That was why, upon looking up and seeing the houluh close to the edge of the stream, apparently sniffing at it as she raised one leg to step in an investigate further, she called the houluh back to her and the pile of supplies. One thing the book had been very clear about was that fish tended to not bite as well when something was churning up the water, and the houluh trying to hunt certainly would be a disturbance. They would have to wait for a long enough time already for the fish to return, assuming this offshoot with its pebbly floor would prove to be attractive to the things swimming in it.
The shallowness she had chosen it for might work against them in that the fish might not want to swim somewhere so shallow and clear in fear of predators. Fish tended to be fairly stupid when compared with terrestrial prey though. 29
It was not that fish did not have much to fear, for plenty of beings and creatures, some fish themselves, preyed upon them. The poisonous ones were especially stupid, for while only the naive and the desperate would try to eat one, their poisons were useful enough to see them hunted down and harvested. The poisonous fish rarely seemed to care about the risk however, apparently feeling safe by virtue of their poison, even when someone stood before them with a spear.
She found herself wishing she was fishing with a spear rather than the rod and net, but supposed it was pointless to long after a spear when she had not found a single fish beyond the one Tin had chewed up. The houluh reached her as she had the thought, and she absentmindedly gave the slave hound a scratch behind the ears. At least one of them had luck so far. ((Tin-21.0)) 30
She fiddled around with the rod for a few more seconds, then laid it by the rest of the supplies that went with it. If the rod was a tool, these were the accessories that made it work, and she knew the basics of each. The bobbers kept the line from sinking to the bottom, allowing the hook to bob in the water and catch the eye of any swimmer near it. The hooks themselves, shaped all roughly the same with the barbed head that would hold a biter and a curved body to prevent it from working its way free. The bodies of the hooks ever either smooth or built of straight lines and angles, one with a second head and body for reasons Haix did not understand. Would two fish bite at once?
Tin enjoyed the petting, and stayed near Haix. The stream and the tasty-quick treats within it quickly forgotten. 31
Tin leaned against Haix’s side, eyes closing as she did so. She was not tired, no, this day had been much easier than the days filled with running and swimming. The fullness in her belly however made her feel like it was dragging on the ground, and so she wanted a quick rest. She slid down Haix’s side, the scratches stopping as she drifted off to sleep.
The little metal weights Haix understood to be to keep the hook sunken near any large fish that would dwell at the bottom and the baits themselves were fairly explanatory. She did wonder how useful the pellets would be compared to the wiggling worms and the dead fish though, both of the latter having the advantage of looking like food. Were there really fish that would swim up and, upon seeing the coin-shaped pellet on the hook, decide that eating it would be a good idea? 32
The bait was interesting, and she enjoyed running her hand through the harmless box of worms to pick one out for a better look but she dropped the rot eater back into the box and shut it. The lures were what she was looking at now, their shapes gradually growing more interesting between the three of them. First, there was one shaped like a fish, its tail comprised of the hooks that would snare anything that tried to take a bite. Then there was the fuzzy one, which Haix first took to be nothing more than a patch of fluff. As she wondered why a fish would want to eat a shed patch of fur, she realized what it looked like. While squinting at it while trying to make out its form, it almost resembles a flying insect like a bee.
The houluh snored, clearly less delighted than Haix to figure out what the lure was meant to be. 33
Then there was the last lure, and she was not sure what it was supposed to be. It was bright pink, all the better to catch the eye of any passing fish, and had long stands of rubber reaching out from one side of its bulbous body. It did not resemble any lab creature she had seen, and she felt that she would have been able to recognize, though not name, all of the numbered crafted creatures that had been released if she saw them. Nor had she seen anything quite like it in her life before journeying to the soft-skin city, though she tried to recall anything like the lure as she fiddled with the rubber strands. Well, perhaps it was meant to just catch the attention of the fish, pretending to be something like a ball of worms to lure the larger ones into biting the hook. Glancing at the sleeping houluh, she reminded herself not to let Tin get into the supplies. 34
Retrieving the hooks from the houluh’s hide would prove tedious and risk the destruction of the hooks. If she did not plan to use them when she moved back to the stream, she would need to put them back, or else risk Tin seeing the fancy lures and biting into one of them.
She hesitated to put them away immediately, wondering if it was better to use the hook and the supplies now even before she fully understood how to make the best use of them. She would have to use them some time. The worms and dried fish would not last forever, though she would not have been surprised if the pellets did. Then, annoyed by her own indecision, she slammed the tackle box shut. She would use them later, after she had found some form of life in the stream beyond some tiny silver fish Tin had managed to catch. ((Tin-22.0)) 35
She made sure the box was sealed, then that she had not accidentally dropped a hook somewhere near it. When there was no glint of metal found, she leaned to the side to reach for the net, grasping it’s long neck and dragging it back to her. If nothing else, she could try to find some of the treat balls herself, assuming they had not already fallen apart or drifted away, and practice scooping them up. It would be closer to her style of fishing than the complex rod and its accessories.
The houluh managed to sleep through the jangling of metal hooks when Haix slammed shut the tackle box, and remained so as Haix leaned over her to grab the net’s pole. It was when Haix stood up that her eyes opened, just enough for a sliver of blue to peek through. Then they slid shut again, the houluh returning to sleep. 36
Haix briefly considered waking the houluh up. Having Tin awake to spot anything that Haix herself might miss could have been useful, or at least the houluh could be sent into deeper waters to snare a fish that could be hiding there. Then again, while the houluh’s sleep could have easily been broken with a jab from the pole, Tin might run around and scare away the fish. And if the slave hound was so tired already, she would never make it to any spotted fish in time. So she left Tin to sleep near the supplies.
She stopped at the edge of the pond, both hands gripping the rod to prevent it from tipping. The glare of the sun on the surface of the rippling water made it difficult to tell if anything beneath the surface was actually moving. Then something green came tumbling by, its color easy to make out among the grey-scale stone bed. 37
The first sweep of the net missed it, the green thing twirling back from the sudden current. The second swing found it, trapping it in the deepest part of the net as she lifted it above the water. Excited to have caught something, she turned to look at the houluh and the buckets she had accidentally left yards away from the stream. She ran over to them quickly, earning a blink from Tin as she plunged the net into the bucket, pushed the end in to free whatever it was that she had caught. The green thing freed, she let the net end of the pole rest against the ground as she looked into the bucket to get a better view of the thing she had caught.
Which, being green and mostly flat despite its ends curling, turned out to be a leaf. They had gone fishing, and she had caught a leaf. 38
Chuckling to herself, she turned to where the houluh rested, saying a few not unkind words about her fishing ability, finishing it with a gentle pat. When the houluh woke up she would put it to work catching as many aquatic creatures as Tin could.
She took the bucket with her to the shore this time, balancing the pole for the net with one hand and her shoulder. She dropped it on the dry stones that made up the boundaries of the stream, then angled the net back towards the water with both hands. This time she intended to catch something more impressive than a single green leaf. When the next thing swam into sight, branching tendrils stretched out behind it in a way that made her think of the pink lure despite the color difference, she swung the net for it, scooping it up as nicely as she could. She did not want to damage the creature until she knew its worth. 39
It was freed from the net in the bucket, and when she pulled the net out of the way she found that she certainly had not just caught another leaf. She had caught an entire plant!
Not quite believing her luck, she prodded at the plant with the butt of the pole, willing it to do something more than wiggle with the water. She would have settled for the blink of some tiny eye, or even it grabbing the pole with the tangled stems, but it did nothing. Willing to admit it probably was a plant of some kind, she stood up from her crouch to get a better look at the water.
Tin, quite satisfied with her own fish catching earlier, kicked her legs out against the tackle box, lost in some dream. The box jangled slightly from the impact but did not otherwise move. The houluh did not kick it a second time. ((Tin-23.0 Haix-193.0)) 40
Unaware of the houluh’s accidental kicking of the tackle box, Haix was tempted to kick the bucket back into the water. Nothing more had drifted by where she stood waiting, and, in her impatience, she had resorted to knocking the nearest underwater stones aside with her pole. Seeing something that was not smooth enough to be a rock, she leaned down to the stream, the butt of the pole planted firmly in a space between other rocks for balance.
She pushed her hand under the water, hesitating for a moment as she wondered if what she was reaching towards was a tooth of some hidden ambush predator. When nothing snapped off her arm, she plucked it from the stones it rested between. Pulling it out into the open air revealed it to be as colorless as the stones, but it felt much lighter than a stone of its size would have been. 41
The hole in the base showed it to be a shell of some kind, but the only ones she had ever seen like this one had been more brightly colored, attached to snails that had fallen into the ‘bad to eat’ category. There was no creature she could see inhabiting it, but she turned the hole away from her, half expecting it to spew acid or, even worse, have a leaf suddenly just out of it as it turned out to be a root or some strange plant. When it did nothing, it was dropped into the bucket with the plants, pinning a few strands of the weed against the metal bottom.
She also pulled out one of the rocks, this one with a texture and feel not unlike the shell, and tossed it in too. She had collected plenty of rocks while mining.
Meanwhile the houluh continued to dream, her paws beginning to twitch. 42
Little squeaks came from the houluh’s throat, as though they were not strong enough to emerge from her throat as the much louder barks had while she was awake. Her paws continued to twitch, one foreleg suddenly curling back towards her chest as a leg kicked out at full force, slamming into the tackle box. The jangling of the hooks was now a crash, and the houluh’s eyes flew open as she twisted and stood up, trying to find the source of what had woken her. The tackle box was now silent, to be ignored for it could not have made the sound, or so a quick sniff of it proved to her.
The sound of the tackle box was just loud enough to be heard over the quiet burbles of the river, and Haix turned in time to see the houluh investigating it. She screeched at Tin, waving the net in the air to punctuate her threat to restrain the houluh. 43
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