Of course, the smart thing to have done would have been to leave the lerrel on the cage. If the crossbreed got bored and attempted to climb its way up, it might break a leg but the information she had been able to find on the species suggested that it would not be as much of a problem as it would have been for an equillion. There was no reason to have clambered up the wall so soon, not with the crossbreed fully awake and being as, well, playful as she remembered it. The halfbreed began stomping on the body now as if to punctuate that mistake, spraying organs and what blood it had left onto the dirt.
Haix admitted to herself at that moment that climbing the cage to knock down the possibly dead lerrel had been a bad idea.
With that confirmed, she bent and contorted her hand into as narrow a shape as she could, and forced it through the bars by the lerrels throat. 31
Its blistered face resting against the bars, and as she prepared to shove it off of the fence, the lerrel moaned. It was not a loud noise, the sound barely carrying over to Haix despite being close enough to see each individual blister risen on the lerrels hide, but it was enough to make her pause.
Muttering beneath her breath, noises that would not have made any sense to the crafted creature, her hand unfolded from a fist to wrap around the lerrels throat. Wishing she had carried the dagger up with her, and hoping the lerrel’s bones would not be the strongest, she began to squeeze. She tightened her graps as firmly as she could, choking off another of its moan as the blisters ruptured and spilled their water-like filling over her hands. The death was not as quick as a dagger might have been, the lerrel yanked against the fence multiple times before an audible snap was heard. 32
At least it was a faster death than what would await it on the ground. Her hand slipped back through the fence with ease, and she began to diagonally descend as she tried to avoid straying too close to the body. The crossbreed had flattened what was left of the grubble, a smouldering flame marking where tiny prey lay. It was this stuttering flame that the crossbreed now watched, that it split open its mouth to draw into itself. The flame slithered from the body like a salaves, twisting into the maw of the halfbreed as the grubble was denied its pyre.
It saw her when she was still a few yards from the safety of the ground, nowhere to hide as she clung to the cage like a giant gecko. It charged her as she tried to climb down fasted, abandoning any attempt to find footholds and allowing her arms to carry the weight. 33
Her grip failed her with little more than a yard to go, the slickness left behind on her hand foiling her less than careful grip and sending her falling to the ground. She twisted as she fell, landing painfully on her hands and hips as she failed to get her feet under her. The impact caused her arms to buckle, and she instinctively turned it into a roll.
All of this was watched by the crossbreed in a much calmer fashion than she might have expected, and when she pulled herself into a sitting position with a groan, the beast huffed and pranced in a small circle, its eyes never leaving her. The lerrel’s body was found a moment later, and, seeming all too gleeful for a crafted beast, grabbed its tail and began to swing the dead lerrel around. Haix doubted the lerrel minded the rough treatment so much now that it was beyond feeling. 34
The lerrel proved to be a much stronger toy, and Haix left the crossbreed to swing and tear it apart as it pleased. She could not be sure of the reason the soft-skin had been so willing to get rid of it, but they certainly had not trained out any of the halfbreed’s behaviors. No marks upon the plats of its hide, no changes in its behavior, and she had traded for it back. There would be little she could do with it until she was both sure it would not wildly ‘play’ with any beings nearby, nor decide a pet clearly belonging to a soft-skin was not something to snatch up and eat.
She would figure out what to do with the beast in the morning. That was a simple enough decision, one that freed her to work on other things as the beast played, and so she double checked that the new locks and latches were in place before leaving the halfbreed. 35
She would not be played with like the lerrel. Such a simple statement that allowed the crossbreed hours of time before seeing her again. It also meant she had to spend an unpleasant amount of time around soft-skins to locate the items she wanted. Her armor would not be enough, not if the crossbreed decided to shake her around like the lerrel when it realized she lacked the strength to free herself, and a heavy bucket of water would both be completely useless if she only had one arm to slosh its contents around rather than pour and too dangerous if she managed to fully dump its contents on the beast while being dragged. Killing the crossbreed was not the goal, and had it been she would have stuck it in a much smaller cage. Less room to move around would make it easier to extinguish the flame within its armor. 36
It was much later in the day that she returned to the kennels, and she left the crossbreed to entertain itself even longer while she dealt with the creatures of her kennel and those of her trading post. It would not do for her wares to look malnourished or damaged for any potential traders that might be interested in them.
With that work completed, she looked over the purchase she had made specifically for the crossbreed, the merchant having assured her that the items would function as she needed them to. She decided to test one, grabbing the tiny scrap of rubber and snapping it onto a kennel faucet as the soft-skin merchant had instructed her, the tiny scrap rapidly inflating to a rounder shape. The faucet was shut off, the mouth of the rubber bladder tied. And the jiggly little ball of water held as she experimentally tossed it gently into the air. 37
A simple squeeze, without the rubber hide even touching her claws, was enough for the so-called water balloon to pop and splatter its contents across the ground. The resulting skin of rubber had split, its form now unable to hold water as it once had, and Haix threw it away. There was a reason she had bought plenty of there tiny rubber bladders after all, and them staying intact was not as vital as them splitting apart when she needed them to.
For the crossbreed could not feel pain, or so the meager information given on them claimed. Hitting or fighting it would not be enough to make it let go, and she was not going to pace all of her confidence in a simple flaring of frills to make the crossbreed back off. Just because that method had worked once did not mean it would do so again, especially not as she did not know what traits the crossbreed might have acquired after it was traded. 38
That night she slept well in her bed of sand, confident that her plan to avoid having a limb broken or altogether ripped from her body would be enough. The next day, after feeding the rest of her less dangerous beasts in the kennel, which amounted to the small mining creatures and one much larger and theoretically more dangerous crossbreed that lived in other rooms, she grabbed the sack of cold meat bits and left it next to the faucet. She visited the crossbreed then, its head dipped and apparently asleep despite standing, and she could not spot the body of the lerrel anywhere. What she did see was a few wide holes in the ground, the burrows the grubble had dug not deep enough to hide them from the crossbreed when it grew hungry for a snack. And in one of those shallow holes she could see the ratty scrap of brown fur that had been the lerrel’s tail. 39
One of the buckets full of water she had left in the room was grabbed, and she poured it out carefully through the gate. Some water splattered on the hard ground, some mud seeped out to join it, but there was no response from the sleeping crossbreed. She picked up the much lighter bucket one handed, rocking it back and forth as she made her way back to the room with the faucet and the meat and, perhaps most importantly, the water balloons.
For the next several minutes, she followed the same set of motions each time. The tiny balloon was latched onto the faucet like a leech, filled as much as she dared, then the water was shut off, the balloon tied, and placed gently in the bucket. That was not to say that she never misjudged how much one balloon could carry, and there was a small assortment of brightly colored rubber floating in a puddle by the time she had filed the bucket. 40
If everything went well, she would not need all of the balloons that jiggled and shifted in the bucket with every step she took, their weight slightly less than that of a bucket only filled with water. Then again, if everything had gone well the first time, she would not have needed any of the balloons or buckets of water in the first place. If the crossbreed had been like the more violent one the cage had previously stored, she might have only needed to wait long enough before she could safely handle it, a slow and steady set of interactions enough to guarantee her safety one day.
But this halfbreed was no bloodthirsty beast that might be fed into a stupor, that only killed or attacked if it was hungry or irritated or afraid. No, this crossbreed liked to play, and its method of play resulted in its uneaten prey being shaken to bits, or stomped and kicked into a formless flaming ball. 41
Which meant it was very important that Haix teach it a few lessons. The first, and one she believed the creature knew, was that she was not prey. The second was for it not to attempt that sort of play with her body, that even a single nibble would not be tolerated. The third, and most important lesson that the information on the beast stated might be difficult to teach, was that she was to be obeyed. She would have no use for the flame and plate creature if it could not obey even the simplest commands, and a creature she had no use for and failed to be able to sell would find itself in an undesirable position. None of which she could explain to the beast in just words.
That was why, with a bucket of brightly colored and jiggling water balloons in one hand and a sack of cold meat dragging across the floor in the other, she approached the cage. 42
It slept as she fiddled with the first locks, the new latches sliding free as silent as they were new, and she stepped into the muddy ground at the mouth of the cage. The wet ground might not have been enough to stop the crossbreed from simply rushing her had it been awake, at least she hoped not or else it would be even more limited in where it could go during the wetter months, but it might have been enough to give it pause. There was no conscious motion from the beast as she stepped inside, the mud squishing beneath her spread toes and edging up around them as she pulled in the weight of the sack and bucket. These were placed beside her as she pulled to close the heavy gate, the echoes of its metal colliding with the metal frame continuing as she slid a few of the latches into place. 43
That noise was more than enough to wake up the inhabitants of the cage. She could see a few tiny heads peeking up from the holes scattered around the cage, black eyes glittering from the light of the ceiling for a moment before the smarter ones ducked back beneath the earth. The less intelligent followed their more survival-oriented cousins a little later, but Haix wasted no time staring at them, instead dipping her hands into the containers she brought while staring at the crossbreed. One came out slimy with pink meat and streaks of sluggish blood, the other had a cheerful yellow balloon with what was commonly referred to as a smiley face printed upon it.
The halfbreed did not share her same interest as it woke itself with a shake of its head, taking a few steps forward with stiff legs to stretch them. One more shake, one that started at its head and ended with a wag of its tail that brought to mind a vulticus, and then it looked at her. 44
It did not charge her, nor did it lower its shoulders in the almost stalk she had seen it drop into when hunting the grubbles Instead it chose to only take a few steps towards her, a silly sort of walk with its legs lifted high, a huff accompanying a small surge of flames that danced along its back like a mane. The flames spun and twisted around its neck as it shook it again, eyes slipping down from Haix’s to the brightly colored balloon then to the cold meat gripped in her other hand.
Haix had begun a series of nonsensical muttering, the tone light though the words were little more than threats of water and cold should the crossbreed attempt to test her patience and physical stability. It stared at the meat, loudly making a sniffing noise despite Haix not being able to make out how it smelled, but it failed to move. As a reward for that, Haix gently tossed the treat to the beast, it catching the projectile easily. 45
Ashe: When the credits have been handed over IC, and the transfer is posted. Threads are often left open a little longer, in case the customer wishes to RP their exit or anything else.
Sept 13, 2020 14:49:02 GMT -6
Renathan: I've been meaning to ask- is a person considered out of the shop when the shop transfer is posted/items are given, or when the shop thread is locked?
Sept 13, 2020 14:20:16 GMT -6
Flare: It was hinted in the discord, so nothing officially announced.
Sept 10, 2020 22:30:10 GMT -6
Riku: Oh, when and where was that announced? Lol
Sept 10, 2020 21:38:50 GMT -6
Xentus: Sarane eggs. Lil' egg hunt around the boards to get a brown with neat markings
Sept 10, 2020 13:45:16 GMT -6
Riku: What eggs...? 😅
Sept 10, 2020 13:40:49 GMT -6