Chapter 24: Rumble’s side hustle
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The kiwis were way too cheap! Sure we got a lot of them, but they still sold for less than a potato seed each! Only getting 39 cents for the best of them and significantly less for the majority, it was not the windfall that we had first expected. Overall it was still worth it though, we did get just over 12 copper coins from the haul.

“I am going to get back a little late, but I should make it back before the nightly storms. I will try to get something on your list though. If we can afford a cheap stove, I will get it. If we can only afford some spices, then we will need to settle.” Mia said, holding our coins in her hand.

“Sounds good, honestly that was more than I was hoping for this morning.” I said with a smile. “Just be safe and hurry back. If it looks like you will get back too late, just stay in town for the night.”

“That will definitely destroy our budget. I will try to run as much as I can on the way there. With all the farming work that we have been doing, my stamina has gotten better.” Mia said enthusiastically.

“Okay, well just be safe.” I told her as Rumble hugged her leg and started off down the lane checking for danger out towards the road.

“I will, but it is going to be a long day of running to catch up to all the delays. And don’t forget, you and Rumble need to be careful too! Monsters don’t really attack road traffic, but they will attack you here. If a swarm comes, be sure to hide.” Mia told me as we walked towards the road.

“I will, I hope to go find more things to sell though. Maybe even find something to plant nearby.” I said hopefully

As we approached the main road Mia spoke up once again, “Brad, seriously be safe. And thank you for your help all the time.”

Patting her shoulder I said, “Mia, don’t mention it, remember we are partners! If one of us gets down then the other has to pull them back up.”

“That we are.” Mia said with a smile, as she turned and walked down the road with a wave back over her shoulder.

Looking down at my feet briefly and unsure of exactly where to start, I started calling out to Rumble, who turned out to be just behind me.

“Hey Rumble, looks like it is just going to be us for the rest of the day. Do you have anything else that you have found nearby that I may want to see?” I asked curiously, not knowing what I wanted him to show me.

Flashing me a smiley emoji and then tugging on my pant leg, Rumble set off to walk us around to the back of the shack. Making it around back, I noticed a well worn path in the tall grass that Rumble started heading towards.

“Rumble, did you make this path?” I asked, before receiving a confirmation emoji in return. “So, do you go this way often? What is in there?” I continued asking while pointed to the clearly marked path.

With an emoji of clashing weapons in my vision, it was clear… he had found a lot of monsters. And so we set off towards whatever he had found.

We walked for nearly 10 minutes through the tall grass before we crested a hill and came upon a small cliff face overlooking a small valley. Within the valley I could see a tree towering over a sparkling pond of water. And even from a distance I could tell that it was filled with some kind of fish and aquatic plants.

Tugging on my pants, Rumble grabbed my attention and popped a ‘hush’ emoji into my display. Pointing down to our right, he directed my attention to a small washed out section of the valley wall polka dotted with holes. And with that we set out again, using a small path to our left that led us slowly down into the valley.

As we made our way down the path I noticed many different types of foot prints, not all of which were from Rumble and his presumably daily trips down here. With a small washed out section nearby I could see a small trail of ants taking advantage of the cleared path. As we neared the base of the cliff and came to the valley floor, I noticed that it was full of life. Bugs everywhere, in the air, on the foliage, and dipping into the water.

Leading me over to the water’s edge, Rumble pointed to where the tree met the pond and there I noticed something cute. 5 turtles, each with a frog on top, were resting on a barely submerged root. As the bugs flew past, the frogs would take turns catching them in order to either eat themselves or to pass on to their turtle friends. Not quite sure what to make of it, I looked down at Rumble for clarification where I was met with a shrug.

Picking up a stone from near the pond’s edge, Rumble skipped it across the calm water’s surface before rocketing into the pocked cliff face. After which a loud buzzing filled the area accompanied by a few very excited frogs croaking loudly and 5 turtle heads swiveling our way.

Within moments, sickly streaks of green and red flashed our way. Flying bugs that were what appeared to be cousins of the old world sea urchin with wings. The thing rocketed towards Rumble as if he was anathema to their existence.

With a sense of danger shooting up and down my spine, I stepped back to see what my familiar had planned. And oh boy did he have a plan… he just stood there with his thorns activated.

With the first bug splattering into him, I saw that his thorns ripped through their thin carapace spines and shredded the majority of bugs attacking him. As the bugs kept getting slaughtered by their own momentum, Rumble approached their nest and started peaking into different openings and was almost always greeted by a new wave of attacks.

This knock and shred strategy of Rumbles continued for a good few minutes until he scooped up a large armful of bugs and walked over towards where the tree met the water. As he approached, the turtles all dropped off of their perch and swam over towards my familiar, with their frog passengers still in tow.

Upon meeting each other, they all exchanged some odd yet obviously friendly greeting amongst themselves as if they were long time friends. After the little animals ate the offering brought, a dark speckled green turtle stepped forward and with a small whine urged his frog to retrieve something from their submerged root with its tongue whipping across the distance.

Taking the unknown object from the group of 10, Rumble bade them farewell with a wave and ran back over to me. Not yet knowing what he had, he led the way back home. Almost having to crawl back up the path to the top, I realized that I had not noticed how loose some of the soil was. Getting the occasional hand from Rumble, we made our way to the top and back down the well worn path through the grass. With a fight against 3 lashers on the way home, we made it within just a few minutes longer than it took us to get to the pond’s valley.

Arriving home, I asked Rumble what it was that he had received. With a big smiling emoji, he led me into the shack and pointed to the glowing flower and then to a walnut sized seed held within his branch like hand.

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