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The Unexpected Catch

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On a bright, sunny day in Ninjago, Garmadon decided to do some fishing. He loved to fish and he had gotten himself a pretty nice fishing boat. Donning his aqua tee-shirt and some blue jeans, he set off to his favorite fishing spot. Once there, he got his fishing pole baited and sat back in his very comfy chair and waited. For being a former warlord, one would think Garmadon would not enjoy something as peaceful as fishing, not to mention the patience to wait for a catch. However, after Garmadon gave up his evil ways, he had gone fishing with his son, and found that he really enjoyed the slower pace.

On this particular day, Garmadon caught quite a few fish. He grinned as he pulled up his tenth catch. "This will make a great fish fry tonight," he said to himself. "I'll have to invite Koko and Luh-loyd over for dinner." The former warlord still lived in his volcano as not that much time had passed since he gave up his conquering ways. Koko wasn't ready to have him back in the apartment, and Ninjago City wasn't comfortable with the former warlord living within the actual city limits. But Garmadon was hopeful for the future with Koko, and he enjoyed his volcanic lair. Luh-loyd came over to visit a lot, which was nice. Garmadon showed his son his sharks, which were surprisingly friendly.

"Well, that's probably enough for one day," Garmadon said proudly, as he was getting ready to pull up his pole back onto the boat. But suddenly, the line jerked violently, and Garmadon had to grab it quickly to keep it from going into the ocean.

"What the?" he asked as he pulled on the line and on the other end was something he had not expected to see: a baby shark was hanging at the end of the line, thrashing wildly.

"Oh my goodness!" Garmadon cried, seeing that there was a bit of blood coming from the little guy's mouth. "I'm so sorry," he went on trying to free the shark. The hook was stuck really good. Even four hands wasn't enough to get it loose. Not without hurting the poor baby shark anyway.

"Hold on, little guy. I'm going to help you." Deciding that he couldn't get out the hook right then (he needed some special tools back at the volcano), he cut the line and gently placed the shark in some water in a container he had on the boat. Just in case.

Rushing at high speed back to the volcano, Garmadon carried the precious cargo to his volcano and up to his lab. Once there, he grabbed some equipment and gently started working on getting the hook out of the baby shark's mouth. The little shark seemed to realize that Garmadon was trying to help him. At last, Garmadon succeeded in getting the hook out and breathed a huge sigh of relief.

"Wow, that was scary, huh, little guy?" Looking into the shark's mouth, he saw a tear where the hook had been. Blood was leaking out the shark's mouth, but at least it was slowing down.

"Well, there's only one thing to do. I'll keep you and nurse you back to health until you can go back to the wild. How does that sound?" he asked the shark, petting its head gently.

The shark, who enjoyed the petting he was receiving, leaned in as much as he could towards the former warlord.

"Aw, you're so cute! I need to give you a name. Hmm...let's see..." Garmadon stared down at the shark, who was now nibbling the warlord's little cup hand with the cutest little shark teeth.

"I think I'll call you 'Small Teeth.' Like that?"

The baby shark nuzzled against Garmadon's hand in response. "Great! Now, how about I introduce you to my other sharks? I promise they are really nice and you'll have a ton of room to swim!" He picked up the container and carried it gently over to the place where his other sharks were. He had created a wide open spot for his sharks that he had. If they wanted, they could go out to the ocean and come back, which they often did.

Garmadon knelt down and splashed the water. "Come here, my beauties. I've got something to show you." It didn't take long for all six sharks to come swimming over to him; 3 girls and 3 boys. They all crowded around the former warlord and rolling over, were asking for their belly rubs. Garmadon happily complied.

"Now, I have someone to introduce you to. His name is Small Teeth. He's just a baby, and he's hurt, so be really nice to him, okay?" Garmadon told the sharks, who seemed to bob their heads in understanding. Then he carefully placed Small Teeth in with the other sharks who investigated the little guy. Soon enough, they were all swimming together playfully.

"Have fun!" Garmadon called as he watched them with a wide grin.
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Garmadon took really good care of Small Teeth. He fed him all the choicest fish and after watching the other sharks get belly rubs, Small Teeth decided he wanted them too, which Garmadon was all too happy to give. He also kept checking the little shark's mouth and was so pleased to see it healing up well. He even read to him at night before going to bed, which the little shark seemed to enjoy immensely. Small Teeth also enjoyed the company of the other sharks.

All too soon, it was time to take him back to the open ocean. As sad as it was, Garmadon knew Small Teeth belonged there. It was amazing that in the two weeks he took care of the baby shark, how much he had grown. After getting Small Teeth settled in a bigger container full of water, he put him on his boat and off he went to take him back to where he found him. His six other sharks swam beside the boat, wanting to see the little guy off as well.

"Well," Garmadon said to Small Teeth once they arrived, "this is it. You take good care of yourself now. And stay away from fishing hooks." The baby shark bobbed its head. Garmadon carried him to the edge of the boat and dumped him into the water. The other sharks nosed him goodbye, brushing their fins against Small Teeth as he left. One flaming tear rolled off Garmadon's cheek as he watched him go.
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Six months later, Garmadon decided to go fishing again. He settled down in his usual spot, when he spotted something out of the corner of his eye. A large black fin was coming towards him.

Garmadon was trying to place where he'd seen the fin before, when a large shark raised its head out of the water. It was nearly as large as Garmadon's fishing boat, which is to say around eight feet long. The warlord gaped, wondering whether he was about to make a new friend or fight this behemoth for his life, when suddenly the shark stopped.

It looked Garmadon in the eye, then the shark's black eye widened in recognition.

"Wait…" Garmadon said, right as the shark took a flying leap out of the water and onto the boat, rocking the ship violently. It landed on top of the warlord, wriggling happily.

"Small Teeth?" Garmadon asked with a grin on his face. The shark bobbed its head. "Wow have you grown! You look so good!"

Small Teeth gently nibbed Garmadon's arm, tickling more than anything. The warlord laughed and pet the shark's nose. The shark then leapt back into the water, rolling over to show his belly, silently asking for a belly rub which Garmadon happily gave him. "It's good to see you doing so well," he told the shark, who was loving every minute of his belly rub.

After a while though, Small Teeth rolled over and began nibbling Garmadon's hands.

"Oh, is that how you want to play, huh?" Garmadon asked, grinning mischievously. Small Teeth wagged his tail and let out a little growl. The two began wrestling back and forth, not at full strength of course, Garmadon could totally destroy Small Teeth if he wanted to.

Finally, Small Teeth let go and sank back into the ocean, leaving Garmadon panting on the boat.

"I'll have to tell Luh-loyd about this!" Calling his son, he arranged a time to meet him.
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"What's this all about, Dad?" Lloyd asked when he saw the warlord.

"I've told you a lot of fishing stories about the one that got away, right?" Garmadon started.

"Yeah?"

"Well, I'm going to tell you a story of the one that came back! It all started when I was fishing one day…" He told Lloyd the whole story.

"Wow, that's really cool, dad. And he still remembers you?"

"Yeah. Crazy, right?" Lloyd nodded. He still didn't totally understand his dad's ways with sharks, but it was pretty neat.

"Want to meet him?"

"Sure, why not?

Garmadon took Lloyd out to where he had seen Small Teeth. Soon enough, the shark came up to the boat, and leapt out of the water, tackling Garmadon to the deck, wagging its tail happily. Then the shark opened its wide mouth and latched onto Garmadon's arm.

Lloyd gasped.

The shark growled and wriggled, tugging Garmadon back and forth.

"I'll save you, Dad!" Lloyd shouted, hurrying to his dad's side, ready to punch the shark in the nose.

But Garmadon was laughing. "No need, son. This is Small Teeth, the shark I was telling you about. This is the way he greets me!"

Lloyd raised a questioning brow. Small Teeth? Those teeth look pretty big to me. Besides, what kind of shark tackled and bit you as a greeting? But sure enough, Garmadon flipped the giant shark over and rubbed its belly until it let go of his arm. It kept nibbling on his hand though, with giant sharp teeth, Lloyd noticed.

"Don't worry, he doesn't bite hard. It's more of a love bite. Small Teeth-this is my son, Luh-loyd. Luh-loyd—Small Teeth."

"Hi, Small Teeth," Lloyd said, reaching out his hand to pet the shark. Small Teeth leaned into Lloyd's hand. It seemed he could sense the two were related. Fortunately, he didn't bite Lloyd's hand off.

"He just keeps getting bigger every time I see him," Garmadon said, sounding like a proud shark parent. "I'm just so glad he still remembers me."

I don't know how he doesn't crush your ribs or sink the boat, Lloyd thought, but out loud he said, "Well, you must have made a good impression on him."

"I guess so," Garmadon agreed. Small Teeth jumped back into the water, nearly tossing Garmadon and Lloyd into the ocean as the boat was knocked back. Garmadon just laughed.

"Magnificent, isn't he?"

Lloyd wasn't so sure, but Small Teeth rolled belly up, and he couldn't resist giving the shark a belly rub. Small Teeth slapped his tail against the water happily, until finally he swam off. Father and son talked some more and then headed back to the volcano.

From then on, every time Garmadon went fishing, he would be greeted the same way every time by Small Teeth, who seemed to keep growing every time Garmadon saw him. If Small Teeth was the size of the fish boat before, he was now closer to the size of a large cargo ship. But despite his monstrous size, Small Teeth kept his heart of gold, never biting too hard, or exerting enough force to sink Garmadon's boat. The two played for hours, wrestling and biting until it was time for Small Teeth to go back to the ocean again, and Garmadon loved every minute of it.