Once again, there was deep indignance from Inky. Where was his treat?! He whined, pacing around to Nadia's hand to shove his snout against it and also claw it open. Nothing was to be found within it, unfortunately. Why wasn't he allowed to have some food too?
Tough love was the best way to get the message across, so Nadia held her countenance and began to walk again. The second either pup pulled against the leash, she drew to a halt.
"Heel," She enunciated. For extra motivation on Inky's part, she held a treat in her leash hand, letting it hang at her side where Inky could smell it. As long as he stayed close to her without pulling, he could get to it (to sniff it, at least). As they walked forward, he stayed in his place, even as his teeth nibbled at her fingers in hopes of getting her to relinquish the snack. "Good. Good heel."
They turned about the room in one full rotation, and then she stopped again, allowing them both a treat for their good behaviour. It was natural for them to be excited and strong on the leash, but they were making good progress.
Nadia couldn't help taking a look around the room as they went. It was a pretty space, decorated to look elegant; all reds and golds and flickering light from the fireplace. Even as they came to the side of the room with the fire on it, she did her best to avoid it, out of a natural fear. Getting too close could end in tears.
Inky's behaviour on the leash was already much better, though he was overly motivated by the treat clutched in her hand. His nose did not leave her pinky finger, pressed there awaiting his prize - she'd have to move away from that motivation as quickly as possible. Indie was less interested, but still curious, watching her other hand like a hawk for the inevitable drop. Silly pups.
"Heel," She said the second she felt pressure on either leash, and the pups would lapse back after a second of resistance, in hopes of being fed for the trouble. Indeed they were, once another successful lap was complete. The bits of meat were hoovered up from the carpet, leaving no crumbs; at least they wouldn't need to get magical cleaners in to vacuum up. "Good job. Very good."
Time to wean out those treats. Nadia wasn't looking forward to it, but she knew it had to happen one way or another - perhaps with the scent still on her hands, the pups could be fooled into believing that there was still food present? It was worth a shot. She made a show of pretending to reach in and take snacks from the bag, but kept her hands empty of everything but the leashes as they set off again.
Indie was becoming accustomed to walking close to Nadia's side, but she didn't think it was because of food. Rather, she looked like she was getting a little tired; totally understandable, given the intensity of their workout thus far. Inky never ran out of energy, on the other hand. His tail was still wagging away as he trotted.
"Heel," She said, keeping firm hold of the leashes, and was pleased when both pups slotted into a natural rhythm at her sides. There was something awfully satisying about walking two at once without much of a hitch! After they had turned a corner, she stopped to pet them both, making sure she was ample with the physical affection as the reward. "Good job."
The rest of the time could be spent fine tuning the trick. Well, it was hardly a trick, over basic obedience; still, Nadia was determined to do it right, and in the most thorough degree. Indie was sleepy, and even Inky was beginning to lag a little, having not kicked up too much of a fuss regarding not having a treat for a reward. Hopefully their attention could last just long enough that the lesson would sink in.
"A little further, now. Heel," The woman spoke in an encouraging tone, with added enthusiasm, just to keep morale up. The houluh paced along at her side, with the leashes slack, hanging between them and her in relaxed u-shapes. Marvellous. That was exactly what she wanted to see, and they were doing a tremendous job of being patient. "Very good. Heel, now. Very good."
She wanted to see if they could maintain it when being brought into a different environment, so she made her way over to the door, exiting into the hallway. Another certain 'heel' to confirm the command was still active. Indie gave a wide yawn, and Inky shook his head a little, but they both stayed at her side as they headed for the front door.
Nadia was back at the mansion before the month was out, with both pups alongside her again. They'd done a little bit of growing since they'd last been there - their ears were looking better suited to their faces, and their legs looked graceful rather than gangly in comparison to their bodies. It was a shame, to watch them bid farewell to puppyhood, but she was happy to see them growing up healthily.
The most important thing was that they were ready for further instruction. They would stick to the mansion's gardens, for the next part of their education; they needed space to move around and run. Nadia had brought a pair of harnesses with her, and was getting them out of her bag while Inky and Indie circled her legs, tails wagging.
"Alright, sit," She said, and the two houluh obliged, plopping down in front of her. "Very good. Now, I would like you to take a look at these."
She held out the harnesses towards them to allow them to sniff and nose along it. Curious snouts wiggled and pushed, flipping the straps and buckles around. It didn't mean anything to them yet, but it was worth letting them see it first.
The harnesses got a heavy investigation from the pair. By the time Nadia pulled them away, the straps were covered in wet nose marks, and parts of them were inside out due to the pushing of snouts. The next part would be familiarising them with having something on their bodies, which wasn't necessarily enjoyable for a beast.
"Okay, good," She said as she coaxed the pair into a standing position. "Now, here we go..."
After the buckles and straps were undone, she laid each harness across their respective backs. Not tightened, or attached at all - simply laying there, draped over them, so they could feel its presence. Understandably, the pair of them shook them off within a few seconds. That was alright. Persistent, Nadia picked them up again, and laid them in the same position once more. Inky turned to nibble at one of the straps, while Indie sighed out her defeat, looking meek under the harness' meagre weight.
"Oh come now, it's not that bad," Nadia cooed, petting the two on their heads before offering them a treat. The longer it stayed on, the greater the reward would be. "Good pups. Very good. It won't hurt you, I promise."
Now, the next part. Once the pups had left the harness draped over them for an adequate amount of time, Nadia intended to begin buckling them up, to keep them secure on their bodies. She knew that they wouldn't be fond of being restricted in that way, but since they'd already had their tolerance training, she was hoping that it would be a little easier on them. Inky was the first to be tended to, since he was the most boisterous - she pulled the strap across his chest to do it up.
The noises he made were pitiful. And for what? She smiled, unable to hide her amusement at his dramatic tendencies, as she tightened the strap. He was not a fan, and shook to try and rid himself of the weight, but there was no removing it with it secure around his chest. Even when he reached a back leg up to scratch at it, he couldn't get any purchase.
Indie was next. Having seen what was going on with her friend, she made an escape attempt, but Nadia was quick on the uptake and snapped the buckle in place before she could get away. Two well dressed pups.
That was one strap done. Who would've thought it was only one, with all the drama going on? Nadia gave both pups a treat for their good behaviour so far, and then scooted over so she could reach beneath Inky's belly for the next strap. The look he gave her was positively hateful.
"Please, enough of that face," She laughed as she took it in hand and slid it through the buckle. One finger was kept beneath it to check how tight she was drawing it - it needed to be snug but not oppressive. "Imagine how humanoid ladies feel. We are supposed to wear bras on the daily, and I guarantee that is far more unpleasant."
Voila! It was tightened, and there was no chance of being relieved of it without her help. Inky shook, trying to see if he could free himself, but to no avail. It stuck to him. He was flopping down in the grass when Nadia moved onto Indie, who was more compliant and less dramatic. Always a bonus. Once hers was tightened in a similar fashion, she tried to hook a back paw under it to flick it off. Nothing. What dastardly tricks!
Both of them were dressed in their harnesses, and received a treat for the trouble. That softened the blow; Inky had almost forgotten about his harness after eating, and Indie only had a touch of the morose about her. Excellent. Nadia could continue familiarising them with the sensation of wearing it by clipping their leashes onto it and taking them for a walk.
It was different than walking them on a collar, and they could feel it. Inky threatened to lose his manners, but a well-timed 'heel' reminded him, and he sulked as he paced at her side. Indie wasn't so sure about moving at all, and needed gentle coaxing to get going. Though it was foreign now, Nadia had no doubt that it would become natural to them in time. Plus, if they behaved well enough, they wouldn't have to walk on a leash at all! Having good manners was good for if a leash was truly necessary, however.
Several laps had to be done before the two were walking like their normal selves. Indie's tail began to wag once more, and Inky's nose was buried in the grass, sniffing out whatever little treasures he could uncover within it.
To get them used to their harnesses, Nadia figured it would be prudent to take a turn around the grounds with them without any new obligations. They'd be grateful for a reprieve so early in their schedule, too. With a smile, she jerked her head to the side.
"Come along then, pups," She called. "Let's go adventuring, shall we?"
The two were more than happy to bound alongside her, with their tails wagging fiercely. Inky took the initiative and sprang ahead after a few minutes, searching for adventure in the long grass. Indie, on the other hand, stuck around her ankles, both more cautious and more sensible than her friend. It was interesting to see how different their personalities were. There was such variety in species when it came to behaviours; she had never seen two creatures alike, in that sense.
Nothing out of the ordinary had popped up on their excursion, but she was keeping an eye out. The last time they had been there, a myriad of pocketpets had hitched a ride home with them. Now, the bedroom was rampant with them - they ran around like maniacs while Boo skittered after them, and it was utter, undeniable chaos.
The air was certainly brisk. Nadia found herself turning up her collar against the wind; next time she came to the mansion, she thought it likely that she would need a scarf. Ooh, autumn and winter fashion. So much easier to coordinate than summer, making sure you were cool enough but not immodest, and--
Whoops! Inky did a nosedive off of a little grassy verge and onto the dirt below. She hurried over to pick him up and dust off his face, which was covered in soil. Indie leaned in to give him a sympathetic lick.
"Oh, dear. You be careful, now," Her voice was soft when she righted him, making sure he could stand on his four paws without trouble. It wouldn't do for him to twist an ankle! Could houluh twist ankles...? "You are perfectly fine. What's down here, hm? A path?"
A path indeed, a step lower than the one they had been on, leading towards what looked like a fountain. No water was spouting from it, currently, but it sat with elegance even without it. A curious looking thing. She decided to head towards it with the pups in tow, to investigate the surroundings for loot.
It was a magnificent sight, the fountain. Nadia didn't think she had ever seen it on the grounds before, but it had the appearance of being ancient; weathered grey stone, shot through with cracks and moss. No bird droppings, however. Anything that would foul the area was simply nonexistent. She stood and marvelled at the centerpiece statue. It appeared to be a Balgor.
"Isn't that wonderful, dears?" Inky and Indie couldn't have cared less about sculptures. Inky had taken it upon himself to relieve himself on the edge of the fountain, in fact. "Oh, Inky, must you? A bit of grace and decorum, please--"
A noise. Like something cracking open - Nadia flinched back, and the houluh followed, looking up at her with worried expressions. What was that? The thought that her pup might have offended the mansion struck her, so she took the two in her arms, one under each.
"Forgive us, we meant no harm," She spoke to the air, as if it might help. If it was the case of wanting an apology, she was more than happy to give it, and promptly. "We respect you, whosoever you might be..."
A beat of silence. Then, a sound that made her shriek -- water, gushing from the carved mouth of the stone Balgor.
Water rushed into the fountain's pool, and splashes reached as far as Nadia and the houluh. Thankfully, it was nothing too terrible. She would take a drop of water over serious injury to herself or her pups any day.
"Thank goodness," She sighed, letting Inky and Indie down. Inky shook his coat nonchalantly, as if nothing had happened, and went to sniff the area where he'd relieved himself. "You monstrous little thing, I guarantee that was your doing! Leave that be, now."
They were going to move away from this fountain, as beautiful as it was. She made haste back in the direction of the fenced-off garden they'd previously been using for training. Indie had found a stick on the walk and clutched it proudly in her jaws, trotting next to the woman's legs and intermittently poking her in the calves with it.
The sound of the rushing fountain filled the air in a pleasant way. Even from an increasing distance, she could hear it; it was relaxing, and reassured her that nothing terrible was going to happen. The mansion appeared satisfied with her apology, if it had been at all offended in the first place. All was well that ended well.
Inky wasn't satisfied with being left out of the shenanigans. He hadn't found his own stick, so he wanted to share Indie's - he took the end protruding from her mouth into his own, and tugged, trying to get her to relinquish it. No chance. The female growled and threw her weight behind her own pulls, until they were in a fully fledged tug-o'-war.
Nadia watched for a little while. They weren't harming each other, so she was happy to let them play; while their tails were wagging, she was confident that they were relaxed and content. Who would win out, she wondered? Inky had the boisterous strength, but Indie had greater persistence.
In the end, it proved to be neither. The stick snapped in the middle, sending both pups flying in opposite directions. Separate parts didn't quite have the charm, and thus were spat out and left on the grass in favour of returning to Nadia.
"Alright, pups, we're about ready for the next part of the day," The woman said, leaning down to pet their heads. She ended up picking bits of bracken out of their silky ears as she went, and before long, they were in the fenced area once more. "Okay, back in we go."
Silver: I use google docs for everything now because of stuff like that.
Sept 17, 2023 18:01:49 GMT -6
Riku: I had like 20 tabs open to eventually go through to add up all my character levels and copy/paste all my stuff/pets into my registry thread. When chrome updated all the tabs were gone. Oh well…
Sept 17, 2023 11:45:28 GMT -6
Riku: Muahaha! And you almost got away with it, too.
Sept 17, 2023 11:09:32 GMT -6
Silver: Oops looks like I deleted you two at the end when making an edit, fixing now!
Sept 17, 2023 5:16:05 GMT -6
Xentus: ah am i missing from the show ring?
Sept 17, 2023 2:15:25 GMT -6
Skylos: Oooh, this time I have an acid pet.
Sept 16, 2023 22:27:02 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Oh, good point, thanks for the reminder! :0 Gotta pick out something special for my characters, hmmmm
Sept 16, 2023 21:21:34 GMT -6
Silver: Show Ring is up! Reminder: October is Vai Min Mur and therefore a special contest! Train your shadow and acid pets in preparation. :3
Sept 16, 2023 21:14:38 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Thanks for this allowing the change in prizes Silver, even if it was forgotten by mistake, I am very happy to get the opportunity for this particular Estharne type. <3
Sept 14, 2023 0:17:37 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Oh yes please! Thanks for this information Silver! <3 I would need to contact the npc account then?
Sept 14, 2023 0:00:16 GMT -6
Silver: (I said 'we' a bunch of times but it was totes just me that forgot it. Oops.)
Sept 13, 2023 23:55:16 GMT -6
Silver: Hey Twilight if you want to make a change to how you spent your points now that the River is available, please DM staff. We know we messed up by forgetting to include it so if you want it more than something else you bought we could swap for you.
Sept 13, 2023 23:54:40 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I can throw in the Pasha-Sarane Searhorse as well.
Sept 13, 2023 23:43:07 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Is there any chance I could buy the river Estharne for 20 usd from someone? I lost the opportunity to get one last year when I forgot to buy one from the Trepuldra.
Sept 13, 2023 23:41:08 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Now I wish I had saved some points. ;-;
Sept 13, 2023 23:33:59 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Uggggggh I wish I would've been active a month ago x-x
Sept 13, 2023 22:16:38 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: We have a gorgeous addition to the Summer Fair prize shop- the river tiger estharne!
Sept 13, 2023 19:35:08 GMT -6
Riku: I really didn’t expect to get my two favorites of this cross. One, sure. But both? Perfect!
Sept 9, 2023 14:22:59 GMT -6
Darky: It was a fun prompt but MAN did I struggle trying to figure out how to make it actually x3
Sept 7, 2023 2:04:09 GMT -6