Almost immediately after setting down the seedling, Nerius spotted another of those marbles. At first, he thought that was why it had been wiggling, but the golem didn't even seem to notice it. Strange. It was the same as the others they'd found, even if this one seemed to be staring at him. Well, it was coming along anyway, weather it liked him or not. He dropped it into the carry pouch along with the others, and looked around to see if he could spot any more.
However, Nerius was quickly distracted by a very strange noise from the golem. It was almost a cracking sound, like a hatching egg, or like it was doing something with its shell. It was doing something with its shell, he realized. It was opening, and shifting, forming.. jaws? He could see more of its body now, though it looked much the same as the shell that now formed the head, and the tentacles were growing and strengthening into what looked more like legs.
Gusty had grown to its walker stage, it was obvious to look at it, but Nerius hadn't expected it to grow quite so quickly. It had been a seedling for, well, years, and after just a little time out and about (and a nice fall breeze), it had grown. Elemental exposure clearly had been the limiting factor, and now he was interested in seeing if he could get any of the other seedlings to grow as well. The water and earth would be easy enough to 'feed', the fire was a bit more of a challenge, but he could stick it in a fireplace, he supposed. Whatever the method, he'd rather not have to carry a seedling around.
The good news was he didn't have to carry this golem anymore, Gusty proved that 'walker' was an accurate name, as it walked right over to Nerius. But here was one little problem, he hadn't expected the golem to grow so soon, and hadn't brought any sort of lead for the creature.
Which meant he had no way of keeping it from 'walking' off, and getting lost in the pumpkin patch. It didn't blend in quite so well with the squash now that it was no longer a seedling, but Nerius still didn't want to have to search for a missing golem out here. Still, golems were supposed to be loyal, and so far Gusty was sticking near by. Maybe he had a little time so search, he'd rather more, but that's what he got for coming unprepared, he supposed.
And thankfully, as he headed further into the patch to explore, the golem followed. He still kept an eye on it, which was a bit of a distraction while searching for anything, but was better than the alternative. But so far, it was just lots and lots of squash. Nerius didn't really want to dig through the vines with his hands, sure there could be something hiding under there, but pumpkin vines were prickly, and he wasn't wearing gloves.
Maybe the golem would spot something for him, it was closer to the ground, and had shown interest in the shiny eye marbles before. It was seeming to enjoy its newfound mobility, clambering over the vines with more dexterity that what Nerius would have expected from a creature that had only just grown legs. Or maybe it was just picking up on the fact that he was happy he didn't have to carry it anymore. They were supposedly able to pick up on their 'one's desires, but he wasn't familiar enough with the species to know if 'not having to lug it around anymore' counted.
What about picking up on his desire to find something interesting? That could have explained its interest in shiny before, but like Nerius himself, wasn't finding anything right now. It wasn't so much impatience to find something, it was the strangeness of searching something a 'normal' as a pumpkin patch. It was hard to imagine finding any sort of magical relic here, even if he knew the Mansion itself was laced with magic.
And Gusty was starting to get a little distracted, the golem would stop to poke at the plants, searching maybe, but it would be easy to accidentally leave it behind. Nerius would have preferred to explore longer, but it really was time to start heading back. Next month he could return, better equipped. And probably without a golem, unless maybe he had a better way to carry one. Though he didn't think the next month would be that well suited to 'feeding' a golem, or at least, any that he had.
It wouldn't be a long trip back, they hadn't gone that far into the patch, and had explored in more of a circular pattern, rather than a straight line. That also meant they weren't doubling back on anywhere they'd already searched. Well, Nerius was searching, at least. The golem? Who could really tell. Either way, it was possible he could find something else worth bringing back.
It sounds as though a ghostly child stands nearby, whispering strange phrases. Some of them are nonsensical, some of them are sickeningly sweet, and others are quite disquieting. Eventually the voice peters out, in it's place comes an unmistakable sound.
At first, it was small, and quiet, like a child far away. Then it slowly got louder, and more and more distorted. The sound became faster and slower, higher and lower in pitch, like someone was fiddling with an old record player. Was it just one voice, or many? It was so hard to tell. Soon, all that could be heard was the laughing and one's own beating heart.
It had been a couple of months since Nerius had last visited the mansion, along with his golem. But Gusty hadn't come along this time, today he was accompanied by Juniper. It would be nice to have something that could walk on its own, and she'd even been trained a bit, so hopefully he'd be able to keep her from running off or getting in to anything. It was a bit of an ironic choice, he supposed, some people claimed Kings of the Evergreen had come from the mansion, others that they had been adopted out by the Labs. But the evergreens had been around the Labs a lot longer than Nerius, so he had no idea which was accurate. Not to mention they were sold in the shops as well. Juniper, for her part, seemed unfamiliar with the Mansion, looking around as she followed Nerius with the same curiosity as she had the park.
The two weren't far in to the mansion grounds that Nerius was hit with a crawling sense of wrongness, the sense of a threat with no obvious cause.
Then the whispering started. It was enough to make the evergreen startle, and move closer to Nerius. He had enough forewarning not to jump, but that didn't make the sounds any less unsettling. The landscape wasn't helping either, while the snow covered ground was familiar, similar to his home, in this case that only made matters worse. Nerius was reminded of the many, many stories they had of malicious spirits and creatures that lurked in the frozen wilds. Creatures that lurked beneath the ice, only to reach through and drag travelers down to the freezing depths. Things that whispered into the howling winds, driving people to the madness of walking out into the dark winter nights, only to be found frozen to death the next morning. If they were found at all.
There were more, of course, but given the current whispering, that one was the story currently sticking out in his memory. He was freaking out more than a little, looking around quickly to see if he could spot any source of the sounds. There wasn't any. Just snow, gently drifting down, no swirling disturbances, no strange gaps like something invisible was being it. And the sounds weren't getting any better, Nerius could make out actual words now, some of them were strange, almost like incantations. But it was the ones he could understand that were the worst.
Juniper wasn't enjoying the sounds either, and made a soft frightened whine before nudging his arm. Nerius jumped, almost setting the evergreen on fire with a spell before realizing it was his pet. Not that he expected she'd be particularly helpful against... whatever was out there. Evergreens weren't really a battle ready creature, and while they had some innate magical affinity, it was nothing that could fight against a malevolent spirit.
No, he'd be on his own. Would magical fire hut it? If anything seemed likely to harm an ice spirit, that was it. But the beings didn't harm people physically, did they? The things would convince people to leave safety and warmth to freeze to death.
...Except it was the middle of the day, and the Labs didn't even get that cold. Even with the lighter coat he was wearing, he could spend the night outside. It wouldn't be comfortable, but it wouldn't kill him. He needed to be rational about this, yes there was some sort supernatural thing here, but it wasn't one of the horrifying monsters from the frightening tales he'd heard as a child.
Besides, his behavior was only unsettling the evergreen even more than she already was, she was all but hiding behind his coat. The last thing he needed right now was for Juniper to run off and end up who knew where in the frozen forest of the Mansion grounds.
The whispers seemed to be quieting now, and after a few more moments, faded entirely, but the feeling of wrongness didn't. This wasn't over. Nerius was proven right a few seconds later when the first giggle sounded out. At first, it wasn't too bad, better than the whispers at least, but then it got worse, becoming more and more distorted. And now he was thinking of another horrible story, fantastic. This time, of a being that mimicked people, or tried to, usually getting the vocals twisted and wrong, killings its victims to wear their skins.
Logically, he knew that wasn't something that prowled the Labs. If it had, there would be a lot more gruesome, unexplained deaths. But it really, really wasn't a comforting thing to be thinking about while something giggled like a horrible demon. And even without knowing the stories, Juniper really did not like what was happening, and was gently trying to push at Nerius, she wanted him to go, not stay here with the awful sounds.
And honestly? That didn't sound like a bad idea. Nerius had been hesitant to leave with the whispering, if it had been the being from the tales, that was the last thing a person should do. But getting lost and freezing to death wasn't a risk here, but sticking around with whatever was making those sounds was.
"Juniper, follow," his voice could barely be heard over the increasingly loud giggling, but the evergreen was sticking so close it probably wouldn't have mattered if she hadn't heard him. It was better than her running off, at least. With that, he continued walking down the path, which would eventually lead to the mansion itself. It wasn't a run, but was a faster than normal walk. Even now, he'd rather not leave the path, though it was unlikely they'd get lost with the mansion as such a obvious landmark. Wandering into a forest was just rarely a good idea in these kinds of situations.
Though, their rather hasty trip down the path didn't seem to be helping any. The giggling was only getting louder, and he couldn't tell if there was more than one.. thing, laughing. Still no sign of what it could be, either, no phantom footprints in the snow, no movement in the shadows where their shouldn't have been. Nothing.
And that really wasn't encouraging, because the sound was nearly deafening, as it whatever it was were right next to Nerius and his evergreen. Juniper really would have preferred him to hurry even faster, she would have rather run, but didn't want to end up alone with this thing. An all out sprint was tempting, but Nerius would rather pay at least some attention to his surroundings, and not run right onto a frozen pond, or something foolish like that. Foolish, and potentially dangerous. But even knowing that, he did pick up his pace a little, as the giggling just wasn't stopping.
Until, it did. There was no slow taper, just a dead stop, and sudden silence, other than his racing heartbeat, and the crunch of snow under his boots. That was almost unsettling on its own, but Nerius was just glad the sound had finally stopped. He wasn't about to stop walking, however. If it was distance (which was admittedly unlikely) he'd rather have as much of it as possible between himself and whatever it was. Juniper seemed to have similar feelings about it as well, even in the silence she showed no signs of wanting to slow down.
So the two continued their rather hasty walk down the path. They still weren't getting very close to the building, there were paths that wound around the grounds, and apparently they were on one of those. Ordinarily Nerius would have preferred to explore the grounds before heading right in, but after this little experience? Not so much.
Silver: I can give you one of my Baby Berries, Sev!
Aug 12, 2020 4:53:31 GMT -6
Sevyrn: Getting in to orbarus first, have half a breeding written up already just gotta get my hands on some baby berries first. But I'm gonna see if anything comes out of houlou in the future. Who knows, I could like them more than orbs.
Aug 12, 2020 4:21:12 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Oh that's awesome!!! I love breedables too, and houluh have been such a fun addition to that.
Aug 11, 2020 10:58:30 GMT -6
Sevyrn: I have two from when they were first released, so I figured why not give it a shot now that there's something to really do with them. Plus breedables. I love breedables.
Aug 11, 2020 10:29:12 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Oooh, houluh kennel request spotted. :0 Thinking of getting into houluh, Sevryn?
Aug 11, 2020 10:25:55 GMT -6
Sevyrn: I've been trying to scour through things, slowly catching up bit by bit I do think!
Aug 9, 2020 2:05:23 GMT -6
Riku: Have you read all the updates, Sevryn? You’ve missed a lot, so it’s probably going to be enlightening/exciting.
Aug 8, 2020 23:24:15 GMT -6