The next command was given as the treat was thrust deeper below the surface of the water, with her knuckles not yet scraping the pebbly bed that was its bottom. The houluh dipped her head down as she had the previous time, jaws snapping shut just above the treat, causing the piece of meat to nearly slip out of Haix’s hand. As she grabbed at the treat before it could drift away, the houluh pulled her head back with water drooling freely from her mouth.
Tin was confused by the lack of a treat, but more concerned by the lack of praise as Haix ignored her. Then the treat was held just above the water, her attention switching to it as Haix splashed her hand in the water and gave the command again. Again she failed, finding only water in her mouth, and again there was no praise of pats to be had. So, before Haix could raise the treat once more, Tin dipped her head back into the water, snagging the treat from Haix’s hand. ((Tin-18.0))
Water sprayed from her nose with a snort as she lifted her head back up, eating the treat as the water spilled from her mouth. Praise and petting was given to her now. There was nothing about fishing or hunting that meant the hunter could only have one shot at obtaining the food, though she wished she had been able to repeat the command before the houluh had plunged after the treat. The slave hound might not understand that the act had to follow the command if she failed to say it in time, and having the houluh fish randomly would not be as useful. Crafted beasts rarely had the intelligence to make the best use of their abilities after all.
The next few treats were held roughly at the same mid depth as that one had been. The houluh’s failures to snare the treat were frustrating, as she had not even gotten to the point that they would be moving yet. 16
By the time she decided to press her hand to the bottom, the houluh was only rarely missing the treat. One time Tin had missed the treat entirely despite not recoiling from the water, her jaws bumping against Haix’s fingers as they snapped shut and pulled out of the water. She resolved to keep her fingers flat if not a decent distance away from the treats during the training after that.
The houluh did her best as the command was given, all of her head up to the base of her ears disappearing into the water when she ducked down for the treat. Haix could not tell if she kept her eyes open after they went under, but the hould seemed to have an easier time than before snagging the treats. Tin did not miss not at all, seeking out the treat unerringly to pull it back into the open air. 17
Praise and pats were given to the houluh for her progress, then Haix returned to the spot she had laid out the supplies, fetching a thin rope that was to be used to tie it shut if the current one failed. With the small rope in hand, Haix made her way back to the houluh and the bucket, increasing her pace with a barked warning to Tin when the runt tried to peer over the mouth of the bucket at the treats and hides within.
Now that she was back and the houluh was looking at her with sad eyes and a whine, she crouched next to the bucket and pulled out one of the balls of hide with a piece that flapped in the breeze. This she waved in front of the houluh making sure the runt was paying attention to it. Then, with the command for the houluh to fish said, the hide ball was dropped into the water. 18
Originally, she had intended to hold the hide ball and drag it through the water in mimicry of an actual fish, the small length of rope she had grabbed meant to be used to distance her hand from the nipping of the houluh if Tin got too excited. This way the houluh would have to learn to predict the movements of the fish, to get used to a target that could move in more dimensions that her usual prey she hunted for on land. Fishing tend to be more difficult than hunting somewhere where breathing was not an issue. Instead, she had dropped it into the water to let the slight current move it as it would, thus hopefully preventing the houluh from thinking that she could just watch Haix for the movement of the ‘fish’.
And as it turned out, it was not a bad thing that she had dropped it. 19
Tin did not ignore the hide as it fell into the water as Haix might have feared. She lunged for it , paws kicking from where, a second later, her jaws snapped shut. WIth a yip of surprise that the thing was moving now, and despite all the hunt training they had done earlier, Tin chased after the skin with reckless abandon, yipping and pouncing and missing as the water she moved through moved the toy away from her. Once a missed pounce had sent the toy spiraling lazily through the water next to her, bouncing against her side. Her quick twist of her body a moment later to snap at it only moving it to safety.
Had there been any fish in the water, Haix expected the wild splashing of the houluh would scare them away. The fact that no massive beast pretending to be a part of the river bed reared up and swallowed the houluh whole was enough to confirm that there was no predator hidden in there either. ((Tin-19.0 Haix-192.0))
Tin chased the toy for a while, Haix only interfering to reach out with the net and bat it closer to their patch of shoreline, or to call out the command whenever the slave hound seemed confused and halted her hunt for the fake fish. Eventually she caught it, pulling it up from the water with her teeth snagged in its tail while next to Haix, and her response was to slap at the main ball. The tail tore and the fake fish escaped back into the water, leading Tin on a merry chase once more.
She caught the fake fish again a little while later, this time gripping the body of the ball in her mouth and trotting back to the dry shore with her prize. She tore it open, eating the meat as Haix gave her a little bit of praise and some head pats, looking up from nosing the deflated hide when they stopped coming. 21
A new ‘fish’ was readied and held out for Tin’s inspection, the houluh giving it a sniff and, upon smelling the meat hidden within it, opened her jaws and tried to gently take it from Haix. The ssashirk laughed, and gave the command to fish as she tossed it into the water for Tin to chase.
Just like before, Haix left the houluh to splash around in the water, keeping an eye on both her and the fake fish to prevent both of them from going too far. She was faintly annoyed that she was not getting to do much fishing of her own, but the advantages of having the houluh able to hop into the water and pluck out fish for her were too great to be ignored. Whether or not the houluh would be able to catch the fish as she splashed through the water might be a problem, but the slave hound would hopefully figure out when such things were appropriate. 22
As if her thoughts had reached Tin, the houluh stopped in her mad chase of the fake fish to stare down at it as it drifted by her front paws. Cocking her head to the side as she watched it slowly move, she knew it would spring away just before she reached it as it had done so many times before. So, not unlike one of the more recent hunts she had been sent on, she walked rather than ran up to the ‘fish’. Each step was slowly taken, there barely a splash as her paws were lifted from and placed back into the water. Still, the treat did not move away.
She was close now, close as she had ever gotten before this one had slipped away. But this time she moved only her head and neck, jaws smashing through the surface of the water to close on the body of the treat before it could swim away again. Tin received her hard-earned praise as she ate the treat. 23
The bucket was dug through, removing the string and anything else that was not one of the fake fishes crafted from hides. For these, Haix checked that each had a little bit of meat in their belly, then snapped at the houluh to not move as Tin trotted after her, eyes on the bucket. The houluh reluctantly complied, but Haix was forced to screech for her to hold still when she threw the contents of the bucket into the water.
Haix watched the fake fish swirl around in the water and spread further apart, those in the middle being pulled lazily down the stream. Tin was still sitting, staring at her then the water when Haix looked back, and the ssashirk counted aloud. On the last number, she gave the houluh the command to fish, and Tin raced into the stream. She stopped just as quickly as Haix watched, staring at a fake fish that was drifting towards her. She snapped it up quickly, dragging it back to shore. 24
Haix let the houluh eat, giving her a word of praise. Then, the instant the houluh stopped chewing and was only nudging the skin with her nose, Haix gave the command to fish again. And again and again, each time after Tin finished eating one of the treats. Sometimes it took longer for her to snag one of the fish, her excitement causing her to not be patient enough to grab them, sometimes she splashed around in the water for more than a few seconds looking for one to grab after the command had been said.
But she was bringing at least one to shore with each command given. Figuring that the houluh had fished out the majority of them, with most others likely having drifted down stream by now, Haix gave the houluh the command to fish one more time. Like before, the houluh stepped into the water, slower now that she was no longer hungry, and looked around the smooth surface of the pond. Then her head snapped down, dragging something silvery and very much wriggling out of the water.
Surprised, amused that the houluh had made the first catch of the day, she gave the houluh a word of praise as TIn stripped away some of the meat from the now limp fish. ((Tin-20.0 Fishing-End?))
She let the houluh finish eating the fish pinned underneath her paws, the slave hound having enough sense not to eat the bones. It was a welcome relief to know that she would not have to train Tin to eat the fish properly after catching them. With a beast touched by a soft-skin godling, cursed to be a slave for its entire life, she would not have been surprised to find that yet another obstacle stood in Tin’s way of becoming more independent. She did not want a beast that she would need to constantly order it around for it to do anything, not when she already had Ruminate.
The houluh finished her meal of the fish quickly, leaving most of the meat and organs mostly intact. The treats she had received during training had already filled her up, though the fresh meat of the fish had been a great deal tastier. 26
She nudged the fish now that she was done with it, curious if it would start moving again. This particular one had been more fun to catch than the others, its darting movements had made it hard for her not to charge at it upon seeing it. The way its blood had leaked out onto her tongue had almost convinced her to try to eat it then, but the small fish was still too big for her to eat in one gulp. It had flailed out of the water too, and she almost dropped it a few times before she had made it back to the shore with her prize.
But the fish did not move, even when she nosed it back into the shallows of the water she had taken it from. Mildly disappointed, the houluh looked back down the stream at Haix, the ssashrik paying no obvious attention to her. 27
Haix was fiddling around with the rod, practicing with the hookless line. The reel portion appeared to be working correctly, allowing her to pull the string out as it span, and brought the line back around it with nary a tangle when she wound it the other way. What attention she spared the houluh was spotty, mostly consisting of a quick glance in the slave hound’s direction to ensure she was not running off or in the process of getting herself killed, then turning her full attention back to the supplies. It would have been better if she had taken the book out with her, the few diagrams she could remember blurring together, but it had not seemed so complex at the time. That, and now she knew how much it would cost her if she broke the rod or wasted even a single hook. She wanted the best possible haul. 28
Silver: I'm so glad! I really want people to feel like they can 'do stuff' with their sentient pets, and Draconics especially! I'm excited to see what you guys come up with. :3
Jan 17, 2021 17:59:39 GMT -6
Morgan: I like the update overall.
Jan 17, 2021 17:51:56 GMT -6
Morgan: I'm legit so happy now that draconics will basically be able to communicate in draconic instead of being completely unable to communicate from birth unless classically trained or 7+ intelligence. It was so weird to try to do story breedings like that.
Jan 17, 2021 17:51:21 GMT -6
Riku: I hope things work smoothly for you, Jack. <3 // The new update looks awesome.
Jan 17, 2021 10:58:47 GMT -6
Jack: Thanks for sticking with us!
Jan 16, 2021 20:33:33 GMT -6
Jack: So for those of you not on the Discord, I would like to say I'm still around, just not as much. Had to quit my job to watch the kids, opened an Etsy shop, and I'm trying to just keep things rolling through my current bad depression.
Jan 16, 2021 20:33:29 GMT -6
Riku: I am doing well. I also hope everyone else is doing well! <3
Jan 10, 2021 13:32:14 GMT -6
Morgan: I hope everyone is doing well. c:
Jan 9, 2021 15:20:41 GMT -6