The Book of Soltana: Toil – 4

More of our spidery friend. Enjoy. – Bladed Pen

Underrealm

L’yophin

L’yophin trusted his instinct that Soltana was alright. The nacelle was still a healthy blue. All he could do was wait and hope she would power up again. It took some time before she powered up. It might be sooner with the new nacelle or whatever had happened. Or longer. This was a good time to check the estate and make sure everything was in order.

L’yophin had placed her back on the trophy pedestal. There she would wait until he returned from his chores.

L’yophin exited his home, the door closing with a screech of metal. He’d need to oil that. His first stop was the ranch. He needed to check on the dekapillars. He went to the scrapyard shed and got his cart and tools. He wheeled out to the ranch. His shed was full of tools, parts, and feed. He traveled from off the main road away from the silk mansion. The violet mushrooms were quietly watching, bathing the road in purple light. Down the rocky hill, he spotted them. He had a good herd of sixteen dekapillars. They resembled enormous caterpillars, each one was different. L’yophin approached the herd, and they started to scoot towards him. While they ate the moss, they also enjoyed the white leaves he harvested from the spuds he planted. They all gathered around in an orderly fashion, the first he fed was colored in a ring stripe of white, black and red. Its two dome eyes peering at L’yophin. After he fed the first, L’yophin grabbed a bucket and tapped on the rear of the dekapillar. It emitted a clear dew from its rear end that the spider then collected in a bucket. He continued feeding and milking the dekapillars until all sixteen were finished. This was a defense mechanism where if threatened, would drop a sphere of the clear nectar dew, which would distract a predator and hopefully sate it, as opposed to being completely devoured. It tasted like honey and was incredibly dense in nutrients. A dekapillar would eventually reach critical food mass and metamorphosis into either a Rhomoth or Betafly. However, emitting the dew would prevent that.

L’yophin finished stacking the buckets of dew in the cart, wiping his brow from the effort. It would all be worth it seeing a dekapillar metamorphose. He went on his way and continued to a large pen area. To feed his beauty, ‘Phela’. It was a much larger Dekapillar and very wooly. It was covered in silky grey silver hairs from head to rear. It scooted across the ground ponderously to L’yophin. He placed four buckets of dew and let her feed on that. Phela was getting ready to metamorphosis, and L’yophin was excited over this process. He had no idea what type of creature it would change into; he hoped for a Betafly.

Phela finished feeding, with L’yophin stroking the soft fur. One could sheer the dekapillar and use it to make fine cloth, but L’yophin didn’t want to affect its stage; it would emit dew when trimmed, which would set it back. There were several light green creatures roaming around the pen.

Gobs.

L’yophin’s brow furrowed and his eyes half closed. They were annoying pests that were difficult to deal with. They traveled in packs and ate the garden and bothered the dekapillars. He would just give them a good thumping to scare them off. One had gotten too close to Phela and L’yophin hopped the fence, skittering in between them.

The gob looked tiny and pudgy, its arms and legs were tiny and fat. And green. The hands and feet had four jelly bean digits. It had no definable neck. Its face had two shiny black beady eyes, a large mouth with two stubby tusks from the lower mouth and tiny triangular ears. Its single brow gave it the look of perpetual blank stupidity.

L’yophin rushed at it as the gob simply stared at him, giving the gob a swift kick over the fence. It made a croaking squeak as it sailed over to the moss. The other gobs got the message and scurried under the fence.

L’yophin saw the flying gob tumble end over end on the soft moss, lying on its back for a minute as the others ran over to it. It wiggled to its feet, looking back at L’yophin before it scurried away with the others. They could spook the Dekapillars and steal their nectar dew. They’d also get into the garden from time to time. He wished he had a guard to look out for the gobs. The sticky silk outer fence usually kept them out. He would search and round them up, but for now, he’d continue his chores.

He continued to work the ranch, chasing gobs way, setting up new glowshrooms. He made doubly sure his dekapillars were alright and returned home to finish with checking the garden for sprouts. He stopped and stared at the vast space of the underground cavern. He could only see for a couple of miles before the light faded out to the black of the cavern. It was beginning to get ‘dark’. Dark in that the glowshrooms changed to a blue glow. L’yophin didn’t know why they did that, it was simply one of the many mysteries of the Underrealm. He was sitting on the highest hill on his homestead, contemplating his newest find. The green moss was soft on his furry carapace. He had a long pipe and was smoking his finest stuckle weed. He felt led to find it.

To find it? L’yophin thought as he blew smoke rings.

To find her, He corrected himself.

He had no idea what she was. What she used to be, as only her head told the partial tale. He also had little idea why he was helping her. He knew it felt like the right thing to do. The moment she spoke…

It struck a chord with him and lit a fire that his mining and tinkering hobby all prepared him for. Even now, he would sacrifice his treasure horde to help. It felt like a command,

“Fix her.”

How?

He was good with tinkering, but fixing her would be a task better left to inventors and engineers or technicians. Or her own kind, whatever she was. L’yophin thought her a lost Anform, but he had his suspicions that this wasn’t completely correct. He looked into her eyes and saw something else, something that set her apart from Anforms. She was exquisitely crafted of adamantite, making her immediately a Legendary grade item, AI, or persons. Items were categorized, as everything was known after Megiddo. The greatest items were of Artifact quality. The classification would go further with Legendary, items made of mythical metals that one could not normally make. To even melt adamantite, one would first need a dwarf star built into a forge. They would then a hundred years for the adamantite ore to fully smelt. Adamantite was heavy, dense, and the strongest heatsink in the existence. And also largely indestructible. Armor only needed to be a molecule thick. Larger weapons that emitted heat would need only a diode of adamantite to fully cool. The item classification went further, but it became ridiculous to even discuss at that point. When you have an item above Legendary made of an abstract, the sane mind would inevitably start to break down. To find someone or something made of the adamantite was nigh impossible, but this time it happened. He had found her due to his sensor equipment. He thought he had hit an adamantite vein. Although he wouldn’t even know how to harvest it. His thought process was that maybe some crumbs or chips would be present. Even the dust was valuable.

L’yophin saw the glow worms start to wake as the cavern ceiling became bright with small dots of white. They only woke at certain periods, so L’yophin called this time twilight when everything woke. It reminded him of the outside…

This was the part he waited for when the glowshrooms fully woke, they began a siren call to one another, filling the cavern with soft musical tunes. It was a glowshrooms way of reproduction to spread them out far and wide. They would sing to find the direction of their neighbor, they would then produce spores in the opposite direction or as best as they could. It was reproduction by budding with assisted echolocation. To L’yophin, all he cared about was the song they produced. It was strange in melody as if they all knew what to sing. It always changed, like the wind. If it weren’t for the slight breeze of the Underrealm, the spores would simply drop where they shed. L’yophins fur was gently rustled by the breeze, it was as subtle as a breath. He felt it was time to head inside as the pipe went out. He skittered to the estate and made his way inside, the estate was quiet as ever, with the automata head as her only guest. He made his way to the aerary where he had deposited Soltana. Something was different, apart from the new pack.

“L’yophin! I remember,” Was all she said.

“Who I am. My creator!” Soltana explained vaguely.

“Speak?” L’yophin asked.

Soltana explained what had transpired.

>>> The Book of Soltana: Song – 5

<<< The Book of Soltana: Chassising – 3

The Book of Soltana Glossary

3 thoughts on “The Book of Soltana: Toil – 4

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