Aster had a nagging suspicion that she was probably just going to stay small.
But vigorous exercise might build up some muscle mass. The matter was decided. Aster picked a long piece of grass with one of those furry seed tufts on the end, and wiggled it in front of Rici, the way one might wiggle a cat toy in front of a feline of some sort. The Sarane weren't cats, exactly, but the whelps did seem to have a good time chasing bugs, so the principle was similar enough. Aster had done it before, mostly with good success, though occasionally a whelp just wouldn't be interested for whatever reason. Sometimes it was laziness, and other times it was just because they didn't care for that specific type of stimulus. They were still individuals, even though they were all the same species, so there was bound to be differences here and there.
So he wasn't one hundred percent sure that she would take the bait he was offering, especially because it wasn't actually food. But he needn't have worried in this case. Rici didn't respond to it with a particularly graceful or competent attempt, but she did try to swat at the tuft of grass, which was as good an indicator that she had accepted his challenge as anything else.
"Okay, looks like we're in business then," Aster said, grinning again. "Let's see you take this on." He wiggled the grass tuft some more, coaxing Rici into focusing on it, then jerked it away. She hadn't quite prepared enough to attack, so he didn't get to see her attempt a pounce only to fall short, but she did seem surprised to have seen it move so quickly. He dangled it close to her again after that, to see what she would do with it.
Rici went for the grass tuft again, more quickly this time. Aster was the one who was caught off guard this time around, since he had expected her to try observing it for longer before she made a pass at it this time. He only barely managed to snatch it out of her grasp in time, and then the chase was really on in earnest, as Rici dove after it with everything she had. Now that Aster knew that he had her full focus though, he didn't ease up, and kept the grass tuft moving as Rici chased it.
They actually settled into something like a rhythm after a while. It wasn't a steady, predictable one, but Aster had to leave her just enough hope that she wouldn't give up, so sometimes he let her get close, and sometimes he pulled the grass tuft far away from her with sudden speed.
Rici didn't really seem the type to get very worked up, or at least Aster hadn't thought so thus far. But to his surprise, she was taking to the game with a lot of enthusiasm. He wondered if part of that was just because he hadn't been giving her the right stimuli in terms of her enrichment... But it could also just be that she did better away from other whelps, where her small size and somewhat nervous temperament kept her from being able to relax or join in on their games. It might honestly have been both. It was a good reminder that sometimes it wasn't always the best to raise all the whelps the same way, and that one on one time could still be valuable for finding out more about the specific creature in question.
"Whoa," Aster said, tugging the grass tuft away from Rici again as she pounced.
He wasn't fast enough this time around though, possibly because he was distracted by his own thoughts, and Rici nabbed the grass tuft after all. She snatched it with a claw, then immediately went in to bite the thing, and spat it out a moment later, apparently disgusted with the taste. Aster couldn't help but laugh at that. It was just such a comical turn of events, that she would try to eat it, and then realize grass didn't taste good... "It's not meat, you dummy," he told her, but his voice when he said it was fond.
She really wasn't such a bad little whelp to spend time with. The more they played together, the more that he saw that she had her own charms. He probably should have started doing this sooner, but hey, there was no time like the present to make up for that sort of thing, right?
... Though, as much as he wanted to keep playing, he did have to take another brief detour to check the fishing line to see if there was a bite. In the intervening time, maybe his luck had turned around. "Stay put," he said to Rici, and turned around to look at how the bobber was doing in the water.
To his surprise, he saw it moving. "Oh, shit," he said, and grabbed for it, pulling on the line to get a feel for how much resistance there was. From the feel of it, this probably wasn't anything very big, but hey, a fish was a fish, right? He hoped Rici wouldn't get into too much trouble while he was preoccupied. A small fish ought to be easy to reel in, but nothing was guaranteed, and if it was a fighter or especially wily, it might take some time for him to nab it.
It was a shame he couldn't split his attention. He did have a TROD for that, but the whole point of having Rabbit around was for them to be in two different places at once, so they didn't often go anywhere together. And he liked to leave her to her own devices as much as possible, so he only asked her to do stuff if he really needed it, like going into the city or pitching in with the care of creatures on the property. There, it was a real life saver to have her around helping to feed and clean and all that.
Here though, Aster was on his own. He was doing his best to reel in his catch as fast as he could without snapping the line or losing it entirely. It was a delicate balance of pulling and then giving a bit of slack, before pulling again.
Aster was honestly not sure how much time he spent like that. It was hard to judge the flow of time when he was focused on something that needed his full attention like this. But eventually, just when he was on the verge of getting it close enough to the shore to nab it... he pulled a bit too hard, reeling too fast, and...
... Well, the line didn't snap, at least. But he could feel almost immediately that he had lost it, whatever it was that had been on the line. Disappointment shot through him, but it wasn't too severe. He hadn't felt a lot of resistance, so it wasn't a big fish anyway. Hells, it might have just been some seaweed or a tin can or something. People did find stuff like that sometimes, though he had never fished up a piece of trash yet himself since he started again.
That was probably good luck, but sometimes it didn't feel like it. Sometimes he felt like he would have liked to catch something, even if it was just a tin can. It hadn't been a terribly fruitful endeavor, this whole fishing business, but that was kind of just how it went. You couldn't fish in a rush, and sometimes it was an all day activity for relatively little return.
Well at least he was free now to see what Rici was up to. Unfortunately for Aster, while he had been distracted, she had in fact wandered off without so much as a by your leave. ... Not that it was really possible for her to tell him she was going, for several reasons, but still.
"Rici!" he called. She hadn't learned her name formally, but he had used it often enough that maybe she would recognize it anyway and pipe up.
And sure enough, not long after he started calling for her, he did see a yellow and black head poking up out of the grass. "Oh, there you are," Aster said, feeling some real relief. He knew she couldn't have gone too far, but it had still been worrying for a moment not to actually know where she was.
... His relief didn't last too long though. When he looked at her more carefully, he could see that she had something in her mouth. "Hey, what is that?" he said, closing the distance between them so he could inspect her more closely. If she was eating someone's stray cigarette butt or something, that would be bad. If it tasted terrible she probably would have spat it out like with the grass, so it couldn't be too horrible, but it was also possible she had found a dead and rotting fish or something...
When he got close enough to see what it was though, Aster realized it wasn't too bad. It was a little hard to see because only the ends were sticking out of her mouth, but he made out enough to realize it was just a shell.
Still, she could crack her teeth on it, so having her gnaw on it wasn't exactly ideal. And she didn't know a command for 'drop it', and Aster kind of didn't want to ruin the nice mood of their trip by grabbing her and forcing her mouth open like he had done when she was chewing bugs at the mansion either.
In the end, he decided to try bribing her, holding out a treat instead. "Look at this, Rici. Don't you think this is tastier than what you've got? How about we trade, huh, girl?" he coaxed, waving the treat slowly in front of her nose.
It worked like a charm. Rici opened her mouth wide, the way she would have when she was getting fed, and Aster immediately grabbed the shell and replaced it with the treat. Since she got food out of it, Rici didn't protest, and focused on getting it down her gullet.
Aster inspected the shell. He thought it would be empty, but to his surprise it was full, and the creature inside was evidently still alive. "Huh," he said. "Man, if you could dig these up on the regular, that sure would help me out." He wondered if he could train her to do that. He probably could, but it would take some time, and he didn't know if a Sarane was necessarily the best kind of creature to do that with.
Aster put the shell in the bucket he had brought, and after a little debate, decided to pack up and go home.
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