Brazin broke down the whole wall and both of them could see on the other side now. It was pitch black over there, and Ashe had to wait for Brazin to clear the whole passage before he could get over there with his light. He put a hand on his hat to hold it in place, then leaned over on his stomach to move his head around, the light attached to his head and moving with it. The light revealed a decent sized cavern, apparently empty. It was about a three foot drop to the ground, which looked slightly sloped. Nothing moved, the air smelled a bit stale, and there was a slight breeze as fresh air from the newly made tunnel rushed in. Ashe decided to do a quick once-through before he went and got the cart and set up a new base camp. "Good work, Braz," he said, and slithered through the opening, standing up and looking around again.
Brazin hovered by the entrance, waiting for Ashe to give the okay. She was somehow in tuned to what he was doing and why, and was happy enough to allow him to do it on his own. Even if she was a little quicker, a little more powerful and with better senses. But humans needed to think that they were the important strong ones, so she let him. While she was waiting, Ashe walked the perimeter of the room, using his head lamp to map the walls and take note of the condition of the floor. Ashe noticed that there was an inky black hole in the far side of this cavern, hidden unless you could shine a light just right in that direction. Ashe walked toward it and stepped into the human-sized tunnel just far enough to get an estimate of 'how many deadly monsters are hiding here waiting to kill us'. The answer, for the time being, was zero.
Ashe wandered around a little bit longer, and nearly tripped over something. He stopped and stooped to get a better look at whatever it was, and saw the metallic sheen of something like ore. Sweet, he found even more ore?! He was going to have plenty to make bases when the workshop opened up again. He mentally marked the spot the chunk of ore was and hurried back to Brazin at the tunnel. When he got there, she looked at him quizzically and he gave her a nod. "All clear," He told her, and she climbed in while he climbed out. He retrieved the pickaxe, and also the chisel set and the shovel while he was at it, then he hopped back down into the new room and made his way back through the dark until he found the ore again. Whew! He'd been worried he wouldn't be able to stumble over the same chunk of metal twice.
He knelt by the chunk of metal and got to work, using the pickaxe to pick at a perimeter around it, then use the chisel to break it the rest of the way free. He got the excess that he could off and set it aside. He didn't want to climb back through and then back through and then back again... So maybe he would look around a bit first, and then go back, wake up Inyala, and move the cart in here. The light he kept with the cart was brighter than a flashlight and would help them see better in here. He was just not looking forward to pulling that thing through the hole and then carrying it down the step. Not yet. He would feel safer when it was down here out of immediate sight, however. Torn, he cast around, looking for more goodies, but instead his light blinked off of Brazin's prismatic skin. She was digging... down? A hole straight into the ground, not the wall?
Brazin had found something, after all. When Ashe had been digging up the ore that stuck up out of the ground, Brazin had found the glimmer of a different kind of ore that was more flat in the ground. She dug quickly but gently, because it was a chunk of silver she'd found. Interesting that they finally found something that they had already found today, and it was something as valuable as silver. She hoped Ashe would be happy with her find when she got it cleaned up for him. She worked and tweaked and pried and tugged, and then finally it was out. Pleased, she nosed around in the hole to make sure she hadn't missed anything else, then she picked up the ore and carried it gingerly over to where Ashe had set his own. So they were forming a pile, were they? Brazin could get behind this, since the cart wasn't anywhere to be seen. Once dropped off, she resumed her search.
It didn't take too long for the gargoyle to find something else. She was pretty adept at looking through the darkness and sensing where gems might be, and all the more accurate and immediate if they were close to the surface. She wandered over to the far side of the room, sensing something was there. It was pretty close to the passageway to the next, whatever it was, when she stopped. She cocked her head, listening, sensing, and then she started to dig again. It was a little deeper, not immediately present to the naked eye, but she found it anyway. Even without the aid of a light, she could feel the change in material from her clawed hands. She had found something else! What it was, she wasn't sure, but it had to be important. She quickly worked her way around it, using the hooks of her claws to pry it free. She wiggled it and gave it a jerk, sure she had it all in her clawed grasp.
She carried her prize over to the growing pile of stuff they'd collected. How neat, just since coming into this room, they had found three new things to add to the collection! Brazin was pleased. They were making quite a good haul for this trip, and maybe they could fill the crate before it came time to leave. She felt like this was only the beginning, the true beginning. All of that digging earlier had been the prologue, the part that came before the actual adventure. Brazin enjoyed moving, not just digging in one place all day. She remembered traveling with Ashe, they'd dig for a while, then move on if they didn't find anything. Then try again, then move on again. She had explored a great chunk of space with her human in this way. That felt like so long ago now... Maybe it didn't have to be. With a flutter of her wings, she turned around and went on the look out for more.
She just had a feeling that there was more here... She would find it and she would dig it out and add it to the pile. But while she was searching, Ashe was finding something as well. He'd doubled back toward the doorway of light, the tunnel that they had made and crawled through, when something caught his eye in the helmet lamp light. It was at the base of the three foot drop, just a tiny corner peeking out. Ashe hefted the pick axe from over his shoulder and brought it down on the ground, breaking free a chunk of earth. He gave it a jerk, freed some more, and worked at it until the earth near the speck of gem was churned up enough that he could get his chisel in there and finish the job. He worked it free and picked it up, dusting it off. In the pale light that filtered through, he could see he had found a sapphire!
Wow, what a pretty stone it was, and in such great condition! He held it up higher into the light, as much as he could possibly use, and turned it over and over in his fingers, looking at it from all angles. It was strange how these things came out of the ground so lovely, on their own. With a little skill and filing and shaping, he could have this ready for a ring in no time. He stood and walked back to his pile, his helmet light bouncing along the walls and the floor, depending on where he looked. He found the pile without too much problem, pleased to see how fast it was growing. Brazin had been busy as well, he saw, because there was an odd looking pink stone of some sort in place with the ores and Ashe knew he hadn't dug that up himself! He looked up and looked and looked until he found the gargoyle, back to looking around.
She was hard at work, sniffing out something more already. He watched her a moment, how she moved with such purpose and determination. She was so much faster at finding this stuff than he was. What would he do without her? He remembered the early days when he had an Onyx Wyrm and nothing else. He still had one, but to be honest he wasn't even sure if it was the same one, you know? Those things didn't mean as much to him (shh, he was a bad person, he knew) as his gargoyles did. He had another one, a black wingless one on four legs, but he couldn't bear to part with Brazin long enough to train it up. He was about to turn around and start the hunt for himself when Brazin ambled into the light of his flashlight, her claws full with something with a rainbow sheen. She'd found something else again! And all he was doing was standing there?
Ashe was this close to going to get the crate and bring everything down here when he was stopped suddenly. It was a feeling unlike anything he had felt before, and it nearly froze him in place. Wait, no, he had felt this before, but it had been so long he couldn't remember what it was that would root him to the spot like this. He stood and concentrated. What do you want... He thought to himself. Brazin looked on with a little bit of concern, sensing something up with her master and mining partner. Was he okay? She thought he looked okay, just maybe a little..pained? Focused? There didn't seem to be anything she could do about it, either.
Ashe turned in a slow circle, wondering where this feeling was coming from. It wasn't constipation, it wasn't like he had to use the bathroom. A type of thrilling anxiety, a tug, but also a warm tingly feeling.
He had to go to it, he just had to. But where was he going. He had to think, he had to feel. He lifted a foot and took a step. He was heading toward a wall he hadn't explored yet, to the left of the tunnel leading deeper into the mines. He turned his head to and fro, seeing if he could see anything on the walls at all. Nothing. He felt as blind as he would even without the light on, to be honest, and he realized the light was only serving to confuse him more. His eyes were expecting something and his brain was getting tied up in thinking that something should be there when it wasn't. So he reached up and flipped the switch on the flashlight taped to his helmet, turning it to the off position.
With mild surprise, Brazin turned to watch Ashe. She had to turn her whole body, keeping her gaze on his figure even in the sudden darkness. What was he thinking?
He was surrounded in darkness. His eyes were open, but they couldn't see. He closed them anyway, in case the dim light square coming from the tunnel interfered at all. And he concentrated. He could feel it now, something warm and familiar, calling to him. This way, it was saying. Come find me. Yes, he wanted to find it very badly, whatever it was. He took a step. No, that felt wrong. He backed up to where he was and tried to go in another direction, adjusting as the feeling grew hot and cold, guiding him. I'm here. He kept going, egged on by the feeling of satisfaction.
What was he doing? He was in a trance or something. Brazin started toward him, growing concerned. She worried that there was a creature like a gorgon or something, putting him into a slumber and pulling him toward them. Was that possible? She didn't know of every creature in the city...