If an owl could whimper, Mashiik would. But instead, she made her best efforts to now shrink under the offending touch, seeing as intimidation didn't work. It was a confusing time for her. She didn't want to hurt her master, nor did she want her belly to be ruffled and touched. She had just finished preening there! Now the feathers were in all sorts of disarray and lost their luster that she'd worked so hard to achieve.
"Shh, Mashiik", the leopard cooed again, trying his best to calm the owl's shifting emotions. He didn't like to make her so uncomfortable, but she would have to get used to this kind of treatment and more. He changed his course of action to be more aggressive now, pressing deep to the avian's skin beneath the plumage. It was already surprising just how much of an Alurook was simply feathery fluff. The down beneath the outer layer was extremely soft and pleasantly plush.
That was it. She had enough. Mashiik uttered the strangest rolling trill to sound her displeasure, her whole body shuddering and lowering to the ground. Laying was not the easiest position for an owl to achieve, but Mashiik had enough of this. If her belly was inaccessible, there would be no further touching. Xentus was quick to move out of the way as the owl touched her underside to the ground. Her wings were used as a crutch to keep herself steady in this awkward position, and her head was lowered far enough to be eye level with the leopard. This had to be the perfect defense.
Admittedly, Xentus was not expecting that to happen. He was puzzled for a moment, but considered all of the new possibilities. A sly smile curled up onto his lip. He had ideas. First, he went for the wings. To push or to pull? Or ruffle.. There were many options.
So, why not all of the above? Swiftly, the leopard rounded to the owl's side, grabbing at her wing then pulled on the 'wrist' of the bird. An angry hiss sounded, though Xentus ignored the warning yet again. The owl stumbled to steady herself as he tugged at the vulnerable target. Of course, he was careful so that she didn't come tumbling down upon him. He wasn't sure how much the bird weighed and he wasn't keen on finding out in such a personal way.
His next move was to push the owl's wing, though he was met with quite some resistance. There was much of the muscle and mass of the bird to act against, so this didn't work out too well. But, it still did achieve the goal of getting her used to this kind of handling. He shushed and cooed softly at the Alurook, assuring her that this was all okay. Even if she was very much not okay with it still.
Xentus continued on with the harsh lesson of tolerance, pulling at wing feathers and pressing down in odd spots. The protests of the owl came every so often, but with more pressing and pulling and shoving and touching, it became exhaustive. Perhaps it was sinking in that she could not defend herself from his touch, despite all of her displeasure.. She still had some fight left in her though, not quite yet broken. Sensing this, Xentus continued on to another bodily target to harass.
The leopard settled on her tail feathers to tug on now. The shiny, glossy feathers here were strong and dense, somewhat like the primary feathers of the wings. And the perfect target. Xentus pet the lustrous feathers gently at first, letting the owl know he was back there before he got sideswiped. He could hear her already disgruntled, low trills.
"Sorry, Mashiik", he muttered with a sigh, then began pulling at a handful of the smaller feathers at the base of the tail.
A sound that was nearly like a scream ripped through the air as the leopard committed the most daring action thus far. Mashiik's wings flailed as she lifted herself from the ground in a hurry. But out of fear of losing feathers in a rather sensitive spot, she dared not to move her rear. The owl's head was turned around to stare hard at her assailant. Xentus boldly returned her gaze, and continued on to a different handful of feathers to pull. The ever growing displeasure of the owl was almost palpable at this point.
Then, the leopard hatched yet another idea. If she could put up with him clambering up onto her back from here, that would be perfect. And so, he began his climb, clutching handfuls of plumage to hoist himself up onto her back. Eventually, he would have to teach her to bow down to let him up and onto a riding position, but this would work for now.
Getting up onto the owl was probably the most stressful part for her. She'd have to deal with both the feather pulling and a sudden load weighing down her rear end. But, despite all of her displeasure, it seemed she could put up with the act well enough. At least, she didn't try to peck or run away. A less favored person might not be able to get away with doing such a thing, but as long as he was with her, he figured if he had to let anyone take a ride up atop a magical golden owl, he could get her to be calm enough for it.
Once the leopard was actually up on top of her tail, the noises from the bird lowered and calmed. Once he was there, it wasn't much of a big deal. It was only the process that was a little more distasteful. Mashiik settled down as the leopard clambered his way through the downy plumage, being sure to ruffle extra feathers during his ascent.
Oddly, his perch up on her back didn't bother her as much as the pushing and pulling of her feathers on her wings and belly, even with the added annoyances he tried to assault the owl with. She passed his test. Xentus pet her neck and praised her for her patience through discomfort. Such a good girl she was. And good girls get treats. Finally, it was time for the grand reward after all these annoyances, some tasty meaty chunks. Xentus carefully slid down and off the owl's back, stumbling on his feet a little. Mashiik seemed relieved. She turned back to her preening, hurrying to straighten her feathers before they were ruffled any further.
Xentus got her attention and tossed a treat in the owl's direction, then pocketed the bag of goodies. "You've done so well, Mashiik!", he praised the bird as he approached, "But, Xentus needs to be sure you won't shy too much from some handling."
Mashiik dutifully caught the treat and sent it swiftly down to her crop. Preening could wait if there were treats involved. Even with lunch just had, she could always use another bite or two. A giant golden owl needed a lot of food during the day, and a couple of raw hamhocks weren't going to cut it. Her attention was squarely on the leopard, watching as a similar scene occurred only moments before. He touched the belly.
Mashiik winced in response, very unhappy that this all had to start again. This time, she didn't try to step away or seem threatening though. Although the bird wasn't exactly accepting of what was going on, she trusted her keeper to do as he must. Even if it meant that her precious belly had to be touched.. Xentus was pleased with her reaction this time, pushing his hand down through the plumage and down to the skin.
The Alruook, though displeased still, didn't shy away from his touch this time. Good. Xentus took the time to do more than just ruffle feathers, and continued on to part them, pull, and poke. Most of the importance in what he was doing was to be able to treat any wounds the owl might attain in the future. He couldn't have her maiming a hand trying to help her, especially someone else's. His blue eyes carefully peeked up to view the owl's face. A pair of brilliant eyes returned the stare. He grinned at her, then continued on with whatever it was he was doing.
He figured he would examine her skin and down for its health. The down was powdery and in good condition. The skin was pale in tone, though there were a few reddened patches from where he pulled and irritated the area. An intruding bug was plucked and tossed away. She probably needed some more thorough grooming aside from her ever meticulous preening.
The leopard continued his deeper assessment of the bird's plumage on to the underside of her left wing. Thankfully, the owl wasn't too particular about raising her wing for him. She watched him as he gently pulled apart the thin feathers around her ribs. It was almost like having another beak preening her for her.. Yeah, she could get used to this. It really wasn't so bad, now that she had exhausted her mind in terms of convening ways to avoid being touched. Alurook settled down and allowed the leopard to continue on, settling herself with the pleasure of being groomed in some way.
Xentus pulled whatever foreign matter happened to be lodged within the owl's feathers. It was mostly small, fine things that she probably wouldn't be able to screen out on her own, given her massive size. Small insects, some leaf litter, grass strands. Thinking about it now, he wasn't entirely sure what the proper grooming procedure was for giant birds..
After a short break of treats and praise, the leopard set his sights on teaching the final lesson of the day. He donned his trusty mechanical wings, treats in one hand, and led Mashiik out towards the open grassy clearing not too far from his training plot. This would be interesting. He hadn't really plotted out how he would teach a giant owl how to fly, but being able to fly himself would certainly make things a bit easier. Or so he hoped.
The machine on his back whirred to life and lifted him from the ground. The Alruook watched the flying feline carefully, curious to see the purpose of all of this. Xentus flew low to the ground and steadily backwards so that he could face his owl.
"Come, Mashiik!", he called out for the bird. And she followed after him dutifully. It was kind of funny watching her awkward running-trot as she tried to catch up to the ever-moving target.
Giant owls were not very graceful on land. Mashiik's stride revealed her curiously long legs, and her gait was in rather poor form. Her big feet reached up way too high and stamped down on the ground in the best effort she could muster to push herself forward. If not for her absurd size, he would be able to simply outrun her if it came down to a footrace on land. But, the goal was not to get her to run, it was to get her to fly!
"Come, Mashiik, that's it", the flying leopard called out in encouragement, slowly increasing the speed of Papilio. There was almost a look of panic on the owl's face as she tried her best to catch up with her master, but her efforts were in vain. Her wings slightly spread apart, though it was more in an attempt to stay balanced than attempt to fly. It was a good sign regardless.
Mashiik's wings spread out further as she continued her chase after her master, almost flailing to help keep herself balanced. At this speed, she could only barely keep up, though the distance between them didn't shrink. The encouragement helped her to continue onward. But now, it was time for something different. The leopard began his ascent upwards, the distance between himself and the ground growing. Mashiik noticed this almost immediately, and surely enough, her wings began fluttering in a feeble attempt to gain some lift. The instinct to take flight was there. The knowledge on how to do so was not.
The leopard called out for his bird again, beckoning her to him almost teasingly, "Come Mashiik! You can do it!" Whether or not the bird needed moral support (or understood it), he didn't know. And it didn't really matter to him, he would extend it anyway to the glimmering gilded owl.
Now, he wasn't expecting for his beloved owl to take flight right then and there. In fact, he was much more keen on failure so that he could work her up to stable flight. Mashiik desperately fluttered her wings in his best effort to come to her keeper, garnering a bit of lift off the ground with each flap. Her form was poor and unsteady, like a child swimming in a pool for the first time without floaties. Struggling, she managed to lift her mass enough that her stomping feet grazed the grass below. And that was just enough.
Xentus reduced the power to his magic wings and let the golden bird catch up to him with her fluttering step. Some relief seemed to come across that beaked face as she noticed herself reaching her goal, craning her head forward to meet her beak to the leopard's extended hand.
With light pressure, Xentus pressed on the owl's beak. It was a gesture to not only praise her for her efforts, but also to help pass the notion that he was slowing down, and she should too. Mashiik caught on to this easily, her fluttering stopping and her body returning to the earth none too far below.
"Good fly, Mashiik, you did well", the leopard cheerily praised. It was hard to contain his excitement. Mashiik would be the second creature in his care now to learn the gift of flight. The thought made his heart swell. There was a certain magic to be the one to get such magnificent beasts aloft. He felt it strengthened the bond between himself and the creature. He could feel it between Mashiik and himself now. With both her feet steady on the ground again, the bird breathed heavily to catch her breath. With practice, flight would become second nature to her, as it should be.
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