The Odds Are Against You

As Paws walked into her Mog House, she noticed two things immediately. First, the floor seemed to be now covered in a copious layer of gil, and she didn't remember ordering any shiny new carpeting. Second, her moogle was nowhere to be seen. Where could he have gone?

"Moog? Moog, where'd you go? Are you in here?"

A rustling noise made her ear flick towards the left hand side of the room, towards the soft bed she'd been loaned by a kind Elvaan friend. Sure enough, a squirming pile of gil with a small red ball peeking through wriggled energetically. Paws giggled and flicked her whiskers as she swept away the heavy money, picking up her very rumpled moogle and hugging it to her chest. The poor thing burst into tears and buried its white face into the sympathetic bosom. Finally he raised big, wet eyes and began to tell her the story of how the Mog House became buried in money:

"Kupo...I went to set up your delivery box *sniff*, expecting you to come home soon, and all of your silk threads sold! The gil kept pouring out *hic*, and I couldn't do anything to stop it. Soon it all *snuffle* poured out onto the floor and it buried me alive..."

Paws sat down on the bed, setting down the moogle, now calmer, beside her. His wings flapped, seeming to be in good order, and he flew around the room, looking dejectedly at the mess. She eyed the profits around the room, guessing that the stacks she had put up had indeed sold for more than one hundred thousand gil apiece. She could scarcely believe the sudden demand, but to her it did make sense in a way. It seemed many of those who were using something to forge (no pun intended) their way into profits had turned to creating items with silk instead of darksteel. The metal was precious, but silk despite the price is plentiful. Then again, she considered shaking her head, perhaps it was simply greed driving these adventurers to hike the prices.

Looking at the white jars lined up against the far wall, she critically eyed what weapons and small pieces of equipment she had, then made a decision. Turning towards Moog, she smiled brilliantly.

"Well, if it's going to be such a hot commodity, I may as well get more. Though it's true that I could craft a dozen or so of the threads from crawler cocoons, the auction house usually doesn't have that many. Crawlers live around the few trees found in the Tahrongi Canyon. They're easy to spot. I think I'll hunt some crawlers today. Now, where did I hang my special Bone Harness?..." The rest of her sentence was lost in the material of her Baron's Saio as she lifted it over her head.

The next few minutes were spent gathering gear and making plans. A jingle on her signal pearl had her bring it to her ear, but as it turned out, it was just Nanako checking in to say a quick greeting before heading out to hunt for a far east relic for Luto Mewrilah. Not a moment passed before her linkpearl gave up a jangle, and laughingly she turned down an invitation to go Chocobo Racing.

Suited up as a Thief, she picked up a skillfully made Knife, rubbing a claw appreciatively over the extra sharp blade, and grinning happily at the signature etched into the base. Gifts are nice; personal gifts are even nicer. She emptied her bag to only a few emergency medical supplies and some food, and then set off towards the Chocobo Stables.

The Mithra waved to the Elvaan just inside the door, then stopped to chat with one of the stablehands. Giving Quesse a nod, she took the proffered chocobo's reigns and set off for a ride, winding her way northeast along a river route so often travelled on foot both by herself and many others.

Patting her steed as they ran with haste towards the Canyon, she used her knees to skillfully direct the chocobo up the hills, dashing past birds, bees, and other wildlife around the area. Moving into the hilly area she desired, she squinted her eyes up against the dust being kicked up by the sharp winds. With the weather being in such a wild state, she darted her eyes around the surroundings, making sure she didn't run across the path of a grouchy elemental. Seeing no resistance, she ran past a band of Goblins being chased by other adventurers, and finally spotted her destination: a small grove of trees, bleached white by both the sun, and the strings of many crawlers which had called it home in the past. Paws dismounted from her bird, and gave it the command to head to the towering crystals of the Mea Teleport site. It warked as she gave it a tap on the tail and headed off north at top speed, narrowly avoiding being stepped on by a Wild Dhalmel.

The Mithra eyed up the towering brown beast, and contemplated. She'd decided for brains over brawn this trip, and while she would be using her Thief skills to dodge as many attacks as possible from the creatures, she'd also be using some spells she'd learned by being a Red Mage. She contemplated whether or not she could cast both a Paralyze spell as well as a Poison, but decided she would have to rest her mind before casting any decent Cure spells, so decided to leave the Dhalmels to wander and munch on the few tufts of grass around. Perhaps when she became stronger, she could kill them and use her Knife to skin them.

Instead, Paws turned to her primary target: the Canyon Crawlers that lived under the trees. She carefully snuck up to the base of an particularly wide, sturdy trunk and peeked around it. Sure enough, a docile yellow head with black feelers was bobbing up and down idly, and she grinned wickedly to herself, slowly readying her weapon so there would be no noise. Gathering her thoughts, she prepared a holy spell to sap the life gradually from her intended target, and leapt out from her hiding spot, casting the spell on the unsuspecting creature. But what greeted her was certainly not what she had expected!

The width of the tree trunk had hid a very vital detail from the sneaky kitty: the crawler she'd spotted was a female, and her docile attitude came from the fact that a male crawler was creeping up behind her. She'd caught the two in a mating ritual, and as the female let out a bleep of pain, the male decided it really didn't like the idea of its intended mate getting offed right before he could do his business, and he shuffled forward, enraged. Now it was two crawlers versus one Mithra, and the fight was on.

As fast as she could, Paws formulated the spell for paralyzing victims in her mind and threw it at the second crawler, disabling it while she concentrated on her first target. The fight became a drawn out dance of feint, dodge, stab, and pummel as the two swapped blows back and forth, with the second crawler occasionally getting in a good thunk of his own. Paws quickly downed a drink as she felt herself weaken slightly, as she had learned from experience it would slowly give her extra health, which she hoped would be enough to get her through the fight. She'd cast a Protect spell on herself before gathering up her Chocobo, and she was quite glad of that fact now, as it helped minimize the damage she took.

The two enemies were ferocious together, and she felt herself growing slightly faint. She gathered together her wits and twice in a row, cast Cure spells, bolstering herself against the long fight. After the second spell, she slashed out with her weapon, and caught the female Crawler in a particularly tender spot. It gave one last beep of distress before toppling over, silent except for the spasms of its many feet in its death throes. Paws hissed out a laugh and turned to the second target, slashing it in the same spot as she did the first. Though it didn't score a critical hit, it did serve to anger the creature even further. It sucked in a great breath and exhaled, spitting a fine layer of poison all over Paws. Her fur sticky with the green substance, she knew the fight would have to be quickly won or she would not be able to recover.

She chopped off one of the feelers on top of the Crawler's head, and while it momentarily flailed, distracted by its own pain, she closed her eyes and gathered together one last Cure spell for herself. While it didn't help with the poison slowly sapping her strength, it did give her enough energy to circle around the beast and stab it in the tender side now exposed to her. She dragged her knife through the yellow and black spotted flesh, and the beast gave a small, queer sound as it, like it's mate, toppled to the ground, dead. Paws was victorious.

Panting, she stood there for a moment, feeling a bit lightheaded. She couldn't rest until the poisons has run their course through her system, so instead she made a call on the Signal Pearl she'd forgotten was in her pocket.


'You don't sound very good! What's up, Paws? Do you need my help?'

"If you're in...Jeuno you should...Teleport to Mea...bring some antidotes..."

'You sound like you need it. I know just the Tarutaru to send me there. Hang on, Paws, I'll be there in a flash.'


There wasn't much to do but wait, it seemed. Paws downed a second jug of the Selbina Milk she's brought, hoping the restorative powers would stave off the sickness. Deciding there wasn't much better to do, she scoured the creatures she'd killed, and found enough of the threads on the two of them to make two complete spools of thread. She let nature take them, and as their bodies faded, an Earth Crystal floated up from their remains she grasped it and added it to the backpack next to her other spoils. But suddenly, she froze in her tracks and her ears flicked back and forth in quick succession. Had that been the wind, or was it something a little more dangerous?

A snarl from behind her confirmed her worst fears and she whipped around, weapon in hand, to see a Yagudo with a long blade in his hand, lifting it high to strike her with it. She screeched and jumped back, but a root from the tree tripped her up and she fell backwards, stunned from the fall and the poison which still was affecting her fighting abilities. She screamed loudly as the enemy stalked forward and planted a foot onto her leg, stomping down on her knee hard and pinning her in place. The blade of the Persecutor bit into her shoulder, as Paws made one last ditch effort to dodge the attack. A second stab caught her in the arm, as she flung up her shield to block the deadly blade, it glanced off and sliced through her skin. The world began to spin, but off in the distance she saw a chocobo racing towards her, a trim blonde Hume encouraging it to run faster still. A third blow caught her in the hip, and as Paws felt the world tip and slowly slide out of reach into a black morass, the last thing she saw before everything went dark was her friend's sword stabbing straight through the chest as a battle scream sounded from Nanako, somehow seeming more distant than it really should have...

Then darkness.