Casper raised his head to look at her. Even if the woman was working to distract him from his hard work, he would still listen to her. Fanged held his gaze for a few heartbeats before releasing him.
“Good boy!” she praised him. She allowed Casper to go back to his investigation of the strange scent. Before long, it became evident that he had actually found something of interest. He led her closer to what he had found and Fanged soon realized that it was a small stash of gems. She grinned at him and eagerly reached down to collect the treasures. With the gems safely tucked away in her bag, Fanged gave Casper another quick bit of praise before allowing him to get back to doing his own thing. Once he was absorbed in his own little world again, she took the opportunity to call his name again.
Being underground wasn’t a natural feeling, but Fanged was starting to grow more used to it. The darkness was something she’d always be wary of. She shuddered at the thought of her flashlight breaking and was glad for the light the tool provided. Casper didn’t seem to share her qualms. If anything, he seemed rather relaxed in the underground environment.
“I guess being a ghost makes it less likely for you to get injured down here,” she joked.
Casper didn’t seem to understand her humor and continued to investigate the area around them. He was a curious creature and Fanged always considered that to be a good trait. She moved close to him, allowing Casper to lead the way. The Balgor had a natural aptitude for navigating through the dark space. His confidence was catching and Fanged felt herself more at ease as well. Their journey was on its way.
Casper led them forward in silence. His stance was tense with determination. Fanged made sure to watch their backs, keeping her eyes fixed on the area behind them. The cavern that they entered was wider than she expected. The area was lit by slivers of light that slipped through cracks present in the ceiling overhead. Fanged found herself relaxing in the light. Now she didn’t need to be so reliant on her tools. Casper slunk forward, his tail twitching as he took in the sights and sounds around them. Fanged listened as well, but she could hear nothing out of the ordinary. She watched him in silence for a moment, waiting to see if he would give any signs that there was something present among them. When Casper remained quite calm, Fanged decided that there was nothing nefarious afoot.
“Now, you’ll warn me if you feel any ghosts, right?” she joked.
Casper didn’t respond to her with words, but he did prick his ears forward as though he was suddenly on alert. He slunk forward, blending in with the shadows. The air around them was stale, indicating that there would be no escape or hidden exits in the near vicinity. Fanged found herself frozen still, waiting to see if Casper had found anything. The Balgor stopped suddenly, his interest still intently focused on something that lay within the shadows.
“What is it boy?” she asked him softly.
Without language, Casper couldn’t give her much of a proper reply. He stood poised in a stiff position, as though waiting for something to strike out at him. Fanged could only wait as well for whatever he had seen to reveal itself. It didn’t take long for the shadows to shift and a small form to reveal itself. The face of a rat blinked in the beam of her flashlight as it emerged.
The rat was quick to scuttle away, leaving a few gems in its wake. Fanged felt an unexpected thrum of magic and eagerly moved to investigate the gems further. The multigems weren’t nearly as exciting as the crystal, but she collected them all the same. Casper watched her intently as she picked up the blue crystal. She thought this one was water, but she couldn’t have been a hundred percent certain. Casper looked at her with glowing eyes. He watched intently as she handled the crystal. The magic seemed to have caught his attention this time and his gaze continued to focus on her until she had stowed the crystal safely away in her backpack.
“There we go! Treasure has been secured,” she told him.
Casper seemed to settle somewhat once the crystal was secure and in Fanged’s possession. With that settled, the two of them continued down the tunnel.
When they came to a fork in the road, Fanged decided to let Casper choose the way in order to get acclimated to things. Casper took an extra second to make a decision before veering to the right. However, the problem with choosing this path was that it immediately dropped off into a deep chasm. Casper decided not to let this deter him. He leaped down to a lower ledge, one that would be incredibly dangerous for Fanged to follow.
“No Casper! I can’t go down there,” she exclaimed. “No!”
Casper appeared confused for a moment. He stared up at the woman, waiting to see when she would jump down and follow him. When it became evident that Fanged wasn’t following him, he began to grow frustrated. Eventually, he jumped back up to pester her into following him. Fanged did her best to ignore him as he nipped at the air near her feet.
“If you want me to go down there, we need to find a safer path first,” she told Casper.
The Balgor didn’t understand her very clearly. He tried to nip at her heels again and Fanged was quick to tell him off.
“Casper no!” she said firmly.
The Balgor reeled back, not a fan of the tone in her voice. He blinked steadily, considering his options for how to convince Fanged to join him down on the lower ledge. It appeared snapping at her wasn’t helping things. But maybe one more time would work. He drew closer to the woman and moved with slow precision. When he moved to snap at her heels, Fanged quickly snapped back in reprimanding him.
“No, Casper!” she exclaimed in an exacerbated tone.
He froze in place, not quite certain how to respond to being told off. However, freezing was the correct thing to do in this situation, so Fanged praised him.