He looked up at the doorway through which light was shining through and the green thing, that might have been meat, and began walking over to it. Where Haix had carefully made her way around the cages, broken and intact, he marched straight through them all, stomping them flat beneath his weight in moments that shocked him into briefly stopping the first time it occurred. It was just as she was slinging the sack over her shoulder, ready to race off to where she stored the poisons and ingredients she collected when the halfbreed emerged into the light. There was none of the hesitation of before in his movements, and Haix took a step back, unsure of how far she could get before he sent a bolt of lightning to char her. Assuming, of course, that he did not just decide to move a little faster and kill her in a more bloody fashion. 61
There was a rattle of his crest, and Haix mimicked him, ready to go out screaming defiance to the end. He paused then, no accompanying hum as Haix had expected, but the sound of rock grinding on rock. She looked down at his hind leg as he rattled his crest again, looking almost confused, the source of the rock sound not some new horror the halfbreed was about to unleash upon her but something she really had not wanted to see now.
A very, very angry mining familiar.
Walker bit the stump-like leg, the mass of which would have seen him stomped into a pile or amethyst dust had he not also dug his gemstone claws into the beasts leg as it lifted into the air. When a few stomps failed to dislodge the intruder, the halfbreed turned away from Haix to better examine the hunk of rock that was desperately clinging to his leg. 62(Note: Walker is not gaining levels here.)
Haix darted off, the sack held tightly as to avoid spilling its contents as she left Walker to deal with his fate. Or that was she should have done the instant the halfbreed turned his large head to figure out what was annoying him, full well knowing Hopper would likely prove to be an adequate replacement when it came to navigating the mines. Walker was just a living rock anyways, without blood or a heart to make him anything more.
And yet, here he was fighting something that could have killed him without even noticing. She did not care if it was for the stupid gem she had left in his cage. The cage that the halfbreed had smashed while Walker nearly shivered himself into dust while hiding in the next room, still shivering as he watched Haix stare at her own death and lunging at the beast only then. That scrap of reasoning eluded her just as the reason she did not immediately flee. 63
Instead she watched as a particularly rough kick dislodged the gem drake, Walker’s grinding scream cutting off as he hit the ground and rolled. He was still struggling to right himself as the halfbreed sniffed him, earning a nip on the nose. Grunting, the halfbreed lifted one of his massive forelimbs, ready to bring it down an the stupid rock that hurt it.
And instead let out a whoosh of air that sounded almost like a whimper as something burned his leg. The leg smashed back to the ground, and only Haix’s yells kept Walker from leaping back in to nip at it. The dagger pulled free of her hold,falling from a blackened hole in the halfbreed’s hide as it spun to face her with a great deal more speed than he had shown for most of week. Haix was still yelling for Walker to stay as she ran from the halfbreed, the sarane-gug mix’s greater speed mitigated by the doorways and turns. 64
She still had her precious few seconds lead when she reached a room with larger cages than any of the ones before, having destroyed her chances of having time to poison him when she stabbed him in the leg. The cage was smaller that the large one he had been kept it, lacking the dirt ground and mesh of its predecessor. What it did have were thick metal bars, the poles just as strong as those in the previous cage, though she could only hope it would be enough to hold him.
He rounded the corner as she got the door of the cage open, skidding to a stop inches away as she flared her frills and angrily screeched at him. Unlike the drake she had cower once with the same action, the halfbreed merely rattled his crest, lifting up one heavily armed forelimb to crush her as he had tried to do to Walker. Her hands tightened on the mouth of the sack. 65
She swung the bag of grains at his face, the tough material romhow not ripping completely open as it slid across his horn. The weight of the bag was such that she could barely swing it, but the impact was enough to silence the halfbreed and force him back one step.
“[Food, you stupid glutton,]” she snarled at him, throwing the sack of grain as he bleeind arm protested, the sack opening to spill grain across the floor of the cage. Now was the part she would have to leave up to the gods and dumb luck. Would he see the blood that ran down her arm, the way she clasped one hand over the injury and decide she was the better meal? Or would he be as lazy as he always had been, and figure out that maybe she was not worth the effort? As insulting as it may have been to be passed up for grain, she hoped he would. 66
Hours went by as they stared at one another, her frills held fully open as she glared at him, his crest rattling without the damning hum that she would have met with a shriek and one final attempt to claw out his eyes so that he would not win completely. Or so it felt, for soon there was a rumble from him that did not come from his throat, and the halfbreed walked into the cage to begin eating the grain and the bag that had contained it.
She quietly inched the door shut, pushing it against his tail to force him to pull it in so she could close it. Walker appeared once more to gnaw at the bars or the cage, but she grabbed him as the hum returned, leaving the halfbreed to his meal as she left to clean up the mess he had made and see to her arm. 67
Prodding at the wound brought tears to hear eyes as she inspected it, ignoring the rumbles of the tiny gem drake that had followed her. The exhaustion hit her as soon as she had finished cleaning and dressing it, the bandage tied off just before she caught herself on the edge of the desk. She laughed then, loud and hard, not caring if it drove the halfbreed to strike out at the bars of his new cage if he heard her. What a fight that had been, a completely unprepared for hunt that had almost ended her life. She had not had such fun since the fight with the beastkin, the scars of which still crossed her hide.
Still laughing, stumbling a little from exhaustion, she checked that the halfbreed was no longer going to be roaming around breaking things, then called over both mining familiars and placed Hopper back into her surprisingly undamaged hanging cage. Walker was given a new one, his small trove fished out and place within with the door left open for him to enter when he wanted. 68
The halfbreed settled down too once he had finished licking up the last few pieces of grain from the floor of his cage and washing the whole thing down with as much water as the smaller trough held. With that done, he curled up the best he could, wincing when his singed hide pressed against a bar. He licked at the wound once, the wound an ugly mark on his scales but mostly superficial, his tongue not detecting the tang of blood.
Haix check on him after confirming Walker had not suffered any serious cracks, watching as he turned and turned again before lying down. Confident he would not be making another escape attempt, and making sure she had plenty of sacks of suitable plant matter on hand, she collapsed into her bed of sand, working her way into it before drifting off to sleep. The wrecked cages were something she would deal with during the next day. 69
The next day was dedicated to cleaning up the mess that had been made the night before. Hunks of twisted metal that were once cages meant for smaller creatures were dragged out, literally so as Haix pulled the twined cages across the ground. She had to stop twice, the first time replacing the bandage on her arm and the second to see that the creatures were fed. The second break lasted a little longer than the first as she dragged in the food meant for the halfbreed, shoving what she could through the bars and over the food trough when he failed to do anything more threatening than rattle and snort. A good amount of the food spilled to the floor within the cage, and she left him to deal with that mess.
The inspection of the larger cage showed how the lock and hinges had sheared off, and she made a request to the soft-skins that ran the kennels for both a repair and to fortify the hinges and lock. 70
Her time with the halfbreed was lessened for a while, the longer periods of practicing with her weapons and reading replaced with short visits once a day to make sure he had food and water. A better part of those days saw her collecting what plants she could while they were in season, and trading with others of the soft-skin hive for what was not. One never knew when sarane would come back into fashion after all, and she wanted to see that her stocks were replenished.
Busy as she was gathering more supplies and seeing that the damaged rooms were properly repaired, she did not notice that the beast failed to attack her any of the times she entered to feed him though he watched her. Nor did she notice that he had begun to eat before she left the room. She had no intention of letting him out, not when this cage was self cleaning and the damage he wrought so recent. 71
She did dedicate a little bit of time each day to ensure the dagger burn was healing properly. The flame dagger had been found smouldering on the ground, free of any traces of blood after the flame consumed it, and she wanted to see if there were any lingering effects on the halfbreed from the wound. It was healing as she would have expected a superficial burn to do, the scales peeling away in a series of flakes after a little while, the scales beneath looking just as yellow and healthy as the rest.
Which suggested the crafter of weapons and armor had not been lying about the blade’s nature. There was no exaggerated limp, no clouding of the eyes or lack of energy, as far as she could tell when dealing with a beast that preferred to loaf around at least. Nor did the blade do anything when she left it close to his cage one night. 72
With the dagger put away and his wound healed, it finally dawned on her that he had made no attempts on her life recently. There had been no blasts of thunder, something she would have attributed to him realizing the cage walls would not let through his attack, and neither did he snap or swing his tail at her as she might have expected with being so close to the cage.
She thought back to the night of his escape. Had he ever actually directed a beam of lightning at her? He certainly had rattled his crest at the end, but it had never taken him so long to fire off a bolt back when he had been caged. It could not be that he had felt sick, for he had freely zapped the smaller cages as they were knocked about the room unwittingly by his movements. Perhaps then it was time to take a few more risks. 73
That first new risk nearly cost her a hand. Approaching the cage with a bag of carrots in tow to feed him with, for she never had found the carrot she had mistaken for her dagger, she had at first be appropriately cautious. The carrot was held as far from the greenery as she could, waving only the green inside the cage to attract his attention. The halfbreed approached the carrot, not a particularly demanding task as the size of the cage meant he only needed to take a single step, and sniffed it without bothering to open his mouth.
She chattered at him now, mentioning a few words she thought might serve as suitable names, growing bolder when her words failed to be interrupted with a hum of electricity. The soft-skins had plenty of words in their Common language to describe him, from lazy to glutton, though she was tempted to pick a random word on its sound alone. 74
It was around this time that she grew impatient, the beast still doing nothing but sniffing the root, and she stabbed it at him like a dagger. He did not shy away as the book had warned her, but he did open his jaws and snap at her hand and the carrot, the latter left behind as she jerked her hand free an instant before she lost it. The other carrots she was more patient with, though it took some time before he would take the next set from her hands rather than waiting for when she threw it in the cage.
It was still days more before she felt confident that he would not snap off her hand. He even was recoiling when she would snarl a quick no at his more vigorous attempts at taking the carrot from her.
It was even later than that that she dared to open his cage as he watched her. 75-((Tamed. Levels counted.))
Riku: Oh how perfect! I woke up wanting to post (unexpected, but yay) and saw I had a reply. <3 Meant to be.
May 26, 2020 6:40:43 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I really, really love all the updates that have come~! <3
May 24, 2020 2:12:37 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: np!!! I hope y'all like it!
May 23, 2020 13:45:06 GMT -6
Riku: What an awesome update, staff! Thanks for that! <3
May 23, 2020 12:06:52 GMT -6
Jack: All have been found!
May 23, 2020 9:53:27 GMT -6
Jack: Might want to be on the lookout for anything... odd
May 22, 2020 23:51:22 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Yeah it’s definitely a coincidence but wow did it work out well for us! XD
May 22, 2020 6:43:27 GMT -6
Silver: I'm pretty sure that was just a coincidence, but it sure feels lucky!
May 22, 2020 2:07:09 GMT -6
Riku: So did you guys make this hosting switch perfectly RIGHT before pb broke? >.< Thaz crazy. It’s a huge relief and I’m very glad we’ve come to this. <3
May 22, 2020 1:41:01 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: It’s free up to a certain number of GB, which we haven’t hit yet.
May 21, 2020 6:46:33 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Is the site that is going to be used to host all those images also the type you'd need to pay for? (definitely noticed the broken images yeah. Photobucket feels like it is standing on its last legs. X3 )
May 21, 2020 0:13:57 GMT -6
Morgan: I'm just kinda nervous about them going down before things get moved over completely. It's prolly nothing to be worried about though. :3
May 20, 2020 22:13:15 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Thank goodness we're moving out of there? XD
May 20, 2020 21:59:22 GMT -6
Renathan: Ugh, photobucket has the images broke again. x3
May 20, 2020 21:18:53 GMT -6