I occasionally tap into the energy of my parents’ house to do a quick check on the wards there. When I did this a few months back, I noticed that there was a new presence hanging out in the pool. I finally got the chance to astral journey there and see what’s up.
I use my altar there as an access point to the house and step out into my room. I say hello to the land guardian who doesn’t even look up from the book that he’s reading as he sits on my bed. Leaving him, I make my way outside to the pool where a hippocamus with aqua-colored scales quickly swims to the far end away from me. His fishtail undulates through the water like a seahorse’s and his translucent, dark blue mane floated in the air like steam. As I sit down on one of the nearby chairs, he nervously glances over his shoulder multiple times as if to keep checking if I were still there.
“Hello,” I finally say, breaking the silence. “Ah!! I’m sorry!! I’ll be leaving right away,” he skitters over to the edge of the pool and hastily throws his webbed hoofs onto the concrete trying to hoist himself out. “Woah, woah woah! You don’t have to leave!” I exclaim as I move over to him to try and coax him back into the pool. Up close, I realize how small he is, no bigger than your average-sized human. He doesn’t respond to my urges and instead keeps struggling to pull himself out, “No, I’m sorry! I don’t want to be a problem or burden!! Sorry to bother you, Captain, uh…?”
“Doom, Captain Doom,” of course I give him the name that I actually use with spirits and not the comical nickname that my friends gave me. I don’t think I’d be taken seriously if I went around calling myself “Captain Doom”. However, I’m entertained by how he called me a captain based on my pirate attire and decide to talk to him about my ship and the only crew member that I currently have. My stories calms him down a bit and he relaxes back into the water.
When our conversation reaches a lull, I ask where he’s from. “The beach!” he chirps. “The beach? What are you doing here then?” I question. The beach is only at most 10 minutes away from the house so for a hippocampus to choose to live in a small pool over the wide open ocean struck me as odd. “Because the pool is warmer,” he answers. I shake my head, “I don’t believe it. How can this pool be hotter than the ocean? I mean there’s the solar panels but I can’t see them helping that much.” Silly me forgot that while, yeah, a smaller body of water will lose heat faster than a large one, it’ll also gain heat faster. “It’s true! It’s true!” the hippocampus exclaims as he enthusiastically bobs up and down.
“Aren’t you supposed to be in a herd or something? I can’t imagine a hippocampus would like travelling alone,” a voice from behind me interrupts. I turn around to see the land guardian leaning against a wall with crossed arms. “What?” he says, “I just wanted to see how you were going to handle the situation.” I step away from the hippocampus and approach the guardian, “And what is your opinion on it?,” I ask. “I want him gone!” the guardian growls while cutting his clawed hand through the air, “He doesn’t belong here and I don’t need him bothering the residents.” The hippocampus speaks up, his voice weak and cracking, “B-But Mr. A and Captain Doom, I haven’t hurt anybody! I haven’t eaten anything and I don’t try to talk to anyone. I just like the warmth.” As he finishes, he meekly shrinks down into the water, nervously awaiting our response.
“You haven’t eaten at all?!” I ask in surprise, “But you’ve been here for at least two months! What do you even eat?” He quietly answers, “Kelp. That’s why I haven’t eaten anything.” The guardian impatiently beats his wings, “Don’t get distracted, Captain,” he says my title with mocking distaste, “This creature cannot be allowed to remain here.” He jabs a finger in the direction of the hippocampus and declares, “You must leave come the first day of summer. I think that’s a pretty generous date.” Turning back to me he says, “Captain, can you ensure that the hippocampus is gone by the first day of summer?” It was more of an order than a request but I would have said yes either way.
“Good! Then it looks like my work is done here. Ha! It seems like I handled the situation for you, Captain. Say, since when did you start going by “Captain” anyway?,” he plays with the feathers on my hat as he asks that. “There’s been a lot of changes since we last met,” I answer. “I’ll bet,” he steps back, spreads his wings, and takes off, flying away. I direct my attention back at the hippocampus who speaks before I do, “I’ll be gone by the first day of summer, don’t you worry!” He says that while looking completely worried himself. I wonder if he’s afraid of something at the beach or if he’s scared to be without his herd. I decide not to ask just yet and instead offer him food. I tell him that while not kelp, I do have nori in the house and fetch it for him. The nori is too thin for him to eat, he can’t chew it as he’s used to and it just sticks to his teeth.
I offer lettuce for him to try instead but he’s suddenly wary of my largesse. “Why are you giving me so much food? Do you have some devious plan?” he questions. “What are you talking about?” I ask in confusion. “You must want something if you’re being this nice to me,” he explains. He can’t bring himself to look me in the eyes as he states that but he still feels a little more confident than before, or maybe just serious. Since I want to make his future departure a smooth transition, I decide that having an amiable relationship would be a good idea. So, I hopped to my ship in the astral and my one-member crew and I harvested some kelp for the hippocampus to eat. I brought it back to him but he still regarded it with fearful suspicion. I decide to just to bet on time giving me the chance to improve our relationship and left.