Why do they always ask…



She freezes above a shallow pool of water, right as her Light is pulled from her in a sudden, giddy sort of rush. Her shell parts and spins. Goes round and round as the steady pulses of her Light turn into a bright, vivid beacon.

Her Guardian. She’s found them.


Unfortunately, she’s found them right above some water. Its surface is all wrinkled now, starlight glancing off the ripples where her Guardian landed and fell right back into the wet.

But it’s a… small patch of ripples. She freezes and turns her eye down. Turns her light on. Not her Light light. The normal light. And catches sight of a mess of thick, mottled brown… fur. Wet fur. Lots of it.

A bright, pink tongue hangs from an open snout lined with sharp, white teeth — and a set of big round eyes set on her. And then her Guardian starts wagging his tail. Wags it so hard, he splashes water all over the damn place.

“Oh bother,” she says into the night and shrinks into her shell.

“His name is Splash,” she informs curious Guardian number 74.

Who, unfailingly, gets his face licked when he hunkers down to ask Splash Whose a good boy?!

Which they always do, and she shifts her shell around before puffing it out in mild annoyance.

“I don’t understand why you all have got to keep asking that,” she complains. “Of course he is. The Traveler wouldn’t have chosen him otherwise, would she!”

Splash agrees. He huffs up a bark and his tail picks up its pace to record wag levels. Then he jumps back. Gets his butt up in the air, tail still going, and barks up a loud and deep and throaty bark. He has a very handsome bark. Yes. Very.

Arf. Arf. Arf he goes, until she finally sighs and scoots over with a roll of her shell. She transmats one of his favourite balls down in front of him.

“Would you mind?” she asks. “But careful with the edge.”

The Guardian nods and grins, scooping up the ball and chucking it across the square. Splash bolts after it. Literally. Bolts. Lightning crackles in his wake.

And the Guardian is still grinning. A wide and toothy grin. Which, she admits, is a far cry from the furrowed brow and thin frown he wore before Splash padded up to him, honing in on him like he knew.

Because, yes. Splash is a good boy. He’s the Traveler’s Goodest Boy and the whole Tower is better off with him.

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