Ice didn't follow immediately, and remained perched on the ledge, chirping unhappily with more and more volume the further Nerius walked. "Come on then," he paused for a moment, turning to look to the gem dragon. "I'm not going to carry you, you're too heavy." Especially with the wyrm hitching a ride as well, both the critters were made of rock, and were not light. If he'd been stronger, it might not have been an issue, but as it was, he wasn't carrying both.
Nerius turned his attention back to the tunnel ahead, and continued walking. Ice made unhappy noises for a few more seconds, before finally taking flight and following after him. She still didn't like the water, but the partially flooded tunnel was still their best hope of finding a way out of the ravine. Nerius just hoped it didn't narrow too much to pass though. Or flood entirely, or have too steep a fall to climb.
The last one wasn't likely at least, if there had been a long waterfall, he'd have heard it echoing down the tunnel by now. There was the constant sound of running water, but nothing like a waterfall, so far there was just a gentle, but noticeable, slope up. It was a good sign for finding a way up, even if it did make for a bit more difficult of a walk.
Ice had easily caught up to Nerius, and was fluttering alongside him. He almost wished he'd given her a ribbon now, he would have been able to ask her to fly ahead and scout the area. With flight, instead of slogging through the water, she was capable of moving much faster than he was. Unfortunately he had no way of communicating that to the gem dragon, and no other way of scouting out the way ahead. It didn't matter too much though, there was only one way to go.
He was still slogging his way through the tunnel when he spotted something gleaming in the wall just above the water line. Ice hadn't picked it out, but she also didn't want to get that close to the water. Nerius knelt down for a closer look, it was hard to tell if it was something special, or just slightly different colored rock gleaming from being wet. After a moment of consideration, Nerius decided to take the questionable stone with him, it was small enough not to be a burden, and he'd rather take a regular rock than leave a valuable gem. Though, he kind of suspected it was just a rock.
After collecting the stone, he stood back up before Ice could get any ideas about landing on his back. The pack was enough to carry! She was still fluttering around him, not having found anything else to land on, while occasionally making unhappy chirps.
The tunnel continued uneventfully after that, with a foot of water flooding the floor, and nowhere else to walk, or in the gem dragon's case, land. It twisted and turned, sloping gently ever upwards. There was no stopping to collect shiny stones, but with Ice as unhappy about the water as she was, Nerius wasn't surprised she wasn't looking for gems at the moment. Nerius didn't spot anything else either, though he attention to the environment was more focused on where he was going, than looking for shinies.
It was a good thing too, because around a corner the tunnel opened up without warning, revealing a massive underground lake. It was deep too, the water was clear enough Nerius could see down, and if he'd kept walking, the sharp drop would have sent him plunging into the water. He'd managed to catch himself in time, and held onto the wall for extra support as he viewed the lake chamber.
The lake was huge, Nerius couldn't even see the other side of the chamber, the dim light cast by bio-luminescent algae didn't allow him to see that far. To the right, he could only see more water, but to the left was.. a ledge, at least? He could see dry rock in the distance, but couldn't tell from here if it actually went anywhere, or was just an outcropping above the water.
It was better than just diving into water with no visible end, at least, though Nerius wasn't sure if there would be a way to get over there without going for a dip. There was no gentle shore like with an above ground lake, just water against the wall, and a sheer drop where the tunnel ended. He might end up having to go in the lake, it'd be cold, but the most annoying part would be his gear getting soaked.
Nerius looked around, hoping for some alternative path, but there was nowhere else to go but into the water. There were no ledges to walk on next to the wall, but maybe he could hold onto it enough to keep his stuff from getting totally soaked? It was worth a shot, and Nerius adjusted what he was carrying, shifting his pack off of his shoulders. He knelt down at the edge of the tunnel, before slowly easing himself over the edge, grabbing on with one hand, and using the other to hold his pack out of the water.
So far, so good; now he just had to travel a good thirty or forty feet, while.. holding his heavy gear with one arm. Maybe it wouldn't be that far, maybe? As long as Ice didn't try to land on him, she hadn't yet, maybe she understood that he didn't have the best physical strength.
Luckily, she'd just spotted the ledge, and chirped happily before flying right for it. Nerius, who was chest deep in cold water, was a little jealous of that. It took the gem dragon only a few seconds to cross the distance, where she landed on the ledge, a few feet away from the water's edge.
Nerius had only gone a few feet in that time span, and still had a long way to go. At least his plan for keeping his gear dry was working for now, he'd braced himself against the wall with one hand, half swimming, half climbing. It worked, though was slow going, and after a while the arm he was using to hold his pack started to get tired. His gear wasn't that heavy when carried on his back, but having to hold it upward with one arm, it was starting to feel very heavy, very fast.
He decided to try to switch arms, it'd be difficult, given his other arm was mostly what was keeping him as far out of the water as he was. But he was only about a third of the way there, and there was no way he'd be able to hold the pack all the way without switching. Carefully, Nerius adjusted his angle to the wall, moving the pack to hold it against wall by the straps. He then moved his other hand to grab it, holding it up with to arms, before switching entirely to the arm he hadn't been using.
It was a pain, but it worked, and after shaking his tired arm a bit, he continued his way along the edge of the lake. Ice was watching him the whole time, chirping impatiently every so often. If Nerius had a free hand, he'd have flipped the gem dragon the bird.
He didn't though, and the mining familiar wouldn't have understood it if he had, so Nerius just kept going. He had to switch arms again after a while, but otherwise it went without incident. He was very happy to reach the ledge though, and set his pack down before awkwardly climbing onto the ledge himself. It was maybe a foot above the water line, higher than the edges of most pools, but was still manageable.
He'd check his pack later, but first he wanted to give his arms a break. The one he'd been using last was shaking a little, and they were both tired. It was times like these he really hated his lack of physical strength. He gently shook them, before rubbing at the muscles, and Ice took this moment to nudge at his leg with a concerned chirp. "I'm fine, just tired," he reassured the gem dragon, giving her a pat on the head.
Ice, for all her impatience, and sometimes snappy temperament, did actually care about him. Which Nerius supposed wasn't too surprising, he'd probably spent more time with her down in the mines than he had with any of his other creatures, even Schism!
While resting, he took the opportunity to look around the lake cavern again. The ledge, at least where he was sitting, didn't go very far back, but did wrap around the side of the lake, going further than Nerius could see. There weren't any openings into dry tunnels that he could see, and the easiest place to explore would be further along the ledge. It was probably too much to hope for that he'd avoid getting into water again, all his exploration trips lately ended up involving water, but at least he'd have dry rock to walk on for a least a little while. Well, somewhat dry, everything was damp, and large stalactites and stalagmites had formed.
Once Ice was satisfied that he wasn't actually harmed, the gem dragon started hunting around for gems. It might be a good spot, the water would wear away at the softer rock, and Nerius doubted that many people had been in this particular area. While he rested, he kept an eye out for anything shiny, the visibility wasn't the best, but at least he had a flashlight.
Oh, that could be something. Nerius had been shining the light around, and something had glinted blue in the beam of the light. The color looked different, so he didn't think it was just a shiny bit of regular stone. Ice had gone the other direction, and seemed to be on to something, so it would be up to him to check out this bit of shiny. His arms were still tired, but at least it was a short walk over to the shiny bit.
Closer inspection revealed that yes, it was some sort of a gem poking up out of the ground. It was hard to tell in the dim light, but Nerius was fairly sure it was chalcedony. It was also embedded into the wall just a little too much for him to just pick it up, he'd need to get out his tools. He'd been meaning to check to see if his pack had gotten wet anyway.
The outside was a little damp in places, but the interior gear was dry, and he took out the chisel. It was a small bit of stone, and he needed something more precise than a pickaxe. It also meant it didn't take a lot of brute force to remove, just a little bit of picking away at the rock. While Nerius was busy with that, Ice had found a vein of metal snaking through the wall, and she was digging away at it.
She was doing well so far, easily exposing large amounts of the ore, but it continued up rather high on the wall, and out of her reach. Nerius was aware that she was digging at something, but it was too dark for him to see what she had from so far away. He'd managed to extract the chalcedony, and went back to sweeping the light around for anything shiny.
He didn't have the ability to sniff out gems, and it was the easiest way for him to find them, even if he would miss anything fully underground. Or that wasn't shiny, like a fossil or geode. He didn't see anything else at first, but after a bit of sweeping he spotted something glimmering near the base of a stalagmite. It if hadn't been for the shine, he probably would have missed it, the stone was a smokey brown color, but it was a crystal.
Renathan: *purrumbles* Thankies for the fluffy birbdergs, Yang. :3
Sept 5, 2021 1:16:51 GMT -6
Yang: If any1 is curious, Sky is The Stat Master, so all notes about Crossbreeds (their cunning/power/etc) will all go through her before being posted :Bc it might! be a hot minute, as life is hella busy with her new job
Sept 4, 2021 14:57:15 GMT -6
Yang: thamk,thamk; streams are great for those designs that can be hashed out right quick 👈🕶️👈
Aug 31, 2021 19:18:51 GMT -6
Renathan: The Ohou extras look great! I enjoyed the stream from yesterday, as well.
Aug 31, 2021 15:23:49 GMT -6
Yang: Shout out to those on TBBs orders list! Apologies for the delay with cash-orders, been working on Ohou extra-circulars and getting them figured out xVc Ya'll should be seeing PMs in the next couple of days; big thamk for the patience!!
Aug 31, 2021 13:46:47 GMT -6
Yang: its all in the wrist
Aug 26, 2021 12:19:07 GMT -6
Renathan: They have Beauty and the Beast 'Beast' vibes- they're lovely!
Aug 26, 2021 4:08:21 GMT -6