Still, her grip was a true one, and surprisingly firm. She mimed a tug, and to this he smiled and nodded. Thus assured, she pulled the weed out in a single sharp yank. It wanted for some deftness, but there was certainly a good deal of enthusiasm, which almost made up for the lack.
If only she did not immediately make for another plant which was supposed to be there.
“No,” Aubrey said again, grabbing her by the hand. She was less startled, though he saw a hint of something that might have been irritation begin to take its place. Gingerly he let go of the hand, and she did not reach for the plant again, but looked at him, as if seeking guidance… Or maybe, more accurately, for him to tell her which one was acceptable then, if he was going to protest the one that she had chosen.
“This one,” he said cautiously, pointing at another of the weeds. Thistle eyed it, studying it for a moment, before slowly reaching for it. Her attention was divided between the plant itself and Aubrey, possibly bracing herself for another of his interjections, as if she might have somehow misunderstood his meaning. That she was paying attention to him, and mindful of what he might not like, was a curiously heartening thought. He found himself filled with more warmth towards her all of a sudden, though he doubted she would have been much cheered by the news, if he’d had a way to convey it to her.
More likely she was simply hoping not to be bothered again by his interfering with her. He had shown himself fully willing to inconvenience her if she did something he disapproved of, after all. Still, he would take his small victories wherever he could get them.
And she was helping him, after all, even if she was going about it somewhat incorrectly. It was the thought that counted, in these situations, wasn’t it?
Seeing that Aubrey had no more protests to make, however, she proceeded to pull out the second weed. When she experimentally made as if to pull out a similar looking plant, Aubrey did not stop her. The third one she pulled with a good deal more confidence, and if she was working through some of her irritation by yanking them out with particular force, well, Aubrey did not begrudge her that. Even if he had cared to, which he did not, he couldn’t have thought of how he might convey such a notion, that he’d like her to pull more gently despite the fact that he did want the weeds to come out of the ground here, at the end of the day.
Well, maybe when they had gotten on for some time, and they could communicate better, he might be able to convey to her messages of greater specificity. For now, however, even this crude communication sufficed. As long as she did not make a mess or a wreckage of his garden, he was content, irrespective of whether she wished to help or not. And this assistance, even if it came with its own challenges and hiccups, heartened him greatly to see when he sat back and considered it.
… Until she went for something else he’d planted. Again.
“No,” he said, though fortunately this time without the same startled urgency as the first two times. And he leaned forward to grab her but did not quite make contact, for by then there was no need. She had stopped on the word alone, and was looking at him with a measured consideration--- from him to his outstretched hand.
Slowly, Aubrey retracted it, and she watched him do that too. She began to reach for the plant again, but just as slowly, and when Aubrey said, “No,” again, she stopped.
She stared at him as she did it, and conscious of the fact that he was being observed, this time Aubrey held very still. Kings of Evergreen, he was given to understand from what he had gathered from word of mouth, were not quite sentient, but they were very smart as far as creatures went. She must have been trying to work out something like communication with him, and he had just repeated the same word several times, in isolation, with a similar context for all the occasions he'd used it. It was no great leap of logic to conclude that she might be trying to make out his meaning.
Aster, Aubrey recalled, had trained creatures with less intelligence to understand simple commands.
Though he balked at the idea that he was issuing a command to any of his creature companions, he recalled that even Yeo-reum had to be taught a little in the way of manners as a fish, so that he did not harm himself, or Aubrey, or anyone around them, for all that Yeo-reum was generally of a good natured and harmless character. He could think of this as more of the same, he supposed, especially if the alternative was to endanger the well being of his garden. Especially as this was also the place that Thistle had chosen to make her home.
Fortunately she did not try for that plant again. She tried, instead, for a different one, which was different from the others that she had encountered thus far, but similarly unacceptable. Aubrey told her ‘no’ for that one too, and she left off trying for it or its fellows.
Instead, she turned her attention to another weed similar to the ones she had pulled before. When Aubrey did not protest this one, she pulled it out.
Thus began a crude system between the two of them, where Thistle would indicate a plant, and Aubrey would tell her ‘no’ if he didn’t wish it to be pulled. Otherwise, it was shortly excised, and after a few successes, she began to identify the weeds and extract them with abandon, without waiting to see whether Aubrey would set up a fuss at all.
The result was that Aubrey had to watch her much more closely. If he was being honest, it made him sort of nervous, even knowing that she was trying her best to abide by his rules. After all, she was pulling the plants he had let her pull before, and leaving the ones he’d said no to alone.
From that, Aubrey could tell that the intent to follow his instructions was there… But at the pace she was going, he was afraid she’d reach for something before he would have a chance to tell her not to, and then… Well…
Fortunately for him, however, when she was finished with one plot and moved onto the next, she paused before a new plant. Aubrey, who had been nervously hovering next to her the whole time, breathed a sigh of relief, seeing that he would be given a moment to tell her yes or no. “No,” he said, as that was one of the food plants. Thistle left it alone, and opted for one of the weeds she recognized, yanking it out with a tug.
She was unusually enthusiastic about her task--- or maybe this was just par for the course for her when she set her mind to doing something.
And it was only that Aubrey wasn’t used to her that he thought it was odd. Nevertheless, he hadn’t thought of weeding as something to apply oneself to so vigorously until he’d seen Thistle go at it. And while it meant that the chore was completed in less time than it would have taken him to do it, he didn’t really know if he felt as though he had saved himself any trouble. If anything, the state of tense observation that he’d had to maintain this whole time left him feeling more drained rather than less. He watched Thistle for a moment longer, but even she seemed to have realized that they were altogether out of weeds. If she looked a little disappointed, well, he was sure some would come back soon, and then maybe he would leave the task to her, if she still found herself so inclined.
Maybe he wouldn’t need to weed his garden ever again, with her around to take up the job.
For the moment, however, all he wanted to do was sit himself down and catch his breath. It wasn’t that he was feeling winded, but the relief at his period of vigilance having come to an end had left him feeling in need of a rest all the same. Now that he was sure that Thistle wasn’t going to try and pull out anything else, he might as well take it.
He set himself down on the rock, mindless of the cold of the stone, even though the chill could be felt even through the fabric of his clothes. Aubrey didn’t generally like the cold, and the shorter days brought on by the fall and winter months were making him more sluggish than he had been several months ago.
He couldn’t say for sure, but he felt like this had never been a problem he’d experienced when he had still been a proper Hara… Maybe it was one of the changes that had come with becoming a Sprite. He had never had a particular affinity for plants prior to this either, so it made sense enough. Maybe he was a creature that changed with the seasons now, just as the denizens of his garden were.
He closed his eyes a moment, but as the weariness had been brought on by nerves, it was also quick to leave him. It didn’t take long for him to feel well enough to open them again, even given the unpleasant season. But when he did, he saw Thistle making trouble again, this time swatting at birds. “No,” said Aubrey, not sharply as he had done before, but with a firmness that surprised himself, after the fact.
It surprised Thistle too; she stopped, to be sure, but she stared at him. She hadn’t looked to him for any direction this time, so maybe that was why she was surprised to receive a rebuke at all.
The birds promptly landed on her as soon as she stopped trying to swat them away. Thistle glowered, and made as if to start again, when Aubrey repeated his word: “No. Thistle, no, let them be,” he said. Again she stopped, but this time the look she levelled at him was filled with undisguised irritation.
Before all this, Aubrey might have felt… guilty, or discomfited by her displeasure, but at the moment he felt more inclined to laugh. “Don’t worry,” he said, “I’ll get them off you. Here, just wait a moment.” If that was her only problem, then he had a solution for it ready at hand, more or less.
He knew she wouldn’t be able to understand what he was saying, but he held up his hand, open palmed, in a ‘halt’ sort of gesture, and went into the shed to find something that was still being stored within.
When he came back out, with a bird feeder and a bag of seeds in tow, the birds on Thistle had multiplied. Apparently, seeing that she wasn’t going to retaliate had made the shy ones bolder. Now they were all singing to one another in bright little voices, while Thistle’s spiny leaves mantled in displeasure. Aubrey laughed again, in spite of himself, but he filled his hand with some birdseed and held it out, approaching Thistle and her retinue slowly.
Perhaps they had been regularly fed here, and were used to humans. Aubrey thought the birds would be more cautious about eating directly from his hand, but there was almost none of that.
As soon as the first bird saw the food, it left off bothering Thistle, and went to Aubrey instead. Before he knew it, he was contending with most of the swarm that had previously been stationed with her, all chattering as they angled for a perch, or even gamely tried to dislodge their fellows. It was a curious mix of amusing and alarming to watch such small birds knock each other about. He was sure they were dead serious about it, but at their size and proportions, it could be little else but comical.
For her part, Thistle only seemed relieved to be rid of them, and brushed herself off with rather more care than Aubrey thought she really needed. What could little birds such as these really do? They had claws that were sharp sometimes, but surely her skin was tougher than his own, and even he did not mind.
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
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