“Can’t say I’m much of a fan of exploring new territory in the dark, but at least we have a flashlight. Not that you really need one. Your natural lighting works just as well for us,” she rambled.
She felt a bit nervous working with Phi. She understood that the mining familiar didn’t trust so easy and that knowledge put some added pressure on their partnership. She needed Phi to like her. If they could have a solid journey this day, Fanged felt confident that she could build rapport with the creature. She kept her eyes focused on the terrain, not wanting to trip as they traversed through the tunnel. She kept the flashlight gripped tightly in her hand, using it to illuminate the rocks in her way.
“I should keep an eye out for gems, but honestly I’m not quite certain what’s valuable or not.”
Phi was more focused on the task than she was. Fanged assumed she was trying to acclimate to the mines. Fanged hoped that she could feel as calm as the halfbreed did, but the new territory was making her feel jittery. She followed Phi as the familiar kept a steady pace. Fanged was grateful that she wasn’t the one leading, but she had to make an effort to keep up with Phi. They carried along like this until finally coming to a stop at another fork in the road. This time, Phi paused and looked up at her expectantly. Fanged felt a rush of happiness fill her chest. Was the creature finally starting to trust her? She’d better not let her down!
“I’ll try to make the best choice I can. I guess in order to do that, I’ll need to quickly check both options to see which one is the better fit for us.”
Fanged decided to start by checking out the left tunnel. This one appeared narrow, but there didn’t seem to be much in the way of obstacles. It would be a tighter fit, but she should have no trouble moving across the path. With that quick assessment in mind, she moved to check out the right tunnel. This one was wider, but from what little knowledge she had of mining, it looked unstable. She drew back, deciding quickly that they would take the left tunnel. She pointed at it.
“That one is safer. Since this is our first trip, we should stick to the safe tunnel.”
With her final verdict given, she and Phi headed down the new tunnel. This time, Phi seemed content to follow her. From what Fanged could read of the halfbreed, it seemed like she was teaching her. If she allowed Fanged to lead, the woman would learn how to traverse the mines.
They had just started down the tunnel when Phi suddenly stopped in her tracks. Fanged sensed the halfbreed’s sudden halt and she stopped as well, looking back curiously to see what had caught the halfbreed’s attention. To her surprise, a blue, sparkly gem was clearly visible next to Phi.
“Wow, that a good find there! That’s our first gem of the expedition!” she exclaimed gleefully.
Phi waited for her to pick up the gem and place it away in her bag. Fanged was grateful that the halfbreed seemed happy enough to let her have it. That took a great deal of trust on her part!
“This is the start of an excellent journey!” she exclaimed.
When the gem was securely in her bag, Fanged continued down the tunnel. Phi followed her and Fanged was grateful to have a second set of eyes for anything she missed. She accepted the fact that she likely wouldn’t be the one finding most of the gems.
Fanged moved forward with a spring in her step. Having found a gem, she felt more assured in her decision to explore the mines. Even if they faced danger, the treasure seemed to be worth it. She and Phi walked in silence for a little while. The tunnel itself was a bit unremarkable, but Fanged took comfort in that. She slowed down, wanting to keep close to Phi while the two were still getting to know each other. The halfbreed had taken to the mines well and Fanged needed to rely on her instinct when it came to navigation and gem finding.
“I hope you don’t mind us sticking together.” Fanged flashed Phi a smile.
The halfbreed wasn’t the most vocal of creatures, but Fanged took her lack of protest as a good sign. Fanged kept her eyes focused on the ground in front of her. She felt a bit helpless, but that would be temporary.
She was starting to get a feel for things as they continued on. Phi made sure to keep an eye out for her, not quite confident in Fanged’s abilities to walk across the trickier areas without tripping. She was equally reliant on her flashlight and Phi’s bioluminescence. Phi’s bioluminescence was a sure-fire way for the mining familiar to secure her place as Fanged’s main mining companion. It was simply too beneficial for her not to appreciate. The continued through the tunnel, moving at a quicker pace once both of them knew what to expect from the tunnel. Eventually, the tunnel opened up into a wide cavern. Fanged decided that this would be a good place to take a break and maybe search for some more gems. She took a breather and sat down on a rock. Phi trotted up next to her, watching Fanged with a look of curiosity on her face.
Fanged took a few minutes to rest. She was still fairly out of shape which was something she knew she needed to work on. It didn’t help that she seemed so sickly lately. Phi appeared understanding enough, though Fanged was sure it was more due to the fact that she expected less of the woman. Phi certainly treated her like a newbie within the mines and Fanged couldn’t find anything incorrect about that perception. When Fanged felt rested enough, she pushed herself back up onto her feet.
“Alright, might as well try and put these tools to work. They cost me a pretty penny, that’s for sure!”
Phi followed her as Fanged went to examine the various areas of the cavern. Fanged needed to get experience recognizing which areas of the wall would be the best place to start digging, but for now, she was simply going to concern herself with safety.
She looked for an area where the wall seemed sturdiest. She found one where there were large chunks of rock sticking out, but the base structure appeared steady. If she worked to chip away at the rocks, she might be able to reveal some gems without damaging the tunnel structure.
“Alright, I’ll start with the pick. Ideally, that should be able to break some of these larger chunks away.”
Phi watched with interest. Fanged figured the whole endeavor intrigued her. She set down her other tools to free up her hands and picked up the pick. She examined it briefly under the flashlight. She had enough knowledge on how to use a pick theoretically, but she’d never actually held one. It was weighted with a careful balance and Fanged tested it out to get a feel for how that balanced worked. She raised it to the wall and struck it lightly against the rock.
Immediately, a large chunk of rock broke free from the wall. Fanged had to stop herself from jumping backwards in fright. She hadn’t expected the rock to break free so easily. Additionally, there appeared to be a gem hidden within the rubble of the rock that her pick had just destroyed. Phi stepped over and lowered her head to inspect the gem. She drew back once she was finished, allowing Fanged to collect it.
“I wonder if there’s more hidden within. That rock broke free a little too easily which I find rather interesting.”
Phi regarded her with a curious look. She was a rather silent creature and Fanged would have to learn to read her body language. For now, she took her actions as a sign for her to continue working away at the wall. She raised the pick again, this time hitting it against a different area with a decent amount of force.
To her surprise, this time the rocks held steady. The force of the blow jolted up the handle of her pick and struck her fingers. She jerked back at the sensation, rubbing swiftly at her suddenly tender fingers. If Phi was vocal, Fanged was certain the Raikiri would be laughing at her. She rubbed her palms on her clothes, trying to dull the tingling sensation that had overtaken them. She waited until the sensation stopped before continuing with her work.
“Alright Phi, this time I’ll make sure that I don’t make such a fool of myself. How about that?”
The Raikiri shook her head, a motion that reminded Fanged of a child rolling their eyes when they were told to do chores. The amusing image made her chuckle in amusement. Phi seemed like the type of personality that wouldn’t appreciate being compared to a child. She turned back to the wall, ready to work.
Phi stepped closer this time, watching the wall intently as Fanged searched for the next spot to hit. She took her palm and swiped it across the surface of the wall, trying to feel for any spots that felt like they would break away easily. She assumed that this process would get easier with experience, but for now, Fanged would have to rely on estimation alone to guide her actions.
“I think this part feels like its ready to chip off,” she commented.
Phi stared at the part of the wall that Fanged tapped out. She examined it carefully, before stepping back and allowing the woman to continue her work. Fanged took that as a good sign and quickly checked the pick over before raising it once again. She decided to try a medium strength hit and she raised the pick a little past her neck. She then struck at the wall.
This time when her pick connected, a large chunk of rock sliced away cleanly. She jumped back, avoiding the rock as it landed close to her. She didn’t want to risk breaking a toe or something silly because she wasn’t being careful enough. When the rocks had settled, she leaned closer to investigate the newly formed pile of rubble. She sifted through it, using the shovel since she didn’t want to touch the dirt with her bare hands. There was no telling what was lurking within and she didn’t want to accidentally cut herself on a sharp rock or some broken glass.
“I don’t think there’s anything here, so that means we’ll have to keep looking,” she commented.
She felt a steady determination set in. Phi was patient and was watching her with interest as she worked. Fanged felt a steady sense of companionship building between them and she held onto that feeling.
She turned back to the wall, ready to do some more work. She was gradually getting more used to using her pick. The tool didn’t feel so awkward in her hands anymore and she felt she could wield it with a certain degree of skill. It wouldn’t be a very advanced skill, but she at least had some semblance of idea of what to do with the tool.
“You’re lucky you don’t need tools,” she joked to Phi. “It really is a lot to carry around!”
Phi fluttered her wings in response, a sign that Fanged took to be amusement. The thought warmed her chest. If they could find some more gems, then she was certain that Phi would grow even more appreciative of her. She scanned the wall, this time searching for any spots that looked glittery or a strange colour. When she thought she had a good contender, she struck the pick against the stone.