14: Weight of Stone
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"I figured now was a good time, since the lot is already leveled. But we can use the pouch to move it if we need to," MatchlessMinion said quickly, with a glance at Shrubbery.

"Alright," Shrubbery agreed.

"It landed pretty well," Danika commented. "Beside the archway like that seems nice?"

"It is," Shrubbery agreed.

Kit walked over and stepped up to the giant snail. "I wish…" she began, and then shot Shrubbery a guilty look.

"I know," Shrubbery replied softly.

Kit laid her hand on the little figure of Eyes on the Sky, and then gasped when the little flying squirrel appeared to run up her arm and shouted, "Me too!"

The illusion faded a moment later, and left Kit standing with her hand still touching the little sandstone figure. "I thought it only worked with water, and was only images?" Kit said a little shakily.

"Tears are wet," Ryullusion replied gently, when no one else spoke right away. He stepped forward and touched his own fingers to her cheek, and then reached out and touched the little figure.

The little flying squirrel sighed and waved a paw lazily. "Tomorrow," she said tiredly before the illusion vanished again.

Kit laughed. She rubbed her face and then nodded and repeated, "See you all tomorrow." She vanished a moment later.

Their newest member glanced around, with nervously twitching whiskers after Kit left, and asked, "Um, what should I be doing?"

Danika looked at Icieth Occino. "What would you like to do?" she questioned. She checked the guild pages in her menus, but it seemed that they'd somehow completed all the missions for the day.

"Anything that's useful?" Icieth replied.

Shrubbery ventured, "If you really mean anything, dead leaves and live worms would speed things up here, but it's fine if you don't feel like collecting them. I can produce leaves in my garden tomorrow, and we can give out a quest for worm collection."

"Ah…" Icieth hesitated.

MatchlessMinion said nobly, "Don't worry, I have time to collect worms before I quit for the night. You guys can work on leaves."

"Are you sure?" Icieth questioned.

"I'll help with leaves too, if any kind of leaves work. I can begin rebuilding my garden," Danika suggested.

"Any kind of leaves," Shrubbery assured her.

"What about seaweed?" the ottermin suggested hopefully.

"That would be great," Shrubbery agreed.

"Cool! I'll return in awhile!" Icieth exclaimed, and she scampered off without waiting for a reply.

--

Danika laid the little grey-green pebble that contained her garden on one of the seats in Shrubbery's garden. Saaki had returned it in a message after the entrance to Nabatea had been finished. She touched the little stone and whispered "dragonheart".

Her pet firefly, Hikaru, circled the little apple tree that had grown from the strangely furry seed produced by the enchanted apple, which she'd gotten so long ago from the wizard Wise Ardlee. Her bees had repaired the hive that she'd moved up against the outer wall, but the little space didn't hold any flowers for them at the moment.

Someone, who'd ridden in the stone space while it had been being used as a transport module, had moved and stacked the stone dragon prints so that they made three equal height seats clustered on one side of the garden. The ground showed scorch marks as well as the impressions of many feet.

Danika frowned at the traces, and then laughed. Saaki's message had said, "I cleaned up a bit." The scorch marks were probably made by him, rather than his passengers.

She withdrew her aqua stone and watered her tree first. Then she used her featherweight spell on the top stone and used her dragon strength to shove the thinnest one off of the stack, and push it across the circle of dirt into place. She frowned at the plowed furrow that that left behind, and then realized that she was doing it the hard way.

She was glad that only Hikaru was there to see her, as she tapped her storage band and shuffled her inventory around to free up a space. She was relieved to discover that she could simply place the next stone into her storage band and pull it out when she was at the spot that she wanted it. The featherweight spell still made positioning it easier, so she ate some candy to help replenish her energy faster.

Shrubbery popped in when she had just finished placing the last of the spiral of descending stone seats. "I just thought I'd see if you needed help," the dryad explained. "It looks like you have to start completely over doesn't it?"

"Yeah," Danika agreed. "Any advice? I was thinking I'd just put in edible plants this time. You still have the poisonous datura in your garden, and it doesn't sell for as much as it did at first anyway."

"How about clover as a ground cover this time? Your bees would like it, and it would add flowers everywhere that you weren't growing your food plants." Shrubbery suggested. "I need to get more clover seed to grow over the new guild lot anyway."

"OK," Danika agreed. "Should we go do that first?"

Shrubbery laughed and said, "I meant to come help, not pull you away. Go ahead and start placing your other plants, I can go get seeds by myself."

"It's alright," Danika said quickly. "I have something I want to ask the traveling merchant."

"I was going to purchase from the Gardener's Club, but we can stop by the merchant too," Shrubbery offered. She glanced around and then added, "I know he's just an NPC, but I can't help blaming him a little."

"Yeah," Danika agreed after a moment. "He really seems so real that it feels like he should have been able to refuse doesn't it?"

Shrubbery blinked at her. "Yes," she agreed after a moment. "Although I never thought about it that way. And he should be sad about the baby being killed."

Danika hesitated. Other NPCs were sad for awhile if a family member was killed, but the merchant really hadn't reacted to the baby's deletion. She had been focused on Kit when she'd called him up and asked about the marriage, and she hadn't asked about the baby.

"Maybe being deleted isn't the same as being killed?" Danika suggested a bit weakly.

They both exited the stone space, and Shrubbery glanced at Endless Song's remembrance statuary. "No matter how they go, when a person is no longer with you, you miss them."

"Yeah," Danika agreed. "I even miss that cat."

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