It was the last day I could go without eating. Despite still having time left, I wanted to die. There was a burning pit in my gut that wouldn’t go away. Personally, I think it was a mixture of anger and anxiety. If I couldn’t catch Snowball by the end of the day, my perfect 3-day energy supply would be wasted, and I’d have to take a break from hunting in order to find food.
With this urgency in mind, I woke up around 11am and got started with my newest plan.
The first thing I noticed was the smell of ash and singed fur. Looking around, I realized the embers from the fire set my net ablaze and it burned through the night. Luckily, the batch of Slavani I came from were designed to have a resistance to heat. Unluckily, my net was unsalvageable and it would take time to weave another.
With only a few hours left until I had to eat again, I hurried back to my tent on the outskirt of the forest. It was ransacked and torn apart, probably by that gang of Daft-Rabbits from the previous night. But they didn’t steal my shovel and pickaxe, which would soon prove to be their undoing.
Back into the forest, I found a new clearing and started digging.
Aah, manual labor~!
I set aside my plot and dug up all the grass and bushes that were in the area. My dig plot was 8ft in diameter and set directly between two trees, the goal was to chase Snowball between the trees and have him fall. On one side of the hole I set up my deposit area, where all the soil and rocks would be placed until I can spread it around the forest to make it look more natural. Obviously, the pile area was significantly larger than the hole area, as dirt tends to settle as a pyramid.
With my plot cleared and my tools ready, I got to work.
The birds chirped, the wind made the grass dance, and I don’t know when I started humming.
It really sucks how so few mining jobs are available in Slavani territory. I would love to spend my days in the deep, dark, damp recesses of a massive cave, digging up ore or clearing space for an underground fortress. The fact I didn’t have anxiety pains in my gut during the whole process proves how calming it is.
I just couldn’t help it, Master. As I dug deeper and deeper into Y’varda, I kept getting these grand ideas. Dig a bit over here and carve out a bedroom, dig some there and make a dining room. If I dig deeper I could make a pool, branching off that way would make a nice lounge for guests, and don’t even get me started on my ideas for a multi-media room! Despite how time consuming it would have been, I secretly hoped I would run into a boulder, so I could carve it into a nice fridge.
But alas, none of these ideas would come to be. I only had a day to work and a building this far away from Vejtarta wouldn’t be of use to anyone.
That being said, I took pride in my hole! Despite the shifting soil and the many roots poking into my dig space, I kept the walls nice and smooth, packed in and firm. Later, I justified this extra effort by thinking it would prevent Snowball from climbing out.
After hours of work, I took a deep breath, slung my pickaxe over my shoulder, and wiped my forehead like they do in those foreign movies.
“Aaah!” I said, looking up to appreciate all my efforts. The hole was easily 10 times my height, and spacious enough for me to comfortably lay down. “Heehee! What a nice job I did. Now I just gotta…” I looked down at my paws and grabbed my chin. “I gotta spread around the dirt, make a covering to fit over the hole, find Snowball, then chase him over. Oh, and makes some spears to put him out of his misery, falling this far will probably break his legs.”
A few small pieces of dirt fell and plinked off my head. “Hm?”
I looked up… and he was there. Watching me. His little nose twitched as my face coiled in shock and horror.
I put my hand on my hips and tapped my paw against the dirt. “Really?” I asked. “You couldn’t wait another 5 minutes?” I looked down and gripped the bridge of my nose, shaking my head. “Welp… nothing to do about it now… well, except-!” I jumped as high as I could and fluttered my wings with all my might! I built this hole wide enough to it my wings for my wings on purpose! “-to capture you!”
I… as it turned out… I was a little overzealous with my digging. I only made it about a third of the way up the hole before falling back down and landing on my butt.
See, Master, I’ve seen some Slavani with wings powerful enough to fly through the sky, and some with wings good enough to glide along strong winds. That’s not my batch. Most batches use their wings to assist their running and jumping and all that… but not my batch.
My batch of Slavani was spawned with near useless wings that only help us jump about 10 feet in the air. As a tradeoff we’re resistant to fire and far more intelligent than most Worker strains, so I guess it evens out.
“Hmm,” I said, looking up. “That’s not good. Don’t go anywhere, you hear me? I’ll be right up!”
He wiggled his nose at me.
I slid my hands along the walls, looking for any divots or creases I could hold onto, but I was too thorough. The dirt wall was seamless and even the roots were cut flush. I tried to dig my fingers into the wall, but I didn’t want the Daft-Rabbit doing that exact thing, so I had packed the walls in tight and hard.
With a sigh, I picked up my shovel. “Man, this sucks. I don’t wanna destroy such great work…” I threw my head back and was about to curse in your name, but then a large clump of dirt landed on my face and threw me onto my back. I popped up and wiped the dirt from my face and fur. “Pfft! Pfft! Ack!” I spat out dirt particles and looked up, only to get another heavy clump of dirt to the face. “Pfft! A-ghk! Ptht!” I shook the loose clumps of dirt out of my fur, then looked up, where I got smacked in the face by ten pounds of soil! “Eugh! Pfth!” My mouth was open that time, and when I finally got all the dirt out, I felt my neck crushed under the force of a massive pile of earth falling down from the top of the hole.
My vocabulary isn’t that big so I can’t make each instance unique, but this happened 7 more times before I was able to dodge out of the way of the falling dirt.
“Ha!” I pointed skyward. The sounds of shifting soil from the surface stopped… and the Snowball poked his head out.
Now, Master, for someone as omnipotent as you, it probably isn’t a surprise that the incomparable evil of the Daft-Rabbit was the one to drop a steady stream of dirt on my head. For your humble servant however, I was quite shocked. I figured either the wind picked up, or maybe I piled the dirt too close to the hole. With this revelation, however, my eyes went wide. I was disgusted with the sheer display of cruelty and barbarity of our age-old enemy.
What kind of monstrous creature would try to kill me while I’m trapped, helpless in the bottom of a hole?
But four other Daft-Rabbits poked their heads out.
“Uhh… wait a minute…”
The five Daft-Rabbits left, and I gulped. A moment later, they used their powerful hind legs to kick wave after wave of dirt back into the hole.
“Y-you’re trying to bury me alive?!” I screamed as I used my superior Slavani agility to dodge and weave between the steadily stream of soil. The more dirt they kicked in, the higher the floor grew, but the soil was soft and uneven, it quickly became more difficult to dodge.
‘Heh!’ I thought. ‘Stupid creatures, your bloodlust blinds you to the obvious. The more dirt you kick in, the closer I get to capturing you. All I have to do is-‘ and then I stopped thinking because they kicked a rock in and it hit my head, knocking me out.