Contrary to what one might think knowing all this about him, cruelty wasn’t to his tastes either. He didn’t go out of his way to be… what? To be callous? To be cruel? He didn’t keep his creatures to whip them and listen to their cries. But sometimes it was inconvenient or even too roundabout to be kind, especially to people, and that was when the censure started pouring in.
Or else sometimes it was merely that the moral, upright thing to do took too much gods damned time.
He was brought out of his thoughts by the antics of the little feathered creature, who had begun rustling about in earnest in Noa’s pocket. Noa lifted it out, and it cheeped at him. It really was a lot like a bird in a lot of ways. In fact, if it had just a little more feathering, then it wouldn’t be hard to pass off for a baby Izer. But then Izer were a little primitive in and of themselves, so maybe they were distant relations somehow. The basis for the creatures created by the labs here had to come from something, didn’t they?
“You know,” he said to the feathered creature. “You don’t have a name yet. Neither of you do. Hmm.” He should fix that, but nothing good had occurred to him.
The gargoyle glanced over at Noa’s words, distracted from its search for gems for the moment by what he had said.
“Oh, don’t mind me,” Noa said, waving a hand as if to dissipate his own words from the air. Noa supposed that most of the time when he spoke while he was down in the mines, it was to the gargoyle or to Rhys, who could both understand him. And in the case of Rhys, the Faeron was well equipped to make his own reply. If the gargoyle had anything that he really wanted to get across to Noa, then the gargoyle also had his own means of doing it. As such, a dialogue did exist between them.
But the pup and the little feathered creature, neither of them were smart enough to comprehensively understand human speech. He wondered if his attempt to speak to them had misled the gargoyle to think otherwise. After all, the gargoyle hadn’t actually met the pup the last time the pup had come down to the mines, because on that occasion Noa had been practicing that one spell with Rhys, and it had been just the Faeron, the pup, and the little feathered creature down here with him instead.
“Neither of them can understand me,” Noa explained. “Not like you, or Rhys. They’re just… Well, you know. Less like Rhys and more like Avander.” Avander had had Noa in his head for most of his life, so he was a little sharper than a Wiurn had any right to be, but even then there was a limit to what he could do.
Still, it was enough that Noa had come to rely on Avander for a lot of things too. Not to nearly the same extent as Rhys, of course, but Avander had a good sense for how a fight was going, and he had good instincts, both of which had been built up by a storied career in the fighting pit. He had started life as a Sarane, after all, and Noa figured if he was going to raise one of the damned things, he may as well raise a champion.
All that was still easier said than done, but they had done it in the end. And now that Avander was a Wiurn, with twice as much power and thrice as many abilities, Noa was all the more glad for all the other things that Avander knew.
The gargoyle still seemed to be interested, so Noa must have guessed wrong on that front – that the gargoyle thought the pup and the little feathered creature might be of a similar intelligence as himself. Noa thought back to what he had said, then laughed. “What, do you have suggestions on what to name them? Well, I’ll hear them out. It isn’t as if I have any ideas at the moment.”
The gargoyle began to shake his head, but then seemed to think better of it… And to think deeper on the topic too. Huh, it seemed like he really was going to take a stab at it. That was unexpected.
Noa found his curiosity piqued in spite of himself. What sort of name would a gargoyle come up with anyway? For that matter, what sort of name would this particular gargoyle come up with? After all, Noa had no experience with other gargoyles. In all his life – and most of it was a fairly sheltered life – he had only met the one. Others existed, in the ownership or companionship of other people in the city, but mining wasn’t really something that people tended to do in groups here. It had been the fashion once upon a time, but certainly not anymore. And outside of the context of the mines, even this gargoyle didn’t really get out much around town. He didn’t know if all gargoyles were otherwise such homebodies, but this one didn’t seem to have an interest in much besides his own… well, his own work, Noa supposed. Or did the gargoyle consider this mining business to be his hobby?
At any rate, it hadn’t occurred to Noa that the gargoyle might do something like offer to help name the creatures that Noa had brought with him. And to a certain extent, he was right; it hadn’t been what the gargoyle had been offering. Noa was the one who had mistaken his intent, but once the idea had been blurted out loud, the gargoyle seemed to be for it.
Unfortunately, his ideas left a little something to be desired, when it came down to it.
The first thing the gargoyle held up was a rock. Noa frowned at it. “Rocky? You want me to name one of them after a rock?” The gargoyle stared at him, and Noa sighed, shaking his head. “Sorry, that’s not really my style. And look at them, do either of them really strike you as a ‘Rocky’?” He presented the little feathered creature, who looked nothing like a rock.
The gargoyle countered by indicating the pup, whose tail set to wagging once she realized that she was the center of attention, even if for just a moment. Noa shrugged. “I guess she is kind of rock colored, but that’s… I don’t know, I’m still not feeling it.
The gargoyle deflated, and Noa thought the matter closed, ready to keep wandering the mines in relative peace. Occasionally the pup or the little feathered creature started up a fuss about something or the other, but Noa could usually get them to calm down again without too much trouble. He had been raising and handling the both of them long enough now that he felt that he was starting to get the hang of it.
But as they explored the caverns further, intermittently between findings of precious stones, the gargoyle would hold up some new object, or occasionally try to convey some more obscure concept via a crude drawing scratched into a suitable patch of dirt that he had found for the occasion, if there was any to be had.
It was certainly an effort that he was making. Noa just wished it was the kind of effort he could actually reward. As it was, the gargoyle’s naming sense was really not in line with Noa’s tastes. That in and of itself wasn’t a crime, but these were Noa’s creatures, that he was going to have to train and call for the rest of their lives… Or the rest of his own life, he supposed. The idea that they would outlive him specifically was more likely than the general going concern for other people who raised these creatures. Even if it was just his own meager life expectancy, however, it was still him who had to live with the consequences of bestowing a name he didn’t like.
In the end, Noa rejected all of the gargoyle’s attempts. By the time the trip wound down to its end, the gargoyle had just about given up, which was probably for the best, all things considered.
Given how soon Noa expected to make a trip to the Underground, however, they returned not long after to collect more gems, if they could find any. The same motley little crew was in attendance today too, because why not? It had gone well enough last time, and these were two creatures that Noa was raising for the heck of it, so somehow they felt appropriate for the occasion. And they were better behaved now too, having gotten a little older.
Noa hadn’t gone through and formally taught them manners yet, but with any luck he might not need to. If they liked him well enough to listen to him specifically, that was generally good enough for Noa’s purposes, even if it didn’t help anyone else.
Noa left the choice of cavern up to the gargoyle this time, even though it had gone so poorly the that time with the really narrow cavern that the gargoyle had insisted on, for one reason or another. It was fine. They had had the good luck of finding a crystal a little while ago - of an element that Noa already had a node of, but he had managed to trade it for an element he liked better, so it had been a very good find indeed, as it turned out. The contentment of such a discovery would tide Noa over for quite some time. But it would be time soon for him to make another trip to the Underground, and for that he needed to arm himself with yet more gems. He was blessed to have inherited a small collection with his parents' passing, the result of some investment work in the distant past, but he could not rely on that layaway forever.
Still, aside from elemental crystals and the worth of the individual gems he found, all the rocks were the same to him. He had no particular favorites, and cared little beyond what he could have in exchange for them.
And so if the gargoyle suggested a particular cavern, then Noa wasn't opposed, so long as it didn't look inconvenient to explore.
And the gargoyle, perhaps learning from his mistakes the last time, picked an easy cavern. In fact, he picked a cavern that they had gone into before - the one that led to all those mushrooms, when he and Rhys had been learning how to tell the poisonous ones apart.
That gave Noa an idea.
The lot of them made their way into the caves. The pup didn't put up a fuss this time, having already been acclimated to the dark. She couldn't see very well like this, but she wasn't scared of the dark anymore at least, and Noa was there to direct where she was going. He also had his flashlight on, which helped, and she stuck close so as to stay in the zone in which she could see things.
The little feathered creature rode along in Noa's pocket as usual, which was fast becoming its accustomed mode of travel. Noa hoped that its limbs wouldn't atrophy in that way, being carried around by him all the time instead of actually having to shift for itself. He knew you were supposed to feed them nutrients to promote growth once they had reached a certain level of maturity, but in the meantime perhaps he ought to invest some time in getting it to exercise... Well, there would be time enough to figure out the specifics later, he supposed.
Maybe there was no need for him to worry, in which case fussing over it now would be no use.
For now, he was more interested in exploring an idea that he had of what to do with the rest of the Houluh pup's training. Training she did have to have, to pass muster with that association of breeders, but they left the choice of what it was up to the trainer involved. And Noa wasn't really the type who liked to spend time on things like basic obedience. If he spent enough time with a creature, it tended to pick up intuitively whether he wanted it to stop doing something, or come to him or follow him around or something, basic stuff like that. That didn't mean said creature could do the same for anyone else, but what use did he have for his creatures being obedient to other people? Not that he would get much mileage going through his usual training regimen for a creature as unsuited for combat as a Houluh, but if he couldn't teach it anything useful, he might as well teach it something interesting.
Start: Get (edible mushroom), Search, Forage
And it occurred to him that maybe he could get it to hunt for mushrooms. There were truffle-hunting Bwee, after all, so why not a Houluh? They had good senses of smell. They must have, as canids. And if a mushroom was smelly enough to distinguish it from the rest, then well, that was good enough to make it work, wasn't it?
They reached the room with the mushrooms, and Noa instructed the pup to stay outside. The gargoyle, seeing that Noa was stopping unprompted, must have realized that he had other things he wanted to do here. Said gargoyle busied himself prospecting around the nearby rock, though from his countenance, Noa knew better than to expect any rich finds in this particular area. They had already been through here before anyway, so if there was anything good to be found here, the gargoyle had probably already gotten it back then.
What Noa was here for was the mushrooms. He wanted to find a nice edible type with a strong scent. If he could smell it, at least up close, then the pup would be able to detect it over a longer distance. If it didn't have a smell at all, or even one that wasn't particularly distinct, he didn't know if a Houluh would be able to detect it.
But they would see, he supposed. He went through a few different varieties, assessing their edibility by the cues he himself knew, which were mostly their colors and their shapes, and a little bit the conditions they grew in. It didn't actually take him that long to find a likely looking individual - or maybe he should have said a likely smelling individual instead? Either way, it was pretty pungent up close. He took a few specimens with him, then returned to the entrance of the chamber, and called the pup and the gargoyle to him.
The little feathered creature had fallen asleep again in Noa's pocket, possibly lulled into slumber by the dark, or maybe by the motion of Noa's movements. Whatever it was, Noa thought it was probably preferable to it being awake, though he wasn't looking forward to when it awoke. The last time that had happened in the mines, it had taken quite some time to calm it down after waking.
Noa followed the gargoyle's directions from that point on, and the gargoyle led them down further into the caverns, stopping at a point deeper inside. The gargoyle went on to dig a little at some rock wall, prospecting once again, this time with a more pleasant outlook. Noa left him to it, knowing that he would reap most of the rewards when the gargoyle was done.
For now, he wanted to focus on the pup.
Noa coaxed it to him with a treat, then presented it with the mushroom. "Get mushroom," he said, dropping it onto the ground. The pup went to investigate, and mouthed at the thing, which was so close to the behavior that Noa had hoped for that it almost felt too good to be true. Well, but then he thought about it, and a pup mouthing at something wasn't really that unusual. Either way though, it was what he was looking for, so he rewarded the pup with a treat.
The treat was much more tasty and interesting than the mushroom, so the pup was much more interested in that instead.
But once the treat was gone, Noa repeated the command, since it didn't feel like they needed too much downtime between repetitions of this particular trick. "Get mushroom," he said to the pup. The pup didn't know what that meant, of course, but Noa pointed at the mushroom, then guided the pup's nose to it when that didn't work. The mushroom did have a pretty distinct smell, so the pup noised at it, then licked it again, for which Noa rewarded her.
They went through this process a couple of times before the pup actually took the leap of picking the mushroom up. Noa gave her more praise than he had been giving, and the next time he repeated the command, he waited for her to pick it up before rewarding her. It was slow going initially, but after a few more repetitions, she had the general idea: if she picked up this mushroom, she got a reward.
With that much established, Noa waited until the pup was distracted, and put the mushroom down a little further away this time. "Get mushroom," he said. The pup perked up, and looked around a bit for the mushroom before finding it and picking it up. Noa held out the treat to coax the pup to come to him with it, then rewarded her again. They repeated this new process a few more times to get her used to the idea that she had to bring the mushroom to Noa before she got her reward.
It was her first real command, but it wasn't such a tough one - though he did have to correct her a couple of times when she tried to chew on it. After a few repetitions without incident, Noa felt that they were ready to move on.
End: Get (edible mushroom)
Now he wanted to get her used to having to look for the mushroom. They would start off easy at first. Noa simply put the mushroom further away from the pup this time, then gave her a new command. "Search!" The pup had no idea what it meant, of course, except that Noa was saying something loudly. But he guided her around a bit, then when they chanced upon the mushroom sitting in the open, he said, "Get mushroom." The pup brought it to him like she had been taught, and he offered her a reward.
After she was finished with the treat, he started the whole process over again, placing the mushroom somewhere else. "Search," he said, then walked her around until they found the mushroom again.
This went on a couple of times, and then Noa started being a bit more hands off, to see if the pup would wander around on her own. She did, then hesitated, but Noa repeated the command and offered her more encouragement; and as the mushroom was never very far away, she found it on her own this time after a little trying.
He gave her more praise on that occasion in hopes of reinforcing the concept.
She seemed to enjoy it, and although Noa found the act of putting on a show of enthusiasm to be tiring and stupid, if it worked then it worked. He was willing to endure a certain amount of foolishness if it was for some useful purpose. They repeated the 'search' command a few more times to reinforce it, and then Noa decided it was time to actually make the pup work for what she found.
This time when he placed the mushroom, he partially hid it behind some rocks. Then he gave the pup the command to search. She looked around for a moment, then stopped and looked up, confused. But Noa simply gave her the command again, and she looked around a little more - before picking up the scent and finding the mushroom where Noa had hidden it. He asked her to bring it to him, then gave her the reward.
Seeing that she was using her nose already, Noa decided he might as well go all the way now, and began hiding the mushroom out of sight entirely before having the pup search for it. The pup took right to it, possibly viewing the whole thing as a game, at the end of which she got fed for her trouble.
In the midst of all this, the gargoyle wandered back, with some gems for Noa to inspect. He took one look at what was going on and furrowed his brows, confused, before looking to Noa for an explanation.
"We're doing some training," Noa explained, which as far as explanations go, wasn't exactly illuminating. But he also didn't really feel like getting into it, so this would have to do for now. "Don't worry about it." It didn't involve the gargoyle, after all, so there was no need for his concern.
The gargoyle considered this response for a moment, then gave a little shrug and handed over the rocks. Noa looked each one over before pocketing the lot of them, and thanking the gargoyle for his troubles. The gargoyle wandered off to the side, but rather than going back to his work of prospecting for gems, he simply stood there and watched the proceedings. Noa didn't mind; he didn't really care one way or another whether he had an audience, and as long as the gargoyle didn't interfere, it made no difference whether he watched or not.
It did also remind Noa to check on the little feathered creature in his pocket, but that creature was, by some miracle, still fast asleep. With that all settled, Noa returned to training the pup to search.
But there really wasn't much to teach, aside from repeating to get the idea down. Once they'd run through the process a few more times and she was performing consistently, Noa decided this trick was just about wrapped up too.
The next part would be harder, but Noa thought they could probably get through it... If not on this trip, then on some subsequent ones, at most.
Silver: I'd be happy to help you set up a mini species guide maybe? :3
Sept 27, 2021 23:03:57 GMT -6
Xentus: Yea, the smaller guides are included in the update project. I suppose a little reformat would be needed to the guides match the stat blocks if anything. Or misc species can have individualized mini guides but i havent thought of how to format that
Sept 27, 2021 21:20:10 GMT -6
Silver: I think so! I'm not sure how Xentus is organising that, but I believe we can write new guides for shop species and stuff. I'd love to see some on the mansion pets!
Sept 27, 2021 17:13:53 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: True, does the Species Guide Update also apply for the smaller guides like them though?
Sept 27, 2021 17:00:45 GMT -6
Silver: That's okay, things can change a bit. :3
Sept 27, 2021 5:42:43 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Since the Bellafaux are the dumbed down but bigger version of them. Love the fact that they got stats of their own now though! Finally they can be trained! <3
Sept 27, 2021 0:06:11 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Hmm, for some reason it doesn't feel as if the Bellaroxi has the right move set when looking at the old entry of them in text.
Sept 27, 2021 0:05:02 GMT -6
Renathan: -points at the sushi monster- Him go 3 Miles an Hour. Lookit him go.
Sept 26, 2021 21:31:10 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: That just means rl has caught up with you, it can happen. X3
Sept 23, 2021 10:10:22 GMT -6
Renathan: I'm gonna have to get caught up on all the updates, I've let myself fallen behind sooo badly.
Sept 22, 2021 4:47:08 GMT -6