Deeper. Now, do exactly as I say: make a right. A left. A right. A left. Another right. One final left. Now, do you see the gaping mouth of a tunnel? Look closely; do you notice a tiny plaque laced with bio-luminescent plankton, inscribed with the combination ‘1E9’ on it? If so, that tunnel is the one that will lead you to me: not my half-lion, half-leafy sea dragon neighbor that raves incessantly every single day of the year (which explains the noises that you’re hearing), not my other equally annoying mermaidian neighbor who attempts to stab everyone with her trident (she could be lurking around you, in the depths), but me. Trust me. You would definitely not want to meet them. I am giving you one chance, so…are you coming in, or not? I could close the door to my tunnel in the blink of an eye, leaving you alone with them...
A) Go inside the tunnel. B) TRY to leave. There is no guarantee of safety.
This is for the creatures or humans who chose Option A. If you chose Option B, scroll until you see it. Do not be afraid--it's just a tunnel, after all. Nothing suspicious, just a tunnel under water instead of earth, under the threat of tremendous pressure that can crush and pulverize an average human within a minute, or even seconds. Do not be afraid--it is perfectly safe here. Am I sarcastic, you ask? Maybe. Maybe not. What matters is the listener, after all. Do not be afraid, and keep swimming forward. Forward. Forward. I told you not to stop! I know why you stopped, though, and I somewhat understand. Not many creature or humans like you visit the deep-sea, anyway, and you were most likely pondering your decision to swim inside. You felt and still are feeling a dark aura in this tunnel, and you are thinking that it comes from me. I have the answer to your unsaid question: it is not because of me, but rather the guardians inside of my tunnel: cookie cutter sharks. They are literally as dumb as rocks, and slaughter anything that hesitates, so move. You are almost there. Almost…almost…stop! Turn towards the large door embroidered with assorted undersea gems, glowing lanterns, and fangs, and then…
. . . What wonders lie embedded in the depths! I've discovered many things--secrets, treasure, and dying vows being some of them--and I can tell them all to you...under one simple condition. That one condition, my companion, is for you to tell me what the world above is like. I've never had the chance to visit it. I should have. But I didn't.
. . .
The young creature uttered the tiniest of warbles, as if to ask what it was doing in the depths of the sea. Silence—a hot steam vent blew a quiet black, soggy spout of smoke in the distance, but that was about it. Again, the dragonet tried, tried, and tried—to no avail. No mother came to its aid; no father returned with a fresh piece of prey. Nothing. It was alone, left to starve, to die, in a cold, dark world, far away from the high peak of its home. It was alone, and had no clue on where to go next. It was alone, and was probably going to stay like that for the rest of its life…if it could survive its first year. The dragonet scrabbled helplessly, tripping on a stray piece of age-old debris. Where was this place? Was there nothing else in this vast, pitch-black expanse? Was it…blind? It tensed. A sound—one that made its tiny, floppy ears perk straight up. It was the sound of a fin flapping in the darkness—an enormous one, by the sound of it. Wanting nothing of discovering the owner of the fin, the dragonet stumbled head-over-talons in the direction opposite of the one that it had heard the sound from. Silence. It panted, its gills flapping rapidly. And then, it heard it—a steady growl…coming from directly behind it. Petrified, it stood still, its eyes as wide as saucers, its talons digging into the ocean floor. The unknown creature snarled, its face contorting in a vicious glare. Of course, though, the dragonet could not see this. It could only hear the snarl, which set its ridge scales on end. Yet, for whatever reason, it continued to stand still. More silence. All at once, the monster began to circle it. The dragonet shivered, but still didn’t flee, afraid that the monster would pounce at the tiniest escape movement… A gush of breath, its temperature similar to that of the steam vents, hit the dragonet square in its snout. The monster had stopped circling, and now had seemed to stop directly in front of it. Only then did the dragonet realize the truest extent of its danger. The monster was going to try and eat it—and it would have no chance at all of escaping if it stayed still. It screeched, half in rage, half in unrestrained terror, and bolted (if one would count snout-planting first as ‘bolting’) in a random direction. Water gushed in all directions around it as it winged its way through the deep. Feeling an odd sort of elation, the dragonet sped up, its wings now used to the feeling of beating through the torrent instead of gusts of air. The feeling, however, was short-lived. Slam. It had hit something rough in texture, similar to what I’ve heard you, my visitor, call ‘sandpaper’. Confused, the dragonet continued to prod at the object, scratching its tiny trembling talons against it. Realizing that it could not conquer this barrier like it had conquered the burden of switching from flying to swimming, the dragonet emitted an angry squeal, its gentle scratching turning into long, crazed clawing. At that, something hard, also of the same texture, slammed into its face, driving it backwards. Unknown, sharp objects pierced its delicate, soft hide. The dragonet screeched. A metallic scent filled the water around it, and to its own dismay, the dragonet realized that the scent was that of its own blood. Upon instinct, it kicked hard, its back talons making surprisingly deep contact inside of its adversary’s lower belly. The monster retaliated, snapping its jaws perilously close to the dragonet’s face before deciding that it would be better to clamp them down on one of the dragonet’s pint-sized wings. This time, however, the dragonet held back its pain, knowing that screeching was of no use. It had to fight, fight like its life was on the line—because it was. Upon opening its mouth, it issued a series of fierce cries, each one escalating in ferocity until one transformed into one of the grandest sounds it had experienced making until then: a roar, a dragon’s form of challenging the dominance of another creature. The monster replied in the form of a tremendous roar whose tones swelled the longer it held it—and also unintentionally released its prey from its grasp. Unphased, the now bold dragonet advanced towards the roar, hissing ferociously and baring its tiny teeth. That dragonet, my companion, was me. I was and still am in a place where I never should have been in the first place…and I have survived. . . . I was what you could call the “ugly one” from a batch of two eggs. My egg was like a pebble—flat, smooth, and oh so grey. Travelers that wandered by my parents’ nest questioned why they would keep careful watch over my egg—it was that ordinary compared to my sibling’s lustrous, emerald-turquoise one. Eventually, that egg hatched, and then they gave up on me, thinking that while inside the egg I was already dead. They abandoned the nest, trekked somewhere else with their one and only new dragonet. And then the traveler with the pink shoes came. She was lost, and spotted the “pebble” in the square center of the nest. She grabbed it, placed it close to her lips in hopes of returning home, and threw it, threw it far across the vast expanse of water the nest was close to: the Great Sea. And, like a pebble, my egg skipped, skipped a couple hundred steps before finally sinking beneath the surface. I heard that the traveler got home safely. But at this point, I was even more lost than I already was. My parents had abandoned me, thinking I was the weak one of the batch. My egg had been tossed out far across the largest sea anyone could ever think of. I should have died. I should have. But I didn’t. Instead, I hatched, and was forced to face the dangers of life that were almost as great as the Great Sea itself. The first was the monster. The second was finding something to eat. . . . The world was still dark. The cold currents still beat cruelly against the dragonet’s wings as it struggled through, batting wildly with its talons in search for prey. But the Great Sea lived up to its name—it truly did see everything, and watched, though not tenderly, over the development of this wretched young creature. The Great Sea could not have been a better teacher. It was harsh, but brilliant. With each day, the dragonet drifted ever further from the remains of its egg, driven by the churning, bottomless pit in its stomach called hunger. It was losing its strength, and fast. Upon its third day of swimming it suddenly stopped, its ears perked. A shuffling sound, a chance at food, at last! Upon instinct, it held back. The shuffling was getting closer. Closer. Closer. Closer. Very close, but not quite close enough. The dragonet growled in frustration. It couldn’t hold its insistent hunger back much longer. Its stomach churned with the longing for a meal, a meal that its parents were supposed to bring it—a meal that it never should have had to catch on its own. Still, it held back…until the crab, startled by the growl, began shuffling away from it. Crazed, the dragonet chased blindly after it, gaining and gaining with every flap of its wings, before it pounced. Spikes: one of the dragonet’s many terrible enemies. They easily punctured through the still-soft skin on the dragonet’s palms. It yelped, but, still determined to eat, didn’t let go, its talons scrabbling desperately against the crab’s hard shell. And that was when the pincers came in. Each one, ridged with small spikes similar to the ones on the crab’s shell, pinched down on the dragonet’s soft talons as hard as it could. The dragonet screeched, and, finally, let go, gaining nothing to eat but losing the power of its two front talons. It sat there, with no one to comfort it or its stomach, as it was forced to hear the crab shuffle away into the distance. It didn’t even know when it would come across something edible again. It had missed its chance. But there was one important thing it had gained—experience, if it could live to use it. The dragonet trudged limply on the ocean’s floor before collapsing and curling up, burbling in agony before snuggling its head firmly against itself. It shivered through the unforgivingly cold night, though there was no visible difference between night and day to it or any of the other beings of the deep other than the fact that prey began moving towards the surface. The dragonet, however, did not notice this. It was blind and tired, and the prey was quiet. It had, yet again, missed its chance. It woke up, starved to the core. The bottomless pit in its stomach now began to burn, as if it was threatening to swallow the dragonet. It could barely get up. Its head was beginning to sag in a droopy, hopeless way, and its talons slid against the powdery sand it was sleeping on. (Work in Progress)
Credits (in order of usage): Miss-Toxic-Slime, polishboyy, Mairu-Doggy, fishystamps, and FantasyStockAvatars My Current Art Status:
Commissions are closed. Ask me about art trades. (Or, in some cases, I ask the creatures or people that I want to trade with.) I only gift the creatures or people that I choose to gift. Orb credits: kayosa-stock Some Intriguing Stamps:
Special note: Please know that neither my current avatar nor my profile picture are what I myself have created. They are the creations of other artists, and if you know who any of the artists of these works are/are one of the actual artists him or herself, please notify me as soon as possible by sending me a note. In this way, I can give these unknown artists the credit they deserve. Thank you.