Clicking furiously now, leaving Haix to wonder if the creature she had purchased had some ghaenelt in it somewhere, the halfbreed did not rear up or spread it’s wings in a bid to scare off the dead hatchling. A good choice in Haix’s mind, for she did not know how the dead one would take to threats. Perhaps the murderous instinct she had expected would erupt in the time it took for the halfbreed to flare it’s wings, wings that would not last to even the skeletal little claws the dead hatchling had.
No, instead the halfbreed pressed itself against the ground, making itself as small as a target as possible as it clicked at the dead hatchling. It only stared, it seemingly frozen in place the moment the halfbreed had turned its eyes on the dead one. Haix finished the last not as she watched the standoff, the furious clicking and tail twitching of the halfbreed in sharp contrast to the statue-like dead hatchling that locked eyes with it. She poked her fist inside the newly usable sack, testing the strength of the knots and probing the tiny holes and rips with her fingers to check their size. It seemed sturdy enough now. 41
She laughed at them both, as much to grab their attention as to express amusement. Was this the plan of the priest? To cause her to lose sight of ripping them apart for what they had done by getting the dead hatchling to rip apart her pet? Well then, let them hear what she thought of that plan, her laughter ringing through the field of carved stone. Both creatures stopped their staring to look back at her, the last click of the halfbreed buried under the last laugh. The pocket pets did not react to the laugh at all, still staring, howling, and burbling in the direction of the halfbreed.
With a rattling of her spines, she leapt back up, cocking her head to one side and then the other as she looked between the crafted pet and the recrafted slave. “[Please do not kill my stupid pet. It was a bad trade, so I must get some use from it.]” The halfbreed, not understanding anything but the light tone, slowly swung it’s tail through the air behind it. “If you wish to keep your hoard save, I can hold onto it.]” A good offer, if the dead hatchling did not decide that she was not allowed near the creatures and items either. Then she could expect nothing but death. 42
Both creatures do not do much of anything at first. The halfbreed stares at her with its purple eyes as if unsure whether to dart away as it had done so recently when she approached it, or to remain frozen in place as it had when confronted by the walking miniature skeleton version. The dead hatchling seems less tense to her, it’s shoulders sagging a little and it’s head lifting and twisting to look up at her. She approaches their stalemate with a single step, looking between either of them for any sign that they might attack or flee before taking another one.
It feels much longer than the minute it takes her to reach the dead hatchling, and she pauses beside it. Now its mouth is open, and she can clearly see the worm-like growth inside its twitch and squirm randomly, clearly not very useful in regards to speech even if the dead hatchling had the other parts with which to make the sounds. A novice priest who thought that the dead would speak to them if only they left a fleshy tongue with which to speak? Or one with a cruel sense of irony? Once their plan failed, she would soon know. 43
To ensure the plan failed, assuming that the dead hatchling was acting on orders rather than more of the free will it had shown so far, she would have to stop the crossbreed from antagonizing the dead hatchling any further. She spoke again, calling it by the name she had meant for it, a name that suited it well based on how it had reacted to the pocket pets that even now had yet to flee. She was not sure if they were stupid, unable to realize this was their only chance to flee as their hunter was distracted, somewhat loyal to the one that had tossed them through the air like juggling balls, or if they had an ounce of intelligence and each feared that leaving the pile would make them the first target. Whatever the reason, she hoped they would stay in place as she took another step towards them, passing the dead hatchling.
Her back would have to be to the dead hatchling if she hoped to get close enough to the pocket pets while keeping an eye on the halfbreed, talking to it with light tones that hid the threats she uttered. She did not need it to pounce and enrage the dead hatchling. 44
Thankfully, it makes no movements beside the twitching of its tail and an occasional flick of its eyes from her to the pocket pets and the dead hatchling behind her. She has to fight the urge to look behind her when it does, assuring herself that she would hear the clicking of bones or some other sound to warn her of its approach if it decided to attack her. She instead focused her attention on the halfbreed, talking to it quietly once she reaches the still panicking mound of them. The howling one pays no attention to her, it’s tiny frame bent with it’s head thrown back as it howled again and again, though whether to summon more of its kind or frighten off the halfbreed she could not be sure.
Regardless of the reason it howled, neither option seemed to be working. She did not see any movement in the shadows of the carved stones, heard no answering howls from other throats to signify help was coming. And the halfbreed certainly had shown no sign of tension until the dead hatchling had begun to approach it. She let it continue to howl, wondering if the noise had masked her approach and somehow prevented them from hearing her speak to the mining familiar halfbreed. 45
Confident that the halfbreed would not pounce, which would be disastrous, nor flee, which would be incredibly annoying, if she looked away from it, she turned her head slightly in hopes of catching sight of the dead hatchling without losing sight of those in front of her. A jolt of surprise almost led her to jerk away, to step into the pile of pocket pets and cause the disaster herself when she saw the red glow of the dead hatchling’s eyes were much closer than she had expected them to be. She managed to limit the expression of her surprise to a twitch of her frills, and she spoke quietly to the dead hatchling once more. Even if it did not understand every word, perhaps the tone would be enough to convey that she was not going to break its toys.
“[Your collection will be placed into this]” the hand holding the sack rose a little higher in the air, shaking the bag so that the ripped new ‘mouth’ flexed and rippled, “[and will be kept safe from Stalker. Unless you prefer to take them yourself?]” There was no reaction from the dead hatchling except for the infuriating vague tilt of the head as it listened. She wondered if it had that habit back in life, and how often it had done it then. 46
Very well then, there was no point in waiting any longer. It was time to find out her fate. Her knees bent as she slowly crouched beside the pocket pets and their collection of random leaves and a crystal ball. They were a strange bunch of pocket pets, which the likes of she could not recall having ever seen before. The howling one clearly resembled a beastkin, it’s red fur a lovely hue that was sharply contrasted by a white underbelly she caught a glimpse of as she puzzled which creature to grab first. There was a thing that looked like it was comprised of brightly colored mud, and she could only guess at how the dead hatchling had managed to juggle it without it slipping between bony fingers to the ground below. There was a snake-like thing of gas with the face of a soft-skin, a pulsing and slimy organ that she guessed had never been inside a body, and. At the back of the group, was a simple twig laying in some leaves that had faces cut into them.
With one last look at the halfbreed and the dead hatchling, she reached for the twig and the leaves it was resting on. 47
There was some expectation that she would feel icy cold or burning needles of pain in her back as she did so, courtesy of the dead hatchling that had proved it could move so quietly when one was not looking at it. There was also the possibility that the crossbreed, unwilling to let another interfere with its prey, might have leapt despite it’s initial reluctance to do so when she approached. Neither option appealed to her, for she did not want to end up being flayed by the dead hatchling, or the halfbreed causing the exact disaster she wanted to avoid.
What she had not expected was for the stick to move. To twitch, to snap as if it had been tread upon as it launched itself a few inches away from her grasping hand. That sound was enough to do what her voice had not done, the pocket pets, all except the howling not-beastkin, finally turning their attention away from the halfbreed to see the person crouched behind them. The stick snapped again, and she grabbed it, feeling it writhe in her grasp before she shoved it into the bag. What sort of pocket pet was a single twig that snapped on its own? 48
The rest of the pocket pets scattered as the twig disappeared into the sack, all but the wolfish one finally fleeing. With a snarl, Haix snagged the leaves the not-twig had been resting on, wondering if they too were alive as she felt their oddly supple surfaces, then threw them in the bag. The howling one, unmoving from it’s spot, was ignored in favor of the soft-skin-faced snake of gas, it’s body twisting over itself as it tried to flee. With the size of its mouth and unwilling to test if it’s similarity to salaves meant it was venomous, she swung the bag opening over it, feeling it squirm through the thin fabric as she grabbed it and tried to force it deeper into the sack.
The dead hatchling watched the unfolding chaos with the same silence it had shown everything thus far, then looked down at the ground by its feet instead. It clawed at a few leaves and a stone, then closed its fingers around one of the pieces of waxy meat it had been thrown earlier. The halfbreed merely watched, tense, seemingly ready to bolt the instant Haix would try to grab at it instead of the panicked tiny prey things. 49
Once the second pocket pet was no longer in danger of crawling out through the opening of the sack, Haix looked at the two remaining pocket pets that were still trying to flee. The brightly colored mud one was going in circles, so she decided to go for the one that looked like a rotting spleen of some unlucky creature. Had the priest made this one, bestowing some of its strength on the slimy thing? No, not even the priest that had made the dead hatchling behind her would have been so stupid as to waste energy on that. The thing slithering through the dirt was bizarre enough that she was not sure even soft-skins would have crafted such a thing though, and the trail of glistening slime it left behind it seemed never ending. She did not grab this one with her bare hands either, once again using the edges of the sack as a mitt to grab it and drop it into the sack with the others she had caught so far.
The dead hatchling paused as it found another piece, scooping it up quickly. The halfbreed was hungry, though much of its appetite had been suppressed by the circumstances, yet did not realize what the other was doing behind the chaos of the pocket pets. 50
The muddy pocket pet was next, surprisingly quick despite it’s pudgy appearance. It neatly evaded one swipe of her grasping claws but sinking downward into the earth itself, the only sign that is was more than a brightly colored puddle being the gaping mouth and twitching mitt hands. The second grab was more of a scoop, her hand sliding between the surprisingly warm, sticky body and the drier earth. She scooped it up, fingers curling inwards and tightly pressed together to prevent it from sliding free, and dumped it into the sack with the other protesting pocket pets. A quick check of the tied end revealed no damage or loosening, the knots holding up well despite the struggles of those within it. The residue it left on her hand was not so easily dealt with, and some of it clung to her even after dragging her palm over the ground.
Once the dead hatchling had finished collecting the bits of meat that had been thrown to it after it had been caught practicing juggling, it returned to watching Haix’s struggles with the things it had juggled. The halfbreed had turned its attention back to the snarling, no longer howling pocket pet that was walking towards it. 51
Though she was annoyed by the way the gunk clung to her hand, she ignored it after a second attempt at scraping it off on the dirt resulted less in removing the gunk and more of adding dirt to her hand. Instead, she took the moment to look behind her at the now unmoving dead hatchling that had not attacked her or expressed that it would not allow her to gather up its hoard. That was a better reaction than she had expected. Leaving it to stand there, something clasped tightly in its claws, she looked over at the crossbreed and the last pocket pet that had yet to be snagged, the not-beastkin snarling as it stalked towards Stalker like it was ten times larger.
The halfbreed was content to let it get closer, only once firing off a click that inspired a howl as the pocket froze in place. When nothing else happened, it continued towards the halfbreed with a stomping walk that it undoubtedly thought would have sent the creature before it fleeing. Funny that it did not seem to realize it was the perfect size to be snapped up with a single click of the halfbreed’s beak. She was tempted to let it happen. 52
She could not allow that to happen though, not even if the dead hatchling had become suddenly lax in defending it’s living juggling tools from the threat of the crossbreed’s hunger. Trying to stop it from happening in a way that did not spook the halfbreed further and send it loping deeper into the field and hills of jutting stones would have been better. Unfortunately, she could not think of one as the halfbreed finally made it’s move, the pocket pet only a foot away.
As the halfbreed moved silently, and the pocket pet’s growls were replaced by a screaming whine, Haix yelled and leapt at them. She narrowly avoided crushing the pocket pet underfoot, the stupid thing crying but making no attempt to flee when the halfbreed opened up its beak to snap up the smaller creature. The halfbreed responded in a much more satisfactory way, flaring its wings to arrest it’s pounce and throwing itself away from her. It scampered away as she feared it might, trying to keep an eye on it as she bent down and picked up the pocket pet. There was pressure on her fingers as it tried to bite through her scales, but that did nothing to stop it from joining the others in the sack. The dead thing only watched. 53
The crystal ball was grabbed absently, the shadowy form slithering inside of it unnoticed as it was dropped into the bag to the dismayed cries of those already in it. Haix only had eyes for the three hundred credit mining familiar that was weaving through the stones like the dead hatchling was after it, and she signed as it showed no signs of stopping. Then, hoping beyond hope that since it was a crafted thing, that she had spoken to it plenty of times in hopes of calming it, she called out to the halfbreed. It slowed, and she called out a second time, louder, grasping the sack tightly with her two fists. The halfbreed came to a complete stop, but it was still much too far away for her to hope to grab it. So she called to it a third time, then turned back to the dead hatchling, hoping that a lack of obvious interest would be enough to entice it to return.
The dead hatchling looked at the sack, then back at Haix. It opened its jaws, no sound emerging, then shook itself in a rattling sound that it stopped an instant later, seeming as surprised as she was. 54
It rattled again, this time for more than a second, twisting it’s head to look at its body better as it shook. With a third rattle, it looked back up at Haix, who shook her own spines in a different sounding rattle of her own. She was not sure what this was meant to signify, and was no less confused when the dead hatchling tossed something at her. The first throw hit the ground several feet away, the second landing in the dirt close enough for Haix to make out the telltale form of the meat she had thrown as an offering to the dead hatchling earlier. Was it trying to reward her for protecting its hoard? Or had it been amused by the way she had gone about doing so?
It did not matter which, for the last piece of meat struck her in the leg and slid down, even the sticky sap still on her legs not enough to hold it there. There was only confusion for a few seconds, then the dead halfbreed waved it’s hands at her is the same way she had when encouraging it to pick them up. She burst out laughing, taking an exaggerated bow as she did so. So the dead hatchling could learn, or the priest had a sense of humor. 55
Twilight-Claw: Hey Ridelys, I still got a Sarane Fidelity Egg if your interested in trading your Green Drake for it, you'd have another shot in trying for it then.
May 31, 2020 1:11:44 GMT -6
Ridelys: If you can barter someone else's champion voucher off them for a gold hen, I'm happy with that too. XD \ Otherwise, I'm open to hearing offers.
May 30, 2020 21:19:39 GMT -6
Aster: Hey, if you don't want that green drake, I'd be happy to offer on him :U Alas, I don't have a gold hen either
May 30, 2020 21:18:03 GMT -6
Ridelys: Well, like I said, I'd have to get lucky.
May 30, 2020 21:13:55 GMT -6
Ridelys: I have a feeling its going to be a long one unless I get lucky.
May 30, 2020 18:19:31 GMT -6
Riku: Good luck with your golden egg hunt, BD! <3
May 30, 2020 15:40:20 GMT -6
Jack: Thanks for the notice!
May 28, 2020 10:05:26 GMT -6
Darky: Heads up: there's a chance you might notice Trepuldra images having loading issues on June 3rd, for about 3h. No need to panic, Veebimajutus just notified there's going to be some scheduled maintenance, is all x3
May 28, 2020 10:05:06 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: right??? i was really hoping i could find one of those pachee before the season was out.
May 26, 2020 18:51:32 GMT -6
Fanged: Oh wow that's an awesome garden find FF
May 26, 2020 18:13:26 GMT -6
Riku: Oh how perfect! I woke up wanting to post (unexpected, but yay) and saw I had a reply. <3 Meant to be.
May 26, 2020 6:40:43 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I really, really love all the updates that have come~! <3
May 24, 2020 2:12:37 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: np!!! I hope y'all like it!
May 23, 2020 13:45:06 GMT -6
Riku: What an awesome update, staff! Thanks for that! <3
May 23, 2020 12:06:52 GMT -6
Jack: All have been found!
May 23, 2020 9:53:27 GMT -6
Jack: Might want to be on the lookout for anything... odd
May 22, 2020 23:51:22 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Yeah it’s definitely a coincidence but wow did it work out well for us! XD
May 22, 2020 6:43:27 GMT -6
Silver: I'm pretty sure that was just a coincidence, but it sure feels lucky!
May 22, 2020 2:07:09 GMT -6
Riku: So did you guys make this hosting switch perfectly RIGHT before pb broke? >.< Thaz crazy. It’s a huge relief and I’m very glad we’ve come to this. <3
May 22, 2020 1:41:01 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: It’s free up to a certain number of GB, which we haven’t hit yet.
May 21, 2020 6:46:33 GMT -6