The garden itself had come with the house. It wasn’t a property that Aubrey himself had chosen, but he could see the signs of Aster’s care in its choice in this and other things; it was small, well situated, closer to the city as he might have thought Aubrey preferred, since Aubrey had stayed in the apartments for such a time before. And the garden, of course. The garden must have been chosen for Aubrey, for Aubrey could not think as to why Aster might have chosen it otherwise. Aster himself had a plot somewhere off his own estate, but he tended to it but rarely, preferring to attend to the training of his creatures or to delve into the mines when he felt restless and in want of work.
Aubrey had always liked plants though, and one of his first purchases was of a plant creature from the gardening shop in the city.
That was when he’d had the funds to support any purchase at all, anyway. It felt odd, to call Thistle a purchase, for standing on her hind legs she reminded him so much of a humanoid--- she had a snout, to be sure, but then so did many of the more uncommon races in these parts. If not for the fact that he knew what she was, he might have mistaken her for a citizen out in the streets, albeit one of a race he could not have put a name to, and attired strangely, at that.
At the very least, however, she seemed to have been well taken care of. She was not shy, even if she was not exactly friendly to Aubrey, despite his best overtures at friendliness. And despite, too, the attempts of Yeo-reum to similarly win her allegiance, though Aubrey wondered whether the Tat’s efforts had done more harm than good, come to that.
While she had been more politely indifferent, and occasionally confused, by Aubrey’s overtures, Yeo-reum’s--- once her initial confusion, which was deep and all-encompassing, had abated--- she regarded with undisguised disdain. Even Aubrey, who was not practiced in reading her cues, had managed to pick up that much of her body language.
The Agate’s jovial temper was not to win this day, evidently. Aubrey could only shake his head, and inform Yeo-reum that he was thankful for the effort.
She did seem to be happy, or at least content, to be quartered outside in the garden. Aubrey, worrying for her health, had cleared out most of the garden shed and converted it into a makeshift shelter for her. The contents of the shed were mostly possessions of little value, almost all of it broken or in a state of serious disrepair, passed unceremoniously down from the previous owner of the property.
Put more bluntly, as Aster might have done if he were the one it had been foisted upon, it was all of it trash, and much of it large enough to be difficult to dispose of. Still, they managed eventually, even if only by relocating some of it to a disused bedroom on the second floor.
If she used the resulting shelter much, however, it must have been in his absence; neither did he see much sign of habitation, when he went to check. Not that he checked it very often, for fear that he might disturb her with his comings and goings, and further discourage her from making proper use of it.
By contrast, she seemed perfectly in her element out of doors. While she did not use the shelter, and avoided Yeo-reum whenever he tried to make inroads again with her, she was not shy, and did not hide from either of them.
It was becoming readily apparent that she was willing to ignore whatever she did not care to respond to, and any apprehension she might have felt upon arrival soon abandoned her, and the full force of her somewhat aloof temper was soon brought out to play upon the other members of the household. Eventually the Tat gave up, and began concentrating his efforts toward bothering their newly-hatched arrival, a fellow Tat still in his infancy that Aubrey had tentatively dubbed Qingqiu. As to whether Qiu was more receptive to Yeo-reum’s attempts at play, it was hard to tell, for he was an infant, and a fish besides.
In the meantime, just as Thistle had gotten over her hesitation and become content to ignore them openly, so too did Aubrey find a little confidence at last, and went out himself to tend the garden with a more open, and a less apologetic air.
It was, he reminded himself as he set foot in it, his garden, after all. And while he liked her to be comfortable, they had to come to an arrangement sooner or later. Aubrey had not planted a good many things, but he had planted some, and he didn’t intend to neglect them or leave them to the mercy of weeds and pests, having set them up here. Moreover, he liked gardening very well; it was relaxing, and one of the few things where he didn’t feel strange or awkward doing it after having achieved his current size. Given the general uncertainty that plagued most of his affairs at present, anything like certainty was a welcome respite.
And so it was with that resolution in mind that he had come, bearing tools. He found Thistle sitting on a rock at the edge of the garden plot, watching him with what he guessed was a neutral expression.
It was hard to tell with her, though to be fair, they hadn’t yet spent much time in each other’s company. And Aubrey was no great savant with creatures, nor did he have much in the way of experience with her kind, so he could not hazard what he himself would have called a very good guess when it came to that.
Still, she looked neither enthused nor bothered by his presence, and he could call himself content with that. He gave her a smile, and quelled the instinctive need to say something to her, for all that she could not respond. It had become a habit to him to fill the silence, especially as Yeo-reum could understand, and often gave responses in a non-verbal manner. And talking could only do Qingqiu some good as well, though he was young for any kind of comprehension; it would make communication easier later.
But Thistle, despite her more humanoid appearance, did not have quite the level of intelligence, and he thought it might irritate her to be plied with useless noise. Thus, Aubrey kept silent, and went directly to the plot at the farthest corner from where she was, to do a bit of weeding.
Her gaze followed his movements, but she raised no protest, and did not seem to be watching closely. At first, Aubrey was aware of her as a presence in his space, even if he did not always see her in his field of vision. But after a while, he became engrossed in the work, and forgot her entirely. And there was a great deal of work to be had, as he had anticipated, from the period in which he had stayed gingerly away. The weeds in particular had been prodigious in the last week alone, as weeds were sometimes wont to do.
They were helped along by a healthy rainfall, though it was late in the season for it to be happening here as far as Aubrey knew, and for new growth in general, of any kind. Winter was encroaching, and many things were in the process of dying off, or at least storing their energy as they will for the coming cold.
There was more, other work to be done, though none of it was quite so pressing, so after he was finished with the weeding on one plot, he moved onto the next. It was easier to go about the same task all at once, he had found, all other things equal. Which they weren’t always; some things had to be done in stages, or more urgently. But winter work was simpler, and more sparse, and it was now near enough to the season that to do much more would be futile.
He hadn’t had much to harvest, given that he had only acquired the property in late summer, well past the best season for planting, and almost past any fit season to plant at all.
As he moved from the second plot to the third, he straightened himself and wiped at his brow, looking up at the sun to gage the hour. He had not been at the work too long, though it was not an insubstantial amount of time either, by this point, and the exertion called for a break. He was just about to find somewhere to sit himself when he realized that Thistle was not perched atop the rock as she had been when he had begun. He cast around hurriedly for a moment, only to start when he saw that she was right beside him, and observing the plot with a more marked interest than she had previously.
“Oh! Gods, I hadn’t seen you there,” he said, too startled to remember to be quiet. He caught himself too late, and then cautiously searched her features for any sign of irritation. She did look up at the sound of his voice, but only flicked an ear slightly, apparently unperturbed. Belatedly he thought of the woman who owned the shop, and how talkative and warm she had seemed. It didn’t seem improbable, now that he thought about it, that she might speak to her charges as she raised them. Thistle could well have been used to human voices, and maybe she was more unsettled by their lack.
… Or maybe not. She didn’t seem as though she much cared one way or the other, at present. “Did you need something?” he ventured, still unsure as to what brought on this sudden interest, which he had never been faced with before.
Maybe she was only investigating the encroachment she felt on what was her space, just as surely as Aubrey had felt aware of a presence in his, even when he wasn’t focusing on her. Or maybe, he thought, returning to the thoughts of the old woman who ran the shop, she saw something in what he was doing that she found familiar.
And then he saw her reaching out to one of the plants he had so carefully put in a few months ago, making as though to grab it. “Ah, no!” he said, startling them both with the sharpness of his voice. That alone was enough to give the King of Evergreen pause. She stopped, then turned wide eyes toward him. He was sure that she had never heard him personally raise his voice. To be fair, he generally wasn’t the type, unless something took him by surprise, as she had done.
He hadn’t been expecting her to do that, and in his urgency to get her to stop, he had briefly lost control of himself.
“Sorry,” he said, though there was no way she could have understood his meaning from the word alone. He gave her an abashed smile, but nevertheless, pulled her hand insistently away from the poor plant that had almost been uprooted. Or at least, Aubrey thought that was what her intent had been; he could not have been certain. Still, better not to risk it. It would have been quite an ordeal for the plant itself, not to mention a great deal of work besides, to replant it when it had already established itself thus.
Thistle gave him a look of utter incomprehension. After thinking about it a moment, Aubrey could hazard a guess at why. She had watched him pulling plants this entire time, one after another, with only brief pauses in between.
Perhaps her attempt had been intended to help him, and her approach an offer of assistance that he had misunderstood.
But if that was the case, then she was going about it incorrectly. Aubrey shook his head. “Not that one,” he said, then, casting around, found a weed in a different plot beside them. He guided her hand, which he still held by the wrist, to the weed, and slowly she gripped it between her fingers. Only as he released her did the texture of her skin register to him, not unlike the bark of a tree--- no, more like the smooth wood just beneath, he amended. Still, it felt like wood, which accounted for the strangeness of the sensation to have it moving beneath his hand. And the fingers were not unlike gnarled branches, though short and thick for their length, and the thumb especially seeming to be twisted and a little strange.
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
Twilight-Claw: Is the site that is going to be used to host all those images also the type you'd need to pay for? (definitely noticed the broken images yeah. Photobucket feels like it is standing on its last legs. X3 )
May 21, 2020 0:13:57 GMT -6
Morgan: I'm just kinda nervous about them going down before things get moved over completely. It's prolly nothing to be worried about though. :3
May 20, 2020 22:13:15 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Thank goodness we're moving out of there? XD
May 20, 2020 21:59:22 GMT -6
Renathan: Ugh, photobucket has the images broke again. x3
May 20, 2020 21:18:53 GMT -6