The Other Book of Changes
Codex Entry #2097d1

Luciel Galabieh, shy and dark-haired, was an inveterate klutz. All gangly elbows and knees, she never quite got the hang of the whole walking thing. People in her hometown of Costa del Mare were impressed by her serious, airy demeanor and sea-green eyes, but the impression would always be broken when she did something like trip over a quarter-inch threshold or got thrown from a grocery store coin-op horse.

In the water, though, Luciel was a creature of extraordinary fluidity and grace. Whether as the star of the Imperial Regional School’s Swimming Bunyips or with the University of the Rift Aquatorium, she amazed onlookers both with her mastery of the butterfly stroke and her tendency to slip violently on even a slightly damp poolside surface. Frequent broken bones from high-velocity contact with poolside tile and an extended stay in traction after what others would only refer to as The Melon Baller Incident kept her out of the top tiers of the sport, either as a professional Aquanaut or an athlete competing in the Imperial Spartakiad Games.

While nursing her latest bruise or plaster cast thanks to not having her land-legs, Luciel would go out to Costa del Mare Point to watch sealife pass by. Often (if her land injuries permitted) she would end the visit by jumping off the point and swimming home. More than one of her acquaintances (she had few friends) heard her murmur wistfully about “swimming forever” before walking into a lamppost or missing the first (and all subsequent) steps of a staircase.

Eventually, Luciel appeared at Costa del Mare Point carrying a syringe from GesteCo, where her father worked as a geneticist. Despite tripping over a guardrail and a skateboarder on the way there, she had managed to avoid stabbing herself with it; Luciel injected the contents into her gangly arm at the elbow and dove into the sea.

Underwater, Luciel’s skin quickly acquired a dull grey sheen, while in a last awkward motion she popped out of her now-unnecessary bikini with a rapidly growing fin and tail pushing it aside. Luciel shivered from growing bottlenose to swelling flukes as gangly, bony limbs streamlined into fins and tail. One last look back and she was off to swim forever, leaving the empty syringe of GesteCo experimental dolphin DNA serum for others to find.

Luciel the dolphin returned often, particularly to help anyone who fell into the sea and was as clumsy in the water as she had once been out of it.

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