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Complete Curiosity Killed the Owlbear

Discussion in 'Horizon' started by Amy Wellard, Mar 21, 2018.

  1. Amy Wellard

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    March 5th

    Her home was too quiet. Much too quiet. Without Cagliostro around to putter around performing experiments and cackling at whatever she was doing, Amy couldn't stand being in her own house. So, she did what any anxious person who needed to get out of the house did, window-shop.

    Well, there weren't many windows in the bazaar, but the point was, she needed to just look at the interesting things for sale to get her mind off of her friend's disappearance.

    Of course, she wasn't completely alone. Denby was there by her side, watching out for anyone who would pose a threat to his master. He was much happier without the threatening little girl there to make him do things. All he wanted was to stay with Amy, so there was an almost imperceptible lightness to him.

    That was probably what ended up getting him in his little predicament. While Amy was browsing a stand selling clay pots and trying very hard not to break down due to the influx of memories that brought on, Denby became very bored. His master was just staring at things really hard. Was there something interesting in them?

    Curiously, he poked at one of the pots sitting on the ground. It didn't do anything, so he started sniffing at it. Still nothing. Finally, he started to stick his head in it, just to make sure he wasn't missing anything. Suddenly, he felt it tip over and his head and front legs suddenly became stuck.

    In a blind panic, he started backing away on his hind legs, which still only brought him up to Amy's waist. He continued struggling and moving until he backed into something that felt like legs, and fell over with a small, sad "pweh."
     
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  2. Oerba Yun Fang

    Oerba Yun Fang Final Fantasy

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    Fang stepped easily through the bazaar, the crowd around her naturally parting before the argument of the bright red lance poking over her shoulder. Those behind her were further encouraged not to press too close, unless they wanted to risk running facefirst into the bulky leather sack slung over her back.

    She wasn't in any particular hurry. The morning's hunt had been a good one; after setting aside what she wanted to keep, Fang made rounds through the market, unloading her spoils at the appropriate merchants. The butcher thanked her for the fresh meat and gave her tips on that deer jerky she was still trying to perfect, and the apothecary was convinced to give her a little extra for the good quality of the horns and hooves she'd brought. The final stop on her list was the tanner, and Fang hoped he was in a bartering mood. The pelts in her sack were some of the finest she'd obtained yet and she was keen to get her money's worth.

    But first, it might be in her best interest to find something to eat. There was something sizzling and spicy being hawked down the way, and Fang's stomach would not let her pass without ordering one for herself. Ever a slave to her appetite, she adjusted her pack's weight against her back and followed the smell.

    Then she glimpsed a familiar blonde head against a backdrop of earthenware. As Fang turned to confirm her suspicions, a hard bump against her side almost sent her stumbling into the stand opposite, lance and pack included. A hard twist of her feet got her back her balance though, and it was with a slightly bemused expression that Fang stared down at the two-legged creature on the ground. That combination of fur, feathers, and rotund backside was familiar, too.

    "Denby?" Fang crouched, blowing out a gentle laugh as she rapped her knuckles against the pot's upturned bottom. "I know you take protecting your mistress real serious and all, but I don't think you're gonna find any enemies in there."
     
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  3. Amy Wellard

    Amy Wellard Shardlight

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    Denby twitched slightly as Fang tapped on the pot on his head. The voice connected to the person making the loud noise was familiar, so Denby gave another sad "pweh." Fortunately for him, there was a solution he was built to have.

    As Amy started to pull away from the earthenware stand, she noticed someone absent. Denby rarely left even when she wasn't paying attention. He was usually too busy looking out for danger, so it was surprising and pretty worrying to notice that he was gone.

    She quickly scanned the area, eyes landing on a familiar lance and l'cie attached to it. Before she could greet Fang, though, her gaze followed Fang's, and she saw her pet in his little predicament. The problem was, it didn't have to be little.

    With a quick sprint over to his side, she immediately worked to take the pot off, which was fortunate, as he had already started to grow in size in the hopes of getting himself out. A few more seconds and she'd be owing the woman behind the stand for some broken clay.

    Sighing, she placed the pot back on the ground and glanced up at Fang. "Hey," she greeted, "good to see you."
     
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  4. Oerba Yun Fang

    Oerba Yun Fang Final Fantasy

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    Fang's mirth faded somewhat as the parts of Denby that were still visible started to swell. If he really meant to break free, then the people around them could expect a sudden shower of clay shrapnel. The brand on her upper arm lit up in tones of icy blue, Fang readying herself to throw a protective barrier around the owlbear.

    Fortunately, his mistress saved them both. The offending pot touched the ground with a hard thunk, harmless, and Fang's smile returned. She rose to her feet, hauling her sack back over her shoulder, her other hand resting casually on her hip.

    "Good to see you, too! Shopping for... jars, are we?" Fang's gaze darted past Amy's head. The woman behind the stand looked none too impressed by Denby's close call.
     
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  5. Amy Wellard

    Amy Wellard Shardlight

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    There was a brief moment shared by owlbear and owner after Amy greeted Fang. Amy stared down at Denby, silently telling him that she wasn't happy with him, and Denby quickly shrunk under her gaze, literally and figuratively.

    Once that was over, she was back to smiling and shrugging at Fang. "Mostly just looking out of boredom," she said, glossing over most of the actual emotions that brought her outside, "I had a friend back in my world that sold stuff like these, so I was just lost in thought."

    As they spoke, Denby walked over to the pot that was now sitting, defenseless. He sniffed it a few times, as if expecting it to move once he did. After giving it a few seconds, he started poking it experimentally, getting progressively rougher with each touch.
     
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  6. Oerba Yun Fang

    Oerba Yun Fang Final Fantasy

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    There might have been a hint of something more than just boredom in how Amy answered. Fang wasn't sure. The hunter in her almost wanted to try and pursue it.

    Mention of Amy's friend drew a nod from the l'Cie, though. She wasn't surprised to hear that the blonde mechanic had known someone with a knack for pottery. People who were good with their hands did seem to stick together.

    "Yeah? Close in style, too?" Fang glanced back at the pots with renewed interest. "My village had a few potters. The stuff they worked on actually looked pretty similar to this. Same choice of colors... though the shape was a little different. I remember the village chief had one in his house as tall as he was; one of the other kids dared me to climb inside it, so I-"

    Fang cut herself off, one eyebrow lifting as she tilted her head at what was going on behind Amy. The stand owner, having spotted Denby's mistreatment of her wares, was now coming around to the street side of the market to stop him. There was a scowl on her face and the way she reached out for the owlbear was more than a little aggressive.
     
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  7. Amy Wellard

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    "His work was more practical," Amy answered, "bowls, cups, that sort of stuff." It wasn't surprising. The only people who needed stuff for their aesthetics weren't going to be buying from some guy in an alley, and Clem didn't have anything to paint them with, so he was stick with utilitarian over attractive.

    Just from the beginning of Fang's story, Amy knew it would end with some pretty good shenanigans. One thing she knew about Fang was that she was pretty adventurous, so she didn't doubt that she'd jumped right in. How she got out was the question Amy was curious about.

    However, that wasn't going to be resolved, it seemed, since Fang quickly cut herself off, and Amy finally noticed the soft 'thunk's of Denby smacking the pot. Without thinking, she quickly stooped over and took the pot away, chiding him with a soft, but annoyed, "Denby!"

    Once the potter got close enough, Amy simply handed the pot over with a genuine, "sorry about him." Startled by the interception, the woman blinked and stepped back a bit. Oblivious, Amy then pushed on Denby until he moved away from the stall, protesting slightly but complying.
     
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  8. Oerba Yun Fang

    Oerba Yun Fang Final Fantasy

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    The owner watched them leave, still with a confused furrow on her brow as she cradled her pot. She made as if to follow; for a moment it looked like the woman was going to give Amy a stern word or two about keeping her weird-looking pet in line.

    Then Fang stepped up to rejoin them. The woman's gaze fell onto the red lance, then dipped lower to the large claw-shaped scars curled around the considerable muscle of Fang's arm. The woman paused mid-stride. Then she shook her head and eased backwards behind the safety of her stand.

    Fang's smile widened a perceptible fraction of an inch. She leaned over a little bit to stare down at Denby, hand on her hip in a posture of mock disapproval. Not that she thought the owlbear cared what she thought, but maybe it would help drive the message home that he was bringing shame to his dear mistress.

    "He's kind of a handful, huh? Reminds me of the gorgonopsids some Oerban hunters kept around—real smart and real loyal if you raised them up from pups. But if you weren't on the hunt, you had to figure out how to keep 'em entertained, otherwise they'd entertain themselves."
     
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  9. Amy Wellard

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    Amy watched the potter's intent to have a word with her with discomfort. Sure, she understood that it made sense for her to get in trouble because of Denby almost breaking her wares, but after being arrested for being connected to the wrong people, it was hard to be very comfortable with the idea.

    Fortunately for her, Fang was enough to deter her, so she was able to focus more on Denby and his shenanigans. He looked between the two women who seemed displeased with him, and tried to stare up at them pleadingly. Expecting Amy to back down, he was surprised when she shook her head.

    "Don't think you're getting out of this," she chastised, "you're not supposed to be breaking things that belong to other people." Despite the adorable noise he let out, Amy wasn't swayed, adding, "you are so grounded."

    Fang at least was able to bring some levity back. Whatever gorgonospids were, they didn't sound like anything she wanted to be around. "I guess I need to start bringing toys with me," she muttered, "if that's what it takes to keep him from messing with displays."
     
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  10. Oerba Yun Fang

    Oerba Yun Fang Final Fantasy

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    It was good that the cute sounds Denby made didn't sway Amy an inch. When it came to animal companions, even magic-mechanical ones, you always had to make sure you and your partner understood who came first in the pecking order. Anything else was asking for trouble.

    "Now there's an idea," Fang laughed. "He'd probably enjoy a stuffed animal. The ones that kids carry around, y'know? Or... well, I guess that beak of his would make pretty short work of it."

    The shoulder that wasn't weighed down by Fang's bag rose up in a shrug. "Maybe he just needs a leash or something, keep him from wandering away and seeing who he can piss off when your back's turned. It'd have to be made of some really stretchy material, though, otherwise if he has to, uh, go attack size..."

    Fang trailed off, eyeing Denby thoughtfully while she considered the logistics. "Your friend, the one who made him—think she'd have any ideas?"
     
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  11. Amy Wellard

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    Just picturing Denby playing with some stuffed animal caused Amy to snort softly and chuckle. That sounded simultaneously adorable, and likely to backfire immediately. Fang seemed to realize that too, so switched ideas to a leash.

    "He doesn't tend to wander off," she said, "not unless he gets stuck in something, apparently." How he even got stuck in the pot was a question for another time. Unless something else jumped in, she couldn't see a reason for him to go in himself.

    When Fang asked about Cagliostro, Amy couldn't help but wince. Shaking her head, she said, "no... well, she might but... she was sent back a while ago. She was the first person I met here, and now it just feels... I don't know, just too big."
     
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  12. Oerba Yun Fang

    Oerba Yun Fang Final Fantasy

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    Oh. Well, that was pretty unfortunate. Fang shifted awkwardly, now wishing she hadn't voiced that particular suggestion. There was no way she could've known that Denby's creator was... wasn't around anymore, but she still felt awful for bringing it up. For putting that look on Amy's face, at least in part.

    She knew what Amy meant for a place to feel too big. Too wide, too empty, too uncaring to notice the absence of people who were supposed to be there. It had been like that when Fang first woke up on Cocoon with Vanille and realized they were in the enemy's nest. The only two Gran Pulsians on the literal entire planet, with no idea how they were supposed to get back home.

    "Sorry to hear that," Fang said, and she meant it.

    The hunter's gaze dipped briefly to the ground, Fang frowning at herself. What Amy needed was a friend, someone to remind her that she wasn't alone. Even back then for Fang, she'd had Vanille by her side. And right now, Amy still had Denby. Thing was, Amy had Fang, too.

    Fang put the smile back onto her face.

    "I was gonna go drop off these pelts at the tanner's," she tilted her head at the sack over her shoulder, "but before that, somebody over there's selling something that smells pretty damn delicious. Join me for a bite, yeah? My treat."

    It was almost more of a command than an offer.
     
    #12 Oerba Yun Fang, Mar 24, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018
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  13. Amy Wellard

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    For all of his mischievous antics, as soon as Denby noticed the look on Amy's face, he waddled closer, bumping his head against her leg. Once he had her attention, he started rubbing his head against her leg, just to show that she wasn't alone.

    His actions, along with Fang's kind words, brought a small smile to her face. Just because Cagliostro had been sent back, that didn't mean she was completely alone. Sure, it was a little hard to just lose someone who was basically the only reason she was still alive, but she had to keep moving forwards.

    Before she knew what was happening, Fang offered to get her some lunch. Amy blinked and stared at Fang for a few seconds. "Oh, you don't, I mean, if you... that's," she stuttered, caught off guard too much before shaking her head to get back on track.

    "That sounds great," she said. Some time spent with a friend and getting a bite to eat? No reason to refuse, right?
     
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  14. Oerba Yun Fang

    Oerba Yun Fang Final Fantasy

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    "Great," Fang echoed. A pleased and mischievous twinkle in her eye, the l'Cie turned on her heel and beckoned her friends onward with a wave of her hand.

    The stand that had grabbed her nose's attention was at the end of the street, planted right on the corner. Good thing; the place was apparently very popular. A small crowd mingled nearby, trading chatter between bites of spiced meat wraps. Fang eyed the food with open jealousy as they waited their turn in line. This close, the heavy aroma and thick sizzle of meat was practically torture.

    Some minutes later—though in Fang's hunger it seemed more like halfway to forever—they'd secured their own lunch and found a couple of untended crates to rest their rears on while they ate. Fang plunked her sack of pelts below her feet, then crossed one leg over the other before she took her first bite.

    Gods. "... Mworth muh mwait," she assessed. Fang hurriedly finished chewing and swallowed, savoring the sting of spice on her taste buds. "Worth the wait! Not enough salt, though... there never is. Good thing I carry my own. Here."

    Fang pulled a small leather pouch from her belt and shook it in Amy's direction.
     
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  15. Amy Wellard

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    And there was that twinkle in her eye again. Amy felt like she had just agreed to way more than she meant to whenever she saw that expression. Still, she doubted it'd be as bad as her usual brand of 'more than I meant to.' At least Fang wasn't about to ask her to try to pull off some corporate espionage without even a plan. Their plan would be to just storm in and take the medicine.

    She had to applaud the efficiency if nothing else.

    Unlike Fang, she was perfectly fine waiting for the food. Mostly because her attention was on Denby, who was preening his feathers. It was always interesting to watch him do things like a living animal, despite being a robot.

    Eventually, her little show was put on hold in favor of food. There was nothing Amy had eaten in Pandora that she compared unfavorably to what she had eaten back home. She barely even waited to sit before digging into her meal.

    She slowed to a stop when Fang started complimenting it, then offering her some salt to make it even better. "You... carry salt around?" she asked, amused. Whatever the response, she accepted the salt offered to her.
     
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  16. Oerba Yun Fang

    Oerba Yun Fang Final Fantasy

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    Fang had taken another monstrous bite and couldn't respond with words. She settled for a sharp nod in the interim. Once she'd swallowed and ran her tongue over her teeth to make sure no meat got stuck in them, Fang gestured to the pouch.

    "Sure do. Practically a necessity. Sure, the food around here's not bad—and what we've got in Horizon's loads better than whatever they sell in Pandora Town—but it's never salty enough. If you tried to feed this to the elders in Oerba, they'd have you busy for the next week with lessons on culinary tradition."

    Fang made another gesture. If Amy was done with the salt, whether she'd used some or not, Fang wanted the pouch back for her turn.
     
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  17. Amy Wellard

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    Amy chuckled under her breath as her friend took a huge bite out of her food. Somehow, she had even less manners than Denby (the human, not the magical-robot). It was something she never expected to see.

    She lightly salted her meat as Fang described the importance of salt in her home. "Salt wasn't too hard to come by where I'm from," she said, "we had a whole field of it not too far outside of town. A friend of mine pointed me to it so I could help with this whole, long chain of favors that I doubt you want to hear all of." Fang didn't seem the type to be interested in hearing how Amy had to make a filter for a gas-mask.

    Quickly, she handed over the satchel, it barely losing any weight given how little she took from it. Denby shifted slightly against her leg as he waited for the two to finish eating. One upside of having a robot for a pet was that he didn't really need food, so she didn't have to worry about him being obnoxious about her lunch.
     
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  18. Oerba Yun Fang

    Oerba Yun Fang Final Fantasy

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    Taking the pouch back, Fang hefted it in her hand, eyes scrolling over Amy's meat wrap as she did so. For the briefest of moments it looked like Fang was about to try scolding Amy into salting it up properly, but let the idea go. Instead she took a generous pinch of salt and dashed it over her food... and then another pinch, and another. By the time Fang was satisfied, the amount of white dotting the meat made it look like one of those sugar-sprinkled doughnuts from Pandora Town's bakeries.

    She took another bite. Immediate bliss spread over her face. If not for the noise of the markets around them, the quiet moan she made might've been audible.

    What Fang always neglected to mention was that her love of salt was unusual even by Oerban standards.

    "We traded for most of ours," she said once she'd chewed and swallowed. "The taste varied a bit depending on where the salt came from. Paddran salt was alright; that was the most common. The stuff from Mah'habara had a pinkish color to it, but it was harder to get on account of all the monsters prowling around. Salt from the Tsumitran traders was probably the best in terms of flavor..."

    A beat of silence fell between them. Then Fang blinked, a crooked smile latching onto her lips "But... you're probably not interested in listening to me go on about salt, huh? What about that chain of favors you mentioned? What's that about?"
     
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  19. Amy Wellard

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    Amy pretty much missed Fang's look of disapproval, too distracted by Denby rubbing his head against her leg. It was pretty clear to her that he was trying to butter her up after the whole situation was over, so that he wouldn't get in trouble. Boy, was he in for a surprise when they got back home.

    She continued to eat her treat, listening to Fang with interest. While the salt itself wasn't interesting, she couldn't help but be intrigued by all of the different places that she was bringing up. Fang's world sounded so foreign to her own that she was curious about all of it. What was it that made the salt pink? What kind of people lived in the other places?

    That was derailed pretty quickly when Fang asked about what she had to do with the salt. While that part of her experience with the Resistance wasn't too bad, she still wasn't too excited to repeat everything that happened.

    Especially when it led to the bloodshed she had been pulled from.

    Still, she didn't feel very comfortable just telling Fang not to worry about it or anything like that. After some thought, she decided to just explain some of what happened.

    "Well, I had basically joined a resistance movement by accident," she started, "and it turned out that a few of my friends were part of it, and had been supplying them. Food, whatever they could scavenge. Both of them hadn't been able to, though. I basically had to solve the problem of a farm without any feed for the animals and finding some way for my other friend to keep his daughter from getting sick, so I had to make her a gas-mask."
     
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  20. Oerba Yun Fang

    Oerba Yun Fang Final Fantasy

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    Fang cocked her head, her chewing slowing some as Amy explained. A resistance movement wasn't at all what she'd expected to hear about, but Fang could sort of see Amy doing something like that. It made a good explanation for the blonde's skill with a crossbow, and why she didn't opt for merely cowering when it came to adrenaline-fueled situations like a gang of blood-thirsty raiders dropping into the middle of the Watering Hole. And there was surely plenty of use a mechanic could have between skirmishes, too.

    Fang took a moment to suck up a dribble of sauce that had been trying to escape her wrap. Licking her lips with satisfaction, Fang nodded at Amy, her eyes sharp with interest.

    "Well, that doesn't sound too bad. Just means you're good at finding things other people want. That's its own special kind of luck, yeah? But back up a minute—what's this about a resistance movement? What were you resisting? And how the hell'd you manage to join up on accident?" Fang's grin grew. "Now that sounds like a story."
     
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