Anon - Cucumber Alchemy

Sep 26th, 2014
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  1. "Nnon!"
  2. >She's just chirped the word sharply right into your ear, her abbreviation 'Anonymous' as that takes her ages to say.
  3. "Ugh!"
  4. >Not only that, but she's nearly sent you flailing into the bed of plants with her sudden, unexpected weight on your back.
  5. >You manage not to fall, although you drop the little sprayer you were using into the dirt.
  6. "..."
  7. >Squeak moth had been climbing on you the other day and it has since started becoming a trend.
  8. "..."
  9. >An annoying trend.
  10. "..."
  11. >Doubled over, by the time you back up from having leaned into the garden bed, the moth mare has walked onto the back of your head, where she is smelling you with her antennae.
  12. >Leaning on the edge of the wooden border with one hand, she notices you trying to look back at her.
  13. "Ckyuu!"
  14. >It's taken you a long-ass time, but that's her 'hello/hey' basically, among other things, which includes 'hey' as in 'hey look.'
  15. >You sigh, holding still for her until she's finished her very-important antennae-tasting/smelling task; after all, she hasn't seen you for 2 days now...
  16. >You cringe as she checks inside your ear with those rapid, infinitesimal little impacts, before proceeding elsewhere with them.
  17. >So many moths are like this that you think that it may be physiologically impossible for them to ever fully understand reservations about invading personal space, or respecting certain other human boundaries.
  18. >Well, it's not like there are a lot of you.
  19. >Yeah, there's actually JUST you.
  20. >But you're okay with that, really.
  21. >Humans a shit.
  22. >You're actually much happier here than anywhere else.
  23. >You still have to put up with the odd nuisance.
  24. >Not that this unnamed mare was a nuisance in and off herself.
  25. >She is no more a nuisance than most other moths in this little valley.
  26. >A young adult herself, she's been using you to help her learn how to talk.
  27. >She couldn't before.
  28. >She is what you might call a 'late bloomer.'
  30. >Like many valley moths, she doesn't have a name.
  31. >You'd like to nickname her soon, if she doesn't choose a name for herself.
  32. >Odd as it is, many moths get a local nickname (or sometimes several), which usually refer to a moth's personal traits or customs, appearance, or occupation, but never receive a formal name.
  33. >They sign any official documents (which are rather rare in and of themselves here) with their house's address and the current date, or both of their parents' names if hey are both named moths (also rare.)
  34. >You've never quite gotten the real reasoning behind all this, but you at least understand the quirk in practice.
  35. >She seems to hate nicknames, though.
  36. >As it stands, she's practically more anonymous than you are, all things said.
  37. "Are you going to stay up there?"
  38. "Yyyyyyy-yes!"
  39. >You sigh in mild frustration.
  40. "I'm going to straighten up now. Don't fall."
  41. >You stand upright and the mare flutters her wings before alighting again on your shoulders.
  42. "Fffphhhbh-this!?"
  43. >She knows how to ask in more detail but she seems not to like waiting.
  44. >Or making others wait, perhaps, since full clauses still take her a while.
  45. >Maybe both reasons.
  46. >You follow the direction of the forelimb.
  47. >She's pointing to some towering - if slightly-wilted - potted plants which are sitting on the boardwalk, just next to the large wooden box which hosts the soil for the cucumbers and other plants you have growing.
  48. >She was not by to visit yesterday when you dug them up and placed them the pots in which they still now reside.
  49. >The currently-deflated leaves will recover of course after the plants are over the shock.
  50. "That's marestail."
  51. >She leans up into your view and very purposefully makes a sour face.
  53. "I got some over here because it makes a good natural trellis; there's tons of foliage on it to grab for climbing plants, it grows big and tall, it transplants alright, and it won't cast too much shade. Minty brought me some out of Moon Dust's yard, who uses them if his plants grow off the main trellis he has. They're in the sunflower family."
  54. >The sour expression stays, so you continue dumping info until she's heard what she wants.
  55. "It has a lot of medicinal uses for it like for treating fever, open cuts, and certain GI problems. The stalks make good firesticks. The uh... leaves are edible and can be used instead of tarragon."
  56. >Still a glare, though she was still in the process of... well, *processing* all that.
  57. >You proceed, unheartened.
  58. "Little Light, and Minty gave me the skinny on them. Minty asked Charentai about the medicine-stuff, and I think Pepper Dust might've known the thing about it tasting like tarragon when dried and chimed in with that fact. Little Light is all about roughin' it so he knew about the stalks, and Minty knew the thing about what family they're from."
  59. >The mare chirped and wandered vertically down your back until she reached the boardwalk.
  60. >Good?
  61. >You have no idea what she wanted out of that last set of citations, other than maybe an admission that you aren't just some well-read expert all by yourself, but regardless, she's heard what she wants now.
  62. >You take the chance to recover your sprayer, and set it back down on the castiron base you have for it.
  63. >There are a few coals glowing beneath in the tray it has.
  64. >The mare nods to this next item, as if obviously that's what you should next talk about, without question.
  65. "Well first let me ask YOU a question."
  67. "Well first let me ask YOU a question."
  68. >She purses her lips, but yields.
  69. "What did you do yesterday instead of coming by here? You could've heard all this as it happened, practically, and here I am explaining it all to you instead."
  70. >You are of course just being difficult, and you know that if you weren't updating her on yesterday's events, it would be something else, and you would be allowed to leave the garden no sooner today.
  71. "Eiiiiiy sssssssslLEPT!!"
  72. >The second word was like that of a puppy who was just getting good at how to bark - that precursory growl followed by a very sharp, concise, and aboveall LOUD little syllable.
  73. >You are about to ask for more information but she nods again in a staid fashion to the metal stand on the boardwalk which now holds the sprayer.
  74. "Well, okay. I let a ladybug go from my house out into the garden, right? I tell Waspy, because it was a color I'd never seen before. Turns out it's not a ladybug at all, and will start eating my plants if it tastes enough of them and decides to go get some friends.... So, that's one of Cinnamon's barrels there..."
  75. >You gesture to the sprayer which indeed looks like a miniature winecask, albiet with a big handle on top and a corded wand extending from one side.
  76. "Birch and Charentai looked up some stuff about dripvine, and Little Light got me some sap to use. Dripvines are warm so the sap has to be kept-"
  77. >She interrupts you.
  78. "Tsssscccccchhsshhshhhcharrrrrrantai!"
  79. "Right. So with some stuff from around the forest that Little Light got us, and Butterscotch's help after Charentai asked *her*, she put together this little sprayer thing here. She even replaced the bottom piece with metal so it would conduct heat better. That mare could be a cooper if she wanted to... give up babysitting, move over a few towns... make BANK."
  80. >A pause.
  81. "Kckoo-pah."
  82. >Not even so loud this time, and only a bit of a delay between syllables.
  83. "Wow! You're good at that one."
  85. >You aren't sure how much of the whole tale she just got, but she is clearly picking up a few things.
  86. >Maybe she's been practicing in her spare time. That would certainly explain her improvements lately.
  88. >Before she can ask for another spoken essay, you verbally head her off.
  89. "So why did you sleep so long yesterday?"
  90. "Tsssssstirrrredd!"
  91. >Tired. Indeed this fit the bill well for sleeping in a long time.
  92. >You decide not to press, and to move on to some exercises you had come up with to help the mare build her confidence.
  93. >You've done them a few times, and at this point she knows all the answers. Now it's just a matter of getting them out as quickly as she can.
  94. >Rapidfire, about as fast as you can ask them, as if on some gameshow:
  95. "Who lies in King Tut's tomb?"
  96. "Tut!"
  97. "Name the gayest animal!"
  98. "Bat!"
  99. "What does Caramel do instead of walking?"
  100. "Ssstrut!"
  101. "How do ponies move freight?"
  102. "Tssshhhhhchootrain!"
  103. >Damn good, but for some reason she doesn't really like it when you tell her she's doing better, so you just give her a big smile, and go back to your plants, so you can make them taste sufficiently bad to that beetle you put out that it will simply find a place elsewhere, to go.
  104. >With the little unit up to temp again, you resume sprintzing.
  105. >A few minutes go by in silence, with only the hisses of sap from the wand.
  106. >All the while with the mare trying to think of a question, or perhaps waiting for you to ask her one.
  107. >As you root around, you find a cucumber you didn't know about.
  108. >...And not only that, but THIS one is READY. Unlike the other budding fruit which still has at least a week left before it will be, this one had escaped your attention.
  109. >A pleasant surprise. Funny how easy it is to miss them amongst the leaves sometimes.
  110. >So now
  111. >You /have/ a question.
  112. "Would you like to try the first cucumber?"
  113. "K-ckyuoooo!"
  114. >She seems too excited to get out anything but that fragment of her very first word, but that must mean 'yes'... you're quite sure of it.
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