... Maybe he ought to look for an alternate mode of transport for the whelps so he didn't have to do that to them again. Now, there was a thought. Maybe a wagon or something would suffice, when they were still small; after they had grown a little more, it would be harder to fit them inside something like that, but it also probably wouldn't be necessary at that point. When they were half grown, they could walk around for themselves, and Aster's job would be more to herd them around.
Well, it was food for thought, but nothing he could immediately act on. For now, he made his way to the water's edge with Rici in tow. She didn't kick up a fuss, but that was a good thing, as far as Aster was concerned. It wasn't like a squirming whelp was a pleasure to have tucked up against your ribs or anything.
In fact, it was generally quite the opposite. Aster wasn't especially ticklish, but it was hard not to start squirming himself if a whelp was wiggling against your side. "Don't worry, I'll put you down soon," Aster said to Rici, because even if she wasn't actively protesting, Aster didn't imagine she much liked being carried around the way he had been doing with her. The other two whelps had taken relatively well to being transported in a buggy, so maybe he should look into getting some sort of cart for them full time.
For now, the best he could do was depositing her when he reached the edge of the river, on the grass, next to him. He hoped she would stay there and not immediately go haring off into the grass. He expected some level of interruption just from having brought her with him, but he did hope to get a little fishing done too.
That trading place up in the city had been asking for stuff from the river three months running for their monthly supply of magical crystals, so like it or not, Aster suspected he was going to have to spend more time here. He had some skill with the rod, though he was also out of practice. The chance to polish an old skill wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but he did wonder why the trader seemed to be so dead set on seafood lately.
... Well, then again, he didn't know whether the guy ate the stuff he got. He probably didn't, did he, since he had other fish up for trade, along with rocks and all manner of weirdness from the mansion too.
Rici didn't move away, or at least she didn't do so immediately, so Aster breathed a little easier. "Just hold tight while I cast this," he said to her.
She wouldn't understand, of course, but it had become a bit of a habit to talk to all his creatures, regardless of whether they could or couldn't comprehend what he was saying. Though having experienced a good deal of Summer's censure over the years, he had to say that there were some advantages to having a creature who couldn't understand you after all. He could say things in Rici's presence that he would never have dared to voice out loud if he knew that Summer was present.
Summer might stage an intervention, or judge him for it, but his secrets were safe with an uncomprehending whelp.
Maybe his words had acted as a sort of good luck charm. Aster kept glancing back at Rici as he prepared his fishing rod, but she seemed as though she was still getting her bearings, and stayed more or less where he had put her down.
The actual act of casting in and of itself didn't take terribly long, but it was sorting out the rod and finding a good spot, and then getting into position, and all of that. That took a bit of time, and it took Aster even longer than it normally would have because his attention was being divided. But he did manage to cast the line, and once he was in motion, it felt natural, like all his practice several years before was coming back to him.
It wasn't a fantastic cast, but it wasn't terrible either. And he hadn't snagged his hook on a rock or a log or anything either. That was good enough. He set the pole on a stand and left it there, walking back over to where he had left Rici. "Come on, girl, let's walk a little closer to where the fishing rod is," he coaxed.
He did doubt that she was going to stay there once he got her there, but it was better to keep her close if he could. That way at least she wouldn't have to come back too far if she did wander away a bit, and he could rush back to the pole in a timely manner if it seemed like he got a bite. He... really didn't expect to catch many fish this way, but it was the best he could do with his current arrangement.
Of course, he didn't think just his voice coaxing her would do the trick. Rici took food from him and she didn't fight as much as the others when he picked her up, but it wasn't like she was especially fond of him or anything. He accompanied his coaxing with the tried and true thing to get into any whelp's heart: a food bribe.
By this point Aster was hanging out with whelps on such a regular basis that he sort of just always kept treats on hand for them. He had had to switch to the dry ones, because keeping bits of liver or whatever on your person for that long got... dicey real fast, not to mention the smell of the stuff was stronger, which caused all sorts of problems, not the least of which was that the whelps knew where on your person you were hiding the goods. Honestly, he should have done it sooner, but he just hadn't expected them to take over his life quite like that. He had wondered if they would take to dry treats, but most made the transition without much fuss. Now Rici knew what they looked like, and so it was just a matter of showing the treat to her to get her attention.
And sure enough, as soon as she saw it, he could feel her focusing on it with almost laser precision. Ah, the wonders of food as a bribe for errant whelps. Or whelps in general, since it wasn't as if Rici was being particularly unruly. She had been pretty well behaved thus far, actually, but he also hadn't given her much room to get into any trouble as of yet.
It really wasn't tough to coax a whelp to your side if you had some food to work with. It wasn't long before she was scrambling through the grass toward him... Or toward the treat, anyway. He considered teasing her a little and stringing her along more before he gave her the treat, but he thought about the fact that she had held mostly still while he carried her, and decided he may as well give it to her without doing that.
"Alright, alright," he said, feeding the treat to her when she approached him with her mouth wide open. The whelps were all fed this way at meal times, so they had just adopted it as their begging gesture for all occasions, which was a little funny to see if you didn't know about how it came to happen. Actually, even though Aster had been there for the whole process, he still found it pretty funny himself. He couldn't quite repress a smile as he watched her gobbling down the treat with what he had come to think of as the typical whelp gusto. "Don't eat too fast, you'll make yourself sick," he said, patting her a little as she ate. Whelps would let you take these kinds of liberties while they were occupied with food already, even if they weren't necessarily desensitized in the proper way of things to human touch.
Though, then again, in practical terms there wasn't a whole lot that they could do to retaliate if Aster decided to just pick them up. All of them, including the whelps, knew this from experience by now, but it sure didn't stop Havoc or even Velvet from putting up a fight when they were in the mood for it. And now that they were putting on some weight, they were starting to be able to make real nuisances of themselves with their attempts, even if they didn't get their goal, in the end.
"That's why I like you best, isn't it? You don't fuss, and you're not that big yet either," Aster said. This time, all three of the whelps he had tried to work with were tier ones, so the difference had to be genetics and a later hatching for Rici. She wouldn't be tiny forever though, even if she was now.
Eventually she would be the size of a real, bona fide adult hen. The only real question would be whether she would stay small for her age when that happened, but there was no way to find out but to see her grow up.
Aster retracted his hand before Rici was done with the food, just to be safe. He wasn't worried about being bitten, but she might stress out if he was still handling her when she wasn't distracted enough by the food anymore. "Okay, now that you're here, let's not wander off, alright?" he said. Not that he thought that would stop her either, but it was like speaking a spell into existence. He glanced at her one more time before turning back to check on the fishing pole, to see if there was anything like a bite on the line. It was a bit too soon, probably, but...
Who knew what would happen? Maybe luck would be on his side and he would get a nice, quick bite. It wasn't impossible, after all, and wouldn't it sort of suck if he got a bite and missed it entirely because he had just forgotten to check the fishing pole?
Aster didn't pick it up, but he did test the line a little with a finger, and watched the bobber floating in the water. Neither gave an indication of a bite just yet. Well, that was more or less what he had figured. The day was young. Heck, the trip itself was young. He would just have to wait, and in the meantime he had a whelp to entertain while he waited for fish to bite.
When he turned back to Rici, she hadn't wandered far, which was good, because his attention hadn't actually been off her for all that long.
If she had managed to bolt off in that short an amount of time, then maybe he had a hidden talent on his hands in the form of Roland's female whelp. That kind of speed would have been pretty notable in a fighter, especially if she managed to pass it on to any kids she had later.
... But it sure would have made Aster's life hell, raising that sort of whelp. He thought about Avander's teleportation skill, and found himself suddenly glad that it wasn't an ability you could bestow with an injection. He couldn't imagine the kind of grief he would go through if whelps were born with the ability to teleport themselves randomly.
He hadn't really meant it seriously when he thought of her just now as a whelp to 'entertain' while he waited for fish to bite, but considering he was just waiting otherwise, maybe he might as well.
It would give them both something to do, for one. If Aster had nothing better to do, then there were really genuinely worse ways to spend one's time than to play some games with a Sarane whelp that you were babysitting. And play wasn't just a way to keep the whelp occupied either. It would help her develop her motor skills and instincts, which would make her a stronger, better fighter later on... though whether he wanted to have her fight at all was a separate question. First tier hens weren't a terrific prospect, especially against the glut of drakes in the arena, who tended to be bulkier if not necessarily faster. A hen could win, but it took a bit more work than it would have with a comparable drake, and Rici wasn't even on the large size for her age bracket. She still had room to grow, but even so...
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