The Book of Soltana: Prowler – 12



L’yophin was scurrying about his ranch, chasing a group of gobs. Apparently more had made it over the fence than expected. They had all scattered, giving L’yophin a hard time. He had a sack shouldered on his thorax that kicked with movement. He chased them around his dekapillars. They were tiny and nimble, scurrying to and fro around the ponderous creatures. L’yophin snatched the last protesting gob, tossing the transient loafer into the sack. He was exhausted from the hours of work of building Soltana’s new chassis on top of chasing pests. She had been powered down for almost a full wake and twilight cycle. He trusted that she would awaken and so he continued his work at the ranch clearing out pests and freeloaders while caring for the dekapillars and maintenance. He noticed maintenance needs were starting to increase over the last few days, and it wasn’t just because he had a strange new automata. Something was strange about these gob intruders. Whoever placed that large heap of scrap could not have been a gob or many gobs. L’yophin skittered to the fence to toss the gobs over. The sack was getting full, noisy, and struggling.

“Trows…” L’yophin theorized.

They had a habit of bothering him from time to time. It wouldn’t be out of character to play mischief in leading Gobs into his ranch, dumping parental responsibility to him. Gobs were simply the infantile form, with Trows being a species lacking in parental empathy. dekapillars weren’t the only thing that metamorphosed. A gob would metamorphise after a time growing up to become their adult form. L’yophin suspected it was environmentally based. It seemed the goblin species’ metamorphosis could branch in many different ways; they were a strange and adaptable species that could change depending on the environment. He thought back to spotting his first hogboon. It was just a glimpse before the creature hid. He had seen hogboons on his travels, although they tended to keep to themselves and were quite shy.

He wouldn’t mind having such neighbors.

Trows tended to fall into two categories, ornery or feral. He attributed it to living in the Underrealm. An ornery Trow was difficult to deal with, but they could be dealt with and reasoned with. A feral Trow would do as they pleased and were a menace. Trows were also the most common of the goblin species in the Underrealm. If his fences weren’t guarded by his indomitable silk thread, They would have rushed in long ago. However, the beam of scrap that was placed on his silk thread was unlike them.

They are bold in their actions. They don’t resort to clever tricks,” L’yophin concluded with a mumble.

He inspected the fence, casually tossing a gob over, one at a time. Each one let out a croaking squeal as they flew, landing on their rumps in the soft moss. He grabbed the empty sack and waved it at the silly gobs.

“Go away freeloaders!” L’yophin shouted, his chittering tongue lost on the gobs.

They got the tone of the message and scurried away. He stamped his limbs and skittered off to get Phela and lead her to the rest of the herd. She liked the company of the others. He spotted the fenced-off ranch and stables that housed his prized dekapillar. He couldn’t spot her from afar but suspected she was resting. She was getting slower and more torpid as her sustenance storage reached critical mass. He hopped the fence, skittering inside the stables.

He stopped, at the scene in front of him.

“Rot in my chitin! Gobs!” L’yophin swore as he spotted five other Gobs sitting and staring at the other amazing sight in the stables.

A full cocoon in the corner. L’yophin stopped cold in his anger upon seeing it.

“Phela…” L’yophin whispered with awe.

He wished he could have seen her create it and pat her goodbye, but he was ecstatic over this early metamorphosis. All of his hard work had paid off. His first dekapillar metamorphosed. He regretted being unable to see the event but was happy with the results. He had about a dozen chances to see one cocoon.

He calculated she had a month left before cocooning.

He skittered in close, feeling the soft silk. He could eventually make something with it. It was similar to his silk thread with its own special properties. It was more inclined to taking enchantments or magical modifications. Such ideas were still strange to him. Magic. He scoffed internally at that. Technology was his forte, not this mythical obscuration of intellect. He’d consign magic to the fae realms where it belonged. However, he did learn of the theory of enchanting silk with his time spent with-

He shook his head at the reminder, stuffing the thought down. He turned back, seeing the gobs staring stupidly at the cocoon. L’yophin narrowed his eights eyes and whipped open his sack in preparation. He spotted one with a strange rag scarf around its neck.

L’yophin paused for a second at the inconsistency. It looked just as smart as the others, which was to say it didn’t. He skittered forward spooking the gobs who bolted from the stables in all directions. He quickly grabbed up one in the sack as it made a croaking squeak of protest. He turned, seeing three others running to the fence. He regretted not clearing them out soon, but he just attributed it to Soltana being recently discovered; that weighed too much on his mind.

He quickly snatched up the other three, his sack shaking about with perturbed gobs. He scanned for the fifth, the one with the ragged scarf. He skittered along, scanning the moss for disturbances. He spotted the scarf on a small nick of scrap fence, having been snagged when it escaped. He eyed the ranch, seeing no signs of the Gob.

He glanced back at his wiggling sack.

“Cheh, one gob not bad,” L’yophin said with a sigh. He was tired. The desire to rest took precedence over a single squatter. Phela was cocooned and would take time to change; which was formerly his main worry. But now she was metamorphosing, She was safe from the irritable gobs.

L’yophin skittered off to the fence boundaries to dump the others. Then he would check on his precious Soltana.

Near the fence of the stables, a patch of moss prowled along the ground, following L’yophin.

>>> The Book of Soltana: Char – 13

<<< The Book of Soltana: Directive 11

The Book of Soltana Glossary

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