(Wet) Wild Hearts
You hesitate for a moment to really mull this over - and by a moment, that means about ten seconds, since you ARE still submerged underneath the water and all. And, keeping in mind the fact you are not a water-breathing creature even with the magic of shapeshifting, you decide quickly.
You start to push your body forward, kicking your stronger hind legs and ‘paddling’ with your forelegs to propel yourself in the process.
You don’t look at Ali - she’s busy doing her own thing, and you don’t want to intrude, nor do you want to accidentally crash into her or something along those lines - and instead, you focus on the fish. There’s countless fish, scattered all around you, but your eyes are flicking about rapidly to try and locate one you can sink your teeth into.
There. You spot one.
There’s a handful of fish all floating in the same spot, and you zero in on one in particular: a chubbier fish that seems to have a bad fin on one side. You propel onward toward that fish, and as you near it, the other fish bolt away in a flash.
The injured fish, obviously, tries to do the same. But it’s not as fast as the others. Unfortunately, it’s still a fish under the water, so it moves much quicker than you can, at least at first.
‘Okay, little guy…’ you think.
It’s strange, you note, at least in one part of your brain - the notion of ending this fish’s life doesn’t faze you to the same degree you expected it might. But no sooner do you consider this does your stomach gurgle, and, as it does, hunger fills your mind. Hunger becomes the most dominant thing in your brain.
You keep track of the one fish you’re after, and, as you swim after it, your chest begins to feel a bit heavy. You can tell you’ll need to get your breath soon, but, it isn’t too uncomfortable to the point of hindering your movement.
You speed after the fish, and though it’s fast, time proves to be on your side.
With each passing heartbeat, the fish slows, and your legs kick back and forth, giving you a good-sized boost in speed to eventually close the gap between predator and prey. You know you can’t just stupidly open your jaws and hope to swallow the fish - you need to get it closer to the land.
You shoot closer to the tasty little morsel and come at it from the left; doing this forces the fleeing fish to veer right, which is exactly what you want since the ground rises toward that direction.
‘Just… gotta get it closer,’ you think. Your mind is racing, and you try to think of HOW you can get the fish out of the water safely to eat it. How indeed…
You keep on the fish’s tail, until, after a moment longer, you see your chance to strike - the fish is inches away from the ground, and you know the fish has enough smarts to try and shoot either right or left.
Fortunately, you manage to overcome this when your mind flashes back to the sight of Ali shooting out of the lake amid her fish chasing - an idea springs into your mind, and, without any warning, and with no time to really mull it over, you jolt upwards. Your body launches out from the lake, and, as you catch your breath, you come crashing down directly over the spot the fish is in.
The fish moves away from where your full weight is coming down on, but because of momentum and your size, you succeed in doing what you were aiming for: the force of the splash is enough to send a small shockwave through the water, smacking into the fish.
And thanks to your proximity to the water’s edge, that means the fish shoots out of the water entirely.
‘Yes!’ you think, at least when you’ve recovered from the proverbial bellyflop you’ve performed.
Once you recover, you kick your legs and speed-paddle out of the lake. You end up on dry land, pausing once to shake almost without even having to think about it, and then you spot the fish and witness the - somewhat sad, but, still kind of funny - sight of the fish bobbing around uselessly. The poor thing is losing its air rather fast, and you can’t help but stand there, watching as this happens.
After a moment, the fish’s flopping and flailing slows. Then, it ceases.
You trot over to the downed fish and hesitate, again. Despite the fact your hunger is pulsing about in your head, there’s still a part of your mind that dislikes the idea of tearing into a creature like this - fish or not, it’s a living thing, and, since you’ve never been one to eat raw, uncooked foods before…
“Nicely done, Master,” Akam says.
The djinn has flown over to your side, and he hovers a bit in the air. He casts his gaze down to the fish as its gasps for its final breaths, then looks at you.
“Ah… I see,” Akam remarks. He eyes you inquisitively. “Still don’t have the stomach to lay the finishing blow upon the animal, I take it. You are a very gentle soul, Master. I can tell from looking through your mind. Even with the body and abilities of a wolf, you retain your human sentience so clearly.”
You don’t know what to say in response to that. You know only that you need to eat, and, you have a meal right there in front of your soaking wet form…
“Perhaps I could be of some assistance in this predicament,” Akam says.
You glance at the floating genie. He seems to be pondering something very seriously, as his lips are pursed and his eyebrows knitted together.
“Normally, I wouldn’t make offerings of this sort, but,” Akam looks you in the eyes again, and he smiles. “You’ve proven yourself to be one of my favorite Masters. Definitely among the few mortals I’ve truly had a pleasure in knowing, that much I can say without a shred of shame or doubt.”
‘Oh, thank you, Akam,’ you reply.
“Now then,” Akam says. “I have given you miniature gifts previously, so this would be no different. In exchange, however, I will have to remove one of the previous boons I’ve granted you. I feel doing so would be the most fair course to take.”
You nod in agreement. ‘If that’s something you want to do. I, uh… I know I haven’t used my third wish just yet.’
Akam waves a hand off. “Don’t trouble yourself over the third wish, Master. This day has been one of the most exhilarating and entertaining days I’ve had in centuries now, and at this rate, I’m in no rush for it to end just yet.” He folds his arms. “Now, in regards to what I’m offering… before I say as much, you must pick which of the previous boons to remove. You can lose your ability to see time, or, you can lose your ability to see the auras of other beings.”
‘And… what do I gain in return?’ you ask.
Akam grins. “I won’t say for the sake of my own amusement, but… I promise you, on my nature as a djinn, and on my earnest fondness for you, that, it will be a useful benefit. Yet I will say no more.” He nods as he says this. “Choose now, Master, if you wish to trade one of my earlier gifts for something new. Unless, of course, you would rather keep both and continue along as you were.”
He halts from there and waits, watching you.
You start to wonder: what do you want to do?
Written by Hollowpages on 12 November 2020
Trade an ability