He held it out to her, tauntingly, as if he was going to touch her with the fire again. She hissed, taking a step back, and this time when she coughed he could see a small tongue of flame sputter and die before it even passed her teeth.
“Good! Good girl, good job!” Kadin encouraged, giving her a nice big slice of some sort of meat for getting that far. “Very good, Chiara, we’re getting there. You just need a bit more. Here.” He lit the flame again, holding it out to her. “Breathe Fire!” He said encouragingly. Chiara snorted and sat down on her rump, ruffling her wings behind her back and looking pouty. Kadin rolled his eyes. They’d just had it! “Breathe Fire!” He said with a bit more force behind it, holding out the lighter so that the small flame just tickled her chin.
Aodh hesitated. The familiar was scary, but it was also familiar and it had never hurt him before, not really, just startled him a bit. With a whine he ran over to the familiar, claws skittering on the ground as he slid over next to it, trying to both not look pathetic and convince the familiar that it needed to take pity on him at the same time. This place was so dark and scary! Really the worst way to wake up after a nightmare due to something frightening was doing so in the dark. Hopefully the familiar wouldn't try to scare him again.
Chiara snorted, causing the fire to go out, and stood up again, growling. She coughed a few times at her feet, flames dancing over her tongue, before breathing in deeply and letting a small jet of flame escape her mouth, lighting up their small corner of the mines. “Good! Good girl, Chiara!”
Kadin gave her more treats for that, trying to get her to understand that yes. That was exactly what he wanted from her! That was what she needed to keep doing!
“Breathe Fire!” He said again, holding the lighter under her chin since that’s what seemed to work. Chiara couched once before letting out another jet of flame, this one aimed at the lighter. Kadin pulled his hand back quickly, laughing. “Good, good Chiara.” He gave her another treat, apparently unconcerned that she’d just nearly burned him. He was just happy they were making this much progress.
Kunzite started. It didn't really noticed Aodh coming near it until he was practically right on top of it. Once it did notice it, it jumped up a bit into the air and swirled around itself, shining eyes focusing on the small drake and narrowing slightly. It hadn't expected him to show up again. But now that he was here, it was probably best to just utterly ignore him. It had no patience for creatures that didn't want to search for things in the minds. As usual, it's focus was on finding gems and there was little else it would give time or patience for.
But that whole taking an aim at the lighter gave him an idea. If he could get her to aim at the lighter then it shouldn’t be too hard to get her to aim where he pointed after that. “Alright, girl, let’s give this a shot.”
He took the lighter and held it right by the side of her head, letting the flame brush against her cheek, not enough to burn. “Breathe Fire!” He called.
At the feel of the fire on her scales, Chiara hissed again and turned to look at the lighter. She puffed up, coughed, and let forth a burst of flame at the lighter which Kadin quickly moved out of the way. He sure didn’t want it exploding in his hand, which it was liable to do, if he actually let her flame it. “Good! Good job, Chiara. Let’s do that again.” He gave her some treats for a job well done.
Ignoring was fine. Ignoring was great. Aodh stuck near the living shadow that was the mining familiar, his eyes glued half on it and the rest of his attention was on the rest of the tunnels. There was so much darkness here. Kadin had the light on the wagon and his flashlight AND a light on his hand, but it was still so dark in many places. It probably didn't help that he was following a shadow that was practically darkness itself, but he was just a baby drake. He didn't have enough self awareness to consider that.
He held it to her other side this time. “Breathe fire!” He said, letting the flame touch her cheek.
She hissed and sputtered and coughed out another flame for Kadin to avoid, moving his hand out of the way. Which, honestly, was still easier than before when he’d had to move his whole body out of the way. “Good girl! Good Chiara!” And he gave her more treats for making the fire happen.
Kadin kept repeating the same thing. He’d brush her with the fire and tell her to ‘breathe fire’ in the direction the flame touched her in. She’d hiss and sputter, but still ultimately follow his command and breathe fire wherever the lighter touched her. He never let it touch her enough to hurt, of course, only enough to just tickle her scales. He could probably have been rougher with her, anyway.
Kunzite tried to stick its plan. It really did. It didn't want to pay more attention to this drake than it needed to. But the thing kept just. Following it. He wasn't doing anything useful, he just kept moving with it. It was getting a little annoying. Kunzite would move to the wall, Aodh would be right behind it. It would move to another part of the cave and again the offspring followed it. Everywhere. No matter what it was search for or where it went, he just kept following it. It vaguely considered trying to get him to stop following it. But that would involve terrifying him again.
Since she was pretty flame resistant and the small fire on a lighter probably wasn’t strong enough to burn her to begin with.
Once Chiara was reliably breathing fire in the direction she was touched with the flame, Kadin moved on to trying to get her to breathe fire in the direction he held the flame. At first she was confused. Her signal before had been the feeling of the fire touching her. But once she had that flame in her line of sight, she hissed and remembered what they had been doing before. He was able to get her to breathe fire in the direction of the flame not long after that.
Like above her head. “Breathe fire!” She’d try to burn the light. “Good job!” And get a treat for it.
To the right. “Breathe fire!” She’d try to burn the light. “Good job!” And get a treat for it.
Aodh hopped back, startled, as Kunzite suddenly turned around, eyes on him again. He backed up a few steps, suddenly remembering that he had been afraid of the familiar before. The familiar tilted its head at him and he tilted his head back. It wasn't jumping for him or being aggressive at all. He didn't think that he needed to run away... The familiar came closer to him, shadows swirling around him, not intimidating, but contemplative. It circled the drake and he couldn't keep his eyes off the familiar, unsure what it wanted or what he was supposed to do next.
To the left. “Breathe fire!” She’d try to burn the light. “Good job!” And get a treat for it.
And so on. Once Kadin had her practice this about a dozen more times, enough so that he was sure she had it down and would reliably follow the light no matter what direction it was coming in, he figured he could move on to the next stage. Pointing.
Keeping the lighter visible and in his hand. Kadin pointed with it above Chiara’s head. “Breathe fire!” He called. She hissed and looked up, but didn’t see any fire above her head. Confused, she stopped. Kadin made a flicking motion, as if he was going to light the flame, and she hissed again, remembering that noise! She knew what that noise meant! She spit a lick of flame towards the lighter before he could even get it to light.
Kunzite eventually stopped. Aodh stopped, too. Kunzite swirled up higher, coming closer to the drake slowly, then reaching out with one of its tendrils to touch the drake. It passed right through it paw. Aodh stared down where the shadows were touching him, completely confused. If something touched him, he should feel it, right? He felt a little bit cold there, but nothing else. No touch. He wasn't sure if he was disturbed by this, scared of it, or didn't have one opinion one way or another. When something touched him he should feel it! Kunzite sat and waited, waiting to see how the drake would react.
“Good girl! Good Breathe fire!” And she earned a treat for her troubles.
Kadin pointed behind her this time, lighter still in hand and pointing with it. “Breathe fire!” He called, moving his fighters as if he was going to light it. Chiara hissed and growled and let flame go in that direction, too, trying to get at whatever it was he was aiming at. She’d make sure that it was on fire! She knew what it was! “Good girl.” Kadin said with another laugh, giving her a treat.
He repeated this, too, several more times, slowly weaning her off the need for him to mess with the lighter to get a reaction. After more practicing, he was able to start pointing with his finger and still getting her to try and breathe fire at whatever direction he was indicating. It was slow going and took a lot of practice, but he was becoming relatively confident that she’d breathe fire whenever he asked her to. Just in time to become the absolute terror of all the sarane he had that weren’t resistant, he was sure.
Eventually, Aodh lifted up the paw that the familiar was touching. He reached out and watched his paw disappear into the swirling darkness that was the familiar. This was so weird! Maybe it wasn't that scary after all? Nothing bad was happening even though he was touching the familiar. That would also explain why he went right through it and hurt his head really bad before!
Now that Kadin was done teaching Chiara something new (again), he figured that it wouldn't hurt to move on to doing something else. First thing on the agenda was to get his little fire bug into the cart, of course. He couldn't have her terrorizing the other creatures with her new trick just yet. Next he went to go see what his other two critters were doing. On his way, something shiny gleamed in the light of his flashlight and Kadin stopped to look. "Huh." Three gems were sitting there, near the wall. A bit scattered, but they were all still there. "Hey, Kunzite. Look what I found."
Kunzite was distracted from where it had been attempting to pacify the small drake. It head swiveled in Kadin's direction and, the moment its senses picked up on what he was indicating, it was off quickly to go look and see. Gems! It quickly, greedily, picked them up into its shadows. Kadin hadn't even tried to pick them up himself, he'd had a feeling the familiar would want to see them first. He laughed a bit at its antics and held out a hand. Kunzite, quickly becoming over burdened, seemed to begrudgingly hand over some of the gems.
"There you go. I'll keep them safe, I promise." Kadin said with a smile, amused at the familiar's behavior. He was sure that if it were bigger it wouldn't help him hold on to any of the gems at all. But that was what a mining familiar was for.
Chiara, meanwhile, was looking out from the cart, fascinated by whatever it was that was happening out there. She let out a soft chirp, wiggling around and trying to get down from where Kadin had put her. She had been left out of something! She didn't want that! She liked having all of the attention on her when Kadin tried to teach her new things! Grumbling and growling and hissing, she flapped her wings hard to try and get down from the cart and over to the boy and familiar, determined to see what they were doing.
Aodh, meanwhile, had followed the familiar over to Kadin. He had stood there for a moment or two first, wondering if he should and wondering if he was still scared or not, but in the end curiosity had outweighed his hesitation and he came over to look curiously at what the human and the mining familiar were exchanging. Something shiny! He liked that, he liked the shiny things. He didn't feel the same impulse to horde them, but he could appreciate them because they were shiny. He kind of wanted some, too.
Kadin heard some scuffling from the direction of the cart and sighed. "Search, Kunzite." He advised while getting up, brushing off his pants. "I need to get Chiara before she hurts herself." He walked over to the cart to collect said sarane. She kept wiggling around the edge of the cart, looking for a way down, and he was certain she would find one.
It would just be more painful than she'd been expecting it to be. But Kadin easily walked over and scooped her up to recuse her from her inevitable face plant. "What am I going to do with you, little girl?" He wondered out loud. "You still have so many more things to learn, but I'm not sure here would be the best place to learn them."
Kunzite watched the human go off to the cart. It melted down a bit to the ground, swirling around itself, looking almost like it was pouting still at having to give up those gems. It really didn't like doing that, but it only had so much space to hold them itself! Well, there wasn't much to it but to find more. It started slinked around through the shadows again, looking to see if there was anything more shiny that it had missed. Perhaps it was also upset that it had been Kadin to find those gems and not itself.
The familiar also seemed to be ignoring Aodh. For some reason, it seemed that he was now just following the familiar everywhere. He had pretty much gotten over his fear of it. There wasn't a ton to fear, after all. The familiar was just another creature! And it just really liked gems! AND it couldn't hurt him. Or it didn't try to. HE couldn't hurt it, that was for sure, and maybe that was good enough for him. So for now he'd just follow it around and see where that would take him.
Chiara grumbled a bit at being picked up. She was growing really fast and she was sure that she was getting too big for a human to pick her up. In reality? Kadin could still walk around with her bundled in one arm. Sarane were actually pretty light, considering they had to be able to fly. But it was the PRINCIPAL of the thing! She butt her head against Kadin's chest, hissing and spitting. He wasn't so bad, she finally came to that conclusion after spending so much damn time with him, but she sure never going to let him know that.
Kadin rolled his eyes at the hatchling in his arms and walked over to the familiar and the hatchling on the ground. "Hey guys." He sat down with them, still holding onto Chiara and not letting her go attack Aodh like she probably wanted to. That wouldn't end well for anyone involved. "I'm thinking we might shuffle up what we're doing down here. I need to teach Chiara some things I can't do with you guys. How do we feel about that?" He asked, looking at the pets in front of him as if he actually expected an answer.
Kunzite looked at the human, unamused at whatever he thought he was doing. He was just interrupting him while the familiar was trying to look for gems and it didn't really appreciate it. Clearly whatever answer the human was looking for was just 'do what you always do and stop bothering us.'
Kadin rolled his eyes at whatever he saw from the familiar and the little drake. "Alright then." He said, getting back to his feet with Chiara in his arms. "Come on everyone." He couldn't leave them here in the mines alone, so in order to do what he wanted to do he'd have to take them all out and then come back with Aodh and Kunzite later. Chiara would have to be trained elsewhere since she needed more specialized training that they couldn't do in the mines. He'd probably also need another pet with him? He'd figure it out.
Aodh and Kunzite, of course, did not know the come commands. Kadin also knew this. He'd been sort of hoping they'd follow him anyway, but of course they didn't. He put Chiara back in the cart and walked back to pick up Aodh. Kunzite, he was pretty sure, would start following him once he got moving, so he wasn't too worried about that. He bundled up the little drake with the little hen and started pulling the cart, and therefore them, too, back to the exit.
Kunzite. Well. Took a minute before it did start to follow them. As the light retreated, it kept looking around for gems, but eventually it realized that it would be left entirely alone if it stayed here. With a grumble, if a shadow could even grumble, it slowly slunk in the direction Kadin was moving the cart in. It never stopped looking for gems along the way, as was its nature.
Not long after Kadin left the mines, they were already back again. He still had quite a lot of work to do with the creatures he had with him, after all, and he couldn't just. Not come back. Anyway. This time it was only him, Kunzite, and Aodh. He'd work on Chiara's training another time, somewhere else, with the appropriate stuff he needed to train her with. For now, he'd just be working with Aodh and Kunzite. It was probably more manageable to be here with only two anyway.
Kunzite, for one, was thrilled to be back. There was plenty it still wanted to find, so much left to explore. It swirled ahead impatiently as Kadin walked along behind it, going through the initial entrance and taking the path down one of the larger tunnels. Kadin was carrying the drake this time, which made things easier. They could go much further now, down into the depths, to really see what they needed to see further in the caves. Kunzite wanted to explore the tunnels, the deep dark bits, to test the fragile ceilings that crumbled under touch to see what it could make fall from the sky. It wanted to go to the spikes.