He was dodging the balls of ice more often than not when Haix ran her claws through the shallow pool of freezing water at the bottom of the cooler and pulled free a paltry handful of ice cubes. These were thrown at the crossbreed, though she was not sure if they missed due to her own aim or the beast’s newfound skill.
So, instead of calling the trick completed and moving on to finding a soft-skin with something that looked mildly intimidating, she waited. She watched as the crossbreed tired himself out, slowing as he figured out over the course of minutes that nothing was being thrown at him. Eventually he was as still as the island he resembled beyond a rustle of leaves here and there without the aid of the breeze. He never once lifted his head up to look at her or anything else around the lake, and a quick look beneath the calming water showed him digging his roots back into the mud.
She left him alone as briefly as she could, struggling with the cooler upon her return as it sank deeper into the sand than it had when she scurried away with it. Now, with him perfectly calm and back to feeding in the dirt, she could resume training him to sense oncoming danger, though she doubted if there would ever be an attack for him to dodge beyond a handful of ice. Well, if she ever used him at the pit, he would hopefully remember enough from today to avoid becoming charcoal before the echo of the announcer could fade away.
The first ball of ice was packed and readied, but it was when she pulled her arm back that she saw a response in the crossbreed. He had begun to rustle as he had done when he had been hit earlier, but a glance towards the end nearest to her, it lacking the shrubberies that adorned his head, proved he was not even looking at her.
She lowered her arm, and the rustling slowed to his normal stillness. Some ability to feel intent then? It certainly fit with the way the ability had been described. Still, she thought as she raised the ball of ice once more to the renewed rustling of the false island, it mattered more that the beast could dodge the hits rather than just know they were coming.
So she threw it. Had she peered beneath the water, she would have seen the crossbreed quickly pulling its roots free as the ball of ice sped through the air towards it. As she was watching what of him was above the surface, she saw it score a glancing hit off of his side, leaving a glittering trail of ice running along his side. Disappointed by his failure to dodge the hit, she threw a few more, spacing each so that the ice would be carried away before the next was thrown.
These he was successful in avoiding, all except for one time that he resurfaced a bit too quickly and ended up with glittering ice in his tail trees. It was almost embarrassing now that her throws could not hit the creature that was bigger than many soft-skin dwellings, the ice balls slipping away into nearly invisible parts as the currents carried them away.
So she started to throw more. Not too much more, for to throw two at once spared the half-breed from even needing to attempt to dodge. Instead she tried to throw them faster, no longer giving him as much time to recover between throws. These rarely hit, usually shattering against him if one was thrown into his new path as the first still spun through the air. Feeling a bit wasteful for doing so, and not at all just because she was still missing the creature with nearly every throw, she halted her onslaught with only enough ice left for a few more balls.
She let him relax, once even glimpsing what she thought was his eye as he swam along the shore, though it may have been nothing but a stray patch of ice he was ignoring. And while she waited, she decided it was the perfect time to practice the common version of his name, confident that she could do so after managing to speak to the ex-general. The amount of practice she had put into forming their words for that visit would serve her well if the leader of the training guild was a soft-skin, as pronouncing his name correctly at least might stop them from trying to speak it in mangled sakaash.
The first sound was the most difficult, and she had just begun to perfect the trick of relaxing her lips to create the seal required when the crossbreed moved back onto his familiar spot. She dug into the cooler quickly, letting the excess water drip from her fingers as she formed the ball. The beast needed to know how to dodge the first attack, not every single one that came after.
As luck would have it, the ball of ice was packed and soaring just as his roots reached the surface of the mud. Not yet tethered to the ground, he dove diagonally downwards for reasons he did not understand, the sudden urgency to be beneath the waves leaving only a wave for the ball of ice to smack into. He resurfaced a few feet away from it, the new waves shoving the ice away as if he had smacked it.
Haix threw the last few ice balls at random, the last splitting apart midair before raining ice down where the crossbreed had been floating seconds before. The ssashirk considered leaving the crossbreed to fetch more ice and continue the practice, but the sun was already beating down on them from its place high in the sky, leaving her to doubt any ice would stay intact through the flight. What he had demonstrated so far would have to be proof enough. ((Danger Sense-End? Marsh-12.0))
She basked in the not so slight heat of the sun, watching as the crossbreed resumed its unyielding placement against the current. His roots were likely dug back into the dirt, though undoubtedly not so deep as he had before she had begun throwing the balls of ice at him. Or perhaps they were even deeper, the water now lapping at the bases of the trees on his back as he rested. She could not tell from her position, stretched out on the sand to enjoy the first truly warm day she had been out to enjoy since the chill of winter had hit.
She had spoken to a soft-skin earlier when she had fetched another batch of ice, and they had been all too willing to train their beast nearby for a handful of credits, no doubt congratulating itself for earning a little bit of pay as they trained their own creature.
It had stared at her blankly when she suggested it, unable to keep itself from baring its teeth in a grin as she made the offer. The smile had remained even when Haix stated the payment would only be given after the creature had been there for a while. Of course, the warning that her own beast had little training had not deterred it, and it swore that its beast was more than trained enough to ignore even the tastiest neptica. That had led Haix to wondering if she should not purchase some neptic meat and try it for herself later, as the cooler would have more than enough space for a few fillets of its flesh.
Sparing a quick glance at the crossbreed to ensure he was still doing nothing more than floating in place, she returned to wondering about neptica. The crossbreed certainly would be able to catch and kill a few if they found some abandoned ones in a river he could fit in.
Having a few fresh caught ones would taste nicer than the soft flesh the peddlers sold, the flesh of those beasts unmarred by life beyond the small tank they were raised in. The method was not a terrible one, as there were far too many predators in the kennels for one to hunt and kill every meal herself, but she preferred eating something that had lived before being killed and eaten. The majority of her creatures did not seem to care about that, several being more than willing to eat nearly rotten flesh when presented with it.
The crossbreed was not one of these, not exactly at least. Any meat thrown into his tank found its way to the bottom, where it rotted and dissolved until he plunged his roots into the bloated flesh. It was a good sign, even if he was little more than a crafted beast cobbled together from two other crafted beasts.
He was enjoying the midday sun as much as she was, albeit he did not care nearly as much about the heat. It was nice, a much better feeling than the bursts of cold he had sought to avoid, and it did feel right for the air to be warm and humid. The best part of it for him was the completely unblocked light, the few clouds that hung in the air nowhere near blocking the sun from him. Not that he would have ever known of the clouds that hung in the sky, his eyes staring blankly out across the bottom of the river.
Nothing was happening under his gaze beyond a few fish that would pause to nibble at his roots before swimming off, and he was content to remain floating there forever. It was the nature of the dirt that held him there, even when the cold had come and threatened to chase him away.
To a plant creature such as him, the dirt and soil that had been spat out by the nearby river mouth was perfect, chock full of such goodness that it was like a still-warm bloody steak to a starving predator. It was better than the smaller pond he usually found himself in. The other spots he had tested had been subpar compared to that pond, and his failed attempt to find the pond dirt had led him here, some unknown sense letting him know when and where to test the ground with his roots. The first few had also been clogged with weeds. All eagerly sucking up the nutrition that could be found within the soil, but the current in his current location was enough to discourage the smaller plants.
To leave the spot was unthinkable, though that meant little to a creature that barely thought. He would stay there until something forced him to move.
The sun had passed the top of its arc in the sky, her shadow beginning to crawl out from under her as the sun began its slow descent, and yet she had not yet seen the pliathor and the soft-skin that promised it would be there. It had likely changed its mind about the few credits for taking such a risk, Haix thought as she pushed herself upright, scrubbing the sand free of her scales. She would just take the crossbreed back to the pipes and the kennel after the sun fell, guiding him with the extremely bright flashlight she had brought until the pipes could suck him up.
Looking at him and the water, wondering if she should bother training him a battle move as well despite being unsure about bothering with the tournament, she just barely caught sight of the flash of pink as it disappeared beneath the water.
He did not know what to make of it. It was large, with gaping white eyes that stood out no less than the bright pink of its fins as it swam closer to him, halting a few hundred feet away as a shrill whistle came from somewhere behind it. His mind did not quite make out the creatures full length as it coiled in the water, never presenting all of itself to him and therefore seeming much smaller than he was. It was less interesting to him than the fish darting around his roots.
And yet, for all his contentment and lack of curiosity about the newcomer, he could not help looking back up at it, feeling the need to pull his roots free and move away from it. Danger? He did not want to leave the perfect path of dirt and sand, but the feeling that this was a threat did not leave him.
The piercing whistle made her flinch, then she hissed at herself for doing so. The noise had been unexpected, nearly as much as the massive head that was now held above the surface of the water, the soft-skin she could and the tiny figure of the soft-skin that clung to it like a flea, but she had known about pliathors and their handicap. A grave oversight of the labs, or so she had first thought when considering the difficulty in keeping the patterns clear. But now, looking at the giant sea snake, she doubted it would have been able to take any spoken commands properly even if it could hear them when nearby.
The shape on the pliathor waved at her, and she waved back before another screech from the whistle sent both head and rider back into the lake. The rustling of the crossbreed was almost unnoticeable from the thunderclap of the impact of beast and water, and she found herself wondering if the soft-skin had been smashed flat by the impact.
He was a great deal less curious than the ssashirk. The beast had still been there as the eyes disappeared from his sight, his head craning back to lift his eyes free of the water in an attempt to watch it. He did not know why he needed to other than he absolutely had to, that something bad was coming and he had to know exactly what it was. He held that uncomfortable position for an agonizing amount of time, still not quite able to see its head, when another shrill whistle pierced the air and the beast came slamming back down into the water with a crash that hurt his ears more than the whistle.
He rustled now without thinking as his neck relaxed and his head dropped back underneath the water. There was no decision to scare the intruder away, but he wanted it gone, leaving him to his patch of mud and light.
Zenjesi: Hey Silv - how do you pronounce Kodakai?
Nov 17, 2023 18:23:56 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Not to mention the baby mosca with wolf skin from Elvye and the sparkling owl of Xentus. <3
Nov 14, 2023 10:27:52 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like the Donnor one not just with looks FF, but the description, funny as heck.
Nov 14, 2023 10:26:27 GMT -6
Zenjesi: yours both made me laugh, FF! They're very expressive
Nov 13, 2023 21:57:46 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Woooow Twilight, I love that witch drawing!!! :0 It's so pretty! And Zenjesi I think Spectral is my favorite out of yours lol. Just looks happy to be included. and silver now i wanna know which pets youd pick for the other legendary beasts. XD
Nov 13, 2023 21:37:45 GMT -6
Silver: Ah I'm so glad you guys enjoyed it! I love everyone's drawings they're all so cute. ;o;
Nov 13, 2023 17:31:37 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like that one as well yeah, loved the old nootnoot image from quest prizes, so that one went perfectly with that particular costume being based around it. X3
Nov 13, 2023 15:23:13 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: The jewelry on tail or at the head definitely tends to be their most recognizable feature for a Mosca, and sadly their pharaoh chin piece as well. XD
Nov 13, 2023 15:21:07 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Your peanut costume is hilarious and adorable too!
Nov 13, 2023 15:14:29 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Yes you're correct! I guess I did a decent enough job with the drawing!
Nov 13, 2023 15:05:27 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: It still looks good on Synkka. She is a shaman Mosca I'm guessing? Its mostly the tail that makes me think of it.
Nov 13, 2023 15:00:42 GMT -6
Zenjesi: I definitely like Spectral's the most too! I sort of cheated by drawing Synkka with a cloak because I do not know how to draw feathered wings, haha ^^'
Nov 13, 2023 13:45:15 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Which one do you like the most out of the three you made?
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:48 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Thanks for that compliment! Though I know with the water it doesn't look entirely great, I love the latter one I made the most.
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:30 GMT -6