Moya and Egan stood in the infirmary, planning their next move.
“I can heal it up, but then what? We cast it back into the ocean?”
“That could be it, but what do we say to the town? They know there’s something in here.”
“We can’t show that monster to themm, it could lash out and cause chaos!”
Egan looked over at the “monster”, who was taking rolls of bandages from the basket and stacking them on their lap. “I doubt anyone will be too scared by them.”
“You don’t know that,” Moya whisper-shouted, “we need to approach this carefully!”
“Maybe we ask them what their intentions are?”
“And how do you suppose we do that? Can you speak fish?”
“No!” There went his plan to blubber at the fish until it understood something. “I have a much better idea.” He set down his halberd and took tentative steps towards the fish creature. They noticed him right away, backing up against the headboard. Egan quickly put his hands up in a peaceful gesture. The fish person stared at him curiously for a moment, before doing the same. He stopped at the foot of the bed, hands still raised. They stayed completely still, staring at each other for what seemed like an eternity. The fish initiated the next set of signs: with the hands still up, they made slow grabbing motions. Egan mimicked the movement cautiously. The fish person beamed, flashing a row of razor sharp teeth.
“What on earth are you two doing??” Moya interjected from the door.
“Shhhh! I think they like me!”
“It’s just copying what you do. That hardly counts.”
The pair was interrupted when an armor-clad woman entered the infirmary. “Egan. Your presence has been requested.”
Egan looked to them then back at the fish person, who was now hiding under the covers. “Moya… please be nice to them.”
“I’ll try… but if that thing tries anything I swear-”
The two had already left, leaving the fish and Moya on their own.
Liwliwa poked her head out from under the covers once she heard the door close. Only the anxious ape creature remained, standing at the door frame. It paced back and forth, muttering under its breath and looking from the door to the outside and back to the bed.Without any warning, it stopped in its tracks, spun around and left the room.
It returned with a small bowl and spoon in hand. Slowly, it drew close. Liwliwa raised her hands again, like the metal-clad ape had done, to show she didn’t mean any harm. It seemed surprised, but returned the gesture with one hand. Once the bowl was set in front of her, she got a good look at what she was being served: a strange-smelling, brown mush. ‘Yuck.’ Liwliwa looked up at the ape with a disgusted expression. It gestured to the mush then flashed a quick thumbs up. She understood that! Still doubting the edibility of the meal, she picked up the spoon and took a tentative taste. Warm, sweet, a little sticky… but overall delicious. Now realizing how hungry she was, she began shovelling spoonful after spoonful of the weird mush into her mouth. It wasn’t long before the bowl had been scraped clean. The ape, who had been watching the scene in horror, carefully took the bowl from her hands. It pointed at the inside. ‘More?’ Liwliwa flashed two big thumbs up.
Egan returned to the infirmary to find the fish creature downing a bowl of porridge. Moya sat at the end of the bed, peeling an orange. “It’s their third plate. They were starving.”
“Aww, finally warmed up to the fish?” Egan teased, setting down his halberd again and sitting next to Moya.
“I have found that the fish isn’t a threat, that’s all. I still don’t like them.” Nevertheless, she set the peeled orange in front of her in the now-empty porridge plate. The fish looked at it curiously, then let out a high pitched squeal. Egan and Moya jumped to attention. It was pointing at the orange and waving its hands around.
“What is it doing???”
“Maybe they’re trying to say something to us??” Moya leaned in, trying to make sense of the excited blabbering. The fish person began signing writing. “Do you need paper?” They tilted their head, confused.
“I can get the paper!” Egan stood up and ran to the office in the infirmary and snatched up paper and ink. He shoved them into the fish’s hands. “Write it!”
The fish stared at the paper and ink, then started drawing. A small lump with palm trees… an island; then a scribbly ring around it. A small boat, with a smaller fish person on it holding a small circle- the fish person pointed wildly at the orange, then back at the circle. Their hands flew over the paper, rushing to depict her story. An arrow went from the boat, through the ring and out. Slowly, she scribbled out the boat, and after a beat, the eye of the fish. To finish off the drawing, they drew another lump and pointed at the two of them.
Moya and Egan looked at the paper, then at each other.
“There’s another island? I thought it was just the Fog over there…”
“Well, has anyone ever sailed beyond it?”
Egan stood up, already heading for the door. “We need to get them back home! That island is probably full of its fish friends and family!”
“Woah woah, slow down,” Moya stood too, grabbing his wrist, “don’t you think we should tell someone?”
“...yea, you’re right. Then let's do that!” He pulled Moya along to the door.
They both stopped when they heard a scared squeak coming from the bed. The fish person was looking at them, confusion in it’s eye. Without thinking twice, they both flashed her a big thumbs up. They smiled and did the same.