Into the mines they went. A human, two adult Malii, a mine-familiar creature, and a cart. The three mammals met the other creature at the cart the human left at the entrance he always used. Should he have left it there each time...? No one ever stole it. And it’s not like he kept anything valuable inside. Maybe someone else could make use of it while he was gone - jut preferably not on a day he planned to take it in, himself.
Axel somehow always managed to be near the cart when Riku arrived. Did he wait there the entire time the boy left? He had tried to get it to go home with him, but clearly it preferred the mine. Perhaps it checked back every day to see if its human friend would arrive. Riku did, after all, get there at the same time each morning that he went mining. He never started after noon. Who known...? The thing could just coincidentally - or psychically - happen to be there when Riku needed him.
And boy did he need him. He had a flashlight, but the thing something winked out, and he was not one for the dark. Not to mention that he lugged along two moody Malii that had already gone through their growth stages once, and now were forced to do it again. If they couldn’t make use of the bioluminescence, Riku feared he’d lose them to every corner they encountered along the way to where they were going.
Where were they going, anyway? All he knew was that someone needed something from a Sarane nest in the mine.
The note didn’t say much more than that. He assumed it was a black Sarane, since he had heard they roamed the halls of that deep, dark place. Had anyone ever found any other breed there? He hadn’t found any! He considered himself lucky....he had participated in the Sarane tournaments back before they mysteriously stopped being held. Those were some ferocious creatures. His Malii would have a tough time one-on-one against one.
Thankfully, he brought two. Clever, actually...although it really wasn’t. Amethyst and Oak had potential in a fight - and could theoretically take down a Sarane together - however, they were not trained. And they were still much too new to Riku’s acquaintance to stand with him in a fight. More likely, they’d be running into the black of the mines before running towards the black of a dragon in his defense.
Besides, who said there would only be one Sarane? There could be a dozen! ....he wasn’t sure how their nests worked. He had participated in the tournaments, but it was with an unbroken common drake he had gotten for free. He never bonded with it - in fact it hated him. He ended up having to give it away. He feared for the safety of his other critters.
A chime was heard echoing through the path of the mine they followed as Riku’s mine-friend found a rock it liked and picked it up, gliding forward upside down. It was.....almost creepy, but mostly cute.
“This way, you two.” He called “I don’t want you getting lost.” Riku gestured for his Gem and Woodland Malii to follow him. They hadn’t spent much time with him, but in the circumstance they nostly understood what he was saying, and they had witnessed the command when he was with the other Malii in the Sanctuary.
It wasn’t very often Riku found himself deep within the mine. Usually he went a bit further than the light would naturally go and then started chucking at the walls there while letting his pets sort of play around in between cringing at the loud clangs of his pickax. However, this time he was looking for something, and oddly enough, Axel seemed to be as well. Was the creature....tracking? Every minute or two it would find a pebble or stone and shimmer (presumably) proudly and then continue forward as if it knew where it was going. Did Riku know where that was....? No.
But what harm could it do? He needed to roam around until he found what they were looking for anyway. May as well be guided by a gentle living ceramic nightlight.
“Come on, you guys. Axel is going this w- SPIT OUT THAT ROCK! Ughh...!!!!! What is with you guys!?” He forcibly opened the woodland’s jaw with his fingers (daring) until he spat the piece of....whatever..out. It wasn’t even a pretty one.
Riku pulled out a piece of fish from his sachel (yes, he had raw fish in his sachel. He works with Malii all day every day. He was used to the smell by now.) and ripped it in half. “Eat this.” He said, handing it to the two precious creatures sniffing at his dripping fingers.
The light was dimming around the next corner as Amethyst licked his right fingers. He tried to move forward, as not to lose their guide, but the Malii started whimpering. “Look, c’mon, we have to keep moving.” He tugged on the one’s upper front leg to signal it to walk. “I’ll give you some more later.” He said as he picked up an awkward jog towards the next bend in the path. The two Malii followed, but only because they figured he had more food. They didn’t understand any of what he was saying.
“Axel, slow down...” he called. The creature had already gone down the next curve. Great. The light was almost gone as he heard another echoing chime. Well....they lost their light guide. He hurried over to the side of the cart where the opening was with bis flashlight. He had hoped he wouldn’t need it since it had fallen in a puddle the last time he used it, and he didn’t know if the battery was corrupt. Tapping on the one end without he bulb he clicked it on and off. Nope.
“Well, guys, looks like we’re stuck in the dar.....k?” He paused and looked at his two Malii. “Wait a minute. I...can see you?” Oak turned his head to the side in that cute way pets do when they’re confused but curious. His eyes were glowing, clearly unphased by the lack of illumination in the room.
Amethyst, on the other hand, slightly gleamed different colors at the tips of her fur. It was like a special waxy coat on her fur that he hadn’t realized was there that seemed to produce and reflect tiny bits of light when she moved - enough to see, barely.
He laughed. What were the odds that the two creatures he brought were so equipped for the mines? He hadn’t even realized it. Really. (Really.)
“Come on, then, let’s try to catch up with the other guy.” He said, grabbing the cart again at its handles and pushing it forward. As they walked, Amethyst’s fur glistened and flickered enough to see pretty well. At least enough to maneuver the cart around any large chunks of rock in the path, as well as to see the walls around them. That was helpful for Riku not to hot his head on the top when it got short for a few feet. He wasn’t that tall, but....was sorta tall still. Thankfully it wasn’t too hard on his back. Training at the park helped with that.
“Chiiiii-ime....!” they heard as the brighter light came back around the next corner. It had been probably about ten minutes, so the extra light was much appreciated - even if their eyes had adjusted.
Oak jumped up onto his hind legs to sniff at the glowing creature as it hovered a little too close Riku’s face. It seemed unbothered by the Malii, and glowed a few different colors. There....was a pattern there. Was it communicating? Or just showing emotion? Maybe it was random. Green, pink....indigo? Wait, there was a flash of orange before the last color and after the pink. Then it started again with green.
A brush of wind swept through them, and a cold chill ran down Riku’s spine - as if the air was trying to warn him. Axel’s color pattern stopped glowing, and he turned and started moving towards the new opening.
“Ch-iime...” it murmured, curiously, turning back towards the young man.
“Wh...where did this opening come from?” He began, stepping back uncomfortably. “We just walked past this, and it definitely wasn’t here. I think K would have noticed.” He observed the crooked smile type of structure the cragged rocks formed at the opening.
Axel glided a bit closer to him face and purred a bit in its way, then glowed a soft pink, then turned around and looked down at the Gem Malii who was shaking a bit.
“It’s okay, Ame...” Riku said as he sifted his fingers through the fur on her side. Oak moved closer to him as well. “Hmm..” he thought to himself for a moment. “No one ever said there weren’t any dangers in the mines, right?” He looked down at his two Malii. They were capable.
“Lead the way, Axel.” he said to the mine creature, which turned around and starting lighting the new path before them. Riku pulled the cart through, with some difficulty due to the jagged rocks at the entrance, and called his Malii to follow. “Come on, guys. This way.....” he said, weary. “Stay close.” Amethyst and Oak didn’t even need to be told.
“Chiiiimme..!” The floating mining creature purred as it glowed several different colors. For such a small thing, it sure didn’t seem to worry for its own health. From what Riku could tell, it looked rather fragile. Almost porcelain. Thin porcelain.
Riku chuckled to himself. It either wasn’t experienced with danger - or experienced enough to handle itself. He doubted the latter, but it was an amusing idea to imagine.
He pulled the cart behind him with a little difficulty and was glad he made time most days to exercise. (Right after meditation.) His two Malii walked at each of his two sides. They were so close that their fur rubbed up against his pants...although, they were likely more capable of defending him than he was to defend them. They didn’t need to know that.
Axel led them around a few more bends and curves until an almost grassy odor was noticeable to Riku. He wondered if there was moss growing on the walls up ahead, or perhaps an opening of some kind with plants...?
Along the way, the human saw a few splits of color in the walls...but he knew he had a mission and didn’t want to attract too much attention yet with loud clanging. If he saw a rock or two on the ground that looked interesting he’d grab it. He always wondered how those got there...did someone drop them on their way out? Surely they didn’t ‘grow’ out on the ground like that.
Reaching the next bend in the path, the four of them came upon a large opening. It was dark, with many shadows and only glistens of light shining off the large black rocks in the room. The grassy scent was stronger, and dry and fresher grass could be seen sprawled out all over.
The familiar let his color shine a deep green with a passing flare of pink every second or two. Looking at Riku, it seemed to beg what he would do - but it made no sound.
“Wh-“ Riku began, but stopped immediately as his mine friend quickly moved closer to his face and shone a disheartening red hue. What was that about? “Wha-“ he began, but stopped again at the familiar’s same apparent warning.
Amethyst and Oak stepped further into the room, the Gem Malii’s shimmering fur slightly giving an echo-like light into the area.......which made them step back after a few sniffs.
‘What was the big fuss...?’ Riku wondered to himself. He squinted his eyes and scanned the room....lots of large black rocks, some hay....hey. The...the rocks are ON the hay...
‘Oh Gods...’ Riku thought, backing up, himself, and moving closer to his Malii. That wasn’t just dead grass on the ground. It was a nest. And those weren’t just large rocks - they were large black Sarane! And by the looks of it, almost a dozen of them.
His breath deepened, and he used his hand to cover his mouth to muffle the air. His other hand reached down to comfort his two adult Malii who were shaking. One Sarane? Maybe. Twelve!? They clearly knew they were no match.
‘Okay...’ Riku thought to himself ‘What is it I’m here for?’ He scanned the room again and leaned his upper body to the left and right awkwardly while standing in place to try to see around the large dragons. He didn’t see any eggs...not that that would be his target, but it’d always be an interesting souvenir. Then again...that would be cruel to the mother.
He didn’t see much other than dragons and rocks. His Malii sniffed around the closer edge of the room, staying clear of the Sarane but looking as well. Of course, they weren’t aware of Riku’s quest - they just hoped that a dragon’s nest would contain some sort of food.
Axel followed Riku as he very delicately tip-toed around the sleeping black giants. He kept his purr to himself, and dimmed his glow to about a third as bright as his usual. Riku could still see, barely, but he did appreciate the lower stimuli. Gods...what would these Sarane do if they woke up and found them here?
‘There is it!’ He exclaimed in his head with a gesture of victory on the outside. It was a mosaic, framed and leaning up against an actual rock....right next to the largest of the dragons in the room. It must have been what he was sent here to grab, as it was the only thing out of the ordinary. Then again, he had never seen a Sarane nest before.
He peered around and studied the placement of all the dragons. The mosaic was on the other side of the opening, and he needed to find a path to get there. The two in the front were too close to go through - they’d have to be stepped over somehow. Then there was a gap wide enough for him to fit through to there, but....that dragon was too close to the other to pass by without touching either one.
He simply was too big. And obviously he didn’t trust his Malii to go get it. How would he even communicate to them what he wanted? How would they carry it? He looked over at them and saw Amethyst licking Oak’s ear while he was trying to get away. They toppled over, with a soft thud - but loud enough to make them all look over and check if the Sarane were woken up.
With a gruddle, the largest one in the back rolled over, partially on top of the quested item. Great. Now how would they get it?
Axel let out a soft chime, not loud enough to wake the giants, and gestured something to Riku, who looked back confused. Then the familiar dove down into Riku’s shadow and reappeared across the opening in the shadow of the largest Sarane. Grabbing the mosaic from under him, he let it slip with him back into the dragon’s shadow and then reappeared with it and handed it to Riku.
“YOU CAN DO THAT!?” The human exclaimed......
Twelve sets of eyes shot open as the collective nest began to stand up from their slumber, with loud territorial growls.
“SHIT! RUUUUUUUUNNNN!!!!!!” He screeched, grabbing at his Malii and taking the arm of the cart and pushing it as hard and fast as he could.
Axel let out an ecstatic chime that echoed through the hall as they ran. What a fearless little critter! His glow changed from color to color very rapidly as he lit up the way out.
Riku knew that if it weren’t for his mining familiar, he likely wouldn’t have found the nest, very likely wouldn’t have successfully snagged the painting - and most very definitely wouldn’t have any chance of escaping afterwards. WHY did he shout like that!? He knew it was a delicate situation, but...it was just so cool!
Amethyst let out a few whimpers as the sprinted down the mine pathways. This was not her idea of fun - though she was almost enjoying it. The running, yes! The dragon hoard? No! Maybe if it were a flock of Shiku or Scuta, but definitely not dragons more than twice her size.
Oak was grateful to see in the dark, but the constant glaring and flashing of the familiar threw off his senses. This was not the time to annoy him - but it also wasn’t the time to start a fight.
The rumbling from behind them rose and fell in volume as they teeter-tottered between making distance and losing it. Each new turn gave a new chance of throwing the Sarane off - but also forced them to slow down a little to turn sharply or hesitantly decide which path in a fork.
“Bwark!” Amethyst sent down the hall behind them. It was more of a nervous empty warning, but it made her feel slightly better.
Out of breath, and almost out of time, Riku fought through the exhaustion as he ran. At least his creatures had more endurance, but he was more of a strength-trainer than anything else. This sort of situation must be why people run in the mornings....but that new lifestyle couldn’t save him just yet. He pushed the cart in front of him with as much force as he could. Every now and then it shot an inch or two in the air as it hit a rock. He hoped the wheels were stable enough not to break.
The two Malii ran beside the boy, capable of going much faster, but not wanting to lose him - or the glowing navigation system leading the way. Oak didn’t very much like the little critter, but he recognized that it knew the way - or at least seemed to. Amethyst didn’t mind the glow, since her own fur had a sort of gleam to it already. She continued to whimper as they ran.
With a crash, the cart’s front wheel hit a bump too big for it to pass over and it came to an immediate halt, falling over on its side as Riku’s forward motion crushed him into it as well. The two Malii stopped beside him, Amethsyt now barking back at the growing rumbles coming their way.
Oak used his night vision to peer down the tunnel. He could see the dragons rapidly getting closer, and all of them could easily hear their roars as they steadied their charge.
Zenjesi: Hey Silv - how do you pronounce Kodakai?
Nov 17, 2023 18:23:56 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Not to mention the baby mosca with wolf skin from Elvye and the sparkling owl of Xentus. <3
Nov 14, 2023 10:27:52 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like the Donnor one not just with looks FF, but the description, funny as heck.
Nov 14, 2023 10:26:27 GMT -6
Zenjesi: yours both made me laugh, FF! They're very expressive
Nov 13, 2023 21:57:46 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Woooow Twilight, I love that witch drawing!!! :0 It's so pretty! And Zenjesi I think Spectral is my favorite out of yours lol. Just looks happy to be included. and silver now i wanna know which pets youd pick for the other legendary beasts. XD
Nov 13, 2023 21:37:45 GMT -6
Silver: Ah I'm so glad you guys enjoyed it! I love everyone's drawings they're all so cute. ;o;
Nov 13, 2023 17:31:37 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like that one as well yeah, loved the old nootnoot image from quest prizes, so that one went perfectly with that particular costume being based around it. X3
Nov 13, 2023 15:23:13 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: The jewelry on tail or at the head definitely tends to be their most recognizable feature for a Mosca, and sadly their pharaoh chin piece as well. XD
Nov 13, 2023 15:21:07 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Your peanut costume is hilarious and adorable too!
Nov 13, 2023 15:14:29 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Yes you're correct! I guess I did a decent enough job with the drawing!
Nov 13, 2023 15:05:27 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: It still looks good on Synkka. She is a shaman Mosca I'm guessing? Its mostly the tail that makes me think of it.
Nov 13, 2023 15:00:42 GMT -6
Zenjesi: I definitely like Spectral's the most too! I sort of cheated by drawing Synkka with a cloak because I do not know how to draw feathered wings, haha ^^'
Nov 13, 2023 13:45:15 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Which one do you like the most out of the three you made?
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:48 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Thanks for that compliment! Though I know with the water it doesn't look entirely great, I love the latter one I made the most.
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:30 GMT -6