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Hunter-Gatherer [Quest: Nanezgani]

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Hunter-Gatherer [Quest: Nanezgani] Empty Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:50 am

After his embarrassing foray with Ms. Nightless, Booker Nanezgani had decided to move on quickly to a task much more suited to his personal tastes. While the client didn’t have quite the name or prestige he was hoping to bond with, Dr. Stephan Nabuz was still a name worth knowing, and a journey in the woods was far from the worst mission to take.

The solitude of the evening forest, earthy terrain and intersecting roots weren’t what was so appealing to Booker. However, they certainly put Snowy more at ease than a night on the town. No, it was the variety of animals flitting and scurrying about in the woods. From woodland creatures to roaming monsters, they were all at least fascinating.

Had he the time, Booker would have considered seeking out a replacement for Snowy right then and there. An animal more worthy of his eventual status and great ambition could suit him. Maybe even some sort of steed, something to give him a higher perspective on the world. But, for that evening at least, there was a mission to complete, as menial as it might have seemed, Booker had already promised results, and would be damned if he was going to have two consecutive failures in his story.

The fungus he was searching for wasn’t any he’d heard of before, but a trip to recently befriended botanist cleared up any confusion about his target. Plenty of mushrooms were sporadically sprouting across the dirt, occasionally forcing Booker to make sure Snowy wasn’t going to go off eating any of them randomly.

His snow vulpix was getting much more responsive towards Booker’s commands, but, still, there was a struggle in getting her to act exactly as he ordered. She could be caught wandering off, investigating the pant legs of strangers, or other such antics. For a beast in battle, the behavior was unacceptable, but even with Booker’s history with animals, this one was particularly difficult to train.

Perhaps he needed to do some research on this particular species? Or maybe the issue simply required the counsel of a more experienced beastmaster somewhere in Oak Town, or even better, in Phantom Lord. Outside of that, he was struggling to find benefit to having joined the guild, which was disappointing considering how much of a sacrifice he’d made to join up with them.

Booker Nanezgani stopped dead in the forest. Did he just hear footsteps? No, that wasn’t the gait of a man, it was a quadruped, something less than human was nearby. Snowy hadn’t caught on to the presence, and forced Booker to drop down, silently stilling the animal with a heavy hand on its back.  

Crossed in front of them was the creature in question. It wasn’t exactly a magical beast, nor did it look like it was natural to the forest. A mangy mutt, scrawny and foraging for food, the dog was big certainly, but didn’t seem like much of a problem, so long as it didn’t take notice of Booker and Snowy.

But, the animal at Booker’s side didn’t see a predator. It simply saw a canine companion, and gave a soft bark of acknowledgment. The mutt noticed the two, and put on a frightening expression. It wasn’t looking to make friends like Snowy.

The wizard couldn’t believe it. His companion wasn’t only foolish enough to miss the presence of a fellow beast, but was so stupid as to freely offer up its position to the animal! What a fool! For the first time, Booker seriously considered substituting Snowy for just about anything else on four legs. Even that mutt might do well, if it wasn’t eyeing Booker like a steaming entree.

Mutt was only staring down the pair for now, slowly deleting the gap between it and his targets. Booker could tell by its eyeline that Snowy was the thing’s primary target. That was sensible enough, a desperate predator would surely target the weaker looking of the two possible snacks before him. And, Booker might’ve even offered Snowy up as a chance to get away, but for now, this animal was his companion, a part of his team for better and for worse.

Neither would be this pooch’s snack.

Before any offense could be pulled off, the dog’s desperation took charge, pouncing forward towards the pair, fangs and drool flinging about.

“Loose Globe!” Booker cast his Bubble Magic, summoning forth a magically reinforced defense to stop the dog’s jaws. Meager and hungry, the dog was unable to pierce through the bubble when it first bit down in surprise, providing the pair with their chance for escape.

Icy Wind, now!” the command was barked, and Snowy’s response came thankfully quick, firing off a continuous beam of Frost Magic. Following the point of Booker’s fingers, the beam was targeted at not the dog, but the bubble itself. Upon contact, the magic froze the bubble solid, removing the defensive enchantment meant for the water. At its removal, the dog was easily able to crush the frail globe of ice, shattering it into a dozen or so razor sharp shards that cut and sliced his jaw as it slammed shut.

Blood replaced slobber and the dog began to whimper instead of growl, clearly hurting deeply from the pain. The dog may have been trying to attack them, but, it was only looking out for its own survival, there was no reason to attack it more, as long as it learned its place on the food chain.

Again, while the animal was clumsy out of battle, Snowy was clever in a pinch. Not just any animal could’ve followed that exact command so accurately.

Following the confrontation, the two resumed their quest, and it didn’t take long for Snowy to find the mushrooms at the base of a grand tree at the edge of a clearing. It took some convincing and a bit of instructive kicking, but Nanezgani was able pick the mushrooms for himself, happy to have the night be over.

Booker was still left debating the worth of the clumsy, foolish animal at his side, but, for now at least, it didn’t seem like there was much of a reason to get rid of the little guy, even if he was stuck with a stupid little name.

Dr. Mabuz was satisfied with the results, as they turned out to find the right mushrooms. But, it turned out Booker wasn’t able to cultivate much of a relationship with the guy at all. The doctor exchanged the goods for the reward and simply went back to his work, hardly even taking note of Booker’s name. Perhaps it would take another mission with the guy to get him to take notice? After all, it never hurt too much to have such a creepy guy on your side.

Even if he was a little rough around the edges.

WC: 1143 / 1000

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