The dust settled soon and Amelia could see what Auna had been so excited about. A glowing stone shone from the pile of dirt that had fallen forwards. She grasped it carefully, pulling the dirt around it away. A beautiful glimmer, and the reflection in her crystal blue eyes struck a strong cord of happiness. This same feeling was how Gentle would feel with the satisfaction of a reward. It was something so different, and every find was just as exciting as the last. While the snow leopard pulled the dirt and dust away from the stone, the Felusine noticed a different, dull glimmer. Auna dug through the dirt carefully, her small paws not quite as handy as Amelia's. She pulled forward the small brown stone, and cried out again at her owner. Look, she wanted to say, there's more there. Amelia cried out in her common language, and although neither spoke the same language, they shared the feelings of success. A find was always a treasure, and both got to enjoy the sense of accomplishment that came with having a good mining reward. Amelia gathered both stones and placed them in her cart and turned to the Felusine with a smile. There day was just getting started and already had great success.
Amelia of course wasn't privy to the joining of Auna to her kennel. Since she had lost her memory (from what the mammalian knew,) she had only added the two large crossbreeds to her clan. Her notebooks had given some description to the origin of most of the creatures. For example, Sandy she had owned for 8 years or so. The notebooks mentioned her 'being a young girl.' This had caused the mammalian to believe she was somewhere in her early to mid twenties, depending on what her past self considered a young girl. Perhaps mammalians aged differently in comparison to humans... since Amelia had no recollection of life before a year, she wasn't quite sure how she grew up. She had gotten some hints from the notebooks and the state of the house that she must've changed forms recently. There was inclination in the notebooks of 'things changing' so perhaps she had wished to change her appearance (clearly to be much bigger and hairier then previous,) and had lost her memory in the change? She wished she had known what happened, but unfortunately she had to go off of what she remember and what the pets would tell her. She had assumed it was magic went wrong, she was trying to perform magic on herself and had an unintended reaction of losing her memory. Unfortunately all she could guess was that losing her memory was an accident. Scary but not intentional.
What she knew: a year ago today she woke up, with no recollection of anything. She could equate it to if she had blacked out and woken up in a different home. She had no recollection of the night (or life) before, and she was in a strange place full of things that shouldn't have belonged to her. The clothes didn't fit, they were for a different person. The bed wasn't right, it was far too small. None of the food was anything she had interest in eating. She didn't feel right. This didn't even include going to see her pets. Thankfully she found the notebooks. It was like somebody telling you a story of what you did when you were blacked out. Except it wasn't. More like somebody telling you exactly what happened around you and what everybody else did, but wouldn't tell you what you were doing. The notebooks described every pet in exquisite detail. But nothing about herself. There was vague descriptions of her routine and house layout, (Gentle hadn't thought much of her needing to know about where she lived when she created it,) but alas, the outcomes had been known by no one. Auna had a sort of magical touch. She was hoping she could utilize it to learn about her past.
But everyday for the first bit was like learning you had a hidden talent. She just knew how to do things that were habit. She couldn't compare her loss of memory to anything. But over the last year she had been making and storing memories, and could remember everything since then. It wasn't as scary anymore, and nothing was unfamiliar. She bought a bed that made sense to her, and was able to get rid of all the clothes. Turns out, she was warm enough where she was without covering herself in weird garments of extra fabric. The food was hard, a lot of things had a bland taste, and she felt herself craving the meat. It was also easier to eat. She ate other things, but enjoyed the meat the most. It made her stronger and muscular, in comparison to how she was at the beginning. What her and Auna had in common was that both didn't look like they belonged, but they had the same hand structure as the humans. She had seen creatures with body hair that looked much closer to her, but their hand structure was much different, and they weren't able to communicate well. She looked nothing like the humans. She stood tall, somewhere between 6 and 7 foot. Large and heavy, but muscular instead of adipose tissue. Sandy still towered over her, but she was bigger than the humans. Auna cried out as a pile of dirt fell onto her from the wall. Mining was only so fun.
Amelia slowly worked at the wall, deep in her thoughts. When she thought of what she was supposed to be, or what her purpose was, she fell blank. There was a section in the notebook allocated to 'the beyond.' It seemed to be an area that she had not discovered. Amelia read a lot, that was the best way she could learn about this foreign world she lived in. Another thing that she 'just knew.' She was literate and understood what the words meant, accompanied by the images many non-fiction works provided. Compared to what she had read, the beyond was like a conservation park. It was gated in and what was in couldn't go out, and what was out couldn't go in. But a select few, if their application was sound, was allowed in to this rare area (the outside folk did not know what strange things happened in there.) The entrance was on the outside of the lab property. When she went to check it out, there was a sign stating that due to unforeseen circumstances, no applicants would be accepted at this time. A new memo was to be posted when they were reaccepting applicants, with promises it shouldn't be long. The memo however, was dated eight years ago. Which, to Amelia, made it seem like 'soon' wasn't going to happen anytime in the foreseeable future. Auna watched the dedication in the snow leopard's eyes. Something was stirring Amelia's mind.
Of course, this area being blocked off intrigued the snow leopard even more. And it seemed to be the end goal of herself. The writing didn't indicate much hope for it being available anytime soon. But it read 'in our lifetime, we will find a way there. We have companions who will protect us, we have friends who will keep us safe. This is among our goals. Amelia was trying to hang out to the goals it stated she had. She spent a long time just trying to orientate to her life, and continue living. It took a long time to develop a routine, to stop the desperate search for answers. But she began to live again, and strive for purpose other than 'just knowing.' The easy passions included mining and exploring the lab grounds. The harder ones were training and battling, and the hardest ones involved leaving the labs. As she explored the lab grounds, she realized just how vast it was. The mines, the mansion, there was a lake and then there was heavy forest. Open fields, small mountains and rock gardens. Some areas had chinooks and avoided snow altogether, other areas were coated by November. Some had heavy rain, others were dry as sin. The landscape inside the labs were so diverse that sometimes she forgot that there was fences keeping the bad things out and the good things in. Auna was still enjoying her success from earlier.
The speed Sandy would take care as they would travel across the landscape was exhilarating. The city centre, acreages and farms, and even the laboratories... beyond that there was still so much area to explore before she hit a barricade. However she didn't feel trapped. She reckoned there was small towns and villages on any direction, she just hadn't come across one yet. According to the books she read, this was the city centre. Everything that was important happened here. All technological advances, any essential service, happened here. Many goods and services couldn't be found elsewhere, and folk who lived out on farms or acreages, (often smaller communities separate from the city folk,) had to travel to the main city for many needs. So much was still undocumented, and so much out there that she hadn't read about yet. "Auna, do you ever wonder how much more is out there? The uncharted lands and territories. The beyond... the areas that they have not mapped out yet. So many things unknown and explored." The snow leopard cooed, lightly dancing on her paws to another area in the wall. The thought of more excited her, and she carried it in her words. Auna could feel the mammalian's joy, and cooed excitedly and pranced around Amelia's feet. They were excited about something, but Auna could not see any treasures yet. Something else was the cause of excitement.
"You know, there is just so much out there. I've heard of huge mountain ranges with snow all year around. A vast ocean where the horizon would never come. Forrest so dense we couldn't even make our own path. Prairies and deserts... extreme heat, humidity, dry or cold." The sparkle in the snow leopard's eye was evident when she quickly picked Auna up and swung her around. The Felusine was not much bigger than a large housecat, and was easy for Amelia to throw around. She was quite strong in this form, and she felt her muscle mass brought her more energy. Luckily, she was also in better shape in this form, so the endurance and strength was nowhere near extraordinary for somebody who did exercise regularly. She could run, she could jump and climb. Push and pull, her whole body felt like a perfectly coordinated set of muscles that all worked at the same time to achieve something beyond her imagination. She typically was a bipedal, but on odd occasions where she felt more in tune with her snow leopard self, she would maneuver on all fours. Something was hiding in the snow, it would allow her to stay low to the ground and stalk. Unfortunately having opposable thumbs meant her hands were better for gripping things. She did not move fast on all fours, and running would probably cause her to break something. Auna had similar issues, but was more dexterous than Amelia.
She scratched at the back of her ear, dust having gotten into the depths of her fur. She was always warm, which was a bonus. She had seen pictures of wild animals, and it seemed as though their fur was thicker. Was it because she lived inside, and the shelter she was able to occupy was warmer than a cave? She didn't need all the hair and instead could enjoy the heat a house would provide. This winter she noticed being outside was much colder for her. Her fur had not thickened like it had the year before, and she was afraid that her living arrangements were the cause of that. She sighed at that thought, then turned to the Felusine. The pick held at her side, her constant state of mind had distracted her from the monotonous work of mining. Dirt accumulated on piles on the ground from where she had been digging. Auna slowly searched through every pile to see if the mammalian had made a mistake and forgotten a stone. "That's good thinking Auna." The mammalian slurred happily as she pulled a water bottle from her cart. While the Felusine worked, she could enjoy a break and not thinking about anything except the discoveries of the mine.
It has been looking forever; and it finally has it! The gem wyrm was slowly winding down the passageway, the precious find in it's maw. Gem wyrms may not always be the mining beast at the top of the world down here in the mines, but this one seems to have done well for itself! Just a bit more, and it could get the treasure back to the nest. Then, it could be defended properly! Little did the glistening crimson wyrm know, not everything was about to go according to plan. Right as the garnet wyrm wriggled into a usually empty part of the mines as a shortcut; it came nearly face-to-face with some kind of being, not like one the reddish beast had ever seen before, and some other thing digging into the wall. It curled up in a defensive position, and tried to hiss. The glowing blue stone held in the red creature's maw could be seen clearly, making it come out a bit garbled. The stone could easily be identified at this close of range by anyone that could feel the magic around them.
Auna was the first to notice the creature, and perhaps this was a good thing. The Felusine crept onto all fours and stepped towards the gem wyrm. She sniffed softly at the gem critter, however the smell of dirt overwhelmed anything that this creature could give off. (Did it even smell like anything? She wasn't going to guess.) The rock she had currently been digging at was nothing more than a rock. Yet this gem critter held something that glowed. It matched the glow Auna put off, and although it was not like her, the magic could be felt from both of them. She pressed herself against the ground to minimize her appearance, she did not want the gem wyrm to be frightened and run off. Of course, Amelia was much larger than herself... Amelia grunted under her breath as more dust dropped from the wall. She placed the pick against the wall and grabbed a chunk of mud that had fallen, beginning to pull it apart with her fingers. She leaned against the cart, muttering to herself about how this place didn't have much in terms of excitement. It wasn't like something would just come there way. While she brushed the dust off from her paws, an encounter was happening right in front of her. Of course, the mammalian didn't even seem to notice. However, that was surely going to change.
The wyrm could scarcely hiss or growl at the thing that had taken notice to it now, thanks to the object held in it's mouth. However, it did indeed try, making plenty of noise in the process. None of the noises were dignified. The garnet-colored creature seemed quite pleased with itself, accepting the thing's flattening to the ground as a sort of submission or something of that nature. The crimson wyrm seemed to weigh it's options for a moment before turning about slightly, not moving particular fast but trying to pass by the felusine nonetheless. The wyrm looked unseeingly at the creature, making sure that it wouldn't move to threaten it. Any movement would cause it to stop had it noticed it... All the garnet wyrm could focus on was the idea of getting that hard-earned treasure back to it's burrow... Things probably would not go well for it, as it stared at the other thing as well, looking back and forth between the two, as if weighing the options.
Auna let out a small chirp as the wyrm was trying to figure out its trajectory. She began to move her tail to the side, a wagging motion to some. Maybe this wyrm would have a chance to spend time with her? It was different for her to see creatures out here, and she thought that perhaps its person was just around the corner. She turned her head and looked at the snow leopard, who had now turned with her back away from them. She continued to mutter to herself, pulling apart the dirt pile she had become fixated on. She tried to be careful not to miss anything. Gems and stones were so hard to come find that they couldn't risk missing any that might cross their path. The pick axe was off to the side, but the dull metal still reflected some of the soft light, and certainly the wyrm would notice. If it would think it was a threat... now that was a different story. Auna let out a softer chirp, and opened her mouth, panting in excitement. This creature was holding a gem that was far too large for it, but it was obvious that this wyrm was proud of its discovery. Auna felt a presence from this stone unlike most of the others. Most were just rocks, but this one... it was different. Something that only Auna could truly feel, Amelia would no nothing different aside from a pretty stone.
The gem wyrm was completely surprised by the bright light; or perhaps that was just what it looked like? The wyrm wiggles about, until its head was no longer in the beam of the light. Now it was quite confused; mining familiars were not often in a place to see light like that! The wyrm was a bit scared and confused, but wasn't particularly trying to get away yet. It tries to see the two beings that had been there before, but it didn't seem to be able to locate them quite yet...
The cart lay with its top open so Amelia could come and go as she needed. However, it also could look like a safe place for something to hide if needed... Auna could sit and wait for the wyrm to make a move, but it seemed to just wiggle and move in its spot. It wasn't about to approach her, so maybe she had to change her tactics. She lifted her front paw and took one step towards the wyrm. Her stare wasn't breaking and she wanted to wait for either the Wyrm to move, or to notice and not move, before she approached anymore. She didn't want to charge and scare it away, but there were always options if it tried to run... Just then, Amelia lost grip of the piece of dirt she was holding. It landed on her foot, breaking apart from the impact. "Shit!" Amelia called out loudly, echoing into the empty mines. She began to hop in her spot, caressing the hurt foot. To her, she was just living in the moment. However, she had no idea that the encounter was happening right behind her. She leaned against the wall and called out again, upset by not only the pain but the fact that she hadn't even found a stone.