It took her much less time than she would have thought to grind the bones to a state should was satisfied with, though she was wondering whether or not she should add a piece of one of the gems that had been found. She decided against it in the end, merely standing up with the makeshift pouch to see where Walker had gotten to. The walls should have been too steep for him to climb out at all, but he was a creature of the mines and she did not doubt he could burrow his way free if necessary.
What she saw was amusing enough that she waited an extra minute in the pit, watching the rock-creature try again and again to scale the walls, only for his claws to lose their grip, usually because of how he approached climbing as if he meant to dig into the wall. Strange of him, but she doubted she would have a better chance to sneak off and complete what was needed.
The gem drake did not notice the lizard leave, instead attempting to charge up the wall one final time. For his stubby, small legs, his speed was impressive, and he managed to clamber several feet off the floor as he claws his way to the hidden gem. Then he was no longer speeding up the wall, his momentum gone, his claws digging into the stone wall as deeply as he could as to not fall. The stone was only another foot above him, and he gazed at it longingly. His lifted one clawed foreleg free of the stone, lifting it as high as he could, and promptly lost his balance, claws tearing free of the wall as he fell away from it.
He landed on his back hard, in the kind of impact that would knock the wind from a creature of flesh. He flipped himself back over with his long tail, shaking his head to clear it. Then he was launching himself at the wall repeatedly, having fallen many times before Haix climbed back down into the pit, the makeshift pouch a little lighter.
He did not pay much attention to her as she moved about the pit either, not even as she began drawing a pattern on the ground with a mixture of bone dust and water. Even her vocalizations, once he realized they were not directed at him, failed to distract him from his task. He had gotten no closer to his goal, his attempts merely serving to smooth the surface of the wall further.
She had tried to ignore him as she completed the beginning of the ritual, but once it had been properly set up and the supplies repacked away, she could not help but watch him. Was he possessed by those who died in the pit somehow? She was not looking forward to trying to grind his gemstone form to dust with a mallet if it was the case, so she went to investigate his strange behavior. Seeing the rocks sticking out from the wall, she was starting to lean towards her earlier assessment, annoyed that she had wasted time with the bones if that was the case.
He threw himself up the wall one last time, his tail slapping against the ground as he launched himself upwards at the glittering gem just out of the lizard's eyesight. Jaws snapped shut inches away from the gem as gravity wrenched him downward once more, slamming to the ground with as much fury as it had the other times.
The clattering of his beak was what gave Haix pause. A creature merely trying to escape would not snap at the empty air above them, would they? She stepped over the squirming gem drake, helping him back upright with a nudge from her foot as she looked closer at the wall. The lower portion was covered in scratches and shallow dents, the floor beneath it littered with rubble. He had been at it for a while, likely the entire time she was setting things up. What could cause a gem drake to throw themselves at a wall and fall so many times if not a gem?
Bending down to heck the wall further and block any attempt of Walker's to flip himself over again, she did not see anything of value. Not even rocks of a different hue, as the wall had the same basic colors as the rest of the pit. Standing back up, her hard-hat protected head collided with the small overhang with enough force for her jaws to shut with a click. Rubbing at the helmet, glaring up at the overhang, she caught sight of what Walker had seen much earlier, the glittering gem revealed.
For this, she use the mallet, cracking and eventually shattering the small rock overhang that had hidden the gem from her sight. Prying it from the wall was simple enough, and Walker watched with undisguised interest when it was plucked from the wall. He drooped a little as it was added to the pouch, Haix not sparing him a glance as she returned to her tools.
When he followed her back to the supplies, she bagged him yet again, ignoring his struggles as she tied the mouth of the sack shut. She carried him up to the opposite tunnel mouth, the one she could almost swear she smelled the scent of grass coming from. Depositing him a the top with a small pat and the order to stay, she shimmied her way back down into the pit to stash the supplies back in the bag and carry those up as well. Standing at the mouth of the new tunnel, looking back down into the pit with the flashlight as she traced a pattern with the beam, she nodded to herself. Then, with only a call for the gem drake to follow, she set off down the tunnel.
If this one lead outside, possibly to a mine entrance that was somewhat easier to reach than the one she had climbed a hill for, it would make her plans much easier.
There was a brief pause in their travel of the tunnel for Haix to munch on her second snack, the ssashirk watching as the gem drake began halfheartedly clawing at a wall. He might have been tired. She knew she was starting to feel the effort she had put her body through during the mining trip. Walker seemed content to scratch at the wall for a little longer, and so she joined in for a few hits, not with her pickax for the tunnel was just too narrow for a comfortable swing, but with the much smaller chisel. One last check to see if the mines could be coerced into giving up any more treasures before the trip was over.
Haix had little patience left to spend on digging however, and she packed away the chisel for what she planned to be the last time on the trip. She still could not be certain the fresh air she smelled would lead to an exit large enough to admit her and wanted to have the time to widen it if necessary.
The Karzik stood over the pile of gems and buzzed loudly, wondering what the two might want with it's hoard. The buzzing continued up and down the tunnels and in the caves as it tried to scare the intruders away.
The world does not belong to you You are not the king I am not the fool They say the world does not belong to you It don't belong to you It belongs to me
The buzzing echoing down the tunnel caused Walker to tense, claws slowly withdrawn from where he had been idly scratching as his head turned to look down the tunnel. He hated these things, could not remember when he had seen one, or even what they looked like, but the noise brought to mind gems lost, plucked away from hoards. He took a step back, wanting nothing more to go back the way they had come, to keep the gems he knew the lizard carried safe. The sound the lizard made however made him shudder, and he turned his attention away from the tunnel to look at her.
The noise. At first she had thought it was imagined, perhaps a chastisement in her head for lingering, for searching for dead stones in the earth. Her tools were packed away in a blink of an eye, the mouth of the bag drawn shut. Then she saw Walker move, the way he responded to the sound. The real sound, the buzzing that he could hear as well.
She swayed and found herself mimicking it, overcome with wonder.
The lizard made the buzzing sound one more time, seemingly enthralled by the noise, and strode away without warning towards the source. It took only moment to find it, and Haix could hardly mask her excitement as she gazed at the creature with an intensity that might have only been matched by Walker's upon stopping at her side and seeing the gems behind the thing. Still, she was not so giddy to have lost all of her senses, stopping a small distance away from the buzzing insectile critter. Just seeing it might have been enough to confirm her belief in what was to be done, but she decided to push her luck, greeting it with a inquisitive chirp. (48)
The karzik had certainly not been expecting this at all.
The buzzing of its wings nearly stopped for a beat before returning, as it noticed that there were other beings down in the tunnel. The initial instinct was to flee, but with the stash right there with them that would mean abandoning the stash. The karzik seemed to hover between flight and fight for a moment, but decides to stay put. The creature's large eyes seemed to take everything in about the beings before it; especially the tall one with the scales. The karzik knew that there were dangerous things here, and that if this was one of those dangerous things, it would not be able to protect it's hoard. The chirrup, on the other hand, was a bit frightening.
The karzik puffed up, and gave a loud keen in return, not quite a pleasant noise but not intimidating to most. For now, the karzik was not fleeing.
The noise was unpleasant, yes, but it was the reaction itself the creature had to her that had Haix force herself to stifle a flinch. Instead, having weathered the piercing noise without any visible reaction, she slowly crouched down, reaching into her pouch with exaggerated care to grab the first stone that came to hand. A brief thought of accidentally grabbing the white rock troubled her, but this was a creature of the mines, and perhaps it would accept even that stone.
As luck so had it, the stone she grabbed was not the white rock but the false-flesh, the one that had appeared to glisten and twitch back in the caverns. The pouch was left open, rather carelessly to any that might be watching,hinting at the wealth hidden within. She held it out slowly to the bug-thing, not quite willing to let it drop from her fingers, tilting her head to the side in question without a chirp this time. She wanted it, more physical evidence of the signs she had been granted. The part of her mind that was not still overawed by the signs, the part woken as she thought see saw fear in the creature, remembered hunting smaller beasts, the importance of not scaring away prey, and she strove to make herself as unintimidating as possible, a thought that made her laugh wildly in her head even as she maintained the stiffness of of stone without. Teeth hidden as best she could by tilting her head slightly down, a slight slump to her shoulders. Let it puff up, let it think it think it had intimidated her, let it think the gem was a gift and there were more for the taking.
Let it come closer.
And throughout it all, Walker watched with an increasing fury, tearing his gaze away from the gemstone hoard of the karzik to watch as one of his own hoard was offered to the thief by the very one who was meant to protect it. Then he noticed how the lizard seemed to be almost cowering. Gems were forgotten but his rage was not, fueling his need to get in between the two, to protect more than the gems the lizard carried with her. He had taken barely a step before he found his path abruptly blocked as the lizard's tail twitched in front of him though, the intent clear. He held back, still glaring from between the spikes his impromptu blockade was covered with, but not daring to interfere just yet.
The Karzik was not the most intelligent creature in the world; none of them really were. It more than made up for it with knowledge of the mines, they came from here, after all. The Karzik knew that big creature, scales, and a longer jaw usually meant a dangerous eater around here, and the chances of it catching the karzik were very slim. After all; the karzik was flying, and that was an advantage. Trying to capture a creature that flew was not really the most successful venture for most.
The karzik stared at the shiny rock, tilting its head one way and then the other, as if appraising it. The karzik had it's own hoard on it, and the chance of adding a stone to the hoard it now held was incredibly tempting. The flighty creature did feel like it had the upper hand, so to speak. The Karzik inches forward, slowly, trying to keep its own hoard away while flitting closer to the shiny stone. It didn't work too well.
It was slow going, the fluttering insect-thing, a living omen, seemingly unsure about approaching her. As it should be, but she needed it to discard that caution, for the wide tunnels would afford it plenty of room to fly away if it kept its distance or decided that a single gemstone was not worth the risk.
Eyeing the small hoard behind it through half-lidded eyes, the way it seemed reluctant to leave even a single stone behind as Walker had done on occasion, she was hit with a small flash of inspiration. Like the stone she held out before her it might have been put in her path, might have been touched briefly by the gods, but it was still a beast all the same. A creature of the mines, one that prized the shiny things hidden in the walls as much as any other creature that lived down there.
The arm with the stone began to sway, barely noticeable at first, but enough to catch the light and appear to flicker in the light. Just enough to catch the eye hopefully, to drag its full attention to the stone before her so that it might not notice her other movement.
Look at how pretty the stone moves, the way the light catches on it. Watch it closely now. Don't look away.
Her free hand snaked its way behind her back, still slow, still careful as her arm bent in what looked like an awkward angle to reach the pouch of prizes hanging on the other side. The other arm, the one with the single stone kept swaying, hoping to keep the creature distracted as the pouch was undone, as it pulled free to be held in front of her with the mouth gaping. Now the swaying would slow, arm still outstretched with the gem, but held at an angle to draw it's eyes to the pouch of glittering gems now in plain sight. She held it more than a few inches above the ground, not so much that the thing would have to fly its way to it but enough that the creature would not be able to reach in with a clawed foot easily from the ground. Nor would it be able to keep its distance, her arm bent so the pouch was only a few inches from her scaled and hunched body even as the other gem was lowered to the ground like a breadcrumb for it to follow.
Don't look at it too intently, don't look at the gems behind it in case it thought she might take them. Look intimidated, look small and unthreatening, one who would never hurt it, one who only wants to give it gifts. The gifts themselves were bright and new and numerous, meant to be a part of its hoard, would make its hoard massive.
Come closer, come see, it's safe, reach inside, come closer, come see~
He wanted to pull its wings off, to pluck those shiny blue eyes from its head and add them to his hoard. He wanted to bite it, to drag it down into a narrow tunnel and ensure it would never thieve again, never threaten his hoard. But he did nothing. The tail held him in check, pressing against him, nudging him back behind her when he should have been in front to deal with the intruder that was about to steal his hoard, that was threatening his lizard. For all he wanted to rush in and grab the flyer by the leg and smash it against the walls, the lizard had made it plain she did not want him to.
She was one giving away his gems, gems he would fight for. Yet he stayed back, drooping in defeat as he was scooted back a little further by the tail.
The karzik was began to drop it's guard, moving forward slightly, inching, buzzing wings the entire way. The way the individual was slowly seeming to beckon it without appearing too intimidating despite being a much larger-than-the-karzik scaly person was a site to behold. The unsuspecting karzik moved forward, darting one way and the other, side to side in a curious fashion. This movement was almost more like a hummingbird than anything else. The karzik finally was just close enough to try to reach out for that shiny, tempting gem.
A single talon was moved forth, the creature's eyes glinted the light from the gem. It appeared that greed was quite common among the creatures in the mines, and this karzik was no exception.
It flits closer and closer, and she waits, forcing herself to keep still as it reaches the outermost limits of her reach, it reaching for the stone she holds out for it. An omen for an omen, the start of the trap, but it is still too far for a guaranteed catch. She could drop the gem and grab for it now, risking it kicking her hands away and abandoning its hoard in its flight, she could draw the hand holding the gem still closer to her and hope the creature is foolish enough to hop after it.
Instead, she lets it take the first gem, the flesh stone, without a hint of resistance.
Her tail keeps Walker penned behind her, hoping the gem drake does not charge in to protect the gem, and there is no sudden sound of claws tapping on rock, no pressure of blunt claws attempting to scale her tail to reach the other side. He stays back, perhaps aware of exactly what she would do to him if he frightened off this magnificent creature before she had a chance to spring her trap. He was not irreplaceable after all, his kind being common enough that even she knew of the many variations of gem creatures. And, at times, she was certainly curious as to how much of him could be chipped away before he was no more than the gems he was made of.
He stayed out of her sight however, quiet as she herself was. She let it take the gem, and moved the pouch slightly with her other hand to draw its attention, spilling one of the stones, the shiny black onyx, to the ground just in front of her, jostling the others slightly against each other so that the creature might see the different hues of blue, the bright white stone that seemed to almost shine in contrast to the glittering dark metal beside it. A hint at what was to come if only it would come a little closer, ignoring the arm that, despite having relinquished its stone, lay limp and outstretched. The arm it would have to pass on its way to the rest of the treasure, no real threat, not when it gave up such a pretty stone so meekly.