Ashe was satisfied that he could get back to work now. He swapped for the pickaxe again and started double timing it on the wall. Brazin was so far ahead of him he doubted he would ever be able to catch up. She was built for this and had grown up in these mines; Ashe was a soft human from the world up above. Two very different worlds. He broke chunk after chunk of rock free, occasionally pausing to use the shovel to sweep away the clutter underfoot. He gave pause when he'd cleared another six inch deep section, going back for the shovel to dig at the ground to continue the path's direction. The water that had pooled was now being spread out to turn to mud and then to eventually dry.
Brazin wasn't visible any longer in her tunnel. Ashe could still hear her moving around and scraping, so he didn't have to check on her. But if she went quiet...
Work work work. Ashe wiped his forehead on the back of his hand, feeling the sweat starting to drip. He really felt like taking a break now, he'd been at this for a few hours now. The storm had quieted, though the rain was still coming down at a decent rate. He put down his mining equipment and went over to Brazin's tunnel. "You're doing great, Braz. I'm gonna take a break. Feel free to join me if you want, but if you want to continue, I won't force you to stop."
She gave a click of her beak to show she heard Ashe, but she didn't want to stop. Ashe wasn't sure if she could stop. She was either still as stone, or plowing through stone. Two modes. He wondered if she could pick up on Ashe's desires, or if she was simply fueling her own. What a strange world they lived in. With a shrug, he checked on Inyala once more, then took his break
Ashe stood near the entrance again, watching the rain. This was how he chose to take his break, enjoying the rain and the soft breeze. He might feel a little guilty if he went back inside and found out Brazin had found something interesting while he was gone - happy, but guilty all the same. He should be working too. But all work and no play made Ashe frustrated, and he didn't enjoy being frustrated. He needed a mental break every so often. Mental health was important. That's what he kept being told, anyway.
Off in the distance, Ashe saw more lightning streak across the sky. He wondered vaguely how Ghidorah was doing in this storm. He wasn't out in it or anything, he was safely tucked away at the Trainer's Guild, but he loved the lightning and he was getting decent at controlling it.
Inside, Brazin pried a large stone from the wall. It was so big, she needed both arms to move it. How strange.
Brazin heaved it out of her tunnel and then dropped it on the ground. She rolled it away from herself, to prop it up against the far wall. She didn't know what it was or how it got there, but it was hard enough she'd rather not use her claws on it, and it wouldn't break up on its own. So she just got rid of it in one piece. She wasn't aware of any special gems or anything that were this big. Most valuables were small.
Outside, Ashe was reaching out through the ribbons. [Sparky, how'd you like the storm?] He felt the Sarane stir, and could almost sense him looking around for Ashe in person, since he could feel the presence of the human. Ashe didn't talk much to his electric dragon through the ribbon, except for training.
[Power. Just like me.] His words were a little choppy and jumped, but Ashe understood he meant the lightning.
[Yes, power. Lots of it. Just like your attack.] Ashe smiled, thinking of going for a Sarane ride during a storm. He'd feel safest on Fafnir, he loved that black drake, but Ghidorah was faster and knew the element better. He might even be able to dodge lightning, Ashe had never really tried it before.
There was a soft hiss that Ashe recognized as his gargoyle making a noise for him to come look at something. He knew enough about these creatures that he could understand, generally, the meaning of the noises or "speech" they made. Without knowing actual words, like how he talked to Maverick or Inyala. With one last look at the rain, he left his break to go back to check on his shiny pink Gargoyle. Ashe did his best to shut his mind against the ribbons, so thoughts wouldn't slip through. He much rathered the mental task than actually taking the ribbons off physically.
When he arrived, Brazin was waiting for him, shimmering in the mine-light. She was looking at him expectantly, and when she saw he was close enough and paying attention, she turned and headed back into her hole. It was large and roomy, if you were gargoyle size, but Ashe size people had to stoop and shimmy through. He found Brazin at the back, which was only a few Ashe strides long but wow! and she was looking at something. It was shiny, Ashe could see; he still had his head light on and the light was reflecting off of it. When he looked closer, it was a series of gems. He saw why she wanted his attention drawn to it, it would be a little more difficult for her to extract them without hurting one or the other, as close together as they were. "Good work, Braz. Be right back." He ducked out of her tunnel.
Ashe found his chisel set and grabbed it from where he left it against the wall, then he returned to where he'd left Brazin in the tunnel. He was this close to giving up his own tunnel and just helping her work on hers, because there was no way his would even start to compare to hers. Damn gargoyles. He walked to the back where he saw the materials Brazin had unearthed. He saw some stones, but also the metallic sheen of some sort of ore. He got to work, carefully prying and digging and chiseling away at the excess dirt and stone. He chipped away rocks and sent debris falling. It didn't take him long to work the Lapis free, that was closest to the surface and had been partially covering the green stone, whatever that was. He paused to clean off the lapis as best as he could and took it to the cart. Brazin waited patiently for him to return.
It would be easy to mistake Brazin for a statue, except for her pearly pink stoney coat. She stood so still it was like she was perched on the corner of some building, and if she had her mouth open she could be seen as a full gargoyle, gargling water and all from the roof itself and spitting it on the ground below. Ashe came back and saw this beast waiting for him and he couldn't help but smirk to himself, these thoughts amusing him greatly. He passed her, and felt her gaze follow him by as her head moved the barest amount. He resumed his position and worked the green stone free, carefully and gently. When that was free, thanks to the small chisel tool, he took a moment to clean that off too and then he retraced his steps back to the crate and dropped the green stone in with a plop! It almost looked like there was dried blood inside it... but that was probably rust.
Ashe quickly returned to his statue-esque Gargoyle and started to poke at the wall for the third and final thing. It was some type of ore, it looked pinkish but that might be the light from his helmet reflecting off of his Gargoyle and shining on this piece here. If not, hey, that might be a fun metal to work with. If he could ever get in the gemstone shop again. He wished he would have done more while the doors were open, but he found that kind of boring while you were working on it, too. It was, like the mines here, just rewarding after the fact, when you'd already just about killed yourself from boredom doing the thing. He sighed and used a combination of pickaxe and chisel to gently find the limits of the ore and dig around the chunk of rock. Brazin watched, quiet and still. Once he was done with this, she would be able to get back to work.
It took longer than the other two combined, but Ashe was finally able to get it free. He wriggled and pried and eventually the chunk popped out. He inspected the hole it left behind to make sure he didn't miss any pieces that he could later melt together with it, and when he was satisfied that the hole was free of valuable stuff, he took the chunk to the crate too. His precious familiar was still sleeping, but she had rolled over to curl up facing the other direction now, so he at least knew she was for sure alive still. He smiled fondly at her and went back to help his gargoyle. When he arrived, he found out... Of course he wasn't needed. Brazin had started working again without even waiting for him to get back. He rolled his eyes and brought his pickaxe, joining her in the tunnel she was making. He'd work on making it a bit taller, maybe..
Brazin gave him a look when he joined her in her tunnel instead of working on his own. Had the silly human given up on it already, and he was coming to reap her spoils? She decided she didn't mind that after all, because she was obviously better than him at everything to do with mining down here, and this was just his way of showing and appreciating, and in turn she could appreciate that. Copying was a sincere form of flattery, or something, the humans said. And she knew that Ashe did appreciate the work she did, and he did listen to her when she made decisions... So, you know what, she didn't mind him joining her, that was fine. they'd make more progress, maybe, with her digging forward and Ashe taking care of the places she missed. With his help, she would be able to sacrifice attention to detail for speed. That would help things move right along.
Brazin focused on plowing on ahead, using her claws to rake deep rents in the rock wall, and then she would merge those trenches and the tunnel would deepen another two inches. It was slower going than that simple explanation, but effective. Ashe used the pickaxe to smooth things out a bit more, and to chip away at the ceiling of the tunnel. He never got it to a height where he could stand up, but slightly bending forward was better than squatting and waddling forward like he had to do. Ashe was glad he still had his helmet light on because things were starting to get dark in here the further they went into the new tunnel. There were no lights here, and no lights out there that could reach in here. The pair worked in companionable silence for what seemed like a long time, and there was nothing else to be found. Ashe supposed they may have exhausted the earth's bounty for a while.
It felt like they'd been working together for an hour when something changed. It was a sound Ashe hadn't heard before and he tried listening for it again. It sounded almost... hollow? Every time she clawed at the wall, he heard the sound. Was there something behind the wall? He watched her work and timed the sounds with the movements of her claws. What in the world...? She didn't seem to notice. Or maybe she knew what it was and knew it wasn't anything to be worried about. He kept working, though he kept an eye out for something to happen, and an ear peeled in case the noise changed. He picked at the wall, picked at the ceiling, careful not to let anything fall on either of them. He had to leave a couple of times to get the shovel and shovel the debris out of the tunnel, to the point where he just left the shovel in there with them.
It was shocking when it finally happened. The sound that had been going on for a while now got louder and louder, but Brazin just kept on clawing the wall. She was more meticulous now, as if she was paying attention and acknowledging that something was happening, but she didn't seem the care. Or she knew what was happening and wanted it to happen. Ashe wasn't sure which it was, but it was going to happen... And then it did. With a hiss of falling rock into an unknown location, Brazin's hand went through the wall. She pulled it back out and both hands went to the hole she left in the wall, quickly working to widen it. Both hands went through. And then it was big enough for her head. She peered into the hole and looked around, then gave a satisfied click and got to work making a... doorway? Window? Opening into whatever lay beyond. Leaving Ashe to wait on pins and needles.