Water spirits. We never get any respect.
How so, you ask? Well, whenever people want a good harvest, they start pouring all kinds of offerings onto the ground for the earth spirits. Storm coming? They build altars for the wind keepers. And if a volcano erupts, they throw their virgins in.
But does anyone give a hoot about water spirits? Of course not. Forget the fact that we wash everything, water everything, and help everything grow. If we get anything, it’s usually garbage. Literally.
And it’s not like we ask for much. Just a little peace. Take me for example. I keep watch over this beautiful spring-fed pool. I clean it, keep the spring in working order, and I give away a lot of free drinking water to the local wild life. The surface is so smooth that you'd swear it was glass. Plus, it's tucked away in the mountains, so it had stayed pretty much undisturbed for a long, long time.
Until she came along.
She called herself the Empress. Because, technically, she was. She also had an unhealthy obsession with the way she looked. Her rigorous beauty routine included facials, hair treatments, massages—the works.
But the one thing that really did wonders for her was bathing in my pool, on account of all the rejuvenating properties in the water (thanks to Yours Truly). And because of that, she claimed the whole mountain and barred it from everyone else.
Now, I didn't mind it so much in the beginning. After all, birds bathe in my pool all the time. So her being there didn’t bother me. But something seemed strange when she started staring at her reflection. Never mind that she had a full agenda of government affairs to handle. She'd spend hours at my pool. Staring.
It was straight up creepy.
When the staring started scaring my pet fish, I made a rare appearance and asked her, "Are you all right?"
“GAAAHHHHH!” she shrieked.
The fish freaked out and hid at the bottom of the pool. (Trust me. Fish can scream.)
"Who are you?" the Empress demanded. "And...what are you?"
Okay, I get that not many spirits manifest, so it can be alarming to humans at first. I remember this one winter, I come across this guy when I was visible and his screams started an avalanche and threatened this town and—well, it was funny to me.
Anyway, the Empress demanded again, "Who are you? I thought I forbade anyone else from coming here."
"Relax,” I told her. “I'm a water spirit. This is my pool."
"Your pool? Don't be absurd. I own the mountain. I made a legal claim. That makes this pool mine."
I laughed. Because, you know, humans can be ridiculous. "I was here long before your ancestors, dear lady. I think that makes it my pool."
"No, it makes you a tenant," she said. "I should charge you rent."
See what I mean? No respect.