Bridge in Troubled Waters
a hololive fanfiction by The Overlord Bear
inspired by Tripsout2’s “Brick by Brick” and “Of Mountain Kings and Men”
Summary: Altare spends a 3AM with an underwater house and a friend’s friend.
Making an underwater house was cakewalk to Altare Regis, Guild Tempus Leader. It was another form of his 3AM habit. Not only could he do it all by himself, he also easily found people to mess with along the way, people who wouldn’t be so easily missed.
For example, some unrulier members of his past life’s kind, beings who failed to appreciate the value of smallness.
“If the last Atlantean was a demon lord like you, I bet she’d be able to actually rebuild Atlantis!”
“Yeah, the sight of anything like what we’re working on here’s gonna make her go red with rage! And I do mean that literally!”
“Not that our boss here can’t handle the little shark! I mean, she can’t even handle her shrimpy ghosts!”
Everyone knew about Gura Gawr, the last Atlantean. Most wanted to see her for themselves, believing her fierce and diminutive appearance to be an already potent piece of an even more potent good luck charm. She seemed so cheery too, and even with how she often pranked people, it seemed like everyone loved her.
But the demon lord who decided to set that life aside to be an adventurer’s guild leader wouldn’t be surprised if he detected heavy amounts of darkness coming from her. And listening to his fellow creatures who were quite attuned to negativity, who were discussing a fellow little one like this…
Well, his guildmates’ usual accusations about his 3AM activities failed to account for how he had some class, with him allowing those misunderstandings only for the sake of having his alone time more under his control. Elysium was also going through some sudden storms, and then there was the dorsal fin rumors. But what really confirmed it for him was a certain Reaper telling him to keep an eye out for a certain aquatic friend of hers roving the area recently.
Now, Altare could’ve just left it to Calli, but surely, she kept in mind that he was a fellow Underworlder, no? And he really wanted to make an underwater house.
“Wait, is that Gawr?”
“Kinda saw this coming, but Leader Boss has our backs, right?”
“Uh, why’s our boss keeping that much distance from us?”
Two bright blue folks with dark red insides needed some catharsis, and they found some easy prey.
“You think you’re so great, mocking the last Atlantean like this, huh!?”
“Nice to meet you, sharky friend.”
While those demons he hired were already shredded to their eternal dismay, the main target of his latest manipulations was swimming circles around him. And Guild Tempus’s most secretive and effective manipulator himself took the fight to the surface, though less on land like the average person and more on water like a trained ninja.
Lights glowing red streaked as Demon Lord Regis dodged and met the red blur shooting in and out of the stormy waters. A twirl here, a cartwheel there, a kick feint turned into a deflecting roundhouse, and then a lean back with a grab at the back of her hoodie.
“LET ME GO!” Gawr screamed as she flailed in the demon lord’s grasp.
With how quickly he had to get his other arm to help keep his balance, Regis decided to cheat his way out of this one by stopping time.
Once he got them both on the shore, he ran as fast he could to get some distance before he had to let time resume its course and the shark seek her prey again.
And when time did resume, he saw her eat sand, much to her irritation and surprise.
When she laid her bloodshot eyes on his, she didn’t instantly go for another jump. And while she kept her glare on him, the red faded away from her blue.
“Your lights didn’t streak,” Gura told him. “You can stop time, huh?”
“And I think I put too much stock into the rumors about your intelligence,” Altare smiled, his red turning back into blue and palms showed to her. “Again, nice to meet you, sharky friend. The name’s Altare.”
“Well, excuse me if I don’t give you my name you probably already know,” she stood up, trying and failing to dust herself off in the rain. “Who do you think you are, huh? I got friends who can mess with time, but I’m not dumb enough to trust anyone just because they can do that.”
“What if I told you that I scared one of them when we first met?” he smirked. “Not that she can’t beat me, but it was funny watching the Time Warden get spooked.”
And then Gura’s eyes widened in realization. “Oh, you’re that demon guild guy some of my friends have been hanging around with.” Still, she glared. “Still not showing your underwater building any mercy, though. Maybe you understand the concept of voices in your head? I mean, you are a demon.”
“Fair,” Altare nodded and shrugged. “I mean, I can build and repair it myself. I just felt like adding some spice to my 3AM activities, so yeah, here’s you in my latest scheme.”
“Oh boy, 3AM!” she gave an exaggerated smile, dropping it the instant she said her next words. “So I’m gonna be your shark burger?”
“Nah, I’m more interested in penguin burgers right now,” he replied with a look up. “I mean, sure, you’re cold, but I’m looking for something really frigid right now. But that’s not the point here. Calli told me that you’ve been around the area.”
At that, the shark girl sighed, hanging her head. “Of course she did. If she could clean up these demons in my head, that would be nice.” Then she threw her hands to the sky, which she soon yelled at. “But I just had to yell around about rebuilding Atlantis! Not even saying that I’m gonna do it with baby steps for now helped! And then there’s my freaking new and stupidly nice blacksmith friend who managed to build what’s practically an underwater empire on top of so many other empires!”
The guild leader let a beat sink in.
Then when she gave him a look, he spoke.
“If you can’t rebuild your old home, then you can’t. Would those who really care for you now have a problem with it? Other than worrying about how you worry too much about it, that is. I mean, again, Calli asked me to keep an eye on you if you ever came around here. And I don’t know how you’d take it, but she never gave me anything I could call an insult about your inner struggles there, let alone anything about why you were nearby.”
Gura let her back on land on the clumped-up sand in the next beat.
Altare walked to an arm’s length distance from her side, where he let his back land on the clumped-up sand, too.
They let some more beats pass, wind and rain beating on them while lightning flashed and thunder rumbled in the background.
When Altare turned his head to check on Gura, he found her slowly and rhythmically breathing, eyes closed in sleep.
With a smile, the guild leader took that as motivation to get some sleep of his own.
When Altare woke up, Gura was gone. And as expected, the storm was gone, too.
And then he found himself almost rolling on a message in the sand beside him.
Thanks for the Talk no Jutsu, Stop Light
Right below the message was a goofy doodle of a wide-open shark maw approaching a distressed horned head.
The guild leader smiled at that, and with some stretches and swings of his arms, he decided to head back to the water to check on his underwater house.
Said house was flooded due to a crack in the glass.
“Definitely something I deserve,” Altare chuckled at the sight.
Author’s Note: Remembering a particular trouble involving mentioning other people in a certain Altare Minecraft stream while going through Tripsout2’s works (and of all the works to be inspired by, one of them had to be building-themed) got me wanting to come up with something like this. Seriously, I may have started out following and liking holo and VTubers for the girls, and Calli may have really gotten me into both holo and VTubers, but becoming a fan of the holo boys also made me feel like I can truly go deeper and healthier with my appreciation for the girls too as this man that I am. And for those actually decent men who get treated like they’re scummy men by actually scummy men like me because the usual masculine insecurity, this actually scummy man whose writing you’re reading should also out himself for their benefit, no? So yeah, you’re free to roast these mixes of Copium and Hopium too.