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Babyqo'te goes to Market! [Complete]

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"Mikh'a, you get back here!"


Not heeding the words of his mother, the Keeper kit continued to crawl along the merchant stall with his fluffy little tail flicking with excitement behind him. At barely two cycles old, he was learning what 'trouble' was like to get into...and how much fun it was! He let out a happy squeal of excitement as the fishmonger watched the boy in amusement.


Lili finished putting some of the parcels in her little bag along with the other items they were getting at market before having a free pair of hands which to pluck up the pesky child. He let out a small whine of protest, but as soon as Lili had him tucked against her chest again he became distracted by his adopted mother's hair. Abruptly, the giggles were gone and he had gone silent as he began to work at the golden strands to arrange them comfortably around his chubby fists.


They made a strange sight together. Lili with her short stature, ample assets, tanned skin and light hair and eyes. Mikh'a? He had a faint grey cast to his skin to show his Keeper ancestry, but his hair and eyes were bright and startling colors: his hair and furry appendages a bright orange and his eyes a flaming orangish red.


But they were a regular sight for the fishmonger, though sometimes the Lalafell boy was with them. And when Lili wasn't looking, he would be slipped a piece of hard taffy. It took a big heart in his eyes to start raising other kids that weren't her own. To think there were rumors of there being MORE around!


With business concluded, Lili stepped away from the stall with a cheerful parting smile and made her way further down the Ul'dah marketplace street. Mikh'a was still too distracted with his mother's hair to notice anyone else or really care.


Though after a few moments of walking in silence, his poofy ears stuck up and wiggled, the tips brushing along his mother's jaw. "Hmm?" She peeked down to him as he was looking around with frantic inquiry. "What is it, my heart?"


"Oinky, oinky," he said quietly.

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"Oinky, oinky" indeed as a particular puny purple porker was snuffling his way about around Chachanji's feet not more than a couple yalms away. The baby behemoth was a rare sight around Ul'dah as of late - having been brought to stay with his master at the Coral Sea's manor in Mist - but a longer assignment for the Adventurer's guild had necessitated bringing Gran along for the ride. Fortunately, Ms. Momodi had been as reliable and helpful as ever, going so far as to reserve their old room at the Hourglass for the oddball duo. And if, for whatever reason, they were needed back at their new home, well that was just an aetheryte jump away, wasn't it? Such useful things, those aetherytes.


Chachan was currently done with his assignment for the day, however, and had only stopped briefly at the Quicksand to pick up his purple partner before going to troll the markets. He really wasn't out to purchase anything - except maybe more Yellow Drops to top off his seemingly endless supply of them - but he certainly enjoyed the hustle and bustle one could find in a marketplace. Limsa had one as well, but he just felt more... at home at this one, either due to his Ul'dahn heritage through his mother or just having spent so much time here. Plus, he knew all the best spots to pick up candy for himself and a varying array of jerked meats for Gran.


They were currently at one of these aforementioned stalls, in fact, with Gran's little nose poked up into the air to catch the various scents of spiced meats that wafted out from behind the counter. He'd go investigate the smells further, but the shop-keep was well aware of the little porker's antics and had blocked off any way in with crates. Just thinking about it made the little behemoth snort angrily and his tail thrash about to show his grand disapproval of the whole thing. Well, the purple piglet decided with a flicking of his most magnificent mane, if that was the way the biped wanted to do it... then he'd go find his treats elsewhere.


"A-ah, Gran, wait!" Chachan yelped as the little behemoth trotted off, turning back to the merchant and trying to cut the man's sale's pitch short so he could pay for the jerky and catch up to his little companion. The shop-keep would not be so quickly quelled from pushing a sale, though, and it would be a minute or two before the Dunesfolk could go scrambling after his pet. Plenty of time for the little porker to get himself into a spot of trouble.

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"Oinky, oinky!" Went Mikh'a again. Childlike determination was suddenly set on his features as he stared to where he spotted Gran trotting onward in his piglet like huff. Over...well, whatever. To Mikh'a, it looked perfectly normal for the little thing to be grumptastic. He always looked grumptastic!


With a swish and wriggle, Mikh'a began to struggle to be put down. Lili was too focused on the child and not noticing the two familiar figures herself. "Ah! Yes, yes, hold on a moment!" Not wanting to restrain him if he really didn't want to be restrained, she set him down. Which left Derpcub the Adorable able to toddle on his own. Which he did...right between some passerby's legs and after Gran with his awkward though still determined baby steps!




However, it was too late. Even as Lili moved over to them both, Mikh'a was quick compared to the creature's current pace, and reached him within moments to try and hug him from behind with a happy, babyish squeal. "OINKY, OINKY!"

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If Chachan didn't know where Gran had puttered off to, he found out soon enough. The sudden baby-tackle and squeal resulted in a second squeal - that of a startled and alarmed purple porker - as the baby behemoth whirled around to face his surprise assailant with hackles raised. He snorted and pawed at the ground and made all sorts of fuss before he realized that his "attacker" was little more than a baby biped. And a vaguely familiar one at that. He still remained cautious as tilted his violet-hued head upward slightly to get a snortling sniff of the babyqo'te.


"Gran!" the porker's keeper shouted as he hurried to the scene, only to find the baby behemoth snuffling at the infant - the tickling of nose causing a few gleeful giggles out of wee Mikh'a. The Dunesfolk's worry and concern melted away, replaced by confusion. He crossed what little space still remained between then and knelt down next to the happy little Miqo'te kitten. "And... lil' Mikh'a? What're YOU doin' here?"


He looked up and glanced about.


"'n more importantly, where's yer mum?" he asked, as if little Mikh'a would provide an answer, his violet orbs scanning the crowds for Ms. Lili. "Ain't safe ta be wanderin' off, y'know!"

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A towering Hellsguard moved past them, which allowed Lili to finally break free of the throng of market goers to spot the trio. "There you are!" She looked utterly relieved, and exasperated though in a loving manner. Mikh'a didn't pay Lili any mind, just burying his face against Gran's flank and blowing little spit bubbles against his hide. As Lili moved over to try and pick him up, he let out such a squeal of protest that it made the mother right herself with a raised brow.


"Oh dear...ah, hello dear. Fancy seeing you here in the markets today." She smiled towards Chacha.

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The look on Gran's face was priceless as he felt the wetness of baby spit seep dribble down his flank. His attempts to escape were thwarted by the little Miqo'te infant - who would just maintain his grip and toddle along with him. Even a few shakes of his hindquarters would not loosen Mikh'a's grip. And when his mother tried to step in, he let out such a wail! Well, if she couldn't do something he would.


That something, of course, being trying to pull the child off himself. Which led to a rather unintended side-effect of the two of them puttering around in a circle as the baby behemoth sought to find any sort of purchase. He tried for the fiery-hued tail a couple times, but it was flicking around so much in happy contentment that it proved near impossible to get a hold on. Thus, he made for tighter circles as he sought to isntead remove Mikh'a by the seat of his pants. The scene was rather distracting for the purple porker's green-haired owner, and possibly a few other onlookers as well.


"O-oh, um, yeah," Chachanji managed when he realized Lili had been talking to him, turning to face her with an awkward grin and bashfully rubbing at the back of his neck. His violet orbs kept drifting to the antics of baby and behemoth, though. "Got a lengthy job from Ms. Momodi, so I'm back in Ul'dah fer a bit. Had ta bring Gran wit me, too. He hates bein' cooped up fer more'n a day."


He fully turned his head back towards his peculiar pet.


"I still 'member th' time I left fer Mist fer a couple days while we were still livin' here at th' Hourglass," he mused as he placed his gloved hands onto his hips. "Came back ta such a mess. Been tryin' ta either bring 'im wit me or have someone watch over 'im ever since."

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As Lili and Chacha made small talk, Mikh'a was not deterred from his latest object of affection. Even as Gran's little hooves shuffled in place and his snorts of agitation filled his little fluffy ears, Mikh'a continued cuddling onto him like he was some sort of plush. A hoofed, annoyed, snorting, piglet plush!


"Ahh...sounds like a tempermental house pet to a degree. Should I try and dislodge Mikh'a again?" Gran didn't seem harmful to Lili, but the more annoyed he seemed to be getting the more concerned she became for her son. Mikh'a continued to have the time of his life however, letting out another coo of 'oinky, oinky!" as if the baby behemoth was simply turning this into a game.

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"Ah... he jus' doesn't like bein' cooped up, is all," Chachan corrected sheepishly. He always considered Gran more of a friend and future sidekick than a pet, so he always felt a bit awkward when he was reminded that the porker was indeed of such a persuasion. As Lili questioned separating the two babies, the Dunesfolk's violet gaze drifted to the light-haired Hyur. "Um... i-if'n ya wanna try, I dun think Gran'll do nothin' 'n Mikh'a's jus' bein' a baby..."


Speaking of the little duo, Gran had ceased in his twirling chase after the babyqo'te due to a mild case of dizziness and a greater case of frustration. The tiny biped just refused to let go of him! With a huff, the purple porker flopped onto the ground. Whatever, he'd just wait for his chance to escape rather than wear himself out. Mikh'a couldn't hold onto him forever, could he?

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As Gran flopped over, Mikh'a flopped with him. Giggling and still thinking it was a game, he shifted his hold so he could snuggle into the baby behemoth. Even going as far as to try and nuzzle his face near Gran's tummy. Passerbys were giving them some weird looks, but no one stopped long enough in their dealings here to there to do anything or comment.


Lili smiled to Chachan's correction. "I see. Well, perhaps we can let them bond over some treats, perhaps? I was on my way to spoil Mikh'a and I wouldn't mind the extra company." Another happy squeal came from the baby. "I doubt he'd mind either!"

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Chachan got a thoughtful look on his face at Lili's proposal, putting a finger to his chin. He had been out here mostly to just aimlessly wander around and possibly pick up some snacks for Gran and himself anyway. So, there was really nothing to keep him from hanging out with the Hyur and her adorable infant. Well, beyond Gran being a grump about it, but Mikh'a really seemed to enjoy the company of the little purple porker.


"Well, I ain't got much else planned fer taday, so I 'spose we could," he answered with a cheerful smile and shrug of his shoulders. Gran, on the other hand, remained flopped on the ground as he looked sideways at the little Miqo'te latched onto him. The baby behemoth took in a deep breath, and then followed it with a sharp huff of resignation. It certainly looked like he was stuck with the baby'qote for the long haul.

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"Wonderful!" She gave her hands an enthusiastic clap at his readiness to come along with them. Lili had been planning to take Mikh'a out and spoil him a little bit regardless if they had come along but with the added company it only made it more fun! "Let me just get Mikh'a and...Oh!" Mikh'a had rose up from Gran at this point, only to have his tail drape along Gran's hindquarters. Giving the porker a dorky smile and unofficially dubbing him his guidelet.


Lili let out a sigh. She didn't understand her youngest's fascination, but she went along with it anyways. "Onward then!"


From there, it was a simple walk to where she was planning to go. There was a small stall near Pearl Lane that sold chilled candy fruits with sweet cream and she was anxious to have a taste. Knowing Mikh'a's love for fruits just helped give her more excuses! Once at the stall, she ordered some for her and the little one before looking to Chacha.


"What sounds good to you two? Don't be shy!"

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Chachanji's violet eyes widened as they approached the stall. That was Ul'dah for you - he had been living here for months until his move to what he affectionately dubbed "Coralhaus," and there were still stalls that he had never seen before. Had it always been here, or was it more of a recent addition to the numerous businesses that plied their trade on the streets of the Jewel? Either was possible here, but the Dunesfolk didn't spend too much time debating on which it could be. After all, why worry about things like that when there were fruit-flavored treats to enjoy?


"Ah, um, hmm..." the little Lalafell murmured, standing up on his tippy-toes to get a better look at the selection. Downside to being short and stocky, even for one of his race. Even Memeli stood a couple inches taller than him, and he wasn't even going to get into the height difference between him and Virara. She seemed rather put off by it anyway, so he felt it best not to think about it. Still, the thought couldn't help but cross his mind in situations like this.


"I'll have..." Focus on the snacks, Chachan, not your vertical challenges. "Um... somethin' apple-y, I guess?"


Gran seemed much less interested in the stall than his owner. He seemed grumpily content enough to chew on the piece of jerky that Chachan had used to get him up on his feet in the first place. The baby behemoth had been content enough to just lie on the ground until Mikh'a decided to leave him be, but such a fate hadn't been in the cards. Instead he was serving as some sort of supplementary, purple-hued walking aid for the baby'qote. At least he was getting treats for this.

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The stall owner didn't further question the Lalafell's request. He was used to people not knowing exactly what they wanted when they came by here for the first time. As he moved back to start tossing ingredients together, Mikh'a opened up his mouth as Lili began to shovel in little spoonfuls of the treat that were given. Nomming all the way and making needy motions to his mother before pointing to Gran.


"Awww you want Gran to have some too?" It seemed to be what the babyqo'te was going for, so Lili tilted her head to observe the porker as he still seemed to be pouting. She took a spoonful and held it down towards him with a small grin. "Here you go, little one. Try it! You might like it. Either that or more for the baby."


Chacha's treat was sweet cream mixed with drizzles of caramel and thick slices of cinnamon baked apples that were still pipping hot from coming off the miniature cooking station in the back of the stall. The added addition was some brown sugar sprinkled on top.

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Gran was skeptical at first, giving the sweet-smelling treat a couple dubious snorts of the snout. He was more a carnivore than anything else, his favorite snacks being the various types of jerkies that Chachanji kept on hand for him (and for the refugees when they ventured outside the walls, but obviously mainly for the baby behemoth), but he wasn't one to turn away a treat. Besides, that little furball of an infant was enjoying it just fine, so it couldn't be all that bad. So, he nommed at the snack and almost took the spoon with it.


What followed was an almost obnoxious minute of Gran trying to get the sticky, sweet drizzle out of the recesses of his mouth and into his stomach, not unlike a dog dealing with peanut butter. His little tongue darted here and there in his mouth, trying to hunt down every last bit of syrupy goodness as his jaw worked futilely. Finally, the baby behemoth fluttered his lips a couple more times before looking back up at Lilithium expectantly. It wasn't as good as that antelope jerky Chachanji had gotten for him after his first trip to Mist, but it was passable enough. Besides, it was free treats.


Speaking of Chachanji, the young Lalafell was much more enamored with the snack that his pertinacious purple partner-in-crime. As with most new foods, he had taken but a tentative small bite of the cream and cinnamon-apple confection at first. However, in the same minute that Gran had spent masticating a spoonful of the treat, the youngest Gegenji had inhaled a good third to a half of his whole serving. It was rather hard to tell how much, actually, since he had gone for the apple slices and brown sugar first and foremost, leaving mostly just cream and remnants of caramel in his bowl. He seemed eager enough to finish off the rest of it, though.


"Ah, this is really, really good!" Chachan managed in one of the brief moments when stopped eating long enough to, you know, breathe. "Has this place always been here? I never noticed!"


With the way he said it - and how quickly the treat was vanishing under his ministrations - he certainly wasn't going to make that mistake again.

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Mikh'a watched Gran eat with interest, opening up his mouth to get another bite before Lili fed Gran a little more. Mother, baby, and porker all taking turns from the same bowl. What did Lili care? Germs were germs. Didn't make a difference to a mom after child number four. Or even those before that!


"Good! You like it! But don't take the spoon," she warned him, looking up as Chachan addressed her. The blonde grinned.


"Only for a few weeks. I've been bringing others by when I can so the new shop owners don't go out of business. Do you really like it, dear?"

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Lili's question was answered easily enough by the fact that Chachan was already clamoring for seconds from the vendor while she took a more leisurely and communal approach to the treat. In fact, the little Lalafell had almost dropped his rather light gil pouch in his haste to get it out and pay for the second helping. He was already settling down with it when the question was actually posed, and he looked up mere seconds from digging in to the sweet mix of cream and apple once more.


"Ah, um... y-yeah, it's really good!" he affirmed with an energetic nod, spoon still hovering at the ready above the bowl. "I'll hafta 'member this place next time I'm in th' mood fer a snack in Ul'dah..."


He then proceeded to completely ruin his appetite for dinner later as he inhaled his second helping. Gran, the ever stalwart little bundle of ego, continued enjoying the treat at a slower pace - though this was mainly due to having to share it three ways, and set to Lili's pace. He just couldn't resist taking the spoonfuls that were so dutifully offered to him, even if each one meant another minute of lip-smacking and rooting around with his tongue.

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As Gran smacked around in his mouth with more of the treat, Mikh'a took a rather odd fascination for it. With one pudgy hand on his flank he plopped down on the ground next to him and held his mouth open for another bite. To which he started emulating the porker by smacking his lips rather obnoxiously in between bites. Of course, being so young, he didn't quite get the imitation right. His involved baby babbles in between and a lot more drool.


There cup was almost gone. At this point Lili had had her fill and was just alternating between feeding her son and his new best friend. "Bring your friends with you too, if you could, dear. I think everyone would be able to enjoy it! I've tried a few of their other flavors and none of them I dislike. There one that's strawberries with heavy cream and a variety of candied nuts lightly heated to bubbling. It's rather scrumptuous!"

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The imitation didn't escape Gran's notice. At the first sounds of echoed lip-smacking, the baby behemoth turned his little horned head towards the babyqo'te and regarded him with glimmering black eyes. The response to the babbling was a slight tilt of the head and a few inquisitive snorts of the snout against the infant's pudgy form. His attention would always return  to the spoon when it was offered to him, but all the noise little Mikh'a was making would soon draw the purple porker's gaze back towards him.  This, of course, led to more than one instance of the two of them making smacking sounds in unison before the treat had been dutifully defeated.


"Strawberries, huh?" Chachan repeated, his echo muffled a bit by the spoon still in his mouth. He quickly slurped the contents of the utensil down before removing it and continuing the conversation in a more proper - and less garbled - form. The waving and pointing of the spoon only added emphasis to his excitement. "I'll hafta try it next time I'm 'round! Thanks fer showin' th' place ta me, Ms. Lili!"


A couple more spoonfuls, both of which were handled in short order, and the Dunesfolk's second bowl was as empty as the first. His sweet-tooth sufficiently sated for now, the little Lalafell hummed contentedly as he patted his tummy. He then returned the ceramic container to its rightful owner, leaving it sitting neatly on the stall's wooden counter-top until the treat merchant scooped it up for cleaning and re-use.

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Chacha had always been such a little sweetling the times Lili had happened to see him around. Whether he was alone or with Gran, the Lalafell seemed to perky! In good spirits! Especially now as the four of them enjoyed their treats together and finished up Lili found herself in better spirits then she already had been before.


"Now that your belly is full, what do you plan to do with your day, dear? I believe you mentioned running errands earlier?" 


As she spoke, Mikh'a continued to smack his lips and imitate Gran. If the behemoth youngling cast him even the smallest bit of attention for his mimicry the kit would laugh and laugh. Clapping his little hands and giving Gran solid pats along his legs and flank and one landed on the base of his mane.

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"Ah, um, well, I actually finished all me errands fer th' day," Chachan admitted with a bashful smile and a light scratching at the back of his head, just now realizing how he had more or less inhaled the treats wholesale right in front of Lili and her child. A light flush of embarrassment crept onto his cheeks, making his light dusting of freckles all the more pronounced. "We were jus' sorta... wanderin' th' stalls since we were in th' area. Never know what ya can find here, y'know? Though... I 'spose th' stall here's a good example'a that."


An awkward little chuckle escaped his lips as he motioned to the merchant and his delightfully decadent desserts. He was quick to return his hands thoughtfully to his pockets afterward, though, and mull over her first question a little more. What exactly was his plan for the day now? He had his usual training session with Ser Warren - something he made sure to attend even if the frequent aetheric travel betwixt Coralhaus and the Jewel was taxing even on his own stalwart stamina - but that wasn't for several bells yet. So what was he to do until then?


"As fer me plans fer th' day, I... uh... hadn't put much thought ta it," he finally admitted a bit weakly, glancing away and grinding the toe of his boot into the street some. He gave a small shrug before continuing. "I'm meetin' wit Ser Warren in th' evenin', but that's 'bout it. I 'spose I woulda jus' ended up hangin' 'round th' Quicksand or takin' Gran out ta splash 'round in Soot Creek some or somethin'."


Speaking of Gran, he canted his head and regarded the Babyqo'te with his dark eyes as the little kitten belted out laughing at the slightest inkling of the little porker's attention. He turned away at first, but the first baby-strong pat on the rump startled him and brought his focus back onto little Mikh'a... which resulted in another laugh and pat. At a loss as to how to deal with this tiny biped, the baby behemoth simply flopped to the ground again and grumpily stared forward, glancing only briefly towards the cub at the claps and subsequent pats. The pat on the neck caused him to lift his head again to glance back at the easily entertained infant, before settling back down with a momentous sigh.


Well, little Gran mused, he couldn't say he didn't like the attention - couldn't really say anything at all in the language of the bipeds, but that was beside the point. And he was certainly a great and magnificent beast, so it was no surprise that little Mikh'a was so enamored with him. Even going so far as to imitate him like he was the little purple porker's own offspring. Well, if that was the case, there wouldn't be much harm in taking the little furball under his wing, would it? His dark eyes flitted back to the babyqo'te once more, though in a much more thoughtful fashion this time around.

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Mikh'a could have entertained himself for hours with Gran. Inanimate toys were alright to a point for him, but he was too curious. Too restless. Always ready to stumble and crawl to the next big adventure around any possible corner or behind any door that the grown-ups tried to keep him from.


Oblivious to how Gran stared at him, he stretched his arms out before him in a stretch before crossing his arms and curling into Gran's side with a yawn. Now that the sweet treat had settled into his belly he was feeling rather...tired. Scratch that, Gran was the world's most comfortably grumpy pillow and his mother's lilting voice as she conversed was the perfect recipe to him clonking out.


Which he was in the process of doing as Lili smiled to Chacha. "Well! I would love to do this with you again sometime, dear. Especially if you have any friends you would like to bring along. I have various people in my company who might be up for the trek. Including my husband!" She peeked down to Mikh'a, a little surprised internally at how quickly he was drifting off and beginning to pass out.


"Though in the meantime it looked like my fluffy one is due for a nap!" Leaning down, she gently ruffled Gran's mane before finally getting him free of his charge as she tucked Mikh'a against her chest. Even in sleep his hands fisted in her hair and clung like it was a stuff or blanket to cuddle with. Holding him with one arm, the blonde shifted in her side pocket and handed the Lalafell a small pearl.


"Here, dear. My personal pearl. If ever you want to get together again or set up a playdate for these two, just holler!"

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"Ah, sure thing. I can think of'a couple'a folks that could do wit a peaceful walk 'n a sweet treat or two," Chachan commented bashfully as he gingerly took the pearl and tucked it away. "'n feel free ta contact me if'n ya need me fer anythin', too. I'm always happy ta halp, y'know."


Gran, on the other hand, seemed a little miffed. Oh, sure, after all that bumping and petting and burbling and such, the little biped was just gonna fall asleep? How could he learn how to properly posture to show off his elegant horns? Well, if he had elegant horns like the baby behemoth. The light ruffling of his mane appeased him somewhat, but he still gave a bit of a disgruntled snort as the infant was collected.


"Aw, whassamatter, Gran? Sad ta see 'im go?" Chachan commented with a little wry grin as his hand reappeared from a pocket and came to rest lightly against his hip. "Looks like we might hafta set one up sooner'n later, Ms. Lili."


Chachan chuckled, Gran grumped.

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Mikh'a drooled as his mother smiled to their two snacking companions. "I think I'll do that, dear. I could always use help here and there, especially with Mikh'a since my company has been growing so rapidly as of late! Him and Gran getting along also works out rather well I think for the both of us."


It was such an adorable little friendship. Lili could hardly resist the urge to squeal again. She blew them both a little air kiss. "Stay safe! Both of you."


As she turned away to make her way along another sector of the market streets, Mikh'a had adjusted his head on his mother's shoulder and peeked over to the Lalafell and grumpy behemlet with droopy, bright eyes. Drool still going down his mouth and chin, he raised a chubby fist in a small 'bye bye' motion before both mother and son turned and corner and left their sight.

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