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70.27% Chimera Girl / Chapter 52: Lobbing and Fobbing

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Chapter 52: Lobbing and Fobbing

"I seem to have suffered a considerable depletion of my liquor supplies." SmithGuild moped in his commodious basement.

"How mysterious," Nelda replied.

The basement was more like a labyrinth really. It seemed much larger than the floor plan of the building above -- including many large vaulted rooms with venting chimneys and was crammed with equipment and supplies whose identity Nelda could not even guess. Everything was cold and seemed to have been out for use for a while.

SmithGuild wanders down a hallway into some kind of small storeroom with ranks fo shelving on all the walls. "There is a lot of equipment that might potentially be useful on this journey, but it is hard to predict… And our capacity for portage is limited."

[Hell, even your capacity for walkage is limited.]

One shelf held buckets and buckets of arrows, and in the corner, there was a great many spears. Stacked above were shields, both small round ones, and others more like the side of an old-fashioned garbage can.

"Your weapon supplies seem… still rather considerable," Nelda said.

SmithGuild wandered back. "It was a hobby for a while. To see how far I could develop the metallurgy of attack and defense." He cocked his head. "I even have full body armor for a centaur in here somewhere."

"Were their wars before? Why did you do it."

"That's one of the reasons I lost interest." SmithGuild lifted a short sword from a rack. "Life was very static, and I found myself wondering what the point of my experiments was. Everything being pretty much happy as they are. They were not really in need of the innovations myself, and the other gryphons felt somehow drive to develop. Perhaps you should take this. I don't have a scabbard for it though. Leather and fabrics was never really my thing."

Nelda looked at the blade. "Seems like it might send the wrong message," she said.

"I think it's you who recently explained to me that just because you have the equipment, doesn't mean you're obliged to use it."

[Are you making a double entendre?] Nelda smiled. "Not everyone sees it that way. And that would be a bit of a I-am-Xena-hear-me-roar statement piece. I'm not sure I could carry it off. Do you have anything smaller?"

"The lady wishes for smaller…" SmithGuild cast around the shelves as if searching for something.

It niggled at Nelda that she hadn't told SmithGuild everything she had concluded from her visit back to the Alma Mater.

"I don't know what you are going to think about this…" Nelda began.

Smithguild was looking through an old trunk that seemed stacked with cloth wrapped bundles. "Hmmm."

"There were two people who created the machine that brought me to Mirth. It is their opinion that the machine didn't just create a bridge. That it created this world. That none of it existed before, and it was created mainly in the service if a woman called Brenda…"

SmithGuild raised his hand tentatively. "That seems bold. To say your world is real, and mine is… manufactured…"

"I… I don't know. I guess I use the evidence I have. I only know what I see. And maybe it's wrong." Nelda shrugged. "Our worlds are connected by language and beliefs, so one of us came first. I guess. Oh, god. Well, it's just a theory." [I'm babbling.]

"Hmmm. Oh, here it is." SmithGuild pulled out a cloth wrapped package. "I didn't actually make this weapon. It was traded to me by the harpies, from their own hoard." He tossed it gently over to her,

Nelda caught the package and folded back the rough cloth wrapping. Inside was a sheath containing a dagger about the size of a large carving knife. The handle was made out of…. something hard covered by something kind of like crocodile skin.

Nelda's fingers fitted around it like it was designed for her grip. "So you have moved on from me saying your world might be newly created to offering me harpy treasure."

"Trea-sure," SmithGuild replied in a passable imitation of HineyBeard. He smiled. "We are all having to invent our way from day to day. I think the joining of our world has thrown off all the usual points of balance. We will all have to stumble around a bit before we find out footing again."

Nelda strapped the dagger to her waist. It hung about halfway to her knee. "Still a very creditable length," Nelda remarked. "Although if you believe HoneyBeard girth is more important. Oh, does it have a name? In stories, potential magical weapons owned by powerful creatures always have a name."

"It's probably written on it somewhere if it does; I didn't really pay much attention. I accepted the gift out of courtesy because the harpies do not like to be in another being's debt."

Nelda stroked the bumpy surface of the dagger's blade. "I couldn't even begin to calculate how much I am in your debt."

"Debt is a notion that keeps the harpies isolated, even more than living on that island. Between friends, there are no debts."

"Is that what we are, friends?" [I couldn't exactly call us 'lovers.'] [I shouldn't have even said that.] [I guess this is just my day for making awkward comments.]

SmithGuild didn't seem to mind. He looked at her with those warm gold-hazel eyes that seem to change with every shift of the light. "I imagine that is one of the things we get to discover along the way."

Now it was Nelda's turn to blush.


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