The Merrin, part 24

Story by Sovereign Kyle on SoFurry

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#24 of Merr

colder and colder, and trying to preserve what heat there is...

Next: Part 25

Avy gently presses her last wing against the wall. All 6 now hang there. She sighs heavily and adjusts her cloak. Key made it to help keep her warm. The cave is cooling, and as a result, so is the shelter.

After getting herself something to eat, she sits on the bed and pulls her tail around onto her lap. She had thought for a while that the human way to mate might have made her start laying, but her body broke down his sperm too quick. It had felt good though, feeling his warmth flow into her.

She can't help but smile. Her mate is stronger than she had thought.

Using one of the rocks he brought, Key smashes as the ice covering the top hatch of the com shelter. It's a good thing that Drudge suggested this, the marsh is still chest deep, but with ice, not water. It's all of 5 below.

In the hundreds of planets he's studied, none drop 150 degrees in a local week's time.

After a few more hits, the hatch pops open. He pulls some ice out of the way and drops his packs inside. He then climbs down the ladder, leaving the rock on top, near the hatch. He's sure he'll need that next time too.

As he opens his helmet, he says, "All right Drudge. Status report. Short version."

"Power 98 percent. No messages."

Key sighs. "Figures. Decrease loop interval, make it...30 minutes. Cut power to anything not needed."

"Does that include life support?"

"Let's set that to 5 above. No real reason to keep it any warmer." He turns, and closes the other pod's door. "No reason to heat what we can't use either."

He then dumps the packs out. Their rocks join the existing pile, almost doubling its size.

With a heavy sigh, he climbs back up the ladder and out into the cold.

* * *

In an effort to find out why it's getting cold, Key walks down hill, deep into the cave. Even here, he doesn't need his helmet on. It's only 45 degrees in the cave, cool compared to what it's been. The creatures that sought refuge in the cave didn't come this deep.

With Avy back in the shelter, he's alone for now.

He turns a corner into a chamber and feels a cool draft.


"That was 10 degrees cooler than the air," Drudge states.

"Where'd it come from?"

"There is a vent to our left."

"Show me."

A blue arrow appears in Key's vision and he follows it to the source. On the ground lies a fresh pile a rubble, above there's a decent sized hole. Through the hole, there's some water dripping.

"Well. That's nice."

"We should plug that," Drudge states.

Key sighs. "Ya think. Can you map that on the surface?"

"I should be able to get us close. The heat plum should also give it away."

"Let's just hope it's accessible."

Key walks up the steep hill. According to Drudge, the vent should be nearby. Looking ahead, the hill gets steeper.

"How close are we?"

"We should be within a meter."

Key stops and looks around. "I don't see it." Then, spotting a hole in the snow, he quickly adds, "Never mind."

Even with the ice cleats on his boots extended, getting over to it is a chore. The ground is steep and unstable.

When he gets there, he stabilizes himself as best he can and pulls a couple marble-sized devices from a chest pocket. "You're sure these will work."

"Yes. Geologists often use these to stabilize cave-ins."

With a shrug, Key tosses the marbles down the hole. There's a faint hissing as they bounces down the hole, releasing foam.

The foam fills the hole, stopping the heat from escaping.

Key shoves some snow into the hole and waits to see if it melts. When it doesn't, he starts back to the cave. As he reaches the bottom of the hill, a pile of snow comes to life.

It's a creature, a spiked, wooly beetle the size of an elephant, stands and shakes the snow off itself. Key quickly realizes that the "wool" is not part of the beetle, but a plant that has grown on top of it.

Key stands in awe as the creature slowly lumbers off. He hasn't seen one of these before.

"We should have brought the scanner," Drudge states.

"Didn't think anything was still out here."

Opening the door, Key finds Avy asleep on the bed. She's sleeping more and more lately, and he knows her urge to hibernate is beginning to take it's toll on her.

He quietly takes off his armor and sits next to her on the bed. She lifts the blanket allowing him to slide underneath.

"Thought you were asleep."

Not really. I'm just physically tired. I'm mentally awake.

He smiles and gives her a kiss. "Saw a new creature today."

She nods slightly. They're called rongshou.

"Rongshou," Key repeats for Drudge's benefit.

The moss on them is called moshtk.

"Moshtk is the moss. Hmm." He rolls slightly, and puts his arm around her. "You're going to need to hibernate soon aren't you."

She sighs, then after a moment, answers. Might. The desire is there, but I can resist by resting often.

"It's still getting colder out there."

I know. Even the rongshou will be hibernating soon. She then snuggles up to Key, trying to warm herself off his body heat.

He smiles, scoots in a little closer and hugs her close.

The Merrin, part 25

Three days. It's been three days since he's been able to leave the cave. The storm outside has been raging for nearly all of that. With a sigh, he heads back inside the cave. In an effort to keep the heat in, he's put up some of the leftover shelter...

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The Merrin, part 23

Avy sits holding a wing. One fell off her this morning. It hadn't come as a surprise, she hadn't been able to use them for a while. Even if she could, her tail is now too heavy to fly with. Key sits beside her, checking her other wings. _I will so...

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The Merrin, part 22

The eclipse has started, bringing out one of the worst storms yet. Key stands near the cave's entrance watching the storm. Avy sits beside him, her tail wrapped in a giant sleeve to protect her from the asrukes, holding Key's hand. She'd normally be...

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