“What do you mean, old friend?” you ask the axolotl. You have many questions after what you’ve just seen – a gardening tortoise? a frog sewing? a talking axolotl? – but you feel a familiarity here, and hearing ‘old friend’ tugs at your heart.
The axolotl tilts her head, the flower hat sliding off-center. “The pond is magic,” she says, “and only people with goodness and curiosity in their hearts can visit us. A lot of friends and strangers visit, but sometimes they forget about the magic in their hearts. So, the pond’s magic pulls people here to remind them of that magic in them.”
You aren’t quite sure what to say to that but the axolotl just smiles and nods knowingly. “You are here, and that’s all that matters. But, I want to introduce you to everyone, just in case.” She turns back towards the pond, a bounce in her step. “Gen! Varian! Come and meet our friend!”
Who are the inhabitants at The Quiet Pond, and what kind of magic do they do here at The Pond? Thankfully Xiaolong loves making introductions! Don’t be shy and say hello.
Xiaolong the Keeper of Magic
Xiaolong (小龙) is the Keeper of Magic in the Pond and is, indeed, a very pink axolotl. Nowadays, things are quite quiet here so Xiaolong mostly ensures that Gen’s plants are growing well (sometimes giving the plants the boop that they need) and Varian has enough materials to make their costumes. However, Xiaolong’s biggest job in the Pond is to share with you the latest books she’s read. In other words, you’ll see her whenever there’s a book review!
Xiaolong’s favourite food is xiao long bao (share with her some of your xiao long bao and she’ll welcome you to the Pond forever), she loves seedlings growing by the pond (she thinks they are very cute), and performing magic that makes people happy. In general, Xiaolong loves a lot of things, but don’t ask her if she has a nickname that’s easier to pronounce – she likes Xiaolong, thank you very much.
Gen the Tortoise Apothecarist
Meet Gen! Gen is the Tortoise Apothecarist at the Pond, and is in charge of the herb garden here. If there’s one thing that gets Gen excited and happy, it is growing new plants and sharing the produce and flowers with The Pond’s visitors. That’s why when you see Gen, he will be sharing with you some of the art or graphics from his garden – just for you!
Obviously, Gen likes tending the pond and his herb garden. Gen used to grow herbs for magic craft, but now he mostly grows spring onions and ginger for Xiaolong’s dumplings as well as watercress – his favourite snack! Gen also likes a nice sunny rock, clear water, and when people ask before they can touch his shell.
Varian the Toadshifter
This is Varian and they’re a Toadshifter! When Varian was just a tadpole, they were in a muddy puddle: they didn’t know what they wanted to be when they grew up. So they decided that they’d be everything – a mage, a warrior, a necromancer, a hunter – and decided they’d learn all kinds of magic. (Xiaolong nudges you and says, “Varian is a very powerful Toadshifter!”) That’s why whenever you see Varian, they will have a lot of books to recommend. After all, Varian has to be very knowledgable to be a Toadshifter!
Varian loves cosplay and creating their own costumes – magic and sword craft isn’t the only craft they know! In saying that though, Varian doesn’t think you have to be the best costume to be the best – they believe that having fun and loving what you do is the most powerful kind of magic.
Amina the Hedgehog Bard
“There’s also Amina,” Xiaolong says. “She’s not here today though, but I’m sure if you stay for a little bit longer, she might come and visit us.”
“Is Amina magical too?” you ask.
“Yes!” exclaims Xiaolong, a serious look in her eye. “Amina is a very, very powerful hedgehog. You can tell from her pretty her pins are. But don’t worry, she is very nice.”
This is Amina, the Hedgehog Bard! She isn’t a resident at The Pond, but she does visit to say hi to her friends, share a few stories from her travels, and replenish her magic as a magic bard. When Amina isn’t here in The Pond, she is visiting other magical lands, making new friends, and learning different types of music-magic. So if you catch Amina in The Pond, Amina will be sharing some of her wisdom through bookish or psychology-related discussions.
Thank you again for visiting!
I hope you all enjoyed meeting the inhabitants of The Quiet Pond. Hopefully you will get to see them often, and if not, you can always revisit this memory and see them all over again.
But wait – your heart starts to tingle, and suddenly a small and magical sprout appears before your feet! It seems that a new section of The Quiet Pond is now open to you: Features! You haven’t made any new memories with the Pond yet though, so come back once the inhabitants have shared some of their magic with you.
Over your next few visits to the Pond, Xiaolong will be sharing with you some of her favourite books of all time. (She thinks the best way to get to know someone is to share your favourite things, after all!) So we hope you will visit again soon.
Until your next visit, take care and happy reading!
(Xiaolong will be on the lookout for someone new to join The Quiet Pond soon! If you are interested in being a co-blogger and are keen to join The Pond, don’t forget to subscribe or follow The Quiet Pond and visit us so you don’t miss the information and application post. A post will go up in the coming days detailing the co-blogger positions.)