Ash had been surprised and not a little alarmed when Lugia had dragged the shorts off with a jerk of his head and then used a wing to scoop Ash close to his side.
Save your air and speak like this. Lugia thinkspoke into Ash's head.
What are you doing? Why did you take off the trunks? Ash asked.
They will not be needed and would only hinder you. Lugia stated. The proof you seek will require a lot of swimming.
Can we surface for air? I'm running out! Ash said. Lugia immediately took him to the surface, and as he took a breath, he couldn't tell how far out they were, but he couldn't hear the sound of waves breaking on the shore.
Close your eyes and just relax. Lugia said. I want you to imagine that you are like me. Feel the sea flowing over your back and tail. There is only one way to prove what I say and that is to show you an ability that you only have by virtue of my blood in your veins. Take a deep breath now, we are going back underwater. For this to work, you must be close to me and fully immersed.
Impatiently, Ash complied. He didn't know what all this strange mumbo-jumbo meant, but if it meant he got his proof, he'd go along with it. Closing his eyes, he tried to feel the flow of the sea, imagine he had a tail and feel it, move it, feel the sea flowing over it. Listen carefully and see if you can hear the sea singing. Concentrate on sensing the balance of Fire, Ice, and Lightning, the harmony of the world.
I thought that was your job. Ash said.
It is, but you should be able to sense it too. Quiet, and listen, and feel. Lugia had such a tone of authority in his voice that Ash kept his eyes closed, and concentrated on feeling and listening for the things that Lugia told him to.
After a while, Ash could indeed hear that the sea was singing. It was odd, now that he knew it was there, that he had never heard it before. It was beautiful! He could also, as Lugia had said he would, sense the intertwined and harmonic weave of the energies of Fire, Ice, and Lightning. He Opened his eyes, and was surprised to find that his eyesight had changed. Usually his underwateer sight was all blurry, but he could see clearly, looking at the Shellders and Chinchou around and below him. He guessed that the cleanliness and clarity of the waters around Shamouti had to be the reason.
We should surface for a breath now. Lugia said. Ash was surprised to find hew wasn't having trouble holding his breath, and tried to think back to how long he'd been underwater. Bewildered, he was sure it was more than a few minutes.
As Lugia rose, he abruptly lifted his wing, and Ash found himself unsupported. Startled, he used his arms to strike for the surface, felt his feet push against the water too, and saw a pair of white wings, like Lugia's, but smaller, one either side of him.
Lu? Is that you ? he asked, truing to peer down below him. He got an impression of a blue and white chest and large white feet before he accidentally somersaulted. Striking for the surface again, feeling disorientated, his head broke the surface and he breathed out the old stale air and took in fresh. He realised he couldn't see the big Lugia again, but those smaller white wings, either side of him, were there again.
"Lugia?" he called out audibly, or at least that's what he meant to say, but what came out was a higher version of a Lugia cry. An answering call came from ahead, and Ash struck out for it, soon hearing surf on sand and feeling the sand under his feet. He staggered up the beach, feeling very heavy after his long swim. His arms felt very heavy, and he realised with alarm that his hands were dragging along the beach, and hurriedly pulled them up. As he made his way up the beach, he could feel the sand sticking uncomfortably to his feet and tail, and twitched irritably.
Wait a minute! Ash stopped abruptly.
I don't HAVE a tail!
The thing is, he could feel it! He bent around, and when he saw his big white body, with back-plates sprouting from it, with the white tail with two blue feathers sprouting from near the end, everything he'd felt and heard slotted into place.
He didn't understand how, but somehow, he had become a Lugia.
Yes, it is something that you, with my blood in you, can do with my help. You have two bloods running in your veins, and as part Legendary, you have the ability to switch between the two forms, but at first only with my help. There is at first a limit on how soon you can change back to the other. I am afraid that you will not be able to change back to your human form until you have eaten and regained your strength for about a week.
A week? Ash asked. But what about my family?
You can go visit them, but I would not give away your true identity just yet. It might spook them too much, but surely your son would love to meet us? Lu
I guess he would, at that. Ash said. He was terribly tired, and starving hungry, but it seemed Lugia had anticipated him, and caught him some fish. Ash forced down his human revulsion, for his new Lugia instincts were telling him that the slippery shiny thing was delicious. Closing his eyes, he accepted it, and was gratified to find that it helped assuage the hunger in his stomach. Lugia passed him another, and Ash ate it, then noticed that there was a pile of fish on the shore.
The islanders were happy to leave this here for us. Lugia said. I asked Tobias to leave it available. Ash allowed his hunger to guide him, and was soon feeling full and happy, but extremely tired. He found his instincts were guiding him and he was not worried so much about his family anymore. He could tell them, using his new Lugia telepathy, that he was safe without letting them know that they were talking to Ash-as-a-Lugia. He gave a happy little sigh that came out as a small Lugia-ish cry.
Now you must rest. We will be safe enough here, the islanders will not allow us to come to harm. Ash turned his head, and noticed a lit window with a silhouette in it. Ash smiled inwardly, He was a happy little Lugia with a belly full of fish, and he was exhausted.
Taking his cue from big Lugia he curled up on the shore and was soon asleep. Big Lugia moved to lie next to him, lay his head by Ash's, and soon slept as well.