This time it was her legs. The difference now was that he could throw the rock at a couple different spots, depending on how she was standing. This would make this trial a bit more difficult than the ones before it. Kadin kept tossing the rocks at her legs. When she dodged, he gave her a treat. When it hit? Well. She just got hit by a rock, you can guess how she felt about that. It took longer than her tail or her wing, but she was eventually about to get this down, too. Kadin nodded his approval. giving her a lot more treats once she was able to reliably dodge rocks aimed at her feet.
Now? Now was the tricky part. He didn’t want to hurt her, but not all pets were just going to aim for her body.
You see, the thing is? About this familiar? For some reason Aodh kept going THROUGH it. It was really weird! He'd jump at it and think that he finally had it. He could practically feel his claws cutting into the shadow. But the next moment? It wasn't even there. It was over on the other side of the tunnel and he was left in a tangle of limbs, puzzled. He didn't really like it! It felt like the shadow was making fun of him. But he couldn't figure out how to just hold it down and catch it! It kept slipping away! Aodh growling in frustration and shook himself.
So next, Kadin carefully tossed a rock at her head, taking care that it would go over it instead of hitting it flat out if she didn’t dodge in time.
Luckily, her instincts proved to be sharp. She ducked once the rock came close, hissing in irritation that turned to begrudging acceptance when he gave her a treat for a job well done. He tossed more rocks at her head, all of them just as dramatically dodged. She really didn’t seem to like having stuff tossed at her head, which made sense. He still gave her a treat every time she did it successfully.
He even started actually aiming for her head, but even then, he couldn’t hit when he tried. Satisfied that she wouldn’t be hit in the head and knocked out entirely at any point.
There must be something he could do to pin down this mining familiar! But he kept trying EVERYTHING. He jumped at it and it danced away. He bit it and it danced away. He clawed at it and it, you guess it! It danced away! Every single thing he did was useless! He almost felt like giving up, but he was a drake, and drakes never gave up. That was, until he charged at the familiar, screaming, and ended up flat on the ground because he'd run straight into the wall and still hadn't managed to get the damn familiar. That was it. He was giving up. He just couldn't catch it!
Kadin paused. When Coyle was in the pit, he was able to dodge attacks even when it didn’t seem like he could see them coming. With a sigh, he realized he’d need to do something so that she couldn’t see the attacks coming, too, but was still able to dodge. He didn’t like the idea of blindfolding her without being able to tell her what was happening. Instead, he left her to her own devices.
After a while, Chiara seemed to get the picture that they were taking a break, or something like it. She wandered off a bit. When, all of a sudden, she heard a slight woosh in the air and felt a pain in her side. Calling out with a sharp cry, she spun around to see that a rock at hit her!
Now there was a lump of sarane laying on the ground feeling sorry for himself. Kunzite was still search for gems and had been through all of Aodh's antics. It really hadn't been paying the sarane much mind. It wasn't like the little guy could do anything to hurt it in any real way, so why pay attention to it? But much to its surprise, it noticed when it was no longer being followed. Suddenly a hatchling shaped shadow was missing from its side and it was puzzled that it had noticed such a thing to begin with. It looked back, distracted momentarily from gems, to look at the whelp. Weird.
She glared at Kadin just knowing it was from him! Just like all the others! Hissing, she advanced on him, ready to give her a piece of her mind.
But he acted like he hadn’t done anything? Confused, she walked away again. He wasn’t throwing any more rocks at her and wouldn’t go for any of her challenges so she didn’t know what else to do. But! Then! Another rock hit her! She had almost heard this one coming and twitched a bit at the sensation, but she wasn’t able to dodge it in time. She spun around again, angry, but-
“Good job, Chiara! You almost got it.” Kadin said, tossing another rock gently at her that she could see and dodge easily.
It seemed so small and pathetic laying on the floor, looking dazed. Kunzite moved towards the sarane slowly, waiting for any sudden movement. The last thing it wanted to do was encourage the damn thing to get up and start chasing it again. But at the same time, it couldn't help but feel... some way. Towards the runt. It had been followed for so long that it had started to take the small thing for granted.
Kunzite circled around the sarane, staying in the shadows and out of its line of sight. It still didn't want to be chased, but it also didn't want the thing to have hit it head so hard that it cracked open and it would die soon. That would probably upset Kadin.
Confused, she did just that and accepted the treat he gave her. With a huff, she turned away again, not wanting any part of whatever it was he was playing at.
Then, she heard it again. Another rock was coming! She tried to move out of the way but it hit her all the same. She spun around, angry again, only to get a treat.
“Good job! Nice try, you almost got it. Try again!”
He seemed to be trying to encourage her, but he was ALSO throwing ROCKS at her. She REALLY didn’t trust him!
And so it continued. Kadin waited until Chiara turned around then threw rocks at her. Slowly, but surely, she started to improve.
It still needed Kadin to carry its gems! So, instead of just abandoning the hatchling to the floor like its fist instinct told it to do, it instead circled around it a few times before going to hover right over its face. The hatchling blinked up at the familiar. The familiar, very pointedly, blinked back at the hatchling. They were in a stare off. Neither one knew quite what to make of this. On one hand, Aodh sort of had the familiar now. On the other hand, the familiar was very much not caught because it still retained free range of motion.
...No one was sure what to do about all this. Aodh squeaked a question up at the familiar, as if looking for direction on what to do next. Neither of them expected that to happen either.
At first she only twitched or moved a little bit in the wrong direction. But soon she could almost sense the rock coming before it even got close to her. She started knowing which way to move and which past of her body to move to make sure she didn’t get hit. Before long, she was dodging every rock he threw at her and, really, just bringing in the treats. Really. She was going great!
“Very well done, Chiara.” Kadin praised after she’d successfully dodged the fifth rock in a row. “You’ve come a long way! I think you’ve got this now.”
Aodh was HORRIBLY embarrassed. He'd just squeaked! At an enemy! Or, well. Something that wasn't his friend! He didn't even squeak at his friends! He quickly scrambled to his feet and pressed up back against the wall, staring at the familiar as if it could destroy him with a single look. Which, you know. It could very much not. But in his little hatchling brain, it could! And what if it did!
Kunzite was just. Just as confused by this reaction as Aodh was. It didn't know what to make of this sarane anymore. One moment it was chasing it and trying to tackle it, the next it was acting like it was horribly scary. Was this what it was like to be young? Kunzite was glad it had never been young. It liked to think that it was beyond all of that, even when it was new.
Kadin turned his attention from Chiara to the other two creatures that he'd supposedly been keeping company with. He was kinda amused to see that they were getting along, somewhat. He'd half expected the familiar to wander off and for his drake to be utterly lost by the time he had time to look to them again. But it seemed to be quite different from that! The familiar seemed to be trying to comfort the hatchling now for... some reason. It wasn't entirely clear why.
Chiara tilted her head at the whole thing, too. Aodh looked SCARED. She squawked in amusement, waving her tail around with its little thorny nubs to taunt the two with. She had never seen Aodh like this before! He was being so silly! There was nothing scary about a familiar, even if it had somehow backed him up against a wall! Clearly he was just a scaredy cat.
Aodh hissed over at Chiara and the human, angry and embarrassed that they'd chosen NOW to notice him! This was awful! They'd never take him seriously again! Not that they ever did in the first place... Kunzite backed off a little bit, at least, which was good, but he still felt so backed into a corner! Until the familiar... seemed to get bored and go off in a completely different direction. Huh. Well, it didn't have much to do here anymore if the human and the other hatchling could entertain this one. It could FINALLY go back to looking for gems.
With the familiar no longer standing over the hatchling like that, Kadin went over to collect him. "Did you have a bit of a scare?" He asked, not unkindly. "You should really get to know your opponent before you try to fight them. They just might turn out to be stronger than you think they are." And nothing good would come from all his creatures trying to fight each other. With a sigh, he scooped up the little drake. Aodh squawked in indignation, but he settled in Kadin's arms, apparently not completely above finding comfort in something like this. He huffed out a long sign, too, and rested his head against Kadin's chest. It had been a long day. He wouldn't mind getting some attention all for himself now, if Kadin could pull himself away from Chiara for that long. Not that he was bitter or anything.
Kadin walked over to Chiara, speaking of her, and picked her up, too. Having two sarane in his arms was heavy, but they both seemed tired and could probably go for a nap right now. Chiara had been doing a lot more training and for longer and the moment she was settled she was practically nodding off in him arms. With a nod to himself, Kadin walked over to his familiar.
"Find anything interesting?" He asked, not expecting an answer. "We can probably get deeper in the mines while these two are settled. I just need to gather up our things and maybe get something to carry them with."
Believe it or not, Kunzite had actually found something while Kadin had been busy with the hatchlings. It saw a glitter out of the corner of its awareness and quickly made its way over to it. There, on the ground, was a sparkling prismatic crystal! It circled it gleefully a few times before adding it to its collection, safely tucked into it shadows. When it disturbed its resting place, however, was when it noticed that there was more to the area that it had originally thought. On either side of where the gem had been where two stones that weren't just stones. It picked them up, too, swirling them around in it depths.
When Kadin came over, it turned around and slowly rotated the items before his eyes, proud of itself. These were interesting finds, for sure, and clearly Kadin would be pleased by them.
"Oh!" The human exclaimed. He didn't have any hands to reach out and study the finds, but he did crouch down to take a closer look, much to the grumbling protest of two sleepy hatchlings. "Good finds, Kunzite. Can you carry those with you while we get the stuff?" Still not waiting for an answer, Kadin turned to go back to where he'd left all the tools. He'd also picked up a cart recently and make a quick trip out and back so that he'd have that with him, too. It'd be more ideal to carry all his crap with him and also give the sarane a place to rest.
Kadin quickly brought the cart to the mines and back where the rest of his stuff was. He gently set down the sarane hatchlings, noting with amusement the way that they grumbled but then still curled up together as if they hadn't been at each other's throats the moment they had all ventured down here. Rolling his eyes at them and this whole situation, he loaded his other supplies around them, but taking care that nothing would fall on them while they napped. He sure as hell didn't want to deal with two grumpy hatchlings and that was sure to happen if they got poked in the side with a pitch fork or something. That all sorted, Kadin walked back over to Kunzite with his flashlight.
"Alright, let's see what you've got." He said, shining the light and holding out his hand, which Kunzite pretended it had no idea what that meant. Kadin just waited patiently. He hadn't taught the familiar to hand over its finds on command, but it had kept giving him gems whenever it became overburdened to keep them for safe keeping. It hadn't handed anything over in a while, so he imagined that it much have quite a lot on it. After a little while of waiting, the familiar finally seemed to make up its mind and slowly transfer some gems over to Kadin. He packed them away carefully, but lingered over the last two things handed over. "Huh. These look kinda like fossils. I wonder what you can do with them?"
After a bit of a break for the hatchlings, Kadin waited until Chiara woke back up before tackling the next stage of her training. She knew how to avoid danger so the most logical next step would be to teach her how to be dangers. And he knew she could be precisely because of who her father was.
“Alright girl.” Kadin said, focusing on the young hen in front of him. “Lucio can breathe fire so it makes sense that you can, too. I haven’t seen you do it yet, but I’m sure you can. So lets see what you’ve got.”
He crouched down in front of the hen and showed her his lighter. He didn’t smoke, but he never went anywhere without one. Making sure he had her attention, he flicked the lighter on, letting a small flame come into existence.
Aodh, meanwhile, was still asleep in the cart. He had had quite the scare earlier and was sleeping it off. Kunzite, with its newfound freedom, took advantage of this opportunity to not having anything bothering him to search for more gems. It was severely lacking in gems, at the moment, actually, even though it had already found so many, it could always use more. And, wouldn't luck have it, it found a gem right over there! It was wedged into a crack in the wall, but the colors made it easy to spot. Kunzite carefully free the gem from where it found it and held it in its shadows.
Chiara leaned towards the fire, eyes wide and fascinate. Kadin smiled, waving it in front of her face. “Fire. Breathe Fire. See?” He let the flame die and then flicked it on again, showing it to her. The fire danced in her eyes and she tried to get closer to it. Kadin kept it away, not wanting her to hurt herself, but then he got thoughtful. Maybe she needed to interact with it to understand what it was?
Hmm. He let the flame die again then flicked it back on. “Breathe Fire.” He said, holding it out to her again. This time he didn’t stop her from getting closer. Chiara reached her nose out to the flame, sniffing it delicately, before growling and nipping at it. The fire tickled her chin and she pulled back, hissing again. She’d clearly felt it, but she didn’t act or seem hurt.
New gem obtained, Kunzite went searching for more. It really wished that everyone here would have their priorities straight. There was not much point in being here other than looking for gems, obviously, but no one seemed to really understand that. So Kunzite took it upon themselves to find more gems.
Aodh, in the meantime, stirred a bit where he was sleeping in the wagon. His tail and paws twitched a little bit, bad dreams creeping into his head. He had quite a scare earlier and it seemed like that was creeping into his thoughts even while he was asleep, too.
Kadin lit the flame again. “Breathe Fire.” He said, again, holding it out to her. She hissed at the flame and made a sort of coughing sound from the back of her throat as if she was trying to do… something. At it. Kadin grinned, hoping she was getting on the right track finally. “Good girl, Chiara. Fire. Breathe Fire.” He let the light die and flicked it on again.
Chiara hissed some more, rearing back on her hind legs and lifting her wings. Her chest expanded and she… coughed. Some more. Kadin thought he might have smelled some smoke? But that was just about all that happened. Maybe she was too young to start doing this? But he knew she had it in her, they just had to keep trying.
“Come on, girl, you can do this.” Kadin encouraged, lighting the fire again. “Breathe Fire.”
Aodh whined in his sleep, rolling over. When he rolled over he knocked into some of the equipment that was still in there, causing it to fall and clatter all around with. With a yelp, Aodh woke up and looked around, not sure where he was and not remembering how he had gotten there. This was so scary! He leapt out of the wagon, looking around, still confused.
Kunzite wasn't too far, just in the shadows, going along the ground to see if there was anything it was missing. All it needed was a shine or a gleam. Just something so that it could add to its collection.