The food was delicious which was what Atticus had expected. Definitely from the AUP and definitely for their leader. Emil swallowed his mouthful of chicken politely at the mention of his name, smiling at Nikolai.
"Why I started the AUP, you mean?" Emil put his cutlery down neatly on his plate, crossed over with each other. Atticus then remembered that Natalia had told him once that that meant he was not finished with his food. Any person could see that, with the amount of food left on the plate, but obviously Emil liked to show manners or whatever. "Well, many years ago, I chanced upon my heritage by touching an Atlantean Crystal in a bayside market in France. As you might already know, Atlantean Crystals are rare stone that grow only on the original island of Atlantis. Coming in contact with a Crystal releases you from your mortal coil and lets you live to your full potential, abilities and all. Well, after this incident, it wasn't long before I was found by a group known as the Atlantean Royal Family who are the leaders of the race, much like a Prime Minster does with a country. Well, at the time, Cooper here was working for Roscoe Beleren, the leader of the House of Water back then, and he was the one that taught me the ways of Atlantis and about the Universe and stuff like that," Emil nodded at Cooper, giving him a gracious smile. "I was a little bit of a brat then, wasn't I?"
"I've never regretted teaching you," Cooper added, bowing his head back at Emil.
"Haha, I'm sure you do sometimes, Cooper," Emil tapped his nose, then continued with his story. "Well, we were always told if we went out in public to never reveal ourselves because the mortals would soon catch on and kick up a storm."
"Mortals are what some Atlanteans call, uh, normal people," Atticus told Helena, his mouth full of food.
"Don't talk with your mouth full, Atticus!" Annie teased. He swallowed and narrowed his eyes before taking another mouthful of chicken.
"Well," Emil butted in before anyone else could interrupt, "I always wondered why we had to hide ourselves from the public. Surely we were entitled to live the same lives as mortals, perhaps entitled to even more? Then Cooper showed me the corruption of mortals, the way they warred over such trivial things, like oil and land and weapons. Why couldn't we just all live in peace? It was then I realised that we Atlanteans were different from mortals and we deserve to live in a way which we deserve. So, I left the Family and created my own. Mortals and Atlanteans are like cats and dogs; we can live together, but we were never meant to thrive together, mortals will always be jealous of us. All us members have been hurt somehow by the cruelty of mortals," he gestured to the older members of the table, one by one. "Natalia's parents taken by war and panic, Annie's family and legs taken by jealousy and greed, Atticus'--"
"Yeah, we don't need to talk about that," he put his hand up, shaking his head.
"As you wish," Emil nodded. "But yes, the AUP strives to unify Atlanteans as a people. That is what we're working towards."
The plates on the table were now mostly empty, everyone had finished their dinner. Emil stood up, taking plates and gathering them up in a stack. He then passed the stack to Cooper who took it over to a small kitchen and began to pile them up in a dishwasher.
"Yes, now that we're finished, we'll get onto training! You two are still very raw with your abilities so hopefully with a little training, we can get you to have a better grip on them. Helena, if you don't mind, will be going off with Natalia. Nikolai, you'll be training with Wade Harrison. He has an interesting ability that's quite similar to yours, in a way. After training, we'll show you your rooms."
"Wouldn't I be best suited with Nikolai's ability?" Annie asked, frowning at Emil.
"Yes, but you need to rest, Annie. Cooper told me you haven't slept for a while now."
"Right," Annie said, her eyes falling to her lap.
"Well, Ms. Andersson? Mr. Afon? Was there anything else you needed before you set off?"