Ahead of them, the gargoyle paused, body angled towards a break in the wall. It was narrow, barely wide enough for a person to walk straight through, but seemed to be a branch off tunnel. He turned his head briefly towards Vixen, and without awaiting input, forged ahead through it, disappearing sideways. "Juke- ok. I guess we're doing this." Vixen hesitated outside the narrow opening, looking longingly towards the wider tunnel path ahead. Was it worth dipping in here? Maybe Juke sensed something she didn't... or maybe he was just investigating every nook and cranny. Theoretically, this trip was for exploration purposes, so that's precisely what they should be doing, but saying something and doing it were two different things, and faced with such a closed off space, well Vixen would rather they not. Still, she had to follow him, lest she lose her gargoyle, and so with a heavy sigh, she gently pressed Qi closer to her neck to ensure the young Wiurn would not be scraped off by the wall, and walked forward through the rocky crevice. The tools strapped alongside her back dinged against the opening in protest, but luckily once past the entry, the path was marginally wider, wider enough that her tools would not get caught, at least.
Being that the tunnel was so narrow, Vixen's flashlight flooded their surroundings, illuminating every pebble and crack in the stone around them. Though this shaft, too, was reinforced with wooden beams, they were much narrower and further spaced than that of the main tunnel, and Vixen tried to will herself into believing that this path was no less stable than the rest of the mines. She was deeply paranoid about cave-ins, and each trip into the mines was a test of her nerve, moreso than any monster she'd ever worked with. Luckily, her companions shared no such anxiety, and Qi was absently chewing on locks of her hair, occasionally defaulting to tug at Vixen's earlobe, earning a wince and a tossed curse to shake her off. Juke, meanwhile, was striding confidently ahead of them, the light scarcely holding the gray borders of his smooth tail and textured wings. He led a good six meters ahead, seemingly unconcerned about Vixen's ability to keep pace with him, though he did sporadically seem to glance over his shoulder. She tried to be flattered by this, but Vixen couldn't quite shake the feeling that he was more so keeping tabs on her shoulder monkey than herself.
Assuming Juke had formed any sort of attachment or interest in the young Wiurn, it certainly wasn't the worst thing in the world, was it? She had other Wiurn babies to offer him, even! Perhaps she would bring Lore down here next; he would certainly be easier than his half sister. No, it wouldn't be the worst thing, but... I want him to bond to me.... Wait, am I jealous of a baby lizard? Wow. How petty of me. Vixen was usually a patient person when it came to critters of all shapes and sizes, but even still, she was spoiled and accustomed to being instantly liked- often, instantly adored. There was no reason for this gargoyle to have such an attachment to her, though- after all, she hadn't even been the one to find and tame him in the mines! No, she had sold her drake and acquired Juke; he barely knew her, and moreover, being a wild animal, there was no innate desire to bond or attach to a human, and he was more intelligent than the average creature. Those factors combined didn't set her up for immediate favoritism... but still. Frowning, she reached up and scratched along Qi's neck, earning a soft trill from the ornery hatchling, capturing Juke's attention somewhat as his steps faltered.