Of or Pertaining to Brainstorming
Lancer dove into the water, aimless. He wasn’t pleased with this since aimlessness never worked well for him.
The middle, he should go there, except where was that? Lucky for him the water was crystal clear, but he still had no specifics on where to find this moonstone pearl. A pearl came from shellfish, and most lived in oceans. The ones that didn’t were small and easily shrouded in the depths of most waters.
He swam deeper, relying on the gulps of air he’d sucked in before immerging. If he could find the bottom of the reservoir, he’d at least have a better chance for success.
As it turned out, the water wasn’t too deep; on a hunch he’d say fifty yards. Deep enough, though, that the pressure from the air in his lungs hurt his chest. He pushed the pain aside, focusing on his search.
The farther he swam, the darker the water became. Looking up he saw a contorted view of the sun overhead, twisted sparkles convoluted by the water. If only he could sphereshift, this would be so much easier, but he dared not risk it. Last time he’d tried, electric sparks magnetized his body and he found himself sprawled on the floor of a classroom with desks toppling onto him, their metal frames drawn to him.
Jaylee had saved him, or at least she’d tried to help as best she could. What kind of person would he be if he didn’t return the favor?
He was thinking about this, becoming somewhat depressed despite his best efforts to turbocharge his adrenaline and be awesome, when a massive lid blocked out the sunlight and clamped down on him.
The world darkened. Trapped underwater with no way to breathe, Lancer panicked.
It came as a shock when he sputtered, forgetting he shouldn’t scream, and then the sound came out like any other scream. He breathed water, finding it as simple as air. Odd? Perhaps he was a prodigy water breathing sphereshifter without realizing it.
A glassy sphere illuminated his surroundings, shining light upon his predicament. The lid above remained clamped tight, trapping him against a ruddy, squishy floor. He pressed his feet against the floor as a test; it felt—or this was his assumption—like a tongue. The sphere lay in the middle of the tongue, black in color and emitting swirling incandescence.
Moonstone pearl? It seemed a likely candidate. He swam over and grabbed it thinking he could figure a way out afterwards.
The pearl had different views. It spoke.
“Woe unto thee! Who intrudes upon the water sphere god’s domain!”
Lancer froze. He stared at the pearl, confounded by the physics(metaphysics?) going on. How could it talk?
The pearl―or something―cleared its throat? Did pearls have throats? “You want the pearl, correct? You’re late. I’ve waited too long. The last person to arrive came―huh, one hundred years ago? That’s a long time.”
“Excuse me,” Lancer said, polite as possible. “Pearls aren’t supposed to speak.”
“I’m not a pearl, you idiot, I’m a clam.”
Lancer glanced downwards. What he’d mistaken for a floor with the texture of a tongue, was definitely a clam’s fleshy insides. The lid? The clamshell’s top. That explained the wavy shape at the edge of his confines.
None of this lightened his mood. In fact, he felt worse. How else should he feel with a giant clam eating him?
“I shouldn’t have said that,” the clam said.
“Shouldn’t have said what?” If a talking clam wanted to devour him, Lancer thought it could at least be conversational beforehand. Proper etiquette or something.
“I meant,” the clam said with the utmost authority, “I’m a god.”
Lancer didn’t buy it. “You’re not a god, are you?”
“You’ve put me in a spot. Strictly speaking, no. I know sphereshifting, though. I feel this is exceptional enough to guarantee godhood.” The clam hesitated. “Will you believe that?”
Lancer didn’t even care. “Today,” he said, “has been terrible. First my sister misleads me and forces me to travel under awkward arrangements, then weird pheromone sphereshifting sends me head over heels for a girl I don’t particularly like―she’s nice, don’t misunderstand―and then some fancily dressed man imprisons us, tosses me into this lake, and tells me to find a moonstone pearl or he’ll kill Jaylee. She’s the girl. And now you’re eating me, so can we do this? Things can’t get worse.”
“Oh,” the clam said.
Lancer waited, wondering how clams ate, hoping it was painless. Crush food with their tongues, or melt it to pieces with acid? Neither sounded painless, which upset him. Perhaps sphereshifting clams ate differently, though.
“I wasn’t eating you,” the clam said, sounding awkward about the confusion.
“If you’re not eating me, why’d you trap me?” A valid question, Lancer thought. Also the clam lied about his godliness, so why not about this?
“You looked like you could use a breather. Also this pearl is heavy. After holding it for so long I’m looking to get rid of it, start new projects, you know?”
Lancer didn’t know, but he nodded nonetheless.
“You sound depressed. Can I help?”
Lancer laughed. A clam who made magical pearls wanted to help him. The entire concept seemed ridiculous. “I don’t see how you could.”
“Do you have a lot of time? We could concoct a plan?”
“How long have I been here?”
“That’s difficult. I prefer simplicity. The sun rises, sets, and that’s a day. Not long? Sixty ticks?”
Lancer blinked. “What?”
“You know? I knew a watch once. It fell into the water by me and ticked. Sixty of those.”
“Ohhh.” That made sense. “A minute?”
“If you say so.”
“I have two more of those. Less considering I need to swim to the surface, too.”
“One hundred and twenty ticks. Let’s do this in ninety. That seems good.”
Lancer couldn’t help but feel that a clam, no matter its extracurricular abilities, had a lot to learn about sense of urgency. “If you say so,” Lancer said.