Instinct was an inborn trait of all living things. It developed organically, as one of the three stages of mental progression for life, the first of all: instinct, then emotion, then thought. That said, for a creature born inorganically? For the river slime, instinct wasn't apart of its development. There was nothing in its physiology that demanded an inherent protocol to follow as a response to a situation. For the river slime, its actions were all conscientious and done with reason. So why did this stuffy, uncomfortable feeling well up inside?
Just moments before, the river slime was trudging through a forest. It met a strange individual, kind but awkward. A kindred spirit, if the slime was being completely real with itself, and for all the years the creature had yet to live, that was one bit of wisdom it could easily face, something people with centuries in their bones could not. But, setting that aside. After the encounter, another chance meeting with a body of water became an irresistible desire to frolic and play. The slime hopped onto swamp and settled into its comfortable embrace, before abruptly realising it had soaked up the entirety of the swamp.
The slime felt bad, knowing that the ecosystem would be harmed if it took away a large water source from the area. With haste, it expelled the contents from its body, in the process propelling itself upwards and into the sky. In fact, due to just how much water was spilling out, the slime propelled so high up, it could see a crater not that far beyond the swamp--maybe a few miles or so, but if the slime kept a good pace, hopping over was an easy task.
Thus, after draining itself of swamp water, the river slime quickly traversed over, and without much hesitation, hopped into the crater. And during that action, only at the last minute did the slime realise that the hefty energy signature in the middle of the crater was not in fact something that was usually there. A black haired man who seemed tall--that is, if he weren't sitting down--focused intently on his surroundings. His visage didn't seem too foreboding, but the energy quantity in him--that was a subject of interest.
It wasn't the strongest and highest the slime had ever come across--after all, for all it was new to, the slime had several millennia worth of experience. But, it was trained, like he could tap into it at a moment's notice, readily and powerfully. It caused a sense of discomfort, in the river slime, and a tinge of admiration and yearning. Power was attractive, after all. Seeking strength was easier done by seeking the strong. But more than that, the slime was made uncomfortable by the tension and seriousness in the man.
He looked--no. To the senses of the river slime, the man felt troubled. Like something heavy weighed on his mind. The river slime was attuned to the emotions of people around it, and so long as it had an energy signature, their feelings usually seemed clear as day. The expression "it shows on your face" was an understatement for the creature. A sense of sympathy welled in the slime's figurative heart, and with little hesitation left, it hopped over to the man to ask how he was doing.
But in the middle of its approach, another energy signature was approaching. Just behind the slime, a girl approached with some speed. At her words, the slime became confused.
Eh? He's a crater enthusiast? What's that? Is that why he's so troubled about the crater? Ehh?!? Someone killed themselves recently?! Who? Wait, wait, wait--that sounds really heavy. Can I actually ask someone about this? Is that okay? Wouldn't I seem weird, or intrusive, and they'll look at me poorly?? I-I'm so confused now!
And here we are now, the slime now inbetween two people, its anxiety flaring up in its figurative chest. In response, out of cowering from the situation and societal pressures, the slime melted into a puddle of water, as if trying to backtrack its previous intentions and meld with the surroundings, avoiding contact.
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