Das'ani carefully placed the box she'd found on top of crate on the floor. Even with her carefulness though, it's contents jangled slightly. She froze and looked over at occupied chair close to her.
Cror'Ruae didn't look up from his work, he must have been too wrapped up in what he was doing to notice such a slight noise. She breathed a sigh of relief and made sure the two items were steady before climbing up on them. She was as tall as most of the adults in this place so not much was out of her reach.
But there was something she knew Cror'Ruae kept up here. It was something shiny and interesting and hidden. She'd gotten a slight glimpse when riding in her mother's arms, and just had to know what it could be.
She hoped it wasn't more fake arm and leg machine parts, she didn't have a lot of interest in that. But her mom and Cror'Ruae played with them all the time. They surly wouldn't bother keeping them out of reach, no it had to be something special!
She peeped up over the top of the shelf and saw the box. 'Yay it didn't get moved!' She thought in glee as reached over and pulled it toward her with two hands, using another two to stabilize her position on the shelf.
Unfortunately she needed more leverage than she had to actually lift it over the decorative trim it had been hidden behind. More leverage than her stacked boxes could give and one started to scoot away from under her. In a panic she put a foot up on the shelf to keep her balance. Unfortunately the shelves weren't empty enough for that and all she managed to to was make it worse, knocking whatever was on the shelf off. She dropped back down to her boxes only to have them move out from under her and deposit her on her butt.
'Most vexing!' She cursed mentally, a phrase she'd picked up from the squishy little man, surely all that racket got his attention. She tilted her head back from where she lay, her prize clutched to her chest, and watched as Cror'Ruae looked up from his work to notice her and scowl. He was always scowling though... so she still wasn't sure how he was going to react. Sometimes he would roll his eyes and tell her to be quiet before going back to work, even if she was doing something he should really come stop her from doing. And sometimes he would get upset...
She waited to see what it was going to be this time. It really depended on what she'd made a mess of. He rubbed his head and sighed, so far so good... and then he stood.
That was bad!
She scrambled to her feet and took a moment to look at the mess she'd made, then ran for the door. She didn't want to hear him question why he let her play in his work area. That always made her feel bad, she liked playing there. He was the only one besides her mom that didn't treat her mean or be scared. And, more importantly, it was the only place to play.
"It isn't enough for you to be exceedingly loud, I see. You simply must make a mess of my lab as well. I know you're a child, but can you, oh I don't know, perhaps not ruin everything you come into contact with?"
Cror'Ruae gestured to the mess as she ran past him. He didn't turn to catch her or give her nasty looks or anything. He may as well have been talking to himself. In fact, she felt maybe he was some times.
"If you have no plans to clean this mess, and I assume you don't, could you, at the very least, send Ijnadius in to do it? I have better things to do with my time."
She paused at the door and groaned. 'Uuuuhg' he just had to be like that, didn't he? 'Fiiiine fine fine its fine' She set her prize down by the door, not really wanting to go outside and deal with jumpy guard, and walked back with her head down.
"I'll clean it..."
"Yes yes, I don't care who cleans it, as long as it's cleaned." Cror'Ruae waved a hand around dramatically and frowned down at the mess a moment. "I question my own judgment at continuing to let you run about unattended. Perhaps, in my age, I'm loosing my grip on what passes for decent reasoning skills."
And there it was, he was about to start another long rant about why she shouldn't be here. She braced herself for it, already feeling punished enough just with the anticipation.
Instead, though, he went quiet and knelt down, picking his way through the mess to remove a picture frame that fell. He gave it a look, as if it was answering him and he didn't like the answer, before dusting it off absently and replacing it on the shelf.
Dasani was too curious now to feel disheartened by his words any more. She looked from the one replaced item back down to the mess. There was broken glass from beakers, tiny jars with their tops spilled open, some gizmos and dodads, even something suspended in liquid. Luckily the glass on that last one didn't break, she wasn't sure she wanted that creepy thing getting out, it was wiggling about like an angry noodle.
All that mess and he only interested in cleaning a picture? She'd seen the shelf every day since she could remember, but she never gave much thought to the things on it. Well, okay, some of the shiny things she may have played with once in a while.