Chapter Six: Deal with the Devil RayThe sun beat down over the Floridian town of Beachrock with a fury it ordinarily reserved for the desert. Though he would never admit it, Luthor was glad to have traded his usual suit and tie for more comfortable, thinner clothes. Still, it was only for a few hours, while he completed his business with Devil Ray.
Dominic was completing the transfer of Devil Ray’s payment before the latter’s eyes. Luthor had no intention of double-crossing him, but the Ray was not to know that. Even one as far removed from society as him knew of Luthor’s fearsomely duplicitous reputation.
Resting on the scalding sands, recently unloaded from Devil Ray’s submersible craft, was a large crate, the size of a pickup truck. LexCorp engineers were examining every detail of its contents, and so far it checked out. The Ray had kept up his end of the bargain.
“Interesting name,” Dominic suddenly blurted, his nerves clearing getting the better of him. He tried avoiding the Ray’s one, red, strip of an eye, but the crimson glow quickly caught his gaze.
Devil Ray leaned down, inches from Dominic’s face. “I did not choose it.” “T-then what is y-your r-real name?”
The Ray considered this for a moment. He checked Dominic’s tablet computer, and read that the transfer was complete. He fixed Dominic with his red visor once more. “...David...”
With that, he strode purposefully towards Luthor himself. “Our trade is complete. If you wish to contact me again, use my established business channel. Nobody is welcome in the Devil’s Deep save the Manta, and next time I will not make an exception for your messenger.”
“Understood.” Luthor stood his ground. Not a blink or a flinch. After all, the Ray’s only advantage over him was his strength.
As Devil Ray stomped back to the crate to the back of a LexCorp flatbed truck, Luthor smiled. While the crate’s other contents would no doubt prove of great use to him, it was the K-metal that made this purchase so worthwhile. If Dr. Fine’s research continued to be correct, the K-metal would-
A sudden creaking, and Devil Ray’s submersible began falling. There must have been a sharp drop off shortly into the water, as in moments it had completely disappeared. Luckily the flatbed was already off the beach, as Luthor was sure that had it not been, it too could have been sent spiralling into the deep.
Devil Ray’s attention was fixed on the shoreline, where a figure burst out of the water and landed with such force it scattered the sand beneath him, making a small crater. He was dressed in a tunic of orange mail, and wore tight trousers not dissimilar to those of a wetsuit. His expression was severe, and half-covered by strands of long blond hair. In his right hand, he clutched a golden trident.
“Manta!” he shouted, and swung his trident at Devil Ray, sending him flying back across the beach. He tried to land a blow on the Ray’s head before he could get up, but the Ray was too fast. He got to his feet and drew out a small shaft that was dwarfed in his hand. It grew into a barbed spear.
Luthor quitely called Dominic back over to him. His chauffeur scrambled to get both of them back into the car, but Luthor had to watch for a moment more.
“Manta!” the orange-clad warrior - who the media so mockingly dubbed ‘Aquaman’ - bellowed. “Your diabolical trading is at an end! No more will you defile the seas!”
Devil Ray’s response was unwavering. If he was at all intimidated by Aquaman, he didn’t show it. Luthor was impressed. “I am a humble businessman. If you do not like the treasures I have to sell, be they wrecks or rare marine life, then simply don’t buy them. What authority do you have to stop me?”
“The authority of the king of Atlantis!”
And as the beach finally descended into chaos, Luthor dropped into his car and sped away. He could hear the thunderous blows dealt behind him as the car careened away down the path, back onto the coastal highway.
“Get me to Ivy University.”
(Click for detail)
To be continued...
Countdown to Justice continues this Saturday, August 30th!