Down in the Underground
Down in the Underground
He could hardly wait to see her face when she saw their new home. It had taken a few weeks of work, from mapping out the area, to finding a place that would allow adequate light from above to trail in.
But it was done.
Their ceremony had been a fast affair, all too eager to finally seal the deal as it were.
Andrea’s hand was held securely in his as he lead her down. Once they had gotten closer he had her close her eyes.
“You’re not peeking, right?”
“Robbie! Come now, you trust me right?”
Robert chuckled, squeezing her hand.
“I trust you. I don’t trust Sebastian.”
“WELL, NOW I’M WOUNDED!” His voice echoed from the shadows. Robert and Andrea laughed.
Robert fell quiet, leading her along until he arrived at their destination.
Andrea opened her eyes, a surprised look coming to them. It was a base like nothing she had ever seen before.
In the center was a house that resembled the one she had above ground. She could see light flowers curling like vines around it, illuminating it.
She looked upward, seeing it was also nestled in an area where natural light flowed in.
“That’s not all.” Robert grinned, leading her around to the back of the house. “Ta-da!”
There was a massive herb and flower garden in the back, forming a circle around a moon dial that looked as if it was carved out of moonlight with how it shone.
Large crystal geodes surrounded it as well, giving off their own faint glow.
“A proper moon dial for your moon scrying… A-And a proper circle garden to cast in. D-Do you like it?” Robert asked, a nervous look coming to his eyes. Andrea had her back to him, taking everything in.
Andrea turned to him, an overjoyed look in her eyes. She squealed, tackling him, hugging him tightly. Robert was surprised before he let out a laugh.
“I take it that’s a yes?” He asked as she peppered his head with kisses.
“THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER!!!!” She laughed, nuzzling him.
Robert held his wife close, resting his head against hers.
“I’m so glad you like it my love. I just want you happy.”
“And I am. So very happy.”
“YA DID GOOD BROTHER IN LAW!” Sebastian screeched.
“And something for you.” Robert had a mischievous look as he reached over, uncovering a small stone den in the cave floor.
Sebastian scuttled over, looking at it.
“WOW. I GET ONE HOLE IN THE GROUND. You’re SOOO generous.”
“I mean I could just plant things-”
“IT’S MA HOLE.” Sebastian scurried in.
“I mean, now you can keep around when I have candles and stuff going without getting hurt by the lights.” Andrea pointed out with a giggle. Sebastian poked his nose out of the hole.
I think we’re gonna be just fine.
“Alright, let’s see… That should do it.” Andrea sighed happily as she stirred the contents of the crockpot. “Robert’ll be starving when he gets back.”
“Ya mean more than usual?” Sebastian asked, swinging down from one of the rafters. Andrea poked his nose.
“Maybe. We’ll see. Mandrake soup’ll warm him up good though.”
“Ya, it better. After all the trouble that thing was!”
“MERP, MERP, MERP, MERP, MERP, MERP!”
“Guuuuh shut up, shut up!!!”
The siblings shuddered as Andrea stirred the pot a big more vigorously as if to ensure the strange plant creature was truly dead.
Let’s see… This should be fine to go for awhile.
She looked out the kitchen window into her garden, taking a second look when she noted some of the herbs had been disturbed.
… That’s not normal.
He swung down next to the window, peering out.
“I ssseee disturbed stuff.”
“And Robert’s not the type to go through my garden without explicitly asking me if he can snip down one of the plants.”
“… I scream?”
“No scream. We sneak.”
Sebastian dropped from his perch, hissing as he scurried after his sister.
“You never let me have any fuuun!”
“Brother, contrary to what you believe, you are not a good alarm clock.”
They quietly crept out, Andrea with a spear in hand, Sebastian darting through the shadows. Andrea looked around, taking note of some tracks in the dirt.
They look… insectoid… Great, we got big bugs. As usual.
Nothing looked as disturbed as she thought. A few herbs snipped down but that was about it.
Her eyes narrowed as she made her way for her moon dial, noting the water level had gone down as well.
Whatever was here, was sneaky. Not a spider. Spiders are too dumb for this and they’re purely carnivorous.
Andrea kept scanning the area, keeping as quiet as possible, listening for any off sounds… That’s when she heard it. It was the sound of scuttling footsteps. They sounded like the footsteps of a spider but… yet there was a slight difference. A light scratching of claws.
She let her ears guide her to the source, seeing a shape walking around in the dark, their white eyes having a slight glow to them. Now she was certain it wasn’t a spider since there were only two eyes and not the eight eyes spiders were known for, not to mention these eyes were more human shaped and were set higher on whatever the creature was in the darkness.
She narrowed her eyes, gripping her spear tightly, taking a defensive stance.
“Sebastian, be a dear and bring ‘em into the light.”
Sebastian disappeared from her view before slinking into the shadows following the creature.
The creature gave a scream of their own, scuttling faster, trying to get away as Sebastian gave chase. He had to dodge a few hits from their own weapon before the creature came into the dim light of the light flowers.
Andrea’s eyes widened at the sight of the creature. It was a human bug hybrid like creature. The top half was humanoid while the bottom half resembled that of a scorpion. They were red and tan in color and wore a pale green cloak along with a gold headpiece and were wielding a spear that was made of an odd stone.
“What the…?” She shook it off. “Who are you!? What are you doing in my camp?”
The creature stared back her, tilting their head. They spoke but Andrea couldn’t understand them. The dialect wasn’t any language she had heard before. Though from the tone of the creature’s voice they sounded a little scared.
“Easy, easy…” She hesitated before going a bit closer. “Can you understand me?”
The creature stared on, seeming to try and process what Andrea was saying and gave her a confused expression in response.
Andrea hummed in thought before snapping her fingers as she recalled a spell she had read once.
I remember Melinda used it a lot when traversing the human world. Should work here too.
She focused as she conjured up a string of energy as it came around them both, chanting in an old language. When it was done the string faded away.
“Can you understand me now?”
The creature blinked before nodding.
“Y-Yes-” They brought a hand to their throat. “What… is this tongue I am speaking?”
“English. It’s the tongue my people speak as well as my husband. What was yours?” Andrea asked with a head tilt of her own.
“Hm… I’ve not heard of that one.”
“I have never heard of English before either.” The creature came closer. “What are you exactly?”
“I was going to ask you the same thing. I’m a Shadow Being.”
“Shadow Being… So strange.” The creature looked closer. “Why are your ears so far out?”
Andrea flicked her ears a little.
“They’re just like that. May I ask what you are too?”
“I am a Thulecitian.” The creature answered. “The dwellers of the underground.”
“Fascinating. So, you’re the little sneak who’s been taking from my garden.”
“I needed water… and those herbs tasted yummy.”
Andrea took note of how they sounded, her gaze softening.
Must be just a kid… not worth being mad over, Besides, this is definitely interesting.
“I-I promise I won’t steal again. I-I’ll make it up to you.” The Thulecitian bowed. “O-On my apprentice’s honor.”
“Hey, it’s okay.” Andrea held up a hand. “No need to bow. Just ask if you need something. I don’t mind sharing now that I know you weren’t causing trouble. What’s your name, young one?”
“Well, Laika, my name’s Andrea… and sorry for scaring you earlier.”
“That creepy thing was yours?”
“I AM MY OWN TERRORBEAK THANK YOU VERY MUCH!”
Laika shrieked, backing away and pointing their spear at Sebastian.
“S-Stay back fiend!”
Sebastian gave an unimpressed look.
“Oh, that’s real polite. Reeeaaal nice. Hmph!”
“Easy now.” Andrea grabbed her spear, making her point it away. “That’s my brother.”
Laika’s jaw dropped.
“THAT is related to YOU?”
“It’s a looong story.”
“I USED TO BE PRETTY.”
“You mean… You used to be a Shadow Being?”
“YEH. BUT I ANGERED A KING AND HE CURSED ME!”
“Oh…” Laika frowned. “I see… So even beings like you are susceptible to such a mutation.”
“King Maxwell doesn’t like us very much. Namely my brother here. He used to work for him along with his former archivist.” Andrea explained. “The details aren’t ours to tell but… it wasn’t pretty.”
“I let my anger get a hold of me.” Sebastian bowed a little. “Sorry kid!”
“I-It’s okay…” Laika looked to Andrea. “I w-will make things up though. I promise.”
“Hm… Well, if you do wanna help, know where I can get some cave bananas? Robbie found some a few days ago but someone…” She looked to Sebastian. “Ate them all.”
“Oh, I can find them! And hunt some splumonkeys!”
“I’ll pay you in a good meal of Mandrake Soup. Deal?”
Laika scurried off without another word. Sebastian looked to Andrea.
“THISSS ISSS GONNA BE INTRESSSSSTING TO EXPLAIN TO ROBERT.”
“Indeed, but honestly I think he’ll be happy to know we have nice neighbors.”
“Andrea! I’m home!” Robert called as he came in from his long trip of scavenging for materials around the caves.
“Welcome home love!” Andrea grinned hurrying over to help him unpack. “Find anything interesting?”
“You just want first dibs on the crystals.”
“Maybe~” She gave a sneaky look before he pulled her into an embrace. “Eeep!”
“C’mere you!” He chuckled, kissing her head. “Missed you. What’ve you been up to?”
“Weeell…” She grinned sheepishly. “I met the neighbors.”
“A being called a Thulecitian. Young one too. She was scrounging around the garden. Took a minute to understand her but she offered to make up for the stealing.”
“Huh… Intriguing. What did they look like?”
Andrea conjured up shadow flames that took the shape of Laika as Robert’s eyes grew wide.
“Fascinating. Do you know if she’ll be back?”
“I sent them on a little errand so, soon probably. She got happy at the idea of hunting splumonkeys.”
“I don’t blame her.”
“So, we shall see. For now, how does mandrake soup sound?”
Robert’s stomach growled.
“Right this way then.”
Andrea lead Robert out back, quickly getting him a serving before getting her own and sitting down with him. They ate in silence, enjoying the food. They soon heard the scuttling of footsteps.
“Andrea! I’m back!”
Andrea smiled as she saw Laika approach, a sack slung over her back.
Laika grinned back before curiosity came to her face at the sight of Robert.
“Who is this?” she asked, pointing her spear at Robert.
Robert yelped, grabbing for his wrench.
“This is my husband!” Andrea quickly got up. “Robert, this is Laika. Laika this is Robert.”
“Your ears…” Laika tilted her head. “… They’re so tiny.”
Robert rubbed one of his ears unconsciously.
“Honestly, they’re considered big for some humans.”
“Yes. That’s what I am, a human being.”
“Hoomon being… I thought there were just Shadow Beings up there.”
Robert smiled, giving a sheepish look.
“I’m not exactly local.”
Laika’s eyes grew wide.
“Are… you from another world?”
Robert grinned, giving a bow as he stood.
“Robert Wagstaff of Earth.”
“Wow!” Laika was in awe of the man. “I… I have so many questions. Oh, wait till I tell my chief. He’ll be amazed to know about other beings living down here!”
Robert smiled gently.
“Actually… if you’d be willing, I’d love to see where you’re from. It’s my current task to map out these caves and make note of what lives down here. I’d love to know more if I may?”
“I’ll talk to my chief but I don’t think he’d mind.”
“Then we have ourselves a deal.” Robert held out a hand.
Laika nodded, giving his hand a shake.
“Indeed we do, Robert Wagstaff of Earth.”
“Please, just Robert, Ms. Laika.”
“And as promised, I got food waiting for you Laika. If your still interested.”
Laika’s stomach growled as she grinned sheepishly, showing her pointed teeth.
“Ah, rule number one broken!” Robert laughed.
“Rule one?” She asked with a head tilt.
LOOK AT THIS PRECIOUS BUG CHILD.
That is all.