Wa Shi didn’t know where in the hells he was. Everything got a bit hazy after he ate the thing The Boss had given him. It sure put some pep in his tail, whatever it was! His jumps had reached new heights. He thought for a moment that he could even reach the moon! He longed to taste it. The Boss had once said that it was made out of cheese. He had never tasted cheese before, but The Boss wished for it, so it must taste good. Everything The Boss gave as tribute to him, for guarding his pantry against interlopers other than himself was very, very tasty.
Would it be hard and crunchy? Soft and smooth? He couldn’t wait to have a bite.
He was in some sort of cavern, deep underground. The light was dim, but he could feel just fine, thanks to his whiskers. Nothing underwater could hide from this daddy--or his mouth! He was truly at the apex of the world in the water! All should bow down to his might!
This cavern was dark and rocky, but the water was fresh and clear. No real life here. Blech. No little tasty bits in the water, or plants to nibble on if he got hungry.
He swam forwards confidently. Anything that was around him would surely quake in terror at his magnificence. If they were tasty, they would be eaten. If they were not tasty, they could live. Such was the way of the world.
There was a pulse through the water. Wa Shi shot immediately down to the floor, burying himself in the muck, with only his whiskers out to sense for danger. They twitched, searching for movement.
There was nothing.
….he hoped nobody saw what just happened. Curse his instincts! They served him well, but sometimes they caused embarrassing things to happen. With no incentive to be brave, he would rather run and live to see another day. There was no food here, and there were still many tasty treats to try!
Now he just had to find his way out of here. He rose from the muck, but did not bother to shake himself off he may need to hide--that is, tactically retreat in the future.
His whiskers twitched.
He picked a direction, and started swimming, slowly, in case there was anything in the water. He would defeat it and eat it!
He flinched as he felt the pulse again. He steeled himself, against the feeling of pressure, and the unknown.
He turned around, heading in the exact opposite direction he felt the pulse come from. Obviously whatever was making the water move like this was in this direction. He would bravely confront it!
But the cave was confusing, even for his impeccable senses. There seemed to be no way out, in this direction. He meandered along the walls and through the muck. The pulse happened again, from the same location. He grimaced. He would have to go towards it. He advanced cautiously, nay prudently, towards where the pulse was.
This path led out of the little cave, and into a forested over marsh. This part did taste good. He drank a little of its plants on the surface of the water.
There was another pulse, and his head whipped around to find the source.
It was a large turtle, his shell covered in moss and other plants, asleep on a small island of raised ground. There was a peach tree upon the island, in full bloom. Astoundingly, even though it was blossoming, it had fruit upon it.
The turtle snored. A pulse hit.
This… this bastard! He dared scare--inconvenience the Great Wa Shi!? He courted death! There would be turtle soup in his future! His bones would be broth, and his shell a fine, decorative bowl!
He glared at the turtle. He glared some more, trying to see how he would defeat it. His eyes wandered around the garden, on the plants in full bloom, yet also with many fruits. How strange.
He huffed. His opponent was clearly skilled, he had no openings, even when he was asleep! As he was not certain of victory, he would allow the turtle to live another day, as he was a magnanimous, and kind dragon.
Instead, he would spend his time on more productive things. Like ransacking the turtle’s garden.
He crept up first to some of the berry bushes, and sampled them. These also tasted good. Spectacularly sweet. He moved onto the next one.
And the next one, and the next after that, eagerly taking his tribute. He idly wished he could take larger bites like Pi Pa, the saucy wench, but she had confessed that the more she used the ability, the less she tasted, which was completely unacceptable. Food was to be savoured.
He stripped blossoms, supped upon berries, and even lept out of the water to catch some of the insects flying around. Through it all, the turtle continued to sleep.
Wa Shi’s eyes once more alighted on the plump peaches, practically dripping with juice. He approached with great stealth, for Wa Shi excelled at all tasks he put his mind too. Not that he used it to hide from Pi Pa, or other’s retaliation when he stole some of their food. No, he was merely excellent at this skill through pure chance.
He pulled himself with his fins, a silent, hidden expert. One on land, he calculated the distance using some of The Boss’ math formations. If he placed his fin here, and used this much force, then the arc should--
He flipped through the air as if he was born to be there. Like he had already mastered flight. Like the dragon he was!
He landed gently upon the branches, and began to eat his fill. He gorged himself on the sweet fruit. Ha! This was truly just revenge for the turtle daring to have such treasures, yet be unable to guard them!
He ate happily, yet his chewing slowed. There was something…. Off.
He realized. There had been no pulse or snore from the turtle.
Wa Shi froze, his gaze turning to the turtle, who was staring at him with sleepy eyes. Wa Shi finished his peach, and spat out the pit.
Wa Shi grabbed another peach, and started chewing faster. The turtle raised an eyebrow.
“Oh, by all means, little dragon, eat your fill.” the turtle rumbled, looking amused.
Wa Shi’s eyes widened. The turtle had called him a dragon! He would be spared the soup pot, for showing him such respect!
“Hmmmm. It has been a while, since I last had a visitor. Many, many years.” The turtle mused. “How did you reach this place?”
Wa Shi shrugged.
“Oh? A chance encounter? Then you are doubly blessed.” The turtle hummed. “Pass me down a peach, little one. This one is hungry after his long sleep.”
Wa Shi slapped the turtle a peach with his tail.
They ate together, Wa Shi in the tree, the turtle on the ground.
“What be your purpose, little dragon, your goal in life?”
Wa Shi snapped a bug out of the air.
“To laze and eat?” The turtle laughed. “Oh, not to defy the heavens?”
He would defy the heavens when he found out what the moon tasted like.
The turtle chuckled again. “You don’t think small, do you, little dragon. But the whole moon? Such a thing is folly.”
Wa Shi scoffed. Why would he eat the whole moon? He just wanted a taste. What kind of idiot would eat everything now, and not leave some treats for later?
The turtle seemed very surprised.
“You have some wisdom already, little dragon. This one apologises for underestimating you.”
Wa Shi slapped the turtle another peach.
The turtle pondered a moment.
“Well, I would have something for you, if you would listen to this old turtle.”
The water in the lake rose, as the turtle took a breath. It formed into many streamers, each floating through the air, and sparkling with light.
“What would you do with such skill, little dragon?” The turtle asked.
Wa Shi slapped his fins against the tree excitedly. He would unscrew the jars without breaking them. He would pluck fruit from the trees, without having to jump from the water. He would float through the air upon streamers of power!
Oh, and he supposed he would water the crops too. Those needed to grow, so that The Boss could offer him tribute for being such a selfless guardian.
The turtle smiled.
“Ohohohohoho. Your “Boss” sounds like an interesting one. You have good thoughts, little dragon. Come, let us meditate upon the nature of water together.”