The Missing Link
A planet called Azurea - a world much like our Earth, except the surface being completely covered in water, with very few visible islands. Thus, as one might expect, the planet is almost exclusively inhabited by fish and other aquatic animals. Among the most notable are four intelligent species, living in different parts of the world. Bubblies are bubble-like creatures that wear unique head-ornaments and make their home in cities floating in the sky. Some peculiar species of Penguin possess small horns on their heads and dwell in cities and towns above the water's surface. Water Fairies are friendly and cheerful tadpole-like fellows that live in shallow waters(and occasionally on the surface), most notably in Lumii, a bright and peaceful town located on the ocean floor. Sexual dimorphism is common among this species, with the females lacking arms yet possessing tails twice as long as a male's. These creatures are capable of blowing bubbles from their mouths at any speed or quantity they so desire. And finally, the Morphos, intelligent, prosperous beings that thrive in cities at the very bottom of the ocean.
The four adorable species live together as a joyful, communal ecosystem....well, at least they used to.
For reasons long unknown, the Morphos have bared a strong sense of supposed hatred and contempt for the Water Fairies, roughhousing and attacking their villages whenever possible. While the Water Fairies were not huge fans of fighting, they nevertheless had to defend themselves one way or another. As a result, war raged for quite a while.
While the Morphos were seen as the instigators of the fights, one particular individual refused to join the battle. This is the story of one such creature.
Michael Shumway, Mike for short, is a Morpho, almost entirely different from all others. Unlike most Morphos, who have sea-slug shaped bodies, Mike has a largely-reptilian frame, closely resembling some sort of lizard, particularly a marine iguana. Like his brethren, he has the ability to regenerate parts of his body, but they do not grow back instantly, taking up to 24 hours or more, depending on the severity of an injury. Additionally, Mike cannot change his shape at will like all other Morphos, instead only being able to change color depending on his mood; he seldom gets angry. In fact, he is both a peaceful pacifist and an utter coward. More often than not, when something or someone tries to attack him, or approaches him in a hostile manner, he flies into a panic, screaming at the top of his lungs and running away as fast as he can.
But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. Let's get to his biography, shall we?
Mike's story began on the stroke of midnight one faithful day. A strange, green and purple egg on the ocean floor began to hatch. Out came a strange, green and purple creature that looked a bit like an iguana. He opened his eyes, and took his first glimpse into the oceanic world that bore him.
"Where am I?" His first words.
He looked up to see strange figures surrounding him. Their color was the same as his, but their forms certainly were not.
"Who are you clowns?" he asked them.
But before they could answer, a bubble zipped out of nowhere and took one of them down. Suddenly, more bubbles rained down on the others. Then, a group of Water Fairies showed up on the horizon; the Lumii Defense Force. Mike was in total shock; he was born in the middle of another one of their battles! The Morphos started to retaliate by firing their energy beams at their enemies, with the Fairies continuing to fire their bubble bombs as well. Even as a newborn, Mike could clearly tell what was going on. He knew that he needed to run. To the obliviousness of the warring Morphos and Water Fairies, the infant screamed and bolted away from the onslaught, running as fast as his newly-developed legs could carry him. He was well aware of what would happen if he dared to stop. Once he was far enough away, he hid behind a large coral slab. Hyperventilating, clinging his hand to his heart, he realized that he was born at a very inconvenient moment in time.
Now, being more of a reptile than his supposed parents, Mike was able to perform independent actions even as a baby! Essentially, he was a very (and I mean VERY) young adult. Not only could he talk properly and think straight right out of the egg, he knew his name, his species, what he looked like, about the world he was only just cast out into, its inhabitants, and even the war that was currently raging. But how was he able to understand almost everything that was going on around him at birth? No one knows. That is one of Azurea's greatest mysteries.
Mike was deeply traumatized by what had just happened. When he had calmed down, he started to walk away. He looked back once, and saw that the Lumii Defense Force and the Morphos that may have bore him were gone.
"Where did those guys go? Are they dead or something?"
It was a strong possibility. Mike was terrified, but showed no pure signs of mourning. He didn't know his family well enough to be too sad; everything must've happened too fast. There was no time for grieving anyway. It was time for him to start learning the ways of this aquatic wonderland and teach himself how to survive.
And it wouldn't be an easy ride.
Years down the road, Mike managed to live his life to the fullest...which wasn't very full at all. He grew not only in size, but in cowardice and seclusion. He decided not to join society, after learning of the war that was plaguing the once-peaceful undersea world. Instead, he spent much of his childhood in the wild, forced to eat roadkill and garbage in order to survive.
Even as a Morpho, Mike unfortunately lacked his species' ability to fire laser beams. As a result, he was totally defenseless, and thus easy pickings for carnivorous fish such as sharks and barracudas. Unable to defend himself, Mike could only run away screaming and try to hide. For most of his early years, he took shelter in a small cave every night in hopes that it would keep him safe. But then he realized that the mouth of the cave was wide open, and a predator would easily be able to find him. Desperate, he was forced to dig a burrow in the floor of the cave. While it did offer him better protection, the burrow was so tiny, he was barely able to move even one inch throughout the entire, miserable night. He could not walk around, turn around or even comfortably lie down. He could not even scratch himself when he was itchy.
The situation just seemed to get worse when other fish started moving into the cave. Some even started swarming into Mike's burrow, crowding him even more. The fish started to go insane from the oppressive conditions and attack Mike, forcing him to relocate and take refuge elsewhere. Despite this, he rarely left the cave, coming out only to look for dead fish or anything that seemed edible.
One particular day, Mike was out minding his own business, looking for something to eat. His wanderings eventually led him into the Water Fairy populated town Lumii. Knowing he was approaching enemy territory, Mike took extreme caution, always keeping an eye out for any Lumii Defense Force soldiers that might spot him and try to attack him.
Looking round, Mike didn't find too much food, managing only to scrounge up a few scraps scattered across the ground. He thought he was safe, but when he turned to leave, something was blocking his path. A young, male Water Fairy wearing a blue scarf and a Lumii Defense Force uniform had spotted him. This particular Fairy seemed to bear a deep hatred for Morphos, as he had a very agitated look on his face, and was getting ready to attack.
"Stay where you are, you monster!!"
The soldier shot a large bubble out of his mouth. It exploded just inches away from Mike.
Mike immediately flew into a panic. Without thinking, he made a mad dash for the exit. Screaming at the top of his lungs, the cowardly creature ran for his cave as fast as his reptilian legs would allow. The young Fairy was in hot pursuit, shooting bubbles left and right. Mike dodged and weaved from the blasts as best he could. His body was working overtime; his heart beating, his muscles pumping. He knew what would happen if he dared to stop. He had to do all he could to avoid it.
But it wasn't enough.
Just when Mike almost thought he was safe, The young Defense Force soldier fired one last bubble blast. This time, it landed a direct hit.
In an instant, Mike's tail, filled with nerve endings, was blown clean off by the blast. Shrieking in pain, he frantically continued to run until he lost the Fairy. He hid behind a building until the cost was clear. When it was, Mike slowly made his way towards his cave, limping from the obvious pain. He started crying, and looked behind him. The stub where his tail was blown off was bleeding profusely. While his tail would indeed grow back the following day, he still risked infection. When he reached the cave, he sat on his tail stub so the pressure would stop the bleeding. It was excruciatingly painful, but he had no choice. It took an average of 34 hours for his tail to grow back.
In spite of all of these misadventures and close calls, Mike managed to survive in the wilderness until he was about seven years old. Eventually, he decided that it was time for him to bid farewell to his fugitive lifestyle and join civilization. At his age, he wasn't as afraid of Water Fairies as before, but he was unsure if he should show his face in town, remembering the infamous long-running Water Fairy - Morpho war. He decided to hide his identity, going to different parts of Azurea in disguise and snooping on people's conversations out of boredom. Even in disguise, people began to laugh at him, call him names and bombard him with insults. Being a pacifist, he was helpless to retaliate.
"Hey, where did you get your scales, a dead shark?"
"Hey, everyone! Check out the dork!"
The abuse soon began to take its toll, and Mike was fed up. He decided to abandon his townsfolk masquerade and go into hiding once again. The once cowardly lizard became a miserable, lonely creature. He no longer lived in the small cave that had saved his life many times in the past, but he did occasionally come to the surface to sunbathe on rocks.
The parents he lost at birth, all the wasted years in the wild, the anemia-inducing diet, the panic attacks, the insults and abuse. Could it be any worse?
Soon, that would all change.
One lovely night, Mike was sitting miserably on a rock on the ocean's surface. Staring at the sky, he saw a shooting star streak across. Seeing an opportunity, the lonely lizard made a wish.
"I wish I had a friend."
Having made his wish, Mike continued to sulk. Suddenly, he heard a voice. The voice of a little girl. It was the cutest thing he had ever heard.
Mike was startled. He thought that voice sounded familiar. He looked round, but there was no one to be seen. Just then, he heard giggling and splashing. He didn't see anything, and he was starting to get nervous. He turned in all directions to see where the voice was coming from. Behind him, something broke the surface of the water.
To be continued.....