Soltana was in the main living room with the Gobs and Goblins. L’yophin was grumping in his couch, with the red-headed goblin sitting in a chair nearby, wearing equal parts silk robe and concern. The other Goblin child was sitting next to her, cuddling close. The Gobs had made a pig pile around the red-headed one, smelling the fragrant soaps she washed in.
“She used my soaps! Expensive. They were for guests!”
“L’yophin, is she not a guest?”
“Not that kind of guest!”
“The special kind of guest!”
L’yophin said as he lit his pipe and began smoking, a plume started forming. His brows were furrowed over the misuse of his luxury items.
“You mean a female? A mate?” Soltana guessed.
L’yophin expressed an emotion Soltana hadn’t seen before.
A flustered and embarrassed spider.
He coughed up smoke, his red eyes straining as he tried to recover.
“Were these things to attract a female?” Soltana asked.
L’yophin nodded at that.
“Why aren’t they showing up? I’d expect a line to the front gate by now.”
“Thank you. Haven’t found her yet.”
“It might be because you’re so isolated.”
“No. Because I am small.”
“I am tiny for a Dugrum. Dwarf Dugrum. Females prefer larger males.”
“One reason I was a good emissary.”
“Emissary? For when your race met humanity?” Soltan asked, curious about his past while also trying to cheer the Dugrum up.
“Correct. Dugrum are good with languages. It is how we speak to each other. Glossolalia, what you speak, is very difficult, but good opportunity to practice.”
“Glossolalia…” Soltana murmured.
She had never thought about what language she was speaking even once during her discovery by L’yophin.
“How many languages are there?”
L’yophin let out a chittering laugh, smoke pouring from his mandibled mouth as he forgot the red-headed Goblin’s trespass for the moment.
“Countless. The main languages are Mesothallia, the language of the Scarabaeidae- or was.”
L’yophin looked sad for a brief second before continuing.
“Glossolalia was the next, Heaven’s Tongue. This is the most common of languages.”
He puffed a billow of smoke from his pipe, gazing up at the cloud. He snapped his eyes back to Soltana.
“There are other languages but are minor in comparison. Most know Glossolalia by default. Many are multilingual, such as the Fae. Demihumans, like the Hogboon we met, have their own language. The Gobs, obviously.”
The gobs all perked up and gibbered sleepily.
“Thank you for describing that. I had no idea. What language I was speaking was lightyears from my mind.”
“But I am sorry you are having romantic trouble. You will find a mate that will love your helpful and compact demeanor.”
L’yophin let out a laugh at that.
“You are terrible at helping on this issue! But thank you.”
“Now, the issue at hand,” L’yophin began.
He puffed a plume of smoke in the guilty Goblin’s directions. The red-headed goblin let out a whine as she tried to burrow deeper into the gob pig pile. The other Goblin began patting her.
L’yophin sighed at that.
“She didn’t know. She just changed and woke up, looking for clothes,” Soltana began.
L’yophin stretched his eight limbs and leaned back, puffing more smoke from his pipe.
“This was bound to happen when we left. I was hoping they’d stay asleep until we returned.”
“So there are no hard regrets.”
Soltana figured his emotions were not as much on the Goblin using his good soap, but because he was saving it for a mate. And because no female Dugrum was interested, it triggered him doubly.
She liked it was easy to figure this out.
She disliked that the resolution was difficult.
“Then It might be best to prepare,” Soltana began.
L’yophin cocked his head, his eyes blinking in a wave at her.
“Well, we have eight more Gobs and they may change tonight, or tomorrow.”
“And they may be able to help around the estate.”
L’yophin nodded at that.
“And allow us to travel to the closest Hive. Hive Vulnerado.”
“Allow you to purchase your limpid steel and Chrysalize.”
“And then continue the next part of my calling. Finding that Seal holder.”
The red-headed Goblin perked up at that.
“You said they would find you?” L’yophin asked.
“Yes, I believe we won’t have to search far. We were also to meet two other Seal holders. That might mean leaving the Underrealm.”
L’yophin wilted at that, his eyes looking sad.
He looked back at the gobs and goblins, then back to Soltana.
“We should get the Gobs some food.”
He snuffed the pipe and skittered out of the living room and into the kitchen. Soltana trundled after, seeing the large kitchen was arrayed with homemade dishes, hung pots and pans around a large U-shaped island. Cabinets counters and drawers lined the walls, making it a comfy kitchen. The cornerstone fireplace nearby was cold and awaiting good kindling. L’yophin grabbed dried mushroom wood creating a neat pile before lighting it. The wood burned quickly, the fireplace came to life, and the cooking began. L’yophin deftly worked, raiding the pantry for tubers, jars of Dekapillar dew, seasonings, wild plants, and fruits. L’yophin became a cutting whirlwind, using six arms to chop and dice the ingredients with his sharpened scrap knives.
Soltana noticed most of the metal seemed to be made of the same colored scrap metal.
“L’yophin, why is all the metal in your home the same type of scrap?”
“Hive ship. This is what’s left of the failed ones. Taken apart, used as materials, and traded away,” He replied, finishing the last tuber.
He opened a cabinet, grabbed a large pot and dumped the ingredients in. The fire was stoked and ready to cook. With a pot of water, the soup mixture was ready for boiling. If Soltana could smell, the room would be of filled with the sugary smell of dew, the sweet earthy tubers, the spice of seasonings and wild plants, and a fruity after scent.
The kitchen was suddenly packed with gobs and goblins, eyeing the large pot. L’yophin was worrying over the pot, making sure to keep stirring. The steam and smell spilled throughout the house, filling it with a rich fragrance.
“Mister L’yophin, where are the dishes?” The red-headed goblin spoke gingerly, still sorry about the bath.
“Mm. Over there,” L’yophin said as he pointed to a row of cabinets.
The goblin walked over, her white silk robe flowing.
“Set up in the dining room, right over there,” L’yophin added.
The male goblin herded the gobs into the dining area, where it was enough to seat at least twenty. There Soltana helped direct them in finding cushions to boost their cup seats meant for other Dugrum. The Gobs all gibbered with excitement, with the two Goblins waiting patiently for L’yophin to arrive.
They had pulled back a chair, allowing Soltana to stand at the table, slightly crouched down.
She pivoted, turning to address the goblins.
“Little Goblins, what are your names?
The male one thought for a moment.
“Dirk!” He blurted out.
Soltana nodded internally at that with a flash of her eyes.
“And what is yours, little one?”
“Quill,” She stated without reservation.
The red-headed goblin flashed her teeth and clicked them down with a smiling snap.
“Miss Soltana, what are you? You’re not a Goblin or a Dugrum,” Quill asked.
“That is a thoughtful question. I am a Lambent. I dreamed of my creators and discovered I am part human, part angel, and part anform.”
The Goblins eyes went wide at hearing that, then they narrowed.
“What are those?” She asked, not know what any of that was.
“A human is tall, fair skinned from those that I’ve seen, very intelligent and industrious. They are very static in their biology compared to you. Once a human always a human, they don’t change as goblins do.”
She furrowed her brows, trying to imagine what it was like.
“An angel is a creature of heaven, created by Adonai to serve. They are usually large, mysterious, and beautiful or bizarre in appearance beyond words.”
“Like Diniel?” Dirk asked excitedly.
“I am not sure what he looks like. But yes, exactly like him, except they all look unique.”
Quill nodded her head at that.
“And finally anforms. They were created by humanity like Adonai created angels. At first, it was to serve, but then anforms became as equals. They are made of metal, biocircuitry, quantum technology, and tachodine nacelles. In my case, there is more to that, which I am unsure of just yet.”
“So you’re all three. Like a Trow!” Dirk replied.
L’yophin entered with the large pot of stew and began pouring it, starting with the noisy Gobs, then working his way to the more patient Goblins.
“Like a Trow?” Soltana repeated, slightly confused.
“A Trow is a Gob, a Goblin, and a Trow!”
“I want to be a big Trow when I change,” Dirk derailed the subject, punching at the air.
“You would want to be a Trow,” Quill shot snidely.
“Uh, yeah, I would. I just said that!” Dirk shot back with a look of confusion.
“Me? I want to be more refined. A hogboon!” Quill stated with a sigh.
Quill looked down at the steaming stew and began to chow down. L’yophin had finished serving everyone and seated himself, nursing the steaming stew.
Soltana pivoted to address the Dugrum.
“L’yophin, what is the plan for traveling to Hive Vulnerado?”
“We gather goods we need to trade. Some of your parts, if you are fine with that.”
“I am, use what is needed.”
“Mm. We then will need to travel to Vulnerado. Long trip, Can be dangerous.”
“Is it just the Trows?”
“No. Other creatures in Underrealm. Some friendly, others not. Daer-seehn. Terrible.”
“A massive predator. Hunts. Fun and food. Cruel. Looks like Scarabaeidae. Might be Scarabaeidae.”
“And we need to meet that Angel, Diniel!” Soltana replied excitedly.
“Mm. Never met him. Heard stories. Preferred isolation.” L’yophin replied with a grunt.
“What do we need to do?” Soltana asked, her eyes flashing.
“We wait. Wait for Gobs to change, and to train Goblins.”
“Train? To do what?” Quill asked.
“To upkeep the estate!” L’yophin said with a spidery smile.
Much grumbling was heard at the table.