《Drip-Fed》The metal fairy 2
The slime found a happy equilibrium between how much mana it could gather from the energy it produced from photosynthesis and how much it gave to the pond. While its only influence over the former was that the mana regeneration was directly linked to how much it ate, the latter it could change by adjusting how much of it was touching the metal.
It was a weird liquid, to say the least. It hardened in response to the slime’s touch. In other words, the slime could sit on it with its whole body if it so desired. It didn’t, because the amount of magical siphoning that happened then was unpleasant and unsustainable, but it was an interesting discovery nonetheless.
As the process continued, the slime watched the underground happenings through its tremor sense. It had grown remarkably more sensitive with time. Being one of the few things the slime possessed naturally, it became stronger as its owner did. Like the pheromone glands. Speaking of the pheromone glands, the slime had spent a couple of nights beating itself over the head for evolving it rather than eyes at this point.
Having reliable eyes that could see more than a couple of metres and blurs would have been really nice. Not that the pheromones were useless, they attracted all kinds of bugs to its position, giving it some nice extra snacks through the day and nights, but it was just not something that proved vital. After all, it had yet to even see an ant, which were decidedly not the kings of everything.
The slime gathered its mass at the top, making it look like a cone for a moment, and then relaxed, causing the amorphous, green blob to fall back into its usual elliptical shape. That was its way of sighing, it had developed it out of boredom and to train its stretching skills. Its base body was pretty limited in what it could do, but that was no reason to not keep it fluid. Speaking of fluids, the liquid metal began to behave quite differently as well.
Over the past couple of degree changes of the sun’s position in the sky (or hours for regular people), the liquid metal oozing had slowly stopped as the metal had stopped flowing in the circle. At the same time, the pond that gathered more and more of the liquid began to bloat. Not unlike a balloon being inflated, it seemed that the resulting bubble gained in buoyancy as well.
Now it had exceeded the point of being lighter than air and slowly began rising. Simultaneously, the mana siphoning ebbed away, so the slime inched away. It didn’t even need to keep eyes on the thing, it was vibrating with such intensity that he could have felt it from dozens of metres away.
Hovering in the air, the vibrations slowly transitioned into tremors and then beats. The hovering bubble deflated into an odd-shape. An animal, although the slime by no means could discern what kind. It had front legs that dangled from shoulders too far up to touch the ground, also they ended in five short grabby things. The hindlegs had more proper soles, while that elongated torso was so slim that the slime had to wonder where that creature left all its intestines.
Then again, it was made from metal, so that question was probably naught.
It stood at about ten centimetres tall, less than half the slimes diameter, and had impractical long strands of fur growing from its head all the way down to its hips. Also it had two weird, not particularly large bumps on its chest. With its vibration detection, that was about all the slime could discern. That and quickly beating wings behind its back that flung into action to keep the creature afloat. Its limited sight also told the slime that this new creature had four colours, black, white, two dots of green and a very weak looking pink.
“Hello, awakener,” spoke the creature, “I am the fairy of this mountain and deliverer of the divine quest of the maker of this pocket world. My name is Aclysia.”
The slime reached up to it by extending a part of it upwards.
“A handshake?” asked Aclysia, tilting her head quizzically, “How peculiar, I am to be a guide. Then again, I was supposed to be awakened by a human.” The metal fairy reached out to shake the tentacle.
The slime slimed around her hand. A feeling of disappointment hit it as it realized that it still couldn’t eat this thing that just appeared before it. Metal, dead or alive, was not affected by its acid. At least it guessed that from the fact that the metal fairy up and down motion seemed playful rather than an attempt at getting out of its body.
Also, it continued to make these weirdly calming sounds. What a strange and wide range of noises for an animal to make.
“I do have to admit that you smell rather nice, awakener,” Aclysia continued on as her hand was released. It was completely unharmed, indeed the slimes acid only attacked biological matter or things that were directly part of living beings. It would dissolve clam shells, but not armour. Fringe cases notwithstanding.
A fairy entirely made from sentient metal? Not an exception to the rule.
The odd creature sniffed the air around the slime. “Very attractive,” she continued, leaning against his form.
Having gotten what it wanted, something interesting to remember of today, the slime turned around and slugged its way towards and up the stone walls. The axolotl eyes vanished, but the slime knew exactly which path it had followed. All it needed was an ant’s nose, and it could follow its own pheromone trail back to its base.
The fairy followed it. “Uhm, awakener,” for the first time its tone wavered, but the slime had no idea what that different frequency meant. “Where are you going? Do you not wish… to… commune… with… me…?”
It slowly dawned on the metal fairy that it had been accidentally awoken by a creature that had no idea what it had done and was incapable of speech. Did it even understand her? She flew overhead of the blob and asked, “Awakener, do you hear my words?”
The easy answer to that was: Yes, it felt the vibrations dully in the air. Although, even if the slime had known what they meant, its vibration sense wasn’t quite good enough yet to discern the words from each other. It just heard the tone and the tone was non-threatening, so it moved on.
The metal fairy hovered on the spot, dumbfounded. It had been sent to this plan by the 33rd god of the omniverse decades ago. Whoever was to find her, so her creator, would be her awakener and she was to help him become a person of greatness. Hero, villain, inventor or conqueror, all of that had been left unsaid, just someone who went and left his, her or (as it turned out) its mark on the omniverse
And it was a slime.
Aclysia gathered herself and flew after her awakener. “It seems then that I am bound to an oddity,” she spoke, more to herself than to the slime. “Perhaps you have more underneath your green membrane than my eyes can discern? A slime with mana and patience to awaken me has to hide something.”
All around, the metal fairy was taking her fate in stride. There was no reason to be downtrodden or disappointed, in the first place her mission was incredibly vague. For now she would play the observer over this slime.
As night began to fall on the mountain, the slime came to a halt inside its den and stretched out its branches. Aclysia blinked at that display and gave a small, pale-pink lipped smile. Seemed like her awakener was unusual indeed.
With nothing better to do, the metal fairy followed its instincts and settled down on the floor. Her quick beating wings folded behind her back, as black and white as the rest of her body. She inspected herself, from the long, straight, white hair and pale skin to the black, one-piece dress she was wearing. Hands and feet, arms and legs, were also veiled with long pieces of black exterior, serving no other purpose than giving her the appearance as if she was wearing stockings and gloves. The only thing that really stood out in her colouration were the brilliant green eyes, the colour of fresh spring leaves, which she directed at the floor around her awakeners’ resting place.
The chaos nature had made of the lawn affronted her eyes. Withered twigs and unruly blades of grass were laying around in an unacceptable non-pattern. If this was to be her and her awakener’s home for the immediate future, then she would clean up this place. Not like she had anything better to do while the slime slept.
Of course, the slime didn’t sleep, so it spent the night wondering about the curious creature it had awakened by mere boredom. Keeping track of the tremors, as she cleared up tiny branches of the forest floor and stacked them up elsewhere, the slime thought about how this was at least something to concentrate on during the night.
Then it went to update the map inside its mind, maybe the next days would bring something else that was different?
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