He’d been duped before. It wasn’t a good feeling. The idea that he might be on the other end of a skewed deal made him feel unclean.
But what could he do? Refuse to work with it? He didn’t have the means yet to explain to it why he thought this was a bad idea. So maybe the best he could do for now was humor it, and then when they figured out a better way to communicate… Well, he’d cross that bridge when he came to it, he supposed.
For now, they were just the two of them stuck in the middle of a mining trip. And so long as they were here, he supposed they might as well do some actual mining.
“Alright,” he said with a shrug. He pointed to the gargoyle’s drawing, and then back to its collar, before nodding once. The gargoyle’s relief was evident, its shoulders sagging with it.
Before Aster could quite react, the gargoyle had snatched up one of his hands in both its claws, holding it fervently, and shaking it up and down. Aster wondered if this was a gargoyle expression of thanks, or something like. It wasn’t quite what he would have called a human handshake. But it just barely called a handshake to mind, so he found himself wanting to know whether it was meant to be an imitation of one, or if the gesture was just… present in different cultures.
Right, and before too long he would be interviewing his gargoyle and compiling some sort of published study of gargoyle culture. No, nevermind, none of that. He was getting ahead of himself.
But getting back to mining was a little easier said than done, after the excitement of all that had come before. A crystal found, and then relinquished by the gargoyle, he supposed, to himself…
The gargoyle had left it in his hand when it had grasped at him, and after it removed itself, the crystal stayed behind. Aster held it up and gave the gargoyle a questioning look. It was just one last check to make sure that the gargoyle was certain it wanted to do this. But the gargoyle nodded quite readily, apparently fine with giving this up.
Apparently, anything less than its intended crystal had absolutely no value to it. Or perhaps it understood that one of these fire crystals, which were after all still on the common end of crystal rarity, would never be an equivalent trade to a prismatic one.
Which was a funny thing to think about, the idea of any of these crystals being common. But they were both more common and in less demand, because there were relatively fewer of them that had to be used to make the node, for example.
Well, its loss was his gain, Aster supposed. The partnership they’d struck was more amenable to him than ever now, since it essentially granted him ownership of any crystal they found aside from a prismatic one, if he understood their current arrangement correctly.
This was presuming, of course, that they would find a great deal of crystals to begin with. Thus far they had only found one. But even that was a good trip, in Aster’s opinion; and if their luck held, they might yet find more.
While the gargoyle watched him, Aster tucked the crystal carefully away, making sure to separate it out from the other gems. It was still a little hot to the touch, and while he didn’t think most rocks would be disturbed by the heat, he still felt it best to be careful. Once he had secured that, he put the small pouch with the crystal in it on his person, rather than leaving it in the cart.
If a thief came upon them, Aster fancied he would be able to spot them from a ways off even in this kind of poor lighting, but it still gave him better comfort to have his valuables on his person if possible. An old habit, from his childhood.
Of course, he understood full well how easy it would be to snatch a pouch off someone’s belt too, so the crystal was kept tucked inside his shirt, where it might be harder to take. Aster saw the gargoyle watching him as he did all this, and wondered what the gargoyle must be thinking of it. Belatedly, he realized that it might seem like a gross show of mistrust, that he would secure the crystal like this. After all, there was no one here at the moment except the two of them, and the gargoyle had already agreed to give the crystal over to him.
Aster didn’t bother trying to explain away his reason though, since he didn’t know whether that really was what the gargoyle was thinking. Mind reading had never been his specialty, even with the people he knew well. Moreover, this kind of explanation was well and truly outside the ability of what they could manage between the two of them right now.
With everything secured and good to go again, and Aster’s tools returned to their rightful places on the buggy, he set off for deeper within the cavern. The gargoyle followed, and in a moment was walking alongside him. Aster glanced sidelong at it, wondering how this was going to go. He didn’t doubt the gargoyle’s intentions enough to think that it would deliberately sabotage this trip or anything, especially since it had seemed so earnest all this time, but it was their first such trip together.
And Aster had had one familiar for so long that he had grown used to Cinna’s habits, good and bad, barely remembering what it had been like when he still made regular use of a gem wyrm instead.
Would the gargoyle go haring off on its own when it sensed something likely? Would it merely sense the things and point them out, and depend on Aster to do the labor of digging them out? It had been willing enough to dig with its own claws for the crystal, but that, Aster suspected, had been as much out of the sheer excitement at possibly finding its object as anything. It had been anxious for the reveal of something that it could use, and that might have moved it to an unusual exertion of effort.
It didn’t, fortunately, take him very long to find out at least some of the answer to his question.
As they were walking, the gargoyle did stop, inclining its head. When it did, Aster stopped with it, though he stayed back and observed for a moment. He didn’t yet have the ability to guess what it intended to do, or what cues it had that he might follow if he wanted to assist it.
The gargoyle must have found something of interest though, so Aster was content to watch it for a moment. It was a little slower than Cinna, who usually threw himself with quite a good deal of energy at a find. But that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing; Aster was in no particular hurry, and there did seem to be something more careful and methodical about this one’s air. It took a few steps in a particular direction, inclined its head again, then changed its course slightly until it was facing a portion of the rock wall.
Once it was there, it tapped lightly at the wall, as if to test it. Aster watched it do so with more interest, as he hadn't often had the chance to see his other familiars doing the same. Once it had found the spot that it liked, it made a few scratches at the rock, then seemed to prepare itself, possibly taking the angle of its original efforts and the composition of the stone into account.
The next part happened very quickly, so much so that Aster was surprised to have it over so soon. But the gargoyle merely set its claws in and dug down with sharp, fast movements, and a moment later, came up with a hunk of something.
Granted, that something didn't look very promising, but a good deal of raw gemstones didn't. They needed to be polished off, and their more rocky and imperfect portions cut away, before they could reveal any real luster.
Still, Aster wanted to inspect it himself before he put it away, just to determine what kind of stone it was, if nothing else. There was a good deal of variety among gem values that one might get, and a wide variety in hardness too, which determined how easily he could make jewelry out of it. He had dabbled enough in the making of gemstone jewelry that he was familiar with both.
"Can I see it?" he asked the gargoyle, holding out a hand. The gargoyle gave it up readily, and Aster inspected it. Now that he was getting a closer look, he identified it almost immediately as an amethyst. Pretty common, not terribly valuable, and a stone that he certainly had a few of to begin with, but they polished up nicely and paired well with a lot of metals. Not the worst find he could think of, to be sure.
“An amethyst, huh?” he said. Some people believed that gemstones had the power to heal and guide one’s energies, though Aster didn’t know much about that at all. “Well, that’s not too bad. Let’s keep looking.”
What it did tell him was that the gargoyle didn’t think this kind of stone beneath its notice. Aster was glad, for the most part--- he had been a little concerned that a more clever mining partner might also turn out to be more discerning than the ones he had been with previously. But on the other hand, he was also glad that it wasn’t rubble rock that the gargoyle had brought him either. Aster didn’t know what he would have done if that were the case. Hope it was a joke, maybe.
Of course, since they were still continuing on, that didn’t preclude the possibility of this happening at a later point. But Aster hoped it wouldn’t.
Together, the two of them walked on. The nice thing about relying on a partner to help him mine like this was that Aster didn’t have to dig blindly around in the rock walls for things of value. He had learned a bit of masonry, a bit of prospecting, to give himself a better chance at finding something useful like a vein--- and so when he did strike something valuable, he could identify it, and not ruin his good luck by smashing it to pieces. But it still wasn’t the same as a mining familiar’s sense for these things.
No amount of human expertise was ever going to equal their innate sense and knowledge of the rock. At least, Aster didn’t think so, anyway. It was probably some unique internal mechanism of theirs, wasn’t it…? Aster eyed his companion, who glanced back at him, as if noticing his attention.
Aster’s previous familiars had all been made of gems themselves. There was talk that they could even be broken down for parts at the right shop in town, though to Aster’s mind, doing so seemed a little… cruel. If one was tight on credits, they could just as easily be sold live… though he supposed that wouldn’t prevent a buyer from turning around and taking them apart for stones right after either. How grisly.
But they had all been made of the same materials as the things they were hunting for, and of the caverns at large--- which was to say, made of rock. Aster had never seen a gargoyle up close before, but even from pictures, he knew that this wasn’t the case for them. Gargoyles weren’t gem beasts.
Then again, looking at the gargoyle in front of him now, there did seem to be something… metallic about the hide of it, almost.
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