After spending some time deliberating, you decide to follow the river to see where it might lead. If anything, you hope it might take you away from this strange place, but, you aren’t going to assume that’s the case.
Using your new otter body, you start to swim toward the river. There is a little gap between the lake and the river - it’s easy enough to get over, since it isn’t a very large gap, sort of a series of stones sticking up - but they’re smooth, and you slide over them without much trouble.
The river is moving relatively calmly, enough so that you can hop over the rocks that separate the lake from the river without much trouble. Once you’re in the river, you feel first that the water is a bit cooler than the lake - it doesn’t bother you, but it’s weirdly noticeable.
You shrug this off and start to follow it, swimming at a casual pace using your limbs to propel yourself forward. Even with a smaller body and smaller limbs, you swim briskly without trouble - it’s actually easier to swim now than ever before, you notice, as if your new body is meant to be in the water.
As you swim on, you take notice of something under the water further off - you stop and float there, glancing down: there, shining in the light and plainly visible, is some sort of glistening stone. You initially think it’s a pearl and dive down to grab it, but when you retrieve it and hold it in your hands, you see that, no, it’s colored an almost crystalline blue color.
You run your fingers across it - it is smooth, yet cool to the touch, cooler than you would normally think even though you found it underwater.
It’s weird, that much is certain. It looks sort of like it could be a gemstone of some kind, but it’s super smooth and fits relatively snugly in the palm of your smaller otter hand. You feel you could break into it somehow, but what is inside, you haven’t a faint clue. It doesn’t seem like an egg, but then, what the heck is it?
You wish you could figure it out, but, that doesn’t feel likely right now.
You consider dropping it and going on, but, you decide that - somehow - you can feel inside that this will be helpful to you. The problem, you note, is that you have nowhere you can carry it, as you no longer have clothing. But then you recall a fact about otters you heard or read somewhere before: you check your chest area and feel that there is enough loose skin on both sides for you to form a pouch of sorts in your fur.
This gives you an idea, and you stuff the strange little blue sphere into this makeshift pouch. There is enough skin there to fold around it that when you flip over to start swimming again - you take it slow to be sure - the stone doesn’t fall out into the water.
With this in mind, you start to swim in the river once more, following it.
Like you thought from when you were in the lake, the river goes on for a bit before curving to the left. You find that when you reach this point, that things appear to change ever so slightly around you: the trees are opening up more, and the river picks up in speed. The shift in speed is almost instantaneous - you notice it when you move up a little, but again, it isn’t too fast that you can’t keep a steady pace.
Written by Hollowpages on 25 May 2019