got into our Saturday Sub, and went underwater. We were on the intercom with Dad, Fiskerton, Doyle, Raylee, and the animals.
“No trace of Argost at Weird World,” Dad said. “If he’s using the relic to search for Kur, he could be anywhere.”
“Found him,” I said, looking at the screen in front of me.
“He’s a celebrity, Dad. People blog about seeing guys like that. Argost’s war plane has been spotted all over the world. Looks like he’s crisscrossing the globe on a kind of search grid.”
“That’s great, Zak. Now I can plot an intercept course—”
“Already uploaded to the airship’s mainframe. Good luck.”
I ended the call.
“Well, I see someone’s becoming quite the young scientist,” Sarah noted.
I blushed. “Thanks. But that was all my genius ideas. Now, how do we find the Atlas Pin?”
“The same way you find anything else underwater,” Mom said. “We ask the experts.”
And the experts were the Kumari.
We swam near Kumari Kandam and I noticed Ulraj waving to us.
We stopped out sub and swam into the city.
We were in the throne room, explaining to Ulraj about the Pin.
“The Atlas Pin,” he said. “I hoped it would never be found during my reign. And you truly believe Argost is mad enough to pull it out?”
“Actually, this one isn’t Argost,” I said. “There’s this new evil serpent lady who controls snakes and she—”
“You have found a naga?” Ulraj asked, shaking out of his wits like he was scared. “But there were none left. I thought . . . I have to warn my people.”
“Whoa, whoa, Ulraj,” I said. “We’ve already beaten her once. What’s the big deal about one creepy snake controlling—”
The city suddenly shook. Then the city serpent began attacking us. The Kumari began to fire their blasters at it.
“I guess naga knows we’re after her,” I said.
“She’s good,” Sarah said.
“Stunning blasts only,” Ulraj told his men. “This is still our city serpent.”
We ran to cover ourselves from the debris.
“To have that level of control over a serpent this big . . .” Mom said, faltering.
“This is nothing,” Ulraj said. “The naga would scourge of the ancient world. Their dark mysticism corrupted everything they touch. We thought they were all destroyed, but—”
“Dark mysticism? Zak, we have to make a call.”
“Now?” I asked.
She grabbed my arm and pushed me forward. I conceded and we ran. Sarah and Zack followed.
We went to our sub and Mom made a call to the rest of our family.
“Doc, we need to talk,” she said.
“Now?” he asked. “I’m kind of in the middle of something.”
Mom showed him some photoage of the city serpent.
“Ok, yours wins.”
“The nagas were evil mystics,” Mom explained. “Whatever their Kur finding device is, it’s full of dark magic. No matter what happens on our end, you have to destroy that relic.”
“Even better idea,” Doyle said. “We take the relic and use it to find Kur ourselves. Shut ’em down with their own tech. It’s like poetry.”
“No. No, Doyle. Dark magic will twist anything it touches, and anyone. Trust me, these are forces you do not want to mess with.”
“We don’t need a relic, we’ve got Fisk,” I said. “His Lemurian instincts are gonna find Kur for us.”
He seemed to disagree.
“I’d have to agree with Doyle,” Dad said. “If we have any chance to find Kur before Argost, I’m willing to risk dark magic.”
I didn’t like this.
“What about you guys?” I asked Sarah and Zack.
“Umm, I don’t mind either way,” Sarah said. “But I think it’s best to leave this decision to you and your family.”
Zack nodded in agreement. “Yeah.”
“Same here,” Raylee agreed. “I don’t care which one you guys choose.”
“Well, then it sounds like it’s two to two,” Mom said. “That makes it your call, Fiskerton.”
He seemed unsure, but gave an answer.
“Keep the relic?” I asked in disbelief. “Fisk, you can do this.”
He was so confused.
“Yay for democracy,” Doyle said.
“I hate politics,” Raylee said.
“’Scuse us. Got business.”
And Doyle ended the call.
“Doyle,” I said frustratingly.
Then suddenly, a dark force appeared above our sub. It was the city serpent, and the dark force was his mouth. He closed his jaw with our sub inside then spit us out. We crashed into a reef.
“We’re stuck,” Mom said. “You guys go help Ulraj. I’ll see what I can do here.”
And that we did.
I tried to control the serpent with my powers, but they weren’t connecting. We met back up with Ulraj, and he and Komodo had just saved one of his men from getting crushed by a boulder.
“Nice save,” I told them.
“Where have you been?” he asked us. “You should be calming the serpent with your powers like you’ve done before.”
“You don’t think I’ve tried?” I said. “I can’t get a lock on it. Last time, Zon kept me in its face. But the way it’s thrashing and biting everything . . .” Then an idea hit me. “Wait. Ok, Mom, whatever happens next, don’t freak out.”
“What are you planning?” Sarah asked me.
“Just watch.” I swam toward the serpent.
“Wait, what?” Mom asked me through the intercom.
“Hey, remember me?” I called up to the serpent.
He noticed me.
He slammed his open mouth down on me.
Perfect. I grabbed a tight hold on to his tooth.
“Zak!” Mom called.
The serpent lifted his head and I noticed the sub coming our way.
“Zak! Zak, can you hear me?”
“I told you not to freak out!” I said.
The serpent was hitting things with his head and I could barely hold on. He knew I was in his mouth, because he used his tongue to hit me a couple times.
“Hey, come on,” I said frustratingly.
He hit me again and I punched his tongue away. Then he breathed out a strong breath of air and blew me out of his mouth.
I had the claw in my hand and slingshot it onto his nose, pulling myself onto it, and I activated my powers. He screamed in pain and fell to the bottom of the ocean. I jumped off him before I fell with him. Then I, along with my mom, Sarah, Zack, Komodo, and Ulraj noticed the naga and she was swimming away.
“That’s her!” I said. “We have to catch her before she gets back to the Atlas Pin.”
Mom brought the sub near us and we all climbed in. All except Ulraj, because Mom closed the hatch before he could get in.
“What?” he asked.
“Sorry, Your Majesty,” she said. “But your city needs you more than we do.”
He clearly didn’t like it, but knew she was right. And off we went.
Mom gave me the controls while she and Komodo climbed into the torpedo shoots. We were far behind the naga.
“Mom, she’s getting away!” I said.
“Not if this works, she’s not,” she replied. “Fire 1 and 2.”
I did as she told me.
She and Komodo shot out so fast that they caught up to the naga, grabbed her arms and held her down. The three of us exited out of the sub. When we reached them, the naga looked nothing like the one we fought, its scales being black instead of yellow.
“That’s not her,” I said. “That’s . . . a serpent guy? There’s another one?”
“Rani Nagi,” he said. “Rani Nagi!”
“Oh, this isn’t good,” Sarah said.
She was right.
More nagas appeared.
Mom and Komodo let the one they were holding down go, and we moved near the pin.
“Stay close,” Mom said.
The nagas formed a kind of line and the serpent woman moved between them, coming toward us, and they all bowed as she passed.
“Rani Nagi?” Mom said, realizing something. “That’s—that’s Hindi, Queen of the Nagas.”
“Arrogant ape creatures,” she said once she reached us. “You think you’re smarter than a queen? Now see the price of your betrayal as your surface world dies. Pull the Atlas Pin!”
The other nagas did as she commanded them. The Atlas Pin was coming out of the ground and everything around us started shaking.
“Zak, this has to be stopped,” Mom said, unsheathing her fire sword. “No matter what.”
We tried to stop the Pin from continuing to rise out of the ground, but the nagas kept getting in our way. Sarah, Zack, and I attacked Rani Nagi, but she was better at fighting underwater than we were.
We were outnumbered and they had us surrounded.
“You fight well, and you have earned the queen’s mercy,” Rani Nagi said. “I will not make you live to see your world torn apart.”
They advanced on us.
“Dig deep, guys,” Mom said. “This is for the whole earth.”
“In coming,” Sarah sad.
I didn’t know what she meant until the ground below us opened up and the city serpent, with Ulraj on top of its head, came out with the whole kingdom of Kumari Kandam on its back. It swam toward the Atlas Pin and broke the chains on it, sinking it back into the ground and the shaking stopped.
We cheered in triumph. Kumari Kandam began attacking the nagas and they retreated.
I looked at Ulraj and he was practically gloating.
“I saved your city first,” I said.
“I saved your whole world,” he retorted.
“We’ll call it even.”
“What?! No we won’t. I saved your world.”
“Which you wouldn’t have been able to do if I hadn’t saved you first.”
Sarah laughed. “Zak’s right there.”
Ulraj wasn’t going to give up without a fight.
“Well that—well, that’s hardly the point,” he argued, though he also knew we were right. “I drove a serpent. A giant serpent.”
“Just shut up already, Ulraj,” Sarah said.
He listened to her and stopped.
The five of us were in our sub, talking on our video phone with the rest of our family, and Fiskerton was explaining to us how he got Rani Nagi’s Kur relic back from Argost.
“Way to go, Fisk,” I said. “Check out those Lemurian instincts coming through. I knew you could do it. Next stop, Kur.”
“And the serpent woman?” Dad asked.
“Escaped,” Mom said. “But I doubt they’ve given up completely.”
“Let’s just enjoy the win.”
Yeah, not exactly the best time to tell him that there’s more of them.
“Hey, Fur ball, what are you doing?” Doyle asked Fiskerton.
He had just put the relic down the trash shoot and pressed the execute button.
“What did you just do?” Doyle asked him, sounding mad.
“I think he just changed his vote,” I said. “Come on, Fisk. Show him how you’re gonna find Kur.”
He adjusted himself into a meditating position.
“He’ll get it. Eventually. Just trust him, ok?”
Doyle still looked unconvinced. He sighed. “Looks like we’re gonna have to.”
“Oh, don’t worry, Doyle,” Raylee said. “We’ll be fine.”
“Hopefully,” Sarah said.
Doyle didn’t like it, but there was nothing he could do about it.
I know Fisk is gonna help us find Kur for us, I have no doubt about it, and I’m going to help him with his Lemuria if it’s the last thing I do.
I think this was an ok chapter. The next one will be better, with a lot more drama, both good and bad.
The answer to my quiz in the last chapter was in fact This is Me, by Demi Lovato.
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