Wild Hearts II
You aren’t the sort of person that’s ever actively gone hunting before. The concept of hunting doesn’t frighten you or disgust you, by any means, but, you admit that you have a hard time visualizing yourself killing a creature, especially when it’s NOT with bare hands - no, this would be bare teeth.
Still, you mull it over and decide. ‘Why not fish? I don’t mind the taste of fish.’
Ali snickers. ‘You know, I’m not surprised you would pick fish. They’re less troublesome and a lot less messy to hunt for compared to deer, especially since fish are usually on the lower end of the scale of animals to kill.’
‘I don’t mind eating fish, either,’ Ali replies, and she flashes you a grin. ‘Only thing I dislike about fish is the smell. They’re so ungodly stinky, I swear.’ She snorts. ‘But somehow, this one,’ she tilts her nose toward her genie partner, ‘doesn’t seem to agree with me on that.’
Shira chortles. “Fish are far from being the stinkiest things to a djinn, my dear.” She taps her nose with a wicked grin. “Our senses are far more particular, so the sorts of odors that bother animal noses or human noses, don’t usually affect us to the same degree. Even so.” She reaches down to boop Ali on the nose. “Hush with the complaints, you. Go and help our friend get some food.”
Ali snickers, nods, and tilts her head to the left. ‘C’mon. Let’s eat.’
She takes off without another word, and, you do the same. You follow her down the path, and although she’s remarkably fast, you can keep up decently enough with her after some initial trouble - the two of you dart through a series of trees, and around on the soft ground. Your genies are following along in the air, flying directly above you as they were before.
‘The lake isn’t very far,’ Ali remarks to you mid-run. ‘Shouldn’t take too long.’
You say nothing, but you are grateful nonetheless - your stomach gurgles loudly as you pace yourself next to her. Getting some actual sustenance, even if that sustenance is raw fish, will do some good, you feel.
About five minutes later of running on roughly flat ground, the two of you break from the thicket of trees and grass. You come upon the lake Ali mentioned, and find it to be fairly massive in size, far, far bigger than you had expected it to be. One side in the distance of the lake actually morphs into a river that trails onward toward the horizon.
‘Has that always been there?’ you wonder to yourself.
The area doesn’t seem familiar to you, in truth, but, it’s gorgeous to look upon. The trees are scattered and towering toward the sky, there’s a few hills here and there further off, and, the water is crystalline and shimmering.
‘Alrighty,’ Ali says. ‘Stinky fish are in the water, obviously.’ She turns to look at you, one brow raising. ‘I suppose I should’ve asked beforehand, but, I imagine you can swim, right?’
‘Oh, yeah,’ you reply. ‘Not perfectly by any means, but, I can swim.’
‘And dog paddle?’ Ali asks, her lips titling into a big grin. ‘Kidding. Okay.’
She turns her attention back to the lake, and takes a few steps back. She then crouches her whole body down for a couple seconds, waits, and in a flash, she lunges forward - her body barrels into the lake with a mighty splash, and after you blink once, Ali has delved underwater fully.
You stand there for a moment, mostly perplexed. ‘Won’t that just end up scaring any fish to try and escape…?’
There’s a chuckle above you, and you glance up as Akam floats down to hover by your side. He’s grinning, with his arms crossed. “Master, are you afraid of getting your new fur wet? Or are you hoping that your fellow wolf will be kind enough to fish for your food as well?”
You blink a few times. ‘What? Oh, no, no. I just…’
You trail off and watch a burst of water from across the lake, and you spot Ali jumping out as if she’s trying to chase a fish. It’s a humorous sight to witness, and you take a moment to gather what the heck you just saw. Akam, meanwhile, laughs fully beside you.
“My, you certainly know how to pick intriguing humans, don’t you, Shira?” Akam asks.
Shira, who is on the ground now a couple inches away, shakes her head with a broad grin upon her face. “Would you believe she was much shyer before the two of us met? I fear I may have inadvertently unleashed the braver side of her personality that she’s kept locked away since she was a child.”
“Somehow, this doesn’t surprise me,” Akam replies. He’s thoroughly amused.
You watch form a moment longer, noticing an increase in ripples as Ali shoots around the lake. She surfaces once to catch her breath, then dives right back in, and you wonder if the magic has given her stronger breathing capabilities.
“Come now, Master,” Akam says. He gives you a gentle nudge. “Don’t stand there and starve yourself! Surely, you can figure out a solution to catch a fish or two in your mighty jaws while underwater.”
‘Does the magic that’s transformed us allow us to breathe longer?’ you ask.
Akam ponders this. “I’d say that… perhaps a small bit longer, yes. A wolf could hold their breath for an expected amount of time, but, as you are both wolf and human, and blessed by my magics…” He rubs his chin. “You have the ability to keep your breath held for probably a few minutes more than normal. And before you ask, you should be able to move a bit faster, and see clearly, too.”
“You know, if certain djinn found out how we’ve spoiled our Masters, we’d be laughed at for quite a while,” Shira remarks. Her tone is still a light, amused one, and when you look her way, she seems blissfully uncaring about the prospect. “I suppose that’s why we’ve had such good luck with mortals.”
“Perhaps!” Akam agrees.
The two djinn seem to be getting a kick out of this whole ordeal. You admit it is a bit funny to consider - but your stomach reminds you of WHY you’re actually here, standing in front of a lake, in the first place. Knowing this, you sigh in your head and decide it’s time to get wet. You need to eat, after all.
But you don’t power run into the lake the way that Ali did. You take your time and get in, moving until you’re essentially dog paddling through the water. Only then do you suck in a deep, strong breath, before you dunk yourself underwater.
After a moment of feeling the water embrace your body, you open your eyes.
Opening your eyes underwater has never been something you’ve enjoyed doing, yet the sensation doesn’t cause you too much discomfort this time - you blink a few times, and, eventually, your vision adjusts to the waters. You spot Ali chasing after a fish, and then you see in the distance that this lake is utterly teeming with fish!
There are small and medium fish of different shapes and sizes all throughout, although none of them are close enough for you to just grab onto. That would be a little too easy, you expect.
‘Okay then,’ you think. Your chest is feeling fine, so, you have time. ‘How do I want to catch these suckers? Chasing them? Or, do I want to be smart about it instead… I could try to trick a fish into swimming into my mouth.’ You roll your eyes internally. ‘No, maybe I should try to get one to corner itself… The lake is so massive, I need to be smart, either way.’
And so it is that you, a wolf underwater, watching another wolf flounder about in pursuit of a meal, begin to think of your next step - what do you do now?
Do you want to do what Ali is doing and chase after a fish until you catch up to it? Or would you rather try to plan out a smarter method? Your stomach is in need of food, so you know you don’t have all day to figure it out. Time’s ticking.
Written by Hollowpages on 03 November 2020
(Wet) Wild Hearts