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Backstory

        One of Pupuro’s peers told her that he lost his knife after going to the shore. “We looked around the shore but couldn’t find anything so we went back to search among the trees.” Upon hearing that, Pupuro scanned across his body, embarrassing him. She saw white powder on his cloth shoes; intrigued by it, she took a pinch of it and smelled it — it was salt.


        “They didn’t find it on the shore...Could the water have swept it away?” Pupuro murmured to herself. She returned to the shore by herself and walked along the shallow region of the sea with half of her legs under water while she searched with a lantern. When she walked up to a pile of reefs, she saw something shimmering in the distance. Pupuro decided to take a closer look and found a knife stuck between two reefs.


        “It must have been swept here by a tidal bulge.” Filled with happiness, Pupuro took out the knife. Suddenly, a growl rang from behind her. She immediately turned around and saw a turtle looking at her.


        “Excuse me, do you know where little slug is?” The turtle slowly asked. Pupuro could not comprehend its question; she could not handle all the peculiar things that were happening today. “Little slug...?” Colors of blue and white appeared in her mind: “Ah! It once crawled on me!” The turtle replied, “It took shape on the reef you cried on and then dived into the water. I have not seen it since then.” Upon hearing the word “cry”, Pupuro could not hide her embarrassment and blushed: “I...If so, I think it’s still in the water. I’ll go look for it.” She inhaled a deep breath before diving into the water to search among the reefs, only leaving behind a clear “plop”. The sea was smooth and boundless. Finding the “little slug” was like looking for a needle in a haystack.


        When she was about to return to shore, she suddenly found a blue and white object stuck on her sleeve — the sea slug she saw earlier today! However, the slug on her sleeve was as small as her finger, reminding her of when the slugs merged to become a larger one. Maybe this one did not make it in time to join the others and stayed on her clothing. Now that it’s in the water, the tiny slug could swim away from her and toward the reefs. Thinking it was a clue, Pupuro followed it.


        Just as she had expected, the tiny slug was swimming toward the sea slug. It turned out that the sea slug was stuck between two reefs. Pupuro tried to yank it out, but it used up a lot of her strength leaving her out of breath. On the verge of drowning, she could not help but open her mouth to breathe...


        “What?!”


        Pupuro had closed her trachea to avoid drowning, but when she was struggling from the danger, she suddenly felt power flowing through her ears, nose, and throat. Breathing in water felt smooth like breathing air on land. Even she was shocked by this turn of events. She placed her hands on the two reefs and with a forceful shove, the reefs broke into halves! The sea slug caught in-between was finally able to escape from the rocks and was brought back onto the shore.

        Even after climbing back onto land, Pupuro was too excited to calm down. The shock she received in the sea was still affecting her, causing her to think again: “Could this be my distinctive power? My gift is the power of water?” On the contrary, the sea slug coughed after getting out of the water, resembling a child who had just drowned. After spitting out the water, it regained its liveliness and bounced toward Pupuro. The turtle watched them as it shook its head and said: “This fella was born in the sea, but can’t live in it. It can’t be helped.” At that moment, Pupuro was busy thinking. She blankly gazed at the sea slug and recalled her life: she was born in the woods, but she knew she did not belong there, so there was the tree-jumping incident. She felt empathetic toward the slug and determinedly said, “I will help you!” The slug climbed onto Pupuro’s shoulder like a docile child and waited for Pupuro’s next move...

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