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      Vote for Valucre [June]   05/16/2017

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Fruitsnacks

Reconnected

40 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

TUu1ZiT.jpgǂBrandon Armickǂ

When Brandon at last emerged from his room, he was wearing a fresh shirt - and no eye about his neck. In his few moments of solitude, his penchant for logical conclusions had sobered him to the reality of their new life: that, even if Vali was back, it was highly unlikely he'd ever come here, or that he and Grani would ever return there. As he steadily made his way back towards the kitchen, he scolded himself for ever having gotten swept up in such a fantasy. It had been seven years... Surely, he should be over this by now? If anyone was ever going to come for them, they'd certainly have heard or seen something by now.

Anyway, the life they had here was good. Grani had grown into a fine young boy - not without his flaws, of course, but he was strong, and kind, and protective to a fault. Brandon had become more capable, a fact both his sister and Vali would surely have approved of. True, he was a bit out of his element, what with the lack of computers out here in the wilderness, but despite that he'd found ways to make himself useful.

To keep himself relevant.

That was something he never could have dreamed of achieving back on Asgard... Honestly, he should be thankful for this faraway isolation.

Really.

By the time his mind had settled upon this, he was back in the kitchen, pulling out the basket of produce they'd picked from the garden earlier. In the stillness between his quieted thoughts, he could hear Grani frantically conversing with Minnow, bringing a small smile to his face.

I'm glad. It's about time Grani had a true friend!

Though he didn't want to pry, he slowed his chopping so he could steal a small excerpt of their conversation. Whatever it was, it certainly sounded exciting! His head turned a bit to angle his ear towards the other room, and his hand drew to a momentary pause.

".... it can just go there?"

Confusion furrowed Brandon's brow. Go where... ? Minnow's home, perhaps?

 

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NJKqn7o.png+Minnow+

Honestly, she was kind of surprised to hear Grani going off on a tangent of his own - he didn't really seem like the type to do such a thing. It made her wonder if she'd somehow upset him, but it was a passing fret, replaced with another scowl. "He, not it!" she scolded, waggling her metal finger. Her frustration appeared to be just as temporary as her worry, however, for soon her arms were folded across her chest, a wide grin planted firmly upon her face. "And of course he can! Aquatic travel is his specialty, and all that separates us from Genesaris is a bunch of water!"

In the back of her mind, she was still struggling with some of the words he'd said - bi-frost, realm, heimdall. Er, Heimdall, capital H! The way Grani had spoken about the word definitely made it sound like that was a person. Some kind of... communications mage? Her metal hand lifted to rub her chin, her quick and innovative mind already fast at work. She guess Grani probably meant "realm" in figurative terms - she had to admit, Genesaris was pretty far away! It could very well take a full year to get there on Quincy alone, which was probably why Grani felt this "Heimdall" person should be involved. "Well, it shouldn't be too hard to make a beacon for Heimdall to find, right?" Was that a girl's name, or a boy's name? Maybe one of those ambiguous ones? She couldn't recall hearing anything similar before. Though, she admittedly also didn't recall much about Genesaris to begin with.

Whether or not Grani needed the explanation, she turned to start tracing upon the table beside them, explaining her thoughts aloud and literally drawing blueprints into her hand's memory core. "See, a beacon would enable us to transmit a message, in turn reducing the distance Heimdall would need to reach out in order to make contact. Think of it like if two people each shot an arrow at each other!"

Lifting her hand off the table, she faced him fully again, each hand held apart in front of her with their index fingers lifted. "We fire our beacon..." Her fleshy hand moved first, arching through the air, then her metal hand followed suit, until her fingertips touched in front of her. "...and Heimdall searches for our signal. They meet halfway, thereby establishing a connection point! Then, once Heimdall knows that, they just need to aim the... uhh..."

She slowed a bit, still struggling to figure out the last word. Her confusion having finally caught up with her, she lowered her hands, her face screwed up in a puzzling look. "...say, what is a 'bi-frost,' anyway? Some kind of two-way ice glyph?"

Edited by Fruitsnacks
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Genesaris? Grani was confused at the mention of this place--he knew of it, but little else other than that it was a central city. His only theory for why Minnow would bring it up was because maybe it had a Bifrost of its own. Such a thing would have made Brandon a clear liar, however, and Grani had a hard time believing that. After a moment of rambling, this theory was further debunked as Minnow asked him what the Bifrost was.

Honestly. . .he didn't know. He glanced over his shoulder at his uncle, unsure how to explain it. "It's the, uh. . .rainbow bridge?" he tried, refocusing on Minnow awkwardly. If her damn cuteness wasn't enough, now she was showing off just how much smarter she was than him, and he couldn't fight off a blush of embarrassment. Eventually, however, he started to grow annoyed with it all. "I don't know!" he blurted, tail swishing with his growing ire. "I'm just a kid, I don't know this stuff! Do you see anything remotely intelligent about this place?!" he demanded with wide-armed gestures at their meager hut.

Not a single book or even scroll in sight.

Three rooms making a perfect full square.

One table. Two shelves. Two chairs--in case they ever "had company".

One "sink" made of stone from a large boulder Grani had chipped into shape over the course of weeks.

One stove, wood-powered. One axe, one sword.

It was as poor as poor could get and still have a roof involved.

Though Grani had never had an issue with it before, now shame slammed into him. Their first guest--his first prospective friend--and this was the best they had, the best he could offer. What could they do for entertainment? Well, he ran a lot, and sometimes he chopped wood or tended the garden. He wondered if she'd like to stargaze into all hours of the night from sheer boredom.

He dropped his arms and looked away, feeling dejected over his own analyses. ". . .I don't know anything about glyphs or cores or magic," he muttered. "I can't even hold a conversation. . ." For the first time in his life, Grani felt. . .inadequate.

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TUu1ZiT.jpgǂBrandon Armickǂ

Alarm gripped him when he realized what they were talking about. The... Th-The Bifrost?!

Dropping his knife, he turned to start running towards them, anxious to put a stop to whatever they were discussing. But soon, Grani's words reached his ears, and his heart sank. Hiding just around the corner, he listened to his nephew's pained exclamations, every word pushing the invisible knife deeper and deeper. Not... intelligent... ? Quietly, he considered everything Grani said, unable to outright deny any of it. How could he? It was all true... Though Brandon tried his best to provide Grani with as safe and healthy an environment as possible, it hardly compared to the grandiose luxuries and expansive resources he would have known back on Asgard. His one advantage in life had always been his mind, but lot of good that did when you lived out in the middle of no where. Face furrowed, he wrestled with his thoughts, suddenly doubting every single decision he'd made since they first arrived here seven years ago.

He'd been trying to protect Grani, to shield him from the cruelty he knew humans to show towards "others."

But in doing that, had he done the boy more harm than good? Should he have brought him up in the city, or a nearby village, despite the discrimination he'd have inevitably faced?

I can't... I can't even raise my own nephew... Vali was so good with Liranya. I bet he would have made the right decision... He would have known what to do.

A sigh escaped him as he turned and silently walked back towards where he'd been prepping their dinner. Grani was right to want to go back to Asgard - he'd be way better off there, especially with Sigyn looking after him. Sigyn, he knew, was the best when it came to raising kids! After all, in his personal opinion, she'd raised the most perfect person he'd ever known!

Objectively speaking, of course.

But, if he goes back, what will I do? I wouldn't get along very well back on Asgard, not with Vali gone. I suppose I'd manage well enough here. It'd be lonely, but...

...I'd manage...

 

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NJKqn7o.png+Minnow+

Grani's sudden show of such emotion caught her completely off guard, her eyes blinking in confusion. He was... upset... ? Guilt began to settle in, curling her brow with sympathy. What had she said to upset him? It sounded like... he was upset that he didn't know much?

For a moment, Minnow remained silent, not quite sure what to do or say, or how to react. She wanted to make him feel better, but how was she going to do that?

...Well, laughter always cheered people up, right? And though she didn't really know much about her past, she knew one thing for certain: she was great at laughter!

And so, she threw on a big, bright smile, then slapped her hand upon his shoulder. (She was careful to use her fleshy hand - didn't want to hurt him, after all!) "Don't be silly!" she chirped with glee. "We're having conversation right now, aren't we? You're doing just fine!"

Convinced he'd need a bit more encouragement on the matter, she reached out with her metal hand to spin a chair around, then released his shoulder so she could plop down in it, arms folded atop its back. "I didn't always know stuff about cores, you know! And I still know nothing about glyphs, or..." She paused for a moment, surveying the room for ideas. The sounds of chopping vegetables tickled her ears - beaming again, she pointed towards the kitchen. "...or gardening! I know squat about that!"

Folding her arm back with her other atop the chair, her demeanor drew back in, calming down towards something less overwhelming. "And you can run real fast... And I bet you know how use that axe good! And don't those ears come in handy for tracking animals? See, you've got plenty of stuff you're good at! It may not be the same stuff that I'm good at, and I'm sure neither of us are good at the same stuff Brandon's good at - but he's probably not good at our stuff, either! And that's okay... That's what makes the world varied and interesting, y'know?"

She wasn't sure if any of this was helping, but she sure hoped it did - Grani was much cuter when he smiled!

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Posted (edited)

Just as Minnow didn't know how to handle Grani's outburst, he didn't know how to handle her encouragement. He blinked in surprise as she began to compliment him, feeling heat rise to his cheeks. At first her choices just made him wince--gardening? Running? Really?--but once she got to his ears, they flicked back to hide in his fluffy locks. Yet, at the end, not even those kind words could battle the burning sensation of anger in his gut. And he found that if he relaxed and let it take over, it was easier to handle the rest of what she'd said.

Turning his head away, he crossed his arms and huffed. "I'm good at other stuff, too, you know. I'm the strongest person you'll ever meet, I never get tired, I barely need to eat, and I can smell everything." Well, okay, that last one was an exaggeration. His sense of smell had been proven to be better than Brandon's, but it was hardly a difference. Only his ears really served as an inhuman trait, and sometimes. . .sometimes he thought he could hear things that weren't alive.

As a young colt, it'd kept him up at night. Which had meant sleepless nights for Brandon, too. Every so often, though, he'd also heard. . .something else. A song. Wordless, from what he could discern, and so faint he couldn't be sure it wasn't his imagination or a memory. Regardless of what it was, it'd always calmed his nerves and let him sleep.

From the corner of his eye, he watched Minnow's reaction, more nervous than he'd ever admit. He wanted her to be impressed, dang it! He was a centaur in a world without them, the grandson of gods, likely stronger than anyone else in this crappy world. That was something!

Edited by Dragonslover
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NJKqn7o.png+Minnow+

Although Grani seemed to get angrier at her words, he also seemed... less upset? He was a curious puzzle to her, fascination lighting her eyes as she tilted her head. "Yeah?" she asked, legitimately awed by his claims. "That's really cool! I bet its a real help around here, huh?" As the conversation appeared to be picking up again, Minnow reached down to retrieve her satchel and set it atop the table. Pulling out a few slim tools and tiny parts, she placed Bingo before her and set to work trying to repair her friend. "Brandon looks strong, but he doesn't look like he'd have been able to maintain this place on his own. Did you help him out with it?"

At her fingertips, Bingo was gently sparking, giving her a dull but constant pain in her temples. She didn't appear to mind it as she worked and talked, but she couldn't shake an odd feeling needling at the back of her mind. Something about this felt incredibly familiar, though she couldn't quite pinpoint just what it was. After all, she'd been alone all her life, right?

She'd never had a friend before, aside from Bingo, right?

She'd... never worked on an artifice... beside someone else...

...right... ?

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Posted (edited)

When Minnow began to compliment him again, Grani outwardly appeared calm. But inwardly, he was fighting himself--his first instinct was to blush, look away, stomp his hoof and so on. But, as he'd just learned, the easiest way to handle it was with some anger. He focused on feeling offended, which worked surprisingly easily. "Of course I do!" he declared, maybe a little more roughly than he'd intended. "I do most of the work around here." An exaggeration, that. "Uncle Brandon just cooks, prays and reads. I'm the one who gets and sands wood and makes repairs." Which, to be honest, was both easy and smart; his hooves could sand wood so well they'd never actually acquired sandpaper after discovering it. "I do the gardening and made the fence. I hunt for meats. I deal with pests." The list went on--but, to be fair, so did Brandon's. Grani was just opting not to consider it all. Besides, when they first settled here, Grani could do next to nothing except heavy lifting (even as a colt, he'd been stronger than Brandon by leaps and bounds). The cabin was originally one shabby room, crafted by Brandon almost entirely. Everything in it had just been upgraded, repaired, or expanded over the years.

As the girl got to work, Grani came over to peer around her, curious as to what she was doing. His ears came forward with his interest, listening to every little noise he heard coming from her tools and little rolly thing--er, Bingo. He couldn't help staring, honestly. Both Bingo and the tools were shiny, and since the tools were doing most of the moving, they had the majority of his focus. He actually ended up watching her in complete silence for several minutes before he noticed the sparking happening, and then his focus shifted from shiny things to Minnow's probable pain.

"Does. . .that hurt?" he ventured softly. Then, feeling a blush starting to creep up, he reared back from her and blurted unplanned words. "I mean--not that I care or anything! I'm just curious! About the sparking--not you! Ah. . .th-that." He forced himself to trail off and leave it there, realizing a little late that he would have to get a better grip on himself. It was embarrassing to just rattle on like that--which, thanks to the fact that he did it to cover his embarrassment, only made the entire thing a vicious cycle.

He took a breath, held it, then let it out with renewed determination. Calm. He could handle this--this cute freaking girl, he just needed to balance his emotions. Yeah, that sounded good.

Edited by Dragonslover
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NJKqn7o.png+Minnow+

Minnow didn't really mind much whether or not Grani was overstating things - she was just happy he seemed to be more comfortable with the conversation now! It seemed like it had been forever since she last conversed with someone--

...but, wait, she never had, right?

A slightly larger, stray spark made her wince, betraying the answer to Grani's question. With a meek, embarrassed smile, she replied, "Ah... I-It's alright... I'm sure Bingo doesn't mean to! He's just malfunctioning, is all." Yet, even as she said that, her confidence in her words already began to fade. Her brow furrowed, and she lowered her head to examine Bingo's innards more acutely. "...Everything... looks fine, though..." Her eyes flickered across her little friend, then she sat up again, another smile precariously drawn across her lips. "He's quite dirty - it's been a while since I last cleaned him up." Another small spark, accompanied by another wince. "Maybe it's just a bit of build-up that's disrupting his circuits?"

Placing down her tools to look up at Grani, she continued, "His power core needs to be recharged, but I don't think that'd make him spark like this. Let's try cleaning him up first! Do you have spare cloth anywhere I can use? That and a bit of oil should do the trick!"

But, something deep down told her that wouldn't work. She felt like she knew the answer, but for some reason just couldn't grasp it, couldn't articulate it. As soon as she got close to pulling it out of the shadows, she'd be met with another spark, another flash across her mind, another pinch of pain.

What's wrong, Bingo? Why are you doing this... ?

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Aaaaand there she went again. It seemed like Minnow was trying to speak in terms he understood, yet Grani kept running into unfamiliar words. What was a "circuit" and why was it important? He was even baffled when she mentioned oil--the only kind he knew of being cooking oil, extracted from vegetables. At least he did have a cloth to offer her. . .he just suspected it wouldn't be usable after she was done with that cleaning.

"Uh. . .yeah, we can spare a cloth, I guess." He turned from her to trot into the kitchen, where they kept the spare towels and such. He gave his uncle a wide shrug as he retrieved one, saying, "She wants to clean the ball-th--uh, Bingo." While he was here, he also gave the air a sniff, determining through scent what he could also see at a glance: dinner wasn't done yet. He left Brandon to it then, heading back over to Minnow to offer the cloth.

Not at all unexpectedly, his eyes immediately snagged onto Bingo again right away. It was just so bizarre and shiny. He wanted to touch it, test how smooth it was. The only reason he wasn't--yet--was because it would be rude. And he didn't want Minnow to get mad at him, so he was withholding his instincts to grab at anything that glittered.

As he handed over the towel, he said, "I don't know what you mean by 'oil', though." Not that he was surprised that he encountered another thing he didn't grasp. "Do you mean, like, vegetable oil? How could that help?"

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NJKqn7o.png+Minnow+

While Grani went off in search of a cloth, Minnow picked up Bingo to give him a good, hard look over. She found his beady little eyes and frowned - well, more like pouted... As much as she tried to show anger, she was fraught with worry, and it colored her every expression and movement. "I just wanna help you, Bingo..." she murmured, all too belatedly realizing Grani had already returned.

For a moment she stared blankly at him and the cloth in his hands, trying to recall what it was he'd said. When it came to her, she blinked and her face brightened. "Oh! Sorry! Yeah, vegetable oil should work OK, if you have it?" She placed Bingo back down on the table and reached out to retrieve the towel. Her face screwed up a bit, her eyes glancing off and her lips pursing - then, she was suddenly spitting a wad of saliva into the cloth, which she scrunched into the towel before taking the moistened textile to Bingo's surface. As she started rubbing it around his metal plates, she continued, "The oil helps lubricate his parts. See, machines are made of a bunch of different metal pieces that rub against each other when they move. Like..." Her eyes drifted aside in thought, then brightened when she saw the legs of the other chair. "Like that chair! If you were to drag it across the floor, it'd grate a bit, and eventually start to damage both the legs and the floor. That's why you gotta kinda lift it a bit when you pull it out." It distantly occurred to her he probably didn't have any personal experience with that... but, maybe he'd seen Brandon do it enough times to know what she was talking about?

"A-Anyway," she continued, hoping she hadn't disgruntled him again, "the oil serves as what's called a lubricant. It makes it easier for Bingo's parts to move around, and prevents them from hurting each other when they do." As she worked the cloth around Bingo, periodically spitting into it some more, his surfaces slowly but surely got mildly brighter, the grime steadily rubbing off so his bronze, tin, and gold pieces could all shine. Of course, these simple techniques wouldn't restore him to his original splendor... but it was still a fairly significant improvement. Smiling as she continued to work, she replied, "Vegetable oil should work just fine if you have it. Anything slick and greasy like that. If not, though, that's okay - he's running real low on energy, so he probably won't be able to move around much anyhow."

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Honestly, for several moments Grani was enthralled with what Minnow was doing. That Bingo thing was growing shinier with each pass of the cloth across his surfaces, and Grani couldn't look away. He was hearing her plenty well, for once--maybe because he was actually interested in this? Her explanation for why she needed oil, however, soon embarrassed him. When she was barely halfway through, it clicked, and he realized how obvious it was then. Granted, he'd never had experience with metal things "grating" against each other, but now that he'd heard they do, it all made sense.

Which just made him huffy, really. He tore his eyes from the slowly-being-cleaned object to cross his arms and pout, then turned to head back into the kitchen without another word. Once there, he explained quickly, "Now she wants oil for her ball-thingy." He grabbed their container of the stuff, having no idea how much she'd need, to bring it back to her, setting it on the table. Then he sat his huge rump on the ground to continue watching her work.

". . .It seems really hard and complicated," he commented. "Why do you bother with it, if it needs so much work all the time?" Not that he really had any idea how much work went into maintaining it--he was just guessing. Yeah, he maintained this cabin, and it needed some hard work sometimes, but it was usually just little things that needed fixing. Nothing like what Minnow was doing with Bingo now, with all that careful cleaning and oiling.

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