[Disclaimer: This is not my usual style. ]
"At last, Atlentis lies above!" Rago holstered his scuba gear and checked the computer one last time before diving from the *Mantle Ray* onto the Atlentic Ocean, where he alone had found the ruins. The water splooshed all over the explorer as he deepened his pace into the dark water.
Ahead below, Rago found mashed ancient pillars of the Atlentean civilization! He dove Into the dungeon entrance where there was a whole city, waiting to explore. First there was a shark but he shot it with his revolver. He climbed past it into an underwater dome that was lit with crystals. There were murals everywhere. Rago took out some paper and made rubbings of the designs. He'd be rich with his discoveries! What had wrecked this place so bad, though? He swam up past the fish to the top of the dome, which was cracked like something big.
He looked around but there were only statues. Mer-man statues with tails. So the people here were mer-men! Or maybe statue people. Rago scanned all the artifacts for study. He walked downstairs to the hidden palace he'd found.
There was nothing in the palace but a complex of rooms made of solid gold and gems, with statues everywhere in the palace and paintings of ocean scenes, and a glowing altar at the end shaped like a giant clam. Rago studied the paintings for clues but saw only daily life among the ocean people, where they fished and farmed and played bassoons. He was fascinated by seeing how their scales fit together and their gills moved.
He dove back to the surface to sell his first photos to the newspaper man, who was waiting at his boat. The man was a dragote, half dragon and half coyote, which made him twice as powerful. "I need more pictures of the scales!" he said. Rago studied him very intently to see whether the dragote might betray him. Then he shrugged and went back to the ruins.
Down there, Rago cast a light spell to see the altar better. It was shaped like a giant pearl, with a square top and sides. He tried tapping, kicking and licking it to see if he could activate it, but nothing happened. Then he pushed it, and the big door in the back blossomed open. Jackpot! There was a treasure, full of gold. It was just like a Zelda game.
But there was also a sea dragon. It rushed out at him. Rago raised his shield and cried out, but the monster's claws thwacked him into a wall.
"Who goes there, mortal?" mimed the dragon.
"I'm an explorer!" Rago huffed.
"Why have you come, mortal? Where are my subjects?"
"I'm pretty sure they're all, because the place is in ruins centuries ago."
The dragon roared to himself, thinking, "This mortal needs to be taught a lesson!" He told Rago, "You haven't seen the true form of Atlentis at its height! Come and see!" He whaled off to a side room.
Rago followed, intrigued, and then the door crashed down and the room began to flood! He drowned, but just as his hit points ran out, light shined all around him and spun him and his legs, fusing them together into a silver-scaled mermaid tail! He gasped and breathed the warm water through new gills. "I have gills!" he said.
The dragon boomed, "Now, mortal, behold my empire!" and opened the door. Beyond it the palace sang with light and mermaids strode confidently through the halls, which were in mint condition.
Rago swam out to explore the temple, fascinated by seeing Atlentis at its height. "Did we go back in time?"
"Yep, we sure did! Now you can learn all about us!"
Rago rejoiced, because he got to talk with all the fish-people about their culture. In this ancient era there was no Federal Reserve to control the money supply, so the people were free to use their own currency, made from pufferfish and free from inflation. Underwater, there was music and farming all day to keep everyone happy.
"But won't the Menace come back to destroy it all?" Rago asked the dragon queen.
She said, "Our kingdom is eternal and will never." It was like she didn't remember taking Rago from the future to teach him.
Rago was worried now, and he persuaded the fishmen to build better armor and weapons. Each day he went on patrol to spot the Menace, but nobody knew what it was, only a shadow above them.
He lived among the people for two years, and had many peaceful weeks. Their ways were peaceful, with their mastery of crystal magic and the taming of dolphins to carry letters across the seven seas. Their ships were beautiful constructs of coral polymer that glittered with the red light of the mystical metal, orchalkium. He learned of their four great cities and became a harem guard in one, a cook in another, a shoemaker in a third and a wrestler-king in the fourth. Brother of the Scarlet Scales was his name.
Then one day the seabed erupted and lava swarmed up and a lava elemental towered over Atlantis! Rago shouted for the guards to come, and he and the other merpeople swam at it with their tridents and sea-horses. The lemental shot burning rocks that crashed with steam into the outer domes and flailed the people inside. Its fire minions were flaming sharks that gashed and bit. The dragon general got bitten with burning teeth and said, "Rago of the Silver Scales, you must lead us now! Take command!"
Rego took up the general's mantel and gave orders to defend the outer bastions. The sharks and the Menace came. "Watch out, they're going to try going over the walls because we're underwater!" But he realized their plan a moment too late. The lava rocks went right over and broke through the walls and the outer gates.
"No!" shouted Rago. There had to be ways to change history! He cast his most powerful barrier spell and sealed off the main dome. The mer-warriors advanced under the foe, stabbing and blasting against its lava shots. But it was too many. Towers of molten mama shot up through the city and speared one outpost after another. Rago threw himself in the path of its ultimate attack, that slammed him clear out of the ocean until he came back down.
But that meant he blocked it! The mer-army was fighting back now and draining its energy until its steam boiled off. It roared and smashed back but he splashed down just in time to do a finishing blow by throwing his gun and all his energy. It exploded and the beast exploded and there was lava everywhere, but now everyone was all right.
The main dome of Atlentis stood soft and proud as ever before, when his barrier ended. The dragon king congratulated Rago and said, "Now you have saved our future, and may return home!"
He went back to his mansion which was underwater in the capital city, where he was given a whole district to rule in the dragon's name,
"Thank you," mighty Rago said, and accepted the magic pendant. The time came back, and he was back into the present.
Now there was a storm, and he was back aboard his ship. Its computers and told him the date was normal, but as he swam up to the ship he realized he still had his mermaid tail. He saw online that now merfolk still had their lost continent on the world map, and they were the most important country in the world! He was proud to be one of them, and they had a statue of him in their capital city. Merman science had made the environment better too.
He lived aboard with his new tail, basking in that he was famous now. As a mer-hero, he knew the secrets of Atlentis, but it was mostly on Wikipedia in this future. He wasn't known for finding the ruins. At least he was cool now because he had scales. He checked his maps and went looking for Lemurina, the lost continent of the lemurs, to see if he could fix that place too because he was the Time Hero now. His adventure was just begin.
An adventurer hunts for a lost continent of merfolk, and learns more than he ever expected!
A... slight departure from my usual style, for which you should blame Xodiac (on FA) for commissioning it. My books are not actually like this.
It's been a while since I tried this writing style; it reminds me of the "Iron Author" contests I used to do in which we channeled the spirit of "The Eye Of Argon" to write the worst possible story. For those, I did a choose-your-own-adventure story with a crate puzzle and an infinite-loop sex scene; also an Objectivist Kingdom Hearts fanfic.